Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 33:8

The highways are desolate, the traveler has ceased, He has broken the covenant, he has despised the cities, He has no regard for man.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - War;   Scofield Reference Index - Kingdom;   Thompson Chain Reference - Covenant-Breakers;   Faithfulness-Unfaithfulness;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Highways;   Travellers;  
Dictionaries:
Holman Bible Dictionary - Covenant;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Wayfaring Man;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Causeway;   Covenant, in the Old Testament;   Wayfaring Man;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Exodus, Book of;   Poetry;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The highways lie waste - This verse contains a description of the desolations that had been caused by the invasion of Sennacherib. Some have understood it as containing the account which the ambassadors sent by Hezekiah gave of the effects of the invasion. Thus Grotius interprets it. But it is probably a description made by the prophet himself, and is designed to state one cause why the messengers that had been sent out wept bitterly. They had not only failed of inducing Sennacherib to abandon his purpose of attacking Jerusalem, but they had witnessed the effects of his invasion already. The public ways were desolate. In the consternation and alarm that was produced by his approach, the roads that had been usually thronged were now solitary and still. A mournful desolation already prevailed, and they apprehended still greater calamities, and hence, they wept.

The wayfaring man ceaseth - Hebrew, ‹He that passes along the road ceases.‘ That is, there is a cessation of travel. No one is seen passing along the streets that used to be thronged.

He hath broken the covenant - This may either mean that the Assyrian king had violated the compact which had been made with him by Ahaz, by which he was to come and aid Jerusalem against the allied armies of Syria and Samaria (see the notes at 2 Kings 18:14. In that embassy Hezekiah said, ‹I have offended, return from me; that which thou puttest on me I will bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.‘ To pay this, Hezekiah exhausted his treasury, and even stripped the temple of its golden ornaments 2 Kings 18:15-16. A compact was thus made by which it was understood that Sennacherib was to withdraw his army, and depart from the land. But notwithstanding this, he still persisted in his purpose, and immediately despatched a part of his army to lay siege to Jerusalem. All the treaties, therefore, had been violated. He had disregarded that which was made with Ahaz, and that which he had now himself made with Hezekiah, and was advancing in violation of all to lay siege to the city.

He hath despised the cities - That is, he disregards their defenses, and their strength; he invades and takes all that comes in his way. He speaks of them with contempt and scorn as being unable to stand before him, or to resist his march. See his vain and confident boasting in Isaiah 10:9; Isaiah 36:19.

He regardeth no man - He spares no one, and he observes no compact with any man.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:8". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-33.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The highways lie waste,.... No man walking in them, for fear of the enemy; "the ways of Zion", which are said to "mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts", Lamentations 1:4 none daring to attend the ministry of the word and ordinances; see Isaiah 35:8,

the wayfaring man ceaseth; or, "the traveller rests"F26שבת עבר ארח "cessaverat viator", Junius & Tremellius; "desiit viator", Cocceius. ; or stops; he does not proceed on his journey; a stop is put to a religious course and conversation; there is an entire cessation of religious worship; a sabbath is kept, but not a religious one; he that would walk in Zion's ways is forbid, and is obliged to sit still:

he hath broken the covenant; some, as Kimchi's father, interpret this of the Jews' complaining that God had broken his covenant with them, as in Psalm 89:39 but most of Sennacherib's breaking his covenant with Hezekiah, 2 Kings 18:14 rather this is to be understood of antichrist, whose doctrine is, that faith is not to be kept with heretics, and which will abundantly appear at this distressing time:

he hath despised the cities; as Sennacherib did the fenced cities of Judah; he despised their fortifications, and easily took them, and treated the inhabitants with disdain and contempt; and so will the reformed Protestant cities and countries be invaded, seized upon, and insulted, by the Romish antichrist:

he regardeth no man; so as to keep covenant with them, have compassion on them, and spare them, he fearing neither God nor man.

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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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/isaiah-33.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

The n highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man.

(n) These are the words of the ambassadors, when they returned from Sennacherib.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:8". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/isaiah-33.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

covenant — When Sennacherib invaded Judea, Hezekiah paid him a large sum to leave the land; Sennacherib received the money and yet sent his army against Jerusalem (2 Kings 18:14, 2 Kings 18:17).

despised — make slight of as unable to resist him (Isaiah 10:9; Isaiah 36:19); easily captures them.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/isaiah-33.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man.

The covenant — Sennacherib broke his faith, given to Hezekiah, of departing for a sum of money, 2 Kings 18:14,17.

Cities — The defenced cities of Judah, which he contemned, and easily took.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:8". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/isaiah-33.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 33:8 The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man.

Ver. 8. The highways lie waste.] And byways are more frequented, through fear of the enemy.

He hath broken the covenant.] Irritum factum est pactum. He took the money sent him, but comes on nevertheless, though he had sworn the contrary. [2 Kings 18:14; 2 Kings 18:17] It is said of the Turks at this day, that they keep their leagues - which serve, indeed, but as snares to entangle other princes in - no longer than standeth with their own profit. (a) Their maxim is, There is no faith to be kept with dogs, whereby they mean Christians, as the Papists also say, There is no faith to be kept with heretics, whereby they mean Protestants. But why kept not Uladislaus, King of Hungary, his faith better with Amurath, the great Turk? or our Henry III with his barons, by Papal dispensation? Vah scelus! vae periuris.

He hath despised the cities.] And will not take them for his subjects. He scorneth the motion.

He regardeth no man.] He vilipends and slights all jewels generally.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:8". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-33.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth, because the Assyrian soldiers possessed and filled the land.

He hath broken the covenant; Sennacherib broke his faith, given to Hezekiah, of departing for a sum of money, 2 Kings 18:14,17.

He hath despised the cities; the defenced cities of Judah, which he contemned and easily took, 2 Kings 18:13.

He regardeth no man; either to spare them, or to fear them, or to keep faith with them. He neither feareth God, nor reverenceth man.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 33:8". 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

People are afraid to go out onto the highways to travel about the land (cf. Judges 5:6). The enemy has broken his treaty, having no regard for the cities or the individuals he is now attacking.

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:8". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/isaiah-33.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Void, though Sennacherib had received what he demanded, 4 Kings xviii. 14.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:8". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/isaiah-33.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

highways. See note on Isaiah 7:3.

lie waste = are desolate. See note on Isaiah 1:7.

wayfaring man = he that walketh along the path. See note on "path", Isaiah 2:3.

man = mortal. Hebrew. "enosh. App-14

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:8". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/isaiah-33.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(8) The highways lie waste . . .—Another feature in the picture of terror. No traveller dared to show himself in the main road. (Comp. Judges 5:6.)

He hath broken.—Sennacherib is denounced as having broken the treaty of 2 Kings 18:14. Hezekiah had complied with his conditions, and yet there was no suspension of hostilities.

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:8". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/isaiah-33.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man.
highways
10:29-31; Judges 5:6; Lamentations 1:4
he hath broken
2 Kings 18:14-17
he hath despised
10:9-11; 36:1; 2 Kings 18:13
he regardeth
10:13,14; 1 Samuel 17:10,26; 2 Kings 18:20,21; Psalms 10:5; Luke 18:2-4
Reciprocal: Genesis 17:14 - broken;  Leviticus 26:22 - your high;  Jeremiah 4:28 - the earth;  Romans 1:31 - covenantbreakers

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:8". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/isaiah-33.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

8.The roads are deserted. He now adds, that “the roads” will be shut up, so that no one shall go in or out; which commonly happens when war has been declared. The Prophet appears to represent the ambassadors as declaring that henceforth there will be no opportunity of carrying on merchandise, and even that the highways will not be safe. (9) It is immediately added, —

They have violated the treaty. These words are viewed by some commentators as a complaint made by hypocrites that God does not fulfill his promises. If it were thought proper to view them as referring to God, still it would not be necessary to say that such a complaint proceeds from none but wicked men; for sometimes believers also quarrel with God in this manner. But I cannot approve of that interpretation; and, therefore, consider this to be a part of the description which the Prophet gives of the cruelty and insatiable rage of Sennacherib, in treacherously breaking the treaty which he had formerly made with Hezekiah; for, although he had promised that he would maintain peace, yet as soon as an opportunity presented itself for invading Judea, he violated his promise and made preparations for war. Such is also the import of the conclusion of the verse, that he hath despised the cities, he hath regarded no man, which means that his cruelty will be so great that he will not be restrained by shame or fear.

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Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:8". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/isaiah-33.html. 1840-57.