Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, July 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 8

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-22

Isaiah 8:1 . Take thee a great roll. Lowth reads, a large mirror. The Chaldaic has scripturam claram, a fair writing, which might be on a polished plate; but the Versions read as the English.

Isaiah 8:3 . I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived and bare a son. There is much variation here among the critics. But the child’s name, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, that is, to hasten to the spoil, to take quickly the prey, designates the king of Assyria. The whole is a vision, for Isaiah had no such son that we know of.

Isaiah 8:6 . The waters of Shiloah that go softly. The Gihon at the foot of mount Zion, 1 Kings 1:33; the great spring that flowed into the lower city. This gently flowing stream, as the Chaldaic reads, designated the kingdom of the house of David. Therefore, as they set aside the Lord from being their king, he would justly expose them to the overflowing waters of the Euphrates, and suffer the Chaldeans to rule over them. Virgil, by the like figure of a gentile government, represents the Euphrates as flowing more softly, after the Roman power was established in Asia.

Euphrates ibat jam mollior undis. ÆN. 8:726.

Isaiah 8:18 . Behold I, [the Lord of Hosts] as one manuscript reads, and the children whom the Lord hath given me. If these words in any sense refer to Isaiah, they must regard him as a figure of Christ, to whom they are applied by St. Paul. Hebrews 2:13.

Isaiah 8:19 . Wizards that peep and that mutter, in the dark places of the earth, as he says in Isaiah 45:19. Strabo also says, lib. 9., that the oracle in the far-famed temple of Delphos, was a hollow place, from which the voice of the pythoness was disguised. Herodotus delicately accuses those oracles of ambiguity. In opposition to these, the Lord says, “I have not spoken in secret from the beginning.” Isaiah 48:16; Isaiah 45:19. See also Exodus 28:30.

Isaiah 8:21 . They shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God. We read in Revelation 16:10; Revelation 16:21, that men blasphemed God because of their pain; and again, because of the hail. At the battle of Borodina, in the year 1814, when about seventy thousand men lay dead and dying on the field, the number of Russians and French being nearly equal, an English surgeon reports, that he found wounded officers cursing their fate, and cursing their stars. The state of man is desperate, when he must die, and is resolved not to die. They are like the desperate Midianites, who cut their way through their own ranks.


“Let us reflect with pleasure on the care which the prophets took to prove their prophecies authentic. They did not merely speak them, and commit them to memory or tradition, but wrote them in a plain legible manner; and did it before witnesses, who probably subscribed the same, and were ready to declare upon oath that they saw the prophet write or attest it, that it might be read and appealed to in order to support the faith of the people in what they foretold. This remark tends to confirm our faith in the prophecies; and the same remark, in some measure, is applicable to the whole scripture.

There is need of great resolution not to be led away by popular panic or common errors. The prophet himself seems to have been in danger of catching the fears of the people, therefore it was that God warned him against it with a strong hand, and a considerable force on his mind. We are ready to catch the groundless terrors of others, to imitate their example, and walk in the way of the people around us. We ought to watch against this, and labour after a sober singularity; earnestly praying that God would secure us against ill examples, and preserve us in the way of holiness and peace.

A holy fear of God is the best remedy against the fear of men. 1 Peter 3:14. Sanctify the Lord of hosts in your hearts; make him your fear and your dread; give him the glory of his power, providence, and promises; reverence his universal dominion, fear his displeasure, and acquiesce in his disposals. This will keep our minds in peace, will preserve us from that fear which hath torment; and he will be our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.

Let us be thankful for the law and the testimony, and keep close to them. What is sealed up from the blinded Jews is open to us, the disciples of Christ, who have seen many of these prophecies fulfilled. Let us reverence and study the scriptures, and learn to abhor the wicked practices of those who use spells and charms, who pretend to discover secrets and tell fortunes: this is heinous wickedness, and ought never to be encouraged by any that believe in the providence and word of God. It is our duty to seek direction from him by prayer, and consult his word to conform to it in sentiment and in practice: otherwise we shall displease him, and wander in the paths of error and sin.”

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 8". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/isaiah-8.html. 1835.
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