As for thee also
These words are not spoken to Christ, for (ta) , "thee", is of the feminine gender; but the congregation of Israel, as Kimchi observes; or the church of God: nor are they the words of Christ to her; he is the person before spoken of; but of God the Father, who, having given out prophecies concerning the coming of Christ, and the peaceableness and extensiveness of his kingdom, declares to the church the benefits that she and those that belonged to her should receive by the incarnation, sufferings, and death of Christ: by the blood of thy covenant;
not of the covenant of works, nor of circumcision, nor of that that was made at Sinai, as the Jewish writers interpret it; all which were a yoke of bondage; but of the covenant of grace, namely, the blood of Jesus, which is a considerable article in that covenant; that by which it is ratified and confirmed, and through which all the blessings of it come, as redemption, peace, pardon, justification, and admission into heaven: and this covenant is called the church's covenant, because it is made with her in Christ, her covenant Head, in whom she was considered; and it was made on her account, and she has an interest in it, and in all things contained therein. God is her covenant God and Father; Christ her surety, Mediator, Redeemer, and Saviour, and the covenant itself unto her; and all things in it, the blessings of grace and promises of good things, are hers: and though the covenant at Sinai is not the covenant here intended, that being a covenant which gendered to bondage, and under which men were held as convicted and condemned malefactors; and so cannot be that, the blood of which is the cause of a release from prison, and of bringing into a state of liberty; yet the allusion is unto it, which was a typical covenant; and the blood of the sacrifices then sprinkled on the people is called "the blood of the covenant", ( Exodus 24:8 ) . It was not unusual with the Heathens, at making covenants, to use blood, even human blood: it was a custom with them to draw it from each other, and drink it, at least lick and taste of it, as particularly with the Medes and Lydians F11; and was reckoned by them the most sacred bond of covenants; and such covenants with the Carmeni and Scythians were accounted the chief covenants of friendship, and their mutual blood they used the greatest bond of concord F12; and the surest pledge of keeping faith, and that it would abide F13: but the blood of Christ shed is a far greater proof, as well as cement, of love, concord, and friendship; and a much firmer bond of the covenant of grace; and a surer pledge of the continuance of it, and of its being faithfully performed; and which, having the nature of a will or testament, becomes of force through the death of him the testator; see ( Daniel 9:27 ) ( Hebrews 9:14-16 ) ( 13:20 ) : I have sent forth thy prisoners:
that is, the church's prisoners; not prisoners to her, or in her; for the church of Christ is no prison; nor are those that have a name and a place in her prisoners; they walk at large, and walk at liberty; are fellow citizens with the saints; are Christ's freemen, and are possessed of many privileges and immunities: but these design such persons as are in a secret relation to her, and yet, being in a state of nature, are prisoners; and so are such as are not members of any visible church; nor as yet converted persons and believers in Christ, who have an open relation to the invisible church; but they are such who secretly belong to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, written in heaven, whose names are in the Lamb's book of life; or are chosen in Christ, and also redeemed by his blood: but, being as yet in a state of unregeneracy, are prisoners to sin; are under the power, dominion, and guilt of it; and, being transgressors of the law, are arraigned by it as guilty persons; are convicted and condemned, and shut up in it, and held under it; and are also the captives of Satan, being led as such by him, at his will; and thus they are prisoners, though there is a secret connection between the church and them: and sooner or later, by virtue of the blood of that covenant, which she and they have an interest in, they are brought out of the pit wherein [is] no water;
which is expressive of the state and condition men are in by sin, and while in unregeneracy; they are in mire and clay, in a most filthy and famishing condition, in a very wretched and uncomfortable one; as in a dark and lonesome dungeon, and where no refreshment can be had; where there are no true peace, joy, and comfort. The allusion is to the custom of the eastern countries, and still continues, who, in the nighttime, put their slaves into a well or pit, and there shut them up till the morning, when they are let out for business: now, from this state of captivity and bondage to sin, Satan, and the law, and from all the miseries of such a state, are the Lord's people, and who belong to Zion, the general assembly and church of the first born, delivered by virtue of the blood of Christ, shed for the redemption of them; in consequence of which it is said to these prisoners of sin, Satan, and the law, go forth; these are made sensible of their wretched condition, and are called and drawn out of it, and delivered from it, and brought into a state of liberty. Ben Melech interprets this pit of the captivity of the Jews.
F11 Herodot. Clio, sive l. 1. c. 74.
F12 Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 5. c. 3.
F13 Mela de situ Orbis, l. 2. c. 1.