|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 6. - Forasmuch as this people. It is a question which people is intended, Judah or Israel. Ewald supposes Judah, and draws the conclusion that there was a strong party in Jerusalem which favored "the son of Tabeal." Dr. Kay does the same, but understands the charge against Judah to be, not that it sympathized with Rezin, but that it fell into the same sins. Other commentators suggest that Israel is the people intended (as in Isaiah 9:16), the sense being carried on from ver. 4, where the word "Samaria" is suggestive of the Israelite people. Refuseth the waters of Shiloah. The "pool of Siloah" (Nehemiah 3:15) was the tank or reservoir at the southwestern foot of Ophel, which is supplied with water by a narrow conduit cut through the limestone rock for a distance of 1750 feet from the "Pool of the Virgin" on the opposite side of Ophel, in the Kedron valley. This pool itself is fed from reservoirs under the temple area, which have not yet been fully explored. It is probable that Isaiah uses the expression "waters of Shiloah" in a general sense for the streams, springs, reservoirs, conduits, which supplied the temple, and were connected with its service. "Refusing the waters of Shiloah" would then be, without any violent metaphor, refusing the temple service and worship, which was exactly what the Israelites had done from the time of Jeroboam. That go softly. In contrast with the "waters of the river, strong and many," of the next verse. They who refused the mild and gentle government of Jehovah should experience the impetuous and torrent-like rush of the Assyrian armies. Rejoice in Rezin; rather, rejoice with Rezin; i.e. sympathize with him, rejoice when he rejoices.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah, that go softly,.... The same with Siloam, John 9:7 and so it is called in the Septuagint version here; and the word here used signifies "sent", as it is there interpreted. Jarchi says it is a fountain, whose name was Gihon and Shiloah; see 1 Kings 1:33 concerning which Jerom yet writes,
"Siloam is a fountain at the foot of Mount Sion, which does not send forth water continually, but on certain times and days; and comes through the hollow places of the earth, and caves of a hard rock, with a great noise; of which we especially cannot doubt, who dwell in this province.''
This was a small current of water, which moved softly and slowly, and not with a rapid motion, as some rivers do; to which the kingdom of the house of David is compared, because of its easy and gentle government; as the Targum, which paraphrases the words thus,
"because this people loathed the kingdom of the house of David which ruled them quietly, as the waters of Shiloah which flow softly;''
or because of the weakness of it in the days of Ahaz, it had not strength to oppose their enemies, as Kimchi suggests; now the ten tribes despised the house of David, and departed from it, and continued in their revolt, and had that government in contempt, as well as the religion of it. Jerusalem, the temple, and the worship of God in it, may be meant by the waters of Shiloah; it being usual to name places by the rivers that are near them.
And rejoice in Rezin, and in Remaliah's son: in Rezin king of Syria; and in Pekah, the son of Remaliah, king of Israel. Perhaps respect may be had to later times, to the times of the Messiah, when the Jews would despise his government, and reject him as King; though he is the Prince of peace, and his government the most quiet and peaceable one, and he the Shiloah, the sent of God, and declare they had no other king but Caesar.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. waters of Shiloah … softly—Their source is on the southeast of Zion and east of Jerusalem. It means "sent," the water being sent through an aqueduct (Joh 9:7). Figurative for the mild, though now weak, sway of the house of David; in the highest sense Shiloah expresses the benignant sway of Jehovah in the theocracy, administered through David. Contrast to the violent Euphrates, "the river" that typifies Assyria (Isa 8:7; Re 17:15). "This people" refers both to Israel, which preferred an alliance with Rezin of Syria to one with the kings of Judah, and to Judah, a party in which seems to have favored the pretentions of the son of Tabeal against David's line (Isa 7:6); also to Judah's desire to seek an Assyrian alliance is included in the censure (compare Isa 7:17). Isa 8:14 shows that both nations are meant; both alike rejected the divine Shiloah. Not "My people," as elsewhere, when God expresses favor, but "this people" (Isa 6:9).
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