Isaiah 22:5
For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains.
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(5) For it is a day of trouble.—The earlier clauses paint the mental emotions of the coming day of judgment. In the latter we hear the actual crash of the battering-rams across the walls. The cry of the panic-stricken people shall rise to the surrounding mountains, possibly as to the hills from whence they expected help, either as true worshippers looking to Mount Zion (Psalm 121:1), or to the high places which were so long the objects of their worship, and which led their enemies to say that their gods were “gods of the hills, and not of the valleys” (1Kings 20:23).

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.For it is a day of trouble and of treading down - When our enemies trample on everything sacred and dear to us, and endanger all our best interests (see Psalm 44:6; Luke 21:24).

And of perplexity - In which we know not what to do. We are embarrassed, and know not where to look for relief.

By the Lord God of hosts - That is, he is the efficient cause of all this. It has come upon us under his providence, and by his direction (see the note at Isaiah 10:5).

In the valley of vision - In Jerusalem (see the note at Isaiah 22:1).

Breaking down the walls - There has been much variety in the interpretation of this place. The Septuagint renders it, 'In the valley of Zion they wander, from the least to the greatest; they wander upon the mountains.' See a discussion of the various senses which the Hebrew phrase may admit, in Rosenmuller and Gesenius. Probably our common version has given the true sense, and the reference is to the fact that the walls of the city became thrown down, either in the siege or from some other cause. If this refers to the invasion of Sennacherib, though his army was destroyed, and he was unable to take the city, yet there is no improbability in the supposition that he made some breaches in the walls. Indeed this is implied in the account in 2 Chronicles 32:5.

And of crying to the mountains - Either for help, or more probably of such a loud lamentation that it reached the surrounding hills, and was re-echoed back to the city. Or perhaps it may mean that the shout or clamor of those engaged in building or defending the walls, reached to the mountains. Compare Virg. "AEncid," iv. 668:

- resonat magnis plangoribus aether.

Rosenmuller renders it, 'A cry - to the mountains!' That is, a cry among the people to escape to the hills, and to seek refuge in the caves and fastnesses there (compare Judges 6:2; Matthew 24:16; Mark 13:14).

5. trouble … by the Lord—that is, sent by or from the Lord (see on [722]Isa 19:15; Lu 21:22-24).

valley of vision—(See on [723]Isa 22:1). Some think a valley near Ophel is meant as about to be the scene of devastation (compare see on [724]Isa 32:13,14).

breaking … walls—that is, "a day of breaking the walls" of the city.

crying to the mountains—the mournful cry of the townsmen "reaches" to (Maurer translates, towards) the mountains, and is echoed back by them. Josephus describes in the very same language the scene at the assault of Jerusalem under Titus. To this the prophecy, probably, refers ultimately. If, as some think, the "cry" is that of those escaping to the mountains, compare Mt 13:14; 24:16, with this.

Of treading down; in which my people are trodden under foot by their insolent enemies.

Of perplexity by the Lord God of hosts: this is added, partly to show that this did not happen without God’s providence; and partly to aggravate their calamity, because not only men, but God himself, fought against them.

Breaking down the walls of the strong cities of Judah; which was done by Sennacherib, 2 Kings 25:10.

Crying to the mountains, with such loud and dismal outcries as should reach to the neighbouring mountains, and make them ring again therewith.

For it is a day of trouble,.... To Hezekiah, and also Jerusalem, and all the inhabitants of the land:

and of treading down; the people of it by Sennacherib's army, like mire in the streets, when their cities were taken by him:

and of perplexity by the Lord of hosts in the valley of vision; in Jerusalem, besieged, and threatened with desolation; which threw the king and his nobles, and all the inhabitants, into the utmost perplexity, confusion, and distress; and all this was not merely from men, nor was it by chance, but by the permission and appointment of God, to humble his people for their sins, and bring them to a sense and acknowledgment of them:

breaking down the walls: of the fenced cities, with their battering rams, at the time they besieged and took them, 2 Kings 18:13,

and of crying to the mountains: looking and running to them for help and succour, for shelter and protection; and crying so loud, by reason of their distress, as that it reached the distant mountains, and made them echo with it.

For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of {h} crying to the mountains.

(h) That is, the shout of the enemies whom God had appointed to destroy the city.

5. The first half of the verse reads: For a day of tumult and trampling and confusion hath Jehovah of hosts,—“a series of inimitable assonances” (Cheyne) in the Hebr. (cf. Nahum 2:10 [Hebrews 11]). The form of the sentence is the same as in Isaiah 2:12.

The words in the valley of vision belong (in spite of the accents) to the second half; render: in the valley of vision (they are) battering down the wall, and a cry (of distress rises) to the mountain. “Valley of vision” is taken by some as a proper name (valley of Ḥizzâyôn), though no such place is known; by others as a mystic name for Jerusalem (like Ariel, Isaiah 29:1), which is hardly possible, since the word for “valley” denotes a deep and narrow ravine. Some particular valley round Jerusalem must be meant, most probably the Tyropœon; but why it is called the “valley of (prophetic) vision” we cannot tell. The suggestion that Isaiah lived and had his visions there is very far-fetched.

5–7. The connexion here becomes very uncertain. It seems clear that Isaiah 22:5 (from its form) must refer to the future, while Isaiah 22:8-11 undoubtedly go back to what is past. The transition must apparently take place either at Isaiah 22:6 or Isaiah 22:8. Now the tenses in Isaiah 22:6-7 would be naturally construed as historic perfects, and at first sight it seems obvious that these verses are intimately connected with Isaiah 22:8 ff., and belong like them to the past. But on the other hand it has to be considered that (a) Isaiah 22:5 is too short to stand alone; (b) the preparations for the siege (8 ff.) are in any case distinct from (if not prior to) the assault described in 6 f.; and (c) there is no evidence of an attempt to carry Jerusalem by storm during the first blockade. Hence it seems better, in spite of the violence of the transition at Isaiah 22:8, to regard Isaiah 22:5-7 as an account of what Isaiah has seen in vision, viz., the return of the enemy in force to the city.

Verse 5. - It is a day... By the Lord; rather, there is a day to the Lord; or, the Lord has a day. God has in reserve such a day; and it will assuredly arrive in due course. Hence the prophet's grief. In the valley of vision. We may suppose that Hezekiah, before he made the submission recorded in 2 Kings 18:14 and in the 'Cylinder of Sennacherib,' col. 4:11. 28, 29, tried the chances of battle against the Assyrians in this valley, and that Isaiah had a prophetic vision of the fight. Breaking down the walls; rather, undermining. The Assyrian sculptures show numerous examples of this practice. Sometimes swords or spears are used to dislodge the stones of the wall, sometimes crow-bars or axes (see 'Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 2. p. 82). Crying. Some regard this word, and also that translated "the walls" in the preceding clause, as proper names, and render the passage, "Kir undermineth, and Shoa is at the mount" (Ewald, Cheyne, Luzzatto). But it seems unlikely that "Kit" would be mentioned twice. Isaiah 22:5"Therefore I say, Look away from me, that I may weep bitterly; press me not with consolations for the destruction of the daughter of my people! For a day of noise, and of treading down, and of confusion, cometh from the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, in the valley of vision, breaking down walls; and a cry of woe echoes against the mountains." The note struck by Isaiah here is the note of the kinah that is continued in the Lamentations of Jeremiah. Jeremiah says sheber for shod (Lamentations 3:48), and bath-ammi (daughter of my people) is varied with batḣZion (daughter of Zion) and bath-yehudah (daughter of Judah). Mērēr babbeci (weep bitterly) is more than bâcâh mar (Isaiah 33:7): it signifies to give one's self thoroughly up to bitter weeping, to exhaust one's self with weeping. The two similar sounds which occur in Isaiah 22:5, in imitation of echoes, can hardly be translated. The day of divine judgment is called a day in which masses of men crowd together with great noise (mehūmâh), in which Jerusalem and its inhabitants are trodden down by foes (mebūsâh) and are thrown into wild confusion (mebūcâh). This is one play upon words. The other makes the crashing of the walls audible, as they are hurled down by the siege-artillery (mekarkar kir). Kirkēr is not a denom. of kı̄r, as Kimchi and Ewald suppose (unwalling walls), but is to be explained in accordance with Numbers 24:17, "he undermines," i.e., throws down by removing the supports, in other words, "to the very foundations" (kur, to dig, hence karkârâh, the bottom of a vessel, Kelim ii. 2; kurkoreth, the bottom of a net, ib. xxviii. 10, or of a cask, Ahaloth ix. 16). When this takes place, then a cry of woe echoes against the mountain (shōa‛, like shūa‛, sheva‛), i.e., strikes against the mountains that surround Jerusalem, and is echoed back again. Knobel understands it as signifying a cry for help addressed to the mountain where Jehovah dwells; but this feature is altogether unsuitable to the God - forgetting worldly state in which Jerusalem is found. It is also to be observed, in opposition to Knobel, that the description does not move on in the same natural and literal way as in a historical narrative. The prophet is not relating, but looking; and in Isaiah 22:5 he depicts the day of Jehovah according to both its ultimate intention and its ultimate result.
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