XVII Damascus, Samaria, Israel, and their cities, to be ruined by the Assyrians, ver. 1-5. A remnant shall consider and repent, ver. 6-8. The rest plagued for their impiety, ver. 9-11. The woe of Israel's enemies, ver. 12-14.
Verse 1. Damascus - Both of that city and kingdom. A heap - This was fulfilled by Tiglath-pilneser, 2 Kings xvi, 9, although afterwards it was re-edified.
Verse 2. Aroer - Of that part of Syria, called Aroer, from a great city of that name. These cities were possessed by the Reubenites and Gadites, whom Tiglath-pilneser carried into captivity, 1 Chron. v, 26. These he mentions here, as he doth Ephraim in the next verse, because they were confederate with Syria against Judah. Afraid - Because the land shall be desolate, and destitute of men who might disturb them.
Verse 3. The fortress - All their fortresses; the singular number being put for the plural. Remnant - The remainders of Damascus and Syria shall be an headless body, a people without a king. Of Israel - Syria shall have as much glory as Israel; that is, neither of them shall have any at all.
Verse 5. Gathereth - Taking care, as far as may be, that all may be gathered in, and nothing left. So shall the wholebody of the ten tribes be carried away captive, some few gleanings only being left. Rephaim - A very fruitful place near Jerusalem.
Verse 6. Yet - Some few Israelites were left after their captivity, who joined themselves to Judah, and were carried captive to Babylon with them, from whence also they returned with them.
Verse 7. A man - Those few men that are left. Look - They shall sincerely respect, and trust, and worship God, and God only.
Verse 8. Not look - Not trust to them, or to worship offered to idols upon them. The work - Their own inventions. Groves - Which were devised by men, as fit places for the worship of their gods. Images - Worshipped in their groves.
Verse 9. In - The day of Jacob's trouble, of which he spake ver. 4. Uppermost branch - Which he that prunes the tree neglects, because he esteems it useless and inconsiderable. Left - Which they (the Canaanites) left or forsook because of (or for fear of) the children of Israel. And this was a fit example, to awaken the Israelites to a serious belief of this threatening, because God had inflicted the same judgment upon the Canaanites, for the same sins of which they were guilty.
Verse 10. Thou - O Israel. The rock - That God who was thy only sure defense. Plants - Excellent flowers and fruit-trees. Strange - Fetched from far countries, and therefore highly esteemed.
Verse 11. In the day - Thou shalt from day to day, beginning early in the morning, use all diligence that what thou hast planted may thrive. But - When this grievous calamity shall come, all your harvest shall be but one heap.
Verse 12. Woe - This is a new prophecy, added for the comfort of God's people. Many - Combined together against Judah. Seas - Who invade my land and people with great force, as the sea does when it enters into the land by a breach.
Verse 14. Behold - At even there is great terror among God's people, for fear of their enemies; and before the morning comes, their enemies are cut off.