Isaiah 33:6 Commentaries: And He will be the stability of your times, A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the LORD is his treasure.
Isaiah 33:6
And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of your times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.
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(6) Wisdom and knowledge . . .—The words are used in the higher sense, as in Proverbs 1:1-4, in contrast with the craft and devices of men, just as the “fear of the Lord” is the true treasure, in contrast with the silver and gold in which Hezekiah had been led to place his trust.

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 wisdom and knowledge shall be - This verse contains evidently an address to Hezekiah, and asserts that his reign would be characterized by the prevalence of piety and knowledge. This chapter abounds in sudden transitions; and it accords with its general character that when Yahweh had been addressed Isaiah 33:5, there should then be a direct address to Hezekiah.

The stability - This word denotes firmness, steadiness, constancy; and means that in his times knowledge and the fear of the Lord would be settled on a firm foundation. The whole history of the virtuous reign of Hezekiah shows that this was fulfilled (see 2 Kings 18)

And strength of salvation - Or saving strength; that is, mighty or distinguished salvation. Thy times shah be distinguished for great reforms, and for the prevalence of the doctrines of salvation.

The fear of the Lord is his treasure - The principal riches of Hezekiah. His reign shall not be distinguished for wars and conquests, for commercial enterprise, or for external splendor, but for the prevalence of piety, and the fear of the Lord.

6. wisdom—sacred; that is, piety.

thy—Hezekiah's; or rather, "Judea's." "His" refers to the same; such changes from the pronoun possessive of the second person to that of the third are common in Hebrew poetry.

treasure—Not so much material wealth as piety shall constitute the riches of the nation (Pr 10:22; 15:16).

Wisdom and knowledge, to govern thyself and thy people well, shall be the stability of thy times; of thy reign; times being oft put for things done in those times, as 1 Chronicles 12:32 Psalm 31:15 37:18, &c. He turneth his speech to Hezekiah. The sense is, Thy throne shall be established upon the sure foundations of wisdom and justice.

Strength of salvation; thy saving strength, or thy strong or mighty salvation.

The fear of the Lord is his treasure: and although thou shalt have great treasures of gold and silver, &c., yet thy chief treasure and delight is, and shall be, in promoting the fear and worship of God; which shall be a great honour and safeguard to thyself and people. He saith,

his treasure, for thy treasure, by a sudden change of the person, usual in these books. And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times,.... Some take these words to be directed to Hezekiah; but rather they are an apostrophe to the Messiah, and respect the later times of Christ, when many shall run to and fro, and the knowledge of him shall be increased, and the earth shall be covered with it, as the waters cover the sea; and which, as it will make these times comfortable and pleasant, so firm, durable, and lasting: or else they are the words of believers in those times, addressed to Zion the church, before spoken of, observing the great increase of spiritual wisdom and knowledge after the destruction of antichrist; by means of which there would be settled times of peace, joy, and comfort to the church:

and strength of salvation; or "salvations" (x); or strong and lasting salvations; eternal salvation by Jesus Christ, and complete salvation from antichrist, and from every other enemy; which, together with spiritual wisdom, and experimental knowledge of Christ, and his Gospel, will be the stability of those happy times, which will make the spiritual reign of Christ. The whole may be rendered, according to the accents (y), and "he" (that is, the Lord, before spoken of) "shall be the stability of thy times; the strength of salvations shall be wisdom and knowledge":

the fear of the Lord is his treasure; either Hezekiah's, as some, who esteemed the fear of the Lord above all his treasure; and was more zealous in settling and establishing the true worship of God than in amassing treasures to himself: or rather the Lord's treasure, from which he receives a tribute of honour, of more value than the greatest treasure: or, best of all, the church's treasure, and every true believer's; this being the beginning of wisdom, or true grace, the best of riches, and which secures the saints' final perseverance to glory, the better and more enduring substance.

(x) "fortitudo salutum", Pagninus, Montanus; "rebur ominis, vel multiplicis salutis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (y) Vid. Reinbeck de Accent. Heb. p. 405.

And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of {k} thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.

(k) That is, in the days of Hezekiah.

6. The verse is difficult and may be construed in several ways. We might either render “and the stability of thy times shall be a store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge” (virtually as R.V. marg.); or take the words “stability of thy times” as a complete sentence (see Davidson’s Synt. § 3, Rem. 2), and translate as follows: And there shall be stability in thy times; wisdom and knowledge are a store of salvation; the fear of Jehovah is his (Israel’s) treasure. The general idea is that a right religious attitude is the true strength of the nation and the pledge of its deliverance from all dangers. That the words “store” and “treasure” were suggested by the depleted treasury of Hezekiah is not a natural supposition.

The word times is used, as in Psalm 31:15, in the sense of “predetermined lot.”Verse 6. - Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times; literally, and the stability of thy times shall be (i.e. consist in) a rich store of salvations, wisdom, and knowledge. The prophet here addresses the people of Judah in the second person, though in the next clause he reverts to the third. Such transitions are common in ancient compositions, and especially characterize the writings of Isaiah. The fear of the Lord is his treasure; i.e. the wisdom intended is that which is based upon "the fear of the Lord" (Psalm 111:10). This will be at once Judah's "treasure," and a guarantee of stability to her government and institutions (compare the Homiletics on Isaiah 32:15-17). In the face of this double judgment, the prophet congratulates those who will live to see the times after the judgment. "Blessed are ye that sow by all waters, and let the foot of the oxen and asses rove in freedom." Those who lived to see these times would be far and wide the lords of a quiet and fruitful land, cleared of its foes, and of all disturbers of peace. They would sow wherever they pleased, by all the waters that fertilized the soil, and therefore in a soil of the most productive kind, and one that required little if any trouble to cultivate. And inasmuch as everything would be in the most copious abundance, they would no longer need to watch with anxiety lest their oxen and asses should stray into the corn-fields, but would be able to let them wander wherever they pleased. There cannot be the slightest doubt that this is the correct explanation of the verse, according to Isaiah 30:23-25 (compare also Isaiah 7:21.).

This concludes the four woes, from which the fifth, that immediately follows, is distinguished by the fact, that in the former the Assyrian troubles are still in the future, whereas the fifth places us in the very midst of them. The prophet commenced (Isaiah 28:1-4) with the destruction of Samaria; he then threatened Judah and Jerusalem also. But it is uncommonly difficult to combine the different features of the threat into a complete picture. Sifting even to a small remnant is a leading thought, which runs through the threat. And we also read throughout the whole, that Asshur will meet with its own destruction in front of that very Jerusalem which it is seeking to destroy. But the prophet also knows, on the one hand, that Jerusalem is besieged by the Assyrians, and will not be rescued till the besieged city has been brought to the last extremity (Isaiah 29:1., Isaiah 31:4.); and, on the other hand, that this will reach even to the falling of the towers (Isaiah 30:25), the overthrow of the wall of the state (Isaiah 30:13-14), the devastation of the land, and the destruction of Jerusalem itself (Isaiah 32:12.); and for both of these he fixes the limit of a year (Isaiah 29:1; Isaiah 32:10). This double threat may be explained in the following manner. The judgments which Israel has still to endure, and the period of glory that will follow them, lie before the mental eye of the prophet like a long deep diorama. While threatening the existing generation, he penetrates more or less deeply into the judgments which lie in perspective before him. He threatens at one time merely a siege that will continue till it is brought to the utmost extremity; at another time utter destruction. But the imperial power intended, by which this double calamity is to be brought upon Judah, must be Assyria; since the prophet knew of no other in the earliest years of Hezekiah, when these threatening addresses were uttered. And this gives rise to another difficulty. Not only was the worst prediction - namely, that of the destruction of Jerusalem - not fulfilled; but even the milder prophecy - namely, that of a siege, which would bring them to the deepest distress - was not accomplished. There never was any actual siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrians. The explanation of this is, that, according to Jeremiah 18:7-8, and Jeremiah 18:9, Jeremiah 18:10, neither the threatenings of punishment nor the promises of blessing uttered by the prophets were so unconditional, that they were certain to be fulfilled and that with absolute necessity, at such and such a time, or upon such and such a generation. The threatened punishment might be repealed or modified, if repentance ensued on the part of the persons threatened (Jonah 3:4; 1 Kings 21:29; 2 Kings 22:15-20; 2 Chronicles 12:5-8). The words of the prophecy did not on that account fall to the ground. If they produced repentance, they answered the very purpose for which they were intended; but if the circumstances which called for punishment should return, their force returned as well in all its fulness. If the judgment was one irrevocably determined, it was merely delayed by this, to be discharged upon the generation which should be ripest for it. And we have also an express historical testimony, which shows that this is the way in which the non-fulfilment of what Isaiah threatened as about to take place within a year is to be accounted for. Not only Isaiah, but also his contemporary Micah, threatened, that along with the judgment upon Samaria, the same judgment would also burst upon Jerusalem. Zion would be ploughed as a field, Jerusalem would be laid in ruins, and the temple mountain would be turned into a wooded height (Micah 3:12). This prophecy belongs to the first year of Hezekiah's reign, for it was then that the book of Micah was composed. But we read in Jeremiah 26:18-19, that, in their alarm at this prophecy, Hezekiah and all Judah repented, and that Jehovah withdrew His threat in consequence. Thus, in the very first year of Hezekiah, a change for the better took place in Judah; and this was necessarily followed by the withdrawal of Isaiah's threatenings, just as those threatenings had co-operated in the production of this conversion (see Caspari, Micha, p. 160ff.). Not one of the three threats (Isaiah 29:1-4; Isaiah 32:9-14; Micah 3:12), which form an ascending climax, was fulfilled. Previous threatenings so far recovered their original force, when the insincerity of the conversion became apparent, that the Assyrians did unquestionably march through Judah, devastating everything as they went along. But because of Hezekiah's self-humiliation and faith, the threat was turned from that time forward into a promise. In direct opposition to his former threatening, Isaiah now promised that Jerusalem would not be besieged by the Assyrians (Isaiah 37:33-35), but that, before the siege was actually established, Assyria would fall under the walls of Jerusalem.

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