Isaiah 28:2
Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.
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(2) The Lord hath a mighty and strong one . . .—The Hebrew may be either neuter, as in the LXX. and Targum, or masculine, as in the Authorised Version. In either case it refers to the King of Assyria as the instrument of Jehovah’s vengeance, the similitudes employed to describe his action reproducing those of Isaiah 8:7-8; Isaiah 25:4. Here the picture is that of the “destroying storm,” the pestilent or blasting tempest withering, and the flood sweeping away, the beautiful “garland” of Samaria.

Isaiah 28:2-4. Behold, the Lord hath — Namely, at his command, prepared and ready to execute his judgments; a mighty and strong one — Shalmaneser, the king of Assyria; which, as a tempest of hail, &c., shall cast down — The crown of pride, to the earth, by his hand — By the hand of God, which shall strengthen him in this work. The crown, the drunkards, shall be trodden under feet — The expression is emphatical; the crown which was upon their own heads shall be trodden under the feet of others; and they, whose drunkenness made them stagger and fall to the ground, shall be trodden down there. The glorious beauty shall be as the hasty fruit — That is, the first ripe fruit, which, coming before the season, and before other fruits, is most acceptable. Which he that seeth it eateth up — Which, as soon as a man sees, he plucks it off and devours it as soon as he can get it into his hand. And so shall it be with Ephraim’s glory, which his enemies shall covet and spoil, and devour greedily. “The image,” says Bishop Lowth, “expresses, in the strongest manner, the great ease with which the Assyrians should take the city and the whole kingdom, and the avidity with which they should seize the rich prey without resistance.”

28:1-4 What men are proud of, be it ever so mean, is to them as a crown; but pride is the forerunner of destruction. How foolishly drunkards act! Those who are overcome with wine are overcome by Satan; and there is not greater drudgery in the world than hard drinking. Their health is ruined; men are broken in their callings and estates, and their families are ruined by it. Their souls are in danger of being undone for ever, and all merely to gratify a base lust. In God's professing people, like Israel, it is worse than in any other. And he is just in taking away the plenty they thus abuse. The plenty they were proud of, is but a fading flower. Like the early fruit, which, as soon as discovered, is plucked and eaten.Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one - The Hebrew of this passage is, 'Lo! there is to the Lord (לאדני la'donāy) mighty and strong.' Lowth renders it,

'Behold the mighty one, the exceedingly strong one,'

And supposes that it means the Lord himself. It is evident, however, that something must be understood as being that which the Lord 'hath,' for the Hebrew properly implies that there is something strong and mighty which is under his control, and with which, as with a tempest, he will sweep away and destroy Ephraim. Jarchi supposes that רוח rûach ("wind") is understood; Kimchi thinks that the word is יום yôm ("day"); others believe that חיל chayil ("an army") is understood. But I think the obvious interpretation is to refer it to the Assyrian king, as the agent by which Yahweh would destroy Samaria 2 Kings 17:3-6. This power was entirely under the direction of Yahweh, and would be employed by him in accomplishing his purpose on that guilty people (compare the notes at Isaiah 10:5-6).

As a tempest of hail - A storm of hail is a most striking representation of the desolation that is produced by the ravages of an invading army (compare Job 27:21; the note at Isaiah 30:30; also Hosea 13:15).

A flood of mighty waters - This is also a striking description of the devastating effects of an invading army (compare Psalm 90:5; Jeremiah 46:7-8)

Shall cast down to the earth - To cast it to the earth means that it should be entirely humbled and destroyed (see the note at Isaiah 25:12).

With the hand - Septuagint: βίᾳ bia - 'Force,' 'violence.' This is its meaning here; as if it were taken in the hand, like a cup, and dashed indignantly to the ground.

2. strong one—the Assyrian (Isa 10:5).

cast down—namely, Ephraim (Isa 28:1) and Samaria, its crown.

with … hand—with violence (Isa 8:11).

The Lord hath, to wit, at his command, prepared and ready to execute his judgments,

a mighty and strong one; the king of Assyria.

Shall cast down; understand it, the crown of pride; or them, the drunkards of Ephraim.

With the hand; or, by his hand; either by that king’s force or strong hand; or by the hand of God, which shall strengthen and succeed him in this work.

Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one,.... That is, a powerful king, with a mighty army, meaning Shalmaneser king of Assyria; whom the Lord had at his beck and command, and could use at his pleasure, as his instrument, to bring down the towering pride of Ephraim, and chastise him for his sensuality:

which as a tempest of hail; that beats down herbs and plants, and branches of trees, and men and beasts:

and a destroying storm; which carries all before it, blows down houses and trees, and makes terrible devastation wherever it comes:

as a flood of mighty waters overflowing; whose torrent is so strong there is no stopping it: so this mighty and powerful prince

shall cast down to the earth with the hand; the crown of pride, the people of Israel, and the king of it; he shall take the crown from his head, and cast it to the ground with a strong hand, as the Jews interpret it, with great violence; or very easily, with one hand, as it were, without any trouble at all. The Targum is,

"so shall people come against them, and remove them out of their own land into another land, because of the sins which were in their hands;''

see Isaiah 8:7.

Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and {c} strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.

(c) He seems to mean the Assyrians, by whom the ten tribes were carried away.

2. The reason for the woe of Isaiah 28:1. Render: Behold Jehovah hath a mighty and strong one, like a tempest of hail, a destroying storm; like a flow of mighty overflowing waters, which casts down to the earth with violence.

a mighty and strong one] i.e. the Assyrian, Jehovah’s instrument (ch. Isaiah 10:5).

a destroying storm] Delitzsch renders, less suitably perhaps, “a pestilential wind.” The word occurs again only in Deuteronomy 32:24; Psalm 91:6; but a closely related one in Hosea 13:14 (A.V. “destruction”). The image of the storm, here presented in three forms, recurs in Isaiah 28:15; Isaiah 28:18 f.

shall cast] Better, casts (perf. of experience, Davidson, Synt. § 40, e) The subj. is the storm of waters.

with the hand] i.e. with force.

Verse 2. - The Lord hath a mighty and strong one. God has in reserve a mighty power, which he will let loose upon Samaria. The wicked are "his sword" (Psalm 17:13), and are employed to carry out his sentences. In the present ease the "mighty and strong one" is the Assyrian power. As a tempest of hail, etc. The fearfully devastating force of an Assyrian invasion is set forth under three distinct images - a hailstorm, a furious tempest of wind, and a violent inundation - as though so only could its full horror be depicted. War is always a horrible scourge; but in ancient times, and with a people so cruel as the Assyrians, it was a calamity exceeding in terribleness the utmost that the modern reader can conceive. It involved the wholesale burning of cities and villages, the wanton destruction of trees and crops, the slaughter of thousands in battles and sieges, the subsequent massacre of hundreds in cold blood, the plunder of all classes, and the deportation of tens of thousands of captives, who were carried into hopeless servitude in a strange land. With the hand; i.e. "with force," "violently." So in Assyrian constantly (compare the use of the Greek χερί). Isaiah 28:2In the next three vv. the hoi is expanded. "Behold, the Lord holds a strong and mighty thing like a hailstorm, a pestilent tempest; like a storm of mighty overflowing waters, He casts down to the earth with almighty hand. With feet they tread down the proud crown of the drunken of Ephraim. And it happens to the fading flower of its splendid ornament, which is upon the head of the luxuriant valley, as to an early fig before it is harvest, which whoever sees it looks at, and it is no sooner in his hand than he swallows it." "A strong and mighty thing:" ואמּי חזק we have rendered in the neuter (with the lxx and Targum) rather than in the masculine, as Luther does, although the strong and mighty thing which the Lord holds in readiness is no doubt the Assyrian. He is simply the medium of punishment in the hand of the Lord, which is called yâd absolutely, because it is absolute in power - as it were, the hand of all hands. This hand hurls Samaria to the ground (on the expression itself, compare Isaiah 25:12; Isaiah 26:5), so that they tread the proud crown to pieces with their feet (tērâmasnâh, the more pathetic plural form, instead of the singular tērâmēs; Ges. 47, Anm. 3, and Caspari on Obadiah 1:13). The noun sa‛ar, which is used elsewhere in the sense of shuddering, signifies here, like סערה, an awful tempest; and when connected with קטב, a tempest accompanied with a pestilential blast, spreading miasma. Such destructive power is held by the absolute hand. It is soon all over then with the splendid flower that has already begun to fade נבל ציצת, like הקּטן כּלי in Isaiah 22:24). It happens to it as to a bikkūrâh (according to the Masora, written with mappik here, as distinguished from Hosea 9:10, equivalent to kebhikkūrâthâh; see Job 11:9, "like an early fig of this valley;" according to others, it is simply euphonic). The gathering of figs takes place about August. Now, if any one sees a fig as early as June, he fixes his eyes upon it, and hardly touches it with his hand before he swallows it, and that without waiting to masticate it long. Like such a dainty bit will the luxuriant Samaria vanish. The fact that Shalmanassar, or his successor Sargon, did not conquer Samaria till after the lapse of three years (2 Kings 18:10), does not detract from the truth of the prophecy; it is enough that both the thirst of the conqueror and the utter destruction of Samaria answered to it.
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