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Isaiah 24:17 . Fear, and the pit. This is a figure of hunting, the wild beasts being chased into pits dug in narrow passages, and covered with green branches. So the great ones should be caught, by the great one of Assyria.
Isaiah 24:21 . The host of the high ones on high. Priests and princes are here to be understood. The apostle Paul might have this in view, when he speaks of wrestling against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:0. Origen dreams here of the souls of men, which inhabit the planets!
The prophets wrote their predictions on separate scrolls of parchment, and those who compiled them have not always been happy in the arrangements. From the thirteenth to the twenty fifth chapter we have a series of predictions concerning the punishment and the fall of nations, but obviously without order; for the fall of Babylon which happened among the last, stands the first. The prophet having borne the burden of surrounding nations, lays here the final burden at the door of his own country, when the rich and the poor should be involved in the common confusion. The visitation in this chapter has no date, and the besom of destruction which was about to sweep the earth has no name, nor was it needful. Nineveh had conquered Babylon, and was pouring forth little less than a million of men to make the earth empty; namely all western Asia, here called the earth; for the great and ancient empires proudly called the world their own. Luke 2:1. The Assyrians, in the career of conquest, had a peculiar character of ingenious cruelty; they cut off more than half the inhabitants, and removed the others to distant colonies, where they would improve the country, and be less apt to rebel. To these sore calamities they alike exposed the prince and the people, the maid and the mistress, the buyer and the seller.
The prophet next describes his own country in particular, and the causes of its calamities. The haughty princes and people of Israel were made to languish, because they had transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, and totally broken the everlasting covenant which they had made with God on Sinai. Divine truth and justice required that the curses of the covenant should come upon them. Samaria, the city of idolatrous confusion, was already broken down. When God punished the apostates, he took care of his own people. But the church was, if we may follow the Port-royal bible, “as the few olives which remain upon a tree after it has been stripped of its fruit.” Micah viewed the faithful church in the same manner. Woe is me, for I am as when they had gathered the summer fruits, and as the gleaning of the vintage. Zephaniah says, I will leave a poor and an afflicted people in the midst of thee, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord. Believer, hearken then to Christ, who bids thee not be afraid of wars and rumours of wars. God has promised protection, and his providence has wonderfully supported the promise.
The saints ought to weep for the calamities of the earth, while they sing and rejoice in God’s protecting love. ”But I said, my leanness, my leanness.” My flesh wastes away with sorrow for the cruelties of the king of Assyria, who is a treacherous dealer and a covenant breaker. Scarcely had he made peace with Hezekiah, before he sent Rabshakeh to destroy Jerusalem. But heaven revolted at this; and his cruelties soon met with a just reward. See chap. 37.
After the dark and cloudy day, we see the evening sun shine out with cheering rays, when the Lord Messiah shall reign before his ancient patriarchs and prophets gloriously, in his spiritual Zion.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 24". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13