Isaiah 29:10
For the LORD has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers has he covered.
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(10) The Lord hath poured out upon you . . .—The prophet sees in the stupor and panic of the chief of the people what we call a judicial blindness, the retribution of those who had wilfully closed their eyes against the light. (Comp. Romans 11:8.)

Your rulers.—Literally, your heads, the word being in apposition with the seers. The word is emphasised with a keen irony, precisely because they did not see. They were as those who sleep, and are “covered,” their mantle wrapped round their head, as when men settle themselves to sleep.

29:9-16 The security of sinners in sinful ways, is cause for lamentation and wonder. The learned men, through prejudice, said that the Divine prophecies were obscure; and the poor urged their want of learning. The Bible is a sealed book to every man, learned or unlearned, till he begins to study it with a simple heart and a teachable spirit, that he may thence learn the truth and the will of God. To worship God, is to approach him. And if the heart be full of his love and fear, out of the abundance of it the mouth will speak; but there are many whose religion is lip-labour only. When they pretend to be speaking to God, they are thinking of a thousand foolish things. They worship the God of Israel according to their own devices. Numbers are only formal in worship. And their religion is only to comply with custom, and to serve their own interest. But the wanderings of mind, and defects in devotion, which are the believer's burden, are very different from the withdrawing of the heart from God, so severely blamed. And those who make religion no more than a pretence, to serve a turn, deceive themselves. And as those that quarrel with God, so those that think to conceal themselves from him, in effect charge him with folly. But all their perverse conduct shall be entirely done away.For the Lord hath poured out upon you - The word rendered 'hath poured out' (נסך nâsak) is usually referred to the act of pouring out a libation, or drink-offering in worship Exodus 30:9; Hosea 9:4; Isaiah 30:1. Here it means that Yahweh had, as it were, "drenched them" (Septuagint, πεπότικε pepotike) with a spirit of stupefaction. This is traced to God in accordance with the usual custom in the Bible, by which his providential agency is recognized in all events (see the notes at Isaiah 6:9-10). Compare the notes at Romans 11:8), where this passage is quoted from the Septuagint, and is applied to the Jews in the time of the apostle Paul.

The spirit of deep, sleep - The word rendered 'deep sleep,' is the same as is used in Genesis 2:21, to denote the sleep that God brought on Adam; and in Genesis 15:12, to denote the deep sleep that fell on Abraham, and when a horror of great darkness fell upon him; and in 1 Samuel 26:12, to denote the deep sleep that came upon Saul when David approached and took away the spear and the cruise of water from his bolster. Here it means spiritual sluggishness, inactivity, stupidity, that prevailed everywhere among the people in regard to the things of religion.

The seers - Those that see visions, another name for the prophets (see the note at Isaiah 1:1).

Hath he covered - That is, he has covered their eyes; or they are all blind.

10. Jehovah gives them up judicially to their own hardness of heart (compare Zec 14:13). Quoted by Paul, with variations from the Septuagint, Ro 11:8. See Isa 6:10; Ps 69:23.

eyes; the prophets, &c.—rather, "hath closed your eyes, the prophets; and your heads (Margin; see also Isa 3:2), the seers, He hath covered." The Orientals cover the head to sleep; thus "covered" is parallel to "closed your eyes" (Jud 4:19). Covering the face was also preparatory to execution (Es 7:8). This cannot apply to the time when Isaiah himself prophesied, but to subsequent times.

Hath poured out upon you; which phrase notes the plenty and vehemency of this judgment.

The spirit of deep sleep; hardness of heart, and insensibleness of your danger and misery, which God is said to send, because he denies or withdraws his fight and grace, which alone can cure those maladies. The prophets and your rulers, the seers; your magistrates and ministers, whose blindness or stupidity is a great curse and plague to the people. Or, the prophets, even the chief (for the head is oft put for the chief of persons or things, as Exodus 30:23 1 Chronicles 12:18, and elsewhere) of your seers. Hath he covered with the veil of ignorance and stupidity, or as to their eyes, which is understood out of the former clause. And this last clause is and may be rendered thus, The eyes (which may be repeated out of the foregoing clause) of your prophets, and of, or even of, your principal seers, (or, and of your most intelligent rulers,) hath he covered. For the Lord hath poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep,.... Gave them up to a stupid frame of spirit; to a reprobate mind, a mind void of judgment and sense; to judicial blindness and hardness of heart: this was remarkably fulfilled in the Jews, in the times of Christ and his apostles, who choosing darkness rather than the light of the Gospel, which shone around them, were righteously given up to such a temper of mind; and to nothing else can be imputed their obstinate rejection of the Messiah, against the most glaring light and evidence. The Apostle Paul produces this passage, in proof of that blindness that had happened unto them in his time, Romans 11:7,

and hath closed your eyes; that is, the eyes of their understandings, so that they could not see the characters of the Messiah, and the fulfilment of prophecies in Jesus of Nazareth; nor the danger they were in, nor the ruin that was coming upon their nation, nor even when it was come, still flattering themselves with safety and deliverance:

the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered; the eyes of them, as before; not only the common people were blinded, but even the Scribes and Pharisees, the elders of the people, their ecclesiastical rulers, who pretended to be seers, and to know more than others; even "for judgment", for the judicial blindness and hardness of these Christ "came, that they which see might be made blind", John 9:39. The words may be rendered, "your heads, the seers, hath he covered" (t); and there may be an allusion to the covering of the head with a veil, an emblem of that veil of ignorance and infidelity which still remains upon the Jews. The Targum renders it,

"the prophets, and the Scribes, and the teachers that teach the law.''

(t) "et capita vestra, videntes, operuit", Montanus. So Cocceius.

For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.
10. Their infatuation is caused by Jehovah; see on ch. Isaiah 6:10.

deep sleep] The word (tardçmâh) is nearly always used of a profound slumber due to supernatural agency (1 Samuel 26:12) and favourable for the reception of Divine revelations (Job 4:13). The expressions the prophets and the seers are obviously glosses, based on a misconception of the meaning of the verse. Render: hath closed your eyes, and your heads hath he covered (or muffled).Verse 10. - The Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep. "Sleep," in Scripture, is sometimes "rest," "repose from trouble" ("So he giveth his beloved sleep," Psalm 128:2). But here it is "spiritual deadness and impassiveness" - an inability to appreciate, or even to understand, spiritual warnings. The Jews of Isaiah's time were sunk in a spiritual lethargy, from which he vainly endeavored to arouse them. This spiritual lethargy is here said to have been "poured out upon them by Jehovah;" but we are not to suppose that there was anything exceptional in their treatment - "because they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind" (Romans 1:28), as he does men generally. Hath closed your eyes (comp. Isaiah 6:10; and see also Matthew 12:13; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:40; John 11:8, etc.). The prophets. As the text stands, the proper translation would be, "For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes (the prophets), and your heads (the seers) hath he covered." But it is reasonably conjectured that the expressions, "the prophets," "the seers," are glosses, which have crept from the margin into the text (Eichhorn, Koppe, Cheyne). If so, they are probably mistaken glosses, the allusion being, not to particular classes, but to the actual "heads" and "eyes" of individual Hebrews, which were "closed" and "covered" by the judicial action of the Almighty. In the East a covering is often drawn over the head during sleep. The prophecy here passes from the fall of Samaria, the crown of flowers (Isaiah 28:1-4), to its formal parallel. Jerusalem takes its place by the side of Samaria, the crown of flowers, and under the emblem of a hearth of God. 'Arı̄'ēl might, indeed, mean a lion of God. It occurs in this sense as the name of certain Moabitish heroes (2 Samuel 23:20; 1 Chronicles 11:22), and Isaiah himself used the shorter form אראל for the heroes of Judah (Isaiah 33:7). But as אריאל (God's heart, interchanged with הראל htiw degna, God's height) is the name given in Ezekiel 43:15-16, to the altar of burnt-offering in the new temple, and as Isaiah could not say anything more characteristic of Jerusalem, than that Jehovah had a fire and hearth there (Isaiah 31:9); and, moreover, as Jerusalem the city and community within the city would have been compared to a lioness rather than a lion, we take אריאל in the sense of ara Dei (from ארה, to burn). The prophet commences in his own peculiar way with a grand summary introduction, which passes in a few gigantic strides over the whole course from threatening to promise. Isaiah 29:1 "Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the castle where David pitched his tent! Add year to year, let the feasts revolve: then I distress Ariel, and there is groaning and moaning; and so she proves herself to me as Ariel." By the fact that David fixed his headquarters in Jerusalem, and then brought the sacred ark thither, Jerusalem became a hearth of God. Within a single year, after only one more round of feasts (to be interpreted according to Isaiah 32:10, and probably spoken at the passover), Jehovah would make Jerusalem a besieged city, full of sighs (vahătsı̄qōthı̄, perf. cons., with the tone upon the ultimate); but "she becomes to me like an Arı̄el," i.e., being qualified through me, she will prove herself a hearth of God, by consuming the foes like a furnace, or by their meeting with their destruction at Jerusalem, like wood piled up on the altar and then consumed in flame. The prophecy has thus passed over the whole ground in a few majestic words. It now starts from the very beginning again, and first of all expands the hoi. Isaiah 29:3, Isaiah 29:4 "And I encamp in a circle round about thee, and surround thee with watch-posts, and erect tortoises against thee. And when brought down thou wilt speak from out of the ground, and thy speaking will sound low out of the dust; and thy voice cometh up like that of a demon from the ground, and thy speaking will whisper out of the dust." It would have to go so far with Ariel first of all, that it would be besieged by a hostile force, and would lie upon the ground in the greatest extremity, and then would whisper with a ghostlike softness, like a dying man, or like a spirit without flesh and bones. Kaddūr signifies sphaera, orbis, as in Isaiah 22:18 and in the Talmud (from kâdar equals kâthar; cf., kudur in the name Nabu-kudur-ussur, Nebo protect the crown, κίδαριν), and is used here poetically for סביב. Jerome renders it quasi sphaeram (from dūr, orbis). מצּב (from נצב, יצב) might signify "firmly planted" (Luzzatto, immobilmente; compare shūth, Isaiah 2:7); but according to the parallel it signifies a military post, like מצּב, נציב. Metsurōth (from mâtsōr, Deuteronomy 20:20) are instruments of siege, the nature of which can only be determined conjecturally. On 'ōbh, see Isaiah 8:19;

(Note: The 'akkuubh mentioned there is equivalent to anbûb, Arab. a knot on a reed stalk, then that part of such a reed which comes between two knots, then the reed stalk itself; root נב, to rise up, swell, or become convex without and concave within (Fl.). It is possible that it would be better to trace 'ōbh back to this radical and primary meaning of what is hollow (and therefore has a dull sound), whether used in the sense of a leather-bag, or applied to a spirit of incantation, and the possessor of such a spirit.)

there is no necessity to take it as standing for ba‛al 'ōbh.

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