VII Ahaz afraid of Rezin and Pekah, is comforted by Isaiah, ver. 1-9. Refusing to chuse a sign, Christ is promised for one, ver. 10- 16. His judgment should come by Assyria, ver. 17-25.
Verse 1. Ahaz - A most wicked king: yet no prophecies are more comfortable than those which were delivered in his time; God so ordering it for the encouragement of the faithful that lived under his impious reign.
Verse 2. David - Ahaz, and his relations. He calls them the house of David, to intimate that the following comfortable message was sent to Ahaz, not for his own sake, but for the sake of his worthy progenitor David. Ephraim - The kingdom of the ten tribes, commonly called Ephraim, because that was the most numerous of all. Moved - With fear, arising from a consciousness of their own guilt, and their enemiesstrength.
Verse 3. Thy son - Whose very name carried in it a sign and pledge of the promised deliverance, signifying, The remnant shall return. Fuller's field - Whither he probably went to take care about the waters which thence were brought into the city, to secure them to himself, or keep them from the enemy, as Hezekiah afterward did, 2 Chron. xxxii, 3, 4.
Verse 4. Be quiet - Settle thy mind by the belief of that joyful message which I am now to deliver thee from the Lord. Fire-brands - They are not whole fire-brands, but small pieces or ends of them, taken out of the fire, in which there is more smoak than fire. They have more of shew and terror, than of strength. Pekah, king of Israel, he calls only the son of Remaliah, to intimate, that he was unworthy the name of king, as having got that title by usurpation, and the murder of his master, 2 Kings xv, 25.
Verse 6. Let us - Break their power and kingdom and subdue it to ourselves.
Verse 7. It - Their evil counsel.
Verse 8. Damascus - Damascus shall still continue the capital of the kingdom of Syria; and therefore Jerusalem shall not become a part of Rezin's dominion: but he shall keep within his own bounds, and be king of Damascus only.
Verse 9. Samaria - Samaria shall continue to be the chief city if the kingdom of Israel, and Pekah shall not conquer Jerusalem. If - If you do not believe this, but seek to the Assyrians for succor, ye shall be consumed thereby.
Verse 12. I will not - By asking a sign, as if I questioned the truth of his word: but this was deep hypocrisy.
Verse 13. David - He reproves them all, because they were the king's counsellors. Is it a small thing - Is it not wickedness enough. My God - To vex God's prophets and people, with your oppressions and horrid impieties. And by your ingratitude and unbelief, and disobedience of his commands.
Verse 14. Therefore - Because you despise me, and the sign which I now offer to you, God of his own free grace will send you a more honourable messenger, and give you a nobler sign. A sign - Of your deliverance. But how was this birth, which was not to happen 'till many ages after, a sign of their deliverance from present danger? This promised birth supposed the preservation of that city, and nation and tribe, in and of which the Messiah was to be born; and therefore there was no cause to fear that ruin which their enemies now threatened. Immanuel - God with us; God dwelling among us, in our nature, John i, 14. God and man meeting in one person, and being a mediator between God and men. For the design of these words is not so much to relate the name by which Christ should commonly he called, as to describe his nature and office.
Verse 15. Butter - The common food of children in that country. He - The virgin's son. Know - To discern between things good and evil.
Verse 16. Yea - Not only this land shall be preserved until the virgin's son shall be born, but thine enemiesland shall be sorely scourged, and these two kings destroyed within a very little time. This child - Shear-Jashub, whom in all probability the prophet pointed at, and who was brought hither by God's special command, ver. 3. for this very use. The land - The lands of Syria and Israel. Forsaken - So far shall Pekah and Rezin be from conquering thy land, that they shall lose their own lands, and their lives too; which they did within two years after this time, being both slain by the king of Assyria.
Verse 17. Shall bring - But altho' God will deliver you at this time, yet he will requite all your wickedness. Thee - For part of this Assyrian storm fell in Ahaz's reign. And - Upon thy sons and successors, the kings of Judah. Days - Calamities. Departed - When ten tribes revolted from thy father's house. The king - Who may well be called their plague or calamity, as he is called the rod of God's anger, chap. x, 5.
Verse 18. The fly - The flies. So he calls these enemies, to imply their great numbers. In - In their extremity, where they go out into the sea. Rivers - Of the river Nile, which may be called rivers, either for its greatness, or because towards the end of it, it is divided into seven streams. When the Chaldeans had in good measure subdued the Egyptians, it is probable great numbers of the Egyptian soldiers listed themselves in the Chaldean army, and with them invaded the land of Judah. The bee - The Assyrian army, compared to bees, as for their numerous forces and orderly march, so for their fierce attempts and mischievous effects. Assyria - In the empire of Assyria, or Babylon; for these two were united into one empire, and therefore in scripture are promiscuously called sometimes by one title, and sometimes by the other.
Verse 19. Valleys - Such as they found fruitful, but made desolate. Rocks - To which possibly the Israelites fled for refuge. Bushes - Which he mentions because flies and bees use frequently to rest there; and to intimate, that no place should escape their fury.
Verse 20. Shave - Utterly spoil, as shaving takes away the hair. Hired - By Ahaz, who did hire them, 2 Kings xvi, 7, 8. And so the prophet notes the just judgment of God, in scourging them with a rod of their own making. By - By the successive kings of the Assyrian empire, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, and especially by Nebuchadnezzar. The head - By these metaphorical expressions he signifies the total destruction of their state, from head to foot, from the highest to the lowest.
Verse 21. Sheep - They who formerly used to keep great herds of cattle, and many flocks of sheep, shall esteem it a happiness if they can keep but one cow and two sheep.
Verse 22. Abundance - Because they shall have large pastures, by reason of the great scarcity of cattle. Butter - Which the poorer sort had formerly used to sell, to procure them cheaper food for themselves: but now the land should be so destitute of people, that there were none to whom they could sell them.
Verse 23. Of silver - Each of the thousand vineyards might have been sold or let for a thousand shekels, which was the yearly rent of some excellent vineyards.
Verse 24. With arrows - Either to hunt, or to defend themselves from wild beasts, which commonly abide in desolate grounds.
Verse 25. Digged - That used to be digged and dressed for the planting of vines, or other choice fruit-trees. The fear - That they might be freed from briars and thorns. Cattle - All sorts of cattle may enter, and feed there, the fences being broken down, and the owners slain, or carried into captivity.