Isaiah 28:18
And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Isaiah 28:18-19. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled — Made void, or of none effect. Ye shall be trodden down — Namely, by the overflowing scourge, which you flattered yourselves should not come unto you. From the time that it goeth forth — Namely, from me into the land, it shall assuredly, and with the first, seize upon and carry away you scoffers. Morning by morning it shall pass over, &c. — It shall not only come to you, but it shall abide upon you; and when it hath passed over you, it shall return again to you, morning after morning, and shall follow you day and night, without giving you the least respite. It shall be a vexation to understand the report — So dreadful shall the judgment be, that it shall strike you with horror when you only hear the rumour of its approach.

28:16-22 Here is a promise of Christ, as the only foundation of hope for escaping the wrath to come. This foundation was laid in Zion, in the eternal counsels of God. This foundation is a stone, firm and able to support his church. It is a tried stone, a chosen stone, approved of God, and never failed any who made trial of it. A corner stone, binding together the whole building, and bearing the whole weight; precious in the sight of the Lord, and of every believer; a sure foundation on which to build. And he who in any age or nation shall believe this testimony, and rest all his hopes, and his never-dying soul on this foundation, shall never be confounded. The right effect of faith in Christ is, to quiet and calm the soul, till events shall be timed by Him, who has all times in his own hand and power. Whatever men trust to for justification, except the righteousness of Christ; or for wisdom, strength, and holiness, except the influences of the Holy Ghost; or for happiness, except the favour of God; that protection in which they thought to shelter themselves, will prove not enough to answer the intention. Those who rest in a righteousness of their own, will have deceived themselves: the bed is too short, the covering too narrow. God will be glorified in the fulfilling of his counsels. If those that profess to be members of God's church, make themselves like Philistines and Canaanites, they must expect to be dealt with as such. Then dare not to ridicule the reproofs of God's word, or the approaches of judgements.And your covenant with death - (see the note at Isaiah 28:15).

Shall be disannulled - The word rendered 'shall be disannulled,' (וכפר vekupar from כפר kâphar), properly means "to cover, overlay;" then to pardon, forgive; then to make atonement, to expiate. It has the idea of blotting out, forgiving, and obliterating - because a writing in wax was obliterated or "covered" by passing the "stylus" over it. Hence, also, the idea of abolishing, or rendering nought, which is the idea here. "When the overflowing scourge" (see the note at Isaiah 28:15).

Then ye shall be trodden down by it - There is in this verse a great intermingling of metaphor, not less than three figures being employed to denote the calamity. There is first the scourge, an instrument of punishment; there is then the idea of inundating waters or floods; then there is also the idea of a warrior or an invading army that treads down an enemy. All the images are designed to denote essentially the same thing, that the judgments of God would come upon the land, and that nothing in which they had trusted would constitute a refuge.

18. disannulled—obliterated, as letters traced on a waxen tablet are obliterated by passing the stylus over it.

trodden down—passing from the metaphor in "scourge" to the thing meant, the army which treads down its enemies.

Disannulled; made void, or of none effect; it shall stand you in no stead.

Ye shall be trodden down by it; which you flattered yourselves that it should not come unto you, Isaiah 28:15.

And your covenant with death shall be disannulled,.... Or, "be besmeared" (x), or daubed over, as the ark was with pitch, Genesis 6:14 where the same word is used as here; so that it shall not be legible, as any writing that is blotted out by ink, or any other liquor, so that it cannot be read; in like manner this their covenant with death should be so obliterated, that the articles of it could not be made out, and so of no force; thus the Targum renders it,

"shall be made void;''

See Gill on Isaiah 28:15,

and your agreement with hell shall not stand; or "vision", or "provision" (y); which they had made by compact, with the greatest care, caution, and foresight, to secure themselves from destruction, would be found insufficient. The Targum is,

"and our peace, which was with the destroyer, shall not stand;''

See Gill on Isaiah 28:15,

when the overflowing scourge shall pass through: the land of Judea and the city of Jerusalem; See Gill on Isaiah 28:15,

then shall ye be trodden down by it: though they flattered themselves it should not come near them, yet it would; and they would not be able to stand before it, but would be thrown down, and trampled upon by it as the mire of the streets; see Luke 21:24.

(x) "Heb. oblinetur", Piscator; "quasi pica illita tabulae literaeque foederis incrustentur, inducantur ac dispereant", Gusset. Comment. Ebr. p. 397. (y) "et visio vestra", Vatablus; "cautio vestra", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Heb. "visio", i.e. "provisio", Piscator.

And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. See on Isaiah 28:15. shall be disannulled] lit. “smeared over” (cf. Genesis 6:14) i.e. “cancelled,” “obliterated.” The verb is the technical word for expiate (as e.g. Isaiah 22:14), and although it is nowhere else in the O.T. used exactly as here, the sense is supported by Syriac usage, and an alteration of the text is not necessary.

Verse 18. - And your covenant with death shall be disannulled; or, wiped out. The entire clever arrangement, by which they thought to avert the danger from themselves and from Judaea, shall come to naught. When the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. As the prophet continues, his metaphor becomes still more mixed. "Treading down" was so familiar an expression for destroying, that, perhaps, its literal sense was overlooked (comp. Isaiah 5:5; Isaiah 7:25; Isaiah 10:6; Daniel 8:13; Micah 7:10; Zechariah 10:5, etc.). Isaiah 28:18And the whip which Jehovah swings will not be satisfied with one stroke, but will rain strokes. "And your covenant with death is struck out, and your agreement with Hades will not stand; the swelling scourge, when it comes, ye will become a thing trodden down to it. As often as it passes it takes you: for every morning it passes, by day and by night; and it is nothing but shuddering to hear such preaching. For the bed is too short to stretch in, and the covering too tight when a man wraps himself in it." Although berı̄th is feminine, the predicate to it is placed before it in the masculine form (Ges. 144). The covenant is thought of as a document; for khuppar (for obliterari (just as the kal is used in Genesis 6:14 in the sense of oblinere; or in Proverbs 30:20, the Targum, and the Syriac, in the sense of abstergere; and in the Talmud frequently in the sense of wiping off equals qinnēăch, or wiping out equals mâchaq - which meanings all go back, along with the meaning negare, to the primary meaning, tegere, obducere). The covenant will be "struck out," as you strike out a wrong word, by crossing it over with ink and rendering it illegible. They fancy that they have fortified themselves against death and Hades; but Jehovah gives to both of these unlimited power over them. When the swelling scourge shall come, they will become to it as mirmâs, i.e., they will be overwhelmed by it, and their corpses become like dirt of the streets (Isaiah 10:6; Isaiah 5:5); והייתם has the mercha upon the penult., according to the older editions and the smaller Masora on Leviticus 8:26, the tone being drawn back on account of the following לו. The strokes of the scourge come incessantly, and every stroke sweeps them, i.e., many of them, away. מדּי (from דּי, construct דּי, sufficiency, abundance) followed by the infinitive, quotiescunque irruet; lâqach, auferre, as in Jeremiah 15:15, and in the idiom lâqach nephesh. These scourgings without end - what a painful lecture Jehovah is reading them! This is the thought expressed in the concluding words: for the meaning cannot be, that "even (raq as in Psalm 32:6) the report (of such a fate) is alarming," as Grotius and others explain it; or the report is nothing but alarming, as Gussetius and others interpret it, since in that case שׁמועה שׁמע (cf., Isaiah 23:5) would have been quite sufficient, instead of שׁמוּעה הבין. There is no doubt that the expression points back to the scornful question addressed by the debauchees to the prophet in Isaiah 28:9, "To whom will he make preaching intelligible?" i.e., to whom will he preach the word of God in an intelligible manner? (as if they did not possess bı̄nâh without this; שׁמוּעה, ἀκοή, as in Isaiah 53:1). As Isaiah 28:11 affirmed that Jehovah would take up the word against them, the drunken stammerers, through a stammering people; so here the scourging without end is called the shemū‛âh, or sermon, which Jehovah preaches to them. At the same time, the word hâbhı̄n is not causative here, as in Isaiah 28:9, viz., "to give to understand," but signifies simply "to understand," or have an inward perception. To receive into one's comprehension such a sermon as that which was now being delivered to them, was raq-zevâ‛âh, nothing but shaking or shuddering (raq as in Genesis 6:5); זוּע (from which comes זועה, or by transposition זעוה) is applied to inward shaking as well as to outward tossing to and fro. Jerome renders it "tantummodo sola vexatio intellectum dabit auditui," and Luther follows him thus: "but the vexation teaches to take heed to the word," as if the reading were תּבין. The alarming character of the lecture is depicted in Isaiah 28:20, in a figure which was probably proverbial. The situation into which they are brought is like a bed too short for a man to stretch himself in (min as in 2 Kings 6:1), and like a covering which, according to the measure of the man who covers himself up in it (or perhaps still better in a temporal sense, "when a man covers or wraps himself up in it," cf., Isaiah 18:4), is too narrow or too tight. So would it be in their case with the Egyptian treaty, in which they fancied that there were rest and safety for them. They would have to acknowledge its insufficiency. They had made themselves a bed, and procured bed-clothes; but how mistaken they had been in the measure, how miserably and ridiculously they had miscalculated!
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