And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)To weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness . . .—National danger, Isaiah adds, should call to a national repentance in its outward manifestations, like the fast described in Joel 2 “Baldness,’ produced by the tearing of the hair in extreme grief, took its place naturally, with weeping and sackcloth, in those manifestations.Isaiah 22:12-14. And in that day did, or will, the Lord call, &c. — Another fault, which the prophet imputes to the carnal Jews, is impenitence, or carnal security. He foretels that God would call them to weeping and mourning, and other instances and evidences of humiliation and godly sorrow; but that, instead thereof, he should find them given up to joy and gladness, slaying oxen, &c., that is, to levity and luxury, mirth and feasting: saying, Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die — The prophet tells us, that we shall certainly and suddenly be destroyed; it concerns us, therefore, to make our best of the present time, and to be merry while we have opportunity: a most perverse and desperate conclusion, proceeding from obstinate profaneness and contempt of God’s judgments. It was revealed in mine ears — God himself hath said to me; Surely this iniquity shall not be purged till you die — This, your hardening your hearts, under and against God’s judgments, and defeating and rendering ineffectual the means provided for bringing you to repentance, shall never be forgiven you, but you shall feel the effects of such conduct, and of God’s displeasure against you for it, as long as you live.
Call to weeping - That is, by his providence; or, it was "proper" that at such a time they should weep. Affliction, oppression, and calamity are indications from God "always" that we ought to be humbled, and to prostrate ourselves before Him.
And to girding with sackcloth - (see the note at Isaiah 3:24).
baldness—emblem of grief (Job 1:20; Mic 1:16).Call; invite and oblige them by the course of his providence, and require this by the precepts requiring these things in such times and conditions.
To baldness; to make themselves bald, by plucking or shaving off the hair of their heads, as was usual in great sorrows, as Ezra 9:3 Job 1:20 Micah 1:16, although it was forbidden in case of the death of relations, for a special reason; of which see on Leviticus 19:27,28 21:5.
call to weeping and to mourning; to confess and mourn over their sins, the cause of these calamities; to lament their unhappy case; to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God, and, by prayer and supplication, with tears to implore his help and assistance, and grant them deliverance; this the Lord called them unto by the voice of his Providence, by the afflictive dispensations of it, and also by his prophets, whom he sent unto them, particularly the Prophet Isaiah; so the Targum,
"and the prophet of the Lord God of hosts called in that day,'' &c.:
and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth; which were external signs and tokens of inward sorrow and repentance; the former of which was done by shaving the head, or plucking off the hair, and was forbidden on private occasions, yet might be allowed in a public case; see Micah 1:16.And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)12. in that day did the Lord … call] not only by the silent march of events, but also by the voice of His prophet: see ch. Isaiah 32:11. The call was to seriousness and humiliation, expressed by the customary signs of mourning. (Cf. Joel 2:12; Amos 8:10; Isaiah 3:24; Isaiah 20:2, &c.)
12–14. The ignoring of Jehovah’s presence in this crisis is an unpardonable sin.Verse 12. - In that day. The day alluded to in ver. 7, when the choice valleys in the neighborhood of Jerusalem were first seen to be full of a hostile soldiery, and the Assyrian horsemen were observed drawing themselves up opposite the gates. Such a sight constituted an earnest call upon the people for immediate repentance. Baldness (comp. Isaiah 15:2; Micah 1:16; Amos 8:10). It has been said that "baldness" was forbidden by the Law (Cheyne); but this is not so, absolutely. Baldness was wholly forbidden to the priests (Leviticus 21:5; comp. Ezekiel 44:20); and certain peculiar modes of shaving the hair, the beard, and the eyebrows, practiced by idolatrous nations, were prohibited to all the people (Leviticus 19:27; Deuteronomy 14:2). But such shaving of the head as was practiced by Job (Job 1:20) and other pious men, was not forbidden to laymen, any more than the wearing of sackcloth. It was regarded as a natural mode of exhibiting grief. Isaiah 22:6, Isaiah 22:7. "And Elam has taken the quiver, together with chariots with men, horsemen; and Kir has drawn out the shield. And then it comes to pass, that thy choicest valleys are filled with chariots, and the horsemen plant a firm foot towards the gate." Of the nations composing the Assyrian army, the two mentioned are Elam, the Semitic nation of Susiana (Chuzistan), whose original settlements were the row of valleys between the Zagros chain and the chain of advanced mountains bounding the Assyrian plains on the east, and who were greatly dreaded as bowmen (Ezekiel 32:24; Jeremiah 49:35), and Kir, the inhabitants of the country of the Cyrus river, which was an Assyrian province, according to 2 Kings 16:9 and Amos 1:5, and still retained its dependent position even in the time of the Achaemenides, when Armenia, at any rate, is expressly described in the arrowheaded writings as a Persian province, though a rebellious one. The readiness for battle of this people of Kur, who represent, in combination with Elam, the whole extent of the Assyrian empire from south to north,
(Note: The name Gurgistan ( equals Georgia) has nothing to do with the river Kur; and it is a suspicious fact that Kir has k at the commencement, and i in the middle, whereas the name of the river which joins the Araxes, and flows into the Caspian sea, is pronounced Kur, and is written in Persian with k (answering to the Armenian and old Persian, in which Kuru is equivalent to Κῦρος). Wetzstein considers Kir a portion of Mesopotamia.)
is attested by their "drawing out the shield" (‛ērâh mâgēn), which Caesar calls scutis tegimenta detrahere (bell. gall. ii. 21); for the Talmudic meaning applicare cannot be thought of for a moment (Buxtorf, lex. col. 1664). These nations that fought on foot were accompanied (Beth, as in 1 Kings 10:2) by chariots filled with men (receb 'âdâm), i.e., war-chariots (as distinguished from ‛agâloth), and, as is added ἀσυνδέτως, by pârâshim, riders (i.e., horsemen trained to arms). The historical tense is introduced with ויהי in Isaiah 22:7, but in a purely future sense. It is only for the sake of the favourite arrangement of the words that the passage does not proceed with Vav relat. וּמלאוּ. "Thy valleys" (‛amâkaik) are the valleys by which Jerusalem was encircled on the east, the west, and the south, viz., the valley of Kidron on the east; the valley of Gihon on the west; the valley of Rephaim, stretching away from the road to Bethlehem, on the south-west (Isaiah 17:5); the valley of Hinnom, which joins the Tyropaeum, and then runs on into a south-eastern angle; and possibly also the valley of Jehoshaphat, which ran on the north-east of the city above the valley of Kidron. These valleys, more especially the finest of them towards the south, are now cut up by the wheels and hoofs of the enemies' chariots and horses; and the enemies' horsemen have already taken a firm position gatewards, ready to ride full speed against the gates at a given signal, and force their way into the city (shı̄th with a shoth to strengthen it, as in Psalm 3:7; also sı̄m in 1 Kings 20:12, compare 1 Samuel 15:2).
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