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figurative speech has certain allurements by which minds seek to dispose of difficulties. . . . The true allegory of this passage is concerning the victory of conscience over death. For, the law is Cyrus, the Turk, the cruel and mighty enemy that rises up against the proud conscience of justitiaries who confide in their own merits. These are the real Babylon, and this is the glory of Babylon, that it walks in the confidence of its own works. When, therefore, the law comes and occupies the heart with its terrors, it condemns all our works in which we have trusted, as polluted and very dung. Once the law has laid bare this filthiness of our hearts and works, there follows confusion, writhing, and pains of parturition; men become ashamed, and that confidence of works ceases and they do those things which we see now-a-days: he that heretofore has lived by confidence of righteousnesss in a monastery, deserts the monkish life, casts away to ashes all glory of works, and looks to the gratuitous righteousness and merit of Christ, and that is the desolation of Babylon. The ostriches and hairy creatures that remain are ECR, COCHLEUs and others, who do not pertain to that part of law. They screech, they do not speak with human voice, they are unable to arouse and console any afflicted conscience with their doctrine. My allegories, which I approve, are of this sort, viz., which shadow forth the nature of law and gospel.” LUTHER. 4. On xiii. 21 sqq. “There the Holy Spirit paints for thee the house of shy heart as a deserted, desolate Babylon, as a loathsome cesspool, and devil's hole, full of thorns, nettles, thistles, dragons, spukes, kobolds, maggots, owls, porcupines, etc., all of which is nothing else than the thousandfold devastation of thy nature, in as much as into every heart the kingdom of Satan, and all his properties have pressed in, and all and every sin, as a fascinating serpent-brood, have been sown and sunk into each one, although not all sins together become evident and actual in every one's outward life.”—Joh. ARNDT's Informatorium biblicum, 37. 5. On xiv. 1, 2. “Although it seems to me to be just impossible that I could be delivered from death or sin, yet it will come to pass through Christ. For God here gives us an example; He will not forsake His saints though they were in the midst of Babylon.”—HEIM and HoFFMANN after LUTHER. 6. On xiv. 4 sqq. “Magna imperia fere nihil sunt quam magnae injuriae. Ad generum Cereris sine caede et sanguine pauci Descendunt reges et sicca mente tyranni.-LUTHER.
9. On xiv. 13, 14. “The Assyrian monarch was a thorough Eastern despot ... rather adored as a god than feared as a man.” LAYARD's Discoveries amongst the ruins of Nineveh and Babylon, 1853, New York, p. 632. “In the heathen period the pre-eminence of the German kings depended on their descent from the gods, as among the Greeks” (GERVINUs, Einleit. in d. Gesch. d. 19 Iahrh., 1853, p.14). CHRISTIAN THOMASIUs, in his Instit.jurispr. divinae, dissert. prooemialis, p. 16, calls the princes “the Godson earth.” In a setter from Luxemburg, after the departure of the Emperor Joseph II., it is said (in a description of the journey, of which a sheet lies before me): “we have had the good fortune to see our earthly god.” BELANI, Russian Court Narratives, New Series, III. Vol., p. 125: “The Russian historian KoRAM PziN says in the section where he describes the Russian self-rule: “The Autocrat became an earthly god for the Russians, who set the whole world in astonishment by a submissiveness to the will of their monarch which transcends all bounds.”
fore that, in a prophetic sense, it is in principle a struction. He sets before all more or less plainly
thing done away. But to Assyria and the other nations named in the superscription above, the Prophet does not proclaim merely temporal de
the prospect of partaking of the Messianic salvation of the future.
24 THE LORD of hosts hath swoon, saying,
* it has come to pass. b To break.
• And his is the hand that is stretched out.
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL.
Wer. 24. Tobol in the sense of animo componere, “to dispose in thought,” only again x. 7; moreover the Prophet seems to have had in mind in this place, Num. xxxiii. 56.—The Perfect innon expresses the coincidence of the realization with the thought. No sooner said than done, i.e., as God conceives a thought, it is also (as to principle) realized. The following imperf. Copn has then the meaning that what is, as to principle, realized, must arise, set up as actual, outward circumstance. Before OYDn the |> is not repeated, but N'T is used, evidently for the sake of variety. The thought is essentially the same. It is a sort of Anacoluthon—T and DYNC are used as in vii. 7; viii. 10.
Wer. 25. The infin. *5t;" depends on the oath-clause ver. 24 b : what is determined shall be fulfilled frangendo Assyrios, etc. hit" is therefore inf. modalis or gerundarus.-With JDY-N (comp. ver. 19; lxiii. 6, 18) the language returns from the infinitive construction to the terbum fin., according to a frequent Hebrew usage.— The suffixes in bn”yp and Ypinto have nothing to which they can relate in the words of vers. 24, 25.Moreover from ver. 4 onwards, Israel is not referred to. True, in vers. 1, 2, Israel is likewise spoken of in the
third person, and with quite similar suffixes (pnvoy
ver. 1, Dn":"l), Dn">vj ver. 2); but then ver. 3 intervenes, in which Israel is spoken of in the second person. It must, therefore, be assumed that the suffixes ver. 25 refer back, not only over the entire Maschal (4–23), but also away over ver. 3 to vers. 1, 2, and that these verses originated, not at the same time with the rest of the prophecy against Babylon, but much earlier. All this is very improbable. I cannot therefore agree with VITRINGA and DREchsler, but must side with the view, that the present verses are a fragment of a greater prophecy for Israel of a comforting nature, which, however, cannot be identical with vii.--xii. because in these Assyria is regarded in a totally different light from that which appears in the present verses.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL.
1. Whoever reads the prophecies of Isaiah against the heathen nations with attention, must feel surprise that in them, there is relatively little more said about Assyria. After occupying in vii.-xii., the foreground, it retreats in xiii. and onward into the background. On the other hand Babylon now . front and the Prophet recognizes in it the representative of the perfectly developed world-power that has attained to the exclusive possession of dominion. Now the question arises: how are Assyria and Babylon related 2 What becomes of Assyria if now Babylon is called the o How is it to be o that according to x. 24–27 Israel at the end of days is delivered out of bondage to Assyria, if at that end-period not Assyria but Babylon
stands at the summit of the world-power? These
to the fact that the phrase “the LoRD of hosts hath sworn,” is preceded by a thrice repeated “saith the Lord of hosts,” vers. 22, 23. He says the former is only a climax of these latter. He lays stress, too, on the fact that the thrice repeated “Lord of hosts” of vers. 22, 23 has its correlative in the double use of the same in vers. 24, 27, and that the same words which in ver. 23 “conclude the proper body of the discourse, in ver. 24 begin the appendix.” He, therefore, regards vers. 24–27 as an integral part of the discourse that extends through xiii. 1–xiv. 27, and therefore as having originated at the same time. But that is impossible. The words vers. 24–27 must be older than the catastrophe of Sennacherib before Jerusalem, for they foretell it. But the prophecy against Babylon xiii. 1–xiv. 23 must be much more recent, for it is the product of a much higher and, therefore, of a much later prophetic knowledge [? TR.]. If, too, in the points named there appears a certain correspondence, yet it remains very much a question whether that is intentional. The expressions in question, so far as they correspond, occur exceedingly often in all sorts of connections.
The expression “the Lord hath sworn” is especially frequent in Deuteronomy, but always with the Dative of the person whom the oath concerns (Deut. i. 8; ii. 14; iv. 31, etc.). In Isaiah it occurs again, xlv. 23; liv. 9; lxii. 8.The contents of the oath is: “as I have thought . . . so shall it stand.”
“From the distant view of the destruction of Babylon, the Prophet suddenly reverts to that of the Assyrian host, either for the purpose of making one of these events accredit the prediction of the other, or for the purpose of assuring true believers, that while God had decreed the deliverance of the people from remoter dangers, He would also protect them from those at hand.—On the formula of swearing vide supra, v. 9.-KIMcIII explains Tin"Ti to be a preterite used for a future, and this construction is adopted in most versions, ancient and modern. It is, however, altogether arbitrary and in violation of the only safe rule as to the use of tenses, viz., that they should have their proper and distinctive force, unless forbidden by the context, or the nature of the subject; which is very far from being the case here. — The true force of the preterite and suture forms, as here employed, is recognized by ABEN EzRA, who explains the clause to mean that according to God's purpose, it has come to pass and will come to pass hereafter. The antithesis is rendered still more prominent by JARcIII, by whom this verse is paraphrased as follows — Thou hast seen, oh Nebuchadnezzar, how the words of the prophets of Israel have been fulfilled in Sennacherib, to break Assyria in my land, and by this thou mayest know that what I have purposed against thee shall also come to pass’ (comp. Ezek. xxxi. 3–18).-The only objection to this view is that the next verse goes on to speak of the Assyrian overthrow, which would seem to imply that the last clause of this verse (24), as well as the first relates to that event. Another method of expounding the verse, therefore, is to
apply mnon and Dipn to the same events, but in a somewhat different sense, “As I intended it
has come to pass, and as I purposed, it shall con
tinue.' The Assyrian power is already broken,
and shall never be restored. This strict interpre
tation of the preterite does not necessarily imply
that the prophecy was actually uttered after the destruction of Sennacherib's army. . Such would indeed be the natural inference from this verse alone: but for reasons which will be explained below,"[viz., in comment on ver. 26.—TR.] it is more probable that the Prophet merely takes his stand in vision at a point of time between the two events of which he speaks, so that both verbs are really prophetic, the one of a remote the other of a proximate futurity, but for that very reason their distinctive forms should be retained and recognized. Yet the only modern writers who appear to do so in translation are CALVIN and CocCEIUs, who have factum est, and J. D. MICHAELIS, who has ist geschehen.—J. J. A. So also substantially BARNEs.]
In my land and on my mountain the LoRD says. Therefore not in his own land or some other land, but in Palestine the annihilating blow shall fall on Assyria. This evidently points to the overthrow of Sennacherib before Jerusalem (2 Kings xix. 35; Isa. xxxvii.36). Though even after this overthrow Assyria's power did not at once appear broken, o it was such inwardly and in principle. As much as Nebuchadnezzar after his victory at Carchemish was ruler of the world, though outwardly he had not that appearance (Jer. xxv.), so Assyria, after the Lord had smitten him in his territory, from the view-point of God, and according to inward and divine reality, was broken to pieces and trodden down.— The consequence of that overthrow of Assyria is that Israel shall be freed from his dominion.
The words his yoke shall depart, etc. sound essentially the same as x. 27. Other resemblances are of ver. 24 to vii. 5,7; viii. 10; x.7; ver. 25 to ix. 3; x. 27; ver, 26 to ix. 11, 16, 20; x. 4; xi. 11; ver. 27 to viii 10. But much as vers. 24–27 remind one of chapts. vii.-xii., there is still this essential difference, that in the last named chapters there is no where a prophecy of an overthrow of Assyria in the holy land itself. In general the gaze of the Prophet in those chapters is directed to a much more remote distance. There he looks on Assyria still as representative of the worldpower generally, and thus, too, Assyria's overthrow coincides for him with the overthrow of the world-power in general by the Messiah. Here we encounter a look into the immediate future. It must belong to the time before the defeat of Sennacherib. Therefore our verses cannot belong originally to the prophecy against Babylon. [See above in Tert. and Gram.].
When the Prophet (ver. 26) declares that the catastrophe predicted for Assyria is significant for the whole earth, and for all nations, he does it by reason of the connection that exists between all acts of the Godhead. That defeat of Sennacherib, too, is an integral moment of the decree that the LoRD has determined concerning the whole earth, and all nations. This counsel of God stands so firm that no power of the world can hinder its execution; the hand which the LoRD has stretched out to do this execution nothing can turn aside from its doing.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL.
1. How grand is the Prophet's contemplation of history ! How the mighty Assyria shrivels up, which in chapters vii.-xii., . so great a part Only a line or so is devoted to it here, “Das macht, es ist gericht, eir Wörtlein kann es fillen.” The Prophet knows that Sennacherib's defeat before Jerusalem is at once the overthrow of the Assyrian world-power, and the deliverance of Israel from his yoke, although Assyria stood yet a hundred years and did harm enough to Judah still (2 Chr. xxxiii. 11). But God always sees the essence of things. What He wills, comes to pass; and when it has happened, perhaps no one knows what that which has come to pass means: only the future makes it plain.
The fruit germ frosted in the blossom, may remain green for days. Only by degrees it becomes yellow, then black, and evidently dead.
[“By this assurance (vers. 24–27) God designed to comfort His people, when they should be in Babylon in a long and dreary captivity. Comp. Ps. cxxxvii. And by the same consideration His people may be comforted in all times. His plans shall stand. None can disannul them. No arm has power to resist Him. None of the schemes formed against Him shall ever prosper. Whatever ills, therefore, may befall His people; however thick, gloomy, and sad their calamities may be; and however dark His dispensations may appear, yet they may have the assurance that all His plans are wise, and that they all shall stand.”–BARNES].
b) Prophecies relating to the nations threatened by Assyria, viz.:
Moab, Syria and Ephraim, Ethiopia and Egypt.
This short bassy that the
iece was occasioned by an em- |tions.
That the present piece comes just here,
hypocritical courtesy, after the death of king would begin with these western neighbors as the
Ahaz. It contains the most manifold correspondences to chap. xi., so that there can be no doubt about its having a contemporaneous origin. Yet chap. xi., originated before this piece, for the latter evidently leans on the former. It is seen that the young king Hezekiah, immediately on ascending the throne awakened great expecta
least dangerous. He then passes on to the East to the mightier Moabites, from them he ascends north to the still mightier Syro-Ephraimites, to conclude with the mightiest of all, the Egy
tians and Ethiopians of the South. Jeremiah, chap. xlvii., goes from the Philistines to the Moabites, and then by a round-about to Damascus.
28 IN THE YEAR THAT KING AHAz DIED WAS THIS BURDEN.
For out of the serpent's root shall come forth a "cockatrice,
1 Or, adder. * Or, he shall not be alone. 8 imblies.
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL.
the basilisk as the subject of l'hn" (DELItzsch) does too
much violence. I [thus, too, J. A. A.] take simply By",
which is gen. masc., as subject.
Wer. 28. Non see xiii. 1. +: Ver. 30. Don "mini, is, so to speak, a superlative of - - 23 - those on whom the essence of poverty and lowliness is impressed infull, unmitigated power—To take
1. Philistia is warned against rejoicing at the cumcised triumph” (comp. Mic. i. 10). Ahaz death of Ahaz. If Ahaz was a serpent, then out was as little as Saul a king after God's heart. of his root (xi. 1-notice the Messianic reference!) That did not hinder the Philistines from rejoicing shall proceed a basilisk and flying dragon (ver. at the death of either of their kings. To either event
29). Israel shall pasture in peace; Philistia perish by poverty and care (ver. 30). From the northern quarter the enemy shall invade the land, scathing and burning (ver. 31). But to the embassy, in regard to the matters they sought to spy out, the short, haughty answer shall be given: Zion is Jehovah's foundation, and in this the needy of His people find a sure refuge (ver. 32). 2. In the year —thy remnant.—Vers. 28 –30. The year of Ahaz's death is 728 B. C. The Philistines, according to 2 Chron. xxviii. 18, had possessed themselves of territory belonging to Israel. They had made a conquest in the low coun
try (nopy) and in the south-land (532) of the ci
ties Bethshemesh, Ajalon, Gederoth, Shocho, Timna and Gimzo, and dwelt in them. But of Hezekiah it is related (2 Kings xviii. 8): “He smote the Philistines, even unto Gaza, and the borders thereof, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.” He had, therefore, at last conquered back the lost territory. This is all that the historical books offer to us concerning the times of Ahaz and Hezekiah. From ver. 32 it is seen that after the death of Ahaz the Philistines sent ambassadors to Jerusalem. Perhaps the ostensible object of this embassage was neighborly consideration: they would offer condolence. But in reality they were to sound the state of affairs. [See i. comment of J. A. A., etc., at ver. 32.--TR.] Isaiah knows this very well, and gives them an answer that, on the one hand, befitted their perfidy, and, on the other, the standpoint of a genuine representative of the Theocracy. That is not saying that Isaiah ve this answer in the name of the government. e gave it as Prophet, i.e., he uttered it like he published his other prophecies; whether publicly or to the ears of the embassy, or before a few witnesses, is a matter of indifference. His words concern primarily the rulers themselves. He says to them how, as the representatives of the ople of God, they ought to reply. At any rate, e knew that his words would go to the right address, i.e., as well to the government in Jerusalem as to the Philistine ambassadors. The introductory words (ver. 28) are the same as vi. 1. In our passage they have evidently the sense that Ahaz had already died. This appears from what follows. Rejoice not etc.—These words recall 2 Sam. i. 20, the lament of David over the death of Saul and his sons. For there it reads: “Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncir
that occasioned sorrow to Israel there was attached joyful hope for them. Though so far as we know, Ahaz did them no harm, but was rather conquered by them; yet they might hope that under his young successor their interests would be still more fostered. Therefore Isaiah warns them against overflowing with too much joy—joy that would fill all Philistia. He describes the subject of the joy to be: because the rod of him that smote thee is broken.—As Ahaz did not smite the Philistines, but was much more smitten by them, we must not regard him as the rod that smote, but the kingdom of Judah in general. David broke their power (2 Sam. v. 17 sqq.; viii. 1; xxi. o;', Although from that period they were still dangerous enemies, yet the time of their superiority was past. It is related of Solomon (1 Kings iv. 21) and of Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. xvii. 11) that the Philistines were tributary to them. Uzziah leveled the walls of Gath, Jabneh and Ashdod (2 Chron. xxvi. 6). The government of Ahaz was weak even toward the Philistines. Might they not hope that one still weaker would succeed Ahaz, and that thus the staff that had once smitten them would be entirely broken? For this reason we take TPD (95ty (comp. ix. 12; x. 20) to be rather: “the staff that smote thee” than “the staff of him that smote thee.” Ahaz, though having no staff that smote, was, as king of Judah, a part of that staff that had smitten them. But the Prophet destroys the hope of the Philistines. He says in advance, that out of the root of the serpent shall proceed a basilisk and a