Isaiah 25:5
You shall bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low.
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(5) Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers . . .—The thought of Isaiah 25:4 is reproduced with a variation of imagery, the scorching heat” in a “dry” (or parched) “land.” This is deprived of its power to harm, by the presence of Jehovah, as the welcome shadow of a cloud hides the sun’s intolerable blaze. (Comp. Isaiah 32:2.) It is noticeable that the LXX. in both passages gives “Sion” for “dry place” (Heb. tsayôn), perhaps following a various reading, perhaps interpreting.

The branch of the terrible ones . . .—Better, the song. The Hebrew noun is a rare one, but is found in this sense in Song Song of Solomon 2:12. The triumph song of the dread oppressors is thought of as blighting the world like a spell of evil; but this also is to be brought low, and hushed in silence.

Isaiah 25:5. Thou shall bring down the wise of strangers — The tumultuous noise, as the word properly signifies; the rage and furious attempts of those heathen nations that fought against God’s people. As the heat in a dry place — With as much ease as thou dost allay the heat of a dry place, by the shadow of thy clouds, or by the rain which falls from black and shadowy clouds. Here again, as in Isaiah 25:2, instead of strangers, Bishop Lowth reads, the proud. The branch of the terrible ones — Their arm or power, as a branch is the arm of a tree; shall be brought low — Shall be humbled and broken.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.Thou shalt bring down the noise - The tumult; the sound which they make in entering into battle; or the note of triumph, and the sound of revelry. The phrase may refer either to their shout of exultation over their vanquished foes; or to the usual sound of revelry; or to the hum of business in a vast city.

Of strangers - Of foreigners (see the note at Isaiah 25:2).

As the heat in a dry place - The parallelism here requires that we should suppose the phrase 'with the shadow of a cloud' to be supplied in this hemistich, as it is obscurely expressed in our translation by the word 'even,' and it would then read thus:

As the beat in a dry place (by the shadow of a cloud),

The noise of the strangers shalt thou humble;

As the heat by the shadow of a cloud,

The exultation of the formidable ones shalt thou bring low.

The idea thus is plain. Heat pours down intensely on the earth, and if unabated would wither up every green thing, and dry up every stream and fountain. But a cloud intervenes, and checks the burning rays of the sun. So the wrath of the 'terrible ones,' the anger of the Babylonians, raged against the Jews. But the mercy of God interposed. It was like the intervening of a cloud to shut out the burning rays of the sun. It stayed the fury of their wrath, "and rendered them impotent to do injury, just as the intense burning rays of the sun are completely checked by an interposing cloud.

The branch of the terrible ones - This is a very unhappy translation. The word זמיר zâmiyr is indeed used to denote a branch, or bough, as derived from זמר zâmar, "to prune a vine;" but it also has the I sense of "a song;" a song of praise, or a song of exultation, from a second signification of זמר zâmar, "to sing; perhaps" from the song with which the work of the vineyard was usually accompanied. See the verb used in this sense in Judges 5:3; Psalm 9:12; Psalm 30:5; Psalm 47:7; and the word which occurs here (zamir) used in the sense of a song in Psalm 119:54; 2 Samuel 23:1; Job 35:10. Here it is undoubtedly used in the sense of a song, meaning either a shout of victory or of revelry; and the idea of the prophet is, that this would be brought low by the destruction of Babylon, and by the return of the captive Jews to their own land.

5. Translate, "As the heat in a dry land (is brought down by the shadow of a cloud, so) thou shalt bring down the tumult (the shout of triumph over their enemies) of strangers (foreigners); and as the heat by the shadow of the cloud (is brought low), so the branch (the offspring) of the terrible ones shall be brought low." Parkhurst translates the Hebrew for "branch," the exulting song. Jerome translates the last clause, "And as when the heat burns under a cloud, thou shalt make the branch of the terrible ones to wither"; the branch withering even under the friendly shade of a cloud typifies the wicked brought to ruin, not for want of natural means of prosperity, but by the immediate act of God. The noise; the tumultuous noise, as the word properly signifies, which he called their blast in the foregoing verse; by which he means their rage and furious attempts, which are commonly managed with much noise and clamour.

Of strangers; of those strange and heathen nations that fought against God’s people.

Even the heat with the shadow of a cloud; with as much ease as thou dost in the course of thy common providence allay the heat of a dry season and place, either by the shadow of thy clouds, or by the rain which falleth from black and shadowy clouds.

The branch; the arm or power, as a branch is the arm of a tree. Or, the prince or commanders; for the word branch is sometimes put for a person of eminent place and power, as Psalm 80:15 Isaiah 4:2 Zechariah 3:8 6:12. But others render the word, the song, as it is used, Song of Solomon 2:12, their jovial and triumphant song. Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers,.... Such as are strangers to God and godliness, to Christ, his Gospel, and truths, to the Spirit and his operations of grace; the clamour and noise of such against true religion, and the professors of it, their persecuting rage and fury, this the Lord in his own time will bring down, and cause to cease, and it shall be heard no more:

as the heat in a dry place: which parches the earth, and burns and dries up the grass and fruits of it; to which persecution is compared:

even the heat with the shadow of a cloud; as that is brought down, and caused to cease by the shadow of a cloud, sheltering from the scorching beams of the sun, and by letting down rain, which moistens the earth; so the Lord protects his people from the fury of persecution, and abates it by the interposition of his power and providence; and at last puts an end to it:

the branch of the terrible ones shall be made low; meaning the most eminent of them; a branch being put for a most eminent person, Isaiah 4:2 perhaps the pope of Rome is meant, the head of the antichristian party, the principal of the terrible persecutors, who shall be brought low and destroyed by Christ, at his coming. Some render it, "the song of the terrible ones shall be brought low" (d); it will be brought a note lower; their triumphing will be at an end; the voice of harpers and musicians, of pipers and trumpeters, will be heard no more among them; but instead thereof weeping and howling, Revelation 18:9.

(d) "cantus fortium humiliabitur, vel humiliabit se", Vatablus; see Cant. ii. 12.

Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the {f} heat in a dry place; {g} even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low.

(f) Meaning, that as the heat is abated by the rain, so shall God bring down the rage of the wicked.

(g) As a cloud shades from the heat of the sun, so God will assuage the rejoicing of the wicked against the godly.

5. Render: As heat in a dry place (cf. Isaiah 32:2) Thou humblest the pride of aliens; (as) heat by the shadow of a cloud the song of the tyrants is brought low. The meaning is that as natural heat, however intense, is abated by an intervening cloud, so Jehovah has means of bringing to an end the fiercest oppression to which His people can be exposed.Verse 5. - Thou shalt bring down. The past foreshadows the future. What God had done in "bringing down" the enemies of his saints, he would do again and again. He could as easily bring to naught the clamorous uprising of heathen nations (strangers) against his people, as temper the sun's heat by the interposition of a thick cloud. The branch; rather, the song (comp. Isaiah 24:16; Job 35:10; Psalm 95:2; Psalm 119:51). The exultant chant of triumph which the ungodly are sure to raise as they deem their victory over the people of God complete, will be stopped in mid-career, and "brought low," or reduced to silence, by the crushing overthrow predicted in Isaiah 24. Isaiah 24:22 announces the preliminary punishment of both angelic and human princes: 'asēphâh stands in the place of a gerundive, like taltēlâh in Isaiah 22:17. The connection of the words 'asēphâh 'assir is exactly the same as that of taltēlâh gâbēr in Isaiah 22:17 : incarceration after the manner of incarcerating prisoners; 'âsaph, to gather together (Isaiah 10:14; Isaiah 33:4), signifies here to incarcerate, just as in Genesis 42:17. Both verbs are construed with ‛al, because the thrusting is from above downwards, into the pit and prison (‛al embraces both upon or over anything, and into it, e.g., 1 Samuel 31:4; Job 6:16; see Hitzig on Nahum 3:12). We may see from 2 Peter 2:4 and Jde 1:6 how this is to be understood. The reference is to the abyss of Hades, where they are reserved in chains of darkness unto the judgment of the great day. According to this parallel, yippâkedu (shall be visited) ought apparently to be understood as denoting a visitation in wrath (like Isaiah 29:6; Ezekiel 38:8; compare pâkad followed by an accusative in Isaiah 26:21, also Isaiah 26:14, and Psalm 59:6; niphkad, in fact, is never used to signify visitation in mercy), and therefore as referring to the infliction of the final punishment. Hitzig, however, understands it as relating to a visitation of mercy; and in this he is supported by Ewald, Knobel, and Luzzatto. Gesenius, Umbreit, and others, take it to indicate a citation or summons, though without any ground either in usage of speech or actual custom. A comparison of Isaiah 23:17 in its relation to Isaiah 23:15

(Note: Cf., Targ., Saad., "they will come into remembrance again.")

favours the second explanation, as being relatively the most correct; but the expression is intentionally left ambiguous. So far as the thing itself is concerned, we have a parallel in Revelation 20:1-3 and Revelation 20:7-9 : they are visited by being set free again, and commencing their old practice once more; but only (as Isaiah 24:23 affirms) to lose again directly, before the glorious and triumphant might of Jehovah, the power they have temporarily reacquired. What the apocalyptist of the New Testament describes in detail in Revelation 20:4, Revelation 20:11., and Revelation 21:1, the apocalyptist of the Old Testament sees here condensed into one fact, viz., the enthroning of Jehovah and His people in a new Jerusalem, at which the silvery white moon (lebânâh) turns red, and the glowing sun (chammâh) turns pale; the two great lights of heaven becoming (according to a Jewish expression) "like a lamp at noonday" in the presence of such glory. Of the many parallels to Isaiah 24:23 which we meet with in Isaiah, the most worthy of note are Isaiah 11:10 to the concluding clause, "and before His elders is glory" (also Isaiah 4:5), and Isaiah 1:26 (cf., Isaiah 3:14), with reference to the use of the word zekēnim (elders). Other parallels are Isaiah 30:26, for chammâh and lebânâh; Isaiah 1:29, for châphēr and bōsh; Isaiah 33:22, for mâlak; Isaiah 10:12, for "Mount Zion and Jerusalem." We have already spoken at Isaiah 1:16 of the word neged (Arab. Ne'gd, from nâgad, njd, to be exalted; vid., opp. Arab. gâr, to be pressed down, to sink), as applied to that which stands out prominently and clearly before one's eyes. According to Hofmann (Schriftbeweis, i.-320-1), the elders here, like the twenty-four presbuteroi of the Apocalypse, are the sacred spirits, forming the council of God, to which He makes known His will concerning the world, before it is executed by His attendant spirits the angels. But as we find counsellors promised to the Israel of the new Jerusalem in Isaiah 1:26, in contrast with the bad zekēnim (elders) which it then possessed (Isaiah 3:14), such as it had at the glorious commencement of its history; and as the passage before us says essentially the same with regard to the zekēnim as we find in Isaiah 4:5 with regard to the festal meetings of Israel (vid., Isaiah 30:20 and Isaiah 32:1); and still further, as Revelation 20:4 (cf., Matthew 19:28) is a more appropriate parallel to the passage before us than Revelation 4:4, we may assume with certainty, at least with regard to this passage, and without needing to come to any decision concerning Revelation 4:4, that the zekēnim here are not angels, but human elders after God's own heart. These elders, being admitted into the immediate presence of God, and reigning together with Him, have nothing but glory in front of them, and they themselves reflect that glory.

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