AN EXPOSITION CONTINUED Upon the XX, XXI, XXII, XXIII, XXIV, XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII, and XXIX, Chapters of the PROPHET EZEKIEL, VVith many Useful Observations thereupon.

Delivered at several Lectures in London, By WILLIAM GREENHILL.

PSALM 119.96.

I have seen an end of all Perfection, but thy Commandement is exceeding broad.

HEBREWS 13.14.

Here have wee no continuing City, but wee seek one to come.

Miser est omnis animus vinctus amicitia rerum morta­lium. Augustin. Confess. l. 4. c. 6.

LONDON, Printed for Livewell Chapman at the Crown in Popes-head-Alley; And are to be sold by Henry Mortlock at the Phoenix in Pauls Church-yard, near the little North door. 1658.

TO Those in the famous City of London, who are the Undertakers, Promoters, and Maintainers of the Expository Lectures therein, and to all others who love Truth.

WEE read in holy writ of many Cities, which for their structures, situations, fortifications, trading, accommodations, and Epithites, were famous; as populous No Nahum. 3. 8. Nineveh the great Jonah 1.2. Tarsus in Cilicia Act. 21.39. Golden Babylon Isa. 14.4. Renowned Tyrus Ezek. 26.17. Righteous and faith­ful Jerusalem Isa. 1.26. which exceeded them all: for as Canaan was the glory of all lands, flowing with milk and hony; so Jerusalem had its milk and honey, and was the glo­ry of all Cities: There was the Lords Presence, his worship, his Oracles, his Ordinances, and his Prophets, which made it the glory of the World, and perfection of beauty. Had other Cities strong Towers? Jerusalem had them, and the Temple also. Had they gods of gold, silver, stones and sticks in them? Jerusalem had Jehovah the true and living God in her. Had they wise Counsellors in them? Jerusa­lem had the Sanedrim. Had they humane Laws which were good? Jerusalem had Divine Laws, such as no City or People ever had Deut. 4.8. Had they temporal Excel­lencies and Priviledges? Jerusalem had spiritual. Had they the glory of the World, Art, and Nature? Jerusa­lem had the glory of Heaven. There God shined, Psal. 50.2. But what now is become of these Cities, and Je­rusalem it self? are they not all laid waste, made heapes, [Page] dead and buried in the wombe of the earth? Cities have their periods as well as men: Babylon had a time to bee borne Gen. 11.4. and a time to dye Isa. 14.4. Nineveh had her day to get up Gen. 10.11. and her day to fall Nahum 3.7. Tyrus had her day of rising, and her day of ruining, and shee is descended into the pit with others Ezek. 26.18, 20. Jerusalem had her day for building, and her day for burning Jerem. 52.12, 13. This is matter of la­mentation, that such Cities, especially Jerusalem, should have such an end. The Cause of such dismal ends, upon search wee shall finde to bee SIN, which is of so malignant a Nature, that it destroies Nations, and pulls down the strongest Cities. Cruelty, falsehood, and robbery, with many other, were the sins laid Nineveh waste Nahum 3. Pride, fulnesse of bread, abundance of idlenesse, with neglect of the poor, were the sins made the Lord take Sodome away Ezek. 16.49, 50. Pride, Violence, unmercifulnesse, vain-confidence, and Treachery, were the sins rent Babylon in peices Isa. 47. Jer. 50. what sins destroied Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, with their Cities; and what sunk Tyrus into the sea Ezekiel tells you chap. 25. & 26. A large Catalogue of those sins which kindled the fire in Jerusalem, and turned her into ashes, you have in the 22. of Ezekiel, and other chapters; most of which I fear are to be found in this City. Are there not in her those set light by Father and Mother? are there not those do vex the Fatherlesse and Widdow? are there not those despise the holy things of God, and pro­phane his Sabbaths? are there not those take usury, and increase, are greedy of gain, and live by dishonest gain? Ezek. 22.18. Are there not those that devise mischief, and give wicked counsel? Are there not those carry tales to shed bloud? Are there not those exercise robbery, vex the poor, the needy, and oppresse the stranger? Are [Page] not her professors as dross, even the dross of silver? may not the Lord say of this City as hee did of Jerusalem. Thou hast been to mee a provocation of mine anger, Jer. 32.31 and of my fu­ry, from the day that they built thee, even unto this day, that I should remove thee from before my face. Thou art the City, I have been purging, but art not purged,Eze. 24.13 Thou shalt not bee purged from thy filthinesse, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee. Surely LONDON deserves not better at the hands of the Lord than other Cities did, especially Jerusalem, and having her sins, may fear her end. Be instructed therefore O LONDON, lest the Lords soul depart from thee, and thou bee made Desolate; For the Lord hath a Day to reckon with sinfull Lands and Cities Isa. 17.4. In that day the glory of Jacob shall bee made thin, and the fatnesse of his flesh shall wax lean. The Princes, Counsellors, Souldiers, Prophets, Priests, with their Cities, the rarities and riches of them, were the glory and fatnesse of Jacob; These God had a day to take away, and so made Jacob thin and lean. God had a day for Tyre, Isa. 23.15 and interrupted her great merchandising for seventy years, by laying her in the deep. If it bee demanded how came Tyrus so strong and stately, so fat and full, to so deplorable an end. The spirit of God tells you, when it saith,Eze. 26.27. thy Rowers have brought thee into great waters; that is, the Princes and Rulers, by their Pride, Policy, and Prophaneness, caused such storms as sunk the Ship. Tyrus had as much to secure her as any City in the world, shee was built upon a rock, her borders were in the midst of the Seas, shee had walls, and an Army to watch them; shee had Towers and Gammadims to keep them; shee wanted not for ships, Pilots, Marriners, for Souldiers, sheilds, and Helmets, she had Coun­sellors, Merchants, and plentie of all things, so that shee seemed invincible; but all these did not preserve her station, or make her impregnable; for though shee indured a fredge of thir­teen years by Nebuchadrezzar and his forces,Eze. 27.2 [...] yet at last shee fell into the midst of the Sea, in the day of her ruine. Jerusalem [Page] was so well fortified by nature and art,Psal. 125.2. Psal. 48.12, 13. Lam. 4.12 being compassed about with mountaines, having walls, bulwarks, and Towers, that it, was thought incredible, and impossible, for an enemy to have entered her gates: but sin being found in her, and God a­gainst her, nothing secured her. She was oft warned by the Pro­phets, Isa. 37. Amos 4. and judiciary providences of God, to repent and reforme. Shee was as a pot over the fire, when besiedged by Senacherib, when famine and Plague devoured her inhabitants, but her scum went not out, and that was her ruine. Let none think the poor to bee the scum of the City,Prov. 22.2 the Lord made the poor as well as the rich, and despises not the work of his own hands. Its the sin of Rich and Poor, its their wickednesse which is the scum. Great Cities have much sin in them, and so much scum; scum­mie Opinions, scummie Counsells, scummy fashions, and scummie practices.Isa. 1.5 Thus was it with Jerusalem and her scum boiled in, shee was the worse for corrections and judgements, her scum being aegritudo & venenum ollae, caused the cracking & bursting of the pot. These things the book of God holds forth for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Let our great City and Citizens look to it, there is scum in the City, and not a little: is it gone out, or boiled in? was not the Sword lately at your gates? was there not yesterday great sickli­ness, within your walls? is not trading diminished? have there not been strange murthers amongst you? Have not many sad fires been kindled, broke out and consumed your habitations? was there not a Plot (which hath cost some their lives) to fire your City? God hath been warning you by these judiciary dispensations, and are you bettered by them? hath all you have seen, feared, or felt, caused your scum to depart from you, if so, its well; well will it be with you, well with your City, and well with your undertakings, and well with your posterity; but if it be boiled in, and you are the worse for all the boiling judgements and providences you have been in, and under, know that so [...]e dreadful calamitie, if not destruction it selfe hastens and will certainly take hold of you [Page] and your City, without speedy repentance: Hitherto you have had sparing mercy, and gentle corrections, if these lead not to re­pentance, severity abides for you,Jer. 19.11.31, 32 and God will say from the first to the last, I have been provoked by this City, I will break this people, and this City. How sad would it be, should the Lord lay your City waste! Its not the strong structures, great treasures, militarie or Naval forces, wise Counsels, which can protect you, if scumme be found amongst you; if you are careful that the filth of the streets bee carried out, will you not much more see that the filth of your hearts and houses be purged out? will not London bee made clean, when shall it once be? let this be the time; least the Plague, which hath been much feared, enter your borders, and cause sad cryes in your streets and families. Now wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings, and learn to do well, seek judgement, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, and plead for the Widdow; now let holiness of life, execution of justice, speaking truth, doing righteousness, shew­ing mercy, and promoting the good of one another in love, take place, and they will not onely secure you and the City, but make you and it glorious, and perfect in beauty, so that the Lord will take pleasure therein, and say of it and you, This is the City of righ­teousness, the faithful City, and her Citizens are like her self righteous and faithful. Now her Brass is become Gold, her Iron Sil­ver, her Officers peace, and her Exactors righteousness; there­fore now her walls shall be salvation, and her gates praise; now shall she be my habitation, and her people my glory, and I will be to them a defence for evermore. That this may be the portion of this City, and your selves, and that a blessing may go with this work, is the hearty prayer of him who is,

Your servant in this Ex­pository work of the Lord. WILLIAM GREENHILL.

Courteous Reader, By reason of the Authors distance from the Presse, and too much trust being put in the Correctors, through their Carelesnesse or Ignorance, this work hap­pens to be blurr'd with the following Errata's: which thou art desired to take special no­tice of.

ERRATA.

PAge 22. line 9. read were, page 23. l. 38 [...], p. 24. l. 3. r. potibile, l. 11. r. Kircker, so in the Margent. p. 31. in Marg, r. Kircker, r. [...] p. 48. in Marg. r. [...] p. 51. l. 21. r. eventually, in marg. r. paraphrastes, p. 62. l. 32. r. Acts 3. p 64. in marg. r. frangerē, p. 68. l. 32. r. leads, p. 74. r. Obs. not Obs. 1. p 77. l. 23. r. and my wales, p. 82. r. [...] & [...] in the margent, and l. 30. [...] p. 83. in margent r. [...] & ils se sont desbouche, p. 88. l. 16. r. inventions, p. 89. in the margent, r. al­tare, p. 97 l. 24. r. ever, p 102. [...]. 16. r transforme, p. 105. l. 27. r. where, p. 123. l. 23. r. so Montanus, p. 124. l. 16. r. ie leur, p 132. l. 5. r. Shecinab. p. 135. l. 21. r: ye shall smite your faces, p. 139. in margent r. predicandum esse, p. 140. in marg. r. Theman natoph, p. 141. l. 4. r Darom, l. 9. r. e [...]etz, p. 146. l. 6. & 8. r. parabolarum, p. 149. l. 18. r. therefore, p. 154. l 33. r. Shevet, p. 156. l. 17. r. Avenarius, p. 162. l. 30 r. l'espee, p. 164. r. Sanctius, p. 170. l. 3. r. [...]8, l. 16. r. [...] p. 171. l. 30. r. [...], l. 31. r. Mechovi, p. 172. l. 1. for word r. call'd, l. 15. r. kesem meri l. 22 r. were, p. 185. l. 6. & 21. r. Cidarim, p. 186. l. 32. r. Hashshaphalah, p. 188. l. 6. r. tran­slaters, l. 18. for Job 2. r. ibid. v. p. 192. l 8. r. or, l. 19. r. gam hajah, p. 200. in margent r. solvere, l. 22. dele commaes, after Lehachil lemaan, p. 203. l. 12. r. Shave, p. 204. l. 8. r [...], p. 207. l. 21. r. adam sheen, p. 215. l. 1. r. [...], l. 18. dele Commaes, l. 22. r. in­teritu, p. 216. l. 6. r. massacre, l. 25. r. itteca, p. 217. l. 11. r. sarcasme, p. 219. l. 10. r. [...], l. 23. Proselite, p. 220. l. 28. r. [...] l. 32. r. hommes, p. 221. l. 2. r. [...] in margent r. Occultan Calumniam, p 226. l. 18. r. [...] p. 230 l. 22. r. Zech. p. 232. l. 2. r. Theo­dotion, l. 3. r. [...], p. 238. l. 7. r. true. p. 240. l. 13. r. degenerated, p. 245. l. 8. r. say p. 250. l. 13. r. [...] p 257. l. 29 r. those, p. 259. in margent r. arguere nolebant, p. 262. in margent, r. [...]versare, p. 265. in margent r. poetae, p. 268. l. 5. r. [...], l. 6. r. [...], p. 277 in margent r. demande quelque homme, p. 273. in margent r. [...] p. 295 l. [...]7. r. [...], p. 299. l. 9. r. shalishim, p 208. l. 3, 4. r. hiphshituc. p. 3 [...]9. in margent r. Con­gruun [...], p. 329. l. 16. r. hassir, p. 334. l. 14. r. Forsterus, p. 343, l. 15. r. Zimmab, p. 359. l. 5. r. Sa­phad, l. 12. [...] p. 361. l. 7. dele comma after vision, and make is af [...]er from l. 8. p. 365. l. 10. r. Psa. 647. p. 370 l. 7. r. [...], p. 377. l. 30. r. animus, p. 386. l. 20. r. left, p. 387 l. [...]6. r. [...], p. 39 [...]. l. 12. r. [...], l. 25. r. Shatecha, p. 393: l. 16. r. Shindler, p. 415. l. 30. r. enmities, p: 420. l. 8. r. here, p. 421 in margent r: Masius, p. 429 l. 2. r. Kavotollo, p. 431 l: 9. r. Palaetyrus, p. 434 l. last r. lirgaim, p. 435 l. 2. r: regagn, p. 438 l. 6. r. hammaiim, p, 439 l. 7: r. tachtijoth, l. 13 r: the living God, p. 440 l. 17. r: Palaetyrus, p. 446 l. 2, r. iophi. p. 447 in margent r: Quistorpium, p, 449 l. 12. r: Caallonim, p: 452. l. 32. r. shesh, l. 34. r. it was, p. [...]57 l. 7: r: do, l. 16. r. [...] so l. 24. p. 459. l. 22: anochi magen lak, p. 461 l. 17. r. [...] p. 460 l. 25. for impos [...] sible, r. improbable, p. 462. l: 2: r. Zidon, p. 463 l. 25. [...] r. Emporium, p. 404, l 5. r. [...], l. 17, Booti, p, 465. l: [...]5. r. Barzel berez, p. 471. l. 2, r, Chadchod, p. 472 in margent r. Chalab, p. 477, l. 11. r. bemachlulius l. 15, r. teceleth, p. 480, l. 37. r, destruction, p. 481 l, 1: r: destruction, p: 486 l. 29. r. for java gabbah, p: 494 l, 16, r: sense it without a comma p: 499 l. 11: r, sovillerunt, p. 502 l, 34, r: 12 have, p, 503 l, 7, r: esleve, p, 506. in marg. r, fastum, p, 507. l. 9. r. pantere in marg. venereos affectus, l, 35, r. nophech, p. 508, l: 24, r, apyrotus, p, 511 l, 22. r, hassochech, p. 514. l. 31, r, the, p, 516, l, 5, r, Proverb 14, 34, p, 518, l, 32, r, lifted, p, 534, l, 28. r, 2 Cor. 12, p 535, l, 3. r. for Zi­don, Judah, p, 542, l. 9. r, Scurment, p. 557 in margent r. arundmeus, p. 518 l, 30, r. [...], p, 564. l, 8, r. seveneh, p. 164 l, 34, r, Torniellus, p. 575, l, 37. r, ipse, p, 577 l, 5 r. Bashshater, p, 580 l, 29, dele and, p, 584 l: 35. r: Kings, p, 588, l; 15 r, writ, p. 589. l, 32, r. Pithcho [...]peh.

AN Exposition continued UPON THE PROPHESY OF EZEKIEL.

CHAP. XX.

Vers. 1 And it came to pass, in the seventh Year, in the fifth Month, the tenth day of the Month, that certain of the Elders of Israel came to enquire of the Lord, and sate down before me.’2 Then came the word of the Lord unto me, saying,’3 Son of Man speak unto the Elders of Israel, and say unto them. Thus saith the Lord God, are ye come to enquire of me? as I live saith the Lord God, I will not bee enquired of by you.’4 Wilt thou judge them, son of man, wilt thou judge them? cause them to know the abominations of their fathers.’

IN this Chapter you have

1 The Exordium in the first, second, and part of the third vers.

2 A severe reproof, or refusal of those that came to the Prophet, vers. 3, 4.31.

[Page 2]3 A Relation of Gods dealings with them, in Egypt, in the Wildernesse, and in Canaan, and their sinful carriages towards him, from the 4. ver. to the 33.

4 A denunciation of judgement for their Hypocrisy, and other sins, mixt with promises of mercy, from the 33. to the 45.

5 A parabolical Declaration of the destruction of Ju­dea and Jerusalem, from the 45. to the 49.

6 A doleful conclusion of the Prophet, v. 49.

In the Exordium or Introduction you have

1 The time of this Prophesy punctually set down, both the year, month, and day, v. 1.

2 The occasion thereof, which was the comming of the Elders to the Prophet to enquire of the Lord. Ibid.

3 The commission the Prophet had to give out this Pro­phesy, vers. 2, 3.

1 And it came to pass in the seventh [...].

That is, of their Captivity, Ezekiel began to Prophesy in the fifth year thereof, chap. 1, 2. and now it was the seventh year of their Captivity in Babylon, and of Zedekiahs reign at Jeru­salem, and two years and five months before Jerusalem was besieged, as appears 2 King. 25.1.

In the fifth month.

Joseph. Antiq. l. 1. c. 4.The Jews before they came out of Egypt, computed their year from the month Tisri, or Ethanim, which was part of those months wee call September and October, but after they came out of Egypt, they began their year from the month Nisan, which comprehends part of March, and part of April. Their fifth month was called Ab, which had half of July, and half of August in it.

The tenth day of the Month.

Often in this prophesy the very day of the Month is set down, as chap. 1, 2. the fifth day of the fourth month, and chap. 8.1. the fifth day of the sixth month, and here the tenth day of the fifth month. The spirit of God put the Pro­phet upon an exact Chronology, both to strengthen the credit of the Prophesy, and to minde them of the many years were yet behind of their Captivity, that so they might repent them of their iniquity which had brought [Page 3] them into that condition, and patiently submit to the Baby­lonish yoak which God had put upon them for seventy years.

Certain of the Elders of Israel came.

In the eighth cha [...]er. 1. the Elders of Judah sate before him, and chap. 14.1. Elders of Israel came unto him, and so its here; certain of the Elders of Israel came, the Hebrew is, men of the Elders, that is, some of the ancient that were or had been Governours and chief amongst them, they came, from whence? from Jerusalem say some,Hugo. Piscator. but they had Jeremy there to consult withal, and its not likely that after Zedekiah and the chief men had broken Covenant with Nebuchad­nezzar, that men of the Elders at Jerusalem would take a long journey to Babylon to consult with Ezekiel: Others therefore say, they were of the Captives, to whose judge­ment I should incline, if I could see how that is said in the 34. vers. and so after, might fitly bee applyed unto them. It seems probable to mee, that some of the Elders at Jerusa­lem upon the revolt of Zedekiah from Nebuchadnezzar, and falling in with the King of Egypt, might send to some of the Elders among the Captives to make inquiry of Ezekiel, touching their affairs.

To inquire of the Lord.

They came to the Prophet, that hee consulting with God, might make known his minde unto them. They had been now seven years in Captivity, the false Prophets had pos­sessed them with hopes of returning to Jerusalem, which should abide and not bee destroyed, as Jeremiah had said; and therefore some think they came to inquire what should become of them. Others make the ground of their coming to the Prophet, and inquiring, to bee the rumors of, if not the preparation for war by Nebuchadnezzar, because the Jews at Jerusalem, had rebelled and broken Covenant with him. Hereupon they thought it might go ill with themselves, that they might suffer very hard things, if not bee cut off by the Babylonians, and therefore came to the Prophet to inquire what would bee the issue of things. Its probable they were in danger through the perfidiousnesse of their Brethren at Jerusalem, and that the consideration there­of [Page 4] might have some influence into their comming to the Prophet; but there was more than so. They now to se­cure themselves, thought and resolved of a sinful way, v. 32. Wee will be as the Heathen, as the families of the Countries, to serve wood and stone; they conceived, that if they conformed to the Babylonian worship, they should bee taken for good subjects, and bee safe, whatever befell them at Jerusalem for their provocation of the Babylonish King. This they con­cealed from the Prophet, and come to him to inquire (see­ing they were now more odious to the Babylonians than be­fore Zed [...]kiah's breaking Covenant) whether it were not better and safer for them to disperse, than to live in bodies, and multitudes together, which caused envy, hatred, and great danger at that time as they pretended. But they dissem­bled deeply, for while they lived together, they could not so easily desert the Jewish Religion, and imbrace the Ba­bylonish Idolatry. There would bee special observation of it, and bitter reprehension for it. But if they had the Pro­phets counsel, and consent to scatter themselves, and fix their habitations here and there, they thought they might do it without any noise or check.

And sate down before me.

The Hebrew for before mee, is, ad facies meas, before my faces, that is, in my presence, expecting some answer from mee.

2 Then came the word of the Lord unto mee.

The Hebrew is, and the word of the Lord hath been to me.

Saying, Hebrew is, to say, the spirit moved him that hee might speak to others.

There being an opportunity and season for speaking, the spirit came upon him, and informed him touching the mind of God, and commissioned him to deliver it.

3 Son of Man.

He saith not Ezekiel, but Son of man, to minde him of his original, that hee was his creature, and ought to heark­en too, and observe the Laws of his Creatour, of this ap­pellation hath been spoken heretofore.

Speak unto the Elders of Israel.

Here is a command laid upon the Prophet the Lord com­mands [Page 5] him to speak, and puts into his mouth what he shall speak. False Prophets were neither sent of the Lord, nor spake from the Lord, chap. 13.36.

Are yee come to inquire of mee? Or, Do yee come to inquire of me?

The words are an interrogation, and this interrogation im­ports distast at their coming: do you come to inquire of me? your hearts are not right in this matter, you play the Hypo­crites and dissemble egregiously, for you pretend to honour me in asking Counsel at my mouth, and that if you knew my mind you would do it, whereas you are resolved before hand what to do, let my Counsels bee what they will, O you dissemblers, yee are come to try and tempt mee, whither I will give out what suits with your intentions and resoluti­ons, if so, you will imbrace it, but if not, my Counsells must be rejected, and your own established.

As I live saith the Lord God, I will not be inquired of by you.

This Hypocritical carriage of theirs did so displease, yea, provoke the Lord, that hee sweares hee will not bee en­quired of by them. Had they come in truth and simplicity of Heart, intending to hearken to the Lord, and obey his voice, whatever hee had advised them, hee would have been inquired of by them, but being they had fallacious spi­rits, and came in a way of mockage unto God, therefore he deals roundly and severely with them, and bindes it with an Oath, that he will not be enquired of by them.

But they did inquire of God, they came to the Prophet to inquire of him, vers. 1. how then is it true, that the Lord saith, and swears, hee will not bee inquired of by them? The meaning of those words is, I will not answer them, [...] Non respon­debo vobis. Je ne vous re­spondray point. So Montanus▪ in the margent let them inquire, ask what they please, I will not answer them, and so its all one as if I were not inquired of; so the Septua­gint, Vulgar, and French have it, though they do ask, they shall not obtain, they shall not prevail. I will not answer; or if I do, it shall not bee ad votum vestrum, not such an answer as you would have.

4 Wilt thou judge them. &c.

Besides the Appellation, this verse consists of an interroga­tion, and an injunction. The interrogation is double; wilt [Page 6] thou judge them, wilt thou judge them? The injun­ction, cause them to know the abominations, &c.

In this vers, the Lord doth anticipate and prevent the Pro­phet, who having good thoughts of these Elders of Israel, that came to inquire of the Lord, was ready to plead for them, when hee saw the Lord so severe and resolute against them, as not to vouchsafe them an answer, Lord what's the matter? these men are conscientious, they do their duty, they come to consult for the good of the people, they would do nothing, being in a strait and danger without thee; Lord bee not so peremptory, listen unto them, and give them a gracious Answer. God foreseeing that the Prophet would bee their patron, and plead for them, hee takes him off from this, by saying, wilt thou judge them? that is, wilt thou deem them to bee honest, sincere, plain hearted men, that come with a purpose to know and obey the will of God; thou art deceived, they are deep dissemblers, devil­lish polititians, pretending one thing, and intending a­nother, they come not out of duty or conscience, but to get countenance from me and thee, to cloak their cursed de­signs, therefore parly not with them, plead not for them, bee not troubled about them, pray not to mee, in behalfe of them. So that this interrogation carries the force of a Negation, and prohibition with it.

The word Judge, is frequently used for pleading, as in Jerem. 5.28. Isa. 1.17. Psal. 72.4. Ezek. 22.2.23.36. and so we have interpreted it here. The doubling of the words,Piscator an excusabis? Patrocineris e [...]s castalio. wilt thou judge them? wilt thou judge them? sets out the hainousnesse of their sin, and the severity of the Lord, that would not suffer the Prophet to plead for them.

Cause them to know the abominations of their Fathers.

Bee thou so farre from pleading for them, that thou possesse them with, and present before them the abominati­ons of their fathers which they follow.Ut eorum supplicia me­tuant quorum [...]lagitia sequun­tur. Pintus. Of abominations hath been spoken before; by Fathers, their predecessors, Kings and others, are meant, who were Idolaters, Oppressors, and profane.

Observ. 1

The Lord keeps an exact account of his peoples sufferings, [Page 7] be the time long or short he observes it. In the seventh year, fifth month, and tenth day, that was of their captivity: The Lord forgate not how long they had been in Babylon, he notes how the time of their trouble passes, in the 24 of Ezek. v. 1. the ninth year, tenth month, and tenth day are mentioned; in the 29. v. 1. the tenth year, tenth month, and twelfth day are set down; in the 26.1. the eleventh year, and first day of the month are specified; in the 40. and 1. v. the twenty fifth year of the captivity is named. They were Captives in Babylon, suffered hard things, but God took notice of the time, and how the years ran out. Its said Israel served Eg­lon eighteen years, Judges 3.14. that Jabin oppressed them twenty years, chap. 43. Its not said onely, that the woman had a spirit of infirmity, but the time is recorded also, shee had it eighteen years, Luke 13.11. so in John 5.5. not only the man and his infirmity is mentioned, but the time also how long, thirty eight years, so Aeneas is said not onely to have had the palsy, but to have kept his bed eigth years, Act. 9.33. God tells the years, months, and daies, that his do indure adversity; seventy years were determined that they should bee in Babylon▪ Jerem. 29.10, 11. and God gave them to see, hee observed as well, yea, better then they, how they passed.

Obs. 2 The time of mens doing some things is specially noted by the Lord. These Elders coming to inquire of the Lord, the time of it is recorded, in the seventh year fifth month, and tenth day. Though all things bee noted by the Lord, yet some things more especially than others. See how the acti­ons of Josiah are observed, 2 Chron. 34. v. 3. in the eighth year of his reign, while hee was yet young, hee beganne to seek after the God of David his Father, and in the twelfth year hee beganne to purge Judah and Jerusalem, from the high places, vers. 8. in the eighteenth year of his reign, hee repaired the house of the Lord his God, and kept the great Passeover in that year, chap. 39.18, 15. when Jerobo­am feasted and sacrificed to the Calves hee had made, God took notice of the month and day, 1 Kings 12.32. it was the eighth month, and fifteenth day, when Jehoiakim cut the rowl, cast it into the fire, and burnt it, God noted the time of it, [Page 8] Jer. 36.22, 23. When Esther was taken into the royall house by Ahashnerus, the time is eyed by the Lord, and recorded, chap. 2.16. see Ezra 10.16. 2 Chron. 29.17. Esth. 9.1, 18. Jer. 52.31.39.2. where the times of things are specially re­corded. Let men take heed what they do, and when they do it, Mat. 26.15, 16. God observed the time when Judas covenanted with the chief Priests, to sell Christ for thirty peices of silver, from that time forth hee sought opportuni­ty to betray him: When the persecution of the Church was, God took notice of it, Act. 8.1. at that time: so Herods slay­ing of James, at that time, hee stretched out his hand, Acts 12.1, 2.

Obs. 3 Hypocrisy is a close sin, and is in those oft times we little think. Its found where it was not expected. In the Elders of Israel; Those here came to Ezekiel, pretended piety, sate before him; as if they would hearken to whatsoever the Lord should say, and do it: yet they intended no such thing, but were resolved to go on in their own waies, and to bee as the Babylonians and Heathens, as you may see verse 32. that so they might injoy peace and safety: They did here, like many that are upon marriage, who will go to two or three to inquire and have Counsell, but are resolved to go on what ever is said unto them, so whatever Counsell they should have had given them from the Lord, they meant to go on in their wicked ways, and this was profound hypocri­sy, whose wont it is to veile the foulest things with the fairest pretences. In Ananias and Sapphira there was dissimulati­on,Sanctissima specie. Act. 5. so in those came to Jeremy, intreating him to pray for them, and to consult with God for them, it was a time of affliction, and they would do what ever God should say unto them by Jeremy, but they dealt Hypocritically with him, and God; they were resolved to go into Egypt▪ although they sent Jeremy to ask of the Lord, whether they should or no, he told them they must not go, if they did, they should perish there, and because they would go, Jer. 42.20. hee tells them they dissembled in their hearts, when they sent him to the Lord to pray for them: here was damnable Hy­pocrisy in them: So those that came to Christ, Mat. 22.16, 17, 18. they carried a foule businesse very smoothly, Master we [Page 9] know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man, tell us therefore, what thinkest thou? is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar or no? here was villany couched under these words; they thought to intangle Christ, and to have got advan­tage hereby, to have cut him off, and therefore perceiv­ing their wickedness, he saith, why tempt ye me ye Hypocrites? There be many its to bee feared will bee found Hypocrites at last, who now frequent the Assemblies, and come to hear the word of God, but do it not. Are there not many who come to hear and sit before the Lord, and his Ministers, as if they would conform to what hee should give out by them, but they hold fast their corrupt opinions, vile lusts, wretched practises, and what is this but Hypocrisy? those in the 33 of Ezek. 31, 32. they came to the Prophet, heard him, gave him good words, but nothing they would do, their hearts went after their covetousness, and they were no better than Hypocrites, so now, &c. if men come not with honest hearts, intending to do what they hear, they come Hypocritically.

Obs. 4 To inquire and ask Counsel of the Prophets and men of God, is of ancient standing and warrantable. Here the Elders of Israel that had years, experience, they come to a Prophet.Non male ege­runt inquiren­do, sed male inquirendo, OEcolampad. Their comming was not unlawful or condemnable, but their comming sinfully: It was a frequent practice of Old, to consult with the Prophets, 1 Sam. 9.9. 1 King. 22.15. 2 King, 8 8. Jer. 21.2. 37.7. and their comming to them, was comming to the Lord, as here they came to inquire of the Lord. Then men look the right way, upon the Pro­phets when they look at God in them, and what hee saith by them, with resolution to follow the same; what though now there bee no Prophets nor Apostles immediately inspi­red, and infallible to consult withall, yet there bee Pastors, and Teachers, with whom Christ hath promised to bee to the end of the world, who are given to perfect and edifye the body of Christ, and therefore upon consultation with them, you may bee helped to that light which of your selves, you cannot attain unto.

Obs. 5 [...] The Prophets were to give out the Lords mind in his [Page 10] name and words, unto those they were sent unto, speak unto the Elders of Israel, and say, thus saith the Lord God: hee might not speak his own minde, his own words in his own name, hee must not say, thus saith Ezekiel, but thus saith the Lord: this gave weight and authority to the word, and bred the greater reverence in the hearts of the hearers. That which is from the Lord, hath a Divine stampe upon it, a Divine power in it; but that is mans is like himself, frail, and feeble, you may refuse it without any considerable prejudice, but not so with the word of the Lord.

Obs. 6 How closely soever men carry their wicked devices, with what colours soever they varnish and paint them over, though they may, can, delude and deceive men, even Prophets, yet they cannot impose upon God and deceive him. Ezekiel was out-reached by these old Foxes, these Hypocritical Elders, because hee could not see into their Hearts, discern their in­tentions, but the Lord whose eye peirceth into the depths, saw what was within, and detected their foul insides, not­withstanding their pious pretences: are you come to inquire of mee? whom do you think I am? what a God do you make of mee? am I like unto man, such as your selves? No, No, I know your hearts yee Hypocrites, How dare you come into my presence to inquire of mee, when you are re­solved to go on in your own waies? The Lord knew they had Idols in their hearts, Ezek. 14.1, 2, 3. they were Elders of Isra­el likewise, great men oft times are great Hypocrites, they think being crafty, to go beyond God, and his Prophets, but it cannot bee; hee knows upon what grounds, with what purpose, intentions, resolutions, men come to hear his word, to ask Counsell o [...] his servants: look to your selves, spirits, and all your waies, God seeth and knoweth all, and if you bee not sincere, upright, without guile and hypocrisy; hee will finde you out and detect you.

Obs. 7 When m [...]n come to God or his Ordinances with hypocri­tical hearts, they get n [...]thing of him, hee is so far from accep­ting and hearing of them, that hee rejects them, and resolves not to answer them; Come ye to inquire of mee? as I live I will not bee inquired of by you. Do you think to have mine ear, my countenance, my heart, my hand to do for you? No, you [Page 11] shall have nothing at all of mee, bee gone, I will afford you no answer, though you bee Elders of Israel, yet you are Hy­pocrites, and they are odious to mee, bee they of the highest rank, or lowest, its not your hoary heads will move mee, seeing you have Hypocritical hearts, you are resolved to go on in your ways, and I am resolved to go on in my way, I will not answer you, come oft, sit long before the Pro­phet if you will, answer of mee you shall have none, none suitable to your desires and expectations. Job speaking of an Hypocrite, saith, Will God hear his cry when trouble comes up­on him? chap. 27.9. at such a time hee will cry, and cry hand, but will God hear him? No? God hath no pleasure in Hypocrites, therefore saith Ezekiel, 8.18. though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them, the like you have in Micah 3.4. If mens hearts bee not upright, sincere, let them pray, and cry in prayer, let them hear, and hear at­tentively, let them come to a Prophet to aske Counsell, and wait, God respects them not, will not answer them, the upright in their way are his delight, Prov. 11.20. hee delights in their persons, their presence, their prayers, in doing for them, Prov. 10.29. the way of the Lord is strength to the up­right, what's the way of the Lord? prayer, hearing of the word, asking counsell of his Prophets, and servants, are the waies of the Lord, in these hee appears, is found, lets out strength, but it is when men are upright, not hypocriticall, come not therefore resolved to go on in your own waies, but as Peter saith, Lay aside all malice, all guile, and hypocrisies, envies, and evil speaking, and as new born babes, &c.

Obs. 8 Hypocrites and wicked men may carry themselves, so, as to deceive the Prophets and servants of God. These Elders by their comming, putting the Prophet on to inquire of the Lord for them, sitting before him for an answer, bred such good thoughts of them in the Prophets mind, as that when God told him, hee would not bee inquired at by them, hee was ready to plead for them, and excuse them from being Hypocrites, wondering the Lord should bee so hot and re­solute against them, as not to vouchsafe them an answer. Hee thought they were good men, and worthy of better enter­tainment at the hands of God, then they had, but hee was [Page 12] deceived. Simon Magus demeaned himself, so, that hee be­gate a good esteem in the heart of Philip, and was admit­ted to Baptisme, Act. 8.13. In Johns days many got into the Church, who seemed Saints, but were Hypocrites, 1 John 2.19, they went out from us that they might be made mani­fest. John and others had had good opinions of them, but were deluded by them. False Apostles got into the Church of Ephesus, and for a time had gained too much upon the An­gel thereof, Rev. 2.2. When the Captains and people came to Jeremy in a smooth way, promising to do what ever the Lord should say by him; they insinuated so farre into him, that they prevailed with him to inquire of the Lord for them, but they juggled with him, Jer. 42. Prophets and Ministers may be, and are deceived oft with the specious pretences of naughty men, because they would not bee un­charitable, they are many times too credulous.

Obs. 9 Hypocrites are not to bee pleaded for: Wilt tho [...] judge them, son of man, wilt thou judge them? God would not have the Prophet to plead for, or excuse them. Hypocrites are so odious in Gods eye, that hee takes it unkindly when his Prophets and Ministers appear for them, i [...] they have thoughts that way, he dislikes it, & forbids them. This double interrogation, is a double negation: These Hypocrites would have drawn in God, and the Prophet to have countenan­ced their vile intentions therefore God would neither answer them, nor suffer his Prophet to speak for them. Hypocrites are not alwaies the greatest of sinners, but they are ever the worst of sinners because they pretend to bee holy, and un­der pretence of Holinesse cover all their wickednesse. The Devil is never more Devil, than when hee transforms himself into an Angel of light, he seeming light being dark­nesse is devillishly Hypocritical, hiding all his hellish dark­nesse under pretended light, and so do all Hypocrites who are his eldest Sonnes, under the light of being religious they do all their deeds of darknesse. The Jews were an Hypocri­tical Nation, Isa. 10.6. Jer. 7.9, 10. and therefore God for bids Jeremy to pray for them chap. 14.11. and what if the [...] would pray themselves? you have an answer, in Job 13.16. God tells you that an Hypocrite shall not come before him, [Page 13] that is, to have acceptance of his person, or hear any comfor­table answer from him; Christ hath told Hypocrites what they must look for Mat. 23. Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, Hy­pocrites, woes they may look for, and must hear of. Woe to them for imposing upon God, as if hee saw not their close wickednesse. Woe to them for abusing Religion to fur­ther their Devillish designs. Woe to them for deceiving o­thers by their painted shews and professions, and woe to them for deceiving themselves.

Obs. 10. The Prophets and Servants of God when they are inquired of by men, must not proceed according to their desires, or their own apprehensions of them that do so desire, but they must wait for the mind of God, and do answerably thereunto. Wilt [...]hou judge them Sonne of man? cause them to know the abominations of their Fathers. They would have thee inquire of mee for them, but I will not bee inquired of, they shall not have their desires, thou apprehendest they are good, and wouldest speak for them, but thou must not do after thine own apprehensions, thou must attend my pleasure, and do what that is, and its this, make them to know the abomi­nations of their Fathers. They did such things as provok­ed mee to cast these their children into this Babylonish cap­tivity, and will they continue in their waies, or proceed to worse? go thy ways, lay before them, the abominable things their Fathers have done, see what effect that will have with them. Minde not their desires, stand not upon thine own apprehensions of them; I have made known my will unto thee, goe thou and make it known unto them without dispute or delay. Not the Peoples desires, nor the Prophets phancies, must bee his direction, when hee is to make Answer to those that inquire, but the will of God made known by his word and Spirit.

Vers. 5 And say unto them, thus saith the Lord God, in the day when I chose Israel, and lifted up mine hand unto the seed of the house of Jacob and made my self known unto them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up mine hand unto them, saying; I am the Lord your God.

Here beginnes the third part of the Chapter, which is the Relation of Gods dealing with them, and theirs towards him.

  • [Page 14]1 In Egypt, from this vers. to the 10.
  • 2 In the desert, from the 10. to the 27.
  • 3 In Canaan from the 27. to the 33.

In the first of these you have sundry choice mercies of God set down, with his command, and their notorious wicked­ness.

The mercies are reckoned up in the 5, 6, 7, and 9. v. and they are those.

  • 1 Gods election of them.
  • 2 His revelation of himself unto them.
  • 3 His profession of being their God.
  • 4 His promise to bring them out of the land of Egypt into the land of Canaan.
  • 5 His confirmation of all these, by lifting up his hand.
  • 6 His sparing of them for his names sake.
  • 7 His bringing them forth out of Egypt.

The command is to cease from Egyptian idolatry, vers. 7.

Their sin was rebellion. v. 8.

I come now to open the words, and so to give you the ob­servations.

In the day when I chose Israel.

The Hebrew is, in the day of my choosing in Israel. Sep­tuagint, from what day I chose the house of Israel.

Day, here is not taken in opposition to night, as it is, Joh. 11.9, 10. nor for time indefinitely, as Gen. 3.5. but for the time wherein some particular thing was evidenced to bee done.

By Election, Here is not meant the decree or purpose of God, to take the Jews to bee his people, that was before all time, from eternity, but the manifestation of that electi­on, in the day that I made it appear, that I had elected you. Election or chusing in the Scripture, sometimes referres to things, as Deut. 23.16. Gen. 13.11. 1 King 18.25. Prov, 22.1. sometimes to persons, and then its either to Christ, as Isa. 42.1. or to Angels, as 1 Tim. 5.21. or to men, and then its spoken either of persons, who are invisible members of the mystical body of Christ, as 2 Thess. 2.13. or of a com­munity [Page 15] and visible body, and so it is here. God chose this Nation of the Jews to bee his Nation and Church, Deut. 7.6. to have his Oracles, Ordinances, and means of grace amongst them.

In the day when I chose Israel,

What time this was, is to bee searched out. It was not that time when God manifested himself to Abraham, and bid him get him out of his Countrey, to a land he would shew him, and hee would make of him a great Nation, Gen. 12.1, 2. nor that time when hee appeared to Jacob, and said, I am God, the God of thy Father, fear not to go down into Egypt, for I will there make of thee a great Nation, I will go down with thee into Egypt, and I will also surely bring thee up again, Gen. 46.2, 3, 4, They were not yet a Nation, nor in Egypt, of both which the choice here is meant. The time then, was, when God took notice of their hard sufferings in Egypt, by the rigo­rous Taskmasters, and appeared to Moses, and bid him say to Pharaoh. Israel is m [...] son, my first-born, let my Son go that he may serve mee, Exod. 4.12, 13. and sent Aaron with him up­on that message to Pharaoh, chap. 5.1. where they go in to Pharaoh also say, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto mee in the wildernesse. Thou thinkest these people are thine, and therefore holdest them in servitude and bondage, but the Lord God of hea­ven is the God of Israel, hee challengeth this people to bee his, and commands thee to let them go and serve him.

And lifted up my hand.

Lifting up the hand is a phrase much mentioned in the book of God, it is seven times in this chapter, twice in this verse, once in the 6. and then it is in the 15, 23, 28, and 42. verses. To lift up the hand notes diverse things, and was used in diverse weighty things, 1 In blessing, Psal. 134.2. lift up the hands in the Sanctuary and blesse the Lord, Lev. 9.22. Aaron lifted up his hands towards the people, and blessed them, Luk 24.50. Christ lift up his hands and blessed them.

2 In Prayer, Psa. 63.4. I will lift up my hands in thy name, 1 Tim. 2.8. I will that men pray every where lifting up holy hands, and Psal. 88.9. Heman saith, he called upon God daily, and stretched out his hands unto him, Lamen. 2.19. Lift [Page 16] up thine hands unto him for the life of thy children.

Levare manum est signum gra­tiae & auxilii sumpta figu­ra d [...]cendi a porrigentibus manum infir­mioribus ad opem feren­dam. Pradus. Gestus est ejus qui potentiam & robur suum exerit. Vatablus.3. It notes open mercy, favour, aid, Isa. 49.22. I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles, that is, I will reach unto them the Gospel, and by the power and grace of it, bring them to Sion. In this sense it is to bee taken, Psal. 10.12. O God lift up thy hand, forget not the humble; that is, evidence thy po­wer, and help the humble and afflicted against their op­pressors.

4 To lift up the hand, imports threatning, hurting, smi­ting; Psal. 106.26. hee lifted up his hand against them to o­verthrow them in the wilderness, when men are angry with others, and threaten to do them harm, to ruine them, they oft lift up their hands and fists against them, thus it signifies in Mich. 5.9. Ezek. 44.12.

5 To lift up the hand, implies swearing, it was a gesture used in that sacred act, Gen. 14.22. Deut. 32.40. it is expres­sed so in Esa. 3.7. in that day shall hee swear, the Hebrew is, lift up the hand, The first and second sense pertains not to this place, and though some would have it meant of Gods lifting up his hand to help the Israelites out of their bondage, by the smiting of Pharaoh, and the Egyptians, yet to mee the last sense seems most suitable: and lifting up the hand here im­ports swearing, the Chaldee is juravi, it referres to what you have Exod. 6.8. I will bring you to the Land concern­ing which I did swear, or lift up my hand to give it to A­braham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. God had promised and sworn to them, that hee would bring their seed out of Egypt, into Canaan, Gen. 50.24.15.7.14.16.

Unto the seed of the house of Jacob.

Montanus reads the words, for the seed of the house of Ja­cob. Super semen domus Jacob. Vatablus, upon, or on the seed. Here its unto the seed; Gods promise and oath was for them, over them, and unto them. By Seed is meant, the posterity of Jacob. God had told Jacob that his seed should bee as the dust of the earth, Gen. 28.14. and his seed did greatly multiply in Egypt, Exo. 1.7. and his seed is called sometimes the seed of Israel, Isa. 45.25. and seed of the house of Israel, Jer. 23.8. sometimes the seed of Jacob, Psal. 22.23. and here the seed of the house of Jacob, because Jacob or Israel was the root, stock, family, out of [Page 17] which the Jews in Egypt sprung.

And made my self known unto them.

Great were the afflictions of the Jews in Egypt, they were like men in a storm at Sea, and that in a dark night, when day breaks it is some refreshing, and such was Gods making himself known unto them. This making himself known unto them, was for their deliverance. God appeared to Mo­ses in the burning bush, and told him who hee was, and what hee was about to do, Exod. 3.2.6, 7, 8. hee had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give their seed the land of Ca­naan, and now he was come to give being to that promise, to make himself known by his name Jehovah, which they knew not, in this sense they saw not that promise fulfilled▪ but Moses, Aaron, and their seed should now see it, chap. 6.3.8. God would put forth his mighty power, and by a strong hand bring them forth, ver. 1. God made himself known to them by Moses, who was Gods messenger, and instru­ment to speak, and do what hee pleased, Psal, 103.7. he made known his waies unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel, Gods pitty, faithfulnesse, and power were abundant­ly made known.

After the Lord had appeared to Moses, answered all his Objections hee made, against undertaking the difficult work of delivering the People, and joynd Aaron with him for his as­sistant. In the 4. chap. they gather all the Elders of Israel together, they told them all the words God had spoken, and did the signs by which God had confirmed the words con­cerning their deliverance which the people beleeved, bowed, and worshipped God, ver. 29, 30, 31. here God was made known unto them.

I am the Lord your God.

Hebrew is, I Jehovah your God. The first is absolute, the second relative. Of Jehovah I have spoken heretofore, it notes Gods nature and being, which is of its self, within its self, and dependent upon none; all other beings are from him, and depend on him, according to what you have, Rom. 11.36. of him, through him, and to him are all things, and Act. 17.28. in him we live, move, and have our beings.

[Page 18]Your God.

This is a great word, and hath great mercy in it; an ingage­ing word, tying God and all his attributes to them, your God to counsell you, your God to protect you, your God to deliver you, your God to comfort you, your God to plead for you, your God to teach you, your God to set up my name and worship among you, your God to bless you with the dews of heaven, and fulness of the earth, your God to hear your prayers, and to make you happy.

While they were in Egypt, God professed himself to bee their God, Exod. 6.7. I will take you to mee for a people, and I will bee to you a God, and yee shall know that I am the Lord your God. Hee would not bee a Titular God unto them, like the Heathens Gods, but they should have experience of him, and his Attributes, hee would do by them, and for them, as a God in Covenant.

Obs. 1 There bee times when the Lord is pleased to shew mercy to people in misery and great afflictions. In the day that I chose thee; Israel was in a distressed condition in Egypt, in a very low estate. Their lives were imbittered with hard bondage, insomuch that they sighed and cryed, Exod. 4.23. and now at this time, and being in this condition, God heard their groanings, looked upon, and had respect unto them, now hee chose them, ver. 24, 25. therefore Isaiah saith, cha. 48.10. God chose them in the furnace of affliction; times of misery, are times of Gods shewing mercy; when they were in a hot fiery furnace, ready to bee consumed to ashes, no likely-hood of escaping, yet even then did the Lord appear and manifest his choice of them, Ezek. 16. when this people were in their bloud, filth, nakedness, saith God, I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, and behold thy time was the time of love, I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakednesse, vers. 8. at that time God took this people into favour. God hath his day to bind up the breach of his people, and to heal the stroak of their wound, Isa. 30.26. Hosea tells you, that after two daies hee will revive his people, and in the third day raise them up; though they bee like men dead and buried, yet God hath his time to revive, raise; and to cause to live in his sight. They were as dry bones in Baby­lon, [Page 19] and served a hard service there; but there was a day wherein God gave them rest from their sorrow, fears, and servitude, Isa. 14.3, 4. The Gentiles were a long time in the wildernesse, in a lost and perishing condition, Eph. 2.12. there was a time they were without Christ, without hope, without God in the world, but God had a day to manifest his choice of them, vers. 13. but now in Christ Jesus they who were sometimes a farre off, are made nigh, there was a now, a time, a day for them. So Zeph 3.16.19, 20.

Obs. 2 The taking of a people to be the Lords, is of meer grace and mercy. It is Gods own free act. In the day when I chose Israel, Israel did not chuse him, Israel had nothing to affect him, but out of his good pleasure hee chose Israel. The Lord makes open protestation, Deut. 7.7, 8. that hee did not set his love upon them, nor chuse them, because they were more in number, than other people, but because he lo­ved them; and what made God love them, were they bet­ter than other Nations? they came of the Amorites, and Hittites, they were in their bloud, when hee said unto them, Live, Ezek. 16.3, 6. did hee foresee they would be­leeve, repent, and persevere in keeping his commands, and ho­nour him above the rest of the world? no, hee foresaw, that they would bee more wicked than the Nations and Countries round about them, Eze. 5.6, 7. and exceed Sodom & Samaria in wickednesse, as it is Ezek. 16.47, 51, 52. what was it then caused God to love & chuse this people? nothing without God himself, all was within doors, that stirred him up to do it. I will say to them which were not my people, thou art my people, Hos. 2.23. Gods will is the cause, and nothing else, Rom. 9.18. Hee will have mercy, on whom hee will, Isa. 41.9. I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.

Obs. 3 When Gods people are in troubles, he discovers and reveales himself unto them, one way or other, by one means or o­ther. I made my self known unto them in the land of Egypt, that was a land and house of bondage to them, they met with reproaches, threats, stripes, rigour, and hard labour there, and when the case was so with them, then God unmaskes, and shews himself unto them. When Josephs brethren were in great trouble, then hee made known himself unto [Page 20] them, Gen. 45. and so did God unto his people by Moses and Aaron, hee made known what Promise and Oath hee had made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; hee made known his tender-heartednesse to them, that their cries came up to his ears, and that he was affected with their sorrows, and would no longer indure the Egyptians to oppress them; he made known his mighty power unto them, that hee was stronger than Pharaoh and all his strength, Deut. 4.34, 35. hath God assayed to go and take him a Nation from the middest of another Nation, by temptations, by signs, and by won­ders, by warre, by a mighty hand, by a stretched out arm, and by great terror? according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes, unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord hee is God. The Lord made himself known by these in an emi­nent manner unto them. It is Gods way and wont to ap­pear to his in the time of their calamitie and darkness, Isa. 54.11, 12, 13, 14. O thou afflicted, tossed with tempests, and not comforted: Behold, I will lay thy stones with fair co­lours, and lay thy foundations with Saphires.

I will make thy windows of Agates, and thy gates of Carbun­cles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.

And all thy Children shall bee taught of the Lord, and great shall bee the peace of thy Children, in righteousnesse shalt thou be established, &c. What a precious glorious discovery of God was here unto the Church being in a storm? So when Ra­chel wept for her Children, and refused to bee comforted, because they were not, how did the Lord break out of the Clouds and shine, when hee said to her, refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears, for thy work shall bee re­warded saith the Lord, and they shall come again from the land of the enemie. In the time of affliction Gods words, and works are more observed, take deeper impression, indear more unto him, therefore hee loves to manifest himself in them.

Obs. 4 God knowing mens weaknesse, condiscends for to streng­then and establish them in the assurance of his favour towards them. Not onely by word and works did God evidence it, that the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were his chosen ones, [Page 21] his people, which might have sufficed; but hee took his oath on't: I lifted up my hand unto the seed of the house of Ja­cob; yea, that it might bee the more firm, hee doubled it. When I lifted up my hand unto them, Saying, I am the Lord your God. For God to tell any people hee hath chosen them, argues great favour, then, to appear unto them, and make large manifestations of himself, and his good will unto them, by words, providentiall, and wonderful working for them, argues more and more favour; and then to swear unto them, or declare, hee hath sworn unto them, and not onely to do some few things for them, but to bee their God, this is height of favour, wonderful stooping on Gods part; and this hee did to confirm their hearts in assurance of his love. God cannot falsify his word, much lesse his Oath. God did swear, that Abraham and his seed might have strong consolation, not stagger, question his love any more; and the Apostle applies it to himself, Heb. 6.17, 18. to all beleevers who are heirs of the promise, and under the oath of God, that we might have strong consolation.

Vers. 6 In that day that I lifted up my hand unto them, to bring them forth of the Land of Egypt, into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands.

God having chosen the Jews to bee his people, made himself known unto them, and professed himself to be their God; here hee tells them of the good promise hee made unto them, which was to bring them out of Egypt into Canaan. The praise and encomium whereof is set out more fully in this ver. than in any part of holy writ be­sides; its threefold,

  • 1 From the discoverer, it was a land of Gods looking out for them.
  • 2 From the Commodities it had, that in plenty it flowed with milk and honey.
  • 3 From the eminency of it, above other Lands, it is the glory of all Lands.

Of Lifting up the Hand, hath been spoken in the for­mer vers.

[Page 22]The land of Egypt.

The Hebrew is; the land of Mizraim: so Egypt is con­stantly called in the Old Testament, and thrice the land of Ham, Psal. 105.23, 27. & 106.22. and once the Tabernacle of Ham, Psal. 78.51. Misraim was the Sonne of Ham, who possessed that part of Africa, and from him it was called Mizraim, or the land of Mitzraim, and sometimes the land of Ham, who was his father.

Paraeas in Gen. chap. 10. Josephus saith, the Egyptians in his time was called Mesraei, by the Eastern people.

In the Septuagint its rendred Egypt, so called from one E­gyptus, who reigned there some 390. years after the Israe­lites came out of Egypt. This Land was very plentiful, and in Josephs daies supplyed Jacobs Family with Corn,Joseph. l 1. contra Appio­nem. when the Famine was great: for the fruitfulness thereof, it was called Horreum populi Romani, but to the Jews it was an house of bondage.

Into a land that I had espyed for them.

This land was Canaan, which God looked out for them a­mongst all lands in the world, [...] from [...] Explorare cir­cumcundo & circumquaque. the Hebrew word signifies to search out by wandring over, and viewing on every side, so did the Lord here, hee took special notice of this land, his eies did run to and fro throughout the earth, to see what land was the chiefest, and Canaan was the land he pitched upon. The Septuagint is, [...]. To a land which I had prepared for them: God had long before prepared and provided this land. Israel was his Son, his first born, and like a loving and provident Parent, he provided a land and habitation for him.

Flowing with milk and honey.

This Encomium of this land is eighteen several times in the book of God, four times in Exodus, as chap. 3.8.17. ch. 13.5. chap. 33.3. Once in Leviticus chap. 20.24. twice in Num­bers. chap. 13.27. chap. 14.8. six times in Deuteronomy, ch. 6.3. ch. 11.9. cha. 26.9.15. ch. 27.3. chap. 31.20. twice in Jer. ch. 11.5. and ch. 32.22. once in Josh. ch. 5.6. and twice in this Chapter, in this vers. and the 15. Doubtless the land of Canaan, abounded with milk and honey, as may appear by Gen. 18.8. Prov. 27.27. 1 Sam. 14.26. 2 Sam. 17.29. but the phrase here of flowing with milk and honey is proverbial, and [Page 23] notes plenty of all good and pretious things, as you may see, Joel 3.18. Amos 9.13. and in Job, plenty is set out by rivers, floods, and brooks of honey and butter, chap. 20.17. and it is clear that the fruits of the earth were called Milk and honey, Numb. 13.26, 27. when the Spies that searched the Land came back and brought of the fruit thereof, they said, Surely it floweth with milk and honey, and this is the fruit of it, the figs, pomegranates, and grapes, were part of the Milk and Honey. So that Synechdochically here by Milk and Hony, are understood all good things, needful and delightful.

This plenty is set out by Milk and Honey, rather than by other things,

1 Because they are most common, serving old and young, all sorts of people, Milk is food for Babes, and for those whose age hath so infeebled their stomacks, as that they can­not bear strong meat.

2 They are alwaies in a readiness. Other meats usually require much time to fit them for our tastes.

3 They are sweet, and pleasant, though other things be so, as Oyle and Wine, yet not comparable to Milk and Honey.

That Canaan did abound with all good things, see Deut. 8.7, 8, 9. verses, where it is called a good Land, in which they should not want any thing, this was partly from the nature of the air and soil, the one being very wholesome, and the other very fat, and partly from the peculiar blessing of God upon the Jews; hee gave them the former and the latter rains, he made the Land in the sixth year to bring forth fruit for three years, Levit. 25.18, 19, 20, 21. ch. 26.3, 4, 5. Deut. 11.13, 14, 15. which blessing for their sinnes God hath taken away, as hee threatned, Levit. 26 20. Deut. 28.38, 39, 40. therefore they are deceived that think or say, Judea was no fertile place, Rabsakeh who was an enemy to the Jews, and their God, yet acknowledged their Land to bee a fertile Land, 2 King. 18.31, 32. what ever mens conceits are of it now, it was a land flowed with milk and honey, which proverbial speech was of use also among others, to set out plenty and fruitful­nesse by. [...]. Fluit & lacte campus, fluit vino, fluit & apum [Page 24] nectare. Eurip: in Bac. his.

Mella virescenti conflagrant pinguia canna.
Lac etiam plenis manet potibila rivis.

[...] is decus ornam n­tū gloria, from [...] intumuit. Tertul. in poemat. de paradiso.

Which is the glory of all Lands.

The Hebrew is, Which is the Ornament of all lands, the honour, ornament or glory of all. The Septuagint have it [...], the Honey-comb, F [...]vus est ultra omnes terras. Symmach. [...] Aqu. [...]. Edit. Prima [...]. Edit. Secunda. Theod. [...] Fortitudo Others. [...]. Desi lerium est incolis omnium aliarum regi­onum. Deside­rabilis pre om­nibus terris. Calvin. Kick. in verbo [...] it was so fruitful and pleasant a land, that it was like an Honey-comb, wonderful sweet to the inhabi­tants. Ʋatablus calls it desiderabilis, the land to bee desired above all lands. Kicker interprets [...] of that which affects the minde and sense, and invites to the loving of it, affor­ding pleasure and delight. The Spirit of God calls it the [...] land of desire, thrice, Psal. 106.24. Jer. 3.19. Zach 7.14. So the Hebrew is, and so the margent hath it: a [...] good Land, Deut. 8.7. an [...] exceeding good land, Numb. 14.7. it was not on­ly a good land, but a land that exceeded in goodnesse. That good land, Deut. 4.22. the words are very emphaticall, [...] that land, that good, that. In Dan. 11. it is twice tearmed the glorious land, vers. 16.41. [...] the land of ornament, or the land of glory, yea, that glory which no other land attained unto.

The land is thought to bee situated in the midst of the world, being very temperate, neither too hot, nor too cold. It is computed to bee two hundred miles in length, and not above fifty in breadth. It had thirty one Kings in it when Joshua smote it, when hee brought the Jews to possesse it, Josh. 12. and in Davids daies there were found in Israel and Judah (for so it was then divided) 1300000 fighting men,Boemus in the manners and customes of all Nations. Heylin Cos­mogr [...]. Vide Lyra in Ezek. 20 6 besides women, children, and such as were not able to fight, 2 Sam. 24. this land was the glo­ry of all lands, in regard of the fruitfulnesse and plenty of it, of which see Deut. 8.7, 8, 9. cha. 32.13, 14. Isa. 36.17. a land beyond Egypt, (though some have affirmed the contrary) for Deut. 11.10, 11, 12. the land thou goest in to possesse, is not as the land of Egypt from whence ye came out, when thou sowedst [Page 25] thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot as a garden of herbes. But the land whither thou goest to possesse, it is a land of Hells and Vallies, and drinketh water of the rain of Heaven. A land which the Lord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord thy God are al­waies upon it, from the beginning of the year unto the end thereof. This is a divine Testimony, and an high praise of it, and doth justly intitle it to bee the glory of all lands.

What our Prophet saith here of Canaan may bee suspected, and seems to bee contradicted by Isaiah, ch. 13.19. where hee calls Babylon the glory of Kingdomes, and if that be the glory of them, how can Canaan bee the glory of all lands? Hee speaks of the City Babylon, which was the head of Chaldea, and gave denomination to a great part of Mesopotamia and Assyria, the walls whereof were two hundred foot high, filty Cubits broad, and sixty miles in Compass, which the Baby­lonians counted the glory of Kingdomes, and boasted of; if it did exceed Jerusalem in its greatnesse, richnesse, strength, and populousness, yet it fell short of it in other things, Jerusa­lem represented the true Church, Gal. 4.26. Heb. 12.22. Ba­bylon the malignant and false Church, Rev. 17.5. glorious things were spoken of Jerusalem, and it was the faithful City, Isa. 1.21. the Holy City, Isa. 52.1. the City of Truth, Zach. 8.3. a City of Righteousnesse, Isa. 1▪ 26. the City of the Lord of Hosts, such things were never spoken of Babylon.

Again, if Babylon bee the Glory of Kingdomes, its not said to bee of all kingdomes, it might bee the glory of Heathe­nish Kingdomes, it was not the glory of Canaan; for there was the Idol Bel, other Images, and abominable Idolatry, Jer. 51.44, 47. which eclipsed the other glory it had.

Again, if it bee granted that Babylon was the glory of all Kingdomes, and so of Judea or Canaan, yet take Canaan in its latitude, with all its excellencies, and so considered, it is the Glory of all Lands, and beyond Babylon, taken for the City or the Countrey, for besides, its milk and honey, its fruitfulnesse and plenty, there was something of an higher nature which made it so. For

  • 1 It was the land of promise, Heb. 11, 9.
  • 2 A type of Heaven, Heb. 3.11.
  • 3 The land God chose to dwell in, Ps. 132.13, 14. Exo. 15.17.
  • [Page 6]4 In it was the Temple, Worship, Ordinances, and Ora­cles of God, 1 Kin. 6. & 8. chapt.

Whence it was called the Holy Land; Zach. 2.12. ho­ly Habitation, Exod. 15.13. the land of the Lord, Isa. 14.2. Ps. 85.2. the land of uprightnesse, Isa. 26.10. the land of Immanuel, Isa. 8.8. and upon this account, it was the glory of all lands. For no land besides in all the world was so called as this, or had such prerogatives.

Obs. 1 Old mercies should bee minded, not onely by those they were first bestowed upon, but also by their posterity, who had be­nefit by them also. In the former vers. and this God mindes them of Old mercies, his choice of them, his making known himself unto them, his professing himself to bee their God; his bringing them out of Egypt, which were some eight or nine hundred years before, and his espying out a land for them, which was four hundred years before that; for it was in Abrahams daies, that God took notice of that land, Gen. 12. get thee to a land that I will shew thee, vers. 7. unto thy seed will I give this land. These Old mercies God would have them to mind, though they were in Babylon, and deprived of that good land God had given them: Let men bee in what condition they will, Old mercies should not bee forgotten, especially signal great emphatical mercies. When God shall publikely own a people, deliver them from great sla­very, put them into a state of freedome, safety, and ho­nour, provide all good things for them, such mercies ought not to bee forgotten, but to bee remembred from generati­on to generation. This was done in Davids dayes, Ps. 44.1, 2. Wee have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what wor [...] thou didst in their daies, in the times of Old, how thou didst drive out the Heathen with thy hand, Judges 6.13. Fathers told their children of the miracles God had wrought for them, and how hee brought them out of Egypt; and be­cause men are apt to forget former mercies, when they grow old, they grow out of minde, the Lord laid a charge upon the Jews that they should not forget them, Deut. 6.10, 11, 12. And commanded them to remember the daies of Old, and to consider the years of many generations, and to inquire of the an­cient what he had done for them, Deut. 32.7. There bee no [Page 27] works like unto Gods works, and they ought to bee had in remembrance; David kept them in mind, for hee professes to the Lord himself, I remember the daies of Old, I meditate on all thy works, I muse on the work of thy hand, he looked back to the daies of Noah, of Abraham, of Joseph, of the Israelites, and of Gods dealing with them, & because the heart is not quickly affected with old mercies, and works of God, he meditated, and mused on them, and that till his heart was warmed, and stirred up to praise, as it is, Psal. 105.5. remember his marvellous works that hee hath done, his wonders, and the judge­ments of his mouth, O yee seed of Abraham his servant.

Obs. 2 That Lands, Countries, and Habitations of People, are appointed, ordered, and disposed of by the Lord, hee brings them forth of the land of Egypt, into a land that hee had espyed for them. All souls, and all lands, are the Lords, and whom hee will hee plants where hee pleases. Hee distributes lands, and habitations, to whom hee thinks meet. The earth is the Lords, and the fulnesse thereof, Psal. 24.1. hee is the sole owner thereof, the true Lord of the soil, and all it brings forth, and hee hath given it to the children of men; Psal. 115.16. hee hath assigned them their several portions, Deut. 32.8. the most high divided to the Nations their inheritance, when he separated the Sonnes of Adam: the most high God, being Lord paramount, would not have the Sonnes of Adam, to live all in one Country, or Land, but appointed them several lands and Countries, to dwel in, and set them their bounds, and limits, as you may see in Gen. 10. especially vers. 25. where Eber names his Son Peleg (which signifies division) because the earth was divided in his daies. After the flood at the building of Babel, God confounded the languages, and dis­persed the posterity of Noah, into diverse Lands, and set them their bounds, Gen. 11.9. and so when hee brought the Israelites into the land of Canaan, hee gave them their bounds according to what you find, Psal. 78.55. Hee cast out the Heathen before them, and divided them an inheritance by line, and made the Tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents, hee drove out and destroyed the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amo­rites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the H [...]vites, and the Je­busites, seven great and mighty Nations, Deut. 7.1. and gave [Page 28] the land unto his people the Jews. If God now will drive out the bloudy perfidious and Idolatrous, out of Ireland, and give it unto others, that the seed of his servants may inherit it,Martin in the lives of the Kings of Eng­land Heylin in his Cosmo­graph. Fox in Act; and Monum. Grafton, Speed. and that those which love his name may dwell therein, who shall fault and blame him for it, and that England hath had right thereunto, not onely from Henrie the eighths days, who was proclaimed King thereof, in Parliament here, and in an Irish Parliament likewise, if Heylin say true; but also from Henry the Seconds Time, yea, from Edgars, who was long before, appears by English History.

Obs. 3 The Lord provides and bestows the choicest mercies up­on his own people. If there bee a land in the World that flowes with milk and Honey, that exceeds other lands for plenty and ple [...]santnesse, his people shall have it, hee espies out Ca­naan for them, that land was too good for Heathens, his people must have it. When God carried Jacob, and his fa­mily into Egypt, hee provided the good and fat of that land for them, Gen. 45.18. yea, they were placed in the best of the land, chap. 47.11. God fed and filled his with the finest of the wheat, Psal. 147.14. Moses mentions seven things together in Deut. 32.13, 14, 15. as honey out of the rock; Oyle out of the flinty rock; Butter of Kine, milk of sheep, fat of lambs, and Rams of the breed of Bashan, and Goats, fat of Kidnies of wheat, the pure bloud of the grape; these the Lord provided for his people, and they had all an excellency in them. When Gods gives honey, oyle, butter, milk, fat, flower, wine, hee giveth the best and purest, you may read what choice mercies God bestowed upon this people, Ezek. 16.10, 11, 12, 13. they had goodly pleasant things, Joel 3.5. the Hebrew is goodly desirable things, and David acknowledgeth hee had a goodly heritage, Psal. 16.6. God had not measured out to him a mean portion, but a good, yea a goodly heritage, that which was so in the eies of all, even, a wealthy place. Psal. 66, 12. God provided the best places in the Court for Esther and her maidens, when in Babylon, Esth. 2.9.16. so likewise Daniel and the three Children, were set in eminent places, Dan. 2. & 3. ch. God made his people to ride & tread upon the high pla­ces of the earth, and of their enemies, Deut. 32.13.33.29.

Obs. 4. Spiritual mercies make a land glorious, yea, more [Page 29] glorious than all that lands want the same, whatever mercies they else injoy. Canaan was the glory of all lands, not so much for its flowing with milk and honey, its great plenty it had, as for the spiritual mercies it injoyed. There was the Lords pre­sence, his Prophets, his worship, his Oracles, and his Ordi­nances, and these made it glorious, yea, more glorious then all the Nations farre or near, Psal. 76.1, 2. In Judah is God known, his name is great in Israel, in Salem also is his Ta­bernacle, and his dwelling place is in Sion. God was not known in Babylon, in Egypt, in other Nations, his Tabernacle and dwelling place was not amongst them; therefore they were not glorious, but see what is in the 4. vers. Thou art more glorious than the mountains of Prey. Thou Judah, thou Is­rael, thou Salem, thou Sion, that hast spiritual mercies and blessings, art more glorious than they, whatever their glo­ry bee; have the Nations abroad, goodly towers? thou hast the Temple; have they stately Cities? thou hast Jeru­salem the City of God; have they wise men? thou hast the Prophets; have they gods of gold, silver, and stones? thou hast the true living God, Jehovah, to bee thy God; have they humane Laws that are good? thou hast Divine Laws that excel; have they temporal excellencies? thou hast spiritual; have they the glory of the world? thou hast the glory of Heaven, Psal. 50.2. Out of Sion the perfection of beauty God hath shined, what made Sion so glorious and beautiful? it was the presence of God, if hee had not been there, Sion had been like other mountaines, and Canaan like other Nations; but his presence was like the Sunne, darting out her beams, and making all lightsome, glorious, and beautiful. Spiritual mercies are beams and raies of that God, who is ten thousand times more bright than the Sunne, by these hee shined in Sion, and made it the perfection, or univer­sality of beauty, by these hee shined out of Sion, and dark­ned all the glory of the Nations, what, or how great soever it was, where God and his Ordinances are, there is glory, and where these are not, there is no glory, but Egyptian Darknesse, a land without the Sun.

In Canaan was spiritual light and glory. There were glorious appearances of God, glorious praisings of God, glorious [Page 30] conversions of sinners unto God, glorious sabbaths and as­semblies, and glorious beauties of holinesse, glorious types of Christ, and people who were the glory of God, Isa. 4.5. and had glorious communion with God. There were glo­rious Truths, Ordinances, and dispensations of God.

So then wise Counsellors, good Magistrates, stout Souldiers, rich Merchants, industrious Labourers, strong Towns, stately Houses, high Mountaines, fertile Vallies, pleasant Rivers, goodly Corn-fields, heards of Cattle, flocks of sheep, with plenty of all outward things, do not make a land so glorious as spiritual mercies do; if God, Christ, Gospel, and the Ordinances of it, bee in a land they make it glorious, and glorious beyond all other things, and above all other Nations. Let us learn to know our true glory, e­ven spiritual mercies, and prize them highly; though loathed by some like Manna of old, and pray that such glory may ever dwell in our Land.

Vers. 7 Then said I unto them, cast yee away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not your selves with the I­dols of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

This Verse is a command, wherein you have the Com­mander, the things commanded, and the reason there­of.

  • 1 The Commander, Then said I unto them.
  • 2 The things Commanded, which are
    • 1 Casting away of abominations, where
      • 1 You have a specification of these abominations, they are the abominations of their eyes.
      • 2 The extent of this act, every man.
    • 2 Non-defilement of themselves, with Egypts Idols.
  • 3 The reason, I am the Lord your God.
Then said I to them.]

For Then, The Hebrew is, And I said to them. Where the Lord said thus to them, wee do not finde: The words re­fer to the time of their being in Egypt, and nothing is re­corded in Exodus, that the Lord spake thus unto them, be­fore they departed Egypt. They were a long time in Egypt, and though Moses mention not this passage, yet our Pro­phet assures us, that the Lord said so, whence we may take this observation.

Obs. That many things said and done by the Lord, and his Servants, though omitted in those places, seemed most proper for them in penning the Scriptures, yet are occasionally given forth in other places, as this verse, spoken by the Lord, when they were in Egypt, omitted by Moses, and now given out to Ezekiel in Babylon, and recorded by him in this place. He­nochs Prophesy being uttered in the infancy of the world, was either unknown to, or passed over, if known by Moses, Jude 14 the Prophets, and Apostles, till Judes time, and then it was recorded upon the occasion of the scoffing and prophaneness of that time. The Names of Jannes and Jambres who with­stood Moses, were not taken into the Text, till Pauls time, 2. Tim. 3.8. so Moses his refusing to bee called the Sonne of Pharaohs Daughter, his chusing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, then to injoy the pleasures of sin for a season, his esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches, than the treasures in Egypt, and his eyeing the recom­pence of reward were not historised by himself, nor menti­oned by any other till the Apostle set them down, Heb. 11.24, 25, 26. these things they had by the Spirit, not by tra­dition.

Cast ye away.
[...]

Of these words hath been largely spoken in the 18. chapter,Septuagint. [...] v. 31. Cast away from you all your transgressions; the word is there the same.

Every man.
[...] vir a [...] deductum quia prior est essentia ipsa sua viragine Kicker. [...]

In the Hebrew its [...] a man, let man cast away: that is, let every one hath the name or nature of man do so; its from a word signifies essence, or being, and is often put indefi­nitely for any man, as Hos. 2.10. none shall deliver her out of my hand, the Hebrew is, Not a man; that is, [...] abominatio execratio, Symmach. ren­ders abomina­tions Nauseas, the Vulgar of­fensiones. not any man shall do it: and for every man, Psal. 62.12. thou rendrest to every man according to his works, the word for every man is [...] to a man, that is to every man whoever he be.

The abominations of his eyes.

Of Abominations formerly. These abominations were their Idols, things abominable and to bee abhorred. They are [Page 32] here called the abominations of their eies, because their eies were lift up unto them,Rabbi David observat prop­terea additum esse oculorum quod oculi sint cordis in­ternuntii atque ideo peccatorum ejus complices. Pradus. [...] as it is chapter 18.6, 12. and went a whoring after them, chap. 6.9. their eyes were taken with the form, beauty, ornaments, of the Idols, and so let in that to their hearts which inflamed and provoked them to Idolatry.

And defile not your selves with the Idols of Egypt.

Of the word defile, see chap. 5.11. with the Idols of Egypt, the Hebrew is, in the idols of Egypt, that is, in the Idolatry of the Egyptians; in their defilements, do not you defile your selves. The Septuagint renders it, in the superstition of Egypt, Jun. & Trem. hath it, with the dirty, or dung-hill gods of Egypt, [...] and Piscat. with the dung of the Egyptians. They were so addicted to Idolatry, and superstition, that they made Gods of every thing,In idolis Egypti. Septuagint [...] in superstitio­nibus Egypti. Aqui. in­quinamenta stercoreis diit Agypti sterco­ribus Egyptio­rum. Vide Answ. in locum & A Lap. even of Beetles, that live in, and feed upon Dung, Exod. 12.12. Against all the gods of Egypt, I will execute judgement: They had many Gods and Idols, Isa. 19.1. they had images of the house of the Sunne, and houses of Gods, Jerem. 43.13. These gods of theirs were all thrown down and broken in the night the Israelites came out of Egypt, say the Jews, which was the judgement exe­cuted upon them.

The Jews living in Egypt fell into their superstitions and Idolatries, as appears clearly by that you have in Josh. 24.14. Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity, and truth, and put away the Gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt. Their fathers were not on­ly Idolaters in Mesopotamia, which was beyond the floud, that is, Euphrate also in Egypt. There they were notori­ous Idolaters, and no sooner were they come out of Egypt, but they would have a calf▪ an Egyptian God, to whom they might attribute the honour of their Egyptian deliverance, Exod. 32.4.

I am the Lord your God.

In the Preface to the Ten Commandements you have these words, I am the Lord thy God; which is a strong reason why they should have no other Gods before him, and so here, are the reason why they should cast away their Idols, and not defile themselves any more with them. The strength of the argument runnes thus▪ I am the Lord of all [Page 33] creatures, it belongs to mee to give Lawes, and command what I please. There is no God besides my selfe, I allow none in heaven or earth to bee set up and acknowledged for God by any, much less by you, whose God I am in a more spe­cial manner, whom I have chosen for my people, and made as it were my Temple to dwell in; therefore cast yee away all Idols, all false gods, defile not your selves with them, but be a holy people unto mee your God, who hate all such things and delight in holinesse.

Obs. 1 That the posterity of good men, by living amongst Ido­laters, and conversing with them, do in time drink in their Opi­nions and manners, and become like unto them: The Jews who were the posterity of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Holy seed, by living in Egypt, and conversing with Egypti­ans, they learnt their opinions, and practices; they delighted in and served the Egyptian Gods. Their Fathers Piety, Precepts,Lavater saith, God suffered them so long to bee oppres­sed by Phara­oh, because they had learnt the Idolatry of Egypt. Examples did not antidote them sufficiently against this Contagion. Superstition, Idolatry, and prophanenesse, are prevalent things. Solomon himself the Sonne of David, was caught in this snare, 1 King. 11.4. it is said of the Israe­lites after they came out of Egypt, that they mingled among the Heathen and learned their works, yea, served their Idols, Psal. 106.35, 36. by dwelling amongst them, they were transformed into their likeness, what they saw them do, they did, what they saw them worship, they worshipped; the Heathens served Idols, or Griefes; as Montanus hath it, because Idols cause grief; and the Hebrewes served Idols, which brought grief and vexation. There is a secret, but strong power in all wickednesse to assimilate, and few who dwell neer her borders, escape subscription to her Laws, and practises. When Dinah went out to see the Daughters of the Land, shee was caught and defiled, Gen. 34.1, 2. and when men go not onely to see, but to converse with, and live amongst the Daughters of a Land, viz. the corrupt inven­tions and practises thereof, they are in great danger to bee caught and corrupted. Grace is not communicable from Pa­rents to posterity, corruption is, and that inclines strongly to conform to their waies, and worship among whom men live.

Obs. 2 When the Lord shews mercy to a people, doth great things for them, then hee requires and expects they should be ho­ly. When the Lord chose Israel, made himself known un­to the house of Jacob, promised them to bring them out of Egypt, into a land flowing with milk and honey, then hee said, Cast yee away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not your selves with the Idols of Egypt, that is, bee yee holy, this I call for, this I look for, Exod. 19.4, 5. yee have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on Eagles wings, and brought you unto my self. Now therefore if yee will obey my voice indeed, and keep my Covenant, then yee shall bee a peculiar treasure unto mee above all people, for all the earth is mine. Here the Lord reckons up the great benefits hee vouchsafed them, 1 His dealings with their adversaries, yee have seen what I did to the Egyptians, not heard, but seen, seen how I plagued them in Egypt, and drowned them in the Red Sea for your sakes. 2 His dealings with them, He bare them on Eagles wings, that is, carried them out of Egypt, and through the Red Sea, with much speed, strength, and tendernesse, as an Eagle carries her young when in danger, speedily, strongly, tenderly, not in her talons, as other fowls do, but on her back and wings. He took them unto himself, having taken them out of the hands of the Egyptian Tyrants, and Task-masters, he put them not under the power of stran­gers, but took them to himself, hee became their Lord and Soveraigne, they took not him, but hee took them. Hav­ing done such things for them, hee expected they should bee holy; for hee saith, Now therefore, if you will obey my voice in­deed, and keep my Covenant, that is, if you will bee holy, and honour mee, I will put dignity upon you, such as no people have, you shall bee a peculiar treasure unto mee above all peo­ple, as dear, and as much cared for as any pretious things are by Princes. Gods mercies are ingagements unto holi­nesse, Levit. 20.23, 24 and especially the 26. Yee shall bee holy unto mee, for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that you should bee mine, distinguishing mer­cies should breed distinguishing qualities, I have severed you from other people that you should forget their manners, and conform to me a holy God, even every one of you.

Obs. 3 The eyes are instrumental to, and inlets of much wickednesse. Their eyes behold the Idols, and let in that, stir­red their hearts, and them to do abominably; even to Idolatrie: whether more evil, enter by the ear, or eye, may bee questioned, but most certain it is, that abundance of wickednesse is let in to us by the eye. The breach of most, if not of all the Commandments hath been occasioned by the eye.

Of the first, Hos. 3.1. they look to other Gods. Of the second, 2 King. 16.10, 11, 12. Ahaz saw an Altar at Damascus, and makes the like, and sets it in the place of Gods Altar.

Of the third, Marke 6.22, 23. Herod being pleased at the sight of Herodias dancing, swears to give her what ever shee would ask, unto the half of his Kingdome.

Of the fourth, Ezek. 22.26. they have hid their eies from my Sabbaths, they would not see what holinesse that day requi­red, they connived at the pollution and prophaning thereof.

Here you see the breach of the first Table, and wee may find the second violated by means of them.

For the fifth, see Gen. 9.22. Ham saw the nakedness of his father, and discovered it.

For the sixth, see Esther 3.5, 6. When Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, hee was full of wrath, and thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone, but sought to destroy all the Jews.

For the seventh, Consult, Gen. 34.2. 2 Sam. 11.2.4. when Shechem saw Dinah, and David Bathshebah, they were so taken with their beauties, that they committed folly, and brought evil upon themselves and others.

For the eighth, that in Psalm 50.18. proves it, when thou sawest a theif, then thou consentedst with him.

For the ninth, Consider that in Jerem. 37.13. when Jeremy was going out at the gate of Benjamin, Jrijah a captain spies him, and accused him falsely, saying, thou fallest away to the Chaldeans.

For the tenth, take that place in Judg. 7.21. I saw saith Achan among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, two hun­dred shekels of silver, a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them: by these instances you see the [Page 36] eyes have been instruments and mediums to further the breach of all the Commands. The sight is a great mercy, a princi­pal sense, yet it had been good for some men, if they had been born blinde, their eies occasioned so much sin, and wick­ednesse; by the eye the heart sends forth and receives in wick­ednesse, the Eye is the pander between both, and what thing created is worse than a wicked eie? Oculis prodi­tur peccatum cordis et oculi, pecc [...]torum ille cebras ani­mo denunci­ent. Concilia­torem peccati ocurum Tal­mudici nomi­nant Oecolam. Eccl. 11.13. Solomon advises you to keep your hearts with all diligence, and you had need keep your eies with all diligence, both heart and eies are rove­ing and mischieving things if not well kept: God calls for both, Prov. 23.26. My Son give mee thy heart, and let thine eies observe my waies; if this were done, multitudes of sinnes would bee prevented, the eie would let in Good to the heart, and the heart send out good by the eie.

Obs. 4 The consideration of God being our God, should take us off from all former ingagements, sinfull conformities, and false confidences, and cause us to cleave to the Lord, to conform unto, and confide in him: The Jews here were ingaged to Egypti­an Gods, conformed to them, and confided too much in them. But cast them away, defile not your selves with them, I am the Lord your God, you must ingage, conform your selves to mee, and confide in mee; I am your God able to counsell, help, deliver you, so are not, so cannot the Idols of Egypt. I am an holy God, they are abominations; I am for you Israelites, they are for Egyptians. God becomming our God, is a great condescension, a favour beyond comprehen­sion, and should knock us off from all false waies, and cause us to conform to him, Exod. 23.24, 25. Lev. 11.43, 44, 45. chap. 18.2, 3, 4. ch. 19.2, 3, 4. Numb. 15.38, 39, 40, 41. in all these places God uses this argument why they should con­form to him; and bee holy because hee is the Lord their God, and an holy God; hee made them his Temple, to dwell in and among, and his Temple must not bee defiled, admit of any thing unsuitable to his minde; therefore hee tells them, Deut. 7.6. that hee hath chosen them to bee a speci­al people unto himself, special in their holinesse, special in their love, special in their obedience, and special in their confidence, in, and reliance upon him.

[Page 37]
Vers. 8
But they rebelled against mee, and would not hearken unto mee: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eies: neither did they forsake the Idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.

In this verse you have two things to be considered.

1 Their wickednesse, which is set out,

  • 1 In general, they rebelled, they hearkned not.
  • 2 In particular, they did not cast away the abominations of their eies, they did not forsake the Idols of Egypt.

2 Gods purpose hereupon, which was severely to pu­nish them, then I said I will pour out my fury, &c. which is il­lustrated from the circumstance of the place where he would do it, in the midst of the land of Egypt. There is little in this verse, which hath not been opened and spoken of formerly; the word rebelled, wee had chap. 17.15.2, 3.

And would not hearken unto me.

The Hebrew is, And have not desired to hearken to me, [...] they had no desire that way, but the contrary, Non velle, here is Nolle, their not willing, was nilling; and Zachary calls it, [...] refusing, ch. 7.11. they had not an heart inclinable to hearken unto God.Non cuplerunt audire ad me. Montan. [...].

Th [...]n I said, I will pour out my fury upon them.

The Hebrew is, And I said to pour out, that is, I purposed, seeing they dealt thus by mee, to make them examples of my fury, and to destroy them. Of pouring out fury, and accomplishing anger, was spoken ch. 6.12.7.8.9.8.14.19.

In the midst of the land of Egypt.

Wee find not in Moses any thing recorded of this nature, but here the Prophet delivered what God commanded him, vers. 5. say unto them, thus saith the Lord, hee had it not by tradition, that God bid them cast away the abomi­nation of their eyes, and not defile themselves with the I­dols of Egypt that they rebelled and would not do so, that God purposed their destruction in Egypt, these things he had not by tradition, but by Divine inspiration. They were so corrupted with the Idolatry of Egypt, and averse from hear­kening to the Admonitions, Counsells, and Exhortations of God, that hee thought in his heart to destroy them in [Page 38] the midst of Egypt, many of their children were drowned, and the oppressions they indured were very great, and long, which Lavater saith, was for their Egyptian Idolatry, Psalm 105.25. Hee turned their heart to hate his People, to deal sub­tlely with his people.

Obs. 1 Those the Lord hath bestowed great mercies up­on, and professed much kindnesse unto, they, even they are in­grateful when hee calls for reformation at their hands: This people the Lord chose, made himself known to, promised to bring out of Egypt into a land hee had looked out for them, even a land flowing with milk and honey, the glo­ry, ornament, desire of all lands, and now calling upon them to purge themselves from their abominations and Ido­latries, and to conform to him who professed himself to be their God, what do they? rebel against him, but they re­belled, here was ingratitude, and ingratitude at a height; God bid them cast away abominations, and they cast away his Counsels; hee bids them eye him, his beauty and glory, and they eye the form, beauty, and glory of their Idols; hee bids them be holy, and they defile themselves with idols, he bids them cleave to him the God of Israel, and they cleave to the Idols of Egypt; hee bids them forsake all their evill waies, and they forsake him. This people were very in­grateful, what ever mercies they had from God, hee sel­dome had any testimony of true thankfulnesse from them, Neh. 9. see what a multitude of mercies, great, seasonable, wonderful, God bestowed upon them calling by his Pro­phets, for turning to him, and did they turn, reform, and testify a thankful frame of Heart, to bee in them? no, they were disobedient, rebelled against him, cast his Law behind their backs, and slew his Prophets, vers. 26. God did choice things for this People all along, but they forgate him, and provoked him: the 106. Psal. is a Psalm of Gods mercies, and their ingratitudes, hee tells them they had a multitude of mercies, but they provoked him at the Sea, even the red Sea, vers. 7. but they lusted exceedingly in the wildernesse, v. 14. but they murmured in their Tents, v. 25. but they mingled among the Heathen, v. 35. Here be four Buts, testifying their ingratitude.

God hath done great things for us, bestowed Israelitish [Page 39] mercies upon us, hee hath made himself known amongst us, brought us out of Egyptian bondage, owned us for his peo­ple above any people, and professed himself to bee our God, and hereupon called upon us to cast away our abominati­ons, to reform and become a holy people, conformable to his minde; but may not the Lord come in with a reproa­ching▪ But, and say, But yee rebel. Your abominations are not cast away, you do defile your selves with the Idols of England, and notwithstanding all the mercies wee have had, God may come in with many Buts, and say, but you pro­voke mee by your oppressions, divisions, and bitternesse; but you lust exceedingly after a King, and to bee like other Nations, but you murmure against me, my servants, and dispensations; but you mingle with the Customes, corrupti­ons, and fashions of the times; but you forsake my truths, and runne into dangerous and damnable opinions.

Obs. 2 Such is the corruption of mens natures, that frequent­ly, the more mercies and means they have, the worse they grow. This People had variety of mercies, and every mercy should have led them to repentance, according to that in Rom. 2.4. especially such mercies as they had; but above all, Gods spea­king to them should have done it: how hee spake to them in Egypt wee finde not, no Prophets are mentioned to have been there before Moses. Whither hee spake himself unto them, or by Angels, or by Joseph, or some others, he did speak, but they rebelled and hearkned not, their corrupt hearts and natures degenerated more and more. The Jews who had the pleasant land, the Prophets, Temple, Oracles, and Ordinances of God, grew worse than any of the Nati­ons, see Jer. 2.10, 11. Ezek. 16.47. 2 Chron. 36.15, 16. It is observable, that men living in the Christian world, and where besides a multitude of other mercies, they have the Gospel to do them good, to draw them to God, to direct and inable them to work righteousnesse, and go beyond Hea­thens in all things, yet in many things they fall short of them, some of them, and diverse in many things are worse than the worst of them. If mercies and means prove not the savour of life, they ripen and perfect mens corruptions, and be­come the savour of death: was there heard of amongst the [Page 40] Heathens, such a wretch as Judas was, who betrayed such a Master as hee did? Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, were the more unhappy, and exposed to the deeper condem­nation, because they had more mercy and means.

Obs. 3 Not doing what God commands, is not hearkening, and not hearkening, is rebellion. They rebelled and would not hearken unto mee, they did not cast away the abominati­ons of their eyes, nor forsake the Idols of Egypt. They re­belled, because they hearkened not, they hearkened not, be­cause they did not; its like they heard God commanding, but hearing, and not doing, they did not hearken. Doing, is knowing of God, Jer. 22.16. and doing is hearkening to God, Deut. 34.9. but not doing, is not hearkening, and not hearkening is rebellion; hence not doing is called rebelling against the command of the Lord, Deut. 1.26. going back­ward, Jer. 7.24. rejecting of the words and Law of God, chap. 6.19. hardening of the neck, Neh. 9.16. Our fathers dealt proudly, hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy Commandements, its pride and hardnesse of heart, not to hear­ken unto God and his commands.

Obs. 4 Mens not hearkening unto God, puts him upon thoughts and purposes of punishing them, and that severely: Then I said I will pour out my fury upon them, and accomplish consummate, perfect mine anger against them. Then, when they would not do as I bid them, I had thoughts and resolutions to de­stroy them. When the glorious, great, and onely wise God, shall speak to the creature, to do that which tends to its great good, and shall not bee heard but disobeyed and sligh­ed, this provokes God, and procreates thoughts of destructi­on, when they hearkned not, but sinn'd so in the business of the calfe, it was in the heart of God utterly to destroy them, Exod. 32.10. Let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them and not onely them, but their name from under heaven, Deu. 9.14. had not Moses poured water upon this fire and quenched it, hee had done it, they had no longer been a people, nor had any memorial left of them; of this speaks David; Psal. 106.23▪ he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach to turn away his wrath, least hee should destroy [Page 41] them. This is spoken of God after the manner of men; when they are offended, they purpose and resolve to destroy those have provoked them, but some friend interposes, pre­vails with them, and prevents them, as Abigail did David; so Moses here prevented the Lord by his prayers, and in­treaties, from destroying this people; Mens perverse dealings with God, do put him upon intentions of their ruine, Deut. 32.16. I said I would scatter them into Corners, and would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men.

Vers. 9 But I wrought for my name sake, that it should not bee polluted before the Heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made my self known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt.

In this verse are set down Gods last kindnesses to this peo­ple being in Egypt, and they are two.

  • 1 His sparing of them for his names sake.
  • 2 His bringing them out of that condition.

Touching the first, in the latter part of the former vers. God had said he would pour out his fury upon them, and accom­plish his anger against them in the midst of Egypt; but fore­seeing and considering what would bee the event thereof, if hee should do so, viz. that his name would suffer and be pol­luted, here he provides for the honour of his own name, and spares them.

But I wrought.

The Hebrew is, I did or have done, not what I purposed, [...] feci but what was most convenient for mee to do, what was for the honour of my name: when I saw that like to suffer,Fr. mais j' eu esgard a mon nom. I did that which prevented it, I took care of my name, had respect unto it.

For my name sake.

Name, in the Scripture, as it referres to God, is sometimes put for God himself, as Psalm 33.21. and Nehem. 1.11. who desire to fear thy name, that is, God himself, hee is the object of fear, Isa. 8.13. sometimes its put for Gods Titles, Psal. 83.18. Exod. 3.13, 14, 15. sometimes for the Attributes of God, as Exo. 33.19 compared with cha. 34. ver. 6, 7. sometimes for the glory, esteem, and renown of God, Psalm 8.9. and Psalm 76.1. here its put for Gods attributes and honour. Three of his [Page 42] attributes had been questioned, if hee should have destroyed this people in Egypt.

1 His Faithfulnesse, for God had promised and sworn to bring them out of Egypt, as it is vers. 6. and Gen. 15.14. ch. 48.4. and had hee not done it, Egyptians and others, would have charged God with breach of promise, with unfaithfulnesse.

2 His power and almightinesse, for they would have said he was not able to bring them from under the Egyptian gods and Pharaoh, that their power was beyond the power of the Jews God.

3 His mercy, that hee had a people professed him to bee their God, but hee was so mercilesse, that he destroyed and cut them all off; a thing that the Heathen Gods never did to any which worshipped them.

Now had the case been thus, how had Gods honour been laid in the dust, his glory stained, and renown eclipsed.

That it should not be polluted.

[...] a [...]The word to Pollute in Hebrew signifies Originally to grieve, to cut, and metonimically to pollute, to violate, pro­phane, Dolere secare perforare & cum dicitur de rebus sacris vi­olare, polluere, prophanare. which are grievous and cutting. When Gods name is polluted, wee are not to conceive any actual defilement to adhere to it, for Gods name can no more bee defiled than the beams of the Sun. Its said to bee polluted.

1 When its not hallowed, that is, not acknowledged, not esteemed to bee holy, honourable, excellent; as the Sabbath, when it was not sanctified, it was polluted; so here, when the glory due to Gods name is not acknowledged, its a polluting of his name.

2 When its sleighted, and not used reverently, Gods Name is great, glorious, excellent, holy, and dreadful, and ought to bee reverenced, Psal. 111.9.

3 When Occasion is given to the wicked to speak evil of God and his waies, as 2 Sam. 12.14. David by his sinnes gave great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blas­pheme, So Ezek. 36.21. the Jews by their sinful carriage, caused the name of God to bee prophaned among the hea­then.

Had the Lord then destroyed this people in Egypt, according as he purposed, the Egyptians and other Nations would have [Page 43] slighted him, spoken evil of his doings, blasphemed his name, and wounded his honour. Therefore though this people deserved to dye in the way of justice, yet God spared them in the way of mercy, for the honour of his name.

Quae. Seeing God purposed to destroy them, and did it not, is not his will alterable and inefficacious?

Ans. The Counsels, Purposes, Decrees of God are un­alterable, and do take place, Psal. 33.11. Isa. 14.27. ch. 43.13. ch. 46.10. Mal. 3.6. Heb. 6.17. for that said and done here, its more humano, God saw cause sufficient to move him to their destruction, but seeing what evil was like to come on't, he would not destroy them; had the Lord decreed it be­fore the world, it must have taken place, no change or altera­tion could have been.

Before the Heathen.

The Hebrew is, in the eies of the Heathen, God would not have them to see or behold any thing which might occasion them to dishonour him, hee would not slay his people in their sight; but made himself known by his word and migh­ty works unto the Jews in the sight of the Heathen, so that hereby he was known unto both.

Obs. 1 The Lord spares and saves sinners deserving death, even for his name sake: but I wrought for my name sake: thou for thy Rebellion, Idolatry, and other sinnes, didst deserve to dye, and I could almost have cut thee off, but for my mercy and name sake, I spared and saved thee, Jsa. 48.8, 9. I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressour from the womb; that is, worthy so to bee called, seeing as soon as ever thou camest out of the womb of Egypt, in which thou wast shut up as a child in the womb, thou fellest to Idolatry, here was enough to have caused God to stifle this childe: but what follows, For my name sake will I deferre mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. Nothing in this metaphorical childe, this Jewish people, moved him to shew mercy, but his own Name, his own Praise, prevailed with him to preserve them from destruction. Gods honour and glory are strong argu­ments to move him to shew mercy to his people. This the ser­vants of God have known, and made use of in their streights, [Page 44] when Jerusalem was in a manner laid desolate, and the jea­lousy of God burnt like fire, what argument did the Church use then to move God to shew mercy? but his name and glory of it, Psalm 79.9. Help us O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name, and deliver us and purge away our sins for thy Names sake. The Church was low, weak, beset with ene­mies and sinnes at once, and now it would have help, delive­rance, pardon, and upon the account of Gods name, for thy name sake help us, for thy name sake deliver us, for thy name sake purge away our sinnes. What hurt would it be to Gods name if hee did it not? it would not bee glorious, but dis­honoured, for in the next verse its said, Wherefore should the Heathen say, where is their God? they trusted in their God, and hee is a non-helping God, a Non-delivering God, a Non-pardoning God. This was the argument Jo­shuah used when Israel fell before their enemies, Lord what wilt thou do unto thy great name; Gods name was pretious to Joshuah, but more pretious to God himself, Josh. 7.9. and he did great things for his name sake. When the people forgat the multitude of great mercies they had in Egypt, and pro­voked him at the Sea, even at the red Sea, and deserved to bee drowned in it, and that their bloud should have skar­letted the waters thereof, what saith the Text, Psal. 106.8. Neverthelesse, he saved them for his name sake. When no­thing induced him to do it,Vide Muscul. in locum. the honour of his Name did, that hee might appear faithful, merciful, powerful: God did not save them for their prayers, for their faith, for their fathers sakes, for their righteousnesse, or for their enemies sakes, being very malicious and wicked, but for his own Name sake: God doth more upon that account alone than upon the ac­count of all the rest. You may hear the Lord speak graci­ously to this purpose, Isa. 4.3.25. I, even I am hee that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, here is I twice, one I referring to them, its I that blot out their transgressions, and none besides; the other referres to God, I blot them out for mine own sake, not your sakes; God doth all freely.

Obs. 2 God's sparing of his people, and preventing the reproa­ches, blasphemies, and mischiefes would come by his destroying of them, is an honouring and sanctifying of his name: I wrought satih God that my name might not bee polluted before the [Page 45] Heathen, that is, that it might bee honoured and sanctified in their sight. God doth often spare his people being ripe for destruction, that the enemy might not blaspheme and pro­phane his name, and when hee doth so, hee honours his name, Deut. 32.26, 27. God saith there, hee would scatter and destroy his people, but why did hee it not? hee feared the wrath of the enemy, least their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and least they should say, our hand is high, and the Lord hath not done all this: God foresaw what they would say, and do, if he should have used them as instruments to punish his children, they would have been very outragious, bloudy, and cruel, and when they had vented all their ma­lice against them, and done whatever they would, they would have denyed Gods hand to have been therein, and arrogated all to themselves, which had been a great disho­nour to God, hee therefore prevents their blaspheming by sparing of his people, and so provides for the honour of his Name: Moses once and twice put God upon it, to take heed hee caused not the Egyptians to speak evil of him, and his waies, when hee was upon the designe of destroying his people for their sinnes, Exod. 32.10, 11, 12. Numb. 14.12, 13, 14, 15, 16. God deals with his people sometimes, not after the ordinary rule and course of his proceedings, but in a prerogative way, hee spares them though their sinnes be great, because their enemies would bee proud, arrogant, bloudy, and blasphemous; and hath hee not spared England upon this account?

Obs. 3 That notwithstanding the sins of Gods people, hee shews them kindness openly, and in the face of their enemies; though the Jews had rebelled against God, and the Egyp­tians would have rejoyced in their ruine, yet, in their sight God made himself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt. God would have the Egyptians see, that hee could bee kinde to his people, though they were disobedient unto him; that hee would not break with them, though they broke with him.

When the Jews were in Babylon under great displeasure of God for their sinnes, yet God did shew them such favour, and do such things for them, that their enemies were convin­ced, [Page 46] and said, The Lord hath done great things for them, Psal. 126.2. he made known his salvation, and openly shewed his salvation in the sight of the Heathen, Psalm 98.2. this the Lord doth, as to magnifye his own name, to rejoyce the hearts of his people, and to gain upon them, so to vex and consume the wicked, Psalm 112.10. the wicked shall see it, and bee grieved, hee shall gnash with his teeth and melt away: hath not this been Gods method with us? notwithstanding our sins, and ill deserts, hath he not openly made known himself to us? shewed us kindnesse in the sight of our enemies? have they not seen it, grieved, guashed their teeth, and melted away? they have seen Gods kindnesses to us, and we have seen Gods vengeance on them.

Vers. 10 Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the Wilderness.
11 And I gave them my Statutes, and shewed them my Judgements, which if a man do, he shall live in them.

Having seen and heard of Gods dealings with them, and theirs with him in Egypt: Now wee are led to consider their mutual dealings each with other in the Wildernesse, which reacheth to the 27. vers.

Where he shews in general,

  • 1 What Benefits he had bestowed upon them.
  • 2 What their sinful deportment was towards him.
  • 3 How worthy they were to perish; if the Lord had not shewed them mercy for his name sake.

In these two verses you have.

  • 1 Their Eduction out of Egypt.
  • 2 Their introduction into the wildernesse.
  • [...]
    3 The Donation or promulgation of the law.
I caused them to go forth.

Eduxi eos in Hiphil feci exire. Vulgar ejeci.The Vulgar is, I cast them forth, or drove them forth, which shews their backwardnesse to leave that land where they were born, had habitations, and other accommodati­ons. Its like many of them, neither thought of the promise made to their fathers, nor of the promised land, but thought Egypt a good land, yea, a Land flowing with milk and honey, as they called it, Numb. 16.13. onely they were troubled at the hard labour the Egyptians held them to; but the word [Page 47] here imports not any violence, but a powerful bringing of them forth: we will inquire

  • 1 How the Lord brought them forth.
  • 2 When.

1 How! It was not in an ordinary way, but in a way full of extraordinaries. To do it, the Lord came down from heaven, Exod. 3.8. that was in the vision of the burn­ing bush, hee prepared Moses, Aaron, and the people, by signs and miracles to leave Egypt, and because all the power, and wisdomes that Pharaoh and Egypt had, was imployed to retaine the Jews there, they being utterly averse from their departure, the Lord sent strange and dreadful plagues, one af­ter another, till their spirits were brought off, to let them go, Ex. 12.30, 31, 32, 33. Pharaoh was resolved not to let them go, (hee had so much profit by their service) unlesse it were by a strong hand, Exod. 3.19. and God was resolved to bring them out, and therefore he did arise, put forth his power, and by strength of hand brought them out, Exo. 13.3. by an high hand, ch. 14.8. by mighty power, and a stretched out arm, Deut. 9.29. You have it fully set down in Deut. 4.34. [...] God took them from the midst of another Nation, by temptations, by signes, & by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stret­ched out arm, and by great terrors. There was great strife between God and Pharaoh, who should have this people, as there was between Michael and the Devil about the body of Moses. Pharaoh pulled hard to hold them in Egypt, but God out-pulled Pharaoh, and pulled them out of Egypt, and so caused them to go forth.

2 When. You have the time punctually set down in Exo. 12.40, 41. where its said, at the end of the 430. years, River in Exod. even the self same day they went out: not that they were 430. years in E­gypt, for they were there but two hundred & ten, or two hun­dred and fifteen, as Chronologies inform upon good account.

The 430. years are to begin from the time of the promise made to Abraham, which Stephen tells us, Act. 7.2. was before hee dwelt in Charran, even while hee was in Vr, and but seventy years old, from which time, to the going out of Egypt, were four hundred and thirty years: two hundred and fift­teen, or two hundred and twenty whereof, were run out be­fore [Page 48] Jacob went down into Egypt from the promise made to Abraham to Isaack's birth, were thirty years, some make it but twenty five (they then reckon from his time of depar­ting out of Haran) for hee was an hundred years old when Isaack was born, Gen. 21.5. and from thence to the birth of Jacob were sixty years, Gen. 25.26. and from thence to Ja­cobs going into Egypt, one hundred and thirty years, Gen. 47.9. which summed up, make 220. at least 215. and so the rest of the 430. they were in Egypt, and at the just time they were accomplished, the Lord brought them out, to shew his faithfulnesse, as it appears, Deut. 7.8.

And brought them into the wildernesse.

[...] Per antiphrasin sic dictum quasi locus a sermo­ne remotus.There is mention made of one Wildernesse before they pas­sed through the Red Sea, Exod. 14.11. and of other wilder­nesses after they had passed the same, as the wildernesse of Sin, Exod. 16.1. the wildernesse of Paran, Numb. 13.3. which doubtlesse was but one, though diversly called from the se­veral parts it bordered upon. A wildernesse is a desolate, so­litary place, where is no way, where are no comforts, but where are many dangers, Deut. 8.15. it was a great and ter­rible wildernesse, wherein were fiery Serpents and Scorpions, drought and no water, it had many wild beasts in it, and therefore was called the howling wildernesse, Deut. 32.10. Jeremy tells you, chap. 2.6. this wildernesse was a land of de­serts, and of Pits, but not pits would hold any water, for hee addes it was a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt, while they were in this wildernesse, they were in danger of death, or in such streights, as that they desired death. The Wilderness here meant was the wildernese of Sin, which was not far from Sinai, where the law was given, of which the next verse speaks. Into the wilderness God did bring them to try them, to humble them, and do them good at their latter end, Deut. 8.16.

Obs. 1 That God for the honour of his name, shews mercy af­ter mercy to his people, deserving no mercy, yea, deserving de­struction: In the former verse, to prevent the dishonour of his name hee spared them, made himself known to them, and here hee goes on, adding mercy to mercy; wherefore I caused them to go forth.

Obs. 2 No length of time, no depth of misery, no power, or policy of adversaries whatsoever, can hinder God from delivering his people when his time is come. The Jews had been long in Egypt, suffered very hard things for the space of one hundred and sixteen years, or one hundred twenty one, from the time of Josephs death, till their departure out of Egypt that house of bondage, which was thereabout; they were under heavy pressures, and great tyranny, Pharaoh that great Dra­gon, used all his cunning and power to keep them longer in that condition, but notwithstanding all these, the Lord caused them to go forth, his time was come. The like did God for this People when they had been in Babylon seventy years, were as dry bones and out of hope, Ezek. 37.11. hee o­pened their graves, and caused them to come up out of them, and come to the land of Israel, vers. 12. There is no thing too hard for the Lord to do, hee can and will remove all ob­structions, break through all difficulties, and shake the foundations of heaven, earth, and hell, to bring to pass his good pleasure in the time thereof. The state of the Jews in Egypt represents mens condition under sin and Satan; that in Babylon the condition of Gods Servants under Antichrist. Now let men bee never so long in bondage to either or both of them, suffer never such hard things, let Satan that red Dragon, and Antichrist, that man of sin, improve all their craft, skill, and power, to hold men in darknesse and waies of false worship, yet when the Lords day is come, hee will cause them to come out of Egyptian bondage, and Babylo­nian darknesse, hee will fetch them off from all sinfull practises, all invented waies of worship, and bring them into his marvellous and glorious light.

Obs. 3 When God doth shew his people special mercy, in free­ing them from old and special miseries, hee doth not wholly ex­empt them from new miseries: though hee caused them to go forth of Egypt, yet hee brought them into a Wilderness, where they met with hunger, thirst, danger, and death; they were freed from Egyptian miseries, not from wilderness miseries. They thought if once they were freed from their making brick, ga­thering straw, and rigid Task-masters, they should bee hap­py, [Page 50] but they met with new-hardships, new-miseries, they did ride upon the back of mercy, out of old miseries into new, out of an house of bondage into a wildernesse; an howling wildernesse, a wildernesse that made them howle many a time. Its Gods method oft, to mingle water with our wine, miseries with our mercies, crosses with our com­forts, to lead us out of great streights in much mercy, and to lead us into others for tryal. David was delivered oft out of streights, but shortly after hee was freed from one, he was brought into another, and that by the same hand; which made him say, thou hast shewed mee great and soar troubles, Psal. 71.20. sometimes hee was on the mount of mercies, and sometimes in the valley of miseries: yea, in the valley of the shadow of death; take it in a spiritual sense, when men are converted, do they not meet with hard things, are they not brought out of Egypt into a wildernesse, where are dan­gers, fiery Serpents, Scorpions, &c.

Vers. 11 And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgements.

This people being brought out of Egypt, and freed from great bondage, being in a wildernesse might now phansy a total liberty to themselves, and exemption from all obedience; to prevent this, some fifty daies after their comming out, the Lord at Mount Sinai gives them out his Law, by which they might be ordered and regulated.

Of statutes and judgements, hath been spoken formerly; by them, both Morals and Ceremonials are comprehen­ded.

Shewed them.

[...]The Hebrew is, I made them to know: that is, I caused them to bee written in the Tables of stone, and proclaimed a­mongst them, yea, I caused them to bee opened and ex­pounded unto them. The Lord made known his mind un­to them, though not so efficaciously as in these daies.

Which if a man do he shall live in them.

In eis, or prop­ter ea.The doing here is mans keeping, observing, and obeying these Statutes and judgements; and if so, hee should not bee punished as transgressors are, but live a long and prospe­rous life, and not onely so, but an happy and eternal life [Page 51] for if the keeping Gods Statutes and Commands,Hebrei de vita eterna intelli­gunt q.d. qui ad impleverit haec precepta credens in Christum ven­tutum, vivet vi [...]a aeterna. Varabl. Hoc modo eti­am Chaldaeus paraphrastos. id. should reach but unto a temporal prosperous life, what benefit had the Jews thereby above the Gentiles, who by their justice, Civility, and Moral vertues obtained great prosperity and length of daies. The Lord Christ clears it up unto us, that by life promised upon keeping the Law, is meant eternal life, Luke 10.25. saith a Lawyer to Christ, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? Christ saith, What is written in the Law? how readest thou? hee tells him, vers. 27. what hee found there, and Christ upon it, tells him, vers. 28. that if he did so, hee should live, that is, live eternally. There was a righ­teousnesse of the Law, which if men came unto, the Law conferred life upon them, Gal. 3.12. Rom. 10.5. Lev. 18.5. there was life in them, life by them, and life from them, but because no man could attain unto the righteousnesse of the Law through the weaknesse of the flesh, Rom. 8.3. There­fore the Law was so farre from conferring eternal life upon man, that it excludes him from that life, Rom. 3.20. and takes away the life hee hath, Rom. 7.10. the Commandement which was ordained to life hee found to bee unto death; that which in it self held out life, accidentally and eventially, proved death unto him.

Paul seems to deny any power to be in the Law of giv­ing life, Gal. 3.21. if there had been a Law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the Law. The impotency is not Originally and intrinsecal­ly in the Law, for that is perfect, and able to give life to a­ [...] to all that keep it, Mat. 19.17. Christ makes the keep­ing the Commandements the entrance into life, the fault is in us, not in the Law, which is Holy, just, and good; if we could keep the Law, it could give us life.

Obs. 1 When God brings his people into streights, he will not leave them destitute, he will shew them some mercy in such a condi­tion. He brought them into the wildernesse, and what then? hee gave them his Statutes, and shewed them his judgements. When they were in the wildernesse, they had the Cloud, the Pillar of fire, the Manna, the Tabernacle, the water out of the rock, many great mercies did God bestow on them whilst they were in the Wildernesse: Jacob by the hand of God was [Page 52] brought into streights, hee must leave his fathers house to se­cure his life, Gen. 27.42, 43. lye in the open field all night, where the earth was his bed, and the stones his bolsters, where the wild beasts might have found and devoured him; but in this condition the Lord appeared to him, and told him, what hee would give and do for him: it was a good night to Jacob, hee met with sweeter, greater mercies, when hee lay without doors, than ever he did by lying in his fathers house. God brought Jerusalem into a streight by Senacherib, and did hee leave it so, and let him sack and spoil it? No, hee prepared an Angel that was both [...] and [...] a sa­viour to the Jews, and a destroyer to the Assyrians: Christ by the Spirit was led into the wildernesse where the temp­ter set upon him very fiercely, and ceased not for forty daies together to shoot his fiery darts against him, but did not the Lord mind him in that condition? yes, he sent Angels un­to him, Mat. 4.11. Behold Angels came and ministred unto him.

Obs. 2 God is the Law-giver to his people. I gave them my Statutes, and shewed them my judgements. God gave them Laws to govern, and direct them, both in their worship­ing of him, and carriage one towards another. It was no small mercy that God gave them Statutes and Judgements; for no Nation had the like mercy. Deut. 4.8. What Nation is there so great, that hath Statutes and Judgements so righ­teous, as all this Law which I set before you this day? said Mo­ses to them. Other Nations had their Statutes and Judge­ments, but either they were not righteous, or at best not so righteous as theirs were; if some were righteous others were not; Here all were righteous, Ps. 119.128. They are called judgements of righteousnesse, Psal. 119.7. and Com­mands, that are righteousness, v. 172. They are the judgements, and commands of the righteous God, they are full of righte­ousnesse, and make men righteous. If the Law of the twelve Tables among the Romans did exceed all the libraries of Philosophers in weight and worth, as Tully said, what then did the Statutes and Judgements God gave to this people? they exceeded all the Laws that ever were or shall be; this made David to value them above thousands of Gold and Silver, [Page 53] Psal. 119.72. and to pray unto the Lord to open his eyes, that hee might see the mysteries and depths were in them; vers. 18. and 129. and that he would incline his heart to keep them, vers. 36. God gave them these Laws to shew that hee would bee their governour, that they ought to obey him; Isa. 33.22. The Lord is our Law-giver.

Obs. 3. The great bounty and wisdome of God in making pro­mise of an happy life here, and eternal life hereafter, to the keepers of the Law, to those should observe his Statutes and Judgements.

1 His great bounty: for suppose a man could perfectly in all things keep the Law, and that perpetually, he deserves nothing thereby, being Gods creature, its his duty to do what hee appoints and commands, mans works do not ex­cell, nor carry that intrinsecal worth before God as to me­rit at his hands; the life therefore attainable hereby is rati­one pacti & promissi, not from the nature of mans obedience but of Gods promise; and so is from his bounty and good­will; For God to promise life to mans obedience was great mercy, transcending what ever possibly, or imaginably could bee therein, whereas hee might have commanded all man could do without any promise of life at all; neither let any say, this Promise was to no purpose, because man was not able to keep the Law. The fault thereof was not in God, nor in the Law, but in man himself, who had disabled him­self; and here appears,

Secondly, the Great wisdome of God, that made this pro­mise of life to the keepers of the Law, that so hee might draw out their indeavours to the utmost, and that seeing when they were at the height they fell short of that perfecti­on the Law required, they might look for life upon another account, viz. the righteousnesse of faith, Deut. 30.12, 13, 14, 15. with Rom. 9.30, 31, 32. and ch. 10.5, 6, 7, 8. There­fore the Law finding us uncapable of life through our sin, di­rected us unto Christ, where wee might have it through his grace, Gal. 3.24. the Law was our Schoolmaster unto Christ, that we might be justifyed by faith.

Vers, 12 Moreover also I gave them my Sabbaths to bee a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am [Page 54] the Lord which sanctify them.

Here is another mercy which the Lord bestowed upon this people, namely his Sabbaths, which were

  • 1 To be a sign between him and them.
  • 2 To Evidence that the Lord was hee which sanctified them.
My Sabbaths.

To status upon the second of Genesi, saith Quod Deus non dederit preceptum illud de obser­vatione Sabba­ti in principio, sed per Mosen datum esse. And [...]eylin in his History of the Sabbath saith, no Patriarks be­fore Moses time did ever observe the Sabbath, and he alledges Justin Martyr, Irene­us, and Tertul. for it. He also cites Musculus and Hospinian, say­ing, it cannot be proved that the Sabbath was kept by any of the fa­thers before the Law. Vide Ames. Medul. Theol. l. 2. c. 15. Nam. 9.10. Vide Rivetum in decalog.The word Sabbath signifies Rest, and such Rest as work hath gone before: from [...] to cease, to bee quiet, and give over working; it imports not a sitting still, or doing nothing, but a resting from what formerly was a doing. Some by Sabbaths here understand, not onely the Sabbath of daies, but the Sabbaticall years also, the seventh, and fiftyeth years, which were years of rest: But its more genuine to take Sab­baths here, for Sabbatical daies. One of which came every week, and those Sabbaths were the signes between God and them. It may bee inquired whether they had the Sabbath before they came out of Egypt, because its said, that God brought them out thence into the wildernesse, and gave them his Sabbaths: and there bee some of Note, who hold that the Sabbath was not given at first, but in Moses daies.

To this inquiry, the Answer is; that they had the Sab­bath before that time of Moses giving the Law at Mount Si­nai, as appears Exod. 16.23, 25, 26. On the Sabbath day there was no manna to bee found or gathered, and Gen. 2.3. God bles­sed the seventh day and sanctified it, surely this blessing and sanctifying of it was for mans use, God needed no day: ther­fore in that place, Exod. 16.29. hee saith, The Lord hath given you the Sabbath, alluding to the first institution: and the word Remember, which beginnes the Fourth Com­mandement, imports that the day was given before, though much forgotten and neglected. And what if there bee no particular testimony, which mentions the patriarchs keep­ing of it before the Law? it doth not follow therefore, it was not kept.

There is no mention of keeping it in Joshuah, in Judges, in Samuel, is it therefore a warrantable, or good argument, to conclude that it was not kept? yea, if it were granted [Page 55] that they did not keep it? doth this prove, that they were not required to keep it? For Justin Martyr, Ireneus, Doceant in pre­teritum justos sabbatizasse aut circumcidisse & sic amicos Dei effectos esse. Tertul. ad­versus Iudaeos. and Tertullian: their scope is to shew, that none of the fathers of those times were justified, or obtained salvation by keep­ing of the Sabbath.

If the Sabbaths were given before, how are they said to be given when they were in the wilderness? this is answered in the next words.

To be a sign between me and them.

The first giving of the Sabbath was to bee a memoriall of the Creation▪ Gen. 2.3. and therefore was observed by the Primitive Fathers, whom the Creation of the World did most nearly concern, and was in use before Moses daies, who was above two thousand years after: But when God gave it out again by Moses, it was upon another account, viz. to bee a sign between him and his people the Jews, whom he brought out of Egypt, and that upon the Sabbath day, as Junius observes.

A sign] The Sabbath was a signe of the true Sabbath, wherein we shall rest from the labour of this world, So Je­rome, a sign of love and reconciliation, so Vatablus; a signe of Holinesse, that by the time dedicated to God, we might know our selves dedicated to God, So Cajetane; a sign of difference between the Jews and all other People, who were prophane, and derided the Jews for loosing the seventh part of their time, So Tostat. and Sanctius. They were di­stinguished from other Nations by Circumcision, and by meats; but these were not so visible, observable in the eye of the world as their Sabbaths. A sign that God had taken this people to himself, separated them from Egyptians, and others, and would have them in a special manner remem­ber their Egyptian deliverance, on that day, as formerly the Creation.

It was a sign between God and them, they glorified him, owning him for their God, and he sanctified them, owning them for his people: So that here was a second edition, and as it were a new institution of the Sabbath. Because hee brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand, therefore hee commanded them to keep the Sabbath, Deut. 5.15.

[Page 56]I am the Lord which sanctify them.

Sanctifying as it referres to God, notes sometimes prepa­ration to some special service, as Jer. 51.27, 28. Prepare the Nations against them, the Hebrew is, Sanctify the nations a­gainst her; that is, Babylon; preparing of the Nations to the destruction of Babylon, is sanctifying of them; some­times it notes separation to an holy use, as Joel 1.14. Sancti­fy yee a fast, that is, separate a time from common imploy­ments to Religious; So Christ is said to bee sanctifyed, John. 10.36. Sometimes it notes making holy, Levit. 21.23. I the Lord do sanctify them, that is, make them holy, so John 17.17. Rom. 15.16. we are here to take it in the two last senses.

I have given them my holy-daies; times separated from all Common use, and worldly imployments; times for drawing near to, and worshipping of mee; times wherein they ought to bee holy, and to minde holy things; and so know that it is I which separate them from others, and do make them holy, a peculiar People unto my self.

Quest. Whether was not the Sabbath a mutable Ceremo­ny, seeing he calls it a sign here?

Answ. That proves it not to bee so, for Gen. 9.12. the Rain-bow is called a Token or sign between God and man, and that was no mutable Ceremony, but continues to the end of the World. Besides, its not a sign or type of future Grace, something to come, but a signe of their delive­rance out of Egypt, or of the Creation, which were things past, or a signe of Gods sanctifying them at the present, when they met before him on those daies. And further, signe here, by some is put, for argumentum or documentum, its a note of your distinction from others, of your being my people, and of my sanctifying of you.

Obs. 1 When God is in a way of mercy with a people, hee hath his moreovers: Moreover I gave unto them my Sabbaths, Neh. 9. hee reckons up many mercies, and vers. 22. hee saith, Moreover thou gavest them kingdomes and nations, so in Isa. 30. hee tells them of what mercies they shall have, and vers. 26. Moreover the light of the Moon shall be as the [Page 57] light, &c. God doth alwaies perform his promises, shew­ing his faithfulnesse, and many times hee gives more than he promises, good measure, pressed down, and running o­ver, to shew his bountifulness.

Obs. 2 That of holy times, and daies, God is the Author: I gave them my Sabbaths: God blessed and sanctified the se­venth day, and gave it unto the Jews, Gen. 2.3. it is his prerogative to make persons, things, or times, holy: it is not in the power of man or any sort of men, to make days holy. It was no small sin, in our fore-fathers, that took upon them to make Lent and other times holy, and some daies more holy than the Lords day it self. The Jewes had no holy daies, but at the Lords appointment.

Obs. 3 The Lord gave forth and appointed holy and resting daies, upon weighty and considerable grounds, alwaies after some great mercy, some special thing or other which hee had done; As here, when hee had brought them out of Egypt, drowned Pharaoh and his Host in the deeps, then hee gave them out the Sab­bath again. At first it was instituted after that great and glorious work of the Creation; God would have great works and mercies to bee kept in memory; So the day wee keep was appointed in memorial of that great work, mans re­demption, by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and therefore is honoured with the Title of Lords Day, Rev. 1.10.

Obs. 4 The Sabbath is a day of special concernment to God and his people: I gave them my Sabbaths to bee a signe between mee and them. As the Rain-bow is a sign of special con­cernment between God and the world, so is the Sabbath. Its an argument and evidence that God looks upon them as his People, where his Sabbath is, and that they acknow­ledge God their God, who keep his Sabbaths; By it God keeps alive the memory of his glorious, great, and gratious works, and by it the people are brought to glorify and mag­nify his name for those works, by it hee distinguisheth his people from the Prophane, and by it they distinguish him from the Idol gods; in it the Lord sanctifies his People, and they in it do worship him, its the day wherein they meet, visit, and make each other cheerful and glorious, let us [Page 58] have more honourable thoughts of the Sabbath, and not think it concernes not us; if wee bee his people, its still a signe between him and them.

If wee have no Sabbath, or no day answerable to it, wee come short of the Jews, who had it given unto them as a great mercy. I gave unto them my Sabbaths, my holy rest­ing daies.

Obs. 5 Sanctification is the work of the Lord, and specially of the Lord, when people meet on his day. Hee gave them his Sabbaths, and they were called holy Convocations, because on them the people met, Levit. 23.3. and why did hee give them those daies? that they might know that hee was the Lord which sanctified them. There is none which can san­ctify persons by way of separation or inherent holinesse, but the Lord. Hee assumes this power and priviledge to him­self, Levit. 20.8. Ezek. 37.28. and his sanctifying is chiefly when People meet on his day. Then the Law was read and opened unto them, Act. 15.21. Neh. 8.8. then did God appear amongst them, and work by the means hee appointed for their sanctification. Psal. 89.7. God is greatly to bee feared in the Assembly of Saints, there hee convinces them of their sinfulnesse, and sinful practises, there hee beats down their strong holds, and captivates their thoughts, to the obedience of his will; what was it made David openly to proclaim it, that a day in Gods Court was better than a thousand; one Sabbath day wherein hee had communion with God, and found him sanctifying his head and heart, was more esteemed of him than a thousand other daies: for the Lord saith hee is a sunne and a shield, hee inlightens mee, hee strengthens mee, and so separates my darknesse and weak­nesse from mee, and makes mee more holy: Let us there­fore look unto God alone for sanctification, and wait upon him on his daies in the solemn assemblies, and hee will sanctify us, those are daies of his special presence, power, and blessing.

Obs. 6 Gods people should observe and take notice what God doth in them, on Sabbaths, when they appear before him: they had the Sabbaths given them, that they might know the Lord did sanctify them, that they might have experience in [Page 59] themselves, of the powerfull operations of God in them: God observed what they did that day, and they were to observe what hee did that day; They read the Law and the Pro­phets, and expounded them, Act. 13.15. Neh. 8.8. they Prayed, Act. 16.13. they discoursed, reasoned, and per­swaded men out of the Scriptures, Act. 18.4. they offered Sacrifices, Numb. 28.2.10. they did sing, Psalm 92. the Title. These things they did, and God observed their spirits in the doing of them; hee observed how they sanctifyed the day and himself, in the duties of the day; and they were to observe what hee did in the Assemblies, and in their bo­somes. This David did Psal. 96.6. strength and beauty are in his Sanctuary, saith he, and Psalm 63.2. hee confesses hee had seen Gods Power and glory there; the strength and beau­ty in one place, is the same with Power in the other; its a glorious beautiful work, when God sanctifies a sinner, its a work of Power and strength, when hee breaks the snares of our lusts, the chains of unbeleef, and inlarges our hearts, quickens, comforts, strengthens and inlightens us. Its a common sin, and sicknesse amongst Christians, that they heed not what the Lord does in his Ordinances for them, and in them: they cannot say from experience, wee know it is the Lord that sanctifies us, most can say this from the Tongue, few from the heart; 'twas not without cause, that Solomon said, Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and bee more near to hear, than to offer the sacrifice of Fools, Eccl. 5.1. some thinke hee alludes to Exod. 3.5.30.19. and Josh. 5. last. Where is mention of putting off their shooes, and washing their feet, because they were to approach unto the holy God, and surely wee had need look to our feet; that is, our affection (foot is put for feet, the singular for the plural) for we approach near to God when we go to his house; wee go to be sanctified, and therefore should take heed we defile not our selves.

Vers. 13. But the house of Israel rebelled against mee in the wildernesse: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgements, which if a man do, hee shall even live in them, and my Sabbaths, they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wil­derness [Page 60] to consume them.

Having represented unto them, the mercies he conferred on them in the wildernesse, here hee declares what their car­riage was towards him therein, and what his purpose was towards them.

1 Their carriage towards him is laid down.

1 In General, the house of Israel rebelled against me.

2 In Special, and that in three particulars.

  • 1 They walked not in my statutes.
  • 2 They despised my judgements.
  • 3 They polluted my Sabbaths, and that greatly.

Now all these are aggravated.

1 From the place where they were done, in the wildernesse, where they had special need of Gods protection and provisi­on, where they had and saw his miracles daily.

2 From the nature of the statutes and judgements given, which were such as if done, kept, they might have lived.

2 The Lords purpose towards them, was to pour out his fury upon them, and consume them, and that in the wil­derness.

Little shall I speak of this Vers. because in the 8. and 11. verses you have already had most things in it.

The house of Israel rebelled against me.

Of their rebellion in the wilderness, you may read, Deut: 1.26.43. Exod. 17.7. with Numb. 20.24.27. ch. 14. Deut. 9.22. [...]

Reprobavit ex odio, abjecit, contempsit, significat fasti­dio quodam rem aliquam aut personam ranquam vilem & contemptam rejicere. The word [...]
They despised my judgements.

The Hebrew word for despise notes rejecting, hating, vil­lifying, they looked upon them as contemptible things, and threw them away, they did not onely refuse to walk in his Law, Psal. 78.10. but they despised his judgements, and ab­horred his Statutes, Levit. 26.43. it was such despising as had an abhorrency accompanying it.

My Sabbaths they greatly polluted.

Of their Polluting his Sabbaths, you may read Exod. 16.27. they went to gather Manna on the Sabbath day, one gathered sticks,signifies cum sputo quasi re­jicere. Numb. 15.32. they carried burdens, and did servile work, Jer. 17.22, 23. whereas they should have highly prised the Sabbaths, resting from doing their own waies, find­ing [Page 61] their own pleasure, speaking their own words, and wholly have been taken up in the worship of God, and the duties peculiar to the day,

Obs. 1 Such is the corruption of mans nature, that nothing will keep it within its bounds, but it breaks out against God, neglects, and abuses the Ordinances and means hee hath ap­pointed for mans salvation; But the house of Israel rebelled a­gainst me, they walked not in my statutes, they despised my Judgements, and they greatly polluted my Sabbaths. These God gave them for their good, life, salvation, but they sleighted, perverted, polluted them. God had done great things for them, hee provided for them in the wildernesse, manna, water, shooes, cloaths, all in a miraculous way, so that they could not subsist without him, yet they rebell against him, despise him, Numb. 11.20. Cast off his statutes and judgements, and prophane his Sabbaths to his face.

Thus they dealt with the Lord when hee brought them out of Babylon, Nehem. 13.15, 16. they greatly polluted the Sabbaths of the Lord, whereupon saith Nehemiah, vers. 18. did not your Fathers thus, and so bring evil upon us, and will you bring more wrath upon Israel by prophaning the Sabbaths? Neither the mercies their fathers had, when they were brought out of Egypt, nor the mercies themselves had, when they were brought out of Babylon, kept in their Corruptions, but they rose to a great height, and brake out so farre as to set at nought all his counsels, Prov. 1.25. to reject the word of the Lord, Jer. 8.9. to mock and mis­use his messengers and Prophets, 2 Chron. 36.16. to speak stoutly against God, Mal. 3.13. yea, so strong grew their corruptions, that their souls abhorred God, Zech. 11.8. Is it not thus in our daies? neither miraculous mercies, nor wonderful judgements, do keep men within bounds, or chain up their corruptions, but they break out, greatly pol­luting the Lords day, despising all or some Ordinances? do they not set at nought and reject the whole Counsel of God, the very Scriptures? do they not mock, and misuse the mes­sengers and Ministers of God? do they not blaspheme, curse and glory in it? do they not speak stoutly against Christ and God? Do not some turn Jews, and others Atheists, [Page 62] denying Christ, God? Surely iniquity abounds, and is within little of its perfection, the harvest is near, sinners are almost full ripe for judgement, and ere long God will say, thrust in the sickle.

Obs. 2. When men do neglect, despise, and abuse the ordi­nances of God, and means of grace, they provoke God even to their destruction: They neglected to walk in Gods statutes, they despised his judgements, they polluted his Sabbaths, and what then? Then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to consume them; Men think that neglecting and sligh­ting of Ordinances, prophaneing of the Lords day, and holy things, is no such great evil, if it bee an evil at all; but there is hardly any thing kindles the wrath of God hotter than the casting off, despising and abusing the Ordinances and mediums appointed of God, for his worship, our good, comfort, and salvation. Their sins here of this nature, put God into fury, which is more than anger or wrath, up­on pouring out of fury, and such pouring out as to con­sume them, Heb. 10.25, 26, 27. hee tells you of some that did forsake the assemblies, cast off the Ordinances of God, which was a wilful and provoking sin, excluding mercy, and hastening judgement, and fierce indignation which should destroy; When God in his infinite wisdome and mercy hath condescended to mans weaknesse, given him Ordinances and mediums wherein hee will bee worshipped, and through which hee will do good to the creature, and now the foolish creature to neglect, despise, or prophane them, this pierces Gods heart, and transformes his patience into fury, and puts him into waies of destruction. Those despised Moses Law were to dye without mercy, and what will be their portion who despise Christ, the Gospel, and Ordinances thereof? see Heb. 12.25. Act. 2.23. every soul that will not hear Christ shall bee destroyed, that is, whosoever shall not hearken to Christs voice in the Gospel, submit to the Ordinances ap­pointed by him therein, and worship the Father, the way hee hath prescribed, hee shall bee destroyed. The Corin­thians abused and prophaned the Supper of the Lord, and were they not smitten and destroyed for that sinne? 1 Cor. 1 [...].30. Moses had the sword drawn upon him by the [Page 63] Lord himself, because he neglected the Circumcision of his Son, Exod. 4.24.

Vers. 14 But I wrought for my name sake, that it should not be polluted before the Heathen, in whose sight I brought them out.

Whilest they were in the wildernesse, and Moses in the Mount, they made a Calfe, and fell to Idolatry, which ex­asperated the Lord, so, that hee thought to destroy them, and had not Moses interposed and pressed God with the honour of his name, hee had done it, Exod. 32.12. Wherefore should the Egyptians speak and say, for mischief did hee bring them out, to slay them in the Mountaines, and to consume them from the face of the earth? turn from thy fierce wrath, and re­pent of this evill against thy people. God did so, and wrought for his name sake. Of these words was spoken in the ninth vers.

Vers. 15 Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the wil­dernesse, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands.
16 Because they despised my Judgements, and walked not in my Statutes, but polluted my Sabbaths; for their heart went after their Idols.
17 Neverthelesse mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the Wilder­nesse.

In the 15. verse you have mention of Gods swearing, that hee would not bring them into Canaan; in the 16. the rea­son thereof.

In the 17. his indulgence and pity towards them.

I lifted up my hand unto them, &c.

This was, when upon the ill report the Spies had brought upon the land of Canaan, the Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron, as you may see Numb. 14.28, 29, 30. and ch. 26.65.

But here a difficulty ariseth in the 6. vers. of this Chapter, its said that God had lift up his hand, and so sworn to bring them not onely out of Egppt, but into the land of Canaan, and here its said, hee had lift up his hand to the contrary, that [Page 64] he would not bring them into the land hee had given them; so that it seems here is one oath against another; and in Numb. 14.34. God acknowledges his breach of Promise, for hee saith, yee shall know my breach of promise. I have pro­mised and sworn to bring you into the land of Canaan, but you have so sinned against, and provoked mee, that I will not do it, yea, have sworn you shall not enter into my rest, Psalm 95.11.

This difficulty is removed, by considering, that God did not make promise, or swear to those individual men that were kept out of Canaan, that they should bee brought into it, if it had been so, God had forgot and forsworn himself: but his Promise and Oath was, that the seed of Abraham, Isaak, and Jacob should bee brought into it, Gen. 12.7. ch. 13.15. ch. 15.18. ch. 26.4. ch. 50.24. Deut. 34.4. and their seed was brought into the Promised Land, Josh. 1.2. ch. 4.1. ch. 14.1.24.13. and so Gods Promise and Oath was kept. Those hee swore against, were those that mur­mured against him, even all from twenty years old and up­wards, except Caleb and Joshua, whose carkasses fell in the wildernesse, as you may see Josh. 5.6.

As for that Numb. 14.34. Gods breach of Promise, the Original is, [...] Frustrationem meam. Monta. [...] is franget, irritum facere, retracta [...]e. Vatablus hath it, mendacium meum, i. e. an sermo meus mendax sit. Discetis quid sit in me esse contumacem. Tost. [...] Eth Tenuathi. My frustration, you looked certain­ly to have entred into Canaan, but for your murmuring and unbeleef, I have frustrated your expectations: or thus, you think my oath cannot bee true, because of a former Oath, and that the words I have uttered will prove false, a lye, but you shall know whether my words and Oath be false or no. Junius and Pisc. read it, abruptionem meam, and make the sense this, you have broken off from me, and you shall know what it is to have me break off from you, I will plague you for your murmuring, ingratitude, unfaithfulnesse, and un­beleef, so that you shall never come into the land of Pro­mise. The Septuagint hath it, you shall know the wrath of mine anger.

Flowing with Milk and Honey, which is the glo­ry of all lands.

Of these words hath been spoken largely in the 6. verse, they are repeated here, to shew the ingratitude of this peo­ple, [Page 65] that were not affected with this land, which was a se­cond Paradise, but despised it, and raised an ill report upon it: as also to shew what they lost in being kept out of it; And their folly in preferring Egypt before it.

There is nothing needful to open in the other two verses, because occasion hath been given formerly in this chapter, and others to open them.

Obs. 1 Mens sinnes disappoint them of choice mercies, yea, mer­cies Promised, expected, and near at hand: God had pro­mised them Canaan, they were near unto it, Numb. 13. ex­pected to go in and possesse it, but God would not bring them into the Land, because they despised his judgements, walked not in his Statutes, but polluted his Sabbaths.

In Heb. 3.19. its said, they could not enter in, because of unbe­leef; and Psal. 106.24. they despised the pleasant land, they beleeved not his word. It was their sinnes kept them from so great, so near, so longed for a mercy. Such is the malig­nity of sinne, that it drives mercys back, when they are at the door, and blocks up the passage, that none for the fu­ture may issue forth towards us, Isa. 59.1, 2. Behold, the Lords hand is not shortened that it cannot save, neither is his ear heavy that it cannot hear, God can hear and help, but your iniquities have separated, between you and your God, and your sinnes have hid his face from you, that hee will not hear: Your sinnes stand like a brass wall, a mighty mountain between him and you, they have crampt his will, so that though hee can, yet hee will neither hear your prayers, nor help your persons. Its sinne that keeps mercy from us, Jer. 5.25. Your iniquities have turned away these things, what things? the former and latter rain, the Harvest and Fruits of the Earth; they were comming to you, but your sinnes turned them back again, and bid them bee gone, away rain, away Harvest, away fruites of the earth, and so the next words import, your sinnes have with-holden good things from you, they have forbidden good from you, so Montanus and the vulgar, read the words,Prohibuer [...]nt bonum a vobis. our sinnes do for­bid, and with-hold good from us, see it Matth. 6.15. if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your father for­gie your trespasses.

Joh. 8.19. If yee had known mee, ye should have known my Father also, Isa. 48.18. O that thou hadst hearkened to my Commandements, then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waters of the Sea, thy seed also had been as the sand, &c. see Luk. 14.16, 17, 18, 19, 20. Luk. 13.34. John 5.40. Psal. 81.13, 14. it was their sinnes which frustra­ted them of mercies, if the word profit not us, its sin that hin­ders the profit, Heb. 4.2. Jam. 1.21, 1 Pet. 2.1, 2.

Obs. 2 When the heart is carried out after unlawful things, then the waies and Ordinances of God are neglected, sleighted, and prophaned. This rises from the words of the 16. verse, they despised Gods judgements, walked not in his statutes, they polluted his Sabbaths, and why did they so? for their hearts went after their idols. These had stollen away their hearts from God, these had their thoughts, desires, affections, and the things of God were of little account with them; his sta­tutes, judgements, Sabbaths, were laid aside, and onely what their hearts were carried forth unto, that they mag­nified, Ezek. 6.9. they had whorish hearts, and whorish eies, which went after their Idols, and made them depart from God, that is, from his judgements, statutes, Sabbaths, Ordinances. Idols had their eyes and hearts, and as to God and the things of God, they were eyelesse and heartlesse. When Solomons heart was carried out to women and Idols, then hee did evil in the sight of the Lord; 1 King 11.4, 5, 6, 7, 8. then the Lords Ordinances were despised, and his Sab­baths polluted. If once the heart goe out to unlawful things, its drawn off from lawful, so much as it ad­heres to evil, so much its divided from God and good, Ezek. 33.31. their hea [...]t goeth after their Covetousness. So much as it went after riches, so much it was distanced from God, and walking in his waies. David hereupon advised men not to set their hearts upon riches, Psal. 62.10. they will then bee their Idols, and make them forget God, and his waies, and do those things will prophane his Ordinances: look well to your hearts, and let not them carry you away, Job 15.12.

Obs. 3 When sinners provoke God into waies of destruction, hee doth not utterly destroy them, but shews some pitty and mer­cy: Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying. [Page 67] God did destroy many of them in the Wildernesse, three thousand upon their making the Calf, Exod. 32.28. twenty four thousand upon their committing whoredome with the Daughters of Moab, Numb. 25.9. much People by fiery Serpents upon their murmuring, Numb. 21.6. Corah, Dathan, and Abiram were swallowed up of the Earth, and all theirs, and the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense, were consumed by fire, Numb. 16.32, 33, 35. fourteen thousand se­ven hundred were destroyed by the plague, vers. 49. and ma­ny by the Amorites in S [...]ir, Deut. 1.44. now notwithstanding so many were destroyed, yet all were not, he did not make an end of them in the Wildernesse, hee did not consummate and perfect his wrath upon them, his eye s [...]ared them; hee was moved to mercy, and had compassion on them.

Though men have sinned much, and God have let out much wrath, yet neverthelesse hee hath an eye to spare, and an heart to pitty. If hee should punish, destroy none, hee would bee thought to bee like unto sinners, Psalm 50.21. if hee should destroy all, hee would bee thought to bee cruel; to shew therefore that hee is a just God, hee cuts off some, and to shew he is a mercifull God, he spares some.

In the late powder blow, some were destroyed,It was the 4th of Jan. 1649. about eight a clock at night. some were spared, yea, wonderfully spared and preserved.

Vers. 18. But I said unto their children in the wildernesse, walk yee not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their Judgements, nor defile your selves with their Idols.
Vers. 19 I am the Lord your God, walk in my statutes and keep my judgements and do them.

In the 18. vers. God dehorts them from following their fa­thers waies.

In the 19. hee exhorts them to follow his waies, and shews them the reason why they should do so, because he is their God.

Where the Lord spake thus unto them in the Wilderness, is not recorded by Moses, but that hee did speak what is in the 18. vers. Our Prophet assures us, who spake as he was mo­ved [Page 68] by the Spirit, you have that is aequivalent thereunto, Deut. 5.32. You shall observe to do as the Lord your God hath commanded you: you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left, not to your Fathers on the right hand, nor to the Heathen on the left.

The 19. vers. you have Levit. 18.4, 5. I am the Lord your God, ye shall therefore keep my Statutes and my Judgements. No­thing in these verses requires explication. Take these obser­vations.

Obs. 1 Children are prone to follow the corrupt decrees, coun­sels, and examples of their parents. I said walk not in the statutes of your fathers. That is, in what they decree, appoint; ob­serve not their judgements, that is, their Counsels and ad­visements; nor defile your selves with their Idols, that is, follow not their examples. They were addicted much to what their sinful Fathers said, or did. Of the Kings of Is­rael its said, they did evil as their Fathers had done, 2 King. 15.9. ch. 23.32. ch. 24.9. and Jer. 44.17. the Children would sacrifice to, and defile themselves with Idols, as their Fa­thers had done. Fathers, Laws, Customes, Traditions, Exam­ples, perswasions, counsels, are loadstones, and draw them strongly to that is evill.

Obs. 2 Posterity are not tyed to the statutes and Judgements of their Fathers or fore-fathers. I said walk not in the sta­tutes of your fathers, neither observe their Judgements, &c. Though there bee a strong tye between Parents and Children, and they bound by the Command of God to obey their Pa­rents, yet when they shal command or counsel them any thing unlawful, contrary to the statutes and judgements of God, they are not to hearken, not to observe or obey them. Here is Divine authority for it, I said.

If it bee Gods Command that lead Children to obey Pa­rents, and People to obey Magistrates in Lawful things, then Gods prohibition must keep them from obeying in un­lawful things: When Masters or Parents are so wicked, as to put their Servants or Children upon lying or swearing, to put off their commodities, they should remember what God hath said, Walk not in their statutes. &c.

This holds especially in matters of Faith and worship, mens [Page 69] statutes and judgements must not come in there: what is not Divine, is no matter for my faith, nor rule for my worship; Mens chaffe and bran must not come among Gods wheat; their weeds and nettles must not come a­mongst his flowers; It is not Popes decrees, Canons of coun­sels, judgements of Fathers, Votes of Synods, Customes of Churches, Religion of Auncestors, that must tye my Conscience, or guide my practice in the worship of God. He hath said it, who is above them all, Walk not in their statutes, neither observe their Judgements, and defile not your selves with their Idols. Men have their Statutes, their judgements, their inventions and additions to points of Faith, and matters of worship, which are no other than Idols, and will defile.

Obs. 3 That wee are onely to walk in Gods statutes, and to keep his Judgements; Not mens statutes, or judgements, I am the Lord your God, I have authority over you, I am in Covenant with you, I have given you statutes and judge­ments which are right, Psalm 19.8. true and good, Neh. 9.13. therefore walk in my statutes, keep my Judgements: when the Israelites walked in other statutes, the statutes of the Heathen, or the statutes that themselves made, the Lord was wroth with them; and afflicted them for it, 2 King. 17.8, 19, 20. and commanded them to observe his statutes and Ordinances, and to do them for evermore, vers. 37. Josh. 24.14, 15.

Vers. 20. And hallow my Sabbaths, and they shall be a signe between me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.

In this 20. verse, the Lord proceeds in his exhortation of the Children of those rebellious Israelites in the wilderness [...], and exhorts them to hallow his Sabbaths, which their Fathers had polluted.

Hallow my Sabbaths.

Not make holy, but keep holy, the Hebrew word is the same with that, Exod. 20.8. The hallowing or sanctifying of the Sabbath here, consisteth in two things.

[Page 70]1 In resting from labour and work;

Servile work, Levit. 23.7, 8. that is, such work as men may lawfully do on other daies; works, for gain and profit might not bee done on Sabbath days: they were to rest from their own works, words, and pleasures, Isa. 58.13. see Exod. 20.10. Nehem. 13.15. Jer. 17.22. Exod. 16.29. cha. 31.14.

2 In doing those things which God required on that day, as meditation on the works of Creation, for which it was first instituted, Gen. 2.23. remembrance of their servitude in E­gypt, and deliverance thence, Deut. 5.15. meeting in solemn assemblies, Levit. 23.3. in which the word was to be read, ope­ned, and reverently heard, Luk. 4.16. Act. 15.31. Ec. 5.1. pray­er to be made, Acts 16.13. God to be praised, Psalm 92. Sacri­fices to be offered, Numb. 28.2, 10. and they were to exercise works of mercy on that day, Mat. 12.10, 11, 12. John 5.9. and all these duties they were to do with delight, Isa. 58.13.

They shall be a sign between me and you.

Of these words you heard in the 12. vers. besides what was said there, the Sabbath was a sign of the Covenant, God made with them to bee their God, and to own them for his people; for it follows,

That you may know I am the Lord your God.

The Sabbath day was the time wherein God and this peo­ple met, God made himself known unto them then, by sanctifying of them, vers. 12. for whom hee is a God unto, hee blesses and sanctifies, and specially on his Sabbaths, then hee heard their Prayers, accepted their offerings, and let out his loving kindnesse unto them.

Obs. 1 Having and hallowing Gods Sabbaths, is a sign and manifestation that God is the God of that people. The Jews had the Lords Sabbaths, and hee bad them hallow them, that so being hallowed, they might signify and certify to them, that God was their God. As Circumcision and [Page 71] the Passeover were signes that the Jews were in Covenant with God; so likewise was the Sabbath, Exod. 31.13. and because it was a sign of the Covenant between them and God, vers. 16. God tells them, they must observe it for a per­petual Covenant, and hence it was, that when they viola­ted the Sabbath, God accounted it the violation of the Cove­nant between them.

Vers. 21 Notwithstanding the Children rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my Judgements to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted my Sabbaths: Then I said I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish mine anger a­gainst them in the wildernesse.

Here the successelessenesse of Gods exhortation is eviden­ced, hee pressed them to bee obedient, and dutiful to him, being their God, but they rebelled and would not walk in his statutes, nor keep his judgements, their Fathers statutes and judgments they would walk in and observe; they chose ra­ther to be defiled and dye in their Fathers waies, than to be sanctified and live in Gods waies. Whereupon God had a pur­pose to destroy them, as hee had formerly to destroy their fa­thers. This Verse is the same with the 13. which hath been ope­ned, and the observations given.

Vers. 22. Neverthelesse I with-drew my hand, and wrought for my Name sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the Heathen.

God having purposed their destruction, saw that if hee should proceed thereunto, the Heathens would make an ill sense of it, and blaspheme his name, for prevention wherof, hee let fall his purpose, and would not destroy them. This Verse falls in with the ninth and fourteenth, onely this is in it, which they have not.

[Page 72]I with-drew my hand.

Vatablus hath it, retraxi manum meam, I drew back my hand. Castalio, revocavi; I recalled it. Jun. & Trem. Redu­ceus manum meam, bringing back my hand, I wrought for my name: Gods hand was stretched out, and hee pull'd it back again. The Hebrew word is in Hiphil, And notes thus much, I made to return, I made mine arm come back again, when it was going forth to destroy them.

Obs. Gods people do oft provoke him, both fathers and Children, and so that they are at the door, brink, point of de­struction, and yet he is merciful unto them, and that for his name sake: When hee cannot shew mercy for their sakes, hee will shew mercy for his own names sake. In the eighth ver. is set down their BUT, but they rebelled against mee, they would not hearken, they would not forsake their Idols, where­upon God purposed to destroy them. In the ninth vers. is Gods BUT, but I wrought for my name, &c. in the 13. vers. again is their BƲT, but the house of Israel rebelled, &c. then God was angry again, and purposed to consume them: in the [...]4, vers. you have Gods BUT again, But I wrought for my names sake, &c. in the 16. vers. you have their BUT the third time, but they polluted my Sabbaths, in the 17. you have Gods Nevertheless, or BƲT again, for its the same in the Original. Never [...]helesse mine eye spared them, &c. in the 21. vers. you have their Notwithstanding, or BƲT, once more, the Hebrew is the same with But before; Notwithstan­ding, or But the Children rebelled, &c. and in this 22. verse you have Gods BUT, or Neverthelesse answering thereunto, Neverthelesse I with-drew my hand, and wrought for my names sake: Four times in this Chapter, you have them provoking God even to their ruine, and as many times his sparing of them: this last time his hand was stretched out, even at the work, and had hee strucken one blow, had broken them all, but hee recalled his hand, hee would not let his power fall upon them to crush them in peeces, but wrought for his name, and their safety. If wee have our Buts and Notwith­standings, importing, rebellion, ingratitude, and disobedi­ence, [Page 73] the Lord hath his Buts, and Neverthelesses, importing mercy, patience, and loving kindnesse.

Vers. 23 I lifted up my hand unto them also in the wilder­nesse, that I would scatter them among the Heathen, and disperse them through the Countries.
24 Because they had not executed my Judgements, but had despised my Statutes, and had polluted my Sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers Idols.

In these two verses you may see,

  • 1 A commination backt with an oath, in the 23. v.
  • 2 The Reason thereof in the 24.
I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness.

Of this Gesture used in swearing, you heard before, v. 5, 6. but where it was done, will hardly bee found in Moses writings, that God thus lift up his hand, and threatned to disperse them, some thing like hereunto, see in Deut. 4.26, 27. ch. 28.25.36, 37, 64. chap. 31.21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26. Lev. 26.33. in those places the Lord threatens to scatter them, and David tells you, hee lift up his hand to do it, Psalm 106.26, 27. he lift up his hand against them to overthrow them in the wilderness, to overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands. Maldonate makes the lifting up the hand here, to be in way of threatning, not of swearing.

That I would scatter them among, &c.

Of their scattering and dispersion, was spoken in the 5, 6, and 12. chapters.

Because they had not executed my Judgements.

Some referre these words, and the rest in the verse, to the time, after their entrance into Canaan, if then they should not keep Gods judgements and do them, hee having per­formed his Promise unto them, hee would scatter and dis­perse them among the Nations, but because the verse speaks of the time past, wee must also look at what was done, as [Page 74] well as what was to do; The Children before mentioned had rebelled, and did not keep the judgements of God to do them, they polluted his Sabbaths, and defiled themselves with their Idols, whereupon God thought to have destroyed them in the wildernesse, but spared them for his Name sake, that the Egyptians and Nations might not blaspheme and pollute his name; but knowing that when hee had possest them of Canaan, that their children would do as they had done, hee lifts up his hand, and threatens their driving out of that Land again, and dispersion in the Countries, and so makes their sinne the principium, and fundamentum of their Posterities ruine.

Their eyes were after their Fathers Idols.

In the 8. vers. hee mentions the Idols of Egypt, and they were their Fathers Idols, which the Children minded, and were intent upon; for when the eyes go after any thing, there is some affection in the heart unto that thing, vers. 16. and Ezek. 6.9. I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from mee, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their Idols: if the heart did not affect them, the eyes would not. Fathers Idols affected both the hearts and eyes of their Children, Rachel stole her Fathers Gods, Gen. 31.19. and said, they should be her Gods.

Obs. 1 That Parents sinnes prepare heavy Judgements for their Posterity many years after. God lifted up his hand in the wildernesse, that hee would scatter them among the Hea­then, and disperse them through the Countries; because they were statute-breakers, Sabbath-polluters, and idol-minders, which fell not upon them, but their posterity ma­ny hundred years after. Junius makes it five hundred; and then they were driven out of the Land of Canaan, and dispersed into Heathenish Nations, a [...] judgement that de­prives men of all their own comforts, and exposes them to all the injuries of others.E [...]ilium no­vo [...]um molo­rum initium. Ph lo de Abra­hamo. One calls this judgement the beginning of new evils, and it may bee added, of unknown evils. Let Parents therefore take heed how they provoke God by sinful and wicked practises, their posterity may [Page 75] smart soundly for it many years after. Sauls, Jeroboams, and Manasses sinnes, made their Posterity to feel sad stroaks, long after; and some in our daies have suffered for their Fa­thers sinnes, and its just with God they should, when they tread in their fathers steps, who have rebelled against God.

Vers. 25. Wherefore I gave them also statutes, that were not good, and Judgements whereby they should not live.
26 And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they cau­sed to passe through the fire, all that openeth the wombe, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the Lord.

Here is a further progresse of Gods judiciary dealings with them, which lyes,

  • 1 In the Statutes and judgements hee gave them.
  • 2 In the polluting of them.

Then you have the end of both, which is,

  • 1 To make them desolate.
  • 2 To bring them to the knowledge of himself.

In this verse is first a figure called Antanaclasis, which is the reciprocating the same words, in a diverse sense; in the former verse is mention made of statutes and judgements, which God gave them, vers. 11. and were his divine word: here is a mentioning of statutes and judgements, which hee gave them as divine punishments, being the Commands and devices of men.

2 A figure called Meiosis or Tapeinosis which is, when less is expressed, and more intended; as not good,Cum usur pan­tur nomina vel verba, leni­ora pro vehe­mentioribus. Glass. in philo­log l. 5. c. 10. is a mild ex­pression, but more is intended in it, viz. hurtful, deadly: So these words, should not live, are moderate, but they in­clude that is grievous, namely, death, yea, terrible deaths; they should not onely have no good by them, but much evil, sore destruction.

I gave them my Statutes that were not good.

The Hebrew is, Statutes not good.

These Statutes were not the Moral Law, though it be a kil­ling Letter, 2 Cor. 3.6. for the Law is holy, just, and good, Rom. 7.12. yea perfect, Psalm 19.7. not the Ceremonials, viz. Sacrifices and Sacraments,Vid. Est. in sent. l. 4. Sect. 27. p. 26. Col. 1. l. 8. as Jerome and Estius calls them; for though these were shadows of things to come, yet they had purifying vertue in them, and led to Christ, Heb. 9.13. Gal. 3.24. and in this Chapter God speaking of the Statutes and Judgements hee gave them, which comprehend both Morals and Ceremonials, hee saith, vers. 11.13, 21. that they were such, as if they kept them, they might live in them. Neither doth it advantage to say, these are called not good, because they are less good, than those of the Gospel, let that bee granted, yet those statutes kept, would afford life, but the statutes here meant, were such as whereby they should not live. Not the Tributes and Taxes imposed upon them by the Nations, when they prevailed against them in war, for they were under none in the wildernesse, and these statutes were given when they were there.

By these statutes are meant,

1 Those punishments that befell them in the wilderness, as the sword, Exod. 32.27, 28. fiery Serpents, Numb. 21.6. the plague, Numb. 16.49. the earth swallowing up Corah, Da­than, and Abiram, vers. 31, 32. fire, ver. 35. suspension, chap. 25.4. God commanded the hanging up the Heads of the people, hee appointed the fire, the earth, the plague, the sword, to do execution upon them, these were statutes not good; not good for them, but hurtful, yea, very hurtful, for so much not good, implies, and the next words prove, being a further de­claration of these Judgements, whereby they should not live; these statutes and Judgements took away their lives.

2 Those threatnings and curses you finde Deut. 4.26, 27, 28. ch. 27. from the 15. to the end, and ch. 28. from the 15. to the end, Levit. 26. from the 14. to the 40. these were senten­ces of death.

3 The Inventions, Laws, Rites, Decrees, Superstitions, of men, which are called Statutes, Dan. 6.7. Mic. 6.16. the statutes of Omri are kept, and 2 King. 17.8. the statutes of the Heathen. And God is said to give them, in that hee gave them over to these which were not good, but tended to death and destruction, [Page 77] seeing they would none of mine, I gave them mens.

Obs. When men flight and violate the Statutes and Judge­ments of God, he doth not onely threaten, and punish them with tem­poral Judgements, but also with spiritual: because they des­pised Gods statutes, and did not keep his judgements, there­fore hee gave them Statutes not good, and judgements where­by they should not live. God threatned them with cursings, cut off many of them in the wildernesse, and gave over o­thers to beleeve errors, to follow the imaginations of their own hearts, the Commandements and statutes of men, which was a more dreadful judgement. When men care not for the waies of God, which have good and life in them, its iust with God to give them over to the waies of men, that have no good, no life in them; nothing but expence, labour, disappointment, vexation, and destruction, Ezek. 24.12. Jer. 2.36, 37. Prov. 14.12. when Gods people would not listen to him, hee gave them up to their own hearts lusts, to the perverse intendments and pertinacies of their hearts, they intended the statutes and judgements of men, of Hea­thens and Idolaters, those they were set upon, and God gave them up unto them, as you may see ver. 39. of this chap. go yee, serve ye every one his Idol, seeing you will not sub­mit to mee any waies, go to your Idols where your eyes and hearts are, and serve them according to the statutes and judge­ments of the Nations whence yee had them; or if they bee of your own devising, serve them according to the waies of your own hearts, 2. Thess. 2.10, 11, 12. when men receive not the love of the truth that they might be saved, God sends them strong delusions that they should beleeve a lye, and be dam­ned; [...], the efficacy of error; the truth comes with love, error with efficacy: if truths wooing and love be not entertained, God sends error with efficacy to seize up­on men. Because wee have been wanton with the truths, Ordinances, and things of God, not received the love of them, but busied our wits, and parts about them, yea, a­gainst them, therefore God hath sent the efficacy of error to take hold of men. Is not the efficacy of error upon them that say, there is no Devil, but holinesse; no heaven nor hell, but what is in a mans own conscience? &c.

[Page 78]And I polluted them in their own gifts.

God being most holy, could not communicate any thing that should defile them;Subtraxi meam gratiam & per­misi eos pollui. Vatablus. from a holy God comes nothing but that which is holy and good. Some take it in this sense, that God suffered them to do those things which defiled them, to prostitute themselves to all abominations.

Sanctius informes us, that one is said to do a thing, when hee declares it to bee done, Levit. 13.3. The Priest shall look on him, [...] and shall pollute him, that is, pronounce, declare him polluted, so vers. 6. hee shall cleanse him, saith the Original, that is, declare him to bee clean, and v. 44. the Priest shall by polluting, pollute him, that is, declare him altogether polluted, and our Ezekiel is said to destroy the City, when as hee did but declare the destruction of the City,Impuro [...] esse ostendens, ur impuros tract­ans, & a me abdicans. Iun. in annot. chap. 43.3. so here, God is said to pollute them, in that hee did declare them polluted, and not only so, but in that he dealt with them as polluted ones, rejecting them, and their gifts.

In their own gifts.

Quasi pol­lutos repuli a me, pollutos judicavi eos & eorum mu­nera.The Septuagint reads it, [...], and so doth Codex sixti. Complutensis & Apollinaris saith Pradus, in their Opinions and Tenets. When men leave the statutes of God, and take up opinions of their own, or tenets of the world, they pollute themselves, God judges them so, will declare them to bee such, and deal with them as such, this by the way.

By Gifts, are not meant all the Sacrifices which they brought unto the Lord, but their first-born, which were to bee given to God, in remembrance of their comming out of Egypt, when the first-born of the E­gyptians were all slain, and the first-born of the Isra­elites all preserved, Exod. 13.2, 3.12.

[Page 79]In that they caused to pass through the fire, all that openeth the womb.

The Hebrew is, making to pass all opening of the wombe, its a periphrasis, the opening of the womb, for the first-born, and that of the male kind, which were to bee offered to the Lord; but they offered unto Idols, causing them to passe through the fire, as it is in the 31. ver. of this Chapter, they were forbidden, and that upon pain of death, to let any of their seed to pass through the fire, or to give them unto Mo­lech, Levit. 18.21. ch. 20.2. God expected they should strict­ly have observed his Ordinance of consecrating their first-born unto him, and they either sacrificed or consecrated them to Idols. David Psal. 106.37, 38. tells you, they sacrifi­ced their Sonnes and Daughters unto Devils, hee calls their Idols Devils, and they sacrificed their Sonnes, not only their first-born, but others, and not onely Sons but Daughters, so corrupt were they in their opinions and practice.

If it should bee granted here, as some Interpreters conceive, that they did not offer their first-born to Idols, but to the true God, that they did not cause them to pass through the fire, as the Heathens did, but caused them to pass from themselves, from under their power, and give them to God, yet because they despised his statutes, polluted his Sabbaths, minded Idols, and kept not his Statutes, God polluted them in these gifts, declared them and their gifts to be such.

That I might make them desolate.

The word for desolate is [...] from [...] to make waste and desolate even to astonishment, some render it here, ut delerem, that I might destroy them, and then the sense runnes thus, I have declared what polluted creatures they are, that I may thence take occasion to destroy them: but this suits not so well with what follows, That they may know that I am the Lord. To keep then to the word as its here. God would make them desolate, by convincing them of the pol­lution [Page 80] of their offerings, and by afflicting their consciences, making them to see, that though they had offered their sons, their first born to him, or to Idols, yet they had gained no­thing at his hands thereby, but were so far from pleasing him, that they had greatly provoked him, so that they should bee amazed at their desolation.

Obs. 1 That if men alienate from God what is due to him, or bring him his due, and live in the breach of his commands, hee will not respect them, but declare them to be, and deal with them as polluted ones: They alienated their first-born to Idols, which God commanded to bee consecrated to him, or brought them to God living in the breach of his statutes, and hereupon he saith, I polluted them in their own gifts. They thought they did mee good service, and should obtain much favour at my hands, that I would bee a great bene­factor unto them, but they were deceived; I look upon them and their gifts as defiled, loathsome things, and pronounced them to bee so: Many think their persons, prayers, and other duties are very acceptable to God, but they will finde them otherwise. Isa. 1.11, 12, 13.14. Mat. 7.22, 23.

Obs. 2 The Lord would not have men to confide in their sacrifices and services: Hee declared them polluted, that hee might make them desolate, beat them off from their hopes and confidences they had upon doing these things, wee are apt to rest upon duties, and to promise much to our selves thereupon; but when God shall tell men they are polluted things they offer, yea, that themselves are polluted in those offerings, this will shake their vain foundations and hopes. When God told them, Hee that killed an Oxe, was as if he flew a man, hee that sacrificed a Lamb, at if hee cut off a Dogges neck, hee that offered an Oblation, as if hee offered swines blood, he that burneth incense, at if hee blessed an Idol, Isa. 66.3. did hee not undermine their strong holds, and make them naked? for hee shews that all they did was ei­ther lost labour, as the blessing of an Idol; or abomination, as swines bloud; or dangerous, as cutting off a dogges neck; or deadly, as killing of a man: thus God polluted them in their own gifts and doings, and made them desolate. Thus Christ dealt with the Scribes and Pharisees, Mat. 23.13, [Page 81] 14, 15, 16, 23, 25, 27, 29. they look for blessings, not for woes, but they were polluted, what ever their confidences were, and Christ declares them to bee so, and makes them deso­late.

Obs. 3 The Lord stripes men of their righteousness, and beats them out of their confidences, that they might come to him, bottome upon him, and find him a sure foundation: God would make them desolate, to the end, that they might know that hee was the Lord, that they might not trust in their sacri­fices, but in him, the God of them, and their sacrifices; in him that could shew them their errors, and pardon them being shewn: when men are deprived of their supposed com­forts, convinced of the falsenesse of their confidences, sur­rounded with the guilt and evil of their waies, they beginne to look where succour is to bee had, to runne from the sand to the rock; from themselves, and al that is their own, unto the living God, and look at his promises to beleeve them, and his Statutes to obey them, and so imbracing him for the all­sufficient good, abide with, and build upon him alone.

Vers. 27 Therefore Sonne of man, speak unto the house of Israel, and say unto them, thus saith the Lord God, yet in this your fathers have blasphemed mee, in that they have committed a trespass against me.
28 For when I had brought them into the Land, for the which I lifted up mine hand, to give it to them, then they saw every high hill, and all the thick trees, and they offered there their Sacrifices, and there they presented the provocation of their offering: there also they made their sweet savour, and powred out there their drink offerings.
29 Then I said unto them, what is the high place whereunto ye go? and the name thereof is called Bamah unto this day.

Having spoken of the proceedings between God and this People in Egypt, and the wildernesse; wee are come now to the passages, between them in the land of Canaan.

For the Lords part hee brought them into the Land, ver. [Page 82] 28. which is the onely mercy mentioned, but it was such a mercy as included a multitude of mercies in it, for it was a land fl [...]wed with milk and honey, the glory of all lands, as twice you have it in this Chapter; and something of the goodnesse of this Land, you may see Deut. 8.7, 8, 9. and ch. 6.10, 11. it was the Land that God had lifted up his hand, and sware to give them, and hee brought them into it, without the help of any other people, even by his own arme, for he destroyed the seven Nations in it, Act. 13.19. and he gave them the Lands of the Heathen, and they inherited the labour of the People, Psalm. 105.44. and why did the Lord bring them into this Land? the next verse shews, that they might observe his statutes, and keep his Laws. Which thing they did not, for

  • 1 They blasphemed him, vers. 27.
  • 2 They fell to Idolatry, vers. 28.
  • 3 They Persisted in it, vers. 29.
Yet in this your Fathers have blasphemed me.

[...]The Hebrew for yet in this, is moreover this, adhuc hoc. Sep­tuagint [...], even to this, they sinned and dealt ingrate­fully, not onely till they came to Canaan, but in Canaan: they were not content with what they had done in Egypt, and the wildernesse against me, but they continued in their wickednesse, and added sin to sin, doing worse and worse daily.

[...] from [...] Or Moreover in this, and so it notes some hainous and great offence, viz. what he mentions in the end of the verse.

Have blasphemed me.

invectus est in aliquem a­trocibus verbis, prebris affecit, contumeli [...]si in me fuerunt. Cal. [...].The Hebrew word signifies to revile with words, to reproach, and blaspheme. The Septuagint is [...], they pro­voked me, they were contumelious, disgracing me.

The French, others, and our Translation have it blas­pheme, which is to hurt the name or fame of any, and is a kinde of evil speaking, derogating from the glory of God; quantum in ipsa est, Gods glory or name in it self is inviola­ble, [Page 83] but blasphemy doth what it can to violate it.

Aquinas makes it to consist,Blasphemia est attribuere deo quod ei non convenit: vel detrahere ab eo quod ei convenit.

1 In attributing to God what is not congruous to him, as to say, hee is the author of sin. Hee sees not, hee hath for­saken the earth, Ezek. 8.12. hee is like unto man, Psalm 50.21.

2 In detracting from him what belongs unto him, as to de­ny his providence, his omniscience, his omnipotence; as can hee provide a Table in the Wildernesse? Psal. 78. [...]9. if hee should make windows in heaven could this thing be? 2 King. 7.2. to which may bee added.

3 The doing of such things as cause Gods name to be blasphe­med, as Rom. 2.24. the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as there is practical Atheisme, Tit. 1.16. so practical blasphemy.

In that they have committed a Trespass, against me.

The Hebrew is, In their prevaricating, [...] a prevarication a­gainst mee. The doubling of the word intends the significa­tion, and notes the greatnesse of their sin, and progress in their wickednesse.

The Vulgar is, seeing that despising they have despised me; Cum sprevis­sent me con­temnentes. Quandile se­sont desbonche contre moy Fr. Transcensio volens & con­tra conscienti­am ex con­temptu, teme­rita [...]e & con­tumacia Kirk. Inveh [...]nces in cultus me [...] ve­ritatem. The word [...] Notes such prevarication, and sinning, as hath the will in it: hence Piscator renders the words here, Prevaricati sunt contra me perfidissime, they have perfidiously sinned against me. They sinned not ignorantly, or of com­mon infirmity, but with an high hand. Calvin saith it was Del [...]berata insolentia, dum ita improbe in deum surrexerunt, ac si conspuerent in ejus faciem. Jun. saith, their sin was speak­ing against the truth of Gods worship, for when People fall to false worship, they will disparage, if not wholly despise the worship they had before; So then here wee may under­stand, both their speaking against the true worship of God, and practising contrary thereunto.

Obs. Wilful sinning is a Reproaching, a blaspheming of God, and provokes him greatly. In this your Fathers have blasphemed mee, in that they have committed a trespass▪ a­gainst [Page 84] mee, they have spoken against my worship, and runne out to other waies which I forbad them, other sinnes they have committed which I could have winked at, but when they sinne wilfully, despising mee, my Laws, my worship, they reproach, blaspheme, provoke mee so, that they shall hear of it. Son of man go, and speak to the house of Israel, go and tell them how they have dealt with mee, and how I take it. Such sins did deserve death, Num. 15.30, 31. The soul that doth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the Land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the Lord. [...] its the same word is here for Blasphemed, and may as well bee ren­dred so as reproacheth (for hee that reproacheth the Lord blasphemes him, and hee that blasphemes him, reproacheth him, they are joyned together, 2 King. 19.22.) and what then? That Soul shall bee cut off from among his people, because hee hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his Commandement, that soul shall utterly bee cut off. There was no mercy for those sinned in that manner, Heb. 10.26, 28. many I fear commit such trespasses in these daies, by speaking against Providence, Ordinances, Scriptures, An­gels, Christ, God himself, and so sin away mercy and their own souls at once. David prayed that God would keep him back from presumptuous sinnes, Psal. 19.13. and wee had need do it, for there is that in our natures which carries us on strongly towards them, as much as they did him; re­member what Solomon saith, Prov. 28. Happy is the man that feareth alwaies, but hee that hardeneth his heart, that presum­eth, that is wilful, pertinacious, shall fall into mischief; into mischievous sinnes, into mischievous judgements, chap. 13.13. Who so despiseth the word shall bee destroyed, but hee that fea­reth the Commandement shall bee rewarded; hee that sleights the word and waies of God, destruction is his portion, but he that fears to violate the command of God, shall bee re­warded, [...] hee shall have peace, safety, a man by despising or fearing the word, & command of God, doth nei­ther hurt the one nor advantage the other, but hee may, hee doth hurt or advantage himself▪ and that greatly.

[Page 85]
28
Then they saw every high Hill, &c.

In this verse, you have the Idolatry they fell into, when they came into the Land of Canaan, with the degrees thereof.

First, Their Leaving of God, and looking unto the Hills,Iis locis & ar­boribus quae prae caeteris erant insignes aliquid divini­tatis in esse pu­rabant Gentes. Ideo ibi idolis sacrificabant Mariana. yea, every high hill, and all the thick trees, they gave liber­ty to their eies to spy out places, suitable to their Idolatrous thoughts, on hills, and places beset with thick trees the Heathens worshipped, and their Hearts and eyes were to­wards such places.

2 Their making Altars, and sacrificing there, they offered there their Sacrifices, &c. they should not have sacrificed any where, but in the place God appointed, which was first the Tabernacle, afterwards the Temple: but they spied out hills, groves, thickets, set up Altars, and sacrificed on them, those offerings which were peculiar unto God.

3 Their Continuance and expencefulnesse therein, they offe­red Sacrifices, They poured out there their drink offerings.

4 Their Content and delight they took therein, there also they made their sweet savour.

The provocation of their Offering.

The Hebrew is, The indignation and anger of their Corban, [...] Korban omne donum signifi­cat quod ad sacros usus of­fertur, de pe­coribus, frugi­bus aliisque rebus. Mincha Non tam late patet sed de frugibus terrae tantum in. elli­gitur. that is, their approaching gift, or offering. Jun. hath it, irrita­mentum oblationis suae, the irritation of their oblation: Piscat. Oblationes irritantes, provoking oblations, because by them they did provoke God to anger, to judgements.

There is a figure in these words, called Hyppalage, which is such a transposing of words, as that is said of one, which should bee said of the other, as here, provocation of offerings, for Offerings provoking.

There also they made their sweet savour.

The Original for sweet savour is, Reach nichochehem, The Odour of their rests, Odores grotos suos, their acceptable o­dours, [Page 86] when they had offered these, they thought the Lord smelt a sweet savour, was well pleased with them, and so rested in them, which phansied rest was pleasing to them, though it lasted not, neither had reality in it, for their in­cense or sweet savour, was a provocation to God.

Obs. 1 That what the Lord promiseth hee makes good, how difficult, or impossible soever it seems to man: The Lord had promised them Canaan, and how should they come to it? they were bond-men in Egypt, there is a red Sea, a vast wildernesse between Egypt and Canaan, and beside, Canaan had strong men in it, sonnes of Anack, Cities walled and great, several Kings to oppose and keep them out, but notwithstanding all these difficulties, God having promised to bring them in, hee did it, when I had brought them into the Land, for the which I lifted up my hand to give it to them; His hand that was lift up to confirm them, it should be done, was let out for the doing thereof, that hand could take a­way all doubts, could also take away all difficulties. There is nothing too hard for the Lord, hee will work, and who shall, who can let it, Isa. 43.13. As hee is gracious to Pro­mise, so faithfull and able to perform, and doth in due time make good whatever hee hath promised, though it seem impossible: hee said, a Virgin should bring forth, Isa. 7.14. and was it not made good? Mat. 1.18. that Abraham who was aged should have a Childe; and his seed bee as the starres of Heaven, and were not both made good? Gen. 21.2. Exod. 12.37. Numb. 11.21. not one word fail'd of all that God promised Moses, 1 King. 8.56. this should make us beleeve the promises of God, what ever flesh and bloud objects.

Obs. 2 Mens habitations are given and assigned unto them of the Lord, I brought them into the Land, I gave it them. If men bee removed from place to place, seated here or there, the hand of the Lord is in it, if they have commodious, pleasant gainful habitations, if they dwell safely under vines, and fig-trees, as it is 1 King 4.25. its the Lords do­ing, his providence disposed it so, and wee should be thank­ful in and for our habitations, and minde the heavenly Ca­naan, and those mansions mentioned, Joh. 14.2. prepared for [Page 87] those do beleeve, and glorify God, out of which, when once we are possessed of them, wee shall never bee remo­ved.

Obs. 3 Circumstances of time and place do aggravate mens sinnes, and make them hainous. When I had brought them into the Land, then they saw every high hill, there they offered sacrifices, there they presented the provocation of their offerings, there they made their sweet savour, there they poured out their drink offerings, here bee four theres, every one aggravating and accenting their sinnes. This was ingratitude with a witnesse, that the Lord should bring them into such a land as flowed with milk and honey, and they should bestow the milk and honey upon Idols, into such a land as was the glory of all lands, and they should defile it, and make it abominable, as it is, Jer. 2.7. I brought you into a plentiful Countrey, to eat the fruit thereof, and the goodness therof, but when ye entered ye defiled my Land, & made mine heri­tage an abomination, This, this, made their sin exceeding sinful, and the Lord to set the emphasis upon it. There, in Canaan, the Land I espied out for them, they sinned; there, in Canaan, where I fulfilled my promise, made to their Fathers and them, they sinned, There, in Canaan, out of which I drove mighty Nations for their sakes, they sinned. There, in Canaan, the Land I chose to dwell in, they set up Altars, and diverted my Sacrifices, Offerings, and sweet savours unto them. There, where I looked they should have become an holy peo­ple unto mee, they became like the Nations, and worse than the Nations round about them.

Sinning after great mercies bestowed, and where they were bestowed, makes sinne sinful above measure.

Obs. 4 When men go out from Gods truths, Ordinances, and waies of worship, they are restlesse, and run from opinion to opini­on, and from one way to another: they saw every high hill, and all the thick trees, they ran from hill to hill, from tree to tree, and were not long satisfied any where, when they had found an hill pleased them, set up an Altar there, and sa­crificed a while, they grow to dislike of that place, and that Altar, then they must to another hill, have another Al­tar, which had its time, and then that was left; and to the [Page 88] thick trees they go, and there they fall in with the worship­pers, and waies there in practice, and so from Altar to Al­tar, from place to place, and not satisfied, Ezek. 16.29. and its just with God, that those men who go out from him, and off from the waies and forms of worship hee hath prescri­bed (depriving him of his legislativenesse therein) should be given up unto restlessenesse of Spirit. This is abundantly ve­rified among the Papists, where they runne from Saint to Saint, from Altar to Altar, and from one order of Fryers and Jesuits to another; yea, this hath been signally fulfilled amongst us, in our daies; wherein many having left and cast off Gods waies and worship, have runne into variety of o­pinions and practises; they have seen every hill, every tree, every Altar, every way; and may it not bee said as of the un­clean spirits in the Gospel, they have walked in dry places, sought rest and found none? Mens waies, opinions, inten­tions, are dry things, and have no rest in them. Onely Gods waies and Ordinances have vertue in them, to moisten, quicken, comfort, and satisfy us, Mic. 2.7. Do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly? what ever the sickly phansies of men are, Gods words and waies are good, and they onely do good to the sonnes of men that walk upright­ly, Prov. 10.29. The way of the Lord is strength to the up­right, not to those turn aside to the whimsies, phansies, and wills of men.

Obs. 5 That may bee offensive and hateful to God, which men judge to bee grateful and acceptable. They presented the provocation of their offerings, or provoking offerings; whom did they provoke? even the Lord, whom they concluded they greatly pleased; for it follows, there they made also their sweet savour; They made account their sweet savours would bee sweet in the nostrils of God, but they were stinking, and loathsome, because not offered where they should have been offered,Suffitum qui­debuerat esse benae fragran­tiae reddiderint saetidum suis corruptelis. Calv. nor as God had appointed, nor came from hearts beleeving and obedient. They were at great pains and charges in their sacrifices, offerings, sweet savours, and what was the issue of it? instead of pleasing, they provoked God. Amos 5.21, 22. I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies, though you offer met [Page 89] burnt offerings, and your meat offerings, I will not accept them, neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. 24 Let judgement run down as waters, and righteousnesse as a mighty stream; they thought that notwithstanding all their injustice, that their sacrifices and services should be ac­cepted, but God was so far from it, hee despised and hated them; the like you have in Jer. 6.20. let us take heed least wee provoke God by our sacrifices, while wee think wee please him. If they bee not from gracious hearts, tendered up in faith, according to rule, and for his glory, he will say as it is, Isa. 57.6. should I receive comfort in these?

29 Then I said unto them, What is the high place whereunto yee go?

Here the Lord doth reprove them for, and seek to reclaim them from their Idolatry; you know that place I have cho­sen where my Tabernacle is, the Altar I have appointed for sacrifices: what is the high place whither yee go?Signific [...]t ex­celsum alta vel fanum in nemore ere­ctum, Pradus. Aedificium quod cunque a terra exaltatum aut in loco ex­cellentiori positum ut [...]. Shindl. Some serch [...] from [...] or [...], and so make the lews guilty of bringing in this name & su, er­ticus practice into the Iewish worship from the Heathens. what is it for? what do you there? why transgresse you my sta­tutes, and keep not to them? To this effect and purpose the Lord spake by his Prophets unto them.

The word for High place, is, [...] that high, or the high place. Some think it an high Altar, or a Chappel built in a wood, or on an high hill. It was the practice of the Gen­tiles, upon hills, and under green trees, to build Altars with steps, or ascensions to go up by, which the Jews imita­ted contrary to command, for God had bid them to make an Altar of earth unto him, and where hee should appoint and if of stone, it must not be of hewen stone, neither might his Altar have any steps, Exod. 20.24, 25, 26. Neither was the Altar of God ever cal'd Bama, an high place, but Mizbeach, the Sacrificatory, or the place of slaying and sacrificing. But the Jews falling to Heathenish Customes, and practises, lear­ned their names, and imposed them upon their Altars, called them Bamaes or Bamoths. When God therefore saith, What is the high place, or Bama, hee doth reprove and upbraid them for their Idolatry; what madnesse is this in you, that [Page 90] you have forsaken the Temple and Altar of God, to go to the Bamaes, the high places, hills and trees of Heathens, that you prefer their ways before mine? what is it you finde there, that you cannot keep your habitations, and content your selves with what I have appointed you. Are the gods of the Nations, and their high places, better than the God of Israel and his Altar?

And the Name thereof is called Bamah unto this day.

They desisted not from that Idolatrous name and practice they had taken up, but persisted therein, they had called those places Bamah, and would call them so still, they were tenacious of their superstitious opinions, names and waies, The high places remained till the daies of Josiah, 2 Chron. 134.3.

Obs. 1 Such is the perversenesse of mens natures and spi­rits, that they are not context with what God in his infinite wis­dome and goodnesse hath prescribed them in point of worship; what is the high place whereunto yee go? am not I your God? have not I given you an Altar? appointed Sacrifices, and told you where and how you must sacrifice? have not I accepted your Sacrifices, when brought according to my direction? why do you go out from mee, and are not content with what is mine? This is the evil of mans nature, that it oft rejects what is divine, and chuses what is humane, it leaves the Creator's, and chuses the Creatur's. Jer. 2.13. my people have committed two great evils, they have forsaken mee the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out Cisterns, broken Cisterns that can hold no water.

Obs. 2 That Superstitious names, waies, and practises once taken up, are not easily laid down again: They had an high place called Bamah, and that high place they would go un­to, and keep that name, though the Lord had oft reproved them for it, and not onely that, but other high places also: when the Altar of Damascus, the Image of Jealousy, and Tammuz, were once admitted amongst them, they were not suddenly or easily removed again. Ephraim hav­ing taken up the names of Baalim, would not lay them aside, [Page 91] till God took them out of her mouth, Hos. 2.17. Are there not names amongst us, kept to this day, which sprung from gross Idolatry? Ʋorstegan tells you, that Sunday was so called from the Idol of the Sunne, unto whose adoration it was dedicated; so Monday from the Idol of the Moon, Tuesday from the Idol Tuisco, Wednesday from the Idol Woden, Thurs­day from the Idol Thor, Fryday from the Idol Friga, or Frea; and Saturday from the Idol Scater, not Saturn. These were Saxon Idols, and they who gave the daies their names, and de­dicated them unto such Idols, sinned greatly; and its not ex­cusable that wee keep their memory still alive, calling the daies by such names, which are dishonourable to God and Scripture. The Rhemists dis-allow these names of the daies, they say Sunday is an Heathenish calling, as all other of the week daies bee, some imposed after the names of Planets, as in the Romans time; some by the name of certain Idols that the Saxons did worship, and to which they dedicated their daies before they were Christians, which names the Church used not.

Vers. 30 Wherefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God. Are ye polluted after the manner of your Fathers, and commit ye whoredome after their abomina­tions?
31 For when ye offer your gifts, when ye make your Sonnes to pass through the fire, yee pollute your selves with all your Idols, even unto this day: and shall I bee enquired of by you, O House of Israel? As I live saith the Lord God I will not be inquired of by you.
32 And that which commeth into your mind, shall not bee at all, that ye say, wee will bee as the Heathen, as the fami­lies of the Countries to serve wood and stone.

Here you have besides the Prophets Commission in the beginning of the 30. ver.

1 An imputation of their wretched practices unto them, they followed the steps of their Fathers, they became Idola­trous like them, offering their gifts to Idols, they caused [Page 92] their children to pass through the fire, they persisted in their wickednesse.

2 Gods resolution and Oath not to have to do with them, shall I be inquired of by you? &c. v. 31.

3 His frustration of their counsels and designes. Vers. 32. That which commeth, &c,

Are ye polluted after the manner of your fathers?

The Elders of Israel that were in Babylon came to the Pro­phet to inquire of the Lord, touching the affairs of Jerusa­lem. The Lord commands the Prophet to ask them this question. Are ye polluted after the manner of your Fathers? intimating that they were, and therefore, their comming to the Prophet was but a pretence, and should speed according­ly.

OEcolampad. reads the words thus, do yee not pollute your selves in the way of your Fathers? An non in via patrum vestro­rum vosmet polluitis. An non in via patrum vestro­rum polluti estis. Vos majorum vestrorum mo­ribus polluti. Vatablus, are ye not pollu­ted in the way of your Fathers? Castalio, hath it without an interrogation, you are polluted with the manners of your Aun­cestors; but its best with the interrogation, for interrogatio­nes vehementer affirmant. Interrogations in Scripture, some­times serve for admiration, as Luke 1.34. How shall this bee, seeing I know not man? sometimes for demonstration, Psal. 15.1. Lord who shall abide in thy Tabernacle, who shall dwell in thy holy hill? somtimes they are arguments of Doubting, as Luk. 1.18. saith Zachary, whereby shall I know this? for I am an Old man, and my wife well stricken in years? Sometimes they note indignation, as Exod. 10.3. How long wilt thou refuse to humble thy self before mee? let my people go that they may serve me. Sometimes they hold out accusation, and exprobration, as Mal. 3.14. what profit is it that wee have kept his Ordinances, and that wee have walked mournfully, before the Lord of Hosts? here the interrogation notes, both indignation and expr [...]bra­tion, Are ye polluted after the manner of your Fathers? do yee live in their sins, and come to inquire of the Prophet, and of me by the Prophet? I am angry and cannot indure such vile pretences, and deep dissimulation.

[Page 93]And Commit ye whoredome after their Abominations?

By Whoredome is meant idolatrizing, and wherein Idola­try resembles whoredome, hath formerly been hinted unto you, Chap. 6. v. 9. its a violating the Covenant, between God and his People, which is called marriage, Jer. 3.14. Hos. 2.2. it is to go out from the true God to other gods, Deut. 31.16. it is to Sacrifice to Devils, Levit. 17.7. to minde wizzards, ch. 20.6. to seek after our own hearts, eyes, and inventions, Numb. 15.39. Psa. 106.39.

31 When ye offer your gifts.

The Hebrew is, in elevating your gifts; by gifts in the 26 v. were understood their first-born, but here gifts and first-born are distinct. When you offer your gifts, when you make your sons pass through the fire.

These Gifts were those other Oblations appointed in the Law, or what ever they voluntarily bestowed upon their I­dols, as in Ezekiel 16.18, 19.

When ye make your Sonnes to pass through the fire.

Of these words something hath been said before in the 16. Chap. 20, 21. verses. I shall add a little.

The Heathens were wont in times of publick Calamity,Apud veteres in more, posi­tum erat, ut in summis rei­publicae calami­tatibus, penes quos aut civi­tatis, aut gentis imperium esset, ii liberorum carissimi ultoribus daemonibus jugulati, sanguinum quasi pretio publicum exitium pe­stemque redinaerent, qui vero cum ad sacrificium devovebantur, eos mysticis quibusdam ceremoniis adhibitis jugulabant. Euseb. de preparat. Evang. l. 1▪ Lactant. l 1. c, 21. to sacrifice their Children, saith Euseb. And Lactantius tells of Pescennius Fertus, saying, that the Carthaginians did Sacrifice men to Saturn, and being overcome by Agathoeles King of the Sicilians, thinking their God was angry with them, they offered two hundred Noble mens Sonnes to pacifye him. Sometimes they killed them, sometimes they drowned them, and sometimes they burnt them.

This practice of sacrificing their children, to pacify their pro­voked gods, some affirm to be taken up from Abrahams sacri­ficing of his Son, with which God was so well pleased, that he gave forth a large Eulogy of him for it. But its not probable that it proceeded thence, for the Lord suffered not Abraham to do it, and prohibited by a severe law the doing of such a thing, viz. the sacrificing of their children to Idols, Lev. 20.2. It was more likely from the Devil in their Oracles, for Plutarch tels of the Lacedemonians, who being greatly afflicted with the Plague,In paralellis. c. 66. Cited by Peter Mart. upon the Kings. had an Answer from the Oracle of Apollo, that the Plague should cease, if they sacrificed a Virgin chosen out of the chiefe of the Nobility. Doubtlesse it was Satan put this into the Hearts of men, for hee was a murderer from the beginning, and delighteth much in shedding of mans bloud, especially in honour to himself, Psal. 106.37. for such sacri­fices were to him and his.Tertul. in Scorpiaco. Some sacrificed men to Diana; some to Mercury; some to Saturn, whom diverse think and affirm to bee Molech, the Idol the Jews sacrificed their Children unto.Vide Petrum Martyr in 2 King 3. Ainsworth in Lev. 18.21. They admitted the Heathenish Idol, and the Heathenish practice, 2 King. 16.3. Ahaz made his Sonnes to pass through the fire, according to the abominati­ons of the Heathen, and it was to Molech, that he, and others, made their Children pass through the fire unto, ch. 23.10. This Molech was a great brazen Idol, having a calves head, and hands to receive whatever was offered, it being hollow, had seven distinct cavities in it. The

  • 1 For those offered fine flower.
  • 2 For those offered Turtles.
  • 3 For those offered A Sheep.
  • 4 For those offered A Ram.
  • 5 For those offered A Calf.
  • 6 For those offered An Oxe.
  • 7 For those offered Their Children.

For the Children offered, It is conceived they were burnt alive in that hollow place they were put into, or up­on, or else they were put into the Armes of the Idol, and rosted to death in them; at the doing whereof, they made hideous noises with Kettles or Drummes, that [Page 95] the screechings and cries of the Children might not bee heard.Tam barbaros, tam immanes fuisse homines, ut particidium suum, id est tetrum & exe­crabile huma­no generi faci­mus sacrificium vocarent: quum teneras atque innocentes animas quae maxime est aetas parentibus dulcior, sine ullo re­spectu pietatis extinguerent, immanitatemque omnium bestiarum, quae tamen faetus suos a­mant, feritate fuperarent. O dementiam insanabilem, quid illis isti dii amplius facere pos­sent si essent iratissimi quam faciunt propitii? quun [...] suos cultores patricidiis inquinant, orbitatibus mactant, humanis sensibus spoliant? Lactantius de falsa religio. l. 1.

And shall I bee enquired of by you O house of Israel? &c.

These words you had in the 3. v. they need not now to bee opened, only there is Elders of Israel, and here its O house of Israel.

Obs. 1 The waies of our fore-fathers are not alwaies to be trodden in and followed: are yee polluted after the manner of your fathers? and commit ye whoredome after their abominati­ons? Here the Lord is angry with them, accuses and upbraids them for following their fathers. Its not alwaies unlawful so to do. Josiah walked in all the waies of David his Father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left, 2 King. 22.2. so Hezekiah did according to all that David his Fa­ther did, chap. 18.3. men that are good, and walk in the waies of God they may bee followed. Solomon commends them that walk in the way of Good men, and keep the paths of the righteous, Prov. 2.20. but when men forsake the waies of truth, mercy, and righteousnesse, fall to false wor­ship, unjust, and unwarrantable practices, Children ought not to tread in their fathers steps, if they do, they will pol­lute themselves, and provoke God against them, as these did here: fore-fathers are not to bee followed in doctrin, wor­ship, or manners, further than they follow the word and Christ. Paul that great Apostle would not have any to follow him, further than hee followed Christ, 1 Co­rinthans 11.1. The Thessalonians followed Paul, Sylva­nus, Timothy, but they followed the Lord also, and these men no otherwise than they followed him; if men will follow their fathers, they must see to it, that they were sound in the Faith, sound in their worship, and sound in their lives; for the exhortation is, Joh. 3. Ep. v. 11. To follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. Hee that doth good, is of God, he [Page 96] that doth evil hath not seen God, and Heb. 6.12. Bee followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Obs. 2 That Children to uphold the customes and practices of their fathers, will part with things dear, and do unnaturally; especially if pretence of religion come in. The fathers of these in Babylon, they were Idolaters, they sacrificed their chil­dren to Idols, under pretence of the more acceptance, and to uphold such customes and doing of their Fathers; the chil­dren part with their dear and tender infants, do im­pious, unjust, and inhumane things, cause their little ones to pass through the fire to bee burnt to ashes, in honour of their fained and false Deities. Superstition and Idolatry make men unnatural. Beasts, will preserve their young, and venture their lives to save their little ones;Tantum reli­gio potuit sua­dere malorum Quae peper it saepe scelerosa atque impia facta. Nonne satius est pecudum more vivere, quam deos tam impios, tam prophanos tam sanguina­rios colere. Lact. when men do willingly destroy theirs under pretence of religion; and put them to such Cruel tortures. The Papists do uphold the sinful waies of their fore-fathers at dear rates, and are un­natural in whipping of themselves. If these, and Jews did part with dear things to maintain the wicked waies of their fathers, and do unnaturally, unjustly, to keep them up, what condemnation will it bee to us, if wee will not part with things needful, do things Christian, and just to uphold true Religion, and uphold the lawful and godly practises of our fore-fathers? If they would part with their children and bloud for maintenance of Idolatry, what should wee think too dear for maintenance of the Gospel: people will part with dear things to maintain their opinions, even their mo­desty to uphold a conceit of perfection.

Obs. 3. Hypocrisy so displeases God that he will have nothing to do with Hypocrites: These Elders, this house of Israel they polluted themselves in their Fathers sinnes, they took up waies of false worship, and lived in the same to the day they came to inquire, and what saith God, shall I be enquired of by you, O house of Israel? you dissemble, act the Hypocrites part, and you provoke mee, not onely to refuse to hear you, but to swear against you, As I live I will not bee enquired of by you; you come not in sincerity, but in subtlety, you pre­tend to walk in my waies, but you intend to follow your fa­thers waies, you make as if you would worship mee, but you mean to worship Idols; Ah you old Hypocrites, painted [Page 97] sepulchres, why come yee to mee? I will not hear, an­swer, have to do with you. Hypocrites seem to do that they do not, 2 King. 17.33. they feared the Lord, and served their own Gods, that is, they seemed to fear him, but did not, for v. 34. its said; They fear not the Lord. Hypocrites would joyn God and their own waies, or fathers waies together, but it will not take with him, Mat. 6.24. No man can serve two Masters. The great Master of truth said this; and when men lean to their Fathers waies, love them and Idols, they despise God and hate his waies. There is no truth in them, no Methaphysical Truth, their notions agree not with the mind of God; no Physical truth, there is no reality in their words or actions; No Moral Truth, their lives agree not with their professions. John Hus had the Devil pictured up­on his Cloaths, but hee had Christ within; Hypocrites have the picture of Christ without, but the Devil within. Satan hath their hearts, or the greatest part of them, Hos. 10.2. Their heart is divided: now shall they bee found faulty, hee shall break down their Altars: God will not accept them, nor their Sacrifices, hee will appear against them and their do­ings.

Labor therfore to be sincere, for the upright are his delight. Those regard iniquity in their hearts, who ever they bee, what every they inquire and seek for at the hands of God, God will not hear them, but discover them, and give them the reward of Hypocrites.

32 And that which commeth into your mind, shall not be at all.

The Hebrew runnes thus, That which ascends upon the Spi­rit, by being shall not bee; That is, your thoughts, purposes, Counsels, determinations, which are risen up in your heads, and hearts, and take impression there, have a being in them, they shall lose their being and come to nothing, you look upon them as having much essence in them, but they shall all vanish. Vulg. is, Neque cogitatio mentis vestrae fiet, the thought of the mind shall not be effected.

[Page 98]That ye say we will be as the Heathen.

Here the thought of their heart is made known. These Elders of Israel considering the condition they were in, thought it best to cast off the God of Israel, and his worship, and to fall to the Gods of the Nations, and their worship, to cease from their Judaisme, and to turn to Gentilisme. They thought the Gods of the Heathen dealt better with them, than the God of the Jews did with them. Or if their God were the God of all Nations, yet hee shewed more kindnesse to them, serving wood and stone, than hee did to the Jewish People, who were tyed up by strict Laws; burdened with a multitude of Sacrifices and Ceremonies, now spoiled, Captives, held under hard bondage, in danger of being cut off, for Zedekiahs revolt and perfidiousnesse; whereas the Babylonians and Provinces belonged to them did prosper, were in safety and peace; and let the best bee made of it, they knew that they must abide many years un­der the Babylonish yoak, therefore thought it the wisest course to become like the Heathens, to conform to their worship and manners, whereby they should bee lookt upon as of them, and not of Abraham; As men of Babylon, not of Sion; As Gentiles not Israelites; and so provide for their safety, peace, and Prosperity.

As the Families of the Countrey.

They made account to cast off the worship of the God of Israel, which exposed them to reproach, hatred, and hard sufferings, and to give up themselves fully to their Gods, their worship, and observance of their Rites; they intended to incorporate and become one with the Babylo­nish race and brood, that so they might have a Babylo­nish happinesse, and be free from the stroaks of the God of Israel, under whom they suffered so much.

[Page 99]To serve wood and stone.

That is, Gods or Idols made of wood and stone. See Deut. 29.7. chap. 4.28. There ye shall serve Gods, the work of mens hands, wood and stone.

Obs. 1 How cunningly soever Hypocrites do carry their leud and wicked designes, yet they are known to God, and hee will discover them: These Elders of Israel were resolved to change their Religion, to bee like the Heathen, and colour it over with comming to the Prophet, to inquire how things would proceed with them at Jerusalem; what Counsel hee would give unto themselves, they would bee ready to do it, where­as they never intended it. This the Lord saw, this hee dis­covers, and uncases these dissembling Hypocrites. Herod pretended hee would go and worship Christ, but his intent was to murder him, Mathew 2.8, 13. which God disco­vered.

Obs. 2 There be risings, thoughts in mens hearts which are not of God; what they had in their heads or hearts, God owned not. Many in these daies think, every motion they have in their hearts, mindes, whatever riseth up there, is of God, and his Spirit, and therefore must bee obeyed; hence it comes to pass that darknesse is called light, and all vices are practiced under the Notion of vertue; but corrup­tions, flesh, old man, Satan, have their operations in the hearts of the wicked alwaies, and too oft in the Godly.Non omnis impulsus & en­thusiasmus, continuo bo­nus est. Aecolam. The Earth brings forth weeds of it self, and not corn, unlesse it bee sown.

Obs. 3 Carnal, Politick, men affect Religion as it serves their own interest. These Elders considering what Zedekiah and their Brethren had done at Jerusalem, revolted from Nebu­chadnezzar; they feared hard measure now would befall them for their Jewish religion, and they resolved not to ven­ture liberty, limbs, or life for that Religion, which had been a bondage, and burdensome unto them, and now might hazzard all. They would now revolt from God and truth, and bee as the Heathen, who prospered, were in peace and safety. Politicians think it weakness [...], foolishnesse, to suf­fer [Page 100] for Religion. They can change it at pleasure, and fall in with that hath most pompe and applause in the world. Upon this account many have fallen from Protestantisme to Popery, and from Christianity to Turcisme. To save their skins they have parted with their Religions. Many men make use of Religion as Mariners of the winds, meerly to serve their own ends; If Religion once crosse them, they can cast it off, and fall in with those waies of worship do suit their humours and further their designes. Like chil­dren that having been held in by their Parents, bestow themselves upon any to obtain their own ends. These El­ders saw their Law and worship were differing from the re­ligion of the state where they were, and so exposed them to many inconveniences and dangers, they would therefore bee of the state Religion, outwardly at least, complying with that, serving wood and stone.

Obs. 4 God sometimes disappoints the designes and expecta­tions of men, who intend, and resolve to forsake him, and pro­vide for themselves by sinful and Idolatrous waies: That which cometh into your mind shall not be at all: You would be as the Heathens, but it shall not be. I will not only deny your de­sires, but dash your designes; you seek Heathens favour, and shall meet with Heavens frowns, and miss of your aimes; you would be Babylonians, have the protection and blessing of Babylonish Gods, but my thoughts are cross to yours, that is in my minde shall stand, not what is in yours; that happi­nesse you hope for in the waies and worship of Babylonians you shall not finde. Men think by going out to the world, by conforming to base, vile superstition, and Idolatrous pra­ctices, to get much, but God in his infinite wisdome, and justice, disappoints them, as Demas and Judas.

Vers. 33 As I live saith the Lord God, surely with a migh­ty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you.

Having shewed the ingratitude and untoward carriage of this People in Egypt, in the Wildernesse, in Canaan, and their resolution to cast off God in Babylon; here begins the [Page 101] fourth general part of the chapter, viz. a denunciation of judgement for their Hypocrisy and other sinnes, together with promises of mercy extending to the 45. vers. In the ver. you have.

1 God asserting his authority and power over this people who thought to cast him off, I will rule over you.

2 The manner of his ruling over them, which is

  • 1 With Power.
  • 2 With Fury.

3 The ratification of both, and that is by oath, As I live saith the Lord.

Touching this Oath of God much hath been spoken al­ready, in this and former chapters.

With a mighty hand.

The Hebrew is Bejad chazakah, in, or with a strong hand, with a rigid hand, saith Castalio. By mighty hand here, is not simply meant Gods power, but his power in punishing, so the plagues of Egypt were Gods strong and mighty hand. God would punish them for their dealings, and to that pur­pose, it should bee visibly and openly, and therefore it follows.

With a stretched out arm.

Sometimes the stretching out of Gods arm, notes power­ful and visible deliverance, Psal. 136.12. sometimes pow­erful and visible punishment, as here. In the inflicting of pu­nishments, men stretch out their hands and armes, which here, after the manner of men is given to God.

With fury poured out.

Of dealing in Fury, accomplishing fury, and pouring out fury. See before chap. 8.18.5.13.9.8.

Will I rule over you.

Ruling imports soveraignty, authority, and power over others. Here [Page 102] the Genus by a Senecdoche is put for the species; the whole work of ruling, for punishing; and the summe of the words is this, you think by withdrawing from mee and my wor­ship, and by Babylonizing to secure your selves, to escape dan­ger and all punishment; but know assuredly, you are my subjects, I will not suffer you so to revolt from mee, I will put forth mine hand, and mine arm, my fury, punishing you for your rebellions, and idolatries, so, that will you, nill you, me shall you acknowledge to be your Lord and Soveraign.

Obs. 1 Its a vain thing to think of getting from under the dominion of God, and impossible to accomplish, these Elders thought. To withdraw from under the Laws and govern­ment of the God of Israel, and put themselves under the Babylonish Gods, and Babylonian government; but what saith God? I will rule over you, take what course you please; trans, orm your selves into Heathenish manners, disperse your selves into by-corners, villages, Towns, Cities; plant your selves in what Province soever, of the King of Babylons, use what policy you can to cast off my yoak, yet I will rule o­ver you, for you cannot go from my presence, nor from my power. In the second Psalm the Great ones of the earth, thought to exempt themselves from the government of God and Christ. Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us, but they were laughed to scorn and vex­ed for it, v. 3, 4, 5.

Obs. 2 The untoward carriage of Gods people, causes him to deal more sharpely with them. Rebelliousnesse in them pro­duceth rigidnesse in him; Their treachery bred severity, With a mighty hand and fury poured out, will I rule over you. They thought to run from under him, and he held a strict­er hand over them; They would not willingly obey as Sonnes, hee made them obey as servants. When Servants runne from their Masters, they bestir them, fetch them back with power, punish them severely for their fugitivenesse, and hold them harder to it than ever, so did the Lord by these, and made them know that hee ruled in Babylon, as well as in Sion, and turned his golden Scepter into an Iron rod, and put a yoak of Iron upon them. This is that the Lord told them in Moses daies, that if they walked contra­ry [Page 103] to him, hee would walk contrary unto them, and punish them seven times more; that is, rule over them with greater severity, Levit. 26. he would make his little finger heavier than his loines had been before.

Obs. 3 God will punish those that shake off his worship to follow false waies, with visible & irresistible punishments. These Elders were upon terms of Apostatizing from the God of Israel, about to leave his Tents, and to betake themselves to the Babylonish Temples; therefore the Lord swears hee will rule over them with a stretched out arm (hee would visibly punish them) and with Fury poured out; they should no more bee able to withstand it, than a man can a great rain or floud. When subjects are upon rebelling, and would fall in with some other, this kindles his fury, cau­ses him to punish them openly and irresistibly, Apostacy is a provoking sinne. Its a reproach to God his truths, and ordinances. Its a violating of all former Promises, and in­gagements unto God; its high ingratitude and rebellion a­gainst God; its a great scandal unto all the godly, especial­ly the weak; it incourages, hardens, and justifies the wicked, it ruines souls, it gratifies Satan, and therefore exposes men to visible and unavoidable judgements. You know how God met with Julian and other Apostates since his time; that men should cast off God is wonder to heaven and earth, Jer. 2.12, 13. Be astonished O ye heavens at this, my people have forsa­ken me; and because they did so, Lyons roared upon them, and laid them waste, v. 15. Egyptians took the crown from their head, v. 16, 17. It bred astonishment in Paul, that the Gala­tians were so soon removed from him, that called them into the grace of Christ, to another Gospel, Gal. 1.6. they had Apostatizing Spirits, minding another Gospel, another Christ, another way to salvation than hee delivered to them; And may it not bee matter of astonishment to us, that many are so shaken, that they have cast off our God, our Christ, our Gospel, our Ordinances, and have found out another Gospel, another Christ, and another way to salvation than ever; But it is to bee feared some remarkable and unavoida­ble judgements are near unto them. God hath no pleasure in those draw back, Heb. 10.38. They have cast off the thing that [Page 104] is good, the enemy shall pursue them, Hos. 8.3. These El­ders have purposed to become like the Heathen, and God sware presently to punish them openly and irresistibly; what will hee then do to those have actually withdrawn from him, and his waies, surely his wrath will smoak against them. Let us take heed in these declining times of falling away from God and his waies; Beware of Carnal policy, which was the thing here put these Elders upon it. Beware of Carnal Relations and unmortified lusts, which made Spira and Spalato revolt so foulely; beware of Promotion and great­nesse, which made H. the fourth of France to turn Papist; be­ware of false Teachers, corrupt opinions, which have made many among us to go so far from God and his waies. Keep innocency, count all the glory and greatnesse of the world as nothing: prize truth and the waies of God highly, cleave fully to Christ, live by faith, prove all things, and hold fast what is good, so shall there never bee an evil heart in you of unbeleef, to depart from the living God.

Vers. 34 And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the Countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fu­ry poured out.

These words do hold out no good unto them, but declare that what they hoped to bee a mercy, should prove a judge­ment. They thought that if they were scattered up and down, among the Babylonians, and quitted the Jewish worship, they should bee safe, and live as happily as Babylonians; but God would not loose his right and priviledge, he would rule over them, and here he shews the manner of it again, and that more fully, I will bring you out, &c.

I will bring you out from the people.

Diverse Expositors, by People or Nations, understand the Ammonites, Moabites, Tyrians, Egyptians, Idumeans, and Edomites, and cite the 40. of Jeremy, v. 11, 12. and the 43.7. and so make the Prophet to mean it of the Jewes disper­sed [Page 105] into those places upon the siedge, spoiling and taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in the times of Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah; but our Prophet and these Elders being in Baby­lon, hee speaks of the Babylonians among whom these cap­tive Elders and Jews were dispersed, and sought to be like unto them that so they might be the safer, but God gathered them out from them, and would not suffer them to become Babylonians. Besides, this was in the seventh year of the Cap­tivity, as appears vers. 1. of this chapter, and at that time Jerusalem stood, Zedekiah was reigning, and the people were not scattered into those Nations mentioned, for Zede­kiah reigned eleven years, 2 Chro. 36.11. and nothing is said of any dispersion, when Jehoiachin was taken away, and Zede­kiah set up. Its also further added here,

I will gather you out of the Countries wherein ye are scattered.

He speaks of those were scattered at that time. There were many Provinces into which they had scattered, or were upon scattering themselves. Ʋatabl. sense is thus, I will gather you out of the Nations, inter quas est is captivi.

Obs. Where-ever wicked men hide themselves, or sharke for their own safety, God will finde them out, and bring them forth to punishment. These Elders, and the rest of the Cap­tives that were wicked, thought by lurking amongst the Ba­bylonians, and conforming to them in state, and religious affairs, they should bee safe and well, but saith the Lord, live were you will, shift for your selves what you can, bee as the Heathen, and carry it as close as may be, I will find you out, and bring you forth from them with strength, and punish you to purpose. Gods eyes run to and fro throughout the earth, and hee quickly spies where sinners lye hid, and brings them forth to justice at his pleasure, Amos 9.2, 3, 4. Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them, though they climbe up to heaven, thence will I bring them down. Though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence, and though they be hid from my sight in the bottome of the Sea, thence will I command the Ser­pent, [Page 106] and hee shall bite them: And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them. The sense of these words is thus much, that whereas other creatures can shift and secure themselves from their enemies; the Conies and creeping things by hide­ing themselves in the holes of the earth; the birds by flying up into the clouds and heavens, the beasts by running to the hills and woods, the fish by sinking down to the bottome of the sea; men that have offended God cannot secure them­selves any where, Gods eyes are set upon them for evil, and his hand is against them, Isa. 28.15. they were at agree­ment with death and hell, and thought the overflowing scourge should not come unto them, but ver. 18. Your Cove­nant with death shall bee disanulled, and your agreement with Hell shall not stand, when the overflowing scourge shall passe through, then shall yee bee trodden down by it. Babel ascen­ded above the height of the clouds, yet was brought down to hell, Isa. 14.14, 15. Jer. 51.53. the high places and hills, whither the Jews oft betook themselves, did not secure them, Jer. 12.12. let sinners hide themselves in any place, their sinne will finde them out, Numb. 32.23. they cannot escape the peircing eye, or punishing hand of God.

Vers. 35 And I will bring you into the wildernesse of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face.
36 Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wildernesse of the Land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord God.

These verses tell us, what God did with them after hee had gathered them out of the Countries. Hee did two things.

1 He brought them into a Wildernesse.

2 Hee pleaded with them there, and the manner of his pleading with them is set down.

  • 1 To be face to face.
  • 2 So as hee pleaded with their fathers in the wilder­nesse, of the land of Egypt.
[Page 107]Into the wildernesse of the people.

Not into Babylon which is called a Wildernesse, chap. 19.13. for they were already in Babylon. Wildernesse of the People, doth not signify desertum inter populos, but rather desertum a populis, as Rom. 1.4. [...], by the resurrection of the dead, that is, by the resurrection from the dead: so into the wildernesse of the people, imports into a wildernesse from the people. Vatabl. saith, there was a wilderness between Chaldea and Judea, unto which the Lord alludes; as he brought their Fathers out of Egypt into Arabia deserta; so he would bring them out of Babylon, into that wildernesse. Junius sense of this wildernesse is, that God would bring them into such a place as all men would fly from, propter horriditatem & difficultatem soli. Others make the mean­ing of the words to bee, that God would bring them into a most miserable estate; they thought they should bee best of all if they turned Heathens, but this caused God to bring them into a worser condition than they were. I incline to take the words litterally, rather than metaphorically, be­cause hee speaks of bringing and gathering them out from people and Countries, and bringing them into the wilder­nesse, which notes motion from place to place; and this wil­derness, is parallell'd with that of the land of Egypt, which was real and not metaphorical.

There will I plead with you.

Not onely dispute and reason the case with you,Vltionem de vobis sumam J [...]nathan & R. David. but also deal with you according to your sinnes. I will be re­venged on you, I will execute my judgements upon you. As I punished your Fathers when they were in the wildernesse for their sinnes: so will I punish you for your sinnes. They smarted for their murmuring, lusting, whoredome, Idolatry, rebellion, ingratitude, and so shall you for doing as your Fathers did.

[Page 108]Face to Face.

The Rabbies being very propitious to their own Nation, interpret these words thus:Solus cum solis, sine ar­bittis, ne gentes videant saevas qua de vobis sump­tu [...]us sum pae­nas, & laeten­tur. Rabb. David. God alone, having them alone se­parate from the Nations, would punish them, that they might not see what punishment hee laid upon them, and rejoyce thereat; but the phrase notes, Gods presence and visible manner of pu­nishing them, so that it should bee most evident to bee the hand of God.

As I pleaded with your Fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt.

How God pleaded with them in that wildernesse which be­longed to the Egyptians, let us search a little.

1 Hee pleaded with them speedily, Numb. 25.1. the peo­ple began to commit whoredome with the daughters of Moab, and v. 4. the Lord bids Moses take all the heads of the people, and hang them up, here was quick work. So Exod. 32.7.10▪ Get thee down, the people have corrupted themselves, let me a­lone that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may con­sume them, ver. 28. There fell of the people that day about three thousand men.

2 Hee pleaded with them severely, Numb. 21.6. The Lord sent fiery Serpents among the people, these bit them, so, that many dyed. Their venemous bitings did so inflame them, that they were in a manner burnt to death, which was a dreadful judgement: before Aaron could take his cen­ser, put in incense, and make an attonement for the people, fourteen thousand and odd were destroyed by the plague, Numb. 16 46, 47, 49. which was both sudden and severe plead­ing with them.

3 Immediately, hee caused the earth to open her mouth, and to swallow up Corah, Dathan, and Abiram, them and all theirs, hee sent fire and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense, Numb. 16.32, 33 35. and so were the fiery Serpents, the immediate hand of God.

4 Openly, Numb. 25.4. Take all the heads of the People, and [Page 109] hang them up before the Lord against the sun. The Septuagint is, [...], make them examples.

5 Strongly, They could not withstand his pleadings, his judgements, and stroaks were unavoidable. Though Mo­ses and Aaron interposed and pleaded hard with God for them, yet multitudes of them perished by the sword, plague, Serpents, fire, and earth. Thus God pleaded with their fa­thers, and so hee would plead with them. Nothing secured their Fathers from his judgements, and nothing should se­cure them; Not Babylonians or Babylonish gods; not their Prophets or Priests, not Prayers or Tears. Their Fathers fell in the wildernesse, and so should they; if not by the same judgements, yet by those were not much unlike, there should bee an Analogy between them.

Obs. 1 When men seek to avoid straits and dangers by sinfull Policy, and waies unwarrantable, God meets with them, and brings them into greater straits and troubles. These Elders thought by becomming as the Heathens were, that they should free themselves from all the troubles and evils were like to come upon them for Zedekiahs revolting from Ne­buchadnezzar, but the Lord told them that hee would bring them into a wildernesse, where their condition should bee very miserable, and worse than in Babylon, whatever they had suffered there for God and their religion: Jeroboam was in a strait about the peoples sacrificing at Jerusalem; if they went up thither, he feared they would be so wrought upon, as to return to Rhehoboam, from whom they had fal­len, and kill him. To expedite himself out of this strait, hee took wicked Counsell, set up the Calves at Dan and Be­thel, telling the People the journey to Jerusalem was too long, and tedious for them, they had God nearer to them, and might worship at an easier rate, 1 King 12. but for this sinful policy, and subtle design, God brought him into greater straits and difficulties, as you may see chap. 13.4. and the 14.6, 10, 11, 12. his hand was withered, heavy tydings denounced against him, and his house and his son dyed: Saul was in a great strait when the Philistims had invaded him, and God would not answer him, he would not wait in this case, leaving all to God, but runnes into an un­lawful [Page 110] practice to relieve himself, hee consults with the Witch of Endor, and is brought into greater and worse straits then before, 1 Sam. 28.17, 18, 19, 20. men in our daies have taken wrong courses to extricate themselves out of dangers and troubles, and hath not God brought them in­to a wildernesse, into greater intanglements and worse per­plexitys than ever before? its good to wait upon God and keep his waie, then if dangers and deaths do come, there is com­fort, they finde you in Gods way, but if out of that, they are great evils in themselves, and your being out of Gods way is worse than all.

Obs. 2 That Gods punishments are his pleadings, when hee visits men for their sinnes he pleads with them. Every rod of his hath a voice, and pleads for God; Quoties appa­rent aliqua signa irae Dei, ipse discertat nobiscum. Gods strike­ings are real pleadings, Isa. 66.16. by fire, and by his sword, will the Lord plead with all flesh. His punishments are ar­guments hee uses to convince or confound sinners, and what­soever punishments hee inflicts upon any, they are just and righteous, for hee never pleads an ill cause, they are judicia Dei, hee is infinitely wise, and as he judgeth aright, so he executeth judgement righteously.

Obs. 3 Those be like in sinning, must bee like in suffering, like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wildernesse of the Land of Egypt, so will I plead with you; These Jews were their Children, and did as their fathers had done. Their fathers shook off the God of Israel, and chose them an Egyptian god, Exod. 32.4. they mingled with the Heathen, and learnt their works, Psal. 106.35. they polluted his Sabbaths, caused their children to pass through the fire, ver. 13. and 26. of this chap. and these their posterity, chose Babylonish gods, became as the Heathen, made their sonnes pass through the fire, and trode in their fathers steps, v. 30, 31, 32.

Vers. 37. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you under the bond of the Covenant.
38 And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgresse against mee, I will bring them forth out of the Country where they sojourn, and they shall not [Page 111] enter into the land of Israel, and yee shall know that I am the Lord.

God being in a judiciary way pleading with this people, here, he proceeds further in the manner thereof.

  • 1 Hee would examine and reduce them to their former state, ver. 37.
  • 2 Hee would make a Discrimination between them, ver. 38.
I will cause them to pass under the rod.

The Hebrew word for Rod is [...] which in this place, may signify either a Scepter, as frequently it doth in Scripture, and is so rendred chap. 19.11, 14. or a Shepheards staffe or crook, which hee useth among his sheep, so it is used Psalm 23.4. If it bee taken the first way, the sense is this, that though they scattered themselves among the Babylonians, and put themselves under Heathenish power, yet the Lord would make them pass under the Rod, that is, come under his Kingly power, hee would rule over them, they should still bee his subjects. But of this hee spake in the 33. vers. there­fore I conceive Rod here, is to be taken in the latter significati­on, that God would deal with them more pastor [...]tio, like a Shepheard or Heardsman, who were wont to number their Cattle with a wand or Rod, which is called passing under the Rod, Levit. 27.32. To this purpose is that of Jer. 33.13. In the Cities of the Mountaines, in the Cities of the vale, and in the Cities of the South, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the Cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth them. When the flocks went into the field or fold, and when they went out, their practice was to tell them by a Rod in their hand, and so they passed under the Rod. Hereunto Christ alludes, John 10.3. when hee saith, hee calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. The meaning then of the Lord here is, that hee would take an exact account of them, tell them as a shepheard doth his flock, and see [Page 112] which were rotten, and which were sound.

Gods rod, are afflictions and judgements, as you may see Psal. 89.32. I will visit their transgressions, &c. Lamen. 3.1.

I will bring you under the bond of the Covenant;

You think to break the bond of the covenant made between me and your Fathers, by becoming Babylonians, and ceasing to bee my people, but it shall not bee; I will keep the Co­venant, and cause you to come under the bond of it, and performe that obedience I look for. The word for bond, is Masoreth from [...] obstringere ad obedientiam or paenam, to bind unto obedience or punishment; when men are in Cove­nant they are bound to obey, or to suffer if they disobey. Va­tablus and others carry it thus: that God would deal with them as hee had done with their fathers, that hee would make a Covenant with these as hee had done with them, and so make it another covenant, by which God would bind them up, and refer it to the Covenant made in Ezraes daies, but rather I conceive, the Lord intends the former Cove­vant, especially that mentioned, Ezekiel. 16.8. when God in a solemn manner took this People to be his in Moses's daies, wherein he made good his Promise and Covenant with Abraham, and bound them unto him by the Law; The Covenant bound them from other gods and waies of wor­ship.

And I will purge out from among you the Rebels.

The Septuagint and Vulgar read the words, I will chase out; the Hebrew [...] signifies both to chuse and purge, God would number them, distinguish them one from another, and then purge out those were rebellious, they should no longer bee in his flock; but bee discovered, and declared to the world what they were.

By Rebels, hee means those that cast off God and his works, and turned heathens.

[Page 113]I will bring them forth out of the Country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the Land, &c.

The Hebrew is, Out of the Country of their sojournings, or peregrinations, I will bring them. Some make these words to point out those were then in Judea, whom God would bring forth, and not suffer to return any more, and not onely them, but many of those were in Babylon before, God suffered not to return into the land of Israel: for if we understand these words of the return after the seventy years, as they must, long before that time were these Jews with Zedekiah brought out of the Land of their sojourning, and they with many others, were never suffered to enter in­to that land more; for here is a comparing of their return from the Babylonish Captivity, to that of their comming out of Egypt.

Then they were brought into a Wildernesse; where their carkasses fell for their rebellions, and so never entered the promised Land: so here likewise God brought them into a wildernesse, pleaded with, and consumed many of them, who by that means never returned to the land of Israel.

Obs. 1 The Lord doth not onely know, but takes special no­tice of his, and doth distinguish them from others. I will cause you to pass under the Rod; I will examine which are sheep, and which are goats, and will sever the one from the other; Christ knew his sheep, his little flock, from all the goats of the Mountaines, the Bulls of Bashan, and wilde beasts of the Forrests. And God kn [...]w the good figs from the naughty, Jerem. 24. hee manifested his love to the good, and displeasure to the bad. When hee is in a judiciary way, hee knows, ownes, preserves his, and will not suf­fer any of them to perish, Ezek. 9. when the men appeared with slaughter-weapons in their hands, and execution was to bee upon Jerusalem, the Lord made his to pass under the Rod, hee numbred them, and set his mark upon them, that they might not perish in the common calamity. Hee [Page 114] put a difference between the pretious and the vile, as a shep­heard doth between sheep and goats, Mat. 25.32.

Obs. 2 Though Gods People do go out from him, and vio­late the Covenant, yet he will not let them so go, but will look af­ter them, and bring them under his Power. These here had transgressed the Covenant, broken the bonds, cast off the waies of God, thought to exempt themselves from his Rule over them, but saith the Lord, I will bring you under the bond of the Covenant; You shall bee under my Power and Law; Though I suffer Babylonians, and other Nations to be sui juris, to wander where they will, to live as they list, yet it shall not bee so with you, who are my People, with whom I am in Covenant, and to whom I must bee faith­ful, what ever you are to mee, and will bee known to bee your God and Soveraign. I will have account of you, and make you know you are under my bonds, and not Ba­bylonish ones.

Obs. 3 Gods dealings with his is very different. Hee brings them under the bond of the Covenant, to see what they are, if they be Goats, wicked, he punishes them, and purges them out; if they bee sheep, though they have gone astray, hee pardons them, keeps them under the bond of the Covenant, and inables them to yeild Covenant obedience; when God had made them pass under the Rod, and brought them under the bonds of the Covenant, made them know they were his People, though many of them were very wicked, hee purged out the Rebels, and them that had transgressed a­gainst him.

Hee turned the Goats out of the fold, and kept the Sheep in, hee purged out the wicked by judgements and Death, and preserved the others, Mal. 3.17, 18. In that day when I make up my Jewels I will spare them, as a man spa­reth his own Sonne that serveth him, &c. so God shewed his different dealings between the Righteous and the Wicked, for chap 4.1, 2, 3. the Wicked being but stubble should bee burnt, and bee as ashes under the soles of the feet of the Righteous. The R [...]ghteous were Jewels, and therefore spared; the Wicked were stubble, and therefore destroyed.

Obs. 4 Though the wicked bee among the Godly, yet they [Page 115] shall not alwaies be so, I will purge out from among you the Re­bels, and them that transgress against mee. There were re­bels, great sinners, that were among the Israelites in the wildernesse of Egypt, Corah, Dathan, and Abiram; others that would have gone back to Egypt; many that murmured, that fell to Idolatry, and committed whoredome with the Daughters of Moab; but God Purged them out, from a­mongst them, and the like hee did here. Its Gods me­thod even here in this world oft times, to separate the wic­ked from the Godly, to fanne out the chaffe from the wheat, to burn the one, and preserve the other. In Sodome God made a separation, preserving Lot who was wheat, and burning the Sodomites who were chaffe, with unquenchable fire. Isa. 1.25. I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy Tin. The Drosse and Tin were the wicked amongst them, vers. 28.31. whom the Lord would take away, consume and burn with fire, not to bee quenched. Now Gods fan is in his hand, and hee is purging both the English and Irish floor; yea, hee is pul­ling up the pricking bryars, and grieving Thornes, that his may not alwaies be vexed by them, Ezek. 28.24.

Obs. 5 Whatever mens thoughts are of the world, they are but sojourners therein. I will bring them out of the Land of their sojournings; Were it Canaan or Babylon. They were no more than sojourners. Wicked men think they are heirs too, owners and Lords of the earth, Psal. 49.11. Their in­ward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their Lands af­ter their own names. Men set their names upon what they conclude is their own. Let lands bee good or bad, men are onely sojourners in them. Godly men, who are said to inherit the earth, do it but for a season, they are pilgrims and sojourners here. David though King in Israel, yet ac­knowledgeth himself a Sojourner in Canaan, as all his Fathers were; they spent a few daies therein, and so passed away, and this was his condition. Let us look so upon our selves, and pass the time of our sojourning here in fear, 1 Pet. 1.17. and mind that City hath foundations, out of which if we bee once possessed, we shall never be removed.

Obs. 6 When God brings his into Canaan, hee will shut out the wicked, they shall not enter into the Land of Israel. Others shall bee brought in, but as for those would be as the world, as the Heathen, as Babylonians, they shall never come into Canaan. Canaan was a type of Heaven, and this exclusion of these wicked ones, represented the exclusion of ungodly ones out of Heaven. However good and bad are mingled together in this world, and oft in the Church, yet when God brings his to the heavenly Canaan, no unclean thing shall enter there, Rev. 22.27. There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomina­tion or a lye. Many may cry and seek for enterance, as, those Mat. 7 22. and those foolish Virgins, Mat. 25.11, 12. but they shall in no wise, by no means enter; the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdome of heaven, 1 Cor. 6.9. Dogges shall be shut out, Rev. 22.15.

Obs. 7 Mercies and Judgements make God known experimen­tally, yee shall know that I am the Lord; God would purge out the Rebels from the obedient, there was mercy; keep them out of the land of Israel, there was Judgement; and by these God made them know him to be Jehovah, giv­ing life to his promises, and breath to his threatnings. The Rebels should know and acknowledge him to be Jehovah, being convinced with the equity of his judgements, and af­fected with the severity of them. The Godly should do it, being convinced and affected with the Nature, greatnesse, needfulnesse, and freenesse of that Mercy. Judgement upon these Rebels was mercy to the godly; and mercy to the god­ly, was judgement to the Rebels; and both were brought to acknowledge the Lord, but specially the godly. Mercies and Judgements work most affectionately and effectually upon them; for its said, yee shall know, ye that are purged, ye that shall come to the Land of Israel.

Vers. 39 As for you O house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God, go ye, serve ye every man his Idols, and hereafter also, if yee will not hearken unto me: but pollute ye my holy name no more, with your gifts, and with your Idols.

This Verse speaks fully to the Elders of Israel, that came to inquire of the Lord, yet were resolved in their hearts to bee as the Heathen, and to serve wood and stone outwardly at least, seeing it is so saith God: go, serve every man his I­dols, and pollute my name no more.

Go ye, serve every one his Idols.

These words may be taken for an ironical concession, a yeild­ing that which the Lord would not have done, which is fre­quent in Scripture, as Amos 4.4. Come to Bethel, and trans­gress at Gilgal, multiply transgression, Mat. 23.32. Fill yee up the measure of your Fathers, Eccl. 11.9. 1 King. 22, 15. 1 Cor. 15.32. Jer. 7.21. in all these places is an ironical concession, which the Scripture uses to affect mens consci­ences the more with the wickednesse of their waies. So here: Go, serve your idols, God commands them not to serve I­dols, then it had been lawful, but by this Ironical concession, would affect them more fully with the evil of their Ido­latry, and so take them off there-from: This is a good sense of the words, but they are rather a rejection of them, seeing you are such dissemblers, and have your hearts set up­on Idols, go your waies, take your fill of them, and so the Lord utterly cast them off, and left them to perish.

And hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me.

Sanctius thinks, here is a figure called Aposiopesis which is a suddain breaking off the Speech, with concealment of some special thing expected, as Luke 13.9. if it bear fruit; here is somewhat kept in, which any hearing the words expect, as if it bear fruit, it should not bee cut down [...] so 2 Sam. 5.8. who­soever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, the Lame, the blind, hated of Davids soul: what then; heres no more, the speech is broken off, & somthing left to expectation which is given out, 1 Chron. 11.6. hee shall bee chief and Cap­tain. Here seems something to bee concealed, if yee will not hearken unto mee, ye shall be scattered, cursed, or slaine. But wee may read the words thus, referring▪ and hereafter, to the [Page 118] former words, Go ye, serve ye every one his Idols even here­after, and then read the other words thus, seeing you will not hearken unto mee, or have not hearkened unto mee; and thus divers Expositors read them, and the sense lyeth fair this way, Go, serve your Idols hereafter, seeing yee will not hear­ken unto me.

But pollute ye my holy name no more with your gifts, and with your Idols.

The Hebrew is, And Pollute ye, which accords with the reading of the former words mentioned, you have pretend­ed that by your Idols set up in my stead, and the gifts you have offered to them, or by them to mee, that you have ho­noured my name, but by joyning them and mee together you have Polluted my name. I had rather you should bee open Idolaters, then that by your hypocritical practises, dividing between mee and your Idols, you should cause my Name to bee polluted, and disgraced; either bee perfect Idolaters, or perfectly for mee, give not my glory to Idols, pretending you worship mee.

My Holy Name.

[...]In the Hebrew it is, The Name of my Holiness, so in Amos 2.7. Levit. 20.3. Ezek. 36.20. and in most places where mention is made of Gods Holy Name: by Name is meant Gods worship, Attributes and Titles, which are holy, or him­self, as Sanctius affirms, who is holiness.

Obs. 1 God doth Punish Hypocrites and Idolaters with spi­ritual judgements. Go ye, serve ye every one his Idols. The House of Israel, whom these Elders represented, were Hy­pocritical and Idolatrous, set upon Idols, and God gave them over to them. Ephraim was of this humour, thus lea­vened, and see how God dealt with him, Hos. 4.17. hee is joyned to Idols, let him alone: hee likes and loves them, let him live, and dye with them; and chap. 8.11. Ephraim hath made many Altars to sinne, Altars shall bee unto him to sinne, hee shall have Altars enough, hee is greedy of them, and his greedy Appetite shall bee answered; this was a [Page 119] spiritual plague, and judgement upon him, to bee given up of God to his own hearts lusts.

Obs. 2 Those that will not hear God, shall bee rejected of God, which is dreadful; go ye, serve every man his Idol. I will have no more to do with you, my Temple, mine Altar, mine Ordinances, are no longer for you. None of you shall have my presence, worship, or acceptance; where men will not be reclaimed, they must bee rejected. Here they would not hearken unto God, and therefore hee bids them bee gone, 2 King 17.15. They rejected his statutes, and his Covenant that hee made with their Fathers, and his Testimonies which hee testifyed against them, and they fol­lowed vanity, and became vaine, and went after the Hea­then, &c. therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight, vers. 18. onely he left Judah; and because Judah would not be reclaimed, the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel, and cast them out of his sight, vers. 20. So in Jerem. 23. when they would not hearken to the Lord, who forbid them their mocking of the true Pro­phets, and listening to false ones; what saith the Lord? there­fore behold, I, even I, wi [...] utterly forget you, and will forsake you and the City that I gave you, and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence, and I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you. When God rejects, its grievous. No sorer judgement can befall the sons of men. This David knew, and therefore advised his Son Solomon to keep close to God, if he did other­wise, God would cast him off for ever, 1 Chron. 28.9.

Obs. 3 There is no halving, no dividing between God and idols, God and the Creature, in matters of Worship and Religion. Pollute yee my holy Name no more, with your gifts and with your idols. You joyn mee and them together, thinking that I am pleased, honoured thereby, but I am provoked, and my holy name is polluted, I abhor such doings. Seeing your Idols must have some honour, and I the rest. I will have none, get yee to your Idols, let them have all. I like it better that you should bee wholly for them, then divide between mee and them. I can brook no partner in my worship, I must have the whole heart, the whole soul, the whole body, and strength of all, else I will have none, 1 King. 18.21. when the People [Page 120] stood halting between two opinions, and were sometimes for God, and sometimes for Baal, it pleased neither God, nor Elijah; therefore saith the Prophet, How long will yee halt between two thoughts, or two branches (for Sagnish signifies ramum, a bow or twigg) how long will ye be like a Bird, that touches upon one twigg, and then upon another, and settles not upon either; so how long will yee bee, looking one day towards God; another day towards Baal? do ye not yet see the evil of it? while yee stand thus in binio, yee pro­voke God; If God bee God, follow him, and him fully, onely, constantly, eternally; and if Baal be God, follow him so: you must follow but one. Christ hath told us, wee can­not serve God and Mammon, God and the world, God and our bellies, God and our credit, God and our lusts. These are Masters command contrary things, and carry away from God.

Obs. 4 The honour of Gods name is dear unto him. Pollute ye not my holy name. Take Gods Name for his worship, as it is Exod, 20.24. 2 Chron. 20.8. Mal. 1.6. or for his Attributes, as it is, Exod. 33.19. or for his Titles, as it is, Deut. 28.58. his Name is very dear unto him, which appears.

1 In that hee will not indure any mixture with his worship, or tender of any thing to him hath been in Idols service, the Babylonish gods, wood and stone, and the gifts offered to them, or by them to God, he would not admit.

2 Hee counted it a disparagement to his name, to have half of them, and not all, and therefore would rather have them lay out all upon their Idols, than some upon him.

3 He shews vehement affection and indignation upon this account, get ye to your Idols, be gone, pollute my name no more, out of my sight, I cannot endure it.

4 Hee cares not for the perishing of their souls and bodies, in comparison of his name, go, ye serve Idols.

Gods name is exceeding dear unto him, hee swears by it, Jer. 44.26. hee sanctifies it being polluted, and will not suf­fer any blot or stain to lye upon it, Ezek. 36.23. hee labours and works for the maintenance of it, when it is in danger, as you have it in this Chapter, vers. 9.14.22. rather then it shall suffer, hee will defer his anger and judgements, Isa. 48.9. if [Page 121] false Prophets presumed to speak in his Name, not sent by him, he cut them off, Deut. 18.20. or laid heavy judgements upon them, Ezek. 13.9. who ever takes his Name in vain a­ny way, hee will not hold him guiltlesse, Exod. 20.7. and no marvail, for Gods Name is his glory, Isa. 48.11. and men must give glory due unto his Name, Psalm 29.2. not any kind of glory, but that is proportionable to his Glory, even his glorious name, remembring what a magnificent Temple Solomon built, for the honour of his Name, 2 Chronicles 6.34.

Vers. 40 For in mine holy Mountain, in the Mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord God, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the Land serve mee: There will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the first fruits of your Oblations, with all your Holy things.
41 I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the People, and gather you out of the Coun­tries wherein you have been scattered, and I will be sancti­fied in you before the Heathen.

Now wee are come to the gratious promises of God to this People, and here you have,

  • 1 A Promise of Reduction, which is implyed in the 40. v. and expressed in the 41.
  • 2 Acceptation of them, and their services, v. 40. and 41.
  • 3 Sanctification of himself in them, v. 41.

Antecedent to these promises is a description of the place, whither he would bring them, and where hee would accept them, and that is in his Mountain, which is described

  • 1 From its Holiness.
  • 2 From its Height.
In my Holy Mountain.

The Hebrew is, The Mountain of my holinesse, as Vers. 39. the name of my holinesse, so Jonah 2.4, 7. The Temple of thy Holinesst, Isa. 62.12. people of Holiness, Psal. 89.20. Oyle of [Page 122] my holiness, Ps. 51.11. Spirit of thine holiness, Ps. 43.3. Hill of thy holiness, Ps. 68.5. Habitation of thy Holinesse, in all these places you have the abstract, & its rendred by the concrete, holy moun­tain, holy Name, holy Temple, holy People, holy Oyle, holy Spirit, holy Hill, and holy Habitation. By Holy Moun­tain, hee means Mount Sion, which is called the Hill of his Holiness, Psalm 2.6. There God recorded his name, set up Christ, and his Kingdome. By a Synecdoche holy moun­tain is put for Canaan, which prefigured the Church of God, in the times of the Gospel.

In the Mountain of the height of Israel.

Of these words before, chap. 17.23. This is spoken, not because Sion was so high a mountain (for it was rather col­lis than Mons) but because of the honour and glory it had above all other Mountains, there was the holy City, the ho­ly Temple, the holy Ordinances, and the holy Gods habitati­on, Psal. 76.2.

There shall all the house of Israel.

All that were purged from the Rebels and Transgressors ver. 38. all that were true Israelites, Secundum carnem & spi­ritum, for such are described to be the dwellers in Gods ho­ly Hill, Psalm 15. and not onely those of the Jewish race, but even Gentiles, that should become Christians, and bee spiritual Israelites, they should come to the Church, which should begin at Mount Sion, which represented the true Church.

All of them in the Land serve me.

That land was Canaan, which being polluted with blood, Idols, and other Abominations, Psalm 106.37, 38, 39, 40. God abhorred it, and the People thereof, yea, his Sanctuary therein, Lamen. 2. 7. which caused him to lay it waste for se­venty years, wherein hee purged it from its filth and bloud, Isa. 4.4. and them from their iniquities, Ezek. 36.33. and then brought them in to serve him.

This expression is comprehensive, and imports their wor­shipping and obeying of God, Exod. 10.7. Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God, that is, worship him. Exod. 20.5. they must not serve Images, that is, worship them, but worship God; The word [...] and so [...], which the Septuagint do frequently expresse it by, signifies totum se addicere servitio alicujus, to give up ones self wholly to the service of any; so here, they should serve God wholly, worship him, and not any Idols, and his owne ways, not their waies, and that in spirit and truth, 1 Sam. 12.24. serve him in truth, with all your heart, and with all humi­lity of minde, Act. 20.19.

It notes also to obey and do what hee commands, as Josh. 22.5. Take diligent heed to do the Commandement and the law, which Moses the Servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his waies, and to keep his Commandements, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart, and with all your soul, serving here, ex­tends to all outward obedience, as well as worship.

They shall serve mee, that is, worship me as the onely object of Divine worship, they shall obey me as their only King and Lord.

There will I accept them.

The Hebrew is, [...] volam eos se. Montanus renders it, I will will them, when it referres to God,The Heb. root [...] is bene­velle favere, acceptare. as here it im­ports.

1 Pardoning and passing by, whatever formerly offended: 2 Sam. 24.23. when David would offer a sacrifice for his sinne in numbring the People, and for stopping the Plague, saith Araunah, the Lord thy God accept thee, that is, pardon thy sinne, and remove the judgement, Jer. 14.12. When they offer burnt offering, and an Oblation, I will not accept them, but I will consume them. Non-accepting, was Non-pardon­ing, and that appears most clearly, Levit. 1.4. Hee shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering, and it shall bee ac­cepted for him to make the attonement; The laying his hand upon the head of the Sacrifice, noted the laying of his sins [Page 124] upon the same, and it God accepted the Sacrifice, his sinnes were forgiven, and peace was made, but when hee accepted it not, there was no pardon, no peace. When God therefore saith here, I will accept them; the sense is, hee will pardon them.

2 Approving, receiving, with favour and delight, Job 42.8. Him will I accept. God would hear and regard the pray­er of Job for his three friends, Eccl. 9.7. Eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy Wine with a merry heart, for God now accep­teth thy works [...] he is well pleased with thee, and what thou hast done, so Psal. 149.4. The Lord taketh pleasure in his People, and this also is included here, I will accept them, that is, approve of, favour, and take delight in them. Vatabl. reads it, Benigniter eos complectar, or benevolentia prosequar: I will deal kindly with them, and pursue them with favors. The French is, illec iz seur seray propice, I will bee Propiti­ous to them; I will remember their sinnes no more, I will shew them great kindness.

Some render the words, There will I take pleasure in them. When they are come to my holy Mountain, to a Church state again, being purged from their sins, through my Grace; I will take pleasure in them, as a Husband in a Wife, as a Father in his Children.

There will I require your offerings,

Formerly the Lord had refused their Offerings, and ma­nifested his displeasure against them, and their offering, as Mal. 1.10. I have no Pleasure in you saith the Lord of Host, neither will I accept an Offering at your hands, see Amos 5.21, 22 Jer. 6. [...]0. Isa. 66.3. ch. 1.11. but now hee would bee so farre from refusing, hating, and prohibiting of them, that he would call for them, and accept them.

Offerings.

The Hebrew word for Offerings is, Terumah, which notes any Offering freely given to the Lord, and frequently its put for the Heave-Offering, so called, because it was lifted [Page 125] up unto the Lord. If wee take it in this sense, its by a Senecdo­che put for all their Offerings: but we may keep to the words as they are.

And the first fruits of your Oblations.

The Hebrew is, Veeth reshith mashoshecem the beginning of your elevations. Septuagint [...], the first-fruits of your separations. The Vulg. is, initium decima­rum vestrarum, the beginning of your tenths. Vatab. The first fruits of your gifts. The Jews say, they were to bring the first fruits of seven things onely, viz. of Wheat, Barley, Grapes, Figgs, Pomegranats, Olives, and Dates; but God was to have whatever opened the wombe first, of man or Beast, Exod. 13.2. which may also come in amongst first fruits.

Oblations and Sacrifices do differ thus: that is properly an Oblation, which is offered etiamsi nihil circa oblatum fiat, though nothing bee done to it, or about it; Sacrifices are of­fered, bur aliquid circa sacrificatum fit, something is done to it, and about it. The Sacrifice was to bee killed, flayed, cut in peeces, or the like.

By first f [...]uits of Oblations, wee may understand the prin­cipal and chief Oblations, for Reshith notes praecipuum, & pre­stantissimum, the choicest and most excellent, as well as pri­mum the first; And Calvin interprets it, Florem, vel quod ex­cellit in donis vestris, that which was the flower and excel­lency in your gifts. So Lavat. primitias munerum optima & pretiosissima vocat, the best and most pretious things they had, he calls first fruits.

With all your holy things.

The Hebrew is, In all your Sanctifications, Kodesh some­times noted the Temple, or Sanctuary; sometimes their Sacri­fices, sometimes their Festivities, and sometimes whatever was Dedicated to Divine worship. Here we may take it in the last sense, and so the French carry it, En toutes vos choses de­diees. Ʋatab. likewise reads it, in omnibus sacris vestris, in all your holy things. Calvin expounds it, in toto cultu meo▪ [Page 126] in all my worship, and so the sense runs well with that before, I will require your offerings and the first fruits, i. e. The princi­pal of your oblations, in all your dedications and holy things, and in all my worship. Some read the words; in omnibus rebus quas conserva veritis mihi, in all the things you shall pre­pare, set a part and conserve for me.

If wee read it with all your holy things, the sense is, that the sacrifices, Temple, Priests, Solemnities, and festivals should be re­stored.

Vers. 41 I will accept you with your sweet savour.

Of Sweet Savour, or Savour of rest, as the Hebrew is, you heard in the 28. v. of this chapter, and in the 19. v. of the 16. Chapter. They should bee pleasing and delightful unto God, as a sweet savour is unto man. They were wont when at Jerusalem to offer incense and sweet things unto God, and hee accepted the same, and they should do it again af­ter their return, and bee accepted. Both they and their Sacrifices should bee a sweet odour unto God, this and the like expressions in the old Testament the Apostle alludes un­to, in Phil. 4.18. 2 Cor. 2.15. Eph. 5.2.

When I bring you out from the People, and gather them out of the Countries, &c.

These words wee had before in the 34. v. where they soun­ded judgement, but here mercy.

And I will be sanctified in you before the Heathen.

The Hebrew is, I will sanctify my self, when sanctificati­on refers to God, it imports,

1 Ʋindication of his Name, being polluted and dishonoured by the Sonnes of men, as Ezek. 36.23. I will sanctify my great name which was prophaned among the Heathen, which yet have prophaned in the midst of them.

2 Making himself known, and acknowledged to be holy, just, and powerful, so its to bee taken, Ezek. 28.22. They shall [Page 127] know that I am the Lord, when I shall have executed judge­ments in her, and shall bee sanctified in her, so Levit. 10.3. by the fury and judgement upon Nadab, Abihu, God sanctified himself, he made himself known to be a holy, just, and dreadful Majesty.

3. Gods doing of that which redounds to his honour and praise, Laudabor prop­ter meam erga vos misericor­diam atque beneficentiam Piscator. Gentes lauda­bunt me prop­ter liberatio­nem vestram, Vatablus. Cum omnes nationes vide­rint vos a me esse liberatos sanctum me justum que ju­dicabunt quod facerim quod promiseram. Maldon. Glorifica­bor, sanctus potens mirabi­lis predicabor. Pradus. So A Lapide, Pintus. Lavater and thus diverse interpreters take it in this place. I will bring you out of Babylon into your own Countrey, unite you into Church order, give you another Temple, with all the Ordi­nances of it, sanctify you by my word, and Spirit, cause you to worship mee with pure worship, bringing me the best you have for Sacrifices, that so you may praise mee for my goodnesse unto you, and the Nations, for the great things done for you. The Lords bringing them out of the coun­trys where they were scattered, was a great work, and filled the Heavens with admiration, making them to say, The Lord hath done great things for them, Psalm 126.2. and the Jews also to say, The Lord hath done great things for us, v. 3. when the Jews were brought out of Egypt, its said, Psa. 114.2. Judah was his Sanctuary [...] in Sanctitatem ejus, or Sanctificatio ejus, and so the French read it, Juda fut sa saincte­te, God separated them from the Egyptians, as these from the Babylonians, to inhabit their praises, and to bee wor­shipped by them, and so they were his Sanctuary, and Sancti­fication.

God doth Sanctify himself, when he doth vouchsafe a people manifestations of his goodnesse, wisdome, mercy, love, and faithfulnesse, and God is sanctified, when a people doth that is pleasing and acceptable to God.

Numb. 20.12. Because ye beleeve not to sanctify mee in the eyes of the children of Israel; unbeleef is a non-sanctifying of God, and beleeving is a sanctifying of him.

Obs. 1 God accounts not Apostates and Idolaters, but those are true Israelites, to bee his people, his Church: for in mine ho­ly mountain there shall all the house of Israel bee: those were Rebels, and would serve wood and stone, that would not hearken unto him, hee purged out, and the house of Israel purged, must bee in his holy mountain. God esteems those [Page 128] who are Godly, true Beleevers, Israelites indeed, to bee his. There bee none but such in the invisible Church, Rom. 11.26. Gal. 6.16. but in the visible, there bee tares and wheat, yet God doth not reckon the tares to bee wheat; they are Satans not the Lords, Mat. 13.38. there be goats and sheep, yet the Lord reckons not the goats to bee sheep, Matth. 25.33. Psal. 15.1. Lord who shall dwell in thy holy hill, hee that walketh uprightly, and worketh, &c.

Obs. 2 Where-ever Gods people are scattered, hee will bring them, and all of them, into, or unto Sion to serve him. In mine holy Mountain, &c. There shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the Land, serve mee: God would bring them out of Babylon into Canaan, from Heathenish mountains to his holy Mountain, from the World and Synagogues of Satan into the true Church. Where-ever God hath any sheep, hee will gather them, and all of them into his fold.

These verses do speak and hold out Gods dealing with his People under Christ and the Gospel, wherein God would bring them from all Nations, to enjoy the great and good things provided for them, of which the Evangelical Pro­phet Isay speaks at large, chap. 60. so Zach. ch. 8.20, 21, 22. and hereof spoke our Lord Jesus Christ, when hee said, John 10.16. Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold, them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice. When the Prodi­gal was in a far Countrey, did not the Lord order things so, that hee returned to his fathers house? when the sheep was strayed and lost, did not the Lord seek it out, and bring it home to the fold? Luke 15. and did not Christ send out his Apostles into all Nations to gathet in those were given him of the Father? Mat. 28.19, 20.

Obs. 3 The Lord is to bee worshipped especially in Sion, in his holy Mountain, in the solemn assembly. There shall all the house of Israel serve mee. Its not sinful to worship God any where, 1 Tim. 2.8. or alone, Matth. 6.6. but chiefly in the Congregation it should bee, where his worship is publike­ly held forth, and with the harmoniousnesse of many spi­rits held up, where strangers may come in, and see, yea, say, God is here, 1 Cor. 14.25. For hee is in the assembly of the Saints, Psalm. 89.7. This made the Prophet say, Isa. 2.23, [Page 129] it shall come to pass in the last daies, that the mountain of the Lords house shall bee established in the top of the Mountains, and shall bee exalted above the hills, and all Nations shall flow unto it, and many people shall go and say, Come yee, and let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Ja­cob, and hee will teach us of his waies, and wee will walk in his paths; But in our daies this gracious prophesy hath been greatly crossed, for many have said, Come let us go from the Mountain of the Lord, from the house of the God of Jacob; Let us go to our own Mountaine, follow our own Teachings, and walk in our own paths, but God hath made it evident, that their mounts, are mounts of Corruption, their Teachings Delusions, their paths crooked and cursed. Let us therefore take the Apostles counsel, Heb. 10 13, 24, 25. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, and let us consider one another to provoke unto love, and to good works, not forsaking the assembling of our selves together, as the manner of some is; Nor let us meet as the manner of some is, viz. to wickednesse.

Let us fulfill the Prophesy, call upon one another to go up to the Mountain of the Lord, &c. And say, he will teach us his waies, and wee will walk in his paths.

Obs. 4 In the Lords mountain, in the Church, God will shew favour and mercy to his people. There will I accept them, That is, pardon, approve of, and receive them; when wee come to serve the Lord after his own way, in Gospel con­gregations, meeting in this name of Christ to know the mind of God, and glorify him, God is the Master of such as­semblies, hee dispenseth many mercies, and distributes swee­test comforts therein, Isa. 60.7. they shall come up w [...]th ac­ceptance to mine Altar, is spoken of the Gospel times, men should come from several quarters to the Christian congre­gations with acceptance: God would meet them there, welcome them thither, there hee would blesse them see Jer. 31.12. Isa. 66.18. 2 Cor. 6. as every Christian, so every congregation is the Temple of the living God, therefore hee told the Church of Corinth, hee would dwell in them, bee their God and father, and they should bee his people, his Sonnes and Daughters; God would accept of them as a Fa­ther [Page 130] doth of his Children, take pleasure in them, and let out choice mercies unto them; When the Disciples were met, Jesus came to them, bestowed his peace and Spirit upon them. John 20.19.21, 22. and see what mercies they met with, who served him in his Temple, Rev. 7.15, 16, 17, 18.

Obs. 5 Where the person is accepted of God, there the Actions and Sacrifices of that person are acceptable also. There I will accept them, and there will I require their offerings. In Sion God would accept the men, and in Sion hee would ac­cept their services. If Persons or Congregations bee not accepted of God themselves, nothing they do or tender, is welcome unto him, Gen. 4.5. but if the parties bee under Divine favour, their presents and duties are grateful, Isa. 56.6, 7. those that joyned themselves to the Lord, and took hold of his Covenant. Them saith the Lord, Will I bring to my holy Mountain, and make them joyfull in my house of prayer, their burnt offerings, and their Sacrifices shall bee accepted up­on mine Altar. They being in Covenant with God, and of­fering in Sion unto God, he was pleased with them and their offerings, Mal. 3.1, 3, 4. when Christ the messenger of the Covenant should come, refine them, and bee delighted in by them, then should the offerings of Judah and Jerusa­lem bee pleasant unto the Lord. God is desirous of the pray­ers, praises, and almes of a good man, who is reconciled unto him; they are sweet odours unto him; so they are call [...]d in the next vers. I will accept you with your sweet sa­vour, or savour of rest; when God hath these, his spirit is at rest; being in a manner troubled when hee hath them not. Hence prayers of the Godly are likened to incense, Psalm 141.2. their bounty, to the odour of a sweet smell, Phil. 4.18. and their praise is preferred before the sacrificing of an Oxe, Psal. 69.31.

Obs. 6 God must have the best tendred up to him in our Sa­cr [...]fices and Service [...], hee cal [...] for, and expects the best from his people. I require the first fruits of their Oblations; the chief, principal, and best you have, in all your holy [...]hings. If God have lean, lanke, lame, imperfect Sacrifices offered to him, its a dishonour, and offends him, Mal. 1.8. if ye offer the blinde for [Page 131] sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the Lame and sick, is it not evil? yes, its very evil, its extreamly evil; the interroga­tion it self portends so much, and being a double interrogati­on, doubles the evil. What offer it to mee? man wo [...]ld not accept of such offerings, go try, Offer it now unto thy Governour, that is brought unto mee. Go tender it to him, will hee bee pleased with thee, or accept thy person? no, I know hee will not, and if man, sorry, sinful man, like thy self will not accept such things, should I the great God do it? God is so far from accepting and shewing favour in this kinde, that hee poureth out a curse upon him, that doth so, ver. 14. Cur­sed bee the deceiver which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: men think if they do something in religion, give God a Sacrifice, though it be blind, lame, sickly, they shall have a blessing; but see how the Lord brands them, they are deceivers▪ and whom do they deceive, not God, but themselves; for instead of a blessing they meet with a curse; such dealings with God, cause him even then when hee uses to bee most propitious, to throw forth curses. Suitable hereunto, is that in Hos. 8.13. They Sacrifice flesh for the Sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat it; but the Lord accepts them not, now will hee remember their iniquity, and visit their sins; if they did bring the best they had, yet they had no respect to God, but to their own bellies.

Obs. 7 When the Lord brings his People out of a scattered, Captive condition, into Church order, hee expects they should set up all his Ordinances. I will require your offerings, and the first fruits of your Oblations, with all your holy things: Circum­cision, Passeover, Sacrifices, &c. Their being in Babylon was a representation of the Churches condition under Antichrist, and as then they being freed from the Babylonish Captivity, fell into the waies of worship formerly given out, so now Christians being brought out of spiritual Babylon should do the like: Neither let any say, those gifts are lost which the Churches once had, &c.

Ezra 2.63. those Priests that were put from their places, because their Names were not found in the Genealogies, the Tirshatha or Governour said, They should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a Priest with the Urim, and with [Page 132] Thummim, that was never.

They lost at the Babylonish captivity,

  • 1 The Ark with the Mercie Seat, and Cherubims.
  • 2 The fire from heaven.
  • 3 Sheimoh or Divine presence.
  • 4 The Urim and Thummim.
  • 5 The Spirit of Prophesy.

These all were wanting in the Second Temple, yet they did not forbear to set up and use the Ordinances of God which formerly were appointed.

Obs. 8 The Lord doth those things for his People, which makes him honourable amongst them and others. I wil bee sanctified in you before the Heathen; The mercy and kindnesse he shew­ed them in bringing them out of Babylon, and restoring to them their former injoyments, set them on work to praise the Lord, and made the Heathens acknowledge that God was faithful to them in keeping his promise.

Vers 42 And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the Countrey for the which I lifted up my hand, to give it to your fathers.
43 And there shall yee remember your waies, and all your do­ings wherein yee have been defiled, and yee shall loath your selves in your own sight, for all your evils that yee have com­mitted.
44 And yee shall know that I am the Lord, when I have wrought with you for my names sake, not according to your wicked waies, nor according to your corrupt doings, O yee house of Israel, saith the Lord God.

In these verses you have the event and sequel of the Lords gracious dealings with this People, in bringing them out of their Captivity into their own land again; which is,

  • 1 Experimental acknowledgement of God and his goodness unto them, v. 42.44.
  • 2 Con [...]dera [...]ion of their former waies. v. 43.
  • 3 Humiliation and Repentance for them.
[Page 133]And ye shall know that I am the Lord.

They knew the Lord by the works of creation, by the Pro­phets, by the severe judgements he had executed upon them, but that knowledge had not affected their hearts and brought them to fear, worship, and serve the Lord answerably; but now upon that great mercy of being delivered out of Baby­lon, which seemed a thing unpossible to them. Ezek. 37.11. and being brought into Canaan, they should have such know­ledge of God as should descend to their hearts, and cause them to hearken to, and honor him; they should know him practical­ly, do his will; they should know him to be faithful in perform­ing his Promises, powerful and gratious in doing greater things than they looked for, and so should set themselves to serve the Lord. Others knew him by his judgements, v. 38. which knowledge produced no real effects in their hearts and lives, but these by his mercies and goodnesse, which know­ledge rested not in their heads, but was operative in their hearts, and extant in their lives, so knowing is to bee taken, 1 Chron. 28.9.

When I shall bring you into the Land of Israel, &c.

Of these words, or not much differing, you heard in the 28. vers. Though the Land of Israel were a fruitful Land, flowing with milk and hony, and so it was a great mercy to bee brought in upon that account, yet that was not all. It was the Land of Promise, the inheritance of their fathers, and their repossession of it evidenced that they were their chil­dren, their heires, the people of God.

Obs. 1 Experimental knowledge of God, affects the heart, and makes obedient to his will▪ to worship▪ and honour God, which other knowledge doth not; What ever knowledge a man hath of God and his waies, without this, its a form of knowledge, rather than knowledge it self, 1 John 2.4. Hee that saith I know him, and keepeth not his Commandements, is a Lyar, and the Truth is not in him that is, hee hath no true knowledge of God in him; for what hee saith of love, ch. 5.3. This is the [Page 134] Love of God, that wee keep his Commandements, that is true of knowledge, there is no right knowledge of God if yee keep not his Commandements. Hence saith the Lord, Isa. 1.3. Israel doth not know, and Jer. 4.22. ch. 8.7. my people know not the judgement of the Lord; they had the Law, the Pro­phets, yet they did not know, and why? they did not keep his Commandements. Violation of them is an argument men know not God; where works of iniquity are committed, there the knowledge of God is wanting, Hos. 5.4. the spirit of whoredomes is in the midst of them, and they have not known the Lord, and ch. 4.1. when there was no truth nor mercy in the Land, then there was no knowledge of God in it. When men are disobedient to the Commands of God, they are ignorant of God in their hearts, deny God in their lives, what ever knowledge they have of him in their heads; you may finde it in holy writ, that as those do evil, are said not to know God, Jer. 9.3. so those that do good, are said to know him, Jer. 22.16. and pure religion, which is the right knowledge of God, is put upon doing, James 1.27. Daniel therfore tells us, that turning from iniquity, and so walking in the waies of God, is the way to understand truth, and so to know God, Dan. 9.13. and Christ hath affirmed it, that do­ing is the way to knowing, Joh. 7.17.

Obs. 2 The Goodness, mercy, and kindnesse of God begets experimental knowledge of him in the hearts of men; Yee shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel. When God should knock off the Babylonish yoak, and replant them in Canaan; then their hearts should taste and bee affected with the dealings of God. Great mercies had great operations upon them, and made deep impressions in them; God teaches men by his works, experimentall knowledge comes in that way; when his word is fulfilled in Promises or threats, in mercy, or judgement, then men come to know God. Hee is known by executing of judge­ment, Psal. 9.16. and known by his mercies, Psal. 19.20, 21, 22. Its one thing to hear of Physick, another to feel the workings of it in ones bowels. One thing to hear of Wine, another to finde the vertue of it in the sto­mach. So its one thing to hear of God and his mercies, ano­ther [Page 135] to taste of the loving kindnesse of God in his mercies, Psalm 34.8. taste and see that the Lord is good. Gods good­nesse had bred experimental knowledge in David, and hee could sensibly speak of it, and provoke others to partake of what hee had.

Ver. 43 And there shall yee remember your waies.

These words wee had in the 16. chap. vers. 61. the word remember notes remembring with affection, so as to do some­thing thereupon.

And all your doings wherein ye have been defiled.

The Septuagint reads the former words with a part of these, thus, There shal ye remember your waies, wherein yee have defiled your selves, and leave out these words, all your doings; but they are in the Hebr [...]w, and import their Idolatries, and other abominations. They corrupted Gods worship, fell to Babylonish practises, and greatly defiled themselves.

And ye shall loath your selves in your own sight.

In the sixth Chapter, vers. 9. were these words opened, where they are thus, They sh [...]l loath themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations. The Sep­tuagint is, [...],Aquil. [...] Displicebitis vob [...]s. Theod. [...] insensi critis. Sym. [...]. They shal smite their faces. Others you shal be displeased and wroth with your selves. Symmachus hath it thus, you shal be little in your own eyes, for all the wickedn [...]sses ye have done; The meaning of the verse is, that they should seriously consider their waies, bee ashamed of them, tru [...]ly repent of them; yea, so repent, as to judge themselves worthy to bee cut off from being Gods People, and to be made a curse.

Obs. 1 [...]ense of Mercies rather than of Judgements, makes sin bitter, and le [...]ds unto Repentance. Their Captivity and sad things they suffered therein, [...] & ex­cindere & exe­crari significat. saith Maldona. did not imbitter their sinne unto them, and break their hearts, but Gods kindnesse in bringing them out of Babylon, into the Land of Israel, that [Page 136] prevailed with them, when they had received marvellous kindnesse from God, then they were marvellously affected, greatly ashamed of their waies, and loathed themselves. Mercies in Sion produced that which judgements in babylon did not.Quem vexatio non dat, dat beneficentia intellectum. Pradus. Great mercies bestowed upon great sinners, do preach the Doctrine of repentance most effectually, convin­cing them strongly of their unworthy and vile carriages to­wards the Lord

1 Sam. 24. Davids kindnesse brake the heart of Saul, and made him to weep and say, Thou art more righteous then I, for thou hast rewarded mee good, whereas I have rewarded thee evill. If humane favour hath such influence into a sinfull heart, what hath Divine? Moses by his stroaks fetched wa­ter out of a Rock, David by his kindnesse. God somtimes by his judgements humbles men, and brings them to repen­tance, but mostly by his mercies. The sweet influences of the Gospel have pierced deeper into sinners hearts, than the terrours of the Law.

Obs. 2 When the Lord gathers up his People out of the world, and brings them into near relation to himself, into Canaan, and Church order, hee looks they should review their former waies, and bee much affected with them, and throughly repent for them. There shall ye remember your waies, and all your doings, wherein, &c. When brought into Canaan, they were not on­ly to eat the milk and honey, to behold the glory thereof, but they were to remember daies of old, their sinnes in Baby­lon, compliances with Babylonians; how they had polluted themselves, and provoked the Lord, and thereupon to mourn kindly for their unkindnesses to him, who had shew­ed such marvellous loving kindnesse unto them. When God brings men out of the World; now into Sion, gives them the Milk and Honey of the Gospel, shews them the glory thereof, then they look back, wonder at their wickedness, and loath themselves for it, saying, who is like unto us in sinne and wickedness, and who is like unto our God in grace and good­nesse, in pardon and forgivenesse? Micah 7.18 when it shall please God to bring the Jews out of that Babylon they are now in; unto the true Canaan the Church of Christ, they will remember their iniquities, their bitter and bloudy do­ings [Page 137] against Christ, mourn and loath themselves for the same, Zach. 12.10. Rev. 1.7.

Obs. 3 Where repentance springs from sense of Love and kindnesse, as it is real and deep, so its secret and universal, they should, being brought into Canaan, not onely remember their sinnes, but they should loath themselves, bee displeased so with themselves, that they should smite and abhorre themselves, and that in their own sight, and for all the evils they had committed, when no eye saw them, they would spread all their sinnes before them, and in the sight and sense of them, be vile in their own eyes.

Vers. 44. And they shall know that I am the Lord.

These words wee had in the 42. v. wherein they were o­pened and expounded of an experimental knowledge.

When I have wrought with you for my Names sake.

Of these words, see vers. 9.14.22. The Vulgar is, Cum be­nefecero, When I shall have done good to you. The Hebrew is, When I have done to you, or With you for my Name sake, That is, when I have dealt graciously and mercifully with you out of my free grace, and for the honour of my name.

Not according to your wicked waies.

Of wicked abominations was spoken chap. 8.9. of wicked counsel, chap. 11.2. of Wicked way and waies, chap. 13.22.18.23. Those are wicked waies which lead from God, from truth, from just, honest, and good things. In such they had walk­ed long, but God would not deal with them according to the wickednesse of their waies.Significat ali­quid ad imum usque, & fun­ditus perdere corrumpere depravare quo­cunque id fiat modo sine medio.

Nor according to your corrupt doings.

The word for Corrupt is from [...] which signifies to Corrupt even to the bottome, throughly, and such were they, they were not a Little corrupt, but totally corrupted, in their judgements, wills, affections, words and actions, they were [Page 138] like a corrupt spring, that sends forth nothing but corrupt wa­ters, Ezek. 16.47. Thou wast corrupted more than they in all thy waies.

Obs. 1 The Lord is gratious and merciful unto the Sonnes of men, deserving ill at his hands, hee deals with them upon the account of his grace, not their deserts; What did their wicked waies and corrupt doings deserve at his hands? but that hee should have poured out his fury, and accomplish his anger upon them, as it is ch. 7.8. but hee wrought with them for his Name sake, that is, out of his free grace and favour he spared them, hee pardoned them, hee delivered them out of Babylon, and brought them into Canaan. When God seeth nothing in the Creature to put him on to shew mercy, hee findes enough in his own Name, to provoke him there­unto; you have it four times in this chapter, thrice before, and here, that hee wrought for his Name sake, whatever mer­cy this people had, it was from Divine favour, not their de­sert.

If it was free Grace brought the Jews out of Babylon into Canaan, what is it but freenesse, fulnesse, and riches of grace to bring men out of the world into the heavenly Canaan? Predestination, Calling, Justification, and Glorification, are acts of meer grace, and favour, Eph. 1.5. 2 Tim. 1.9. Rom. 3.24. ch. 8.30. 1 Pet. 5.10. All the Sonnes of men injoy here, or expect hereafter, is from the bounty, favour, and mercy of God, Psalm 103.8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Luke 12.32. to attribute ought to our own wills or indeavours, is to derogate from God, and darken the glory of his name, and free grace.

Obs. 2 God doth therefore deal gratiously with sinners, that they may know him experimentally; Yee shal know that I am the Lord, when I have wrought with you for my Name sake, &c. God works, and so works, that hee makes the hearts of men affected with his works▪ and to say, Psal. 86.8. Among the Gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord, neither are there any works like unto thy works, none so full of Glory, so full of grace and mercy, none so influential and operative upon the heart. Its Gods scope and aim in doing good so freely, and fully as hee doth, to make himself known to the hearts [Page 139] of his People, that so they may bee knit to him, provoke them to admire him, and live more fully to him.

Vers. 45 Moreover, the word of the Lord came unto mee, saying,
46 Son of Man, set thy face towards the South, and drop thy word toward the South, and Prophesy against the Forrest of the South-field.
47 And say to the forrest of the South: Hear the word of the Lord: Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shal devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree, the flaming flame shal not be quen­ched, and all faces from the South to the North shal bee burnt therein.
48 And all flesh shal see, that I the Lord have kindled it: it shal not be quenched.

These verses are the fifth general part of the chapter, viz. a parabolical Declaration of the destruction of Judea and Je­rusalem.

Some refer these words to the next Chapter, and make the beginning of that at the 45. v. of this.

The 45. v. sets before us the Divine Authority of this Prophesy against the Jews, that were yet in Canaan, the Prophet received it from the Lord, it came from God to him, before it went out from him to men.

In this 45. v. wee have,

  • 1 The Compellation, Son of man, of which heretofore.
  • 2 A Command, to declare and utter the word hee had re­ceived, set thy face, &c.
Set thy Face.

Of this Expression in Chapter 4. 3, 7. ch. 6.2. ch. 13.17.Hac phrasi ostendit strenue precidandum ess [...], ita ut nul­lis minis fran­gatur, nec so impediri sinat. Lavater. dispose thy self to, and bee undaunted in what thou art to Prophesy, and them thou art to Prophesy against: speak then like a man of God, and sent from God, not regarding the frowns or threats of any.

[Page 140]Towards the South.

Babylon was North from Jerusalem, Jerem. 1.14. and our Prophet being there, and having declared the mind of God against those Elders came subtlely to inquire of him, hee is here commanded to set his face Towards the South, that was towards Jerusalem and Judea.

Drop thy word towards the South.

The word for South, Aecolampad. renders Thei­nan. Junius dextram. Others Au­strum, meridi­em. The He­brew is, [...] from [...] the right hand, and Ie­rusalem lay on the right hand, when in Me­sopotamia they stood with their F [...]ces towards the East. Natuph est guttatim effun­dere vel emit­tere, 2 Sam. 2 [...].10. Praeceptum auriculis hee instill are me­mento. Hor. l. 1. Ep. 8. G [...]ta cavat lapidem non vi sed saepe ca­dendo.In the Hebrew is not thy word, but onely thus, drop towards the South. The word [...] properly signifies the dropping of the Clouds or rain, which falls by drops, and metaphorically, is put for prophesying and preaching, and Ʋatablus saith, the Chaldy paraphrase hath it, vaticinare, Prophesy; and so it is ex­pressed in the next words of this verse, Prophesy against the forrest of the South, which are exegetical of what was before, Preaching or Prophesying is likened to rain or the droppings thereof.

1 In respect of the flowing and succession of one drop after another, Judges 5.4. The Heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water; So in Prophesying, there is one word, one truth after another, he that Prophesyeth, effundit verba.

2 In respect of the influence thereof, the drops soak into the earth; so words have influence into mens eares and hearts, Deut. 32.2. My Doctrin shal drop as the Rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the smal rain upon the tender hearb, and as the showres upon the grass: as the rains and dews insinuate themselves into the grass and ground, so do words into the heads and hearts of men, Psal. 119.130. the entrance of thy word giveth light.

3 In respect of the trouble and hurt, that oft rains and droppings produce, Prov. 27.15. A continuall dropping in a very rainy day, and a contentious woman are alike, alike grie­vous, troublesome, wasting, and wearying; so Prophesying of judgements and destruction, is grievous and troubles much, its like great rains and drops, 2 Chron. 34.25. my wrath shall be poured out upon this place: the Original is, shall drop upon this [Page 141] place, there should bee a storm; and such great drops of Gods wrath as should consume it.

Towards the South.

The word here for South is, Dorom, quasi habitatio alta, because the Sunne goeth high there, and after in the verse you have Negef for the South, the word signifies a drie place, and me­tonymically its put for the South, because of the great heat of the Sun there, Judges 1.15. saith Achsah to Caleb her father, Thou hast given me Azatz hannegef, a South Land, that is, a Land of drought, give me springs of water.

Prophesy against the Forrest of the South-Field.

That is, against Jerusalem, and those that dwelt in Judea. The Hebrew for Forrest is, [...] sylva a wood, and Judea or Jerusalem is compared to a Forrest or wood.

1 For the number of those in it; in a wood are a multitude of trees, Jer. 46.23. They shall cut down her forrest, saith the Lord, though it cannot be searched because they are more then the Grashoppers, and are innumerable; its spoken of the Peo­ple of Egypt; so they of [...]udea were many.

2 In a wood and forrest, is no order, the trees stand confu­sedly; so now there was no order amongst them, all run into confusion, Micah 7.6. The Son dishonoureth the Father, the Daughter riseth up against her mother, the Daughter in Law, against the Mother in Law, a mans enemies are they of his owne house.

3 In a Forrest, Trees are fruitlesse, or if fruitful, its wilde fruit those trees bear, they are for the Axe and fire, Ezek. 15.6. such were the men in Judea, trees that bare no fruit, or evil fruit, Isa. 9.17. Every one is an Hypocrite, and an evil doer, aad every mouth speaketh folly, see Mic. 7.3, 4.

4 Forrests and Woods are D [...]uns of Wilde Beasts, Psalm 104.20. Jer. 5.6. and Jerusalem was full of Wilde beasts, Zeph. 3.3, 4. Ezek. 22.25, 27. Mic. 3.10 Ezek. 7.23. The Land is full of bloudy crimes, the City is full of violence, Jer. 7.9, 10, [Page 142] 11. There was Robbing, Murdering, and all Abomina­tions.

Obs. 1 When God calls men to Prophesy or Preach, they are to prepare for it, and undauntedly to proceed therein; Sonne of man, set thy face towards the South, and drop thy word, &c. Hee must fit himself for that work, and what ever he met with in the work, hee must not bee discouraged, but go on as one sent out, and commissioned by the Lord, thus did Peter and John, Act. 4.19, 20.

Obs. 2 Gods word shall not be in vain, which is given out a­gainst hard-hearted sinners. Drop thy word towards the South, and Prophesy against the Forrest. They would not admit the Dews of the word for their good, they must feel the droppings of it, for their ruine: Men cannot keep the rain from falling upon the earth and rocks; Neither can they keep off the threats of God from falling upon them and theirs; and when they fall they will bee terrible unto them, Isa. 55.10, 11. as the rain hath its end, when it falls, so hath the word hee sends forth and causeth to bee dropped; if hee drop a word of wrath, that drop will eat into the most stony heart, and consume it at last, Zach. 1.6. Gods words took hold of their fathers, the Prophets dropped out such terrible drops of judgement, as consumed them: Let Judea bee as a Forrest full of trees, and mighty ones too, if God once drop his word against it, down must these rees, Hos. 6.5. God hewed them by his Prophets, and slew them by the judge­ments of his mouth.

Obs. 3 Gods Threats and Judgements are irrespective, and impartial. Prophesy against the Forrest: The whole Forrest and highest trees in it, as well as the Shrubs, and bushes. Wicked Citties and Countries are no other in Gods account, than a Forrest of wilde and fruitlesse trees, which hee laies his Axe unto, to cut down for the fire.

47 And say to the Forrest of the South, thus saith the Lord, &c.

After a Command of the Prophet to speak, and the forrest to hear, you have the Parabolical declaration it self, of the [Page 143] destruction of Jerusalem; where you may take notice,

  • 1 Of the judgement, which is fire.
  • 2 The Author of it, I will kindle a fire.
  • 3 The Place where, in thee.
  • 4 The effect of this fire, it should devour every tree, both green and dry.
  • 5 The kinde or manner of this fire, inextinguishable, the fla­ming flame shall not be quenched.
I will kindle a fire in thee.

By fire is meant that warlike invasion by the Babylonians, who by sword, and what accompanied it, laid all wast.

Every green tree, and every dry tree.

Jerome makes these to bee Saints and Sinners; So some o­thers expound the green tree of the Righteous, and dry Tree, of the Wicked, but Ezek. 9.4. the righteous mourned for all the abominations were in Jerusalem, and were marked that they might not be destroyed. Its better therefore to understand by green Tree, the rich and wealthy, the young and lusty, the high and mighty; and by the Dry Tree, the Old, Poor, and such as were underlings and inconsiderable; Or by them you may un­derstand all sorts of People; as by green trees, and dry trees, all sorts of trees, in a forrest or wood are meant.

The flaming flame shall not be quenched.

The Hebrew is, The flame of flame, the duplication of the word, notes the intention of it, a vehement flame, such as should continue, and by no art, power, or policy be extinct, the affliction should be wonderful, sore, and lasting. The war begat famine, famine the plague, plague death, here was a flame of a flame. They strove by the Egyptians to quench that fire, but could not.

[Page 144]All faces from the South to the North shall be burnt therein.

Not all destroyed, or be ashamed onely, but all through fear, famine, and diseases, should appear as dry withered and burnt up, from one end of the land to the other.

Obs. 1 The Lord sends fierce judgements upon his own People for their wickednesse, which do consume all sorts of them. I will kindle a fire in thee; In thee Jerusalem, in thee Judea, who gloriest in thy Princes, in thy Nobles, in thy Souldiers, in thy Priviledges, and Church-ship, which shall devour every green tree, and every dry tree; As a fire devoures all before it, so do Gods judgements: Let houses be strong or weak, great or small, trees be green or dry, fire conquers them, and brings them to ashes; So doth Gods judgements ruine People, bee they high or low, weak or strong, rulers or subjects, and dries up the Spirits of those that are living, Lament. 4.8. Their visage is blacker than a Coal, they are not known in the streets, their skin cleaveth to their bones, it is wi­thered, it is become like a stick.

See Isa. 24.4.5, 6.

Obs. 2 Gods judgements once begunne, can not be staid by the skil or power of the creature: The flaming fire shall not bee quenched, they used all their Policy and Power to divert the Babylonians from comming, to remove them being come, but nothing prevailed. Gods fires are not extinguishable by the Arts, Counsels, or strengths of men. As we cannot avoid his judgements threatned, so wee cannot remove them in­flicted; if hee send a spirit of division among brethren, who can cast out that spirit; if he Commission the Sword to walk abroad, who can command it into the Scabberd againe? And to keep home? If hee cause a burning heat in the Body, who can quench that heat but him­self?

[Page 145]
Vers. 48.
And all flesh shall see, that I the Lord have kindled it: it shall not bee quenched.
All flesh.

By a Synecdoche of the genus or the species, flesh is put for men, and by all flesh, hee intends the people in the Regions round about, and Chaldeans themselves.

Shall see.

That is, shall acknowledge, that this war, this destru­ctive judgement is not humane, but divine; When strange and dreadful things are done, men inquire into the causes. If Mountains bee set on fire, fire and brimstone come down from heaven, they will see and say this is the hand of the Lord.

It shall not be quenched.

God would continue the burning of this fire, till it had con­sumed what hee had appointed to consumption. Not their Prayers, Tears, or bloud, should extinguish it; hee that kind­led it, onely could quench it, only he that calleth for, and cau­seth war, can cease wars.

Obs. Its one main end of Gods severe judgements upon Cities, Nations, and People, to make them know and acknowledge that hee is the causer and continuer of them, yea, that they are un­removeable without his hand.

Vers. 49 Then said I, Ah Lord God, They say of me, doth he not speak Parables?

Here is the last part of the chapter, viz. a doleful conclusi­on of the Prophet, wherein hee complains of the course and reproachful usage hee had amongst the People, they mockt, and scoffed at him and his Parables, they told him they were dreams and phansies of his own; what did hee tell them of the [Page 146] South, and Forrest of the South field, of fire, and flaming flame, of green and dry trees, these were dark things, visions, and divinations of his own head, and as for them, they would not heed what hee said; his words savoured more of man than of God, setting forth his wit more than any thing else.

Doth he not speak Parables?

Jun. and Trem. have it, Nonne est artifex parabolorum iste? Is not he an Artist in Parabolizing? Piscat. Annon excogita­tor parabolorum est? is he not a deviser of Parables? hee vexes us with such things, gives us words we understand not.

Obs. 1 The Prophets and messengers of God are subject to scorn and reproach, even from those they are sent unto, Jer. 18.18. 2 Chron. 36.16. Isa. 8.18.

Obs. 2 When the messengers of God are burdened with the revilings, scoffes and reproaches of men, their refuge is to go unto God, and ease themselves in his bosome, as the Prophet here doth.

Obs. 3 When Prophesies and Preachings are not pleasing to the people, they are not willing to understand what is delivered. They say, doth he not speak parables? they knew what fire, forrest flame, green, and dry trees meant, but because it was a sad prophesy, and struck at their interests, they would not under­stand, they put off all as mystical and aenigmatical.

AN Exposition continued UPON THE PROPHESY OF EZEKIEL.
CHAP. XXI.

Vers. 1 And the word of the came Lord unto me, saying,’2 Son of man, set thy face towards Jerusalem, and drop thy word toward the holy places, and Prophesy against the land of Israel.’3 And say to the Land of Israel, Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I am against thee, and wil draw forth my sword out of his sheath, and wil cut off from thee, the righteous and the wicked.’4 Seeing then that I will cut off from thee, the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall, my sword go forth out of his sheath, against all flesh, from the South to the North.’5 That all flesh may know that I the Lord, have drawn forth my Sword out of his sheath: It shall not return any more.’

IN this Chapter is a double Prophesy.

One against the land of Israel, and what was therein, from the 1. v. to the 28.

2 Another against the Ammonites, from the 28. to the end.

[Page 148]
Ver. 1
And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

The Hebrew for Came unto me, is, was unto me, that is, was put into mee by divine inspiration; hee spake not of him­self, but from God.

Vers. 2 Son of man set thy Face towards Jerusalem drop thy Word, and Prophesy.

Of these words see the former Chapter, vers. 46. where they were spoken of.

Towards the Holy Places.

The Temple which is put plurally, because of the severall Partitions of it, the Sanctum, and Sanctum Sanctorum, with the buildings contigual to it, which the Jews esteemed holy.

Here hee shews what in the end of the former Chapter, he meant by the South, Forrest of the South, and South-field, viz. The land of Israel, Judea, and the Temple,

Obs. Holinesse of Places will not priviledge unholy People. Sanctuaries are no protections against Divine justice. Canaan was the holy Land, Jerusalem the holy City, and the Temple, more Holy than both; yet Son of Man set thy face towards Jerusalem, and drop thy word toward the holy places, and prophesy against the Land of Israel, and say, thus saith the Lord, Behold, I am against thee, &c. I will bring the Babylonish Army upon thee; which shall utterly destroy thee.

Vers. 3 Behold I am against thee.

Here was sad tidings to hear, that God was against Jeru­salem, see chap. 5.8.

And will draw forth my Sword.

By Sword is meant War, and the grievous evils accompa­ny it, Lev. 26.33.

[Page 149]And will cut off from thee, the righteous and the wicked.

The Septuagint reads the words otherwise, [...], I will destroy out of thee, the unjust and lawless; The Chaldy hath it, I will cause thy just ones to go out of thee, that I may destroy the wicked; but the Hebrew is, The righteous and the wicked: How this can bee understood of a man truely righteous, I finde not, for Psalm 5.12. The Lord blesseth the righteous, and compasseth him with favour as with a shield, if hee cut him off, how doth hee compass him with favour, and favour as a shield; how doth hee protect him? Gen. 18.23, 25. Wilt thou destroy the righteous with the wicked? far bee it from thee, shall not the Judge of the earth do right? said Abraham to God. Hee thought it an unjust and grievous evil that God should cut off the righteous and wicked together; and the truely righteous were mark­ed, Ezek. 9.4. that they might not bee slain.Junius. Piseat. polan. Divers Ex­positors herefore, make the righteous here to bee such as were reputed so, seemed to bee so, but were not in truth so. Pradus saith, Vatem justos appell [...]sse per catachresin, eos qui tales videbantur, cum revera sontes essent, & supplicium mere­rentur, and so righteous is taken, Mat. 9.13.Mat 8.12 Luk. 2.48. I am not come to call the righteous, &c. The holy Scripture speaks often according to the opinions and apprehensions are had of men, or what they have of themselves, Luke 18.9. the Pharisees thought themselves righteous, and were reputed so, but fell short of true righteousness. These were lesse wicked than o­thers, and so appeared righteous.

Vers. 4 My Sword shall go forth out of his sheath against all flesh, from the South to the North.

This verse is the same for substance, with vers. 47. of the Precedent Chapter; fire there is the same, with sword here, green tree, and dry tree, the same with righteous and wick­ed, the burning up of all faces from the North to the South, [Page 150] the same with the words, going out against all flesh.

Vers. 5. That all flesh may know, &c.

All flesh was to bee cut off in Judea, that all flesh in other lands might know the severe judgements of God.

Obs. 1 That wars are the Lords; They come not without his Commission, he sends them, orders them, and ends them at his pleasure. I will draw forth my Sword out of his sheath, My Sword. vers. 4. shall go forth against all flesh, from the South to the North, and vers. 5 it shall not return any more, i. e. Till it had accomplished the Lords will; Nebuchadnezzar and his Army was the sword, Babylon the sheath, God brought them out of their own Countrey, into the land of Israel, which hee laid waste-from one end to the other, and then having finished the work of the Lord, hee returned.

Obs. 2 Outside righteousness doth not secure men from the judgements of God. I will cut off from thee, the righteous and the wicked: Such righteousnesse findes not favour with God. Its no better in his account than wickednesse. Labour for true righteousnesse; What if Josiah fell in warre, and other righteous ones have been cut off in publike calamities, yet know, Mors illis non poena, sed gloria est.

Obs. 3 From the 4. vers. The Lord is severe in his judge­ments at last; He bare long with the Jews, but now hee would unsheath his sword, and cut off the righteous and the wicked from the Land, yea, all flesh, from the South to the North.

None should escape his stroak, hee would finde them out where ever hid.

Obs. 4 From the 5. vers. That Gods end in bringing judge­ments upon a Nation, is to make known his Power, Justice, and severity against sinners, and their sinful waies: that all flesh may know, that I the Lord have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath. There is a knowledge of God by his works, as well as by his word, and by his judgements, as well as by his mercies; When Nebuchadnezzar and his Army, the great Sword of God, should come and cut them down, all men should see and say, God is, &c.

[Page 151]
Vers. 6
Sigh therefore thou Son of man with the breaking of thy loyns, and with bitterness sigh before their eyes.
7 And it shall bee when they say unto thee, wherefore sighest thou? that thou shalt answer, for the Tydings, because it cometh: and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall bee feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall bee weak as water; Behold it commeth, and shall be brought to pass, saith the Lord God.

Here is a Command laid upon the Prophet, which is to sigh. The manner of it is threefold.

  • 1 With breaking of loynes.
  • 2 With Bitterness.
  • 3 Before their eies.
With the breaking of thy Loynes.

Sigh as if thy loyns were broken; Sigh greatly. Its suita­ble to that in Isa. 21.3. My Loynes are filled with pain, pangs have taken hold upon me as the pangs of a woman that travaileth: a Woman in travail thinks her back broken, her loyns loosed, and sighs grievously; yea, bitterly, as if her self, childe, or both, were loosing their lives; So should the Prophet sigh here, really not fainedly, deeply not superficially, bitterly, not to ease himself.

Before their eyes.

How could this bee, when as Ezekiel was in Babylon, and they at Jerusalem? Its probable there were some of Jeru­salem, came to see and hear how things would go with them there, seeing they had lately revolted from Nebuchadnezzar, or if it were before the revolt▪ some might be there to bring the tribute they paid to the Babylonish King yearly.

In the 7. vers. is the cause of this great sighing, laid down, which is double.

  • 1 Tydings, that is, of the Babylonish Army com­ming.
  • [Page 152]2 The effects thereof, which are four.
    • 1 Melting of hearts.
    • 2 Feeblenesse of hands.
    • 3 Faintnesse of spirits.
    • 4 Weaknesse of knees.

Such fear should possesse them upon the Tydings of the Ba­bylonish Armies approaching, as should make their rocky hearts melt, as Snow before the Sunne, or fat of Lambs be­fore the fire, and the hands, spirits, and knees, of their stou­test men to bee feeble, faint, and weak; so that they should be inept unto all services, especially military ones.

Obs. 1 The Goodnesse of the Lord towards a stubborn, will­full, perishing People, in that hee will have the Prophet to see, what propheticall signs will do, when Prophetical threats did nothing: Sigh son of man, with the breaking of thy Loynes, and with bitterness, &c. These were Prophetical sighs; repre­senting unto them the great evils were comming upon them; that so they might consider: sigh in like manner for their sinnes, and prevent their destruction, or else certainly ex­pect the same.

God laid an heavy burden upon the Prophet, to sigh so.

Obs. 2 Ill-tydings sinks the hearts and spirits of Hypocrites and wicked ones; When they hear of warres and great Forces comming against them, not onely doth their mirth cease, but their hearts, hands, spirits, knees, fail them. When Ne­buchadnezzar came, their hands were upon their loyns, they knew not what to do, whither to go, where to hide them­selves, Hath it not been so in Ireland?

But Psal. 112.7. its said of a godly man, Hee shall not be a­fraid of evil tydings, his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.

Vers. 8 Again, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
9 Son of man Prophesy and say, thus saith the Lord, say, a Sword, a Sword is sharpened, and also fourbished.
10 It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter, it is fourbished that it may glitter, should we then make mirth? It contem­neth the rod of my Son as every tree.
11 And he hath given it to bee fourbished, that it may bee [Page 135] handled: this sword is sharpened, and it is fourbished to give it into the hand of the slayer.
12 Cry and howle, Son of man, for it shall bee upon my people, it shall be upon all the Princes of Israel: Terrors by reason of the sword, shall be upon my people, smite therefore upon thy thigh.
13 Because it is a tryal, and what if the sword contemn even the Rod? it shall be no more, saith the Lord God.

The Lord had said before, hee would unsheath his sword, and now orders the Prophet to cry out, a sword, a sword, and shews the approaching of it, for it was sharpened and fourbished, he drew it out for service, to slay both people and Princes.

Vers. 9 A sword, a sword.

By sword, you may understand all those judgements came with Nebuchadnezzar and his Army, or more specially, those warlike instruments, they prepared and brought with them. The word is doubled, propter vehementiam et certitu­dinem.

Is sharpened and also fourbished.

If it were blunt before, now it was whetted; if it was rusty,Splendor ensis politi terret Hostes. now its scoured. Now Nebuchadnezzar was ready with all his military preparations, sharpe and shining, full of terrour, and fit for execution.

10 Its sharpened to make a sore slaughter.

Hebrew is, Ad jugulandum jugulationem, to kill a killing, that is, to make a great slaughter, it was both fourbished, and sharpened, that it might terrify with its glistering, and cut more sorely with its sharpenesse.

Obs. When God is bringing judgements upon a people, hee will fit instruments for accomplishing of the same, and that to purpose: Hee will make that which is blunt, sharpe; that is rusty, glittering; and those are spiritlesse, full of spirit; he can make one to chase ten, ten one hundred, and one hundred a [Page 154] thousand, his works shall never fail for want of instruments.

Should we then make mirth?

The Hebrew is, [...] vel gaudebimus, shall wee re­joyce? Vatablus saith, Quomodo gaudebimus, and so Lavater. Piscator, An gaudebimus, shall wee rejoyce? no, in no case. So Pradus, O vel quomodo gauderemus.

Obs. 1 Times of warre and judgements, are no times for mirth: The Sword is unsheathed, its whetted, its fourbished, its approaching, should wee then make mirth? that's as unsea­sonable as Snow in summer, and thunder in winter; that is a time for Fasting and Prayer, for Sackcloath and ashes, for judging our selves, and rending our hearts; that's a time to mourn, and not to bee merry, Isa. 22.12, 13, 14. In that day did the Lord God of Hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldnesse, and to girding with sack-cloath, and behold, joy and gladness, slaying Oxen, and killing Sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine, &c. And it was revealed in mine eares by the Lord of Hosts, surely this iniquity shall not be purg­ed from you till ye dye. It provokes God exceedingly, that man calls for mirth, when he calls for mourning.

Obs. 2 The Godly and Faithful, both Ministers and People, are affected with judgements comming upon Church or State, should we then make mirth? Isa. 22.45. Look away from mee, I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort mee, because of the spoi­ling of the daughter of my People; for it is a day of trouble and treading down, and of perplexity; So Jer. 9.1. Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, &c. So Christ wept over Jerusalem, Luke 19.41, 43, 44. for the evils hee saw comming.

It contemneth the Rod of my Son, as every Tree,

These words are difficult. The Hebrew stands thus, The rod of my Son contemning every tree.

The word Rod, shebot, some render Tribe, and so make the sense to bee the Tribe of Judah, the Son of God, which Nebuchadnezzar the sword of God, despised as every tree, but thus Tribe, Son, and every tree, do fall in to be the same.

Others make the sense thus, This sword, the rod of my Son, viz. my people, I have appointed to punish them withall, and however they have been able to indure other rods, yet this is stronger than they, and shall not bee broken or frustrated of its end, when I shall use it; this sense is not to bee despised.

As if by Son, Nebuchadnezzar be meant, who being armed with power, contemned every tree, the green tree, and the dry tree, the high and the low tree, all the men of the land of Israel? if Cyrus who delivered Gods people, bee stiled but his servant, it were much that Nebuchadnezzar who destroyed them, should be called his Son.

Others, Jun. and Pol. interpret the words of Christ, who is meant by Sonne; and rod, to bee the sword in Christs hand; hee was resolved now to cut down every tree by his judge­ment, and to break this nation in peices by the iron rod and sword, hee had in his hand. The father speaks concerning his son to the Prophet, and the 11. v. strengthens this interpreta­tion: Hee hath given it to be fourbished. Who is that hee, but the Son? and who gave it into the hand of the slayer, but he? and that was Nebuchadnezzar.

Obs. 1 Christ hath Rods and judgements in his hand, the rod of my Son. Christ is not all mercie, though full of mer­cy; the father hath committed all judgement unto him, Rev. 6.16. the Lambe hath wrath in him, as well as meek­nesse, Christ is a Lyon to tear in peices; as well as a Samari­tan, &c. Psal. 2.12.

Obs. 2 When sinners profit not, but are worse under lesser judgements, this provokes Christ to bring forth more heavy judgements: The Rod of my Son, contemning every tree; Though they stood it out against other rods, they should not bee able to do so against this; when the Axe comes to the root of Trees, they must down; a knife they may despise, but an Ax despises them.

Obs. 3 Some judgements are so grievous, as they sweep away all; This rod despised every tree, the strongest Oakes, the tallest Cedars, the King, Princes, Nobles, Counsellers, Souldiers, Artificers, &c.

Obs. 4 From the 11. v. Enemies cannot hurt unlesse they [Page 154] [...] [Page 155] [...] [Page 156] have power and furniture given them: The Sword was fitted for and given into the hand of the slayer, Nebuchadnezzar could not have stird, destroyed a man in the Land of Israel, unless Christ had impoured him. Pilate had no power, but what was given him. No man or Nation hath power against ano­ther, unlesse they bee armed from God or Christ. Had the Jews kept in with them, none should ever have harm'd them.

Vers. 12 Cry and howl, Son of man.

The word for Cry is [...] which signifies to cry out, prop­ter angustiam & compressionem animi, Jer. 30.15. why cryest thou for the affliction? afflictions straitned and pressed the spirit of Jacob, so that be cryed out; you have the word in Ezek. 9.8. ch. 11.13. where it notes, crying from sorrow and pressure of minde.

Howle.

Beasts do howle when pinched with hunger, or suffer some great misery. The Hebrew word [...] saith Abenaci­us, hath affinity with [...] and [...], words, which signi­fy night,Quando aliquis est in summa augustia ut fere ad nihilum redigatur & non habet preter noctem & te­nebras molesti­atum tu [...]e inci­pit ululare & plorare. and reduction in a manner to nothing; and when men are incompassed with great calamities, and ready to perish, then they howl, Isa. 65 14. they shall cry for sorrow of heart, and howle for vexation of spirit: the Hebrew is, for breaking of spirit; when their spirits should bee broken, and they ready to sink, and be ruined, then they should howle.

For it shall be upon my people.

The Hebr. is, Hajetha, it hath been upon my People, its usu­al with the Hebrew, to put a praeter-tense, for the future, to signify the certainty of the thing, and so its here. The French is, il est fait pour mon peuple, The Sword is made for my people, to eat their flesh and drink their bloud.

Upon all the Princes of Israel.

In the 11. Chapter 1. you have Princes of the People. The [Page 157] word there is Sar, whence our English word Sir, which is as much; as Prince or Lord, here its Princes of Israel, & the word is, [...] Nesiee from Nasa to prefer, lift up, set on high.

Montanus hath it, in cunctis praelatis Israel, upon all the preferred ones of Israel. The Vulgar, In cunctis ducibus Israel, upon all the Dukes of Israel. Others, upon all the Princes.

Terrors by reason of the Sword.

The word for Terrors is, [...] which is variously ren­dered; The Septuagint is, [...], and referres it to all the Princes of Israel, dwelling or sojourning there.

Theodoret [...], Those that dwell nigh me.

The Vulgar is, qui fugerant, the sword shall bee upon all the Princes and Potentate [...] that should fly.

Montan. hath it, timores ob gladium, fears by reason of the sword.

The French, Crainte de glaive, fear of the sword shall bee upon my people.

Castal. Terrores a gladio imminent populo meo, Terrors from the sword hang over the heads of my people.

Vatablus, Pavores ingruent ab hoc gladio in Populum meum.

Aecolampad. Formidines ad gladium erunt populo meo.

So Piscat. Formidines propter gladium.

Lavater, Terrores gladii erunt Populo meo.

Junius and Polanus read the word thus, Detrusi in gladi­um sunt, saith one, erunt, saith the other, cum populo meo, and in the margent of your Bibles it is, So they are thrust down to the sword with my People; that is, the Princes shall fare no better than the People, but together with them shall bee cut off.

The reading wee have, I like best, and most Expositors a­gree in it, and so the word is rendred, Lam. 2.22. Jer. 6.25. The sword of the enemy, and fear is on every side.

[Page 158]Smite therefore upon thy thigh.

In the 6 Chapter 11. v. the Lord commanded the Prophet to smite with his hand, stampe with his foot, and here to smite upon his thigh; which were gestures, to expresse grief and sorrow,Traxit ex inti­mo ventre sus­pirium, denti­bus frendit, icit femur. Plau­tus in Trucu­lento. in great and sad calamities, Tundebant faemora palmis, they smote upon their thighs with their hands.

Obs. 1 The Calamities of wars are matter of great mourn­ing and sad gestures; cry, howle, smite upon thy thigh, Jer. 4.6, 7, 8. God would bring evil from the North upon them, Nebuchadnezzar the Lyon was comming, for this gird you with sackcloath, lament, and howle.

Obs. 2 The sword makes no distinction of Persons, it shall be upon my People, and upon all the Princes of Israel. They should finde no more favor than others, not any, not the greatest of them, should be exempted from the evils of the sword, Jer. 52.10. the King of Babylon slew the Sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, he slew also all the Princes of Judah in Riblah. Then he put out the eies of Zedekiah.

Obs. 3 Times of war are times of fears, terrors, by reason of the sword shall be upon my People. The sword drawn is a ter­rible thing, Josh. 2.9. ch. 10.12. Jer. 15.8. chapter 46.3, 4, 5. chapter 49.24, 29. The sword is Magor-missobib, fear round about, it makes families, towns, Cities, Nations, to fear and tremble; when the sword is without, there is terror within, and such terrour oft times as is destructive, Deut. 32.25. mens hearts meditate such terrors, as bereave them of their wits, senses, lives.

13 Because it is a tryal.

The word for Tryal is, [...] Bochan, from Bachan to Prove, examine, Try. By the Septuagint here its rendred, [...], because it is justified. Aquila, [...], quia scrutatus est, because it hath searched out and examined them.

Vulgar, Quia probatus est, its a sword proved, and will do the work. Pagnine, qui ad probationem eductus est, it is brought forth to tryal. Tygurin, Quoniam explorator est, because [Page 159] it is a Tryer. Others have it Tryal, the sword and Terrors accompanying it, should bee a Tryal to them, and such a Try­al as they never had, they had had the sword at their gates before, but had profitted little by it. Now they should finde and feel the sword more glistering, sharpe, and destruct­ive than ever.

And what if the sword contemn even the Rod, it shall be no more.

Interpreters are perplexed about these words, as they are in the Original, and what to make of them as translated, I know not. Those words, The Sword, and more, are not in the Text, and puzzle the sense. The Hebrew is thus, And what if also the Rod despising, hath not been, that is, what if the Rod heretofore or hitherto hath not been a despising rod, but rather despised; as Zedekiah and his Nobles despised the Oath and Covenant made with Nebuchadnezzar, chap. 17.16. yet now it should bee a despising rod, and so it suits with that in the 10. v. The Rod of my Son, despising every tree: and that in the 12. ver. It shall be upon all the Princes of Isra­el; and with that in Habbakkuk, ch. 1.10.

They shall scoffe at the Kings, and the Princes shall be a scorn unto them, they shall deride every strong hold.

Or thus, There is cause thou shouldest cry, howle, smite upon thy thigh, because the sword shall be a tryal, and what also if it shall not bee a despising Rod? if it bee a trying Rod, there is cause enough to mourn, but it shall bee a despising Rod, and so there is more cause to mourn. If this Rod make them not try their waies, repent, and turn, it shall bee a Rod to des­pise the stoutest of them, and to destroy them.

Obs. 1 That the judgements of God are Tryals, they disco­ver and make known what people are. The fire tries the met­tals, and declares what is good silver, good gold, and what is reprobate, Deut. 8.2. God kept them forty years in the wil­dernesse, to prove them, and know what was in their hearts; the hard things they met with there, discovered some to bee murmurers, some Idolaters, some Fornicators, some backsliders, Isa. 8.21. It shall come to pass, that when [Page 160] they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their King, and their God: when evil was upon them, then their wickednesse appeared, so Jehoram, 2 King. 6.33. belched out his vilenesse in a time of distresse, saying, this evil is of the Lord, what should I wait for the Lord any longer? hee is a cruel God, destroies the people with famine, and puts them upon eating their own Children, therefore Ile wait no lon­ger on him: When great winds are abroad, they tell you what trees are sound or rotten.

Obs. 2 God tryes before he destroyes, Rods of Tryal, come before Rods of destruction. When the sword is drawn, four­bished, and whet, the Lord tries men thereby, whether they will consider their waies, repent and turn unto him, before hee cut and destroy therewith. Tydings and terrors of the sword precede the stroaks of it, Amos 4.6, 9. the Lord sent a famine amongst them, but they returned not unto him, hee tryed them what they would do, hee looked for their re­turn, 2 Chron. 7.13, 14. If I shut up heaven that there bee no rain, or if I command the Locust to devour the Land, or if I send pestilence among my People, if my People which are called by my name, shall humble, &c. God tryes his people by threat­nings, by bringing judgements neer unto them, by inflicting lesser judgements upon them, before hee makes an utter destruction of them, that they may learn righteousness, humble themselves, and so either prevent the judgements, or have them turned into mercies.

Obs. 3 When rods of tryal do us no good, then follows rods of Destruction, when the trying rod hath been despised, then comes the despising rod, the rod that will not regard young or old, high or low, Prince or People: At first God did lightly afflict Ze­bulun and Nepthali, but that being in vain, afterwards hee afflicts them more grievously, Isa. 9.1. When Dimon pro­fited not by her first stroaks, God laid more upon her, Isa. 15.9. when smiting the lintell of the Door, and sha­king the Posts, did not prevail, then did the Lord cut and slay with the Sword, Amos 9.1. If fear work not, hee hath a pit, if that do it not, hee hath a snare, Isa. 24.17, 18, when Paternal chastisements profit not, God hath destroying judgements: hee will deal then with men, not as peccantes li­beros, [Page 161] but hostes manifestos.

Vers. 14 Thou therefore son of man prophesy, and smite thine hands together, and let the sword bee doubled the third time, the sword of the slain, it is the sword of the great men that are slain, which entreth into their privy Chambers.
15 I have set the point of the sword against all their Gates, that their hearts may faint, and their ruines bee multiply­ed. Ah, it is made bright, it is wrapt up for the slaugh­ter.
16 Go thee one way or other, either on the right hand, or on the left, whithersoever thy face is set.
17 I will also smite mine hands together, and I will cause my fury to rest, I the Lord have said it.

The Instruments, causes, and end, of the sad judgements comming upon the Jews, being formerly declared, here the manner and circumstances thereof are laid down.

Smite thine hands together.

The Hebrew is, Smite hand to hand, Caph notes the concavi­ty and hollownesse of any thing, and so the hollow and palme of the hand. Whither this smiting of hands imports sorrow or joy is questioned; some make it to signify joy, prefiguring the pleasure of God in executing judgement upon the Jews, but when smiting or clapping of hands is referred to the crea­ture to express joy, other words are used, as Saphack, Job 27.23. Lam. 2.15. Macha, Psal. 98.8. Isa. 55.12. Takang or Takah, Psal. 47.1. Nehem. 3.19. Besides this, the Prophet was in a mourning frame, vers. 10. when the sword is comming should wee then make mirth? and chap. 6.11. smiting with the hand, imported sorrow, and so I conceive it doth here; smite thine hands together, once, twice, thrice, oft, for the evils that are comming.

[Page 162]Let the sword be doubled the third time.

The word for doubled is, Caphal, which signifies also to repeat, iterate, reply. The sense is, let the sword come the se­cond and third time.

Some read the words thus, iterabitur gladius tertio, The Sword shall come the third time.

Others, iteretur gladius & tertietur, Let it bee iterated and tertiated. Nebuchadnezzar had come twice before in Jehoiakims and Jehoiakins daies, and after came in Zedeki­ahs, carrying him away to Babylon, and this is made the minde of the Lord in these words: but because two of these were past, and the Lord speaks of the time to come, wee may understand them of the sword of Nebuchadnezzar up­on Zedekiah, 2 Chron. 36. of the sword of Johanan against Ishmael, and the Jews, for murdering Gedaliah, Jerem. 41. and the sword of Nebuzaradan when hee laid all waste, car­ried all away, leaving onely a few to bee vine dressers and husbandmen Jer. 52.

The doubling and trebling of the sword, may note the oft comming of it, so Vatablus, non semel, sed iterum atque iterum feriat, Let it come again and again, striking more de [...]dly stroaks.

The Sword of the slain.

A Sword that is ready to slay, to slay the great ones, and to make great slaughter of them, when many are slain by the sword, that sword is the sword of the slain, or slaying sword.

It is the sword of the great men that are slain.

It is a sword appointed to slay the great men, in the Hebr. its in the singular number, the sword of the great man slain, or, of great slaying, l'e spees de grand occision, a sword that shall spare none.

[Page 163]Which entereth into their privy Chambers.

The Hebrew is Hachodereth lahem. Cubiculans eis, Chambe­ring or lodging with them, Cheder is a Chamber, any secret close place, it notes the inwards of mans heart, or soul, Prov. 18.8. the Sword should enter into their chambers, in­to their bowels, and souls, the fear of it should possesse them. The Septuagint express it thus, [...], thou shalt cast them into fear, or amazement; The sword shall first en­ter into the secret of your souls, and fill you with terrors, and after enter into your bodies, and take away your lives.

15 I have set the point of the Sword against all their Gates.

The word for point is [...] which interpreters render, splendor, clamor, terror, slaughter, and these are all like the point [...]f a sword to those are besieged; properly it notes the point or edge of the sword, which God set against all their Gates, their publike gates of the City round about, and the pri [...]re gates of their several houses, every where should the Sword bee— both in City and Countrey, where they had Gates, any rule or power.

That their heart may faint.

In times of great fears and dangers, mens hearts do often faint and fail them, when they have most need of heart, they are without hearts. God sent and set his sword for to dissolve, and melt their hearts, so the word [...] translated to faint, signifies all their spirit, vigor, and courage, should be dissolved, and so they should bee faint, feeble, heartless; the Septuagint is, [...], That their heart might bee hurt or wounded.

[Page 164]And their ruines be multiplyed.

In the Hebrew it is, To multiply offences, the Souldiers would offend them, the sword would offend them, their straits would offend them, the slain would offend them, they met with no­thing but offences, at which they stumbling fell also. If wee take the words passively as they stand, the meaning is, that their destructions might be many, that multitudes of them might fall.

It is wrapt up for the slaughter.

This expression seems unsuitable for a sword, and Exposi­tors are put to it to make out the meaning of it. The word is Meuttah from [...] to Cover, cloath, put on, to hasten, and were better rendred, it is put on, or hastened for slaughter, then cloathed or wrapt up for slaughter, its harsh to say cloathed with the hilt, or wrapt up in the belt, Sanct. makes the cloath­ing for slaughter, to bee the fitting of it thereto.

Vers. 16 Go thee one way or other, either on the right hand, or on the, &c.

Here by an Apostrophe the Lord speaks to the Sword, and under that to the Army of the Chaldeans, commissioning that and them to go through the Land of Judea, and to ex­ecute his pleasure. The words in the Hebrew runne thus, Ʋnite thy self, right hand thy self, put, or set thy self, left-hand thy self.

Whithersoever thy faces are prepared.

That is sword, unite thy self to the Souldiers, Souldiers unite your selves together, go the right hand, or left hand way, which you have most mind unto, which way your spirits in­cline you most to, on [...]ly see to it, that you execute my pleasure upon all you meet. Bee not afraid at what befell Senacherib when he went against Jerusalem, I was against him, but I am with you.

[Page 165]
17
I will also smite my hands together.

In this verse is Gods approbation of what the Chaldeans sword and Army should do, They should conquer and de­stroy the Jewish Nation, and hee would rejoyce in it. Smi­ting of hands, before expressed grief, and here its an expres­sion of joy, so its used chapter 25.6. It notes not onely Gods approbation of the Babylonians undertakings, but his incou­ragement of them to that work, that so hee might execute his vengeance upon them, and be at rest; as it follows,

I will cause my fury to rest.

Gods fury was stirred against them, and boiled in him, and when this fury should bee poured out upon them by the Chaldeans Army, then should hee bee at ease; and com­forted, as it is Ezek. 5.13. where these words were spok­en to.

Obs. 1 Its no new thing for the Prophets of the Lord to pro­phesy in Sack-cloath: Ezekiel must Prophesy and smite his hands together, in token of mourning and heavinesse, our Prophet was in sack-cloath being a Captive in Babylon, see­ing the sad judgements were comming upon Jerusalem; So Jeremy, Hosea, Joel, Amos, had mournful spirits, and Prophesied in Sack-cloath, they smote their hands together, and dropped out sad things. The times were black in their daies, they are not clear now, is not the sword comming the third time? is it not putting on for slaughter? shall not the Prophets mourn and smite their hands together?

Obs. 2 Where the word prevails not to reform a people, there the judgements of God will come in, one after another, to the de­struction of a People. Prophesy and let the sword be doubled the third time; He [...] had oft Prophesied, but there appeared no Repentance, no r [...]turning to God, therefore let the sword come again and again. Had they repented of their sinnes, God would have repented of the evils intended, Jer. 18.7, 8. but when People go on in their sinnes, God will go on in his judgements even to destruction, See Leviticus 26. [Page 166] 21, 22, 31, 32, 33, Deuteronomy 28.62.

Obs. 3 When God will punish sinners for their wickednesse, there is no hiding place to secure them from the stroak of God, be they great or mean ones; that is, the sword of the great men which entereth into their privy Chambers, what ever holes, recesses, vaults, hiding places, they had, the sword would find them out. God knows where men are when hid, and his hand can reach them as well as his eye see them; when the Syrians fled to A­phek to secure themselves from the Sword of Ahab, a wall fell upon twenty seven thousand, and slew them, 1 King 20.30. In times of danger men think of shifting for themselves, of hiding here and there, but what are Cities, Towers, Cham­bers, secret places? there is no safety in any of them, or any other place, See Amos 9.2, 3. the onely safe hiding place, is in the secret place of the most high, Psalm 91.1. that is, in God himself, Psalm 119.114. Thou art my hiding place and shield, bee wise then, foresee evil comming, and hide your selves in this hiding place, Prov. 22.3. A prudent man foresees evil and hideth himself.

Obs. 4 When the Lord intends the destruction of a people, he will order things accordingly. I have set the point of the sword against all your gates; Hereby all flying was prevent­ed, and if they thought to stand and fight it out with the in­struments hee used, hee made their hearts to faint, he threw stumbling blocks in their waie, hee multiplyed their ruines; When the Lord is against a Nation, hee besiedges them with evils; stops and shuts up all doores of hope, takes away their hearts, makes those things matter of ruine, they made account would bee their refuge, Jer. 4.9. at that day the heart of the King shall perish, and the heart of the Princes, and the Priests shal be astonished, and the Prophets shall won­der, and why? the sword reached unto the soul.

Obs. 5 It is the Lords Commission, incouragement, and Provi­dence, which puts life into military undertakings, and makes them successeful: Go thee one way or other, to the right hand or to the left, God bid Nebuchadnezzar, the Army, and Sword go, had hee not bid them go, been with them in their going, and ordered all their undertakings, they had been vain and fruitlesse: Armies are but instruments, and [Page 167] if they do execution upon enemies, if they conquer and sub­due, it is by the hand and power of God.

Obs. 6 Execution of justice upon sinful persons and Nations, is pleasing and delightful unto God; Hee put on Nebuchad­nezzar to go and destroy the Jewish Nation, and when hee went, hee smote his hands together at it, hee rejoyced; by this means the Lord eased himself of his adversaries, as hee speaks, Esay 1.24. rested from his fury, and comforted him­self; they had pleased themselves in their sinnings, but wearied God thereby. Now God would please himself in punishing them for their sinnes, and weary them, yea, waste them with his judgements.

Obs. 7 That which is matter of mourning unto man, is matter of joy unto God. This rises from the various sense of the phrase, smiting of hands, because the sword was come, there­fore Ezek [...]e [...] was to smite his hands together, and manifest mournin [...] and because it was to come, God would smite his hands together, and manifest Joy.

Vers. 18 The Word of the Lord came unto mee again, saying,
19 Also thou Son of Man appoint thee two waies, that the Sword of the King of Babylon may come: both twain shall come forth out of one land: and chuse thou a place, chuse it at the head of the way, to the City.
20 Appoint a way that the sword may come to Rabbath of the Ammonites, and to Judah in Jerusalem the defenced.
21 For the King of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two waies to use divination: hee made his Arrows bright, hee consulted with images, hee looked in the liver.
22 At his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem to ap­point Captaines, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoi [...]t battering rams against the Gates, to cast a mount, and to build a fort.
23 And it shall bee unto them as a false divination in their sight, to them that have sworn oaths, but hee will call to remembrance the iniquity, that they may be taken.
24 Therefore thou saith the Lord God, because ye have made [Page 168] your iniquity to bee remembred, in that your transgressions are discovered, so that in all your doings your sinnes do ap­pear, because I say that ye are come to remembrance, ye shall be taken with the hand.

These words do treat of Nebuchadnezzars consultation a­bout his military undertakings, and the way hee took to accomplish the same, viz. Divination, and the event thereof in respect of the Jews.

Appoint thee two waies.

In the fourth chapter the Prophet was to pourtray out Je­rusalem upon a tyle, and to lay siedge against it, here he is commanded to foretel the comming of the King of Babylon, not verbally but typically, by way of representation, and hee must draw out upon the same tyle, or some such thing, two wayes; put before thee, or make unto thee, two waies.

That the Sword of the King of Babylon may come.

Much was said before of the Sword, the drawing, sharpning, fourbishing, and slaughtering of it, and here is a plain disco­very whose Sword it was, the sword of a King, and the King of Babylon.

Both twain shall come forth out of one land.

These Two waies must come out of Babylon, he must first draw a line, and then branch it out into two, as a river runnes a long tract in one Channel, and then divides it self into two.

Chuse thou a place, chuse it at the head of the way to the City.

The Hebrew for Place is, Jad, vejad baree, elige manum saith Mantanus; Locum, saith Lavater; Latus, say others, Chuse you the hand, side, or place, where the King of Babylon, having mustered up his Forces, may deliberate and consult what to do, whither to go, which way to take, let it bee at [Page 169] the head of the way; where the beginning of the two waies was, that was the head of the way.

20 Appoint a way that the sword may come to Rabbath.

Draw out one way leading to Rabbath, that so Nebuchad­nezzar may see work for his sword there. Rabbath was the Royal City, and chief City of the Ammonites, 2 Sam. 12.26. who were the posterity of Ben-ammi the incestuous son of Lot, Genesis 19.38.

And to Judah in Jerusalem the defenced.

That the Sword may come not onely to the Ammonites, but also to the Jews which dwelt in Jerusalem, a City well fortified. Rabbath was strengthened by waters, 2 Sam. 12.27. and therefore was called the City of waters: but Jeru­salem was compassed about with hills, Psalm 125.2. had strong Towers and Bulwarks, Psalm 48.12, 13. and was cal­led a strong City, Psalm 31.21.

21 For the King of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two waies.

Here is a praeter tense put for the future, the King of Ba­bylon had not yet stood there, but hee shall stand at the part­ing of the way, El-Em haderech, at the mother of the way, when a way divides into, or begets two ways, the Hebrew calls the first way, the mother of the o­ther, and head of them, as here, the head of the two waies.

To use divination.

He being doubtful what to do, whither to go, the right hand, or left hand way, should make a stand, where the way parted to consult, hee thought it not meet to divide his Army, and to go both waies at once, to set upon two such great Cities, as Jerusalem and Rabbath, each of them would require his whole strength, and therefore hee would try [Page 170] by divination to which of them he should go.

The Hebrew is, [...] liksom kasem, ad divinandum divinationem, to divine a divination. The Septuagint is, [...], to Prophesy a Prophesy. The Vulg. is, Querens divinationem, seeking a Divination. Vatablus, Ʋt divinando inquirat, That by divining hee might inquire. Piscat. Ad consulendum divinationem, To consult a divination. The French, En demandant divination, in demanding a divination, and three kinds of Divinations are specified here, as its con­ceived.

He made his Arrows bright.

This is the first kinde which Expositors call, [...], seu [...], a divining by weapons, or rods. The He­brew for Arrows is, [...] which signifies an Arrow or Knife, so called from cutting or dividing, for [...] is from [...] to dividiate and cut in peices. Some render it Ar­rows, as the manner of divining by them, was either by wri­ting the names of Jerusalem upon one, and of Rabbath upon another, and then putting them with other Arrows into a quiver. The Arrow first drawn out with either of those names upon it, determined the case. If the Arrow with Je­rusalem upon it was first drawn, then they went thither; if that with Rabbath upon it, then they went to Rabbath. Some affirm they made the Arrows to leap out of the quiver, by Magick Art, and that which leaped on the right hand led them to Jerusalem, that on the left hand to Rabbath. So the Septuagint render the words, [...], ad fa­ciendum ebullire virgam, to make the Rod spring forth. Others make the manner of this divining to bee, by the Kings throw­ing up an Arrow into the Aire, which if it fell on the right hand, they went the right hand way; if on the left hand, the left hand way. Others render the word Knives, and so the sense may runne thus; hee made bright his knives, to cut open the birds or Beasts that were to bee Sacrificed; or take the word for Arrows or Knives, hee made them bright, he scoured and polished them, that in the brightnesse of the Iron or steele▪ they might discerne something to direct.

[Page 171]He consulted with Images.

This is the second kinde of Divination which hee used; Shaal batteraphim, petiit in Teraphim, so is the Hebrew, and so rendred by Montanus, by Aecolamp. interrogavit Tera­phim. Hee asked of, or consulted with Teraphims. This word Teraphim is oft used in the Old Testa­ment, and is divers times Translated Images, whereas in the Hebrew its Teraphim, so you have it, Gen. 31.19, 34, 35. 1 Sam. 15.23. chap. 19.13, 16. Zach. 10.2. 2 King. 23, 24. its fit to inquire therefore what Teraphims were, not instru­ments of Brass to distinguish the minutes or parts of houres, nor Astrological Images made to speak, but as Shindler ob­serves, Erant imagines fastae ad similitudinem corporis humani, ut in illis videant futura; They were Images made like men, to this end, that they might in or by them know things to come. So Kirkar saith of Taraph, that it is, Imago in qua futura videntur, & Teraphim hominum imagines ad suscipien­dam virtutem superiorum; They were images of men, made to receive and communicate intelligence from Heaven about things to come. The Teraphim Michal laid in the room of David, was like unto a man, 1 Sam. 19. and that it was a divining Image, may appeat by that you finde in Gen. 30.27. I have learned by experience saith Laban, that God hath blessed me for thy sake. The Hebrew is, Nichashti, augura­tus sum, I have divined; hee had his Teraphims by which he could do it, and its conceived by the learned, that Rachel stole away her Fathers Teraphims upon this ground, that hee might not divine by them, which way shee and Jacob were gone. The Septuagint, Zach. 10.2. calls the Teraphim, [...], Loquentes, and Hos. 3.4. [...], Declara­tio, which the Targum renders, Mechoni annuntiantes; all which do shew, that men held a divining vertue to bee in their Teraphims, and so Nebuchadnezzar conceived, and therefore consulted with his Teraphims.

Hee looked in the Liver.

This is the third kinde of Divination, which the Greek [Page 172] word [...], liver-looking, when they sacrificed, they opened the Sacrifice, and observed the inwards, and entrails exactly, especially the kidney, the heart, the milt, and the liver, whence they were called Extispices, and Aruspices, be­cause they did it at the Altar. The Liver as Lavater saith, was Fons vaticinii, from thence they made their chiefest Di­vinations, if that were sound and good without blemish, they made successeful Divinations thereupon, but if vitiated or dislocated, their Divinations were untoward and un­happy.

Such Divinations as these mentioned, were unlawful, Deut. 18.10, 11. There shall not bee found among you, any one that u­seth Divination, or an Observer of Times, &c. They are Abomination to the Lord, Divining in such waies, was a grievous sinne, 1 Sam. 15.23. Chattath kesemmeri, Rebellion is as the sinne of Divination, which is not countenanced by that Prov. 16.10. Divination is in the lips of the King; for so the Hebrew is, here the word divining is taken in a good sense, and is spoken of the King sitting in judgement, whom God would guide, so that hee should finde out the truth; for the next words are, his mouth transgresseth not in judge­ment. When the two Harlots was before Solomon, pleading each for the live childe, and the truth was obscured by their pleading; God indued the King with a divining spirit, so that hee found out the truth, and gave a divine sentence; but this makes nothing for the wicked Divinations here mentio­ned.

22 At his right hand was the Divination for Jerusalem.

Here you have the issue of his Divinations, which determi­ned him, being doubtful before, which way he should goe, viz. the right hand way, and that was to Jerusalem. The Arrows, Images, and Livers, did all concur, according to their Divinations, that Nebuchadnezzar should go thi­ther.

[Page 173]To appoint Captains.

The word for Captains is [...] Carim, from [...] Car, which signifies a Pasture, a Lambe, and battering Rammes, which were military instruments, used in siedges, and so it was ren­dred, Ezek. 4.2. and so its rendred in the latter part of this Verse, where its said, to appoint battering rammes against the Gates; but because the word is twice in the vers. its rendred in the first place Captaines; For the word signifies the heads, and chief men of an Army, so you have it, 2 King 11.4, 19. The King having consulted now fell to Action, and appointed Captains to lead the Army to Jerusalem.

To open the mouth in the slaughter.

It may bee read to open the mouth to slaughter, so Montan. Lavater and Vatablus read the words, and the sense is, the Captains should exhort, and stir them up to kill and slay their enemies; Or if you will, take opening the mouth here, for making a breach in the wall. For slaughter. Vid. Juni­um. The Captains should come close, besiedge the City, make a breach, enter, and slay, and in their entrance and slaying, should open their mouths, and make shouting; as fol­lows,

To lift up the voice with shouting.

When great exploits are attempted by men against their enemies, oft they shout, and make a great noise, that so they may daunt and terrify them. Doubtlesse the Clamor and shouts of these barbarous Babylonians, did much perplex the Jews, made their hearts faint and hands feeble; to see the Mounts. Forts, and Battering rammes at their gates, could not ut trouble them; but when they made breaches in their walls, entered and slew men with shouting, this affrighted them and sunk their spirits. They afflicted Jeru­salem with shouting, and the Lord threatned Babylon in the same kinde, Jer. 51.14. I will fill thee with men as with Cater­pillars, and they shall lift up a shout against thee.

Obs. 1 The Lord knows things to come most certainly, yea, as certainly as if done already: Hee knew that Nebuchadnez­zar would come out of Babylon, what way hee would come, and where hee would make a stand and consult, which hee shews to the Prophet, and speaks of as done already, ver. 21. The King of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two waies, to use divination. The Lord sees things afar off, and knows what shall bee in ages to come. Here­by hee confounds all Idol Gods, and proves himself to bee the true God, Isa 41.22 23. Let them bring forth, and shew us what shall happen, declare to us things for to come: shew the things that are to come hereafter, that wee may know that yee are Gods, if you cannot discover things that lye in the dark, if yee cannot foretell what shall bee many years hereafter, you are no gods; I can do it, and therefore am God, the true and onely God, Isa. 46.9, 10. I am God, and there is none like mee, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done: God had foretold things in Moses daies, that were not accomplished in Isaiahs, and hee foretold things in Isaiahs daies, that are not yet all fulfilled; See Isay 60. throughout, Chap. 65.17. Chap. 66.22. In Peters daies, the new Heavens and the new Earth were expected, 2 Pet. 3.13. and are not yet giv­en out; so, many things hath the Lord foretold in the Re­velation which wee wait still to see fulfilled.

Obs. 2 That even Heathens when they are in straits, doubt­ful what to do, and how to proceed in their undertakings, will not neglect, but use variety of means for resolution: Nebu­chadnezzar uses Divination, hee makes bright the Arrows, consulted his Gods, hee looked into the liver; These were such means as hee conceived conducible to such a purpose. though sinfull. Heathens have been forward in their straits, and doubts to get resolution, Dan. 2.1, 2, 5, 6, 9, ch. 5.5, 6, 7, 8. Its incident to the nature of Man, both Heathens and others, to runne to unlawful means, in their necessities. Gods own People did it, Hos. 4.12. My people ask counsell at their stocks, and their staffe declareth unto them, they consulted with their; Images, which in disgrace the spirit of God calls stocks, and from their staves or rods they took divinations. Such pra­ctises [Page 175] let us abhorre, but use those means God approves of, and hath appointed for our resolution in our doubts and straits. Instead of making bright the Arrows, let us purge and make bright our consciences, and they will tell us some­thing; instead of consulting Teraphims, Stocks, and Stones, let us consult with God and his Servants; instead of looking into the Liver of Beasts, let us look into the book of God, there wee shall finde light to dispel our darknesse, and to direct our waies; David made Gods Testimonies his delight and Counsellors, Psalm 119.24.

Obs. 3. God over-rules the wicked acts of Men, and makes them subservient to his will and ends; Nebuchadnezzar uses Divinations which God had forbidden, and the Divination might have been at his left hand for Rabbath or Philadelphia, which is the same, but God had a purpose to bring him to Jerusalem, to cast up a mount, to build a Fort there, to set battering Rammes against the Gates thereof, and therefore secretly by his Providence, hee ordered the Divination, that it should bee at his right hand for Jerusalem; whatever the Lot is, wheresoever it bee cast, the whole disposing there­of is of the Lord, Prov. 16.33. Providence runnes through the evil Counsels of men, and makes use of them, their Counsels and Actions, to accomplish the good pleasure, and righteous ends of the blessed God, by the Arts, Policies, Methods, Wiles, Depths, Designes of the Devil, and devil­lish men, God carries on his own work; and nothing puts him or his work out of the way. Divinations of Heathens, promote the work of Heaven. This is a mystery, but full of truth and admiration, that God makes the worst Tools and Instruments, all wicked men, and their waies, to serve his Providence, further his ends, and advance his glory; the Devil did it in tempting Eve, and Judas, in betraying Christ.

23 And it shall bee unto them as a false Divination in their sight.

The Jews at Jerusalem would not beleeve this Typical Prophesy of Ezekiel, representing the comming of Nebu­chadnezzar, and besiedging of their City, they looked upon [Page 176] what hee said as a false and foolish divination: what, hath Nebuchadnezzar made bright his Arrows, consulted his Te­raphims, looked into the Liver? wee neither care for, nor fear him, or his comming. They saw not Gods hand in these things which ordered them so, however superstitious and wicked that Nebuchadnezzar was, he was confirmed in his work and way for their ruine.

To them that have sworn Oathes.

The Hebrew is, Swearing Oathes to them. Rabbi David expresses the words thus, Propter juramenta juramentorum ipsis, for the Oathes upon Oathes made to them. The false Pro­phets had by many Oathes confirmed them, that the City should never bee taken, whereupon they were secure as men that keep Sabbaths, who are at rest. The Septuagint turn those words, [...], and Theodotion, [...], which the Vulgar render, Sabbatorum otium imitans, but the words properly rendred, should bee thus, weeking a week, or Sabba­tizing a Sabbath. This variety rises from the Hebrew word [...] which signifies seven, and thereupon a Sabbath, and also to swear. In this sense wee take it, and the Jews might bee secure upon the Oathes of their false Prophets, but whi­ther they made such oathes is doubtful, rather because of the Oathes beween them and the Egyptians, for having violat­ed the Oath and Covenant with the Babylonians, they en­tred league with the Egyptians, Ezek. 17.15. who promised them help, horses, and much people, and that against the Ba­bylonians, if ever they should come.

But he will call to remembrance the iniquity, that they may be taken.

The word Hee being [...] in the Original, is Hoc, as well as hic, and may make the sense thus, this thing, viz. their sleighting the Prophesy, as a false Divination, and their oathing of it with the Egyptians, shall call to remembrance that iniquity for which they shall bee taken: or this thing, viz. [Page 177] this divination falling on the right hand of Nebuchadnezzar, and leading him to Jerusalem, will bring to minde the iniquity, that is, the perfidiousnesse of Zedekiah, and the rest in break­ing the oath that they may bee taken. If wee read it, he, that is Nebuchadnezzar, hee will remember the iniquity of Zede­kiah, Hehittaphesh, ut Capiatur, that he and those with him might be taken.

Obs. 1 That the messages and passages of the messengers of God, are matter of scorn to prophane and wicked men; It will bee unto them as a false divination in their sight: when the Prophet pourtrayed out the way the King of Babylon should come, the things he should do, the siedge hee should make about Jerusalem, and the effects thereof, all these were reputed by them, lying things, false divinations. What hee told them in the latter end of the twentieth Chapter, they cryed out of as Parables, dark, and obscure things, which they understood not, and here they account his typical threatnings, as false­hood and lyes. When the false Prophets fed them with ly­ing visions and divinations, they were honoured and beleev­ed, 1 King 22.11, 12. Ezek. 13.6. but when the true Pro­phets told them the minde of the Lord, they were reproa­ched, as Jeremy, Thou speakest falsely, chap. 43.2. they were smitten and imprisoned as Micaiah, 1 King. 22. their lives were sought, Jer. 38.4. yea, they were put to death, 2 Chron. 24.20, 21.

Obs. 2 That those who break, and make oathes, for their own ends, making no conscience thereof, God leaves them to injudiciousnesse of spirit, and to stumble at his word and threats: it shall bee unto them as a false divination in their sight, to them that swear oathes: They sware to Nebuchadnezzar, and vio­lated what they had sworn, for their own advantages, and then sought for their security to the Egyptians; but what was the fruit hereof? they were given over to injudicious mindes, and impenitent hearts, so that they discerned not Gods proceedings towards them, nor the Prophets language to them: perfidious and injust dealings, do so blind and harden, that the word and waies of God become snares and stum­bling blocks unto them.

Obs. 3 The iniquities of Princes and People, do not alwaies [Page 178] ly hid, but in time appear for the ruine of those have committed them, but hee, or this thing, will call to remembrance the iniquity that they may bee taken. Zedekiah, his Nobles, and People sin­ned in breaking with Nebuchadnezzar, and falling in with Egyptians, they thought that time would bring a veil over those passages, that they should bee buried in the dark, lye still and never see light more: but those iniquities were brought to minde, when the Divination fell on the right hand, and drew Nebuchadnezzar to Jerusalem; hee called to minde what cause hee had to invade their land, and be­siedge that City; hee remembred how perfidiously they had dealt with him, and thereupon rouses up himself, and for­ces, to set upon them with all their might. Princes and States iniquities may bee couchant and dormant for a season, but at last they will awake, appear, and prove Lyons ram­pant. Let not any great or small, flatter themselves, that their sinnes are forgotten, because they hear not of them; they will be call'd to minde to their detriment, if not their destruction. Sauls sinne in slaying the Gibeonites, was un­thought of; but by a Famine it was called to remembrance, and cost the lives of seven of his sons, 2 Sam. 21.

24 Because yee have made your iniquity to be remembred, &c.

In this verse the Lord gives a definitive sentence concerning the Jews, they shall bee taken with the hand; and laies down the reasons thereof.

1 They did those things which made their iniquity to bee remembred, they gloried they had shaken off the Babylonish yoak, which brought their perjury and rebellion to remem­brance; God remembred it, Nebuchadnezzar remembred it.

2 They went on in other wicked courses, in all their doings, their sinning appeared, they sinned openly.

You have three words here which seldome meet in one verse, iniquity, transgression, and sinne, the like is in Job 13.23. and in Exod. 34.7.

The word for iniquity is [...] avon, which signifies obliqui­ty, [Page 179] crookednesse, perversenesse, injustice, [...] Proprie obliquitatem & torvitatem significat, & rectitudini op­pon [...]tur. Rivet in Exod. Peccatum quod scienter & contumacitor committitur. Chattaah or chatah quaevie aberratio a lege divina. and is contrary to that is right and equal; which our English word Iniquity im­ports.

The word for Transgression is, [...] Pescha, which notes Rebellion, Obstinacy, Maliciousnesse, scelus & actionem per­fidam:

The third word is, [...] which is sin, in a lower degree, any or every going aside from the Rule, any aberration from the way of God, any failing in duty. The first of these the Septuagint tearm [...], the second [...], the third [...], injustice, impiety, sin, or error. The French, Iniquité prevarication, peche.

You shall be taken with the hand.

By Hand, the Prophet means the Assyrian Army, which should come, take the City, and them in it.

Obs. 1 Open impudent sinning, brings to minde former iniqui­ties: They had cast off the Babylonish yoak in an unjust and wicked way: they went on glorying in their shame, and their latter sinnes brought to minde their former; their trans­gressions, were so open, discovered, their sinnes so appa­rent in all their doings, that they made their iniquity to bee remembred; they provoked God to plague them for their present and former sinnes. Theeves when taken in some wicked acts, their former theeveries and villanies come to light. As one sinne begets another, so one sinne discovers another. Many having sinned in prostituting their bo­dies to those they should not, after make away the Children had by them; So their sinnes breaking out, for­mer iniquities are brought to remembrance, and themselves to punishment; Men discover their sinnes, and their sinnes discover them: Here they made their iniquities to be remem­bred, and their iniquities brought them to remembrance.

Obs. 2 Publike sins bring publike judgements: they had openly broken with Nebuchadnezzar, they gloried in what they had done, and went on in such vile courses as were apparent to heaven and earth, and because it was so, therefore Nebuchadnezzar is sent against them, to take and ruine [Page 180] them. The Lord never lets in publike desolations upon a Church or State, til their sins are become publike and incorri­gible. It was so with Jerusalem at first, 2 Chron. 36.14, 15, 16, 17. and it was so with Jerusalem at last; Mat. 23.37, 38. Their sinnes were publike, and God most justly brought pub­like evils upon them.

Obs. 3 That God hath hands to apprehend sinners withall: they shall bee taken with the hand: The Babylonish Army was the hand of God, and with it hee apprehended the sinners in Sion, slew many of them, and led the rest Captives into Babylon, the instruments God uses to punish his people sinning, with­all, are sometimes called Swords, Psalm 17.13. sometimes Axes, Saws, Rods, Staves, Isa. 10.15. sometimes his Battle-Axe, and weapons of war, Jer. 51.20. sometimes his Net and Snare, Ezek. 17.20. his Pit, Chaines, chap. 19.4. all which are the hand of God, Psalm 17.14. and in the hand of God, hee uses them to do that which hands do; by these he takes plagues, and destroys sinners.

25 And thou prophane wicked Prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end.
26 Thus saith the Lord God, Remove the Diadem, and take off the Crown: this shall not bee the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.
27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, and it shall bee no more, until he come, whose right it is; and I will give it him.

These words are an Apostrophe to the Prince of Israel, decla­ring what should befal him, and the whole Kingdome of Is­rael. Hee should bee deprived of his Kingly dignity, the Kingdome ruined, and abide so, till the Lord should give it to him it belonged unto.

Concerning the Prince of Israel he is

  • 1 Described to [...]e prophane and wicked.
  • 2 The Time is intimated of his misery; both which are in the 25. vers.
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Vers. 25
And thou prophane, wicked Prince of Israel.

This Prince of Israel was Zedekiah, and the titles given him are, not your sacred Majesty, or your excellencies high­nesse, but thou prophane, wicked Prince; his Prophanenesse and wickednesse doubtlesse was great, though much bee not speci­fied in the word; yet something is set down therein, 2 Chron. 36.12. Hee did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the Prophet, speaking from the mouth of the Lord: hee despised the word, and Prophet of the Lord, and ver. 13. hee rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God, but hee stiffened his neck, and hardned his heart from turning unto the Lord God of Israel; Hee prophaned the holy name of God: being perfideous and obstinate, hee fell in with Phara­oh King of Egypt, and sought help of him against Nebuchad­nezzar, Ezek. 17.15. and so trusted in man, and not in God; hee was like the other Lyons which learned to catch the prey, and devoured men, Ezek. 19. and so was cruel, bloudy, hee did evil according to all that Jehoiakim had done, Jer. 52.2. and hee did abominations, 2 Chron. 36.8. and in his daies was as gross Idolatry in Jerusalem, and in the Temple, as ever before, Ezek. 8. then was there the Image of jealousy; then did the Ancients of Israel worship creeping things, abomi­nable Beasts and Idols; Then did they worship the Sun to­wards the East; then was Tammuz in the Temple, and wo­men weeping for Tammuz; so that hee upheld the vilest idolatry that ever Jerusalem had, hee was the cause of their total ruine. Its not without cause therefore, that the Pro­phet affixes these Titles to the crown, Thou prophane wicked Prince of Israel: and prophanenesse was not peculiar to the Prince; but Prophets, Priests, and People were under that de­nomination, Jer. 23 15. From the Prophets of Jerusalem is pro­phaneness gone forth into all the Land; the Court-Prophets, countenanced, and communicated all the Court-prophane­nesse; and 2 Chr. 36.14. The chief of the Priests and people trans­gressed very much, after all the abominations of the heathen.

Vatablus reads the words thus, & tu ad occisionem damnate princeps Israelis. And thou O Prince condemned to death, and he cites the Chaldy Paraphrast, in which its to the same pur­pose: Tu autem gladio interficiende, O thou Prince of Israel, who art to bee cut off by the sword. Munster differs not from these, Tu interfectione digne, Thou who art worthy of death. So Castalio. Tu vero, O rei capitalis damnate, O thou that art condemned of a Capital crime.

The Prophet may seem here to forget himself in speaking so opprobriously of the Prince which the Law forbad, Exod. 22.28. Eccl. 10.20. they might neither think nor speak e­vil of the ruler, nor wish evil to him, and here Ezekiel calls Zedekiah the Prince of Israel, prophane, and wicked; and in so doing hee sinned not; for being a Prophet, hee was to give out what the Spirit of God gave in, and moved him unto. So dealt Jeremy by Coniah, calling him a despised broken Idol, a vessel wherein was no pleasure, chap. 22.28. they would not flatter Princes, by being false to truth, — When its done Ex privato, & pravo affectu, from a private, and depraved spirit, then its ill.

Whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end.

The words in Hebrew are, whose day of his is come, in time or season an end of iniquity. O Zedekiah, the day of thy pu­nishment is at hand, wherein shall bee an end of thy wick­ednesse; thou shalt no longer bee King, but suffer for what thou hast done.

Some by Iniquity understand punishment, and so the sense is,Cujus venit tempus, quo tempore ini­quitas tua finem tibi regni afferet. Rabbi David. thy day is come when punishment, that is, destruction shall bee thy end; thou and thy Kingship shall be laid in the dust. The Hebrew for when is, [...] eth, which is of the same signification as [...] is, it notes both time and opportunity of time, and whether by iniquity, sinne, or punishment of sinne hee understood, or both, is not much materiall; God will not suffer thee to go on any longer in thy prophane and wicked courses, the time and season is at hand, wherein hee will pu­nish thee, and so put an end to thy sinning, as before.

Obs. 1 That Princes oft times are far from Piety, and ju­stice: And thou prophane wicked Prince of Israel. Of all Prin­ces in the world, the Princes of Israel had cause to bee holy and just, they were seated where the worship of the true God was, they had the Law of Moses, and were commanded to read it continually, and not to depart from it, to the right hand or to the left, Deut. 17.18, 19, 20. they had the Sane­drim, the Priests, and Prophets to counsell and advise them; yet Princes of Israel were prophane, they minded not the Law of Moses, or the worship of God, they despised Priests and Prophets, they were wicked, they persecuted good men, and were perfidious to other Princes, both Johoiakim and Zedekiah were so to Nebuchadnezzar, 2 King. 24.1. and 20. verses. The Prophanenesse and perfidiousnesse of Prin­ces hath been great. Among all the Kings of Israel there was none good, they followed Jeroboam and Ahab, who were prophane and wicked. Few among the Kings of Ju­dah were found good. How prophane was Pharaoh, when hee said, who is the Lord that I should obey him? Exod. 5.2. how prophane was Belshazzar; when hee quaffed in the bowls of the Temple? Dan. 5.2, 3, 4. how prophane was Ahaz, that thrust aside the Lords Altar, and set up the Damascene Altar? 2 King. 16. how prophane was Jehoia­kim, that cut the roll of Jeremy in peeces, and cast it into the fire? Jer. 36.23. how prophane was Herod, who mock­ed Christ? set him at nought, and arraied him in a scorn­ful manner? Luke 23.11. They were Kings that gave their power and strength to the beast, and made war with the Lambe, Rev. 17.12, 13, 14. you may read the horrible pro­phanenesse of Antiochus in the 1 Macch. 1.46, 47, 48 49, 50, 51, 52. hee sent letters to Jerusalem to forbid what God had appointed; hee commanded them to offer Swines flesh, and unclean beasts; that they should defile their souls, and pol­lute themselves with uncleannesse; that they might forget the Law, and change all the Ordinances; and if they would not do so, they should dye for it. Kings and Rulers have been the greatest enemies to the waies of God and Christ, they above others have set themselves against them, Psalm 2.2, 3. Hence they are counselled to be wise and to kiss the Son, ver. 10.12.

Obs. 2 That the Prophets and Ministers of God, are not to fear the faces or frowns of the greatest, but to reprove them sharpely, being evidently guilty: Thus dealt Ezekiel with Zedekiah, Thou prophane and wicked Prince of Israel: though hee were great, yet hee spares him not, but brands him with his wic­kednesse, and sets it upon record for after generations. John Baptist did the like by Herod, when hee was upon taking his Brother Philips wife, hee told him it was unlawful, and would bee an incestuous match, Mark 6.18. hee was faith­ful in his ministery, and would not flatter Herod himself. Neither Magistrates nor Ministers should fear or flatter the greatest, because they are Agents for, and Embassadors of the great God of heaven, in comparison of whom the greatest on earth are as Pot-sheards.

Obs. 3 That as Princes have their times for sinning, so there bee times for their suffering: Zedekiahs day was come, when iniquity should have an end, hee had his times to shew his prophanenesse and wickednesse, and God had his time to reckon with him for the same. Princes may abound in wic­kednesse, go long unpunished, but there is a day, a time, comming, wherein they shall smart for their lewdnesse. David tells you, the day of wicked men is comming, Psal. 37.13. that is, the time and season set for their destruction; which Peter expresseth thus, 2 Epist. 2.3. their judgement lin­greth not, and their damnation slumbereth not, its making towards them, and comming on swiftly, and will bee bad to them when it comes, Jer. 50.27. wo unto them, for their day is come, the time of their visitation. That day is a visiting day; God is the visitor, and hee will so visit them as shall breed a­mazement, Job 18.20. Bildad speaking of the calamities should befall the wicked in his day, saith, They that come after him, shall be astonished at his day, as they that went before were af­frighted. The day of Gods visiting those are eminently wicked, as Princes and great ones, is so dreadful, as that it af­frights the living which behold it, and astonisheth the genera­tions come after it. You may see what he doth at such times, Job 12.17, 18, 19, 21. Psal. 76.12. Psal. 110.5. he strikes tho­rough Kings in the day of his wrath.

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26
Thus saith the Lord God, remove the Diad [...]m, and take off the Crown.

This verse contains a judicial sentence, against Zedekiah, and declaration of mercy towards Jehoiakin.

Remove the Diadem.

The Hebrew is, Hasir hammitznepheth, remove hidarim. The verbe here is infinitive which may bee read so, Thus saith the Lord, to remove the Diadem, that is, I am now resol­ved to take the Diadem from Zedekiahs head, and to unking him: but its usuall among the Hebrews to put infinitives for indicatives, and imperatives, and therefore some read it auferam, I will take it away; Others aufer, tolle, Take away, remove the Diadem. The word for diadem, is Mitznepheth, the same with Tzaniph, both from Tzanaph, to wrap, or com­pass about, and sometimes its expressed by hoods which com­passed the heads of women about, as Isa. 3.23. Sometimes by Myters which compassed the heads of Priests about, as Zach. 3.5. Sometimes by Diadem, as Isa. 28.5. which compassed the head of Kings, as here it did Zedekiahs. Some would have the high Priest here meant; by the word Mitznepheth, which they render hidarim and belonged to him, Exod. 28.4. but here is no speech of the high Priest, its spoken of the King, and notes his Crown, not the High Priests Mytre, and so the next words import.

Take off the Crown.

In Hebrew its, Lift up the Crown, Diadema est [...] a circumligando. it now sits close to his head, and because hee hath strengthened himself by making a league with the Egyptians, hee thinks it so fast, that it shall not bee removed, but lift it up, take it away, it shall no longer rest there. Of the word Crown was spoken before, ch. 16.12. the word is ghaterah or atarah from [...] atar to surround, to cover on every side. Kings Crowns do compass and cover their heads. So did the King of Rabbaths, [Page 186] which Joab took from the Kings head, 2 Sam. 12.30. the weight of which was a talent of Gold, which the Annotations say, was sixty pound weight, and Ainsworth on Exod. 38.24. saith, a Talent weighed one hundred and twenty pounds, and Diodate, one hundred twenty five; whatever the natural weight of the Crown and Diadem was, the metaphorical weight exceeded it, viz. the Cares, Fears, and troubles of it were exceeding great. Crowns and Diadems were insignia regalia; and when the Lord saith to the Prophet, Remove the Diadem, take off the Crown; hee intends not that the Pro­phet should do any such thing with his own hand, but that hee should declare by his Prophesying, that now the time was come, wherein Zedekiah should bee stript of all his re­galities, be unkinged, and made as another man.

This shall not be the same.

This, Not this, is the Original. The Septuagint, [...], This shall not bee such. This Crown shall not be this mans any longer; or this crown shall not be thine, O Zedekiah; or this Crown, viz. this Kingly government shall not be this, an end of it is now come, thou art the last that shall bee in Judea. Junius reads the words thus, Haec non fu­tura est hujus. This Diadem, this crown shall bee no more. Hujus terrae, Of this land; Monarchical government shall down, great at axy and confusion shall follow. This shall not bee the same. Thou dreamest, through the delusions of the false Prophets, that Nebuchadnezzar will not come to invade the Land, or if hee do come, that thou shalt vanquish him by the help of Egypt, and so that thou and thy posterity shall reign still; but this shall not bee, all regal power shall cease from thee, and thy posterity.

Exalt him that is low.

The word for Low is, Hasfashaphalah from Shaphal: which signifies to bee humbled, oppressed; and so low, is opposite to Proud, Haughty, and those are lifted up; it referres to one is like a valley, not a mountain, and that was Jehoiachin, who [Page 187] yeilding himself, by the Counsel of Jeremy to Nebuchad­nezzar was carried into Captivity, and there imprisoned; Gods eye was upon him, and him, being depressed, oppressed, and Low, hee would have exalted. Some read I will exalt, some Exalt, the Hebrew is infinitive, and may be read Indi­catively, or Imperatively.

Abase him that is high.

The former words and these may be read thus, Heighten him that is low, and make him low that is high. This high person was Zedekiah, who through his pride and haughti­nesse of Spirit, would not indure the Babylonish yoak, but perfidiously breaking with Nebuchadnezzar, fell in with the King of Egypt, grew confident, and despised the Assy­rian Power. Hee had high thoughts, high hopes, high con­fidences, hee was become very mountainous, but this moun­tain must bee levelled. Jechoniah or Jehoiachin being a valley, was exalted, Jer. 52.30. 2 King. 25.27. and Zedekiah being a mountain was abased, 2 King. 25.6, 7. Jeremy 52.8, 9, 10, 11.

Obs. 1 The Lord doth strip great ones, even Kings and Princes of their glory, depose and abase them for their iniquities: Zedekiah was prophane, perfideous, cruel, injust, and what saith the Lord? Remove the Diadem, take away the Crown, abase him that is high; Who ever bee the instruments, that take wicked Kings, that spoil and punish them, its God that commands and commissions the doing thereof. Nebuchad­nezzar and his Army were the hand that did the things here; they took Zedekiah, they pulled off his Crown, slew his Sonnes, all the Princes, put out his eyes, bound him in chains, carried him to Babylon, imprisoned him there; but they could not have done these things, unlesse they had had Commission and power from above; when Kings are pulled down and removed, its the Lord doth it, Dan. 2.21.

Job 12.18. Hee looseth the bond of Kings; Balteum regum dissolvit. Qui solvit dis­ciplinam re­gum. The Vulgar saith, the Belt of Kings, that is, their authority and power, say some Expositors. Ʋatabl. hath it, Disciplinam, that tyran­nical Government they use he dissolves, & casts them into re­proach, [Page 188] prison, captivity, and so girds their loins with a gir­dle of sackcloath and calamity.Potestatem a tyrannis auiert & non nun­quam populum a tyrannide liberat, a con­jecto invin­cula Tyranno, Vatabl. Vulgar is, precingit fune renes corum, he girds their loynes with a rope; and Vers. 19. hee leadeth Princes away spoiled, the word is Cohanim, which though some turn Priests, yet it signifies also Princes and Ru­lers, 2 Sam. 8.18. and where our Translation, who were much affected to Priesthood, have put it Priest in the Text, as Exod. 2.16. Gen. 41.45. chap. 47.22, 26. yet in the Margent they have put Prince, and such God leads away spoiled; spoil­ed, of their glory, their Diadems, Crowns, and Princely robes; spoiled of their power, their Souldiery, and strong holds; spoiled of their stratagems, and designes; spoiled of their Territories, Dominions, and Revenues; spoiled of their Friends, Comforts, and Hopes; and whither doth hee lead them, in dementiam, saith Jun. and Trem. into madnesse and Brutishnesse: and so hee led Nebuchadnezzar for his Pride, and other sinnes, to bellow and graze amongst the beasts. Into contempt saith Job Job 2.21. being led out of all desira­ble and delightfull, Hee poures contempt upon them: that is, he fills them with contempt and scorn, who were wont to bee honoured of all, and conferre honours upon others, and how grievous this is you may judge by that of Zedekiah, who chose rather to see Jerus [...]lem on fire, than to yeild himself in­to the hands of the Chaldeans, for fear of mocking, Jer. 38.18, 19. but afterwards hee had scorn and misery enough, being rosted in the fire thereof. The Lord throws wicked Princes from their height of glory and greatnesse, into ex­tream misery; you know how Adonibezeck w [...]s served, and in Isa. 22.15, 16, 17, 18. you may read of Shebna, who was a great man, Behold, the Lord will carry thee away with a mighty Captivity, and will surely cover thee; and with what would hee cover him? with misery and shame; for it fol­lows, Hee will surely, violently turn and toss thee, like a Ball, into a large Country: There shalt thou dye, and there the charets of thy glory, shall bee the shame of thy Lords house: The Hebrew for, He will violently turn and toss thee, is, Tza­noph jitznapheka Tzenephah, Convolvendo, convolvet convoluti­one, as Montanus renders i [...]; and Prad. is, Cidarizando, cidari­zabit te cidari, by crowning or compassing, hee will crown, com­pass [Page 189] thee with a crown or compass. Vulgar hath it, Coronans coronabit te tribulatione, hee shall crown thee with misery; God cast this Shebna who was proud and high, into extream mi­fery and disgrace; hee was driven out into a Forrain Land, where hee was either torn in peeces by Dogs,Vide Sanct. in locum. or buried with the Burial of an Ass.

Obs. 2 The Lord puls down, and puts an end to Kings and Kingdomes at his pleasure. This shall not bee the same. This Crown shall bee no more for thy head, any of thy posterity, or for the Kingdome of Israel. Here God puld down the Kingdome of Israel or Judah, when it had stood neer five hundred years, and put a period to Monarchical Government. Josephus in his tenth book of the Jewish Antiquity; chap. 10. saith, that the kingly government lasted five hundred and fourteen years, six months, and ten daies, from the be­gining of Sauls reign, to the end of Zedekiahs.

Kingship beganne with them in Gods wrath, and ended in his fury, 1 Sam. 8. Ezek. 19.12. The Assyrian Empire lasted some one hundred and twenty years, and then God pulled it down, it was the same no more. The Athenian Go­vernment by Kings, was some four hundred and ninety years, and then the Lord said, This shall not be the same, hee changed it into a popular government. The kingdomes of the earth are the Lords, and he deals with them as he sees good, hee breaks them in peices, and gives them new forms, at his pleasure; Dan. [...].20, 21. wisdome and power are his, hee changeth the times and the seasons, hee removes Kings, and s [...]ts up Kings: Hee takes away one form of Government, and sets up another, hee puts down Monarchy, and sets up Ari­stocracy, After the continuation of Monarchical govern­ment amongst us, neer six hundred years, the Lord hath said, Remove the Diadem, take off the Crown, this shall not bee the same, hee hath put a new form upon us, which must have its time, and period also.

What the Lord hath done here, and did long since in Is­rael, hee is about to do in other kingdomes of the earth. The Ki [...]gs generally are so prophane and wicked, that the Lord h [...]th a controv [...]rsy with them and is speaking to this effect, if not by his Prophets, yet by his Providences, remove [Page 190] the Diadem, take off the Crown. These shall not bee the same.

Seeing it is God which makes such changes, let not us stumble at his Providences and dispensations, wee are too apt to look at the tooles hee doth his work by, and to quar­rel upon that account, and not to look at his hand which u­seth those tools; if Kings loose their Crowns; if their glory bee laid in the dust, if posterity bee excluded, if great altera­tions bee made, its the Lords doings, and should be marvel­lous in our eyes, and not matter of murmuring.

Obs. 3 That as God brings down the haughty and proud ones, so hee raises the humble and dejected: Debase him that is high, exalt him that is low; God minds the oppressed, Je­hoiachin lay a long time in Prison, and that in Babylon, even thirty seven years, but hee was not forgotten; God moved Evilmerodach to bring him out of Prison, and lift up his head, Jer. 52.31. and so made that good, in Job 12.18. in a­nother sense then you heard before, Hee looseth the bond of Kings, hee brings them out of their disgrace, restraint and misery, and girds their loynes with a girdle of honour, li­berty, and comfort, Psalm 138.6. though the Lord be high, yet hath hee respect unto the lowly, hee advances and ho­nours them, Job 5.11. he sets up on high those that be low. Mary was low and he set her among the highest; which made her to sing and say, Luke 1.52. Hee hath put down the mighty▪ from their seats, and exalted them of low degree; Let us take heed of high aspiring thoughts, and remember what Christ hath given out, Luke 14.11. Whosoever exalts himself, shall bee abased, and hee that humbleth himself shall bee exalted. Self exaltation makes way for abasement, and self abase­ment, makes way for exaltation, Psalm 147.6. The Lord lifteth up the meek, hee casteth the wicked down to the ground. Those are meekened and sweetned by their afflictions, the Lord lifts up; but the wicked hee casts them off, hee casts them down, and down to the ground, into extream misery.

27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn it.

This Verse is a Threatning of the destruction of the king­dome, and the time of its continuance in that condition, [Page 191] which is, till he come who is the right owner.

Montanus renders the Hebrew thus, Perversam, perversam, perversam ponam eam. Septuagint, [...]. Vulg. Iniquitatem, iniquitatem ponam eam. Va­tablus, Obliquam, Obliquam, Obliquam, ponam eam. Tigur. Curvam, curvam, curvam. Fren. A la renverse, a la renverse, a la renverse, je la mettray. Castal. Ad nihilum, ad nihilum, ad nihilum, eam ego redigam. Aecolampad. Distorte, distorte, di­storte, ponam eam. Lav. Subversionem, subversionem, subversionem ponam eam. The Hebrew word is, [...] Affa from [...] which signifies to do crookedly, perversly, untowardly; all which do diminish the glory of what is done, and so here, God would diminish the glory of the crown, yea, the crown it self: I will overturn it, and bring it to nothing (for it re­ferres to the Crown) and that should fall to the ground and bee no more, the kingdome shall bee utterly overthrown, and laid waste.

The word is trebled, I will overturn, overturn, overturn, Perversitatem, perversitatem, perversitatem ponam eam (coronam) i. e. funditus ever­sum & prostra­tum etit reg­num delerum­que ex judicio meo iteratis cla­dibus. per Ba­bylonium Gles. in Philo l. 3. to shew not onely the certainty and evidence of the thing, but the gradation and continuance of it; for the kingdome of Ju­dah by certain degrees fell from its height, and was under the dominion of strangers, For after that Zedekiah was depos­ed by Nebuchadnezzar; there was no Crown, nor King more in Judah; After the Captivity, there was no Kings, but Governours, Captains, Rulers, as Zerub [...]abel, Nehemi­ah, and others: after them, the High-Priests had the power, in whose hands it continued, even to Hyrcanus, who usur­ping kingly Authority, saith Pradus, was miserably slain. He­rod a stranger succeeding.

Sanctius makes this Triplication of the word, to point out, the three great evils Zedekiah suffered.

  • 1 The loss of his Kingdome and revenues.
  • 2 The loss of his Sons and eyes:
  • 3 His reproachful living in Captivity.

A Lapide, and some others, understand by the trebling of the word, the three notable destructions that befell the Jews, after this time; The first by Nebuchadnezzar, the second by Antiochus, the third by Tytus and the Romans.

Others by this Triplication, judge the time of those three, Assir, Shealtiel, and Pedajah to bee meant, in whose daies, the Kingdome of Judah was very low, if not quite over­thrown; but beganne to flourish again in the daies of Zerub­babel, who was the Sonne of Pedajah, 1 Chron. 3.19. but As­sir may bee read appellatively, and not as a proper name, (its in the 17. vers. of that 3 Chron.) thus the sonnes of Jeco­niah the bound, for he was then bound, were a prisoner in Baby­lon, and so the word is used, Isa. 42.7. to bring the Priso­ner out; the Hebrew is Assyr, and if it be taken so, this triplica­tion is marred.

Chemnitius hath another exposition of this Triplication of the words, which the learned may see in his Harmony upon the Gospel, the first part, third chapter, the latter end.

Men are various in their thoughts, about the triplicity of these words, but do generally agree in this, that the overthrow of the Kingdome, and kingly dignity is designed out thereby.

It shall be no more.

In Hebrew thus, Jam zoth lo hojah, even this hath not been, but here the preter tense is put for the future, and so the Sep­tuagint reads it,Haec scil. mu­tatio non acci­det ante adven­tum Nebuchad. [...], Neither shall this bee the same. Ʋatabl. hath it, Etiam haec not fuit, which he in­terprets thus, This alteration shall not be before Nebuchadnez­zar come, to whom the judgement belongs, and to him will I de­liver Zedekiah, so hee. The French is, Et ne seraplus, it shall bee no more. The Crown shall bee no more, the Crown of Judah. No King shall reign therein any more.

All the Sonnes of Zedekiah were slain, Jeremy 52.10. and of Jehoiachin, Jeconiah, or Coniah its said, Jeremy 22.30. Write yee this man childlesse; a man that shall not pros­per in his daies, for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah; None of them shall ever come to kingly dignity.

[Page 193] Ʋntill he come whose right it is.

Hebrew is, Ad bo asher lo hammishphat, which Jun. ren­ders thus, Donec venerit is cujus est jus ipsum, till hee come whose right it is. Aecolamp. Donec veniat ei qui judicet, un­till it come to him who may judge. Vatab. Donec is veniat cui jure convenit, till hee come to whom of right it belongs. The sense is, the Crown shall neither fit nor bee fastened to any head, till hee come that hath the true right to it; and that is neither Nebuchadnezzar, nor Zerubbabel, nor Aristobulus, A­lexander or Hyrcanus, who assumed Kingly dignity to themselves, in time of the Maccabees: but Christ the Mes­siah, who is the true heir and successor of David, when hee comes, hee shall raise up the Kingdome of Judah, being miserably afflicted, destitute, and lost to the eye of the world; he changing it into a spiritual Kingdome, shall restore it to as high, yea, an higher glory than ever it had. The crown here was reserved, and laid up for the Lord Christ, who was born King of the Jews, Mat. 2.2. to whom the Angel told Mary, that the Lord should give the Throne of his Father David, and that hee should reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and have an endlesse kingdome, Luke 1.32, 33. upon this account it was, that Nathaniel called him the King of Israel, John 1.49. and that Christ said, The Father hath committed all judgement unto the Sonne, John 5.22. The Fa­ther had appointed Christ to bee King and Ruler, Micah 5.2. gave him power, Isa. 9.6. hee was to succeed David, sit upon his Throne and kingdome to order the same, vers. 7. and his right thereunto, both Matthew in his first Chapter, and Luke in his third, do clear up, shewing how he descend­ed from David.

And I will give it him.

Christ when hee comes, shall not bee kept off from his right, I will give it him, and hee shall have the Crown, it will fit his head, and sit fast upon it, though hee come in a mean, and low way, yet he shall be King and reign.

Obs. 1 The Lord doth lay the glory of Crowns and Scep­ters in the dust when hee pleases. I will overturn, overturn, o­verturn it; There is no Crown so sure to any Mortals head, no Kingdome so stable, but the Lord can pluck away the Crown, shake the Kingdom to peeces, throw out the pos­sessors, and dispossesse their Heirs; He pulled the Crown from Zedekiahs head, he brake his Kingdome in peeces, hee threw him out of his Throne, deprived him and his Sonnes of ever inheriting more.

Sometimes the Lord doth suddainly overturn Empires and Kingdomes as Belshazzars by Darius the Median, Dan. 5.30, 31. Sometimes hee proceeds gradually, and so hee did with the Kingdomes of Israel and Judah, Hos. 5.12. I will bee unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottennesse: a Moth eats up a garment by degrees, now it makes one hole in it, and anon another; so Rottennesse enters by degrees into a Tree, first into one branch, then another, after into the body and root; So God by degrees, eat up, wasted, and consumed those Kingdomes. But bee it suddainly or gradu­ally, hee overturns them when hee pleases. God overturned the Persian Monarchy, by the Goat which had the notable Horn, Dan. 8.5. that was Alexander the Great, King of Greece, and when hee was grown very great, ruled according to his will, his Kingdome was broken, divided to others, and not to his posterity, Dan. 11.3, 4. the Lord pluckt up his King­dome, and quartered it among those were not his Heires. The Lord made the Scepter depart from Egypt, Zech. 10.11. hee cut off him, held the Scepter from the house of Eden, Amos 1.5. hee breakes the staves of the wicked, and the Scepters of the Rulers, Isa. 14.5. Crowns, Scepters, King­domes, he tumbles down, and laies in the dust.

Obs. 2 When God overturnes Crowns, and Kingdomes, hee keeps them in such a condition while hee pleases. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, and it shall bee no more, untill he come whose right it is: This was neer five hundred years, for from Ze­dekiahs deposal to the birth of Christ were four hundred ninety and two years, which was a long season for his crown and kingdome to lye in darknesse, and a desolate condition. Hosea told us long since, that the children of Israel should abide [Page 195] many daies without a King, and without a Prince, ch. 3, 4. the Kingdom of Israel was overturned by the hand of God above one hundred years before the kingdome of Judah, and lyes overturned to this day, and so hath been above two thou­sand years, in a sad, dark, distressed condition; When Kingdomes, Scepters, and Thrones are once overturned, they are not quickly raised up again. Their sinnes were great which caused the Lord to overturn them, and hee lets them lye under the punishment of their iniquity many daies and years. When Kingdomes are down, many struggle to lift them up again to their former dignity, glory, and great­nesse; but it must not, it cannot bee, till the Lords time come, till he please to put forth his hand and do it.

Obs. 3 The Lord Christ, the promised Messiah was the true King of Judah, and Prince of Sion; Vntill hee come, whose right it is, and I will give it him. The Father had appointed him to bee King, given him the Kingdome, and made it known long before his comming in the flesh. Hee was spoken of Gen. 49.10. Hee was the Shiloh, the Prosperer, unto whom the gathering of the People should bee, hee gathered Jewes and Gentiles together. Hee was spoken of Numb. 24.17. There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel. So in Psalm 45.6, 7. The Scepter of thy Kingdome is a right Scepter, and God hath annointed thee. See Isa. 11.1, 2. ch 42.1, 2, 3. Jer. 23.6. Ezek. 34.23, 24. Dan. 7.14.27. Zach. 9.9. In these places, and many other, the Kingdome of Christ, his right thereunto, and the Fathers donation th [...]r­of unto him are spoken of. The Peoples hearts were towards him, and they would have made him a King, John 6.15. however hee appeared to the world, the Apostles beheld glo­ry and majesty in him, John 1.14. 2 Pet. 1.16 and Pilate writ over his head, This is Jesus the King of the Jews, M [...]t. 27.37. Christ was not a contemptible person, whatever men thought of him, the Father designed him to bee a King, gave him a Kingdome, the Prophets foretold his Kingly dignity, he was born a King, dyed a King, he lives and reigns at this day King of Sion, and of all Saints Rev. 15.3. wee have no cause to bee ashamed of our King, but ought to honour him as wee honour the Father, seeing all judge­ment [Page 196] is committed to him, Joh. 5.22, 23.

Obs. 4 The wisdome and goodnesse of the Lord towards his, that when hee tells them of the severest judgement hee mingles some mercy; I will overturn, overturn, overturn: Overturn the Church, overturn the State, overturn them for a long time, which was very sad and bitter; yet even now when hee is in a full carriere of overturning, hee tells them of the comming of Christ, who should bee their King, wear the Crown, and raise up the Kingdome again. This was great mercy, in the depth of misery, if they lost an earthly Kingdome, they should have a spiritual one; if they lost a prophane and temporal King, they should have a King of Righteousnesse, an eternal King. It is the method of the Lord, when hee is bringing in dreadful judgements upon his People, that have provoked him bitterly, to lay in some­thing that may support and comfort those have served him faithfully, Amos 9.8 9, 10, 11. Behold, The eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinfull kingdome, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth, saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the Lord; There was mercy mingled with judgement, so in the next vers. For Lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all Nations, like as corn is sifted in a sive, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth; here again is mercy in the midst of judgement. So again in the two next verses. All the sinners of my People shall dye by the sword, which say, the evil shall not overtake nor prevent us, and what then? In that day will I raise up the Taberna­cle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof, and I will raise up his ruines, and I will build it as in the days of old, here is goodnesse with severity.

Obs. 5 That how contrary soever Gods actings appear, yet he will make good his promises, hee is mindful of them, and will be faithful. The Lord had promised to set up his Sonne Christ, to bee King in Sion, the hill of his holinesse, Psal. 2.6. that the Government should bee upon his shoulder, Isa. 9.6. that hee would cause a branch of Righteousnesse to grow up unto David, and hee shall execute judgement and righte­ousnesse in the land, Jer. 33.15. what likelihood was there that these things should bee, when the Lord overturns the [Page 197] land, plucks up all by the roots, and laies all in a dead con­dition, and that for many daies and years? They might have thought and said, surely, This death of the Crown, of Church and State, will bee the death of all those and other Promises; but it was not so, though a sentence of death was upon the land, upon the Jews, yet the living God kept life in the Promises, hee minded them, and said, I will give it to him, hee shall have this land, the Kingdome and the crown, hee shall sit upon Sion, reign and execute judgement. The actings of God sometimes are such, that to mans ap­prehensions they will make void the Promises of God, Psal. 77.7, 8. saith Asaph, will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his Promise fail for evermore? Gods hand was heavy upon him, his proceedings with him such, as his soul was greatly afflicted, questioned the truth of his Promises, and was ready to despair, but what saith hee in the tenth verse? This was my infirmity. There was no infirmity in God, hee had not forgotten his Promise, it was not out of his sight, though out of Asaphs; mans faith may fail him sometimes▪ but Gods faithfulnesse never fails him, Psalm 89.33. God will not suffer his faithfulnesse to fail. Gods operations may have an aspect that way; the Devils temptations, and our unbe­leeving hearts, may not onely make us think so, but per­swade us it is so, when as it cannot be so, for the Lord will not suffer it, hee will not make a lye in his Truth or faith­fulnesse; so the H [...]brew is, hee is a God cannot lye, he is truth, speaks truth, and not one of his Promises can or shall fail, which may afford strong Consolation unto all that are under any promise of God.

Vers. 28 And thou Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord God concerning the Ammonites, and concerning their reproach, even say thou, The sword, the sword is drawn for the slaughter, it is fourbished to consume, because of the glittering.
29 Whiles they see vanity unto thee, whiles they divine a lye unto thee, to bring thee upon the necks of them that are slain of the wick [...] whose day is come when their iniqui­ty shall have an end.

In these verses and the rest to the end, is contained the Prophesy against the Ammonites.

Two waies were spoken of in the 19, 20, and 21. vers. One leading to the Ammonites, the other to the Jews. Nebuchad­nezzar using divinations to discover unto which of these he should go, Divine Providence over-ruled the Divination, so that he was to make his military expedition unto Jerusalem. Hence least the Ammonites should bee secure, and insult o­ver the Jews, whose judgements were now comming upon them. The Lord commands the Prophet to denounce judgement, yea, the same judgement unto them.

In his Prophesy we have,

  • 1 The judgement, which is the sword, ver. 28.
  • 2 The Causes of it,
    • 1 Reproach, ver. 28.
    • 2 Impiety, and inhumanity, ver. 29.
  • 3 The place where it shall be, vers. 30.
  • 4 The Similitudes to which the judgement is likened, vers. 31.
  • 5 The Event thereof, vers. 32.
  • 6 The Ratification of the Prophesy, ibid.
Concerning the Ammonites.

The Hebrew is Ad filios Hammon, To the children of Am­mon. These Ammonites came of the Jewish Race, for they were from Lot and his younger daughter, Gen. 19.38. who being with child by him, named her Sonne Ben-Ammi, who was the Father of the Ammonites, and for Lots sake, who was the root of them, the Lord shewed them kindnesse long af­ter. Deut. 2.19. when the Jews came into Canaan, they must not distresse them nor meddle with them: the Ammonites land was given to the children of Lot for a possession, and so the Moabites, vers. 9. had their land upon that account; but the Ammonites though descended from the Jews, were bitter enemies to them, and made war against them, Judg. 11.4. 1 Samuel 11.1, 2. 2 Chronicles 20.1. They were no­torious Idolaters; they had Molech and Milchom among them, 1 King 11.7. 2 King 23.13. They were cruel and bloo­dy, Amos 1.13.

[Page 199]Concerning their Reproach.

Some would have the words taken passively here, for the reproach they suffred from the Chaldaeans, but they are rather to be taken Actively, for the Reproach which the Ammonites put upon the Jews. So Ʋatablus understands the words, and other interpreters. A lapide affirms,Opprobrium sive ignomini­am Ammonita­rum vocat, quo Israelem affe­cerant. that the Ammonites upbraided the Jews, and their God as weak and unwarlike, because Nebuchadnezzar was comming to them, and durst not meddle with the Ammonites. Its certain the Ammo­nites bare the Jews no good will, and were glad of oppor­tunities, to vent that ancient hatred they had against them; when therefore they saw that Nebuchadnezzar should come, besiedge their City, lay all waste, and carry them into captivity, they insulted over the Jews, they said, where is your God? why doth hee not appear for you? defend you against that cruel Oppressor Nebuchadnezzar, and deliver you; wee see what your God is, our Molech, our Milchom doth more for us, than your God doth for you. Zeph. 2.8. 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. Our Prophet is more plain and full, bringing in the Ammonites scoffing at the Calamities of the Jews, Chap. 25.3, 4. Say to the Ammonites, hear the word of the Lord, Thus saith the Lord God, because thou saidst Aha against my Sanctuary, when it was prophaned, and against the Land of Israel when it was desolate, and against the house of Judah, when they went into captivity. Behold, ther­fore I will deliver thee to the men of the East for a possession, &c.

The sword, the sword it is drawn.

By Sword is meant war, all warlike instruments, and all those evils attend the same. Here is an Epizeuxes, a doub­ling of the word; the sword, the sword, which is emphatical, and imports certainty and progresse of it to destroy. You Am­monites think the sword is drawn onely against the Jews, and that when they are slain it shall bee put up, but its not so. [Page 200] The sword, the sword is drawn for slaughter of you Ammonites, as well as the Jews, you have little cause to insult, reproach, or flatter your-selves, you shall bee secure, your destruction is decreed, its comming, onely the Jews is first, yours after.

The word for drawn is, Pethuchah, solutus est, it was bound up before in the sheath, now its loosed, Desgaines, saith the French,From [...] aperire, so [...]ve­re. unsheathed; now its at liberty and in readinesse to do execution, even among you Ammonites at my pleasure.

For the slaughter it is fourbished.

Not onely was it drawn, but it was fourbished, Merutah, filed, scoured; [...] marat, whence it comes, signifies to pluck up hairs, or pul out feathers by the roots, to excoriate, or flea off the skin, and metaphorically, is applyed to things which contract rust, and signifies detergere rubiginem. When swords have been long in their sheaths, undrawn, unused, they become rusty, that rust is like an hairy, or feathery skin upon the blades, which must bee removed, and that is the fourbishing of them. The Sword here was not fourbished for sight, but for use, for slaughter. Letevach, ad jugulationem, saith Montanus, Ad occisionem, saith Vatabl.

To consume, because of the glittering.

The Hebrew is, Lehachil, lemaan, barack, ad sustinendum propter fulgur, To sustain by reason of the shining, So Mont. Politus est ut sustineat & propter fulgorem, So Vatabl. and hee gives this sense thereof, it is fourbished, that it may suf­fice for the slaughtering of many, and that it may terrify with its glittering,Politus est ut sufficiat multis interficiendis & ut terreat suo fulgore perdendos. those that are to bee destroyed. The Syriack Exacutus es & fulgens, Thou art whetted and shining. Lavat. Ut consumat propter fulgur, That it may consume, because of the brightnesse or lightening of it. The sword and military in­struments, were so glittering, that like lightening, they should strike suddain terrour into them, and quickly consume them.

Obs. 1 When God is bringing, or brings judgements upon his people for their in [...]quities, Then the wicked, then their enemies [Page 201] take advantage and revile them. The Ammonites understan­ding that Nebuchadnezzar was marching with his Forces to Jerusalem, they reproach'd them, being glad that the day of their calamity and suffering was at hand. The Ammo­nites were their Neighbours, they were quasi fratres, coming from the Brother of Abraham, yet they reproached the Jews, and added affliction to affliction, Zeph. 2.8. both Moab and Ammon reviled and reproached the Israelites, and magnified themselves against their border.

The Rabbies say,Quando Chal­daei Judaeos du­cebant in cap­tivitatem Ba­byloniam & per terram Am­monitarum & Moabitarum transibant flen­tes, contrista­bant & afflige­bant eos, di­cente [...] qu [...]d malum vos, affligitis Iudaei? quid ploratis? nonne in do­mum it is pa­tris vestri. R Salom. ut habet Lyra. that when the Chaldaeans carried the Jews Captive, through the lands of the Moabites and Am­monites, the Jews wept, and they reproached them, saying, Why do you afflict your selves? why do you weep? are you not going to your fathers house? they meant Chaldaea, which was Abrahams Country and habitation. These, and many other reproachful speeches doubtlesse they used against the Jews, when they were spoild and led into Captivity, and magnified themselves against their border; They said, now their border, their land should become theirs, and they did take the advantage, and invaded their possessions, Jerem. 49.1. Concerning the Ammonites, Thus saith the Lord. Hath Isra­el no Sonnes? hath hee no heir? why then doth their King (that is, the King of the Ammonites) inherit Gad, and his People dwell in his Cities; that is, seeing Israel hath Sonnes, and heirs of his own, and I have given the possessions of Gad, being carried away with the ten Tribes, unto Judah and Benjamin, why do the Ammonites usurpe, and take pos­session of that is none of their own? Thus they reproached and wronged the Jews. So likewise did the Edomites, Psal. 137.7. In the day of Jerusalem, that was in the day Nebuchad­nezzars forces took and plundered it, they cryed, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation. In reproach of, and despight to the Jews, they cryed out so; when Jerusalem was destroyed, the adversaries saw her, and did mock at her Sabbaths, they scoffed at all her festivals, religion, and worship. Where is your God whose daies you have so religiously observed? why did hee not defend you from this day of your suffer­ings? either hee was infirme, and could not; or unfaithfull and would not?

Obs. 2 The Lord takes notice of the enemies reproaching his People: He tells the Prophet of the Ammonites reproachings. Ezekiel was in Babylon, hee knew nothing of it, but God heard and observed it, Zeph. 2.8. I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon: Gods ear is very open in this case, and though his People hear not, yet hee heareth, Jer. 48.27. hee saith in his indignation unto Moab, was not Israel a derision unto thee? put it off if thou canst, deny it if thou darest? I saw it, I heard it. This is some comfort to the Church and People of God, that hee observes not onely the wrongs wicked men do unto his, but also the reproaching speeches they utter against his, Lam. 3.61. Jeremy comforted himself in this, Thou hast heard their repro [...]ch, O Lord, and all their imaginations against mee: When we are reproached, and mischief is imagined a­gainst us by wicked ones, let us make use of this Scripture, and comfort our selves therein, not breaking out into bitter­nesse and passion.

Obs. 3 Reproaching and reviling Gods people, when they are in affliction, draws judgement upon the Reproachers and Revilers. The Ammonites reproached the Jews, when the Babylonish sword came upon them, and here the Prophet must tell them the sword is drawn, fourbished for slaughter, and consump­tion of them. Reproach in this kinde is a provoking sinne, Gods Name, Truths, Ordinances, suffer when his People are reproached, for his correcting hand upon them for their iniquities. Jer. 48.26, 27. Make yee Moab drunken, that is, let the cup of Gods wrath bee given him, let him have judge­ment after judgement; drink so deep of divine fury, that he shall not bee able to stand: and why was this? hee magni­fied himself against the Lord, hee derided Israel, verse 27. hee magnified himself against their border, Zeph. 2.8. and this is called magnifying himself against the Lord (for what is done against his People, and their borders, is done against him) and Moab must be made drunk for it; yea, Moab also shall wallow in his vomit, he also shall be in derision, he shall be de­rided & scorned in his misery, as a drunken man who lys wal­lowing in his vomit; Moab for reproaching should be re [...]roached▪ yea, grievously afflicted, yea, utterly destroyed, Zeph. 2.8, 9, [Page 203] Both Moab and Ammon reviled, reproached the Jews, and magnifyed themselves against their border. Therefore as I live saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, surely Moab shall bee as Sodome, and the Children of Ammon, as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual deso­lation. The meaning is, not that they should bee consumed by fire from heaven, as Sodome and Gomorrah were, but they should suffer extream and severe judgements at the hands of the Lord, and be perpetually desolate as they were.

29 Whiles they see vanity unto thee, whiles they divine a lye unto thee.

The Hebrew is, Bachazoth lack shane, bicksom lack cazab, In seeing to thy self a vain thing, in divining to thy self a lye. The Septuag. runs to that purpose, [...], In thy vision for vanity, and in thy prophesying a lye to thy self. The Ammonites like other Nations, had their false Prophets, Diviners, and Sooth­sayers, as you may clearly see from Jerem. 27.3. where the Prophet under the type of bonds and yoaks, put upon his neck, prophesyeth the subjection of the Nations unto Ne­buchadnezzar, and among others the Ammonites; and verse 9. hee forbids them to hearken to their Prophets, Diviners, Dreamers, Inchanters, Sorcerers, which told them, they should not serve the King of Babylon. They held them a sleep by telling them, either Nebuchadnez. would not come to them, or if he did, they were a strong people, had strong Cities, and needed not to fear any enemy. But they saw vanity, and divined a lye unto them, and this is the sense of the words, both according to the Hebrew and our translation.

To bring thee upon the necks of them that are slain.

Their false Prophets and Diviners, put them on, to insult over and trample upon the Jews, when they were slain by the Chaldaeans; assuring them of safety.

Or thus, To give thee to the necks of them that are slain, so [Page 204] the Hebrew may bee rendred; and then the meaning is, thy false Prophets and Diviners, by their vanities and lyes do subject thee to the sword of Nebuchadnezzar, and make way for thy destruction like the Jews.

Of the wicked whose day is come.

These words, of the wicked, are joyned with the former in the Hebrew, El Tzauvere challe reshaim, To the necks of the slain of the wicked, and so is the Septuagint, [...]. All Translations and Expositors do joyn them, and they may refer either to the slain, or slayers, noting their wickednesse, some do refer them to the one, some to the other.In Hebraeo non est Syntaxis convenientiae, ita ut intelli­ge [...]di sint con­fossi improbi, sed rect [...]onis ut intel igantur con [...]ossi ab im­probis. Piscat. Piscator by wicked, understands the Chaldaeans, and reads the words thus, Eorum qui ab improbis confossi sunt, upon the necks of them who are slain by the wicked.

Whose day is come when their iniquity shall have an end.

The day of the Jews, that was come wherein Gods judge­ments should cut them off, and put an end to their iniqui­ty: of these words, see ver. 25.

Obs. 1 When the Lord threatens sinful Nations with sore judgements, they have those amongst them which divert them from the truth, possesse them with delusions, and put them upon destructive practises. The Ammonites were threatned here with the Babylonish sword, but they neither beleeved Eze­kiel nor Jeremy, who told them the same thing, chap. 27. Their false Prophets, their Diviners beat them off from it, possessed them with vanities and lyes, put them upon insult­ing over the Jews, when the hand of the Lord was most heavy upon them, and so brought them to suffer by the same sword the Jews did. Its just with God to give men and Na­tions over to beleeve lies, and lying Prophets which shall lead them to destruction, when they have stopt their ears a­gainst the true Prophets. Ahab would not beleeve Micaiah, but the false Prophets, who spake words according to his minde, but they were vanity, lies, and he smarted for it, 1 Kin. 22.

Obs. 2 Though the Lord forbear sinful Nations long, yet hee hath his daies and times of reckoning with, and punishing of them: the Jews day was come, and their iniquity had an end. The Ammonites day came, and their iniquity had an end. God punished them severely for their sinnes, Ezek. 25. Nebuchad­nezzar and the Babylonians were forborn long, but God had his time for them; Jer. 27.7. All Nations shall serve him, and his Sonne, and his Sonnes Sonne, untill the very time of his land come: then many Nations, and great Kings shall serve themselves of him. Babylon and its King, had a time to sinne, and a time to suffer. God staid many daies, yet had his day, and came at the day appointed, Jer. 50.31. ch. 51.13. O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures: thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousnesse. Babylon was insatiably covetous, robbing the Nations of their riches, but all her wealth could not purchase one daies respit from the wrath of God; nor all her waters preserve her from the fire of his indignation; the fire God sent in his day burnt up their habitations, and lickt up the water of Euphrates, whereon Babylon sate; God bare long with us, and the Nati­ons about us, but his day is come, hee is visiting, wee, they, have had our times of sinning, and now must have our times of suff [...]ring.

Vers. 30 Shall I cause it to return into his sheath? I will judge thee in the place where thou wast created, in the land of thy nativity.
31 And I will pour out mine indignation upon thee, I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, and skilful to destroy.
32 Thou shalt bee for fuel to the fire, thy bloud shall bee in the midst of the Land, thou shalt bee no more remembred: for I the Lord have spoken it.

Some interpret these words of the Babylonians, as if God would deal with them after hee had done with the Jews, and Ammonites, which hee did according to the Prophesies, in Isa. ch. 13. and Jerem. 25. the 50. and 51. but this Prophesy is against the Ammonites, whose land the Babylonish King [Page 206] laid waste some five years after the final destruction of Jeru­salem, as Sanctius saith, citing the tenth book of Josephus An­tiquities for it.

Shall I cause it to return into his sheath?

You Ammonites think that when the sword hath done ex­ecution upon the Jews, it will bee sheathed, quiet, and pro­ceed no further: but shall I cause it to return into his sheath? no I will not give it any such commission, or if I do, it shall bee for a short time, it shall come to you, and slay you as it hath done them.Repone gladi­um in vaginam suam. Jun. Reduc gladium tuum in vagi­nam suam. Pis. The Hebrew, Hoshab is infinitive put for an Imperative, and so is rendred by some Expositors; Put the sword, or thy sword into the sheath. Thou thinkest to draw the sword, to defend thy self against the Chaldaeans when I send them upon thee, but it shall bee in vain, thou shalt not bee able to stand against them. I will make thy strength and weapons uselesse.

I will judge thee in the place where thou wast created.

That is, I will punish the Ammonites in their own land, where they were borne, where my hand created or framed them. They shall not bee carried to Babylon, and be preserved there, but they shall bee destroyed in their own Country, at their own door, yet some were Captives, Jer. 49. of this ex­pression, I will judge thee, was spoken, Ezek. 16.38.

In the land of thy Nativity.

The Hebrew is, Mecurothajick, In the land of thy mansi­ons, or peregrination, In terra negotiationum tuarum, saith Piscator, In the land of thy traffick, where thou hast plea­sure and profit.

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31
I will pour out mine indignation upon thee, &c.

Here you have the resemblances to which Gods judgement is likened.

1 Its compared to a Flood or torrent; to a great rain or water, that runnes swiftly, and bears down all; of which be­fore, ch. 7.8. ch. 14.19. ch. 20.8.13.21.

2 To a winde or storm, I will blow against thee: Aphiash, perflabo, or perflare faciam, I will make such a winde, such a storm as shall throw down all the greatnesse and glory of the Ammonites.

3 To a fire, which where it kindles and fastens, consumes all to ashes; of this before, ch. 15 7.

I will deliver thee into the hands of brutish men.

The word for Brutish, is, [...] from Baar to burn, and therefore in the margent its burning, God would deliver them into the hands of the Chaldaeans, who were burning, that is, Cholerick, hasty, furious men, Habbak. 1.6. a bitter and hasty nation. The word also signifies to bee brutish, foolish, Psal. 73.22. Vaani baar velo edah. I was foolish, brutish, and knew not, so that baar is adam, shem lo daath, a man without knowledge, a Barbaraian, and so the Saptuagint speak,Rabbi David. [...], into the hands of barbarous men.

Skilful to destroy.

Charashe maschith, is the Original, Artists of Corruption, men exercised in caedibus faciendis, in killing men they were very expert; they had been sundry times before at Jerusalem, slain many Jews, and knew how to destroy Ammonites.

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32
Thou shalt be for fuel to the fire.

Thou shalt be meat to the fire, that shall eat up thee, and thy habitations, as fire is fed by wood, coal, straw, turfe, and such combustibles, so should the fire of Gods wrath bee fed with their vineyards, habitations, towns, Cities, persons.

Thy bloud shall be in the midst of the Land.

Thou shalt be slain openly, lye in thy bloud, unpittied, unburied.

Thou shalt bee no more remembred.

This judgement shall deprive thee of life, and also of thy name, thou shalt have no monument to make mention of thee, but thy memory shall altogether perish, thou shalt bee so handled, ut ne vestigium tui relinquatur.

Obs. 1 The Lord oft doth cross the thoughts, and blast the hopes of wicked men: the sword came to the Ammonites, when they thought it should not come, they hoped by their swords to beat back the Babylonians, and God bade them put up their swords into the sheaths, they should do them no good, the Babylonians should prevail. Zedekiah and the Jews, thought Nebuchadnezzar would not draw his sword against them, if hee did, they hoped the Egyptian sword would prove stronger than the Babylonian, but they were deceived in both, see Ezek. 17.12, 17. when Princes and States trust in their strong men, and look for help; delive­rance by them, the Lord disappoints them, and makes the pompe of the strong to cease.

Obs. 2 The Lord punishes sinners in the midst of their conve­niences, pleasures, and profits: I will judge thee in the place where thou wast created, in the land of thy nativity: There they had most conveniences, delights, contents, and thither God brings the sword, there he cuts them off. There they sinned, there they were impious, consulting with false Prophets, Diviners, there they were barbarous, inhumane, mocking at the Calamities of the Jews when God visited [Page 209] them, and there God punished them. Thus hath God dealt with them in Ireland, in the land of their Nativity, in the places of their delights and conveniencies, where they sinned, there they suffered.

Obs. 3 Suddainly and easily can the Lord destroy sinful Nations. I will poure out mine indignation upon thee, I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee, &c. Floods, windes, stormes, fires come suddainly, and blow­ing is an easy thing, if God do but blow upon a Nation in his wrath, its undone, Isa. 40.7. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it. If the Lord blow with a spirit of indignation upon a land, or People, they wither away quickly, and come to no­thing, vers. 24. Speaking before of Princes, Judges, and their stock, which seem to bee rooted like mighty Oakes, and tall Cedars, its said, Hee shall blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlewind shall take them away as stub­ble; Let God blow upon Princes, and their glory fades, their roots dry up, if God let out the fire of his wrath, who? what is not meat, fuel for that fire? Princes, People, Cities, Na­tions are.

Obs. 4 Wicked Nations, and Persons, God takes away the name and memory of them: Thou shalt be no more remembred in way of mercy, or for honour; but if at all, in way of wrath, and for reproach. Many Nations since the fall of man, for their sins are defunct, extinct, and buried in the dark­nesse of oblivion,

Obs. 5 Judgements come not upon Nations without the Lord, but because the Lord hath appointed them: The Ammonitish Nation must bee fuel for the fire, no more remembred, and why? For I the Lord have spoken, I that am faithful and will not falsity my word, I that am able, and can inflict what is threat­ned. I have spoken, decreed, and appointed such things, and they must come to pass.

CHAP. XXII.

Vers. 1 Moreover, the word of the Lord came unto mee, saying,’2 Now thou son of man, wilt thou judge? wilt thou judge the bloudy City? yea, thou shalt shew her all her Abomi­nations.’3 Then say thou, Thus saith the Lord God, the City shed­eth bloud in the midst of it, that her time may come, and maketh Idols against her self, to defile her self.’4 Thou art become guilty in thy bloud that thou hast shed, and hast defiled thy self in thine idols, which thou hast made; and thou hast caused thy daies to draw neer, and art come even unto thy years, therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the Heathen, and a mocking to all Countries.’5 Those that bee near, and those that bee far from thee, shall mock thee, which art infamous, and much vexed.’6 Behold the Princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed bloud.’7 In thee have they set light by Father and mother, in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger, in thee have they vexed the Fatherlesse, and the widow.’8 Thou hast despised mine holy things, and prophaned my Sab­baths.’9 In thee are men that carry tales to shed bloud: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness.’10 In thee they have discovered their fathers nakednesse, in thee have they humbled her, that was set apart for pollution.’11 And one hath committed Abomination with his Neigh­bours wife, and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter in Law, and another in thee hath humbled his sister, his fathers daughter.’12 In thee have they taken gifts to shed bloud: thou hast ta­ken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of [Page 211] thy Neighbour by extortion, and hast forgotten mee, saith the Lord God.’

IN this 22 Chapter, you have three messages of the Lord to the Prophet. The

1 Is from the beginning to the 17. vers. where­in a large Catalogue of Jerusalems sins are set down, with inter­mixture, and addition of some threatnings and judgements.

2 Is from the 17. vers. to the 23. wherein is declared what the house of Israel is likened unto, and what the Lord will do with it.

3 Is from the 23. to the end, wherein is laid forth the ge­neral corruption of all sorts, both Prophets, Priests, Princes, and people, with certainty of their destruction:

1 Moreover, the word of the Lord, &c.

Prophets stir not till God stirres them; after God speaks to them, they may speak to others. God hath more still to communicate unto Prophets, notwithstanding he hath com­municated much; Moreover the word, &c. besides all deli­vered, this I have had from the Lord.

2 Wilt thou judge, Wilt thou judge the bloudy City?

The Hebrew word [...] shaphat, signifies to judge, and because in judging two parties are to bee dealt withall, one wronging, the other wronged, hence the word notes some­times to plead for, to defend; sometimes to sentence and pu­nish. In this place, the former of these is most suitable, Son of man wilt thou excuse, defend, and plead for this City? I tell thee its a bloudy City, a City that hath wronged me, and must not bee pleaded for. Of these words were spoken before, ch. 20.4.

If wee read them as Montanus, Aecolampadius, and some others do, thus, wilt thou not judge, wilt thou not judge the bloudy City? that is, wilt thou not reprove, and tell it through­ly of its iniquities? what, wilt thou faint, give over, and [Page 212] winke at the wickednesse thou seest? is it not a part of thy prophetical office, to lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and to tell my People of their transgressions? remember thine office, connive not at their sinnes, but cry out against them. In this sense, it affords this note.

That Propheticall men are oft discouraged, ready to cease from their work, and need to bee roused, and quickned thereunto by the Lord.

The bloudy City.

The Hebrew is, The City of blouds. Jerusalem which is so called, because shee had shed much innocent bloud, and was become very cruel, Jer. 19.4. yee have filled this place with the bloud of Innocents, and 2 King 21.16. Manasses shed so much innocent bloud therein, that hee filled Jerusa­lem from one end to the other therewith; yea, so bloudy was Jerusalem that she filled the land with bloud and bloudy crimes, Ezek 7.23. ch. 9.9. and how bloudy this City was, appears in the 3, 4, 6, 9. vers. of this chapter.

Obs. The sinnes of a City and Nation may bee such, that God will not have his Prophets to plead or intercede for them, but to cry out against them. Sonne of Man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloudy City: I know thou art very charitable, and ready to speak for them, but the City is so bloudy, and full of Abominations, that I will not have thee to appear or move for them, but thou must set their sinnes in order be­fore them, and thunder out my judgements against them. When there is a fulnesse of sinne, so that its universal in all sorts, sinners are grown impudent and obstinate, then the Lord stops his ears, and the mouths of his Prophets, hee will have no pleading for such a people. This was the case of Jerusalem, sinne had spread it self through all rankes of people, as you shall finde in this Chapter, and her Children were impudent and hard hearted, Ezeki­el 3. verse 7.

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3
The City sheddeth bloud in the midst of it, that her time may come.

Jerusalem shed bloud in the midst of her self, so is the Hebr. That is, publice, impune, sine timore, publikely, fearlesly, freely, against law and light of nature, without all shame.

That her time may come.

She fills up the measure of her sinnes, that so the time of her destruction may make haste.

And maketh Idols against her self.

In the former words was a violation of the second ta­ble, and in these is a violation of the first. Of the word gillu­lim, Idols, or dung-hill Gods, hath been spoken in former Chapters: The Septuagint hath, [...], devices, Jeru­salem devised Idols, and waies of worship, shee fetched in the gods of other Nations, and devised some of her own, but they were against her self, shee thought they made for her, but they tended to her destruction.

4 Thou art become guilty in thy bloud, that thou hast shed.

The word for guilty is, ashamt, and the Original asham, signifies to do wickedly, shamefully. Jerusalem in shedding of bloud, had done wickedly, shamefully, and so became guil­ty with a witnesse, exceeding guilty, shee cut not off the wicked, to take guilt off from her self and the land, but she murdered the innocent, and multiplied guilt thereby upon her self, and the Nation.

Thou hast defiled thy self in the Idols which thou hast made.

Thou hast made Idols, thinking thereby to please God, [Page 214] and pacify his anger, but they have defiled thee, made thee hateful unto God, and increased his wrath much more a­gainst thee. God had forbidden them to make to them­selves Idols or Images, Exod. 20. yet they did make them, defiling thereby, both the worship of God, and their own soules, and so hastened their own destruction.

Thou hast caused thy daies to draw neer, and art come even unto thy years.

Thou hast by thy transgressions, broken the thread of my patience, and hastened judgement to come upon thee, I gave thee time to repent, and prevent my wrath from breaking out aginst thee, but thou having abused my patience, mis­spent thy time, art become worse, and now vengeance is at thy gates, and ready to enter. The time is come for the sword to visit thee, and that thou shalt go into Captivity.

Therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the Heathen.

Jerusalem was the Habitation of God, Psalm 76.2. the City of the great King. Mat. 5.35. which the Lord took plea­sure to protect and defend, Isa. 31.5. it was the perfection of beauty, Psalm 50.2. the Holy City, Matth. 27.53. very ho­nourable; but this City, and the inhabitants thereof, did the Lord make a reproach unto Heathens. The word for re­proach is, Cherphah, which notes, reproach, disgrace in word or action; and doubtlesse the Jews met with reproachful words, and actions from the Heathen. They were not yet made a reproach, but God intended them to bee so, the preter tense, is put for the future.

A mocking to all Countries.

The Hebrew is, [...] kallasah from killez; subsannare, to mock and jeer, and kallasah is subsannatio vilipendium, or contumelia cum extenuatione alterius, a vilifying and scorning of a man, its onely in this place, and imports the scorning and vilifying of the Jews, in all Countries.

The Septuagint hath it, [...], in [...]udibrium, for a derision and laughing stock. Its rendred, Heb. 11.36. cruel mockings, such mockings as argue cruelty and insulting.

5 Those that bee near, and those that be far from thee, shall mock thee.

The Nations-round about thee, the Ammonites, Moabites, Idumeans, and those far off, the Babylonians.

Which art infamous.

In the Hebrew its Temeath hashem, polluta nomine, thou art polluted in thy name. Septuagint, [...], who art named impure. French, qui es vileine de nom, who art of a base and vile name. Jerusalem the Faithful City was become an harlot, Isa. 1.21. and like an imperious whorish woman, Ezek. 16.30. Jerusalems Idolatry, bloud, uncleannesse, and prophaneness, had made her infamous, and to be called the fil­thy, polluted, the oppressing City, Zeph. 3.1.

Much vexed.

The Hebrew words are, Rabbath, hamme, humah, multae contritionis, of much contrition, that is, a City greatly to bee broken for thy wickedness. Septuagint, [...], much in wickednesse, which brought her much vexa­tion. The French is, Grande en affliction, great in affliction. The Vulgar Grandis in territu, famine, sword, and plague, vexed, destroyed her. Piscat. Rep [...]eta tumultuatione, fil­led with tumult. Lavat. Cum magna turba. Jun. Copiosa di­vexatione rich in vexation.

From these 3. verses thus opened, take these observations.

Obs. 1 That when people become Idolatrous, they grow cru­el. Jerusalem made Idols, and shed bloud, bloodinesse, cru­elty, and Idolatry usually go together, shee had Idols in the midst of her, Ezek. 16.24, 25. and she shed bloud in the midst of her, shee was a publike Idolatresse, and a publike murther­esse. The Babylonians were very Idolatrous, Ezek. 20.32. [Page 216] and they were very bloudy, Jer. 51.35. so Rome, which is called Babylon, Rev. 17. was idolatrous and bloudy, those shee could not make drunk with the wine of her fornicati­ons, those shee could not draw to Popery and Idolatry she made her self drunk with their bloud, vers. 26. How blou­dy Popish Idolaters are, the Parisian massachre heretofore, and the Irish of late do witnesse; when men once make gods, and form waies of worship to themselves, they are zealous for them; will lavish out gold to maintain them, and be lavish of their bloud that oppose them.

Obs. 2 Great sinnes do accelerate the judgements of God, they put wings unto them, and cause them to make haste. Jeru­salems bloudinesse and idolatries made her time to come, and daies to draw near. Sinners-by their lewdnesses do abbreviate Gods patience, and swiften his punishments, Psalm 54.23. Bloudy and deceitful men, shall not live out half their daies. The length and strength of their wickednesse shor­tens their daies, in Job 22.16. its said, wicked men were cut down out of time, and chap. 15.32. it shall be accomplished before his time; a wicked man, his life is gone, cut off before the just time, like a green tree, cut down before it come to perfecti­on, and so is out of time, and before his time, hee might have lived longer, had hee not been so wicked, Eccl. 7.17. bee not overmuch wicked, neither bee thou fool [...]sh, why shouldest thou dye before thy time. The Hebrew is, belo itteco, not in thy time. Many men through Drunkennesse, Thefts, mur­thers Duels, Uncleannesse, do dye, Not in their time, not in the time they might have lived unto, they dye out of time, and before their time, and what's the cause? their own wickednesse, and overmuch wickednesse precipitates their death. Hamans enmity to Mordecai, and bloudinesse against the Jews, brought the halter about his neck before his time. Herods pride caused the wormes to eat him up, before his time. The wickednesse of many in our daies hath brought them to the block, tempore non suo, out of time, or before their time.

Obs. 3 The sinnes of Nations, Cities, and People, do expose them to the Reproachings and Scornings of all sorts, b [...]th farre off and near. Jerusalem and her people were very wicked; [Page 217] therefore saith God, I have made thee a reproach unto the Heathen, and a mocking to all Countries, those bee near, and those bee far from thee shall mock thee, Lam. 2.15. All that pass by clap their hands at thee, they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, is this the City that men call the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth? All passengers of what Nation soever, when Jerusalem suffered, and was made desolate, clapped their hands, hissed, wagged their heads, gnashed their teeth, vers. 16. which were ge­stures of scorn and insultation, and tip't their tongues with this bitter sarcasive, Is this the City that men call the perfecti­on of beauty, the joy of the whole earth? See Jer. 18.15, 16. it was the Jews sinning against God that made them a perpetu­al hissing, Lamen. 1.8. Jerusalem hath grievously sinned, there­fore shee is removed, all that honoured her, despise her: Her sinne transformed her honour into shame and despight. One of her sinnes was, that the word of God was a reproach to her and hers, Jer. 6.10, therefore God made her and hers a reproach, a proverbe, a taunt, a curse in all places, whi­ther he should drive them, Jer. 24.9. not only the Moabites and Ammonites mockt them, when they were leading away Captive, Nonne it is in domum patris vestri, why do you weep? you are going to your fathers house; but also the Babyloni­ans, Psalm 137.3. Sing us one of the Songs of Sion; you say Zion is the joy of the whole earth, let us have a song of it, and see how joyfull it will make you here in Baby­lon.

Obs. 4 Sin makes Cities and Citizens to have an ill name. Jerusalems wickednesse made her infamous: Her iniquities were great and many, and they caused her to hear ill; former­ly Jerusalem had been renowned, Ezek. 16.14. for Beauty the presence, Ordinances, and worship of God, Psal. 76.1, 2, 3, 4. renowned for her faithfulnesse, Isa. 1.21. for her Holiness, Psal. 2.6. for her Justice and righteousnesse, Isa. 1.21. but now through her Idolatry, Cruelty, prophanenesse, unclean­nesse, shee had lost her beauty, faithfulnesse, holinesse, and righteousnesse, shee was become infamous as any strumpet, and Ezek. 24 6.9. hath this infamous motto twice written upon her gates, Woe to the bloudy City, woe to the bloudy City: [Page 218] and what were the Citizens, Rulers of Sodome and people of Gomorrah. Jerusalem was Sodome, Gomorrah, and what a brand was this to that City? and the people were Sodomites, and Gomorrhaeans, and what an infamy was this unto them? How infamous was Jezabel, Jeroboam, and Judah for their wickedness? The Spirit of God resembles wicked men to things that are vile and infamous, as the smoak of a Chimny, Hos. 13.3. which blacks and infects, to Sepulchers which are stinking and loathsome, Mat. 23.27. to despised broken Idols, Jer. 22.28. to dogs and Swine, 2 Pet. 2.22. to Adders and Serpents, Psal. 58.4. to Dragons, Isa. 51.9. yea, to the Dev [...]l, John. 6.70. if men would not have an ill name, bee likened unto vile things, let them not do such things as will make infamous.

Obs. 5 Sin brings sad afflictions upon the Sonnes of men: Thou art much vexed: Jerusalems sinnes multiplyed her sor­rows: shee vexed the fatherlesse and widow, vers. 7. shee vexed the poor and needy, vers. 29. and shee had much vexati­on for it. The Ammonites, Egyptians, Babylonians vexed her, yea, the Lord vexed her with famine, sword, and pestilence. In Deu. 28.20. it was told the Jews, that God would send upon them cursing, vexation, and rebuke, till hee had destroyed them, and why? because of the wickednesse of their doings, because they forsooke God, and Isa. 63.10. They rebelled and vexed his holy Spirit, therefore hee was turned to bee their ene­my, and fought against them: when God is an enemy, and fights against a People, they have nothing but vexation.

God makes every creature, every condition vexatious.

6 Behold the Princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their Power, &c.

The Hebrew stands thus, The Princes of Israel every one ac­cording to his arm, were in thee; an Arm, is put for power. Va­tablus hath it, Quisque pro virili. suo, every one of the Prin­ces according to his power and place, did put forth him­self to do unjust, and cruel things. The Princes who were set up above others, and impowred to have done justice im­partially to all, they abused their power and places, to the de­filling [Page 219] of Jerusalem with Bloud. There was no equity a­mongst them, tyranny prevailed.

7 In thee have they set light by Father and Mother.

The Law of God, and light of Nature, teaches men to ho­nour their Parents, but Jerusalem had those in it, violated both these Laws: Children were come to such an height of wickednesse, that they vilified their Parents, and reproach­ed them: both their Natural and metophorical Parents. Sep. [...], Is. 3.5. The Child shall he have himself proudly against the antient and the base against the honourable; This was now fulfilled in Jerusalem, and that curse pulled upon them, Deut. 27.16. Cursed be he that setteth light by his father, &c.

In thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger.

The word for Oppression is from [...] which signifies to oppresse a man by force or fraud, and though the Law was, that they should not vex or oppresse a stranger, Exod. 22.21. yet now was the wickednesse of Jerusalem such, that she by fraud and force did oppresse the stranger.

By stranger is not meant, any one of other Nations that came to Jerusalem, but him, qui adoptione Judaeus factus erat, who being adopted into the Jewish Nation, became a Prosselyte, Vid. Rivet in Exod 22.21. God took special care of such, and so the Septuagint ren­ders the word strangers, that so more might bee incourag­ed to come into the worship of the true God; but they oppressed them, and so shut the door which God had opened.

In thee have they vexed the fatherless, and the widow.

Orphans and widows being deprived of those should bee their help and strength, God himself hath declared for them, Psal. 68.5. A father of the Fatherlesse, and a judge of the widow, is God in his holy habitation, and therefore pe­remptorily [Page 220] forbids the affliction of any widow or fatherless childe, Exod. 22.22. and the sense is not onely that they should not harme them, but that they should protect them, plead their causes, and do them good, Isa. 1, 17. judge the Fatherlesse, plead for the widow, but they were so far from this, that they afflicted and vexed them; the word here for vexed, is Honu from janah, to offer violence, to prey upon, they offe­red violence to the widows and fatherlesse, making a prey of them, which was a great vexation to their souls.

8 Thou hast despised mine holy things.

The holy things were all those things were consecrated and de­dicated to God, as the Priests, the Temple, the vessels of it, the Sacrifices and Sacraments they had, yea, all the Ordinan­ces of God, which they despised, the word [...] bazah is despising, ex fastu quodam, out of pride and disdain. So did the Jews of Old, so do many now through pride of heart, despise holy things. Religion was then vilified.

And hast prophaned my Sabbaths.

Of prophaning or polluting the Sabbath, you heard, ch. 20.13.16. its the same word for polluted there, which you have for prophaned here. God had commanded them to remem­ber his Sabbaths, to sanctify them, and promised great blessings unto them upon the due sanctification of them, Isa. 58.13, 14. but Jerusalem prophaned them, and made them common, or worse than common daies.

9 In thee are men that carry tales to shed bloud.

The words for men that carry tales are [...] for which the Septuagint gives you, [...], theives, rob­bers. Sym. and Theod. Ʋiri dolosi, deceitful men. Hyeronim. Ʋiri detractores, men that are backbiters. Viri fraudulenti, saith Lavat. cunning men. French, Homines rapporteurs, [Page 221] Rachil is one that narrowly observes anothers words, and per­verts them to the prejudice of him whose they were; Est qui sermo­nes aliunde acceptos alio tran [...]fert. Cu­riosus per­scrurator & idem garrulus rimatur undi­que quod sit ad occultum ca­lumnium ape­um. Aecol. D [...]latores ver­borum qui alio­rum dicta, hinc petita alio de­ferunt, more mercatorum ut aliquod ex ea vectura lucrum reportent. Prad. the word is from [...] Rochel a merchant, and so is, alterius famae & honoris nundinator, One that by carrying tales, sets to sale the fame, liberty, or life of his Neighbour; it signifies also an A­pothecary, who mingles, blends things together, and sells them for his own advantage, so this carry-tale, mingles some­thing of his own, with what hee heard, and makes his advan­tage thereby. Mont. renders the words, Viri delationis, men of carriage, because they seek out, pick up, or invent matter against another, and carry it to those bee in place, which here made way for shedding of bloud. This kinde of men are very pernicious. Solomon tells you, that the words of Tale-bearers are as wounds, they go down into the inner­most parts of the belly, Prov. 18.8. they make way for the wounding, and spilling the bloud of the innocent. There were wicked Princes and Magistrates at that time in Jeru­salem, glad to have occasions against the innocent, and these murtherous tale-carriers, possess them with false-hoods to the prejudice of their lives.

In thee they eat upon the mountains.

They did eat their things offered to Idols, in honour to the Idols, otherwise it was not sinful to eat upon the moun­tains. Of these words before, chap. 18.6.11.15.

In the midst of thee they commit lewdness.

Of Committing lewdness, see ch. 16.43. Zimmah the Septu­agint transl [...]te, [...], unholy things, that is, villanous things, thou that shouldst bee holy, doest faeda, filthy things, So La­vat. And hee saith Zimmah notes, meditatum facinus, a villenie done not ignorantly, or out of weaknesse, but destinato animo, on purpose, therefore the translation which either is, Vata­blusse's, or which hee follows, hath it, Scelus meditatum, a plotted wickedness, ch. 11.1, 2. Jaazaniah and Pelatiah did de­vise mischief, and such devised mischifes, are called here, Zimmahs, lewdnesses, Jerusalem had those in her, who [Page 222] made it their practice, Mic. 2.1. woe to them that devise in­iquity, and work evil upon their beds, in the night season, when their thoughts and spirits were most retired, fittest, and strongest for meditation, then they devised iniquity, how to root out the righteous, to take away the Prophets, to per­vert the Law, to promote idolatry, &c. and these were lewdnesses.

10 In thee have they discovered their fathers nakedness: in thee have they humbled her was set apart for pol­lution.
11 And one (or every one) hath committed Abomination with his neighbours wife, and another hath lewdly defiled his Daughter in law, &c.

In these two verses are set out, the Incestuous adulterous and whorish doings of Jerusalem. In her, sonnes lay with their mothers, fathers with their Daughter in Laws, brothers with their sisters, and every one with his Neighbours wife, and being not satisfied with those times were fit for imbra­cing, they humbled, they forced those were set apart for pollution, all which things were forbidden in the Law, Levit. 18. and 20. ch. so filthy was Jerusalem at this time, that they were as sed horses, every one neighing after his neigh­bours wife, Jer. 5.8.

12 In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood.

There be two sorts of gifts, first, munera honoraria, such as are bestowed upon friends, and those deserve well of us, these are lawfull, and when given, testify esteem and thankfulnesse: and secondly, Munera corruptoria, such as are given to retard, pervert, and corrupt justice, such were the gifts here, and they were forbidden, Exod. 23.8. Deut. 16.19. This gift-ta­king, was too common in Jerusalem, Isa. 1.23. Every one lov­eth gifts, and followeth after rewards, but they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them: the Fatherlesse and widows, had no gifts to give them, therefore their causes could not bee heard, they petitioned, [Page 223] but petitions without presents would do no good; for they judged for reward, Mic. 3.11. and said give, give, Hos. 4.18. if there were no gifts, there was no justice.

Thou hast taken usury and increase.

Of these words, and this sin, was largely spoken in the 18. ch. 8. whither you are referred.

And thou hast greedily gained of thy Neighbours by Extortion.

Montanus renders the word for greedily gained, Appetebas, fraudabas, Thou didst covet or deceive thy Neighbours. The Hebrew is, [...] which signifies to wound, to cut in peices, and to exercise covetousnesse, Quae tanquam gladius hominem vulnerat, & ipsius sanguinem exugit, it notes an insatiable desire, which carries a man out violenter agere contra proxi­mum, to wrest and wring from his Neighbour by any means, and so wounds him, squeezes, and cuts him in peeces. Forsterus turns the words thus, Ʋulnerasti sodales tuos cum injuria, sol­licitum significat hominis cupidi & avari studium rapiendi undequaque aliena; ut ingens compilet the saurum expleatque insatiabilem pecuniae sitim. Prad.

Obs. 1 That great men the Princes and Potentates of the earth, lay out themselves to Tyrannize over, and oppresse the People: Behold, The Princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed bloud: They all agreed in these two things, to oppress, and to oppress to the utmost. This doubt­lesse made Jerem. say ch. 3.5. of Jerusalem, Behold, thou hast said and done evill things as thou couldest: Thy Princes which had arms and power, they have put forth the same, what they could to do wickedly, to oppress and shed bloud, what could they do more than take away the lives of men. This was the way great ones went of old, see Mic. 3.1, 2, 3. and Zeph. 3.3.

Obs. 2 That forgetfulnesse of God, is t [...]e cause of all the sins in a City, or People. Jerusalems sinnes are here reckond u [...], [Page 224] Cruelty, Idolatry, slighting of Parents, oppression of stran­gers, vexing of fatherlesse and widows, despising of holy things, prophaning of Sabbaths, tale-carrying to shed bloud, eating upon the mountains, devising wickedness, incest, adulte­ry, bribery, usury, extortion, and whats the root of all these? thou hast forgotten mee saith the Lord God; when men minde not what God commands, forbids, what he threatens, what hee approves, when they acknowledge not his eye, his power, his judgements, the account they must give to him, they fall into all manner of sinnes, lewdnesses, and trans­gressions; when men forget God, they do not, they cannot fear him, and where the fear of God is not, they will not stick to shed bloud, Gen. 20.11. or do any wickedness. In Psal. 50.17, 18, 19, 20. many sinnes of the Jews are recited, and what was the ground of those sinnes? they forgat God, vers. 22. Consider this, ye that forget God. See Psalm 106.19,Sicut memoria dei excludit cuncta flagitia: ita dei oblivio convehit om­nium vitiorum catervam. Hierom. 20. Jerem. 13.25. ch. 18.15. when men forget God, they forget his Law, which should regulate their lives, and so they live without God, and without law, they fol­low the lusts of their own hearts, and lye exposed to all evils.

13 Behold, therefore I have smitten my hand at thy dishonest gain, which thou hast made, and at thy bloud which hath been in the midst of thee.
14 Can thine heart indure, or can thine hands be strong in the daies that I shall deal with thee? I the Lord have spoken it, and will do it.
15 And I will scatter thee among the Heathen, and disperse thee in the Countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee.
16 And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thy self, in the sight of the Heathen, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.

Having rehearsed Jerusalems sinnes; here the Lord comes to set down his dislike of their waies, the judgements should come upon them, and the end of those judgements.

  • [Page 225]1 His dislike, in the 13. vers.
  • 2 The Judgements, in the 14. and 1.5. v.
  • 3 The End of them, in the 15. and 16.
13 Behold therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made.

Smiting of hands, is sometime a signe of joy, as ch. 21.17. and sometimes of grief and anger, as here: God was so pro­voked with the heinousnesse of their sinnes, that hee smites his hands together, both to testify his indignation against them, and readiness to take vengeance on them; when Pa­rents smite their hands at the lewd doings of their children,Percurere ma­nus hoc loco non est exhorta­ri, sed dolere. Mald. Irascent [...] figu­ram & habitum d [...]scribit oratio Prad. En signe de dueil. French. Pecuniam v [...] & malis artibus quaesitam. its an argument of Anger, and grief, not of joy. God hath no hand, but its spoken after the manner of men.

The word for dishonest gain, is bitzah from Batzah open­ed before. Montanus renders it, avaritiam, Covetousness. Others, mony gotten by fraud and force, such gain is disho­nest gain. The French is, avarice, that gain comes in by over-reaching, by forcing or sinking of others; that is dishonest gain, when we do not as we would be done unto.

And at thy bloud which hath been in the midst of thee.

Here bee onely two sinnes mentioned of all that went before, but the other are intended also. God smit his hands against them, though Principally, against these. Jerusalem had shed much innocent bloud, which cryed to God for venge­ance, and caused him to smite his hands at her.

Obs. Covetousnesse and Cruelty, are sinnes, Notavit R Da­vid ex majorum traditione. [...]4. sceleta esse nu­merata in hoc capite, & nulli eorum nili soli avaritiae tribui eversionem ur­bis. Prad. that do sorely pro­voke God; hee smote his hands at their dishonest gain, and blou­dy doings; His spirit boiled up against them, and hee was comming to bee avenged on them. The Hebrews say, there bee twenty four sinnes reckoned up in this Chapter, and that God threatens the destruction of the City, onely for Cove­tousnesse. The Jews were a people greedy of gain, given to Covetousnesse, which makes men cruel, and oft bloudy, [Page 226] Prov. 1.19. those are greedy of gain, they take away the life of the owners, they suck their bloud, Amos 8.4. they swal­low up the needy. Mic. 3.2, 3. they pluck off their skins, break their bones, and eat their flesh; and if covetous men bee not cruel and bloudy, yet they are abhorred of God for their Covetousnesse, Psalm 10.3. the wicked blesse the Cove­tous whom the Lord abhorreth; the word for Covetous, and that here for dishonest gain, are both of the same verbe, and differ very little. God abhorres the Covetous, and smites his hands at Covetousness, and so hee doth at bloudiness, Psal. 5.6. He will abhor the bloudy and deceitful man; The Lord abhors them at the present, and hee will make it manifest that hee doth abhor them. God hath done it in the Gospel, 1 Cor. 6.10. Rev. 22.8. there it appears, that neither the Covetous, nor the bloudy shall inherit the Kingdome of Heaven: let us learn of God to smite our hands against these sins.

14 Can thine heart indure?

The Hebrew for indure is [...] which Montanus and Aeco­lampad. render stabit, will thy heart stand or consist, when I shall deal with thee? The Septuagint is, [...], if thine heart shall stand it out? but the interrogation is more emphatical. Can thine heart stand or indure? and carries the force of a negation. O Jerusalem thou thinkest that when my judgements come, thou shalt bee able to stand under them, but bee thine heart never so stout or strong, my judge­ments will be too heavy for thee to bear them; when they come thine heart will fail thee, [...]. Hom. Illiad. fail thee of counsel, that thou shalt not know what to do, and fail thee of strength that thou shalt not bee able to do what thou knowest, thine heart will bee in thine heels, thou wilt bee more forward to flie than to consult, or stand it out upon consultation.

Can thine hands bee strong?

Thou thinkest to do some great matters if Nebuchadnez­zar draw neer to thy gates, thou wilt call upon thy strong men to appear and make resistance, but their hands will bee [Page 227] feeble, and unserviceable, not fit to handle or use weapons of war. Jerusalem, thou art deluded, consider with thy self, can thine hands bee strong when I have smitten mine hands against thee? canst thou withstand me, or bear my judgements, when I shall thunder and throw them upon thee with a strong hand? what ever phansies possesse thine head, thou art not able to do it.

In the daies that I shall deal with thee.

In the daies that men have dealt with thee, thy Counsell and power have prevailed, but what wilt thou do? In the daies that I shall deal with thee, I that am wonderful in Coun­sel, excellent in working, Isa. 28, 29. I that work and none can hinder, ch. 43.13. I that am terrible to the Kings of the earth, Psal. 76.12. I that plead with fire and sword in my hand, Isa. 66.16. I that make mountains flow, and nations to tremble at my presence, Isa. 64.1, 2. I that make fruitful pl [...]ces wil­dernesses, and break down Cities, Jer. 4.26. what wilt thou do then? Those daies are comming upon thee, and they will be the saddest daies thou ever mettest with.

I the Lord have spoken it, and will do it.

Thou maiest hope it shall not bee, that I will deal severe­ly with thee, in whom I have delighted, and upon whom I have bestowed so many mercies; but know, I have resolved, spoken it, and will do it; I am not man, to repent of what I speak or do.

Obs. 1 Sinful Cities and creatures, are apt to confide in one thing, or other, in their wisdome, strength, power, r [...]c [...]es, friends; Jerusalem thought, shee had wherewith to ke [...]p ff all j [...]ge­ments, or sufficient to inable her to wrastle with th m [...]f they came; Can thine heart indure? can thine h [...]nds bee stro [...]g? Jerusalem thought so, had confidence that way, else the Lord would not have put these questions to her, Ezek [...]6.15. Thou didst trust in thy beauty, in thy wealth, in [...]hy [...]als, in thy Souldiers, in thy Counsellors, in thy Temple, in thy mountaines which were thy beauty. In Jeremies dai [...]s its evident, that the wise, the rich, and strong men of Jerusa­lem [Page 228] did too much confide, and glory in their wisdome, their riches, and strength, ch. 9.23. Zephany saith of Jerusalem, that shee trusted not in the Lord, ch. 3.2. her confidence was in false­hood, Jer. 13.25. that was in things proved false and deceit­ful, one of this kind was the Egyptian strength, Isa. 30.2. Ezek. 17.17. not onely did Jerusalem confide in falsehoods, but Babylon also, Isa. 47.10. and Rabbah, Jer. 49.4. she once trusted in her wickednesse, saying, none seeth mee? The o­ther in her treasures, saying, who shall come unto me? Its not good to lean to our own wisdome, to rest upon our owne strength, or strength of others; who ever makes flesh within, or flesh without his arme, lies under a curse, Jer. 17.5. but he trusts in the Lord, and in him only he hath the blessing, ver. 7.

Obs. 2 God hath his times to reckon with sinners, to make them smart for their evil doings. In the daies that I shall deal with thee. God had his day to deal with Egypt, Ezek. 30.9. as in the day of Egypt, hee met with Egyptians in the red sea; hee had his day to deal with Midianites, Isa. 9.4. as in the day of Mi­dian, when God smote them by the sword of Gideon, Judg. 7. that was the day God dealt with them; men have their daies, to sin, and God hath his daies to smite. Ahab had his day to do wickedly, and God had his Day to deal with him, 1 King 22 34, 35. Ahaz had his time to transgress, and God had his time to distresse him for his transgressions, 2 Chro, 28.19, 20. Ephraim had his Daies of sinning, and God had his Day of rebuke to lay Ephraim desolate, Hos. 5.9. the Jews had their Day to make a Calf, and God had his day to cut off three thousand of them, Exod. 32.28. men sinne and think to hear no more of their sinnes, but God remembers them, and hath his days to visit for them. He hath a day for every one is proud and lifted up, Isa. 2.12. hee hath a day for those de­cree unrighteous decrees, that write grievousnesse, that wrong widows and fatherless ones, Isa. 10.1, 2, 3. hee hath his Day to deal with them, and so to deal with them, that they shall not know what to do: what will yee do in the day of visitation? to whom will yee flie for help? and where will yee leave your glory? Men will bee thinking what to do; whether to flie, how to dispose of themselves, and what they have, but the day of the Lord will bee darkness and [Page 229] distress unto them. Whoever takes a time to sinne against God, must expect a time wherein God will deal with him for so sinning, Rom. 2.6.9. God will render to every man according to his deeds, he hath his Day, to render tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doth evil, he hath his Day wherein hee will judge the secrets of men, ver. 16. would you see good Daies, eschew evil, and do good; seek peace and ensue it, 1 Pet. 2.10, 11.

Note 3 Gods judgements discover the vanity and rottennesse of humane confidences. Can thine heart indure? Can thine hands bee strong? in the daies that I shall deal with thee: When I shall bring the sword, plague, and Famine, no, thy heart will faint, thy hands will bee feeble. If at the tydings of judgements their heart melted, their hands were feeble, every spirit faint, and all knees weak as water, as it is ch. 21.7. what were they at the presence, sight, and sense of those judgements? they were like men without hearts and spirits, without hands and legs; Gods judgements are fires which consume mens confidences, and make them see their own weakness; men think they shall stand in the evil day: But if they cannot stand against the frownes and fury of the Creature, how will they stand before the dreadful Creator? if Foot-men, horse-men, the swellings of Jordan, Jer. 12.4. weary, sink men, what will the Lord of Hosts do? if they cannot bear the lesser judgements, how will they bear the greater? If Bryers and thornes conceit themselves to be Oaks and Cedars, can they indure the fire? Isa. 27.4. they will be burnt to ashes: what they said of Jehu, 2 Kin. 10.4. Two Kings were not able to stand before him, how then shall we stand? He is comming with the sword. May wick­ed Cities more fully say of God, the old world could not stand before him, Sodome and Gomorrah could not stand before him, how then shall wee stand? Egypt had men like fatted bullocks, but when the Northren storme came upon them, they turned back, they fled away together, they did not stand, because the day of their calamity was come upon them, and th [...] time of their visitation, Jer. 46.21. you may see what strong mighty, and couragious men will do, when God deals with them, Joel 2.14 15, 16. their hearts could not in­dure, their hands, their feet were not strong, to act or stand, [Page 230] Let us not sinne, provoke the Lord by our vain confidences, for he is stronger than man.

Obs. 4 That the word of the Lord shall take place whatever mens thoughts are: they Thought Nebuchadnezzar would not come, or if he did, that they and the Egyptians should be able to deal with them, and prevent those evils were threat­ned by the Prophets; but I the Lord have spoken it, and will do it. Where hee hath a mouth to speak, hee hath a hand to do. Its not any power can hinder, I will work and who shall let it? Isa. 43.13. not Devils, or Men can do it, nei­ther will the Lord revoke what hee hath said, and so pre­vent judgements intended, Isa. 31.2. hee is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back his words: Men often speak, threaten, and then after eat their words, call back their threatnings, saying, they were uttered in passion, inconsiderate­ly, and so shew their folly; But God when he speakes, its in wis­dome, his words shall stand, and not bee removed, or cald back, Amos 6.11. Hence is it that Jer. 44 28. the Lord saith, They shall know whose word shall stand, mine or theirs: They shall see in a little time, that their words are vanity, foolish, and come to nothing; and that my words are the words of wisdome, weighty, and stable, Zeph. 1.6. Did not my words, and my statutes take hold of your fathers? what God said was accomplished, and they could not but acknowledge it. Like as the Lord of hosts thought to do unto us, so hath he dealt with us.

15 And I will scatter thee among the Heathen, and disperse thee in the Countries.

Of their scattering and dispersing hath formerly been spo­ken. It was a great comfort to them to have their solemn meetings at Jerusalem, and in the Temple, and as great an af­fliction to bee deprived of them, and scattered as dust and chaffe among the Heathens, whose language they understood not, and whose religion was abomination to the God of Israel.

[Page 231]And will consume thy filthiness out of thee.

The Hebrew is, I will make thy filthiness to fail out of thee; so Montanus, I will make an end of thy filthiness; thou art now so defiled with Idols, bloud, and other abominations, that thou art as an heap and bundle of filthiness, even the filthy Ci­ty, but I will throw thee into the furnace of affliction, and cause thy filthinesse to depart from thee.

By filthinesse wee may understand filthy ones, Purgabo expia­b [...]que supplicii [...] scelera tua. Mal. the abstract being put for the concrete. Jerusalem had many filthy persons in it, and God would by his judgements consume them.

Obs. The Lord by his judgements doth purge out of Cities and Nations the wicked, and makes them and their wickednesse to cease. I will consume thy filthiness out of thee; that is, thy filthy ones with their filthiness. God brought the sword, fa­mine, Pestilence upon Jerusalem, and by these did cut off and consume the filthy ones there. See Ezek. 5.12. Jer. 14.15. ch. 16 4. Ezek. 13.14. God by his judgements destroyed Jerusalem, and so caused her filthiness to bee at an end, Ezek. 16.40, 41. They sh [...]ll stone thee with stones, thrust thee through with swords, burn thine houses with fire, and execute judge­ments upon thee in the sight of many women, and I wil cause thee to cease from playing the Harlot. The same judgements you have, Ezek. 23.47. and by them he would cause lewdnesse to cease out of the Land, vers. 48. By his judgements the Lord con­sumes the filthy out of the City and land, and filthiness out of the Saints.

16 And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thy self.

Hebr. is thus, Venichalte bach, & haereditabis in te, thou shalt inherit in thy self: Thou shalt be thine own inheritance. Hereto­fore thou wast mine inheritance, but it shall bee so no long­er. I will cast thee off, being so filthy as thou art, and thou shalt have no inheritance in mee, but in thy self.

Some making the word to bee from [...] to wound, [...] est possi­dere haeredi [...]a [...] ­re, to prophane, do render it in the first person, thus; vulnerabo te, I [Page 232] will wound thee. So Symmachus, Contaminabo te, I will de­file thee, and prophane thee. So Theodition. The Septuagint, is, [...], I will possesse in thee, that is, I will have a people for my possession among you, when you are scattered abroad among the Heathens. Its true, God had a people among them when they were in Babylon; but the Hebrew is not in the first person. Piscator hath it thus, Pr [...]fana efficieris in te, Thou shalt bee made prophane in thy self; thou shalt bee cast off by mee into banishment and bee no other in mine account, than a common and prophane people, I will account of thee so, and deal accordingly with thee, so the words are to bee understood, Isa. 43.28. ch. 47.6. where the Lord is said to prophane the Princes, and pollute his inhe­ritance.

This sense may well stand with the first, for if God made them a prophane, and common people, they had no inheritance in him, but their inheritance was in themselves.

In the sight of the Heathen.

Heathens shall see that thou art a people cast off of thy God for thy wickednesse, and exposed to reproach, cursing, and as great miseries as ever any people were.

Obs. 1 That the wickednesse of Gods people doth dis-interest them in God; it makes God dis-own them, and leave them to themselves. They might think and say, they were still the people, the inheritance of God, that they had interest in him, but thou shalt take thine inheritance in thy self, I disclaim thee, I cast thee off as prophane, and look upon thee no other­wise than I do upon Heathens. In the margent of the French Bible you have these words, je ne seray plus ton heritage, I will bee no longer thine heritage. It was the wickednesse of the ten Tribes which made the Lord to say, Lo-ammi, yee are not my people, and I will not bee your God, Hos. 1.9. In which Prophet you may read largely of their sinnes, the 8. chap. ver. 3. tells you, that Israel had cast off the thing that was good, viz. the worship of God, and vers. 5. thy calfe O Samaria hath cast thee off: that is, thy false worship hath made mee to cast thee off, to declare thee to bee none of my City, and thy [Page 233] people to bee none of mine. In the twelfth of Jeremy, you have that beares witness fully to this observation, vers. 7, 8, 9. I have forsaken mine house, I have left mine heritage, I have giv­en the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies, mine heritage is to mee as a Lyon in the Forrest: it cryeth out a­gainst mee, therefore have I hated it. Mine heritage unto mee is as a speckled bird: the birds round about are against her, come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devoure. The meaning of these words is this, that the Jews were once ve­ry dear to God, even as dear as any wife can be to an Husband, but because like Lyons they carried it stoutly against God and cryed out against him, & his Prophets, therfore he forsook them, hated them, and gave them into the hands of the Baby­lonians, and because Jerusalem was as a speckled bird in the eye of God through her variety of Gods, Altars, Superstitions and Idolatres, therefore God caused the Birds of all the Nations to hoot at, and hate her, even as Birds do a speckled Bird, in­viting them, and all the Beasts of the field to come and de­voure her: and why all this? They dealt treacherously, ver. 1. they were Hypocritical, vers. 2. they were wicked, ver. 4. The Jews had been a people pretious in the sight of God, and honourable, Isa, 43.4. Jerusalem his habitation, and the people of it his inheritance and his glory, whom hee pro­tected, Isa 4.5. yet by their sinnes they provoked God, so as that he gave his strength into Captivity, and his glory into the enemies hands, Psal. 78.61.

Obs. 2 That Gods judgements bring People to the knowledge of God. It rises from the former vers. and this laid together, God would scatter them, consume them, cast them off, leave them to themselves, and they should know that hee was the Lord, Psalm 9.16. The Lord is known by executing Judge­ments. His power, his justice, and soveraignty are known thereby, and so men are made to fear, and stand in awe of him. When God is silent, and speaks not by his judgements, men think hee is like themselves, Psal. 50.21. and are im­boldened to sin, Eccl. 8.11. but when God thunders by his judgements, they have other apprehensions of him, 1 Sam. 6.19, 20.

[Page 234]
Vers. 17
And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
18 Sonne of ma [...], the house of Israel is to mee become dross all they are brasse and Tin, and Iron, and Lead in the midst of the turnace [...] they are even the drosse of silver.
19 Therefore thus saith the Lord God, because yee are all become drosse, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.
20 As they gather silver, and Brasse, and Iron, and Lead, and Tin into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it to melt it: so will I gather you in mine anger, and my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you.
21 Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof.
22 As Silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall yee be melted in the midst thereof, and yee shall know that I the Lord have poured out my fury upon you.

In these words is the Lords second message to Ezekiel, wher­in is set forth.

First, The Degenerate estate of the Jews, under the simili­tude of dross, vers. 18.

2 Gods judicial peoceeding with them being dross, vers. 19, 20, 21, 22.

  • 1 Hee would gather them together.
  • 2 Blow upon them.
  • 3 Melt them.

3 The End of his so dealing with them, vers. 22.

Vers. 17 And the word of the Lord came un­to me, saying.

These words we have had oft, and in the 1. v. of this chapter, God being upon bringing judgements upon his People, gives them notice thereof by his Prophets. Hee speakes be­fore hee strikes.

[Page 235]
18
The house of Israel is to me become dross.

The house of Israel, viz. the Jewes had been of high ac­count with God, they were once his chosen People above all others; Deut. 7.6. they were once a Kingdome of Priests, and an holy Nation, Exod. 19.6. they were once so honourable and pretious, that God gave and destroyed other Nations for their sakes, Isa. 43.4. they were once his portion; his inheritance, Deut. 32.9. Isa. 19.25. they were once his vineyard, and plea­sant plant, Isa. 5.7. they were once a people near unto him, Psal. 148.14. the dearly beloved of his soul, Jer. 12.7. his pecu­liar people, Exod. 19.5. but now they were become dross, they had degenerated from their former faithfulnesse, justice, ho­nesty, sincerity, and purity.Quicquid de a ge [...]to [...]iove met [...]llo dum igne e [...] quitur, expu [...]gatur.

The word for drosse is [...] sig, which is, whatsoever the fire se­parates from any mettal. Kirk. saith its, Sordes quae de mettallis igni retrocedit quam scoriam appellamus. Mettals have some thing of an heterogeneall nature to themselves, which being separat­ed by fire or any other way, is that wee call drosse. The house of Israel here is not said to bee drossy, but to bee dross, its fit therefore to see wherein the resemblance lies between them.

1 The Drosse Obscures the lustre and glory of the mettal, yea, Covers it up, so that it appears not; rust and filth com­pass, and hide the gold, so that neither the nature or lustre of it can bee seen. So the house of Israel was such at this time, that no gold, no silver appeared, Jer. 5.1. Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, see now and know, and seek in the broad places thereof if hee can find a man, if there bee any that executeth judgement, that seeketh the truth, J [...]r. 9. [...]. They bee all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men, Ier. 8.10 Zeph. 3.7. they rose early, and corrupted all their doings, Jer. 6.28. they are all greivous revolters, walking with slanders, they are brass, and iron, they are all corrupters. There was no pure mettal ap­peared amongst them, especially gold or silver. If there were some righteous just, holy, faithful ones amongst them, they lay hid under the dross.

2 Dross is a deceiving thing, its like mettal, but is not [Page 236] mettal, the dross of silver is like it, and so the dross of Gold is like it, but the dross is neither silver nor gold, so The house of Israel was deceitful, hypocritical, like Saints, but not Saints, see Isa. 10.6. ch. 58.2. cha 9.17. every one is an Hypocrite, and an evil doer, & every mouth speaketh folly; they professed themselves to be the people of God, yet were not such as they seemed to be, Jer. 7.2, 4, 9, 10. they were like potsheards, covered with silver dross, Pro. 26.23.

3 Dross is not bettered by the fire, put it into the fire time after time, it abides so still, God had oft put the Jews into the furnace of affliction, and heat the furnace sometimes very hot, but they were the same still. They had been in the E­gyptian fire, 2 King 23.33. in the Syrian and Chaldean fire, chap 24.2. and other fires, but none of them did them any good, Jer. 5.3. Thou hast stricken them, but they have not greived, thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to re­ceive correction, and not onely did the Prophet complain thus, but the Lord himself, chap. 2.30. In vain have I smitten their children, they received no correction, they were nothing the better for all Gods blows and fires, dross they were, and dross they continued.

4 Dross is a worthlesse thing, its of no value, base, vile, contemptible, such was The house of Israel, and chief in it, Jer. 24.8. Zedekiah the King, his Princes, and the rest of Jeru­salem, were as evill figgs which could not bee eaten; the King­dome was base, Ezek. 17.14. the City an Harlot, ch. 16.35. she changed the judgements of God into wickednesse more than the Nations, chap. 5.6. and was more vile than Sodom and Sa­maria, chap. 16.47.

5 Its uselesse, and to be rejected. The Jews now were so corrupted, so wicked, so unprofitable, that the Lord was ca­sting them off, and out, Jer. 6.30. Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them. As the wood of the vine when fruitless is not fit for any thing but the fire, Ezek. 15. so the dross of silver is not fit for any thing but rejection. The house of Israel being become dross, the Lord saith, Jer. 7.15. I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole Seed of Ephraim: the ten Tribes they proved dross, and the Lord cast them away, [Page 237] and now hee would cast Judah and Benjamin out of his sight, and when he did it, they were the off-scouring, and refuse in the midst of Heathens, Lam. 3.45.

6 Dross is an offensive thing, rust eats into the mettal, indan­gers that, and makes the Gold-smith to kindle the fire, to sepa­rate it from the Gold and Silver: So wicked men are offen­sive to God and good men, and cause the Lord to bring his fiery judgements to separate between the pretious and the vile. The wickednesse of the House of Israel caused God to bring the sword, Famine, Plague, Captivity, and by these to purge out and consume the filthiness of Ierusalem.

All they are brass, and Tin, and Iron, and Lead.

Before hee had said they were Dross, how doth hee now call them, Brasse, Iron, Tin, Lead? These are good met­tals. True, in themselves they are so, but compare them with Silver or Gold, they are but as Dross, base mettals, so Tin is reckoned in Scripture account, Isa. 1.25. so brasse, iron and lead are reputed, Jer. 6.28, 29. when pure Religion, Judgement, and Righteousnesse were in the house and Ci­ty of Israel, then shee was Silver, Pretious, and good met­tal, but falling to Idolatry, Oppression, and Prophane­nesse, her silver became Drosse, and her children became Brasse, that is, impudent and hard-hearted, Ezek. 3.7. Tinne, that is, hypocritical, being all in shew nothing in substance, Eze. 33.31. iron, that is, Cruel, Bloudy, inflexible, so were the great ones, men in place, Ezek. 34.24. Zeph. 3.3, 4. Jer. 5.5. Lead, that is, sottish and stupid, Jer. 4.22. ch. 8.9. they have re [...]ected the word of the Lord, and what wisdome is in them? That which should have inlightened them, and made them wise, that they rejected, and so were foolish and sottish.

In the midst of the furnace.

In the eleventh Chapter, 3. and 7. verses, the City is cal­led a Cauldron, and the People the flesh to bee boiled in it, and here its called the Furnace, and the People the Brasse, tin, iron, lead to bee melted in it. God would make Jerusa­lem [Page 238] a furnace of affliction, and cast the drosse, and base met­tal into it. The Jews had so degenerated from the golden and silvery purity of their Fathers, that they had no preti­ousnesse in them, nothing left but Drosse, or that which was base as dross.

They are even the Drosse of silver.

Their Fathers were Tin beleevers, sincere worshippers, just dealers; Covenant keepers, and so were like unto silver, preti­ous, pure, white, desirable; but these their children were drosse, even the drosse of Silver, faithlesse, hypocritical, unjust, perjured. The Nations were drosse, but not the drosse of sil­ver, they were never of higher account, than brasse, tin, iron, lead, only the Jews were accounted silver, and now they were become the drosse of silver, worse than the nations, 2 Kin. 21.9.

19 I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.
20 As they gather silver and brasse, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace.

The Hebrew is, I will gather you with the gathering of sil­ver, that is, with such a gathering, that like as the founder, silver or Gold-smith, when hee would prove the mettals dig­ged out of the Mines, what they are, and separate the dregs and drosse from them, hee gathers them together, and puts them into the furnace: So would the Lord do by the Jews, hee would gather them from all parts of Judea into Jerusa­lem, which was the furnace; when God brought Nebuchadnez­zar with his Army to besiedge it.

To blow the fire upon it, and to melt it,

When the mettals are in the Furnace, then the founder cau­ses the fire to be blown, the heat to bee heightened, till the mettalls be melted, that so the scum and dross being taken a­way, they may bee malleable and useful.

[Page 239]So will I gather you in mine anger, and in my fury and I will leave you there, and melt you.

The Lord finding his people to bee drosse, or mingled with base mettals, hee was greatly provoked, and so in his anger, and fury, gathered them into the furnace, and there left them to be melted.

The fire God used in the melting of them was Famine, Plague, and Sword, which melted many of them, and then the burning coales scattered over the City, Ezek. 10.2. which melted the furnace, and them that were left in it.

21 I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath.

The word for blow upon you is, [...] Naphachti, the same with that in the 20. vers. that like as the founder blows, and gives not over blowing till the mettals are melted, and the dregs separated, so the Lord he would blow upon them, that is, exercise them with severe Judgements one after another, till they should bee melted and consumed; and the vile separa­ted from the pretious. This Expression of blowing upon them in the fire of his wrath, is the same with that in the former chap. vers. 31. I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath; when God blows against any, hee blows upon them, and the breath of his nostrils burns as fire.

22 As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof.

Their melting is oft spoken of, in the 20, 21. and here God was serious in the business, and resolved upon it, nothing should now prevent it, not the intercession of Moses, and Sa­muel, Jer. 51.1.

[Page 240]And ye shall know that I the Lord have poured out my fury upon you.

Though the greatest part were consumed by those sad and severe judgements God brought upon them, yet some esca­ped, some were carried into Babylon, another furnace, to melt out their remaining dross, and they were made to know, and acknowledge, that the Lord had poured out his fury up­on them.

Of pouring out fury, or fury poured out. See chap. 20.33.

Obs. 1 That Churches or States may degenerate from their pretiousnesse and purity, into vilenesse and prophaneness. The house of Israel is become drosse, even the drosse of silver, it was so degerated, that it went beyond others in wicked­nesse; which made Isaiah to wonder, chap. 1.21, 22, 23. How is the faithful City become an Harlot? Quam magna ea facta mere­trix. Muscul. not simply an Harlot, but a great and notorious Harlot; it was full of judgement, and righteousnesse lodged in it, but instead of these, now there was oppression and murder. Thy silver is become drosse, thy wine is mixed with water, thy money is counterfeit, and thy wine corrupt, or thus, whatever was pure in thee, is now corrup­ted, the Law is corrupted with false Expositions, the worship is corrupted with Idols, and humane traditions, justice is cor­rupted with bribery, and bloudy oppressions; chastity and so­briety are corrupted with lewd and unclean practises. Jeru­salem had lost her excellency, and was become loathsome, as a filthy Harlot, doing the work of an imperious whorish woman, Ezek. 16.30. Jer. 7.9, 10, 11. She justified her self in her sinful and shameful practises, and made the house of God a den of theeves. Rome was once a golden City for her faith and holinesse, Rom. 1.8. chap. 16.19. but now is so cor­rupt in Doctrin, Worship, and Manners, that shee is become the Mother of Harlots, and Abominations, Rev. 17.5. The seven Churches were once Golden Candlesticks, but through their Corruptions and weaknesses, they soon dege­nerated into dross.

Obs. 2 That Men professing godliness, and living ungodlily, whatever others thoughts are of them, or whatever they think of [Page 241] themselves, they are not acceptable to God, nor fit materials of a Church, the house of Israel is to me become drosse, they profess my name, and so judge themselves good silver, pretious in my sight, and others accord with them therein, but they live wickedly, and to mee they are no better than drosse, than brasse, tin, iron, and lead, too base materials to make a Tem­ple for mee to dwell in, or a Candlestick for mee to set a Prophetical light in. Such persons, whatever profession they make, whatever parts or priviledges they have, they are no silver, but the drosse, the excrements of silver, which de­file, disgrace the name, the Church, the Ordinances of God, and must bee separated from the gold and silver, 2 Cor. 6.17. as the Prophet saith, what is the chaffe to the wheat, Jer. 23.28. so what is the drosse to the silver? Its fitter for the dung-hill than the Temple. Many that appear silver unto men, will bee found drosse unto God. The best have some drosse in them, they are drossy, but not drosse. Hypocrites and wicked ones are drosse, onely Hypocrites are the drosse of silver.

Obs. 3 The greatest part of professors, when they come to the tryal, will bee found corrupt and naught: All they are brasse, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace: When they came to bee tryed, what mettal they were of, they pro­ved all to bee base mettal and drosse. The furnace discover­ed them. The Prophets told them what they were, Jer. 6.13. chap. 8.10. chap. 9.2, 3, 4. viz. Covetous, false dealers, treache­rous, Lyers, Slanderers, Deceivers, &c. Isa. 1.4. a sinful Na­tion, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers, corrupters, &c. But they beleeved not the Prophets, telling them what they were, and what judgements would come upon them, for their sinnes: but notwithstanding all their wickednesse, they cryed, the Temple, the Temple, the Temple, Jerem. 7 4. they worshipped God, and called themselves Citizens of the holy City, Isa. 48.1, 2. They leaned upon the Lord, and said, is not the Lord among us? Doth not hee own us for his people? are not wee his portion, and hee our God? none evil can come upon us. Thus they flatt [...]red themselves, that they were good mettal, and pretious; but when the Lord gathered them into the furnace; hee found them dross; they were no better in the account of God than Sodomites and Gomorrhae­ans, [Page 242] Isa. 1.10. Jer. 23.14. the City, and all the Inhabitants of it were a provocation unto him, Jer. 32.31, 32. and hee was destruction unto it and them. In the City was found much dross, but little silver, much brass, tin, iron, lead, but little gold! Since the Lord hath put us into the furnace of afflicti­on, have not many been discovered to bee dross, who ap­peared silver before? Are all those pure mettal which make profession now? Most will bee found brazen, tinny, ironny, and leaden; the number of sincere and silver-like Christians will bee few: What Paul said to the Corinthians, 2 Epistle chap. 12. vers. 20. that may the Lord say to this City, and professors every where: I fear, least when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as you would not. Look to it, that you bee sincere.

Obs. 4 In the degeneracy of a people, some do degenerate more than others, into a worse condition than the rest: Here some were brass, some tin, some iron, some lead, and some the dross of silver. The house of Israel was degenerated into base met­tals, which were one worse than another, yea into drosse, yea dross (for so the word is in Hebrew) of silver. Some were impudent, some Hypocritical, some murderers, some brutish, some Idolatrous, some Atheistical, some unclean, and prophane: See Ezek. 8.10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. Some did great, and others greater abominations; Some did evil with both hands, and that earnestly, Mic. 7.3. the best of them were bryars and thornes, vers. 4. and the rest were Scorpions, Ezek. 2.6. and the iniquity of the house of Israel was exceed­ing great, chap. 9.9. when once people do degenerate from their honesty, their principles, their profession, some go further than others, Jer. 7.26. they did worse than their fa­thers, chap. 9.3. they proceed from evil to evil, they staid not till they became dross, yet one was worse dross than another. In our daies hath been great degenerating, and some are de­generated into brasse, some into tin, some into iron, some into lead, some into the drosse of silver.

Obs. 5 Those do degenerate from God and his waies, from prin­ciples of honesty and equity, bee it more or lesse, that they do de­generate from them, they shall meet with fury and fire from the Lord. Because yee are all become dross, I will gather you in [Page 243] mine anger, in my fury, into the midst of the furnace, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, to melt you, to consume you: When the Church of Ephesus decayed in her first love; that of Pergamos, turned aside to doctrines of Balaam, and the Nico­laitans; that of Thyatira to the teachings and seductions of Jezabel; when Sardis abated in her zeal, and Laodicea be­came lukewarm, the Lord threatned them severely; and at last brake the Candlesticks, and put out the lights, Rev. 2. and ch. 3. be they States, Churches, Families, or persons that dege­nerate, God hath no pleasure in them, Heb. 10.38. but will cast them into great tribulation, Rev. 2.22. and bee unto them a consuming fire, Ezek. 21.31.

And David tells you,Psal. 119.119. that God will put away all the wick­ed of the earth from him like dross, at the last day, this hee will do, and bee an eternall consuming fire unto them.

Obs. 6 Melting and consuming judgements upon a people are the wrath of God, whoever bee the executioners thereof: Nebu­chadnezzar should besiedge Jerusalem, and make it like a fur­nace to melt and consume the Jews, and this the Lord ownes to bee his doing, vers. 22. and yee shall know that I the Lord have poured out my fury upon you; it was not Nebuchadnezzar, nor the Armies fury, but the fury of the Lord, they were onely the vials or vessels by which it was poured out: and now if fu­ry have been poured out in Scotland, Sept. 3. 1650. were the Scots routed, four thousand slain, and ten thou­sand taken. its not the Army hath done it, but the Lord who gathered them together, as brasse, iron, lead, and tin in a furnace, blew upon them in the fire of his wrath, melted and consumed them as dross, and you must know it was the Lord, not man that poured out his fury upon them, and those the Lord hath made vessels of mercy unto us, who have been vials of his fury towards them. If you will mourn for Gods severity towards them, yet rejoyce for his goodnesse towards us.

Vers. 23 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
24 Son of man say unto her, thou art the l [...]nd that is not clean­sed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation.

Here begins the third message of the Lord unto the Prophet, the 23. vers. is the same with the 17. and 1. and wee pass it by.

[Page 244]
24
Thou art the land that is not cleansed.

In this vers. is laid down the pollution of the land in general, in the verses following it is more particularly expres­sed.

Expurgare a lordibus. Sunt qui putent significare munditiem ni­tentem Pag­nin Kir­ker & oppo­nitur verbo [...]The word for Cleansed is from [...] which signifies to purge from filthiness, and so to purge as to make shining and beauti­ful. Judaea the land here meant, had been oft cleansing, but was never throughly cleansed. Hezekiah and Josiah made the greatest cleansings, but all the sinne was not purged out in their daies, they took away the Objects and Mediums of sinne, viz. the Idols, Images, Groves, and high places, but the People continued wicked, they did not cleanse their hands, nor hearts, and turn to the Lord, but returned to their for­mer and worse abominations, when those good Kings were gone. The Lord had sent them many Prophets, who dealt with them several waies to draw them to repentance, some­times they allured them by sweet promises and invitations, sometimes they threatned them with sharpe judgements, sometimes they pressed them with strong arguments, Jer. 4.1, 3, 4. Ezek. 18.31, 32. Som [...]times they spake plainly to them, sometimes parabolically, sometimes they wept and sighed to the breaking of their loyns; doing strange things to affect them, Ezek. 17.2. Jer. 4.19. & 9. [...]. Ezek. 21.6, & 12.5.6. & 4.1, 2, 3. &c. besides these things God oft sent sweeping and fierce judgements amongst them, Isa. 24. Amos 1. and 4. chap. Famine, sword, Pestilence, and notwithstanding all these they returned not to the Lord, but the Land, that is, the People of it, did remain uncleansed, they were like a land wherein was nothing but weeds, nettles, bryars, and thorns.

Obj. Isa. 26.10. its called a land of uprightnesse, and if so, how is it here said its a land not cleansed?

Ans. The Hebrew is, in terrâ rectitudinum, in the land where men are taught right things; right worshipping of God, right dealing with men, right walking in their several relations, or the land of uprightnesse, for that they ought to have done up­rightly but in that land they dealt unjustly, and filled that land with sin Jer. 51.5. or the land of uprightness, for that it had been so, Isa. 1.21.

[Page 245]Nor rained upon in the day of indignation.

God had oft with-held the former and latter rain, from them, and afflicted the land with great drought, Isa. 24.6, 7. Psal. 68.9. 1 King. 18.5. 2 Kin. 8.1. Jerem. 14.4. Amos 4.7. and hee threatned,Vid. Sanctium in Ioelem Pro­legomenon. Isa. 5.6. to com­mand the clouds to rain no rain upon it, and it was so in Joels daies, chap. 1.9, 10, 11. who lived in Manasses time, as the Rabbies said, and that was a time of indignation, and sorely distressed them, so that man and beast suffered much. In Jerem. daies also, who lived in the times of Jehoiachim, Jehoiakin and Zedekiah, were the raines denied unto the land, so that by reason of drought, Judah mourned, the gates thereof lan­guished, Jerusalem cryed, the Nobles, and their little ones were ashamed, confounded, and covered their heads, Jer. 14.1, 2, 3.

Or thus, wee may understand these words, Judaea, thou art a polluted, filthy land, nothing hath prevailed with thee to cleanse thee, and thou shalt not be rained upon in the day of mine indignation, that is, thou shalt have no mercy when the fire of my wrath is kindled, thou shalt have no rain to quench it, in my wrath, I will not remember mercy.

Obs. 1 The Lord takes notice of places what they are, whither cleansed or not cleansed: Thou art the land not cleansed: Thou art full of Bryars and thornes, full of vermine, and wilde beasts, Ezek. 2.6. Isa. 9.18. it was full of wicked and vile men which did defile the land; Ezek. 7.23. the land is full of bloudy crimes, the City is full of violence. There is not a land, City, Town, or family in the whole earth, but the eye of the Lord is upon it, and hee sees what it is, whether it bee defiled, and how greatly defiled, hee knew what Sodome and Gomorrha were, before hee sent fire from heaven upon them. Hee knew how polluted Canaan was by the na­tions, before hee brought the Jews into it, Deut. 9.4, 5. hee took notice of Ammon, Moab, Seir, Edom, Philistia, Tyre, Sidon, and Babylon, hee saw what cages of unclean birds they were, Hos. 6.10. I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: Hee saw what the ancients of Israel did, Ezek. 8.11. [Page 246] hee saw folly in the Prophets of Samaria, and an horrible thing in the Prophets of Jerusalem, they strengthened the hands of evil doers, Jer. 23.13, 14.

Obs. 2 When Lands have had means of cleansing, and are not cleansed, they are matter of indignation and exprobration unto God. Judaea had the Prophets, sometimes good magistrates, it had great mercies, great judgements, solemn fasts, Isa. 58.3. Joel 1.14. but was still uncleansed, therefore saith the Lord, Thou art the land that is not cleansed. The word Thou notes Gods indignation at them, and his Exprobration of them. When a ground is full of thornes, bryars, nettles, vermine, and wilde beasts, and the Husband mans servants cannot with all their art and pains rid the ground of them, that ground exasperates the Husband-man, and makes him say, this is the ground will not bee cleansed, that brings forth nothing is good, so was it here with Judea, Is. 5.4. what could have been done more to my vineyard? that I have not done in it? wherefore when I look­ed for grapes, brought it forth wilde grapes? it retained its sowrenesse, notwithstanding all done, Ezek. 24.13. Because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthinesse any more: Seeing I have used means to purge thee, and thou wilt not bee purged, seeing thou art obstinate, and there is lewdnesse in thy filthinesse, there shall no more purgative means bee afforded thee, but I will bring my fury, and cause it to rest upon thee.

And when its thus, its dreadfull, Jer. 13.27. woe unto thee Jerusalem, wilt thou not bee made clean?

Obs. 3 The Lord hath his day and time to judge and punish lands uncleansed, people unreformed, in the day of indignation: Though the Lord bear long with a sinful nation, yet hee will not bear alwaies, the time comes at last, that his hot anger breaks out and damnifies. This day of indignation, was when the Lord called the Babylonish army, to the walls of Jerusa­lem, Jer. 4.6, 7, 9, 13. Jerem. 52.4. Zeph. 1.14, 15. The ten Tribes not hearkning to the Prophets, and Seers, but procee­ding in their wicked waies, 2 King. 17.12, 13. found the Lord had a day to send Salmanaser, who spoiled the Land, besiedged Samaria three years and carried them away Captive into Assyria, which was the verifying of Isaiahs prophesy a­gainst [Page 247] them, chap. 17.4. In that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean: The glory and fat of Jacob, were their Princes, Coun­sellors, Souldiers, wealth, and strong holds, which the Assy­rian deprived them of, and made Jacob thin and lean. God had his day to visit Egypt, by shaking his hand over it, Isa. 19.16. The Lord had his day to make Tyre forgotten seven­ty years, according to the daies of one King, Isa. 23.15. about that time which Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem, hee also took Tyre, and the great merchandizing of it was interrup­ted seventy years, so long as the Jews were in Babylon, which Isaiah calls the daies of one King. The daies of Kings, and so other men who lived at ease, were usually counted seven­ty years; or thus, according to the daies of one Kingdome, that is, the daies of the Babylonian Kingdome, from the time of taking Tyre, for seventy years after, that Kingdome ceased, and Darius the Median took it, Dan. 5.31.

Obs: 4 When a land and people retain their filthinesse, and rest uncleansed after mercies, judgements, and means used to do them good, God doth not onely with-hold mercy, but deny hope of mercy. Judea was the land uncleansed, and shee should have no rain in the day of Indignation. Her sinnes kept back the rain in a litteral sense, Jer. 3.2, 3. and cut off the hope of rain in a metaphorical sense, Zeph. 1.17, 18. I will bring di­stresse upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: They shall see nothing tending to their comfort; but all working against them, for it follows, Their bloud shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung; neither their silver nor their gold shall bee able to de­liver them in the day of the Lords wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: Gold and silver will do much, but nothing in the day of wrath, Prov. 11.4. that place in Isa. 8.21, 22. is observable, They shall passe through it hardly bestead, and hungry; and it shall come to pass, when they shall bee hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their King, and their God, and look upwards; and they shall look unto the earth, and behold trouble and darknesse, &c. When Senacherib or Nebuchadnezzar should invade the Land, the Famine should bee so great, and the men of Judea so hungry, [Page 248] that they should fret, and curse their King, their God; The one, because he prevented not their misery; the other, because he de­livered them not out of it; and they should look up to heaven, down to the Church, and find help from neither, nor hope of mercy any where, trouble, darknesse, anguish were before them, and they should bee driven to them, they disgrace the true Prophets, vers. 18. they listened to false Prophets and Lyars, ver. 19. they tryed not them and their doctrin, by the Law and Testimonies, ver. 20. therefore God brought evil up­on them, yea, such evil as they were helpless and hopeless.

Vers. 25 Thero is a conspiracy of her Prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring Lyon, ravening the prey: they have devoured souls: they have taken the treasure, and pretious things: they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.

In this vers. and the 28. you have the sins of the Prophets ex­pressed which defiled the land, and made it to bee called, the land uncleansed, and they are,

  • 1 Conspiracy.
  • 2 Cruelty, like roaring lyons, &c.
  • 3 Murther, and that of soules, they have devoured, &c.
  • 4 Covetousness, they have taken the treasure, and the pre­tious things.
  • 5 Inhumanity or impiety, they have made her many wi­dows.
  • 6 Flattery and lying. ver. 28.
A conspiracy of her Prophets.

[...] est liga­re, colligare & metaphorice dicitur de ani­morum colli­gatione con­jurare, facere ligam.The Hebrew for Conspiracy is, kesher, which is from a root or word, which signifies to bind, to tye together, as Jer. 51.63. Isa. 49.16. and metaphorically is referred to the minds of men combining together, as 1 Sam. 18.2. The Soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, Nick-sherah, ligata erat, was uni­ted, bound to, inleagued with the soul of David, and 2 Sam. 15.31. Ahithophel is among the Conspirators with Absolom, backsherim in conspirationibus, his minde with others were u­nited [Page 249] in a conspiracy against David, so 2 Kin. 12.20. Jehoash his Servants arose and made a Conspiracy, The Hebrew is, They conspired a Conspiracy, they were all of one heart and minde, and it was to kill their Master. Here the Pro­phets had a Conspiracy, its spoken of the evil Prophets, they met in Jerusalem, they consulted and consented to pro­phesy the same thing, that none should Prophesy otherwise;Nequis secu [...] doceat quam ipsi & ita uno ore mentiantur utque oppug­nent prophetas Dei. Lavat. if they did, they would cry them down, and those should fol­low them, thus they made a Conspiracy against the true Pro­phets, and those were truely religious, opposing God and godliness. You may read how they set themselves against Jeremy, chap. 26.8. and stirred up the Princes and people a­gainst him, ver. 13. how they prophesyed the same things, Jer. 23.17. chap. 6.14.

Like a roaring Lyon ravening the prey.

Lyons, are fierce and cruel, especially when hungry, and its observed of them, that they first roar, Vid. Sanct. in Isa. 31.4. whereby they scare men and beast, and then hunt after the prey; So these Pro­phets did roar against the true Prophets, and their followers, Jer. 26.11. This man is worthy to dye, not to bee silenced, im­prisoned, or banished, but to dye, nothing but death will suf­fice them, they were greedy of the prey, and said, he should surely dye. ver. 8.

They have devoured souls.

Soules, that is men, Pestilentibus doctrinis aeter­nae damnationi bnoxios red­debant. by a Synecdoche of the part for the whole. They preached dreams and visions of their own heads, whereby they seduced [...] undid multitudes, Ezek. 13.10. Jerem. 14.13. chap. 23.13. when Prophets do not tell people of their sinnes, they destroy them, Ezek. 3.18. and so when they present their own phansies instead of Gods word, Jerem. 23.22. with 32. had they delivered the word of God, they should have turned men from their evil waies, but by their lies and dreams they made them to erre.

[Page 250]They have taken the treasure and pretious things.

[...]The Hebrew word for Treasure is Cosen, which Montanus renders robur, strength, and so its used, Isa. 33.6. and riches, treasure, robur & glori­am. In iis robur hominum con­sistit tempore angustiae, are called cosen, because men put their confidence in them, and make them their strength, Prov. 10.15. Psal. 52.7. the word is used for treasure and riches, Prov. 15.6. in the house of the righteous, is Cosen rabh, much treasure, much riches, or much strength, here its treasure, and the French is; Les richesses. Aecolam. Thesaurum, and others, Opes.

Pretious things.

Pretious things, Jakar notes things much set by, as a good name, 1 Sam. 18.30. things beloved, Jer. 31.20. Ephraim my dear son, Ben iakkir, [...], my dearly beloved son, saith the Septuagint: Things of great worth; Prov. 20.15. Isa. 28.16. Jerem. 20, 5. here it notes things of worth, and dear unto them. These Prophets were false, and would not Prophesy, unlesse the people gave them, and gave them choice things. Hence Micah saith, the Prophets divined for mony, chap. 3.11. and prepared warre for them would not put into their mouths. They did not take by force, or steal away their treasures, but they carried it so, that the People must give, and they had their treasure and pretious things. They were not content with what was their stipends;Varia habeban [...] pecuniae aucu­pia. But as Lavater speaks, they had waies, arts, de­vices, to get such things.

The word Jakar signifies also glory, and honour, Dan. 26.37. Esth. 1.20. and so its rendre [...] here by Montanus, Lavater, Aecolamp. and the French Translation. The sense then is this, that these false Prophets were ambitious, minding high places, and popular glory.

They have made her many widows.

Those men would not bee of their mindes, hearken to their Prophesies, countenance and maintain them with their trea­sures [Page 251] and pretious things, they prepared warre for them, they stirred up the powers, and people who were of their own way, to hate them, and deal unkindly with them, Isa. 66.5. Hear the word of the Lord, yee that tremble at his word, your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name sake, &c. There were some trembled at the word of the Lord, the word of the true Prophets, and durst not side with the false Prophets, their doctrines or practises, these therefore were hated of their brethren, that were their Disciples, and cast out, so Ezek. 11.15. They said get yee farre from the Lord, unto us is this land given in possession. You have nothing to do here in Judea or Jeru­salem, here is no liberty for you, bee gone, or dye for it. Now because many did venture to stay, they prevailed so, that they were put to death, and by this means they made many widows. They also used to incourage the Princes to warre, as 1 King. 22. the false Prophets put on Ahab to go up to Ramoth Gi­lead, and promised him successe in that warre, but he fell, and many other with him, and hereby they made many widows.

Obs. 1 In Jerusalem were wicked and false Prophets. Jeru­salem was the holy City, the City of God, the place where Gods name was recorded, a type of the Church of God in all ages; yet there, even there, were such Prophets, and holds it out clearly to us, that there will be false Prophets in the Church of God alwaies. In Christs time there were such, Mat. 7.15. Beware of False Prophets which come to you in sheeps cloath­ing. In Pauls time, there were such, Act. 13.6. There was one Bar-jesus a Jew, and a false Prophet. In Johns time there were such, 1 John 4.1: Many false Prophets are gone out into the world; so many went out then, that there is a generation of them to this day, and that generation will not cease so long as the Lord hath a Church in this world; there will bee found false Prophets, even at dooms day.

Obs. 2 Jerusalems Prophets may be yea, sometimes are against Jerusalem. There is a conspiracy in her Prophets, in the midst thereof. Those thought themselves the chief Prophets in Je­rusalem, met, consulted, and agreed together to preach the same things, to set themselves against the Prophets and Pro­fessors differed from them, as being unsafe and unsound, and to stir up authority against them. The meetings of Pro­phets [Page 252] are not alwaies for the welfare of Sion; here was a Councel of them, but it was for mischief; That they thought was very lawful, the Spirit of God calls a Conspiracy. Such was that meeting of the chief Priests, Scribes and Elders in the palace of the High Priest, where they consulted against Christ, Matth. 26.3, 4. and that wherein they agreed, that if any did confesse that hee was Christ, hee should bee put out of the Synagogue, John 9.22. was not the Council of Trent, a conspiracy of Prophets, who pretended they were for Jerusa­lem, but were in truth against Jerusalem; Did not they agree together, that who ever preached any thing contrary to their Canons and Articles, should bee anathematized? did they not stir up Princes and Powers of the world, to punish those they judged Sectaries, Schismaticks, and Heretical? Mr. Foxes Acts and Monuments do testify the truth thereof. Have not the Prophets of our Jerusalem gone too far this way?

Obs. 3 God takes special notice of the sinnes of Prophets; they are first mentioned in the general Corruption that was of all sorts; There were Priests, Princes, Peoples sins, but the Prophets are set in the front, they provoked God greatly, they did most hurt, Jer. 23.15. From the Prophets of Jerusalem is prophaneness gone forth, into all the land. They were corrupt springs, that corrupted the whole Jewish earth, with the streames of their false doctrines, and example of their sinful practises. Their sins are very much spoken of in the word, and set upon record, they dealt falsely, Jer. 6.13. they belyed the Lord, Jer. 5.12, 13. they taught rebellion against the Lord, Jerem. 28.16. ch. 29.32. they strengthened the hands of evil doers, so that none retur­ned from his wickednesse; Jer. 23.14. they were light and treacherous, Zeph. 3.4. they deluded the people, and murde­red their souls, Jerem. 8.11. Ezek. 12.10. they were exceeding Covetous and greedy of gain, from every quarter, Isa. 56.11. Micah. 3 5. they made the people forget the name of the Lord, Jer. 23 27. they were Foxes, and dealt very su [...]tlely, Ezek. 13.4. They being defiled with such sins, defiled the land thereby, kindled the indignation of the Lord, and made him to say concerning them, Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall, Jer. 23.15. and would consume them by sword, and famine, chap. 14.15.

Obs. 4 That the men who should openly declare against sin, do openly commit sinne. There is a conspiracy of her Prophets in the midst therof: They roared like Lyons, not caring who heard or saw them, they made many widows in the midst of Jerusa­lem. They sinned notorious sins, and were not ashamed of them, Jer. 23.11. Both Prophet and Priest are prophane, in mine house have I found their wickednesse, saith the Lord, in the Temple, the most publike place of worship, there they set up their Idols, and detestable things, Ezek. 7.20. when Prophets and men in near relations to God are naught, they proceed from sinne to sinne, from degree to degree of the same sinne, till they become impudent. These Prophets conspired against those were good in Jerusalem, they were cruel, mur­therous, Covetous, inhumane, and that in the midst of Jeru­salem; they blushed not at any, or all these sinnes, they procee­ded so in their Covetousnesse, that they got the treasure and pretious things the people had. Thus was it with the Popish Clergy, they got the best lands, woods, waters, habitations,Ab Episcopis sanguis in ipsis templis fusus sit propter, loci dignitatem. Lavater. they got the treasure and pretious things; yea, so covetous were they, that they occasioned that Proverbe, a mortuis tri­butum exigere, to scrape from the dead, and so openly wick­ed they were, that in their Temples and Cathedrals, they strove so for place, as they shed bloud.

Vers. 26 Her Priests have violated my Law, and have pro­phaned mine holy things: they have put no difference be­tween the holy and prophane, neither have they shewed diffe­rence between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am prophaned amongst them.

In the former vers. you had the Prophets sins, here you have the Priests, and they are four.

  • 1 Ʋiolation of the Law.
  • 2 Prophanation of holy things.
  • 3 Neglect of duty, which is twofold.

1 They did not make difference between the holy and pro­phane, the clean, &c.

2 They Minded not the Lords Sabbaths, but hid their eies from them.

[Page 254]Her Priests have violated my Law.

The Priests were to bee men of knowledge, Mal. 2.7. and to teach the People the true sense of the Law, 2 Chron. 15.3. Deut: 17.9, 10, 11. (for the Priests taught, and not onely the Levites, Mic. 3.11.) but now the Priests were so blind and ignorant, that they knew not God, Jer. 2.8. so intemperate, that they erred in the things of God, Isa. 28.7. and rejecting true knowledge, are said to forget the law, Hos. 4.6. and here to violate it.

[...]. Surripuerunt legem meam.The Septuagint reads it, They have contemned my Law, they set light by it, Lavater hath it thus, they have stollen, or taken away my Law, to which sense Ʋatablus agrees; for be­cause they were bound to teach the Law, and did it not, they are said furtum fecisse legi, to have stoln away the Law. The He­brew word chamas signifies,Cum deberent populum legem docere, non fe­cerunt, i [...]aque legem illi quo­dummodo fu­rati sunt. Maldon. Violenter dis­cerpserunt. legem meam. Violenter tra­ctant legem. Vim faciunt le­gi. Ont fait overa­ge a maloy. to take away, to offer violence, in­juste tractare, to handle a thing unjustly. The Priests did han­dle the Law, Jer. 2.8. but they handled it unjustly, they wrest­ed, and forced it to speak their sense, to countenance their practises; they cared not for the true sense, nor sought after that, but such senses as would please and suit with the times, and mens humours.

The Law or word of God is violated,

First, When men do wrong point it, and so marr the sense, and alter it; as those that to make way for the opinion of the souls sleeping, do put the point after the word day. I say unto thee to day, whereas the right pointing is at Thee, not at day, I say unto thee, to day shalt thou be with mee in Paradise, Luk. 23.43. that is, thy soul shall not lye dormant in or with thy bo­dy till the day of resurrection, but shall this very day pass in­to Paradise. So Rev. 13.8. the mis-pointing causes an er­ror in the sense, its said there, that All shall worship the Beast; whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb. There is the comma, and then follows, slain from the foundation of the world, Montanus puts the Comma after, [...]. whereas the Comma, or pointing, should bee after slain, which refers to Lambe, and not to the following words, for those words relate to the names written in the Book, and the sense stands thus, whose names are not written in the book of [Page 255] life, from the foundation of the world.

2 When something of man is added to it, or detracted from it; The Scribes and Pharises joyned their Traditions with the commandements of God, and thereby offered such wrong unto them, that Christ tells them, they made them of none effect, Matth. 15.6. they put so much chaffe to Gods wheat, that it rather choaked than nourished the People; they put so much water of their own to his wine, that there were no spi­rits at all in it. The Jews had joyned the Statutes of the Heathen with the Statutes of the Lord, 2 King. 17.8. and the Statutes of Omri were observed, Micah. 6.16. The Septuagint in the 5. of Genesis, have added one hundred years more to the age of the Fathers, before they begate Children, than is in the Original; They have also added much to the end of Job, which the Hebrew hath not. The Post-scripts after Pauls Epistles, are not Canonical, but additions of those writ the Epistles, or of some others, and they have little truth in them; See Mr. Perkins upon the sixth Chapter of the Epi­stle to the Galatians, on the conclusion.

Some Anabaptists in former times,Glassius in phisol. tract. de purit. textus in N. T. p. 229, 230, 231. Edit. secunda 1643. rejected all in the last chapter of Mark, from the ninth vers. to the end, and others have added unto the 14. vers.

3 When the Translation is erroneous. The Septuagint hath failed in many places, and the Vulgar in most. Lindanus a Po­pish prelate saith, It hath monstrous corruptions of all sorts, scarce one Coppy can bee found, that hath one book of Scrip­ture undefiled and whole. Many points are translated too intri­cately and darkly, some improperly and abusively, some not so fully, nor so well and truely; Sundry places are thrust out from their plain and natural sense: The Translator possible was no Latinist, but a smattering Grecian. In our Old Transla­tion there were [...] many errors, as in Mal. 2.16.White, in his way to the Church p. 29 If thou hatest her, put her [...]way, saith the Lord God of Israel; whereas hee hated puting away; so in 1 Corinthians 12.28. its hel [...]ers, governours; wh [...]r [...]as its in the Greek, helps, govern­men [...]s, and ou [...] last Tra [...]sla [...]ion which is the best extant, is faulty in this place, reading those words thus, Helpes in Go­vernment, which was done to countenance all the Assistants Prelates had in their government, and not onely there, but [Page 256] in other places also, as Jer. 33.16. its thus translated, This is the name wherewith shee shall bee called, The Lord our righteous­nesse; Montan. Junius. Vulgar. Vatabl. Mariano. whereas the Hebrew is, vezeh asher jickra lah, he who shall call her, is the Lord our righteousnesse; and the Contents before the 149 Psalm, insinuate that the Church hath power to rule the consciences of men.

4 When the word is constrained to speak that was never intend­ed of God, when a sense is drawn from it that was never inclu­ded in it. Tyrabosco Patriarke of Ʋenice, preaching on the miracle of loaves and fishes, made the sense of Phillips words, Two hundred penny-worth of bread will not suffice, to bee this, That all the mysteries of the Old and New Testament are not e­nough to inlighten the peoples blind and ignorant mindes, without the seven Sacraments; which hee made to bee the meaning of Andrews words,White in his way to the Church p. 42. There is a boy here which hath five loaves and two fishes: What forced senses have men put upon those scrip­tures: Tell the Church, and, This is my body? That is, the sense of Scripture which the spirit intended, if any other sense bee imposed on, or extracted from the word, its a vio­lation of it, and so it speakes not the minde of God, but the pleasure and phansies of men.

They have prophaned mine holy things.

By Holy things, the Lord means the Sacrifices and Oblations, which they were to order according to the institution and rules given them from God,Non rite per­ficiebant quae ad eorum perti­nebant mini­sterium. by Moses; but what was holy upon a Legal account, they esteemed common and sleighted, which was a prophaning of them. In the 8. vers. God told Jerusalem shee had despised his holy things; and here he tells the Priests they had prophaned them, that is, they had ordi­nary thoughts and esteem of them, and handled them, so, as became not holy things. When the holy things were ea­ten of out of season, or by persons unfit, under legal unclean­nesse, they were prophaned, Leviticus 19, 8. chapter 22. from the first to the 16.

[Page 267]They have put no difference between the holy and prophane.

The Law tells us what things and persons are said to bee holy, or prophane, clean or unclean, as you may see Levit. 11. through out, Numb. 18.11, 12, 13. Deut. 14. from the 3. to the 22. Levit. 19.7, 8. ch. 21. & 22. The Priests should have instructed the people, what meats were lawful for them, what not; what Sacrifices were fit to bee brought to the Lord, and what not, who were worthy, and who not to eat of the holy things, and to approach unto the Holy God.

This is acknowledged to have been the duty of the Priests, from Levit. 10.10, 11. Ezek. 44.23. where mention is made of Teaching; and from Haggai, the 2.11, 12, 13. where they practised it, and told them what was unholy, and unclean: but this is not all contained in this Text, for the Hebrew word Badal, rendred here to put difference, imports power and authority to separate persons and things one from another, as Gen. 1.4. the Lord divided or separated the light from the darknesse, Deut. 4.41. Moses severed three Cities on this side Jordan, 2 Chron. 2.10. Then Amaziah separated them; and Ains­worth reads those words, Levit. 10.10. That yee may sepa­rate between the holy and prophane: by that power God had put into their hands, they were to keep the wicked and pro­phane from the Holy things; to separate them from the Con­gregation, and so the word is used, Ezra 10.8. The Priests sinned in that they did not teach the people what was legally holy, and legally prophane, and also in that they did not put forth that power they had, to preserve the holy things of God pure. These Priests therefore that withstood Ʋzziah the King, attempting to offer incense upon the Altar, and thrust him out of the Sanctuary, when the Leprosy appeared in his fore-head, they did their duty, and kept the things of God unpolluted, 2 Chron. 26.20. it was unlawful for him to offer incense; unlaw [...]ull for him being Leprous to be in that place, where the incense was to be offered, and had not the Priests had power, it had been unlawful in them to have thrust him out.

[Page 58]Neither have they shewed difference between the clean and the unclean.

The Hebrew word for shewing difference is [...] fecerunt scire, they did not make to know, they neglected to teach, and instruct them, which was a sin inexcusable, but more than so may bee gathered out of this word; they did not make them to know experimentally, by inflicting censures, what the diffe­rence was between the clean and the unclean. They had three sorts of Excommunication; the lesser called Niddui, the mid­dle sort called Cherem, and the greatest called Sammatha. He who was defiled with Leprosy was to bee removed out of the Campe of Israel, the Campe of the Priests, and the Camp of God. Hee was defiled with an issue, was to bee removed out of the Campe of God, and the Campe of the Priests, but not out of the Campe of Israel. Hee that was defiled by the touch of a dead body was onely to bee removed out of the Campe of God.Weemes in Christian Syna­gogue. Now its like the Priests failed in doing their part in some of these, they suffered those were legally unclean, to come amongst those were legally clean, and did not by remo­val of them, make them to know what a mercy it was to bee clean, and what an evil to bee unclean. Its said Judges 8.16. that Gi [...]eon took Bryers, and Thornes, and with them hee taught the men of Succoth, vajioaoh [...] cognoscere fecit, hee made them to know; by what they felt and suffered, hee made them to know; so the Priests should have made them to know by their removal from the Campe, and holy things of God, what the great difference was between the clean and un­clean. I have met with one Author, who reads the words thus,Vid. Gillespi in his Aarons rod blossoming. p. 119 Neither have they broken or divided between the clean and the unclean.

And have hid their eies from my Sabbaths.

The Hebrew word for Hid, is, [...] alam, which proper­ly [Page 259] is spoken of them that have watery, blear, and bloud-shot eyes; Proprie dicitu­de oculis limis seu lippis qui non clare vi­dent ob marco­rem vel vela­men in illis contractum Avenarius. that they cannot see well, as Avanerius saith, such eies had those Priests, that they could not see. The Ordinary acception of the word is, to hide or cover. The Sept. is, [...], they have covered their eies from my Sabbaths. The Vulgar is, averterunt, they have turned away their eies. This Expression of hiding their eyes hath these things in it.

First, They did not mind the holinesse and honour of the Sab­bath; That was a day to bee sanctified in a special manner, Exod. 20.8. Levit. 23.3. Ezek. 20.20. they should have called the Sabbath a delight, holy and honourable, Isa. 58.13. for it was a day as for honouring of God, so for Gods honouring them with his presence and blessings, but they minded not the holinesse or honourablenesse of the day, and this was hi­ding their eyes from it.

2 When men by their sinful practises prophaned the Sab­baths of the Lord; they took no notice thereof, they did not tell them of their sins, convince them of the wickednesse of their doings, but connive and wink at their doings, Jer. 17.27. there were those did carry in burdens at the gates of Je­rusalem on the Sabbath day, which God by Jeremy complai­ned of, and threatned the destruction of Jerusalem for, but the Priests though they knew and saw these things, yet they were silent, and this was hiding their eies from the Sabbaths of the Lord.

3 Themselves d [...]d those things on the Sabbaths which the law of God did not justify, Videntes pro­p [...]lam Sabba­torum diem contumelia af­fici & opus leg [...] non permissum perfici in die quietis, at quere nolebant cos, qui delinquere aud [...]bant sed veluti c [...]nni­ventes ocu [...]is, d [...]ssimulabant ea videre quae continenter cernebant. Prad. and they having their pretences and excuses for the same, they did not the duties of the Sab­bath, they did their own pleasure, walkt in their own waies, and spake their own words, contrary to that in Isa. 58.13. they did wicked things on that holy day, and pro­phaned the Sabbaths of the Lord, vers. 8. of this chapter, Jer. 23.11. both Prophet and Priest are prophane, they did prophanely, and so they hid their eies from the Sabbath.

And I am prophaned amongst them.

The Prophaning of holy things, the holy day, and holy name of the Lord, are oft mentioned, Levit. 22.15. Neh. 3.17. [Page 260] Amos 2.7. Ezek. 20.9.14.22. but here it goes higher, and comes to God himself, who saith, I am prophaned: God in his own nature cannot bee prophaned, that is incapable of all prophanation, but hee is said to bee prophaned, when his com­mands are despised, his worship corrupted, and evil is spoken of him and his waies. God is sanctified when wee fear him in our hearts, Isa. 8.13. and tremble at his word, Isa. 66.2. worship him according to his own appointments, preserving his worship pure, and so live as to cause others to glorify his name, 1 Pet. 2.12. Matth. 5.16. when the contrary is done, hee is prophaned; when men contemn the commands of God, break his Laws, defile his Sabbaths, they prophane the Lord, and by such doings cause his name to bee blasphemed by o­thers, and in that, himself is prophaned.

Obs. 1 That Holy things are to bee kept holy, they have vio­lated my Law, prophaned mine holy things, put no difference be­tween the Holy and Prophane, &c. This was the evil that holy things were prophaned. The Holy Oyle, spoken of Exod. 30. must bee kept holy, and none must make or compound any like it; vers. 31, 32. so for the holy perfume, vers. 37. The Passeover was an holy thing, and the Lord ordered it so, that it might bee kept holy, Exod. 12.43, 44, 48. Strangers and uncircumcised might not eat thereof, because that was a de­filing of it; those who were legally unclean, were not to keep the Passeover, till they were cleansed, Numb. 5.2, 3. ch. 9.6, 7. &c. they were put off from the fourteenth day of the first month, unto the fourteenth day of the second month, and so for other of the holy things, see what rules God gives and how strict hee was to prevent the prophaning of them, Levit. 22.3, 4, 5, 6, 7. God threatened to cut off such a soul, that should meddle with the holy things, being unclean. Cut off from Children say some, hee should bee without posterity. Cut off by an untimely death say others, or cut off from God, and having inheritance with his people in heaven. Hence was it that God committed the Holy things to the charge of the Priests,Vide Goodwin Antiqui. l. 3. [...]. 4. Numb. 3.28.31, 32. and Levites Numb. 18.2, 3, 4, 5. and they kept the door of the Lords house, 2 Kin. 12.9. and when they were defiled, they were not to meddle with the holy things, Ezra 2.63. Ezra 44.13.

Obs. 2 When those are near to God are unfaithful, and do not improve their power and interest to preserve the things of God, and Ordinances holy, its matter of provocation and complaint. The Priests here who were officers in his house, they dealt unfaithfully, and did not to their interest and power lay out themselves to preserve the things of God from prophaning, and polluting, and that offended the Lord, and made him to complain of them, Ezek. 44.7, 8. God complaines of them there, that they brought into his Sanctuary uncircumcised in heart and flesh, and polluted it thereby; that they did eat fat and bloud which were prohibited most severely, Levit. 7.25, 26, 27. and so broke his Covenant, and kept not the charge of his holy things: When Nadab and Abihu brought strange fire, that is, unholy fire, such as God commanded not, how greatly did it provoke God, even so far as to kindle a fire in his wrath, and to consume them; they were not faithful, they defiled themselves, their censers, and the worship of God with their unholy fire, Levit. 10.1, 2. you may find the Lord angry with, and complaining of some of the Angels of the seven Churches, for their unfaithfulnesse and faultinesse this way, Revel. 2.14, 15, 16. there God Complaines of the Angel of Pergamos, and tells him that hee did not keep out corrupt doctrines, that the doctrin of Balaam and the Nicolaitans, were suffered amongst them; so for the Angel of Thyatira, that Jezabel was suffered to teach, and seduce the Church, and to draw the members thereof to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to Idols. Here the Lord was offend­ed with the Churches, and complaines of them.

Obs. 3 That there is a difference to bee made between person and person, when it comes to communion in, and participation of holy things; It was the Priests sin here, that they did not put a difference between the holy and prophane, the clean and the unclean; This is to bee done both doctrinally and pra­ctically.

1 Doctrinally, the Prophets and Priests were by their teachings to make a difference, Jer. 15.19.2 King. 13.9] if thou take forth the pretious from the vile, then thou shalt bee as my mouth; The Vulgar reads it, if thou shalt separate the pretious from the vile, Si seperaveris pretiosum a vi­li. that is, saith Maldonate, if thou shalt by thy word sever the elect [Page 262] from the reprobate, Pisc. Likewise interprets the words doctri­nally, Si tuis admo­nitionibus se­gregari fece­ris predestina­tos a reprob [...]e. Si solis piis proposueris promissiones gratiae meae ad consolan­dum ipsos non etiam impiis, if thou shalt hold out my gratious promises onely for the comfort of the godly, and not of the wick­ed, then thou shalt bee as my mouth; I will own thee for my faithful servant, as having spoken and done what I my self would have spoken and done, Ezek. 13.22. God is wroth with the false Prophets and Prophetesses for sadding the hearts of the righteous, and strengthening the hands of the wicked, that hee should not return from his wicked waies, by pro­mising him life, they did not distinguish between the pretious and the vile.

2 Practically, When any of the people were ceremonially unclean, they were to be kept from the clean, and from com­munion with them in the holy things: No stranger, no un­circumcised, none that had any running issue, that was le­prous, were to eat the passeover, or joyn with the Congregati­on in their holy things, Exod. 12.48. Levit. 22.3. and if Ceremo­nial uncleannesse did exclude Israelites from the holy things, under the Law, moral uncleanness may justly exclude Christi­ans under the Gospel, 2 Cor. 6.17. Come out from among them, & bee yee separate, and touch not the unclean thing. Idols and Ido­laters are unclean things, scandalous and ignorant persons are unclean things, and we must come out from them, if we will have God to receive us, yea, those are unbeleevers, how civill and fair so ever their lives bee,Aversam quod est plus quam devita. Eras. are unclean things, Tit. 1.15. those that have a form of godlinesse, and deny the power, are also such, and wee must turn from them, 2 Tim. 3.5. from such as well as the others before mentioned, you must turn away and not have communion with. There is a prophesy in the 52 of Isaiah, ver. 1. that the uncircumcised and unclean should not come into Sion, or the New-Jerusalem, and it suits with what you have, Rev. 21.27. There shall in no wise enter into it, viz. the New-Jerusalem, any thing that defileth. Such must bee kept out as will defile: there were porters at every gate of Jerusalem when the passeover in Josiahs daies was kept,2 Chron, 35 and they suffered not unclean or uncircumcised ones to enter, and the Annotations upon this place in the Revelations say; in the last Church on earth discipline in likelihood shall be so strictly [Page 263] executed, that no prophane persons shall be found there, only elect persons, so far as men can judge. There shall be spiritual porters to keep out defilers, dead stones must not be laid in a living Temple.

Obs. 4 That the prophaning of holy things is a prophaning of God himself: They have violated my Law, prophaned my holy things, &c. and I am prophaned amongst them: When holy things are not ordered and regarded as they ought, as becomes them and him, who hath made them holy, its a prophanation of both. There is so near a relation between God and his Ordi­nances, his holy things, that the wrong done to them, hee ac­counts done to himself, and the prophaning of them, the prophaning of himself: When the Priests offered polluted bread upon the Altar, they polluted God, Mal. 1.7. they brought that was defective, and not according to the Law, and that polluted the Altar, which God accounted polluting of himself, and this dealing with God so offends him that sometimes hee breaks out, and smites, yea, destroys persons for the same. When the Bethshemites irreverently meddled with the Ark, the Lord did smite fifty thousand and seventy men, 1 Sam 6.19, it was a prophaning of the Lord, so rude­ly to touch and peepe into the Ark. The Corinthians abu­sed, prophaned the holy things of God, 1 Cor. 11. and for that very cause many were made weak and sickly, and others were cut off by death, Look to it then that you be holy, if you will meddle with holy things, and that you handle them holily, least you prophane the Lord, Eccl. 5.1. keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear than to give the sacrifice of fools.

Vers. 27 Her Princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ra­vening the prey to shed bloud, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.

You had the Propphets and the Priests sinnes in the two pre­cedent verses; in this you have the Princes, which are,

  • Violence.
  • Cruelty.
  • Covetousness.
[Page 264]Her Princes.

The Hebrew for Princes is, [...] from [...] principem age­re, to act the part of a Prince, to bear rule. The Septuagint hath it, [...], her chief men, her Rulers, her Princes, that should have been such as feared God, men of truth hating Covetousnesse, Exod. 18.21. they were now so dege­nerated, that they were become like wolves.

Like Wolves.

Historia ani­malium. Wolves for their outward shape are like unto dogs, a crea­ture that is strong, swift, fierce, cruel, and crafty, as Franzi­us observes; In them are seen notable resemblances of the Devil, Hereticks, Theives, and Tyrants. When Princes and rulers oppresse the people,In lupis propo­sitae sunt nobis insignes imagi­nes diaboli bae­reticorum latro­num & tyran­norum. id. In lupo tanta est voracitas & crudelitas ut non solum quod ad ven­trem satis est, interficiat, sed nisi impediatur cotum gregem passim proster­nat. Imprimis humanae car­nis solet esse a­vidus & nihil tam apetit at­que cruorem. Franzius. Herba quadam origano. they are Tyrants, and in Scrip­ture language Wolves. Now two things in wolves especially they resemble.

1 Their Subtlety, or craftinesse in getting the prey, for the Wolfe, animalia cornuta invadit a tergo ne possint sese defende­re contra manifest as injurias, hee comes behind horned beasts, sets upon them unawares, that they may not bee able to de­fend themselves; So Tyrants deal craftily with the people, take them suddainly in their stratagems, and spoil them of the benefit of Law, and other helps, Exod. 1.10. Act. 7.19. Pharaoh that Tyrant, dealt subtlely with the Jews, so did Haman, Esther, 3.8, 9. so did Ishmael, Jer. 41.5, 6, 7.

2 Their Cruelty, Wolves are very cruel and bloudy, they will kill many Lambs, many sheep, and onely suck their bloods, nothing do they desire more, than bloud, and mans flesh, and when they go out to prey, they do sharpen their teeth with a certain herbe they chew. So Tyrants are Wolvish in this respect. Adonibezeck was not hee such, when he cut off the thumbs and toes of seventy Kings? Judges 1.7. was not Herod a ravenous wolfe, who suckt the blood of all the children in Bethlehem, and the coasts thereof, under two years old, Mat. 2.16. what a she-wolfe was Athaliah, who [Page 265] murthered all the seed Royal? 2 King. 11.1. what a cruel bloudy wolfe was Menahem, who ript up all the women with childe in Tiphsah? 2 King. 15.16. and was not Manasses a migh­ty bloudy-sucking and ravenous wolfe? who filled Jerusalem with innocent bloud from one end to the other? 2 King. 21.16. Jehoiachim and Jehoiachin were Lyons and wolves, that catched the prey, and devoured men, Ezek. 19.3, 6. and in Zedekiahs daies the Princes and Rulers were such, as filled the land with bloudy crimes, Ezek. 7.23. not unjustly therefore are they said to bee like wolves, yea to bee wolves, Zeph. 3.3.

Ravening the prey.

These words wee had in the 25. ver. the Prophets were like Lyons ravening the prey; Tyranni nomi­nabantur Ly­caones & por­tae finxerunt principes prop­ter saevit [...] mutari in lu­pos. and the Princes were like wolves ravening the prey; wolves are more ignoble than Lyons, and the Princes were worse than the false Prophets, they rave­ned sorer than they.

To shed bloud.

Of this sinne mention is made in the 4, 6, 9, & 12. verses of this Chapter. Its a sinne in any, but especially in Princes, who should protect their subjects from violence and bloud, and rather venture the sheding of their own bloud, than suffer the peoples to be wrongfully shed; but now the Princes were so wicked, that like wolves they destroyed and devoured their own sheep; by breaking Covenants made with other Prin­ces, and so drawing upon them barbarous Nations. By receiving bribes, and hearkening to tales, they gave way to the execution of innocent ones, by which sinne they de­stroyed the lives of men, their persons, and the image of God, for which thing no recompence can bee made, nor ought to bee taken if it could bee made, Numb. 35.31. hee that shed bloud unjustly, was to have his bloud shed, whatsoever he were.

[Page 266]And to destroy souls.

Soules are not in the power of Princes or other men to de­stroy or hurt, Mat. 10.28. They are the Lords, Ezek. 18.4. and he only hath power over them. Princes here are said to destroy souls, because they do what lies in their power to destroy them; or we may take souls here Synechdochically for the whole man, they shed bloud to destroy men; When the bloud of men is spilt, they are destroyed,

To get dishonest gain.

[...]The Heb. is rendred by Mont. ad appetendum concupiscentiam, to desire a lust, or to satisfy a lust, and in the Margent, he hath it thus, ut avare sectentur avaritiam, that they might covetously, or greedily follow Covetousness: Ut faciant quaestum, say others, that they might make gain. The French is, Pour ensuiure le gam en avarice, to follow gain in covetousnesse. These Princes did co­vet the wealth of the People, and found out waies to cut them off, that so they might injoy their estates. These words, disho­nest gain, wee had in the 13. vers. and therefore shall for­bear to adde any thing more about them.

Obs. 1 That when Prophets and Priests are corrupt, the Ma­gistrates are not sound, in the 25. vers. the Prophets were like Lyons, they devoured souls; in the 26. the Priests violated the Law, and prophaned the holy things; and here the Princes were like wolves, shedding bloud: When the heads in the Ecclesiastick estate are evil, those in the Civil estate are seldome good; when Prophets and Priests do wickedly, Princes will quickly learn to follow them. They have great influence into the Courts and hearts of Princes.

Obs. 2 When Magistrates and Rulers are covetous, they are insatiably Covetous, and will be cruel to satisfy their covetous lusts: The Princes were greedy of gain, and to get it, they like wolves, did ravine the prey, shed bloud, destroy souls. They being Princes had great revenues, but they were not content with what was their own, they cast their eies and thoughts upon what the people had, and let out their desires after the same, and Covetous desires brought forth oppression in Taxes and [Page 267] cruelty, in making away, and cutting off many rich ones, under pretence of delinquency, that they might injoy their lands and livings. When men are greedy of gain, they will take away the life of the owners thereof, Prov. 1.19. Ahab and Jezabel took away the life of Naboth for his vineyard, which they greedily coveted, 1 King. 21.19. Solomon tells you that a wicked Ruler is like a roaring Lyon, and a ranging Bear; he is a great oppressor, Pro. 28.15, 16. he threatens them, fills them with fears, and dayly is plucking away their estates from them; he rangeth here for a prey one day, and there for a prey another day, and is never satisfied, till hee hath devoured them and theirs. Zeph. 3.3. Her Princes within her are roaring Lyons, her Judges are evening wolves, they gnaw not the bones till the Morrow, they devour the men one day, & their estates the next day, the flesh will not suffice them, but they must eat up bones and all. Covetousnesse is an insatiable horse-leech, that cries give, give, and will break all Laws, Bonds, Relations, to in­joy what it desires. There was much in it, when the Lord forbade Kings to multiply gold and silver greatly to themselves, Deut. 17.17. hee foresaw that if their hearts were carried out strongly after such things, that they having power in their hands, would oppresse, shed bloud, destroy souls, and all, for to get dishonest gain. Isaiah therefore calls such Princes, Theeves, ch. 1.23. they robbed, they murthered the people to inrich them­selves; Vespasian was such a Theif to the Roman state, who put in the greatest Offices the greatest extortioners, whom he used like spunges, to fill them while dry, and to crush out their liquor when they were full;Sueronius in Vespasiano. when they were grown rich then hee spoiled them. Its needful to pray for Rulers, that they may fear God, hate Covetousnesse, and never prove roaring Lyons, nor ravening wolves.

28 And her Prophets have daubed them with untempered mor­ter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them; saying, thus saith the Lord God, when the Lord hath not spoken.

Here wee have the Prophets brought in again, where be­sides those sins mentioned, vers. 25. you have an addition of their flattery and lying.

[Page 268]Have daubed them with untempered morter.

Of these words see before, cha. 13.10.11. I shall give you the various readings.

Montanus, liniebant eos insulso, they daubed them with that was unsavoury. Sept. [...].

Scholion, [...].

Vulg. Liniebant eos absque temperamento.

Vatabl. Oblinunt eis crustam insulsam.

Jun. Pisc. Obdu [...]unt eis ineptum t [...]ctorium.

Lavat. Complanabant eos luto infirmo.

French, Les plastroyent sans est offe.

Munst. Linierunt eis caementum insulsum.

Taphel imports, a thing unseasoned, weak, inept to adhere and cleave to a thing, and quickly falling off, having no [...]enacitie in it. When Plaisterers lay loam or sand upon a wall,Materiam no­tat quae ad compingendum inutilis est quaeque cito decidit. and there be nothing binding therein, ere long it falls off again, though for the present it covers deformities, and makes it seem goodly; So these Prophets flattered the Princes and great ones, and plaiste­red over their vile practises, with smooth and fair words, incou­raging them in their waies, and promising them safety; which they did, having countenance and maintenance from them, Mic. 3.11. and upon hopes of greater preferment, but it proved other­wise; for when the winds and storms of divine displeasure came, both Prophets, Princes, and the untempered morter fell together.

Seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, say­ing, Thus saith, &c.

These words were formerly spoken of, cha. 13.6, 7. they told the Princes and People, that they had visions from God, that hee had spoken unto them, and sent them to prophesy such things unto them, whereas they saw nothing, neither heard or had any thing from God, but followed their own spirits, which were vain and lying. Herein they dealt perfidi­ously with God and man.Falso mala side & decep­ [...]orie.

Obs. 1 Though Princes and Rulers bee exceedingly wicked, insatiably covetous, and cruel, oppressing and destroying the peo­ple, [Page 269] yet there be Prophets will flatter, countenance, and incourage them in those waies. The Princes were ravening wolves, shed bloud, destroyed souls to get dishonest gain, and Jerusalems Prophets daubed them with untempered morter. They ap­plauded their practises, justified their doings, and told them that God did approve of their waies. It was not the Nobles, Ci­tizens, but the Prophets of Jerusalem which did this. Princes and great ones, want not false and lying Prophets to bolster them up, and to bear them out in their vile and detestable courses.

Ahab was a wicked King, and hee had a multitude of flat­tering, daubing Prophets, 2 Chron. 18.10, 11. Go and prosper, for the Lord hath delivered it into the hand of the King, the enter­prize is warrantable, will prove successeful, fear not. There were flattering divinations among the false Prophets, Eze. 12.24. and with these they be daubed the wicked Princes, and streng­thened the hands of evil doers, Jer. 23.14. when Princes are evil doers, and incouraged by false or true Prophets, they will do mischief with a witness. When the King that lately suf­fered, was upon oppressing designes, to get dishonest gain,Plus nocet lin­gua adulatoris, quam manus persecutoris. did not Englands Prophets, flatter, inc [...]urage, and daube with un­tempered morter, when they told him, all the people had, was his, that hee might do what hee pleased with his subjects, and their estates?

Fla [...]tery is Evil in any, but worst of all in Prophets, and es­pecially when they have to do with wicked Princes, whom they harden in their wickednesse thereby, and ripen for destruction. Flattery pleases men greatly, its like tickling, but there is a tickling unto death, Reproof is a pretious balme, Psalm. 141.5. but flattery is a destructive net, Prov. 29.5. let the true Prophets abhor it, and so speak the truth, that they may appeal to the consciences of great and small, as Paul doth, 1 Thes. 2.5. Not at any time used wee flattering words, as yee know. Its good to bee free from flattery, and also from revi­ling. Many, that they may not seem to flatter, yet will revile and speak evil of Rulers, both which are evil.

Obs. 2 That what false Prophets give out is unsavoury, and un­sound weak and uselesse: its untempered Morter: it may stick in mens heads a little, to strengthen them to do wickedly: but it wil not stick in their hearts, to strengthen them against the day of [Page 270] evil, and to justify their doings, what is there in vanity and lies to establish? False Prophets see vanity, and divine lies, which are unsavory and unprofitable things; its truth, and divine truth which establisheth, 2 Pet. 1.19. the vain and lying ima­ginations of men, do deceive and disappoint. Pashur pro­phesyed lies, the things of his own heart and spirit, which himself and others trusted in, but see how hee, and they be­leived him, were deceived, and disappointed, Jer. 20.6. The scornful rulers which made lies their refuge, and hid them­selves under falshood, saying, The over-flowing scourge shal not come unto us, Isa. 28.14, 15. see what the Lord saith in the 17. vers. The hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place; False Prophesies, false opinions, false confidences▪ will not advantage in a windy, and stormy time, they are all untempered morter, and what men give out from themselves, and not from God, doth not profit at all, Jer. 23.32.

Obs. 3 The subtlety and impudency of false Prophets, to make way for their vanities and lies, they pretend they have messages from God, and say, thus saith the Lord God, there is their cun­ning; and to make God author of their vanities and lies, there is their impudency. They knew their dreams, visions, vanities, lies, would not take with Princes or people, if not presented unto them, as from God. The true Prophets told them, thus saith the Lord, and the false made use of his name, and autho­rity, the better to usher in what came from their own spirits, for whatsoever seems to have the authority of men or God to back it, hath the better acceptance, and greater influence. This was the constant practice of false Prophets, as you may see Jerem. 28.10, 11, cha. 14.14. ch. 27.14, 15. ch. 23.17. Ezek. 13.6, 7. They made God the author of all their vani­ties, lies, dreams, and whatsoever came out of their own heads and hearts, which argued an height of impudency in them. They did not onely abuse men, but they greatly abu­sed God, Jer. 5.12. they have belyed the Lord, and made that to bee the word of God, which was not, they walked in lies, and strengthened the hands of evil doers; which provok­ed God so bitterly against them, Jer. 23.14, 15. that he saith, hee would feed them with wormwood, and make them drink [Page 271] the water of gall, and because many Prophets amongst us have belyed the Lord, in making some Scriptures speak that to maintain their opinions and tenets which never was the minde of God in them, therefore hee is wrath with them, feeding them with worm-wood, and making them to drink the water of gall.

Vers. 29 The people of the Land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.

Having spoken of the Prophets, Princes, and Priests sinnes, hee comes now to the peoples, they had no cause to insult over and censure them, for themselves were not free, and their sins were

  • 1 Oppression.
  • 2 Robbery and Covetousness.

Both these aggravated from the persons they oppressed, robbed; and they were

  • 1 The Poor and needy.
  • 2 Strangers.
The People of the Land.

There were four sorts of men in Canaan, Prophets of J [...]ru­salem, Jer. 23.14. Priests of the Lord, 1 Sam. 1.3. and of the high places, 2 King. 23.20. Princes of the People, Ezek. 11.1. and People of the Land, which were the inferiour sort, the vulgar, whom the Prophet tearms so, not by way of dis­grace and opposition to the others, who were in places of e­minency but for distinction onely.

Have used oppression.

The Hebrew is thus, Did oppresse with oppression, that is, did greatly oppresse. The word for oppressing, notes oppressi­on by force or fraud, as hath formerly been shewed, and is rendred here by Junius, fraudant fraude, and by Piscat, frau­dem exercet summe, This People deals very deceitfully. Some [Page 272] read the words thus, Calumniabantur calumniam, or Calum­niando calumniati sunt, They did calumniate one another, and so oppresse;Vulgar. Vatablus. for calumniation, or slandering, is a great wronging and oppression of a man. Those are given to oppressing will use slander, Fr [...]a fait ex­torsion par vi­olence. fraud, force, any way to accomplish their wills and desires.

And exercised robbery.

These words are the same in the Hebrew, with those chapt. 18.12. hath spoiled by violence. There the verbe is in the singular number, and the substantive in the Plural, here the Verbe is in the Plural, and the Substantive in the Singular number. They did steal and get from one another what they could, secretly or openly, which was violence and robbe­ry, and this they did frequently, they were exercised in it.

And have vexed the Poor and Needy.

The word for vexed here is, [...] the same with oppressed or used oppression, of which with the other words Poor and Needy, was spoken chap. 18.7.12. ch. 16.49. the Poor and Nee­dy should have been counselled, comforted, not vexed or oppressed.

Yea, They have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.

Of Oppressing the stranger hath already been spoken in the 7. vers. of this chapter. The Hebrew for wrongfully, is, belo mishphat, absque judicio, without right. The French is, Sans au cune jugement, without any justice or equity. They did injustly oppresse the stranger against all law add right. There was no justice amongst them, in their dealings with natives or strangers, only fraud and force took place.

Obs. 1 That People are usually such as those over them in Church and State are. The Prophets, the Priests, the Princes, were wicked, and the People were like unto them. The Prophets were covetous, and thereupon oppressed, taking the treasure and pretious things, vers. 25. the Priests violat­ed the Law, and prophaned the name of the Lord, ver. 26. [Page 273] The Princes for dishonest gain, did dishonest and cruel things, vers▪ 27. and here the People were like them, covetous, using oppression, and exercising robbery, Micah 3.11. the heads thereof, that is, of Sion, judge for reward, and the Priests thereof teach for hire, and the Prophets thereof divine for mo­ny. Here the chief in the state and Church had their eies upon the reward, the hire, the mony, and to enjoy the same, they would do, say, any thing. Covetousness is the root of all evil, and causeth all sorts of men in whom its found, to comply with the humors of others, for its own in­terest, and to make a prey of those do oppose the same; and were not the people suitable unto these that were over them? Jer. 5.31. The Prophets Prophesy falsely, and the Priests bear rule by their means, and my people love to have it so; the false Prophets by their lies and flatteries, did strengthen the wick­ed Priests in their practices, they took into their hands (so the words may bee read) more power than they should,Accipiebant munera ad suas manus. Mont. in Margent. and gifts which they should not, and the people love to have it so; they love to hear the Prophets lies, and to feed the Priests with gifts, to bear them up in their waies, cha. 6.13. from the least of them to the greatest of them, every one is given to Covetousnesse, and from the Prophet even unto the Priest, The word for prophanation is [...] from [...] dissimulare dolose agere, as well as, pro­fane agere. every one dealeth falsely: and how came it to bee so? the people learned it of those in place, Jer. 23.15. From the Prophets of Jerusalem is Prophanenesse gone forth into all the Land; the word may bee rendred hypocrisy, dissimulation, deceit, the false Prophets were notorious Hypocrites, Deceivers them­selves, and they infected all the Land with their leaven. It was the Prophets and Priests principally that made the Kings glad with their wickednesse, and the Princes with their lies; Hos. 7.3. and when a Prince or Ruler hearkens to lies, all his servants are wicked, Prov. 29.12. Wicked Prophets and Priests make wicked Princes; wicked Princes make wicked servants, and wicked Subjects. They tell them tales, lies, accu­sing unto them those are contrary to their waies, designes, and interest, or not forwarders thereof; whereupon Prin­ces set their servants, creatures, agents on work, to obstruct and pervert justice, to intrap and crush such persons. This was much practised in late daies. The Prelates possest the [Page 274] Princes, with their lies and falsehoods, concerning the book of sports on the Lords day, concerning Altars [...]nd Altar-worship, and they quickly infected all their Servants, and too many of their Subjects therwith, so that if the Prophets, Priests and Princes be naught, the people are too like unto them.

Obs. 2 Covetous Practises in deceiving of, or in getting, and griping from others, is plain thee very; the people of the land have used oppression, or deceit; as your margents have it, and exercised robbery. When Covetousnesse puts men upon de­ceitfull practises; as to use false weights, false lights, false measures, its robbery, so when corrupt, counterfeit, imbased materials bee put off for sound and good, bee it in monies, cloathing, corn, meal, wines, flesh, fish, any vendible commoditie, its in the judgement of God, robbery; so ex­acting of Fees, expedition money, taking advantages of mens necessities, of forfeitures of Bonds or lands; with-hol­ding of servants and labourers wages, altering of wills, forgeing of deeds, warrants, Luke 19.8. Levit. 19.13. thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him, the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night untill the morning; the word for defraud, notes wresting and plucking from a man, and is the same with the word for oppressing here; so that he who oppresseth, who wrests any thing from a­nother by subtlety, hee plaies the Theif, hee robs him; so for the hired mans wages, when the time agreed upon for paiment comes, you must not defer one night, one day longer, its oppression, its robbery, and cries out against men, James 5.4 when many for greedinesse of gain, bought and sold in the Temple, Christ called them Theeves, you have made it saith Christ, A den of theeves, Mat. 21.13. the Priests for gain, gave way to others to buy and sell doves and other things which were of use for offerings & sacrifices, & they made them who bought the same for such purposes, pay dearly for them, and for this they were called theeves, not simply for being in the Temple, it was their Covetous practises, their deceiving, their griping, that made Christ brand them with that name. When men out of Covetous­nesse do grate upon others, defraud, and over-reach them in bargaining, or otherwise, they are robbers, and such doings [Page 275] is called robbery, Amos 3.10. They know not to do right, saith the Lord, who store up violence and robbery in their Palaces; they were so exercised with Covetous practises, that they knew not to do right, onely they were acquainted with theevery. Ni­niveh was such a City, Nahum. 3.1. it is full of lies, and rob­bery, all shops, all places in it were full of them; I fear Lon­don is too like Niniveh, full of lies, and robbery; are not mens hearts, tongues, hands, exercised with covetous practi­ses? is there not much fraud, griping, and catching advan­tages in most shops, places, and persons? when will the time come, that this City may bee called a City of righteousnesse, the faithful City? If you do finde your hearts carried out greedily after gain, and desire to be rich, consider these pla­ces of Scripture.

Prov. 28.20. Hee that maketh haste to be rich shall not bee innocent, Lo jinnakeh, non er [...]t impunis, hee shall not go with­out punishment, God will plague him one way or other, send some secret curse into his heart or estate, if not some out­ward visible judgement.

Prov. 20.21. An inheritance may bee gotten hastily at the beginning, but the end thereof shall not bee blessed. Men may think God blesses them, loves them, they thrive, they get great estates, but marke the end, the end of an estate so got­ten shall not be blessed; how many get great estates in this Ci­ty, and their children spend it shamefully, when they are gone.

Jerem. 17 11. He that getteth riches and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his daies, and at his end shall bee a fool; hee promises long life to himself, but hee shall soon bee pluckt away, and bee declared to bee a fool, Luke 12.19.20. Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, eat, drink, and bee merry; hee thought hee should live long, but what fol­lowed? Thou fool, this night thy soul shall bee required of thee, then whose shall those things bee thou hast prov [...]ded? it may bee you think your children shall have what you get, b [...]t its more than you know▪ if you will beleeve David, Psal. 39.6. sup­pose your heir do, can you tell what hee will prove? its more than Solomon could tell, Eccl. 2.19. who knoweth whe­ther hee shall be a wise man or a fool.

1 Tim. 6.9. read, study, minde those verses well, they have much in them.

Obs. 3 Who are a prey and spoil to the rich and great? its the poor, needy, and strangers: the people of the land vexed and oppressed them. Those had States, purses, and power, they dealt wrongfully with others. The Scripture sets out this evil by various expressions. Men are said to have

  • An Evil eye against the poor, Deut. 15.9.
  • To set their eyes against the poor, Psa. 10.8.
  • To Lye in wait to catch the poor, Psa. 10.9.
  • To devise devises to destroy the poor, with lying words when he speakes right, Isa 32.7.
  • To shame the counsel of the poor, Psa. 14.6.
  • To despise the poor, James 2.6.
  • To mock the poor, Prov. 17.5.
  • To hate the poor, Prov. 14.20.
  • To Rule and Lord it over the poor, Prov. 22.7.
  • To bend their bow to cast down the poor, Psal. 37.14.
  • To grind the faces of the poor, Isa. 3.15.
  • To turn aside the poor in the gate, Amos 5.12.
  • To take away the right from the poor and needy, Isa. 10.2.
  • To tread upon the poor, Amos 5.11.
  • To sell the poor for shoes. Amos 2.6.
  • To rob the poor, because he is poor, Prov. 22.22.
  • To take away his house violently. Job 20.19.
  • To devour the poor secretly, Hab. 3.14.
  • To oppresse the poor, crush the needy, Amos 4.1.
  • To swallow up the needy, Amos 8.4.
  • To turn aside the stranger from his right, Mal. 3.5.
  • To oppresse him, as here.
  • To slay him, Psal. 94.6.

The Lord takes special notice of the Poor, and mens car­riages towards them; take heed then, that the spoil of the poor bee not found in your houses, as its said, Isa. 3.14. and that their bloud be not found on your skirts, Jer. 2.34. for the Lord will arise for the oppression of the poor, and sighing of the needy, Psa. 12.5. hee will maintain their right, Psal. 140.12. Let your hearts and eies bee towards them, let your hands bee stretched out to do them good, for blessed is hee [Page 277] that considereth the poor, Psal. 41.1. and who so hath mercy on them is happy, Prov. 14.21. be not of that generation, Prov. 30.14.

Vers. 30 And I sought for a man amongst them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me, for the Land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

The Lord having made a large catalogue of Jerusalems sinnes, and shewn an universal corruption of all sorts of men, what could bee expected but that hee should proceed to the destruction of them? But that hee might more fully justify his proceedings, towards these that were already in capti­vity, and likewise towards them that were yet remaining, hee tells them what hee did, hee sought for some one or o­ther to have appeared, interceded, and prevented judge­ments. Hee looked some course should have-been taken, the land being so guilty, to have kept off destroying judge­ments, and seeing there was none minded the publike good, doing ought that might occasion God to spare them; the fault was in themselves, and not in him, that they were whol­ly ruined.

And I sought for a man amongst them.

The Hebrew word [...] signifies to seek, magno studio & conatu ambulatione & pedibus non verbis, as Kirker ob­serves, An earnest, diligent seeking, a running up and down to finde out a thing. So here the Lord made a diligent search, hee went up and down from Prophet to Priest; from Priest to Prince, from Prince to People, to see if hee could find out any man. Its spoken of the Lord after the manner of men, and is suitable to that expression, 2 Chro. 16.9. the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth; that is, Divine Providence exactly observes all things in the world, especially what men do, and here, God looked earnestly upon all sorts of men, to see if any stirred to interpose, and stand in the gap. The French is,J'aj demandi d' 'entre eux quilque ho­mine. I demanded some one among them. I called for a man to come forth, and see if he could prevent those judgements were coming upon them.

[Page 278]That should make up the hedge.

The Hebrew is, Goder gader, hedging an hedge. Vulg. Qui interponeret sepem. The words are metaphorical; and the metaphor is taken from vineyards, gardens, and places in­closed, which use to have fences and hedges about them, to preserve them from every thing might harm them, both men and beasts. The Jews were Gods vineyard, Isa. 5.1. and he had fenced and hedged them, vers. 2.5. they were Gods gar­den, and hee had inclosed them, Cant. 4.12. The fence, hedge, or wall, about this people was,

1 Gods protection of them, hee had a special care of them being his Church and people, above all others, as the City Jerusalem had a wall about it, Nehem. 1.3. so God was a wall to the Citizens thereof, Zach. 2.5. a wall of fire round about them. Isa. 27.3. least any should hurt his vineyard, he kept it night and day, hee watched over it continually, and preserved it.

2 Those things and means God had given them to bee an hedge, or wall unto them, as

1 Sound doctrin, which was as an hedge to keep out all er­rors, corrupt and heathenish opinions, which they were in danger of, having the Nations round about them, but God had given them good doctrin, Prov. 4.2. right words, Psal. 33.4. lively oracles, Act. 7.38. faithful commands. Psal. 119.86. sure testimonies, Psalm 93.5. such as they were to try all doctrines and opinions by, Isa. 8.20.

2 Pure worship, which was as a hedge between them and the Heathens, Deut. 6.13, 14. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name, yee shall not go af­ter other gods, the gods of the people that are round about you, verse 17, 18. you shall diligently keep the Commandements of the Lord your God and his Testimonies, and his statutes which hee hath commanded thee, and thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may bee well with thee, 2 King. 17.36, 37. God had appointed them, a pure way of worship, which hedged them in from all false waies of wor­ship, from bringing in ought of their own and others.

[Page 279]3 Good Laws, Deut. 4.8. what nation is there so great that hath Statutes and judgements so righteous? No Nation un­der heaven had such Laws to bee governed by as the Jews had, and those Laws were hedges against all injustice, they might not wrong one another, nor strangers.

4 God had given them good Prophets, Priests, and Prin­ces, for their safety, to bee an hedge unto them. The Pro­phets were to preserve the doctrine sound, the Priests to keep the worship pure, and the Princes to see justice im­partially executed; Elijah a good Prophet was the horse­man, and Chariot of Israel, 2 King. 2.12. chap. 13.14. the Priests were mediators between God and the people, Joel 2.17. the Princes were the strength of the Land, Prov. 29.4. Thus you see what the hedge was, and if you would have it more briefly, it was the Covenant made between God and this people, hee had promised to be their God, and to pro­tect them, they had promised to bee his people, and to walk in his waies. Now when they transgressed the Co­venant the hedge was broken, and gaps were made.

The Hebrew for Gaps is bapperetz, in the breach, from paratz, to divide and break through. They had now broke through the Hedge, and made many Gaps, which appears thus.

1 The Doctrin was corrupted, there was much chaffe mingled with the Wheat, Jer. 23.28. false prophets gave in that to bee divine, which was from their own hearts, spirits, heads, Ezek. 13.2; 3. They prophesied lies, Jer. 14.14. the providence of God was denyed, and his omnipresence, Ezek. 8.12. The Lord seeth us not, hee hath for saken the earth; so his justice, Ezek. 18. They said his waies were not equall, the fathers had eaten sowre grapes, and the childrens teeth were set on edge, vers. 2. & 25. they taught the people to swear by a false god, even by Baal, Jer. 12.26.

2 For the Worship, That was greatly corrupted. The Sanctuary was defiled with detestable things, Ezek. 5.11. they had brought Images and Idols near to the Temple, and into the Temple, Ezek. 8. they had high places and Altars in every street, Ezek. 16. they burnt incense to o­ther gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands, [Page 280] Jerem. 1.16. The Statutes of Omry were kept, and the works of the house of Ahab, Micah 6.16. and the fear or worship of God was taught by the precepts of men, Isa. 29.13.

3 The Laws were wrested and perverted, so that there was no justice, Mic. 3.9. They abhor judgement, and pervert all equity; all that was right, equal, just, they oppressed or suppressed, and would not let it take place; so that accor­ding to Isaiah, judgement was turned away backward, and justice stood farre off; they thrust them out of doors, out of their gates and Cities, and when they pressed hard to come in, there was no admission, the doors and gates were lockt and bolted upon them, equity could not enter, Isa. 59.14. only oppression was let in, Isa. 5.7.

4 For The men, who should have been as strong stakes to keep up the hedge, they were rotten. The Prophets were Lyons, Jer. 23.14. the Priests corrupters and wicked, Lam. 4.13. the Princes were rebellious, and companions of Theeves, Isa. 1.23. and all of them brake Covenant with God, Ezek. 16.59. so that its evident the hedge was brok­en, and gaps made.

To make up the hedge, and stand in the gap.

What that is, falls in now to be considered, and it lies in these things.

1 In publike opposing those corruptions were crept in, and practised amongst them. When of old the Jews had bro­ken down the hedge, by making a Calfe, Moses appea­red for God against this wickednesse, hee seized upon the Calf, Exod. 32. burnt it, ground it to powder, made the people drink it, sharpely reproved Aaron, and stood in the gate of the Campe, saying, who is on the Lords side? let him come un­to mee, and when the Sonnes of Levi came to him, he com­missioned them to slay the Idolaters, and this was the be­ginning of making up the breach; so when Josiah beganne to purge Judah and Jerusalem, from the high places, the groves, images, and Altars, that were therein, then was the hedge making up which they had broken down, 2 Chron. 34.3, 4. [Page 281] In Nehemiahs daies, when the hedge was new made about them, there were some began to tread down the hedge, and make a gap therein by doing unlawful things on the Lords day, whereupon the zeal of Nehemiah was kindled; so that hee contended with the Nobles of Judah, who countenan­ced them, and did violence to the Sabbath themselves: Say­ing, what evil thing is this that yee do, and prophane the Sab­bath? Neh. 13.15, 16, 17, 18.

2 In mourning for such breaches, and deprecating the wrath and judgements due for the same. When the Calfe was made and the people worshipped it, now the hedge was down, Gods wrath ready to break in upon them, and to consume them, Exod. 32.10. but Moses being affected much with what they had done, and with what God was about to do, he falls to praying and interceding for the People, Lord why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people? &c. wherefore should the Egyptians speak and say, for mischief did hee bring them out to slay them in the mountains? &c. turn from thy feirce wrath and repent of this evil against thy People, and he did so, vers. 14. now this act of Moses was standing in the breach, and mak­ing up the hedge, Psalm 106.23. it kept out the fury of the Lord from breaking in upon them. The intercession of Gods servants is a strong hedge, and wall to prevent judge­ments. Therefore when the Lord was resolved upon the de­struction of the Jews, he forbade Jeremy to pray for them, ch. 7.16. Pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me, for I will not hear thee. Intercession or deprecation is an obstructing of God in his way; The Vulgar hath it, Ne obsistas mihi, do not thou stop or oppose mee. When an Army is marching to a Town to destroy it, if there bee a strong wall in their way, that puts them to a stand, and oft causeth them to give over their at­tempt. So Prayers against judgements, when God is mar­ching out to destroy a people, puts him to a stand, and oft causes him to retreat into heaven.

3 In putting things into their primitive condition. When the bushes trod down, and stakes pull'd out, are put into their places again, or new in their rooms, then is the hedge made up: When Josiah caused the house of the Lord to bee re­paired, [Page 282] the Covenant with God to bee renewed, the Law to bee read, and the Passeover to bee kept according to the in­stitution thereof, and all things were brought to their pri­mitive condition, 2 Chron. 34. & 35. chapt. then was the hedge made up, then was there a man stood in the gap before the Lord. So when Jehoshaphat brought back the people, from false doctrin, and false worship, to the Lord God of their fathers, that was to the true Religion and worship, and set Judges in all the fenced Cities of Judah, and set Levites, Priests, and the chief of the Fathers in Israel, in Jerusalem, and instructed them to do all things faithfully, with a per­fect heart, and for the Lord, 2 Chron. 19.4. &c. when hee brought things to the pattern in Moses's daies, then was the hedge made up, then God was with them, and protected them against those wilde beasts, the Ammonites, Moabites, and these of Mount Seir, ch. 20.

For the Land, that I should not destroy it.

By Land, is meant the people of the land, the inhabitants, and their habitations, which were all shortly after laid waste by the Chaldaean Army. The Septuagint renders these words, [...]. that I should not destroy it, That I should not leave it for ever.

God by degrees left the Temple, the City, the land, and none of them intreated him to stay, and when he was gone, destruction came upon them.

But I found none.

Was there not Jeremy and Ezekiel, who interceded with God for this people? were there not many that mourned for the abominations that were amongst them? Jerem. 9.1. chap. 14.11. Ezek. 9 4.8.

Its true, Jeremy did appear for God, hee opposed the false Prophets, cryed out of their false and corrupt waies of wor­ship, the perverting of justice, the iniquities of Priests, Princes, and People, but they would not hearken to him, Jer. 44.16. they devised devises against him, and slandered [Page 283] him, chap. 18.18. they sought to put him to death, and cast him into prison, chap 38.4.6. and God had forbid him to pray for them three times, ch. 7.16. ch. 11.14. ch. 14.11. and hee could prevail with none of them towards making up the hedge.

As for Ezekiel hee was in Babylon, and the Lord looked for a man amongst them in Jerusalem, so the Lord tells E­zekiel here, I looked for a man among them, not among you.

For the sighers and mourners that were in Jerusalem they did it in secret, and durst not openly bee seen, they had not spirits to contradict the wicked Prophets, Priests, and Prin­ces, or if they had, yet they saw there was no good to bee done, the times were exceeding and desperately wicked; a man was made an offender for a word, and a snare was laid for him reproved in the gate, Isa. 29.21. if any appeared openly to speak against them and their waies, they were made a prey. It was an evil time, and the time for the pru­dent to keep silence, Amos 5.12, 13. So then there was none a­mong the Prophets, the Priests, the Princes, or people, whom hee mentioned in the verses before, that minded or made up the hedge, or stood in the gap.

Obs. 1 That sinne makes breaches and gaps; In this chap. the Lord having enumerated the sins of all sorts in Jerusalem, here hee tells them the hedge was down, and gaps were in it. Their sinnes brake down the hedge, and made those gaps, Isa. 30.13. This iniquity shall bee to you as a breach, ready to fall, swelling out in an high wall; as stormes, warres, do make breaches in a wall, so doth sinne make breaches in a State: Solomons sinnes made such a breach therein, that ten Tribes were rent there-from; and given to Jeroboam, 1 King. 11.31. whence it came to pass that Ephraim envied Judah, and Ju­dah vexed Ephraim, Isa. 11.13. Sinne made the breach be­tween the Tribes, Isa. 9.21. the breach between them and other Nations (Zedekiahs perfidiousnesse did it) Ezek. 17.15. the breach between God and them, Isa. 59.2 their ini­quities separated between them and their God, and their sinnes hid his face from them, that he would not hear, and set God against them, Ezek. 5.8. Sin makes breaches in Churches, 1 Cor. 1.11, 12. and breakes Churches, Rev. 2.5. [Page 284] it makes breaches in Cities, Luke 19.14. in families, Ezek. 16.38. in mens names, Prov. 6.33. in mens estates, Deut. 28.15, 16▪ &c. Mal. 2.2. in mens consciences, Mat. 27.3, 4. Prov. 18.14, chap. 15.4. and between the chiefest friends, Prov. 16.28.

There bee some sinnes which make such breaches as shake the foundations, Psalm 82.5. all the foundations of the earth are out of course; The Laws were their foundations, but the iniquitie of the Judges moved those foundations out of place, and the State was like a bowing wall, and totte­ring fence, Psal. 62.3. Religion was a foundation unto them, but they had so corrupted the doctrine and the wor­ship, made such breaches therein, that God was departing far from the Sanctuary, and so from them, Ezek. 8.6.

Obs. 2 When breaches and gaps are made by sinne, the Lord hath a purpose to let in his judgements thereby, and to destroy for the same; They had trode down the hedge, and God had thoughts to destroy the land, to bring in a flood of wrath, Ezek. 20.8.13.21, you may see how upon their making brea­ches, upon the worship, Statutes, and Sabbaths of the Lord, hee resolved to pour out his fury upon them, and to consume them. Isa. 1.23. you have the gaps their sinnes made, and vers. 24. the resolution of God thereupon, Ah I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge mee of mine Enemies. They had made breaches upon his Law, and hee would make breaches upon them. Therefore Isa. 5.5, 6. I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall bee eaten up; They have trodden down the hedge of Justice, made great gaps therein, and I wil take away the hedge of my protection, & let in the wilde beasts, and boars to tread them down, and eat them up: which the Lord did quickly after. When lately the hedge was trodden down here in England, and gaps made in it, did not the Lord let in wilde beasts to devour? were not our Princes roaring Lyons, our Judges evening wolves? did not the Prelates and Priests raven the prey? Devour soules, take the treasure and pretious things? though now the wilde beasts bee destroyed, or driven to their denns, yet every gap is not stopt, nor the hedge fully made up.

Obs. 3 When the hedge is down, gaps are made, and judge­ments ready to come in upon a people; the Lord looks that one or other should appear, put forth himself to prevent those Judge­ments. I sought for a man to make up the hedge, to stand in the gap before mee for the land, that I should not destroy it, Jer. 8.6. I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright. God expected they should have repented, and some at least to have said, what have I done? and what have I done! Oh, I have trodden down the hedge of Jerusalem, made many gaps therein; I see Gods judgements comming in thereat, now I will labour to make up the hedge, stop the gaps, divert Gods wrath, and bring things to their primitive condition; this God lookt for, and would have been glad to have heard. So in Isa. 59.13, 14, 15. the hedge was down, gaps were made, God was displeased, and now hee looked that one or other should have shewed a publike spirit, opposed the sinful practises, and deprecated judgements; he looks in all the gaps round about, and vers. 16. Hee saw that there was no man, and wondred that there was no intercessor, none to meet God to set upon him by prayer, and strong arguments, to with-hold his judgements. [...] signifies obviare, occur­rere verbis seu corpore. The Septuagint is, [...], There was no helper, none to help up the hedge being down, none to help keep out the floods of Gods wrath; none to help the State or Church in that tottering condition it was; none to settle their foundations, and bring things into a right order.

Obs. 4 Making up the hedge, and standing in the gaps, is the way to save a Land from destruction: Let men oppose the sinful practises in a Land, deprecate the judgements of God, and reduce things to the primitive condition; to what is required in the Word, and then the Lord will spare a sin­ful Nation, a guilty City Jer. 5.1. run to and fro through the streets of J [...]rusalem, and see now, and know and se [...]k in the broad places thereof, if yee can finde a man, if there bee any that executeth judgement, that seeketh the truth, and I will Pardon; The hedge of justice was broken down, they had good Laws, but they were violated by all sorts, now if any man would have appeared against injustice and falshood, and seen justice executed, and so made up the breach, the Lord [Page 286] would not only have with-held judgements, but have pardon­ed. In such a case one man may do much; Moses stood in the Gap, and diverted the wrath of God, Psalm 106.23. the hedge of Religion and Worship was broken down by a gol­den Calfe, and hee made it up, Numb. 16.41, 42. the peo­ple murmured, rose up against Moses, and Aaron, trod down the hedge of authority, whereupon the plague brake in upon them; Presently Aaron steps into the gap, makes up the hedge, and stops the plague, vers. 47, 48. That they did was honourable, and they were repairers of breaches. Wee through infinite mercy have had some Mosesses and Aarons, to make up our hedges, raise up our foundations, to stop some gaps, but all our gaps are not yet stopped. Are there not gaps in the hedge of doctrine? if it were not so, how come in such erroneous, blasphemous, and wilde opi­nions amongst us? Are there not Gaps in the hedges of Ci­vil and Ecclesiastical authority? Do not multitudes tram­ple upon Magistracy and Ministry, all Powers, both Hu­mane and Divine? Are there not Gaps in the worship of God? Do not too many tread down all Churches, all Ordi­nances, yea, the very Scriptures? Are there not Gaps in the hedge of Justice? through which the Bulls of Bashan en­ter, which oppresse the Poor, and crush the needy? Amos 4.1. Are there not Gaps in the hedge of Love? is not that bond of perfection broken? Are there not bitter envyings and strife amongst us? Do wee not bite and devour one a­nother? Are there not Gaps in the Hedge of Conscience? is not the peace broken between God and your soules? doth not Satan come in oft at that Gap, and disturbe you? Are there not Gaps also in your several Relations, whereby he gets advantage? Surely if our eyes bee in our heads, we may see Gaps enough: Let us make up the breaches, stop all Gaps in the publike and private hedges; Otherwise, God will break in upon us by his judgements, Levit. 26.18, 19. If yee will not hearken unto mee, I will punish you seven times more for your sinnes, and I will break the pride of your Power?

Obs. 5 That in times of general corruption in Church and state, its hard to finde a man of a publike spirit, to oppose those corrup­tions, [Page 287] to wrestle with God for mercy, and to bring things to their Original condition. The Lord sought for a man amongst them, that should make up the hedge and stand in the gap, but hee found none, Isa. 59.4. none calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth. The Judges and great ones did oppresse the People, and none appeared publikely for them, to plead their cause, and reprove the oppressors. Many disliked the carriage of things, but they had no spirit to oppose, they were not valiant for the truth, as Jeremy saith, ch. 9.3. therefore Isa. 63.5. God saith, I looked, and there was none to help, and I wondred that there was none to uphold. He doth not say simply, there were none, but none to help, none to up­hold; the State and Church were sinking, and not a man stepped out to put to his shoulder, to help support them. God looked for, and sought for such a man, but could find none, and to convince them of the truth thereof, hee bids them see and seek all Jerusalem over, if there were a man that executeth judgement; Neither God nor men could finde. In common corruptions and Calamities, few have hearts to appear for the publike good, against over-spread­ing evils; sinful prudence, or fear of crushing makes them silent, and lye hid, Eccl. 4.1. the oppressions under the Sunne were great, the tears of the oppressed many, but there was no Comforter, none pittied them, none appeared for them, none used any means to relieve them.

Verse 31 Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them, I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath; their own waies have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God.

Seeing they were guilty of such sinnes as are mentioned in the chapter, and so universally corrupt, the Lord in this last verse, denounces judgements against them. The Verbes are in the preter tense, I have poured out, I have consumed, I have recompensed. So hee had done upon those in Cap­tivity, but hee speaks of those in the Chapter, who were then at Jerusalem, and its usual in the Hebrew to put a preter tense for the future, to note the certainty of a thing, and so [Page 288] here, God saith hee had done so, because certainly hee would do so. The words of this verse wee have had before, chap. 21.31. ch. 19.12. & ch. 9.10.16.43.

Obs. 1 When a people is universally corrupt, the hedges of religion and justice trod down, and none appears to make up those hedges, God will certainly visit that people with his judgements. Prophets, Priests, Princes, and people, were degenerated and greatly corrupted, all hedges down, God looked for some or other to appear against the corruptions were a­mongst them, and because there was none, therefore he would pour out his indignation upon them and consume them with the fire of his wrath, and they found it so shortly after, Lam. 2.4. ch. 4.11. they and their foundations were devoured.

Obs. 2 That God in his severest judgements is most just, I have or will recompense their own way upon their head; God did not punish them for others waies, but for their own; it was their own evil doings, brought his judgements upon them, he did them no wrong, when sword, famine, plague, fire, consumed them, what ever dreadful judgements have fallen out in our daies, in this or other nations, let us justify the Lord, hee hath recompensed mens own waies, upon their heads; he is righteous in all his works, and holy in all his waies.

CHAP. XXIII.

1 The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,’2 Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother.’3 And they committed whoredomes in Egypt, they committed whoredomes in their youth: there were their breasts pressed, and there they bruised the teats of their virginity.’4 And the names of them were Aholah the Elder, and Aholi­bah her sister: and they were mine, and they bare sonnes and daughters: thus were their names: Samaria is Aho­lah, and Jerusalam Aholibah.’

IN this chapter are contained these generals.

1 A Complaint of, or prophesy against the ido­latry and wickednesse of the whole body of the Jews, under the names of Aholah and Aholibah, shewing their several sinnes, and the greatnesse of Aholibahs above Aholahs.

2 Denunciation of judgement against them, and their de­struction.

1 The Word of the Lord came, &c.

This verse shews our Prophet spake not out of his own heart or spirit, as the false Prophets did, it was the spirit of the Lord brought the word of the Lord unto him, and hee spake as he was moved by the Spirit, which shews the di­vine authority of this prophesy.

2 There were two women, the daughters of one Mother.

The Jews were at first one people, till the days of Rheho­boam, and then they were divided. Ten Tribes fell off to [Page 290] Jeroboam, which frequently after were called Ephraim, and Israel, or the children of Israel, the house of Israel. The other two Tribes were called Judah, and the house of Ju­dah. One was the Kingdome of Israel, the other the king­dome of Judah. These two are the two women here men­tioned.

The word for Women is, [...] which is from [...] to forget, they are so called, from their forgetfulnesse, and these metaphorical women, Israel and Judah, forgat their God greatly and thereupon are called Nashim, women, or for­getters.

The Daughters of one Mother.

In the Scripture language, the whole of things is tearmed the Mother, and the parts thereof Daughters, Ezek. 21.21. The King of Babylon stood at the mother of the way, so is the Hebrew, while the way was intire, and one, it was called the Mother, and when it divided into parts, those parts were as the daughters of that mother. The whole body of the Jews was as the one Mother, and when that body divided into two Kingdomes, those Kingdomes were as the Daughters of that Mother. When they were in Egypt, and a long time after, they were as one woman, but in Rhehoboams daies this woman grew big, brought forth Twins, and so became one mother of two daughters, 1 King. 12.

Vers. 3 They committed whoredomes in Egypt.

They being in the loins of their mother, forsook the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and fell in love with the Egyptian gods, Josh. 24.14. Ezek. 20.7, 8.

They committed whoredomes in their youth.

This Jewish Nation at her first beginning, while young and little, plaied the Harlot, and defiled her self with the E­gyptian idolatry; what she did is set out by way of aggravati­on, shee sinned in her youth, or these sisters sinned betimes, [Page 291] their spirits were carried out that way early, and that in Egypt, or house of bondage and suffering.

There were their breasts pressed, and there they bruised the teats of their virginity.

In this Metaphorical whoredome,Puellae dum vi [...]gines sunt ubera solida & turgentia habent, quae simul atque virginitatem amittunt, com­primuntur & quodammodo franguntur. Maldon. hee alludes to the cor­poral. When Virgins are defiled, their breasts suffer also, they are more loose and hanging, whereas before they were erecta, integra, & virginali pudore stantia, and so natu­ral signes of chastity. The Septuagint is, [...], There their breasts fell, there they were unvirgined, the meaning is this, that quickly after the Jews came into Egypt, the Egyptians pre­vailed with them by Flatteries, or threats, to imbrace their I­dolatrous worship, whereby they lost their chastity, and became like the nations.

4 The names of them were Aholah, the Elder.

Here hee comes to the Names of these women, and shews you who they were. The name of the one was Aholah, and this Aholah was Samaria, the chief City of the Ten Tribes, where the Kings of Israel had their chief residen­cy. Aholah is from [...] a Tent, or Tabernacle, and Aho­lah is Tabernaculum suum, his own, or their own Tabernacle, that is, Samaria, or the ten Tribes, have not mee, or my worship amongst them, they have devised a worship of their own, set up Golden Calves at Dan and Bethel, they have forsaken my Temple, and set up their own Tabernacle, and dwell by themselves, separate from me.

The Elder.

The Hebrew is not Elder, but the greater, This woman Aholah, had ten Tribes, the other, onely two; this wee had ch. 16.46. where its said, Thine Elder sister is Samaria.

[Page 292]Aholibah her sister.

Thus is the name of the other woman, Aholahs sister was Aholibah, which signifies my Tabernacle, or dwelling in her, and this was Jerusalem where the Temple and worship of the Lord were, what was done there the Lord himself appoin­ted, and that was the place he chose, Psa. 132.13, 14.

They were mine.

I tyed them unto mee by a Covenant, Ezek. 16.8. I be­came their God, and they became my people, the Hebr. is, They were for mee, that is, for mee alone, for no other God, no o­ther way of worship than what I should prescribe them.

And they bare Sons and Daughters.

God blessed them, so that they multiplyed greatly, they had many Sonnes, and many Daughters, Ezek. 16.7. I caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field.

Obs. 1 That going after false waies of worship, is in Gods account whoredome, they committed whoredomes: when they bowed to any of the false Gods in Egypt, they did as basely and vilely, as she that commits filthiness with another.

Obs. 2 The Lord takes notice where and when those are in relation to him do sinne: They committed whoredomes in Egypt and in their youth, they sinned amidst the grand and bitter enemies of God, among Egyptians, and then when they were but growing up to bee a people. They should have considered what enemies the Egyptians were to their God, and to his worship, how odious their waies and worship were to him, that so they might have kept at a great di­stance from them, they should have walked circumspectly, that so they might have kept his name from being polluted, and likewise they being in their youth under bondage, should have minded Gods kindnesse in preserving them, and mak­ing them to prosper, but they did not, they sinned in Egypt; and in their youth, two great aggravations of their sinne. [Page 293] When God is beginning to shew kindnesse to a people in mi­sery, and raising them up to some height and greatnesse, and then for them to turn aside to lewdnesse, to superstitious, idolatrous and heathenish practices, this God observes in a special manner, and it provokes him greatly. See how it af­fected the Lord, that they sinned presently after he had shew­ed them kindnesse, in bringing them out of Egypt, Psal. 106.7. They provoked him at the Sea, even at the red Sea, I put forth my mighty power to bring them out to the Sea-side, & was ready to divide the Sea to carry them through, but even then and there they provoked mee. When States, Cities, Families, degenerate in their youth, it sorely displeases God.

Note 3 Wheresoever a devised worship is brought in, there mans Tabernacle is set up; where true worship is advanced there is Gods Tabernacle. The ten Tribes had a worship of Jero­boams devising, like unto the worship of Jerusalem in many things, but this was Aholah, Their own Tabernacle, God owned it not, hee was not in their Assemblies, hee accepted not their sacrifices, their incense was a stink in his nostrils; but Jerusalem was Aholibah, there Gods own worship was set up, and so long as his worship was there, hee acknow­ledged his Tabernacle to bee in her. Where his worship is, there hee dwells, Psalm 68.16. and is to be seen and inquir­ed of, Psal. 27.4.

Vers. 5 And Aholah plaied the Harlot when shee was mine, and shee doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neigh­bours.
6 Which were cloathed with blue, Captains and Rulers, all of them desirable young men, horse-men riding upon horses.
7 Thus shee committed her whoredomes with them, with all them that were the chosen men of Assyria, and with all on whom shee doted, with all their Idols shee defiled her self.
8 Neither left shee her whoredomes brought from Egypt, for in her youth they lay with her, and they bruised the breasts of her virginity, and poured her whoredomes upon her.
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9
Wherefore I have delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians, upon whom she doted.
10 These discovered her nakednesse, they took her sons and her daughters, and slew her with the sword: and she became famous among women, for they had executed judgement upon her.

In these verses Aholahs sinnes and judgements are set out.

  • 1 Her sins, which were
    • 1 Confederating with the Assyrians, vers. 5. see 2 Kin. 15.19. and those Assyrians are described, vers. 6, 7.
      • 1 From their Garments.
      • 2 From their Titles.
      • 3 From their Age.
      • 4 From the Creatures they used.
    • 2 Entertaining and defiling her self with the Assyrian i­dols, vers. 7.
    • 3 Retention of her old Egyptian Idolatry, vers. 8. there shee had a Calfe, and under Jeroboam and others, shee had gol­den Calves.
  • 2 Her Judgements, which were
    • 1 Loss of her freedome, vers. 9.
    • 2 Desolation, vers. 10. in which verses wee have also,
      • 1 The Causes of the judgements,
        • 1 The Principal, God himse [...]f, vers 9.
        • 2 The Instrumental, viz. the Assyrians.
      • 2 The Event of those judgements, ver. 10. shee became famous among women.
Vers. 5 When she was mine.

The Hebrew for mine is, Tachti, sub me, when she was un­der me, under my Covenant, under my worship, my power, and authority. Septuagint is, [...], shee hath gone out from mee her husband, and plaid the harlot; or pro me, in stead of me and my worship, Shee hath taken in other gods, and their Worship. The Chaldee is, a cultu meo, she hath left my pure worship, and fallen to the abominable idolatries of the Assyrians.

[Page 295]She doted on her lovers.

The Hebrew word [...] notes violent and base love, and is rendred by the Vulgar insanivit in amatores suos, Insano amore flagrare, im­portat turpem & inhonestum amorem. Prad. shee was mad upon her lovers, the Assyrians and other Nations.

Vers. 8 Neither left shee her whoredomes brought from Egypt.

That superstitious idolatrous disposition which shee had being in Egypt, still abode with her, shee made leagues with the Egyptians, 2 King. 17.4. shee had her calves like the Egyptian calf, 1 King. 12.28.

Vers. 10 These discovered her nakedness.

The Assyrians took away her ornaments and cloathing, as ver. 26. and used her shamefully and cruelly, as women often are, being taken in war, Isa. 47.2, 3.

She became famous among women.

Hebrew is, shee was a name to women; Septuagint [...], shee was a talk among women: Some talkt of her for her whoredomes and filthinesses. Others for her miseries, judgements, and grievous sufferings, and so she was famous amongst women.

Obs. 1 That when people go out from God to false waies of worship and confidences therin, they are violent and strong in their affections thereunto. Aholah doted upon her lovers, her heart was fired with Babylonish gods, and confidences in them.

Obs. 2 What evil persons have practised in their youth, that they affect in their age. Aholah had loved the Egyptian I­dols in her minority, and after shee was grown up, come to her latter daies, those Idols were not out of her thoughts, her Egyptian Lovers were still in her minde, like Harlots that minde their former lovers long after they are married; what [Page 296] corruption gets in in youth, grows up and abides. An unclean idolatrous heart in youth, will be so in age.

Obs. 3 That Idolatry may continue long in a Nation, but shall at last be severely punished by the Lord. Aholah had been an ido­latresse from her youth, and when shee was grown up to some greatnesse, then shee brake out into gross notorious I­dolatry, 1 King 12. in which shee continued some two hun­dred sixty and odde years, and then the Lord plagued, yea, destroyed her, her Sonnes and Daughters. Its wisdome to cleave to the Lord and his worship, not to follow or con­fide in other Nations or their waies.

Obs. 4 God makes places and persons remarkeable, by the judgements he executeth upon them. Aholah was made famous among women, by those judgements hee brought upon her: Aholah was Samaria, which Shalmanezer besiedged three years, and then took it, 2 King. 17.5, 6. and after burnt it, as Lavater observes.

Vers. 11 And when her sister Aholibah saw this, shee was more corrupt in her inordinate love than shee, and in her whoredomes, more than her sister in her whoredomes.
12 Shee doted upon the Assyrians her neighbours, Captains, and Rulers, cloathed most gorgeously, horse-men riding upon horses, all of them desirable young men.
13 Then I saw that shee was defiled, that they took both one way.
14 And that shee increased her whoredomes: for when shee saw men pourtrayed upon the wall, the images of the Chal­daeans pourtrayed with vermilion.
15 Girded with girdles upon their loines, exceeding in dyed attire upon their heads, all of them Princes to look to, after the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldaea, the land of their nativity.
16 And as soon as shee saw them with her eies, shee doted upon them, and sent messengers unto them into Chaldaea.
17 And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of Love, and they defiled her with their whoredome, and she was polluted with them, and her minde was alienated from them.
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So shee discovered her whoredomes, and discovered her nakedness: then my mind was alienated from her, like as my mind was alienated from her sister.
19 Yet shee multiplyed her whoredomes, in calling to remem­brance the daies of her youth, wherein shee had played the harlot in the land of Egypt.
20 For shee doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.
21 Thus thou calledst to remembrance the lewdnesse of thy youth, in bruising thy teats by the Egyptians, for the paps of thy youth.

Having set out Aholahs sins in the former verses, here he comes to Aholibahs sinnes, and the events of them.

Her sinnes were,

  • 1 Her not taking warning by her Sister to amend, but growing worse, ver. 11.
  • 2 Her Confederacy and Idolatry with
    • 1 The Assyrians, ver. 12. who are described,
      • 1 From their nearnesse, neighbours.
      • 2 From their Titles or Offices, Captains, Rulers.
      • 3 From their habit, cloathed most gorgeously.
      • 4 From their ranke, horse-men riding upon, &c.
      • 5 From their age and comlinesse, all of them de­sireable young men.
    • 2 The Chaldaeans, vers. 14. which idolatry is set out,
      • 1 From the occasion of it, viz. pictures or images, which are described, vers. 14.
        • 1 From their colouring, vermilion.
        • 2 Their form, girded, dyed attire, &c.
        • 3 Aspect, Princes to look to.
        • 4 Pattern and place, ver. 15.
      • 2 From the haste she made thereunto, vers. 16.17.
      • 3 The Egyptians, vers. 19. which is aggravated from the violence of her affection, ver. 20.

The Events were 1 Gods displeasure, ver. 13.

  • 2 Alienation of his minde from her. ver. 18.
  • 3 Alienation of Aholibahs minde from the Chaldae [...]ns, ver. 17.
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Vers. 11
She was more corrupt in her inordinate love than she.

The Hebrew is, Corrupit amorem suum prae illa, shee cor­rupted her love more than shee. The Septuagint is, [...], shee corrupted her desire, shee was more filthy and vile in her dotings and violent loves, than her sister. Corruptiùs exarsit amore suo quam illa. Pisc. Jerusalem was more addicted unto idols than Samaria.

And in her whoredomes, more than her sister in her whoredomes.

In the Original its, her whoredomes were before, or more than the whoredomes of her sister: shee exceeded Samaria and other places in her idolatries, as you may see Ezek. 16.47. thou wast corrupt more than they all in thy waies.

Vers. 12 She doted upon the Assyrians.

For Assyrians, the Text saith, the Sonnes of Assur, this you have verified 2 King 16.7, 8. when Ahaz hired Tig­lath Pilezer King of Assyria with the gold and silver of the Temple to come and help him.

Cloathed most gorgeously.

In the Hebrew its Lebushe miclol, cloathed with an absolute garment, with every kinde of comely cloathing. Junius hath it, cloathed most perfectly: with every kinde of pretious garments.

Desireable young men.

Bachure chemed, the elect of desire, saith the Text, such men as desire it self would choose, they were no ordinary men, but such as were comely, amiable, even men of desires, very desirable.

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Vers. 14
Pourtrayed with vermilion.

The Hebrew for vermilion is shashar, which signifies red colour, with which any thing is painted. The Rabbies say its minium, red lead, its but twice used in the holy Scriptures, in Jer. 22.14. and here. Some render it, Indico, which abounds in those parts, and the French hath it, peints d'azure, painted with blew.

15 All of them Princes to look to.

The word for Princes is sholishim, which Montanus ren­ders Triarii, quasi tertii a rege, Those that were of the third rank or dignity from the King, 2 King. 7.2. then a Lord on whose hand the King leaned, answered, the word is, hashalish, one that was a man in place third from the King.

17 The Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and defiled her with their whoredome.

This is spoken of Metaphorical whoredome; the Jews sent to the Babylonians to enter into league with them, and that being done they brought in their Babylonish Idols, and worship amongst them, and taught the Jews to sacrifice un­to them, and so defiled the Temple and Ordinances, the bed of love. Ahaz brought in the Altar from Damascus, which did defile, 2 King. 16.

Her mind was alienated from them.

In the Hebrew it is, Her soul was removed from them, the Sept. [...], Her soul departed from them. The French, Son desir se de partit d'iceux, Her desire departed from them; shee grew weary of them, and fell in with the E­gyptians, 2 King. 24. those shee had doted upon before, now shee affected no longer. Luxata est anima ejus, her soul was loosed from them, and as a thing out of joynt.

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19
In calling to mind the daies of her youth.

That is, shee remembred, and together with her remem­bring, exercised her former spiritual whoredome.

20 She doted upon their paramours.

The word for Paramours is, Pillagshehem pilgesh, or pille­gesh, is a Concubine, or half wife, one for the bed, not for the government of the house. Montanus renders the word here, Pellices corum, their harlots. The Egyptians had the nighbour­ing Nations leagueing it with them, and imitating their ido­latry, these were Egypts Concubines, whores. Now Aholi­bah or Jerusalem, doted upon these also, or rather thus; shee doted above their paramours, above their Concubines, more than they, shee was carried more strongly towards the E­gyptians, than other Nations.

Whose flesh is as the flesh of Asses, and whose issue is as the issue of Horses.

Here Rem inhonestam honest is verbis exprimit. The E­gyptians were great of flesh, Ezek. 16.26. they were like Asses and Horses. Quae inter omnia animalia habent maxima geni­talia, burning in lust, given to filthinesse and idolatry, here­by is set out the strength and wealth of Egypt, which pro­voked the Jews to make leagues with them. As whores lust after those are strongest and ablest to satisfy their lust, and pour out their filthinesse upon them, so did Aholibah lust after the Egyptians.

Obs. 1 That when God executes severe judgements upon Ci­ties, hee looks that sister Cities should take warning thereby, and reform in those sinnes which brought such judgements upon them. God destroyed Aholah or Samaria for her idolatry and consederating with heathenish Nations. When Aho­libah saw this, shee reformed not, but was more corrupt: God expected that Jerusalem should hereupon have purged out all idolatry, knockt off her confidences in other Nati­ons, [Page 301] and cleaved wholly to him, that so shee might have been spared, but shee made no good use of his dealings with Samaria.

Obs. 2 That progresse in the same sinnes after judgement ex­ecuted upon others for the same, and seen, is a fearful aggravation of sinne. Aholahs sinnes were the same that Aholibahs were, and Aholibah saw Gods judgements executed upon her for those sinnes, and yet shee continued and proceeded in the same. When she saw this, shee was more corrupt; when Gods hand is lift up, judgement executed, men should fear and learn righteousnesse, but to go on in wickednesse is an hor­rible sleighting, yea, despising of God, and his judgements.

Obs. 3 That sinful Cities usually grow worser, whatever judgements they see or hear to be executed upon others. Jerusalem was more corrupt than Samaria, and abounded in whore­domes more than shee did, and doted more upon the Assyri­ans, Chaldaeans, and Egyptians. So corrupt is the nature of man, that its not onely the worse, after mercies, but even after judgements. Are not wee in this City and land, worser now after all the judgements, and mercies, wee have seen, felt, and injoyed?

Obs. 4 The Lord takes notice what waies Cities go, and how they do defile themselves, vers. 13. I saw that she was defiled with Assyrians, Chaldaeans, Egyptians, by her trusting in them more than in mee; by her Idols shee fetched in from them. Gods eye was upon Sodome, Gomorrha, Nineveh, Baby­lon, Tyre, Rabbath, and all other Cities, and so its now upon Rome, &c.

Obs. 5 From this 13. vers. That sinful Cities do tread in one anothers steps; They took both one way, what one did, that the other did, if Aholah was gone to Assyria, Aholibah will follow her, if one runne to Egypt, the other will run after her, if one dote upon them both, so will the other, if one pros [...]itute her self to corpor [...]l and spiritual whoredome, so will the other; Simeon and Levi were brethren in evill, and went both one way: Samaria and Jerusalem were sist­ers in wickednesse, and went both one way,

6 From the 14, 15, 16. Obs. That the eyes are instruments and occasions of great evil. When shee saw the images of the [Page 302] Chaldaeans in their dresses, with their belts and aspects, shee was taken with them, as soon as shee saw them with her eyes, Heb. is, At the sight of her eyes she doted upon them, the i­mages affected her eyes, and they conveyed corruption to her heart, or that which stirred the corruption pre-existent in her heart, which set her on work to send into Chaldaea, for the men themselves. Adultery and idolatry have their chief entrance by the eye, and many other sinnes likewise: if men and women would have chaste hearts, they must have spe­cial care of their eyes; what a sad thing was it, that Jerusa­lems eyes should bee taken with the painted images of Baby­lonians. Some confesse there is danger by gazing upon living objects, the beauties of men and women, but they fear none from dead objects; but Achan saw a wedge of gold and a Babylonish garment, and they snared him. Aholibah here saw Babylonish Pictures, and they ensnared her; if you would bee safe, keep your eyes from wandering, and behold­ing wanton pictures, such sights have cost some dear, and brought forth much wickednesse.

Obs. 7 From the 17. v. For Gods people to confederate with Babylonians, and admit of any part of Babylonish worship, is to defile the bed of love; for a woman to make leagues with other men, and to admit any one into the marriage bed, is to defile it. God is a jealous God, his worship must bee pure, and the heart must bee pure; if the worship bee mixt, or heart lean upon an arm of flesh, the bed of love is defi­led: in the bed is the love let out to the wife; in the wor­ship and Ordinances, God lets out his love to the soul, when they are pure, in the heart, being pure and confiding in God, God lets out himself, and his love. Let us look to our hearts, that they may bee dis-ingaged from all creature con­fidences, and to our worship that it bee according to God, and then the bed of love is undefiled, and we shall have com­munion with, and comfort from our beloved.

Obs. 8 Wickednesse i [...] unconstant, Aholibah doted upon the Assyrians, ver. 12. and again shee doted upon the Chal­daeans, vers. 16. and here in the 17. her minde was aliena­ted from them. Wickednesse is violent and unconstant, shee was taken with the very images of the Babylonians, now she [Page 303] cares not for the men themselves, her soul is dis-joynted from them, but it was to fall in with some others, and they were the Egyptians, vers. 19. but shee held not there long; which made the Lord to say, Jer. 2.36. why gaddest thou about so much, to change thy way? Thou also shalt be ashamed of E­gypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria.

Obs. 9 Impudence and open sinning, causes God to disowne and renounce them do so. Aholibah, vers. 18. discovered her whoredomes and nakednesse; shee talked openly what shee had done with the Babylonians, shee set up Altars and Idols in every street, was openly and impudently wicked, even like an whore that should prostitute her self to any in the streets; Now it being so, saith the Lord, then my minde was alienated from her. The Hebrew for from her, is Meale­ah, a desuper ea, my heart before was fastened upon her, and none could take it off, but seeing she is become such an whore, so audaciously wicked, I can affect her no longer; there is a necessity in it, that I should alienate my heart from her, as I did from her sister Aholah; else I shall bee thought not to have dealt justly with her, especially seeing Aholibahs sinnes exceed Aholahs. Jerusalems wickedness alienated Gods heart from her, that is, made him renounce her for an harlot. Its sad when God renounces. Hos. 1.9. Lo ammi, you are not my people, and I will not bee your God; what more dreadful sound w [...]s there ever in the ears of E­phraim, Samaria, or Aholibah than that? There can be nothing more dreadful, than to have God disclaim and renounce, then is God turned against them; hee so renounces, and so hee was against Jerusalem, Ezek. 5.8 Behold, I am against thee, and will execute judgement in the midst of thee. If wee would not have Gods heart alienated from us, and so bee dis-owned, renounced by him, let us take heed of all sins, especially of impudency in any sinne, let us give him our hearts, not alienate them from him, and so hee will not alie­nate his heart from us.

Obs. 0 From the 19, 20, 21. That fresh sinnes bring to mind former old sinnes. Aholibahs latter trucking with the Egyptians, minded God of her primitive whoredomes, and Abominations, when shee lived in Egypt, which was one [Page 304] thousand years before, there she had her lovers, there she defi­led her self, with the Idols of Egypt, Ezek. 20.7. and her affection now to Egypt, and Egypts paramours, caused God to minde those sinnes of her youth, he [...] had no pleasure in doing so, but Aholibah called them to remembrance, by act­ing the same or like things again, shee called them out of darknesse, and presented them to the view of God.

Vers. 22 Therefore, O Aholibah, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will raise up thy Lovers against thee, from whom thy minde is alienated, and I will bring them against thee on every side.
23 The Babylonians and all the Chaldaeans, Pekod and Shoah, and Koa, all the Assyrians with them, all of them desire­able young men; Captains and Rulers, great Lords and re­nowned, all of them riding upon horses.
24 And they shall come against thee with Chariots, wagons, and wheeles, and with an Assembly of people, which shall set against thee, buckler, and sheild, and helmet, round a­bout: and I will set judgement before them, and they shall judge thee according to their judgements.
25 And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee: they sha [...] take away thy nose, and thine ears, and thy remnant shall fall by the sword, they shall take thy Sonnes and thy Daughters, and thy residue shall be devoured by the fire.
26 They shall also strip thee out of thy cloathes, and take away thy fair Jewels.
27 Thus will I make thy lewdnesse to cease from thee, and thy whoredomes brought from the Land of Egypt: so that thou shalt not lift up thine eyes unto them, nor remember E­gypt any more.
28 For thus saith the Lord God, behold, I will deliver thee into the hand of them whom thou hatest, into the hand of them from whom thy mind is alienated.
29 And they shall deal with thee hatefully, and shall take a­way all thy labour, and shall leave thee naked and bare, and the nakednesse of thy whoredomes shall be discovered, both thy lewdnesse and thy whoredomes.
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I will do these things unto thee, because thou hast gone a whoreing after the Heathens, and because thou art polluted with their idols.
31 Thou hast walked in the way of thy sister, therefore will I give her cup into thine hand.
32 Thus saith the Lord God, Thou shalt Drink of thy sist­ers cup, deep and large: thou shalt be laughed to scorn, and had in derision, it containeth much.
33 Thou shalt be filled with Drunkennesse and sorrow, with the cup of astonishment and desolation, with the cup of thy sister Samaria.
34 Thou shalt even Drink it, and suck it out, and thou shalt break the sheards thereof, and pluck off thine own breasts, for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God.
35 Therefore thus saith the Lord God, because thou hast for­gotten me, and cast me behind thy back, therefore bear thou also thy lewdnesse and thy whoredomes.

In these verses you have a Declaration of Gods dealings with Aholibah, and the grounds thereof: and herein,

1 Whom God would raise up against her, those had been her Lovers, vers. 22. and the cause thereof, her defection from them, ib. Now these are,

  • 1 Nominated and described, ver. 23.
  • 2 The Manner of their comming against, and judg­ing Aholibah, is set down, vers. 24.
  • 3 Specification of the evil they should do unto her, vers. 25, 26, 29.

2 What God would do himself.

  • 1 Like an Husband inraged, he would set his jealou­sy against her, vers. 25.
  • 2 Put her into the hands of those hated her, vers. 28.
  • 3 Bring her to the condition her sister Samaria was in, shee should drink of her cup, and that deeply, vers. 32, 33, 34.

3 The Grounds moving God thus to deal with her, which are principally two.

  • 1 Her Idolatry, v. 30, 31.
  • 2 Her Forgetfulnesse of God, v. 35.

[Page 306]4 The Events, which are two.

  • 1 Cessation from her idolatry and confederating with Egypt any more, v. 27.
  • 2 Scorn and derisian, v. 32.
22 I will raise up thy Lovers against thee.

The Babylonians were Lovers of Aholibah or Jerusalem, because shee had affected their gods, rites, and sacred things, and trusted in them for help against others, but being now fallen off to the Egyptians, God would stir up the Babylo­nians against her, and so generally that they should come and compass her round about.As you may see in Glassius his philol. Part. 3. p. 863.

23 Pekod, Shoah, and Koa.

Some make these the Names of great men, but they are rather the Names of Provinces, which were under the Baby­lonians, the people whereof God stirred up with others to come to the siedge of Jerusalem. The Chaldee makes them Nomina Gentilitia, Vide Junii notas in Bibl. & commenta­ria in locum. Pecodoitas, Soiatas, Koaitas, the Pecodaits, Soaits, and Koaits.

24 I will set judgement before them, &c.

Mariana understands the words thus, I will punish thee O Jerusalem, the Babylonians beholding it. They were the ex­ecutioners of Gods judgements, and must needs behold them. Wee may take the words thus, I will make known my minde to the Babylonians concerning thy destruction, and leave thee to them to bee punished according to their Laws, seeing thou hast been perfidious and treacherous un­to them. I will put thee into their hands, give them power to punish thee, and they shall do it according to their Laws and judgements.

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Vers. 25
And I will set my jealousy against thee.

By Jealousy, Maldonate understands the Chaldaeans, be­cause they were the instruments of his wrath: but here the Lord alludes to the practice of jealous Husbands, who find­ing their wives faulty, set themselves against them, and turn them out of doors; so would God deal with this woman whom hee had taken to bee his, hee would drive her out of the land, for her spiritual whoredome, hee would give her a bill of divorce, and send her away.

They shall take away thy nose and thine ears.

This Aholibah did trust in her beauty, and play the Har­lot, chap. 16.15. and the Lord would have her deformed like a most filthy Harlot, whose nose and ears were wont to bee mangled or cut off: It was a law or custome in Egypt, that if a man were taken in adultery, hee should bee beaten with rods, ad mille plagas, to a thousand stripes, and that a woman found therein, should have her nostrils cut off. And Pradus saith, it was so in many Nations, that for the great­er disgrace, they used to cut off the nose, lips, ears,Caeliu [...] [...]hod. Lect. Antiq. l. 21. c. 45 Diod. Siculus. 1. &c. tops of the toes, and fingers, of their enemies, runagates, and a­dulterers, which was shameful to any, specially to women. Hereunto its conceived our Prophet alludes, but because its doubtful whether any such thing was really done to Aholi­bah; Diverse interpret Nose of the King, and Ears of the Judges, or chief Priests: but wee need not allegorize; the meaning is, that God would bring Jerusalem to suffer open and extream shame.

26 They shall also strip thee of thy cloathing.

This Metaphorical woman was well clad, shee exceeded in her apparrel, both for the matter, quantity, and quality, as appeared, chap. 16. shee took up the fashions of the Baby­lonians, and Egyptians, whom shee doted upon, and had [Page 208] confederated with, but what ever she had when the Souldiers came, they stript her of all. The Hebrew for strip is, Hiph­shiluc, exuere te facient, they shall make thee to put off, they shall handle thee so roughly, that thou shalt bee forced with thine own hands, to put off thy garments, and give them to them; those garments thou hast taken much pride and pleasure in. Of these words, and fair jewels, was spoken, cha. 16.39.

27 Thus will I make thy lewdnesse to cease from thee, &c.

By my Judgements upon thee, Ile make thee give over thine idolatry, thou shalt minde neither Egyptians, nor gods, their Idols, thou shalt neither adore nor desire help from them, thou shalt bee made to minde other things, as food, raiment, habitations.

28 I will deliver thee into the hand of them whom thou hatest.

In the 16. chap. 27. God delivered her into the hands of them that hated her, chap. 21.31. hee saith, hee would deli­ver her into the hands of brutish men, and skilful to destroy, and here into the hands of those shee hated, there was hatred on both sides, shee hated her lovers, and her lovers hated her, and into their hands would the Lord put her, shee should find it was the Lords doings.

29 They shall deal with thee hatefully.

They shall speak evill of thee, do evil unto thee, they shall shew thee no mercy, they shall spare neither thee, nor thy estate, nor thy name, but shall take away all thou hast gotten by thy labour, and make known to the world, what a filthy strumpet thou hast been.

[Page 309]
30
Because thou hast gone a whoring after the Heathen, &c.

Thou hast left mee thy Husband and guide, and gone out to the Heathenish gods, and Idols for help, thou hast bestowed thy self and love upon them, and art defiled by taking them into the bed of love, vide ch. 6.9. where you have the same or like words.

31 Thou hast walked in the way of thy sister.

Aholah doted upon the Assyrians, made leagues with them, defiled her self with their idols, manifested her idolatrous disposition shee had in Egypt, to bee still living, and thus did Aholibah, vers. 12, 16, 17, 19.

I will give her cup into thine hand.

32 Thou shalt drink of thy sisters cup.

Thou shalt bee punished with the same punishments Aho­lah was, shee was taken by the Assyrians, shamefully intrea­ted, and her children carried into captivity, and so shalt thou bee dealt with. The same cup shee drank of, thou shalt also drink of. This Metaphor is very frequent in scripture, Isa. 51.17.22. Jer. 25.15, 17, 28. Psalm 75.8. Lament. 4.21. Some think this Metaphor to bee borrowed a re medica, from Physitians giving potions in Cups, to their patients, which are troublesome to behold, and grievous to taste; so Gods judgements are cups of that nature. Others, think it taken from that practice of giving cups of wine or strong drink to those that were to suffer, Amos 2.8. which hebetating their senses, should take away the sharpenesse of their pain. O­thers fetch it from the practice at feasts, where the Master of the feast, singulis convivis suum calicem temperabat pro cujus­que aetate, did temper and proportion a Cup, for each guest according to his capacity, and those they purposed to make drunk, they would fill the larger Cups. Let the Metaphor of Cup bee borrowed from which you will, [Page 310] it notes out here, Gods ordering and measuring out of judgements for Aholibah and hers.

Deep and large.

It shall not bee a Cup to drink off at one draught, or in one day, but it shall bee a Cup, deep, large, containing much, grievous, great, and long afflictions; a Cup thou shalt bee seventy years a drinking.

Thou shalt bee laughed to scorn, and had in Derision.

When Whores are punished for their whoredomes, they become matter of scorn and derision to all. The like words wee had before, chap. 22.4, 5.

33 Thou shalt be filled with drunkennesse and sorrow.

Thy afflictions, thy punishments shall bee such, as shall make thee stagger like one that is drunk, thy pains and sor­rows shall bee great, it shall not bee a cup of consolation, but of astonishment to thy self and all about thee, yea, a cup of de­solation, and as the Septuagint hath it, of perdition.

34 Thou shalt even drink it, and suck it out.

Thou mayest think this Cup shall pass away from thee, or if not, that thou shalt drink onely a little of it, but thou de­ceivest thy self, it shall not pass from thee, thou shalt drink it, and drink it off all, thou shalt suck it out, even the lees and dregs of it, how bitter soever they be.

Thou shalt break the sheards thereof.

Not onely drink up what is in the Cup, but as drunkards oft break the vessel, and lick the fragments, not suffering the least drop to bee lost; So would God make Aholibah to drink every drop of his fury, which he had put in this Cup. [Page 311] The greatnesse of their punishment is set out hereby.

And pluck off thine own breasts.

In time of great afflictions many do strange things, rend their garments, bite their flesh, tear their hair, and Aho­libah should pluck off her breasts: Before shee had let Egyp­tians and Assyrians, bruise the breasts of her virginity, and draw her to idolatry, and now shee should scratch and rend them, shee should expresse signes of great grief, and great misery upon her.

35 Because thou hast forgotten mee, and cast me behind thy back.

Here is the ground of her wickednesse, and Gods judge­ments comming upon her, she forgate God, which words wee had, chapter 22.12.

And cast me behind thy back.

The Hebrew is, Behind thy body, the sense is this, thou hast turned from mee to thy lovers, to the Assyrians and E­gyptians, so that thy face and heart are towards them, and thy back is towards mee. A like expression wee had chap. 8.16. where its said, Their backs were towards the Temple of the Lord, and their faces towards the East. Or thus, thou hast dealt by mee, as men do by things they throw behinde them, they sl [...]ight them and mind them no more, Neh. 9.26. they cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy Prophets, that is, they sleighted the Law, minded it not, it was out of their sight as a thing behind them, as if there were no such thing. When Jeroboam sleighted the Counsel of the Pro­phet, 1 King. 11.38. and set up other gods, then hee cast God behind his back, 1 King. 14.9.

Obs. 1 God makes them instruments of our woe and misery, with whom wee have sinned. I will raise up thy Lovers against thee, the Babylonians, Chaldaeans, Assyrians, I will bring them against thee on every side. Jerusalem had doted upon, [Page 312] and trusted in them, and by them would God plague Jeru­salem. Shee had oft sinned by her confidence in Egypt, Isa. 30.2. chap. 31.1. and God by the Egyptians scourged her, 2 Chron. 36.3. Parents dote upon their children, and oft God makes them roddes to whip them, yea, clubs to break their hearts and bones.

Obs. 2 When People go out from God to false waies of wor­ship; and put confidence in armes of flesh, God will deal se­verely by them. God would put Aholibah into the Babylo­nian hands, they should do with her as they pleased, judge her according to their judgements, God would set his jealou­sy against her, thrust her out of doors, and what then? the Babylonians should deal furiously with her, abuse her body, destroy her children, burn her habitation, strip her of her vest­ments, and jewels, take away all shee had gotten, lay o­pen her shame, and do hatefully by her; shee should bee pu­nished with the same punishments Aholah was.

Obs. 3 Judgements and afflictions are cups which the Lord gives sinners to drink of, some more, some lesse. Thou shalt drink of thy sisters cup, deep and large. Sometimes Gods judge­ments are cald a cup of trembling, as Isa. 51.22. sometimes a Cup of fury, as Jer. 25.15. and sometimes a Cup of astonish­ment, as here, and Aholibah had all these Cups given her to drink, they were deep, large, contained much, and shee was made to drink them all off, yea, to drink the very dregs of them, as men fill up the measure of their sinnes, so God fills up the Cups of his judgements, Rev. 18.6. fill to her double. Babylons sinnes were come to the full, and the cup of the Lords fury was full.

Obs. 4 Neglect and contempt of God, and his word, causes him to execute judgement: because thou hast forgotten me▪ and cast mee behind thy back, therefore bear thou also thy lewdnesse, and thy whoredomes: That is, bear the punishment of thy lewdnesse and whoredomes, thou hast made mee bear thy sinnes, and thou shalt bear my punishments. As the fear of God is the beginning of wisdome, so the forgetting of God is the beginning of Folly, and all evill; then God is out of sight, behind the back, and what will not men do, when no awe of God or his word is upon them? Then like Aholi­bah, [Page 313] they will commit any lewdnesse, and because they do so, God lets out his wrath, loads them with his judgements, and makes them bear the merit of their wickedness.

God had done much for Aholibah, dealt by her like a loving husband, but shee sleighted him, went out a whor­ing from him, did those things which greatly dishonoured him, and so provoked him to minde her, that forgate him; for hee fell upon her with his judgements, and destroyed her; and so will the Lord do by all that forget him, Psalm. 9.17. the wicked shall be turned into Hell and all the Nations that for­get God: whatever sins the Nations commit, they are com­prehended in their forgetting God, that's the root of all evil; and because they did forget God, they should be turned into Hell, and bear the burden of their sins there for ever.

Vers. 36 The Lord said moreover unto me; Sonne of man, wilt thou judge Aholah and Aholibah? yea, declare unto them their abominations;
37 That they have committed adultery, and bloud is in their hands, and with their idols have they committed adultery, and have also caused their Sonnes, whom they bare unto mee, to pass for them through the fire to devour them.
38 Moreover, this they have done unto mee: they have de­filed my Sanctuary in the same day, and have prophaned my Sabbaths.
39 For when they had slain their Children to their Idols, then they came the same day into my Sanctuary to prophane it, and loe thus have they done in the midst of mine house.
40 And furthermore, that yee have sent for men, to come from far, unto whom a messenger was sent, and loe they came, for whom thou didst wash thy self, paintedst thine eyes, and deckedst thy self with ornaments.
41 And satest upon a stately bed, and a table prepared be­fore it, whereupon thou hast set mine incense, and mine oyle.
42 And a voice of a multitude being at ease was with her, and with the men of the common sort were brought Sabae­ans from the wildernesse, which put bracelets upon their [Page 314] hands, and beautiful crowns upon their heads.
43 Then said I unto her, that was old in adulteries; will they now commit whoredomes with her, and she with them?
44 Yet they went in unto her, as they go in unto a woman that playeth the harlot, so went they in unto Aholah, and un­to Aholibah, the lewd women.

In these nine verses, Aholahs and Aholibahs sinnes are fur­ther declared and amplified.

1 Here is a mandate to the Prophet, to declare their abo­minations, vers. 36.

2 The Declaration of those abominations, which are

  • 1 Idolatry, expressed by the tearm of adultery. v. 37.
  • 2 Cruelty, in sacrificing their children, v. 37. and slay­ing of them, v. 39.
  • 3 Defilement, of holy things
    • Sanctuary
    • Sabbaths,
    which is set out with aggravation, v. 38, 39.
  • 4 Invitation, and alluring men of other nations to com­mit lewdness, vers. 40, 41, 42.
  • 5 Incorrigibleness, they were reproved for their wic­kednesse, warned and counselled to desist, but they went on, v. 43, 44.
36 Wilt thou judge Aholah and Aholibah?

God being very angry with these two women for their lewdnesse and abominations, turns to the Prophet, who be­ing charitable, was ready to excuse them (for so the words may bee read, and are by Piscator) see thou do it not, they are inexcusable: but take the words as they are here, Wilt thou judge Aholah and Aholibah? thou seest what they have done, what vile strumpets they are, how justly they deserve severely to bee punished? what sayest thou, wilt thou judge them, wilt thou reprove and sentence them for their sinnes? speak sonne of man? I see thou art backward to it, thou thinkest there will no good come of it, thou art discouraged, but rouse up thy spirit, it is thy duty to do it, and thou shalt do it. The French translation is, Ne jugeras [Page 315] tu pás; wilt thou not judge? of these words see chap. 22.2. & 20.4.

37 That they have committed adultery, and bloud is in their hands, &c. and have also caused their Sons whom they bare unto me, to pass, &c.

For this vers. see what hath been said, ch. 16. v. 16.20, 21, 32. ch. 9.9. cha. 22.3.

38 Moreover, this they have done unto mee, they have defi­led my Sanctuary in the same day, and have prophaned my Sabbaths.

Of Defiling the Sanctuary, see chap. 5.11. where these words, because thou hast defiled my Sanctuary, were handled: and of prophaning the Sabbaths, was spoken chap. 20.13.16. and chap. 22.8.

One thing here is to bee considered, viz. the time when they did defile the Sanctuary, and prophane the Sabbaths, its said in the same day, what day that was, the next verse tells us more fully.

39 When they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my Sanctuary to prophane it.

It was unnatural and barbarous for them to slay their children, impious to offer them to idols, to Devils, and to do those things upon the Sabbath days, wherein they were to rest from ordinary works, how extreamly wicked, and abominable was it, and then after such evils to come into the Temple, and appear before God, as if they had done no wickedness, but well; what height of iniquity was here? It was as if a woman playing the whore with another, should immediately come from him to her Husband, pretending conjugal love. The bloud of their children was yet hot upon their hands, and fresh upon their skirts, and in that pickle they came into the Temple to have communion with God in his worship.

[Page 316]Loe, Thus have they done in the midst of mine house.

They have not onely set up Idols in Hills and Groves, offered their children to Molech in the valley of Hinnom, but they have set up Idols in the Temple, and have sacrifi­ced their children to them there. So I find some interpre­ters to understand these words, Maldonate saith, Etiam in ip­so Templo filios suos sacrificaverunt, and hee grounds it upon, Jer. 7.30. Ezek. 8.10, 11. which places prove there were I­dols in the Temple, that they sacrificed unto them, but not that they sacrificed their children there; but rather came with the guilt of their childrens bloud upon them into the Temple, and so polluted it, and the worship of it.

Obs. 1 That wicked ones make little or no conscience of horrible sinnes, or holy duties; they do pass from the one to the other im­mediately. When Aholah and Aholibah had slain their chil­dren to their idols, the same day they came into the sanctuary and joyned in the duties of the place and day; from shedding of bloud and sacrificing to Idols, they step into the Temple, and worship of God. Had not their Consciences been sear­ed, they would have accused them, and told them, they were unclean, not fit to meddle with holy things, that they might look for vengeance every hour, who had done such things, and that if they came before the Lord, hee would bee a consuming fire unto them, but they go boldly and im­pudently into his presence, not being troubled for what they had done, nor considering how they polluted holy things: So in Jerem. 7.9, 10. they did steal, murther, commit adul­tery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, walk after other gods, and then come presently and stand before him in his house, and say, wee are delivered, they passed from wicked practises unto holy duties, making no conscience of the one, or the other.

Obs. 2 The Lord takes notice how men draw near to him on his daies, in the duties of his worship: when they slew their Children to their Idols, then they came to my Sanctuary the same day; they defiled themselves with bloud and idolatry, on my Sabbaths, and in those defilements they came to [Page 317] worship mee, Jer. 7.10. God observed them there, how they came in their sinnes, and stood before him, they were noto­riously wicked, and thrust into the Temple worship, and into the presence of God, as if they had been innocent, and as acceptable to God as any. Men may deceive others and themselves: but they cannot deceive the Lord, hee sees their spirits, knows them intus & in cute, whether they come before him with bloudy, idolatrous, unclean, prophane, co­vetous, proud, froward, and malicious hearts, or no; whether they come unprepared in the guilt of former or present sinnes.

Obs. 3 Prophaning of holy things is wronging of God, pro­vokes greatly, and causes him to set an emphasis thereon: When they had sinned, and so came into the Sanctuary, and prophaned that and the Sabbath, saith God, This they have done unto mee. Loe, Thus have they done in the midst of mine house. God takes the wrong done to his house, worship, and day, as done unto himself, for hee dwelt in the Temple, instituted the worship, and day, had stamped holinesse upon them, and therefore the defiling and prophaning of them, hee counted the defiling and prophaning of his name, and of him­self, and it did so sorely offend him, that he sets a double mark or brand thereupon.

This have they done to mee, Thus have they done in my house.

Three waies especially are holy things defiled, prophaned.

1 When men come in their sinnes, without purging them­selves, and preparing for them, James 4.8. if men draw near to God without cleansing their hands, and purifying their hearts, God will not draw near them, hee will not touch un­clean things, they will defile him.

2 When we mingle ought of ours therewith: Additions of hu­mane things, are pollutions of divine things: when they brought ought into the Temple which God appointed not, that was a defiling that, and the worship thereof: when Na­dab and Abihu put strange fire into the censers, they defiled them, the worship, and provoked God, to their destruction, Levit. 10. and when they set their threshold with Gods thres­hold, they defiled his name and worship, Ezek. 43.7, 8.

[Page 318]3 When holy things are handled irreverently. The Beth­shemites in a rude manner peeped into the Ark, and pro­phaned it, which caused the Lord to smite them with sud­dain death, 1 Sam. 6.19. Hence it is, that Solomon gives Counsel, Eccl. 5.1. that men should keep their feet, when they go to the house of God; why then? because they are to bee conversant in holy things; and if they look not well to their affections, they will play the fools; and prophane those holy things, and procure a curse instead of a blessing.

40 And furthermore, that yee have sent for men to come from far, unto whom a messenger was sent, and loe, they came.

They were not content to do wickedly themselves, but they sent to and invited others, the Chaldaeans, Assyrians, and Egyptians, These Metaphorical Harlots were wanton with those did provoke them thereto, and also provo­ked others a farre off to wantonize with them, according to what you had, Ezek. 16.33. the meaning is, they sent for men of other Nations to make leagues with them, and be­ing come, admitted their idols, and idolatrous waies of wor­ship, as appeared vers. 7.

For whom thou didst wash thy self, paintedst thine eyes, and deckedst thy self with Ornaments.

Here is set forth the practice of whores, they wash, they paint, they deck themselves for their lovers, and so did these City Harlots, Aholah and Aholibah, they fitted themselves for the Babylonians and Egyptians, their courtings and loves.

Paintedst thine eyes.

The Hebr. word [...] Cachal, is onely in this place, and signifies to colour, to paint, with stibium or Red; Montanus renders the words, Thou hast coloured thine eies. The Septu­agint is, [...], Thou hast stibium'd thine eyes. Stibium was a colouring stuffe women used to make themselves black [Page 319] browed withall. Eyes here are put Synechdochically for the whole face; and by painting their eyes, is meant the paint­ing of their faces, 2 King. 9.30. its said of Jezabel, Shee Painted her face, the Hebrew is, Shee put her eyes in paint­ing, the eyes are put for the face. Painting of faces was long ago in practice. Some out of pride painted them, that none might seem more beautiful than they, some out of lust, that they might please men therewith, and allure them thereby to folly and wickednesse: painted faces are like Sampsons Foxes, which set the corn on fire. This practice is not warrantable. If women may not counterfeit and change their habits, Deut. 22.5. why should they counter­feit and change their faces? if the body bee more than meat, the face is more than cloathes. The Apostle forbids us to take the members of Christ, and make them the mem­bers of an Harlot, 1 Cor. 6.15.Ornamento­rum insignia & laenocinia [...]uco [...] rum non nisi prostitutis & impudicis foe­minis congruit. Cyprianus de habitu virgi­num. and may wee take the faces which are the Lords, vers. 19. and make them the Faces of Harlots by painting them?

Again, All Hypocrisy is odious in the sight of God, and there is face-hypocrisy, as well as heart hypocrisy, this paint­ing is face hypocrisy; women thereby seem that which they are not; Christ calls them Hypocrites for dis-figuring their faces, that they might appear unto men to fast, Mat. 6.16. and do not they paint their faces, dis-figure the workman­ship of God, that they may appear unto men beautifull which they are not? Mat. 23.27, 28. by this painting you say you are beautifull, but you lye both to God and man, pre­tending it to bee the work of God, when it is not.

And deckedst thy self with Ornaments.

Of Ornaments and Decking therewith, was spoken in the 16. chap. v. 11.13. Aholibah put on her bravery, and trim'd up her self for strangers, as whores do for their lovers.

41 And satest upon a stately bed.

The Hebrew is, Mittah, cebudah, a bed of honour, or an honourable bed. The Vulgar is, in lecto putcherrimo. Others, [Page 322] Glorioso, magnifico, honorato, in a bed of state. The Scriptures mention two kinds of beds: Lecti cubiculares, which men sleep in, Psalm. 6.6. all the night make I my bed to swim; and Lecti discubitorii, which they did eat and feast at, Esth. 1.6. Amos 6.4. and these were called Tricliniares, Ta­bles, or beds, with three feet. Which bed shee sate upon is not much material, like the Harlot in the Proverbs, chap. 7.16, 17. Shee prepared all things to affect and please her lov­ers; shee had a Table furnished, and set the incense and oyle which were for Gods worship, in a readinesse for idola­trous worship, or to bee spent upon the Chaldaeans, and E­gyptians, when shee entertained and feasted them; shee was profuse in her expences upon Idolaters.

42 And a voice of a multitude being at ease, was with her.

When the Chaldaeans and Egyptians came to Aholibah and Aholah, they were feasted, leagues made between them, and all were at peace; so that the voice of a multitude at peace, was with her, so the word for ease signifies, being shalef from shalah, to bee at peace and quiet. Peace being made they were at ease, and the voice of musick, singing, and rejoycing was amongst them, they walkt, they worshipped, they feasted together.

With the men of the Common sort, were brought Sabaeans from the wilderness.

These Harlots were not satisfied with the Captains, Ru­lers, Lords, and Princes of the Assyrians, Chaldaeans, and Egyptians; but, they invited the baser sort of people, who thought it a great honour, that they should bee entertained by these famous Harlots, Samaria and Jerusalem, Jer. 27.3. there were messengers sent from the Kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon, which were inconsiderable to the Kings of Babylon and Egypt; and as these were drawn in, so men inferiour to them, those of the common sort, yea, Sabae­ans, or Drunkards, as some render the word.

[Page 323]Which put bracelets upon their hands, and beautiful crowns upon their heads.

They brought their presents with them, bracelets and crowns which they bestowed upon those Harlots, who hired and gave gifts to the great ones, to come unto them, ch. 6.33, 34. but were cunning here, and received gifts of the meaner and under sort. Of bracelets and beautiful crowns, the 16. chap. gave occasion to speak, v. 11, 12.

Obs. Wicked ones are active and expensive to draw others to themselves, and their wicked waies. These Harlots Aholah and Aholibah sent to Assyria, to Egypt, to others, to come unto them, they trimmed and deckt up themselves, made great preparations to entertain them, they spared not for any cost whereby they might please and satisfy them. Thus did the Harlot, Prov. 7. shee perfumes her bed, trims up her self, goes forth, and diligently seeks, finds, and brings in a prey. Some bad enough, compass Sea and land to make proselites; shall wicked ones, and wickednesse, bee active, expensive to draw, and ruine others, and shall not godly ones, and godli­nesse, be as active and expensive, to win, and save sinners?

43 Then said I unto her that was old in adulteries, will they now commit whoredomes with her, &c.

What, art not thou yet satisfied, thou art old in wick­ednesse, art like a dry and dead thing; What, can thy Lovers have any pleasure in thee, or thou in them? Cease yee Harlots from your wicked and lewd practises, here the Lord chides and reproves them, upbraiding them from their long continuance in their sinne, Aholah, Sama­ria, was oldest in her adulteries, shee had continued from the time of Jeroboam, in her idolatrous worship; and Aholi­bah had many years lived in that sin. Gods reproof, up­braiding, prevailed not, for

[Page 224]
44
Yet they went in unto her, as they go in unto a woman that playeth the Harlot, &c.

Obs. 1 Those are given to corporal or spiritual uncleanness, are seldome recovered, but go on, and grow old in those sinnes. These women had many reproofs, and threatnings, but none prevailed. Such sinnes are bewitching, and hold men cap­tive, Prov. 2.19. none that go unto her return again.

Obs. 2 The Lord takes notice of persons beginning, progresse, and continuance in sinne: Hee observed when Aholah beganne her whoredomes, when the Calves were set up at D [...]n and Bethel, how shee grew up, and grew old in adulteries. Gods eye goes along with sinners, from the beginning to the end.

Vers. 45 And the righteous men, they shall judge them after the manner of adulteresses; and after the manner of wo­men that shed bloud, because they are adulteresses, and bloud is in their hands.
46 For thus saith the Lord God, I will bring up a company upon them, and will give them to bee removed and spoiled.
47 And the company shall stone them with stones, and dispatch them with their swords: they shall stay their sonnes, and their daughters, and burn up their houses with fire.
48 Thus will I cause lewdnesse to cease out of the land, that all women may bee taught not to do after your lewdness.
49 And they shall recompense your lewdnesse upon you, and yee shall bear the sinnes of your Idols, and yee shall know that I am the Lord God.

In these verses the judgements of God upon those Harlots are further set out, and amplified with the events thereof.

1 They shall bee punished like adulteresses, and murther­esses, v. 45.

2 They shall be carried into captivity, and spoiled, v. 46.

3 They, their Sons and daughters, shall bee stoned and slain, v. 47. and their houses burnt. ibid.

The Events or effects are,

  • [Page 325]1 Cessation of lewdnesse, v. 48.
  • 2 Instruction of other women to take heed of doing the like. ibid.
  • 3 Conviction of the equity of Gods dealings, v. 49.
45 And the righteous men.

The Assyrians and Babylonians who destroyed Sama­ria, and Jerusalem, are called righteous or just men, not that they were so really, but comparatively, they are stiled so, in respect of the Jews, they were such, Ezek. 5.6, 7. chap. 16.27, 47. who exceeded the Nations in wickednesse, or be­cause they were Gods instruments to execute his just judge­ments upon them, especially for their perfidiousnesse with those Nations.

They shall judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women that shed bloud.

Adulteresses were punished with death under the Law, Lev. 20.10. Deut. 22.22. and the death was stoning, John 8.5, 7. else Christ would not have commissioned them to have thrown stones at the woman, if they had been faultlesse them­selves, and as these were to dye for their uncleannesse, so were those that shed blood. Of these words see chap. 16.38.

46 I will bring up a company upon them.

I brought up an Army against Samaria, and destroyed it; and so I will do with Jerusalem, I will bring the Babylonians, upon her, who shall spoil her, by stoning, slaughtering, bur­ning and removing her into Captivity. No enemies can stirre out of their countrey to mischief others, till the Lord call and bring them; and when hee doth so, sad effects follow; they lay all waste, making Cities heaps, and pleasant Lands wildernesses. Of this 46. and 47. vers. see chap, 16.40, 41.

[Page 326]
48
Then will I cause lewdnesse to cease out of the land.

When the Lord should have accomplished his judgements upon these Harlots, when Aholah and Aholibah should be destroyed, then idolatry should cease, and be no more in the Land; then sacrificing their children to idols, and shedding of blood should be no more heard of. Gods judgements will silence wickednesse, and take away evil from the land.

That all women may bee taught not to do af­ter your lewdness.

By Women here understand, Cities, Provinces, Nations, which seeing the just judgements of God upon these whorish women, Aholah and Aholibah, might learn to beware of such sinnes, and not to go out from God, having once given up themselves to him, least they draw such severe and shamefull punishments upon themselves.

Obs. Gods Judgements are teaching things; hee brought dreadful judgements upon Aholah and Aholibah, that all wo­men might bee taught thereby. Gideon by thorns and bry­ers taught the men of Succoth, Judges 8.16. and God by his peircing judgements teaches the Nations; hee punisheth one City, that others may take warning. There is no judge­ment of God upon any City, Nation, or people, but it speaks and teaches, Micah 6.9. hear ye the rod, it hath a voice, a teaching voice.

1 It Teaches all who are guilty of the same sinnes, and not visited with the same judgements, to admire the long suffering, and goodnesse of God towards them.

2 It Teaches those presently to consider their waies, turn to the Lord by repentance, who are guilty of such sins, least the Lord being now in a way of judgement, should break out also upon them, and make them examples of his justice.

3 It Teaches others to fear and fly from such practises, as bring such destructive judgements. When Samaria and Je­rusalem shall be destroyed by dreadful judgements for their [Page 327] confidence in armes of flesh, by confederating with other na­tions, for their idolatry, cruelty, prophaneness, and perfidious­nesse, will not other Cities fear to do the like? will not every City learn to see what is the reward of wickedness, in the suf­ferings of others. This Gods judgements teach sinners to do, that so they may consult for their credit and safety.

49 And they shall recompense your lewdnesse upon you.

The Hebrew is, And they shall put your filthinesse and lewd­thinesse upon you, that is, the Nations and Cities round about, shall concur with the Babylonians to punish you for your wickednesse, to bring upon you the merit of your sinnes; or thus, they shall approve of what the Lord doth in destroying of you, saying, all is the fruit and just recompense of your own doings.

And ye shall bear the sins of your idols.

Their Idols did not sin, but they sinned with their Idols, and the fruit of those sins they must eat, the punishment due to them they must bear: there is a near connexion between sinne and punishment, they have the same names, so v. 35.

Obs. Gods proceeding with sinners in judgement righteously, brings them to acknowledge the equity of his dealing with them: when the just punishment of your lewdnesse and idolatry shall bee upon you, ye shall know that I am the Lord God, who observed all your waies, who waited long for your re­pentance, who have dealt justly with you in all the evils, I have brought upon you, you cannot but justify me, and con­demn your selves.

CHAP. XXIV.

Vers. 1 Again, in the ninth year, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,’2 Son of man, write thee the name of the day, even of this same day: the King of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem this same day.’3 And utter a parable unto the rebellious house, and say unto them, thus saith the Lord God, set on a pot, set it on, and also pour water into it.’4 Gather the peices thereof into it, even every good peice, the thigh, and the shoulder; fill it with the choice bones.’5 Take the choice of the flock, and burn also the bones un­der it; and make it boyle well, and let him seeth the bones of it therein.’

THis Chapter is conceived to bee the last pro­phesy against the Kingdome of Judah, before the final destruction thereof, which with the great Calamity thereof, is set out under the type of a boyling pot, and the death of the Prophets wife.

In the Chapter is contained a double prophesy.

1 That of the boyling pot, and the interpretation thereof, to the 15. v.

2 That of Ezekiels wife dying suddainly, his not mour­ning for her, and the explication thereof, from the 15. ver. to the end.

In the verses before us we have,

  • 1 The Time of this prophesy, v.1.
  • 2 The Occasion, ver. 2. which was the King of Baby­lons setting himself against Jerusalem.
  • 3 The Prophesy it self, in the 3, 4, & 5. ver.
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1
In the ninth year, the tenth month, and the tenth day thereof.

Our Prophet being in Babylon, reckons from the ninth year of the Captivity, the time that Jehoiachin himself, and others were brought into Babylon, Ezek. 1.2. ch. 8.1. and not from the Time of Zedekiahs reign, though it were the ninth year, tenth month, and tenth day thereof, for that day the one was carried away, the other was made King. It concerned them in Babylon to keep account of their captivity.

The word of the Lord came unto me, saying.

Hee had nothing of his own to give out that day, but the word of the Lord came to him, the spirit of the Lord brought it, and with such power, that he must write and speak.

2 Write thee the name of the day, even of this same day.

The Hebrew is, Write the name of the day, and the body or substance of the same day; it was a day wherein something considerable and substantial was acting. God would have the Prophet write the day, not onely to adde weight to his Prophesy, but to stir them up to bee affected, and to see how the providential hand of God ordered things at a great di­stance.

The King of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem this same day.

Here was the Occasion or cause of his writing down the day, and so prophesying upon it; Nebuchadnezzar was that day sitting down before Jerusalem, as you may clearly see 1 King. 25.1. Jer. 39.1. ch. 52.4. when Nebuchadnezzar was upon a warlike expedition, hee knew not whether he should go to Rabbath or Jerusalem, chap. 21.21. but hee was orde­red by a divine hand, to lay siedge to Jerusalem, the tenth day of the tenth month, in the ninth year, which Ezekiel could [Page 330] not possibly know, had not the Lord revealed it. This was a businesse of high concernment to the Jews in Judea, and those in Babylon. The Hebrew for set himself, is Samach, which Montanus renders, adjunxit se. Others, Corrobora­vit se, fulcivit se, and the French. Est fortifié, he joyned, streng­thened, and fortified himself against Jerusalem.

Obs. 1 The Lord takes notice of what men do, and can make known the same to whom hee pleases at what distance soever. Ne­buchadnezzar and his Forces were in Judea sitting down be­fore Jerusalem, and this the Lord revealed to Ezekiel being in Babylon. It was declared to Elisha, whether the King of Syria, would march, and where hee would pitch his Campe, 2 Kin. 6.9, 10. The death of Herod in Judea was disco­vered to Joseph being in Egypt, Mat. 2.19, 20. and when Moses was in Midian, the Lord told him that all the men were dead in Egypt, which sought his life, Exod. 4.19.

Obs. 2 There bee some things and times the Lord would have his take special notice of, and keep the Chronology thereof: Ezekiel must write the year, the month, and day, of Jerusalems besiedging: In the ninth year, the tenth month, the tenth day, the King of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem; that was a sad businesse, and a sad time. When God hath been upon executing great judgements, or shewing great mercies, the daies and months have been recorded.

The day and Month of Noahs entrance into the Ark and of his comming out again, are mentioned, Gen. 7.11. chap. 8.14, 16. The Time of the Jews going out of Egypt, you have punctually set down, Exod. 12.41, 42. so the Time of their passing over Jordan, Josh. 4.19. of Solomons building the Temple, 2 Chron. 3.2. Of Hamans plot to destroy the Jews, Esth. 3.8, 13. and several other things, the year, month, and day, stand recorded; Which shews they were providenti­al, not casuall, that the wisdome and power of God were interested in them, whoever were the instruments, and that being so exactly set down, Posterity should not forget them. And questionlesse the Lord expects, that wee should keep a Chronology of the great and remarkeable things done by him for us: as the fight at Marston-more, July 2.1644. at Naseby the 14. of June 1645. at Maidstone, 2 June 1648. [Page 329] Scots routed in England, August 17. 1648. Ormond bea­ten from Dublin, August 2. 1649. &c.

3 Utter a Parable unto the rebellious.

The Hebrew is, Speak thou parabolically to the house of re­bellion, a parable; That is, speak thou darkely unto them, that they may the better attend, and make the more diligent inquiry after the meaning of what thou deliverest. Of Pa­rable and Proverbs formerly have been spoken, chap. 17.2. and of the rebellious house, chap. 2.5.

Set on a Pot, set it on.

Its for Cooks to set on Pots, put in water, then the meat, Ezekiel hee must bid them set on a Pot, a strange work for a Prophet, and because strange, it would make the People minde it the more, and search out the mystery.

By this Pot, is meant Jerusalem, Ezek. 11.3. This City is the Caldron, Hassin, its the same word is here for Pot, which notes strength, comprehensivenesse, and Durablenesse, so Jerusalem was strong, comprehended much, and was more durable than other places when besiedged. Not Jerusalem simply, but under judgement was the Pot.

And also pour water into it.

When Pots are set over the fire, they put in, and fill them with water, that so what ever they please may bee boiled therein. By this water is meant the afflictions and Judgements, in which as in water, God would boil Jerusa­lem: Now the King of Babylon was set down round about it, had straitly besiedged it, and variety of Calamities were upon it, and the waters of affliction, begun to be hot. So Cala­mities are called, Isa. 8.7.

4 Gather the peeces thereof into it.

When the Cook hath set on the Pot, filled it with water, [Page 330] then hee takes the several peices of flesh, which are to bee boiled, and puts them into the Pot, and they are called the peices thereof, because they are to be boiled therein.

Even every good peice, the thigh and the shoulder.

Here the people or Commonwealth of Israel, is likened un­to a body dissected, as the Levites Concubine was, Judges 19.29. and they must take the good or principal peices, those that were the strength and support of the body and head, as the thighs and Shoulders, that is, the Nobles, Councel­lors, Priests, and chief Souldiers amongst them.

Fill it with the choice bones.

The Hebrew is, Electione ossium imple, fill it with the choicenesse of bones, which Rabbi David interprets, as wee do, fill it with choice bones, that is, with choice peices, because the peices saith hee, are cut secundum ossa, according to the bones. This Pot must not have a peice or two, a bone or two put into it; but must bee filled with the choicest peices and bones were in all the body.

5 Take the choice of the Flock.

By the Choice may bee understood the King himself, who is the Head of the flock, or the fat and wealthy ones. The Vulgar hath it, Pinguissimum pecus assume, take the fattest of the Cattle, which Ʋatablus calls, opulentos ex plebe, the wealthiest of the People, or those have the choice offices, and places in the City.

Burn all the bones under it.

By Bones here, divers Expositors understand the bones of the innocent Prophets, and others, who were slain unjustly; Those the Prophet bids them to burn under the Pot, and that to manifest the cause of Gods great wrath against, and just destruction of the City. But this interpretation of bones, [Page 331] suits not with the scope of the place; Which is not to dis­quiet the bones of the innocent, and lay punishment upon them, but to revenge their death. The bones here are to suffer as well as the flesh; wee may understand these words thus; Let flesh and bones boyle together, and when they are so boiled, that all the flesh and fat is taken from the bones, then burn them; that is, when all the wealth, places, ho­nour are taken from the rich, then let them be destroyed by Famine, Plague, or Sword, and that is the burning of the bones. Let nothing of them or theirs bee spared, but let all bee consumed; Or thus, boile the fat ones, in the Pot, and burn the poor under it; they are like bones without flesh, make them instrumental to consume the rich; and doubtlesse in the famine, they were like a fire devouring the flesh in the Pot.

And make it boile well.

The Hebrew is, Rattach retacheah, which Montanus renders, Fas ebullire ebullitiones ejus, make its boilings to boile, boile it throughly, There bee old tough peices in the Pot, which will not easily or suddainly bee boiled, they will require a hot and continued fire, therefore Buxtorf. inter­prets the words, fac ut vehementer ferveant, see that the boil­ings be very hot. The Chaldaean Army were not the bones, and fire under this metaphorical Pot, but the bellows rather to blow up and increase the fire.

And let him seeth the bones of it therein.

The Hebrew is, Let the bones thereof be sodden in the midst of it, and the stream of interpreters carry the words plu­rally, and so it suits best with the words going before, make it boile well, and let the bones thereof bee sodden in the midst of it; that is, let them bee throughly sodden. Bones are strong things, they require more than ordinary seething, especial­ly if old, and there bee many old bones in the Pot, many hardned sinners, many stout spirits amongst the Souldiers, Princes, Nobles, and others, but let them bee soundly boil­ed, in this Pot of affliction, and that will make them ten­der. [Page 232] The Vulgar is, Discoct a sunt ossa illius in medio ejus, that is, the bones are boiled, till the flesh and they are sundred, they are throughly boiled; and Ʋatablus makes this the sense of it, Fortissimi quique conficiantur in ea obsidione, let the strongest and stoutest men bee slain and consumed in that siedge.

Obs. 1 The sinfulnesse of men hath occasioned God to give out much Scripture. Speak a parable to the rebellious. God took occasion from their rebelliousnesse, to give forth this Parable and many others. Much of Jeremy and our Prophet was occasioned to see the world, by the wickednesse of the Jews. Sinne accidentally occasions good, Sinne made way for Christ, and as for him, so for much, if not the greatest part of the holy Scriptures.

Obs. 2 Teaching by Parables is warrantable. God sends and commands the Prophet to utter a Parable. Isaiah, Je­remy, Zachary, were not without Parables. Christ was a­bundant in them. The Parables they used were taken from ordinary things, known, and familier, such as were obvious to the senses, as here from a Pot, water, peices of flesh, bones, &c. Hereby the mind & memory are much inlivened, and stron­ger impression made upon the heart, ch. 22.18. all they are brass and Tin, and Iron, and Lead in the midst of the Furnace: and here they were as flesh, and bones, in the midst of the Pot.

Obs. 3 The judgements of God upon places, makes them Pots, in which hee boiles sinners. Now Jerusalem was a Pot over the fire. The Babylonish Forces were round about it, dread­ful Calamities upon it, multitudes in it, who were like peices of flesh, in a boiling Pot; what boiling thoughts, fears, cares, distractions, discontents, were amongst them? we may judge what boiling was therein, by the Armies lying near this Ci­ty, and being in readinesse to come upon it.

Obs. 4 That God at his pleasure commands judgements upon places: Set on a Pot, pour water into it: make Jerusalem mi­serable with Plague, Famine, and Sword; if hee speak the word, the thing must bee done; whatever hee calls for, takes place, Jerusalem, that was a Paradise, must now become a boiling Pot.

Obs. 5 That when Gods judgements are abroad, hee meets [Page 333] with all sorts of men, the Fat and Lean, the strong and weak, the rich and poor: when the Pot is on the fire, God will have the choice peeces, and choice ones into it, the shoulders, the thighs, the choice bones, Prince, Nobles, men in place, of wealth: as well as the poor and lean ones.

Obs. 6 When God is boiling of sinners in the fire of his judge­ments, he will boil them to purpose. Make it boile well, and let the bones thereof be sodden in the midst thereof. This Pot was boiling not a few hours, daies, or months, but a year and half, 2 King 25.1, 2, 3. So when God made Samaria, a boil­ing Pot, 2 King. 17.5. he boiled the sinners in it three years to­gether. God so boiled them there, and these here, that he made the proudest and stoutest of them to stoop, yea, all of them to become meat to their enemies.

Vers. 6 Wherefore thus saith the Lord God, woe to the blou­dy City, to the Pot whose scum is therein, and whose scum is not gone out of it; bring it out peice by peice, let no lot fall upon it.
7 For her bloud is in the midst of her, she set it upon the top of a rock shee poured it not upon the ground to cover it with dust.
8 That it might cause fury to come up to take vengeance: I have set her bloud upon the top of a rock, that it should not bee covered.

Here the Lord comes to interpret the Parable, denouncing a fearful woe to Jerusalem, and giving the grounds thereof, which are,

1 Her Bloudinesse, with the aggravation thereof, vers. 6, & 7.

2 Her unprofitablenesse under judgements, when shee was boiling, her scum abode with her, went not out of her.

6 Woe to the bloudy City.

Jerusalem was guilty of much bloud, Ezek. 22.3, 4, 6, 9, 12, 13, 27. 2 Chron. 21.16. Jerusalem was now as bad as Nineveh, which Nahum 3.1. is called the bloudy City, [Page 334] and hath the same woe denounced against it. By blood, not only murther, but also other notorious wickednesses, which deser­ved death are to bee understood, Ezek. 7.23. the Land is full of bloudy crimes. Of such sinnes for which men ought to bee cut off. Vide loc.

To the Pot whose scum is therein, whose scum is not gone out of it.

Here its clear, that by this Metaphorical Pot is meant the City; hee calls the City the Pot, which was not without its scum. Chelatta from Chalah, Aegrotavit; for the scum is Aegritudo ollae, Avenarius. the sicknesse of the Pot. Rabbi Solom. calls it, excrementum, the excrement and filth of the Pot. The Septuagint is, [...], the poyson of it: the Vulgar is, rubigo, the rust of it. Frosterus hath it, sordes, those filthinesses, which through great boiling do adhere to the Pot, from what is boiled therein. By scum is meant the sinne and wick­ednesse of the City, which is likened thereunto, in re­spect,

1 Of its Loathsomenesse, scum and filth are loathsome things, and do nauseam creare. The sinnes of this City were loathsome, it was full of abominations, bloud, idola­try, uncleannesse, &c. such evils as made it to be abhorred, Ezek. 16.25. as made the Philistims ashamed, vers. 27. such sinnes as were loathsome afterwards to themselves, Chap­ter 20.43.

2 Of its visiblenesse, the scum and silth is upper most, next to view, such were Jerusalems sinnes, they were open, shee had an eminent and high place in every street, Ezek. 16.24. shee opened her feet to every one that passed by, v. 25. shee and her Princes shed bloud openly, ch. 22.36. nothing but sin and wick­ednesse appeared in her.

3 Of its adherency to the Pot. So Jerusalems sinnes did cleave close to her, the more shee was boiled in the judge­ments of God, the more faster shee held her sinnes, her scum and filth stuck to every side of her, Jerem. 8.5. They hold fast deceit: their sinnes cleaved to them, as flesh to the bones, as rust to a pot; though they were oft in the [Page 335] fire, or over it, yet their filthinesse departed not from them, their scum, their dross, boiled in, and cleaved fast to them, Jeremy 6.29.

Bring it out peice by peice.

Hee persists in the allegory of the Pot, and orders how they should bee dealt with who were in the City, they should bee brought out severally, not all at once, but as peices are taken out of the Pot, one after another, till there bee no more; so it should bee done with this City, one peice of it should bee brought out and consumed with Famine, another peice of it with the Plague, vers. 3. with the Sword, vers. 4. should bee carried away into Captivity; so that it should bee emptied of all; so the words are ren­dred in Ʋatablus, Per frusta ejus evacua cum, part by part empty it. This City was emptied somewhat under Jehoi [...] ­chim, when hee was carried to Babylon, 2 Chron. 36.6, 7. it was emptied more when Jehoiachin was taken, and many with him also carried thither, 2 King. 24.15. but it was wholly emptied when Zedekiah was taken, and carried away, 2 King. 25.

Let no Lot fall upon it.

Let it not have that favour or mercy. Among Souldi­ers in their military discipline, when they take many ene­mies worthy all to dye, they single out some by Lots to suf­fer, and spare the rest; but Jerusalem should not have any spared; they should all, young and old, taste of one judge­ment or other; wee may refer this lotting to the City it self, let it not come to that, as to cast a Lot, whether the City shall bee saved or destroyed. Such a famous great ancient City might fall into Consultation, whether it should bee ruined or no. Carthage was long in debate in the Senate of Rome, saith Lavater, whether it should bee utterly destroy­ed. But the Lord prevents such a consultation, and saith, Let no Lot fall upon it. I have decreed it to be ruined, and it shall be ruined, utterly ruined.

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7
Her bloud is in the midst of her, shee set it upon the top of a rock, &c.

The meaning of this verse is, shee shed bloud openly, did bloudy and notorious things publikely, as if shee had done them upon the top of a rock; if bloud bee shed there, its dry, hard, drinks not in the bloud at all, but it lies to bee seen of all, that come upon the Rock, Whereas if bloud bee shed upon the earth, that drinks it in quickly, or it may bee cove­red with dust, that others may not discern it, Jerusalem did not sin closely, and hide her wickednesse from the world, but so openly, that all Nations took notice of it.

8 That it might cause fury to come up to take vengeance.

They did not sinne to that end that God might take ven­geance on them, but the nature of their sinne was such, as it provoked God to fury, and to hasten vengeance, their sins were open, great, and crying for vengeance, their sinnes ascend­ed, and Gods fury descended. The Hebrew for, to take ven­geance is, Linkom nakom, ad ulciscendum ultionem.

I have set her blood upon the top of a rock.

As shee did, so did the Lord, shee shed blood openly, and was not ashamed of it, and I have shed her bloud openly, and am not ashamed of it; Shee did not cover her sinne, but exposed it to the view of all, and God by his punishments set it on the top of a rock, and made it known to the whole world.

Obs. 1 That Cities have their filth and scum in them: Je­rusalem here is likened to a, Pot with the scum in it. The poor are not the scum of the City, but the sinne and wickednesse of poor and rich that is that scum, Jerusalem was full of it, Ezek. 8.16. and 22. tells you, what scum, and abundance of it was in Jerusalem. There was much scum in Sodome, much in Samaria, much among the Nations, but most in Jerusalem. To great Cities, there is a confluence of all sorts of people, who bring scum and filth with them, and adde to what they finde there: what scummy doctrin did the false Prophets [Page 337] teach in Jerusalem, Jer. 23. what scummy counsel did Jaaza­niah and Pelatiah give in that City? Ezek. 11.1, 2. what dung­hill Gods did Jerusalem entertain? Jer. 2.28. according to the Number of thy Cities, are thy gods, O Judah. There was no sinne against God or Man, but it was in Jerusalem. And other Cities are not without their scum, no not this City.

Obs. 2 Heavy judgements upon sinful places do not work out the wickednesse is in them. Jerusalem was besiedged, suffered hard things, and her scum went not out of her, it boiled in, she was the worse for all those fiery judgements God brought upon her, Jer. 5.3. Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved, thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction, they have made their faces harder than a rock, they have refused to return. God did strike them with Egyptian and Babylonish rods, but there were no tears, no relentings, no returnings, but grew harder and harder, even to a rockish hardiness. Ahaz the head of this City, in the time of his distresse, sinned the more against the Lord, 2 Chron. 28.22. When Samaria was besiedged by the Syrians, 2 Kin. 6. did the scum of it boil out? no, Jehoram at that time, sent to take off Elishaes head, vers. 31. and said, hee would wait no longer for the Lord, vers. 33. His scum boiled in, and boiled up to a greater height. Is the scum gone out of Ireland? by all the bloudy judgements of God have been upon them? is it gone out of England, or London, by all the sad stroaks we have had?

Obs. 3 When judgements prevail not with sinful places to cleanse them from their iniquities, God threatens, and will cer­tainly destroy such places, and that without mercy. Jerusalem was as a pot over the fire, her scum went not out of her, and what then? Woe to the bloudy City, bring it out peice by peice, let no lot fall upon it, because the scum wrought not out, the flesh, the people, must bee brought out to destru­ction, and the pot bee broken in peices, God said of Jerusa­lem, Jer. 32.31. This City hath been to mee as a provocation of mine anger, and of my fury, from the day that they buil [...] it, e­ven unto this day: sometimes there were good Kings, and good people in it, but generally the people were wicked, and therefore, Jerem. 19.11. I will break this people, and this [Page 338] City, as one breaketh a Potters vessel, that cannot bee made whole again: It was bloudy, mercilesse, and now should have bloudy judgements without mercy.

Obs. 4 Open impudent sinning provokes to vengeance, and shall bee punished openly. The 7. and 8. verses together yeild this observation. Jerusalem shed bloud, not in a corner, or some secret place, shee had no care to conceal and cover what shee did, but openly as on the top of a rock, shee set up scaffolds to execute the innocent, this caused fury to rise in the Lord, and hastened him to take vengeance, and to punish her openly; hee called for Nebuchadnezzar to come out of Babylon, hee led him to the gates of Jerusalem, caused him to sit down there, and visibly to execute his vengeance upon her, so that her punishment was as open as her sinne; shee sinned as on the top of a rock, and God set her bloud on the top of a rock. The besiedging, taking, and burning of Jerusa­lem, was so known, and famous, as that all the Nations took notice thereof, and made themselves sport therewith, Lam. 2.15, 16. she would not cover her sin and shame, and God would not cover her punishment.

Vers. 9 Therefore thus saith the Lord God, woe to the bloudy City, I will even make the pile for fire great.
10 Heap on wood, kindle the fire, consume the flesh, and spice it well, and let the bones be burnt.
11 Then set it empty upon the coals thereof, that the brasse of it may bee hot, and may burn, and that the filthinesse of it may be molten in it, that the scum of it may be consumed.
12 Shee hath wearied her self with lies, and her great scum went not forth out of her: her scum shall bee in the fire.
13 In thy filthinesse is lewdnesse, because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purg­ed from thy filthinesse anymore, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee.
14 I the Lord have spoken it, it shall come to pass, and I will do it, I will not go back neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy waies, and according to thy do­ings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord God.

In these verses the Lord proceeds,

  • 1 In Threatning of judgements, vers. 9. woe to the bloudy City, as before, v. 6.
  • 2 In a Parabolical declaration of those judgements, in the end of the 9. v. and in the 10, & 11▪ ver.
  • 3 In shewing the causes thereof, ver. 12, 13.
  • 4 In sealing up the certainty and irrevocablenesse of these judgements, v. 14.
9 I will even make the pile for fire great.

I will bring a multitude of Babylonians; a mighty army, which shall besiedge Jerusalem, and bee as a great fire unto it: by them I will execute fiery judgements upon the bloudy City. The Heb. is, I wil make a great fire, that is, I wil consume the whole City. Here are a multitude of houses, stately buildings, and they shall bee all as a pile of wood for fire; yea, the inhabitants thereof, shall bee consumed by the fire of my wrath.

10 Heap on wood, kindle the fire, consume the flesh.

The Hebrew verbes, in this verse are infinitive, but ren­dred imperatively. Vatablus reads them in the future, I will heap on wood, I will kindle the fire; that is, saith hee, I will adde spirit and power to the Babylonish forces, to besiedge the Jews, that so by famine, sword, and plague, they may be consumed. According to our reading the words, God calls for, and hastens the destruction of Jerusalem.

Spice it well.

The Hebrew is, Harkach hammerkachah, which Mon­tanus renders thus, Condi condimentum aromatibus, season a seasoning with spicery. Rakach signifies, to make an oynt­ment, sawce, or seasoning, Ex diversis speciebus aromatum, of diverse kinds of Grocery or sweets, that so it may bee the more pleasing to the nostrils or pallate. Cooks spice their meats and sawces, that so they may be more acceptable to the taste of those feed upon them. The spicing here, I conceive to bee the various judgements which were to be in­flicted [Page 340] upon Jerusalem, which made it as savoury meat both to men and God; when it was salted and spiced with his judgements, God was at rest and comforted, Ezek. 5.13. Their fears, sorrows, distractions, sufferings famine, were severall spices, they were spiced withall, and it was meat and drink to the Chaldaeans at last, to destroy them, being made faint, and feeble with a long siedge.

Let the bones be burnt.

Let the strongest Souldiers, wealthiest Citizens, and prin­cipal men of the City, bee weakened and consumed in this siedge, or at the end of it; not onely the poor and low ones, but the highest and mightiest ones, the Chaldee hath it, fortes viri ejus insaniant, let her strong men be mad.

11 Then set it empty upon the coals thereof.

When the City should be emptied of the inhabitants there­of, it should bee as a Pot, set on the fire without any thing in it, when it is so, it quickly melts, consumes, and comes to nothing. This Pot must be set on,

  • 1 That it may be melted.
  • 2 That the filthinesse of it may be separated.
  • 3 That the scum and rust may be consumed.

Obs. 1 That sin and wickednesse do defile the places and per­sons where they are, as filthy liquors, scum, and rust, do the vessels and Pots in which they are. This Metaphorical Pot had her filthinesse in it; Jerusalem had shed bloud, set up Altars and Idols, oppressed the fatherlesse, widdows, and strangers, and these things defiled her; not onely were the Citizens, but even the City it self was defiled. The Lepro­sy defiled the garments and the houses, Levit. 14. sinne is that Leprosy which defiles men, garments, houses, Towns, Cities, and Lands, Ezra 9.11. The Land which ye go to pos­sesse, is an unclean Land with the filthinesse of the people; filthy people make all like themselves.

Obs. 2 Destructive judgements upon sinful places are plea­sing unto God; hee incouraged the Chaldaeans to heap on [Page 341] wood, to kindle the fire, Consume the flesh, and to spice it well. Execution of justice, destruction of sinful Cities, and persons, its a Sacrifice well pleasing to God, delighting him as much as any spiced meats do the pallates of men. When Jehu had executed justice upon Ahabs Sonnes, and Baals Priests, see what the Lord said, 2 King. 10.30. Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done un­to the house of Ahab, all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the Throne of Israel; was not the destruction of those wicked ones very pleasing unto the Lord, when he rewarded it so well?

12 She hath wearied her self with lies.

Montanus renders the Hebrew thus, injuriis se afflictavit, shee hath afflicted or wearied her self with injuries, that is, with wronging others. Ʋatablus in his notes hath it thus, in menda­ciis laboravit, shee hath wearied her self, and that aliis infe­rendo injuriam. Her self is not in the Original. The words may therefore refer to God, and so both Junius and Pisca­tor read them, she hath wearied me with her lies and vexations; I often reproved her for her sinnes, threatned her by my Prophets, visited her with my judgements, but all was to no purpose, if at any time shee promised amendment, it was hypocritically, she performed it not; or shee took those waies and courses pleased not mee, nor profited her self, and in those shee both wearied mee, and her self. The word for lies signifies iniquity, vanity, as lye.

Her great scum went not forth of her.

In the sixth vers. the words are, whose scum is not gone out of it: here, her great scum went not out of her, what course soever shee took to advantage her self: her scum rather increased than diminished, shee pretended oft to part with her scum, but never did.

[Page 342]Her scum shall be in the fire.

Seeing her scum and rust (for so the word may bee inter­preted) will not bee gotten out of her, shee shall be served like the unclean vessels that were to pass through the fire, Numb. 31.22, 23. so this Pot or City should bee burnt with fire, and so her scum and rust should be consumed with her.

Obs. 1 Wicked, vain, sinful practices, do weary God, and those that do use them: shee hath wearied mee, shee hath wea­ried her self with lies, that is, with her wretched doings; I have oft presented mercy to her, shee refused it; I have oft called upon her to turn from her idolatry, unjust and bloody doings, but shee hath had a deaf ear; I have waited long for her repentance, and shee hath dissembled with mee, and is grown impenitent; I am weary of waiting any longer. Isa. 65.2, 3. I have spread out my hands all the day to a rebellions people, which walketh in a way that is not good, after their own thoughts, a People that provoketh mee to anger continually to my face, &c. How could it bee but that God should bee weary of such people, and such doings? God tells her, shee had wearied him with her iniquities, Isa. 43.24. O Jacob, Israel, Jerusalem, thine iniquities are so great, many, oft iterated, that I am weary of beholding, of hearing, of bearing them any longer. Others have wearied mee with their words, Mal. 2.17. but you have wearied me with your lying words, and wicked deeds. When my fury hath been kindled in mee, so that I have been ready to pour out judgements up­on you, I have been stopt by the Prayers of some precious ones, and repented mee of what I intended against you, but I will do it no more, I am weary with repenting, Jer. 15.6. God repented, but they repented not, hee would repent no more. And as sinners by their sinful waies, do weary God, so they weary themselves, Jer. 9.5. They have taught their Tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity: Some tire themselves more in the service of sinne and Satan, than others do in the service of God and Christ, Isa. 5.18. they draw iniquity, and they toile at it as horses in a cart:

Obs. 2 When the scum will not bee got out by the word and lesser judgements, God will destroy both scum and Pot together. Her scum went not forth of her, Gods threats by the Pro­phets did no good, his lesser judgements procured it not, the scum still boiled in, the rust still cleaved to the Pot: what then? her scum, her rust, shall bee in the fire: when neither wind, nor water will do it, fire shall.

13 In thy filthinesse is lewdness.

Thou hast defiled thy self with all manner of sinne, with Idols, bloud, prophanenesse, hypocrisy, Covetousnesse, &c. and to these thou addest lewdnesse, that is, obstinacy, thou art setled upon thy lees, and wilt not bee reclaimed; no Counsell, Admonition, reproof, takes with thee, thou standest out against them all. The Vulgar reads it, immun­ditia tua execrabilis, thy Filthinesse is execrable. Zirumah notes, destinatum scelus; a resolved wickednesse, which is execrable. Aecolampad. makes the Filthinesse to be pravum consilium, evil counsell: Jerusalem had hearkened to the false Prophets, taken in their counsell against the true Pro­phets, and was resolved to go on in her waies, Jer. 23.14. they strengthen the hands of evil doers, that none doth return from his wickedness.

Because I have purged thee.

The Hebrew is, Tihartich, which Montanus in the mar­gent gives the sense of, Jussi ut mundares te, I have purged thee, that is, I have commanded that thou shouldest purge thy self. God sent Prophets unto Jerusalem, 2 Chron. 36.15. to tell her of her sinnes, and danger, and to invite and press her to repentance, as Jer. 3.12, 13, 14. who fully declares throughout his prophesy, what sad judgements God would bring upon her, if shee did not purge and cleanse her self. See ch. 6.26. ch. 7.14 ch. 9.11. chap. 13.17. God affording them means for purging, as Prophets, reproofs, admonitions, counsels, exhortations, corrections, is said to have purged them, hee did that which in his wisdome hee thought meet to do.

The Purging here meant is from idolatry, injustice, pro­phanenesse, &c.

And thou wast not purged.

Hebrew, Thou hast not purged thy self. Thou didst not entertain and improve the means afforded; when the Prophets came to thee, and told thee of thy sinnes and dangers, thou didst mock at them, 2 Chron. 36.16. and despise the word they brought. When I smote thee with my correcting hand, thou didst revolt more and more, Isa, 1.5. and thy children received no correction, Jer. 2.30. that is, no benefit by those blows I gave them. Thou saidst, I have loved strangers, and after them will I go, vers. 25. and those in thee said, wee are Lords, wee will come no more unto the Lord, vers. 31. So Jer. 44.16, 17. They did not cease from their wicked waies.

Thou shalt not be purged from thy Filthiness any more.

I will cease from using means to purge thee, my Prophets shall labour no more in vain about thee, they have spent their lungs and strength to reclaim thee, but they shall not do it again, they shall neither reprove, threaten, counsel, or invite thee any more to turn, but thou shalt bee left as desperate and incurable. Hebrew is, Thou shalt not purge thy self from thy Filthinesse any more, if thou wouldest now go about it, it will bee in vain, its too late, I am resolved upon thy destruction.

Till I have made my fury to rest upon thee.

Anger, indignation, wrath, fury, is ira nunquam, qui­escens, donec sumatur vindicta. There is now no purging, but destruction, I shall spend all my judgements upon thee, consume thee, and thine, and so my fury shall rest upon thee, these words we had before, ch. 5.13.21.17.

Donec doth not imply a purging afterwards, Psalm 110.1. Rom. 8.22. Mat. 5.26. until thou hast payed the uttermost, &c.

Obs. 1 Obstinacy in sinne, provokes God to the destruction of sinners: Her scum shall be in the fire. Jerusalem shall bee burnt, and why? in thy filthiness is lewdnesse, thou a [...]t ob­stinate, hardened in thy wickednesse; all sinne offends, some sinnes provoke to judgements, obstinacy provokes to de­struction, Jerem. 44.15, 16, 17. in those verses you have the obstinacy of the Jews in Egypt (they, and others of them had been so obstinate in the land of Judea, that God could bear them no longer, but laid the Land desolate, and made it a curse, v. 22.) and see how the Lord threatens them, v. 27. I will watch over them for evil, and not for good, and all the men of Judah, that are in the land of Egypt, shall bee consu­med by the sword, and by the famine, untill there bee an end of them: and not onely would hee destroy them, but Egypt likewise, where they were, vers. 30. even that should fare the worse for their being in it. Obstinacy in sinne, is worse than the sinne it self, many sinnes are committed, renitente, voluntate, against mans will and purpose, but obstinacy in sinne, is pleno consensu voluntatis, it hath the willfully in it, and therefore must needs exasperate the Lord, Nehem. 3.30. many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy Prophets, yet would they not give ear, therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands, this stubbornnesse of theirs, made the Lord cast them off, and put them into the hands of Hea­thens. Zachary tells you, that for this sin, came a great wrath from the Lord of Hosts upon them, ch. 7.12. not only wrath which is destructive in it self, but great wrath, and that not only from the Lord, but from the Lord of hosts; as if the Lord mustered up all his forces, to come against obstinate and rebellious sinners, and poure out great wrath and venge­ance upon them. Certainly obstinate sinners are those the Lord will accomplish his wrath upon, 1 Thess. 2.16. the wrath of God came upon the Jews to the uttermost, even to perfection.

Obs. 2 In Scripture Language, that is said to bee done, which God or men indeavour to do, though it bee not done. I have purged thee: God using means, and indeavouring by his Prophets, Mercies, Threats, and judgements, to purge [Page 346] Jerusalem from her sinne, is called purging, though Jerusalem were not purged, Psalm 69.5. They that destroy mee; Qui