Isaiah 33:9
The earth mourns and languishes: 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. While the prophet is praying thus, he already sees the answer. "At the sound of a noise peoples pass away; at Thy rising nations are scattered. And your booty is swept away as a swarm of locusts sweeps away; as beetles run, they run upon it." The indeterminate hâmōn, which produces for that very reason the impression of something mysterious and terrible, is at once explained. The noise comes from Jehovah, who is raising Himself judicially above Assyria, and thunders as a judge. Then the hostile army runs away (נפצוּ equals נפצּוּ, from the niphal נפץ, 1 Samuel 13:11, from פּץ equals נפוץ, from פּוּץ); and your booty (the address returns to Assyria) is swept away, just as when a swarm of locusts settles on a field, it soon eats it utterly away. Jerome, Cappellus, and others follow the Septuagint rendering, ὃν τρόπον ἐάν τις συναγάγη ἀκρίδας. The figure is quite as appropriate, but the article in hechâsı̄l makes the other view the more natural one; and Isaiah 33:4 places this beyond all doubt. Shâqaq, from which the participle shōqēq and the substantive masshâq are derived, is sued here, as in Joel 2:9, to signify a busy running hither and thither (discursitare). The syntactic use of shōqēq is the same as that of קרא (they call) in Isaiah 21:11, and sōphedı̄m (they smite) in Isaiah 32:12. The inhabitants of Jerusalem swarm in the enemy's camp like beetles; they are all in motion, and carry off what they can.
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