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5. Then said I —substance thereof— Vers. 11–13. The announcement of the judgment of hardening in vers. 9, 10 sounds quite absolute. Yet the Prophet hears underneath all that it is not so intended. It is impossible that the Lord should quite and forever reject His people, and abrogate the promises given to the fathers. He asks, therefore, “How long, Lord?” (comp. Ps. vi. 4; xc. 13; Hab. ii. 6). He would say: What are to be quantitively and qualitatively the limits of that judgment of hardening? The answer is: First there must be an entire desolation and depopulating of the land; and when at last still a tenth of the inhabitants is in the land, that tenth art also must be decimated till nothing is left ut the stump of a root or stem. That shall then be the seed of a holy future. The meaning of the words is perfectly clear.
The construction is as follows: and still there is in it (the land) a tenth part, and this is again decimated—after the manner of or in resemblance to the terebinth and oak, in which, when felled, a stump remains, its stump (of the tenth) is holy seed. Therefore a stump always remains, and that suffices to guarantee a new life and a new glorious future. This has been steadily verified in the people Israel, both in a corporeal and spiritual respect. After every overthrow, yea, after the most fearful visitations, that oi at the very extinction of the people, a stump or stem was still always left in the ground. This people is even not to be destroyed. There is nothing tougher than the life of this everlasting Jew. And in spiritual respects it is just the same. Though every knee seems to bow to the old or the new Baal, yet the Lord has preserved always a fragment (7,000 it is called, 1 Kings xix. 18) in faithfulness.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL.
On ver. 1. The question: why this vision in the year of Uzziah's death 2 coincides evidently with the question: why an Isaiah any way, and why was he needed just at this time? If prophets were to be, then must prophecy at some time culminate; and that happened in Isaiah, the greatest of all the prophets that have written. Thence Isaiah can stand neither at the beginning, nor at the close. Not at the beginning, for he is far in advance of the elementary stadium; he represents the summit. Not at the close, for in the days of decline art cannot flourish. It needs quiet times for its development. Such a quiet time (relatively) was that of the four kings under whom Isaiah labored. CASPARI (Beitr. p. 218) says of the Uzziah-Jotham period, that for the kingdom of Judah it was 1) a time of great power and prosperity, 2) beside the time of Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. xvii. 18, 20), it was the greatest period since its existence by the rending away of the Ten Tribes from the house of David, 3) the longest continued prosperity during its existence, 4) the last that it had till it fell, 5) the only period of lo during Isaiah's prophetic ministry.
ut this period of prosperity was, so to o only the spring-time, the youth and formative period of the Isaiah prophecy. It was under Ahaz especially that it had to make trial of itself. The league with Assyria fastened the gaze of the Pro
phet on the Assyrian dominion, the Babylonian embassy in Hezekiah's time (chap. xxxix.) on that of Babylon. Although, even under Ahaz and Hezekiah, there were wars and great distress by means of the Syrians and the Ephraimites, as also by the Assyrians, still the destruction was graciously postponed. In that time, therefore, when the theocracy began to show its relations to the worldly powers in a decisive way, there appeared a prophet, who, thoroughly cultivated under the prosperous period of Uzziah and Jotham, could recognize the portentous characteristics of the time of Ahaz and Hezekiah, and see deep into the signs pregnant with the future; and who could reveal their meaning with such wisdom, power and art as are seen in the book of Isaiah. When Uzziah died, Isaiah was just old enough and far enough advanced in training to begin the prophetic career; under Ahaz he had attained manly maturity; and under Hezekiah, with glorified vision, like one near his death, he beheld the glories of redemption. 2. On ver. 1. Jerome inquires: how could Isaiah have seen the Lord, seeing John says (John i. 20) “No man hath seen God at any time,” and God Himself said to Moses: “Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me and live,” Exod. xxxiii. 20? He replies to the question: that not only the Godhead of the Father, but also that of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, are invisible to bodily eyes, because one essence is in the Trinity. But the eyes of the spirit are able to behold the Godhead according to the saying: “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,” Matt. v. 8. And Augustine cites this saying of Jerome approvingly, and comments on it (Epist. ad Fortunatianum). Addendo ergo, etc.: “Therefore by saying in addition, “but the eyes of the spirit,” he makes vision of this sort totally different from every kind of bodily vision. But lest any might think he spoke of the present time, he subjoins the testimony of the Lord, wishing to show what he had called eyes of the spirit: by which testimony the promise is declared, not of a present, but of a future vision.” 3. On ver. 2. FoERSTER explains the fact of the Seraphim covering their feet with their wings as proof that they would confess that their holiness was imperfect and impure in comparison with the absolute holiness of God. For this he cites Job iv. 18, “Behold, He put no trust in His servants; and His angels He charged with folly,” and xv. 15, “Behold, He putteth no trust in His saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in His sight.” 4. It was even the opinion of many Rabbis that a trace of threeness of the divine essence was contained in the three times holy of the Seraphim. PETER GALATINUs (Italian, baptized Jew, Franciscan monk) in his Arcanis catholicae veritatis II. 1, has proved this especially of RADBI SIMON Joch AI and JoWATAN BEN UFIEL (the Targumist). Comp, RAYMUNDUS MARTINI in the pugio fidei, an especially Joh. MEYER in the |Dissertatio theologica de mysterio sacrosanctae trinitatis ec solius V. T. libris demonstrato. Harderwich, 1712. On the ground of this recognized reference to the Trinity, this song of the Seraphim has obtained great significance in Christian liturgies to the present time. “Its introduction into them has been ascribed to [GNATIUS, Bishop of Antioch (f 116), and already in a letter of CLEMENT, Bishop of Rome (f 100), there is found a hint of it. Pope SixTUs 1. At 130) is said to have adopted it into the Romish mass.” ScHoeBERLEIN, Schatz des liturg. Chor. und Gemeindegesangs I. p. 333. |. the Trishagion comp. a Bib. Encycl. or INGHAM's Antiquity of the Christian Church, Book XIV. ii. Z 3, 4, and Book XV. iii. 3 10]. 5. On ver. 4. If a typical meaning of the shaking of the door-posts is insisted on, it must be sought in that power of the revelation of divine glory that affects and moves everything, impress: ing both personal and impersonal creatures; and an example must be found in the events attending the death of Christ (Matth. xxvii. 50 sq.). 6. On ver. 5. “God does not put angels into the pulpit, but poor, weak men. The angels do not know how sinful men are affected; but ministers of the Church, chosen from men, know that well.”—FoERSTER. 7. On ver. S. WITRINGA remarks here that Christian expositors, GRotiUs excepted, explain the change from the singular to the plural number, in “whom shall I send, and who will go for us” as implying the Trinity. “CALv1N, too,” he says," and PiscAtoR, usually more cautious than others in observations of this sort, here plainly utter this sentiment.” [“This explanation is the only one that accounts for the difference of number in the verb and pronoun.”—J. A. ALEXANDER.—TR ]. The opinion of the Jews, however, is that God is represented metaphorically here, as taking counsel with His family, i. e. the angels. WITRINGA remarks also that SANCTIUs attributes to THoMAs and HUgo the important emphasis laid on the plural “for us,” which involves the meaning “who will go for us and not for himself.” 8. On vers. 9 and 10. What God says to the Prophet here rests on a law that may be called the law of the polarity of the will. For every thing here concerns the will, i.e., that will-do that is conditioned by the will-be (comp. my book, Iler Gottmensch, p. 46 sqq.). As in electricity similar poles repel one another, and dissimilar attract, which depends on the principle of deep inward relationship and mutual completion, so in like manner it happens in spiritual life. ... The Lord says, John viii. 37: “My word hath no place in you,” and again, ver, 43: “Why do ye not understand my speech 2 even because ye cannot hear my words;” which question he proceeds to answer himself (ver. 44): “ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do;” and immediately after He says, ver, 47: “He that
CHAP. VI. 1-13.
is of God heareth Gol's words: ye therefore hear them not because ye are not of God.”
Therefore where the word of God comes in contact with a heterogeneous pole, it is repelled. And not only that, but that negative pole becomes more intensely negative by the exercise of its negative power. And the stronger the power that provokes its energetic reaction, and the ostener this provocation occurs, so much the more is it strengthened in that negation till it becomes quite hardened. The magnet loses its power by disuse, whereas frequent use strengthens it. Thus we find that every where the most glorious, clearest, loveliest testimonies to divine truth are not received where the will is wanting to receive them, i.e., where, to speak biblically, the flesh is stronger than the spirit. Therefore must all prophets of the Lord be hated and persecuted in proportion as they announced the truth mightily and penetratingly; and that hate must attain its climax in opposing Him who was Himself the truth.
... 8. On ver, 13. “Paul, also, when he represents the rejection of the Jews in Rom. xi., calls the race, ver, 16, a holy root, and, vers. 23–25, severed branches that God will again graft in.” STARKE.
1. On ver. 3. The thrice holy of the Seraphim a revelation. 1. Of the holiness of God. 2. Of His glory. 3. Of the Trinity.
2. On vers. 5-8. The way of reconciliation to God prefigured by the example of the Prophet Isaiah. 1. The beginning of this way is the knowledge of sin: a. occasioned by the knowledge of the holiness of God, b. manifesting itself by the confession of sin, c. constraining one to cry for deliverance (woe is me). 2. The end of this way is the forgiveness of sins: a. made possible by the sacrifices to which the altar points, b. applied by the word and sacrament (the address of the angel and the live coal), c. appropriated by faith (the Prophet yields himself to the action of the an
- Installation address. Whom shall I send ? etc. Herein lies: 1. The divine call to office. 2. The high importance of the office. 3. The joyful inspiration for the office. HAHN.
4. On vers, 9–13. The fruit of preaching. 1. It is gratifying only in a small portion of the hearers (ver. 13b; Matt. xxii. 14). 2. In most hearers it is rather mournful, because by preaching: a, they are only moved to the full unfolding of their enmity; b, they are made ripe for judgment (vers. 11–13 a).
Israel's Relation to Assyria as Representative of the World-Power generally in its Destructive Beginning and Prosperous Ending.
Chapters vii.-xii. deal wholly with the relation of Israel to Assyria. way was opened for this relation by the unhappy league that Ahaz concluded with the king of Assyria for protection against Syria and Ephraim. The Prophet announces first that the fear of the Syrians and of Ephraim is groundless: but Assyria is to be feared. Taking with Assyria a comprehensive view of all later developments of the world-power, he announces to Israel a second exile, corresponding to that of Egypt as the first, but also a second return, corresponding to that glorious return in which Moses led them. This deliverance will be brought about by a Branch that is to be expected from the house of David, that shall spring as son of a virgin from the apparently dried up root of this house, and, in the might of the Spirit of God, will found a kingdom of peace that shall embrace and have dominion over all nature.
This prophetic cycle divides in three parts. In the first part (chap. vii. 1–ix. 6) the Prophet opposes to the false reliance on the aid of Assyria
They show how the
against the apparent danger that threatened from Syria and Ephraim, the ideal figure of a child, that finds its type in the half frightful, half-comforting phenomenon of the virgin's son Immanuel, |. in the form of a son born to the Prophet himself: types that at the same time are earnest of a preliminary deliverance. In the second part (chap. ix. 7—x. 4) the Prophet turns to the Israel of the Ten Tribes, with a short, as it were, passing word. Prompted by their proud words, as if it were a little thing for them to make good the loss so far sustained from Assyria, the Prophet announces to Ephraim that what they regarded as the end was only the first of many degrees of ruin that they were to suffer from Assyria. In the third part (chap. x. 5–xii. 6) the Prophet turns against Assyria itself. Because it would not be the instrument of the Lord in the Lord's sense, to it is announced its own destruction, but to Israel deliverance and return by the Messiah the Prince of Peace.
A.—THE PROPHETIC PERSPECTIVE OF THE TIME OF AHAZ.
In the beginning of the reign of Ahaz Judah was seriously threatened by the league between Syria and Ephraim. Thereupon Isaiah received the commission from Jehovah to say to Ahaz that there was nothing to fear from Syria and Ephraim. Ahaz being summoned to ask for a sign as pledge of the truth of this announcement, ...]". do so. In punishment a sign is given to him. He must hear that a virgin of the royal house, probably his daughter, is pregnant, and will bear a son. exceeding comforting name, “Immanuel.” Before he will be able to distinguish between good and evil, the lands of Syria and Ephraim shall be forsaken and desert. But danger threatens from that side from which Ahaz hopes for help and deliverance—that is, from Assyria. For Assyria will turn the holy land into a desert. Shortly af. ter, the Prophet announces that a son will be born to himself. He does not do this publicly, however, but to two reliable men. At the same time
But this son of a virgin shall receive the
the Prophet must set up a public tablet with the inscription, Maher-shalal-hash-baz. When the boy was born, he received these words as his name. And it was revealed as the meaning of the words, that before the boy could say father and mother, the spoil of Damascus and Samaria would be carried away by the king of Assyria. By this second child, then, substantially the same thing was predicted as by the first, the son of the virgin. Both prophecies must in general have occurred in the same period, in the beginning of the reign of Ahaz (743 B.C.). Only the announcement of Immannel precedes somewhat that of Maher-shalal-hash-baz. Wherefore this double prediction of the same thing? It seems to me that the announcement of Immanuel was intended immediately for the royal family. For it was a sign involving punishment (comp. comment on vii. 14). But the people, too, were mightily concerned in this affair. Therefore there was given to them a special sign by Maher-shalal. Such is the extent of the two prophecies at the beginning of Ahaz's time. It is seen that each has for its central point the future birth of a child. From viii. 5 on follows a series of short utterances, all of which relate to the same subjects. The words viii. 5–8 are a warning directed primarily to Ephraim, not to despise the kingdom of Judah, nor to over-estimate the power of Syria and Ephraim, for Assyria will overflow the latter like a stream, and then, of course, Judah too. Chap. viii. 9–15 contains a threatening proclamation to the nations of that time that conspired against Judah, and a warning to Judah not to fear these conspiracies, but rather to let the Lord be the only subject of fear. Finally a conclusion follows (viii. 16—ix. 6) which sounds almost like the testament of the Prophet to his disciples. For after a brief prayer to Jehovah to seal the law and testimony in the hearts of his disciples, he sets forth himself and his disciples as living signs and wonders that exhort men to have faith in Jehovah, warns against the temptation to superstitious divination, and exhorts to cleave to the law and testimony. For only therein, in the troublous days to come, may be found comfort and restoration. And now that the prophet's testament may be also a prophetic testament, prayer and exhortation merge into a prophetic vision. The gaze of the Prophet is directed to the remote future. Dark lies the future before him. But just in the quarter that the darkness is deepest, in the least regarded northern border of the holy land, he sees a bright light arise, which marvellously (one involuntarily calls to mind CoRREGGIo's painting of the Nativity) has its origin in ...]". of a child, that proves to be the promised Branch of David, and restorer of David's kingdom to everlasting power and glory. . If our conjecture is correct, that we have here the Prophet's testament
I.—THE TWO CHIEF PROPHECIES CONCERNING THE BIRTH OF THE VIRGIN'S SON AND OF THE PROPHET'S SON.
CHAPTER VII. 1–VIII. 4.
CHAP. VII. 1–25.
1 AND it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, of of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not "prevail
against it. 2 An
d it was told the house of David, saying, Syria "is confederate with Ephraim.
And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are 3 moved with the wind. Then said the LORD unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and 'Shear-jashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the 4 *highway of the fuller's field; and say unto him,
Take heed, and be quiet;
*For the two tails of these smoking fire-brands,
For the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah,
Have “taken evil counsel against thee, saying,
6 Let us go up against Judah, and “vex it,
And let us make a breach therein for us,
And set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal :
7 Thus saith the “Lord God,
It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.
8 For the head of Syria is Damascus, And the head of Damascus is Rezin ;
And within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, “that it be not a
people. 9 And the head of Ephraim is Samaria.
And the head of Samaria is Remaliah's son.
But it is used of swarms of birds, grasshoppers and flies, that settle down somewhere (ver. 19 ; Exod. x. 14; 2 Sam. xxi. 10). Such is its meaning here : the army of Syria has settled down like a swarm of grasshoppers on the spot where the army of Ephraim was encamped. Comp. 2 Sam. xvii. 12. On the fem. Inn) after DYN
comp. 2 Sam. viii. 5; x. 10; coll. xiv. 15, 18."
Wer, 3. noyn occurs again in Isaiah only xxxvi. 2. noop Isaid, used often beside here: xxxvi. 2; xi. 16; xix.23; xxxiii. 5; al. 3; xix. 11; lix.7; lzii.10. 522 only here and xxxvi. 2, in Isaiah. -
Wer. 4. After npgn should follow properly a negative notion, whence the word always has after it the conjunctions |= or bs or the preposition p (as solitary exceptions, comp. Exod. xix. 12; xxiii. 13). Therefore a negation must be supplied out of the following upon. “take heed of (unbelieving, thus sinful) disquietude, but rather be quiet.” The direct causative Hiphil upon has evidently the meaning that Ahaz
must control his anxiety, quiet himself. The word occurs in Isaiah again xxx. 15; xxxii. 17; lvii. 20, whereas