Isaiah 8:9
Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces.
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(9) Associate yourselves, O ye people . . .—Better, O ye peoples. The words are not limited to the confederacy of Syria and Ephraim, but are, as it were, a challenge to all the peoples of the earth, far and near. No plan against the Divine kingdom, of which the earthly kingdom of the house of David was, for the time, the representative, shall prosper. The prophet falls back once more on the abiding promise of the name Immanuel (“with us is God”).

Isaiah 8:9-10. Associate yourselves, O ye people — O ye Syrians and Israelites; and ye shall be broken in pieces — Your attempts against the house of David, and kingdom of Judah, will be fruitless, yea, will issue in your own ruin. And give ear, all ye of far countries — Immanuel’s name inspires the prophet with new courage, and makes him send a challenge to all God’s enemies, and foretel their certain downfall. He is, indeed, wrapt, as it were, into an ecstasy, upon considering the land as belonging to Immanuel, and foreseeing the future interposition of God for its protection. Gird yourselves — With armour: prepare for war; and ye shall be broken in pieces — He repeats it again for the greater assurance of the thing, and the comfort of God’s people. Take counsel together — Against the Lord, and against his anointed, Psalm 2:2; and it shall come to naught — All your counsels shall be defeated, and your designs rendered abortive. Speak the word — Not only fix, but declare your purpose, and make your boast of it; and it shall not stand — Still you shall fail of accomplishing what you so ardently desire; for God is with us — The Almighty and only true God fighteth for us and against you. This address of the prophet, to the confederate nations, is most elegant and spirited; and the foundation of his confidence is finely expressed in this last clause, in which he himself interprets the name Immanuel before given to the Messiah.

8:9-16 The prophet challenges the enemies of the Jews. Their efforts would be vain, and themselves broken to pieces. It concerns us, in time of trouble, to watch against all such fears as put us upon crooked courses for our own security. The believing fear of God preserves against the disquieting fear of man. If we thought rightly of the greatness and glory of God, we should see all the power of our enemies restrained. The Lord, who will be a Sanctuary to those who trust in him, will be a Stone of stumbling, and a Rock of offence, to those who make the creature their fear and their hope. If the things of God be an offence to us, they will undo us. The apostle quotes this as to all who persisted in unbelief of the gospel of Christ, 1Pe 2:8. The crucified Emmanuel, who was and is a Stumbling-stone and Rock of offence to unbelieving Jews, is no less so to thousands who are called Christians. The preaching of the cross is foolishness in their esteem; his doctrines and precepts offend them.Associate yourselves - In the previous verses the prophet had seen the Assyrian coming up on the land like an overwhelming flood. He looked upon the danger, and his mind was turned to the pledge of safety which God had given. The name Immanuel, and the promise connected with the giving of that name Isaiah 7:16, reminded him of the perfect safety of the nation, for it was a pledge that God was with them; see Isaiah 8:10. In view of this pledge of the protection of God, this verse is a spirited apostrophe to the mighty host that was about to invade the land. Though confederated and vast, yet they could not prevail. They should be scattered, much as they might be prepared for victory, for God had given a pledge that he would defend his people.

Associate - There has been much variety among interpreters about the meaning of the Original word used here. It may mean "to be terrified, to be alarmed," as well as to associate or become confederate. The Vulgate and Chaldee render it, 'Be assembled, or congregated.' The Septuagint, 'Know, ye nations,' etc. The Syriac, 'Tremble, ye people,' etc. Still the notion of associating, confederating, or entering into an alliance, suits the connection better; answers to the parallelism in the latter part of the verse, and is equally consonant with the original.

O ye people - Ye people of Assyria. This is an apostrophe to the mighty multitudes that were to come up upon the land from that country.

And ye shall be broken in pieces - That is, though the confederacy be mighty, yet shall not prevail. It shall not accomplish that which you purpose - the entire destruction of the land of Judah.

Give ear, all ye of far countries - That should be particularly engaged in the confederacy - Assyria, and the kingdoms allied with it.

Gird yourselves - As if for war; that is, prepare yourselves thoroughly for conquest; see the note at Isaiah 5:27. The repetition of this shows the excited and agitated state of the prophet's mind. It is a strong, emphatic mode of expression - denoting that they should be certainly broken in pieces, notwithstanding the strength of their confederacy.

9. Associate yourselves—rather, "Raise tumults," or, Rage, that is, Do your worst [Maurer], referring perhaps to the attack of Rezin and Pekah on Jerusalem.

and … be broken in pieces—rather, "yet ye shall be thrown into consternation." Imperative in the Hebrew, according to the idiom whereby the second of two imperatives implies the future, namely, the consequence of the action contained in the first (so Isa 6:9). The name "Immanuel" in Isa 8:8 (compare Isa 8:10) suggests the thought of the ultimate safety of Immanuel's land, both from its present two invaders, and even from the Assyrians, notwithstanding the grievous flood, wherewith the previous verses foretell they shall deluge it. The succession of the house of David cannot be set aside in Judah, for Immanuel Messiah is to be born in it as heir of David, of whom Isaiah's son is but a type (Isa 9:4, 6).

give ear … far countries—witness the discomfiture of Judah's enemies. The prophecy probably looks on also to the final conspiracy of Antichrist and his supporters against the Heir of David's throne in the latter days and their utter overthrow [Horsley].

gird yourselves … gird yourselves—The repetition expresses vehemently the certainty of their being thrown into consternation (not as English Version, "broken in pieces").

O ye people; Syrians and Israelites. Immanuel’s name inspireth the prophet with new courage, and makes him send a challenge to all God’s enemies, and foretell their certain downfall.

Ye of far countries; whosoever you be, whether far or near, who do or shall conspire against Immanuel’s land.

Gird yourselves with sword and belt; prepare yourselves for war.

Ye shall be broken in pieces: this is repeated for the greater assurance of the thing, and the comfort of God’s people, who are apt to despond upon such occasions.

Associate yourselves, O ye people,.... Both of Syria and Israel, whose two kings were confederate against Judah:

and ye shall be broken in pieces; as the kingdom of Syria was by Tilgathpilneser quickly after this, 2 Kings 16:9 and the kingdom of Ephraim or Israel by Shalmaneser, 2 Kings 17:6,

and give ear, all ye of far countries; the Assyrians, and the nations that belonged to them, who were more remote from Judea:

gird yourselves; for a long and tedious march, and for war; it may signify the putting on of their whole armour; for, as Pausanius (s) says, the ancients used to call putting on of armour, girding:

and ye shall be broken in pieces: as the Assyrian army was, which came up against Jerusalem in Hezekiah's time, 2 Kings 19:35,

gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; this is repeated for confirmation sake, to denote the certainty of it.

(s) Boeotica sive, l. 9. p. 567.

Associate yourselves, O ye {l} people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces.

(l) That is, you who are enemies to the Church, as the Assyrians, Egyptians, Syrians etc.

9. Associate yourselves] Rather: Be exasperated. A.V. follows the Targum and Vulgate, whose translation is based on a wrong grammatical analysis of the word (the root being râ‘a‘, not râ‘âh).

and ye shall be broken in pieces] Lit.: and be dismayed,—a consecutive imperative (Davidson, Synt. § 64), forming the apodosis of a conditional sentence.

gird yourselves] for battle against the cause of Jehovah.

9, 10. The challenge of faith to the combined nations of the world. Cf. Psalm 2:1-6.

Verse 9. - Associate yourselves. It is impossible to obtain this meaning from the existing Hebrew text, which must be translated, "Be ahoy," or "Rage" ("Make an uproar," Revised Version). The prophet passes from the consideration of the opposition offered to Jehovah by Israel, Syria, and Assyria, to a general consideration of all the nations of the earth. He challenges them to the combat against Jehovah, and confidently predicts their defeat. O ye people; rather, O ye peoples (compare the corresponding expression in the next clause, "All ye of far countries"). Isaiah 8:9The prophet's imploring look at Immanuel does not remain unanswered. We may see this from the fact, that what was almost a silent prayer is changed at once into the jubilate of holy defiance. "Exasperate yourselves, O nations, and go to pieces; and see it, all who are far off in the earth! Gird yourselves, and go to pieces; gird yourselves, and go to pieces! Consult counsel, and it comes to nought; speak the word, and it is not realized: for with us is God." The second imperatives in Isaiah 8:9 are threatening words of authority, having a future signification, which change into futures in Isaiah 8:19 (Ges. 130, 2): Go on exasperating yourselves רעוּ( with the tone upon the penultimate, and therefore not the pual of רעה, consociari, which is the rendering adopted in the Targum, but the kal of רעע, malum esse; not vociferari, for which רוּע, a different verb from the same root, is commonly employed), go on arming; ye will nevertheless fall to pieces (Chōttu, from Châthath, related to Câthath, Confringi, Consternari). The prophet classes together all the nations that are warring against the people of God, pronounces upon them the sentence of destruction, and calls upon all distant lands to hear this ultimate fate of the kingdom of the world, i.e., of the imperial power. The world-kingdom must be wrecked on the land of Immanuel; "for with us," as the watchword of believers runs, pointing to the person of the Savour, "with us is God."
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