Isaiah 30:32
And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the LORD shall lay on him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it.
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(32) And in every place where the grounded staff . . .—It is not clear what meaning the English was intended to convey. Better, Wherever shall pass the destined rod (literally, the rod of foundation) which the Lord causes to fall upon him.

It shall be with tabrets and harps . . .i.e., at every stroke of God’s judgments upon Asshur Israel should raise its song of triumph with the timbrels and harps (or, perhaps, lutes), which were used by the people in their exultation after victory. So after Jephthah’s and David’s victories we have like processions (Judges 11:34; 1Samuel 18:6). Israel was to sing, as it were, its Te Deum over the fall of Assyria. So the long walls that connected Athens and the Piraeus were pulled down by the Spartans to the sound of music.

In battles of shaking will he fight with it.—Literally, battles of swinging, as marking the action of the warrior, who swings his sword rapidly to and fro, smiting his enemies at every stroke. The Hebrew pronoun for “it” is feminine, and has been referred by some critics to Jerusalem.

Isaiah 30:32. Where the grounded staff shall pass — Instead of משׂה מוסדה, the grounded, or founded staff, of which, he says, no one yet has been able to make any tolerable sense. Bishop Lowth, on the authority of two MSS, (one of them ancient,) reads משׂה מופרה, the staff of correction, which Le Clerc also supposes to be the true reading. The bishop, therefore, translates the clause thus: And it shall be, that wherever shall pass the rod of correction, which Jehovah shall lay heavily upon him, it shall be accompanied with tabrets and harps; that is, as the bishop explains it, “with every demonstration of joy and thanksgiving for the destruction of the enemy in so wonderful a manner: with hymns of praise, accompanied with musical instruments.” And in battles of shaking, &c. — Or, as it may be better rendered, in fierce or tremendous battles shall he, namely, the Lord, fight against them, that is, against the Assyrians.30:27-33 God curbs and restrains from doing mischief. With a word he guides his people into the right way, but with a bridle he turns his enemies upon their own ruin. Here, in threatening the ruin of Sennacherib's army, the prophet points at the final and everlasting destruction of all impenitent sinners. Tophet was a valley near Jerusalem, where fires were continually burning to destroy things that were hurtful and offensive, and there the idolatrous Jews caused their children to pass through the fire to Moloch. This denotes the certainty of the destruction, as an awful emblem of the place of torment in the other world. No oppressor shall escape the Divine wrath. Let sinners then flee to Christ, seeking to be reconciled to Him, that they may be safe and happy, when destruction from the Almighty shall sweep away all the workers of iniquity.And in every place - Margin, 'Every passing of the rod founded.' Lowth renders it, 'Whenever shall pass the rod of correction.' The whole design of the passage is evidently to foretell the sudden destruction of the army of the Assyrians, and to show that this would be accomplished by the agency of God. The idea seems to be, that in all those places where the rod of the Assyrian would pass, that is, where he would cause devastation and desolation, there would be the sound of rejoicing with instruments of music when he should be overthrown.

The grounded staff - The word 'staff' here, or "rod," seems to refer to that by which the Assyrian smote the nations Isaiah 30:31; or rather perhaps the Assyrian king himself as a rod of correction in the hand of Yahweh (see Isaiah 10:5). The word rendered 'grounded' (מוסדה mûsâdâh) has given great perplexity to commentators. Lowth supposes it should be מוסרח ("correction"), according to a conjecture of Le Clerc. Two manuscripts also read it in the same way. But the authority from the MSS. is not sufficient to justify a change in the present Hebrew text. This word, which is not very intelligibly rendered 'grounded,' is derived from יסד yâsad, to "found, to lay the foundation of a building" Ezra 3:12; Isaiah 54:11; then to establish, to appoint, to ordain Psalm 104:8; Habakkuk 1:12. The idea here is, therefore, that the rod referred to had been "appointed, constituted, ordained" by God; that is, that the Assyrian had been designated by him to accomplish important purposes as a rod, or as a means of punishing the nations.

Shall pass - In his march of desolation and conquest.

Which the Lord shall lay upon him - Or rather, as it should be translated, 'upon which Yahweh should lay,' that is, the rod, meaning that in all those places where Yahweh should lay this appointed scourge there would be yet rejoicing.

It shall be with tabrets and harps - Those places where he had passed, and which he had scourged, would be filled with joy and rejoicing at his complete overthrow, and at their entire deliverance from the scourge. For a description of the tabret and harp, see the notes at Isaiah 5:12.

And in battles of shaking - In the Hebrew there is an allusion here to what is said in Isaiah 30:28, that he would 'sift,' that is, agitate or toss the nations as in a winnowing shovel.

Will he fight with it - Margin, 'Against them.' Yahweh would fight against the 'rod,' to wit, the Assyrian, and destroy him (see Isaiah 37:36).

32. grounded—rather, "decreed," "appointed" [Maurer].

staff—the avenging rod.

him—the Assyrian; type of all God's enemies in every age. Margin and Maurer construe, "Every passing through (infliction, Isa 28:15) of the appointed rod, which, &c., shall be with tabrets," that is, accompanied with joy on the part of the rescued peoples.

battles of shaking—that is, shock of battles (Isa 19:16; compare "sift … sieve," Isa 30:28).

with it—namely, Assyria.

The grounded staff, Heb. the founded rod; the judgment of God, which is frequently called a rod in Scripture, and may be here called a founded rod, or the rod of foundation, either because it was firmly established, and certainly to come, by God’s immutable purpose and appointment; or because the rod should not slightly touch him, and pass over him, but strike deep, and be fixed, and as it were grounded or founded in his flesh, and made to rest upon him, as it follows in the next clause.

Shall lay, Heb. shall cause to rest; which is contrary to the manner of God’s dealing with his people, upon whom he will not suffer the rod of the wicked to rest, Psalm 125:3.

Upon him; upon the Assyrian, mentioned in the foregoing verse.

It shall be with tabrets and harps: the sense is either,

1. Their destruction shall be celebrated by God’s people with joy, and music, and songs of praise. Or,

2. The victory shall be got, not by warlike instruments and achievements, but as it were by tabrets and harps; wherein he may possibly allude to the victory which Jehoshaphat got against Moab and Ammon, not by fighting; but only by singing and praising God with the voice, and with musical instruments, 2 Chronicles 20:19,21,27,28; God being pleased to fight for them by his own immediate power; which also was the case here, which made the people of God sing a triumph before the fight, Isaiah 37:22. In battles of shaking; or, with battles or fightings of shaking, to wit, of shaking of the hand, of which kind of shaking this Hebrew word is constantly used, such as are performed by the mere shaking of the hand; namely, by God’s shaking his hand against them, as he threatens to do against others, Isaiah 11:15 19:16, in which last place this very word is used, and in the former the verb from whence it comes. For that this shaking is an act of God seems more than probable, and from the following words, will he, i.e. God, as all understand it, fight against it. And so the sense of the place may be this, God will fight against them, and destroy them by his own hands. Will he, to wit, the Lord, who declareth himself to be the enemy of the Assyrian, both in the foregoing and following verses, fight with it; with the army of the Assyrians: or, according to the other Hebrew reading, with them; with the, Assyrians. And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass,.... The storm before mentioned, the wrath and righteous judgment of God, founded upon his unalterable purposes and decrees; and, wherever it came, would fall with great weight, sink deep, stick fast, and remain fixed and sure, like a rod or staff fastened in the earth:

which the Lord shall lay upon him; or, "cause to rest upon him" (o); the Lord would lay his rod upon him, the Assyrian, and let it remain there, so that it should be a destroying rod or staff, as before; it should continue until it had done full execution, and utterly destroyed him. The Targum is,

"and there shall be every passage of their princes, and of their mighty ones, on whom the Lord shall cause to rest the vengeance of his power;''

and so the "grounded staff" may be understood of the Assyrian himself, that wherever he should be, this storm of vengeance should follow him, and rest upon him:

it shall be with tabrets and harps; the allusion is to the use of these in war; but, instead of these, no other music would be used at this time than what thunder, and rain, and hailstones made; unless this refers to the joy of God's people, upon the destruction of their enemies; so the Targum,

"with tabrets, and harps shall the house of Israel praise, because of the mighty war which shall be made for them among the people:''

see Revelation 15:2,

and in battles of shaking will he fight with it; the Assyrian camp; or as the Keri, or marginal reading, "with them": with the Assyrians, with the men of the camp; the soldiers, as Kimchi explains it; that is, the Lord will fight with them in battles, by shaking his hand over them in a way of judgment, and thereby shaking them to pieces, and utterly destroying them; see Revelation 19:11.

(o) "requiescere faciet", Pagninus, Montanus; "quiescere faciet", Cocceius.

And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, {d} which the LORD shall lay upon him, it shall be with {e} tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight {f} with it.

(d) It will destroy.

(e) With joy and assurance of the victory.

(f) Against Babel, meaning the Assyrians and Babylonians.

32. The verse may be translated as in R.V. And every stroke of the appointed staff which the Lord shall lay upon him shall be with tabrets and harps; and in battles of shaking will he fight with them. The expression “grounded staff” is, however, barely intelligible; the emendation “staff of correction” (Proverbs 22:15) only replaces one singular expression by another, and is besides too easy to be worth much. The phrase “battles of shaking” is also difficult. “Battles of the swinging (of Jehovah’s rod)” is the construction usually put upon it, but the sense is rhetorically weak. The word for “shaking” is the technical term for the “wave offering” in the Law (e.g. Leviticus 7:30); hence Ewald renders “battles of wave-offering,” i.e. battles in which Assyria is devoted to destruction.Verse 32. - In every place where the grounded staff shall pass, etc.; rather, and it shall come to pass that every stroke (literally, passage) of the destined rod which Jehovah causes to rest upon him shall be with an accompaniment of drums and citherns. Each blow dealt to Assyria shall rejoice her enemies, and cause them to break out into songs of praise, accompanied by the music of various instruments (comp. ver. 29; and see also Exodus 15:1-21). In battles of shaking; or, battles of swinging - "those in which Jehovah swings his rod, and deals (repeated) blows to his enemies" (Cheyne). Will he fight with it; rather, will he fight against her; i.e. against Assyria. The promise now rises higher and higher, and passes from earth to heaven. "And the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be multiplied sevenfold, like the light of seven days, in the day that Jehovah bindeth the hurt of His people, and healeth the crushing of His stroke." Modern commentators from Lowth downwards for the most part pronounce היּמים שׁבעת כּאור a gloss; and there is one external evidence in favour of this, which is wanting in the case of the other supposed glosses in Isaiah, namely, that the words are omitted by the lxx (though not by the Targum, the Syriac, or Jerome). Even Luther (although he notices these words in his exposition and sermons) merely renders them, der Sonnen schein wird siebenmal heller sein denn jtzt (the sunlight will be seven times as bright as it is now). But the internal evidence does not favour their spuriousness even in the case before us; for the fact that the regularity of the verse, as consisting of four members, is thereby disturbed, is no evidence at all, since the v. could be warranted in a pentastic quite as well as in a tetrastic form. We therefore decide in this instance also in favour of the conclusion that the prophet composed the gloss himself. But we cannot maintain, with Umbreit, that the addition was necessary, in order to guard against the idea that there would be seven suns shining in the sky; for the prophet does not predict a multiplication of the sun by seven, but simply the multiplication of its light. The seven days are the length of an ordinary week. Drechsler gives it correctly: "The radiated light, which is sufficient to produce the daylight for a whole week according to the existing order of things, will then be concentrated into a single day." Luther renders it in this way, als wenn sieben tag ynn eynander geschlossen weren (as if seven days were enclosed in one another). This also is not meant figuratively, any more than Paul means is figuratively, when he says, that with the manifestation of the "glory" of the children of God, the "corruption" of universal nature will come to an end. Nevertheless, it is not of the new heaven that the prophet is speaking, but of the glorification of nature, which is promised by both the Old Testament prophecy and by that of the New at the closing period of the world's history, and which will be the closing typical self-annunciation of that eternal glory in which everything will be swallowed up. The brightest, sunniest days then alternate, as the prophet foretells, with the most brilliant moonlight nights. No other miracles will be needed for this than that wonder-working power of God, which even now produces those changes of weather, the laws of which no researches of natural science have enabled us to calculate, and which will then give the greatest brilliancy and most unchangeable duration to what is now comparatively rare - namely, a perfectly unclouded sky, with sun or moon shining in all its brilliancy, yet without any scorching from the one, or injurious effects from the other. Heaven and earth will then put on their sabbath dress; for it will be the Sabbath of the world's history, the seventh day in the world's week. The light of the seven days of the world's week will be all concentrated in the seventh. For the beginning of creation was light, and its close will be light as well. The darkness all comes between, simply that it may be overcome. At last will come a bōqer (morning), after which it will no more be said, "And evening was, and morning was." The prophet is speaking of the last type of this morning. What he predicts here precedes what he predicted in Isaiah 24:23, just as the date of its composition precedes that of chapters 24-27; for there the imperial city was Babylon, whereas here the glory of the latter day is still placed immediately after the fall of Assyria.
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