|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verses 12-14. - A PROPHECY AGAINST ASSYRIA. This passage is, apparently, out of place. At any rate, it is quite unconnected with what precedes, and almost equally so with what follows. Still, it must be borne in mind that, until the destruction of Sennacherib's army, Isaiah has the thought of the Assyrians, as the pressing danger, always before him, and continually reverts to it, often abruptly, and without preparation (see Isaiah 5:26-30; Isaiah 7:17-25; Isaiah 8:5-8; Isaiah 10:5-19, 24-34; Isaiah 14:24-27). The present prophecy seems, more distinctly than any other in the purely prophetical chapters, to point to the miraculous destruction of the hoot which Sennacherib was about to bring against Jerusalem. Verse 12. - Woe to the multitude of many people; rather, Ho for the tumult of many peoples! The advance of an army composed of soldiers from many nations is descried. They advance with noise and tumult - a tumult compared with that of "seas that are tumultuous." Under the circumstances of the time, it is reasonable to suppose the Assyrians to be intended (comp. Isaiah 22:6, 7). The rushing sound of the advance is borne in strongly upon the prophet's mind, and made the subject of three consecutive clauses.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Woe to the multitude of many people,..... Not as lamenting the people of the Jews with Hezekiah, as if they were the words of the prophet bemoaning their condition, saying, "O the multitude", &c. nor intending the Syrians and Israelites joined together against Judah; but the Assyrian army under Sennacherib, which consisted of people of many nations, and was very numerous, who are either threatened or called unto. A new subject is here begun, though a short one.
which make a noise like the noise of the seas; in a storm, when they foam and rage, and overflow the banks; this may refer both to the noise made by the march of such a vast army, the rattling of their armour and chariot wheels, and prancing of their horses; and to the hectoring, blustering, and blasphemous speeches of Sennacherib and Rabshakeh:
and to the rushing of nations, or "rushing nations",
that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty, waters; which denotes the fury and force with which they come, threatening to bear down all before them, as an inundation of water does.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Isa 17:12-18:7. Sudden Destruction of a Great Army in Judea (namely that of the Assyrian Sennacherib), AND Announcement of the Event to the Ethiopian Ambassadors.
The connection of this fragment with what precedes is: notwithstanding the calamities coming on Israel, the people of God shall not be utterly destroyed (Isa 6:12, 13); the Assyrian spoilers shall perish (Isa 17:13, 14).
12. Woe … multitude—rather, "Ho (Hark)! a noise of," &c. The prophet in vision perceives the vast and mixed Assyrian hosts (Hebrew, "many peoples," see on Isa 5:26): on the hills of Judah (so "mountains," Isa 17:13): but at the "rebuke" of God, they shall "flee as chaff."
to the rushing … that make—rather, "the roaring … roareth" (compare Isa 8:7; Jer 6:23).
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