"In connection with your interesting annotation on Micah 6, in the current number of your magazine, I send you a note from Dr. P_'s Minor Prophets, which I think explains the words 'from Shittim to Gilgal,' which is one of the difficulties of the passage, and on which you do not touch.
"'"From Shittim to Gilgal." The words are separated by the Hebrew accent from what went before. It is then probably said in concise energy for "Remember too from Shittim to Gilgal"; i.e., all the great works of God from Shittim, the last encampment of Israel out of the promised land, where they so sinned in Baal-Peor, unto Gilgal, the first in the promised land, which they entered by miracle, where the ark rested amid the victories given them, where the covenant was renewed, and the reproach of Egypt rolled away. "Remember all, from your own deep sin and rebellion to the deep mercy of God, that ye may know the righteousnesses of Jehovah."'
"The connection of Balaam with Gilgal, as in the punctuation of our version, is inexplicable, as he never had to do with that place. The revisers evidently understood it in this way too, although in our new translation it is not clear.
"Ever yours affectionately in Christ, "C. E. H. W."
"I am sending you a few thoughts on the children in Isaiah 7. The cavils of an open sceptic led me to look closely into the difficulty, with this result:
"It seems to me that verses 13, 14, 15 must be taken together, that they are not spoken to Ahaz (though he may have heard them as one of the house of David), and they do not refer to the circumstances of that time. The wicked king Ahaz has rejected God's gracious offer of a sign, under the pious pretext it would be tempting God. Jehovah then turns from him, and speaks to the house of David. He goes beyond the present trouble, really a small matter, and gives in that and the two following chapters a magnificent promise of the coming of Immanuel, and what He would accomplish in due time. I think this is clear from the language. Verse 11 is spoken to Ahaz - 'Ask thee.' He refuses. Then the house of David is addressed, verses 13 and 14, 'Ye, you, ye, you,' in the plural. In verses 16 and 17 Ahaz is again addressed, 'Thou, thee, thy,' singular. Thus verses 16 and 17 contain a different prophecy to verses 13, 14, 15; and 'the child,' verse 16, is not the same as 'the son' of verse 14.
"I would suggest that 'the child,' verse 16, is either Shear-jashub, who was with Isaiah at the time, and may have been an infant, or else Maher-shalal-hash-baz, chapter 8, whose remarkable birth had to do with the then present crisis.
"This explanation seems to me to meet the difficulty. I have not seen it elsewhere, and should be glad to know your thoughts on it. J. G. Deck."
An authoritative interpretation of the first part of this scripture is given by the apostle in Ephesians 4. There can be no doubt, therefore, that it applies to the exaltation of Christ at the right hand of God, and the apostle explicitly identifies the One who ascended with Him who descended into the lower parts of the earth. One difference, however, should be noted. In the Psalm it is given in our translation, "Thou hast received gifts for men." In Ephesians it is, "He . . . gave gifts unto men," and verse 11 explains the meaning of this. In fact, the rendering of the Psalm is inaccurate, though translators seldom agree in what they propose to substitute. The Revised Version, for example, has "among [instead of "for"] men," another gives "on account of man," and a third "in the Man." If the last be adopted (and we think it should be), it refers to the fact that Christ as Man glorified received the gifts from the Father to bestow for the perfecting of the saints. The second affords a very intelligible significance, but the rendering of the Revised Version is hopelessly confused. Taking, then, the one we prefer, we learn that through His death the Lord triumphed over the whole of Satan's power (compare Hebrews 2:14, 15 ; 2 Timothy 1:10), and thus that, when He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive (led that captive which had held men in captivity), and that having received the gifts in Himself as the Man of God's purpose, He gave them unto men, and consequently apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers are the tokens of His victory, as well as evidence of His love to and care for the assembly. It may be also observed that the apostle only takes the part of scripture which could be applied to Christ and the Church. The last clause, "Yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell [among] them," or, as one translator has it, "That the Lord God might have a dwelling," obviously has Israel in view. The names of God here used - Jah Elohim - show us this; and we thus learn that the Psalm looks onward, prophetically, to the time when, after all their rebelliousness, Israel will be restored in blessing under the reign of their glorious Messiah, and when Jehovah Elohim will once more, and in a more perfect way, dwell in their midst in the temple which "the Man whose name is the branch" shall build. (Zechariah 6:12, 13.) How wonderful is the Word of God! And what fulness of divine wisdom and glory does it contain!