« ForrigeFortsæt »
as well as the rest. But to Judah he particularly bequeaths the spiritual blessing, and delivers it in much the same form of words as it was delivered to him. Isaac had said to Jacob, Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee, Gen. xxvii. 29. And here Jacob saith to Judah, Thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise ; thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. And for greater certainty it is added, The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a laugiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
The explanation of the greater part of this prophecy hath been already related, as well as the fulfilment of it, in a former part of our work, as the Reader will see by referring to the note in page 151, vol. i. It only remains, therefore, that we here take notice of such parts of it as are not there fully explained. And first, with respect to the expression,
Until Shiloh come. This evidently means, (as iş agreed by almost all interpreters, both ancient and modern) till the coming of the Messiah. And however some may explain the word, and whatever resource they may have for its explanation to the contrary, the Messiah is incontestibly the person intended. The Vulgar Latin translates it, He who is to be sent; and to favor this version the following passage in St. John's Gospel is usually cited, Go wash in the pool of Siloam, which is by interpretation sent: And who was ever sent with such power and authority from God as the Messiah, who frequently speaketh of himself in the Gospel under the demonination of him whom the father hath sent. The Seventy translate it, the things reserved for him, or, according to other copies, he for whom it is reserved. And what was the great treasure reserved for Judah, or who was the person for whom all things were reserved, but the Messiah? In the Samaritan text and version it is translated the peace. maker. And to whom can this, or any the like title, be so justly applied as to the Messiah, who is emphatically stiled the prince of peace, Isaiah'ix. 6. and at whose birth was sung that heavenly anthem, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men. Luke ii. 14.
These are the principal interpretations of the Hebrew word Shiloh; and from the whole there cannot be the least doubt but that, by the coming of Shiloh, was meant the coming of the Messiah.
And unto him shall the gathering of the people be. If we understand this of Judah, that the other tribes should be gathered to that, it was in some measure fulfilled by the people going up so frequently as they did to Jerusalem, which was in the tribe of Judah, in order to obtain justice in difficult cases, and to worship God in his holy temple.
Upon the division of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, the tribe of Benjamin, and the priests and Levites, and several out of all the other tribes, went over to Judah, and were so blended and incorporated together, that they are more than once spoken of as one tribe. And it is expressly said (1) Kings, xii. 20.) there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only; all the rest were swallowed up in that tribe, and considered as parts and members of the same.
- In like manner, when the Israelites were carried away captive into Assyria, it is said, there was none left but the tribe of Judah only; and yet we know that the tribe of Benjamin, and many of the other tribes, then remained, but they are reckoned as one and the same tribe with Judah. Nay, at that very time there was a remnant of Israel that escaped from the Assyrians, and went and ad. hered to Judah; for we find afterwards that in the reign of Josiah there were some of Manasseh and Ephraim and of the remnant of Israel, who contributed money towards repairing the temple, as well as Judah and Benjamin, 2 Chron. xxxiv. 9. and at the solemn celebration of the passover some of Israel were present as well as all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. When the people returned from the Babylonish captivity, then again several of the tribes of Israel associated themselves, and returned with Judah and Benjamin. In short, at so many different times, and upon such different occasions, were the other tribes gathered to that of Judah, that the latter became the general name of the whole nation; and after the Babylonish captivity, they were no longer called the people of Israel, but the Jews, or people of Judah.
Again, if we understand this of Shiloh, or the Messiah, that the people, or Gentiles, should be gathered to his obedience, it is no more than what is foretold in many other prophecies of scripture; and it began to be fulfilled in Cornelius the centurion, whose conversion (Acts x.) was, as we may say, the first fruits of the Gentiles, and the harvest afterwarıls was exceeding plenteous. In a few years the gospel was disseminated, and took root downward, and bare fruit upward, in the most considerable parts of the then known world; and in Constantine's time, it might with great propriety be said, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and he shall reign for ever and ever. Rev. xi. 15.
If we join these last observations with the words preceding until Shiloh come, we shall find two events specified as fore-runners of the sceptre departing from Judah, namely, the coming of the Messiah, and the gathering of the Gentiles to him; and these together point out, with great exactness, the precise time of the sceptre's departure.
Now it is certain that before the final destruction of Jerusalem, and the dissolution of the Jewish commonwealth by the Romans, the Messiah was not only come, bat great numbers of the Gentiles were converted to him. The very same thing was predicted by Our Saviour himself, Matt. xxiv. 14. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the end of the Jewish constitution. The Jews were not to be cut off till the Gentiles were grafted into the church; and, in fact, we find that the apostles and their companions preached the gospel in all the then known parts of the world. Their sound (as St. Paul expresses it) went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. Rom. x. 18. And then the end came, then was an end put to the Jewish polity both in church and state. The government of the tribe of Judah had subsisted in some form or other from the death of Jacob to the last destruction of Jerusalein; but then it was utterly broken and ruined; then the sceptre departed, and hath been departed from that time to the present.
It may not be improper here to add a just observation made on the subject by that learned prelate bishop Sherlock. “ As the tribe of Benjamin (says he) annexed itself to the tribe of Judah as its head, so it ran the same fortune with it; they went together into captivity, they returned home together, and were both in being when Shiloh came. This also was foretold by Jacob, Benjamin shall raven as a wolf; in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil. The morning and night here can be nothing else but the morning and night of the Jewish state; for this state is the subject of all Jacob's prophecy from one end to the other; and consequently it is here foretold of Benjamin, that he should continue to the very last times of the Jewish state. This interpretation is confirmed by Moses's prophecy, for the prophecy of Moses is in truth an exposition of Jacob's. Benjamin, saith Moses, shall dwell in safety; the Lord shali cover him all the day long. Deut. xxxiii
. 12. What is this all the day long » The same certainly as the morning and night. Does not, therefore, this import a promise of a longer continuance to Benjamin than to the other tribes? And was it not most exactly fulfilled?”
All we have farther to say relative to this prophecy is that the completion of it (which has been clearly demonstrated) furnishes us with an invincible argument, not only that the Messiah has come, but that our Blessed Redeemer is the very person. The sceptre was not to depart from Judah until the Messiah should come; but the
sceptre hath long been departed, and consequently the Messiah hath been long come. The sceptre departed at the final destruction of Jerusalem, and hath been departed now more than seventeen centuries, and consequently the Messiah came a little before that period; so that prejudice itself cannot long make any doubt concerning the reality of the person. Every man, therefore, of serious reflection, must say as Simon Peter said to Jesus, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art the Christ, the son of the living God. Johp vi, 68, 69,
Of the Prophecy of Moses, concerning a Prophet like unto
AMONG the different prophecies transmitted to posterity by the great legislator Moses, who was not only a valuable writer, but a most distinguished prophet, the most memorable is, that of another prophet to be raised like unto himself.
At the time of this prediction Moses was about to leave his people, and therefore, to give them some comfort, he promises them another prophet. The Lord thy God (says he) will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him shall ye hearken. Deut. xviii. 15. The same is repeated in the name of God, I will raise them up a prophet, from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command' him, ver. 18. It is likewise farther added, in the next verse, And it shall come to pass that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of you.
In order to explain the meaning of this amazing prophecy, as well as to point out the full and ample completion of it, it is necessary to consider three things:
First, who the prophet was that is here particularly meant.
Secondly, that this prophet resembled Moses in a much greater degree than any other person ever did. And
Thirdly, that the people have been, and still are severely punished for their infidelity and disobedience to this prophet predicted by Moses.
And first, we shall consider who the prophet was that is here particularly meant. It has been the opinion of some that Joshua was the person, because he is said to have been the successor of Moses in prophecies, Ecclesiasticus xlvi. 1. And as the people were commanded to hearken unto this prophet, so they said unto Joshua, Ac