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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Isaiah 30

 

 

Verses 1-5

III.—THE THIRD WOE

Isaiah 30

1. THE SIN OF THOSE WHO SEEK HELP FROM EGYPT, NOT FROM JEHOVAH

Isaiah 30:1-5

1 Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord,

That take counsel, but not of me;

And that [FN1]cover with a covering, but not of my spirit,

That they may add sin to sin:

2 That walk to go down into Egypt,

And have not asked at my mouth;

To strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh,

And to trust in the shadow of Egypt!

3 Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame,

And the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.

4 For his princes [FN2]were at Zoan,

And his ambassadors [FN3]came to Hanes.

5 They were all ashamed of a people that could not profit them,

Nor be an help nor profit,

But a shame, and also a reproach.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

Isaiah 30:1. If we take סוררים in a causative sense = making apostasy, which view is justified by the form of the word, (which is after the Pilel conjugation), and by its use elsewhere, ( Lamentations 3:11), we can then join with it לעשׂות וגו׳ as the infinitive of nearer specification. This infinitive then expresses wherein and how far they are בנים סוררים ( Isaiah 1:23; Isaiah 65:2).

Isaiah 30:2. The Kal. עוּז from which many derive עוֹז, does not occur. We find only Hiphil הֵעִיז, Isaiah 10:31; Exodus 9:19; Jeremiah 4:6; Jeremiah 6:1. The context too appears to me not to require by any means the signification “confugere and refugium,” as this meaning is contained in the following clause, and a repetition of the same thought cannot be expected. I prefer, therefore, to take עוֹז in the signification “to be strong” and מעוז, as it is. often used = munimentum, defence, protection ( Isaiah 17:10; Isaiah 25:4; Isaiah 27:5, et saepe). חָסָה is confugere; it is found united with עַל Judges 9:15; Psalm 36:8; Psalm 57:2.

Isaiah 30:3. מַֽחֲסֶה = ) חָסוּת Isaiah 4:6; Isaiah 25:1; Isaiah 28:15; Isaiah 28:17), is ἅπ. λεγ.

Isaiah 30:5. הֹבִאישׁ is a mongrel form arising from הִבְאִישׁ הֹבִישׁ, the former of which itself proceeding from a confusion of the two roots יָבַשׁ and בּוֹשׁ, signifies pudorem produxit, to produce shame, to be ashamed, to come to disgrace, while הִבְאִישׁ denotes foetorem protulit, both together therefore signify “to produce stinking disgrace, or disgraceful stench, to make a stinking, disgraceful figure, therefore, ignominiously to come to shame.” All (Ewald, § 286, e) are disgraced on account of a people that does not profit them (the senders of the embassy), is not for help, nor for profit. This ולֹא להועיל strikes us as tautological. It is probably occasioned by the effort clearly apparent in this sentence to multiply the “L” and “O” sounds, and especially the combination of the two.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. The subject treated by the Prophet in these chapters is unfolded more and more fully, so as to be perfectly clear. What he had hitherto only hinted at, he now declares in plain terms: the alliance with Egypt is the sin against which he contends with all the force of his spirit. This alliance is no longer a subject of deliberation. It has already taken shape. An embassy to conclude this league is already on the way. The Prophet therefore utters another (the third) woe against the apostate people, because they form such purposes without the Lord, only to heap sin upon sin ( Isaiah 30:1). They have gone down to Egypt without consulting the Lord, in order to find there increase of power, and protection ( Isaiah 30:2). But power and protection shall be changed into disgrace ( Isaiah 30:3). It was possible to try to invalidate this threatening of the Prophet by a denial of the facts. But he leaves no room for such contradiction. For, says Hebrews, the Jewish princes are already in Zoan, and will come to Hanes ( Isaiah 30:4). Therefore, he repeats with emphasis his threatening: Israel will be ashamed of the Egyptian nation which can bring to the people of God no advantage, but only disgrace.

2. Woe to——a reproach.

Isaiah 30:1-5. הוי comp. on Isaiah 29:1. עשׂות עצה is = to execute a counsel ( 2 Samuel 17:23). ולא מני as Hosea 8:4. We had מַסֵּכָה25:7; Isaiah 28:20 (comp. מַסֶּכֶת, Judges 16:13-14) in the signification “woven or plaited covering;” but in this chapter, Isaiah 30:22, (comp. Isaiah 42:17) the word has the signification “what is molten, cast.” That נסך מסכה signifies here ( Isaiah 30:1) to form an alliance, is placed out of doubt by the context. But it is questionable whether tire expression originally denotes “to weave a web,” or “σπονδὴν σπἐνδεσθαι.” The latter is to me the more probable, not although, but because מסכה from נָסַךְ to pour, to cast, denotes a molten image. For it seems to me that the Prophet intends a double sense by the expression: libationem effundere and idolum fusile fundere. He hints therewith at the idolatrous character of such a league, which is a transgression of the first [second] commandment. This agrees very well with ולא רוחי, an expression which, both in sense and construction, is connected with ולא מני as we are to regard רוחי as dependent on the preposition מן. The clause that they may add sin to sin does not express the conscious, subjective design, but only affirms that the objective fact is of such a character as to warrant the conclusion as to the conscious design (comp. Amos 2:7; Jeremiah 44:8 et saepe). ספות comp. on Isaiah 29:1. ההלכים Isaiah 30:2 (apposition to בנים סוררים Isaiah 30:1) marks the going away, the terminus a quo,לרדתthe terminus ad quern. In ההלכים we must not press the notion of time, but only the notion of the word, i. e., the Prophet does not set forth that they are now going away (praesens), but states the simple fact of their going away. If we so understand the word, every appearance of a contradiction with Isaiah 30:4 disappears. שׁאל פי י׳׳ besides only Joshua 9:14 comp. Genesis 24:57. Isaiah 30:4 contains a proof which is introduced by כִּי. It appears to me that the Prophet supposes the attempt on the part of his hearers still to deny this league with Egypt which had been laid to their charge. He therefore says: Everything stated in verses1–3is true, for the ambassadors have been already in Zoan, and are now on the way to Hanes. היו is therefore the proper perfect; the imperfect יגיעו (comp. Genesis 28:12) stands for the designation of a fact yet incomplete, still in progress, i.e., the ambassadors are only about to reach Hanes. The accusative is accus, loci. How Isaiah could so speak is easily seen, if we do not forget that he was the Prophet of Jehovah, and that the Spirit of the Lord, whom the others excluded in their consultations (ver1), assisted the Prophet. Men told him nothing at all of the embassy; assuredly the ambassadors themselves sent him no message, nor was a message sent by them communicated to him. But yet he knows that the ambassadors have actually arrived in Egypt. His mentioning the cities Zoan and Hanes is not to be pressed, i.e., he does not mean to mark precisely the exact points between which the ambassadors now are. He has other reasons for naming these cities. I do not comprehend how Delitzsch can say, “the Tanitic dynasty then bore rule, which preceded the Ethiopian: Tanis and Anysis were the two royal seats.” For after the middle of the 8 th century B. C, the Ethiopian (the 25 th) dynasty already bore rule (Duncker,Geschichte des Alterth. I p598). Hezekiah cannot therefore have formed an alliance with the predecessor of the Ethiopian dynasty. Delitzsch seems here to rely too much on Herodotus, II, 137 init., where a king Anysis of Anysis, i.e., Hanes, is named as predecessor of the Ethiopian Sabakos. Moreover, Ewald’s assumption resting on Herodotus, II:141, that the Egyptian king, with whom Sennacherib had to do, was the Ethiopian Sethon, priest of Hephaestos, who was at the same time ruler of lower and middle Egypt with Tanis for his royal seat, is refuted by Assyrian monuments. For, although the first inscriptions that mention the name Tirhaka (Assyrian Tar-ku-u), belong to the time after Sennacherib, yet the monuments of Sennacherib expressly name his Egyptian opponent “king of Meroe” (Schrader,die Keilinsehriften und das A. T, p203), which could not possibly be said of a Tanitic king. When Isaiah here mentions Zoan (situated in the Delta of the Nile, southwest of Pelusium), he is probably led to do Song of Solomon, because this city, since the end of the second millennium before Christ, had been the capital of the kingdom. For till the expulsion of Hyksos, Memphis, then Thebes, had been the capital; then, from the epoch mentioned, Zoan, (comp. Dunker,Geschichte des Alterth, I. p598). Isaiah had already ( Isaiah 29:11) mentioned Hanes (Egyptian Hnçs, Ehnes, afterwards Herakleopolis, situated in the neighborhood of lake Moeris), because it had been last after Tanis the royal seat of a native dynasty (comp. Herodotus, II, 137). If then Zoan and Hanes are the cities which had last been royal seats, and if they were known as such to the Prophet, there is really no reason with Hitzig, Knobel and others to adopt the reading חִנָּם יִיגָֽעוּ, which lies at the basis of the Alexandrine version, but has in it only a very uncertain support. It is likewise unnecessary, and does not correspond to the context to refer the suffix in מַלְאָכָיו to the Egyptian king as having vainly summoned the warrior caste by his messengers (Herodotus, II:141). It is most natural to refer the suffix in מלאכיו to the same subject to which the suffix in שׂריו belongs. If the Prophet wished the suffix in מלאכיו to have a different reference from that in שׂריו, he must have made this known in a way not to be misunderstood.

Footnotes:

FN#1 - make an alliance.

FN#2 - have been.

FN#3 - come.


Verses 6-14

2. THE PROPHET AS HE OUGHT TO BE, AND AS HE OUGHT NOT TO BE

Isaiah 30:6-14

6 The burden of the beasts of the south:

[FN4]Into the land of trouble and anguish,

From whence come [FN5]the young and old lion,

The viper and fiery flying serpent,

They will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses,

And their treasures upon the bunches of camels,

To a people that shall not profit them.

7 For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose;

Therefore [FN6]have I cried [FN7]concerning this, Their strength is to sit still.

8 Now go, write it before them in a table,

And note it in a book,

That it may be for [FN8]the time to come for ever and ever:

9 That this is a rebellious people,

Lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord:

10 Which say to the Seers, See not;

And to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things,

Speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:

11 Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path,

Cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.

12 Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel,

Because ye despise this word,

And trust in [FN9]oppression and perverseness,

And stay thereon:

13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall,

Swelling out in a high wall,

Whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant.

14 And he shall break it as the breaking of [FN10]the potters’ vessel,

That is broken in pieces; he shall not spare;

So that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd

To take fire from the hearth,

Or to take water withal out of the pit.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

Isaiah 30:11, The form מִנֵּי is found only here. The Masoretic note under the text is to be read “Two Nuns with Tseri.” מִנֵּי is formed after the analogy of the forms אַחֲרֵי,עֲלֵי, etc., and has the same meaning as the more common מִנִּי ( Isaiah 46:3).

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. In order to set forth right vividly the certainty of his prophecy, Isaiah tells the people that he has been commanded to mark his utterance concerning the Egyptian help as a particular massa, to which he now gives an emblematic title similar to what we find in chapters21, 22. The purport of this massa is this: The Jewish ambassadors drag rich treasures laboriously through the perilous wilderness to Egypt, in order to purchase the assistance of the Egyptians which will prove to be empty vapor; wherefore Jehovah Himself gives Egypt the name “Boaster, sitting still” ( Isaiah 30:6-7). This massa is to be preserved till the remotest future, as a witness for the truth of what was said by the Prophet ( Isaiah 30:8). In this way it must be made possible to establish objectively the truth of the prophetic testimony, as all sense for the truth is wanting in the people of Israel, for they are a lying race, that will not hear the law of Jehovah ( Isaiah 30:9). They show this by actually demanding of the prophets that they should not tell them the truth, but only what is agreeable, even when it is pure falsehood (verse10); and, further, by requiring that they (the prophets) should depart from the right way, and remove from their (the people’s) eyes the Holy One of Israel ( Isaiah 30:11). Because then they despise the word of the Lord, and rely only on violence at home and a perverse foreign policy ( Isaiah 30:12), this their sin shall be to them as a rent wall which bulges out and threatens every moment to fall ( Isaiah 30:13). And it will also fall, and its remains will through the violence of the fall become reduced to small pieces such as the sherds of a pot, none of which is large enough for one to carry in it fire from the hearth or water from the pit ( Isaiah 30:14).

2. The burden——and ever.

Isaiah 30:6-8. Very unjustly is the spuriousness of the inscription משׂא בהמות נגב maintained. In Isaiah 30:8 the Prophet is commanded to record it, i.e., the preceding brief, sharply marked saying in a particular tablet to serve as documentary evidence in the future. I understand this saying to be verses6,7. For they are essentially of the same import as verses1–5. But they reproduce this import in a quite peculiar, emblematic, mystical form. They bear, we might say, a decidedly prophetical character. Their purport is designedly set forth in this peculiar form for the purpose of being specially recorded. If now this brief saying is manifestly designed to have an independent existence, why should it not also have its own name, its particular inscription? The Prophet has recorded from13–23. a series of prophecies against foreign nations, to each of which he gives the title מַשָּׂא. He has, in particular, in chapter 21 brought together some rather short utterances under the title משׂא with an emblematical addition ( Isaiah 21:1; Isaiah 21:11; Isaiah 21:13). Might he not designedly insert here in the text such a brief emblematic משּׂא, as he was led to do so by the peculiar circumstances attending its origin? As he states, Isaiah 30:8, he received, after having orally delivered the words, the command also to make a particular record of them in writing. As now this recording formed an interlude to his oral teaching, and as he committed to writing all his oral teaching, why should he not record this interlude also? It could not possibly be passed over. Nor could he place it as an independent משׂא among the rest, for it would have been unintelligible in that connection. It is a rash conclusion to declare that the very expression משׂא is an evidence that the inscription did not proceed from Isaiah, because he never used the word. It is only in such prophecies as immediately refer to the theocracy that Isaiah does not use the word. It is with him a standing designation of prophecies concerning foreign nations. On this very account the word is here entirely appropriate. This only may be admitted, that when Isaiah orally delivered the prophecy contained in Isaiah 30:6-7, he did not then employ the words משׂא בה׳ נ׳. Possibly they may have been put as an inscription only to the writing mentioned in Isaiah 30:8. The purport of the massa is denoted by the words בהמות נגב. I believe that these words are ambiguous, and are purposely used in their ambiguity. The emblematic inscriptions Isaiah 21:1; Isaiah 21:11; Isaiah 21:13; Isaiah 22:1 are ambiguous. נגב is the south generally ( Joshua 15:4; Joshua 18:15; Joshua 18:19, et saepe), but also specially the south of Judah (comp. on Isaiah 21:1). It is clear that the word cannot be taken here in the latter sense. For although the ambassadors on the way to Egypt crossed the south of Judah, they went also far beyond it. They made a journey into the south, into southern lands in general, and to these Egypt, the end of their journey, belongs. The בחמות נגב are therefore beasts which belong to the south generally. As then the Prophet above all means to warn against Egypt, must not also an Egyptian beast belong to these בְּהֵּמוֹת נגב? In fact בהמות recalls to mind the בְּהֵּמוֹת, Job 40:15, the hippopotamus, in Egyptian probably p-ehe-mou, from which there is formed in Hebrew בְּהֵמוֹת resembling the plural of בְּהֵמָה (Comp. Lepsius in Herz.R-Enc, I, p141), which could the more easily happen, since the Egyptian word signifies bos aquae, as the animal is called among the Arabians gamûs el-bahr, the river buffalo, and among the Italians bomarino. Comp. Herod. II:71. But the Prophet does not think of the behemoth only. He has certainly also in his eye the beasts going to the south, bearing the treasures of Judah. Yea, I believe that the editors of Drechsler’sIsaiah (II. p65, note) are perfectly right, when they say that we are to regard also as a subject of the oracle “the Magnates of Judah sent to Egypt, who more devoid of knowledge than ox and ass, belong to the beasts of burden.” This kind of irony corresponds to the manner of Isaiah, and suits the context well. For not the innocent beasts, but those fools and untrustworthy Egypt must be regarded as the objects of the divine massa. [The beasts of the south are simply the asses and camels that bear the treasures to Egypt—D. M.]. בארץ צ׳ וצ׳ is to be connected with לביא .ישׂאן to מעופף is parenthetical. The expressions צָדָה (angustiae) and צוּקָה (coarctatio) occur also in the verse, Isaiah 8:22; yet they are found combined as here only in Proverbs 1:27.—לביא comp. on Isaiah 5:29. לַיִשׁ is found combined with לביא only here, and occurs besides only in two other places: Job 4:22; Proverbs 30:30. מֵהֶם refers to ארץ, there being substituted for this term in the singular the idea of the many separate localities from which such beasts may come. We, who are more accustomed to mark the place where, than the place whence anything appears (comp. e.g.מֵעַל and מִתַּחַת לָרָקִיעַ, Genesis 1:7), can fitly render “wherein are lioness and lion.” אֶפְעֶהvipera, regulus, besides here Isaiah 59:5; Job 20:16. שׂרף מעופף comp. on Isaiah 14:29. Observe the irony: through so dangerous a country the grandees of Judah drag their treasures, in order to purchase a help which will leave them in the lurch. עירים (Kethibh עֲוָרִים) comp. Isaiah 30:24; Genesis 32:16; Judges 10:4; Judges 12:14. The plural of חַיִל occurs besides only in the signification “forces, bands of warriors,” and is mostly preceded by גִבֹּרֵי or שָׂרֵי ( 1 Chronicles 7:5; 1 Chronicles 7:7; 1 Chronicles 7:11; 1 Chronicles 7:40; Jeremiah 40:7; Jeremiah 40:13; Jeremiah 41:11, et saepe). Only in Ecclesiastes 10:10 does the word stand in the general signification “vires.דַּבֶּשֶׁת hump, bunch, is ἄπ. λεγ. But Egypt will help vapor and emptiness (הבל וריק only here) i.e., the result of its assistance will be nothing but empty vapor, הבל וריק are therefore not to be taken as adverbs (which they can indeed be, comp. Psalm 73:13; Job 21:34; Job 35:16, et saepe), but as accusatives of the object depending on an idea of making, effecting latent in עזר (comp. Isaiah 19:21; Exodus 10:26; Job 6:4; Zechariah 7:5). The Lord gives Egypt also a characteristic name, as it were, to serve as a warning that no one may rely on this deceitful help to his own detriment. He names Egypt רהב הם שׁבת. Here, first of all, it appears to me that the Prophet chose this expression with reference to a place in Job. We read, Job 9:13, in a context which treats of the might and majesty of the supreme God: “Eloah turns not His anger, under Him bow themselves עֹזְרֵי רַהַב.” Whatever the author of the book of Job may have understood by these עזרי רהב, at all events in view of Isaiah’s unquestionable acquaintance with the book of Job, and of his frequent references to it, it is certainly not to be regarded as accidental that he applies to Egypt the two words עזר and רהב which stand together in that remarkable passage in Job which we own to be for us very obscure—רהב (from רָהַבtumultuari, strepere3:5; Proverbs 6:3; Psalm 138:3; Song of Solomon 6:5) is ferocia, superbia, and is used poetically to designate a huge aquatic animal ( Job 26:12; Isaiah 51:9) which is conceived of as symbol of Egypt; hence רַהַב occurs simply as symbolical name of Egypt: Psalm 87:4; Psalm 89:11. רהב is then also here a designation of Egypt in the sense of ferocia, superbia, haughtiness, boasting. The words הם שׁבת are a closer specification, involving at the same time an antithesis. We best fill up the ellipsis by supplying אֲשֶׁר before הֵם, as hereby the abruptness of the construction is avoided. Cases such as עֵמֶם הַשִּׂדּים הוּא יָם הֵמֶּלַח,בֶּלע הִיא־צֹעַר, Genesis 14:2-3 are not analogous; as in them an unknown name is explained by one that is known. But in our passage a new essential antithetic element is to be added to the first name; the whole name is to be marked as consisting of two parts in contrast to one another: Boasting that is at the same time sitting still. This thought is best expressed in German [and English] by the total omission of the pronoun, Boasting—sitting still.

[“Those who approve of our common rendering, Their strength is to sit still, consider the words as designed to teach that the true strength and security of the Jews consisted in the exercise of quiet and patient confidence in God, assured that He would deliver them in His own way. To justify such rendering, however, the first two words must be joined, רָהְבִהֶם. But against this construction there lie two objections. First, the pronominal suffix could not with propriety be referred to any antecedent but Egypt at the beginning of the verse. Secondly, the noun רַהַב never occurs with the acceptation strength, but always signifies pride, insolence, rage.” Henderson. If we only keep in mind, as a Hebrew would do, the significance of the name Rahab as meaning arrogance, we shall hardly find a happier translation of this expression than that given by Lowth,Rahab the Inactive.—D. M.]. The same explanation is to be given of the plural הֵם as of מֵהֻם in Isaiah 30:6. Drechsler is disposed, after the example of Cocceius and Vitringa, to derive שֶבֶת from שָׁבַתdesinere. But. not to mention that such a derivative שֶׁבֶת does not occur (for in Genesis 21:19; Proverbs 20:3שֶׁבֶת is certainly the infin. of יָשַׁב), the notion of ceasing, of doing nothing more is here quite unsuitable. The context requires the idea of inability to do anything, not withstanding great noise with words and gestures. The Prophet, after having hitherto delivered his prophecy orally, received the command also to write it down immediately. And this should be done אִתָּםi.e., before their (the people’s) eyes ( Isaiah 59:12; Job 12:3 et saepe). For it was to be established that the Prophet had predicted the fruitlessness of the effort to obtain aid from Egypt, in order that, when this should be demonstrated by fact, the omniscience of Jehovah, and the trustworthiness of His servant as a Prophet, might appear indubitable. It appears to me that בּוֹא intimates that the Prophet could not do the writing on the spot where he was speaking, but must repair to a place where he would find the materials necessary for writing. לוּחַ and סֵפֶר differ only rhetorically in the parallelism. For, in fact, the word was to be not twice, but only once, written down. It is not necessary to read לְעֵד for לָעַד Observe the climax in the three specifications of time.

3. That this is a——of the pit.

Isaiah 30:9-14. The writing down which was commanded would not be needful, if there were alive in the people a mind for the truth and for what was really conducive to their welfare. But as they now refuse to hear the warning voice of truth, so they would also hereafter deny that they had been warned, if it could not be proved to them, as we say, on black and white. The Prophet, therefore, gives a reason for what he had said, Isaiah 30:6-8, by the words כי עם מרי וגו׳ Isaiah 30:9 sqq. The expression עַם מְרִי is found only here in Isaiah. He had, perhaps, Numbers 17:25 [E. V. Numbers 17:10] in view, where the command is given that the rod of Aaron should be kept כֶּחָשׁ ·לְאיֹת לִבְנֵי־מֶרִֽי is found only here. So corrupt are the people that they actually dare to attempt to prescribe to the Prophets what they ought, and what they ought not to prophesy, as if the true Prophet could see anything else than what Jehovah shows him (comp. the demand made upon the Prophet Micaiah, the son of Imlah, and his answer to it, 1 Kings 22:13-14, also the answer of Balaam Numbers 22:38, sqq.). The distinction between וֹאִים and חֹזִים has merely a rhetorical significance; for there is no real difference between them (comp. Isaiah 29:10 and 1 Samuel 9:9). וֹאֶה occurs in this signification in Isaiah only here. These people would have best liked entirely to forbid the Prophets of Jehovah to see anything as Prophets. But where this failed, they tried to induce them at least to accommodate their visions to the wishes of the public. They said to them: see not right things (the truth Isaiah 26:10; Isaiah 59:14) for us (dat. commodi), speak unto us what is agreeable (properly smooth, going smoothly on, Psalm 12:3-4, only here in Isaiah), and see deceptions (מהתלותἄπ. λεγ., comp. הֲתֻלִּים, Job 17:3 and Hiph. הֵתֵל, Genesis 31:7; Judges 16:10 et saepe). Yea, they proceed quite consistently still further; they call upon the Prophets to turn aside altogether from the right way, that Isaiah, to forsake the Lord Himself, and to remove Him, the Holy One of Israel (on Isaiah 29:19) entirely from the face of the people. They thus require that the Prophets should not only apostatize to idolatry, but even take up an offensive attitude against the Lord.הִשְׁבִּית ( Isaiah 13:11; Isaiah 16:10; Isaiah 21:2) is used of the abolition of idolatrous institutions, e.g., 2 Kings 23:5. This wicked conduct cannot remain unpunished. Because they thus contemptuously reject (מאם with בְּ comp. Isaiah 7:15 sq.; Isaiah 33:15; comp. Amos 2:4) the warning word of the Lord, which Isaiah announced to them respecting their Egyptian policy, and hope for their deliverance by exacting by violence the money needed to purchase the aid of Egypt ( Isaiah 30:6, comp. 2 Kings 15:20), and by sinful reliance on the help of the heathen (נָלוֹז part. Niph, perversum, pravum, only here in Isaiah, besides only in the Proverbs of Solomon Proverbs 2:14; Proverbs 3:32; Proverbs 14:2 comp. Proverbs 3:21; Proverbs 4:21), this godless procedure of theirs shall be to them the precursor of certain destruction. As the breach in a wall and its bulging out is the sure precursor of its fall, (comp. Psalm 62:4), so this Egyptian alliance shall be a symptom, not of the deliverance, but of the ruin of Judah. פֶּרֶץ (besides only Isaiah 58:2) is manifestly not simply the mere rent, but that which is rent or burst in pieces. A פּרץ נפל is a part of a wall that has burst asunder, which is falling, i.e., about to fall. It is also נִבְעֶה (tumescens, בָּעָה to swell up, boil up, Isaiah 64:1, to desire eagerly Isaiah 21:12; except in Isaiah the word occurs only Obadiah 1:6) in a high wall, the higher the wall, the more dangerous the breach. פתאם לפתע comp. Isaiah 29:5. The suffix in שִׁבְרָהּ refers to חוֹמָה. When we read in the next verse וּשְׁבָרָהּ, Jehovah is evidently the subject, and the object is the wall, by which Judah is to be understood—a rapid transition from the image to the thing signified, which is here the less surprising as another image is immediately employed in what follows. That the subject of שְׁבָרָהּ must be a person, clearly appears from the nature of the figure, as it is more closely defined by the following words כתות לא יחמל. For it is not a potter’s vessel that breaks of itself that is spoken of, but. One which is intentionally (לא יחמל) broken in pieces (כתות is therefore the nearer specification of שֵׁבֶר: the transition from the infinitive to the finite verb in לא יחמל occurs frequently, and is here rendered necessary especially by the negation). מְכִתָּהcontusio, then as the abstract for the concrete, that which is broken in pieces, the fragments, חָתָהcapere, to fetch, besides here only Psalm 52:7; Proverbs 4:27; Proverbs 17:10; Proverbs 25:22. יָקוּד (the verb יָקַד in Isaiah only Isaiah 10:16; Isaiah 65:5 and here), is that which is kindled, burning, the glowing fire. חָשַׂף is properly nudare, retegere. But while we take off the surface, we, as it were, uncover the fluid. עֵרָה, nudavit, is likewise used of pouring out, because the bottom of the vessel is thereby uncovered—( Genesis 24:20; 2 Chronicles 24:11; Isaiah 53:12). חָשַׂף occurs further in Isaiah 20:4; Isaiah 47:2; Isaiah 52:10. גֶּבֶא is a cavity, a deep place in the earth, only here in Isaiah (comp. Ezekiel 47:11). That the Prophet alludes here to the exile is evident. But the passage did not receive its complete fulfilment till the second, or Roman exile.

Footnotes:

FN#4 - through a land of trouble.

FN#5 - lioness and lion.

FN#6 - I call it; Boaster that sits still.

FN#7 - Or, to her.

FN#8 - Heb. the latter day.

FN#9 - Or, fraud.

FN#10 - Heb. the bottle of potters.


Verses 15-18

3. THE PRESUMPTUOUS AND THE WELL-FOUNDED CONFIDENCE

Isaiah 30:15-18

15 For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel;

In returning and rest shall ye be saved:

In quietness and in confidence shall he your strength:

And ye would not.

16 But ye said, No; for we will [FN11]flee upon horses;

Therefore shall ye flee:

And, We will ride upon the swift;

Therefore shall they that pursue you be swift.

17 One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one;

At the rebuke of five shall ye flee:

Till ye be left as a [FN12] [FN13]beacon upon the top of a mountain,

And as an ensign on an hill.

18 And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you,

And therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you:

For the Lord is a God of judgment:

Blessed are all they that wait for him.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. That the way of deliverance pursued by Israel was wrong, appears not only from its roots ( Isaiah 30:9-11) and from its fruit ( Isaiah 30:12-14), but also from setting over against it that which is declared by Jehovah to be alone salutary: Returning and rest in Him; quiet, patient trust in Him who only is strong and makes strong. But Israel declined to take this latter way ( Isaiah 30:15). According to their notion, only Egypt’s horses could help them. But these horses are to serve only for precipitate flight. Runners, too, there shall be, but at the disposal of the pursuers of fleeing Israel ( Isaiah 30:16). A great number of Israelites will flee from a petty band of enemies, and Israel’s whole might will be reduced to but a small remnant, that might be compared with a single pine or a solitary banner on a mountain-height ( Isaiah 30:17). And the final consequence will be that the Lord, as He is a God who exercises justice, must delay His help, which eventually will not be withheld. Then will it appear that only they are, to be pronounced happy who hope on the Lord ( Isaiah 30:18). [I understand the purport of Isaiah 30:18 differently. See exegetical and critical remarks on it.—D. M.]

2. Isaiah 30:15-18. For thus saith——wait for him.—שׁוּבָה [ἅπ. λεγ.) is certainly not quickening, vivificatio, but returning. For the question here relates to what Israel was bound to do. And שוּב is that very significant leading term in the prophecy of Isaiah, and especially in that of Jeremiah, which we have already ( Isaiah 1:27) taken notice of, and have particularly remarked in the name שׁאר ישׁוב (comp. on Isaiah 7:3). נחת from נוּחַ, to rest (comp. Isaiah 30:30, et saepe), as רַחַת, Isaiah 30:24, from רוּחַ, marks, as it were, the point where the שׁוּבָה ends. For Israel has to return to the Lord and then rest in the Lord (comp. “Syria resteth on Ephraim,” Isaiah 7:2). This meaning seems to me more appropriate than that of “rest from one’s own self-confiding endeavor” (Del.). [Delitzsch appears to me to set forth the exact idea intended by נחת. It is hard to assume an ellipsis of the words “in the Lord” after rest.But the supplement proposed by Delitzsch is naturally suggested by the context.—D. M.]—השׁקט includes the idea of abstaining from making one’s self outwardly busy, as well as that of inward composure. Isaiah called הַשְׁקֵט ( Isaiah 7:4) to Ahaz, who was seeking safety in external military and political measures. בטחה (ἅπ. λεγ.) forms a fine counterpart to השׁקט: the true repose rests on the confidence which casts every concern on the Lord (comp. Isaiah 32:17, where also השׁקט and בטח stand together. In this union of self-restraint and of yielding one’s self to the Lord would consist Israel’s strength (גבורה, Isaiah 3:25; Isaiah 11:2; Isaiah 28:6; Isaiah 30:15; Isaiah 33:13; Isaiah 36:5; in the second part only the plural גְּבוּרוֹת63:15, occurs). But alas! Israel refuses to make this self-surrender to the Lord ( Isaiah 30:9). The people say rather: על סום ננום ( Isaiah 30:16). The Vulgate translates: ad equos fugiemus, as in Isaiah 10:3. But it is apparent that the rhyme between נוּם and סוּם is designed; and for the sake of the rhyme a modification of the meaning of נוּם is allowable. The following words—we will ride upon the swift—make clear the thought which the Prophet desired to express by על סום נ׳. I therefore take נום, as many modern interpreters do, in the sense of celeriter ferri, festinare (comp. נוּע,נוּץ, in German fliehen and fliegen [in English to flee and to fly). If the clause signified “on horses will we flee” (Drechsler), then it must be said in opposition: therefore shall ye flee on foot. We should then expect a word which would indicate slow flight. But in using this language the Israelites were thinking of meeting the enemy on swift horses. The appropriate antithetic statement which the Prophet makes is: no, horses will serve you only for flight. Parallel to “we will hasten upon horses” is the clause על־קל נרכב. Only here is קל, celer, κέλης (comp. Isaiah 5:26; Isaiah 18:2; Isaiah 19:1) used of the swift horse. The Israelites were warned in the Law against the horses of Egypt ( Deuteronomy 17:16; comp. 1 Kings 10:25; 1 Kings 10:28), and our Prophet utters soon after ( Isaiah 31:1; Isaiah 31:3) in plain words the same blame which we find here. [Beside the play of words in נוּם,סוּם and תְּנוּסוּן, that in קַל and יִקַּלּוּ should not be overlooked.—D. M.] Isaiah 30:17 depicts the disgraceful haste and senselessness of their flight in terms that evidently allude to passages in the Law (comp. Leviticus 26:17; and especially Deuteronomy 32:30). [Lowth supposes that after חֲמִשָׁח there stood originally רבבה, which has dropped out of the text. But the connection with the following words would be disturbed by this proposed emendation: “at the rebuke of five shall ye flee till ye be left,” etc.Henderson properly quotes the censure of Kocher on such intermeddling with the sacred text: Quin tandem aliquando suae sibi viae certum vatem ire sinentes nostros errores corrigimus?—D.M.] This wasting, destructive flight will last till there remains of Israel only a small remnant. The smallness of this remnant is set forth by the Prophet under a double image. He compares it first with a single pine (תֹּרֶן=אֹרֶן44:14, originally the pine, then the mast made out of it, Isaiah 33:23; Ezekiel 27:5), on a high mountain, which is all that remains of a thick wood; and then with a solitary signal-pole ( Numbers 21:8 sq.; Isaiah 5:26; Isaiah 11:10; Isaiah 11:12, el saepe) set up on a bare height ( Isaiah 13:2). The choice of this second image was perhaps determined by the resemblance in sound between נֵם and נוּם Isaiah 30:18 describes the second and last effect of the לא אביתם in Isaiah 30:15. The first was destruction and dispersion, the second is the delay in God’s showing favor [?] חִכָּה with לְ to wait for something, Psalm 106:13; Job 3:21; Isaiah 8:17; Isaiah 64:3. The sense of delaying lies in this word in 2 Kings 7:9; 2 Kings 9:3. This sense, too, is not foreign to the passage, Job 32:4. The parallelism indicates that the words ירום לרחמכם must have an analogous sense. I understand רוּם here with Rashi (comp. Gesen.Thes. p1274) in the sense of יְתְרַהֵק, he is high, i. e., gone away upwards, because he dwells on high. He takes a high, i.e., retired, distant position in relation to pitying you (comp. מרום משׁפטיך, Psalm 10:5). It must be admitted that we should expect מֵרַחֶמְכֶם instead of לְר׳. The matter is still dubious. Perhaps we should read יָדוֹם or יִדּוֹם (with Houbigant, Lowth, Ewald, Cheyne, and some Codices). That God delays in granting deliverance, is according to His justice. He must punish you. Divine justice requires this. If He should only show mercy, this would not be good for the sinner himself ( Isaiah 26:10). It is therefore on the ground of the declarations Exodus 34:6-7; Numbers 14:18 said of him [rather the Lord Himself says]: “I will not make a full end of thee; but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished” ( Jeremiah 30:11; Jeremiah 46:28). Yet from this correction in measure, which satisfies justice and love, there is a deliverance to the enjoyment of the full light of salvation for those who wait on the Lord in faith. This thought forms the transition to the second part of the chapter, which is of a consolatory character. The last clause of Isaiah 30:18 recalls to mind the closing words of the second Psalm. [Must we then give up using the hallowed phrase: “The Lord waiteth to be gracious” as an encouragement to come to Him, and in deference to just criticism regard these words as rather a threatening that the Lord will delay to show favor? Though one or two instances of the rare use of חכה in the sense of delaying may be adduced, yet the word more naturally marks a tending or inclining to the object of waiting. Here we have חכה followed by לְ, which forces us to give the word a sense the very opposite of deferring or delaying. Dr. Naegelsbach confesses the unsatisfactoriness of the explanation which must be given to the following parallel clause, if the first clause of the verse is to be understood of Jehovah delaying to be gracious. But, it may be asked, how is לָכֵן at the beginning of the verse to be explained, if it does not contain a threatening? I connect “therefore” with the miserable condition of Israel described in the preceding verse. This misery awakens the divine compassion. Therefore the Lord “repents Himself for His servants when He seeth that their power is gone,” Deuteronomy 32:36. He seeks opportunity to relieve the distressed because “He delighteth in mercy.” And “He is exalted above the heavens,” not to be remote, not to withdraw Himself and to withhold aid, but that “His beloved may be delivered,” Psalm 108:5-6. Need I add that it is in accordance with Scripture to represent the Lord as displaying His righteousness when He fulfils His promise to show mercy, and is faithful in keeping His gracious covenant? See how in the next, the 19 th, verse the Prophet illustrates what he means by the Lord waiting that He may be gracious to Israel, when He declares “He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry.”—D. M.]

Footnotes:

FN#11 - hasten.

FN#12 - Or, a tree bereft of branches: Or, a mast.

FN#13 - a pine.


Verses 19-26

4. THE SANCTIFICATION AND SALVATION OF THE PEOPLE

Isaiah 30:19-26

19 For [FN14]the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem:

Thou shalt weep no more:

He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry;

When he shall hear it, he will answer thee.

20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of [FN15]affliction,

Yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more,

But thine eyes shall see thy teachers:

21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying,

This is the way, walk ye in it,

When ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

22 Ye shall defile also the covering of [FN16]thy graven images of silver,

And the ornament of thy molten images of gold:

Thou shalt [FN17]cast them away as a menstruous cloth;

Thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence.

23 Then shall he give the rain of thy seed,

That thou shalt sow the ground withal;

And bread of the increase of the earth,

And it shall be [FN18]fat and plenteous:

In that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures.

24 The oxen likewise and the young asses that ear the ground

Shall eat [FN19][FN20]clean provender,

Which hath been winnowed with the [FN21]shovel and with the fan.

25 And there shall be upon every high mountain and upon every [FN22]high hill,

Rivers and streams of waters

In the day of the great slaughter,

When the towers fall.

26 Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun,

And the light of the sun shall be seven-fold,

As the light of seven days,

In the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people,

And healeth the stroke of their wound.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

Isaiah 30:19. יָחְנְךָ for יְחָנְךָ as Genesis 43:29. Comp. Olshausen, Gr., § 243, a. כְּ before שׁמעתו marks coincidence. Comp. Genesis 24:30; Genesis 34:7; Genesis 39:15, et saepe. The Infinitive שְׁמֹעַ with the feminine ending is found only here.

Isaiah 30:20. מַים is in the absolute state instead of the construct. [On this kind of apposition the note in Delitzsch’s Commentary in loco may be consulted.—D. M.]. כָּנַף occurs as a verb only here. There is no reason apparent why this word should not be the root of כָּנָף covering, wing, and accordingly signify to cover, to hide, in the Niphal to hide one’s-self. The singular is used because יכנף is the prefixed predicate.

Isaiah 30:21. תאמינו for תֵּימִינוּ (comp. Ewald, (Gr., § 122, e). This form occurs only here.

[דָוהָ is abbreviation for כְּלִי דָוהָ. Del.].

Isaiah 30:23. מקניך could be in the singular. But forms such as מִקְנַי Exodus 17:3; Numbers 20:19, show that the word is also actually used in the plural. ירעה is therefore singular as יכנף in Isaiah 30:20. (See remark on the latter place).

Isaiah 30:24. זֹרֶרּ is either Pual part. for מְזֹרֶה, or Part. Kal as a verbal form in which the subject is implied (comp. Isaiah 2:9; Isaiah 24:2; Isaiah 29:8).

Isaiah 30:26. Lowth, Gesenius, Hitzig, Hendewerk and Knobel regard the words כאור שׁבעת הימים as a gloss because they are wanting in the LXX. and form a needless epexegesis which disturbs the parallelism. But their absence in the LXX. is no reason for treating them as an interpolation. They are found in the Targum, in the Syriac and in Jerome. There is here no fixed metre. We can neither affirm that the verse consists of four members, nor that a definite length is required for each line. And in regard to the sense, the epexegesis is not so needless. For who is not sensible that the שבעתים is set more vividly before us by the addition that follows?

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. The Prophet, after preparing the way by Isaiah 30:18, looks into the distant future. It presents itself to him as a blessed time. He gives a general picture of it in colors borrowed from the present. We call it a general picture, because it will not be realized in a fixed time; but it comprehends as in a frame what will take place for the good of the people from the proximate till the most remote future. But this picture of the future is painted with colors of the present, for the circumstances of the present supply the images under which the Prophet represents the blessings of the future. He assumes that there will always be a people dwelling in Zion, i.e., Jerusalem. This people will not always have to weep; a time will come when its requests will be speedily answered ( Isaiah 30:19). They will not indeed be without bread of distress and water of tribulation in the future, but their eyes will also be constantly able to see the teachers who will show them the way out of distress ( Isaiah 30:20); and the ears of the people will hearken every moment to the voice which will call from behind the direction as to the way they should go ( Isaiah 30:21). Then will the people put away the abominations of idolatry ( Isaiah 30:22). And the Lord will grant rain and glorious fruit to nourish men and cattle ( Isaiah 30:23-24). Springs of water, too, will gush forth on the high mountains in the time when the Lord by rivers of blood has made this possible ( Isaiah 30:25). The light of sun and moon will shine many times brighter than now, in that time when the Lord shall have healed the wounds of His people ( Isaiah 30:26).

2. For the people——Get thee hence.

Isaiah 30:19-22. The cheering prospect of which Isaiah 30:18 permitted a view, is now fully and completely unfolded. First of all, the Prophet promises that in Zion—Jerusalem a people will always dwell, i.e., the holy city will never like the world-city become a desert forsaken by men ( Isaiah 13:19 sqq.; Isaiah 25:2; Jeremiah 50:13 et saepe). בירושׁלם is added for nearer explanation, and as if to prevent a misunderstanding. If the Prophet had written only Zion, it might have been supposed that he speaks of the kingdom whose proper centre was Zion, the seat of the house of David (comp. Psalm 2:6; Psalm 110:2 et saepe). By the addition “Jerusalem” the Prophet renders it impossible to mistake that he means the city. And in fact Jerusalem has never ceased to be inhabited, whereby it is distinguished from the world-cities Babylon and Nineveh, which have lain desolate for thousands of years. We may not take עַם as a vocative, though in that case תבכה would fitly follow; but the first clause would then have no meaning. The sudden change of person, which occurs frequently in this paragraph, should not cause surprise. Comp. Isaiah 30:20לָכֶם, Isaiah 30:21לְכוּ,אָזְנֶיךָ, ver22כַּסְפֶֽךָ טִמֵּאתֶם. The infinitive absolute בּכָוֹ has evidently the force that the weeping will not be long continued, as the Lord will speedily have mercy. In the future to which the look of the Prophet is directed, Israel will not be without tribulation. But this tribulation the Prophet comprises in the expression bread of distress, water of affliction.לֶחֶם צַר is found only here. 1 Kings 22:27; 2 Chronicles 18:26 we find לחם לחץ ומים לחץ to designate the meagre fare of prisoners. As the Prophet according to what follows (comp. especially Isaiah 30:26) has the entire future in his eye, we cannot refer the expressions “bread of distress and water of affliction” merely to the siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrians ( Isaiah 29:3 sqq.). But, although that siege stands in the fore-ground of the Prophet’s field of vision, we have to look upon that siege with its bread of distress and its water of affliction only as a type and representative of all the affliction which Israel must endure in the future. And if this affliction is here alluded to only in sparing terms, this is owing to the character of this second part of our prophecy, in which the threatening almost disappears behind the promise. But Israel will bear affliction quite otherwise than formerly. Hitherto they displayed in times of need their rage against the Prophets of the Lord. These were called those who trouble Israel ( 1 Kings 18:17), were treated as ring leaders of sedition ( Amos 7:10), and traitors to their country ( Jeremiah 38:4 sqq.); all misery was attributed to the forsaking of the worship of idols owing to their urgent effort ( Jeremiah 44:16 sqq.). Then the Prophets were persecuted, and must conceal themselves ( Matthew 23:37; Jeremiah 36:26). This will happen henceforth no more. But Jerusalem will, on the contrary, in affliction direct its eyes to the teachers in order to follow them; it will open its ears to the word of the Lord which the servants of God, who are conceived as commanders marching behind a procession, will call to it, and will direct its steps exactly according to their commands.

[“Their teachers were to be before them, but when they declined from the right way, their backs would be turned to them, consequently, the warning voice would be heard behind them. The first and last clauses of the verse closely cohere.”—Henderson. D. M.]. This obedience to the word of Jehovah implies that they will abandon idols. This will be done while they treat the silver and golden images, without (see command Deuteronomy 7:25) regard to the precious metal, as impure things, yea, cast them away as objects of abhorrence (comp. Isaiah 2:20). טִמֵּא as 2 Kings 23:8; 2 Kings 23:10; 2 Kings 23:16 (only here in Isaiah). צפוי is the metal covering of statues ( Deuteronomy 17:3-4; Exodus 38:7; Exodus 38:19) אפדה is found besides only in Exodus 28:8; Exodus 39:5 in the expression הֵשֶׁב אֲפֻדָּה, a part of the priest’s dress. [“The word is the feminine of אֵפוֹד: but here, as parallel with צפוי, it signifies a covering or plating over the body of an image.”—Henderson]. מַסֵּכָה ( Isaiah 30:1) fusio, fusura, fusile, a molten image ( Exodus 32:4; Exodus 32:8 et saepe, further in Isaiah only Isaiah 42:17). The expression תזרםthou shalt scatter them, recalls Exodus 32:20. צֵא is a strong expression (comp. 2 Samuel 16:7). The singular לוֹ here involves the notion of something contemptible: Get out! thou wilt say to the trash.

3. Then shall he give——their wound.

[Instead of the E. V, the stroke of their wound, we should rather render the wound of their stroke. It is doubtful whether the suffix in מכתו should be referred to עַם or יהוה—D. M.].

Footnotes:

FN#14 - a people.

FN#15 - Or, oppression.

FN#16 - Heb. the graven images of thy silver.

FN#17 - Heb. scatter.

FN#18 - full of sap and fat.

FN#19 - Or, savory. Heb. leavened.

FN#20 - salted.

FN#21 - fan and fork.

FN#22 - Heb. lifted up.


Verses 27-33

5. THE MUSIC OF THE WORLD’S JUDGMENT

Isaiah 30:27-33

27 Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from far,

Burning with his anger, [FN23]and the burden thereof Isaiah 24 heavy;

His lips are full of indignation,

And his tongue as a devouring fire:

28 And his breath, as an overflowing stream,

Shall reach to the midst of the neck,

To sift the nations with the sieve of vanity:

And there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people,

Causing them to err.

29 Ye shall have a Song of Solomon, as in the night

When a holy solemnity is kept;

And gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe

To come into the mountain of the Lord,

To the [FN25]mighty One of Israel.

30 And the Lord shall cause [FN26]his glorious voice to be heard,

And shall show the lighting down of his arm,

With the indignation of his anger,

And with the flame of a devouring fire,

With scattering, and tempest, and hailstones.

31 For through the voice of the Lord

Shall the Assyrian be beaten down,

[FN27]Which smote with a rod.

32 And [FN28][FN29]in every place where the grounded staff shall pass,

Which the Lord shall [FN30]lay upon him,

It shall be with tabrets and harps;

And in battles of shaking will he fight [FN31]with it.

33 For [FN32]Tophet is ordained [FN33]of old;

Yea, for the king it is prepared;

He hath made it deep, and large,

The pile thereof is fire and much wood;

The breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone,

Doth kindle it.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

Isaiah 30:28. הֲנָפָה for (הָנִיף) Isaiah 10:15 is a verbal noun used as an infinitive. Comp. Esther 2:18.

Isaiah 30:32. Instead of בָּהּ which we must refer to the land of Assyria, the K’ri has the preferable reading בָּם.

Isaiah 30:33. The reading of the K’ri היא has probably arisen through the attempt to produce a conformity with the feminine suffix in מְדֻרָתָהּ .

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. The Prophet sees the Lord appear with all His attributes as Judges, and the nations brought to Him as beasts compelled by the bridle to come to be destroyed ( Isaiah 30:27-28). Meanwhile Israel’s song is heard as the rejoicing at a festival ( Isaiah 30:29). Then Jehovah’s majestic voice sounds forth, and His arm is seen to descend to strike ( Isaiah 30:30). It is Assyria that stands trembling before Him and receives the strokes ( Isaiah 30:31), and every stroke is inflicted with the music of tabrets and harps, to which the sound of the heavy blows forms as it were the accompaniment ( Isaiah 30:32). This is the immolation of Assyria, as we see from the broad and deep place of burning which is prepared with a huge pyre, which the breath of the Lord, as a brook of burning brimstone, will kindle in order to consume the slaughtered victim Assyria, i. e., the worldly power ( Isaiah 30:33).

2. Behold the name—to err. Isaiah 30:27-28. The name of Jehovah that comes from far to judgment is not a mere word, nor does it stand simply for God Himself, but it is a manifestation of Deity in which He reveals His holy and righteous nature and His almighty majesty for the purpose of judgment. We have here to refer to Exodus 23:21, where the Lord declares of His angel: my name is in him;—and to all those places where it is said that the name of Jehovah dwells in His holy temple; and, lastly, to places such as Psalm 75:2 where we read “Thy name is near.” The name of Jehovah that comes to judgment is a person. It is He who is the Agent in every revelation of the Godhead, and accordingly He to whom the Father has committed all judgment ( John 5:22; Acts 17:31; Romans 14:10; et saepe). The name of God comes from far, because He comes from heaven ( Psalm 138:6). But as far as the eye can reach He is seen. His appearance is like a tempest. בער אפִו recalls Psalm 2:12. וכבד משׂאה supply ( הָיָה .משׂאה) is lifting up, and according to Judges 20:38 of smoke. It occurs only here. זַעַם foam, foaming rage, ( Isaiah 10:5; Isaiah 10:25; Isaiah 13:5; Isaiah 26:20). אשׁ אכלת occurs Exodus 24:17; Deuteronomy 4:24; Deuteronomy 9:3; hence in Joel 2:5 and Isaiah 29:6; Isaiah 30:27; Isaiah 30:30; Isaiah 33:14. It has been rightly remarked that two images—that of a tempest and that of a raging man—are here blended. The Lord moves along in His wrath like an overflowing brook which divides (יחצה) the man who has fallen into it into two unequal parts, only the smaller appearing above the water ( Isaiah 8:8). He sifts the people with the sieve (נָפָהἅπ. λεγ.) of emptiness,i. e., a sieve Which lets the light, useless grain fall through it. [This explanation is not natural. The sieve of vanity, or emptiness, or destruction is Song of Solomon -called as marking the result of the sifting, a reduction to nothingness.—D. M.]. The Lord comes as Judge. The nations are brought to Him against their will. A bridle is put into their jaws which compels them to go from the way which they intended רסן מתעה the expression only here, התעה in Isaiah 3:12; Isaiah 9:15; Isaiah 19:13 sq.: Isaiah 63:17).

3. Ye shall have a song—Israel. Isaiah 30:29. The Prophet marks by the article before שִׁיר the customary solemn festal song. לָכֶם is the dat. commodi. The night when the festival is kept or consecrated is the night from the fourteenth to the fifteenth of the month Nisan, the night in which the paschal lamb was eaten amid solemn songs; for this was the only festival which was celebrated at night. On the fifteenth the feast of unleavened bread began, to which the passover served as an introductory dedication. Israel’s preservation in the night when the destroying angel smote the host of Sennacherib ( Isaiah 37:36 sqq.) can be regarded as one, but not the only one, of the events which Isaiah had here in his eye. The Prophet comprehends in the section Isaiah 30:27-33, all that is future, as he had done in the parallel section Isaiah 30:19-26. הִתֲקַדֵּשׁ is vox solemnis for the consecration preparatory to the festival ( Exodus 19:22; Numbers 11:18; Joshua 3:5; Joshua 7:13 et saepe). But in those places the people or the priests are the subject. Here it is the festival. The expression is a metonymy, the festival being put for those who celebrate it. חָגκατ̓ ἐζοχήν is elsewhere the feast of tabernacles. Here the festival is definitely marked as that of the passover by לֵיל. Beside the solemnity celebrated at night with Song of Solomon, the Prophet makes mention in the second part of the verse of another such solemnity happening by day. He also employs the manifold festal processions which with accompaniment of song and music moved to the temple, as types of the joy granted to Israel in distinction from the heathen. כְּשִׂמְהַֹת הַֹלֵךְ = כַּהֹלֵךְ comp. Isaiah 5:29; Isaiah 10:10; Isaiah 13:4, et saepe.חָלִיל5:12; בְּ marks accompaniment, Isaiah 12:6; Isaiah 14:9. בְּהַר צ׳. n order to avoid using the same preposition twice בְּ is here used instead of אֵל or עַל. The expression צור־ישׂראל occurs besides here only 2 Samuel 23:3. The expression suits admirably the context in which it is said that Israel stands while all else falls. How could what has this rock as a refuge fall?

4. And the Lord—kindle it. Isaiah 30:30-33. The verses27,28 had depicted the approach of the judge (comp. בָּא Isaiah 30:27). The description of the judgment begins with Isaiah 30:30. Jehovah makes the glory of his voice to be heard,the action of his arm he makes to be seen. The image of corporal chastisement is employed by the Prophet to make his picture of the judgment the more incisive. זַעַף snorting, anhelitus, only here in Isaiah. נֶפֶץ is ἅπ. λεγ. The root נָפַץ denotes “to scatter, to break or dash in pieces” ( Isaiah 11:12; Isaiah 33:3; Jeremiah 51:20 sqq.). As snorting of the nose and flame of fire point to a thunder storm, while זֶרֶם and אֶבֶן בָּרָד are kinds of rain, נֶפֶּץ must also belong to this category. We take it as signifying the breaking, the rending of a cloud, a water-spout. זרם comp. on Isaiah 28:2. אֶבֶן בָּרָד comp. Isaiah 28:17; Joshua 10:11. כִּי in Isaiah 30:31 is explicative. What is the nature of the chastisement in question is explained. First, we are told who is the party punished. It is Assyria. He stands before the Lord and trembles as a boy before his punisher’s rebuke—יֵחַת comp. Isaiah 7:8; Isaiah 31:4; Isaiah 51:6-7 et saepe. He who administers the punishment is Jehovah. It is He who strikes with the staff. Hence the repeated lighting down of his arm. The words בשׁבט יכה I do not refer to Assyria notwithstanding the agreement with Isaiah 10:24. For it was not needful to mention that Assyria formerly smote Israel with the rod. But it was necessary to say that Jehovah now strikes Assyria with the rod, in order to explain נחת זרועו Isaiah 30:30 and also כל מעבר יגו׳ Isaiah 30:32. The staff makes strokes, passes (מַעֲבָר here in the active sense, the passing over). The staff is called (מַטֵּה מוּסָדָה) because it is handled according to divine appointment and ordination ( Habakkuk 1:12) comp. Isaiah 28:16 and Ezekiel 41:8. יָנִיחַ is related to נחת Ver30. The meaning is “to make rest,” so that the ceasing, the extreme point of the motion is thus indicated (comp. Ezekiel 5:13; Ezekiel 16:42; Ezekiel 44:30; Exodus 17:11). Every stroke, which Jehovah makes to fall or rest on Assyria, is inflicted amid the noise of timbrels ( Isaiah 5:12; Isaiah 24:8) and harps ( Isaiah 5:12; Isaiah 16:11; Isaiah 23:16; Isaiah 24:8). This is doubtless that joyous noise with which Israel as it were accompanies the acts of judgment of his God ( Isaiah 30:29). Thus there arises a complete concert. The timbrels and harps form the soprano; “the battles of shaking,” i. e., the battles of the Lord fought with shaken, brandished hand, beat as it were the time, and also represent the bass. The strokes spoken of in Isaiah 30:30; Isaiah 30:32 are deadly strokes. This appears from the altar being already prepared for the slaughtered victim. And a dreadful altar it will be, a Tophet, deep and broad, with a huge pile of wood, which will be set on fire by the breath of the Lord in the form of a burning stream of brimstone. The Prophet had already said ( Isaiah 10:16 sqq.), that Assyria’s glory will perish by violent fire. Who does not here think of the destruction of Nineveh, in which fire played a prominent part (comp. Otto Strauss on Nahum 3:15)? תָּפְּתֶּה is ἅπ. λεγ. תֹּפֶת occurs most frequently in Jeremiah. The derivation is uncertain (comp. my remarks on Jeremiah 7:31). The form תָּפְתֶּה is after the analogy of אִשֶּׁה,לִבְנֶה. The Tophet in the valley of Hinnom was a place of sacrifice dedicated to Moloch; the Tophet here spoken of is intended to burn up the מֶלֶךְ himself, in which word there is probably an allusion to מֹלֶךְ. It is therefore a place like Tophet, and this may be the force of the form enlarged by the addition of ־ֶה. The form אֶתְמוּל occurs only here and Micah 2:8. With the preposition מִן it is commonly מִתְּמוֹל. It cannot possibly mean here the definite past (yesterday). It denotes the indefinite past which is represented by yesterday. From the fact that the place of burning has been long ago prepared, we see that those strokes ( Isaiah 30:30; Isaiah 30:32) are not mere chastisements administered in love, but destructive, deadly strokes. With גַּם הוּא the second sentence begins. These words cannot be referred to מֶלֶךְ, for then they must come after it. But the Prophet intends to say that Ashur shall not only be slaughtered, but also solemnly consumed in a vast place of sacrifice specially prepared for this purpose. But why this consuming by fire ? Not simply to denote total annihilation. If the supposition should not be established that the worship of Moloch which Ahaz introduced was connected with Assyrian influences (comp. Keil on 2 Kings 16:3), still Assyria was essentially a representative of the idolatrous worldly power. And when Ashur is now told that the dreadful end of a sacrifice to Moloch awaits him, there lies therein a not indistinct allusion to the everlasting fire of that infernal lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which we find again Isaiah 34:9-10, whose name Gehenna is derived from the place Tophet גֵּי הִנֹּם, a trace of which drawn from Isaiah we meet with Daniel 7:11, and which is more fully unfolded in the eschatological discourse of our Lord ( Matthew 24, 25 where Matthew 25:41 τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον τὸ ἡτοιμασμένον clearly recalls “ordained of old” in our passage), and the Revelation 14:10-11; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:9-10; Revelation 20:14. When mention is made in these places of a pool of fire and brimstone, it may be maintained that the idea of the λίμνη is drawn from the expression “he hath made it deep and wide,” while the idea of fire and brimstone comes from the latter half of this verse. מְדוּרָה from דּוּר ( Isaiah 22:18; Isaiah 29:3) is the round pile of wood, the pyre. The word is found besides only Ezekiel 24:9 comp. ibid. Isaiah 30:5. I do not look on אֵשׁ וְעֵצִים as a hendiadys; for we see from the last clause of the verse that the Prophet desires to give prominence to the circumstance that fire will not be wanting to kindle properly the huge pile of wood. The two ideas of wood and fire are therefore not to be blended, but to be kept distinct. The words נשׁמת וגו׳ accordingly tell us whence the mighty fire will come which is destined to kindle the pile of wood. The breath of Jehovah ( Isaiah 2:22; Isaiah 42:5) is here described as a stream of brimstone (נחל גפרית comp. Isaiah 34:9). Brimstone is set forth in Scripture as a destructive means of judgment, on the ground of that rain of brimstone which fell on Sodom and Gomorrah ( Genesis 19:24). בָּעַר in the signification accendere or accendiHos. Isaiah 7:4; Psalm 2:12. Not slowly and gradually from a spark will the flame spread, but suddenly and in an imposing manner a whole stream of burning brimstone shall kindle the pile of wood. Thus the view of the Prophet, which embraces together the near and the most remote, is directed from the temporary occasion of the Egyptian embassy to the end of the present dispensation.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On Isaiah 30:1-14. “Such false trust as the Jewish people placed in Egypt is the sin of idolatry, which is so strictly forbidden; and all who herein follow the example of the Jews are fitly called rebellious, disobedient, lying children. God brings them to shame and derision in regard to what they relied on, and ordains a curse and destruction upon them. Therefore the Scripture saith: “The fear of man bringeth a snare; but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.” Comp. also Psalm 146:3 and Jeremiah 17:5-8. Renner. [“God is true, and may be trusted; but every man a liar, and must be suspected. The Creator is a Rock of Ages, the creature a broken reed; we cannot expect too little from Prayer of Manasseh, or too much from God.” Henry.]

2. [“The Prophet must not only preach this, but he must write it. 1. To shame the men of the present age who would not hear and heed it when it was spoken; their children may profit by it, though they will not2. To justify God in the judgments He was about to bring upon them; people will be tempted to think He was too hard upon them, and over severe, unless they know how very bad they were3. For warning to others not to do as they did, lest they fare as they fared.” Henry.]

3. Isaiah 30:10. A faithful minister must not suffer men to prescribe to him what he should preach. For some would tell him to prophesy of wine and strong drink ( Micah 2:11), the covetous would ask that he should preach how they might practice extortion and oppression. Or if they dare not be so impudent, they would at least desire that he should pass over in silence what would be disagreeable to them, and speak what their ears itched for ( 2 Timothy 4:3). But faithful ministers preach sharply against sin that it may be avoided. Examples: Ahijah, 1 Kings 14:6; Micaiah, 1 Kings 22:18.” Cramer.

4. Isaiah 30:15. “Neque in religione solum valet hic locus sed etiam in politia. Sic enim fere accidit quod praecipitia consilia fallunt. Contra felicia sunt ea, quae timide et cum ratione suscipiuntur. Ideo laudant Romani cunctatorem Fabium qui cunctando restituit rem. Semper etiam fallit praesumtio de nostris viribus. Bene igitur dictum est illud ‘patiens terit omnia virtus’ Et Paulus: ‘Vincite in bono malum’ ….. non enim possunt durare impii, et est verissimum, quod dicitur ‘malum destruit se ipsum.’ Simus igitur quieti et commendemus omnia manibus Dei. Deinde etiam speremus futuram liberationem et experiemur, quod spes non confundet nos, sed confundentur adversarii nostri, qui impietatis causam contra Christum impie defendendam susceperunt.” Luther.

5. Isaiah 30:18. “Precious consolatory discourse for all who have to bear the cross. God waits till the right time to help comes.” Cramer.

6. [“He will be very gracious—and this in answer to prayer, which makes His kindness doubly kind: He will be gracious to thee at the voice of thy cry; the cry of thy necessity, when that is most urgent; the cry of thy prayer, when that is most fervent. When He shall hear it—there needs no more—at the first word He will answer thee, and say, Here I am. Herein He is very gracious indeed.” Henry.]

7. [It was a common saying among the old Puritans, “Brown bread and the Gospel are good fare.” Henry.]

8. [“Note: To all true penitents sin is very odious; they loathe it, and loathe themselves because of it; they cast it away to the dunghill.” Henry.]

9. [“It is with a particular satisfaction that wise and good men see the ruin of those who, like the Assyrians, have insolently bid defiance to God, and trampled upon all mankind.” Henry.]

HOMILETICAL HINTS

On Isaiah 30:1-3. What one who needs counsel has to do. 1) He is not to take counsel without the Lord; for a. thereby he apostatizes from the Lord, and heaps sin on sin; b. the counsel thus resolved on leads only to disgrace and misery2) He is to let himself be led by the Spirit of the Lord, while he a. invokes Him in prayer; b. seeks to know His will out of the word of God; c. according to such direction makes conscientious use of the means at his command.

2. On Isaiah 30:8. Text for a sermon at a Bible festival. The importance of the written word—litera scripta manet.

3. On Isaiah 30:9-14. A mirror which the Prophet holds before our churches also. 1) Do you make the same demands on your minister which the contemporaries of Isaîah, according to Isaiah 30:9-11, made on the prophets? If Song of Solomon, it will happen to you according to the word of the prophet in Isaiah 30:12 to Isaiah 14:2) Or will you hear the law of the Lord ( Isaiah 30:9)? Then you will be spared the judgments of God, and the peace of God will be imparted unto you.

4. On Isaiah 30:15-17. We have many and severe conflicts against outward and inward foes to stand. For this we need strength. Wherein does the right strength consist? 1) Not in horses and runners, etc. 2) The right strength is in the Lord, which we obtain when a. we make room for it by being still; when b. by believing hope we attract it to us.

5. On [“He will wait to be gracious; He will wait till you return to Him, and seek His face, and then He will be ready to meet yon with mercy. He will wait, that He may do it in the best and fittest time, when it will be most for His glory, when it will come to you with the most pleasing surprise. He will continually follow you with His favors, and not let slip any opportunity of being gracious to you.” Henry.—D. M.]

6. On Isaiah 30:20-21. The importance of a faithful teacher.

7. On Isaiah 30:26-33. We can in treating of the last things cite these words, and show that the judgment has two sides, according as it has respect to the children of God, or to the ungodly.

Footnotes:

FN#23 - Or, and the grievousness of flame.

FN#24 - Heb. heaviness.

FN#25 - Rock.

FN#26 - Heb. the glory of his votes.

FN#27 - with the rod will he smite.

FN#28 - Heb. every passing of the rod founded.

FN#29 - every stroke of the rod of doom.

FN#30 - Heb. cause to rest upon him.

FN#31 - Or, against them.

FN#32 - a place of burning.

FN#33 - Heb. from yesterday.

 


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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 30:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/isaiah-30.html. 1857-84.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, July 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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