Nubia, or Ethiopia, Isaiah Egypt and Assyria, Isaiah The destruction of Babylon, Isaiah Dumah or Idumea, Isaiah Jerusalem, when about to be besieged by Sennacherib, Isaiah The fall of Shebna, and the promotion of eliakim, Isaiah Independent prophecies, relating mainly to the times of Hezekiah, and to the prospect of the Assyrian invasion under Sennacherib; with a statement of the ultimate safety of the people of God, and the overthrow of all their enemies, Isaiah These prophecies are 8 in number, and relate to the following events. Desolation of the land of Judea, its delivery and triumph, Isaiah Ephraim to be destroyed, and Judah preserved, Isaiah The siege and deliverance of Jerusalem, Isaiah An alliance with Egypt condemned, Isaiah Denunciation on account of the contemplated alliance with Egypt, Isaiah The virtuous and yet unsuccessful reign of Hezekiah, Isaiah The destruction of the Assyrian army, Isaiah The destruction of Edom, and of all the enemies of God, and the final triumph and security of the people, Isaiah 34 ; Isaiah The historical portion Isaiah , relating to the destruction of Sennacherib, and the sickness and recovery of Hezekiah.
One great cause of the difficulty of understanding Isaiah arises from the manner in which the division into chapters has been made. This division is known to be of recent origin, and is of no authority whatever. It was first adopted by Hugo in the 13th century, who wrote a celebrated commentary on the Scriptures. He divided the Latin Vulgate into chapters nearly the same as those which now exist in the English version. These chapters he divided into smaller sections by placing the letters A, B, C, etc.
The division into verses is of still later origin. It was made by Stephens on a journey from Lyons to Paris in , and was first used in his edition of the New Testament. The Jews formerly divided the books of the Old Testament into greater and smaller sections. It is obvious that these divisions are of no authority; and it is as obvious that they were most injudiciously made.
A simple glance at Isaiah will show that prophecies have been divided in many instances which should have been retained in the same chapter, and that prophecies and parts of prophecies have been thrown into the same chapter which should have been kept distinct. It is not usually difficult to mark the commencement and the close of the prophecies in Isaiah, and an indication of such a natural division throws material light on the prophecy itself. The proper divisions have been indicated above. The Historical Writings of Isaiah It is evident that Isaiah wrote more than we have in the book which bears his name.
And even if, as we may suppose, the five previous chapters are to be referred to his time, yet they contain no historical statement; no record of public events sufficient to constitute a history of "the acts of Uzziah, first and last. Again, in 2 Chronicles But there is no formal record of the events of the early part of his reign or of his death. What is said relates to the invasion of Sennacherib Isaiah , to the sickness and recovery of Hezekiah Isaiah 38 , and to the visit of the ambassadors from Babylon, Isaiah But this would scarcely deserve to be called a record, or history of his "acts," and his "goodness," margin, "kindnesses" , that is, his actions or plans of beneficence to promote the happiness and piety of his people.
It is not, however, upon this passage so much that reliance is to be placed to prove that he wrote other documents, as on the passage quoted from 2Kings. In regard to these historical records which are not now found in the Book of Isaiah, there can be only two opinions: Many such writings are mentioned which are now lost or which are not found under the names of their authors. Nor is there any improbability that some portions of the once-inspired writings are lost. They may have been inspired to accomplish a certain object; and, when that goal was gained, they may have been lost or destroyed as not further necessary, or as superseded by superior clearness of revelation.
No man can tell why it should be regarded as more improbable that divine communications which are written should be lost when they have accomplished their purpose, than it is that divine communications spoken should be lost. In the mere act of writing, there is no special sacredness that should make it necessary to preserve it. And yet no one can doubt compare John It never was recorded, and there can be no impropriety in supposing that portions of truth that have been recorded have likewise perished.
The whole Bible will be consumed in the conflagration of the last day - but truth will live on. God has preserved, with remarkable care, as much truth as He saw was necessary to illuminate and edify His church to the end of time. There is, however, no indispensable necessity of supposing that in fact any part of the sacred record has been destroyed. It is probable that the history of each reign was recorded by a prophet, a scribe, or a "historiographer" see the note at Isaiah From the following extract from the travels of Mr.
Bruce, it is evident that such an officer is known in modern times as attached to a court. The extract will also be descriptive of the duties of such an officer, and perhaps may be regarded as descriptive of some of the functions discharged by the prophets. He is also keeper of his seal; and is "obliged to make a journal of the king's actions, good or bad, without comment of his own upon them.
Such a record is also kept of all the sayings and purposes of the Emperor of China by an officer appointed for this purpose. It is carefully made, and sealed up during his life, and is not opened until he dies. This is regarded in that empire as an important public security that the Emperor will say or do nothing that he will be unwilling should be known by posterity; see the Edinburgh Encyclopedia, "China.
There is every reason to believe that a part of these royal biographies, or records of important events in each reign, were written by prophets see the analysis of Isaiah These records would be deposited in the archives of state, and would be regarded as authentic documents, and placed under the custody of proper officers. When the connected history of the nation came to be written; when the Books of the "Kings" and the "Chronicles" were composed, nothing would be more natural than to take these documents or historical records, and arrange and embody them as a part of the sacred history.
They may have been incorporated entire into the narratives which we now have; and the name of the writer simply referred to as the "authority" for the document, or to preserve the recollection of the original author of each fragment or part of the history.
Commentaries – Old Testament
This I regard as by far the most probable supposition. And, if this is correct, then we still have substantially the portions of history which were composed by Isaiah, Gad, etc. These requisite changes may have been made by Ezra when the canon of the Old Testament was completed. The reasons for this opinion may be seen more at length in the analysis of Isaiah Quotations of Isaiah in the New Testament Isaiah refers more fully to the times of the Messiah than any other of the prophets. It is natural, therefore, to expect to find his writings often quoted or appealed to in the New Testament.
The frequency of the reference, and the manner in which it is done, will show the estimate in which he was held by the Saviour and by the apostles. It may also contribute in some degree to the explanation of some of the passages quoted to have them convenient for reference, or for examination. The meaning of Isaiah may be often determined by the inspired statement of the event referred to in the New Testament; and the meaning of a New Testament writer llkewise by a reference to the passage which he quotes. In regard to these quotations, also, it may be of use to bear in remembrance that a portion is made directly and literally from the Hebrew, and agrees also with the Septuagint version, or is in the words of the Septuagint; a portion agrees with the Hebrew in sense but not in words; a portion is made from the Septuagint translation even when the Septuagint differs from the Hebrew; and in some cases there is a bare allusion to a passage.
It may be useful to furnish a classification of the entire passages which are quoted in the New Testament, under several heads, that they may be seen at one view, and may be compared at leisure. For this selection and arrangement, I am mainly indebted to Horne. Quotations agreeing exactly with the Hebrew text: Quotations nearly agreeing with the Hebrew text: Quotations agreeing with the Hebrew in sense,but not in words: Quotations which give the general sense,but which abridge, or add to it: Quotations which are taken from several different places: Quotations differing from the Hebrew text,but agreeing with the Septuagint text: Quotations in which there is reason to suspecta different reading in the Hebrew text,or that the words were understood in a sensedifferent from that expressed in our Lexicons: Allusion to a passage in Isaiah: Quotations made from the Septuagint: Many of the passages above referred to are made also from the Septuagint, when that version agrees with the Hebrew.
I refer here to a few passages which have not been noted before. The apostles wrote in the Greek language and for the use of those among whom the Septuagint was extensively used. Occasionally, however, they quoted directly from the Hebrew, that is, made a translation themselves, or quoted according to the general sense.
All the quotations that are in accordance with the Septuagint, or that vary from it, may be seen in Horne's Introduction, vol. Quotations which differ from the Hebrew,and the Septuagint, and which were perhaps takenfrom some version or paraphrase, or which were sorendered by the sacred writers themselves: They seem to be parts of the same work; and an exposition of the apostles and evangelists can hardly be deemed complete without the accompaniment of the evangelical prophet.
The Character and Nature of Prophecy 1. The words "prophet" and "prophecy" are used in the Bible in a larger sense than they are commonly with us. They were the messengers of God to His people and to the world. They were appointed to make known His will, to denounce His judgments, to rebuke the crimes of rulers and people, to instruct in the doctrines of religion, and generally to do whatever was necessary in order to effectually promulgate the will of God.
The prophet was, therefore, a man who was commissioned to teach and rebuke kings and nations, as well as to predict future events. With the idea of a prophet there is necessarily connected the idea that he spoke not his own thoughts, but that what he uttered was only received directly from God in one of the modes in which that will was made known.
He was God's ambassador to people; and, of course, was a man who was raised up or designated by God Himself. He was not trained for this office, since a man could not be trained for inspiration; though it was a matter of fact that several of the prophets were taken from the "school of the prophets," or from among the "sons of the prophets;" 1 Kings Yet the choice from among them of anyone to perform the functions of the prophet under divine inspiration, seems to have been incidental, and not in a uniform mode.
A large part of the prophets had no connection with those schools. Those schools were doubtless usually under the direction of some inspired man, and were probably designed to train those educated there for the functions of public teachers, of for the stations of learning under the theocracy; but they could not have been regarded as intended to train for that function which depended wholly upon the direct inspiration of God. The word, therefore, properly means, to speak under a special fervor, animation, inspiration of mind produced by a divine influence; to speak, either in foretelling future events, or denouncing the judgments of God when the mind was full, and when the excited and agitated spirit of the prophet poured forth words, as water is driven from the fountain.
But the word also denotes all the forms or modes in which the prophet communicated the will of God, or discharged the functions of the prophetic office. Hence, it is used to denote: This latter meaning is in accordance with the customs among the pagan, where the prophet or the prophetess professed to be full of the divine influence, and where that influence was manifested by writhings and contortions of the body, or by a pretended suspension of the powers of conscious agency, and the manifestation of conduct not a little resembling the ravings of delirium.
It is possible that the true prophets, occasionally under the power of inspiration, exhibited similar agitations and spasmodic affections of the body compare Numbers The two main ideas in the word "prophecy" relate: In order to obtain a clear idea of the nature of prophecy, it is important to have a correct apprehension of the modes in which God communicated His will to the prophets, or of the manner in which they were influenced, and affected by the prophetic "afflatus" or inspiration. Of course, all the light which can be obtained on this subject is to be derived from the Scriptures; but the subject is involved still in much obscurity.
Perhaps the following will include all the modes in which the will of God was made known to the prophets, or in which they received a knowledge of what they were to communicate to others. Thus, Moses was called by God at the bush, Exodus 3: In these cases there was no doubt on the mind of the prophet of his call, since it was usually in such circumstances, and probably in such a manner, as to leave the fullest demonstration that it was from God.
There is no evidence, however, that the whole message was usually communicated to the mind of the prophet in this manner. Perhaps the first call to the prophetic office was made in this mode, and the nature of the message imparted in the manner that will be specified soon. All that is essential to the correct understanding of this is that there was a CLEAR designation to the prophetic function. Instances of this kind are common in the Sacred Scriptures, as one of the earliest modes of communication between God and the soul. The idea seems to be that the senses were locked up, and that the soul was left free to hold communication with the invisible world, and to receive the expressions of the will of God.
The belief that God made known His will in this manner was by no means confined to the Jewish nation. God informed Abimelech in a dream that Sarah was the wife of Abraham, Genesis Joseph was early favored with prophetic dreams which were so clear in their signification as to be easily interpreted by his father and brethren, Genesis The butler and baker in Egypt both had dreams predicting their future destiny, Genesis God spoke to Jacob in a dream, Genesis Nebuchadnezzar had dreams festering his future destiny, and the kingdoms that should arise after him, Daniel 2: God expressly declared that He would make known His will by dreams.
The ancient belief on this subject is expressed in most sublime manner in the language of Elihu as addressed to Job: For God speaketh once, Yea, twice, when man regardeth it not; In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falleth upon men, In slumberings upon the bed-- Then he openeth the ears of men, And sealeth up for them admonition, That he may turn man from his purpose, And remove pride from man. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: Why should ye be stricken any more?
From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.
When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;.
Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: How is the faithful city become an harlot! Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:.
And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellers as at the beginning: And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed. For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen.
And the strong shall be as tow, and the maker of it as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them. Notes on the Bible by Albert Barnes . Barnes' Notes Introduction to Isaiah Section 1. The vision - The first verse evidently is a title, but whether to the whole book or only to a part of it has been questioned. As it stands here, however, it seems clearly intended to include the entire book, because it embraces all that was seen during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah; that is, during the whole prophetic life of the prophet.
The same title is also given to his prophecies in 2 Chronicles This might have been done by Isaiah himself if he collected his prophecies into a volume, or by some other inspired man who collected and arranged them; see the Introduction to Isaiah Hence, the prophets were anciently called "Seers," as those who saw or witnessed events which were yet to come; compare 1 Samuel 9: In these visions the objects probably were made to pass before the mind of the prophet as a picture, in which the various events were delineated with more or less distinctness, and the prophecies were spoken, or recorded, as the visions appeared to the observer.
As many events could be represented only by symbols, those symbols became a matter of record, and are often left without explanation. On the nature of the prophetic visions, see Introduction, Section 7. It was common among the Hebrews to incorporate the name Yahweh, or a part of it, into their proper names; see the note at Isaiah 7: Probably the object of this was to express veneration or regard for him - as we now give the name of a parent or friend to a child; or in many cases the name may have been given to record some signal act of mercy on the part of God, or some special interposition of his goodness.
The practice of incorporating the name of the God that was worshipped into proper names was common in the East. Thus the name "Bel," the principal idol worshipped in Babylon, appears in the proper names of the kings, as Belshazzar, etc. It is not known that the name was given to Isaiah with any reference to the nature of the prophecies which he would deliver; but it is a remarkable circumstance that it coincides so entirely with the design of so large a portion of his predictions. The substance of the latter portion of the book, at least, is the salvation which Yahweh would effect for his people from their oppressers in Babylon, and the far mightier deliverance which the world would experience under the Messiah.
The son of Amoz - See the Introduction, Section 2. The kingdom of Judah included the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Benjamin was a small tribe, and it was not commonly mentioned, or the name was lost in that of Judah. The kingdom of Israel, or Ephraim, included the remaining ten tribes. Few of the prophets appeared among them; and the personal ministry of Isaiah does not appear to have been at all extended to them. Jerusalem - The capital of the kingdom of Judah. It was on the dividing line between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. It is supposed to have been founded by Melchizedek, who is called king of Salem Genesis This was about years before Christ.
About a century after its foundation as a city, it was captured by the "Jebusites," who extended its walls and built a citadel on Mount Zion. By them it was called Jebus. In the conquest of Canaan, Joshua put to death its king Joshua It was built on hills, or rocks, and was capable of being strongly fortified, and was well adapted to be the capital of the nation.
For a more full description of Jerusalem, see the notes at Matthew 2: The vision which is here spoken of as having been seen respecting Judah and Jerusalem, pertains only to this chapter; see Isaiah 2: In the days of Uzziah - In the time, or during the reign of Uzziah; 2 Chronicles 26 ; compare the Introduction, Section 3. He was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty-two years.
It is not affirmed or supposed that Isaiah began to prophesy at the commencement of his reign. The first part of the long reign of Uzziah was prosperous. He gained important victories over his enemies, and fortified his kingdom; 2 Chronicles He had under him an army of more than three hundred thousand men.
But he became proud - attempted an act of sacrilege - was smitten of God, and died a leper. But though the kingdom under Uzziah was flourishing, yet it had in it the elements of decay.
Commentaries - Old Testament | Biblical Studies
During the previous reign of Joash, it had been invaded and weakened by the Assyrians, and a large amount of wealth had been taken to Damascus, the capital of Syria; 2 Chronicles It is not improbable that those ravages were repeated during the latter part of the reign of Uzziah; compare Isaiah 1: Jotham - He began to reign at the age of twenty-five years, and reigned sixteen years; 2 Chronicles Ahaz - He began to reign at the age of twenty, and reigned sixteen years.
He was a wicked man, and during his reign the kingdom was involved in crimes and calamities; 2 Chronicles Hezekiah - He was a virtuous and upright prince. He began his reign at the age of twenty-five years, and reigned twenty-nine; 2 Chronicles 29 ; see the Introduction Section 3, Isaiah 1: Hear, O heavens - This is properly the beginning of the prophecy. It is a sublime commencement; and is of a highly poetic character. The heavens and the earth are summoned to bear witness to the apostasy, ingratitude, and deep depravity of the chosen people of God.
The address is expressive of deep feeling - the bursting forth of a heart filled with amazement at a wonderful and unusual event. The same sublime beginning is found in the song of Moses, Deuteronomy Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; And hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. Thus also the prophets often invoke the hills and mountains to hear them; Ezekiel 6: Thus saith the Lord God to the mountains, and to the hills, and to the rivers, and to the valleys;' compare Ezekiel By the heavens therefore, in this place, we are not to understand the inhabitants of heaven, that is, the angels, anymore than by the hills we are to understand the inhabitants of the mountains.
It is high poetic language, denoting the importance of the subject, and the remarkable and amazing truth to which the attention was to be called. Give ear, O earth - It was common thus to address the earth on any remarkable occasion, especially anyone implying warm expostulation, Jeremiah 5: For - Since it is Yahweh that speaks, all the universe is summoned to attend; compare Psalm For he spake and it was done; he commanded and it stood fast. The small capitals used here and elsewhere throughout the Bible in printing the word Lord, denote that the original word is Yahweh.
It is a name which is never given to idols, or conferred on a creature; and though it occurs often in the Hebrew Scriptures, as is indicated by the small capitals, yet our translators have retained it but four times; Exodus 6: In combination, however, with other names, it occurs often. Thus in Isaiah, meaning the salvation of Yahweh; "Jeremiah," the exaltation or grandeur of Yahweh, etc.
The Jews never pronounced this name, not even in reading their own Scriptures.
It would have been an advantage to our version if the word Yahweh had been retained wherever it occurs in the original. In Piel, the word means "to make great, to cause to grow;" as e. These words, though applied often to the training up of children, yet are used here also to denote the elevation to which they had been raised.
He had not merely trained them up, but he had trained them up to an elevated station; to special honor and privileges. They have rebelled - This complaint was often brought against the Jews; compare Isaiah This is the sum of the charge against them. God had shown them special favors.
He recounted his mercy in bringing them out of Egypt; and on the ground of this, he demanded obedience and love; compare Exodus And yet they bad forgotten him, and rebelled against him. The Targum of Jonathan, an ancient Chaldee version, has well expressed the idea here. My people, the house of Israel, whom I called sons - I loved them - I honored them, and they rebelled against me.
Even the least sagacious and most stupid of the animals, destitute as they are of reason and conscience, evince knowledge anal submission far more than the professed people of God. The ox is a well known domestic animal, remarkable for patient willingness to toil, and for submission to his owner. Knoweth his owner - Recognizes, or is submissive to him. The ass - A well known animal, proverbial for dulness and stupidity. Hence, it is applied to the stall, barn, or crib, where cattle are fed, or made fat; Job The donkey has sufficient knowledge to understand that his support is derived from that.
The idea is, that the ox was more submissive to laws than the Jews; and that even the most stupid animal better knew from where support was to be derived, than they did the source of their comfort and protection. The donkey would not wander away, and the ox would not rebel as they had done. This comparison was very striking, and very humiliating, and nothing could be more suited to bring down their pride.
A similar comparison is used elsewhere. Thus, in Jeremiah 8: The brutes obey their God, And bow their necks to men; But we more base, more brutish things, Reject his easy reign. But Israel - The name Israel, though after the division of the tribes into two kingdoms specifically employed to denote that of the ten tribes, is often used in the more general sense to denote the whole people of the Jews, including the kingdom of Judah.
It refers here to the kingdom of Judah, though a name is used which is not inappropriately characteristic of the whole people. Doth not consider - Hebrew, Do not "understand. It is rather an interjection denouncing threatening, or punishment.
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It had become general. Thus we say, Sin sits "heavy" on the conscience. Thus Cain said, 'My punishment is greater than I can bear;' Genesis 4: The word is applied to an "employment" as being burdensome; Exodus It is also applied to "speech," as being heavy, dull, unintelligible. The idea however, is very striking - that of a nation - an entire people, bowed and crushed under the enormous weight of accumulated crimes. To pardon iniquity, or to atone for it, is represented by bearing it, as if it were a heavy burden.
It is applied to seed sown in a field; Judges 6: The word is applied by way of eminence to the Jews, as being the seed or posterity of Abraham, according to the promise that his seed should be as the stars of heaven; Genesis Children - Hebrew sons - the same word that is used in Isaiah 1: They were the adopted people or sons of God, but they had now become corrupt. To destroy a vineyard; Jeremiah To break down walls; Ezekiel Applied to conduct, it means to destroy, or lay waste virtuous principles; to break down the barriers to vice; to corrupt the morals.
They were not merely corrupt themselves, but they corrupted others by their example. This is always the case. When people become infidels and profligates themselves, they seek to make as many more as possible. The Jews did this by their wicked lives. The same charge is often brought against them; see Judges 2: Vulgate, 'They have blasphemed. The Holy One of Israel - God; called the Holy One of Israel because he was revealed to them as their God, or they were taught to regard him as the sacred object of their worship.
They are gone away backward - Lowth: Instead of saving that they had been smitten, or of saying that they had been punished for their sins, he assumes both, and asks why it should be repeated. The Vulgate reads this: On every part there are traces of the stripes which have been inflicted for your sins. The particular chastisement to which the prophet refers is specified in Isaiah 1: Such a figure of speech is not uncommon in the classic writers. Thus Cicero de fin. Should ye be stricken - Smitten, or punished.
The manner in which they had been punished, he specities in Isaiah 1: Jerome says, that the sense is, 'there is no medicine which I can administer to your wounds. All your members are full of wounds; and there is no part of your body which has not been smitten before. The more you are afflicted, the more will your impiety and iniquity increase. It is applied to the infliction of punishment on an individual; or to the judgments of God by the plague, pestilence, or sickness. Here it refers to the judgments inflicted on the nation as the punishment of their crimes. Ye will revolt - Hebrew You will add defection, or revolt.
The effect of calamity, and punishment, will be only to increase rebellion. Where the heart is right with God, the tendency of affliction is to humble it, and lead it more and more to God. Where it is evil, the tendency is to make the sinner more obstinate and rebellious. This effect of punishment is seen every where. Sinners revolt more and more. They become sullen, and malignant, and fretful; they plunge into vice to seek temporary relief, and thus they become more and more alienated from God. The whole head - The prophet proceeds to specify more definitely what he had just said respecting their being stricken.
He designates each of the members of the body - thus comparing the Jewish people to the human body when under severe punishment. The word head in the Scriptures is often used to denote the princes, leaders, or chiefs of the nation. But the expression here is used as a figure taken from the human body, and refers solely to the punishment of the people, not to their sins. It means that all had been smitten - all was filled with the effects of punishment - as the human body is when the head and all the members are diseased.
Is sick - Is so smitten - so punished, that it has become sick and painful. The whole heart faint - The heart is here put for the whole region of the chest or stomach. As when the head is violently pained, there is also sickness at the heart, or in the stomach, and as these are indications of entire or total prostration of the frame so the expression here denotes the perfect desolation which had come over the nation. Faint - Sick, feeble, without vigor, attended with nausea. When the body is suffering; when severe punishment is inflicted, the effect is to produce landor and faintness at the seat of life.
This is the idea here. Their punishment had been so severe for their sins, that the heart was languid and feeble - still keeping up the figure drawn from the human body. From the sole of the foot There may be included also the idea that this extended from the lowest to the highest among the people. The Chaldee paraphrase is, 'from the lowest of the people even to the princes - all are contumacious and rebellious.
There is no part unaffected; no part that is sound. It is all smitten and sore. But wounds - The precise shade of difference between this and the two following words may not be apparent. Together, they mean Such wounds and contusions as are inflicted upon man by scourging, or beating him. This mode of punishment was common among the Jews; as it is at the East at this time. This word means a contusion, or the effect of a blow where the skin is not broken; such a contusion as to produce a swelling, and livid appearance; or to make it, as we say, black and blue.
Putrifying sores - The Hebrew rather means recent, or fresh wounds; or rather, perhaps, a running wound, which continues fresh and open; which cannot be cicatrized, or dried up. The expression is applied usually to inflammations, as of boils, or to the swelling of the tonsils, etc.
They have not been closed - That is, the lips had not been pressed together, to remove the blood from the wound. The meaning is, that nothing had been done toward healing the wound. It was an unhealed, undressed, all-pervading sore. The art of medicine, in the East, consists chiefly in external applications; accordingly the prophet's images in this place are all taken from surgery.
Sir John Chardin, in his note on Proverbs 3: Compare the note at Isaiah Neither mollified with ointment - Neither made soft, or tender, with ointment. Great use was made, in Eastern nations, of oil, and various kinds of unguents, in medicine. Hence, the good Samaritan is represented as pouring in oil and wine into the wounds of the man that fell among thieves Luke Ointment - Hebrew oil.
The oil of olives was used commonly for this purpose. The whole figure in these two verses relates to their being punished for their sins. It is taken from the appearance of a man who is severely, beaten, or scourged for crime; whose wounds had not been dressed, and who was thus a continued bruise, or sore, from his head to his feet. The cause of this the prophet states afterward, Isaiah 1: With great skill he first reminds them of what they saw and knew, that they were severely punished; and then states to them the cause of it.
Of the calamities to which the prophet refers, they could have no doubt. They were every where visible in all their cities and towns. On these far-spreading desolations, he fixes the eye distinctly first. Had he begun with the statement of their depravity, they would probably have revolted at it. But being presented with a statement of their sufferings, which they all saw and felt, they were prepared for the statement of the cause.
To find access to the consciences of sinners, and to convince them of their guilt, it is often necessary to remind them first of the calamities in which they are actually involved; and then to search for the cause. This passage, therefore, has no reference to their moral character. It relates solely to their punishment. It is often indeed adduced to prove the doctrine of depravity; but it has no direct reference to it, and it should not be adduced to prove that people are depraved, or applied as referring to the moral condition of man. The account of their moral character, as the cause of their calamities, is given in Isaiah 1: That statement will fully account for the many woes which had come on the nation.
Your country is desolate - This is the literal statement of what he had just affirmed by a figure. In this there was much art. The figure Isaiah 1: The resemblance between a man severely beaten, and entirely livid and sore, and a land perfectly desolate, was so impressive as to arrest the attention. This had been threatened as one of the curses which should attend disobedience; Leviticus And I will scatter you among the heathen, And will draw out a sword after you: And your land shall be desolate, And your cities waste.
It is not certain, or agreed among expositors, to what time the prophet refers in this passage. Some have supposed that he refers to the time of Ahaz, and to the calamities which came upon the nation during his reign; 2 Chronicles But the probability is, that this refers to the time of Uzziah; see the Analysis of the chapter.
The reign of Uzziah was indeed prosperous; 2 Chronicles But it is to be remembered that the land had been ravaged just before, under the reigns of Joash and Amaziah, by the kings of Syria and Israel; 2 Kings It was lying under the effect of the former desolation, and not improbably the enemies of the Jews were even then hovering around it, and possibly still in the very midst of it. The kingdom was going to decay, and the reign of Uzziah gave it only a temporary prosperity. Is desolate - Hebrew: This is a Hebrew mode of emphatic expression, denoting that the desolation was so universal that the land might be said to be entirely in ruins.
Your land - That is, the fruit, or productions of the land. Foreigners consume all that it produces. It is applied to foreigners, that is, those who were not Israelites, Exodus Let the extortioner catch all that he hath, And let the strangers plunder his labor. The word refers here particularly to the Syrians. Devour it - Consume its provisions. In your presence - This is a circumstance that greatly heightens the calamity, that they were compelled to look on and witness the desolation, without being able to prevent it.
It refers to the changes which an invading foe produces in a nation, where everything is subverted; where cities are destroyed, walls are thrown down, and fields and vineyards laid waste. The land was as if an invading army had passed through it, and completely overturned everything. Lowth proposes to read this, 'as if destroyed by an inundation;' but without authority.
The desolation caused by the ravages of foreigners, at a time when the nations were barbarous, was the highest possible image of distress, and the prophet dwells on it, though with some appearance of repetition. And the daughter of Zion - Zion, or Sion, was the name of one of the hills on which the city of Jerusalem was built. On this hill formerly stood the city of the Jebusites, and when David took it from them he transferred to it his court, and it was called the city of David, or the holy hill. It was in the southern part of the city.
As Zion became the residence of the court, and was the most important part of the city, the name was often used to denote the city itself, and is often applied to the whole of Jerusalem. The phrase 'daughter of Zion' here means Zion itself, or Jerusalem. The name daughter is given to it by a personification in accordance with a common custom in Eastern writers, by which beautiful towns and cities are likened to young females.
The name mother is also applied in the same way. Perhaps the custom arose from the fact that when a city was built, towns and villages would spring up round it - and the first would be called the mother-city hence, the word metropolis. The expression was also employed as an image of beauty, from a fancied resemblance between a beautiful town and a beautiful and well-dressed woman. The word used here denotes left as a part or remnant is left - not left entire, or complete, but in a weakened or divided state.
The following passage from Mr. Jowett's 'Christian Researches,' describing what he himself saw, will throw light on this verse. They grew in such abundance that the sailors freely helped themselves. Some guard, however, is placed upon them. Occasionally, but at long and desolate intervals, we may observe a little hut, made of reeds, just capable of containing one man; being in fact little more than a fence against a north wind.
In these I have observed, sometimes, a poor old man, perhaps lame, protecting the property. It exactly illustrates Isaiah 1: A custom prevails in Hindostan, as travelers inform us, of planting in the commencement of the rainy season, in the extensive plains, an abundance of melons, cucumbers, gourds, etc. In the center of the field is an artificial mound with a hut on the top, just large enough to shelter a person from the storm and the heat;' Bib.
The sketch in the book will convey a clear idea of such a cottage. Such a cottage would be designed only for a temporary habitation. So Jerusalem seemed to be left amidst the surrounding desolation as a temporary abode, soon to be destroyed. As a lodge - The word lodge here properly denotes a place for passing the night, but it means also a temporary abode.
It was erected to afford a shelter to those who guarded the enclosure from thieves, or from jackals, and small foxes. They are in great request in that region on account of their cooling qualities, and are produced in great abundance and perfection. These things are particularly mentioned among the luxuries which the Israelites enjoyed in Egypt, and for which they sighed when they were in the wilderness. The cucumber which is produced in Egypt and Palestine is large - usually a foot in length, soft, tender, sweet, and easy of digestion Gesenius , and being of a cooling nature, was especially delicious in their hot climate.
The meaning here is, that Jerusalem seemed to be left as a temporary, lonely habitation, soon to be forsaken and destroyed. It avoids the incongruity of comparing a city with a city, and requires no alteration of the text except a change of the vowel points. According to this translation, the meaning will be, that all things round about the city lay desolate, like the withered vines of a cucumber garden around the watchman's hut; in other words, that the city alone stood safe amidst the ruins caused by the enemy, like the hut in a gathered garden of cucumber.
The Hebrew will bear this translation; and the concinnity of the comparison will thus be preserved. I rather prefer, however, the common interpretation, as being more obviously the sense of the Hebrew, and as being sufficiently in accordance with the design of the prophet. The idea then is, that of a city straitened by a siege, yet standing as a temporary habitation, while all the country around was lying in ruins. Jerusalem, alone preserved amidst the desolation spreading throughout the land, will resemble a temporary lodge in the garden - itself soon to be removed or destroyed.
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The essential idea, whatever translation is adopted, is that of the solitude, loneliness, and temporary continuance of even Jerusalem, while all around was involved in desolation and ruin. The prophet traces this not to the goodness of the nation, not to any power or merit of theirs, but solely to the mercy of God. This passage the apostle Paul has used in an argument to establish the doctrine of divine sovereignty in the salvation of people; see the note at Romans 9: The Lord - Hebrew Yahweh.
The word means literally armies or military hosts. It is applied, however, to the angels which surround the throne of God; 1 Kings This host, or the "host of heaven," was frequently an object of idolatrous worship; Deuteronomy 4: God is called Yahweh of hosts because he is at the head of all these armies, as their leader and commander; he marshals and directs them - as a general does the army under his command.
It represents him as the ruler of the hosts of heaven, that is, the angels and the stars. Sometimes, but less frequently, we meet with the appellation Yahweh, God of hosts. Hence, some suppose the expression Yahweh of hosts to be elliptical.
But it is not a correct assertion that Yahweh, as a proper name, admits of no genitive. But such relations and adjuncts as depend upon the genitive, often depend upon proper names. So in Arabic, one is called Rebiah of the poor in reference to his liability. Remnant - A small part - that which is left. It means here, that God had spared a portion of the nation, so that they were not entirely overthrown. We should have been as Sodom If God had not interposed to save them they would have been overwhelmed entirely as Sodom was; compare Genesis Hear the word of the Lord - The message of God.
Having stated the calamities under which the nation was groaning, the prophet proceeds to address the rulers, and to state the cause of all these woes. Ye rulers of Sodom - The incidental mention Sodom in the previous verse gives occasion for this beautiful transition, and abrupt and spirited address. Their character and destiny were almost like those of Sodom, and the prophet therefore openly addresses the rulers as being called to preside over a people like those in Sodom.
There could have been no more severe or cutting reproof of their wickedness than to address them as resembling the people whom God overthrew for their enormous crimes. The objection would be, that they were strict in the duties of their religion, and that they even abounded in offering victims of sacrifice. God replies in this and the following verses, that all this would be of no use, and would meet with no acceptance, unless it were the offering of the heart. He demanded righteousness; and without that, all external offerings would be vain.
Personal vengeance is mentioned only in characters, directly or indirectly censured, as Samson Judges It is forbidden to man, punished in him, claimed by God as His own inalienable right. Yet it is spoken of, not as a mere act of God, but as the expression of His Being. And a Reserver of wrath for His enemies - The hardened and unbelieving who hate God, and at last, when they had finally rejected God and were rejected by Him, the object of His aversion.
It is spoken after the manner of men, yet therefore is the more terrible. There is that in God, to which the passions of man correspond; they are a false imitation of something which in Him is good, a distortion of the true likeness of God, in which God created us and whisk man by sin defaced.: Ambition, what seeks it, but honors and glory?
Whereas Thou alone art to be honored above all and glorious for evermore. The cruelty of the great would fain be feared; but who is to be feared but God alone, out of whose power what can be wrested or withdrawn, when, or where, or whither, or by whom? The tendernesses of the wanton would fain be counted love: Curiosity makes semblance of a desire of knowledge; whereas Thou supremely knowest all.
Yea, ignorance and foolishness itself is cloaked under the name of simplicity and uninjuriousness: Yea, sloth would fain be at rest; but what stable rest beside the Lord? Luxury affects to be called plenty and abundance; but Thou art the fullness and never-failing plenteousness of incorruptible pleasures. Prodigality presents a shadow of liberality: Covetousness would possess many things; and Thou possessest all things.
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Envy disputes for excellency: Fear startles at things unaccustomed or sudden, which endanger things beloved, and takes forethought for their safety; but to Thee what unaccustomed or sudden, or who separats from Thee what Thou lovest? Or where but with Thee is unshaken safety? Grief pines away for things lost, the delight of its desires; because it would have nothing taken from it, as nothing can from Thee.
Thus doth the soul seek without Thee what she finds not pure and untainted, until she returns to Thee. Thus, all pervertedly imitate Thee, who remove far from Thee, and lift themselves up against Thee.
But even by thus imitating Thee, they imply Thee to be the Creator of all nature; whence there is no place, whither altogether to retire from Thee. Joy in the Holy Spirit or to joy in the Lord is a virtue. The sorrow of the world is a passion. The sorrow according to God which works salvation is a virtue. The fear of the world which hath torment, from which a man is called fearful, is a passion.
The holy tear of the Lord, which abides forever, from which a man is called reverential, is a virtue. Hope in God is a virtue, as well as faith and charity. Though these four human passions are not in God, there are four virtues, having the same names, which no one can have, save from God, from the Spirit of God. The Lord is slow to anger - Nahum takes up the words of Jonah Jonah 4: