תמונות בעמוד
[ocr errors]

zar, when he burned the temple and city of Jerusalem.
That he was the immediate son of Seraiah is wholly
improbable; for supposing him to have been but one
year old at the death of this Seraiah, he must now
have been one hundred and thirty-two, andy yet we
find him alive in the time of Nehemiah fifteen years
after, when, according to this account, he must have
been one hundred and forty-seven years old, though he
was then of that vigour as to bear the fatigue of read-
ing the law for a whole forenoon together to all the
people of the Jews; which is a thing wholly unlikely
in those days; and therefore where he is said to be the
son of Seraiah, it must be understood in that large
sense wherein commonly, in Scripture, any descendant
is said to be the son of any ancestor from whom he
was derived; and we need seek no farther for an in-
stance of this, than the very text where Ezra is said to
be the son of Seraiah; for in the same place Azariah
is said to be the son of Meraioth, though there were
z six between. As Ezra was a very holy, so also was
he a very learned man, and especially he was very ex-
cellently skilled in the knowledge of the holy Scrip-
tures; and therefore he is said to have been a very
ready scribe in the law of God: which he was so em-
inent for, that Artaxerxesa takes particular notice of
it in bis commission. b He began his journey from
Babylon on the first day of the first month, called Ni-
san (which might fall about the middle of our Marcb,)
and having halted at the river Ahava till the rest of his
company was come up to him, he there, in a solemn
fast, recommended himself and all that were with him
to the Divine protection, and then, on the twelfth day,
set forward for Jerusalem, where they all safely.ar-
rived on the first day of the fifth month, having spent
four whole months in their journey from Babylon
thither. On his arrival, he delivered up to the temple
the offerings which had been made to it by the king
and his nobles, and the rest of the people of Israel that
staid behind, which amounted to one hundred talents
of gold, with twenty basons of gold of the value of
y Nehemiah viii,

z See 2 Chron. vi, 7-9. a Ezra vii, 12.

b Ezra vii.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

one thousand darics, and six hundred and fifty talents of silver, with vessels of silver of the weight of one hundred talents more. And then, having communicated his commission to the king's lieutenants and gove ernours throughout all Syria and Palestine, he betook himself to the executing of the contents of it; whereby d he was fully empowered to settle both the church and the state of the Jews according to the law of Moses, and to appoint magistrates and judges to punish all such as should be refractory, and not become obedient to it, and that not only by imprisonment and confiscation of goods, but also with banishment and death, according as their crimes should be found to deserve. And all this power Ezra was invested with, and continued faithfully to execute it for the space of thirteen years, till Nehemiah arrived with a new commission from the Persian court for the same work.

Esthere growing farther still in the king's favour, and gaining his affection beyond all the rest of his women, he advanced her to higher honour, and on the tenth day of the tenth month, which falls about the end of our year, did put the royal diadem upon her head, and declared her queen in the stead of Vashti; and thereon made a solemn feast for his princes and servants, which was called Esther's feast, and, in honour of her, at the same time, made a release of taxes to the provinces, and gave donatives and presents to all that then attended him, according to the grandeur and dignity of his royal estate ; which gave Ezra the greater encouragement under her protection and patronage to go on with the work of reforming and settling the Jewish church and state in Judea and Jerusalem, which he had there undertaken.

And from his entering on this work, the beginning of the seventy weeks of the famous prophecy which is delivered to us, in the ninth chapter of Daniel, concerning the coming of the Messiah, is to be computed. The words of the prophecy, in our English translation, are as followeth:

c A daric was a piece of gold of the value of one of our jacobuses. See above, book 2. d Ezra vii, 25, 26.

e Esther î.

Ver. 24, “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 holy:" ver. 25, “Know, therefore, and understand, that, from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto the Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times :" ver. 26, “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the prince that shall come, shall destroy the city, and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and to the end of the war desolations are determined :” ver. 27, “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined, shall be poured out upon the desolate."

And it being of great moment, for the conviction of Jews and other infidels who reject the faith of Christ, to have this prophecy well cleared, and made out, in order hereto it is to be observed,

1. That this prophecy doth relate primarily and especially to the Jews. For it expresseth the time that was determined upon the people of Daniel, that is, the Jews, and upon the holy city, that is, Jerusalem, the whole of which was seventy weeks; that is, that this was the time which God had foreordained and determined upon the Jews for their being his peculiar people, and upon Jerusalem for its being his holy city; after the expiration of which, an end being to be put to the Mosaic economy, they should be no longer God's peculiar people, and the worship which he had established at Jerusalem being to be abolished, that city should be no longer a city holy unto him.

II. That these seventy weeks are weeks of years : for among the Jews, as there were sabbatical days, whereby their days were divided into weeks of days;

so there were sabbatical years, whereby their years were divided into weeks of years; and this last sort of weeks is that which is here mentioned: so that every one of the weeks of this prophecy contains seven years, and the whole number of seventy weeks contain four hundred and ninety years, at the end whereof this determined time expired; after which the Jews were no more to be the peculiar people of God, nor Jerusalem his holy city, because then the economy which he had established among them was to cease, and the worship which he had appointed at Jerusalem, was wholly to be abolished. And,

III. All this was accomplished at the death of Christ: for then the Jewish church, and the Jewish worship at Jerusalem, where wholly abolished, and the Christian church and the Christian worship succeeded in their stead; then the time, which was determined upon the Jews for their being God's peculiar people, and upon Jerusalem for its being his holy city, being fully expired, thenceforth began the kingdom of the Messiah ; and, instead of the Jews, all the nations of the world were called thereunto, and, instead of Jerusalem, every place through the whole earth, where God should be worshipped in spirit and in truth, was made holy unto him. And therefore then the seventy weeks of this prophecy must have their ending: for they were determined and decreed for this purpose ; and therefore in this they must have their conclusion. And this all the events, which are in this prophecy predicted to be brought to pass at the conclusion of these weeks, do necessarily prove. In the twenty-fourth verse, we have six of them, for, the accomplishing of which these seventy weeks are there said to be determined; and therefore at the accomplishing of them these weeks must have their ending. They are these following.

1st. To finish (or8 restrain) transgressions ; 2d. Tol make an end of

f Lev. xxv, 8.

8 The word Lecalle in the Hebrew signifieth to restrain, as well as to shut up or finish, and the former rather than the latter.

Here is a various reading in the Hebrew text as to the word which we translate to make an end of For whereas the true reading is L) BATEM, that is, to finish or make an end of, and, in the next line after, there is the VOL. 17.


sins; 3d. To makei (expiation or) reconciliation for iniquity; 4th. To bring in everlasting righteousness; 5th. Po seal up (ork

complete and fulfil) vision and prophecy; and 6th. To anoint the most holy. And all these were accomplished in that great work of our salvation, which Christ our Lord undertook for us, and fully completed by his death and passion, and his resurrection from the dead; for being born without original sin, and having lived without actual sin, he was truly the most holy of all that bore our nature. And being thereby fully fitted for this great work, he was anointed with the Holy Ghost, and with power, to be our King, and our Priest, and our Prophet, for the effecting and accomplishing of it. And having, as our Priest, offered up himself a sacrifice upon the cross, to make expiation and atonement for all our sins, he did thereby make an end of them, by taking away their guilt; and, in so doing, he did work reconciliation for us with our God. And having, as our Prophet, given unto us his gospel, the law of everlasting righteousness, which was not a temporary law, as was that of Moses, but to last for ever, and to be our guide unto all righteousness, as long as the world should last ; and also, having, as our King, sent his holy Spirit into our hearts, to influence and govern us according to this law, he hath done all for us that is necessary, thereby to restrain and extinguish in us all manner of transgressions, and fully deliver us from the power of them. And, in doing all this, he hath sealed

up, that is, fulfilled, and thoroughly finished all that, which, by visions and prophecies, had been before revealed concerning him. And therefore all these events being thus brought to pass and accomplished word LACHTOM, which there signifieth to seal up; and these two words as to the letters differing only in this, that the former is written with an He in the middle, and the other with a Cheth, the similitude that is between these two letters in the Hebrew alphabet (for they differ very little the one from the other,) led transcribers into this mistake, that they wrote the word as if it were LÁChrom in both places. But it is corrected in the margin. However this would not have altered the sense, because the same word, which signifieth to seal up in Hebrew, is also used to signify to finish or make complete, because the putting of the seal to any instrument or writing, completes the matter about which it is, and finisheth the whole transaction.

i 'The word in the Hebrew text properly signifieth to expiate as by sacri. fice; and by such an expiation did Christ our Lord work reconciliation for us with our God

k See note h.

« הקודםהמשך »