Christian Biblical Reflections.42

                5. Wordsworth.

Commentary on the Holy Bible. The Old Testament in the Authorized Version with Notes & Introductions. volume 6 part 2. Minor Prophets. Chr. Wordsworth. Index by F.H.  Scrivener. 2nd edition. 6 vols in 12 parts. 1868. 1876. gs, as.

                {{ Introduction to the Minor Prophets:  The twelve (12) Minor Prophets form one book.  This is the light in which they were viewed by the ancient Hebrew and Christian Churches; and in order that their works may be profitably studied, they ought not to be regarded as separate writings, but as constituting one harmonious whole. (*1  See Acts 7:42; 15:15. Josephus, C. Apion. i. 8. Kimchi (Praef. ad Hoseam). S. Greg. Nazianz. (Carm. xxxiii.)  says, ” The twelve ( 12 prophets) are joined in one book ;” and  so Theodoret, Prooem. in Duodecim Prophetas, p. 1308, ed.  Schulze, Hal., 1769. Cp. Hottinger, Thesaur. Philol. 477. Keil,  Einleitung, § 81. *)

                It is true that each of these prophetical writings has a distinct character of its own; each does its own appointed work. But that appropriate work of each fits in with accurate precision, and is adjusted with beautiful symmetry, to that which is done by the rest and by all.  (Compare Delitzsch (Einleitung in die Prophet. Weissagungbucher, prefixed to his Commentary on Isaiah, p. xx); and Dr. Pusey’s Lectures on Daniel, p. 308, who thus writes:          “It has been pointed out how the citations of each earlier Prophet by those who came after, presuppose that those former books were of recognized authority. Amos, when he opens and almost closes his prophecy with the words of Joel, or applies more extensively those of Hosea, intends manifestly to carry on a message already recognized as Divine. So also Obadiah, when he uses words of the prophecies of Balaam, Amos, Joel, and a Psalm. Micah alludes emphatically to those parting words of his great predecessor in the Book of Kings, to expressions of the Psalms and Proverbs, to Joshua, to David’s elegy over Saul and Jonathan, as well as to the Pentateuch; Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Ezekiel, employ words or thoughts of his. Jonah, by adopting the form ‘And’ joins on his prophetic history to the sacred histories before him, and blends his mission to the heathen with the history of the people of God.                     Nahum, in the opening of his prophecy against Nineveh, manifestly refers to Jonah’s appeal to God in regard to it. For Nahum had to exhibit the stricter side of God’s dealings as to that same city. God had said in Jonah how He forgave on repentance; Nahum opens his book by saying in that selfsame form of words, that He was indeed longsuffering, but would not finally spare the guilty. Nahum and Zephaniah use of Isaiah. Zephaniah uses that of Habakkuk, as also of Joel, Amos, Micah; Habakkuk’s hymn shows one well acquainted with the Psalms. Whom does not Jeremiah employ?         The appeal in his day to the great prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem in Micah, in its own words, shows that the book must have been in public use.          Even before the Captivity, God, by Ezekiel, speaks of the prophets before Him as one whole; Ezek. 38:17,  ‘Thus saith the Lord God, Art thou [Gog] he of whom I have spoken in old time by My servants the prophets of Israel which prophesied in those days many years, that I would bring thee against them?’       When, then, Daniel, studying Jeremiah’s the prophet, to fulfill prophecy of the seventy (70) years of the Captivity, says, ‘I understood by books‘ (Dan. 9:2, i.e. the biblia, scriptures) ‘the number of the years which the Word of God was to Jeremiah the prophet, to fulfil, as to the desolations of Jerusalem seventy (70) years,’  this exactly expresses what we see from the writings of the prophets before the Captivity to have been the fact, that the books of the prophets were collected together.           “The ‘Captivity‘ set God’s seal on the true prophets of God over against the false prophets, and gained a reverence for them among those also of the people who had derided and persecuted or slain them before. The former prophets (Zech. 1:4, 6), is a standing expression for the prophets before the Captivity.” *)

                “The goodly fellowship of the prophets” may be compared to a row of statues standing in their niches in the west front of some noble cathedral: each has its proper place; but each has also a relation to the others and to the whole; and together they form a group, graceful in unity as well as in its constituent parts.

                The writings of the twelve (12) Minor Hebrew Prophets, as well as those of the four (4) Major Prophets, are arranged in chronological order (*See below.*) in the Hebrew Bibles, and in our authorized English Version. Hosea, who stands at the head of the Minor Prophets, was contemporary with Isaiah, who holds the first place among the Major Prophets. The names of both have a similar meaning. Both prophesied in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, Kings of Judah, that is, at the beginning of the ninth (9th) century, and during the greater part of the eighth (8th) century before Christ.

                The writings of the Minor Prophets extend in a continuous chain with successive links in a parallel line with those of the Major Prophets till the days of the Captivity at Babylon. The series of the Major Prophets ends with Daniel at Babylon. But the line of the Minor Prophets reaches beyond the Captivity to the restoration of the Jews by Cyrus, and to the rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem under Zerubbabel and Jeshua, and also to the reparation of the walls of the City under Nehemiah and Ezra, in the fifth (5th) century before Christ.

                The prophets Haggai and Zechariah strengthened the hands of Zerubbabel and Jeshua, and stirred up the people to rebuild the Temple. The prophet Malachi saw it rebuilt; and he was a fellow-laborer with Ezra, “the Priest and Scribe,” in a still greater work, that of completing the Canon of the Old Testament. Malachi is called by the Jews “the Seal of the Prophets.”

                In reading the Hebrew Prophets, it is requisite to have a careful regard to those principles of interpretation which were laid down by our Blessed Lord and by the Apostles, and which were applied by ancient Christian Expositors, such as S. Cyril of Alexandria in the Eastern Church, and S. Jerome and S. Augustine (especially in his work on the City of God) in the Western.

                This has been too often forgotten. The system of Interpretation, which is more popular in recent times, is that described by St. Paul when he says, “The letter (that is the letter of Scripture taken alone, without the spirit) killeth; but the spirit giveth life.” This kind of exposition has had the effect of separating Hebrew Prophecy from Christianity, and of isolating it, as if it were a thing to be contemplated at a distance, with which we ourselves have little to do.

                The Infidelity now prevalent is due in a great measure to the abandonment of the ancient principles of Interpretation, in the exposition of the Old Testament.

                In our own times the Old Testament has been regarded for the most part as a subject for critical disquisitions on matters of History, Geography, and Physics –things most useful and absolutely necessary in themselves, but by no means sufficient for the Interpretation of the Old Testament.

                The design of the Old Testament is to prepare the way for Christ; and every reverent expositor of it will make it his principal study to enable the readers of it to see Christ in every part of it.

                Unless he does this, he is untrue to his mission; and he is leaving open a wide door for the entrance of Unbelief.

                How mean and trivial must many of the incidents in the history of the Patriarchs appear, unless, with St. Paul, S. Justin Martyr, S. Irenaeus, S. Jerome, S. Chrysostom, and S. Augustine, and all Christian Antiquity, we read that history by the light of the Gospel, and regard the acts of the Patriarchs as foreshadowing of the history of Christ! As S. Augustine says in his book against Faustus the Manichean, “Not only the words of the Patriarchs were prophetical, but their lives were a prophecy. All the Hebrew Monarchy was like a grand Prophecy of a Mighty One, namely, of Christ. Therefore not only in those things which the Patriarchs said, but also in what they did, and in all things which happened by God’s providence to the Hebrew Nation, we ought to search for prophecies concerning Christ and His Church. As the Apostle St. Paul says, ‘figurte nostras fuerunt,’  ‘they were types of us‘.”

                If we dwell on the letter of the Old Testament, and do not endeavour to penetrate beneath the surface into its inner spiritual meaning –if we look at it merely as a book affording scope for critical, geographical, and historical discussions, we may become what the Manichaeans of old were –ingenious disputers about the Old Testament; but we shall not be firm believers in it, nor make others to be so; but perhaps cavillers against it.

                Again, how cumbrous, slavish, and even repulsive, will many of the ritual requirements prescribed in the Books of Leviticus and Numbers appear, if considered simply in themselves, without continual reference to Christ, and to the Great Sacrifice of Calvary!

                How superfluous, unaccountable, and incredible are the miracles recorded in the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt –the three days’ darkness, the slaying of the first-born of Egypt, the passage through the Red Sea, the Pillar of the Cloud and Fire; and the Giving of the Law, amid thunders, on Mount Sinai, and the Manna coming down from heaven for forty (40) years, and the smitten Rock gushing with water in the wilderness, and the flowing back of the river Jordan at the presence of the Ark, and the falling down of the walls of Jericho at the sound of the trumpets, and the staying of the sunlight at Bethhoron at the command of Joshua –if these things are regarded merely as incidents in the records of the Hebrew Nation, not exceeding the population of London in numbers, and going to take possession of a petty strip of territory, not much larger than Devonshire and Cornwall! Must not every critical reader, and even a thoughtful child, reject such histories as fabulous, if he is not continually invited by the commentator and preacher on the Old Testament, to read the books of Exodus, Numbers, and Joshua, not merely as historical annals of the Hebrew Nation, but as having a spiritual, prophetical, and typical character, and as recording events which were foreshadowing of the Son of God Himself, and of His Death and Resurrection and Victory over Death and Satan, and of the mysteries of the Gospel, which concern the welfare of all men and all Nations in every age and clime, even to the Day of Doom, and in the countless ages of Eternity?

                An Expositor of the Old Testament, who does not continually remind his readers of these truths, is surrendering them into the hands of Skepticism. There may be, and doubtless have been, many fanciful allegorical speculations of wild enthusiasts in the interpretation of the Old Testament, and these are much to be regretted. But the abuse of what is good does not take away its use; and what is here advocated, is that sound, sober, spiritual interpretation of the Old Testament which is commended to our acceptance and imitation by Christ and His Apostles in the New, and by all primitive Antiquity. The right clue for commenting on the Old Testament was put into the hands of the Church by her Divine Master on the Day of His Resurrection, when He had overcome Sin, Satan, and Death by His Divine Power. In His walk to Emmaus with the two disciples on that day He “began with Moses and all the Prophets, and expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” And He said to His assembled Apostles, “These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms concerning Me. Then opened He their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures.”

                It is evident from these words of Christ Himself, that the primary duty of the Christian

Commentator on the Old Testament is to lead his readers to behold Christ “in all the Scriptures;” and that there cannot be any right understanding of the Scriptures, unless their eyes are opened to see Him there. It is much to be feared, therefore, that with all our boasting of greater advances in Biblical Criticism, we have fallen very low from the standard of Apostolic and primitive times, in many of our expositions of the Old Testament. We are wise in the “letter that killeth,” but not “in the spirit that giveth life.”

                We have a warning against this servile system of exposition in the history of Hebrew Criticism.

                Many of the Jewish Rabbis in our Lord’s age had an accurate knowledge of the original language of the Old Testament; they held it in their hands, and heard it read in their synagogues. Many of them dwelt in the country where most of the events took place which it records. But they did not understand it. The great “Hebrew of the Hebrews,” the holy Apostle St. Paul expressly affirms that the most learned among the Jews did not know (that is, did not comprehend) “the voices of the Prophets” which were read in the synagogues every Sabbath day; and that “they fulfilled those Scriptures by condemning Him” of Whom the Prophets wrote. He affirms that “a veil was on their hearts in the reading of the Old Testament” and he does not hesitate to say, that the manner in which the Spirit giveth life to the reader, is by enabling the inner eye to see Christ in the Old Testament: or, in the Apostle’s words, “the veil is done away in Christ, in the Old Testament: When the heart turneth to the Lord, then the veil is taken away from it.”

                Many in the present day study the Old Testament in a spirit not unlike that of the Hebrew Rabbis. They treat it as a common book; and rely on their own philological skill alone for its interpretation. No wonder that a veil is on their hearts in reading and expounding it.

                Holy Scripture cannot be otherwise than a sealed book to the most learned and laborious critics, if they do not approach it with meekness and reverence, but handle it with familiarity, and cavil at it in a self-confident, disdainful, and presumptuous temper, as if they themselves were wiser than St. Paul and St. Peter, and all the prophets, and even than He Who inspired them. That such persons as these should not be permitted to understand Scripture, is no marvel. Rather it would be a marvel if they were permitted to do so. Scripture would not be true, if they could interpret it aright. For Scripture tells us that men cannot understand Scripture except by the help of the Spirit Who wrote it. And the Spirit will not deign to enlighten those who grieve Him by self-confident presumption. God is “the Father of lights.” And we cannot see “the wondrous things of His law,” unless He vouchsafes to open our eyes and enlighten them. It is only in His light that we can see light. But He will not enlighten the proud. “He resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” “Surely He scorneth the scorners.” “Mysteries are revealed unto the meekThem that are meek shall He guide in judgment; and such as are gentle, them shall He learn His way.” “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him.” “He that keepeth the law getteth the understanding thereof.” “If any man willeth to do God’s will, he shall know of the doctrine.” We must become like little children if we would enter the kingdom of God. He hideth mysteries from the wise and prudent, and “revealeth them unto babes.” Balaam’s ass saw the angel, and rebuked the disobedient prophet who rode upon her, who did not see the angel. Spiritual pride is punished by spiritual blindness. The will must be rectified, and the heart must be purified, if the mind is to be clarified, and if the spirit is to be glorified. “In the Scriptures,” says George Herbert “heaven lies flat, subject to every mounter’s bended knee.” Doubtless the reader of Scripture, and much more the preacher of God’s Word, and the interpreter of Holy Scripture, must use all helps of sound reason and critical learning, and diligent labour, and careful study, for the understanding of that Word. He must use them with as much industry as if everything depended on his use of them. But he must use them with reverence, humility, and faith, and with constant and fervent prayer for the illumination and guidance of the Holy Spirit. He must use them with continual and loving communion with Christ, Who is ever walking with devout souls to a spiritual Emmaus, and is opening to them the Scriptures, and is making Himself known to them in the “breaking of bread.” He must use them with devout attention to every whisper of the Holy Spirit, interpreting one portion of Scripture by another, and to His voice in the Church Universal, especially in her Creeds, which we have received from the unanimous consent of undivided Christendom, and which our Reformers commend to our reverent use in the exposition of Scripture. “Faith,” says St. Augustine, “opens the door to the understanding; but unbelief shuts it.” “When I was a young man,” says that great expositor, “I approached the study of the Bible with shrewdness of disputation, and not with meekness of inquiry. And thus by my own perverse temper, I closed the door of the Bible against myself, because I sought with pride for what can only be found by humility. The Written Word is like the Incarnate Word, “it is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against.” What Christ says of Himself, the Incarnate Word, is true of the Written Word, “Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken, and on whomsoever it shall fall it will grind him to powder.” It is like Him, “a stumbling stone and a rock of offence,” to some; but to others it is like Him, “Who is the corner stone, elect, precious; and he that believeth in Him shall not be ashamed.” (* See the Reformatio Legum, by Archbishop Cranmer and others, where it is said that the Articles of the Christian Faith set down in the Creeds, ought always ever to be before the eyes of the expositors of Scripture, who ought never to interpret Scripture so as to be at variance with them(Ref. Leg., De  Summa Trinitate, c. 13). *)

                The writer of this Introduction has ventured to dwell longer on this all-important subject in this place, because the present portion of a work in which he has now been permitted to labour for nearly twenty (20) years, affords the last opportunity which he can expect to have of stating the principles on which it has been his earnest endeavour to compose this Commentary on the Prophetical Books, and on the other parts of the Old Testament.

                We may now revert to the point from which we have digressed.

                The holy Apostles teach us that “whatever things were written aforetime” (that is, were written in the Old Testament) were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Whatever the Hebrew Prophets spoke, was not spoken by any private utterance of their own, but by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, by Whose power they were borne along as on a strong stream. The Apostles teach us that “all the Prophets give witness to Christ”, and that the Spirit which was in the Prophets was “the Spirit of Christ”. They assure us that the Prophets “inquired and searched diligently concerning the salvation” purchased for us by Christ, and of the grace vouchsafed to us through Him; and that “it was revealed unto them, that not unto themselves, but unto us, they did minister the things which are now reported unto us, by them that have preached the Gospel unto us, with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into”.

                It is this characteristic of Hebrew Prophecy which imparts a special interest to it. The Holy Ghost, the Comforter, Who was afterwards sent by Christ to teach the Apostles all things, and to guide them into all truth, speaks to us in the Hebrew Prophets. The Hebrew Prophets were not the original authors of their own prophecies. The Holy Ghost was the Author. He speaks in them, by them, and through  (* dia ‘prep. in Grk NT of agency of the Holy Spirit in prophetical writings.’ *) them. The prophetic writings are ‘not sources‘ from which, but they are ‘channels‘ through which, the living waters of the Holy Spirit flow. 

                The truth therefore is, that we, who live under the Gospel, and have the benefit of the exposition which our Blessed Lord and the Apostles and Evangelists have given us, in the New Testament, of the meaning of the prophetic writings, and who stand on the vantage-ground of more than two thousand (2000) years after them, and see how they have been fulfilled, have a much clearer view of their scope and purport, than the Prophets themselves had, by whose instrumentality they were written. They “searched and inquired diligently” what that meaning was. We know what it is. The Holy Spirit, which was in the Prophets, has revealed it to us in the Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament. He has taught us there what He Himself meant when He spake by the Prophets in the Old, and what the Prophets by whom He spake earnestly longed to know; and therefore our Lord says, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see; for verily I say unto you, that many Prophets have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them.”

                It would therefore be a low and erroneous notion, to imagine that the Hebrew Prophets have done their work, and that their prophecies belong only to the past. Rather, we may say that they are co-extensive with Christianity, and that they possess a living and growing energy, and are ever adapting themselves to events that are arising from time to time in the Christian Church; and that they will continue to possess this vitality, and to exert this elastic and expansive agency, even to the end.

                The Son of Sirach, speaking of them, says, “Let the memorial of the Twelve Prophets be blessed; and let their bones flourish again out of their placed” This prayer is verified. By reason of the presence and might of the Holy Spirit moving in them and speaking by them, they have a perpetual freshness, a perennial spring; their prophecies have a luxuriant exuberance, and are ever putting forth new leaves, and buds, and blossoms; and they wait for the full ripeness of their summer season, in the last ages of the Church and the World, when they will bear an abundance of spiritual fruitage to be gathered by the hand of Faith.       (* This truth, which is so well expressed by Lord Bacon, of the place, and respectively towards that present occasion (Advancement of Learning, p. 101), ought ever to be present to the mind of the expounder and reader of Hebrew Prophecy. Lord Bacon says, “Divine Prophecies, being of the nature of their Author, ‘with Whom a thousand (1000) years are as one day,‘  have springing and germinant accomplishment through many ages.” And the same writer well observes (Ibid. p. 267), “that the Scriptures, being written to the thoughts of men and to the succession of all ages, with a foresight of all heresies, contradictions, and different estates of the Church, are not to be interpreted only according to the latitude of the proper sense of the place, and respectively towards that present occasion whereupon the words were uttered, but have in themselves infinite springs and streams of doctrine to water the Church in every part; and therefore, as the literal sense is, as it were, the main stream, or river, so the moral sense chiefly, and sometimes the allegoric or typical, is that of which the Church has the most use.” *)

                Hence we need not scruple to say that among all the writings of the Old Testament, none possess a more practical value for all classes of society in the present age, than those of the Hebrew Prophets.

                The most illustrious evidence of the divine truth and inspiration of the Hebrew Prophets is reserved to be displayed in the latter days, in the great conflict, which seems even now to be near at hand, between Truth and Error, between Faith and Unbelief, between the Church and the World, between Christ and Antichrist; and in the final victory, which will crown the patience and courage of the faithful, at the consummation of all things, and at the general Resurrection of the dead, and at the Universal Judgment, when Christ will appear in glory. The prophetical writings may be rightly regarded as a Manual, not only for the Christian Preacher, but also for the Christian Citizen, Patriot, and Statesman, who are called to do battle for the Truth in days of doubt and distress, and who may be perplexed and staggered by the temporary success of evil in Civil Polity, and may even be tempted to despair of the cause of piety and of God in the moral government of the world.

                If there is anything which the Hebrew Prophets declare with a more distinct and articulate utterance than another, it is this –that in the latter days of the world, Unbelief and Iniquity will abound, and will triumph for a time; but that eventually all things will be put under the feet of the Divine Governor of the World, the Great Arbiter of the Destinies of Nations; and that all willful and presumptuous sin will then be punished and crushed; and that Faith, having struggled steadfastly unto the end, will receive a glorious reward.

                Thus the Hebrew Prophets supply spiritual comfort to the Christian Confessor in public and private life. They inspire the heart of the soldier of Christ with holy courage, and give him hopes full of immortality.

                In the following pages the design has been to supply at the beginning of the work of each several Prophet, a clue to the main purport of his prophecy. The reader is requested to refer to what is there said. But it may be of use to state in a brief synoptical summary what seems to be their leading principle respectively; and thus to exhibit, as it were, in one view the component parts of the whole.

                The prophet ‘HOSEA’, who stands at the head of the Minor Prophets, justifies God’s dealings with the Hebrew Nation from the beginning to the end.

                Hosea, the first of the Prophets, takes up the language of the last preceding Book of Holy Scripture, that of the Canticles, or Song of Solomon. In order to show that Hosea’s language is not to be understood literally, but spiritually, and that the Marriage between God and Israel is mystical, Israel is represented by Hosea not only as a beloved Wife (as the Church is in the Canticles), but also as a dear Son, a type of Christ the beloved Son Himself.

                He treats the relation of God to His People under the endearing figure of that of a Bridegroom to a Bride. The Church of Israel was espoused to God in the Wilderness of Sinai; but, as the Prophet declares, she was unfaithful to Him: she followed strange gods; and she is therefore charged by Him with spiritual harlotry and adultery. This, he tells us, was the cause of all her misery. No failure of God’s love to her –far from it– was the origin of her woe. He was very merciful and longsuffering to her; but her own sins of unthankfulness and faithlessness to Him, even in those places which had been distinguished by His wonderful acts of love to her, such as the wilderness of Arabia, even Horeb itself, in the first instance, and, when she had been brought by God into the promised Land of Canaan, such places as Beersheba, Bethel, and Gilgal, places illustrious in her past history as the scenes of God’s miracles of mercy to her fathers, were polluted by her sins, which were the bitter source of all her sorrows.

                On account of her long-continued and inveterate sins, the Prophet warns her that she must expect to suffer severe punishment. She will be carried away captive from her own land –the land of promise –and be scattered in a distant region. But even in this captivity and dispersion there will be divine love. By the merciful discipline of chastisement she will be weaned from her idolatry; she will be made sensible of her misery, and be humbled and brought to repentance; and she will at last be betrothed again to God, and be restored to Him in Christ.

                There will always be a faithful remnant in Israel. Christ Himself will be born of the seed of Abraham. Some of this faithful remnant, especially the Apostles and primitive Preachers of Christ (who were all Jews), will convert the Heathen to the Gospel, which is the fulfilment of the Mosaic Law; and Gentile Teachers will be employed by God to bring the Jews back to Him in Christ. This will be like a resurrection from the dead, a new birth from the grave, into life with God in Christ.

                Such is a brief summary of Hosea’s prophecy. It is a prophetic history of Israel for nearly four thousand (4000) years. It teaches us how to read that history; it gives cheering hopes of the future; and shows that all God’s dealings with Israel have been dictated by righteousness and love. And therefore the Prophet concludes with this question and answer:

            Who is wise? & he shall understand these things; Prudent? & he shall know them.

                         For the ways of the Lord are right.  And the just shall walk in them.

                ‘JOEL’, the prophet of Judgment, takes up the message of Hosea, the prophet of Salvation. By a grand and sublime generalization, Joel teaches his readers to regard the Lord God of Israel as ever speaking to Mankind in His judicial character and office, and leads them to recognize and admire Him as Ruler of the natural world, and as Arbiter of the destinies of Nations, according to certain fixed laws of moral government, by which He orders all things, and will continue to order them even to the end of time.

                All judicial visitations upon men and nations, whether they be in the natural world, as plagues of locusts, and other physical epidemics, or by means of mighty Empires, which are instruments in God’s hands for punishing sins and for working out His own plans –are parts of one great “Day of the Lord.” They are only like oscillations of the pendulum, and like faint notes of the clock, which will sound a final alarum with deep and solemn tones in the summons of the World to the Judgment-seat of Christ.

                Joel proclaims God’s offers of mercy and salvation to the penitent and faithful; and he foretells the first Advent of the Great “Teacher of righteousness,” and the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, the fruit of Christ’s coming, on all nations, and the overthrow of all enemies of Christ and His Church in the great final conflict, where they will be gathered together, in what is called by a grand metaphor “the Valley of Jehoshaphat,” (that is, of the Judgment of the Lord) for His great Harvest and Vintage, when they will be crushed by Him with the same ease as sheaves of corn are crushed under the sharp-toothed engine on the threshing floor, or as ripe clusters of grapes are crushed beneath the feet of him who treadeth the wine-press.

                Then will be the delivery and victory of the faithful; then will be new outpourings of grace, symbolized by the gushing forth of living waters from the House of the Lord, to water the parched and barren places of the earth, as in the vision of Ezekiel; and Judah will dwell safely forever, for the Lord dwelleth in Zion, the Church militant on earth, to be glorified forever in heaven.

                The next prophet, ‘AMOS’, takes up the words of Joel, and continues the chain of prophecy. Joel had displayed a sublime view of God’s judicial majesty in one magnificent panorama. Amos disintegrates that great whole, and represents the divine attribute of Justice, in its visitations on individual Nations. These Nations not only have a literal significance, but are representatives of various forms of hostility to God and His Church in every age, and especially in the latter days. Such were the heathen nations of Syria, Palestine, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab. All of these are typical nations, and find their counterpart in the history of Christendom.

                Amos also declares that God will visit with special judicial chastisement all forms of corrupt religion, and all sins of evil living in His Church. Indeed he dwells upon them with special emphasis and with comprehensive fulness, in seven consecutive chapters. Israel, the ancient Church of God, had received signal blessings from Him; but (as Hosea had already shown) it had requited those favours with unthankfulness. Therefore, after long forbearance, God will scatter Israel. But in that dispersion (as Hosea had already declared) there would be mercy. The chastisement will bring Israel to repentance; and Israel will be gathered in Christ and His Church. Then the tabernacle of David, that was fallen, will be reared from its ruins. A faithful remnant of Israel –the Apostles and first Preachers of the Gospel– will go forth and bring the heathen to Christ; and the heathen, in their turn, when they have been converted to Christianity, will assist in restoring the Jews to God in Christ. The Gentiles, having been evangelized by faithful Jews, will evangelize the Jewish Nation; and finally, Jews and Gentiles will dwell together as brethren and fellow-citizens in the spiritual Sion of the Universal Church of Christ.

                The prophets Joel and Amos prepared the way for ‘OBADIAH, JONAH, NAHUM’, and ‘HABAKKUK’. Joel had proclaimed God’s judicial majesty in a sublime and comprehensive prophecy, displaying its acts in one grand panorama, embracing all nature and history, civil and ecclesiastical, even to the Day of doom, and the full and final victory of Christ.

                Amos had particularized God’s judicial workings in the moral government of the world, and in

the divine visitations on its several kingdoms. Heathen and Hebrew, and in the ordering all things, even the penal discipline of Israel’s dispersion, for the future triumph of the Gospel, and for the reception of all the faithful of all nations into the Christian Church.

                The four Prophets, ‘Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum‘, and ‘Habakkuk‘, exhibit God’s judicial dealings in a still more special and particular manner, in what may be termed a characteristic series of four prophetic ‘monographies‘.

                Obadiah directs his prophecy against Edom; Jonah and Nahum address their predictions to Nineveh, the great capital of Assyria. Habakkuk concentrates his utterances on Babylon, the great city which succeeded Nineveh in the Empire of the East.

                But it must be remembered that Edom, Nineveh, and Babylon are not merely literal and historical countries and cities, hostile to Israel and Judah; but they have also a prophetic, representative, and symbolical character. They foreshadow three distinct forms of enmity to the Church and people of God. They exhibit three peculiar phases of the Anti-Christianism of the latter days. Edom, the neighbour and kinsman of Israel and Judah, and yet eagerly seizing every opportunity of displaying an unfriendly and unbrotherly spirit toward the Hebrew People of God; exulting with savage and perfidious delight in their distresses, and especially in the fall of Jerusalem and in the captivity of its king and inhabitants by the armies of Babylon, represents the uncharitable temper of those who have some ties of spiritual neighbourhood and alliance with the Church of Christ, and yet, instead of sympathizing with her in her sorrows, and aiding her in her warfare against unbelief and vice, find pleasure in her sufferings, and exert their influence to thwart, hamper, vex, and weaken her. These are the modern Edomites, who are ready to make common cause even with Babylon itself against the Christian Sion; and they may read a solemn warning to themselves in the prophecy of Obadiah. On the other hand, the faithful Church of God, and every true member of it, may find comfort there, in the assurance of future glory and eternal felicity in Christ.

                The prophet ‘JONAH’ was sent to preach repentance to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, the proud and powerful Empire which showed its enmity against Israel and Judah at different times, in the days of successive Assyrian kings, Pul, Tiglath-pileser, Shalmaneser, Sargon, and Sennacherib.

                God’s exceeding kindness, even to His bitterest enemies, was thus displayed. He earnestly desired that Nineveh should repent and be saved; and this divine attribute of mercy towards all nations, even heathen Assyrias, is more clearly exhibited, because it stands in striking contrast to that narrow and exclusive spirit of Judaism which showed itself in Jonah himself, grudging and even censuring the extension of God’s compassion to Nineveh, and eager to confine His love within the narrow precincts of Palestine.

                Jonah himself is a prophecy. The calming of the sea, after his act of self-devotion, was a figure of the peace produced in the troubled sea of the World, after a far greater and more willing Sacrifice. Jonah’s three days’ burial in the whale’s belly, and his resurrection from the sea, and his preaching to Nineveh after that resurrection, and the repentance of Nineveh, and its salvation from the impending doom, was a foreshadowing of the death, burial, and resurrection of a far “greater than Jonah,” and of His preaching of repentance after His resurrection from the grave, by the ministry of His Apostles and their successors, with whom He is “present always, even unto the end of the world.”

                The Book of Jonah is like a beautiful rainbow of hope, set by God’s hand in the dark cloud of human sin and suffering. It shows that whatever judgments are executed by Him on His bitterest enemies, are not consequences of any desire on His part to punish, but are due to their sins, evoking and arming the divine justice against themselves.

                The Prophet ‘NAHUM’ is the complement of Jonah. Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah, but it relapsed into sin, and its moral condition became worse than before, by apostasy. God warned it of its doom by Nahum. And Nahum has also a message to men and nations in these latter days. If, having received the message of the Gospel from the divine Jonah, which is Christ, they fall away by unbelief, as it was prophesied by Christ and His Apostles  that many would do, then they may see their destiny in the prophecy of Nahum, foretelling the misery and shame, confusion, overthrow, and desolation of the great city of Nineveh, which is the prophetic type of the sin and doom of the Infidel form of Anti-Christianism.

                The prophet ‘HABAKKUK’ completes the series of prophets whose writings consist solely of special prophecies directed against particular countries and cities, opposed to God and His ancient People.

                Obadiah had prophesied against Edom; and Jonah and Nahum had prophesied to Nineveh; Habakkuk prophesies against Babylon. He shows that Babylon’s victories were not due to itself, but that it was used by God for executing His judicial purposes on the Nations of the world, especially on His own people Judah, for their sins against Him; and that though Babylon was employed as an instrument by God and its power was wielded as a weapon in God’s hand, yet that God would visit Babylon also for its presumption and self-confidence; and that though Babylon would prosper and triumph for a time, and though the patience of God’s faithful servants would thus be sorely tried, and though the vision of judgment would tarry long, yet it would come at length”, and the Divine Omnipotence would eventually be shown, by the overthrow of Babylon, the proud mistress of the Eastern World, and then there would be heard a shout of awe-struck and yet joyful adoration from the lips of the faithful:           “The Lord is in His holy Temple, let all the Earth keep silence before Him.”

                These things “were written for our learning.” Habakkuk first casts his eye backward to the victories of the Exodus; and in the language of the sublimest poetry he derives faith and hope for the future, from God’s past miracles of mercy to His chosen people; and he closes his prophecy with a noble profession of trust In God. However dark may be the prospects of the Church of God, the true believer will never despair; no, whatever her outward condition and circumstance may be, “although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls, yet, he will say, “I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

                Habakkuk’s prophecy casts its shadow forward to our own days. As the Edom of Obadiah has its antitype in our own times in the treacherous friends and false allies of the Christian Church; as the Nineveh of Jonah and of Nahum represents the proud self-confident spirit of bold and open Infidelity, so the Babylon of Habakkuk has its counterpart in another form of hostility to God which has long exercised the faith and patience of Christendom.

                The Babylon of Habakkuk and of other Hebrew Prophets, especially Isaiah and Jeremiah, is not merely an historical city opposed to the literal Jerusalem, but it has also a typical character. Babylon symbolizes a great Spiritual Power, which is now dominant in the world, and which is called “Babylon” in the New Testament. It resembled that Power in its creature-worship, idolatry, and superstition, combined with a vainglorious profession of spiritual wisdom and sagacity, and of supernatural gifts and abilities to penetrate into the inner mysteries of the unseen world; and by its claim to perpetuity and universal supremacy; and by its oppression of God’s faithful people; and by its pride and arrogance and defiance of God, as displayed especially in two critical events, which stand forth in bold relief in the history of Babylon in the pages of Holy writ –namely, first, in the making of the golden image and the setting up of that idol in the plains of Dura, and in the royal decree that it should be worshipped by all nations, on pain of condemnation to death; and secondly, in that great religious festival (for Belshazzar’s feast had this character) when the rulers and nobles of Babylon praised their gods of silver and gold, and outraged the majesty of God by drinking wine in the sacred vessels taken from His Temple in Jerusalem; and were elated with self-confident joy and exultation, and indulged in festal revelry at a time when the enemy was at

their gates, and their own doom was at hand.

                The mystical Babylon, which is even now setting up an idol in the person of the Roman Pontiff, to be adored as divine by all, and which has connected that act with a religious festival of her own institution, in open defiance of the teaching of Holy Scripture and the primitive Church, and in contravention of the unique sinlessness of Christ, may read her own destiny in the prophecy of Habakkuk; and all true citizens of the Christian Zion may derive patience and comfort from it, in the present trials of their faith.

                The Book of the Prophet ‘MICAH’ is inserted between that of Jonah and Nahum, and is set in beautiful relief and bright contrast against the darkness and gloom which characterize the predictions of Obadiah, Nahum, and Habakkuk, denouncing God’s judicial visitations on those who rebel against Him.

                Micah is the prophet of divine love. He is the messenger of consolation to all nations. He is the herald of universal salvation to all, through Christ.

                Jonah had given vent to feelings of resentment and impatience because God spared Nineveh, the great capital of Assyria, the enemy of God’s people, to which Jonah, in the exclusive spirit of Judaism, would have restrained God’s favour. God had taught Jonah a lesson of sympathy and largeness of heart; and Jonah’s history and prophecy had imparted that lesson to others. Micah learnt that lesson, and applies it with affectionate fulness in his prophecy. He declares that though God will visit with judicial retribution all forms of hostility which are symbolized by Edom, Assyria, and Babylon, yet He has mercy in store in Christ for all, even for His bitterest enemies, if they will turn to Him with repentance.

                Micah proclaims aloud with a thrice repeated appeal, “Hear ye,” the solemn truth, that though God is gracious to Zion, if Zion is faithful to God, yet He does not confine His love to her. No, He will chasten Zion, as He punished Nineveh, if she presumes on His grace, and abuses it to an occasion for sin. He will make her desolate, “for the iniquities of her princes, priests, and people;” “Zion shall be a ploughed field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house,” (the Temple itself) “as the high places of the forest.” But God will temper judgment with mercy. His promises to David the King of Zion will never fail. The Redeemer will come to Zion, the promised Messiah, God blessed for evermore. He, “Whose goings forth are from everlasting,” He will come forth” as Man “from Bethlehem of Judah” He will come forth as a mighty Conqueror and will overthrow His enemies, symbolized by Assyria the foe of Israel and Judah, and will raise up shepherds to feed His flock, and rulers to guide them and to defend them from their adversaries. In other words, Christ, Very God and Very Man, begotten of His Father from eternity, and born as Man of the Virgin Mary, of the seed of David, of the house of Judah, at Bethlehem, will overthrow the spiritual enemies of all true Israelites. He will vanquish Sin, Satan, and Death. He is “the breaker up” Who will tear asunder the bars of the grave, and raise Himself, and lead forth the glorious army of His saints from the darkness of the tomb. “Their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them.”  The result of that glorious victory will be, that  “out of Zion will go forth the law, and the Word of God from Jerusalem.”  The Gospel of Christ will be preached by His Apostles, sent forth by Him from Jerusalem to teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Jerusalem will be the Mother Church of Christendom.  “The mountain of the Lord’s house” (that house which will have been laid desolate like a ploughed field for its sins) “shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills, and all people shall flow unto it, and many nations shall come and say, Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us of His ways and we will walk in His paths.”

                The Temple of Jerusalem will be destroyed; but out of its ruins will arise a nobler fabric, the Christian Church. The Law will be fulfilled in the Gospel. The Temple will be spiritualized, and Jerusalem will expand and develope herself with living energy and comprehensive universality, and will enfold all nations in the Catholic Church of Christ; and the Jews, once rebels against God, will at length be brought by the agency of Gentile Christians into the fold of the One Shepherd.

                Therefore well might the Prophet exclaim, with this glorious vision of the future before his eyes, “Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity? He retaineth not His anger forever; because He delighteth in mercy. He will turn again. He will have compassion, He will subdue our iniquities, and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”

                The prophet ‘ZEPHANIAH’ is the ninth (9th) of the Minor Prophets, and is the last of that order who prophesied before the Captivity at Babylon.

                Zephaniah does for the Two Tribes the same prophetic work which had been done for the Ten (10) Tribes of Israel by Hosea, who stands at the head of the Minor Prophets. He utters a warning voice of coming judgments to Jerusalem, as Hosea had done to Israel: he foretells that Jerusalem will fall, and that Judah will be carried away captive for her sins, as Israel had already been.

                He declares also that the God of Israel and Judah is supreme Governor of the World, and that the triumphs of Assyria and Babylon over Israel and Judah were not due to their own power, but that the God of Israel and Judah used those mighty nations as His own instruments for vindicating His own majesty, and for manifesting His own glory, and for executing His judgments on His unthankful people.

                But Zephaniah also assures Judah, as Hosea had assured Israel, that God’s love to His people had never failed, and that it never would fail.

                Both these prophets minister spiritual consolation to all God’s people in every age, and cheer them with the promise, that all who remain faithful to God will be sheltered in all tempests, civil and ecclesiastical, and will be saved in time and eternity.

                They also proclaimed God’s love to the Gentile Nations of the world.

                They foretold that the mighty Empires of the earth will fall, and that their proud Dynasties will be humbled. They declared that God would thus wean the Nations from trusting in their false deities, and prepare them for the reception of a purer faith in the Gospel of Christ; that He would give them “a clean lip,” and He would cleanse them from idolatry; and that with those lips, with which they had once worshipped false gods, they would “call upon the Name of the Lord, and serve Him with one consent.”

                They predicted that the Gentiles, having been converted to Christ by the faithful remnant of Israel (namely by the Apostles and first preachers of the Gospel, going forth from Jerusalem), would in their turn supply Christian Missionaries for the conversion of Israel and Judah, scattered abroad and humbled by captivity and dispersion, and liberated even by that captivity from their besetting sin of idolatry, and healed by that wholesome discipline; and so, in God’s due time, Jerusalem, the mother of Christendom, would be a praise in all the earth. The Lord her God would be in the midst of her; He would dwell with her for ever in the Christian Church, which had her origin in Sion. The world itself would be a spiritual Jerusalem. Jew and Gentile will dwell together as fellow-citizens and fellow-members of Christ; and God’s words by Zephaniah will then be fulfilled, “I will make you a name and a praise among all the people of the earth.”

                More than a century passed between the age of Zephaniah and the next following prophet, ‘HAGGAI’.

                In that interval Jerusalem had been taken, and its king, princes, and people had been carried captive to Babylon.

                But Babylon also in her turn had felt the power of God. Cyrus, His servant, had done His work, and had punished Babylon for her sins; and having executed His judgments on Babylon, Cyrus performed God’s purpose of love towards His chosen people, by issuing a royal decree for their liberation from Babylon, and for their return to Jerusalem, and for rebuilding the Temple at Jerusalem, and for the restoration of the sacred vessels which had been taken from the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar, and had been placed in his idol’s temple, and had been sacrilegiously profaned by Belshazzar at that festal anniversary when Babylon was taken.

                These events had been foretold by foregoing Hebrew Prophets, by Isaiah, Micah, Habakkuk, Jeremiah, Zephaniah, and Daniel. Thus the faith of God’s People in the inspiration of their own prophets had been confirmed; and their reverence and love for Him Who had spoken by the prophets, and had humbled their powerful enemies, Assyria and Babylon, and had raised up Cyrus, the great conqueror of Babylon, to be His instrument for their good, had been quickened and invigorated; and a pledge and earnest had been given them that the other predictions which God had uttered, or might hereafter utter by His servants the prophets, would in due time be fulfilled also.

                This is what imparts a special interest and value to the writings of the three prophets who now follow, ‘Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi‘.

                The prophetic vista had now been cleared. Israel had been dispersed; Nineveh had fallen; Judah had been scattered; Babylon had fallen; Judah had been restored. No great events like these now remained, to arrest the eye and to intercept the view of the faithful in looking at the prospect lying before them, between their own age and the Coming of Christ.

                Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi are in a special manner the prophets of Christ’s first Advent, and of its consequences, even till His Second Coming to judge the world.

                The mission of Haggai was to stimulate the flagging energies of the exiles who had returned from Babylon. The ancient men among them, who remembered the magnificence of the first Temple, wept when they saw the foundations of the second Temple. But the Prophet cheered them, not, indeed, with any promise of material splendour (for the latter house was “as nothing in comparison” with the former), but with the joyful assurance that the glory of the second Temple, which they themselves were building, would be far greater than that of the former, because the Lord of the Temple Himself, “the Desire of all Nations” would come to that Temple, and by coming to it would fill that house with glory; and that in that place He would give peace. This prophecy was fulfilled when Christ, “God manifest in the flesh,” came to that latter house. He was presented there; He taught and healed there; He filled it with the Divine Glory by His Coming, and gave peace and salvation, and promise of eternal bliss by His Presence. Therefore, when this prophecy was accomplished, the devout Simeon was enabled to say in the Spirit, as he took up the infant Saviour in his arms, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.”

                The prophet ‘ZECHARIAH’ was a contemporary of Haggai; and his prophecies are a sequel to those of Haggai, and are continued in a series of prophetic visions from his own days to those of Christ’s first Advent, when He came to save, and even to those of His Second Advent, when He will come again to judge.

                Zechariah’s prophecies are obscure to the Jews; and no wonder, because they read them with a veil on their hearts. But “that veil is taken away in Christ“. The darkness of these predictions is dispelled by the light of the Gospel.

                Here is a striking proof of the inspiration of the prophet Zechariah, and of the truth of the Gospel. Each is fitted to the other. His prophecies are fulfilled in the Gospel, and are made clear by it.

                The first (1st) vision of Zechariah reveals the Divine Presence and Power protecting the Hebrew Nation, at that time in a poor estate, like a lowly grove of myrtles in a valley. But God was with them there, as He was at Horeb, in the burning bush, which represented the Hebrew Nation in Egypt, then like a lowly bush, a bush burning with fire, but not consumed.

                The Divine Presence is symbolized by a red horse –an emblem of power and battle; and behind him are red horses. His ministers, showing that the Powers of the world are servants of the God of Israel, Who will use them for the defense of His own people.

                The next (2nd) vision represents four (4) horns, the symbols of aggressive power. These four (4) horns (as the prophecies of Daniel had prepared the readers of Zechariah to understand) are emblems of the four (4) great earthly Monarchies, opposed to the people of God. And as the number ‘four‘ (4) is a scriptural symbol of universality in space, these four (4) horns, in a secondary sense, represent all earthly powers antagonistic to the Church of God.

                The future overthrow of all such worldly Powers is pre-announced in the next (3rd) vision of the four (4) ‘Carpenters‘, or ‘Smiths‘, who are shown to the Prophet by the Lord.

                These four (4) Carpenters, or Smiths, are the spiritual adversaries of the four (4) horns which represent the worldly and irreligious power. As their name intimates, they have not only a destructive commission, but also a constructive office; they not only overthrow what is evil, but they also build up what is good. They “fray and cast out the horns” which had scattered God’s people.

                Their fourfold (4) character displays them as opposed to the four (4) great worldly Monarchies; and also, in a spiritual and secondary sense, as the instruments in God’s hands, in all the four (4) corners of the earth. And thus they symbolize the power of the fourfold (4) Gospel preached to all Nations, even to the four (4) winds of heaven, by the Apostles and their successors in every age; and overthrowing the powers of the world, and building up the Church of God.

                Fitly, therefore, is this vision followed by another which reveals an angel from heaven with a measuring-line in his hand for the building up of Jerusalem. This vision also has both a literal and a spiritual significance. It displays the building up of the literal Jerusalem, notwithstanding the opposition of her enemies; and it foreshadows the building up of the spiritual Jerusalem, the Church of Christ, by divine power in spite of all human antagonism, and the perpetual dwelling of the Lord in the midst of her, and the flowing in of all Nations to find a home there.

                The next (4th) vision reveals another form of conflict between the powers of good and evil.

                Satan himself is displayed as opposing Joshua the High Priest, the spiritual representative of God’s ancient people, the Jews, on their return from the Babylonish Captivity to Jerusalem.

                In former prophecies it had been revealed that the Temple at Jerusalem and the walls of the City would be rebuilt, in spite of all worldly hostility. And now it is declared, that, notwithstanding the antagonism of Satan himself, the Priesthood would be preserved, as a brand plucked from the fire by God’s hand; and that it would be purified from taint of sin, represented by the filthy garments in which Joshua was clothed; and be invested with dignity and glory.

                This vision was partly fulfilled in the restoration of the Ritual of the literal Temple at Jerusalem; but its adequate fulfilment is in Christ.

                Christ is the Divine Joshua, or Saviour; He is the One Great and Everlasting High Priest He is ever ministering in the true Holy of Holies. He has exchanged the garments of humility and the robe of “the likeness of sinful flesh,” in which for our sakes He vouchsafed to be clothed on earth, for the glorious apparel and splendid mitre of an everlasting Priesthood in the heavenly Jerusalem. Therefore Joshua and his companions are described in the vision as “men to be wondered at.” That is, they are types of another and mysterious Priesthood, the Priesthood of Christ, to be contemplated with awe and amazement.

                This interpretation throws light on what follows.

                The vision of Joshua, the type of Christ’s Priesthood, prepares us for the view which is next (5th) presented to us, of Christ Himself in His threefold office, as Prophet, Priest, and King; and of Christ’s Church, which derives all her light from Him in His two Natures, Very God and Very Man, suffering for the sins of the world, and glorified by suffering.

                The beautiful harmonies of Zechariah’s prophecies are awakened by the breath of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel, as by a heavenly breeze stirring and attuning the golden strings of a divine harp. The one is adjusted to the other. The one proves the divine origin of the other.

                The manifold functions of Christ are displayed in the many names by which He is designated by Zechariah. He is Joshua, because He is our High Priest: He is Zerubbabel, because He is our Prince, of the regal race of Judah. He is also called “the Branch;” “Behold, I will bring forth My Servant the Branch”  says the Lord. Christ is the Branch from the root of Jesse and stem of David.

                In His Human Nature He is the Lord’s “Servant,”  coming in the flesh in order to do His will. He is also the Stone  “the elect Corner Stone,” which joins together the two walls of the Jew and Gentile in one; and the “Stone cut out without hands,” which becomes a mountain and fills the earth; and He is the Stone “engraven with seven eyes,” because He is illumined with the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit. And the blessings of redemption and peace which flow from these attributes and offices are described by the Lord Himself: “I will remove the iniquity of the land” (or of the earth) “in one day” (the day of the Messiah). “In that day shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig-tree.”

                This Vision (a) of Christ is succeeded by a Vision (b) of His Universal Church, symbolized by the seven-branched Candlestick, of pure gold, whose pipes are fed with oil flowing into them from two Olive-trees, standing on the right and left side of it.  These two Olive-trees, representing the continuity of that supply by their vitality and verdure, are called “the two anointed ones,” or literally, “the two sons of oil,” which stand by the Lord of the whole earth.

                The Candlestick represents the Church of Christ.  This explains the circumstance that, together with the candlestick, there is conjoined a mention of the Temple, and of its foundation and completion by the Spirit of God. The reason is, that the Temple and the Candlestick are figures of the Church. The Temple typifies its solidity and symmetry, due to the Spirit of God; the seven-branched Candlestick of pure gold prefigures the Universal Church of God in the purity of its doctrine, and as diffusing throughout the whole world the light which it receives from the oil of the Spirit. The two Olive-trees, or “Sons of oil,” which stand before the God of the whole earth, represent the kingly and priestly offices of Christ. These offices He discharges as Very Man, anointed by the Holy Ghost at His Conception and at His Baptism. Therefore He has the Name Messiah, Christ, or Anointed One. “He is anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows“, and all the unction of Christians flows on them from Christ their Head. “Ye have an unction from the Holy One,” says the Apostle. He, the Everlasting King and Priest, “hath made us to become kings and priests to God” by virtue of His Incarnation, Kingdom, and Priesthood, and of our mystical incorporation in Him; and He  “stands before the Lord of the whole earth.” He is ever standing at God’s right hand, as our King, ruling the world and defending His People; and as our Priest, making intercession for us; and “of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.”

                The next (c) vision represents Christ’s judicial office. He is merciful and loving to all who believe and obey Him; but for those who do not believe and obey, there is a sweeping malediction, represented by the flying roll which goeth forth over the face of the whole earth. None can escape it. This is directed against moral delinquencies; and there is also a special punishment for false doctrine.

                The true Church is represented by a woman; she is the Bride of Christ. The false Church is also represented by a woman, the harlot. Zechariah is explained by St. John in the Apocalypse, (d) This woman, the corrupt Church, is punished by being placed in an ephah; and she is carried for her sins from Jerusalem to the Land of Shinar, that is, to Babylon. Here, also, Zechariah is again illustrated by St. John in the Apocalypse. The woman carried away from Sion to Babylon, is the corrupt Church of the Apocalypse, who is there called “the woman, the harlot,” and “Babylon.” Her doom, pronounced by Zechariah, is more fully described by St. John.

                The following (e) vision displays the Universal Sovereignty of the Lord God, ruling in all kingdoms of the world, and using them as His instruments for the accomplishment of His purposes, and for the execution of His judgments.

                This truth is declared by the four (4) chariots, which represent (f) primarily the four (4) great earthly Empires of ancient history; and secondarily, since the number ‘four‘ (4) is the Scriptural symbol of all space, these four (4) chariots typify all earthly dynasties. The chariots go forth from the brasen mountains of God’s might and power: they are compared to winds issuing forth from the Lord of the whole earth. They go forth from His presence like winds let loose from a cave, to sweep over the earth with irresistible power, and to do the work of Him Whose emissaries and servants they are.

                This universal kingdom is next (g) represented as given to Christ. He is “the Man Whose Name is the Branch.” He is both Priest and King. He was typified by Joshua the Priest, and by Zerubbabel the temporal Ruler and builder of the Temple at Jerusalem. The crowns brought by the people of the Captivity are given to Joshua the Priest, in order to signify that the time would come when the Royalty would be united with the Priesthood. This has been fulfilled in Christ. He is the Builder of the True Temple; He is the Eternal Priest and Universal King of the Spiritual Jerusalem, the Christian Church. What Zechariah foretold is accomplished in Him, “He shall build the Temple of the Lord, and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a Priest upon His throne.”

                These (7) visions, which unfold great truths of the Christian Faith, are followed by precepts concerning godly practice. The utter hollowness of all religious professions, and of all ceremonial observances, without the exercise of the moral virtues of truth, justice, mercy, and charity, is declared in strong language; and thus a prophetic protest is delivered against that hypocritical Pharisaism which corroded the vitals of the religion of the Hebrew Nation in later days, especially in our Lord’s age, and which also has been one of the most pestilent cankers of the Christian Church.

                Almighty God proffers an abundance of blessings to His people; but the fulfilment of these gracious promises, it is distinctly declared, is contingent on their own acts. If they cleave to Him by faith and obedience, then, it is affirmed, they will be a blessing to themselves and others. The Heathen Nations of the world will be brought into communion with God by their means. “Ten men will take hold out of all nations of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” This has been fulfilled by Christ and by the faithful remnant of Israel, especially the Apostles, all of whom were Jews, and by other first preachers of Christianity, who were enabled by their commission from Christ, and by the power of the Holy Ghost given to the Church at Pentecost, to be instruments in God’s hands for bringing the Heathen Nations to Him; and the eagerness with which the Heathen embraced the Gospel preached by them is described in the vivid language of the prophet, “Ten men will take hold out of all nations of the skirt of him that is a Jew.”

                Such is God’s purpose of love to the Heathen if they believe and obey Him. But, as it is in His dealings with the Jews, so it is in His overtures to the Gentiles. There is mercy, on the one hand, to the penitent, but there is retribution to the ungodly. God is ready to be the Saviour of all who believe, both Jew and Gentile; and He is also the righteous Judge of all.

                This truth is declared in what follows. God there reveals His judgments against Heathen Nations relying on their own power, wealth, and wisdom, such as Persia, Syria, Tyre, and Philistia. But even in these chastisements there was compassion. The humiliation of these Nations by the arms of Alexander the Great (who, like Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus before Alexander, and like the Roman Power after him, was an instrument in God’s hands preparing the way for Christianity) broke down their faith in the power of their local and national deities, who, as they found by experience, were not able to help and defend them in their danger; and thus, by a salutary discipline of affliction, predisposed them to receive the Gospel of Christ.  Hence, therefore, the Prophet passes from a view of Alexander’s conquests to describe the victories of a greater Conqueror, Jesus Christ: just as Zechariah’s predecessor, the Evangelical Prophet Isaiah, having described the successes of Cyrus, the conqueror of Babylon and the liberator of the captive Jews, proceeds to hail the victorious career of Christ, subduing all His enemies and redeeming a captive world.

                How striking is the contrast! Christ, the Son of God, is seen riding in His triumphal entry  into His capital city, Jerusalem, not in a magnificent chariot drawn by snow-white horses, not mounted on a martial charger champing a golden bit, like the Emathian conqueror, Alexander the son of Philip, on his famed war-horse Bucephalus, but “lowly and meek, riding on an ass, even on the foal of an ass.

                This vision is to be the signal of rapturous ecstasy to Jerusalem. “Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion; shout, daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just and, having salvation; lowly and riding upon an ass, even upon the foal of an ass.”

                The might of Christ, the King of the Spiritual Zion, is declared to be her sufficient safeguard and support. She is secure under the rule of Him, Who does not need the help of chariots and horses, but rides on in meekness to victory.

                The day (it is foretold) is coming, when the Church will be deprived of all earthly helps, supports, and defenses. “The chariot will be cut off from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle-bow shall be cut off;” but still, though the World is no longer for her, but against her, Christ’s kingdom will be extended to the heathen, who will look on Him as their Saviour. It will be universal in extent and everlasting in duration.

                This glorious deliverance from the bondage of Sin and Death is to be purchased by blood, “the blood of the covenant,” the blood of Christ. This is the price to be paid for the redemption of Zion and of the World from the prison-house in which they lie like captives in a pit. They are freed from it by that redemption; and instead of being prisoners of death, they become “prisoners of hope;” and they exchange the dark dungeon of their captivity for the strong fortress of salvation. The battle-bow of earthly power is cut off; but Christ is a victorious Conqueror: He triumphs by His own death; and He is a warlike Archer, riding with a bent bow in His hand, and discharging His arrows against His enemies. Zechariah adopts the imagery of the Psalmist, which is reproduced by St. John in the Apocalypse, where Christ is displayed as riding with a bow in His hand, on His glorious career, “conquering and to conquer.”

                The arrows of Christ were the Apostles and first preachers of the Gospel. He took these arrows from His quiver and discharged them from His bow, like missiles to subdue His enemies, and to overcome the heathen World, and to make it subject to His peaceful sway. Christ is ever riding as an Archer in Christian Missions; and, in the ordination of Christian Ministers to their apostolical and Evangelical office. He is ever sending forth His arrows, winged with feathers from the plumage of the Divine Dove.

                Zechariah’s words are ever being fulfilled, “The Lord shall be seen over them” (like a mighty Archer bending His bow and scattering His enemies, who fall backward before Him); “and His arrows shall go forth like lightning; and the Lord God shall blow the trumpet ” (the trumpet of the Gospel), “and shall go with whirlwinds of the south” (with irresistible power); “and the Lord God shall defend them; and they shall be like jewels in His crown.” And the consequence of this victory will not be carnage and desolation; but salvation and joy, and a feast of spiritual delight in the Word and Sacraments of Christ. “How great is His goodness, and how great is His beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.”

                The Prophet returns to contrast this blessed consummation with the evil results of disobedience and idolatry. Evil shepherds –bad rulers, civil and ecclesiastical, will be punished for their sins; and God will take away from them their office and give it to others, namely to faithful Teachers raised up by Christ from the people of God. “Out of him” (that is, from Judah) “Christ will come forth;” He Who is the “corner stone” which supports the fabric of the Church, and in which the two walls of the Jewish and Gentile world meet in one; and “the nail” (or peg) to which the cords of the tent of the Church are braced, and by which it is kept firm in the ground, so as not to be torn up or shaken by storms; and “the battle-bow,” by which she overcomes her enemies by means of the preaching of those whom Christ sends forth, the Heathen will be evangelized; and not only so, but the Jews themselves, scattered abroad in all countries hostile to Israel –which are represented by Egypt in the south and Assyria in the north –will be brought into the True Zion, the Church of Christ.

                Having thus foretold the future gathering together of Israel, the Prophet goes back, in order to specify the cause of their dispersion, and to account for it.

                It might have been supposed, that in Zechariah’s days, when the Temple and Walls of Jerusalem had just been rebuilt, and the great Empire of Persia, in the reigns of Cyrus and Artaxerxes, had favoured their restoration, there would be no more scattering of Israel. But the prophet Zechariah, being inspired by the Holy Ghost, reveals the marvellous and almost incredible fact, that Jerusalem would again be destroyed; and that her inhabitants would again be scattered abroad, on account of a sin far greater than any committed by their forefathers, namely the rejection and murder of their True Shepherd, the Messiah, Who is co-equal with Jehovah Himself. He foresees the destruction of Jerusalem; he foretells the desolation of all the noble mansions of that city, which had just been rebuilt. “Howl, fir-tree; for the cedar is fallen.” He explains the reason of this catastrophe. Her shepherds have been faithless; they have not been true to their commission to feed His flock, but have slaughtered it for the gratification of their own carnal appetites. It has become “a flock of slaughter;” and they glory in their shame. Therefore their commission is revoked. God sends to Jerusalem a faithful Shepherd, “the Good Shepherd,” which is Christ. But they will reject Him with scorn; they will appraise His faithful service at the pitiful price of thirty pieces of silver. This is cast to the potter. The Lord rejects them because th reject Him; and He, the True Shepherd, breaks asunder His pastoral staves, “Beauty and Bands,” the symbols of the blessed effects of His pastoral work, which would have invested His people with spiritual grace and glory, and would have bound them to one another and to God. Zechariah reveals the mystery, which has now been cleared up in the eyes of the world, that the Jews would destroy themselves, and be outcasts from God, and be scattered abroad, because they rejected and crucified Christ.

                After describing the pastoral work of Christ in the Church, the Prophet proceeds, by a bold contrast, to describe that of an opposite power and person in Christendom, who claims to be a shepherd, and yet makes himself to be an “idol” in the Church. “Woe to the idol shepherd,” exclaims Zechariah. The woe which awaits him is described, “Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm” (in which he trusts, and by which he claims to guide the world), “and upon his right eye” (for he thinks that he alone can see): “his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.”

                This prophecy of Zechariah concerning “the idol shepherd,” seems to be even now in course of fulfilment in Christendom. And here we may recognize another example of the mode in which the words of the prophets adjust themselves to events as they arise, and possess a continuous and increasing power and value for the Christian. And it may be anticipated, that additional evidences of the truth of divine Revelation will be supplied in the latter days, as years pass on, by the fulfilment of utterances in them which are now veiled in obscurity; and that, if we may so speak, the hand of Time will raise new trophies to Holy Scripture, and place fresh crowns on the heads of its writers, in proportion as we approach nearer to Eternity; and that thus, in an age of doubt, the reverent reader of Holy Scripture will have new confirmations of his faith in its Inspiration, and in the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God, which is the end of all Hebrew Prophecy.

                Zechariah has next a vision of the last days. He sees a gathering of hostile powers against God and against His Church, which, having been founded at Jerusalem by Christ, will expand itself to enfold the world. The Church, the true Jerusalem, will be assaulted by enemies on all sides before the End comes. But she will be “a cup of trembling”  to all who attack her; she will be “a burdensome stone” to her adversaries. In other words, their own acts in persecuting and oppressing her will recoil upon themselves to their own utter confusion and ruin. God will make her foes to reel like drunken men, and will crush them and grind them to powder beneath the heavy weight of His wrath, and they will be consumed by the fire of His indignation, which will burst forth from her to consume them. The Prophet delivers the gracious assurance that Almighty God will defend His Church, and will strengthen all her faithful members, and will finally crown them with victory and glory. “The feeble among them shall be as David“, for they will be strong through the grace of the Divine David, Jesus Christ.

                Still further, Zechariah reveals, that not only Heathen Nations, but the Jewish People also, will be converted to Christ. God will pour upon them “the Spirit of grace and supplications;” and God says, that “they will look on Me Whom they pierced” –a clear testimony (as explained in the Gospel) to the Godhead as well as the Manhood of Christ. They will mourn for Him, the true “King of the Jews,” as they mourned for the good King of Jerusalem, Josiah. Each family and person will be touched with penitential sorrow, and will confess Him, Whom they crucified, to be Christ and God. Then He will be their Saviour. The fountain opened at Calvary in the wounded side of Christ, to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, will flow freely to them, and they will be cleansed by it. There will be no more idolatry among the Jews, as there was before the Babylonish Captivity. Nor will there be false teaching then, as there was in the days of the Scribes and Pharisees.

                It is the ordinary practice of Divine Prophecy, in Holy Scripture, to recapitulate. That is, after it has descended to a distant point in the future, it comes back again to its former starting place, and delivers another prediction which reaches down to still more distant objects than those which it had before attained. So it is here. The Prophet once more returns to describe more particularly the Death of Christ. He speaks of the wounds in His hands –wounds which He received in the house of His friends, even at Jerusalem itself. The Death of Christ, which is foretold by Zechariah (as Christ Himself has assured us), and is described by the Prophet as the death of Him Who is the Shepherd of His People, and also the “fellow,” or equal, of Jehovah, is represented as due to the sins of His People, but as permitted and effected by God. But God will have a remnant among them; He will bring His “hand upon the little ones,” the meek and gentle of Israel. He will defend them and purify them by trial.

                Thus the Prophet is brought again to the times of the End. He describes the last fierce struggle of infidel Antichristianism against the Lord and His Church. The Church will suffer great distress, as Jerusalem did in the days of its siege by the Romans. But at last the Lord will arise and scatter her enemies. Then shall the End come. Christ will descend from heaven in glory, as He went up from Olivet in His Ascension into heaven. Whether He will literally appear on the Mount of Ascension, the Mount of Olives, time will show. His enemies will all be confounded; but His faithful servants will be marvellously preserved. In the latter days, the living waters of the Spirit will be universally diffused over all the earth. There will be no more strifes and parties in religion; there will be “One Lord, and His Name One”. The Church will be exalted, extended, and glorified like a lofty plain above the hills of the earth, and will be safely inhabited; all her adversaries will be consumed, and she will celebrate a universal and everlasting Feast of Tabernacles.

                The typical foreshadowings of that great and crowning Festival of the Hebrew year, which spake of God dwelling with His people in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, and which prefigured the glory that would follow when God Himself would vouchsafe to pitch His Tabernacle in human flesh, and be our Everlasting Emmanuel, will then be realized and consummated.

                The Church will celebrate a spiritual Feast of Tabernacles for evermore; for God Himself will ever tabernacle amidst her. Everything will then be consecrated. The “bells of the horses,” the emblems of warfare, will be hallowed; common things will be sanctified. The Church will shine in pure light, and in a bright atmosphere of holiness, and be transfigured and glorified forever in the heavenly Jerusalem.

                The glorious visions of Zechariah are succeeded by the moral homilies of ‘MALACHI’; and by this juxtaposition they supply a striking comment on the indispensable necessity of religious practice, and personal holiness, if there is to be a fruition of heavenly glory.

                In the age of Malachi, Jerusalem rejoiced in her newly-built Temple and its restored Ritual; and she looked with self-complacency and hope for the Coming of the Messiah. But the Holy Spirit, speaking by Malachi, tempers her joy with sober reproofs and solemn warnings. He utters a prophetic protest against that hard, proud, covetous spirit of formalism, which afterwards displayed itself in the blindness of the Priests and in the vainglorious hypocrisy of the Pharisees in our Lord’s age. He declares to the Jews –who gloried in their national privileges, but were not alive to the responsibilities, and did not discharge the duties, which those privileges involved –that unless they repented of their sins, their pride, their oppression, their perjury, their adultery, God would loathe all the ritual observances and sacrifices of the Temple at Jerusalem; and that their privileges would be taken from them, on account of their unthankfulness, insensibility, and presumption, and willful disobedience and moral profligacy, and would be transferred to the Gentiles. The Advent of the Messiah would be a day of sorrow and shame to them, and not of joy and glory.

                Thus Malachi, “the Seal of the Prophets,” prepared the way for the stern preaching of the second Elias, John the Baptist coming forth in the wilderness in his raiment of camel’s hair, with a leathern girdle about his loins, to denounce God’s judgments against Priests, Pharisees, and Sadducees, and the People of Jerusalem; and to prepare the way for the Judge, Whose Coming is heralded by Malachi: “The Lord Whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His Temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant Whom ye delight in,” and for Whose Coming ye look with desire, but do not prepare yourselves for it by holiness of life. “Behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts. But who may abide the day of His Coming, and who shall stand when He appeareth”?

                “Like John the Baptist, whom he announces, Malachi, even while he is describing Christ’s First Advent, sees the bright glory and awful majesty of His Second Coming; and he darts backward a rapid glance to Blount Sinai, and to the promulgation of the Law of Moses, and commands the Hebrew Nation to remember and observe the statutes and judgments which the Lord then delivered to Israel; and he then looks forward to the great and dreadful Day of the Lord. Thus in his vast prophetic panorama he blends the earthly Sinai with the heavenly Sion. And while he assures the faithful and obedient of every age and nation that “the Sun of Righteousness will arise to them with healing in His wings, he ends his prophecy with a solemn call of sinners to repentance, lest God should reveal Himself to them in wrath and indignation, “and smite the earth with a curse.”

                We have thus been brought by God’s help to the close of the prophetical books of the Old Testament. Here we may pause awhile, and take a retrospective view of the ground traversed from the beginning of the Sacred Volume, and consider what reflections are suggested by it with regard to what still lies before us in our passage from time to Eternity.

                Holy Scripture, from its first page to the last, reveals a succession of conflicts between good and evil; and of triumphs of good over evil, after severe struggles.

                The Creation of the earth itself, in its present form, was a work of restoration by God, after a time of desolation and ruin due to the agency of evil. The Fall of Man was a work of ruin wrought by the Evil One; but it was succeeded by God’s promise of Christ, the Seed of the Woman, Who would bruise the serpent’s head and would raise men to a loftier condition than that in which they had existed in Adam. The rise in Christ is higher than the fall in Adam was deep.

                The Deluge was like another fall, consequent on man’s sin; but God graciously enabled him to emerge from it to a higher altitude, with nobler promises.

                The building of Babel was like another fall, due to human pride and rebellion against God. Men sought for strength by combination in Babel, which was designed by them to be a centre of unity; but they were punished by dispersion and confusion. God overruled evil for good; their dispersion prepared the way for the colonization and civilization of the World, and for the eventual diffusion of the Gospel of Christ, flowing in the language of all nations; and for the building up the universal Church of Christ, the true Sion, the city of peace –the antithesis of Babel, the city of confusion.

                The declension of Mankind into idolatry was like another fall, produced by the evil agency of Satan, the author of idolatry. But God called Abraham, the father of the faithful, out of the darkness of heathenism and idolatry , and promised that of him Christ should come, in Whom all nations should be blessed; and He made his family to be a depository and witness of truth, and to be the seminary of Christianity.

                The selling of Joseph, one of that family, into Egypt by his brethren, and his imprisonment on false accusations, and his subsequent elevation to bear rule in the palace and realm of Egypt, and to become the preserver of life in the seven years’ famine, is like a miniature specimen of the declensions and elevations which have their consummation in the Divine Antitype of Joseph, Jesus Christ.

                The going down of that family into Egypt, the land of idolatry and the house of bondage, was like another fall; but God made it to be the occasion for a great and glorious conflict with the gods of the heathen, whom He visited with plagues, and for manifesting the glory of the Lord God of Israel, by the overthrow of their power, and by covering with the waves of the Red Sea the hosts of Egypt, when pursuing after His own people, whom He saved by two miraculous deliverances (both of which were typical and prophetic of mankind’s deliverances by Christ, and of our Exodus in Him), first at the Passover, when the firstborn of Egypt were destroyed, and next by the way which He made for them on dry land through the waters of the Red Sea, in which their enemies were overwhelmed.

                The rebellion of Israel in the wilderness was like another fall; but it was followed by another rise to a higher elevation, in the passage of the river Jordan, and in the conquests of Joshua, the type of Jesus, and in his settlement of Israel in Canaan, the figure of heaven.

                The days of the Judges were evil; they were days of degeneracy and apostasy, but were followed by those of Samuel the Prophet, and David the King, the anointed of the Lord, “the man after God’s own heart,” “the sweet Psalmist of Israel,” the conqueror of his enemies, the first Hebrew King of Jerusalem, the progenitor and type of Christ; and by the glorious times of Solomon “the Peaceable,” the builder of the Temple of Jerusalem, and in these respects the type of Christ the Prince of Peace, the Builder of the true Temple in the everlasting Sion, the universal Church.

                The dispersion of the Ten (10) Tribes of Israel, and the destruction of Jerusalem, and the captivity of Judah at Babylon (which had been foretold by Isaiah, Micah and Habakkuk, Zephaniah and Jeremiah) for their sins of idolatry, were like another fall. But this was overruled for the gracious purposes of manifesting the majesty and glory of the Lord God of Israel throughout the East, by the deliverance of the three children, who refused to fall down and worship the golden image set up by the King of Babylon; and by the preservation of His faithful prophet Daniel in the lions’ den, into which he was cast because he refused to omit his prayers to God, notwithstanding the decree of Darius the king; and by the fulfilment of the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Habakkuk, in the capture of Babylon by Cyrus the Persian, “the shepherd” and “the anointed” of God; and in the deliverance of God’s People by him, and in his decree for their return to their own land, and for the restoration of the sacred vessels of the Lord’s house, and for the rebuilding of the Temple at Jerusalem –all which events were figurative of still greater mercies in Christ  the mighty Deliverer of all faithful Israelites from their captivity, and the Restorer of our nature, which was like a city in ruins.

                The destruction of the Temple, and the dispersion of the Hebrew People in distant lands, had the effect of weaning their minds from what was local, material, and transitory in religious worship, and of raising their hearts to commune with what is unseen, heavenly, and eternal; and it prepared them by a holy discipline for a purer faith. It rescued them from idolatry, and spiritualized them. It also put an end to the unhappy rivalry and schism between Israel and Judah, and trained them for union in Christ.

                The Temple built at Jerusalem after the return from Babylon, was far less glorious in external splendour and grandeur than the Temple of Solomon. But the promise was, that “the glory of the latter house would be greater than that of the former“. And why? Because Christ, the Lord of the Temple, would come to it, and fill it with glory. Thus, even the inferiority of the latter house in material respects taught the great truth, that the essence of divine worship, and the glory of the Church, do not consist in external things, however magnificent, but in the presence and in-dwelling of Christ. Here was another progressive step toward that vital and spiritual religion which is taught by Christ in the Gospel.

                The accomplishment of numerous prophecies which had foretold the sufferings of the Hebrew Nation for sin, and their deliverance and restoration after the fall of Babylon, strengthened their faith in the inspiration of Hebrew Prophecy, and in the power and love of the God of Israel, and stimulated them to look forward to the accomplishment of the other prophecies which were contained in their Scriptures, and especially those prophecies which foretold the Coming of the Messiah to that Temple which was built after the Captivity. The fulfilment of the former prophecies was an earnest and pledge that the latter prophecies would be fulfilled also.

                The age of their return from Babylon was succeeded by a debasement and corruption of morals consequent on their vainglorious self-confidence in their own spiritual privileges, and on their disdainful contempt of heathen nations. These were the besetting sins of Judaism after the return from Babylon, even till the days of our Blessed Lord, when they reached their climax, and were punished with spiritual blindness as their inevitable retribution. But when everything seemed most dark, then “the Sun of Righteousness” arose upon the world. The Son of God Himself appeared in human flesh. The great majority of the Hebrew Nation were unable to recognize the beauty of the promised Messiah in the “Man of Sorrows.” “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” They rejected and crucified the Holy One of Israel. Thus they fulfilled the prophecies of the Psalms, of Isaiah, and Zechariah; as St. Paul declares, they did not understand the words of the prophets which were read in their own synagogues, and “they fulfilled them by condemning Him.”

                Thus greater strength accrued to Divine prophecy, even from the unbelief of those who killed the King of Glory. The true remnant of Israel –namely, the Apostles and primitive believers among the Jews  –were confirmed in their own faith by the infidelity of the Nation. That infidelity had long before been foretold: “Lord,” exclaimed Isaiah in the name of the Hebrew Prophets, “who hath believed our report?”

                The apostasy of the Jews was punished by the utter destruction of the Temple and City of Jerusalem by the arms of Rome, and by the dispersion of the people into all lands even to this hour. But even this terrible visitation was fraught with mercy. No longer are the eyes of the faithful directed toward any local centre, such as the Temple at Jerusalem. No longer do they sit beneath the shadow of the Levitical Law. The material City and Temple have been levelled to the dust; but Jerusalem still lives and grows, and has been catholicized in the Church of Christ. The Church Universal has risen on the ruins of the Temple on Mount Moriah. The Church is the true Moriah, or, Vision of the Lord, where the abiding presence of the Lord is ever seen by the eye of the faithful. The dim, visionary twilight of the Ceremonial Law has passed away forever, and has melted away and been absorbed into the glorious sunshine of the Gospel.

                The Jews, as a nation, have been rejected for a time, because they rejected Christ; but even by this rejection the evidence of Christianity has been strengthened; for all these things were foretold by their own Prophets who prophesied of Christ. And there ever has been a faithful remnant in Israel as those Prophets predicted, amid God’s Ancient People. They have been the seminary of Christendom. All the Apostles and first preachers of Christianity were Jews, and were sent forth from Jerusalem by Christ, who was the personification and consummation of faithful Israel. They went forth, sent by Him, and empowered by the Holy Ghost, given to them at Jerusalem to execute His commission, and to preach to all nations the Gospel, which is the fulfilment of the Law, and to make all men to be citizens of the true and everlasting Zion, which is His Church

                The dispersion of the Jews in all lands is a standing and ever-speaking witness, in all places, to the truth of Holy Scripture, which foretold it; and it is also a testimony to the truth of Christ, because the Prophets, and Christ Himself and His Apostles, predicted that such would be the punishment of the Jews for that rejection, and declared that their only escape from that punishment, which has now lain heavy upon them for eighteen hundred (1800) years, is by repentance and faith in Christ. The heinousness of the sin of Unbelief, rejecting Christ, may be seen in the history of the Jews since the fall of Jerusalem even to this day.

                But the Prophets also foretold that another triumph still awaits Christianity through this dispersion of the Jews. They foretold that the faithful remnant of the Jews, namely the Apostles and earliest disciples, would first convert the Heathen to Christianity; and that afterwards Preachers and Missionaries of the Gospel would be raised up in heathen nations, and would evangelize the Jews, and bring them also to the fold of Christ. God’s love to His Ancient People will be manifested, and they will unite with the Gentiles in adoring Him in the Christian Church.

                Thus we see, that ever since the Creation, to the Coming of Christ, there has been a succession of conflicts with Evil and of conquests of the Truth, a series of moral falls and moral resurrections, a succession of decompositions and of redintegrations; and that the tendency has ever been one of progress from what is material, local, and temporal, to what is spiritual, universal, and eternal.

                The climax of this gradual ascent is reserved for the latter days. The crisis will be seen on the eve of Christ’s Coming to judgment.

                All Hebrew Prophecy in the Old Testament, and all Christian Prophecy in the New, concur with the evidence derived from the analogies of history, in testifying to a great coming struggle of Error with Truth, and of a great and final victory of Truth over Error.

                The conflict and triumph described in the last chapter of Isaiah; the great battle of Antichristian powers, symbolized by Gog and Magog in Ezekiel, and their utter rout and discomfiture; the gathering of the Nations, and the crushing of their pride in the valley of Jehoshaphat, in the magnificent description of Joel; the combination of hostile forces against the spiritual Jerusalem, the Church of God; and the grinding to powder of rebel Nations by the Stone cut out without hands, and their scattering like the dust of the summer threshing-floor, predicted by Daniel in his vision of the Son of Man coming to judgment, and the future Resurrection; and the confederacy of worldly and godless forces against the Church of God, and their final overthrow, foretold by Zechariah; all these and other similar prophecies, together with those which are ever recurring in the Psalms –from the first and second Psalms even to the end of the Book –which speak of the raging of Nations against Christ, and the final subjection of all things beneath His feet; are like parts of one great prophetic drama, which is consummated in the Apocalypse of St. John, in the description of the marshalling of Antichristian forces for a great struggle in the latter days*, and for the final shout of victory –”Hallelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth;” “the kingdoms of this world are

become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.”

                Therefore the social and political phenomena of the present times will not disturb the mind of the Christian. In our own age (as has been truly said) we “live amid falling institutions; the foundations of fabrics have long been giving way, and a visible tottering has begun; and the sounds of great downfalls, and great disruptions come from different quarters; and great crashes are heard, as if some vast masses had just broken off from the rock, and gone down to the chasm below.”

                But the believer in Christ, with the Bible in his hand, remains unshaken. He knows that “heaven and earth will pass away, but Christ’s Word will not pass away.” “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day and forever.” States and Empires will fall; but Christ remains forever. The Holy Ghost will abide forever with His Church”. The Holy Scriptures will remain; the holy Sacraments will remain; the Creeds of the Universal Church will remain; the Church herself will remain forever, to preach the Word of God, and to minister the Sacraments, and to fight against error and sin, and to lead men to a blessed immortality.

                The faithful Christian will, indeed, mourn over the infatuation of States, abdicating their noblest functions, and forfeiting their most glorious prerogatives by apostasy from Christ, as if the everlasting Gospel were a thing which could now be flung aside, as superannuated and obsolete; and as if they could prosper without God’s blessing; and as if they could have any blessing from Him unless they maintain His truth and promote His glory. He will deplore the presumption which vaunts that it can educate a nation (as if Education were not a discipline for eternity) without the doctrines and sanctions of religion, and the grace of the Holy Ghost; and by the mere beggarly elements of Secularism, which will have its sure retribution in national anarchy and confusion. He will weep, as Jeremiah wept amid the ruins of Sion, over the fall of national Churches. He will mourn over the breaking up and crumbling away of ancient Monarchies, and over the sweeping away of fallen and ruined Thrones by the fierce hurricane of popular revolutions. But in all these perturbations he will retain a spiritual calm. They will even strengthen, stablish, and settle him in the truth. And why? Because all these things have been foretold by Prophecy, Hebrew and Christian; and because they betoken the approaching consummation of a long series of events, which will culminate in the overthrow of all Error, Unbelief, and Ungodliness, and in the full and final triumph of the Christian Faith, at the Coming of the Lord to judgment. They are signs of the nearness of that Coming, and  of its blessed results, which Hebrew and Christian Prophecy have foretold –the Resurrection of the dead, the re-appearing of the bodies of the faithful who have fallen asleep in Him; and the fruition of eternal peace, and the joys of His Church triumphant, glorified forever in heaven.

                Thus the retrospect of the past, from the present time even to the Creation, is full of comfort to the Christian. He knows that “not one good thing has failed” of God’s promises, from the first prophecy in Scripture to Adam after the Fall  to the present time. It was prophesied that Christ should be born of a woman, that He should come of the seed of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah, and of David; that He should be born of a Virgin, and at Bethlehem; that He should be a Man of Sorrows, be meek and lowly, and ride on the foal of an ass; that His price should be thirty pieces of silver, that He should be pierced in His hands and His feet, that His raiment should be parted, and lots be cast for His vesture, that He should die as a transgressor and be buried by the rich; and yet that He should be no other than the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace, the Lord our Righteousness; that He should come as the Lord to that Temple which was built by Zerubbabel; that He should rise from the dead, ascend in glory to the heavens, and send down the gift of the Holy Ghost; and that His word should go forth from Zion into all parts of the world, and that He should enfold the Gentile Nations in His Church.

                All these prophecies have been fulfilled. What then shall we say? Since these predictions, so numerous, so circumstantial, so various, have been accomplished, can it be imagined that the other prophecies of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures shall not be accomplished also? Shall ninety-nine (99) prophecies in the Sacred Volume be fulfilled, and shall the hundredth (100th) fail? Assuredly not. The past fulfilment of the many is a pledge of the future fulfilment of the few; especially since these few prophecies which remain to be fulfilled, are not only delivered to us by Hebrew Prophets, but by Christ Himself also. Who is the subject and end of all Prophecy, and the Lord of all the prophets. And what is the great prophecy that remains to be fulfilled, and which Christ Himself has reiterated by Himself and by His Apostles, especially by St. Paul in the Epistles to the Thessalonians, and the Corinthians, and by St. John in the Apocalypse? The final overthrow of all that is opposed to Christ and the complete victory of the True Faith. This is what lies before us. It will be fulfilled at Christ’s Second Advent. Therefore will we not fear, though the Earth be moved, and the hills be carried into the midst of the sea. In all the trials and troubles of private and public life, amid all the winds and waves of popular commotions and tumults, in the distress of nations with perplexity, in the fainting of men’s hearts through fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth, in the dissolution of Empires, in the disintegration of national Churches, and in the distraction and strife of parties in religion and polity, in the wild frenzy of fanaticism, in the overflowings of a self-idolizing superstition in the Church itself, in the rebuke and blasphemy of unbelief, the true Christian will cling to this anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast, and will see in the storm itself a sign of eternal calm. When all things seem to be most dark, then, as the Apostles, toiling in the ship on the Sea of Galilee, saw Christ in the fourth (4th) watch of the night, walking on the sea amid the storm, and coming to them into the ship, and then the wind ceased, and the ship was at the land whither they went; so at length the faithful will see Him coming to those who are labouring in the Apostolic vessel of His Church, tossed by waves, and buffeted by winds; they will behold His refulgent Form, made more bright by the contrast of the gloom around it, and treading beneath His feet all the foaming billows of human pride and presumption, and speaking to His disciples with a voice of power and love, “Be of good cheer, it is I.” And then the ship will be “at the haven where they would be“, –the heavenly haven of everlasting peace. }}

                C. Lincoln.  (Christopher of Lincoln.)           Risehome, Lincoln, Ascension-tide, 1870.

                                {{ Chronological Order of the Prophets:

                Some of the Prophets, e.g. ‘Hosea’ and ‘Isaiah’, prophesied during a much longer time than others; and therefore some of their prophecies may be later in date than some of the prophecies of Prophets who began to prophesy after them. Their dates for the most part cannot be precisely determined. It is probable that the books of most of the Prophets contain the substance and pith of prophecies delivered by them at intervals on several occasions. In the following Table, some modifications have been adopted of that order which is exhibited in the Table prefixed to ‘Isaiah’.

                These Prophets prophesied in the time between B.C.:


Hosea: Days of Jeroboam II, King of Israel, & Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, & Hezekiah, Kings of Judah.

Isaiah: Days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, & Hezekiah, Kings of Judah.

Joel: Probably in Days of Uzziah, King of Judah.

Amos: Days of Jeroboam II, King of Israel, & Uzziah, King of Judah.

Obadiah: Probably in Days of Uzziah.

Jonah: Probably in Days of Uzziah.

Micah: Days of Jotham, Ahaz, & Hezekiah, Kings of Judah. Cp. Jer. 26:18.


Nahum: Probably in Reign of Hezekiah, King of Judah.

Habakkuk: Probably in Reign of Manasseh or Josiah, Kings of Judah.

Zephaniah: Days of Josiah, King of Judah.

Jeremiah: 629-580: 13th year of Josiah, & in the Reigns of Jehoahaz (Shallum), Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin (Jeconiah, Coniah), & Zedekiah, Kings of Judah, & after Destruction of Jerusalem.

Ezekiel: 595-573: 5th year of Jehoiachin’s Captivity, & in Reign of Zedekiah, & after Destruction of Jerusalem.

Daniel: 603-534: Days of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, & Cyrus.

Haggai: 519: 2nd year of Darius Hystaspes.

Zechariah: 519-487: Associated with Haggai.

Malachi: 430-400: “The Seal of the Prophets.”

                For a synoptical view of the historical events of the above period, the reader is requested to refer to the Chronological Table prefixed to the Books of Kings, pp. xx-xxii, and the ‘Introduction‘ to Ezra, p. 295.

                The principal Commentaries on the Minor Prophets are those of S. Jerome, S. Cyril of Alexandria (published in an emended edition by P. E. Pusey, Oxf., 1868), Theodoret, S. Augustine (De Civitate Dei, lib. xviii.), Haymo, Remigius, Theophylact, Eupertus Tuitiensis, Hugo de S. Caro, Albertus Magnus, Nicolaus de Lyra, Rihera, Cornelius a Lapide.

                Among the Rabbis, R. Salomon ben Isaac, Abenezra, Kimchi.

                Among the Reformers, (EOcolampadius, Luther, Calvin, Mercer, Osiander.

                After the Reformation, Drusius, Sanctius, Piscator, Tarnovius, Calovius, Grotius, Schmid, Marckius, Lyserus, W. Lowth, M. Henry.

                In the eighteenth (18th) and nineteenth (19th) centuries, J.H. Michaelis, Starck, Petersen, Dathe, Newcome, Rosenmuller, Umbreit, Eichhorn, Ackermann, Maurer, Henderson, Hesselberg, Hitzig, Ewald, Schegg, Reinke, Hengstenberg (in his Christology), Dr. Robinson, Drake, Bassett, and especially Dr. Pusey (a very learned and inestimable Commentary), and Dr. C.F. Keil (one of the best works of that erudite (learned) Expositor), and Kleinert. The expositions of Dr. Pocock on Hosea, Joel, Micah, and Malachi are of great value, as are those on Micah and Obadiah by C.P. Caspari; and that of Kliefoth on Zechariah is written in an excellent spirit of Christian Criticism. }}

                {{ HOSEA: Ch. 1: On the history and prophecies of Hosea, see above, ‘Introduction’ to the Minor Prophets generally. The first three (1-3) chapters of this Book are a prologue to the whole (like the first five (1-5) chapters of Isaiah: see on Isa. ch. 1), and reach from the age of the Prophet to the last days. It is a uniform principle of divine prophecy, –”semper ad eventum festinat.” (MT: always eager towards the outcome) It passes at once with a rapid flight to the consummation of all things. So at the very beginning of the Apocalypse the writer announces the Second Advent of Christ: “Behold, He cometh with clouds” (Rev. 1:7).

                1. Hosea, the son of Beeri] ‘Hosea‘, who stands at the head of the Minor Prophets in the Canon of Scripture, is to them what ‘Isaiah‘, whose name signifies ‘Salvation of Jehovah‘, is to the Major Prophets. Both Hosea and Isaiah prophesied in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. See above, Isa. 1:1. The word ‘Hosea‘ signifies ‘salvation‘; and ‘Beeri‘ means my ‘well‘ (S. Jerome). The words of the Minor Prophets flow down from the well of God’s saving power and love, in a continuous stream, parallel to those of the Major Prophets. They rise from a higher point than the words of the Major Prophets, and descend to a lower one, till they bring us down in Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, to the days of the Second Temple, in which the Saviour Himself taught, from Whom, as from an exhaustless well-spring, flowed forth the living waters of the Gospel, and the gift of the Holy Spirit of God; and they reveal to us the glories of the heavenly city, and the crystal sea, and the waters of life flowing from the throne of God.

                —in the days of Uzziah–Jeroboam the son of Joash, King of Israel] Jeroboam the second (2nd), King of Israel, in whose reign the kingdom of the Ten (10) Tribes rose to the highest pitch of prosperity; by which God graciously proved them whether they would be thankful and obedient to Him, Who gave them their wealth and power (see 2nd Kings 14:25-27). He reigned contemporaneously with Uzziah, king of Judah, for twenty-six (26) years, and died in the twenty-seventh (27th)  year of Uzziah, who outlived Jeroboam by twenty-five (25) years.

                Since, therefore, Hosea began to prophesy before the twenty-seventh (27th) year of Uzziah, and continued to prophesy in the times of Hezekiah, the son and successor of Ahaz, who succeeded Jotham, the son and successor of Uzziah, he must have prophesied for a period of more than sixty years (i.e. from about B.C. 790 to B.C. 725). In the Chronological Table, prefixed to Isaiah, above, p. xxii, the reader is requested to correct 780 into 790. Hosea does not mention any other kings of Israel under whom he prophesied besides Jeroboam II, because the successors of Jeroboam (Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah, the son of Remaliah, Hosea the son of Elah) had no permanent position as kings on the throne of Israel, and several of them were murderers and usurpers, and by their sins brought the kingdom to ruin and desolation, till at last their capital, Samaria, was taken, and the Ten (10) Tribes were carried captive to Assyria.

                Israel’s Spiritual Fornication: (1:2-11)

                2. Go, take unto thee a wife of  whoredoms] God speaks from the lofty eminence of His foreknowledge, Go, take to thee a wife, who, I foresee, will be a wife of whoredoms; that

is, one who will be faithless to thee, and who will thus cease to be worthy to be called thy wife. See 2:2.

                That this is the true interpretation of this much-controverted passage seems to be evident,—

                (1) From the fact that the Prophet’s wife is designed to symbolize the Israelitish Nation and its relation to God. Now God did not espouse that Nation to Himself when it was unfaithful; but it became unfaithful after it had been espoused to Him. Cp. Ezek. 23:3.

                It is observable that the Targum here, and the ancient Versions (Sept., Vidg., Syriac) render the words in the future tense (as indeed they are in the original), the land will commit great whoredom from the Lord; and this confirms that exposition.

                (2) From the circumstance that this wife of Hosea is afterwards spoken of as a woman beloved of her friend (i.e. by her husband), yet an adulteress (3:1), and, as such, is a figure of Israel, faithless, and yet not wholly cast off by God.

                (3) From the great embarrassments which beset the other conflicting interpretations, viz.—

                (1) The interpretation which regards the woman whom God’s Prophet is commanded to take to himself in marriage, as no other than a common harlot.

                (2) The interpretation, which, recoiling from such a supposition, resorts to the theory that the whole transaction had no outward visible reality,  but was done only in the Prophet’s

inner consciousness, and that the names of his wife (Gomer) and of his three children, are mere ideal fictions and visionary phantoms.

                Each of these two interpretations has great names to plead in its favour. The former is supported by S. Irenceus, S. Basil, S. Cyril of Alexandria, Theodoret, S. Augustine; by Aquinas, Lyranus, A Lapide, Calovius, Qlassius, J Pocock, Ewald, Ktirtz, and by Dr. Pusey.

                The latter interpretation is maintained by S. Jerome, Maimonides, Junius, Drusius, Witsius, Hengstenberg, Keil. For the history of these interpretations, see Marck, Diatribe de Muliere Fornicationum, Lug. Bat. 1696; Pfeiffer, Dubia, p. 433; Dr. Pocock here; Dr. Waterland, Scripture Vindicated, p. 264, who, as well as Wm. Lowth and Dr. Wells, gives the preference to the opinion which, on the whole, seems the most reasonable, and says, “I understand here a wife which, after marriage, however chaste before, should prove false to her marriage vow; and so the case of Hosea and Gomer might be the apter parallel to represent the case of God and His people Israel.”

                — the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD]  In the Hebrew Canon of Scripture the Prophet Hosea follows next, in order of time, after the ‘Book of Canticles‘, or Song of Solomon, which is a prophetic and mystical representation of the ‘love and marriage of ‘Christ‘ and His Church‘. See above, Introd. to the Song of Solomon, pp. 121-124.

                The relation of Marriage, as a symbol of God’s union with His people, serves to connect the prophecies of Hosea with the Sang of Solomon; and the unfaithfulness of Israel to God is displayed in striking contrast to the love of the Bride in that Divine Book. Cp. Hengst., Proleg. to Canticles, pp. 304, 305; on Cant. 3:4; and Thrupp, on the Song of Solomon, p. 15. See also below, on 2:2, for another instance of this connexion.

                Thus also we recognize another example of the beautiful and harmonious unity of purpose with which the Books of Holy Scripture are joined on successively (like links in a golden chain) to one another.

                These are evidences of the continuity of Scripture, and are silent proofs of its Inspiration. All the Books of Scripture (written at intervals extending over 1500 years) may rightly be regarded as making one book; they are all parts of one plan, and are from the mind and hand of Him, with Whom a thousand (1000) years are as one day.”

                3. he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim] The word Gomer signifies completion (Pocock), and also exhaustion and failure (Gesen. 175;  Fuerst); and it may signify the condition of destitution and helplessness to which the Israelitish Nation had been reduced, especially by the bondage in Egypt, when it was received into covenant with God, and was espoused to Him at Mount Sinai. The name Gomer may also have been adopted as connected with heathenism itself (Gen. 10:2, Ezek. 38:6), as Ezekiel says (16:3): “Thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother a Hittite;” and this is symbolized also by “the daughter of Diblaim,” or of two pressed cakes of figs (Gesen. 185), a figure of mere sensual pleasure (S. Jerome, Keil); and it may signify heathen extraction, as connected with Diblath, or Diblathaim, in the wilderness (Num. 33:47, Jer. 48:22). See the note above, on Ezek. 6:14, where Diblath is a symbol of what is heathen; and this illustrates the use of the word here.

                Such was originally the condition of the Hebrew Nation. It was in a heathen and destitute state, and was mercifully taken up by God, in the wilderness, when it thought of little more than the gratification of its sensual appetites. Even after the Exodus it hankered after “the onions, and leeks, and garlick, and flesh-pots of Egypt” (Exod. 16:3, Num. 11:5).

                4. Call his name Jezreel] Call his name in memory of Jezreel, situated in the fruitful plain on the north of Kishon (Josh. 17:16), but polluted with blood, especially that of Naboth the Jezreelite, for the shedding of which, and other sins, the house of Ahab was threatened with extermination (1st Kings 21:14-23); and also because Jezreel was the scene of cruel and sanguinary acts committed by Jehu (2nd Kings 9 and 10).

                The name Jezreel was also prophetic, both of judgment and mercy; of judgment, because it means, God will scatter, and thus presignified the dispersion of Israel; and of mercy, because it also means, God will sow, and pre-announced that the dispersion of Israel would be a dissemination, and a sowing of themselves in mercy (see 2:23), and be also a solving of the seed of God’s truth in all lands (see above, Introd. to Ezra, p. 299; and below, Introd. to the Acts of the Apostles, p. 9), and would prepare the way for the diffusion of the Church of Christ in every land.

                It was like the scattering of the tribe of Levi throughout the length and breadth of the Holy Land –a scattering which was threatened in judgment for sin, but was overruled by God’s mercy into love. See above, on Gen. 49:7. Such (as Hosea shows in these prophecies) is the true character of the dispersion of Israel.

                5. I will break] By some signal victory gained over Israel by Assyria. Cp. below, 10:14.    — IsraelJezreel] Observe the contrast. By God’s grace the Hebrew Nation became Israel, a prince of God; but by its own sin Israel was changed into Jezreel, and was scattered by Him.

                6. Lo-ruhamah] Not pitied, not favoured. It is rendered not-beloved by St. Paul (Rom. 9:25), and not having obtained mercy, by St. Peter (1st Pet. 2:10). Israel forfeited God’s love and pity by unfaithfulness to Him.     — but I will utterly take them away] Literally, for in taking away, I will take away to them, i.e. all that belongs to them (Hengst. Pusey).

                7. Judah] Judah is contrasted with Israel, which revolted uuder Jeroboam the first, from the house of David, and set up a rival worship in opposition to that in the Temple at Jerusalem. Judah, therefore, will obtain mercy, but Israel will be deprived of spiritual blessings.   — will not save them by bow] Hosea, whose name signifies salvation, declares hero the only source from which salvation comes (cp. Isa. 9:6), and thus prepares the way for the prophecy which follows concerning Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. Cp. Matt. 1:21. Acts 4:12.

                8. when she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived] The long-suffering of God to Israel is thus symbolized. There was a long interval, like that between childbirth and weaning (see on Gen. 21:8. 1st Sam. 1:24), between its forfeiture of mercy and its utter rejection; but at length the birth of Lo-ruhamah is succeeded by that of Lo-ammi. One sin and punishment was followed by another in a deliberate succession and miserable sequence of births. Cp. James 1:15: “When lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

                10. the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea] By the reception of all nations into the Church, through faith in Christ, the true Jezreel, the Seed of God, and the Seed of Abraham, through Whom the promise was fulfilled, that Abraham’s seed should be as the sand on the sea-shore (Gen 22:17; 32:12), and in Whom all families of the earth are blessed (Gen. 12:3; 28:4), and are joined together in one body under one Head, which is Christ.

                That this interpretation of this passage is the true one is evident from the testimony of St. Paul (Rom. 9:25,26), and of St. Peter (1st Pet. 2:10).

                Here is an answer to all objections that might be raised against God’s dealings with the Jewish Nation. God chose them to be His people: they rebelled against Him; but His purpose in choosing them was not, therefore, frustrate. He scattered them; but their punishment had a salutary effect in weaning many of them from idolatry, and in bringing them back to Him. See ii. 7. He raised up the Gentiles to be His people by means of the Gospel of Christ, and His Apostles, who were Jews; and the Law went forth from Sion, and the Word of God from Jerusalem, and thus Jerusalem itself was universalized and became co-extensive with the world. And now the duty and privilege of the Gentiles (who have received the Gospel from the Jews, and whose spiritual Mother is Jerusalem) is to bring back Israel in their turn to the Church of God (2:1).

                This is beautifully expressed in the Book of Canticles or Song of Solomon (see above, on Cant. 8:1-9), the connexion of which book with the prophecies of Hosea has been already noticed on v. 2.

                11. Then shall the children of Israel he gathered together“] Christ Himself, “the One Head” of whom the Prophet here speaks, adopts these words, when He says to Jerusalem, “How often would I have gathered thy children together” (Matt. 23:37). Cp. John 11:51,52, “He should gather together in one the children of God that are scattered abroad;” and again, these words are applicable to Christ: “Where the body is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” See the notes on Matt. 24:28, Luke 17:37, and Eph. 1:10. S. Augustine (De Civ. Dei, vii. 28) thus writes concerning this passage: “The Prophet Hosea speaks of deep mysteries, and is therefore more difficult to follow; but as to the passage, where he says, ‘It shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them. Ye are not my people, there it shall be said. Ye are the sons of the living God‘, we know that the Apostles themselves understood this prophecy as foretelling the calling of the Gentiles, and that the Prophet says, ‘The children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and shall appoint themselves one head, and come up out of the land;’ therefore let us think of the Corner-Stone, Jesus Christ, in Whom the two walls are joined together, and lean upon Him, Who is the common support of them both” (Augustine).

                — one head] Christ. See above, on Ezek. 34:23; 37:22; and below, 3:5.

                — shall come up out of the land] All nations shall be gathered, together from out of the land; that is, as all the tribes of Israel were commanded to come up to worship together at Jerusalem at stated annual festivals, so all the tribes of the spiritual Israel will come up in heart and spirit from all parts of the whole Earth, to the Mountain of the Lord, the Zion of the Church of God; that is, they will be joined together in one faith and worship in the Christian Church. See above, Isa. 2:2,3; and below, Micah 4:1,2, which are the best comments on this passage; and see Ps. 87, Isa. 60:6; 66:23, Jer. 3:18; 50:4; and Zech. 14:16,17. This prophecy (says M. Henry) denotes, not a local remove (for they are said to be in the same place, v. 10), but a spiritual ascent to Christ.

                Great shall be the Day of Jezreel.

                — great shall be the day of Jezreel] Great shall be the day of Jezreel, the seed of God. The first blood that was shed at Jezreel was that of Naboth, which was shed for his Vineyard, and which blood brought with it Divine retribution on those that shed it. See on v. 4. Naboth, as is observed by S. Jerome here, was a signal type of Christ, shedding His blood for His Vineyard the Church (the resemblances are specified  above in the note on 1st Kings 20:43).

                Naboth’s blood brought retribution on those who shed it; 60 did the blood of Christ on those who said, “His blood be upon us and on our children” (Matt. 27:25). But Christ’s blood speaks better things than that of Naboth; His blood is the seed of the Church; He is the true Jezreel, the seed of God (see on v. 4), and great is the day of Jezreel in Him. Great was the day of Jezreel, when, after His Passion, Burial, Resurrection, Ascension, and sending of the Holy Ghost from heaven, the Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved (Acts 2:47), then God did great things for it. “Magnus est dies seminis Dei, qui interpretatur Christus‘; ex quo perspicuum est ideo in typo Naboth Jezraelitis sanguinem pracessisse, ut Veritas compleretur in Christo” (S. Jerome). (MT: Great is the day of God’s seed, which means ‘Christ’; from which it is clear  that the type of the blood of Naboth the Jezreelite proceeds to fulfill the Truth in Christ” (St. Jerome).)

                The seed sown in the earth was Christ, as He Himself says, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth alone; but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24). Christ is the true Jezreel. His Blood is the Seed from which the Harvest of the Universal Church has sprung up in the field of the whole world.

                Great will be the day of Jezreel at the General Resurrection. Christ’s Death, Burial, and Resurrection are the seedplot of our Resurrection. He is the First Fruits, we the Harvest (1st. Cor. 15:20-23). Then all the glorified bodies of the Saints will rise up like seed in an instantaneous harvest from the furrows of the Grave in all parts of the earth; then great indeed will be the day of Jezreel.

                Ch. 2. 1. Say ye—Ru-hamah] Ye Gentiles, who have become the Israel of God in Christ, endeavour to win the Jews to God by assuring them of God’s favour. Ye Gentile Christians, do not despise the Jews, they are your brethren and sisters; do not irritate them by disdainful words, but provoke them to godly jealousy (see Rom. 10:19; 11:11) by accents of love, and tell them, that though they are scattered abroad, yet God is waiting to be gracious to them and to restore them to Him. Cast aside the Hebrew negative prefix, lo, and in His Name call them by titles of endearment, Ammi (My People) and Ruhamah (having obtained Mercy). Compare Rom. 11:30,31, where St. Paul thus speaks to the Gentile Christians in regard to the Jews: “As ye in times past have not believed in God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief, even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy,” where St. Paul refers to these words of Hosea.

                2. Plead with your mother, plead] Thou, O Gentile Church (says God here by the Prophet), remember that the Hebrew Nation, though scattered and banished, is thy mother; plead with her and convert her to God. Cp. Ezek. 20:35,36.

                Hosea takes up here, as in other places (see on 1:2), the language of the Song of Solomon, where the Bride of Christ (i.e. the Gentile Church) desires to bring the Bridegroom to her mother’s house (i.e. to the house of the Hebrew Nation). See above, the notes on Canticles 3:4, and especially the notes on the eighth (8th), the last chapter of that book, which forms an appropriate and harmonious prelude to this prophecy of Hosea.

                As a proof of this harmony between Hosea and the Canticles, and as an evidence that the true interpretation of both is spiritual, it may be added that the Jewish Church is called both

a mother and a sister (see Cant. viii. 8) of the Gentile Church. She is a mother in priority, and a sister in parity, of God’s love. Cp. Rom. 9:7; 15:5-9.

                — she is not my wife] The nation of Israel has divorced herself from me by her spiritual adultery. As the Targum expresses it, “The mother has played the harlot, the congregation has gone a whoring after false prophets.”       — her breasts] Compare Ezek. 23:3.

                3. as in the day that she was born] See Ezek. 16:4. 16-25; 39, which supplies the best exposition of this passage. Ezekiel there describes the miserable state of the Israelitish nation by nature, and displays God’s love to her in the wilderness of Arabia (cp. Deut. 32:10), and her unfaithfulness and consequent punishment and misery.

                5. my lovers] The false gods whom Israel worshipped instead of the Lord, and to whom she ascribed the benefits received from Him. Cp. 5:13, and Jer. 2:25; 44:17,18.

                6. I will hedge up thy way] I will obstruct thy roving vagrancy after thy idols; I will stop it up by afflictions and banishment into a far-off land; and thus I will show thee the vanity of thy idols, who cannot save thee in thy distress. As to the metaphor here used, cp. Job 19:8, and Lam. 3:7, 9, “He hath hedged me about –He hath enclosed my ways,” which seems to be grounded on this passage.

                7. Then shall she say, I will go and return] The –prophet predicts the salutary effects of Israel’s dispersion, which would bring them to repentance and make them turn to God– like the penitent prodigal in the Gospel (Luke 15:18); and thus he justifies God’s severity as a discipline of love.

                8. she did not know] Israel did not consider that I am the Giver of all her blessings (Deut. 7:13; 11:14).

                — which they prepared for Baal] Or, as some render it (e.g. Targum, Vulg., Syriac, Engl. Margin, Ewald), which they made Baal. God gave them silver and gold, which they made into idols, whom they worshipped in the place of the God Who gave them, and Who is their Maker and Judge. Cp. 8:4, “Of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.” The other interpretation, also, “which they made for, or dedicated to Baal,” has strong authority in its favour. See Hengst., Keil.

                9. will I return] They turned My gifts into idols, and therefore I will turn away Myself from them, and take away My gifts.

                11. her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths] Her festal days, which she has appointed to be kept at Bethel, in opposition to Mine at Jerusalem. Sec 1st Kings 12:32.

                This may be applied, also, to such festivals of the Levitical Law as were still observed among the tribes of Israel, see 2nd Kings 4:23. Cp. Amos 8:8, 10, and Tobit 2:6, and the lamentation of Jeremiah on their cessation (Lam. 2:6), which seems to refer to the words of Hosea.

                14. I will—bring her into the wilderness] i.e. into far-off lands in which they will be scattered. These various regions of their future exile and dispersion are called by Ezekiel, “the wilderness of Nations,” and “the wilderness of the people.” See Ezek. 20:35,36, which are the best comments on this passage.

                God threatens here that He will bring Israel into the wilderness of captivity and dispersion in Assyria, which was designed to have the same merciful effect in chastening and purifying the Ten (10) Tribes, as the wilderness of Arabia after the Exodus (cp. v. 15) was intended to produce on their forefathers in their wanderings there. He brought them into that wilderness (as Moses says), that “He might humble them and prove them, and to do them good at their latter end” (Deut. 8:2-6) so as to qualify them for Canaan and for its heavenly antitype of everlasting rest.

                — speak comfortably unto her] Literally, to her heart, in love. Cp. Gen. 34:3; 50:21, and see Isa. 40:1,2, “Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem,” give to her a message of comfort from Christ, and from the Holy Ghost the Comforter.

                Here the Prophet displays the love of God to His Ancient People in their dispersion and distress. They are represented as wanderers and outcasts, but it is that they may feel their misery, and yearn for the home of their reconciled Father in Christ. Cp. Deut. 8:2-6.

                15. I will give her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope] Here is a reversal of the threat in vv. 9, 12. He continues the comparison of the foregoing verse: –As I prepared their forefathers by the probationary discipline of the Sinaitic Wilderness to enter Canaan, and to inherit its vineyards, so will I deal with their posterity the Ten (10) Tribes. I will make their dispersion in Assyria to be a school for reception into a spiritual inheritance from thence, i.e. succeeding after it, and produced by it. I will bring them into the Vineyard of Christ’s Church. Cp. on Isa.  5:1; 61:5, Ezek. 28:26. Canticles 1:14; 8:11.

                And I will do more than this. As the valley of Achor (near Jericho, the first great city of Canaan which their fathers conquered) was, as its name indicates, a place of trouble (see on Josh. vii. 7:24, 26), but became a door of hope to them, on account even of the severe but salutary discipline there exercised, and thence they marched to victory (“ubique aperta spes, ubifuerat desperatio,” S. Jerome; (MT: and in which is revealed hope, wherein for the desperate)) so all the Achors of trouble, through which the Ten (10) Tribes will pass, will be changed into doors of hope to them, by their penitential sorrow and God’s gracious pardon and love. Hosea here chimes in with his contemporary, Isaiah, who says, “The Valley of Achor shall be a place for herds to lie down in” (Isa. 65:10). Even the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple –the bitterest Achors of sorrow and humiliation to the Hebrew Nation– have become doors of hope to the true Israel of God, by weaning their affections from the material City and Temple, and by drawing them to the Spiritual Sion, the Church of Christ Universal (which has risen upon the ruins of the literal Jerusalem), and to the glories of the heavenly “Jerusalem, which is the mother of us all” (Gal. 4:26).

                This promise may be extended to all penitent believers. God gives to them in Christ such comforts as will be a foretaste of the sweet fruits of the heavenly Canaan of His eternal rest and bliss. The Achor of penitential sorrow becomes to them a door of hope to the heavenly kingdom of everlasting glory.

                — the days of her youth] At the Exodus, when Moses and Miriam sang their songs of joy (Exod.  15:1, 20).

                16. Ishi] My husband, lit. my man. Cp. on Isa. 54:5, “Thy Maker is thine husband.”

                — Baali] My baal, or lord. The word baal, whence beulah, married, in Isa. 62:4, though often used in a good sense (as Isa. 54:5), yet shall be avoided by Israel, as being tainted with idolatrous associations, “ne virum nominans, idolura cogitet” (MT: lest the man ‘s name, thinks of idols) (S. Jerome). Israel, once idolatrous, will so loathe idolatry, that even good and innocent words will be shunned by her, if they have been connected with idolatrous uses, and when there is any danger of a scandal arising from them.

                Here is an important lesson for the Christian Church. Even innocent things, nay, even good things, if identified with idolatry, and scarcely separable from it, are to be avoided. See above, the notes on the case of Hezekiah and the brazen serpent, 2nd Kings 18:4; Ps. 16:4; Zech. 13:2, “I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall be no more remembered;” words which are grounded on the divine precept, Exod. 23:13, “Ye shall make no mention of the names of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.”

                18. will I make a covenant for them with the beasls of the field] As Noah was at peace with the wild beasts in the Ark, and Daniel with the lions in the den, and our Lord with the wild beasts in the wilderness, so My people will walk unharmed amid dangers. Cp. Job 5:22, 23, and Isa. 11:6,7, describing, in poetical language, the happiness of the Christian Church. The union of all animals, savage as well as tame, in the sheet let down from heaven to St. Peter, symbolized the spiritual peace of the Gospel, and the union of nations formerly barbarous, in the Church of Christ. See on Acts 10:15; cp. on Mark 16:18.

                — I will break the bow] Compare the description of Evangelical victory and peace in Isaiah, in Isa.  2:4; 35:9. Ezek. 34:25. Zech.  9:10.

                19. I will betroth thee unto me for ever—in righteousness] The Hebrew Nation, once betrothed to God at Mount Sinai, and loved by Him with the tenderest affection, and yet guilty of spiritual fornication and adultery, will be cleansed from its sins and washed pure by the blood of Christ, and be espoused to God as a chaste virgin (2nd Cor. 11:2), never to be divorced from Him. Her sins will not only be forgiven, but forgotten. Cp. John 3:29, Eph. 5:25. Rev. 21:9. These blessed nuptials will be celebrated, on her repentance and conversion, through faith in Christ’s righteousness, and in justification through Him alone, and in the free loving-kindness and mercy of God. Cp. Isa. 62:5 and Theodoret here. Here is a promise of perpetuity to the Church of God in Christ. Cp. Matt. 16:18.

                “Ista meretrix” (says S. Jerome) “fornicata est, prophetis Sponsi sodalibus interfectis; novissime autem venit Dei Filius Dominus Jesus, quo crucifixo et a mortuis resurgente desponsatur, nequaquam in legis justitia, sed in fide et gratia Evangelii.” (MT: Such is the fornicating harlot, the prophets of the Spouse of the companions of the slain: Finally, came God’s Son, the Lord Jesus, who was crucified and rose from the dead, espoused, and not in legal justice, but  in faith and the Gospel’s grace.)

                This promise to Israel may be applied to every penitent soul which is espoused to Christ by repentance and faith.

                They shall Hear Jezreel.

                21, 22. I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel] All Creation is here represented as hanging by a continuous chain of dependency on the Throne of God ; and when its due subordination is preserved, then a stream of prayer and intercession mounts upward from earth to heaven by that chain, and a stream of grace flows downward by it from

heaven to earth ; and thus all Creation, when harmonized by love and obedience to God, ministers to the comfort of man, who is God’s seed, as well as to the glory of God.

                All creatures are eager to serve man, when man serves God, and when he is a faithful Jezreel, or seed of God. The corn cries to the earth, the earth cries to the heaven, the heavens

cry to God, that they may be enabled by Him to supply man’s need, and minister to his comfort. Jezreel, the true seed of God, owns its dependence on Him for all that it receives. The heavens pray to God, for they have no power of themselves to give rain (see on Jer. 14:22, and cp. Zech. 10:1,2), in order that they may be empowered to hear the prayers of the Earth for rain; and God hears them, and allows them to pour forth genial showers upon the thirsty ground. The Earth bears the prayers of the corn and the wine and the oil for rain, and sends up their prayers heavenward; and they all listen to the prayers of Jezreel, and become its intercessors with God, Who hearkens to this chorus of prayer, and answers it in love.

                How much more is this realized in the world of grace! There the Divine Jezreel, Who is Christ, and Who vouchsafed to become the Seed of the Woman (Gen. 3:15), and to be the Seed of Abraham and David, and has thus joined God to Man in His own Person, and is our Emmanuel as well as our Jezreel, is ever praying for His People ; and a shower of blessings descends from heaven to earth in answer to His prayers, and brings forth fruit an hundredfold. Cp. S. Cyril and S. Jerome here.

                In this beautiful imagery we recognize a repeal of the divine threat, which was denounced on Israel for disobedience and represented heaven and earth as deaf to all human appeals; “Thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee as iron” (Deut. 28:23). The ears of the Elements are unsealed by human obedience. If Man hearkens to God, all God’s Creation will hearken to him.

                23. I will sow her unto me in the earth] Not in her own land only, but everywhere. The seed of Abraham is sown in all lands where Christ is preached. The whole Earth, under the Gospel, has become a seed-plot for heaven, now that it has received seed from the Divine Sower, which is Christ, and has been sown by His Blood and by His Word, and is watered by the dews and rains of the Holy Ghost. Compare the prophetic imagery in Jeremiah 31:27: “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of men and with the seed of beasts;” and Isaiah 61:9-11. God is the Husbandman (John 15:1), Jezreel is His husbandry (Ist Cor. 3:9); the field is the world (Matt. 13:24). The Apostles and their successors in all ages are the Sowers of the Seed; the Harvest is the End of the World (Matt. 13:39); the reapers are the Angels, and the Barn is Heaven. Cp. Rev. 14:15.

                Ch. 3. 1. Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress] Though Israel has been faithless to God, yet she is not utterly cast off; she is still beloved of her friend (cp. the use of the word friend in Cant. 5:16, Jer. 3:1, 20), her companion, her lover, her husband, who is God (2:16). This is what is now represented by the Prophet, who is commanded to take again to himself his wife Gomer (1:3), notwithstanding her unfaithfulness to him.

                — and love flagons of wine] Rather, raisin-cakes. See Sept., Vulg., Syriac, Arabic, and 2nd Sam. 6:19. Such cakes were offered to idols (Jer. 7:18; 44:19). They who love such dainties are they who care not for the spiritual delights of God’s love, but only for that which gratifies their own sensual appetites. See above on Diblaim, 1:3.

                2. So I bought her to me for fifteen (15) pieces of silver] I did not espouse her to me for a wife, but I bought, or acquired (lit. by digging, cp. Deut. 2:6, Job  6:27 ; 13:11) her for me as a slave, at a mean price –fifteen (15) shekels of silver (thirty (30) skekels was the price of a slave –Exod. 21:32) and fifteen (15) ephahs of barley (not wheat, cp. note on Rev. 6:6), showing to how low a state of degradation and distress she was now reduced. This represents the condition of the Jewish People, no longer a loved or loving spouse, but in bondage (see Gal. 4:25); and yet she is reserved for a happy time, when she will be delivered into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. 8:21).

                3. Thou shalt abide] Lit. thou shalt sit (and so in v. 4) not as a harlot sitting by the way-side (Gen. 38:14), but waiting in patience till thy former Husband vouchsafes to take notice of thee, and restore thee to Himself. Cp. Deut. 21:13, which describes the preparatory discipline and purification of a captive woman before she is received into wedlock.

                — thou shalt not play the harlot] Thou shalt not worship false gods: idolatry is spiritual fornication. One of the happy consequences of the Jewish Captivity has been, that Israel has thus been weaned from idolatry. Cp. Introd. to Ezra, p. 299; and see v. 4 here.

                The Dispersion of Israel, & its True Restoration in Christ.

                4. without a king—teraphim] Here is a remarkable prophecy, which has been literally fulfilled, as even the Jewish Rabbis confess. “These” (says Kimchi, ap. Pocock, 122) “are the days of the banishment in which we now are, wherein we have neither king nor prince of Israel, but are under the power of Gentile nations, and without a sacrifice: so are we at this time in this captivity, even all the children of Israel.” “Who” (says S. Augustine, de Civ. Dei. vii. 28) “does not here recognize a prophetic representation of what the Jews are now? But let us hear what the prophet adds: ‘Afterwards they shall return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king’. Nothing can be more clear than this prophecy, inasmuch as Christ was made of David’s seed (Rom. 1:3).”

                Though God had promised to David perpetuity to his seed and throne, yet He here declares that Israel should remain many days without a king, and without a prince. Both prophecies have come true. David’s monarchy ceased to be visible at the Captivity, and yet it is everlasting in ‘Christ‘. See above, on Gen. 49:10, and on 2nd Sam. 7.

                Yet further. Although Israel has been many days without an ephod (Exod. 28:4,5, 1st Sam. 22:18; 23:9), that is, without a visible priesthood, as the Sept. and Arabic rightly interpret it, yet it has never fallen into idolatry, as a nation, since the Babylonish Captivity. It has remained for more than 2000 years without an image (Exod. 23:24; 34:13, Deut. 7:5; 12:3; 16:22, 2nd Kings 3:2; below, 10:1. Micah 5:13, where the same word is used as here), and without teraphim –i.e. without idols (as the Prophet says before in v. 3, they shall “not play the harlot”). See Gen. 31:19. 1st Sam. 15:23; 19:13, 2nd Kings 23:24, Ezek. 21:21, Zech. 10:2.

                And yet, though Israel has not been guilty of idolatry for 2000 years, it has been and is punished more severely than when it committed idolatry. What can be the cause of this? The

reason is, because it is guilty of the sin of not believing in Christ.

                In the captivity and dispersion of Israel, we recognize the hand of God’s fatherly mercy and love. The destruction of the material fabric of the Temple, and of the Levitical Priesthood, prepared the Jews to look to Christ, the Eternal High Priest, and to the Spiritual Temple of His Universal Church; the abandonment of their images and their teraphim –that is, of all idolatrous usages, has qualified them to be worshippers in that holy Temple. Alas! that some Christian Churches should now be obstructing the approach of the Jews to Christ by acts of creature-worship –such as the adoration of saints and angels, and by setting up idols in the house of God! It has been supposed, with good reason, that some severe judgments of God must overtake idolatrous Churches, before the Jews can be converted to Christianity.

                5. Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king] The Hebrew Nation, which said at the crucifixion of Christ, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15), –thus rejecting her true King, –wll remain many days without a visible Monarchy and Priesthood; yet, in the latter days, they shall return and find the LORD their God, and David their king in ‘Christ’, Who is the Everlasting King and Priest (S. Jerome).

                The Hebrew Rabbis themselves confess that this prophecy refers to the Messiah. See the Chaldee Paraphrase here and R. Tanchum, Aben Ezra, and Kimchi, in Pocock, 138, 139; and see above, note on v. 4. May God hasten the time!

                It may be remarked here, in passing, that these words afford one refutation, among innumerable others, of the literal system of interpretation of Divine prophecy. If the promises of God to Jerusalem and Sion in Hebrew prophecy are to be localized, and to be limited to the literal City and Temple of the material Jerusalem (instead of being extended to the Spiritual Sion of Christ’s Church Universal), then we ought, in reading the present prophecy, to say, that it predicts a personal resurrection of David the King, to sit on a throne in that earthly Jerusalem. But no; Jerusalem is Christ’s Church; and David lives and reigns there forever in ‘Christ‘. See above, on Jer. 30:9, Ezek. 34:23,24.

                — and shall fear the LORD] Literally, they shall go trembling to the Lord. This must be the attitude and gesture of the Jews if they are to be received again into the favour of God. See 11:11, “They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria.” Zech. 12:10, and cp. Ps. 2:11.

                As was before observed, God’s favoured people, the Jews (formerly addicted to idolatry, and therefore rejected by God), have now continued free from idolatry for many years (as the Prophet here foretells), and yet have remained outcasts from His favour; and therefore it is certain that they must have been guilty, and still are guilty, of some more heinous sin than idolatry. What sin is that? It is the rejection of God’s own Son, crucified by them a short time before the destruction of Jerusalem and their own dispersion, which He Himself foretold would be the consequence of that act (Matt. 23:38. S. Chrysostomm; S. Jerome). Let the Jews only repent of that sin, and come trembling and mourning for it, and they will again be received with open arms by their heavenly Father. See below, on Zech. xii. 12:10-14; 13:1.

                — in the latter days] It is a rule given by the Hebrew expositors, that, by the latter days, we are to understand the days of the Messiah; and we must conclude, that what is said to be done in the latter days, is to be fulfilled in the days of Christ  –that is, in the times of the Gospel (Pocock, 143).

                 Ch. 4.] Having anticipated the end in these introductory chapters, which are a Prelude to the whole (see on i. 1), Hosea (as is usual with the goodly company of the Prophets) returns to his own age, and addresses his own people, “Hear the word … ye children of Israel.” Observe, he takes up the words children of Israel from the foregoing chapter, and in a stirring apostrophe remonstrates with the people and their rulers, spiritual and temporal, for the sins which would be the cause of the misery which he has foretold, and thus he links on this portion of the prophecy to the preceding. See below, on v. 1, where another link of connexion, “Hear ye,” is noticed……….

Gilgal & Bethel  (4:15-5:7).   Future Invasion of Israel (5:8-12).    King Jareb (5:13-15).     Prophecy of Repentance & Conversion of Israel (6:1-5).     Mercy, & not Sacrifice (6:6-10:11).      Exhortation to Repentance, & Promise of Grace (10:12-11:1).      Israel a Type of Christ (11:1-11:7).       God’s Love to Israel; their Conversion (11:8-12:1).       Jacob’s Example to Israel (12:3-13:12).   Israel’s Conversion a Spiritual Childbirth (13:13).  Birth from the Grave (13:14-14:1).       Israel’s Repentance; God’s Gracious Promises to  Jews on their Conversion (14:2-4).      God will Heal Israel in Christ (14:5-8).      

                God is Justified in all His Ways to Israel.

                9. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things?] This is the sum of  whole book. Hosea (whose name signifies Saviour) justifies God’s ways to Israel, ever since His choice of Israel to be a favoured nation, even to the end of time.

                To those who are not wise, but who cavil at God’s doings and carp at His Word, the history of God’s Ancient People, the Jews, is a hard problem, an unintelligible riddle, an insoluble enigma. They may even take occasion from it to charge God with weakness and caprice. But he that is wise will understand these things; he that is prudent shall know them; for the ways of the Lord are right. Hosea proves this. He shows that all the dispensations of God to Israel have ever been, and ever will be, dispensations of Love; and that in all of them He is their Saviour (Ps. 106:21, Isa. 68:8), and that the Angel of His Presence is even now saving them if they will be saved, even in their affliction and by their chastisement; and that in His love and in His pity He redeems them (Isa. 63:9). Even in their punishment there is mercy to Israel. Their captivity and dispersion, first by the arms of Assyria, and afterwards by those of Rome, were designed by God to wean them from their sins, and to bring them by faith and repentance to Himself. Already in great measure they have had that effect. The Jews have cast away their idols (v. 8). They no longer look to the Assyrias and Egypts of this world for help. Many of them have been already brought to God in Christ. All the Apostles and Evangelists of Christ were Jews; Christ Himself was a Jew, and He said that “Salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). The Gospel has gone forth from Sion; and the Christian Church, first planted at Jerusalem, and watered by the dews of the Holy Ghost descending there, as the dew fell at first on Gideon’s fleece, is extending itself over the threshing-floor of the world; (see above, on Judges 6:30-40). And in due time the dispersed of Israel will believe in Christ, and will be united with their Gentile brethren in the Church, which is the true Zion, and is “the Jerusalem which is above, the mother of us all” (Gal. 4:20), and will join with them in praising Him, and will acknowledge that “all the ways of the Lord are right; and the just shall walk in them.”

                This last verse, which is the Epiphonema of Hosea’s prophecies, is an echo of that at the close of the 107th Psalm, which celebrates God’s mercies vouchsafed to Israel, in redeeming them and gathering them from all countries of the world (Ps. cvii. 1—8), and to all mankind in His wonderful works of Creation and Redemption; and which ends with the words, “The righteous shall see it and rejoice, and all iniquity shall stop her mouth. Whoso is wise and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord” (Ps. 107:43).

                The Prophet Jeremiah also, weeping over the ruin of Zion, declares that the judgment is just, and takes up Hosea’s words and says, “Who is the wise man, that may understand this, and who is he to whom the mouth of the fjord hath spoken?” (see what follows there, Jer. 9:12-10); and the Apostle St. Paul, in commenting on the history and prospects of Israel in his Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 9, 10, 11), where he grounds himself on the prophecies of Hosea (Rom. 9:25,26. Cp. Hos. 2:23; 1:10), sums up his argument with an exclamation even of a more fervent character, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out. For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Rom.  11:33, 36). }}

                {{ JOEL: (1:1) Introduction: The name JOEL signifies that JEHOVAH (the covenant God of Israel) is the God of all the world. Joel, in his name and in his prophecies, is, as wo shall see, the precursor of Ezekiel. The main design of his prophecy is, to show that Jehovah declares His judicial omnipotence in various ways, by which He punishes the ungodly, and maintains and vindicates His own glory and truth, and eventually rewards His own people. God does this by physical judgments, such as plagues of Locusts, Earthquakes, Pestilences, Famines, which are God’s Prophets and Preachers to the World, and are like Heralds of Christ’s Coming, and Apparitors of the great Assize. They [Acts of God] call men to repentance, and prepare them for Resurrection, Judgment, and Eternity. Cp. Ezek. 14:21, Hos. 2:11-13, Amos 7:1-8, Nah. 1:5.

                 Joel also shows that God proclaims His judicial omnipotence by National Visitations –such as the invasion and captivity of Israel by the armies of Assyria, and such as the destruction of Jerusalem by the armies of Babylon and of Rome.

                And lest it should be imagined that the God of Israel and Judah had been overcome by those heathen Nations who have been used by Him for the chastisement of the sins of His people, Joel reveals the future overthrow of heathen nations, and of all enemies of Christ and His Church. He describes the grand consummation of the Last Day and Universal Judgment, when it will be proved by the supremacy of Christ, the King and Judge of all, that Jehovah, the Lord God of Israel, is indeed the God of the Universe, and the Saviour of His faithful people.

                Joel, the Prophet of Judgment, follows Hosea (Saviour), the Prophet of Salvation. In this combination God’s attributes of Mercy and Judgment are displayed. Thus Joel prepares the way for our Lord’s prophecy on the Mount of Olives, when, looking down upon Jerusalem, He spake of judgments in the natural world, “famines, pestilences, and earthquakes” (Matt. 24:7), and of national judgments, especially the destruction of Jerusalem, as preparatory warnings of His own future Coming to judge the World (Matt.    24:7-31;  25:31).

                Indeed, by a sublime and magnificent process of prophetic foreshortening, Joel teaches us to see the majestic form of ‘Christ‘ standing in the background above all the Judgments, physical and political, from the Prophet’s own age to the Day of Doom; and he enables us to descry the Great White Throne (Rev. 20:11) towering in awful perspective above them all; and he combines them all as hours in one grand diurnal generalization, which he calls “the Day of the Lord,” which will have its Sunset in the Universal Doom of Quick and Dead. 

                Joel is quoted by Amos 1:2, who there takes up the warnings of Joel 3:16, and who also closes his prophecy with gracious predictions similar to those of Joel (cp. Amos 9:13, Joel 3:18). Joel is also cited by Isaiah (13:6. See Joel 1:18). We may accept the opinion that he prophesied before Amos, i.e. before the twenty-seven (27) years of the contemporaneous reigns of Uzziah and Jeroboam II, i.e. before B.C. 810 (Ussher, Pusey, Keil).

                Joel is placed in the Hebrew Canon between Hosea and Amos, who, according to the inscriptions and contents of their prophecies, prophesied under Jeroboam II and Uzziah; his position in the Canon is tantamount to a testimony from tho Hebrew Church, that he lived and prophesied at that time.

                For further remarks on the prophecies of Joel, see the ‘Introduction‘ prefixed to this Volume.

                Teacher who will Lead to Righteousness (2:23-28).      Promise of  Holy Ghost (2:28-32).     Restoration in Christ (3:1).   Valley of Jehoshaphat (3:2-12).    World’s Harvest & Vintage (3:13).              Future Universal Judgment (3:13-16).      Glory of Church (3:17-18).      Fountain  from the LORD’S House (3:18-21). }}

                {{ AMOS: (1:1) The prophecies of AMOS are a sequel to those of Joel. Joel, whose name signifies “the Lord (Jehovah) is God,” had displayed in one comprehensive view the judgments of God brought together and concentrated in a grand climax, “the Day of the Lord.” He had foreshown the destruction of all the Lord’s enemies; he had also displayed His Divine Supremacy, and His everlasting love for the spiritual Zion of His Church; He had closed his prophecies with an assurance of the Lord’s perpetual abiding in her.

                Amos, whose name signifies bearer, takes up the message and delivers it in several prophetic burdens of judgment (or massas; see on Isa. 22, Prelim. Note) to the several Nations of the Earth.

                He marks also his own connexion with Joel by adopting, at the beginning of his prophecy, the closing words of Joel, significant of God’s judicial Majesty in His Church, “The Lord will roar out of Zion and utter His voice from Jerusalem” (1:2). See Joel 3:6, 16.

                For further remarks on this subject, see above, the ‘Introduction‘ to the Minor Prophets generally.

                Prophetic Burdens (1:3-3:2).     Five Parables (3:3-4:13).     Prophecy of Judgment on Wicked (5:1-3).    Promise of Mercy to Penitent (5:4-9:15).

                9: 14,15. they shall build the waste cities—and they shall plant vineyards—and I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled tip out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God] These prophecies received a subordinate and preparatory fulfillment when some of the Jews returned under Zerubbabel to Jerusalem; but this was only a foretaste of their full accomplishment in Christ. The opinion that they were fully accomplished in Zerubbabel, was broached by Theodore of Mopsuestia, but was condemned as heretical in the Second Council of Constantinople.

                The Prophets speak of conversion to Christianity under the terms of restoration. Thus, a restoration is promised to Moab (Jer. 48:47), to Ammon (Jer. 49:6), and even to Sodom and her daughters. Those prophecies cannot he understood literally, but they foretell the reception of heathen nations into the Church. See A Lapide, here. Similarly all these prophecies of Amos are fulfilled in all places wherever Israel is planted in the true spiritual Holy Land, the Church of Christ. Zion now enfolds the World, and will never he destroyed. Palestine extends to all places where Christ is preached and adored. The World is become a Holy Land in Him. See above, on Jer. 30:3; 31:5; on Isa. 65:21, and chap. 66:7-12. Ezek. 34:13; 36:33; 37:12; and on Joel 3:20,21.

                An Ancient Father of the Church at the close of the Fourth Century, S. Jerome, who dwelt at Bethlehem in the immediate neighbourhood of Tekoa, the native place of Amos the Prophet, thus writes: “The Tabernacle of David had fallen down to those who said, ‘Evil shall not overtake us’ (v. 10), whom the Lord sifted and proved in His sieve, and whose threshing-floor He had purged by the fan of His Majesty, and the transgressors among whom He had slain by the sword.

                “But now, according to the custom of Scripture, after a prophecy of chastisement. He adds promises of love and prosperity. He says, that He will raise up this Tabernacle of David that had fallen down, that He will build it all up again in the  Resurrection of Christ the Son of David; so that what had fallen down in the Jewish Synagogue might rise up in the Christian Church; and that they who believe in Christ might possess the remnant of Edom and of all the heathen; so that whatever remains of the earthly and sanguinary kingdom of Edom, the enemy of Israel, might be changed into a kingdom of heaven; and that the heathen might be converted and return to the Lord; and so, when the fulness of the Gentiles had come in, all Israel should be saved (Rom. 11:12).

                “The prophecy of Amos which now succeeds, is understood by us who do not follow the letter that killeth (as some of the Jews now do), but the spirit that giveth life (2nd Cor. 3:6), to have been in part fulfilled, and to be in course of fulfilment, in the Christian Church. It is fulfilled in all who have fallen into ruin by sin, and who are built up by repentance. And when the ‘Tabernacle of David, which had fallen down, is built up again in Christ, then, as the Prophet says, a time succeeds of universal  abundance. They who before went forth weeping, bearing their good seed, now return again with joy, and bring their sheaves with them (Ps. 126:6). The ploughman overtakes the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed. The vintage and seed-time will coincide. In that day, the wine-press will be filled, the grapes will be trodden, and red wine will be poured forth from the blood of Christ and the Holy Martyrs, and this their blood will be the seed of the Church.

                “The mountains shall drop sweet wine, and the hills shall melt, when everyone, who ascends in a holy and virtuous life to the hills of spiritual contemplation, will taste the honey and the sweet wine which flow there; as the Psalmist says, ‘Taste and see how gracious the Lord is.’ ‘Thy words are sweet to my mouth, sweeter than honey and the honeycomb’ (Ps. 34:8, Ps. 19:10; 119:103). And they who dwell beneath the mountains, on which the Bridegroom comes leaping in the Canticles (Song of Solomon 2:8), will be planted like a Paradise of God; and all fruits of holy learning and knowledge will hang upon their boughs. Then he who once wandered in captivity, and did not then believe in the Name of the Lord, but is of the remnant of Israel, will return to God and to his own land, by faith in Christ, and he will recognize in the Gospels Him of Whom he once read in the Prophets; and after the Lord has thus turned back the Captivity of His people Israel, they will build up cities which before were desolate on lofty mountains, and dwell in them, according to our Lord’s words, ‘a city set upon a hill cannot be hid’ (Matt. 5:14). They will also plant vineyards and drink wine of them, according to the invitation given by Christ in the Canticles (v. 1), ‘Drink, yea drink abundantly, beloved.’ This is the grape of Sorec which we drink daily in the holy mysteries of the Lord’s banquet. And they will plant gardens and water them, and no kinds of Christian graces and virtues will be lacking there; and they will eat the fruit of them. And thus the promise of Christ will be fulfilled, ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth’ (Mat. 5:5). And the final promise of the prophecy here is, ‘I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord of hosts;’ whence we learn that, though the Church of God will be persecuted in the last days, it will never be destroyed; it will be assaulted, but it will never be conquered. And the reason of this is, because the Lord God Almighty, the Lord God of the Church, has promised this; and God’s promise is Nature’s law” (S. Jerome). Compare S. Augustine, De Civ. Dei, xviii. 28.

                “We are not authorized to seek for a realization of this prophecy of Amos in the return of Israel from its Babylonish Captivity to Palestine, under Zerubbabel and Ezra; for this

was no planting of Israel to dwell forever in the land, nor was it a setting up of the fallen hut of David. Nor have we to transfer the fulfilment to the future, and think of a time when the Jews, who have been converted to their God and Saviour Jesus Christ, will one day be led back to Palestine. Canaan and Israel are types of the kingdom of God, and of the Lord’s Church. Cp. Joel 3:8. The raising up of the fallen hut of David began with the Coming of Christ, and the founding of the Christian Church; and the taking possession of Edom and all the other nations upon whom the Lord reveals His Name, took its rise in the reception of the Gentiles into the Kingdom of Heaven set up by Christ. The Land which will flow with streams of Divine blessing is not Palestine, but the domain of the Christian Church; it is the Earth, as far as it receives the benefits of Christianity. The people which cultivate this land are the members of the Christian Church, so far as it is grounded in living faith, and brings forth the fruits of the Holy Spirit” (Keil). See also M. Henry here, who says: –”This must certainly be understood of the abundance of spiritual blessings in heavenly things, which all those are and shall be blessed with, who are in sincerity added to Christ and His Church; they shall be abundantly replenished with the goodness of God’s House, with the graces and comforts of His Spirit; they shall have bread –the bread of life –to strengthen their hearts, and the wine of divine consolations to make them glad—meat, indeed, and drink, indeed –all the benefit that comes to the souls of men from the Word and Spirit of God. In Gospel-times the mountains of the Gentile world shall be enriched with these privileges by the Gospel of Christ preached, and professed, and received in the power of it. When great multitudes were converted to the faith of Christ, and nations were born at once; when the preachers of the Gospel were always caused to triumph in the success of their preaching, then the ploughman overtook the reaper; and when the Gentile Churches were enriched in all utterance, and in all knowledge, and all manner of spiritual gifts (1st Cor. 1:5), then the mountains dropped sweet wine” (M. Henry). }}

                {{ OBADIAH: Preliminary Note. The prophecy of OBADIAH is linked on to the foregoing predictions of Amos by a particular word.

                That word is Edom.

                In the last chapter of his prophecies, Amos had said that the Lord would ” raise up the tabernacle of David that was fallen,” and he had expressed its future glory and universal sovereignty under the sway of the Messiah, by saying that it would “possess the remnant of Edom” (9:11,12).

                The name Edom, as was there observed, represents not merely the literal Edomites, but all those persons and classes of society, which, being allied by nearness of birth or place to the Israel of God—that is, to the Christian Church (as Edom, or Esau, was to Jacob), have yet behaved to it in an unbrotherly, heartless, and treacherous manner.

                That prophecy of Amos is now taken up and expanded by Obadiah, who follows next to Amos in the Hebrew Canon, and in the order of time.

                That this is the proper place for Obadiah in the chronological sequence of the Prophets, and that he prophesied during, or soon after, the twenty-seven years in which Uzziah, King of Judah, and Jeroboam II., King of Israel, were contemporaries –i.e. between B.C. 810, and B.C. 783 –was suggested 1400 years ago by S. Jerome, who says, “a great portion of Obadiah is contained in the Book of Jeremiah;” and this has been successfully proved, and is now generally admitted, by the best expositors, as Hengstenberg, Pusey, Keil; see also Kueper, Jeremias, p. 100; Delitzsch on Isaiah 43:1-6; and the remarks of Graf (Der Prophet Jeremias, Leipz. 1863, pp. 559-570); and especially Carl Paul Caspari (Der Prophet Obadja, Leipz., 1842, pp. 6-42), who, however, thinks that Obadiah is speaking of the cruelty of Edom to Judah at the time of the Chaldaean invasion. They have shown that Jeremiah in his prophecy concerning Edom (Jer. 49:7-22), has adopted the language of Obadiah.

                The uncertainty of that modern Criticism which sets aside the authority of the Hebrew Canon, and has exhibited itself in the disquisitions on Obadiah of Hitizig, Hofmann, and others, is strikingly displayed in the fact that the former makes him to be the latest of the Prophets, and the other regards him as the earliest.

                It is observed by Caspari (pp. 5-12), in examining the prophecies of Jeremiah concerning Edom, that we discover a great number of expressions which are peculiar to Jeremiah and often occur in his writings; but not a single one of these is found in Obadiah; which would be unaccountable, if Obadiah had followed and used the prophecies of Jeremiah, instead of vice versa. On the other hand, nothing which Jeremiah has in common with Obadiah, in the prophecies concerning Edom, is found in any other part of Jeremiah. Obadiah’s prophecies concerning Edom form one connected whole; Jeremiah intersperses his prophecy with phrases culled here and there from Obadiah.

                From this demonstration we may derive the following inferences: –

                1. It confirms our confidence in the arrangement of the Minor Prophets in the Hebrew Bible –an arrangement which, happily, has been adopted in our own Authorized English Version of the Old Testament.

                2. The chronological position of Obadiah illustrates an important truth concerning God’s dealings with mankind.      It may be laid down as a rule, that God never executes a judgment, or inflicts a punishment on a nation or an individual. without having given some previous warnings, either special or general, as to the hateful character and dangerous consequences of the sins for which the judgments are inflicted. God warns men of hell, in order that they may escape hell, and attain heaven. He speaks of punishment, that He may not inflict it.       This was the law of His working with regard to even heathen nations. He did not denounce His judgments on Nineveh by Nahum before He had given a warning to Nineveh by Jonah; and He did not denounce His judgment on Edom by Jeremiah before He had given warning of the approaching visitation by Obadiah.

                3. It is to be regretted that in our English Version of Obadiah, the sin and punishment of Edom are represented as already past, whereas, the truth is, that they are future. Obadiah does not exult over Edom as having been punished for their sins against their brother Israel, by the Lord God of Israel, but he is sent by God, in His mercy, to warn Edom against committing the sin, in order that they may escape the punishment; see below, on V. 12.

                4. The name Obadiah means servant of the Lord (Jehovah), the God of the Covenant of Israel. Obadiah performs his work as servant of Jehovah, by showing that the Lord God of Israel is Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and the destinies of all heathen Nations are in His hands; and that it is the duty and happiness of nations to acknowledge His supremacy; and that though heathen nations, like Edom, may for wise purposes be allowed to chastise Israel –the Church of God – yet, eventually, the Lord God of Israel (that is, of the true Church) will overrule all things to the good of His Church, which will endure forever; and to the glory of the Great Name of the Lord God of Abraham, shedding blessings on all His faithful people of every nation, through the Seed of Abraham, in Whom “all families of the earth are to be blessed” –our Lord and Saviour ‘Jesus Christ’.

                5. It may be observed, that, in order to bring out more clearly the supremacy of ‘Jehovah’, the Lord of Israel, Obadiah never uses the word ‘Elohim’.

                6. In the series of special denunciations of warning against heathen nations, which form the entire subject of the writings of Three among the Minor Prophets, the denunciation of Obadiah against Edom holds the first place ;      It is followed by the special denunciations of Jonah and of Nahum against the great Assyrian capital, Nineveh.

                These special denunciations by Obadiah against Edom, and by Jonah and Nahum against Nineveh, are again succeeded by Habakkuk’s message of woe to Babylon. It has been shown above, concerning Edom, Nineveh, and Babylon, that each of them represents a particular type respectively of sin against God, and of enmity against His Church. See on Isa. 13 prelim. note. Jer. 49:7; 50:1, 21,  Ezek. 25, p. 213; 31, p. 229.      

                Edom is the type of unfraternal and treacherous churchmanship.     Nineveh is the type of open blasphemy and Infidelity.      Babylon is the type of proud and dominant Idolatry. 

                The priority of Obadiah to Jonah, Nahum, and Habakkuk may suggest the solemn truth, that Edomitish hatred against God’s Church (that is, the malignant enmity of those who are connected with the spiritual Israel of God by ties of consanguinity or neighbourhood) calls for God’s primitive retribution even before the sins of such distant foes as Nineveh and Babylon, who had not the same advantages as Edom enjoyed.

                Note on English Authorized Version.

                12. But thou shouldest not have looked] Rather, And look thou not. See the margin, Do not behold. It is a strong prohibition (so Sept., Vulg., Syriac, Arabic, Junius, Tremellius,

Piscator, Keil, and cp. Pusey, p. 229).

                This is important to observe. The translation given in the text of our ‘Authorized Version‘ is happily neutralized in the margin; but it has tempted many readers to imagine that Obadiah is referring to a past event, especially to the unbrotherly conduct which was displayed by Edom towards Judah, when Jerusalem was taken by the Babylonian army under Nebuchadnezzar.

                Thus many English readers have been led into an altogether inaccurate notion with regard to the prophetic character and office of Obadiah, and also with regard to the time in which he lived; and a prejudice has been raised against the Hebrew arrangement of the Books of the Minor Prophets.

                These errors will be avoided by adopting the translation in the margin of our Authorized Version, instead of that in the text.

                This may serve as an occasion for again expressing a desire, that the wish of our Translators, as uttered in their Preface to the Authorized Version (and why is that Preface so little known and so rarely printed with our Bibles?) were complied with; and that the renderings placed by them in the margin, should be consulted habitually by the reader of the Translation. Would it not be well that editions of our Authorized Translation were usually accompanied with the marginal renderings? Indeed, it may be doubted whether any edition should be published without them. It may also be suggested for consideration, whether the ministers of the Church, who officiate publicly in reading the appointed Lessons of Holy Scripture, might not be at liberty to substitute, in such public reading, the rendering in the margin, in lieu of the rendering in the text. Such a substitution seems to be authorized by the Keri and Chetib of the Hebrew Synagogues; and the advantage of it is obvious from such an example as that which is now before us in the Prophet Obadiah. If we are to have a new revision of our Authorized Version (which is a holy bond of union among all members and Churches of the Anglican Communion in all parts of the world, and also a sacred link of Christian connexion of our dissenting brethren with the whole Anglican Communion, and is of inestimable value in this respect), it deserves serious consideration whether this work of revision ought not, at least in the first instance, to be applied, not to the Text, but to the Margin. Considerable additions might be made to the Margin; and if these additions, after careful examination and a sufficient time of probation, were generally approved, then (but not till then) they might be allowed to pass from the Margin into the Text. The remarks of Dr. Pusey, in his Introduction to the Minor Prophets, deserve the careful consideration of all who have a due regard for Church-Unity and Scriptural Truth.

                Judgment on Edom, & on All Enemies of Zion (1:15-16).      Restoration of Zion in Christ (1:17-21). }}

                {{ JONAH: What is the design of the Book of JONAH?

                In the previous prophetical books Almighty God, had pre-announced His judicial retribution on heathen Nations, whom He used, or would use, as His instruments to punish His people Israel and Judah for their sins. He had then revealed Himself as the Supreme Ruler and Moral Governor of the World. He had also declared His special love to Israel and Judah, and had foretold, that though they would be scattered for their sins, yet, on their repentance and faith, they would hereafter be restored in Christ.

                Lest, however, it should be supposed that God’s relation to the Heathen Nations was one only of power, terror, and judgment, and not also of love and mercy. He had announced by the prophet Amos that all Nations of the World would be brought into covenant with Him, on equal terms with the Jews, in Christ. See Amos 9:11,12, quoted by St. James at the Council of Jerusalem, Acts 15:15-17, in proof of that statement.

                He had also declared by the Prophet Obadiah, that He Himself, having used the Heathen Nations to punish and carry captive Israel and Judah for their sins against Him, would afterwards use Israel and Judah (who, after their captivity, and by their captivity, would be brought nearer to God in the Gospel) as His instruments for releasing the Heathen Nations from the bondage of Sin and Satan, and for bringing them back to Him in Christ. See Obad. 19-21.

                He had also shown His kindness even to Edom itself, first by a salutary warning against the sin of malice and hatred toward Israel (Obad. 12-14), and next. He had cheered Edom with a promise of restoration, on condition of its faith and repentance, by means of Israel, converting it to Christ (Obad. 21).

                Such Divine declarations as these must have seemed strange to some zealous Israelites. They would have been, in their days, what Saul of Tarsus afterwards was. They would have been fired with fervent enthusiasm for the Levitical Law, and for the privileges and prerogatives of Israel. They would almost have felt angry with God for such an extension of His favours to the Heathen. They would have thought that the gain of the Heathen was their own loss. And this narrow and exclusive spirit of Judaism towards the Heathen Nations of the world would be aggravated, exasperated, and intensified by the growing hostility, pride, and cruelty of Heathen Nations, especially of Assyria, towards themselves, the favoured people of God.

                But God would show the Jews that He had mercy for all. He would display this by His conduct to Nineveh, the capital city of that very Assyrian Nation which was the most powerful and bitter enemy of Israel. He would thus teach Israel, that, if they were indeed His people, they must imitate His merciful spirit, and love their enemies, and embrace the Assyrians as brethren. We may compare the prophecy in Isa. 19:24, “In that day shall Israel be the third(3rd) with Egypt and with Assyria.”

                We have then a portraiture of the Jewish character (such as was afterwards displayed in the strongest colours in Saul of Tarsus) presented to us in the Prophet Jonah. He grudges (God’s mercy to the Heathen. He is angry with God’s love to them. He shrinks from the commission of preaching repentance to Ninevah), the capital of Assyria. Perhaps he had heard that Assyria would be used by God to chastise Israel and carry it captive. He does not wish that Nineveh should repent. He is quite content, nay, he is almost eager, that it should perish. He sits down outside its walls, watching, to see them fall.

                Almighty God graciously vouchsafed to correct this jealous temper. He would teach  the prophet Jonah to be merciful, like Himself; He would use him, although reluctant and shrinking back, in preaching repentance, and in delivering a message of pardon to Nineveh on its repentance; and in saving Nineveh from destruction.

                Thus He anticipated the lesson inculcated in our Lord’s parable, which exhibits the narrow-minded and sullen spirit of the Jew, in the elder brother murmuring at his father’s love in receiving the penitent prodigal (Luke 15:25-32). Thus He taught Jonah that while he was a Hebrew Prophet (1:9), and therefore was justly full of love for the Hebrew Nation, and of zeal for the God of the Hebrews, he must also be like the God of the Hebrews –the God of Abraham, in whose Seed all the families of the Earth are blessed; and must feel sympathy for

all Nations, even for Assyria, the greatest and most formidable foe of Israel; and must desire to promote the salvation of all, as children of the same heavenly Father. He taught Jonah a lesson which was learnt in perfection by St. Paul, “the Hebrew of the Hebrews,” the Apostle of the Gentiles, who would have sacrificed everything for his brethren after the flesh, the Jews, and their salvation (Rom. 9:1-5), and yet cheerfully incurred their wrath, and exposed himself to death at their hands (1st Thess. 2:15,16, Acts 14:5, 19), in order that he might preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph. 3:8).

                Put Jonah (as we know from Christ Himself (Matt. 12:39,40; 16:4, Luke 11:30) was also a type of a greater than St. Paul. Jonah, after his three (3) days burial and resurrection, preached Repentance to Nineveh, the great Heathen City. Christ, the Divine Antitype (in Whom we see in perfection the virtues, opposite to all the failings of all His human types), went forth after His Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven, to preach by His Apostles; and He is ever going forth to preach by His Ministers, repentance and remission of sins to all Nations of the World.

                The Rook of Jonah is a prophecy of this great Missionary Work of Divine Mercy and Love, which has now been going on for 1800 years, and will go on till the Day of Doom.

                Thus we see that, though the Book of Jonah may at first appear to be only a history, yet it is a prophecy. Jonah himself is not only a prophet, but is a prophecy as well. By his self-sacrifice for the sailors in the storm, he is a prophecy of the Propitiation and Atonement made by the Great Prophet, the Divine Jonah, Jesus Christ. The sudden cessation of the storm, the calm that followed Jonah’s self-sacrifice, and the safe arrival at land of the weather-beaten ship of Joppa, are beautiful foreshadowings of the World’s Peace with God after the self-devotion on Calvary, and of its consequent safe anchorage in the haven of eternity.

                Jonah was a prophet of Christ’s Burial and of His Resurrection, and of the great Christian Doctrine of Universal Redemption by Him. He was a prophet of the gracious and blessed truth that God’s mercy is over all His works. God desireth not the death of a sinner, and willeth not that any should perish, but that all (even the Ninevites) should be saved and come to the knowledge of His truth (1st Tim. 2:4, 2nd Pet. 3:9); and that He offers salvation freely to all through Christ, Who “tasted death for every man,” and gave Himself a ransom for all (Heb. 2:9. 1st Tim. 2:6).

                Such considerations as these, show that the Book of Jonah, though it may seem at first sight to be only a history, is rightly admitted among the Prophetical Books of the Old Testament. The history of Jonah is a prophecy. It prophesies of Christ –of His three (3) days Burial and Resurrection, and of the conversion of the Heathen and their reception into God’s favour through faith in Christ. As is well said hy S. Augustine (De Civ. Dei, xviii. 30), “Jonas non tarn sermone quam sua quadam passione prophetavit; profecto apertiils quam si Christi mortem et resurrection cm voce clamaret.” (The prophet Jonah, not so much by speech as by his own painful experience, prophesied Christ’s death and resurrection much more clearly than if he had proclaimed them with his voice. For why was he taken into the whale’s belly and restored on the third day, but that he might be a sign that Christ should return from the depths of hell on the third day?)

                That the author of the Book of Jonah was Jonah himself, and that it was designed by him to be a representation of his own weaknesses and prejudices, and to be a penitential confession from his own lips; and to display God’s love to the heathen, and to foreshadow their conversion, and thus to be a prophetical lesson to the world, will probably be evident to all who examine it with attention. See, for example, on 1:4, and his prayer in chapter 2.

                1:17.  the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up JonahThe Lord had prepared. Literally, The Lord numbered, or appointed. The Hebrew verb (manah) (whence the Greek and Latin mina), to divide, to member, to allot, to appoint, is used four (4) times in this book, in a remarkable manner. “The Lord prepared a great fish;” “the Lord God prepared a gourd” (iv. 6); “God prepared a worm” (4:7); “God prepared a vehement east wind” (4:8) –showing that God is ever working in the government of the World –is always preparing things for their appointed season and work, –and ordereth all things “by number, measure, and weight.”

                In the obedience of the fish whom God appointed to do His work, and who kept the Prophet in safe custody (as Daniel was kept in the lions’ den, and as our Lord was safe “among the wild beasts” in the wilderness), and who, when “the Lord spake unto him, vomited out Jonah upon the dry land” (and not into the watery ocean), we see a contrast to Jonah himself, who had disobeyed God. The fish, like Balaam’s ass, is a prophet to the Prophet himself, and teaches him obedience to God.

                Let us bear in mind that Jonah himself (as is most probable) is the narrator of all this. This book was written by him; and therefore we see here a frank confession of his own failings, and a proof of his own repentance.

                “The great fish” (called kētos herein Sept. and in Matt. 12:40) “was probably a large shark, or sea-dog, ‘canis carcharias,’ which is common in the Mediterranean, and has so large a throat that it can swallow a man whole.” See Oken and Midler (quoted by Keil here) who state that in the year 1758 a sailor fell overboard from a frigate in the Mediterranean, and was swallowed by a sea-dog; and that the captain of the vessel ordered a cannon on the deck to be fired at the fish, and, that the fish, being struck by the ball, vomited up the sailor, who was taken up by a boat let down into the sea, and was received again alive and not much hurt. The fish, which was twenty feet long and nine feet broad, was harpooned; it was drawn up on the frigate, and dried; and was exhibited by the sailor in Erlaugen, and at Nuremberg and other places. [No verification. The aqualus carcharias L., the true shark, Requin, or rather Requiem, reaches, according to Cuvier, the length of 25 feet, and according to Oken the length of four fathoms, and has about 400 lance-shaped teeth in its jaw, arranged in six rows, which the animal can either elevate or depress, as they are simply fixed in cells in the skin. It is common in the Mediterranean, where it generally remains in deep water, and is very voracious, swallowing everything that comes in its way — plaice, seals, and tunny-fish, with which it sometimes gets into the fishermen’s net on the coat of Sardinia, and is caught. As many as a dozen undigested tunny-fish have been found in a shark weighing three or four hundredweight; in one a whole horse was found, and its weight was estimated at fifteen hundredweight. Rondelet (Oken, p. 58) says that he saw one on the western coast of France, through whose throat a fat man could very easily have passed. Oken also mentions a fact, which is more elaborately described in Müller’s Vollständiges Natur- system des Ritters Carl v. Linné (Th. iii. p. 268), namely, that in the year 1758 a sailor fell overboard from a frigate, in very stormy weather, into the Mediterranean Sea, and was immediately taken into the jaws of a sea-dog (carcharias), and disappeared. The captain, however, ordered a gun, which was standing on the deck, to be discharged at the shark, and the cannon-ball struck it, so that it vomited up again the sailor that it had swallowed, who was then taken up alive, and very little hurt, into the boat that had been lowered for his rescue.] 

                S. Augustine mentions (Epist. 102), that in his time a fish was exhibited at Carthage which would have contained many men in its belly. [No evidence.]  

                { AFRICA  Published March 10, 2019  Diver survives after being scooped up in whale’s mouth off South Africa.   Travis Fedschun of  Fox News. (Photo: Rainer Schimpf can be seen in the mouth of the Bryde’s Whale in Port Elizabeth, South Africa in February. (Heinz Toperczer /Barcroft Images))

                (A diver in South Africa survived an experience out of a biblical passage last month when he ended up almost being swallowed by a whale.   Rainer Schimpf, 51, was snorkeling off the coast of Port Elizabeth, South Africa, when he ended up in the path of a Bryde’s whale, which opened his jaws and engulfed him headfirst.  “We were very astonished that out of nowhere this whale came up,” he told Sky News. “I was busy concentrating on the sharks because you want to know if the shark is in front of you or behind you, left or right, so we were very focused on the sharks and their behavior — then suddenly it got dark.”   Schimpf, who has worked as a dive operator for over 15 years, said he was in the water with two others for just a matter of minutes before the whale appeared. He had happened to be with a group recording a sardine run, which is where marine animals such as dolphins, whales, and sharks gather fish into bait balls.   The 51-year-old said once the whale grabbed him, he felt pressure around his body but soon realized he was too big for the whale to swallow him whole which was “kind of an instant relief.”   “So my next thought was that the whale may take me down into the ocean and release me further down, so I instantly held my breath,” he told Sky News. “Obviously, he realized I was not what he wanted to eat so he spat me out again.” Unlike the biblical story of Jonah, Schimpf didn’t end up in the animal’s belly but was able to swim away after being released. Bryde’s whales are members of the baleen whale family, a group that includes blue whales and humpback whales, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Bryde’s whales are named for Johan Bryde, a Norwegian who built the first whaling stations in South Africa in the early 20th century,” the agency says. “Bryde’s whales are found in warm, temperate oceans including the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific.”   The whales can weigh about 90,000 pounds and grow to a length of 55 feet, according to the NOAA. The whales have a diet that consists mainly of krill, red crabs, shrimp and a “variety of schooling fishes,” but clearly not adult humans.   Schimpf said the whole experience showed him just how small humans are in the world.  “Once you’re grabbed by something that’s 15 tons heavy and very fast in the water, you realize you’re actually only that small in the middle of the ocean,” he told Sky News.    Travis Fedschun is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @travfed) }

                The fable of Arion and the Dolphin (Herod. i. 23) seems to have been derived from the history of Jonah. The reasons for this miracle were many: (1) That the Ninevites, having heard of it from Jonah’s own narration, and perhaps from some of the sailors who had cast him into the sea, might listen to his preaching, and repent. As Our Lord Himself said, “Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites,” and they repented at his preaching (Matt. 12:39; 16:4, Luke 11:29-32. (2) That Jonah might be a type and prophecy of Christ’s Death, Burial, and Resurrection. (3) That God’s dealings with the Jewish Nation might be justified. The heathen city Nineveh repented in consequence of this miracle, and of Jonah’s preaching, and was saved. Jerusalem did not repent after the greater miracle of Christ’s Resurrection, and at the preaching of His Apostles, and was destroyed.

                Jonah in Whale’s Belly 3 Days & 3 Nights.

                Much has been written concerning this history. To the Christian reader it will be sufficient to remember, that its historical truth has been avouched and authenticated, and that its prophetical significance has been expounded, by Jesus Christ, Whom we can prove by incontrovertible arguments to be what He Himself affirmed –the Son of the Living God, and therefore infinite in knowledge and truth. The proofs of this are given in the Editor’s Four Lectures on the Inspiration of the Bible, Lecture ii., and need not be repeated here.

                Well, therefore, might S. Jerome say, “Hujus loci mysterium in Evangelio Domiuus exponit; et superfluum est, vel id ipsum, vel aliud dicere, quam exposuit Ipse Qui passus est.”

                The Christian reader will recollect that the Son of God has asserted the truth of this history, and has also applied it to Himself; and has shown that there was an adequate reason for the miracle here wrought by God, inasmuch as it was a prophetical representation of the greatest events that have ever occurred in this world’s history, namely, the Burial and Resurrection of Christ Himself. Jonah’s grave in the belly of the fish for three (3) days and three (3) nights was a strange event, such as was never heard of before. But even in that respect he was a figure of Christ, Who was buried in a new tomb wherein no man before was laid (Luke 23:53), and Who raised Himself from the dead, as He had declared that He would do – John 2:19. Cp. Matt. 20:19.

                In Jonah’s Burial and Resurrection, we may also see a foreshadowing of the great event still future, that concerns all mankind –namely, the Resurrection of all at the Great Day.  Jonah’s Resurrection was a type of Christ’s Resurrection; which is a pledge of our Resurrection. “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1st Cor. 15:22).

                The Burial of Jonah, unhurt in the whale’s belly, affords to us a cheering illustration of what Jonah’s predecessor, the prophet Hosea, said, as explained by the Apostle St. Paul –”0 Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory?” (Hos. 13:14.) God can keep us safe in the jaws of the great Whale, and in the abysses of the great Deep; namely, in the jaws of Death, and in the depths of the Grave. Cp. S. Irenaeus, iii. 22 ; and v. 5 ; and Tertullian, De Resur. Carnis, c. 58.

                Our Blessed Lord has distinctly affirmed that “Jonah was three (3) days and three (3) nights in the whale’s belly;” and He coupled that assertion as to the past, with a prophecy concerning the future –namely, “so shall the Son of Man be three (3) days and three (3) nights in the heart of the earth.” That prophecy was fulfilled. Its fulfilment proved Christ’s truth. It confirms our belief in His assertion, that the history of Jonah is true. All our difficulties with regard to this and other histories in the Old Testament are dissolved in the crucible of faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who received the Old Testament as true and divine, and commanded us to receive it as such. We accept the Written Word from the hands of the Incarnate Word. The Word of God is vouched to us as true, by the witness of the Son of God ; and we learn here to recognize a proof of the reality of our own future Resurrection, which Christ Himself has proclaimed to us as certain; “The hour is coming, when all that are in the graves shall hear His Voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation ” (John 5:28,29); and thus we too are stimulated to repent by the preaching of Jonah, and to rise from the death of sin now, that we may rise to glory hereafter.

                The remarks of S. Augustine on Jonah’s history (Epist. 102, Se.K Qncest. contra Paganos, vol. ii. p. 426; and De Symbolo ad Catechiun., c. 6) are well worthy of attention. Their subtance is as follows: –The heathen (he says) scoff and sneer at the history of Jonah. How could he have been swallowed by a fish (they ask), and remain alive three days in its belly, and then be cast forth from it on dry land? To which we reply: Either we must reject all miracles as incredible, or we must admit that there is no reason for not believing this miracle. If we are to abandon our faith because heathens and unbelievers scoff, we must cease to believe that Christ died, and was buried, and rose again the third day. We must cease to believe that Lazarus was brought forth out of his grave by Christ on the fourth day. We must cease to believe that those three men, who were cast into the fiery furnace at Babylon, walked in the fire, and came forth from it unhurt; and that the people of Israel –more than two millions in number –passed through the Red Sea, the waters of which stood as a wall on their right hand and on their left. Cp. S. Irenaeus, v. 5, and S. Jerome, here. The history of Jonah is a type and prophecy of Christ. Christ Himself has assured us of this (Matt. 12:39,40). As Jonah went from the wood of the ship into the depth of the sea, so Christ went from the wood of the cross into the depth of the earth. As Jonah gave himself to death for those who were tossed by the storm in the Mediterranean Sea, so Christ Himself gave Himself to death for those who are tossed by the storm in the sea of this world. As Jonah rose from the whale’s bellv and from the depth of the sea, so Christ rose from the dead. As Jonah after his resurrection preached to the heathen of Nineveh, and they repented; so Christ after His resurrection preached by His Apostles to the Heathen World, and it repented at their preaching. The reality of the Antitype confirms the historical truth of the type. Jonah is proved by Christ.

                4:11.  sixscore thousand (120,000) persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left] These 120,000 were children; and therefore we may estimate the whole population of Nineveh at about 650,000 souls (M. v. Nebuhr, p. 278). Though Nineveh was a tetrapolis of about ninety (90) [?] miles in circumference, we are not to be surprised that the population was not greater than this; because, like Babylon and other great Eastern Cities, it contained within its walls much pastureland and arable; as is implied by what follows, where it is said that in it was much cattle. Cp. above, on 3:6,7.

                — and also much cattle] This is a happy and appropriate conclusion to the book. God cares even for cattle. How much more, therefore, for men, for whose service cattle were created. Therefore, let Jonah learn, and let him teach the world, that God willeth all men to repent and to be saved, even the heathen Ninevehs of this world, and to be united with the Jews in one and the same faith, hope, and love, and in worshipping the same Lord and Father of all, in the same Heavenly City, the Jerusalem that is above, which is the mother of us all (Gal. 4:26). This is the lesson which the Prophet Jonah learnt, and which he is ever teaching in this Divine Book, read as divinely inspired Scripture in the Church of every age; and which has its perfect fulfilment in ‘Christ‘ (the divine Jonah, 1:17), in Whom there is neither Greek, nor Jew, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but He is all in all (Col. 3:11. Gal. 3:28); to Whom, with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory now and for evermore. ‘Amen‘. }}

                {{ MICAH: The name Micah signifies ” Who is as Jah, or Jehovah” (Caspari, uber Micha, p. 14; cp. Exod. 15:11, Deut. 3:24, Ps. 86:8; below, 7:18).

                His prophecies are united to those of Jonah; and follow them in a logical sequence and harmonious order. As we have already seen, Jonah was not only a prophet, but a prophecy; a prophecy of Christ’s Death, Burial, and Resurrection, and of the propitiation effected by His Sacrifice of Himself. His history foreshadowed the calm produced thereby in the Sea of this world, and it prefigured the preaching of Repentance after Christ’s Resurrection to the Ninevehs of Heathendom; and it exhibited God’s desire that they should all be admitted into His Church, on their faith and repentance, upon equal terms with the Jews.

                The Prophet Jonah, who had formerly been swayed by Hebrew prejudices, and had grudged the extension of God’s mercy to the Heathen, especially to the Assyrians, the formidable foes of Israel and Judah, was brought by God to a better mind, and was chastened, and softened, and spiritualized by the holy discipline of Divine Love.

                Jonah has written his own recantation in his prophetical book, and has preached to the world for 2500 years this holy lesson of universal charity, which he himself had been slow to learn: he has also delivered a gracious message of universal redemption by Christ, in that prophetic book, when expounded by the light of the Gospel.

                The Prophet Micah learnt this lesson, perhaps fi-om Jonah’s prophecy ; and, so far from grudging the glad tidings of salvation to the Gentiles, he rejoices in the prospect of the reception of all Heathen Nations into the Church of God; spreading forth from Zion in the days of the Messiah, and enfolding them all in its arms. See 4:1-5. He declares that the promised Shepherd, Who would be born at Bethlehem-Judah, the City of David, and “Whose goings forth are from everlasting, “will” stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, and will be great unto the ends of the earth” (v. 4).

                Thus, while Jonah declares the salvability of the Heathen, Micah proclaims the great truth afterwards expressed by Christ Himself in the words “salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22).

                Zion is the mother of all Christendom. “It shall come to pass” (says the Prophet, rejoicing in the glorious vision of the Church Universal, elevated aloft so as to be visible to all Nations, and expanding itself with a living and growing power and energy) “that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say. Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths. For the Law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of God from Jerusalem” (Micah iv. 1, 2).

                Micah thus reconciles the Jews to the admission of the Heathen within the pale of the Church of God. The Heathen are the spiritual offspring of Zion; and the Hebrew Mother is glorified in the multitude of her Gentile children.

                Jonah had declared that God was willing and eager to be merciful even to Assyria and its great capital, Nineveh; and thus he comforted the Gentiles with a hope of being admitted into God’s favour on a par with the Jews; and Micah, and Nahum after him, assure the Jews, that if the Ninevehs of this world are obstinate in their hostility to God’s Church, then the Messiah, the Son of David, will protect Israel and Judah (if they are faithful to God), and will deliver them from “the Assyrian invader” –the proud and godless Sennacherib– and from all the enemies of the Church who are represented and typified by him. See below, v. 5,6, 9.

                Jonah declares the salvability of all Assyrian enemies of God’s Church, if they repent; Micah proclaims the destruction of all Assyrian enemies of God’s Church if they persist in their resistance and rebellion against Him.

                The prophecies of Micah are divided into three parts, all beginning with Hear ye:–

1st. Chapters 1, 2.   2nd. Chapters 3, 4, 5.    3rd. Chapters 6, 7.

                In the first part, the Prophet foretells the destruction of Samaria for its sins (1:1-7), and the spoliation of Judah and the carrying away of its people (8-16); and grounds this threat on the iniquities of the Princes, Nobles, and false Prophets (2:1-11); and promises to Israel and Judah restoration on their repentance.

                The second portion is a recapitulation of the former, with an enlargement containing a further declaration of their sins, in more minute and precise detail (3); and also a larger and fuller promise of recovery and restitution through the ‘Messiah‘ (whose birth-place he specifies, with a declaration of His Divine Nature and office), on their faith and repentance (4:1-7; 5:1-5), and a glorious display of His power and victories, and of the peace to be established by Him (v. 6-14).

                The third portion declares God’s gracious dispensation of love and mercy to Israel from the beginning; and Israel’s ingratitude; and it contains a prophecy that Israel will hereafter be touched with remorse, consequent on their misery in their banishment and dispersion; and that they will confess their sins, and turn to God by repentance and faith; and that God will be gracious unto them, and deliver them from their enemies.

                The prophecies of Micah may be regarded as standing in the same relation to those of Isaiah, as St. Mark’s Gospel does to St. Matthew; or as the Epistle to the Galatian does to the Epistle to the Romans.

                Promise of Restoration to Israel in Christ (2:12).      Victory of Christ & of His People, in His Triumphant Resurrection from Dead (2:13-3:12).         Restoration & Exaltation of Jerusalem in Christ & Church (4:1-11).      Restoration of Israel in Christ (4:12-5:1).       Deliverance of Zion by Christ, Born at Bethlehem: Ruler, Shepherd, Everlasting God (5:1-6:16).      Prophet Foretells the Penitential Prayer of Jewish Nation; & God’s promises of Mercy, & Favour, & Glory to her in Christ (7:1-20). }}

                {{ NAHUM: The connecting link between the prophecies of MICAH, which have preceded, and those of NAHUM and Habakkuk, which now follow, is to be found in Micah 5:6.

                There that Prophet described the victory of Christ and His Church in these words:– “They shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod (or Babylon) in the entrance thereof. Then shall he deliver us from the Assyrian.” See also Micah 5:5, “This man shall be the Peace when the Assyrian shall come into our land, and when he shall tread in our palaces; then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.”

                Those prophecies, as the context shows, and all the best Expositors agree, have not only a literal sense, which relates to the deliverance of Judah from Assyria in the days of Hezekiah, and also to the liberation of the People of God from Babylon by the arms of Cyrus; but they look far beyond those national mercies, and foreshadow the triumph of Christ and of His faithful people, and the overthrow of their enemies.

                It is a legitimate inference from these prophecies, considered together with those of Isaiah, that the deliverance of the faithful Hezekiah and of the literal Jerusalem from the haughty and impious power of Sennacherib, the great Assyrian conqueror, and the destruction of his immense host before the walls of Jerusalem, by “the Angel of the Lord,” was due to the might of Christ, Who is often called by that title in the Old Testament. See above, on Exod. 3:2, Judges 13:18.

                Indeed, the words of Micah –which clearly point to Christ as the destroyer of the Assyrian invaders, whose conquests over Ethiopia and Egypt Micah himself saw, and whose overthrow he, as well as his contemporary prophet, Isaiah, foretold –bring us irresistibly to this conclusion. Cp. above, on Micah 5:5.

                They also lead us to regard the Assyrian King in his pride and blasphemy against the Lord, as a type of infidel and godless Powers which rise up against Christ, and which will be routed and crushed by Him in the last days.

                This exposition, as we have seen, was accepted by ancient Interpreters, especially S. Jerome.

                It prepares us for what follows.

                There are three specific prophecies, which fill up the entire books of three of the Minor Prophets, and are directed against three different worldly powers, hostile to God and His people;

                The first is that of ‘Obadiah‘, directed against ‘Edom‘ –the faithless, treacherous, and cruel foe of Israel their brother.      Edom is the type of powers which have some connexion with God’s Church by neighbourhood or consanguinity, and who,  in spite of this relationship, behave in a heartless manner to  her in her distresses –as Edom did to Israel and Judah in the

days of their calamity.  Edom is the type of faithless, insidious, and unbrotherly members of the Church.

                The second prophecy is that of Nahum, against Nineveh, the capital of Assyria –the haughty and savage enemy of Judah.       ‘Nineveh‘ is the type of the openly infidel and impious form of Antichristianism.           It is well said by a recent German Expositor, that the Prophet ‘Nahum‘ saw in ‘Nineveh‘ the representative of the Worldly Power opposed to God; and the destruction of Nineveh was a prophetic figure of the future overthrow of all such powers, even to the end of the world (Keil, p. 400).

                The next is that of ‘HABAKKUK’, directed against ‘BABYLON’. Babylon is represented by the Prophets as professing herself very wise, and yet a votary of idols, a victim of gross and debasing superstition (Isa. 47:10). Babylon is the figure of the idolatrous form of Antichristianism, which makes presumptuous claims to superior intelligence and insight into the mysteries of the unseen world. Cp. what has been said on Isa. 13, Prelim. Note.

                We see these qualities brought to a climax in the Babylon of the Apocalypse, Papal Rome. The proofs of this identity are given by the Editor in another place, in his Notes on the

Book of Revelation, and in a separate work, “On Union with Rome; or. Is the Church of Rome the Babylon of the Apocalypse?”

                We have now arrived at the prophecy of Nahum. It has been said by some that there is no reference to Christ in this book. But the Holy Spirit, Who spake by the prophets (2nd Pet. 1:20,21), declares by the Apostles, that “to Him give all the Prophets witness” (Acts 3:24; 10:43); and that the Spirit of Christ was in the Prophets, and that they inquired and searched diligently what that Spirit witnessed when it spake of His sufferings and of the glory that should follow (1st Pet. 1:10).

                If we accept the interpretation now given, that the Assyrian was overthrown by Christ’s power, and that the Assyrian is a type of godless Antichristian powers in these latter days, we shall see Christ in the prophecies of Nahum, as well as in all other; and we may adopt, with some modifications, the language of S. Jerome: “Micah is followed by Nahum, whose name signifies the Consoler. He consoles those of Israel who had been taken captive and dispersed by the Assyrian; he foretells the future downfall of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria; and, in a spiritual sense, he predicts the destruction of all godless Ninevehs in the latter days.  And again (in his Epistle to Paulinus), S. Jerome says, “Nahum –the consoler of the world– rebukes the bloody city (3:1), and foretells its destruction, and after that event he exclaims, “Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace” (1:15) –the Christian significance of which prophecy had already been declared by Isaiah (52:7, Rom. 10:15).

                The prophecy of Nahum (says S. Jerome in prolog.) is to be understood, not only historically, but figuratively; and in reading it we must rise from the level of the literal sense to the higher altitude of the moral and spiritual. The prophet speaks to us concerning the consummation of all things, and affords consolation to the faithful in the last days, in order that they may despise the pomp and power of this world as mere transitory phantoms and fleeting shadows, and may prepare themselves for the Day of Judgment, when the Lord will appear as the Avenger of His People against all Antichristian Assyrians.

                So far, then, from its being true that Christ is not to be found in the prophecy of Nahum, rather we may say that He is the principal agent in it.

                The date of Nahum’s prophecy falls soon after those of Isaiah and Micah; namely, after the carrying away of the ten (10) tribes of Israel by Assyria (B.C. 721), and after the destruction of the army of Sennacherib at the walls of Jerusalem (about B.C. 712 –Vitringa, Keil), and before the fall of Nineveh, as to the date of which see on 2nd Kings 23:29.

                Deliverance & Joy of Judah, for Overthrow of Sennacherib & Nineveh; Deliverance & Joy of Church for Victory of Christ (1:15-3:19). }}

                {{ HABAKKUK: The prophecy of ‘HABAKKUK’ makes a pair with that of ‘NAHUM’. Both prophecies are called burdens; both are visions of the future. Nahum, the comforter (as his name signifies), consoles Israel, led captive by Assyria, with the assurance that the capital of that proud and cruel Empire would be overthrown by the Lord God of Israel, Whose universal sovereignty over the dynasties of this World, and Whose righteous attributes and tender regard for His exiled people, would then be declared; and that they would be delivered from the heavy yoke which pressed upon them.

                Such is the literal sense of that prophecy; and in a spiritual sense it belongs to all time, especially to the last days of the World, and foretells that all haughty, infidel, and godless forms of Antichristianism will be eventually overthrown, and that the Church of God will be comforted by the Love of her Divine Lord and Saviour, to Whom all power in heaven and earth is given (Matt. 28:18), and Who will make all His enemies His footstool (Ps. 110:1, Matt. 22:44).

                The Ten (10) Tribes of Israel were carried captive by Assyria for their sins; but there was another proud and cruel Power, which was permitted, and indeed commissioned, by God, to chastise the other kingdom –that of Judah– which did not profit by the warnings of His wrath against idolatry, that had been displayed by the punishment of Israel, carried captive and dispersed by Assyria.

                This was Babylon.

                Babylon is displayed in Holy Scripture as the essence and type of all creature-worship, idolatry, and superstition, combined with a profession of much spiritual wisdom, and of a supernatural gift and ability to penetrate unseen mysteries, and to read the future; as evinced by its magical arts, its astrology, sorcery, and divination; and these characteristics were allied with vain-glorious vaunting of itself, its strong and magnificent city and vast extent of empire, consequent on the conquests of Assyria by Nabopolassar, and the successful campaigns of his son and successor, Nebuchadnezzar, in Asia and Palestine, where Jerusalem and Tyre had fallen before him; and in all the regions to the east and south-west of the Jordan, and in the land of the Pharaohs, who had been crushed by his victorious arms.

                Habakkuk, the Levite (see 3:19), who had ministered in the Temple of Jerusalem, was raised up by God to do the same work for Judah, with regard to Babylon, which Nahum the Elkoshite, of Galilee (Nah. 1:1), had done for Israel, with respect to the elder Empire of Asia–that of Assyria, which had fallen before the power of Babylon, and whose splendours had been eclipsed by its glory.

                The name Habakkuk signifies a loving embrace (see Gesen. 258; Fuerst, 413, 414; Caspari on Micah, 31); and as Nahum was a comforter sent by God to console Israel, in captivity and affliction, so in Habakkuk (as Luther has suggested), we have a vision of God’s love, embracing His people of Judah, whose captivity by the Chaldeans he foresees and foretells (1:6). As S. Jerome says, “Prophetia” (Abacuc) “est contra Babylonem et regem Chaldseorum, ut quomodo prior Propheta Naum, quem Abacuc sequitur, vaticinium habuit contra Nineven et Assyrios, qui vastaverunt decem tribus quae vocabantur Israel, ita Abacuc prophetiam habet adversus Babylonem et Nabuchodonosor a quibus Juda et Jerusalem Templumque subversae sunt.” (MT: Habakkuk’s  prophecy is against Babylon, and the king of the Chaldeans, so that, just before  the prophet Nahum, who Habakkuk follows, that the prediction given against Nineveh and the Assyrians, who devastated the ten (10) tribes that were called Israel, likewise Habakkuk’s prophecy was against Babylon, and Nebuchadnezzar, by whom Juda, and Jerusalem’s Temple were destroyed.)

                “Both prophecies” (as S. Jerome also observes) “have a spiritual sense, and extend themselves to the last times.” Both are messages of consolation to the Church in her conflicts with Antichristianism, in two different aspects. Nahum comforts her with the assurance of the triumph of Christ over the Infidel form of Antichristianism. In Habakkuk God clasps His faithful people together to His own bosom, in a fatherly embrace of love, and assures them that the time is coming when they will have nothing to fear from the haughty pride, the vain-glorious boastings, the ambitious assumptions of universal Supremacy, and arrogant claims to Infallibility, and to divine knowledge in spiritual things; and that He will utterly destroy the fascinating superstitions and seductive idolatries which are now the distinctive characteristics of the mystical Babylon, as displayed in the Apocalypse.

                It may be observed that Nahum (the comforter) stands seventh (7th) in the order of the Minor Prophets; and Habakkuk, (the embracer) is eighth (8th). Seven (7) is the number of Best after toil and distress. Eight (8) is the number of Resurrection to glory. See above, on Ezek., p. 280. Nahum comforts us with a vision of rest; Habakkuk assures the faithful of a joyful embrace in the Kingdom of Glory, when their bodies will be raised and re-united to their souls, and they will embrace their friends and fellow-worshippers, and be embraced by God’s love in Christ, in the Kingdom of Heaven. As S. Jerome says, we have “manifestissimam de Christo prophetiam in octavo Propheta, id est in Resurrectionis dominicae numero” (S. Jerome, in cap. 3, prolog.).

                Habakkuk prophesied in the reign of Josiah, probably near its close. He precedes Zephaniah, who foretold the fall of Nineveh (Zeph. 2:13; for Zephaniah repeats thoughts and words of Habakkuk; see 1:7; cp. Hab. 2:20), which took place a little before Josiah’s death. See on 2nd Kings 23:29.

                Sins of Jerusalem.   Its Punishment Foretold (1:2-4).        God  Answers  the  Prophet   (1:511). Prophet’s Question (1:12-2:1).     The LORD’S Answer – Write the Vision (2:2-3:16).      Prophet’s Faith, Hope, & Joy in Prospect of Future Trials, & Final Triumphs of Church (2:17-3:19). }}

                {{ ZEPHANIAH: –whose name signifies, Whom the Lord covers, or shelters, in times of storm and distress (Gesen. 716) –holds a remarkable place in the Hebrew Canon. He is the last of the Minor Prophets before the Captivity: he follows Nahum and Habakkuk; and his prophecy is linked on to that of the latter. It opens with repeating Habakkuk’s exhortation to the whole Earth to stand in silent reverential awe before Jehovah (see Zeph. 1:7: cp. Hab. 2:20), and to the faithful to wait in patience till the prophecy is fulfilled. Cp. Zeph. 3:8; and Hab. 2:3.

                The contents of his prophecy correspond to his position.   It has a retrospective, and also a prospective character.

                The two preceding prophets, Nahum and Habakkuk, had foretold respectively the overthrow of the two great Powers of the ancient World, hostile to God and His People–Assyria and Babylon; and had cheered Israel and Judah with hopes of deliverance from them. And they minister consolation to the Church in every age, and animate all true Israelites with the spirit of patient trust in Christ, that He will protect the Christian Sion in all her dangers (whether from Infidelity or Superstition), and rescue her from all her enemies.

                Zephaniah takes a more comprehensive view. He sums up and recapitulates the predictions of all preceding prophecy, and concentrates them in the bright focus of one great and concise prophetic denunciation against the World, whether outside the visible Church, or within it, as far as it is opposed to Jehovah, the Lord God of Israel, and is hostile to His faithful


                Zephaniah prophesied when the tempest which was driven down from the northern regions of Chaldea, and which had been long hovering over Jerusalem, was about to burst with terrible fury upon the City, the Monarchy, the Priesthood, the Princes, and the People. He had a mission of mercy in that time of trouble. As his name suggests, he comforted the faithful of Jerusalem and of every age with the cheering assurance that Jehovah will hide and shelter them in all storms, political or ecclesiastical, however black and boisterous. “Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise up against me, in this will I be confident.” “In the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me” (Ps. 27:3, 5). “Oh, how great is Thy goodness, which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee. Thou shalt hide them in the secret of Thy presence from the pride of man. Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues” (Ps. 31:19,20). In both these passages the Psalmist uses the word tsaphan (to hide, to keep secretly), which is the root of the name Zephaniah (Tsephan-yah, whom Jah, or Jehovah, hides). The Prophet himself explains the sense of his name, when he says to the meek and righteous, “Ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger” (2:3).

                In another respect Zephaniah’s prophecy corresponds to his position. He is the last of the Minor Prophets before the Captivity. And he takes up and renews the work of the first of that goodly fellowship –HOSEA.

                Hosea had comforted Israel with the assurance that their own captivity and dispersion would be overruled by God to promote His glory and their own future happiness. He had consoled them by saying that they would be weaned by it from their besetting sin idolatry, and from dependence on heathen nations, such as Assyria, which caused their rejection. And he had cheered them with the reflection that God’s truth would be communicated to the Heathen Nations of the World by their dispersion among them. He had foretold that the faithful remnant of Israel (the Apostles and first believers in Christ) would convert the Gentiles to Christianity; and that eventually the Gentiles, being received into Christ’s Church would convert the rest of the Jews, and so “all Israel shall be saved” (Rom. 11:26).

                Hosea, the first of the Minor Prophets, was the Prophet of Israel; that is, of the Ten  Tribes, who were to be carried captive and dispersed by Assyria.

                Zephaniah, who was the descendant of King Hezekiah (1:1), and who prophesied at Jerusalem in the reign of Josiah, was the Prophet to the two tribes, Judah and Benjamin; he does for them what Hosea had done for the ten. He predicts their Captivity and dispersion; but he foretells also that this also (as well as that of Israel) would be converted by God into a blessing to them and to the Heathen.

                The great Heathen Nations of the World would all be humbled in their turn; the mighty powers of Ethiopia and Egypt would be subdued by Assyria; Assyria would be humbled by Babylon; Babylon would be used by God to overthrow Tyre and to overrun Moab, Edom, and Ammon, but would herself be captured by Persia and Media; Persia and Media would be subdued by Greece, and Greece by the arms of Rome. Thus the pride of all the Nations of the World would be broken, and they would lose their faith in the power of their own national deities, and would be prepared to receive Christianity, and would eventually become preachers of the Gospel; and having been themselves converted by Christian Jews, would at length convert the great body of the Jews, whom God would restore to Himself for ever in the true Zion, –the spiritual Jerusalem,– the Church of Christ. See on 3:8-20.

                By foretelling these last conquests, the prophecies of Zephaniah are also joined on to those three (3) prophets which follow, namely, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, the prophetical trio which stand nearest to the threshold of the Church. Zephaniah ends his prophecy with the cheering words, ‘I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.” He prepares the way for those three prophets, who prophesied when the Lord had turned hack the captivity of Judah from Babylon, and who taught the Jews to see in it a foreshadowing of a far more glorious deliverance –the emancipation of all true Israelites from their own bondage and exile, under the powers of Sin, Satan, and the Grave, and their restoration to life, and hope of everlasting glory in the heavenly Jerusalem, by the might and love of ‘Christ‘.

                Coming Judgment (Chap. 1).   Judgments on Nations. –Call to Repentance (Chap. 2). Woe to Faithless & Unrighteous in Church of God. God’s Temporary Rejection of Jews, & Choice of Gentiles in their Place (3:1-8).   Conversion of the Heathen by Israel’s Faithful Remnant; & Subsequent Conversion of Jews by Believers & Preachers from Heathen (3:9-13).    Sing, O Daughter or Zion (3:14-20).

                At this point, in order of time, follow the prophecies of ‘Jeremiah‘, ‘Ezekiel‘, and ‘Daniel‘. Then succeed Haggai’, ‘Zechariah, and ‘Malachi‘; the last of whom is called by the Jews, the “Seal of the Prophets.”

                The reader is requested to refer here to the Introductions prefixed to the Prophets ‘Jeremiah‘ and ‘Ezekiel‘; and also to the Introductions to the ‘Books of Ezra‘ and ‘Nehemiah‘, as preparatory to what now follows in the prophetical writings. }}

                {{ HAGGAI: More than a hundred (100) years elapsed between the prophecies of ‘Zephaniah‘ and those of ‘Haggai‘.

                In that interval many predictions of foregoing prophets, namely, of Isaiah, Micah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, foretelling the capture and destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, had been fulfilled.

                In B.C. 605, the fourth (4th) year of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem for the first (1st) time; but the city was still allowed to stand, and a time was granted to it for repentance. But it refused to listen to God’s warnings of judgment from the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel; and it was again (2nd) taken by Nebuchadnezzar, B.C. 597, and its king, Jehoiachin, was carried captive to Babylon. Still some further respite was granted it, but in vain. In the year B.C. 586, Jerusalem was taken (3rd); the Temple and the City were burnt with fire; its king, Zedekiah, and many of the princes, and nobles, and people were carried to Babylon and the kingdom of Judah was destroyed.

                Years passed on, and the time approached for the fulfilment of other prophecies–those which foretold the sudden capture of the great Chaldean City, Babylon, and the destruction of its dominion by Cyrus, “God’s shepherd, and anointed one,” leading the army of Medes and Persians to victory; and, as a result of that conquest, the restoration of the captives of Judah to their own land, and the decree for the rebuilding of the Temple of the Lord.

                This fulfilment was in the year B C. 536.

                God had performed His work of wholesome discipline and loving chastisement to His People in their Captivity, by teaching them humility, and weaning them from idolatry, and healing the schism between Israel and Judah, and by sifting the faithful wheat from the careless and godless chaff, and had prepared the true Israelites, by the fulfilment of prophecies concerning themselves, for the reception of Christ, Who is the subject of all prophecy. See above, Introd. to Ezra, pp. 296-299.

                The Temple began to be rebuilt in the year B.C. 535. But the work was thwarted by Samaritans (Ezra 4:1-7, 23), and the builders themselves were disheartened, and began to doubt whether the time had arrived for the accomplishment of the prophecies which had foretold that the Temple would be restored, and whether the Temple which they were building, so inferior in grandeur to the Temple of Solomon, could be indeed the fabric of which such glorious things had been spoken ‘by Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. “Many of the Priests and Levites, and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men that had seen the first house” (which had been destroyed fifty (50) years before), “when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice” (Ezra 3:12). “Who is left among you” (says Haggai, 2:3) “that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?”

                In consequence of this opposition from without, and of this failure of faith and courage within, the work of building the Temple was intermitted for fifteen (15) years, “unto the second (2nd) year of Darius, King of Persia” (Ezra 4:24). The foundation? of the second (2nd) Temple might have long continued to lie in this miserable condition; but God had ordered it otherwise. He would show that the work was not of man: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6). “Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah, the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them. Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem; and with them were the prophets of God helping them” (Ezra 5:1,2).

                The first of these prophets was HAGGAI. His name signifies the festal one (S. Jerome here. Gesen. 260; Fuerst, 416; Hengst., Keil). One of the sources of the deepest sorrow to the mourners over Zion was this, that by reason of the destruction of her Temple, her solemn festivals could no longer be kept. “They wept, because the solemn feasts and sabbaths were forgotten” (Lam. 2:6); and “all her mirth ceased, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts” (Hos. 2:11). But the promise of comfort to Zion was, that she should again “keep her solemn feasts” (Nahum 1:15); and the last Prophet before the Captivity, Zephaniah, in his final utterance before that event, had cheered the mourners with the assurance that God would gather those who were sorrowful for the cessation of the solemn assemblies (Zeph. 3:18).

                Very appropriate, therefore, is the name of the first Prophet after the Captivity, ‘Haggai‘, properly Chaggai, from Chag, a festival (Gesen., Fuerst). He it was who was specially raised up by God to stimulate the flagging energies of the feeble company which had returned from Babylon to Jerusalem, and were dispirited and disheartened by opposition from without, and by lukewarmness and faithlessness from within, to resume the suspended work, and to complete the rebuilding of the Temple.

                The significance of this name, Haggai, the festal one, will still further appear, if we remember that the Feast of Tabernacles was called specially by the Jews, the chag, or feast. See above, on Lev. xxiii. 34. 1 Kings viii. 65. Ezra iii. 4; and below, ii. 2; and (as is shown in those notes) it was typical of the Incarnation of the Son of God, Who pitched His tabernacle in our flesh (John i. 14), and Who will tabernacle with His saints forever. See Rev. 7:15; 21:3.

                The powerful motive, by which Haggai excited the Jews to prosecute and complete the work of building the Temple –which was begun at the Feast of Tabernacles (Ezra 3:4)– was this, that, however insignificant this latter house might be in their eyes (from which tears flowed when they saw its foundation) –however in material respects, and in splendour of decoration, it was inferior to the former house, the Temple of Solomon– though no visible cloud of glory rested upon it (such as took possession of the Temple of Solomon at its dedication: see on 1st Kings 8:10,11) –though it had not the Ark of the Covenant, and the Two Tables of the Testimony in the Holy of Holies, nor the Urim and Thummim, nor the Fire from heaven on the Altar, nor the holy oil (cp. Bp. Pearson, Art. ii. p. 83)– yet, in fact, it would be far more glorious than Solomon’s Temple. And why? Because the Lord God Himself, tabernacling in human flesh, would visibly appear there, and would “fill the house with the glory” of His presence, and “in that place would give peace, saith the Lord of hosts” (2:7-9).

                When we consider that all the Hebrew festivals were fulfilled in Christ; that He is our Passover (1st Cor. 5:7); that by His Ascension, and sending of the Holy Ghost, all the shadowy glories of the Hebrew Pentecost are consummated (Acts 2:1); that by His Incarnation we celebrate a perpetual Feast of Tabernacles in the spiritual Jerusalem of the Universal Church of Christ; and that all the Festivals of the Christian Church,–the weekly Festival of the Lord’s Day, and the Sacrament of Regeneration, and the Festival of the Holy Eucharist, and all the Holy Days of the Christian Year, –derive all their virtue, beauty, and grace from the Incarnation, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of “God manifest in the flesh,” we may recognize here a fitness in the name of the Prophet Haggai, whose mission it was to urge the Jews to rebuild the Temple, on the ground that the Lord Himself would glorify it with His Presence, aud thus the “glory of the latter house would be greater than that of the former, saith the Lord of hosts.” See the remarks above, on Ezra and Nehemiah, Introd., pp. 296-299, which may afford some appropriate illustration here.

                Glory of 2nd Temple (2:1-7).       Desire of All Nations (2:7-14).     Wings or Skirts of Garment (2:14-20).     

                The Lord’s Signet. Christ’s Kingdom.

                2:21-23. I will shake the heavens and the earth– In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts] All other kingdoms shall be moved (see 5:7); but the kingdom of the seed of David, which was represented by Zerubbabel, the descendant of David, and ancestor of Christ (see Matt. 1:12, Luke 3:27. Cp. on 1st Chron. 3:19, Ezra 2:2, Neh. 7:7, Hag. 1:1), shall never be destroyed. It will indeed be assailed; but it will break in pieces all kingdoms that resist it, and will scatter them like chaff of the summer threshing-floor, but will never be removed (Dan. 2:35, 44; 7:14, 27,  1st Cor. xv. 15:24, Heb. 12:28. Rev. 11:15).

                God promised by Jacob that the sceptre should never depart from Judah. See the note on Gen. 49:10. God gave greater clearness and force to that promise by assuring David, of the tribe of Judah, that his Seed and Kingdom would continue forever (see the notes on 2 Sam. 7, pp. 85-87); and He declared, by the Angel Gabriel, to the Blessed Virgin, that this promise would be fulfilled in Jesus Christ. See Luke i. 1:31, “Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His Name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever and ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.”

                This promise is here made to Zerubbabel, as the representative of the house of David, in a time of great humiliation and distress. Just as it was with the Temple of Jerusalem, so it was with her monarchy. The Temple seemed, in all external respects, to be far inferior to the Temple of Solomon; but it was to be made much more glorious than that Temple, by the coming of the Lord of the Temple to it.

                The family of David was now reduced to a low estate. Zerubbabel, the representative of the house and monarchy of David, was not called by the title of King; he appeared to owe his position to the will of Persia, and to derive his dignity from his office as Persian Governor (1:1), or Sheshbazzar (Ezra 1:11; 2:2; 5:14, 16). But the promise was, that when they seemed to be reduced to the lowest estate, then the seed and kingdom of David would rise most gloriously. The dimmution of their earthly grandeur prepared the way for the increase of their heavenly splendour. Isaiah had foretold this. He had said that a rod should come forth out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch should grow out of his roots –that is, when the tree was hewn down to the very ground ; and that the Messiah should grow up as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground. See Isa. 11:1; 53:2.

                From the time of the Captivity, the house of David never recovered its royal title and insignia. But the monarchy was safe in God’s keeping. King Jeconiah, the faithless monarch of Judah before the Captivity, was like a signet plucked from God’s right hand, and cast away (Jer. xxii. 24). But Zerubbabel, the faithful governor, the leader of Judah from Babylonish captivity to Jerusalem, the city of God, was made like a signet on God’s right hand. He was the builder of the Temple; and by him God set a seal on His promises to Judah. He was the descendant and representative of David, and the ancestor and type of Christ. He was a signet (chotham) on God’s hand (cp. the use of the word chotham, repeated in Cant. 8:6), and this signet would ever remain on God’s right hand. It would be there forever in Christ, the Divine Son of David, the true King of Israel. By Him, the royal charter of the Blessed Gospel is sealed. He seals us as His own in Baptism, in Confirmation, in the Holy Eucharist. He has sealed us with His own image and likeness, and has made us to become sons of God (Rom. 8:29). He gives us an earnest and pledge of immortal glory to our souls and bodies, that, as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly (1st Cor. 15:49); and that our vile bodies will be changed, so as to be fashioned like unto His glorious body (Phil. 3:21). In Him all the promises of God are Yea and Amen. He, the Everlasting Word, came down from heaven, and became the Incarnate Word; and by the Witness which He gave to the Old Testament, He set His Divine Seal on it; and by sealing the Apostles and Evangelists with the seal of the Holy Spirit, He avouched their writings to be divine. He has set His seal on the whole Written Word, and has delivered the Holy Scriptures to us as the lively oracles of God.

                To ‘Him‘, therefore, with the ‘Father‘ and the ‘Holy Ghost‘, be all honour and glory, in all the churches of the saints, now and forever. ‘Amen‘. }}

                {{ ZECHARIAH: Introductory Note:  The Book of ZECHARIAH is a sequel to that of Haggai; and it reveals the future from his own age even to the Second Coming of Christ. Zechariah was raised up by God, together with Haggai, to stimulate the flagging energies of the Jews who had returned from Babylon, and to excite them to resume the work of rebuilding the Temple, which had been suspended from the first year of Cyrus (B.C. 536) to the second year of Darius Hystaspes (B.C. 520), a period of about sixteen (16) years. See Ezra 4:24; 5:1; 6:14; and Introd. to Ezra, p. 295.

                Haggai had cheered the builders with the assurance, that however inferior the latter house would be to the former in material grandeur and external splendour, it would be made

much more glorious than that by the Coming to it of Christ, Who would “fill it with the Glory of the Lord;” and He had encouraged them with the gracious promise, that in that house “He would give peace” (Hagg. 2:6-9).

                The Prophet Haggai had also declared that all the nations of the world which resisted the power of God and oppressed His Church, would be placed beneath the feet of Christ,–the Divine Zerubbabel,– and that He would reign in everlasting glory at the right hand of God. See on Hagg. 2:20-23.

                Thus ended the prophecy of Haggai.

                His prophecy is followed up and continued by Zechariah, and is carried on in a series of glorious visions to the Second Advent of Christ.

                After a brief prologue (1:1-6),–spoken in the interval between the penultimate and final prophecies of Haggai, and connecting Zechariah’s predictions with them, and declaring that all God’s promises of favour to His people depend for their fulfilment on their repentance and obedience to Him, and on their exercise of moral duties, and that if His people resist Him, they must look for chastisement at His hands, and that they will be cast off, as their fathers were, –the prophet proceeds to comfort them in the first (1st) vision, by saying that God is present with them in their low estate; and that though their enemies may seem to be enjoying prosperity, yet that their own present humiliation and the temporary exaltation of the heathen are not to be interpreted as signs of any indifference on God’s part, or of any inability to protect them and to chastise His enemies; but that in His own good time. He will arise and punish the proud Powers of this world, and reward all His faithful servants who stand firm in the day of trial; and that the Lord is sore displeased with the heathen who afflict His people, and that He will yet comfort Zion, and will yet choose Jerusalem (1:7-17).

                The second (2nd) Vision follows naturally after this gracious assurance. It reveals the four great Empires (designated as horns) which had oppressed God’s people, and displays the four counteracting powers (called carpenters, or rather, smiths) employed by God to humble those Empires, and make them subservient to His own gracious purposes, for the advancement of His own glory, and for the trial and purification of His people, and for the building up of His Church. See 1:19-21.

                An enlargement of this revelation succeeds. The next (3rd) Vision displays the Coming of the Lord, and the redemption of His People by Christ (Who is the Divine Antitype of Cyrus the great conqueror of Babylon and the deliverer of God’s people from its thralldom; see on 2nd Chron. 36:22, and Prelim. Note to Isa. 40); and reveals the building up of the Spiritual Temple of His Church Universal, and the flowing in of the heathen to it (2:11).

                These glorious evangelical events were foreshadowed by those things which Zechariah’s countrymen had seen, namely, their own liberation by Cyrus, who had captured Babylon; and their restoration to their own country, the Holy Land, and the reerection of the Temple by virtue of his royal decree. Therefore this (3rd) Vision, which opens by taking up the words of the first (1st) Vision (“a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem;” see 1:16, compared with 2:1,2) closes with a repetition of the promise there given, “The Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again” (2:12). Cp. 1:17.

                This has now been fulfilled in Christ.

                The fourth (4th) Vision explains more fully the means by which this glorious restoration and exaltation of Israel into a Holy Nation and a Universal Church is to be achieved.

                It is to be accomplished by Christ, –”the Angel of the Lord,” Who is sent by Jehovah. It is done by Christ overcoming Satan, and delivering His people from Satan’s grasp, and taking away the sins of the people, personified by Joshua their High Priest, and clothing them with the white robe of His own righteousness (see on 3:1-5), and promising everlasting glory to His justified people, on condition of their obedience to His Will and Word.

                The Angel of the Lord, Who is Christ, assures Joshua and the Priesthood of Israel, that they themselves are types of this blessed work of Justification. The Priesthood of Aaron was a thing “to be wondered at” (see 3:8), that is, not to be looked at merely with the outward eye, but to be gazed at with the eye of faith, discerning, under the type of that Priesthood and of all its sacrifices, a marvellous prophetical adumbration of the Everlasting Priesthood of Christ –the Divine “Joshua the son of Josedech” (namely, Saviour, Son of Jehovah’s righteousness; such is the meaning of those words) –and of His one Sacrifice, offered once for all, to take away the sins of the world.

                Therefore, Christ is here introduced by Jehovah, saying, “Behold, I will bring forth My servant the ‘Branch‘” (see on 3:8); and He also is called the ‘Stone‘, engraven with seven (7) eyes (see 3:9). And by Him the iniquity of the land is taken away, and peace and joy are given to all the Israel of God.

                The enjoyment of all these blessings is represented as contingent on repentance, faith, and obedience; and therefore a solemn warning is here introduced against stubbornness and hardness of heart, and against hatred, malice, and uncharitableness; in order that the grace of God in Christ may not be received in vain.

                This Vision (5th) of Christ justifying His People is followed by a Vision (6th) of His Church Universal. The Church is represented by a seven-branched lamp, and it is displayed to our eyes as illumined by the Holy Ghost the Sanctifier, filling it with the oil of His grace. Zerubbabel, the representative of the royal house of David, and the rebuilder of the Temple (as we have seen, on Hagg. 2:20-23), is a typical personage, symbolizing the person and office of Christ, the True Seed of David, the Divine King of Judah, the Builder of the Spiritual Temple –the Universal Church,– from small beginnings, in troublous times. As Zerubbabel began and finished the building, so did Christ: He finished it by the gift of the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts” (4:5-10).

                Hence we recognize tlie reason of the combination of the (7) seven-branched Candlestick or Lamp-stand (the figure of the Church), and of the Olive-trees, with the plummet-line, and the foundation Stone. We have here distinct figures of Christ’s work as King, in the founding of the Church, and also in sending the Holy Ghost to finish the work, by His gracious agency, in Sanctification and illumination. The Holy Ghost works upon the Church by the twofold office of Christ, namely, His Universal Monarchy and His Everlasting Priesthood. Christ’s Kingly and Priestly offices are the two ever-verdant Olive-trees, through which the Oil of the Spirit is always flowing to fill the (7) seven-branched Candlestick of the Universal Church with oil, and enabling it to diffuse the light of Divine Truth and heavenly grace throughout the world. See 4:11-14.

                But lest it should be imagined that the gracious work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in the Church can be effectual without the co-operation of the human Will, and lest these dispensations of God’s love should be abused into occasions either of spiritual indolence, or of reckless licentiousness, a solemn warning is again interposed against the neglect of the moral virtues and practical duties of justice, mercy, and holiness, enjoined by the commandments of God. This is declared in the Vision of the Flying-Roll, proclaiming God’s curses against all sin and unrighteousness; and in the sweeping-away of all wickedness (symbolized by the woman in the Ephah, pressed down by a weight of lead), from Sion the Church of God, the City of Truth and Peace, to the land of Shinar and Babylon, the land of confusion, and the city of exile and captivity. This judicial announcement is followed by a gracious declaration consequent on the former Visions of Christ and the Church. Observe the contrast which follows. Wickedness is to be carried to Babylon, the land of captivity; but Faith is to come from the land of captivity, and to do homage to Christ. (See 5:5-11). This is symbolized in the seventh (7th) and last Vision. It reveals the Lord’s universal sovereignty and His retributive justice exercised over all Nations of the earth (6:1-8). It preannounces the time when the Jews, who are now dispersed, will bring tribute to Christ and acknowledge Him, Who is the Branch from the root of David, to be the true Builder of the Spiritual Temple; and their offerings and their homage will be like silver and gold made into a royal crown formed of many diadems, and set upon the head of Him Who is the true High Priest, and therefore a recognition from them, that He is both King and Priest, and that He is the Messiah promised to their Fathers (6:9-15).

                God’s promises are again followed by warnings, lest anyone should presume upon His love, and pervert His grace into an occasion for sin. He tells them that all religious observances, such as fasting and weeping and self-mortification, are of no avail without holiness (7:1-7). The enjoyment of all divine blessings is contingent on faith and obedience; and, therefore, another solemn warning is here introduced. The history of ancient Israel, chastened for its sin by God, in successive judicial visitations since the time of the Exodus even to the day of the captivity at Babylon, is propounded as a lesson to all their posterity, and to all future generations (7:8-14). If they listen to this warning, they will prosper; and the Church of God, going forth from Jerusalem to enfold the world, will be the source and well-spring of holy festivity and joy to all Nations of the world (8:1-23). This promise is followed by a prophecy foretelling the overthrow of all great worldly Powers opposed to the City of God; and the subjection of all Nations to Christ her King, and their incorporation in His Church (9:1-8).

                The triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem in lowliness and meekness is displayed as a prelude to that Victory; and the precious blood-shedding of Christ, which followed in a few days after that triumphal Entry, is revealed as the cause of the deliverance of His people from the prison-house of Sin and the Grave (9:9, 11).

                The sending forth of the Apostles and first Missionaries, like arrows winged with feathers of the plumage of the Divine Dove, on the Day of Pentecost, discharged from the bow of the Divine Archer Jesus Christ, and shot forth from Jerusalem into all parts of the world, is represented as a consequence of Christ’s Death, and Resurrection, and Ascension into Glory (9:13-17). Their warfare against His enemies will be a message of peace to His friends. “He shall speak peace unto the Heathen; His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.” His Preachers shall be jewels in His Crown; and many shall rejoice in the beauty of Christ, preached by them; and shall be strengthened and refreshed with spiritual food (9:13-17). Israel shall be gathered again (10:8-12). This has been already fulfilled in part. All the Apostles were Jews. Many devout Jews from every country under heaven were united to Christ and His Church on the Day of Pentecost, and in the primitive ages of Christianity; and in His own due time God will restore the residue to Himself.

                In the next prophecy, the destruction of Jerusalem by the armies of Rome is foretold (11:1,2). The announcement of this sad catastrophe might well stagger and perplex the readers of this prophecy. Was it possible that the Hebrew people, who had been scattered by Assyria and Babylon, should derive so little benefit from those terrible calamities? Would they require another captivity? Yes, it would be so. And what would be the cause of this divine chastisement? Their own sin –even a sin far more heinous than any committed by their forefathers. This must have seemed almost incredible when Zechariah wrote his prophecies. But the words of the Holy Ghost speaking by him have been fulfilled. They were accomplished in the rejection of Christ, the Good Shepherd, valued at the miserable price of thirty pieces of silver (11:12). They were fulfilled in the Crucifixion of Him, Who is displayed by the prophet as no other than the LORD God (11:13). Therefore, the Hebrew nation would again be cast off; but still a remnant would be saved (11:11), and –oh! most merciful dispensation– in due time the heart of the Nation itself would be touched by the Spirit of God, and it would bleed with sorrow and remorse, and the Nation itself would turn with weeping eyes to Him Whom they had pierced, and would acknowledge Jesus Christ to be their Saviour, King, and God. [12:1-2, 3-8, 9-14] A fountain would be opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem –the fountain of His Blood– for sin and for uncleanness (13:1). Israel would wash itself and be cleansed by the waters of that pool of Bethesda, would bathe in that Pool of Siloam, and be healed of its blindness (13:1). The prophet foretells that Christ would be smitten (13:7. Cp. Matt. 26:31), and many would live by His death. The Kingdoms of the World will rise up in the last days against Him and against His Church, in a fierce Anti-Christian conflict, but they will all be scattered before Him. Then all Nations will be gathered before Him as their Judge. His Victory will be complete: “The Lord shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be One Lord, and His Name one” (14:9). All the Israel of God, chastened by trial, and cleansed by those living waters which will flow forth from Jerusalem, shall be united for ever and ever in holy worship in the glorified Church of Christ (14:8-21).

                Zechariah is regarded by the Jewish Commentators as one of the most obscure of Hebrew Prophets. This is the opinion of Abarbinel, Jarchi, and other Hebrew Rabbis, concerning him. And no wonder, because they read his prophecies with a veil on their hearts (2nd Cor. 3:14). They cannot bring themselves to acknowledge that their own prophets have foretold that the Messiah would appear in a lowly guise and poor estate, and be rejected and put to death by His own People, as Zechariah foretells (9:9; 11:12,13; 13:13). But the veil is taken away in Christ. When they turn to the Lord, the veil will be taken away (2nd Cor. 3:14, 16); and this is what Zechariah himself predicts: “They will look on Him Whom they have pierced, and will mourn in bitterness for Him as one that mourneth for his firstborn” (12:9,10) May God hasten the time!

                On the erroneous theory of a “double Zechariah,” see below, Preliminary Note to chap. 9.

                (* Preliminary Note to chap. 9-14:       There is a difference between the portion of this Book which has preceded, and that which follows.      In the former portion, a series of sublime visions has been presented to the view; henceforward not a single vision occurs. In the former part, we have seen the ministry of angels; no angel appears in this latter part.

                It has been alleged by some, that this second portion of this Book was composed by a different person from the author of the former part; and by a writer who lived at an earlier period.        This theory was propounded by the learned Joseph Mede (Epist. xxxi.), grounding an argument on the fact that a prophecy which is found in chapter 11:12, is ascribed by St. Matthew (27:9) to Jeremiah. Mede was followed in this opinion by Hammond, Kidder, Newcome (see the note in his edition of the Minor Prophets, p. 303, ed. 1809), and others.

                It is not to be forgotten, that though those critics assigned this second portion to an earlier writer than Zechariah, they all recognized its inspiration and canonicity. The arguments adduced by most of them were considered and refuted by Blayney, in his edition of Zechariah, Oxford, 1797. But since that time the genuineness of this latter portion has been impugned in Germany by Bertholdt, De Wette, and others, who ascribe it to the Zechariah mentioned in Isaiah 8:2.

                Other critics, as Eichhorn, Corrodi, Paulus, and Gramberg, have gone into the opposite extreme, and have assigned this second portion to a writer later than Zechariah, i.e. to a time

posterior to the return from the Captivity.

                These two opposite parties might well be left to answer one another; and if the reader is desirous to see the evidence fairly and fully stated for the genuineness and integrity of Zechariah, and to see an answer to the objections raised against it, he may consult the work of Hengstenherg on the subject (“Dissertations on the Genuineness of Daniel, and Integrity of Zechariah,” Engl. Trans., Edin. 1848); Havernick, Einleit. p. 408, and even De Wette, in the last edition of his Einleit.; also the remarks of Kliefoth, 286, and of Keil (Introd. to Zechariah, p. 519, German edition).

                In refutation of those theories it may be observed, that Zechariah lived at the time when the Canon of Holy Scripture was just on the point of completion by Ezra and others, and it is not at all probable, that his contemporaries, who collected the Canon, would make a large addition to his known writings, and call that addition by his name: the fact, that they, who lived in his age, called the whole Book by the name Zechariah, is a strong argument for its genuineness and integrity. To this consideration may be added, that, whereas in the writings of the more ancient prophets, as Isaiah and Micah, the spiritual deliverance to be wrought by the Messiah is connected with the temporal deliverance of Judah from Assyria and Babylon (because those nations were the enemies of Judah in those earlier days), this is not the case in Zechariah; he grounds his prophecies of redemption by Christ on predictions of the deliverance of Israel and Judah, by the valour of the Maccabees, from the arms of Syria or of Greece. See 9:13.

                Everything in the latter portion harmonizes with the former portion. The seven (7) prophecies in the one grow out of the seven (7) visions in the other; and everything in the latter, as well as in the former portion of this book of Zechariah, bespeaks an author who lived after the dissolution of the kingdom of the Ten (10) Tribes of Israel, and also after the humiliation of the monarchy of Judah, and when the schism between Israel and Judah was healed, and all the Tribes looked to Jerusalem as their centre and their home; and at a time also when the glories of Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon had waned and faded away; and when the people of Judah had returned from captivity to Jerusalem, and were looking forward to the Advent of the Messiah, with no external obstacles and impediments between themselves and the kingdom of Christ, except those which were produced by those enemies whose rise and dominion were either contemporary with, or subsequent to, the days of Zechariah. *)

                Call to Repentance (1:3-6).     Rider among Myrtles. – Angel of the LORD (1:7-21).    4 Carpenters, or Smiths (1:21).       Man with Measuring-Line.– Vision of  Extent & Glory of the Spiritual Jerusalem, or Universal Church (2:1-13).      Joshua High Priest is Justified (3:1-8).      My Servant, the Branch (3:8).   The Stone (3:10).      7 Branched Golden Candlestick, or rather Lampstand; 2 Olive Trees (4:1-6).      Mountain shall become a Plain (4:7-14).       Flying Roll. Woman & Ephah (5:1-11).       4 Chariots (5:1-9).       Crowns – from People of Captivity – Placed on Head of Joshua the High Priest (6:1-15).        Prophetic Rebukes for Sin, especially Hypocrisy. Moral Virtues are what God requires. Fasting is Profitless without Obedience (7:1-14).    Blessings of Obedience (8:1-23).       Preliminary Note to Chapters 9-14 of Zechariah.        Woe to all Worldly Powers which are Opposed to God. – Land of Hadrach (9:1-7).      Beneficial Results of Alexander’s Victories. Conversion of Gentiles to Christ (9:7-8).      Christ’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (9:9-12).     Christ Victorious Rider with Bow & Arrows (9:13-17).      Restoration of Israel in Christ (10:1-12.).      Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, its urp P.h.jycrb ru Jdpcoy (11:1-6).  The Lord Jehovah will Feed the Flock. His Love for Israel  (11:7-12).      Shepherd’s  Price (11:12).      Shepherd is Jehovah (11:13-14).     Foolish, or Wicked Shepherd (11:15).     Idol Shepherd (11:16).     Persecutions of Church of God will Recoil on her Enemies.  Preliminary Note (12:1-2).    In that Day (12:3-8).     Enemies of Church will be Overthrown.  Conversion to Christ, Especially of Jews (12:9-14).     Blessed Consequences of Repentance & of Turning to Christ, Abolition of Idolatry and Heresy (13:1-6).      Passion of Christ (13:7).     Godhead of Christ, True Shepherd (13:7-9).      Persecutions of Last Days – Full & Final Victory & Glory of Christ & His Church (14:1-3).      Day of Doom (14:4-7).       Living Waters of Salvation (14:8-10).     City shall be Safely Inhabited (14:10-15).      Joyful Announcement of the Conversion of Heathen. Purity & Glory of the Church (14:16-21). }}

                {{ MALACHI: Preliminary Note.

                The prophecies of MALACHI derive a special interest, not only from their contents, but from their position.

                Malachi follows Zechariah; and he is called by the Hebrews “The Seal of the Prophets,” as closing the prophetical Canon of the Ancient Dispensation. He completes the Old Testament, and prepares the way for the New. In this view his name Malachi, which means Angel, or ‘Messenger‘, is very appropriate. He is the Angel of the Old Covenant, flying with joyful alacrity, to bring the glad tidings of the Gospel.

                Malachi, in his immediate succession to Zechariah, discharges an office peculiar to himself. Zechariah is one of the most sublime and impassioned among “the goodly fellowship of the Prophets.” It seems as if the Holy Spirit designed to teach the world by him, the last but one in the prophetic line, that if Prophecy was to become mute (as it became for an interval of about four centuries soon after Zechariah), its silence was not due to any failure or exhaustion of power in the Divine Author of Prophecy. No; the light of the sunset of Prophecy in Zechariah is as brilliant and glorious as its noonday splendours in Isaiah. The Visions of Zechariah, their rich colouring and varied imagery, their prophetic utterances reaching from his own age to the Day of Doom, display this truth. This has been shown already in the Introductory Note to Zechariah. Zechariah reveals to us the Birth of Christ, “the Man Whose Name is the Branch” springing up from a lowly place; He sets Christ before us in a fair picture, riding in triumph “on the foal of an ass” to Jerusalem; he also unfolds the scenes of Gethsemane and Calvary; he declares to us His Royalty and His Priesthood, typified respectively by Zerubbabel and Jeshua the son of Josedech, the leaders of the returning exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem; and he proclaims in clear tones His Godhead; and finally, as with lightning’s speed, he passes on to the future evangelization of the Heathen, the conversion of the Jews, and to the last struggle and overthrow of all Antichristian powers and to the full and final victory of Christ, and the everlasting glory and felicity of His Church.

                Let us now turn to Malachi.

                What a striking contrast is here! All is quiet and sedate. We seem to have passed from the sight of some impetuous torrent, sweeping along in a violent stream, dashing over rugged rocks and hurling itself down in headlong cataracts, and carrying every thing with it in its foaming flood, to the contemplation of the clear mirror of a peaceful lake. The stream of Prophecy ceased to rush vehemently after Zechariah, and it tempers its vehemence “in the clear haven of a translucent pool” in Malachi: there it rested in peace for 400 years, till it flowed forth again in the Gospel.

                Why was this?

                The reason will be evident if we examine the prophecies of Malachi.

                They are all of an ethical character. They inculcate in clear, vigorous, stern, and severe language, made more expressive by sharp authoritative questionings, as if the Prophet were summoning the Nation in God’s Name to a strict examination at His judicial bar, the great moral and religious duties of piety to God, of justice and mercy to man, and of personal purity, holiness, temperance, and sobriety. They speak of, Christ’s Coming. Like the Baptist, the Preacher of righteousness, the Prophet Malachi sees, even in Christ’s First Coming to save, a vision of His future Advent to judge. He calls back the minds of the people to a remembrance of the thunders and lightnings of Mount Sinai, and to the requirements of the Moral Law delivered by God to them by “Moses His servant“; and he concludes with carrying them onward to the terrors of the Great Day, and to the curse that will then be pronounced on all impenitent sinners. He speaks indeed of the rising of the “Sun of Righteousness with healing on his wings,” but that genial and salutary Dayspring will beam only on those “who fear His Name.”

                In the days of Malachi, the Temple of Jerusalem had been rebuilt; its ritual had been restored; a fragrant cloud of incense again arose in a silver steam from the golden altar before the veil in the Holy Place; sacrifices were offered again to God on the brazen altar before the porch of the Temple. The schism between the ten tribes of Israel and the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin had been healed in the Babylonish Captivity. The afflictions of all the tribes were now concentrated in Jerusalem. Idolatry had ceased. But in its place had arisen a cold, hard, rigid, self-complacent spirit of ceremonial formalism, such as afterwards came to a head in the proud, vainglorious Pharisaism of our Lord’s age. It had none of that penitential sorrow gushing forth from the contrite heart in a flood of tears, none of that living faith and ardent love showing itself in the daily self-devotion of a holy and religious life, which alone can make acts of worship to be pleasing and acceptable to God.

                These considerations will explain the tone and tenour of Malachi’s prophecies.

                What are the practical inferences to be hence derived? What are the lessons to be deduced from the succession of the ethical teaching, commonitory precepts, and comminatory warnings of Malachi to the glowing imagery, and prophetic visions, and mysterious revelations of Zechariah? What are the lessons to be deduced from Malachi’s position, not only as the last of the prophets, but also as the herald of the Gospel? They may be briefly stated as follows:–

                The fruit of all spiritual teaching, even of the highest and transcendental kind, like the prophecies of Zechariah, is not in ecstatic emotions and enthusiastic raptures, but in the quiet discharge of moral duties; it is to be seen in holiness of life and in personal preparation for Death, Judgment, and Eternity. “Love is the fulfilling of the Law.” “On these two commandments” (love to God and our neighbour) “hang all the and the Prophets.” “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and now what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God?” “Prepare to meet thy God.”

                Malachi is the Messenger of the Lord. He is like the Baptist, the great forerunner of Christ; Whose coming he announces, “Behold, I will send My Messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me.” He is like the Baptist, a stern teacher of moral duties, and in boldly rebuking sin. The Temple bad been rebuilt: sacrifices were again offered. But in the priests and in the worshippers he saw a worldly, formal, hypocritical spirit; and he denounced it with intrepid sternness and unflinching severity. “Ye offer polluted bread upon Mine altar.” “And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you –the priest’s lips should keep knowledge– but ye are departed out of the way. Ye have wearied the Lord with your words.” And he threatens both people and priests with God’s judgments; and what is more, he foretells this rejection for their sins, and the reception of the heathen in their place. The sight of the concourse of the worshippers to the restored Temple at Jerusalem leads him to foretell the gathering together of all Nations into the Church of Christ, Who would visit that Temple, and Who would send forth the Priests of the Gospel from Jerusalem to receive the whole world into His Church. And the formality, and hypocrisy, and profaneness of the Jewish Priests and People are contrasted with that holier faith and service which God would accept from those who worship Him in spirit and in truth in every nation in the world. “From the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same. My name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto Me, and a pure offering, for My name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts.”

                The reception of the prophecy of Malachi into the Hebrew Canon is a strong proof of its inspiration. It cannot be imagined that the Hebrew Church and Nation would ever have consented to receive a book containing such unpalatable announcements as these–pronouncing such unmitigated censures on the Priesthood and People– predicting their future rejection, and foretelling the adoption by God of the heathen (whom they detested) into His favour, in their own stead –unless they had been convinced, by incontestable proofs, that Malachi spoke by inspiration of God.

                There are many valuable expository works on the prophecies of Malachi, such as the Commentary of S. Jerome, and of Dr. Pocock in our own country; and in our own age, of Hengstenberg and Keil. But the best commentary is to be found in the book of Malachi’s contemporary, Nehemah. The reader is invited to refer to that book, with the Introduction to

it, and notes upon it, in a former volume. Compare especially Malachi 3:11-17 with Nehemiah 13:23-30, and Malachi 3:8-10 with Nehemiah 13:10-14.

                Sins of Jews (1:2-10).    Reception of Gentiles (1:11).   Christian Sacrifice (1:12).     Warning to Priests (2:1-12).     Divorce Condemned (2:13-16.).      Day of the LORD (2:17).    John Baptist (3:1-4:4).

                Elijah the Prophet.

                4:5. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet] Our Lord expressly tells us that “Elias is come already, and they knew him not;” and the Evangelist adds, “then the disciples understood that He spake to them of John the Baptist” (Matt. 17:9-13, Mark 9:11-13). Cp. Matt. 11:13. Cp. Pocock, 148-192.

                The Jews, interpreting these words of Malachi literally, suppose that Elijah, who is still alive, will appear in person before the Second Advent of the Messiah, and “restore the tribes of Jacob.” (Ecclus. 48:10); and many ancient Christian Expositors, as Justin Martyr, Eippolytus, Origen, S. Cyril, Gregory Nyssen, S. Chrysostom, Tertullian, S. Hilary, S. Ambrose, S. Jerome, S. Augustine, S. Gregory, using the Septuagint Version, which has here “Elijah the Tishbite” (and so Arabic), imagined that Elijah will come in person before the Second Advent of Christ. See the authorities quoted below, in the note on Matt. 17:10, and on Rev. 11:3,4; the passages cited in Suicer, Thes. v. Elias; and in the Catechisme de Montpellier, i. 375, and by Hengst. here, Christol. iv. 219-224, English translation.

                In the face of such strong catholic evidence in favour of a belief in a personal coming of Elias before the Second Advent of Christ, it would seem to be presumptuous to deny the possibility, or even the probability, of such an event. But the words of the Prophet Malachi, especially as interpreted by the Gospel, do not seem to require, perhaps not to admit, such a belief; and the opinion of these early Greek Fathers may, perhaps, be ascribed to the fact that they used the Septuagint Version, rather than the Hebrew Original; and perhaps the Latin derived their opinion from them. The Vulgate has “Eliam prophetam,” and so the Syriac –not “Thesbiten;” but the eariy Latin Version has “Thesbiten.”

                As Christ Himself is called David by the Prophets, because He is the true King and Shepherd of Israel, and because all the promises which were made to David are fulfilled in Him Who is David’s Seed (see on Jer. 30:9, Ezek. 34:23; 37:24, Hosea 3:5), so John the Baptist is called Elias, who was the representative of the Prophets, just as Moses is the representative of the Law; and therefore Moses and Elias were illumined in Christ’s glory at the Transfiguration (Matt. 17:3, Mark 9:4, Luke 9:30). = “Dominus atque Salvator transfiguratus in monte loquentes secum habebat Moysen et Eliam in candidis vestibus, qui et dicebant ei quae passurus esset in Jerusalem: Lex cuim et omnis propheturum chorus Christi praedicat passionem” (S. Jerome). (MT: The Lord and also Savior, transfigured in the mountain,  Himself talking with Moses and Elias, dressed in bright-clothes, and Who told them what He would suffer in Jerusalem: what the Law and all the Prophets preached of Christ’s passions.)

                All the Law and the Prophets testified of Christ, and are lighted up by Him, Who is the Sun of Righteousness, and by His Gospel. John the Baptist was not only the antitype of Elias in his dress, his office, his character, and his courageous acts, especially in his reproving kings (see on Matt. 3:4; 4:2, Mark  9:12,13), but he also consummated the prophetical work of which Elias was the exponent and representative. “The Law and the Prophets prophesied until John, since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” (Matt. 11:12, Luke 16:16).

                The Church declares her judgment on this matter by appointing this chapter, as well as the third, to be read on the festival of St. John the Baptist.

                — Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord] Words adopted from Joel 2:31. See the note there.

                6. he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children] The angel Gabriel, when he appeared to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, quoted these words and applied them to the Baptist, whose birth he foretold. “He shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just” (Luke 1:17); whence we may observe that the angels themselves read the Scriptures. Cp. Eph. iii. 3:10, 1st Pet. 1:12.

                The sense is, He shall unite the Jews, who are our fathers, to us Christians, who are their children (S. Jerome, Theodoret, and S. Chrysostom, in Matt. 17).

                This blessed work will be done by him who preaches the kingdom of heaven; many will come from the East and the West, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God (Matt. 8:11, Luke 13:28). This is fulfilled even now in the Church; for we are children of Abraham by faith in Christ, Who is Abraham’s Seed (Gal. 3:7-9).

                St. John the Baptist also adopted these words of Malachi when he said, “God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Matt. 3:19), the Father of the faithful. Abraham is our father, and we are his children, and his heart is turned to our heart, and our hearts are turned to his heart, by faith in Christ.

                Yet further, it is not to be denied or forgotten, that according to the Christian Fathers who supposed that Elias will appear again in person before the Second Advent of Christ (see above on vv. 5,6), one of the principal purposes assigned for that appearance is, that he may convert the Jews to Christianity. So Theodoret here, and S. Chrysostom and Theophyl. in Matt. 17; S. Gregory, Hom. 12 in Ezechiel.

                It may suffice to quote the words of S. Augustine in this sense. In bis book De Civ. Dei, xx. 29, he thus writes, ” It is a very prevalent opinion in the discourses and hearts of the faithful, that by the instrumentality of Elias, the great and wonderful prophet, expounding to them the true meaning of the Law of Moses, in the latter days before the final Judgment, the Jews will be brought to believe in the true Christ. With good reason the appearance of Elias is hoped for, before the Advent of our Saviour and Judge; because with good reason he is believed to be still alive, inasmuch as he was carried up from this world in a chariot of fire. When, therefore, Elias comes, he will expound the Law spiritually, which the Jews now understand carnally, and will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers; that is, the Jews, who are the children, will understand the Law in the same sense as their fathers the Prophets understood it.”

                — lest I come and smite the earth with a curse] Rather, with the ban (Hebr. cherem) of extermination. The word here used (cherem) has a double sense, like sacer or devotus in Latin, dedicated for a blessing, or doomed for a curse. It is not the same as that used in 3:9, but as that rendered utter destruction in 1st Kings 20:42, and in Zech. 14:11, “There shall be no more utter destruction, but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.”

                The sense is that the earth (as opposed to the kingdom of heaven) will be like another Canaan –under a curse– (as the seven nations of Canaan were) unless it listens to the preaching of the Gospel of Christ, Whose herald the Baptist was.

                This was fulfilled in the utter destruction of Jerusalem –which was symbolized by the act of Christ smiting the barren leafy fig-tree with a curse, which withered it (Mark 11:21, and in the ban of extermination executed on Judea for the rejection of Christ at His first coming. Jerusalem and Judah became as Canaan for their sins against God.

                But this prophecy extends also to the time of Christ’s Second Coming.

                Malachi ends his prophecy as his predecessor Zechariah had done, “The Lord will smite with a plague all the people that have fought against Jerusalem,” that is, who war against Christ and His Church (Zech. 14:12); “and there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of Hosts” (Zech. 14:21). Whoever is a Canaanite in heart, will become like Canaan in fate (Lev. 26:14, Deut. 12:29; and 28). If we do not offer ourselves as a holy cherem (Lev. 27:28), by self-dedication to God, we shall be doomed as a cherem for extermination by Him. Cp. on Mark 9:29. If we do not devote ourselves a willing (anathēma) to God, we shall be an unwilling (anathema).

                This concluding sentence of Malachi –this final utterance of the Holy Spirit– is a solemn warning to these latter days.

                Some of the Jews wished to shift this verse from its proper place, in order that the Old Testament might have a joyful termination. The Septuagint ends with the fourth (4th) verse of this chapter; and the fifth (5th) and sixth (6th) are made to precede it. The Masoretes prescribed that in the synagogues the penultimate verse should be read again at the end of Isaiah, Lamentations, and Ecclesiastes, in order to escape the dirge-like tones of the last verses of these books. The same was to be done here, at the end of what the Jews call “the Twelve (12),” i.e. Minor Prophets, in order that the Old Testament might not conclude with words of terrible denunciation, Cp. Pocock, 201.

                But the Holy Spirit knows what is best for us. He warns ns of future punishment, in order that we may escape it, and that we may inherit everlasting glory. “Knowing the terror of the Lord,” He would “persuade men” (2nd Cor. 5:11). And the character of these latter days, when the Evil One is endeavouring to lure men into his own grasp, and to make them his victims forever, by dissolving God’s attributes into one universal fulness of undiscriminating love; and by endeavouring to persuade them that His Justice and Holiness are mere ideal theories and visionary phantoms, and that there is no Judgment to come, and that the terrors of Hell are but a dream –in defiance of the clear words of Him Who is the Truth (see on Mark 9:44-48. Matt. 25:46. Cp. on Isa. 46:24) –shows that there is divine foresight in this warning by Malachi. Let it not be forgotten, that the Apostle of love, St. John, ends his Epistle with a warning against idolatry, and that at the close of the Apocalypse there is a solemn declaration against all who tamper with any words of that book, which speaks in the clearest tones concerning Judgment, Heaven, Hell, and Eternity (Rev. 20:11-15; 21:27; 22:18,19). May we have grace so to profit by this solemn warning, that we may escape the malediction of those on the left hand at the Great Day, and inherit the blessing which will be pronounced to them on the right hand, by the Almighty and Everlasting Judge!


About mjmselim

Male, 68 in Oct., born in Jamaica, USA since 1961, citizen in 2002; cobbler for 40 plus years, retired, Christian since 1969; married to same wife since 1979; 6 daughters and 2 sons, with 8 grandkids. Slowly adapting to the digital world of computers and internet; hobby in digital editing.
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