Isaiah 47:3 Commentaries: "Your nakedness will be uncovered, Your shame also will be exposed; I will take vengeance and will not spare a man."
Isaiah 47:3
Your nakedness shall be uncovered, yes, your shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet you as a man.
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(3) I will not meet thee as a man.—The words in italics show that the phrase is difficult. Omitting them we get I shall not meet a man, i.e., there will be none to oppose me, or I will not spare a man.

Isaiah 47:3. Thy nakedness shall be uncovered — Either for want of raiment to cover it, or rather, by thine enemies in the way of scorn and contumely. I will take vengeance — Upon thee, for thy many and great injuries done to my people. I will not meet thee as a man — But like an Almighty God, whose power thou canst not resist. I will not treat thee with moderation and gentleness, as those men who have not quite put off humanity use to do, but like a lion, to tear thee to pieces: see Hosea 5:14; and Hosea 13:7-8. Thou shalt feel the most dreadful effects of my anger, and I will show no humanity or pity toward thee. The original expression, לא אפגע אדם, is peculiar, and is literally, I will not meet a man, which may be an inverted sentence put for, a man shall not meet me, that is, no man shall prevent or hinder the effects of my wrath. Bishop Lowth renders it, “Neither will I suffer a man to intercede with me.”47:1-6 Babylon is represented under the emblem of a female in deep distress. She was to be degraded and endure sufferings; and is represented sitting on the ground, grinding at the handmill, the lowest and most laborious service. God was righteous in his vengeance, and none should interpose. The prophet exults in the Lord of hosts, as the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel. God often permits wicked men to prevail against his people; but those who cruelly oppress them will be punished.Thy nakedness - This denotes the abject condition to which the city would be reduced. All its pride would be taken away; and it would be brought to such a state as to fill its inhabitants with the deepest mortification and shame. Vitringa supposes that it means, that all the imbecility and weakness; the vileness; the real poverty; the cruelty and injustice of Babylon, would be exposed. But it more probably means, that it would be reduced to the deepest ignominy. No language could more forcibly express the depths of its shame and disgrace than that which the prophet here uses.

I will take vengeance - This expresses literally what had been before expressed in a figurative manner. The whole purpose of God was to inflict vengeance on her for her pride, her luxury, and oppression, and especially for her want of kindness toward his people (see Isaiah 47:6).

And I will not meet thee as a man - This phrase has been very variously interpreted. Jerome renders it, 'And man shall not resist me.' The Septuagint renders it, 'I will take that which is just of thee, and will no more deliver thee up to men.' The Syriac, 'I will not suffer man to meet thee.' Grotius, 'I will not suffer any man to be an intercessor.' So Lowth, 'Neither will I suffer man to intercede with me.' Noyes, 'I will make peace with none.' So Gesenius (Lex. by Robinson) renders it, 'I will take vengeance, and will not make peace with man; that is, will make peace with none before all are destroyed.' The word used here (אפגע 'epega‛) is derived from פגע pâga‛, which means, "to strike upon" or "to strike against"; "to impinge upon anyone, or anything; to fall upon in a hostile manner" 1 Samuel 22:17; "to kill, to slay" Judges 8:21; Judges 15:12; "to assail with petitions, to urge, entreat anyone" Ruth 1:16; Jeremiah 7:16; "to light upon, or meet with anyone" Genesis 28:11, and then, according to Gesenius, "to strike a league with anyone, to make peace with him." Jarchi renders it, 'I will not solicit any man that he should take vengeance;' that is, I will do it myself. Aben Ezra, 'I will not admit the intercession of any man.' Vitringa renders it. 'I will take vengeance, and will not have a man to concur with me; that is, although I should not have a man to concur with me who should execute the vengeance which I meditate; on which account I have raised up Cyrus from Persia, of whom no one thought.' In my view, the meaning which best accords with the usual sense of the word, is that proposed by Lowth, that no one should be allowed to interpose, or intercede for them. All the interpretations concur in the same general signification, that Babylon should be totally destroyed; and that no man, whether, as Jerome supposes, by resistance, or as Lowth, by intercession, should be allowed to oppose the execution of the divine purpose of vengeance.

3. not meet … as a man—rather, "I will not meet a man," that is, suffer man to intercede with me—give man an audience [Horsley]. Or, "I will not make peace with any man," before all are destroyed. Literally, "strike a league with"; a phrase arising from the custom of striking hands together in making a compact [Maurer], (see on [828]Pr 17:18; Pr 22:26; 11:15, Margin). Or else from striking the victims sacrificed in making treaties. Thy nakedness shall be uncovered; either,

1. For want of raiment to cover it; or rather,

2. By thine enemies in way of scorn and contumely, by comparing this place with Ezekiel 16:37 23:29.

Thy shame shall be seen upon thee for thy many and great injuries done to my people.

I will take vengeance, as a man meets his enemy in the field, to contend with thee.

I will not meet thee as a man, with moderation and gentleness, as those men who have not quite put off humanity use to do; but like a lion tearing thee to pieces, to which God in such case compareth himself, as Hosea 5:14 13:7,8: compare Hosea 11:4. Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen,.... Not only stripped of their garments, and have nothing to cover their naked bodies, being spoiled of all by the soldiers; but should have nothing to cover those parts which women are most ashamed should be exposed to view, and which is often the case of such who fall into the hands of the conquerors. It is said of the whore of Rome, of mystical Babylon, that the kings of the earth should hate her, and make her desolate and naked, Revelation 17:16,

I will take vengeance; for though the Medes and Persians were the instruments, the destruction was of the Lord, who took vengeance of the Chaldeans, for their ill usage of his people; as he will on mystical Babylon, Revelation 18:20,

and I will not meet thee as a man; in a humane way, with lenity, tenderness, and compassion, but with inflexible wrath and fury; not with human strength, which is but weakness, but with the strength of the mighty God; as is said of mystical Babylon,

strong is the Lord God that judgeth her, Revelation 18:8 or it may be rendered, "I will not meet a man" (d); or a man shall not meet me, to stop or hinder me, by strength or might, or by prayers and entreaties. So some give the sense, "I will not receive the "intercession of any man for thee"; which is observed by Kimchi. The Targum is, "I will change "thy judgment from the children of men"; which agrees with the first sense.

(d) "et non occurram homini", Cocceius; so some in Vatablus; "neque feram obstare quenquam mihi", Junius & Tremellius. So Ben Melech, "I will not receive the request of a man, his supplication for them."

Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a {e} man.

(e) I will use no humanity nor pity toward you.

3. Thy nakedness … seen] These words, which undoubtedly spoil the rhythm of the verse, are deleted by Duhm as a gloss suggested by the latter part of Isaiah 47:2.

and I will not meet thee as a man] The sense is very obscure. Either (a) “I will spare no man” (i.e. meet him with friendly intentions); the figure of the virgin being dropped: or (b) “I will not entreat any man (for help)”: or (c) the vowel-points being changed, “I will let no man intercede,”—all unacceptable on one ground or another. The difficulty lies in the word for “man”; this would be got rid of by simply changing ’âdâm into ’âmar (= “saith”) read by some MSS. of the LXX. as the first word of Isaiah 47:4. The verb then stands absolutely, and is best pointed and translated as Niphal tolerativum: “I will not (let myself) be entreated.” (Oort and Duhm). See further on Isaiah 47:4.Verse 3. - I will not meet thee as a man; literally, I shall not meet a man; i.e. "I shall not find any one to oppose me." The second admonition is addressed to those who would imitate the heathen. "Remember this, and become firm, take it to heart, ye rebellious ones! Remember the beginning from the olden time, that I am God, and none else: Deity, and absolutely none like me: proclaiming the issue from the beginning, and from ancient times what has not yet taken place, saying, My counsel shall stand, and all my good pleasure I carry out: calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a distant land: not only have I spoken, I also bring it; I have purposed it, I also execute it." The object to which "this" points back is the nothingness of idols and idolatry. The persons addressed are the פושׁעים (those apostatizing), but, as התאשׁשׁוּ shows, whether it mean ἀνδιρίζεσθε or κραταιοῦσθε (1 Corinthians 16:13), such as have not yet actually carried out their rebellion or apostasy, but waver between Jehovahism and heathenism, and are inclined to the latter. התאשׁשׁו is hardly a denom. hithpalel of אישׁ in the sense of "man yourselves," since אישׁ, whether it signifies a husband or a social being, or like אנושׁ, a frail or mortal being, is at any rate equivalent to אנשׁ, and therefore never shows the modification u. אשׁשׁ (אשׁה) signifies to be firm, strong, compact; in the piel (rabb.), to be well-grounded; nithpael, to be fortified, established; here hithpoel, "show yourselves firm" (Targ., Jer.: fundamini ne rursum subitus idololatriae vos turbo subvertat). That they may strengthen themselves in faith and fidelity, they are referred to the history of their nation; ראשׁנות are not prophecies given at an earlier time - a meaning which the priora only acquire in such a connection as Isaiah 43:9 - but former occurrences. They are to pass before their minds the earlier history, and indeed "from the olden time." "Remember:" zikhrū is connected with the accusative of the object of remembrance, and כּי points to its result. An earnest and thoughtful study of history would show them that Jehovah alone was El, the absolutely Mighty One, and 'Elōhı̄m, the Being who united in Himself all divine majesty by which reverence was evoked. The participles in Isaiah 46:10, Isaiah 46:11 are attached to the "I" of כּמוני. It is Jehovah, the Incomparable, who has now, as at other times from the very commencement of the new turn in history, predicted the issue of which it would lead, and miqqedem, i.e., long before, predicted things that have not yet occurred, and which therefore lit outside the sphere of human combination - another passage like Isaiah 41:26; Isaiah 45:21, etc., in which what is predicted in these prophecies lays claim to the character of a prediction of long standing, and not of one merely uttered a few years before. The ראשׁית, in which the ראשׁנות are already in progress (Isaiah 42:9), is to be regarded as the prophet's ideal present; for Jehovah not only foretells before the appearance of Cyrus what is to be expected of him, but declares that His determination must be realized, that He will bring to pass everything upon which His will is set, and summons the man upon the stage of history as the instrument of its accomplishment, so that He knew Cyrus before he himself had either consciousness or being (Isaiah 45:4-5). The east is Persis (Isaiah 41:2); and the distant land, the northern part of Media (as in Isaiah 13:5). Cyrus is called an eagle, or, strictly speaking, a bird of prey (‛ayit),

(Note: The resemblance to ἀετός (αἰετός) is merely accidental. This name for the eagle is traceable, like avid, to a root vâ, to move with the swiftness of the wind. This was shown by Passow, compare Kuhn's Zeitschrift, i. 29, where we also find at 10, 126 another but less probable derivation from a root i, to go (compare eva, a course).)

just as in Jeremiah 49:22 and Ezekiel 17:3 Nebuchadnezzar is called a nesher. According to Cyrop. vii. 1, 4, the campaign of Cyrus was ἀετὸς χρυσοῦς ἐπὶ δόρατος μακροῦ ἀνατεταμένος. Instead of עצתו אישׁ, the keri reads more clearly, though quite unnecessarily, (עצתי אישׁ (see e.g., Isaiah 44:26). The correlate אף (Isaiah 46:11), which is only attached to the second verb the second time, affirms that Jehovah does not only the one, but the other also. His word is made by Him into a deed, His idea into a reality. יצר is a word used particularly by Isaiah, to denote the ideal preformation of the future in the mind of God (cf., Isaiah 22:11; Isaiah 37:26). The feminine suffixes refer in a neuter sense to the theme of the prophecy - the overthrow of idolatrous Babel, upon which Cyrus comes down like an eagle, in the strength of Jehovah. So far we have the nota bene for those who are inclined to apostasy. They are to lay to heart the nothingness of the heathen gods, and, on the other hand, the self-manifestation of Jehovah from the olden time, that is to say, of the One God who is now foretelling and carrying out the destruction of the imperial city through the eagle from the east.

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