Isaiah 22:10
And you have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have you broken down to fortify the wall.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) Ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem.—The preparations for defence are continued. The houses were numbered that some might be pulled down and others left, as strategical plans might determine. (Comp. 2Chronicles 32:5.) So in what was probably a contemporary psalm we have, “Walk about Zion . . . tell the towers thereof . . . mark ye well her bulwarks” (Psalm 48:12). So in the later siege of Jerusalem houses were thrown down by (or, more accurately, on account of) the mounds that were employed by the besiegers (Jeremiah 33:4).

22:8-14 The weakness of Judah now appeared more than ever. Now also they discovered their carnal confidence and their carnal security. They looked to the fortifications. They made sure of water for the city. But they were regardless of God in all these preparations. They did not care for his glory in what they did. They did not depend upon him for a blessing on their endeavours. For every creature is to us what God makes it to be; and we must bless him for it, and use it for him. There was great contempt of God's wrath and justice, in contending with them. God's design was to humble them, and bring them to repentance. They walked contrary to this. Actual disbelief of another life after this, is at the bottom of the carnal security and brutish sensuality, which are the sin, the shame, and ruin of so great a part of mankind. God was displeased at this. It is a sin against the remedy, and it is not likely they should ever repent of it. Whether this unbelief works by presumption or despair, it produces the same contempt of God, and is a token that a man will perish wilfully.And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem - That is, you have taken an estimate of their number so as to ascertain how many can be spared to be pulled down to repair the walls; or you have made an estimate of the amount of materials for repairing the walls, which would be furnished by pulling down the houses in Jerusalem.

To fortify the wall - The houses in Jerusalem were built of stone, and therefore they would furnish appropriate materials for repairing the walls of the city. In 2 Chronicles 32:5, it is said that Hezekiah not only repaired the broken walls of the city on the approach of Sennacherib, but 'raised up the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the city of David, and made darts and shields in abundance.'

10. numbered—rather, "ye shall number," namely, in order to see which of them may be pulled down with the least loss to the city, and with most advantage for the repair of the walls and rearing of towers (2Ch 32:5).

have ye broken down—rather, "ye shall break down."

Ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem; that they might exactly know their own strength, and the number of their people, and so lay the burdens more equally upon them, and make sufficient provisions for them.

The houses which stood upon or without the walls of their city, and so gave their enemies any advantage against them, and hindered the searching or fortifying the walls and city. And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem,.... To know what number of men were in them, and how many could be spared to do duty, either as watchmen or soldiers; or to know how to levy the tax, and what money they would be able to raise, to defray the charge of the defence of the city; or to see what provisions they had, and so make a computation how long they could hold out the siege; or else to observe what houses might be annoyed by the enemy, and what stood in the way of the repair of the walls, or were proper to pull down, that with the stones and timber of them they might make up the breaches of the wall, and that the stronger, as follows:

and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall; either such as were without the wall, which, had they let them stand, would either have been destroyed by the enemy, or have been a harbour for them; or those upon it, and near it within, which stood in the way of the repair, and were easily beat down by the enemy; or might be a means of communication between them and such as were inclined to be treacherous; with the stones and timber of which houses, when broken down, they strengthened the wall, and so served a better purpose than if they had stood.

And ye have numbered the houses {m} of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall.

(m) Either to pull down such as might hurt, or else to know what men they were able to make.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. And ye have numbered the houses] And ye numbered, apparently to see which could best be spared for the purpose specified in the next clause,—“to fortify the wall,” cf. Jeremiah 33:4.Verse 10. - Ye have numbered... have broken down; rather, ye numbered... ye broke down. The "numbering" was probably in order to see how many could be spared for pulling down. The repair of the walls with materials thus furnished was a sign of extreme haste and urgency. It would seem from vers. 7, 8 that the repairs were not begun until the town was invested. "Therefore I say, Look away from me, that I may weep bitterly; press me not with consolations for the destruction of the daughter of my people! For a day of noise, and of treading down, and of confusion, cometh from the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, in the valley of vision, breaking down walls; and a cry of woe echoes against the mountains." The note struck by Isaiah here is the note of the kinah that is continued in the Lamentations of Jeremiah. Jeremiah says sheber for shod (Lamentations 3:48), and bath-ammi (daughter of my people) is varied with batḣZion (daughter of Zion) and bath-yehudah (daughter of Judah). Mērēr babbeci (weep bitterly) is more than bâcâh mar (Isaiah 33:7): it signifies to give one's self thoroughly up to bitter weeping, to exhaust one's self with weeping. The two similar sounds which occur in Isaiah 22:5, in imitation of echoes, can hardly be translated. The day of divine judgment is called a day in which masses of men crowd together with great noise (mehūmâh), in which Jerusalem and its inhabitants are trodden down by foes (mebūsâh) and are thrown into wild confusion (mebūcâh). This is one play upon words. The other makes the crashing of the walls audible, as they are hurled down by the siege-artillery (mekarkar kir). Kirkēr is not a denom. of kı̄r, as Kimchi and Ewald suppose (unwalling walls), but is to be explained in accordance with Numbers 24:17, "he undermines," i.e., throws down by removing the supports, in other words, "to the very foundations" (kur, to dig, hence karkârâh, the bottom of a vessel, Kelim ii. 2; kurkoreth, the bottom of a net, ib. xxviii. 10, or of a cask, Ahaloth ix. 16). When this takes place, then a cry of woe echoes against the mountain (shōa‛, like shūa‛, sheva‛), i.e., strikes against the mountains that surround Jerusalem, and is echoed back again. Knobel understands it as signifying a cry for help addressed to the mountain where Jehovah dwells; but this feature is altogether unsuitable to the God - forgetting worldly state in which Jerusalem is found. It is also to be observed, in opposition to Knobel, that the description does not move on in the same natural and literal way as in a historical narrative. The prophet is not relating, but looking; and in Isaiah 22:5 he depicts the day of Jehovah according to both its ultimate intention and its ultimate result.
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