Isaiah 1:4
Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger, they are gone away backward.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) Ah, sinful nation . . .—The Hebrew interjection is, like our English “Ha!” the expression of indignation rather than of pity.

A seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters.—The first phrase in the Hebrew idiom does not mean “the progeny of evil-doers,” but those who, as a seed or brood, are made up of such. (Comp. Isaiah 14:20; Isaiah 65:23.) The word “children” (better, as in Isaiah 1:2, sons) once more emphasises the guilt of those who ought to have been obedient.

They have forsaken the Lord . . .—The three verbs paint the several stages of the growth in evil. Men first forsake, then spurn, then openly apostatise. (Comp. Luke 16:13). In the “Holy One of Israel” we have the Divine name on which Isaiah most delights to dwell, and which had been impressed on his mind by the Trisagion, which accompanied his first call to the office of a prophet (Isaiah 6:3). The thought expressed by the name is that all ideas of consecration, purity, and holiness are gathered up in God. The term occurs fourteen times in the first part of Isaiah, and sixteen times in the second. A corrupt people needed to be reminded ever more and more of the truth which the name asserted.

Isaiah

THE GREAT SUIT: JEHOVAH VERSUS JUDAH

Isaiah 1:1 - Isaiah 1:9
; Isaiah 1:16 - Isaiah 1:20.

The first bars of the great overture to Isaiah’s great oratorio are here sounded. These first chapters give out the themes which run through all the rest of his prophecies. Like most introductions, they were probably written last, when the prophet collected and arranged his life’s labours. The text deals with the three great thoughts, the leit-motifs that are sounded over and over again in the prophet’s message.

First comes the great indictment {Isaiah 1:2 - Isaiah 1:4}. A true prophet’s words are of universal application, even when they are most specially addressed to a particular audience. Just because this indictment was so true of Judah, is it true of all men, for it is not concerned with details peculiar to a long-past period and state of society, but with the broad generalities common to us all. As another great teacher in Old Testament times said, ‘I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt-offerings, to have been continually before me.’ Isaiah has nothing to say about ritual or ceremonial omissions, which to him were but surface matters after all, but he sets in blazing light the foundation facts of Judah’s {and every man’s} distorted relation to God. And how lovingly, as well as sternly, God speaks through him! That divine lament which heralds the searching indictment is not unworthy to be the very words of the Almighty Lover of all men, sorrowing over His prodigal and fugitive sons. Nor is its deep truth less than its tenderness. For is not man’s sin blackest when seen against the bright background of God’s fatherly love? True, the fatherhood that Isaiah knew referred to God’s relation to the nation rather than to the individual, but the great truth which is perfectly revealed by the Perfect Son was in part shown to the prophet. The east was bright with the unrisen sun, and the tinted clouds that hovered above the place of its rising seemed as if yearning to open and let him through. Man’s neglect of God’s benefits puts him below the animals that ‘know’ the hand that feeds and governs them. Some men think it a token of superior ‘culture’ and advanced views to throw off allegiance to God. It is a token that they have less intelligence than their dog.

There is something very beautiful and pathetic in the fact that Judah is not directly addressed, but that Isaiah 1:2 - Isaiah 1:4 are a divine soliloquy. They might rather be called a father’s lament than an indictment. The forsaken father is, as it were, sadly brooding over his erring child’s sins, which are his father’s sorrows and his own miseries. In Isaiah 1:4 the black catalogue of the prodigal’s doings begins on the surface with what we call ‘moral’ delinquencies, and then digs deeper to disclose the root of these in what we call ‘religious’ relations perverted. The two are inseparably united, for no man who is wrong with God can be right with duty or with men. Notice, too, how one word flashes into clearness the sad truth of universal experience-that ‘iniquity,’ however it may delude us into fancying that by it we throw off the burden of conscience and duty, piles heavier weights on our backs. The doer of iniquity is ‘laden with iniquity.’ Notice, too, how the awful entail of evil from parents to children is adduced-shall we say as aggravating, or as lessening, the guilt of each generation? Isaiah’s contemporaries are ‘a seed of evil-doers,’ spring from such, and in their turn are ‘children that are corrupters.’ The fatal bias becomes stronger as it passes down. Heredity is a fact, whether you call it original sin or not.

But the bitter fountain of all evil lies in distorted relations to God. ‘They have forsaken the Lord’; that is why they ‘do corruptly.’ They have ‘despised the Holy One of Israel’; that is why they are ‘laden with iniquity.’ Alienated hearts separate from Him. To forsake Him is to despise Him. To go from Him is to go ‘away backward.’ Whatever may have been our inheritance of evil, we each go further from Him. And this fatherly lament over Judah is indeed a wail over every child of man. Does it not echo in the ‘pearl of parables,’ and may we not suppose that it suggested that supreme revelation of man’s misery and God’s love?

After the indictment comes the sentence {Isaiah 1:5 - Isaiah 1:8}. Perhaps ‘sentence’ is not altogether accurate, for these verses do not so much decree a future as describe a present, and the deep tone of pitying wonder sounds through them as they tell of the bitter harvest sown by sin. The penetrating question, ‘Why will ye be still stricken, that ye revolt more and more?’ brings out the solemn truth that all which men gain by rebellion against God is chastisement. The ox that ‘kicks against the pricks’ only makes its own hocks bleed. We aim at some imagined good, and we get-blows. No rational answer to that stern ‘Why?’ is possible. Every sin is an act of unreason, essentially an absurdity. The consequences of Judah’s sin are first darkly drawn under the metaphor of a man desperately wounded in some fight, and far away from physicians or nurses, and then the metaphor is interpreted by the plain facts of hostile invasion, flaming cities, devastated fields. It destroys the coherence of the verses to take the gruesome picture of the wounded man as a description of men’s sins; it is plainly a description of the consequences of their sins. In accordance with the Old Testament point of view, Isaiah deals with national calamities as the punishment of national sins. He does not touch on the far worse results of individual sins on individual character. But while we are not to ignore his doctrine that nations are individual entities, and that ‘righteousness exalteth a nation’ in our days as well as in his, the Christian form of his teaching is that men lay waste their own lives and wound their own souls by every sin. The fugitive son comes down to be a swine-herd, and cannot get enough even of the swine’s food to stay his hunger.

The note of pity sounds very clearly in the pathetic description of the deserted ‘daughter of Zion.’ Jerusalem stands forlorn and defenceless, like a frail booth in a vineyard, hastily run up with boughs, and open to fierce sunshine or howling winds. Once ‘beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, . . . the city of the great King’-and now!

Isaiah 1:9 breaks the solemn flow of the divine Voice, but breaks it as it desires to be broken. For in it hearts made soft and penitent by the Voice, breathe out lowly acknowledgment of widespread sin, and see God’s mercy in the continuance of ‘a very small remnant’ of still faithful ones. There is a little island not yet submerged by the sea of iniquity, and it is to Him, not to themselves, that the ‘holy seed’ owe their being kept from following the multitude to do evil. What a smiting comparison for the national pride that is-’as Sodom,’ ‘like unto Gomorrah’!

After the sentence comes pardon. Isaiah 1:16 - Isaiah 1:17 properly belong to the paragraph omitted from the text, and close the stern special word to the ‘rulers’ which, in its severe tone, contrasts so strongly with the wounded love and grieved pity of the preceding verses. Moral amendment is demanded of these high-placed sinners and false guides. It is John the Baptist’s message in an earlier form, and it clears the way for the evangelical message. Repentance and cleansing of life come first.

But these stern requirements, if taken alone, kindle despair. ‘Wash you, make you clean’-easy to say, plainly necessary, and as plainly hopelessly above my reach. If that is all that a prophet has to say to me, he may as well say nothing. For what is the use of saying ‘Arise and walk’ to the man who has been lame from his mother’s womb? How can a foul body be washed clean by filthy hands? Ancient or modern preachers of a self-wrought-out morality exhort to impossibilities, and unless they follow their preaching of an unattainable ideal as Isaiah followed his, they are doomed to waste their words. He cried, ‘Make you clean,’ but he immediately went on to point to One who could make clean, could turn scarlet into snowy white, crimson into the lustrous purity of the unstained fleeces of sheep in green pastures. The assurance of God’s forgiveness which deals with guilt, and of God’s cleansing which deals with inclination and habit, must be the foundation of our cleansing ourselves from filthiness of flesh and spirit. The call to repentance needs the promise of pardon and divine help to purifying in order to become a gospel. And the call to ‘repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ,’ is what we all, who are ‘laden with iniquity,’ and have forsaken the Lord, need, if ever we are to cease to do evil and learn to do well.

As with one thunder-clap the prophecy closes, pealing forth the eternal alternative set before every soul of man. Willing obedience to our Father God secures all good, the full satisfaction of our else hungry and ravenous desires. To refuse and rebel is to condemn ourselves to destruction. And no man can avert that consequence, or break the necessary connection between goodness and blessedness, ‘for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it,’ and what He speaks stands fast for ever and ever.Isaiah 1:4. Ah, sinful nation — The prophet bemoans those who would not bemoan themselves; and he speaks with a holy indignation at their degeneracy, and with a dread of the consequences of it. A people laden with iniquity — Laden, not with the sense of sin, as those described Matthew 11:28, but with the guilt and bondage of sin. A seed of evil- doers — The children of wicked parents, whose guilt they inherit, and whose evil example they follow; children that are corrupted — Hebrew, משׁחיתים, that corrupt, namely, themselves, or their ways, or others, by their counsel and example: or, that destroy themselves and their land by their wickedness. They have forsaken the Lord — Not indeed in profession, but in practice, and therefore in reality, neglecting or corrupting his worship, and refusing to be subject and obedient to him. They have provoked the Holy One, &c. — They have lived as if it were their great design and business to provoke him. They are gone away backward — Instead of proceeding forward, and growing in grace, which was their duty, they are fallen from their former professions, and have become more wicked than ever.1:1-9 Isaiah signifies, The salvation of the Lord; a very suitable name for this prophet, who prophesies so much of Jesus the Saviour, and his salvation. God's professing people did not know or consider that they owed their lives and comforts to God's fatherly care and kindness. How many are very careless in the affairs of their souls! Not considering what we do know in religion, does us as much harm, as ignorance of what we should know. The wickedness was universal. Here is a comparison taken from a sick and diseased body. The distemper threatens to be mortal. From the sole of the foot even to the head; from the meanest peasant to the greatest peer, there is no soundness, no good principle, no religion, for that is the health of the soul. Nothing but guilt and corruption; the sad effects of Adam's fall. This passage declares the total depravity of human nature. While sin remains unrepented, nothing is done toward healing these wounds, and preventing fatal effects. Jerusalem was exposed and unprotected, like the huts or sheds built up to guard ripening fruits. These are still to be seen in the East, where fruits form a large part of the summer food of the people. But the Lord had a small remnant of pious servants at Jerusalem. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed. The evil nature is in every one of us; only Jesus and his sanctifying Spirit can restore us to spiritual health.Ah! sinful nation - The word rendered 'ah!' - הוי hôy - is not a mere exclamation, expressing astonishment. It is rather an interjection denouncing threatening, or punishment. 'Wo to the sinful nation.' Vulgate, 'Vae genti peccatrici.' The corruption pertained to the nation, and not merely to a part. It had become general.

Laden with iniquity - The word translated "laden" - כבד kebed - denotes properly anything "heavy," or burdensome; from כבד kâbad, "to be heavy." It means that they were oppressed, and borne down with the "weight" of their sins. Thus we say, Sin sits "heavy" on the conscience. Thus Cain said, 'My punishment is greater than I can bear;' Genesis 4:13. The word is applied to an "employment" as being burdensome; Exodus 18:18 : 'This thing is too "heavy" for thee.' Numbers 11:14 : 'I am not able to bear eli this people alone; it is too "heavy" for me.' It is applied also to a "famine," as being heavy, severe, distressing. Genesis 12:10 : 'For the famine was "grievous" (כבד kâbed, heavy) in the land;' Genesis 41:31. It is also applied to "speech," as being heavy, dull, unintelligible. Exodus 4:10 : 'I am slow (heavy כבד kebad) of speech, and of a slow (heavy כבד kebad) tongue.' It is not applied to sin in the Scriptures, except in this place, or except in the sense of making atonement for it. The idea however, is very striking - that of a nation - an entire people, bowed and crushed under the enormous weight of accumulated crimes. To pardon iniquity, or to atone for it, is represented by bearing it, as if it were a heavy burden. Exodus 28:38, Exodus 28:43, 'That Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things.' Leviticus 10:17 : 'God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation.' Leviticus 22:9; Leviticus 16:22; Numbers 18:1; Isaiah 53:6 : 'Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.' Isaiah 53:11 : 'He shall bear their iniquities.' 1 Peter 2:24 : 'Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.'

A seed - זרע zera‛, from זרע zâra‛, to sow, to scatter, to disperse. It is applied to seed sown in a field; Judges 6:3; Genesis 1:11-12; Genesis 47:23; to plants set out, or engrafted; or to planting, or transplanting a nation. Isaiah 17:10 : 'And thou shalt set it (תזרענוּ tizerâ‛enû shalt sow, or plant it) with strange slips.' Hence, it is applied to children, posterity, descendants, from the resemblance to seed sown, and to a harvest springing up, and spreading. The word is applied by way of eminence to the Jews, as being the seed or posterity of Abraham, according to the promise that his seed should be as the stars of heaven; Genesis 12:7; Genesis 13:15-16; Genesis 15:5, Genesis 15:18; Genesis 17:7, ...

Children - Hebrew sons - the same word that is used in Isaiah 1:2. They were the adopted people or sons of God, but they had now become corrupt.

That are corrupters - mashchiytiym - משׁחיתים mashechı̂ythı̂ym, from שׁחת shachath, to destroy, to lay waste, as an invading army does a city or country; Joshua 22:33; Genesis 19:13. To destroy a vineyard; Jeremiah 12:10. To break down walls; Ezekiel 26:4. Applied to conduct, it means to destroy, or lay waste virtuous principles; to break down the barriers to vice; to corrupt the morals. Genesis 6:12 : 'And God looked upon the earth, and it was corrupt - נשׁחתה nı̂shechâthâh; for all flesh had corrupted his way - השׁחית hı̂shechı̂yth - upon the earth;' Deuteronomy 4:16; Deuteronomy 31:29; Judges 2:19. They were not merely corrupt themselves, but they corrupted others by their example. This is always the case. When people become infidels and profligates themselves, they seek to make as many more as possible. The Jews did this by their wicked lives. The same charge is often brought against them; see Judges 2:12; Zephaniah 3:7.

They have provoked - Hebrew נאצוּ nı̂'ătsû 'They have despised the Holy One;' compare Proverbs 1:30; Proverbs 5:12; Proverbs 15:5. Vulgate, 'They have blasphemed.' Septuagint, παρωργίσατε parōrgisate. 'You have provoked him to anger.' The meaning is, that they had so despised him, as to excite his indignation.

The Holy One of Israel - God; called the Holy One of Israel because he was revealed to them as their God, or they were taught to regard him as the sacred object of their worship.

They are gone away backward - Lowth: 'They have turned their backs upon him.' The word rendered "they are gone away," נזרוּ nâzorû, from זור zûr, means properly, to become estranged; to be alienated. Job 19:13 : 'Mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me.' It means especially that declining from God, or that alienation, which takes place when people commit sin; Psalm 78:30.

4. people—the peculiar designation of God's elect nation (Ho 1:10), that they should be "laden with iniquity" is therefore the more monstrous. Sin is a load (Ps 38:4; Mt 11:28).

seed—another appellation of God's elect (Ge 12:7; Jer 2:21), designed to be a "holy seed" (Isa 6:13), but, awful to say, "evildoers!"

children—by adoption (Ho 11:1), yet "evildoers"; not only so, but "corrupters" of others (Ge 6:12); the climax. So "nation—people—seed children."

provoked—literally, "despised," namely, so as to provoke (Pr 1:30, 31).

Holy One of Israel—the peculiar heinousness of their sin, that it was against their God (Am 3:2).

gone … backward—literally, "estranged" (Ps 58:3).

Ah: this particle implies both his wonder, and anger, and grief, and shame that they were such.

Laden with iniquity, Heb. of heaviness of iniquity, i.e. of heavy or great sins; for heavy is commonly put for great or grievous, as Isaiah 21:15 30:27. Laden not with the sense of sin, as Matthew 11:28, but with the guilt and bondage of sin.

A seed of evil-doers; the children of wicked parents, whose guilt they inherit, and whose evil example they follow.

That are corrupters, Heb. that corrupt, to wit, themselves, or their ways, or others by their counsel and example. Or, that destroy themselves and their land by their wickedness.

They have forsaken the Lord, not in profession, but in practice and reality, neglecting or corrupting his worship, refusing his yoke and conduct. They have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger; they have lived as if it were their great design and business to provoke him.

They are gone away backward; instead of proceeding forward, and growing in grace, which was their duty, they are all fallen from their former professions, and grown worse and worse, and have impudently turned their backs upon me. Ah sinful nation,..... Or "sinning nation" (y); that was continually sinning, doing nothing else but sin, the reverse of what they were chosen to be, Deuteronomy 7:6. These words are said, either as calling and crying to them, to cause them to hear and hearken to what is said, as Aben Ezra and Kimchi observe, and as is used in Isaiah 55:1 or by way of complaint and lamentation, as Jarchi thinks, because of their general and continued wickedness, see 1 Kings 13:30, or by way of threatening, as in Isaiah 1:24 and so the Targum paraphrases it,

"woe to them who are called a holy people, and have sinned:''

and so the Vulgate Latin and Arabic versions render it, "woe to the sinning nation"; their ruin is at hand:

a people laden with iniquity; full of sin; they multiplied offences, as in the Chaldee paraphrase: they were "heavy" with them, as the word (z) signifies, yet felt not, nor complained of, the burden of them:

a seed of evil doers; this is not said of their fathers, but of themselves, as Jarchi observes; they had been planted a right seed, but now were degenerate, a wicked generation of men.

Children that are corrupters; of themselves and others, by their words and actions; who had corrupted their ways, as the Targum adds; and so Kimchi and Aben Ezra.

They have forsaken the Lord; the worship of the Lord, as the Targum interprets it; the ways and ordinances of God, forsook the assembling of themselves together, neglected the hearing of the word, and attendance on the worship of the Lord's house:

they have provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger; by their numerous sins, both of omission and commission:

they are gone away backward; were become backsliders and revolters, had apostatized from God and his worship, turned their backs on him, and cast his law behind them. The characters here given not only agree with the Jews in the times of Isaiah, but also with those in the times of Christ and his apostles, Matthew 12:39.

(y) "gens peccatrix", Sept. V. L. Syr. Ar. (z) "gravi iniquitate", V. L.

Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a {g} seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the {h} Holy One of Israel to anger, they are gone away backward.

(g) They were not only wicked as were their fathers, but utterly corrupt and by their evil example infected others.

(h) That is, him that sanctifies Israel.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. seed (i.e. race or brood, consisting) of evildoers] Cf. Matthew 3:7, “brood of vipers.” The indef. art. should be omitted in this clause and the preceding.

children … corrupters] better: sons that deal corruptly (R.V.); lit. “that corrupt [sc. their way]” as Genesis 6:12.

provoked … unto anger] R.V., rightly, despised.

Holy One of Israel] i.e. “the Holy One who is Israel’s God.” Holiness was the aspect of the divine nature impressed on Isaiah’s mind in his inaugural vision, and this phrase, common in his writings and apparently coined by him, sums up his fundamental conception of God in relation to Israel (see Introd., p. lii, and on ch. 6 below).

they are gone away backward] A pregnant construction, to be rendered as in R.V.: they are estranged [and gone] backward. The words are wanting in the LXX.

4–9. The prophet speaks.Verse 4. - Ah sinful nation. These are the words of Isaiah, not of Jehovah. The prophet, having delivered God's message in vers. 2 and 3, proceeds to impress and enforce it on the people by remarks of his own. He begins with a lamentation over their wickedness and impenitence; "Ah sinful nation!" or "Alas for the sinful nation! "the nation called to be holy (Exodus 19:6; Leviticus 20:26, etc.), but sunk in sin and wickedness. How sad their condition! How almost hopeless! Laden with iniquity; literally, heavy with guilt. But our version well expresses the sense. As the psalmist says, "My sins have gone up over my head, and are like a sore burden, toe heavy for me to bear" (Psalm 38:4; cf. Matthew 11:28). A seed of evil-doers. Not descendants of evil-doors, but "an evil-doing seed, "or "race" (σπέρμα πονηρόν, LXX.; comp. Isaiah 14:20; Isaiah 61:9; Isaiah 65:23). Children that are corrupters; literally, sons that do corruptly. It is not their corrupting of others, though that might follow, but the corruption that was in themselves, which is spoken cf. The corruption was both moral and doctrinal (see ver. 21). In corroboration of the fact, see 2 Chronicles 27:2. They have forsaken the Lord. Not by renouncing his worship, which they still continued (see vers. 11-15), but by reducing it to a formality. The people "honored him with their lips, while their hearts were far from him" (Isaiah 29:13). They have provoked to anger; rather, despised (Revised Version), or scorched (Kay, Cheyne), or rejected with disdain (Lowth), in allusion to their disobeying his commandments (see vers. 21-23). The Holy One of Israel. This title of God is a favorite one with Isaiah (see Isaiah 5:19, 24; Isaiah 10:17, 20; Isaiah 12:6; Isaiah 17:7; Isaiah 29:19, 23; Isaiah 30:11, 12, 15; Isaiah 31:1; Isaiah 37:23; Isaiah 41:14, 16, 20; Isaiah 43:3, 14; Isaiah 45:11; Isaiah 49:7; Isaiah 54:5; Isaiah 55:5; Isaiah 60:9, 14), and is very rarely used by the other sacred writers. We find it thrice in the Psalms (Psalm 71:22; Psalm 78:41; Psalm 89:18); once in Kings (2 Kings 19:22), but then in the mouth of Isaiah; twice in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:29; 51:5); and once in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 39:7). According to Isaiah's conception of God, holiness is the most essential element of his nature (see Isaiah 6:3, 5, 7). They are gone away backward; literally, they are estranged backwards; or, as Bishop Lowth paraphrases, "they are estranged from him; they have turned their back upon him." Instead of looking to God, and following after him, they "followed a multitude to do evil (Exodus 23:2)." It now lies near, at least rather so than remote, that Shulamith, thinking of her brothers, presents her request before her royal husband:

11 Solomon had a vineyard in Baal-hamon;

     He committed the vineyard to the keepers,

     That each should bring for its fruit

     A thousand in silv.

12 I myself disposed of my own vineyard:

     The thousand is thine, Solomon,

     And two hundred for the keepers of its fruit!

The words לשׁ היה כּרם are to be translated after כרמוגו, 1 Kings 21:1, and לידידי ... , Isaiah 5:1, "Solomon had a vineyard" (cf. 1 Samuel 9:2; 2 Samuel 6:23; 2 Samuel 12:2; 2 Kings 1:17; 1 Chronicles 23:17; 1 Chronicles 26:10), not "Solomon has a vineyard," which would have required the words לשׁ כרם, with the omission of היה. I formerly explained, as also Bttcher: a vineyard became his, thus at present is his possession; and thus explaining, one could suppose that it fell to him, on his taking possession of his government, as a component part of his domain; but although in itself לו היה can mean, "this or that has become one's own" (e.g., Leviticus 21:3), as well as "it became his own," yet here the historical sense is necessarily connected by היה with the נתן foll.: Solomon has had ... , he has given; and since Solomon, after possession the vineyard, would probably also preserve it, Hitzig draws from this the conclusion, that the poet thereby betrays the fact that he lived after the time of Solomon. But these are certainly words which he puts into Shulamith's mouth, and he cannot at least have forgotten that the heroine of his drama is a contemporary of Solomon; and supposing that he had forgotten this for a moment, he must have at least once read over what he had written, and could not have been so blind as to have allowed this היה which had escaped him to stand. We must thus assume that he did not in reality retain the vineyard, which, as Hitzig supposes, if he possessed it, he also "probably" retained, whether he gave it away or exchanged it, or sold it, we know not; but the poet might suppose that Shulamith knew it, since it refers to a piece of land lying not far from her home. For המון בּעל, lxx Βεελαμών, is certainly the same as that mentioned in Judith 8:3, according to which Judith's husband died from sunstroke in Bethulia, and was buried beside his fathers "between Dothaim and Balamoon"

(Note: This is certainly not the Baal-meon (now Man) lying half an hour to the south of Heshbon; there is also, however, a Meon (now Man) on this the west side of Jordan, Nabal's Maon, near to Carmel. Vid., art. "Maon," by Kleuker in Schenkel's Bibl. Lex.)

(probably, as the sound of the word denotes, Belmen, or, more accurately, Belman, as it is also called in Judith 4:4, with which Kleuker in Schenkel's Bibl. Lex., de Bruyn in his Karte, and others, interchange it; and חמּון, Joshua 19:28, lying in the tribe of Asher). This Balamoon lay not far from Dothan, and thus not far from Esdrelon; for Dothan lay (cf. Judith 3:10) south of the plain of Jezreel, where it has been discovered, under the name of Tell Dotan, in the midst of a smaller plain which lies embosomed in the hills of the south.

(Note: Vid., Robinson's Physical Geogr. of the Holy Land, p. 113; Morrison's Recovery of Jerusalem (1871), p. 463, etc.)

The ancients, since Aquila, Symm., Targ., Syr., and Jerome, make the name of the place Baal-hamon subservient to their allegorizing interpretation, but only by the aid of soap-bubble-like fancies; e.g., Hengst. makes Baal-hamon designate the world; nothrim [keepers], the nations; the 1000 pieces in silver, the duties comprehended in the ten commandments. Hamon is there understood of a large, noisy crowd. The place may, indeed, have its name from the multitude of its inhabitants, or from an annual market held there, or otherwise from revelry and riot; for, according to Hitzig,

(Note: Cf. also Schwarz' Das heilige Land, p. 37.)

continued...

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