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all the possibility of deliverance. This mediation is through the Cross of Christ. It is only when this mediation has not been accepted that punitive justice has free course. It should not surprise us that even the Evangelist of the Old Covenant, who wrote chap. liii., did not possess perfect knowledge of this mediation. Let us remember John the Baptist (Matt. iii. 7 ; xi. 11) and the disciples of the LoRD (Luke ix. 54). [Let us not forget that Isaiah was a true Prophet, and spoke as he was moved by the Spirit of God. The Apostle Paul did not find fault with the most terrible denunciations of judgment contained in the Old Testament, or affect a superiority over the men who uttered them. On the contrary, he quotes them as words which could not be suffered to fall, but which must be fulfilled in all their dreadful import. See e.g. Rom. xi. 9, 10.-D. M.]. 18. xxvi. 12. “It is a characteristic of true, sincere Christians, that they give God the glory and not themselves, and freely confess that they have nothing of themselves, but everything from God (1 Cor. iv. 7; Phil. ii. 13; Heb. xii. 2).” CRAMER. 19. xxvi. 16. The old theologians have many comforting and edifying thoughts connected with this place: “A magnet has the power to raise and attract to itself iron. Our heart is heavy as iron. But the hand of God is as a magnet. When that hand visits us with affliction, it lists us up, and draws us to itself.” “IDistress teaches us to pray, and prayer again dispels all distress. One wedge displaces the other.” “Er gravibus curis impellimur ad pia vota.” “Ex monte myrrhae procedimus ad collem thuris (Cant. ix. 6). In amaritudine crucis ersurgit odor devotae precationis (Ps. lxxxvi. 6 sq.).” “ Ubi nulla crux et tentatio, ibi nulla vera oratio. Oratio sine malis est tanquam avis sine alis. Optimus orandi magister necessitas. Tà Itaúñuata flavouata. Quae nocent, docent. Ubi tentatio, ibi oratio. Mala, quae hic nos premunt, ad Deum ire compellunt. Qui mescit orare, ingrediatur mare.” “When the string is most tightly drawn, it sounds best. Cross and temptation are the right prayer-bell. They are the press by which God crushes out the juice of prayer.” CRAM ER and FoERSTER. 20. xxvi. 20. As God, when the deluge was about to burst, bade Noah go into his ark as into his chamber, and Himself shut the door on him (Gen. vii. 16); so does the Lord still act when a storm is approaching; He brings His own into a chamber where they can be safe, either for their temporal preservation and protection against every might (Ps. xci. 1), or, on the other hand, to give them repose by a peaceful and happy death.” “His anger endureth but a moment; in his favor is life (Ps. xxx. 6).” CRAMER. 21. xxvii. 1. [“Great and mighty princes [nations] if they oppose the people of God, are in God's account, as dragons and serpents, and plagues of mankind; and the Lord will punish them in due time. They are too big for men to deal with, and call to an account; and therefore the great God will take the doing of it into His own hands.” HENRY.—D. M.]. 22. xxvii. 2–5. “It seems to the world that God has no concern for His church and Christians, else, we imagine, they would be better off. But certain it is, that it is not the angels but God
Himself that will be watcher over this vineyard, and will send it gracious rain.” VEIT DIETRICH. [“The church is a vineyard of red wine, yielding the best and choicest grapes, intimating the reformation of the church, that it now brings forth good fruit unto God, whereas before it brought forth fruit to itself, or brought forth wild grapes, chap. v. 4.” “God takes care (1) of the safety of this vineyard; I the Lord do keep it. He speaks this, as glorying in it, that He is, and has undertaken to be, the keeper of Israel; those that bring forth fruit to God are, and shall be always, under His protection. (2) God takes care of the fruitfulness of this vineyard: I will water it every moment; and yet it shall not be over watered. We need the constant and continual waterings of the divine grace; for if that be at any time withso we wither and come to nothing.” HENRY. 23. xxvii. 4. “Est aurea promissio, qua praecedentem confirmat. Indignatio non est mihi, fury is not in me. Quomodo enim is nobis irasci potest, qui pro nobis est mortuus? Quanquam gitur appareat, eum irasci, non tamen est verum, quod irascatur. Sic Paulo immittitur angelus Satanae, sed non est ira, nam ipse Christus dicit: sufficit tibi gratia mea. Sic pater filium delinquentern castigat, sed non est ira, quanquam apparent ira esse. Custodia igitur vineae aliquando cogit Deum immittere speciem irae, ne pereat luxurie, sed non est ira. Est insignis textus, which we should inscribe on all tribulations: Non est indignatio mihi, non possum irasci. Quod autem videtur irasci est custodia vineae, ne pereas et fias securus. LUTHER. “In order to understand fully the doctrine of the wrath of God we must have a clear perception of the antithesis: the long-suffering of God, and the wrath of God, wrath and mercy.” LANGE. 24. xxvii. 7–9. “Christ judges His church, i.e., He punishes and afflicts it, but He does this in measure. The sorrow and cross is meted out, and is not, as it appears to us, without measure and infinite. It is so measured that redemption must certainly follow. But why does God let His Christians so suffer? Why does He not lay the cross on the wicked ? God answers this question and speaks: the sin of Jacob will thereby cease. That is: God restrains sin by the cross, and subdues the old Adam.” VEIT DIETRICH. 25. xxvii. 13. [“The application of this verse to a future restoration of the Jews can neither be established nor disproved. In itself considered, it appears to contain nothing which oy not be naturally applied to events long past.” J. A. ALEXANDER.—“This prediction was completely and entirely fulfilled by the return of the Jews to their own country under the decree of Cyrus.” BARNEs.-D. M.].
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL.
1. On xxiv. 4-6. Fast-day sermon. Warning against dechristianization of the life of the people. 1) Wherein such dechristianization consists: a, transgression of the commandments that are in force; b, alteration of the commandments which are essential articles of the everlasting covenant, as e. g. removing of all state institutions from the basis of religion. 2) Its consequences: a, Dese
cration of the la jnd (subjectively, by the spread of a profane, godle ss sentiment; objectively, by the secularization of relations hitherto held sacred); b, the curse consumes the land, ver, 4.
2. On xxv.s 1-5. The Lord, the refuge of the needy. 1) WIe has the power to help. This, we
rceive a, from His nature (LORD, God, Won; ; b, from His deeds (ver. 1 b, ver; 2). 2) He gives His strength even to the feeble, (ver. 4). 3) These are thereby victorious, (ver. 5).
3. On xxv. 6-9. Easter Sermon, by T. SchAEFFER (Manch. Gab. u. ein Geist III., # 269):“The glorious Easter-blessing of the Risen One: 1) Wherein it consists? 2) who receive it? 3) what are its effects? Christmas Sermon, by RomBERG (ibid. 1869, p. 78): Our text represents to us Christmas joy under the image of a festive board. Let us consider, 1) the host; 2) the guests; 3) the gifts.”
4. On xxvi. 1–4. Concerning the church. 1) She is a strong city in which salvation is to be found. 2) The condition of having a portion in her is faith. 3) The blessing which she is instrumental in procuring is peace.
5. xxvi. 19–21. The comfort of the Christian for the present and future. , 1) For the present the Christian is to betake himself to his quiet chamber, where he is alone with his LoRD and by Him made cheerful and secure. 2) For the future he has the certain hope, a, that the LoRD will judge the wicked, b, raise the believer to everlasting life.
6. xxvii. 2-9. How the LORD deals with His vineyard, the church. 1) Fury is not in Him towards it; 2) He protects and purifies it; 3) He gives it strength, peace and growth ; 4) He chastens it in measure; 5) He makes the chastisement itself serve to purge it from sins.
THE RELATION OF ISRAEL TO ASSYRIA IN THE TIME OF KING HEZEKIAH.
As chapters vii.-xii., resting on the facts related vii. 1 sqq., contain the first great cycle of Isaiah's prophecies, so our chapters (xxviii.xxxiii.), which have for their basis the facts narrated in the historical appendix (xxxvi.-xxxvii.) contain the second great cycle. Chapters vii.xii. depict the relation of Israel to Assyria in the time of Ahaz. Our chapters set forth this relation as it stood in the time of Hezekiah. As the sin of Ahaz consisted in his seeking protection against Aram-Ephraim not in the Lord, but in Assyria, so Hezekiah erred in seeking protection against Assyria, that had become a scourge through Ahab's guilt, not in the LoRD, but in Egypt. Hezekiah, the otherwise pious king, must have been weak enough to yield so far to the influence of those around him, as to sanction a policy which aimed at concluding a league with Egypt, as the infallible means of deliverance. Isaiah now in chapters xxviii.-xxxiii. assails with all his might this Egyptian alliance, which the government of Hezekiah, knowing it to be contrary to the will of God, was seeking behind the back of the Prophet to bring about with all diplomatic skill, and at great sacrifices of money and property. He follows it from its rise through all stages of its development. He leads us, chap. xxviii., to its source. The Prophet assigns as its source a swamp, if we may employ a figure; the swamp of low carnal passion for drink. From this swamp the policy had already issued which Ephraim was pursuing to its destruction. From this swamp too the disposition was produced which led Judah to contemn the admonitions of the LoRD, and to place wicked confidence in its own carnal prudence (xxviii. 14 sq.). In chap. xxix. the Prophet lets it be clearly perceived that the secret plotting behind his back did not remain concealed from him (xxix. 15 sqq.). But it is not till chap. xxx... that he plainly declares (ver.
2 sqq.) that those secret machinations were with a view to an alliance with Egypt. But he certifies at once by a written declaration (ver. 8), that this Egyptian alliance will be of no benefit. The LoRD only will deliver Israel. He will certainly do it. In chaps. xxxi. and xxxii., which belong together, the Lord proclaims the vanity of Egyptian succor. Assyria will not fall by the sword of a man (xxxi. 8), but the LoRD will overturn it; and to this promise of the impending deliverance of Israel from Assyrian oppression the Prophet immediately attaches a glorious picture of the future, which, while it praises the truly noble disposition of those high in rank in the Messianic time, is very severe on the existing aristocracy, composed of the nobility and of public functionaries; and at the same time (as in chap. iii.) addresses with an impressive warning the women who have great influence, and occupy high positions. Finally (xxxiii.), the Prophet speaks directly to Assyria in order to announce its speedy and sudden destruction. This last chapter contains matter which is for the most part of a joyful character for Israel. It has a dark side for the people of the Lord only so far as it sets forth that the predicted glorious deliverance will make a disagreeable impression on the sinners in Israel, who desire to know nothing of Jehovah. Although therefore chaps. xxviii.-xxxiii. are arranged according to a certain plan, they do not form one connected speech. There are rather five speeches delivered at different times, each of which in itself forms a whole, while each presents a complete picture of what the Prophet beheld, embracing threatening and promise. We have here to remark that the Prophet always draws the most remote Messianic future into the sphere of his vision, though he does so every time from a different point of view. The first speech must have been composed before the destruction
of Samaria (722 B.C.), for it addresses Samaria and hear, xxxi. 1 sqq., the futility of Egyptian as yet standing. Nay, more, as Samaria is seen help again emphatically asserted, and then read flourishing in all her pride, and her inhabitants | xxxii. 10 that, after an indefinite number of days indulge their evil passions without fear or re- above a year had expired, Jerusalem should be straint, the speech must have been written before cut off from its fields and vineyards by the enemy, the commencement of the three years' siege of we may draw from all this the conclusion, that Samaria by the Assyrians, say in the year 725, chaps. xxx.-xxxii. were produced not long after and therefore in the commencement of the reign chap. xxix. But when we read, xxxiii. 7 Sqq-, of Hezekiah. Chap. xxix. belongs to a later time. that the ambassadors of peace sent by Hezekiah In ver, 1 the Prophet declares that the city of return in sorrow, because the Assyrian king in Jerusalem should be shut in. He can only mean addition to the great ransom (2 Kings xviii. 14 that isolation of the city in regard to which Sen- sqq.) demands the surrender of the city itself; nacherib states in his inscriptions (comp. SCHRA- when that passage describes the occupation of the DER, pp. 176 and 187), that he had enclosed He- surrounding country by the enemy, in consezekiah “as a bird in a cage.” This event, ac- quence of which Judah (xxxiii. 23) is compared cording to the usual chronology, happened in the with a ship whose ropes no longer keep the mast year 714, while according to the Assyrian mon- firm, when at last the LoRD, xxxiii. 10, exclaims uments (comp. Scii RADER, Cuneiform Inscriptions, “Now will I rise; now will I be exalted; now p. 299, and our Introduction to chaps. xxxvi.- will I lift up myself,” we shall not err in assuming xxxix.), it took place in the year 700. As this that this prophecy belong to the time immedidifference, as we will attempt to show in the in- ately after the return of those ambassadors of troduction to chaps. xxxvi-xxxix., was occa- peace, and was therefore uttered shortly before sioned by a misunderstanding of later writers, the summons given to Hezekiah by Rabshakeh. there being originally no disagreement between | Each of the five speeches of our prophetic cycie the biblical and Assyrian chronology, but both begins with "n. From the absence of "in at the originally agreeing in referring the expedition beginning of chap. xxxii., as well as from the of Sennache.'ib against Phenicia, Egypt and Ju- tenor of this chapter, we see that it forms with dah to the 28th year of Hezekiah, i. e., the year chap. xxxi. one whole. "in is found once, xxix. 700 B.C., the speech contained in chapter xxix. 15, even in the middle of the discourse. would consequently have been delivered about | That Isaiah is the writer of these speeches is the year 702. We have an aid to fixing the date almost universally admitted. The doubts which in the words ver. 1: “Add year to year, let the were raised by Eichhorn in regard to separate festivals complete their round.” According to parts, were seen by GESENIUs to be unfounded our exposition the Prophet intimates by these (Comment. I. 2, p. 826, ; and EwALD's conjecture words that aster the expiration of the current year as to the composition of chap. xxxiii. by a disanother year should complete its revolution, and ciple of Isaiah, has been sufficiently refuted by then the hour of decision should arrive. That at KNobel. this time the Egyptian alliance had been already, We have not in the section before us one oras is hinted in ver, 15, arranged to a considerable ganic discourse, but five speeches, which from the extent in secret consultations, is extremely pro- initial word common to all of them we shall de
bable. And when we find, xxx. 2 sqq., the Jew- signate as first woe, second woe, etc. ish Ambassadors already on the way to Egypt,
I.—THE FIRST WOE. CHAP. XXVIII. 1. SWAMP EPHRAIM, SWAMP JUDAH, AND WHAT ARISES OUT OF THE SWAMPs. CHAP. XXVIII. 1–13.
1 Woe to the crown of pride, "to the drunkards of Ephraim,
Which, when he that looketh upon it seeth, o
7 But they also have erred through wine,
And through strong drink are out of the way;
They are swallowed up of wine,
They are out of the way through strong drink; They err in vision, they stumble in judgment. 8 For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness,
Them that are weaned from the “milk, And drawn from the “breasts. 10 Line upon line, line upon line; Here a little, and there a little: 11
For precept *must be upon precept, precept upon precept;
For with "stammering lips and another tongue,
This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest;
And this is the refreshing; Yet they would not hear. 13
But the word of the LORD was unto them
Wer. 1. bo, \"y as subst: cum adj, would be here abnormal, inasmuch as nothing can come between the momen rectum and regens. The normal construction would be bin innsen onx "x. But we know from il 30 and xxxiv. 4, that Isaiah uses the participle of *2] substantively in the signification of that which is with ered, falling off. We have then to regard bo, here not as an adjective qualifying los, but as a substantive coordinate with the other members in the series of genitives. Comp. on o ny's ver, 4. The absolute state D"Jnto need cause no surprise. The word does not stand in the genitival relation to what follows. But two genitives are dependent on tot", namely, Dolpty No") and s" •pion. [We prefer to say with DELItzscu that corpg, although standing connected with what follows, has the absolute form, the logical relation carrying it over the syntax. Comp. xxxii. 13; 1 Chron. ix. 13.− D. M.]. Wer. 3. The verb TXO'Dohn in the plural has no expressed subject. This is not necessary. For in the
ExEGETICAL AND CRITICAL.
1 Samaria is still standing in proud pomp, but sunk in the vice of drunkenness. Therefore the Prophet proclaims a woe upon it (ver. 1), and announces that a mighty foe as a tempest will cast it to the ground (ver. 2), and tread the proud crown under foot (ver. 3). Then shall this gloricus but already decaying flower quickly disappear, as an early fig which a man no sooner sees than he eats it (ver. 4). Not till then is the moment come when the Lord Himself will be to the remnant of His people for an adorning crown, and for a guiding spirit in judgment, and for strength in war (vers. 5 and 6). With Jerusalem it stands no better than with Samaria. There, too, the vice of drunkenness prevails fearfully. Even priests and prophets are under its sway. Evensin the sacred moments of prophetic vision ?] and of judging, its effects are visible on them; the holy places are polluted by their vomiting (vers. 7 and 8). Åhl. moreover, they mock the servant of Jehovah who warns them : Whom does he think that he has before him? Are they mere children? (ver. 9). We hear from him continually trifling moral preaching, broken into little bits, which are scoffingly imitated by short, oft-repeated words, which resemble stammering sounds (ver. 10). For this they will have to hear the stammering sounds of a foreign nation of barbarous speech (ver. 11). Because they would not hear the word of Jehovah which offered rest and comfort to the weary (ver. 12), the will of God will be made known to them in words, which in sound resemble their scornful words, but in import are short, sharp words of command. That will of God has this significance, that they will be ensnared in inextricable ruin. 2 Woe eateth it up.–Vers. 1–4. It is no honor for Jerusalem, when it is said to her that she walks in the footsteps of Samaria. Jerusalem should be ashamed of this likeness, and seek to remove it. This is, doubtless, the reason why the Prophet first directs his look to Samaria in order to describe the there prevailing vice of literal (and in connection therewith of spiritual) drunkenness, and to threaten it with punishment from God. Thence his look passes over to Jerusalem. Micah had before Isaiah done just the same. In chap. i. 6 sq. Micah first of all threatens Samaria with judgment, although “Judah and Jerusalem were the proper objects of his mission ” (comp. CASPAR1, Micah the Morasthite, p. 105). Isaiah himself had once already (viii. 6 sqq.) announced that the storm of judgment would first come upon Ephraim, and thence spread into the territory of Judah. This way of the judgments of God is not determined simply by the geographic situation. There is also a deeper reason when Jerusalem goes in the ways of Samaria. On on comp. on
sion on *: xxii. 24. This flower will be de
stroyed as quietly as an early fig, which is no sooner seen than it is eaten off-hand by him who discovers it. Such a dainty morsel (comp. ix. 10) is not laid by, as the other fruits which ripen at the usual time, which are afterwards eaten at table out of the dish or off the plate. This is the meaning of Tyi. The intentionally lengthened sentence sims msnm Tisn’ paints how the inquiring look passes slowly and gradually over the tree. The Prophet predicts not a hasty capture of the city (Samaria, as is known, did not fall till after a siege of three years, 2 Kings xvii. 5; SCHRADER, The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the O. T., p. 157 sqq.), but a change of affairs in general, which should take place in a surprisingly brief time, considering the proud security that then prevailed. If our prophecy was delivered in one of the first years of Hezekiah, it was fulfilled in such a manner that four or five years later a kingdom of Israel was no longer in existence. Of this no one could have had a presentiment when the Prophet uttered these words.
3 In that day—to the gate.—Vers, 5 and 6. It is self-evident that NYT DYi, is again to be taken as a prophetic date, which is not to be judged according to the ordinary human measure. It simply intimates that when Ephraim has lost the deceptive earthly crown, Jehovah will take the place of it. Judgment must make it possible for the Lord to assume the Hå. at the head of His people which belongs to Him. This has virtually
Samaria (1 Kings xvi. 24; Am