Isaiah (Ch 17-18)

This chapter contains a prophecy of the ruin of Syria and the ten tribes, Israel; who were in alliance; and also of the overthrow of the Assyrian army. Often, Israel is being referred to as the house of Jacob which would include Judah. The destruction of Damascus, the metropolis of Syria and other cities are under judgement.

Isaiah 17

1 The burden of Damascus: “Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. — the Targum says, “the burden of the cup of cursing to give Damascus to drink.”

The cities of Aroer are forsaken; they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid. — Aroer was a city by the river Arnon, on the borders of Moab and Ammon, their inhabitants of these Syrian cities being slain or carried captive or obliged to flee;

— the Syrian civil war started on March 15, 2011 as part of the wider Arab Spring protests which led to much destruction of the country; many Syrians were forced to flee to neighbouring countries or even to Europe as refugees.

The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus and the remnant of Syria; they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel,” saith the Lord of hosts. — Ephraim, the ten tribes, now in confederacy with the Syrians, whose metropolis or fortress was Samaria, which seems to be intended here; and should be destroyed, at least taken out of the hands of the Israelites, and they be carried captive by Shalmaneser king of Assyria.

“And in that day it shall come to pass that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean. — and in that day it shall come to pass; that being much about the same time that both kingdoms were destroyed by the Assyrians;

— that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin; the same with Ephraim and Israel, the ten tribes, whose glory lay in the superior number of their tribes to Judah; in the multitude of their cities, and the inhabitants of them; but now would be thinned, by the vast numbers that should be killed by the Sword, famine or pandemic, with a remnant carried away as captives:

— second; that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin; could this be speaking of Ezekiel 4 – the 190/40 Years of iniquity for Israel/Judah?

— and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean: like a man in a consumption, that is become a mere skeleton, and reduced to skin and bones: the meaning is, that all their health, wealth and riches should be taken away; so the Targum says “and the riches of his glory shall be carried away.”

And it shall be as when the harvestman gathereth the corn and reapeth the ears with his arm; and it shall be as he that gathereth ears in the Valley of Rephaim. — and it shall be as when the harvestman of the house of Jacob gathereth the corn and reapeth the ears with his arm, literally, “and his arm reapeth the ears”

— and it shall be as he that gathereth ears in the Valley of Rephaim, the fertile plain southwest of Jerusalem, toward the country of the Philistines. Cf II Samuel 5:18-22. The picture is that of a farmer going into a field of grain and gathering an armful of stalks with his left hand, while he cuts off the grain below with a sickle in his right hand.

Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof,” saith the Lord God of Israel. — yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it; that is, a remnant left in the land of Israel, as the shaking of an olive-tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the Lord God of Israel;

— in harvesting olives, the trees were first shaken, whereupon a few berries within reach were knocked down with sticks, but those which hung in the tree-tops, beyond reach, remained hanging. Thus only a few poor inhabitants would be left as remnant in Israel.

At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect for the Holy One of Israel. — at that day shall a man look to his Maker, instead of trusting in fortresses and in the strength of man’s arm, as heretofore, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel, for the small remnant of Israel and also of Judah shall return to the true God and His worship;

— that is, this indicates that until ‘that day’ comes both the house of Israel and the house of Judah have very little ‘respect’ for the Holy One of Israel. Pretending Christians have no idea of what keeping the law is and what judgement truly is; while the Orthodox Jews has no clue that the Scriptures have numerous references to the Son scattered all over that they are blinded to.

And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands, neither shall respect that which his fingers have made, either the Asherah poles or the sun images. — and the house of Jacob shall not look to their altars, the work of mere hands, which the children of Israel had formerly devoted to idolatry;

— neither shall respect that which his fingers have made, either the groves, the Asherah-idols picturing one of the Semitic goddesses, very often identified with Venus, or the images, those of Baal, the sun-god, so that all the hosts of heaven were included in this idol-worship. Cf II Kings 21:7II Kings 23:5.

In that day shall his strong cities be as a forsaken bough and an uppermost branch, which they left because of the children of Israel; and there shall be desolation. — in that day shall his strong cities, especially those of Ephraim, be “like the forsaken places in the forests and mountain summits,” having fled from before the enemy, or being slain or carried captive; like a bough of a tree, that is forsaken stripped of its leaves, and an uppermost branch of a tree that is dead and dry, and has nothing on it; becoming ruin strongholds in remote parts of the country;

— which they left because of the children of Israel, and there shall be desolation, all the great fortresses and factories of Israel sharing the fate of antiquated castles. The prophet now addresses Ephraim directly: that is, the United States, be as a forsaken bough and an uppermost branch, like Cleveland, Newark, Pittsburgh, Detroit and many other sunset cities all along the rust belt, all shall be a desolation;

10 Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation and hast not been mindful of the Rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set them with strange slips. — because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, the only one who can bring true redemption, and hast not been mindful of the Rock of thy strength, Yehovah being the one true Rock of Ages, Deuteronomy 32:15-18;

— therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants and shalt set it with strange slips; with strange slip, that is, with foreign strange doctrines, such as are brought from some ancient natives; Astarte from the Egyptians, who earlier learned from the Canaanites and the Phoenicians; Mithra from the Persian which are also set with strange slips, strange concepts which permeate the house of Israel today.

11 In that day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning shalt thou make thy seed to flourish; but the harvest shall be a heap in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow. — in the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow; the northern kingdom, on the whole, had left the true God that its people had, literally, “planted plantings of pleasantness,” had taken up the various heathen cults and had then planted a strange vine in their own garden, namely, by becoming allies of the king of Syria, Damascus;

— the new plant had then been carefully fenced in, namely, by shrewd political schemes, so that the strange plant grew to maturity very rapidly, like a hothouse plant, for the alliance brought about a plan to attack Judah. But the whole scheme was frustrated by the action of the Almighty, who promptly reserved the garden of Ephraim as a heap, heaped up in the harvest, in the day of grief and a day of desperate sorrow.

12 Woe to the multitude of many people, who make a noise like the noise of the seas, and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! — woe to the multitude of many people that made up the Assyrian army under Sennacherib, which consisted of people of many nations, with the turmoil and tumult of their advance;

— which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, the rattling of their armour and chariot wheels and prancing of their horses; and to the hectoring, blustering that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! The enemies of Israel, who are also types of the enemies of God’s Kingdom, are pictured as being in a state of seething unrest, anxiously striving to harm the Lord’s people.

13 The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters; but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind. — the Assyrian army  from various nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters, in an apparently irresistible tidal wave; but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, rather, it, the threatening tide of hostility;

— and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, the picture being taken from the open threshing-floors of farmers, which were usually situated in elevated places, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind, like whirling dust or particles of straw from the threshing-floor, as the wind picks them up and flings them away.

14 And behold, at eventide, trouble; and before the morning, he is no more. This is the portion of them that despoil us, and the lot of them that rob us. — and behold at the evening or night, horror falling upon the approaching enemies; even before the day dawns, they are destroyed. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us. Thus the Lord will finally carry out His sentence of punishment upon all enemies of His Kingdom and its work.

Isaiah 18

1 Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, — the Targum says, “Woe to the land to which they come in ships from a far country, whose sails are stretched out, as an eagle that flies with its wings;”

that sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes upon the waters, saying, “Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled!” — that sendeth ambassadors by the Red Sea, traversing the waters of that far country, even in vessels of bulrushes upon the waters, light and fleet boats made of the papyrus-reed, saying, Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, rather, extended far and polished, gleaming, or shining;

— to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto, a handsome, ruling, and victorious people, one of great hidden beauty and power; a nation meted out and trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled, literally, “a nation of line, line,” and treading under foot, under the command some kings beyond Ethiopic, whose rule often bordered upon oppression, and whose land was carried down the sea lanes in the annual inundations; full of excitement on account of making various invasions to spoil other nations.

All ye inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when He bloweth a trumpet, hear ye. — all ye inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth, called upon, either by the Lord, or rather by the prophet, to be eye and ear witnesses of the judgement that should be inflicted upon the above nation;

— see ye, always on the lookout for important happenings, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains, really, with an impersonal subject, when one does this, when this happens; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye, the trumpet sounding as an alarm of war; all the people concerned should be watching, for something of great event will happen.

For so the Lord said unto me: “I will take My rest, and I will consider in My dwelling place, like a clear heat upon herbs and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.” — for the Lord said unto me, I will take My rest, and I will consider in My dwelling-place, for though the Lord may seem sometimes to take no notice of what is done on earth, yet He sees and knows all things, and considers in His own mind what is fit and proper that He should do, who works all things after the counsel of His own will:

— calmly looking on, apparently without the intention of interfering, like a clear heat upon herbs, while it is pleasantly warm in the sunlight, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest, while the plants, refreshed by the heavy dew of the harvest season, grow to maturity. It seems that the Lord is letting things go on as they please, that He is not actively interested in the affairs of the world; but it only seems so to such as do not know Him;

— the Targum says, “blessings and consolations will I bring to them quickly, as heat burning by means of the sun, and as a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”

For before the harvest, when the bud is perfect and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, He shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches. — for before the harvest, when the bud is perfect, after the blossom has withered, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, while the fruit is slowly maturing, He shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning-hooks and take away and cut down the branches, then the Lord would overthrow their present plans and prevent them from forming any future ones.

They shall be left together for the fowls of the mountains and to the beasts of the earth; and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them. — they shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, that is, both sprigs and branches; with the fruit of them, which being unripe, are disregarded by men, but fed upon by birds and beasts;

— the birds of prey feeding on their carcasses, and to the beasts of the earth, to the foxes, hyenas, and jackals; and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall feast upon them, finding abundance of food the year around on the field of battle.

In that time shall a present be brought unto the Lord of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto, a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled—to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the mount Zion. — in that time, before the Millennium, shall the present, namely, a tribute or sacrificial gift, be brought unto the Lord of hosts, the true God;

— of a people scattered and peeled and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto, Cf v. 2; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the Mount Zion, the Kingdom of God. In the very midst of a prophecy describing the punishment meted out by God we have a Messianic promise; even the Kingdom of God would gain a foothold in Ethiopia and Egypt, described Isaiah 18:2 as here, who being converted, shall stretch out their hands to God, submit unto him and will flourish there for centuries.

~ by Joel Huan on March 1, 2022.

One Response to “Isaiah (Ch 17-18)”

  1. […] Study of Chapters 17 and 18 HERE ~ —— […]

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