All they shall speak and say to you, Are you also become weak as we? are you become like to us?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Art thou also become weak as we?—The question implies, of course, an affirmative answer. The king of Babylon, the report of whose coming had roused awe and wonder, is found to be as weak as any of the other Rephaim, the eidôla, or shadowy forms, of Homer (Il, xxiii., 72). With these words the vision of the spectral world ends, and the next verse takes up the taunting song of the liberated Israelites, the language of which is, however, influenced by the imagery of the vision.
weak—as a shade bereft of blood and life. Rephaim, "the dead," may come from a Hebrew root, meaning similarly "feeble," "powerless." The speech of the departed closes with Isa 14:11.Thou, who wast king of kings, and far superior to us in power and authority, that didst neither fear God nor reverence man, that didst slay whom thou wouldst, and keep alive whom thou wouldst, Daniel 5:19.
art thou become also weak as we? who had been more powerful than they, had been too many for them, and had subdued them, and ruled over them, and was not only looked upon as invincible but as immortal, yea, as a deity; and yet now was become "sick", as the word (b) signifies, or by sickness brought to death, and by death enfeebled and rendered weak and without strength, stripped of all natural strength, as well as of all civil power and authority:
art thou become like unto us? who thought himself, and was flattered by others, that there were none like unto him; but now as the rest of the dead, and upon a level with them. So will it be with the Romish antichrist, who now exalts himself above all that is called God, and reigns over the kings of the earth, and shows himself as if he was God, and of whom his parasites say, "who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?" when he shall be consumed by Christ, and cast into the lake of fire with the devil and false prophet, he will be like the kings of the earth deceived by him, and the rest of the worshippers of him, and be as weak as they, 2 Thessalonians 2:4, Revelation 20:10.All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 10. - Art thou also become weak as we? rather, So thou also art made weak as we! (On the supposed weakness of the dead, see the comment on ver. 9.) Isaiah 14:3, Isaiah 14:4. Instead of the hiphil hinniach (to let down) of Isaiah 14:1, we have here, as in the original passage, Deuteronomy 25:19, the form hēniach, which is commonly used in the sense of quieting, or procuring rest. עצב is trouble which plagues (as עמל is trouble which oppresses), and rōgez restlessness which wears out with anxious care (Job 3:26, cf., Ezekiel 12:18). The assimilated min before the two words is pronounced mĭ, with a weak reduplication, instead of mē, as elsewhere, before ח, ה, and even before ר (1 Samuel 23:28; 2 Samuel 18:16). In the relative clause עבּד־בך אשר, אשר is not the Hebrew casus adverb. answering to the Latin ablative qu servo te usi sunt; not do בך ... אשר belong to one another in the sense of quo, as in Deuteronomy 21:3, qu (vitul); but it is regarded as an acc. obj. according to Exodus 1:14 and Leviticus 25:39, qu'on t'a fait servir, as in Numbers 32:5, qu'on donne la terre (Luzzatto). When delivered from such a yoke of bondage, Israel would raise a mâshâl. According to its primary and general meaning, mâshâl signifies figurative language, and hence poetry generally, more especially that kind of proverbial poetry which loves the emblematical, and, in fact, any artistic composition that is piquant in its character; so that the idea of what is satirical or defiant may easily be associated with it, as in the passage before us.
The words are addressed to the Israel of the future in the Israel of the present, as in Isaiah 12:1. The former would then sing, and say as follows. "How hath the oppressor ceased! The place of torture ceased! Jehovah hath broken the rod of the wicked, the ruler's staff, which cmote nations in wrath with strokes without ceasing subjugated nations wrathfully with hunting than nevers stays." Not one of the early translators ever thought of deriving the hap. leg. madhebâh from the Aramaean dehab (gold), as Vitringa, Aurivillius, and Rosenmller have done. The former have all translated the word as if it were marhēbâh (haughty, violent treatment), as corrected by J. D. Michaelis, Doederlein, Knobel, and others. But we may arrive at the same result without altering a single letter, if we take דּאב as equivalent to דּהב, דּוּב, to melt or pine away, whether we go back to the kal or to the hiphil of the verb, and regard the Mem as used in a material or local sense. We understand it, according to madmenah (dunghill) in Isaiah 25:10, as denoting the place where they were reduced to pining away, i.e., as applied to Babylon as the house of servitude where Israel had been wearied to death. The tyrant's sceptre, mentioned in Isaiah 14:5, is the Chaldean world-power regarded as concentrated in the king of Babel (cf., shēbet in Numbers 24:17). This tyrant's sceptre smote nations with incessant blows and hunting: maccath is construed with macceh, the derivative of the same verb; and murdâph, a hophal noun (as in Isaiah 9:1; Isaiah 29:3), with rodeh, which is kindred in meaning. Doederlein's conjecture (mirdath), which has been adopted by most modern commentators, is quite unnecessary. Unceasing continuance is expressed first of all with bilti, which is used as a preposition, and followed by sârâh, a participial noun like câlâh, and then with b'li, which is construed with the finite verb as in Genesis 31:20; Job 41:18; for b'li châsâk is an attributive clause: with a hunting which did not restrain itself, did not stop, and therefore did not spare. Nor is it only Israel and other subjugated nations that now breathe again.
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