Isaiah 36:6
See, you trust in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; where on if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.
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36:1-22:See 2Ki 18:17-37, and the commentary thereon.Lo, thou trustest - It is possible that Sennacherib might have been apprised of the attempt which had been made by the Jews to secure the cooperation of Egypt (see the notes at Isaiah 30:1-7; Isaiah 31:1 ff), though he might not have been aware that the negotiation was unsuccessful.

In the staff of this broken reed - The same comparison of Egypt with a broken reed, or a reed which broke while they were trusting to it, occurs in Ezekiel 29:6-7. Reeds were doubtless used often for staves, as they are now. They are light and hollow, with long joints. The idea here is, that as a slender reed would break when a man leaned on it, and would pierce his hand, so it would be with Egypt. Their reliance would give way, and their trusting to Egypt would be attended with injury to themselves (compare Isaiah 30:5, Isaiah 30:7; Isaiah 31:3).

6. It was a similar alliance with So (that is, Sabacho, or else Sevechus), the Ethiopian king of Egypt, which provoked the Assyrian to invade and destroy Israel, the northern kingdom, under Hoshea. No text from Poole on this verse. Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt,.... His ally and auxiliary; and which is rightly called "the staff of a broken reed", if trusted to, and leaned upon, being weak and frail, and an insufficient ground of confidence to depend upon; the allusion seems to be to the cane or reed which grew upon the banks of the river Nile, in Egypt:

whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it; the splinters of the broken reed being leaned on, will enter into a man's hand, and do him harm, instead of being a help to him to walk with:

so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him; pernicious and harmful, instead of being useful and helpful.

Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; on which if a man lean, it will enter his hand, and pierce it: so is {g} Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.

(g) Satan laboured to pull the godly king from one vain confidence to another: that is, from trust in the Egyptians, whose power was weak and would deceive them, to yield himself to the Assyrians, and so not to hope for any help from God.

6. the staff of this broken reed] For the idea, cf. ch. Isaiah 30:1-5; for the figure, Ezekiel 29:6-7.Verse 6. - This broken reed; rather, as in 2 Kings 18:21, this bruised reed (comp. Isaiah 42:3). A reed may be "bruised," and wholly untrustworthy as a support, while it appears sound. A "broken" reed no one would lean on. Egypt. There had been times when Egypt was a strong power, feared and respected by her neighbours, and a terror even to Assyria. But these times were long past. For the last fifty years the country had been divided against itself (see the comment on Isaiah 19:2), split up into a number of petty principalities, Recently the neighbouring kingdom of Ethiopia had claimed and exercised a species of sovereignty over the entire Nile valley, while allowing tributary princes to govern different portions of it. Of these princes the most important at the time of Rabshakeh's embassy seems to have been Shabatok, who reigned in Memphis, probably from B.C. 712 to B.C. 698. Egypt is likened to a "bruised reed" on account of her untrustworthincss. "So" (Sabaco) had given no substantial help to Hashes. Shabatok was little likely to imperil himself in order to assist Hezekiah. Even Tirhakah would probably avoid, as long as he could, a conflict with the full power of Assyria. Pharaoh, King of Egypt. Sennacherib uses the generic term, "Pharaoh," instead of mentioning any of the petty princes by name, because he means to speak generally. The King of Egypt, under present circumstances, whoever he may be, is no better than a bruised reed. In his own inscriptions, Sennacherib about this time uses the expression, "the kings of Egypt" ('Eponym Canon,' p. 133, 1.47). In the midst of such miracles, by which all nature is glorified, the people of Jehovah are redeemed, and led home to Zion. "And a highway rises there, and a road, and it will be called the Holy Road; no unclean man will pass along it, as it is appointed for them: whoever walks the road, even simple ones do not go astray. There will be no lion there, and the most ravenous beast of prey will not approach it, will not be met with there; and redeemed ones walk. And the ransomed of Jehovah will return, and come to Zion with shouting, and everlasting joy upon their head: they lay hold of gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing flee away." Not only unclean persons from among the heathen, but even unclean persons belonging to Israel itself, will never pass along that holy road; none but the church purified and sanctified through sufferings, and those connected with it. למו הוּא, to them, and to them alone, does this road belong, which Jehovah has made and secured, and which so readily strikes the eye, that even an idiot could not miss it; whilst it lies to high, that no beast of prey, however powerful (perı̄ts chayyōth, a superlative verbal noun: Ewald, 313, c), could possibly leap up to it: not one is ever encountered by the pilgrim there. The pilgrims are those whom Jehovah has redeemed and delivered, or set free from captivity and affliction (גּאל, לג, related to חל, solvere; פּדה, פד, scindere, abscindere). Everlasting joy soars above their head; they lay fast hold of delight and joy (compare on Isaiah 13:8), so that it never departs from them. On the other hand, sorrow and sighing flee away. The whole of Isaiah 35:10 is like a mosaic from Isaiah 51:11; Isaiah 61:7; Isaiah 51:3; and what is affirmed of the holy road, is also affirmed in Isaiah 52:1 of the holy city (compare Isaiah 62:12; Isaiah 63:4). A prelude of the fulfilment is seen in what Ezra speaks of with gratitude to God in Ezra 8:31. We have intentionally avoided crowding together the parallel passages from chapters 40-66. The whole chapter is, in every part, both in thought and language, a prelude of that book of consolation for the exiles in their captivity. Not only in its spiritual New Testament thoughts, but also in its ethereal language, soaring high as it does in majestic softness and light, the prophecy has now reached the highest point of its development.
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