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may hear? behold, their ear is alienated, and they can. not hearken: behold the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach ; they have no delight in it.
Therefore I am full of the fury of the Lord; I am weary with holding in: I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men togetlier : for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days. '
And their houses shall be turned unto others, with their fields and wives together : for I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD.
For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them, every one is given to covetousness, and from the prophet even unto the priest, every one dealeth falsely.
They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.
Were they ashamed when they had committed abo. mination ? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush : therefore they shall fall among them that fall : at the time that I visit them, they shall be cast down, saith the Lord.
Thus saith the LORD), Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, we will not hearken.
Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congrega. tion, what is among them.
Hear, ( earth : behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.
To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba ? and the sweet came froin a far country? your burnt-offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.
Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will lay stumbling-blocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish.
Thus saith the Lord, Behold, a people cometh from the north country, and a great nation shall be raised from the sides of the earth.
They shall lay hold on bow and spear: they are cruel, and have no mercy: their voice roareth like the sea, and they ride upon horses, set in array as men for war against thee O daughter of Zion.
We have heard the fame thereof; our hands wax feeble: anguish hath taken hold of us, and pain, as of a woman in her heaviest anguish.
Go not forth into the field, nor walk by the way, for the sword of the enemy and fear is on every side.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Having described the judgments impending on the nation, the prophet enlarges on the corruptions that would prevail among the people, which are affirmed tobe the cause of their ruin. More particularly Gon is introduced as complaining of the corruption of Judah, which He foreknew would become so great, that if one righteous person was to save Jerusalem, that one would not be found. The prophet then complains that this. corruption would not be confined to the lower orders of people, but would include the higher ranks, and then, in the name of God, calls, by way of anticipation, upon the enemy to destroy the city of Jerusalem, that de.. voted city whose inhabitants added to their other sins the highest contempt of God's word and prophets. The prophet seeing in idea, the enemy on their march, bids his people set up the usual signals of distress, and spread the general alarm, to betake themselves to fight. God is then represented as directing the hesiegers against this guilty city, which sinned as incessantly as a fountain flows, although warned of the fatal consequence. He intimates, that one invasion should carry away the remains of another, till their disobedience, hypocrisy, and other sins, should end in their total overthrow; and calls upon the whole world to witness the equity of God's proceedings in thus punishing them. .
This portion of Scripture is calculated to awaken in every breast serious reflections on the dreadful effects of national sin, which should lead every individual to amend his own ways *.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE REIGN OF JOSIAH KINO
From 2 Chron. Chap. xxxv. After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Charchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out. against him.
But Necho sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah ? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to inake haste:
* The 7th, 8th, 91h, 10th, 11th, and 12th chapters of Jeremiah may be read here, with Dr. Smith's Comment on them ;- from which great part of the foregoing Annotations are extracted.
'forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not.
Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself that he might fight with him and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo.
And the archers shot at king Josiah: and the king said to his servants, Have me away ; for I am sore wounded.
His servants therefore took him out of that chariot and put him into the second chariot that he had ; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers, and all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.
And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law. of Moses ; neither after him arose there any like him.
Notwithstanding, the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him witbal,
And the Lord said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem, which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.
And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah : and all the singing men and singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made the.n an ordinance in Israel: and behold, they are written in the lamentations.
Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his goodness, according to that which was written in the law of the LORD,
And his deeds, first and last, behold they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Josiah had reigned thirty-one years in profound peace, when he resolved to oppose Pharaoh Necho in his expedition against Assyria. From this circunstance we may judge, that an alliance subsisted between the king of Judah and the Assyrian monarch.
We are told, that Josiah hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God. It cannot be thought that this idolatrous prince had received an express revelation from the Lord Jehovah; we may rather suppose that he had heard some prediction respecting himself, spoken by one of the Lord's prophets, which he made use of to intimidate Josiah; and this opinion is confirmed by a passage in the first book of Esdras, relating to this event, which intimates that Jeremiah had uttered a prophecy concerning the success of Necho against the king of Assyria *. In this case Josiah was certainly guilty of a transgression in going against the king of Egypt: besides, he had been warned by Jeremiah himself to have no concerns with Egypt or Assyria t ; and he paid dear for his inattention.
Notwithstanding the reformation which appeared in the kingdom, it is said, that the Lordturned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal. We must not suppose that the people were destined to destruction for the sins which Manasseh himself committed (for he by repentance and humility obtained the pardon of God); but for their own concurrence in them, and inclination to repeat them. The land was defiled by the innocent * 1 Esdras i. 28.
+ See Section vii.