Isaiah 22:10
And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall.
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(10) Ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem.—The preparations for defence are continued. The houses were numbered that some might be pulled down and others left, as strategical plans might determine. (Comp. 2Chronicles 32:5.) So in what was probably a contemporary psalm we have, “Walk about Zion . . . tell the towers thereof . . . mark ye well her bulwarks” (Psalm 48:12). So in the later siege of Jerusalem houses were thrown down by (or, more accurately, on account of) the mounds that were employed by the besiegers (Jeremiah 33:4).

22:8-14 The weakness of Judah now appeared more than ever. Now also they discovered their carnal confidence and their carnal security. They looked to the fortifications. They made sure of water for the city. But they were regardless of God in all these preparations. They did not care for his glory in what they did. They did not depend upon him for a blessing on their endeavours. For every creature is to us what God makes it to be; and we must bless him for it, and use it for him. There was great contempt of God's wrath and justice, in contending with them. God's design was to humble them, and bring them to repentance. They walked contrary to this. Actual disbelief of another life after this, is at the bottom of the carnal security and brutish sensuality, which are the sin, the shame, and ruin of so great a part of mankind. God was displeased at this. It is a sin against the remedy, and it is not likely they should ever repent of it. Whether this unbelief works by presumption or despair, it produces the same contempt of God, and is a token that a man will perish wilfully.And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem - That is, you have taken an estimate of their number so as to ascertain how many can be spared to be pulled down to repair the walls; or you have made an estimate of the amount of materials for repairing the walls, which would be furnished by pulling down the houses in Jerusalem.

To fortify the wall - The houses in Jerusalem were built of stone, and therefore they would furnish appropriate materials for repairing the walls of the city. In 2 Chronicles 32:5, it is said that Hezekiah not only repaired the broken walls of the city on the approach of Sennacherib, but 'raised up the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the city of David, and made darts and shields in abundance.'

10. numbered—rather, "ye shall number," namely, in order to see which of them may be pulled down with the least loss to the city, and with most advantage for the repair of the walls and rearing of towers (2Ch 32:5).

have ye broken down—rather, "ye shall break down."

Ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem; that they might exactly know their own strength, and the number of their people, and so lay the burdens more equally upon them, and make sufficient provisions for them.

The houses which stood upon or without the walls of their city, and so gave their enemies any advantage against them, and hindered the searching or fortifying the walls and city.

And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem,.... To know what number of men were in them, and how many could be spared to do duty, either as watchmen or soldiers; or to know how to levy the tax, and what money they would be able to raise, to defray the charge of the defence of the city; or to see what provisions they had, and so make a computation how long they could hold out the siege; or else to observe what houses might be annoyed by the enemy, and what stood in the way of the repair of the walls, or were proper to pull down, that with the stones and timber of them they might make up the breaches of the wall, and that the stronger, as follows:

and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall; either such as were without the wall, which, had they let them stand, would either have been destroyed by the enemy, or have been a harbour for them; or those upon it, and near it within, which stood in the way of the repair, and were easily beat down by the enemy; or might be a means of communication between them and such as were inclined to be treacherous; with the stones and timber of which houses, when broken down, they strengthened the wall, and so served a better purpose than if they had stood.

And ye have numbered the houses {m} of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall.

(m) Either to pull down such as might hurt, or else to know what men they were able to make.

10. And ye have numbered the houses] And ye numbered, apparently to see which could best be spared for the purpose specified in the next clause,—“to fortify the wall,” cf. Jeremiah 33:4.

Verse 10. - Ye have numbered... have broken down; rather, ye numbered... ye broke down. The "numbering" was probably in order to see how many could be spared for pulling down. The repair of the walls with materials thus furnished was a sign of extreme haste and urgency. It would seem from vers. 7, 8 that the repairs were not begun until the town was invested. Isaiah 22:10When Judah, after being for a long time intoxicated with hope, shall become aware of the extreme danger in which it is standing, it will adopt prudent measures, but without God. "Then he takes away the covering of Judah, and thou lookest in that day to the store of arms of the forest-house; and ye see the breaches of the city of David, that there are many of them; and ye collect together the waters of the lower pool. And ye number the houses of Jerusalem, and pull down the houses, to fortify the wall. And ye make a basin between the two walls for the waters of the old pool; and ye do not look to Him who made it, neither do ye have regard to Him who fashioned it long ago." Mâsâk is the curtain or covering which made Judah blind to the threatening danger. Their looks are now directed first of all to the forest-house, built by Solomon upon Zion for the storing and display of valuable arms and utensils (nēshĕk, or rather, according to the Masora on Job 20:24, and the older editions, nĕshĕk), and so called because it rested upon four rows of cedar columns that ran all round (it was in the centre of the fore-court of the royal palace; see Thenius, das vorexil. Jerusalem, p. 13). They also noticed in the city of David, the southern and highest portion of the city of Jerusalem, the bad state of the walls, and began to think of repairing them. To this end they numbered the houses of the city, to obtain building materials for strengthening the walls and repairing the breaches, by pulling down such houses as were suitable for the purpose, and could be dispensed with (vattithtzu, from nâthatz, with the removal of the recompensative reduplication). The lower pool and the old pool, probably the upper, i.e., the lower and upper Gihon, were upon the western side of the city, the lower (Birket es-Sultan) to the west of Sion, the upper (Birket el-Mamilla) farther up to the west of Akra (Robinson, i.-483-486; V. Raumer, Pal. pp. 305-6). Kibbētz either means to collect in the pool by stopping up the outflow, or to gather together in the reservoirs and wells of the city by means of artificial canals. The latter, however, would most probably be expressed by אסף; so that the meaning that most naturally suggests itself is, that they concentrate the water, so as to be able before the siege to provide the city as rapidly as possible with a large supply. The word sâtham, which is used in the account of the actual measures adopted by Hezekiah when he was threatened with siege (2 Chronicles 32:2-5), is a somewhat different one, and indicates the stopping up, not of the outflow but of the springs, and therefore of the influx. But in all essential points the measures adopted agree with those indicated here in the prophecy. The chronicler closes the account of Hezekiah's reign by still further observing that "Hezekiah also stopped the outflow of the upper Gihon, and carried the water westwards underground to the city of David" (2 Chronicles 32:30, explanatory of 2 Kings 20:20). If the upper Gihon is the same as the upper pool, there was a conduit (teeâlâh), connected with the upper Gihon as early as the time of Ahaz, Isaiah 7:3. And Hezekiah's peculiar work consisted in carrying the water of the upper pool "into the city of David." The mikvâh between the two walls, which is here prospectively described by Isaiah, is connected with this water supply, which Hezekiah really carried out. There is still a pool of Hezekiah (also called Birket el-Batrak, pool of the patriarchs, the Amygdalon of Josephus) on the western side of the city, to the east of the Joppa gate. During the rainy season this pool is supplied by the small conduit which runs from the upper pool along the surface of the ground, and then under the wall against or near the Joppa gate. It also lies between two walls, viz., the wall to the north of Zion, and the one which runs to the north-east round the Akra (Robinson, i.-487-489). How it came to pass that Isaiah's words concerning "a basin between the two walls" were so exactly carried out, as though they had furnished a hydraulic plan, we do not know. But we will offer a conjecture at the close of the exposition. It stands here as one of those prudent measures which would be resorted to in Jerusalem in the anticipation of the coming siege; but it would be thought of too late, and in self-reliant alienation from God, with no look directed to Him who had wrought and fashioned that very calamity which they were now seeking to avert by all these precautions, and by whom it had been projected long, long before the actual realization. עשׂיה might be a plural, according to Isaiah 54:5; but the parallel יצרהּ favours the singular (on the form itself, from עשׂי equals עשׂה, see Isaiah 42:5, and at Isaiah 5:12; Isaiah 1:30). We have here, and at Isaiah 37:26, i.e., within the first part of the book of Isaiah, the same doctrine of "ideas" that forms so universal a key-note of the second part, the authenticity of which has been denied. That which is realized in time has existed long before as a spiritual pattern, i.e., as an idea in God. God shows this to His prophets; and so far as prophecy foretells the future, whenever the event predicted is fulfilled, the prophecy becomes a proof that the event is the work of God, and was long ago the predetermined counsel of God. The whole of the Scripture presupposes this pre-existence of the divine idea before the historical realization, and Isaiah in Israel (like Plato in the heathen world) was the assiduous interpreter of this supposition. Thus, in the case before us, the fate of Jerusalem is said to have been fashioned "long ago" in God. But Jerusalem might have averted its realization, for it was no decretum absolutum. If Jerusalem repented, the realization would be arrested.
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