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not the Nile, is abundantly evident from the context. Zechariah explains the smiting of the river, and the sea, by the bringing down the pride of Assyria, and by causing the sceptre of Egypt to depart away. And both he and Isaiah alike represent this exhaustion as being preparatory to the return of Israel out of Assyria and Egypt. Now it is obvious, since the smiting of the sea and the river denotes literally the humbling of Egypt and Assyria, that the sea must mean the Nile, and that the river must mean the Euphrates. And the matter will be yet more evident, when we consider the consequences of the smiting. It was to prepare a way for Israel, not only out of Egypt, but likewise out of Assyria. But how could the smiting of the Nile, or, in other words, the overthrow of the Egyptian government, prepare a way for Israel to come out of Assyria ? Hence it is plain, that the sea means one thing, and the river another: and hence the Chaldee Paraphrast very sensibly explains what is simply termed the river by the river Euphrates*. The purport therefore of the prophecy is this : that, by the overthrow of the Ottoman empire, and by the disso. lution of the then existing government of Egypt (probably the Mamaluc government), a way will be prepared for the return of the lost ten tribes. By what power the Ottoman empire will be subverted, we are not positively told; but we learn from Daniel, that the government of Egypt will be overturned by Antichrist after he has overrun Palestine.
Whether the division of the mystic Euphrates into seven streams denotes some septipartite division of the Turkish empire at the period of its overthrow, or whether
earth. I think there are passages in Scripture, which afford us some war. fant for believing, that these will likewise be the limits of Israel after the final restoration. Compare Psalm lxxii. 8. with Zechar. ix. 9, 10.—Isaiah xi. 14. -xlix. 19, 20.-and Gen. xv. 18. The extensive dominions of Solomon seem to be typical of the same extensive dominions of Israel, when fully restored, and united under one king the Messiah, of whom Solomon was only a shadow.
*“ Elevabit plagam fortitudinis suæ super Euphratem.” Wolfgang Mus. culus adopts the same interpretation : “Super Auvium, id est, Euphratem.” (Wolfgang. Musc. Comment. in Isaiam in loc.) Mr. Lowth thinks that the Nile is intended by the river. Yet he allows, that the drying up of this river imports the same as the exhaustion of the Euphrates in the Apocalypse. If such then be the case, I see not how it is possible for the river to be any other than the Euphrates. Comment on Isaiah si. 15, 16.
the expression is only to be generally understood as exhibiting to us the manner in which a large river may be rendered insignificant and shallow by conducting its waters along six or more additional artificial channels *, it would be in vain at present to attempt to determine. That the overthrow of the Ottoman monarchy will in the hand of Providence be instrumental in bringing about the restoration of the ten tribes, cannot however, as it appears to me, be reasonably doubted.
It may be worth our while to consider, whether this prophecy, respecting the drying up of the Euphrates, may not receive a literal, no less than a symbolical, accomplishment. I doubt whether we have any right to interpret the prediction of St. John in such a manner, because he appears altogether to confine himself to the language of symbolst; but a greater latitude of exposition may perhaps be allowable in discussing a prophecy of Isaiah or Zechariah. Now we know, that, whenever the Israelites shall return into their own land from Assyria and other more eastern regions, they must necessarily cross the literal Euphrates: and it is very remarkable, that Isaiah expressly compares their restoration from Assyria with their ancient exodus from Egypt, and attaches this comparison to a prediction respecting the drying up of the great river. A question therefore naturally arises, How will the yet future restoration of the Israelites from Assyria resemble their ancient exodus from Egypt, unless they then miraculously pass through the Euphrates, as they heretofore miraculously passed through the Red sea and the river Jordan? I can discover nothing absurd, either in adopting the opinion that at the destruction of Antichrist there will be a preternatural manifestation of God's glory, or in thinking it not improbable that they may be led by the arm of the Lord through the very midst of the Euphrates.
Having now conducted the whole house of Israel, Ephraim as well as Judah, into their own land, the pro
* See Herod. L. I. C. 189.
t I of course except a few passages in the Apocalypse, which appear to be avowedly descriptive, and which accordingly have been so understood bye most commentators.
phet puts into their mouth a solemn hymn of praise and victory. He represents them, as giving thanks unto the Lord for having turned away his anger from them, and for having comforted them; as joyfully drawing living waters from the fountains of salvation; as celebrating the stupendous work of their conversion and restoration, a work made manifest in all the earth; and as exulting in the glorious appearance of the Holy One in the midst of Jerusalem. Such we may conceive will be the songs of the ancient people of God, when brought to the knowledge of the crucified Redeemer, and when forming the eldest branch of the triumphant millennian Church *.
The part of the prophecy, which I have hitherto examined, may by itself be considered as a perfect whole; inasmuch as it predicts the restoration of Jadah and Israel, points out the mode in which a way will be prepared for that restoration, hints at the overthrow of Antichrist, and describes the glory and happiness of the Millennium. Isaiah however, in a manner not unusual with the ancient prophets, of which we shall hereafter see many instances, resumes, in the 13th and 14th chapters, a division of his subject, concerning which he had as yet spoken but slightly; I mean the overthrow of the Antichristian confederacy. This confederacy he exhibits to us under the mystic name of Babylon, a name used for the same purpose by St. John in the Revelation. There is a difference nevertheless in the manner wherein the two prophets apply the name. St. John, writing after the downfal of the literal Babylon, uses the appellation mystically alone; and describes under that title the papal Roman empire, both temporal and spiritual, as is manifest from the compound symbol of the woman riding upon the tenhorned beast, and (I may add) from the general context of the Apocalypse. Whereas Isaiah, writing before the downfal of the literal Babylon, uses the appellation both literally and mystically: and thus predicts the overthrow both of the literal and the mystical Babylon. Yet, so far as the arrangement of his prophecy is concerned, he seems
* “ This chapter (Isaiah xii.) is a hymn of praise proper to be used in that triumphant state of the Church described in the foregoing chapter.” Argument to Lowth's Comment. on Isaiah xii.
to devote the 13th chapter principally to the one, and the 14th to the other; though, I believe, without excluding a double meaning from either chapter.
But it may naturally be asked, What is my authority for adopting this double mode of interpretation? Why may not the whole prophecy be applied to the literal Babylon? And why should it be supposed to have any connection with the prophecy, which may not improperly be thought to conclude with the 12th chapter.
I answer, that my authority, even independent of certain remarkable passages contained in the prophecy of the burden of Babylon *, for adopting this double mode of interpretation is the opening of the 14th chapter. It is there predicted, that the Lord will have compassion on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel; that he will give them rest in their own land ; that the stranger shall be joined unto them, and shall cleave unto the house of Jacob; that the nations shall take them, and bring them into their own place; that the house of Israel shall possess them, as servants and as handmaids, in the land of the Lord; that they shall take those captive, whose captives they were; and that they shall rule over their oppressors. Now, when all these matters are accomplished; when the Lord has given them rest from their affliction, from their disquiet, and from their hard servitude: in that day, they are to take up a parable against their fallen enemy, the king of Babylon. These matters however can by no means be said to have been accomplished merely by the restoration of Judah from the Babylonian captivityt. Here the whole house of Jacob is to be brought back: then Judah alone returned; for it is little better than a quibble, as Bp. Horsley justly observes, to interpret the prophecies respecting the general restoration of Israel as accomplished in the return of a few scattered individuals of the ten tribes with Judah. Here the stranger is to be joined unto them, an august prediction of the gathering in of the Gentiles to the millennian Church, the eldest branch of which will be the converted of Israel: then, if the prophecy be applied to the restoration of Judah from Baby
* These will presently be noticed and commented upon. + See Mr. Lowth's Comment. on Isaiah xiv. 1, 2.
lon, a single proselyte was occasionally converted to the law; and latterly at least, as our Lord assures us, the conversion of such proselytes served only to make them two-fold more children of hell than their Pharisaical converters*. Here the nations are to take them, and to bring them into their own place: then the Jews were restored by the instrumentality of the Medo-Persians only. Here the house of Israel is to possess those nations that restored them, as servants and as handmaids; by which, I suppose, we are to understand, that they shall acknowledge the primogeniture of the Levitical Church, and both temporally and spiritually minister to its restoration and support t: then the Jews did not possess their restorers the Persians, as servants and as handmaids, in any sense that the words are capable of. Here they are to take those captive, whose captives they were, and are to rule over their oppressors: then the Jews neither took any of the Babylonians captive, nor exercised any authority over the nation that had oppressed them. In short, if we admit this part of the prophecy to have been at all accomplished at the return of Judah from Babylon, we can only admit it. in a very lax and vague manner, in a merely inchoate and imperfect sense. Every member of it compels us to look forward to the yet future restoration of the whole house of Israel; and every member of it will admit of a most easy and natural interpretation, if we do thus look forward. Accordingly Bp. Lowth, induced (I apprehend) by such a train of reasoning as I have here drawn out at length, observes very justly, that “ the name of Jacob and Israel, used apparently with design in this place, each of which names includes the twelve tribes; and other circumstances, mentioned in the two first verses of the 14th chapter, which did not in any complete sense accompany the return from the captivity of Babylon; seem to intimate, that this whole prophecy extends its views beyond that eventf.” And, if it do extend its
* Matt. xxiii. 15. + See Isaiah ii. 1-5-xlix. 22, 23---1---lxvi. 12, 19, 20---Rom. xi. 11---36.
# Mr. Lowth, like myself, supposes Isaiah xi. xii. xiii. and xiv. to form one continued prophecy ; nay he even extends it somewhat unwarrantably, I think, to the end of chap. xxvii. He very justly maintains, that the Babylon of this prediction must unavoidably be understood in a double sense. “ After