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18 dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.
ROM hence let us learn particularly to watch against all those things for which God was so displeased with his ancient people; such as injustice, filling our houses with violence and deceit; the love of vain mirth and pleasure; being settled on our lees, so as to fear no danger. Let us guard against being divided between God and sin, v. 5. This is the case of many now; they think to compound matters with God, by serving him and Mammon at the same time. But all such are offensive to him; especially those who forsake religion, who begin well, but afterward run into the gaieties and follies of life; who, after solemn professions and vows, turn back from the Lord. Yea, he will punish those who never sought the Lord, nor inquired for him ; who do not study his will, and pray to him; but live destitute of religion. These crimes of Israel are here specified for our admonition.
2. Let us guard against those bad principles, which lead to these bad dispositions and practices. I will punish the men that are settled on their lees; that say in their hearts, The Lord doeth no good, neither doeth he evil: here was the source of their wickedness. They were infidels, who denied the providence and moral government of God, and presumed that, however they might sin, God would not interfere to punish them. When men persuade themselves that God does not observe their sins, or is not so displeased with them as to punish them, and therefore despise the admonitions of his word and ministers, there is little hope of their reformation: it is not to be wondered at if they run into all kinds of vice. But when the day of scrutiny comes, God will search them out, and punish them. Therefore let us reflect,
3. How awful the day of the Lord is, and what a terrible thing it will be to have his wrath against us. What an affecting view is here given us of the desolation of Judah and Jerusalem, though they were God's peculiar people. Such calamities may come upon our nation, and probably will, if those vices which appear among us are suffered to continue and increase. Let us read this account, and think with ourselves, If God's vengeance on a wicked nation is so dreadful, how terrible will be the day of judg ment; when he will punish all the wicked of the earth with everlasting destruction.' And seeing we look for such a day, let us seriously consider, what manner of persons we ought to be, in all holy conversation and godliness.
Contains an exhortation to repentance; the judgment of the Philistines, of Moab and Ammon, of Ethiopia and Assyria, who were all to be subdued by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, about the time of his conquest of Judea.
YATHER yourselves together, yea, gather together, to humble yourselves, or recollect yourselves, O nation not desired; that is, not yet brought to repentance, or, not deserv2 ing of any favour; Before the decree bring forth, or be executed, [before] the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce an ger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD's anger come upon you; before that day come which shall bring such dreadful calamities as shall drive you like chaff 3 before the wind. Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteous, ness, seek meekness; be humbled under a sense of your sins and a fear of God's wrath; it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD's anger; you may possibly by these means even yet deliver yourselves, though not your country.
For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noonday, by an open attack, 5 and not by stratagem, and Ekron shall be rooted up. Wo unto the inhabitants of the sea coasts, the nation of the Cherethites, part of the Philistines! the word of the LORD [is] against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, that part of it which of right belongs to the Jews, though you keep it unjustly from them, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be 6 no inhabitant. And the sea coast shall be dwellings [and] cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks; a proverbial ex7 pression of utter desolation. And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening for the LORD their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity; when the Jews return, they shall possess that country, and have settled habitations there.
I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and magnified [themselves] against their border; in9 vaded their country, and cruelly used them. Therefore, [as] I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab, who descended from Lot, shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, [even] the breeding of nettles, and salt pits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my peo ple shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall pos sess them; a prediction fulfilled partly by Nebuchadnezzar, 10 and finally by the Maccabees. This shall they have for their
pride, because they have reproached and magnified [them. selves] against the people of the LORD of hosts. The LORD [will be] terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth; they shall have no worshippers, their sacrifices, which were absurdly thought to be their food, shall cease; and [men] shall worship him, every one from his place, [even] all the isles of the heathen; that is, the western and the maritime countries, or all Europe, the continents of Asia and Africa. Ye Ethiopians also, ye [shall be] slain by my sword.
And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, [and] dry 14 like a wilderness. And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations, that is, all nations, or all kinds of wild beasts: both the [cormorant,] or pelican, and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; birds which fed in the Tygris, and made their nests in the deserted ruins of Nineveh [their] voice shall sing in the windows; desolation [shall be] in the thresholds: for he shall uncover the cedar 15 work; their finest carved ornaments, This [is] the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, in ease, pleasure, and presumption, that said in her heart, I [am,] and [there is] none beside me: how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in ! every one that passeth by her shall hiss, [and] wag his hand.
T becomes all men to humble themselves under the judg ments of God. When national calamities are threatened or inflicted, or when individuals are under affliction, they should recollect themselves, turn inward and inquire of their own hearts, why God contendeth with them? and especially should those do so, whose prevailing sin is pride. The word of the Lord is against them, v. 5. It is therefore time to humble themselves; and it will be their interest as well as duty to do it, before the dreadful day of judgment comes, when the wicked shall be like chaff driven before the wind.
2. Observe what honour God puts on the meek: on those who are humble in their own eyes; sensible of the evil of sin; submissive, and penitent under divine rebukes, and who have sincerely done his will. God will be favourable to them, and hide them, on earth, or in heaven. But they should continue to seek meekness; there is still room to improve; let them therefore strive to excel more and more. They may possibly be instruments of saving their country; but, if not, at least they will save their own souls.
3. Let us pray for the more complete accomplishment of this prophecy of the destruction of idolatry, v. 11. It is already in some measure accomplished in these isles; but it is a prophecy of the more extensive spread of the gospel, when men shall pray
every where, without any distinction of place, to Jehovah alone. And let us observe here the great design of the gospel, even to bring men to worship him, and him only. Those who neglect his worship, are either ignorant of, or neglect the leading designs of the gospel. Let us earnestly pray, that idolatry may be abolished, and that men may every where worship the Father in spirit and in truth.
In this chapter Jerusalem is reproved for its sins, and a promise is given of a general restoration of the Jews in the latter day.
TO to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city! She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the LORD; she drew not near to 3 her God. Her princes within her [are] roaring lions; her judges [are] evening wolves: they gnaw not the bones till the morrow; they devour the prey entirely, and do not leave 4 the bones till morning. Her prophets [are] light, vain and trifling, [and] treacherous persons, who come to the temple from their idolatrous services: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law; neglected the distinction between clean and unclean, and yet presumed upon 5 God's being among them. But the prophet adds, The just LORD [is] in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity; he will not be a partner in your crimes: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; he holds his court early every morning, and makes his justice apparent; but the unjust knoweth no shame; they grow impudent and obsti6 nate in their sin. I have cut off the nations; both Nineveh and the ten tribes their towers are desolate; I made their streets waste, that none passeth by their cities are destroyed, so that 7 there is no man, that there is none inhabitant. I said, after the manner of men, Surely thou wilt fear me, these judgments on neighbouring nations must be effectual to thy repentance and reformation; thou wilt receive instruction; so their dwelling should not be cut off, howsoever I punished them; so that though punished, they might not be entirely ruined and their cities destroyed: but I was disappointed, for they became zealous idolaters, and more generally vicious, they rose early, [and] corrupted all their doings.
8 Therefore, or, nevertheless, wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey for my determination [is] to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, [even] all my fierce anger: for all the earth, that is, all the enemies of my church, shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
For then will I turn, or restore to the people a pure language, sanctified hearts and lips, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent, with one shoulder; 10 an allusion to beasts drawing in teams. From beyond the riv
ers of Ethiopia my suppliants, [even] the daughter of my 11 dispersed, shall bring mine offering. In that day shalt thou
not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me; thou shalt not be put to shame on account of them, nor be continued under the reproach and punishment of them: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain; I will take away those hypocrites, who boasted in their temple, and of their being the people 12 of God. I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and
poor people, a people meek and poor in spirit, and they shall 13 trust in the name of the LORD. The remnant of Israel shall
not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; there shall be no more idolatry nor deceit among them for they shall feed and lie down, like the sheep of God's pasture, and none shall make [them] afraid; they shall be safe under his protection.
Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. 15 The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out
thine enemy; the King of Israel, [even] the LORD, [is] in the midst of thee, by manifest tokens of his presence and favour: 16 thou shalt not see evil any more. In that day it shall be said
to Jerusalem, God will say it by his providence and promises, Fear thou not: [and to] Zion, Let not thine hands be slack; perform thy duty with diligence and cheerfulness, and God will 17 strengthen thee in an extraordinary manner. The LORD thy God in the midst of thee [is] mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest, or, be silent, in his love; he will joy, or exult, over thee with singing; he will, view thee with a transport which cannot be uttered; and when the transport subsides, he will break forth into a song of exulta18 tion. What a wonderful and delightful representation! I will gather [them that are] sorrowful for the solemn assembly, for the want of ordinances, [who] are of thee, the true members of the church, to [whom] the reproach of it, wherewith their 19 enemies upbraided them, [was] a burden. Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee and I will save her that haiteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to 20 shame. At that time will I bring you (again,] even in the time that I gather you: for 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; when the Jews shall be converted and restored to their own land, there shall be