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ExEGETICAL AND CRITICAL.
1: The Prophet's glance has penetrated into the farthest future. There he gazes on the glory of Jehovah and his people. In the words of his fellow prophet Micah, to whom he thereby extends the hand of recognition and joins himself, he portrays how highly exalted then the Lord and His people shall i. That is the true eminence to which Israel is destined, and after which it ought to strive. But what a chasm between that which Israel shall be and what it actually is! The Prophet calls on the people to set themselves in the light of that word of promise, that promise of glory (ver. 5). What a sad picture of the present reveals itself! The people in that glorious picture of the future, so one with its God that it does not at all appear in an independent guise, appears in the present forsaken of God, for it has yielded itself entirely to the influences of the world from the East and West, and all sides (ver. 6). In consequence of this, much that is high and great has, indeed, towered up in the midst of them. But this highness consists only of gold and silver, wagons and horses, and dead idols made by men (vers. 7-8). For that, in the day of judgment, they shall be bowed down so much the lower and obtain no pardon (ver. 9). For in that day they must creep into clefts in the rocks and holes in the ground, before the terrible appearance of Jehovah (ver. 10), and then shall every false, earthly eminence be cast down, that Jehovah alone may appear as the high one (v. 11). 2. O house of Jacob—light of the Lord. -Ver. 5. “House of Jacob,” so the Prophet addresses the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem (ver. 1), in that he connects what he says in this address, and in the second half of the verse with the prophetic address uttered in what precedes, in which (ver. 3) the temple was named “the house of the God of Jacob.” The expression “house of Jacob” for Israel is besides frequent in Isa. viii. 17; x. 20; xiv. 1; xxix. 22; xlvi. 3; xlviii. 1; lviii. 1–As the Prophet at once expresses what he has to say to the house of Jacob in words that are taken from the prophecy that precedes, he intimates what use he intends to make of these words. Expositors understand, (" "is partly of the favor and grace of the Lord (for which otherwise often (" *This Ps. lxxxix. 16; iv. 7; xxxvi. 10), partly of the instruction through the law of the Lord (lur Jehoveler Dei, VITR.). But neither the one nor the other meaning seems to me to suit the context. For in what follows there is neither a promise of divine grace, nor exhortation to holy walk. I am therefore of the opinion, that the prophet by “light of Jehovah,” under. stands that light which Jehovah Himself extends to the people, by the prophetic word that just precedes. In the light of that word ought Israel to set its present history. The Prophet shows, in what follows, how infinitely distant the present Israel is from the ideal that, vers. 2-4, he has shown, and which shall be the destiny of this degenerate Israel in “the last time.” Now if Israel will apply the measure of that future to its present, it may escape the judgment of the last time. On this account the Prophet summons his people to set themselves in the “light of Jehovah.”
3. Therefore thou hast—strangers, ver. 6. The words “thou hast repelled o ople” seem to me to indicate the fundamental thought of the whole address to the end of Chap. v. From vers. 2-4, where Jehovah is named the God of Jacob, and Zion the place where God's word shines so gloriously that all nations assemble to this shin; ing, it is seen that Israel in this last time shall live in most intimate harmony with its God. That it is not so now he proceeds to describe For God has repudiated His people. , Jehovah, however, has not arbitrarily repudiated His people. He could do no otherwise. For the nation had forsaken Him, had abandoned itself to the spirit of the world. They accorded admittance to every influence that pressed on them from East and West. Such is the sense of the following words. “From the east,” means primarily, indeed, those parts of Arabia bordering on Palestine (Judg. vi. 3, 33; vii. 12; viii. 10), but here, in contrast with Philistines, it signifies the lands generally, that lie east of Palestine. That destructive influences, especially of a religious kind, proceeded from these lands to Israel, appears from the instance of Baal-Peor (Num. xxv. 3; I)eut. iv. 3), and of Chemosh (1 Kings. Xi. 7; 2 Kings xxiii.13) of the Moabites, and Milcom of the Ammonites (1 Kings xi. 5, 7) the altar in Damascus (2 Kings xvi. 10), and the star worship of Manasseh (2 Kings xxi. 5; Jer. vii. 18; xliv. 17 sqq.; Ezek. viii. 16). But DRECHSLER, in loc, has proved that not only religious influences, but also social culture of every sort penetrated Israel from the East (comp. on iii. 18 sqq.; 1 Kings v. 10; x. 1-15; xi. 1 sq. If, then, we translate “for they are full from the East,” we would thereby indicate the Prophet's meaning to be that Israel has drawn from the Orient that of which it is full, in the sense of intellectual nourishment. But the West, too, exercised its destructive influences. The Philistines are named as representatives of it, and especially they are indicated as Israel's examples and teachers, in witchcraft. It is true that we have no express historical evidence that the Philistines were especially given to witchcraft. Yet 1 Sam. vi. 2 mentions their “diviners,” and 2 Kings i. 2, refers to the sanctuary of Baalzebub at Ekron, as a celebrated oracle.
And in the children, etc. Excepting TARG. Jon AthAN (et in legibus populorum ambulant) all the ancient versions find in our passage a accusation of sexual transgression. The LXX, PEschit, and Ar, understand the words to refer to intercourse of Jewish men or women with the heathen, and the generation of theocratic illegitimate posterity. JERoME, however, understands the “ct pueris alienis adha-serunt" of Pederasty, as he expressly says in his o; The translation of SYMMACHUs, too, which JERoME quotes, “et cum filiis alienis applauserunt,” is to be understood in the same sense. For JERoME remarks expressly: “Symmachus quodam circuitu et homesto sermone plaudentium candem cum pueris turpitudinem demonstravit.” GESENIus in his Commentary p. 18 has overlooked this. It is seen that #xx..., trožňā āA269wāa śyevhön airoic), PEscHIT. (plurimos erterorum filios educarunt), Arab. (nati sunt eis filii exteri permulti) have found
4. Their land—have made.—Vers. 7, 8. Neither the having abundance of children of strangers (Ew.), nor the contenting oneself with such (DREchsler) explains to us why the land of Jacob was full of silver and gold, of horses and wagons. But it is very easily explained if Israel had treaties and a lively commerce with foreign nations. But this was contrary to the law and the covenant of Jehovah. For according to that Israel should be a separate people from all other nations: “And ye shall |. |..., unto Me; for I the LoRD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be Mine.” Lev. xx. 26. Commerce with the world, of course, brought the Israelites material gain, in gold and silver, horses and wagons, so that, in fact, there was a superfluity of these in the land. But by this growth in riches, and power the divine prohibition (Deut. xvii. 17,) was transgressed. It is plain enough now how necessary this prohibition was. For with the treasures of this world the idols of this world are drawn in. This prohibition would guard against that, for the subtile idolatry of riches and power would serve as a bridge to coarser idolatry, because it turns the heart away from the true God, and thereby opens a free ingress to the false gods. Thus is Israel, in consequence of that being full, of which ver. 6 speaks, also outwardly become full of that which passes for great and glorious in the world. But, regarded in the light of Jehovah, this is a false eminence. On the subject matter comp. Mich. v. 9 sqq.
5. Enter into—in that day.--Vers. 10 and 11. These words stand in an artistic double relation. First, they relate to what precedes (ver. 9) as specification. Second, to what follows (as far as iii. 26) as a summary of the contents. For the brief words of ver. 9 express only in quite a general way the human abasement, and indicate the sole majesty of Jehovah only by ascribing to Him the royal right of pardon. These words are now in both these iculars more nearly determined in vers. 10 and 11. With dramatic
animation the prophet summons men, in view of the terror that Jehovah prepares, and before the majestic appearance of His glory, to creep into the clefts of the rocks, and rock chasms (comp. ver. 19 and ver. 21), and in the depths of the dust i.e., holes or caves in the earth, (comp. ver. 19). Thé terror, therefore, shall be like that which spreads before an overpowering invasion of an enemy (Judg. vi. 2; 1 Sam. xiii. 6). Then shall the lofty eye be cast down and,-which is the reason for the former—all human highness shall be humiliated. Jehovah alone shall be high in that day, just as all mountains shall have disappeared before the mountain of Jehovah (ver. 2). It will immediately appear that the matter of both these verses shall be more exactly detailed in what follows.
[Ver. 5. “From this distant prospect of the calling of the gentiles, the Prophet now reverts to his own times and countrymen, and calls upon them not to be behind the nations in the use of their distinguishing advantages. If the heathen were one day to be enlightened, surely they who were already in possession of the light ought to make use of it.” “In the light of Jehovah; (in . the path of truth and duty upon which the light of revelation shines). The light is mentioned as a common designation of the jo. and of Christ Himself.” (Prov. vi. 23; Ps. cxix. 105; Isa. li. 4; Acts xxvi. 23; 2 Cor. iv. 4). J. A. A.
Ver. 6 c. And with the children of strangers they abound.—The last verb does not mean they please themselves, but they abound.—Children of strangers.-Means strangers themselves, foreigners considered as descendents of a strange stock and therefore alien from the commonwealth, of Israel.”—J. A. A. [See comment on i. 4 Donnop Doo--TR.]
Ver. 7. “The common interpretation makes this verse descriptive of domestic wealth and luxury. But these would hardly have been placed between the superstitions and the idols, with which Judah had been flooded from abroad. Besides, this interpretation fails to account for gold and silver being here combined with horses and chariots.-But on the supposition that the verse has reference to undue ão. upon foreign powers, the money and the armies of the latter would be naturally named together.—The form of expression, too, suggests the idea of a recent acquisition, as the strict sense of the verb is, not it is full, nor even it is filled, but it was, or has been filled.”—J. A. A.
Ver. 9 “They who bowed themselves to idols should be bowed down by the mighty hand of God, instead of being raised up from their wilful self-abasement by the pardon of their sins. The relative futures denote, not only succession in time, but the relation of cause and effect.”— J. A. A.
Wer. 10. And hide thee in the dust. “May there not be reference here to the mode prevailing in the East of avoiding the Monsoon, or poisonous heated wind that passes over the desert? Travelers there, in order to be safe, are obliged to throw themselves down, and, to. place their mouths close to the earth until it has
a. The judgment against the things falsely eminent in the sub-human and superhuman spheres.
CHAPTER II. 12–21.
12 "For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be
1 Hob. pictures of desire. 2 Or, shall utterly pass away. * Heb. the dust. * Heb, the idols of his silver, etc. * Or, Which they made for him.
* For the Lord of hosts has a day on cuery thing proud, etc. * spectacles of desire. • fissures.
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL. Ver, 12 ns) in Isaiah only here, by is often found: in the singular. But then H-55 must be taken as adverb. vers. 13, 14; vi. 1; x. 33; vii. 15. On sty; comp. above | Yet wherever this word occurs (only this once in Isa-; ver, 2–55th is to be construed as future, since on 5 comp. Lev. vi. 15 sq.; Deut. xiii. 17; xxxiii. 10; Judg.
** - - xx. 40; 1 Sam. vii. 9; Ezek. xvi. 14, etc.) it is adjective or s must be regarded as a determination of time that substantive: entire or entirety, I agree therefore with points to the future.
is proper here. Ver. 18. I do not deny that box is taken as ideal w -- i.v. xxii. 14) is th singular, and may accordingly be joined to the predicate Wer, 19 my? (in Isaiah again xxxii. 14) is the rhatu EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL.
sure as one word. – If h after ity. is taken in a reflexive sense, the enallage numeri would certainly be very strong. Therefore most expositors justly regard the artificers as subject of Aiyi'.-The words mns, -Pro, as they stand, can only present an infinitive with the prefix, and object following, for there is no noun nan. But an infinitive does not suit here, and besides there is no noun mya. Therefore the rendering “hole of the mice,” for which expositors have gone to the Arabic, is only an arbitrary one. Evidently the Masoretes, according to the analogy of nP-npa,
1. With this section the Prophet begins his ex
plication and specification of what he has previously vers. 9–11 said in general. That last time, vers. 2–4, which the Prophet described above in its glorious aspect for Israel, coincides with the time when the Lord shall sit in judgment on everything humanly high, that is hostile to Him. And even all impersonal things, thus creatures beneath man, on which, in proud arrogance, men put their trust, shall the Lord make small and reduce to nothing; the cedars of Lebanon, the oaks of Bashan, the high mountains and hills, the towers and walls, the ships of Tarshish, and all other pomp of human desire (vers. 12–16). All this shall be abased that the Lord alone may be high (ver. 17). But the same shall happen to the beings above men, viz.; to the idols (ver. 18). That is the idolaters shall hide themselves in terror before the manifestation of that Jehovah whom they have despised (ver. 19); they shall themselves cast their idols to the unclean beasts, in order, mindful only of their own preservation, to be able to creep into the hollows and crevices of the rocks. (21). 2. For the day—brought low.—Ver, 12. The Prophet had used for the first time ver, 11 the expression “in that day” that afterwards occurs often (comp. v. 17, 20; iii. 7, 18; iv. 1, 2; v. 30). He points thereby to the time which he had before ignated as “the last days.” of course he does not mean that this last time shall comprehend only one day in the ordinary sense. The day that Isa, means is a prophetic day, for whose duration we must find a different measure than our human one. With the Lord one day is ** a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. (2 Pet. iii. 8; Ps. xc. 4). But the chief concern is whether there is really such a day of the Lord. This the Prophet asserts most distinctly. For precisely because there is such a day o for, ver. 12) Isaiah could ver, 17 refer to it. ut this day is a day for Jehovah Sabaoth (comp. i. 9), or more correctly: Jehovah has such in preparation, so to speak, in sure keeping, so that,
as soon as it pleases Him, He can produce it for His purpose (comp. xxii. 5; xxxiv. 8, and especially lziii. 4; Jer. xlvi. 10; Ezek. xxx. 3). This day is a day of judgment, as already even the older prophets portray it: Joel i. 15; ii. 1, 2, 11; iii. 4; iv. 14; Amos v. 18, 20. Obad. 15. Indeed the notion of judgment is so closel identified with “the day of Jehovah” that Isaia in our text construes D) a day directly as a word signifying “court of justice,” for he lets by dend on it. Once more in ver. 12, the notion of high and proud is generally expressed before (ver. 13) it is individualized. 3. And upon all—in that day.—Vers. 13– 17. The judgment of God must fall on all products of nature (vers. 13, 14), and upon human art (vers. 15, 16) . It may be asked, how then have the products of nature, the trees and mountains become blameworthy? KNobel, to be sure, understands by the cedars houses made of cedar (comp. 2 Sam. vii. 2, 7) and by oaks of Bashan houses of oak wood (Ezek. xxvii. 6) such as Uzziah and Jotham constructed partly for fortifying the land, partly for pleasure, and by mountains and hills “the fastnesses that Jotham built in the mountains of Judah (2 Chr. xxvii. 4).” But, though one might understand the cedars to mean houses of cedar, (for which, however, must not be cited ix. 9; Nah. ii. 4, but Jer. xxii. 23 comp. Isa. lx. 13) still the mountains and hills can never mean “fortified places.” 2 Pet. iii. 10, seems to me to afford the best commentary on
degrees of God's world-judging activity as parts of “the day of the Lord.” If then the prophet here names only the high mountains and the highest trees growing on them as representatives of nature, he evidently does so because it is his idea, according to the whole context, to make prominent that which is high in an earthly sense, especially what is wont to serve men as means of gratifying their lust of power and pomp. But the mountains and the trees on them could not be destroyed without the earth itself were destroyed. Therefore the high mountains and trees are only named as representatives of the entire terrestrial nature, of the yo, as it is called by Peter, as also afterwards the towers, ships of Tarshish, etc., are only representative of the épya, the human works, thus the productions of art. The oaks of Bashan, beside this place, are mentioned Ezek. xxvii. 6; Zech. xi. 2. A parallel is drawn between Lebanon and Bashan also xxxiii. 9; Jer. xxii. 20; Nah. i. 4.—High towers and strong walls were built by others as well as by Uzziah and Jotham; comp. 2 Chr. xiv. 7; xxxii. 5, etc. –Tarshish is mentioned by Isaiah again: xxiii. 1, 6, 10; lx. 9; lxvi. 19. It is now generally acknowledged that the locality lay in south Spain beyond the Pillars of Hercules. It is the Taptmaa.or Tartessus of the Greeks; not a city, likely, but the country that lay at the mouth of the Baetis (Guadalquiver): comp. HERzog, R. Encycl. XV. #. 684. Ships of Tarshish are thus large ships tted for distant and dangerous voyages (Jon. i. 3; iv. 2; 1 Kings x. 22; xxii. 49; Ps. xlviii. 8). All this must be destroyed and so must the arrogance of men be humbled, that Jehovah alone may be high in that day. So the prophet repeats, with some modification, the words of ver, 11, to prove that the specifications just given are only meant as the amplification of that general thought expressed in ver. 9. For these verses 12–16, refer as much back to vers. 9 as do ver. 18 sqq., (especially vers. 18, 21,) to ver. 10 a. 4. And the idols—the earth.-Wers. 17-21. The judgment against the sub-human creatures is followed by that against the superhuman, the idols. As verses 13–16 refer i...". ver. 7, so ver, 18 sqq., does to ver, 8. But the judgment against the idols is most notably accomplished when the worshippers of idols, now visited by the despised, true God, in all His terrible reality, see themselves the nothingness of their idols and cast them away in contempt. Jehovah appears in the awful pomp
of His majesty. If the gods were anything, then they would now appear and shield their followers. But just because they are box, mothings; they cannot do it. We see from this that the “enter into the rock and hide thee in the dust” ver, 10, refers especially to the bringing to shame these illusory superhuman highnesses. In Rev. vi. 12 sqq., when at ver, 15 our passage is alluded to, the shaking of the earth appears as the effect of a great earthquake. Regarding o: loquendi comp. viii. 12, 13; xxix. 23; XIV1.1. 12.
Therefore men shall cast their idols away to the gnawing beasts of the night, in their unclean holes, not that their flight may be easier, but because the idols belong there. May there not be an allusion in the words to the demon origin of the idols (1 Cor. x. 20 sq.)? In the description of “A little excursion into the Land of Moab,” contained in the Magazine Sueddeutche Reichspost, 1872, No. 257 sqq., we read in No. 257 the fol. lowing, in reference to the discovery of a large image of Astarte. “The Bedouins dig in the numerous artificial and natural caves for saltpetre for making gunpowder. In this way they find these objects that in their time were § or just thrown there, which, in the judgment of those that understand such matters, belonged all of them once in some way to heathen worship, and on which the prophecy of Isa. ii. 20 has been so literally fulfilled.”—Thus they cast their idols away, they entertain themselves no more with the care and worship of them, all trust in them is also gone. They only hasten to save themselves by flight into the caverns (TB) see Exod. xxxiii. 22 from TP} to bore) and crevices of the rocks (comp. lvii. 5). We are, moreover, reminded of the words in Luke xxiii. 30. “Then shall they begin to say to the mountains fall on us; and to the hills, cover us.” For what wish can be left to those that have fled to the rocks, when the rocks themselves begin to shake, except to be covered as soon as possible from the i. ling mountains.
[Ver. 20. Idols of silver and idols of gold. “Here named as the most splendid and expensive, in order to make the act of throwing them away still more significant.
“Moles and bats are put together on account of their defect of sight.”—J. A. A.]