|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:1-9 Ungodly men are often punished by others as bad as themselves. Being in great distress and confusion, the Jews gave up all for lost. They had made God their enemy, and knew not how to make him their friend. The prophet must teach them to despise their enemies, in faith and dependence on God. Ahaz, in fear, called them two powerful princes. No, says the prophet, they are but tails of smoking firebrands, burnt out already. The two kingdoms of Syria and Israel were nearly expiring. While God has work for the firebrands of the earth, they consume all before them; but when their work is fulfilled, they will be extinguished in smoke. That which Ahaz thought most formidable, is made the ground of their defeat; because they have taken evil counsel against thee; which is an offence to God. God scorns the scorners, and gives his word that the attempt should not succeed. Man purposes, but God disposes. It was folly for those to be trying to ruin their neighbours, who were themselves near to ruin. Isaiah must urge the Jews to rely on the assurances given them. Faith is absolutely necessary to quiet and compose the mind in trials.
Verse 9. - If ye will not believe, etc. Translate, If ye will not hold this faith fast, surely ye will not stand fast. Full faith in the promise of ver. 7 would have enabled Ahaz to dispense with all plans of earthly policy, and to "stand fast in the Lord," without calling in the aid of any "arm of flesh." Distrust of the promise would lead him to take steps which would not tend to "establish" him, but would make his position more insecure (see 2 Kings 16:7-18; 2 Chronicles 28:16, 20).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the head of Ephraim is Samaria,..... Samaria was the metropolis or chief city of Ephraim, or the ten tribes of Israel:
and the head of Samaria is Remaliah's son; Pekah, son of Remaliah, was king of Samaria, as of all Israel. The sense is, that, until the sixty five years were ended, there should be no enlargement of the kingdom of Israel; Judah should not be added to it; Samaria should continue, and not Jerusalem be the metropolis of it; and Pekah, during his life, should be king of Israel, but not of Judah.
If ye will not believe; the Targum adds,
"the words of the prophet;''
surely ye shall not be established, or remain (g); that is, in their own land, but should be carried captive, as they were after a time; or it is, "because ye are not true and firm"; in the faith of God, as Kimchi interprets it; or, "because ye are not confirmed" (h); that is, by a sign; wherefore it follows:
(g) "non permanebitis", V. L. Cocceius. (h) "Quod non confirmamini", Junius & Tremellius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. believe, … be established—There is a paronomasia, or play on the words, in the Hebrew: "if ye will not confide, ye shall not abide." Ahaz brought distress on himself by distrust in the Lord, and trust in Assyria.
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