Isaiah 65:10
And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) Sharon.—As elsewhere, the name appears in the Hebrew with the article—the Sharon, the rich plain stretching along the coast from Joppa to the foot of Carmel. The LXX., Josephus, and Strabo render it by the plain, or the woodland. (Comp. Isaiah 33:9; Isaiah 35:2.)

The valley of Achor.—The name, traditionally connected with the sin of Achan (Joshua 7:24-26), belonged to a valley running into the plain of Jericho, and is here taken as the Eastern limit of the region bounded by the Sharon on the west. The whole district was to be as a “garden of the Lord” for the restored remnant. (Comp. the striking parallelism of Hosea 2:15.)

65:8-10 In the bunch of unripe grapes, at present of no value, the new wine is contained. The Jews have been kept a distinct people, that all may witness the fulfilment of ancient prophecies and promises. God's chosen, the spiritual seed of praying Jacob, shall inherit his mountains of bliss and joy, and be carried safe to them through the vale of tears. All things are for the display of God's glory in the redemption of sinners.And Sharon - Sharon was properly a district south of Mount Carmel, along the coast of the Mediterranean, and extending from. Caesarea to Joppa. In the Scripture, this is almost a proverbial name to denote extraordinary beauty and fertility (see the notes at Isaiah 30:9; Isaiah 32:5).

Shall be a fold of flocks - At the time contemplated here by the prophet - the close of the exile - that whole country would have lain waste about seventy years. Of course, during that long period it would be spread over with a wild luxuriance of trees and shrubs. Once it was celebrated pasture-ground, and was exceedingly beautiful as a place for flocks and herds. Such a place it would be again When the exiles should return, and cultivate their native land. The following description of Sharon, in the spring of 1824, by Mr. Thompson, an American Missionary, will give an idea of the natural appearance of that part of Palestine. The view taken was from a high tower in Ramla. 'The whole valley of Sharon, from the mountains of Jerusalem to the sea, and from the foot of Carmel to the hills of Gaza, is spread before you like a painted map, and is extremely beautiful, especially at evening, when the last rays of the setting sun gild the distant mountain tops, the weary farmer returns from his labor, and the bleating flocks come frisking and joyful to their fold. At such a time I saw it, and lingered long in pensive meditation, until the stars looked out from the sky, and the cool breezes of evening began to shed soft dews on the feverish land. What a paradise was here when Solomon reigned in Jerusalem, and sang of the roses of Sharon!'

And the valley of Achor - This was a valley near to Jericho, and was distinguished as the place where Achan was put to death by stoning Joshua 7:24; Joshua 15:7; Hosea 2:15. The word Achor (עכור ‛âkôr), means properly "causing affliction," and the name was probably given to that valley from the trouble or affliction which was there caused to the Israelites from the sin of Achan. The phrase, 'the valley of Achor,' would probably thence become a proverbial expression to denote that which caused trouble of any kind. And the sense here probably is, that that which had been to the nation a source of calamity should become a source of blessing - as if a place distinguished for causing trouble should become as celebrated for producing happiness. As that valley had been a source of great trouble on their first entering into the land of Canaan, so it would become a place of great exultation, peace, and joy, on their return from their exile. They would naturally enter Canaan near to that valley, and the place which to them had been once the occasion of so much distress, would be found a quiet and peaceful place where their herds might lie down in safety (compare Hosea 2:15).

10. Sharon—(See on [871]Isa 33:9; [872]Isa 35:2).

Achor—meaning "trouble"; a valley near Jericho, so called from the trouble caused to Israel by Achan's sin (Jos 7:24). "The valley of Achor," proverbial for whatever caused calamity, shall become proverbial for joy and prosperity (Ho 2:15).

Sharon was a place of great fruitfulness for pastures. David’s herds were kept there, 1 Chronicles 27:29. It was become like a wilderness, Isaiah 33:9; God here promiseth that it should again be a

place for the flocks. Jeremiah 31:27, God promiseth to sow again the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast. The valley of Achor had its name from the stoning of Achan there, Joshua 7:26. It is thought to have been the first place the Jews set foot in when they had passed Jordan; hence, Hosea 2:15, God promised to make it a door of hope; and here the text saith, the flocks shall lie down. But lest the wicked, idolatrous Jews should apply this promise to themselves, God limiteth it in the last words to the people that had sought him; that is, that had truly worshipped him, according to his own institution; and that the words have the force of such a limitation appeareth from what followeth. And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks,.... This was a champaign country about Joppa and Lydda, in which were rich pastures for herds and flocks, 1 Chronicles 27:29, it seems to be a prophecy of the conversion of some in those parts, which had its accomplishment in the times of the apostles, Acts 9:35, here Christ had his sheep, and here was a fold for them; or, however, this may be expressive of the word and ordinances, which are like Sharon, green and fat pastures, for the flocks of Christ to be folded and fed in:

and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in; which, Aben Ezra says, was round about Jerusalem; but it was the valley in which Achan was stoned, and because of the trouble he gave to Israel, and had himself, it was called the valley of Achor, Joshua 7:26, this the Lord promises shall be given for a door of hope, Hosea 2:15 and such the word and ordinances are, where Christ causes his church and people to lie down and rest, Sol 1:7 and which are an earnest and pledge of future glory and happiness, and give hope thereof; are the firstfruits of it, as the valley of Achor is said to be the first place the children of Israel set footing on, when they had passed over Jordan; it lay to the north of Jericho, over against Ai:

for my people that have sought me; with their whole hearts, being first sought and found by him; See Gill on Isaiah 65:1.

And {n} Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.

(n) Which was a plentiful place in Judea to feed sheep, as Achor was for cattle.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. Sharon] (in Hebr. always with the art.) the northern part of the Maritime Plain, from near Carmel to Joppa, varying in breadth from 6 to 12 miles. (For a description see G. A. Smith, Hist. Geogr. pp. 147 f.)

the valley of Achor] Joshua 7:24; Joshua 15:7; Hosea 2:15. One of the valleys (not identified) running up into the mountains from the Jordan-depression somewhere near Jericho. The names are mentioned as the extreme limits, W. and E., of the land to be inherited by the servants of Jehovah.

for my people that have inquired of me] in contrast to those spoken of in Isaiah 65:1.Verse 10. - Sharon shall be a fold of flocks. "Sharon," instead of being "like a wilderness" (Isaiah 33:9), shall once more be "a place for flocks " - a rich pasture for the flocks and herds of the returned exiles. (On the position and fertility of Sharon, see the comment upon Isaiah 33:9.) The valley of Achor (see Joshua 7:24-26). The 'Emeq 'Akor was near Jericho. The two places seem to be selected on account of their position, one on the eastern, the other on the western border. My people that have sought me; or, inquired of me - the same verb as that used at the beginning of the chapter. But through this obstinate and unyielding rejection of His love they have excited wrath, which, though long and patiently suppressed, now bursts forth with irresistible violence. "The people that continually provoketh me by defying me to my face, sacrificing in the gardens, and burning incense upon the tiles; who sit in the graves, and spend the night in closed places; to eat the flesh of swine, and broken pieces of abominations is in their dishes; who say, Stop! come not too near me; for I am holy to thee: they are a smoke in my nose, a fire blazing continually." אלּה (these) in Isaiah 65:5 is retrospective, summing up the subject as described in Isaiah 65:3-5, and what follows in Isaiah 65:5 contains the predicate. The heathenish practices of the exiles are here depicted, and in Isaiah 65:7 they are expressly distinguished from those of their fathers. Hence there is something so peculiar in the description, that we look in vain for parallels among those connected with the idolatry of the Israelites before the time of the captivity. There is only one point of resemblance, viz., the allusion to gardens as places of worship, which only occurs in the book of Isaiah, and in which our passage, together with Isaiah 57:5 and Isaiah 66:17, strikingly coincides with Isaiah 1:29. "Upon my face" (‛al-pânai) is equivalent to "freely and openly, without being ashamed of me, or fearing me;" cf., Job 1:11; Job 6:28; Job 21:31. "Burning incense upon the bricks" carries us to Babylonia, the true home of the cocti lateres (laterculi). The thorah only mentions lebhēnı̄m in connection with Babylonian and Egyptian buildings. The only altars that it allows are altars of earth thrown up, or of unhewn stones and wooden beams with a brazen covering. "They who sit in the graves," according to Vitringa, are they who sacrifice to the dead. He refers to the Greek and Roman inferiae and februationes, or expiations for the dead, as probably originating in the East. Sacrifices for the dead were offered, in fact, not only in India and Persia, but also in Hither Asia among the Ssabians, and therefore probably in ancient Mesopotamia and Babylonia. But were they offered in the graves themselves, as we must assume from בּקּברים (not על־קברים)? Nothing at all is known of this, and Bttcher (de inferis, 234) is correct in rendering it "among (inter) the graves," and supposing the object to be to hold intercourse there with the dead and with demons. The next point, viz., passing the night in closed places (i.e., places not accessible to every one: netsūrı̄m, custodita equals clausa, like ne‛ı̄mı̄m, amaena), may refer to the mysteries celebrated in natural caves and artificial crypts (on the mysteries of the Ssabians, see Chwolsohn, Die Ssabier u. der Ssabismus, ii. 332ff.). But the lxx and Syriac render it ἐν τοῖς σπηλαίοις κοιμῶνται δι ̓ἐνύπνια, evidently understanding it to refer to the so-called incubare, ἐγκοιμᾶσθαι; and so Jerome explains it. "In the temples of idols," he says, "where they were accustomed to lie upon the skins of the victims stretched upon the ground, to gather future events from their dreams." The expression ubhannetsūrı̄m points not so much to open temples, as to inaccessible caves or subterraneous places. G. Rawlinson (Monarchies, ii. 269) mentions the discovery of "clay idols in holes below the pavement of palaces." From the next charge, "who eat there the flesh of the swine," we may infer that the Babylonians offered swine in sacrifice, if not as a common thing, yet like the Egyptians and other heathen, and ate their flesh ("the flesh taken from the sacrifice," 2 Macc. 6:21); whereas among the later Ssabians (Harranians) the swine was not regarded as either edible or fit for sacrifice.

On the synecdochical character of the sentence כּליהם פּגּלים וּפרק, see at Isaiah 5:12, cf., Jeremiah 24:2. Knobel's explanation, "pieces" (but it is not וּפרקי) "of abominations are their vessels, i.e., those of their ἱεροσκοπία," is a needless innovation. פּגּוּל signifies a stench, putrefaction (Ezekiel 4:14, besar piggūl), then in a concrete sense anything corrupt or inedible, a thing to be abhorred according to the laws of food or the law generally (syn. פּסּוּל, פּצוּל); and when connected with פרק (chethib), which bears the same relation to מרק as crumbs or pieces (from פּרק, to crumble) to broth (from מתק, to rub off or scald off), it means a decoction, or broth made either of such kinds of flesh or such parts of the body as were forbidden by the law. The context also points to such heathen sacrifices and sacrificial meals as were altogether at variance with the Mosaic law. For the five following words proceed from the mouths of persons who fancy that they have derived a high degree of sanctity either from the mysteries, or from their participation in rites of peculiar sacredness, so that to every one who abstains from such rites, or does not enter so deeply into them as they do themselves, they call out their "odi profanum vulgus et arceo." אליך קרב, keep near to thyself, i.e., stay where you are, like the Arabic idhab ileika, go away to thyself, for take thyself off. על־תּגּשׁ־בּי (according to some MSS with mercha tifchah), do not push against me (equivalent to גּשׁ־הלאה or גּשׁה־לך, get away, make room; Genesis 19:9; Isaiah 49:20), for qedashtikhâ, I am holy to thee, i.e., unapproachable. The verbal suffix is used for the dative, as in Isaiah 44:21 (Ges. 121, 4), for it never occurred to any of the Jewish expositors (all of whom give sanctus prae te as a gloss) that the kal qâdash was used in a transitive sense, like châzaq in Jeremiah 20:7, as Luther, Calvin, and even Hitzig suppose. Nor is the exclamation the well-meant warning against the communication of a burdensome qedusshâh, which had to be removed by washing before a man could proceed to the duties of every-day life (such, for example, as the qedusshâh of the man who had touched the flesh of a sin-offering, or bee sprinkled with the blood of a sin-offering; Leviticus 6:20, cf., Ezekiel 44:19; Ezekiel 46:20). It is rather a proud demand to respect the sacro-sanctus, and not to draw down the chastisement of the gods by the want of reverential awe. After this elaborate picture, the men who are so degenerate receive their fitting predicate. They are fuel for the wrath of God, which manifests itself, as it were, in smoking breath. This does not now need for the first time to seize upon them; but they are already in the midst of the fire of wrath, and are burning there in inextinguishable flame.

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