Isaiah 27:7
Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote him? or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Hath he smitten him . . .—The pronouns are left in the English Version somewhat obscure, but the use of capitals makes the meaning plain: “Hath He (Jehovah) smitten him (Israel) as He smote those that smote him; or is he slain according to the slaughter of those that are slain by Him?” A slight alteration in the last clause in the text gives, according to the slaughter of his slayers. In any case the thought is that Jehovah had chastised the guilt with a leniency altogether exceptional. They had not been punished as others had been. The words admit, however, of another meaning, which is preferred by some critics, viz., that Jehovah doth not smite Israel with the smiting like that with which his (Israel’s) smiters smote him—i.e., had not punished, as the oppressors had punished, ruthlessly and in hate, but had in His wrath remembered mercy.

Isaiah 27:7. Hath he smitten him — Namely, Jacob; as he smote those that smote him? — The question implies a denial. He hath not so smitten him. He hath not dealt so severely with his people as he hath with their enemies, whom he hath utterly destroyed. Or is he slain as those slain by him — Namely, those slain by God on the behalf of Israel? The meaning is, God had never permitted the Jews to be smitten to their entire destruction, as he had their enemies, but had always taken care to preserve a remnant.

27:6-13 In the days of the gospel, the latter days, the gospel church shall be more firmly fixed than the Jewish church, and shall spread further. May our souls be continually watered and kept, that we may abound in the fruits of the Spirit, in all goodness, righteousness, and truth. The Jews yet are kept a separate and a numerous people; they have not been rooted out as those who slew them. The condition of that nation, through so many ages, forms a certain proof of the Divine origin of the Scriptures; and the Jews live amongst us, a continued warning against sin. But though winds are ever so rough, ever so high, God can say to them, Peace, be still. And though God will afflict his people, yet he will make their afflictions to work for the good of their souls. According to this promise, since the captivity in Babylon, no people have shown such hatred to idols and idolatry as the Jews. And to all God's people, the design of affliction is to part between them and sin. The affliction has done us good, when we keep at a distance from the occasions of sin, and use care that we may not be tempted to it. Jerusalem had been defended by grace and the Divine protection; but when God withdrew, she was left like a wilderness. This has awfully come to pass. And this is a figure of the deplorable state of the vineyard, the church, when it brought forth wild grapes. Sinners flatter themselves they shall not be dealt with severely, because God is merciful, and is their Maker. We see how weak those pleas will be. Verses 12,13, seem to predict the restoration of the Jews after the Babylonish captivity, and their recovery from their present dispersion. This is further applicable to the preaching of the gospel, by which sinners are gathered into the grace of God; the gospel proclaims the acceptable year of the Lord. Those gathered by the sounding of the gospel trumpet, are brought in to worship God, and added to the church; and the last trumpet will gather the saints together.Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote them? - Has God punished his people in the same manner and to the same extent as he has their enemies? It is implied by this question that he had not. He had indeed punished them for their sins, but he had I not destroyed them. Their enemies he had utterly destroyed.

According to the slaughter of those that are slain by him - Hebrew, 'According to the slaying of his slain.' That is, not as our translation would seem to imply, that their enemies had been slain "BY" them; but that they were 'their slain,' inasmuch as they had been slain on their account, or to promote their release and return to their own land. It was not true that their enemies had been slain "by" them; but it was true that they had been slain on their account, or in order to secure their return to their own country.

7. him … those—Israel—Israel's enemies. Has God punished His people as severely as He has those enemies whom He employed to chastise Israel? No! Far from it. Israel, after trials, He will restore; Israel's enemies He will utterly destroy at last.

the slaughter of them that are slain by him—rather, "Is Israel slain according to the slaughter of the enemy slain?" the slaughter wherewith the enemy is slain [Maurer].

Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote him? the question implies a denial; he hath not so smitten him, to wit, Jacob. He hath not dealt so severely with his people as he hath dealt with his and their enemies, whom he hath utterly destroyed. This may look either,

1. Backward, upon times past. If you consult former experiences, you will find that God hath done so, hath spared and restored his people, and in judgment remembered mercy to them, when he hath totally ruined their enemies. Or,

2. Forward, upon the time to come, of which he speaks as of a thing past, after the manner of the prophets, and of which he speaks in the next verse.

Of them that are slain by him; of those who were slain by Israel, or rather by God at the prayer and on the behalf of Israel. Heb. of his slain ones, i.e. of those of his smiters or enemies who were slain; which exposition is favoured by comparing this with the foregoing clause.

Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote him?.... No; the Lord does smite his people by afflictive dispensations of his providence; he smites them in their persons, and families, and estates; see Isaiah 57:17 as he smote Israel, by suffering them to be carried captive, and as the Jews are now smitten by him in their present state; yet not as he smote Pharaoh, with his ten plagues, and him and his host at the Red Sea; or as he smote Sennacherib and his army, by an angel, in one night; or as Amalek was smitten, and its memory perished; or as he will smite mystical Babylon, which will be utterly destroyed; all which have been smiters of God's Israel, who, though smitten of God, yet not utterly destroyed; the Jews returned from captivity, and, though now they are scattered abroad, yet continue a people, and will be saved. God deals differently with his own people, his mystical and spiritual Israel, than with their enemies that smite them: he afflicts them, but does not destroy them, as he does their enemies; he has no fury in him towards his people, but he stirs up all his wrath against his enemies:

or, is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him? or, "of his slain" (w); the Lord's slain, or Israel's slain, which are slain by the Lord for Israel's sake; though Israel is slain, yet not in such numbers, to such a degree, or with such an utter slaughter, as their enemies; though the people of God may come under slaying providences, yet not such as wicked men; they are "chastened, but not killed"; and, though killed with the sword, or other instruments of death, in great numbers, both by Rome Pagan and Papal, yet not according to the slaughter as will be made of antichrist and his followers, Revelation 19:15.

(w) "occisorum ejus", Montanus; "interfecti illius", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

Hath he smitten {g} him, as he smote those that smote him? or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him?

(g) He shows that God punishes his in mercy, and his enemies in justice.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. For the thought cf. Jeremiah 10:24-25. The interrogations imply, of course, a negative answer; Jehovah has not smitten Israel as He has those that smote it. In the second question the reading of LXX. and Peshito is to be preferred on account of the parallelism: hath he been slain according to the slaughter of those that slew him (Israel).

7–11. A summons to national repentance and reformation. Has Israel suffered the extremity of Divine punishment as its oppressors have done (7)? There is a ground of hope in the moderation displayed by Jehovah in His chastisement of Israel; the prospect of ultimate reconciliation is held out; and this hope will be realised when all the monuments of idolatry are erased from the land (9). At present the city lies desolate, a witness to the sinful blindness of the people and the estrangement of its Creator (10, 11). The section is full of difficulties. The words of Isaiah 27:8 stand in no obvious relation to the context, and are probably to be regarded (with Duhm) as a marginal gloss to Isaiah 27:10. The connexion between Isaiah 27:9 and Isaiah 27:10 is also somewhat obscure.

Verses 7-11. - THE COMING JUDGMENT UPON JUDAH A CHASTISEMENT IN WHICH MERCY IS BLENDED WITH JUSTICE. A coming judgment upon Judah has been one of the main subjects of Isaiah's prophecy from the beginning. It has been included in the catalogue of "burdens" (see Isaiah 22.). It will have to be one of the prophet's main subjects to the end of his "book." Hence he may at any time recur to it, as he does now, without special reason or excuse. In this place the special aspect under which the judgment presents itself to him is that of its merciful character,

(1) in degree (vers. 7, 8);

(2) in intention (ver. 9).

While noting this, he feels, however, bound to note also, that the judgment is, while it lasts, severe (vers. 10, 11). Verse 7. - Hath he smitten him; etc.? i.e. "Has God smitten Judah, as he '(God) smote Judah's smiters?" Judah's chief smiters were Assyria and Babylon. The judgments upon them would be more severe than that upon Judah. They would be destroyed; Judah would be taken captive, and restored. Them that are slain by him; rather, them that slew him (so Lowth, Ewald, Knobel, and Mr. Cheyne). But, to obtain this meaning, the pointing of the present text must be altered. The law of parallelism seems, however, to require the alteration. Isaiah 27:7The prophet does not return even now to his own actual times; but, with the certainty that Israel will not be exalted until it has been deeply humbled on account of its sins, he placed himself in the midst of this state of punishment. And there, in the face of the glorious future which awaited Israel, the fact shines out brightly before his eyes, that the punishment which God inflicts upon Israel is a very different thing from that inflicted upon the world. "Hath He smitten it like the smiting of its smiter, or is it slain like the slaying of those slain by Him? Thou punishedst it with measures, when thou didst thrust it away, sifting with violent breath in the day of the east wind." "Its smiter" (maccēhū) is the imperial power by which Israel had been attacked (Isaiah 10:20); and "those slain by Him" (הרגיו) are the slain of the empire who had fallen under the strokes of Jehovah. The former smote unmercifully, and its slain ones now lay without hope (Isaiah 26:14). Jehovah smites differently, and it is very different with the church, which has succumbed in the persons of its righteous members. For the double play upon words, see Isaiah 24:16; Isaiah 22:18; Isaiah 10:16. When Jehovah put Israel away (as if by means of a "bill of divorcement," Isaiah 50:1), He strove against it (Isaiah 49:25), i.e., punished it, "in measure," i.e., determining the measure very exactly, that it might not exceed the enduring power of Israel, not endanger the existence of Israel as a nation (cf., bemishpât in Jeremiah 10:24; Jeremiah 30:11; Jeremiah 46:28). On the other hand, Hitzig, Ewald, and Knobel read בּסאסאה, from a word סאסא,

(Note: Bttcher refers to a Talmudic word, הסיא (to remove), but this is to be pronounced הסּיא ( equals הסּיע), and is moreover, very uncertain.)

related to זעזע, or even טאטא, "when thou didst disturb (or drive forth);" but the traditional text does not indicate any various reading with ה mappic., and the ancient versions and expositors all take the word as a reduplication of סאה, which stands here as the third of an ephah to denote a moderately large measure. The clause hâgâh berūchō is probably regarded as an elliptical relative clause, in which case the transition to the third person can be best explained: "thou, who siftedst with violent breath." Hâgâh, which only occurs again in Proverbs 25:4, signifies to separate, e.g., the dross from silver (Isaiah 1:25). Jehovah sifted Israel (compare the figure of the threshing-floor in Isaiah 21:10), at the time when, by suspending captivity over it, He blew as violently upon it as if the east wind had raged (vid., Job 2:1-13 :19). But He only sifted, He did not destroy.

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