Isaiah 3:2
The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient,
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(2) The mighty man, and the man of war.—The first word points to the aristocracy of landed proprietors, the latter to those who, whether of that class or not, had been prominent as leaders in the king’s armies.

The judge, and the prophet.—Each is named as the representative of a class. The latter was that to which Isaiah himself belonged, but in which he found, as Jeremiah did afterwards, his chief opponents.

The prudent, and the ancient.—The former word has the more definite meaning of “diviners,” those who had a real gift of wisdom, but who by their abuse of that gift had become as degenerate prophets. In the “ancient” we have the “elders” who were prominent in the municipal politics of the East, and formed at least the nucleus of the king’s council (Ruth 4:4; 2Samuel 19:11; 1Kings 20:7; 1Kings 21:8; and elsewhere).

Isaiah 3:2-3. The mighty man, &c. — Strong and valiant men. The judge — The civil magistrates; and the prophet — Either strictly so called, the want of whom is matter of grief, (Psalm 74:9,) or more largely taken, so as to include all skilful and faithful teachers; and the prudent — Whose wisdom and conduct were necessary to preserve them from ruin; and the ancient — Whose wisdom was increased by long experience. This likewise relates to the same times, particularly to Jehoiachin’s captivity, when all the men of note were carried away captive with him, 2 Kings 24:14. The captain of fifty — There shall not be a man left able to command fifty soldiers, much less such as could command hundreds or thousands, who yet were necessary; and the honourable man — Men of high birth, place, power, and reputation; and the counsellor — Wise and learned statesmen; and the cunning artificer — Who could make either ornaments for times of peace, or instruments for war, whom therefore conquerors were wont to take away from those nations whom they subdued, 1 Samuel 13:19-20; 2 Kings 24:14; and the eloquent orator — Hebrew, נבון לחשׁ, literally, the skilful of charm, or the skilful charmer, or enchanter; whereby he understands either, 1st, Charmers, whom he threatens God would take away, not as if such persons were blessings to a people, or the removing of them a curse, but only because they made great use of them, and trusted to them. And so he signifies that God would remove all the grounds of their confidence, both right and wrong, and make their case desperate. Thus, for the same reason, God threatens the Israelites, (Hosea 3:4,) that they should be, as without a sacrifice, so without an image and teraphim. Or, he may mean, 2d, Such as could persuade powerfully, and, as it were, charm people, by their eloquence, and induce them to do those things which were necessary for their safety; for the expression may be taken in a good sense, as קסם, divination, is Proverbs 16:10. Accordingly, Bishop Lowth translates it, the powerful in persuasion.3:1-9 God was about to deprive Judah of every stay and support. The city and the land were to be made desolate, because their words and works had been rebellious against the Lord; even at his holy temple. If men do not stay themselves upon God, he will soon remove all other supports, and then they must sink. Christ is the Bread of life and the Water of life; if he be our Stay, we shall find that is a good part not to be taken away, Joh 6:27. Here note, 1. That the condition of sinners is exceedingly woful. 2. It is the soul that is damaged by sin. 3. Whatever evil befals sinners, be sure that they bring it on themselves.The mighty man - The hero, The idea expressed is not simply that of personal strength and prowess, but the higher one of military eminence or heroism. "Prof. Alexander." This was fully accomplished in the time of Nebuchadnezzar; 2 Kings 24:14.

And the prudent - This word in the original - קסם qosēm - means properly "a diviner," or a "soothsayer." But it is sometimes used in a good sense; see Proverbs 16:10, "margin." The Chaldee understands it of a man "who is consulted," or whose opinion is asked, in times of perplexity or danger. The word was originally applied to false prophets, diviners, and soothsayers, who claimed the power of looking into futurity. It came, however, to denote also the man of sagacity, the statesman, the experienced counselor, who from the records of the past could judge of the future, and to whom, therefore, the nation could look in times of perplexity and danger. Vitringa supposes that it may refer here to the false prophets on whose advice the nation might be relying.

The ancient - The old man. Such men, especially among the Hebrews, were deemed particularly qualified to give advice. They had experience; they kept the traditions of their fathers; they had conversed with the wise of the preceding generation; and in a land where there were few books, and knowledge was to be gained mainly by conversation and experience, great respect was shown them; see Leviticus 19:32; 2 Chronicles 31:17; 1 Kings 12:6, 1 Kings 12:8.

2. Fulfilled (2Ki 24:14).

prudent—the Hebrew often means a "soothsayer" (De 18:10-14); thus it will mean, the diviners, on whom they rely, shall in that day fail. It is found in a good sense (Pr 16:10), from which passage the Jews interpret it a king; "without" whom Israel long has been (Ho 3:4).

ancient—old and experienced (1Ki 12:6-8).

The mighty man; strong and valiant men. The judge; the civil magistrates. The prophet; either strictly so called, the want of whom is matter of grief; see Psalm 74:9; or largely, so as to include all skilful and faithful teachers.

The prudent; whose wisdom and conduct was necessary to preserve them from ruin. The ancient; whose wisdom was increased by long experience. The mighty man, and man of war,.... The meaning is either that these should die in war, as thousands of them did; or that men fit to be generals of armies should be removed by death before this time, so that they should have none to go out with their armies, and meet the enemy:

the judge and the prophet; there should be none to sit upon the bench, and administer justice to the people in civil affairs, and to determine causes relating to life and death; and none to instruct them in religious matters, and deliver the mind and will of God to them; and before this time the Jews were under the Roman jurisdiction, and had a Roman governor over them, and had not power to judge in capital cases, in matters of life and death, as they suggest, John 18:31 and they say (z), that forty years before the destruction of the temple this power was taken from them; and at the time that Jerusalem was besieged, and taken by the Romans, and before that, they had no prophets among them; for though there were prophets in the Christian churches, yet none among them; this shows that this prophecy cannot be understood of the Babylonish captivity, because there were prophets then, as Jeremy, Ezekiel, and Daniel, but of Jerusalem's destruction by the Romans:

and the prudent and the ancient: with whom are wisdom, and who are fit to give advice and counsel in matters of difficulty; but these would be removed by famine or sword. The first of these words is used sometimes in an ill sense, for a diviner or soothsayer, Deuteronomy 18:10. The Jewish writers (a) interpret it of a king, according to Proverbs 16:10 and it is certain they were without one at this time, and have been ever since, Hosea 3:4.

(z) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 15. 1. Sanhedrin, fol. 41. 1. and Beracot, fol. 58. 1.((a) T. Bab. Chagiga, fol. 14. 1. Jarchi in loc.

The mighty man, and the man of war, {b} the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient,

(b) The temporal governor and the minister.

2. The mighty man, and the man of war] Hero and man of war. The profession of arms naturally stands first, Judah being still a military power of some pretensions. In ancient times, moreover, civil and military leadership were hardly separate.

The prophet is the professional prophet, scarcely distinguishable from the diviner (wrongly rendered prudent in A.V.), with whom he is bracketed. The word for ancient is that usually translated elder.

2, 3. A list of the officials and prominent persons who form the “props” of society. No clear principle of arrangement can be traced, although the titles tend to fall into pairs, and those in Isaiah 3:3 are perhaps of less distinction than those in Isaiah 3:2. The art. is better omitted throughout as in Heb.Verse 2. - The mighty man, and the man of war; or, hero and warrior. The first rank is given to those distinguished in war, as being held in the highest esteem, and perhaps as actually, under the coming circumstances, the men of most importance to the country. It is thus implied, as later (vers. 25, 26) it is expressly taught, that the impending visitation will be a terrible invasion. The judge, and the prophet; literally, judge and prophet. The judge holds his place as one of the highest officers of the state (see Isaiah 1:26); the prophet holds a lower position than might have been expected, on account of the writer's humility. The prudent; rather, the diviner, as the word is translated in Deuteronomy 18:14; 1 Samuel 6:2; Isaiah 44:25; Jeremiah 27:9; Jeremiah 29:8; Ezekiel 13:9; Micah 3:7; Zechariah 10:2; or soothsayer, as in Joshua 13:22. Isaiah arranges the classes, not so much according to the order in which he values them, as to that in which they were valued by the people. The ancient; i.e. "the elder," as the word is translated commonly. The "elders" had an ascertained position in the state under the monarchy (2 Samuel 5:3; 2 Samuel 19:11; 1 Kings 8:1; 1 Kings 20:7; 2 Kings 6:32, etc.). The closing refrain of the next two strophes is based upon the concluding clause of Isaiah 2:10. The proclamation of judgment turns now to the elilim, which, as being at the root of all the evil, occupied the lowest place in the things of which the land was full (Isaiah 2:7, Isaiah 2:8). In a short v. of one clause consisting of only three words, their future is declared as it were with a lightning-flash. "And the idols utterly pass away." The translation shows the shortness of the verse, but not the significant synallage numeri. The idols are one and all a mass of nothingness, which will be reduced to absolute annihilation: they will vanish Câlil, i.e., either "they will utterly perish" (funditus peribunt), or, as Câlil is not used adverbially in any other passage, "they will all perish" (tota peribunt, Judges 20:40) - their images, their worship, even their names and their memory (Zechariah 13:2).
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