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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Isaiah 10

 

 

Verses 1-4

4. INJUSTICE AND VIOLENCE FILL UP THE MEASURE AND PRECIPITATE ISRAEL INTO THE HORRORS OF EXILE

Isaiah 10:1-4

1 Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees,

[FN1]And [FN2]that write grievousness which they have prescribed;

2 To turn aside the needy from judgment,

And to take away the right from the poor of my people,

That widows may be their prey,

And that they may rob the fatherless!

3 And what will ye do in the day of visitation,

And in the desolation which shall come from far?

To whom will ye flee for help?

And where will ye leave your glory?

4 Without[FN3] me they shall bow down [FN4]under the prisoners,

And they shall fall cunder the slain.

For all this his anger is not turned away,

But his hand is stretched out still.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

On Isaiah 10:1. הוי comp. on Isaiah 1:4. Because of this הוי, which seems to correspond to that in Isaiah 10:5, this last section has been incorporated in the chap10—חָקַק is “to hoe, hoe into, hew into, dig into” ( Isaiah 30:8; Isaiah 49:16), then (mediately, through the notion of digging or graving in decrees into the tables of the laws) “to establish, decree” ( Isaiah 33:22). The participle הֹקֵק occurs again Isaiah 22:16 and Judges 5:9—חֲקָקִים (again only Judges 5:15) means the same as חֻקִּים. As to the form, see Ewald, § 186 sq.—אָוֶז frequent in Isaiah 1:13; Isaiah 29:20; Isaiah 31:2; Isaiah 58:9; Isaiah 59:6-7, etc.——The second clause of Isaiah 10:1 can be variously construed: Either, “And writing harm they write,” or: “And (woe to) the writers that write harm.” I prefer the former [which Aben Ezra and J. A. Alexander adopt because the accents require עמל to be governed by מכתבים]. 1) Because the quick return to the temp. finitum is a peculiarity of Hebrew (comp. the second clause of Isaiah 10:2 b); 2) because, otherwise, one might expect וְהַמְּכַתְּבִים. Moreover, according to this explanation, הוֹי relates equally to the second clause of the verse: only it is to be subordinated to the first. כִּתֵּב Piel, which is found only here, is evidently intensive, meaning an occupation of writing significant for quality as well as quantity. We might conjecture that we have here a trace of mischievous, bureaucratic clerical administration.

On Isaiah 10:2. הטות מדיו only here; it is commoner to say הַטּוֹת מִשְׁכָּט Exodus 23:6; Deuteronomy 16:19, etc., הט׳ אָרְ חוֹת מ׳ Proverbs 17:23 הט׳ צַדִּיק במ׳ Proverbs 18:5, or simply הט׳ צדיק Amos 5:12; comp. Isaiah 29:21—נָּזַל only here in Isaiah.—עניי עם again Isaiah 14:32.

On Isaiah 10:3. The וְ before מַה has evidently an adversative sense: ye are shrewd and busy in violence and robbery (comp. Piel כִּתֵּב above) but what will ye do, etc.—לְ before יוֹם has more than a temporal sense. The inquiry is evidently what sort of action will they develop to ward off the day of visitation and impending ruin. כּקה found again Isaiah 15:7; Isaiah 60:17.—שׁוֹאָה is procella, tempestas, and is found again Isaiah 47:11. The word is usually joined with בּוֹא, Proverbs 1:26; Proverbs 3:25; Ezekiel 38:9—על־מי for אֶל־מִי, a usage very frequent in Jeremiah (comp. Isaiah 10:1) and not unusual in Isa. (comp. Isaiah 10:25; Isaiah 11:8; Isaiah 22:15; Isaiah 24:22; Isaiah 29:11-12; Isaiah 36:12).

On Isaiah 10:4 בלתי (found again Isaiah 14:6; Isaiah 48:9) after a foregoing negation, which must be supplied here as a negative reply to מה תעשׂו Isaiah 10:3, is equivalent to praeter, nisi, “except” ( Genesis 21:26; Genesis 47:18 Exodus 22:19, etc., Ewald, § 356.—כָּרַע impersonal, “one bows himself” (comp. Isaiah 6:10).—The phrase הר׳ נפל תחח cannot mean either: “lie among the fallen,” nor, “fall under one slain,” for the latter is hardly conceivable. It must mean “fall among the slain.” One knocked dead may precipitate himself on one still living, and, when this happens wholesale, the situation of those alive under the slain is frightful. In this trait, too, there seems to me presented a contrast with the former glory ( Isaiah 10:3) and power ( Isaiah 10:1-2) of those addressed.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. Woe unto them——the fatherless.

Isaiah 10:1-2. We might suppose that we have here a trace of mischievous, bureaucratic clerical administration. See above in Text. and Gramm.

Isaiah 10:2 names the object that bureaucratic administration pursues. It is a negative and a positive. First they aim at excluding the lowly from justice as much as possible, or to rob them of the benefits of justice that are their rights. This negative proceeding has the further aim of making themselves possessors of the property of widows and orphans. For substance comp. Isaiah 1:21 sq.; Isaiah 3:13 sq.

2. And what will ye do——stretched out still.

Isaiah 10:3-4. The storm is described as coming from a distance, because the Prophet, as Isaiah 10:4 shows, means by this figure the exile, whose agent will be a people that comes from far ( Isaiah 5:26; Isaiah 6:11 sq.; Jeremiah 5:15, etc.). “To whom will ye flee,” is an allusion to the disposition so often reproved by the Prophet to seek aid from foreign nations. כבוד, according to the context, can only mean what those addressed, i.e., the powerful among the people, regard as their “glory,” i.e., the ornament and adornment of their life, viz., their treasures, valuables, etc. The description is drastic: the hostile storm bursts, the panic-stricken flee, their valuables they seek to leave behind in a secure place. The reply to the question “what will ye do?” etc. is given ironically in Isaiah 10:4. Ye can do nothing, says the Prophet, except, etc. The lot of those addressed here will be worse than that of the other captives and slain. Whether in prison or in the train of those led away, the other captives will tread them under foot. Once they were honorable and powerful. Then they were dreaded ( Isaiah 10:1-2). Now the first that comes, in whose way they stand, treads them under foot. Others of them fall in war, and the slain fall on them and cover them with their bodies. Though in some sense the exile is the greatest theocratic punishment, still that catastrophe is in itself not the extreme. For the question arises: how long will the exile last? To Judah restoration is promised after70 years ( Jeremiah 25:11). In the case of Israel there is no certain mention of the sort.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On Isaiah 7:1. “Hierosolyma oppugnatur, etc. Jerusalem is assaulted but not conquered. The church is pressed but not oppressed.”—Foerster.

2. On Isaiah 7:2. “Quando ecclesia, etc. When the Church is assaulted and Christ crucified over again in His elect, Rezin and Pekah, Herod and Pilate are wont to form alliance and enter into friendly relations. There are, so to speak, the foxes of Samson, joined indeed by the tails, but their heads are disconnected.”—Foerster.—“He that believes flees not ( Isaiah 28:16). ‘The righteous is bold as a lion’ ( Proverbs 28:1). Hypocrites and those that trust in works (work-saints) have neither reason nor faith. Therefore they cannot by any means quiet their heart. In prosperity they are, indeed, overweening, but in adversity they fall away ( Jeremiah 17:9).” Cramer.

3. On Isaiah 7:9. (“If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.”) “Insignis sententia, etc. A striking sentiment that may be adapted generally to all temptation, because all earnest endeavor after anything, as you know, beguiles us in temptation. But only faith in the word of promise makes us abide and makes sure whatever we would execute. He warns Ahaz, therefore, as if he said: I now promise you by the word, it shall be that those two kings shall not hurt you. Believe this word! For if you do not, whatever you afterwards devise will deceive you: because all confidence is vain which is not supported by the word of God.”—Luther.

4. On Isaiah 7:10-12. “Wicked Ahaz pretends to great sanctity in abstaining from asking a sign through fear of God. Thus hypocrites are most conscientious where there is no need for it: on the other hand, when they ought to be humble, they are the most insolent. But where God commands to be bold, one must be bold. For to be obedient to the word is not tempting God. That is rather tempting God when one proposes something without having the word for it. It Isaiah, indeed, the greatest virtue to rest only in the word, and desire nothing more. But where God would add something more than the word, then it must not be thought a virtue to reject it as superfluous. We must therefore exercise such a faith in the word of God that we will not despise the helps that are given in addition to it as aids to faith. For example the Lord offers us in the gospel all that is necessary to salvation. Why then Baptism and the Lord’s Supper? Are they to be treated as superfluous? By no means. For if one believes the word he will at the same time exhibit an entire obedience toward God. We ought therefore to learn to join the sign with the word, for no man has the power to sever the two.

But do you ask: is it permitted to ask God for a sign? We have an example of this in Gideon. Answer: Although Gideon was not told of God to ask a sign, yet he did it by the impulse of the Holy Spirit, and not according to his own fancy. We must not therefore abuse his example, and must be content with the sign that is offered by the Lord. But there are extraordinary signs or miracles, like that of the text, and ordinary ones like Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Yet both have the same object and use. For as Gideon was strengthened by that miraculous event, Song of Solomon, too, are we strengthened by Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, although no miracle appears before our eyes.” Heim and Hoffmann after Luther. Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, also asked the Lord to show him the right wife for Isaac by means of a sign of His own choosing, ( Genesis 24:14).

It ought to be said that this asking a sign (opening the Bible at a venture, or any other book) does not suit Christian perfection ( Hebrews 6:1). A Christian ought to be inwardly sensible of the divine will. He ought to content himself with the guarantees that God Himself offers. Only one must have open eyes and ears for them. This thing of demanding a sign, if it is not directly an effect of superstition ( Matthew 12:39; Matthew 16:4; 1 Corinthians 1:22), is certainly childish, and, because it easily leads to superstitious abuses, it is dangerous.

5. On Isaiah 7:13. “Non caret, etc. That the Prophet calls God his God is not without a peculiar emphasis. In Zechariah 2:12 it is said, that whoever touches the servants of God touches the pupil of God’s eye. Whoever opposes teacher and preacher will have to deal with God in heaven or with the Lord who has put them into office.”—Foerster.

6. On Isaiah 7:14. “The name Immanuel is one of the most beautiful and richest in contents of all the Holy Scripture. ‘God with us’ comprises God’s entire plan of salvation with sinful humanity. In a narrower sense it means ‘God-man’ ( Matthew 1:23), and points to the personal union of divinity and humanity, in the double nature of the Son of God become man. Jesus Christ was a God-with-us, however, in this, that for about 33 years He dwelt among us sinners ( John 1:11; John 1:14). In a deeper and wider sense still He was such by the Immanuel’s work of the atonement ( 2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 Timothy 2:3). He will also be such to every one that believes on Him by the work of regeneration and sanctification and the daily renewal of His holy and divine communion of the Spirit ( John 17:23; John 17:26; John 14:19-21; John 14:23). He is such now by His high-priestly and royal administration and government for His whole Church ( Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 7:25). He will be snch in the present time of the Church in a still more glorious fashion ( John 10:16). The entire and complete meaning of the name Immanuel, however, will only come to light in the new earth, and in the heavenly Jerusalem ( Revelation 21:3; Revelation 21:23; Revelation 22:5).”—Wilh. Fried. Roos.

Isaiah 8:7. On Isaiah 8:5 sqq. “Like boastful swimmers despise small and quiet waters, and on the other hand, for the better display of their skill, boast of the great sea and master it, but often are lost in it,—thus, too, did the hypocrites that despised the small kingdom of Judah, and bragged much and great things of the power and splendor of the kingdom of Israel and of the Syrians; such hypocrites are still to be found now-a-days—such that bear in their eye the admiranda Romae, the splendor, riches, power, ceremonies and pomp of the Romish church, and thereupon ‘set their bushel by the bigger-heap.’ It is but the devil’s temptation over again: ‘I will give all this to thee.’ ”—Cramer.—“Fons Siloa,” etc. “The fountain of Siloam, near the temple, daily reminded the Jews that Christ was coming.”—Calvin on John 9:7.

8. On Isaiah 8:10. “When the great Superlatives sit in their council chambers and have determined everything, how it ought to be, and especially how they will extinguish the gospel, then God sends the angel Gabriel to them, who must look through the window and say: nothing will come of it.”—Luther.—“Christ, who is our Immanuel, is with us by His becoming Prayer of Manasseh, for us by His office of Mediator, in us by the work of His sanctification, by us by His personal, gracious presence.”—Cramer.

9. On Isaiah 8:14-15. Christ alone is set by God to be a stone by which we are raised up. That He Isaiah, however, an occasion of offence to many is because of their purpose, petulance and contempt ( 1 Peter 2:8). Therefore we ought to fear lest we take offence at Him. For whoever falls on this stone will shatter to pieces ( Matthew 21:44).” Cramer.

10. On Isaiah 8:16 sqq. He warns His disciples against heathenish superstition, and exhorts them to show respect themselves always to law and testimony. “They must not think that God must answer them by visions and signs, therefore He refers them to the written word, that they may not become altogether too spiritual, like those now-a-days who cry: spirit! spirit! … Christ says, Luke 16 : They have Moses and the prophets, and again John 5:39 : Search the Scriptures. So Paul says, 2 Timothy 3:16 : The Scripture is profitable for doctrine. So says Peter, 2 Peter 1:9 : We have a sure word of prophecy. It is the word that changes hearts and moves them. But revelations puff people up and make them insolent.” Heim and Hoffmann after Luther.

Chap9–11. On Isaiah 9:1 sqq. (2). “Postrema pars, etc. The latter part of chap8 was νομικὴ καὶ ἀπειλητική (legal and threatening) Song of Solomon, on the other hand, the first and best part of chap9 is εὐαγγελικὴ καὶ παραμυθητική, (evangelical and comforting). Thus must ever law and gospel, preaching wrath and grace, words of reproof and words of comfort, a voice of alarm and a voice of peace follow one another in the church.” Foerster.

12. On Isaiah 9:1 (2). Both in the Old Testament and New Testament Christ is often called light. Thus Isaiah calls Him “a light to the gentiles,” Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:6. The same Prophet says: “Arise, shine (make thyself light), for thy light is come,” Isaiah 60:1. And again Isaiah 9:19 : “The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light.” In the New Testament it is principally John that makes use of this expression: “The life was the light of men,” John 1:4, “and the light shined in the darkness,” John 9:5. John was not that light, but bore testimony to the light, John 9:8. “That was the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” John 9:9. And further: “And this is the condemnation that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light,” John 3:19. “I am the light of the world,” ( John 8:12; John 9:5; comp. John 12:35).

13. On Isaiah 9:1 (2). The people that sit in darkness may be understood to comprise three grades. First, the inhabitants of Zebulon and Naphtali are called so ( Isaiah 8:23), for the Prophet’s gaze is fixed first on that region lying in the extreme end of Palestine, which was neighbor to the heathen and mixed with them, and on this account was held in low esteem by the dwellers in Judah. The night that spreads over Israel in general is darkest there. But all Israel partakes of this night, therefore all Israel, too, may be understood, as among the people sitting in darkness. Finally, no one can deny that this night extends over the borders of Israel to the whole human race. For far as men dwell extends the night which Christ, as light of the world, came to dispel, Luke 1:76 sqq.

14. On Isaiah 9:5 (6). Many lay stress on the notion “child,” inasmuch as they see in that the reason for the reign of peace spoken of afterwards. It is not said a Prayer of Manasseh, a king, a giant is given to us. But this is erroneous. For the child does not remain a child. He becomes a man: and the six names that are ascribed to Him and also the things predicted of His kingdom apply to Him, not as a child, but as a man. That His birth as a child is made prominent, has its reason in this, that thereby His relation to human kind should be designated as an organic one. He does not enter into humanity as a Prayer of Manasseh, i.e. as one whose origin was outside of it, but He was born from it, and especially from the race of David. He is Son of man and Son of David. He is a natural offshoot, but also the crowning bloom of both. Precisely because He was to be conceived, carried and born of a human mother, and indeed of a virgin, this prophecy belongs here as the completion and definition of the two prophetic pictures Isaiah 7:10 sqq.; Isaiah 8:1 sqq.—“He came down from heaven for the sake of us men, and for our bliss ( 1 Timothy 1:15; Luke 2:7). For our advantage: for He undertook not for the seed of angels, but for the seed of Abraham ( Hebrews 2:16). Not sold to us by God out of great love, but given ( Romans 5:15; John 3:16). Therefore every one ought to make an application of the word ‘to us’ to himself, and to learn to say: this child was given to me, conceived for me, born to me.”—Cramer.—“Cur oportuit, etc. Why did it become the Redeemer of human kind to be not merely man nor merely God, but God and man conjoined or θεάνθρωπον? Anselm replies briefly, indeed, but pithily: Deum qui posset, hominem, qui deberet.” Foerster.

15. On Isaiah 9:5 (6). “You must not suppose here that He is to be named and called according to His person, as one usually calls another by his name; but these are names that one must preach, praise and celebrate on account of His Acts, works and office.” Luther.

16. On Isaiah 9:6. “Verba pauca, etc. A few words, but to be esteemed great, not for their number but for their weight.” Augustine.Admirabilis in, etc. Wonderful in birth, counsellor in what He preaches, God in working, strong in suffering, father of the world to come in resurrection, Prince of peace in bliss perpetual.” Bernard of Clairvaux. In reference to “a child is born,” and “a son is given,” Joh. Cocceius remarks in his Heb. Lex. s. v. יֶלֶד: “respectu, etc., in respect to His human nature He is said to be born, and in respect to His divine nature and eternal generation not indeed born, but given, as, John 3:16, it reads God gave His only begotten Son.”

“In the application of this language all depends on the words is born to us, is given to us.” The angels are, in this matter, far from being as blessed as we are. They do not say: To us a Saviour is born this day, but; to you. As long as we do not regard Christ as ours, so long we shall have little joy in Him. But when we know Him as our Wisdom of Solomon, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, as a gift that our heavenly Father designed for us, we will appropriate Him to ourselves in humble faith, and take possession of all His redeeming effects that He has acquired. For giving and taking go together. The Son is given to us; we must in faith receive Him.” J. J. Rambach, Betracht. über das Ev. Esaj, Halle, 1724.

On Isaiah 9:6 (7). “The government is on His shoulders.” “It is further shown how Christ differs in this respect from worldly kings. They remove from themselves the burden of government and lay it on the shoulders of the privy counsellors. But He does not lay His dominion as a burden on any other; He needs no prime minister and vicegerent to help Him bear the burden of administration, but He bears all by the word of His power as He to whom all things are given of the Father. Therefore He says to the house of Jacob ( Isaiah 46:3 sq.): Hearken unto me ye who were laid on my shoulders from your mothers’ womb. I will carry you to old age. I will do it, I will lift, and carry and deliver,—on the contrary the heathen must bear and lift up their idols, ( Isaiah 46:1; Isaiah 46:7).”—Rambach. “In the first place we must keep in mind His first name: He is called Wonderful. This name affects all the following.” “All is wonderful that belongs to this king: wonderfully does He counsel and comfort; wonderfully He helps to acquire and conquer, and all this in suffering and want of strength. (Luther, Jen. germ. Tom. III. Fol. 184 b.). ” “He uses weakness as a means of subduing all things to Himself. A wretched reed, a crown of thorns and an infamous cross, are the weapons of this almighty God, by means of which He achieves such great things. In the second place, He was a hero and conqueror in that just by death, He robbed him of his might who had the power of death, i.e., the devil ( Hebrews 2:14); in that Hebrews, like Samson, buried His enemies with Himself, yea, became poison to death itself, and a plague to hell ( Hosea 13:14) and more gloriously resumed His life so freely laid down, which none of the greatest heroes can emulate.”—Rambach.

17. On Isaiah 9:18 (19) sqq. True friendship can never exist among the wicked. For every one loves only himself. Therefore they are enemies one of another; and they are in any case friends to each other, only as long as it concerns making war on a third party.

Isaiah 10-18. On Isaiah 10:4. (Comp. the same expression in chap10). God’s quiver is well filled. If one arrow does not attain His object, He takes another, and so on, until the rights of God, and justice have conquered.

19. On Isaiah 10:5-7. “God works through men in a threefold way. First, we all live, move and have our being in Him, in that all activity is an outflow of His power. Then, He uses the services of the wicked so that they mutually destroy each other, or He chastises His people by their hand. Of this sort the Prophet speaks here. In the third place, by governing His people by the Spirit of sanctification: and this takes place only in the elect.”—Heim and Hoffmann.

20. On Isaiah 10:5 sqq. “Ad hunc, etc. Such places are to be turned to uses of comfort. Although the objects of temptation vary and enemies differ, yet the effects are the same, and the same spirit works in the pious. We are therefore to learn not to regard the power of the enemy nor our own weakness, but to look steadily and simply into the word, that will assuredly establish our minds that they despair not, but expect help of God. For God will not subdue our enemies, either spiritual or corporal, by might and power, but by weakness, as says the text: my strength is made perfect in weakness.” ( 2 Corinthians 12:9).—Luther.

21. On Isaiah 10:15. “Efficacia agendi penes Deum Esther, homines ministerium tantum praebent. Quare nunc sibilo suo se illos evocaturum minabatur (cap. Isaiah 5:26; Isaiah 7:18); nunc instar sagenae sibi fore ad irretiendos, nunc mallei instar ad feriendos Israelitas. Sed praecipue tum declaravit, quod non sit otiosus in illis, dum Sennacherib securim vocat, quae ad secandum manu sua et destinata fuit et impacta. Non male alicubi Augustinus ita definit, quod ipsi peccant, eorum esse; quod peccando hoc vel illud agant, ex virtute Dei esse, tenebras prout visum est dividentis (De praedest Sanctt.).”—Calvin Inst. II:4, 4.

22. On Isaiah 10:20-27. “In time of need one ought to look back to the earlier great deliverances of the children of God, as to the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, or later, from the hand of the Midianites. Israel shall again grow out of the yoke.”—Diedrich.

Isaiah 11-23. On Isaiah 11:4. “The staff of His mouth.” “Evidence that the kingdom of Christ will not be like an earthly kingdom, but consist in the power of the word and of the sacraments; not in leathern, golden or silver girdles, but in girdles of righteousness and faith.”—Cramer.

24. On Isaiah 11:10 sqq. If the Prophet honors the heathen in saying that they will come to Christ before Israel, he may be the more readily believed, when Isaiah 11:11 sqq, he gives the assurance that the return out of the first, the Egyptian exile, shall be succeeded by a return out of the second, the Assyrian exile, (taking this word in the wider sense of Isaiah). It is manifest that the return that took place under Zerubbabel and Ezra was only an imperfect beginning of that promised return. For according to our passage this second return can only take place after the Messiah has appeared. Farthermore, all Israelites that belong to “the remnant of Israel,” in whatever land they may dwell, shall take part in it. It will be, therefore, a universal, not a partial return. If now the Prophet paints this return too with the colors of the present ( Isaiah 11:13 sqq.), still that is no reason for questioning the reality of the matter. Israel will certainly not disappear, but arise to view in the church of the new covenant. But if the nation is to be known among the nations as a whole, though no more as a hostile contrast, but in fraternal harmony, why then shall not the land, too, assume a like position among the lands? But the nation can neither assume its place among nations, nor the land its place among lands, if they are not both united: the people Israel in the land of their fathers.

25. On Isaiah 11 “We may here recall briefly the older, Song of Solomon -called spiritual interpretation. Isaiah 11:1-5 were understood of Christ’s prophetic office that He exercised in the days of His flesh, then of the overthrow of the Roman Empire and of Antichrist, who was taken to be the Pope. But the most thorough-going of those old expositors must acknowledge, at Isaiah 11:4, that the Antichrist is not yet enough overthrown, and must be yet more overthrown. If such is the state of the case, then this interpretation is certainly false, for Isaiah 11:4 describes not a gradual judgment, but one accomplished at once. There have been many Antichrists, and among the Popes too, but the genuine Antichrist described 2 Thessalonians2, is yet to be expected, and also the fulfillment of Isaiah 11:4 of our chapter. Thereby is proved at the same time that the peaceful state of things in the brute world and the return of the Jews to their native land are still things of the future, for they must happen in that period when the Antichristian world, and its head shall be judged by Christ. But then, too, the dwelling together of tame and wild beasts is not the entrance of the heathen into the church, to which they were heretofore hostile, and the return of the Jews is not the conversion of a small part of Israel that took place at Pentecost and after. The miracles and signs too, contained in Isaiah 11:15-16 did not take place then. We see just here how one must do violence to the word if he will not take it as it stands. But if we take it as we have done, then the whole chapter belongs to the doctrine of hope (Hoffnungslehre) of the Scripture, and constitutes an important member of it. The Lord procures right and room for His church. He overthrows the world-kingdom, together with Antichrist. He makes of the remnant of Israel a congregation of believers filled with the Spirit, to whom He is near in an unusual way, and from it causes His knowledge to go out into all the world. He creates peace in the restless creatures, and shows us here in advance what more glorious things we may look for in the new earth. He presents to the world a church which, united in itself, unmolested by neighbors, stands under God’s mighty protection. All these facts are parts of a chain of hope that must be valuable and dear to our hearts. The light of this future illumines the obscurity of the present; the comfort of that day makes the heart fresh.” Weber, der Prophet Jesaja, 1875.

Chap12–26. On Isaiah 12:4 sq. “These will not be the works of the New Testament: sacrificing and slaying, and make pilgrimage to Jerusalem and to the Holy Sepulchre, but praising God and giving thanks, preaching and hearing, believing with the heart and confessing with the mouth. For to praise our God is good; such praise is pleasant and lovely” ( Psalm 147:1). Cramer.

27. On Chap12 “With these words conclude the prophetic discourses on Immanuel. Through what obscurity of history have we not had to go, until we came to the bright light of the kingdom of Christ! How Israel and the nations had to pass through the fire of judgment before the sun arises in Israel and the entire gentile world is illumined! It is the, same way that every Christian has to travel. In and through the fire we become blessed. Much must be burnt up in us, before we press to the full knowledge of God and of His Song of Solomon, before we become entirely one with Him, entirely glad and joyful in Him. Israel was brought up and is still brought up for glory, and we too. O that our end too were such a psalm of praise as this psalm!” Weber, Der Pr. Jes. 1875.

Footnotes:

FN#1 - And writing evil they write.

FN#2 - Or, to the writers that write grievousness.

FN#3 - (Nothing) except to bow among.

FN#4 - among.

FN#5 - Or, Woe to the Assyrian.


Verses 5-11

C.—ASSYRIA’S DESTRUCTION THE SALVATION OF ISRAEL

Isaiah 10:5 to Isaiah 12:1

This address is related to the two that precede as bright day to dark night. After Israel is compelled to hear that the same Assyria to which Judah’s king had appealed for help shall be the instrument of his severe chastisement, now Assyria must hear that the Lord will destroy His instrument, because it fulfilled its mission, not in the mind of God, but in the sense of its own brutal lusts, and with proud boasting about its own might. Out of the toils of the world-power, whose totality Assyria represents here, shall redeemed Israel return home. Out of the almost dried up root of the race of David shall a sprout grow up that shall set up a kingdom which shall pervade and rule all nations with the spirit of peace.

As regards the time of the composition of this prophecy, it must be noticed, first of all, that Isaiah 10:5-34 did not originate at the same time with chapters11,12Concerning Isaiah 10:5-34, every thing depends on whether the passage Isaiah 10:9-11 is understood in the sense of an ideal or an actual time past. Vitringa, Caspari, Drechsler, Delitzsch take the view that the destruction of Samaria, that took place in the sixth year of Hezekiah, appears as a past event in our passage only in the contemplation of the Prophet. I cannot join in this view. The reasoning of the Prophet must have been without meaning and effect to his hearers if the conquest of the cities Carchemish, Calno, Arpad, Hamath, Damascus and Samaria were not at that time an accomplished fact and well known to all contemporaries. In addition, the messengers of Sennacherib, according to Isaiah 36:18 sq.; Isaiah 37:11 sq, really boasted thus. Nowhere in chap10 is Ephraim spoken of as one that is to be conquered. Only the conquest of Jerusalem is lacking in order to let the destroying work of Jehovah on the people of His choice appear complete ( Isaiah 10:12). Of course one may say that our passage then belongs in the neighborhood of chapters36,37. But those chapters, as they stand, are a historical report complete in themselves; whereas an essential piece, forming a consolatory conclusion, is lacking to the cycle of prophecies affecting Assyria, which begins chap7, if Isaiah 10:5 sq. does not belong to it. As long as we have no proof that the passage Isaiah 10:9-11 is not to be understood of things historically past, I can only assume that the Prophet combined the later address with the earlier, in order to give to that earlier the suitable conclusion. Concerning chap 11 we have a datum for determining the period of its composition in the short prophecy against Philistia, Isaiah 14:28-32. This short passage lives in the sphere of ideas of chap11. In fact, without chap11. it is not at all intelligible. On the contrary, we learn from Isaiah 14:28 that Isaiah recognized in Hezekiah in a certain sense “the root” (שֹׁרֶשׁ) or “branch” (נֵצֶר)—through which the kingdom of David was to spring up with new life. The passage Isaiah 14:28-32 was written in the year of Ahaz’s death (728). The young king Hezekiah is described there as “the basilisk” (צֶכַּע) that shall proceed from “the root of the serpent” (שׂרֶשׁ נָחָשׁ). It is known that Messianic hopes were connected with Hezekiah (comp. Delitzsch on Isaiah 7:14 sq and Isaiah 9:6); how far Isaiah shared them we know not. At all events chap11. was written after the death of Ahaz, and just as the hopeful Hezekiah ascended the throne (728 B. C.). Chap 12 is a doxology that certainly belongs to that period in which the whole prophetic cycle, chaps, 7–12. were put together.

In accordance with this combination, the discourse plainly subdivides into three principal parts, and each principal part again into three subdivisions, so that three forms the underlying number. In the first part is Assyria, in the second Israel, in the third the Messiah, the chief subject. The chief traits of the discourse may be represented in the following scheme:—

Assyria’s Destruction The Salvation Of Israel ( Isaiah 10:5 to Isaiah 12:6)

I. Woe against Assyria ( Isaiah 10:5-19).

1. Woe to the instrument that does not execute the will of God according to the mind of God ( Isaiah 10:5-11).

2. Woe to the instrument that knew not that it was an instrument ( Isaiah 10:12-15).

3. The execution of the woe ( Isaiah 10:16-19).

II. Israel’s redemption in general ( Isaiah 10:20-34).

1. The believing remnant of Israel returns out of the shattered world-power ( Isaiah 10:20-23).

2. The condemned world-power is also not to be feared in the present ( Isaiah 10:24-27).

3. The impetuous onset of the condemned world-power in the light of its final ruin ( Isaiah 10:28-34).

III. Israel’s redemption in relation to the Messiah ( Isaiah 11:1 to Isaiah 12:6).

1. From the apparently dried up root of the house of David shall go forth a sprout that shall found a kingdom of most glorious peace ( Isaiah 11:1-9).

2. The return of Israel takes place only when the Messiah has appeared and the heathen have gathered to Him ( Isaiah 11:10-16).

3. Israel’s song of praise for the wrath and the grace of his God ( Isaiah 12:1-6).

I. WOE AGAINST ASSYRIA

Isaiah 10:5-19

1. WOE TO THE INSTRUMENT THAT DOES NOT EXECUTE THE WILL OF GOD ACCORDING TO THE MIND OF GOD

Isaiah 10:5-11

5 [FN5]O [FN6]Assyrian, the rod of mine anger,

[FN7] [FN8]And the staff in their hand is mine indignation.

6 I will send him against an [FN9]hypocritical nation,

And against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge,

[FN10]To take the spoil, and to take the prey,

And [FN11]to tread them down like the mire of the streets.

7 Howbeit he meaneth not Song of Solomon,

Neither doth his heart think so;

But it is in his heart to destroy

And cut off nations not a few.

8 For he saith,

Are not my princes altogether kings?

9 Is not Calno as Carchemish?

Is not Hamath as Arpad?

Is not Samaria as Damascus?

10 As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols,

[FN12]And whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria;

11 Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols,

So do to Jerusalem and her [FN13]idols?

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

On Isaiah 10:5. As remarked at Isaiah 10:1, this הוֹי occasioned the existing arrangement of the chapter. What we have said concerning the origin of Isaiah 9:7 to Isaiah 10:4, and Isaiah 10:5-12, shows that this coincidence of the הוֹי is accidental. The expression שׁבט אפו is clear. It is found only here. Analogous is שֵׁבֶט עֶבְרָתוֹ Proverbs 22:8; Lamentations 3:1; comp. Proverbs 22:15; Job 9:34; Job 21:9.—The second clause is difficult. The translation: “The staff which in their hand, is the staff of my anger” (Gesenius) is grammatically incorrect. For then אֲשֶׁר must not be wanting before הוּא. Quite as grammatically impossible is that of Hendewerk and Knobel, who point מַטֵּה and connect it, across הוא בידם as a parenthesis, with זעמי: “and the staff of my anger, it is in their hand.” To treat הוא בידם as a gloss, like Hitzig, Ewald, I. Edit and Diestel do, is violence. Only that rendering is grammatically possible that takes זעֹמי as subject, and what precedes as predicate. Then הוא only serves to mark מַטֶּה as predicate. For, were it not there, it would not be known which of the two words מַטה and זעמי is subject, and which predicate. Comp. e.g. הַדָּם הוּא הַנֶּכֶּשׁ Deuteronomy 12:23.—זַעַם beside here, is found Isaiah 10:25; Isaiah 13:5; Isaiah 26:20; Isaiah 30:27.

On Isaiah 10:6. חנף comp. on Isaiah 9:16.—צִוָּה like Jeremiah 14:14; Jeremiah 23:32, with אֵל Isaiah 27:4.

On Isaiah 10:7. Piel דִּמָּה is found also Isaiah 14:24; Isaiah 40:18; Isaiah 40:25; Isaiah 46:5; but is used in the last three texts in the sense of “to make like, compare,” in which sense Hithp. (“to make one’s-self like”) is used Isaiah 14:14.

On Isaiah 10:10. מָצָא with לְ like Isaiah 10:14; Psalm 21:9; comp. 1 Samuel 23:17. כְּסִילים are “carved images;” comp. 1 Samuel 21:9; 1 Samuel 30:22; 1 Samuel 12:8. Before ירושלים is to be supplied מִכְּסילֵי comp. Isaiah 5:29; Isaiah 13:4.

On Isaiah 10:11. The עצבים (in Isaiah again only Isaiah 46:1) are not essentially different from בְּסִילִים. For as the underlying meaning of בָּסַל is caedere, caedendo fingere ( Exodus 34:1; Exodus 34:4; Deuteronomy 10:1-2; 1 Kings 5:32), Song of Solomon, too, עָצַב, (kindred to קָצַב,חָצַב) originally meant caedere, secare, “to cut out, to shape by hewing” ( Job 10:8; Jeremiah 44:19).

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. The Lord denounces woe against Assyria that is to be the instrument of His judgments ( Isaiah 10:5). For He sent him against Israel ( Isaiah 10:6), but Assyria did not execute the mission in the spirit in which he was commissioned, but in the spirit of his brutal and insatiable greed of conquest ( Isaiah 10:7). This his sentiment appears in the grounds he assigns for his confidence that he will make conquest of Jerusalem: 1) his princes are all of them kings, which gives a measure of the extent of his might; 2) a row of conquests of great cities proves his invincibility. Having conquered kingdoms whose idols excel those of Samaria and Jerusalem, he will be able to treat Jerusalem as Samaria (8–11).

2. Woe unto Assyria——not a few.

Isaiah 10:5-7. The pivot on which the whole of the following announcement turns, is that the Lord denounces woe against the instrument of His wrath. In Isaiah 10:5 (see Text. and Gram.), the Prophet expresses the thought that not only is Assyria the rod of God’s anger, but that the anger of God is also the staff, as it were, the magician’s staff (comp. Isaiah 10:24; Isaiah 10:26, where allusion is evidently to the rod of Moses) in the hand of Assyria. This turn of the image need give no surprise in our artistic Prophet. How far Assyria is used as a rod is explained, Isaiah 10:6. He is to be commissioned against the impure people, that on account of this impurity are objects of divine wrath, as it were on an official mission, to rob and trample down Israel, that they may become as the mire of the streets ( Isaiah 7:25), comp. Jeremiah 51:20 sqq. Assyria will indeed trample down Israel, and as many other nations as possible, but not in order to execute the purpose of Jehovah on them, but only to gratify his own lust for world-conquest.

3. For he said—her idols.

Isaiah 10:8-11. Assyria confides only in his own strength. He has no suspicion that he is Jehovah’s instrument, the rod of His anger. Hence he enumerates the facts that justify his hope of easily subduing Israel. First, his princes are kings (comp. 2 Kings 25:28). When such have only second rank in the army of the great king of Assyria ( Isaiah 36:4) how wide must be his dominion. His second ground of confidence is past great successes. Three pairs of conquered cities are named. The conquest of one is premised as an event that made sure that the next one named must in turn succumb. “Is not Calno like Carchemish?” Carchemish was a city on an island in the Euphrates at the mouth of the Chaboras, called by the Romans Circesium, Circessum, Circusium, Jeremiah 46:2-12; 2 Chronicles 35:20, and appears from the text to have been subdued earlier than Calno. The latter is called כַּלְנֵה, Genesis 10:10; and כַּלנֶה, Amos 6:2 : perhaps the כַּנֵּה of Ezekiel 27:23 is the same city. It lay North-east twenty hours from Babylon on the East bank of the Tigris opposite Seleucia, and belonged to Babylon. Rebuilt at a later day by the Persian king Pacorus (90 b. c.), it received the name Ctesiphon. Thus Carchemish and Calno were two cities of Mesopotamia. Did Calno become as Carchemish, it appears that the conquest of the latter was not merely a happy chance, but the proof of the existence of a real power, which in every like case will conquer in like manner. Arpad is mentioned Isaiah 36:19; Isaiah 37:13; Jeremiah 49:23; 2 Kings 18:34; 2 Kings 19:13. The classics do not mention the city. According to the Arabian geographer Marassid, (comp.Knobelin loc.), an Arphad lay in the Pashalik Haleb (Aleppo) North-west from the latter place. According to Kiepert (D. M. G. XXV. p655) Arpad lay 3 German miles north of Haleb on the spot where is found at present the ruins of Tel Erfad. In every passage where Arpad is mentioned, Hamath is found too. But, beside that, Hamath is often mentioned in the Old Testament. According to Numbers 34:8 the northern border of the land to be possessed by the Israelites, was to extend to Hamath, which, according to 2 Kings 14:25; 2 Kings 14:28; comp. 2 Chronicles 8:4, was actually the case at times. Comp, beside Amos 6:2; Amos 6:14. The city lay on the Orontes and was called later Epiphania. Arpad and Hamath were thus Syrian cities lying nearer the Holy Land.

Damascus and Samaria lay still nearer Judah. After naming three pairs of names of conquered cities as proof of the irresistibleness of Assyria, the Prophet could simply proceed; so will Jerusalem, too, be unable to resist. But three thoughts suggest themselves, which he would express before that conclusion. First, that the idols of the conquered heathen cities surpassed the (supposed) idols of Jerusalem and Samaria. Second, the point that Samaria is already conquered; and third, the thought that Samaria and Jerusalem, may just as well be set in a pair as Carchemish and Calno, Arpad and Hamath, Damascus and Samaria. Now the Prophet might, of course, have said: as I have conquered the heathen kingdoms, whose idols surpass those of Samaria and Jerusalem, and as I have subdued Samaria itself, shall I not be able just so to subdue Jerusalem? But then Samaria would belong to the premise, and Jerusalem would alone form the apodosis, and there would be lacking conformity to the pairs before named. Hence he combines Samaria and Jerusalem together in the apodosis, beginning with הֲלֹא “shall I not,” Isaiah 10:11, but forms again within this apodosis, another protasis and apodosis, whereby, of course, the construction becomes abnormal; but still the thought is expressed that Samaria and Jerusalem should join as a fourth comparison, to the foregoing three. It is to be noticed that our passage assumes the conquest of Samaria, by the Assyrians (722 b. c.). According to 2 Kings 16:9, Tiglath-Pileser subdued Damascus. Samaria fell by Shalmaneser, according to 2 Kings 17:5 sq, but according to the Assyrian monuments by Sargon, in the third year of the siege. It was long after, that Rabshakeh actually used the language against Judah ( Isaiah 36:18 sqq.; Isaiah 37:10 sqq.). that Isaiah here prophetically puts into the mouth of the Assyrian. Perhaps Isaiah had here in mind, what Amos ( Isaiah 6:1 sqq.), at an earlier period held up to the people, though it must remain in doubt, whether Isaiah means the same conquest of Hamath and Arpad, that Amos refers to. Moreover, nothing more is known of the conquest of the cities Carchemish, Calno, Hamath and Arpad, by the Assyrians. But comp. on Isaiah 36:19. That the Assyrian speaks of ממלכות האליל (אליל as collective in the singular) “the kingdoms of the idols” is a Judaism. The Prophet presents the Assyrian as making a distinction between idolatrous kingdoms and Israel, the monotheistic: whereas, the Assyrian knows nothing of monotheism, and afterwards speaks of the idols and images of Samaria and Jerusalem. Moreover the Prophet describes them as “nothings” (comp. Isaiah 2:8; Isaiah 2:18; Isaiah 2:20; Isaiah 19:3; Isaiah 31:7) whereas the Assyrian by no means regarded them so; for he held them all to be superterrestrial powers; only he maintained a distinction among them in respect to power. Thus we see how Isaiah suffered here some mixing of his point of view with that of the Assyrian.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On Isaiah 7:1. “Hierosolyma oppugnatur, etc. Jerusalem is assaulted but not conquered. The church is pressed but not oppressed.”—Foerster.

2. On Isaiah 7:2. “Quando ecclesia, etc. When the Church is assaulted and Christ crucified over again in His elect, Rezin and Pekah, Herod and Pilate are wont to form alliance and enter into friendly relations. There are, so to speak, the foxes of Samson, joined indeed by the tails, but their heads are disconnected.”—Foerster.—“He that believes flees not ( Isaiah 28:16). ‘The righteous is bold as a lion’ ( Proverbs 28:1). Hypocrites and those that trust in works (work-saints) have neither reason nor faith. Therefore they cannot by any means quiet their heart. In prosperity they are, indeed, overweening, but in adversity they fall away ( Jeremiah 17:9).” Cramer.

3. On Isaiah 7:9. (“If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.”) “Insignis sententia, etc. A striking sentiment that may be adapted generally to all temptation, because all earnest endeavor after anything, as you know, beguiles us in temptation. But only faith in the word of promise makes us abide and makes sure whatever we would execute. He warns Ahaz, therefore, as if he said: I now promise you by the word, it shall be that those two kings shall not hurt you. Believe this word! For if you do not, whatever you afterwards devise will deceive you: because all confidence is vain which is not supported by the word of God.”—Luther.

4. On Isaiah 7:10-12. “Wicked Ahaz pretends to great sanctity in abstaining from asking a sign through fear of God. Thus hypocrites are most conscientious where there is no need for it: on the other hand, when they ought to be humble, they are the most insolent. But where God commands to be bold, one must be bold. For to be obedient to the word is not tempting God. That is rather tempting God when one proposes something without having the word for it. It Isaiah, indeed, the greatest virtue to rest only in the word, and desire nothing more. But where God would add something more than the word, then it must not be thought a virtue to reject it as superfluous. We must therefore exercise such a faith in the word of God that we will not despise the helps that are given in addition to it as aids to faith. For example the Lord offers us in the gospel all that is necessary to salvation. Why then Baptism and the Lord’s Supper? Are they to be treated as superfluous? By no means. For if one believes the word he will at the same time exhibit an entire obedience toward God. We ought therefore to learn to join the sign with the word, for no man has the power to sever the two.

But do you ask: is it permitted to ask God for a sign? We have an example of this in Gideon. Answer: Although Gideon was not told of God to ask a sign, yet he did it by the impulse of the Holy Spirit, and not according to his own fancy. We must not therefore abuse his example, and must be content with the sign that is offered by the Lord. But there are extraordinary signs or miracles, like that of the text, and ordinary ones like Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Yet both have the same object and use. For as Gideon was strengthened by that miraculous event, Song of Solomon, too, are we strengthened by Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, although no miracle appears before our eyes.” Heim and Hoffmann after Luther. Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, also asked the Lord to show him the right wife for Isaac by means of a sign of His own choosing, ( Genesis 24:14).

It ought to be said that this asking a sign (opening the Bible at a venture, or any other book) does not suit Christian perfection ( Hebrews 6:1). A Christian ought to be inwardly sensible of the divine will. He ought to content himself with the guarantees that God Himself offers. Only one must have open eyes and ears for them. This thing of demanding a sign, if it is not directly an effect of superstition ( Matthew 12:39; Matthew 16:4; 1 Corinthians 1:22), is certainly childish, and, because it easily leads to superstitious abuses, it is dangerous.

5. On Isaiah 7:13. “Non caret, etc. That the Prophet calls God his God is not without a peculiar emphasis. In Zechariah 2:12 it is said, that whoever touches the servants of God touches the pupil of God’s eye. Whoever opposes teacher and preacher will have to deal with God in heaven or with the Lord who has put them into office.”—Foerster.

6. On Isaiah 7:14. “The name Immanuel is one of the most beautiful and richest in contents of all the Holy Scripture. ‘God with us’ comprises God’s entire plan of salvation with sinful humanity. In a narrower sense it means ‘God-man’ ( Matthew 1:23), and points to the personal union of divinity and humanity, in the double nature of the Son of God become man. Jesus Christ was a God-with-us, however, in this, that for about 33 years He dwelt among us sinners ( John 1:11; John 1:14). In a deeper and wider sense still He was such by the Immanuel’s work of the atonement ( 2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 Timothy 2:3). He will also be such to every one that believes on Him by the work of regeneration and sanctification and the daily renewal of His holy and divine communion of the Spirit ( John 17:23; John 17:26; John 14:19-21; John 14:23). He is such now by His high-priestly and royal administration and government for His whole Church ( Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 7:25). He will be snch in the present time of the Church in a still more glorious fashion ( John 10:16). The entire and complete meaning of the name Immanuel, however, will only come to light in the new earth, and in the heavenly Jerusalem ( Revelation 21:3; Revelation 21:23; Revelation 22:5).”—Wilh. Fried. Roos.

Isaiah 8:7. On Isaiah 8:5 sqq. “Like boastful swimmers despise small and quiet waters, and on the other hand, for the better display of their skill, boast of the great sea and master it, but often are lost in it,—thus, too, did the hypocrites that despised the small kingdom of Judah, and bragged much and great things of the power and splendor of the kingdom of Israel and of the Syrians; such hypocrites are still to be found now-a-days—such that bear in their eye the admiranda Romae, the splendor, riches, power, ceremonies and pomp of the Romish church, and thereupon ‘set their bushel by the bigger-heap.’ It is but the devil’s temptation over again: ‘I will give all this to thee.’ ”—Cramer.—“Fons Siloa,” etc. “The fountain of Siloam, near the temple, daily reminded the Jews that Christ was coming.”—Calvin on John 9:7.

8. On Isaiah 8:10. “When the great Superlatives sit in their council chambers and have determined everything, how it ought to be, and especially how they will extinguish the gospel, then God sends the angel Gabriel to them, who must look through the window and say: nothing will come of it.”—Luther.—“Christ, who is our Immanuel, is with us by His becoming Prayer of Manasseh, for us by His office of Mediator, in us by the work of His sanctification, by us by His personal, gracious presence.”—Cramer.

9. On Isaiah 8:14-15. Christ alone is set by God to be a stone by which we are raised up. That He Isaiah, however, an occasion of offence to many is because of their purpose, petulance and contempt ( 1 Peter 2:8). Therefore we ought to fear lest we take offence at Him. For whoever falls on this stone will shatter to pieces ( Matthew 21:44).” Cramer.

10. On Isaiah 8:16 sqq. He warns His disciples against heathenish superstition, and exhorts them to show respect themselves always to law and testimony. “They must not think that God must answer them by visions and signs, therefore He refers them to the written word, that they may not become altogether too spiritual, like those now-a-days who cry: spirit! spirit! … Christ says, Luke 16 : They have Moses and the prophets, and again John 5:39 : Search the Scriptures. So Paul says, 2 Timothy 3:16 : The Scripture is profitable for doctrine. So says Peter, 2 Peter 1:9 : We have a sure word of prophecy. It is the word that changes hearts and moves them. But revelations puff people up and make them insolent.” Heim and Hoffmann after Luther.

Chap9–11. On Isaiah 9:1 sqq. (2). “Postrema pars, etc. The latter part of chap8 was νομικὴ καὶ ἀπειλητική (legal and threatening) Song of Solomon, on the other hand, the first and best part of chap9 is εὐαγγελικὴ καὶ παραμυθητική, (evangelical and comforting). Thus must ever law and gospel, preaching wrath and grace, words of reproof and words of comfort, a voice of alarm and a voice of peace follow one another in the church.” Foerster.

12. On Isaiah 9:1 (2). Both in the Old Testament and New Testament Christ is often called light. Thus Isaiah calls Him “a light to the gentiles,” Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:6. The same Prophet says: “Arise, shine (make thyself light), for thy light is come,” Isaiah 60:1. And again Isaiah 9:19 : “The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light.” In the New Testament it is principally John that makes use of this expression: “The life was the light of men,” John 1:4, “and the light shined in the darkness,” John 9:5. John was not that light, but bore testimony to the light, John 9:8. “That was the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” John 9:9. And further: “And this is the condemnation that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light,” John 3:19. “I am the light of the world,” ( John 8:12; John 9:5; comp. John 12:35).

13. On Isaiah 9:1 (2). The people that sit in darkness may be understood to comprise three grades. First, the inhabitants of Zebulon and Naphtali are called so ( Isaiah 8:23), for the Prophet’s gaze is fixed first on that region lying in the extreme end of Palestine, which was neighbor to the heathen and mixed with them, and on this account was held in low esteem by the dwellers in Judah. The night that spreads over Israel in general is darkest there. But all Israel partakes of this night, therefore all Israel, too, may be understood, as among the people sitting in darkness. Finally, no one can deny that this night extends over the borders of Israel to the whole human race. For far as men dwell extends the night which Christ, as light of the world, came to dispel, Luke 1:76 sqq.

14. On Isaiah 9:5 (6). Many lay stress on the notion “child,” inasmuch as they see in that the reason for the reign of peace spoken of afterwards. It is not said a Prayer of Manasseh, a king, a giant is given to us. But this is erroneous. For the child does not remain a child. He becomes a man: and the six names that are ascribed to Him and also the things predicted of His kingdom apply to Him, not as a child, but as a man. That His birth as a child is made prominent, has its reason in this, that thereby His relation to human kind should be designated as an organic one. He does not enter into humanity as a Prayer of Manasseh, i.e. as one whose origin was outside of it, but He was born from it, and especially from the race of David. He is Son of man and Son of David. He is a natural offshoot, but also the crowning bloom of both. Precisely because He was to be conceived, carried and born of a human mother, and indeed of a virgin, this prophecy belongs here as the completion and definition of the two prophetic pictures Isaiah 7:10 sqq.; Isaiah 8:1 sqq.—“He came down from heaven for the sake of us men, and for our bliss ( 1 Timothy 1:15; Luke 2:7). For our advantage: for He undertook not for the seed of angels, but for the seed of Abraham ( Hebrews 2:16). Not sold to us by God out of great love, but given ( Romans 5:15; John 3:16). Therefore every one ought to make an application of the word ‘to us’ to himself, and to learn to say: this child was given to me, conceived for me, born to me.”—Cramer.—“Cur oportuit, etc. Why did it become the Redeemer of human kind to be not merely man nor merely God, but God and man conjoined or θεάνθρωπον? Anselm replies briefly, indeed, but pithily: Deum qui posset, hominem, qui deberet.” Foerster.

15. On Isaiah 9:5 (6). “You must not suppose here that He is to be named and called according to His person, as one usually calls another by his name; but these are names that one must preach, praise and celebrate on account of His Acts, works and office.” Luther.

16. On Isaiah 9:6. “Verba pauca, etc. A few words, but to be esteemed great, not for their number but for their weight.” Augustine.Admirabilis in, etc. Wonderful in birth, counsellor in what He preaches, God in working, strong in suffering, father of the world to come in resurrection, Prince of peace in bliss perpetual.” Bernard of Clairvaux. In reference to “a child is born,” and “a son is given,” Joh. Cocceius remarks in his Heb. Lex. s. v. יֶלֶד: “respectu, etc., in respect to His human nature He is said to be born, and in respect to His divine nature and eternal generation not indeed born, but given, as, John 3:16, it reads God gave His only begotten Son.”

“In the application of this language all depends on the words is born to us, is given to us.” The angels are, in this matter, far from being as blessed as we are. They do not say: To us a Saviour is born this day, but; to you. As long as we do not regard Christ as ours, so long we shall have little joy in Him. But when we know Him as our Wisdom of Solomon, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, as a gift that our heavenly Father designed for us, we will appropriate Him to ourselves in humble faith, and take possession of all His redeeming effects that He has acquired. For giving and taking go together. The Son is given to us; we must in faith receive Him.” J. J. Rambach, Betracht. über das Ev. Esaj, Halle, 1724.

On Isaiah 9:6 (7). “The government is on His shoulders.” “It is further shown how Christ differs in this respect from worldly kings. They remove from themselves the burden of government and lay it on the shoulders of the privy counsellors. But He does not lay His dominion as a burden on any other; He needs no prime minister and vicegerent to help Him bear the burden of administration, but He bears all by the word of His power as He to whom all things are given of the Father. Therefore He says to the house of Jacob ( Isaiah 46:3 sq.): Hearken unto me ye who were laid on my shoulders from your mothers’ womb. I will carry you to old age. I will do it, I will lift, and carry and deliver,—on the contrary the heathen must bear and lift up their idols, ( Isaiah 46:1; Isaiah 46:7).”—Rambach. “In the first place we must keep in mind His first name: He is called Wonderful. This name affects all the following.” “All is wonderful that belongs to this king: wonderfully does He counsel and comfort; wonderfully He helps to acquire and conquer, and all this in suffering and want of strength. (Luther, Jen. germ. Tom. III. Fol. 184 b.). ” “He uses weakness as a means of subduing all things to Himself. A wretched reed, a crown of thorns and an infamous cross, are the weapons of this almighty God, by means of which He achieves such great things. In the second place, He was a hero and conqueror in that just by death, He robbed him of his might who had the power of death, i.e., the devil ( Hebrews 2:14); in that Hebrews, like Samson, buried His enemies with Himself, yea, became poison to death itself, and a plague to hell ( Hosea 13:14) and more gloriously resumed His life so freely laid down, which none of the greatest heroes can emulate.”—Rambach.

17. On Isaiah 9:18 (19) sqq. True friendship can never exist among the wicked. For every one loves only himself. Therefore they are enemies one of another; and they are in any case friends to each other, only as long as it concerns making war on a third party.

Isaiah 10-18. On Isaiah 10:4. (Comp. the same expression in chap10). God’s quiver is well filled. If one arrow does not attain His object, He takes another, and so on, until the rights of God, and justice have conquered.

19. On Isaiah 10:5-7. “God works through men in a threefold way. First, we all live, move and have our being in Him, in that all activity is an outflow of His power. Then, He uses the services of the wicked so that they mutually destroy each other, or He chastises His people by their hand. Of this sort the Prophet speaks here. In the third place, by governing His people by the Spirit of sanctification: and this takes place only in the elect.”—Heim and Hoffmann.

20. On Isaiah 10:5 sqq. “Ad hunc, etc. Such places are to be turned to uses of comfort. Although the objects of temptation vary and enemies differ, yet the effects are the same, and the same spirit works in the pious. We are therefore to learn not to regard the power of the enemy nor our own weakness, but to look steadily and simply into the word, that will assuredly establish our minds that they despair not, but expect help of God. For God will not subdue our enemies, either spiritual or corporal, by might and power, but by weakness, as says the text: my strength is made perfect in weakness.” ( 2 Corinthians 12:9).—Luther.

21. On Isaiah 10:15. “Efficacia agendi penes Deum Esther, homines ministerium tantum praebent. Quare nunc sibilo suo se illos evocaturum minabatur (cap. Isaiah 5:26; Isaiah 7:18); nunc instar sagenae sibi fore ad irretiendos, nunc mallei instar ad feriendos Israelitas. Sed praecipue tum declaravit, quod non sit otiosus in illis, dum Sennacherib securim vocat, quae ad secandum manu sua et destinata fuit et impacta. Non male alicubi Augustinus ita definit, quod ipsi peccant, eorum esse; quod peccando hoc vel illud agant, ex virtute Dei esse, tenebras prout visum est dividentis (De praedest Sanctt.).”—Calvin Inst. II:4, 4.

22. On Isaiah 10:20-27. “In time of need one ought to look back to the earlier great deliverances of the children of God, as to the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, or later, from the hand of the Midianites. Israel shall again grow out of the yoke.”—Diedrich.

Isaiah 11-23. On Isaiah 11:4. “The staff of His mouth.” “Evidence that the kingdom of Christ will not be like an earthly kingdom, but consist in the power of the word and of the sacraments; not in leathern, golden or silver girdles, but in girdles of righteousness and faith.”—Cramer.

24. On Isaiah 11:10 sqq. If the Prophet honors the heathen in saying that they will come to Christ before Israel, he may be the more readily believed, when Isaiah 11:11 sqq, he gives the assurance that the return out of the first, the Egyptian exile, shall be succeeded by a return out of the second, the Assyrian exile, (taking this word in the wider sense of Isaiah). It is manifest that the return that took place under Zerubbabel and Ezra was only an imperfect beginning of that promised return. For according to our passage this second return can only take place after the Messiah has appeared. Farthermore, all Israelites that belong to “the remnant of Israel,” in whatever land they may dwell, shall take part in it. It will be, therefore, a universal, not a partial return. If now the Prophet paints this return too with the colors of the present ( Isaiah 11:13 sqq.), still that is no reason for questioning the reality of the matter. Israel will certainly not disappear, but arise to view in the church of the new covenant. But if the nation is to be known among the nations as a whole, though no more as a hostile contrast, but in fraternal harmony, why then shall not the land, too, assume a like position among the lands? But the nation can neither assume its place among nations, nor the land its place among lands, if they are not both united: the people Israel in the land of their fathers.

25. On Isaiah 11 “We may here recall briefly the older, Song of Solomon -called spiritual interpretation. Isaiah 11:1-5 were understood of Christ’s prophetic office that He exercised in the days of His flesh, then of the overthrow of the Roman Empire and of Antichrist, who was taken to be the Pope. But the most thorough-going of those old expositors must acknowledge, at Isaiah 11:4, that the Antichrist is not yet enough overthrown, and must be yet more overthrown. If such is the state of the case, then this interpretation is certainly false, for Isaiah 11:4 describes not a gradual judgment, but one accomplished at once. There have been many Antichrists, and among the Popes too, but the genuine Antichrist described 2 Thessalonians2, is yet to be expected, and also the fulfillment of Isaiah 11:4 of our chapter. Thereby is proved at the same time that the peaceful state of things in the brute world and the return of the Jews to their native land are still things of the future, for they must happen in that period when the Antichristian world, and its head shall be judged by Christ. But then, too, the dwelling together of tame and wild beasts is not the entrance of the heathen into the church, to which they were heretofore hostile, and the return of the Jews is not the conversion of a small part of Israel that took place at Pentecost and after. The miracles and signs too, contained in Isaiah 11:15-16 did not take place then. We see just here how one must do violence to the word if he will not take it as it stands. But if we take it as we have done, then the whole chapter belongs to the doctrine of hope (Hoffnungslehre) of the Scripture, and constitutes an important member of it. The Lord procures right and room for His church. He overthrows the world-kingdom, together with Antichrist. He makes of the remnant of Israel a congregation of believers filled with the Spirit, to whom He is near in an unusual way, and from it causes His knowledge to go out into all the world. He creates peace in the restless creatures, and shows us here in advance what more glorious things we may look for in the new earth. He presents to the world a church which, united in itself, unmolested by neighbors, stands under God’s mighty protection. All these facts are parts of a chain of hope that must be valuable and dear to our hearts. The light of this future illumines the obscurity of the present; the comfort of that day makes the heart fresh.” Weber, der Prophet Jesaja, 1875.

Chap12–26. On Isaiah 12:4 sq. “These will not be the works of the New Testament: sacrificing and slaying, and make pilgrimage to Jerusalem and to the Holy Sepulchre, but praising God and giving thanks, preaching and hearing, believing with the heart and confessing with the mouth. For to praise our God is good; such praise is pleasant and lovely” ( Psalm 147:1). Cramer.

27. On Chap12 “With these words conclude the prophetic discourses on Immanuel. Through what obscurity of history have we not had to go, until we came to the bright light of the kingdom of Christ! How Israel and the nations had to pass through the fire of judgment before the sun arises in Israel and the entire gentile world is illumined! It is the, same way that every Christian has to travel. In and through the fire we become blessed. Much must be burnt up in us, before we press to the full knowledge of God and of His Song of Solomon, before we become entirely one with Him, entirely glad and joyful in Him. Israel was brought up and is still brought up for glory, and we too. O that our end too were such a psalm of praise as this psalm!” Weber, Der Pr. Jes. 1875.

Footnotes:

FN#6 - Heb. Asshur.

FN#7 - Or, though.

FN#8 - And in whose hand my fury is a staff.

FN#9 - unclean.

FN#10 - To plunder plunder, and to prey prey.

FN#11 - Heb. to lay them a treading.

FN#12 - And yet their graven images excelled them, etc.

FN#13 - carver images.


Verses 12-15

2. WOE TO THE INSTRUMENT THAT KNEW NOT THAT IT WAS AN INSTRUMENT

Isaiah 10:12-15

12 Wherefore it shall come to pass,

That when the Lord hath performed his whole work

Upon Mount Zion and on Jerusalem,

I will [FN14]punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria,

And the glory of his high looks.

13 For he saith,

By the strength of my hand I have done it,

And by my wisdom; for I am prudent:

And I have removed the bounds of the people,

And have robbed their treasures,

And I have [FN15]put down the inhabitants [FN16]like a valiant man:

14 And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people:

And as one gathereth eggs that are left,

Have I gathered all the earth;

And there is none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped.

15 Shall the ax boast itself against him that heweth therewith?

Or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it?[FN17]As if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up,

Or as if the staff should lift up [FN18]itself, as if it were no wood.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

On Isaiah 10:12. בָּצַע is scindere, abscindere; hence “to make an end, complete.” It is found once more in Isaiah 38:12, and in the sense abscindere. There is ground for rendering בצע as fut. exactum: for אפקד, etc. will take place only when Assyria shall have executed his task. There is no doubt but that the Hebrew imperfect can have the meaning of the fut. exact.; comp. e.g. Genesis 44:10; Genesis 44:23; 1 Kings 8:35. But it makes a difference whether the fut. exact. is expressed by the perfect or imperfect. In the latter case the original imperfect meaning will still cling to it. The transaction spoken of will not be represented as real and accomplished, but only as possibly and ideally present. Song of Solomon, too, here. There lies therefore in the imperfect a certain element of comfort, as well becomes this comforting passage. רוּם, comp. Isaiah 2:11; Isaiah 2:17.

On Isaiah 10:13. The imperfects וְאוֹרִיד,וְאָסִיר belong to those isolated cases where the simple Vav. copul. is used with the verbal ending unabbreviated (according to circumstances) as a weakening (of course not normally) of the Vav. consec. with the abbreviated verbal ending. These cases occur especially in poetry, in the 1 pers. sing, and in periods comprising several clauses. Comp. Isaiah 43:28; Isaiah 44:19; Isaiah 48:3; Isaiah 51:2; Isaiah 57:17; Isaiah 63:3-6; Psalm 104:32; Ewald, 233 a.—K’thibh עתוד paratum, opes paratae, only here; K’ri עתיד Deuteronomy 32:35; Job 3:8.—שׁוֹסֵתִי is the sole example of Poel of a verb לה׳; as regards meaning = שׁוֹסֵתִי Isaiah 17:14; Isaiah 42:22.—כאביד is כּאַבִּיד, K’ri must be pronounced אַבִּיר .כַּבִּיר is secondary form of אָבִיר “the strong one” ( Isaiah 1:24; Isaiah 49:26; Isaiah 60:16); כַּכִּיר also means validus, potens, Isaiah 16:14; Isaiah 17:12; Isaiah 28:2. There exists here no reason for departing from K’thibh. To construe כאביר as adjunct of the subject is flat, and כִּ then seems strange. To take it as adverbial definition of ושׁבים (bull-like sitting on thrones, stiergleich Thronende, Delitzsch) gives an extraordinary and displeasing figure. If, with Drechsler, we render יושבים simply “inhabitants,” then ואוריר seems strangely used. It seems to me best, therefore, to take כאביר as adjunct to the object: “I cast down the enthroned as the strong one” (i.e., the bull, comp. Isaiah 34:7; Psalm 22:13; Psalm 50:13). Because they are to be cast down they must be sitting high. But they shall be cast down like the bull, i.e., like one lays low a bull by a blow on the forehead. [J. A. Alexander retains the K’thibh, and connects כאביר with the subject meaning “mighty man” = “like a mighty man or hero that I Amos,” and adds: “there is no necessity for departing from the less poetical but more familiar sense, inhabitants, and bringing down, i.e., subduing”].

On Isaiah 10:14. תמצא comp. Isaiah 10:10.—כַּקֵּו for כְּלֵקִּו a familiar usage. מצפצף see Isaiah 8:19.

On Isaiah 10:15. חתנדל Hithp. only here in Isa.—מַשּׂוֹר “a saw” is ἅπ. λεγ. The plural in מרימיו is explained by the collective construction of שֵׁבֶט.—הֵנִיף comp. Isaiah 11:15; Isaiah 13:2; Isaiah 19:16; Isaiah 30:23, and Isaiah 10:32.—לא־עץ (comp. Isaiah 31:8; Deuteronomy 32:21) is a bold antiphrase.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. Wherefore it shall——high looks.

Isaiah 10:12. In the foregoing strophe the Prophet’s view-point was before the execution of judgment on Jerusalem. In this he takes his view-point after it. As before Assyria boasted what he would do, here he boasts what he has done. For what he boastfully promised to do ( Isaiah 10:8-11) he actually accomplished. But when he has done, then comes his hour. For then will the Lord bring about that fall that is wont to attend a haughty spirit. It is to be noted that what Assyria is to execute on Zion is called the work of Jehovah. But as only that work of which Assyria is the instrument is meant, “all his work” cannot be intended in an absolute sense, as comprehending the work of salvation.—“The fruit of haughtiness of heart” is not so much the boasting and blasphemy, but the works that haughtiness has done. Comp. Daniel 4:27 (30), “Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of the kingdom?” etc. The destruction of city and kingdom is the destruction of the fruit of the haughtiness of the ruler.

The massing of the nouns admirably paints the spouting, puffed-up nature of haughtiness (comp. Isaiah 28:1; Isaiah 21:17). “The loftiness of the eyes,” i.e., self-complacency, reflected in the eyes, lends a certain refulgence (תכּארת) to the manner of a man. But even this illusive gleam will the Lord strip off.

2. For he saith——peeped.

Isaiah 10:13-14. The Prophet cannot reproduce to his hearers and readers the actual fruits and that proud gleam of haughtiness. But he can let that haughtiness express itself in words by which it may be estimated. These words state that Assyria now maintains that, as he purposed, so he had also actually accomplished all by his own might. He boasts his strength and his prudence. The power of this world is wise. According to Daniel 7:8; Daniel 7:20; Daniel 8:25 the horn of the fourth beast has eyes like the eyes of a Prayer of Manasseh, the symbol of prudence (Comp. Auberlen,Der Prophet Daniel, 2Aufl. p50). The children of this world are wiser in their way than the children of light ( Luke 16:8). The borders of the nations he abolished by incorporating all in his kingdom; he robbed their treasures. Isaiah 10:14 portrays the facility with which Assyria does his work. The unskilful and inexperienced find a bird’s nest at best by chance. The knowing and experienced, however, find them as easily as surely. But the Assyrian compares his conquests not to the easy work of seeking nests, but to the much easier one of gathering eggs from forsaken nests. He has so gathered everything that came under his hand as he went through the land ( Habakkuk 2:5). In a nest not forsaken, the little owner makes a defence; he strikes with his wings, he opens his beak and hisses at his assailant. But his enemies had not dared even to make a bird’s defence.

3. Shall the axe——no wood.

Isaiah 10:15. To this senseless boasting the Lord replies in words that set the matter in a just light. The answer presents two pairs of parallels that represent a gradation. Without men axe and saw can do nothing. Yet they are indispensable to men, and that may give their self-praise some apparent justification. But that rod or staff should lift those that have hold of them presents the extreme of absurd presumption. Yet this is the extent of Assyria’s blind presumption, that he not only conceives that he executed judgment on the nations without the Lord, but that divinity was constrained to serve him. There lies thus in the second pair of comparisons a climax, and כְּ before הָנִיף does not compare this second pair with the first, but with the higher degree of stupid blindness intimated in Isaiah 10:14. The staff can lift nothing, neither wood nor not-wood. Of not-wood it cannot even lift what is not Prayer of Manasseh, e.g. a stone. If Isaiah, as the context shows, by not-wood means men, it is on the supposition that the reader of himself will recognize the true contrast (not-wood but much greater) and the (even phonetic) allusion to לֹא־אֵל.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On Isaiah 7:1. “Hierosolyma oppugnatur, etc. Jerusalem is assaulted but not conquered. The church is pressed but not oppressed.”—Foerster.

2. On Isaiah 7:2. “Quando ecclesia, etc. When the Church is assaulted and Christ crucified over again in His elect, Rezin and Pekah, Herod and Pilate are wont to form alliance and enter into friendly relations. There are, so to speak, the foxes of Samson, joined indeed by the tails, but their heads are disconnected.”—Foerster.—“He that believes flees not ( Isaiah 28:16). ‘The righteous is bold as a lion’ ( Proverbs 28:1). Hypocrites and those that trust in works (work-saints) have neither reason nor faith. Therefore they cannot by any means quiet their heart. In prosperity they are, indeed, overweening, but in adversity they fall away ( Jeremiah 17:9).” Cramer.

3. On Isaiah 7:9. (“If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.”) “Insignis sententia, etc. A striking sentiment that may be adapted generally to all temptation, because all earnest endeavor after anything, as you know, beguiles us in temptation. But only faith in the word of promise makes us abide and makes sure whatever we would execute. He warns Ahaz, therefore, as if he said: I now promise you by the word, it shall be that those two kings shall not hurt you. Believe this word! For if you do not, whatever you afterwards devise will deceive you: because all confidence is vain which is not supported by the word of God.”—Luther.

4. On Isaiah 7:10-12. “Wicked Ahaz pretends to great sanctity in abstaining from asking a sign through fear of God. Thus hypocrites are most conscientious where there is no need for it: on the other hand, when they ought to be humble, they are the most insolent. But where God commands to be bold, one must be bold. For to be obedient to the word is not tempting God. That is rather tempting God when one proposes something without having the word for it. It Isaiah, indeed, the greatest virtue to rest only in the word, and desire nothing more. But where God would add something more than the word, then it must not be thought a virtue to reject it as superfluous. We must therefore exercise such a faith in the word of God that we will not despise the helps that are given in addition to it as aids to faith. For example the Lord offers us in the gospel all that is necessary to salvation. Why then Baptism and the Lord’s Supper? Are they to be treated as superfluous? By no means. For if one believes the word he will at the same time exhibit an entire obedience toward God. We ought therefore to learn to join the sign with the word, for no man has the power to sever the two.

But do you ask: is it permitted to ask God for a sign? We have an example of this in Gideon. Answer: Although Gideon was not told of God to ask a sign, yet he did it by the impulse of the Holy Spirit, and not according to his own fancy. We must not therefore abuse his example, and must be content with the sign that is offered by the Lord. But there are extraordinary signs or miracles, like that of the text, and ordinary ones like Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Yet both have the same object and use. For as Gideon was strengthened by that miraculous event, Song of Solomon, too, are we strengthened by Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, although no miracle appears before our eyes.” Heim and Hoffmann after Luther. Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, also asked the Lord to show him the right wife for Isaac by means of a sign of His own choosing, ( Genesis 24:14).

It ought to be said that this asking a sign (opening the Bible at a venture, or any other book) does not suit Christian perfection ( Hebrews 6:1). A Christian ought to be inwardly sensible of the divine will. He ought to content himself with the guarantees that God Himself offers. Only one must have open eyes and ears for them. This thing of demanding a sign, if it is not directly an effect of superstition ( Matthew 12:39; Matthew 16:4; 1 Corinthians 1:22), is certainly childish, and, because it easily leads to superstitious abuses, it is dangerous.

5. On Isaiah 7:13. “Non caret, etc. That the Prophet calls God his God is not without a peculiar emphasis. In Zechariah 2:12 it is said, that whoever touches the servants of God touches the pupil of God’s eye. Whoever opposes teacher and preacher will have to deal with God in heaven or with the Lord who has put them into office.”—Foerster.

6. On Isaiah 7:14. “The name Immanuel is one of the most beautiful and richest in contents of all the Holy Scripture. ‘God with us’ comprises God’s entire plan of salvation with sinful humanity. In a narrower sense it means ‘God-man’ ( Matthew 1:23), and points to the personal union of divinity and humanity, in the double nature of the Son of God become man. Jesus Christ was a God-with-us, however, in this, that for about 33 years He dwelt among us sinners ( John 1:11; John 1:14). In a deeper and wider sense still He was such by the Immanuel’s work of the atonement ( 2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 Timothy 2:3). He will also be such to every one that believes on Him by the work of regeneration and sanctification and the daily renewal of His holy and divine communion of the Spirit ( John 17:23; John 17:26; John 14:19-21; John 14:23). He is such now by His high-priestly and royal administration and government for His whole Church ( Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 7:25). He will be snch in the present time of the Church in a still more glorious fashion ( John 10:16). The entire and complete meaning of the name Immanuel, however, will only come to light in the new earth, and in the heavenly Jerusalem ( Revelation 21:3; Revelation 21:23; Revelation 22:5).”—Wilh. Fried. Roos.

Isaiah 8:7. On Isaiah 8:5 sqq. “Like boastful swimmers despise small and quiet waters, and on the other hand, for the better display of their skill, boast of the great sea and master it, but often are lost in it,—thus, too, did the hypocrites that despised the small kingdom of Judah, and bragged much and great things of the power and splendor of the kingdom of Israel and of the Syrians; such hypocrites are still to be found now-a-days—such that bear in their eye the admiranda Romae, the splendor, riches, power, ceremonies and pomp of the Romish church, and thereupon ‘set their bushel by the bigger-heap.’ It is but the devil’s temptation over again: ‘I will give all this to thee.’ ”—Cramer.—“Fons Siloa,” etc. “The fountain of Siloam, near the temple, daily reminded the Jews that Christ was coming.”—Calvin on John 9:7.

8. On Isaiah 8:10. “When the great Superlatives sit in their council chambers and have determined everything, how it ought to be, and especially how they will extinguish the gospel, then God sends the angel Gabriel to them, who must look through the window and say: nothing will come of it.”—Luther.—“Christ, who is our Immanuel, is with us by His becoming Prayer of Manasseh, for us by His office of Mediator, in us by the work of His sanctification, by us by His personal, gracious presence.”—Cramer.

9. On Isaiah 8:14-15. Christ alone is set by God to be a stone by which we are raised up. That He Isaiah, however, an occasion of offence to many is because of their purpose, petulance and contempt ( 1 Peter 2:8). Therefore we ought to fear lest we take offence at Him. For whoever falls on this stone will shatter to pieces ( Matthew 21:44).” Cramer.

10. On Isaiah 8:16 sqq. He warns His disciples against heathenish superstition, and exhorts them to show respect themselves always to law and testimony. “They must not think that God must answer them by visions and signs, therefore He refers them to the written word, that they may not become altogether too spiritual, like those now-a-days who cry: spirit! spirit! … Christ says, Luke 16 : They have Moses and the prophets, and again John 5:39 : Search the Scriptures. So Paul says, 2 Timothy 3:16 : The Scripture is profitable for doctrine. So says Peter, 2 Peter 1:9 : We have a sure word of prophecy. It is the word that changes hearts and moves them. But revelations puff people up and make them insolent.” Heim and Hoffmann after Luther.

Chap9–11. On Isaiah 9:1 sqq. (2). “Postrema pars, etc. The latter part of chap8 was νομικὴ καὶ ἀπειλητική (legal and threatening) Song of Solomon, on the other hand, the first and best part of chap9 is εὐαγγελικὴ καὶ παραμυθητική, (evangelical and comforting). Thus must ever law and gospel, preaching wrath and grace, words of reproof and words of comfort, a voice of alarm and a voice of peace follow one another in the church.” Foerster.

12. On Isaiah 9:1 (2). Both in the Old Testament and New Testament Christ is often called light. Thus Isaiah calls Him “a light to the gentiles,” Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:6. The same Prophet says: “Arise, shine (make thyself light), for thy light is come,” Isaiah 60:1. And again Isaiah 9:19 : “The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light.” In the New Testament it is principally John that makes use of this expression: “The life was the light of men,” John 1:4, “and the light shined in the darkness,” John 9:5. John was not that light, but bore testimony to the light, John 9:8. “That was the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” John 9:9. And further: “And this is the condemnation that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light,” John 3:19. “I am the light of the world,” ( John 8:12; John 9:5; comp. John 12:35).

13. On Isaiah 9:1 (2). The people that sit in darkness may be understood to comprise three grades. First, the inhabitants of Zebulon and Naphtali are called so ( Isaiah 8:23), for the Prophet’s gaze is fixed first on that region lying in the extreme end of Palestine, which was neighbor to the heathen and mixed with them, and on this account was held in low esteem by the dwellers in Judah. The night that spreads over Israel in general is darkest there. But all Israel partakes of this night, therefore all Israel, too, may be understood, as among the people sitting in darkness. Finally, no one can deny that this night extends over the borders of Israel to the whole human race. For far as men dwell extends the night which Christ, as light of the world, came to dispel, Luke 1:76 sqq.

14. On Isaiah 9:5 (6). Many lay stress on the notion “child,” inasmuch as they see in that the reason for the reign of peace spoken of afterwards. It is not said a Prayer of Manasseh, a king, a giant is given to us. But this is erroneous. For the child does not remain a child. He becomes a man: and the six names that are ascribed to Him and also the things predicted of His kingdom apply to Him, not as a child, but as a man. That His birth as a child is made prominent, has its reason in this, that thereby His relation to human kind should be designated as an organic one. He does not enter into humanity as a Prayer of Manasseh, i.e. as one whose origin was outside of it, but He was born from it, and especially from the race of David. He is Son of man and Son of David. He is a natural offshoot, but also the crowning bloom of both. Precisely because He was to be conceived, carried and born of a human mother, and indeed of a virgin, this prophecy belongs here as the completion and definition of the two prophetic pictures Isaiah 7:10 sqq.; Isaiah 8:1 sqq.—“He came down from heaven for the sake of us men, and for our bliss ( 1 Timothy 1:15; Luke 2:7). For our advantage: for He undertook not for the seed of angels, but for the seed of Abraham ( Hebrews 2:16). Not sold to us by God out of great love, but given ( Romans 5:15; John 3:16). Therefore every one ought to make an application of the word ‘to us’ to himself, and to learn to say: this child was given to me, conceived for me, born to me.”—Cramer.—“Cur oportuit, etc. Why did it become the Redeemer of human kind to be not merely man nor merely God, but God and man conjoined or θεάνθρωπον? Anselm replies briefly, indeed, but pithily: Deum qui posset, hominem, qui deberet.” Foerster.

15. On Isaiah 9:5 (6). “You must not suppose here that He is to be named and called according to His person, as one usually calls another by his name; but these are names that one must preach, praise and celebrate on account of His Acts, works and office.” Luther.

16. On Isaiah 9:6. “Verba pauca, etc. A few words, but to be esteemed great, not for their number but for their weight.” Augustine.Admirabilis in, etc. Wonderful in birth, counsellor in what He preaches, God in working, strong in suffering, father of the world to come in resurrection, Prince of peace in bliss perpetual.” Bernard of Clairvaux. In reference to “a child is born,” and “a son is given,” Joh. Cocceius remarks in his Heb. Lex. s. v. יֶלֶד: “respectu, etc., in respect to His human nature He is said to be born, and in respect to His divine nature and eternal generation not indeed born, but given, as, John 3:16, it reads God gave His only begotten Son.”

“In the application of this language all depends on the words is born to us, is given to us.” The angels are, in this matter, far from being as blessed as we are. They do not say: To us a Saviour is born this day, but; to you. As long as we do not regard Christ as ours, so long we shall have little joy in Him. But when we know Him as our Wisdom of Solomon, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, as a gift that our heavenly Father designed for us, we will appropriate Him to ourselves in humble faith, and take possession of all His redeeming effects that He has acquired. For giving and taking go together. The Son is given to us; we must in faith receive Him.” J. J. Rambach, Betracht. über das Ev. Esaj, Halle, 1724.

On Isaiah 9:6 (7). “The government is on His shoulders.” “It is further shown how Christ differs in this respect from worldly kings. They remove from themselves the burden of government and lay it on the shoulders of the privy counsellors. But He does not lay His dominion as a burden on any other; He needs no prime minister and vicegerent to help Him bear the burden of administration, but He bears all by the word of His power as He to whom all things are given of the Father. Therefore He says to the house of Jacob ( Isaiah 46:3 sq.): Hearken unto me ye who were laid on my shoulders from your mothers’ womb. I will carry you to old age. I will do it, I will lift, and carry and deliver,—on the contrary the heathen must bear and lift up their idols, ( Isaiah 46:1; Isaiah 46:7).”—Rambach. “In the first place we must keep in mind His first name: He is called Wonderful. This name affects all the following.” “All is wonderful that belongs to this king: wonderfully does He counsel and comfort; wonderfully He helps to acquire and conquer, and all this in suffering and want of strength. (Luther, Jen. germ. Tom. III. Fol. 184 b.). ” “He uses weakness as a means of subduing all things to Himself. A wretched reed, a crown of thorns and an infamous cross, are the weapons of this almighty God, by means of which He achieves such great things. In the second place, He was a hero and conqueror in that just by death, He robbed him of his might who had the power of death, i.e., the devil ( Hebrews 2:14); in that Hebrews, like Samson, buried His enemies with Himself, yea, became poison to death itself, and a plague to hell ( Hosea 13:14) and more gloriously resumed His life so freely laid down, which none of the greatest heroes can emulate.”—Rambach.

17. On Isaiah 9:18 (19) sqq. True friendship can never exist among the wicked. For every one loves only himself. Therefore they are enemies one of another; and they are in any case friends to each other, only as long as it concerns making war on a third party.

Isaiah 10-18. On Isaiah 10:4. (Comp. the same expression in chap10). God’s quiver is well filled. If one arrow does not attain His object, He takes another, and so on, until the rights of God, and justice have conquered.

19. On Isaiah 10:5-7. “God works through men in a threefold way. First, we all live, move and have our being in Him, in that all activity is an outflow of His power. Then, He uses the services of the wicked so that they mutually destroy each other, or He chastises His people by their hand. Of this sort the Prophet speaks here. In the third place, by governing His people by the Spirit of sanctification: and this takes place only in the elect.”—Heim and Hoffmann.

20. On Isaiah 10:5 sqq. “Ad hunc, etc. Such places are to be turned to uses of comfort. Although the objects of temptation vary and enemies differ, yet the effects are the same, and the same spirit works in the pious. We are therefore to learn not to regard the power of the enemy nor our own weakness, but to look steadily and simply into the word, that will assuredly establish our minds that they despair not, but expect help of God. For God will not subdue our enemies, either spiritual or corporal, by might and power, but by weakness, as says the text: my strength is made perfect in weakness.” ( 2 Corinthians 12:9).—Luther.

21. On Isaiah 10:15. “Efficacia agendi penes Deum Esther, homines ministerium tantum praebent. Quare nunc sibilo suo se illos evocaturum minabatur (cap. Isaiah 5:26; Isaiah 7:18); nunc instar sagenae sibi fore ad irretiendos, nunc mallei instar ad feriendos Israelitas. Sed praecipue tum declaravit, quod non sit otiosus in illis, dum Sennacherib securim vocat, quae ad secandum manu sua et destinata fuit et impacta. Non male alicubi Augustinus ita definit, quod ipsi peccant, eorum esse; quod peccando hoc vel illud agant, ex virtute Dei esse, tenebras prout visum est dividentis (De praedest Sanctt.).”—Calvin Inst. II:4, 4.

22. On Isaiah 10:20-27. “In time of need one ought to look back to the earlier great deliverances of the children of God, as to the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, or later, from the hand of the Midianites. Israel shall again grow out of the yoke.”—Diedrich.

Isaiah 11-23. On Isaiah 11:4. “The staff of His mouth.” “Evidence that the kingdom of Christ will not be like an earthly kingdom, but consist in the power of the word and of the sacraments; not in leathern, golden or silver girdles, but in girdles of righteousness and faith.”—Cramer.

24. On Isaiah 11:10 sqq. If the Prophet honors the heathen in saying that they will come to Christ before Israel, he may be the more readily believed, when Isaiah 11:11 sqq, he gives the assurance that the return out of the first, the Egyptian exile, shall be succeeded by a return out of the second, the Assyrian exile, (taking this word in the wider sense of Isaiah). It is manifest that the return that took place under Zerubbabel and Ezra was only an imperfect beginning of that promised return. For according to our passage this second return can only take place after the Messiah has appeared. Farthermore, all Israelites that belong to “the remnant of Israel,” in whatever land they may dwell, shall take part in it. It will be, therefore, a universal, not a partial return. If now the Prophet paints this return too with the colors of the present ( Isaiah 11:13 sqq.), still that is no reason for questioning the reality of the matter. Israel will certainly not disappear, but arise to view in the church of the new covenant. But if the nation is to be known among the nations as a whole, though no more as a hostile contrast, but in fraternal harmony, why then shall not the land, too, assume a like position among the lands? But the nation can neither assume its place among nations, nor the land its place among lands, if they are not both united: the people Israel in the land of their fathers.

25. On Isaiah 11 “We may here recall briefly the older, Song of Solomon -called spiritual interpretation. Isaiah 11:1-5 were understood of Christ’s prophetic office that He exercised in the days of His flesh, then of the overthrow of the Roman Empire and of Antichrist, who was taken to be the Pope. But the most thorough-going of those old expositors must acknowledge, at Isaiah 11:4, that the Antichrist is not yet enough overthrown, and must be yet more overthrown. If such is the state of the case, then this interpretation is certainly false, for Isaiah 11:4 describes not a gradual judgment, but one accomplished at once. There have been many Antichrists, and among the Popes too, but the genuine Antichrist described 2 Thessalonians2, is yet to be expected, and also the fulfillment of Isaiah 11:4 of our chapter. Thereby is proved at the same time that the peaceful state of things in the brute world and the return of the Jews to their native land are still things of the future, for they must happen in that period when the Antichristian world, and its head shall be judged by Christ. But then, too, the dwelling together of tame and wild beasts is not the entrance of the heathen into the church, to which they were heretofore hostile, and the return of the Jews is not the conversion of a small part of Israel that took place at Pentecost and after. The miracles and signs too, contained in Isaiah 11:15-16 did not take place then. We see just here how one must do violence to the word if he will not take it as it stands. But if we take it as we have done, then the whole chapter belongs to the doctrine of hope (Hoffnungslehre) of the Scripture, and constitutes an important member of it. The Lord procures right and room for His church. He overthrows the world-kingdom, together with Antichrist. He makes of the remnant of Israel a congregation of believers filled with the Spirit, to whom He is near in an unusual way, and from it causes His knowledge to go out into all the world. He creates peace in the restless creatures, and shows us here in advance what more glorious things we may look for in the new earth. He presents to the world a church which, united in itself, unmolested by neighbors, stands under God’s mighty protection. All these facts are parts of a chain of hope that must be valuable and dear to our hearts. The light of this future illumines the obscurity of the present; the comfort of that day makes the heart fresh.” Weber, der Prophet Jesaja, 1875.

Chap12–26. On Isaiah 12:4 sq. “These will not be the works of the New Testament: sacrificing and slaying, and make pilgrimage to Jerusalem and to the Holy Sepulchre, but praising God and giving thanks, preaching and hearing, believing with the heart and confessing with the mouth. For to praise our God is good; such praise is pleasant and lovely” ( Psalm 147:1). Cramer.

27. On Chap12 “With these words conclude the prophetic discourses on Immanuel. Through what obscurity of history have we not had to go, until we came to the bright light of the kingdom of Christ! How Israel and the nations had to pass through the fire of judgment before the sun arises in Israel and the entire gentile world is illumined! It is the, same way that every Christian has to travel. In and through the fire we become blessed. Much must be burnt up in us, before we press to the full knowledge of God and of His Song of Solomon, before we become entirely one with Him, entirely glad and joyful in Him. Israel was brought up and is still brought up for glory, and we too. O that our end too were such a psalm of praise as this psalm!” Weber, Der Pr. Jes. 1875.

Footnotes:

FN#14 - Heb. visit upon the fruit of the, greatness of the heart.

FN#15 - Have felled those enthroned as a bull.

FN#16 - Or, like many people.

FN#17 - Or, As if a rod should shake them that lift it up.

FN#18 - Or, that which is not wood.


Verses 16-19

3. THE EXECUTION OF THE WOE

Isaiah 10:16-19

16 Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send

Among his fat ones leanness;

And under his glory he shall kindle a burning

Like the burning of a fire.

17 And the light Israel shall be for a fire,

And his Holy One for a flame:

And it shall burn and devour his thorns

And his briers in one day;

18 And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field,[FN19]Both soul and body:

And they shall be as when[FN20] a standard-bearer fainteth.

19 And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be [FN21]few,

That a child may write them.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

On Isaiah 10:16. האדוו comp. Isaiah 10:33; Isaiah 1:24; Isaiah 3:1; Isaiah 19:4.—אדני צבאות are found thus combined only here. Elsewhere it is always אדני יהוה צבאות, Isaiah 10:23-24; Isaiah 3:15; Isaiah 22:5; Isaiah 22:12; Isaiah 22:14-15; Isaiah 28:22; Jeremiah 2:19; Jeremiah 46:10; Jeremiah 49:5; Jeremiah 50:25; Jeremiah 50:31.—מִשְׁמַנִּ׳ם are properly “the fat parts” (comp. Genesis 27:28; Genesis 27:39), then (abstr. pro concr. Psalm 78:31); “the fat men,” by whom Isaiah understands all that have a share in Assyria’s greatness. Comp. Isaiah 27:4, where alone the word occurs again in Isaiah.—רזוו, from רָזה attenuare, maciare, Niph. contabescere ( Isaiah 17:4) occurs only here in Isaiah (comp. רָוִי Isaiah 24:16). It means macies, tabies, “consumption, phthisis.”—יָקַד verb, comp. Isaiah 30:14; Isaiah 65:5, יְקרֹ only here. Note the paronomasia which evidently aims at an artistic sound imitation.

On Isaiah 10:17. ביום אחד comp. on Isaiah 9:13.—כרמל, “the fruitful, cultivated garden and field,” is also elsewhere opposed to forest ( Isaiah 29:17), while again in other places יער is mentioned as part of the כרמל ( Isaiah 37:24; 2 Kings 19:23). This is no contradiction, the notions of the two words occurring sometimes in a broader, sometimes in a narrower sense.

On Isaiah 10:18. נֹסֵם, ἅπ. λεγ. Comp. נָשׁ, Syr. nesiso, νοσεῖν, “to be sick.”—מְסֹם infin. from מָסַם Isaiah 13:7; Isaiah 19:1; Isaiah 34:3, “to pine away.”—מספר like Jeremiah 44:28; Ezekiel 12:16, etc.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

2. Therefore——write them.

Isaiah 10:16-19. “Therefore” introduces the consequences that follow the double guilt of Assyria portrayed above. That necessary consequence is punishment. The, not personal, glory of Assyria shall be burnt so as if the Lord kindled a fire under it. The comparison of the consumption which is not meant literally, and the כְּ before יְקוֹד show that no real fire is meant. It is the fire of God’s holy wrath that is the correlative of His love. The latter is the light of Israel in whom God takes pleasure ( 2 Samuel 22:29; Psalm 27:1; Micah 7:8), but a consuming fire for all that is against God and His kingdom ( Deuteronomy 4:24; Deuteronomy 9:3; Isaiah 30:33; Isaiah 33:14). Like Isaiah 9:17, thorns and thistles are contrasted with the nobler representatives of vegetation. The comparison does not refer to the army of Assyria with its various grades of rank and file, but to the nation with all its glory. Thorns and thistles mean all lowly and inferior persons, forest and fruitful field those of elevation and splendor.

The expression “from soul to body” (מנבּשׁ ועד בשׂר is found only here). It is to be compared with Isaiah 1:6, “from the sole of the foot to the head.” As the latter signifies the entire outward, visible surface of the body, so the latter the entire organism generally. Not only the outward, but the inward shall be anihilated. “For body and soul are the entire man ( Psalm 16:9; Psalm 78:26; Psalm 84:3.”)—Knobel. I except to this only that the expression is restricted to men. Have not the beast and the plant a soul too? Comp. Genesis 2:19. And is it not said in our very passage that forest and field shall be anihilated from the soul to the flesh? Thus in some sense soul and flesh, i.e., body are attributed to plants. From his exhaustless store the Prophet produces another figure, and calls Assyria a weakling, who pining dies away.

Yet a remnant shall remain, but a very feeble one. Of the lordly forest there shall be left only a clump that may be counted; so far from numerous that a boy can count and write a list of them. And truly, what was left of Assyria after its destruction may be compared to the little forest or grove of cedars that the traveller now finds on Lebanon. But I mean not merely the overthrow of Sennacherib, but Nineveh’s destruction by the Babylonians and Medes. For the Prophet’s vision comprehends the whole future both of Israel and of Assyria.

The figure of the boy writing down the trees, seems to me remarkable in respect to the history of culture. We hear in this place of a boy that can write, the like of which we find even Judges 8:14, and that counts the trunks of the trees. Is the figure pure invention of the Prophet? or was he brought to use it from observation?

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On Isaiah 7:1. “Hierosolyma oppugnatur, etc. Jerusalem is assaulted but not conquered. The church is pressed but not oppressed.”—Foerster.

2. On Isaiah 7:2. “Quando ecclesia, etc. When the Church is assaulted and Christ crucified over again in His elect, Rezin and Pekah, Herod and Pilate are wont to form alliance and enter into friendly relations. There are, so to speak, the foxes of Samson, joined indeed by the tails, but their heads are disconnected.”—Foerster.—“He that believes flees not ( Isaiah 28:16). ‘The righteous is bold as a lion’ ( Proverbs 28:1). Hypocrites and those that trust in works (work-saints) have neither reason nor faith. Therefore they cannot by any means quiet their heart. In prosperity they are, indeed, overweening, but in adversity they fall away ( Jeremiah 17:9).” Cramer.

3. On Isaiah 7:9. (“If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.”) “Insignis sententia, etc. A striking sentiment that may be adapted generally to all temptation, because all earnest endeavor after anything, as you know, beguiles us in temptation. But only faith in the word of promise makes us abide and makes sure whatever we would execute. He warns Ahaz, therefore, as if he said: I now promise you by the word, it shall be that those two kings shall not hurt you. Believe this word! For if you do not, whatever you afterwards devise will deceive you: because all confidence is vain which is not supported by the word of God.”—Luther.

4. On Isaiah 7:10-12. “Wicked Ahaz pretends to great sanctity in abstaining from asking a sign through fear of God. Thus hypocrites are most conscientious where there is no need for it: on the other hand, when they ought to be humble, they are the most insolent. But where God commands to be bold, one must be bold. For to be obedient to the word is not tempting God. That is rather tempting God when one proposes something without having the word for it. It Isaiah, indeed, the greatest virtue to rest only in the word, and desire nothing more. But where God would add something more than the word, then it must not be thought a virtue to reject it as superfluous. We must therefore exercise such a faith in the word of God that we will not despise the helps that are given in addition to it as aids to faith. For example the Lord offers us in the gospel all that is necessary to salvation. Why then Baptism and the Lord’s Supper? Are they to be treated as superfluous? By no means. For if one believes the word he will at the same time exhibit an entire obedience toward God. We ought therefore to learn to join the sign with the word, for no man has the power to sever the two.

But do you ask: is it permitted to ask God for a sign? We have an example of this in Gideon. Answer: Although Gideon was not told of God to ask a sign, yet he did it by the impulse of the Holy Spirit, and not according to his own fancy. We must not therefore abuse his example, and must be content with the sign that is offered by the Lord. But there are extraordinary signs or miracles, like that of the text, and ordinary ones like Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Yet both have the same object and use. For as Gideon was strengthened by that miraculous event, Song of Solomon, too, are we strengthened by Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, although no miracle appears before our eyes.” Heim and Hoffmann after Luther. Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, also asked the Lord to show him the right wife for Isaac by means of a sign of His own choosing, ( Genesis 24:14).

It ought to be said that this asking a sign (opening the Bible at a venture, or any other book) does not suit Christian perfection ( Hebrews 6:1). A Christian ought to be inwardly sensible of the divine will. He ought to content himself with the guarantees that God Himself offers. Only one must have open eyes and ears for them. This thing of demanding a sign, if it is not directly an effect of superstition ( Matthew 12:39; Matthew 16:4; 1 Corinthians 1:22), is certainly childish, and, because it easily leads to superstitious abuses, it is dangerous.

5. On Isaiah 7:13. “Non caret, etc. That the Prophet calls God his God is not without a peculiar emphasis. In Zechariah 2:12 it is said, that whoever touches the servants of God touches the pupil of God’s eye. Whoever opposes teacher and preacher will have to deal with God in heaven or with the Lord who has put them into office.”—Foerster.

6. On Isaiah 7:14. “The name Immanuel is one of the most beautiful and richest in contents of all the Holy Scripture. ‘God with us’ comprises God’s entire plan of salvation with sinful humanity. In a narrower sense it means ‘God-man’ ( Matthew 1:23), and points to the personal union of divinity and humanity, in the double nature of the Son of God become man. Jesus Christ was a God-with-us, however, in this, that for about 33 years He dwelt among us sinners ( John 1:11; John 1:14). In a deeper and wider sense still He was such by the Immanuel’s work of the atonement ( 2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 Timothy 2:3). He will also be such to every one that believes on Him by the work of regeneration and sanctification and the daily renewal of His holy and divine communion of the Spirit ( John 17:23; John 17:26; John 14:19-21; John 14:23). He is such now by His high-priestly and royal administration and government for His whole Church ( Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 7:25). He will be snch in the present time of the Church in a still more glorious fashion ( John 10:16). The entire and complete meaning of the name Immanuel, however, will only come to light in the new earth, and in the heavenly Jerusalem ( Revelation 21:3; Revelation 21:23; Revelation 22:5).”—Wilh. Fried. Roos.

Isaiah 8:7. On Isaiah 8:5 sqq. “Like boastful swimmers despise small and quiet waters, and on the other hand, for the better display of their skill, boast of the great sea and master it, but often are lost in it,—thus, too, did the hypocrites that despised the small kingdom of Judah, and bragged much and great things of the power and splendor of the kingdom of Israel and of the Syrians; such hypocrites are still to be found now-a-days—such that bear in their eye the admiranda Romae, the splendor, riches, power, ceremonies and pomp of the Romish church, and thereupon ‘set their bushel by the bigger-heap.’ It is but the devil’s temptation over again: ‘I will give all this to thee.’ ”—Cramer.—“Fons Siloa,” etc. “The fountain of Siloam, near the temple, daily reminded the Jews that Christ was coming.”—Calvin on John 9:7.

8. On Isaiah 8:10. “When the great Superlatives sit in their council chambers and have determined everything, how it ought to be, and especially how they will extinguish the gospel, then God sends the angel Gabriel to them, who must look through the window and say: nothing will come of it.”—Luther.—“Christ, who is our Immanuel, is with us by His becoming Prayer of Manasseh, for us by His office of Mediator, in us by the work of His sanctification, by us by His personal, gracious presence.”—Cramer.

9. On Isaiah 8:14-15. Christ alone is set by God to be a stone by which we are raised up. That He Isaiah, however, an occasion of offence to many is because of their purpose, petulance and contempt ( 1 Peter 2:8). Therefore we ought to fear lest we take offence at Him. For whoever falls on this stone will shatter to pieces ( Matthew 21:44).” Cramer.

10. On Isaiah 8:16 sqq. He warns His disciples against heathenish superstition, and exhorts them to show respect themselves always to law and testimony. “They must not think that God must answer them by visions and signs, therefore He refers them to the written word, that they may not become altogether too spiritual, like those now-a-days who cry: spirit! spirit! … Christ says, Luke 16 : They have Moses and the prophets, and again John 5:39 : Search the Scriptures. So Paul says, 2 Timothy 3:16 : The Scripture is profitable for doctrine. So says Peter, 2 Peter 1:9 : We have a sure word of prophecy. It is the word that changes hearts and moves them. But revelations puff people up and make them insolent.” Heim and Hoffmann after Luther.

Chap9–11. On Isaiah 9:1 sqq. (2). “Postrema pars, etc. The latter part of chap8 was νομικὴ καὶ ἀπειλητική (legal and threatening) Song of Solomon, on the other hand, the first and best part of chap9 is εὐαγγελικὴ καὶ παραμυθητική, (evangelical and comforting). Thus must ever law and gospel, preaching wrath and grace, words of reproof and words of comfort, a voice of alarm and a voice of peace follow one another in the church.” Foerster.

12. On Isaiah 9:1 (2). Both in the Old Testament and New Testament Christ is often called light. Thus Isaiah calls Him “a light to the gentiles,” Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:6. The same Prophet says: “Arise, shine (make thyself light), for thy light is come,” Isaiah 60:1. And again Isaiah 9:19 : “The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light.” In the New Testament it is principally John that makes use of this expression: “The life was the light of men,” John 1:4, “and the light shined in the darkness,” John 9:5. John was not that light, but bore testimony to the light, John 9:8. “That was the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” John 9:9. And further: “And this is the condemnation that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light,” John 3:19. “I am the light of the world,” ( John 8:12; John 9:5; comp. John 12:35).

13. On Isaiah 9:1 (2). The people that sit in darkness may be understood to comprise three grades. First, the inhabitants of Zebulon and Naphtali are called so ( Isaiah 8:23), for the Prophet’s gaze is fixed first on that region lying in the extreme end of Palestine, which was neighbor to the heathen and mixed with them, and on this account was held in low esteem by the dwellers in Judah. The night that spreads over Israel in general is darkest there. But all Israel partakes of this night, therefore all Israel, too, may be understood, as among the people sitting in darkness. Finally, no one can deny that this night extends over the borders of Israel to the whole human race. For far as men dwell extends the night which Christ, as light of the world, came to dispel, Luke 1:76 sqq.

14. On Isaiah 9:5 (6). Many lay stress on the notion “child,” inasmuch as they see in that the reason for the reign of peace spoken of afterwards. It is not said a Prayer of Manasseh, a king, a giant is given to us. But this is erroneous. For the child does not remain a child. He becomes a man: and the six names that are ascribed to Him and also the things predicted of His kingdom apply to Him, not as a child, but as a man. That His birth as a child is made prominent, has its reason in this, that thereby His relation to human kind should be designated as an organic one. He does not enter into humanity as a Prayer of Manasseh, i.e. as one whose origin was outside of it, but He was born from it, and especially from the race of David. He is Son of man and Son of David. He is a natural offshoot, but also the crowning bloom of both. Precisely because He was to be conceived, carried and born of a human mother, and indeed of a virgin, this prophecy belongs here as the completion and definition of the two prophetic pictures Isaiah 7:10 sqq.; Isaiah 8:1 sqq.—“He came down from heaven for the sake of us men, and for our bliss ( 1 Timothy 1:15; Luke 2:7). For our advantage: for He undertook not for the seed of angels, but for the seed of Abraham ( Hebrews 2:16). Not sold to us by God out of great love, but given ( Romans 5:15; John 3:16). Therefore every one ought to make an application of the word ‘to us’ to himself, and to learn to say: this child was given to me, conceived for me, born to me.”—Cramer.—“Cur oportuit, etc. Why did it become the Redeemer of human kind to be not merely man nor merely God, but God and man conjoined or θεάνθρωπον? Anselm replies briefly, indeed, but pithily: Deum qui posset, hominem, qui deberet.” Foerster.

15. On Isaiah 9:5 (6). “You must not suppose here that He is to be named and called according to His person, as one usually calls another by his name; but these are names that one must preach, praise and celebrate on account of His Acts, works and office.” Luther.

16. On Isaiah 9:6. “Verba pauca, etc. A few words, but to be esteemed great, not for their number but for their weight.” Augustine.Admirabilis in, etc. Wonderful in birth, counsellor in what He preaches, God in working, strong in suffering, father of the world to come in resurrection, Prince of peace in bliss perpetual.” Bernard of Clairvaux. In reference to “a child is born,” and “a son is given,” Joh. Cocceius remarks in his Heb. Lex. s. v. יֶלֶד: “respectu, etc., in respect to His human nature He is said to be born, and in respect to His divine nature and eternal generation not indeed born, but given, as, John 3:16, it reads God gave His only begotten Son.”

“In the application of this language all depends on the words is born to us, is given to us.” The angels are, in this matter, far from being as blessed as we are. They do not say: To us a Saviour is born this day, but; to you. As long as we do not regard Christ as ours, so long we shall have little joy in Him. But when we know Him as our Wisdom of Solomon, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, as a gift that our heavenly Father designed for us, we will appropriate Him to ourselves in humble faith, and take possession of all His redeeming effects that He has acquired. For giving and taking go together. The Son is given to us; we must in faith receive Him.” J. J. Rambach, Betracht. über das Ev. Esaj, Halle, 1724.

On Isaiah 9:6 (7). “The government is on His shoulders.” “It is further shown how Christ differs in this respect from worldly kings. They remove from themselves the burden of government and lay it on the shoulders of the privy counsellors. But He does not lay His dominion as a burden on any other; He needs no prime minister and vicegerent to help Him bear the burden of administration, but He bears all by the word of His power as He to whom all things are given of the Father. Therefore He says to the house of Jacob ( Isaiah 46:3 sq.): Hearken unto me ye who were laid on my shoulders from your mothers’ womb. I will carry you to old age. I will do it, I will lift, and carry and deliver,—on the contrary the heathen must bear and lift up their idols, ( Isaiah 46:1; Isaiah 46:7).”—Rambach. “In the first place we must keep in mind His first name: He is called Wonderful. This name affects all the following.” “All is wonderful that belongs to this king: wonderfully does He counsel and comfort; wonderfully He helps to acquire and conquer, and all this in suffering and want of strength. (Luther, Jen. germ. Tom. III. Fol. 184 b.). ” “He uses weakness as a means of subduing all things to Himself. A wretched reed, a crown of thorns and an infamous cross, are the weapons of this almighty God, by means of which He achieves such great things. In the second place, He was a hero and conqueror in that just by death, He robbed him of his might who had the power of death, i.e., the devil ( Hebrews 2:14); in that Hebrews, like Samson, buried His enemies with Himself, yea, became poison to death itself, and a plague to hell ( Hosea 13:14) and more gloriously resumed His life so freely laid down, which none of the greatest heroes can emulate.”—Rambach.

17. On Isaiah 9:18 (19) sqq. True friendship can never exist among the wicked. For every one loves only himself. Therefore they are enemies one of another; and they are in any case friends to each other, only as long as it concerns making war on a third party.

Isaiah 10-18. On Isaiah 10:4. (Comp. the same expression in chap10). God’s quiver is well filled. If one arrow does not attain His object, He takes another, and so on, until the rights of God, and justice have conquered.

19. On Isaiah 10:5-7. “God works through men in a threefold way. First, we all live, move and have our being in Him, in that all activity is an outflow of His power. Then, He uses the services of the wicked so that they mutually destroy each other, or He chastises His people by their hand. Of this sort the Prophet speaks here. In the third place, by governing His people by the Spirit of sanctification: and this takes place only in the elect.”—Heim and Hoffmann.

20. On Isaiah 10:5 sqq. “Ad hunc, etc. Such places are to be turned to uses of comfort. Although the objects of temptation vary and enemies differ, yet the effects are the same, and the same spirit works in the pious. We are therefore to learn not to regard the power of the enemy nor our own weakness, but to look steadily and simply into the word, that will assuredly establish our minds that they despair not, but expect help of God. For God will not subdue our enemies, either spiritual or corporal, by might and power, but by weakness, as says the text: my strength is made perfect in weakness.” ( 2 Corinthians 12:9).—Luther.

21. On Isaiah 10:15. “Efficacia agendi penes Deum Esther, homines ministerium tantum praebent. Quare nunc sibilo suo se illos evocaturum minabatur (cap. Isaiah 5:26; Isaiah 7:18); nunc instar sagenae sibi fore ad irretiendos, nunc mallei instar ad feriendos Israelitas. Sed praecipue tum declaravit, quod non sit otiosus in illis, dum Sennacherib securim vocat, quae ad secandum manu sua et destinata fuit et impacta. Non male alicubi Augustinus ita definit, quod ipsi peccant, eorum esse; quod peccando hoc vel illud agant, ex virtute Dei esse, tenebras prout visum est dividentis (De praedest Sanctt.).”—Calvin Inst. II:4, 4.

22. On Isaiah 10:20-27. “In time of need one ought to look back to the earlier great deliverances of the children of God, as to the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, or later, from the hand of the Midianites. Israel shall again grow out of the yoke.”—Diedrich.

Isaiah 11-23. On Isaiah 11:4. “The staff of His mouth.” “Evidence that the kingdom of Christ will not be like an earthly kingdom, but consist in the power of the word and of the sacraments; not in leathern, golden or silver girdles, but in girdles of righteousness and faith.”—Cramer.

24. On Isaiah 11:10 sqq. If the Prophet honors the heathen in saying that they will come to Christ before Israel, he may be the more readily believed, when Isaiah 11:11 sqq, he gives the assurance that the return out of the first, the Egyptian exile, shall be succeeded by a return out of the second, the Assyrian exile, (taking this word in the wider sense of Isaiah). It is manifest that the return that took place under Zerubbabel and Ezra was only an imperfect beginning of that promised return. For according to our passage this second return can only take place after the Messiah has appeared. Farthermore, all Israelites that belong to “the remnant of Israel,” in whatever land they may dwell, shall take part in it. It will be, therefore, a universal, not a partial return. If now the Prophet paints this return too with the colors of the present ( Isaiah 11:13 sqq.), still that is no reason for questioning the reality of the matter. Israel will certainly not disappear, but arise to view in the church of the new covenant. But if the nation is to be known among the nations as a whole, though no more as a hostile contrast, but in fraternal harmony, why then shall not the land, too, assume a like position among the lands? But the nation can neither assume its place among nations, nor the land its place among lands, if they are not both united: the people Israel in the land of their fathers.

25. On Isaiah 11 “We may here recall briefly the older, Song of Solomon -called spiritual interpretation. Isaiah 11:1-5 were understood of Christ’s prophetic office that He exercised in the days of His flesh, then of the overthrow of the Roman Empire and of Antichrist, who was taken to be the Pope. But the most thorough-going of those old expositors must acknowledge, at Isaiah 11:4, that the Antichrist is not yet enough overthrown, and must be yet more overthrown. If such is the state of the case, then this interpretation is certainly false, for Isaiah 11:4 describes not a gradual judgment, but one accomplished at once. There have been many Antichrists, and among the Popes too, but the genuine Antichrist described 2 Thessalonians2, is yet to be expected, and also the fulfillment of Isaiah 11:4 of our chapter. Thereby is proved at the same time that the peaceful state of things in the brute world and the return of the Jews to their native land are still things of the future, for they must happen in that period when the Antichristian world, and its head shall be judged by Christ. But then, too, the dwelling together of tame and wild beasts is not the entrance of the heathen into the church, to which they were heretofore hostile, and the return of the Jews is not the conversion of a small part of Israel that took place at Pentecost and after. The miracles and signs too, contained in Isaiah 11:15-16 did not take place then. We see just here how one must do violence to the word if he will not take it as it stands. But if we take it as we have done, then the whole chapter belongs to the doctrine of hope (Hoffnungslehre) of the Scripture, and constitutes an important member of it. The Lord procures right and room for His church. He overthrows the world-kingdom, together with Antichrist. He makes of the remnant of Israel a congregation of believers filled with the Spirit, to whom He is near in an unusual way, and from it causes His knowledge to go out into all the world. He creates peace in the restless creatures, and shows us here in advance what more glorious things we may look for in the new earth. He presents to the world a church which, united in itself, unmolested by neighbors, stands under God’s mighty protection. All these facts are parts of a chain of hope that must be valuable and dear to our hearts. The light of this future illumines the obscurity of the present; the comfort of that day makes the heart fresh.” Weber, der Prophet Jesaja, 1875.

Chap12–26. On Isaiah 12:4 sq. “These will not be the works of the New Testament: sacrificing and slaying, and make pilgrimage to Jerusalem and to the Holy Sepulchre, but praising God and giving thanks, preaching and hearing, believing with the heart and confessing with the mouth. For to praise our God is good; such praise is pleasant and lovely” ( Psalm 147:1). Cramer.

27. On Chap12 “With these words conclude the prophetic discourses on Immanuel. Through what obscurity of history have we not had to go, until we came to the bright light of the kingdom of Christ! How Israel and the nations had to pass through the fire of judgment before the sun arises in Israel and the entire gentile world is illumined! It is the, same way that every Christian has to travel. In and through the fire we become blessed. Much must be burnt up in us, before we press to the full knowledge of God and of His Song of Solomon, before we become entirely one with Him, entirely glad and joyful in Him. Israel was brought up and is still brought up for glory, and we too. O that our end too were such a psalm of praise as this psalm!” Weber, Der Pr. Jes. 1875.

Footnotes:

FN#19 - Heb. from the soul, and even to the flesh.

FN#20 - a weakly person pines away.

FN#21 - Heb. number.


Verses 20-24

II. ISRAEL’S REDEMPTION IN GENERAL

Isaiah 10:20-24

1. THE BELIEVING REMNANT OF ISRAEL RETURNS OUT OF SHATTERED WORLD-POWER

Isaiah 10:20-23

20 And it shall come to pass in that day,

That the remnant of Israel,

And such as are escaped of the house of Jacob,

Shall no more again stay upon him that smote them;

But shall stay upon the Lord,

The Holy One of Israel in truth.

21 The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob,

Unto the mighty God.

22 For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea,

Yet a remnant [FN22]of them shall return:

[FN23]The consumption decreed shall overflow [FN24]with righteousness.

23 For the Lord God of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined,

In the midst of all the land.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

On [Like the Engl. “one in ten”].—כּליון וגו׳. These words are difficult. כֵּלָּיוֹן is found again only Deuteronomy 28:65, in the expression כִלְיוֹן עֵינַיִם, which, after כָּלוּ עֵינַי ( Psalm 69:4; Psalm 119:82; Psalm 119:123; Lamentations 2:11) must be rendered oculorum consumtio, “consumption, failure of the power of vision.” So we must take it here in the sense of “wearing off, consuming, desolating.”—חָרוּץ is part. pass, from חָרַץ, incidere, decidere, definere, decernere (comp. 1 Kings 20:40). In Isa. it is found again only as a qualifying adjective to the threshing roller ( Isaiah 41:15) or as name for the roller itself, ( Isaiah 28:27). It is so named because an implement furnished with sharp corners and edges. כליון חרוץ can only mean, therefore: “destruction is limited, determined, concluded.”—In שׁטף is easily discerned an antithesis to חרוץ: for as in the latter there is the notion of something sharply marked off, so in the former there is the notion of flooding over ( Isaiah 8:8; Isaiah 28:2; Isaiah 28:15; Isaiah 28:17-18; Isaiah 30:28; Isaiah 43:2; Isaiah 46:12). We thus obtain the figure of something determined, sharply defined, but which in a certain sense extends itself, and withal, too, overflowing with a certain effect, as it were, settling it (שׁטף with the accusat. of abundance). That which is fixed, determined, is called כליון, what is widespread is said to be צדקה. According to the foregoing כליון can only designate the fate of those Israelites that do not belong to “the remnant.”—But what is צדקה? Many suppose it signifies the righteous state of the whole community, which they have attained to by reason of the judgments (Drechsler according to Isaiah 48:18; Amos 5:24). But the following verse seems to me to conflict with this, which seems to be wholly an explanation of the words כָּלָה .כליון ח׳ שׁ׳ צ׳ evidently corresponds to נחרצה,כליון to חרוץ. Therefore כִּי is expletive. The obscure expression Isaiah 10:22 b, which is probably a citation, for it contrasts strangely with its surroundings, is used in a form suited to common understanding. Thus the word כָּלָה (in Isa. only again Isaiah 28:22, where the whole style of address recurs; frequent beside in the combination עָשָׂה כָלָה, especially in Jeremiah 4:27; Jeremiah 5:10; Jeremiah 5:18, etc.)—“utter ruin” stands for כליון; נחרצה for חרוץ, the fem. ending being used out of regard for the word-pair. This latter word, too, is found only Isaiah 28:22, and also in Daniel 9:27; Daniel 11:36, where the words are repeated out of Isaiah.—But we must take כלח ונח׳ as object of עשֶֹׁה; for עשה בקרב כּל־ארץ is explanation of שׁטף ו׳. Precisely thereby we see that שׁטף states nothing more than that wide over all the earth shall be known and manifest what כליּון חרוץ, Isaiah, viz., a proof of the righteousness of God. Were צדקה to mean the conformity of human condition to God’s righteousness, then this thought could not be rendered by the simple עשׂה בכל הא׳.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

And it shall come to pass——all the land.

Isaiah 10:20-23. The Prophet turns again to his own nation. Assyria’s fall is Israel’s salvation. “In that day,” i.e., when the destruction of Assyria shall have taken place ( Isaiah 10:16-19), Israel will indeed still exist, but only as a remnant (שְׁאָר7:3; Isaiah 11:11; Isaiah 11:16; Isaiah 28:5), and as those escaped (פְּלֵטָה comp. on Isaiah 4:2). But this remnant will at last have learned what ministers to their peace. It will no more lean on Assyria as Ahaz has done. It is plainly seen from this, that the present passage was composed at a period when the Assyrian alliance ( 2 Kings 16:7 sqq.), was already an historical fact. By the single word מַכֵּהוּ, which points back to Isaiah 10:5, the Prophet indicates how foolish and ruinous that alliance was. Israel’s remnant will rather lean on Jehovah, the holy God (comp. on Isaiah 1:4), who is Israel’s מִקְדָּשׁ, rock and refuge ( Isaiah 8:4). What is meant by באמת “in truth” may be best seen from Jeremiah 4:1-4, who speaks of sincere, and entire return to Jehovah, of swearing in His name, “in truth, judgment and righteousness,” of reformation that “breaks up the fallow ground and does not sow among thorns,” of circumcision of the heart, and not of the flesh. So here, leaning on the Lord “in truth,” is such wherein the heart is no longer divided between Jehovah and the creature, but belongs to Him wholly and alone. The expression is found again in Isaiah 16:5; Isaiah 38:3; Isaiah 48:1; Isaiah 61:8; comp. Jeremiah 32:40 sq.

That it may not be thought that he has used the expression “remnant of Israel” with no special significance, the Prophet repeats it in Isaiah 10:21, with great emphasis, at the same time defining it more exactly. No false support is offered in these words, which would ill-agree with the promise that Israel shall lean on the Lord “in truth.” True, the Israel “according to the flesh” fancied that where Abraham’s seed was, there salvation and life were guaranteed. But to them apply the words of John Baptist: “Begin not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father; for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree, therefore, which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down and cast into the fire.” Luke 3:8-9. From this we see that not all that remain after the great judgments belong to “the remnant,” but only those that bear genuine fruits of repentance. Paul confirms this Romans 11:4 sq, when, to the question “hath God cast away his people?” he replies by referring to the seven thousand that did not bow the knee to Baal ( 1 Kings 19:18), and then continues: “even so then at this present time also, there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” We may say, therefore; Isaiah’s remnant is the “election” (ἐκλογή) of Paul. “The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” Romans 11:7. This is confirmed, too, by the way that Isaiah defines the aim of the return. Jer. says Isaiah 4:1 : “If thou wilt return, O Israel, return to me.” A false returning, therefore, is possible (vid. my com. on Jeremiah 4:1 sqq.). Precisely on this account Isaiah says in our passage the remnant will return to אל גבור, “God Almighty.” It is not the fleshly descent from Abraham that is the criterion of belonging to “the remnant,” but the return to God Almighty. It is plain that Jehovah the God of Israel is meant. But that Isaiah should call Him here just by this name, arises from this, that the Prophet has in mind his words in Isaiah 9:5. The return to El-gibbor-Jehovah will, in its time, be possible only in the form of the return to El-gibbor-Messiah. Therefore Isaiah does not promise an unconditional, universal return of all that may be called Israelite, and that descends from Abraham, but he makes a most displeasing and threatening restriction. And if in the time to which he points, the time when the world-power will be judged, Israel were numerous as the sand by the sea—a condition which is even a fulfilment of promise and a theocratic state of blessedness (comp, on Isaiah 9:2; Genesis 22:17)—Jehovah still can bring Himself not to make all these Israelites according to the flesh partakers of the promised blessing. This is the thought that Paul carries out in Romans 9, and in this sense he cites our passage in Isaiah 10:27-28. “They are not all Israel, which are of Israel,” he says Isaiah 10:6. “Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but in Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is: They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted for the seed,” Isaiah 10:7-8. Therefore the Lord prepares an election of which the criterion is birth from God, regeneration, faith. As proof the Apostle cites, as already said, our passage among other Old Testament statements.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On Isaiah 7:1. “Hierosolyma oppugnatur, etc. Jerusalem is assaulted but not conquered. The church is pressed but not oppressed.”—Foerster.

2. On Isaiah 7:2. “Quando ecclesia, etc. When the Church is assaulted and Christ crucified over again in His elect, Rezin and Pekah, Herod and Pilate are wont to form alliance and enter into friendly relations. There are, so to speak, the foxes of Samson, joined indeed by the tails, but their heads are disconnected.”—Foerster.—“He that believes flees not ( Isaiah 28:16). ‘The righteous is bold as a lion’ ( Proverbs 28:1). Hypocrites and those that trust in works (work-saints) have neither reason nor faith. Therefore they cannot by any means quiet their heart. In prosperity they are, indeed, overweening, but in adversity they fall away ( Jeremiah 17:9).” Cramer.

3. On Isaiah 7:9. (“If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.”) “Insignis sententia, etc. A striking sentiment that may be adapted generally to all temptation, because all earnest endeavor after anything, as you know, beguiles us in temptation. But only faith in the word of promise makes us abide and makes sure whatever we would execute. He warns Ahaz, therefore, as if he said: I now promise you by the word, it shall be that those two kings shall not hurt you. Believe this word! For if you do not, whatever you afterwards devise will deceive you: because all confidence is vain which is not supported by the word of God.”—Luther.

4. On Isaiah 7:10-12. “Wicked Ahaz pretends to great sanctity in abstaining from asking a sign through fear of God. Thus hypocrites are most conscientious where there is no need for it: on the other hand, when they ought to be humble, they are the most insolent. But where God commands to be bold, one must be bold. For to be obedient to the word is not tempting God. That is rather tempting God when one proposes something without having the word for it. It Isaiah, indeed, the greatest virtue to rest only in the word, and desire nothing more. But where God would add something more than the word, then it must not be thought a virtue to reject it as superfluous. We must therefore exercise such a faith in the word of God that we will not despise the helps that are given in addition to it as aids to faith. For example the Lord offers us in the gospel all that is necessary to salvation. Why then Baptism and the Lord’s Supper? Are they to be treated as superfluous? By no means. For if one believes the word he will at the same time exhibit an entire obedience toward God. We ought therefore to learn to join the sign with the word, for no man has the power to sever the two.

But do you ask: is it permitted to ask God for a sign? We have an example of this in Gideon. Answer: Although Gideon was not told of God to ask a sign, yet he did it by the impulse of the Holy Spirit, and not according to his own fancy. We must not therefore abuse his example, and must be content with the sign that is offered by the Lord. But there are extraordinary signs or miracles, like that of the text, and ordinary ones like Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Yet both have the same object and use. For as Gideon was strengthened by that miraculous event, Song of Solomon, too, are we strengthened by Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, although no miracle appears before our eyes.” Heim and Hoffmann after Luther. Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, also asked the Lord to show him the right wife for Isaac by means of a sign of His own choosing, ( Genesis 24:14).

It ought to be said that this asking a sign (opening the Bible at a venture, or any other book) does not suit Christian perfection ( Hebrews 6:1). A Christian ought to be inwardly sensible of the divine will. He ought to content himself with the guarantees that God Himself offers. Only one must have open eyes and ears for them. This thing of demanding a sign, if it is not directly an effect of superstition ( Matthew 12:39; Matthew 16:4; 1 Corinthians 1:22), is certainly childish, and, because it easily leads to superstitious abuses, it is dangerous.

5. On Isaiah 7:13. “Non caret, etc. That the Prophet calls God his God is not without a peculiar emphasis. In Zechariah 2:12 it is said, that whoever touches the servants of God touches the pupil of God’s eye. Whoever opposes teacher and preacher will have to deal with God in heaven or with the Lord who has put them into office.”—Foerster.

6. On Isaiah 7:14. “The name Immanuel is one of the most beautiful and richest in contents of all the Holy Scripture. ‘God with us’ comprises God’s entire plan of salvation with sinful humanity. In a narrower sense it means ‘God-man’ ( Matthew 1:23), and points to the personal union of divinity and humanity, in the double nature of the Son of God become man. Jesus Christ was a God-with-us, however, in this, that for about 33 years He dwelt among us sinners ( John 1:11; John 1:14). In a deeper and wider sense still He was such by the Immanuel’s work of the atonement ( 2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 Timothy 2:3). He will also be such to every one that believes on Him by the work of regeneration and sanctification and the daily renewal of His holy and divine communion of the Spirit ( John 17:23; John 17:26; John 14:19-21; John 14:23). He is such now by His high-priestly and royal administration and government for His whole Church ( Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 7:25). He will be snch in the present time of the Church in a still more glorious fashion ( John 10:16). The entire and complete meaning of the name Immanuel, however, will only come to light in the new earth, and in the heavenly Jerusalem ( Revelation 21:3; Revelation 21:23; Revelation 22:5).”—Wilh. Fried. Roos.

Isaiah 8:7. On Isaiah 8:5 sqq. “Like boastful swimmers despise small and quiet waters, and on the other hand, for the better display of their skill, boast of the great sea and master it, but often are lost in it,—thus, too, did the hypocrites that despised the small kingdom of Judah, and bragged much and great things of the power and splendor of the kingdom of Israel and of the Syrians; such hypocrites are still to be found now-a-days—such that bear in their eye the admiranda Romae, the splendor, riches, power, ceremonies and pomp of the Romish church, and thereupon ‘set their bushel by the bigger-heap.’ It is but the devil’s temptation over again: ‘I will give all this to thee.’ ”—Cramer.—“Fons Siloa,” etc. “The fountain of Siloam, near the temple, daily reminded the Jews that Christ was coming.”—Calvin on John 9:7.

8. On Isaiah 8:10. “When the great Superlatives sit in their council chambers and have determined everything, how it ought to be, and especially how they will extinguish the gospel, then God sends the angel Gabriel to them, who must look through the window and say: nothing will come of it.”—Luther.—“Christ, who is our Immanuel, is with us by His becoming Prayer of Manasseh, for us by His office of Mediator, in us by the work of His sanctification, by us by His personal, gracious presence.”—Cramer.

9. On Isaiah 8:14-15. Christ alone is set by God to be a stone by which we are raised up. That He Isaiah, however, an occasion of offence to many is because of their purpose, petulance and contempt ( 1 Peter 2:8). Therefore we ought to fear lest we take offence at Him. For whoever falls on this stone will shatter to pieces ( Matthew 21:44).” Cramer.

10. On Isaiah 8:16 sqq. He warns His disciples against heathenish superstition, and exhorts them to show respect themselves always to law and testimony. “They must not think that God must answer them by visions and signs, therefore He refers them to the written word, that they may not become altogether too spiritual, like those now-a-days who cry: spirit! spirit! … Christ says, Luke 16 : They have Moses and the prophets, and again John 5:39 : Search the Scriptures. So Paul says, 2 Timothy 3:16 : The Scripture is profitable for doctrine. So says Peter, 2 Peter 1:9 : We have a sure word of prophecy. It is the word that changes hearts and moves them. But revelations puff people up and make them insolent.” Heim and Hoffmann after Luther.

Chap9–11. On Isaiah 9:1 sqq. (2). “Postrema pars, etc. The latter part of chap8 was νομικὴ καὶ ἀπειλητική (legal and threatening) Song of Solomon, on the other hand, the first and best part of chap9 is εὐαγγελικὴ καὶ παραμυθητική, (evangelical and comforting). Thus must ever law and gospel, preaching wrath and grace, words of reproof and words of comfort, a voice of alarm and a voice of peace follow one another in the church.” Foerster.

12. On Isaiah 9:1 (2). Both in the Old Testament and New Testament Christ is often called light. Thus Isaiah calls Him “a light to the gentiles,” Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:6. The same Prophet says: “Arise, shine (make thyself light), for thy light is come,” Isaiah 60:1. And again Isaiah 9:19 : “The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light.” In the New Testament it is principally John that makes use of this expression: “The life was the light of men,” John 1:4, “and the light shined in the darkness,” John 9:5. John was not that light, but bore testimony to the light, John 9:8. “That was the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” John 9:9. And further: “And this is the condemnation that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light,” John 3:19. “I am the light of the world,” ( John 8:12; John 9:5; comp. John 12:35).

13. On Isaiah 9:1 (2). The people that sit in darkness may be understood to comprise three grades. First, the inhabitants of Zebulon and Naphtali are called so ( Isaiah 8:23), for the Prophet’s gaze is fixed first on that region lying in the extreme end of Palestine, which was neighbor to the heathen and mixed with them, and on this account was held in low esteem by the dwellers in Judah. The night that spreads over Israel in general is darkest there. But all Israel partakes of this night, therefore all Israel, too, may be understood, as among the people sitting in darkness. Finally, no one can deny that this night extends over the borders of Israel to the whole human race. For far as men dwell extends the night which Christ, as light of the world, came to dispel, Luke 1:76 sqq.

14. On Isaiah 9:5 (6). Many lay stress on the notion “child,” inasmuch as they see in that the reason for the reign of peace spoken of afterwards. It is not said a Prayer of Manasseh, a king, a giant is given to us. But this is erroneous. For the child does not remain a child. He becomes a man: and the six names that are ascribed to Him and also the things predicted of His kingdom apply to Him, not as a child, but as a man. That His birth as a child is made prominent, has its reason in this, that thereby His relation to human kind should be designated as an organic one. He does not enter into humanity as a Prayer of Manasseh, i.e. as one whose origin was outside of it, but He was born from it, and especially from the race of David. He is Son of man and Son of David. He is a natural offshoot, but also the crowning bloom of both. Precisely because He was to be conceived, carried and born of a human mother, and indeed of a virgin, this prophecy belongs here as the completion and definition of the two prophetic pictures Isaiah 7:10 sqq.; Isaiah 8:1 sqq.—“He came down from heaven for the sake of us men, and for our bliss ( 1 Timothy 1:15; Luke 2:7). For our advantage: for He undertook not for the seed of angels, but for the seed of Abraham ( Hebrews 2:16). Not sold to us by God out of great love, but given ( Romans 5:15; John 3:16). Therefore every one ought to make an application of the word ‘to us’ to himself, and to learn to say: this child was given to me, conceived for me, born to me.”—Cramer.—“Cur oportuit, etc. Why did it become the Redeemer of human kind to be not merely man nor merely God, but God and man conjoined or θεάνθρωπον? Anselm replies briefly, indeed, but pithily: Deum qui posset, hominem, qui deberet.” Foerster.

15. On Isaiah 9:5 (6). “You must not suppose here that He is to be named and called according to His person, as one usually calls another by his name; but these are names that one must preach, praise and celebrate on account of His Acts, works and office.” Luther.

16. On Isaiah 9:6. “Verba pauca, etc. A few words, but to be esteemed great, not for their number but for their weight.” Augustine.Admirabilis in, etc. Wonderful in birth, counsellor in what He preaches, God in working, strong in suffering, father of the world to come in resurrection, Prince of peace in bliss perpetual.” Bernard of Clairvaux. In reference to “a child is born,” and “a son is given,” Joh. Cocceius remarks in his Heb. Lex. s. v. יֶלֶד: “respectu, etc., in respect to His human nature He is said to be born, and in respect to His divine nature and eternal generation not indeed born, but given, as, John 3:16, it reads God gave His only begotten Son.”

“In the application of this language all depends on the words is born to us, is given to us.” The angels are, in this matter, far from being as blessed as we are. They do not say: To us a Saviour is born this day, but; to you. As long as we do not regard Christ as ours, so long we shall have little joy in Him. But when we know Him as our Wisdom of Solomon, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, as a gift that our heavenly Father designed for us, we will appropriate Him to ourselves in humble faith, and take possession of all His redeeming effects that He has acquired. For giving and taking go together. The Son is given to us; we must in faith receive Him.” J. J. Rambach, Betracht. über das Ev. Esaj, Halle, 1724.

On Isaiah 9:6 (7). “The government is on His shoulders.” “It is further shown how Christ differs in this respect from worldly kings. They remove from themselves the burden of government and lay it on the shoulders of the privy counsellors. But He does not lay His dominion as a burden on any other; He needs no prime minister and vicegerent to help Him bear the burden of administration, but He bears all by the word of His power as He to whom all things are given of the Father. Therefore He says to the house of Jacob ( Isaiah 46:3 sq.): Hearken unto me ye who were laid on my shoulders from your mothers’ womb. I will carry you to old age. I will do it, I will lift, and carry and deliver,—on the contrary the heathen must bear and lift up their idols, ( Isaiah 46:1; Isaiah 46:7).”—Rambach. “In the first place we must keep in mind His first name: He is called Wonderful. This name affects all the following.” “All is wonderful that belongs to this king: wonderfully does He counsel and comfort; wonderfully He helps to acquire and conquer, and all this in suffering and want of strength. (Luther, Jen. germ. Tom. III. Fol. 184 b.). ” “He uses weakness as a means of subduing all things to Himself. A wretched reed, a crown of thorns and an infamous cross, are the weapons of this almighty God, by means of which He achieves such great things. In the second place, He was a hero and conqueror in that just by death, He robbed him of his might who had the power of death, i.e., the devil ( Hebrews 2:14); in that Hebrews, like Samson, buried His enemies with Himself, yea, became poison to death itself, and a plague to hell ( Hosea 13:14) and more gloriously resumed His life so freely laid down, which none of the greatest heroes can emulate.”—Rambach.

17. On Isaiah 9:18 (19) sqq. True friendship can never exist among the wicked. For every one loves only himself. Therefore they are enemies one of another; and they are in any case friends to each other, only as long as it concerns making war on a third party.

Isaiah 10-18. On Isaiah 10:4. (Comp. the same expression in chap10). God’s quiver is well filled. If one arrow does not attain His object, He takes another, and so on, until the rights of God, and justice have conquered.

19. On Isaiah 10:5-7. “God works through men in a threefold way. First, we all live, move and have our being in Him, in that all activity is an outflow of His power. Then, He uses the services of the wicked so that they mutually destroy each other, or He chastises His people by their hand. Of this sort the Prophet speaks here. In the third place, by governing His people by the Spirit of sanctification: and this takes place only in the elect.”—Heim and Hoffmann.

20. On Isaiah 10:5 sqq. “Ad hunc, etc. Such places are to be turned to uses of comfort. Although the objects of temptation vary and enemies differ, yet the effects are the same, and the same spirit works in the pious. We are therefore to learn not to regard the power of the enemy nor our own weakness, but to look steadily and simply into the word, that will assuredly establish our minds that they despair not, but expect help of God. For God will not subdue our enemies, either spiritual or corporal, by might and power, but by weakness, as says the text: my strength is made perfect in weakness.” ( 2 Corinthians 12:9).—Luther.

21. On Isaiah 10:15. “Efficacia agendi penes Deum Esther, homines ministerium tantum praebent. Quare nunc sibilo suo se illos evocaturum minabatur (cap. Isaiah 5:26; Isaiah 7:18); nunc instar sagenae sibi fore ad irretiendos, nunc mallei instar ad feriendos Israelitas. Sed praecipue tum declaravit, quod non sit otiosus in illis, dum Sennacherib securim vocat, quae ad secandum manu sua et destinata fuit et impacta. Non male alicubi Augustinus ita definit, quod ipsi peccant, eorum esse; quod peccando hoc vel illud agant, ex virtute Dei esse, tenebras prout visum est dividentis (De praedest Sanctt.).”—Calvin Inst. II:4, 4.

22. On Isaiah 10:20-27. “In time of need one ought to look back to the earlier great deliverances of the children of God, as to the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, or later, from the hand of the Midianites. Israel shall again grow out of the yoke.”—Diedrich.

Isaiah 11-23. On Isaiah 11:4. “The staff of His mouth.” “Evidence that the kingdom of Christ will not be like an earthly kingdom, but consist in the power of the word and of the sacraments; not in leathern, golden or silver girdles, but in girdles of righteousness and faith.”—Cramer.

24. On Isaiah 11:10 sqq. If the Prophet honors the heathen in saying that they will come to Christ before Israel, he may be the more readily believed, when Isaiah 11:11 sqq, he gives the assurance that the return out of the first, the Egyptian exile, shall be succeeded by a return out of the second, the Assyrian exile, (taking this word in the wider sense of Isaiah). It is manifest that the return that took place under Zerubbabel and Ezra was only an imperfect beginning of that promised return. For according to our passage this second return can only take place after the Messiah has appeared. Farthermore, all Israelites that belong to “the remnant of Israel,” in whatever land they may dwell, shall take part in it. It will be, therefore, a universal, not a partial return. If now the Prophet paints this return too with the colors of the present ( Isaiah 11:13 sqq.), still that is no reason for questioning the reality of the matter. Israel will certainly not disappear, but arise to view in the church of the new covenant. But if the nation is to be known among the nations as a whole, though no more as a hostile contrast, but in fraternal harmony, why then shall not the land, too, assume a like position among the lands? But the nation can neither assume its place among nations, nor the land its place among lands, if they are not both united: the people Israel in the land of their fathers.

25. On Isaiah 11 “We may here recall briefly the older, Song of Solomon -called spiritual interpretation. Isaiah 11:1-5 were understood of Christ’s prophetic office that He exercised in the days of His flesh, then of the overthrow of the Roman Empire and of Antichrist, who was taken to be the Pope. But the most thorough-going of those old expositors must acknowledge, at Isaiah 11:4, that the Antichrist is not yet enough overthrown, and must be yet more overthrown. If such is the state of the case, then this interpretation is certainly false, for Isaiah 11:4 describes not a gradual judgment, but one accomplished at once. There have been many Antichrists, and among the Popes too, but the genuine Antichrist described 2 Thessalonians2, is yet to be expected, and also the fulfillment of Isaiah 11:4 of our chapter. Thereby is proved at the same time that the peaceful state of things in the brute world and the return of the Jews to their native land are still things of the future, for they must happen in that period when the Antichristian world, and its head shall be judged by Christ. But then, too, the dwelling together of tame and wild beasts is not the entrance of the heathen into the church, to which they were heretofore hostile, and the return of the Jews is not the conversion of a small part of Israel that took place at Pentecost and after. The miracles and signs too, contained in Isaiah 11:15-16 did not take place then. We see just here how one must do violence to the word if he will not take it as it stands. But if we take it as we have done, then the whole chapter belongs to the doctrine of hope (Hoffnungslehre) of the Scripture, and constitutes an important member of it. The Lord procures right and room for His church. He overthrows the world-kingdom, together with Antichrist. He makes of the remnant of Israel a congregation of believers filled with the Spirit, to whom He is near in an unusual way, and from it causes His knowledge to go out into all the world. He creates peace in the restless creatures, and shows us here in advance what more glorious things we may look for in the new earth. He presents to the world a church which, united in itself, unmolested by neighbors, stands under God’s mighty protection. All these facts are parts of a chain of hope that must be valuable and dear to our hearts. The light of this future illumines the obscurity of the present; the comfort of that day makes the heart fresh.” Weber, der Prophet Jesaja, 1875.

Chap12–26. On Isaiah 12:4 sq. “These will not be the works of the New Testament: sacrificing and slaying, and make pilgrimage to Jerusalem and to the Holy Sepulchre, but praising God and giving thanks, preaching and hearing, believing with the heart and confessing with the mouth. For to praise our God is good; such praise is pleasant and lovely” ( Psalm 147:1). Cramer.

27. On Chap12 “With these words conclude the prophetic discourses on Immanuel. Through what obscurity of history have we not had to go, until we came to the bright light of the kingdom of Christ! How Israel and the nations had to pass through the fire of judgment before the sun arises in Israel and the entire gentile world is illumined! It is the, same way that every Christian has to travel. In and through the fire we become blessed. Much must be burnt up in us, before we press to the full knowledge of God and of His Song of Solomon, before we become entirely one with Him, entirely glad and joyful in Him. Israel was brought up and is still brought up for glory, and we too. O that our end too were such a psalm of praise as this psalm!” Weber, Der Pr. Jes. 1875.

Footnotes:

FN#22 - Heb. in, or among.

FN#23 - Destruction is determined, extending wide righteousness.

FN#24 - Or, in.


Verses 24-27

2. THE CONDEMNED WORLD—POWER IS NOT TO BE FEARED EVEN IN THE PRESENT

Isaiah 10:24-27

24 Therefore thus saith the [FN25]Lord God of hosts,

O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian:

He shall smite thee with a rod,

[FN26]And shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt.

25 For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease,

And mine anger [FN27]in their destruction.

26 And the Lord of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him

According to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb:

And as his rod was upon the sea,

So shall he lift it up after the manner of Egypt.

27 And it shall come to pass in that day,

That his burden [FN28]shall be taken away from off thy shoulder,

And his yoke from off thy neck,

And the yoke shall be [FN29]destroyed because of the anointing.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

On Isaiah 10:25. מִזְעָר another form for מִצְעָר ( Genesis 19:20; Isaiah 63:18, etc.) = parvitas, paucitas, beside here is found only Isaiah 29:17; Isaiah 16:14; Isaiah 24:6. It is thus a word peculiar to the first part of Isaiah.—The expression כלה זעם occurs only here and Daniel 11:36, which is taken from our passage. Comp. יַעֲבֹר זעם Isaiah 26:20. It is needless to change the reading ואפי וגו׳. Supply הָיָה after ואפי (comp. e.g. Isaiah 9:20) and construe in a pregnant sense = “directs, turns itself.”—עַל is employed then just as Isaiah 10:3.——תַּבְלִית (from בָּלָה tritum, consumtum esse) is ἅπ. λεγ. It means consumtio, i.e., of the Assyrians. Thus the words form a fitting transition to Isaiah 10:26.

On Isaiah 10:26. עוֹרֵר used of “wielding” a scourge only here: it is used 2 Samuel 23:18; 1 Chronicles 11:11; 1 Chronicles 11:20 of brandishing a spear. Notice the paronomasia עוֹרֵר and עוֹרֵב.——שׁוֹט again in Isaiah only Isaiah 28:15, K’ri——ומטהו must be conceived as dependent on עורר.

On Isaiah 10:27. The last clause is obscure. It defines the manner of releasing from the yoke. חֻבַּל Pual occurs only here and Job 17:1. The original meaning of חָבַל is “to twist” (thence הֶבֶל “a rope”) “to bind” ligare, pignore obligare. Piel, cum tormentis eniti, parere, but also “to twist round and round, to turn the bottommost to the topmost” (French bouleverser); Isaiah 13:5; Isaiah 54:16; Micah 2:10; Song of Solomon 2:15; Ecclesiastes 5:5. In Isaiah 32:7 there seems beside to lie in the word the meaning of “ensnaring.” So there seems here, beside the notion of destruction, to be that of a reference to a rope or cord. Delitzsch represents, on the authority of statements of Schegg, that to this day in the Orient the yoke is fastened to the pole by a cord about the neck. Thus the Prophet would evidently say that, because of the fat (מפני causal as it often Isaiah, Isaiah 2:10; Isaiah 7:2, etc.) which grows on the well-fed Israel, the rope breaks, and thus the yoke apparatus falls off. On this account it seems to me probable that הֻבַּל, (though otherwise הֶבֶל comes from הָבַל and not the reverse), is still here to be regarded as a Pual denominativum and privativum coined ad hoc (comp. on סֵעֵף Isaiah 10:33).——The figure in יסור סבלו is drawn from beasts of burden. In Isaiah 9:3, עֹל סֻבֳּלוֹ the two words are combined; but separated here as Isaiah 14:25.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Therefore thus saith—of the anointing (fat).

Isaiah 10:24-27. If all that is true that the Prophet, from Isaiah 10:5 on, has said of Assyria as the momentary instrument of God’s chastening,—and how shall God’s word not be sure?—then Israel need not fear Assyria even in present impending danger. Assyria will, indeed, execute chastisement on Israel, but only a discipline with a staff and rods ( Isaiah 10:5), not with the sword, i.e. only a transitory one, not such as ends in destruction. The Prophet intimates that the captivity by the northern world-power will be, as it were, a continuation of that suffered from the southern. Assyria therefore will tread in the footsteps of Egypt. He will raise the staff over Israel in the way ( Isaiah 10:26, Amos 4:10), i.e. in the manner of Egypt. For as Egypt could not attain his object of extirpating the Israelite by killing the male children that were born and by hard labor, just as little should Assyria succeed. For only a very little, and the wrath would cease. The Prophet, therefore, conceives of the wrath as in progress, but presents its speedy end in prospect.

The Lord will brandish the scourge over Assyria as He smote Midian at the rock of Oreb (comp. Isaiah 9:3). That was one of the most glorious victories of the Israelites; but the glory of it belonged neither to Gideon nor to his army, but to the Lord ( Judges 7:2 sqq, 25). The second clause of Isaiah 10:26 contains a magnificent figure full of art. First from Assyria’s hand is taken the staff that he is to raise over Israel and put into the hand of Jehovah. This appears from the relation of Isaiah 10:26 b. to the last clause of Isaiah 10:24. Then this staff in the hand of Jehovah is transformed to the likeness of the rod with which Moses in Egypt prepared the Red Sea for a way of escape for Israel ( Isaiah 11:16). The sea here is that which spreads out before Israel in the distress occasioned by Assyria. The raising up of the rod here (נשׂאו) corresponds to that raising it over Israel (יִשָּׂא Isaiah 10:24) for which Assyria used it. A twofold raising of the rod took place in Egypt: one over Israel, the other over the sea. Both are repeated now. Neither the rod flourished over Israel for chastisement shall be wanting, nor the rod of God, which, as there, shall open a way through the deep sea of trouble. As is familiarly known, the passage through the Red Sea is often mentioned and turned to account in a variety of ways: comp. Isaiah 43:16; Isaiah 51:2; Isaiah 51:10; Isaiah 63:11; Psalm 66:6; Psalm 74:13; Psalm 77:20; Psalm 77:13; Psalm 114:3, etc.

At the time referred to Israel shall be freed from the yoke of Assyria ( Isaiah 9:3; Isaiah 14:25), which is signified first by the figure of the load of a beast of burden, second by that of the yoke.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On Isaiah 7:1. “Hierosolyma oppugnatur, etc. Jerusalem is assaulted but not conquered. The church is pressed but not oppressed.”—Foerster.

2. On Isaiah 7:2. “Quando ecclesia, etc. When the Church is assaulted and Christ crucified over again in His elect, Rezin and Pekah, Herod and Pilate are wont to form alliance and enter into friendly relations. There are, so to speak, the foxes of Samson, joined indeed by the tails, but their heads are disconnected.”—Foerster.—“He that believes flees not ( Isaiah 28:16). ‘The righteous is bold as a lion’ ( Proverbs 28:1). Hypocrites and those that trust in works (work-saints) have neither reason nor faith. Therefore they cannot by any means quiet their heart. In prosperity they are, indeed, overweening, but in adversity they fall away ( Jeremiah 17:9).” Cramer.

3. On Isaiah 7:9. (“If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.”) “Insignis sententia, etc. A striking sentiment that may be adapted generally to all temptation, because all earnest endeavor after anything, as you know, beguiles us in temptation. But only faith in the word of promise makes us abide and makes sure whatever we would execute. He warns Ahaz, therefore, as if he said: I now promise you by the word, it shall be that those two kings shall not hurt you. Believe this word! For if you do not, whatever you afterwards devise will deceive you: because all confidence is vain which is not supported by the word of God.”—Luther.

4. On Isaiah 7:10-12. “Wicked Ahaz pretends to great sanctity in abstaining from asking a sign through fear of God. Thus hypocrites are most conscientious where there is no need for it: on the other hand, when they ought to be humble, they are the most insolent. But where God commands to be bold, one must be bold. For to be obedient to the word is not tempting God. That is rather tempting God when one proposes something without having the word for it. It Isaiah, indeed, the greatest virtue to rest only in the word, and desire nothing more. But where God would add something more than the word, then it must not be thought a virtue to reject it as superfluous. We must therefore exercise such a faith in the word of God that we will not despise the helps that are given in addition to it as aids to faith. For example the Lord offers us in the gospel all that is necessary to salvation. Why then Baptism and the Lord’s Supper? Are they to be treated as superfluous? By no means. For if one believes the word he will at the same time exhibit an entire obedience toward God. We ought therefore to learn to join the sign with the word, for no man has the power to sever the two.

But do you ask: is it permitted to ask God for a sign? We have an example of this in Gideon. Answer: Although Gideon was not told of God to ask a sign, yet he did it by the impulse of the Holy Spirit, and not according to his own fancy. We must not therefore abuse his example, and must be content with the sign that is offered by the Lord. But there are extraordinary signs or miracles, like that of the text, and ordinary ones like Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Yet both have the same object and use. For as Gideon was strengthened by that miraculous event, Song of Solomon, too, are we strengthened by Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, although no miracle appears before our eyes.” Heim and Hoffmann after Luther. Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, also asked the Lord to show him the right wife for Isaac by means of a sign of His own choosing, ( Genesis 24:14).

It ought to be said that this asking a sign (opening the Bible at a venture, or any other book) does not suit Christian perfection ( Hebrews 6:1). A Christian ought to be inwardly sensible of the divine will. He ought to content himself with the guarantees that God Himself offers. Only one must have open eyes and ears for them. This thing of demanding a sign, if it is not directly an effect of superstition ( Matthew 12:39; Matthew 16:4; 1 Corinthians 1:22), is certainly childish, and, because it easily leads to superstitious abuses, it is dangerous.

5. On Isaiah 7:13. “Non caret, etc. That the Prophet calls God his God is not without a peculiar emphasis. In Zechariah 2:12 it is said, that whoever touches the servants of God touches the pupil of God’s eye. Whoever opposes teacher and preacher will have to deal with God in heaven or with the Lord who has put them into office.”—Foerster.

6. On Isaiah 7:14. “The name Immanuel is one of the most beautiful and richest in contents of all the Holy Scripture. ‘God with us’ comprises God’s entire plan of salvation with sinful humanity. In a narrower sense it means ‘God-man’ ( Matthew 1:23), and points to the personal union of divinity and humanity, in the double nature of the Son of God become man. Jesus Christ was a God-with-us, however, in this, that for about 33 years He dwelt among us sinners ( John 1:11; John 1:14). In a deeper and wider sense still He was such by the Immanuel’s work of the atonement ( 2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 Timothy 2:3). He will also be such to every one that believes on Him by the work of regeneration and sanctification and the daily renewal of His holy and divine communion of the Spirit ( John 17:23; John 17:26; John 14:19-21; John 14:23). He is such now by His high-priestly and royal administration and government for His whole Church ( Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 7:25). He will be snch in the present time of the Church in a still more glorious fashion ( John 10:16). The entire and complete meaning of the name Immanuel, however, will only come to light in the new earth, and in the heavenly Jerusalem ( Revelation 21:3; Revelation 21:23; Revelation 22:5).”—Wilh. Fried. Roos.

Isaiah 8:7. On Isaiah 8:5 sqq. “Like boastful swimmers despise small and quiet waters, and on the other hand, for the better display of their skill, boast of the great sea and master it, but often are lost in it,—thus, too, did the hypocrites that despised the small kingdom of Judah, and bragged much and great things of the power and splendor of the kingdom of Israel and of the Syrians; such hypocrites are still to be found now-a-days—such that bear in their eye the admiranda Romae, the splendor, riches, power, ceremonies and pomp of the Romish church, and thereupon ‘set their bushel by the bigger-heap.’ It is but the devil’s temptation over again: ‘I will give all this to thee.’ ”—Cramer.—“Fons Siloa,” etc. “The fountain of Siloam, near the temple, daily reminded the Jews that Christ was coming.”—Calvin on John 9:7.

8. On Isaiah 8:10. “When the great Superlatives sit in their council chambers and have determined everything, how it ought to be, and especially how they will extinguish the gospel, then God sends the angel Gabriel to them, who must look through the window and say: nothing will come of it.”—Luther.—“Christ, who is our Immanuel, is with us by His becoming Prayer of Manasseh, for us by His office of Mediator, in us by the work of His sanctification, by us by His personal, gracious presence.”—Cramer.

9. On Isaiah 8:14-15. Christ alone is set by God to be a stone by which we are raised up. That He Isaiah, however, an occasion of offence to many is because of their purpose, petulance and contempt ( 1 Peter 2:8). Therefore we ought to fear lest we take offence at Him. For whoever falls on this stone will shatter to pieces ( Matthew 21:44).” Cramer.

10. On Isaiah 8:16 sqq. He warns His disciples against heathenish superstition, and exhorts them to show respect themselves always to law and testimony. “They must not think that God must answer them by visions and signs, therefore He refers them to the written word, that they may not become altogether too spiritual, like those now-a-days who cry: spirit! spirit! … Christ says, Luke 16 : They have Moses and the prophets, and again John 5:39 : Search the Scriptures. So Paul says, 2 Timothy 3:16 : The Scripture is profitable for doctrine. So says Peter, 2 Peter 1:9 : We have a sure word of prophecy. It is the word that changes hearts and moves them. But revelations puff people up and make them insolent.” Heim and Hoffmann after Luther.

Chap9–11. On Isaiah 9:1 sqq. (2). “Postrema pars, etc. The latter part of chap8 was νομικὴ καὶ ἀπειλητική (legal and threatening) Song of Solomon, on the other hand, the first and best part of chap9 is εὐαγγελικὴ καὶ παραμυθητική, (evangelical and comforting). Thus must ever law and gospel, preaching wrath and grace, words of reproof and words of comfort, a voice of alarm and a voice of peace follow one another in the church.” Foerster.

12. On Isaiah 9:1 (2). Both in the Old Testament and New Testament Christ is often called light. Thus Isaiah calls Him “a light to the gentiles,” Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:6. The same Prophet says: “Arise, shine (make thyself light), for thy light is come,” Isaiah 60:1. And again Isaiah 9:19 : “The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light.” In the New Testament it is principally John that makes use of this expression: “The life was the light of men,” John 1:4, “and the light shined in the darkness,” John 9:5. John was not that light, but bore testimony to the light, John 9:8. “That was the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” John 9:9. And further: “And this is the condemnation that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light,” John 3:19. “I am the light of the world,” ( John 8:12; John 9:5; comp. John 12:35).

13. On Isaiah 9:1 (2). The people that sit in darkness may be understood to comprise three grades. First, the inhabitants of Zebulon and Naphtali are called so ( Isaiah 8:23), for the Prophet’s gaze is fixed first on that region lying in the extreme end of Palestine, which was neighbor to the heathen and mixed with them, and on this account was held in low esteem by the dwellers in Judah. The night that spreads over Israel in general is darkest there. But all Israel partakes of this night, therefore all Israel, too, may be understood, as among the people sitting in darkness. Finally, no one can deny that this night extends over the borders of Israel to the whole human race. For far as men dwell extends the night which Christ, as light of the world, came to dispel, Luke 1:76 sqq.

14. On Isaiah 9:5 (6). Many lay stress on the notion “child,” inasmuch as they see in that the reason for the reign of peace spoken of afterwards. It is not said a Prayer of Manasseh, a king, a giant is given to us. But this is erroneous. For the child does not remain a child. He becomes a man: and the six names that are ascribed to Him and also the things predicted of His kingdom apply to Him, not as a child, but as a man. That His birth as a child is made prominent, has its reason in this, that thereby His relation to human kind should be designated as an organic one. He does not enter into humanity as a Prayer of Manasseh, i.e. as one whose origin was outside of it, but He was born from it, and especially from the race of David. He is Son of man and Son of David. He is a natural offshoot, but also the crowning bloom of both. Precisely because He was to be conceived, carried and born of a human mother, and indeed of a virgin, this prophecy belongs here as the completion and definition of the two prophetic pictures Isaiah 7:10 sqq.; Isaiah 8:1 sqq.—“He came down from heaven for the sake of us men, and for our bliss ( 1 Timothy 1:15; Luke 2:7). For our advantage: for He undertook not for the seed of angels, but for the seed of Abraham ( Hebrews 2:16). Not sold to us by God out of great love, but given ( Romans 5:15; John 3:16). Therefore every one ought to make an application of the word ‘to us’ to himself, and to learn to say: this child was given to me, conceived for me, born to me.”—Cramer.—“Cur oportuit, etc. Why did it become the Redeemer of human kind to be not merely man nor merely God, but God and man conjoined or θεάνθρωπον? Anselm replies briefly, indeed, but pithily: Deum qui posset, hominem, qui deberet.” Foerster.

15. On Isaiah 9:5 (6). “You must not suppose here that He is to be named and called according to His person, as one usually calls another by his name; but these are names that one must preach, praise and celebrate on account of His Acts, works and office.” Luther.

16. On Isaiah 9:6. “Verba pauca, etc. A few words, but to be esteemed great, not for their number but for their weight.” Augustine.Admirabilis in, etc. Wonderful in birth, counsellor in what He preaches, God in working, strong in suffering, father of the world to come in resurrection, Prince of peace in bliss perpetual.” Bernard of Clairvaux. In reference to “a child is born,” and “a son is given,” Joh. Cocceius remarks in his Heb. Lex. s. v. יֶלֶד: “respectu, etc., in respect to His human nature He is said to be born, and in respect to His divine nature and eternal generation not indeed born, but given, as, John 3:16, it reads God gave His only begotten Son.”

“In the application of this language all depends on the words is born to us, is given to us.” The angels are, in this matter, far from being as blessed as we are. They do not say: To us a Saviour is born this day, but; to you. As long as we do not regard Christ as ours, so long we shall have little joy in Him. But when we know Him as our Wisdom of Solomon, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, as a gift that our heavenly Father designed for us, we will appropriate Him to ourselves in humble faith, and take possession of all His redeeming effects that He has acquired. For giving and taking go together. The Son is given to us; we must in faith receive Him.” J. J. Rambach, Betracht. über das Ev. Esaj, Halle, 1724.

On Isaiah 9:6 (7). “The government is on His shoulders.” “It is further shown how Christ differs in this respect from worldly kings. They remove from themselves the burden of government and lay it on the shoulders of the privy counsellors. But He does not lay His dominion as a burden on any other; He needs no prime minister and vicegerent to help Him bear the burden of administration, but He bears all by the word of His power as He to whom all things are given of the Father. Therefore He says to the house of Jacob ( Isaiah 46:3 sq.): Hearken unto me ye who were laid on my shoulders from your mothers’ womb. I will carry you to old age. I will do it, I will lift, and carry and deliver,—on the contrary the heathen must bear and lift up their idols, ( Isaiah 46:1; Isaiah 46:7).”—Rambach. “In the first place we must keep in mind His first name: He is called Wonderful. This name affects all the following.” “All is wonderful that belongs to this king: wonderfully does He counsel and comfort; wonderfully He helps to acquire and conquer, and all this in suffering and want of strength. (Luther, Jen. germ. Tom. III. Fol. 184 b.). ” “He uses weakness as a means of subduing all things to Himself. A wretched reed, a crown of thorns and an infamous cross, are the weapons of this almighty God, by means of which He achieves such great things. In the second place, He was a hero and conqueror in that just by death, He robbed him of his might who had the power of death, i.e., the devil ( Hebrews 2:14); in that Hebrews, like Samson, buried His enemies with Himself, yea, became poison to death itself, and a plague to hell ( Hosea 13:14) and more gloriously resumed His life so freely laid down, which none of the greatest heroes can emulate.”—Rambach.

17. On Isaiah 9:18 (19) sqq. True friendship can never exist among the wicked. For every one loves only himself. Therefore they are enemies one of another; and they are in any case friends to each other, only as long as it concerns making war on a third party.

Isaiah 10-18. On Isaiah 10:4. (Comp. the same expression in chap10). God’s quiver is well filled. If one arrow does not attain His object, He takes another, and so on, until the rights of God, and justice have conquered.

19. On Isaiah 10:5-7. “God works through men in a threefold way. First, we all live, move and have our being in Him, in that all activity is an outflow of His power. Then, He uses the services of the wicked so that they mutually destroy each other, or He chastises His people by their hand. Of this sort the Prophet speaks here. In the third place, by governing His people by the Spirit of sanctification: and this takes place only in the elect.”—Heim and Hoffmann.

20. On Isaiah 10:5 sqq. “Ad hunc, etc. Such places are to be turned to uses of comfort. Although the objects of temptation vary and enemies differ, yet the effects are the same, and the same spirit works in the pious. We are therefore to learn not to regard the power of the enemy nor our own weakness, but to look steadily and simply into the word, that will assuredly establish our minds that they despair not, but expect help of God. For God will not subdue our enemies, either spiritual or corporal, by might and power, but by weakness, as says the text: my strength is made perfect in weakness.” ( 2 Corinthians 12:9).—Luther.

21. On Isaiah 10:15. “Efficacia agendi penes Deum Esther, homines ministerium tantum praebent. Quare nunc sibilo suo se illos evocaturum minabatur (cap. Isaiah 5:26; Isaiah 7:18); nunc instar sagenae sibi fore ad irretiendos, nunc mallei instar ad feriendos Israelitas. Sed praecipue tum declaravit, quod non sit otiosus in illis, dum Sennacherib securim vocat, quae ad secandum manu sua et destinata fuit et impacta. Non male alicubi Augustinus ita definit, quod ipsi peccant, eorum esse; quod peccando hoc vel illud agant, ex virtute Dei esse, tenebras prout visum est dividentis (De praedest Sanctt.).”—Calvin Inst. II:4, 4.

22. On Isaiah 10:20-27. “In time of need one ought to look back to the earlier great deliverances of the children of God, as to the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, or later, from the hand of the Midianites. Israel shall again grow out of the yoke.”—Diedrich.

Isaiah 11-23. On Isaiah 11:4. “The staff of His mouth.” “Evidence that the kingdom of Christ will not be like an earthly kingdom, but consist in the power of the word and of the sacraments; not in leathern, golden or silver girdles, but in girdles of righteousness and faith.”—Cramer.

24. On Isaiah 11:10 sqq. If the Prophet honors the heathen in saying that they will come to Christ before Israel, he may be the more readily believed, when Isaiah 11:11 sqq, he gives the assurance that the return out of the first, the Egyptian exile, shall be succeeded by a return out of the second, the Assyrian exile, (taking this word in the wider sense of Isaiah). It is manifest that the return that took place under Zerubbabel and Ezra was only an imperfect beginning of that promised return. For according to our passage this second return can only take place after the Messiah has appeared. Farthermore, all Israelites that belong to “the remnant of Israel,” in whatever land they may dwell, shall take part in it. It will be, therefore, a universal, not a partial return. If now the Prophet paints this return too with the colors of the present ( Isaiah 11:13 sqq.), still that is no reason for questioning the reality of the matter. Israel will certainly not disappear, but arise to view in the church of the new covenant. But if the nation is to be known among the nations as a whole, though no more as a hostile contrast, but in fraternal harmony, why then shall not the land, too, assume a like position among the lands? But the nation can neither assume its place among nations, nor the land its place among lands, if they are not both united: the people Israel in the land of their fathers.

25. On Isaiah 11 “We may here recall briefly the older, Song of Solomon -called spiritual interpretation. Isaiah 11:1-5 were understood of Christ’s prophetic office that He exercised in the days of His flesh, then of the overthrow of the Roman Empire and of Antichrist, who was taken to be the Pope. But the most thorough-going of those old expositors must acknowledge, at Isaiah 11:4, that the Antichrist is not yet enough overthrown, and must be yet more overthrown. If such is the state of the case, then this interpretation is certainly false, for Isaiah 11:4 describes not a gradual judgment, but one accomplished at once. There have been many Antichrists, and among the Popes too, but the genuine Antichrist described 2 Thessalonians2, is yet to be expected, and also the fulfillment of Isaiah 11:4 of our chapter. Thereby is proved at the same time that the peaceful state of things in the brute world and the return of the Jews to their native land are still things of the future, for they must happen in that period when the Antichristian world, and its head shall be judged by Christ. But then, too, the dwelling together of tame and wild beasts is not the entrance of the heathen into the church, to which they were heretofore hostile, and the return of the Jews is not the conversion of a small part of Israel that took place at Pentecost and after. The miracles and signs too, contained in Isaiah 11:15-16 did not take place then. We see just here how one must do violence to the word if he will not take it as it stands. But if we take it as we have done, then the whole chapter belongs to the doctrine of hope (Hoffnungslehre) of the Scripture, and constitutes an important member of it. The Lord procures right and room for His church. He overthrows the world-kingdom, together with Antichrist. He makes of the remnant of Israel a congregation of believers filled with the Spirit, to whom He is near in an unusual way, and from it causes His knowledge to go out into all the world. He creates peace in the restless creatures, and shows us here in advance what more glorious things we may look for in the new earth. He presents to the world a church which, united in itself, unmolested by neighbors, stands under God’s mighty protection. All these facts are parts of a chain of hope that must be valuable and dear to our hearts. The light of this future illumines the obscurity of the present; the comfort of that day makes the heart fresh.” Weber, der Prophet Jesaja, 1875.

Chap12–26. On Isaiah 12:4 sq. “These will not be the works of the New Testament: sacrificing and slaying, and make pilgrimage to Jerusalem and to the Holy Sepulchre, but praising God and giving thanks, preaching and hearing, believing with the heart and confessing with the mouth. For to praise our God is good; such praise is pleasant and lovely” ( Psalm 147:1). Cramer.

27. On Chap12 “With these words conclude the prophetic discourses on Immanuel. Through what obscurity of history have we not had to go, until we came to the bright light of the kingdom of Christ! How Israel and the nations had to pass through the fire of judgment before the sun arises in Israel and the entire gentile world is illumined! It is the, same way that every Christian has to travel. In and through the fire we become blessed. Much must be burnt up in us, before we press to the full knowledge of God and of His Song of Solomon, before we become entirely one with Him, entirely glad and joyful in Him. Israel was brought up and is still brought up for glory, and we too. O that our end too were such a psalm of praise as this psalm!” Weber, Der Pr. Jes. 1875.

Footnotes:

FN#25 - Lord Jehovah of hosts.

FN#26 - Or, But he shall lift up his staff for thee.

FN#27 - (turns) to.

FN#28 - Heb. shall remove.

FN#29 - unlaced because of fat.


Verses 28-34

3. THE IMPETUOUS ONSET OF THE CONDEMNED WORLD—POWER IN THE LIGHT OF ITS FINAL RUIN

Isaiah 10:28-34

28 He is come to Aiath, he is passed to Migron;

At Michmash he hath laid up his [FN30]carriages:

29 They are gone over the passage:

They have taken up their lodging at Geba;

Ramah is afraid;

Gibeah of Saul is fled.

30 [FN31]Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim:

[FN32]Cause it to be heard unto Laish,

O poor Anathoth.

31 Madmenah [FN33]is removed;

The inhabitants of Gebim gather themselves to flee.

32 [FN34]As yet shall he remain at Nob that day:

He shall shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of Zion,

The hill of Jerusalem.

33 Behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts,

Shall lop the [FN35]bough with terror:

And the [FN36]high ones of stature shall be hewn down,

And the haughty shall be humbled.

34 And he shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron,

And Lebanon [FN37]shall fall [FN38]by a mighty one.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

On Isaiah 10:28. בָּא with עַלֹ like Judges 18:27, it means “the falling over on.”—הפקיד, commisit, mandavit, deposuit, Jeremiah 36:20; Jeremiah 40:7; Jeremiah 40:10.

On Isaiah 10:32. ינפף Pilel, only here; Hiph. with similar meaning, Isaiah 11:15; Isaiah 13:2; Isaiah 19:16 : 2 Kings 5:11. The swinging of the hand is the gesture of one threatening.—הר וגו׳ stands in accus. localis; K’thibh has בּית־ציון, which is found nowhere else, and probably results from a confounding with הַר בֵּית יהוה.

On [Like in English one says “to stone,” i.e., take the stones out]. This סעף is ἅπ. λεγ.——פֻּארָה ἅπ. λεγ., as regards meaning is certainly identical with פֹארָה, Ezekiel 17:6; Ezekiel 31:5-6; Ezekiel 31:8; Ezekiel 31:12-13. It appears to be a poetic expression for the grand, luxurious branch and leafy growth of the tree (פאר original meaning splendere, nitere, comp. תִּפְאֶרֶת,פְאֵר.—מערצה, ἅπ. λεγ. is “terror” in an active sense = perterrefactio.—קוֹמָה “that which is standing, the trunks, the standing timber” (comp. Isaiah 37:24).

On Isaiah 10:34. נִקַּף only here in Isaiah may be either Niph. or Piel.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. The foregoing disposes the reader to look for an immediate portrayal of the destruction of Assyria. But to his surprise the Prophet translates him back into the commencement of the hostilities of Assyria, against Israel ( Isaiah 10:28-32). This first onslaught of Assyria was so impetuous, that it seemed as if Jerusalem could not resist. But it only appeared so. How little dangerous that onslaught was appears from the brief description of the inevitable, impending ruin of the world-power, that immediately follows ( Isaiah 10:33-34). A contrast is hereby presented that gives a most striking effect, which is still more enhanced by the masterly, dramatic representation of the march of the Assyrians against Jerusalem. So that this little passage proves to be a master-piece of Art, both by its arrangement as a whole and its execution in detail.

2. He comes—the hill of Jerusalem.

Isaiah 10:28-32. These verses describe the last part of the march to Jerusalem. For, no doubt, Aiath is the same as Ai that lay North-east of Jerusalem (עַי or הָעַי “the stone heap,” Joshua 7:2 sqq, עַיָּא, Nehemiah 11:31, עַיָּה [false reading עַזָּה]; 1 Chronicles 7:28), which is probably identical with עַוִּים ( Joshua 18:23) comp. Fayin loc.). Finn, Van de Velde, Arnold, Knobel, identify Aiath in Tell-el-Hadschar that lies less than an hour South-east of Beitin (Bethel). On the other hand Delitzsch, following Schegg who personally investigated the spot, locates Aiath about six hours north of Jerusalem in Tejjibe, that is situated on a hill with an extended prospect, in whose neighborhood there is still found a small village, Churbet Ai. It will perhaps depend on whether the locality of Tejjibe corresponds with Joshua 8:11; Joshua 8:13, according to which there was a valley North of the city. [Concerning the location of all the places named in the text consult “Robinson and Smith’sBib. Res. in Palestine, Vol. II.].

Migron, which is mentioned beside only 1 Samuel 14:2 (but in all probability this passage is corrupt: Arnold in Herz.R. Encycl. XIV. p755) appears to have been quite insignificant. Delitzsch regards it as identical with Burg-Magran, a cluster of ruins eight minutes from Bethel. But, then, would they not have marched backwards? Michmash, a city of Benjamin as all the rest named here, plays an important part in the history of Saul and Jonathan, 1 Samuel 13, 14It still exists as a small deserted village with the name Muchmas one hour North of Geba (now Dscheba), three hours and a half North of Jerusalem (Robinson and S. II. comp. Ruetschi, Herz.R. Encycl. IX. p526). There the Assyrians left their baggage in order to press on quicker. “The passage of Michmash” is mentioned 1 Samuel13, 14. It is the Wady- Esther -Suweinit (according to others Esther -Suweikeh—comp. Ruetschi,l. c.)—a deep, rough ravine, forty-eight minutes wide, immediately below Michmash. As it runs from East to West, they must cross it obliquely to approach Jerusalem. The ravine is difficult to traverse. It is hardly credible that the proper highway from Shechem or Nabulus (comp. Arnold in Herz.R. Encycl. XV. p 163 sq. Art. “Strassen in Palaestina,”) passed through it. The Prophet’s description is ideal. He depicts not what is past but what is future, and that, not in the manner of historical accuracy, but as became his prophetic interests. He would depict how the enemy presses forward with utmost speed, by the shortest way, deterred by no obstacles. On the arduous way they cheer one another with the cry: “Geba give us lodging.” Thus they promise themselves good quarters in Geba, that lay so charmingly on an elevated plateau (comp. Schegg in Delitzsch). Geba cannot be the same as Gebea of Saul, as appears evident from our text. For if it were the same, why is it mentioned twice with a difference in the form of the name, and with the name of another city coming between? Rama, now er-Ram, the city of Benjamin, made notorious by Saul ( 1 Samuel 1:19; 1 Samuel 2:11, etc.), seems to have lain aside from their route though near by. For it looks with trembling on the passers by; but Gebea of Saul opposite, lying perhaps still nearer, fled outright, It lay on the summit of Tuleil-el-Tul (the Bean mountain, see Arnold, Herz.Real. Encycl. p744) which commands a view of the whole neighborhood. In a direct line the expedition encounters Gallim, ( 1 Samuel 25:44) which Valentiner (Ztschr. d. D. M. G. XII. p169) thinks he has discovered in the hill Chirbet el-Dschisr that lies South of the Bean mountain. Because immediately threatened, Gallim shall shriek out (קולך accus.). Laishah, by no means identical with לַיִשׁ, Judges 18:29, cannot be located. But Knobel is likely correct in finding evidence of its being a place near Gallim in 1 Samuel 25:44, where is mentioned Phaltiel son of Laish from Gallim (comp. 2 Samuel 3:15). עניה ענתות, “O poor Anathoth,” is evidently a play on words. By this and the emotion of the orator is to be explained the order of the words, which is not quite normal (comp. Isaiah 54:11). Anathoth, now Anata, is only three-fourths of an hour distant from Jerusalem—Madmenah (Dung-heaps) and Gebim (fountains, Jeremiah 14:3) are not mentioned elsewhere, nor are any traces of the places discovered as yet. Both are directly threatened; so nothing remains but to flee and save their goods. “Saving their goods” seems to be indicated by העיזו (comp. Exodus 9:19); yet it may very well be construed as synonymous with נָֹדְדָה according to Jeremiah 4:6; Jeremiah 6:1. “To-day still in Nob, to make a halt,” is likewise the enemies’ shout to one another. The thing is to pass on to Nob to-day, but there make a preliminary halt in order to make the necessary dispositions for the attack on Jerusalem. Nob (comp. 2 Samuel 21:16; 2 Samuel 21:18; Nehemiah 11:32) without doubt quite near Jerusalem, is to the present not certainly identified. Schegg contends very decidedly that it may be Isawije that lies South-west of Anata fifty-five minutes North of Jerusalem.

3. Behold the Lord—a mighty one.

Isaiah 10:33-34. The proud expedition of the Assyrian falls like trees felled by the axe. Like the tempest tears away the branches, so the terror that goes forth from Jehovah breaks the power of the Assyrian. “The high ones of stature (of the standing wood)” shall be cut down ( Isaiah 9:9) the lofty ones must bow. The entire forest thicket ( Isaiah 9:17) shall be cut down with the iron; but Lebanon (notice how the Prophet before distinguished branches, trunks and thicket, but at last combines all in the common, all comprehending name Lebanon) shall fall by a Mighty One. Who this Mighty One will be the Prophet does not say. That it is the Lord Himself as the remote cause, who Isaiah 33:21, comp. Psalm 93:4, is called אַדִּיר “glorious, mighty,” is of course. But it may convey also an allusion at the same time to that one among the Lord’s ministers, that was the principal instrument in annihilating the Assyrian army before Jerusalem ( Isaiah 37:36). For the ministers of the Lord, too, are called אדִּירְים “the excellent or mighty,” ( Psalm 16:3).

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On Isaiah 7:1. “Hierosolyma oppugnatur, etc. Jerusalem is assaulted but not conquered. The church is pressed but not oppressed.”—Foerster.

2. On Isaiah 7:2. “Quando ecclesia, etc. When the Church is assaulted and Christ crucified over again in His elect, Rezin and Pekah, Herod and Pilate are wont to form alliance and enter into friendly relations. There are, so to speak, the foxes of Samson, joined indeed by the tails, but their heads are disconnected.”—Foerster.—“He that believes flees not ( Isaiah 28:16). ‘The righteous is bold as a lion’ ( Proverbs 28:1). Hypocrites and those that trust in works (work-saints) have neither reason nor faith. Therefore they cannot by any means quiet their heart. In prosperity they are, indeed, overweening, but in adversity they fall away ( Jeremiah 17:9).” Cramer.

3. On Isaiah 7:9. (“If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.”) “Insignis sententia, etc. A striking sentiment that may be adapted generally to all temptation, because all earnest endeavor after anything, as you know, beguiles us in temptation. But only faith in the word of promise makes us abide and makes sure whatever we would execute. He warns Ahaz, therefore, as if he said: I now promise you by the word, it shall be that those two kings shall not hurt you. Believe this word! For if you do not, whatever you afterwards devise will deceive you: because all confidence is vain which is not supported by the word of God.”—Luther.

4. On Isaiah 7:10-12. “Wicked Ahaz pretends to great sanctity in abstaining from asking a sign through fear of God. Thus hypocrites are most conscientious where there is no need for it: on the other hand, when they ought to be humble, they are the most insolent. But where God commands to be bold, one must be bold. For to be obedient to the word is not tempting God. That is rather tempting God when one proposes something without having the word for it. It Isaiah, indeed, the greatest virtue to rest only in the word, and desire nothing more. But where God would add something more than the word, then it must not be thought a virtue to reject it as superfluous. We must therefore exercise such a faith in the word of God that we will not despise the helps that are given in addition to it as aids to faith. For example the Lord offers us in the gospel all that is necessary to salvation. Why then Baptism and the Lord’s Supper? Are they to be treated as superfluous? By no means. For if one believes the word he will at the same time exhibit an entire obedience toward God. We ought therefore to learn to join the sign with the word, for no man has the power to sever the two.

But do you ask: is it permitted to ask God for a sign? We have an example of this in Gideon. Answer: Although Gideon was not told of God to ask a sign, yet he did it by the impulse of the Holy Spirit, and not according to his own fancy. We must not therefore abuse his example, and must be content with the sign that is offered by the Lord. But there are extraordinary signs or miracles, like that of the text, and ordinary ones like Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Yet both have the same object and use. For as Gideon was strengthened by that miraculous event, Song of Solomon, too, are we strengthened by Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, although no miracle appears before our eyes.” Heim and Hoffmann after Luther. Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, also asked the Lord to show him the right wife for Isaac by means of a sign of His own choosing, ( Genesis 24:14).

It ought to be said that this asking a sign (opening the Bible at a venture, or any other book) does not suit Christian perfection ( Hebrews 6:1). A Christian ought to be inwardly sensible of the divine will. He ought to content himself with the guarantees that God Himself offers. Only one must have open eyes and ears for them. This thing of demanding a sign, if it is not directly an effect of superstition ( Matthew 12:39; Matthew 16:4; 1 Corinthians 1:22), is certainly childish, and, because it easily leads to superstitious abuses, it is dangerous.

5. On Isaiah 7:13. “Non caret, etc. That the Prophet calls God his God is not without a peculiar emphasis. In Zechariah 2:12 it is said, that whoever touches the servants of God touches the pupil of God’s eye. Whoever opposes teacher and preacher will have to deal with God in heaven or with the Lord who has put them into office.”—Foerster.

6. On Isaiah 7:14. “The name Immanuel is one of the most beautiful and richest in contents of all the Holy Scripture. ‘God with us’ comprises God’s entire plan of salvation with sinful humanity. In a narrower sense it means ‘God-man’ ( Matthew 1:23), and points to the personal union of divinity and humanity, in the double nature of the Son of God become man. Jesus Christ was a God-with-us, however, in this, that for about 33 years He dwelt among us sinners ( John 1:11; John 1:14). In a deeper and wider sense still He was such by the Immanuel’s work of the atonement ( 2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 Timothy 2:3). He will also be such to every one that believes on Him by the work of regeneration and sanctification and the daily renewal of His holy and divine communion of the Spirit ( John 17:23; John 17:26; John 14:19-21; John 14:23). He is such now by His high-priestly and royal administration and government for His whole Church ( Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 7:25). He will be snch in the present time of the Church in a still more glorious fashion ( John 10:16). The entire and complete meaning of the name Immanuel, however, will only come to light in the new earth, and in the heavenly Jerusalem ( Revelation 21:3; Revelation 21:23; Revelation 22:5).”—Wilh. Fried. Roos.

Isaiah 8:7. On Isaiah 8:5 sqq. “Like boastful swimmers despise small and quiet waters, and on the other hand, for the better display of their skill, boast of the great sea and master it, but often are lost in it,—thus, too, did the hypocrites that despised the small kingdom of Judah, and bragged much and great things of the power and splendor of the kingdom of Israel and of the Syrians; such hypocrites are still to be found now-a-days—such that bear in their eye the admiranda Romae, the splendor, riches, power, ceremonies and pomp of the Romish church, and thereupon ‘set their bushel by the bigger-heap.’ It is but the devil’s temptation over again: ‘I will give all this to thee.’ ”—Cramer.—“Fons Siloa,” etc. “The fountain of Siloam, near the temple, daily reminded the Jews that Christ was coming.”—Calvin on John 9:7.

8. On Isaiah 8:10. “When the great Superlatives sit in their council chambers and have determined everything, how it ought to be, and especially how they will extinguish the gospel, then God sends the angel Gabriel to them, who must look through the window and say: nothing will come of it.”—Luther.—“Christ, who is our Immanuel, is with us by His becoming Prayer of Manasseh, for us by His office of Mediator, in us by the work of His sanctification, by us by His personal, gracious presence.”—Cramer.

9. On Isaiah 8:14-15. Christ alone is set by God to be a stone by which we are raised up. That He Isaiah, however, an occasion of offence to many is because of their purpose, petulance and contempt ( 1 Peter 2:8). Therefore we ought to fear lest we take offence at Him. For whoever falls on this stone will shatter to pieces ( Matthew 21:44).” Cramer.

10. On Isaiah 8:16 sqq. He warns His disciples against heathenish superstition, and exhorts them to show respect themselves always to law and testimony. “They must not think that God must answer them by visions and signs, therefore He refers them to the written word, that they may not become altogether too spiritual, like those now-a-days who cry: spirit! spirit! … Christ says, Luke 16 : They have Moses and the prophets, and again John 5:39 : Search the Scriptures. So Paul says, 2 Timothy 3:16 : The Scripture is profitable for doctrine. So says Peter, 2 Peter 1:9 : We have a sure word of prophecy. It is the word that changes hearts and moves them. But revelations puff people up and make them insolent.” Heim and Hoffmann after Luther.

Chap9–11. On Isaiah 9:1 sqq. (2). “Postrema pars, etc. The latter part of chap8 was νομικὴ καὶ ἀπειλητική (legal and threatening) Song of Solomon, on the other hand, the first and best part of chap9 is εὐαγγελικὴ καὶ παραμυθητική, (evangelical and comforting). Thus must ever law and gospel, preaching wrath and grace, words of reproof and words of comfort, a voice of alarm and a voice of peace follow one another in the church.” Foerster.

12. On Isaiah 9:1 (2). Both in the Old Testament and New Testament Christ is often called light. Thus Isaiah calls Him “a light to the gentiles,” Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:6. The same Prophet says: “Arise, shine (make thyself light), for thy light is come,” Isaiah 60:1. And again Isaiah 9:19 : “The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light.” In the New Testament it is principally John that makes use of this expression: “The life was the light of men,” John 1:4, “and the light shined in the darkness,” John 9:5. John was not that light, but bore testimony to the light, John 9:8. “That was the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” John 9:9. And further: “And this is the condemnation that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light,” John 3:19. “I am the light of the world,” ( John 8:12; John 9:5; comp. John 12:35).

13. On Isaiah 9:1 (2). The people that sit in darkness may be understood to comprise three grades. First, the inhabitants of Zebulon and Naphtali are called so ( Isaiah 8:23), for the Prophet’s gaze is fixed first on that region lying in the extreme end of Palestine, which was neighbor to the heathen and mixed with them, and on this account was held in low esteem by the dwellers in Judah. The night that spreads over Israel in general is darkest there. But all Israel partakes of this night, therefore all Israel, too, may be understood, as among the people sitting in darkness. Finally, no one can deny that this night extends over the borders of Israel to the whole human race. For far as men dwell extends the night which Christ, as light of the world, came to dispel, Luke 1:76 sqq.

14. On Isaiah 9:5 (6). Many lay stress on the notion “child,” inasmuch as they see in that the reason for the reign of peace spoken of afterwards. It is not said a Prayer of Manasseh, a king, a giant is given to us. But this is erroneous. For the child does not remain a child. He becomes a man: and the six names that are ascribed to Him and also the things predicted of His kingdom apply to Him, not as a child, but as a man. That His birth as a child is made prominent, has its reason in this, that thereby His relation to human kind should be designated as an organic one. He does not enter into humanity as a Prayer of Manasseh, i.e. as one whose origin was outside of it, but He was born from it, and especially from the race of David. He is Son of man and Son of David. He is a natural offshoot, but also the crowning bloom of both. Precisely because He was to be conceived, carried and born of a human mother, and indeed of a virgin, this prophecy belongs here as the completion and definition of the two prophetic pictures Isaiah 7:10 sqq.; Isaiah 8:1 sqq.—“He came down from heaven for the sake of us men, and for our bliss ( 1 Timothy 1:15; Luke 2:7). For our advantage: for He undertook not for the seed of angels, but for the seed of Abraham ( Hebrews 2:16). Not sold to us by God out of great love, but given ( Romans 5:15; John 3:16). Therefore every one ought to make an application of the word ‘to us’ to himself, and to learn to say: this child was given to me, conceived for me, born to me.”—Cramer.—“Cur oportuit, etc. Why did it become the Redeemer of human kind to be not merely man nor merely God, but God and man conjoined or θεάνθρωπον? Anselm replies briefly, indeed, but pithily: Deum qui posset, hominem, qui deberet.” Foerster.

15. On Isaiah 9:5 (6). “You must not suppose here that He is to be named and called according to His person, as one usually calls another by his name; but these are names that one must preach, praise and celebrate on account of His Acts, works and office.” Luther.

16. On Isaiah 9:6. “Verba pauca, etc. A few words, but to be esteemed great, not for their number but for their weight.” Augustine.Admirabilis in, etc. Wonderful in birth, counsellor in what He preaches, God in working, strong in suffering, father of the world to come in resurrection, Prince of peace in bliss perpetual.” Bernard of Clairvaux. In reference to “a child is born,” and “a son is given,” Joh. Cocceius remarks in his Heb. Lex. s. v. יֶלֶד: “respectu, etc., in respect to His human nature He is said to be born, and in respect to His divine nature and eternal generation not indeed born, but given, as, John 3:16, it reads God gave His only begotten Son.”

“In the application of this language all depends on the words is born to us, is given to us.” The angels are, in this matter, far from being as blessed as we are. They do not say: To us a Saviour is born this day, but; to you. As long as we do not regard Christ as ours, so long we shall have little joy in Him. But when we know Him as our Wisdom of Solomon, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, as a gift that our heavenly Father designed for us, we will appropriate Him to ourselves in humble faith, and take possession of all His redeeming effects that He has acquired. For giving and taking go together. The Son is given to us; we must in faith receive Him.” J. J. Rambach, Betracht. über das Ev. Esaj, Halle, 1724.

On Isaiah 9:6 (7). “The government is on His shoulders.” “It is further shown how Christ differs in this respect from worldly kings. They remove from themselves the burden of government and lay it on the shoulders of the privy counsellors. But He does not lay His dominion as a burden on any other; He needs no prime minister and vicegerent to help Him bear the burden of administration, but He bears all by the word of His power as He to whom all things are given of the Father. Therefore He says to the house of Jacob ( Isaiah 46:3 sq.): Hearken unto me ye who were laid on my shoulders from your mothers’ womb. I will carry you to old age. I will do it, I will lift, and carry and deliver,—on the contrary the heathen must bear and lift up their idols, ( Isaiah 46:1; Isaiah 46:7).”—Rambach. “In the first place we must keep in mind His first name: He is called Wonderful. This name affects all the following.” “All is wonderful that belongs to this king: wonderfully does He counsel and comfort; wonderfully He helps to acquire and conquer, and all this in suffering and want of strength. (Luther, Jen. germ. Tom. III. Fol. 184 b.). ” “He uses weakness as a means of subduing all things to Himself. A wretched reed, a crown of thorns and an infamous cross, are the weapons of this almighty God, by means of which He achieves such great things. In the second place, He was a hero and conqueror in that just by death, He robbed him of his might who had the power of death, i.e., the devil ( Hebrews 2:14); in that Hebrews, like Samson, buried His enemies with Himself, yea, became poison to death itself, and a plague to hell ( Hosea 13:14) and more gloriously resumed His life so freely laid down, which none of the greatest heroes can emulate.”—Rambach.

17. On Isaiah 9:18 (19) sqq. True friendship can never exist among the wicked. For every one loves only himself. Therefore they are enemies one of another; and they are in any case friends to each other, only as long as it concerns making war on a third party.

Isaiah 10-18. On Isaiah 10:4. (Comp. the same expression in chap10). God’s quiver is well filled. If one arrow does not attain His object, He takes another, and so on, until the rights of God, and justice have conquered.

19. On Isaiah 10:5-7. “God works through men in a threefold way. First, we all live, move and have our being in Him, in that all activity is an outflow of His power. Then, He uses the services of the wicked so that they mutually destroy each other, or He chastises His people by their hand. Of this sort the Prophet speaks here. In the third place, by governing His people by the Spirit of sanctification: and this takes place only in the elect.”—Heim and Hoffmann.

20. On Isaiah 10:5 sqq. “Ad hunc, etc. Such places are to be turned to uses of comfort. Although the objects of temptation vary and enemies differ, yet the effects are the same, and the same spirit works in the pious. We are therefore to learn not to regard the power of the enemy nor our own weakness, but to look steadily and simply into the word, that will assuredly establish our minds that they despair not, but expect help of God. For God will not subdue our enemies, either spiritual or corporal, by might and power, but by weakness, as says the text: my strength is made perfect in weakness.” ( 2 Corinthians 12:9).—Luther.

21. On Isaiah 10:15. “Efficacia agendi penes Deum Esther, homines ministerium tantum praebent. Quare nunc sibilo suo se illos evocaturum minabatur (cap. Isaiah 5:26; Isaiah 7:18); nunc instar sagenae sibi fore ad irretiendos, nunc mallei instar ad feriendos Israelitas. Sed praecipue tum declaravit, quod non sit otiosus in illis, dum Sennacherib securim vocat, quae ad secandum manu sua et destinata fuit et impacta. Non male alicubi Augustinus ita definit, quod ipsi peccant, eorum esse; quod peccando hoc vel illud agant, ex virtute Dei esse, tenebras prout visum est dividentis (De praedest Sanctt.).”—Calvin Inst. II:4, 4.

22. On Isaiah 10:20-27. “In time of need one ought to look back to the earlier great deliverances of the children of God, as to the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, or later, from the hand of the Midianites. Israel shall again grow out of the yoke.”—Diedrich.

Isaiah 11-23. On Isaiah 11:4. “The staff of His mouth.” “Evidence that the kingdom of Christ will not be like an earthly kingdom, but consist in the power of the word and of the sacraments; not in leathern, golden or silver girdles, but in girdles of righteousness and faith.”—Cramer.

24. On Isaiah 11:10 sqq. If the Prophet honors the heathen in saying that they will come to Christ before Israel, he may be the more readily believed, when Isaiah 11:11 sqq, he gives the assurance that the return out of the first, the Egyptian exile, shall be succeeded by a return out of the second, the Assyrian exile, (taking this word in the wider sense of Isaiah). It is manifest that the return that took place under Zerubbabel and Ezra was only an imperfect beginning of that promised return. For according to our passage this second return can only take place after the Messiah has appeared. Farthermore, all Israelites that belong to “the remnant of Israel,” in whatever land they may dwell, shall take part in it. It will be, therefore, a universal, not a partial return. If now the Prophet paints this return too with the colors of the present ( Isaiah 11:13 sqq.), still that is no reason for questioning the reality of the matter. Israel will certainly not disappear, but arise to view in the church of the new covenant. But if the nation is to be known among the nations as a whole, though no more as a hostile contrast, but in fraternal harmony, why then shall not the land, too, assume a like position among the lands? But the nation can neither assume its place among nations, nor the land its place among lands, if they are not both united: the people Israel in the land of their fathers.

25. On Isaiah 11 “We may here recall briefly the older, Song of Solomon -called spiritual interpretation. Isaiah 11:1-5 were understood of Christ’s prophetic office that He exercised in the days of His flesh, then of the overthrow of the Roman Empire and of Antichrist, who was taken to be the Pope. But the most thorough-going of those old expositors must acknowledge, at Isaiah 11:4, that the Antichrist is not yet enough overthrown, and must be yet more overthrown. If such is the state of the case, then this interpretation is certainly false, for Isaiah 11:4 describes not a gradual judgment, but one accomplished at once. There have been many Antichrists, and among the Popes too, but the genuine Antichrist described 2 Thessalonians2, is yet to be expected, and also the fulfillment of Isaiah 11:4 of our chapter. Thereby is proved at the same time that the peaceful state of things in the brute world and the return of the Jews to their native land are still things of the future, for they must happen in that period when the Antichristian world, and its head shall be judged by Christ. But then, too, the dwelling together of tame and wild beasts is not the entrance of the heathen into the church, to which they were heretofore hostile, and the return of the Jews is not the conversion of a small part of Israel that took place at Pentecost and after. The miracles and signs too, contained in Isaiah 11:15-16 did not take place then. We see just here how one must do violence to the word if he will not take it as it stands. But if we take it as we have done, then the whole chapter belongs to the doctrine of hope (Hoffnungslehre) of the Scripture, and constitutes an important member of it. The Lord procures right and room for His church. He overthrows the world-kingdom, together with Antichrist. He makes of the remnant of Israel a congregation of believers filled with the Spirit, to whom He is near in an unusual way, and from it causes His knowledge to go out into all the world. He creates peace in the restless creatures, and shows us here in advance what more glorious things we may look for in the new earth. He presents to the world a church which, united in itself, unmolested by neighbors, stands under God’s mighty protection. All these facts are parts of a chain of hope that must be valuable and dear to our hearts. The light of this future illumines the obscurity of the present; the comfort of that day makes the heart fresh.” Weber, der Prophet Jesaja, 1875.

Chap12–26. On Isaiah 12:4 sq. “These will not be the works of the New Testament: sacrificing and slaying, and make pilgrimage to Jerusalem and to the Holy Sepulchre, but praising God and giving thanks, preaching and hearing, believing with the heart and confessing with the mouth. For to praise our God is good; such praise is pleasant and lovely” ( Psalm 147:1). Cramer.

27. On Chap12 “With these words conclude the prophetic discourses on Immanuel. Through what obscurity of history have we not had to go, until we came to the bright light of the kingdom of Christ! How Israel and the nations had to pass through the fire of judgment before the sun arises in Israel and the entire gentile world is illumined! It is the, same way that every Christian has to travel. In and through the fire we become blessed. Much must be burnt up in us, before we press to the full knowledge of God and of His Song of Solomon, before we become entirely one with Him, entirely glad and joyful in Him. Israel was brought up and is still brought up for glory, and we too. O that our end too were such a psalm of praise as this psalm!” Weber, Der Pr. Jes. 1875.

Footnotes:

FN#30 - baggage.

FN#31 - Heb. Cry shrill with thy voice.

FN#32 - Hark Laish.

FN#33 - takes flight.

FN#34 - yet to-day in Nob to halt.

FN#35 - leafy coronal.

FN#36 - the giants of the standing wood are felled.

FN#37 - he fells.

FN#38 - Or, mightily.

 


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Isaiah 10:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/isaiah-10.html. 1857-84.

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