shall come to understanding; to a spiritual understanding of Christ, and salvation by him; of his Gospel, and the doctrines of it; as well as of themselves, their state and condition:
and they that murmured; at Christ, and what was delivered by him; at the reception of sinners by him; at the calling of the Gentiles; and at the providence of God that have attended them, ever since their rejection of the true Messiah:
shall learn doctrine; the doctrine of the Messiah; not the law, as Kimchi and Ben Melech; but the Gospel, which Christ "received" from his Father, as the word (f) used signifies, and his disciples received from him, and the church has received from them, and has been transmitted to us Gentiles, and will be to the Jews in the latter day, who will learn the true knowledge of it.
(f) a "capere, accipere, est id quod aliquis sibi sumit dicendum", Gusset. Ebr. Comment. p. 443.
INTRODUCTION TO Isaiah 30
This chapter contains a complaint of the Jews for their sins and transgressions; a prophecy of their destruction for them; a promise of grace and mercy, and of happy times, to the saints; and a threatening of utter and dreadful ruin to the wicked. The Jews are complained of for their rebellion against God, their slighting his counsel and protection, their trust in Egypt, and application there for help; whither they went with their riches for safety, but in vain, it being contrary to the will and counsel of God, Isaiah 30:1 next follows a denunciation of ruin and destruction for these things, rebellion, and lying, and vain confidence, as well as for contempt of the word of God, which, that it might appear sure and certain, is ordered to be written in a book, Isaiah 30:8 and this ruin is signified by the sudden falling of a wall, and by the breaking of a potter's vessel into pieces, which can never be used more, Isaiah 30:13 and seeing they rejected the way of salvation proposed by the Lord, and took their own way, first destruction is threatened them, which should be very easily brought about, and become so general, that few should escape it, Isaiah 30:15 and then promises of grace and mercy are made to them that wait for the Lord, Isaiah 30:18 such as a dwelling place in Zion, hearing their prayers, granting them teachers to instruct them, and the riddance of idolatry from them, Isaiah 30:19 and also many outward blessings, as seasonable rain, good bread corn, fat pastures, good food for cattle, and fruitfulness of mountains and hills, Isaiah 30:23 likewise an amazing degree of spiritual light and glory, and healing of the Lord's people, Isaiah 30:26 and the chapter is concluded with a threatening Of God's wrath upon the Assyrian, expressed by various similes, as of an angry man, an overflowing torrent, a tempest of thunder, lightning, and hail, and the fire of Tophet, Isaiah 30:27.
that take counsel, but not of me; they met and consulted together about their safety, when in danger, but did not ask counsel of the Lord; they did not consult his word, nor his prophets, nor by Urim and Thummim, as in case of war they should more especially:
and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit; they sought for a cover, a shelter, a protection from the enemy, but not from the Spirit of the Lord, in his word and prophets, who would have directed them to a more suitable and sufficient one. Kimchi understands this of their covert and secret counsels, which they laid deep, as they fancied, and sought to hide. The Targum of the former clause and this is,
"that take counsel, but not of my word; that consult a consultation, but do not ask of my prophets:''
that they may add sin to sin; the sins of consulting others, and of putting confidence in a creature, to their other sins of rebellion and apostasy: so wicked men, who are enemies in their minds, by wicked works, to God, and commit acts of hostility against him, and are in danger thereby of eternal ruin, do not consult the word and ministers of the Gospel, but flesh and blood, carnal sense and reason, and seek to cover themselves with the rags of their own righteousness, and not with the robe of Christ's righteousness, and garments of salvation, which the Spirit of God reveals and brings near; and so to their other sins they add that of trusting to their own righteousness, and not submitting to Christ's.
and have not asked at my mouth: or as the Targum,
"the words of my prophets they have not asked;''
they did not inquire of the prophets of the Lord, whether they should go down or not:
to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh; by making an alliance with him, and receiving men and horses from him, to assist them against the Assyrians; this Pharaoh was he whom the Scriptures call So, 2 Kings 17:4 and by other writers, Sevechus and Sethon:
and to trust in the shadow of Egypt; the protection that would afford them, in which they placed their confidence, and thought themselves safe from their other enemy, by having so powerful an ally; but this was but a shadow, as are whatsoever men trust in short of the Lord himself, be they riches or righteousness, or any creature or creature enjoyment.
and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion; they should be confounded, when they should find themselves unsupported by the Egyptians, in whom they put their confidence; so all such that trust in the creature, or in an arm of flesh, sooner or later are ashamed and confounded; but those that trust in the Lord never are, neither in this world, nor in that to come.
and his ambassadors came to Hanes; these are the same with the princes, for such were sent on this embassy, both for the honour of the kingdom, and for the more easy obtaining of their end; the two places mentioned, to which they went, were two principal cities in Egypt, where probably the king of Egypt was, and his court kept, sometimes at one place, and sometimes at another. Zoan is the same with Tanis, the metropolis of one of the nomes or provinces of Egypt, called from it the Tanitic nome; and so the Targum here renders it, "Tanes": and the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, "Tanis"; See Gill on Isaiah 19:11. The Jews (g) say there is not a more excellent place in all Egypt than Zoan, because kings were brought up in it, as it is here said, "his princes were at Zoan"; the other, here called "Hanes", is the same with Tahapanes in Jeremiah 2:16 and Tahpanhes, Jeremiah 43:7 and so the Targum here calls it; it is thought to be the same with Daphnae Pelusiae; here Pharaoh had a house or palace; see Jeremiah 43:9 and this is the reason of the ambassadors going thither.
(g) T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 112. 1. & Sota, fol. 34. 2.
nor be an help, nor profit, but a shame, and also a reproach: so far from being of any advantage to them, by helping and assisting them against their enemy, wanting either inclination or capacity, or both, that it not only turned to their shame, but even was matter of reproach to them, that ever they made any application to them, or placed any confidence in them for help.
"the vision of the four footed beasts in the wilderness;''
and Kimchi's note is,
"this prophecy, which he prophesied, that the beasts of the south should go out, meaning the beasts of the wilderness, and devour those that went to seek help from Egypt;''
but it respects the same thing as before, as appears by what follows; namely, the messengers going down to Egypt, which lay south of Judea, as Jarchi and Kimchi, Ben Melech and Abarbinel, observe, with beasts carrying riches thither, either for safety, or to obtain help from them:
into a land of trouble and anguish; as it had been to their fathers formerly, and would be no otherwise to them now, notwithstanding their high raised expectations of assistance from them; there may be an allusion to its name Mizraim:
from whence come the young and old lion, the viper, and fiery flying serpent; creatures with which Egypt abounded, as historians relate, and where some of them, at least, were worshipped, and where also men dwelt comparable to these creatures, as for craft and cruelty; though some understand this not of the country of Egypt, into which they went, but of the desert of Arabia, which lay between Judea and Egypt, through which they went; which was a land of trouble and anguish, for want of water, and because of these noxious creatures, of which it was full; see Deuteronomy 8:15,
they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses; which were much used in Judea to carry burdens on, and which were laid chiefly on their shoulders; and this denotes the great quantity of riches that would be, and were carried into Egypt, either by the ambassadors, as presents to the Egyptians, to gain their friendship and assistance; or else by some of the principal inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judea, who, upon hearing of the invasion by Sennacherib, gathered up their riches, and fled to Egypt with them for safety, making use of young asses and camels, as follow:
and their treasures upon the bunches of camels; much used in travelling through the deserts of Arabia, and which have some one, some two humps on their backs, whereby they are better fitted to carry burdens. The word is of the singular number, and only used in this place; and has the signification of honey, as the camels hump is so called, as Jarchi from the Talmud (h) says, because, when hurt, it is healed by anointing it with honey; and upon these they carried their money and jewels they had treasured up:
to a people that shall not profit them; the Egyptians, who were of no service to the Jews, to free them from the invasion of the Assyrians.
(h) Bava Metzia, fol. 38. 1. Sabbat. fol. 154. 2.
therefore have I cried; proclaimed or published, either the Lord by the prophet, or the prophet in the name of the Lord, which is much the same:
concerning this, Their strength is to sit still; either concerning this embassy, that it would have been better for the ambassadors to have spared all their toil, and labour, and strength, in going down to Egypt, and have remained quiet and easy in their own country: or, "I cried, or called, to this (i)", this city of Jerusalem, and the inhabitants of it, and declared to them, that it was best for them quietly to trust in the Lord, and depend upon his protection, and sit still in Jerusalem, and not attempt to flee from thence to Egypt for safety, and they should see the salvation of God, as in Exodus 14:13 to which some think there is an allusion; not but that they might be busy, and employ themselves in preparing for their defence, by providing themselves with arms, and repairing their fortification; but it was not right to go out of the city, and seek a foreign aid or safety. The word for "strength" is "Rahab", one of the names of Egypt, Psalm 87:4 and so the sense may be, their "Rahab", their "Egypt", or what they expect from thence, namely, protection and safety, is to sit still, and abide quietly at Jerusalem. Jarchi refers this to Egypt, "I have called to this", to Egypt, they are of a proud spirit, the people cease, and are proud without cause; or according to another exposition he gives, their pride ceaseth, or it is fit it should. De Dieu interprets it also of Egypt; and so does Gussetius (k), but in a different manner, thus, the Egyptians are strength as to rest, they will strongly rest, while Israel strongly hopes they will help them.
(i) "vocavi ad hanc", Montanus; "ad istam clamo", Castalio. (k) Comment. Ebr. p. 829.
that it may be for the time to come, for ever and ever; and so continue to their eternal infamy, and for the justification of God in his proceedings against them, and be cautious unto others. The Vulgate Latin version renders it, "for a testimony for ever", a witness for God, and against the Jews; and so the Targum,
"and it shall be in the day of judgment for a witness before me for ever.''
lying children; false spurious ones, only called, not truly, the children of God, and lied when they called themselves so, and were guilty of lying also, not only to God, but to one another:
children that will not hear the law of the Lord; either read, or explained, at least, not so as to be obedient to it; and such must be rebellious ones, and deserve not to be called the children of God. The Targum is,
"children that like not to receive the doctrine of the law of the Lord.''
(l) "nam populus", Forerius, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius; "quia", Pagninus, Montanus.
and to the Prophets, prophesy not unto us right things; things agreeable to the mind and will of God, and which ought to be done; not that they, in so many words, said this, but this was the language of their hearts and actions. The Targum is,
"who say to the prophets, prophesy not, and to the teachers, teach us not the doctrine of the law:''
speak unto us smooth things; that peace and prosperity should attend them, though they went on in their sinful courses:
prophesy deceits; for to prophesy peace to them, when destruction was at hand, was to deceive them; and yet they chose rather to be told the one than the other.
cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us; do not so often make mention of his name, or come to us with a "thus saith the Lord"; let us hear no more of him, or messages from him; and especially under this character of "the Holy One of Israel", who is by nature holy, loves holiness, and requires it, and hates sin. The Targum is,
"remove far from us the word of the Holy One of Israel;''
let us hear no more of that.
Because ye despise this word; either this name of the Lord, "the Holy One of Israel"; or this prophecy that was delivered unto them, which reproved them for their confidence in Egypt, and exhorted them to sit still at home, and trust in the Lord; but instead of that they trusted in what was very bad, as follows:
but trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon; either in oppressors, and perverse persons, as the Egyptians were; or in their wealth, got by oppression, rapine, and fraud, which they carried to Egypt, and on which they depended for help and relief; and in that perverse disposition of mind, contradicting the Lord speaking by his prophets, resolving to take their own way, not doubting but that they should have success.
swelling out in a high wall; like a wall that bellies out and bulges, and which, when it once begins to do, suddenly falls; and the higher it is, it comes with more force, and the greater is the fall:
whose breaking cometh suddenly, at an instant; and so it is suggested, should be the ruin of this people; the high towering confidence they had in Egypt would fall with its own weight, and they with it, and be broken to pieces in a moment; and which is further illustrated by another simile.
(m) "sicut ruptura cadens", Montanus, Cocceius, De Dieu. Ben Melech observes, that a breach is after the building is fallen; for the breach does not fall, but it is said on account of the end of it, or what it is at last, as in Isaiah 47.2. "grind meal" or "flour".
that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare; or that is broken in pieces without mercy, as the Targum; no pity shall be shown by the enemy, nor mercy from the Lord:
so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit; as poor people are wont to do, to take fire from the hearth, and water out of a well, in a piece of a broken pitcher (n); but this vessel should be broke into so many shivers, that there should not be such a piece left of it as could be made use of for such purposes. This denotes the utter and irreparable ruin and destruction of these people, which, though it was not at this time, yet afterwards by the Babylonians, and especially by the Romans.
(n) Vid. Misn. Sabbat, c. 8. sect. 7.
in returning and rest shall ye be saved; or "may be saved" (o); this is the right and the only way, namely, by "returning" from their evil ways, particularly their purpose of going to Egypt for help, and by returning to God by repentance and reformation, and to his worship and ordinances; and so the Targum,
"if ye return to my law;''
and by "resting" quietly at home, and reposing their trust in the Lord:
in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength; in a quiet submission to the will of God, and in quietly waiting upon him for the issue and event of things, abiding in their own houses, and not in a hurrying tumultuous manner, running here and there for help; and in a holy and humble confidence in the Lord, and in the power of his might, where they should find such strength and security, as Pharaoh king of Egypt could not give them:
and ye would not; would not be persuaded to keep at home, and from going down to Egypt; would not take the advice given, but pursue their own measures and methods of salvation. This is the literal sense of the words; and if they can be accommodated to spiritual and eternal salvation, it may be done in this way: repentance may be meant by "returning", and faith by "rest"; or by "returning and rest" may be designed returning to rest, that is, to Christ, who is the only rest to weary souls: "quietness" may intend peace of conscience, arising from the blood and righteousness of Christ; and "confidence" faith, and an assurance of it, which make men strong Christians; though their strength does not barely lie in these graces, but in the object of them: now faith and repentance are blessings of the covenant of grace, gifts of God, and graces of the Spirit, which go together in the doctrine of salvation, and have a concern in it; though they are not meritorious procuring causes, nor conditions of it; yet in this way God brings his people to salvation, and they enter into, and are descriptive of, the character of such that are saved; there is so close a connection between these and salvation, that none are saved without them; and it may be observed, that this way of saving men through faith and repentance, and by going to Christ alone for rest, and by placing confidence in, and deriving all peace and comfort from him, is disagreeable to unregenerate men; which is a proof of the wretched depravity, and corruption, and perverseness of the will of man.
(o) "servaremini", Piscator, Gataker.
therefore shall ye flee; on horses from the enemy, and be pursued and taken by him; this was fulfilled long after, when the city was taken by the Chaldeans; see 2 Kings 25:4,
and, We will ride upon the swift; horses or camels, to the swiftness of which they trusted, and doubted not to get off safe, but would find themselves mistaken:
therefore shall they that pursue you be swift; yea, swifter than the horses and camels they rode on, and overtake them, and either put them to death, or carry them captive. The Chaldeans are represented as very swift, Jeremiah 4:13.
at the rebuke of five shall ye flee; being attacked by a very small number, the whole army should run away: this denotes with what ease they should be routed, and put to flight; and is to be understood, not of what would be at the present time, but of what should come to pass hereafter, when the Chaldean army should come against them;
till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain; or, "as the mast of a ship", so the Septuagint and other versions. Jarchi says it signifies a high tree, or tall piece of wood fixed in the earth, like a ship's mast (p), set up to give warning of an enemy's approach, and when, and where, sometimes fires used to be kindled; hence the Targum is,
"till ye are left as a burning torch on the top of a mountain.''
The Syriac version renders it, "as a wild ass", solitary and alone:
and as an ensign on a hill; erected as a trophy of victory. The design of the metaphors is to show that there should be few that should escape falling into the enemy's hand, here and there one, that should he scattered about, and be very thin, as beacons and signs are, and should be warnings to others of pursuing the same foolish and sinful methods and practices.
(p) So Ben Melech says, it is a high piece of wood in a ship, on which they hang an ensign or flag; and so he interprets the ensign in the next clause of a veil, so called, because they lift it up upon the mast.
and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you; or, "will exalt himself" (s); raise up himself, who seemed to be asleep, and careless of his people, and rise up against their enemies, and in defence of them, which is showing mercy to them; or be exalted on his throne of grace, that he may give, and they may find, grace and mercy to help them in time of need: or, "he will exalt", or "lift up"; that is, his Son; so he was lifted up on the cross, that his people might be drawn after him, and saved by him; and he has also exalted him at his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel and forgiveness of sins; and he is now lifted up as the serpent on the pole in the ministry of the word, that whosoever believes in him should have everlasting life; so that these exaltations, or lifting up, are in order to have mercy; and his waiting to be gracious is by the Jews (t) interpreted of his desire after the Messiah's coming, and his waiting for that: or, "he will be exalted, in", or "by, having mercy on you" (u); the glory of God is displayed in showing mercy to his people; they are engaged and influenced hereby to glorify God for his mercy, both in things temporal and spiritual. The word in the Arabic language, as Schultens observes (w), signifies to "desire" (x); and this will make the words run smoothly in agreement with the former; "and therefore", or "nevertheless, will he desire to have mercy on you"; which denotes the Lord's good will to his people, and how much his heart, and the desires of it, are towards them:
for the Lord is a God of judgment; or, "though he is a God of judgment" (y), of strict justice, judges in the earth, and will judge the world in righteousness; see Malachi 2:17 his grace, mercy, and justice, agree together, in redemption justification, pardon of sin, and salvation: or of moderation, clemency, and grace to correct his people; he corrects them not in wrath and hot displeasure, but in judgment, in a tender and fatherly way and manner, Jeremiah 10:24 and he is a God of "discretion", Psalm 112:5 of wisdom and knowledge, and does all things after the counsel of his will; he has fixed upon the proper time, and he knows which is the best time, and he waits that time to show grace and mercy to his people:
blessed are all they that wait for him; that do not run here and there for help, and are tumultuous, restless, and impatient, but wait God's own time to do them good; that wait for his gracious presence, and the discoveries of his love, for the performance of his promises, for answers of prayer, for all blessings temporal and spiritual, and for eternal glory and happiness; these are happy persons, all and every one of them; they enjoy much now, and it can not be said, nor conceived, what God has prepared for them hereafter; see Isaiah 49:23.
(q) "nihilominus, tamen"; so Noldius, Ebr. Concord. Part. p. 507. in the same way Gataker. (r) "significat anhelat, vel inhiat", Forerius. (s) "et propterea exaltabit se", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; "elaturus est se", Junius & Tremellius. (t) Gloss, in T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 97. 2.((u) "dum miserabitur vestri"; so some in Vatablus. (w) Animadv. Philolog. in Job. p. 56. (x) "mavit rem", Golius, col. 922. "quaesivit, expetivit, voluit", Castel. col. 3551. (y) "quamvis", so this particle is often used; see Noldius, p. 399.
thou shalt weep no more; or, "in weeping thou shall not weep" (a); though they had been weeping because of the enemy's invasion of their land, and besieging their city, yet now all tears should be wiped away from their eyes, being delivered from him; this may very well be accommodated to Gospel times:
he will be very gracious unto thee, at the voice of thy cry; these are the words of the prophet, declaring that the Lord would be gracious to his people at the voice of their prayer and supplication to him in their distress, as he was to the voice of Hezekiah's cry and supplication to him:
when he shall hear it, he will answer thee; he always hears the prayers of his people, and he always answers them, sooner or later, in his own time, and in his own way; see Isaiah 65:24.
(z) "polpulus Sion", V. L. Gataker. (a) "plorando non plorabis", Pagninus, Montanus.
yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more; or, "thy rain" (b), as some interpret it; one and the same word signifies both rain and a teacher, because doctrine from the mouth of a teacher drops like rain upon the tender herb, and as showers on the grass; and is to be understood, not merely in a literal sense, of rain, and fruitfulness by it, in opposition to penury and famine for want of it; but of rain of spiritual doctrine; and so the sense is much the same as if it was rendered teachers; that though the people of God should be attended with afflictions, yet they should have spiritual consolation; and though they might have a famine of bread and water, yet not of hearing the word of the Lord; their teachers should not be removed from them, as they had formerly been, perhaps in the time of Ahaz: or "take wing" (c), and fly away from them, as the word signifies, being scared by persecutors; so the prophets in the time of Ahab were forced to fly, and were hid by fifty in a cave. The word here used has in the Arabic language the signification of hiding, as Maimonides (d) from Aben Ganach has observed; and so may be read, "thy teachers shall not be hidden any more"; things being hidden under wings; see Psalm 17:8,
but thine eyes shall see thy teachers; in their proper place, doing the work of their office: it denotes not a bare seeing them with their bodily eyes, but a seeing them with pleasure and delight, a wistfully looking at them, and a diligent and attentive observance of what they said. Some understand these teachers of Hezekiah and his princes, as Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Abendana; others of the priests and prophets in his time, the principal of which was Isaiah; others of the prophets a little before, in, and after the Babylonish captivity; it may be applied to John the Baptist, Christ, and his apostles, and other Gospel ministers. Jarchi interprets it of God himself, who teaches to profit, and who would not hide his face from his people; the Targum, of the Shechinah not removing from the sanctuary, but being seen there; and being in the plural number, may denote all the three Persons.
(b) "pluvia tua", some in Munster, Calvin; so Ben Melech interprets it; and the same in the next clause. (c) "non avolabit", Piscator; "ad verb. alabitur", Forerius. (d) More Nevochim, par. 1. cap. 43. p. 61. So "operuit, sub alis tutatus est", Castel. col. 1760.
saying, This is the way, walk ye in it; it directs to Christ the way, and who is the only way of life and salvation to be walked in by faith, and to all the lesser paths of duty and doctrine, which to walk in is both pleasant and profitable, and which is the right way; so the Targum paraphrases it,
"this is the right way;''
to which agree the comments of Aben Ezra, Jarchi, and Kimchi; though the Arabic and Syriac versions, following the Septuagint, represent them as the words of seducers, directing to a wrong way: but the words are a promise of being led right, and not a threatening of being led wrong:
when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left; through ignorance or inadvertency, through the prevalence of corruption, or force of temptation; and as it is promised there should be such a voice, so they should have ears to hear, their ears erect to attend to what is said, to observe it, and act according to it.
(e) T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 32. 1.
and the ornament of thy molten images of gold; images made of solid gold, covered with an ephod, as the word here used signifies; such an one as the high priest wore, and Micah made for his house of idolatry, Exodus 28:6,
thou shall cast them away as a menstruous cloth; which is not only filthy and loathsome, but defiling; whoever touched it were unclean by the law for a while; or as a woman in her monthly courses, who, during that time, was to be separate from her husband, Leviticus 15:19, &c.; this is used to express the pollution and nauseousness of idols, and of the utter rejection of them:
thou shall say unto it, Get thee hence; Kimchi observes that some say the word signifies "dung; thou shall say to it, thou art dung", and only fit for the dunghill, and to it thou shall go; at the same time cast it out, declaring abhorrence of idols, repentance for worshipping them, and signifying that they would have nothing more to do with them. This shows the efficacy of the word of God when it comes not in word only, but with the power and Spirit of God; it was fulfilled in some measure in Hezekiah's time; see 2 Kings 18:4, and after the Babylonish captivity, when the Jews left off idolatry, and never more returned to it; and when the Gospel prevailed in the Roman Pagan empire, and at the time of the Reformation, and will be more largely accomplished when Popery shall be utterly destroyed through the powerful ministration of the Gospel.
and bread of the increase of the earth; the earth, being watered with rain, should give its increase of corn, of which bread should be made; so that there would be seed to the sower, and bread to the eater, as in Isaiah 55:10,
and it shall be fat and plenteous; or "fat and fat"; very fat and rich, exceeding good bread, and plenty of it; and after the siege of the city by Sennacherib's army was broke up, and that was destroyed, for years following there was great fruitfulness in the land, as was foretold, Isaiah 37:30 and this may denote the great fruitfulness of the Gospel, and the excellency of the spiritual food of it, and of the blessings of grace that come by it:
in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures; signifying that there should be pastures for cattle in the several parts of the country, and these large ones, where cattle should feed, and enjoy great plenty. This clause belongs to the next verse Isaiah 30:24, and should of right begin it. The Targum interprets it thus,
"and the righteous shall be nourished with their cattle at that time, with the fat of tender and fat things;''
as the earth would be fruitful, the cattle would be well fed; and so there would be plenty of provision for man and beast.
(f) "sementi tuae", Piscator; "semini tuo", V. L. Tigurine version.
shall eat clean provender; the word for "provender" signifies a mixture, such as cattle eat, especially horses, as beans, oats, barley, and fitches, and of which there should be such plenty, that the cattle should eat of it; not of the chaff and husks of these, nor these in their husk and straw, but as cleansed from them, as follows:
which hath been winnowed with the shovel and with the fan: with the former of which the corn was raised up and shook, and with the latter fanned. Now this is expressive of great plenty, that cattle should feed on winnowed corn. The Septuagint indeed render it,
"they shall eat chaff mixed with winnowed barley;''
but if they were to eat chaff with it, there would be no need to winnow it. This may be mystically understood of apostles, and of apostolical men, as Jerom; and of all Gospel preachers, especially in the latter day, who labour in the word and doctrine, and feed upon the pure food of the Gospel themselves, and bring it to others; see 1 Corinthians 9:9, 1 Timothy 5:17.
rivers and streams of water; such abundance of rain, that it should flow in streams like rivers, from the higher to the lower lands, and water them. This may in a spiritual sense be understood of the great plenty of the ministry of the Gospel, in all the kingdoms of the world, great and small, signified by mountains and hills; and which may also intimate the open and public ministrations of it in them, Zechariah 14:8 or of the blessings of grace, and the graces of the Spirit, communicated everywhere; see Isaiah 41:18, John 7:38. This is applied to the times of the Messiah by the Jews (g) themselves, and respects the latter part of those times:
in the day of the great slaughter; not of Sennacherib's army by the angel, as many Jewish and Christian interpreters understand it; nor of the Babylonians, at the taking of Babylon by Cyrus; but of the antichristian kings, and their armies, Revelation 19:17. So the Targum paraphrases it,
"for the ruin of kings and their armies, in the day of the great slaughter;''
and a great slaughter it will be indeed:
when the towers fall; not the batteries and fortifications raised in the Assyrian camp, at the siege of Jerusalem, which fell when they were destroyed by the angel; or the great men and princes in that army, which then fell; though towers sometimes signify great persons, such as princes; see Isaiah 2:15 and so the Targum interprets it here; and may be true of the antichristian princes; for of the fall of the great city of Rome, and of other cities of the nations, with the towers thereof, is this to be understood, even of mystical, and not of literal Babylon; see Revelation 11:13.
(g) Bemidbar Rabba, fol. 212. 3.
and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days; as if the light of seven days was collected together; or as if there were seven suns shining together. The Targum and Jarchi not only make it to be seven times seven, that is, forty nine; but multiply forty nine by seven, and make it three hundred and forty three, or as the light of so many days. Maimonides (i) thinks it has respect to the seven days of the dedication of the temple in Solomon's time, when the people never had such glory, felicity, and joy, as at that time: with this compare the light of the New Jerusalem state, Revelation 21:23,
in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound; not only peace being made, by the blood of Christ, between God and his people, and they healed by his stripes, and Jew and Gentile reconciled in one body on his cross, and through the preaching of the Gospel; but as will be in the latter day, the fulness of the Gentiles will be brought in, and all Israel shall be saved; and all the Lord's people will be one in his hands, and be entirely freed from all grievances and afflictions by the man of sin, who will now be destroyed, and also will be in a sound and healthful state and condition. This will be at the time of the rising and ascending of the witnesses, Revelation 11:11.
(h) T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 68. 1. & Gloss. in ib. & Sanhedrin, fol. 91. 2.((i) More Nevochim, par. 2. c. 29. p. 267.
burning with his anger; against the Assyrian monarch and his army. So our Lord, when he shall come forth to make war with the antichristian kings of the earth, his "eyes" shall be "as a flame of fire": and when he comes to judge the world, he will descend in "flaming fire", Revelation 19:12 the day of the Lord will burn as an oven, Malachi 4:1,
and the burden thereof is heavy: the punishment inflicted, in his burning anger and hot displeasure, will be heavy, even intolerable, heavier than it can be borne, as the Targum paraphrases it; see Genesis 4:13,
his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire; the words he will utter, the sentence he will pronounce, will be dreadful, executed by the angel; so the sharp sword that goes out of the mouth of Christ, with which he will smite the nations; and such the awful sentence pronounced by him on the wicked, "go, ye cursed, into everlasting fire", &c. see Revelation 19:15. So the Targum,
"from before him goes out the curse upon the ungodly, and his Word as a consuming fire.''
shall reach to the midst of the neck; which shows the extreme danger the army would be in, as a man that is up to the neck in water, and can find no way of escaping; and very aptly represents their state and condition, the whole body of the army being encompassed and destroyed by this overflowing stream of divine wrath, only their head, their king Sennacherib was saved; and he in a little time was cut off, when he had got into his country; as the Assyrian army served the Jews, they are served themselves; see Isaiah 8:7,
to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity; that is, the breath, wind, or Spirit of the Lord, compared to an overflowing stream, should be of this use, and have this effect, to sift the people of several nations, of which the Assyrian army consisted, so as to dash them one against another, and utterly destroy them; for they were to be sifted, not with a good and profitable sieve, which retains the corn, and shakes out the chaff, or so as to have some taken out and spared; but with a sieve that lets all through, and so be brought to nothing, as the Vulgate Latin version; and thus will all the antichristian nations be agitated, and shaken, and destroyed, ere long:
and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err; from the way they intended to go, namely, up to Jerusalem, and take and sack it, and obliging them to betake themselves another way for their retreat and safety; see Isaiah 37:29.
as in the night, when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, the Jewish feasts always began, the even preceding, and were ushered in with singing songs, and psalms; especially the feast of the passover, which it is thought is alluded to here. It is a common notion of the Jews (k), that the slaughter of the Assyrian army was on the night of the passover; that it was in the night is certain, 2 Kings 19:35 but that it was on the night of the passover is not certain; however, the songs sung on that night were not on this occasion, nor could this be sung so soon; and it will be at evening time that the latter day glory shall break out, and songs of joy be heard from the uttermost parts of the earth, Zechariah 14:7,
as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the Lord; the temple; it being usual for persons, that came from distant parts of the land to the temple to worship, to bring pipes along with them in their hands, and play upon them as they were travelling, to divert them, and the company that were with them; see Psalm 42:4. Jarchi thinks the allusion is to the bringing up of the first fruits to the temple at Jerusalem, which was preceded with a pipe, as appears from the Misnah (l):
to the mighty One of Israel; or, "Rock of Israel" (m); one of the names of the Messiah, 2 Samuel 23:3 to whom the song of praise and triumph shall be sung, in the latter day, by those that stand upon Mount Zion, with harps in their hands, having gotten the victory over the beast and his image, Revelation 14:1.
(k) Vid. Aben Ezra, Ben Melech, & Abendana. (l) Biccurim, c. 3. sect. 3, 4. (m) "rupem Israelis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius; "petram Israel", Montanus.
and shall show the lighting down of his arm; or the strength of the arm of his power, as the Targum; his mighty arm, and the descent of it; meaning what should descend from heaven at the time of this tempest, as thunderbolts, balls of fire, hailstones, &c.; and by all which may be meant the heavy judgments of God, which fell upon his enemies, and were intolerable unto them: the metaphor is taken from the motion of a man in smiting another, who lifts up his hand, when it falls with the greater might, and rests upon him:
with the indignation of his anger; as when a man strikes in great wrath and fury: the heaping up of words here, and as follows, shows the vehemence and excess of anger:
and with the flame of a devouring fire; or, "of a fire devouring"; the Assyrian army; which, the Jews say, burnt their souls, destroyed their lives, but not their bodies. The Targum is,
"with the flame of fire, which consumes the graven images.''
The destruction of mystical Babylon will be by fire, Revelation 18:8,
with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones; with lightning, which rends things in pieces, and scatters them here and there, and with a violent storm of rain and hail; see Revelation 16:18.
(n) "gloriam vocis suae", V. L. Vatablus; "magnificam vocem suam", Piscator.
which smote with a rod; other nations, particularly the Jews, whom the Assyrian is expressly said to smite with a rod; and because he was an instrument in God's hand for the chastising of that people, he is called the rod of his anger, Isaiah 10:5 but now he that smote shall be smitten himself; him whom God used as a rod to correct others, he will smite with his rod, for his own correction: for this may be understood of God, and be rendered thus, "with a rod, he", that is, God, "shall smite" the Assyrian, as before; so Aben Ezra and Kimchi. The Targum interprets the "rod" of dominion.
which the Lord shall lay upon him; or, "cause to rest upon him" (o); the Lord would lay his rod upon him, the Assyrian, and let it remain there, so that it should be a destroying rod or staff, as before; it should continue until it had done full execution, and utterly destroyed him. The Targum is,
"and there shall be every passage of their princes, and of their mighty ones, on whom the Lord shall cause to rest the vengeance of his power;''
and so the "grounded staff" may be understood of the Assyrian himself, that wherever he should be, this storm of vengeance should follow him, and rest upon him:
it shall be with tabrets and harps; the allusion is to the use of these in war; but, instead of these, no other music would be used at this time than what thunder, and rain, and hailstones made; unless this refers to the joy of God's people, upon the destruction of their enemies; so the Targum,
"with tabrets, and harps shall the house of Israel praise, because of the mighty war which shall be made for them among the people:''
see Revelation 15:2,
and in battles of shaking will he fight with it; the Assyrian camp; or as the Keri, or marginal reading, "with them": with the Assyrians, with the men of the camp; the soldiers, as Kimchi explains it; that is, the Lord will fight with them in battles, by shaking his hand over them in a way of judgment, and thereby shaking them to pieces, and utterly destroying them; see Revelation 19:11.
(o) "requiescere faciet", Pagninus, Montanus; "quiescere faciet", Cocceius.