Isaiah 65:12
Therefore will I number you to the sword, and you shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not hear; but did evil before my eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.
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Isaiah 65:12. Therefore will I number you to the sword — “Here the allusion to meni, which signifies number, is obvious.” And you shall all bow down to the slaughter — As you have bowed down to idols, which are my enemies, I will make you bow down to your enemies’ swords; because when I called — Namely, by my prophets, you did not answer by doing the things that I enjoined. But did evil before mine eyes — You sinned deliberately, choosing sinful courses, the things which I hated. It must be observed here, that though the Jews, in the time of Christ and his apostles, (the period, it seems, referred to,) were not guilty of such idolatries as those above mentioned, yet, as they manifested the same spirit of rebellion, perverseness, and enmity to God, he therefore threatens that he would number them to the sword, as criminals ordered for execution, which he accordingly did, sending the Roman armies to desolate their country, lay their cities level with the ground, and almost extirpate their whole nation.65:11-16 Here the different states of the godly and wicked, of the Jews who believed, and of those who persisted in unbelief, are set against one another. They prepared a table for that troop of deities which the heathen worship, and poured out drink-offerings to that countless number. Their worshippers spared no cost to honour them, which should shame the worshippers of the true God. See the malignity of sin; it is doing by choice what we know will displease God. In every age and nation, the Lord leaves those who persist in doing evil, and despise the call of the gospel. God's servants shall have the bread of life, and shall want nothing good for them. But those who forsake the Lord, shall be ashamed of vain confidence in their own righteousness, and the hopes they built thereon. Wordly people bless themselves in the abundance of this world's goods; but God's servants bless themselves in him. He is their strength and portion. They shall honour him as the God of truth. And it was promised that in him should all the families of the earth be blessed. They shall think themselves happy in having him for their God, who made them forget their troubles.Therefore will I number you to the sword - There is undoubtedly an allusion here to the idol Meni mentioned in Isaiah 65:11, and a play upon the name, in accordance with a custom quite common in the sacred Scriptures. The word מניתי mâniytiy, 'I will number,' is derived from מנה mânâh, the same word from which מני menı̂y, is derived. The idea is, since they worshipped a god whose name denoted number - perhaps one who was supposed to number or appoint the fates of people - God would number them. He would determine their destiny. It would not be done by any idol that was supposed to preside over the destinies of people; not by blind fate, or by anyone of the heavenly bodies, but it would be by an intelligent and holy God. And thus numbering or determining their lot would not be in accordance with their expectations, imparting to them a happy fortune, but would be devoting them to the sword; that is, to destruction. The allusion is, probably, to the calamities which God afterward brought on them by the invasion of the Chaldeans.

And ye shall all bow down to the slaughter - This is evidently strong, and probably hyperbolic language, meaning that a large portion of the nation would be cut off by the sword. The allusion here is, I think, to the slaughter of the Jewish people in the invasion of the Chaldeans. The evil of idolatry prevailed, in the time of Isaiah, under the reign of Manasseh; and in the time of Zedekiah it had increased so much even in Jerusalem, that it was said, 'All the chief priests and the people transgressed very much after all the abominations of the pagan; and polluted the house of the Lord which he had hallowed in Jerusalem .... And they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, until there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldeans, who killed their young people with the sword, in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man or him that stooped for age; he gave them all into their hand 2 Chronicles 36:14, 2 Chronicles 36:16-17. It is possible, also, that this is intended to express a more general truth, and to intimate that when his people forsake him he will punish them; but the primary reference, it is proable, was to the slaughter caused by the Babylonians when they destroyed Jerusalem.

Because when I called - When I called you by the prophets to repentance and to my service (see Proverbs 1:24 ff.)

Ye did not answer - You showed the same disregard and contempt which a child does who suffers a parent to call him, and who pays no attention to it. One of the chief aggravations of human guilt is, that the sinner pays no attention to the calls of God. He pretends not to hear; or he hears to disregard it. No more decided contempt can be shown to the Almighty; no deeper proof of the stupidity and guilt of people can be furnished.

But did evil before mine eyes - (See the notes at Isaiah 65:3).

12. number—"doom" you. Alluding to the "number," as Meni (Isa 65:11) means. Retribution in kind, the punishment answering to the sin (compare 2Ch 36:14-17).

I called, ye … not answer—"I called," though "none had called" upon Me (Isa 64:7); yet even then none "answered" (Pr 1:24). Contrast with this God and His people's mutual fellowship in prayer (Isa 65:24).

You have offended in number, worshipping a multitude, a troop of idols; there shall be a great number of you perish by the sword; or possibly the term

number may refer to all in the next phrase, to let them know that none of them should escape. God saith he will number them, tell them out one by one to the sword.

You shall all bow down to the slaughter; as you have bowed down to idols, Isaiah 44:17, (which are mine enemies,) I will make you bow down to your enemy’s swords. I called you by my prophets, Zechariah 7:7,11,12: you did not answer by doing the things which I by them spoke to you for; but not considering that I saw you, or if considering it, yet not regarding it, you impudently did evil; yea, you sinned deliberately, choosing sinful courses, the things which I hated, which are (here as often) expressed by it meiosis, and called the things in which God delighteth not. In matters of worship we ought to choose nothing wherein God delighteth not; and reason as well as Scripture will assure us he can delight in nothing of that nature which himself hath not directed. It is observable, that ruin is here threatened to this people, not for their immoralities or lewd lives, but for their errors and superstitions in Divine worship. Other sins provoke God to wrath, but those of this nature alone are enough to ruin souls and nations. Therefore will I number you to the sword,.... There is an elegancy in the expression, alluding to Meni, that number, they furnished a drink offering for, or trusted in; and since they did, God would number them, or appoint a number of them to the sword; or suffer them to be slain in great numbers, even from one end of their land to another, Jeremiah 12:12, they should be numbered and told out, or care taken that none of them should escape the sword of the Romans, or not be taken by them:

and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter; be obliged to submit to the conqueror, and lay down their necks to be sacrificed by him:

because, when I called, ye did not answer; when I spoke, ye did not hear; when Christ called unto them personally, to come and hear him, they turned a deaf ear to this charmer, charming so wisely, and would not attend upon his ministry, Proverbs 1:24, and when he called to them in the ministry of his apostles, they rejected him and his word with contempt; they put it away from them, contradicting and blaspheming it, Acts 13:45. The Targum is,

"because I sent my prophets, and ye turned not; they prophesied, and ye did not receive them:''

but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not; adhered to the traditions of the elders, and taught for doctrines the commandments of men; and which they chose and preferred to the word of God, and the Gospel of Christ; and these were things the Lord delighted not in, yea, abhorred; and their embracing and cleaving to them were evil in his sight; see Matthew 15:3.

Therefore will I {p} number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I {q} spoke, ye did not hear; but did evil before my eyes, and did choose that in which I delighted not.

(p) Seeing you cannot number your gods, I will number you with the sword.

(q) By my prophets, whom you would not obey.

12. Render with R.V. I will destine you to the sword &c. There is a play upon words between the verb for “destine” (mânâh) and Měnî in Isaiah 65:11.

because when I called &c.] Cf. Isaiah 65:1-2.

but did evil before mine eyes &c.] Exactly as ch. Isaiah 66:4.Verse 12. - Therefore will I number you; or, apportion you (maaithi) - a play upon the name of M'ni. The sword... slaughter. Not, perhaps, intended literally. Wicked men are God's sword (Psalm 17:13), and deliverance into their hand would be deliverance to the sword and slaughter. The exiles suffered grievously at the hands of their Babylonian masters (Isaiah 47:6; Isaiah 49:17, etc.). The character of their sufferings is given in the ensuing verses (vers. 13, 14). When I called, ye did not answer (see 2 Chronicles 36:15, 16; Proverbs 1:20-25; Isaiah 66:4). The justice of God will not rest till it has procured for itself the fullest satisfaction. "Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence without having recompensed, and I will recompense into their bosom. Your offences, and the offences of your fathers together, saith Jehovah, that they have burned incense upon the mountains, and insulted me upon the hills, and I measure their reward first of all into their bosom." Vitringa has been misled by such passages as Isaiah 10:1; Job 13:26; Jeremiah 22:30, in which kâthabh (kittēbh) is used to signify a written decree, and understands by khethūbhâh the sentence pronounced by God; but the reference really is to their idolatrous conduct and contemptuous defiance of the laws of God. This is ever before Him, written in indelible characters, waiting for the day of vengeance; for, according to the figurative language of Scripture, there are heavenly books, in which the good and evil works of men are entered. And this agrees with what follows: "I will not be silent, without having first repaid," etc. The accentuation very properly places the tone upon the penultimate of the first shillamtı̄ as being a pure perfect, and upon the last syllable of the second as a perf. consec. אם כּי preceded by a future and followed by a perfect signifies, "but if (without having) first," etc. (Isaiah 55:10; Genesis 32:27; Leviticus 22:6; Ruth 3:18; cf., Judges 15:7). The original train of thought was, "I will not keep silence, for I shall first of all keep silence when," etc. Instead of ‛al chēqâm, "Upon their bosom," we might have 'el chēqâm, into their bosom, as in Jeremiah 32:18; Psalm 79:12. In Isaiah 65:7 the keri really has 'el instead of ‛al, whilst in Isaiah 65:9 the chethib is ‛al without any keri (for the figure itself, compare Luke 6:38, "into your bosom"). The thing to be repaid follows in Isaiah 65:7; it is not governed, however, by shillamtı̄, as the form of the address clearly shows, but by 'ăshallēm understood, which may easily be supplied. Whether 'ăsher is to be taken in the sense of qui or quod (that), it is hardly possible to decide; but the construction of the sentence favours the latter. Sacrificing "upon mountains and hills" (and, what is omitted, here, "under every green tree") is the well-known standing phrase used to describe the idolatry of the times preceding the captivity (cf., Isaiah 57:7; Hosea 4:13; Ezekiel 6:13). וּמדּתי points back to veshillamtı̄ in Isaiah 65:6, after the object has been more precisely defined. Most of the modern expositors take ראשׁנה פעלּתם together, in the sense of "their former wages," i.e., the recompense previously deserved by their fathers. But in this case the concluding clause would only affirm, by the side of Isaiah 65:7, that the sins of the fathers would be visited upon them. Moreover, this explanation has not only the accents against it, but also the parallel in Jeremiah 16:18 (see Hitzig), which evidently stands in a reciprocal relation to the passage before us. Consequently ri'shōnâh must be an adverb, and the meaning evidently is, that the first thing which Jehovah had to do by virtue of His holiness was to punish the sins of the apostate Israelites; and He would so punish them that inasmuch as the sins of the children were merely the continuation of the fathers' sins, the punishment would be measured out according to the desert of both together.
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