Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 33:7

Behold, their brave men cry in the streets, The ambassadors of peace weep bitterly.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ambassadors;   Scofield Reference Index - Kingdom;  
Dictionaries:
Easton Bible Dictionary - Ambassador;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Angel;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Ambassador;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ambassador;   Moabite Stone;   War;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Exodus, Book of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Their valiant ones shall cry without "The mighty men raise a grievous cry" - Three MSS. read אראלים erelim, that is, lions of God, or strong lions. So they called valiant men heroes; which appellation the Arabians and Persians still use. See Bochart. Hieroz. Part 1 lib. 3 cap. 1. "Mahomet, ayant reconnu Hamzeh son oncle pour homme de courage et de valeur, lui donne le titre ou surnom d'Assad Allah, qui signifie le lion de Dieu. "D'Herbelot, p. 427. And for חצה chatsah, the Syriac and Chaldee, read קשה kashah, whom I follow. The Chaldee, Syriac, Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion read להם אראה ereh lahem, or יראה yireh, with what meaning is not clear.

The word אראלם erellam, which we translate valiant ones, is very difficult; no man knows what it means. Kimchi supposes that it is the name of the angel that smote the Assyrian camp! The Vulgate, and my old MS., translate it seers; and most of the Versions understand it in this way. None of the MSS. give us any help, but as we see above in Lowth.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/isaiah-33.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Behold - This verse introduces a new subject by a very sudden transition. It is designed, with the two following, to exhibit the desolation of the land on the invasion of Sennacherib, and the consternation that would prevail. For this purpose, the prophet introduces Isaiah 33:7 the ambassadors who had been sent to sue for peace, as having sought it in vain, and as weeping now bitterly; he represents Isaiah 33:8 the desolation that abounded, and the fact that Sennacherib refused to come to any terms; and Isaiah 33:9 the extended desolations that had come upon the fairest portions of the land.

Their valiant ones - The ‹valiant ones‘ of the Jews who had been sent to Sennacherib to obtain conditions of pence, or to enter into a negotiation with him to spare the city and the nation. The word which is rendered here ‹valiant ones‘ (אראלם 'ere'elâm ) has given great perplexity to expositors. It occurs nowhere else in the Scriptures. The Septuagint renders the verse, ‹With the dread of you shall they be terrified; they, of whom you have been afraid, will, for fear of you, raise a grievous cry.‘ Jerome renders it, ‹Behold, they seeing, cry without,‘ as if the word was derived from ראה râ'âh to see. The Chaldee renders it, ‹And when it shall be revealed to them, the messengers of the people who went to announce peace, shall cry bitterly.‘ The Syriac, ‹If he shall permit himself to be seen by them, they shall weep bitterly.‘ Symmachus and Theodotion render it, Ἰδοὺ ὀφθήσομαι αὐτοῖς Idou ophthēsomai autois - ‹Lo, I will appear to them.‘ So Aquila, Ὁραθήσομαι αὐτοῖς Horathēsomai autois Most or all the versions seem to have read it as if it were compounded of לם אראה 'ere'eh lm - ‹I will appear to them.‘ But probably the word is formed from אראל 'ăre'el the same as אריאל 'ărı̂y'êl (Ariel), ‹a hero‘ (see the note at Isaiah 29:1), and means “their hero” in a collective sense, or their heroes; that is, their men who were distinguished as military leaders, and who were sent to propose terms of peace with Sennacherib. The most honorable and valiant men would be selected, of course, for this purpose (compare the note at Isaiah 30:4), but they had made the effort to obtain peace in vain, and were returning with consternation and alarm.

Shall cry without - They would lift up their voice with weeping as they returned, and publicly proclaim with bitter lamentation that their efforts to obtain peace had failed.

The ambassadors of peace - When Sennacherib invaded fife land, and had advanced as far as to Lachish, Hezekiah sent messengers to him with a rich present, having stripped the temple of its gold, and sent him all the silver which was in his treasury, for the purpose of propitiating his favor, and of inducing him to return to his own land 2 Kings 18:14-16. But it was all in vain. Sennacherib sent his generals with a great host against Jerusalem, and was unmoved by all the treasures which Hezekiah had sent to him, and by his solicitations for peace 2 Kings 18:17. It was to the failure of this embassy that Isaiah refers in the passage before us.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-33.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Isaiah 33:7

The ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly

The weeping ambassadors

Tell me not of the removal of statesmen, the falling of generals or admirals in warfare, the removal of princes or monarchs from palaces and thrones--all these may take place and leave, comparatively, no chasm in society, when contrasted with the removal of an ambassador for Jesus.

I. WHAT ARE WE TO UNDERSTAND BY AMBASSADORS OF PEACE? An ambassador of peace must come under a threefold description of character.

1. He is a minister sent of God.

2. He is instructed in the terms of peace.

3. He has to negotiate with sinners who are at war with God.

II. THE LAMENTATION PREDICTED CONCERNING THESE AMBASSADORS. They “shall weep bitterly.” Not the departed one, but the surviving ones.

1. Because of the impression which they have of the loss of their brother.

2. For sympathy with the Church.

III. THE LIMITATION OF THEIR SORROW. We are not to sorrow as those who are without hope.

1. The election of grace is sure.

2. The redemption of the Church by Christ Jesus is complete.

3. The succession of the ambassadors of peace remains unbroken. (J. Irons.)

Ministers weeping over non-success

The ambassadors of Hezekiah wept bitterly because their embassy was rejected, and because they were sent back by the haughty and imposing invader without accomplishing their object of peace. And very few form any ideas of the deep anxieties, the soul-travail, the spiritual concern, of God’s ambassadors when they see not, as the result of their embassy, the message they have delivered received by precious souls. (J. Irons.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Isaiah 33:7". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/isaiah-33.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"Behold, their valiant ones cry without; the ambassadors of peace weep bitterly. The highways lie waste; the enemy hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth not man. The land mourneth, and languisheth; Lebanon is consumed and withereth away; Sharon is like a desert; and Bashan and Carmel shaketh off their leaves."

Cheyne pointed out that "their valiant ones" is derived from the Hebrew "Ariels."[7] However, Isaiah 29:1 speaks of Ariel as the city where David encamped, Jerusalem; and this justifies the conclusion that the valiant ones here are the brave soldiers of Hezekiah. They cry because of the prospect of defeat at the hands of the Assyrians. The weeping ambassadors of peace are those who delivered the heavy tribute of gold and silver to Sennacherib in return for his promise to spare the city. They have at this time returned home, and they are astounded and grieved at Sennacherib's treachery and his demand that the city be surrendered. Incidentally, all of the circumstances mentioned here apply only to the situation in 701 B.C. and to no other. "He hath broken the covenant" is a comment on the treachery of Sennacherib.

"The highways lie waste ..." (Isaiah 33:8). This is a comment on the condition of the whole land, where it is no longer safe to travel. The cities and villages have all been laid waste; and the terrible desolation of the whole land is indicated.

The mention of Lebanon, Sharon, Bashan, and Carmel, the most favored and fruitful portions of the whole land, are here mentioned (Isaiah 33:9) in order to show the extent of the general destruction.

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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 33:7". "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

Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without,.... Or, "in the street": this, and the two following verses Isaiah 33:8, describe the sad and desolate condition of the people of God, before the above happy times take place; "their valiant ones", such who have been valiant for the truth on earth; or "their angels", as Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech interpret the word; these are the angels and pastors of the churches, the two witnesses that prophesy in sackcloth openly and publicly, and who will be slain, and their bodies lie unburied in the street of the great city, Revelation 11:3,

the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly; most interpreters understand this of the ambassadors which Hezekiah sent to the king of Assyria to obtain peace, but could not succeed, on account of which they are said to weep bitterly; but the character of "ambassadors of peace" well agrees with the ministers of the Gospel, who are "ambassadors" in Christ's stead, and whose work it is to exhort men to "be reconciled to God", and to preach the Gospel of peace to sinful men; these now will "weep bitterly", when they are removed into corners, and are silenced, and not suffered to deliver their messages of peace, to the comfort of the Lord's people, and the glory of his name; which will be the case at the time of the slaying of the witnesses.

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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 33:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/isaiah-33.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Behold, l their valiant ones shall cry outside: the m ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly.

(l) Sent from Sennacherib.

(m) Whom they of Jerusalem sent to intreat of peace.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:7". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/isaiah-33.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without: the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly.

Behold — That the mercy promised might be duly magnified, he makes a lively representation of their great danger and distress.

The ambassadors — Whom he shall send to beg peace of the Assyrian.

Shall weep — Because they cannot obtain their desires.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/isaiah-33.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 33:7 Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without: the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly.

Ver. 7. Behold their valiant ones.] Or, Their heralds, messengers. Heb., Hen Erelam, behold their Erel, or their Ariel [Isaiah 29:1-2] - that is, their altar, shall they (i.e., the Assyrians) cry without, sc., in mockery, twitting the Jews with their sacrifices as no way profitable to them. So the profane Papists, when they murdered the poor Protestants at Orleans, sang in scorn, Judge and revenge my cause, O Lord. Others, Have mercy on us, Lord. And when in the late persecution in Bohemia various godly nobles and citizens were carried to prison in Prague, the Papists insultingly cried after them, Why do ye not now sing, "The Lord reigneth?" (a)

The ambassadors of peace.] That went for peace, having for their symbol Pacem te poscimus omnes, We all demand peace from you, but could not effect it.

Weep bitterly.] So that they might be heard before they entered the city. Vide quam vivide, See here how lively things are set forth, and what a lamentable report these ambassadors make of the state of the country, and the present danger of losing all.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-33.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Behold: that the mercy here promised might be duly magnified, he makes a lively representation of their great danger and distress, in which it found them.

Their valiant ones; or, their heralds or messengers, as the Hebrew doctors expound the word: either,

1. Those whom the king of Assyria sent to Jerusalem, 2 Kings 18:17. Or rather,

2. Those whom Hezekiah sent to treat with the Assyrian commissioners, 2 Kings 18:18, as the next clause showeth.

Shall cry without, through grief and fear.

The ambassadors of peace, whom he shall send to beg peace of the Assyrian, shall weep bitterly, because they cannot obtain their desires.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 33:7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/isaiah-33.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

7.Notwithstanding the great occasion looked for in the choral strain above, there is occasion also for grief.

Their valiant ones — The lion-like heroes, messengers sent to Sennacherib or his officers (see 2 Kings 17:14) with the silver and the gold demanded as condition of peace, but which availed nothing with the truce-breaker. These deplore the state of things that would follow, namely, Jerusalem’s destruction, to all earthly view most probable.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/isaiah-33.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The siege of Jerusalem is underway. The brave warriors are weeping in the streets of the city, and the ambassadors who had returned from peace talks (probably with Sennacherib at Lachish, 2 Kings 18:13-16; cf. Isaiah 36:22) also grieve publicly. Both "hawks" and "doves" realize that trust in humans rather than in God proved ineffective.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:7". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/isaiah-33.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Without. The people of the country, and the envoys of Ezechias, 4 Kings xviii. 14. Hebrew, "Behold their Ariel, cried they without," insultingly, (Calmet) pointing at Jerusalem, chap. xxix. 1. At which (Haydock) the envoys rent their garments, &c., chap. xxxvi. 22. (Calmet) --- "Behold I shall appear to them." (Aquila) (St. Jerome) --- Angels. Messengers or deputies sent to negotiate a peace, (Challoner) who wept because they could not obtain it. (Worthington)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/isaiah-33.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Behold. Figure of speech. Asterismos. App-6.

the ambassadors. Note the Figure of speech. Asyndeton (App-6), inIsa .

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:7". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/isaiah-33.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(7) Behold, their valiant ones.—Literally, their lions of God. Heb., Arielam, probably with a reference to the “Ariel” of Isaiah 29:1, the lion-like heroes of the lion-like city. (Comp. 2 Samuel 23:20; 1 Chronicles 11:22.) The whole passage paints the panic caused by the approach of Sennacherib.

The ambassadors of peace.—The envoys sent by Hezekiah to Sennacherib at Lachish. They “weep bitterly” at the hard conditions imposed on them, which may be either those of 2 Kings 18:14, or some yet harder terms, demanding the surrender of the city.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/isaiah-33.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without: the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly.
valiant ones
or, messengers. the ambassadors.
36:3,22; 2 Kings 18:18,37; 19:1-3
Reciprocal: Isaiah 22:4 - Weep bitterly;  Isaiah 28:19 - and it;  Isaiah 29:2 - I will;  Isaiah 36:1 - that Sennacherib;  Zephaniah 1:14 - the mighty;  Ephesians 6:20 - I am

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/isaiah-33.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

7.Behold, their messengers (7) shall cry without. It is difficult to determine whether Isaiah relates historically the fearful perplexity and imminent danger to which the Jews were reduced, in order to exhibit more strikingly the favor of deliverance, or predicteda future calamity, that the hearts of the godly might not soon afterwards faint under it. For my own part, I think it probable that this is not the history of, a past transaction, but that, as a heavy and sore temptation was at hand, it was intended to fortify the hearts of believers to wait patiently for the assistance of God when their affairs were at the worst. However that may be, the sad and lamentable desolation of the Church is here described, that believers may not cease to entertain good hope even in the midst of their perplexity, and that, when they have been rescued from danger; they may know that it was accomplished by the wonderful power of God.

The ambassadors of peace wept bitterly. It is given as a token of despair, that the ambassadors who had been sent to appease the tyrant were unsuccessful; for every way and method of obtaining peace was attempted by Hezekiah, but without any success. Accordingly, “the ambassadors” returned sad and disconsolate, and even on the road could not dissemble their grief, which it was difficult to conceal in their hearts, when matters were in so wretched a condition. He undoubtedly means that Sennacherib has haughtily and disdainfully refused to make peace, so that “the ambassadors,” as; if they had forgotten their rank, are constrained to pour out in public their grief and lamentations, and, ere they have returned to their king and given account of their embassy, openly to proclaim what kind of answer they have obtained from the cruel tyrant, (8) Others think, that by “the ambassadors of peace” are meant those who were wont to announce peace; but that interpretation appears to me to be feeble and farfetched. By “the ambassadors of peace,” therefore, I understand to be meant those who had been sent to pacify the king, that they might purchase peace on some condition.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:7". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/isaiah-33.html. 1840-57.