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Ahaz, being troubled with fear of Rezin and Pekah, is comforted by Isaiah. Ahaz, having liberty to choose a sign, and refusing it, hath for a sign Christ promised: his judgment is prophesied to come by Assyria.
Before Christ 760.
Isaiah 7:1. And it came to pass, &c.— The fifth sermon, which extends from this to the 13th chapter, is of a very mixed and various argument; partly doctrinal and redargutory, partly consolatory and prophetic. It may be divided into five parts: the first contained in this seventh chapter; the second from chap. Isa 8:1 to chap. Isa 9:7 the third from chap. Isa 9:7 to chap. Isa 10:5 the fourth from chap. Isa 10:5 to the end of that chapter; and the fifth is contained in the 11th and 12th chapters. The first part of this prophesy, which sets forth the fate of the Jewish nation with respect to the Ephraimites, Syrians, and Assyrians, contains a kind of introduction to the subsequent prophesies in this discourse. The kings of Syria and Israel (Rezin and Pekah) had conspired against Ahaz, and determined to dethrone him. Ahaz, in great straits, instead of turning to the God of his fathers, thought of applying for help to the king of Assyria. In this state of things, God commands the prophet to take his son Shear-jashub with him; to go and meet Ahaz, and assure him of the vain attempt, nay, of the speedy destruction of these two kings; and at the same time, to permit him to ask any sign which he should think proper of his deliverance. This he refuses, having but little confidence in God; wherefore God himself gives to the pious and true believers a sign more certain than all others,—of the birth of the Messiah, the Immanuel, from a virgin; but to Ahaz, whose incredulity and hypocrisy were extremely displeasing to God, he denounces at the same time what he and his posterity should hereafter suffer from the king of Assyria, whose help he now regarded more than that of God. This is the argument of the first section of this discourse, whence we easily perceive its design, which is two-fold; first, to comfort the pious in Jerusalem, amid this great calamity which threatened their nation, and to testify the singular providence of God towards the house of David, which he had hitherto preserved, and would continue to preserve till the completion of his great design: and secondly, to upbraid the folly and ingratitude of Ahaz. The prophetic narration is two-fold; first, we have the occasion of its delivery, namely, the confederacy of the kings of Assyria and Israel, and the consternation of Ahaz and his people in consequence of it; Isaiah 7:1-2. Secondly, the revelation made to the prophet; Isa 7:3 to the end: and this revelation contains a consolatory prediction respecting the disappointment of the two kings of Israel and Syria, with a sign of that benefit given by God himself; Isa 7:3-16 and a convicting prediction directed to Ahaz, in which are denounced the evils which the king of Assyria should hereafter bring upon the Jewish nation, Isaiah 7:17-25.
Isaiah 7:3. Then said the Lord unto Isaiah— Isaiah is ordered, with his son ישׁוב שׁאר Shear-jashub, whose name signifies the remnant shall return, (see chap. Isaiah 10:21.) to go and meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, in the high-way of the fuller's field; a place of very public resort, where the messengers of the king of Assyria had delivered their threats, (see 2 Kings 18:17.) and whither it is thought Ahaz was then coming, in order to see whether he could not cut off from the enemy the waters of this pool. See 2Ch 32:1-4 compared with 2 Chronicles 32:30. For, as the prophet's speech to the king was not only reprehensive but consolatory, it was proper that there should be many witnesses of it; and this appears to have been the case from Isaiah 7:9. The prophet took his son with him for the consolation of the pious; that his son, to whom this name was given by the divine command, as was the case also of another of his sons, (see chap. Isaiah 8:1; Isaiah 8:3; Isaiah 8:18.) might be shewn to them as a kind of sacrament to the divine promises, to assure them that in the greatest calamities of the nation God would never wholly forsake his people; but that a remnant should remain at all times, whom God would, after many years, restore from banishment; and that God would through Christ his son have mercy upon all them who would believe. See Vitringa.
Isaiah 7:4-6. Say unto him, Take heed— The consolatory part of this discourse, concerning the deliverance of the city, extends from this to the 17th verse: in which we have, first, a promise of the deliverance of Ahaz and the people of Jerusalem from the impending evil;—from this to the 10th verse. Secondly, A confirmation of the promise by a certain sign given to Ahaz in the name of God; Isaiah 7:10-17. The promise of deliverance contains, first, a consolatory declaration applied to Ahaz, to raise his drooping mind; Isaiah 7:4-6. Secondly, The grounds of that consolation, namely, the disappointment of the expedition; Isaiah 7:7-9. The two kings are called, The two tails of these smoking fire-brands, because it is the nature of a fire-brand not long to preserve its flame, but soon to go out in smoke. These kings, therefore, are here properly and truly denoted as coming fresh, from the hot counsels taken in the heat of their flagrant indignation, and carrying about with them the signs of that indignation and fury: but for the comfort of Ahaz, they were only the tails of smoking fire-brands, their greatest part being already consumed; these kings having in the war of the former year very much exhausted their strength, and being at this time less capable of hurting, and themselves in a short time to perish. He calls Pekah the son of Remaliah a private person by way of contempt. Vitringa renders the 6th verse thus, Let us go up against Judah, and cut it in pieces, and divide it amongst us, and set up a king, &c. Vitringa is of opinion, that the son of Tabeal is the name of a Syrian idol, which signifies, the good god; like Rimmon, (see 2 Kings 5:18.) whom he imagines to be the same as Jupiter; and he is of opinion, that the design of the king of Assyria was not only to have divided the prey, but to have established the religion of his nation in Judaea.
Isaiah 7:7-9. Thus saith the Lord God, &c.— We have in these verses the grounds of the consolation given to Ahaz, namely, the overthrow of this expedition; with an admonitory caution to the Jews. Vitringa renders the 8th and 9th verses, For Damascus shall be the head only of Syria, and Rezin the head of Damascus; and within sixteen years and five Ephraim shall be broken, and be no longer a people. Isaiah 7:9. And the head of Ephraim shall be Samaria, and the head of Samaria Remaliah's son. But, in refutation of the alteration proposed in the number, Bishop Newton has the following remarks: "This prophesy was delivered in the first year of Ahaz, king of Judah, (see 2 Kings 15:37.) and it was to comfort him and the house of David in their difficulties and fears from the confederacy of the kings, that Isaiah was commissioned to assure him, that the kings of Syria and of Ephraim, that is to say, of Israel, should remain only the heads of their respective cities: they should not prevail against Jerusalem; and within threescore and five years Israel should be so broken as to be no more a people. The learned Vitringa is of opinion, that instead of sixty and five it should be sixteen and five. Sixteen and five, as he confesses, is an odd way of computation for one and twenty: but, without recourse to any alteration, the thing may be explicated otherwise: for, from the first of Ahaz, compare sixty and five years, in the reigns of Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Manasseh, and the end of them will fall about the twenty-second year of Manasseh; when Esar-haddon, king of Assyria, made the last deportation of the Israelites, and planted other nations in their stead, and in the same expedition probably took Manasseh captive, and carried him to Babylon. See 2 Chronicles 33:11. Ezr 2:10. 2 Kings 17:24. Ephraim was broken from being a kingdom before; but now he was broken from being a people, and, from that time to this, what account can be given of the people of Israel, as distinct from the people of Judah? Where have they subsisted all this while, or what is their condition at present?" See Newton on the Prophesies, vol. 1: p. 204 and Calmet. The meaning of the last clause in the ninth verse is, "If you do not give faith to what I say, you shall not be confirmed; the state of your affairs, whether political or ecclesiastical, shall not be established." The design of the prophet was, to raise up their fainting minds to a confidence in God, rather than in the king of Assyria. See a remarkable passage parallel to this in 2 Chronicles 20:0. It is very observable, that, though the Syrians and Ephraimites fell from their vain hopes, and did very little hurt to Judaea, yet the Assyrians, in whom the incredulous Jews had placed their hope, afflicted, spoiled, and distressed both them and their king. See 2 Chronicles 28:20-21.
Isaiah 7:10-12. Moreover, the Lord spake, &c.— From the 10th to the 16th verse, we have the confirmation of the promise, by a sign to Ahaz in the name of God; in which we have, first, the prophet's address to Ahaz, exhorting him by the divine command to ask whatever sign he would; Isa 7:10-11 with the reply of Ahaz, Isaiah 7:12. And secondly, a declaration of God's good pleasure, to give an illustrious sign, which he offers rather to the true believers, than to a hypocritical and incredulous king; Isaiah 7:13-16. By a sign we are here to understand a miracle, commonly so called, or an unusual or extraordinary effect, production, or phaenomenon, which cannot be explained from natural causes, but only from the omnipotence of the ruler of the universe; which moreover signified that God was present, and ratified the word, promise, or doctrine, for which the sign was given at the petition of some public teacher or other holy man. The prophet offers this sign either in the depth or in the height above; signifying that all nature was subject to the power and controul of that God whom he calls the God of Ahaz, as being the God of his fathers, and in order to admonish him in whom to place his confidence. Ahaz, however, refuses to ask for a sign; not from true faith and humility, but from hypocritical reasons, as is sufficiently evident from the history of his life. See 2 Chronicles 28:0 throughout. He feared lest, if such a sign should be given as he did not choose, he should be compelled to desist from his purpose, the calling in the aid of Assyria, and which he could not well do after Jehovah had given a sign to the contrary. Besides, as he seems to have been deserted by God, he dared not commit himself to that divine favour and providence which he had heretofore so proudly despised; preferring to it the protection of other and false deities. See Vitringa.
Isaiah 7:13. And he said, Hear ye now, &c.— The prophet here reproves the hypocrisy of the king; and informs him, that the contempt which he shewed of the offer, was not a contempt of him, but of God. See Acts 5:4. 1 Samuel 8:7. Luke 10:16.
Isaiah 7:14. Therefore the Lord himself, &c.— Therefore, &c. Behold a virgin conceives and bears a son, and she shall call, &c. Vitringa. There can be no doubt with Christians concerning the application of this text, when they refer to Mat 1:22-23 where we shall have occasion to speak more largely concerning it.
Isaiah 7:15. Butter and honey shall he eat, &c.— Cream and honey shall he eat, till, &c. The meaning of this verse is, that this child, called Immanuel, should be educated in the common method; the cultivated fields, unoccupied by the enemy, abundantly supplying all necessary food; and that thus he should grow up to maturity. The prophet is thought in these words to refer to the human nature of Jesus Christ. Butter and honey, or milk and honey, were a very common food of infants among the ancient Jews. See Proverbs 24:13; Proverbs 25:16.
Isaiah 7:16. The land that thou abhorrest, &c.— Distressed shall be that land, whose two kings thou art afraid of, or distressed by. The learned Vitringa seems to have proved beyond any doubt, not only the propriety of the interpretation given above, but also that the child spoken of in this verse, can be no other than he who is spoken of in the preceding verses. The connecting particle for, and the repetition of the words, refusing the evil and choosing the good, evidently demonstrate that the IMMANUEL is here meant; and, in order to enter into the immediate design of the prophet, we are to consider, that rapt, as it were, into future times, Isaiah proposes the Immanuel, a sign of salvation to the people of God, as if present; Behold, a virgin conceives—as if he understood him at this time conceived in the womb of the virgin, and shortly to be born; which is the only key to the right interpretation of this passage: and he says, that more time shall not elapse from his birth to his capability of discerning between good and evil, than from the present time to the desertion of the land of the two kings. If it be asked what interval of time is here implied:—the fourth verse of the next chapter seems to supply us with an answer: Before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father and my mother; which we learn from the event denotes a space somewhat less than three years. See Vitringa on the place, and his Observations, lib. 5: cap. 11. Dr. Kennicott differs from Vitringa, and, after some other celebrated writers, conceives that in this and the two foregoing verses we halve a two-fold prophesy; the former part referring to the Messiah, the latter to the son of Isaiah; and he would translate and paraphrase it thus: Isaiah 7:14. 'Nevertheless, the Lord himself will give to you a sign: God is mindful of his promise to your father, O house of David, and will fulfil the same in a wonderful manner: Behold, the virgin,—that one only woman who was to conceive whilst a virgin, shall conceive, and bear a son; who shall be called—that is to say, in Scripture language, who shall be, IMMANUEL "God with us." But this great personage, this God visible among men, introduced into the world thus in a manner which is without example, shall yet be truly man. He shall be born an infant, and as an infant shall he be brought up; For, Isa 7:15 butter and honey [rather, milk and honey,] shall he eat: He shall be fed with the common food of infants, which in the East was milk mixed with honey,—till he shall grow up to know how to refuse the evil, and choose the good.' Here then we find a comprehensive description of the Messiah: his divinity is marked by his being God; his residence upon earth as being God with us; and his humanity by his being born of a woman, and fed with the usual food of infants during his infant state. Now the 16th verse I conceive contains the second prophesy, which should be thus rendered; 'But before this child [pointing to his own son] shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that THOU abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.' Now that this verse contains a distinct prophesy appears from hence; First, the words preceding have been proved to be confined to the Messiah, whose birth was then distant above seven hundred years; whereas the words here are confined to some child who was not to arrive at years of discretion before the kings then advancing against Jerusalem should be themselves cut off. Secondly, Some end was undoubtedly to be answered by the presence of Isaiah's son, whom God commanded the prophet to take with him on this visit to Ahaz; and yet no use at all appears to have been made of this son, unless he be referred to in this sentence: And Thirdly, These prophesies are manifestly distinguished by being addressed to different persons. The first, plural, and addressed to the house of David, for the consolation of the pious in general; as it assured them not only of the preservation of that house, but of God's fidelity to his great promise: whereas the second prophesy is singular, and therefore addressed to the king in particular, as it foretold the speedy destruction of the two kings, his enemies. See Kennicott's Sermon on the text.
Isaiah 7:17. The Lord shall bring upon thee— The Lord [however] will bring, &c. Though the prophet in the name of God gives Ahaz and the people certain assurance of a deliverance from their present evil; yet, as Ahaz chose rather to confide in the king of Assyria than in the Lord of Hosts, the wretched consequences of that confidence are here set forth, from this verse to the end of the chapter; namely, the devastation and ruin which they should bring upon the land of Judah.
Isaiah 7:18. The Lord shall hiss for the fly, &c.— See the note on chap. Isaiah 5:26. It is not very strange, that languages should abound with figures and metaphors, or that prophesies should contain parables and apt similitudes. What man, who knows any thing of language or letters, would expect otherwise? However, considering that the word hiss is apt to carry with it a low idea, one might with that our translators had chosen a less offensive word, which might but tolerably have expressed the sense. Besides, the word hiss seems not proper, as not well answering to the original word, שׁרק sharak: for, whether we suppose the metaphor taken from a shepherd's calling to his sheep, or from a bee-keeper's calling to his bees, hiss is not a proper expression for either. Other words, more expressive of the metaphor, might be thought on were it necessary to follow the figure; but I see no reason for such scrupulous exactness. The general word, call, would fully express the meaning; and that is sufficient in such cases. Our older translations, as Coverdale's in 1535, and Mathews's of 1537, and the great Bible of 1539, have it call unto them in this place, and I think very wisely. The Geneva translators of 1560 first brought in hiss unto them: and they have been followed by Parker's Bible, and by our last translation. I commend not the older translations for having whistle in this place, and blow for them in Zechariah 10:8. The same word call would have served better in both these and the other place before referred to. I observe that the Hebrew word קרא kara, is made use of in the 13th chapter, Isa 7:3 to the same sense, and for the same purpose, as שׁרק sharak here, and is there literally rendered call: and so might this other word be rendered also without any impropriety. Some indeed have chosen whisper instead of hiss; which is a word of more dignity: but it dilutes and diminishes the sense. A loud or shrill call seems to be intended in all the three places; for neither do shepherds whisper to their sheep, nor bee-keepers to their bees. In short then, I know no better English word than call to preserve the sense, and at the same time to keep up the dignity of expression. The true and full meaning of the two places in this book, is neither more nor less than this; that God, having sovereign command over all nations and people, can convene them together from remote and distant quarters to execute his most righteous judgments. Whenever God gives the signal, or issues out his summons, they will advance with all alacrity to perform his will, though not knowing that his hand is in it. The fly and the bee, in the place before us, denote the Egyptian and Assyrian armies, which should come up with speed from their respective quarters, to execute the divine vengeance upon Palestine for their flagrant iniquities. The former would come swiftly upon them, like swarms of devouring flies, to infer and annoy them, and to exhaust their blood and juices: and the latter should approach as swarms of angry bees or wasps to sting them to death. Such is the prophet's meaning, vailed under elegant figures; which give new life and strength to his expressions, and render the whole the more poignant and more affecting. See Waterland's Scripture vindicated, part 3: p. 42.
Isaiah 7:19. In the desolate valleys, &c.— In the waste valleys, and in the holes of the rock, and upon all thorny grounds, and upon all the well-watered places. Schultens.
Isaiah 7:20. Shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, &c.— Shall the Lord shave with that mercenary razor by them beyond the Euphrates, &c.—And even the beard also shall be close shaven. Schultens. The metaphor of a razor is immediately explained by the prophet, who calls the king of Assyria, emphatically, that mercenary razor, alluding to the hire which Ahaz offered to him for his service. See 2 Chronicles 16:14; 2 Chronicles 16:14. We have a full completion of this prophesy in the desolation of the land by Nebuchadnezzar. Read 2 Kings 24:10-16.
Isaiah 7:21-22. And it shall come to pass— The prophet intends here to denote the extreme desertion of the land, and in consequence the great growth of the grass and food, which there shall not be sufficient cattle to eat. Certainly, therefore, the few men remaining might themselves eat the fat of the land, when there were scarcely any to share with them, and none to purchase of them. The subsequent verses set forth in strong terms the desolation of the land.
Isaiah 7:23. Every place shall be, &c.— Every vineyard that hath a thousand vines, valued at a thousand pieces of silver, shall become in that day briers and thorns. Lowth.
Isaiah 7:25. And on all hills— And as to all the hills which used to be dressed with a mattock, there shall no fence of briers and thorns come there; but it shall let in oxen, and shall be trodden by the lesser cattle. Vitringa. It was usual in Judaea to fence in their vineyards with briers and thorns.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, A new prophesy begins in this chapter, which bears date in the reign of Ahaz, when the confederate forces of Syria and Israel, which had before committed great ravages and massacres in the country, 2 Kings 15:37. 2Ch 28:5-7 united to besiege Jerusalem the capital, and utterly to destroy the kingdom of Judah; though, by divine interposition, their design, was defeated.
1. This formidable invasion put the king and his subjects into great confusion. It was told the house of David, of which though Ahaz was a degenerate branch, yet for his father's sake he was not entirely forsaken, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim; and before two such potent monarchs, whose power separately he had been unable to cope with, nothing but ruin seemed approaching; and his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind, weak, bending, disordered, and ready to fall before there mighty foes. Note; They who have accusing guilt on their consciences, are in terrors at the approach of danger.
2. God sends to comfort and encourage them. Though perplexed, they need not be in despair; Isaiah, the messenger of warning to them, is now the messenger of mercy, little as they deserved it, to prove them, whether the goodness of God might lead them to repentance. He is commanded to go with his son, (whose significant name carried in it a token for good,) and meet Ahaz at the conduit of the upper pool, in the high way of the fuller's field, where probably he was making some preparations for the approaching siege, by fortifying his capital, introducing plenty of water into the city, or cutting it off from supplying the besiegers. Note; (1.) God is thinking of sinners, and preventing them with the blessings of his grace, when he is not in all their thoughts. (2.) Seasonable relief in time of helpless distress, is doubly welcome. The message with which the prophet is sent, is most encouraging.
(1.) He bids them not to be afraid of foes so despicable. Though to human view so potent, in God's regard they were but as the tails of firebrands when they are burnt out, and their wrath was no more to be regarded than the smoke of an extinguished taper. Take heed, and be quiet, beware only of unbelieving distrust, and wait in confident expectation of the salvation of God; neither be faint-hearted, or be not soft as wax, melted before the sun. Note; (1.) Nothing lays the soul so open to the inroads of sin, as unbelieving fear. (2.) The greatest dangers will not disturb their peace, whose minds are stayed upon God. (3.) The enemies of God's people are raging as fire-brands, but all their wicked purposes will end in smoke.
(2.) He foretels the disappointment of the present attempt, though the schemes of the enemies of Judah were deep laid, and full of malice, designing nothing less than the ravaging of the whole country, dethroning the king, and setting up a tributary of their own: and so secure were they of success, that they had fixed on the person already, had taken the city in imagination, and divided the spoil; yet one word of God defeats the plan: It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass. He who sets bounds to the sea, can as easily still the ragings of the mighty. Note; (1.) The sinner's confidence serves but to increase the confusion of his disappointment. (2.) They who are purposing to vex others, find often the mischief return on their own heads. (3.) God delights to humble the proud. They shall see whose word shall stand.
(3.) From the present defeat he passes on to the future destiny of these enemies of Judah. Far from being able to extend their territories, their kingdoms should never be enlarged; and Ephraim, perhaps the most inveterate of the two, within sixty-five years, cease to be a people.
4. The men of Judah are enjoined to credit his message; for if ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established; faith in the divine promise was that which could alone abidingly secure their safety, whatever temporary deliverances might be granted to them. Note; The word of promise only brings comfort, when it is mixed with faith in them that hear it.
2nd, To confirm by miracle the veracity of the prophetic word, Isaiah,
1. Bids Ahaz ask a sign of the Lord his God; for, though he was a wicked king, God had not yet cast off his national relation to him and his people, and was ready to grant him every evidence to engage his trust and dependance.
2. Ahaz wickedly rejects the offer, pretending piety; but there could be no fear of tempting God in asking a sign, when himself had made the offer: the true reason seems to be, he was unwilling to be quiet, and trust the case with God, expecting more from the help of the Assyrians and his own fortifications, than from the word of promise.
3. The prophet rebukes the high affront herein shown, not to himself merely as a prophet, but more especially to that God who sent him. And since he disdains to ask a sign, God will give him one strange and marvellous; a sign which relates in a double respect to the present and eternal good of his people. Behold a strange unheard-of wonder, a virgin shall conceive without the knowledge of man, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel, God with us: in our nature, conceived of a virgin, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that he might have the human nature pure from our original defilement, and add infinite dignity thereunto, by uniting it to the divine nature in that mysterious person God and man in one Christ. Butter and honey shall he eat, partaking of a real human nature, supported by food as we are, and growing to maturity of understanding, by progressive steps, that he may know, or until he shall know, to refuse the evil, and choose the good. Now this was a sign of present deliverance for Judah, as well as future safety; since, till the time of the coming of this wonderful personage, the sceptre should not depart finally from them; and for their more immediate comfort it is added, Before this child, probably pointing to Shear-jashub his little son, or before the child, that is to be born, shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, shall come to the exercise of reason, the land that thou abhorrest, of Syria and Israel, now confederate, shall be forsaken of both her kings, Pekah and Rezin; which was quickly fulfilled in the death of Rezin, slain by the king of Assyria, 2Ki 16:9 and Pekah by Hoshea, 2 Kings 15:30. Note; (1.) Insults cast on God's prophets, is insolence against himself, and will be highly resented by him. (2.) The great comfort in every distress, is not so much the hope of present deliverance, as the prospect of eternal blessedness in our Immanuel. (3.) The more we examine the word of prophesy, the more confirmed shall we be in the faith of Jesus, in whom it is so perfectly fulfilled.
3rdly, Though God will now appear for Zion's sake, let not Ahaz think his unbelief shall go unpunished.
1. A sore judgment is threatened, such as the land of Judah never knew before, since the grand revolt of the ten tribes. Note; Though God may have long patience, the impenitent must not promise themselves impunity.
2. The instrument to be employed was chiefly the king of Assyria, Nebuchadnezzar; and Pharaoh-Nechoh, the king of Egypt, helped forward their destruction, 2 Kings 23:29-35. Swiftly would their armies come up at the call of God, thick as swarms of bees and flies, resting in the desolate valleys like flights of locusts: not a green leaf should be left, so thoroughly would they devour the land, and climb every fortress, though seated on the craggy rocks. As a sharp razor, passing from head to foot, shaves off the hair, so should the king of Assyria make an entire conquest of Judaea, receiving the spoil as his hire: or it alludes to the present which Ahaz sent him to engage his assistance, 2Ki 16:7-9 which in the end turned to his own damage, and brought upon him the continual inroads of the Assyrians, till the fatal captivity arrived. Note; (1.) When God would chastise a guilty nation, he will not want a scourge. (2.) It is just in God to make that creature the instrument of our vexation which we have made the object of our confidence, and to let men see thereby the misery as well as folly of changing a rock for a reed.
3. Terrible would be the consequence of these invasions: instead of lowing herds and grazing flocks, a man would think himself happy if he had one young cow and two poor sheep remaining. So desolate would every family be, and such plenty of pasture in the depopulated country, that this small stock of cattle would yield milk sufficient: butter and honey would be their only diet, for meat could not be afforded in the scarcity of beasts which remained; and vineyards and tillage would be utterly neglected: the spot which paid a yearly rent of a thousand silverlings (about the value of half a crown) for a thousand vines, so fruitful were they, now overgrown with briers and thorns, yielded no revenue. Instead of gathering their vintage, men must now go armed to protect themselves from the wild beasts or robbers that lodged in those thickets where fruitful vineyards grew: and the hills and fields untilled, where once the rising harvest stood, now, no longer fenced with hedges of thorns, are laid quite open as a wild waste, where the cattle roamed without controul. How terrible are the desolations which sin, and war the effect of it, make in the earth? What sinful nation need not tremble on beholding Judaea's wretched fate, and read an alarming call to repentance in her overthrow?
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Isaiah 7". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
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