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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Isaiah 2

 

 

Verses 1-22

2-4. occur also with a few slight variations in Micah 4:1-4. The passage appears to be borrowed in Isaiah, because (a) it suits its context better in Micah, and (b) it is more complete in Micah, Micah 4:4 being a part of it. If Isaiah is quoting from Micah, the latter prophet must have spoken the words before the occasion referred to in Jeremiah 26:18. Both prophets may be quoting from some ancient and well-known prediction regarding the future of Zion.

2. In the last days] RV 'in the latter days.' The phrase has the general meaning of 'future time' (Genesis 49:1; Deuteronomy 4:30; Jeremiah 23:20). Its use in the prophetic books makes the expression practically equivalent to 'Messianic times,' and the Apostles in NT. use the corresponding Gk. in the sense of 'the Christian dispensation' (Acts 2:17; 1 Peter 1:20; 1 John 2:18; Hebrews 1:1-2). In the top of] RM 'at the head of.' Under the figure of a physical change is set forth the supremacy of Israel's religion: Zion will be recognised as the spiritual capital of the world.

3. People] RV 'peoples.' The law] RM 'teaching' or 'instruction,' such as was given by prophets and priests: see Isaiah 8:16.

4. Among] RV 'between.' The nations will submit their disputes to the arbitration of Israel's God. The conviction of the universality of the religion of Israel is here plainly shown.

5. The prophet urges the people to repent, that they may fulfil their destiny.

6. Therefore] RV 'For.' Replenished from the east] alluding to the influx of settlers and foreign customs from that quarter. Soothsayers, etc.] Soothsayers are forbidden amongst the Israelites in Deuteronomy 18:10. We find an Israelite king sending to consult at the Philistine town of Ekron (2 Kings 1:2). Please themselves in] RV 'strike hands with': i.e. 'make compacts with' born heathen. The reference is to bargains and commercial undertakings (2 Kings 14:22; 2 Kings 16:6).

7. The increase of wealth and military organisation here referred to were features of Uzziah's reign (2 Chronicles 26:1-15).

9. Boweth down.. humbleth himself] i.e. before the idols.

12. The day of the Lord of hosts shall be] RM 'the Lord of hosts hath a day.' 'Day' might mean (a) day of battle or victory, cp. Amos 5:18-20, the earliest mention of the Day of the Lord, or (b) day of judgment. This became the usual meaning; so regularly in NT. Cp. 1 Corinthians 4:3-5. The proud will be humbled by the destruction of the things that minister to their pride.

15. Alluding to the works and fortifications of Uzziah and Jotham (2 Chronicles 26:9-10; 2 Chronicles 27:3-4).

16. Ships of Tarshish] i.e. deep-sea ships used for foreign trade. Tarshish is supposed to have been in S. Spain, at the furthest limit of Phœnician commerce. Judah at this time possessed a mercantile fleet, the station of which was at Elath, on the Red Sea (2 Kings 16:6).

Pleasant pictures] The word rendered 'pictures' means something figured or with imagery upon it. A cognate word is used of idolatrous imagery (Numbers 33:52) and of idolatrous images painted on walls (Ezekiel 8:12). Since the word here occurs in close connexion with ships, the reference may be to the sails, which were often embroidered with figures in ancient times. Some prefer the meaning 'watch-towers,' the root having in Aramaic the sense 'to look out.'

20. Cast his idols] in disgust at their inability to help.

21. Men will try to hide from God in terror.

22. Wanting in LXX, and perhaps a gloss.


Verses 1-30


Isaiah's Preaching early in the Reign of Ahaz

Isaiah 2-4 are closely connected, and Isaiah 5 is generally thought to belong to the same period, though it probably represents discourses delivered rather later. There are two points which serve as indications of date: (a) The influx of foreign fashions, both in religion (Isaiah 2:6, Isaiah 2:8) and in common life (Isaiah 3:16-23, where the difficulty of explaining the names for the various articles of female attire from the Hebrew suggests that the articles, like the names, were of foreign importation). (b) The weak and capricious character of the king and his advisers (Isaiah 3:12). These features point to the reign of Ahaz, who was an innovator in religion (2 Kings 16:2-4, 2 Kings 16:10), but in that case these chapters must be placed quite early in his reign, because we should gather from the mention of deep-sea ships (Isaiah 2:16) that Elath, the one seaport of the kingdom, was still in the possession of Judah, while we read in 2 Kings 16:6 that the Syrians captured it during the invasion by Rezin and Pekah.

Isaiah 2:2-4. Isaiah quotes a prophecy that the nations shall resort to Zion, and there learn true religion, with the result of universal peace.

5-9. Before this future can be realised, God's own people must trust in Him and forsake their idolatry.

10-22. The retributive judgment that is coming on the nation is described in detail.

Isaiah 3:1-15. The ruin of social order in Judah, traceable to the misconduct of the rulers, who shall be punished.

16-C. Isaiah 4:1. The sin and punishment of the ladies of Jerusalem.

2-6. The day of the Lord, though a day of judgment for the wicked, will prove a day of salvation for the faithful remnant.

Isaiah 5:1-7. Judah compared in a parable to an unfruitful vineyard.

8-24. The charge of bringing forth evil fruit is proved in detail.

[25-30. The coming invasion and dark prospect.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 2:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/isaiah-2.html. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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