The Blessings of Messiah’s Kingdom.

A GOVERNMENT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. — V. 1.Behold, a King shall reign in righteousness, namely, He who is Himself the Lord, our Righteousness, Jer. 23, 6, and princes, all those who hold positions of authority in the kingdom of Christ, in His Church, shall rule in judgment, applying justice in accordance with the will of the Lord. V. 2. And a Man, or the Man, namely, the great Son of Man, Jesus Christ, shall be as an hiding-place from the wind, a Shelter against wind-storms, and a Covert from the tempest, a Protector against oppression; as rivers of water in a dry place, giving refreshment to the souls of the poor and wretched, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land, where dense shade brings welcome relief to the heated traveler. This sounds the merciful invitation of the Savior, extended to all those that are heavy laden, to come unto Him and find rest for their souls, Matt. 11, 28-30. V. 3. And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken, that is, the spiritual understanding of the Lord’s people will he in proper order for realizing and appreciating the blessings of God’s mercy. V. 4. The heart also of the rash, such as judge hastily and superficially concerning the great facts of man’s redemption, shall understand knowledge, so as to weigh religious truth aright, and the tongue of the stammerers, those who do not think and speak clearly on divine matters, but are always confused, shall be ready to speak plainly, in proper agreement with the Word of God. V. 5. The vile person shall be no more called liberal, a fool, given to wickedness as he is, will no longer be called noble, nor the churl said to be bountiful, the swindler will no longer be called a baron. In the outward, visible form of the kingdom of Christ the fraudulent person, the hypocrite, may deceive himself and others, but in the estimation of Christ such a person will be given the position which his hypocrisy deserves. V. 6. For the vile person will speak villainy, the wicked mocker cannot but give expression to the mockery of his heart, and his heart will work iniquity, to practice hypocrisy, profligacy and malice, and to utter error against the Lord, arguments of unbelief and impiety, which are intended to mislead, to make empty the soul of the hungry, taking away the foundation of belief which will satisfy the needs of the spiritually hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail, namely, of him who hungers and thirsts after the righteousness of the Lord. V. 7. The instruments also of the churl, of the fraudulent, of the hypocrite, are evil; he deviseth wicked devices, plots of every kind, to destroy the poor with lying words, to bring destruction upon the afflicted with words of falsehood, even when the needy speaketh right, when he pleads with full justice, when his claims are just. V. 8. But the liberal deviseth liberal things, and by liberal things shall he stand, that is, a person of noble mind and of high moral character will not only conceive noble things, but will also persevere in them, will carry them out, with the approval of the righteous King.

DESOLATION AND RESTORATION. — V. 9. Rise up, ye women that are at ease, who lived a life of self-indulgence, without regarding the dangers of their times; hear my voice, ye careless daughters, heedless of the larger issues of life; give ear unto my speech. V. 10. Many days and years shall ye be troubled, literally, “days upon a year,” that is, an indefinite number of days, at the most a year, ye careless women; for the vintage shall fail, the gathering shall not come, there would be no harvest of fruit, since the enemy would occupy all the land about Jerusalem. V. 11. Tremble, ye women that are at ease, resting in smug self-satisfaction; be troubled, ye careless ones, who fondly imagined that the circumstances to which they were accustomed would never change; strip you and make you bare, laying aside the costly garments in which they delighted, and gird sackcloth upon your loins, as a sign of trouble, sorrow, and mourning. V. 12. They shall lament for the teats, for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine, rather, “Upon their breasts they will strike over the fields of pleasantness or desire, over the vine of fruitfulness,” deeply grieving on account of the desolation which had come upon their fertile land. V. 13. Upon the land of my people, which formerly had been a type of unexampled fruitfulness, shall come up thorns and briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy, which were so abundant in the capital city, in the joyous city. The Prophet, as in chapter 3, has in mind women who have never known any want, but have continually lived in abundance and luxury. His purpose was to frighten them out of their secure arid proud repose and to make them realize the condition in which their land was on account of the sins of its inhabitants. V. 14. Because the palaces, in which the rich were then living, shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left, the noisy din of the large city, that is, the city with its noisy multitude, forsaken; the forts and towers, Ophel, the rocky prominence of Moriah with its watchtower, shall be for dens forever, homes of wild animals, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks, all this being a picture and type of spiritual desolation which had taken hold of the Jewish people, v. 15. until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, in the time of the Messiah, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest, that is, men now barren of true religion would become fruitful as a result of the regeneration wrought in them, while those already converted would bring forth fruit in such rich abundance as to make their former life seem like a wilderness by comparison. V. 16. Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, the justice of God being acknowledged where it was formerly unknown, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field, since the believers grow both in the knowledge of the Lord and in good works. V. 17. And the work of righteousness, the condition which is produced by the application of the Lord’s righteousness in all the affairs of the Church, shall be peace, a security resting upon the foundation of God’s protection; and the effect of righteousness, its reward, quietness and assurance forever, a firm reliance upon the mercy and grace of the Lord. V. 18. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, from which all strife would be far removed, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting-places, dwelling in the most fortunate and desirable circumstances of peace and security; v. 19. when it shall hail, coming down on the forest, when the forest shall fall under a storm of hail, and the city shall be low in a low place, the reference being to the overthrow of all hostile world-powers as the Church of the Messiah is established. V. 20. Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, scattering their seeds in the fertile lowlands everywhere, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass, letting their beasts of burden roam freely on account of the great abundance of the harvest. This is again a picture of the prosperity and security of the Church under the blessing of the Lord in the New Testament: the world-powers, all spiritual enemies vanquished and the city of God with the fields of His Word happy and prosperous.