Isaiah 25:3
Therefore shall the strong people glorify you, the city of the terrible nations shall fear you.
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(3) Therefore shall the strong people . . .—Better, “a fierce people and a city,” the Hebrew having no article before either noun. The words paint the effect of the downfall of the imperial oppressor on the outlying fiercer nations, who were thus taught to recognise the righteous judgments of the God of Israel. (Comp. Revelation 11:13; Revelation 15:4.)

Isaiah 25:3-4. Therefore shall the strong people fear thee — Thy stoutest enemies, observing thy wonderful works, shall be converted, or at least, convinced, and forced to tremble before thee. For thou hast been a strength to the poor — Hast defended thy poor and helpless people against the fiercest assaults of their enemies. When — Or rather, for, or therefore, as the particle כי, generally signifies; the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm — Of hail, rain, or wind, which makes a great noise, but without any effect; against the wall — Which stands firm in spite of it. It is probable the prophet, in these words, had a special respect to the miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem from the rage and attempt of Sennacherib; although the words be general, and include other deliverances of a like nature.25:1-5 However this might show the deliverance of the Jews out of captivity, it looked further, to the praises that should be offered up to God for Christ's victories over our spiritual enemies, and the comforts he has provided for all believers. True faith simply credits the Lord's testimony, and relies on his truth to perform his promises. As God weakens the strong who are proud and secure, so he strengthens the weak that are humble, and stay themselves upon him. God protects his people in all weathers. The Lord shelters those who trust in him from the insolence of oppressors. Their insolence is but the noise of strangers; it is like the heat of the sun scorching in the middle of the day; but where is it when the sun is set? The Lord ever was, and ever will be, the Refuge of distressed believers. Having provided them a shelter, he teaches them to flee unto it.The strong people - The reference here is not probably to the Babylonians, but to the surrounding nations. The deliverance of the Jews, and the destruction of Babylon, would be such striking events that they would lead the surrounding nations to acknowledge that it was the hand of God.

The city of the terrible nations - The word 'city' here is taken probably in a collective sense, to denote the cities or the strong places of the surrounding nations which would be brought thus to tremble before God. The destruction of a city so proud and wicked as Babylon would alarm them, and would lead them to fear that they might share the same fate, especially as many of them had been associated in oppressing the now delivered people of the land of Judea.

3. strong people—This cannot apply to the Jews; but other nations on which Babylon had exercised its cruelty (Isa 14:12) shall worship Jehovah, awed by the judgment inflicted on Babylon (Isa 23:18).

city—not Babylon, which shall then be destroyed, but collectively for the cities of the surrounding nations.

Thy stoutest enemies observing thy wonderful works, in saving thy people, and in destroying others of thine and their adversaries, shall be either converted, or at least convinced, and forced to acknowledge thy power, and shall tremble before thee. Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee,.... To whom the Lord is strength, as in the following verse Isaiah 25:4; who are strong in the Lord, in the power of his might, and in the grace that is in him; or such of the antichristian party as shall be awakened and convinced by the judgments of God on antichrist, and shall be converted, these shall give glory to the God of heaven, Revelation 11:13,

the city of the terrible nations shall fear thee; or such who have belonged to the city or jurisdiction of Rome, and have been terrible to the people of God, yet now shall be frightened themselves, and shall fear the Lord, either with a servile fear, or some, at least, with a truly filial fear; see Revelation 11:13.

Therefore shall the {d} strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible nations shall fear thee.

(d) The arrogant and proud who before would not know you will by your corrections fear and glorify you.

3. The effect of this judgment on the heathen world. The probable rendering is, Therefore (many) a strong people shall glorify Thee, (many) a city of terrible nations shall fear Thee. If a single city were meant we should have a second representative centre of heathenism, alongside of the “city” of Isaiah 25:2, and the view that Babylon is there referred to could no longer be maintained. It is easier, however, on account of the following plurals (in the Heb. “fear” is pl.), to understand the word here in a collective sense.Verse 3. - Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee; rather, strong peoples. God's judgments on the nations specially hostile to him would cause some among the heathen peoples to range themselves on his side. Perhaps Persia is mainly intended (see Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1, etc.; and comp. Ezra 1:1-4; Ezra 6:3-12, etc.). The city of the terrible nations; rather, cities of terrible nations. Though the noun is singular, the verb is plural, showing that the word "city" is again used distributively. 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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