Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
PROPHECIES AS TO
Isa 33:1, 8, 9,
describe the Assyrian spoiler; strong as he is, he shall fall before
Jehovah who is stronger
(Isa 33:2-6, 10-12).
The time is the autumn of 713 B.C.
1. and thou--that is, though thou wast not spoiled--though thou wast
not dealt treacherously with
thy spoiling and treachery are therefore without excuse, being
cease--When God has let thee do thy worst, in execution of His plans,
thine own turn shall come (compare
Isa 10:12; 14:2;
2. us; we . . . their . . . our--He speaks interceding for His people,
separating himself in thought for a moment from them, and immediately
returns to his natural identification with them in the word "our."
every morning--each day as it dawns, especially during our danger,
as the parallel "time of trouble" shows.
3. the tumult--the approach of Jehovah is likened to an advancing
(Isa 29:6; 30:27),
which is His voice
causing the people to "flee."
nation--the Assyrian levies.
4. The invaders' "spoil" shall be left behind by them in their flight,
and the Jews shall gather it.
caterpillar--rather, "the wingless locust"; as it gathers; the
Hebrew word for "gathers" is properly used of the gathering of the
fruits of harvest
running to and fro--namely, in gathering harvest fruits.
them--rather, "it," that is, the prey.
6. wisdom--sacred; that is, piety.
thy--Hezekiah's; or rather, "Judea's." "His" refers to the same; such
changes from the pronoun possessive of the second person to that of the
third are common in Hebrew poetry.
treasure--Not so much material wealth as piety shall constitute the
riches of the nation
(Pr 10:22; 15:16).
7-9. From the vision of future glory Isaiah returns to the disastrous
present; the grief of "the valiant ones" (parallel to, and identical
with, "the ambassadors of peace"), men of rank, sent with presents to
sue for peace, but standing "without" the enemy's camp, their suit being
(2Ki 18:14, 18, 37).
The highways deserted through fear, the cities insulted, the lands
8. broken . . . covenant--When Sennacherib invaded Judea, Hezekiah
paid him a large sum to leave the land; Sennacherib received the money
and yet sent his army against Jerusalem
(2Ki 18:14, 17).
despised--make slight of as unable to resist him
(Isa 10:9; 36:19);
easily captures them.
Lebanon--personified; the allusion may be to the Assyrian cutting
down its choice trees
(Isa 14:8; 37:24).
Sharon--south of Carmel, along the Mediterranean, proverbial for
Bashan--afterwards called Batanea
fruits--rather, understand "leaves"; they lie as desolate as in
10. The sight of His people's misery arouses Jehovah; He has let the
enemy go far enough.
I--emphatic; God Himself will do what man could not.
11. Ye--the enemy.
(Isa 26:18; 59:4).
your breath--rather, your own spirit of anger and ambition
Perhaps alluding to their being about to be burnt on the funeral pyre
(2Sa 23:6, 7).
13. far off--distant nations.
near--the Jews and adjoining peoples
14. sinners in Zion--false professors of religion among the elect
hypocrites--rather, "the profane"; "the abandoned"
who, &c.--If Jehovah's wrath could thus consume such a host in one
night, who could abide it, if continued for ever
Fire is a common image for the divine judgments
(Isa 29:6; 30:30).
among us--If such awful judgments have fallen on those who knew not
the true God, how infinitely worse shall fall on us who, amid
religious privileges and profession, sin against God,
(Lu 12:47, 48;
15. In contrast to the trembling "sinners in Zion"
the righteous shall be secure amid all judgments; they are described
according to the Old Testament standpoint of righteousness
(Ps 15:2; 24:4).
stoppeth . . . ears . . . eyes--"Rejoiceth not in iniquity"
The senses are avenues for the entrance of sin
16. on high--heights inaccessible to the foe
bread . . . waters--image from the expected siege by Sennacherib;
however besieged by trials without, the godly shall have literal and
spiritual food, as God sees good for them
Ps 37:25; 34:10; 132:15).
17. Thine--the saints'.
king in . . . beauty--not as now, Hezekiah in
sackcloth, oppressed by the enemy, but King Messiah
"in His beauty"
(So 5:10, 16;
land . . . very far off--rather, "the land in its remotest extent"
(no longer pent up as Hezekiah was with the siege); see Margin. For
Jerusalem is made the scene of the king's glory
&c.), and it could not be said to be "very far off," unless the far-off
land be heaven, the Jerusalem above, which is to follow the
earthly reign of Messiah at literal Jerusalem
Re 21:1, 2, 10).
18. meditate--on the "terror" caused by the enemy, but now past.
where, &c.--the language of the Jews exulting over their escape from
scribe--who enrolled the army
[MAURER]; or, who prescribed the tribute
to be paid [ROSENMULLER];
or, who kept an account of the spoil. "The
principal scribe of the host"
The Assyrian records are free from the exaggerations of Egyptian
records. Two scribes are seen in every Assyrian bas-relief, writing
down the various objects brought to them, the heads of the slain,
prisoners, cattle, sheep, &c.
LAYARD mentions, among the Assyrian
inscriptions, "a pair a scales for weighing the spoils."
counted . . . towers--he whose duty it was to reconnoitre and report
the strength of the city to be besieged.
19. fierce people--The Assyrians shall not be allowed to enter
Or, thou shalt not any longer see fierce enemies threatening thee as
previously; such as the Assyrians, Romans, and the last Antichristian
host that is yet to assail Jerusalem
(De 28:49, 50;
stammering--barbarous; so "deeper," &c., that is, unintelligible.
The Assyrian tongue differed only in dialect from the Hebrew, but in
the Assyrian levies were many of non-Semitic race and language, as the
Medes, Elamites, &c.
20. solemnities--solemn assemblies at the great feasts
not . . . taken down . . . removed--image
from captives "removed" from their land
There shall be no more "taking away" to an enemy's land. Or else, from
nomads living in shifting tents. The saints, who sojourned once in
tabernacles as pilgrims, shall have a "building of God--eternal in the
Heb 11:9, 10;
stakes--driven into the ground; to these the "cords" were fastened.
Christ's Church shall never fall
So individual believers
21. there--namely, in Jerusalem.
will be . . . rivers--Jehovah will be as a broad river surrounding our
and this, too, a river of such a kind as no ship of war can pass
Jerusalem had not the advantage of a river; Jehovah will be as one to
it, affording all the advantages, without any of the disadvantages of
galley with oars--war vessels of a long shape, and propelled by oars;
merchant vessels were broader and carried sail.
gallant--same Hebrew word as for "glorious," previously; "mighty"
will suit both places; a ship of war is meant. No "mighty vessel" will
dare to pass where the "mighty Lord" stands as our defense.
22. Lord--thrice repeated, as often: the Trinity
judge . . . lawgiver . . . king--perfect ideal of the theocracy, to
be realized under Messiah alone; the judicial, legislative, and
administrative functions as king to be exercised by Him in person
(Isa 11:4; 32:1;
23. tacklings--Continuing the allegory in
he compares the enemies' host to a war galley which is deprived of the
tacklings or cords by which the mast is sustained and the sail is
spread; and which therefore is sure to be wrecked on "the broad river"
and become the prey of Israel.
they--the tacklings, "hold not firm the base of the mast."
then--when the Assyrian host shall have been discomfited. Hezekiah had
given Sennacherib three hundred talents of silver, and thirty of gold
and had stripped the temple of its gold to give it to him; this
treasure was probably part of the prey found in the foe's camp. After
the invasion, Hezekiah had so much wealth that he made an improper
display of it
this wealth, probably, was in part got from the Assyrian.
the lame--Even the most feeble shall spoil the Assyrian camp (compare
24. sick--SMITH thinks the allusion is to
the beginning of the pestilence by which the Assyrians were destroyed,
and which, while sparing the righteous, affected some within the city
("sinners in Zion"); it may have been the sickness that visited
In the Jerusalem to come there shall be no "sickness," because there
will be no "iniquity," it being forgiven
The latter clause of the verse contains the cause of the former