Isaiah 33:3
At the noise of the tumult the people fled; at the lifting up of yourself the nations were scattered.
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(3) At the noise of the tumult . . .—The “people” are the mingled nations of the Assyrian armies; the “tumult” is that of the rush and crash, as of a mighty tempest, when Jehovah should at last up lift Himself for the deliverance of His chosen ones.

Isaiah 33:3-4. At the noise of the tumult — Which shall be made upon the angel’s destroying the army; the people fled — Namely, those of the army who escaped that stroke. At the lifting up of thyself — To execute judgment; the nations were scattered — The people of divers nations which made up Sennacherib’s army. And your spoil — That treasure which you have raked together by spoiling divers people; shall be gathered — By the Jews at Jerusalem, when you shall be forced to flee away with all possible speed, leaving your spoils behind you; like the gathering of the caterpillar — As caterpillars gather and devour all the fruits of the earth, which was a common plague in those countries; as the running to and fro of locusts, &c. — As locusts, especially when they are armed by commission from God, come with great force, and run hither and thither devouring every thing before them; shall he run upon them — Namely, Hezekiah, with his people, shall thus eagerly run to the spoil of the Assyrian camp, and shall take it.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.At the noise of the tumult - Lowth supposes that this is addressed by the prophet in the name of God, or rather by God himself to the Assyrian, and that it means that notwithstanding the terror which he had caused the invaded countries, he would himself fall and become an easy prey to those whom he intended to subdue. But probably it should be regarded as a part of the address which the Jews made to Yahweh Isaiah 33:2, and the word 'tumult' - המון hâmôn, sound, noise, as of rain 1 Kings 18:41, or of music Ezekiel 26:13; Amos 5:23, or the bustle or tumult of a people 1 Samuel 4:11; 1 Samuel 14:19; Job 39:7 - refers here to the voice of God by which the army was overthrown. Yahweh is often represented as speaking to people in a voice suited to produce consternation and alarm. Thus it is said of the vision which Daniel saw of a man by the side of the river Hiddekel, 'his words' were 'like the voice of a multitude' (המון hâmôn), Daniel 10:6. And thus, in Revelation 1:10, the voice of Christ is said to have been 'like the voice of a trulupet;' and in Isaiah 33:15, 'like the sound of many waters.' It wilt be recollected also that it was said that God would send upon the Assyrian army 'thunder, and an earthquake, and a great noise, with storm and tempest, and a flame of devouring fire' (Isaiah 29:6; compare Isaiah 30:30); and it is doubtless to this prediction that the prophet refers here. God would come forth with the voice of indignation, and would scatter the combined armies of the Assyrian.

The people fled - The people in the army of the Assyrian. A large part of them Were slain by the angel of the Lord in a single night, but a portion of them with Sennacherib escaped and fled to their own land (Isaiah 37:36-37.

At the lifting up of thyself - Of Yahweh; as when one rouses himself to strike.

The nations - The army of Sennacherib was doubtless made up of levies from the nations that had been subdued, and that composed the Assyrian empire.

3. the tumult—the approach of Jehovah is likened to an advancing thunderstorm (Isa 29:6; 30:27), which is His voice (Re 1:15), causing the people to "flee."

nation—the Assyrian levies.

At the noise of the tumult, which the angel shall make in destroying the army.

The people; those of the army who escaped that stroke.

The nations; the people of divers nations, which made up his army. At the noise of the tumult the people fled,.... The Vulgate Latin Version renders it, "at the voice of the angel"; and Jerom reports it as the opinion of the Jews, that it was Gabriel; and many interpret the words either of the noise the angel made in the air, or was made in the Assyrian camp, when the angel descended, and smote such a vast number of them, at which the remnant, being frightened, fled, 2 Kings 19:35 but either this is to be understood as expressing what had been done in time past, and therefore the church took encouragement that it might and would be so again; or as a continuance of her prayer, thus, "at the noise of the tumult", or multitude (t), "let the people flee" (u); or as a prediction, "they shall flee" (w); that is, at the noise of the multitude of saints, the faithful, called, and chosen armies of heaven, that follow Christ on white horses, and clothed in white; when he shall go forth to battle with the kings of the earth, beast, and false prophet, let the people under them flee, or they shall flee, and not be able to stand before so puissant a General, and so powerful an army; see Revelation 17:14,

at the lifting up of thyself, the nations were scattered; so it has been in times past, when the Lord has lifted up himself, and appeared on behalf of his people, and has exerted himself, and displayed his power; and so it will be again; or so let it be: "let the nations be scattered"; the antichristian nations, as they will be, when the Lord shall lift up his hand, and pour out the vials of his wrath upon them.

(t) "a voce multitudinis", Pagninus; "a voce turbae", Montanus, Cocceius. (u) Fugiant, so some in Gataker. (w) Profugient, Piscator.

At the noise of the tumult the {f} people fled; at the {g} lifting up of thyself the nations were scattered.

(f) That is, the Assyrians fled before the army of the Chaldeans, or the Chaldeans for fear of the Medes and Persians.

(g) When you, O Lord, lifted up your arm to punish your enemies.

3. At the noise of the tumult] the convulsions which attend the manifestation of Jehovah. The phrase is found in 1 Kings 18:41 of a rain storm, and in Isaiah 13:4 of a multitudinous host.

3, 4. Assurance of Jehovah’s victory, founded on the great deliverances of the past. The perfects in Isaiah 33:3 may be either those of experience, expressing a general truth often verified in history, or of prophetic assurance. Isaiah 33:4 seems to apply this truth to the present crisis.Verse 3. - At the noise of the tumult the people fled; rather, the peoples; i.e. the contingents from many nations which made up the huge army of Sennacherib. The "noise" is that caused by God "lifting up himself" (comp. Psalm 29:3-9). The state would then continue long, very long, until at last the destruction of the false rest would be followed by the realization of the true. "Until the Spirit is poured out over us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as the forest. And justice makes its abode in the desert, and righteousness settles down upon the fruit-field. And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the reward of righteousness rest and security for ever. And my people dwells in a place of peace, and in trustworthy, safe dwellings, and in cheerful resting-places. And it hails with the overthrow of the forest, and into lowliness must the city be brought low." There is a limit, therefore, to the "for ever" of Isaiah 32:14. The punishment would last till the Spirit, which Israel had not then dwelling in the midst of it (see Haggai 2:5), and whose fulness was like a closed vessel to Israel, should be emptied out over Israel from the height of heaven (compare the piel ערה, Genesis 24:20), i.e., should be poured out in all its fulness. When that was done, a great change would take place, the spiritual nature of which is figuratively represented in the same proverbial manner as in Isaiah 29:17. At the same time, a different turn is given to the second half in the passage before us. The meaning is, not that what was now valued as a fruit-bearing garden would be brought down from its false eminence, and be only regarded as forest; but that the whole would be so glorious, that what was now valued as a fruit-garden, would be thrown into the shade by something far more glorious still, in comparison with which it would have the appearance of a forest, in which everything grew wild. The whole land, the uncultivated pasture-land as well as the planted fruitful fields of corn and fruit, would then become the tent and seat of justice and righteousness. "Justice and righteousness' (mishpât and tsedâqâh) are throughout Isaiah the stamp of the last and perfect time. As these advance towards self-completion, the produce and result of these will be peace (ma‛ăseh and abhōdâh are used to denote the fruit or self-reward of work and painstaking toil; compare פּעלּה). But two things must take place before this calm, trustworthy, happy peace, of which the existing carnal security is only a caricature, can possibly be realized. In the first place, it must hail, and the wood must fall, being beaten down with hail. We already know, from Isaiah 10:34, that "the wood" was an emblem of Assyria; and in Isaiah 30:30-31, we find "the hail" mentioned as one of the forces of nature that would prove destructive to Assyria. And secondly, "the city" (העיר, a play upon the word, and a counterpart to היּער) must first of all be brought low into lowliness (i.e., be deeply humiliated). Rosenmller and others suppose the imperial city to be intended, according to parallels taken from chapters 24-27; but in this cycle of prophecies, in which the imperial city is never mentioned at all, "the city" must be Jerusalem, whose course from the false peace to the true lay through a humiliating punishment (Isaiah 29:2-4; Isaiah 30:19., Isaiah 31:4.).
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