Isaiah 29:8
It shall even be as when an hungry man dreams, and, behold, he eats; but he wakes, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreams, and, behold, he drinks; but he wakes, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul has appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion.
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(8) It shall even be as when an hungry man . . . eateth.—The foes of Jerusalem were greedy of their prey, eager to devour; they thought it was already theirs. The rude awakening found them still empty. The lion of Judah was not to be devoured even by the strong bull of Assyria.

Isaiah 29:8. “As when a hungry man dreameth; and, lo! he seemeth to eat; but he awaketh, and his appetite is still unsatisfied: and as a thirsty man, &c. So shall it be with the multitude of all the nations, which have set themselves in array against mount Zion.” Thus Bishop Lowth. The Assyrians had swallowed up Jerusalem in their imagination: but God would suddenly disappoint all their hopes, and send them away empty and confounded. For, the reader will observe, “Sennacherib and his mighty army are not here compared to a dream, because of their sudden disappearance; but the disappointment of their eager hopes is compared to what happens to a hungry and thirsty man, when he awakes from a dream, in which fancy had presented to him meat and drink in abundance, and finds it nothing but a vain illusion. The comparison is elegant and beautiful in the highest, degree, well wrought up, and perfectly suited to the end proposed.”29:1-8 Ariel may signify the altar of burnt-offerings. Let Jerusalem know that outward religious services will not make men free from judgements. Hypocrites never can please God, nor make their peace with him. God had often and long, by a host of angels, encamped round about Jerusalem for protection and deliverance; but now he fought against it. Proud looks and proud language shall be brought down by humbling providences. The destruction of Jerusalem's enemies is foretold. The army of Sennacherib went as a dream; and thus the multitudes, that through successive ages fight against God's altar and worship, shall fall. Speedily will sinners awake from their soothing dreams in the pains of hell.It shall even be ... - This is a most striking figure representing the earnest desire of the Assyrian to possess the city of Jerusalem, and his utter disappointment. The comparison is elegant and beautiful in the highest degree. It is performed up to great perfection; and is perfectly suited to illustrate the object in view. The same image substantially is found in the classic writers; and this, says Lowth, may, for beauty and ingenuity, fairly come in competition with one of the most elegant of Virgil (greatly improved from Homer, "Iliad" xxii. 119), where he has applied to a different purpose, but not so happily, the same image of the ineffectual workings of the imagination in a dream:

Ac veluti in somnis oculos ubi languida pressit

Nocte quies, nequicquam avidos extendere cursus

Velle videmur, et in mediis conatibus aegri

Succidimus; non lingua valet, non corpore notae

Sufficiunt vires; nec, vox, nec verba scquuniur.

AEniad xii. 908.

And as when slumber seals the closing sight,

The sick wild fancy labors in the night,

Some dreadful visionary foe we shun,

With airy strides, but strive in vain to run;

In vain our baffled limbs their powers essay,

We faint, we struggle, sink, and fall away;

Drained of our strength we neither fight nor fly,


8. Their disappointment in the very height of their confident expectation of taking Jerusalem shall be as great as that of the hungry man who in a dream fancies he eats, but awakes to hunger still (Ps 73:20); their dream shall be dissipated on the fatal morning (Isa 37:36).

soul—simply his appetite: he is still thirsty.

His soul is empty; his appetite or desire (as the soul is taken, Psalm 41:4 78:18, and elsewhere) is unsatisfied. Or, his stomach or body (as the soul is used, Psalm 16:10) is empty.

So shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against Mount Zion; no less unsatisfied and unsatiable shall the enemies of the Jews be, with all the cruelties which they have committed against you; and they shall be always thirsting after more of your blood, as if they had never tasted any of it. It shall be even as when a hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth,.... That is, he dreams of food, and imagines it before him, and that he is really eating it:

but he awaketh, and his soul is empty; his stomach is empty when he awakes, and he finds he has not ate anything at all:

or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh: who fancies that he has got a cup of liquor in his hand, and at his mouth, and is drinking it with a great deal of eagerness and pleasure:

but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite; when he awakes, he is not at all refreshed with his imaginary drinking, but still desires liquor to revive his fainting spirits, and extinguish his thirst:

so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against Mount Zion; either shall quickly perish; or, having raised their expectations, and pleased themselves with the booty they should obtain, of which they thought themselves sure, shall find themselves mistaken, and all like an illusive dream. Some interpret this of the disappointment of Sennacherib's army; and others of the insatiable cruelty of the Chaldeans; but rather, if the above sense pleases not, it would be better to understand it of the Jews, who, amidst their greatest danger, flattered themselves with the hope of deliverance, which was all a dream and an illusion; and to which sense the following words seem to incline.

It shall even be as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, {g} he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion.

(g) That is, he thinks that he eats.

8. dreameth, and behold] The invariable formula in narrating a dream; Genesis 40:9; Genesis 40:16; Genesis 41:1 ff.; Daniel 2:31; Daniel 7:5-6.

his soul] the seat of appetite and desire: cf. Isaiah 5:14, Isaiah 32:6; Proverbs 6:30. A more vivid representation of utter disenchantment than this verse gives can scarcely be conceived.Verse 8. - It shall be even as when an hungry man dreameth. The melting away of the vision would involve a keen disappointment. The enemies of Israel had expected to secure a most valuable prey. They had dreamed of a rich booty when they should take the city - a booty which would reward them for all the hardships of their marches, their watches, their toils in the siege, the dangers to which they exposed themselves in the assaults. It was as if a hungry man had dreamed that he was engaged in a feast, or a thirsty man that he was drinking deep at a banquet, when suddenly he wakes up, and finds that he has been merely dreaming, and that there is no reality in his fancies. Dr. Kay quotes a passage which is much to the point from Mungo Park's journals: "No sooner had I shut my eyes than fancy would convey me to the streams and rivers of my native land. There, as I wandered along the verdant bank, I surveyed the clear streams with transport, and hastened to swallow the delightful draught; but, alas! disappointment awaked me, and I found myself a lonely captive, perishing of thirst amid the wilds of Africa." Those engaged in the siege, while themselves vanishing away, would likewise find their dreams of plunder vanish, and Would bitterly feel the disappointment. That fight against Mount Zion. To attack Jerusalem was to fight against the mount of God, the place where Jehovah had "set his Name, "and where he condescended in some true sense to dwell continually. How could those who engaged in such an enterprise hope to succeed? 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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