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fons, Ifaac and Ifmael, one by a free-wo- CHAP. man, and the other by a flave, God was I. pleased to make another limitation of the promifed feed, by which Ifmael was excluded. Yet, excluded as he was, the piety of Abraham procured for him alfo favour before God; and it was predicted, that he too fhould become a great nation. The promise was renewed to Ifaac in the very fame terms in which it had been already made to Abraham; "In thy feed fhall all "nations of the earth be bleffed."

5. The fame circumftance of having two fons happened also to Isaac, and the promife of the Meffiah became yet more confined and particular. So accurate and confiftent is the word of God with itself, and fo careful is the infpired penman to prevent even the least poffibility of error, that now, for the third time, the promise is vouchfafed to Jacob, in the felf-fame form in which it had formerly been to his father and his grandfather; "In thee, and "in thy feed, fhall all the families of the "earth be bleffed."

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6. The next limitation of the promise was made to Judah; God speaking through



To Jacob,


To Judah.

SECT. the mouth of his father Jacob, as he III. lay on his death-bed. "The fceptre fhall "not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shi"loh come: and unto him fhall the ga¬ "thering of the people be." Commentators indeed are much divided respecting the literal meaning of the word Shiloh ; but they nearly all agree in fuppofing it to be a title of the Meffiah. There is alfo fome difficulty in afcertaining the precife idea of the terms fceptre and lawgiver; but the latter part of the prophecy requires no comment: the admiffion of the Gentiles into a participation of the favour of God, along with the Jews, is clearly predicted in this paffage, as well as in the preceding promises made to Abraham, Ifaac, and Jacob f.


The two beft interpretations of this myfterious prophecy are perhaps those of Mr. Bryant and Dr. Blayney, Though they do not agree in the idea, which is to be affixed to the terms fceptre and lawgiver; yet, according to both their explanations, the prophecy is exactly fulfilled. Mr. Bryant fuppofes, that the fceptre and lawgiver here spoken of do not allude to any earthly power, but to the theocracy, under which the children of Ifrael, and confequently the children of Judah, were placed. The latter is fpoken of more particularly, because he is appointed by the providence of God to remain till the time of Christ. He continued, therefore, though under various civil governors, ftill to be fubject to the

7. We now come to the laft limitation CHAP. of the promised feed, in the family of Da



the divine fceptre, until that fatal moment came, when the To David. real King of Judah appeared upon earth, and was rejected by his rebellious fubjects. Pilate "faith unto the Jews, "Behold your king! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate faith unto them, "Shall I crucify your king? The chief priefts answered, « We have no king but Cæfar." Shiloh was now come, and that heavenly fceptre, which had never before departed from them in the midst of all their calamities, left them ultimately by their own defire. Heretofore, prophets usually appeared among them in the days of their affliction: but fince they have ceafed to be God's peculiar people; fince the fceptre has departed from Judah, though their affliction has been longer and more grievous than ever it was before, yet no prophet or lawgiver has been manifefted among them.


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Dr. Blayney, in a Sermon preached before the University, but I believe never publifhed, offered the following exposition. The fignification of the Hebrew word here tranflated fceptre, is rod. Each tribe had a peculiar rod, whence, by a common figure in rhetoric, it is put for the tribe itfelf, and as fuch is perpetually rendered tribe. The word 1 bis feet, is in the Samaritan Pentateuch a bis banners. In this fenfe therefore the paffage will run; "Tribefhip (i. e. "existence as a tribe) fhall not depart from Judah, nor a "commander from his banners, until Shiloh come.” According to fuch an interpretation, the prophecy is every way fulfilled. Judah poffeffed a diftin&t government as a tribe, till the time of Chrift; whereas the other ten tribes, which compofed the kingdom of Ifrael, were loft and confounded after the Babylonian captivity. But if tranflated fceptre, or kingly authority, the prophecy is manifeftly falfe; for during the whole time of the judges, we do not find that they were elected

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SECT. vid of the tribe of Judah. The paffage, in III. which this promise is generally supposed

elected from Judah in preference to the other tribes; and, when their authority ceased, the first king was a Benjamite. It is true, that his fucceffors were of Judah; but the princes for the last century or two before Chrift were of the Afmonean family, and the last monarch, Herod, was an Idumean. To this may be added, the interruption of regal power by the Babylonian captivity, and the perfecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, in each of which, the sceptre, if the word relates to a monarchical form of government, had as completely departed from Judah, as in his final conqueft by the Ro


The phrafe, from between bis feet, is not used elsewhere in Scripture to exprefs a man's progeny, but instead of it, the children which come out of his loins. By the happy substitution of 1 bis ftandards, for han his feet, according to the Samaritan Pentateuch, we find, that Judah was not to lose a chief invefted with civil and military authority, till the coming of Chrift. That each tribe had a peculiar chief and standard, appears from Numb. ii.

The chief difficulty arises from ascertaining the literal meaning of Shilob. Some, by a flight alteration, would read , and tranflate it fent, a title frequently affumed by Chrift. Others throw out the ', and read w, affirming it to be a contraction of three words wit is, to, and N17 bim. According to this, the paffage runs, "The fceptre fhall not "depart, &c. until he comes, to whom it is," i. e. for whom it is reserved, namely, Chrift, the supreme King of heaven and earth. Others tranflate it child, fo called in Hebrew from, on account of the tranquillity of the child while in the womb; and thence more peculiarly applicable to the child Chrift, who is elsewhere called the Prince of Peace.

The LXX. read τα αποκείμενα αυτώ, perhaps it might be



to have been conveyed to the pious king, CHAP. is in the feventh chapter of 2 Samuel; and it shall be given at large, on account of fome difficulties which are contained in it, according to our prefent tranflation.

"Now, therefore, fo fhalt thou fay to <6 my fervant David, Thus faith the Lord "of hofts, I took thee from the sheep-cote, "from following the fheep, to be ruler "over my people, over Ifrael. And I was "with thee, whitherfoever thou wenteft, " and have cut off thine enemies out of thy fight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great "men that are in the earth. Moreover, "I will appoint a place for my people If



rael, and will plant them, that they may "dwell in a place of their own, and move "no more; neither fhall the children of "wickedness afflict them any more, as be"fore time, and as fince the time, that "I commanded judges to be over my peo"ple Ifrael, and have caufed thee to rest "from all thine enemies. Alfo the Lord "telleth thee, that he will

make thee an

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with more propriety ὁ αποκείμενος αυτῳ. Whatever be the literal meaning of this word, both Chriftians and Jews unanimously agree in referring it to the Messiah.

" house.

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