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in reference to the Most High, that they will bow down before him, and lick up the dust of his feet.
LI. 8. — “For the moth shall eat them up like a gar
ment." As the fashions of the garments of the Orientals never change, they have large stores of them ; but they have no little difficulty in preserving them from moths: which circumstance may have occasioned their profuse use of perfumes.
20. — “ Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of
all the streets." What a graphic picture we have here of an Eastern city or town in time of famine! See the squalid objects : in their despair, they rush forth, throw themselves down in the streets, and there remain till they die, or are relieved. They have scarcely a rag left to defend them from the heat of the sun, or the dew of the night; and they court death as a blessing. Ask them why they lie there, they reply, to die : tell them to get out of the way, and they answer not again ; and so great is their indifference, that many of them would literally be crushed to death, rather than make the least effort to preserve life.
LII. 1. -“ Put on thy beautiful garments, O Jeru
salem!” Jerusalem had long been afflicted by her foes, but the time of her deliverance was at hand, and in token of that she was to deck herself in her glorious attire. At the time of famine, sickness, or sorrow, the people clothe themselves in their meanest apparel, and their ornaments are laid aside: but on the return of prosperity, they array themselves in their most “ beautiful garments."
2.-—" Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down,
O Jerusalem : loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.”
See the poor prisoners; see mothers bereft of their children, or wives of their husbands; they roll themselves in the dust, and there make their bitter lamentations. The holy city had figuratively been in the dust, but she was now to arise, to take the shackles from her neck, and to sit down in the place prepared for her.
7. — “ How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet
of him that bringeth good tidings.” (Rom. x. 15.) Small feet are considered beautiful in all parts of the East. The feet of kings and holy people are spoken of in preference to the other parts of the body. His majesty of the Burmese empire is always mentioned as the “golden feet.”
My messsenger will soon return; he will bring me good tidings; his feet will be glorious.” “ Ah! when will the feet of my priest return this way; how glorious is their place.” “ Are you in health ?” asks the holy man. “ Yes; by the glory of your feet,” is the reply. “Ah ! Swamy, it is a happy circumstance for me that your feet have entered my house."
9. — “ Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste
places of Jerusalem.” In this strain do the heathen poets on joyful occasions exhort the hills and dales, the forests and rivers, to praise their gods.
10. — “ The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the
eyes of all the nations." The right arm or shoulder is always alluded to as the place of strength : with that the warrior wields his sword, and slays his foes. The metaphor appears to allude to a man who is preparing for the battle: he takes the robe from his right arm, that being thus uncovered, “made bare,” it may the more easily perform its office.
. boasting master to get ready his army, for our king has shown his shoulder," i. e. uncovered it. “ Alas! I have
“ Tell your heard that the mighty sovereign of the neighbouring kingdom has pointed to his shoulder," i.e. he is ready to come against us. See two men disputing; should one of them point to his right arm and shoulder, the other will immediately fall into a rage, as he knows it amounts to a challenge, and says, in effect, “ I am thy superior.” Thus may be seen men at a distance, when defying each other, slapping each his right hand or shoulder. Jehovah, in reference to the nations of the earth, “ hath made bare his holy arm.” 66 And all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”
11.-“ Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the
Lord.” When the heathen priests carry their sacred vessels from one place to another, their persons are previously cleansed from imparity by ablutions and other ceremonies. Under any other circumstance no priest would dare to touch a holy vessel.
15. — “ So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings
shall shut their mouths at him.” At an Eastern feast a person stands near the entrance with a silver vessel of the annexed shape, which is full of rose-water, or some other perfumed liquid, with which he sprinkles the guests as they approach, as if from a watering pan. The object is to show they are now the king's or the great man's guests : they are in his favour and under his protection. So shall the eternal Son of God sprinkle many nations, and admit them into his presence in token of their purification, and of his protection and favour. The kings of the earth shall no longer rebel against him ; but « shall shut their mouths" to denote their submission and respect.
LIV. 12. — “ And I will make thy windows of agates,
and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of
pleasant stones.” (Rev. xxi. 18. 21.) This figurative way of speaking is in exact keeping with the Eastern notions of magnificence: thus the abodes of the gods, or distant kings, are described as having pillars of red coral; rooms made of crystal; ruby doors; thrones of the nine precious stones; walls of gold, surrounded by emerald rivers. Such passages, therefore, are not to be received literally, but as being indicative of great splendour and unrivalled prosperity.
LV. 12, 13. - “ The mountains and the hills shall
break forth before you into singing, and all the
LVI. 3. — “ Neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am
a dry tree.” People without posterity, of both sexes, are called dry trees ; which, strictly speaking, means they are dead, having neither sap, nor leaves, nor fruit.
10. - Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.” The
margin reads, “or dreaming, or talking in their
sleep.” The Tamul translation has it the same as the margin. To a man who talks incoherently, it is asked, “ Why do you talk in your sleep?” “Why are you always saying, give, give ?” “ Take no notice of that fellow; it is mere sleep-talk.” “ Poor dolt ! he has the custom of talking in his sleep; listen, and you will hear all his secrets."
LVII. 6. - Among the smooth stones of the stream
is thy portion; they are thy lot, even to them hast thou poured a drink offering, thou hast offered a meat offering. Should I receive comfort in
these?” In this chapter there are some striking allusions to the nature of that idolatry into which the Jews had fallen. That a prominent feature of that system was obscenity is most manifest, both from the testimony of profane and sacred writers; and several commentators misunderstand various passages, when, in a sweeping way they declare, that the epithet “ whoredoms” and kindred terms in general signify only idolatry. There can be no doubt that the worship of idols is generally implied, but the offensive practices alluded to are nearly always included therein. In the third verse, it is said, “ Draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and whore;" and in the next there is a description of the disgusting conduct of people of a loose character:-“ Against whom do ye sport yourselves ? Against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue?— Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree. — Among the smooth stones of the stream is thy portion.” Some suppose allusion is here made to the large stones called Βαιτυλοι or Βαιτυλια, but I do not think so. The Salam-stone, in its rough state, is worshipped by the Hindoos; its general size is that of a nutmeg. Its name in