Isaiah 2:12
For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be on every one that is proud and lofty, and on every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:
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(12) The day of the Lord of hosts shall be . . .—Literally, the Lord of hosts hath a day . . . As generally in the prophets, any time of special judgment or special mercy is as “a day of Jehovah.” Man feels himself in the presence of a higher power, working in this way or in that for righteousness. The phrase. had been specially prominent in the mouth of Isaiah’s forerunner, Amos (8:9-13, 9:11).

Upon every one that is proud and lofty . . .—The emphatic iteration of “lifted up” is noticeable as indicating that the prophet sees in that self-assertion the root-evil of his time, that which was most destructive of the fear of the Lord, and most surely brought down judgment on the offender. So the devout historian of Greece reads the teaching of the history which he tells. He saw the loftiest trees most exposed to the lightning-flash, the loftiest monarch most liable to the working of the Divine Nemesis (Herod., vii. 10).

Isaiah 2:12-16. For the day of the Lord — The time of God’s taking vengeance on sinners; shall be upon every one that is proud — To mortify and bring him down to the dust; and upon all the cedars of Lebanon, &c. — In these and the following words, to Isaiah 2:17, the prophet is considered, by most commentators, as speaking metaphorically, according to the symbolical language of the Egyptian hieroglyphics. The cedars of Lebanon, and oaks of Bashan, are supposed to mean princes and nobles, who carried themselves high, and behaved themselves insolently; high mountains and hills, to signify states and cities; high towers and fenced walls, those who excelled in ingenuity, wisdom, and strength; and the ships of Tarshish, &c., (Isaiah 2:16,) the merchants who confided in their wealth and splendour. Thus Bishop Lowth: “These verses afford us a striking example of that peculiar way of writing, which makes a principal characteristic of the parabolical, or poetical style of the Hebrews, and in which their prophets deal so largely: namely, their manner of exhibiting things divine, spiritual, moral, and political, by a set of images taken from things natural, artificial, religious, historical, in the way of metaphor or allegory. Thus, you will find in many other places, besides this before us, that cedars of Libanus and oaks of Bashan are used, in the way of metaphor and allegory, for kings, princes, potentates, of the highest rank; high mountains and lofty hills, for kingdoms, republics, states, cities; towers and fortresses, for defenders and protectors, whether by counsel or strength, in peace or war; ships of Tarshish, and works of art and invention employed in adorning them, for merchants, men enriched by commerce, and abounding in all the luxuries and elegancies of life, such as those of Tyre and Sidon; for it appears from the course of the whole passage, and from the train of ideas, that the fortresses and ships are to be taken metaphorically, as well as the high trees and lofty mountains.” Some, however, it may be observed, incline to understand this whole passage literally, remarking, that the judgment was to be so universal and terrible, as not only to reach to men, but to things also, whether natural or artificial, in all which there would be manifest tokens of God’s displeasure against the land. “Ships of Tarshish,” adds Bishop Lowth, “are in Scripture frequently used by a metonymy for ships in general, especially such as are employed in carrying on traffic between distant countries; as Tarshish was the most celebrated mart of those times, frequented of old by the Phenicians, and the principal source of wealth to Judea and the neighbouring countries. The learned seem now to be perfectly agreed that Tarshish is Tartessus, a city of Spain, (near Cadiz, now called Tariffa,) at the mouth of the river Bœtis, (now named Guadalquiver, running through Andalusia,) whence the Phenicians, who first opened this trade, brought silver and gold, (Jeremiah 10:9; Ezekiel 27:12,) in which that country then abounded; and, pursuing their voyage still further to the Cassiterides, the islands of Sicily and Cornwall, they brought from thence lead and tin.” 2:10-22 The taking of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans seems first meant here, when idolatry among the Jews was done away; but our thoughts are led forward to the destruction of all the enemies of Christ. It is folly for those who are pursued by the wrath of God, to think to hide or shelter themselves from it. The shaking of the earth will be terrible to those who set their affections on things of the earth. Men's haughtiness will be brought down, either by the grace of God convincing them of the evil of pride, or by the providence of God depriving them of all the things they were proud of. The day of the Lord shall be upon those things in which they put their confidence. Those who will not be reasoned out of their sins, sooner or later shall be frightened out of them. Covetous men make money their god; but the time will come when they will feel it as much their burden. This whole passage may be applied to the case of an awakened sinner, ready to leave all that his soul may be saved. The Jews were prone to rely on their heathen neighbours; but they are here called upon to cease from depending on mortal man. We are all prone to the same sin. Then let not man be your fear, let not him be your hope; but let your hope be in the Lord your God. Let us make this our great concern.The day ... - This expression evidently denotes that the Lord would inflict severe punishment upon every one that was lofty. Such a severe infliction is called "the day of the Lord of hosts," because it would be a time when "he" would particularly manifest himself, and when "he" would be recognized as the inflicter of that punishment. "His" coming forth in this manner would give "character" to that time, and would be the prominent "event." The punishment of the wicked is thus freguently called "the day of the Lord;" Isaiah 13:6, Isaiah 13:9 : 'Behold the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger,' etc.; Jeremiah 46:10 : 'The day of the Lord God of hosts, a day of vengeance.' Ezekiel 30:3; Zephaniah 1:7, Zephaniah 1:14; Joel 2:31; see also in the New Testament, 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10.

Every one that is proud and lofty - Or, rather, every "thing" that is high and lofty. The phrase is not restricted to "persons," though it embraces them. But though the language here is general, the reference is doubtless, mainly, to the princes, magistrates, and nobility of the nation; and is designed not only to designate them as men of rank and power, but as men who were haughty in their demeanour and feelings. At the same time, there is included in the language, as the subsequent verses show, all on which the nation prided itself.

12. Man has had many days: "the day of the Lord" shall come at last, beginning with judgment, a never-ending day in which God shall be "all in all" (1Co 15:28; 2Pe 3:10).

every—not merely person, as English Version explains it, but every thing on which the nation prided itself.

The day of the Lord; the time of God’s taking vengeance upon sinners, which is called God’s day, Isaiah 13:6,9 Eze 13:5 30:3, and oft elsewhere. For the day of the Lord of hosts,.... Which is peculiarly his, which he has fixed and appointed, and in which there will be a great display of the glory of his power and grace: this

shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up, and he shall be brought low; either the day of his mighty power and efficacious grace shall be upon them to convert them; when they who thought themselves in a good estate, rich, and standing in need of nothing, shall now perceive themselves to be in a very poor, wretched, and miserable one; and when such who have trusted in and boasted of their own righteousness, and despised others, and would not submit to the righteousness of Christ; shall now renounce their own, and gladly embrace his; and when those who prided themselves with their free will, strength, and power, will now find that they can do nothing of themselves, and without Christ, his Spirit and grace; and such, who fancied that their own right hand could save them, will now see that there is salvation in no other but Christ, and will prostrate themselves before him, and seek unto him alone for peace, pardon, righteousness, and eternal life: or else this means the day of the Lord's vengeance on his proud and haughty enemies, who would not have him to reign over them; these shall be as stubble, when the day of the Lord, which will burn like an oven, will consume and destroy them, Malachi 4:1.

For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:
12. For the day … proud …] Render, For Jehovah of Hosts hath a day upon all that is proud … (see R.V. marg.). What the prophet asserts is that there is a “day of Jehovah,” in the sense in which he has to announce it. From Amos 5:18 we learn that the phrase was already familiar to the people, but was understood in a sense favourable to themselves. How they arrived at the idea is not known. Probably the word “day” was interpreted as “day of battle,” Jehovah’s “day” being the day of His victory over the enemies of Israel (see Robertson Smith, Proph. of Israel, Revd. Ed. pp. 397 f.). From the time of Amos (if not earlier) the “day of the Lord” becomes a standing designation of the prophets for the final manifestation of Jehovah to judge Israel and the world. Here it is obviously a universal judgment that is predicted.

12–16. The conception, although in the highest degree poetic, is not allegorical. Trees, mountains, ships, &c. are not emblems of kings, magnates, commerce and the like; the destruction of all that is imposing and sublime in nature or art is itself the concrete expression of the idea that “the Lord alone shall be exalted.” The appearing of Jehovah is depicted under the imagery of the thunderstorm, an ancient symbol of the Theophany (cf. Jdg 5:4 f.; Psalm 18:7-14; Psalm 18:29).Verses 12-22. - THE DESCRIPTION OF THE DAY OF THE LORD. The prophet, now, having announced that God is about to visit his people in anger (vers. 10, 11), proceeds to describe in highly rhetorical language the visitation itself,

(1) as to its object, which is to bring down all that exalts itself against God (ver. 12);

(2) as to its scope - it is to be upon trees, mountains, hills, towers, walls, ships, pleasant pictures, idols (vers. 13-18);

(3) as to its practical effect, which will be to alarm and terrify, to make men fly and hide themselves, and to produce contempt of the idols in which they have so long trusted (vers. 19-21). Verse 12. - For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one; rather, For the Lord of hosts shall have a day upon everything. The passage is exegetical of "that day" in the preceding verse. A "day" - or time - is certainly coming which shall be emphatically "the Lord's" - a day on which he will descend to judgment. Proud... lofty... lifted up (comp. ver. 11). "The ideas of eminence, pride, and opposition to God melt into each other in the Old Testament" (Cheyne). And he shall be brought low; rather, that it may be brought low (so Gesenius and Cheyne). "For Thou hast rejected Thy people, the house of Jacob; for they are filled with things from the east, and are conjurors like the Philistines; and with the children of foreigners they go hand in hand." Here again we have "for" (Chi) twice in succession; the first giving the reason for the warning cry, the second vindicating the reason assigned. The words are addressed to Jehovah, not to the people. Saad., Gecatilia, and Rashi adopt the rendering, "Thou has given up thy nationality;" and this rendering is supported by J. D. Michaelis, Hitzig, and Luzzatto. But the word means "people," not "nationality;" and the rendering is inadmissible, and would never have been thought of were it not that there was apparently something strange in so sudden an introduction of an address to God. But in Isaiah 2:9; Isaiah 9:2, and other passages, the prophecy takes the form of a prayer. And nâtash (cast off) with âm (people) for its object recals such passages as Psalm 94:14 and 1 Samuel 12:22. Jehovah had put away His people, i.e., rejected them, and left them to themselves, for the following reasons: (1.) Because they were "full from the east" (mikkedem: min denotes the source from which a person draws and fills himself, Jeremiah 51:34; Ezekiel 32:6), i.e., full of eastern manners and customs, more especially of idolatrous practices. By "the east" (kedem) we are to understand Arabia as far as the peninsula of Sinai, and also the Aramaean lands of the Euphrates. Under Uzziah and Jotham, whose sway extended to Elath, the seaport town of the Elanitic Gulf, the influence of the south-east predominated; but under Ahaz and Hezekiah, on account of their relations to Asshur, Aram, and Babylon, that of the north-east. The conjecture of Gesenius, that we should read mikkesem, i.e., of soothsaying, it a very natural one; but it obliterates without any necessity the name of the region from which Judah's imitative propensities received their impulse and materials. (2.) They were onenim ( equals meonenim, Micah 5:11, from the poelonen: 2 Kings 21:6), probably "cloud-gatherers" or "storm-raisers,"

(Note: There is no force in the explanation "concealing," i.e., practising secret arts; for the meaning "cover" or "conceal" is arbitrarily transferred to the verb onen, from gânan and Cânan, which are supposed to be cognate roots. As a denominative of ânân, the cloud, however (on this name for the clouds, see at Isaiah 4:5), onen might mean "he gathered auguries from the clouds." Or if we take onen as a synonym of innen in Genesis 9:14, it would mean "to raise storms," which would give the rendering νεφοδιῶκται, tempestarii, storm-raisers. The derivation of onen from Ny(i, in the sense of the Arabic 'âna (impf. ya ı̄nu), as it were to ogle, oculo maligno petere et fascinare, founders on annen, the word used in the Targums, which cannot possibly be traced to Ny(i. From a purely philological standpoint, however, there is still another explanation possible. From the idea of coming to meet we get the transitive meaning to hold back, shut in, or hinder, particularly to hold back a horse by the reins (inân), or when applied to sexual relations, 'unna ('unnina, u'inna) )an el-mar'ati, "he is prevented (by magic) from approaching his wife," Beside the Arabic 'innı̄n and ma'nūn (to render sexually impotent by witchcraft), we find the Syriac 'anono used in the same sense.)

like the Philistines (the people conquered by Uzziah, and then again by Hezekiah), among whom witchcraft was carried on in guilds, whilst a celebrated oracle of Baal-Zebub existed at Ekron. (3.) And they make common cause with children of foreigners. This is the explanation adopted by Gesenius, Knobel, and others. Sâphak with Cappaim signifies to clap hands (Job 27:23). The hiphil followed by Beth is only used here in the sense of striking hands with a person. Luzzatto explains it as meaning, "They find satisfaction in the children of foreigners; it is only through them that they are contented;" but this is contrary to the usage of the language, according to which hispik in post-biblical Hebrew signifies either suppeditare or (like saphak in 1 Kings 20:10) sufficere. Jerome renders it pueris alienis adhaeserunt; but yalde nâc'rim does not mean pueri alieni, boys hired for licentious purposes, but the "sons of strangers" generally (Isaiah 60:10; Isaiah 61:5), with a strong emphasis upon their unsanctified birth, the heathenism inherited from their mother's womb. With heathen by birth, the prophet would say, the people of Jehovah made common cause.

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