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understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.
But they little know, what the Lord hath designed to them: they know not his counsel and purpose; viz. that he intends their destruction, and will suddenly gather them into their graves, as the sheaves, in the time of harvest, into the barn.
IV. 13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth. Arise then, O Jerusalem, the type of my Evangelical Church, and be victorious over thine enemies: be not thou wanting to the exercise of that power, which I have given thee; for I have made thee able to subdue all that rise up against thee: in which successful victories, thou mayest not challenge ought unto thyself, but shalt ascribe the gain and praise thereof wholly unto the Lord of the whole earth.
V. 1 Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.
Now, O ye troops of Assyrians and Babylonians, gather yourselves together, to lay your siege against Jerusalem: they shall offer scornful usages to Hezekiah, king of Judah.
V. 2 But thou Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
And thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be but one of the smallest cities, both for extent and for number of inhabitants, amongst all those of Judah; and therefore art easily taken and overrun by the great Assyrian invader; yet thou hast wherein thou mayest exceedingly comfort thyself, and rejoice above all other cities upon earth for in thee shall the great Saviour of the World be born; even that glorious King of his Church, who, after his eternal generation of his Father, hath, from the first beginnings of the world, manifested and revealed himself to men.
V. 3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
But, in the mean time, he shall suffer his Israel to be grievously afflicted his Church shall be in travail of great sorrow, till she have received a deliverance thereof, by the birth of the Blessed Messiah, who shall be born into the world; and then, the elect amongst the Gentiles shall join themselves with the believing Israelites, and both shall make up the Church and Kingdom of Christ.
V. 4 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.
And that great Redeemer of the World shall continue and grow mighty, in and through the strength of the Lord, and the majesty and power of the Lord his God, wherewith his human nature is inseparably united for ever; and shall be received and adored to the very ends of the earth.
V. 5 And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal
And this Saviour shall be our peace and deliverance from all our enemies; even from the Assyrians, when they shall invade our land: and when they and the Babylonians shall have taken our palaces and possessed them, then shall the power of Christ raise up unto us many gracious kings and princes of the Medes and Persians, which shall procure our restoration.
V. 6 And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof.
And those Persian kings shall make waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Babylon in the entrances thereof. V. 7 And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.
And those Jews, which shall be called into the Church, shall be dispersed amongst many people, for their conversion; even as the dew or showers, that God sends down upon earth to fruiten it, without the aid or labour of man: so shall they be a means from God, to diffuse the Gospel all over the world, to the great behoof and comfort of mankind.
V. 8 And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest. And those, that are converted to the Church, shall be so strong and powerful amongst the Gentiles, in the greatest part of the world, as that they shall be able to prevail against their opposers, and shall be awful unto them, even as a lion amongst the beasts of the forest.
V. 9 Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries. Thine hand, O my Church, shall prevail against thine adversaries. V. 10, 11, 12 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots: And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds: And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers. And in those days of the Gospel, I will give a happy peace unto thee, O my Church, so as thou shalt have no use of horses or chariots for thy defence: and I will take from thee all use of thy walled cities and strong holds; since my protection and thy peace shall be guard enough for thee: (or, I will take from thee all confidence in thy horses and chariots, and defenced cities; and thy trust shall be wholly set upon me:) as for those wicked practices of sorcerers and soothsayers, whereof thou hadst wont to make use in thy doubts and extremities, thou shalt have no more
recourse unto them; but thou shalt consult with me in all occasions.
V. 14 So will I destroy thy cities.
When all this shall be performed on thy part, I will not be wanting unto thee; but will then destroy those cities of thine enemies, which shall rise up against thee.
VI. 1 Hear ye now what the LORD saith; Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice.
Arise, saith God to me, and call the very senseless earth, even the hills and mountains, to record, of what I have to say against my people.
VI. 2 Hear ye, O mountains, the LORD's controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the LORD hath a controversy with his people.
Now, therefore, O ye mountains of Israel and Judah, whose roots seem to reach down to the foundations of the earth, hear ye, since men will not hear: for the Lord hath a just quarrel against his people.
VI. 5 O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal; that ye may know the righteousness of the LORD.
Remember what answers I did put into the mouth of Balaam, the son of Beor; how I drew blessings, even from his mouth, upon you, instead of the curses, which Balak would have hired him, to utter against you: remember all my gracious dealings with thee in all the passages of the wilderness, even from Shittim unto Gilgal, till thy very entrance into the Land of Promise; that ye may acknowledge the righteous proceedings of the Lord with you.
VI. 6 Wherewith shall I come before the Lord &c.?
And that, in a true remorse of soul, ye may humble yourselves before him, and say within yourselves, wherewith shall I come before the Lord &c?
VI. 8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good.
And if thou shalt once enter into these holy and penitent thoughts, O man, thou shalt not need to stay for a clear and full direction from him: lo, he hath already shewed thee what course to take; he hath taught thee what is good and acceptable to him.
VI. 9 The LORD's voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.
The voice of the Lord calleth, by me his prophet, to the city of Jerusalem; and those, that are wise-hearted, will have a due and awful respect to thy name, O Lord: hear, O Jerusalem, hear thou the sad news of that sharp rod of affliction, which is prepared for thee; and consider, who it is that hath appointed it, for thy correction.
VI. 10 Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable?
Notwithstanding all the reproofs and menaces of my prophets,
are there not ill-gotten goods scraped together, and hoarded up in the houses of thy wicked inhabitants? Are there not false and scant measures, which are abominable?
VI. 13 Therefore also will I make thee sick in smiting thee.
I will make thee sick, even to death, with my sharp and wounding stripes of affliction.
VI. 14 And thy casting down shall be in the midst of thee; and thou shalt take hold, but shalt not deliver; and that which thou deliverest will I give up to the sword.
Thy casting down shall be in the midst of thine own streets: thou shalt fall, even within thine own walls; and thou shalt take hold on thy children, to deliver them from the enemy, but thou shalt not rescue them; and those, whom thou hast obtained to deliver from the present slaughter, will I soon after give up to the sword. VI. 16 For the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab, and ye walk in their counsels; that I should make thee a desolation, and the inhabitants thereof an hissing: therefore ye shall bear the reproach of my people.
For those impious statutes of Omri, the idolatrous king of Israel, the father of Ahab, are still kept by you; and all the wicked practices of the house of Ahab and Jezebel are in use amongst you and ye walk in their counsels, &c. Therefore ye shall justly undergo that reproach, which is due to a people, of whom I have deserved so well, and have been so ill requited.
VII. 1 Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage: there is no chuster to eat my soul desired the firstripe fruit.
Woe is me, that I can find so small comfort of my labours! it is with me, as with a man, that, after the vintage is past, seeks for a cluster of grapes, but can find none to eat; even so hath my soul desired, after all my preaching, to find some godly men, which would have been to me no less pleasing than the first ripe grape is to the palate, and behold, there is none to be found.
VII. 3 That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desires: so they wrap it up. That there may be no slackening of their endeavours to do evil, on all hands; the very princes and judges of my people seek after bribes, to corrupt justice; the great man doth not modestly smother his wicked desires of unlawful gain, but openly professeth it; and so they contrive their mischief accordingly.
VII. 4 The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.
best of them tears and scratches like a brier: the most upright wounds and pricks deeper than a thorn hedge: therefore there is judgment ready at hand for them; the day is coming of thy sharp visitation, wherein thy rulers and false prophets shall be
plagued for their corruption; even now is their perplexity at hand.
VII. 5 Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. Ye shall be put to such straits, that every one shall be glad to shift for himself in silence; not daring to trust to a friend or to a guide, or to disclose his counsel to the wife that lies in his bosom.
VII. 6 For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house.
But every one shall be so intent upon his own escape and preservation, as that the son will not spare the honour of his father, if that shall lie in his way; the daughter will be casting off the respects due to her mother, and much more the daughter-in-law will put off all regard of her mother-in-law; and a man shall be justly suspicious of his own followers and domestic servants, lest they shall betray him.
VII. 7 Therefore I will look unto the LORD.
Thus shall men be distracted with their fears; but, as for me, I will look unto the Lord.
VII. 8 Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise.
Rejoice not too much in my misery, O Idumea and Babylon: though I fall into captivity, yet I shall arise.
VII. 10 Now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets. Now shall Babylon be subdued, and trampled under feet, by the Medes and Persians.
VII. 11 In the day that thy walls are to be built, in that day shall the decree be far removed.
In that day, that thy walls, O Jerusalem, are to be re-edified, in that day shall the decree, that was procured for the hinderance of the work, be laid aside, and the endeavour of thine opposites shall be frustrated.
VII. 12 In that day also he shall come even to thee from Assyria, and from the fortified cities, and from the fortress even to the river, and from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain.
In that day shall those of Judah and Israel flock to thee out of Assyria, and from the strong cities of Egypt, and shall be re-established in their wonted fortresses, even as far as to the bounds of Euphrates, and from one sea to another, all the land over. VII. 13 Notwithstanding the land shall be desolate. Notwithstanding, in the mean time, for a space the land shall be desolate.
VII. 14 Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old.
In this mean time, O God, take thou care of thy people: Oh, do thou feed and govern them, by thy gracious protection: lead thou this flock of thine heritage, which now dwell solitarily in the