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. Thus does the approaching fate of Arabia present itself in picture before the prophet's eye, whilst it is more distinctly revealed in Isaiah 21:16, Isaiah 21:17 : "For thus hath the Lord spoken to me, Within a year, as the years of a hired labourer, it is over with all the glory of Kedar. And the remnant of the number of bows of heroes of the Kedarenes will be small: for Jehovah, the God of Israel, hath spoken." The name Kedar is here the collective name of the Arabic tribes generally. In the stricter sense, Kedar, like Nebaioth, which is associated with it, as a nomadic tribe of Ishmaelites, which wandered as far as the Elanitic Gulf. Within the space of a year, measured as exactly as is generally the case where employers and labourers are concerned, Kedar's freedom, military strength, numbers, and wealth (all these together constituting its glory), would all have disappeared. Nothing but a small remnant would be left of the heroic sons of Kedar and their bows. They are numbered here by their bows (in distinction from the numbering by heads), showing that the righting men are referred to - a mode of numbering which is customary among the Indian tribes of America, for example.

(Note: See the work of V. Martius on the Indians of Brazil, i. 395, 411, etc.)

The noun she'âr (remnant) is followed by five genitives here (just as peri is by four in Isaiah 10:12); and the predicate ימעטוּ is in the plural because of the copiousness of the subject. The period of the fulfilment of the prophecy keeps us still within the Assyrian era. In Herodotus (2, 141), Sennacherib is actually called "king of Arabians and Assyrians" (compare Josephus, Ant. x. 1, 4); and both Sargon and Sennacherib, in their annalistic inscriptions, take credit to themselves for the subjugation of Arabian tribes. But in the Chaldean era Jeremiah predicted the same things against Kedar (chapter 49) as against Edom; and Jeremiah 49:30-31 was evidently written with a retrospective allusion to this oracle of Isaiah. When the period fixed by Isaiah for the fulfilment arrived, a second period grew out of it, and one still more remote, inasmuch as a second empire, viz., the Chaldean, grew out of the Assyrian, and inaugurated a second period of judgment for the nations. After a short glimmer of morning, the night set in a second time upon Edom, and a second time upon Arabia.

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