Isaiah 24:18
And it shall come to pass, that he who flees from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that comes up out of the middle of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) The windows from on high are open . . .—The phrase reminds us of the narrative of the Flood in Genesis 7:11; Genesis 8:2. There was a second judgment on the defiled and corrupted land like that of the deluge. The next clause and the following verses were probably reminiscences of the earthquake in Uzziah’s reign, and of the panic which it caused (Isaiah 2:19; Amos 1:1; Zechariah 14:5).

24:16-23 Believers may be driven into the uttermost parts of the earth; but they are singing, not sighing. Here is terror to sinners; the prophet laments the miseries he saw breaking in like a torrent; and the small number of believers. He foresees that sin would abound. The meaning is plain, that evil pursues sinners. Unsteady, uncertain are all these things. Worldly men think to dwell in the earth as in a palace, as in a castle; but it shall be removed like a cottage, like a lodge put up for the night. It shall fall and not rise again; but there shall be new heavens and a new earth, in which shall dwell nothing but righteousness. Sin is a burden to the whole creation; it is a heavy burden, under which it groans now, and will sink at last. The high ones, that are puffed up with their grandeur, that think themselves out of the reach of danger, God will visit for their pride and cruelty. Let us judge nothing before the time, though some shall be visited. None in this world should be secure, though their condition be ever so prosperous; nor need any despair, though their condition be ever so deplorable. God will be glorified in all this. But the mystery of Providence is not yet finished. The ruin of the Redeemer's enemies must make way for his kingdom, and then the Sun of Righteousness will appear in full glory. Happy are those who take warning by the sentence against others; every impenitent sinner will sink under his transgression, and rise no more, while believers enjoy everlasting bliss.From the noise of the fear - A cry or shout was made in hunting, designed to arouse the game, and drive it to the pitfall. The image means here that calamities would be multiplied in all the land, and that if the inhabitants endeavored to avoid one danger they would fall into another.

And he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit - A figure taken still from hunting. It was possible that some of the more strong and active of the wild beasts driven into the pitfall would spring out, and attempt to escape, yet they might be secured by snares or gins purposely contrived for such an occurrence. So the prophet says, that though a few might escape the calamities that would at first threaten to overthrow them, yet they would have no security. They would immediately fall into others, and be destroyed.

For the windows on high are open - This is evidently taken from the account of the deluge in Genesis 7:11 : 'In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows (or flood-gates, Margin) of heaven were opened.' The word 'windows' here (ארבות 'ărubôth) is the same which occurs in Genesis, and properly denotes a grate, a lattice, a window, and then any opening, as a sluice or floodgate, and is applied to a tempest or a deluge, because when the rain descends, it seems like opening sluices or floodgates in the sky. The sense here is, that calamities had come upon the nation resembling the universal deluge.

And the foundations of the earth do shake - An image derived from an earthquake - a figure also denoting far-spreading calamities.

18. noise of … fear—the shout designed to rouse the game and drive it into the pitfall.

windows … open—taken from the account of the deluge (Ge 7:11); the flood-gates. So the final judgments of fire on the apostate world are compared to the deluge (2Pe 3:5-7).

He who fleeth from the noise of the fear; upon the report of some terrible evil coming towards him; the act, fear, being here put for the object, or the thing feared, as it is in many places. And thus this very phrase is taken Job 15:21.

Shall fall into the pit; when he designs to avoid one danger, by so doing he shall plunge himself into another and a greater mischief.

The windows from on high are opened, and the foundations of the earth do shake; both heaven and earth conspire against him. He alludes to the deluge of waters which God poured down from heaven, and to the earthquakes which he ofttimes causeth below. And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear,.... From the fearful noise that will be made, the voices and thunderings heard in the heavens above, the sea and waves roaring below; or from wars, and rumours of wars, and terrible armies approaching and pursuing, Luke 21:25 or rather at the report of an object to be feared and dreaded by wicked men, even the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, Revelation 1:7,

shall fall into the pit; of ruin and destruction, dug for the wicked, Psalm 94:13 just as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fell into the slime pits, when they fled from their conquerors, Genesis 14:10,

and he that comes up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare; the meaning is, that he that escapes one trouble should fall into another, so that there will be no safety anywhere. Jarchi's note is,

"he that escapes the sword of Messiah ben Joseph, shall fall upon the sword of Messiah ben David; and he that escapes from thence shall be taken in a snare in the war of Gog:''

for the windows from on high are open; not hereby signifying, as Jerom thinks, that the Lord would now see all the sins of men, which, because he did not punish before, he seemed by sinners to be ignorant of; but the allusion is to the opening of the windows of heaven at the time of the deluge, Genesis 7:11 and intimates, that the wrath of God should be revealed from heaven, and the severest judgments be denounced, made manifest, and come down from thence in a very visible, public, and terrible manner, like an overflowing tempest of rain:

and the foundations of the earth do shake: very probably the dissolution of the world may be attended with a general earthquake; or this may denote the dread and terror that will seize the inhabitants of it.

And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the {m} windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.

(m) Meaning that God's wrath and vengeance would be over and under them, so that they would not escape no more than they did at Noah's flood.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 18. - The noise of the fear; i.e. the sound of the pursuers. Hunters pursued their game with shouts and cries. The windows from on high are open (comp. Genesis 7:11). It is not actually another flood that is threatened, but it is a judgment as sweeping and destructive as the Flood. The world with its pleasure is judged; the world's city is also judged, in which both the world's power and the world's pleasure were concentrated. "The city of tohu is broken to pieces; every house is shut up, so that no man can come in. There is lamentation for wine in the fields; all rejoicing has set; the delight of the earth is banished. What is left of the city is wilderness, and the gate was shattered to ruins. For so will it be within the earth, in the midst of the nations; as at the olive-beating, as at the gleaning, when the vintage is over." The city of tohu (kiryath tōhu): this cannot be taken collectively, as Rosenmller, Arndt, and Drechsler suppose, on account of the annexation of kiryath to tohu, which is turned into a kind of proper name; for can we understand it as referring to Jerusalem, as the majority of commentators have done, including even Schegg and Stier (according to Isaiah 32:13-14), after we have taken "the earth" (hâ'âretz) in the sense of kosmos (the world). It is rather the central city of the world as estranged from God; and it is here designated according to its end, which end will be tohu, as its nature was tohu. Its true nature was the breaking up of the harmony of all divine order; and so its end will be the breaking up of its own standing, and a hurling back, as it were, into the chaos of its primeval beginning. With a very similar significance Rome is called turbida Roma in Persius (i. 5). The whole is thoroughly Isaiah's, even to the finest points: tohu is the same as in Isaiah 29:21; and for the expression מבּוא (so that you cannot enter; namely, on account of the ruins which block up the doorway) compare Isaiah 23:1; Isaiah 7:8; Isaiah 17:1, also Isaiah 5:9; Isaiah 6:11; Isaiah 32:13. The cry or lamentation for the wine out in the fields (Isaiah 24:11; cf., Job 5:10) is the mourning on account of the destruction of the vineyards; the vine, which is one of Isaiah's most favourite symbols, represents in this instance also all the natural sources of joy. In the term ‛ârbâh (rejoicing) the relation between joy and light is presupposed; the sun of joy is set (compare Micah 3:6). What remains of the city בּעיר is partitive, just as בּו in Isaiah 10:22) is shammâh (desolation), to which the whole city has been brought (compare Isaiah 5:9; Isaiah 32:14). The strong gates, which once swarmed with men, are shattered to ruins (yuccath, like Micah 1:7, for yūcath, Ges. 67, Anm. 8; שׁאיּה, ἁπ λεγ, a predicating noun of sequence, as in Isaiah 37:26, "into desolated heaps;" compare Isaiah 6:11, etc., and other passages). In the whole circuit of the earth (Isaiah 6:12; Isaiah 7:22; hâ'âretz is "the earth" here as in Isaiah 10:23; Isaiah 19:24), and in the midst of what was once a crowd of nations (compare Micah 5:6-7), there is only a small remnant of men left. This is the leading thought, which runs through the book of Isaiah from beginning to end, and is figuratively depicted here in a miniature of Isaiah 17:4-6. The state of things produced by the catastrophe is compared to the olive-beating, which fetches down what fruit was left at the general picking, and to the gleaning of the grapes after the vintage has been fully gathered in (câlâh is used here as in Isaiah 10:25; Isaiah 16:4; Isaiah 21:16, etc., viz., "to be over," whereas in Isaiah 32:10 it means to be hopelessly lost, as in Isaiah 15:6). There are no more men in the whole of the wide world than there are of olives and grapes after the principal gathering has taken place. The persons saved belong chiefly, though not exclusively, to Israel (John 3:5). The place where they assemble is the land of promise.
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