Isaiah 30:22
You shall defile also the covering of your graven images of silver, and the ornament of your molten images of gold: you shall cast them away as a menstruous cloth; you shall say to it, Get you hence.
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(22) Ye shall defile also . . .—The first effect of the turning of the people was to be the putting away of what had been their besetting sin. The “graven” image possibly refers to the “carved” wooden figure which was afterwards overlaid with silver and gold. (Comp. Isaiah 40:19.) These, which had been worshipped, were now to be cast aside, like that which was the very type of loathsomeness.

Isaiah 30:22. Ye shall also — To show your contempt of it; defile the covering of thy graven images — The leaves or plates, wherewith their wooden images were frequently covered: and the ornament of thy molten images — Or, the coat, or covering; Hebrew, אפדת, the ephod, as the word is rendered, Exodus 28:8; and Exodus 39:5; which was a costly and glorious robe. The images also were of gold: for the idolaters spared no cost in the making and adorning of their idols. Thou shalt cast them away, &c. — Thou shalt so deeply abhor idolatry that thou shalt cast away, with indignation, all the monuments and instruments thereof. This prophecy was fulfilled in some measure even before the Assyrian invasion, as we learn from 2 Chronicles 31:1; Hezekiah inciting the people to destroy idolatry out of the land. Probably it was fulfilled still more upon the deliverance of Jerusalem from Sennacherib’s army, which, doubtless, would convince thousands of individuals of the almighty power of Jehovah, of the impotence of idols, and the sin and folly of worshipping them. But it was verified in the whole body of the Jewish nation, at their return from their captivity in Babylon, for they abhorred idols ever after. Add to this, it is accomplished daily in the conversion of souls, by the power of divine grace, from spiritual idolatry, to the fear and love of God. This deliverance from the love and practice of idolatry is the third blessing here represented as being conferred on the people, after the forementioned judgments. In the two following verses we have a fourth.30:19-26 God's people will soon arrive at the Zion above, and then they will weep no more for ever. Even now they would have more comfort, as well as holiness, if they were more constant in prayer. A famine of bread is not so great a judgment as a famine of the word of God. There are right-hand and left-hand errors; the tempter is busy courting us into by-paths. It is happy if, by the counsels of a faithful minister or friend, or the checks of conscience, and the strivings of God the Spirit, we are set right when doubting, and prevented from going wrong. They shall be cured of their idolatry. To all true penitents sin becomes very hateful. This is shown daily in the conversion of souls, by the power of Divine grace, to the fear and love of God. Abundant means of grace, with the influences of the Holy Spirit, would be extended to places destitute of them. The effect of this should be comfort and joy to the people of God. Light, that is, knowledge, shall increase. This is the light which the gospel brought into the world, and which proclaims healing to the broken-hearted.Ye shall defile also - That is, you shall regard them as polluted and abominable. This is language which is often used respecting their treatment of the images and altars of idolatry when they became objects of abomination, and when they were induced to abandon them (see 2 Kings 23:8, 2 Kings 23:10, 2 Kings 23:16). It is not improbable that before destroying them they would express their abhorrence of them by some act of polluting or defiling them, as significant of their contempt for the objects of degraded idolatry (see the note at Isaiah 2:20). The sense of the whole passage is, that the effect of the judgments which God was about to bring upon the nation would be, to turn them from idolatry, to which as a nation they had been signally prone.

The covering - The images of idols were usually made of wood or clay, and overlaid with gold. That gold and silver were used "to plate" them is apparent from Deuteronomy 7:25; and the whole process of making them from wood, and then of overlaying them with plates of gold and silver is described with graphic power and severity of irony in Isaiah 40:19-20; Isaiah 41:6-7.

Thy graven images of silver - Margin, 'The graven images of thy silver.' Probably the construction in the text is correct, as meaning that the images were not made of entire silver, but of wood or clay, plated with silver.

And the ornament - The golden plates or the covering of the images.

Thy molten images - The word 'molten' refers to those which were made by "casting" (see the notes at Isaiah 40:19-20).

Thou shalt cast them away - (see the note at Isaiah 2:20). This would be in accordance with the express direction of Moses; Deuteronomy 7:25 : 'The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire; thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein, for it is an abomination unto the Lord thy God.'

22. covering of … images—rather, "images" (formed of wood or potter's clay, and) "covered with silver." Hezekiah, and afterwards Josiah, defiled them (2Ki 23:8, 10, 14, 16; 2Ch 31:1; compare Isa 2:20; De 7:25). Ye shall defile, to show your contempt of it, and to make it unfit for your own or any other’s use.

The covering; the leaves or plates wherewith their wooden images were frequently covered; of which see Exodus 38:17,19 Num 16:38,39.

The ornament; or, the coat or covering. Heb. the ephod, as this very word is rendered, Exodus 28:8 39:5, which was a costly and glorious robe. The idolaters spared no cost in the making and adorning their idols; and, among others, the image of Jupiter in Sicily had a coat put upon it made all of massy gold.

Thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt so deeply abhor idolatry, that thou shalt east away with indignation all the monuments and instruments thereof. Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver,.... Images made of solid silver, covered with rich and costly garments; or images covered and decorated with plates of silver; see Jeremiah 10:4 these they not only pulled down and defaced, but defiled, to show their contempt and abhorrence of them:

and the ornament of thy molten images of gold; images made of solid gold, covered with an ephod, as the word here used signifies; such an one as the high priest wore, and Micah made for his house of idolatry, Exodus 28:6,

thou shall cast them away as a menstruous cloth; which is not only filthy and loathsome, but defiling; whoever touched it were unclean by the law for a while; or as a woman in her monthly courses, who, during that time, was to be separate from her husband, Leviticus 15:19, &c.; this is used to express the pollution and nauseousness of idols, and of the utter rejection of them:

thou shall say unto it, Get thee hence; Kimchi observes that some say the word signifies "dung; thou shall say to it, thou art dung", and only fit for the dunghill, and to it thou shall go; at the same time cast it out, declaring abhorrence of idols, repentance for worshipping them, and signifying that they would have nothing more to do with them. This shows the efficacy of the word of God when it comes not in word only, but with the power and Spirit of God; it was fulfilled in some measure in Hezekiah's time; see 2 Kings 18:4, and after the Babylonish captivity, when the Jews left off idolatry, and never more returned to it; and when the Gospel prevailed in the Roman Pagan empire, and at the time of the Reformation, and will be more largely accomplished when Popery shall be utterly destroyed through the powerful ministration of the Gospel.

Ye shall {t} defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a polluted cloth; thou shalt say to it, {u} Be gone from me.

(t) You will cast away your idols which you have made of gold and silver with all that belongs to them, as a most filthy thing and polluted.

(u) Showing that there can be no true repentance, unless both in heart and deed we show ourselves enemies to idolatry.

22. The renunciation of idolatry.

Ye shall defile] i.e. “desecrate” (2 Kings 23:8 ff.).

covering … ornament] Overlaying … plating, as R.V. An idol consisted of a core of wood or inferior metal, overlaid with a costly layer of silver or gold. The latter part was of course the most valuable, and perhaps also the most sacred (see Deuteronomy 7:25 f.).

cast them away, &c.] scatter them as an unclean thing; Exodus 32:20.Verse 22. - Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver. Idolatry, greatly encouraged by Ahaz, had been strictly forbidden by Hezekiah at the beginning of his reign (2 Kings 18:4); but the present passage, among others, shows how impossible it was for a king, with the best intentions, to effect the extirpation of idolatry, if his subjects were attached to it. Evidently the Jews had, in many cases, secretly maintained their idols and their idolatrous practices, despite the efforts of Hezekiah. But now, in their repentance, they would "defile" (i.e. destroy) both the outer "covering" of precious rectal, and the inner core of wood or stone, or base metallic substance. The ornament of thy molten images of gold; rather, the coating or overlaying. It was usual to overlay with gold or silver molten images of bronze or other inferior metal. Cast them away; literally, scatter; i.e. either grind them to powder (2 Kings 23:6), or at any rate break them to bits, and then disperse the fragments far and wide. Into such small sherds, a heap thus scattered hither and thither, would the kingdom of Judah be broken up, in consequence of its ungodly thirst for self-liberation. "For thus saith the Lord Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, Through turning and rest ye would be helped; your strength would show itself in quietness and confidence; but ye would not. And ye said, No, but we will fly upon horses; therefore ye shall flee: and, We will ride upon racehorses; therefore your pursuers will race. A thousand, ye will flee from the threatening of one, from the threatening of five, until ye are reduced to a remnant, like a pine upon the top of the mountain, and like a banner upon the hill." The conditions upon which their salvation depended, and by complying with which they would attain to it, were shūbhâh, turning from their self-chosen way, and nachath, rest from self-confident work of their own (from nūăch, like rachath, ventilabrum, from rūăch, and shachath, fovea, from shūăch). Their strength (i.e., what they would be able to do in opposition to the imperial power) would show itself (hâyâh, arise, come to the light, as in Isaiah 29:2), in hashqēt, laying aside their busy care and stormy eagerness, and bitchâh, trust, which cleaves to Jehovah and, renouncing all self-help, leaves Him to act alone. This was the leading and fundamental principle of the prophet's politics even in the time of Ahaz (Isaiah 7:4). But from the very first they would not act upon it; nor would they now that the alliance with Egypt had become an irreversible fact. To fly upon horses, and ride away upon racehorses (kal, like κέλης, celer)

(Note: We regard the Sanscrit kal, to drive or hunt, the Greek κέλλ(ὀκέλλ)ειν, and the Semitic qal, as all having the same root: cf., Vurtius, Grundzge der griech. Etymol. i.116.))

had been and still was their proud and carnal ambition, which Jehovah would answer by fulfilling upon them the curses of the thorah (Leviticus 26:8, Leviticus 26:36; Deuteronomy 28:25; Deuteronomy 32:30). One, or at the most five, of the enemy would be able with their snorting to put to flight a whole thousand of the men of Judah. The verb nūs (Isaiah 30:16), which rhymes with sūs, is used first of all in its primary sense of "flying" (related to nūts, cf., Exodus 14:27), and then in its more usual sense of "fleeing." (Luzzatto, after Abulwald: vogliamo far sui cavalli gloriosa comparsa, from nūs, or rather nâsas, hence nânōs, from which comes nēs, excellere.) יקּלּוּ, the fut. niphal, signifies to be light, i.e., swift; whereas יקל, the fut. kal, had become a common expression for light in the sense of despised or lightly esteemed. The horses and chariots are Judah's own (Isaiah 2:7; Micah 5:9), though possibly with the additional allusion to the Egyptian cavalry, of world-wide renown, which they had called to their help. In Isaiah 30:17 the subject of the first clause is also that of the second, and consequently we have not וּמפּני (compare the asyndeta in Isaiah 17:6). The insertion of rebhâbhâh (ten thousand) after chămisshâh (five), which Lowth, Gesenius, and others propose, is quite unnecessary. The play upon the words symbolizes the divine law of retribution (talio), which would be carried out with regard to them. The nation, which had hitherto resembled a thick forest, would become like a lofty pine (tōrne, according to the talmudic tūrnı̄thâ, Pinus pinea), standing solitary upon the top of a mountain, and like a flagstaff planted upon a hill - a miserable remnant in the broad land so fearfully devastated by war. For אם עד followed by a preterite (equivalent to the fut. exactum), compare Isaiah 6:11 and Genesis 24:19.

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