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* For "in the hand of the LoRD there is a cup, And the wine is red; it is “full of mixture; And he poureth out of the same: But "the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out,
And drink them.
9 But I will declare forever;
10 All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off;
~ b Job 21. 20. Psa. 60.8. Jer. 25.15. c Prov. 28. 80. Rev. 14. 10. and 16. 19. d Job 21. 20.
PS ALM XLVI.
ON THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB’S ARMY.
The confidence which God's people have in him, 1–7; an erhortation to behold the Judgments of God upon the heathen, and to reverence him, 8–11.
T To the chief Musician, for the Sons of Korah. A Song upon Alamoth, [i. e., a song after the manner of virgins, or with the female voice.]
* God is our refuge and strength, A "very present help in trouble. * Therefore will not we fear, Though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into 'the midst of the sea; * Though "the waters thereof roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof Selah ! * There is “a river, The streams whereof shall make glad "the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.
a Deut. 4.7. b Jer. 5. 22. e See Isa. 8, 7. * Heb. the heart of the seas. Mat. 7. 25. d Isa. 60. 14.
* God “ is in the midst of her—she shall not be moved: God shall help her— and that right early. * The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: He uttered his voice—the fearth melted. 7 The LoRD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is 'our refuge. Selah! 8 Come, behold the works of the LoRD, What desolations he hath made in the earth. * He & maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He "burneth the chariot in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God! I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah!
e Deut. 23. 14. Isaiah 12, 6. * Heb. when the morning ap- f Jos. 2. 9, 24.
INTRODUCTION TO PSALM LXXXVIII.
PSALM OF HEMAN.
The kingdom of Judah began to decline from the death of Jehoshaphat. The unfortunate marriage of Jehoshaphat's son with the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, brought the Phoenician idolatry into the kingdom, after the death of that prince, and flooded the land with the memorials of a cruel and debasing superstition. It was this popular tide of idolatry in the reigns of Jehoram, Ahaziah, and Athaliah, that seduced the faithless Joash—the last hope of the nation's piety—from his allegiance to Jehovah, after the death of the good Jehoiada; and it was for reproving the young king for this defection from the religion of Moses, that the holy Prophet Zechariah was stoned in the temple, and fell a martyr between the great altar and the holy of holies. 2 Chronicles xxiv, 20, 21; Matthew xxiii, 35. For three hundred years, with but one exception—the prosperous reign of Uzziah—the kingdom of Judah declined in strength, and, with a few exceptions, in piety also, till it reached at last the dreadful goal of its catastrophe. Although there had been good kings, such as Hezekiah and Josiah, yet there had been wicked and worthless ones, such as Ahaz and Manasseh, and several also who, like Asa and Amaziah, were not uniformly pious. Uzziah, though a great politician and a good governor, was not a pious man; and although the boldness and energy of his character brought the kingdom in a great measure back to its former strength and renown, yet his administration had no direct bearing on the religions and moral reformation of the people. With the decline of the kingdom of Judah, dates the especial providence and mercy of God in raising up that illustrious line of holy prophets who were called to write and preserve their sacred messages. From generation to generation, these wonderful men uttered and recorded their predictions; and the collected light of these sacred oracles forms a distinct epoch in the progressive developments of the Old Testament dispensation. They stand related to the writings of Moses, very much as the apostolic epistles do to the evangelical histories; but, though their light reproved the ages in which they successively lived, and though from time to time the pious kings of Judah seemed to lift up a barrier against the overspreading abominations of heathenism, yet the general downward progress of the nation was but too evident to those who could read the signs of the times. Josiah was the last of the good kings of Judah. He was an amiable and pious prince, and engaged in the work of reformation with great energy and decision. While repairing the temple, which had been neglected for more than half a century, and had been desecrated by the vilest images of idolworship, there was found in the ark of the covenant, in the holy of holies, a copy (probably the autograph copy) of the law of Moses. This discovery was announced to the king as an event of uncommon interest; and, being brought before him, portions were read aloud by Shaphan, the king's secretary. In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses had distinctly portrayed the ruinous consequences of apostasy to the nation. When the king had heard these living delineations of Divine wrath he rent his clothes, and for a while was overwhelmed with an awful sense of impending judgment. He saw that the character of the nation was exactly that upon which Moses denounced the fearful and exterminating vengeance of God. Having inquired of the Prophetess Huldah more particularly into the meaning of these solemn passages from the law, the king proceeded with new zeal in his work of reformation, and exerted all his authority and influence to purge the land from idolatry, and restore the pure religion of Moses. Well might he feel alarmed. The nation at that hour was within forty years of its overthrow by the Chaldeans ! But the salutary effects of his piety were quickly effaced by the profligacy and corruptions of the succeeding reigns. The nation had become too deeply tainted with the moral impurities of heathenism to recover speedily; and no sooner had the good Josiah died, and the wicked Jehoahaz ascended the throne, than idolatry was restored, and the nation from that hour plunged downward to its ruin with a fearful and unchecked rapidity. Under these circumstances the wasting years of the Divine forbearance were soon exhausted. Sennacherib, king of Assyria, as we have before seen, had, in the reign of Hezekiah, met with a signal and miraculous overthrow before the walls of Libnah, and had returned in dishonour to his capital. Manasseh, son of Hezekiah, had succeeded his father, and his long and wicked reign had deeply corrupted the kingdom of Judah. Meantime, JEsar-haddon, who had succeeded Sennacherib, determined to avenge the disasters of the Assyrian arms in Palestine, and about the time that Manasseh's wickedness had reached its height, the Assyrian monarch was ready to undertake the long-delayed expedition. Esar-haddon marched to Palestine, overthrew and took captive Manasseh, and laid the kingdom of Judah under tribute. A few years later, in the reign of Josiah, king of Judah, Nabopolassar subjugated Assyria and founded the kingdom of Babylon. The successes of Nabopolassar alarmed Pharaoh-necho, king of Egypt, and brought these two mighty monarchs into war with each other. Necho had possessions upon the banks of the Euphrates, which he must now protect against the ravaging conquest of this new Eastern power. Nabopolassar, who had now grown old, committed the war to his son Nebuchadnezzar, who defeated Necho, and at length overran all western Asia with his victorious arms. The kingdom of Judah, which had been laid under heavy tribute by Necho since the death of Josiah, now fell, by right of the sword, into the hands of the king of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar not only laid the kingdom under tribute, but disrobed the temple of many of its precious ornaments, as trophies; and took with him some of the flower of the Hebrew nobility, to be retained as hostages and as servants at his court. Among these youth were Daniel and his three companions. Daniel i, 3–6. At this date, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, A. M. 3398, B. C. 606, commence the seventy years' captivity of the Hebrews in Babylon, as foretold by Jeremiah, chapter xxv, 11, 12, and xxix, 10. See also Daniel ix, 2. Severe as this stroke was, it did not humble the pride of the nation, nor turn their hearts to God. Three years after Jehoiakim foolishly rebelled, which drew upon him the second time the fury of the Chaldean army, now assisted by the fierce enemies of Judah—the Syrians, the Moabites, and Ammonites. Jehoiakim is bound in fetters, to be carried to Babylon; though it appears that he died before he left Jerusalem, and, for his impiety, was denied honourable sepulture. (See 2 Chronicles xxxvi, 6; and compare 2 Kings xxiv, 6, and Jeremiah xxii, 18, 19.) Jehoiachin, his son, was placed upon the throne; who, at the end of three months, threw off the Babylonian yoke. The army of Nebuchadnezzar had not been withdrawn from the country, and was now ordered back to Jerusalem. Jehoiachin now perceives the folly of resistance, and voluntarily surrenders to the Chaldeans. He is taken prisoner, and with him all his court, and two thousand nobles and men of wealth, with numerous others of the soldiers, artificers, and men of distinction. At the same time the royal treasury was emptied, and the temple despoiled of its golden furniture. The king and nobles were sent to Babylon; while numerous captives, including the