Isaiah 33:12
And the people shall be as the burnings of lime: as thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire.
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(12) And the people shall be . . .—The two images of destruction are singularly vivid. The limekiln and the oven which was fed with thorns were alike in this. The outcome of their work was seen in a residuum of ashes.

33:1-14 Here we have the proud and false destroyer justly reckoned with for all his fraud and violence. The righteous God often pays sinners in their own coin. Those who by faith humbly wait for God, shall find him gracious to them; as the day, so let the strength be. If God leaves us to ourselves any morning, we are undone; we must every morning commit ourselves to him, and go forth in his strength to do the work of the day. When God arises, his enemies are scattered. True wisdom and knowledge lead to strength of salvation, which renders us stedfast in the ways of God; and true piety is the only treasure which can never be plundered or spent. The distress Jerusalem was brought into, is described. God's time to appear for his people, is, when all other helpers fail. Let all who hear what God has done, acknowledge that he can do every thing. Sinners in Zion will have much to answer for, above other sinners. And those that rebel against the commands of the word, cannot take its comforts in time of need. His wrath will burn those everlastingly who make themselves fuel for it. It is a fire that shall never be quenched, nor ever go out of itself; it is the wrath of an ever-living God preying on the conscience of a never-dying soul.And the people - In the army of Sennacherib.

As the burnings of lime - As if placed in a burning lime-kiln, where they must certainly be destroyed (see Isaiah 30:33; compare Amos 2:1).

As thorns cut up - As thorns, or small brushwood, that has been long cut up and perfectly dried are speedily consumed, so shall it be with the Assyrian army. This is an image like many that are employed, denoting that the destruction of the army of the Assyrians would be sudden and entire.

12. (Isa 9:19; Am 2:1). Perhaps alluding to their being about to be burnt on the funeral pyre (Isa 30:33).

thorns—the wicked (2Sa 23:6, 7).

Shall be as the burnings of lime; shall be burnt as easily and effectually as chalk is burned to make lime. And the people shall be as the burnings of lime,.... Like chalk stones that are burnt to make lime of; which may denote not only their hardness and impenitency, which brought upon them and issued in the wrath of God; but the miserable condition into which they are brought, and the torture they should be put to: perhaps this may refer to the casting of the beast and false prophet alive into the lake burning with fire and brimstone, Revelation 19:20,

as thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire; "thorns" are a fit simile to express the unfruitfulness, uselessness, and harmfulness of wicked men, particularly the sons of Belial, the followers of antichrist; and these "cut up", and so not green and moist, but dry, and fit fuel for the fire, which burn the more easily and quickly, makes the metaphor more agreeable. The burning of Rome seems here to be pointed at, Revelation 17:16.

And the people shall be as the burnings of lime: as thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire.
12. as the burnings of lime] i.e. “as if burned to lime.” An image probably suggested by Amos 2:1. The word rendered cut up (R.V. cut down) only occurs again in Psalm 80:16.Verse 12. - The people; rather, the peoples, as in ver. 3; i.e. the nations composing the Assyrian army. As the burnings of lime; as thorns. Things that fire consumes utterly and quickly. The prophet sees this as he prays, and now feasts himself on the consequences of this victory of Jehovah, prophesying in Isaiah 33:5, Isaiah 33:6 : "Jehovah is exalted; for, dwelling on high, He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness. And there will be security of thy times, riches of salvation, of wisdom, and knowledge. Fear of Jehovah is then the treasure of Judah." Exalted: for though highly exalted in Himself, He has performed an act of justice and righteousness, with the sight and remembrance of which Zion is filled as with an overflowing rich supply of instruction and praise. A new time has dawned for the people of Judah. The prophet addresses them in Isaiah 33:6; for there is nothing to warrant us in regarding the words as addressed to Hezekiah. To the times succeeding this great achievement there would belong 'emūnâh, i.e., (durability (Exodus 17:12) - a uniform and therefore trustworthy state of things (compare Isaiah 39:8, "peace and truth"). Secondly, there would also belong to them חסן, a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge (compare the verb in Isaiah 23:18). We regard these three ideas as all connected with chōsen. The prophet makes a certain advance towards the unfolding of the seven gifts in Isaiah 11:2, which are implied in "salvation;" but he hurries at once to the lowest of them, which forms the groundwork of all the rest, when he says, thirdly, that the fear of Jehovah will be the people's treasure. The construct form, chokhmath, instead of chokhmâh, is a favourite one, which Isaiah employs, even apart from the genitive relation of the words, for the purpose of securing a closer connection, as Isaiah 35:2; Isaiah 51:21 (compare pârash in Ezekiel 26:10), clearly show. In the case before us, it has the further advantage of consonance in the closing sound.
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