Isaiah 1:8
And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) The daughter of Zion.—The phrase stands, as everywhere (Psalm 45:12; Lamentations 2:8; Micah 4:10), for the ideal city personified.

Is left as a cottage in a vineyard . . .—The “hut,” or “booth,” in which the keeper of the vineyards dwelt, apart from other habitations, was an almost proverbial type of isolation, yet to such a state was Zion all but reduced. The second similitude is of the same character. Cucumbers and other plants of the gourd type (Jonah 4:6) were largely cultivated in Judæa, and here, too, each field or garden, like the olive groves and vineyards of Italy, had its solitary hut.

As a besieged city.—The comparison of the besieged city to itself is at first startling. Rhetorically, however, it forms a climax. The city was not at this time actually besieged, but it was so hemmed in with perils, so isolated from all help, that this was what its condition practically came to. It was neither more nor less than “as a besieged city,” or ‘within a measurable distance’ of becoming so.

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.And the daughter of Zion - Zion, or Sion, was the name of one of the hills on which the city of Jerusalem was built. On this hill formerly stood the city of the Jebusites, and when David took it from them he transferred to it his court, and it was called the city of David, or the holy hill. It was in the southern part of the city. As Zion became the residence of the court, and was the most important part of the city, the name was often used to denote the city itself, and is often applied to the whole of Jerusalem. The phrase 'daughter of Zion' here means Zion itself, or Jerusalem. The name daughter is given to it by a personification in accordance with a common custom in Eastern writers, by which beautiful towns and cities are likened to young females. The name mother is also applied in the same way. Perhaps the custom arose from the fact that when a city was built, towns and villages would spring up round it - and the first would be called the mother-city (hence, the word metropolis). The expression was also employed as an image of beauty, from a fancied resemblance between a beautiful town and a beautiful and well-dressed woman. Thus Psalm 45:13, the phrase daughter of Tyre, means Tyre itself; Psalm 137:8, daughter of Babylon, that is, Babylon; Isaiah 37:22, 'The virgin, the daughter of Zion;' Jeremiah 46:2; Isaiah 23:12; Jeremiah 14:17; Numbers 21:23, Numbers 21:32, (Hebrew); Judges 11:26. Is left. נותרה nôtherâh. The word used here denotes left as a part or remnant is left - not left entire, or complete, but in a weakened or divided state.

As a cottage - literally, "a shade," or "shelter" - כסכה kesûkkâh, a temporary habitation erected in vineyards to give shelter to the grape gatherers, and to those who were uppointed to watch the vineyard to guard it from depredations; compare the note at Matthew 21:33. The following passage from Mr. Jowett's 'Christian Researches,' describing what he himself saw, will throw light on this verse. 'Extensive fields of ripe melons and cucumbers adorned the sides of the river (the Nile). They grew in such abundance that the sailors freely helped themselves. Some guard, however, is placed upon them. Occasionally, but at long and desolate intervals, we may observe a little hut, made of reeds, just capable of containing one man; being in fact little more than a fence against a north wind. In these I have observed, sometimes, a poor old man, perhaps lame, protecting the property. It exactly illustrates Isaiah 1:8.' 'Gardens were often probably unfenced, and formerly, as now, esculent vegetables were planted in some fertile spot in the open field. A custom prevails in Hindostan, as travelers inform us, of planting in the commencement of the rainy season, in the extensive plains, an abundance of melons, cucumbers, gourds, etc. In the center of the field is an artificial mound with a hut on the top, just large enough to shelter a person from the storm and the heat;' Bib. Dic. A.S.U. The sketch in the book will convey a clear idea of such a cottage. Such a cottage would be designed only for a temporary habitation. So Jerusalem seemed to be left amidst the surrounding desolation as a temporary abode, soon to be destroyed.

As a lodge - The word lodge here properly denotes a place for passing the night, but it means also a temporary abode. It was erected to afford a shelter to those who guarded the enclosure from thieves, or from jackals, and small foxes. 'The jackal,' says Hasselquist, 'is a species of mustela, which is very common in Palestine, especially during the vintage, and often destroys whole vineyards, and gardens of cucumbers.'

A garden of cucumbers - The word cucumbers here probably includes every thing of the melon kind, as well as the cucumber. They are in great request in that region on account of their cooling qualities, and are produced in great abundance and perfection. These things are particularly mentioned among the luxuries which the Israelites enjoyed in Egypt, and for which they sighed when they were in the wilderness. Numbers 11:5 : 'We remember - the cucumbers and the melons,' etc. The cucumber which is produced in Egypt and Palestine is large - usually a foot in length, soft, tender, sweet, and easy of digestion (Gesenius), and being of a cooling nature, was especially delicious in their hot climate. The meaning here is, that Jerusalem seemed to be left as a temporary, lonely habitation, soon to be forsaken and destroyed.

As a besieged city - נצוּרה כעיר ke‛ı̂yr netsôrâh. Lowth. 'As a city taken by siege.' Noyes. "'So is the delivered city.' This translation was first proposed by Arnoldi of Marburg. It avoids the incongruity of comparing a city with a city, and requires no alteration of the text except a change of the vowel points. According to this translation, the meaning will be, that all things round about the city lay desolate, like the withered vines of a cucumber garden around the watchman's hut; in other words, that the city alone stood safe amidst the ruins caused by the enemy, like the hut in a gathered garden of cucumber." Noyes. According to this interpretation, the word נצוּרה netsôrâh is derived not from צור tsûr, to besiege, to press, to straiten; but from נצר nâtsar, to preserve, keep, defend; compare Ezekiel 6:12. The Hebrew will bear this translation; and the concinnity of the comparison will thus be preserved. I rather prefer, however, the common interpretation, as being more obviously the sense of the Hebrew, and as being sufficiently in accordance with the design of the prophet. The idea then is, that of a city straitened by a siege, yet standing as a temporary habitation, while all the country around was lying in ruins. Jerusalem, alone preserved amidst the desolation spreading throughout the land, will resemble a temporary lodge in the garden - itself soon to be removed or destroyed. The essential idea, whatever translation is adopted, is that of the solitude, loneliness, and temporary continuance of even Jerusalem, while all around was involved in desolation and ruin.

8. daughter of Zion—the city (Ps 9:14), Jerusalem and its inhabitants (2Ki 19:21): "daughter" (feminine, singular being used as a neuter collective noun), equivalent to sons (Isa 12:6, Margin) [Maurer]. Metropolis or "mother-city" is the corresponding term. The idea of youthful beauty is included in "daughter."

left—as a remnant escaping the general destruction.

cottage—a hut, made to give temporary shelter to the caretaker of the vineyard.

lodge—not permanent.

besieged—rather, as "left," and Isa 1:9 require, preserved, namely, from the desolation all round [Maurer].

The daughter of Zion, i.e. Zion, or Jerusalem; for these two names are promiscuously used of the same place; the name of daughter being frequently given to cities or countries. Thus the daughter of Babylon is put for Babylon itself, Psalm 137:8 Isaiah 47:1. In the same sense we read of the daughter of Tyre, Psalm 45:12, and of Zidon, Isaiah 23:12, and of Egypt, Jeremiah 46:11,24, and of Edom, Lamentations 4:21.

Is left as a cottage in a vineyard as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers; is left solitary, all the neighbouring villages and country round about it being laid waste. And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in the vineyard,.... The Targum is,

"after they have got in the vintage.''

A cottage in the vineyard was a booth, as the word (e) signifies, which was erected in the middle of the vineyard for the keeper of the vineyard to watch in night and day, that the fruit might not be hurt by birds, or stolen by thieves, and was a very, lonely place; and when the clusters of the vine were gathered, this cottage or booth was left by the keeper himself: and such it is suggested Jerusalem should be, not only stand alone, the cities all around being destroyed by the besiegers, but empty of inhabitants itself, when taken.

As a lodge in a garden of cucumbers: the Targum adds here also,

"after they have gathered them out of it.''

A lodge in a garden of cucumbers was built up for the gardener to watch in at night, that nobody came and stole away the cucumbers, and this was also a lonely place; but when the cucumbers were gathered, the gardener left his lodge entirely; and such a forsaken place would Jerusalem be at the time of its destruction; see Luke 19:43.

as a besieged city; which is in great distress, and none care to come near it, and as many as can make their escape out of it; or "as a city kept"; so Gussetius (f), who understands this, and all the above clauses, of some places preserved from the sword in the common desolation.

(e) , Sept. (f) "ut urbs custodita", Gusset. Comment. Ling. Ebr. p. 529. "Observata vel observanda", Forerius.

And the daughter of {o} Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.

(o) That is, Jerusalem.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. daughter of Zion] A gen. of apposition = “the daughter, Zion.” It is a personification either of the city or the population of Jerusalem, or both together. The capital is as yet spared, but its isolation in the midst of the devastated country suggests to the imagination of the prophet two homely and vivid pictures of forlorn and dreary solitariness: like a booth in a vineyard, or a night-lodge in a cucumber field. Such frail structures, consisting of four poles stuck in the ground, with cross-pieces supporting a couch and a slight roof or awning overhead, were erected for the watchers who guarded the fruit or crop from thieves and wild animals. (See Wetzstein’s description in Del. Comm. on Job, Trans., vol. ii. p. 74, and ed.)

as a besieged city] The exact sense is doubtful. Some render: “like a city under observation,” others: “like a watch-tower.”

An interesting parallel to the idea of the verse is furnished by Sennacherib’s boast (in 701) that he shut up Hezekiah in his capital “like a bird in a cage.”Verse 8. - The daughter of Zion. Not "the faithful Church" (Kay), but the city of Jerusalem, which is thus personified. Comp. Isaiah 47:1, 5, where Babylon is called the "daughter of the Chaldeans;" and Lamentations 1:6; Lamentations 2:1, 4, 8, 10, where the phrase here used is repeated in the same sense. More commonly it designates the people without the city (Lamentations 2:13; Lamentations 4:22; Micah 3:8, 10, 13; Zephaniah 3:14; Zechariah 2:10; Zechariah 9:9, etc.). As a cottage; rather, as a booth (Revised Version; see Leviticus 23:42). Vineyards required to be watched for a few weeks only as the fruit began to ripen; and the watchers, or keepers, built themselves, therefore, mere "booths" for their protection (Job 27:18). These were frail, solitary dwellings - very forlorn, very helpless. Such was now Jerusalem. As a lodge in a garden of cucumbers. Cucumber-gardens required watching throughout the season, i.e. from spring to autumn, and their watcher needed a more solid edifice than a booth. Hence such gardens had "lodges" in them, i.e. permanent huts or sheds, such as those still seen in Palestine (Tristram's 'Natural History of Palestine,' p. 442). As a besieged city. Though not yet besieged, Jerusalem is as if besieged - isolated, surrounded by waste tracts, threatened. The difficult question as to the historical and chronological standpoint of this overture to all the following addresses, can only be brought fully out when the exposition is concluded. But there is one thing which we may learn even from a cursory inspection: namely, that the prophet was standing at the eventful boundary line between two distinct halves in the history of Israel. The people had not been brought to reflection and repentance either by the riches of the divine goodness, which they had enjoyed in the time of Uzziah-Jotham, the copy of the times of David and Solomon, or by the chastisements of divine wrath, by which wound after wound was inflicted. The divine methods of education were exhausted, and all that now remained for Jehovah to do was to let the nation in its existing state be dissolved in fire, and to create a new one from the remnant of gold that stood the fiery test. At this time, so pregnant with storms, the prophets were more active than at any other period. Amos appeared about the tenth year of Uzziah's reign, the twenty-fifth of Jeroboam II; Micah prophesied from the time of Jotham till the fall of Samaria, in the sixth year of Hezekiah's reign; but most prominent of all was Isaiah, the prophet par excellence, standing as he did midway between Moses and Christ.

In the consciousness of his exalted position in relation to the history of salvation, he commences his opening address in Deuteronomic style. Modern critics are of opinion, indeed, that Deuteronomy was not composed till the time of Josiah, or at any rate not earlier than Manasseh; and even Kahnis adduces this as a firmly established fact (see his Dogmatik, i. 277). But if this be the case, how comes it to pass, not only that Micah (Micah 6:8) points back to a saying in Deuteronomy 10:12, but that all the post-Mosaic prophecy, even the very earliest of all, is tinged with a Deuteronomic colouring. This surely confirms the self-attestation of the authorship of Moses, which is declared most distinctly in Isaiah 31:9. Deuteronomy was most peculiarly Moses' own law-book - his last will, as it were: it was also the oldest national book of Israel, and therefore the basis of all intercourse between the prophets and the nation. There is one portion of this peculiarly Mosaic thorah, however, which stands not only in a more truly primary relation to the prophecy of succeeding ages than any of the rest, but in a normative relation also. We refer to Moses' dying song, which has recently been expounded by Volck and Camphausen, and is called shirath hâzinu (song of "Give ear"), from the opening words in chapter 32. This song is a compendious outline or draft, and also the common key to all prophecy, and bears the same fundamental relation to it as the Decalogue to all other laws, and the Lord's Prayer to all other prayers. The lawgiver summed up the whole of the prophetic contents of his last words (Deuteronomy 27-28, 29-30), and threw them into the form of a song, that they might be perpetuated in the memories and mouths of the people. This song sets before the nation its entire history to the end of time. That history divides itself into four great periods: the creation and rise of Israel; the ingratitude and apostasy of Israel; the consequent surrender of Israel to the power of the heathen; and finally, the restoration of Israel, sifted, but not destroyed, and the unanimity of all nations in the praise of Jehovah, who reveals Himself both in judgment and in mercy. This fourfold character is not only verified in every part of the history of Israel, but is also the seal of that history as a whole, even to its remotest end in New Testament times. In every age, therefore, this song has presented to Israel a mirror of its existing condition and future fate. And it was the task of the prophets to hold up this mirror to the people of their own times. This is what Isaiah does. He begins his prophetic address in the same form in which Moses begins his song. The opening words of Moses are: "Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and let the earth hear the words of my mouth" (Deuteronomy 32:1). In what sense he invoked the heaven and the earth, he tells us himself in Deuteronomy 31:28-29. He foresaw in spirit the future apostasy of Israel, and called heaven and earth, which would outlive his earthly life, that was now drawing to a close, as witnesses of what he had to say to his people, with such a prospect before them. Isaiah commences in the same way (Isaiah 1:2), simply transposing the two parallel verbs "hear" and "give ear:" "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for Jehovah speaketh!" The reason for the appeal is couched in very general terms: they were to hear, because Jehovah was speaking. What Jehovah said coincided essentially with the words of Jehovah, which are introduced in Deuteronomy 32:20 with the expression "And He said." What it was stated there that Jehovah would one day have to say in His wrath, He now said through the prophet, whose existing present corresponded to the coming future of the Mosaic ode. The time had now arrived for heaven and earth, which are always existing, and always the same, and which had accompanied Israel's history thus far in all places and at all times, to fulfil their duty as witnesses, according to the word of the lawgiver. And this was just the special, true, and ultimate sense in which they were called upon by the prophet, as they had previously been by Moses, to "hear." They had been present, and had taken part, when Jehovah gave the thorah to His people: the heavens, according to Deuteronomy 4:36, as the place from which the voice of God came forth; and the earth, as the scene of His great fire. They were solemnly invoked when Jehovah gave His people the choice between blessing and cursing, life and death (Deuteronomy 30:19; Deuteronomy 4:26).

And so now they are called upon to hear and join in bearing witness to all that Jehovah, their Creator, and the God of Israel, had to say, and the complaints that He had to make: "I have brought up children, and raised them high, and they have fallen away from me" (Isaiah 1:2). Israel is referred to; but Israel is not specially named. On the contrary, the historical facts are generalized almost into a parable, in order that the appalling condition of things which is crying to heaven may be made all the more apparent. Israel was Jehovah's son (Exodus 4:22-23). All the members of the nation were His children (Deuteronomy 14:1; Deuteronomy 32:20). Jehovah was Israel's father, by whom it had been begotten (Deuteronomy 32:6, Deuteronomy 32:18). The existence of Israel as a nation was secured indeed, like that of all other nations, by natural reproduction, and not by spiritual regeneration. But the primary ground of Israel's origin was the supernatural and mighty word of promise given to Abraham, in Genesis 17:15-16; and it was by a series of manifestations of miraculous power and displays of divine grace, that the development of Israel, which dated from that starting-point, was brought up to the position it had reached at the time of the exodus from Egypt. It was in this sense that Israel had been begotten by Jehovah. And this relation between Jehovah and Israel, as His children, had now, at the time when Jehovah was speaking through the mouth of Isaiah, a long and gracious past behind it, viz., the period of Israel's childhood in Egypt; the period of its youth in the desert; and a period of growing manhood from Joshua to Samuel: so that Jehovah could say, "I have brought up children, and raised them high." The piel (giddel) used here signifies "to make great;" and when applied to children, as it is here and in other passages, such as 2 Kings 10:6, it means to bring up, to make great, so far as natural growth is concerned. The pilel (romem), which corresponds to the piel in the so-called verbis cavis, and which is also used in Isaiah 23:4 and Ezekiel 31:4 as the parallel to giddel, signifies to lift up, and is used in a "dignified (dignitative) sense," with reference to the position of eminence, to which, step by step, a wise and loving father advances a child. The two vv. depict the state of Israel in the times of David and Solomon, as one of mature manhood and proud exaltation, which had to a certain extent returned under Uzziah and Jotham. But how base had been the return which it had made for all that it had received from God: "And they have fallen away from me." We should have expected an adversative particle here; but instead of that, we have merely a Vav cop., which is used energetically, as in Isaiah 6:7 (cf., Hosea 7:13). Two things which ought never to be coupled - Israel's filial relation to Jehovah, and Israel's base rebellion against Jehovah - had been realized in their most contradictory forms. The radical meaning of the verb is to break away, or break loose; and the object against which the act is directed is construed with Beth. The idea is that of dissolving connection with a person with violence and self-will; here it relates to that inward severance from God, and renunciation of Him, which preceded all outward acts of sin, and which not only had idolatry for its full and outward manifestation, but was truly idolatry in all its forms. From the time that Solomon gave himself up to the worship of idols, at the close of his reign, down to the days of Isaiah, idolatry had never entirely or permanently ceased to exist, even in public. In two different reformations the attempt had been made to suppress it, viz., in the one commenced by Asa and concluded by Jehoshaphat; and in the one carried out by Joash, during the lifetime of the high priest Jehoiada, his tutor and deliverer. But the first was not successful in suppressing it altogether; and what Joash removed, returned with double abominations as soon as Jehoiada was dead. Consequently the words, "They have rebelled against me," which sum up all the ingratitude of Israel in one word, and trace it to its root, apply to the whole history of Israel, from its culminating point under David and Solomon, down to the prophet's own time.

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