|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:8-21 Those are ripening apace for ruin, whose hearts are unhumbled under humbling providences. For that which God designs, in smiting us, is, to turn us to himself; and if this point be not gained by lesser judgments, greater may be expected. The leaders of the people misled them. We have reason to be afraid of those that speak well of us, when we do ill. Wickedness was universal, all were infected with it. They shall be in trouble, and see no way out; and when men's ways displease the Lord, he makes even their friends to be at war with them. God would take away those they thought to have help from. Their rulers were the head. Their false prophets were the tail and the rush, the most despicable. In these civil contests, men preyed on near relations who were as their own flesh. The people turn not to Him who smites them, therefore he continues to smite: for when God judges, he will overcome; and the proudest, stoutest sinner shall either bend or break.
Verse 14. - Head and tail, branch and rush; i.e. the whole nation, from the highest to the lowest. The "branch" intended is the "palm branch," at once lofty in position and the most glorious form of vegetable life (Psalm 92:12; Song of Solomon 7:7, 8, etc.); the "rush" is the simple "sedge" that grows, not only low on the ground, but in the "mire" (Job 8:11). The same expression occurs again in Isaiah 19:15.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Therefore the Lord will cut off from Israel head and tail,.... The former of these is afterwards interpreted of "the ancient and honourable", men in high places, civil magistrates, judges, governors, and elders of the people, the king as supreme, and all subordinate officers; and so the Targum,
"the Lord will destroy from Israel the prince and the ruler;''
and the latter is interpreted of the false prophet. The people of Israel are compared to a beast with a tail, being so sadly degenerated and corrupted; as the Romish antichrist, in both his capacities, civil and ecclesiastical, is compared to a beast; the one being the head, and the other the tail, Revelation 13:1 and Rome Pagan to a dragon with a tail, Revelation 12:3 and the Saracens and Turks to locusts with tails like the tails of scorpions, Revelation 9:10,
branch and rush, in one day. The Septuagint render it, "great and small"; and so the Arabic version; the first word intending the great men of the nation, in flourishing circumstances, like branches of trees; the latter the common, people, like reeds and rushes, weak and feeble; so Kimchi explains them,
"the strong and the weak;''
though the Targum interprets both of the governor and lord; and so Jarchi says they signify kings and governors; but Aben Ezra renders the word root and branch; and so they may denote the utter destruction of the people of Israel, fathers and children, high and low, rich and poor. See Malachi 4:1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. head and tail—proverbial for the highest and lowest (De 28:13, 44).
branch and rush—another image for the same thought (Isa 19:15). The branch is elevated on the top of the tree: the rush is coarse and low.
Isaiah 9:14 Parallel Commentaries
Isaiah 9:14 NIV
Isaiah 9:14 NLT
Isaiah 9:14 ESV
Isaiah 9:14 NASB
Isaiah 9:14 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible