Isaiah 9:5
For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.
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(5) For every battle of the warrior . . .—Here again the whole verse requires re-translating: “Every boot of the warrior that tramps noisily, and the cloak rolled in blood, are (i.e., shall be) for burning, (as) fuel for fire. The picture of the conquerors collecting the spoil is continued from Isaiah 9:3. The victory is decisive, and the reign of peace begins, and the weapons of war, the garments red with blood (Isaiah 63:1-3), the heavy boot that makes the earth ring with the warrior’s tread, these shall all be burnt up. Like pictures of a time of peace are found in Zechariah 9:10; Ezek. xxxix, 9; Psalm 46:9; Psalm 76:3.

Isaiah 9:5. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, &c. — With the triumphant exclamations of the conqueror, and the bitter lamentations of the conquered, and the different cries of the same persons, sometimes conquering and sometimes conquered; and garments rolled in blood — With great difficulty and slaughter. But this shall be with burning, &c. — But this victory, which God’s people shall have over all their enemies, shall be more terrible to their adversaries, whom God shall utterly consume, as it were, by fire. The reader must observe, however, the words סאון סאן, here rendered battle of the warrior, occurring only here, are of very doubtful signification, and of consequence are rendered differently by learned men. Dr. Waterland, from Vitringa, translates the verse, “Every clashing of the noisy warrior, and the garment rolled in blood, shall be thrown to be burned; fuel for the fire.” Bishop Lowth renders it, “For the greaves of the armed warrior in the conflict, and the garment rolled in much blood, shall be for a burning, even fuel for the fire.” It is probable, as Vitringa observes, that the words are intended to signify, that, in consequence of Christ’s appearing in the flesh, and destroying the enemies of his church, a time of peace and tranquillity shall take place on earth, and the instruments of war and slaughter be of no further use.9:1-7 The Syrians and Assyrians first ravaged the countries here mentioned, and that region was first favoured by the preaching of Christ. Those that want the gospel, walk in darkness, and in the utmost danger. But when the gospel comes to any place, to any soul, light comes. Let us earnestly pray that it may shine into our hearts, and make us wise unto salvation. The gospel brings joy with it. Those who would have joy, must expect to go through hard work, as the husbandman, before he has the joy of harvest; and hard conflict, as the soldier, before he divides the spoil. The Jews were delivered from the yoke of many oppressors; this was a shadow of the believer's deliverance from the yoke of Satan. The cleansing the souls of believers from the power and pollution of sin, would be by the influence of the Holy Spirit, as purifying fire. These great things for the church, shall be done by the Messiah, Emmanuel. The Child is born; it was certain; and the church, before Christ came in the flesh, benefitted by his undertaking. It is a prophecy of him and of his kingdom, which those that waited for the Consolation of Israel read with pleasure. This Child was born for the benefit of us men, of us sinners, of all believers, from the beginning to the end of the world. Justly is he called Wonderful, for he is both God and man. His love is the wonder of angels and glorified saints. He is the Counsellor, for he knew the counsels of God from eternity; and he gives counsel to men, in which he consults our welfare. He is the Wonderful Counsellor; none teaches like him. He is God, the mighty One. Such is the work of the Mediator, that no less power than that of the mighty God could bring it to pass. He is God, one with the Father. As the Prince of Peace, he reconciles us to God; he is the Giver of peace in the heart and conscience; and when his kingdom is fully established, men shall learn war no more. The government shall be upon him; he shall bear the burden of it. Glorious things are spoken of Christ's government. There is no end to the increase of its peace, for the happiness of its subjects shall last for ever. The exact agreement of this prophecy with the doctrine of the New Testament, shows that Jewish prophets and Christian teachers had the same view of the person and salvation of the Messiah. To what earthly king or kingdom can these words apply? Give then, O Lord, to thy people to know thee by every endearing name, and in every glorious character. Give increase of grace in every heart of thy redeemed upon earth.For every battle of the warrior - The expression used here has caused great difficulty, from the fact that it occurs nowhere else in the Scriptures. The word סאון se'ôn, rendered here battle, is supposed to mean rather greaves, or the armor of the warrior which covered the feet and the legs. It would be literally translated, 'Every greave of those armed with greaves.' - Gesenius. The Chaldee renders it, 'Forevery gift of theirs is for evil.' The Syriac, 'Forevery tumult (of battle) is heard with terror.' Hengstenberg renders it, 'For all war-shoes put on at the noise of battle, all garments dipped in blood, shall be burnt, shall be the food of fire.' The idea, according to him, is, that the great future redemption will be like the deliverance under Gideon; 'because, far from being accomplished by force of arms, with it all contention and war shall cease.' Gesenius regards the figurative expression as a general designation of that peace which shall never end. All the armor used in war shall then be burned, as being of no further use.

Is with confused noise - The word used here - רעשׁ ra‛ash - denotes, properly, a shaking, as of a spear; a concussion, tumult, noise, as of a battle. Here it is supposed to refer to the noise which the armor of the soldiers made - particularly to the noise made by the greaves, or war-shoes, worn on the feet and legs. Those greaves were fitted up; it is said, by numerous large iron hooks, or clasps, and were fastened sometimes with large nails; compare Josephus, Jewish Wars, B. vi. ch. i. section 8.

And garments - This word here refers, doubtless, to the soldier's cloak or blanket.

Rolled in blood - This is a description of the usual effect of war. The image of war is that of a clangor made by the armor of soldiers, and by garments that have been dipped in human blood. It is a most revolting but just image.

But this shall be - In regard to this threatened invasion and danger, this shall be the result. The meaning is this. The prophet sees the image of war and of threatened invasion. He hears the clangor of their greaves - the sound of their march; and he sees the usual emblem of battle - bloody garments. But he says here, that this invasion shall not be successful. There was no occasion of alarm. The very armor of the warrior should be burned up. The enemy should be defeated - and their greaves, and their bloody garments, should be consumed.

With burning - For burning; that is it shall be consumed.

And fuel of fire - Hebrew, 'Food of fire.' This is a strong, emphatic expression - 'it shall be to be burned - the food of fire.' It denotes the certainty that they would be vanquished; that the invading foe would not be successful; and that his very armory and garments would be stripped off and burned. To understand this, it is necessary to remark, that in ancient times it was customary to strip the dead which were slain in a vanquished army, and to collect their armor, their chariots, etc., and consume them. The more valued spoils of battle were reserved as the prey of the victors, or to be suspended in temples censecrated to the gods; see Psalm 46:9-10 :

He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth;

He breaketh the bow;

And cutteth the spear in sunder;

He burneth the chariot in the fire.

Ezekiel has carried out this description more at length:

And the inhabitants of the cities of Israel shall go forth,

And shall set on fire and burn the weapons,


5. every battle, &c.—rather, "every greave of (the warrior who is) armed with greaves in the din of battle, and the martial garment (or cloak, called by the Latins sagum) rolled in blood, shall be for burning, (and) fuel for fire" [Maurer]. All warlike accoutrements shall be destroyed, as no longer required in the new era of peace (Isa 2:4; 11:6, 7; Ps 46:9; Eze 39:9; Mic 5:5, 10; Zec 9:9, 10). Compare Mal 4:1, as to the previous burning up of the wicked. With confused noise; with the triumphant exclamations of the conqueror, and the bitter lamentations of the conquered, and the differing cries of the same persons, sometimes conquering, and sometimes conquered.

And garments rolled in blood; with great difficulty and slaughter.

But this shall be with burning and fuel of fire; but this victory which God’s people shall have over all their enemies, shall be more easy to them, and more terrible to their adversaries, whom God will suddenly and utterly consume, as it were by fire. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise,.... With the sound of the trumpet and as now with beating of drums, and the huzzas and shoutings of the soldiers, the stamping and neighing of horses, the rushing of chariots, and rumbling of wheels, and the clashing of swords, spears, and shields, and these sometimes striking one against another (k):

and garments rolled in blood; of them that were slain in battle:

but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire; which refers either to the sudden destruction of the Midianites, or rather to the quick and easy conquest that Christ obtained over sin, Satan, the world, and death; which was as soon over as any combustible matter is burnt with fire. Some interpret this of the destruction of the devil, his angels, of antichrist, and all wicked men by fire, at the last day; and others think that this last clause is to be read in connection with the preceding: "and garments rolled in blood, which shall be for burning, the fuel of fire" (l); that is, which garments rolled in blood shall be burnt with fire, and utterly consumed; and so there be no more war, but perpetual peace. It was usual after victory to burn the armour and spoils of the enemy (m); or rather it may intend the burning love and flaming zeal and affection of Christ the Saviour, next described Isaiah 9:5.

(k) Vid. Lydium de re militari, l. 4. c. 3. p. 159. (l) So Cocceius, De Dieu. (m) Vid. Lydium de re militari, l. 6. e. 4. p. 229.

For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be {i} with burning and fuel of fire.

(i) He speaks of the deliverance of his Church, which he has delivered miraculously from his enemies, but especially by the coming of Christ of whom he prophecies in the next verse.

5. The verse reads: For every boot of him that tramped noisily, and (every) garment rolled in blood, shall be for burning, as fuel for the fire. The word ṣě’ôn is Aramaic and signifies a military boot; that rendered “tramped” (ṣô’çn) is a denominative formed from it. The idea of the verse is that after Jehovah’s great victory every vestige of war shall be burned up in preparation for the kingdom of universal peace. Comp. the burning of the weapons of Gog’s host in Ezekiel 39:9 f.Verse 5. - For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise; rather, for all the armor of him that armeth noisily (Knobel, Vance Smith); or, perhaps, "every hoof of him that trampeth noisily" (Gesenius, Cheyne). The noun and participle, which are cognate words, occur only in this passage. And garments, etc. Translate, And every garment that is rolled in blood, shall be for burning, even fuel for fire. All military accoutrements shall be committed to the flames, that the reign of peace and justice may commence (comp. Isaiah 2:4; Psalm 46:9). The night of despair to which the unbelieving nation would be brought, is described in Isaiah 8:21, Isaiah 8:22 : "And it goes about therein hard pressed and hungry: and it comes to pass, when hunger befals it, it frets itself, and curses by its king and by its God, and turns its face upward, and looks to the earth, and beyond distress and darkness, benighting with anguish, and thrust out into darkness." The singulars attach themselves to the לו in Isaiah 8:19, which embraces all the unbelievers in one mass; "therein" (bâh) refers to the self-evident land ('eretz). The people would be brought to such a plight in the approaching Assyrian oppressions, that they would wander about in the land pressed down by their hard fate (niksheh) and hungry (râ'eb), because all provisions would be gone and the fields and vineyards would be laid waste. As often as it experienced hunger afresh, it would work itself into a rage (v'hithkazzaqph with Vav apod. and pathach, according to Ges. 54, Anm.), and curse by its king and God, i.e., by its idol. This is the way in which we must explain the passage, in accordance with 1 Samuel 14:43, where killel bēholim is equivalent to killel b'shēm elohim, and with Zephaniah 1:5, where a distinction is made between an oath layehovâh, and an oath b'malcâm; if we would adhere to the usage of the language, in which we never find a בּ קלל corresponding to the Latin execrari in aliquem (Ges.), but on the contrary the object cursed is always expressed in the accusative. We must therefore give up Psalm 5:3 and Psalm 68:25 as parallels to b'malco and b'lohâi: they curse by the idol, which passes with them for both king and God, curse their wretched fate with this as they suppose the most effectual curse of all, without discerning in it the just punishment of their own apostasy, and humbling themselves penitentially under the almighty hand of Jehovah. Consequently all this reaction of their wrath would avail them nothing: whether they turned upwards, to see if the black sky were not clearing, or looked down to the earth, everywhere there would meet them nothing but distress and darkness, nothing but a night of anguish all around (me‛ūph zūkâh is a kind of summary; mâ‛ūph a complete veiling, or eclipse, written with ū instead of the more usual ō of this substantive form: Ewald, 160, a). The judgment of God does not convert them, but only heightens their wickedness; just as in Revelation 16:11, Revelation 16:21, after the pouring out of the fifth and seventh vials of wrath, men only utter blasphemies, and do not desist from their works. After stating what the people see, whether they turn their eyes upwards or downwards, the closing participial clause of Isaiah 8:22 describes how they see themselves "thrust out into darkness' (in caliginem propulsum). There is no necessity to supply הוּא; but out of the previous hinnēh it is easy to repeat hinno or hinnennu (en ipsum). "Into darkness:" ăphēlâh (acc. loci) is placed emphatically at the head, as in Jeremiah 23:12.
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