Isaiah 7:6
Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the middle of it, even the son of Tabeal:
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(6) Let us make a breach therein for us . . .—The words imply an assault on the line of fortresses that defended Judah (2Chronicles 26:9-10; 2Chronicles 32:1). If they were won the issue of the war would be practically decided. Jerusalem itself does not appear to have been actually besieged.

The son of Tabeal.—The mode of description, as in the last verse, indicates that the man was of low origin. The name “good is God” is Aramaic, and points to his being an officer in Rezin’s army. It meets us again in Ezra 4:7, among the Aramæan adversaries of Israel, and appears in the term Tibil in Assyrian inscriptions, which give us his actual name as Ashariah (Schrader, Keil Inschrift., p. 118). Tubaal appears in an inscription of Sennacherib as appointed by him as governor of Zidon (Records of the Past, i. 35). Dr. Kay, connecting the name with Tab-rimmon (“Rimmon is good”), conjectures that the substitution of El (“God”) for the name of the Syrian deity may indicate that he was the representative of the family of Naaman, and, like him, a proselyte to the faith of Israel.

7:1-9 Ungodly men are often punished by others as bad as themselves. Being in great distress and confusion, the Jews gave up all for lost. They had made God their enemy, and knew not how to make him their friend. The prophet must teach them to despise their enemies, in faith and dependence on God. Ahaz, in fear, called them two powerful princes. No, says the prophet, they are but tails of smoking firebrands, burnt out already. The two kingdoms of Syria and Israel were nearly expiring. While God has work for the firebrands of the earth, they consume all before them; but when their work is fulfilled, they will be extinguished in smoke. That which Ahaz thought most formidable, is made the ground of their defeat; because they have taken evil counsel against thee; which is an offence to God. God scorns the scorners, and gives his word that the attempt should not succeed. Man purposes, but God disposes. It was folly for those to be trying to ruin their neighbours, who were themselves near to ruin. Isaiah must urge the Jews to rely on the assurances given them. Faith is absolutely necessary to quiet and compose the mind in trials.And vex it - Margin, 'Weaken it.' Probably the word means to throw into consternation or fear, by besieging it - "Gesenius."

And let us make a breach therein - Let us break down the walls, etc.

And set a king - Subdue it, and make it tributary to the allied kingdoms of Syria and Ephraim.

The son of Tabeal - Nothing more is known of this person. He might have been some disaffected member of the royal family of David, who had sought the aid of Rezin and Pekah, and who would be allied to them, or tributary to them. It is possible that he had already a party in Jerusalem in his favor; compare Isaiah 8:12. Probably, the two kings wished to cut off such portions of the territory of Judah as should be convenient to them, and to set a king over the remainder, who should be under their control; or to divide the whole between themselves, by setting up a king who would be tributary to both.

6. vex—rather, "throw into consternation" [Gesenius].

make a breach—rather, "cleave it asunder." Their scheme was to divide a large portion of the territory between themselves, and set up a vassal king of their own over the rest.

son of Tabeal—unknown; a Syrian-sounding name, perhaps favored by a party in Jerusalem (Isa 3:6, 9, 12).

Let us make a breach therein; either,

1. Break and divide that country into two parts, one for time, and another for me; or rather,

2. Break their power and kingdom, and subdue it to ourselves: for,

1. The same word and phrase is so used 2 Chronicles 32:1, where there was no such division intended.

2. Because the next clause intimates that the kingdom of Judah was still to be united under another king, who should pay tribute to them severally, as they should agree.

The son of Tabeal; some considerable captain, in whose fidelity both of them had good confidence; but whether he was an Israelite or Syrian is uncertain, and not material. Let us go up against Judah, and vex it,.... By besieging or distressing it; or "stir it up" to war, as Jarchi interprets it:

and let us make a breach therein for us; in the walls of the city of Jerusalem, and enter in at it; the Targum is,

"let us join, and put it to us;''

and so Jarchi, let us level it with us, as this valley, which is even: the sense may be, let us make a breach and division among them, and then part the kingdom between us (c); or if we cannot agree on that, let us set up a king of our own, as follows:

and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal; which Jarchi, by a situation of the alphabet the Jews call "albam", makes it to be the same with Remala, that is, Remaliah; and so supposes, that the intention was to set Pekah, son of Remaliah, king of Israel, over Judah; but it is not reasonable to think that the king of Syria should join in such a design; and besides, the method of interpretation, Aben Ezra says, is mere vanity; and whose sense of the words is much preferable, taking Tabeal to be the name of some great prince, either of Israel or of Syria; and so Kimchi thinks that he was a man of the children of Ephraim, whom they thought to make king in Jerusalem. The Targum understands not any particular person, but anyone that should be thought proper; and paraphrases it thus,

"let us appoint a king in the midst of it, who is right for us,''

or pleases us; the name seems to be Syriac, see Ezra 4:7. Dr. Lightfoot thinks it is the same with Tabrimmon, the name of some famous family in Syria. One signifies "good God": and the other "good Rimmon", which was the name of the idol of the Syrians, 2 Kings 5:18.

(c) So Noldius, Elr. Concord. Part. p. 62. renders its "let us divide it among us".

Let us go up against Judah, and trouble it, and let us conquer it for ourselves and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of {g} Tabeal:

(g) Who was an Israelite, and as it seems, enemy to the house of David.

6. and vex it] Rather frighten it (cf. Isaiah 7:16, where the Qal of the same verb means “cower”), unless we adopt a conjecture of Gesenius giving the sense “press it hard.” The idea, however, is probably that the allies trusted greatly to the panic caused by the suddenness of their attack.

make a breach therein] break into it, by forcing the passes; as in 2 Chronicles 21:17, &c.

the son of Tabeal] Another obscure adventurer like the son of Remaliah. The form of the name (Tâb’çl, cf. Tab-rimmon, 1 Kings 15:18) suggests that the protégé of the allies was a Syrian. Their plan is very complete; the successor of Ahaz is already nominated.Verse 6. - Make a breach therein. The word employed means properly "making a breach in a city wall" (2 Kings 25:4; 2 Chronicles 32:1; Jeremiah 39:2; Ezekiel 26:10), but is used also in a metaphorical sense for injuring and ruining a country (see especially 2 Chronicles 21:17). The son of Tabeal; or, Tubal. "Tab-ill" appears to be a Syrian name, founded upon the same pattern as Tab-rimmon (1 Kings 15:18), rite one meaning "God is good, "the other "Rimmon is good." We cannot, however, conclude from the name that the family of Tabeal was monotheistic (Kay), for El was one of the many Syrian gods as much as Rimmon (see Max Mailer, 'Science of Religion,' pp. 177, 178). Hofmann in his Schriftbeweis (ii. 2, 541) maintains with Knobel, that מצּבת cannot be shown to have any other meaning than "plant." It is never met with in this sense, which it might have (after נצב equals נטע equals נ), though it is in the sense of statua and cippus, which, when applied to a tree deprived of its crown, can only mean stipes or truncus. - We take this opportunity of referring to a few other passages of his work: Isaiah 8:22. "And the deep darkness is scared away: menuddâch with the accusative of the object used with the passive." But this is only possible with the finite verb, not with the passive participle. Isaiah 9:2. "By the fact that Thou hast made the people many, Thou hast not made the joy great; but now they rejoice before Thee (who hast appeared)." It is impossible that הרבית and הגדלת, when thus surrounded with perfects relating to the history of the future, should itself relate to the historical past - Isaiah 18:1-7. "It is Israel in its dispersion which is referred to here as a people carried away and spoiled, but which from that time forward is an object of reverential awe - a people that men have cut in pieces and trampled under foot, whose land streams have rent in pieces." But does not this explanation founder on נורא מן־הוא והלאה? In the midst of attributes which point to ill-treatment, can this passage be meant to describe the position which Israel is henceforth to hold as one commanding respect (see our exposition)? - Isaiah 19:18. "Egypt the land of cities will be reduced to five cities by the judgment that falls upon it." But how can the words affirm that there will be only five cities in all, when there is nothing said about desolation in the judgment predicted before? - Isaiah 21:1-10. "What the watchman on the watch-tower see is not the hostile army marching against Babel, but the march of the people of God returning home from Babel." Consequently tsemed pârâshı̄m does not mean pairs of horsemen, but carriages full of men and drawn by horses. But we can see what tsemed pârâshı̄m is from 2 Kings 9:25 (rōkhebhı̄m tsemâdı̄m), and from the combination of rekhebh and pârâshı̄m (chariots and horsemen) in Isaiah 22:7; Isaiah 31:1. And the rendering "carriages" will never do for Isaiah 21:7, Isaiah 21:9. Carriages with camels harnessed to them would be something unparalleled; and rekhebh gâmâl (cf., 1 Samuel 30:17) by the side of tsemed pârâshı̄m has a warlike sound.
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