Isaiah 33:9
The earth mourneth and languisheth: Lebanon is ashamed and hewn down: Sharon is like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits.
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(9) The earth mourneth . . .—Lebanon, with its cedars, the Sharon (as we say, the Campagna), Bashan, with its oaks (Isaiah 2:13), Carmel, with its copse-wood, are the types of beauty and fertility, now languishing and decaying. Possibly the embassy referred to was sent in the autumn, so that the prophet saw in the natural features of that season the symbols of failure and decay.

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 earth mourneth - The land through which he has passed. For the sense of this phrase, see the note at Isaiah 24:4.

Lebanon is ashamed and hewn down - For the situation of Lebanon, see the note at Isaiah 10:34. Lebanon was distinguished for its ornaments of beautiful cedars. Here iris represented as being stript of these ornaments, and as covered with shame on that account. There is not any direct historical evidence that Sennacherib had advanced to Lebanon, though there are some intimations that this had occurred (see the note at Isaiah 14:8), and it was certainly a part of his boast that he had done it (see Isaiah 37:24). There is no improbability in supposing that he had sent a part of his army to plunder the country in the vicinity of Lebanon (see Isaiah 20:1).

Sharon is like a wilderness - Sharon was the name of a district south of mount Carmel along the coast of the Mediterranean, extending to Cesarea and Joppa. The name was almost proverbial to express any place of extraordinary beauty and fertility (see 1 Chronicles 5:16; 1 Chronicles 27:29; Sol 2:1; Isaiah 35:2; Isaiah 65:10). There was also another Sharon on the east side of the Jordan, and in the vicinity of Bashan, which was also a fertile region 1 Chronicles 5:16. To this, it is more probable that the prophet here refers, though it is not certain. The object seems to be to mention the most fertile places in the land as being now desolate.

Bashan - For an account of the situation of Bashan, subsequently called Batanea, see the note at Isaiah 2:13.

And Carmel - (see the note at Isaiah 29:17).

Shake off their fruits - The words 'their fruits,' are not in the Hebrew. The Septuagint reads this: 'Galilee and Carmel are made bare' (φανερὰ ἔσται, κ.τ.λ. phanera estai, etc.) The Hebrew word נער no‛ēr probably means to shake; to shake out or off; and refers here to the fact probably that Bashan and Carmel are represented as having shaken off their leaves, and were now lying desolate as in winter.

9. (Isa 24:4).

Lebanon—personified; the allusion may be to the Assyrian cutting down its choice trees (Isa 14:8; 37:24).

Sharon—south of Carmel, along the Mediterranean, proverbial for fertility (Isa 35:2).

Bashan—afterwards called Batanea (Isa 2:13).

fruits—rather, understand "leaves"; they lie as desolate as in winter.

The earth mourneth, being desolate and neglected.

Lebanon is ashamed and hewn down by the Assyrians. Or, as the word signifies, and is here rendered by others, withereth or languisheth, because its trees are not now used by the Jews for their buildings, as they have been; and because they are spoiled and destroyed by the Assyrians.

Sharon; a pleasant and fruitful place, as appears from 1 Chronicles 27:29 Song of Solomon 2:1 Isaiah 35:2.

Bashan and Carmel; two places eminent for fertility, and especially for good pastures, Deu 32:14 1 Samuel 25:2, which are here synecdochically put for all such places.

Shake off their fruits; are spoiled of their fruits. Or, as it is rendered by some others, yell or roar, as this word is rendered Jeremiah 51:38.

The earth mourneth and languisheth,.... All Christendom, being now under the power, dominion, and tyranny of antichrist, and the church's faithful witnesses slain, and a stop put to all Gospel ministrations; and therefore the church must be in a very languishing condition, and great reason for mourning:

Lebanon is ashamed, and hewn down; being stripped of its stately cedars; as now the church of Christ, comparable to that goodly mountain Lebanon, will be deprived of its able ministers, which were like tall and spreading Cedars, for their gifts, grace, strength, and usefulness:

Sharon is like a wilderness; such parts, as Great Britain, which have been most fruitful (as Sharon was a very fruitful place) for the Gospel, and Gospel ordinances, in the purity of them, and for professors of religion, being fruitful in grace, and in good works, shall now be like a desert; there being no ministry, no ordinances, nor any, that dare to make an open profession of the true religion:

and Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits; before they are ripe, or come to anything; places noted for being fruitful, and pastures for flocks; and denote, as before, such spots in Christendom where the Gospel has most flourished, but now should be like barren heaths, and desert places.

The earth mourneth and languisheth: Lebanon is ashamed and hewn down: {o} Sharon is like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits.

(o) Which was a plentiful country, meaning, that Sennacherib would destroy all.

9. The earth mourneth and languisheth] (cf. ch. Isaiah 24:4; Isaiah 24:7) in sympathy with the distress of God’s people. It is the language of poetry. The “earth” is neither the whole world, nor merely the land of Palestine; its equivalent in modern parlance might be “Nature.” The spots mentioned are those famous for their luxuriant vegetation, and the standing types of natural beauty and perennial verdure (cf. ch. Isaiah 35:2; Zechariah 11:2; Song of Solomon 7:4 f.). Instead of hewn down render with R.V. withereth away. The verb “shake off” requires an object to be supplied, but “their leaves” (as in R.V.) is decidedly better than “their fruits.”

Verse 9. - The earth mourneth; rather, the land. Lebanon is... hewn down; rather, as in the margin, is withered away (comp. Isaiah 19:6). Lebanon, Sharon, Carmel, and Bashan are the four most beautiful regions of the Holy Land, taking the word in its widest extent. Lebanon is the northern mountain-range, one hundred and twenty miles in length, clad with cedars and firs, and generally crowned with snow, whence the name (from laban, white). Sharon is "the broad rich tract of land" which stretches southwards from the foot of Carmel, and melts into the Shefelah, noted for its flowers (Song of Solomon 2:1) and forests (Josephus, 'Ant. Jud.,' 14:13, § 3). Carmel is the upland dividing Sharon from the Esdraelon plain, famous for its "rocky dells" and "deep jungles of copse." Finally, Bashan is the trans-Jordanic upland, stretching from the flanks of Hermon to Gilead, celebrated for its "high downs" and "wide-sweeping plains," for its "forests of oak," and in ancient times for its herds of wild cattle. All are said to be "waste," "withered," and the like, partly on account of the Assyrian ravages, but perhaps still more as sympathizing with the Jewish nation in their distress - "ashamed" for them, and clad in mourning on their account. Shake off their fruits; rather, perhaps, shake down their leaves. Mr. Cheyne conjectures that the prophecy was delivered in autumn. Isaiah 33:9The prophet has thus run through the whole train of thought with a few rapid strides, in accordance with the custom which we have already frequently noticed; and now he commences afresh, mourning over the present miserable condition of things, in psalm-like elegiac tones, and weeping with his weeping people. "Behold, their heroes weep without; the messengers of peace weep bitterly. Desolate are roads, disappeared are travellers; he has broken covenant, insulted cities, despised men. The land mourns, languishes; Lebanon stands ashamed, parched; the meadow of Sharon has become like a steppe, and Bashan and Carmel shake their leaves." אראלּם is probably chosen with some allusion to 'Ariel, the name of Jerusalem in chapter 29; but it has a totally different meaning. We have rendered it "heroes," because אראל is here synonymous with אראל in the Nibelung-like piece contained in 2 Samuel 23:20 and 1 Chronicles 11:22. This 'ărı̄'ēl, which is here contracted into 'er'el (compare the biblical name 'Ar'ēlı̄ and the post-biblical name of the angels, 'Er'ellı̄m), is compounded of 'arı̄ (a lion) and ‛El (God), and therefore signifies "the lion of God," but in this sense, that El (God) gives to the idea of leonine courage merely the additional force of extraordinary or wonderful; and as a composite word, it contents itself with a singular, with a collective sense according to circumstances, without forming any plural at all. The dagesh is to be explained from the fact that the word (which tradition has erroneously regarded as a compound of להם אראה) is pointed in accordance with the form כּרמל (כרמלּו). The heroes intended by the prophet were the messengers sent to Sennacherib to treat with him for peace. They carried to him the amount of silver and gold which he had demanded as the condition of peace (2 Kings 18:14). But Sennacherib broke the treaty, by demanding nothing less than the surrender of Jerusalem itself. Then the heroes of Jerusalem cried aloud, when they arrived at Jerusalem, and had to convey this message of disgrace and alarm to the king and nation; and bitterly weeping over such a breach of faith, such deception and disgrace, the embassy, which had been sent off, to the deep self-humiliation of Judah and themselves, returned to Jerusalem. Moreover, Sennacherib continued to storm the fortified places, in violation of his agreement (on mâ'as ‛arı̄m, see 2 Kings 18:13). The land was more and more laid waste, the fields were trodden down; and the autumnal aspect of Lebanon, with its faded foliage, and of Bashan and Carmel, with their falling leaves, looked like shame and grief at the calamities of the land. It was in the autumn, therefore, that the prophet uttered these complaints; and the definition of the time given in his prophecy (Isaiah 32:10) coincides with this. קמל is the pausal form for קמל, just as in other places an ē with the tone, which has sprung from i, easily passes into a in pause; the sharpening of the syllable being preferred to the lengthening of it, not only when the syllable which precedes the tone syllable is an open one, but sometimes even when it is closed (e.g., Judges 6:19, ויּגּשׁ). Instead of כּערבה we should read כּערבה (without the article), as certain codd. and early editions do.

(Note: We find the same in Zechariah 14:10, and כּערבים in Isaiah 44:4, whereas we invariably have בּערבה (see Michlol, 45b), just as we always find בּאבנים, and on the other hand כּבנים.)

Isaiah having mourned in the tone of the Psalms, now comforts himself with the words of a psalm. Like David in Psalm 12:6, he hears Jehovah speak. The measure of Asshur's iniquity is full; the hour of Judah's redemption is come; Jehovah has looked on long enough, as though sitting still (Isaiah 18:4). Isaiah 33:10 "Now will I arise, saith Jehovah, now exalt myself, now lift up myself." Three times does the prophet repeat the word ‛attâh (now), which is so significant a word with all the prophets, but more especially with Hosea and Isaiah, and which always fixes the boundary-line and turning-point between love and wrath, wrath and love. ארומם (in half pause for ארוממא is contracted from עתרומם (Ges. 54, 2, b). Jehovah would rise up from His throne, and show Himself in all His greatness to the enemies of Israel.

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