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And "shall call his name Immanuel. 15 Butter and honey shall he eat,
"That he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
16 For before the child shall know
17 The LoRD shall bring upon thee,
And upon thy people, and upon thy father's house,
Days that have not come, From the day that Ephraim departed fr Even the king of Assyria. 18 And it shall come to pass in that day, That the Lord shall hiss For the fly that is in the uttermost part
of the rivers of Egypt,
And for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. 19 And they shall come, and shall rest all of them
In the "desolate valleys, and in the holes
of the rocks,
And upon all thorns, and upon all “bushes. 20 In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, Namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria,
The head, and the hair of the feet:
And it shall also consume the beard. 21 And it shall come to pass in that day,
That a man shall “nourish a young cow, 22 And it shall come to pass,
and two sheep;
For the abundance of milk that "they shall give he shall eat butter: For butter and honey shall every one eat
That is left "in the land. 23 And it shall come to pass in that day, That every place 'shall be,
Where then were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings,
It shall even be for briers and thorns.
25 And on all hills that shall be digged with the mattock, Then shall not come thither the fear of briers and thorns: But it shall be for the sending forth of oxen,
And for the treading of lesser cattle.
^ prefore take no as imperative (comp. T IT : mo 11; no, Typt, Dan ix. 10; my: 1 ir : « : : it . Kings :- 1 Then ppyn (xxix. 15; xxx. 33; xxxi. 6) nET (Ps. *.xiii. 5) are infrabs. with a gerund sense: “going deep ask or mounting up high.” On ver. 12. npx-Rol a paratactic construction. On ver. 13. The construction DDD (bypn means originally “is it from you out (from your point of view) a little 7" The "E has a causal sense: because ye insult my God. One sees that to insult men is a small matter, an unsatisfying indulgence to your haughtiness. Comp. Num. xvi. 9; Job xv. 11; Ezek. xxxiv. 18. On ver. 14. Regarding nphy it may be considered - T : settled that directly and properly it can never signify a married woman. It may, perchance, be used of a young married woman, whose youth or youthful looks one would especially emphasize, like Ruth (ii. 5, 6) as a young wife is called my). But in point of fact no T*-ijsuch form of expression occurs in the Old Testament. On the other hand a virgin, as such, (as virgo illibata) is never called nphy. For the proper term for virgin is nona (Gen. xxiv. 16; Lev. xxi. 3,13,14; Deut. xxii. 14, r : 19, 20; Jud. xix. 24; 2 Sam. xiii. 2, 18) and virginity is bona (Deut. xxii. 15, 17; Judg. xi. 37 sq.; Ezek. xxiii. 3. 8). Hphy is fem of phy (1 Sam. xvii. 56; xx. 22) + 1 ... ." and has nothing to do with boy “to conceal.” phy, --r ...”.” however, is from a root phy, kindred to boy (trans. Su--r gere, potare, intr. redundare, succulentum, vegetum esse). The latter phy occurs in Hebrew only in the words --r boy, nphy, 5-phy (aetas juvenilis of women Isa. liv. --- * : - - -: 4, of men Ps. lxxxix. 46; Job xx. 11; xxxiii. 25) more common in the dialects, where it has the meaning of “becoming fat, thick, strong, mature, manly.” nphy occurs (not to count the musical term n\phy Ps. xlvi. 1; 1 Chron. xv. 20) six times: Gen. xxiv. 33. Exod. ii. 8; Prov. xxx. 19; Ps. lxviii.26; Song of Sol. i. 3; vi. 8. In none of these passages can it be proved to have the sense of virgo illibata or conjur. Especially from Song of Sol. it appears that the third class of the occupants of Solomon's harem comprised the n\not'. Was virginity characteristic of them? Prov. xxx. 15 is difficult. According to all the foregoing it seems to me certain that every non2 is indeed a nphy, but not + : r :-every roy anon. As boy is the time of youth + --- t - : generally, and may be used of men as well as of women, (bons could not be said of men) then nphy is the young woman, still fresh, young and unmarried, without regard to whether still a virgin in the exact sense.— Tinn on nin, that these words may be read: “behold, the virgin is pregnant,” is owned by every one. The expression occurs twice beside. Gen. xvi. 11 the angel says to Hagar, who was already pregnant: *ypt, by no a mo mn on. This passage has, moreover, so much resemblance to ours that we must suppose that it was in the Prophet's mind. Judg. xiii. 5, 7, it is at least very probable, considering ver. 12, that the wife of Manoah was already pregnant. The form Rsy. in the original passage, Gen. xvi. 16, is + 1 + 2 pers. fem. In our passage it may also be 3 pers, fem.
For this form is still to be found Gen. xxxiii. 11; Exod. v. 16 (?); Lev xxv.21; xxvi. 34; Deut. xxxi. 29; Jer. xiii. 19; xliv. 23; 2 Kings ir. 37 (Kothib); Ps. cxviii. 23. It is seen that the form occurs most frequently in the Pentateuch, while Jer. xliv. 23 is a verbatim quotation from Deut. xxxi. 29; and 2 Kings ix. 37, there exists likely an error of the pen, thus leaving only two instances not in the Pentateuch beside our verse. The form occurs nowhere else in Isaiah.
On wer. 15. That iny-h is not: “until his knowing,” appears from this. that the Prophet would in that case say that from his birth on to the years of discretion the boy would be nourished with butter and honey, and then no longer. Thereby, too, the prospect of a brief period of desolation for the land would be held out, which plainly is not the meaning of the Prophet. For Isaiah had in mind the periods of exile, both the Assyrian and the Babylonian, and neither comprises in itself and in the Prophet's representation so short a period. That the latter is so is seen in the way he expresses himself (ver. 17 sq.) on the occasion and extent of the desolation. Therefore iny-h means: “toward the time of his knowing; or about the time.” Comp. Byo, any ny',
- •. r ... -- •- :
npä", "YNo, Ps. Xxx. 6; Job xxiv. 14; Gen. iii. 3; viii.
... - T 14; xlix. 27, etc.—TNords, is “thick milk,” lac spissum, (comp. Gen. xviii. 8; Judg. v. 25; Prov. xxx. 33).
On ver. 16. That the Prophet says Tip"TNT and not Ynon, has for its reason doubtless that he would designate Syria and the territory of the Ten Tribes by one word. But the two together did not constitute an ons, but a land complex in a physical sense—On YE comp.
at ver, 6.
On ver, 17. The form of expression TNo. Rh *\to is like Exod. x. 6; xxxiv. 10; Dan. ix.12. The construction Yll pop" is like Jer. vii. 7, 25; xxv. 11. All that follows depends as one notion on the distributive ‘... without
* Exod. x. 6. On ver. 18. Nonn DY"> n°n), this formula occurs vers. 21, 23; x. 20, 27; xi. 10, 11; xvii. 4; xxii. 20; xxiii. 15; xxiv. 21; xxvii. 13, and not again. In this formula D) does not designate only a day in the ordinary sense, but, according to circumstances, an undetermined period, like we use the word “period.”—DYE! only here in Isaiah.--is is an Egyptian word (comp. on xix. 6) which, however, has become naturalized in Hebrew. It is partly appellative, and as such means “ ditches” (Exod. v ii. 1; Isa. xxxiii. 21) and rivers (Nah. iii. 8; Dan. xii. 5); partly a proper name, and as such means the Nile (xix. 7, 8; xxiii. 10). The Dolyn "R" (comp. xix. 6; xxxvii. 25; 2 Kings xix. 24) are the canals of the Nile (Exod. viii. 1).
on ver, 19. n\nzo is &m. Aey. If it is kindred to nns (v. 6) which is most probable, it means abscissum praruptum, the steep side of a wady. pp. (found beside only Jer. xiii. 4; xvi.16) is, as appears plain from Jer. xiii. 4, “the cleft"—rsy, (again only lv. 13) is “the thornbush; bon] (from ony Exod. xv. 13; Isa. xl. 11; xlix. 10; li. 18, “to lead to pasture”) pascuum, the
like Mich. vii. 12, and Jer. ii. 18 (which passage, moreover, looks back to ours), is the Euphrates. The "Y2J' "in) are the two sides of the Euphrates; for nny alone may mean the territory on the hither side as well as the further side (comp. Josh. xxiv. 2, 3, 14, 15; 2 Sam. x. 16; 1 Chr. xix. 16, with 2 Kings v. 4; Ezra viii. 36; Neh. ii. 7, 9: iii. 7), and D'Yny are the sides generally: Exod. • r -:
xxxii. 15; 1 Kings v. 4; Jer, lviii. 28; xlix. 32. Don Hyty is euphemistic, like Deut. xxviii. 57; Isa. xxxvi. 12 K'ri. Comp. Jud. iii. 24; 1 Sam. xxiv. 4. TEDn proves that the Prophet uses nyn as fem., which usually is masc. Thereby the adjective construction of n"Y">vj is confirmed as the correct one. Regarding the usus loquendi, comp. xiii. 15; xxix. 1; xxx. 1.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL.
1. Moreover the Lord tempt the Lord, vers. 10–12. When Isaiah says: “Moreover the LoRD spake,” he puts himself quite in the background. He gives prominence only to the proper author of the address, as ver. 3, he reports only the words of Jehovah to himself, and passes over the performance that was his, a man's work, as a matter of course. Though Ahaz was a backslider, the divine love on its part does not let him go. The LoRD says still to him: I am thy God. De jure He is so, though de facto so no longer. Because Jehovah still loves Ahaz, He seeks to reclaim him, coming to him half way, and holding out His hand in order to make return as easy for him as possible. That is, the LoRD demands no unconditional faith from Ahaz, but He permits him to attach his faith to any condition that he will. If Jehovah fulfils the condition, then that is security, or the sign, that Jehovah deserves to be believed, that He is there. fore the God He gives Himself out to be. There is no other instance of submitting to a man's choice what the sign shall be. It may be fearlessly said that for Isaiah to propose to Ahaz the choice of a miraculous sign is itself a sign. It is a pledge that he serves the true, living, and almighty God; that therefore there is such a God, who not only can do miracles, but who, under circumstances, will do them. Had Isaiah offered Ahaz this choice without possessing the power to perform what he promised, he would have been either a deceiver or a crazed enthusiast. In the name of science, rationalistic expositors may be challenged to prove that Isaiah was a deceiver or an enthusiast. In any case the Prophet leaves it to Ahaz, from what part of the universe he will have a miracle. The reply of Ahaz is hypocritical. He acts as if he still believed in Jehovah, and as if he declined the proposal only through fear, lest he should have the appearance of tempting God (Deut. v. 16). But he had already his own plans. He had already resolved to oppose to the gods and kings of Syria and Ephraim, not Jehovah, the God of Judah, but the gods and the king of Assyria. [Ver. 11. “Ask it in the depth,” etc. There may be an historical relation between this expression and Deut. xxx. 11-14, and Jno. iv. 1113, and Rom. x. 6-8, and comp. Ps. cxxxix. 6-10, that makes them useful for mutual interpretation.
actly to the French ennuyer, which means primarily the discomfort one experiences from anything that lasts too long, and then any sort of discomfort. Without doubt Ahaz had often enough made trial of human patience. But “to weary men” seems to point to the fact that in Ahaz's refusal lay an insult to the Prophet. For this refusal might be regarded as indirectly repelling an insane presumption on the part of Isaiah. Still, doubtless, the insult to his God is the chief matter to the Prophet. Notice that by “my God” here, he in a measure retracts the “thy God” of ver. 10. By this one word he lets Ahaz know that by his unbelief he has excluded himself from *F. in the Lord. Full of this displeasure, the Prophet declares to the house of David : Because ye will have no sign, one shall be given to you. or. sign must therefore be one that Ahaz could observe, and every meaning that ignores this, must from the outstart be regarded as mistaken. It is further clear that the sign which Ahaz must accept against his will must be of a character unpleasant to him. The whole connection shows this clearly. The unbelief, the desertion, the hypocrisy of Ahaz must be punished. , Had he accepted the offer of the LoRD, he might at will have chosen a sign from any sphere. But because he insolently declined the offer, he must put up with a sign that will appear in a very delicate quarter, and consist in a fact very unpleaSant '. him. Consider in addition that the Prophet, as we learned above, spoke these words in |. royal palace, and before the royal family, and we obtain an important threefold canon for the exposition of the passage: the sign must have been for Ahaz, 1) recognized; 2) unpleasant, punishing; 3) of concern to his whole family. Behold the virgin, etc.—“Behold” has great emphasis. “It stands here as if the Prophet raised his hand, signed to all the world that they should be still and give he d to this the chiefest miracle of which he would now preach.”
(FoEastER)-On nobyn see Tert, and Gr. Who is “the virgin'” here? To whom does the definite article point? We must at the outset exclude all those exposisions according to which the Alma = “virgin" is a purely ideal person, whether belonging to the present or the future. What sort of a sign for Ahaz could it be, if the Prophet in spirit saw in the remote future a virgin that bore the Messiah; even if, by means of an ideal anticipation, the wonderful child, which formed, as it were, the soul of the people's life, is construed as representative of the contemporaries of Ahaz (HENGSTENBERG) 2. It is no better when, by a figurative construction the Alma is made to mean Israel, out of which a people of salvation shall arise, which, after it has endured the consequences of the present ignorance, shall know to prefer the good to the bad (v. HoFMANN). It is the same with the explanation of W. ScHULTz Prof. in Breslau, Stud. and Krit., 1861, Heft. IV.) who by comprehending under the Alma or virgin the Messiah and His mother, and all their typical forerunners, understands by this person “the quiet ones of the land, who needed not the king nor his co-operation.” The canon we have set up as imperative, is equally violated by KUEPER (Die Proph. d. A. B. iibersichtle dargestellt, Leipzig, 1870, p. 216): he admits that Alma does not foil; mean a pure virgin, yet he lays especial emphasis on the virginity of the mother, because it may be inferred from the name Immanuel, which proves the piety of the mother; and he sees precisely in this virginity the threat against Ahaz, because it follows that Immanuel is to be born without co-operation of a man of the race of David. For it is impossible that Ahaz could infer this virginity thus from the words of the Prophet. Beside, there is nothing threatening in the promise that the Messiah shall be born as the Son of God in the sense of Luke i. 35, without co-operation of a man, of the race of David; it is rather the highest honor. The latest attempt at exposition, too, by ED. ENGELHARDt (Zeitschr. f. Luth. Theol. and K. 1872 Heft. IV.), does not satisfy. “The house of David cannot be destroyed before the promised deliver comes forth from it. The mother is therefore, yet to appear that bears Him, and this mother, determined by the word of the Prophecy, it is that the Prophet means here “(l. c. page
627).” How is it to be proved that nobyn Was a standing expression for the mother of the Messiah? What, moreover, was there punitive in this? What in the text says that the house of David would be destroyed after the birth of the Messiah's mother? Moreover, how is this conceivable? To express what ENGELHARDt fancies is the meaning of the Prophet, the words must read: the Alma has not yet borne. What sort of a sign, would that be? Others adept an ideal construction in the sense that they regard the birth of a son from the Alma, at the time indicated, as an idea, a possi
bility, without reference to its realization (“were a virgin to conceive this instant a boy as an emblem of his native land, the mother would name her babe like the land at that time must say: God was with us,” EICHHoFN, comp. J. D. MICHAELIS, PAULUs, STAEHELIN, cte.). The arbitrariness of this exposition is manifest; the Prophet does not speak hypothetically, but quite categorically. This sign, too, would be neither observable, nor threatening. Others find the key to the exposition (RosBNMUELLER, EwALD. BERTHEAU), in the snpposition that Isaiah saw the Messiah Himself in the child to be born, and that consequently we have before us, an erroneous hope * an unfulfilled Prophecy. But it is incredible that the Prophet, o as he was by his son Shearjashub, could have expccted in so short a period the fulfilment of the Prophecy contained in his name. The people must first become a remnant. Comp., the Prophet's inquiry vi. 10 and the reply ver. 11. If the Alma does call her son Immanuel, he is not necessarily therefore really Immanuel. It may mean only that he signifies the Immanuel. And so, too, viii. 8, the land of Immanuel is not the land of the present, but of the future Immanuel, who only is the true LoRD and
married women. The ancient Jewish explanation, according to which the Alma was the mother of Hezekiah, that Abi, daughter of Zachariah (2 Kings xviii. 2), was shown by JEROME even to be impossible, inasmuch as Hezekiah at the time Isaiah spoke these words was already 12 years old. The later Jewish explanation ranks among its supporters FAUSTU's SocINUs, JoH. CRELLIUS, (Socinian), GROTIUs, (who in his Dever. religionis Christ, still presented the orthodox view, but afterwards went over to CRELLIUs’ views), JoH. LUDwig Von Wolzog EN (Socinian), JoHN ERNST. FABER (in the Anm. zu Harmar's Beobachtungen über den Orient, etc., I. S. 281), [Put DR. BARNEs here : only that he includes a reference to Messiah, according to Matth. i. 22.—TR.] GESENIUS, HITzig, HEUDEw ERK, KNoBEL, etc. According to this view the Alma is the wife of the Prophet himself, either the mother of Shear-jashub, or a younger one, at that time only betrothed to him. But this is wrecked on the impossibility of refer
ring nphyn to the wife or the betrothed of the Prophet without any nearer designation and without the faintest hint of her being present. Beside, how should the o of the Prophet happen to have the Immanuel born in it?. Were the promises to David to be transferred to Isaiah? KIMcH1 and ABARBANEI, modify this view by saying that by the ALMA must be understood the wife of Ahaz. But then, instead of something bad, the Prophet would rather have announced something joyful. Others again understand by
the Alma any virgin, not more particularly specified, that was present at the place of interview, and to whom the Prophet pointed with the finger.
For my part I believe, that in expounding our passage, it is an exegete's duty to leave out of view at first Matt. i. 23. We have only to ask: What, according to the words and context, did Isaiah in that moment wish to say, and actually say? How far his word spoken then was a prophecy, and with what justice Matt. i. 18 regards the fact recounted there as the fulfilment of this prophecy will appear from inquiry that must be made afterwards. Bearing in mind then the canon proposed above, and we obtain the meaning: Behold the (i.e. this) virgin (i.e. this yet unmarried daughter of the royal house) is pregnant, etc. After the indignant words of the Prophet, ver, 14a, that roll up like dark clouds, we must look for a sign that strikes the house of David like thunder and lightning. Doubtless Ahaz was not the ...; guilty person. While Joshua (xxiv. 15) had said: “I and my house will serve the Lord,” Ahaz had said the contrary. If not, why did the Prophet, instead of addressing himself to the king with such emphasis, address the whole house? And did what was said iii. 16 sq. about the luxury of the daughters of Zion have no application to the women in the household of Ahaz” Therefore the whole house must with terror endure the shame of one of the princesses who was present being pointed out as pregnant. That is the bold manner of the prophets of Jehovah—a manner that is no respecter of persons—the “sackcloth roughness” of men that know that they have Almighty God for their support. Thus, for example, Jeremiah said to king Jehoiakim that he should be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem, Jer. xxii. 19.
As regards the sense, it remains essentially the same whether snip is translated “thou wilt call”
or “she will call.” For in any case the word is spoken in presence of the Alma. She herself takes note of what the Prophet announces in regard to the name to be given. . Whether she is spoken to or spoken of remains immaterial. If God, with no expression of disapproval, says “she will call him Immanuel,” is not that as much as to say: “she shall so call him?” She would hardly have thought of that name herself. It was not a usual name. It is found only here in the Old Testament. It was a beautiful name, rich in consolation. The Lord would have spoken quite differently if the name had given Him }. That such was not the case, we see from viii. 8, 10 very decidedly. If often occurs in Scripture that mothers give names to their children: Gen. iv. 25; xix. 37 sq.; xxix. 32; xxx. 6, 8, 11, 13, 18, 20, 24; xxxv. 18; 1 Sam. i. 20. Often the name is determined by divine command: Gen. xvi. 11; xvii. 19; Hos. i. 4, 6, 9; 1 Chron. xxii. 9; Matt. i. 21. Here, now, grave doubts arise. Is it conceivable that God has made a sign woman the type of the 9eorókoo, and an illegitimate child the type of the Son of God become man? The objections to our view, founded on the piety of the Alma (see above), disappear when we refer back the giving of the name to the announcement of the
divine will. For if the Alma does not name the child Immanuel self-prompted, she gives no proof of fearing God and faith in God. She did only what she could not have omitted to do without defying the divine will. But how is it conceivable that God should make such a child the bearer and symbol of His holy purpose of salvation, a child to which clung the reproach of illegitimate birth, that was therefore the fruit and the continual monument of sin, whose mother, in fact, in some circumstances, might have incurred the penalty of stoning, according to Deut. xxii. 212 How can this fruit of sin bear the holy name of Immanuel ? Does this not involve the dangerous inference that God does not take strict account of sin? that in some cases He does not mind using it as means and instrument for His plans? To this I would reply as follows. The Prophet is extremely sparing in portraying the historical background of his prophecies. He indicates only what is indispensable. It is just this scantiness that makes our passage so difficult, and all efforts at expounding it suffer alike from this. For there is not a single one against which it may not be objected that one explanatory statement or other is necessary to its complete establishment. It seems to me that the presence of the article in “the Alma” is easiest explained if, in the circle to which the Prophet addressed, there was only one person present that could be designated as Alma. In every language in such a case a more exact pronominal definition may be dispensed with. Besides, in Hebrew, the article in some cases has decidedly a demonstrative meaning, and can be used detorioc (comp. Dyan, njon, mon, non). The Prophet, as the servant of Jehovah, might come to the king unannounced. Though hated by the king, the king still dreaded him, and, according to ver. 12, Ahaz did not venture to express his unbelief openly, but only under the mask of reverence. Assuredly Nathan did not first request an audience and permission to deliver a message of Jehovah's to the king (2 Sam. xxiv. 11 sq.). And thus we may assume that the Prophet came to the palace at a time when the king was not surrounded by officers of state—at least not by these alone, but also by his family. And in the circle into which Isaiah stepped in the discharge of his prophetic disciplinary office there must have been one—but only one—daughter of the royal house who was indeed unmarried, but no longer a virgin. More than this we do not know. The Prophet writes no more than he said, perhaps out of compassion, or perhaps to avoid making the person in question the object of honors she did not deserve (possibly of idolatrous worship in after days). By revealing this secret to the dismay of the family, the Prophet had of course given a sign, a pledge of the credibility of what was promised ver. 7. For whoever knew that secret of the past and present could know also the secret things of the future. And the king could at once ascertain the verity of the sign that was given. Of course he might take measures to defeat the prophecy and render its accomplishment impossible. #. what good would that do? The chief thing, that there was a boy in the body of the (supposed) virgin, he could not undo, and