Thus said the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Isaiah 7:7-9. It shall not stand — Namely, their evil counsel. For the head of Syria is Damascus — As if he had said, As Damascus is the head city of Syria, and Rezin is the head, or king, of Damascus, so shall they continue to be, and not advance themselves, and enlarge their territories, by possessing themselves of Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah as they design. Rezin shall be kept within his own bounds, and be head of Damascus only. And, in a similar sense, (Isaiah 7:9,) Samaria shall continue to be the chief city of the kingdom of Israel, and Pekah shall not conquer Jerusalem as he hopes to do. The Hebrew particle כי, however, which introduces this passage, instead of being tendered for, may, with propriety, be translated though, as it frequently is, (see Joshua 17:18; 1 Samuel 14:39,) and then the meaning will be, Though the head of Syria be Damascus, and the head of Damascus Rezin, and the head of Ephraim be Samaria, &c., yet within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, &c. In this sense Bishop Lowth understands the words, joining the first clause of the ninth verse to the first of the eighth, judging that, by some means, a transposition of it has taken place, which seems very probable. As to the chronological difficulty, which has embarrassed commentators in this place, the best solution seems to be that of Archbishop Usher, (see his Annals of the Old Testament, A.M. 3327,) who explains the latter clause of Isaiah 7:8, not of the first captivity of the ten tribes by Shalmaneser, but of their final deportation by Esar-haddon, who totally dispeopled the land, and brought new inhabitants from Babylon, Cuthah, and other cities of the Assyrians, to inhabit the cities of Israel. See Ezra 4:2, compared with 2 Kings 17:24. “Compute,” says Bishop Newton, who adopts this explication, “sixty-five years in the reigns of Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Manasseh, and the end of them will fall about the twenty-second year of Manasseh; when Esar-haddon, king of Assyria, made the last deportation of the Israelites, and planted other nations in their stead, and in the same expedition probably took Manasseh captive, and carried him to Babylon, 2 Chronicles 33:11. Ephraim was broken from being a kingdom before; but now he was broken from being a people, and from that time to this what account can be given of the people of Israel, as distinct from the people of Judah?” On the Prophecies, vol. 1. p. 204. This interpretation of the passage is also approved by Bishop Lowth. It may seem strange, at first sight, that the prophet, who here foretels the entire destruction of Ephraim, should say nothing about the Syrians. But the Syrians were now in confederacy with Ephraim, and therefore what is here said of one may be well supposed to be spoken of both; and that the destruction of both, at or near the same time, is indicated. In fact, the Syrians and Israelites were such near neighbours, that the Israelites could scarcely be invaded by a foreign army, without Syria being subdued. If ye will not believe, &c. — If ye will not believe what I now speak to you in the name of God; if ye will not put confidence in him, but, distrusting his providence, will seek to the Assyrians for succour; ye shall not be established — Or, preserved in your possessions, any more than the Syrians or Israelites: your state, whether political or ecclesiastical, shall not be upheld and confirmed; but ye shall be distressed and consumed by those to whom you seek for help: the accomplishment of which threatening is recorded 2 Chronicles 28:20. The design of the prophet was to raise up their fainting minds to a reliance on God, rather than on the king of Assyria. See a passage very like this, 2 Chronicles 20:20.
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.Isaiah 7:5. Proverbs 19:21, Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 7. - Thus saith the Lord God; literally, the Lord Jehovah, as in Isaiah 28:10; Isaiah 40:10; Isaiah 48:16, etc. It shall not stand; i.e. "the design shall not hold good, it shall not be accomplished." Rezin and Pekah have planned to set aside the issue of David, to which God had promised his throne (2 Samuel 7:11-16; Psalm 89:27-37), and to act up a new line of kings unconnected with David. They think to frustrate the everlasting counsel of God. Such an attempt was of necessity futile. 2 Kings 16:5. That the author of the book of Kings copied them from the book of Isaiah, will be very apparent when we come to examine the historical chapters (36-39) in their relation to the parallel sections of the book of Kings. In the passage before us, the want of independence on the part of the author of the book of Kings is confirmed by the fact that he not only repeats, but also interprets, the words of Isaiah. Instead of saying, "And (he) could not make war upon it," he says, "And they besieged Ahaz, and could not make war." The singular yâcol (he could) of Isaiah is changed into the simpler plural, whilst the statement that the two allies could not assault or storm Jerusalem (which must be the meaning of nilcham ‛al in the passage before us), is more clearly defined by the additional information that they did besiege Ahaz, but to no purpose (tzur ‛al, the usual expression for obsidione claudere; cf., Deuteronomy 20:19). The statement that "they besieged Ahaz" cannot merely signify that "they attempted to besiege him," although nothing further is known about this siege. But happily we have two accounts of the Syro-Ephraimitish war (2 Kings 16 and 2 Chronicles 28). The two historical books complete one another. The book of Kings relates that the invasion of Judah by the two allies commenced at the end of Jotham's reign (2 Kings 15:37); and in addition to the statement taken from Isaiah 7:1, it also mentions that Rezin conquered the seaport town of Elath, which then belonged to the kingdom of Judah; whilst the Chronicles notice the fact that Rezin brought a number of Judaean captives to Damascus, and that Pekah conquered Ahaz in a bloody and destructive battle. Indisputable as the credibility of these events may be, it is nevertheless very difficult to connect them together, either substantially or chronologically, in a certain and reliable manner, as Caspari has attempted to do in his monograph on the Syro-Ephraimitish war (1849). We may refer here to our own manner of dovetailing the historical accounts of Ahaz and the Syro-Ephraimitish war in the introduction to the present work (p. 23ff.). If we could assume that יכל (not יכלוּ) was the authentic reading, and that the failure of the attempt to take Jerusalem, which is mentioned here, was occasioned by the strength of the city itself, and not by the intervention of Assyria - so that Isaiah 7:1 did not contain such an anticipation as we have supposed, although summary anticipations of this kind were customary with biblical historians, and more especially with Isaiah - the course of events might be arranged in the following manner, viz., that whilst Rezin was on his way to Elath, Pekah resolved to attack Jerusalem, but failed in his attempt; but that Rezin was more successful in his expedition, which was a much easier one, and after the conquest of Elath united his forces with those of his allies.
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