Isaiah 22:9
You have seen also the breaches of the city of David, that they are many: and you gathered together the waters of the lower pool.
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(9) Ye have seen also the breaches . . .—The prophet paints the hasty preparations for defence. So in 2Chronicles 32:5 : “Hezekiah built up all the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers,” and added an outer line of defence. The “city of David” is, of course, the fortress of Zion.

The waters of the lower pool.—This was the Lower Gihon, now the Birket-es-Sultan. The operation is described more fully in 2Chronicles 32:3-4. Its object was to stop the outflow of the streams, and gather them into a reservoir, partly, of course, for the supply of the inhabitants during the siege, but still more that the Assyrian armies might find little or no water in the immediate neighbourhood of the city. Sargon, in his inscriptions, describes like preparations at Ashdod (Smith, Assyr. Discov., p. 291).

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.Ye have seen also the breaches - You who are inhabitants of the city. That such breaches were actually made, see 2 Chronicles 32:5.

Of the city of David - Of Jerusalem, so called because it was the royal residence of David. Zion was usually called the city of David, but the name was given also to the entire city.

And ye gathered together ... - That is, Hezekiah and the people of the city collected those waters.

Of the lower pool - (For a description of the upper and lower pool, see the notes at Isaiah 7:3). The superfluous waters of the lower pool usually flowed into the valley of Hinnom, and thence, into the valley of Jehoshaphat, mingling with the waters of the brook Kedron. It would seem from the passage here that those waters were not usually retained for the use of the city, though it was possible to retain them in case of a drought or a siege. At present, the lower pool is without the walls, but Hezekiah appears to have extended a temporary wall around it so as to enclose it (see the note at Isaiah 22:11). This he did, probably for two purposes;

(1) to cut off the Assyrians from the supply of water; and

(2) to retain "all" the water in the city to supply the inhabitants during the siege; see 2 Chronicles 32:4, where it is expressly declared that Hezekiah took this measure to distress the Assyrians.

9. Ye have seen—rather, "Ye shall see."

city of David—the upper city, on Zion, the south side of Jerusalem (2Sa 5:7, 9; 1Ki 8:1); surrounded by a wall of its own; but even in it there shall be "breaches." Hezekiah's preparations for defense accord with this (2Ch 32:5).

ye gathered—rather, "ye shall gather."

lower pool—(See on [728]Isa 22:11). Ye shall bring together into the city by subterranean passages cut in the rock of Zion, the fountain from which the lower pool (only mentioned here) is supplied. See on [729]Isa 7:3; 2Ki 20:20; 2Ch 32:3-5, represent Hezekiah as having stopped the fountains to prevent the Assyrians getting water. But this is consistent with the passage here. The superfluous waters of the lower pool usually flowed into Hinnom valley, and so through that of Jehoshaphat to the brook Kedron. Hezekiah built a wall round it, stopped the outflowing of its waters to debar the foe from the use of them, and turned them into the city.

Ye have seen, i.e. observed or considered, as this word is used, Exodus 32:9, and elsewhere, in order to the reparation of them, and to fortify the city, as the next words manifest.

Ye gathered together the waters of the lower pool, that you might both deprive the enemy of water, and supply the city with it; of which see on 2 Chronicles 32:4,5. Ye have seen also the breaches of the city of David, that they are many,.... Not Jerusalem in general, but that part of it which was called the stronghold of Zion, and in particular had the name of the city of David, 2 Samuel 5:7 the fortifications of which, in times of peace, had gone to decay; and which they had seen before, but took no notice of, being in safety; but now besieged, and in great danger, they looked upon them in good earnest, in order to repair them, and secure themselves from the irruption of the enemy; for this is not to be understood of breaches now made by the Assyrian army, but of old ones, which had lain neglected; see 2 Chronicles 32:5,

and ye gathered together the waters of the lower pool: not to make mortar with, to be used in repairing the breaches, as Kimchi; but either that they might be as a wall round about the place, as Aben Ezra; or rather to deprive the enemy of them, and cut off all communications from him, and to supply the inhabitants of the city with them; see 2 Chronicles 32:3. The Septuagint version is, "and he turned the water of the old pool into the city": but the old pool was another pool hereafter mentioned, and was without the city, the same with the upper pool; whereas this was the lower, and was in the city. The Targum is,

"and ye gathered the people to the waters of the lower pool.''

Ye have seen also {l} the breaches of the city of David, that they are many: and ye gathered together the waters of the lower pool.

(l) You forfeited the ruinous places which were neglected in times of peace: meaning, the whole City, and the City of David, which was within the compass of the other.

9. The first half reads Ye saw (i.e. examined) the breaches of the city of David (the citadel of Zion, 2 Samuel 5:7; 2 Samuel 5:9) for they were many. Jerusalem was evidently quite unfit to stand a siege. The water supply was still defective, as it had been 34 years before (see ch. Isaiah 7:3). The lower pool is not elsewhere mentioned, although its existence is implied by ch. Isaiah 7:3. It was obviously within the walls, and probably lay near the mouth of the Tyropœon Valley.Verse 9. - Ye have seen also.... are many; rather, ye saw also were many. The breaches of the city of David. "The city of David" may be here a name for Jerusalem generally, as "the city where David dwelt" (Isaiah 29:1), or it may designate the eastern hill, where David fixed his residence (2 Samuel 5:7; Nehemiah 3:15, 16, 25; Nehemiah 12:37). In 2 Chronicles 32:5 we read that Hezekiah at this time "built up all the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Mille in the city of David," where a particular part of Jerusalem seems certainly to be meant. Ye gathered together the waters of the lower pool. The arrangements made by Hezekiah with respect to the water-supply at the time of Sennacherib's invasion, seem to have been the following: He found on the north of the city, where the Assyrian attack was certain to be delivered, in the vicinity of the Damascus gate, a pool or reservoir (Isaiah 7:3), fed by a conduit from some natural source, which lay open and patent to view. The superfluous water ran off from it by a "brook" (2 Chronicles 32:4), which passed down the Tyropoeon valley, and joined the Kedron to the southeast of Ophel. His first step was to cover over and conceal the open reservoir, and also the" brook" which ran from it, at least as far as the northern city wall, to prevent their use by the Assyrians. He then further made a conduit underground (2 Chronicles 32:30) within the city, along the Tyropoeon depression, to a second reservoir, or "pool," also within the city, which could be freely used by the inhabitants (see ver. 11; and comp. Ecclus. 48:17). Further, it is probable that he carried a conduit from this second pool, under the temple area, to the" fount of the Virgin" on the eastern side of Ophel, and thence further conveyed the water by a tunnel through Ophel to the "pool of Siloam." (This last may be the work here alluded to.) The inscription recently discovered at this peel is probably of Hezekiah's time (see 'Quarterly Statement' of Palest. Expl. Fund for April, 1881, p. 70). The 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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