|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:9-16 The prophet challenges the enemies of the Jews. Their efforts would be vain, and themselves broken to pieces. It concerns us, in time of trouble, to watch against all such fears as put us upon crooked courses for our own security. The believing fear of God preserves against the disquieting fear of man. If we thought rightly of the greatness and glory of God, we should see all the power of our enemies restrained. The Lord, who will be a Sanctuary to those who trust in him, will be a Stone of stumbling, and a Rock of offence, to those who make the creature their fear and their hope. If the things of God be an offence to us, they will undo us. The apostle quotes this as to all who persisted in unbelief of the gospel of Christ, 1Pe 2:8. The crucified Emmanuel, who was and is a Stumbling-stone and Rock of offence to unbelieving Jews, is no less so to thousands who are called Christians. The preaching of the cross is foolishness in their esteem; his doctrines and precepts offend them.
Verses 11-16. - THE GROUNDS OF ISAIAH'S CONFIDENCE. Having declared his absolute confidence, not only that the attack of Pekah and Rezin will fail (vers. 1-4), but that Assyria also (ver. 8), nay, that all the nations of the earth (ver. 9) will fail, and bring destruction upon themselves, if they "devise devices" against God's true people, the prophet explains the ground of his confidence by relating a special "instruction" which he had received from God some time previously, he had been bidden to separate himself from the mass of his countrymen in thought and feeling, and to cling only to Jehovah, who would "be for a Sanctuary" (ver. 14) to his own, but "for a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offence" to all others. Verse 11. - For the Lord. Mr. Cheyne regards this passage as "a short oracle, complete in itself," and entirely unconnected with what has preceded. But the initial ki, "for," is in that case inexplicable. Spake thus to me with a strong hand; literally, with strength of hand - i.e. laying a strong grasp upon him; and, as it were, constraining him to attend (comp. Ezekiel 1:3; Ezekiel 3:14, 22, etc.). That I should not walk in the way of this people. Isaiah was bidden not to "follow a multitude to evil" (Exodus 23:2). It was not merely idolatry against which he was warned, but the whole spirit and tone of the society of his day. He was not to entertain their suspicions, or to hope their hopes, or to fear their fears. He was to take a line of his own, to fear God and him only; then God would be "for a Sanctuary" to him.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand,.... In the strength of prophecy, as the Targum explains it; and so all the Jews' interpreters understand it of prophecy, as in Ezekiel 1:3, or, "the Lord spake thus to me, when he took (me) by the hand" (t); as parents or masters take hold of the hands of children, while they are advising and instructing them, as expressive of their great affection for them; and when they would retain them with them, or restrain them from doing amiss:
and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people: or join with them in desiring and seeking for the help of the king of Assyria, against Rezin and Remaliah's son; or in being willing to surrender up into their hands:
saying; as follows:
(t) "apprehensione manus", Piscator; "cum manu me apprehenderit", Tigurine version.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. with a strong hand—or else, "when He grasped me with His hand" [Horsley]. Maurer, as English Version, "with the impetus of His hand," that is, the felt impulse of His inspiration in my mind (Jer 15:17; Eze 1:3; 3:14, 22; 37:1).
way of … people—their distrust of Jehovah, and the panic which led them and Ahab to seek Assyrian aid.
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