Isaiah 24:23
Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.
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(23) The moon shall be confounded . . .—The thought implied is that the most glorious forms of created light will become dim, the moon red as with the blush of shame, the sun turning pale, before the glory of Jehovah’s presence.

The Lord of hosts shall reign . . .—Better, hath become king, the phrase being that used as in 2Samuel 5:4; 1Kings 15:1, for a king’s accession to his throne.

And before his ancients gloriously.—Better, and before his elders shall he glory. The “elders” are, like the seventy of Exodus 24:9, like the twenty-four of Revelation 4:4, the chosen ones of the new Jerusalem, to whom it shall be given, as the counsellors of the great King, to see His glory, that glory resting on them as in old time it rested upon Moses.

Isaiah 24:23. Then the moon shall be confounded — The shadowy, typical, temporary, and imperfect dispensation of Moses, which afforded only a dim and uncertain light, like that of the moon, shall be eclipsed and vanish; and the sun ashamed — The glory of the civil government, also even of the kingdom of David itself, shall be obscured by the far greater splendour of the kingdom of Christ, the King of kings, at whose feet the kings of the earth shall fall down and worship. When the Lord of hosts — The Messiah, who, though man, is yet also God, and the Lord of hosts; shall reign in mount Zion, &c. — Shall come in the flesh, and set up his kingdom, first in Jerusalem, and afterward in all other nations; before his ancients — His ministers, who are, in some sort, the courtiers of this King of glory, as being continually attendant upon him, enjoying his presence, and executing the offices intrusted to them; and especially before his apostles, who were the witnesses of his divine words and works, and particularly of his resurrection and ascension, by which he entered upon his kingdom; and of the exercise of his royal power in subduing both Jews and Gentiles to himself. The word ancient, or elder, is not a name of age, but of office. And the ancients here represent, and are put for, the whole church, in whose name, and for whose service, they act.

Some think that, at the twenty-first verse, a transition is made from the ruin of the Jewish nation for opposing the gospel, to the destruction of the anti- christian powers, which is to introduce the general prevalence of true religion, and the glory of Christ’s millennial reign; and that the twenty-first and twenty-second verses are intended of that destruction. There is, however, this objection to that interpretation: it is not reconcileable with the last clause of Isaiah 24:22, namely, after many days they shall be visited. For surely these antichristian powers are not to be visited and restored. This clause indeed, considering the connection in which it stands, does not seem to be applicable to any event predicted in Scripture, but the conversion and restoration of the Jewish nation after the many ages of their dereliction and depression. Then, however, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall be brought in, and all Israel shall be saved, the twenty-third verse shall receive a far more complete accomplishment. The Messiah’s kingdom shall then appear in its greatest glory on earth; and the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed. Not only the borrowed light of inferior and subordinate states, but the splendour of the mightiest empires shall be eclipsed and put to shame by it. 24:16-23 Believers may be driven into the uttermost parts of the earth; but they are singing, not sighing. Here is terror to sinners; the prophet laments the miseries he saw breaking in like a torrent; and the small number of believers. He foresees that sin would abound. The meaning is plain, that evil pursues sinners. Unsteady, uncertain are all these things. Worldly men think to dwell in the earth as in a palace, as in a castle; but it shall be removed like a cottage, like a lodge put up for the night. It shall fall and not rise again; but there shall be new heavens and a new earth, in which shall dwell nothing but righteousness. Sin is a burden to the whole creation; it is a heavy burden, under which it groans now, and will sink at last. The high ones, that are puffed up with their grandeur, that think themselves out of the reach of danger, God will visit for their pride and cruelty. Let us judge nothing before the time, though some shall be visited. None in this world should be secure, though their condition be ever so prosperous; nor need any despair, though their condition be ever so deplorable. God will be glorified in all this. But the mystery of Providence is not yet finished. The ruin of the Redeemer's enemies must make way for his kingdom, and then the Sun of Righteousness will appear in full glory. Happy are those who take warning by the sentence against others; every impenitent sinner will sink under his transgression, and rise no more, while believers enjoy everlasting bliss.Then the moon shall be confounded - The heavenly bodies are often employed in the sacred writings to denote the princes and kings of the earth. These expressions are not to be pressed ad unguem as if the sun denoted one thing and the moon another; but they are general poetic expressions designed to represent rulers, princes, and magistrates of all kinds (compare Ezekiel 32:7; Joel 2:30-31).

Shall be confounded - Shall be covered with shame. That is, shall appear to shine with diminished beauty, as if it were ashamed in the superior glory that would shine around it. The sense is, that when the people should be returned to their land, the theocracy would be restored, and the magnificence of the kings and other civil rulers would be dimmed in the superior splendor of the reign of God. Probably there is reference here to the time when Yahweh would reign in Jerusalem through, or by means of, the messiah.

In Mount Zion - (see the note at Isaiah 1:8). This would take place subsequently to the captivity, and pre-eminently under the reign of the messiah.

And before his ancients - That is, before the elders of the people; in the presence of those entrusted with authority and rule.

Gloriously - He would reign gloriously when his laws should be respected and obeyed; when his character as King and Ruler should be developed; and when, under his scepter, his kingdom should be augmented and extended. On this glad prospect the eye of the prophet was fixed; and this was the bright and splendid object in the 'vision' that served to relieve the darkness that was coming upon the nation. Present calamities may be borne, with the hope that Yahweh will reign more gloriously hereafter; and when the effect of all shall be such as to exalt Yahweh in the view of the nations. It may be added that when Yahweh, by the Messiah, shall reign over all the earth, all the glory of princes and monarchs shall be dimmed; the celebrity of their wisdom and power and plans shall be obscured in the superior splendor of the wisdom of God, in reigning through his Son over the human race. Come that blessed day; and speedily let the glory of the moon be confounded, and the sun be ashamed, and all inferior magnificence t fade away before the splendor of the Sun of righteousness!

23. (Jer 3:17). Still future: of which Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem amidst hosannas was a pledge.

his ancients—the elders of His people; or in general, His ancient people, the Jews. After the overthrow of the world kingdoms. Jehovah's shall be set up with a splendor exceeding the light of the sun and moon under the previous order of things (Isa 60:19, 20).

The moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed. The sun and moon are here considered either,

1. As they were abused to idolatry; for these two were most eminent idols, and most generally worshipped, especially in those Eastern countries, Deu 4:19 17:3 Job 31:26, &c., and so may be put for all idols, which were confounded by Christ at his coming, as was foretold in Scripture, and verified by the testimony of ancient, yea, even of heathen historians. Or,

2. As they were the most eminent and glorious lights of the world, and were oft used, both in Scripture and other authors, to signify the great kings, and potentates, and glories of the world, as hath been formerly noted, and we shall have further occasion to remember. So the sense is, that all earthly powers and glories should be obscured with the far greater splendour of Christ, the King of kings, at whose feet even the kings of the earth shall fall down and worship, as we shall see in other parts of this prophecy. The Lord of hosts; the Messiah, who, though man, yet is also God, and the Lord of hosts, and is so called, Zechariah 2:8,11.

Shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem; shall come in the flesh, and set up his kingdom, first in Jerusalem, and afterward in all other nations.

Before his ancients; before his ministers, who are in some sort the courtiers of this King of glory, as being continually attending upon him, and enjoying his presence, and executing the powers and offices of his kingdom; and especially before his apostles, who were the witnesses of his Divine words and works, and particularly of his resurrection and ascension, by which he entered upon his kingdom; and of this exercise of his royal power, in subduing both Jews and Gentiles to himself. The word ancient or elder is not a name of age, but of office, as it is in very many texts of Scripture. And the ancients are here put synecdochically for the whole church, in whose name and for whose service they act.

Gloriously, Heb. in glory, for that preposition is very frequently understood. Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed,.... Either literally understood; and the meaning is, that they shall be darkened, their light being eclipsed by the superior light of Christ, the sun of righteousness; see Matthew 24:29 the New Jerusalem church state, which is referred to, will have no need of the light of the sun, or of the moon, Christ being the light thereof, Revelation 21:23 figuratively it may be interpreted of the kings and great men of the earth, as Aben Ezra; whose glory will be outshone by the transcendent lustre and glory of Christ, the King of saints. The Targum paraphrases it of idolaters thus,

"and they shall be confounded that worship the moon, and they shall be ashamed that worship the sun;''

perhaps this may have reference to the fourth vial, which shall be poured out upon the pope and his clergy, Revelation 16:8,

when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem; who is no other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the true Jehovah, the Lord of hosts or armies, of the sun, moon, and stars, the host of heaven, and of the heavenly host of angels, and of men on earth; who was King from eternity, and reigned during the Old Testament dispensation; came a King into this world, though his kingdom was not of it, nor was with observation: upon his ascension to heaven was made and declared Lord and Christ; and now rules in the hearts of his people by his Spirit and grace, and whose spiritual reign will more manifestly appear in the latter day; but here it is to be understood of his reign on earth, which will be personal, visible, and glorious, and in a different manner from what it now is, when he will be King over all the earth. Zion and Jerusalem, where he will reign, may be literally understood as the chief place of his residence during this state, the spot of ground where he was most despised and ill treated; see Zechariah 14:4 or mystically, the church in the New Jerusalem state, Revelation 21:2 here he will reign,

and before his ancients gloriously: or, "in glory"; in his own glory, both as God and as man, and Mediator; and in his Father's glory, and in the glory of his holy angels, in which he will come and appear; and therefore his appearing is called a glorious one, Luke 9:26, Titus 2:13 and this "before his ancients", the ancient patriarchs both before the flood, as Adam, Abel, &c. and after the flood, as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and others; the old Jewish church, the prophets and saints of the Old Testament dispensation; the apostles and elders of the Gospel churches under the New; the four and twenty elders, the representatives of the Gospel churches, so often spoken of in the book of the Revelation; very probably with reference to this text; and all the saints, in all ages, who will now be raised from the dead, and live and reign with him; these are his ancients, who are loved with an everlasting love, chosen in him before the foundation of the world, with whom a covenant was made in him, and grace given to them in him, before the world began; in the midst and presence of these he will reign, and they shall behold his glory; yea, these shall appear in glory; for so the words may be construed, "before his ancients", who are "glory", or "in glory" (b); for they shall appear with him in glory, both in soul and body, having the glory of God upon them, Colossians 3:4.

(b) "et coram senibus suis, gloria", Pagninus, Montanus.

{p} Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign on mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.

(p) When God restores his Church, the glory of it will so shine, and his ministers (who are called his ancient men) that the sun and the moon will be dark in comparison to it.

23. the moon shall be confounded … ashamed] i.e. shall “pale their ineffectual fires” before the light of Jehovah’s presence (see ch. Isaiah 60:19). A punishment of the sun and moon, as representatives of the “host of heaven,” is not to be thought of. The words “moon” and “sun” are poetic, signifying respectively “the white” and “the hot.” (Cf. ch. Isaiah 30:26)

the lord of hosts shall reign] Lit. “hath proclaimed Himself king.”

before his ancients gloriously] Render with R.V. marg. before his ancients (elders) shall be glory. There is an allusion to the Theophany seen by the seventy elders of Israel at Mount Sinai, recorded in Exodus 24:9-10. It is significant that the representatives of the redeemed community who stand nearest to Jehovah are not a king and princes, as in ch. Isaiah 32:1, nor priests, as in Ezekiel’s Temple-vision, but a council of elders.Verse 23. - The moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed. Some interpret this in the light of Joel 2:31; Joel 3:15; Matthew 24:29; Revelation 6:12, as pointing to that physical change, real or phenomenal, in the shining of the sun and moon, which is to be one of the antecedent signs of Christ's coming at the last day. But the expressions used suggest rather a contrast between the dazzling splendor of Christ's actual appearance and the normal brightness of sunlight and moonlight. The greater and lesser lights will "pale their ineffectual fires" before the incomparable brightness of the "Sun of Righteousness" (Malachi 4:2). When the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem. The spiritual Zion and the heavenly Jerusalem can alone be meant, since the earth is no more (ver. 20). (On these, see Revelation 21, 22.) Before his ancients; or, his elders. Four and twenty elders, clothed in white raiment, with crowns of gold upon their heads, are represented in the Apocalypse as sitting round about the throne of God perpetually (Revelation 4:4), and worshipping God and the Lamb (Revelation 4:10; Revelation 5:8, 14).

This appeal is not made in vain. Isaiah 24:16. "From the border of the earth we hear songs: Praise to the Righteous One!" It no doubt seems natural enough to understand the term tzaddı̄k (righteous) as referring to Jehovah; but, as Hitzig observes, Jehovah is never called "the Righteous One" in so absolute a manner as this (compare, however, Psalm 112:4, where it occurs in connection with other attributes, and Exodus 9:27, where it stands in an antithetical relation); and in addition to this, Jehovah gives צבי (Isaiah 4:2; Isaiah 28:5), whilst כבוד, and not צבי, is ascribed to Him. Hence we must take the word in the same sense as in Isaiah 3:10 (cf., Habakkuk 2:4). The reference is to the church of righteous men, whose faith has endured the fire of the judgment of wrath. In response to its summons to the praise of Jehovah, they answer it in songs from the border of the earth. The earth is here thought of as a garment spread out; cenaph is the point or edge of the garment, the extreme eastern and western ends (compare Isaiah 11:12). Thence the church of the future catches the sound of this grateful song as it is echoed from one to the other.

The prophet feels himself, "in spirit," to be a member of this church; but all at once he becomes aware of the sufferings which will have first of all to be overcome, and which he cannot look upon without sharing the suffering himself. "Then I said, Ruin to me! ruin to me! Woe to me! Robbers rob, and robbing, they rob as robbers. Horror, and pit, and snare, are over thee, O inhabitant of the earth! And it cometh to pass, whoever fleeth from the tidings of horror falleth into the pit; and whoever escapeth out of the pit is caught in the snare: for the trap-doors on high are opened, and the firm foundations of the earth shake. The earth rending, is rent asunder; the earth bursting, is burst in pieces; the earth shaking, tottereth. The earth reeling, reeleth like a drunken man, and swingeth like a hammock; and its burden of sin presseth upon it; and it falleth, and riseth not again." The expression "Then I said" (cf., Isaiah 6:5) stands here in the same apocalyptic connection as in Revelation 7:14, for example. He said it at that time in a state of ecstasy; so that when he committed to writing what he had seen, the saying was a thing of the past. The final salvation follows a final judgment; and looking back upon the latter, he bursts out into the exclamation of pain: râzı̄-lı̄, consumption, passing away, to me (see Isaiah 10:16; Isaiah 17:4), i.e., I must perish (râzi is a word of the same form as kâli, shâni, ‛âni; literally, it is a neuter adjective signifying emaciatum equals macies; Ewald, 749, g). He sees a dreadful, bloodthirsty people preying among both men and stores (compare Isaiah 21:2; Isaiah 33:1, for the play upon the word with בגד, root גד, cf., κεύθειν τινά τι, tecte agere, i.e., from behind, treacherously, like assassins). The exclamation, "Horror, and pit," etc. (which Jeremiah applies in Jeremiah 48:43-44, to the destruction of Moab by the Chaldeans), is not an invocation, but simply a deeply agitated utterance of what is inevitable. In the pit and snare there is a comparison implied of men to game, and of the enemy to sportsmen (cf., Jeremiah 15:16; Lamentations 4:19; yillâcēr, as in Isaiah 8:15; Isaiah 28:13). The על in עליך is exactly the same as in Judges 16:9 (cf., Isaiah 16:9). They who should flee as soon as the horrible news arrived (min, as in Isaiah 33:3) would not escape destruction, but would become victims to one form if not to another (the same thought which we find expressed twice in Amos 5:19, and still more fully in Isaiah 9:1-4, as well as in a more dreadfully exalted tone). Observe, however, in how mysterious a background those human instruments of punishment remain, who are suggested by the word bōgdim (robbers). The idea that the judgment is a direct act of Jehovah, stands in the foreground and governs the whole. For this reason it is described as a repetition of the flood (for the opened windows or trap-doors of the firmament, which let the great bodies of water above them come down from on high upon the earth, point back to Genesis 7:11 and Genesis 8:2, cf., Psalm 78:23); and this indirectly implies its universality. It is also described as an earthquake. "The foundations of the earth" are the internal supports upon which the visible crust of the earth rests. The way in which the earth in its quaking first breaks, then bursts, and then falls, is painted for the ear by the three reflective forms in Isaiah 24:19, together with their gerundives, which keep each stage in the process of the catastrophe vividly before the mind. רעה is apparently an error of the pen for רע, if it is not indeed a n. actionis instead of the inf. absol. as in Habakkuk 3:9. The accentuation, however, regards the ah as a toneless addition, and the form therefore as a gerundive (like kob in Numbers 23:25). The reflective form התרעע is not the hithpalel of רוּע, vociferari, but the hithpoel of רעע (רצץ), frangere. The threefold play upon the words would be tame, if the words themselves formed an anti-climax; but it is really a climax ascendens. The earth first of all receives rents; then gaping wide, it bursts asunder; and finally sways to and fro once more, and falls. It is no longer possible for it to keep upright. Its wickedness presses it down like a burden (Isaiah 1:4; Psalm 38:5), so that it now reels for the last time like a drunken man (Isaiah 28:7; Isaiah 29:9), or a hammock (Isaiah 1:8), until it falls never to rise again.

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