ch. 30

 

 

vs. 1-7. — THE ALLIANCE WITH EGYPT OPENLY REBUKED. In

the preceding chapter (v. 15) the design of the Jewish rulers to seek the

alliance of Egypt was covertly glanced at and condemned; now it is openly

declared and rebuked. The rulers are warned that no good can possibly

come of it, even in a worldly sense. The Egyptians will give no aid, or at

any rate no effectual aid. The sums expended in purchasing their friendship

will be utterly thrown away. (v. 6b)

 

vs. 1-3 - godless policy - where it leads

 

"woe to the rebellious children" - the word rebellious is

used in Deut. 21:18, 20  of a persistently disobedient son

who was to be brought before the elders and stoned to

death.

 

"that take counsel" - under the theocracy, there was

an authorized mode of consulting God and receiving an

answer in any political emergency - Urim & Thummin

 

"trust in the shadow of Egypt" - was to put Egypt in the

place of God.

 

vs. 8-17 - A RENEWAL OF THREATENING. The denunciation of

the Egyptian alliance had been made viva voce, in the courts of the temple

or in some other place of public resort. As he ended, Isaiah received a

Divine intimation that the prophecy was to be put on record, doubly, upon

a tablet and in a book. At the same time, the “rebelliousness” of the people

was further pointed out, and fresh threats (vs. 13, 14, and 17) were

uttered against them.

 

v. 8 – A PERPETUAL APPEAL - even for future generations -

            the written Word endures forever  - Matt. 24:35

 

The Divine Word is enshrined in writing, that it may continue

as long as the world continues.  IT IS TOO PRECIOUS TO BE LOST!

 

“Write it before them in a tablet-  write the prophecy before them”

(equivalent to “to be set up before them”) “on a tablet,” in the briefest

possible form (Isaiah 8:1). and note it in a book” -  i.e. “and also make

a full notation of it in a book,” or parchment roll. The“tablet” was to be

for the admonition of the living generation of men; the“book” was for

future generations, to be a record of God’s omniscience and faithfulness

forever and ever.” – “that it may be for the time to come” -  rather, for an

after-day — not for the immediate present only. “For ever and ever” - Modern

critics observe that the phrase, laad ad olam, never occurs elsewhere, and

 suggest a change of the pointing, which would give the sense of “for a

testimony forever.” Whether we accept the change or not, the meaning

undoubtedly is that consigning the prophecy to a “book” would make an

appeal to it possible in perpetuum. The perpetuity of the written Word is

assumed as certain.

 

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v. 9 – “this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that

            WILL NOT HEAR THE LAW OF THE LORD”

 

 

vs. 10-11 - "smooth things" - moral truth frets, vexes

            SECULAR MEN - especially when it is applied to life

            and conduct  - ill results - character that would have

            improved under the bracing discipline of a stern and

            strict truth, continually deteriorates - men believe

            themselves better than they are and take less pains

            to become better - they grow vain and self-satisfied

            thinking they have need of nothing when in reality

            they are "wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked"

            Rev. 3:17 –

 

v. 10 -Which say” - Not, of course, directly, in so many words.

But indirectly they let it be understood that this was what they wished.

Compare the advice given to Micaiah by Ahab’s messenger, who, no

doubt, correctly interpreted the wishes of the monarch and his nobles

(I Kings 22:13). “to the seers... prophets” -  Not two classes of persons, but

two names for the same class. The” parallelism” of Hebrew poetry leads to

the constant employment of synonymous clauses. prophesy not unto

us right things-  THE TRUTH IN ALL ITS PLAINESS – “speak

unto us smooth things- soft, pleasant announcements – “prophesy

deceits” or, illusions (comp.Jeremiah 9:5, “They will deceive” or

mock” — where we have the same root).

 

v. 11 – “cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us” - “The

Holy One of Israel” was one of Isaiah’s most frequent names for the

Almighty. He used it especially when rebuking Israel’s unholiness

(Isaiah 1:4; 5:24, etc.). The irreligious Jews were weary of this

constant iteration, and wished to hear no more concerning this “Holy

One,” whose very holiness was a reproach to them.

 

 

 

 

v. 13 –“this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall” - Your

sin in rebelling against God, rejecting the warnings of His prophets, and

trusting in your own devices shall bring you into the condition of a wall in

which there is a “breach,” or rather, a “bulge,” which therefore totters to

its fall, and is liable to dissolve in ruins at any moment.

 

v. 14 – “And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters’ vessel

that is broken in pieces” -  Isaiah is fond of mixed metaphors, and of

superseding one metaphor by another. From comparing Judah’s fall and

ruin to the shattering of a lofty wall, he suddenly turns to a comparison of

it with the breaking to pieces of an earthen pitcher. Judah shall be so

broken as when the pitcher is crushed into minute fragments, so that there

is no piece large enough to convey a coal from one fire for the lighting of

another, or to be of even the least use for drawing water from a well. A

complete dissolution of the political fabric is foreshadowed, such as did not

actually take effect till the conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar.

 

v. 15 – “For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel-  As the

irreligious party wished to hear no more of “the Holy One of Israel” (v.11),

Isaiah takes care to keep Him constantly before their minds (comp.

Isaiah 31:1).  In returning and rest shall ye be saved” rather, should

ye be saved, or might ye be saved. The conditions are put forward, not as

now capable of being realized, but as those which might have been realized

at an earlier date. The “returning” spoken of is an abandonment of the

course hitherto pursued, which was reckless provocation of Assyria and

trust in Egypt. The “rest” is staying upon God — renunciation of trust on

any arm of flesh, and simple reliance on the Divine aid, as sure to be

sufficient when the need came. “In quietness and confidence shall be

your strength” - rather, should be. The clause is a mere iteration in other

words of the preceding one. “Ye would not” - They had practically rejected

the policy of quiescence and patient waiting upon God, when they sent the

embassy into Egypt.

 

v. 16 – “ye said NO, we will flee” – we will outrun the trouble somehow?

 

v. 17b - "till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain

            and as an ensign on an hill" – an example for all time, written

            in the book – see v. 8 – WHAT HAS AMERICA  AND THE

            WORLD TODAY LEARNED FROM THIS?

 

vs. 18-26 - A RENEWAL OF PROMISE. The denunciations of the

preceding passage (vs. 9-17) had been so terrible that, without some

counterpoise of promise, they must have produced a general despair. This

was not the Divine purpose. Judah’s probation still continued. Therefore it

was necessary to let it be seen that the Divine long-suffering was not yet

exhausted — there were still conditions under which God would be

gracious to his people. The conditions were “crying to the Lord” (v. 19),

and entire abolition of idolatry “graven images…..thou shalt cast

them away as a monstrous cloth, thou shalt say …Get thee hence”(v. 22).

(How impossible it is for a nation's leadership to effect change  if the

citizenry are resentful of it - "my people love to have it so" - Jer. 5:31 –

CY  - 2009)

 

v. 18 – “therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious UNTO YOU,

             and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy

            UPON YOU, for the Lord is a God of judgment:  blessed are all

            they that wait for Him

 

God is not about at present to “make a full end;” He is bent on “waiting” - His

intent is “to be gracious.” He will be exalted, that He may have mercy. He will

find some means of vindicating His honor and exalting Himself, short of your

destruction, in order that it may be open to Him to give you a further chance

of repentance, whereby you would obtain mercy. God is essentially just; sin must

 receive punishment; but the punishment may be short of destruction. Justice

does not exclude mercy. If men bear their punishment with patience, and

wait for God, a brighter day will dawn on them in course of time.

 

v. 19 – “He will be very gracious unto thee, at the voice of thy cry;

              when He shall hear it, He will answer thee”

 

For God to be gracious to them, they must first “cry” to Him — make an

earnest, hearty appeal to Him for mercy. Their “cry” will be answered as

soon as heard, as soon as uttered.

 

vs. 20-21 – a promise of support through the siege – “And thine ears shall

            hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk in it, when

            ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left”

 

v. 22 – “Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of

silver” -  Idolatry, greatly encouraged by Ahaz, had been strictly forbidden by

Hezekiah at the beginning of his reign (2 Kings 18:4); but the present

passage, among others, shows how impossible it was for a king, with the

best intentions, to effect the extirpation of idolatry, if his subjects were

attached to it. Evidently the Jews had, in many cases, secretly maintained

their idols and their idolatrous practices, despite the efforts of Hezekiah.

But now, in their repentance, they would “defile” (i.e. destroy) both the

outer “covering” of precious metal, and the inner core of wood or stone,

or base metallic substance –“the ornament of thy molten images of gold” -

rather, the coating or overlaying. It was usual to overlay with gold or

silver molten images of bronze or other inferior metal –“cast them away

literally, scatter; i.e. either grind them to powder (2 Kings 23. 6), or at any

rate break them to bits, dud then disperse the fragments far and wide.

 

v. 25 - "when the towers fall"???????

 

v. 26 - All nature will become more glorious in the “last times.” Moonlight will

be as sunlight, and sunlight will be seven times brighter than it is now. Again,

there may be an under allegorical sense. The light of truth will shine with greater

brilliancy, so that all men will be enlightened by it. “For the earth shall be full of

the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9).  In the day that

the Lord bindeth up the breach” - At that period in the world’s history when God

forgives the iniquities of His people, and condescends to reign over them as

their actual King, either in this present world or in “anew heaven and anew

earth” (Revelation 21:1; Isaiah 66:22), wherein shall “dwell righteousness

(2 Peter 3:13).

 

FLOODS OF LIGHT EVERYWHERE AND AT ALL TIMES -

general illumination and enlightenment — the spread of spiritual

knowledge and true wisdom through all parts of the Church and all ranks

of Christians; the disappearance of spiritual darkness, of ignorance, folly,

and blinded consciences. This appears to be mentioned as the crowning

glory of all, beyond which description cannot go, and with which therefore

the allegorical sketch comes to an end.

 

vs. 27-33 – A PROPHECY OF THE DESTRUCTION OF ASSYRIA

 

v. 27 – “The Name of the Lord cometh from far” “The Name of

Jehovah” is scarcely distinguishable from Jehovah Himself. Jehovah, who

has long hid Himself, and seemed to keep Himself remote from worldly

affairs, now is about to manifest His glory, and interpose in the doings of

men in a wonderful way.

 

burning with His anger…the burden is heavy:  His lips are full of

indignation…His tongue as a devouring fire:  His breath, as an

overflowing stream….to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity:

….there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people” - The result of

God’s interference shall be “to put a bridle in the jaws of the peoples,”

whereby the hand of the Almighty will guide them to their destruction.

 

 

v. 30 – “And the Lord shall cause His glorious voice to be heard , and

            will show….His arm, with the indignation of His anger, and with

            flame of a devouring fire,….tempest and hailstones”

 

All the elements of storm are accumulated by the prophet, to express

the terrible character of the coming judgment-lightning, and scattering

(of crops?), tempestuous wind, and hail-stones.

 

 

"ye shall know that I am the Lord" - In Ezekiel this statement occurs

sixty-two (62) times – this to a world that has gone secularly amok –

it is God’s prerogative in His sovereignty to show HIMSELF AS HE IS!

 

v. 33 - where children were sacrificed - II Kings 23:10

 

For Tophet is ordained of old; rather, for a Tophet has been

long since prepared. A “Tophet” is a place of burning, probably derived

from the Aryan root tap or taph, found in Greek ta>fov te>fra, Latin tepidus,

Sanskrit tap, Persian taphtan. The name was specially attached to a

particular spot in the Valley of Hinnom, where sacrifices were offered to

Moloch (2 Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 7:31; 19:6, 11); but Isaiah

seems to use it generically, as if there were many Tophets. For the king it

is prepared; literally, it also is prepared for the king — in the Hebrew “for

the moloch,” which is the same word as “Moloch,” who was looked upon

by his worshippers as “the king” $kat$ ejxoch>n. Isaiah means to say, “As

the Tophet of the Vale of Hinnom is prepared for a king (Moloch), so this

new Tophet is prepared for another king (the King of Assyria).” He hath

made it deep and large — a vast burning-place for a vast multitude

(2 Kings 19:35), with the fire and the wood ready, only awaiting the breath

of Jehovah to kindle it. As the bodies of great malefactors were burnt

(Joshua 7:25), and not buried, so the prophet consigns to a great

burning the hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrian corpses, of which it

would soon be necessary to dispose in some way.

 

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                                                ADDITIONAL NOTES

 

            Smooth Things More Acceptable to Man than the Truth

 

vs. 10-11 - In connection with this subject there would seem to be three things

                   to be specially set forth:

 

I. THE FACT OF THE PREFERENCE. Man has no natural aversion to

truth. On the contrary, truth is congenial to his nature and acceptable to his

intellect. Scientific truth, historic truth, is readily received when offered to

him, and, if not very eagerly desired or very carefully sought out, is at any

rate, when put before him, generally to some extent appreciated. The truth

that is disliked is moral truth. Even when set before him in an abstract

form, moral teaching frets him, vexes him; and moralists have been always

unpopular from the days of Socrates to those of Samuel Johnson.

Especially disliked are the teachers who do not stop at abstract morality,

but point their moral teaching by applying it to the life and conduct of

those to whom they address themselves. On the other hand, there is no

surer way of pleasing men than by flattering them, provided it is done

skillfully and with a delicate hand. We like to have our conduct praised,

our characters admired, our example held up as a model to be imitated. We

detest being found fault with, criticized, told that we have done wrong. We

do not perhaps ask men to “prophesy unto us smooth things,” but we make

it very plain to all with whom we come into contact that “smooth things”

alone are agreeable to us.

 

II. THE GROUND OF THE PREFERENCE. Moral truth is disliked

because it is felt as a reproach. We are conscious to ourselves of our own

moral imperfection; and every exhibition of a high moral standard, every

inculcation of high moral principles, seems to us a reflection on our own

shortcomings, not far short of actual personal censure. The smooth voice

of flattery pleases us, partly, through its contrast with the rough tones of

the unwelcome moralist, but further through its persuading us that we

really have some of the good qualities which the flatterer imputes, and thus

calling into play our self-respect and self-esteem. Moral warnings awaken

fear for the future; flattery awakens hope. Moral warnings disturb; flattery

soothes. Even when we perceive that the flatterer is cozening us, we let

ourselves be cozened; our vanity is pleased at being tickled, and asks for

nothing but a prolongation of the pleasurable excitement.

 

III. THE ILL RESULTS THAT FLOW FROM THE PREFERENCE.

Character, which would naturally improve under the bracing discipline of a

stern and strict inculcation of moral truth, continually deteriorates, if

flattery takes the place of honest plain-speaking. Men believe themselves

better than they are, and take less pains to become better. They grow vain

and self-satisfied, thinking themselves in need of nothing, when truly they

arewretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”

(Revelation 3:17). Spiritual teachers should beware of encouraging

men’s self-indulgent desire for spiritual ease; and, while careful not to

quench the smoking flax,” or “break the bruised reed,” should constantly

sound in the ears of all denunciations of vice, warnings, rebukes,

admonishments. In no other way can they be either faithful to their calling

or truly serviceable to their fellow-men.

 

 

                                                Turning to God.

 

vs. 19-22 - It is the intention of God’s chastisements, and their natural, though

perhaps scarcely their ordinary, result, to stir the soul to penitence, and produce a

turning of the heart to God. When the spirit of the man is truly touched,

the first step on the path of repentance is THE UTTERANCE OF A CRY.

Men and brethren, what shall we do? (Acts 2:37). Sirs, what must I do

to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6).

“Lord, save us, we perish!” (Matthew 8:25). “God be merciful to me a sinner!”

(Luke 18:13).  Some bitter cry or other is wrung from the lips of the awakened sinner,

who feels his own weakness and guilt, despairs of saving himself, and makes

appeal to Him who is alone mighty to save,” in tones of earnest entreaty and

extreme longing for help. The “cry” is answered as soon as heard (v. 19). By

external teaching, or an inward secret voice, men are warned what they must

do as the next step on the path which leads to life. (So sinner TODAY, don’t

pray to God as a Christian but as a sinner – “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the

Lord will not hear me” – Psalm 66:18 – the prayer for salvation is only heard –

afterwards there are full privileges! – CY – 2009)