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9. On viii. 14, 15. Christ alone is set by God to be a stone by which we are raised up. That He is, however, an occasion of offence to many is because of their purpose, petulance and contempt (1 Pet. ii. 8). Therefore we ought to fear lest we take offence at Him. For whoever falls on this stone will shatter to pieces (Matth. xxi. 44).” CR AMER. 10. On viii. 16 sqq. He warns. His disciples against heathenish superstition, and exhorts them to show respect themselves always to law and testimony. “They must not think that God must answer them by visions and signs, therefore He refers them to the written word, that they may not become altogether too spiritual, like those now-a-days who cry: spirit ! spirit ! . . . Christ says, Luke xvi. : They have Moses and the prophets, and again Jno. v. 39: Search the Scriptures. So Paul says, 2 Tim. iii. 16: The Scripture is profitable for doctrine. So says Peter, 2 Pet. i. 9: We have a sure word of prophecy. It is the word that changes hearts and moves them. But revelations puff people up and make them insolent.” HEIM and HoFFMANN after LUTHER, CHAP. IX.-11. On ver. 1 sqq. (2). “Postrema pars, etc. The latter part of chap. viii. was voutri) kai à Terämriks, of and threatening) so, on the other hand, the first and best part of chap. ix. is eia;;...&tki) kiti Tapauvøyrukh, (evangelical and comforting). Thus must ever law and gospel, preaching wrath and grace, words of reproof and words of comfort, a voice of alarm and a voice of peace follow one another in the church.” FoERSTER. 12. On ix. 1 (2). Both in the Old Testament and New Testament Christ is often called light. Thus Isaiah calls Him “a light to the gentiles,” xlii. 6; xlix. 6. The same Prophet says: “Arise, shine (make thyself light), for thy light is come,” lx. 1. And again ver. 19: “The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light.” In the New Testament it is principally John that makes use of this expression: “The life was the light of men,” i. 4, “and the light shined in the darkness,” ver. 5. John was not that light, but bore testimony to the light, ver. 8. “That was the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” ver. 9. And further: “And this is the condemnation that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light,” iii. 19. “I am the light of the world,” (viii. 12; ix. 5; comp. xii. 35; xxxvi. 46). 13. On ix. , 1 (2). The people that sit in darkness may be understood to comprise three grades. First, the inhabitants of Zebulon and Naphtali are called so (viii. 23), for the Prophet's gaze is fixed first on that region lying in the extreme end of Palestine, which was neighbor to the heathen and mixed with them, and on this account was held in low esteem by the dwellers in Judah. The night that spreads over Israel in general is darkest there. But all Israel partakes of this night, therefore all Israel, too, may be understood as among the people sitting in darkness. Finally, no one can deny that this night extends over the borders of Israel to the whole human race. For far as men dwell extends the night which Christ, as light of the world, came to dispel, Luke i. 76 sqq. 14. On ix. 5 (6). Many lay stress on the no
tion “child,” inasmuch as they see in that the reason for the reign of peace spoken of asterwards. It is not said a man, a king, a giant is given to us. But this is erroneous. For the child does not remain a child. He becomes a man: and the six names that are ascribed to Him and also the things predicted of His kingdom apply to Him, not as a child, but as a man. That His § as a child is made prominent, has its reason in this, that thereby His relation to human kind should be designated as an organic one. He does not enter into humanity as a man, i. e. as one whose origin was outside of it, but He was born from it, and especially from the race of David. He is Son of man and Son of David. He is a natural offshoot, but also the crowning bloom of both. Precisely because He was to be conceived, carried and born of a human mother, and indeed of a virgin, this prophecy belongs here as the completion and definition of the two prophetic pictures vii. 10 sqq.; viii. 1 sqq.-‘‘He came down from heaven for the sake of us men, and for our bliss (1 Tim. i. 15; Luke ii.7). For our advantage: for He undertook not for the seed of angels, but for the seed of Abraham (Heb. ii. 16). Not sold to us by God out of great love, but given (Rom. v. 15; Jno. iii. 16). Therefore every one ought to make an application of the word “to us’ to himself, and to learn to say: this child was given to mo, conceived for me, born to me.”— CRAMER.—“Cur oportuit, etc. Why did it become the Redeemer of human kind to be not merely man, nor merely God, but God and man conjoined or 9eóvěpostovo Anselm replies briefly, indeed, but pithily: Deum qui posset, hominem, qui deberet.” For:RSTER.
15. On ix. 5 (6). “You must not suppose here that He is to be named and called according to His person, as one usually calls another by his name; but these are names that one must preach, praise and celebrate on account of His act, works and office.” LUTHER.
16. On ix. 6. “ Verba pauca, etc. A few words, but to be esteemed great, not for their number but for their weight.” Augustine. “Admirabilis in, etc. Wonderful in birth, counsellor in what He preaches, God in working, strong in suffering, father of the world to come in resurrection, Prince of peace in bliss perpetual.” BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUx. In reference to “a child is born,” and “a son is given,” JoH. CoccEIU's
remarks in his Heb. Lex. s. v. no “respectu,
etc., in respect to His human nature He is said to be born, and in respect to His divine nature and eternal generation not indeed born, but given, as, Joh. iii. 16, it reads God gave His only begotten Son.”
“In the application of this language all depends on the words is born to us, is given to us.” The angels are, in this matter, far from being as blessed as we are. They do not say: To us a Saviour is born this day, but; to you. As long as we do not regard Christ as ours, so long we shall have little joy in Him. But when we knowHim as our o righteousness, sanctification and redemption, as a gift that our heavenlyFather designed for us, we will appropriate Him to ourselves in humble faith, and take possession of all His redeeming effects that He has acquired. For giving and taking go together. The Son is iven to us; we must in faith receive Him.” J. J. AMBACH, Betracht. iiber das Ev. Esaj., Halle, 1724. On ix. 6 (7). “The government is on His shoulders.” “It is further shown how Christ differs in this respect from worldly kings. They remove from themselves the burden of government and lay it on the shoulders of the privy counsellors. But He does not lay His dominion as a burden on any other; He needs no prime minister and vicegerent to help Him bear the burden of administration, but He bears all by the word of His power as He to whom all things are given of the Father. Therefore He says to the house of Jacob (xlvi. 3 sq.): Hearken unto me ye who were laid on my shoulders from your mothers’ womb. I will carry you to old age. I will do it, I will lift, and carry and deliver, on the contrary the heathen must bear and lift up their idols, (xlvi. 1, 7).”—RAMBACH. “In the first place we must keep in mind His first name: He is called Wonderful. This name affects all the following.” “All is wonderful that belongs to this king: wonderfully does He counsel and comfort; wonderfully He helps to acquire and conquer, and all this in suffering and want of strength. (LUTHER, Jen. germ. Tom. III. Fol. 184 b.)” “He uses weakness as a means of subduing all things to Himself. A wretched reed, a crown of thorns and an infamous cross, are the weapons of this almighty God, by means of which He achieves such great things. In the second lace. He was a hero and conqueror in that just y death, He robbed him of his might who had the power of death, i.e., the devil (Heb. ii. 14); in that He, like Samson, buried His enemies with Himself, yea, became poison to death itself, and a plague to hell (Hos. xiii. 14), and more gloriously resumed His life so freely laid down, which none of the greatest heroes can emulate.” —RAMBACH. 17. On ix. 18 (19) sqq. , True friendship can never exist among the wicked. For every one loves only himself. . Therefore they are enemies one of another; and they are in any case friends to each other, only as long as it concerns making war on a third party. CHAP. X. —18. On ver. 4. (Comp. the same expression in chap. ix.). God's quiver is, well filled. If one arrow does not attain His object, He takes another, and so on, until the rights of God, and justice have conquered.
19. On x. 5–7. “God works through men in a threefold way. First, we all live, move and have our being in Him, in that all activity is an outflow of His power. Then, He uses the services of the wicked so that they mutually destroy each other, or He chastises His people by their hand. Of this sort the Prophet speaks here. In the third place, by governing His people by the Spirit of sanctification: and this takes place only in the elect.”—HEIM AND HoFFMANN.
20. On x. 5 sqq. “Ad hunc, etc. Such places are to be trol to uses of comfort. Although the objects of temptation vary and enemies differ, yet the effects are the same, and the same spirit works in the pious. We are there
fore to learn not to regard the power of the enemy nor our own weakness, but to look steadily and simply into the word, that will assuredly establish our minds that they despair not, but expect help of God. For God will not subdue our enemies, either spiritual or corporal, by might and power, but by weakness, as says the text: my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. xii. 9).-LUTHER. 21. On x. 15. “Efficacia agendi penes Deum est, homines ministerium tantum praebent. Quare nunc sibilo suo se illos evocaturum minabatur (cap. v. 26; vii. 18); nunc instar sagenae sibi fore ad irretiendos, nunc mallei instar ad seriendos Israelitas. Sed praecipue tum declaravit, quod non sit otiosus in illis, dum Sennacherib securim vocat, quae ad secandum manu sua et destimata suit et impacta. Non male alicubi Augustinus ita definit, quod ipsi peccant, eorum esse; quod peccando hoc vel illud agant, ex virtute Dei esse, tenebras prout visum est dividentis (De praedest Sanct.).”—CALVIN Inst. II. 4, 4.
22. On x. 20–27. “In time of need one ought to look back to the earlier great deliverances of the children of God, as to the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, or later, from the hand of the Midianites. Israel shall again grow out of the yoke.”—DIEDRICH.
CHAP. XI.-23. On ver. 4. “The staff of His mouth.” “Evidence that the kingdom of Christ will not be like an earthly kingdom, but consist in the power of the word and of the sacraments; not in leathern, golden or silver girdles, but in girdles of righteousness and faith.”— CRAMER.
24. On xi. 10 sqq. If the Prophet honors the heathem in saying that they will come to Christ before Israel, he may be the more readily believed, when ver. 11 sqq., he gives the assurance that the return out of the first, the Egyptian exile, shall be succeeded by a return out of the second, the Assyrian exile, (taking this word in the wider sense of Isaiah). It is manifest that the return that took place under Zerubbabel and Ezra was only an imperfect beginning of that promised return. For according to our passage this second return can only take place after the Messiah has appeared. Farthermore, all Israelites that belong to “the remnant of Israel,” in whatever land they may dwell, shall take part in it. It will be, therefore, a universal, not a partial return. If now the Prophet paints this return too with the colors of the present (ver. 13 sqq.), still that is no reason for questioning the reality of the matter. Israel will certainly not disappear, but arise to view in the church of the new covenant. But if the nation is to be known among the nations as a whole, though no more as a hostile contrast, but in fraternal harmony, why then shall not the land, too, assume a like position among the lands? But the nation can neither assume its place among nations, nor the land its place among lands, if they are not both united: the people Israel in the land of their fathers.
25. On Chap. XI. “We may, here recall briefly the older, so-called spiritual interpretation. Vers. 1–5 were understood of Christ's prophetic office that He exercised in the days of
His flesh, then of the overthrow of the Roman Empire and of Antichrist, who was taken to be the Pope. But the most thorough-going of those old expositors must acknowledge, at ver, 4, that the Antichrist is not yet enough overthrown, and must be yet more overthrown. If such is the state of the case, then this interpretation is certainly false, for ver. 4 describes not a gradual judgment, but one accomplished at once. There have been many Antichrists, and among the Popes too, but is genuine Antichrist described 2 Thess. ii., is yet to be expected, and also the fulfillment of ver. 4 of our chapter. Thereby is proved at the same time that the peaceful state of things in the brute world and the return of the Jews to their native land are still things of the future, for they must happen in that period when the Antichristian world, and its head shall be judged by Christ. But then, too, the dwelling together of tame and wild beasts is not the entrance of the heathen into the church, to which they were heretofore hostile, and the return of the Jews is not the conversion of a small part of Israel that took place at Pentecost and after. The miracles and signs too, contained in vers. 15, 16 did not take place then. We see just here how one must do violence to the word if he will not take it as it stands. But if we take it as we have done, then the whole chapter belongs to the doctrine of hope (Hoffnungslehre) of the Scripture, and constitutes an important member of it. The Lord procures right and room for His church. He overthrows the world-kingdom together with Antichrist. He makes of the remnant of Israel a congregation of believers filled with the Spirit, to whom He is near in an un
usual way, and from it causes His knowledge to
go out into all the world. He creates peace in the restless creatures, and shows us here in advance what more glorious things we may look for in the new earth. He presents to the world a church which, united in itself, unmolested by neighbors, stands under God's mighty protection. All these facts are parts of a chain of hope that must be valuable and dear to our hearts. The light of this future illumines the obscurity of the present; the comfort of that day makes the heart fresh.” WEBER, der Prophet Jesaja, 1875. CHAP. XII.-26. On ver. 4 sq. “These will not be the works of the New Testament: sacrificing and slaying, and make pilgrimage to Jerusalem and to the Holy Sepulchre, but praising God and giving thanks, preaching and hearing, believing with the heart and confessing with the mouth. For to praise our God is good; such praise is pleasant and lovely” (Psalm colvii. 1). CRAMER. 27. On Chap. XII. “With these words conclude the | discourses on Immanuel. Through what obscurity of history have we not had to go, until we came to the bright light of the kingdom of Christ! How Israel and the nations had to pass through the fire of judgment before the sun arises in Israel and the entire gentile world is illumined It is the same way that every Christian has to travel. In and through the fire we become blessed. Much must be burnt up in us, before we press to the full knowledge of God and of His Son, before we become entirely one with Him, entirely glad and joyful in Him. Israel was brought up and is still brought up for glory, o we too. O that our end too were such a psalm of praise as this psalm o' WEBE Der Pr. Jes. 1875. Psa EB,
THE PROPHECIES AGAINST FOREIGN NATIONS. CHAPTERs XIII.-XXVII.
A.—THE DISCOURSES AGAINST INDIVIDUAL NATIONS.
The people of God do not stand insulated and historically severed from the rest of the human race, but form an integral part of it, and contribute to the great web of the history of humanity. Therefore the Prophet of the Lord must necessarily direct his gaze to the Gentile world, and, as historiographer, set forth their relations to the Kingdom of God, whether hostile or friendly. It is true that, in those prophecies that deal with the theocracy as a whole, or with individual theocratic relations or persons, the prophet has always to set their relations to the outward world in the light of God's word. But he has often occasion to make some heathen nation or other the primary subject of direct prophecy. Isaiah, too, has such occasion: and his prophecies that come under this category we now find collected here.
Amos, also, put together his utterances against foreign nations (chap. i.). But this grouping is so interwoven in the plan of his work, that, like an eagle first circles around his prey, and then swoops down on it, so he first passes through the nations dwelling around the Holy Land, then settles down on the chief nation, Israel, dwelling in the middle. Isaiah has brought the independent prophecies against foreign nations into a less intimate connection with his utterances that relate
directly to the theocracy, by incorporating them into his book as a special opp (or volume). Zephaniah has joined Isaiah in this as to material
and form; except that the latter appears less marked because of the smallness of his book (ch. ii.). But Jeremiah (chap. xlvi.-li.) and Ezekiel (chap. xxv-xxxii.), have, just like Isaiah, de. independent divisions of their books to the utterances against foreign nations. The order in which Isaiah gives his prophecies against the heathen nations is not arbitrary. It makes four subdivisions. First, in chaps. Xiii., xiv., comes a prophecy against Babylon. . It stands here for a double reason: 1) because it begins with a general contemplation of the day of Jehovah, which evidently is meant for a foundation for all the following denunciations of judgment; 2) because Isaiah, after he had lived to see the judgment of God on Assyria under the walls of Jerusalem, knows well §. the world-power culminates, not in Assyria, but in Babylon, and that not Assyria but Babylon is to execute the judgment of God on the centre of the theocracy.
But it is quite natural that Assyria should not be unrepresented in the list of the nations against which the Prophet turns his direct utterances. This is the less allowable because the following utterances have all of them for subject the relations to Assyria of the nations mentioned. For all that the Prophet has to say from chap. xiv. 28–xx. 6, and then again in chap. xxi. (from ver. 11 on), xxii. and xxiii. stands in relations more or less near to the great Assyrian deluge that Isaiah saw was breaking in on #. and the neighboring lands. Thus the second division begins with the brief word against Assyria, chap. xiv. 24–27. To this are joined prophecies against Philistia, Moab, Syria, Ephraim, Cush and Egypt. The third division forms a singular little hop—
It might be named libellus emblematicus. For it contains a second prophecy against Babylon, then
a similar one against Syria, against the Arabians, and against Jerusalem, the last with a supplement directed against the steward Shebna. These four prophecies in chap. xxi. and xxii. stand together because they all of them have emblematical superscriptions. Out of regard to this the prophec against Babylon (chap. xxi. 1–10) stands here, although in respect to its contents it belongs rather to xiii. and xiv. Even the prophecy against “the valley of vision” with its supplement stands here out of regard to its superscription, although it is directed against no heathen nation, but against Jerusalem; so that we must say that chaps. xiii.xxiii. contain prophecies against the heathen nations, not exclusively, but with one exception that has its special reasons. Chap. xxiii. forms the fourth division. It contains a Polo, against Tyre, which, indeed, presupposes the Assyrian invasion, but expressly names the Chaldeans as executors of the judgment on Tyre. On account of this remarkable, and, in a certain respect, solitary instance of such a sight of things distant, this prophecy is put alone and at the end. Thus the chapters xiii-xxiii. are divided as follows:– I. The first prophecy against Babylon, xiii. 1 —xiv. 23. II. Prophecies relating to Assyria, and the nations threatened by Assyria, Philistia, Moab, Syria, Ephraim, Cush, Egypt. xiv. 24—xx. 26. III. The libellus emblematicus, containing prophecies against Babylon, Edom, Arabia and Jerusalem, the last with a supplement directed against the steward Shebnah. xxi., xxii. IV. Prophecy against Tyre. xxiii.
I.—THE FIRST PROPHECY AGAINST BABYLON. CHAPTER XIII. 1–XIV. 23.
There yawns a tremendous chasm between the preceding prophecies that originated in the time of Ahaz and the present. We at once recognize Isaiah again in xiii., xiv. It is his spirit, his power, his poetry, his wit. They are his fundamental views, but it is no longer the old form. His way of speaking is quieter, softer, clearer; he no longer bursts on us like a roaring mountain stream. He is grown older. But he has profo. too, in his prophetic knowledge. Now e knows that it is not Assyria that is the theocracy's most dangerous enemy. For him Assyria is a thing of the past. In proportion as it came to the front before, it now and henceforth retires. Isaiah had seen Assyria's humiliating overthrow before the gates of Jerusalem. Now he knows that another power, that Babylon shall destroy the theocracy and stand as the sole governing world-power. But he knows, too, that Babylon's day will come as well as Nineveh's. For how could Jehovah's Prophet ever doubt that his LoRD and his nation will triumph, and that the world-power will be overthrown? But the judgment of Babylon is for him only a part of the great judgment of the world, of that “day of
the LoRD,” that does not come on one day, but realizes itself in many successive stages. e sees in Babylon the summit of the world-power, by whose disintegration Israel must be made free. Therefore he makes the great day of Jehovah's judgment break before our eyes (xiii. 1–13), but describes immediately only the judgment upon Babylon. On both these accounts this prophecy stands at the head of all Isaiah's prophecies against the nations. For it seemed fitting to put in the front a general and comprehensive word about the great judgment day which immediately introduced the denunciation of judgment against the head of all the nations of ". worldpower. Some have maintained that it was impossible that Isaiah could have recognized Babylon as the enemy of the theocracy; and that it was still more impossible that he could have predicted the deliverance of Israel out of the captivity of Babylon. But both these chapters are Isaiah's, both in form and contents, as we have declared above and hail prove in detail below. Beside, there is the consideration that our chapter has undoubtedly been used by Jeremiah (l, li.), by Ezekiel in various passages (vii. 17, comp.
ble. For to deny premises in order to avoid a conclusion that one will not draw, is just as unscientific as it is to invent premises in order to gain a conclusion that one wants to draw. The discourse divides into a general part and a o The former (xiii. 1–13) is, as has een said, at the same time the introduction to the totality of the prophecies against the heathen nations. The particular part again presents two halves: the first (xiii. 14–22) portrays the judgment on Babylon, the second, after a short reference to the redemption and return home of Israel (xiv. 1, 2) contains a satirical song on the ruler of Babylon conceived in abstracto (xiv. 3–23).
a) The preface: introduction in general to the prophecies of the day of the Lord. CHAPTER XIII. 1–13.
1 THE "BURDEN of BABYLON, which Is AIAH THE SON OF AMoz DID SEE.
2 Lift ye up a banner upon "the high mountain, Exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, That they may go into the gates of the nobles.
3 I have commanded my sanctified ones,
I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger,
Even them that rejoice in my highness.
4 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, 'like as of a ople: A tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: The LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle.
To lay the land desolate:
And he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. 10 For the stars of heaven and “the constellations thereof
And the wicked for their iniquity;
And I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease,
And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. 12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold;
Even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.
13 Therefore I will shake the heavens,
And the earth shall remove out of her place,