Isaiah 9:11
Therefore the LORD shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and join his enemies together;
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(11) Therefore the Lord shall set up the adversaries . . .—The Hebrew tenses are in the past (has set up), but probably as representing the prophet’s visions of an accomplished future. The “adversaries” of the text can hardly be any other than the Assyrians; yet the context that follows clearly points to an attack on Ephraim in which the armies of Rezin were to be conspicuous. The natural explanation is that Syria, after the conquest by the Assyrian king (2Kings 16:9), was compelled to take part in a campaign against Samaria. The reading of the text may be retained with this explanation, and the sentence paraphrased thus, “Jehovah will stir up the adversaries of Rezin (the Assyrians who have conquered Syria) against him (Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria), and shall join his enemies against him, and those enemies shall include the very nations on whose support he had counted, the Syrians and the Philistines” (Psalm 83:7-8). The latter people were, it is true, enemies to Judah (2Chronicles 28:18), but their hostilities extended to the northern kingdom also.

9:8-21 Those are ripening apace for ruin, whose hearts are unhumbled under humbling providences. For that which God designs, in smiting us, is, to turn us to himself; and if this point be not gained by lesser judgments, greater may be expected. The leaders of the people misled them. We have reason to be afraid of those that speak well of us, when we do ill. Wickedness was universal, all were infected with it. They shall be in trouble, and see no way out; and when men's ways displease the Lord, he makes even their friends to be at war with them. God would take away those they thought to have help from. Their rulers were the head. Their false prophets were the tail and the rush, the most despicable. In these civil contests, men preyed on near relations who were as their own flesh. The people turn not to Him who smites them, therefore he continues to smite: for when God judges, he will overcome; and the proudest, stoutest sinner shall either bend or break.Therefore - This verse indicates the punishment that would come upon them for their pride.

The Lord shall set up - Hebrew, 'Shall exalt.' That is, they shall overcome and subdue him.

The adversaries of Rezin - King of Syria, Isaiah 7:1. It should be observed here, that twenty-one manuscripts, instead of adversaries, read princes of Rezin. The sense seems to require this; as in the following verse, it is said that the Syrians will be excited against them.

Against him - Against Ephraim.

And join his enemies together - Hebrew, 'Mingle them together.' They shall be excited into wild and agitated commotion, and shall pour down together on the land and devour it. In what way this would be done is specified in Isaiah 9:12.

11. adversaries of Rezin—the Assyrians, who shall first attack Damascus, shall next advance "against him" (Ephraim). This is the punishment of Ephraim's pride in making light (Isa 9:10) of the judgment already inflicted by God through Tiglath-pileser (2Ki 15:29). A second Assyrian invasion (see on [699]Isa 7:1) shall follow. The reading "princes" for "adversaries" in uncalled for.

join—rather, "arm"; cover with armor [Maurer].


Therefore; to chastise your pride, and defeat your hopes and resolutions.

Set up, Heb. exalt; advance their power, and give them success against him.

The adversaries of Rezin; the Assyrians, who, presently after this prophecy, fought and prevailed against him, 2 Kings 16:7. He mentions Rezin, partly because he was confederate with Ephraim, and so his enemies were their enemies also, and partly because the Israelites trusted to his powerful assistance.

Against him; either,

1. Against Rezin last mentioned; or rather,

2. Against Ephraim or Israel, who may easily be understood either from the foregoing or following verse; for against them this prophecy is directed, and of them he speaks both in the next clause of this verse, and in the next verse; and it seems reasonable that him in this clause, and his in the next clause, should be understood of the same persons.

Join, Heb. mingle, i.e. unite them so that they shall agree together to fight against Israel, and shall invade him from several quarters.

His; not Rezin’s, but Ephraim’s, as appears from the next verse, which is added to explain this clause. Therefore the Lord shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him,.... Set them up on high, as the word (a) signifies; exalt them above him, and make them superior to him, and conquerors of him, meaning the Assyrians; who, being sent for by Ahab, went up against Damascus, took it, and carried the people captive, and slew Rezin the king of Syria, the head of which was Damascus, 2 Kings 16:7 this is mentioned, because the Israelites put great trust and confidence in this prince, with whom they were in alliance; and this is said to abate their pride, arrogance, and haughtiness, before expressed:

and join his enemies together; or mix them; the Assyrian army, consisting of a mixture of various nations; or "stir" them "up", as the Targum; instigate them against him. Some understand the whole of Israel, against whom the adversaries of Rezin, namely, the Assyrians, would come, as they did, and invade their land, and carry them captive; with whom were various other people, as follows.

(a) "elevabit, sive extollet", Forerius.

Therefore the LORD shall set up the adversaries of {o} Rezin against him, and join his enemies together;

(o) Rezin king of Syria, who was in league with Israel, was slain by the Assyrians, after whose death, Aram that is, the Syrians were against Israel, who on the other side were assailed by the Philistines.

11. Therefore the Lord shall set up] Transl. And (so) Jehovah exalted. The adversaries of Rezin must, if the text be correct, denote the Assyrians. But this is not a natural designation (especially if the prophecy was written before the Syro-Ephraimitish coalition); and it is inconsistent with Isaiah 9:12, unless, indeed, we suppose that there Syrians are referred to as auxiliaries in the Assyrian army, which is extremely improbable. Several codd. read “princes of Rezin”; but this is hardly less objectionable. It seems necessary to delete “Rezin” as a gloss and read simply his (Israel’s) adversaries.

and join … together] Rather, and stirred up his enemies (frequentative impf.) cf. ch. Isaiah 19:2.

11, 12. The first blow of Jehovah’s hand—loss of territory.Verse 11. - Therefore the Lord shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him. "Against him" means "against Ephraim," or the kingdom of Israel. "The adversaries of Rezin" could only be the Assyrians; but these seem precluded by the next verse, which mentions only "Syrians" and Philistines." Hence many critics accept the variant reading of several manuscripts sarey for tsarey - which gives the sense of "the princes of Rezin" (so Lowth, Ewald, Houbigant, Weir, Cheyne). "For every boot of those who tramp with boots in the tumult of battle, and cloak rolled in blood, shall be for burning, a food of fire." That which is the food of fire becomes at the same time a sĕrēphâh, inasmuch as the devouring fire reduces it to ashes, and destroys its previous existence. This closing statement requires for סאון the concrete sense of a combustible thing; and this precludes such meanings as business (Handel und Wandel), noise, or din ( equals שׁאון, Jerome, Syriac, Rashi, and others). On the other hand, the meaning "military equipment," adopted by Knobel and others - a meaning derived from a comparison of the derivatives of the Aramaean zūn, ăzan, and the Arabic zâna, fut. yezı̄n (to dress or equip) - would be quite admissible; at the same time, the interchange of Samech and Zain in this word cannot be dialectically established. Jos. Kimchi has very properly referred to the Targum sēn, mesân (Syr. also sâūn with an essentially long a), which signifies shoe (see Bynaeus, de calceo Hebraeorum) - a word which is more Aramaean than Hebrew, and the use of which in the present connection might be explained on the ground that the prophet had in his mind the annihilation of the Assyrian forces. We should no doubt expect sâ'ūn (sandaloumenos) instead of sō'ēn; but the denom. verb sâ'ăn might be applied to a soldier's coming up in military boots, and so signify Caligatum venire, although the primary meaning is certainly Calceare se (e.g., Ephesians 6:15, Syr.). Accordingly we should render it, "every boot of him who comes booted (des Einherstiefelnden) into the tumult of battle," taking the word ra‛ash, not as Drechsler does, in the sense of the noise made by a warrior coming up proudly in his war-boots, nor with Luzzatto in the sense of the war-boot itself, for which the word is too strong, but as referring to the noise or tumult of battle (as in Jeremiah 10:22), in the midst of which the man comes up equipped or shod for military service. The prophet names the boot and garment with an obvious purpose. The destruction of the hostile weapons follows as a matter of course, if even the military shoes, worn by the soldiers in the enemies' ranks, and the military cloaks that were lying in dâmim, i.e., in blood violently shed upon the battle-field, were all given up to the fire.
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