|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
30:8-18 The Jews were the only professing people God then had in the world, yet many among them were rebellious. They had the light, but they loved darkness rather. The prophets checked them in their sinful pursuits, so that they could not proceed without fear; this they took amiss. But faithful ministers will not be driven from seeking to awaken sinners. God is the Holy One of Israel, and so they shall find him. They did not like to hear of his holy commandments and his hatred of sin; they desired that they might no more be reminded of these things. But as they despised the word of God, their sins undermined their safety. Their state would be dashed in pieces like a potter's vessel. Let us return from our evil ways, and settle in the way of duty; that is the way to be saved. Would we be strengthened, it must be in quietness and in confidence, keeping peace in our own minds, and relying upon God. They think themselves wiser than God; but the project by which they thought to save themselves was their ruin. Only here and there one shall escape, as a warning to others. If men will not repent, turn to God, and seek happiness in his favour and service, their desires will but hasten their ruin. Those who make God alone their confidence, will have comfort. God ever waits to be gracious to all that come to him by faith in Christ, and happy are those who wait for him.
Verse 17. - One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one. A hyperbole common in Scripture (Deuteronomy 32:30; Joshua 23:10; Leviticus 26:8), and not confined to the sacred writers. Piankhi the Ethiopian boasts, in his great inscription, that, with Ammon's help, "many should turn their backs upon a few, and one should rout a thousand" ('Records of the Past,' vol. it. p. 84). At the rebuke of five. The "rebuke" of five (i.e. their war-shout) would put to flight the whole army. As a beacon; rather, as a flag-staff - stripped and bare (comp. Isaiah 33:23; Ezekiel 27:5). A tree stripped of its branches and left standing as a landmark seems to be intended. As an ensign. A military standard, such as was in common use among the Assyrians and Egyptians, as among the Greeks and Romans (see 'Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 2. p. 57; Rawlinson, 'Hist. of Egypt,' vol. 1. p. 463).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one,.... A troop of horse, consisting of a thousand men, shall flee upon the attack and onset of a single person, so dispirited should they be, and so possessed of the fear of the enemy; what was promised to them with respect to their enemies is here turned against them, Leviticus 26:7,
at the rebuke of five shall ye flee; being attacked by a very small number, the whole army should run away: this denotes with what ease they should be routed, and put to flight; and is to be understood, not of what would be at the present time, but of what should come to pass hereafter, when the Chaldean army should come against them;
till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain; or, "as the mast of a ship", so the Septuagint and other versions. Jarchi says it signifies a high tree, or tall piece of wood fixed in the earth, like a ship's mast (p), set up to give warning of an enemy's approach, and when, and where, sometimes fires used to be kindled; hence the Targum is,
"till ye are left as a burning torch on the top of a mountain.''
The Syriac version renders it, "as a wild ass", solitary and alone:
and as an ensign on a hill; erected as a trophy of victory. The design of the metaphors is to show that there should be few that should escape falling into the enemy's hand, here and there one, that should he scattered about, and be very thin, as beacons and signs are, and should be warnings to others of pursuing the same foolish and sinful methods and practices.
(p) So Ben Melech says, it is a high piece of wood in a ship, on which they hang an ensign or flag; and so he interprets the ensign in the next clause of a veil, so called, because they lift it up upon the mast.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17. One thousand—A thousand at once, or, "As one man" [Maurer].
rebuke—the battle cry.
shall ye—at the rebuke of five shall ye, namely, all (in contrast to the "one thousand") flee so utterly that even two shall not be left together, but each one shall be as solitary "as a signal staff" [G. V. Smith], or "a banner on a hill" (Isa 5:26; 11:12). The signal staff was erected to rally a nation in war. The remnant of Jews left would be beacons to warn all men of the justice of God, and the truth of His threatenings. Gesenius (from Le 26:8; De 32:30) arbitrarily inserts "ten thousand." "At the rebuke of five shall ten thousand of you flee."
Isaiah 30:17 Parallel Commentaries
Isaiah 30:17 NIV
Isaiah 30:17 NLT
Isaiah 30:17 ESV
Isaiah 30:17 NASB
Isaiah 30:17 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible