Isaiah 37:26
Hast thou not heard long ago, how I have done it; and of ancient times, that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste defenced cities into ruinous heaps.
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(26) Hast thou not heard . . .—The speech of Sennacherib ends, and that of Jehovah begins. The adverb “long ago” should be connected with the words that follow. The events of history had all been foreseen and ordered, as in the remote past, by the counsels of Jehovah. Kings and armies were but as His puppets in the drama of the world’s history. The words “hast thou not heard” suggest the thought that Isaiah assumes that Sennacherib had heard of his prophecies, or those of his fore-runners, as to the purposes of Jehovah—an assumption which, looking to the fact that he had ministers who were well acquainted with Hebrew (Isaiah 36:12), was in itself probable enough.

37:1-38 This chapter is the same as 2Ki 19Hast thou not heard - This is evidently the language of God addressed to Sennacherib. It is designed to state to him that he was under his control; that this was the reason Isaiah 37:27 why the inhabitants of the nations had been unable to resist him; that he was entirely in his hands Isaiah 37:28; and that lie would control him as he pleased Isaiah 37:29.

Long ago how I have done it - You boast that all this is by your own counsel and power. Yet I have done it; that is, I have purposed, planned, arranged it long ago (compare Isaiah 22:11).

That thou shouldest be to lay waste - I have raised you up for this purpose, and you have been entirely under my control (see the note at Isaiah 10:5).

26. Reply of God to Sennacherib.

long ago—join, rather, with "I have done it." Thou dost boast that it is all by thy counsel and might: but it is I who, long ago, have ordered it so (Isa 22:11); thou wert but the instrument in My hands (Isa 10:5, 15). This was the reason why "the inhabitants were of small power before thee" (Isa 37:27), namely, that I ordered it so; yet thou art in My hands, and I know thy ways (Isa 37:28), and I will check thee (Isa 37:29). Connect also, "I from ancient times have arranged ('formed') it." However, English Version is supported by Isa 33:13; 45:6, 21; 48:5.

No text from Poole on this verse.

Hast thou not heard long ago?.... By report, by reading the history of ancient times, or by means of the prophets; these are the words of the Lord to Sennacherib. The Targum adds,

"what I did to Pharaoh king of Egypt;''

it follows:

how I have done it; and of ancient times that I have formed it? meaning either the decree in his own breast from all eternity, and which he had published by his prophets, of raising up him, this wicked prince, to be the scourge of nations; or by the "it" are meant the people of the Jews, God's Israel, whom he had made, formed into a body politic, and into a church state, and had done great things for, in bringing them out of Egypt, leading them through the Red sea, providing for them, and protecting them in the wilderness, subduing nations under them, and settling them in the land of Canaan;

now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste defenced cities into ruinous heaps (t); which some render interrogatively,

now should I bring, it to be laid waste, and fenced cities to be ruinous heaps? that is, the people of the Jews, the city of Jerusalem, and other fenced cities? no, I will not: or the meaning is, that that decree, which he had framed and formed in his own mind from all eternity, he was now bringing to pass; which was, that this king of Babylon should be a waster and destroyer of fortified cities, which he should reduce to heaps of ruin; wherefore he had no reason to vaunt as he had done, for he was only an instrument of executing the purposes and designs of God, though it was not in his heart, nor did he so mean.

(t) "in acervos et flores", "into heaps and flowers", that is, into heaps of dust, which being moved, and raised by the wind, fly away like flowers and blossoms of trees; so Gussetius, "in acervos volantes, aut ad volandum excitatos, scil. dum redacti in pulveres, magna ex parte, volant, excitati a ventis", Comment. Ebr. p. 502.

Hast thou not heard long ago, how I have done it; and of ancient times, {r} that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste fortified cities into ruinous heaps.

(r) Signifying that God did not make his Church to destroy it, but to preserve it: and therefore he says that he formed it of old, even in his eternal counsel which cannot be changed.

26. The verse reads, with a slight change of pointing: Hast thou not heard? Long ago have I made it, from the days of old have I formed it: now I bring it to pass, and so hast thou been (able) to lay waste in ruined heaps defenced cities. Cf. ch. Isaiah 22:11, Isaiah 44:7, Isaiah 46:11.

26, 27. In all his successes the Assyrian has been but the unconscious instrument of Jehovah’s eternal purpose. Cf. ch. Isaiah 10:5-15.

Verse 26. - Hast thou not heard, etc.? An abrupt transition, such as is common in Isaiah. From speaking in the person of Sennacherib, the prophet without warning breaks off, and returns to speaking in the person of Jehovah, as his mouthpiece. "Hast thou not heard," he says, long ago; or rather, "that from long ago! have done this?" Art thou so ignorant, so devoid of that light of nature, which should "lighten every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9), as not to know God's method of governing the world? How that "from long ago," in his eternal counsels, he designs the rise and fall of nations, and the mode in which their destruction is to be brought about? Art thou not aware that conquerors are mere instruments in God's hands - "the rods of his anger" (Isaiah 10:5) - to work his will, and then to have his will worked upon them in turn (see Isaiah 10:6-19)? Sennacherib seems to be really reproached for not knowing what he ought to have known, and might have known, if he had listened to the voice of conscience and reason. Now have brought it to pass, etc. All that Sennacherib had done, he had done as God's instrument, by his permission - nay, by his aid. He had been the axe in the hand of the hewer (Isaiah 10:15), the saw, the rod, the staff, of God's indignation (Isaiah 10:5), the executor of his vengeance. The very purpose of his being was that he should "lay waste (certain) defenced cities into ruinous heaps." Isaiah 37:26And yet what he was able to do was not the result of his own power, but of the counsel of God, which he subserved. Fourth turn, "Hast thou not heart? I have done it long ago, from (K. lemin, since) the days of ancient time have I formed it, and now brought it to pass (הבאתיה, K. הביאתיה): that thou shouldst lay waste fortified cities into desolate stone heaps; and their inhabitants, powerless, were terrified, and were put to shame (ובשׁוּ, K. ויּבשׁוּ): became herb of the field and green of the turf, herb of the house-tops, and a corn-field (וּשׁדמה, K. and blighted corn) before the blades." L'mērâcōq (from afar) is not to be connected with the preceding words, but according to the parallel with those which follow. The historical reality, in this instance the Assyrian judgment upon the nations, had had from all eternity an ideal reality in God (see at Isaiah 22:11). The words are addressed to the Assyrian; and as his instrumentality formed the essential part of the divine purpose, וּתהי does not mean "there should," but "thou shouldest," e!mellej e)chremw equals sai (cf., Isaiah 44:14-15, and Habakkuk 1:17). K. has להשׁות instead of להשׁאות (though not as chethib, in which case it would have to be pointed להשׁות), a singularly syncopated hiphil (for לשׁאות). The point of comparison in the four figures is the facility with which they can be crushed. The nations in the presence of the Assyrian became, as it were, weak, delicate grasses, with roots only rooted in the surface, or like a cornfield with the stalk not yet formed (shedēmâh, Isaiah 16:8), which could easily be rooted up, and did not need to be cut down with the sickle. This idea is expressed still more strikingly in Kings, "like corn blighted (shedēphâh, compare shiddâpōn, corn-blight) before the shooting up of the stalk;" the Assyrian being regarded as a parching east wind, which destroys the seed before the stalk is formed.
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