Isaiah 2

 

 

Isaiah, about to devote almost two whole chapters to denunciations, prefaces

them with one of the most glorious and joy inspiring of all his prophecies, thus

setting forth a light which not all the gloom of the succeeding sections can wholly

obscure, but which casts some portion of its radiance into their darkest place.

 

There is a fine line between despair and over-confidence!

 

vs. 2-4 – Prophecy of the Last Days - the resemblance of this prophecy to Micah 4:1-3

            is so close as to necessitate the conclusion either that one of the two prophets

            copied from the other. or that both copied from an earlier document.

 

Whatever the reality, one thing for sure is that this message came from God.

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake

as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” – II Peter 1:20-21

 

The precedent has been set, for basically, that  is what I am doing, copying

notes from another source, in this case, The Pulpit Commentary, to share

with YOU, and I trust with the same results, a message from God, Himself!

 

v. 2 – “The mountain of the Lord’s house-  the Church, the true Zion, which

is to be the antitype of the existing Zion, and is therefore given its material attributes.

Spiritually, it would be a “mountain,” as “a city set on a hill,” which “could not be hid”

(Matthew 5:14); and again, as occupying a position from which it would command the

whole earth. “In the top of the mountains”;  - rather, at the head of the mountains; i.e.

with pre-eminence over them. The metaphor is drawn from the common physical fact of

a high mountain range culminating in a single supreme eminence. “All nations” - literally,

all the nations; i.e. “all the nations of the earth” (Psalm 72:11). “Shall flow” or, stream.

A constant accession of converts from all quarters is intended. These are represented as

continually streaming upward into the holy mountain of God’s house.

 

v. 3 – “Many people” -  rather, many peoples. “Shall go” - or, set forth.

The prophet means to represent the nations as encouraging one another on

the way. There is no jealousy among them, for the “mountain” can hold

them all.He will teach us” -  The nations feel their ignorance of God, and

their need of “teaching.” God alone can teach them concerning Himself

(Romans 11:33, 34; 1 Corinthians 2:10, 11); and “He will teach”

them, either directly, as the Incarnate Son, or indirectly through those

whom He has appointed to be “teachers” (1 Corinthians 12:28). “of His

ways” - “some of His ways,” not “all of them;” for at present “we know

in part” only (1 Corinthians 13:9), and the greater portion of His ways

are “past finding out” (Romans 11:33). The “ways” here spoken of are,

no doubt, rules for the conduct of life, which are practically inexhaustible.

God, however, will teach every man, who honestly seeks to learn, enough

to enable him to “walk in his paths.Out of Zion shall go forth the Law;

rather, instruction, or teaching. The word (torah) is without the article.

The instruction intended is that of the Church of God.

 

(Consider Revelation 21:24, Isaiah 60:3, Matthew 8:11-12)

 

v. 4 – “He shall judge among the nations” - This is clearly not yet

fulfilled. How God shall ultimately “judge among the nations,” or rather

“between nation and nation,” is a mystery which only the future can reveal.

Shall rebuke many people…They shall beat” -  On a sudden call to

war, nations “beat their ploughshares into swords, and their pruning-hooks

into spears” (Joel 3:10). They will do the reverse “in the latter days,”

when God shall have “made wars to cease” (Psalm 46:9) and “speak

peace unto the nations” (Zechariah 9:10).

 

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vs. 5- 11 – THE CONTRAST OF THE PRESENT WITH THE FUTURE

 

Having shown to Israel the vision of a far-distant future, when holiness

and peace would reign upon the earth, and “the mountain of the Lord’s

house” would draw all men into it, the prophet returns to things as

they are — first exhorting Israel to “walk in the light of Jehovah” (v. 5),

and then showing how far they have withdrawn from the light;

 

  • by magical practices (v. 6);
  • by commercial greed (vs. 6, 7);
  • by ostentation and luxury (v. 7);
  • by idolatry (v. 8).

 

Such being the case, punishment must come – national judgments will be

for national sins – it was only after all the resources of His mercy had been

exhausted, and there was “no remedy” (II Chronicles 36:16) that destruction

fell — the mean and great must be equally brought low (v. 9) — the people

must fly to their cave-fastnesses (v. 10), and hide themselves; they must be

humiliated to the uttermost (v. 11).

 

A Note on the Mercies of God

 

Peace, prosperity, good seasons and rich harvests, a succession of capable leaders

or ministers, and, again, success in war, victories, conquests, and the wealth that

sometimes flows in through conquests, are, all of them, blessings which God bestows

on nations with the object of trying them. Will they be thankful? Will they make a good

use of the favors granted them? The discipline of prosperity is exceedingly trying; and

under it nations almost invariably wax wanton and proud. Israel was thus tried in the

times of David and Solomon, and also under Uzziah and Jotham (2 Chronicles 26:6-16;

27:3-6). Assyria underwent the probation for many centuries, from the time of the king

contemporary with Ahab to the great blow received under Sennacherib. Egypt in early

days, and Rome in later ones, had even longer periods of unmixed prosperity, and

became proportionally “lifted up.”(and now we have Europe and especially the

United States – what have we learned, except to become spoiled and want all the

rich blessings of the world, if not of God, and then want to play the fool and act

like the devil with all perverted speed – the iniquity of Sodom was associated with

“pride, fullness of bread and abundance of idleness”  - Ezekiel 16:49 - CY – 2009)

It is rarely, indeed, that we find any nation improve under this kind of probation.

Almost invariably there is a rapid change for the worse.  (That is why judgment comes - CY)

 

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vs. 12-22 - THE DESCRIPTION OF THE DAY OF THE LORD.

 

The prophet, now, having announced that God is about to visit his people

in anger (vs. 10, 11), proceeds to describe in highly rhetorical language

the visitation itself:

 

  • as to its object, which is to bring down all that exalts itself against God

      (v. 12);

 

  • as to its scope — it is to be upon trees, mountains, hills, towers, walls,

      ships, pleasant pictures, idols (vs. 13-18);

 

  • as to its practical effect, which will be to alarm and terrify, to make men

      fly and hide themselves, and to produce contempt of the idols in which they

      have so long trusted (vs. 19-21).

 

v. 12 – A “day” – or time – is certainly coming which shall be emphatically

            “the Lord’s” – a day on which He will descend to JUDGMENT!

 

v. 16 – “upon all pleasant pictures” – works of art – sculptures, fresco- paintings,

            and all the “delightful works of imagery,” will shrivel like parchment

            scrolls.  Towers, walls, palaces, will fall with a crash everywhere at the final

            judgment-day. The accumulated civilization of millennia will be brought to

            naught.  Nothing will stand that human skill, contrivance, energy, has

            constructed; all will disappear.  (I think of the abuse of art by the NATIONAL          

            ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS, and its promotion by Congress, even its

            prima madonna-ship in the Stimulus Package of 2009 – even in dire times a

            type of “in your face” immorality must be promoted at all costs – (GOD,

            HIMSELF, will put an end to this and none too soon – CY – 2009)

 

The sentiment is that the judgment of God will fall on the most valued contents of

palaces and grand houses, no less than upon the forests and the mountains, the

fortified places, and the national navies.  ALL will be involved in one sweeping

destruction.

 

On a positive note, out of this God will create all things new – a “new heavens and

a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness”  - II Peter 3:13 -  in that creation

there will be nothing that “offends” – Matthew 13:41 – there will be nothing

that “defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie” –

Revelation 21:27 – we should rejoice with God when He said “For, behold, I

create new heavens and a new earth: …….be ye glad and rejoice for ever

in that which I create” – Isaiah 65:17-18 - but much of that with which man

is most familiar will disappear — perhaps all that could would recall acts or

thoughts of sin — and the “new heaven and new earth,” that God will create,

will to such an extent supersede the old, that “the former shall not be remembered,

nor come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17).

 

v. 17 - Earthly distinctions come to naught when the earth itself comes to an end.

            (for a description see Isaiah 24:17-23, Revelation 6:12-17)

 

            Rank, titles, dignities, fail.  The “mean man” and the “great man” (v. 9),

            the highest and the lowest in earthly distinctions come to naught when the

            earth itself comes to an end.  Rank, titles, dignities, fail. The “mean man”

            and the “great man” (v. 9), the highest and the lowest in earthly rank, are

            upon a par, when all have to appear before their Judge.  And spiritual pride

            is equally brought low. None but must then feel himself a miserable sinner,

            a suppliant for mercy at God’s feet, with hope only through the merits and

            intercession of the incarnate Son. “The loftiness of man shall be bowed down,

            and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be

            exalted in that day”.

 

 

vs. 19-21 – General Alarm - The Reaction of Men Unprepared to Meet God 

 

( Amos 4:12)

 

TODAY is the day of SALVATION    TODAY is the time to PREPARE!

 

LOOK TO JESUS AND YOU WILL BE PREPARED!

 

Contrast vs. 10-11 and 19-21 with Revelation 6:12-17

 

They of Israel fled into “the holes of the rocks, and the caves of the earth, from

the terror of the Lord, and from the glory of his majesty” (v. 19). At the last day,

 “men shall say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us” (Luke 23:30);

“Hide us from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of

the Lamb” (Revelation 6:16). The brightness of His presence will be intolerable to

those who have “loved darkness rather than light; ‘and they will desire, at any rate,

to flee from it. Alas! flight will be impossible, concealment will be impossible; no

rocks will offer hiding-places to the ungodly from the presence of God.  One only

refuge is possible and to that men must have fled before, with the heartfelt, earnest cry-

                                   

                                                “Rock of ages, cleft for me,

                                                Let me hide myself in thee!”

 

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v. 22 – an appeal to Israel on the part of the prophet to give up their trust in

            man, whence had flowed all their other errors.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                TITLE OF THE CHAPTER

 

It is generally allowed that the heading belongs, not to this chapter only, but to a

section of the work, beginning here and ending at the close, either of Isaiah 4. or

of Isaiah 5. It is probable that the section was originally published separately.

 

1 “The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.”

 

 

                                    PROPHECY OF THE LAST DAYS (vs. 2-4)

 

The resemblance of this prophecy to Micah 4:1-3 is so close as to necessitate the

conclusion either that one of the two prophets copied from the other, or

that both copied from an earlier document. The latter view, which is that

taken by Rosenmüller, Maurer, De Wette, Meier, and Mr. Cheyne, seems

preferable.

 

2 “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S

house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted

above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.”  In the last days; literally, 

in the sequel of the days; but generally used of a remote future (Genesis 49:1

Numbers 24:14Deuteronomy 4:30, etc.). The mountain of the Lord's house; 

i.e. the Church, the true Zion, which is to be the antitype of the existing Zion, and

is therefore given its material attributes. Spiritually, it would be a "mountain," as

"a city set on a hill," which "could not be hid" (Matthew 5:14); and again, as

occupying a position from which it would command the whole earth. In the

top of the mountains; rather, at the head of the mountains; i.e. with preeminence

over them. The metaphor is drawn from the common physical fact of a high mountain

range culminating in a single supreme eminence. So Mount Hermon towers above

the rest of the Antilibanus, Demavend over Elburz, Rowandiz over Zagros. The

"mountains" above which the true Zion shall tower are the kingdoms, or perhaps

the religions, of the earth. All nations; literally, all the nations; i.e. "all the nations

of the earth" (compare Psalm 72:11). Shall flow; or, stream. A constant accession

of converts from all quarters is intended. These are represented as continually

streaming upward into the holy mountain of God's house.

 

3 “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain

of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways,

and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the

word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”  Many people; rather, many peoples. Shall go;

or, set forth. The prophet means to represent the nations as encouraging one another

on the way. There is no jealousy among them, for the "mountain" can hold them all. 

He will teach us. The nations feel their ignorance of God, and their need of

"teaching."  God alone can teach them concerning Himself (Romans 11:33-34

I Corinthians 2:10-11); and "He will teach" them, either directly, as the Incarnate Son,

or indirectly through those whom He has appointed to be "teachers" (ibid. ch. 12:28). 

Of his ways; i.e. "some of His ways," not "all of them;" for at present "we know in

part"  only (ibid. ch. 13:9), and the greater portion of His ways are "past finding out"

(Romans 11:33). The "ways" here spoken of are, no doubt, RULES FOR THE

CONDUCT OF LIFE which are practically inexhaustible. God, however, will teach

every man, who honestly seeks to learn, enough to enable him to "walk in His paths." 

Out of Zion shall go forth the Law; rather, instruction, or teaching. The word (torah)

is without the article. The instruction intended is that of the Church of God.

 

 

4 “And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people:

and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into

pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they

learn war any more.”  He shall judge among the nations. This is clearly not yet

fulfilled. How God shall ultimately "judge among the nations," or rather "between

nation and nation," is a mystery which only the future can reveal. It has been

supposed that "by His providential retributions He will decide those international

questions out of which war ordinarily springs" (Kay). But it would seem to be at

least as likely that He will bring the nations to such a pitch of wisdom and moderation,

that they will voluntarily discard war, and agree to decide any disputes that arise by

means of arbiters. The arbiter would then, like other judges, represent God, and

"by Him decree justice" (Proverbs 8:15). Shall rebuke. Rosenmüller translates,

"Arbiter pacts sit;" Cheyne, "shall arbitrate." Here again, as in v. 3, "people"

should be "peoples." They shall beat, etc. On a sudden call to war, nations

"beat their ploughshares into swords, and their pruning-hooks into spears"

(Joel 3:10). They will do the reverse "in the latter days," when God shall have

"made wars to cease" (Psalm 46:9) and "speak peace unto the nations"

(Zechariah 9:10).

 

 

              THE CONTRAST OF THE PRESENT WITH THE FUTURE

                                                            (vs. 5-11)

 

Having shown to Israel the vision of a far-distant future, when holiness and peace

would reign upon the earth, and "the mountain of the Lord's house" would draw

all men into it, the prophet returns to things as they are - first exhorting Israel to

"walk in the light of Jehovah' (v. 5), and then showing how far they have

withdrawn from the light:

 

·         by magical practices (v. 6);

·         by commercial greed (vs. 6, 7);

·         by ostentation and luxury (v. 7);

·         by idolatry (v. 8).

Such being the case, punishment must come - mean and great must be equally

brought low (v. 9) - the people must fly to their cave-fastnesses (v. 10), and

hide themselves; they must be humiliated to the uttermost (v. 11). 

 

5 “O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.”

O house of Jacob. "House of Jacob" is the common expression in Isaiah,

instead of "house of Israel" (see ch. 8:1710:20 14:129:22; 46:3; 48:1

58:1). It has no particular force, merely signifying "Israelites."  Come ye,

and let us walk. The same words as those of the "nations" in v. 3, "Come ye,

and let us go up." As the nations will invite each other "in the last days,"

so the prophet now invites his countrymen to walk with God.

 

6 “Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because

they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines,

and they please themselves in the children of strangers.”

Therefore; rather, for. The prophet, in calling upon Israel to "walk in the light

of the Lord," implies that they are not so walking. He then proceeds to give the

reasons of this. They are not, "for God has forsaken them, or, cast them off."

The first reason is because they be replenished from the east (Revised Version,

"they be filled with customs from the east); i.e. they have adopted a number

of Syrian, Assyrian, and Ammonite superstitions; e.g. high places, images,

and "groves," the burning of their children in honor of Moloch, the use

of divination and enchantment, etc. (II Kings 15:416:3-417:10-12, 16-17, etc.).

Most of these practices reached the Israelites from Syria, though many had their

origin either in Assyria or BabyloniaSoothsayers, like the Philistines. The

"diviners" of the Philistines are mentioned in I Samuel 6:2. By the word here

employed, it would seem that they foretold the future from observations on the

clouds and the general appearance of the sky. During the reign of Uzziah, the

Israelites had been brought into closer contact with the Philistines than usual,

through his conquest of several of their cities (II Chronicles 26:6). They please

themselves in the children of strangers; literally, strike hands with the children

of strangers (compare Job 27:23). This is thought to refer to striking hands upon

a bargain (Cheyne), and to be an allusion to the commercial activity of the reigns

of Uzziah and Jotham (II Kings 14:2216:6). But perhaps it does not mean more

than familiarity.

 

7 “Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their

treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their

chariots:”  Full of silver and gold. The results of the commercial activity –

not evil things in themselves, but probably acquired by sharp dealing, and

leading to undue softness and luxury. The Law had given a warning against

"greatly multiplying silver and gold" (Deuteronomy 17:17). For the fact of the

vast abundance of the precious metals in Judaea at this time, see II Kings 14:16

20:13II Chronicles 32:27; and compare Sennacherib's inscription on the

Taylor Cylinder ('Ancient Monarchies,' vol. it. p. 163, 2nd edit.). 

Image result for the taylor cylinders sennacribSennacrib’s inscription cylinder

 

 

Full of horses... chariots (compare Micah 5:10). There is no reason to believe that

the Jews or Israelites ever possessed (unless it were under Solomon) any considerable

cavalry or chariot force. But from the time of David horses and chariots were imported

for convenience and for show by the kings, the princes, and the nobles (see II Samuel

15:1; I Kings 4:2610:28-2922:31Ecclesiastes 10:7). Like the silver and the gold,

they were signs of luxury and ostentation.

 

8 “Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands,

that which their own fingers have made:” Full of idols. The historians declare

that both Uzziah and Jotham maintained the worship of Jehovah and disallowed

idolatry (II Kings 15:3,34II Chronicles 26:427:2), so that we must regard the

idol-worship of the time as an irregular and private practice. (It is, perhaps, alluded

to in (ibid.) and the fact of its prevalence is stated in Amos 2:1Micah 5:13.) Perhaps

Bishop Lowth is right in regarding it as mainly a continuation of the old private

teraphim worship ('Notes,' p. 25).

 

9 “And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself:

therefore forgive them not.”  And the mean man boweth down, etc. So Ewald and

Kay; but most other commentators render, "Therefore shall the mean man be bowed

down, and the great man brought low, and thou shalt not [or, 'canst not'] forgive them"

(Rosenmüller, Lowth, Gcsenius, Knobel, Cheyne). The transition from narrative to

threatening comes best at the beginning of the verse.

 

10 “Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for

the glory of His majesty.”  Enter into the rock. The limestone rocks of Palestine are

full of extensive caverns, to which the Israelites often betook themselves in times of

danger (see Judges 6:2I Samuel 13:622:1, etc.). The prophet exhorts them to flee

thither now, but without stating what exactly is the peril (compare vs. 19, 21). 

Hide thee in the dust. Not "the dust of humiliation" (Kay), but "the dust of the earth"

(Genesis 2:7), put here for the earth itself, as in v. 19. For fear of the Lord; rather, 

from before the terror of Jehovah. Some awful manifestation of Jehovah's power

is intended, its nature being still kept back and shrouded in darkness.  (Compare

Revelation 6:15-17 – CY – 2020)

 

11 “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall

be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.”

THE EFFECT OF JUDGMENT which, in v. 9, was said to be the humiliation of

high and low alike, is here declared with special reference to the high-minded and

proud, whom it will humble more than others. The Lord alone shall be exalted; 

like a lofty and strong tower (compare ch.12:433:5).

 

 

            THE DESCRIPTION OF THE DAY OF THE LORD

                                                (vs. 12-22)

 

The prophet, now, having announced that God is about to visit His people in anger

(vs. 10-11), proceeds to describe in highly rhetorical language the visitation itself,

(1) as to its object, which is to bring down all that exalts itself against God (v. 12);

(2) as to its scope - it is to be upon trees, mountains, hills, towers, walls, ships,

      pleasant pictures, idols (vs. 13-18);

(3) as to its practical effect, which will be to alarm and terrify, to make men fly

      and hide themselves, and to produce contempt of the idols in which they

      have so long trusted (vs. 19-21). 

 

12 “For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud

and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:”

For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one; rather, For the Lord

of hosts shall have a day upon everything. The passage is exegetical of "that day"

in the preceding verse. A "day" - or time - is certainly coming which shall be

emphatically "the Lord's" - a day on which He will descend to judgment

Proud... lofty... lifted up (compare v. 11). "The ideas of eminence, pride, and

opposition to God melt into each other in the Old Testament" (Cheyne). And he

shall be brought low; rather, that it may be brought low.

 

13 “And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and

upon all the oaks of Bashan,”  Upon all the cedars of Lebanon. It is usual to

take this metaphorically; and no doubt men are often compared to trees in

Scripture (Psalm 1:3Jeremiah 17:8Job 8:16-17), and "cedars of Lebanon"

especially are symbols of the great and proud ones (Ezekiel 31:3). But it has been

well observed that either all the details of the description in the text must be taken

literally, or all of them metaphorically, and that the mention of such objects as

"ships of Tarshish" and "pleasant pictures" pleads strongly for a literal

interpretation. The day of the Lord was upon the cedars when Sennacherib

"with chariots upon chariots came up to the height of the mountains, to the

 sides of Lebanon, and cut down the tall cedars thereof, and the choice fir

trees thereof" (ch. 37:24); and similar devastation accompanied, it is probable,

the other invasions of the Assyrians (see 'Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 1. pp. 474, 475). 

Upon all the oaks of Bashan. The "oaks of Bashan" are celebrated also by Ezekiel

(Ezekiel 27:6) and by Zechariah (Zechariah 11:2). It is quite likely that the Assyrians

cut timber in Bashan, as they did in Lebanon and Amanus.

 

 

                      

                              An oak of Bashanbing. com

 

Bashan is equivalent to the Golan Heights in Syria.

 

14 “And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up,”

Mountains... hills. It is Sennacherib's boast that he "came up to the height of the

mountains" (ch. 37:24).

 

15 “And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall,”

Upon every high tower. Uzziah and. Jotham had, both of them, paid much attention

to fortifications, and had especially "built towers," both at Jerusalem and in other

parts of Judaea (II Chronicles 26:9-1027:4). Isaiah means to pour contempt on

these indications of "trust in an arm of flesh," and to say that they will be of no

avail when the time of calamity arrives. Every fenced wall.  "On the wall of Ophel"

Jotham had "built much" (ibid. 27:3). Hosea (Hosea 8:14) and Micah (Micah 4:11)

also notice the trust of Judah in her fortresses, and threaten their destruction.

 

16 “And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.”

All the ships of Tarshish. "Ships of Tarshish" meant originally "ships built to

sail to Tarshish;" but was used by the later writers for ships of a certain class or

size (1 Kings 22:48Psalm 48:7Ezekiel 27:25). Tarshish was Tartessus, in Spain,

and voyages thither were regarded as long and dangerous (Herod., 1:163).

Consequently, the ships which were built for the Tartessian trade were of unusual

size and strength. Uzziah had "built [i.e. rebuilt] Elath," in the eastern arm of the

Red Sea, early in his reign (II Kings 14:22), and no doubt maintained a fleet there,

as Jehoshaphat had done (I Kings 22:48). Elath remained in the possession of the

Jews till the reign of Ahaz, when it was taken by Rezin, and restored to Edom

(see 'Speaker's Commentary' on II Kings 16:6). Upon all pleasant pictures;

Revised Version, all pleasant imagery. The exact word here translated "pictures"

does not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament; but a cognate word is not

uncommon. From the passages in which this cognate word occurs (especially 

Leviticus 26:1Numbers 33:52Proverbs 25:11Ezekiel 8:12), it is concluded

that works of art, of some sort or other, are intended. More than this can scarcely

be determined. Dr. Kay thinks the term to include "sculptures and fresco-paintings."

Mr. Cheyne translates "all delightful works of imagery." The sentiment is that the

judgment of God will fall on the most valued contents of palaces and grand houses,

no less than upon the forests and the mountains, the fortified places, and the national

navyAll wilt be involved in one sweeping destruction.

 

17 “And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men

shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.”

The loftiness of man. This verse interrupts the sequence of the thoughts somewhat

awkwardly. It is a sort of refrain (see v. 11; and for the use of refrains in Hebrew

poetry, see Exodus 15:1, 21; Psalm 107:8,15, 21, 31), and perhaps comes in for

rhythmical reasons, to the detriment of the sense.

 

18 “And the idols He shall utterly abolish.”  Rather, and the idols shall utterly

pass away. While the visitation shall fall only partially on the other objects precious

to Israel - the cedars, the oaks, the terraced mountains and hills, the strongholds,

the ships, and the works of art - the idols shall be wholly swept away by it. It is

impossible to say what visitation exactly was in the prophet's mind; but if we may

suppose that the Babylonian captivity came within the range of the prophetic vision,

we must pronounce the prediction to have received a very remarkable fulfillment

in this matter, since that calamity did put an entire end to the idolatry of the nation.

 

19 “And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth,

for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake

terribly the earth.”  They shall go into the holes of the rocks, etc. (see v. 10, which

is an exhortation to do what this verse declares will be done). On the abundant caves

of Palestine, see note on the former passage. To shake terribly the earth; literally,

to affright the earth. It is not said in what way He will affright it. The cognate

Arabic verb has the meaning "to shake;" but it is not clear that the Hebrew one

has ever this sense.  (Compare Revelation 6:12-17)

 

20 “In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which

they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats;”

In that day a man shall cast, etc, When the idols disappoint their worshippers,

and prove to be unable to save them, they are treated with scorn and ignominy.

The African beats his fetish on such occasions. The Israelites would fling theirs to

the moles and the bats. Idols of silver... idols of gold (compare ch. 30:2231:7;

Exodus 20:23Psalm 115:4: 135:15;  Hosea 8:413:2). A passage of Habakkuk

(Habakkuk 2:19) shows that sometimes the main bulk of the idol was of stone,

which was overlaid with a coating of one or other of the two precious metals;

but it would seem that ordinarily the entire image was either of gold or silver

(compare Exodus 32:4, 24I Kings 12:28). No doubt it was thought that the god

worshipped through the image was more honored, and therefore better pleased,

by the more costly material. Which they made each one for himself; rather, which

they (i.e. the manufacturers) have made for him. Idol-making was a trade, as we

see by the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 19:24-27). To the moles; literally, to the

dig-holes. The metaphor must not be pressed. They would throw the idols into

holes and corners, pits and caverns, where moles and bats might be expected to

be the only visitants. Some idea of the blindness implied in any regard for idols

may have prompted the imagery.

 

21 “To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks,

for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to

shake terribly the earth.”  To go into; or, as they go into; i.e. "as they make

their escape, they shall fling the idols away." The clefts of the rocks (compare

Exodus 33:22, the only other passage of Scripture where the word occurs). 

The tops of the ragged rocks; rather, the rents, or crevices. The idea of hiding

themselves from the awful majesty of God is kept up throughout (compare

vs. 10 and 19; and see also Luke 23:30).

 

“Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be

accounted of?”  Cease ye from man. This verse is regarded by many as a late

marginal note, which has accidentally crept into the text (Diestel, Studer, Cheyne).

It is omitted in the Septuagint, and interrupts the sequence of the next chapter.

If retained, it must be regarded as an appeal to Israel on the part of the prophet to

give up their trust in man, whence had flowed all their other errorsWhose

breath is in his nostrils; i.e. "whose life is a mere breath; who, if he ceases to

breathe, ceases to live." For wherein is he to be accounted of? or, for of what

account is he? Surely, of no account at all.

 

 

 

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