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Isa 17:1-11. PROPHECY CONCERNING DAMASCUS AND ITS ALLY SAMARIA, that is, Syria and Israel, which had leagued together (seventh and eighth chapters).
Already, Tiglath-pileser had carried away the people of Damascus to Kir, in the fourth year of Ahaz (2Ki 16:9); but now in Hezekiah's reign a further overthrow is foretold (Jer 49:23; Zec 9:1). Also, Shalmaneser carried away Israel from Samaria to Assyria (2Ki 17:6; 18:10, 11) in the sixth year of Hezekiah of Judah (the ninth year of Hoshea of Israel). This prophecy was, doubtless, given previously in the first years of Hezekiah when the foreign nations came into nearer collision with Judah, owing to the threatening aspect of Assyria.
2. cities of Aroer--that is, the cities round Aroer, and under its
jurisdiction [GESENIUS]. So "cities with their villages"
"Heshbon and all her cities"
Aroer was near Rabbahammon, at the river of Gad, an arm of the Jabbok
founded by the Gadites
3. fortress . . . cease--The strongholds shall be pulled down
5. harvestman, &c.--The inhabitants and wealth of Israel shall be
swept away, and but few left behind just as the husbandman gathers the
corn and the fruit, and leaves only a few gleaning ears and grapes
6. in it--that is, in the land of Israel.
7. look to his Maker--instead of trusting in their fortresses-- (Isa 17:3; Mic 7:7).
8. groves--A symbolical tree is often found in Assyrian inscriptions,
representing the hosts of heaven ("Saba"), answering to Ashteroth or
Astarte, the queen of heaven, as Baal or Bel is the king. Hence the
expression, "image of the grove," is explained
9. forsaken bough--rather "the leavings of woods," what the axeman
leaves when he cuts down the grove (compare
10. forgotten . . . God of . . . salvation . . . rock--
(De 32:15, 18).
11. In the day . . . thy plant--rather, "In the day of
thy planting" [HORSLEY].
Isa 17:12-18:7. SUDDEN DESTRUCTION OF A GREAT ARMY IN JUDEA (namely that of the Assyrian Sennacherib), AND ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE EVENT TO THE ETHIOPIAN AMBASSADORS.
The connection of this fragment with what precedes is: notwithstanding the calamities coming on Israel, the people of God shall not be utterly destroyed (Isa 6:12, 13); the Assyrian spoilers shall perish (Isa 17:13, 14).
12. Woe . . . multitude--rather, "Ho (Hark)!
a noise of," &c. The prophet in vision perceives the vast and
mixed Assyrian hosts (Hebrew, "many peoples," see on
on the hills of Judah (so "mountains,"
but at the "rebuke" of God, they shall "flee as chaff."
13. shall . . . shall--rather, "God rebuketh
them, and they flee--are chased"; the event is set before the
eyes as actually present, not future.
14. eventide . . . before morning--fulfilled to the letter in the
destruction "before morning" of the vast host that "at eveningtide" was
such a terror ("trouble") to Judah; on the phrase see
Ps 90:6; 30:5.