And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The mean man shall be brought.—The recurrence of the burden of Isaiah 2:9; Isaiah 2:11-12; Isaiah 2:17, connects Isaiah 5 with the earlier portion of the introduction.Isaiah 5:15-17. And the mean man, &c. — All of them, both high and low, shall be brought to destruction. But the Lord shall be exalted in judgment — By the execution of his just judgment upon his incorrigible enemies. And God that is holy shall be sanctified — Shall appear to be a holy God; in righteousness — That is, by displaying his righteousness, or executing his righteous judgments. Then, &c. — When God shall have finished that work of judgment upon the ungodly, he will extend mercy to the remainder; the lambs — The poor and harmless people, who shall be left in the land, when the rich are carried into captivity, as it happened 2 Kings 25:12; shall feed after their manner — Or, without restraint, as Bishop Lowth renders it. And the waste places of the fat ones — The lands left by their owners, the rich and great men, who were either slain or carried into captivity; shall strangers eat — The poor Israelites who were left in the land to be vine-dressers and husbandmen, who are called strangers, because they were so in reference to that land, not being the proper owners of it, nor related to them. Vitringa is of opinion that this verse “refers to the first disciples of Jesus Christ, who, seeing and deploring the destruction of the Jews, should rest safely under the protection of God; while, according to the next clause, the Gentiles should be brought into the communion of the church, and rejoice in those benefits, prerogatives, and privileges, whereof the carnal, rich, and luxurious Jews were deprived.” See John 10:16.Isaiah 2:9.
Shall be exalted in judgment - In his justice; he shall so manifest his justice as to be exalted in the view of tbe people.
and the mighty man shall be humbled; laid low in the dust, and be equal to the poor; for, in the grave, princes and peasants are alike; or they shall be all alike, in the same low and miserable condition:
and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled; when famine and distress, ruin and misery, come upon them, then shall the pride of those be abased, as it was; who boasted of their riches and honour, of their descent and parentage, as the children of Abraham, and as being free men, and never in bondage; of their righteousness and good works; not submitting to the righteousness of Christ; but despising it, and looking with disdain upon, and treating with contempt, such as they thought less holy than themselves. The Scribes and Pharisees, the members of the sanhedrim, and rulers of the people, together with the whole body of the nation, are meant; who were all of the same cast and complexion, being conceited of themselves, and proud boasters.And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15, 16. A reminiscence of the refrain in ch. Isaiah 2:9; Isaiah 2:11; Isaiah 2:17; but with significant modifications. These verses seem to interrupt the connexion of Isaiah 5:17 with Isaiah 5:14, and are either parenthetical or interpolated.Verse 15. - And the mean man, hall be brought down; rather, so the mean man is brought down; i.e. in this way, by the Captivity and the consequent sufferings and deaths, both high and low are brought down and humbled, while God is exalted in man's sight. The future is throughout spoken of as present (comp. Isaiah 2:9, 11, 17). Isaiah 5:9, Isaiah 5:10 : "Into mine ears Jehovah of hosts: Of a truth many houses shall become a wilderness, great and beautiful ones deserted. For ten yokes of vineyard will yield one pailful, and a quarter of seed-corn will produce a bushel." We may see from Isaiah 22:14 in what sense the prophet wrote the substantive clause, "Into mine ears," or more literally, "In mine ears is Jehovah Zebaoth," viz., He is here revealing Himself to me. In the pointing, בּאזני is written with tiphchah as a pausal form, to indicate to the reader that the boldness of the expression is to be softened down by the assumption of an ellipsis. In Hebrew, "to say into the ears" did not mean to "speak softly and secretly," as Genesis 23:10, Genesis 23:16; Job 33:8, and other passages, clearly show; but to speak in a distinct and intelligible manner, which precludes the possibility of any misunderstanding. The prophet, indeed, had not Jehovah standing locally beside him; nevertheless, he had Him objectively over against his own personality, and was well able to distinguish very clearly the thoughts and words of his own personality, from the words of Jehovah which arose audibly within him. These words informed him what would be the fate of the rich and insatiable landowners. "Of a truth:" אם־לא (if not) introduces an oath of an affirmative character (the complete formula is Chai ani 'im-lo', "as I live if not"), just as 'im (if) alone introduces a negative oath (e.g., Numbers 14:23). The force of the expression 'im-lo' extends not only to rabbim, as the false accentuation with gershayim (double-geresh) would make it appear, but to the whole of the following sentence, as it is correctly accentuated with rebia in the Venetian (1521) and other early editions. A universal desolation would ensue: rabbim (many) does not mean less than all; but the houses (bâttim, as the word should be pronounced, notwithstanding Ewald's objection to Khler's remarks on Zechariah 14:2; cf., Job 2:1-13 :31) constituted altogether a very large number (compare the use of the word "many" in Isaiah 2:3; Matthew 20:28, etc.). מאין is a double, and therefore an absolute, negation (so that there is not, no inhabitant, i.e., not any inhabitant at all). Isaiah 5:10, which commences, with Ci, explains how such a desolation of the houses would be brought about: failure of crops produces famine, and this is followed by depopulation. "Ten zimdē (with dagesh lene, Ewald) of vineyard" are either ten pieces of the size that a man could plough in one day with a yoke of oxen, or possibly ten portions of yoke-like espaliers of vines, i.e., of vines trained on cross laths (the vina jugata of Varro), which is the explanation adopted by Biesenthal. But if we compare 1 Samuel 14:14, the former is to be preferred, although the links are wanting which would enable us to prove that the early Israelites had one and the same system of land measure as the Romans;
(Note: On the jugerum, see Hultsch, Griechische und rmische Metrologie, 1862. The Greek plethron, which was smaller by two and a half, corresponded to some extent to this; also the Homeric tetraguon, which cannot be more precisely defined (according to Eustathius, it was a piece of land which a skilful labourer could plough in one day). According to Herod. ii. 168, in the Egyptian square-measure an a'roura was equal to 150 cubits square. The Palestinian, according to the tables of Julian the Ashkalonite, was the plethron. "The plethron," he says, "was ten perches, or fifteen fathoms, or thirty paces, sixty cubits, ninety feet" (for the entire text, see L. F. V. Fennersberg's Untersuchungen ber alte Langen-, Feld-, und Wegemaase, 1859). Fennersberg's conclusion is, that the tzemed was a plethron, equal in length to ten perches of nine feet each. But the meaning of the word tzemed is of more importance in helping to determine the measure referred to, than the tables of long measure of the architect of Ashkalon, which have been preserved in the imperial collection of laws of Constantine Harmenopulos, and which probably belong to a much later period.)
nevertheless Arab. fddân (in Hauran) is precisely similar, and this word signifies primarily a yoke of oxen, and then a yoke (jugerum) regarded as a measure of land. Ten days' work would only yield a single bath. This liquid measure, which was first introduced in the time of the kings, corresponded to the ephah in dry measure (Ezekiel 45:11). According to Josephus (Ant. viii. 2, 9), it was equal to seventy-two Roman sextarii, i.e., a little more than thirty-three Berlin quarts; but in the time of Isaiah it was probably smaller. The homer, a dry measure, generally called a Cor after the time of the kings, was equal to ten Attic medimnoi;
(Note: Or rather 7 1/2 Attic medimnoi equals 10 Attic metretoi equals 45 Roman modia (see Bckh, Metrologische Untersuchungen, p. 259).)
a medimnos being (according to Josephus, Ant. xv 9, 2) about 15-16ths of a Berlin bushel, and therefore a little more than fifteen pecks. Even if this quantity of corn should be sown, they would not reap more than an ephah.The harvest, therefore, would only yield the tenth part of the sowing, since an ephah was the tenth part of a homer, or three seahs, the usual minimum for one baking (vid., Matthew 13:33). It is, of course, impossible to give the relative measure exactly in our translation.
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