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ISAIAH 43:3,4

(Reply to G. W. Cottrell)

“For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Savior. I gave Egypt for thy ransom; Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou wast honorable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee and people for thy life.”

REPLY: The particular enquiry is, What is the gift, and to whom given? The special sovereign and discriminating love of God to Israelis exemplified and demonstrated by the wonderful deliverances which God has wrought for them at sundry times and places. National Israel is the type of the spiritual kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, and as God gave Egypt for the ransom of the Hebrews, when for their deliverance the hosts of Pharaoh perished in the Red Sea. For the temporal salvation of the Hebrews, God gave Egypt to be destroyed. In this case Egypt was the gift given by the sin-avenging God to the sword of justice and wrath. Ethiopia and Seba were the descendants of Ham, given with their descendants throughout all time, by the prophetic curse of Noah against Ham, or Canaan, to be servants of servants to the descendants of Shem and Japheth forever. Thus in the division of the families of the earth God has been specially gracious to Israel. ‘When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” (Deut. 32:8,9) Ethiopia and Seba were thus given to be servants to Israel; as the descendants of Shem, as well as to those of the posterity of Japheth. And in the descendants of Cush, from whom Ethiopia and Seba proceeded, are included all those nations which occupied Palestine. The Canaanites, the Hitites, Jebuzites, and all others of the descendants of Ham, were given to the sword for the sake of Israel, that Israel might go in and possess the land. Even the Gibeonites, who by stratagem obtained a treaty with Joshua that they should be permitted to remain in the land, were nevertheless given, according to the prophecy of Noah, to be servants, and employed as hewers of wood and drawers of water, for Israel. And in many subsequent wars the descendants of Ham were routed and put to flight before Israel, until ultimately driven into Africa.

We have confined our remarks in this reply to our correspondent principally to his two questions, viz: What was given? and to whom?

Many reflections are suggested on this subject.

First - If the decree of Almighty God, dooming the posterity of Canaan, has prevailed, and successfully resisted the combined powers of so many nations, in holding them where they were placed by the curse of Noah, will the fiat of our government to liberate them from that decree and to elevate them to a level with the posterities of Shem and Japheth be more successful?

Second - As God gave Egypt, Ethiopia and Seba for Israel, in the type, will he not ultimately destroy every weapon that is formed against Zion, and give to utter destruction all the powers of this world, who dare oppose the cause and people of the living God? As he gave Egypt to be destroyed in the sea, and Ethiopia and Seba were driven out to make room for the Hebrews, may we not confidently believe that, even so will he do for his peculiar people - the people whom he hath chosen for himself, and which he claims as the lot of his inheritance, and of whom he has said, “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm: for he that toucheth them, toucheth the apple of mine eye.” (Psa. 105:15) This Psalm presents the full answer to the enquiries of our friend, and we request our readers to turn to it.

Third - Our subject suggests the sovereign, discriminating love of the eternal God to his chosen heritage, unto whom he says, “Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honorable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.”

Middletown, N.Y.,
May 1, 1862.

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 5
Pages 188 - 190