For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire
. So that she needs no other wall to secure her, the power of God encompassing her about as the mountains did Jerusalem, ( Psalms 125:2 ) and he being as a wall of fire to terrify and destroy her enemies; for our God is a consuming fire, ( Hebrews 12:29 ) . Drusius thinks it is a metaphor taken from travellers in some countries, who kindle fires about their tents, to keep off lions, and other beasts of prey; and observes of lions particularly, that they are exceedingly terrified by fire; for which he refers to John Leo in his description of Africa; and Pliny makes F5 mention of several things that are terrifying to them, but especially fires, he says; and so Dr. Shaw F6, of late, speaking of the lions in Barbary, remarks, fire is what they are the most afraid of; yet, notwithstanding all the precautions of the Arabs in this respect, with others he takes notice of, it frequently happens that these ravenous beasts, outbraving all those terrors, will leap into the midst of an enclosure or fold, and drag from thence a sheep, or a goat; and Tavernier F7 tells a story, by which he thinks it appears to be a vulgar error that lions will not come near the fire; though the relation itself shows it to be not only a received opinion, but a common custom to light fires in the night, to preserve from lions: his story is,
``a party of Dutch soldiers, under the command of a serjeant, far advanced in the country (about the Cape of Good Hope), and night coming on, they made a great fire, as well to keep themselves from the lions, as to warm themselves, and so lay down to sleep round about it; being asleep, a lion seized one of the soldier's arms, which with difficulty was got out, after the lion was shot;''but this seems to be the case, when these creatures are dreadfully hunger bitten; however, be it as it will, God is the sure and safe protection of his people; who went before the people of Israel in a pillar of a cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night, when they passed through a terrible wilderness, in which were beasts of prey; and surrounded Elisha with horses and chariots of fire, when the king of Syria sent a large host to take him; so that he could say, to encourage his servant, "they that be for us are more than they that be with them", ( 2 Kings 6:15-17 ) who seem to be angels; and the Jews F8 here interpret it of the family of God, his angels, made a wall to Jerusalem to preserve it; the cherubim and a flaming sword, set to keep the garden of Eden, were, according to Lactantius F9, a wall of fire about it; for (he says), when God cast man out of paradise, he walled it about with fire: but that was that man might not enter in; but here he himself is a wall of fire, that his people may be safe; hence they have no reason to fear the wrath of their enemies, the most fierce and furious, savage and cruel, comparable to lions, bears; for, if God is for them, on their side, and on all sides of them, who can be against them to any purpose? The Targum paraphrases it,
``my Word shall be unto her, saith the Lord, as a wall of fire encompassing her round about:''and will be the glory in the midst of her:
appear glorious in her, be glorified in her, and by her, and be her glory, and make her glorious; as the Lord does by granting his gracious presence with his church and people, in his word and ordinances; see ( Isaiah 4:1-6 ) ( Isaiah 60:13 ) .
F5 Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 16.
F6 Travels, tom. 1. par. 3. c. 2. p. 172.
F7 Travels through India, in Harris's Voyages and Travels, vol. 1. p. 848.
F8 Pesikta Rabbati apud Yalkut in loc.
F9 Institut. Divin. l. 2. c. 13.