Isaiah 28:19 Commentaries: "As often as it passes through, it will seize you; For morning after morning it will pass through, anytime during the day or night, And it will be sheer terror to understand what it means."
Isaiah 28:19
From the time that it goes forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you.—The words that follow remind us of Deuteronomy 28:66-67. Day by day would come the dread rumours of the Assyrian march. Then the “report” would no longer be unintelligible. Instead of the “line upon line, precept upon precept,” there would be “mourning upon mourning,” “day and night,” each with its sad burden of alarming tidings. To understand those tidings would be a vexation and a terror. The word for “report” is the same as the “doctrine” of Isaiah 28:9, and stands, in each case, for the deride “message” of the prophet.

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.From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you - It shall not delay, or be hindered, or put back. As soon as the judgment is sent forth from God it shall come upon you.

For morning by morning - Continually; without intermission. It shall be like floods and tempests that have no intermission; that are repeated every day, and continued every night, until everything is swept before them.

And it shall be a vexation - It shall be an object of alarm, of agitation, of distress - זועה zevâ‛âh from זוע zûa‛, "to move oneself;" to tremble with alarm; to be troubled Ecclesiastes 12:3; Daniel 5:19; Daniel 6:27; Hebrews 2:7. Here it means that the calamity would be so great that it would fill the mind with horror only to hear of it. For similar expressions denoting the effect of hearing a report of the judgments of God, see 1 Samuel 3:11; 2 Kings 21:12; Jeremiah 19:3.

The report - Margin, 'Doctrine' (see the note at Isaiah 28:9).

19. From the time, &c.—rather, "As often as it comes over (that is, passes through), it shall overtake you" [Horsley]; like a flood returning from time to time, frequent hostile invasions shall assail Judah, after the deportation of the ten tribes.

vexation … understand … report—rather, "It shall be a terror even to hear the mere report of it" [Maurer], (1Sa 3:11). But G. V. Smith, "Hard treatment (Horsley, 'dispersion') only shall make you to understand instruction"; they scorned at the simple way in which the prophet offered it (Isa 28:9); therefore, they must be taught by the severe teachings of adversity.

From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you; as soon as this overflowing scourge or judgment shall go forth from me into the land, it shall assuredly, and with the first, take or seize upon you scoffers, or carry you away, which agrees well, both with the Hebrew word, which is frequently taken in that sense, and with the metaphor of a flood, which is here used. Morning by morning it shall pass over; it shall not only come to you, contrary to your presumption, Isaiah 28:15, 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 only to understand the report; so dreadful shall the judgment be, that it shall strike you with great honor when you only hear the rumour of its approach, or of the sad effects of it upon other persons or parts of the land. From the time that it goeth forth, it shall take you,.... Or, "as soon as it passeth through" (z), "it shall take you away"; as soon as it begins to overflow, and as it goes along, it shall make clear work, and carry you away with it; you will not be able to resist it, to withstand its motion, and stop its progress; but will be borne down by it, and carried away with it, either destroyed by it at once, or carried into captivity; so the Targum,

"in the time of its passing over, it shall carry you captive:''

for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night; signifying that it should come very early, before they were aware of it and prepared for it, and should be constant and incessant, day after day, day and night, continually, until it had done its work thoroughly, in the utter destruction of them; which was true of the Assyrian, but especially of the Roman army:

and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report; the fame, the rumour of the enemy's coming, of his invasion of the land, of the devastation he makes everywhere, and of his progress and near approach to Jerusalem; the bare report of this only being made and confirmed, so that there was reason to believe it, would produce anguish and distress of mind, cause a commotion, a fear and trembling, and shaking of the joints, as the word (a) signifies; and therefore, how dreadful must the calamity itself be! or else this may be meant of the report of the prophecy of the Lord, which before they would not believe; but now the judgments threatened coming upon them, they would be made to understand it; so the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "and only vexation alone shall give understanding to the report"; and to this sense the Targum,

"and it shall be, before the time of the curse comes, that ye shall understand the words of the prophets;''

and, when it was come, should know to their sorrow, and by sad experience, the truth of what they had said.

(z) "mox ut pertransierit", Tigurine version. (a) "commotio", Montanus, Piscator; "terror", Calvin; "pavor", Pagninus.

From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a {y} vexation only to understand the report.

(y) Terror and destruction will make you learn that which exhortations and gentleness could not bring you to.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. From the time that it goeth forth] Render as R.V. As often as it passeth through (1 Samuel 18:30). it shall take you away] The judgment will be a protracted visitation (like the repeated blows of a “scourge”) and will continue till ever yone of the conspirators has been carried away.

it shall be a vexation … report] Perhaps: it shall be sheer vexation to interpret audition (the same word as Isaiah 28:9). That is, all prophetic oracles shall then be so uniformly and unambiguously terrible, that the prophet will shrink from the unwelcome task of communicating their import.Verse 19. - From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you; rather, as often as it passes along, it shall take you away; i.e. as often as the flood of Assyrian invasion sweeps through Palestine, it shall thin the population by death and captivity. We know of at least eight passages of the flood through Judaea - one under Sargon, two under Sennacherib, three or four under Esarhaddon, and two under Asshur-bani-pal. There may have been more. Morning by morning; i.e. frequently - time after time. Shall it pass over; rather, pass along, or pass through. It shall be a vexation only to understand the report; rather, it will be sheer terror to understand the doctrine. There is an allusion to ver. 9. They had thought scorn of Isaiah's "doctrine," when he taught it them by word of mouth; they will understand it but too well, and find it" nothing but a terror," when it is impressed on them by the preaching of facts. The prophet takes the ki ("for") out of their mouths, and carries it on in his own way. It was quite right that their ungodliness should show itself in such a way as this, for it would meet with an appropriate punishment. "For through men stammering in speech, and through a strange tongue, will He speak to this people. He who said to them, There is rest, give rest to weary ones, and there is refreshing! But they would not hear. Therefore the word of Jehovah becomes to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, a little here, a little there, that they may go and stumble backwards, and be wrecked to pieces, and be snared and taken." Jehovah would speak to the scoffing people of stammering tongue a language of the same kind, since He would speak to them by a people that stammered in their estimation, i.e., who talked as barbarians (cf., βαρβαρίζειν and balbutire; see Isaiah 33:19, compared with Deuteronomy 28:49). The Assyrian Semitic had the same sound in the ear of an Israelite, as Low Saxon (a provincial dialect) in the ear of an educated German; in addition to which, it was plentifully mixed up with Iranian, and possibly also with Tatar elements. This people would practically interpret the will of Jehovah in its own patios to the despisers of the prophet. Jehovah had directed them, through His prophets, after the judgments which they had experienced with sufficient severity (Isaiah 1:5.), into the true way to rest and refreshing (Jeremiah 6:16), and had exhorted them to give rest to the nation, which had suffered so much under Ahaz through the calamities of war (2 Chronicles 28), and not to drag it into another way by goading it on to rise against Assyria, or impose a new burden in addition to the tribute to Assyria by purchasing the help of Egypt. But they would not hearken (אבוּא equals אבוּ, Isaiah 30:15-16; Ges. 23, 3, Anm. 3). Their policy was a very different one from being still, or believing and waiting. And therefore the word of Jehovah, which they regarded as en endless series of trivial commands, would be turned in their case into an endless series of painful sufferings. To those who thought themselves so free, and lived so free, it would become a stone on which they would go to pieces, a net in which they would be snared, a trap in which they would be caught (compare Isaiah 8:14-15).
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