Isaiah 37:22
This is the word which the LORD has spoken concerning him; The virgin, the daughter of Zion, has despised you, and laughed you to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem has shaken her head at you.
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(22) The virgin, the daughter of Zion.—The same phrase had been used in Isaiah 23:12 of Zidon. There the virgin had been “oppressed,” i.e., “ravished” by the invaders, but Zion was to escape the ravisher, and laugh his lust to scorn.

37:1-38 This chapter is the same as 2Ki 19The virgin, the daughter of Zion - Jerusalem (see the note at Isaiah 1:8; compare the note at Isaiah 23:12). The parallelism in this and the following verses shows that the poetic form of speech is here introduced.

Hast despised thee - That is, it is secure from thy contemplated attack. The idea is, that Jerusalem would exult over the ineffectual attempts of Sennacherib to take it, and over his complete overthrow.

Hath laughed thee to scorn - Will make thee an object of derision.

Hath shaken her head at thee - This is an indication of contempt and scorn (compare Psalm 22:7; Psalm 109:25; Jeremiah 18:16; Zephaniah 2:15; Matthew 27:39).

22. Transition to poetry: in parallelism.

virgin … daughter—honorable terms. "Virgin" implies that the city is, as yet, inviolate. "Daughter" is an abstract collective feminine personification of the population, the child of the place denoted (see on [769]Isa 23:10; [770]Isa 1:8). Zion and her inhabitants.

shaken … head—in scorn (Ps 22:7; 109:25; Mt 27:39). With us to shake the head is a sign of denial or displeasure; but gestures have different meanings in different countries (Isa 58:9; Eze 25:6; Zep 2:15).

No text from Poole on this verse. This is the word which the Lord hath spoken concerning him,.... The sentence he has pronounced upon him, the punishment he has determined to inflict on him, in answer to Hezekiah's prayer against him:

the virgin, the daughter of Zion; hath despised thee; and laughed thee to scorn; that, is the inhabitants of Zion, particularly of the fort of Zion, called a "virgin", because it had never been forced, or taken and to show that it was a vain thing in Sennacherib to attempt it, as well as it would have been an injurious one, could he have accomplished it; since God, the Father of this virgin, would carefully keep her from such a rape; and he who was her husband to whom she was espoused as a chaste virgin, would defend and protect her; and the whole is designed to show the impotent malice of the king of Assyria; otherwise, at the time when these words were spoken, the daughter of Zion was in a fearful and trembling condition, and not in a laughing frame; but this declares what she might do now, and would do hereafter, for anything that he could do against her. The Targum paraphrases it,

"the kingdom of the congregation of Zion;''

the whole nation. Some restrain this to the inhabitants of the upper part of the city of Jerusalem, as what follows to those of the lower part:

the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee; or "after thee (o)"; by way of scorn and derision; that is when he fled; which shows, that though these things are spoken as if they were past, after the manner of the prophets, yet were to come, and would be when Sennacherib fled, upon the destruction of his army. Of this phrase, as expressive of scorn, see Psalm 22:7. The Targum is, "the people that dwell in Jerusalem", &c.

(o) "post te", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

This is the word which the LORD hath spoken concerning him; The {o} virgin, the daughter of Zion, hath despised, and derided thee; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.

(o) Whom God had chosen to himself as a chaste virgin, and over whom he had care to preserve her from the lusts of the tyrant, as a father would have over his daughter.

22–29. The poem on Sennacherib is in substance a Taunt-song; but in form an elegy, written in the measure characteristic of the qînâh. The first two lines (Isaiah 37:22) read:

She hath despised thee, hath mocked thee—the virgin daughter of Zion;

Behind thee hath shaken the head—the daughter of Jerusalem.

The prophet anticipates the ignominious retreat of the Assyrian king (“behind thee”), leaving Jerusalem still a “virgin” fortress. To “shake the head” is in the O.T. a gesture of contempt (Psalm 22:7; Jeremiah 18:16; Lamentations 2:15, &c.).Verse 22. - The virgin the daughter of Zion; i.e. Jerusalem (comp. Isaiah 1:8; Isaiah 10:32; Isaiah 16:1; Isaiah 52:2; Isaiah 62:11). The expression, "virgin daughter," is used also by Isaiah of Zidon (Isaiah 23:12) and of Babylon (Isaiah 47:1). The personification here is very effective. since it represents Jerusalem as a tender maiden, weak and delicate, yet still bold enough to stand up against Sennacherib and all his host, and bid him defiance. Confident in Jehovah, her Protector, she despises him, and laughs him to scorn; nay, "shakes her head at him," or rather. "after him," pursuing him with scornful gestures as In. retreats before her. (On shaking the head as a gesture of scorn, see Psalm 22:7; Psalm 109:25; Matthew 27:39.) This intimidating message, which declared the God of Israel to be utterly powerless, was conveyed by the messengers of Sennacherib in the form of a latter. "And Hizkiyahu took the letter out of the hand of the messengers, and read it (K. read them), and went up to the house of Jehovah; and Hizkiyahu spread it before Jehovah." Sephârı̄m (the sheets) is equivalent to the letter (not a letter in duplo), like literae (cf., grammata). ויּקראהוּ (changed by K. into m- ') is construed according to the singular idea. Thenius regards this spreading out of the letter as a naivetי; and Gesenius even goes so far as to speak of the praying machines of the Buddhists. But it was simply prayer without words - an act of prayer, which afterwards passed into vocal prayer. "And Hizkiyahu prayed to (K. before) Jehovah, saying (K. and said), Jehovah of hosts (K. omits tsebhâ'ōth), God of Israel, enthroned upon the cherubim, Thou, yea Thou alone, art God of all the kingdoms of the earth; Thou, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth. Incline Thine ear, Jehovah, and hear וּשׁמע, various reading in both texts וּשׁמע)! Open Thine eyes (K. with Yod of the plural), Jehovah, and see; and hear the (K. all the) words of Sennacherib, which he hath sent (K. with which he hath sent him, i.e., Rabshakeh) to despise the living God! Truly, O Jehovah, the kings of Asshur have laid waste all lands, and their land (K. the nations and their land), and have put (venâthōn, K. venâthenū) their gods into the fire: for they were not gods, only the work of men's hands, wood and stone; therefore they have destroyed them. And now, Jehovah our God, help us (K. adds pray) out of his hand, and all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou Jehovah (K. Jehovah Elohim) art it alone." On כּרבים (no doubt the same word as γρυπές, though not fabulous beings like these, but a symbolical representation of heavenly beings), see my Genesis, p. 626; and on yōshēbh hakkerubhı̄m (enthroned on the cherubim), see at Psalm 18:11 and Psalm 80:2. הוּא in אתּה־הוּא is an emphatic repetition, that is to say a strengthening, of the subject, like Isaiah 43:25; Isaiah 51:12; 2 Samuel 7:28; Jeremiah 49:12; Psalm 44:5; Nehemiah 9:6-7; Ezra 5:11 : tu ille (not tu es ille, Ges. 121, 2) equals tu, nullus alius. Such passages as Isaiah 41:4, where הוּא is the predicate, do not belong here. עין is not a singular (like עיני in Psalm 32:8, where the lxx have עיני), but a defective plural, as we should expect after pâqach. On the other hand, the reading shelâchō ("hath sent him"), which cannot refer to debhârı̄m (the words), but only to the person bringing the written message, is to be rejected. Moreover, Knobel cannot help giving up his preference for the reading venâthōn (compare Genesis 41:43; Ges. 131, 4a); just as, on the other hand, we cannot help regarding the reading ואת־ארצם את־כּל־הארצות as a mistake, when compared with the reading of the book of Kings. Abravanel explains the passage thus: "The Assyrians have devastated the lands, and their own land" (cf., Isaiah 14:20), of which we may find examples in the list of victories given above; compare also Beth-arbel in Hosea 10:14, if this is Irbil on the Tigris, from which Alexander's second battle in Persia, which was really fought at Gaugamela, derived its name. But how does this tally with the fact that they threw the gods of these lands - that is to say, of their own land also (for אלהיהם could not possibly refer to הארצות, to the exclusion of ארצם) - into the fire? If we read haggōyı̄m (the nations), we get rid both of the reference to their own land, which is certainly purposeless here, and also of the otherwise inevitable conclusion that they burned the gods of their own country. The reading הארצות appears to have arisen from the fact, that after the verb החריב the lands appeared to follow more naturally as the object, than the tribes themselves (compare, however, Isaiah 60:12). The train of thought is the following: The Assyrians have certainly destroyed nations and their gods, because these gods were nothing but the works of men: do Thou then help us, O Jehovah, that the world may see that Thou alone art it, viz., God ('Elōhı̄m, as K. adds, although, according to the accents, Jehovah Elohim are connected together, as in the books of Samuel and Chronicles, and very frequently in the mouth of David: see Symbolae in Psalmos, pp. 15, 16).
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