vs. 1-3. — THE BURDEN OF
travels northwards from
small account, rests once more upon
Isaiah 7:1-9, and probably already
seen once more in alliance with Ephraim (v. 3), and the two are joined
with a new power, Aroer (v. 2), which possesses several “cities.” Woe is
denounced on all the three powers: desolation on
northern kingdom, thus the tragedy in the loss of independence – as
of global this and global that, freedom loving Americans will decry
their loss of independence –It was Horace Greely who said “it is
impossible to enslave mentally or socially a Bible reading
people. The principles of the Bible are the ground-work of human
freedom” – we have turned our back
on God like
2009), the complete loss of the last shadow of independance. The Assyrian
inscriptions point out, as the probable date of the prophecy, the
commencement of Sargun’s reign — about B.C. 722 or 721.
"Excerpted text Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.
Materials are reproduced by
permission." - (here and following):
v. 1 –
v. 2 – “The cities of Aroer are forsaken” -That the Aroer of this
passage cannot be either that on the Arnon, or that facing Rabbath-Ammon
(Joshua 13:25), has long been perceived and recognized (see Mr.
Grove’s article on “Aroer” in the ‘Dict. of the Bible,’ vol. 1. p. 115). It is
evidently a city of the same name lying much further towards the north.
And it is a city of far greater importance, having “cities” dependent on it.
Now, Sargon’s annals tell us of a “Gal’gar,” a name well expressing the
Hebrew r[r[, which was united in a league with
Arpad, and Simyra, in the second year of Sargon, and was the scene of a
great battle and a great destruction. Sargon besieged it, took it, and
reduced it to ashes (‘Records of the Past,’ 50.s.e.). There is every reason
to recognize the “Aroer” of this verse in the “Gargar” of Sargon’s
inscriptions. “They shall be for flocks” - (Isaiah 5:17; 7:25). It
marked the very extreme of desolation, that cattle should be pastured on
the sites of the cities.
I included the above because I wonder how many places upon the
earth throughout history has been reduced to nothing because of
sin! (CY – 2009)
v. 3 - "the fortress also shall cease from Ephraim and the kingdom
Ephraim is the name of a tribe of Israel, it is the name of a city,
it is the name of a mountain, and it is the name of a man, Joseph’s
son. Ephraim is often used in Scripture to refer to the ten
northern tribes of
Therefore, we have
here in chapter 17 “the burden of
v. 1 and Ephraim – v. 3, or in other words the burden of the
Partners in crime means partners in judgment!
vs. 4-11. — A DENUNCIATION OF WOE ON
WITH THE PROMISE OF A REMNANT.
united herself with
Her glory will decay, her population dwindle and almost disappear. Still
there will be a few left, who, under the circumstances, will turn to God
(v. 7). But it will be too late for anything like a national recovery; the
land will remain “a desolation” on account of the past sins of its inhabitants
The analogy for today is much more grave “upon whom the ends of the
world are come” – (see I Corinthians 11:11) – when Jesus comes there
will be no remnant because they will be taken to heaven with Him “in
a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump” – (I Corinthians
15:52 - CY – 2009)
v. 4 - "the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh
shall wax lean" – DEPOPULATION is primarily intended; but
there is, perhaps, also a more general reference to DEPRESSION,
WASTING and MISERY!
Choices - (small remnant) - "many called, few chosen"
vs. 7-8 - a remnant may save their own souls but they
cannot save their country – see ch. 32:1-2
Ver. 9. — “In that day” - While a remnant of the Israelites shall repent and
turn to God, throwing in their lot with
generally shall feel the weight of God’s chastening hand, on account of
uppermost branch” - rather, as the forsaken tract of woodland and
mountain-crest (Kay). The reference is to the condition of the land when it
passed out of the possession of the Canaanitish nations. It was then
forsaken and desolate. So shall it be once more, when
the same sins (see 2 Kings 17:7, 8) – “Which they left because of the
i.e. from which the
Canaanites fled as the children of
took possession. The writer ignores the long and fierce struggle which the
Canaanites made, and looks only to the result — retirement from a
v. 10 –“Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and
hast not been mindful of the Rock of thy Strength” - He who
takes away sorrows, shelters us, comforts us, gives us
satisfaction, peace and happiness - our EVER PRESENT JOY!
Forgetfulness of Jehovah has led to the adoption of a voluptuous religion –
one of debased foreign rites. There is possibly, as Mr. Cheyne thinks,
a special reference to the cult of Adonis. “shall set it’ - rather, settest it,
or hast set it. “It” must refer to“field” or “garden” understood. The later
Israelite religion has been a sort of pleasant garden, planted with exotic
slips from various quarters —
thought permissible to introduce into it any new cult that took the fancy.
Hence the multiplication of altars complained of by Hosea (Hosea 8:11;
v. 11 - "the harvest shall be a heap in the day of grief and of desperate
sorrow" – the Day of Visitation has arrived!
vs. 12-14. - A PROPHECY AGAINST
apparently, out of place. At any rate, it is quite unconnected with what
precedes, and almost equally so with what follows. Still, it must be borne in
mind that, until the destruction of Sennacherib’s army, Isaiah has the
thought of the Assyrians, as the pressing danger, always before him, and
continually reverts to it, often abruptly, and without preparation (see
Isaiah 5:26-30; 7:17-25; 8:5-8; 10:5-19, 24-34; 14:24-27). The present
prophecy seems, more distinctly than any other in the purely prophetical
chapters, to point to the miraculous destruction of the hoot which
Sennacherib was about to bring against
v. 14 - "behold at eventide trouble" - rather terror, as the word is always
vs. 6-11 - National Repentance May Come Too Late to Avert National Ruin.
The crisis of a nation’s fate is brought on by slow degrees, and results from
a multitude of acts, each one of which, when once done, is past recall. Up
to a certain point there is a possibility of retrieval. “Tout peut se retablir,”
as a great monarch of our own time said. The modes of action that have
brought the state into difficulties may be renounced, or even reversed; and
recovery may set in as a natural consequence of such reversal. Or the
change of conduct may have appeased God’s anger, and His favor may
raise up the nation which he has depressed, to mark His displeasure. Such
the case with united
was the nation for its sins “sold into the hand” of a foreign power, its
independence suspended, its ruin all but accomplished; and seven times
upon its repentance did God raise up a deliverer who restored it to
vigorous life and re-established its prosperity. But this process cannot go
on forever. A time comes when the sources of national vigor are sapped,
when exhaustion has set in, when foreign neighbors have become
enormously powerful, and when it would require, not one miracle only, but
a series of miracles, to save the state from the consequences of its LONG
CONTINUED MISCONDUCT. Then, although the remnant left may
perceive its danger, and regret the past, and repent, and put away the evil
of its doings, and even reverse its modes of action, turning to God (v. 7)
instead of turning away from him (v. 10), and looking to the Holy One
instead of looking to idols and vanities, it may be too late to reverse the
fiat that has long since gone forth, or to arrest the destruction decreed
and determined on. The remnant may save their own souls, but they
cannot save their country. The “day of grief and of desperate sorrow’
comes on, whatever they may do; and the nation perishes in consequence
of its past misdeeds, despite its tardy amendment.
v. 10 - The Rock of our Strength.
Irreligious men have many “rocks of strength,” or at any rate think that
they have many:
1. “Some put their trust in chariots and in horses,” believe in “big
battalions” as really ruling the world, and think they have only to swell
their armies in order to sway the course of events at their pleasure. Tell
them that “it is nothing with God to help, whether with many or with them
that have no power” (2 Chronicles 14:11); assure them that “it is no
hard matter for many to be shut up in the hands of a few, and with the God
of heaven it is all one to deliver with a great multitude or a small company,
for the victory of battle standeth not in the multitude of a host, but strength
cometh from heaven” (1 Macc. 3:18, 19); and they open their eyes wide
with astonishment, and set down the speaker as a dreamy fanatic.
Compare what really happened to the Assyrians – ch. 37:36
2. Others regard wealth as a tower of strength, a “rock” that will never fail
them. Three things alone are wanted to secure complete success in life, and
these are “Money, money, money.” Their highest idea of perfect safety and
security is “the Bank of England.” (in this day Freddie Mac and Fannie
Mae – CY – 2009) No qualms of fear assail them so long as
they have a good balance at their bankers. “Soul,” they say to themselves,
“thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink,
and be merry ‘(Luke 12:16-21). Tell them that riches make themselves
wings, talk to them of failures, bankruptcies, revolutions, and they will
laugh you to scorn; theirs are safe, they are quite certain, and that is
enough for them.
3. A third class “trust in princes,” or great men. They have a patron, a
protector, a “friend at court;” and all must necessarily go well with them.
Nay, perhaps they have “two or three strings to their bow” — powerful
friends belonging to both parties; how, then, is it possible that they should
not be secure? Christian men have, on the other hand, but one “Rock of
strength,” but one Trust, but one Stay, and that is God. God is their
changing. Men die, even though they be princes or prime ministers. Armies
melt away, suffer defeat, mutiny. Wealth becomes the prey of the spoiler, is
lost through fraud, or taken away by violence. God always remains the
same — firm, solid, substantial; something on which we can count,
something that will not disappear, that will not change, that we can rely
upon as a sure foundation.
II. As BEING A STRONGHOLD AND DEFENSE. The Israelites looked
to their fortified cities to protect them (v. 9). The Christian looks to God.
God’s strength is such that nothing can prevail against it. He is an
absolutely sure Defense, able to save men “to the uttermost.” No one that
has relied wholly and solely upon God, has ever found his reliance
misplaced or his defense fail him. If we make God our Refuge, we place
ourselves in an impregnable citadel. He is omnipotent, and therefore
ever able to save; he is faithful, and therefore ever willing to save.
III. AS BEING A SHADOW FROM THE HEAT, A SHELTER FROM
THE TEMPEST. God not only protects but consoles, not only saves but
comforts. He is “the Shadow of a great Rock in a weary land.” – Isaiah 32:2 –
When dangers threaten, when calamities come, when we are drooping
beneath the noonday heat, or chilled by the pitiless storm, we can rest on Him,
and He will cheer us; we can make our appeal to Him, and He will give us
relief and refreshment. It is promised that, ultimately, “God shall wipe away
tears from all eyes” (Revelation 21:4). Already He does this to a large extent.
Not only is He our Defense and Stay, but He is a “Rock” that “follows us”
(1 Corinthians 10:4) through the wilderness of human life, assuaging
our griefs, taking away our sorrows, giving us shelter, comfort,
satisfaction, peace, happiness. He is Himself an ever-present Joy,
possessing whom, whatsoever happened to us, we should be content.