Isaiah 33:8
The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceases: he has broken the covenant, he has despised the cities, he regards no man.
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(8) The highways lie waste . . .—Another feature in the picture of terror. No traveller dared to show himself in the main road. (Comp. Judges 5:6.)

He hath broken.—Sennacherib is denounced as having broken the treaty of 2Kings 18:14. Hezekiah had complied with his conditions, and yet there was no suspension of hostilities.

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.The highways lie waste - This verse contains a description of the desolations that had been caused by the invasion of Sennacherib. Some have understood it as containing the account which the ambassadors sent by Hezekiah gave of the effects of the invasion. Thus Grotius interprets it. But it is probably a description made by the prophet himself, and is designed to state one cause why the messengers that had been sent out wept bitterly. They had not only failed of inducing Sennacherib to abandon his purpose of attacking Jerusalem, but they had witnessed the effects of his invasion already. The public ways were desolate. In the consternation and alarm that was produced by his approach, the roads that had been usually thronged were now solitary and still. A mournful desolation already prevailed, and they apprehended still greater calamities, and hence, they wept.

The wayfaring man ceaseth - Hebrew, 'He that passes along the road ceases.' That is, there is a cessation of travel. No one is seen passing along the streets that used to be thronged.

He hath broken the covenant - This may either mean that the Assyrian king had violated the compact which had been made with him by Ahaz, by which he was to come and aid Jerusalem against the allied armies of Syria and Samaria (see the notes at Isaiah 7), or it may mean that he had violated an implied compact with Hezekiah. When Judea was threatened with an invasion by Sennacherib, Hezekiah had sent to him when he was at Lachish, and had sought for peace 2 Kings 18:14. In that embassy Hezekiah said, 'I have offended, return from me; that which thou puttest on me I will bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.' To pay this, Hezekiah exhausted his treasury, and even stripped the temple of its golden ornaments 2 Kings 18:15-16. A compact was thus made by which it was understood that Sennacherib was to withdraw his army, and depart from the land. But notwithstanding this, he still persisted in his purpose, and immediately despatched a part of his army to lay siege to Jerusalem. All the treaties, therefore, had been violated. He had disregarded that which was made with Ahaz, and that which he had now himself made with Hezekiah, and was advancing in violation of all to lay siege to the city.

He hath despised the cities - That is, he disregards their defenses, and their strength; he invades and takes all that comes in his way. He speaks of them with contempt and scorn as being unable to stand before him, or to resist his march. See his vain and confident boasting in Isaiah 10:9; Isaiah 36:19.

He regardeth no man - He spares no one, and he observes no compact with any man.

8. broken … covenant—When Sennacherib invaded Judea, Hezekiah paid him a large sum to leave the land; Sennacherib received the money and yet sent his army against Jerusalem (2Ki 18:14, 17).

despised—make slight of as unable to resist him (Isa 10:9; 36:19); easily captures them.

The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth, because the Assyrian soldiers possessed and filled the land.

He hath broken the covenant; Sennacherib broke his faith, given to Hezekiah, of departing for a sum of money, 2 Kings 18:14,17.

He hath despised the cities; the defenced cities of Judah, which he contemned and easily took, 2 Kings 18:13.

He regardeth no man; either to spare them, or to fear them, or to keep faith with them. He neither feareth God, nor reverenceth man. The highways lie waste,.... No man walking in them, for fear of the enemy; "the ways of Zion", which are said to "mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts", Lamentations 1:4 none daring to attend the ministry of the word and ordinances; see Isaiah 35:8,

the wayfaring man ceaseth; or, "the traveller rests" (z); or stops; he does not proceed on his journey; a stop is put to a religious course and conversation; there is an entire cessation of religious worship; a sabbath is kept, but not a religious one; he that would walk in Zion's ways is forbid, and is obliged to sit still:

he hath broken the covenant; some, as Kimchi's father, interpret this of the Jews' complaining that God had broken his covenant with them, as in Psalm 89:39 but most of Sennacherib's breaking his covenant with Hezekiah, 2 Kings 18:14 rather this is to be understood of antichrist, whose doctrine is, that faith is not to be kept with heretics, and which will abundantly appear at this distressing time:

he hath despised the cities; as Sennacherib did the fenced cities of Judah; he despised their fortifications, and easily took them, and treated the inhabitants with disdain and contempt; and so will the reformed Protestant cities and countries be invaded, seized upon, and insulted, by the Romish antichrist:

he regardeth no man; so as to keep covenant with them, have compassion on them, and spare them, he fearing neither God nor man.

(z) "cessaverat viator", Junius & Tremellius; "desiit viator", Cocceius.

The {n} highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man.

(n) These are the words of the ambassadors, when they returned from Sennacherib.

8. The highways lie waste … ceaseth] cf. Jdg 5:6.

he hath broken the covenant] See on Isaiah 33:7.

he hath despised the cities] For ‘ârîm (cities) Duhm proposes to read ‘çdîm (witnesses), i.e. the witnesses to the broken treaty. There might no doubt be an allusion to the capture of the fenced cities of Judah, 2 Kings 18:13.Verse 8. - The highways lie waste {croup. Judges 5:6). The meaning is that' they were unoccupied. Fear of the Assyrians restrained men from travelling. He hath broken the covenant. Sennacherib, when he accepted the sum of money sent him by Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:15; 'Eponym Canon,' p. 135), must have consented to leave him unmolested for the future. But in a very short time we find him, apparently without any reasonable pretext, sending a fresh expedition against Jerusalem, requiring it to be admitted within the walls, and even threatening the city with destruction (2 Kings 18:17-35; 2 Kings 19:10-13). Isaiah, therefore, taxes him with having broken his covenant. Despised cities. "Sennacherib," says Delitzsch, "continued to storm the fortified places of Judah, in violation of his agreement." Regardeth no man; i.e. "pays no attention to the protests that are made against his infraction of the treaty - does not care what is said or thought of him." In Isaiah 33:2 the prophet's word of command is changed into a believing prayer: "Jehovah, be gracious to us; we wait for Thee: be their arm with every morning, yea, our salvation in time of need!" "Their arm," i.e., the power which shelters and defends them, viz., Thy people and my own. "Yea," 'aph, is emphatic. Israel's arm every morning, because the danger is renewed every day; Israel's salvation, i.e., complete deliverance (Isaiah 25:9), because the culminating point of the trouble is still in prospect.
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