Isaiah 37:16
O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwell between the cherubim, you are the God, even you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: you have made heaven and earth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) That dwellest between the cherubims.—A like phrase in Psalm 18:10 refers, apparently, to the dark thunder-clouds of heaven. Here, probably, the reference is to the glory-cloud which was the symbol of the Divine presence, and which rested, when it manifested itself, between the cherubim of the ark (Numbers 7:89), those figures also symbolising the elemental forces of the heavens. (Comp. Psalm 68:33.)

Thou art the God, even thou alone.—The absolute monotheism of the faith of Israel is placed in strong antithesis to the polytheism of Rabshakeh (Isaiah 37:12). (Comp. Jeremiah 10:11, and Isaiah 40-42)

37:1-38 This chapter is the same as 2Ki 19O Lord of hosts - (See the note at Isaiah 1:9).

That dwellest between the cherubims - On the cherubim, see the note at Isaiah 14:13. The reference here is doubtless to the fact that the symbol of the divine presence in the temple the Shechinah (from שׁכן shâkan, to dwell, to inhabit; so called because it was the symbol of God's dwelling with his people or inhabiting the temple) - rested on the cover of the ark in the temple. Hence, God is frequently represented as dwelling between the cherubim Exodus 25:22; Psalm 80:1; Psalm 99:1. On the whole subject of the cherubim, the reader may consult an article in the Quarterly Christian Spectator for September 1836.

Thou art the God - The only God Isaiah 43:10-11.

Even thou alone - There is none besides thee - a truth which is often affirmed in the Scriptures Deuteronomy 32:39; Psalm 86:10; 1 Corinthians 8:4.

Thou hast made heaven and earth - It was on the ground of this power and universal dominion that Hezekiah pleaded that God would interpose.

16. dwellest—the Shekinah, or fiery symbol of God's presence, dwelling in the temple with His people, is from shachan, "to dwell" (Ex 25:22; Ps 80:1; 99:1).

cherubim—derived by transposition from either a Hebrew root, rachab, to "ride"; or rather, barach, to "bless." They were formed out of the same mass of pure gold as the mercy seat itself (Ex 25:19, Margin). The phrase, "dwellest between the cherubim," arose from their position at each end of the mercy seat, while the Shekinah, and the awful name, Jehovah, in written letters, were in the intervening space. They are so inseparably associated with the manifestation of God's glory, that whether the Lord is at rest or in motion, they always are mentioned with Him (Nu 7:89; Ps 18:10). (1) They are first mentioned (Ge 3:24) "on the edge of" (as "on the east" may be translated) Eden; the Hebrew for "placed" is properly to "place in a tabernacle," which implies that this was a local tabernacle in which the symbols of God's presence were manifested suitably to the altered circumstances in which man, after the fall, came before God. It was here that Cain and Abel, and the patriarchs down to the flood, presented their offerings: and it is called "the presence of the Lord" (Ge 4:16). When those symbols were removed at the close of that early patriarchal dispensation, small models of them were made for domestic use, called, in Chaldee, "seraphim" or "teraphim." (2) The cherubim, in the Mosaic tabernacle and Solomon's temple, were the same in form as those at the outskirts of Eden: compound figures, combining the distinguishing properties of several creatures: the ox, chief among the tame and useful animals; the lion among the wild ones; the eagle among birds; and man, the head of all (the original headship of man over the animal kingdom, about to be restored in Jesus Christ, Ps 8:4-8, is also implied in this combination). They are, throughout Scripture, represented as distinct from God; they could not be likenesses of Him which He forbade in any shape. (3) They are introduced in the third or gospel dispensation (Re 4:6) as "living creatures" (not so well translated "beasts" in English Version), not angels, but beings closely connected with the redeemed Church. So also in Eze 1:5-25; 10:1-22. Thus, throughout the three dispensations, they seem to be symbols of those who in every age should officially study and proclaim the manifold wisdom of God.

thou alone—literally, "Thou art He who alone art God of all the kingdoms"; whereas Sennacherib had classed Jehovah with the heathen gods, he asserts the nothingness of the latter and the sole lordship of the former.

No text from Poole on this verse. O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubim,.... Or, "the inhabitant of the cherubim" (l); which were over the mercy seat, the residence of the Shechinah, or Majesty of God, the symbol of the divine Presence in the holy of holies; a title which the God of Israel, the Lord of armies in heaven, and earth bears, and distinguishes him from all other gods, and which several titles carry in them arguments to strengthen faith in prayer; being "the Lord of hosts", he was able to do whatsoever was desired, and more abundantly; being "the God of Israel", their covenant God, it might be hoped and expected he would protect and defend them; and sitting "between the cherubim", on the mercy seat, great encouragement might be had that he would be gracious and merciful, and hear and help:

thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; this is opposed to the conceit of Sennacherib, that he was only the God of the Jews, and had no concern with other kingdoms and nations; whereas all belong to him, and him only; they are all under his jurisdiction and dominion, and at his will and control:

thou hast made heaven and earth; and so has an indisputable right to the government of the whole world, and to the disposal of all things in it.

(l) "cherubim inhabitator", Forerius.

O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that {l} dwellest between the cherubim, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth.

(l) He grounds his prayer on God's promise, who promised to hear them from between the Cherubims.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. The prayer opens with a solemn invocation of Jehovah, first as God of Israel, and second as the only true God and Creator of all things.

that dwellest between (or, art enthroned upon) the cherubims] Cf. 1 Samuel 4:4; 2 Samuel 6:2; Psalm 80:1. The Cherubim may have been originally symbolic representations of the storm-cloud (see Psalm 18:10) and hence bearers of the Divine Presence (Ezekiel 1); but the reference here is undoubtedly to the two figures over the ark in the Temple; Jehovah, therefore, is addressed as the God of the Temple.

thou art the God … alone] Thou art (He that is) God alone. The sole divinity of Jehovah is here presented as a theological consequence of the doctrine of creation, a fundamental idea in the teaching of ch. 40 ff. Although the doctrine of creation was held in Israel from the earliest times, it seems to have been by slow degrees that its full religious significance was apprehended.Verse 16. - O Lord... that dwellest between the cherubims; literally, that sittest upon the cherubim. The allusion is scarcely to the poetic imagery of God riding on the cherubim in the heavens (Psalm 18:10), as Mr. Cheyne suggests; but rather to his dwelling between the two cherubic forms in the holy of holies, and there manifesting himself (camp. Numbers 7:89; 1 Samuel 4:4; 2 Samuel 6:2; 1 Chronicles 13:6; Psalm 80:1; Psalm 99:1). Thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. It has been questioned whether Hezekiah was really as pronounced a monotheist as these expressions would imply, and suggested that his actual words received "a colouring" from a later writer. Hezekiah's contemporaries, it is said, Isaiah and Micah, make no such strong statements of their belief in one only God as this (Kuenen, Cheyne). But it is difficult to see what can be a clearer revelation of monotheism than Isaiah 6:1-5, or what truth more absolutely underlies the whole of Isaiah's teaching than the unity of the Supreme Being. The same under-current is observable in Micah (Micah 1:2, 3; Micah 4:5; Micah 6:6-9; Micah 7:17, 18). Sennacherib's belief, that each country has its own god (Isaiah 36:18-20), is not shared by the religious Jews of his time. They are well aware that the heathen gods are "vanity" (Isaiah 46:3; Hosea 4:15; Amos 1:5; Jonah 2:8), "wind" and "confusion" (Isaiah 41:29, etc.). Thou hast made heaven and earth (comp. Genesis 1:1; Psalm 102:25; Isaiah 40:26-28; Isaiah 42:5, etc.). The message. "Thus shall ye say to Hizkiyahu king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Asshur. Behold, thou hast surely heard what (K. that which) the kings of Asshur have done to all lands, to lay the ban upon them; and thou, thou shouldst be delivered?! Have the gods of the nations, which my fathers destroyed, delivered them: Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the Benē-‛Eden, which are in Tellasar? Where is (K. where is he) the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of 'Ir-Sepharvaim, Hena', and 'Ivah?"Although ארץ is feminine, אותם (K. אתם), like להחרימם, points back to the lands (in accordance with the want of any thoroughly developed distinction of the genders in Hebrew); likewise אשׁר quas pessumdederunt. There is historical importance in the fact, that here Sennacherib attributes to his fathers (Sargon and the previous kings of the Derketade dynasty which he had overthrown) what Rabshakeh on the occasion of the first mission had imputed to Sennacherib himself. On Gozan, see p. 33. It is no doubt identical with the Zuzan of the Arabian geographers, which is described as a district of outer Armenia, situated on the Chabur, e.g., in the Merasid. ("The Chabur is the Chabur of el-Hasaniye, a district of Mosul, to the east of the Tigris; it comes down from the mountains of the land of Zuzan, flows through a broad and thickly populated country in the north of Mosul, which is called outer Armenia, and empties itself into the Tigris." Ptolemy, on the other hand (Isaiah 37:18, Isaiah 37:14), is acquainted with a Mesopotamian Gauzanitis; and, looking upon northern Mesopotamia as the border land of Armenia, he says, κατέχει δὲ τῆς ξηώρας τὰ μὲν πρὸς τῆ Αρμενία ἡ Ανθεμουσία (not far from Edessa) ὑφ ἥν ἡ Χαλκῖτις ὑπὸ δὲ ταύτην ἡ Γαυζανῖτις, possibly the district of Gulzan, in which Nisibin, the ancient Nisibis, still stands.

(Note: See Oppert, Expdition, i.60.)

For Hrn (Syr. Horon; Joseph. Charran of Mesopotamia), the present Harrn, not far from Charmelik, see Genesis, p. 327. The Harran in the Guta of Damascus (on the southern arm of the Harus), which Beke has recently identified with it, is not connected with it in any way. Retseph is the Rhesapha of Ptol. v. 18, 6, below Thapsacus, the present Rusafa in the Euphrates-valley of ez-Zor, between the Euphrates and Tadmur (Palmyra; see Robinson, Pal.). Telassar, with which the Targum (ii. iii.) and Syr. confound the Ellasar of Genesis 14:1, i.e., Artemita (Artamita), is not the Thelseae of the Itin. Antonini and of the Notitia dignitatum - in which case the Benē-‛Eden might be the tribe of Bt Genn (Bettegene) on the southern slope of Lebanon (i.e., the 'Eden of Coelesyria, Amos 1:5; the Paradeisos of Ptol. v. 15, 20; Paradisus, Plin. v. 19) - but the Thelser of the Tab. Peuting., on the eastern side of the Tigris; and Benē-‛Eden is the tribe of the 'Eden mentioned by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 27:23) after Haran and Ctesiphon. Consequently the enumeration of the warlike deeds describes a curve, which passes in a north-westerly direction through Hamath and Arpad, and then returns in Sepharvaim to the border of southern Mesopotamia and Babylonia. 'Ir-Sepharvaim is like 'Ir-Nchs, 'Ir-shemesh, etc. The legends connect the name with the sacred books. The form of the name is inexplicable; but the name itself probably signifies the double shore (after the Aramaean), as the city, which was the southernmost of the leading places of Mesopotamia, was situated on the Euphrates. The words ועוּה הנע, if not take as proper names, would signify, "he has taken away, and overthrown;" but in that case we should expect ועוּוּ הניעוּ or ועוּיתי הניעתי. They are really the names of cities which it is no longer possible to trace. Hena' is hardly the well-known Avatho on the Euphrates, as Gesenius, V. Niebuhr, and others suppose; and 'Ivah, the seat of the Avvı̄m (2 Kings 17:31), agrees still less, so far as the sound of the word is concerned, with "the province of Hebeh (? Hebeb: Ritter, Erdk. xi. 707), situated between Anah and the Chabur on the Euphrates," with which V. Niebuhr combines it.

(Note: For other combinations of equal value, see Oppert, Expdition, i. 220.)

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