Isaiah 5:14
Therefore hell has enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoices, shall descend into it.
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(14) Therefore hell hath enlarged herself.—The Hebrew Sheol, or Hades, like “hell” itself in its original meaning, expressed not a place of torment, but the vast shadow – world of death, thought of as being below the earth (Psalm 16:10; Psalm 49:14). Here, as elsewhere (Jonah 2:2; Proverbs 1:12; Proverbs 30:16), it is half-personified, as Hades and Death are in Revelation 6:8; Revelation 20:13-14. In that unseen world there were, in the later belief of Judaism, the two regions of Gehenna and of Eden or Paradise. What the prophet says is that all the pomp and glory of the rich oppressors are on their way to that inevitable doom. The word for “glory” (as in 1Samuel 4:22) is the same as that for “honourable men” in Isaiah 5:13, so that the original has all the emphasis of repetition.

5:8-23 Here is a woe to those who set their hearts on the wealth of the world. Not that it is sinful for those who have a house and a field to purchase another; but the fault is, that they never know when they have enough. Covetousness is idolatry; and while many envy the prosperous, wretched man, the Lord denounces awful woes upon him. How applicable to many among us! God has many ways to empty the most populous cities. Those who set their hearts upon the world, will justly be disappointed. Here is woe to those who dote upon the pleasures and the delights of sense. The use of music is lawful; but when it draws away the heart from God, then it becomes a sin to us. God's judgments have seized them, but they will not disturb themselves in their pleasures. The judgments are declared. Let a man be ever so high, death will bring him low; ever so mean, death will bring him lower. The fruit of these judgments shall be, that God will be glorified as a God of power. Also, as a God that is holy; he shall be owned and declared to be so, in the righteous punishment of proud men. Those are in a woful condition who set up sin, and who exert themselves to gratify their base lusts. They are daring in sin, and walk after their own lusts; it is in scorn that they call God the Holy One of Israel. They confound and overthrow distinctions between good and evil. They prefer their own reasonings to Divine revelations; their own devices to the counsels and commands of God. They deem it prudent and politic to continue profitable sins, and to neglect self-denying duties. Also, how light soever men make of drunkenness, it is a sin which lays open to the wrath and curse of God. Their judges perverted justice. Every sin needs some other to conceal it.Therefore hell - The word transated "hell," שׁאול she'ôl, has not the same meaning that we now attach to that word; its usual signification, among the Hebrews, was "the lower world, the region of departed spirits." It corresponded to the Greek ἅδης Hadēs, "hades," or place of the dead. This word occurs eleven times in the New Testament Matthew 11:23; Matthew 16:18; Luke 10:15; Luke 16:23; Acts 2:27, Acts 2:31; 1 Corinthians 15:55; Revelation 1:18; Revelation 6:8; Revelation 20:13-14, in all of which places, except 1 Corinthians 15:55, it is rendered "hell," though denoting, in most of those places, as it does in the Old Testament, the abodes of the dead. The Septuagint, in this place, and usually, translates the word שׁאול she'ôl by ἅδης Hadēs, "Hades." It was represented by the Hebrews as "low down, or deep" in the earth - contrasted with the height of heaven; Deuteronomy 32:22; Job 11:8; Psalm 139:7-8. It was a place where thick darkness reigns; Job 10:21-22 : 'The land of darkness and the shadow of death; a land of darkness, as darkness itself.' It is described as having "valleys, or depths," Proverbs 9:18. It is represented also as having "gates," Isaiah 38:10; and as being inhabited by a great multitude, some of whom sit on thrones, occupied in some respects as they were on earth; see the note at Isaiah 14:9. And it is also said that the wicked descend into it by openings in the earth, as Korah, Dathan, and Abiram did; Numbers 15:30, ... In this place, it means evidently the "regions of the dead," without the idea of punishment; and the poetic representation is, that so many of the Jews would be cut off by famine, thirst, and the sword, that those vast regions would be obliged "to enlarge themselves" in order to receive them. It means, therefore, that while many of them would go into captivity Isaiah 5:13, vast multitudes of them would be cut off by famine, thirst, and the sword.

Opened her mouth - As if to absorb or consume them; as a "cavern," or opening of the earth does; compare Numbers 16:30.

Without measure - Without any limit.

And their glory - All that they esteemed their pride and honor shall descend together into the yawning gulf.

Their multitude - The multitude of people; their vast hosts.

Their pomp - Noise, tumult; the bustle, and shouting, and display made in battle, or war, or victory; Isaiah 13:4; Amos 2:2; Hosea 10:14.

And he that rejoiceth - All that the nation prided itself on, and all that was a source of joy, should be destroyed.

14. hell—the grave; Hebrew, sheol; Greek, hades; "the unseen world of spirits." Not here, "the place of torment." Poetically, it is represented as enlarging itself immensely, in order to receive the countless hosts of Jews, which should perish (Nu 16:30).

their—that is, of the Jewish people.

he that rejoiceth—the drunken reveller in Jerusalem.

Hell; or, the grave, as this word most commonly signifies.

Opened her mouth without measure, to receive those vast numbers which shall die by this famine, or otherwise, as is here implied.

Their glory; their honourable men, as they were called, Isaiah 5:13, being distinguished both here and there from the multitude.

Their pomp; all their glory, shall die with them.

He that rejoiceth; that spendeth all his days in mirth and jollity, and casteth away all cares and fears. Therefore hell hath enlarged herself,.... That is, the grave, to receive the dead which die with famine and thirst; signifying that the number of the dead would be so great, that the common burying places would not be sufficient to hold them; but additions must be made to them; or some vast prodigious pit must be dug, capable of receiving them; like Tophet, deep and large: or "hath enlarged her soul" (d); her desire after the dead, see Habakkuk 2:5 being insatiable, and one of those things which are never satisfied, or have enough, Proverbs 30:15 wherefore it follows:

and opened her mouth without measure; immensely wide; there being no boundary to its desires, nor any end of its cravings, or of filling it. And so the Targum renders it, "without end". Moreover, by "hell" may be meant the miserable estate and condition of the Jews upon the destruction of Jerusalem, when they were in the utmost distress and misery; see Gill on Luke 16:23.

And their glory; their glorious ones, their nobles, as the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions; and the Targum, their princes, rulers, civil and ecclesiastical; which were the glory of the nation:

and their multitude; meaning the common people; or rather their great and honourable ones, as the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions render the word; and in which sense it may be used in the preceding verse Isaiah 5:13; since not of the poor, but of the rich, the context speaks; even of such who indulged themselves in luxury and pleasure:

and their pomp; the Septuagint version, "their rich ones"; such who live in pomp and splendour: but the word (e) signifies noise and tumult; and so the Targum renders it; and it designs noisy and tumultuous ones, who sing and roar, halloo and make a noise at feasts; and who may be called , "sons of tumult", or "tumultuous ones"; Jeremiah 48:45 wherefore it follows:

and he that rejoiceth, that is, at their feasts,

shall descend into it; into hell, or the grave: or, "he that rejoiceth in it", that is, in the land or city; so the Targum,

"he that is strong among them;''

so Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it.

(d) "dilatavit suam animam", V. L. Munster, Montanus, Cocceius. (e) "et strepitus ejus", Montanus, Forerius.

Therefore {u} hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

(u) Meaning, the grave will swallow up them who will die for hunger and thirst, and yet for all this great destruction it will never be satisfied.

14–17. A second threatening, in a sublime image, of the sudden destruction of Jerusalem. The transition to the fate of the capital is somewhat abrupt. 14. hell hath enlarged herself] better, Sheol hath enlarged her appetite (Habakkuk 2:5). Sheol, the Underworld, the realm of the dead (like the Greek Hades), is here, as elsewhere, conceived as a devouring insatiable monster; cf. Hosea 13:14; Jonah 2:2; Song of Solomon 8:6; Proverbs 1:12; Proverbs 30:16.

and their glory … descend into it] Render (nearly as Cheyne) and down goes her (Jerusalem’s) pomp, and her tumult and her uproar and (all) that is (so) jubilant in her.Verse 14. - Therefore hell hath enlarged herself; rather, hath enlarged her desire (comp. Habakkuk 2:5). "Hell" here represents the underworld, into which souls descended at death, not yet perhaps recognized as comprehending two divisions, but regarded much as the Greeks regarded their Hades - as a general receptacle of the dead, dark and silent. Hades (Sheol), not viewed as a person, but personified by poetical license, "enlarges her desire" and "opens her mouth" to receive the crowd that is approaching the crowd of those who in captivity succumb to the hardships of their lot. Their glory; literally, her glory - the glory, i.e., of Jerusalem, which is especially in the prophet's thoughts. "Her glory, and her crowd, and her pomp, and he that is joyful in her, shall go down" into the sheol that gapes for them. "Woe unto them that join house to house, who lay field to field, till there is no more room, and ye alone are dwelling in the midst of the land." The participle is continued in the finite verb, as in Isaiah 5:23; Isaiah 10:1; the regular syntactic construction is cases of this kind (Ges. 134, Anm. 2). The preterites after "till" (there are to such preterites, for 'ephes is an intensified אין enclosing the verbal idea) correspond to future perfects: "They, the insatiable, would not rest till, after every smaller piece of landed property had been swallowed by them, the whole land had come into their possession, and no one beside themselves was settled in the land" (Job 22:8). Such covetousness was all the more reprehensible, because the law of Israel and provided so very stringently and carefully, that as far as possible there should be an equal distribution of the soil, and that hereditary family property should be inalienable. All landed property that had been alienated reverted to the family every fiftieth year, or year of jubilee; so that alienation simply had reference to the usufruct of the land till that time. It was only in the case of houses in towns that the right of redemption was restricted to one year, at least according to a later statute. How badly the law of the year of jubilee had been observed, may be gathered from Jeremiah 34, where we learn that the law as to the manumission of Hebrew slaves in the sabbatical year had fallen entirely into neglect. Isaiah's contemporary, Micah, makes just the same complaint as Isaiah himself (vid., Micah 2:2).
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