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.
14. sanctuary—inviolable asylum, like the altar of the temple (1Ki 1:50; 2:28; Eze 11:16; compare Pr 18:10); namely, to those who fear and trust in Him.
but … offence—that is, a rock over which they should fall to their hurt; namely those who would not believe.
both … houses—Israel and Judah. Here again the prophecy expands beyond the temporary application in Ahaz' time. The very stone, Immanuel, which would have been a sanctuary on belief, becomes a fatal stumbling-block through unbelief. Jesus Christ refers to this in Mt 21:44. (Compare De 32:4, 15, 18, 30, 31, 37; Da 2:34; Ro 9:33; 1Pe 2:8).
gin—trap, in which birds are unexpectedly caught (Lu 21:35; 1Th 5:2). So at the destruction of Jerusalem under Titus.