UNBELIEF OF THE
This chapter opens the series of prophecies as to the invasion of Judea
under Sennacherib, and its deliverance.
1. Ariel--Jerusalem; Ariel means "Lion of God," that is, city rendered
by God invincible: the lion is emblem of a mighty hero
Otherwise "Hearth of God," that is, place where the altar-fire
continually burns to God
Eze 43:15, 16).
add . . . year to year--ironically; suffer one year after another to
glide on in the round of formal, heartless "sacrifices." Rather, "add
yet another year" to the one just closed
[MAURER]. Let a year elapse and
a little more
let . . . kill sacrifices--rather, "let the beasts (of another year)
go round" [MAURER];
that is, after the completion of a year "I will
2. Yet--rather, "Then."
heaviness . . . sorrow--rather, preserving the Hebrew paronomasia,
"groaning" and "moaning."
as Ariel--either, "the city shall be as a lion of God," that is, it
shall emerge from its dangers unvanquished; or "it shall be as the
altar of burnt offering," consuming with fire the besiegers
Isa 30:30; 31:9;
or best, as
continues the threat, and the promise of deliverance does
not come till
"it shall be like a hearth of burning," that is, a scene of devastation
by fire [G. V. SMITH]. The prophecy, probably,
contemplates ultimately, besides the affliction and deliverance
in Sennacherib's time, the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome, the
dispersion of the Jews, their restoration, the destruction of the
enemies that besiege the city
and the final glory of Israel
3. I--Jehovah, acting through the Assyrian, &c., His instruments
mount--an artificial mound formed to out-top high walls
else a station, namely, of warriors, for the siege.
round about--not fully realized under Sennacherib, but in the
(Lu 19:43; 21:20).
4. Jerusalem shall be as a captive, humbled to the dust. Her
voice shall come from the earth as that of the spirit-charmers or
faint and shrill, as the voice of the dead was supposed to be.
Ventriloquism was doubtless the trick caused to make the voice appear
to come from the earth
An appropriate retribution that Jerusalem, which consulted
necromancers, should be made like them!
5. Moreover--rather, "Yet"; yet in this extremity help shall come, and
the enemy be scattered.
strangers--foreign enemies, invaders
it shall be--namely, the destruction of the enemy.
at an instant--in a moment
6. Thou--the Assyrian army.
thunder, &c.--not literally, in the case of the Assyrians
but figuratively for an awful judgment
(Isa 30:30; 28:17).
The ulterior fulfilment, in the case of the Jews' foes in the last
days, may be more literal (see as to "earthquake,"
8. Their disappointment in the very height of their confident
expectation of taking Jerusalem shall be as great as that of the hungry
man who in a dream fancies he eats, but awakes to hunger still
their dream shall be dissipated on the fatal morning
soul--simply his appetite: he is still thirsty.
9. Stay--rather, "Be astounded"; expressing the stupid and amazed
incredulity with which the Jews received Isaiah's announcement.
wonder--The second imperative, as often
is a threat; the first is a simple declaration of a fact, "Be
astounded, since you choose to be so, at the prophecy, soon you will
be amazed at the sight of the actual event" [MAURER].
cry . . . out . . . cry--rather, "Be ye blinded (since you choose to
be so, though the light shines all round you), and soon ye shall be
blinded" in good earnest to your sorrow
(Isa 6:9, 10).
not with wine--but with spiritual paralysis
(Isa 51:17, 21).
ye . . . they--The change from speaking to, to speaking of them, intimates that the prophet turns away from them to a greater
distance, because of their stupid unbelief.
10. Jehovah gives them up judicially to their own hardness of heart
Quoted by Paul, with variations from the Septuagint,
eyes; the prophets, &c.--rather, "hath closed your eyes, the prophets;
and your heads (Margin; see also
the seers, He hath covered." The Orientals cover the head to sleep;
thus "covered" is parallel to "closed your eyes"
Covering the face was also preparatory to execution
This cannot apply to the time when Isaiah himself prophesied, but to
11. of all--rather, "the whole vision." "Vision" is the same here
as "revelation," or "law"; in
the same Hebrew word is translated, "covenant" [MAURER].
God seals up the truth so that even the learned, because they lack
believing docility, cannot discern it
(Mt 13:10-17; 11:25).
Prophecy remained comparatively a sealed volume
(Da 12:4, 9),
until Jesus, who "alone is worthy," "opened the seals"
(Re 5:1-5, 9; 6:1).
12. The unlearned succeed no better than the learned, not from want
of human learning, as they fancy, but from not having the teaching of
13. precept of men--instead of the precepts of God, given by His
prophets; also worship external, and by rule, not heartfelt as God
Compare Christ's quotation of this verse from the
The "marvellous work" is one of unparalleled vengeance on
the hypocrites: compare "strange work,"
The judgment, too, will visit the wise in that respect in which they
most pride themselves; their wisdom shall be hid, that is, shall
no longer appear, so as to help the nation in its distress (compare
15. seek deep to hide--rather, "That seek to hide deeply," &c.
Isa 30:1, 2).
The reference is to the secret plan which many of the Jewish
nobles had of seeking Egyptian aid against Assyria, contrary to the
advice of Isaiah. At the same time the hypocrite in general is
described, who, under a plausible exterior, tries to hide his real
character, not only from men, but even from God.
16. Rather, "Ah! your perverseness! just as if the potter should be
esteemed as the clay!" [MAURER].
Or, "Ye invert (turn upside down) the
order of things, putting yourselves instead of God," and vice versa,
just as if the potter should be esteemed as the clay
(Isa 45:9; 64:8).
17. turned--as contrasted with your "turnings of things upside
there shall be other and better turnings or revolutions; the
outpouring of the Spirit in the latter days
first on the Jews; which shall be followed by their national
restoration (see on
then on the Gentiles
fruitful field--literally, "a Carmel"
The moral change in the Jewish nation shall be as great as if the
wooded Lebanon were to become a fruitful field, and vice versa. Compare
Greek: "the kingdom of heaven forces itself," as it were,
on man's acceptance; instead of men having to seek Messiah, as they had
John, in a desert, He presents Himself before them with loving
invitations; thus men's hearts, once a moral desert, are reclaimed so
as to bear fruits of righteousness: vice versa, the ungodly who seemed
prosperous, both in the moral and literal sense, shall be exhibited in
their real barrenness.
18. deaf . . . blind--(Compare
The spiritually blind, &c., are chiefly meant; "the book," as
Revelation is called pre-eminently, shall be no longer "sealed," as is
but the most unintelligent shall hear and see
19. meek--rather, the afflicted godly: the idea is,
Ps 25:9; 37:11)
poor among men--that is, the poorest of men, namely, the pious poor.
rejoice--when they see their oppressors punished
(Isa 29:20, 21),
and Jehovah exhibited as their protector and rewarder
20. terrible--namely, the persecutors among the Jewish nobles.
(Isa 28:14, 22).
watch for--not only commit iniquity, but watch for opportunities of
committing it, and make it their whole study (see
Mt 26:59; 27:1).
21. Rather, "Who make a man guilty in his cause"
is, unjustly condemn him. "A man" is in the Hebrew a poor man, upon
whom such unjust condemnations might be practiced with more impunity
than on the rich; compare
"the meek . . . the poor."
him that reproveth--rather, "pleadeth"; one who has a suit at issue.
gate--the place of concourse in a city, where courts of justice were
Am 5:10, 12).
just--one who has a just cause; or, Jesus Christ, "the Just One"
for a thing of naught--rather, "through falsehood," "by a decision
that is null in justice" [BARNES]. Compare as to Christ,
Ac 3:13, 14; 8:33.
22. Join "saith . . . concerning the house of Jacob."
redeemed--out of Ur, a land of idolaters
not now--After the moral revolution described
the children of Jacob shall no longer give cause to their forefathers
to blush for them.
wax pale--with shame and disappointment at the wicked degeneracy of
his posterity, and fear as to their punishment.
23. But--rather, "For."
work of mine hands--spiritually, as well as physically
(Isa 19:25; 60:21;
By Jehovah's agency Israel shall be cleansed of its corruptions, and
shall consist wholly of pious men
(Isa 54:13, 14; 2:1; 60:21).
midst of him--that is, his land. Or else "His children" are the
Gentiles adopted among the Israelites, his lineal descendants
24. They . . . that erred--
learn doctrine--rather, "shall receive discipline" or "instruction."
"Murmuring" was the characteristic of Israel's rebellion against God
This shall be so no more. Chastisements, and, in HORSLEY'S view, the piety of the Gentiles provoking the
Jews to holy jealousy
(Ro 11:11, 14),
shall then produce the desired effect.