Isaiah 21:10
O my threshing, and the corn of my floor: that which I have heard of the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared to you.
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(10) O my threshing, and the corn of my floor.—Literally, and child of my threshing-floor. . . The words are abrupt, and we have to read the thoughts that lie below them. The “child of the threshing-floor “is none other than Israel, thought of as the corn which is under God’s chastisements, Assyrian and Chaldæan invasions, Babylonian exile, and the like, severing the wheat from the chaff (Micah 4:12-13; Jeremiah 51:33; Matthew 3:3). The prophet looks on those chastisements with yearning pity, but he cannot “go beyond the word of the Lord” (Numbers 24:13), and this is all that he has to tell his people. The oppressor shall in the end be overthrown, but that which lies between the present and that far-off future is, as yet, concealed from him.

Isaiah 21:10. O my thrashing, &c. — In these words, which form the conclusion of the prophecy, “the application, the end, and design of it, are admirably given in a short expressive address to the Jews, partly in the person of God, partly in that of the prophet.” The first words of the verse, O my thrashing, and the corn of my floor, are supposed to be spoken by God, in which thrashing is put for the corn thrashed, and the corn thrashed for people sorely afflicted and punished: as if he had said, “O my people, whom for your punishment I have made subject to the Babylonians, to try and to prove you, and to separate the chaff (or straw) from the corn, the bad from the good among you; hear this for your consolation: your punishment, your slavery and oppression, will have an end in the destruction of your oppressors.” The reader will observe, “the image of thrashing is frequently used by the Hebrew poets, with great elegance and force, to express the punishment of the wicked and the trial of the good, or the utter dispersion and destruction of God’s enemies.” That which I have heard, &c. — Here “the prophet abruptly breaks off the speech of God, and instead of continuing it in the form in which he had begun, and in the person of God, he changes the form of address, and adds, in his own person, That which I have heard, &c., have I declared unto you.” In which words he signifies, that he had faithfully related to them what God had revealed to him, and that the predictions which he had uttered were not his own inventions, but the very word of God, which, therefore, would be infallibly accomplished in their season. See Bishop Lowth.21:1-10 Babylon was a flat country, abundantly watered. The destruction of Babylon, so often prophesied of by Isaiah, was typical of the destruction of the great foe of the New Testament church, foretold in the Revelation. To the poor oppressed captives it would be welcome news; to the proud oppressors it would be grievous. Let this check vain mirth and sensual pleasures, that we know not in what heaviness the mirth may end. Here is the alarm given to Babylon, when forced by Cyrus. An ass and a camel seem to be the symbols of the Medes and Persians. Babylon's idols shall be so far from protecting her, that they shall be broken down. True believers are the corn of God's floor; hypocrites are but as chaff and straw, with which the wheat is now mixed, but from which it shall be separated. The corn of God's floor must expect to be threshed by afflictions and persecutions. God's Israel of old was afflicted. Even then God owns it is his still. In all events concerning the church, past, present, and to come, we must look to God, who has power to do any thing for his church, and grace to do every thing that is for her good.O my threshing - The words 'to thresh,' 'to tread down,' etc., are often used in the Scriptures to denote punishments inflicted on the enemies of God. An expression likes this occurs in Jeremiah 51:33, in describing the destruction of Babylon: 'The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor; it is time to thresh her.' In regard to the mode of threshing among the Hebrews, and the pertinency of this image to the destruction of the enemies of God, see the note at Isaiah 28:27. Lowth, together with many others, refers this to Babylon, and regards it as an address of God to Babylon in the midst of her punishment: 'O thou, the object on which I shall exercise the severity of my discipline; that shall lie under my afflicting hand like grain spread out upon the floor to be threshed out and winnowed, to separate the chaff from the wheat.' But the expression can be applied with more propriety to the Jews; and may be regarded as the language of "tenderness" addressed by God through the prophet to his people when they should be oppressed and broken down in Babylon: 'O thou, my people, who hast been afflicted and crushed; who hast been under my chastening hand, and reduced to these calamities on account of your sins; hear what God has spoken respecting the destruction of Babylon, and your consequent certain deliverance.' Thus it is the language of consolation; and is designed, like the prophecies in Isaiah 13; 14, to comfort the Jews, when they should be in Babylon, with the certainty that they would be delivered. The language of "tenderness" in which the address is couched, as well as the connection, seems to demand this interpretation.

And the corn of my floor - Hebrew, 'The son of my threshing floor' - a Hebraism for grain that was on the floor to be threshed. The word 'son' is often used in this special manner among the Hebrews (see the note at Matthew 1:1).

That which I have heard ... - This shows the scope or design of the whole prophecy - to declare to the Jews the destruction that would come upon Babylon, and their own consequent deliverance. It was important that they should be "assured" of that deliverance, and hence, Isaiah "repeats" his predictions, and minutely states the manner in which their rescue would be accomplished.

10. my threshing—that is, my people (the Jews) trodden down by Babylon.

corn of my floor—Hebrew, "my son of the floor," that is, my people, treated as corn laid on the floor for threshing; implying, too, that by affliction, a remnant (grain) would be separated from the ungodly (chaff) [Maurer]. Horsley translates, "O thou object of my unremitting prophetic pains." See Isa 28:27, 28. Some, from Jer 51:33, make Babylon the object of the threshing; but Isaiah is plainly addressing his countrymen, as the next words show, not the Babylonians.

Threshing is here put for the corn threshed, as it is explained in the following words; the act being frequently put for the object, as captivity for the captives, fear for the thing feared, &c., as hath been noted before. And the corn threshed is here metaphorically put for people sorely afflicted and punished, which is oft expressed by threshing, as Isaiah 25:10 41:15 Micah 4:13, &c. This is spoken either,

1. Of the Jews, to whom he now turneth his speech, whom God did grievously thresh and afflict by the Babylonians, and whom he here comforts with these tidings, as if he had said, Though thou wilt be threshed first, yet Babylon shall be threshed last, and most dreadfully, and their threshing shall be thy deliverance. This interpretation is thought necessary, because of the latter clause of the verse, wherewith this is to be joined. Or,

2. Of Babylon.

O my threshing; or, thou art my threshing, whom I have undertaken to thresh and punish. And so this is fitly mentioned here, to assure them that this prophecy of Babylon’s fall must necessarily be accomplished, because the Almighty was engaged in the work. And this interpretation seems not to be inconsistent with the rest of the verse, as we shall see.

The corn of my floor; the corn which I will cause to be threshed upon the floor, Heb. the son of my floor. For the title of son is oft given to lifeless things, as arrows are called the sons of the bow, or of the quiver, Job 5:7 41:28, &c.

That which I have heard of the Lord of hosts have I declared; what I have foretold is not my own invention, but the word of God, and therefore shall infallibly come to pass.

Unto you; either,

1. Unto you my people, or hearers; for all the prophecies, even concerning other nations, were published to them, and for their use and comfort: or,

2. Unto (or concerning, as this Hebrew particle is sometimes used, as the learned know) you Babylonians, to whom this was in some sort declared, because it was published amongst the Jews, and by their means might easily come to the knowledge of other people, and consequently of the Babylonians. Nor is it unusual for the prophets, in their prophecies delivered to God’s people concerning Babylon, by an apostrophe to turn their speech to the Babylonians themselves; of which we have instances, Jeremiah 50:24,31 51:13,14,25,26. O my threshing, and the corn of my floor,.... Which may be understood either of the Babylonians, now threshed or punished by the Lord, and whom he had made use of as instruments for the punishment of others; or rather of the people of the Jews, whom the prophet calls "his", as being his countrymen, to whom he was affected, and with whom he sympathized; and besides, he speaks in the name of the Lord; or it is the Lord that speaks by him, calling the church of the Jews his floor, and the people his corn, which were dear and valuable to him, as choice grain, wheat, and other things; and therefore, though he threshed or afflicted them, it was for their good, to purge and cleanse them, and separate the chaff from them; and indeed it was on their account, and for their good, that all this was to be done to Babylon, before predicted; where they were, as corn under the threshing instrument, greatly oppressed and afflicted, but now should be delivered; for the confirmation of which it is added:

that which I have heard of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you; the preceding prophecy was not a dream of his, but a vision from the Lord of hosts; it was not devised by him, but told him by the Lord, and that for the good and comfort of the people of Israel, whose covenant God he was; and the prophet acted a faithful part, in delivering it just as he received it, which might be depended on.

O {n} my threshing, and the grain of my floor: that which I have heard from the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared to you.

(n) Meaning, Babylon.

10. The application to Israel, addressed as my threshing (i.e. threshed one) and my child of the threshing-floor—forcible figurative epithets of Israel as a nation crushed and down-trodden by the brutal tyranny of Babylon (cf. ch. Isaiah 41:15; Micah 4:12 f.; Jeremiah 51:33, &c.).Verse 10. - O my threshing, and the corn of my floor. These are the words of the prophet to Israel. Her chastisements have long been "threshing" Israel, separating the grain from the chaff, and will do so still more as time goes on. The prophet's message is for the comfort of those who shall have gone through the process and become the true "children of the threshing-floor" - pure wheat, fit to be gathered into the garner of God (Matthew 3:12). Here again, as in the case of the prophecy concerning Moab, what the prophet has given to him to see does not pass without exciting his feelings of humanity, but works upon him like a horrible dream. "Therefore are my loins full of cramp: pangs have taken hold of me, as the pangs of a travailing woman: I twist myself, so that I do not hear; I am brought down with fear, so that I do not see. My heart beats wildly; horror hath troubled me: the darkness of night that I love, he hath turned for me into quaking." The prophet does not describe in detail what he saw; but the violent agitation produced by the impression leads us to conclude how horrible it must have been. Chalchâlâh is the contortion produced by cramp, as in Nahum 2:11; tzirim is the word properly applied to the pains of childbirth; na‛avâh means to bend, or bow one's self, and is also used to denote a convulsive utterance of pain; tâ‛âh, which is used in a different sense from Psalm 95:10 (compare, however, Psalm 38:11), denotes a feverish and irregular beating of the pulse. The darkness of evening and night, which the prophet loved so much (chēshek, a desire arising from inclination, 1 Kings 9:1, 1 Kings 9:19), and always longed for, either that he might give himself up to contemplation, or that he might rest from outward and inward labour, had bee changed into quaking by the horrible vision. It is quite impossible to imagine, as Umbreit suggests, that nesheph chishki (the darkness of my pleasure) refers to the nocturnal feast during which Babylon was stormed (Herod. i. 191, and Xenophon, Cyrop. vii. 23).
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