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ANCIENT PROPHECIES FORETELLING THE
IN treating of the prophecies which relate to the final destruction of Jerusalem, I would first draw the reader's attention to the 28th chapter of the book of Deuteronomy, in which is an eminent instance of God's merciful kindness, when the prophets are commanded to declare God's judgments against the rebellious, in providing them with previous gracious promises towards the obedient, and with compassionate offers of favour and pardon to those who, although they have strayed, are willing to repent and return. It begins with a promise: "And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently to the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and do all his commandments, which I
command this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all the nations of the earth; and all these blessings shall come upon thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God."* Then the blessings are enumerated, as the curses had been in a former chapter. At the 15th verse the curses are resumed, in case they will not be obedient to the voice of the Lord their God: "It shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes, which I command thee this day, that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee." Tremendous curses immediately follow, which will fall upon them whilst they are dwelling in their own land, and they are continued to verse the 25th, where begins the scene of destruction and desolation: "The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies; thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them, and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth." Verse 32. Thy sons and thy daughters shall
* Deut. xxviii. 1, 2.
be given to another people, and thine eyes shall look and fail with longing for them all the day long, and there shall be no might in thine hand. The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed always, so that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see." After the 47th verse the most appalling threatenings are denounced. "Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things, therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies, which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things; and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee. The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favour to the young. And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed; which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy
kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustest, throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee. And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, and the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the Lord thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee; so that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil towards his brother, and towards the wife of his bosom, and towards the remnant of his children which he shall leave, so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat, because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates. The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil towards the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, and toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which
she shall bear, for she shall eat them, for want of all things, secretly, in the siege and straitness wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates, if thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this fearful and glorious name, THE LORD THY GOD."*
I have copied largely from this remarkable prophecy, because the commentators in general believe it to have been a prediction especially of the final destruction of Jerusalem, and of the whole land of Judea, by the Romans, and because the Jewish historian, Josephus, has given the particulars of that terrible event, the sacking of Jerusalem by the Roman armies, in nearly the words of the prophecy. The reasons why this prophecy is believed to have particularly foretold the final destruction of Jerusalem are, that it said, "The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth;" whereas, the Chaldean invasion from Babylon, is generally spoken of as coming from the north; moreover, the Babylonian captivity was particular, they were carried away
* Deut. xxviii. 58.