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Bible Commentaries

Trapp's Complete Commentary

Isaiah 33

Verse 1

Isa 33:1 Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou [wast] not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; [and] when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee.

Ver. 1. Woe to thee that spoilest. ] Minatur vastationem vastatori Sennacherib, vel Antichristo, quem praesignat. a Sennacherib and Antichrist are here threatened.

And thou wast not spoiled. ] Thou abusest thy present peace, and the riches of God’s goodness and patience toward thee, to fall foul upon others unprovoked.

And dealest treacherously. ] This some b understand of Sennacherib. See 2Ki 18:14 ; 2 Kings 18:17 . Others of Shebna and other traitors in Jerusalem, who dealt underhandedly with the enemy against Hezekiah, and might haply meet with the like meed as he did who betrayed the Rhodes to the Turks, who flayed him and salted him. Or at least as Charles IV’s agents did from Philip, Duke of Austria, who paid them the sum he promised them, but in counterfeit money, saying that false coin is good enough for such false knaves as they had showed themselves to be.

Thou shalt be spoiled. ] Of kingdom, and life, and all, by thy treacherous sons. Isa 37:38

Siquis quod fecit patitur, iustissima lex est.

See Judges 7:11 . See Trapp on " Jdg 7:11 " And fear thou God, who loveth to retaliate, to pay wicked men home in their own coin, to fill them with their own ways, to overshoot them in their own bow, &c. Vae ergo vastatoribus: one time or other God will be even with such.

a Oecolam.

b Ibid.

Verse 2

Isa 33:2 O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.

Ver. 2. O Lord, be gracious unto us. ] Brevicula sed pulchra precatio, a short but sweet prayer of the prophet, teaching thereby the people to put the promise in suit, and to do it effectually, using a thong of strong arguments, as here is much in few.

Be thou their arm. ] Here the Church seemeth to pray for her children, as they before had prayed for her. Plena eat affectibus haec precatio.

Every morning. ] Heb., In the mornings - that is, speedily, seasonably, continually, and for Christ’s sake, Voce enim "matutinis" allusum adiuge sacrificium a Exo 29:39-41

a Scultet., Piscat.

Verse 3

Isa 33:3 At the noise of the tumult the people fled; at the lifting up of thyself the nations were scattered.

Ver. 3. At the noise of the tumult the people fled, ] i.e., The Assyrian soldiers shall flee at the coming of the angel, with a hurry noise in the air for greater terror; a but he shall give them their passport. This their confidence was the fruit of prayer.

At the lifting up of thyself. ] If God do but "arise" only, "his enemies shall be scattered; and all that hate him shall flee before him." Psa 68:1 See Trapp on " Psa 68:1 "

a A voce angeli. - Vulg.

Verse 4

Isa 33:4 And your spoil shall be gathered [like] the gathering of the caterpiller: as the running to and fro of locusts shall he run upon them.

Ver. 4. And your spoils shall be gathered. ] The spoil of the Assyrian’s camp now become yours. as 1Sa 30:20

Like the gathering of caterpillars. ] Quae ad hominum concursum omnes repente disperguntur, which are soon rid, when men set themselves to destroy them.

Verse 5

Isa 33:5 The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness.

Ver. 5. The Lord is exalted. ] He hath made him a name, gained abundance of honour.

For he dwelleth on high. ] Whence he can pour down plagues at his pleasure on his proud enemies, and fill Zion with judgment and righteousness.

Verse 6

Isa 33:6 And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, [and] strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD [is] his treasure.

Ver. 6. And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times. ] Thy times, O Hezekiah; but especially, O Christ. Or, the stability of thy times and strong safeguard shall thy wisdom and knowledge be. "By his knowledge" - that is, by faith in him - "shall my righteous servant" (Jesus Christ) "justify many"; Isa 53:11 but these are also sanctified by him. The fear of the Lord is their treasure; they "hold faith and a good conscience, which some, having put away, concerning faith, have made shipwreck." 1Ti 1:19 See Trapp on " 1Ti 1:19 "

The fear of the Lord is his treasure. ] The spirit of this holy fear rested upon Christ, Isa 11:2 and good Hezekiah was eminent for it, not for civil prudence only. This was flos regis, the fairest flower in all his garland; this is solidissima regiae politiae basis, as one a saith, the best policy, and the way to wealth.

a Paradin. in Symbol.

Verse 7

Isa 33:7 Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without: the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly.

Ver. 7. Behold their valiant ones. ] Or, Their heralds, messengers. Heb., Hen Erelam, behold their Erel, or their Ariel Isa 29:1-2 - that is, their altar, shall they ( i.e., the Assyrians) cry without, sc., in mockery, twitting the Jews with their sacrifices as no way profitable to them. So the profane Papists, when they murdered the poor Protestants at Orleans, sang in scorn, Judge and revenge my cause, O Lord. Others, Have mercy on us, Lord. And when in the late persecution in Bohemia various godly nobles and citizens were carried to prison in Prague, the Papists insultingly cried after them, Why do ye not now sing, "The Lord reigneth?" a

The ambassadors of peace. ] That went for peace, having for their symbol Pacem te poscimus omnes, We all demand peace from you, but could not effect it.

Weep bitterly. ] So that they might be heard before they entered the city. Vide quam vivide, See here how lively things are set forth, and what a lamentable report these ambassadors make of the state of the country, and the present danger of losing all.

a Mr Clarke’s Eng. Martyrol.

Verse 8

Isa 33:8 The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man.

Ver. 8. The highways lie waste. ] And byways are more frequented, through fear of the enemy.

He hath broken the covenant. ] Irritum factum est pactum. He took the money sent him, but comes on nevertheless, though he had sworn the contrary. 2 Kings 18:14 ; 2Ki 18:17 It is said of the Turks at this day, that they keep their leagues - which serve, indeed, but as snares to entangle other princes in - no longer than standeth with their own profit. a Their maxim is, There is no faith to be kept with dogs, whereby they mean Christians, as the Papists also say, There is no faith to be kept with heretics, whereby they mean Protestants. But why kept not Uladislaus, King of Hungary, his faith better with Amurath, the great Turk? or our Henry III with his barons, by Papal dispensation? Vah scelus! vae periuris.

He hath despised the cities. ] And will not take them for his subjects. He scorneth the motion.

He regardeth no man. ] He vilipends and slights all jewels generally.

a Turkish History, 755.

Verse 9

Isa 33:9 The earth mourneth [and] languisheth: Lebanon is ashamed [and] hewn down: Sharon is like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel shake off [their fruits].

Ver. 9. The earth mourneth and languisheth. ] a Or the land luget et languet. Thus they go on in their doleful relation: Miserrima sunt omnia, atque miseranda. What sad work hath Antichrist made of late years in the Christian world? what desolations in all parts?

Lebanon is ashamed and hewn down, Sharon is like a wilderness. ] East, west, north, and south of the land are laid waste by the enemy and the avenger, that "boar out of the wood," that "bear out of the forest." Psa 80:13

a Metaphora Prosopopoetica.

Verse 10

Isa 33:10 Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself.

Ver. 10. Now will I rise, saith the Lord, now. ] Now, now, now. Emphasin habet ingeminatio vocis "nunc." This "now," thrice repeated, importeth both the opportunity of time and God’s readiness to relieve. Cum duplicantur lateres, venit Moses, When things are at worst, they will mend, we say.

Now will I lift up myself. ] Who have hitherto been held an underling, and inferior to the enemy.

Verse 11

Isa 33:11 Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath, [as] fire, shall devour you.

Ver. 11. Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble. ] Gravidi estis stramiue, parietis stipulum. So did Pharaoh, Antiochus, Julian, &c. So doth Antichrist and his champions, notwithstanding his bloody alarms to them, such as was that sounded out in the year 1582.

Utere iure tao, Caesar, sectamque Lutheri

Ease, rota, ponto, funibus, igne neca. ”

And that other of the King of France not many years since, exhorting him to kill up all the Protestants per Galliam stabulantes, the very words of the Pope’s bull, that had any stable room in France.

Your breath as fire shall devour you. ] Shall blow up the fire that shall consume your chaff and stubble. Your iniquity shall be your ruin. Eze 18:3-9 Turdus sibi malum cacat. Hic est gladius quem ipse fecisti: This is a sword of thine own making, said the soldier to Marius, when he ran him through with it.

Verse 12

Isa 33:12 And the people shall be [as] the burnings of lime: [as] thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire.

Ver. 12. And the people shall be as the burning of lime. ] As hard chalk stones, which, when burnt to make lime crumble to crattle.

As thorns cut up. ] Sear thorns, that crackle under a pot, and are soon extinct. The Hebrews tell us that the Assyrian soldiers were burned by the angel with a secret fire - that is, with the pestilence, as Berosus, cited by Josephus, a witnesseth; and our prophet hinteth as much in many passages.

a Lib. x. cap. 2.

Verse 13

Isa 33:13 Hear, ye [that are] far off, what I have done; and, ye [that are] near, acknowledge my might.

Ver. 13. Hear, ye that are afar off. ] Longinqui, propinqui. God’s great works are to be noted and noticed by all. The Egyptians heard of what God had done to the Assyrian army, and memorised it by a monument, as Herodotus a relateth.

a Herod., lib. ii.; Justin.

Verse 14

Isa 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?

Ver. 14. The sinners in Zion are afraid. ] At the invasion of the Assyrian. Those that formerly fleared and jeered God’s prophets and their menaces, now fear and are crest fallen, ready to run into an auger hole, as we say. It is as natural for guilt to breed fear and disquiet, as for putrid matter to breed vermin. Sinners, especially those in Zion, where they might be better, and are therefore the worse a great deal, have galled consciences, and want faith to fortify their hearts against the fear of death or danger; and hence those pitiful perplexities and convulsions of soul in the evil day. What wonder if, when they see all on fire, they ring their bells backwards? If, instead of mourning for their sins and making peace with God, as they ought to do, they mutter and growl against him, as these hypocrites do, for his too great severity?

Fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. ] The Jews were a hypocritical nation. Isa 9:17 Epiphanius, when he left Constantinople, said that he left three great things behind him, viz., a great city, a great palace, et ingentem hypocrisin, and a great deal of hypocrisy. That facies hypocritica hypocritical faces of our nation is that facies hippocratica which physicians speak of, of a spent dying man, that looks ghastly. It is a mortal complexion, a sad prognostic. Oh that these frozen hearts of ours, since they must have a thaw or it will be worse, might melt here, and be unsoldered from hypocrisy, that we might be saved, though so as by fire, rather than to be reserved to be thawed with everlasting burnings, the portion of hypocrites. Mat 24:51 So might we "dwell with everlasting burnings," that is, with the knowledge of God’s terrible presence and sight of his great judgments, whereof the hypocrites of the world are afraid, because this fire melteth off their paint, and threateneth to wash off their varnish with rivers of brimstone.

Who among us shall dwell? ] Or, Who of us can but fear a devouring fire?

Verse 15

Isa 33:15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;

Ver. 15. He that walketh righteously, ] q.d., Though you cannot, yet there are those that can, viz., "those that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Surely to such there is "no one condemnation." Rom 8:1 Christ standeth as a screen between the wrath of God and his elect, for whose sake also this paschal lamb was once for all roasted in the fire of his Father’s indignation, whereby they are not only "delivered from the wrath to come," 1Th 1:10 but also have "boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him." Ephesians 3:12 ; Eph 2:18

He that walketh righteously. ] Through whose whole life righteousness runneth as the woof doth through the web, as the blood doth through the veins, &c.

And speaketh uprightly. ] Heb., Evennesses. Non blasphema, impudica, fescennina; not the language of hell, but of Canaan. See James 3:2 .

That despiseth the gain of oppressions. ] The Mammon of iniquity; wealth gotten by force or fraud. A public person especially, as he should have nothing to lose, so he should have nothing to get; he should be above all price or sale. Nec prece nec precio, Neither by prayer nor request, should be his motto.

That shaketh his hands from holding of bribes. ] He doth not only not do wrong, but not receive a gift, whereby he may be engaged or inclined to do it.

That stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood. ] He not only does not shed it, but refuseth to hear any communing about such a business.

That shutteth his eyes from seeing of evil. ] Lest his heart should thereby be betrayed, for vitiis nobis in animum per oculos est via, could a heathen a say. By the eyes evil getteth into the heart; by looking cometh lusting; and millions die of the wound in the eye.

a Quintil., Declam.

Verse 16

Isa 33:16 He shall dwell on high: his place of defence [shall be] the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters [shall be] sure.

Ver. 16. He shall dwell on high. ] Extra iactum, out of the gunshot, the reach of evils and enemies. Or in heaven shall he dwell with God in safety who is to the wicked a consuming fire. Isa 33:14

His place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks. ] Rocks within rocks; rocks beneath, above rocks; rocks so deep no pioneer can undermine them, so thick no cannon can pierce them, so high no ladder can scale them, &c.

Bread shall be given him; his waters shall not fail. ] He shall have all that his heart can wish, or need require.

Verse 17

Isa 33:17 Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.

Ver. 17. Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty. ] Hezekiah in his pristine state and lustre; yea, more glorious and renowned than ever before. Jerome understandeth it of Christ reigning gloriously in heaven, and the saints looking from thence should see the earth afar off as little and contemptible, and say,

O quam angusti sunt mortalium termini!

O quam angusti sunt mortalium animi! ”

Augustine wished that he might have seen these three things, Romam in flore, Paulum in ore, Christum in corpore, Rome in the flourish, Paul in the pulpit, Christ in the body of flesh. Venerable Bede came after him, and wished rather that he might see his King, Christ, in his beauty, as he is now at the right hand of his Father, far outshining the brightest cherub in heaven.

Verse 18

Isa 33:18 Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where [is] the scribe? where [is] the receiver? where [is] he that counted the towers?

Ver. 18. Thine heart shall meditate terror. ] But thou shalt now think of it as "waters that are past," calling to mind what speeches among those late distractions had fallen from thee. a

Where is the scribe? ] Or, The muster master of the Assyrian army? Verba sunt insultantium et exultantium, saith Piscator; they are the words of God’s people insulting over the enemy, now overthrown and dispersed. See the like done by the apostle. 1Co 1:10

a Olim haec meminisse iuvabit.

Verse 19

Isa 33:19 Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive; of a stammering tongue, [that thou canst] not understand.

Ver. 19. Thou shalt not see a fierce people. ] Or, Look not upon a fierce people; or, as some render it, a barbarous people, of a stammering tongue, that thou canst not understand. Such as are most of the schoolmen. Seven years, said one, are but sufficient to understand the barbarisms of Scotus upon Lombard. But rather look upon Zion.

Verse 20

Isa 33:20 Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle [that] shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken.

Ver. 20. Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities. ] Where God is daily and duly served, and is therefore her shield and exceeding great reward. Gen 17:1 If that heathen king, hearing of his enemies’ approach while he was sacrificing, could answer, Eγω δε θυω , I am serving my gods, and therefore fear not their force, how much more cause had Zion to be confident, and to sing. as Psa 46:1-7 See Psalms 48:12-13 .

Verse 21

Isa 33:21 But there the glorious LORD [will be] unto us a place of broad rivers [and] streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby.

Ver. 21. But there the glorious Lord will be. ] The Church must needs be invincible, because the glorious Lord is her champion, or "will do gallantly for us," as the words may be rendered. Her name is Jehovahshammah. Eze 48:35 The Lord is there, and how many reckon we him at? He alone is a potent army. Isa 52:12

A place of broad rivers and streams. ] Such as Mesopotamia was, or the garden of God. Or, He shall be instead of broad rivers, &c., even a river that shall not be drawn dry or sucked out, as Euphrates was by Cyrus when he took Babylon; a river that shall not fail the dwellers by, as Nile once at least did Egypt, for nine years together -

Creditur Aegyptus caruisse iuvantibus arva

Imbribus; atque annis sicca fuisse novem. ”

- Ovid, Art., lib. i.

but shall fill its banks and shores perpetually, and keep a full stock of streams and waters.

Wherein shall go no galley, nor gallant ship, ] i.e., None of the enemy’s navies shall annoy it. England had the experience of this in that famous 1588, when the seas were turreted with such a navy of ships, as her swelling waves could hardly be seen; and the flags, streamers, and ensigns so spread in the wind, that they seemed to darken even the sun; but the glorious God defeated them.

Verse 22

Isa 33:22 For the LORD [is] our judge, the LORD [is] our lawgiver, the LORD [is] our king; he will save us.

Ver. 22. For the Lord is our judge. ] Ours in all relations, therefore we shall not die or do amiss. See Habakkuk 1:12 , with the note. Our Judge will do us right; our Lawgiver will give us the best direction. See Nehemiah 9:13 , with the note. Our King will see to our safety: "Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King." Psa 149:2

Verse 23

Isa 33:23 Thy tacklings are loosed; they could not well strengthen their mast, they could not spread the sail: then is the prey of a great spoil divided; the lame take the prey.

Ver. 23. Thy tacklings are loosed. ] Thy shipping, O Assyrian, is wrecked and dissipated. Ubi per furies tentoria; per vela, vexilla intelliguntur. The prophet elegantly expresseth the matter in seamen’s terms.

Verse 24

Isa 33:24 And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein [shall be] forgiven [their] iniquity.

Ver. 24. And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick. ] sc., By reason of the long and strait siege. None shall be so lame, Isa 33:23 or sick and in pain (as here), but that he shall be in case to pursue and prey upon the enemies.

The people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity. ] Jehovah Rophe, or the physician, shall heal them on both sides, make them whole every whit. This is a most sweet promise, and highly to be prized by all that are heirs of the promises.

Optandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.