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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Isaiah 17

 

 

Verse 1

Isaiah 17:1 The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from [being] a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.

Ver. 1. The burden of Damascus.] See Isaiah 13:1.

Of Damascus.] That is, of the kingdom of Syria, the head city whereof was Damascus; and it was destroyed by Shalmaneser five or six years after this burdenous prophecy; the like whereunto, see Isaiah 49:23, Amos 1:2, Zechariah 9:1. It had been taken before by Tiglathpileser, [2 Kings 15:29] and hath been rebuilded since, [Acts 9:2 2 Corinthians 11:32] being at this day a noble city of the East - civitas laetitiae et laudabilis, as Jeremiah calleth it. [Jeremiah 49:24-25]

And it shall be a ruinous heap.] It was so till re-edified, and inhabited by a new people.


Verse 2

Isaiah 17:2 The cities of Aroer [are] forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make [them] afraid.

Ver. 2. The cities of Aroer are forsaken,] i.e., The country beyond Jordan [Deuteronomy 2:36] is desolated and depopulated - the Gadites and the Reubenites being also, together with the Syrians, carried captive by Tiglathpileser. [1 Chronicles 5:26]


Verse 3

Isaiah 17:3 The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the LORD of hosts.

Ver. 3. The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim.] Heb., Shall sabbatise, or rest. Ephraim, or the ten tribes, had joined with Syria in a confederacy against Judah; they justly therefore partake with them in their punishment.

Shall be as the glory of the children of Israel.] Poor glory now; but so their low condition is called ironically and by way of contempt, saith Oecolamp.


Verse 4

Isaiah 17:4 And in that day it shall come to pass, [that] the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean.

Ver. 4. The glory of Jacob shall be made thin.] Their multitudes wherein they gloried shall be greatly impaired.

And the fatness.] He shall be cast into a deadly consumption, know the consumption of a kingdom is poverty, and the death of it is loss of authority, saith Scultetus, wickedness being the root of its wretchedness, like as the causes of diseases are in the body itself.


Verse 5

Isaiah 17:5 And it shall be as when the harvestman gathereth the corn, and reapeth the ears with his arm; and it shall be as he that gathereth ears in the valley of Rephaim.

Ver. 5. And it shall be as when the harvest man.] Their utter captivity is set forth by three lively similitudes, for better assurance, a very small remnant only left in the land. This by some ancients is alleged to show how few shall be saved - surely not one of ten thousand, said Simeon. And before him Chrysostom, (a) How many, think you, shall be saved in this city of Antioch? Though there be so many thousands of you, yet there cannot be found a hundred that shall enter into God’s kingdom, and I doubt much of those too, &c.

In the valley of Rephaim.] Which was nigh to Jerusalem. [Joshua 15:8] Nam similitudine populari propheta utitur. (b)


Verse 6

Isaiah 17:6 Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two [or] three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four [or] five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the LORD God of Israel.

Ver. 6. Yet gleaning grapes, &c.] See on Isaiah 17:5.


Verse 7

Isaiah 17:7 At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel.

Ver. 7. At that day shall a man look to his Maker.] The elect among the Israelites shall do so, having been whipped home as before. There is an elegance in the original, as there are many in this prophet, that cannot be translated. Here also, and in the next verse, we have a description of true repentance, the right fruit of affliction sanctified. Penitence and punishment are words of one derivation.


Verse 8

Isaiah 17:8 And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands, neither shall respect [that] which his fingers have made, either the groves, or the images.

Ver. 8. And he shall not look to the altars.] As, having looked before to his Maker with a single eye, with an eye of adamant, that will turn only to one point. See on Hosea 14:8.


Verse 9

Isaiah 17:9 In that day shall his strong cities be as a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch, which they left because of the children of Israel: and there shall be desolation.

Ver. 9. Which they left for the children of Israel.] Which the enemy left, by a sweet providence of God; the like whereto see on Zechariah 7:14.


Verse 10

Isaiah 17:10 Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with strange slips:

Ver. 10. Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation.] Thou hast disloyally departed from him, as a wife doth from her husband, though he were both able and ready to have saved thee.

Therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants.] But all to no purpose. Hoc patres familias pro regula habeant aeconomica. There is a curse upon the wicked, though never so industrious. All will not do. God cannot abide to be forgotten.

And shall set it with strange slips,] (a) i.e., Rare and excellent ones, but for the enemies’ use. {as Isaiah 17:11 Deuteronomy 28:29}


Verse 11

Isaiah 17:11 In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning shalt thou make thy seed to flourish: [but] the harvest [shall be] a heap in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow.

Ver. 11. In the day thou shalt make thy plant to grow.] So Proverbs 22:8, he that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity; and the more serious and sedulous he is at it, the worse shall it be with him. [Galatians 6:8]

But thy harvest shall be an heap.] This is a proverb among the Jews, to signify labour in vain.

In the day of grief and desperate sorrow.] Heb., Aegrae, sc., plagae; for grapes ye shall gather thorns, for figs, thistles.


Verse 12

Isaiah 17:12 Woe to the multitude of many people, [which] make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, [that] make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!

Ver. 12. Woe to the multitude of many people.] Met to make up Sennacherib’s army. Or, Oh the multitude, &c. The prophet wondereth, (a) as it were, at the huge multitude of the enemies, and their horrible noise.

Like the rushing of many waters.] Ob impetum et fremitum.


Verse 13

Isaiah 17:13 The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but [God] shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.

Ver. 13. The nations shall rush.] Or, Rustle. The Assyrians did so when they brake in. [Isaiah 36:1-20]

But God shall rebuke them,] i.e., Chide them, smite them, and so set it on, as none shall be able to take it off.

And they shall flee far off.] Heb., He shall flee, viz., Sennacherib, who, was frightened with the slaughter of his soldiers by the angel, shall flee his utmost.


Verse 14

Isaiah 17:14 And behold at eveningtide trouble; [and] before the morning he [is] not. This [is] the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us.

Ver. 14. And behold at eventide trouble.] Or, Terror - sc., within Jerusalem, besieged by Sennacherib’s forces. But this mourning lasted but till morning. The time of affliction is ordinarily short; a day, or night; a piece of a night, as here; a "moment"; [Isaiah 54:8] "a small moment." [Isaiah 54:7] Or if longer, yet (1.) There are some breathing time between; (2.) There is much good got by it; (3.) It is nothing to eternity.

Before morning he is not.] He and his forces are all gone. The wicked, saith Oecolampadius here, at the eventide of their death have a hard tug of it; and in the morning of the resurrection they are not, or could wish they were not.

This is the portion of them that spoil us.] Epiphonema ad populum Dei. He closeth up his discourse with a word of comfort to all God’s people; for whose sake also it is that all this is said against Assyria, Syria, and other foreign states, enemies to the Church.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 17:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-17.html. 1865-1868.

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