Isaiah 5:30
And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: and if one look to the land, behold darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof.
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(30) They shall roar against them.—Literally, there is a roaring over him. The verb is the same as in the previous verse, and points therefore to the shout and tramp of the armies. It suggests the thought of the roaring of the sea, and this in its turn that of the darkness and thick clouds of a tempest; or possibly, as before, of an earthquake; or possibly, again, of an eclipse. The word for “heavens” is not that commonly used; better, clouds.

Isaiah 5:30. And in that day, &c. — “Here Isaiah closes this prophecy, with a strong and eloquent description of the consequences of this calamity; setting forth, in the most emphatical terms, the utter confusion, blackness, and desperation of the miserable Jews.” See Isaiah 8:22. They shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea — Which is violent and frightful; and if one look, &c., behold, darkness and sorrow — Darkness, that is, sorrow: the latter word explains the former. Every thing looks black and dismal. And the light is darkened in the heavens thereof — When they look up to the heavens, as men in distress usually do, they see no light there. Their comforts are wholly eclipsed, and their hopes like the giving up of the ghost. It must be observed, that the Scriptures frequently express great calamities and changes, in states and churches, by the heavens being darkened, and the sun, moon, and stars withdrawing their light, or falling from heaven. 5:24-30 Let not any expect to live easily who live wickedly. Sin weakens the strength, the root of a people; it defaces the beauty, the blossoms of a people. When God's word is despised, and his law cast away, what can men expect but that God should utterly abandon them? When God comes forth in wrath, the hills tremble, fear seizes even great men. When God designs the ruin of a provoking people, he can find instruments to be employed in it, as he sent for the Chaldeans, and afterwards the Romans, to destroy the Jews. Those who would not hear the voice of God speaking by his prophets, shall hear the voice of their enemies roaring against them. Let the distressed look which way they will, all appears dismal. If God frowns upon us, how can any creature smile? Let us diligently seek the well-grounded assurance, that when all earthly helps and comforts shall fail, God himself will be the strength of our hearts, and our portion for ever.They shall roar against them - The army that shall come up shall roar against the Jews. The image of "the roaring of the sea" indicates the great number that would come; that of the roaring of the "lion" denotes their fierceness and terror.

And if one look unto the land - This expression has given some perplexity, because it is supposed not to be full or complete. The whole image, it has been supposed (see "Lowth"), would be that of looking "upward" to the heaven for help, and then to the land, or "earth;" compare Isaiah 8:22, where the same expression is used. But there is no need of supposing the expression defective. The prophet speaks of the vast multitude that was coming up and roaring like the tumultuous "ocean." On "that" side there was no safety. The waves were rolling, and everything was suited to produce alarm. It was natural to speak of the "other" direction, as the "land," or the shore; and to say that the people would look there for safety. But, says he, there would be no safety there. All would be darkness.

Darkness and sorrow - This is an image of distress and calamity. There should be no light; no consolation; no safety; compare Isaiah 59:9; Amos 5:18, Amos 5:20; Lamentations 3:2.

And the light is darkened ... - That which gave light is turned to darkness.

In the heavens thereof - In the "clouds," perhaps, or by the gloomy thick clouds. Lowth renders it, 'the light is obscured by the gloomy vapor.' The main idea is plain, that there would be distress and calamity; and that there would be no light to guide them on their way. On the one hand a roaring, ragtag multitude, like the sea; on the other distress, perplexity, and gloom. Thus shut up, they must perish, and their land be utterly desolate.

30. sorrow, and the light is darkened—Otherwise, distress and light (that is, hope and fear) alternately succeed (as usually occurs in an unsettled state of things), and darkness arises in, &c. [Maurer].

heavens—literally, "clouds," that is, its sky is rather "clouds" than sky. Otherwise from a different Hebrew root, "in its destruction" or ruins. Horsley takes "sea … look unto the land" as a new image taken from mariners in a coasting vessel (such as all ancient vessels were), looking for the nearest land, which the darkness of the storm conceals, so that darkness and distress alone may be said to be visible.

Like the roaring of the sea; which is violent and frightful.

Darkness and sorrow; darkness, to wit, sorrow: the latter word explains the former, and the particle

and is put expositively, as it is frequently.

The light is darkened in the heavens thereof; when they look up to the heavens, as men in distress usually do, they see no light there; their comforts are wholly eclipsed, and their hopes are like the giving up of the ghost. And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea,.... That is, the Romans against the Jews; whose attacks upon them should be with so much fierceness and power, that it should be like the roaring of the sea, which is very dreadful, and threatens with utter destruction; the roaring of the sea and its waves is mentioned among the signs preceding Jerusalem's destruction by the Romans, Luke 21:25,

and if one look unto the land: the land of Judea, when wasted by the Romans, or while those wars continued between them and the Jews; or "into it" (k).

behold darkness; great affliction and tribulation being signified by darkness and dimness; see Isaiah 8:21.

and sorrow or "distress", great straits and calamities:

and, or "even",

the light is darkened in the heavens thereof; in their civil and church state, the kingdom being removed from the one, and the priesthood from the other; and their principal men in both, signified by the darkness of the sun, moon, and stars. Matthew 24:29.

(k) "in terram", Montanus, Piscator; "in hanc terram", Junius & Tremellius.

And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: and if {k} one looketh to the land, behold darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in its {l} heavens.

(k) The Jews will find no comfort.

(l) In the land of Judah.

30. Apparently an image of the land in the throes of the invasion. The verse, which presents many difficulties, may read somewhat as follows: And he shall growl over him in that day like the growling of the sea, and if one look to the earth, behold darkness of distress (and the light is dark) in its clouds. The text is probably in some disorder. The words in brackets are wanting in the LXX. The first clause is generally interpreted of the growl of the invader over the prostrate land; some, however, understand it of the voice of Jehovah (the thunder) moving overhead and directing the attack. The latter part of the verse has a general resemblance to Isaiah 8:22; the words “look to the earth” seem to require some such antithesis as “look up” in Isaiah 8:21.

in the heavens thereof] The word is not elsewhere used and is of uncertain meaning.Verse 30. - Like the roaring of the sea. Not content with one simile, the prophet has recourse to a second. "The noise of the Assyrian army shall be like that of a raging sea;" or, perhaps, "After he has carried off his prey, the Assyrian shall still continue to growl and threaten, like a stormy sea." If one look unto the land, etc. If Israel turn its gaze from Assyria to its own land, it sees nothing but a dark prospect - darkness and distress, all light shrouded amid clouds and deep obscurity. The text and the construction are, both of them, uncertain; but the general meaning can scarcely be other than this.

In the three exclamations in Isaiah 5:18-21, Jehovah rested contented with the simple undeveloped "woe" (hoi). On the other hand, the first two utterances respecting the covetous and the debauchees were expanded into an elaborate denunciation of punishment. But now that the prophet has come to the unjust judges, the denunciation of punishment bursts out with such violence, that a return to the simple exclamation of "woe" is not to be thought of. The two "therefores" in Isaiah 5:13, Isaiah 5:14, a third is now added in Isaiah 5:24 : "Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours stubble, and hay sinks together in the flame, their root will become like mould, and their blossom fly up like dust; for they have despised the law of Jehovah of hosts, and scornfully rejected the proclamation of the Holy One of Israel." The persons primarily intended as those described in Isaiah 5:22, Isaiah 5:23, but with a further extension of the range of vision to Judah and Jerusalem, the vineyard of which they are the bad fruit. The sinners are compared to a plant which moulders into dust both above and below, i.e., altogether (cf., Malachi 4:1, and the expression, "Let there be to him neither root below nor branch above," in the inscription upon the sarcophagus of the Phoenician king Es'mun'azar). Their root moulders in the earth, and their blossom (perach, as in Isaiah 18:5) turns to fine dust, which the wind carries away. And this change in root and blossom takes place suddenly, as if through the force of fire. In the expression Ce'ecol kash leshon 'ēsh ("as the tongue of fire devours stubble"), which consists of four short words with three sibilant letters, we hear, as it were, the hissing of the flame. When the infinitive construct is connected with both subject and object, the subject generally stands first, as in Isaiah 64:1; but here the object is placed first, as in Isaiah 20:1 (Ges. 133, 3; Ewald, 307). In the second clause, the infinitive construct passes over into the finite verb, just as in the similarly constructed passage in Isaiah 64:1. As yirpeh has the intransitive meaning Collabi, to sink together, or collapse; either lehâbâh must be an acc. loci, or Chashash lehâbâh the construct state, signifying flame-hay, i.e., hay destined to the flame, or ascending in flame.

(Note: In Arabic also, Chashı̄sh signifies hay; but in common usage (at least in Syriac) it is applied not to dried grass, but to green grass or barley: hence the expression yachush there is green fodder. Here, however, in Isaiah, Chashash is equivalent to Chashish yâbis, and this is its true etymological meaning (see the Lexicons). But kash is still used in Syro-Arabic, to signify not stubble, but wheat that has been cut and is not yet threshed; whereas the radical word itself signifies to be dry, and Châshash consequently is used for mown grass, and kash for the dry halm of wheat, whether as stubble left standing in the ground, or as straw (vid., Comm. on Job, at Job 39:13-18).)

As the reason for the sudden dissolution of the plantation of Judah, instead of certain definite sins being mentioned, the sin of all sins is given at once, namely, the rejection of the word of God with the heart (mâ'as), and in word and deed (ni'ēts). The double 'ēth (with yethib immediately before pashta, as in eleven passages in all; see Heidenheim's Imspete hate'amim, p. 20) and v'êth (with tebir) give prominence to the object; and the interchange of Jehovah of hosts with the Holy One of Israel makes the sin appear all the greater on account of the exaltation and holiness of God, who revealed Himself in this word, and indeed had manifested Himself to Israel as His own peculiar people. The prophet no sooner mentions the great sin of Judah, than the announcement of punishment receives, as it were, fresh fuel, and bursts out again.

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