Studies on the Old Testament

By Frédéric Louis Godet

Chapter 4



Moses had spoken of God not only as the Supreme Being, but as the Absolute Being, and consequently of His perfect Will as the law which was in the end to overcome all the self-will, and all the resistance of the creature. It is on this holy certainty that the prophetic spirit in Israel rests. "Thou shalt do," and "Thou shalt not do," are commands, but they are at the same time promises.

All nations have had their oracles or their diviners, but Israel alone has had prophets. Between divination and prophecy there are two principal distinctions. First, divination relates to the present time, but prophecy reaches forward to the very end of History, even to the latter days, according to the expression used by the Hebrew prophets. Every Jewish prophet, with the standard of the Law in his hand, estimates and judges the present in the light of that end which was to realise the Law, and in the same way presents to us the end in the light of and, in some sort, from the particular point of view of, the present time. Hence the moral bond which binds together all prophecies into a great unity. The heathen oracles are nothing but a series of declarations, isolated one from another, like the words which follow each other, without any logical connection, in the columns of a vocabulary. The Jewish prophecies all converging towards one common end, the triumph of the holy Will of Jehovah, are linked together and complement each other, like the terms of one and the same proposition.

From this primary difference there results a second. The oracles only refer to circumstances of private or national life. Jewish prophecy reveals from its very first word its hearing upon mankind as a whole: "The seed of the woman" (this expression, in the original, properly signifies the whole of humanity,) "shall bruise the serpent's head." Later on, it is true, at the time of the call of Abraham, the prophetic horizon seems to narrow itself; prophecy nationalises itself, so to say. But it is then, precisely, that it takes pains to affirm and expressly to declare its universal tendency: "in thy seed," says the voice of God to Abraham, "shall all the families of the earth be blessed." The seed of Abraham, (that is, as is signified in the original, the people of Israel,) is only the means to an end; the end itself was, "all the families of the earth." And when, at last, prophecy limits itself to a sphere still more confined, and concentrates itself upon one single individual, that wonderful Person, in 'Whom all preceding promises were to find their fulfilment, the Messiah, this is the language in which he is spoken of: "I have given thee the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." Rome saw in foreign nations only material for her triumph; but Israel, from the very beginning, looked upon itself as the agent for the salvation of the world, as the predestined instrument for the welfare of the nations. This marvellous fact deserves more serious attention from the philosophy of history than it has yet received; all the more so, because this is not an isolated feature, but is connected with a more general truth. "Whilst we see all other nations marching forward with gaze fixed upon the earth, and absorbed only in thoughts of their own power and temporal prosperity, Israel is seen, in history, advancing with hands ever outstretched towards a future good, distinctly contemplated, and the hope of which it boldly makes the very principle and support of its existence. The Gentiles are the peoples of the present, the nations of the earth, as our Lord expresses it; Israel never ceases, even in the midst of its calamities, to feel itself the nation of the future.

It was prophecy which, more than all else, helped to keep alive in the Jewish people this wonderful aspiration which no national disaster could extinguish. As a living application of the Divine law—of its promises and threats—to the present, and as a picture, at once austere and brilliant, of the final triumph of this law, prophecy was, through all ages, to Israel, as it were the bridge between its present and its future. Accordingly, at no epoch of importance did the grand voice of prophecy fail the chosen people. At the time of the foundation of the monarchy, David and his singers announced in hymns, which we still possess, the propagation over the whole earth of the knowledge of Jehovah. One or two centuries later, at that critical moment when the little Israelitish state found itself in contact with the huge monarchies which bordered upon it to the south and east, a whole group of prophets, Joel, Amos, Micah, Isaiah, illumined its onward path beset with rocks. Two centuries later, when the kingdom of Judah fell beneath the blows of the victorious Chaldean, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah supported it under this terrible catastrophe. During the captivity, Ezekiel and Daniel prepared the way for the return. And when at last the unhoped-for restoration was accomplished, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi received the mission to preside over this re-establishment.

After Malachi, the chain of prophecy is broken for a time. During the four centuries which follow, Israel acknowledges itself destitute of the breath of prophecy1. But in the person of John the Baptist, the mysterious chain is re-knit, and he appears who was at once the last of the prophets, and more than a prophet. Then comes the decisive moment when the spirit of prophecy withdraws from Israel, and passes into Jesus, and through the Apostles into the new people of God.

It is of the four chief among these extraordinary men, sent to the chosen people, that we are now about to treat. I do not propose either to trace their history in detail, or to embark in the critical study of the writings which Jewish tradition attributes to them. My wish is only to mark the relation which exists between the dominant thought of their ministry, as it stands out generally in the books which bear their names, and the moral position of their nation in the age in which they lived.

These men of God, while tracing for their own times the great lines of the Divine plan, have determined for ever the normal direction of human thought. The carrying out of this same plan, sketched by them in broad lines, is bearing us onward even in this our day. Hence we have still something to learn from them. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, are for us not only prophets; they are and will continue to be our prophets.


The title which forms the preamble of the book of this prophet places his ministry under four kings; Josiah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah. According to the Jewish tradition, he lived even into the reign of the son of this last, Manasseh. He is said to have perished sawn asunder, in the trunk of a tree in which he had taken refuge, by the hand of the executioners sent by the king to take him. His ministry must have lasted nearly sixty years.

It has been asserted that Isaiah was descended from the royal race. This legend is probably only a way of expressing by the help of a symbol the kingly majesty of his thought and style.

Isaiah lived at a nearly equal distance of time from the foundation of the monarchy under Saul and David (eleven centuries B.C.), and its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar (five or six centuries B.C.) This was a critical epoch, a decisive moment in the history of the nation. Until then, notwithstanding some vexatious events, such as the separation of the ten tribes, and an Egyptian invasion under Rehoboam, the little theocratic kingdom had held its ground admirably. It had preserved its independence, and had maintained its prosperity almost at the level to which its first sovereigns had raised it. Seated upon her mountains, Jerusalem reigned proudly over the territories of Judah and Benjamin. The temple was always the focus of life, the heart of the nation.

But at this time a serious question was suggesting itself: was this state of prosperity—the result of the spiritual awakening due to the labours of Samuel and David—to continue, or was it coming to an end? Two enemies were threatening it; one internal—the dissolution of morals which this long-continued prosperity began to engender. Beneath the regularity of worship and the pomp of ceremonies lay concealed, ever more and more, alienation from God, and hearts without devotion. Under apparent invocation of the Name of Jehovah there was, ever growing, the love of luxury, and of the riches and pleasures of the world. A practised ear, such as that of Isaiah, could hear resounding out of heaven this sentence: "This people honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me." The moral level of the nation was sinking instead of rising. The other enemy threatened from without—the Assyrian power which was growing up in the East. Like some devastating torrent, it already made itself heard on the other side of the desert, in low mutterings. Placed between this growing power and the ancient Egyptian monarchy, the little state of Judah might either be tempted to throw itself into the arms of the latter, to escape from Assyria, or to lean upon Assyria — ^that is, to make of it ere long a master—in order to ward off the blows with which Egypt constantly threatened it; two policies between which human prudence might well hesitate, but which faith in Jehovah, the Head and Protector of the theocracy, condemned equally. Strict neutrality between its powerful neighbours was for Judah at once the line of conduct prescribed by fidelity to God, and the surest guarantee of its own independence.

There are, in the life of every individual man and of every nation, a small number of tragic moments, which are decisive of their future for a long time. The age of Isaiah was for Israel the most solemn of these times. A precipice opened before it, down which it already began to be drawn. This was the moment for the nation either to regain its footing on the tableland at the top, or to give itself up to the power which was beginning to take possession of it. If it chose the latter alternative, energetic action was needless; it had but to let itself go. In that case, inaction was really action. But if, on the contrary, it chose the former coarse, it must enter upon intelligent, voluntary, energetic action, and adopt a decided line. But to bring it to that, a strong moral movement was needed. To labour to effect this was the mission of Isaiah.

He has himself, in chap. vi. of his prophecies, drawn the picture of his first meeting with Jehovah —of the vision in which he received his mission. We find already fully revealed, in this interview between the Eternal and His prophet, the three great ideas which were the sustaining powers of his ministry of sixty years. The first: God is holy, therefore His people Israel must be holy. Holiness is to be the unchangeable law of their national existence: "Holy, holy, holy," cry one to another, with subdued voice, the seraphim standing before the throne. And the sanctuary is shaken. Isaiah catches a sudden glimpse, terrible in its clearness, of his own and his people's sin; he feels himself, as it were, struck dead at the sight. Hence the second thought: the nation is already too far gone in sin to be able to accept in earnest the appeals for reform addressed to them by the prophet on behalf of God. ''They hear indeed, but do not understand." In order to purify this people, whom God has already ceased to call My people, words are not sufficient; there must be a great national chastisement, "Lord, how long?" asks the prophet. "Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate," is the Lord's answer. But is that to be the end of the prophetic vision? No; and here is the third thought: as the metal comes forth from the crucible, reduced in size but purified, so, after the judgment which shall fall twice upon the people, there shall remain a holy remnant, the germ of the true people of God. "In it shall be a tenth, and it shall return and shall be eaten; as a teil tree, and as an oak whose substance is in them when they cast their leaves, so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof."

Thus, holiness as the law, chastisement as the means, and the holy remnant as the result; these are the three fundamental thoughts of this Divine dialogue, the foundation of the whole ministry of Isaiah. They Bum up, if I may so say, the whole religious philosophy of the prophet; a philosophy evidently superior to mere human wisdom, and descending from that same Sinai, whence came forth the Law.

Under the head of the first of these three principles, there was unveiled to Isaiah the glorious vision of the royal Advent of the Messiah, and of His reign of holiness and of peace.

"For unto us a child is bom, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty

God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace "

"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a £ranch shall grow out of his roots: and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' dea. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious2."

These visions could not be directly reached by the people of Judah except by the normal road of national sanctification. But the moral state of the nation does not allow the expectation of such a fulfilment of prophecy as would be the reward of faithfulness. Two vices render Judah incapable of answering, in its present state, to the purposes of God: one, that merely external devotion which it makes its pillow of security; ^ the other, the tendency to idolatry and to all the vices connected with it. This mass, formed of such heterogeneous elements, must, therefore, undergo a severe winnowing; "Sion shall he redeemed with judgment3." This necessity is not an arbitrary fate—it is altogether moral. Israel alone is responsible for it. It was free to escape. But Isaiah reads the contrary, written plain both on the present and the future. He unfolds his views on this subject in a particular case, when, addressing Hezekiah who had complacently spread forth his treasures before the ambassadors of the king of Babylon, he says, " Behold, the days come that all that is in thine house. . . . shall be carried to Babylon4." The folly of Hezekiah is only a sample of the still grosser folly of the people. The Divine decree of exile rests upon the perception of the folly of Israel, and upon the knowledge of its consequences.

But answering to this necessity for punishment—the result of the sin of man—there is another necessity—the fruit of the pure and free grace of God.

Has it ever happened to you, on a beautiful autumn day, to sit down on some landing-place of one of our Jurassic mountains, at the edge of the incline which descends almost perpendicularly into the plain below? The bottom of the immense space spread out under your feet was covered with a thick fog, which, like a cold winding-sheet, concealed from your eyes the lakes, fields, and villages. For some time your eyes fell sadly upon this misty abyss. Then suddenly they rose, as if instinctively, to seek some other object; and what was the sight now revealed to them? It was those silvered summits, terraced majestically in two or three stages one above another, which form the southern wall of our country, shining brightly above the sea of fog which enveloped the plain, like a heavenly apparition. And you could not take your eyes off this glorious picture, which no artist's pencil could reproduce.

At the time when Isaiah prophesied, the immediate future of Israel lay dark before him. The moral decay was beginning. The eye of the prophet scanned with terror the rapidity of the descent, the violence and depth of the inevitable fall. Bat beyond and above this abyss of sin and of chastisement, there shone out before his prophetic gaze a most glorious future, a double salvation.

First, a temporary deliverance—the national restoration after the purifying judgment of the Captivity; secondly—higher and more distant—the true, the eternal salvation, the reconciliation of Israel and of mankind with Heaven, the establishment of the kingdom of God upon the whole earth, by means of the holy remnant which was to emerge from the crucible of chastisement.

As agents of these two deliverances, Isaiah sees before him two persons. One is to be a pagan king; for, once sent into exile, Israel has no longer a national king. This foreign king God calls His anointed, like the Messiah Himself. He is to be a kind of Messiah, raised up to do a temporary work, from the midst of the Gentiles. His name is to be Cyrus, Coresch from Kurusch, a Persian word which means sun, and which was perhaps at this time a dynastic title, like the name of Pharaoh.

''Thus saith the Lord: Cyrus is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus. . . . For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called Thee5."

Everyone knows that Jerusalem and the temple were rebuilt in consequence of an edict issued by the young Persian conqueror, Aggradatus, surnamed Cyrus, in the year 536 B.C.

But this political restoration is only to be the first stage of the redemption. Isaiah contemplates the advent of another Person, "Who is to complete the work thus begun; it is that of the servant of Jehovah, In one sense, the whole nation of Israel already bears this title; the prophets bear it in a more special sense. But this messenger alone realises it in perfection. This is the Messiah Himself, charged with the complete fulfilment here below of the Divine decree. But—here is a notable fact—Isaiah no longer sees Him as at the beginning, girded with power, crowned with glory, seated on the throne of His father David. Not, indeed, that these hopes are withdrawn J the day will come when they also shall be realised. But at the moment Isaiah beholds Him charged with another task, which is the preliminary condition of His royal dignity. As Israel must for its sins pass through the judgment of the Captivity, as the whole world is under the weight of a universal condemnation, so must a judgment reach the Servant of Jehovah. His condemnation alone shall definitively take away that of Israel and of the whole human race. It is now as a victim that Isaiah sees the Messiah make His appearance. Before He becomes the Prince of Peace, as he had before beheld Him, He is to be the Man of sorrows.

"Who hath believed our report P and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: be hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with' the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors6."

"We are aware how many things are in our day denied, but we cannot conceive how, in presence of this picture, drawn seven centuries B.C., any one will deny the reality of the inspiration of prophecy7.

But this Messiah, steeped in humiliations, is not one who answers to the disappointed aspirations of the bulk of the people. "Who hath believed our report?" says the prophet himself as he introduces this picture. Isaiah himself hears this faithful Servant of God, crying out in his nights of watching and prayer, "I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought and in vain8." But the answer of the Eternal is magnificent: "It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth9."

These are some specimens of the manner in which Isaiah dev elopes and applies the three great ideas in which his prophecy is summed up: a destiny of holiness imposed upon Israel as the people of Jehovah; holy judgments always hanging over them, if they do not conform to this destination which is the law of their existence; and a holy and imperishable remnant, purified by repeated judgments, by means of which will be realised that glorious state of things which is to shine forth in the latter days.

Could these intuitions, and their various applications in the prophecy, be only emanations of the Jewish consciousness, or previsions of human reason? The future transportation of the nation to Babylon; its restoration —a fact unparalleled in all history; the appearance of a Messiah, covered at first with opprobrium, and then, pursuing still His course, crowned with honour; the rejection of this Messiah by Israel itself—the people prepared to receive Him; finally, the setting up of the Kingdom of God among the Gentiles through faith in that Christ from "Whom Israel had turned away in scorn,—could these be ideas inspired by the spirit of that nation, or simple natural presentiments? If the Providence that governs history did not mark these ideas with a stamp of Divinity, their contents alone would suffice to reveal their source. Such a breath of holiness does not spring from the heart of man.

The name which Isaiah delights to give to God in his book is the Holy One of Israel. This Name is the summing up, as one may see, of the whole of his prophecy. It brings to light also, in a striking manner, the relation between his ministry and the era the peculiar needs of which it was his mission to answer.


In the time of Isaiah two courses were open for Israel. Either to let itself go down the steep descent which opened under its feet, or to strengthen its hold upon the table-land above. A century and It half later, in the time of Jeremiah, this alternative was no longer open. Israel had already descended far down the fatal slope, and was on the point of falling over the precipice. The people were giving themselves up to idolatry with an ardour akin to madness. Never has this strange worship better deserved the name of *^ possession on a great scale" which has been bestowed upon it with so much reason. All the divinities of the East, Baal, Astarte, Moloch, Thammuz, seem to have agreed to meet in Jerusalem; the temple had become a pantheon. The three last kings were among the very worst that the little state ever had. Under Jehoiakim, the Chaldean conqueror, Nebuchadnezzar, appears for the first time in the Holy Land, and Judah becomes tributary to him. A little later, Jehoiachin, his successor, is himself taken captive with the best part of his people. Finally, under Zedekiah, Nebuchadnezzar strikes the last blow; Jerusalem is destroyed, together with the temple.

Such are the circumstances in the midst of which Jeremiah was called to exercise the prophetic ministry. Never was heavier burden laid upon the shoulders of mortal man. A man of tender, loving, yielding, deeply-impressible spirit, Jeremiah intensely loved his country. He would have given all he had to see Judah flourishing, Jerusalem prosperous; and, lo, we see him compelled by his destiny to announce to his fellow-citizens nothing but misfortune. His office was like that of the minister obliged to accompany a criminal to the scaffold. He induces Israel and its king to submit to the decree of the Divine justice. He depicts the uselessness, danger, and sin of resistance. At the sound of these strange words, his hearers spring upon him with indignation and rage; they accuse him of connivance with the enemies of his country. King Jehoiakim tears up the collection of his first discourses, and throws the shreds into the fire.

The fiery patriots seize the prophet, and throw him to the bottom of a well without water. He passes whole days and nights in this horrible prison. But what are his physical sufferings compared with the moral torment he endures in seeing himself treated as the enemy of his country—he who lives and suffers only for love of her? Can one be surprised, if now and then sinking under the burden, he is tempted, like Job, to curse the day of his birth?

But these are only transitory moments of weakness. Soon faith regains the ascendant, and with the same courage with which he had dared to preach to his people submission to the foreign conqueror, he now endeavours to animate them once more with hope, and boldly proclaims the deliverance that shall come. One day, while the Chaldean army still holds Jerusalem in siege, Jeremiah buys, by a legal act, for himself and his descendants, the field on which the army of the Chaldeans is encamped, thus giving to Israel, at the very moment when he announced its coming destruction, a public pledge of his belief in its future restoration. Another time he announces that after seventy years, when Israel shall have expiated all the Sabbaths and all the Sabbatical years they had profaned, this people shall return from the strange land and re-enter the land of their fathers. Nay more, he sees the justice of God, now so merciless to them and under whose blows he had counselled them to bow down, ready soon to rise up in favour of the guilty but repentant nation and to pronounce its absolution. And in the strength of this courageous faith, he is not afraid to give to the Messiah that name which defies all present misfortunes: the Lord our Righteousness,

This is because, upon the ruins of the old covenant, henceforth broken through the faithlessness of Israel, Jeremiah sees another arising, founded upon a high^ contract, more excellent both in its nature and its duration than that of Sinai. Here is the culminating point, not only of the prophecy of Jeremiah, but of that of the whole Old Testament; the marvellous prediction of the abolition of that very covenant to which the prophecy itself belongs, and of the coining in of a totally different order of things, resting upon anew basis:—

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts. . . . and they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more 10."

We do not think History contains another instance of a religion which, while claiming to be Divine, yet proclaims' its own insufficiency, and announces a new one which will bestow upon humanity more excellent gifts. This is that miracle of self-abnegation which is repeated later on in time, in the personal relation of John the Baptist to Jesus Christ.

The renewing of hearts by the Holy Spirit—that renewal which is the fruit of the forgiveness of sins and the spring of an obedience free and filial, which the Law never had the power to produce—this is the basis of the new covenant, announced by Jeremiah, which should one day be established between Jehovah and mankind. These foundations, so distinctly indicated six centuries beforehand, were really laid in the two days, Good-Friday and Pentecost; they are these—reconciliation through the Blood of the Lamb, and renewal of the heart by the Holy Spirit. Here we discover in the prophet an intuition, the purest and most spiritual, of the kingdom of God upon earth. Here we see the noble hopes with which God sustained him 8uid the whole nation, at the moment when they were witnessing the downfall of the visible theocracy.

Accordingly, when, after a long siege, the enemy effected an entrance into Jerusalem, Jeremiah was able to contemplate with resignation the destruction of the city which ho loved, the burning of the temple in which he had so often officiated as a priest. The conqueror treated him with respect; he gave him the choice of either accompanying him to Babylon, or remaining in the land of his fathers. Jeremiah had no hesitation in preferring his own desolated country to the splendour of the foreign capital. It was at this time, no doubt, that he composed those fine elegies which are collected in the Book of Lamentations. Then, faithful to the last to his thankless mission, he followed without delay the remainder of his people into Egypt, whither, after the assassination of the Chaldean governor, the remnant of the Israelites fled for shelter from the vengeance which they feared. According to Jewish tradition, Jeremiah perished in Egypt, a victim to the hatred drawn down upon him hy the warnings which he was never weary of uttering to these senseless people.

Succeeding ages have done justice to Jeremiah. The more his contemporaries humiliated and ill-treated him, the more has posterity exalted and glorified him, to such a degree that in the time of Jesus, as we see in the "New Testament, he was known by the name simply of the prophet. And this was but right. If the picture which he has drawn of the new covenant is the culminating point of prophecy, is not his own personal fate the most complete type of that of the Messiah? Is not his conflict with the excited patriots and false prophets of his time, the prelude to that of Jesus with those Pharisees and zealots who over- excited the carnal hopes of Israel, and were preparing for them the most terrible of delusions? Jeremiah is certainly, more than any other before John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Man of Sorrows.

God as the Righteous One,—that is the dominant idea of his ministry. To bow beneath the Hand of God when He chastises, and then to wait upon Him as alone having power to absolve the nation on their repentance— ^this, indeed, was the very message which Israel needed at the time when Jeremiah was given to them as their counsellor and their guide. We have just seen with what unconquerable fidelity this naturally gentle and tender heart succeeded in fulfilling this office; God, when He called him, had "touched his mouth with His hand11."


Although younger than Jeremiah, Ezekiel was for some time his contemporary. "Whilst the one was prophesying in Jerusalem, the other was fulfilling his ministry in Babylonia. Several years before the ruin of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar had carried captive to the East the élite of the Jewish people, and particularly many young men belonging to the best Jewish families. These were the first-fruits of the approaching harvest. Among these young exiles was Ezekiel. He was sent, with the company of captives to which he belonged, into Mesopotamia on the banks of the Chebar, a tributary of the Euphrates. The place in which he was settled—or as we should now say 'interné'—was called Tel-Abib, which means the "hill of corn." This name indicates the fertility of the country. Looking from the point of view of material prosperity, there seemed to be nothing wanting to this colony. The elders used to meet together in the house of the young prophet; for public preaching, such as was practised in Jerusalem, was not possible in a foreign land. Ezekiel communicated to them the revelations of the Eternal; and they transmitted them to the people around.

Jerusalem was still standing. The fate of their menaced country engrossed the thoughts of the exiles. Their state of mind was one of profound discouragement. The prospect of the great national judgment for which Jeremiah had prepared them, was not yet accepted by them. Until their submission was complete, moral improvement was impossible. Ezekiel was therefore obliged to begin by completing the work of Jeremiah in bringing the exiles to verify in their own conscience the judgment now about to fall upon their country. This was the object of the first part of his ministry.

God transports him in spirit to the land of mountains,—so does the beloved home of his childhood and youth present itself to his memory, in the midst of the vast plains over which his eye now wanders. He imagines himself present at the idolatrous abominations, of which Jerusalem, and even the temple itself, is the scene. He contemplates, in a vision, the Israelitish women celebrating, in the sanctuary, the feast of the Phenician god Thammuz, the Adonis of the Greeks. In the inner court, the high-priest, at the head of the chiefs of the twenty-four classes of sacrificers, is worshipping the sun. Then, following upon these profanations, he beholds the mysterious cloud, symbol of the Presence of God, rising from over the Holy of Holies, and moving off to the threshold of the temple. Thence it once more rises, and now takes up its position upon the Mount of Olives, to the east of the city,—thus abandoning Jerusalem and the temple into the hands of the enemy, in order to shelter that portion only of the nation which had been carried away to the East, and which was thenceforth to be the sole hope of the kingdom of God upon earth. Wondrous picture, fitted to make the exiles accept the approaching destruction of the city and of the temple, and at the same time to kindle in them faith in their future restoration!

One morning, however, Ezekiel announced to the elders that his mouth would be closed until the day when one that had escaped should bring to the exiles the fatal news of the taking of Jerusalem. On the evening of that same day the wife of the prophet died suddenly. And the Lord, by forbidding Ezekiel to put on mourning for her who had been the delight of his life, made the exiles understand what their conduct should be when the news of the great national mourning should reach them. Three years went by under the burden of this suspense. At last the messenger arrived. On the same day the power of speech was restored to the prophet. Was it in order to sing a lamentation, like those which Jeremiah uttered, over the smoking ruins of the capital? No; but to reveal visions of restoration and of glory. In one of his former visions, Ezekiel had beheld a stream of fire issuing from the throne of God. That was a fitting symbol of his own preaching, which from this time poured itself into the broken hearts of the people like a river of hope.

His beloved country rises once more to his mind's eye. Now no longer a desolated land, but a country richly inhabited. "Worshipped by his now restored people, the Lord gives them as their shepherd a new David.

"And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And 1 the Lord will be their God, aud my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it. And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. . . And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid12."

But this return of Israel into their own land is only the beginning of blessings. Ezekiel beholds it followed by still more precious gifts:—

"Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them13."

Nevertheless, to all these promises, temporal or spiritual, what is the response of the people around him? In the depth of despondency, they cry: All this is very grand, but impossible. "Was such a sight ever seen, as that a nation which had been carried away captive into a strange land, should return to its home? Babylonia seemed to the captives like a great pit into which they were to be cast for ever, and from which no power could ever draw them out. Bitterly they cry: "Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost; we are cut off for our parts14." At the sound of these words, Ezekiel rouses himself. How is he ever to conquer this dull faithlessness? Suddenly the eye of the prophet opens: God shews him a vision, of which no catastrophe shall ever be able to efface the memory, either from the heart of Israel, or from mankind. He finds himself alone in the midst of a boundless plain, all strewn with bones, and these bones are all utterly dry. The hand of the Lord is upon the prophet, and makes him pass through this scene of desolation. Before him on every side is the absolute victory of death over life. It is like the scene of some bloody battle, which no human foot has trodden during the ages that have passed away since the day of that terrible conflict. Nature has completed her work of destruction. Every vestige of life has disappeared in these dried-up remains. At the close of this-vision the Lord says to him:—

"Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, Lord God, Thou knowest. Again he said unto me. Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: and I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone15."

No sooner has Ezekiel uttered the Divine command to these bones, than over the whole extent of the plain, movement succeeds to stillness, and a mysterious sound to the profound silence. These bones begin to stir—to come together; they form into skeletons; then appear the sinews—and the flesh covers the sinews, and clothes itself in skin.—But here the whole process ends. The organs of life are there, but life itself is wanting. They are no longer mere skeletons, but still they are only dead bodies,—"there is no breath in them," says the prophet. This is but the first phase of a resurrection. But the Lord will not leave His work unfinished:—

"Then said he unto me. Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army16."

Now the resurrection is complete. What is the significance of those two actions, by means of which it is effected? God Himself explains them in the following words:^

"O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves,. . . . and I will put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live; then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it17."

Here we have the picture of a double restoration; primarily an external and political elevation of the people, of which the former phase of the resurrection is the image; this is the return from the Captivity. But a national restoration can give to a people only the organs of life—civil and social institutions, not life itself, Now what is the most brilliant and prosperous state, without life—without the Divine breath, the spirit of holiness? It is but as a flower that soon fades away without having borne its fruit. The return of Israel into their own country, if it was truly to deserve the name of a resurrection, should culminate in the kingdom of God; but this can only be by means of a gift from heaven, that of spiritual life. In Pentecost, then, we see the second act represented in the vision, and one which, while effecting the spiritual regeneration of the nation, will also inaugurate the new era of a salvation for all mankind.

The eye of the prophet penetrates further still into the depths of the future. Each prophet has contemplated under some one particular aspect the final scene of the picture, the latter days. Ezekiel, the priest, sees this final consummation under the image of a temple of admirable purity of form. This sanctuary, which he describes in the nine last chapters of his book, is not a servile reproduction of Solomon's temple, now destroyed. It is distinguished from that by very significant differences; the ark and the mercy-seat are no longer seen in the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place; there is no golden altar in the latter; a simple table like that around which a father gathers his children, has replaced the altar of incense. But the most remarkable feature, is a stream which issues from the threshold of this new sanctuary. It is of no great depth at first; when Ezekiel crosses it in the inner court, the water only reaches to the ancles. But this mysterious stream, although receiving no tributary from without, increases visibly as it advances in its course. "When Ezekiel crosses it a little lower down, the water already reaches to his knees. Further on, the water rises to his loins; and when he has passed still lower down along the river, he can no longer cross it on foot, he must swim over it. These wonderful waters seem to increase in hulk by some internal virtue of their own, and each drop possesses the strange property of becoming in its turn a spring.

The stream runs eastward, towards the low plains which extend to the north of the Dead Sea. As it crosses the barren lands to the east of Jerusalem, it transforms them into fertile orchards. Fruitful trees, like those of Eden, grow upon its hanks. Arrived at the valley of the Jordan, the stream crosses it, and pours itself into the Dead Sea. It is well known that this lake, saturated with salt and asphalt, cannot give life to any fish; and that its hanks, covered with white saline emanations, and intersected by black streams of asphalt running down from the neighbouring mountains, are almost entirely uninhabited. But the stream that issues from the sanctuary no sooner reaches the waters of this sea than it heals them. Soon the fish begin to live and multiply in them. Colonies of fishermen establish themselves upon its banks; and in these solitudes, the stir of industry and social life succeeds to the stillness of death.

Some have attempted to interpret these pictures literally. They have maintained that Ezekiel intended to paint the actual temple which Israel should re-build at the return from the Captivity. But how can we suppose he would have allowed himself to make such radical changes in the ordinances of the sanctuary established by Moses? And how could a literal river flow out of such a building? Who ever saw a stream running down from the top of a table-land, commanded by no height above it, and this stream increasing without receiving any tributary, by its own inherent force? Besides, are not the spiritual meanings of the modifications introduced into the ancient forms of the sanctuary sufficiently evident? The substitution of a simple table for the golden altar; the suppression of the veil between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies; are not these expressive emblems of that perfect communion with God, in which the faithful under the new covenant may draw near to Him without restraint, and where God receives them at His table as a father does his children? The stream of healing waters which issues from the sanctuary,—is it not an image of that ever-rising stream—the "Word and the Spirit of the Lord—which, just so far as it effects an entrance into humanity, makes all things in it new, and becomes in every heart which receives it a living spring of new life18? These fruit-trees, growing upon either bank of the river, do not they represent those beneficent institutions which ever mark the course of the Gospel in the midst of a believing population; and this Dead Sea, purified and healed, does it not typify the heathen world, that unclean sewer, becoming, by means of the life which flows from Christ, the scene of the noblest works of God?

One last touch completes the beauty of this picture. That cloud which Ezekiel had beheld in the beginning, withdrawing itself from the desecrated temple, he now sees making its solemn entry into this perfected sanctuary. God comes to dwell in the midst of His renovated temple. In fact, even whilst sometimes God gives up to destruction the visible institutions which have temporarily served as instruments for His work, He never abandons the work itself. He reserves to Himself the power of renewing it after each failure, under a form more spiritual and more holy. It was by means of these glorious visions that Ezekiel laboured to revive the courage of the exiles, and made them fitted— ^them and their descendants—to preserve for some centuries longer the ancient theocratic institution, of which the mission was not yet accomplished.

The Omnipotence of the living God,—that is the idea which predominates in the whole ministry of Ezekiel. It was that which was demanded by the condition of a people in whom the sense of their weakness was in danger of becoming an overwhelming discouragement.


Daniel had been carried into captivity nearly at the same time as Ezekiel; but whilst the latter exercised his ministry in the country, the former was living in the capital, where he filled one of the highest social positions. He had been dedicated by his master, the king of Babylon, to the study of astronomy in the college of magicians, in order that he might learn the art of discovering by the movements of the stars the designs of God. After having given to Nebuchadnezzar the interpretation of a wonderful dream, he became one of the first rulers in the empire. From this exalted position, as from the top of a tower overlooking the whole country, he contemplated the course of history—of that which was then passing before his eyes, as well as of that which should happen in the future. He was already advanced in years when Cyaxares, king of Media, (called in our Scriptures Darius the Mede,) with the help of his young ally, Cyrus, king of Persia, took Babylon by assault, and overthrew the vast empire of the Chaldeans. This event was followed immediately by the famous decree which permitted the Jews to return to their own country and rebuild their temple. A solitary instance in history of such a permission! It is natural enough to suppose that Daniel, who was in high favour at the court of the new sovereign, as he had been in that of the old, had some share in bringing about this measure. But he did not associate himself personally with its realisation; and when the exiles took their journey to their own country, he only followed them with his eyes. He thought he could be of more use to his poor fellow-countrymen by remaining at the court of the Persian monarchs than by his presence at Jerusalem.

This wonderful and almost miraculous return had raised to the highest pitch the expectations of Israel. As it had been the habit of the prophets to connect in their visions the glories of the latter days with the blessings of the immediate future, they placed no interval between their picture of the return from captivity and the description of the times of the Messiah. The people, giving a chronological interpretation to this connection, imagined that the restoration of Jerusalem would immediately precede the coming of the Christ. But a larger horizon spread before the eyes of Daniel; and the aim of his ministry was to inspire into Israel a new virtue—that of calmness in expectation, of faith taking the form of perseverance.

Already, under Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel had had a vision of the unfolding of history up to the coming of the Messiah, under many grand phases,—stages in the journey of humanity in search of its lost unity. In the colossal image, "whose head was of gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, and his feet part of iron and part of clay," he had recognised four forms of terrestrial power, hostile to God, which were to succeed each other before the coming of Christ. Then, in the little stone, cut out from the mountain without hands, which had smitten and overturned the image and taken its place, becoming a great mountain which filled the whole earth, he had discerned without difficulty the kingdom of the Messiah, feeble at its beginning, but growing through the Divine power, and taking the place of all other powers. And who could fail to see the wonderful correspondence between this prophetic picture and the general course of history? At the very moment when the last and mightiest of the heathen monarchies was swallowing up the remains of all the preceding ones, and gathering together under one rule all the nations of the world, a Child of obscure parentage was born in Bethlehem, and grew up at!N"azareth. It was the power of the Spirit which was then making its appearance and becoming incarnate in a Man, soon to come into collision with the brutality of earthly power. The shock took place, and we know its effects. The image has crumbled to pieces; the little stone is uninjured and still growing. The trial, it is true, is not yet over; but the results of experience are before us, to enable us to foresee the realisation of the end described in the prophetic vision.

Thus, then, four great empires are to succeed each other from the time of Daniel to that of the Messiah, on the stage of the world. Daniel contemplates them over again in the vision related in chap, vii., under the image of the four living creatures which he beholds emerging in succession from the waters of the sea—that is, from the midst of heathendom—and which vanish to make room for the one only eternal kingdom—that of which the figure of the Son of Man is the emblem.

But what is to become of the little nation of Israel, only just restored, in the midst of these political convulsions which it must pass through before it reaches the promised salvation? During the Captivity, Daniel had been one day employed in calculating the length of the time during which the national punishment was yet to last. He knew, no doubt, that Jeremiah had fixed seventy years as the length of the duration of the exile. But the date from which to calculate was not determined; for there had been several deportations. Daniel, however, could not doubt that the end must be near; and his prayer was at that very time hastening on the desired event. Gabriel, the interpreter of the Divine mercies, appears to him and announces that the return is indeed very near, but that that event will by no means coincide, as Israel imagines, with the coming of the Messiah. God's people have still long and grievous periods to go through, before they will reach the goal so impatiently expected. The heavenly messenger, in the first place, marks out distinctly the whole of the period which is to intervene between the return from the captivity and the coming of Christ. It was to be a vast cycle of seventy weeks of years; exactly seven times as long as the Captivity had lasted; as if God wished to say to His people: " add to that long period of exile seven times its own length, and you will have an idea of the length of the interval which still separates you from the moment which you think so near."

" Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy19."

These six expressions, of which the three first describe the complete abolition of sin, the three last the perfect realisation of righteousness on the earth, can only relate to the consummation of the Divine work,—the time of the Messiah. Seven times seventy years, that is to say 490 years, or about five centuries—such, to speak generally, is the measure of the cycle which comprehends the remainder of the history of Israel between the return from the Captivity and the kingdom of God. We know that the edict of Cyrus was issued in the year B.C. 536. There is, then, evidently an approximative coincidence between the prophetic cycle, and the historic period which answers to it. We should here remember that the figures of the prophetic periods have always a typical side, and are subject to the law of the sacred numbers. Their chronological value cannot therefore be exact.

After this first summary statement, the general cycle is subdivided into three subordinate periods. The first is reckoned at seven weeks20, that is, forty-nine years, or very nearly half-a-century. This number stands for the period of the restoration, that is to say, the time of the rebuilding of the temple, of the holy city, and of its walls. The second sub-division is sixty-two weeks, 434 years, about four centuries and a half. This number has no special value of its own. It is merely the result of the subtraction of the numbers of the first and third subdivisions from that of the total period. It is the measure of the time of maintenance of the restored people, of that long state of almost constant warfare for Israel, during the great political convulsions which followed the national restoration. The third sub-division only includes one single week, seven years; this is the closing period, the time of the advent and work of the Messiah; the number seven marks the peculiar sacredness of this final period. In the midst of this notable week the Messiah disappears; for one part of the nation the covenant is confirmed and renewed by His death; but for the mass of the people, sacrifice is for ever abolished, and that final ruin decreed which was to be consummated by a foreign invasion.

It is evident that here we are dealing with vast cycles, like those with which the mind of Daniel had been familiarised by his astronomical studies. Revelation adapts itself to the conceptions of those who are to be its organs. But we must not expect history to bind itself slavishly to the exactness of those mathematical definitions of which the laws are of a different kind. History is the domain of human liberty; it cannot be controlled by the rhythm of the sacred numbers, three, seven, and ten21.

Let not Israel then give itself up to chimerical expectations, which will but lead to a series of disappointments! The world is far from being ripe for salvation; Israel itself is not yet sufficiently prepared for it But God is King of the ages, (such is the grand thought of Daniel,) and His promises will be accomplished in their time.

When Israel began to fall asleep in her prosperity, Isaiah said, "Thy God is holy; beware! awake! judgment hangs over thy head." Israel, paying no heed to this warning, gave way to the deep slumbers of sin. A little later, when the fated hour of punishment was just about to strike, Jeremiah cried, " Give glory to God! The Lord is just! Thou hast sinned. Accept without resistance the blow which falls upon thee!" Those who had escaped the national judgment, whom the first deportations had put under shelter in a foreign land, did resign themselves, but not without falling into a deep despondency. There is no more hope, they said one to another in presence of the judgment of God now completed. To them Ezekiel came, saying, "God is mighty; take courage! you will be raised up again." Soon after this Cyrus came. Delivered miraculously, Israel was now able to return to their own country. But at this moment their imagination kindles; the day of glory has arrived; the Christ is about to appear! Then Daniel calms this carnal excitement. "No," he says, "the day of glory is still far distant. You are called to persevere and to stand faithful for a long time yet—for centuries; but the day will come when the words of the Eternal God shall find their fulfilment."

Sanctify yourselves! submit yourselves! Hope! Be patient!—these are the four commands. They correspond well with the four moral situations which we have described.

Isaiah may be compared to a majestic oak, shadowing with its leafy boughs the palace of the kings of Judah in the time of its prosperity. Jeremiah is like a weeping willow, whose branches hang down to the ground, in the midst of the ruins of this deserted palace. Ezekiel reminds us of one of those aromatic Eastern plants whose vivifying odours perfume the country, and revive the heart of the fainting traveller. Daniel is like a tree rising out of the midst of a vast plain, which may be seen from all sides—
a signal to guide the caravan in its march.

So has God in all ages drawn near His people, and answered with the fidelity of a father to their needs. At every critical moment, and, so to say, at every bifurcation of the road, He has been found, rising up early, (according to the beautiful expression of Jeremiah xxix. 19,) and pouring forth His saving counsels through His prophets. And all these different voices combine in one to proclaim together the master-law, the supreme principle of all history: He that exalteth himself shall he abased. It was to this law that all the powers of the ancient world—the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Greek, and the Roman monarchies—had to bow their proud heads. The littleness of Israel was no protection against the application of this great principle. As soon as it took upon itself to make its Divine election the ground of a monopoly, as soon as it dared to make itself an end in itself, instead of simply an instrument, as it was in God's purpose, the thunder-bolt which falls from heaven upon everything that exalts itself, struck it in its littleness. For, let us ever bear in mind22, that the pride of the little is no more tolerable in the eyes of the Most High than that of the great.

This law, indeed, which judged the ancient world, rules the modem world also. It is for this reason that the words of the prophets concern us still. They fell from too great a height to be of merely local or temporary application. Till the end of the world they will recal to men, dazzled with the sense of their own greatness, what they are, and what God is. Individuals, families, nations, all remain for ever subject to this law.

Has a nation attained to the summit of prosperity,—does she flatter herself that she is by her enlightenment, by her political or military organisation, or by her moral development, at the head of the world's civilisation? The Holy Spirit says to her through the mouth of Isaiah: "The lofty looks of man shall be humbled; the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day . . . . Sanctify the Lord of hosts

Himself, and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread23."

Or does a nation, after having shut her ears to the Divine warnings, fall to the earth under the unforeseen judgments which overtake her, and does she lie like a wounded man bleeding upon the ground? Jeremiah comes forth and thus addresses her, '^ Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. . . . "Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins24? "

Does a nation, shattered by the chastisements of the Almighty, do homage to her heavenly Judge, and instead of madly cursing the rod which smites her, give glory to the Hand which chastens her? Then is the moment when Ezekiel cries to her, "Ye shall live, and ye shall know that I am the Lord. . . . when I shall hide my face no more from you j when I have poured out my spirit upon you25."

Finally, does any nation, after having experienced the bright dawn of restoration, give herself up once more to ambitious hopes and earthly aspirations? Daniel comes forward and reminds her that the realisation of the golden age of the latter days is not the work of man, but of the Christ; that the abolition of social miseries can only be the result of the suppression of sin; that the era of good for mankind can only date from the day on which the Sun of Righteousness shall arise;—in short, that glory is, in the Divine order only the crown of holiness.

There are no longer Apostles—and why? Because Peter, Matthew, Paul, John, are still our Apostles. God no longer raises up prophets—why? Because Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, are still to be our prophets. Let us then study their words, not in order to try to tear asunder, in idle curiosity, the veil which hides the future; but to learn how to make constant use of the present time in view of the end; so that whenever we prepare ourselves to meditate upon their words, it may be in the spirit of an Isaiah, at the time, when he bent his ear to receive the Divine message:—

"Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness26."

[See, at the end of the volume, the exegetical and critical appendix upon some of the prophetical passages to which allusion has been made.]



1) See the books of the Maccabees, where this sentiment is repeatedly expressed.

2) Isa. ix. 6; xi. 1-10.

3) Isa. i. 27.

4) Isa. xxxiz. 6.

5) Isa.xliv. 28; xlv. 1, 4.

6) Isa. liii.

7) All the rationalistic subterfuges by which this description is applied to the Jewish nation suffering for the heathen, or to the company of the prophets suffering for the nation, are overthrown by this single word the Man of sorrows, which can only be applied to a person. M. Renan, from whom we have borrowed a part of this translation, evidently feels this. Accordingly, he applies this passage to some one of those unknown righteous men whose blood crimsoned the streets of Jerusalem at the taking of that city. Bead and judge. The sin of the world expiated, the designs of God accomplished, eternal intercession made by some righteous man put to death by Nebuchadnezzar 1 This interpretation is the note of despair.

8) Isa. xlix. 4.

9) ver. 6.

10) Jer. xxxi. 31-34.

11) Jer. i. 9.

12) Ezek. xxxiv. 23-28.

13) Ezek. xxxvi. 25-27,

14) Ezek. xxxvii. 11.

15) Ezek. xxxvii 3-7.

16) Ezek. xxxvii 9, 10.

17) Ezek. xxxvii. 12, 14.

18) S. John vii. 38.

19) Daniel ix. 24.

20) [In the original, it is "seven times seven weeks" but this would appear to be a mistake, as will be seen by referring to Dan. ix. 25.—TR.]

21) We are aware that attempts have been made to give this astonishing prophecy interpretations of an altogether different nature; but hitherto they have been all beset with insuperable difficulties, whilst the one we have now given not only seems in harmony with the literal meaning of the text, but also finds its confirmation in history, if we do not ignore the inevitable difference between actual and ideal history, or prophecy.

22) We Swiss people in particular.

23) Isa. ii. 11; viii. 18.

24) Jer. xvii. 5; Lam. iii. 89.

25) Ezek. xxxvii. 14; xxxix. 27-29.

26) Isa. zxvi. 8, 9.