Isaiah 22:9
Ye have seen also the breaches of the city of David, that they are many: and ye 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). Isaiah 22:9When Judah, after being for a long time intoxicated with hope, shall become aware of the extreme danger in which it is standing, it will adopt prudent measures, but without God. "Then he takes away the covering of Judah, and thou lookest in that day to the store of arms of the forest-house; and ye see the breaches of the city of David, that there are many of them; and ye collect together the waters of the lower pool. And ye number the houses of Jerusalem, and pull down the houses, to fortify the wall. And ye make a basin between the two walls for the waters of the old pool; and ye do not look to Him who made it, neither do ye have regard to Him who fashioned it long ago." Mâsâk is the curtain or covering which made Judah blind to the threatening danger. Their looks are now directed first of all to the forest-house, built by Solomon upon Zion for the storing and display of valuable arms and utensils (nēshĕk, or rather, according to the Masora on Job 20:24, and the older editions, nĕshĕk), and so called because it rested upon four rows of cedar columns that ran all round (it was in the centre of the fore-court of the royal palace; see Thenius, das vorexil. Jerusalem, p. 13). They also noticed in the city of David, the southern and highest portion of the city of Jerusalem, the bad state of the walls, and began to think of repairing them. To this end they numbered the houses of the city, to obtain building materials for strengthening the walls and repairing the breaches, by pulling down such houses as were suitable for the purpose, and could be dispensed with (vattithtzu, from nâthatz, with the removal of the recompensative reduplication). The lower pool and the old pool, probably the upper, i.e., the lower and upper Gihon, were upon the western side of the city, the lower (Birket es-Sultan) to the west of Sion, the upper (Birket el-Mamilla) farther up to the west of Akra (Robinson, i.-483-486; V. Raumer, Pal. pp. 305-6). Kibbētz either means to collect in the pool by stopping up the outflow, or to gather together in the reservoirs and wells of the city by means of artificial canals. The latter, however, would most probably be expressed by אסף; so that the meaning that most naturally suggests itself is, that they concentrate the water, so as to be able before the siege to provide the city as rapidly as possible with a large supply. The word sâtham, which is used in the account of the actual measures adopted by Hezekiah when he was threatened with siege (2 Chronicles 32:2-5), is a somewhat different one, and indicates the stopping up, not of the outflow but of the springs, and therefore of the influx. But in all essential points the measures adopted agree with those indicated here in the prophecy. The chronicler closes the account of Hezekiah's reign by still further observing that "Hezekiah also stopped the outflow of the upper Gihon, and carried the water westwards underground to the city of David" (2 Chronicles 32:30, explanatory of 2 Kings 20:20). If the upper Gihon is the same as the upper pool, there was a conduit (teeâlâh), connected with the upper Gihon as early as the time of Ahaz, Isaiah 7:3. And Hezekiah's peculiar work consisted in carrying the water of the upper pool "into the city of David." The mikvâh between the two walls, which is here prospectively described by Isaiah, is connected with this water supply, which Hezekiah really carried out. There is still a pool of Hezekiah (also called Birket el-Batrak, pool of the patriarchs, the Amygdalon of Josephus) on the western side of the city, to the east of the Joppa gate. During the rainy season this pool is supplied by the small conduit which runs from the upper pool along the surface of the ground, and then under the wall against or near the Joppa gate. It also lies between two walls, viz., the wall to the north of Zion, and the one which runs to the north-east round the Akra (Robinson, i.-487-489). How it came to pass that Isaiah's words concerning "a basin between the two walls" were so exactly carried out, as though they had furnished a hydraulic plan, we do not know. But we will offer a conjecture at the close of the exposition. It stands here as one of those prudent measures which would be resorted to in Jerusalem in the anticipation of the coming siege; but it would be thought of too late, and in self-reliant alienation from God, with no look directed to Him who had wrought and fashioned that very calamity which they were now seeking to avert by all these precautions, and by whom it had been projected long, long before the actual realization. עשׂיה might be a plural, according to Isaiah 54:5; but the parallel יצרהּ favours the singular (on the form itself, from עשׂי equals עשׂה, see Isaiah 42:5, and at Isaiah 5:12; Isaiah 1:30). We have here, and at Isaiah 37:26, i.e., within the first part of the book of Isaiah, the same doctrine of "ideas" that forms so universal a key-note of the second part, the authenticity of which has been denied. That which is realized in time has existed long before as a spiritual pattern, i.e., as an idea in God. God shows this to His prophets; and so far as prophecy foretells the future, whenever the event predicted is fulfilled, the prophecy becomes a proof that the event is the work of God, and was long ago the predetermined counsel of God. The whole of the Scripture presupposes this pre-existence of the divine idea before the historical realization, and Isaiah in Israel (like Plato in the heathen world) was the assiduous interpreter of this supposition. Thus, in the case before us, the fate of Jerusalem is said to have been fashioned "long ago" in God. But Jerusalem might have averted its realization, for it was no decretum absolutum. If Jerusalem repented, the realization would be arrested.
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