They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, You are our gods.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)They shall be greatly ashamed . . .—Manifestly the winding up of a section. The foretold victories of Cyrus shall bring shame and confusion on the worshippers of the idols which he, the representative of a purer faith, should overthrow.Psalm 35:4; Psalm 70:3; Psalm 97:7; compare the notes at Isaiah 1:29; Isaiah 19:9; Isaiah 37:27; see also Ezekiel 16:52). The sense here is, that they should find no such protection in their idol-gods as they had hoped, and that they should be covered with conscious guilt forever, having trusted in them and given to them the homage which was due to the true God.
1. Of the converted Gentiles; who shall be turned back from their former sinful course, and shall sincerely grieve, and be ashamed that they did trust, &c., as the word may be rendered; that they should ever be guilty of such wickedness and madness to worship and trust in idols. Or rather,
2. Of those Gentiles who, when their brethren embraced the true God and Christ, persisted obstinately in their idolatrous courses, who shall be confounded and destroyed; for this phrase of being turned back is generally used in Scripture in a bad sense; or of them who are overthrown, or put to flight in battle, as Psalm 9:3 35:4 70:2,3, &c. And the like I may say of being ashamed, or confounded, or put to shame, especially where this phrase is joined with the other, as it is in the two places of the Psalms last quoted.
they shall be greatly ashamed that trust in graven images; as converted persons when they come to be convinced of the folly of their idolatrous practices are; and if not converted, yet are confounded when they find their idols cannot help and assist them, nor deliver them out of their trouble:
that say to the molten images, ye are our gods; as the Israelites did to the molten calf made by Aaron; and the stupidity of the one and the other is much alike; this of the Gentiles, and that of the Israelites.They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)17. The confusion of the idolaters, through the “revelation of the glory of God” (ch. Isaiah 40:5), the Babylonians being those specially referred to (cf. ch. Isaiah 46:1); they shall be utterly ashamed (as ch. Isaiah 41:11).Verse 17. - They shall be turned back, etc. While the people of God are led by God's hand through new paths, and are illumined with abundant light, and have their difficulties smoothed away from before them. their idolatrous oppressors will be "turned back" or suffer defeat, and be put to shame, finding no help from their idols, whose powerlessness will be openly shown, to the utter confusion of their votaries. Isaiah 24:14-15. The standing-place, whence the summons is uttered, is apparently Ezion-geber, at the head of the Elanitic Gulf, that seaport town from which in the time of the kings the news of the nations reached the Holy Land through the extensive commerce of Israel. From this point the eye stretches to the utmost circle of the earth, and then returns from the point where it meets with those who "go down to the sea," i.e., who navigate the ocean which lies lower than the solid ground. These are to sing, and everything that lives and moves in the sea is to join in the sailors' song. The islands and coast lands, that are washed by the sea, are likewise to sing together with their inhabitants. After the summons has drawn these into the net of the song of praise, it moves into the heart of the land. The desert and its cities are to lift up (viz., "their voice"), the villages which Kedar inhabits. The reference to Sela', the rock-city of Edomitish Nabataea, which is also mentioned in Isaiah 16:1 (the Wadi Musa, which is still celebrated for its splendid ruins), shows by way of example what cities are intended. Their inhabitants are to ascend the steep mountains by which the city is surrounded, and to raise a joyful cry (yitsvâchū, to cry out with a loud noise; cf., Isaiah 24:11). Along with the inhabitants of cities, the stationary Arabs, who are still called Hadariye in distinction from Wabariye, the Arabs of the tents, are also summoned; hadar (châtsēr) is a fixed abode, in contrast to bedû, the steppe, where the tents are pitched for a short time, now in one place and now in another. In Isaiah 42:12 the summons becomes more general. The subject is the heathen universally and in every place; they are to give Jehovah the glory (Psalm 56:2), and declare His praise upon the islands, i.e., to the remotest ends of the whole world of nations. In Isaiah 42:13 there follows the reason for this summons, and the theme of the new song in honour of the God of Israel, viz., His victory over His enemies, the enemies of His people. The description is anthropomorphically dazzling and bold, such as the self-assurance and vividness of the Israelitish idea of God permitted, without any danger of misunderstanding. Jehovah goes out into the conflict like a hero; and like a "man of war," i.e., like one who has already fought many battles, and is therefore ready for war, and well versed in warfare, He stirs up jealousy (see at Isaiah 9:6). His jealousy has slumbered as it were for a long time, as if smouldering under the ashes; but now He stirs it up, i.e., makes it burn up into a bright flame. Going forward to the attack, יריע, "He breaks out into a cry," אף־יצריח, "yea, a yelling cry" (kal Zephaniah 1:14, to cry with a yell; hiphil, to utter a yelling cry). In the words, "He will show Himself as a hero upon His enemies," we see Him already engaged in the battle itself, in which He proves Himself to possess the strength and boldness of a hero (hithgabbar only occurs again in the book of Job). The overthrow which heathenism here suffers at the hand of Jehovah is, according to our prophet's view, the final and decisive one. The redemption of Israel, which is thus about to appear, is redemption from the punishment of captivity, and at the same time from all the troubles that arise from sin. The period following the captivity and the New Testament times here flow into one.
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