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mon to Judah with all the other tribes, shall not depart from him, though it might and did depart from them; until the person shall come, to whom of right it belongs. Hence it will follow of course, that, when that person does come, the sceptre will at the same time depart fronr Judah.
The person however in question is unanimously confessed, both by Jews and by Christians, to be the Messiah. But the sceptre, which is declared to belong of right to him, is the theocratic sceptre of Jehovah. Christ therefore is that Jehovah, who was the special God of the Israelites : that is to say, Christ is that anthropomorphic Angel of Jehovah; whom Jacob and Hosea unite in pronouncing, to be Jehovah hitnself, and as such to be the family God of Abraham and of Isaac.'
His coming, according to the general meaning of the term, is his ministerial coming: and, synchronically with this his advent, the theocratic sceptre was to depart from Judah ; in whose tribe it had, until now, remained without any interruption. Accordingly, when the Word came unto his own, and when his own received him not; their formal and obstinate rejection of the divine Lawgiver constrained him to withdraw from them his theocratic sceptre. Henceforth therefore the Hebrews of the house of Judah ceased to be his peculiar people, as the Hebrews of the ten tribes had already ceased to stand in that relation to him. The sceptre departed from Judah: the Lawgiver, to whom it
'Gen, xlviii. 15, 16. Hos. xii. 2-5.
rightly belonged, resumed it: and the rod of divine authority was now extended over another race, which had long been alienated from the primeval covenant.
At this precise time, as the prophecy goes on to teach us, the Gentiles are to be gathered to the rejected Lawgiver of Israel: and, agreeably to the prediction, within a few years after the death of Christ, after the Gospel as a final effort had been first preached at Jerusalem, the benighted heathens began to be gathered into the spiritual kingdom of the Messiah.
VII. We now come to the last limitation of the promised Seed to the family of David, which belonged to the tribe of Judah.
The passage, in which this promised limitation is generally supposed to have been conveyed to the pious king, is in the seventh chapter of the second book of Samuel; and it shall be given at large, on account of some difficulties which are contained in it, according to our present translation.
Now, therefore, so shalt thou say to my servant David, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheep-cote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel. And I was with thee, whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off thine enemies out of thy sight, 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 Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more ; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as before time, and as since the time, that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the Lord telleth thee, that he will make thee an house. And, when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men : but my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee : thy throne shall be established for ever.
To explain this difficult prophecy, I shall avail myself of the observations of a late eminent Biblical Critic."
The New Testament begins with asserting, that Jesus Christ was the son of David, the son of Abraham. Every one knows, that Christ was born a Jew, and consequently descended from Jacob, the grandson of Abraham ; and we all know, that the promise given to Abraham, concerning the Messiah, is recorded in Gen. xxii. 18. But it is remarks able, that no such promise is recorded to have been made to David, at least in our translation. The
record of this promise, if written at all, must have been written in this chapter, (2 Sam. vii.) in the message from God by Nathan to David. The wrong translation of the tenth and fourteenth verses, in a part of Scripture so very interesting, has been artfully laid hold of by the deistical Author of The Grounds and Reasons of the Christian Religion, who pretends to demonstrate, that the promise of a Messiah could not be here recorded. His reasons are three ; first, because, in rerse the tenth, the Prophet speaks of the future prosperity of the Jews, as to be afterwards fixed, and no more afflicted; which circumstances are totally repugnant to the fate of the Jews, as connected with the birth and deuth of Christ. Secondly, Because the son here promised was (ver. 13.) to build an house, which house, it is pretended, must mean the Temple of Solomon, and, of course, Solomon must be the son here promised. And thirdly, Because verse the fourteenth supposcs, that this son might commit iniquity, which could not be supposed of the Messiah.
The first of these objections is founded on our wrong translation of verse the tenth, where the words should be expressed, as relating to the time past, or present. For the Prophet is there declaring, what great things God had already done for David and his people—that he had raised David from the sheepfold to the throne, and that he had planted the Israelites in a place of safety, at rest from all those enemies who had so often before
ונטעתי amd ,ושמתי afficted them. That the words
may be rendered in the time past or present, is both clear from its being the most natural construction of the Hebrew, the words in question being in the preterite tense ; and it likewise is allowed by our translators, who here (ver. 11.) render 'NITU, and have caused thee to rest, and also Tam), and telleth. The translation therefore should run thus ; I took thee from the sheep-cote, and have made thee a great name—and I have appointed a place for my people Israel ; and have planted them, that they dwell in a place of their own, and move no more. Neither do the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as before and as since the time that I commanded judges to be over Israel; and I have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies.
Objection the second is founded on a mistake in the sense.
David indeed had proposed to build a house to God, which God did not admit. Yet, approving the piety of David's intention, God was pleased to reward it, by promising—that he would make an house for David; which house to be thus erected by God was certainly not material or made of stones, but a spiritual house or family to be raised up for the honour of God and the salvation of mankind. And this house, which God would make, was to be built by David's seed ; and this seed was to be raised up after David slept with his fathers ; which words clearly exclude Solomon, who was set up and placed upon the throne before David was dead. This building also was to be erected by an everlasting king, whose kingdom was to be established for ever. Now, that this house was to be