Moreover the LORD spoke again to Ahaz, saying,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Isaiah 7:10-12. The Lord spake again unto Ahaz — Namely, by Isaiah. “From hence to Isaiah 7:16, we have the confirmation of the promise, by a sign to Ahaz, in the name of God; in which we have, first, the prophet’s address to Ahaz, exhorting him, by the divine command, to ask whatever sign he would, with the reply of Ahaz, Isaiah 7:10-12 : and, secondly, a declaration of God’s good pleasure to give an illustrious sign, which he offers rather to the true believers than to a hypocritical and incredulous king, Isaiah 7:13-16.” Through the strong and forcible objections which some learned men have made against applying the prophecy contained in these verses to Christ, in its primary sense, Huetius, Grotius, and some other commentators, have been led to suppose that it immediately related to the birth of a child in a natural way, and that it only refers in a secondary sense to the birth of Christ. Thus Bishop Lowth observes, “The obvious, literal meaning of the prophecy, not excluding a higher secondary sense, is this: ‘That, within the time that a young woman, now a virgin, should conceive, and bring forth a child, and that child should arrive at such an age as to distinguish between good and evil, that is, within a few years,
(compare Isaiah 8:4,) the enemies of Judah should be destroyed.’” But, surely, as Dr. Doddridge observes, on Matthew 1:23, “A son’s being born of one, then a virgin, when she was married, was no such miraculous event as to answer such a pompous introduction” as we have here. Of this the reader may easily judge by attending to the prophet’s words, and a short and easy paraphrase upon them. Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God — A sign is a miracle wrought for the confirmation of some message, promise, or doctrine delivered from God. “Some unusual or extraordinary effect, production, or phenomenon, which could not be explained from natural causes, but only from the omnipotence of the Ruler of the universe; which, moreover, signified that God was present, and ratified the word, or declaration, for which the sign was given.” See Exodus 4:8; Jdg 6:17; Isaiah 38:22. Ask it either in the depth, or in the height above — Demand some prodigy to be wrought, either in earth or heaven, at thy pleasure. By speaking thus, the prophet signified that “all nature was subject to the power and control of that God, whom he calls the God of Ahaz, as being the God of his fathers, and in order to admonish him wherein to place his confidence.” But Ahaz said, I will not ask — This refusal did not proceed from faith in God and true humility, but rather from his contempt of God, and disregard of his word, as is sufficiently evident from the history of his life. He probably feared lest, if such a sign should be given as he did not choose, he should be compelled to desist from his purpose of calling in the aid of Assyria, which he could not well have called in after Jehovah had given a sign to the contrary. Besides, he did not dare to commit himself to that divine favour and providence, which he had heretofore so proudly despised; preferring to it the protection of other and false deities. See Vitringa. Neither will I tempt the Lord — By distrusting his providence, or asking a sign, as if I questioned the truth of his word. But this was deep hypocrisy, as appears by the prophet’s answer.
Is Samaria - This was long the capital of the kingdom of Israel. For a description of this city, see the notes at Isaiah 28:1. The meaning of the prophet is, that Samaria should continue to be the head of Ephraim; that is, Jerusalem should not be made its capital.
If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established - There is considerable variety in the interpretation of these words, though the general sense is evident. The Chaldee renders them, 'If ye will not believe the words of the prophet, ye shall not remain.' It is probable that Ahaz, who was greatly alarmed, and who trembled at the formidable power of Syria and Israel united, received the annunciation of the prophet with much distrust. He was anxious about the means of defense, but did not trust in the promise of God by the prophet. Isaiah, therefore, assures him, that if he did not believe him; if he did not put confidence in God, and his promises, he should not be protected from Syria and Ephraim. They would come and destroy his kingdom. 'You have no occasion,' is the language of the prophet, 'to fear. God has resolved to protect you, and no portion of your land shall be taken by your enemies. Nevertheless, in order that you may obtain deliverance, you must believe his promise, and put your confidence in him, and not in the aid of the Assyrians. If you do this, your mind shall be calm, peaceful, and happy. But if you do "not" do this; if you rely on the aid of Assyria, you shall be troubled, alarmed, unsuccessful, and bring ruin upon yourself and nation.' This, therefore, is an exhortation to confide solely in the promises of God, and is one of the instances constantly occurring in the Old Testament and the New, showing, that by faith or confidence in God only, can the mind he preserved calm when in the midst of dangers.Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)10. Moreover the Lord spake again] Better, And Jehovah spake further. The expression does not of itself imply that this second communication followed immediately on the first, but that is certainly the most natural supposition.
10–12. Isaiah’s last ineffectual effort to bring Ahaz to the attitude of faith. A sign is offered and refused.Verses 10-16. - THE SIGN OF IMMANUEL. The supposition that there was a considerable interval between ver. 9 and ver. 10 (Cheyne) is quite gratuitous. Nothing in the text marks any such interval. God had sent Ahaz one message by his prophet (vers. 4-9). It had apparently been received in silence, at any rate without acknowledgment. The faith had seemed to be lacking which should have embraced with gladness the promise given (see the last clause of ver. 9). God, however, will give the unhappy monarch another chance. And so he scuds him a second message, the offer of a sign which should make belief in the first message easier to him (ver. 11). Ahaz proudly rejects this offer (ver. 12). Then the sign of "Immanuel" is given - not to Ahaz individually, but to the whole "house of David," and through them to the entire Jewish people. "A virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, whose name shall be called Immanuel; and before this child shall have grown to the age of moral discernment, God's people will have been delivered, and their enemies made a desolation" (vers. 14-16). The exact bearing of the "sign" will be best discussed in the comment upon ver. 14. Verse 10. - The Lord spake again unto Ahaz. As before (vers. 3, 4) by the mouth of his prophet. Jeremiah 48:11; Zephaniah 1:12, yields a sense which hardly suits the exhortation. The object of terror, at which and before which the king's heart was not to despair, is introduced first of all with Min and then with Beth, as in Jeremiah 51:46. The two allies are designated at once as what they were in the sight of God, who sees through the true nature and future condition. They were two tails, i.e., nothing but the fag-ends, of wooden pokers (lit. stirrers, i.e., fire-stirrers), which would not blaze any more, but only continue smoking. They would burn and light no more, though their smoke might make the eyes smart still. Along with Rezin, and to avoid honouring him with the title of king, Aram (Syria) is especially mentioned; whilst Pekah is called Ben-Remaliah, to recall to mind his low birth, and the absence of any promise in the case of his house.
The ya‛an 'asher ("because") which follows (as in Ezekiel 12:12) does not belong to Isaiah 7:4 (as might appear from the sethume that comes afterwards), in the sense of "do not be afraid because," etc., but is to be understood as introducing the reason for the judicial sentence in Isaiah 7:7.
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