|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:1-8 The prophet is to write on a large roll, or on a metal tablet, words which meant, Make speed to spoil, hasten to the prey: pointing out that the Assyrian army should come with speed, and make great spoil. Very soon the riches of Damascus and of Samaria, cities then secure and formidable, shall be taken away by the king of Assyria. The prophet pleads with the promised Messiah, who should appear in that land in the fulness of time, and, therefore, as God, would preserve it in the mean time. As a gentle brook is an apt emblem of a mild government, so an overflowing torrent represents a conqueror and tyrant. The invader's success was also described by a bird of prey, stretching its wings over the whole land. Those who reject Christ, will find that what they call liberty is the basest slavery. But no enemy shall pluck the believer out of Emmanuel's hand, or deprive him of his heavenly inheritance.
Verse 4. - My father... my mother. "Abi," "Immi," would have been among the first utterances of childhood - simple sounds, combinations of primary vowels with labials, corresponding in easiness of utterance to "Pappy," "Mammy," rather than to the expressions of the text. A child commonly utters such sounds when it is about a year old. The riches of Damascus. The position of Damascus lay in the direct path of the main trade that was carried on between the West and East, which was conducted by the merchants of Tyro chiefly, and passed from the Syrian coast by way of Damascus and Tadmor to Nineveh and Babylon. This commerce greatly enriched the cities lying upon its route. "Damascus," says Ezekiel, addressing Tyre, "was thy merchant in the multitude of the wares of thy making, for the multitude of all riches; in the wine of Helbon, and white wool" (Ezekiel 27:18). The "palaces of Benhadad" seem to have been noted for their magnificence (Jeremiah 49:27; Amos 1:4). The spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the King of Assyria. Scripture does not record the fulfillment of this prophecy, which makes the same Assyrian king carry off the spoil of Samaria and the spoil of Damascus, fixing also the time of the carrying off as within a few years of the time when the prophecy was given. But the inscriptions of Tiglath-Pileser himself supply the deficiency. They state that this monarch "sent the population, the goods of the people of Beth-Omri, and their furniture to the land of Assyria;" after which he "appointed Husih (Hoshea) to the dominion ever them," and fixed their annual tribute at two talents of gold and a thousand talents of silver (see 'Records of the Past,' vol. 5. p. 52).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, my father, and my mother,.... Which are commonly the first words children learn to say; and so it signifies that what follows should happen in a year or two; as it did:
the riches of Damascus, and the spoil of Samaria, shall be taken away before the king of Assyria; or, "he shall take away the riches" (q), &c.; not the child, unless he is considered as the sign of taking them away; but the soldier, put for the whole Assyrian army, which carried off the riches and spoil of these places, in the presence, and by the order, of the king of Assyria; the first of these, namely, Damascus, the metropolis of Syria, with its riches, wealth, and army, were taken and carried away by Tilgathpilneser, king of Assyria, within the time here mentioned, 2 Kings 16:9 but the latter, Samaria, the metropolis of the kingdom of Israel, was not taken and spoiled until the sixth year of Hezekiah, and ninth of Hoshea, 2 Kings 17:6 but because the prophecy began to be fulfilled, and was fulfilled in part, within the time mentioned, the whole is attributed to it; though it should be observed, that before this, after Pekah the son of Remaliah was slain, and Hoshea reigned in his stead, the king of Assyria came up against him, and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents; which may be called the spoil of Samaria, 2 Kings 17:3.
(q) "asportabit, opulentiam----servus regis Assyriae", Junius & Tremellius "auferet opes----is qui stet coram facie regis Assyriae", Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. before, &c.—within a year.
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