Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;4. INJUSTICE AND VIOLENCE FILL UP THE MEASURE AND PRECIPITATE ISRAEL INTO THE HORRORS OF EXILE
1 WOE unto them that decree unrighteous decrees,
1And 2that write grievousness which they have prescribed;
2 To turn aside the needy from judgment,
And to take away the right from the poor of my people,
That widows may be their prey,
And that they may rob the fatherless!
3 And what will ye do in the day of visitation,
And in the desolation which shall come from far?
To whom will ye flee for help?
And where will ye leave your glory?
4 Without3 me they shall bow down 4under the prisoners,
And they shall fall cunder the slain.
For all this his anger is not turned away,
But his hand is stretched out still.
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL
On Isa 10:1. הוי comp. on 1:4. Because of this הוי, which seems to correspond to that in Isa 10:5, this last section has been incorporated in the chap. 10—חָקַק is “to hoe, hoe into, hew into, dig into” (30:8; 49:16), then (mediately, through the notion of digging or graving in decrees into the tables of the laws) “to establish, decree” (33:22). The participle הֹקֵק occurs again 22:16 and Judg. 5:9—חֲקָקִים (again only Judg. 5:15) means the same as חֻקִּים. As to the form, see EWALD, § 186 sq.—אָוֶז frequent in Isa. 1:13; 29:20; 31:2; 58:9; 59:6, 7, etc.——The second clause of Isa 10:1 can be variously construed: Either, “And writing harm they write,” or: “And (woe to) the writers that write harm.” I prefer the former [which ABEN EZRA and J. A. ALEXANDER adopt because the accents require עמל to be governed by מכתבים]. 1) Because the quick return to the temp. finitum is a peculiarity of Hebrew (comp. the second clause of Isa 10:2 b); 2) because, otherwise, one might expect וְהַמְּכַתְּבִים. Moreover, according to this explanation, הוֹי relates equally to the second clause of the verse: only it is to be subordinated to the first. כִּתֵּב Piel, which is found only here, is evidently intensive, meaning an occupation of writing significant for quality as well as quantity. We might conjecture that we have here a trace of mischievous, bureaucratic clerical administration.
On Isa 10:2. הטות מדיו only here; it is commoner to say הַטּוֹת מִשְׁכָּט Exod. 23:6; Deut. 16:19, etc., הט׳ אָרְ חוֹת מ׳ Prov. 17:23 הט׳ צַדִּיק במ׳ Prov. 18:5, or simply הט׳ צדיק Amos 5:12; comp. Isa. 29:21—נָּזַל only here in Isaiah.—עניי עם again 14:32.
On Isa 10:3. The וְ before מַה has evidently an adversative sense: ye are shrewd and busy in violence and robbery (comp. Piel כִּתֵּב above) but what will ye do, etc.—לְ before יוֹם has more than a temporal sense. The inquiry is evidently what sort of action will they develop to ward off the day of visitation and impending ruin. כּקה found again 15:7; 60:17.—שׁוֹאָה is procella, tempestas, and is found again 47:11. The word is usually joined with בּוֹא, Prov. 1:26; 3:25; Ezek. 38:9—על־מי for אֶל־מִי, a usage very frequent in Jeremiah (comp. 10:1) and not unusual in Isa. (comp. Isa 10:25; 11:8; 22:15; 24:22; 29:11, 12; 36:12).
On Isa 10:4 בלתי (found again 14:6; 48:9) after a foregoing negation, which must be supplied here as a negative reply to מה תעשׂו Isa 10:3, is equivalent to praeter, nisi, “except” (Gen. 21:26; 47:18 Exod. 22:19, etc., EWALD, § 356.—כָּרַע impersonal, “one bows himself” (comp. 6:10).—The phrase הר׳ נפל תחח cannot mean either: “lie among the fallen,” nor, “fall under one slain,” for the latter is hardly conceivable. It must mean “fall among the slain.” One knocked dead may precipitate himself on one still living, and, when this happens wholesale, the situation of those alive under the slain is frightful. In this trait, too, there seems to me presented a contrast with the former glory (Isa 10:3) and power (Isa 10:1 and 2) of those addressed.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1. Woe unto them——the fatherless.
Isa 10:1, 2. We might suppose that we have here a trace of mischievous, bureaucratic clerical administration. See above in Text. and Gramm.
Isa 10:2 names the object that bureaucratic administration pursues. It is a negative and a positive. First they aim at excluding the lowly from justice as much as possible, or to rob them of the benefits of justice that are their rights. This negative proceeding has the further aim of making themselves possessors of the property of widows and orphans. For substance comp. 1:21 sq.; 3:13 sq.
2. And what will ye do——stretched out still.
Isa 10:3, 4. The storm is described as coming from a distance, because the Prophet, as Isa 10:4 shows, means by this figure the exile, whose agent will be a people that comes from far (5:26; 6:11 sq.; Jer. 5:15, etc.). “To whom will ye flee,” is an allusion to the disposition so often reproved by the Prophet to seek aid from foreign nations. כבוד, according to the context, can only mean what those addressed, i.e., the powerful among the people, regard as their “glory,” i.e., the ornament and adornment of their life, viz., their treasures, valuables, etc. The description is drastic: the hostile storm bursts, the panic-stricken flee, their valuables they seek to leave behind in a secure place. The reply to the question “what will ye do?” etc. is given ironically in Isa 10:4. Ye can do nothing, says the Prophet, except, etc. The lot of those addressed here will be worse than that of the other captives and slain. Whether in prison or in the train of those led away, the other captives will tread them under foot. Once they were honorable and powerful. Then they were dreaded (Isa 10:1, 2). Now the first that comes, in whose way they stand, treads them under foot. Others of them fall in war, and the slain fall on them and cover them with their bodies. Though in some sense the exile is the greatest theocratic punishment, still that catastrophe is in itself not the extreme. For the question arises: how long will the exile last? To Judah restoration is promised after 70 years (Jer. 25:11). In the case of Israel there is no certain mention of the sort.
And writing evil they write.
Or, to the writers that write grievousness.
(Nothing) except to bow among.
Or, Woe to the Assyrian.
O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.C.—ASSYRIA’S DESTRUCTION THE SALVATION OF ISRAEL
This address is related to the two that precede as bright day to dark night. After Israel is compelled to hear that the same Assyria to which Judah’s king had appealed for help shall be the instrument of his severe chastisement, now Assyria must hear that the Lord will destroy His instrument, because it fulfilled its mission, not in the mind of God, but in the sense of its own brutal lusts, and with proud boasting about its own might. Out of the toils of the world-power, whose totality Assyria represents here, shall redeemed Israel return home. Out of the almost dried up root of the race of David shall a sprout grow up that shall set up a kingdom which shall pervade and rule all nations with the spirit of peace.
As regards the time of the composition of this prophecy, it must be noticed, first of all, that 10:5–34 did not originate at the same time with chapters 11 and 12 Concerning 10:5–34, every thing depends on whether the passage 10:9–11 is understood in the sense of an ideal or an actual time past. VITRINGA, CASPARI, DRECHSLER, DELITZSCH take the view that the destruction of Samaria, that took place in the sixth year of Hezekiah, appears as a past event in our passage only in the contemplation of the Prophet. I cannot join in this view. The reasoning of the Prophet must have been without meaning and effect to his hearers if the conquest of the cities Carchemish, Calno, Arpad, Hamath, Damascus and Samaria were not at that time an accomplished fact and well known to all contemporaries. In addition, the messengers of Sennacherib, according to 36:18 sq.; 37:11 sq., really boasted thus. Nowhere in chap. 10 is Ephraim spoken of as one that is to be conquered. Only the conquest of Jerusalem is lacking in order to let the destroying work of Jehovah on the people of His choice appear complete (10:12). Of course one may say that our passage then belongs in the neighborhood of chapters 36 and 37. But those chapters, as they stand, are a historical report complete in themselves; whereas an essential piece, forming a consolatory conclusion, is lacking to the cycle of prophecies affecting Assyria, which begins chap. 7, if 10:5 sq. does not belong to it. As long as we have no proof that the passage 10:9–11 is not to be understood of things historically past, I can only assume that the Prophet combined the later address with the earlier, in order to give to that earlier the suitable conclusion. Concerning chap. 11 we have a datum for determining the period of its composition in the short prophecy against Philistia, 14:28–32. This short passage lives in the sphere of ideas of chap. 11. In fact, without chap. 11. it is not at all intelligible. On the contrary, we learn from 14:28 that Isaiah recognized in Hezekiah in a certain sense “the root” (שֹׁרֶשׁ) or “branch” (נֵצֶר)—through which the kingdom of David was to spring up with new life. The passage 14:28–32 was written in the year of Ahaz’s death (728). The young king Hezekiah is described there as “the basilisk” (צֶכַּע) that shall proceed from “the root of the serpent” (שׂרֶשׁ נָחָשׁ). It is known that Messianic hopes were connected with Hezekiah (comp. DELITZSCH on 7:14 sq and 9:6); how far Isaiah shared them we know not. At all events chap. 11. was written after the death of Ahaz, and just as the hopeful Hezekiah ascended the throne (728 B. C.). Chap. 12 is a doxology that certainly belongs to that period in which the whole prophetic cycle, chaps, 7–12. were put together.
In accordance with this combination, the discourse plainly subdivides into three principal parts, and each principal part again into three subdivisions, so that three forms the underlying number. In the first part is Assyria, in the second Israel, in the third the Messiah, the chief subject. The chief traits of the discourse may be represented in the following scheme:—
ASSYRIA’S DESTRUCTION THE SALVATION OF ISRAEL (ISA 10:5–12:6)
I. Woe against Assyria (10:5–19).
1. Woe to the instrument that does not execute the will of God according to the mind of God (10:5–11).
2. Woe to the instrument that knew not that it was an instrument (10:12–15).
3. The execution of the woe (10:16–19).
II. Israel’s redemption in general (10:20–34).
1. The believing remnant of Israel returns out of the shattered world-power (10:20–23).
2. The condemned world-power is also not to be feared in the present (10:24–27).
3. The impetuous onset of the condemned world-power in the light of its final ruin (10:28–34).
III. Israel’s redemption in relation to the Messiah (11:1–12:6).
1. From the apparently dried up root of the house of David shall go forth a sprout that shall found a kingdom of most glorious peace (11:1–9).
2. The return of Israel takes place only when the Messiah has appeared and the heathen have gathered to Him (11:10–16).
3. Israel’s song of praise for the wrath and the grace of his God (12:1–6).
I. WOE AGAINST ASSYRIA
1. WOE TO THE INSTRUMENT THAT DOES NOT EXECUTE THE WILL OF GOD ACCORDING TO THE MIND OF GOD
5 5O 6Assyrian, the rod of mine anger,
7 8And the staff in their hand is mine indignation.
6 I will send him against an 9hypocritical nation,
And against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge,
10To take the spoil, and to take the prey,
And 11to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
7 Howbeit he meaneth not so,
Neither doth his heart think so;
But it is in his heart to destroy
And cut off nations not a few.
8 For he saith,
Are not my princes altogether kings?
9 Is not Calno as Carchemish?
Is not Hamath as Arpad?
Is not Samaria as Damascus?
10 As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols,
12And whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria;
11 Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols,
So do to Jerusalem and her 13idols?
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL
On Isa 10:5. As remarked at Isa 10:1, this הוֹי occasioned the existing arrangement of the chapter. What we have said concerning the origin of 9:7–10: 4, and 10:5–12, shows that this coincidence of the הוֹי is accidental. The expression שׁבט אפו is clear. It is found only here. Analogous is שֵׁבֶט עֶבְרָתוֹ Prov. 22:8; Lam. 3:1; comp. Prov. 22:15; Job 9:34; 21:9.—The second clause is difficult. The translation: “The staff which in their hand, is the staff of my anger” (GESENIUS) is grammatically incorrect. For then אֲשֶׁר must not be wanting before הוּא. Quite as grammatically impossible is that of HENDEWERK and KNOBEL, who point מַטֵּה and connect it, across הוא בידם as a parenthesis, with זעמי: “and the staff of my anger, it is in their hand.” To treat הוא בידם as a gloss, like HITZIG, EWALD, I. Edit and DIESTEL do, is violence. Only that rendering is grammatically possible that takes זעֹמי as subject, and what precedes as predicate. Then הוא only serves to mark מַטֶּה as predicate. For, were it not there, it would not be known which of the two words מַטה and זעמי is subject, and which predicate. Comp. e.g. הַדָּם הוּא הַנֶּכֶּשׁ Deut. 12:23.—זַעַם beside here, is found Isa 10:25; 13:5; 26:20; 30:27.
On Isa 10:6. חנף comp. on 9:16.—צִוָּה like Jer. 14:14; 23:32, with אֵל 27:4.
On Isa 10:7. Piel דִּמָּה is found also 14:24; 40:18, 25; 46:5; but is used in the last three texts in the sense of “to make like, compare,” in which sense Hithp. (“to make one’s-self like”) is used 14:14.
On Isa 10:10. מָצָא with לְ like Isa 10:14; Ps. 21:9; comp. 1 Sam. 23:17. כְּסִילים are “carved images;” comp. 21:9; 30:22; 12:8. Before ירושלים is to be supplied מִכְּסילֵי comp. 5:29; 13:4.
On Isa 10:11. The עצבים (in Isaiah again only 46:1) are not essentially different from בְּסִילִים. For as the underlying meaning of בָּסַל is caedere, caedendo fingere (Exod. 34:1, 4; Deut. 10:1, 2; 1 Kings 5:32), so, too, עָצַב, (kindred to קָצַב ,חָצַב) originally meant caedere, secare, “to cut out, to shape by hewing” (Job 10:8; Jer. 44:19).
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1. The LORD denounces woe against Assyria that is to be the instrument of His judgments (Isa 10:5). For He sent him against Israel (Isa 10:6), but Assyria did not execute the mission in the spirit in which he was commissioned, but in the spirit of his brutal and insatiable greed of conquest (Isa 10:7). This his sentiment appears in the grounds he assigns for his confidence that he will make conquest of Jerusalem: 1) his princes are all of them kings, which gives a measure of the extent of his might; 2) a row of conquests of great cities proves his invincibility. Having conquered kingdoms whose idols excel those of Samaria and Jerusalem, he will be able to treat Jerusalem as Samaria (8–11).
2. Woe unto Assyria——not a few.
Isa 10:5-7. The pivot on which the whole of the following announcement turns, is that the LORD denounces woe against the instrument of His wrath. In Isa 10:5 (see Text. and Gram.), the Prophet expresses the thought that not only is Assyria the rod of God’s anger, but that the anger of God is also the staff, as it were, the magician’s staff (comp. Isa 10:24, 26, where allusion is evidently to the rod of Moses) in the hand of Assyria. This turn of the image need give no surprise in our artistic Prophet. How far Assyria is used as a rod is explained, Isa 10:6. He is to be commissioned against the impure people, that on account of this impurity are objects of divine wrath, as it were on an official mission, to rob and trample down Israel, that they may become as the mire of the streets (7:25), comp. Jer. 51:20 sqq. Assyria will indeed trample down Israel, and as many other nations as possible, but not in order to execute the purpose of Jehovah on them, but only to gratify his own lust for world-conquest.
3. For he said—her idols.
Isa 10:8-11. Assyria confides only in his own strength. He has no suspicion that he is Jehovah’s instrument, the rod of His anger. Hence he enumerates the facts that justify his hope of easily subduing Israel. First, his princes are kings (comp. 2 Kings 25:28). When such have only second rank in the army of the great king of Assyria (36:4) how wide must be his dominion. His second ground of confidence is past great successes. Three pairs of conquered cities are named. The conquest of one is premised as an event that made sure that the next one named must in turn succumb. “Is not Calno like Carchemish?” Carchemish was a city on an island in the Euphrates at the mouth of the Chaboras, called by the Romans Circesium, Circessum, Circusium,Jer. 46:2–12; 2 Chr. 35:20, and appears from the text to have been subdued earlier than Calno. The latter is called כַּלְנֵהGen. 10:10; and כַּלנֶהAmos. 6:2: perhaps the כַּנֵּה of Ezek. 27:23 is the same city. It lay North-east twenty hours from Babylon on the East bank of the Tigris opposite Seleucia, and belonged to Babylon. Rebuilt at a later day by the Persian king Pacorus (90 B. C.), it received the name Ctesiphon. Thus Carchemish and Calno were two cities of Mesopotamia. Did Calno become as Carchemish, it appears that the conquest of the latter was not merely a happy chance, but the proof of the existence of a real power, which in every like case will conquer in like manner. Arpad is mentioned 36:19; 37:13; Jer. 49:23; 2 Kings 18:34; 19:13. The classics do not mention the city. According to the Arabian geographer MARASSID, (comp.KNOBELin loc.), an ARPHAD lay in the Pashalik Haleb (Aleppo) North-west from the latter place. According to KIEPERT (D. M. G. XXV. p. 655) Arpad lay 3 German miles north of Haleb on the spot where is found at present the ruins of Tel Erfad. In every passage where Arpad is mentioned, Hamath is found too. But, beside that, Hamath is often mentioned in the Old Testament. According to Num. 34:8 the northern border of the land to be possessed by the Israelites, was to extend to Hamath, which, according to 2 Kings 14:25, 28; comp. 2 Chr. 8:4, was actually the case at times. Comp., beside Amos 6:2, 14. The city lay on the Orontes and was called later Epiphania. Arpad and Hamath were thus Syrian cities lying nearer the Holy Land.
Damascus and Samaria lay still nearer Judah. After naming three pairs of names of conquered cities as proof of the irresistibleness of Assyria, the Prophet could simply proceed; so will Jerusalem, too, be unable to resist. But three thoughts suggest themselves, which he would express before that conclusion. First, that the idols of the conquered heathen cities surpassed the (supposed) idols of Jerusalem and Samaria. Second, the point that Samaria is already conquered; and third, the thought that Samaria and Jerusalem, may just as well be set in a pair as Carchemish and Calno, Arpad and Hamath, Damascus and Samaria. Now the Prophet might, of course, have said: as I have conquered the heathen kingdoms, whose idols surpass those of Samaria and Jerusalem, and as I have subdued Samaria itself, shall I not be able just so to subdue Jerusalem? But then Samaria would belong to the premise, and Jerusalem would alone form the apodosis, and there would be lacking conformity to the pairs before named. Hence he combines Samaria and Jerusalem together in the apodosis, beginning with הֲלֹא “shall I not,” Isa 10:11, but forms again within this apodosis, another protasis and apodosis, whereby, of course, the construction becomes abnormal; but still the thought is expressed that Samaria and Jerusalem should join as a fourth comparison, to the foregoing three. It is to be noticed that our passage assumes the conquest of Samaria, by the Assyrians (722 B. C.). According to 2 Kings 16:9, Tiglath-Pileser subdued Damascus. Samaria fell by Shalmaneser, according to 2 Kings 17:5 sq., but according to the Assyrian monuments by Sargon, in the third year of the siege. It was long after, that Rabshakeh actually used the language against Judah (36:18 sqq.; 37:10 sqq.). that Isaiah here prophetically puts into the mouth of the Assyrian. Perhaps Isaiah had here in mind, what Amos (6:1 sqq.), at an earlier period held up to the people, though it must remain in doubt, whether Isaiah means the same conquest of Hamath and Arpad, that Amos refers to. Moreover, nothing more is known of the conquest of the cities Carchemish, Calno, Hamath and Arpad, by the Assyrians. But comp. on 36:19. That the Assyrian speaks of ממלכות האליל (אליל as collective in the singular) “the kingdoms of the idols” is a Judaism. The Prophet presents the Assyrian as making a distinction between idolatrous kingdoms and Israel, the monotheistic: whereas, the Assyrian knows nothing of monotheism, and afterwards speaks of the idols and images of Samaria and Jerusalem. Moreover the Prophet describes them as “nothings” (comp. 2:8, 18, 20; 19:3; 31:7) whereas the Assyrian by no means regarded them so; for he held them all to be superterrestrial powers; only he maintained a distinction among them in respect to power. Thus we see how Isaiah suffered here some mixing of his point of view with that of the Assyrian.
And in whose hand my fury is a staff.
To plunder plunder, and to prey prey.
Heb. to lay them a treading.
And yet their graven images excelled them, etc.
Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.2. WOE TO THE INSTRUMENT THAT KNEW NOT THAT IT WAS AN INSTRUMENT
12 WHEREFORE it shall come to pass,
That when the LORD hath performed his whole work
Upon Mount Zion and on Jerusalem,
I will 14punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria,
And the glory of his high looks.
13 For he saith,
By the strength of my hand I have done it,
And by my wisdom; for I am prudent:
And I have removed the bounds of the people,
And have robbed their treasures,
And I have 15put down the inhabitants 16like a valiant man:
14 And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people:
And as one gathereth eggs that are left,
Have I gathered all the earth;
And there is none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped.
15 Shall the ax boast itself against him that heweth therewith?
Or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it?17As if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up,
Or as if the staff should lift up 18itself, as if it were no wood.
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL
On Isa 10:12. בָּצַע is scindere, abscindere; hence “to make an end, complete.” It is found once more in Isa. 38:12, and in the sense abscindere. There is ground for rendering בצע as fut. exactum: for אפקד, etc. will take place only when Assyria shall have executed his task. There is no doubt but that the Hebrew imperfect can have the meaning of the fut. exact.; comp. e.g. Gen. 44:10, 23; 1 Kings 8:35. But it makes a difference whether the fut. exact. is expressed by the perfect or imperfect. In the latter case the original imperfect meaning will still cling to it. The transaction spoken of will not be represented as real and accomplished, but only as possibly and ideally present. So, too, here. There lies therefore in the imperfect a certain element of comfort, as well becomes this comforting passage. רוּם, comp. 2:11, 17.
On Isa 10:13. The imperfects וְאוֹרִיד ,וְאָסִיר belong to those isolated cases where the simple Vav. copul. is used with the verbal ending unabbreviated (according to circumstances) as a weakening (of course not normally) of the Vav. consec. with the abbreviated verbal ending. These cases occur especially in poetry, in the 1st pers. sing., and in periods comprising several clauses. Comp. 43:28; 44:19; 48:3; 51:2; 57:17; 63:3–6; Ps. 104:32; EWALD, 233 a.—K’thibh עתוד paratum, opes paratae, only here; K’ri עתיד Deut. 32:35; Job 3:8.—שׁוֹסֵתִי is the sole example of Poel of a verb לה׳; as regards meaning = שׁוֹסֵתִי 17:14; 42:22.—כאביד is כּאַבִּיד, K’ri must be pronounced אַבִּיר .כַּבִּיר is secondary form of אָבִיר “the strong one” (1:24; 49:26; 60:16); כַּכִּיר also means validus, potens, 16:14; 17:12; 28:2. There exists here no reason for departing from K’thibh. To construe כאביר as adjunct of the subject is flat, and כִּ then seems strange. To take it as adverbial definition of ושׁבים (bull-like sitting on thrones, stiergleich Thronende, DELITZSCH) gives an extraordinary and displeasing figure. If, with DRECHSLER, we render יושבים simply “inhabitants,” then ואוריר seems strangely used. It seems to me best, therefore, to take כאביר as adjunct to the object: “I cast down the enthroned as the strong one” (i.e., the bull, comp. 34:7; Ps. 22:13; 50:13). Because they are to be cast down they must be sitting high. But they shall be cast down like the bull, i.e., like one lays low a bull by a blow on the forehead. [J. A. ALEXANDER retains the K’thibh, and connects כאביר with the subject meaning “mighty man” = “like a mighty man or hero that I am,” and adds: “there is no necessity for departing from the less poetical but more familiar sense, inhabitants, and bringing down, i.e., subduing”].
On Isa 10:14. תמצא comp. Isa 10:10.—כַּקֵּו for כְּלֵקִּו a familiar usage. מצפצף see 8:19.
On Isa 10:15. חתנדל Hithp. only here in Isa.—מַשּׂוֹר “a saw” is ἅπ. λεγ. The plural in מרימיו is explained by the collective construction of שֵׁבֶט.—הֵנִיף comp. 11:15; 13:2; 19:16; 30:23, and 10:32.—לא־עץ (comp. 31:8; Deut. 32:21) is a bold antiphrase.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1. Wherefore it shall——high looks.
Isa 10:12. In the foregoing strophe the Prophet’s view-point was before the execution of judgment on Jerusalem. In this he takes his view-point after it. As before Assyria boasted what he would do, here he boasts what he has done. For what he boastfully promised to do (Isa 10:8–11) he actually accomplished. But when he has done, then comes his hour. For then will the Lord bring about that fall that is wont to attend a haughty spirit. It is to be noted that what Assyria is to execute on Zion is called the work of Jehovah. But as only that work of which Assyria is the instrument is meant, “all his work” cannot be intended in an absolute sense, as comprehending the work of salvation.—“The fruit of haughtiness of heart” is not so much the boasting and blasphemy, but the works that haughtiness has done. Comp. Dan. 4:27 (30), “Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of the kingdom?” etc. The destruction of city and kingdom is the destruction of the fruit of the haughtiness of the ruler.
The massing of the nouns admirably paints the spouting, puffed-up nature of haughtiness (comp. 28:1; 21:17). “The loftiness of the eyes,” i.e., self-complacency, reflected in the eyes, lends a certain refulgence (תכּארת) to the manner of a man. But even this illusive gleam will the Lord strip off.
2. For he saith——peeped.
Isa 10:13, 14. The Prophet cannot reproduce to his hearers and readers the actual fruits and that proud gleam of haughtiness. But he can let that haughtiness express itself in words by which it may be estimated. These words state that Assyria now maintains that, as he purposed, so he had also actually accomplished all by his own might. He boasts his strength and his prudence. The power of this world is wise. According to Dan. 7:8, 20; 8:25 the horn of the fourth beast has eyes like the eyes of a man, the symbol of prudence (Comp. AUBERLEN,Der Prophet Daniel, 2 Aufl. p. 50). The children of this world are wiser in their way than the children of light (Luke 16:8). The borders of the nations he abolished by incorporating all in his kingdom; he robbed their treasures. Isa 10:14 portrays the facility with which Assyria does his work. The unskilful and inexperienced find a bird’s nest at best by chance. The knowing and experienced, however, find them as easily as surely. But the Assyrian compares his conquests not to the easy work of seeking nests, but to the much easier one of gathering eggs from forsaken nests. He has so gathered everything that came under his hand as he went through the land (Hab. 2:5). In a nest not forsaken, the little owner makes a defence; he strikes with his wings, he opens his beak and hisses at his assailant. But his enemies had not dared even to make a bird’s defence.
3. Shall the axe——no wood.
Isa 10:15. To this senseless boasting the Lord replies in words that set the matter in a just light. The answer presents two pairs of parallels that represent a gradation. Without men axe and saw can do nothing. Yet they are indispensable to men, and that may give their self-praise some apparent justification. But that rod or staff should lift those that have hold of them presents the extreme of absurd presumption. Yet this is the extent of Assyria’s blind presumption, that he not only conceives that he executed judgment on the nations without the Lord, but that divinity was constrained to serve him. There lies thus in the second pair of comparisons a climax, and כְּ before הָנִיף does not compare this second pair with the first, but with the higher degree of stupid blindness intimated in Isa 10:14. The staff can lift nothing, neither wood nor not-wood. Of not-wood it cannot even lift what is not man, e.g. a stone. If Isaiah, as the context shows, by not-wood means men, it is on the supposition that the reader of himself will recognize the true contrast (not-wood but much greater) and the (even phonetic) allusion to לֹא־אֵל.
Heb. visit upon the fruit of the, greatness of the heart.
Have felled those enthroned as a bull.
Or, like many people.
Or, As if a rod should shake them that lift it up.
Or, that which is not wood.
Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.3. THE EXECUTION OF THE WOE
16 THEREFORE shall the LORD, the LORD of hosts, send
Among his fat ones leanness;
And under his glory he shall kindle a burning
Like the burning of a fire.
17 And the light Israel shall be for a fire,
And his Holy One for a flame:
And it shall burn and devour his thorns
And his briers in one day;
18 And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field,19Both soul and body:
And they shall be as when20 a standard-bearer fainteth.
19 And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be 21few,
That a child may write them.
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL
On Isa 10:16. האדוו comp. Isa 10:33; 1:24; 3:1; 19:4.—אדני צבאות are found thus combined only here. Elsewhere it is always אדני יהוה צבאות, Isa 10:23, 24; 3:15; 22:5, 12, 14, 15; 28:22; Jer. 2:19; 46:10; 49:5; 50:25, 31.—מִשְׁמַנִּ׳ם are properly “the fat parts” (comp. Gen. 27:28, 39), then (abstr. pro concr. Ps. 78:31); “the fat men,” by whom Isaiah understands all that have a share in Assyria’s greatness. Comp. 27:4, where alone the word occurs again in Isaiah.—רזוו, from רָזה attenuare, maciare, Niph. contabescere (17:4) occurs only here in Isaiah (comp. רָוִי 24:16). It means macies, tabies, “consumption, phthisis.”—יָקַד verb, comp. 30:14; 65:5, יְקרֹ only here. Note the paronomasia which evidently aims at an artistic sound imitation.
On Isa 10:17. ביום אחד comp. on 9:13.—כרמל, “the fruitful, cultivated garden and field,” is also elsewhere opposed to forest (29:17), while again in other places יער is mentioned as part of the כרמל (37:24; 2 Kings 19:23). This is no contradiction, the notions of the two words occurring sometimes in a broader, sometimes in a narrower sense.
On Isa 10:18. נֹסֵם, ἅπ. λεγ. Comp. נָשׁ, Syr. nesiso, νοσεῖν, “to be sick.”—מְסֹם infin. from מָסַם 13:7; 19:1; 34:3, “to pine away.”—מספר like Jer. 44:28; Ezek. 12:16, etc.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
2. Therefore——write them.
Isa 10:16-19. “Therefore” introduces the consequences that follow the double guilt of Assyria portrayed above. That necessary consequence is punishment. The, not personal, glory of Assyria shall be burnt so as if the LORD kindled a fire under it. The comparison of the consumption which is not meant literally, and the כְּ before יְקוֹד show that no real fire is meant. It is the fire of God’s holy wrath that is the correlative of His love. The latter is the light of Israel in whom God takes pleasure (2 Sam. 22:29; Ps. 27:1; Mic. 7:8), but a consuming fire for all that is against God and His kingdom (Deut. 4:24; 9:3; Isa. 30:33; 33:14). Like 9:17, thorns and thistles are contrasted with the nobler representatives of vegetation. The comparison does not refer to the army of Assyria with its various grades of rank and file, but to the nation with all its glory. Thorns and thistles mean all lowly and inferior persons, forest and fruitful field those of elevation and splendor.
The expression “from soul to body” (מנבּשׁ ועד בשׂר is found only here). It is to be compared with 1:6, “from the sole of the foot to the head.” As the latter signifies the entire outward, visible surface of the body, so the latter the entire organism generally. Not only the outward, but the inward shall be anihilated. “For body and soul are the entire man (Ps. 16:9; 78:26; 84:3.”)—KNOBEL. I except to this only that the expression is restricted to men. Have not the beast and the plant a soul too? Comp. Gen. 2:19. And is it not said in our very passage that forest and field shall be anihilated from the soul to the flesh? Thus in some sense soul and flesh, i.e., body are attributed to plants. From his exhaustless store the Prophet produces another figure, and calls Assyria a weakling, who pining dies away.
Yet a remnant shall remain, but a very feeble one. Of the lordly forest there shall be left only a clump that may be counted; so far from numerous that a boy can count and write a list of them. And truly, what was left of Assyria after its destruction may be compared to the little forest or grove of cedars that the traveller now finds on Lebanon. But I mean not merely the overthrow of Sennacherib, but Nineveh’s destruction by the Babylonians and Medes. For the Prophet’s vision comprehends the whole future both of Israel and of Assyria.
The figure of the boy writing down the trees, seems to me remarkable in respect to the history of culture. We hear in this place of a boy that can write, the like of which we find even Judg. 8:14, and that counts the trunks of the trees. Is the figure pure invention of the Prophet? or was he brought to use it from observation?
Heb. from the soul, and even to the flesh.
a weakly person pines away.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.II. ISRAEL’S REDEMPTION IN GENERAL
1. THE BELIEVING REMNANT OF ISRAEL RETURNS OUT OF SHATTERED WORLD-POWER
20 AND it shall come to pass in that day,
That the remnant of Israel,
And such as are escaped of the house of Jacob,
Shall no more again stay upon him that smote them;
But shall stay upon the LORD,
The Holy One of Israel in truth.
21 The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob,
Unto the mighty God.
22 For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea,
Yet a remnant 22of them shall return:
23The consumption decreed shall overflow 24with righteousness.
23 For the Lord God of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined,
In the midst of all the land.
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL
On Isa 10:22, 23. בּוֹ after יָשׁוּב is partitive, as is often the case. Comp. 6:13; Deut. 1:35; Ps. 139:16, and especially passages where this בְּ stands after words meaning “to remain over,” Exod. 14:28; Lev. 26:36; 1 Sam. 11:11. [Like the Engl. “one in ten”].—כּליון וגו׳. These words are difficult. כֵּלָּיוֹן is found again only Dt. 28:65, in the expression כִלְיוֹן עֵינַיִם, which, after כָּלוּ עֵינַי (Ps. 69:4; 119:82, 123; Lam. 2:11) must be rendered oculorum consumtio, “consumption, failure of the power of vision.” So we must take it here in the sense of “wearing off, consuming, desolating.”—חָרוּץ is part. pass, from חָרַץ, incidere, decidere, definere, decernere (comp. 1 Kings 20:40). In Isa. it is found again only as a qualifying adjective to the threshing roller (41:15) or as name for the roller itself, (28:27). It is so named because an implement furnished with sharp corners and edges. כליון חרוץ can only mean, therefore: “destruction is limited, determined, concluded.”—In שׁטף is easily discerned an antithesis to חרוץ: for as in the latter there is the notion of something sharply marked off, so in the former there is the notion of flooding over (8:8; 28:2, 15, 17, 18; 30:28; 43:2; 46:12). We thus obtain the figure of something determined, sharply defined, but which in a certain sense extends itself, and withal, too, overflowing with a certain effect, as it were, settling it (שׁטף with the accusat. of abundance). That which is fixed, determined, is called כליון, what is widespread is said to be צדקה. According to the foregoing כליון can only designate the fate of those Israelites that do not belong to “the remnant.”—But what is צדקה? Many suppose it signifies the righteous state of the whole community, which they have attained to by reason of the judgments (DRECHSLER according to 48:18; Amos 5:24). But the following verse seems to me to conflict with this, which seems to be wholly an explanation of the words כָּלָה .כליון ח׳ שׁ׳ צ׳ evidently corresponds to נחרצה ,כליון to חרוץ. Therefore כִּי is expletive. The obscure expression Isa 10:22 b, which is probably a citation, for it contrasts strangely with its surroundings, is used in a form suited to common understanding. Thus the word כָּלָה (in Isa. only again 28:22, where the whole style of address recurs; frequent beside in the combination עָשָׂה כָלָה, especially in Jer. 4:27; 5:10, 18, etc.)—“utter ruin” stands for כליון; נחרצה for חרוץ, the fem. ending being used out of regard for the word-pair. This latter word, too, is found only 28:22, and also in Dan. 9:27; 11:36, where the words are repeated out of Isaiah.—But we must take כלח ונח׳ as object of עשֶֹׁה; for עשה בקרב כּל־ארץ is explanation of שׁטף ו׳. Precisely thereby we see that שׁטף states nothing more than that wide over all the earth shall be known and manifest what כליּון חרוץ is, viz., a proof of the righteousness of God. Were צדקה to mean the conformity of human condition to God’s righteousness, then this thought could not be rendered by the simple עשׂה בכל הא׳.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
And it shall come to pass——all the land.
Isa 10:20-23. The Prophet turns again to his own nation. Assyria’s fall is Israel’s salvation. “In that day,” i.e., when the destruction of Assyria shall have taken place (Isa 10:16–19), Israel will indeed still exist, but only as a remnant (שְׁאָר7:3; 11:11, 16; 28:5), and as those escaped (פְּלֵטָה comp. on 4:2). But this remnant will at last have learned what ministers to their peace. It will no more lean on Assyria as Ahaz has done. It is plainly seen from this, that the present passage was composed at a period when the Assyrian alliance (2 Kings 16:7 sqq.), was already an historical fact. By the single word מַכֵּהוּ, which points back to Isa 10:5, the Prophet indicates how foolish and ruinous that alliance was. Israel’s remnant will rather lean on Jehovah, the holy God (comp. on 1:4), who is Israel’s מִקְדָּשׁ, rock and refuge (8:4). What is meant by באמת “in truth” may be best seen from Jer. 4:1–4, who speaks of sincere, and entire return to Jehovah, of swearing in His name, “in truth, judgment and righteousness,” of reformation that “breaks up the fallow ground and does not sow among thorns,” of circumcision of the heart, and not of the flesh. So here, leaning on the LORD “in truth,” is such wherein the heart is no longer divided between Jehovah and the creature, but belongs to Him wholly and alone. The expression is found again in Isaiah 16:5; 38:3; 48:1; 61:8; comp. Jer. 32:40 sq.
That it may not be thought that he has used the expression “remnant of Israel” with no special significance, the Prophet repeats it in Isa 10:21, with great emphasis, at the same time defining it more exactly. No false support is offered in these words, which would ill-agree with the promise that Israel shall lean on the LORD “in truth.” True, the Israel “according to the flesh” fancied that where Abraham’s seed was, there salvation and life were guaranteed. But to them apply the words of John Baptist: “Begin not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father; for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree, therefore, which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down and cast into the fire.” Luke 3:8, 9. From this we see that not all that remain after the great judgments belong to “the remnant,” but only those that bear genuine fruits of repentance. Paul confirms this Rom. 11:4 sq., when, to the question “hath God cast away his people?” he replies by referring to the seven thousand that did not bow the knee to Baal (1 Kings 19:18), and then continues: “even so then at this present time also, there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” We may say, therefore; Isaiah’s remnant is the “election” (ἐκλογή) of Paul. “The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” Rom. 11:7. This is confirmed, too, by the way that Isaiah defines the aim of the return. Jer. says 4:1: “If thou wilt return, O Israel, return to me.” A false returning, therefore, is possible (vid. my com. on Jer. 4:1 sqq.). Precisely on this account Isaiah says in our passage the remnant will return to אל גבור, “God Almighty.” It is not the fleshly descent from Abraham that is the criterion of belonging to “the remnant,” but the return to God Almighty. It is plain that Jehovah the God of Israel is meant. But that Isaiah should call Him here just by this name, arises from this, that the Prophet has in mind his words in 9:5. The return to El-gibbor-Jehovah will, in its time, be possible only in the form of the return to El-gibbor-Messiah. Therefore Isaiah does not promise an unconditional, universal return of all that may be called Israelite, and that descends from Abraham, but he makes a most displeasing and threatening restriction. And if in the time to which he points, the time when the world-power will be judged, Israel were numerous as the sand by the sea—a condition which is even a fulfilment of promise and a theocratic state of blessedness (comp., on 9:2; Gen. 22:17)—Jehovah still can bring Himself not to make all these Israelites according to the flesh partakers of the promised blessing. This is the thought that Paul carries out in Rom. 9, and in this sense he cites our passage in Isa 10:27, 28. “They are not all Israel, which are of Israel,” he says Isa 10:6. “Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but in Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is: They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted for the seed,” Isa 10:7, 8. Therefore the LORD prepares an election of which the criterion is birth from God, regeneration, faith. As proof the Apostle cites, as already said, our passage among other Old Testament statements.
Heb. in, or among.
Destruction is determined, extending wide righteousness.
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt.2. THE CONDEMNED WORLD—POWER IS NOT TO BE FEARED EVEN IN THE PRESENT
24 THEREFORE thus saith the 25Lord God of hosts,
O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian:
He shall smite thee with a rod,
26And shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt.
25 For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease,
And mine anger 27in their destruction.
26 And the LORD of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him
According to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb:
And as his rod was upon the sea,
So shall he lift it up after the manner of Egypt.
27 And it shall come to pass in that day,
That his burden 28shall be taken away from off thy shoulder,
And his yoke from off thy neck,
And the yoke shall be 29destroyed because of the anointing.
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL
On Isa 10:25. מִזְעָר another form for מִצְעָר (Gen. 19:20; Isa. 63:18, etc.) = parvitas, paucitas, beside here is found only 29:17; 16:14; 24:6. It is thus a word peculiar to the first part of Isaiah.—The expression כלה זעם occurs only here and Dan. 11:36, which is taken from our passage. Comp. יַעֲבֹר זעם 26:20. It is needless to change the reading ואפי וגו׳. Supply הָיָה after ואפי (comp. e.g. 9:20) and construe in a pregnant sense = “directs, turns itself.”—עַל is employed then just as Isa 10:3.——תַּבְלִית (from בָּלָה tritum, consumtum esse) is ἅπ. λεγ. It means consumtio, i.e., of the Assyrians. Thus the words form a fitting transition to Isa 10:26.
On Isa 10:26. עוֹרֵר used of “wielding” a scourge only here: it is used 2 Sam. 23:18; 1 Chr. 11:11, 20 of brandishing a spear. Notice the paronomasia עוֹרֵר and עוֹרֵב.——שׁוֹט again in Isaiah only 28:15, K’ri——ומטהו must be conceived as dependent on עורר.
On Isa 10:27. The last clause is obscure. It defines the manner of releasing from the yoke. חֻבַּל Pual occurs only here and Job 17:1. The original meaning of חָבַל is “to twist” (thence הֶבֶל “a rope”) “to bind” ligare, pignore obligare. Piel, cum tormentis eniti, parere, but also “to twist round and round, to turn the bottommost to the topmost” (French bouleverser); 13:5; 54:16; Mic. 2:10; Song of Sol. 2:15; Eccl. 5:5. In Isa. 32:7 there seems beside to lie in the word the meaning of “ensnaring.” So there seems here, beside the notion of destruction, to be that of a reference to a rope or cord. DELITZSCH represents, on the authority of statements of SCHEGG, that to this day in the Orient the yoke is fastened to the pole by a cord about the neck. Thus the Prophet would evidently say that, because of the fat (מפני causal as it often is, 2:10; 7:2, etc.) which grows on the well-fed Israel, the rope breaks, and thus the yoke apparatus falls off. On this account it seems to me probable that הֻבַּל, (though otherwise הֶבֶל comes from הָבַל and not the reverse), is still here to be regarded as a Pual denominativum and privativum coined ad hoc (comp. on סֵעֵף Isa 10:33).——The figure in יסור סבלו is drawn from beasts of burden. In 9:3, עֹל סֻבֳּלוֹ the two words are combined; but separated here as 14:25.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Therefore thus saith—of the anointing (fat).
Isa 10:24-27. If all that is true that the Prophet, from Isa 10:5 on, has said of Assyria as the momentary instrument of God’s chastening,—and how shall God’s word not be sure?—then Israel need not fear Assyria even in present impending danger. Assyria will, indeed, execute chastisement on Israel, but only a discipline with a staff and rods (Isa 10:5), not with the sword, i.e. only a transitory one, not such as ends in destruction. The Prophet intimates that the captivity by the northern world-power will be, as it were, a continuation of that suffered from the southern. Assyria therefore will tread in the footsteps of Egypt. He will raise the staff over Israel in the way (Isa 10:26, Amos 4:10), i.e. in the manner of Egypt. For as Egypt could not attain his object of extirpating the Israelite by killing the male children that were born and by hard labor, just as little should Assyria succeed. For only a very little, and the wrath would cease. The Prophet, therefore, conceives of the wrath as in progress, but presents its speedy end in prospect.
The Lord will brandish the scourge over Assyria as He smote Midian at the rock of Oreb (comp. 9:3). That was one of the most glorious victories of the Israelites; but the glory of it belonged neither to Gideon nor to his army, but to the Lord (Jud. 7:2 sqq., 25). The second clause of Isa 10:26 contains a magnificent figure full of art. First from Assyria’s hand is taken the staff that he is to raise over Israel and put into the hand of Jehovah. This appears from the relation of Isa 10:26b. to the last clause of Isa 10:24. Then this staff in the hand of Jehovah is transformed to the likeness of the rod with which Moses in Egypt prepared the Red Sea for a way of escape for Israel (11:16). The sea here is that which spreads out before Israel in the distress occasioned by Assyria. The raising up of the rod here (נשׂאו) corresponds to that raising it over Israel (יִשָּׂא Isa 10:24) for which Assyria used it. A twofold raising of the rod took place in Egypt: one over Israel, the other over the sea. Both are repeated now. Neither the rod flourished over Israel for chastisement shall be wanting, nor the rod of God, which, as there, shall open a way through the deep sea of trouble. As is familiarly known, the passage through the Red Sea is often mentioned and turned to account in a variety of ways: comp. 43:16; 51: 2; 51:10; 63:11; Ps. 66:6; 74:13; 77:20: 77:13; 114:3, etc.
At the time referred to Israel shall be freed from the yoke of Assyria (9:3; 14:25), which is signified first by the figure of the load of a beast of burden, second by that of the yoke.
Lord Jehovah of hosts.
Or, But he shall lift up his staff for thee.
Heb. shall remove.
unlaced because of fat.
He is come to Aiath, he is passed to Migron; at Michmash he hath laid up his carriages:3. THE IMPETUOUS ONSET OF THE CONDEMNED WORLD—POWER IN THE LIGHT OF ITS FINAL RUIN
28 HE is come to Aiath, he is passed to Migron;
At Michmash he hath laid up his 30carriages:
29 They are gone over the passage:
They have taken up their lodging at Geba;
Ramah is afraid;
Gibeah of Saul is fled.
30 31Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim:
32Cause it to be heard unto Laish,
O poor Anathoth.
31 Madmenah 33is removed;
The inhabitants of Gebim gather themselves to flee.
32 34As yet shall he remain at Nob that day:
He shall shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of Zion,
The hill of Jerusalem.
33 Behold, the LORD, the LORD of hosts,
Shall lop the 35bough with terror:
And the 36high ones of stature shall be hewn down,
And the haughty shall be humbled.
34 And he shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron,
And Lebanon 37shall fall 38by a mighty one.
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL
On Isa 10:28. בָּא with עַלֹ like Jud. 18:27, it means “the falling over on.”—הפקיד, commisit, mandavit, deposuit, Jer. 36:20; 40:7; 40:10.
On Isa 10:32. ינפף Pilel, only here; Hiph. with similar meaning, 11:15; 13:2; 19:16: 2 Kings 5:11. The swinging of the hand is the gesture of one threatening.—הר וגו׳ stands in accus. localis; K’thibh has בּית־ציון, which is found nowhere else, and probably results from a confounding with הַר בֵּית יהוה.
On Isa 10:33. סֵעֵף (comp. סָעִיף 17:6; 27:10), Pi. denominativum and privativum like the German aesten from Ast, Koepfen from Kopf (comp. זֵנֵּב “to cut off the tail,” Josh. 10:19; שֵׁרֵשׁ “to eradicate,” Ps. 52:7; סִקֵּל “to remove stones,” 5:2. [Like in English one says “to stone,” i.e., take the stones out]. This סעף is ἅπ. λεγ.——פֻּארָה ἅπ. λεγ., as regards meaning is certainly identical with פֹארָה, Ezek. 17:6; 31:5, 6, 8, 12, 13. It appears to be a poetic expression for the grand, luxurious branch and leafy growth of the tree (פאר original meaning splendere, nitere, comp. תִּפְאֶרֶת ,פְאֵר.—מערצה, ἅπ. λεγ. is “terror” in an active sense = perterrefactio.—קוֹמָה “that which is standing, the trunks, the standing timber” (comp. 37:24).
On Isa 10:34. נִקַּף only here in Isaiah may be either Niph. or Piel.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1. The foregoing disposes the reader to look for an immediate portrayal of the destruction of Assyria. But to his surprise the Prophet translates him back into the commencement of the hostilities of Assyria, against Israel (Isa 10:28–32). This first onslaught of Assyria was so impetuous, that it seemed as if Jerusalem could not resist. But it only appeared so. How little dangerous that onslaught was appears from the brief description of the inevitable, impending ruin of the world-power, that immediately follows (Isa 10:33, 34). A contrast is hereby presented that gives a most striking effect, which is still more enhanced by the masterly, dramatic representation of the march of the Assyrians against Jerusalem. So that this little passage proves to be a master-piece of Art, both by its arrangement as a whole and its execution in detail.
2. He comes—the hill of Jerusalem.
Isa 10:28-32. These verses describe the last part of the march to Jerusalem. For, no doubt, Aiath is the same as Ai that lay North-east of Jerusalem (עַי or הָעַי “the stone heap,” Josh. 7:2 sqq., עַיָּאNeh. 11:31, עַיָּה [false reading עַזָּה]; 1 Chr. 7:28), which is probably identical with עַוִּים (Josh. 18:23) comp. FAYin loc.). FINN, VAN DE VELDE, ARNOLD, KNOBEL, identify Aiath in Tell-el-Hadschar that lies less than an hour South-east of Beitin (Bethel). On the other hand DELITZSCH, following SCHEGG who personally investigated the spot, locates Aiath about six hours north of Jerusalem in Tejjibe, that is situated on a hill with an extended prospect, in whose neighborhood there is still found a small village, Churbet Ai. It will perhaps depend on whether the locality of Tejjibe corresponds with Josh. 8:11, 13, according to which there was a valley North of the city. [Concerning the location of all the places named in the text consult “ROBINSON and SMITH’SBib. Res. in Palestine, Vol. II.].
Migron, which is mentioned beside only 1 Sam. 14:2 (but in all probability this passage is corrupt: ARNOLD in HERZ.R. Encycl. XIV. p. 755) appears to have been quite insignificant. DELITZSCH regards it as identical with Burg-Magran, a cluster of ruins eight minutes from Bethel. But, then, would they not have marched backwards? Michmash, a city of Benjamin as all the rest named here, plays an important part in the history of Saul and Jonathan, 1 Sam. 13, 14 It still exists as a small deserted village with the name Muchmas one hour North of Geba (now Dscheba), three hours and a half North of Jerusalem (ROBINSON and S. II. comp. RUETSCHI, HERZ.R. Encycl. IX. p. 526). There the Assyrians left their baggage in order to press on quicker. “The passage of Michmash” is mentioned 1 Sam. 13 and 14. It is the Wady-es-Suweinit (according to others es-Suweikeh—comp. RUETSCHI,l. c.)—a deep, rough ravine, forty-eight minutes wide, immediately below Michmash. As it runs from East to West, they must cross it obliquely to approach Jerusalem. The ravine is difficult to traverse. It is hardly credible that the proper highway from Shechem or Nabulus (comp. ARNOLD in HERZ.R. Encycl. XV. p. 163 sq. Art. “Strassen in Palaestina,”) passed through it. The Prophet’s description is ideal. He depicts not what is past but what is future, and that, not in the manner of historical accuracy, but as became his prophetic interests. He would depict how the enemy presses forward with utmost speed, by the shortest way, deterred by no obstacles. On the arduous way they cheer one another with the cry: “Geba give us lodging.” Thus they promise themselves good quarters in Geba, that lay so charmingly on an elevated plateau (comp. SCHEGG in DELITZSCH). Geba cannot be the same as Gebea of Saul, as appears evident from our text. For if it were the same, why is it mentioned twice with a difference in the form of the name, and with the name of another city coming between? Rama, now er-Ram, the city of Benjamin, made notorious by Saul (1 Sam. 1:19; 2:11, etc.), seems to have lain aside from their route though near by. For it looks with trembling on the passers by; but Gebea of Saul opposite, lying perhaps still nearer, fled outright, It lay on the summit of Tuleil-el-Tul (the Bean mountain, see ARNOLD, HERZ.Real. Encycl. p. 744) which commands a view of the whole neighborhood. In a direct line the expedition encounters Gallim, (1 Sam. 25:44) which VALENTINER (Ztschr. d. D. M. G. XII. p. 169) thinks he has discovered in the hill Chirbet el-Dschisr that lies South of the Bean mountain. Because immediately threatened, Gallim shall shriek out (קולך accus.). Laishah, by no means identical with לַיִשׁJudg. 18:29, cannot be located. But KNOBEL is likely correct in finding evidence of its being a place near Gallim in 1 Sam. 25:44, where is mentioned Phaltiel son of Laish from Gallim (comp. 2 Sam. 3:15). עניה ענתות, “O poor Anathoth,” is evidently a play on words. By this and the emotion of the orator is to be explained the order of the words, which is not quite normal (comp. 54:11). Anathoth, now Anata, is only three-fourths of an hour distant from Jerusalem—Madmenah (Dung-heaps) and Gebim (fountains, Jer. 14:3) are not mentioned elsewhere, nor are any traces of the places discovered as yet. Both are directly threatened; so nothing remains but to flee and save their goods. “Saving their goods” seems to be indicated by העיזו (comp. Exod. 9:19); yet it may very well be construed as synonymous with נָֹדְדָה according to Jer. 4:6; 6:1. “To-day still in Nob, to make a halt,” is likewise the enemies’ shout to one another. The thing is to pass on to Nob to-day, but there make a preliminary halt in order to make the necessary dispositions for the attack on Jerusalem. Nob (comp. 2 Sam. 21:16, 18; Neh. 11:32) without doubt quite near Jerusalem, is to the present not certainly identified. SCHEGG contends very decidedly that it may be Isawije that lies South-west of Anata fifty-five minutes North of Jerusalem.
3. Behold the Lord—a mighty one.
Isa 10:33, 34. The proud expedition of the Assyrian falls like trees felled by the axe. Like the tempest tears away the branches, so the terror that goes forth from Jehovah breaks the power of the Assyrian. “The high ones of stature (of the standing wood)” shall be cut down (9:9) the lofty ones must bow. The entire forest thicket (9:17) shall be cut down with the iron; but Lebanon (notice how the Prophet before distinguished branches, trunks and thicket, but at last combines all in the common, all comprehending name Lebanon) shall fall by a Mighty One. Who this Mighty One will be the Prophet does not say. That it is the Lord Himself as the remote cause, who 33:21, comp. Ps. 93:4, is called אַדִּיר “glorious, mighty,” is of course. But it may convey also an allusion at the same time to that one among the LORD’S ministers, that was the principal instrument in annihilating the Assyrian army before Jerusalem (37:36). For the ministers of the LORD, too, are called אדִּירְים “the excellent or mighty,” (Ps. 16:3).
Heb. Cry shrill with thy voice.
yet to-day in Nob to halt.
the giants of the standing wood are felled.