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PROPHECIES OF ISAIAH.
E now Second Part of these
W Prophecies, in which furprising, variegated,
and inftructive scenes are prefented to view. The future fortunes of the neighbouring nations to Canaan, which were clofely connected with the affairs of the people of God, are here faithfully delineated. The fubject chiefly treated in the difcourfe before us, is truly affecting. It exhibits a moving reprefentation of the awful judgments which the Almighty, in the courfe of divine providence, would certainly execute upon the implacable adverfaries of his church. Thefe predicted calamities, the refult of his wife counfels, were to difplay before the world his confummate righteousness, and to promote the good of his people, by delivering them from the oppreffion of their wicked and malevolent enemies. Whilst the contemplation of these terrible judgments which are here defcribed, calls forth pity and commiferation toward thofe against whom they were denounced, it lays a fure foundation for the confidence, confolation, and joy of those who have the Lord for their God, and
and who demean themselves as the dutiful fubjects of his Son's kingdom.
The long difcourfe, which is comprehended in this and the following chapters, on to the twentythird inclufive, may be divided into eight different fections. The firft relates to the deftruction of Babylon, chap. xiii.-ver. 28. of chap. xiv.-The fecond predicts the overthrow of the Philiftines, chap. xiv. ver. 28.32.- -The third treats of the defolate condition to which Moab was to be reduced, chap. xv. and xvi.-The fourth represents the calamitous ftate of the Syrians, the Ephraimites, the Affyrians, and the Egyptians, chap. xvii. and xviii.The fifth describes the defolation of Egypt, and its return to the Lord, with the calamities which were to be inflicted upon Ethiopia and the Arabians, chap. xix. and xx.The fixth foretels the complete overthrow of the Babylonian empire, with which are connected the miferies which were to befal the Idumeans and Arabians, chap. xxi.The feventh exhibits the diftreffes which were to be fent upon Judah and Jerufalem, by means of Sennacherib, chap. xxii.The eighth delineates the deftruction of Tyre, chap. xxiii.
These predictions feem to be principally intended to convey the following important inftructions, which we ought to learn from them: 1. That the most powerful enemies of the people of God, who oppose their interefts, and opprefs their perfons, fhall not efcape the righteous judgments of Heaven, but fhall certainly perish in their hoftile attempts against the church of God, and fooner or later fhall feel the weight of divine vengeance.-2. That the God of all comfort will never fail to adminifter confolation to his oppreffed, dejected fervants, when they are in dangerous circumftances, and most apt to be overwhelmed with dread of their formidable enemies, and the imminent dangers to which they are expofed.And, 3. That in the deftruction of Babylon, and the other
other powers that were adverse to Ifrael of old, men might behold a striking representation of the unavoidable overthrow of all the nations on the earth, who perfift in virulent oppofition to the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ.
The prophecy which comes first under confideration, comprehended in this and the next chapter, on to ver. 28. foretels the deftruction of Babylon by the Medes and Perfians. This great event was to be the mean of delivering the Jews from the captivity in which they had been long detained; and having been predicted probably about two hundred years before its accomplishment, the profpect it afforded would revive the dejected minds of the men of Judah with the hope of release. The prophecy opens with the command of God, to gather together the forces which he had appointed to this fervice, ver. 2. and 3.Upon which the prophet immediately hears the tumultuous noife of the different nations crowding together to his standard; he fees them advancing, prepared to execute the divine vengeance, ver. 4. and 5.He then proceeds to defcribe the dreadful confequences with which this vifitation was to be accompanied, ver. 6.-11.-Under a variety of the most striking images, the dreadful deftruction of Babylon is next fet forth, ver. 12.-16.-The chapter concludes with a defcription of the everlafting defolation to which that great city is doomed, ver. 17. to the end.
THE HE burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the fon of Amoz did fee.
The city of Babylon, famous for its antiquity and grandeur, ftood in a large plain, remarkable for its rich and fertile foil, which lay along the banks of the
river Euphrates. It was furrounded with walls, which were eighty-feven feet in thicknefs, three hundred and fifty feet in height, and fixty miles in length. Thefe immenfe walls were built of large bricks, cemented by a fort of glutinous pitch found in that country. On the outfide of the walls a great ditch was formed, which was lined with bricks, and filled with water. The walls were built in the form of a fquare, each fide of which was fifteen miles in length, and had twenty-five gates, that were made of folid brass. At each of the four corners was a tower, and betwen every two gates were three towers, raised about ten feet higher than the walls. Oppofite to the twenty-five gates were twenty-five ftreets, about one hundred and fifty feet wide, which went in ftraight lines to the gates on the other fide; fo that there were fifty streets in the city, fifteen miles long, croffing each other at right angles. Befides, there were four ftreets next to the walls, about two hundred feet broad. In this manner the city was divided into fix hundred and feventy-fix fquares, each of which was two miles and one quarter in circumference; on the fides of which stood the houses, of three and four stories high, richly ornamented. In the midst of the fmall fquares were gardens and pleasure-grounds.
A branch of the great river Euphrates ran through the city, from north to fouth. On each fide of the river a wall was built, of the fame thicknefs with thofe which encompaffed the city; in which, over against every street that led to the river, were gates of brafs; from which a defcent, formed by fleps, went down to the water, for the convenience of the inhabitants. Over the river was built a bridge, a furlong in length, and thirty feet wide, executed with wonderful art; the arches of which were made of large ftones, fastened together with chains of iron and melted lead. To prevent the injuries to which the city and country adjacent were expofed, from the in