Isaiah 22:2
Thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city: thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.
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(2) A joyous city . . .—It would seem from Isaiah 32:13 as if this was the characteristic on which Jerusalem, like Athens afterwards (Thucyd. ii. 40), specially prided itself.

Thy slain men are not slain with the sword . . .—The words imply something like a reproach of cowardice. Those who had perished had not died fighting bravely in battle, but by the pestilence which then, as at all times, was prevalent in the crowded streets of a besieged city.

22:1-7 Why is Jerusalem in such terror? Her slain men are not slain with the sword, but with famine; or, slain with fear, disheartened. Their rulers fled, but were overtaken. The servants of God, who foresee and warn sinners of coming miseries, are affected by the prospect. But all the horrors of a city taken by storm, faintly shadow forth the terrors of the day of wrath.Thou that art full of stirs - Of tumult, of commotion, of alarm. Or, perhaps, this whole description may mean that it was formerly a city distinguished for the hum of business, or for pleasure; a busy, active, enterprising city. The Hebrew will bear this, but I prefer the former interpretation, as indicating mingled alarm and consternation, and at the same time a disposition to engage in riot and revelry.

A joyous city - A city exulting; rejoicing; given to pleasure, and to riot. (See the description of Nineveh in Zephaniah 2:15) It is remarkable that the prophet has blended these things together, and has spoken of the tumult, the alarm, and the rejoicing, in the same breath. 'This may be either because it was the "general" character of the city thus to be full of revelry, dissipation, and riot, and he designates it by that which "usually and appropriately" described it; or because it was, even then, notwithstanding the general consternation and alarm, given up to revelry, and the rather on account of the approaching danger. So he describes the city in Isaiah 22:12-13.

Thy slain men are not slain with the sword - The words 'thy slain' here (חלליך chălâlayikā), seem to be intended to be applied to the soldiers on whom the defense of the city rested; and to mean those who had not died an honorable death "in" the city in its defense, but who had "fled" in consternation, and who were either taken in their flight and made captive, or who were pursued and put to death. To be slain with the sword here is equivalent to being slain in an honorable engagement with the enemy. But here the prophet speaks of their consternation, their cowardice, and of their being partly trampled down in their hasty and ignominious flight by each other; and partly of the fugitives being overtaken by the enemy, and thus put to death.

2. art—rather, "wert"; for it could not now be said to be "a joyous city" (Isa 32:13). The cause of their joy (Isa 22:13) may have been because Sennacherib had accepted Hezekiah's offer to renew the payment of tribute, and they were glad to have peace on any terms, however humiliating (2Ki 18:14-16), or on account of the alliance with Egypt. If the reference be to Zedekiah's time, the joy and feasting are not inapplicable, for this recklessness was a general characteristic of the unbelieving Jews (Isa 56:12).

not slain with the sword—but with the famine and pestilence about to be caused by the coming siege (La 4:9). Maurer refers this to the plague by which he thinks Sennacherib's army was destroyed, and Hezekiah was made sick (Isa 37:36; 38:1). But there is no authority for supposing that the Jews in the city suffered such extremities of plague at this time, when God destroyed their foes. Barnes refers it to those slain in flight, not in open honorable "battle"; Isa 22:3 favors this.

Thou art full of stirs; or, thou who wast full of stirs, or noises, to wit, of joyful shouts, as the following words limit it, and as this word is used, Zechariah 4:7, though elsewhere it be taken for doleful cries.

Tumultuous; or, streperous; full of noise and clamour, through revelling and jollity. See Proverbs 20:1 Zechariah 9:15.

Not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle, but either by famine or pestilence in the siege, as many died, Jeremiah 14:18 38:2, or in their flight, as others were; both which were inglorious kinds of death.

Thou art full of stirs,.... Or, "wast full of stirs"; through the multitude of people walking about in it, and the vast hurry of business done in it; but now all hush and quiet, the streets clear of people, and the shops shut up, and all got up to the housetops for shelter; or, "full of noises" (l), as a populous trading city is. The word signifies shoutings and acclamations, and is used for joyful ones, Zechariah 4:7 and may be so taken here, and may design such as were expressed at their festivals, and on other occasions; unless it is to be understood of doleful ones, on account of the invasion and siege:

a tumultuous city; through the throng of people, and the noise of thorn:

a joyous city; some on business, others on pleasure; some hurrying from place to place about their trade and commerce, and others amusing themselves with pastime, mirth, and jollity; which is commonly the case of populous cities in prosperity. This had been Jerusalem's case, but now it was otherwise:

thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle; for Sennacherib never entered into it, nor put any of its inhabitants to the sword; nor was there any battle fought between them, nor was he suffered so much as to shoot an arrow into it, Isaiah 37:33 wherefore those that died in it died either through the fright and consternation they were put into, or through the famine his army had caused, in laying the country round about them desolate.

(l) "plena strepitibus", Munster; "tumultuationibus", Montanus, Junius & Tremellius; "fragoribus", Piscator.

Thou that art full of {c} shoutings, a tumultuous city, a joyous city: thy slain men are not slain {d} with the sword, nor dead in battle.

(c) Which was wont to be full of people and joy.

(d) But for hunger.

2. full of stirs] R.V. full of shoutings. joyous city] jubilant city, as ch. Isaiah 32:13. A festive disposition seems to have characterised the inhabitants of Jerusalem in Isaiah’s time; cf. also ch. Isaiah 5:14. That their gladness on this occasion was “the forced gaiety of despair” is indicated by nothing in the passage; it was due to the sense of relief from imminent peril.

thy slain … battle] Jerusalem’s warriors have not met a glorious death on the battle-field, but have been taken prisoners and ignominiously executed (see Isaiah 22:3). Some critics, however, take this clause and the next verse as the description of a vision which the prophet has of the future. On that view, which is plausible enough, it would be more natural to think of deaths from famine and pestilence (Lamentations 4:9).

Verse 2. - A joyous city (comp. ver. 13). Thy slain men are not slain with the sword. It is a blockade rather than a siege. Men die, not of wounds, but of privations (Lamentations 4:9). Sennacherib himself says, "Hezekiah, like a caged bird, within Jerusalem, his royal city, I confined; towers round about him I raised; and the exit of the great gate of his city I shut" (G. Smith, 'Eponym Canon,' p. 135, II. 15-18). Isaiah 22:2The prophet exposes the nature and worthlessness of their confidence in Isaiah 22:1-3 : "What aileth thee, then, that thou art wholly ascended upon the house-tops? O full of tumult, thou noisy city, shouting castle, thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor slaughtered in battle. All thy rulers departing together are fettered without bow; all thy captured ones are fettered together, fleeing far away." From the flat house-tops they all look out together at the approaching army of the foe, longing for battle, and sure of victory (cullâk is for cullēk, Isaiah 14:29, Isaiah 14:31). They have no suspicion of what is threatening them; therefore are they so sure, so contented, and so defiant. מלאה תּשׂאות is inverted, and stands for תּשׁאות מלאת, like מנדּח אפלה in Isaiah 8:22. עלּיזה is used to denote self-confident rejoicing, as in Zephaniah 2:15. How terribly they deceive themselves! Not even the honour of falling upon the battle-field is allowed them. Their rulers (kâtzin, a judge, and then any person of rank) depart one and all out of the city, and are fettered outside "without bow" (mikkesheth), i.e., without there being any necessity for the bow to be drawn (min, as in Job 21:9; 2 Samuel 1:22; cf., Ewald, 217, b). All, without exception, of those who are attacked in Jerusalem by the advancing foe (nimzâ'aik, thy captured ones, as in Isaiah 13:15), fall helplessly into captivity, as they are attempting to flee far away (see at Isaiah 17:13; the perf. de conatu answers to the classical praesens de conatu). Hence (what is here affirmed indirectly) the city is besieged, and in consequence of the long siege hunger and pestilence destroy the inhabitants, and every one who attempts to get away falls into the hands of the enemy, without venturing to defend himself, on account of his emaciation and exhaustion from hunger. Whilst the prophet thus pictures to himself the fate of Jerusalem and Judah, through their infatuation, he is seized with inconsolable anguish.
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