Isaiah 33




OF JERUSALEM, STATED GENERALLY. Events had progressed since

the preceding prophecies were delivered. The negotiations carried on with

Sennacherib had been futile (v. 7), the heavy fine imposed and paid

(2 Kings 18:14) had been of no avail (v. 18); the Assyrian monarch was still

dissatisfied, and threatened a second siege. Already he was upon his march,

spoiling and ravaging (v. 1). The people of the country districts had

removed into the town (v. 8) — in a little time the vast host might be

expected to appear before the walls. All was terror, grief, and confusion.

Under these circumstances, Isaiah is once more commissioned to declare

the approaching discomfiture of the mighty conqueror, and deliverance of

Jerusalem out of his hand (vs. 3, 4). The deliverance ushers in a reign of

righteousness (Vers. 5, 6).


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v. 2 – “O Lord, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee:  be

            thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in time of



Isaiah realizes fully the danger of his people and nation, and knows that                                         

without prayer -WITHOUT GOD there is NO DELIVERANCE!!



v. 5 – “The Lord is exalted  -  His destruction of the Assyrian host (ch.

37:36-38) is an exaltation of God; i.e. it causes Him to be exalted in the

thoughts of those who have cognizance of the fact (comp.Exodus 15:14-16;

Psalm 96:3-10).  It is an indication to them that He has His dwelling on high,

and is the true King of heaven –“He hath filled Zion with judgment” -

(comp. <233215>Isaiah 32:15-17). The destruction is, in part, the result, in part

the cause, of the Jews once more turning to God, putting away their

iniquities, and establishing the reign of justice and righteousness in the land

(see Isaiah 1:26).


v. 6 – “wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times

literally, and the stability of thy times shall be (i.e. consist in) a rich store

of salvations, wisdom, and knowledge. The prophet here addresses the

people of Judah in the second person, though in the next clause he reverts

to the third. Such transitions are common in ancient compositions, and

especially characterize the writings of Isaiah – “the fear of the Lord is his

treasure; i.e. the wisdom intended is that which is based upon “the fear of

the Lord” (Psalm 111:10). This will be at once Judah’s “treasure,” and

a guarantee of stability to her government and institutions (see

Additional Notes in Isaiah 32:15-17 – this web site).


The best treasure of a nation is a religious spirit  - rich in the fear of the Lord



Having “sketched the main outlines of his revelation,” Isaiah proceeds to “fill in

and apply the details”. He first describes the despair and low condition of Judah:

the men of war wailing aloud; the ambassadors just returned from Lachish weeping

at the ill success of their embassy; all travelling stopped; the land wasted and made

a desert; the Assyrians still ravaging and destroying, despite the peace which

had been made (2 Kings 18:14-16). Then suddenly he sees Jehovah rousing Himself

(v. 10), and the Assyrians consumed, as if with a fire (vs. 11, 12).


v. 10 – “Now will I rise-  Judah’s extremity is Jehovah’s opportunity.

“Now” at length the time is come for God to show Himself, He will rise

from His throne, and actively display His power; He will exalt Himself above

the heathen — lift Himself up above the nations.


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v. 12 – “the people (those that compose the Assyrian army) shall be as

            ….thorns…burned in the fire” – things that the fire consumes utterly

            and quickly!





  • The prophet’s first thought is, how wonderfully the overthrow has

      manifested the might of God (v. 13).


  • Next, how it must thrill with fear the hearts of the wicked among his

      people (v. 14).


  • Thirdly, how the righteous are by it placed in security, and can look

      back with joy to their escape, and can with confidence look forward to a

      future of happiness and tranquility (vs. 15-24).


Messianic ideas intermingle with these latter thoughts (vs. 17, 23), the image of a

happy, tranquil Judah melting into that of Messiah’s glorious kingdom.



vs. 13 - the righteous can look back with joy to their

            escape - Troy Goode story - tornado - 4/2/2006


v. 14 – “The sinners in Zion are afraid” -. The judgment on Assyria, cannot

but strike terror into the hearts of the immoral and irreligious in Zion. They

cannot fail to realize their own danger, and to tremble at it –“Who among

us, they will say, can dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us

shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” -  They will recognize God as “a

consuming Fire (Deuteronomy 4:24, Hebrews 12:29), whose next outbreak

may be upon themselves, and will shudder at the prospect.


v. 15 – “He that walketh righteously” - The prophet answers the

question which he has supposed to be asked. None can endure the

revelation of the presence of God but the holy and the upright“he that

hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto

vanity, nor sworn deceitfully” (Psalm 24:4; comp. 15:2-5). Uprightness

is then explained as consisting in six things mainly —


  • Just Conduct;
  • Righteous Speech;
  • Hatred of Oppression;
  • Rejection of Bribes;
  • Closing the Ear against Murderous Suggestions;
  • Closing the Eye against Sinful Sights.


(Remember the song we were taught at Sunday School in childhood –

“Be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little hands what you

do, be careful little feet where you go, etc. – very sound advice for

us as we grew older – CY -2009)


We may compare with this summary those of the Psalms above quoted.

No enumeration is complete, or intended to be complete. Isaiah’s has

special reference to the favorite sins of the time — injustice (Isaiah 3:15;

5:23), oppression (Isaiah 1:17, 23; 3:12, 14; 5:7; ), the receiving of  bribes

(Isaiah 1:23; Micah 3:11), and bloodshed (Isaiah 1:15, 21; 59:3).


v, 16 – “He shall dwell on high” -  literally, inhabit heights — live, as it

were, in the perpetual presence of God – “his place of defense shall be the

munitions of rocks” - rather, strongholds of rocks (i.e. rocky strongholds)

shall be his refuge. He shall fly to God, as his “Rock and his Fortress”

(Psalm 18:2), not from him, as his “Enemy and Avenger” (Ps. 8:2).

“Bread... waters” - i.e. all that is necessary for his support and sustenance.

shall be given him... shall be sure” -  rather, is given him... is sure.

Godliness has “the promise of the life that now is,” as well as that of the

lifewhich is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8)





v. 17 – “Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty:  they shall behold

            the land that is very far off” – the Messiah, whenever He might

            make His appearance – “the land”  - the world-wide tract over

            which Messiah will reign – Revelation  21:1


(I want to say that Charles Spurgeon thought enough of this passage that

he made three different sermons on it:


  • The King in His Beauty
  • A Precious Promise for a Pure People
  • A Vision of the King


(See Isaiah 33 Spurgeon Sermon – The King in His Beauty)this web site

(See Isaiah 33 Spurgeon Sermon - A Vision of the King)this web site

(See Isaiah 33 Spurgeon Sermon – A Precious Promise for a Pure People) –

this web site


v. 18 – “Thine heart shall meditate terror-  i.e. “thou shalt look back

upon the past time of terror, the dreadful period of the siege, and contrast

it with thy present happiness.”


v. 19 – “Thou shalt not see a fierce people-  rather, thou shalt see

no more that barbarous people — the Assyrians — a people gruff of

speech that thou canst  hear them, stammering of tongue that thou

canst not understand them (Isaiah 28:11). The generation which

witnessed the destruction of Sennacherib’s army probably did not see the

Assyrians again. It was not till about B.C. 670 that Manasseh was “taken

with hooks by the captains of the King of Assyria, and carried to Babylon

(2 Chronicles 33:11).


v. 21 – “But there the glorious Lord will be unto us a Place of

broad rivers” -  rather, there in majesty the Lord is ours; [the Lord who is] a

Place of broad rivers, etc. Some critics think that “a place of broad rivers”

may be exegetical of sham, “there,” and so apply it to Jerusalem; but the

majority regard the phrase as applied directly to Jehovah. As he is “a Place

to hide in” (Psalm 32:7; 119:114), so he may be “a Place of broad

rivers,” full, i.e. of refreshment and spiritual blessing – “wherein shall go no

galley” - The river of God’s grace, which “makes glad the city of God, “shall

bear no enemy on its surface, allow no invader to cross it.


(I would like to add to this “waters to swim in” – Ezekiel 47:1-5 and I

would like to recommend the Spurgeon Sermon – Waters to Swim In –

CY – 2009)


(See Ezekiel 47 Spurgeon Sermon – Waters to Swim In) this web site


v. 22 – “For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the

            Lord is our King; He will save us


v. 24 - And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick. There shall be

no sickness in the restored Jerusalem – “the people that dwell therein

shall be forgiven their iniquity” -  Once more the prophet floats off into

Messianic anticipations.



                                                ADDITIONAL NOTES


                        v. 6 - The Fear of the Lord, Judah’s Treasure.


The best treasure of a nation is a religious spirit. Judaea had been ravaged

by the host of the Assyrians under Sennacherib, had had all her “fenced

cities” taken (Isaiah 36:1), had been stripped of her most precious

treasures in silver and gold (2 Kings 18:14-16; ‘Eponym Canon,’ p.

135) by the rapacious king, and was left with an empty treasury, downtrodden

vineyards, and fields unsown - but her best treasure still remained to her —

she was rich in “the fear of the Lord.” (2 Kings 19:19)


The fear of the Lord gave her


  • wisdom, to direct her steps aright, to keep out of entangling alliances,

      and abstain from provoking attack;


  • energy, to throw off her depression and struggle manfully against her

      misfortunes, to clear and sow her lands, replant her vineyards (2 Kings

      19:29), and rebuild her villages and country towns; and


  • complete trust in God, to support her amid all trials and troubles

      through which she might have to pass, and secure her against the

      despondency which is the worst foe of declining states. After the

      deliverance which she had experienced, it must have been plain to her that

      God was in the midst of her;” that His power had no limit; and that, so

      long as she feared Him and put her trust in His protection, she was safe from

      any and every enemy. A nation thus circumstanced is a thousand times

      richer than one which has countless store of silver and gold laid up in its

      treasuries, granaries overflowing, lands teeming with crops, magnificent

      cities full of goodly merchandise, well-stored magazines and arsenals, but

      no trust in a Divine Protector, nor reliance on him who is alone “mighty to






                                    v. 17 -“The King in his beauty.”


When Christ appeared on earth at his first coming, he “had no beauty that

men should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). Roughly clad and toil-worn,

whatever the heavenly expression of His countenance, He did not strike men

as beautiful, majestic, or even as “comely” (Ibid). But at His

Second Coming it will be different. St. John the Divine describes Him as he

saw Him in vision: “In the midst of the seven candlesticks was one like unto

the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girt about

the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool,

as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto

fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of

many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his

mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun

shineth in his strength” (Revelation 1:13-16). The description in

Canticles is cast in a more earthly mould, but equally indicates a more than

earthly beauty: “My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among

ten thousand. His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and

black as a raven. His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters,

washed with milk, and fitly set. His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet

flowers; his lips like lilies, dropping sweet-smelling myrrh. His hands are as

gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with

sapphires. His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold:

his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. His mouth is most

sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely (Song of Solomon 5:10-16). The

following adaptation by Dr. Pusey of the words of an ancient writer says all

that can be said by unassisted human pen on a topic transcending man’s

power of thought or speech: “If we could ascend from the most beautiful

form which the soul could here imagine, to the least glorious body of the

beatified, on and on through the countless thousands of glorious bodies,

compared wherewith heaven would be dark, and the sun lose its shining;

and, yet more, from the most beautiful deified soul, as visible here, to the

beauty of the disembodied soul, whose image would scarce be

recognized... yea, let the God-enlightened soul go on and on, through all

those choirs of the heavenly hierarchies, clad with the raiment of Divinity,

from choir to choir, from hierarchy to hierarchy, admiring the order and

beauty and harmony of the house of God; yea, let it, aided by Divine grace

and light, ascend even higher, and reach the bound and term of all created

beauty, — yet it must know that the Divine power and wisdom could

create other creatures, far more perfect and beautiful than all which he hath

hitherto created. Nay, let the highest of all the seraphs sum in one all the

beauty by nature and grace and glory of all creatures, yet could it not be

satisfied with that beauty, but must, because it was not satisfied with it,

conceive some higher beauty. Were God forthwith, at every moment, to

create that higher beauty at its wish, it could still conceive something

beyond; for not being God, its beauty could not satisfy its conception. So

let him still, and in hundred thousand, hundred thousand thousand years

with swiftest flight of understanding, multiply continually those degrees of

beauty, so that each fresh degree should ever double that preceding, and

the Divine power should, with like swiftness, concur in creating that

beauty, as in the beginning he said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light;’

after all these millions of years he would be again at the beginning, and

there would be no comparison between it and the Divine beauty of Jesus

Christ, God and Man. For it is the bliss of the finite not to reach the

Infinite” (Pusey, ‘Minor Prophets,’ p. 562).


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I recommend the Spurgeon Sermon – Altogether Lovely - Song of Solomon 5:16


(See Song of Solomon 5 Spurgeon Sermon – Altogether Lovely) this web site