The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts musters the host of the battle.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The noise of a multitude . . .—The prophet hears, as it were, the tramp of the armies gathering on the mountains north of Babylonia (possibly the Zagros range, or the plateau of Iran, or the mountains of Armenia; but the prophet’s geography was probably vague) before they descend to the plain, and march against the haughty city. (Comp. Jeremiah 51:27.)Isaiah 13:4-5. The noise of a multitude in the mountains — No sooner had the Almighty given the command, than the multitude assembles to his banners; like as a great people — Not rude and barbarous; but well- disciplined, regular, and veteran troops, such as are wont to be furnished by a great and powerful people; of the kingdoms of nations — Cyrus’s army was made up of different nations besides the Medes and Persians. The Lord of hosts — The God of armies; mustereth the host of the battle — He raises the soldiers, brings them together, puts them in order, reviews them, keeps an exact account of them, sees that they be all in their respective posts, and gives them their necessary orders. The expressions are noble, and contain a lively description of that terror which the appearance of a hostile army strikes into the beholders. They come from a far country — Many of Cyrus’s auxiliary forces came from very distant countries: see Jeremiah 50:41; Jeremiah 51:27-28. The prophet adds this as an aggravation of the judgment. From the end of heaven — This is not to be understood strictly and properly, but popularly and hyperbolically, as such expressions are commonly used, both in sacred and profane authors. Even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation — The Medes and Persians, who were but a rod in God’s hand, and the instruments of his anger, as was said of the Assyrian, Isaiah 10:5. To destroy the whole land — Namely, of Babylon, of which he is now speaking.Isaiah 13:2. This is a highly beautiful figure - a graphic and vivid representation of the scene before him. Nations are seen to hasten to the elevated banner, and to engage in active preparations for the mighty war. The sound is that of a tumult, an excited multitude hastening to the encampment, and preparing for the conquest of Babylon.
Like as of a great people - Hebrew, 'The likeness of a great people.' That is, such a confused and tumultuous sound as attends a great multitude when they collect together.
A tumultuous noise - Hebrew, 'The voice of the tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together.'
The Lord of hosts - Yahweh, the God of hosts, or armies (note Isaiah 1:9).
Mustereth - Collects; puts in military array. Over all this multitude of nations, hastening with confused sounds and tumult like the noise of the sea, putting themselves in military array, God, unseen, presides, and prepares them for his own great designs. It is not easy to conceive a more sublime image than these mighty hosts of war, unconscious of the hand that directs them, and of the God that presides over them, moving as he wills, and accomplishing his plans.
tumultuous noise—The Babylonians are vividly depicted as hearing some unwonted sound like the din of a host; they try to distinguish the sounds, but can only perceive a tumultuous noise.
nations—Medes, Persians, and Armenians composed Cyrus' army.The kingdoms of nations; the Medes and Persians, and other nations which served under them in this war; of which see Jeremiah 25:14 27:7 50:41.
a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together; for Cyrus's army consisted of several kingdoms and nations; for besides the thirty thousand Persians he brought with him into Media, where he was made general of the Medes also, and was sent with the joint forces of both nations against Babylon, the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz, were prepared, gathered together, and called forth against it, Jeremiah 51:27,
the Lord of hosts mustereth the host of the battle; or the warlike army: it was the Lord, that has the armies of heaven and earth at his command, who in his providence caused such a numerous army to be formed, directed them where to march, and put them in battle array, and gave them the victory.The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. Already the prophet seems to hear from afar the din of the gathering multitude.
The noise of a multitude] Better as an exclamation, Hark, a tumult. And so in the next clause, Hark, the uproar of … The “mountains” are those beyond the Zagros range, N.E. of Babylonia, where the territory of the Medes lay. To understand them as “ideal barriers” (Cheyne) weakens the poetry of the passage.Verse 4. - The noise of a multitude in the mountains. I do not know why Isaiah should not have been "thinking of his geography" (Cheyne). As soon as the Greeks knew anything of the Persians, they knew of them as a mountain people, and attributed their valor and their handy habits to the physical character of their country (Herod., 9. ad fin.). Jeremiah connects the invading army which destroyed Babylon with mountains, when he derives it from. Ararat (comp. Genesis 8:4), Minni (Armenia), and Ashchenaz (Jeremiah 51:27). At any rate, the mention of "mountains" here is very appropriate, both Media and Persia being, in the main, mountainous countries. A great people; or, much people - not necessarily of one nation only. The host of the battle; rather, a host of war; i.e. a multitude of men, armed and prepared for war. Isaiah 12:3, again, contains a prophetic promise, which points back to the commencement of Isaiah 12:1 : "And with rapture ye will draw water out of the wells of salvation." Just as Israel was miraculously supplied with water in the desert, so will the God of salvation, who has become your salvation, open many and manifold sources of salvation for you (מעיני as it is pointed here, instead of מעיני,
(Note: The root is the same as, for example, in יעלתסּו (they rejoice) and יעלתסּו; here, however, it is more striking, because the singular is written מעין, and not מעין. At the same time, it is evident that the connecting sound ay was rather preferred than avoided, as Ewald maintains - as we may see, for example, from the repeated aychi in Psalm 103.))
from which ye may draw with and according to your heart's delight. This water of salvation, then, forms both the material for, and instigation to, new songs of praise; and Isaiah 12:4-6 therefore continue in the strain of a psalm: "And ye will say in that day, Praise Jehovah, proclaim His name, make known His doings among the nations, boast that His name is exalted. Harp to Jehovah; for He has displayed majesty: let this be known in all lands. Shout and be jubilant, O inhabitants of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee." The first song of six lines is here followed by a second of seven lines: a prophetic word of promise, inserted between them, separates the one from the other. This second also commences with the well-known tones of a psalm (compare especially Psalm 105:1; 1 Chronicles 16:8). The phrase, "Call upon the name of Jehovah," signifies, Make the name of Jehovah the medium of invocation (Ges. 138, Anm. 3*), i.e., invoke it, or, as here, call it out. Gē'ūth is high, towering dignity; here it is used of God, as in Isaiah 26:10, with ‛âsâh: to prove it practically, just as with lābēsh in Psalm 93:1, to show one's self openly therein. Instead of the Chethib meyudda‛ath in Isaiah 12:5, the keri substitutes the hophal form mūda‛ath, probably because meyuddâ‛, according to the standing usage of speech, denotes one well known, or intimate; the passive of the hophal is certainly the more suitable. According to the preceding appeals, the words are to be understood as expressing a desire, that the glorious self-attestation of the God of salvation might be brought to the consciousness of the whole of the inhabitants of the earth, i.e., of all mankind. When God redeems His people, He has the salvation of all the nations in view. It is the knowledge of the Holy One of Israel, made known through the word of proclamation, that brings salvation to them all. How well may the church on Zion rejoice, to have such a God dwelling in the midst of it! He is great as the giver or promises, and great in fulfilling them; great in grace, and great in judgment; great in all His saving acts which spread from Israel to all mankind. Thus does this second psalm of the redeemed nation close, and with it the book of Immanuel.
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