And on all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and on all the oaks of Bashan,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Upon all the cedars of Lebanon . . .—The words find a striking parallel in the passage from Herodotus just referred to. In that storm which is about to burst over the land, the cedars and the oaks, and, we may add, those who were as the cedars and the oaks, in their pride and glory, should all alike be shattered.
Maundrell found only sixteen cedars of large growth, and a natural plantation of smaller ones, which were very numerous. One of the largest was twelve yards six inches in girth, and thirty-seven yards in the spread of its boughs. At six yards from the ground, it was divided into five limbs, each equal to a great tree. Dr. Richardson visited them in 1818, and found a small clump of large, tall, and beautiful trees, which he pronounces the most picturesque productions of the vegetable world that he had ever seen. In this clump are two generations of trees; the oldest are large and massy, rearing their heads to an enormous height, and spreading their branches to a great extent. He measured one, not the largest in the clump, and found it thirty-two feet in circumference. Seven of these trees appeared to be very old, the rest younger, though, for want of space, their branches are not so spreading.
Bush's "Illustrations of Scripture." 'The celebrated cedar-grove of Lebanon,' says Dr. Robinson, 'is at least two days journey from Beirut, near the northern, and perhaps the highest summit of the mountain. It has been often and sufficiently described by travelers for the last three centuries; but they all differ as to the number of the oldest trees, inasmuch as in counting, some have included more and some less of the younger ones. At present, the number of trees appears to be on the increase, and amounts in all to several hundred. This grove was long held to be the only remnant of the ancient cedars of Lebanon. But Seetzen, in 1805, discovered two other groves of greater extent; and the American Missionaries, in traveling through the mountains, have also found many cedars in other places. The trees are of all sizes, old and young; but none so ancient and venerable as those usually visited.' "Bib. Researches," iii., 440; 441. The cedar, so large, lofty, and grand, is used in the Scriptures to represent kings, princes, and nobles: compare Ezekiel 31:3; Daniel 4:20-22; Zechariah 11:1-2; Isaiah 14:8. Here it means the princes and nobles of the land of Israel. The Chaldee renders it, 'upon all the strong and mighty kings of the people.'
And upon all the oaks of Bashan - "Bashan" was east of the river Jordan, in the limits of the half tribe of Manasseh. It was bounded on the north and east by Gilead, south by the river Jabbok, and west by the Jordan. It was celebrated for pasturage, and for producing fine cattle; Numbers 21:33; Numbers 32:33; Psalm 22:12; Ezekiel 39:18; Amos 4:1; Micah 7:14. Its lofty oaks are also particularly celebrated; Ezekiel 27:6; Amos 2:9; Zechariah 11:2. The sense here is not different from the former member of the sentence - denoting the princes and nobles of the land.
Bashan—east of Jordan, north of the river Jabbok, famous for fine oaks, pasture, and cattle. Perhaps in "oaks" there is reference to their idolatry (Isa 1:29).
1. Metaphorically, upon the highest and proudest sinners; or,
2. Literally, as may seem probable from the following verses, where there is distinct mention made of mountains and hills, Isaiah 2:14, of towers and walls, Isaiah 2:15, of ships and pictures, Isaiah 2:16. Whereby he intimates that the judgment should be so universal and terrible, that it should not only reach to men, but to things also, whether natural or artificial, in all which there should be manifest tokens of God’s displeasure against the land. The cedars and oaks standing in the mountains shall be either thrown down by furious winds or earthquakes, or torn in pieces by thunder and lightning, and the stately houses built with cedars and oaks shall be destroyed.
and upon all the oaks of Bashan; nobles, princes, governors of provinces, as the same writers explain the words, oaks being inferior to cedars: the day of the Lord will be upon these, and their destruction come on at the battle of Armageddon, Revelation 19:18.And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 13. - Upon all the cedars of Lebanon. It is usual to take this metaphorically; and no doubt men are often compared to trees in Scripture (Psalm 1:3; Jeremiah 17:8; Job 8:16, 17), and "cedars of Lebanon" especially are symbols of the great and proud ones (Ezekiel 31:3). But it has been well observed that either all the details of the description in the text must be taken literally, or all of them metaphorically, and that the mention of such objects as "ships of Tarshish" and "pleasant pictures" pleads strongly for a literal interpretation. The day of the Lord was upon the cedars when Sennacherib "with chariots upon chariots came up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon, and cut down the tall cedars thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof" (Isaiah 37:24); and similar devastation accompanied, it is probable, the other invasions of the Assyrians (see 'Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 1. pp. 474, 475). Upon all the oaks of Bashan. The "oaks of Bashan" are celebrated also by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 27:6) and by Zechariah (Zechariah 11:2). It is quite likely that the Assyrians cut timber in Bashan, as they did in Lebanon and Amanus. Isaiah 2:7, Isaiah 2:8 he describes still further how the land of the people of Jehovah, in consequence of all this (on the future consec. see Ges. 129, 2, a), was crammed full of objects of luxury, of self-confidence, of estrangement from God: "And their land is filled with silver and gold, and there is no end of their treasures; and their land is filled with horses, and there is no end of their chariots. And their land is filled with - idols; the work of their own hands they worship, that which their own fingers have made." The glory of Solomon, which revived under Uzziah's fifty-two years' reign, and was sustained through Jotham's reign of sixteen years, carried with it the curse of the law; for the law of the king, in Deuteronomy 17:14., prohibited the multiplying of horses, and also the accumulation of gold and silver. Standing armies, and stores of national treasures, like everything else which ministers to carnal self-reliance, were opposed to the spirit of the theocracy. Nevertheless Judaea was immeasurably full of such seductions to apostasy; and not of those alone, but also of things which plainly revealed it, viz., of elilim, idols (the same word is used in Leviticus 19:4; Leviticus 26:1, from elil, vain or worthless; it is therefore equivalent to "not-gods"). They worshipped the work of "their own" hands, what "their own" fingers had made: two distributive singulars, as in Isaiah 5:23, the hands and fingers of every individual (vid., Micah 5:12-13, where the idols are classified). The condition of the land, therefore, was not only opposed to the law of the king, but at variance with the decalogue also. The existing glory was the most offensive caricature of the glory promised to the nation; for the people, whose God was one day to become the desire and salvation of all nations, had exchanged Him for the idols of the nations, and was vying with them in the appropriation of heathen religion and customs.
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