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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Isaiah 2

 

 

Verse 1

The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

The word - the revelation. The inscription.


Verse 2

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

In the last days - i:e., Messiah's; especially the days yet to come, to which all prophecy hastens, when "the house of the God of Jacob," namely, at Jerusalem, shall be the center to which the converted nations shall flock together (Ezekiel 17:23; Luke 2:31-32; Acts 1:6-7), where 'the kingdom' of Israel is regarded as certain, and the time alone uncertain (Psalms 68:15-16; Psalms 72:8; Psalms 72:11). Same as Micah 4:1. Since the passage in Micah is more connected with the preceding context than it is here, Isaiah seems to have drawn it from Micah, not vice versa.

The mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains - the temple on Mount Moriah: type of the Gospel, beginning at Jerusalem, and, like an object set on the highest hill, made so conspicuous that all nations are attracted to it.

All nations shall flow unto it - as a broad stream (Isaiah 66:12).


Verse 3

And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Many people (peoples) shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord. If the curse foretold against Israel has been literally fulfilled, so shall the promised blessing be literal. We Gentiles must not, while giving them the curse, deny them their special blessing by spiritualizing it.

He will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths. The Holy Spirit shall be poured out for a general conversion then, and the Jews shall be the instruments whose ministry shall be blessed in effecting it (Jeremiah 50:5; Zechariah 8:21; Zechariah 8:23; Joel 2:28).

For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Luke 24:47 is an earnest of the future relations of Jerusalem to Christendom, (Romans 11:12; Romans 11:15, "if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles, how more their fullness? ... For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?")


Verse 4

And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. He shall judge among the nations - as a sovereign umpire and governor, settling all controversies (cf. Isaiah 11:4).

And shall rebuke many people - argue so as to convince (Gesenius). (Job 32:12; Hebrew, howkiyach (Hebrew #3198).) Lowth translates, work conviction.

They shall beat their swords into plowshares - in the East resembling a short sword (Isaiah 9:6-7; Zechariah 9:10).


Verse 5

O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.

O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. The connection is-Since Israel's high destiny is to be a blessing to all nations (Genesis 12:3), let Israel's children walk worthy of it (Ephesians 5:8, "walk as children of light").


Verse 6

Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.

Therefore , [ kiy (Hebrew #3588)] - rather, For: reasons why there is the more need of the exhortation in Isaiah 2:5.

Thou - transition to Yahweh. Such rapid transitions are natural when the mind is full of a subject.

Hast forsaken thy people ... because they be replenished from the east - rather, filled; namely, with the superstitions of the East, Syria, and Chaldea.

And are soothsayers - forbidden, Deuteronomy 18:10-14.

Like the Philistines - southwest of Palestine in antithesis to "the East." The Philistines delighted in divinations (1 Samuel 6:2). This sin of dealing with familiar spirits reached its height under Manasseh (2 Kings 21:6), and shall be a leading sin of the last days (Revelation 13:13; Revelation 22:15).

And they please themselves in the children of strangers , [saapaq, akin to caapaq (Hebrew #5606)] - they join hands with (Maurer); i:e., enter into alliances, matrimonial and national, with pagan foreigners: forbidden, Exodus 23:32; Nehemiah 13:23, etc. The Hebrew means to have sufficiency (Buxtorf). Instead of making God their all sufficient satisfaction, they please themselves with the corrupt ways of foreign pagan.


Verse 7

Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots:

Their land also is full of silver and gold - forbidden to be heaped together, Deuteronomy 17:17. Solomon disobeyed (1 Kings 10:21; 1 Kings 10:27).

Horses ... chariots - forbidden, Deuteronomy 17:16. Solomon disobeyed (1 Kings 10:26). Horses could be used effectively for war in the plains of Egypt; not so in the hilly Judea. God designed there should be as wide as possible a distinction between Israel and the Egyptians. He would have his people wholly dependent on Him, rather than on the ordinary means of warfare (Psalms 20:7). Also, horses were connected with idolatry (2 Kings 23:11): so the transition to "idols" (Isaiah 2:8) is natural.


Verse 8

Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made:

Their land also is full of idols. The repetition thrice (Isaiah 2:7) of "their land is full" implies how the fullness of material wealth tempts to the fullness of idolatry, whether in the grosser form of outward idols, or in the refined form of "covetousness, which is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5; Hosea 8:4). Not so much public idolatry, which was not sanctioned in Uzziah's and Jotham's reign (see 2 Kings 15:4; 2 Kings 15:35) as private.


Verse 9

And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not.

The mean man - in rank; not morally base: opposed "to the great man." The former is in Hebrew 'aadaam (Hebrew #120); the latter, 'iysh (Hebrew #376).

Boweth down - namely, to idols. All ranks were idolaters.

Therefore forgive them not - a threat expressed by an imperative. Isaiah so identifies himself with God's will that he prays for that which he knows God purposes. So Revelation 18:6.


Verse 10

Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty.

Enter into the rock - poetical form of expressing that, such were their sins they would be obliged by God's judgments to seek a hiding-place from his wrath (Revelation 6:15-16).

Hide thee in the dust - in "caves of the earth" (Hebrew, dust).

For fear of the Lord - literally, from the face of the terror of the Lord.


Verse 11

The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

The lofty looks - literally, the, eyes of pride (Psalms 18:27).

Shall be humbled - by calamities.

The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. God will so vindicate His honour "in that day" of judgments, that none else "shall be exalted" (Zechariah 14:9).


Verse 12

For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:

For the day of the Lord of hosts (shall be) upon every (one that is) proud. Man has had many days. "The day of the Lord" shall come at last, beginning with judgment-a never-ending day, in which God shall be "all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28; 2 Peter 3:10).

Every - not merely person, as the English version explains it, but every thing on which the nation prided itself.


Verse 13

And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan,

And upon all the cedars of Lebanon ... oaks - image for haughty nobles and princes (Amos 2:9; Zechariah 11:1-2 : cf. Revelation 19:18-21).

And upon all the oaks of Bashan - east of Jordan, north of the river Jabbok, famous for fine oaks, pasture, and cattle. Perhaps in "oaks" there is reference to their idolatry (Isaiah 1:29).


Verse 14

And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up,

And upon all the high mountains ... hills - referring to the "high places" on which sacrifices were unlawfully offered, even in Uzziah's (Azariah's) reign (2 Kings 15:4). Also, places of strength, fastnesses in which they trusted rather than in God. So Isaiah 2:15.


Verse 15

And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall,

Tower ... wall. Towers were often made on the walls of cities.

Fenced - strongly fortified.


Verse 16

And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.

And upon all the ships of Tarshish - Tartessus, in southwest Spain, at the mouth of the Guadalquiver, near Gibraltar. It includes the adjoining region. It was a Phoenician colony: hence, its connection with Palestine and the Bible (2 Chronicles 9:21). The name was also used in a wide sense for the farthest west, as our West Indies (Isaiah 66:19; Psalms 48:7; Psalms 72:10). "Ships of Tanhish" became a phrase for richly-laden and far-voyaging vessels. So our 'East Indiamen.' The judgment shall be on all that minister to man's luxury (cf. Revelation 18:17-19).

And upon all pleasant pictures - ordered to be destroyed (Numbers 33:52), because connected with idolatry. Still to be seen on the walls of Nineveh's palaces. It is remarkable that whereas all other ancient civilized nations-Egypt, Assyria, Greece, Rome-have left monuments in the fine arts, Judea, while rising immeasurably above them in the possession of 'the living oracles,' has left none of the former. The fine arts, as in modern Rome, were so often associated with polytheism, that God required His people in this, as in other respects, to be separate from the nations (Deuteronomy 4:15-18). But the Vulgate translation [sh


Verse 17

And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down - repeated from Isaiah 2:11, for emphatic confirmation.


Verse 18

And the idols he shall utterly abolish.

And the idols - Hebrew, haa'


Verse 19

And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.

And they shall go into the holes of the rocks. The fulfillment answers exactly to the prophetic threat, Isa And they shall go into the holes of the rocks. The fulfillment answers exactly to the prophetic threat, Isaiah 2:10.

They - the idol worshippers.

And into the caves - abounding in Judea, a hilly country; hiding-places in times of alarm (1 Samuel 13:6).

For fear of the Lord ... when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth - and the heavens also (Hebrews 12:26). Figure for severe and universal judgments.


Verse 20

In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats;

In that day a man shall east his idols ... to the moles - others translate mice. The sense is, under ground, in darkness.

And to the bats - unclean birds (Leviticus 11:19), living, amidst tenantless ruins, which shall result from 'the Lord terribly shaking the earth' (Revelation 11:13).


Verse 21

To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 22

Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?

Cease ye from man The high ones (Isaiah 2:11; Isaiah 2:13) on whom the people trust, shall be 'brought low' (Isaiah 3:2); therefore "cease ye from man" - depend not on man instead of on the Lord (Psalms 146:3-5).

Whose breath is in his nostrils - and so liable to be taken from him at any moment (Psalms 104:29).

Remarks: The kingdom of Christ is come spiritually, but is not yet come visibly. It is as yet only in the stage of the stone smiting the image of the world-power. The time is yet to come, termed here "the last days," wherein it shall become "a great mountain, and shall fill the whole earth." Jerusalem and its temple, which is "the mountain of the Lord's house," shall be the central seat of this glorious kingdom, which shall be exalted above all earthly elevations. Then shall the Lord's house at Jerusalem be "a house of prayer for all nations," which it certainly never yet has been. As to the means whereby this consummation shall be brought about, Isaiah here states that it shall be through "the Word of the Lord going forth from Jerusalem." The present Church, gathered by election from Jews and Gentiles without distinction, is the fruit of the gospel-preaching which has gone forth "among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." And the coming world-wide Church, comprising all kingdoms of the earth as such, shall be the fruit of the "Lord's restoring again the kingdom to Israel."

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 2:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/isaiah-2.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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