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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Isaiah 31

 

 

Verse 1

Isaiah 31:1 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because [they are] many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!

Ver. 1. Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help.] The prophet saw them set upon it to send down to Egypt; he therefore addeth another woe to such refractories, and layeth before them more reasons to dissuade them from doing so: a good precedent for preachers. Oecolampadius rendereth it, O descendentes, O ye that go down to Egypt, &c. Oh ye are a wise company of you, and full well ye have done it!

But they look not to the Holy One of Israel.] They trust not God at all, that not alone. He that stands with one foot on a rock, and another foot upon a quicksand, will sink and perish as certainly as he that stands with both feet on a quicksand. See Psalms 62:5-6.


Verse 2

Isaiah 31:2 Yet he also [is] wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back his words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity.

Ver. 2. Yet he also is wise.] Yea, he is "the only wise God," whatever the world’s wizards think of him or of themselves. They counted the voyage down to Egypt the wisest way; (a) and to rest altogether upon God, to be altogether impolitic as the case now stood. Egypt also, they knew, was famous for wisdom, [Isaiah 19:11-12] but considered not how God had fooled them, [Exodus 1:10; Exodus 1:12] and taken those foxes in their own craft. [1 Corinthians 3:19]

And will bring evil.] To those evil counsellors especially,

Hδε κακη βουλη τω βουλευσαντι κακιστη


Verse 3

Isaiah 31:3 Now the Egyptians [are] men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together.

Ver. 3. Now the Egyptains are men, and not God.] Poets fain that in the Trojan war one god fought against another.

Mulciber in Troiam, pro Troia stabat Apollo.

But the Jews could not imagine that these Egyptians, in whom they confided, were fit matches for God, and able to deal with him. "Who would set those briers and thorns against me in battle I would go through them, I would burn them together." [Isaiah 27:4]

And their horses flesh, and not spirit.] God is Lord of hosts; and as the Rabbis well observe, he hath his cavalry and his infantry, or his horse and his foot; his upper forces and his lower, ready pressed. "The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels," [Psalms 68:17] and what can the Egyptian horse do against such worthy warriors?


Verse 4

Isaiah 31:4 For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, [he] will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.

Ver. 4. Like as the lion and the young lion.] That they may trust in God, and not in the arm of flesh, the prophet setteth before them under two fit similitudes, the power of God, [Isaiah 31:4] and the mercy of God. [Isaiah 31:5] These are the Jakin and the Boaz, the two main pillars and supports of trust in God. Procopius here noteth that the lion, when he preyeth, first roareth so terribly, that he thereby amazeth both the cattle and their keepers, and then he falleth upon them and teareth them in pieces; so doth God first roar, that is, threaten by his prophets, and then he destroyeth such as obstinate themselves in a sinful course.


Verse 5

Isaiah 31:5 As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver [it; and] passing over he will preserve it.

Ver. 5. As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts.] This is the second similitude; the eagle, when she flieth highest of all from the nest, and seemeth to set herself among the clouds, still keeps her eye on her nest, so that if any come near her young ones to offend them, she makes all possible speed for their defence. Such an eagle is Almighty God, [Deuteronomy 22:11] such a hen is Jesus Christ. [Matthew 23:37 Psalms 91:1-2] The Church is God’s nest; who dare meddle with it? Sennacherib had threatened to destroy nest and young ones together, because he had done so elsewhere, and none dared wag the wing at him, [Isaiah 10:14] but he found it otherwise here. [Isaiah 37:33]


Verse 6

Isaiah 31:6 Turn ye unto [him from] whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted.

Ver. 6. Turn ye unto him.] Vos apostatae Iudaei. You apostate Jews. He runs far that never turneth again, we say; ye have revolted and run away from God with all your hearts, doing evil as ye could. Oh turn again to him, ex profundo imoque corde ad illum redite, let there be a proportion between your sin and your repentance. Turn ye unto me, usque ad me, all out as far as to me, give not the half turn only; with all your heart. [Joel 2:12] "Take heed lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God." [Hebrews 3:12] ‘ Aπιστια parit αποστοισαν


Verse 7

Isaiah 31:7 For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you [for] a sin.

Ver. 7. For in that day,] scil., Of your effectual conversion; [Isaiah 30:22] or, when the Assyrian shall assault you, then you shall see the vanity of your idols, and of all human helps. [Isaiah 2:20; Isaiah 2:22]


Verse 8

Isaiah 31:8 Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited.

Ver. 8. Then shall the Assyrian fall.] Fall in his forces, flee in his person; but evil shall hunt that violent man to destroy him. [Psalms 140:11]

Not of a mighty man.] Or, Of a mean man, but of an angel.

And his young men shall be discomfited.] Heb., Shall be unto melting; they shall melt away. [1 Samuel 14:16] Vide hic, saith A Lapide; see here how this world is nothing else but a perpetual ruin of all kinds and conditions of men.


Verse 9

Isaiah 31:9 And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the LORD, whose fire [is] in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem.

Ver. 9. And he shall pass over to his stronghold.] To Nineveh, never thinking himself safe till he come thither.

And his princes shall be afraid of the ensign.] Lifted up by God’s angels in the slaughter of their fellows.

Whose fire is in Zion.] Who keeps house there, sumpta metaphora a re oeconomica. An exact metaphore from domestic affairs. There he had his fire and his chimney, sc., in the temple, from whence also came this destruction to the enemy. [Psalms 76:2-3] {See Trapp on "Psalms 76:2"} {See Trapp on "Psalms 76:3"}

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 31:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-31.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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