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Christ In Type And Prophecy: Volumes 1&2 by Rev. A.J. Maas S.J.

Section I. The League with Death

Is. 28

1. CONNECTION OF THE PROPHECY WITH ITS CONTEXT.—In ch. 7–12 the prophet describes his ministry exercised during the period of Achaz; in ch. 13–27 he contemplates the judgments which, in the course of ages, are to come upon the nations of the world; in ch. 28 ff. he is brought back to his own people and time—the time of Ezechias. Nearly twenty years have elapsed since he foretold the approaching desolation of Samaria (7:17; 8:4–8). The crisis is now close at hand, the flood of the northern invaders is ready to be let loose, and the proud capital of Samaria will be hurled to the ground. God will be the glory and the support of the remnant of his people (vv. 1–6). But the Jews too, yea even the priests and leaders of the people, imitate the citizens of the northern kingdom in their self-indulgence and their reluctance to listen to better counsels. Their punishment shall be in keeping with their offence (vv. 7–13). The political leaders of the people scorn the prophet’s message, and trust to Egyptian help to free themselves from the yoke of Assyria; but the day will come when they will find how terribly their calculations are at fault (vv. 14–22). For God distributes happiness and misfortune according to the dictates of a most wise providence; this the prophet illustrates by the economy used by the husbandman (vv. 23–29).

2. MESSIANIC CHARACTER OF THE PROPHECY.—a. The foundation-stone of which there is question in v. 16 cannot be the king Ezechias. The theocracy is often represented as being preserved on account of David or the promises given to David (3 Kings 11:1–13, 32–39; 15:4, 5; 4 Kings 8:19; 19:34; 2 Par. 21:7). While Ezechias was one of the pious kings who was ordained by God as a powerful means to preserve the theocracy, the state’s preservation is nowhere ascribed to him as its ultimate cause or its foundation-stone. Ezechias is, therefore, not the foundation-stone, but rather a divine mediator granted to Juda for the sake of the foundation-stone.

b. The foundation-stone is the Messias. 1. The immovable foundation of the theocracy is the promise of the Messias (2 Kings 7:14 ff.; Is. 2:2; Joel 2:32; 3:17; Mich. 1:3; Zach. 12:2 f.). But the indestructible foundation of the theocracy is properly called its foundation-stone. Hence the promise of the Messias, and ultimately the Messias himself, is the foundation-stone of Sion. 2. The prophet prepares the way for this figure of the Messias in the earlier part of his prophecies: 8:14; cf. Deut. 32:18, 37; Ps. 17:3; 41:10; 73:26; 89:27; etc. 3. The New Testament applies this figure unmistakably to Jesus Christ: 1 Pet. 2:4–8; Rom. 9:33; 10:11; Eph. 2:20–22; 1 Cor. 3:11; Dan. 2:34, 44; Matt. 21:42; cf. Ps. 118:22. 4. Catholic commentators, following the lead of the patristic writers and of the prophet himself, have always held that Jesus Christ symbolized by the foundation-stone. The Chaldee version, too, applies this figure to no one but the Messias. “Behold,” it renders, “I place a king in Sion, a strong, powerful, formidable king. I shall strengthen him and fortify him.” 5. Finally, even the Jewish writers see in the prophecy a reference to the Messias. The Targum renders the fifth verse: “In that time shall the Messias of the Lord of hosts be a crown of joy.” And Rashi understands the Targum on verse 16, too, as referring to the Messias.

IS. 28

Wo to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, and to the fading flower, the glory of his joy, who were on the head of the fat valley, staggering with wine. Behold, the Lord is mighty and strong, as a storm of hail: a destroying whirlwind, as the violence of many waters overflowing, and sent forth upon a spacious land. The crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim shall be trodden under feet. And the fading flower of the glory of his joy, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be as a hasty fruit before the ripeness of autumn; which when he that seeth it shall behold, as soon as he taketh it in his hand, he will eat it up. In that day the Lord of hosts shall be a crown of glory, and a garland of joy to the residue of his people; and a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and strength to them that return out of the battle to the gate.

But these also have been ignorant through wine, and through drunkenness have erred: the priest and the prophet have been ignorant through drunkenness, they are swallowed up with wine, they have gone astray in drunkenness, they have not known him that seeth, they have been ignorant of judgment. For all the tables were full of vomit and filth, so that there was no more place. Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand the hearing? them that are weaned from the milk, that are drawn away from the breasts. For command and command again, command and command again; expect and expect again, expect and expect again; a little there, a little there. For with the speech of lips and with another tongue he will speak to this people. To whom he said: This is my rest, refresh the weary, and this is my refreshing; and they would not hear. And the word of the Lord shall be to them: command and command again, command and command again; expect and expect again, expect and expect again; a little there, a little there; that they may go and fall backward, and be broken and snared and taken.

Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, who rule over my people, that is in Jerusalem. For you have said: We have entered into a league with death, and we have made a covenant with hell. When the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come upon us, for we have placed our hope in lies, and by falsehood we are protected. Therefore thus saith the Lord God: Behold I will lay a stone in the foundations of Sion, a tried stone, a corner stone, a precious stone, founded in the foundation; he that believeth, let him not hasten. And I will set judgment in weight, and justice in measure; and hail shall overturn the hope of falsehood, and waters shall overflow its protection. And your league with death shall be abolished, and your covenant with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass, you shall be trodden down by it. Whensoever it shall pass through, it shall take you away, because in the morning early it shall pass through, in the day and in the night, and vexation alone shall make you understand what you hear. For the bed is straitened, so that one must fall out, and a short covering cannot cover both. For the Lord shall stand up as in the mountain of divisions; he shall be angry as in the valley, which is in Gabaon, that he may do his work, his strange work; that he may perform his work, his work is strange to him. And now do not mock, lest your bonds be tied strait; for I have heard of the Lord the God of hosts a consumption and a cutting short upon all the earth.

Give ear, and hear my voice, hearken and hear my speech. Shall the plow-man plow all the day to sow, shall he open and harrow his ground? Will he not, when he hath made plain the surface thereof, sow gith, and scatter cummin, and put wheat in order, and barley, and millet, and vetches in their bounds? For he will instruct him in judgment; his God will teach him. For gith shall not be threshed with saws, neither shall the cart-wheel turn about upon cummin; but gith shall be beaten out with a rod, and cummin with a staff. But bread-corn shall be broken small; but the thresher shall not thresh it for ever, neither shall the cart-wheel hurt it, nor break it with its teeth. This also is come forth from the Lord God of hosts, to make his counsel wonderful, and magnify justice.

The rejection here described typifies the real rejection of Jesus the Messias by the Jews.

Section II. The Stone which the Builders Rejected

PS. 117 (118)

1. STRUCTURE OF THE PSALM.—The whole psalm is a series of hexasyllabic couplets. The verses 1–18 form a processional hymn; verses 19–28 are written in the form of a dialogue, but interpreters do not agree as to the exact portions that are to be ascribed to the single speakers. The principal opinions will be given in the following paragraphs.

2. MESSIANIC CHARACTER OF THE PSALM.—The question concerning the object of the psalm is to a great extent identical with the question concerning the meaning of the foundation-stone:

1. Several of the Jewish writers explain the foundation-stone as referring to David. But David was never surrounded by Gentiles, and we find him in no such condition as the psalm supposes.

2. The opinion of Dereser that the psalm is a canticle of thanksgiving on the part of Ezechias after his liberation from the Assyrian oppressor, is objectionable for similar reasons. Olshausen (in Matt. 21:42) applies the psalm to a Jewish king who defeats his enemies by the special assistance of Jehovah. The very indefiniteness of this explanation is a serious obstacle to its acceptation.

3. Passaglia applies the meaning of the foundation-stone to Mardochai, who saved the Jewish people from ruin with the help of Esther; Theodoret explains the same stone of Zorobabel, who led the captives back out of their Babylonian exile; others refer it to the Hebrew people itself returning out of the captivity (Origen, Bede, Augustine, Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Hesychius, Didymus, Heracleota, Cassiodorus, Calmet, Genebrard, Lorinus, Knapp, Venema, de Wette, Rosenmüller, Klauss, Tholuck, Hengstenberg, Köster, Ewald, etc.). But a simple reading of the psalm suffices to convince us that the text is not fully explained by a mere reference to the return of the exiles.

4. Schegg suggests that the psalm applies to the dedication of the second temple; Loch and Reischl prefer its application to the laying of the foundation-stone for the second temple, though they do not exclude its repetition on occasion of the solemn dedication (cf. Esd. 3:11). Le Hir admits both applications (2 Esdr. 8). Cheyne is more indefinite in his opinion: “Some happy event has taken place, which is celebrated by festival rites, not unlike those of the Feast of Booths. A procession is on its way to the temple, different sections of which alternately sing the several verses of the first part (vv. 1–18). Verse 19 is spoken in the name of the whole band on its arrival at the gates; v. 20 is the reply in the name of the Levites who receive it. Verses 21–24 are sung antiphonally as before; v. 25 is the cry of the whole chorus; v. 26 is spoken by those within to the approaching procession; v. 27 to the leaders of the band; v. 28 to a part of the chorus; v. 29 to the whole body of worshippers.” According to Le Hir we have three speakers after verse 18: Verses 19–22 are spoken by the leader of the procession; vv. 23, 24 contain the answer of the priests who are within the temple. Then the gates are opened; both priests and people join in verse 25, while the priests address in v. 26 and 27a the leader of the procession and in the second part of v. 27 the people; the leader answers in v. 28, and the whole chorus sings verse 29.

5. Though this historical interpretation of the psalm satisfies the letter of the text, it does not satisfy the New Testament testimonies regarding its full meaning. Both Christ and his apostles have seen in verse 22, at least, a Messianic reference, for they quote it in Matt. 21:9, 42; Mark 11:9, 10; 12:10, 11; Luke 19:38; 20:17; Acts 4:11. Here, then, is the foundation for the view of Eusebius, Athanasius, Valentin, Cajetan, Berthier, Allioli, Lilienthal, Tarnov, Calov, Geier, etc., according to which the whole psalm proceeds from the mouth of the Messias. Still, this opinion, as it is stated by these great authorities, appears untenable on account of vv. 8, 10–12, 15, 27 of the psalm; for these passages can hardly refer to the Messias in their literal sense. We are therefore warranted in applying the psalm in its typical sense to the Messias, as Passaglia and many other eminent writers have done. The literal meaning of the stone may be referred either to the Jewish people or to the family of David (cf. 2 Kings 7:14; Is. 2:2–4; Gen. 49:10 f.). Both of these have been real types of the Messias: the people because it was through the Messias alone that the prophecy concerning the universal blessing of the nations was to be verified; the house of David, because it was perpetuated and rendered really permanent in its royal dignity through the mediation of the Messias. The references to the testimonies of the Fathers in favor of the Messianic meaning of the psalm may be found in Kilber’s Analysis Biblica, ii. p. 91.

PS. 117

Give praise to the Lord, for he is good,

For his mercy endureth for ever;

Let Israel now say that he is good,

That his mercy endureth for ever;

Let the house of Aaron now say,

That his mercy endureth for ever;

Let them that fear the Lord now say,

That his mercy endureth for ever.

In my trouble I called upon the Lord,

And the Lord heard me, and enlarged me.

The Lord is my helper,

I will not fear what man can do unto me.

The Lord is my helper,

And I will look over my enemies.

It is good to confide in the Lord

Rather than to have confidence in man;

It is good to trust in the Lord

Rather than to trust in princes.

All nations compassed me about,

And in the name of the Lord I have been revenged on them;

Surrounding me they have compassed me about,

And in the name of the Lord I have been revenged on them.

They surrounded me like bees, and they burned like fire among thorns,

And in the name of the Lord I was revenged on them.

Being pushed I was overturned that I might fall,

But the Lord supported me.

The Lord is my strength and my praise,

And he is become my salvation.

The voice of rejoicing and of salvation

Is in the tabernacles of the just.

The right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength,

The right hand of the Lord hath exalted me.

The right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength,

I shall not die, but live,

And shall declare the works of the Lord.

The Lord chastising hath chastised me,

But he hath not delivered me over to death.

Open ye to me the gates of justice,

I will go into them, and give praise to the Lord;

This is the gate of the Lord,

The just shall enter into it.

I will give glory to thee, because thou hast heard me,

And art become my salvation.

The stone which the builders rejected,

This same is become the head of the corner

This is the Lord’s doing,

And it is wonderful in our eyes.

This is the day which the Lord hath made,

Let us be glad and rejoice therein.

O Lord, save me,

O Lord give good success!

Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord,

We have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.

The Lord is God, and he hath shone upon us,

Appoint a solemn day, with shady boughs, even to the horn of the altar.

Thou art my God, and I will praise thee,

Thou art my God, and I will exalt thee.

I will praise thee, because thou hast heard me,

And art become my salvation.

O praise ye the Lord, for he is good,

For his mercy endureth for ever.

It follows from what has been said, a. that the literal meaning of the psalm refers to the entrance of the people into the courts of the temple, both on occasion of laying the corner-stone of the temple proper and of its dedication. b. The allegorical sense of the psalm refers to Jesus Christ, entering triumphantly into his kingdom, after he has been rejected by those whom God had appointed as his builders. α. This entrance took place in a visible manner on the first Palm Sunday when the Jewish people gladly chanted the vv. 25, 26; β. it took place again when Jesus ascended into heaven, accompanied by all the just of the Old Testament. γ. But it will take place in the most perfect manner at the end of time, when Jesus will ascend into heaven after having put to shame all his enemies, and when he will be accompanied by all the saints of both the Old and the New Testament. c. The psalm is verified in a tropological sense as often as Jesus takes possession of a soul, entering it with all his graces and gifts, and guarding it against the attacks of all its enemies.

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