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2. The bad fruits of the present in the light of the glorious divine fruit of the last time. Isaiah 5:1-30
a. THE BAD FRUITS OF THE PRESENT SHOWN IN THE PARABLE OF THE VINEYARD
1 Now will I sing 1to my well-beloved
And planted it with the choicest vine,
And built a tower in the midst of it,
And also 6made a winepress therein:
And he looked that it should bring forth grapes,
And it brought forth wild grapes.
3 And now, O, inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah,
Judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.
4 What could have been done more to my vineyard,
That I have not done in it?
Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes,
Brought it forth wild grapes?
5 And now go to; I will tell you
What I will do to my vineyard:
I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up;
And break down the wall thereof, and it shall be 7trodden down:
6 And I will lay it waste:
It shall not be pruned, nor digged;
But there shall come up briers and thorns:
I will also command the clouds
That they rain no rain upon it,
7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel,
And the men of Judah 8his pleasant plant:
For righteousness, but behold a cry.
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL
Isaiah 5:1. Attention has often been called to the artistic, rythmical structure of Isaiah 5:1 : to אָשִׁירָה corresponds שִׁירַת; to לִידִידִי corresponds דּוֹדִי. The first clause of the verse concludes with לִכַדְמוֹ; the second begins with כֶּרֶם, and the third word is again &לִידִידִי קֶרֶן rhymes to קֶרֶם, and the last three words of the verse end with ֶן. Moreover the rythm continues into the 2d
Ver.; for the three verbs that begin it, resemble one another in formation and ending.
The verb שִׁיר joined with the noun שִׁיר occurs of joyful song in Isaiah in two other places, Isaiah 26:1; Isaiah 42:10. שִׁירָה always has the pronoun הַזּאֹת after it (Exodus 15:1; Numbers 21:17; Deuteronomy 31:19; Deuteronomy 31:21-22; Deuteronomy 31:30; Deu 32:44; 2 Samuel 22:1; Psalms 18:1); only in Isaiah, who beside here uses it Isaiah 23:15, is it determined by only a noun following in the genitive. יָדִיד (the closely bound, beloved, friend) used by Isaiah only here. Comp. Deuteronomy 33:12; Jeremiah 11:15; coll. Isaiah 7:7; Psalms 60:7; Psalms 127:2 דּוֹד, kindred to יָדִיד, is originally an abstract noun = amor, caritas (comp. Song of Solomon 5:9) especially in the plural (love deeds, fondling, Song of Solomon 1:2; Song of Solomon 4:4, etc.; Ezekiel 16:8; Proverbs 7:18, etc.). Then דּוֹד stands for the person beloved (compare the words Liebschaft, Bekanntschaft, acquaintance, מוֹדַעַת Ruth 3:2) and signifies both the beloved generally (Song of Solomon 2:3, etc.), and a beloved and near relation (Lev 10:4; 1 Samuel 10:16, etc.). That it here means the beloved generally appears from its connection with יָדִיד. This word, too, does not again occur in Isaiah. לְ indicates the object after verbis decendi: Genesis 20:13; Leviticus 14:54; Psalms 3:3; Psalms 22:31; Isaiah 27:2, etc.—קֶרֶן is used only here in the Old Testament of a horn shaped hill. In Ovid mountain spurs are called cornua terrœ. In Greek too κέρας is so used. Compare the German Schreckhorn, Wetterhorn, etc.—The expression בן־שׁמן occurs only here. Yet comp. גֵּיא שְׁמָנִים Isaiah 28:1, and the kindred expressions used of the fruitfulness of the soil. שָׁמֵן (Isaiah 30:23; Ezekiel 34:14), מִשְׁמַנִּים (Genesis 27:28; Genesis 27:39) אַשְׁמַנֵּים (Isaiah 59:10).
Isaiah 5:2. עִזֵּק is ἅπ. λεγ., but its meaning is definitely derived from the dialects.—סִקֵּל in this sense only here and Isaiah 62:10.—נָטַע with double accusative comp. Jeremiah 2:21; where, beside, the word is borrowed from our passage.—שׂרֵק only here and Jeremiah 2:21; Genesis 49:11, שׂרקה; Isaiah 16:8, שְׂרוּקִּים: etymology doubtful, some taking the underlying idea, to be without seeds, others the shooting up, others purple color [Zechariah 1:8]: comp. Leyrer in Herzog’s R. Encycl. XVII. p. 612.
Isaiah 5:3. On “Jerusalem and Judah” comp. at Isaiah 2:1. The expression ישֵׁב ירושׁלם occurs beside in Isaiah 8:14; Isaiah 22:21; Isaiah 10:24 ישֵׁב צִיּוֹן occurs. Except these only Zechariah 12:7-8; Zechariah 12:10, uses ישׁב י׳. The more usual expression is ישְׁבֵי י׳; 2 Kings 23:2, especially in Jer. (Isaiah 8:1; Isaiah 11:2; Isaiah 13:13, etc.), and in 2 Chron. (2 Chronicles 20:15; 2 Chronicles 21:11; 2Ch 21:13; 2 Chronicles 32:26; 2 Chronicles 32:33, etc.).
Isaiah 5:4. On לעשׂות Gesenius § 132, Rem. 1.—מזוע קויתי וגו׳. Comp. 1. 2.
Isaiah 5:5. משׂוכה, which some of the MSS. write with Dag. forte, is = שׂךְ (Lamentations 2:6) and מְסוּכָה (Micah 7:4; Proverbs 15:19). The word occurs only here in Isaiah. The meaning is: a hedge, a thorn hurdle, from שׂוּךְ sepire (Hosea 2:6 (8); Job 1:10). והיה לבער et erit ad depascendum, comp. Isaiah 3:14; Isaiah 4:4; Isaiah 6:13. The expression לְבָעֵר occurs also with the meaning “ad comburendum;” Isaiah 44:15, comp. Isaiah 40:16; Isaiah 50:11.—פָּרַץ in the sense “to tear down” only here. Beside this in Isaiah 54:3, in the sense “to break out, extend oneself abroad.” גָדֵר may signify the low wall of a vineyard as well as the high wall of a city: comp. Jeremiah 49:3; Numbers 22:24. In Isaiah the word does not again occur. Hedge and wall might be combined in such a way that the hedge surrounded the foot of the wall so as also to protect it. Yet perhaps the double enclosure is not to be pressed literally, but, may be construed rhetorically, since no actual vineyard is meant.—מִדְמָם conculcatio: Isaiah 7:25; Isaiah 10:6; Isaiah 28:18.—Giving up His vineyard, the Lord abandons it to desolation.
Isaiah 5:6. שִׁית בָּתָה appears to correspond to the expression עָשָה כָלָה often used, by Jer. especially, but which does not occur in Isaiah. בָּתָה is ἅπ. λεγ. According to its meaning and derivation it is one with בַּתָּה Isaiah 7:19. The verb בָּתַת does not occur in Hebrew. Yet the meaning “abscindere” is established from the dialects. From that develops בַּת = the close-cut-off, exactly measured out, as the name of a fluid measure, (comp. Isaiah 5:10), and בָּתָה vastatio and בַּתָּה abscissum, prœruptum.—The vineyard abandoned to desolation will, of course, no more be pruned (זָמַר in this sense only here in Isa., otherwise Isaiah 12:5) and no more digged (עדר in the sense of “to dig” only again Isaiah 7:25). Consequently it springs up with thorns and thistles (the construction of עָלה with the accusative like Isaiah 34:13; Proverbs 24:31. The two words שָׁמִיר and שַׁיִת, excepting Isaiah 32:13, are always joined together by Isaiah 7:23-25; Isaiah 9:17; Isaiah 10:17; Isaiah 27:4. Both words, as one may see from the passages cited, signify combustible vegetation of the desert, although nothing as yet has been established concerning the etymology and meaning of either. But comp. Dietrich, Abhandl. fur semit. Wortforschung, p. 73, and the Denkschrift der Erfurter Akademie von S. Cassel, 1854, p. 74 sqq., cited by Delitzsch.
Isaiah 5:7. נְטַע occurs again in Isaiah 17:10-11. Isaiah uses שַֽׁעֲשוּעִים only here.—מִשְׂפָּח occurs only here. The verb שָׂפַח occurs in Hebrew only in the Piel form שִׂפַּח Isaiah 3:17. It is identical with ספח (Habakkuk 2:15) according to a frequent exchange of sound. Not only the Arabic saphacha proves that סָפַח means effundere, but also passages like Job 30:7; then the substantive סָפִיחַ that means effusio, inundatio (Job 14:19) and effusum, i.e., especially the grain that falls out (Leviticus 25:5; Leviticus 25:11). Of course then מִשְׂפָּח means first of all effusio. But for the sake of a play on words, an author may indulge in such an incomplete expression. The reader at once thinks of passages like Isaiah 4:4; Isaiah 1:15, and fills out the conception “sanguinis” of himself. The word צְעָקָח cry, is not repeated in Isaiah, he also chooses it for the sake of the play on words. For my own part I have allowed myself to waive a literal translation in favor of a likeness of sound and to use a word that at least corresponds to the proper intention of the Prophet.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1. When we read the introduction of this piece it sounds like a lovely musical prelude. All sounds like singing. It is as if the Prophet tried every harmonious sound of speech in order to turn the hearts of his hearers to joy. But it happens to us as he says, Isaiah 5:7, it happened to God in reference to Israel. Instead of a joyful report we receive a mournful one; instead of happiness, a gloomy prospect of evil is presented. The piece therefore bears the character of bitter irony. This is especially in the beginning carried out even to minuteness. The Prophet makes as if he would sing a joyous song, a song of the vineyard, thus perhaps of wine, a drinking song! It shall be of the vineyard of a boon companion. And then the Prophet describes the situation. It is a good site. For there is no better than on a sunny knoll with a good, fat soil (Isaiah 5:1 a). But the owner aided nature as much as possible by art (Isaiah 5:2 a.). He had a right therefore to expect a good yield. His hopes were disappointed. Instead of good grapes the vines bore wild grapes (Isaiah 5:2). Thus far the Prophet speaks. From this point he lets the owner of the vine speak. One looked to hear of a real vineyard. But what sort of a vineyard is that whose owner accuses it and charges it with guilt! Now, therefore, when the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah are summoned to judge between the vineyard and its lord (Isaiah 5:3), in as much as he has faithfully done his best, yet instead of grapes has gathered only wild grapes (Isaiah 5:4), it is noticed at once that behind this is concealed something else than the story of a real, natural vineyard. And step by step this becomes plainer. For the lord of the vineyard declares that he will tear away hedge and wall, and give the vineyard up to be browsed upon and trampled down (Isaiah 5:5), yea, that he will make a ruin of it, he will no more hoe and prune it, but let it grow rank with thorns and thistles, and will forbid the heavens to rain on it (Isaiah 5:6). This last word lifts the mask entirely. It is now seen who is the owner and who the vineyard. And this is now (Isaiah 5:7) openly declared: Jehovah is the lord; Israel, summoned to judge between the lord and his vineyard, is itself the vineyard. The Lord had expected of Israel the fruits of righteousness, but only gathered the fruits of unrighteousness. What a contrast between this fruit of the land and that which, according to Isaiah 4:2, the land shall one time bear!
2. I will sing—wild grapes. Isaiah 5:1-2. Everything in this passage tends to express the idea of disappointment, the contrast between incipient hope and the final, mournful event. Hence the joyous, one may say the lark-like trilling commencement. Every harvest is preceded by a season of hope. Israel too awakened such. How joyous this was, Isaiah 5:1 portrays. One must not, therefore, be misled by the peculiar joyous tone of Isaiah 5:1, to think that here begins an essentially new and independent piece. For this sound-coloring of Isaiah 5:1, is intentional, is art.
The address begins with אָשִׁירָה, I will sing. One, therefore, expects a שִׁיר, a jovial song: but a קינָה. (Amos 8:10), a lament follows. What a contrast, therefore, between the sixfold woe of Isaiah 5:8 sqq., and this joy bespeaking beginning! לִידִידִי seems, at first sight, to be an ordinary dative, and to say that the prophet would sing to his friend a song, thus likely a song of right hearty and enlivening contents. But לְכַדְמוֹ suggests that that may be an incorrect meaning: for this must mean “in regard to his vineyard.” Thus לְ must here be לְ of the object. Then it seems likely that in the preceding case it has the same force. This conjecture becomes a certainty when we read further “my friend (לידידי) had a vineyard.” From this it becomes plain: 1) that the friend in each case is the same, for the owner of the vineyard is called both דּוֹד and יָדִיד; 2) that we must translate לידידי in Isaiah 5:1 “of my friend,” for the song shall treat of the vineyard of his friend; 3) what the Prophet would sing is not a song of his own composing, but one that his friend has made of his vineyard, so that “I will sing” is qualified by the following, “a song of my friend,” &c.; 4) from the words “my friend had a vineyard,” &c, we know that the song of the friend does not yet begin. For to the end of Isaiah 5:2 we have still the words of the Prophet, by which, as it were, he preludes the song of the friend, in order to acquaint the hearer with the facts that the song presupposes. Thus the Prophet gives us one disappointment after the other. Though they are only of a formal kind, still they prepare us for the more earnest and material disappointments that follow.
We have already remarked that with “my friend had,” &c., the song of the friend by no means begins, as one would expect, and that what the Prophet himself says is by no means a song, but a very earnest presentation of gloomy facts. This is a further disappointment. That בְּן, as commentators remark, signifies the natural fruitfulness in opposition to what is artificial appears to me to lie less in the expression itself than in its relation to Isaiah 5:2. The usus loquendi in itself is well known: Umbreit’s translation “on the prominence of a fat spot” is incorrect. For בּן־שׁמן in itself is not a “fat spot” but a real son, a man, whom the notion “oil” characterizes (comp. בְּנֵי יִצְהַרZec 4:14). It can only become predicate of a place by connection with an idea of place. Such is קרן with which בן־שׁמן stands in apposition. If they were taken as standing in a genitive relation the meaning would be: horn of a man of oil, of one oiled, of an anointed man. However, to this naturally fruitful spot, the owner had done everything that the art of wine culture could suggest. He had hoed it, gathered out the stones, and planted it with a choice vine. But not only did the owner undertake such labor as was important for the flourishing of the vines themselves, but also such as were for the protection of the fruit and putting it to use. Such are the watch tower (vid. Matthew 21:33) and the wine press (יֶקֶב the lower wine-press trough, comp. Isaiah 16:10, Numbers 18:27, &c), both of them costly, &c.,—especially the latter, hence וְגַםand also—demanding hard labor, because the wine-press trough, as חָצֵב (Isaiah 10:15; Isaiah 22:16; Isaiah 51:1; Isaiah 51:9) indicates, was hewn out of the rock. See Herzog’sR. Encycl. VII., p. 508, Art. Wine-press, by Leyrer. But—disappointed hope! Instead of עֲנָבִים (in Isa. only here, and Isaiah 5:2; Isaiah 5:4) good grapes, the vineyard bore only בְּאֻשִׁיםsour grapes. This last word occurs only here and Isaiah 5:4. It comes from בָּאַשׁ “to be bad, stink,” and means the fruit of the wild vine, the labrusca. It has, therefore, happened to the choice vine according to the word of Jer. (Isaiah 2:21), which may be regarded as a commentary on our passage: “thou art turned into a degenerate plant of a strange vine.” The noble vine is degenerated and become wild, so that it produces wild grapes instead of grapes.—Comp. Job 31:40.
3. And now, O inhabitants—no rain upon it.
Isaiah 5:3-6. The song of the “friend” begins first at Isaiah 5:3. It is, however, no gladsome song, but a lament and a complaint. And the friend is not some good friend or boon companion of the Prophet, but the Lord Himself, which comes out clearly at the end of Isaiah 5:6. This one, now, summons the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah to judge between him and his vineyard.
Judge between me, etc.—Comp. Isaiah 2:4; Exodus 18:16; Ezekiel 34:17; Ezekiel 34:20; Ezekiel 34:22. The summons of Isaiah 5:3 to judge between the vineyard and its owner, must of itself awaken the thought that no actual, physical vineyard is meant here. For where is the owner that would ever think of laying a complaint against his vineyard? One sees from this, and other obvious traits of the description, that the subject here is not an ordinary vineyard and its owner; and Isaiah 5:6 b. one is made aware that the owner is God Himself. For only He has the power to cause it to rain, and to shut up the rain. Notice, moreover, how Isaiah 5:1-2 the Prophet himself has spoken, although announcing a song of the friend, and only at Isaiah 5:3 the friend begins to speak, in that with “and now” he takes up the discourse of the Prophet and continues it. One may say: quite unnoticed the Prophet glides over into the part played by him whom properly he has to produce to view. And to the first “and now” corresponds a second in Isaiah 5:5, that introduced the judgment, so that the extraordinary judgment begins in precisely the same way that the extraordinary complaint does.
The Lord will command the clouds to let no rain fall on the vineyard. With these words the vail falls completely. It is plain now that the beginning of Isaiah 5:1 was irony. A fearful disappointment comes on those that had disappointed the Lord Himself, and, by the art of the Prophet, the reader, too, must share this disappointment, in that he is conducted from the charming pictures of Isaiah 5:1, to the dreadful ones that are now to follow.
For the vineyard—a cry.
Isaiah 5:7. Like the prophet Nathan, 2 Samuel 12:5, first provoked King David to a stern judgment of a wicked man by means of a fictitious story, and then exclaimed: “thou art the man,” so here Isaiah explains to the men of Jerusalem and Judah, after they had at least silently given their assent to the judgment on the bad vineyard: “The vineyard of Jehovah is the house of Israel.” But this statement is connected by כִּיfor, with what precedes, because a consequence of this fact was already indicated at the end of Isaiah 5:6. For this not letting it rain explains itself from the fact that the Lord Himself is the owner, and the vineyard is the house of Israel. For, though one must admit that Isaiah 5:7 refers to all that precedes, yet still that trait in Isaiah 5:1-6 which especially receives its light from the identity of the owner with Jehovah, is precisely that which we read in Isaiah 5:6 b.
But why does the prophet vary from the designation “Judah and Jerusalem” hitherto employed by him? Why does he here make “house of Israel” and “men of Judah” parallel? Caspari attempts in his Beiträgen, p. 164, an extended proof that here, as Isaiah 4:2 and Isaiah 1:2, Israel is Judah as Israel, and as Israel in Judah. But one naturally asks: why, if Isaiah meant only Judah, does he not name Judah exclusively? Why does he suddenly drop the designation used hitherto? But if with the name “house of Israel” he designates Judah (to be) as Israel, is it not therewith admitted that the conception Israel extends over Judah, and is not then this more comprehensive Israel in its totality, the vineyard of Jehovah? It is true that the figure of the vineyard is nowhere in older writings applied either to Judah or Israel. But the Lord calls Israel His people (Isaiah 3:12, &c), His flock (Psalms 95:7, &c), His peculiar treasure (Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 6:6), His inheritance (Jeremiah 2:7; Jeremiah 16:18, &c), and all these expressions refer to Israel entire. Thus it cannot be contested that Israel in the narrower sense belongs also to the vineyard of Jehovah. If now, too, in general, as can not be denied, Judah and Jerusalem form the principal object of the discourse (Isaiah 2:1), yet the prophet may here and there cast a glance aside at the kingdom of Israel. Prophets of Jehovah can never forget that Israel, which hastens faster to the abyss of destruction than Judah, as Jer. expressly says: Jeremiah 31:20; comp. Jeremiah 11:11 sqq. I therefore share the view of Vitringa, Drechsler, Delitzsch, that “house of Israel” of course means all Israel. This view is not refuted but rather confirmed by the fact that the men of Judah are presently called “the plant of his pleasure.” For this expression that accords to Judah a certain precedence, suits better when “house of Israel” does not signify Judah over again, but the Israel of the Ten Tribes.
The Lord had planted with pleasure. But He was outrageously deceived in His just expectations. He had expected a “fruit of the earth” Isaiah 4:2, that would do Him honor. But behold! instead of מִשְׁפָטmishpot, He gathers מִשְׂפָּחmispahh: instead of צְדָקָהtzedhaka, he gathers צְעָקָהtzeaka. The poet here choicely depicts by the word-likeness, which yet conceals a total difference of meaning, the deceptive appearance in the conduct of the Israelites, which at first looked like good vines and then developed a wild wine.
of my friend.
Heb. the horn of the son of oil.
a hill of fat soil.
Or, made a wall about it.
Heb. for a treading.
Heb. plant of his pleasure.
auf Gutthat und siehe da: Blutthat! Und auf Gerechtigkeit, und siehe da: Schlechtigkeit. [The commentator's license in translating with reference to the sound and sense combined may be imitated in English thus: He waited for equity, and lo, iniquity: For right and lo, riot.—Tr.]
Heb. a scab.
b. THE BAD FRUITS AND THEIR EFFECTS MORE PARTICULARLY DESCRIBED IN A SIXFOLD WOE–AT THE SAME TIME A TWOFOLD CONCLUSIONS OF THE WHOLE DISCOURSE
8 Woe unto them that join house to house,
That lay field to field,
Till there be no place,
That11 they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!
9 12 In mine ears said the Lord of hosts,
13 Of a truth many houses shall be desolate,
Even great and fair, without inhabitant.
10 Yea, ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath,
And the seed of an homer shall yield an ephah.
11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink;
That continue until night, till wine14 inflame them!
12 15 And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe,
16 And wine, are in their feasts:
But they regard not the work of the Lord,
Neither consider the operation of his hands.
13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity,17 because they have no knowledge:
And their multitude dried up with thirst.
14 Therefore hell hath enlarged 20herself,
And opened her mouth without measure:
And their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp,
And he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.
15 And 21the mean man shall be brought down,
Andf the mighty man shall be humbled,
And the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled:
16 But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment,
17 Then shall the lambs feed 24after their manner,
And the waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat.
18 Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity,
And sin as it were with a cart rope:
19 That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work,
That we may see it:
And let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come,
That we may know it.
20 Woe unto them 25that call evil good, and good evil;
That put darkness for light, and light for darkness:
21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes,
And prudent 26in their own sight!
22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine,
And men of strength to mingle strong drink:
23 Which justify the wicked for reward,
And take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!
24 Therefore as 27the fire devoureth the stubble,
And the flame consumeth the 28chaff,
So their root shall be as rottenness,
Because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts,
And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25 Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against his people,
But his hand is stretched out still,
26 And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far,
And will hiss unto them from the end of the earth:
And, behold, 31they shall come with speed swiftly:
27 None shall be weary nor stumble among them;
None shall slumber nor sleep;
Neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed,
Nor the latchet of their shoes be broken:
28 Whose arrows are sharp,
Their horses’ hoofs shall be counted like flint,
And their wheels like a whirlwind:
29 Their roaring shall be like a32 lion,
They shall 33roar like young lions:
Yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey,
And shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it.
30 And in that day 34they shall roar against m them like the roaring of the sea:
And if one look unto the land, behold darkness and 35sorrow,
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL
Isaiah 5:8. נָגַע is often construed with בְּ: Genesis 26:11; 32:33; Leviticus 11:36; 1Ki 19:5; 1 Kings 19:7, etc. Comp. especially Hosea 4:2. Hiphil הִגִּיעַ occurs beside only Isaiah 6:7; Isaiah 8:8; Isaiah 25:12; Isaiah 26:5; Isaiah 30:4. קָרַב is generally not construed with בְּ. But when Drechsler says that this construction never occurs, it is asserting too much. For Psalms 91:10 it is said “No plague יִקְרַב בְּאָֽהֳלֶךָ.” Comp. Judges 19:13. In our passage the construction of the first clause has doubtless influenced that of the second. Hiph. הִקְרִיב only again Isaiah 26:17.——אֶפֶם (defectus, non-existent) occurs oftener in the second part than in the first: Isaiah 40:17; Isaiah 41:12; Isaiah 41:29; Isaiah 44:6; Isaiah 44:14; Isaiah 44:22; Isaiah 46:9, Isaiah 52:4; Isaiah 52:10; Isaiah 54:15. In the first part it occurs again only Isaiah 34:12.——The Hophal הוּשַׁבְתֶּם (Isaiah 44:26) indicates that their dwelling alone in the land was not a natural thing, but something contrived. Compare complaints of like import Isaiah 3:14 sq.; Micah 2:2; Micah 3:2, sq.
Isaiah 5:9. In mine ears, etc. In Isaiah 22:14 an address of Jehovah begins with the words “and it was revealed in mine ears.” etc. In our passage וְנִגְלָה “and, it was revealed” is omitted. It does not follow from this that this or some similar word has fallen out of the text. For the Prophet may very well have had in thought the bare notion of existence as predicate of his sentence; “In mine ears is Jehovah Sabaoth.” It must not however be construed in a pregnant sense: Jehovah keeps ever saying to me (liegt mir in den Ohren). For there is not a thought of any resistance on the part of the Prophet that had provoked a persistence on the Lord’s side. Neither may the expression mean: Jehovah whispers in my ear; as if the secrecy of the address were meant by it; for there exists no reason for such secrecy. But the Prophet will only say, that what follows he has clearly heard by the inward ear as the word of Jehovah. There lies thus in the expression a distinguishing of actual from merely imaginary hearing. Comp. Psalms 44:2; Job 28:22; Job 33:8.
The pointing of the word באזני as a pausel from appears to have for its object to separate it from what follows and to signify thereby that in this word alone is contained the predicate of the sentence.—לשׁמה again Isaiah 13:9, comp. Deuteronomy 28:37; Micah 6:16.—מאין יושׁב comp. Isaiah 6:11; Jeremiah 2:15; Jeremiah 4:7, etc.; Zephaniah 2:5; Zephaniah 3:6.
Isaiah 5:11. A likeness of structure is to be noticed in the two halves of the verse. The verb. fin. in the phrase שֵׁכָר יִרְדּפוּ relates to the foregoing participle, not simply like יַקְרִיבוּ Isaiah 5:8, as the dominant form, but at the same time as assigning thepurpose; and so is it too with יַדְלִיקֵם—The Pi. of אָחֵר again in Isaiah 46:13. נֶשֶׁף from נָשַׁף to breathe, to blow, the time of day when cooler air stirs, the morning and evening twilight: comp. Isaiah 21:4; Isaiah 59:10. The verb דָּלַק (comp. Ezekiel 24:10) is found only here in Isaiah.
Isaiah 5:12. If משׁתיהם (sing. comp. Gesenius, § 93, 9) were subject, it must follow וְהָיָה, for this position is constantly maintained, after a verb with Vav consec. But if it were predicate, it would say nothing; for what else would music and wine be but a feast. For that והיה would be superfluous. We construe הָיָה therefore, not as mere copula, but in the sense of being on hand; and there is on hand.——The combination of מעשׂה with יד in a manfold sense is quite current with Isaiah 2:8; Isaiah 17:8; Isaiah 19:25; Isaiah 29:23; Isaiah 37:19; Isaiah 60:21; Isaiah 64:7; Isaiah 65:22.
Isaiah 5:13. גָלָה in the sense of “making bare, i.e., clearing out the land” occurs in Isaiah only again Isaiah 24:11, which passage generally resembles this one.—מְתֵי רָעָב has without reason been discredited, and instead some would read מְזֵי רעב according to Deuteronomy 32:24, for מְתִים is wont to be used in a contemptuous sense, comp. Isaiah 3:25.—צִחֶה (comp. Green’s Gram. § 187,1 b.) is adjectivum ad f. אִלֵּם נִבֵּן עִוֵּרִ etc., and only occurs here.
Isaiah 5:14. פָּעַר aperire, that always stands with פֶּה (Job 16:10; Job 29:23; Psalms 119:131) occurs in Isaiah only here. The same with לִבְלִי (comp. Job 38:41; Job 41:25). חֹק again only Isaiah 24:5 .——The suffixes of the nouns are to be referred to the notion “Jerusalem,” although immediately before Isaiah 5:13, the masculine עַם is used. But it is plain that the Prophet in Isaiah 5:14 b., aims at a mimicry of sound. For this purpose he employs the clear a sound as often as possible. Delitzsch calls attention to the omission to draw the tone back on the penult of the word ועלז, “so that one may hear the object that is falling down as it rolls and at last strikes bottom.” הָדָר comp. Isaiah 2:10; Isaiah 2:19; Isaiah 2:21; Isaiah 35:2; Isaiah 53:2.
Isaiah 5:15. The aorists ויגבה וישׁפל וישׁח are to be construed as Prœterita prophetica. Also תשׁפלנה, with the Vav preceding and separate, is, as Drechsler has remarked = וַתִּשְׁפַלְנָה.
Isaiah 5:17. רָעוּ is to be taken absolutely, without object. What is understood suggests itself from what precedes. The pronoun of the third person is, as object of the phrase, very often omitted; Genesis 2:19; Genesis 3:21; Genesis 6:19-21, etc. It is not necessary, with Gesenius to take כדברם for כִּבְדָבְרָם: for רָעָה very often stands with the accusative of the place that is pastured: Isaiah 30:23; Micah 7:14; Jeremiah 6:3; Jeremiah 1:19, etc. As their pasture shall the sheep graze over the ruins of Jerusalem, in so far as the inhabited city becomes a sheep walk. When Delitzsch thinks that no accusative object is to be supplied to רעו, but that the determination of the locality results from the context, it is seen that still there is a supplying of the object. One may as well supply the definite locality as object according to frequent usus loquendi, as imagine it from the context. The sense, in any case remains the same.—כֶּבֶשׂ found again only Isaiah 1:11; Isaiah 11:6, מִדְבָּר דּבֶר the place whither flocks are driven, found again only Micah 2:12. מֵחִים found beside only Psalms 65:6, 15. גָּרִים are not גֵּרִים the strangers that are constant dwellers in the land, but as participle from גוּר, those en passant. The LXX translate ἄρνες. They may have read perhaps גדים גְּדָיִם). This word, moreover, Schleussner, Hitzig, Ewald and others would restore. But we have shown above that an emphasis rests on the idea of a transitory stopping. גָּר in Isaiah again Isaiah 11:6; Isaiah 54:15. The plural חרבות occurs only here in the first part of Isaiah; but six times in the second part: Isaiah 44:26; Isaiah 49:19; Isaiah 51:3; Isaiah 52:9; Isaiah 58:12; Isaiah 61:4. The singular is found only Isaiah 64:10.
Isaiah 5:18. I take משׁך in its usual meaning in which it often occurs with the accusative (in Isaiah again only Isaiah 66:19, coll. Isaiah 13:22; Isaiah 18:2). חבלי חשׁוא are ropes of lies, for what binds them to sin, is the illusion that sin makes one happy. Hence every sin is a fraud (Hebrews 3:13). The expression further calls to mind Jonah 2:9; Psalms 31:7; and also חַבְלֵי חַטָּאָה Proverbs 5:22, and חַבְלֵי אָדָם Hosea 11:4. Regarding the use of שָׁוְא in Isaiah, comp. Isaiah 1:13 (מנחת־שׁ׳). Isaiah 30:28 (נָפַת שׁ׳), Isaiah 59:4, (דַּבֶּר־שׁ׳). The word occurs only in these places in Isaiah. In כעבות the prefix בְּ is wanting according to the familiar rule; comp. Gesenius. § 118, Rem. עֲבוֹת (from עָבַת to twist, the twisting, twisted work, rope) Isaiah uses only here. Comp. Hosea 11:4. עֲגָלָה, “a freight wagon.” found too Isaiah 28:27-28.
Isaiah 5:19. מהר and יחישׁ may be taken transitively and intransitively. I decide for the latter construction, 1) because מהר is used by Isaiah only intransitively (Isaiah 32:4; Isaiah 49:17; Isaiah 51:14; Isaiah 59:7), יחישׁ, that occurs twice beside here (Isaiah 28:16; Isaiah 60:22), is one of these times (Isaiah 28:16) used intransitively; 2) because in the parallel phrase ותקרב וגו׳ not Jehovah but עצת ק׳ is subject. The sense is any way in both instances the same. The forms יָחִישָׁה and תָּבֹאָה belong to the few instances of the voluntative ה appended to the third person, (comp. Psalms 20:4, and the more doubtful cases Leviticus 21:5; Deuteronomy 33:16; Job 11:17; Job 22:21; Ezekiel 23:20; Olshausen, § 228 b. Anm. [Green, § 97, 7). Let it be noticed moreover that this He so stands in two pairs of verbs, that each time it is only appended to the last word. It seems that each time it should avail as well for the first word. Comp. Isaiah 1:24 b.—עֵצָה is a current word with Isaiah that occurs thirteen times in the first part and five times in the second. On “the Holy One of Israel” see Isaiah 1:4.
Isaiah 5:20. שׂוּם with לְ following in the sense “to make into something;” Isaiah 13:9; Isaiah 23:13; Isaiah 25:2; Isaiah 41:15; Isaiah 42:15; Isaiah 49:11, etc.
Isaiah 5:21. On נגד פניהם comp. Hosea 7:2; Lamentations 3:35; the expression does not again occur in Isaiah. נבון part. Isaiah 3:3; Isaiah 29:14.
Isaiah 5:22. מסך in Isaiah again Isaiah 19:14. מֶסֶךְ – מִמְסָךְ Isaiah 65:11. Hiph. הִצְדִּיק found again Isaiah 50:8; Isaiah 53:11. עֵקְב. only here. שֹׁחַד again Isaiah 1:23; Isaiah 33:15; Isaiah 45:13. Hiph. הֵסִיר frequent in the first part (Isaiah 1:16; Isaiah 1:25; Isaiah 3:1; Isaiah 3:18; Isaiah 5:5; Isaiah 5:23; Isaiah 10:13, etc), in the second part only in Isaiah 58:9. The singular suffix in ממנו must be construed distributively. The righteousness of the righteous they let disappear from him, i.e., from the righteous man in question. Comp., at Isaiah 2:8 and Isaiah 1:23.
Isaiah 5:24. As regards the construction; כאכל is a predicate infinitive dependent on a preposition, which is followed immediately, not as usually by the subject, but by the object, because the order כאכל לשון אֵשׁ קַשׁ offends against euphony; also in Isaiah 20:1, the object precedes, because it is a pronoun (אֹתוֹ). Commentators call attention to the multiplication of sibilants in the sentence. “One hears the crackling sparks, the sputtering flames” says Delitzsch. חֲשַׁשׁ occurs only once again in the Old Testament, Isaiah 33:11.—רָפָה is “to become lax, withered, weary, fall away” (especially of the hands Isaiah 13:7). לֶהָבָה is accus. loci.——The suffixes in שׁרשׁם and פרחם refer back to those whom the preceding four woes concern. To these then their punishment is announced. מַק only occurs again Isaiah 3:24. פֶּרַח (only Isaiah 18:5 again) is the blossom. אָבָק dust, only occurs again Isaiah 29:5.—The second clause of the verse calls to mind Isaiah 1:4. They were therefore the opposite of “the branch of Jehovah” Isaiah 4:2, and much rather comparable to the bad grape-vine, Isaiah 5:1 sqq. אִמְרָה occurs again Isaiah 28:23; Isaiah 29:4; Isaiah 32:9.
Isaiah 5:25. The expression חָרָה אַף does not occur again in Isaiah, and, excepting the part, Niph. Isaiah 41:11; Isaiah 45:24, no other form of the verb חרה occurs in Isaiah. Our expression, however, calls to mind, Numbers 11:33, “And the wrath of the Lord was kindled against His. people, and the Loan smote the people,” as all those numerous places in the Pentateuch, especially Num. where the expression וַיִּחַרּ אַף י׳ “and the anger of the Lord kindled,” etc., occurs (Exodus 4:14; Numbers 11:1; Numbers 11:10; Numbers 12:9, etc.)—ויט ידו is also a reminiscence of the Pentateuch from Exodus 8:2; Exodus 8:13; Exodus 10:22; Exodus 14:21; Exodus 14:27, where the expression is used of Aaron and Moses as they stretched out the hand to the performance of their miracles. In Isaiah, this expression is repeated in the same manner in Isaiah 23:11; Isaiah 31:3, coll. Isaiah 14:26-27.——רָגַז (Kal., in Isaiah 14:9; Isaiah 32:10-11; Isaiah 28:21; Isaiah 64:1), used of the trembling of the earth (Joel 2:10) or of the foundation of the mountains (Psalms 18:8, coll. 2 Samuel 22:8). The expression that the carcass (נְבֵלָה occurs Isaiah 26:19) shall be as the sweepings (סוּחָה from סָחָה Ezekiel 26:4, everrere, detergere = סְחִי Lamentations 3:45, “leavings, sweepings out;” α̈π.λεγ..), occurs only here. Elsewhere it is, that the נבלה shall be as dung in the field (Jeremiah 9:21), shall be cast as a prey (Deuteronomy 28:26; Jeremiah 7:33; Jeremiah 16:4; Jeremiah 19:7, etc.), to the wild beasts. The reading חֻצּוֹח (the London Polyglot has חוּצוֹת) is both etymologically incorrect, and also in conflict with every other place in which the word occurs in Isaiah (Isaiah 10:6; Isaiah 15:3; Isaiah 24:11; Isaiah 51:20.
Isaiah 5:26. מֵרָחוֹק does not belong to נָשָּׂא, but it has become an adjective conception and takes the place of an adjective, as may be seen from passages like Jeremiah 23:23; Jeremiah 31:10. The same is true of מִמֶּרְחָק that has the same meaning. The former word occurs in Isaiah twelve times; five times in the first and seven times in the second part (Isaiah 22:3; Isaiah 22:11; Isaiah 23:7; Isaiah 25:1; Isaiah 43:6; Isaiah 49:1; Isaiah 49:12; Isaiah 57:9; Isaiah 59:14; Isaiah 60:4; Isaiah 60:9). נֵס a signal set up on a high point; Isaiah 11:12; Isaiah 13:2; Isaiah 18:3; Isaiah 33:23; Isaiah 62:10. Only in the last named passage does the verb הֵרִים occur. שָׁרַק “to hiss, whistle,” is taken from the practice of bee keepers, as may be seen in Isaiah 7:18, where the same figure recurs. מקצה recurs Isaiah 13:5; Isaiah 13:10; Isaiah 43:6, thus equally in both parts. In each place, Isaiah 13:5 excepted, הארץ follows it. מְהֵרָה properly substantive—celeritas: recurs Isaiah 58:8; combined with קַל according to Joel 4:4. קַל recurs, in Isaiah 19:1; Isaiah 30:16; Isaiah 18:2. On the change of number in לֹו, comp., at Isaiah 5:23. The singular here apparently indicates that though the signal is given at various times and to different nations, still always, it shall be only one at a time, that they shall be summoned.
Isaiah 5:27. Drechsler justly calls attention to the perfect equilibrium in the structure of this Isaiah 5:27; in the first hemistich two clauses, each with two members of like arrangement; in the second hemistich two clauses, each with one member, the corresponding words in which rhyme together: שֹׁרוך–&אזור נתק–&כּתח עָיֵף נעליו–חלציו recurs in Isaiah 28:12; Isaiah 29:8; Isaiah 32:2; Isaiah 46:1. On כָּשַׁל see at Isaiah 3:8. The Participle (Jeremiah 46:16; Psalms 105:37; 2 Chronicles 28:15), occurs only here in Isaiah. נוּם recurs only Isaiah 56:10, יָשֵׁן only here in Isaiah. Niph. נפתח Isaiah 24:18; Isaiah 35:5; Isaiah 51:14.
Isaiah 5:28. צַר in the sense of “stone, flint” occurs only here and Isaiah 5:30, if this interpretation is allowable in the second case; it has then the same meaning as צֹר Ezekiel 3:9; Exodus 4:25; ????Exodus 2:10; Exodus 8:14, etc. Niph. נחשׁב like Isaiah 2:22; Isaiah 29:16-17; Isaiah 40:15.
Isaiah 5:29. לָבִיא (again in Isaiah 30:6) is by most held to mean lioness. Comp. Gesenius, Thes. p. 738 … On the construction of כַּלָּבִיא see at Isaiah 5:18.—ושׁאג is according to K’thibh וְשָׁאַג, according to K’ri יִשְׁאַג. The reading of K’ri is the correct one, for there is no reason for the perfect with the Vav consec., whereas the imperfect stands here, according to rule, to describe permanent qualities.—נָהַם only here in Isaiah, see Proverbs 28:15; Proverbs 19:12; Proverbs 20:2). Of פָלַט the form found here is the only one used by Isaiah, and that only here. The formula ואיז מציל occurs again Isaiah 42:22, and Isaiah 43:13, in which latter place it sounds the same as the original passage Deuteronomy 32:39.
Isaiah 5:30. The subject of ינהם, “he shall roar,” is the same that it has in the preceding verse. But we translate “it roars dull,” only to give prominence to the collective more than to the individual as indicated in כנהמת־ים “as the roaring of the sea.” The suffix, in עָלָיו can refer only to the one seized, i.e., Judah.—נהמה occurs only again Psalms 38:9.—Drechsler, has justly called attention “to the sound painting produced by accumulating the buzzing and rumbling sound of m, and n, too,” in the first hemistich of this verse. Both sounds are in יִנְהֹם; to this word כַּיּוֹם rhymes; in כְּנַֽהֲמַת־יָם we find m. and n. again, and the syllable am twice.—To this hemistich, which I may say has itself a low rumble, the second is opposed, which portrays the conquered by its many, i. e, and a sounds, thus by thinner sounds, that in a measure paint weakness.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1. The meaning of this section is twofold. First of all it contains a specification of the sour grapes, and a corresponding announcement of punishment. In this matter the Prophet begins with a certain selection. For he does not censure all sins, but only the sins of the eminent, and eminent sins. Thus six evil fruits are enumerated, and what the Prophet has to say with reference to each begins with a woe. But a detailed announcement of punishment follows on each of the first two woes only, after the description of the sinful condition with which they are concerned. For the following woes there follows an announcement of punishment common to all from Isaiah 5:24 on. This difference observed by the Prophet in regard to the order of his topics is connected with the second meaning of the passage: that is to say it contains at the same time the twofold conclusion of the second portal, i.e. of the whole discourse from chap. 2–5. For the announcement of punishment after the second woe, which is in proportion long extended through five verses (Isaiah 5:13-17), manifestly contains a relative ending: the wicked city sinks into the lower world, and the grass grows over its grave. These are manifestly, I may say, final chords. But in as much as the Prophet, Isaiah 5:15-16, reiterates verbatim the fundamental thought of his first illumination of the present, he gives us to understand that he would have this first (relative) conclusion refer to the first half of his discourse (chap. 2 and 3). And as he handles the following twice-two woes differently from the first two, he intimates that they have another purpose. They are not interrupted in their sequence by announcements of punishment coming between, but these follow after as common to all, Precisely by this concentration the Prophet gains a highly effective conclusion of the whole discourse, but which at the same time undeniably refers to the second lamp (chap. 4 and 5), just as we have seen that the first (relative) conclusion refers to the first lamp. One recognizes this from the comparison of Isaiah 5:24, drawn from vegetation, especially from the notions “root” and “scion,” in which the reference’ back to the צֶמַחbranch, chap. 4, as also to the vineyard and its fruit cannot be mistaken.
Thus this most artistically composed, ending is at the same time an image of the whole discourse, whose unity, comprising chaps, 2–5, here becomes most evident. As the twofold division forms the ground-work of the whole discourse, so it does of this conclusion. And this twofold division appears in the conclusion in a double form: first the simple two for the first (relative) conclusion; then the potent, doubled two for the great principal conclusion. From this we know, at the same time, why there must be six woes, and not seven, as one inclines to expect.
The first woe concerns the rich and mighty, that swallow up the property of inferior people, so that at last they possess the land alone (Isaiah 5:8). These are threatened that their houses shall be destroyed (Isaiah 5:9), and their ground shall become so sterile that ten acres shall yield only a bucketful of must, and a bushel of seed a peck [i.e. 1–16 of a German bushel.—Tr.] of fruits (Isaiah 5:10). The second woe pertains to high livers and gluttons, that begin early and leave off late (Isaiah 5:11), and who, amid the noise of music and the banquet, never come to regard Jehovah’s work (Isaiah 5:12). For this the people must wander into exile, and high rank and low rank shall perish of hunger and thirst (Isaiah 5:13), and be used only to be cast into the jaws of the insatiably greedy underworld (Isaiah 5:14). Then shall human pride be humbled (Isaiah 5:15), and the Lord, the righteous judge shall appear then as alone high in His righteousness and holiness (Isaiah 5:16), the waste places of the fallen grandees shall become the pastures of the flocks of alien tribes (Isaiah 5:17). The third woe is proclaimed against the insolent mockers that do evil with a very rage for it (Isaiah 5:18), and with blasphemous contempt, challenge the Lord, in whom they do not believe, to oppose His work to their own (Isaiah 5:19). The fourth woe strikes those who perversely call exactly that good which is bad, and that bad which is good (Isaiah 5:20). The fifth woe concerns the conceited that think they alone are wise (Isaiah 5:21). The sixth woe, finally, is proclaimed against the oppressors and unjust, who in order to live high, turn aside justice for a vile reward (Isaiah 5:22-23). The threatening, that those who have despised the law of Jehovah, shall be destroyed root and branch, corresponds to the last four woes in common (Isaiah 5:24). For this the people shall be smitten and their dead bodies be cast into the streets like sweepings. But that is not enough even (Isaiah 5:25). Foreign nations shall be brought from a distance against Israel (26). They shall vigorously and zealously accomplish the work to which they are called (27–29). Then like the roaring surges of the sea the enemy shall break over Israel. Israel shall see nothing on the earth but dark night: instead of a protection against rain and storm (Isaiah 4:6), a dark storm-cloud shall envelop the earth that shall turn aside the vivifying and warming light (Isaiah 5:30).
This is the result of the contemplation that the Prophet sets forth in regard to the (relative) present. Sad and gloomy as this result is, the realization of that glorious future which he holds in prospect (Isaiah 4:2-6) is not thereby hindered: on the contrary it postulates and prepares the way for that future. The words “in that day” point away to that.
2. Woe unto them—yield an epha.
Isaiah 5:8-16. On הֹוי comp. remarks at Isaiah 1:4. The Prophet first proclaims a woe against the rich and mighty, who with insatiable greed annex the houses and fields of their poor neighbors, so that these are crowded out of the land, and the country becomes the exclusive domain of these oppressors.
This accumulation of property violates both the statutes concerning the inheritance of real estate, and the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:10-13; Leviticus 25:0 sqq.). What the Prophet has heard is this; not merely some, but many houses, i.e. the houses, all that there are of them (Isaiah 2:3), shall be desolated, and the great and beautiful ones shall be without dwellers. This desolation of the houses is ascribed to the sterility that comes on the land as a punishment from God. For the Pentateuch threatens the disobedience of Israel with this punishment, and that in not a few passages: Leviticus 26:18-20; Deuteronomy 11:17; Deuteronomy 28:17 sq., 23 sq., 38 sqq. How great the barrenness shall be may be determined from the fact, that ten acres of vine land will only yield a bucket of wine, and a bushel of seed only the tenth part as much fruit.—צֶמֶד is a pair of beasts of burden bound by a yoke (Judges 19:10; 1 Samuel 11:7; Isaiah 21:7; Isaiah 21:9), then a piece of ground as great as such a צמד could plow up in a day. If a vineyard is not plowed it might still be measured by the acre. How large a surface a צמד might be according to our measures, has never yet been made out. Comp. Unterss. über die Längen-Feld-und Wege Masse, insbesondere der Greich en und der luden von L. Fenner v. Fenneberg,Berlin, 1859, p. 96.
בַּתa bath (comp. at בָּתָה Isaiah 5:6) is the principal measure for fluids, like the ephah for dry measure. Both are the tenth part of a homer or כּוֹר, cor. (Ezekiel 45:11; Ezekiel 45:14), בת occurs only here in Isa. חֹמֶרhomer, (probably the burden of a חֲֹמר, an ass., whence Judges 15:16; 1 Samuel 16:0:2חֲמוֹר stands directly for חֹמֶר) does not again occur in Isa. in this sense. Also אֵיפָה “an ephah” is only here in Isa. There is still great uncertainty regarding the relation of these measures to those used by us. If Thenius (The ancient Hebrew long and hollow measures, Studien und Krit., 1846, Heft. 1 and 2) is correct, who sets the contents of the homer at 10143.9 Paris cubic inches, then this would about correspond to the burden an ass can bear.
3. Woe unto them that rise up early—shall strangers eat.
Isaiah 5:11-17. The second woe, the longest and most detailed, is directed against the high livers and gluttons. They rise early so as to go soon to drinking; they remain long sitting of evenings so as to inflame themselves with wine. “Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is a noble, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength and not for drunkenness!” Ecclesiastes 10:16-17; Comp. Isaiah 22:13; Isaiah 56:12; Amos 6:3 sqq. The Romans called feasts that began before the usual time (i. e. in the ninth hour) tempestiva convivia., seasonable feasts (Cic. de Senect. 14, &c.). Ab octava hora bibere was accounted debauchery (Juven. 1, 49, comp. Gesenius on our ver.). שֵׁכָר is the artificial wine, and יַיִן the natural. The first was prepared partly from dates, apples, pomegranates (Song of Solomon 8:2), honey, barley, (ζῦθος, οῖ̓νος κρίθινος, Her. 2, 77), partly by mixture (like our punch, hence מְֹסךְ שֵׁכָר to mingle drink Isaiah 5:22); Comp. Herzog’sR. Encycl. XVII. p. 615. In general comp. Isaiah 24:9; Isaiah 28:7; Isaiah 29:9; Isaiah 56:12.
The inflaming caused by wine is physical and psychical; (the former was by the ancients referred to the hepar and oculi, the liver and the eyes); comp. Proverbs 23:29 sq.
But to a jovial banquet belongs music. There does not fail כִּנּוֹר (the harp, i. e. a stringed instrument, with strings resting free and plumb on the sounding board, comp. Isaiah 16:11; Isaiah 23:16; Isaiah 24:8; Isaiah 30:32), נֶבֶל (i.e., every stringed instrument, whose strings are stretched over a bag-shaped sounding board by means of a bridge, for נֶבֶל is properly the bag.—comp. Isaiah 14:11; Isaiah 22:24), תֹּף (the hand drum, the tambourine, Isaiah 24:8; Isaiah 30:32), and חָלִיל (the flute, literally bored out, hollow, Isaiah 30:29). Comp. Herzog’sR. Encycl. X. p. 126 sqq. If now it is added, “and wine” is their drink, it is to prevent one from thinking that Isaiah 5:12 a indicates a different situation from that of Isaiah 5:11; rather the identity of both is expressly made prominent.
While nothing is wanting to the scene as regards worldly pleasure and joy, there is the most serious poverty in regard to spiritual life. In this respect they are as if blind and dead; the revelations of God that are written both in the book of nature and in history, they do not in any way regard. The greatest misery ever known to antiquity was destined to follow this luxury, and debauchery that wickedly forgot the one thing needful; the wandering into exile. One may see from Lamentations 5:0, how distressingly it went with such a herd of humanity, driven away as they were like cattle. Because the nation had not regarded what would promote its peace, it must go out “unawares,” מבלי דעת. In this is signified both: without insight, and unawares. The word designates the subjective state that was portrayed Isaiah 5:12 b, and at the same time the manner in which the objective divine judgment should break over them. מבלי דעה is only found here. But in Hosea 4:6, which comp. מִבְּלִי הַדַּעַת is found in a connection similar to this. Every where beside it reads בִּבְלִי ד׳ (Deuteronomy 4:42; Deuteronomy 19:4; Joshua 20:3; Job 36:12). מִך here is not causative, but negative = without. [Lowth, Barnes and J. A. Alexander retain the meaning of the Eng. Vers.: “for want of knowledge.”—Tr.]
The honored, the nobility of the people (כָּבוֹדabstr. pro concr. comp. Isaiah 4:5; Isaiah 16:14; Isaiah 17:3; Isaiah 60:13; Isaiah 66:12;) shall become starvelings, and the great crowd (הָמוֹןnoise, then what makes noise, the great crowd Isaiah 17:12; Isaiah 29:5-8,) shall pant with thirst. Many, like Gesenius, would take הָמוֹן to mean the rich, because the word occurs in the sense of “riches, treasures” (Isaiah 60:5; Jeremiah 3:23). But the Prophet announces the judgment to the entire people (comp. עַמִּי in the beginning of the verse): according to which it is quite suitable for him to divide the totality into nobility and common people. When death has rich harvest on the earth, then the underworld must open its gates wide to receive the sacrifice. According to that then לָכֵןtherefore, Isaiah 5:14 stands to the לכן Isaiah 5:13, not in a co-ordinate but in a subordinate relation. A soul is ascribed to Sheol (the word is with few exceptions, e. g.Job 26:6, feminine). It is therefore personified. The notion “soul” is at the same time used in the meaning of “desire, greed,” a usage that is not infrequent in the O. Test., as is well known. Thus it is used, e. g., Deuteronomy 23:25, “When thou comest into thy neighbor’s vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes כְּנַפְּשְׁךָ שָׂבְעֶֽךָ“ Comp. Proverbs 23:0:2בַּעַל נֶפֶשׁ a greedy person; פלָבַים עַזּיֵ־נֶפֶשׁIsa 56:11, dogs strong in greediness; comp. Psalms 27:12. The same expression as in our passage is found in Habakkuk 2:5. The insatiable nature of the underworld is declared also Proverbs 27:20; Proverbs 30:16.
Sheol (in Isa. again Isaiah 14:9; Isaiah 14:11; Isaiah 14:15; Isaiah 28:15; Isaiah 28:18; Isaiah 38:10; Isaiah 38:18; Isaiah 57:9), according to the O. Test. representation, is the resting-place of departed souls, corresponding to the Hades of the Greeks, which is conceived of as in the inward part of the earth (hence שְׁאִוֹל תַּחְתּיתthe lowest hell, Deuteronomy 32:22; Psalms 86:13, coll.Psalms 88:7; Lamentations 3:55; Isaiah 44:23; Ezekiel 26:20; Ezekiel 32:18; Ezekiel 32:24), because, naturally, the kingdom of death must be conceived of as in the opposite direction from the kingdom of life. When, therefore, God, the Lord of light, has His seat in light which envelops us from above, then must the kingdom of death be sought under us in the dark depths of the earth.
There are three views regarding the derivation of the word שְׁאוֹל: 1) the older, according to which the word should be derived from שָׁאַל, to demand. The underworld was called “the demanding, the summons,” in accordance with its insatiableness (comp. the passages cited above); and because it will only receive and never gives; 2) Gesenius, and at the same time with him, though quite independently, Böttcher, Ewald, Maurer (comp. Thesaur. p. 1348) maintain that שְׁאוֹל is softened from שְׁעוֹל. But שָׁעַל, which never occurs, must, according to שֹׁעַל the hollow hand, שׁוּעָל the excavator, inhabitant of caves, the fox, מִשְׁעוֹל (Numbers 22:24) the hollow way, have the meaning of being hollow. Sheol would, then, be “the cavern.” 3) Hupfeld, Œhler, Delitzsch, refer the word back to the root ,שׁל שׁול, which is the root of שָׁעַל itself, and has the meaning of “hanging down loose, sinking down,” so that Sheol would be “the sinking, going down deep.” The matter is still undetermined. If it is opposed to the first explanation that, according to it, a poetic epithet is made the chief name of the kingdom of the dead (comp. Œhler in Herzog’sR. Encycl. XXI. p. 412); so, too, both the other views must make it comprehensible how an א comes to take the place of the middle radical.
All the glory of Jerusalem descends into the wide gaping throat of hell, הָמוֹן means the crowd here too (as in Isaiah 5:13), but as there is here no contrast with the honored ones as there, but only the notion of superabundance, of multitude, of tumult is added to that of glory, I allow myself with Drechsler to translate “riot and revel.” שָׁאוֹןstrepitus, noise, is used of the roar of water (Isaiah 17:12-13), and of a multitude of men (Isaiah 13:4; Isaiah 24:8; Isaiah 25:5; Isaiah 66:6). The three substantives designate everything that is splendid and makes a noise, be it person or thing. עָלֵז (ᾶπ. λεγ.), too, before which אֲשֶׁר is to be supplied, does not seem to exclude reference to things. For why should not the music and all that pertains to a banquet (Isaiah 5:12) be called jovial? Comp. Psalms 96:12.
In as much as the Prophet in Isaiah 5:15-16 partly repeats verbatim the fundamental thoughts of the first half of this discourse, that we have called the first prophetic lamp (comp. Isaiah 2:9; Isaiah 2:11; Isaiah 2:17), he intimates that the two parts belong to one another. Those false eminences illumined by the first lamp, and the false fruits of which the second treats, lead to the same end: to the humiliation of the wickedly insolent men, and to the proof that the holy and just God is alone high. But why the Prophet just at this point casts back this connecting look, is explained in the fact that here we stand at a point of relative conclusion. This we recognize, as was shown above, partly from the contents of this second woe, which sounds like a finale, partly from the form, for the following woes have a very different structure from this first. But notice with what art the Prophet leads over to the theme of the first lamp, and thus unites the fundamental thought of both lamps. By the description of the destruction of the wicked multitude by hunger and thirst, he comes quite naturally on the idea of their sinking down into the underworld. Therewith he has touched the deepest point of antagonism which human enmity against God can attain. For it goes no deeper down than the jaws of Sheol. This mention of the deepest deep reminds him that therewith, what he had said above on the abasement of human pride, appears in a new light. That is to say it appears, by what is threatened in Isaiah 5:14, to be absolute. Precisely thereby the highness of the Lord appears in its fullest light. For He that is able to cast down into the lowest deep must for His own part necessarily be the highest. But He is so as the holy one that judges righteously. Now if the highness of God calls to mind the first lamp, His holiness calls to mind the second (comp. the sacred and sanctifying Branch of God, Isaiah 4:2-3). And thus the fundamental thoughts of the first and second lamp combine most beautifully.
The first half of Isaiah 5:15 is repeated verbatim from Isaiah 2:9 a. The second half of Isaiah 5:15 is, with some abbreviation, taken from Isaiah 2:11 coll. Isaiah 5:17. מַשְׁפָּט is the judicial act (comp. Isaiah 1:21); in so far as it is a realization of the idea of righteousness, God at the same time proves Himself to be holy (comp. Ezekiel 20:41; Ezekiel 28:22; Ezekiel 28:25; Ezekiel 36:23; Ezekiel 38:16; Ezekiel 38:23). For holiness and righteousness belong together like lamps and burning (Isaiah 5:17). The Prophet concludes his mournful picture of the future in a highly poetic manner, in that on the site of the once glorious and joyous city, now sunk into the ground (Isaiah 5:11-12), he presents a pasture in which wandering nomads are feeding their flocks. Comp. the quite similar pictures of future change of fortune, Isaiah 7:21-25; Isaiah 17:2; Isaiah 32:13 sq.; Zephaniah 2:14 sq. Commentators have justly pointed out that the present condition of Jerusalem and Palestine may be regarded as a part of the fulfilment of this prophecy. For the ancient city is as if sunk into the ground. A depth of rubbish covers the old streets and open places, and above them new ones are laid out in totally different directions. Only laborious excavations can give a correct picture of the topography of ancient Jerusalem. The land, however, is almost every where become pastures for nomadic Arabian tribes. And when, moreover, one reflects that a foreign people, of another faith and inimical to the Jews, has for a long time reigned in Palestine, it must be confessed that the present time corresponds very exactly to this announcement of the Prophet. Yet it must not be overlooked that the circumstances mentioned only touch the outward side of the fulfilment. It cannot be doubted that Isaiah 5:14 has been fulfilled also in a deeper, more inward, and, I may say, transcendental way. For what has become of the land we know. But had not the Prophet also a thought of the immortal souls of men?
The חרבות מחים are the ruins that once belonged to the fat and rich, and were then the opposite of mournful, waste wrecks, that is to say, places of splendor and prosperity. Strangers shall devour the products of these wastes, i. e. the grass growing there, that is use it for their cattle. By this is implied that the places shall lie unnoticed and without owners. Only stranger, nomadic shepherds, in passing along, will stop there with their flocks.
4. Woe unto them—may know it.
Isaiah 5:18-19. The third woe is directed against audacious sinners who make unbelief in God’s punitive justice the foundation of their wicked doings. The fact that the Prophet represents these people as impiously bringing down the divine judgment on themselves, has caused many commentators to construe מָשַׁךְ in the sense of “attrahere, draw toward,” and עָוֹן in the sense of “guilt” (Ewald, Umbreit), or “punishment of sin” (Gesenius, Knobel, and others). But if the Prophet meant to say this, and to express that those had drawn on themselves by deeds what they had invoked by words, i. e. the judgments of God, he would certainly have employed expressions that would more exactly correspond to the notions מעשׁה י׳ and עצת קדושׁ י׳, thus words that mean directly “punishment, judgment, destruction, ruin.” I do not deny that under some circumstances the words עָוֹן and חטאה may be taken in a sense bordering very nearly on “guilt of sin, and punishment of sin” (comp. the passages cited by Knobel,Genesis 4:13; Genesis 19:15; Psalms 31:11; Zechariah 14:19; Proverbs 21:4; to which, also, I would add Isaiah 27:9, where these words in the parallelism correspond to one another. See at the place). But, in the present instance, precisely the choice of these words proves to me that the Prophet did not think of the identity of the fruits of those doings with the display of the divine justice, but only of a causal relation between those doings and the divine justice. They sin away so boldly, precisely because they believe there is no danger of a day of vengeance. The idea of “boldly sinning away” the Prophet expresses in his vigorous style, in that he compares those wicked men to draught horses, that drag a heavy wagon by means of stout ropes. Like these beasts lay themselves to the traces with all their might in order to start the load, so these lay themselves out to sin with all their might. They pull with might and main, they surrender themselves to sin with a diligence and expenditure of power worthy of a better cause.
Isaiah 5:19. What chains them so fast to sin, and makes them so zealous in its service, is just that they do not believe in the divine announcement of a day of retribution. They express their unbelief in a contemptuous challenge to Jehovah to expedite His work, i. e. His work of judgment and punishment, to fulfil His purpose of retribution. They wish for an early coming of this manifestation of judgment. For they would like to experience it. They dare so much. They are not afraid of it, though it were true; but they do not believe it is true. With impious irony they even call Him, in whose display of justice they do not believe, by His title; the Holy One of Israel. They would have it understood thereby, that He is so called, it is true, but He is not this. Comp. Isaiah 28:15; Jeremiah 5:12 sq.; Jeremiah 17:15; Ezekiel 12:22.
5. Woe unto them—the righteous from him.
Isaiah 5:20-23. That Isaiah 5:20 does not speak merely of perversion of justice, as some would have it, appears from the generality of its expressions, and from Isaiah 5:23. This perversion of the world whereby exactly bad is good, and good bad, is Satanic. For if the devil became God, as he attempts to become (2 Thessalonians 2:4), it would happen thus. But evil has in the physical domain, its correlate in darkness and bitterness, as good has in light and sweetness. For what darkness and bitterness are for the body, such is evil for the spirit, and what light and sweetness are for the body, such is good for the spirit. Thus, Psalms 19:9, the commandment of the Lord is clear as light, and Isaiah 5:11, sweeter than honey and the honey comb. But bitter appears in many places as the symbol of evil: Numbers 5:18 sq.; Deuteronomy 32:32 sq.; Jeremiah 2:19; Acts 8:23; Hebrews 12:15. That to the bad it is just bad that tastes good, we read Job 20:12; Proverbs 5:3-4.
Isaiah 5:21. The Prophet pronounces the fifth woe against the proud self-deification, to which divine wisdom counts for nothing, but its own for everything. Comp. Proverbs 3:7; Jeremiah 8:8 sq.; Jeremiah 9:22 sq. The sixth woe, finally, Isaiah 5:22-23, strikes the unjust and oppressors, who sell justice in order to obtain the means for enjoying a dissolute life. מסן שׁכר, mixing of drink, comp. on Isaiah 5:11. It is debatable whether the Hebrews were acquainted with wines prepared with spices. Hitzig, Hendewerk, Delitzsch, maintain that proof that they did is wanting, and take מסן שׁ׳ = temperare aqua, to mix with water, in which sense the later Jews use מָזַנ. According to Buxtorf, this word means: “miscuit, temperavit vinum affusa aqua” whence it is used directly for “infundere, to pour into.” Comp. מֶזֶנSon 7:3. On the other hand Gesenius (with whom under the word מזגHitzig had agreed) see word מסך, Winer (R. W. s. v. Wein, Drechsler, Knobel, Leyrer (in R. Encyl. xvii. p. 616) maintain most decidedly that the Hebrews were acquainted with spiced wines. Winer and Leyer dispute even that the use of vinum aqua temperare among the Jews can be certainly proved. These scholars named cite Proverbs 9:2; Proverbs 9:5 in proof of the existence among the ancients of spiced wine (which is to be distinguished from that prepared from fruit, honey, barley), in which passage the מסך that is simultaneous with the killing, must point to another mixing, than that with water, which latter must be coincident with the pouring out. They further cite a passage in Mischna Maaser scheni 2, 1 (non condiunt oleum … sed condiunt vinum; si inciderit in id mel et condimenta, unde melius reddatur, illa in melius confectio fit juxta computum;) and also Plin. Hist. nat. 14:13, 14, 15 19 where he speaks of vinum aromatites, myrrhinum, absynthites, etc.; and further to the New Testament expressions οἴνος ἐσμυρμισμένοςMar 15:23, κεκερασμένον ἄκρατονRev 14:10; and to a passage in Dioscor. 5, 64 sq. According to these evidences I do not see how it can be doubted that the Hebrews were acquainted with spiced wines.
6. Therefore as—stretched out still.
Isaiah 5:24-25. On the fourfold woe of Isaiah 5:18-23, now follows the announcement of the punishment to be shared in common. It is joined on by לָכֵן like Isaiah 5:13. The people are compared to stubble and hay, who, according to Isaiah 4:2, ought to be a flourishing divine branch. And quick as stubble is devoured by fire or hay disappears in the flames, shall their root decay and their bloom pass away like dust. Thus here too Israel is again represented as a plant, a figure that reminds us strongly of Isaiah 4:2 sqq., consequently of the second prophetic lamp. Hay and stubble are very inflammable stuff. But those roots and blossoms, that ought, properly to be fresh and full of sap, shall fly away, dissolved as they are in dust and decay, as easily as hay and stubble are devoured by the flames.
The threatening of Isaiah 5:24, as appears from the suffixes, concerns immediately those against whom the preceding four woes were proclaimed. But as Isaiah 5:13, the banishment of the entire nation is represented as the consequence of the sins of those greedy and riotous men, so here it is shown how the waves of destruction shall roll on to the utmost periphery, and thus seize the whole people. I refer על־כן “therefore,” not merely to the second clause, but to the whole of Isaiah 5:24. Although all the verbal forms in 25a, point to the past, the things themselves that they declare fall in the future. This is evident from (Isaiah 5:24) the relation of the announcement of punishment to the sin, which is indicated as present (Isaiah 5:18 sqq.), and from the parallel between the threatenings of Isaiah 5:9 sq, and Isaiah 5:13 sq.—Comp. Drechsler,in loc.—But it were not impossible that Isaiah employs here the past forms, because facts of the past float before his mind, that were to be regarded, too, as proofs of the wrath portrayed in Isaiah 5:25, without, however, representing the entire fulfilment of the threatening. If, then, as to its chief import Isaiah 5:25 has respect to the future, and, in contrast with the blows to be expected from a distant people (Isaiah 5:26 sqq.), indicates the blows to be expected out of the midst of Judah herself, or from the immediate neighborhood, then there might be a reference in “the hills did tremble” to the earthquake in Uzziah’s time (Amos 1:1; Zechariah 14:5), and in “their carcases,” etc., a reference to those 120,000 men of Judah, that Pekah, the king of Israel slew in one day; 2 Chronicles 28:6. The formula, “for all this, his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still,” (Isaiah 9:11; Isaiah 9:16; Isaiah 9:20; Isaiah 10:4), expresses the thought that something still greater is coming. Thus then this formula introduces the chief conclusion of the discourse which corresponds to that relative conclusion, Isaiah 5:13-17. For if foreign nations from a great distance are called to accomplish a judgment, it is to be expected in advance that this judgment shall be decisive, and of mighty consequence. In fact, too, it was ever nations from a distance that destroyed the respublica Israelitarum. Call to mind the Assyrians, Babylonians, Romans. And those that came the farthest, did the work of destruction the most effectually.
7. And He will lift up,—deliver it.
Isaiah 5:26-29. The whole description is general, and not special. That is, it is not a single, particular nation, but only the genus of foreign, distant nations in general that is described. The prophecy, therefore, finds its fulfilment in all the catastrophes that brought foreign powers against Israel, from the Assyrians to the Romans. Evidently Isaiah has in mind the fundamental prophecy Deuteronomy 28:49 sqq., from which the expression גוֹיִם מֵרָחוֹק, “nations from afar,” is taken verbatim, and of which also the וְנָשָׂא, “and He shall lift up,” reminds one. It is remarkable that after the arrival of those Babylonian ambassadors, 2 Kings 20:14, Hezekiah should himself apply our passage, and so give testimony to its fulfilment, in that, when asked by the Prophet, whence these people came, he replied, “They are come from a far country (מֵאֶרֶץ רְחוֹקָה), from Babylon.” The description that now follows in Isaiah 5:27-29, of the enemy that is summoned, is not of any individual enemy, in fact is not at all historical, but generic and ideal in character. For, in reality, there is no army, where no one grows tired nor stumbles, in which no one sleeps nor slumbers, etc. The Prophet would only express in poetic form, the greatest activity, unweariedness, and readiness for conflict. There is a similar description Jeremiah 5:15 sqq. Their eagerness for battle, and their zeal for the cause is so great that they neither slumber, nor sleep. The girdle (Isaiah 11:5; Jeremiah 13:11), that binds the garment about the hips (Isaiah 11:5; Isaiah 32:11 : coll. Isaiah 3:22) does not get loose on anyone; no one breaks (Isaiah 33:20; Isaiah 58:6, Pi.), the strings (only here in Isaiah, comp. Genesis 14:23), by which the sandals (Isaiah 11:15; Isaiah 20:2) are fastened to the feet.
Isaiah 5:28. The equipment of the enemy, too, is admirable. The arrows are sharp; the bows are bent, (an ideal trait, for in reality bows could not be ever bent, that is, trod on with the foot, Isaiah 21:15). The hoofs (only here in Isaiah), of the steeds are hard as stone. As the ancients did not understand shoeing horses, hard hoofs were an important requisite in a war horse, comp. Micah 4:13, and χαλκόπους, κρατερῶνυξ. The impetuous, thundering roll of their wheels makes them resemble a tempest. The same figure recurs Isaiah 66:15. Comp, beside Isaiah 17:13; Isaiah 21:1; Isaiah 29:6.
The 29th verse finally describes the attack and victory of the enemy. The discourse which, to this point, has had almost a regular beat, and progressed, one might say, with a martial step, now becomes irregular and bounding. With mighty impetuosity that reveals itself in a battle cry that is compared to the roaring of a lion, the enemy attacks. It is strange that the Prophet expresses this thought doubly. But this doubled expression has apparently only a rhetorical aim. If we take into account the comparison of deep growling, we receive the impression that the Prophet would indicate that the enemy has at command every modulation of the lion’s voice. The moment the lion seizes his prey, he ceases to roar, and one hears only deep growling. The seized prey he saves for himself: i.e., he bears it away out of the tumult. כְּפִיר (recurs only Isaiah 11:6), is the young lion no longer sucking but become independent of its dam. גּוּר is the sucking lion. The plural is used here, probably, on purpose to make prominent the numbers in contrast with לָבִיא.
8. And in that day—the heavens thereof.
Isaiah 5:30. The Prophet hastens to the conclusion. For this purpose he comprehends all that he has still to say in one figure drawn with a few, yet strong traits. It is also a proof of the great rhetorical art of the Prophet, that he does not name Judah. He rather allows to be guessed what was painful to him to say. For we need not refer the words only to what immediately precedes, as if it were declared that what is described Isaiah 5:30, happens on the same day as that of which Isaiah 5:29 speaks. For that is to be understood of course. But this “in that day” refers back to Isaiah 2:11; Isaiah 2:17; Isaiah 2:20; Isaiah 3:7; Isaiah 3:18; Isaiah 4:1 and to Isaiah 4:2, so that hereby is intimated that this prophecy too, shall be fulfilled in the “last days.” And as Isaiah 4:2 speaks of a day of great happiness, the passage previously named, however, of a day of dreadful judgment, so the Prophet refers back to both, meaning to intimate that when these final dreadful visitations of the last time shall have come upon Israel, then shall come the daybreak of salvation. I see therefore in this phrase “in that day” a fresh proof of the connection of chap. 5, with the preceding chapters 2, 4. Like surges of the sea, therefore, raging and roaring, shall the enemy fall on Judah in that day? Delitzsch appropriately refers to Sierra-Leone because, “those that first landed there, mistook the noise of the surf breaking on the precipitous shore for the roar of lions.” The subject of ונבט (Niph. ἅπ. λεγ .), is evidently Judah. But the further meaning of these words presents great difficulties. I think two passages shed light on this one. The first is cited by all commentators, viz. 8:42. When we read there: “And He looks to the earth and behold trouble and darkness,” (צָרָה וַֽחֲשֵׁכָה) we are justified in taking חשׁז צר in our passage together; either צַר as adjective (compressed, thick darkness, חשֶׁךְ is masc.), or as apposition (Vitringa, Hendewerk), or as genitive (darkness of anguish). According to that we must separate, then, צַר from וָאוֹר, a union for which there is no other authority than the (for us not binding) Masoretic tradition, and then we must read וְאוֹר. For this reading, however, we have the support of another passage, which, so far as I know, has never hitherto been adduced by any expositor for the elucidation of our verse, viz.:Job 18:6. There we read חַשַׁךְ כְּאָֽהֳלוֹ “the light shall be dark in his tent.” That passage speaks of the wicked whose light goes out, and whose fire burns no longer, in whose tent, therefore, it is dark. Can then the coming together of these words אור חשׁן be accidental? I am the less inclined to believe this, as the thought, that the light itself becomes dark, and not the lighted room, is a very specific one. Something similar may be found Isaiah 13:10; Ezekiel 32:8; Joel 4:15.—עֲרִיפִים is ἃπ. λεγ. It is derived from ערף “to drop down,” which occurs only Deuteronomy 32:2; Deuteronomy 33:28. עֲרָפֶל appears to be kindred to it. As עֲרָפֶל originates from עָרָפ by the addition of the letter ל like כַּרְמֶל from כֶּרֶם and בַּרְזֶל from בָּרַז (Chald.,fixit, transfixit) see Green § 193, 2 c, and as עֲרָפֶל very often joined to עָנָן (Deuteronomy 4:11; Deuteronomy 5:19; Joel 2:2; Zephaniah 1:15; Ezekiel 34:12) undoubtedly means the cloudy obscurity, the thick clouds, so עריפים can be nothing else than the rain clouds out of which the rain drops down.
This rain cloud is now regarded as the tent covering of the earth, or at least as belonging to it, like e. g., Isaiah 40:22 it says: “that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in,” (comp. Job 36:29; Psalms 104:2 sqq.). The expression “in his tent” would not be suitable. For the light that illumines a tent, stands within under the tent cover. But the light that illumines the earth, is above and beyond the heavenly tent cover. If, then, it is to be dark on earth, the light must be hindered from penetrating down from above. Therefore I translate: “and the light becomes dark through its clouds.” The fem., suffix is therefore to be referred to אֶרֶץ, “earth.” It will not do to refer it to אור. as Gesenius does, referring to Job 36:32 (Thes. p. 1072), because then it must read חָשְׁכָה. If one would, with Hitzig, make אוֹר dependent on נִבַּט,. then the expression is surprising. For the opposite of “earth” is not “the light,” but “the heaven.” The explanations “distress and light” (Delitzsch), and “stone and gleam” (i. e., hail and lightning, Drechsler) seem to me to pay too little regard to the two parallel passages quoted. I would, moreover, call attention to the fact that in this אזר חשׁן there lies, too, a significant reference to the doings of the people who, according to Isaiah 5:20 “make darkness light and light darkness.” Because they do that, their light shall be darkened wholly and permanently. And at the same time we find here a remarkable antithesis to Isaiah 4:5. Isaiah 4:6. There God creates upon Mount Zion a cloud by day and flaming fire by night, for a shade by day against the heat, and for shelter against rain and storm. Here darkness of anguish shall cover the earth and the rain-clouds shall not only overwhelm the unprotected earth with their showers, but beside these keep back the light, therefore, in a sense, be a shelter before the light. Thus this chapter, which had apparently begun so joyously, ends in deepest night and gloom. One feels that the discourse of the Prophet has exhausted itself. We are at the end. Nothing can follow these mighty, and at the same time vain words but—silence. But the informed know well that the two prophetic lamps that are thrust out before (Isaiah 2:1-4 and Isaiah 4:2-6) stretch out beyond this period of misfortune. When, then, Isaiah 5:30, it reads “in that day,” we know that this is a hint that refers back out of the midnight gloom of this conclusion to the comforting beginning Isaiah 4:2. That very day, when the evil fruits of the vineyard sink away in night and horror, begins for the “Branch of Jehovah” the day of light, and of eternal glory.
Or, This is in mine ears, saith the Lord, etc.
Heb. If not.
Or, pursue them.
And have the harp, etc.
And wine as beverage.
Heb. their glory are, men of famine.
see at Isaiah 2:9.
Or, the holy God.
Heb. the God the holy,
as if it were their pasture.
Heb. that say concerning evil, It is good, &c.
Heb. before their own face.
Heb. the tongue of fire.
Or, as dung.
he and him.
Or, When it is light, it shall be dark in the destructions thereof.
through its clouds.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. On Isaiah 2:2. Domus Dei, etc. “The house of God is built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, who, themselves, too, are mountains, quasi imitators of Christ. (They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, Psalms 125:1) Whence, also, upon one of the mountains Christ founded the Church and said: Thou art Peter, etc., Matthew 16:18.” Jerome.——“We can understand Jerusalem by the mountain of God, for we see how the believing run thither, and how those that have accepted the testimony come thither and seize the blessing that proceeds thence. But we may also by the house of God understand the churches spread over land and sea, as we believe St. Paul, who says, ‘we are the house of God,’ Hebrews 3:6. And so we may recognize the truth of the prophecy. For the Church of God stands shining forth, and the nations, forsaking wickedness that has long had dominion over them, hasten to her and are enlightened by her.” Theodoret.——Ecclesia est, etc. “The church is a mountain exalted and established above all other mountains, but in spirit. For if you regard the external look of the church from the beginning of the world, then in New Testament times, you will see it oppressed, contemned, and in despair. Yet, notwithstanding, in that contempt it is exalted above all mountains. For all kingdoms and all dominions that have ever been in the world have perished. The church alone endures and triumphs over heresies, tyrants, Satan, sin, death and hell, and that by the word only, by this despised and feeble speech alone. Moreover it is a great comfort that the bodily place, whence first the spiritual kingdom should arise, was so expressly predicted, that consciences are assured of that being the true word, that began first to be preached in that corner of Judea, that it may be for us a mount Zion, or rule for judging of all religions and all doctrines. The Turkish Alcoran did not begin in Zion—therefore it is wicked doctrine. The various Popish rites, laws, traditions began not in Zion—therefore they are wicked, and the very doctrines of devils. So we may hold ourselves upright against all other religions, and comfort our hearts with this being the only true religion which we profess. Therefore, too, in two psalms, Psalms 2, 110, mount Zion is expressly signified: “I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion;” likewise: “The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion.” Luther.
2. On Isaiah 2:2. Luther makes emphatic, as something pertaining to “the wonderful nature of this kingdom,” that “other kingdoms are established and administered by force and arms. But here, because the mountain is lifted up, the nation shall flow (fluent), i.e., they shall come voluntarily, attracted by the virtues of the church. For what is there sweeter or lovelier than the preaching of the gospel? Whereas Moses frightens weak souls away. Thus the prophet by the word fluent, “flow,” has inlaid a silent description of the kingdom of Christ, which Christ gives more amply when He says: Matthew 11:12, “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force,” i.e. “they are not compelled, but they compel themselves.” “Morever rivers do not flow up mountains, but down them; but here is such an unheard-of thing in the kingdom of Christ.”—Starke.
3. Luther remarks on “and shall say: come,” etc. “Here thou seest the worship, works and efforts and sacrifices of Christians. For they do only the one work, that they go to hear and to learn. All the rest of the members must serve their neighbors. These two, ears and heart, must serve God only. For the kingdom rests on the word alone. Sectaries and heretics, when they have heard the gospel once, instantly become masters, and pervert the Prophet’s word, in that they say: Come let us go up that we may teach him his way and walk in our paths. They despise, therefore, the word as a familiar thing and seek new disputations by which they may display their spirit and commend themselves to the crowd. But Christians know that the words of the Holy Ghost can never be perfectly learned as long as we are in the flesh. For Christianity does not consist in knowing, but in the disposition. This disposition can never perfectly believe the word on account of the weakness of the sinful flesh. Hence they ever remain disciples and ruminate the word, in order that the heart, from time to time, may flame up anew. It is all over with us if we do not continue in the constant use of the word, in order to oppose it to Satan in temptation (Matthew 4:0). For immediately after sinning ensues an evil conscience, that can be raised up by nothing but the word. Others that forsake the word sink gradually from one sin into another, until they are ruined. Therefore Christianity must be held to consist in hearing the word, and those that are overcome by temptations, whether of the heart or body, may know that their hearts are empty of the word.”
4. Vitringa remarks on the words, “Out of Zion goes forth the law,” Isaiah 5:3. “If strife springs up among the disciples concerning doctrine or discipline, one must return to the pattern of the doctrine and discipline of the school at Jerusalem. For יָצָא “shall go forth,” stands here only as in Luke 2:1, “There went forth a decree from Cæsar Augustus.” In this sense, too, Paul says, 1 Corinthians 14:36, “What? came the word of God out from you?” The word of God did not go forth from Corinth, Athens, Rome, Ephesus, but from Jerusalem, a fact that bishops assembled in Antioch opposed to Julius I. (Sozom. hist. eccl. III. 8, “the orientals acknowledged that the Church of Rome was entitled to universal honor—although those who first propagated a knowledge of Christian doctrine in that city came from the East”). Cyril took יָצָא in the false sense of κατελἐλοιπε τὴν Σιών, “has forsaken Zion.” When the Lord opened the understandings of the disciples at Emmaus, to understand the Scriptures and see in the events they had experienced the fulfilment of what was written concerning Him in the law, Prophets and Psalms, He cannot have forgotten the present passage. Of this we may be the more assured since the words: “Thus it is written and thus it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations beginning at Jerusalem.” Luke 24:46-47, point clearly to Isaiah 2:2-3 of our passage. Therefore too, Justin Martyr Apol. i. (commonly ii.), § 49, says: “But where the prophetic spirit predicts the future, he says: from Zion shall go forth the law, etc. And that this finally came to pass in fact, you may credibly assure yourselves. For from Jerusalem have men gone forth into the world, twelve in number, and these were unlearned, that knew not how to speak. But by the might of God they have proclaimed to all mankind that they were sent by Christ in order to teach all the word of God.”
“Zion is contrasted here with Mount Sinai, whence the law came, which in the Old Testament was the foundation of all true doctrine: But in the New Testament Mount Zion or Jerusalem has the privilege to announce that now a more perfect law would be given and a new Covenant of God with men would be established. Thus Zion and Jerusalem are, so to speak, the nursery and the mother of all churches and congregations of the New Testament.”—Starke.
5. Förster remarks on the end of Isaiah 2:3, that the gospel is the sceptre of Jesus Christ, according to Psalms 110:2; Psalms 45:7 (the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre). “For by the word Christ rules His church (Romans 10:14 sqq.).”
6. On Isaiah 2:4. “Pax optima rerum.” Foerster. The same author finds this prophecy fulfilled by Christ, who is our peace, who has made of both one, and broken down the partition that was between, in that by His flesh He took away the enmity (Ephesians 2:14). Foerster, moreover, combats the Anabaptists, who would prove from this passage that waging war is not permitted to Christians. For our passage speaks only against the privata Christianorum discordia. But waging war belongs to the publicum magistratus officium. Waging war, therefore, is not forbidden, if only the war is a just one. To be such, however, there must appear according to Thomas, part. 2 th. quœst. 40. 1) auctoritatis principis, 2) causa justa, 3) intentio bellantium justa, or ut allii efferunt: 1) jurisdictio indicentis, 2) offensio patientis, 3) intentio finem (?) convenientis.
7. On Isaiah 2:4. Jerome regarded the time of Augustus, after his victory at Actium, as the fulfilling of this prophecy. Others, as Cocceius, refer the words, “they shall turn their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning-hooks,” to the time of Constantine the Great; and the words “nation shall not lift up sword against nation” to the period of the restoration of religious peace in Germany,—finally the words: “they shall no more learn war,” to a future time that is to be hoped for. Such interpretations are, however, just as one-sided as those that look only for a spiritual fulfilment of prophecy. For how is an inward fulfilment of this promise of peace to be thought of which would not have the outward effects as its consequence? Or how is an outward fulfilment, especially such as would deserve the name, conceivable without the basis of the inward? Or must this peaceful time be looked for only in heaven? Why then does the promise stand here? It is a matter of course that there is peace in heaven: for where there is no peace there can be no heaven. The promise has sense only if its fulfilment is to be looked for on earth. The fulfilment will take place when the first three petitions of the Lord’s prayer are fulfilled, i.e. when God’s name shall be held holy by us as it in itself is holy, when the kingdom of God is come to everything, without and within, and rules alone over all, when the will of God is done on earth as in heaven. Christendom makes this prayer quite as much with the consciousness that it cannot remain unfulfilled, as with the consciousness that it must find its fulfilment on earth. For, if referred to heaven, these petitions are without meaning. Therefore there is a time of universal inward and outward peace to be looked for on earth. “It is not every day’s evening,” i.e. one must await the event, and our earth, without the least saltus in cogitando, can yet experience a state of things that shall be related to the present, as the present to the period of trilobites and saurians. If one could only keep himself free from the tyranny of the present moment! But our entire, great public, that has made itself at home in Philistia, lives in the sweet confidence that there is no world beside that of which we take notice on the surface of the earth, nor ever was one, nor ever will be.
8. On Isaiah 2:4. Poets reverse the figure to portray the transition from peaceful to warlike conditions. Thus Virgil, Georg. I. 2:506 sq.:
Non ullus aratro
Dignus honos, squalent abductis arva colonis.
Et curvæ rigidum falces conflantur in ensem.
Aeneide VII. 2:635 sq.:
Vomeris huc et falcis honos, huc omnis aratri
Cessit amor; recoquunt patrios fornacibus enses.
Ovid, Fast. I. 2:697 sqq.:
Bella diu tenuere viros. Erat aptior ensis
Vomere, cedebat taurus arator equo.
Sarcula cessabant, versique in pila ligones.
Factaque de rastri pondere cassia erat.
9. On Isaiah 2:5. As Isaiah puts the glorious prophecy of his fellow prophet Micah at the head, he illuminates the future with a splendid, shining, comforting light. Once this light is set up, it of itself suggests comparisons. The questions arise: how does the present stand related to that shining future? What difference obtains? What must happen for that condition of holiness and glory to be brought about? The Christian Church, too, and even each individual Christian must put himself in the light of that prophetic statement. On the one hand that will humiliate us, for we must confess with the motto of Charles V.: nondum! And long still will we need to cry: Watchman what of the night (Isaiah 21:11)? On the other hand the Prophet’s word will also spur us up and cheer us. For what stronger impulse can be imagined than the certainty that one does not contend in vain, but may hope for a reward more glorious than all that ever came into a man’s heart? (Isaiah 64:4; 1 Corinthians 2:9).
In the time of the second temple, in the evenings of the first days of the feast of Tabernacles, great candelabras were lighted in the forecourt of the temple, each having four golden branches, and their light was so strong that it was nearly as light as day in Jerusalem. That might be for Jerusalem a symbol of that “let us walk in the light of the Lord.” But Jerusalem rejoiced in this light, and carried on all sorts of pastime, yet it was not able to learn to know itself in this light, and by this self-knowledge to come to true repentance and conversion.
10. On Isaiah 2:8, “their land is full of idols.” “Not only images and pictures are idols, but every notion concerning God that the godless heart forms out of itself without the authority of the Scripture. The notion that the Mass is effective ex opere operato, is an idol. The notion that works are demanded for justification with God, is an idol. The notion that God takes delight in fasts, peculiar clothes, a special order of life, is an idol. God wills not that we should set up out of our own thoughts a fashion of worshipping Him; but He says: “In all places where I record My name, I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee,” Exodus 20:24—Luther.
11. On Isaiah 2:9-21. When men have brought an idol into existence, that is just to their mind, whether it be an idolum manu factum, or an idolum mente excogitatum, there they are all wonder, all worship. “Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” Then the idol has a time of great prosperity and glory. But sooner or later there comes a time when the judgment of God overtakes the idol and its servants. God suffers sin to become ripe like men let a conspiracy, like they let fruit ripen. But when the right time comes then He steps forth in such a fashion that they creep into mouse-holes to hide themselves, if it were possible, from the lightning of His eye and His hand. Where then are the turned-up noses, the big mouths, the impudent tongues? Thus it has often happened since the world began. But this being brought to confession shall happen in the highest degree to the puffed-up world at that day when they shall see that one whom they pierced, and whom they thought they might despise as the crucified One, coming in His glory to judge the world. Then they shall have anguish and sorrow, then shall they lament and faint away with apprehension of the things that draw nigh. But those that believed on the Lord in His holiness, shall then lift up their heads for that their redemption draws nigh. At that time, indeed, shall the Lord alone be high, and before Him shall bow the knees of all in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and all tongues must confess that Christ is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12. On Isaiah 2:22. Of what do men not make idols! The great industrial expositions of modern times often fill me with dismay, when I have seen how men carry on an actual idolatrous worship with these products of human science and art, as if that all were not, in the end, God’s work, too, but human genius were alone the creator of these wonders of civilization. How wickedly this so-called worship of genius demeans itself ! How loathsome is the still more common cultus of power, mammon and the belly!
13. On Isaiah 3:1 sqq. Causa σωστική, etc. “The saving cause of the commonwealth is the possession of men of the sort here mentioned, which Plato also knew, and Cicero from Plato, each of whom judge, commonwealths would be blessed if philosophers, i.e., wise and adept men were to administer them.”—Foerster. The same writer cites among the causes why the loss of such men is ruinous, the changes that thence ensue. All changes in the commonwealth are hurtful. Xenoph. Hellen. Isaiah 2:0 : “εἰσὶ μὲν πᾶσαι μεταβολαὶ πολιτειῶν θανατηΦόροι.” Aristot. Metaph. Isaiah 2:0 : “ᾱἱμεταβολαὶ πάντων ταραχώδεις.”
14. On Isaiah 3:1. “The stay of bread,” etc. Vitringa cites Horat. Satir. L. II., 3 5:153 sq.:
Deficient inopem venœ te, ni cibus atque
Ingens accedit stomacho fultura ruenti.
And on Isaiah 3:2 sq. he cites Cicero, who, De Nat. Deorum III., calls these “prœsidia humana,” “firmamenta reipublicœ.” On Isaiah 3:6 sq. the same author cites the following passage from Livy (26 chap. 6): “Cum fame ferroque (Capuani) urgerentur, nec ulla spes superesset iis, qui nati in spem honorum erant, honores detrectantibus, Lesius querendo desertam et proditam a primoribus Capuam summum magistratum ultimus omnium Campanorum cepit!” On Isaiah 3:9 he quotes Seneca: De vita beata, chap. xii.: “Itaque quod unum habebant in peccatis bonum perdunt peccandi verecundiam. Laudant enim ea, quibus erubescant, et vitio gloriantur.”
15. On Isaiah 3:4; Isaiah 3:12. Foerster remarks: Pueri, etc. “Boys are of two sorts. Some are so in respect to age, others in respect to moral qualifications. So, too, on the contrary there is an old age of two sorts: “For honorable age is not that which standeth in length of time, nor that is measured by number of years. But wisdom is the true gray hair unto men, and an unspotted life is the true old age.” Wis 4:8-9. Examples of young and therefore foolish kings of Israel are Rehoboam (“the young fool gambled away ten whole tribes at one bet” 1 Kings 12:0). Ahaz, who was twenty years of age when he began to reign (2 Kings 16:2). Manasseh who was twelve years (2 Kings 21:1,) and Amon who was twenty-two years (2 Kings 21:19).
16. On Isaiah 3:7. Foerster remarks: Nemo se, etc. “Let no one intrude himself into office, especially when he knows he is not fit for it,” and then cites: “Seek not of the Lord pre-eminence, neither of the king the seat of honor. Justify not thyself before the Lord; and boast not of thy wisdom before the king. Seek not to be judge, being not able to take away iniquity.” Sir 7:4-6.”—“Wen aber Gott schickt, den macht er auch geschickt.”
17. On Isaiah 3:8. “Their tongue and their doings are against the Lord.” Duplici modo, etc. “God may be honored by us in two outward ways: by word and deed, just as in the same way others come short; “to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds, which they have committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Judges 15:0.—Vitringa.
18. On Isaiah 3:9. “They hide not their sin.” Secunda post, etc. “The next plank after shipwreck, and solace of miseries is to hide one’s impiety.”—Jerome.
19. On Isaiah 3:10. “Now He comforts the pious as in Psalms 2:0. His anger will soon kindle, but it shall be well with all that trust in Him. So Abraham, so Lot was delivered; so the apostles and the remnant of Judah when Jerusalem was besieged. For the Lord helps the righteous (Psalms 37:17; Psalms 37:39).”—Luther.
20. On Isaiah 3:13-14.
“Judicabit judices judex generalis,
Neque quidquam proderit dignitas papalis,
Sive sit episcopus, sive cardinalis,
Reus condemnabitur, nec dicetur qualis.”
“Rhythmi vulgo noti,” quoted byFoerster.
21. On Isaiah 3:16 sq. Usus vestium, etc. “Clothes have a four-fold use: 1) they are the badge of guilt, or souvenir of the fall (Genesis 3:7; Genesis 3:10; Genesis 3:21); 2) they should be coverings against the weather; 3) they may be ornaments for the body, (Proverbs 31:22; Proverbs 31:25); 4) they may serve as a mark of rank (2 Samuel 13:18).—The abuse of clothes is three-fold; 1) in regard to the material, they may be costlier or more splendid than one’s wealth or rank admits of; 2) in respect of form, they may betray buffoonery and levity; 3) in respect to their object, they may be worn more for the display of luxury and pride than for protection and modest adornment.”—Foerster.
22. On Isaiah 4:2. “Germen Jehovae est nomen Messiœ mysticum, a nemine intellectum, quam qui tenet mysterium Patris et Christi. Idem valet quod filius propago Patris naturalis, in quo patris sui imago et gloria perfectissime splendet, Jessaiae in seqq. (Isaiah 9:5) &בן ילד, filius, Joanni ὁ λόγενής τοῦ θεοῦ ὁυἱὸς πρωὀτοκος μονογενής, processio Patris naturaλis. Est hic eruditi cujusdam viri elegans observatio, quae eodem tendit, quam non licet intactam praetermittere. Comparat ille inter se nomina Messiœ צמח דוד (Jeremiah 23:5) et צמח יהוה in hoc loco. Cum autem prior appellatio absque dubitatione innuat, Messiam fore filium Davidis, docet posteriorem ἀναλογικῶς non posse aliud significare quam filium Jehovae, quod nomen Christi Jesu est μυστικώτερον, omni alio nomine excellentius. Addit non minus docte, personam, quae hic germen Jehovae dicitur, deinceps a propheta nostro appellari Jehovam (Isaiah 28:5).”—Vitringa. This exposition, which is retained by most Christian and orthodox commentators, ignores too much the fundamental meaning of the word צֶמַח, “Branch.” It is, nevertheless, not incorrect so far as the broader meaning includes the narrower concentrically. If “Branch of Jehovah” signifies all that is the personal offshoot of God, then, of course, that one must be included who is such in the highest and most perfect sense, and in so far the passage Isaiah 28:5 does not conflict with exposition given by us above.
[J. A. Alexander joins with Vitringa and Hengstenberg in regarding “the fruit of the earth,” as referring to the same subject as “the branch of the Lord,” viz.: the Messiah; and thus, while the latter term signifies the divine nature of the Messiah, the former signifies His human origin and nature; or if we translate “land” instead of earth, it points to his Jewish human origin. Thus appears an exact correspondence to the two parts of Paul’s description, Romans 1:3-4, and to the two titles used in the New Testament in reference to Christ’s two natures, Son of God and Son of Man.—Tr.].
23. On Isaiah 4:3-4. Great storms and upheavals, therefore, are needful, in order to make the fulfilment of this prophecy possible. There must first come the breath of God from above, and the flame of God from beneath over the earth, and the human race must first be tossed and sifted. The earth and mankind must first be cleansed by great judgments from all the leaven of evil. [J. A. Alexander, with Luther, Calvin, Ewald, maintains concerning the word Spirit in Isaiah 4:4, that “the safest and most satisfactory interpretation is that which understands by it a personal spirit, or as Luther expresses it, the Spirit who shall judge and burn.”—Tr.]. What survives these judgments is the remnant of which Isaiah speaks. This shall be holy. In it alone shall the Lord live and rule. This remnant is one with the new humanity which in every part, both as respects body and soul, will represent the image of Christ the second Adam. This remnant, at the same time, comprehends those whose names are written in the book of life. What sort of a divine book this may be, with what sort of corporal, heavenly reality, of course we know not. For Himself God needs no book. Yet if we compare the statements of the Revelation of John regarding the way in which the last judgment shall be held, with certain other New Testament passages, I think we obtain some explanation. We read Matthew 19:28, that on the day of the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory, the twelve apostles, too, shall sit on twelve thrones to judge the generations of Israel. And 1 Corinthians 5:2, we read that the saints shall judge the world. But, Revelation 20:11, we find again the great white throne, whereon sits the great Judge of the living and the dead, after that, just before (Revelation 4:4), it was said: “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.” Afterwards it reads (Rev4:12): “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” And (Rev 4:15). “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” From this description there seems to me to result that the books necessarily are meant for those who are, by the Supreme Judge charged with the judgment of particular ones. To this end they need, in the first place, many books that contain the works of individuals. God has a book-keeping for the life of every man. This divine record will be produced to every single one at the day of judgment. Is he a Jew? by one of the twelve Apostles. Is he a heathen? by some other saint. No man shall be able to remonstrate against this account for it will carry the evidence of truth in itself, and in the consciences of those to be judged. Should such a protest occur, the arraigned will be referred to the book of life. This is only one. For it contains only names. After this manner will the separation be accomplished, spoken of in Matthew 25:32 sq. For those whose names are found in the book of life go to the right side; the rest to the left. Then the great Judge Himself takes up the Word in the manner described in Matthew 25:34 sqq., and calls the righteous to Himself, that they may inherit the kingdom that is prepared for them. But the wicked He repulses from Him into everlasting fire, that is prepared for the devil and his angels, in regard to which the account of the judgment in Matthew 25:0, as far as the end is concerned, harmonizes entirely with Revelation 20:15.
24. On Isaiah 4:5-6. “The pillar of fire and cloud belongs to the miraculous graces by which the founding of the Old Testament kingdom of God was glorified just as the New Testament kingdom was by the signs that Jesus did, and by the charismata of the Apostolic time. But that appearance was quite appropriate to the state of developed revelation of that time. This had not reached the New Testament level, and not even the prophetic elevation that was possible under the Old Testament, but only the legal in which the divine stands outwardly opposed to the human. God is present among His people, but still in the most outward way; He does not walk in a human way among men; there is, too, no inward leading of the congregation by the Holy Spirit, but an outward conducting by a visible heavenly appearance. And, for these revelations to the whole people, God makes use entirely of nature, and, when it concerns His personal manifestation, of the elements. He does so, not merely in distinction from the patriarchal theophanies, …, but, particularly in contrast with heathenism, in order to accustom the Israelitish consciousness from the first not to deify the visible world, but to penetrate through it to the living, holy God, who has all the elements of nature at command as the medium of His revelation.”—Auberlen.
As at the close of John’s Revelation (chaps. 21, 22) we see the manifestation of the Godhead to humanity return to its beginning (Genesis 2:3, Genesis 2:4), in as much as that end restores just that with which the beginning began, i.e. the dwelling of God with men, so, too, we see in Isaiah 4:5-6, a special manifestation of the (relative) beginning time recur again in the end time; the pillar of fire and cloud. But what in the beginning was an outward and therefore enigmatical and unenduring appearance, shall at last be a necessary and abiding factor of the mutual relation between God and mankind, that shall be established for ever in its full glory. There shall come a time wherein Israel shall expand to humanity and humanity receive power to become Israel, wherein, therefore, the entire humanity shall be Israel. Then is the tabernacle of God with men no more a pitiful tent, made of mats, but the holy congregation is itself the living abode of God; and the gracious presence of Almighty God, whose glory compares with the old pillar of fire and cloud, like the new, eternal house of God, with the old perishable tabernacle, is then itself the light and defence of His house.
25. On Isaiah 4:5-6. “But give diligence to learn this, that the Prophet calls to mind, that Christ alone is destined to be the defence and shade of those that suffer from heat and rain. Fasten your eyes upon Him, hang upon Him as ye are exhorted to do by the divine voice, ‘Him shall ye hear!’ Whoever hearkens to another, whoever looks to any other flesh than this, it is all over with him. For He alone shelters us from the heat, that comes from contemplating the majesty (i.e. from the terror that God’s holiness and righteousness inspire), He alone covers us from the rain and the power of Satan. This shade affords us a coolness, so that the dread of wrath gives way. For wrath cannot be there where thou seest the Son of God given to death for thee, that thou mightest live. Therefore I commend to you that name of Christ, wherewith the Prophet adorns Him, that He is a tabernacle for shade against the heat, a refuge and place of concealment from rain and tempest.”—Luther.—With some modification, we may apply here the comprehensive turn Foerster gives to our passage: 1) The dwelling of Mount Zion is the church; 2) the heat is the flaming wrath of God, and the heat of temptation (1 Peter 4:12; Sir 2:4-5); 3) tempest and rain are the punishments of sins, or rather the inward and outward trials (Psalms 2:0.; Isaiah 57:20); 4) the defence or the pillar of cloud and fire is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 10:0).
26. On Isaiah 5:1-7. This parable has a brother in the New Testament that looks very much like it. I might say: the head is almost the same. For the beginning of that New Testament parable (Matthew 21:33; Mark 12:1), “A man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a wine-fat and built a tower,” is manifestly imitated after our passage. But here it is the vineyard that is bad, while there, in the New Testament, the husbandmen are good for nothing. Here the Lord appears as at once owner and cultivator of the vineyard; there the owner and cultivators are distinguished. This arises from the fact that the Lord Jesus apparently had in His mind the chiefs of the people, “the high-priests and elders” (Matthew 21:23-24). From this it is manifest that here as there the vineyard is the nation. In Isaiah, however, the vineyard, that is to say the vine itself is accused. The whole people is represented as having equally gone to destruction. In the Synoptists, on the other hand, it is the chiefs and leaders that come between the Lord and His vineyard, and would exclude Him from His property, in order to be able to obtain it wholly for themselves, and divide it amongst them. Therefore there it is more the wicked greed of power and gain in the great that is reproved; here the common falling away of the whole nation.
27. Isaiah 5:8. Here the Prophet denounces the rich, the aristocracy, and capital. Thus he takes the part of the poor and lowly. That grasping of the rich and noble, which they display sometimes like beasts of prey, at other times gratify in a more crafty and legal fashion, the Prophet rebukes here in the sharpest manner. God’s work is opposed to every sin, and ever stands on the side of those that suffer oppression, no matter what may be their rank. God is no respecter of persons (Deuteronomy 10:17 sq.).
28. Isaiah 5:11-17. The morning hour, the hour when light triumphs over darkness, ought to be consecrated to works of light, as it is said: Aurora Musis amica, ἡώς τοι προΦέρει μἑυ, προφέρει δὲκαὶ ἕργου (Hesiod. ἑργ. κ. ήμ. 540) Morgenstund hat Gold im Mund. “It was,” says Foerster, “a laudable custom among the Persians, that the chamberlains entering in to their kings early in the morning, cried out with a loud voice: ‘Arise, O king, attend to business, as Mesoromastes commands.” On the other hand, “they that be drunken are drunken in the night,” 1 Thessalonians 5:7 sq. So much the worse, then, when men do the works of night even in the early hour, and dare to abuse the light. “Plenus venter despumat in libidines,” says Augustine. In vino ἀσωτία (Ephesians 5:18). Corpus, opes, animam luxu Germania perdit. Melancthon. On Isaiah 5:15 Foerster cites the expression of Augustin: “God would not suffer any evil to be done in the world unless some good might thence be elicited.”
29. Isaiah 5:18. “Cords of vanity are false prejudices and erroneous conclusions. For example: no one is without sin, not even the holiest; God does not take notice of small sins; he that is among wolves must howl with them; a man cannot get along in the world with a scrupulous, tender conscience; the Lord is merciful, the flesh is weak, etc. By such like a man draws sin to him, binds his conscience fast, and resists the good motions of preventing grace. Thick cart-ropes signify a high degree of wickedness, the coarsest and most revolting prejudices. For example: God has no concern about human affairs; godliness delivers no one from misery and makes no one blessed; the threatenings of the prophets are not to be feared; there is no divine providence, no heaven, no hell (Deuteronomy 29:17-19). Out of such a man twists and knots a stout rope, with which he draws to him manifest blasphemy, entangles himself in it, so that often he cannot get loose, but is sold as a servant under sin (Romans 6:16; 1 Kings 21:20; 1 Kings 21:25).” Starke.
30. Isaiah 5:19. “The wicked mock at the patience and long-suffering of God, as if He did not see or care for their godless existence, but forgot them, and cast them out of mind (Psalms 10:11), so that the threatened punishment would be omitted. They would say: there has been much threatening, but nothing will come of it; if God is in earnest, let Him, etc.; we don’t mind threats; let God come on if He will! Comp. Isaiah 22:12-13; Isaiah 28:21-22; Amos 5:18; Jeremiah 5:12; Jeremiah 8:11; Jeremiah 17:15; Ezekiel 12:21 sqq.” Starke.
31.Isaiah 5:20. “To make darkness of light, means to smother in oneself the fundamental truths that may be proved from the light of nature, and the correct conclusions inferred from them, but especially revealed truths that concern religion, and to pronounce them in others to be prejudices and errors. Bitter and sweet have reference to constitution, how it is known and experienced. To make sweet of bitter means, to recommend as sweet, pleasant and useful, what is bad and belongs to darkness, and is in fact bitter and distasteful, after one himself believes he possesses in the greatest evil the highest good.” Starke.
32.Isaiah 5:21. “Quotquot mortales” etc. As many as, taking counsel of flesh, pursue salvation with confidence of any sort of merit of their own or external privilege, a thing to which human nature is much inclined, oppose their own device to the wisdom of God, and, according to the prophet, are called wise in their own eyes (Isaiah 28:15; Isaiah 30:1-2; Jeremiah 8:8-9; Jeremiah 9:23 sq.; Jeremiah 18:18). Vitringa.
33.Isaiah 5:26; Isaiah 5:26 sqq. The Prophet here expresses in a general way the thought that the Lord will call distant nations to execute judgment on Jerusalem, without having in mind any particular nation. Vitringa quotes a remarkable passage from the excerpts of John Antiochenus in Valesius (p. 816), where it is said, that immediately after Titus had taken Jerusalem, ambassadors from all the neighboring nations came to him to salute him as victor and present him crowns of honor. Titus refused these crowns, “saying that it was not he that had effected these things, but that they were done by God in the display of His wrath, and who had prospered his hands.” Comp. also the address of Titus to his soldiers after the taking of Jerusalem in Joseph. B. Jud. VII. 19.
1.Isaiah 2:6-11. Idolatry. 1) What occasions it (alienation from God, Isaiah 2:6 a); 2) The different kinds: a. a coarse kind (Isaiah 2:6 b, Isaiah 2:8), b. a more refined kind (Isaiah 2:7); 3) Its present appearance (great honor of the idols and of their worshippers, Isaiah 2:9); 4) Its fate at last (deepest humiliation before the revelation of the majesty of God of all that do not give glory to Him (Isaiah 2:10; Isaiah 2:18).
2.Isaiah 2:12-22. The false and the true eminence. 1) False eminence is that which at first appears high, but at last turns out to be low (to this belongs impersonal as well as supersensuous creatures, which at present appear as the highest in the world, but at last, in the day of the Lord of Hosts, shall turn out to be nothing); 2) The real eminence is that which at first is inconspicuous and inferior, but which at last turns out to be the highest, in fact the only high one.
3.Isaiah 3:1-9. Sin is the destruction of a people. 1) What is sin? Resisting the Lord: a. with the tongue, b. with deeds, c. with the interior being (Isaiah 3:8-9); 2) In what does the destruction consist (or the fall according to Isaiah 3:8 a)? a. in the loss of every thing that constitutes the necessary and sure support of the commonwealth (Isaiah 3:1-3); b. in insecure and weak props rising up (Isaiah 3:4); c. in the condition that follows of being without a Master (Isaiah 3:5); d. in the impossibility of finding any person that will take the governance of such a ruinous state (Isaiah 3:6-7).
4.Isaiah 3:4. Insurrection is forbidden by God in express words, who says to Moses “that which is altogether just thou shalt follow,” Deuteronomy 16:20. Why may not God permit an intolerable and often unjust authority to rule a land for the same reason that He suffers children to have bad and unjust parents, and the wife a hard and intolerable husband, whose violence they cannot resist? Is it not expressly said by the Prophet “I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them?” “I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath,” Hosea 13:11. Tholuck.
5.Isaiah 3:10-13. “Let us learn to distinguish between false and real comfort.” 1) False comfort deals in illusion: the real deals in truth; 2) The false produces a present effect; the real a lasting one; 3) The false injures the one comforted; the real is health to him.” Harms.
6. Isaiah 4:2-6. The holiness of God’s Church on earth that is to be looked for in the future. 1) Its preliminary: the judgment of cleansing and purifying (Isaiah 4:4); 2) What is requisite to becoming a partaker? a. belonging to the remnant (Isaiah 4:2-3); b. being written in the book of life (Isaiah 4:3); 3) The surety of its permanence: the gracious presence of the Lord (Isaiah 4:5-6).
7. Isaiah 5:21. The ruin of trusting in one’s own Wisdom 1) Those that have such confidence set themselves above God, which is: a. the greatest wickedness, b. the greatest folly; 2) They challenge the Divine Majesty to maintain its right (Isaiah 5:24).
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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Isaiah 5". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30