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Isaiah 22 commentary

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A VERSE BY VERSE COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH CHAPTER 22.

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Isaiah 22 commentary

  1. 1. ISAIAH 22 COMMENTARY EDITED BY GLENN PEASE A Prophecy About Jerusalem 1 A prophecy against the Valley of Vision: What troubles you now,that you have all gone up on the roofs, 1.BARNES, “The burden - (see the note at Isa_13:1). “The valley” ‫גיא‬ gay'. Septuagint, Φάρ αγγος Pharangos - ‘Valley.’ Chaldee, ‘The burden of the prophecy respecting the city which dwells (that is, is built) in the valley, which the prophets have prophesied concerning it.’ There can be no doubt that Jerusalem is intended (see Isa_22:9-10). It is not usual to call it “a valley,” but it may be so called, either (1) because there were several valleys “within” the city and adjacent to it, as the vale between mount Zion and Moriah; the vale between mount Moriah and mount Ophel; between these and mount Bezetha; and the valley of Jehoshaphat, without the walls of the city; or (2) more probably it was called “a valley” in reference to its being “encompassed with hills,” rising to a considerable elevation above the city. Thus mount Olivet was on the east, and overlooked the city. Jerusalem is also called a “valley,” and a “plain,” in Jer_21:13 : ‘Behold, I am against thee, O inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain, saith the Lord.’ Thus it is described in Reland’s “Palestine:” - ‘The city was in the mountain region of Judea, in an elevated place, yet so that in respect to the mountains by which it was surrounded, it seemed to be situated in a humble place, because mount Olivet, and other mountains surrounding it, were more elevated.’ So Phocas says, ‘The holy city is placed in the midst of various valleys and hills, and this is wonderful (Θαυµαστόν Thaumaston) in it, that at the same time the city seems to be elevated and depressed, for it is elevated in respect to the region of Judea, and depressed in respect to the hills around it.’ (Reland’s “Palestine,” iii. 802, in Ugolini’s “Thesaurus,” vi.) It was common with Isaiah and the other prophets to designate Jerusalem and other places, not by their proper names, but by some appellation that would be descriptive (see Isa_21:1; Isa_29:1). Of vision - (see the note at Isa_1:1). The word here means that Jerusalem was eminently the place where God made known his will to the prophets, and manifested himself to his people by “visions.” What aileth thee now? - What is the cause of the commotion and tumult that exists in the city? The prophets throws himself at once into the midst of the excitement; sees the agitation
  2. 2. and tumult, and the preparations for defense which were made, and asks the “cause” of all this confusion. That thou art wholly gone up to the house-tops - That all classes of the people had fled to the house-tops, so much that it might be said that all the city had gone up. Houses in the East were built in a uniform manner in ancient times, and are so to this day. (See a description of the mode of building in the notes at Mat_9:1 ff.) The roofs were always flat, and were made either of earth that was trodden hard, or with large flat stones. This roof was surrounded with a balustrade Deu_22:8, and furnished a convenient place for walking, or even for eating and sleeping. Whenever, therefore, anything was to be seen in the street, or at a distance; or when there was any cause of alarm, they would naturally resort to the roof of the house. When there was a tower in the city, the inhabitants fled to that, and took refuge on its top (see Jdg_9:50-53). The image here is, therefore, one of consternation and alarm, as if on the sudden approach of an enemy. 2. CLARKE, “Art - gone up to the house-tops “Are gone up to the house-tops” - The houses in the east were in ancient times, as they are still, generally, built in one and the same uniform manner. The roof or top of the house is always flat, covered with broad stones, or a strong plaster of terrace, and guarded on every side with a low parapet wall; see Deu_22:8. The terrace is frequented as much as any part of the house. On this, as the season favors, they walk, they eat, they sleep, they transact business, (1Sa_9:25, see also the Septuagint in that place), they perform their devotions Act_10:9. The house is built with a court within, into which chiefly the windows open: those that open to the street are so obstructed with lattice-work that no one either without or within can see through them. Whenever, therefore, any thing is to be seen or heard in the streets, any public spectacle, any alarm of a public nature, every one immediately goes up to the house-top to satisfy his curiosity. In the same manner, when any one has occasion to make any thing public, the readiest and most effectual way of doing it is to proclaim it from the house-tops to the people in the streets. “What ye hear in the ear, that publish ye on the house-top,” saith our Savior, Mat_10:27. The people running all to the tops of their houses gives a lively image of a sudden general alarm. Sir John Chardin’s MS. note on this place is as follows: “Dans les festes pour voir passer quelque chose, et dans les maladies pour les annoncer aux voisins en allumant des lumieres, le peuple monte sur les terrasses.” “In festivals, in order to see what is going forward, and in times of sickness, in order to indicate them to neighbors by lighting of candles, the people go up to the house-tops.” 3. GILL, “The burden of the valley of vision,.... A prophecy concerning Jerusalem, so called, because it lay in a valley, encompassed about with mountains, and which was the habitation of the prophets or seers, and the seat of vision and prophecy; and perhaps there is an allusion to its name, which signifies the vision of peace, or they shall see peace. The Septuagint version calls it, "the word of the valley of Sion"; and the Arabic version, "a prophecy concerning the inhabitants of the valley of Sion, to wit, the fields which are about Jerusalem.'' The Targum is,
  3. 3. "the burden of the prophecy concerning the city which dwells in the valley, of which the prophets prophesied;'' by all which it appears, that not the whole land of Judea is thought to be meant, only the city of Jerusalem, so called, not from its low estate into which it would fall, through the wickedness of the people, and so rather to be called a valley than a mountain, as Kimchi; but from its situation, it being, as Josephus (h) says, fortified with three walls, except on that side at which it was encircled with inaccessible valleys; and hence it may be, that one of its gates is called the valley gate, Neh_2:13 and besides, there was a valley in it, between the mountains of Zion and Acra, which divided the upper and lower city, as he also elsewhere says (i). The burden of it is a heavy prophecy of calamities that should come upon it, or at least of a fright it should be put into, not in the times of Nebuchadnezzar, when it was taken and destroyed, as Jarchi and Kimchi, and another Jew Jerom makes mention of; nor in the times of Titus Vespasian, according to Eusebius, as the said Jerom relates; but in the times of Hezekiah, when Judea was invaded, and Jerusalem besieged by Sennacherib: what aileth thee now? or, "what to thee now?" (k) what is come to thee? what is the matter with thee now? how comes this strange and sudden change? that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops? not to burn incense to the queen of heaven, which was sometimes done, and is the sense of some mentioned by Aben Ezra; but either for safety, to secure themselves from their enemies; or to take a view of them, and observe their motions, and cast from thence their arrows and darts at them; or to look out for help, or to mourn over their distresses, and implore help of the Lord; see Isa_15:2 and this was the case, not only of some, but of them all; so that there was scarce a man to be seen in the streets, or in the lower parts of their houses, but were all gone up to the tops of them, which were built with flat roofs and battlements about them, Deu_22:8. 4. HENRY, “The title of this prophecy is very observable. It is the burden of the valley of vision, of Judah and Jerusalem; so all agree. Fitly enough is Jerusalem called a valley, for the mountains were round about it, and the land of Judah abounded with fruitful valleys; and by the judgments of God, though they had been as a towering mountain, they should be brought low, sunk and depressed, and become dark and dirty, as a valley. But most emphatically is it called a valley of vision because there God was known and his name was great, there the prophets were made acquainted with his mind by visions, and there the people saw the goings of their God and King in his sanctuary. Babylon, being a stranger to God, though rich and great, was called the desert of the sea; but Jerusalem, being entrusted with his oracles, is a valley of vision. Blessed are their eyes, for they see, and they have seers by office among them. Where Bibles and ministers are there is a valley of vision, from which is expected fruit accordingly; but here is a burden of the valley of vision, and a heavy burden it is. Note, Church privileges, if they be not improved, will not secure men from the judgments of God. You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore will I punish you. The valley of vision has a particular burden. Thou Capernaum, Mat_11:23. The higher any are lifted up in means and mercies the heavier will their doom be if they abuse them. Now the burden of the valley of vision here is that which will not quite ruin it, but only frighten it; for it refers not to the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, but to the attempt made upon it by Sennacherib, which we had the prophecy of, ch. 10, and shall meet with the history of, ch. 36. It is here again prophesied of, because the desolations of many of the neighbouring countries, which were foretold in the foregoing chapters, were to be brought to pass by the Assyrian army. Now let Jerusalem know that when the cup is going round it will be
  4. 4. put into her hand; and, although it will not be to her a fatal cup, yet it will be a cup of trembling. Here is foretold, I. The consternation that the city should be in upon the approach of Sennacherib's army. It used to be full of stirs, a city of great trade, people hurrying to and fro about their business, a tumultuous city, populous and noisy. Where there is great trade there is great tumult. It used to be a joyous revelling city. What with the busy part and what with the merry part of mankind, places of concourse are places of noise. “But what ails thee now, that the shops are quitted, and there is no more walking in the streets and exchange, but thou hast wholly gone up to the house-tops (Isa_22:1), to bemoan thyself in silence and solitude, or to secure thyself from the enemy, or to look abroad and see if any succours come to thy relief, or which way the enemies' motions are.” Let both men of business and sportsmen rejoice as though they rejoiced not, for something may happen quickly, which they little think of, that will be a damp to their mirth and a stop to their business, and send them to watch as a sparrow alone upon the house-top, Psa_102:7. But why is Jerusalem in such a fright? Her slain men are not slain with the sword (Isa_22:2), but, 1. Slain with famine (so some); for Sennacherib's army having laid the country waste, and destroyed the fruits of the earth, provisions must needs be very scarce and dear in the city, which would be the death of many of the poorer sort of people, who would be constrained to feed on that which was unwholesome. 2. Slain with fear. They were put into this fright though they had not a man killed, but so disheartened themselves that they seemed as effectually stabbed with fear as if they had been run through with a sword. 5. JAMISON, “Isa_22:1-14. Prophecy as to an attack on Jerusalem. That by Sennacherib, in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah; Isa_22:8-11, the preparations for defense and securing of water exactly answer to those in 2Ch_32:4, 2Ch_32:5, 2Ch_32:30. “Shebna,” too (Isa_22:15), was scribe at this time (Isa_36:3) [Maurer]. The language of Isa_22:12-14, as to the infidelity and consequent utter ruin of the Jews, seems rather to foreshadow the destruction by Nebuchadnezzar in Zedekiah’s reign, and cannot be restricted to Hezekiah’s time [Lowth]. of ... valley of vision — rather, “respecting the valley of visions”; namely, Jerusalem, the seat of divine revelations and visions, “the nursery of prophets” [Jerome], (Isa_2:3; Isa_29:1; Eze_23:4, Margin; Luk_13:33). It lay in a “valley” surrounded by hills higher than Zion and Moriah (Psa_125:2; Jer_21:13). thee — the people of Jerusalem personified. housetops — Panic-struck, they went up on the flat balustraded roofs to look forth and see whether the enemy was near, and partly to defend themselves from the roofs (Jdg_9:51, etc.). 6. K&D, “The prophet exposes the nature and worthlessness of their confidence in Isa_22:1- 3 : “What aileth thee, then, that thou art wholly ascended upon the house-tops? O full of tumult, thou noisy city, shouting castle, thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor slaughtered in battle. All thy rulers departing together are fettered without bow; all thy captured ones are
  5. 5. fettered together, fleeing far away.” From the flat house-tops they all look out together at the approaching army of the foe, longing for battle, and sure of victory (cullak is for cullek, Isa_14:29, Isa_14:31). They have no suspicion of what is threatening them; therefore are they so sure, so contented, and so defiant. ‫ה‬ፎ ֵ‫ל‬ ְ‫מ‬ ‫אוֹת‬ ֻ‫שׂ‬ ְ is inverted, and stands for ‫אוֹת‬ ֻ‫שׁ‬ ְ ‫ת‬ፍ ֵ‫ל‬ ְ‫,מ‬ like ‫ח‬ ָ ֻ‫נ‬ ְ‫מ‬ ‫ה‬ ָ‫ל‬ ֵ‫פ‬ ֲ‫א‬ in Isa_8:22. ַ‫ע‬‫יזָה‬ ִ is used to denote self-confident rejoicing, as in Zep_2:15. How terribly they deceive themselves! Not even the honour of falling upon the battle-field is allowed them. Their rulers (katzin, a judge, and then any person of rank) depart one and all out of the city, and are fettered outside “without bow” (mikkesheth), i.e., without there being any necessity for the bow to be drawn (min, as in Job_21:9; 2Sa_1:22; cf., Ewald, §217, b). All, without exception, of those who are attacked in Jerusalem by the advancing foe (nimza'aik, thy captured ones, as in Isa_13:15), fall helplessly into captivity, as they are attempting to flee far away (see at Isa_17:13; the perf. de conatu answers to the classical praesens de conatu). Hence (what is here affirmed indirectly) the city is besieged, and in consequence of the long siege hunger and pestilence destroy the inhabitants, and every one who attempts to get away falls into the hands of the enemy, without venturing to defend himself, on account of his emaciation and exhaustion from hunger. Whilst the prophet thus pictures to himself the fate of Jerusalem and Judah, through their infatuation, he is seized with inconsolable anguish. 7. BI, ““The valley of vision” This expression is applied to Jerusalem, where Jehovah was pleased to give visions concerning His will to His servants. (B. Blake, B. D.) The valley of vision It is quite in place, in so far as round Jerusalem there are mountains, and the very city, which in relation to the country occupied an elevated position, in relation to the mountains of the immediate neighbourhood appeared to stand on a low level. Because of this two-fold aspect Jerusalem is called (Jer_21:13) the “inhabitant of the valley,” and immediately on the back of this the “rock of the plain,” and (Jer_17:3) the “mountain in the fields,” whereas Zep_1:11) not all Jerusalem, but a part of it (probably the ravine of the Tyropaeum) is called the mortar, or as we say, basin. If we add to this that Isaiah’s house was situated in the lower city, and that therefore the point of view from which the epithet was applied was there, the expression is perfectly appropriate. (F. Delitzsch.) Jerusalem, the valley of vision Furthermore, the epithet is intended to be more than geographical. A valley is a lonely, quiet depression, shut in and cut off by mountains. Similarly is Jerusalem the sheltered, peaceful place, closed against the world, which Jehovah has chosen in order to show there to His prophets the secrets of His government of the world. (F. Delitzsch.)
  6. 6. The valley of vision spiritualised Where Bibles and ministers are, there is a valley of vision, from which is expected fruit accordingly. (M. Henry.) The inexpiable sin of Jerusalem The key to this passage (Isa_22:1-14)—the most lurid and minatory of all Isaiah’s prophecies—is theirreconcilable antagonism between the mood of the prophet and the state of public feeling around him. In a time of universal mirth and festivity he alone is overwhelmed with grief and refuses to be comforted. In the rejoicings of the populace he reads the evidence of their hopeless impenitence and insensibility, and he concludes his discourse by expressing the conviction that at last they have sinned beyond the possibility of pardon. The circumstances recall our Lord’s lamentation over Jerusalem on the day of His triumphal entry. (J. Skinner, D. D.) The historical allusion It may be regarded as certain that the prophecy belongs to the period of Sennacherib’s invasion (701), although it is difficult to select a moment when all the elements of the highly complex situation with which it deals might have been combined. There is just one incident that seems to meet the requirements of the case, namely, the raising of the blockade of Jerusalem, in consequence of Hezekiah’s ignominious submission to the terms of Sennacherib. It must be noted that this was not the last episode in that memorable campaign. The real crisis came a little later when the Assyrian king endeavoured by threats to extort the entire surrender of the capital. It was only at that juncture that Hezekiah unreservedly accepted the policy of implicit trust in Jehovah which Isaiah had all along urged on him; and it was then that the prophet stepped to the front with an absolute and unconditional assurance that Jerusalem should not be violated. That the earlier deliverance should have caused an outbreak of popular joy is intelligible enough; as it is also intelligible that Isaiah should have kept his eye fixed on the dangers yet ahead. The allusions to the recent blockade are amply accounted for, and the prophet’s expectation of a terrible disaster yet in store is obviously based on his view of the continued and aggravated impenitence of his countrymen. (J. Skinner, D. D.) What aileth thee now?— A mad holiday In these words we can hear the old man addressing his fickle child, whose changefulness by this time he knew so well. We see him standing at his door watching this ghastly holiday. “What are you rejoicing at in such an hour as this, when you have not even the bravery of your soldiers to celebrate, when you are without that pride which has brought songs from the lips of a defeated people as they learned that their sons had fallen with their faces to the foe, and has made even the wounds of the dead borne through the gate lips of triumph, calling to festival?” (Prof. G. A. Smith, D. D.) A new year’s question
  7. 7. I. It specially designates “THEE.” There is an identity in human experience. But there is at the same time an intense personality in each one of us, secrets in our experience—secret struggles, failures, motives, emotions. II. A SPECIFIC TIME—“NOW.” Not the past—or the future—but the present. III. THE AILMENT. IV. THE QUERY is suggestive, as though the prophet’s inquiries were made with a view to a remedy. What is the specific for the ailment? Wealth, etc.? No! personal salvation. (Preachers’ Magazine.) 8. PULPIT, “A PROPHECY AGAINST JERUSALEM. The prophet, present in Jerusalem, either actually, or at any rate in spirit, sees the inhabitants crowded together upon the housetops, in a state of boisterous merriment (Isa_22:1, Isa_22:2). Outside the walls is a foreign army threatening the town (Isa_22:5-7). Preparations have been made for resistance, which are described (Isa_22:8-11); but there has been no turning to God. On the contrary, the danger has but made the bulk of the people reckless. Instead of humbling themselves and putting on sackcloth, and weeping, and appealing to God's mercy, they have determined to drown care in drink and sensual enjoyment (Isa_22:12, Isa_22:13). Therefore the prophet is bidden to denounce woe upon them, and threaten that Jehovah will not forgive their recklessness until their death (Isa_22:14). There is nothing to mark very distinctly the nationality of the foreign army; but it is certainly represented as made up of contingents from many nations. Delitzsch holds that the Assyrian armies were never so made up, or, at any rate, that the nations here mentioned never served in its ranks; but this is, perhaps, assuming that our knowledge on the subject is more complete and exact than is really the case. It is almost impossible to imagine any other army than the Assyrian besieging Jerusalem in Isaiah's time. Moreover, the particulars concerning the preparations made against the enemy (verses 9-11) agree with those mentioned in 2Ch_32:3-5 and 2Ch_32:30 as made by Hezekiah against Sennacherib. And the second section of the chapter has certainly reference to this period. It seems, therefore, reasonable to regard the siege intended as that conducted by Sennacherib in his fourth year, of which we have a brief account in his annals. Isa_22:1 The burden of the valley of vision. "The valley of vision" is only mentioned here and in Isa_22:5. It must have been one of the deep depressions near Jerusalem troll which there is a good view of the town. The LXX. render, "the burden of the valley of Zion." What aileth thee now? Jerusalem is addressed by the prophet, who assumes the role of a spectator, surprised at what he sees, and asks an explanation. That thou art wholly gone up to the housetops. Partly, no doubt, they went to watch the enemy anti his movements, as Rosenmüller says; but still more for feasting and revelry (Jdg_16:27; Neh_8:16). The flat
  8. 8. roofs of Oriental houses are often used as places of recreation and entertainment, especially in the evening. 9. CALVIN, “1.The burden of the valley of vision. Isaiah again prophesies against Judea, which he calls the valley of vision. He gives this appellation to the whole of Judea rather than to Jerusalem, of which he afterwards speaks; but now in the preface he includes the whole of Judea. He appropriately calls it a “” for it was surrounded on all sides by mountains. It is a harsher view of the metaphor, which is adopted by some, that Jerusalem is called “ valley,” because it was thrown down from its loftiness. The reason why he adds the words, of vision, is plain enough. The Lord enlightened the whole of Judea by his word; the prophets were continually employed in it, and that was the reason why they called them seers. (1Sa_9:9.) There is also an implied contrast here, for valleys have less light than open plains, because the height of the mountains intercepts the light of the sun. Now, this valley, he tells us, is more highly enlightened than those countries which were exposed on all sides to the sun. It was by the extraordinary goodness of God that this happened; for he means, that it was enlightened, not by the rays of the sun, but by the word of God. Besides, the Prophet unquestionably intended to beat down that foolish confidence with which the Jews were puffed up, because God had distinguished them above others by remarkable gifts. They abused his word and prophecies, as if by means of them they had been protected against all danger, though they were disobedient and rebellious against God. He therefore declares that visions will not prevent God from punishing their ingratitude; and he even aggravates their guilt by this mark of ingratitude, that amidst such splendor of heavenly doctrine they still continued to stumble like the blind. What hast thou here? or, What hast thou now? He now addresses Jerusalem; not that this defeat affects Jerusalem alone, but because the whole country thought it safe to take refuge under the shadow of the sanctuary which then existed, and to lead the Jews to reflect, since this befell a fortified city, what would become of other cities which had no means of defense. He asks in astonishment, “ does it mean that every person leaves his house and flies to the house-top for the purpose of saving his life?” Among the Jews the form of house-tops was different from what is now customary with us, and hence arose that saying of Christ, “ you have heard in the ear proclaim on the housetops.” (Mat_10:27.) When the inhabitants of Jerusalem fled to the house-tops, they left their houses open to be a prey to enemies, and this was a proof that they were exceedingly afraid. It is likewise possible that they went up
  9. 9. to the house-tops for the purpose of throwing down javelins and other weapons against the enemies, whose arrival not only terrified them, but made them flee in consternation, and yet they did not escape danger. 2 you town so full of commotion, you city of tumult and revelry? Your slain were not killed by the sword, nor did they die in battle. 1.BARNES, “Thou that art full of stirs - Of tumult, of commotion, of alarm. Or, perhaps, this whole description may mean that it was formerly a city distinguished for the hum of business, or for pleasure; a busy, active, enterprising city. The Hebrew will bear this, but I prefer the former interpretation, as indicating mingled alarm and consternation, and at the same time a disposition to engage in riot and revelry. A joyous city - A city exulting; rejoicing; given to pleasure, and to riot. (See the description of Nineveh in Zep_2:15) It is remarkable that the prophet has blended these things together, and has spoken of the tumult, the alarm, and the rejoicing, in the same breath. ‘This may be either because it was the “general” character of the city thus to be full of revelry, dissipation, and riot, and he designates it by that which “usually and appropriately” described it; or because it was, even then, notwithstanding the general consternation and alarm, given up to revelry, and the rather on account of the approaching danger. So he describes the city in Isa_22:12-13. Thy slain men are not slain with the sword - The words ‘thy slain’ here ( ‫חל‬‫ליך‬ chala layika), seem to be intended to be applied to the soldiers on whom the defense of the city rested; and to mean those who had not died an honorable death “in” the city in its defense, but who had “fled” in consternation, and who were either taken in their flight and made captive, or who were pursued and put to death. To be slain with the sword here is equivalent to being slain in an honorable engagement with the enemy. But here the prophet speaks of their consternation, their cowardice, and of their being partly trampled down in their hasty and ignominious flight by each other; and partly of the fugitives being overtaken by the enemy, and thus put to death. 2. PULPIT, “A joyous city (comp. Isa_22:13). Thy slain men are not slain with the sword. It is a blockade rather than a siege. Men die, not of wounds, but of privations (Lam_4:9). Sennacherib himself
  10. 10. says, "Hezekiah, like a caged bird, within Jerusalem, his royal city, I confined; towers round about him I raised; and the exit of the great gate of his city I shut". 3. GILL, “Thou art full of stirs,.... Or, "wast full of stirs"; through the multitude of people walking about in it, and the vast hurry of business done in it; but now all hush and quiet, the streets clear of people, and the shops shut up, and all got up to the housetops for shelter; or, "full of noises" (l), as a populous trading city is. The word signifies shoutings and acclamations, and is used for joyful ones, Zec_4:7 and may be so taken here, and may design such as were expressed at their festivals, and on other occasions; unless it is to be understood of doleful ones, on account of the invasion and siege: a tumultuous city; through the throng of people, and the noise of thorn: a joyous city; some on business, others on pleasure; some hurrying from place to place about their trade and commerce, and others amusing themselves with pastime, mirth, and jollity; which is commonly the case of populous cities in prosperity. This had been Jerusalem's case, but now it was otherwise: thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle; for Sennacherib never entered into it, nor put any of its inhabitants to the sword; nor was there any battle fought between them, nor was he suffered so much as to shoot an arrow into it, Isa_37:33 wherefore those that died in it died either through the fright and consternation they were put into, or through the famine his army had caused, in laying the country round about them desolate. 4. PULPIT, “Judgment upon Jerusalem. I. THE PROPHET AS SPECTATOR. The valley of vision seems to mean Jerusalem as a whole, round about which are mountains (Psa_125:2); the city is spoken of, when compared with the surrounding mountains, as the "inhabitant of the valley," otherwise as the "rock of the plain" (Jer_21:13; comp. Jer_17:3). If Isaiah is gazing from his house in the lower town, the city would appear as in a valley in relation to the mountains inside as much as those outside (Delitzsch). He sees the whole population crowded together on the house-tops, and the air is filled with the uproar of merriment. The house-tops were places of resort at festival-time (Jdg_16:27; Neh_8:16). II. THE MIRTH OF DESPAIR. It was famine and pestilence which, forcing the people into despair, had brought about this mad rebound of hollow merriment. The slain of the city had not been slain upon the field; but the crowding in of fugitives from the country had occasioned the plague. The description reminds us of Zephaniah's picture of Nineveh: "This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me" (Zep_2:15). And again we think of scenes in connection with the plagues in the Italian cities of the Middle Ages, when revelry and story-telling are said to have gone on amongst groups who had withdrawn themselves from the horrors around them. How terrible the
  11. 11. contrast between the dark background of calamity and this hollow feverish exhibition of merriment in the foreground! "I said of laughter, What is it?" Let us thank God for the precious gift of humor. Its light, lambently playing upon the sternest and most awful scenes and imagery of the mind, was given to relieve the tragedy of life. In melancholy minds the source of humor is deeply seated. But how different the cheerfulness which springs from the sense that the scheme of things is sound and right, that "God's in his heaven, all's right with the world," and that which confronts a hopeless future with mad defiance! There is something lurid, ominous, in the latter, full of foreboding; and the scene in Jerusalem may be dwelt upon as typical of the ill-timed mirth of the sinner when danger is impending, soon to be quenched in silence and night. The rulers have fled away from the devoted city; in the face of the enemy they have flung down their bows and yielded themselves prisoners. All is lost. III. THE FORECAST OF DOOM. 1. The grief of type prophet. In warm patriotism he identifies himself with his city and his people, and gives way to bitter tears; a prototype of Jesus in later days, looking on the doomed city, perhaps, from some similar point of view. We are reminded also of Jeremiah, whose heart "fainted" under a similar sense of the miseries of the people, and who exclaims, "Oh that my head were full of waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might bewail the slain of my people!" (Jer_4:31; Jer_9:1). These are living examples of compassion, and of true patriotic feeling, including a true Church feeling. "We are altogether unworthy of being reckoned in the number of the children of God, and added to the holy Church, if we do not dedicate ourselves and all that we have to the Church in such a manner that we are not separate from it in any respect. Especially the ministers of the Word ought to be moved by this feeling of grief, because, being appointed to keep watch and to look at a distance, they ought also to groan when they perceive the tokens of approaching ruin" (Calvin). 2. The siege and capture. "We seem to see and hear the last hurrying stages of the siege and capture" (Cheyne). In one of the valleys the hosts of the enemy are seen thickly trampling and spreading dismay and confusion all around. As the undermining of the walls by the siege artillery goes on, cries of woe beat against the surrounding hills, and are echoed back again. The terrible famed bowmen of Elam (comp. Jer_49:35)and the people of Kir, together forming, as it would seem, the vanguard of Assyria, are seen advancing. The valleys about the city, all teeming with associations of the past—Kedron, Gihon, Rephaim, Hinnom—are ploughed by hoofs of horses and wheels of chariots; and the foe is drawn up in column, ready to enter the "great gate," so soon as it shall be broken down by the battering-rams. 3. The state of the inhabitants. Jehovah draws aside the curtain from Judah. This may mean
  12. 12. (1) he exposes their weakness to the enemy; or (2) he takes away the blindness of the people to their danger. Probably the former. In either case the hand of an overruling Providence is recognized. The "forest house," or arsenal built by Solomon on Zion, is examined (1Ki_7:2; 1Ki_10:17; cf. Isa_39:2). The "city of David," i.e. the fortress on Mount Zion, is inspected by the leading men, and the numerous breaches in the walls are observed. They survey the houses, and take material from them to repair the wall. They concentrate the water-supply in one reservoir—the "lower pool," and form a basin between the two walls. These preparations may be compared with those of Hezekiah (2Ch_32:2-5). IV. FATAL FORGETFULNESS. All these precautions would be too late! A dreadful word! And why? 1. The Divine counsel has been forgotten. "Hast thou not heard long ago, how I have done it; and of ancient times, that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass" (Isa_37:26). These harpers, and violinists, and tabret-players, and feasters have not "regarded the work of Jehovah, nor considered the operation of his hands" (Isa_5:12). Self-reliance may be religious, or it may mean an attempt to be independent of God, and so end in alienation from God. How feeble and how foolish policy must become if from the first it ignores the Divine will, and at the last only comes to acknowledge a destiny above human might and human calculation! The idea of all that will be exists in the mind of God; we may know something of his meaning by constantly consulting the "living oracles," by truthful thinking, by loyal acting—in a word, by communion with the living God. What can attention to ramparts and ditches and reservoirs avail, if men have not found their defense in God? If he be trusted, what is there to fear? If he be denied, what can shield from calamity? "The fate of Jerusalem is said to have been fashioned long ago in God, But Jerusalem might have averted its realization, for it was no absolute decree. It Jerusalem repented, that realization would be averted" (Delitzsch). 2. Divine warnings have been neglected. God had called—in that day; at every critical time. By many ways he speaks—by the living and passionate tones of prophet and brother man, by the general course of events, by the touch of sorrow, by the hints of personal experience. There is a time for everything under the sun; to know our opportunity makes the wisdom of the world; to know the "time of our visitation" is the wisdom of heaven. But, alas! the Jews knew it not; "rushing to the banquet-table with despair in their hearts, and wasting the provisions which ought to have been husbanded for the siege." "Let us cat and drink; for tomorrow we die." The sensualism of despair (Cheyne). When the light of life, bright faith and hope toward God, dies out, what remains but to counterfeit its glow by some artificial illumination, kindled from the tow of physical excitement? A love of life which scoffs at death (Delitzsch). 'Tis
  13. 13. dangerous to scoff; to scoff at the great scoffer Death, what is this but the last extreme of self- abandonment? And does not despair imply the last sin we can commit? And is not recklessness its evidence? And follows there not upon all this the shadow of a state unforgiven, a mind eternally unreconciled? Who can but tremble as he meditates on these things? "Probably if the real feeling of the great mass of worldly men were expressed, they could not be better expressed than in the language of Isaiah: 'We must soon die, at all events; we cannot avoid that—it is the common doom of all. And since we have been sent into a dying world; since we have had no agency in being placed here; since it is impossible to prevent this doom,—we may as well enjoy life while it lasts, and give ourselves to pleasure and revelry. While we can, we will take our comfort, and, when death comes, we will submit to it, because we cannot avoid it'" (Barnes). But such argumentation cannot really satisfy the conscience. Blessed the Word which evermore, in the mercy of the Eternal, calls to repentance, and reminds us that "now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation!"—J. 5. JAMISON, “art — rather, “wert”; for it could not now be said to be “a joyous city” (Isa_32:13). The cause of their joy (Isa_22:13) may have been because Sennacherib had accepted Hezekiah’s offer to renew the payment of tribute, and they were glad to have peace on any terms, however humiliating (2Ki_18:14-16), or on account of the alliance with Egypt. If the reference be to Zedekiah’s time, the joy and feasting are not inapplicable, for this recklessness was a general characteristic of the unbelieving Jews (Isa_56:12). not slain with the sword — but with the famine and pestilence about to be caused by the coming siege (Lam_4:9). Maurer refers this to the plague by which he thinks Sennacherib’s army was destroyed, and Hezekiah was made sick (Isa_37:36; Isa_38:1). But there is no authority for supposing that the Jews in the city suffered such extremities of plague at this time, when God destroyed their foes. Barnes refers it to those slain in flight, not in open honorable “battle”; Isa_22:3 favors this. 6. CALVIN, “2.Thou that art full of noises. He means that it was exceedingly populous; for where great multitudes of people are brought together, noise abounds; and therefore, amidst so crowded a population, there was less cause of fear. In order to make the representation still more striking, Isaiah has therefore added this circumstance, that instead of being, as they ought to have been, walls and bulwarks to defend the city, when there was no scarcity of men, they ignominiously turned their backs on the enemies, and fled to the tops of their houses. By these words he urges the Jews more strongly to consider the judgment of God; for when such overwhelming fear has seized the hearts of men, it is certain that God has struck them with trembling; as if he had said, “ comes it that you have not greater firmness to resist? It is because God pursues and chases you.” These statements are taken from the writings of Moses, from which, as we have frequently remarked, the
  14. 14. prophets borrow their instructions, but with this difference, that what Moses spoke in general terms they apply to the matter in hand. “ Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies; thou shalt go out one way against them, and shalt flee seven ways before them. The Lord shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart.” (Deu_28:25.) He reproaches the Jews for their distressed condition, and with good reason; for it was proper to press the accusation more closely home, that they might learn to ascribe to their sins and transgressions all the afflictions and sufferings that they endured. The Lord had promised that he would continually assist them; and when they are now left destitute, let them acknowledge that they do not deserve such assistance, and that God has cast them off on account of their rebelliousness. The Lord does not deceive or make false promises, but by their own fault those wretched persons have shut themselves out from his aid and favor; and this is still more strongly expressed by the question, What hast thou here? It means that God gave practical evidence that Jerusalem had been deprived of her protector and guardian; for this mode of expression denotes something strange and extraordinary. Thy slain men are not slain by the sword. To exhibit still more clearly the vengeance of God, he affirms that they who were slain there did not die bravely in battle. Thus he shews that all that they wanted was manly courage; for a timid and cowardly heart was a sure proof that they had all been forsaken by the Lord, by whose assistance they would have bravely and manfully resisted. He therefore does not mean that the defeat would be accompanied by shame and disgrace, but ascribes it to the wrath of God that they had not courage to resist; and unquestionably by this circumstance he beats down their foolish pride. 3 All your leaders have fled together; they have been captured without using the bow. All you who were caught were taken prisoner
  15. 15. together, having fled while the enemy was still far away. 1.BARNES, “All thy rulers are fled together - The general idea in this verse is plain. It is designed to describe the consternation which would take place on the approach of the invader, and especially the timidity and flight of those on whom the city relied for protection and defense. Hence, instead of entering calmly and firmly on the work of defense, no inconsiderable part of the rulers of the city are represented as fleeing from the city, and refusing to remain to protect the capital. The word rendered ‘thy rulers’ (‫קציניך‬ qitsiynayik) denotes either the civil rulers of the city, or military leaders. It is most usually applied to the latter Jos_10:24; Jdg_11:6, Jdg_11:11; Dan_11:18, and probably refers here to military commanders. They are bound by the archers - Hebrew as in the margin, ‘Of the bow.’ There has been a great variety in the interpretation of this passage. The Septuagint reads it, Σκληρራς δεδεµένοι εᅶσί skleros dedemenoi eisi - ‘And the captives are bound with severity.’ The Chaldee, ‘And the captives migrate from before the extending of the bow.’ Jarchi renders it, ‘Who from the fear of arrows were bound so that they shut themselves up in the city.’ Houbigant and Lowth render it, ‘They are fled from the bow,’ reading it ‫הסרוּ‬ hase ru instead of the present Hebrew text ‫אסרוּ‬ 'usru, but without the slightest authority. Vitringa renders it, ‘They were bound from treading, that is, extending, or using the bow;’ or ‘They were bound by those who tread, that is, use the bow;’ indicating that they were so bound that they could not use the bow in defense of the city. I think that the “connection” here requires that the word ‫אסרוּ‬ 'usru should be used in the sense of being “bound” or influenced by fear - they were so intimidated, so much under the influence of terror, so entirely unmanned and disabled by alarm, that they could not use the bow; or this was caused “by” the bow, that is, by the bowmen or archers who came to attack the city. It is true that no other instance occurs in which the word is used in precisely this sense, but instances in abundance occur where strong passion is represented as having a controlling or disabling influence over the mind and body; where it takes away the energy of the soul, and makes one timid, feeble, helpless, as if bound with cords, or made captive. The word ‫אסר‬ 'asar commonly means to bind with cords, or to fetter; to imprison Gen_42:24; Jdg_16:5; 2Ki_17:4 : to yoke 1Sa_6:7, 1Sa_6:10; and then to bind with a vow Num_30:3. Hence, it may mean to “bind” with fear or consternation. Which have fled from far - That is, either they have fled far away; or they had fled from far in order to reach Jerusalem as a place of safety. Probably the latter is the sense. 2. CLARKE, “All thy rulers - are bound by the archers “All thy leaders - are fled from the bow” - There seems to be somewhat of an inconsistency in the sense according to the present reading. If the leaders were bound, ‫אסרו‬ usseru, how could they flee away? for their being bound, according to the obvious construction and course of the sentence, is a circumstance prior to their flight. I therefore follow Houbigant, who reads ‫הסרו‬ huseru, remoti sunt, “they are gone off.” ‫גלו‬ galu, transmigraverunt, Chaldee; which seems to confirm this emendation.
  16. 16. 3. GILL, “All thy rulers are fled together,.... Either the rulers of Jerusalem, civil and ecclesiastical, that should have been at the head of the people, and have encouraged them, fled together to the housetops, or to the temple and strongholds; or the generals and officers of their militia, one and all of them fled, as if they had done it by joint consultation and consent; or the rulers of the several cities of Judea, which, when invaded by Sennacherib, stayed not to defend them, but left them and fled: they are bound by the archers; or, "from the bow" (m); from using it; were in such a consternation, and under such a panic, that they had no strength nor heart to draw the bow, but were as if they were bound, and held from it: or for fear of the bow, or the archers in the Assyrian army, and therefore fled from them, as the Tigurine version renders it, joining it to the preceding clause, "they fled from the bow, they are bound"; or, as Ben Melech, for fear of the bow, they delivered themselves up, and were bound; so Aben Ezra: all that are found in thee are bound together; that is, from the bow, as before; not only the princes, but the common people. These clauses have led many interpreters to conclude that this must be understood of the taking of the city by Nebuchadnezzar, when Zedekiah was bound in chains, and carried to Babylon, Jer_52:11, which have fled from far; from the furthest part of the land of Judea to Jerusalem, for shelter and safety. 4. HENRY, “The inglorious flight of the rulers of Judah, who fled from far, from all parts of the country, to Jerusalem (Isa_22:3), fled together, as it were by consent, and were found in Jerusalem, having left their respective cities, which they should have taken care of, to be a prey to the Assyrian army, which, meeting with no opposition, when it came up against all the defenced cities of Judah easily took them, Isa_36:1. These rulers were bound from the bow (so the word is); they not only quitted their own cities like cowards, but, when they came to Jerusalem, were of no service there, but were as if their hands were tied from the use of the bow, by the extreme distraction and confusion they were in; they trembled, so that they could not draw a bow. See how easily God can dispirit men, and how certainly fear will dispirit them, when the tyranny of it is yielded to. 5. JAMISON, “rulers — rather, “generals” (Jos_10:24; Jdg_11:6, Jdg_11:11). bound — rather, “are taken.” by the archers — literally, “by the bow”; so Isa_21:17. Bowmen were the light troops, whose province it was to skirmish in front and (2Ki_6:22) pursue fugitives (2Ki_25:5); this verse applies better to the attack of Nebuchadnezzar than that of Sennacherib. all ... in thee — all found in the city (Isa_13:15), not merely the “rulers” or generals. fled from far — those who had fled from distant parts to Jerusalem as a place of safety; rather, fled afar.
  17. 17. 6. SBC, “All thy rulers are fled together,.... Either the rulers of Jerusalem, civil and ecclesiastical, that should have been at the head of the people, and have encouraged them, fled together to the housetops, or to the temple and strongholds; or the generals and officers of their militia, one and all of them fled, as if they had done it by joint consultation and consent; or the rulers of the several cities of Judea, which, when invaded by Sennacherib, stayed not to defend them, but left them and fled: they are bound by the archers; or, "from the bow" (m); from using it; were in such a consternation, and under such a panic, that they had no strength nor heart to draw the bow, but were as if they were bound, and held from it: or for fear of the bow, or the archers in the Assyrian army, and therefore fled from them, as the Tigurine version renders it, joining it to the preceding clause, "they fled from the bow, they are bound"; or, as Ben Melech, for fear of the bow, they delivered themselves up, and were bound; so Aben Ezra: all that are found in thee are bound together; that is, from the bow, as before; not only the princes, but the common people. These clauses have led many interpreters to conclude that this must be understood of the taking of the city by Nebuchadnezzar, when Zedekiah was bound in chains, and carried to Babylon, Jer_52:11, which have fled from far; from the furthest part of the land of Judea to Jerusalem, for shelter and safety. 7. PULPIT, “All thy rulers are fled together; rather, all thy chief men. We must make allowance for Oriental hyperbole. The meaning is that numbers of the principal men, regarding resistance as vain, had endeavored to make their escape from the doomed town, but had been captured and bound by the enemies' archers. All that are found in thee; rather, belonging to thee. The reference is to those who had made their escape and were fleeing far away. The archers seize them, and bind them all together. We often see a number of captives bound together by a single rope in the Egyptian bas- reliefs. Which have fled from far; rather, which were flying far away 8. CALVIN, “3.All thy rulers are fled together. This verse has been interpreted in various ways. The fact is abundantly plain, but there is some difficulty about the words. As ‫מ‬ (mem) signifies before and more than, some explain ‫מרחוק‬ (mĕāō) (77) to mean, “ fled before others, though they were situated in the most distant parts of the country, and were in greater danger.” Others render it, “ they were at a great distance from Jerusalem, still they did not cease to flee like men who are seized with terror, and never stop in their flight, because they continually think that the enemy is at their heels.” But a more natural interpretation appears to me to be. They have fled from afar; that is, “ who have resorted to Jerusalem as a safe retreat will be seized by enemies and vanquished;” for Jerusalem might be regarded as the general protection of the whole of Judea, and therefore, when a war broke out, the inhabitants rushed to it from every quarter. While they looked upon their habitation in Jerusalem as safe,
  18. 18. they were taken prisoners. Others suppose it to refer to the siege of Sennacherib. (2Kg_18:13; 2Ch_32:1.) But I cannot be persuaded to expound the passage in this manner, for he speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem. When it was besieged by Sennacherib, the Lord immediately delivered it; none were taken or made prisoners, and there was no slaughter of men. These events therefore happened long after the death of the Prophet, and sacred history relates them, and informs us that in that destruction even the rulers betook themselves to flight; but they derived no advantage from their flight, nor did Jerusalem afford them any defense, for they fell into the hands of their enemies. When he expressly mentions the rulers, this shews more strongly the shamefulness of the transaction, for they ought to have been the first to expose their persons for the safety of the people. They might be viewed as the shields which ought to have guarded and defended the common people. So long as Jerusalem kept its ground and was in a prosperous condition, these statements might be thought incredible, for it was a very strong and powerfully fortified city. But they chiefly boasted of the protection of God, for they thought that in some way God was bound to his “” and their pride swelled them with the confident hope that, though all should be leagued against it, no power and no armies could bring it down. (Jer_7:4.) This prophecy might therefore be thought very strange, that they would have no courage, that they would betake themselves to flight, and that even in that manner they could not escape. (77) Rendered in the English version, “ afar.” FT335 “ will weep bitterly. (Heb. I will be bitter in weeping.)” — Eng. Ver. FT336 “ soul is wearied because of murderers.” — Eng. Ver. See our Author’ view of that passage in his Commentary on Jeremiah, vol. 1 p. 249 FT337 “ the mountains.” — Eng. Ver. FT338 “La plaine du Jordain;” — “ plain of the Jordan.” FT339 “ Kir uncovered (Heb. made naked) the shield.” — Eng. Ver. FT340 “ is now agreed to be identical with Κύρος, the name of a river rising in the Caucasus, and emptying into the Caspian Sea, from which Georgia (Girgistan) is supposed to derive its name. Kir was subject to Assyria in the time of Isaiah, as appears from the fact that it was one of the regions to which the exiles of
  19. 19. the ten tribes were transported. It may here be put for Media, as Elam is for Persia.” — Alexander FT341 “ choicest valleys, (Heb. the choice of thy valleys.)” — Eng. Ver. FT342 “ name of ‘ house of the forest’ was given to it, because it was constructed of ‘’ taken from the forest of Lebanon, and because it rested on four rows of fifteen large pillars of cedar. When the inhabitants of Jerusalem heard of the invasion by the Assyrian army, they looked to this armory to draw from it arms for defending the city.” — Rosenmü. “ was built by Solomon within the city as a cool retreat; and here he laid up his choicest armory. 1Kg_7:2. See Neh_3:19.” — Stock FT343 “Le sac et l’ des cheveux;” — “ and pulling out the hair.” FT344 “En sac ou cendre;” — “ sackcloth or ashes.” FT345 Rosenmü who is followed in this instance by Stock and Alexander, renders this clause, “ was revealed in my ears,” remarking that ‫נגלה‬ (niglah) must here be taken for a reflective verb, and quoting as parallel passages, 1Sa_2:27, in the former of which instead of the literal rendering, “ was I revealed?” our translators say, “ I plainly appear?” while in the latter they make ‫נגלה‬ (niglah) a reflective verb, “ Lord revealed himself.” — Ed FT346 “C’ à dire, des enfans de Dieu;” — “ is, of the children of God.” FT347 “Tellement qu’ n’ pas mesme un pied de terre pour estre interrez;” — “ that they have not even a foot of earth for a grave.” FT348 “ will surely violently turn.” — Eng. Ver. FT349 “ the robe and the baldric, mentioned in the preceding verse, were the ensigns of power and authority, so likewise was the key the mark of office, either sacred or civil.” — Lowth FT350 “ comprehend how the key could be borne on the shoulder, it will be necessary to say somewhat of the form of it; but, without entering into a long disquisition, and a great deal of obscure learning, concerning the locks and keys of the ancients, it will be sufficient to observe, that one sort of keys, and that probably the most ancient, was of considerable magnitude, and, as to the shape, very much bent and crooked. Homer, Odyss. 21:6, describes the key of Ulysses’ store-house as εὐκαµπὴς, of a large curvature; which Eustathius explains by saying it wasδρεπανοειδὴς, in shape like a reap-hook. The curve
  20. 20. part was introduced into the key-hole, and, being properly directed by the handle, took hold of the bolts within, and moved them from their places. We may easily collect from this account, that such a key would lie very well upon the shoulder; that it must be of some considerable size and weight, and could hardly be commodiously carried otherwise. Ulysses’ key was of brass, and the handle of ivory; but this was a royal key; the more common ones were probably of wood.” — Lowth FT351 “Ce mot est deduit de verité laquelle est tousjours accompagnee de fermeté et asseurance;” — “ word is derived from truth, which is always accompanied by firmness and certainty.” FT352 “ ancient times, and in the eastern countries, as the way of life, so the houses were much more simple than ours at present. They had not that quantity and variety of furniture, nor those accommodations of all sorts with which we abound. It was convenient and even necessary for them, and it made an essential part in the building of a house, to furnish the inside of the several apartments with sets of spikes, nails, or large pegs, upon which to dispose of, and hang up, the several moveables and utensils in common use, and proper to the apartment. These spikes they worked into the walls at the first erection of them — the walls being of such materials that they could not bear their being driven in afterwards; and they were contrived so as to strengthen the walls, by binding the parts together, as well as to serve for convenience. Sir John Chardin’ account of this matter is this, ‘ do not drive with a hammer the nails that are put into the eastern walls; the walls are too hard, being of brick; or if they are of clay, too mouldering; but they fix them in the brick-work as they are building. They are large nails with square heads like dice, well-made, the ends being so bent as to make them cramp-irons. They commonly place them at the windows and doors, in order to hang upon them, when they like, veils and curtains.’ (Harmer, Obser. 1 p. 191.) And we may add, that they were put in other places too, in order to hang up other things of various kinds; as it appears from this place of Isaiah, and from Eze_15:3, who speaks of a pin, or nail, to hang any vessel thereon.” — Lowth FT353 “ offspring and the issue.” — Eng. Ver. FT354 “Mais s’ jusqu’ a ceux qui viendront long temps apres;” “ will extend to those who shall live long afterwards.” FT355 “ follow the names of utensils hung up in an eastern house, concerning which we must needs be uncertain. The meaning of the whole figure is, Eliakim shall be the support of all ranks in the state, of the meanest people as well as the highest.” — Stock FT356 “ to all the vessels of flagons, (or, instruments of violins.)” — Eng. Ver.
  21. 21. FT357 “ old interpretation of ‫נבלים‬ (nĕūī) as denoting musical instruments,” says Professor Alexander, “ justified by usage, is forbidden by the context.” 4 Therefore I said, “Turn away from me; let me weep bitterly. Do not try to console me over the destruction of my people.” 1.BARNES, “Look away from me - Do not look upon me - an indication of deep grief, for sorrow seeks to be alone, and grief avoids publicity and exposure. I will weep bitterly - Hebrew, ‘I will be bitter in weeping.’ Thus we speak of “bitter” sorrow, indicating excessive grief (see the note at Isa_15:5; compare Jer_13:17; Jer_14:17; Lam_1:16; Lam_2:11; Mic_1:8-9). Labour not - The sense is, ‘My grief is so great that I cannot be comforted. There are no topics of consolation that can be presented. I must be alone, and allowed to indulge in deep and overwhelming sorrow at the calamities that are coming upon my nation and people.’ Because of the spoiling - The desolation; the ruin that is coming upon them. The daughter of my people - Jerusalem (see the note at Isa_1:8; compare Jer_4:11; Jer_6:14; Jer_8:19, Jer_8:21-22; Lam_2:11; Lam_4:3, Lam_4:6, Lam_4:10). 2. PULPIT, “Therefore said I. The prophet turns from the description of the scene before him to an account of his own feelings. Look away from me, he says; "leave me free to vent my sorrow without restraint; I wish for no consolation—only leave me to myself." Because of the spoiling. The word used sometimes means" destruction;" but" spoiling" is a better rendering here. Sennacherib describes his "spoiling" of Jerusalem on this occasion as follows: "Thirty talents of gold, eight hundred talents of silver, precious carbuncles, great stones, couches of ivory, lofty thrones of ivory, skins of buffaloes, horns of buffaloes, weapons, everything, a great treasure, and his daughters, the eunuchs of his palace, male musicians, and female musicians, to Nineveh, the city of my dominion, did Hezekiah send after me". To what straits Hezekiah was reduced in order to collect a sufficient amount of the precious metals we learn from 2Ki_18:15, 2Ki_18:16.
  22. 22. 3. GILL, “Therefore said I,.... Not God to the ministering angels, as Jarchi; but the prophet to those that were about him, his relations, friends, and acquaintance: look away from me; turn away from me, look another way; cease from me, let me alone; leave me to myself, that I may weep in secret, take my fill of sorrow, and give full vent to it: I will weep bitterly; or, "I will be bitter", or, "bitter myself in weeping" (n); it denotes the vehemence of his grief, the greatness of his sorrow, and the strength of his passion: labour not to comfort me; make use of no arguments to persuade me to lay aside my mourning; do not be urgent and importunate with me to receive consolation, for my soul refuses to be comforted: because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people; his countrymen, which were as dear to him as a daughter to a tender parent, now spoiled, plundered, and made desolate by the ravages of the enemy, in many cities of Judea. 4. HENRY, “The great grief which this should occasion to all serious sensible people among them, which is represented by the prophet's laying the thing to heart himself; he lived to see it, and was resolved to share with the children of his people in their sorrows, Isa_22:4, Isa_22:5. He is not willing to proclaim his sorrow, and therefore bids those about him to look away from him; he will abandon himself to grief, and indulge himself in it, will weep secretly, but weep bitterly, and will have none go about to comfort him, for his grief is obstinate and he is pleased with his pain. But what is the occasion of his grief? A poor prophet had little to lose, and had been inured to hardship, when he walked naked and barefoot; but it is for the spoiling of the daughter of his people. It is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity. Our enemies trouble us and tread us down, and our friends are perplexed and know not what course to take to do us a kindness. The Lord God of hosts is now contending with the valley of vision; the enemies with their battering rams are breaking down the walls, and we are in vain crying to the mountains (to keep off the enemy, or to fall on us and cover us) or looking for help to come to us over the mountains, or appealing, as God does, to the mountains, to hear our controversy (Mic_6:1) and to judge between us and our injurious neighbours. 5. JAMISON, “Look ... from me — Deep grief seeks to be alone; while others feast joyously, Isaiah mourns in prospect of the disaster coming on Jerusalem (Mic_1:8, Mic_1:9). daughter, etc. — (see on Isa_1:8; see on Lam_2:11). 6. K&D, ““Therefore I say, Look away from me, that I may weep bitterly; press me not with consolations for the destruction of the daughter of my people! For a day of noise, and of treading down, and of confusion, cometh from the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, in the valley of vision, breaking down walls; and a cry of woe echoes against the mountains.” The note struck by Isaiah here is the note of the kinah that is continued in the Lamentations of Jeremiah. Jeremiah says sheber for shod (Lam_3:48), and bath-ammi (daughter of my people) is varied with bathZion (daughter of Zion) and bath-yehudah (daughter of Judah). Merer babbeci (weep bitterly)
  23. 23. is more than bacah mar (Isa_33:7): it signifies to give one's self thoroughly up to bitter weeping, to exhaust one's self with weeping. The two similar sounds which occur in Isa_22:5, in imitation of echoes, can hardly be translated. The day of divine judgment is called a day in which masses of men crowd together with great noise (mehumah), in which Jerusalem and its inhabitants are trodden down by foes (mebusah) and are thrown into wild confusion (mebucah). This is one play upon words. The other makes the crashing of the walls audible, as they are hurled down by the siege-artillery (mekarkar kir). Kirker is not a denom. of kı̄r, as Kimchi and Ewald suppose (unwalling walls), but is to be explained in accordance with Num_24:17, “he undermines,” i.e., throws down by removing the supports, in other words, “to the very foundations” (kur, to dig, hence karkarah, the bottom of a vessel, Kelim ii. 2; kurkoreth, the bottom of a net, ib. xxviii. 10, or of a cask, Ahaloth ix. 16). When this takes place, then a cry of woe echoes against the mountain (shoa‛, like shua‛, sheva‛), i.e., strikes against the mountains that surround Jerusalem, and is echoed back again. Knobel understands it as signifying a cry for help addressed to the mountain where Jehovah dwells; but this feature is altogether unsuitable to the God - forgetting worldly state in which Jerusalem is found. It is also to be observed, in opposition to Knobel, that the description does not move on in the same natural and literal way as in a historical narrative. The prophet is not relating, but looking; and in Isa_22:5 he depicts the day of Jehovah according to both its ultimate intention and its ultimate result. 7. PULPIT 4-6, “Isaiah weeping for the daughter of his people a type of Christ lamenting over Jerusalem. Isaiah was in many respects a type of Christ. His name, which sight ties "Salvation of Jehovah," is a near equivalent of "Jesus," which means "Jehovah is Savior." Tradition says that he was of royal lineage, like Jesus. The sphere of his teaching was in the main Jerusalem, where our Lord's principal discourses were delivered. He reproved sin, yet pitied the sinner, like Jesus (see Homiletics on Isa_15:5). He was, like Jesus, martyred at Jerusalem. We may, therefore, without impropriety, regard the "bitter weeping" of verse 4 as in some respect the counterpart of our Lord's lament on the day of his triumphal entry into the city, when he beheld it from the brow of Olivet. They were alike in several respects. I. BOTH WERE CAUSED BY PROPHETIC VISION OF THE HORRORS OF A SIEGE. In Isaiah's time the siege had begun. The enemy was investing the place (verse 7). But his tears flowed on account of the future "spoiling" of his people on that "day of trouble and treading down and perplexity;" when there was to be "breaking down of walls and crying to the mountains" (verse 5), and Elam was to "bear the quiver," and Kir to "uncover the shield." Jesus wept because the days were coming upon Jerusalem, when "her enemies would cast a trench about her, and compass her round, and keep her in on every side, "and at last" lay her even with the ground, and her children within her" (Luk_19:43, Luk_19:44). In the one case Rome was the enemy, in the other Assyria, both equally truculent. In the one case final destruction
  24. 24. impended; in the other a punishment far short of final destruction, but still a very severe punishment. In both cases grievous sins had provoked the catastrophe, yet the thought of these did not prevent the tears from being shed on account of it. II. BOTH DERIVED THEIR BITTERNESS FROM THE FACT THAT THE SUFFERER WAS OF KIN TO T HE MOURNER. "I will weep," said Isaiah, "because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people." The woes of other peoples shocked and distressed him to some extent (Isa_15:5;Isa_16:9- 11; Isa_21:3, Isa_21:4); but not as those of his own nation, his "kinsmen according to the flesh." And so it was with Jesus. Patriotism moved the spirits of both mourners, and rendered their grief especially poignant. III. BOTH WERE AGGRAVATED BY THE THOUGHT THAT THE SUFFERING WAS UNEXPECTED. Isaiah tells us that at Sennacherib's siege no preparations had been made to resist the foe, until the choice valleys were full of troops, and the horsemen set in array at the gates (verses 7-10). Our Lord gives it as the climax of the horrors at the siege by Titus, that Jerusalem had not "known the day of her visitation" (Luk_19:44). Jerusalem was at the time expecting the Messiah, who would enable them to cast off the Roman yoke. She did not know that her Messiah had come. Just when she was looking for a glorious deliverance, there came a crushing disaster. So Hezekiah was probably looking for victory by the help of Egypt, when he had to make the most abject submission—to strip the temple in order to satisfy the cravings of the conqueror for "spoil," and to see a large part of his people carried into captivity. 8. CALVIN, “4.Therefore I said. Here the Prophet, in order to affect more deeply the hearts of the Jews, assumes the character of a mourner, and not only so, but bitterly bewails the distressed condition of the Church of God. This passage must not be explained in the same manner as some former passages, in which he described the grief and sorrow of foreign nations; but he speaks of the fallen condition of the Church of which he is a member, and therefore he sincerely bewails it, and invites others by his example to join in the lamentation. What has befallen the Church ought to affect us in the same manner as if it had befallen each of us individually; for otherwise what would become of that passage? “ zeal of thy house hath eaten me up.” (Psa_69:9.) I will be bitter in my weeping. (78) He does not mourn in secret, or without witnesses; first, because he wishes, as I have already said, to excite others by his example to lamentation, and not to lamentation only, but much more to repentance, that they may ward off the dreadful judgment of God against them, which was close at hand, and henceforth may refrain from provoking his displeasure; and secondly, because it was proper that the herald of God’ wrath should actually make evident that what he utters is
  25. 25. not mockery. Because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people. That he expresses the feelings of his own heart may be inferred from what he now declares, that he is bitterly grieved “ account of the daughter of his people.” Being one of the family of Abraham, he thought that this distress affected his own condition, and intimates that he has good grounds for lamentation. By a customary mode of expression he calls the assembly of his people a daughter. Hence it ought to be observed, that whenever the Church is afflicted, the example of the Prophet ought to move us to be touched ( συµπαθείᾳ) with compassion, if we are not harder than iron; for we are altogether unworthy of being reckoned in the number of the children of God, and added to the holy Church, if we do not dedicate ourselves, and all that we have, to the Church, in such a manner that we are not separate from it in any respect. Thus, when in the present day the Church is afflicted by so many and so various calamities, and innumerable souls are perishing, which Christ redeemed with his own blood, we must be barbarous and savage if we are not touched with any grief. And especially the ministers of the word ought to be moved by this feeling of grief, because, being appointed to keep watch and to look at a distance, they ought also to groan when they perceive the tokens of approaching ruin. The circumstance of his weeping publicly tended, as we have said, to soften the hearts of the people; for he had to deal with obstinate men, who could not easily be induced to lament. There is a passage that closely resembles it in Jeremiah, who bewails the miserable and wasted condition of the people, and says, that through grief “ heart fainteth,” (79) (Jer_4:31;) and in another passage, “ that my head were full of waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might bewail the slain of my people!” (Jer_9:1.) When the prophets saw that they labored in vain to subdue the obstinacy of the people, they could not avoid being altogether overwhelmed by grief and sorrow. They therefore endeavored, by their moving addresses, to soften hard hearts, that they might bend them, if it were at all possible, and bring them back to the right path. 5 The Lord, the LORD Almighty, has a day of tumult and trampling and terror in the Valley of Vision,
  26. 26. a day of battering down walls and of crying out to the mountains. 1.BARNES, “For it is a day of trouble and of treading down - When our enemies trample on everything sacred and dear to us, and endanger all our best interests (see Psa_44:6; Luk_21:24). And of perplexity - In which we know not what to do. We are embarrassed, and know not where to look for relief. By the Lord God of hosts - That is, he is the efficient cause of all this. It has come upon us under his providence, and by his direction (see the note at Isa_10:5). In the valley of vision - In Jerusalem (see the note at Isa_22:1). Breaking down the walls - There has been much variety in the interpretation of this place. The Septuagint renders it, ‘In the valley of Zion they wander, from the least to the greatest; they wander upon the mountains.’ See a discussion of the various senses which the Hebrew phrase may admit, in Rosenmuller and Gesenius. Probably our common version has given the true sense, and the reference is to the fact that the walls of the city became thrown down, either in the siege or from some other cause. If this refers to the invasion of Sennacherib, though his army was destroyed, and he was unable to take the city, yet there is no improbability in the supposition that he made some breaches in the walls. Indeed this is implied in the account in 2Ch_32:5. And of crying to the mountains - Either for help, or more probably of such a loud lamentation that it reached the surrounding hills, and was re-echoed back to the city. Or perhaps it may mean that the shout or clamor of those engaged in building or defending the walls, reached to the mountains. Compare Virg. “AEncid,” iv. 668: - resonat magnis plangoribus aether. Rosenmuller renders it, ‘A cry - to the mountains!’ That is, a cry among the people to escape to the hills, and to seek refuge in the caves and fastnesses there (compare Jdg_6:2; Mat_24:16; Mar_13:14). 2. PULPIT, “It is a day By the Lord; rather, there is a day to the Lord; or, the Lord has a day. God has in reserve such a day; and it will assuredly arrive in due course. Hence the prophet's grief. In the valley of vision. We may suppose that Hezekiah, before he made the submission recorded in2Ki_18:14 and in the 'Cylinder of Sennacherib,' col. 4.11. 28, 29, tried the chances of battle against the Assyrians in this valley, and that Isaiah had a prophetic vision of the fight. Breaking down the walls; rather, undermining. The Assyrian sculptures show numerous examples of this practice. Sometimes swords or spears are used to dislodge the stones of the wall, sometimes crow-bars or axes. Crying. Some regard this word, and also that translated "the walls" in the preceding clause, as proper names, and
  27. 27. render the passage, "Kir undermineth, and Shoa is at the mount" (Ewald, Cheyne, Luzzatto). But it seems unlikely that "Kit" would be mentioned twice. 3. GILL, “For it is a day of trouble,.... To Hezekiah, and also Jerusalem, and all the inhabitants of the land: and of treading down; the people of it by Sennacherib's army, like mire in the streets, when their cities were taken by him: and of perplexity by the Lord of hosts in the valley of vision; in Jerusalem, besieged, and threatened with desolation; which threw the king and his nobles, and all the inhabitants, into the utmost perplexity, confusion, and distress; and all this was not merely from men, nor was it by chance, but by the permission and appointment of God, to humble his people for their sins, and bring them to a sense and acknowledgment of them: breaking down the walls: of the fenced cities, with their battering rams, at the time they besieged and took them, 2Ki_18:13, and of crying to the mountains: looking and running to them for help and succour, for shelter and protection; and crying so loud, by reason of their distress, as that it reached the distant mountains, and made them echo with it. 4. HENRY, “ 5. JAMISON, “trouble ... by the Lord — that is, sent by or from the Lord (see on Isa_19:15; Luk_21:22-24). valley of vision — (See on Isa_22:1). Some think a valley near Ophel is meant as about to be the scene of devastation (compare Isa_32:13, Isa_32:14). breaking ... walls — that is, “a day of breaking the walls” of the city. crying to the mountains — the mournful cry of the townsmen “reaches” to (Maurer translates, towards) the mountains, and is echoed back by them. Josephus describes in the very same language the scene at the assault of Jerusalem under Titus. To this the prophecy, probably, refers ultimately. If, as some think, the “cry” is that of those escaping to the mountains, compare Mat_13:14; Mat_24:16, with this. 6. CALVIN, “5.It is a day of trouble. He again declares that the Lord is the author of this calamity, and that the Jews may not gaze around in all directions, or wonder that their enemies prevail against them, he pronounces that they are fighting against God. Though this doctrine is frequently taught in Scripture, still it is not superfluous, and cannot be so earnestly inculcated as not to be forgotten when we come to practice. The consequence is, that we are not humbled in the presence of our Judge, and that we direct our eyes to outward remedies rather than to God, who alone could cure our distresses. He employs the
  28. 28. word day, as is usual in Scripture, to signify an appointed time; for when God winks at the transgressions of men, he appears to make some abatement of the claims of his rank, which, however, he may be said to receive back again at the proper and appointed time. In the valley of vision. It is not without good reason that he again calls it “ valley of vision,” for the Jews believed that they would be protected against every calamitous event, because the Lord shone on them by the word. But having ungratefully rejected his instruction, they vainly trusted that it would be of avail to them; and indeed the Lord punishes the unbelief of men, not only out of the Church, but within the Church itself; and not only so, but he begins his chastisement at the Church, so that we must not abuse the gifts of God, or vainly glory in his name. (1Pe_4:17.) And crying to the mountain. (80) This may refer either to God or to the Babylonians, or even to the exiles themselves. Conquerors raise a cry for the sake of increasing terror, and the vanquished either utter what is fitted to awaken compassion, or give vent to their grief by lamentation. The singular number may be taken for the plural, or rather it denotes that part of the city in which the temple was situated. Both meanings will agree well with the context, and it makes little difference whether we say that the enemies cried to Mount Zion, in order to encourage each other, or that, while they were destroying and plundering the city, a cry was heard in the neighboring mountains, or that the citizens themselves caused their lamentations to resound to the mountains which surrounded the plain of Judea. (81) 6 Elam takes up the quiver, with her charioteers and horses; Kir uncovers the shield. 1.BARNES, “And Elam - The southern part of Persia, perhaps used here to denote Persia in general (see the note at Isa_21:2). Elam, or Persia, was at this time subject to Assyria, and their forces were united doubtless in the invasion of Judea. Bare the quiver - A ‘quiver’ is a case in which arrows are carried. This was usually hung upon the shoulders, and thus “borne” by the soldier when he entered into battle. By the expression here, is meant that Elam was engaged in the siege, and was distinguished particularly for skill in shooting arrows. That the Elamites were thus distinguished for the use of the bow, is apparent from Eze_32:24, and Jer_49:35.
  29. 29. With chariots of men and horsemen - Lowth proposes, instead of ‘men,’ to read ‫ארם‬ 'ara m, “Syria,” instead of ‫אדם‬ 'adam, “man,” by the change of the single Hebrew letter ‫ד‬ (d) into the Hebrew letter ‫ר‬ (r). This mistake might have been easily made where the letters are so much alike, and it would suit the parallelism of the passage, but there is no authority of MSS. or versions for the change. The words ‘chariots of men - horsemen,’ I understand here, as in Isa_21:7, to mean “a troop or riding” of men who were horsemen. Archers often rode in this manner. The Scythians usually fought on horseback with bows and arrows. Kir - Kir was a city of Media, where the river Kyrus or Cyrus flows 2Ki_16:9; Amo_1:5; Amo_9:7. This was evidently then connected with the Assyrian monarchy, and was engaged with it in the invasion of Judea. Perhaps the name ‘’Kir’ was given to a region or province lying on the river Cyrus or Kyrus. This river unites with the Araxes, and falls into the Caspian Sea. Uncovered the shield - (see the note at Isa_21:5). Shields were protected during a march, or when not in use, by a covering of cloth. Among the Greeks, the name of this covering was Σάγ µα Sagma. Shields were made either of metal or of skin, and the object in covering them was to preserve the metal untarnished, or to keep the shield from injury. To “uncover the shield,” therefore, was to prepare for battle. The Medes were subject to the Assyrians in the time of Hezekiah 2Ki_16:9; 2Ki_17:6, and of course in the time of the invasion of Judea by Sennacherib. 2. CLARKE, “Chariots of men “The Syriac” - It is not easy to say what ‫רכב‬‫אדם‬ recheb adam, a chariot of men, can mean. It seems by the form of the sentence, which consists of three members, the first and the third mentioning a particular people, that the second should do so likewise. Thus ‫ברכב‬‫ארם‬‫ופרשים‬ berecheb aram uparashim, “with chariots the Syrian, and with horsemen:” the similitude of the letters ‫ד‬ daleth and ‫ר‬ resh is so great, and the mistakes arising from it are so frequent, that I readily adopt the correction of Houbigant, ‫ארם‬ aram, Syria, instead of ‫אדם‬ adam, man; which seems to me extremely probable. The conjunction ‫ו‬ vau, and, prefixed to ‫פרשים‬ parashim, horsemen, seems necessary in whatever way the sentence may be taken; and it is confirmed by five MSS., (one ancient), four of De Rossi’s, and two ancient of my own; one by correction of Dr. Kennicott’s, and three editions. Kir was a city belonging to the Medes. The Medes were subject to the Assyrians in Hezekiah’s time, (see 2Ki_16:9, and 2Ki_17:6); and so perhaps might Elam (the Persians) likewise be, or auxiliaries to them. 3. GILL, “And Elam bare the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen,.... Or the Elamites, as the Targum and Septuagint, that is, the Persians, who were at this time subject to the Assyrians, and served in Sennacherib's army, which consisted of many nations; see Isa_29:7 these bore the quiver, a case for arrows, being expert in the use of the bow, which was the chief of their might, Jer_49:35 and so Strabo (o) reports, that the Elamites had many archers among them; and along with them went chariots of men, full of men, of military men; these were chariots for war, and brought men to fight against Jerusalem;
  30. 30. and horsemen also, these were the cavalry, as those that carried bows and arrows seem to be the foot soldiers. The Targum is, "and the Elamites bore arms in the chariot of a man, and with it a couple of horsemen;'' as in the vision or prophecy concerning Babylon, Isa_21:7, and Kir uncovered the shield; this was a city in Media, and signifies the Medes, who were in subjection to the Assyrians, and fought under them; see 2Ki_16:9 though Ben Melech says it was a city belonging to the king of Assyria; these prepared for battle, uncased their shields, which before were covered to keep them clean, and preserve them from rust and dirt; or they polished them, made them bright, as the word in the Ethiopic language signifies, as De Dieu has observed; see Isa_21:5 these might be most expert in the use of the shield and sword, as the others were at the bow and arrow. Some render "Kir" a "wall": so the Targum, "and to the wall the shields stuck;'' and the Vulgate Latin version, "the shield made bare the wall": but it is best to understand it as the proper name of a place. 4. HENRY, “The great numbers and strength of the enemy, that should invade their country and besiege their city, Isa_22:6, Isa_22:7. Elam (that is, the Persians) come with their quiver full of arrows, and with chariots of fighting men, and horsemen. Kir (that is, the Medes) muster up their arms, unsheath the sword, and uncover the shield, and get every thing ready for battle, every thing ready for the besieging of Jerusalem. Then the choice valleys about Jerusalem, that used to be clothed with flocks and covered over with corn, shall be full of chariots of war, and at the gate of the city the horsemen shall set themselves in array, to cut off all provisions from going in, and to force their way in. What a condition must the city be in that was beset on all sides with such an army! 5. JAMISON, “Elam — the country stretching east from the Lower Tigris, answering to what was afterwards called Persia (see on Isa_21:2). Later, Elam was a province of Persia (Ezr_4:9). In Sennacherib’s time, Elam was subject to Assyria (2Ki_18:11), and so furnished a contingent to its invading armies. Famed for the bow (Isa_13:18; Jer_49:35), in which the Ethiopians alone excelled them. with chariots of men and horsemen — that is, they used the bow both in chariots and on horseback. “Chariots of men,” that is, chariots in which men are borne, war chariots (compare Isa_21:7; Isa_21:9). Kir — another people subject to Assyria (2Ki_16:9); the region about the river Kur, between the Caspian and Black Seas. uncovered — took off for the battle the leather covering of the shield, intended to protect the embossed figures on it from dust or injury during the march. “The quiver” and “the shield” express two classes - light and heavy armed troops.
  31. 31. 6. K&D, “The advance of the besiegers, which leads to the destruction of the walls, is first described in Isa_22:6, Isa_22:7. “And Elam has taken the quiver, together with chariots with men, horsemen; and Kir has drawn out the shield. And then it comes to pass, that thy choicest valleys are filled with chariots, and the horsemen plant a firm foot towards the gate.” Of the nations composing the Assyrian army, the two mentioned are Elam, the Semitic nation of Susiana (Chuzistan), whose original settlements were the row of valleys between the Zagros chain and the chain of advanced mountains bounding the Assyrian plains on the east, and who were greatly dreaded as bowmen (Eze_32:24; Jer_49:35), and Kir, the inhabitants of the country of the Cyrus river, which was an Assyrian province, according to 2Ki_16:9 and Amo_1:5, and still retained its dependent position even in the time of the Achaemenides, when Armenia, at any rate, is expressly described in the arrowheaded writings as a Persian province, though a rebellious one. The readiness for battle of this people of Kur, who represent, in combination with Elam, the whole extent of the Assyrian empire from south to north, (Note: The name Gurgistan (= Georgia) has nothing to do with the river Kur; and it is a suspicious fact that Kir has k at the commencement, and i in the middle, whereas the name of the river which joins the Araxes, and flows into the Caspian sea, is pronounced Kur, and is written in Persian with k (answering to the Armenian and old Persian, in which Kuru is equivalent to Κሞρος). Wetzstein considers Kir a portion of Mesopotamia.) is attested by their “drawing out the shield” (‛erah magen), which Caesar calls scutis tegimenta detrahere (bell. gall. ii. 21); for the Talmudic meaning applicare cannot be thought of for a moment (Buxtorf, lex. col. 1664). These nations that fought on foot were accompanied (Beth, as in 1Ki_10:2) by chariots filled with men (receb 'adam), i.e., war-chariots (as distinguished from ‛ agaloth), and, as is added ᅊσυνδέτως, by parashim, riders (i.e., horsemen trained to arms). The historical tense is introduced with ‫י‬ ִ‫ה‬ְ‫י‬ַ‫ו‬ in Isa_22:7, but in a purely future sense. It is only for the sake of the favourite arrangement of the words that the passage does not proceed with Vav relat. ‫אוּ‬ ְ‫ל‬ ָ‫.וּמ‬ “Thy valleys” (‛amakaik) are the valleys by which Jerusalem was encircled on the east, the west, and the south, viz., the valley of Kidron on the east; the valley of Gihon on the west; the valley of Rephaim, stretching away from the road to Bethlehem, on the south-west (Isa_17:5); the valley of Hinnom, which joins the Tyropaeum, and then runs on into a south-eastern angle; and possibly also the valley of Jehoshaphat, which ran on the north-east of the city above the valley of Kidron. These valleys, more especially the finest of them towards the south, are now cut up by the wheels and hoofs of the enemies' chariots and horses; and the enemies' horsemen have already taken a firm position gatewards, ready to ride full speed against the gates at a given signal, and force their way into the city (shı̄th with a shoth to strengthen it, as in Psa_3:7; also sı̄m in 1Ki_20:12, compare 1Sa_15:2). 7. PULPIT, “Elam bare the quiver. Elam, the country extending from the Zagros range to the Lower Tigris, and watered by the Choaspes, Eulaeus, Pasitigris, and other rivers, was an independent kingdom from a very early date (Gen_14:1, Gen_14:9), and in Isaiah's time was generally hostile to Assyria. Sargon, however, relates that he conquered a portion of the country, planted colonies in it from the more western parts of his empire, and placed both colonists and natives under the governor of Babylon. It is
  32. 32. thus quite possible that both Sargon and Sennacherib may have had a contingent of Elamites in their armies. With chariots of men and horsemen; rather, with troops of men (who were) horsemen (comp. Isa_21:7). Kir uncovered the shield. "Kir" is mentioned in 2 Kings as the place to which Tiglath-Pileser transported the inhabitants of Damascus (2Ki_16:9), and by Amos (Amo_9:7) as the original country from which the Syrians were derived. It has been recently identified with Kirkhi, near Diarbekr, or with Kirruri, in the Urumiyah country (Cheyne); but neither identification is marc than possible. (On uncovering shields as a preliminary to engaging in battle, see Caesar, 'Do Bell. Gall.,' 2.21.) 8. CALVIN, “6.But Elam carrying the quiver. Here commentators think that the discourse proceeds without any interruption, and that he makes known to the Jews the same judgment which he formerly proclaimed. But when I examine the whole matter more closely, I am constrained to differ from them. I think that the Prophet reproaches the Jews for their obstinacy and rebellion, because, though the Lord had chastised them, they did not repent, and that he relates the history of a past transaction, in order to remind them how utterly they had failed to derive advantage from the Lord’ chastisements. Such then is the manner in which these statements ought to be separated from what came before. First, he foretold those things which would come on the Jews, and now he shews how justly they are punished, and how richly they deserve those sharp chastisements which the Lord inflicts on them; for the Lord had formerly called them to repentance, not only by words, but by deeds, and yet no reformation of life followed, though their riches were exhausted, and the kingdom weakened, but they obstinately persisted in their wickedness. Nothing therefore remained but that the Lord should miserably destroy them, since they were obstinate and refractory. The copulative ‫ו‬ (vau) I have translated But, which is the meaning that it frequently bears. Those who think that the Prophet threatens for a future period, preserve its ordinary meaning, as if the Prophet, after having mentioned God, named the executioners of his vengeance. But I have already given the exposition which I prefer, and the context will make it still more clear, that I had good reasons for being of that opinion. When he speaks of the “” and the “” this applies better, I think, to the Assyrians than to the Babylonians; for although those nations had never make war against the Jews by troops under their own command, yet it is probable that they were in the pay of the Assyrian king, and that they formed part of his army while he was besieging Jerusalem. We have already remarked that, taking a part for the whole, by the “” are meant the eastern nations.
  33. 33. And Kir making bare the shield (82) By Kir he undoubtedly means the inhabitants of Cyrenaica. (83) Because they were ( πελτασταὶ) shieldsmen, he says that they “ bare the shield;” for when they enter the field of battle, they draw the shields out of their sheaths. 7 Your choicest valleys are full of chariots, and horsemen are posted at the city gates. 1.BARNES, “Thy choicest valleys - Hebrew, ‘The choice of thy galleys;’ meaning the most fertile and most valued lands in the vicinity of the city. The rich and fertile vales around Jerusalem would be occupied by the armies of the Assyrian monarch. What occurs in this verse and the following verses to Isa_22:14, is a prophetic description of what is presented historically in Isa. 36, and 2 Chr. 32. The coincidence is so exact, that it leaves no room to doubt that the invasion here described was that which took place under Sennacherib. Set themselves in array - Hebrew, ‘Placing shall place themselves;’ that is, they shall be drawn up for battle; they shall besiege the city, and guard it from all ingress or egress. Rabshakeh, sent by Sennacherib to besiege the city, took his station at the upper pool, and was so near the city that he could converse with the people on the walls Isa_36:11-13. 2. PULPIT, “And it shall come to pass, etc. This verse and the next are closely connected, and introduce the new subject of the preparations which the Jews made for their defense. Translate, And it came to pass, when thy choicest valleys were full of chariots (or, troops), and the horsemen had set themselves in array toward the gate, that then did he draw off the cavorting of Judah, etc. 3. GILL, “And it shall come to pass, that thy choicest valleys,.... The valleys that were near Jerusalem, that used to be covered with the choicest corn or vines, or with grass and flocks of sheep, and used to be exceeding delightful and pleasant: shall be full of chariots; where they can be more easily driven than on mountains; these were chariots not for pleasure, but for war; chariots full of soldiers, to fight against and besiege Jerusalem: and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate: to take them that come out of the city, and to force their way into it; as well as to protect and defend the foot, while they made the assault, and scaled the walls, and to be ready when the gates were opened to them.
  34. 34. 4. JAMISON, “valleys — east, north, and south of Jerusalem: Hinnom on the south side was the richest valley. in array at the gate — Rab-shakeh stood at the upper pool close to the city (Isa_36:11-13). 5. CALVIN, “7.And the choice of the valleys (84) was full of chariots. I do not find fault with the translation given by some interpreters, “ a chariot of horsemen,” but I have chosen rather to translate literally the words of the Prophet; for I think that he means “ military chariot.” At that time they made use of two kinds of chariots, one for carrying baggage, and another for the field of battle. Here he means those chariots in which the horsemen rode. Had it been a threatening, it would have been proper to translate it in the future tense, “ it shall be;” but as the words which immediately follow are in the past tense, and as there is reason to believe that the Prophet is relating events which have already taken place, I have not hesitated to make this beginning agree with what follows. “ choice of the valleys” means “ choicest valleys.” He reminds the Jews of those straits to which they were reduced when the enemies were at their gates. They ought at that time to have sought help from God; but those wretched people became more strongly alienated from God, and more shamefully manifested their rebellion, which shewed them to be men utterly abandoned, and therefore he reproaches them with this hardened obstinacy. 8 The Lord stripped away the defenses of Judah, and you looked in that day to the weapons in the Palace of the Forest. 1.BARNES, “And he discovered - Hebrew, ‫ויגל‬ vaye gal - ‘He made naked, or bare.’ The expression, ‘He discovered,’ means simply that it “was” uncovered, without designating the agent. The covering of Judah - The word used here (‫מסך‬ masak) denotes properly “a covering,” and is applied to the “curtain” or veil that was before the tabernacle Exo_26:36; Exo_39:38; and to the curtain that was before the gate of the court Exo_35:17; Exo_39:40. The Septuagint understands it of the “gates” of Judah, ‘They revealed the gates (τᆭς πύλας tas pulas) of Judah.’

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