Isaiah 10:4 MEANING

Isaiah 10:4
(4) Without me they shall bow down . . .--The Hebrew text is obscure, but these words were probably intended as the answer to the taunting question that had preceded them. Dropping the direct address, and passing to the third person, the prophet seems to say as with a kind of ominous "aside," "No, there is no ally, no hiding-place but this, except they bow down among the captives or fall among the slain." Exile or death, that was their only alternative. When that sentence has been uttered, the doom-bell, as we have called it, "For all this . . ." tolls once more. If we adopt the Authorised version we have the same fact asserted, with the suggested thought that there was a refuge to be found in God.

Verse 4. - Without me. That this is a possible rendering of the word used seems proved by Hosea 13:4. But here it scarcely suits the context. God does not speak directly, in the first person, elsewhere in the entire prophecy (Isaiah 9:8-10:4), but is spoken of in the third person throughout, as even in the present verse, where we have "his anger," "his hand." It is better, therefore, to give the word its ordinary meaning - "unless," "except." Have they anywhere to flee to, unless they shall crouch amid the captives that are being carried off, or fall amid the slain? In other words, there is no escape for them; they must either submit to captivity or death. For all this, etc. Even when the two kingdoms were destroyed, and the captivity of both was complete, God's wrath was not fully appeased, his anger was not wholly turned away. Both peoples suffered grievous things in their captivity, as appears from the Book of Daniel (Isaiah 3, 6.) and other places. It took seventy years for God's anger to be appeased in the case of Judah (2 Chronicles 36:21), while in the case of Israel it was never appeased. Crushed beneath the iron heel of their conquerors, Israel ceased to exist as a nation. SECTION V. PROPHECIES OF WOE UPON FOREIGN NATIONS (Isaiah 10:5-23)

10:1-4 These verses are to be joined with the foregoing chapter. Woe to the superior powers that devise and decree unrighteous decrees! And woe to the inferior officers that draw them up, and enter them on record! But what will sinners do? Whither will they flee?Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain,.... That is, either, being forsaken by me, and destitute of my help, they shall bow down; or, "because they are without me", are not my people, and do not hearken to me, therefore they shall bow down, so David Kimchi; or, were it not for me, they would, as others; or that they might not bow down and fall; and so the words may be connected with the preceding verse Isaiah 10:3, others render the word, translated "without me, besides"; and the sense is either, as Moses Kimchi, besides their bowing in their own land, when subdued by the Gentiles, a greater affliction shall befall them, captivity; when they should be either carried captive or slain; or besides him that shall bow down under the prisoners, they shall fall under the slain; besides those that are taken, others shall be killed; or none shall escape, but, or "except", him that bows, and hides himself under the prisoners, or in the place of the slain, that he might not be thought to be alive: or the sense is, the desolation shall be so general, that none shall escape, either they shall be taken prisoners, or they shall be slain; agreeably to which Noldius (i) renders the words, "without me", everyone "shall bow down among the prisoners, or shall fall among the slain"; which gives the best sense of them; that, being left of God for their sins, they would either be bound and carried captive, or else slain with the sword, and one or the other would be the lot of everyone of them:

for all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still; the final and utter destruction of the nation of the Jews being then not yet come, when carried captive to Babylon, there remained a greater calamity for them, to come by the hands of the Romans. These first four verses Isaiah 10:1 seem more properly to belong to the preceding chapter Isaiah 9:1, and this should begin with the next verse Isaiah 10:5.

(i) Ebr. Concord. Part. p. 201, 771.

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