Isaiah 42:22
But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore.
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(22) But this is a people robbed and spoiled . . .—It is hard to say whether the prophet contemplates the state of the exiles in Babylon, or sees far off yet another exile, consequent on a second and more fatal falling off from the true ideal.

None delivereth . . . none saith, Restore.—The tone of despondency seems to come in strangely after the glorious promise of deliverance. On the whole, therefore, the second view seems the more probable; and, so taken, the verse finds its best commentary in Romans 9-11, which is permeated through and through with the thoughts of 2 Isaiah. The “holes” are, primarily, rock-caves, used, not as places of refuge (Isaiah 2:19), but as dungeons.

Isaiah 42:22-24. But this is a people robbed and spoiled — Notwithstanding the great respect which God hath had, and still hath, for his people, it is evident he hath severely scourged them for their sins. They are all of them snared in holes, &c. — They have been taken in snares made by their own hands, and, by God’s just judgment, delivered into the hands of their enemies, and by them cast into pits, or dungeons, and prisons. And none saith, Restore — None afforded them either pity or help in their extremities. Who will give ear to this — O that you would learn from your former and dear-bought experience to be wiser for the future, and not to provoke God to your own total and final ruin. Who gave Jacob for a spoil? Did not the Lord? — Do not flatter yourselves with a conceit of impunity, because you are a people whom God hath favoured with many and great privileges; for as God hath punished you formerly, be assured, if you continue to sin, he will punish you more and more. “It was reasonably to be expected that the Jews, blessed with such great privileges, would have been greatly honoured and respected; but, abusing those privileges, their case and situation have been, in various periods, what the prophet describes in these verses; broken, plundered, spoiled, despised by other nations, subject to the insolence of conquerors, shut up in prison, trod upon, abused and punished in such a manner as may justly raise the greatest commiseration. Their history, since the crucifixion of the Redeemer, supplies us with one continued detail of their miseries and afflictions; yet, which is most astonishing, who among them giveth ear? who heareth for the time to come? — Who among them considereth the cause of their sufferings, and becometh obedient to the law of Christ?” — Dodd.

42:18-25 Observe the call given to this people, and the character given of them. Multitudes are ruined for want of observing that which they cannot but see; they perish, not through ignorance, but carelessness. The Lord is well-pleased in the making known his own righteousness. For their sins they were spoiled of all their possessions. This fully came to pass in the destruction of the Jewish nation. There is no resisting, nor escaping God's anger. See the mischief sin makes; it provokes God to anger. And those not humbled by lesser judgments, must expect greater. Alas! how many professed Christians are blind as the benighted heathen! While the Lord is well-pleased in saving sinners through the righteousness of Christ he will also glorify his justice, by punishing all proud despisers. Seeing God has poured out his wrath on his once-favoured people, because of their sins, let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of us should be found to come short of it.But this is a people robbed and spoiled - The Jewish people, though highly favored, have been so unmindful of the goodness of God to them, that he has given them into the hand of their enemies to plunder them. This is to be conceived as spoken after the captivity, and while the Jews were in exile. Their being robbed and spoiled, therefore, refers to the invasion of the Chaldeans, and is to be regarded as spoken propheticly of the exiled and oppressed Jews while in Babylon.

They are all of them snared in holes - This passage has been variously rendered. Lowth renders it, 'All their chosen youth are taken in the toils;' following in this the translation of Jerome, and rendering it as Le Clerc and Houbigant do. The Septuagint read it, 'And I saw, and the people were plundered and scattered, and the snare was in all their private chambers, and in their houses where they hid themselves;' - meaning, evidently, that they had been taken by their invaders from the places where they had secreted themselves in their own city and country. The Chaldee renders it, 'All their youth were covered with confusion, and shut up in prison.' The Syriac, 'All their youth are snared, and they have hid them bound in their houses.' This variety of interpretation has arisen in part, because the Hebrew which is rendered in our version, 'in holes' (בחוּרים bachûrı̂ym) may be either the plural form of the word בצוּר bachûr ("chosen, selected"); and thence "youths" - selected for their beauty or strength; or it may be the plural form of the word חוּר chûr, "a hole" or "cavern," with the preposition בּ (b) prefixed. Our translation prefers the latter; and this is probably the correct interpretation, as the parallel expression, 'they are hid in prison-houses,' seems to demand this. The literal interpretation of the passage is, therefore, that they were snared, or secured in the caverns, holes, or places of refuge where they sought security.

And they are hid in prison-houses - They were concealed in their houses as in prisons, so that they could not go out with safety, or without exposing themselves to the danger of being taken captive. The land was filled with their enemies, and they were obliged to conceal themselves, if possible, from their foes.

And none saith, Restore - There is no deliverer - no one who can interpose, and compel the foe to give up his captives. The sense is, the Jewish captives were so strictly confined in Babylon, and under a government so powerful, that there was no one who could rescue them, or that they were so much the object of contempt, that there were none who would feel so much interest in them as to demand them from their foes.

22. holes—caught by their foes in the caverns where they had sought refuge [Barnes]. Or bound in subterranean dungeons [Maurer].

prison-houses—either literal prisons, or their own houses, whence they dare not go forth for fear of the enemy. The connection is: Notwithstanding God's favor to His people for His righteousness' sake (Isa 42:21), they have fallen into misery (the Babylonish and Romish captivities and their present dispersion), owing to their disregard of the divine law: spiritual imprisonment is included (Isa 42:7).

none saith, Restore—There is no deliverer (Isa 63:5).

But this is a people robbed and spoiled: but notwithstanding this great respect which God hath to his law, and to his people for the sake of his law, it is apparent that God hath severely scourged you for your sins; and therefore take heed that you do not provoke him by your obstinate infidelity, lest he cast you off for ever.

They are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison-houses; they are, or have been, taken in snares made by their own hands, and by God’s just judgment delivered into the hands of their enemies, and by them cast into pits, or dungeons, and prisons.

None delivereth; none saith, Restore; none afford them either pity or help in their extremities.

But this is a people robbed and spoiled,.... The Jewish people, who shut their eyes against the clear light of the Gospel, and turned a deaf ear to Christ, and to his ministers, rejected him, and persecuted them; these were robbed and plundered by the Roman soldiers of all their riches and treasures, when the city of Jerusalem was taken:

they are all of them snared in holes; such of them as escaped and hid themselves in holes, and caverns, and dens of the earth, were laid in wait for and taken, and dragged out, as beasts are taken in a pit, and with a snare. Josephus (b) says, some the Romans killed, some they carried captive, some they searched out lurking in holes underground, and, breaking up the ground, took them out and slew them:

and they are hid in prison houses; being taken by their enemies out of their holes, they were put in prisons, some of them, and there lay confined, out of which they could not deliver themselves:

and they are for a prey, and none delivereth; when they were taken by the Chaldeans, and became a prey to them, in a few years they had a deliverer, Cyrus, but now they have none:

for a spoil, and none saith, restore; there is none to be an advocate for them; no one that asks for their restoration; for almost seventeen hundred years (a) they have been in this condition, and yet none of the kings and princes of the earth have issued a proclamation for their return to their own land, as Cyrus did; and no one moves for it, either from among themselves or others.

(a) Written about 1730 A. D. The Jews in 1948 once again became a nation. Editor. (b) De Bello Jud. l. 7, c. 9. sect. 4.

But this is a people {z} robbed and plundered; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, {a} Restore.

(z) Because they will not acknowledge this blessing from the Lord, who is ready to deliver them, he permits them to be spoiled by their enemies through their own fault and incredulity.

(a) There will be no one to comfort them , or to will the enemy to restore that which he has spoiled.

Verse 22. - But this is a people, etc.; i.e. yet, notwithstanding all that has been done for it, see the condition into which this people has brought itself. For their sins, here they are in Babylonia, robbed and spoiled - i.e., suffering oppression and wrong - snared in holes, or taken in their enemies' pits (Psalm 119:85), and, some of them, hid in prison-houses (see 2 Kings 25:27), expiating by their punishments the long series of their offences. Isaiah 42:22The reproof, which affects Israel a potiori, now proceeds still further, as follows. "Thou hast seen much, and yet keepest not; opening the ears, he yet doth not hear. Jehovah was pleased for His righteousness' sake: He gave a thorah great and glorious. And yet it is a people robbed and plundered; fastened in holes all of them, and they are hidden in prison-houses: they have become booty, without deliverers; a spoil, without any one saying, Give it up again!" In Isaiah 42:20 "thou" and "he" alternate, like "they" and "ye" in Isaiah 1:29, and "I" and "he" in Isaiah 14:30. ראית, which points back to the past, is to be preserved. The reading of the keri is ראות (inf. abs. like שׁתות, Isaiah 22:13, and ערות, Habakkuk 3:13), which makes the two half-verses uniform. Israel has had many and great things to see, but without keeping the admonitions they contained; opening its ears, namely to the earnestness of the preaching, it hears, and yet does not hear, i.e., it only hears outwardly, but without taking it into itself. Isaiah 42:21 shows us to what Isaiah 42:20 chiefly refers. חפץ is followed here by the future instead of by Lamed with an infinitive, just as in Isaiah 53:10 it is followed by the perfect (Ges. 142, 3, b). Jehovah was pleased for His righteousness' sake (which is mentioned here, not as that which recompenses for works of the law, but as that which bestows mercy according to His purpose, His promise, and the plan of salvation) to make thorâh, i.e., the direction, instruction, revelation which He gave to His people, great and glorious. The reference is primarily and chiefly to the Sinaitic law, and the verbs relate not to the solemnity of the promulgation, but to the riches and exalted character of the contents. But what a glaring contrast did the existing condition of Israel present to these manifestations and purposes of mercy on the part of its God! The intervening thought expressed by Hosea (Hosea 8:12), viz., that this condition was the punishment of unfaithfulness, may easily be supplied. The inf. abs. הפח is introduced to give life to the picture, as in Isaiah 22:13. Hahn renders it, "They pant (hiphil of puuach) in the holes all of them," but kullâm (all of them) must be the accusative of the object; so that the true meaning is, "They have fastened (hiphil of pâchach) all of them," etc. (Ges. 131, 4, b). Schegg adopts the rendering, "All his youths fall into traps," which is wrong in two respects; for bachūrı̄m is the plural of chūr (Isaiah 11:8), and it is parallel to the double plural כלאים בּתּי, houses of custodies. The whole nation in all its members is, as it were, put into bonds, and confined in prisons of all kinds (an allegorizing picture of the homelessness and servitude of exile), without any one thinking of demanding it back (השׁב equals השׁב, as in Ezekiel 21:32; a pausal form here: vid., Ges. 29, 4 Anm.).
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