|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
24:1-12 All whose treasures and happiness are laid up on earth, will soon be brought to want and misery. It is good to apply to ourselves what the Scripture says of the vanity and vexation of spirit which attend all things here below. Sin has turned the earth upside down; the earth is become quite different to man, from what it was when God first made it to be his habitation. It is, at the best, like a flower, which withers in the hands of those that please themselves with it, and lay it in their bosoms. The world we live in is a world of disappointment, a vale of tears; the children of men in it are but of few days, and full of trouble, See the power of God's curse, how it makes all empty, and lays waste all ranks and conditions. Sin brings these calamities upon the earth; it is polluted by the sins of men, therefore it is made desolate by God's judgments. Carnal joy will soon be at end, and the end of it is heaviness. God has many ways to imbitter wine and strong drink to those who love them; distemper of body, anguish of mind, and the ruin of the estate, will make strong drink bitter, and the delights of sense tasteless. Let men learn to mourn for sin, and rejoice in God; then no man, no event, can take their joy from them.
Verses 1-20. - GOD'S JUDGMENTS ON THE WORLD AT LARGE. From special denunciations of woe upon particular nations - Baby-loll, Assyria, Philistia, Moab, Syria of Damascus, Egypt and Ethiopia, Arabia, Judea, Tyre - the prophet passes to denunciations of a broader character, involving the future of the whole world. This section of his work extends from the commencement of Isaiah 24. to the conclusion of Isaiah 27, thus including four chapters. The world at large is the general subject of the entire prophecy; but the "peculiar people" still maintains a marked and prominent place, as spiritually the leading country, and as one in whose fortunes the world at large would be always vitally concerned (see especially Isaiah 24:23; Isaiah 25:6-8; Isaiah 26:1-4; Isaiah 27:6, 9, 13). Verse 1. - Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty. Several critics (Lowth, Ewald, Gesenius, Knobel) prefer to render, "maketh the land empty;" but the broader view, which is maintained by Rosenmüller, Kay, Cheyne, and others, seems preferable. The mention of "the world" in ver. 4, and of "the-kings of the earth" in ver. 21, implies a wider field of survey than the Holy Land. Of course the expression, "maketh empty," is rhetorical, some remarkable, but not complete, depopulation being pointed at (comp. ver. 6). Turneth it upside down (comp. Ezekiel 21:27). Scattereth abroad the inhabitants. The scanty population left is dispersed, and not allowed to collect into masses.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty,.... Some, by the "earth", only understand the land of Israel or Judea, and interpret the prophecy of the captivity of the ten tribes by Shalmaneser, as Kimchi, and other Jewish writers; and others, of the destruction of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar; but some take in along with them the neighbouring nations who suffered by the same princes at the same time. Vitringa interprets the whole of the times of the Maccabees, as also the three following chapters Isaiah 25:1; though it is best to understand it of the Papal world, and all the antichristian states; and there are some things in it, at the close of it, which respect the destruction of the whole world. The Septuagint version uses the word by which Luke intends the whole Roman empire, Luke 2:1 and the Arabic version here renders it, "the whole world": the "emptying" of it is the removal of the inhabitants of it by wars and slaughters, which will be made when the seven vials of God's wrath will be poured upon all the antichristian states; see Revelation 16:1 and this being a most remarkable and wonderful event, is prefaced with the word "behold":
and maketh it waste; or desolate; the inhabitants and fruits of it being destroyed. R. Joseph Kimchi, from the use of the word in the Arabic language, renders it, "and opened it" (n); and explains it of the opening of the gates of a city to the enemy, so as that men may go out of it; to which the Targum inclines paraphrasing it,
"and shall deliver it to the enemy:''
and turneth it upside down; or, "perverteth the face of it" (o); so that it has not the form it had, and does not look like what it was, but is reduced to its original chaos, to be without form and void; cities being demolished, towns ruined, fields laid waste, and the inhabitants slain; particularly what a change of the face of things will there be in the destruction of the city of Rome! see Revelation 18:7. The Targum is,
"and shall cover with confusion the face of its princes, because they have transgressed the law:''
and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof; who will be obliged to fly from place to place from the sword of their victorious enemies. All is spoken in the present tense, though future, because of the certainty of it.
(n) So "aperuit totam portam", Golius, col. 321. (o) "et pervertet faciem ejus", Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Isa 24:1-23. The Last Times of the World in General, and of Judah and the Church in Particular.
The four chapters (the twenty-fourth through the twenty-seventh) form one continuous poetical prophecy: descriptive of the dispersion and successive calamities of the Jews (Isa 24:1-12); the preaching of the Gospel by the first Hebrew converts throughout the world (Isa 24:13-16); the judgments on the adversaries of the Church and its final triumph (Isa 24:16-23); thanksgiving for the overthrow of the apostate faction (Isa 25:1-12), and establishment of the righteous in lasting peace (Isa 26:1-21); judgment on leviathan and entire purgation of the Church (Isa 27:1-13). Having treated of the several nations in particular—Babylon, Philistia, Moab, Syria, Israel, Egypt, Edom, and Tyre (the miniature representative of all, as all kingdoms flocked into it)—he passes to the last times of the world at large and of Judah the representative and future head of the churches.
1. the earth—rather, "the land" of Judah (so in Isa 24:3, 5, 6; Joe 1:2). The desolation under Nebuchadnezzar prefigured that under Titus.
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