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come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Ju, dah, even the king of Assyria.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.
And they shall coine, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the holes of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes.
In the same day shall the LORD shave with a razor, that is hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard.
The LORD spake to me also again, saying,
Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloh that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin, and Remaliah's son; Now therefore, behold, the LORD bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks;
And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Emmanuel.
Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces: and give ear, all ye of far countries; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces.
Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought: speak the word, and it shall not stand; for GOD is with
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
No king ever had greater incitements to obedience than Ahaz had, or more opportunities of doing good; for at the time of his accession to the throne, his kingdom was in a very flourishing state, and the true religion
We have reason to think that he had had a good education, as well as a good example from his father; besides these advantages, Ahaz was particularly encouraged to fear and serve the LORD, by the gracious message sent to him at the beginning of his reign by the prophet Isaiah, when he dreaded the united forces of Israel and Syria.
After the prophet Isaiah had assured Ahaz that the enemies he dreaded should not prevail against him, in order to convince this king that the final end of the Jewish state was not so near as he apprehended; and at the same time to give a remarkable prophecy to the world; the LORD (by the mouth of his prophet, as we may suppose) desired Ahaz to ask for a sign, though ever so dif. ficult, and it should be granted. But Ahaz, whether out of respect, or despondency and unbelief, refusing to ask for a sign, the prophet assured him from the LORD, that before the end of the Jewish state, Emmanuel, (or GOD with us), the promised SAVIOUR *, should be born, in a miraculous manner, and the kingdom of Ephraim and Assyria destroyed.
The prophet also foretold the future desolation of the land of Israel and Judah by the kings of Egypt and Assyria.
The king of Assyria is here stiled the hired razor. This is a symbolical expression, signifying that the LORD would employ this monarch as his instrument to punish the Jews, and allow him to take the spoil of the country as wages for his service. The head, feet, and beard, implied the different ranks of people from the highest to the lowest that composed the nation. These GoD threatened to cut off by the hand of the king of Assyria. And the kings of Judah and Israel were warned that their forming confederacies and alliances with other nations would not be of advantage to them, but the contrary.
* Matt. i. 23.
THE WICKEDNESS OF AHAZ. NUMBERS OF THE PEOPLE OF JUDAH SLAIN AND CARRIED INTO CAPTIVITY.
From 2 Chron. Chap. xxviii.
AHAZ was twenty years old when he began to reign. But he did not that which was right in the eyes of the LORD.
For he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for Baalim.
Moreover, he burned incense in the valley of the son of Hinnon, and burned his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.
He sacrificed also and burned incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.
Wherefore the LORD his GOD delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria: and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter.
For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day, which were all valiant men; because they had forsaken the LORD GOD of their fathers.
And Zichri a mighty man of Ephraim, slew Maaseiah the king's son, and Azricam the governor of the house, and Elkanah that was next to the king.
And the children of Israel carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand women, sons and daughters, and took also away much spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria.
But a prophet of the LORD was there, whose name
was Oded; and he went out before the host that came to Samaria, and said unto them, Behold, because the LORD GOD of your fathers was wroth with Judah, he hath delivered them into your hand, and ye have slain them in a rage, that reacheth up unto heaven.
And now ye purpose to keep under the children of Judah and Jerusalem for bondmen and bond-women unto you: but are there not with you, even with you sins, against the LORD your GOD?
Now hear me therefore, and deliver the captives again, which ye have taken captive of your brethren: for the fierce wrath of the LORD is upon you.
Then certain of the heads of the children of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiali the son of Meshillemoth, and Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against them that came from the war :
And said unto them, Ye shall not bring in the captives hither: for whereas we have offended against the LORD already, ye intend to add more to our sins and to our trespass; for our trespass is great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.
So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the congregation.
And the men which were expressed by name rose up, and took the captives, and with the spoil clothed all that were naked among them, and arrayed them, and shod them, and gave them to eat and to drink, and anointed them, and carried all the feeble of them upon asses, and brought them to Jericho the city of palmtrees, to their brethren: then they returned to Samaria.
At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drave the Jews from Elath; and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
It is needless to comment on the wickedness of Ahaz, as the enormity of his guilt is so apparent; but we may observe, that it was greatly aggravated by his inattention to the goodness of the LORD who sent his prophet to him. Pekah, king of Israel, was very inveterate against Judah; and there is no knowing to what extremities he would have proceeded, if he had not been restrained by a prophet.
It is shocking to read of wars between those who were so nearly related, and who sprang from the same stock. From the prophet's reproof to the Israelites of Samaria, we may learn, that when unhappy animosities prevail among those who are properly one people, all cruelty and oppression should be avoided by the victors. They should call to mind, that the conquered are brethren, and on no account keep them in captivity, or delight in destroying their country. The method which the heads of Ephraim took, in administering to the necessities of the unfortunate prisoners, was truly noble, and worthy of imitation.
IMPIETY OF AHAZ-HIS DEATH.
From 2 Chron. Chap. xxviii.-2 Kings, Chap. xvi.
Ar that time did king Ahaz send unto the kings of Assyria to help him.
For again the Edomites had come and smitten Judah, and carried away captives.
The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the low country, and of the south of Judah, and had taken Bethshemesh and Ajalon, and Gederoth, and Shocho, with the villages thereof, Timnah with the villages thereof,