Isaiah 24:22 MEANING

Isaiah 24:22
(22) As prisoners are gathered in the pit . . .--The imagery is drawn from the deep underground dungeons of Eastern prisons (Jeremiah 38:6), which are here the symbol of the abyss of Hades, in which the rebel powers of earth and heaven await the final judgment (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6).

After many days shall they be visited.--The verb is the same as that translated "punish" in the previous verse, but does not in itself involve the idea of punishing, and in some of its forms is used of visiting in mercy. Interpreters have, according to their previous bias, assigned this or that meaning to it. Probably the prophet used it in a neutral sense, drawing his imagery from the custom of Eastern kings, who, after leaving their enemies in prison for an appointed time, came to inspect them, and to award punishment or pardon according to their deserts. In such a company there might be "prisoners of hope" (Zechariah 9:12), waiting with eager expectation for the coming of the king. The passage is interesting in the history of Christian doctrine, as having furnished to Origen and his followers an argument in favour of the ultimate restitution of all created spirits.

Verse 22. - In the pit; literally, in a dungeon. Mr. Cheyne suggests that sheol, or "hell," is meant; but the context points to some narrower confinement. In the prison; rather, in prison (comp. 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6). After many days. In the Revelation (Revelation 20:2) Satan is bound "a thousand years;" i.e. an indefinite term. The imprisonment of the present passage is scarcely the same, but it is analogous. God's purposes require sometimes long periods of inaction. Shall they be visited; or, published. The word is the same as that translated "punish" in ver. 21. "Visiting" for good is scarcely to be thought of.

24:16-23 Believers may be driven into the uttermost parts of the earth; but they are singing, not sighing. Here is terror to sinners; the prophet laments the miseries he saw breaking in like a torrent; and the small number of believers. He foresees that sin would abound. The meaning is plain, that evil pursues sinners. Unsteady, uncertain are all these things. Worldly men think to dwell in the earth as in a palace, as in a castle; but it shall be removed like a cottage, like a lodge put up for the night. It shall fall and not rise again; but there shall be new heavens and a new earth, in which shall dwell nothing but righteousness. Sin is a burden to the whole creation; it is a heavy burden, under which it groans now, and will sink at last. The high ones, that are puffed up with their grandeur, that think themselves out of the reach of danger, God will visit for their pride and cruelty. Let us judge nothing before the time, though some shall be visited. None in this world should be secure, though their condition be ever so prosperous; nor need any despair, though their condition be ever so deplorable. God will be glorified in all this. But the mystery of Providence is not yet finished. The ruin of the Redeemer's enemies must make way for his kingdom, and then the Sun of Righteousness will appear in full glory. Happy are those who take warning by the sentence against others; every impenitent sinner will sink under his transgression, and rise no more, while believers enjoy everlasting bliss.And they shall be gathered together,.... First to the battle of the great day of God Almighty at Armageddon, Revelation 16:14 and there being overcome and taken, they shall be gathered together

as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison; in the prison or the grave, and in hell; as captives are, till such time as something is determined and ordered what to be done with them:

and after many days shall they be visited; or punished, that is, after the thousand years are ended, when the wicked dead will be all raised; after the battle of Gog and Magog, when Satan, the beast, and false prophet, and all their adherents, shall be cast into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, Revelation 19:20.

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