Isaiah 37:27
Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded: they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as corn blasted before it be grown up.
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(27) Therefore.—Better, and.

They were as the grass of the field.—One symbol of weakness follows after another. The “grass upon the housetops” was, in this respect, a proverbial emblem (Psalm 129:6). The italics in as corn seem to suggest some error in transcription. The words as they stand give a field before the blades; those in 2Kings 19:26, a blasting.

37:1-38 This chapter is the same as 2Ki 19Therefore - Not because you have so great power; but because I have rendered them incapable of resisting you.

Were of small power - Hebrew, 'Short of hand;' they were feeble, imbecile, unable to resist you.

They were dismayed - Hebrew, 'They were broken and ashamed.' Their spirits sank; they were ashamed of their feeble powers of resistance; and they submitted to the ignominy of a surrender.

They were as the grass of the field - The same idea is expressed by Sennacherib himself in Isaiah 10:15, though under a different image (see the note on that verse). The idea here is, as the grass of the field offers no resistance to the march of an army, so it was with the strongly fortified towns in the way of Sennacherib.

As the grass on the housetops - In eastern countries the roofs of houses are always flat. They are made of a mixture of sand gravel, or earth; and on the houses of the rich there is a firmly constructed flooring made of coals, chalk, gypsum, and ashes, made hard by being beaten or rolled. On these roofs spears of wheat, barley, or grass sometimes spring up, but they are soon withered by the heat of the sun Psalm 129:6-8. The idea here, therefore, is that of the greatest feebleness. His enemies were not simply like the grass in the field, but they were like the thin, slender, and delicate blade that sprung up in the little earth on the roof of a house, where there was no room for the roots to strike down, and where it soon withered beneath the burning sun.

As corn blasted before it is grown up - Before it acquires any strength. The idea in all these phrases is substantially the same - that they were incapable of offering even the feeblest resistance.

27. Therefore—not because of thy power, but because I made them unable to withstand thee.

grass—which easily withers (Isa 40:6; Ps 37:2).

on … housetops—which having little earth to nourish it fades soonest (Ps 129:6-8).

corn blasted before it be grown up—Smith translates, "The cornfield (frail and tender), before the corn is grown."

No text from Poole on this verse. Therefore their inhabitants were of small power,.... Or, "short of hand" (u); it was not in the power of their hands to help themselves, because the Lord took away their strength, having determined that they should be destroyed for their sins; otherwise it would not have been in the power of Sennacherib to have subdued them; this takes off greatly from the king of Assyria's triumph, that they were a weak people, whom he had conquered, and were given up into his hands by the Lord, according to his purposes, or he had never been lord over them:

they were dismayed and confounded; not so much at the sight of Sennacherib's army, but because the Lord had dispirited them, and took away their natural courage from them, so that they became an easy prey to him:

they were as the grass of the field: which has no strength to stand before the mower:

and as the green herb; which is easily cropped with the hand of man, or eaten by the beasts of the field:

as the grass on the housetops: which has no matter of root, and is dried up with the heat of the sun:

and as corn blasted before it be grown up; before it rises up into anything of a stalk, and much less into ears; so the Targum,

"which is blasted before it comes to be ears;''

all which represent the feeble condition of the people overcome by him; so that he had not so much to glory of, as having done mighty things.

(u) breviati, "vel breves manu", Forerius; "abbreviati manu", Vatablus, Montanus.

Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded: they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as grain blighted {s} before it is grown up.

(s) He shows that the state and power of most flourishing cities endures but a moment in respect to the Church, which will remain forever, because God is the maintainer of it.

27. Therefore their inhabitants … confounded] Better, And their inhabitants (being) of small power (lit. “short of hand”) were terrified and ashamed.

grass on the housetops] See Psalm 129:6-8.

corn blasted before it be grown up] The Hebr. text reads “a corn-field before it is in stalk” (see R.V.). The A.V. adopts the reading of 2 Kings 19:26, which is perhaps to be preferred—“a blasting before it is in stalk.” But neither rendering accounts quite satisfactorily for the words “before it is in stalk.” In all probability they are, as Wellhausen has suggested, a corruption of the opening words of the next verse, which is obviously unsymmetrical as it stands.Verse 27. - Therefore. The original is not so emphatic, but still contains the idea, not merely of sequence, but of consequence. God, having decreed the successes of the Assyrians, effected them (in part) by infusing weakness into the nations that were their adversaries. They were as the grass of the field (comp. Isaiah 40:6, 7). The comparison is one constantly used by the Hebrew psalmists (Psalm 37:2; Psalm 90:5; Psalm 92:7; Psalm 103:15), and was not unknown to the Assyrians ('Records of the Past,' vol. 3. p. 41; vol. 5. p. 14). The delicate grass of spring in the East withers within a few weeks, and the fresh and tender herbage becomes yellow, parched, and sapless. The grass that springs upon the earthen roofs of houses fails even more rapidly (comp. Psalm 129:6). As corn blasted before it be grown up; literally, like a field before the stalk. Our translators seem to have rightly preferred the reading of 2 Kings 19:26 (sh'dephah, equivalent to "blasting") to that of Isaiah (sh'demah, equivalent to "field") in this place. Their rendering brings out the true sense. The prophet's reply. "And Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hizkiyahu, saying, Thus saith Jehovah the God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me concerning Sennacherib the king of Asshur (K. adds, I have heard): this is the utterance which Jehovah utters concerning him." He sent, i.e., sent a message, viz., by one of his disciples (limmūdı̄m, Isaiah 8:16). According to the text of Isaiah, אשׁר would commence the protasis to הדּבר זה (as for that which - this is the utterance); or, as the Vav of the apodosis is wanting, it might introduce relative clauses to what precedes ("I, to whom:" Ges. 123, 1, Anm. 1). But both of these are very doubtful. We cannot dispense with שׁמעתּי (I have heard), which is given by both the lxx and Syr. in the text of Isaiah, as well as that of Kings.

The prophecy of Isaiah which follows here, is in all respects one of the most magnificent that we meet with. It proceeds with strophe-like strides on the cothurnus of the Deborah style: "The virgin daughter of Zion despiseth thee, laugheth thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem shaketh her head after thee. Whom hast thou reviled and blasphemed, and over whom hast thou spoken loftily, that thou hast lifted up thine eyes on high? Against the Holy One of Israel." The predicate is written at the head, in Isaiah 37:22, in the masculine, i.e., without any precise definition; since בּזה is a verb ל ה, and neither the participle nor the third pers. fem. of בּוּז. Zion is called a virgin, with reference to the shame with which it was threatened though without success (Isaiah 23:12); bethūlath bath are subordinate appositions, instead of co-ordinate. With a contented and heightened self-consciousness, she shakes her head behind him as he retreats with shame, saying by her attitude, as she moves her head backwards and forwards, that it must come to this, and could not be otherwise (Jeremiah 18:16; Lamentations 2:15-16). The question in Isaiah 37:23 reaches as far as עיניך, although, according to the accents, Isaiah 37:23 is an affirmative clause: "and thou turnest thine eyes on high against the Holy One of Israel" (Hitzig, Ewald, Drechsler, and Keil). The question is put for the purpose of saying to Asshur, that He at whom they scoff is the God of Israel, whose pure holiness breaks out into a consuming fire against all by whom it is dishonoured. The fut. cons. ותּשּׂה is essentially the same as in Isaiah 51:12-13, and מרום is the same as in Isaiah 40:26.

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