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a Virgin fball conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel; Butter and Honey shall he eat, till be know how to refufe the Evil, and choose the Good; For before the Child fhall know to refufe the Evil and choose the Good, the Land that thou abhorrest shall be forfaken of both her Kings. If this must be understood only of our Saviour, and these three Verses belong to him folely, why did the Evangelift quote only part of them? How could the Birth of a Child, fo many hundred Years afterward, be a fign to King Ahaz, that the Confederates fhould not prevail against him? If this be the Prophet's fole meaning, let us lay it all plainly together, and fee whether it will bear English. Bebald, O Ahaz, the Lord himself, fince you will not ask one, will condefcend to give you a Sign, in order to confirm you, that you shall not now be destroy'd by the Syrians and Ifraelites: Behold, 800 Years hence a pure Virgin fball conceive a Son, and he shall be God incarnate: He fhall live on the ordinary Food of the Country, till he can diftinguish between Good and Evil; which particular circumStance I mention, becaufe before he can diftinguish between Good and Evil, that is, within 800 Years, the Land of Ifrael, which thou at prefent fo much dreadeft, fhall be forfaken of bothRezin and Pekah. Thus abfurdly muft the Prophet be fuppos'd to talk, if his Words must be understood of our Saviour only; and thus, or worfe, do the generality of Commentators make him fpeak. Let us hear a few of them. Behold, a Virgin fhall con'ceive a Son, and shall call his Name Immanuel; Butter and Honey shall he eat, till he know how to refufe the Evil and choose the Good; for before this Child Im'manuel is born, and grown up to fome Years, he, as 'God,fhall deliver Jerufalem from the two Kings thou Науто. art fo much afraid of. Would not fuch a Sign as this leave the dejected King in as great uncertainty, as it found him in? What fatisfaction could it be to him,

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to.

Munfter,

Tirinus.

to hear that he should be deliver'd from his Enemies, before a Child, to be born 800 Years after, fhould be wean'd, and come to the Firft dawnings of Senfe? The Expreffion, before he know to refufe the Evil and choose the Good, denotes a fhort Period of a few Years, Three or Four at moft; and yet the Child who was to be the Sign of this Deliverance, was not to be Born till many hundred after. Before he is born (fays 'another) and have tafted Butter and Honey, the 'Land of Judah fhall be fenfible of his Affiftance. Clarius. 'As if the Prophet had faid, Behold, a Child fhall be 'born 800 Years hence, and fhall be call'd Immanuel; and before he is born, you fhall be de"liver'd fometime or other within that Space; which Vatabl. 'muft needs be great Confolation to Ahaz, Before Forerius, the Child fball know how to refufe the Evil; that is, Em, Sa. before the Lord fhall appear in the Flesh; before he Menoch, shall be a Child: But when that fhould be, if the Prophet did not explain to him, he must needs be under the fame difmal apprehenfion of being conquer'd; and if he did, it was much the fame with him, because, to hear of being deliver'd fometime or other, in the space of fo many hundred Years, was not likely to fettle his Mind, or give him any folid foundation of fecurity. Of these and the like Interpretations take the Judgment of Sanctius: 'As for thofe ad loc. who fay, before Immanuel fhall be born, the King'doms of Syria and Samaria fhall be deftroy'd; that is, before 800 Years, they promife nothing extraordinary for it would be greater wonder if they. fhould continue fo long, fince no preceding Governments fubfifted fo long a time as 800 Years; efpecially if we confider, that the Prophet does not speak of the Kingdom, but of thofe two Kings who were kill'd in a fhort time afterward, and their Dominions annexed to Affyria. Who would doubt, but both

thofe

thofe Monarchs would die before the Birth of Immanuel? Or what comfort could it be to the fearful King, to be affur'd of Deliverance fo undetermin'd as to time? Therefore Sanctius takes another course, and will not allow the fame Child to be spoken of in both Verfes: As if the Prophet had faid, Behold, in future Ages a pure Virgin fhall conceive and bear a Son, and fhall call his name Immanuel: And as a proof of this, before the Child Mahershalalchafbbaz Thall be wean'd from his Mothers Breaft, your Enemies fhall be deftroy'd. But this, I think, gives a different turn to the Prophet's" Words than he defign'd; For the birth of Immanuel was to be the fign of this Deliverance; but this makes the Deliverance a fign of his Birth; befides, that Hanangar, in the Seventh Chapter, may fignify any Child in the World, as well as one whom the Prophet as yet has not spoken Calvin, one Word of. And thus the difficulty is avoided by others, who think that the Prophet does not fpeak of any one particular Child, but of Children in general. Before the Children, who fhall next be born, are able to diftinguish Evil from Good, the Land 'which thou hateft fhall lofe her Kings. But befides, that this is putting fuch a meaning on the Word as it will not bear, this Interpretation makes the Prophet talk as abfurdly as the common one. 'Behold,a Virgin fhall conceive, and bear a Son, who fhall be 'called Immanuel, and be fed with the common Diet of his Country; For before the Children, which 'fhall next be born, come to be wean'd, or are able 'to diftinguish Good from Evil, the Land fhall be 'forefaken of both her Kings: That is, He fhall eat the common Provifions of the Country, till he knows how to refuse the Evil and choofe Good: for before other Children know how to refufe the Evil and choose the Good, the Land fhall be forfaken of her

King; which makes the Prophet give a reafon mal á propos. There remains one more way to avoid the Incoherence vifible in the foregoing Interpretations of these three Verses; and that is, by fuppofing the Prophet, by Hanangar in the fixteenth Verfe, to mean his Gataker. Son Searjafub, whom he was order'd by God to take with him when he went to Ahaz. Behold, 0 Ahaz, the Lord himself will give you a fign that you fhallbe delivered, A Virgin fhall Conceive and bear a Son, and call his Name Immanuel; and tho' he fhall be what his Name fignifies, God and Man, yet Butter and Honey fhall he eat, live upon the ordinary Diet of his Country, till he know how to refufe the Evil, and choose the Good: Which I mention, because before this Child here prefent knows how to refuse the Evil and choose the Good, the Land by which thou art vext, fhall be forfaken of both her Kings. This is the moft plaufible Interpretation I have met with;but then as the fame Objections lie against this, as against the reft, that the Birth of a Child 800 Years afterwards, could not be a fign to Ahaz, that he fhould be deliver'd out of the Hands of the Confederates, which is manifeftly the Defign of the Prophet in this Place; So there are fome peculiar Objections which cannot eafily be got over, for, as Calvin fays, if the Prophet had defign'd any particular Child (befides that of whofe Birth he is fpeaking) efpecially if he had meant his own Son, who was then by him before the King, he would in all probability have added Hazze to Hanangar, before this Child knows how to refufe the Evil. And fecondly, The Period defcrib'd by the Periphrafis of a Child's knowing to refufe the Evil and choofe the good, cannot exceed the fpace of above three or four Years, because in the next Chapter he makes ufe of a like Expreffion, Before the Child fhall have knowledge to cry, My Father and my Mother, which in

moft:

moft Countries is a great deal fooner, and never later in any; and very probably Searjafub was older than that already. But now fince I have fhewn that there is a neceffity of allowing a double Interpretation, even in thofe places which are cited in the New Tefament with ἵνα Οι ὅταν πληρωθῇ, why may not the fame be allow'd here alfo? Why may we not fuppofe that God defigning to give King Ahaz a convincing Proof or Sign that he fhould not be conquer'd by the Confederate Forces, which were in full March against him, told him, 'That a Woman fhould conceive a Son,and his Name should be call'd Immanuel, God with us, and as fure as he was call'd fo, would 'God be propitious to him; and before this Child 'fhould be three or four Years Old, both thofe Kings, 'he ftood fo much in awe of,fhould be destroy'd? Why. Lfay, may we not fuppofe that God defigning to give Abaz fuch a Sign, directed the Prophet to make ufe of fuch Expreffions as fhould at the fame time fignify that and a far more glorious Birth? And thus I find the Words tranflated by Caftalio, Behold there is a certain Woman now with Child, who shall bear a Son, and fhall call his Name Immanuel, because he shall be a Sign that God will affift us. This Child fball eat Butter and Hony in his Infancy, till he comes to be able to diftinguish between Good and Bad: For before he comes to that Age, this City shall be delivered from the Siege of thefe two Kings. This differs a little from the turn I have given the Words in my Comment on them, but may ferve to fhew that Grotius is not fingular in understanding them of a Child born about that time: This may look like giving up to the Jews this Illuftrious Prophecy, but I hope to prove by and by, that it is fo far from yeilding up the Place, that it is only directing the Cannon right, and giving them fuch a Pofition as will annoy them the more.

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