Isaiah 17:14
And behold at evening trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) And behold at eveningtide trouble.—The words, though spoken in general terms, received a special fulfilment in the destruction of Sennacherib’s army (Isaiah 37:36). Possibly the parallelism they present to Isaiah 17:11 may have led to the insertion of the oracle in this place.

17:12-14 The rage and force of the Assyrians resembled the mighty waters of the sea; but when the God of Israel should rebuke them, they would flee like chaff, or like a rolling thing, before the whirlwind. In the evening Jerusalem would be in trouble, because of the powerful invader, but before morning his army would be nearly cut off. Happy are those who remember God as their salvation, and rely on his power and grace. The trouble of the believers, and the prosperity of their enemies, will be equally short; while the joy of the former, and the destruction of those that hate and spoil them, shall last for ever.At evening-tide trouble - In the time of evening - that is, in the night.

Before the morning he is not - That is, he is destroyed. This is strikingly descriptive of the destruction of the army of Sennacherib on that fatal night when the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 men (see the note at Isaiah 37:36).

This is the portion of them that spoil us - Of those who would plunder us. This is a "general" declaration in regard to the enemies of the Jewish people. This is the lot, the end, the destiny of all who attempt to destroy them. That is, the people of God shall be safe whoever rises up against them; and whatever may be the number, or the power of their foes, they shall be overthrown.

14. eventide … before morning—fulfilled to the letter in the destruction "before morning" of the vast host that "at eveningtide" was such a terror ("trouble") to Judah; on the phrase see Ps 90:6; 30:5.

he is not—namely, the enemy.

us—the Jews. A general declaration of the doom that awaits the foes of God's people (Isa 54:17).

Behold at evening-tide trouble; and before the morning he is not: at even there is a great terror and consternation among God’s people, for fear of their enemies; and ere the morning cometh, their enemies are cut off by the hand of God. This was literally and eminently fulfilled in the destruction of Sennacherib’s army before Jerusalem. Although the words may be more generally understood of any great and sudden change, and unexpected deliverance, granted to God’s people, when their enemies were ready to devour them. And this place may be compared with that in Psalm 30:5, Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us: this is a triumphant conclusion, uttered by the prophet in the name of God’s people. And behold at eveningtide trouble,.... Or terror (a) and consternation; which some understand of that which was in the Assyrian army, when the Angel of the Lord destroyed it, taking "evening for night", for it was in the night that that was done; so Jarchi interprets it of Shedim, a sort of spirits or demons, that came against the enemy, and troubled and frightened them: but it is best to take it in the more common sense, of the trouble that Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem were in, on the evening or night before their deliverance; the whole land of Judea round about them being laid waste, their city besieged by a powerful army, and the enemy blaspheming, blustering, and triumphing:

and before the morning he is not; Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, he was not before Jerusalem, he was fled: or "it was not" (b); the Assyrian army was not, it was destroyed by an angel in the night, and in the morning were all dead corpses, 2 Kings 19:35 or trouble was not, that was all over, joy came in the morning; see Psalm 30:5,

this is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us; these are the words of the prophet, and of the people of God, he represents, making observation upon, and use of the above dispensation, though not confining it to that; and their meaning is, that this is not the case of these Assyrians only, but of all the enemies of God's people, who, sooner or later, come to destruction; and which is not by chance, but by the appointment and disposition of God, who allots and portions out ruin unto them, as the just reward of their works; see Job 20:29.

(a) "terror", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (b) "non ipsa", Montanus.

And behold at the time of evening {q} trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that plunder us, and the lot of them that rob us.

(q) He compares the Assyrians to a tempest which rises overnight and in the morning is gone.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. The destruction of the Assyrian shall be accomplished between evening and daybreak. The expression denotes a very short space of time, as in Psalm 30:5; Job 27:19; but the destruction of Sennacherib’s army took place literally in the night (ch. Isaiah 37:36).

And behold … he is not] Render: At eventime, behold terror! before morning, it (the tumult) is gone!

them that spoil us, &c.] the Assyrians; cf. ch. Isaiah 10:6; Isaiah 10:13.Verse 14. - Behold at evening-tide trouble; rather, terror, as the word is elsewhere always translated (comp. 2 Kings 19:35, "It came to pass that night that the angel of the Lord went out," etc.). He is not (comp. 2 Kings 19:35, "They were all dead corpses"). That spoil us... that rob us (see 2 Kings 18:13-16).



Second turn: "And it comes to pass in that day, the glory of Jacob wastes away, and the fat of his flesh grows thin. And it will be as when a reaper grasps the stalks of wheat, and his arm mows off the ears; and it will be as with one who gathers together ears in the valley of Rephaim. Yet a gleaning remains from it, as at the olive-beating: two, three berries high up at the top; four, five in its, the fruit tree's, branches, saith Jehovah the God of Israel. At that day will man look up to his Creator, and his eyes will look to the Holy One of Israel. And he will not look to the altars, the work of his hands; and what his fingers have made he will not regard, neither the Astartes nor the sun-gods." This second turn does not speak of Damascus, but simply of Israel, and in fact of all Israel, the range of vision widening out from Israel in the more restricted sense, so as to embrace the whole. It will all disappear, with the exception of a small remnant; but the latter will return. Thus "a remnant will return," the law of Israel's history, which is here shown first of all in its threatening aspect, and then in its more promising one. The reputation and prosperity to which the two kingdoms were raised by Jeroboam II and Uzziah would pass away. Israel was ripe for judgment, like a field of corn for the harvest; and it would be as when a reaper grasps the stalks that have shot up, and cuts off the ears. קציר is not used elliptically for קציר אישׁ (Gesenius), nor is it a definition of time (Luzzatto), nor an accusative of the object (Knobel), but a noun formed like נביא, פליל, פריץ, and used in the sense of reaper (kōtzēr in other cases).

(Note: Instead of kâtzar (to cut off, or shorten), they now say kâratz in the whole of the land to the east of the Jordan, which gives the idea of sawing off - a much more suitable one where the Syrian sickle is used.)

The figure suggested here is more fully expanded in John 4 and Revelation 14. Hardly a single one will escape the judgment: just as in the broad plain of Rephaim, which slopes off to the south-west of Jerusalem as far as Bethlehem, where it is covered with rich fields of wheat, the collectors of ears leave only one or two ears lying scattered here and there.

Nevertheless a gleaning of Israel ("in it," viz., in Jacob, Isaiah 17:4; Isaiah 10:22) will be left, just as when the branches of the olive tree, which have been already cleared with the hand, are still further shaken with a stick, there still remain a few olives upon the highest branch (two, three; cf., 2 Kings 9:32), or concealed under the foliage of the branches. "Its, the fruit tree's, branches:" this is an elegant expression, as, for example, in Proverbs 14:13; the carrying over of the ה to the second word is very natural in both passages (see Ges. 121, b). This small remnant will turn with stedfast gaze to the living God, as is becoming in man as such (hâ'âdâm), and not regard the idols as worthy of any look at all, at least of any reverential look. As hammânim are here images of the sun-god חמן בעל, which is well known from the Phoenician monuments,

(Note: See Levy, Phnizisches Wrterbuch (1864), p. 19; and Otto Strauss on Nahum, p. xxii. ss.)

ashērim (for which we find, though more rarely, 'ashēroth) apparently signifies images of the moon-goddess. And the combination of "Baal, Asherah, and all the host of heaven" in 2 Kings 23:4, as well as the surname "queen of heaven" in Jeremiah 7:18; Jeremiah 44:18-19, appears to require this (Knobel). But the latest researches have proved that 'Ashērâh is rather the Semitic Aphrodite, and therefore the planet Venus, which was called the "little luck" (es-sa‛d el-as'gar)

(Note: See Krehl, Religion der vorislamischen Araber (1863), p. 11.)

by the Arabs, in distinction from Musteri (Jupiter),

(Note: This was the tutelar deity of Damascus; see Comm. on Job, Appendix.)

or "the great luck." And with this the name 'Asherah the "lucky" (i.e., the source of luck or prosperity) and the similar surname given to the Assyrian Istar agree;

(Note: "Ishtar," says Rawlinson in his Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World, - a work which challenges criticism through its dazzling results - "Ishtar is the goddess who rejoices mankind, and her most common epithet is Amra, 'the fortunate' or 'the happy.' But otherwise her epithets are vague and general, insomuch that she is often scarcely distinguishable from Beltis (the wife of Bel-Nimrod)." Vid., vol. i. p. 175 (1862).)

for 'Asherah is the very same goddess as 'Ashtoreth, whose name is thoroughly Arian, and apparently signifies the star (Ved. stir equals star; Zend. stare; Neo-Pers. sitâre, used chiefly for the morning star), although Rawlinson (without being able to suggest any more acceptable interpretation) speaks of this view as "not worthy of much attention."

(Note: The planet Venus, according to a Midrash relating to Genesis 6:1-2, is 'Istehar transferred to the sky; and this is the same as Zuhare (see Geiger, Was hat Muhammed, etc. 1833, pp. 107-109).)

Thus Asherim is used to signify the bosquets (shrubberies) or trees dedicated to the Semitic Aphrodite (Deuteronomy 16:21; compare the verbs used to signify their removal, גדע, כרת, נתשׁ); but here it probably refers to her statues or images

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