Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 33:1

Woe to you, O destroyer, While you were not destroyed; And he who is treacherous, while others did not deal treacherously with him. As soon as you finish destroying, you will be destroyed; As soon as you cease to deal treacherously, others will deal treacherously with you.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Retaliation;   Rulers;   Scofield Reference Index - Kingdom;  
Dictionaries:
Easton Bible Dictionary - Hezekiah;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Isaiah, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Despise;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Hezekiah;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Dealer;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - End;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Assyria;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Japheth Ha-Levi;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And deadest treacherously "Thou plunderer" - See note on Isaiah 21:2; (note).

When thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously "When thou art weary of plundering" - "כנלתך cannelothecha, alibi non extat in s. s. nisi f. Job 15:29; - simplicius est legere ככלתך kechallothecha . Vid. Capell.; nec repugnat Vitringa. Vid. Daniel 9:24. כלה calah התים hatim ." - Secker.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/isaiah-33.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Wo to thee that spoilest - This description accords entirely with Sennacherib and his army, who had plundered the cities and countries which they had invaded, and who were about to advance to Jerusalem for the same purpose (compare Isaiah 29:7-8; Isaiah 37:11).

And thou wast not spoiled - That is, thou hadst not been plundered by the Jews against whom thou art coming. It was because the war was so unprovoked and unjust, that God would bring so signal vengeance on them.

And dealest treacherously - (See the note at Isaiah 21:2). The treachery of the Assyrians consisted in the fact that when their assistance was asked by the Jews, in order to aid them against the combined forces of Syria and Samaria (see Isaiah 7:1-2), they had taken occasion from that invitation to bring desolation on Judah (see Isaiah 7:17, Isaiah 7:20; Isaiah 8:6-8, note; Isaiah 10:6, note). Hezekiah also gave to Sennacherib thirty talents of gold and three hundred talents of silver, evidently with an understanding that this was all that he demanded, and that if this was paid, he would leave the nation in peace. But this implied promise he perfidiously disregarded (see 2 Kings 18:14-15).

When thou shalt cease to spoil - This does not relier to his having voluntarily ceased to plunder, but to the fact that God would put an end to it.

Thou shalt be spoiled - This was literally fulfilled. The Assyrian monarchy lost its splendor and power, and was finally merged in the more mighty empire of Babylon. The nation was, of course, subject to the depredation of the conquerors, and compelled to submit to them. “When thou shalt make an end.” The idea is, that there would be a completion, or a finishing of his acts of treachery toward the Jews, and that would be when God should overthrow him and his army.

They shall deal treacherously with thee - The words ‹they shall,‘ are here equivalent to, ‹thou shalt be dealt With in a treacherous manner.‘ The result was, that Sennacherib was treacherously slain by his own sons as he was ‹worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god‘ Isaiah 37:38, and thus the prophecy was literally fulfilled. The sense of the whole is, that God would reward their desire of plundering a nation that had not injured them by the desolation of their own land; and would recompense the perfidiousness of the kings of Assyria that had sought to subject Jerusalem to their power, by perfidiousness in the royal family itself.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-33.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Isaiah 33:1

Woe to thee that spoilest

Isaiah 33:1-24

The most beautiful of Isaiah’s discourse [in which] the long conflict of Israel’s sin with Jehovah’s righteousness is left behind, and the dark colours of present and past distress serve only as a foil to the assured felicity that is ready to dawn on Jehovah’s land.
(
W. Robertson Smith, D. D.)

Treacherous Assyria

The course of Assyria was that of a treacherous dealer--no confidence whatever could be reposed in this people. They were born to spoil, and the moment they ceased spoiling they would be spoiled in turn. (B. Blake, B. D.)

Aggravated sin

The less provocation we have from men to do an ill thing, the more provocation we give to God by it. (M. Henry.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Isaiah 33:1". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/isaiah-33.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

This chapter is described by Jamieson as the final prophecy of Isaiah relative to the destruction of Sennacherib's army encamped before Jerusalem. The date of the prophecy is just prior to 701 B.C., when the death of the Assyrian army occurred. Unbelieving, critical scholars as a general rule date the prophecy "after the Babylonian captivity,"[1] but it is refreshing that one of their number raised a flag of caution on the blind acceptance of such speculations regarding the date of Isaiah's prophecies, and commented that it is "very precarious." He even mentioned, "Our almost complete ignorance"[2] of vast stretches of the pre-Christian history. He declared that, "If the prophecy is Isaiah's, the date Isaiah 701 B.C."[3]

With regard to "whose prophecy this is," it can only belong to Isaiah. That great mythical scholar and most famous writer of a thousand years, the imaginary redactor and editor of Isaiah who was recently invented by critics and is falsely alleged by them to have existed in later ages and who managed to impose his personal writings as having been produced by the great eighth century prophet, Isaiah, - that character is simply a hoax. He never existed anywhere on earth except in the imaginations of critics; and Christians who are willing to believe in such "phantoms" need to rely upon their own God-given intelligence for just a few minutes to behold the fraud in such postulations as those of destructive critics trying to discredit the Bible. Christ himself found no problems with Isaiah's prophecy and frequently quoted from every section in it.

Not even the unbelieving hypocrites of Jesus' day would have denied that all of Isaiah was written by Isaiah. It is incredible that critics could have supposed that "some unknown author" could be substituted by the critics for the real author.

We like the way certain scholars (and remember that these scholars already knew all of the critical arguments, this being true simply because there has been no new argument in centuries) have stated unequivocally the date of this prophecy. Cheyne said, "The date is the 27th year of the reign of Hezekiah, in 701 B.C."[4] Barnes, Hailey, Lowth, Rawlinson, Gleason, and literally hundreds of other scholars long ago rejected the forced and illogical arguments resorted to by critics in their vain efforts to destroy the Bible. As Barnes noted, the historical, political, and geographical situation in Isaiah, "Agree far better with the times of Sennacherib's invasion (701 B.C.) than with: (1) either the Babylonian period, or (2) with the judgments that came upon the Syrians in the Maccabean period."[5]

Isaiah 33:1

"Woe to thee that destroyest, and thou wast not destroyed, and that dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! When thou hast ceased to destroy, thou shalt be destroyed; and when thou hast made an end of dealing treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee."

The historical situation here is reflected in every line of the verse. Sennacherib had already destroyed the outlying cities of Judah, and he had lyingly promised Hezekiah that for a tribute of 300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold, he would spare Jerusalem. At great cost and hardship Hezekiah had complied with the demand, even cutting off the gold decorations of the temple doors in order to meet the tremendous burden of the tribute. But no sooner was the tribute received than Sennacherib demanded the surrender of the city; and this prophecy was uttered, probably from the walls of Jerusalem and was addressed to Rabshakeh or to Sennacherib himself by Isaiah, who fearlessly denounced the invader and prophesied his ruin and destruction.

"Thou that destroyest, and thou wast not destroyed ... dealt treacherously, etc. ..." (Isaiah 33:1). Sennacherib had brutally betrayed and devastated all of the cities of Judah, and no harm had as yet come to him; but God sent him a message through Isaiah: "Thou shalt be destroyed ... They shall deal treacherously with thee!" Was this fulfilled? It was literally fulfilled when God put his hook in the nose of that evil pagan ruler and dragged him back to Nineveh. His army had perished in a night, and on the way back home, "they" despoiled him, taking advantage of him at every post on the way back. Who were the "they"? They were the remnants of those betrayed and mined cities. He even lost all of that gold and silver tribute, because, as Lowth explained, "Hezekiah, after the destruction of the Assyrian army, had exceeding much riches, and that he made himself treasuries for silver, and for gold, and for precious stones. He was so rich that, out of pride and vanity, he displayed his wealth before the ambassadors from Babylon. This cannot be otherwise accounted for, than by the prodigious spoil that was taken upon the destruction of Sennacherib's army."[6] See 2 Chronicles 32:27.

And we may ask, who was it that "dealt treacherously" with Sennacherib? It was his own sons. "And it came to pass when he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhadon his son reigned in his stead" (2 Kings 19:36-37).

Not only is all of this remarkable; but there is also absolutely nothing that corresponds with any of this in any of the erroneous dates proposed by critics.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/isaiah-33.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled,.... Which some understand of Nebuchadnezzar; others of Sennacherib, which is more probable; it seems best to interpret it of the Romish antichrist. Kimchi thinks that, if it respects the times of Hezekiah, Sennacherib is meant; but if the times of the Messiah, then the king of nations that shall be in those days; and he adds, this is the kingdom of Persia, in the vision of Daniel. Vatringa applies this to Antiochus Epiphanes, and the whole prophecy to the times of the Maccabees; but it best agrees with the beast of Rome, to whom power has been given over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations, the Apollyon, the spoiler and destroyer of the earth, especially of the saints, whom he has made war with and overcome; see Revelation 9:11 now this spoiler of man, of their substance by confiscation, of their bodies by imprisonment and death, and of their societies and families by his violent persecutions, and of the souls of others by his false doctrine; though he may continue long in prosperity and glory, and not be spoiled, or destroyed, yet not always. The Vulgate Latin version renders the last clause interrogatively, and perhaps not amiss, "shall thou not be spoiled?" verily thou shalt; the same measure he has meted to others shall be measured to him again; the spoiler of others shall be stripped of all himself; he that destroyed the earth shall be destroyed from off the earth; he that leads into captivity shall go into it; and he that kills with the sword shall be slain by it, Revelation 11:18,

and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee; or, "shall they not deal treacherously with thee?" so the above version renders it with an interrogation; and both this and the preceding clause are thus paraphrased by the Targum,

"woe to thee that comest to spoil, and shall they not spoil thee? and who comest to oppress, and shall they not oppress thee?'

truly they shall; the kings of the earth that were in confederacy with the beast, and gave their kingdoms to him, shall hate the whore, eat her flesh, and burn her with fire, Revelation 17:16,

when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shall be spoiled; when the time is come that antichrist shall be suffered no longer to ravage in the earth, and spoil the bodies, souls, and substance of men, then shall he himself be spoiled of his power and authority, riches and grandeur; his plagues shall come upon him at once, fire, famine, and death; for his cessation from spoiling will not be his own option, nor the fruit and effect of repentance and reformation, but will be owing to the sovereign power of God in restraining him:

and when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee; for the coming of antichrist was with lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness; he has the appearance of a lamb, but speaks like a dragon; has used many wiles, arts, and stratagems, and treacherous methods to deceive and impose on men, and to ensnare and entrap them; and when the time is come that he will not be permitted to proceed any further and longer in his deceitful practices, the kings of the earth, who have been deceived by him, and brought in subjection to him, will pay him in his own coin; see 2 Thessalonians 2:9.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/isaiah-33.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Woe to thee that a layest waste, and thou [wast] not laid waste; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt b cease to lay waste, thou shalt be wasted; [and] when thou shalt make an end of dealing treacherously, c they shall deal treacherously with thee.

(a) Meaning, the enemies of the Church, as were the Chaldeans and Assyrians, but chiefly of Sennacherib, but not only.

(b) When your appointed time will come that God will take away your power: and that which you have wrongfully gained, will be given to others, as in (Amos 5:11).

(c) The Chaldeans will do the same to the Assyrians, as the Assyrians did to Israel, and the Medes and Persians will do the same to the Chaldeans.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/isaiah-33.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Isaiah 33:1-24. The last of Isaiah‘s prophecies as to Sennacherib‘s overthrow.

Isaiah 33:1, Isaiah 33:8, Isaiah 33:9, describe the Assyrian spoiler; strong as he is, he shall fall before Jehovah who is stronger (Isaiah 33:2-6, Isaiah 33:10-12). The time is the autumn of 713 b.c.

and thou — that is, though thou wast not spoiled - though thou wast not dealt treacherously with (see on Isaiah 24:16), thy spoiling and treachery are therefore without excuse, being unprovoked.

cease — When God has let thee do thy worst, in execution of His plans, thine own turn shall come (compare Isaiah 10:12; Isaiah 14:2; Habakkuk 2:8; Revelation 13:10).

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/isaiah-33.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

We are now in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah's reign. The threatenings of the first years, which the repentance of the people had delayed, are now so far in force again, and so far actually realized, that the Assyrians are already in Judah, and have not only devastated the land, but are threatening Jerusalem. The element of promise now gains the upper hand, the prophet places himself between Asshur and his own nation with the weapons of prophecy and prayer, and the woe turns from the latter to the former. “Woe, devastator, and thyself not devastated; and thou spoiler, and still not spoiled! Hast thou done with devastating? thou shalt be devastated. Hast thou attained to rob? men rob thee.” Asshur is described as not devastated and not spoiled (which could not be expressed by a participle as with us, since bâgad is construed with Beth, and not with the accusative of the person), because it had not yet been visited by any such misfortune as that which had fallen upon other lands and nations. But it would be repaid with like for the like as soon as כּ indicating simultaneousness, as in Isaiah 30:19 and Isaiah 18:5, for example) its devastating and spoiling had reached the point determined by Jehovah. Instead of ב ך, we find in some codd. and editions the reading בו, which is equally admissible. In כּהתימ ך (from תּמם ) the radical syllable is lengthened, instead of having dagesh . כּנּלת ך is equivalent to כּהנלות ך, a hiphil syncopated for the sake of rhythm (as in Isaiah 3:8; Deuteronomy 1:33, and many other passages), written here with dagesh dirmens, from the verb nâlâh , which is attested also by Job 15:29. The coincidence in meaning with the Arab. verb nâl ( fut. i and u ), to acquire or attain (see Comm. on Job, at Job 15:29 and Job 30:24-27), has been admitted by the earliest of the national grammarians, Ben-Koreish, Chayug, etc. The conjecture כּכלּות ך (in addition to which Cappellus proposed כנלאות ך ) is quite unnecessary. The play upon the sound sets forth the punishment of the hitherto unpunished one as the infallible echo of its sin.

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Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/isaiah-33.html. 1854-1889.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

PROVIDENCE

Isa . Woe to thee that spoilest, &c.

The text brings before us the doctrine of an overruling Providence.

We see an overruling Providence at work—

1. In meting out punishment to the wicked (H. E. I. 4604, 4612).

2. In accomplishing a just retribution. The Assyrian is paid back by the Babylonian (Rev ); Jacob's treachery is returned to him in his son's deceit (1Ti 5:24; P. D. 2995).

3. In bringing good out of evil. Wicked men overreach themselves; the devil is outwitted. The short-sighted vengeance of man becomes an instrument of perfecting the higher nature of the people of God, whom they oppress; the fire of man's wrath is transformed into the refining fire of Divine purification (Mal ).—J. Macrae Simcock.

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/isaiah-33.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; and when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee.

To thee — Sennacherib, who wasted the land of Judah.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/isaiah-33.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 33:1 Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou [wast] not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; [and] when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee.

Ver. 1. Woe to thee that spoilest.] Minatur vastationem vastatori Sennacherib, vel Antichristo, quem praesignat. (a) Sennacherib and Antichrist are here threatened.

And thou wast not spoiled.] Thou abusest thy present peace, and the riches of God’s goodness and patience toward thee, to fall foul upon others unprovoked.

And dealest treacherously.] This some (b) understand of Sennacherib. See 2 Kings 18:14; 2 Kings 18:17. Others of Shebna and other traitors in Jerusalem, who dealt underhandedly with the enemy against Hezekiah, and might haply meet with the like meed as he did who betrayed the Rhodes to the Turks, who flayed him and salted him. Or at least as Charles IV’s agents did from Philip, Duke of Austria, who paid them the sum he promised them, but in counterfeit money, saying that false coin is good enough for such false knaves as they had showed themselves to be.

Thou shalt be spoiled.] Of kingdom, and life, and all, by thy treacherous sons. [Isaiah 37:38]

Siquis quod fecit patitur, iustissima lex est.

See 7:11. {See Trapp on " 7:11"} And fear thou God, who loveth to retaliate, to pay wicked men home in their own coin, to fill them with their own ways, to overshoot them in their own bow, &c. Vae ergo vastatoribus: one time or other God will be even with such.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-33.html. 1865-1868.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

This Chapter contains a mingled subject of divine judgment and divine mercies, The enemies of God and his Church are threatened, and his people comforted.

Isaiah 33:1

If this denunciation be directed, as it should seem to be, being personal, to any particular character or nation, the Assyrian must be the one evidently intended. In proof, let the Reader consult 2 Kings 18:11 and 2 Kings 19:35-36. And for the full ruin, See Daniel 4:28 to the end.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/isaiah-33.html. 1828.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Isaiah 33:1. Woe to thee that spoilest, &c.— The prophet so orders his discourse, as if he had found this great spoiler to whom it is directed, in the very act of spoiling, and face to face denounces the divine judgment upon him. He addresses him therefore with the hateful appellation of perfidious spoiler and robber, and declares to him the decrees of the divine avenging justice, to be inflicted upon him according to the strict laws of retaliation. History abounds with the names of the mighty spoilers, robbers, and murderers of mankind, great heroes and warriors. One of these was Sennacherib, (see chap. Isaiah 37:18.) to whom this denunciation may with great propriety be applied; but with still greater to Antiochus Epiphanes, the most inveterate enemy of the people of God, who brought a much more extensive and fearful desolation upon them than Sennacherib; and the consequences related in the latter part of this chapter seem to refer most properly to the times succeeding his devastation. See Ezekiel 38. Daniel 8:13; Daniel 8:24 and Vitringa.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/isaiah-33.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

ISAIAH CHAPTER 33

The destruction of the enemies of the church; who are derided, Isaiah 33:1-13; which terrifieth the sinners in Zion, Isaiah 33:14. The safety and privileges of the godly, Isaiah 33:15-24.

Woe to thee that spoilest! to Sennacherib, who wasted the land of Judah.

Thou wast not spoiled; thou didst not meet with any considerable opposition, but wast victorious over all thine enemies; of which the Assyrian boasteth, Isaiah 10:8,9 36:18,19.

Dealest treacherously; as Sennacherib did with Hezekiah, 2 Kings 18:14,17.

They dealt not treacherously with thee; none of thine enemies could prevail against thee, either by force, of which he speaketh in the former clause, or by treachery, as here. Or, when they dealt not, &c.; when Hezekiah did not deal treacherously with thee. If it be said that Hezekiah dealt treacherously with him, in breaking his faith, and rebel. ling against him, it may be answered, that Hezekiah neither promised nor owed him any service or subjection. What was done in that kind was done by Ahaz only; and he only begged his assistance for a particular work, and paid him well for it, 2 Kings 16:7,8, and the king of Assyria did not keep his conditions with him; for he distressed him, but strengthened him not, 2 Chronicles 28:20.

When thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; when thou hast performed the work of chastening my people, for which I sent thee, thou also shalt be spoiled by thine enemies.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/isaiah-33.html. 1685.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The destroyer and treacherous one in view is Assyria. So far Assyria had practiced destruction and treachery without having them come back on her, but eventually they would (cf. Deuteronomy 19:18-19). Sennacherib accepted a large sum of money that King Hezekiah sent to him so he would not besiege Jerusalem, but Sennacherib accepted the money and attacked Jerusalem anyway ( 2 Kings 18:13-17). That is treachery. Yahweh was the opposite of the Assyrian king. He was always true to His promises, and the Davidic kings were to follow His example as His vice-regents. To behave the opposite from how God behaves is to court divine discipline.

"As the royal annals demonstrate, Assyria took great pride in her capacity to destroy anyone who had the temerity to stand against her. By the same token, she had no qualms about breaking agreements which were not to her advantage, all the while punishing with great severity any who broke agreements with her." [Note: Oswalt, p592.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/isaiah-33.html. 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Isaiah 33:1. Wo to thee that spoilest — To Sennacherib, who wasted the land of Judah. The prophet speaks “as if he had found this great spoiler,” to whom he addresses himself, “in the very act of spoiling, and was face to face denouncing the divine judgment upon him.” And thou wast not spoiled — Hadst not received the like injuries. “It is the practice of the great oppressors of the world to make war upon their neighbours without any just provocation, or having received any real injury from them; and it is against such practices that this wo is denounced.” — Lowth. And dealest treacherously — So Sennacherib dealt with Hezekiah, 2 Kings 18:14; 2 Kings 18:17. And, or when, they dealt not treacherously with thee — Hezekiah and the Jews did not. “We read, indeed, (2 Kings 18:7,) that Hezekiah rebelled against the king of Assyria; but the meaning is no more than that he would not stand to those dishonourable terms of slavery, to which his father Ahaz had submitted, when he professed himself the servant of the king of Assyria,” (2 Kings 16:7,) begging his assistance against the Syrians and Ephraimites, for which he paid him well; but the king of Assyria did not keep his agreement with him, for he distressed him, but strengthened him not, 2 Chronicles 28:20. When thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled — When thou hast performed the work of chastising my people, to which I have sent thee, thou also shalt be spoiled by thine enemies. The further meaning of this prediction may be, that when the Assyrians, glutted, as it were, with their conquests, should cease to make any further conquests, and give themselves up to luxury and pleasure, then other nations, either mindful of the injuries which they had received from them, or out of rapacity, would attack them in their turn, and spoil them, as they had spoiled others: which came to pass accordingly. Their calamities seem to have begun from the times that Dejoces, king of the Medes, shook off their yoke, about seven hundred years before Christ: for other nations soon followed his example.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/isaiah-33.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Spoilest. This is particularly directed to Sennacherib. (Challoner) --- He was a figure of persecutors of the Church, to which many passages here allude. (Calmet) --- Remota justitia quid sunt regna nisi magna latrocinia? (St. Augustine, City of God iv. 4.) --- Sennacherib plundered Samaria and Juda, and despising God, was himself contemned. (Worthington)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/isaiah-33.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Woe. The fifth of the six Woes. The Structure, above, will make this section quite clear, and show that the verses are not "out of place", or "disarranged".

that spoilest = thou plunderer.

dealest treacherously = thou traitor.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/isaiah-33.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

XXXIII.

(1) Woe to thee that spoilest . . .—No chapter in the prophet’s writings presents so little traceable connection. A thought is expressed in one, or it may be two, verses, and then another follows without anything to link it on. This may be, perhaps, explained either by the strong emotion which filled the prophet’s mind as he looked on the coming perils of his country, or, as I think, more probably, on the assumption that we have a series of rough notes, memoranda for a long discourse, which was afterwards delivered in a more continuous form. They would, perhaps, be more intelligible if they were printed separately, as we print Pascal’s Pensées, the verse arrangement giving a fictitious semblance of continuity. The opening words are addressed to Sennacherib when he entered on his second campaign against Judah, as it seemed to Isaiah, without the slightest provocation. Hezekiah had submitted, and had paid an enormous indemnity for the costs of the war (2 Kings 18:13-16) at the close of the first campaign, and had, in the meantime, taken no aggressive action. The invasion was one of undisguised spoliation and rapacity. (For “treacherously,” read rapaciously.) Upon such aggressiveness there was sure to come a righteous retribution, and in that thought the prophet finds comfort.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/isaiah-33.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; and when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee.
thee that
10:5,6; 17:14; 24:16; 2 Kings 18:13-17; 2 Chronicles 28:16-21; Habakkuk 2:5-8
when thou shalt cease
10:12; 21:2; 37:36-38; Judges 1:7; Jeremiah 25:12-14; Obadiah 1:10-16; Zechariah 14:1-3; Matthew 7:2; Revelation 13:10; 16:6; 17:12-14,17
Reciprocal: Exodus 3:22 - spoil;  Leviticus 6:2 - in fellowship;  Judges 5:12 - lead;  Judges 9:23 - dealt;  1 Samuel 4:9 - as they have;  2 Kings 7:16 - spoiled the tents;  2 Kings 8:15 - so that he died;  Proverbs 22:23 - spoil;  Isaiah 11:14 - spoil;  Isaiah 14:6 - who smote;  Isaiah 16:4 - for;  Isaiah 17:13 - but;  Isaiah 33:23 - then;  Jeremiah 25:34 - the days of your;  Jeremiah 30:16 - GeneralEzekiel 28:26 - despise;  Ezekiel 39:10 - shall spoil;  Micah 5:6 - they;  Nahum 2:9 - ye;  Nahum 2:13 - I will cut;  Habakkuk 1:13 - deal;  Habakkuk 2:8 - thou;  Zechariah 2:9 - and they;  Acts 9:16 - I will;  Revelation 11:9 - and shall not

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/isaiah-33.html.

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

             V.—THE FIFTH WOE

Isaiah 33

1. THE GLORIUS TURNING POINT: THE WOE UPON ISRAEL BECOMES A WOE UPON ASSYRIA

Isaiah 33:1

1 Woe to thee that spoilest and thou wast not spoiled;

And dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee!

When thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled;

And when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

שׁודד and בוגד conjoined as in Isaiah 21:2.—The primary meaning of בָּגַד is “to cover;” hence בֶּגֶד “the cover, garment.” Hence the secondary meaning of perfidious, treacherous doing [like the secondary meaning of the English word “to cloak.”—Tr.].—On the inf. כהתמך see Ewald, § 114 a, Green, § 141, 3.—כַּנְּלֹתְךָ stands for כְּהַנְלֹתְךָ, comp. Isaiah 3:8; the Dag. f. in the נ is because of the Masorets assuming a synkope, whereas, properly, there Is an elision.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The season of preparation for withstanding the Assyrian foe, that Israel has spent in so perverse a fashion, is past. The enemy is at hand (comp. Isaiah 33:7). But now, too, is the time when God will fulfil His word that He would smite the Assyrian ( Isaiah 30:18 sqq.; 31sqq.; Isaiah 31:8 sq.). Now, therefore, the Prophet turns the woe against Assyria. This power, hitherto unconquered, will be overthrown ( Isaiah 33:1). This is the principal thought of the chapter, which the Prophet puts at the head Isaiah 33:1, as a theme. But as a stone thrown into the water makes wave-lines that extend in concentric circles wider and wider, so the Prophet joins on to this primary theme three declarations which, enlarging in extent and contents, state the particulars of the condition, the completion and consequence of that act of deliverance. This woe follows as a fifth those of Isaiah 28:1; Isaiah 29:1; Isaiah 30:1; Isaiah 31:1. But unlike the preceding, which are directed against Israel, this is against Assyria (comp. Isaiah 10:1; Isaiah 10:5). For, according to the contents of the chapter, none but Assyria can be the desolater. This announcement of its destruction is opposed to that audacious presumption that regarded itself as invincible ( Isaiah 10:5-14).

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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/isaiah-33.html. 1857-84.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

1.Wo to thee that spoilest. If these words shall be expounded as relating to the Babylonians, the strain will flow easily enough; for, after having promised freedom to the prisoners, (Isaiah 32:15,) he now appropriately taunts the conquerors. Besides, they needed to be peculiarly confirmed, that they might give credit to a prediction which appeared to be incredible; for they could not think it probable that such vast power would be destroyed and overthrown, and that, the wretched prisoners who were now in a state of despair would speedily be permitted to return to their native country. Amidst such distresses, therefore, they might have fainted and given up all hope of safety, if the Prophet had not met them with these exhortations. Accordingly, he anticipates those doubts which might have tormented their minds and tempted them to despair, after having been carried away by the Babylonians, and reduced to slavery; for they saw none of those things which are here promised, but everything entirely opposite.

Yet, as it is almost universally agreed that this is the beginning of a new discourse, and that it is addressed to Sennacherib and his army, I am not unwilling to believe that the Prophet pronounces against the Assyrians, who unjustly oppressed all their neighbors, a threatening which was intended to alleviate the distresses and anxieties of the people. He therefore means that there will be a wonderful revolution of affairs, which will overthrow the flourishing condition of Nineveh, though it appears to be invincible; for the Babylonians will come in a hostile manner to punish them for that cruelty which they exercised on other nations.

In order to impart greater energy to this discourse, he addresses the Assyrians themselves, “Wo to thee that plunderest; you may now ravage with impunity; no one has power to resist you; but there will one day be those who in their turn shall plunder you, as you have plundered others.” He speaks to them in the singular number, but in a collective sense, which is very customary. Others read it as a question, “Shalt thou not be spoiled? Dost thou think that thou wilt never be punished for that violence? There will one day be those who will render to thee the like.” But we may follow the ordinary exposition, according to which the Prophet exhibits in a striking light the injustice of enemies, who were so eager for plunder that they spared nobody, not even the innocent who had never injured them; for that is a demonstration of the utmost cruelty. I am therefore the more disposed to adopt this exposition, according to which he describes in this first clause what the Assyrians are, shews them to be base and cruel robbers, and gives a strong exhibition of their cruelty in harassing and pillaging harmless and inoffensive persons; so that, when the Jews beheld such unrestrained injustice, they might consider that God is just, and that such proceedings will not always pass unpunished.

When thou shalt have ceased to plunder. This is the second clause of the sentence, by which the Prophet declares that the Assyrians now plunder, because God has given loose reins to them, but that he will one day check them, so that they will have no power to do injury. If we were to understand him to mean, “when they would no longer wish to plunder,” that would be a feeble interpretation; but the Prophet advances higher, and declares that the time will come “when they shall make an end of plundering,” because the Lord will restrain and subdue them. The meaning is therefore the same as if he had said, “When thou shalt have reached the height;” for we see that tyrants have boundaries assigned to them which they cannot pass. Their career is rapid, so long as they keep their course; but as soon as the goal, their utmost limit, has been reached, they must stop.

Let us cheer our hearts with this consolation, when we see tyrants insolently and fiercely attack the Church of God; for the Lord will at length compel them to stop, and the more cruel they have been, the more severely will they be punished. The Lord will destroy them in a moment; for he will raise up against them enemies who will instantly ruin and punish them for their iniquities.

Here we ought also to acknowledge the providence of God in the overthrow of kingdoms; for wicked men imagine that everything moves at random and by the blind violence of fortune; but we ought to take quite another view, for the Lord will repay their deserts, so that they shall be made to know that the cruelty which they exercised against inoffensive persons does not remain unrevenged. And the event shewed the truth of this prediction; for not long afterwards Nineveh was conquered by the Babylonians, and lost the monarchy, and was even so completely destroyed that it lost its name. But as Babylon, who succeeded in her room, was not. less a “spoiler,” the Prophet justly foretells that there will be other robbers to rob her, and that the Babylonians, when their monarchy shall be overthrown, will themselves be plundered of those things which they seized and pillaged from others.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:1". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/isaiah-33.html. 1840-57.