Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 2

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

Verses 1-4

Isaiah 2:1-4 . Zion the World’ s Religious Centre, and the Reign of Universal Peace.— The title in Isaiah 2:1 is a later addition, unrelated to the important oracle Isaiah 2:2-4. This oracle, with verbal differences, occurs in Micah 4:1-3 *. It is probably post-exilic. The very high significance attached to Zion is strange in the eighth century; the idea of its physical exaltation is akin to Apocalyptic rather than prophecy. Moreover, Jeremiah 26:18 suggests that Micah predicted irretrievable doom for Zion. Duhm thinks that, like Isaiah 9:2-7, Isaiah 11:1-8, it belongs to Isaiah’ s old age; he calls them his swan-songs. This would accord with the wide outlook and large charity of this poem: yet the late date is more probable.

In the latter days, i.e. the beginning of the Messianic times, the Temple hill will be physically exalted above all other mountains, and all nations will stream to Zion to learn Yahweh’ s ways. Jerusalem is the source of religious knowledge, it is there that Yahweh makes known His will. It is noteworthy that this instruction ( mg.) is not imparted by messengers sent out to the heathen, but by Yahweh Himself in Zion. He acts not only as teacher, but as arbitrator. The nations accept His decisions as final, and therefore do not need to settle their disputes by war, so turn their weapons into implements of husbandry. (For the reverse of this see Joel 3:10.)

Verses 5-22

Isaiah 2:5-22 . The Day of Yahweh.— A poem dating from Isaiah’ s earliest period, dealing first with the sin, then with the judgment, of Israel. The text has been badly preserved. Probably the refrain which we find in various forms in Isaiah 2:10; Isaiah 2:19; Isaiah 2:21, stood at the beginning of the poem, before Isaiah 2:6 ( Isaiah 2:5 being an editorial link). Another refrain occurs in Isaiah 2:11; Isaiah 2:17, and a variant of it in Isaiah 2:9 and in Isaiah 5:15. Probably each part began and ended with the same refrains. The first part may have consisted of Isaiah 2:19, Isaiah 2:6-8, Isaiah 2:11; the second part of Isaiah 2:10, Isaiah 2:12-18. In that case Isaiah 2:20 is a later addition. Isaiah 2:22 is absent from the LXX, and is the reflection of a reader.

Yahweh has forsaken Israel, for its wealth and idolatry. The people may well cower in the caves of the rocks and the holes of the earth, for the Day of Yahweh ( cf. Amos 5:18-20) is at hand. It comes in storm and earthquake, which works wild havoc on land and sea, smiting low all that is exalted, the works of nature and man alike, that Yahweh alone may be high and lifted up, as the prophet had seen Him in his vision ( Isaiah 6:1). Thus the pride of man is abased before God, when the fortresses and ships in which he trusted are brought to nought. The path of destruction is from Lebanon with its cedars and Bashan with its oaks, southward and westward to Israel’ s towers and fortifications, and then westward still to the Mediterranean, where it strikes the Phœ nician ships, or perhaps southward to Elath, the port on the Gulf of Akabah, now Judah’ s, but shortly to be captured from her in the war with Syria and Ephraim ( 2 Kings 14:22; 2 Kings 16:6).

Isaiah 2:6 . Perhaps we should read filled “ with sorcery” or “ sorcerers” (but see Grays note).

Isaiah 2:7 . The prophets were hostile to wealth because it dulled the spiritual sensibilities and caused men to forget God; to horses, because they were used for war and men trusted in them rather than in God.

Isaiah 2:16 . ships of Tarshish: probably Tartessus in Spain, at the mouth of the Guadalquivir ( Psalms 48:7 *). The ships may have been such as were used for the Tarshish trade, not necessarily such as actually went there.— pleasant imagery: sense uncertain; read perhaps “ costly barks” (ṣ? ephinô th for sekiyô th) .

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Isaiah 2". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.