Skip to main content

Full text of "The Book of the Prophet Isaiah : with introduction and notes"

See other formats

Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2007 witii funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 


Idited by Walter Lock D.D. 








G. W. WADE D.D. 








First PtihIisJud in jgri 


THE primary object of these Commentaries is to be exe- 
getical, to interpret the meaning of each book of the 
Bible in the light of modern knowledge to English readers. 
The Editors will not deal, except subordinately, with questions 
of textual criticism or philology ; but taking the English text 
in the Revised Version as their basis, they will aim at com- 
bining a hearty acceptance of critical principles with loyalty to 
the Catholic Faith. 

The series will be less elementary than the Cambridge Bible 
for Schools, less critical than the International Critical Com- 
mentary, less didactic than the Expositor's Bible ; and it is 
hoped that it may be of use both to theological students and to 
the clergy, as well as to the growing number of educated laymen 
and laywomen who wish to read the Bible intelligently and 

Each commentary will therefore have 

(i) An Introduction stating the bearing of modern criticism 
and research upon the historical character of the book, and 
drawing out the contribution which the book, as a whole, makes 
to the body of religious truth. 

(ii) A careful paraphrase of the text with notes on the 
more difficult passages and, if need be, excursuses on any 
points of special importance either for doctrine, or ecclesiastical 
organization, or spiritual life. 

But the books of the Bible are so varied in character that 
considerable latitude is needed, as to the proportion which the 


various parts should hold to each other. The General Editor 
will therefore only endeavour to secure a general uniformity in 
scope and character : but the exact method adopted in each 
case and the final responsibility for the statements made will 
rest with the individual contributors. 

By permission of the Delegates of the Oxford University 
Press and of the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press 
the Text used in this Series of Commentaries is the Revised 
Version of the Holy Scriptures. 

IT may be well for the General Editor of the Westminster 
Commentaries to add a special word of Introduction to this 
Commentary, for in it the modern principles of literary and 
historical criticism are applied to a new sphere, the sphere of 
prophecy, and to that book which has always seemed to come 
nearest to the New Testament and to contain a Gospel before 
the Gospels ; and that with results for which the ordinary 
reader is scarcely prepared. 

(i) Criticism has now for many years prepared ordinary 
readers of the Bible to find two authors combined under the 
name of Isaiah, the prophet of Hezekiah's reign and the prophet 
of the Exile who encouraged the Jews in Babylon with hopes of 
their return. But here the principle is extended further ; not 
only are three distinct prophets postulated, but it is assumed 
that the original prophecies of each have been subsequently 
re-edited, with additions intended to bring the teaching home 
to the needs of later generations. " The Prophecies of Isaiah " 
will then be parallel in title to the Laws of Moses or the Psalms 
of David ; they will mean the prophecies of Isaiah himself and 
of later writers writing in his spirit and adapting his teaching. 
If this is so, the problem of exegesis is confessedly a very 
diflficult one, almost as difficult as if the Psalms had come down 
to us in one continuous whole, unbroken by any divisions, and 
we had to decide where each new Psalm began and ended and 
what was its date and who its author. So here the commentator 
has to separate each chapter and each part of a chapter and 


decide the date and author and application. It is quite clear 
that there must be an element of what is precarious and 
subjective in such decisions, and it cannot be claimed at any 
moment that the last word has been said. Yet it must always 
be remembered that such decisions are never arbitrary or 
capricious, they are not attempts to explain away anything or to 
prove foregone conclusions : they are the attempts to face real 
internal difficulties in the text, to explain exactly what the 
author meant and at what point in history the words were 

(ii) This same truth has another and a more important 
bearing upon the application of the language of Isaiah to Our 
Lord Jesus Christ. In the first days of Christianity, if any 
earlier language was found appropriate to the facts of the 
Lord's life, it was treated as though it had been a conscious 
prediction by the prophet of those facts. This was the way in 
which St Matthew applied the prophecy of Emmanuel, and 
Philip the Evangelist, with most of the writers of the New 
Testament, applied that of the Servant of the Lord. But all 
modern criticism has emphasized the truth that texts cannot be 
quoted without respect to their context and that the message of 
the prophet was primarily a message for his own time. This 
view is emphasized strongly in this Commentary : the conscious 
predictions of a future Messiah are minimized : the King who 
is entitled Immanuel is interpreted as an actual King expected 
in the lifetime of Isaiah : the " Servant of the Lord," even in 
the most personal traits, is treated only as a personification of 
the nation of Israel : and it is denied that there was in the 
writer's mind any thought of one individual. Here again no 
commentator would claim that he has said the last word, and on 
this last point modern critics are still much divided. But let us 
assume that this view is correct, that there was no conscious 
prediction of a future Messiah in either of these passages : yet 
it does not follow that they are not rightly applied to the Lord, 
nor is anything implied which derogates from His Nature and 
His work. Rather the reverse : such an impression did His life 
make on those who witnessed it that they saw realized in it 
all the ideals pictured in the noblest visions of the past : here 


was the ideally righteous man, the ideal King, the ideal sacrifice : 
nay more, language at first applied to the work done for the 
Gentile world by the whole nation could be more truly applied 
to Him : on this theory, He does not " so much fulfil predictions 
as realize ideals." 

I have quoted elsewhere and would venture to quote again, 
as extraordinarily applicable to the feelings of the first disciples 
for their Master, the sonnet in which Shakspere speaks of the 
object of his love, — 

When in the chronicle of wasted time 

I see descriptions of the fairest wights 

And beauty making beautiful old rhyme 

In praise of ladies dead or lovely knights, 

Then, in the blazon of sweet beauty's best, 

Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow, 

I see their antique pen would have expressed 

Even such a beauty as you master now. 

So all their praises are but prophecies 

Of this our time, all you prefiguring. 

And, for they looked but with divining eyes. 

They had not skill enough your worth to sing: 

For we, which now behold these present days. 

Have eyes to wonder but lack tongues to praise. 

So the early Christians felt that all praises in their old 
Scriptures, whether of individuals or of the nation itself, were 
but prophecies, prefiguring Him, yet falling far short of what He 
really was. 

There is a further illuminating thought which results from the 
view that the Servant of the Lord was primarily the nation : as 
such it was an ideal not of one but of many, of a whole com- 
munity ; and therefore though One may have summed up its 
meaning in Himself, it waits for its complete fulfilment in the 
whole Church, in the Body as well as in the Head : it is we who 
have to fill up that which is lacking of the sufierings of the 
Servant, to complete that which is still so far from complete of 
the Revelation of His message to the heathen world. 



rpHIS book suffers from having been produced under certain 
J- disadvantages. In the first place, the plan of the series 
in which it appears has made it expedient to leave unnoticed 
many matters which, if the accompanying text were that of tlie 
Hebrew Bible and not that of the English Version, would claim 
attention. Secondly, the necessity of compressing the com- 
mentary into a single volume has rendered brevity essential, 
and has restricted me to stating as concisely as possible my own 
conclusions only, without, in general, any mention of divergent 
views, save where such are specially interesting, or where a 
decision has been exceptionally difficult. Thirdly, the pressure 
of College duties has allowed me little time to spend upon the 
book except my vacations (which have been almost entirely 
occupied with it for a number of years), so that, since it had to 
be published within a reasonable period, I have been unable to 
acquaint myself with more than a portion of the voluminous 
literature relating to the subject. These drawbacks imposed by 
circumstances are supplemented by defects arising from my own 
limitations, of which I have become increasingly sensible as my 
undertaking has progressed. Consequently, in bringing my work 
to a close I am acutely conscious of its imperfections, and feel 
that I am ending when I really ought to be beginning: Cum 
consummaverit homo tunc mcijnet, et cum qnieverit cqwriahitui'. 
Of previous commentaries I have used those of Gesenius 
(1821), Dillmann-Kittel (1898), Duhm (2nd ed. 1902), and Marti 
(1900) in German, Condamin (1905) in French, and Delitzsch 
(trans. 1889), Cheyne {Projohecifs, 5th ed. 1889, Pol. Bible, 
1898), G. A. Smith (1889-90), Mitchell (1897), Skinner (1896-8), 


Whitehoiise (1905-8), and Box (1908) in English; and to all 
of these I am under great obligations. I am also indebted to 
Giesebrecht's Der Knecht Jalives des Dentero-Isaia (1902), 
Littmann's tJber die Abfassmiffs^.eif des Trito-Isaia (1899), 
Cheyne's Introduction to the Bool: of Isaiah (1895), Driver's 
Life and Times of Isaiah (2nd ed. 1904), R. R. Ottley's Isaiah 
according to the LXX. (1906), Davidson's Old Testament 
Prophecy (1903), Oesterley's Tlie Evolution of the Messianic 
Idea (1908), Peake's The Problem of Suffering in the O.T. 
(1904), Batten's The Hebrew Prophet (1905), and Workman's 
The Servant of Jehovah (1907). For the Hebrew text I have 
used Kittel's edition in Biblia Hebraica (1906) and Cheyne's 
edition in Haupt's Sacred Boohs of the O.T. (1899); and 
I have constantly consulted the Oxford Hebrew Lexicon (1906), 
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible (1898-1904), and the Encyclo 
pcedia Biblica (1899-1903). Various other works which have 
proved of service are mentioned in the foot-notes ; whilst there 
are many besides which have been suggestive or informing in 
different ways, but which it is impossible to enumerate in detail. 
Finally, I have received help from several friends. The book 
has been read both in MS. and in proof by the Warden of Keble 
College, Oxford, whose advice has been of much value. The 
proofs have likewise been read by the Rev. Dr Burney, Fellow 
of St John's College, Oxford, whose criticisms have enabled me 
to correct many errors and inaccuracies. The readings of the 
Syriac version have been verified for me by the Rev. W. H. 
Hayman, M.A., formerly Lecturer in Theology at this College; 
whilst most of the Biblical references (which are uniformly to 
t^ie R.V., save where the Hebrew is indicated) have been verified 
by another former colleague, the Rev. B. Davies, M.A. To each 
of these friends I desire to express my sincere gratitude for 
their kindness. 

G. W. W. 




[AFTER I. The Structure of the Book of Isaiah ... i 

Appendix : The Book of Isaiah in the N.T vii 


§ 1. Hebrew Prophecy and its Credentials .... viii 

§ 2. Life and Times of Isaiah xvii 

§ 3. Theology of Isaiah . , -~" xxxii 

Appendix : The Chronology of Isaiah's Times . . ... xl 


§ 1. Origin and Date ... xlii 

§ 2. Jewish History in the interval between Isaiah and 

Deutero-lsaiah Hi 

§ 3. Theology of Deutero-lsaiah Iviii 


§ 1. Origin and Date Ixvii 

§ 2. Jewish History in the interval between Deutero-lsaiah 

and Trito-Isaiah Ixxiii 

§ 3. Theology of Trito-Isaiah Ixxix 


Additional Notes : 

On i. 9 (The title Lofd of hosts) 12 

On vii. 14 — 16 (The Prophecy of Immaniiel) ... 52 

On xi. 1 — 9 (Vergil's Messianic Eclogue) .... 85 

On xxvi. 19 (The expectation of a resurrection) . 170 

hmentary on Deutero-Isaiah 248 

Additional Note : 

On xlii. 1—4 and allied passages {The Sercant of the 

Lord) 345 



»EX 425 

of th. 



Aq. Aquila's Version. 

COT. Schrader's The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the O.T (translated byJ 

Whitehouse), 1885—1888. 
DB. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible ( 1 898— 1 904). 
DCG. Hastings' Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels (1906 — 8). 
EB. or Encyc. Bib. Cheyne and Black's Encychpoedia Biblica (1899 — 1903). 
IIBA. Rogers' History of Babylonia and Assyria (1900). 
HCM. Sayce's The Higher Criticism and the Monuments (1894). 
HPM. M'^Ciirdy's History, Prophecy, and the Monuments (1894—1901). 
JE. Prophetic Source of the Hexateuch. 
JTS. Journal of Theological Studies. 

Kings. Burney's Notes on the Hebrew Text rf the Books of Kings (1903). 
Lex. Hebrew and English Lexicon of the 0. T. By Brown, Driver and Briggp 

LOT. Driver's Introduction to the Literature of the O.T, ed. 7 (1898). 
LXX. Septuagint Version. 

„ Luc. „ „ Lucian's recension. 

„ N Sinai tic MS. 

„ A Alexandrine MS. 

„ B Vatican MS. 

NSI. Cooke's North Semitic Inscriptions (1903). 
N.T. New Testament. 
O.L. Old Latin Version. 
O.T. Old Testament. 
OTJC. W. R. Smitli'.s The Old Testament in the Jewish Church, ed. 2 (1892; 
P. Priestly Source of the Hexateuch. 
R.V. Revised Version. 

Rel. Sem. W. R. Smith's The Religion of the Semites, ed. 2 (1894). 
Sam. Driver's Notes on the Hebrew Text of the Books of Samuel (1890). 
SBOT. Cheyne's Critical Edition of the Hebrew Text of Isaiah (1899). 
Sym. Symmachus' Version. 
Syr. Syi-iae Version. 
Th. or Theod. Theodotiou's Version. 
Vulg. Vulgate. 



The Structure of the Book of Isaiah. 

When the Book of Isaiah is referred to elsewhere in the Bible 
virtually all parts of it are represented as the work of the writer whose 
name it bears. In Ecclus. xlviii. 23 — 25 {circ. 180 B.C.) it is said of 
the prophet that In his days the sun went backward ; and he added life 
to the king. He saw by an excellent spirit what sJmuld come to pass at 
the last ; and lie comforted them that mourned in Sion. He shewed, the 
things that should be to the end of time, and the hidden things or 
ever they came. This statement obviously has in view cc. xxxvi. — Ixvi. 
(see xxxviii. 5 — 8, xl. 1 f , Ixi. 2, 3, xli. 25 — 27, xliv. 28), which must 
therefore have been united; and since cc. xxxvi. — xxxix. are only an 
appendix to the prophecies included in the preceding thirty -five cc, 
it may be inferred that in the time of the writer of Ecclus. the whole 
sixty-six cc. formed one book passing as Isaiah's. Similarly in the 
N.T., passages are cited from various parts of the book as being equally 
the utterances of Isaiah, e.g. i. 9 (Rom, ix. 29), ix. 1 — 2 (Matt. iv. 15, 
16), vi. 10 (Joh. xii. 40), xxix. 13 (Mk. vii. 6—7), xl. 3 (Matt. iii. 3), 
liii. 4 (Matt. viii. 17), Ixv. 1 (Rom. x. 20). 

Certain portions of the book, however, can be shewn, by the internal 
evidence which they contain of their origin, to be the products of a 
later age than Isaiah's ; and from this it follows that the book in its 
present form is the work of an editor. But an examination of its 
contents further makes it clear that it is not a collection of separate 
prophecies derived from various sources, which have been combined 
by a single editor, but that it is a combination of several earlier 
collections, each of which must have had its own editor. It reached 
its present shape by a lengthy process, its compilation being effected by 
various stages ; and the completion of it was not accomplished until 
many centuries after Isaiah's lifetime. 


That the existing book is not a collection of prophecies by a single 
hand but an amalgamation of several prior collections of less compass 
is indicated by the following facts. (1) Whilst the whole book has a 
heading, describing it as the vision of Isaiah the son oj Amoz (i. 1), 
similar headings occur elsewhere within the book (see ii. 1, xiii. 1), 
which look like the titles of smaller works which have been incorporated 
in the larger. (2) Great disorder is observable in the arrangement of 
some of the prophecies. Thus c. vi., relating to the call of Isaiah 
(about 740), might be expected to be placed at the beginning of 
the book (cf. Jer. i., Ezek. i.) instead of in its present posi+^^ion ; 
xxviii. 1 — 6, which is addressed to the kingdom of Ephraim and so 
must have been written before 722, whilst that kingdom was still in 
existence, should precede, instead of following, c. xx., which was 
composed in 711 ; ix. 8 — 21 and xvii. 1 — 11 ought chronologically to 
be grouped with cc. vii., viii., since like them, they belong to the reign 
of Ahaz ; and xvii. 12 — 14 is allied by contents and date with x. 5 f. 
and was composed in the reign of Hezekiah. Such disorder points to 
the fact that the final editor was not free to place the cc. in their 
natural sequence, according to their chronological order or the character 
of their subject-matter, but found the prophecies in question already 
occupying particular positions. (3) The historical section (cc. xxxvi. — 
xxxix.), which is attached to cc. i. — xxxv., has the appearance of being 
the conclusion of a collection which once existed apart from the 
cc. (xl. — Ixvi.) that follow it. From these features it may be inferred 
that certain small aggregates of prophecies attributed to Isaiah were 
first of all circulated separately, that these were subsequently united 
in a larger compilation, and that at a still later date other prophecies, 
contained in cc. xl. — Ixvi., which may be assumed to have constituted 
originally distinct collections, were added to this, thus bringing the 
book to its present size. 

The primary sources from which the earliest collections of Isaianic 
prophecies were derived were doubtless the records which on certain 
occasions the prophet himself ordered to be made of his utterances. 
Brief predictions of great importance he sometimes directed to be 
committed to writing at the time in order that their tenor might be 
accurately compared with the event (see viii. 16 and xxx. 8). Longer 
oracles were perhaps written down in a summarized and revised form 
by the prophet at a later date. Other prophecies, again, may have 
been preserved by the independent action of his disciples, who would 
naturally from time to time make collections of the oracles uttered by 


their master. Records would also be composed of historical events 
with which the prophet was associated, and these would enshrine the 
memory of noteworthy predictions relating to them (such as that 
contained in c. xx.). 

The authentic prophecies of Isaiah are comprised within cc. i. — 
xxxix. These cc. faU naturally into three groups, cc. xiii. — xxiii. being 
marked off from the preceding twelve cc. by having a separate heading, 
descriptive of authorship, prefixed to the initial prophecy (xiii. 1 — 
xiv. 23), and distinguished from the succeeding twelve cc. by the title 
burden (or oracle), which is used to designate the large majority of 
the component prophecies in this group, but is absent from the group 
that follows (except in xxx. 6). Each of these three groups was 
probably at one time an independent collection. 

The first group consists of cc. ii. — xii. (the separate heading in 
ii. 1 shewing that it was not originaUy preceded by c. i.), and includes 
oracles that date from both the earliest and the latest periods of the 
prophet's career. The fact that the account of his prophetic call 
(which occurred in the reign of Uzziah) appears as c. vi., instead of 
being placed at the beginning, renders it probable that it once formed 
part of a separate document from which the editor did not see his way 
to extract it in order to put it in its natural position. These cc. 
(ii. — xii.) seem, indeed, to contain several such documents or minor 
collections, which may perhaps be delimited thus : ii. — iv., v., vi. 
1 — ix. 7, ix. 8 — xii. 6. Of these c. v. is made up of two parts, one 
of which, vv. 25 — 30, has lost its true connection, it being really the 
conclusion of ix. 8 — 21. Chapter vii. 1 — 17 looks like an extract from 
a biography of the prophet, recording the circumstances under which 
certain of his oracles were delivered. The arrangement of the in- 
dividual prophecies within these smaller collections seems in general 
to have been guided by chronological considerations ; but it is probably 
not without design that several of the collections close with a passage 
of consolatory purport (see ii. 6 — iv. 6, vi. 1 — ix. 7, x. 5 — xii. 6). 

After the first collection had been compiled, c. i. (which, like c. v., 
is a combination of stray oracles) was probably prefixed to it as a 
general introduction, a purpose for which it is excellently adapted. 
The superscription (i. 1) presumably has in view the contents of 
cc. i. — xii. 

The second group consists of cc. xiii. — xxiii. This is distinguished 
from the foregoing not only (as has been said) by the superscription 
prefixed to c. xiii. ascribing it to Isaiah the son of Amoz, and by the 
w. I. b 


title oracle applied to ten of the prophecies, but also by the fact that 
the constituent prophecies are mainly addressed to foreign nations ^ 
They are only partially Isaianic in origin, those which can with 
confidence be assigned to Isaiah being few : of the latter, one (c. xx.) 
appears (like c. vii.) to be derived from a biography. The insertion 
of these Isaianic oracles here seems best explained by the assumption 
that the editor of this collection was distinct from the editor of the 
earlier one, in which such oracles would be more in place, but to the 
collector of which they were not known. To this group the prophecy 
contained in cc. xxiv. — xxvii., which is of an Apocalyptic character, 
forms a kind of appendix, though it lacks a descriptive title. 

The third group is composed of cc. xxviii. — xxxiii. It has no 
separate superscription, but its unity is evidenced by the fact that all 
the cc. (except c. xxxii.) begin with the exclamation Woe (or Ho!). 
This collection consists almost entirely of prophecies by Isaiah, which 
(with the exception of xxviii. 1 — 6 and xxxii. 9 — 20) belong to the 
reign of Hezekiah. At the end of it is attached a prophecy (cc. 
xxxiv., XXXV.), which is not Isaiah's, but later than the Exile. The 
resemblance to xi, 10 — xii. 6 (the end of the first collection) which 
is shewn by xxvii. 12,13 (the end of the second), and by c. xxxv. (the 
end of the third), all the passages predicting a restoration of dispersed 
Jews, favours the belief that the same principles have governed the 
internal arrangement of all the three large collections, at least to the 
extent of concluding each of them with a section of hopeful tenor. 

When these groups were combined, there was added at the end of 
the compilation an historical section, taken from the books of Kings 
(a work not completed before 561, during the Exile, see 2 Kgs. xxv. 27)^, 
and containing an account of certain occurrences in which Isaiah was 
concerned, the purpose of the addition being to round off the record 
of his prophetic work, just as the section 2 Kgs. xxiv. 18 — xxv. 30 was 
supplied at the end of the prophecies of Jeremiah (see Jer. Hi.). In regard 
to the arrangement of the three collections within the comprehensive 
work, cc. i. — xxxix., the separation of the two containing the bulk of 
Isaiah's prophecies by the group of oracles (mainly anonymous) con- 
cerning foreign nations may be accounted for by the desirability of 
bringing the Isaianic oracles treating of the deliverance from Assyria 
in the time of Hezekiah into close juxtaposition with the concluding 

1 Of the oracles to which headings are prefixed, the only one that does not 
apply to a foreign people is c. xxii. 
^ See Driver, LOT. p. 198. 


historical section which deals with the same period. Finally to this 
composite aggregate of Isaianic and other writings there were subjoined 
two other collections of anonymous prophecies, one (cc. xl. — Iv.)' com-^ 
posed in the sixth century between 546 and 538, and the other / 
(cc. Ivi. — Ixvi.) probably dating (save for the last two vv.) from the 
fifth century — not later than 445. 

The attachment to the prophecies of Isaiah of a number of others 
of different authorship is paralleled by what has taken place in the 
instances of Jeremiah and Zechariah, to whose writings there have like- 
wise been appended works of extraneous origin (see Jer. 1., li. 1 — 58, 
Zech. ix. — xiv.). Such a proceeding has perhaps in some cases been 
occasioned by a confusion of names, two prophets of different dates 
but bearing the same or similar appellations being mistaken for one 
another. The name Isaiah was not an uncommon one ; and instances 
of it in both its forms (see p. xvii) occur in 1 Ch. iii, 21, xxv. 3, 15, 
xxvi. 25, Ezra viii. 7, 19, Neh. xi. 7. But it is probable that more 
frequently such appended compositions were anonymous, and were 
attached to the writings of famous prophets either that they might 
be the better preserved, or even through the mere accident that a roll 
containing the work of a writer of note was only partially full. There 
must, however, have been a special reason why so large a number of 
anonymous writings have been appended to those of Isaiah, and it has 
been suggested that it has been due to the wish to render the works 
of that prophet considerable enough to be placed by the side of those 
of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, with whom it was deemed fitting that he 
should be associated^ Perhaps in the case of cc. xl. — Ixvi. a more 
plausible explanation of their position is the fact that in c. xxxix. 
Isaiah is represented as predicting a captivity in Babylon, and this"^ 
being identified with the deportation thither of Je\vish captives by [ 
Nebuchadrezzar, it may have been thought that so eminent a prophet 
must have foretold their release likewise, and these cc. were considered 
to contain his prediction of it. The ascription of them to him would 
be facilitated by the occurrence of a prophecy of the destruction of 
Babylon in the collection cc. xiii. — xxvii. In regard to some short 
passages of seemingly alien origin which are combined with Isaiah's 
authentic utterances, another reason has probably been operative. 
There was always sufficient motive amongst the Hebrews for the 

1 This collection seems itself to consist of two groups, viz. xl. — xlviii. and 
xlix. — Iv. 

- See Cheyne, Introd. to the Book of Isaiah, p. xvii. 



enlargement of their early writings by the inclusion of additional 
matter in the mere desire to make them more useful to later genera- 
tions, especially by stimulating in a distressed community hopes of 
deliverance and restoration. In antiquity generally, a sense of the 
rights of authorship was comparatively little manifested ; and writings 
were valued by the Hebrews more for their capability to edify than for 
their historic or literary interest. Hence Jews of the exilic or post-exilic 
periods would feel no hesitation in supplementing eighth century pro- 
phecies, if they were of a depressing character, by incorporating Avith 
them fresh prophecies of the consolatory tenor that contemporary 
conditions seemed to demand. Of the supplementary matter which 
may have been added from the motive described, examples are to be 
found in vi. 13 (last clause)^ xxviii. 5 — 6, and probably ii. 2 — 4. 

Of the dates when the successive collections were formed it is 
impossible to speak with confidence. Probably the process of uniting 
together the separate prophecies of Isaiah that were in circulation was 
begun by the prophet's personal followers, and some of the smaller 
collections are doubtless pre-exilic. Of the three larger collections 
that make up cc. i. — xxxix., the first and third, which consist mainly 
of Isaianic writings, are probably earlier than the second. But since 
each of them contains insertions of post-exilic origin (e.g. xi. 10 — xii. 6, 
xxiv. — xxvii., xxxii. 6 — 8, xxxiii. 21 — 24, xxxiv., xxxv.) none can 
have reached its present shape until the post- exilic age. The com- 
bination of the three into the composite work, cc. i. — xxxix., probably did 
not take place until the third century B.C., inasmuch as the historical 
section (cc. xxxvi.— xxxix.) which closes it seems not to have been trans- 
ferred from the books of Kings until after 300 B.C. : at any rate the writer 
of Chronicles (circ. 300 B.C.) whilst alluding to the vision of Isaiah 
as one of the authorities for the reign of Hezekiah (apparently with 
reference to what is related in cc. xxxviii., xxxix.) seems to impl}'- that 
it was contained in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel 
(2 Ch. xxxii. 32)^, and not in a collection of Isaiah's prophecies. In 
regard to cc. xl. — Iv. it may be inferred, from the fact that xliv. 28 
seems to be quoted in 2 Ch. xxxvi. 22, 23 (= Ezra i. 1, 2) as Jeremiah's', 
that in the time of the Chronicler {circ. 300) these cc. were stiU a 

1 This does not seem to have been inserted until after the production of the 
LXX. version, from which it is absent. 

2 This work is not identical with the canonical books of Kings (see Driver, 
iOr. p. 528). 

2 It is possible that the writer of Chronicles has in view Jer. xxix. 10, though 
this seems unlikely. 


separate work, and not yet incorporated with the writings of Isaiah. 
The addition, however, of both these cc. and cc. Ivi. — Ixvi. to the 
earlier compilation, cc. i. — xxxix., was presumably effected before the 
close of the third century b.o. The whole book, cc. i. — Lxvi., seems 
to have reached its present form by the beginning of the second 
century, since (as has been seen) reference is made to the last twenty- 
seven cc. as Isaiah's work in Ecclus. xlviii. 22 — 25, which probably 
dates from circ. 180 B.C. 

The following is an analysis of the book. The non-Isaianic parts 
of cc. i. — xxxix. are placed within brackets, small insertions being 

(i) Proto-Isaiah : cc. i. — xxxix. 

(a) First Collection : i. [ii. 2 — 4], ii. 5 — iv. 6, v. 1 — 7, x. 1 — 4 
+ v. 8—24, vi., vii.— viii., ix. 1—7, ix. 8— 21 -i-v. 25—30, x. 5— xi. 9, 
[xi. 10— xii. 6]. 

{b) Second Collection : [xiii. 1 — xiv. 23], xiv. 24 — 27, xiv. 28 — 
32, [xv. — xvi.], xvii. 1 — 11, xvii. 12 — 14, xviii., [xix.], xx., [xxi. 1 — 10, 
xxi. 11 — 12, xxi. 13 — 17], xxii. 1 — 14, xxii. 15 — 25, [xxiii.], [xxiv. — 

(c) Third Collection: xxviii. 1 — 6, xxviii. 7 — 29, xxix. 1 — xxxii. 8, 
xxxii. 9 — 20, xxxiii., [xxxiv. — xxxv.]. 

{d) Historical Supplement : [xxxvi. — xxxix.]. 

(ii) Deutero-Isaiah : cc. xl. — Iv. 
cc. xl. — xlviii., xlix. — Iv. 

(iii) Trito-Isaiah : cc. Ivi. — lxvi. 
Ivi. 1 — 8, Ivi. 9 — Ivii. 20, Iviii. — lix., Ix. — Ixii., Ixiii. 1 — 6, Ixiii. 7 — 
Ixiv. 12, Ixv. — lxvi. 


The Book of Isaiah in the N.T, 

The book of Isaiah is more frequently quoted in the N.T. than any other 
writing of the O.T. Many of its predictions and statements are described as 
" fulfilled " by incidents narrated in the Gospels or by conditions obtaining in 
the early Church ; whilst others, though not actually cited, have left their mark 
upon the language of St Paul and St John. In the notes attention is drawn to 
most of the passages to which reference is made by the N.T. writers ; but it 
will be of service to collect here the more important. 


Is. vi. 9 — 10 Matt. xiii. 14, 15, Joh. xii. 39, 40. 

vii. 14 Matt. i. 22, 23. 

ix. 1, 2 Matt. iv. 15, 16. 

xxix. 13 Mk. vii. 6, 7, Matt. xv. 8, 9. 

xl. 3—5 Mk. i. 2, 3, Matt. iii. 3, Luke iii. 4 — 6. 

xliL 1—4 Matt. xii. 18—21. 

xlix. 6 Acts xiii. 47. 

liii 1 Joh. xii, 38. 

liii. 4 Matt. viii. 17. 

liii. 7, 8 Acts viii. 32—35. 

Ixi. 1, 2 Luke iv. 18—21. 


Proto-Isaiah (cc. i. — xxxix.) 

§ 1. Hebrew Prophecy and its Credentials. 

Among the Semitic peoples, as among other races, it was believed 
that knowledge which was not ordinarily accessible to men, especially 
knowledge of the future, was sometimes imparted through special 
channels. It was thought that superhuman powers, which either con- 
trolled, or had cognizance of, coming events vouchsafed intimation 
of the same either (a) by means of signs in physical nature, or 
(6) through revelations made directly to the human mind. Informa- 
tion about future events was occasionally communicated to the 
individuals whom it concerned, without the agency of any medium 
specially qualified to convey or interpret it, the significance of 
physical portents or of dreams and other impressive psychical ex- 
periences being understood at once by those to whom such occurrences 
happened'. But usually the desired information was obtained through 
persons endowed with exceptional aptitudes for the function of re- 
vealing what the gods or other spiritual powers were willing to disclose. 
Those who claimed to be able to ascertain this secret knowledge through 
external objects were, as a class, called diviners, whilst those to whom 
revelations were made through visions, spiritual intuitions, or un- 
controllable impulses were usually described as seers or prophets. 

The ominous sights and sounds in the material world which con- 
stituted the province of the diviner were thought to occur everywhere ; 
and there were few things from which it was not believed that intima- 
tions, serviceable for human guidance, could be derived. Prominent 

1 See Gen. xx. 3, xxviii. 12 f., 1 Kgs. iii. 5. 


among the sources whence in antiquity omens could be deduced were 
those objects or creatures which seemed to be nearest to heaven, such 
as the stars, birds, and perhaps clouds. Others were trees with their 
quivering foliage, sacrificial victims, and the fall of lots. Augury- 
through birds prevailed chiefly among the Greeks and Romans \ and is 
scarcely mentioned in the Bible; but divination through the stars 
was widely prevalent among the Babylonians (Is. xlvii. 13)'^; and it 
is possible that the Heb. word commonly rendered soothsayer 
(Is. ii. 6) means an observer of clouds. Trees were believed by the 
Hebrews, as well as by the Greeks*, to convey Divine communications : 
there was an oak of the augurs near Shechem (Jud. ix. 37 mg.) ; and 
in David's time the rustling of the mulberry trees in the valley of 
Rephaim was taken as an indication that the Lord had gone out 
to battle (2 Sam. v. 22 — 24) ^ The use of sacred stones for the 
purpose of drawing lots is illustrated by the Urim and Thummim, which 
seem to have been two gems or pebbles carried in some receptacle, 
the fall of one or other, when the receptacle was shaken, being held 
to determine which of two alternatives was the right one (1 Sam. 
xiv. 41 LXX.)^ An appeal to the arbitrament of the lot is also 
implied in Jud. xx. 9, 1 Sam. x. 19 — 21, Jonah i. 7, though the 
means used is not stated. The shaking of arrows {helomancy), which 
perhaps had various alternatives inscribed on them, is mentioned in 
Ezek. xxi. 21 as employed by the king of Babylon ; and possibly a 
kindred method of augury by wands {rhahdomancy^ is referred to in 
Hos. iv. 12®. Divination by the drawing of lots was practised before 
images, which were presumably regarded as the source of the decisions 
obtained. Images used in this connection were the teraphim (Zech. 
X. 2, Ezek. xxi. 21), which must have been models of the human body 
or bust (cf. 1 Sam. xix. 13 — 16) and perhaps symbolized deceased 
ancestors (even if they were not actually mummies), and the ephod, 
which seems to have been a plated figure of some kind (Jud. viii. 

^ According to Cicero intimations of the future were thought to be obtainable 
from birds by the Cilicians, Pisidians, Phrygians, PamphyUans, and Arabians 
{de Div. I. §§ 2, 92, 94) ; and Tacitus asserts that the same belief prevailed among 
the Germans, though their distinctive practice was to deduce omens from the 
neighing and snorting of horses {Germ. x. §§ 3, 4). 

2 Cf. Cic. de Div. i. §§ 2, 91. 

* At Dodona oracles were obtained from an oak : cf. Horn. Od. xiv. 327 — 8, rbv 
5' is Au5ibv7]v <f>d.TO ^rjfj,fvai, 6<f>pa deo'io 'E/( Bpvbs v\j/iKbfioio Aios Pov\t)v iwaKOvffai. 

* Possibly the palm tree under which the prophetess Deborah sat when judging 
Israel (Jud. iv. 5) was regarded as a source of inspiration. 

5 Cf. McNeile, Exodus, pp. 182—184. 

6 Cf. Hdt. IV. 67, Tac. Germ. x. §§ 1—2. 


26, 27, xvii. 3 — 5, 1 Sam. xxi. 9), possibly representing Jehovah — 
at least this is suggested by passages like 1 Sam. xxiii. 9, 10 and 
XXX. 7, 8. Other methods of augury alluded to occasionally in the 
O.T. are hydromancy (Gen. xliv. 5, 15) and the inspection of the 
entrails of victims (Ezek. xxi. 21) \ whilst the rite of passing children 
through the fire (2 Kgs. xvi. 3, xxi. 6, Jer. xxxii. 35) was possibly 
practised with a similar end in view (see p. 363). 

Revelations conveyed directly to the human mind by spiritual 
beings might proceed from either ghosts or gods. When it was 
desired to consult the ghosts of the dead {necromancy) it was usual 
to apply to a class of persons who claimed to be able to raise spirits 
from the Under-world or otherwise bring them into communication 
with the living (1 Sam. xxviii. 3f , Is. viii. 19). But intimations from 
the dead could also be obtained by spending the night in the neighbour- 
hood of their tombs {incvhation, cf. Is. Ixv. 4)^ the dead man's spirit 
appearing or speaking to the sleeper in a dream. In Israel necro- 
mancy was held to be incompatible with fidelity to the Lord, and was 
early prohibited (Ex. xxii. 18, 1 Sam. xxviii. 3). Communications 
from gods were generally thought to be imparted through iirophets^. 
Prophets are mentioned in the O.T. as existing among several Semitic 
peoples beside the Hebrews, as, for example, the Syrians or Arameans, 
the nation whence Balaam came (Num. xxiii. 7), and the Phoenicians, 
whose god Baal, when his worship was introduced into Israel, was 
served by 450 prophets (1 Kgs. xviii. 19). Amongst the Hebrews 
Jehovah was believed to disclose His will alike by dreams ^ by Urim, 
and by prophets (1 Sam. xxviii. 6) ; but eventually divination by Urim 
passed into abeyance, and it was the prophets who came to be regarded 
as the normal channel for the Lord to employ in making known His 
mind to His people (Am. iii. 7, cf. Deut. xviii. 18), though the drawing 
of lots for the ascertainment of the Divine decision between two 
alternatives never altogether lost its attraction (cf. Acts i. 26). 

It is stated in 1 Sam. ix. 9 that one who in later times was called 

^ Cf. Diod. Sic. II. 29 (of the Babylonians), ow dffOipQi iroiovvre^ Kal to. irepl rrjv 

^ Cf. Cic. de Div. i. §88 (of Amphiaraus), ut ab eius solo, in quo est humatus, 
oracla peterentur. 

* A usual name for a prophet was a man of God (2 Kgs. iv. 22, 27, viii. 4). 

* So in Homer, dreams come from Zeus (11. i. 63). Pausanias (i. 34) relates 
that at Oropus Amphiaraus, who was there worshipped as a god, gave revelations 
by dreams. Oracles at Amphiclea were similarly given by Dionysus through 
dreams (id. x. 33). 


a prophet was, in the age of Samuel, called a seer. It does not appear, 
however, that the word prophet was not in use as early as the time 
of Samuel (see 1 Sam. x. 5, 10), but that it was employed in a more 
restricted sense than was common afterwards, seer and prophet being 
then appropriated to two diflferent classes. The term seer^ described 
one who possessed, or was credited with, an exceptional faculty of 
foresight, or of such insight as enabled him to discern facts which 
were not apparent to ordinary observers (see 1 Sam. ix. 6, 9, 20) ; 
whereas the term prophet was applied to a man mastered by some 
violent excitement or frenzy, both the exceptional faculty of the one 
and the excited condition of the other being attributed to Divine 
origin^ and regarded as means whereby God sought to influence the 
community at large. Seers were probably in general men of some 
individuahty and capacity, whilst the prophets of Samuel's time were men 
of emotional temperament who usually gathered in bands, a circum- 
stance which would naturally intensify the lack of self-control which 
characterized them. As the appearance of these bands coincided with 
the struggle of Israel against Philistine domination, it has been 
plausibly suggested that they were the spontaneous product of the 
insurrectionary movement, into which religious fanaticism must have 
largely entered (zeal for national independence and zeal for the 
nation's God being in that age practically indistinguishable). Pro- 
phesying was originally the raving of these frenzied zealots ^ whose 
utterances were often stimulated by music (1 Sam. x. 5, cf. 2 Kgs. 
iii. 15)*. What they said in their excited state (attributed as this 
was to the influence of the spirit of God, cf. 1 Sam. x. 10, 11) led them 
to be regarded as " forth-tellers " of things Divine, or perhaps "spokes- 
men " for God (see Jer. xv. 19, and cf. Ex. iv. 16), though at first much of 
their speech must have been only half-intelligible ^ But such com- 
panies of wild enthusiasts, which most periods of religious conflict 
tended to create, were capable of being organized and turned to 

1 Hebrew has two words for seer, nXI and n.lh (1 Sam. ix. 9, 1 Ch. ix. 22, 
xxix. 29, 2 Ch. xvi. 7, 2 Sam. xxiv. 11, Am. vii. 12, etc.). 

2 Cf. Verg. A. vi. 78, 79 (of the Sibyl), Bacchatur vates magnum si pectore possit 
Excussisse deum. 

* Cf. 1 Kgs. xviii. 29 (of the prophets of Baal). 

■* The term prophesying came to be used in connection with the musical service 
of the Temple (1 Ch. xxv.'l, 3). 

5 The word X'33 (prophet) seems to be akin to an Arabic root which in certain 
conjugations means to acquaint, inform, cf. also the Assyrian nabu, call, proclaim, 
name. But some connect it with the root y33 to bubble up, pour forth. See Lex. 
s.v. and W. R. Smith, The Prophets of Israel, pp. 390—391. 


account; and at a later date bodies of men called sons of the prophets^ 
were settled in orderly communities or guilds (perhaps at sanctuaries, 
2 Kgs. ii, 3, 5) under the direction of some influential leader (1 Sam. 
xix. 20, 2 Kgs. iv. 38, vi. 1), who presumably trained them in his own 
religious faith and ideals, and used them as agents in promoting the 
purposes which he had at heart (2 Kgs. ix. 1 f.). 

The function of the earliest seers, so far as can be judged from 
the narrative in 1 Sam. ix., did not necessarily involve any ethical 
qualities ; and probably the chief ethical feature about the companies 
of prophets in the time of Samuel was their patriotism : but from the 
age of Samuel onwards^ there emerged from among both these classes 
(which became indistinguishable, the names seer axidi prophet hemg used 
synonymously, cf. 1 Sam. xxii. 5 with 2 Sam. xxiv. 11)^ a succession 
of men conspicuous for their spirituality and for the decisiveness with 
which they affirmed moral principles before kings and people alike. 
The germ of the later ethical prophetism existed, no doubt, earlier than 
the age of Samuel. Moses is termed, not inappropriately, a prophet 
in Deut. xxxiv. 10, Hos. xii. 13 ; and so far as he was responsible for 
the earliest Hebrew legislation, he must have had moral aims in view. 
Unfortunately, however, it is impossible to decide how much of the 
Pentateuchal laws date from Mosaic times, since even the most 
ancient, such as those contained in the two decalogues (Ex. xx. 1 — 17, 
xxxiv. 12 — 26), and in the book of the covenant (Ex. xxi. — xxiii.), 
shew traces of having assumed their present form after the conquest of 
Canaan, when Israel first began to practise agriculture. Probably 
they were all framed in a greater or less degree under the influence of 
prophets contemporary with the early monarchy; but it will be 
sufficient in this brief notice of prophetic activity prior to Isaiah 
(which is intended merely as a preliminary to an account of that 
prophet) to illustrate the spirit of early prophecy from the records 
comprised in the historical books, only citing a few parallels from the 
earliest legislative codes. 

The features in the history of the prophets from Samuel to Isaiah 
which are of most interest for the purpose of comparison are three. 

(a) The prophets were the champions of the religion of Jehovah 

^ In this connectioQ sons is equivalent to disciples : cf. the correlative father in 
1 Sam. X. 12. 

* In Acts iii. 24 the succession of prophets is represented as beginning with 

' Compare the powers of the prophets Elisha in 2 Kgs. v. 26, vi. 12 and Ahijah 
in 1 Kgs. xiv. 4 — 6 with those of the seer Samuel in 1 Sam. ix, 20. 


whenever its claim to the exclusive allegiance of the people was 
threatened by the intrusion into the laud of foreign cults (which 
generally followed the contracting of alliances with external powers^). 
In combating alien religions in Israel they did not hesitate to use or 
support violence. Elijah put to death the priests of the Tyrian Baal, 
and Elisha instigated Jehu to conspire against Jehoram, whose father 
Ahab had been responsible for tolerating the Baal worship to which 
his wife Jezebel was devoted. The wholesale massacres by which Jehu 
exterminated the house of Ahab and which afterwards evoked the 
censure of the prophet Hosea (i. 4) seem to have been approved by 
Elisha. It seems probable, too, that the prophet Ahijah contributed 
to the disruption of the kingdom in the reign of Rehoboam by 
encouraging the ambition of Jeroboam, his motive being indignation 
at the erection by Solomon of shrines for the foreign deities worshipped 
by his wives ^ 

{b) The prophets were the upholders of social moraKty, and 
denounced acts of outrage and oppression committed by the powerful 
upon the weak*. Their conception of the nature and character of the 
Lord was ethically a high one, and it led them to condemn in His 
name deeds of tyranny. Nathan rebuked David for compassing the 
death of Uriah and committing adultery with his wife, and announced 
that punishment from the Lord would overtake him for his sin; 
whilst Elijah, when Ahab obtained the vineyard of Naboth after 
Jezebel had brought about the death of its owner, assured the king 
that the blood of the murdered man would be required of his house. 
From the narrative of the deaths of Jehoram and Jezebel at the hands 
of Jehu it would appear that antagonism to Baal worship was only one 
of the causes behind the successful conspiracy, and that Elijah's de- 
nunciation of Naboth's murder first prompted Jehu to his work of 

(c) But whilst the prophets here under consideration were not 
backward in denouncing religious and moral offences, there was absent 
from their denunciations any foreboding of overwhelming disaster in 
store for their country. Though defeats and other calamities were 
from time to time predicted for the nation by reason of the sins of 

1 Cf. Ex. XX. 3, xxii. 20, xxiii. 24. 

^ Another prophet, Shemaiah, opposed Rehoboam's attempt to recover his lost 
provinces (1 Egs. xii. 21 — 24). 

* Cf. the prohibitions in Ex. xx. — xxiii. against wronging the stranger, the 
fatherless and the widow (xxii, 21 — 24) and wresting the judgment of the poor 
(xxiii. 6). 


its rulers (1 Kgs. xxii.), there was no prevailing tone of pessimism in 
regard to the future. In the nation's conflicts with foreign enemies 
the prophets were generally sources of confidence to their countrymen. 
Samuel was instrumental in giving the people a king to deliver them 
from the Philistines S just as Deborah before him had inspired Barak 
to put an end to the domination of the Canaanites ; whilst both Elijah 
and Elisha were thought to afford to Israel a defence as valuable as 
chariots and horses (2 Kgs. ii. 12, xiii. 14, cf. vi. 10). 

When, however, about the middle of the eighth century there arose 
a succession of prophets who used literature^ as a means for preserving 
and disseminating their oracles and of whom Isaiah was one of the 
earliest, they presented some striking contrasts to their predecessors. 
Like them, indeed, they strenuously opposed any divided allegiance 
on the part of the nation between the Lord and other gods ; and like 
them they championed the cause of the weak and defenceless against 
the oppression of the powerful. But in seeking to put an end to 
corruption both in religion and morals they did not ally themselves 
with men of violence, or try to subvert by force the established 
authorities. The means they used to direct the national policy and to 
conduct it into the right channels was moral suasion only : and when 
it failed, they patiently awaited the judgment which they anticipated 
would ensue, and which they expected the Lord to execute through 
the agency of foreign invaders. And they differed likewise from 
their predecessors in taking a more sombre view of the condition of their 
countrymen and the fate which they merited. In proportion as their 
own conception of the Lord's spirituality and holiness became more 
elevated, the sins of the people appeared more heinous, and their 
impending punishment more certain and severe. They believed that 
the forbearance of the Lord was well-nigh exhausted, and there was 
in store for the majority of the guilty nation captivity in a distant 
land (Am. v. 4, 5, 27, Hos. ix. 17, Is. v. 13, cf. Jer. xliv. 22). 

It was the conviction of the Hebrew prophets that they were 
directly commissioned by the Lord Himself to speak and act on His 
behalf. They were empowered by His spirit to declare unto His 

1 The account in 1 Sam. ix. 1 — x. 16, which represents the institution of the 
kingship as a token of Divine favour, is older and probably more historic than that 
in viii., x. 17 — 11, which describes the popular demand for a king as an offence 
against the Lord. 

■ The Chronicler, indeed, refers to prophetic writings of much earlier date 
(see 1 Ch. xxix. 29, 2 Ch. ix. 29, xii. 15, xiii. 22, xx. 34) : on the subject of such 
references see Driver, LOT. p. 529 f. 


people their sins (Mic. iii. 8) ; they were made acquainted with 
His secret purposes (Am. iii. 7) ; and the words which they spake 
they believed to be put into their mouth by Him (Ezek, ii. 8 — iii. 3), 
and to be the forerunners of His certain chastisements (Jer. i. 9, 10, 
Hos. vi. 5). Several of the prophets describe the precise circumstances 
in which they thought themselves to have been charged with the 
Divine mandate (Am. vii. 14, 15, Is. vi., Jer. i. 4 f., Ezek. i. 1 f.). But 
the occasions which they represent to have been decisive of their 
vocation and to have determined their life's work were probably in 
many cases only the culmination of a protracted process of reflection. 
Being men of strong spiritual faith and acute ethical perceptions, they 
would be keenly sensitive to the religious and moral conditions of their 
age ; and if their final apprehension of the truth, and of their duty 
in regard to it, was sometimes gained in a moment of sudden illumina- 
tion, it was doubtless the result of impressions which had been long 
accumulating. And whether the impulse to speak to their countrymen 
in the Lord's name came slowly or suddenly, there was attached to 
it a feeling of authoritativeness which they could not disregard, and 
which overpowered in them all considerations for their own safety or 
welfare (Jer. i. 8, 17, xx. 7—18, Ezek. ii. 6). 

But a Hebrew prophet's own conviction that he was authorized by 

the Lord to speak for Him was not one which could be conveyed to 

others without some proof. At all times probably there were numerous 

rival prophets, who equally claimed the Lord's authority for their 

utterances. Between such conflicting claims some criterion was 

necessary ; and among the tests to which appeal was made when the 

authority of a prophet was in dispute were the working of signs and 

the fulfilment of predictions. It was believed that none could work 

signs unless God were with him (cf. Job. iii. 2) ; and the performance 

of marvels by prophets and others claiming a Divine commission, as 

a means of establishing their pretensions, was common in early Hebrew 

history (Ex. iv. 1 — 9, vii. 8 — 12, 1 Sam. xii. 16 — 18). But it was not 

an infaUible test (see Ex. vii. 22, viii. 7, cf. Deut. xiii. 2, 3) ; and from 

the eighth century onwards recorded instances of prophets resorting to 

such proofs of authority are extremely rare, though Isaiah is related 

on one occasion to have given a sign of a marvellous nature, in order 

to inspire confidence in his assertions (xxxviii. 4 — 8). Ordinarily, it 

was the faculty of prediction which was regarded as the distinguishing 

mark of a genuine prophet. Prevision was an inherent attribute of 

Deity, and in Is. xlii. 9, xliv. 8, xlv. 21 emphasis is expressly laid upon 


the Lord's predictive power as contrasted with that of other gods, 
appeal being made to Israel's experience of it (xliii. 10). And since 
the Hebrew prophets professed to be the channels through which 
the Lord disclosed His purposes (Am. iii. 7), their ability to foretell 
the future correctly became the test by which they were willing to be 
judged, if their claims to speak for the Lord were challenged. Thus, 
when conflicting prophecies were uttered by Jeremiah and Hananiah, 
the former, to decide between them, appealed to the principle that 
when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet 
he knoivn whom the Lord hath truly sent (Jer. xxviii. 9 mg.). In Dent, 
xviii. 21, 22 the converse rule is affirmed, and the non-occurrence of 
a predicted event is explicitly declared to be the decisive proof that 
the prophet predicting it had spoken presumptuously and not by the 
inspiration of the Lord (cf 1 Kgs. xxii. 28). To such a test as this, 
however, the foremost Hebrew prophets were not uniformly equal, even 
if allowance is made for the conditional character of many prophecies, 
which, uttered as warnings, were calculated to avert the very evils 
predicted, and so to defeat their own accomplishment (cf Jer. xxvi. 12 f., 
xviii. 7, 8, xxxvi. 1 — 3, Jonah iii. 4 — 10). But even the accurate fulfil- 
ment of a prediction, if it related to a distant occasion, or involved some 
irremediable catastrophe, might establish too late the authority of the 
prophet who uttered it (cf. Ezek. xii. 22). A prophecy that a course 
of action contemplated by the people was destined, if persisted in, 
to bring destruction on those responsible for it would be useless as 
a warning against such action unless the prophet could previously 
convince his countrymen that he was worthy of credence. And since 
prophets generally had a practical end in view, and sought to influence 
their own generation, a more immediate test than the one described 
in Jer. xxviii. 9 and Deut. xviii. 21, 22 was needed ; and a surer, if 
less impressive, one was afi"orded by a comparison between a prophet's 
message and the principles of the religion of Jehovah. A prophet 
could be put to the proof by the agreement or disagreement of his 
teaching with the nation's historic faith, in which, if he were really 
a messenger of the Lord, he would seek to confirm his countrymen ; 
whereas if he sought to seduce the people from the worship of the 
Lord to that of other gods, he would shew himself undeserving of 
confidence, even though he were supported by signs that came to pass, 
for such signs might be wrought by the Lord's permission in order to 
try His people (Deut. xiii. 2, 3). The issue did not turn upon a mere 
question of names. The essence of Israel's religion was not the worship 


of a deity distinguished by a certain appellation, but a deity dis- 
tinguished by certain qualities of character, the like of which He 
demanded in His people. Hence the test just described turned upon 
the ethical standard which was held up by the prophets before the 
nation, the true prophets being discernible from the false by the more 
exacting claims which, as the Lord's representatives, they made upon 
the people for justice, rectitude, and purity. And since during the last 
half century prior to the destruction of Samaria and the last century 
and a half preceding the fall of Jerusalem there were rife in both Israel 
and Judah crimes and abuses which were calculated to provoke the 
anger of the Lord, a simple criterion between the two classes of prophets 
was the tenor of their predictions. Many who professed to speak for the 
Lord were men of debased character (Is. xxviii. 7, Zeph. iii. 4, Jer. 
xxiii. 14, xxix. 23); whilst others, if not themselves vicious, were tolerant 
of evil in their countrymen. These, having no fear of a Divine judgment 
waiting upon the national corruption, prophesied not evil but good 
(Mic. iii. 5, Jer. vi. 14, xiv. 13, 14, xxiii. 17, cf. 1 Kgs. xxii. 6, 23), and 
thereby proved themselves to speak a vision o/ their own heart, and not 
out of the mouth of the Lord. On the other hand, if a prophet 
predicted evil for the land because of its wickedness, he to that extent 
evinced insight into the Divine character (Mic. iii. 8, Is. Iviii. 1). 
A righteous God could not permanently allow unrighteousness to go 
unpunished (cf. Jer. v. 9) ; and a prophet who foresaw and foretold the 
coming retribution thereby attested that he had stood in the Lord's 
council and revealed His mind. 

§ 2. The Life and Times of Isaiah. 

Of the personal life of the prophet Isaiah everything that is really 
known is either stated in the book that bears his name, or is inferred 
from its contents, although about the history of his times much 
additional information is forthcoming from the Assyrian inscriptions. 
His name (meaning salvation of Jehovah or Jehovah is salvation) 
is a synonym of Joshua or Jeshua and is spelt in two forms — ^^)VP\ 
(i. 1, ii. 1, xiii. 1, xxxvii. 2, 21), and ^\W\ (in the title of the book) : 
LXX. 'Ho-atas. Neither the year of his birth nor the year of his 
death is recorded ; and all that is related respecting the duration of 
his prophetic ministry is that it began in the last year of the reign 
of Uzziah, and continued through the reigns of Jotham and Ahaz 
into the reign of Hezekiah, as far, at least, as the year 701. This 


leaves the precise length of it undetermined, since the date of Uzziah's 
death is uncertain ; but inasmuch as that event probably occurred 
about 740 or 738, Isaiah's prophetic career must have extended over 
i at least 40 years. He was one of the earliest of the literary prophets, 
and contemporary with Hosea, Amos, and Micah. His father's name 
was Amoz (P^^) : and he himself was married (viii. 3) and father of 
at least two children \ who were called Shear -jashub (vii. 3) and 
Maher-shalal-hash-baz (viii. 1 — 4). Jerusalem, if not his home, was, 
at any rate, the chief scene of his activity. It was there that his call 
took place (vi. 1) ; it was there that he had interviews with Ahaz and 
Hezekiah (vii. 3, xsxix. 3) ; only there could appeals to the people, 
such as those described in viii. 1, xx. 2, xxx. 8, have been made with 
effect ; and sights which he witnessed there are alluded to in his 
prophecies (iii. 16 f., xxii. 1, 16). There is some reason for supposing 
that he was a man of rank and distinction in the state ; for he could 
summon the high-priest Uriah to act as his witness (viii. 2), the 
politicians of Judah deemed it important to conceal from him such 
of their schemes as they expected him to disapprove of (xxix. 15, 
xxx. 1), instead of attempting to suppress his opposition by violence, 
and his influence seems to have been great enough to bring about the 
displacement of the minister Shebna from his original office (xxii. 
15 — 23, cf. xxxvi. 3). Besides being the author of many of the 
prophecies included in the book to which he gives a title, he is 
credited in 2 Ch. xxvi. 22, xxxii. 32 with having written a history 
of Uzziah, and a " vision " relating the acts of Hezekiah. To these 
statements and inferences of a late source, still later and doubtless 
altogether untrustworthy tradition adds that his father Amoz was 
a brother of king Uzziah's father Amaziah (thus representing Isaiah 
to have been of royal lineage), and that the prophet outlived king 
Hezekiah and was put to death in his old age by Manasseh (cf. Asc. Is. 
v. 1, 11, Just. Mart. c. Tryph. 120), being sawn in sunder with 
a wooden saw (cf. Heb. xi. 37). In Asc. Is. iv. 22 his father Amoz is 
confused with the prophet Amos (oiDy) ^ 

The circumstances in which Isaiah received his prophetic call are 
recorded by himself in c. vi., where he relates how in the Temple at 
Jerusalem he had a vision of the Lord, Who empowered him to become 
His messenger to His people. Unlike Jeremiah, who, when he ex- 

^ Some scholars have thought that he had three children and that Immanuel 
(vii. 14) was the first-born son of a second wife (see p. 52). 
* The names Amoz and Arnos are not distinguished in the LXX. 


. ,,, Divine caU, shewed -'-"^ ^^^^^l^^^^ 
perienced a;-^»,XUt to. the Lord's ^-^'^J^ Jffences 
spontaneously ofeed ^^^ dennnoaUon oflu^e »„ y^^^ ^^^^^ 

''tthe'redit'n of national d.saste. ^^^ ^^^.^^ „f j.^Uee ; 
:fid^tr^ oppression inte.p«™--;;j 1^^^^ 
Ind I--^';»^^tr r^rouTUution fro. the Lord- But^-* 
'T TtTnt- 1 "ondition of the ^^--t Xy strength 
;t;ls*;o;eUhyanlrr^^^^^^^^^ TheLord- 

Z its foreign ^^-''"^•/"t'!* °* of Judahs pohtio.ans, as we 1 as b^ 
-A Ui7 the self-surhciency ui ^ v>rnfl\2acv of its uppei 


, regenerate co«.™» ^ J^one its work (viii. 16). 

for the state as a whole toa ao ^^^^ ^^,go o( Uman 



Uzziah in Judah also developed the military resources of his kingdom ; 
he conducted successful wars against the Philistines and Arabians ; 
and he received tokens of homage from the more distant Ammonites 
(2 Ch. xxvi. 6 — 8). Agriculture was encouraged (2 Ch. xxvi. 10), 
and commerce was fostered by the facilities arising from the possession 
of the port of Elath (or Eloth) on the Red Sea (2 Kgs. xiv. 22). But 
in both countries prosperity brought vices in its train. In Israel there 
prevailed a tone of national pride and arrogance which took no account 
of the judgments with which the Lord had previously humbled the 
nation (ix. 9, 10) ; and this irreligious self-confidence was accompanied 
by idolatry, luxury, and sensuality (xxviii. 1—4). In Judah the re- 
sultant conditions were similar. There, too, the increase of wealth and 
of military strength (2 Ch. xxvi. 11 — 15, cf. Is. ii. 7) had produced a 
proud sense of security ; the inclination to idolatry was fostered by 
foreign trade, which led to the introduction of foreign superstitions 
(ii. 6); drunkenness was common (v. 11, 22); and a spirit of scepticism 
and a confusion of moral distinctions penetrated society (v. 19, 20). 
The accumulation of riches enabled the wealthier classes to acquire 
most of the land of the country (v. 8, cf. Mic. ii. 2), and so tended to 
(impair and to destroy the independence of the poor. Nor was the evil 
of the existence of a large landless and dependent class brought about 
only by the action of economic forces. Justice was corrupt (i. 23, 
V. 23) ; and the expropriation of the peasant proprietors was accom- 
plished by dishonest means (iii. 14, 15). It was the prevalence of 
these and other abuses which first impelled Isaiah to undertake the 
work of religious and social reform. He foresaw that the continuance of 
them could only rouse the resentment of a holy and righteous God, and 
that a heavy judgment was impending over both branches of the 
Hebrew people. 

But Isaiah's religious faith not only led him to foresee that the 
conduct of his countrymen was bound to bring chastisement upon 
them : his political foresight enabled him to discern the form in which 
it would come and the agency by which it would be inflicted. N.E. of 
Palestine lay the empire of Assyria. Its situation, on the western 
side of the mountains of Kurdistan, pointed to the W. as the direction 
of its natural expansion ; and as early as 1120 — 1115 Assyrian kings 
began to push their arms towards the Mediterranean. The Hebrew 
people first came into collision with it in the reign of Ahab of Israel. 
In 854 an Israelite contingent was sent to support the king of Hamath 
against it, and the allied forces, which included auxiliaries from 


Damascus, Ammon, Arvad, and other smaller nationalities, met with 
a severe defeat at the battle of Karkar^ Jehu, Ahab's successor, found 
it expedient to send tokens of homage to the Assyrian king Shal- 
maneser II., and a list of his presents is preserved on the Black obelisk 
in the British Museum. But in spite of this, Assyria for some time 
was not a serious menace to the Hebrew states". It was not until the 
succession of Tiglath-pileser III. (the Pul of 2 Kgs. xv. 19), about the 
time when Isaiah entered upon his prophetic ministry, that Assyrian 
enterprise began gravely to endanger Israel and Judah ; but from that 
time onward for more than a century the westward progress of Assyrian 
invasion suffered little interruption. The possession of Palestine was 
coveted both for its own intrinsic value and for ulterior reasons. The 
range of Lebanon produced quantities of excellent timber ; thfe ports 
of Phoenicia were centres of maritime trade ; and the plains of Jezreel 
(Esdraelon) and Sharon were extremely fertile. But in addition to these 
attractions Palestine offered access to the countries lying to the S. of 
it. It commanded the roads to Egypt and N.W. Arabia; and in 
consequence its occupation was essential for any Eastern power that 
contemplated an attack upon those rich lands. An ordinary political 
observer could not mistake the sinister significance which the advance 
of Assyria had for the two Hebrew peoples. But Isaiah, who believed 
that the destinies of nations were controlled by the Lord, and who 
felt that his own race deserved punishment for their want of faith and 
for their moral offences, traced in the movements of Assyria a Divine 
purpose, and saw in its menacing hosts the agency whereby the Lord 
designed to chastise first Israel and then Judah. 

/ Isaiah's writings, if arranged chronologically, according to the 
crises which form the subject of them, may conveniently be divided 
into four groups. Of these, one includes prophecies dating from the 
last year of Uzziah, the reign of Jotham, and the early years of Ahaz; 
a second comprises prophecies belonging to the time of the Syro- 
Ephraimite war, in the reign of Ahaz, which eventually led to the fall 
of Samaria in 722 ; whilst the other two consist of utterances evoked 
by two distinct occasions in the reign of Hezekiah. The contents of 
these various groups of writings, and their relation to the particular 
circumstances that called them forth are explained in the course of 
the commentary : it will be expedient here to bring them into connec- 

1 See Sohrader, COT. i. pp. 185—186. 

^ Shalmaneser's campaigns against Damascus (Sohrader, COT.i. pp. 200, 201), 
were indirectly of service to Israel by relieving it of Syrian pressure. 



tion with the main features of Assyrian history during the period 
which they cover. 

1. From the end of Uzziah's reign to the beginning of the reign 
of Ahaz (prior to 734) : — («) cc. vi., i. (part), ii.— iv., v. 1 — 24, x. 1 — 4, 
xxxii. 9—20 (Judah); {h) ix. 8— 21 + v. 25—30 (Israel). 

During this period (as lias been explained) the condition of both 
Israel and Judah was very prosperous. The former country in the reign 
of Jehoahaz had suffered severely from Syria under Hazael and his son 
Ben-hadad (2 Kgs. xiii. 3) ; but Syria met with a serious reverse from 
Assyria under Ramman-nirari III., or Adad-nirari (811 — 783)\ and this 
so crippled it that not only was Israel delivered from further Syrian 
attacks (cf. 2 Kgs. xiii. 5) but in the reign of Jeroboam, the grandson 
of Jehoahaz, its territory underwent great expansion. The develop- 
ment of both Israel and Judah in the time of Jeroboam and his 
contemporary Uzziah was assisted by a period of inactivity and 
weakness on the part of Assyria after its successes over Syria^; and 
the increase of wealth in both the Hebrew states brought with it 
the moral evils which Isaiah describes in the prophecies enumerated 

2. From 734 {the 8yro-Ephraimite coalition against Judah) to 
722 {the fall of Samaria) : — {a) cc. vii. — viii. (Judah) ; (6) cc. xvii. 
1 — 11 (Israel and Damascus), xxviii. 1 — 4 (6) (Israel). 

Assyrian military enterprise was revived by Tiglath-pileserlll. (745 — 
727), whose energy began to menace anew the smaller Palestinian nation- 
alities. Among the first to suffer were Arpad and Hamath, which were 
captured in 740 and 738 respectively (cf. Is. x. 9)^ Damascus and 
Israel, under Rezin and Menahem, saved themselves for a time from 
destruction by becoming tributary (cf. 2 Kgs. xv. 19, 20)*; but both 
nations chafed under the yoke, and both eventually revolted. It seems 
likely that Damascus was the fiurst to move, and that it attacked 
Israel which, under Menahem and his son Pekahiah, remained loyal 
to its suzerain (cf. Is. ix. 12 and note). But Pekahiah, after a short 
reign, was murdered by an anti-Assjnrian faction headed by Pekah, 
who mounted the throne; and a coalition was then formed between 
Damascus and Israel (in which Gaza and some other states joined) for 
mutual defence against Assyria. To strengthen the confederation the 
allies sought to induce Judah (where Uzziah had been followed on 

1 Rogers, HBA. ii. p. 96. 2 Rogers, HBA. 11. pp. 101—103. 

s Rogers, HBA. 11. pp. 117, 121. * Schrader, COT. i. p. 245. 


the throne by Jotham) to enter into it; and when Jotham was 
succeeded by Ahaz, they invaded the country in order to compel 
compliance. But both Damascus and Israel were exhausted by war, 
and the latter probably by anarchy as well (cf. Is. ix. 19 — 21); and 
Isaiah confidently predicted that the two hostile nations would them- 
selves within a very brief interval be devastated by invaders (vii. 16, 
viii. 1—4). It was clear, indeed, that before long Ass5a-ia, in the 
pursuit of its own projects, would crush both of them. But Ahaz, 
in his alarm, would not heed Isaiah's assurances and determined to 
seek help from the power which his foes wished to coerce him into 
resisting. He accordingly became tributary to Tiglath-pileser\ thereby 
placing a foreign yoke upon his country and exposing it to the 
certainty of invasion in the event of the tribute being refused (2 Kgs. 
xvi. 7, 8). For the moment, however, the desired relief from the 
attack of Rezin and Pekah was secured. In 734 Tiglath-pileser, 
presumably detaching some of his forces to keep Rezin in check, 
invaded Ephraim and Philistia. Hanno, the king of Gaza, fled, 
whilst Pekah of Israel saw his eastern and northern provinces ravaged 
and their inhabitants deported (2 Kgs. xv. 29). Two years later 
(732) the Assyrian king turned his attention to Syria, took Damascus, 
and killed Rezin (2 Kgs. xvi. 9). Shortly after this Pekah was 
murdered by Hoshea {circ. 730), whom Tiglath-pileser appointed to 
succeed him as an Assyrian vassal. But Tiglath-pileser died in 727 ; 
and against his successor Shalmaneser IV. (727 — 722) Hoshea revolted^ 
In consequence, Samaria was besieged in 724, and endured a blockade 
of more than two years. In the course of the siege Shalmaneser died 
and was succeeded by Sargon II. (722—705), who in 722 took the city, 
and deported its inhabitants to different provinces of the Ass)a'ian 
empire, replacing them by a population drawn from other countries 
(2 Kgs. xvii. 5, 6)'. 

3. The years 713 — 711 {Sargon! s siege of Ashdod) : — c. xx. 

The date of Ahaz' death and Hezekiah's accession is uncertain, 
but the latter must have succeeded his father not later than 714 
(see p. xli). At the beginning of Hezekiah's reign Judah was a 

^ The fact is recorded in Tiglath-pileser's inscriptions (Schrader, COT. i. 
p. 255), where Ahaz is called Jehoahaz. 

- Hoshea relied for support upon Egypt (2 Kgs. xvii. 4), though it is disputed 
whether the So (or Seve) mentioned by the historian of Kings is the Pharaoh 
Shabaka or a petty prince of the Delta. For the fluctuations of Israel's policy 
cf. Hos. V. 13, vii. 11. 

3 Cf. Schrader, i. p. 264. 


vassal of Assyria ; but it was not long before it grew restive, and in 
713 a spirit of disaffection was manifested both in it and in the 
neighbouring states of Philistia, Edom and Moab, which were also 
subject to Assyria ^ The centre of disloyalty seems to have been the 
Philistine city of Ashdod; and hopes were entertained of assistance 
being forthcoming from Egypt or (as some authorities think) from 
Muzri, a country of N. Arabia. Isaiah exposed the futility of such 
hopes, and, probably in consequence of his warnings, Judah escaped 
being seriously compromised, for although Sargon sent an expedition 
against Ashdod, which was taken in 711 ^ there is no evidence of an 
Assyrian invasion of Judah at this time^ The same year 713 is most 
likely the date when Hezekiah received an embassy from Merodach- 
baladan of Babylon, which probably conveyed proposals to Hezekiah 
for a mutual alliance against Assyria (see c. xxxix. and cf. Jos. Ant. 
X. ii. 2). To such proposals, if made, Isaiah offered strong opposition, 
and the embassy proved resultless. 

4. The years 705 — 701 {Sennacherib's invasion of Judah) : — cc. xiv, 
28 — 32, xviii., xxii., xxix. — xxxii., i. (part), xvii. 12 — 14, x. 5 — 34, 
xxxiii., ix. 1 — 7, xi. 1 — 9, xxxii. 1 — 8. 

Sargon died in 705, and was succeeded by Sennacherib (705 — 681). 
The change of sovereign renewed in many of Assyria's vassals hopes 
of regaining their independence. Philistia sent an embassy to Judah 
to exchange views, and if possible, to organize a revolt (Is. xiv. 28 — 32). 
A second embassy with promise of support came from Shabaka, the 
Ethiopian ruler of Egypt (Is. xviii.), to whom the prospect of the 
re-conquest of the revolting Palestinian states by Assyria was fraught 
with danger. All such overtures met with opposition from Isaiah, 
whose counsel to his countrymen was to refrain from embroiling them- 
selves in the insurrectionary movement and to await events in reliance 
upon the Lord. But his efforts to guide his country's policy at this 
juncture proved vain. The people became infected with the spirit of 
the neighbouring states. Most of the cities of Phoenicia and Philistia, 
together with Moab and Edom, were refusing tribute and disavowing 
allegiance to Assyria. They had the support of the North Arabian 
countries of Muzri and Meluhhi, and no doubt received fresh promises 

1 Eogers, HBA. ii. p. 169. ^ Scbrader, COT. ii. pp. 90, 91. 

' Sargon in his inscriptions once claims to have subdued Judah (Schrader, 
COT. I. p. 178) ; but the occasion alluded to is uncertain (id. ii. p. 100), and 
there is no confirmation of the claim. 


of aid from Egypt'. At the same time Merodach-baladan, who in 710 
had been driven from the throne of Babylon by Sargon, was again in 
possession of it. Consequently in Judah a war party, probably led by 
Shebna, obtained the ascendancy. Negotiations were conducted with 
Egypt, from which reinforcements of cavalry were expected (xxx. 2, 
xxxi. 1), in spite of Isaiah's emphatic assurances that Egypt always 
disappointed those that trusted her (xxx. 5 — 7, cf xxxvi. 6). The people 
of Ekron had dethroned their king Padi, who was probably a nominee 
of Assyria and remained loyal, and Hezekiah undertook to receive him 
and keep him under arrest. He also introduced into Jeru.salem a body 
of Arabian troops in order to strengthen its garrison. Such a policy 
and such preparations could have only one issue ; but the populace 
of Jerusalem faced it confidently, and contemplated with light-hearted- 
ness the invasion which was bound to follow (xxii, 1 — 14). 

As has been seen, the counsel recommended by Isaiah at the 
beginning of this crisis differed from that which he tendered in 735. 
On the earlier occasion he sought to dissuade x\haz from becoming 
the vassal of Assyria ; whereas now he advised his successor to remain 
loyal to his suzerain. His advice in each case shewed statesmanship. 
He estimated aright the relative strength of the smaller Palestinian 
nationalities and Assyria; and saw that neither Damascus and 
Ephraim in the time of Ahaz, nor Judah and its allies in the time 
of Hezekiah could withstand the empire on the Tigris. But on both 
occasions he was actuated more by religious principles than by political 
calculations. He consistently advocated political inaction in reliance 
upon the Lord's protection (vii. 7, xxx. 15), and trusted that the 
nation, its tranquillity undisturbed by foreign entanglements, might 
turn its energies in the direction of social and religious reforms. On 
both occasions, too, his counsel was disregarded, and the rulers of 
the country placed more confidence in their own statecraft than in 
their God. At the present crisis, when the country, penetrated with 
a spirit of self-confidence and unbelief, was committed to a struggle 
with Assyria, Isaiah felt that its conduct only aggravated its previous 
offences, and that a heavy chastisement was in store for it (xxviii. 
7 — 29). He anticipated that numbers of the people would be carried 

1 It is here assumed that the Muzri mentioned in Sennacherib's inscription 
(see p. xxvii), which was formerly taken to be Egj'pt (see Schrader, COT. i. p. 297), 
was in Arabia ; but it cannot be inferred from this that the O.T. representation 
that Egypt (Heb. Mizraim) was the chief abettor of the revolt is due to a confusion 
in the names. It is very diiBcult to suppose that Egypt played no leading part in 
the politics of this period (see xxx. 4 and cf. Whitehouse, Is. i. pp. 17, 18). 


into captivity, and that only a remnant would be spared to return 
to the ways of piety and peace ; and if he continued his protests 
against the suicidal policy which liis countrymen were pursuing, it was 
only in the hope that by submission at the last moment the severity 
of their punishment might be mitigated (xxviii. 22). 

Sennacherib began the work of repression by operations against 
the insurgent who was nearest ; and succeeded in expelling from 
Babylon Merodach-baladan after he had occupied its throne for only 
a few months. The expedition against Palestine was deferred until 
701 ; and the narrative of it may with advantage be given in the 
Assyrian king's own words ^: — 

"In my third campaign I marched to the land Hatti (Hittite). Luli 
(Elulaeus), king of Sidon, the terror (inspired by) the splendour of my rule 
had overwhelmed ; far away amid the sea he fled and his land I subjugated, 
Sidon the great and Sidon the less, Bet-zitti, Sarepta, MahalUba, Ushu, Akzibi 
(Bkdippa), Akko, his strong towns, the fortresses, spots of pasturage and of 
watering, his garrison-towns, the power of the weapons of Asshur, my lord, 
overwhelmed. They subjected themselves to my feet. Tuba'lu (Ethbaal) 
I placed on the royal throne over them, and imposed upon him payment of 
yearly unceasing tribute of my supremacy. Miuhimmu (Menahem) of Samsi- 
maruna, Tuba'lu (Ethbaal) of Sidon, Abdili'ti of Arvad (Aradus) Urumilk 
(Jerumelech ?) of Gebal (Byblus), Mitiuti of Ashdod, Buduilu of Beth-Ammon, 
Kammusunadab (Chemoshnadab) of Moab, Malikrammu (Malchiram) of 
Edom, all kings of Martu (the Western country) brought large gifts, rich 
products as well as possessions, into my presence and kissed my feet. But as 
for Sidka, king of Ashkelon, who had not submitted himself to my yoke, the 
gods of his ancestral house, himself, his wife, his sons, his brothers, the seed of his 
ancestral house I carried off ^ and brought to Assyria ; Sharruludari, son of 
Rukibti, their former king, I set over the inhabitants of Ashkelon, the pay- 
ment of the tribute of the subjection I appointed, imposed (?) my yokel In 
the onward advance* of my campaign I besieged, captured, and plundered 
of their booty Beth Dagon, Joppa, Bene-barka (Benebarak), Azuru, towns 
of Sidka which had not speedily subjected themselves to my feet. The rulers, 
the chief men, and the [other] inhabitants of Amkarruna (Ekron), who had 
cast Padi (who according to law and covenant with AssjTia was their king) 
into iron chains, and had delivered him up to Hezekiah of Judah with hostile 

1 The translation that follows is Dr Whitehouse's rendering of the extract from 
the Prism Inscription (Taylor cylinder) of Sennacherib narrating his Palestinian 
campaign (701 B.C.), as given in his edition of Isaiah (i., pp. 370—371) in the 
"Century Bible" by permission of the publishers, Messrs T. C. & E. C. Jack. 
Some variant renderings, kindly communicated to me by Dr Burney, are added in 
the footnotes. 

2 Burney, dragged forth. 

- Burney, the tribute of subjection I imposed upon Mm, and he became subject {.?) 
to me. 

^ Burney, the course. 


purpose. He bound him in prison. Their heart feared. The kings of the 
land Musri summoned archers, chariots, the steeds of the king of Meluhhi, 
an innumerable host, and came to their aid. Before Altaku (Eltekeh) the 
battle array was set confronting me, they raised (?) their weapons. In reliance 
upon Asshur, my lord, \\ith them I fought and brought about their defeat. 
The commander of chariots and the sons of the king of Musri as well as the 
commander of chariots of the king of Meluhhi alive in the midst of the battle 
my hand captured. Altaku and Tamna (Timnath) I besieged, captured, and 
carried off their booty. 

I advanced to Amkarinina (Ekron), the rulers, the chief men, who had 
incm-red sin ' (i.e. revolted), I slew. On poles (? pillars) around the town 
I hung (bound) ' their corpses. The inhabitants of the town who had practised 
evil deeds and outrages I reckoned as prisoners of war (spoil) ; as for the 
remainder of them who had not instigated (?) sin or misdeed, who had not 
committed their ti-espasses, their pardon I proclaimed. Padi their king I 
brought forth from Jerusalem (and) placed him on the throne of rule over 
them. The tribute of my rule I imposed on him. And as for Hezekiah the 
Jew^, who had not submitted himself to my yoke, forty-six strong towns, 
fortresses, and smaller toAvns in their circuit* which are innumerable, by 
destruction through battering rams, and advancing of siege engines, assault — 
I besieged, I captured; 200,150^ men'', young and old, male and female, horses, 
mules, asses, oxen, and flocks without number I brought forth from their 
midst, I reckoned as spoil. Himself like a bird in a cage in the midst of 
Jerusalem, his royal towTi, I shut ; ramparts around him I drew ; those who 
came forth from the gateway of his town I caused to return. His towns which 
I had plundered I separated from his land, and gave them to Mitinti king of 
Ashdod, Padi king of AmkaiTuna (Ekron) and Sil-bel king of Haziti (Gaza), 
(and so) diminished his land. To their foraier tribute their yearly gift the 
papnent due to my rule I added (and) imposed it upon them. Hezekiah 
himself the dread of the splendour of my rule overpowered. The Urbi 
(Arabians) and his faithful soldiers which he had introduced to strengthen 
(defend) Jerusalem his royal town (?) laid down their arms. Along with 30 
talents of gold, 800 talents of silver, precious stones of value, large lapis-lazuli 
stones, ivory couches, ivory seats made of elephant-hide, ivory... wood, urka- 
rinnu wood, all kinds of valuable treasure, and his daughters, his palace-wives, 
male and female attendants (?) I caused to be brought after me into Nineveh 
my royal to^vn ; and he sent his (moimted) envoy to present tribute and to 
render homage." 

This extract from the inscription of Sennacherib confirms and ex- 
pands the brief account in 2 Kgs. xviii. 13 — 16 relating the Assyrian's 

^ Barney, q^e7ided. 2 Burney, cni stakes...! impaled. 

■^ Bumey, of Judah. * Burney, neighbourhood. 

' This figure, when compared with the 27,280 captives deported by Sargon from 
Samaria (Schrader, COT. i. p. 266) and the number of Jews led into exile after the 
fall of Jerusalem by Nebuchadrezzar (see p. Iv), appears much exaggerated. 

•* Burney, inhabitants. 


capture of Judaean fortresses and the submission of Hezekiah. The 
latter's surrender of the Ekronite king Padi, though mentioned prior 
to his payment of the treasure demanded, must have followed upon 
his formal capitulation. To the cuneiform records the Biblical narra- 
tive adds a subsequent demand made by Sennacherib, when engaged 
in the siege of Lachish, for the surrender of Jerusalem. It is a 
plausible supposition that this was a breach of a stipulation (cf. 
Is. xxxiii. 8) that had accompanied Hezekiah's sacrifice of his 
treasure — viz. that the Assyrian forces were to be withdrawn and that 
the capital was to be left without further molestation. Reflection had 
presumably convinced Sennacherib that he could not, when advancing 
further in the direction of Egypt, allow so strong a fortress near the 
line of his communications to remain unoccupied. The defenders of 
Jerusalem were encouraged to resist his demand by Isaiah, who, now 
that judgment had been executed upon the nation, felt assured that 
the career of the overweening Assyrian would be checked (x. 5 — 34), 
and who declared that Zion in its extremity would be protected by the 
Lord^; and the Biblical narrative (xxxvii. 36) asserts that the capital 
was really saved in accordance with the prophet's prediction. The 
statement receives negative corroboration from Sennacherib's inscrip- 
tions, which are silent respecting any capture of the city, or any 
later expedition against it. The explanations given by the O.T. for 
Sennacherib's failure to effect his object are two, which appear to 
proceed from alternative accounts of the incident (see p. 225), but 
each of which probably contains elements of truth. One explanation 
represents him as retreating in consequence of a rumour that inspired 
him with alarm ; and this may be identified with the report of renewed 
trouble created at Babylon by his vassal Bel-ibni (see p. 231)^. The 
second makes the cause of Sennacherib's non-success to be the destruc- 
tion of his forces by pestilence. This account is obviously exaggerated 
in respect of details; but the liability of armies to be decimated by 
disease, which in this instance was increased by the situation of the 
Assyrian forces on the low-lying Mediterranean seaboard, renders the 
substance of the statement sufficiently probable (see also p. 237). 

At several of the crises here reviewed Isaiah, as has been seen, 
committed himself to various predictions, some of which were wonder- 
fully verified, whilst others turned out erroneous. The most remarkable 
example of his prevision was his prediction that the Assyrians, though 

1 See xxix. 5 — 8, xxx. 27 — 33, xxxi. 5, 8—9, xxxiii. 1 — 12, xxxvii. 6, 7, 21 — 35. 

2 Rogers, HBA. ii. p. 205. 



destined to overrun the country of Judah, would not capture the 
capital, so confident a declaration being all the more singular inas- 
much as he expressly discouraged care for the city's material defences 
(xxii. 9 f ). The explanation of his prophetic power, so far as it admits 
of being analysed, must be looked for in the nature of his religious 
faith, and in his acute discernment of the signs of the times. In the 
conviction that the control of events was in the hands of a Power 
whose action was determined by moral considerations, he held that 
when national offences had been committed, material retribution would 
follow, and that the Lord would enforce His moral laws even though 
it meant the humiliation and all but total extermination of His people 
(cf V. 13, 14, 24). But he believed also (and believed with reason, 
see p. xxxvii) that the survival of the religion of Jehovah was at that 
time dependent upon the survival of a remnant of Israel in its own 
land ; and he was therefore confident that, though the Lord designed 
to bring punishment upon the nation, He would in the end preserve it 
from complete destruction, and naturally in the city associated with 
the memory of His servant David and consecrated by the presence of 
the Temple (x. 24—27, xiv. 32, xxviii. 16, xxxvii. 33—35). In 
judging of the means and stages whereby the Divine purposes would 
be achieved, he was guided by his observation of the political forces 
in movement around him ; and in general his measure of those forces 
was remarkably accurate. The most ominous feature in the political 
world (as has been said) was the extension of the empire of Assyria ; 
Isaiah, like Amos, could not fail to recognize in that power the rod 
of the Lord's anger (x. 5), before which the smaller states of Palestine, 
like Damascus, Ephraim, and the Philistine cities, were bound to go 
down. Nor would Egypt avail to defend them : the power on the 
Nile was rightly judged by Isaiah to be alike pretentious and in- 
effective. But whilst, in the main, his anticipations were realized, his 
forecast of events was not always correct in respect of time and place. 
Whilst his prediction of the overthrow of Damascus was fulfilled 
almost within the exact period which he named, the capture of 
Samaria, which he expected to occur about the same time, did not 
take place till more than a decade had elapsed. He ante-dated the 
invasion of Judah by some 30 years (iii. 16 — 24, v. 24, vii. 17 — 25, 
viii. 7, 8), and that of Egypt (if Egypt is meant in xx. 3) by more 
than 50 ; and when the former took place, the Assyrian forces did not 
advance against Jerusalem from the north (as predicted in x. 28 — 33), 
but from the direction of Lachish in the south-west. Hence it is 


apparent that whilst Isaiah's faith in the deliverance which Divine 
Providence had in reserve for Zion was signally vindicated, there 
entered into his expectations of the future more of human miscalcula- 
tion than is often supposed. 

Isaiah's prophecies were originally oral discourses, being addressed 
either to the people at large, or to various classes in it (like the rulers 
(iii. 14) or the fashionable ladies (xxxii. 9)), or even to individuals 
(xxii. 16 f.); and they uniformly have the liveliness and vigour natural 
in speeches, and sometimes reflect the emotions stirred by the particular 
circumstances in which they were delivered (see xxii. 1, xxviii. 14). 
They were, no doubt, carefully prepared (see v. 1 — 7), and subsequently 
written down to preserve them (cf. Jer. xxxvi.) : but their present 
compressed and highly-finished form ^ is probably the result of revision, 
in the course of which much may have been omitted which, if retained, 
would have rendered intelligible many things that are now obscure^. In 
his writings Isaiah combines rare literary excellences — delicate discrimi- 
nation in giving to every thought or feeling its appropriate expression, 
extreme conciseness and condensation in composition, and a vivid and 
resourceful imagination. Of his judgment and taste in the handling of 
his subject-matter illustrations are afforded by the reticence which 
marks the account of his vision of God (c. vi.), by the brevity of the 
description of the instantaneous and universal collapse ensuing on the 
Lord's judgment (ii. 12 — 17), and by the effectiveness of the refrain 
in ix. 8 — 21, suggesting, as it does, the succession of blows enumerated 
in the passage. Of the terseness of his style, in which a redundant 
word can scarcely be found, examples are furnished by the epigrammatic 
phrases (some of them rendered more striking in the original by 
assonance) which occur in iii. 12, v. 7, vii. 9, xxx. 7, 15. Many 
passages are given impressiveness by antithesis (see i. 18 — 20, iii. 12, 
24, ix. 16, xxii. 12, 13), others by verbal plays (x. 30) or by such 
artifices as alliteration and the like (xxii. 5, xxix. 9, xxxii. 19)^ 
Conspicuous instances of his vigour in description occur in v. 26 — 30, 
xvii. 12 — 14, xxx. 30, of his scorn in x. 15, of his irony in xxxi. 2, and 
of his invective in xxii. 16 f. Of the rich resources of his fancy, and 
the facility with which he illustrated his ideas by imagery drawn from 
the most varied fields evidence is abundant everywhere. On one 
occasion he had recourse to a symbolic act to add vividness to the 

1 Notable instances are v. 1 — 7, ix. 8 — 21, v. 25—30, xi. 1 — 9. 

^ E.g. the prophecy in vii. 14. 

^ The last instance is perhaps unauthentic. 


warning he desired to convey (xx. 2) : on other occasions he enforced 
his meaning by elaborate parables (v. 1 — 7, xxviii. 23—29). Apt 
similes occur in i. 31, v. 24, xvii. 6, 13, xviii. 4, xxix. 8, xxx. 13, 28, 
xxxii. 2, xxxiii. 3, whilst his metaphors are equally numerous and 
appropriate, noteworthy instances being found in vii. 4, 20, viii. 6 — 8, 
X. 15, 16, 17, xviii. 5, xxviii. 17, xxxi. 9, xxxiii. 11. Sometimes, 
indeed, the rapidity with which imagery crowds upon him is such that 
a close succession of incongruous figures in connection with the same \ 
subject produces an unpleasing impression (see v. 24, x. 16, xiv. 29, 
xxx. 28) : and in xxviii. 15, 18 (if the text is sound) there is a strangely 
confused metaphor. But ordinarily the variety and expressiveness of | 
his figures constitute one of the great charms of his writings. In 
many instances a statement expressed through a figure is repeated in 
plainer terms, so that all obscurity is precluded (see i. 5, 6, 7, 22, 23, 
25, 26, iii. 14, 15, v. 1—6, 7). Effectiveness is further added to the 
prophet's addresses by the allusions which they contain to past history. ' 
Both Israel's own experiences, and circumstances recorded about other 
peoples, are recalled whenever thereby force can be imparted to a 
description or directness to an appeal (see i. 9, iii. 9, vii. 17, x. 24 — 26, 
xvii. 9 mg., xxviii. 21). 

A very noteworthy feature in Isaiah's prophecies, is the abruptness 
with which a passage of minatory tenor is followed by another of 
consolatory meaning. Examples occur in the sequence of iii. 16 — iv. 1 
and iv. 2 — 4, x. 28—32 and x. 33, 34, xxix. 1 — 4 and xxix. 5 — 8, 
xxxi. 4 and xxxi. 5. In some cases there is no contradiction, since it 
is rendered apparent that the promise of consolation will only be 
realized by that section of the people who may survive the threatened 
judgment (see iv. 2 — 4). But in other instances this is not made 
clear; and it is possible that when the passages were originally spoken, 
they were addressed to difierent audiences, those of a menacing nature 
being directed to the people at large, and those of an opposite 
character being intended for the small body of faithful disciples which 
the prophet gathered round him (viii. 16). When the prophecies were 
put into writing the dissimilar passages were probably placed in juxta- 
position for the sake of the effect produced by the contrast which they 
ofi"er to one another. In certain cases, however, it may be suspected 
that insertions have been made by later writers, who have sought to 
modify some predictions of sinister tone by attaching to them others of 
a comforting import (cf. p. vi). 


§ 3. Theology of Isaiah. 

Isaiah's theological beliefs, as presented in his writings, are not 
abstracted from the controversies in which they took shape, and 
systematized into a body of doctrine, but appear in connection with 
the emergencies which called for their expression. He emphasized from 
time to time different aspects of the Divine character, as he conceived 
it, in opposition to the prevalent misconceptions of his countrymen ; 
and his theology remains in the form it assumed under the pressure 
of practical needs. His convictions respecting the Lord's nature, 
supremacy, and purposes are not in general peculiar to himself, but 
are shared by his contemporaries Hosea, Amos, and Micah. The 
religious beliefs of all of the eighth century prophets were influenced 
by the momentous changes occurring or impending in the political 
world around them. The extinction by Assyria of the smaller 
nationalities involved either the conclusion that Israel's God was 
inferior to Asshur, the god of Assyria, or the conclusion that He was 
a Being of altogether different nature and authority, whose dealings 
with His own nation had to be accounted for on other principles than 
those which were popularly thought to explain them ; and it was in 
the second that these prophets believed the truth to lie. Their 
convictions that the Lord was a holy and righteous God enabled them 
to interpret the movements of history which portended disaster to their 
own country as due not to any defect of power on the part of the Lord 
but to the execution of a moral purpose of which Assyria was His 
instrument. But whilst the views which they held respecting the 
Lord and the service that He required from His people embraced much 
that was common to all of them, each accentuated those sides of the 
truth which the circumstances of his own time seemed to demand or to 
which his own genius and temperament inclined him'. 

The ruling conception of the Lord amongst Isaiah's countrymen 
was that He was one of a large number of co-ordinate Divine powers. 
The early idea about Him, that He was purely a national God, still 
survived ; and though it was recognized that as the tutelary God of 
Israel He had rightful claims to His people's worship, a belief in Him 
as the sole God, universally supreme, had not yet been attained. This 
imperfect conception of the Lord, which equated Him with a number 

1 Thus Amos lays most stress upon the Lord's justice, Hosea upon His love. 
Isaiah in the spirit of his teaching resembles the former rather than the latter : 
cf. especially i. 13 — 17 with Amos v. 21 — 24. 


of other divinities, produced its natural effects upon the kind of 
worship rendered to Him and the strength of the trust reposed in 
Him. On the one hand, He was thought to be satisfied by the same 
formal rites and material offerings as other gods ; and it was believed 
that, if His favour at any time was averted from His people, it could be 
regained by more frequent petitions and more ample sacrifices. Hence 
there was a tendency to divorce morality from religion ; and the 
assiduous worship of the Lord by rite and ceremony co-existed with 
the prevalence, within the state, of much moral and social corruption. 
On the other hand, the protection of the powers that were His rivals 
was held to be worth obtaining, either in addition to, or else as a 
substitute for, that of the Lord. Among the powers whom it was thus 
deemed desirable to propitiate were the ancient Canaanite divinities 
who were supposed to dwell in forest trees (of. i. 29, 30), and of whom 
the Askerim or sacred poles (xvii. 8) were perhaps symbols (see on 
p. 117). Intercourse with foreign nations led to acquaintance with 
their deities likewise, whose claims to respect were enhanced by the 
success of the peoples who worshipped them. Among these was 
probably Tammuz, the spirit of vegetation venerated by the Babylonians, 
with whom the people of the northern kingdom doubtless became 
familiar through the Syrians, and to whom reference seems to be made 
in xvii. 10, 11. Into Judah superstitions were introduced from 
Philistia (ii. 6), where divination was widely practised (1 Sam. vi. 2), 
and where there was a famous oracle of Baal-zebub (2 Kgs. i. 3). 
Offerings were also made to the spirits of the dead, who were credited 
with knowledge and powers exceeding those of the living ; and their 
help was sought through the arts of necromancy (viii. 19, xxviii. 15). 
Thus, though the Lord did not cease to receive the offerings due to the 
national God (i. 11), the country was given to idolatry (ii. 8, cf. xxx. 22, 
xxxi. 7). The people in their religion were both unspiritual and 
disloyal. Their worship of the Lord followed traditional usage ; but 
their real confidence was reposed elsewhere (cf. xxix. 13). The sources 
of their trust were not only other gods, but their own material 
possessions, or when these seemed inadequate, the arts of diplomacy 
and the military support of foreign allies. And so the ceremonial 
reverence rendered to the Lord only aggravated the pervading sins of 
greed and pride and self-indulgence, and the nominal allegiance to Him 
was accompanied by a scepticism which openly questioned His pDwer 
(v. 19, xxix. 15) and by a self-will that would not be guided by the 
counsel of His prophets (xxx. 9 — 11). 


It was these erroneous and unworthy ideas concerning the Lord 
which Isaiah set himself to combat. His own conception of the Lord 
emerges from his account of his inaugural vision (c. vi.) ; and the rest 
of his writings are in the main an expansion of this, and of his 
convictions about the doom awaiting the nation in consequence of its 
offences. It will be convenient to describe his theology in detail under 
two heads, viz. (i) the Lord's character and attributes, (ii) His purpose 
towards Israel His people. 

(i) The attributes of the Lord which impressed themselves most 
deeply upon Isaiah's mind were His holiness and His glory. These 
were the subjects of the hymn of the Seraphim in his vision ; and it 
was these which he felt to be more especially outraged by his sinful 

{a) The particular term holiness which Isaiah uses to describe 
the essential quality of the Lord was one commonly employed by the 
Semitic peoples to connote the quality which distinguished gods in 
general from men (see on i. 4), and did not necessarily convey any 
moral significance. Hence to describe the Lord as holy did not 
verbally mean more than calling Him divine'. But by Isaiah the word 
was employed in an ethical sense, and as applied to the Lord, it 
connoted especially the quality of righteousness. It implied that the 
Lord was separated from mankind not merely by perfection of power, 
but by perfection of moral purity. And what the Lord was in Himself, 
that He required (but vainly required) His people to be. Hence, 
when the prophet found himself in the Lord's presence, it was his 
sense of sin that made him afraid ; and only after his sin was removed 
could he volunteer to be the Lord's messenger. And the aim of the 
mission which he undertook was to rouse his countrjnnen to a sense of 
the true character of the God whom they thought to satisfy by ritual 
instead of righteousness. To the Lord sacrifice, accompanied by the 
perpetration of social wrongs, could only be an offence. It was 
principally breaches of social morality that Isaiah represented as 
provoking the Divine resentment. Into his conception of the Lord's 
requirements just dealing chiefly entered (i. 17, v. 7); and although he 
assailed both drunkenness (v. 11, 22, xxviii. 7, 8) and feminine luxury 
(iii. 16 f.), his invectives were directed, in the main, against the 

^ Cf. the expression the holy gods in Dan. iv. 8, 9, 18, v. 11, and Eshmunazar's 
inscription, I. 22 (Cooke, NSI. p. 31). Holiness was so far equivalent to deity that 
when the Lord swears by His holiness (Am. iv. 2) it is tantamount to swearing by 
Himself (Am. vi. 8). 


perversion of justice (i. 23, v. 23, x. 1, xxix. 21), the monopolizing of 
the land (v. 8), the robbery of the poor (iii. 14, 15, x. 2), and the 
prevalence of open violence (i. 15, 21). ^ 

(6) The Lord's glory, in the sense which it has in the Seraphs' 
song, is equivalent to the majesty pertaining to Him in virtue of His 
sovereign power. Isaiah regarded the Lord as paramount over both 
nature and human history : the prophet's religious belief was a practical 
monotheism. But in Judah at large the Lord's supremacy was 
impugned alike by the nation's idolatry (ii. 8), by its self-sufficient 
pride (ii. 7, xxii. 9 — 11, xxx. 16, xxxi. 1), and by the schemes of its 
statecraft (xx., xxx. 1). In the face of hostile coalitions threatening 
attack, or of overtures from friends for combined defence, Israel's duty 
was faith in the might of its God, and an attitude of tranquillity 
(vii. 4, 9, xxviii. 16). Reliance upon military resources or diplomatic 
successes was a virtual denial of the adequacy of the Lord's strength 
or wisdom to save His people : and political compacts with external 
powers could only hinder the internal reforms so urgently needed, even 
if they did not introduce additional corruption (cf 2 Kgs. xvi. 10 — 15). 
But Judah, instead of putting its trust in the Lord, placed its 
confidence in superstitious usages, in its military forces, or in the 
purchased protection of foreign potentates. The futility of such 
supports was exposed by Isaiah briefly and trenchantly.' The impotence 
of idols to save those who trusted in them was expressively indicated 
by the contemptuous term he employed to describe them — not-gods or 
non-entities (see on ii. 8). Towards the practice of consulting the 
manes of ancestors and other deceased persons he was equally scornful : 
on behalf of the living was resort to be had to the dead (viii. 19)? 
To the politicians who plumed themselves on negotiating for help from 
Egypt his tone was ironical : if they were sagacious, so too was the 
Lord. And the helplessness of Judah's vaunted military resources, 
native or foreign, if opposed to the Lord, he made evident by reminding 
them of the difference between their nature and His. They were flesh, 
essentially weak and dependent, whereas He was spirit. Himself 
the perfection of life and energy, and the source of those qualities in 
all other animate beings (xxxi. 2, 3). And inasmuch as the Lord 
exercised sovereign control over the earth and its peoples. He, too, 
had warlike hosts at His disposal. He was the arbiter of success and 
defeat (xxxvii. 27), and against His offending nation Israel He purposed 
to use as the agent of its chastisement the irresistible power of 
Assyria (v. 26, 30, viii. 7, x. 5). 

w. I. d 


The principal elements of permanent value in this part of Isaiah's 
teaching are not peculiar to him, though they receive from him 
distinctive expression. Among them are the stress laid upon the 
qualities essential to the maintenance of civil order (such as impartiality 
and incorruptibility), the assertion that formal acts of worship are 
worthless apart from integrity of word and deed, and the emphasis 
placed upon faith (vii. 4, xxx. 15, of. viii. 17). His conception of the 
essence of religious duty is the same as Micah's (vi, 8) — to do justly, 
to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. The prominence which 
he gives to the subject of civil government and its requirements 
supplements in a very important respect the teaching of the N.T., 
where, in consequence of the humble position then occupied by the 
Christian communities and the expectation of Christ's imminent return, 
such matters fall into the background. His views, it is true, have 
their limitations. The morality upon which he principally insists is 
that which concerns men's social relations ; and he takes more account 
of the outward conduct, which can be enforced by authority, than of 
the inward motives. His doctrine of faith, too, seems to need some 
qualification. He lived in an age which had a very imperfect concep- 
tion of the regularity marking God's mode of action in the physical 
world, and which believed Him to intervene continually in human 
affairs by direct interposition. This belief has been corrected by 
experience, which has shewn that the Almighty, whilst influencing 
human minds immediately, normally works in nature through secondary 
causes and in accordance with general laws. Though He is not bound 
by the physical laws of which He is the Author, yet His processes and 
methods are ordinarily uniform, so that neither nations nor individuals, 
though engaged in a just cause, can confidently look to God to defend 
them if they dispense with such means of self-defence as reason 
(which is His gift equally with conscience) may suggest. But although 
Isaiah's teaching thus requires to be qualified in certain directions, it 
will ever remain an invaluable protest against religious formalism and 
materialistic unbelief. 

(ii) From the Lord's attributes of righteousness and sovereignty 
Isaiah concluded that He would punish Israel, the nation which was 
peculiarly His own, for its unrighteousness and mistrust ; but he did 
not regard punishment as exhausting the Divine intentions towards it. 
The infliction of a severe chastisement was a necessary part of the 
Lord's purpose in respect of His people, for since in their conduct they 
did not houour Him as holy, He was bound to vindicate His holiness by 


a purifying judgment (v. 16). Hence, the efforts which they made, by 
compacts with infernal powers (xxviii. 15) and by negotiations with 
foreign nations (xxx. 1, 2, xxxi. 1), to avert that judgment would avail 
them nothing (xxviii. 17 — 21, xxx. 12 — 17); for the Lord's purpose 
was immutable (xxviii. 22). But Israel was not to be exterminated : 
when the judgment had removed out of it all the evil elements, a 
remnant of it would be delivered. Assyria, the implement of its 
punishment (x. 5), would be arrested, in the moment of its triumph, 
not by human but by Divine agency (x. 16 — 19, 33, 34, xiv. 32, xxxi. 8) ; 
and there would then follow for the chastened and repentant survivors 
an era of innocence, security, and happiness (i. 26, 27, iv. 2 — 6, 
ix. 2—7, xi. 1—9, xxx. 19—26 (?), xxxii. 15—20, xxxiii. 13—24). 

This belief in the eventual survival of a remnant of his countrymen 
found expression in the name which Isaiah gave to his eldest son — 
Shear-jashub, "A remnant shall return." The "return" meant was 
not restoration from captivity but conversion to holiness \ for the 
prophet looked for a minority of the nation to escape the deportation 
into a foreign land which was the destined fate of the rest (i. 27, iv. 2). 
At first he seems to have anticipated that a section of the northern, 
no less than of the southern, kingdom would be spared (see xvii. 6, 
xxviii. 5, 6 ?) ; but eventually his hopes centred round Zion, which he 
expected to be preserved from capture when the other Judsean 
fortresses were taken by the Assyrians (x. 24 — 27, xiv. 32, xxix. 7, 
cf xxxvii. 31 — 35). The preservation of the Jewish capital became to 
him an article of faith for two reasons. In the first place, the religious 
unit was still the collective nation, not the individual, so that the 
maintenance of the religion of Jehovah seemed at the time bound up 
with the maintenance of Jewish independence : if Jerusalem fell as 
Samaria had fallen, Judah as a nation would perish as utterly as 
Ephraim, and its distinctive faith would be lost amid the heathendom 
in which the deported people would be merged. That this consequence 
did not ensue when, a hundred years later, Jerusalem was captured by 
Nebuchadrezzar was due in large measure to the existence of a law-book 
like Deuteronomy, which kept the religion of Jehovah alive when 
the practice of its rites had to be intermitted I And secondly, the 
deliverance of Zion would demonstrate to the world at large the 
supremacy of Judah's God. In Isaiah's conception of the Divine plan. 

1 Cf. Hos. xiv. 1, Jer. iii. 12, 14, Zech. i. 3, Mai. iii. 7. 
- See further, p. Iv. 



of action, the extension of a knowledge of the Lord throughout the 
world was not so conspicuously the end to which passing events were 
tending as it seemed to be to some other prophets (see p. Ixii). But 
the overthrow of the Assyrians when their schemes were on the verge 
of success is represented in xviii. 3 as having an interest and 
significance for the nations in general (cf xiv. 26) ; and in view of this 
it is difficult not to see in Isaiah the germ (though only the germ) of 
an idea which is more fully developed by the writer of the prophecies 
contained in cc. xl. — Iv. 

The conditions of the felicity which Isaiah anticipated to be in 
store for the surviving minority of his countrymen are represented as 
both spiritual and material. Injustice and violence are to be at an 
end (i. 26, iv. 3, 4, xxix. 21, xxxii. 16), moral insensibihty is to 
disappear (xxix. 18, xxx. 21), idolatry will cease (xxx. 22), and faith 
and confidence in the Lord will be permanently established (xxxii. 17). 
The land will be endowed with exceptional fertility (iv. 2, xxxii. 15), the 
people will be undisturbed in the enjoyment of it (xxx. 23, xxxii. 17), 
and security against all perils will be ensured (xxxiii. 6, 21). The 
reason for the prominence given in these pictures to the transformation 
of the face of the ground is to be found not only in the fact that an 
enhanced productiveness of the soil would contribute to the material 
well-being of the people and compensate them for the losses sustained 
through war and other calamities, but in the fact that the Hebrew 
prophets attributed to nature a sense of sympathy with the varying 
fortunes of humanity. They were poets as well as prophets, and like 
the poets of every age and race they projected their own emotions 
outside them, and felt that human joys and sorrows were shared by the 
physical universe about them. 

The time when Isaiah expected the era of happiness to begin was 
the near future. His message of comfort as well as of menace was 
addressed to his own generation, and he looked for the age of peace 
and prosperity to be the immediate sequel of Assyria's overthrow. 
His anticipations outran the tardy movement of events, so that taken 
au pied de la lettre they appear signally falsified by the issue. But 
whilst to his short-sighted vision the fulfilment of the Divine purposes 
assumed a shape which was not realized, his faith in a high destiny 
for his country was not left without justification by later history, 
though it has to be sought in the sphere of spiritual influence and not 
of worldly greatness and success. 

In certain passages of Isaiah's prophecies the expected bliss is 



associated with the personal rule of the Lord in Zion (iv. 5, xxxiii. 22 (?), 
cf. xxviii. 16)^ ; but in others it is connected with the reign of a 
human king as the Lord's representative and deputy. In the earlier 
history of the nation the Lord had achieved His beneficent purposes 
towards His people through the instrumentality of gifted leaders 
(cf. 1 Sam. xii. 8, 11, Jud. ii. 18, iii. 9, etc.); and it was natural that 
the experience of the past should mould the prophet's conception of 
the future. Hence he looked for the advent of a virtuous and able 
sovereign to fill the place of the rulers who had been responsible for 
the evils hitherto rife in the state (i. 10, iii. 14), and to secure for his 
subjects the good government and sure protection which they had so 
sorely lacked. Of the four passages where such a sovereign is alluded 
to or described, viz. vii. 14—16, ix. 2 — 7, xi. 1 — 9, xxxii. 1 — 8, the first 
and second are the most remarkable, since in them names are applied 
to him (vii. 14, ix. 6) which to modern minds seem appropriate only to 
a superhuman personality. But by the contemporaries of Isaiah the 
sharp distinction between the human and the superhuman which has 
been drawn in later times was not felt ; and men of extraordinary 
endowments were held to partake of the character of Him with Whom 
such endowments originated and of Whose spirit they were manifesta- 
tions. The time when Isaiah expected such a king to arise was (as has " 
been already implied) at the close of the Assyrian crisis, the magnitude 
of which (it was presumably felt) could only be preliminary to an era 
of happiness proportionally momentous. He does not appear to have 
regarded the king as destined to be an agent in delivering the country 
from Assyria. That deliverance is conceived to be the work of the 
Lord alone (cf. xxx. 27 — 33) ; the ideal sovereign is thought of as 
designed to safeguard the people against a renewal of the disorders 
that had hitherto distressed them. 

The troubles of the Assyrian period were followed by the appearance 
of no such sovereign as Isaiah anticipated. But confidence in the 
ultimate fulfilment of his predictions was not abandoned by later 
generations of his countrymen ; and of the four cited the first two in 
particular shaped Jewish expectations respecting the advent of a great 
national Prince (cf. Acts i. 6), to whom the title Blessiah ("Anointed") 
was applied (cf. Ps. ii. 2, Dan. ix. 25, Joh. iv, 25). By the Christian 
Church they have traditionally been held to be prophecies of our Lord 
and to have been verified by His birth some 700 years afterwards. 

* Cf. the conception in xxiv. 23. 


They seem, however, to be precluded from being predictions of Him in 
any strict sense not only by the interval of time separating them from 
our Lord's advent, but also by the diiference between their tenor and 
the circumstances of our Lord's life. Christ, though a king, was not 
an earthly sovereign (cf. Joh. xviii. 36), and His regal authority was 
spiritual, exercised only through the impression wrought by His 
teaching and example. Nevertheless the passages in question can 
reasonably be regarded as expressions of faith in a Divine purpose of 
grace which time justified much more slowly, indeed, and far otherwise 
than the prophet expected, and yet more fully and effectively, Isaiah's 
conviction that God would not permanently allow evil to go unmitigated, 
but would bring into operation means to ameliorate it, through the 
agency of a wonderful Personality, has been verified by the moral and 
spiritual forces introduced into human society by our Lord. His 
prophecies, as predictions of the precise way in which Divine 
Providence would work, were indeed widely removed from the truth ; 
but as assertions of belief in a Divine order emerging out of disorder 
they have been, and are still being, substantiated. And even in the 
titles which, in the prophecies vii. 14 — 16, ix. 2 — 7, are given to the 
promised king, there is a strange appropriateness to our Lord, for the 
name God (Immanuel, vii. 14, El Gibhor, ix. 6) was of fuller significance 
in connection with Him than in connection with other men (see Joh. x. 
34 — 36), and Prince of Peace (ix. 6) most aptly defined His office and 
function (cf. Luke ii. 14, Eph. ii. 14). 


The Chronolooy of Isaiah's Times. 

The accession-years of the four Judsean kings within whose reigns Isaiah's 
ministry (so far as is known) was included cannot be fixed with certainty, 
inasmuch as the figures given by the O.T. writers in connection with the reigns 
of the Judaean kings from Uzziah to the fall of Jerusalem are irreconcilable 
with one another. This will appear from the conflicting results obtained when 
calculations are made on the basis of the statements {a) that 722 (the date of 
the fall of Samaria) was the sixth year of Hezekiah's reign (2 Kgs. xviii. 10), 
(6) that 701 (the date of Sennacherib's invasion) was the fourteenth year of 
Hezekiah's reign (2 Kgs. xviii. 13), (c) that 587 (the date of the fall of Jerusa- 
lem) was the eleventh year of Zedekiah's reign (2 Kgs. xxv. 2). The Hebrew 
historians generally seem to have reckoned inclusively, the year in which a 
change of reign occurred being counted both as the last year of the deceased 



king and the first year of his successor. Consequently in the compilation of 
t ■> following tables the years of the reigns of the several kings named, as given 
in vne O.T., have' been reduced by one. 









801 1 















Fall of Samaria 


Fall of Samaria 722 

Fall of Samaria 






Invasion \ 


Invasion ] 


Invasion \ 



Fall of Jerusalem 587 

It is an objection to the first and third of the above schemes that, since 
Isaiah's call took place in the last year of Uzziah (757 or 750) (when he may be 
assumed to have been at least 20), he would have been an old man at the time 
of Sennacherib's invasion in 701 (which is improbable) ; and it is an objection 
to the second (which places Isaiah's call later) that it implies that the devasta- 
tion of the northern provinces of Israel in 734 and the capture of Damascus in 732 
occurred in the reign of Jotham, not of Ahaz (as represented in Is. vii.). More- 
over, all the schemes conflict with the evidence of the Assyrian inscriptions, 
which assert that Menahem of Israel, whom Uzziah outlived (according to 2 Kgs. 
XV. 23), paid tribute to Pul (Tiglath-pileser) in 738 2. One source of the incon- 
sistency is the assumption that Jotham reigned 15 years as sole sovereign; but 
it is probable that the 15 years assigned to him really include a period of 
regency for his father, who towards the close of his life was a leper (see 2 Kgs. 
XV. 5), and that the duration of his sole rule was short. Where many of the 
data are so precarious, any chronological table of the period must be largely 
conjectural, but the following seems the most plausible that can be furnished : 

Uzziah (approximate) 789 

Jotham „ 738 

Ahaz „ 735 

Hezekiah „ 727—692 

This scheme involves the shortening of the reign of Ahaz from 15 to 8 years, 
and the lengthening of the reign of Hezekiah from 28 to 35 years. But it is 
possible to reconcile it with some of the Biblical statements by assuming (as 

1 The calculations are made backwards from the dates 722, 701 and 587 

^ Schrader, COT. 1. pp. 244, 245. 


suggested by Whitehouse) that Ahaz associated his son with him on the throne 
during the latter part of his life. If so, 727 was perhaps the date of Hezekiah's 
joint reign with his father, and 720 the date of his accession as sole king \ 


Deutero-Isatah (cc. xl. — Iv.). 

§ 1. Origin and Date. 

Chapters xl. — Iv. constitute a group of cc. which are marked by 
great uniformity both of subject-matter and style, and which collec- 
tively present a striking contrast to the preceding thirty-nine cc. They 
have no heading attributing them to Isaiah, and from the oracles of that 
prophet comprised in the foregoing cc. they are separated by the 
historical narrative occupying cc. xxxvi. — xxxix., which seems to 
form the conclusion of what was at one time regarded as a complete 
collection of Isaiah's prophecies. As they thus make no claim to 
proceed from Isaiah, the only ground for their ascription to him (as 
by Ecclus. xlviii. 22 — 25, see p. i) is their attachment to a book 
containing his writings, though this may be accounted for by other 
reasons than a conviction, on the part of the editor who appended 
them, that they were really the work of the prophet. It has been already 
pointed out that 2 Ch. xxxvi. 22 (=Ezra i. 1) which appears to refer 
to Is. xliv. 28, assigns it to Jeremiah (cf p. vi) ; and possibly some 
tradition that part of the book of Isaiah is later in origin than 
Jeremiah and Ezekiel is preserved in the old Jewish arrangement 
(mentioned in the Talmud) of these three prophets in the order 
Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah. And when the trustworthiness of the 
belief in the Isaianic authorship of these cc. is tested by their contents 
and character, it finds no support in the internal evidence which they 
themselves furnish of their origin. This, when examined, points to 
their having been composed at a much later date than the eighth 
century, and under very different conditions from those which sub- 
sisted in Isaiah's lifetime. The evidence in question comprises (1) the 
historical situation implied, (2) the prevailing tone and predominant 
ideas, (3) the characteristic style and phraseology. 

' Whitehouse thinks that the joint reign of Ahaz and Hezekiah lasted from 727 
to 715. This gives the former a reign of 20 years instead of the 15 (16) of 
2 Kgs. xvi. 2, but renders less improbable the statement that Hezekiah was 25 when 
he succeeded his father (2 Kgs. xviii. 2). 


(1) The general purport of these cc. is to comfort a body of Jews, 
whose native city has been destroyed and who for their sins have long 
been in exile at Babylon (xlii. 22, xlix. 9), with an assurance that 
their period of punishment has expired (xl. 2) and that their release 
from captivity and their return to their own country is at hand. Their 
deliverance is to be accomplished for them by a foreign prince whose 
name (Cyrus) is given and who is regarded as marked out, by the 
successes he has already achieved, to be the destined destroyer of 
their oppressor and the rebuilder of Jerusalem (xliv. 28). The fall 
of Jerusalem and the deportation of its inhabitants to Babylonia took 
I place in 587, and the restoration of the Jews to Palestine occurred in 
\ 537 after the overthrow of Babylon by the Persian prince Cyrus in 538. 
i Thus the ostensible standpoint, consistently maintained, of the writer 
'^s that of one living between these two dates. But a discourse, or a 
series of discourses, such as these cc. contain, is only intelligible if the 
ostensible standpoint is also the real one. For the writer does not 
predict (as Isaiah might be expected to do if he were their author) 
that Ass)Tia, which was the dominant nation of Western Asia in the 
eighth century and is continually alluded to in the Isaianic oracles 
comprised in cc. i. — xxxix., is to be replaced by Babylon, and that the 
latter is to enslave his countrymen until forced to relinquish them ; 
but he views the Assyrian oppression of Judah as an event of the 
distant past, and Babylon as the tyrant power of the present (lii. 4, 5) 
whose pride is about to be humbled (c. xlvii.). He does not successively 
foretell for the people of Jerusalem both exile and release, as did 
Jeremiah (v. 10—19, xxi. 3—10, xxv. 8—11, xxxi. 7—9, 23—30, 
xxxii. 28—44), Ezekiel (v., vi., xi. 16—20), and Micah (iv. lOO; 
but the conditions of the exile are pre-supposed, and the writer's 
predictions relate only to his countrymen's deliverance from it (xlv. 13). 
The prophet writes as a contemporary of the captives in Babylon, and 
even includes himself among them (xlii. 24) ; and that such was really 
his position, and that what he describes was by himself witnessed and 
heard is shewn by his knowledge of the situation and feelings of the 
exiles, knowledge which is too comprehensive and detailed to be 
credible in a writer merely prophesying of conditions not yet existing, 
and the minuteness of which is thrown into relief by the visionary 
character of his expectations about the undoubted future, which were 

^ The mention of Babylon here is thought by many to be due to an interpolator 
(see Cheyne, ad loc). 


largely falsified by the event (see p. Ixxvi). Among the circumstances 
with which he shews acquaintance are the following : 

(a) The local features of the city of Babylon, including its shipping 
(xliii. 14), its wealth (xlv. 3), its great gates (xlv. 1), its gods Bel and 
Nebo (xlvi. 1), its manufactories of images (xli. 6, 7, xliv. 12 — 17), its 
idolatry, its sorcerers, and its astrologers (xlvii. 12, 13). 

(6) The desolate state of Jerusalem, with its soil laid waste 
(xlix. 19, li. 3, Hi. 9), its walls and temple destroyed (xliv. 26, 28), 
and its population in large part deported into exile. 

(c) The sentiments prevaihng among the Jewish exiles, the de- 
pression of some by reason of their protracted captivity (xl. 27, xlvi. 12, 
xlix. 14, li. 12, 13), the discontent of others at the Divine scheme for 
their rescue (xlv. 9 — 13), and the lack of response to the Lord's 
advances (1. 2). 

(d) The name and origin of Cyrus, the destined conqueror of 
Babylon (xliv. 28, xlv. 1 — 4), who is alluded to as though already 
known by reputation to the prophet's auditors or readers, and who is 
represented as already launched upon his successful career (xli. 2, 25, 
xlviii. 15). 

(e) The imminence of Babylon's overthrow (xliii. 14, xlvi. 1), of 
the deliverance of the captives whom it holds in bondage (xlvi. 13, 
xlviii. 20, xlix. 13, Hi. 9), and of the rebuilding of Jerusalem (xliv. 26) — 
achievements of which Cyrus is the destined agent (xlv. 13, xlviii. 14, 
xHv. 28). 

(/) The nature of the country to be traversed between Babylon 
and Palestine, with its treeless and waterless wastes and its burning 
heat (xli. 17 f., xliii. 19). 

(g) Certain prophecies known to have been recently fulfilled, to 
which appeal is made as justifying confidence in the Lord's fresh 
predictions (xli. 26, xlii. 9, xliii. 8 — 10, xliv. 8, xlv. 21, xlvi. 10, 
xlviii. 3, 6, 14, 16) and which, if relating to the overthrow of 
Jerusalem and the captivity of its people, must be those of Jeremiah 
(see Jer. xxx. 3, xxxi. 4 f.). 

Acquaintance with such matters as these is sufficient to render it 
in the highest degree improbable that the author of the cc. in which 
they are mentioned was Isaiah. The only world-power in Asia of 
which Isaiah shews any knowledge is Assyria, and he nowhere an- 
ticipates its displacement by Babylon. The latter country in his time 
was only occasionally independent of Assyria, and the Medo-Persian 
power had not yet risen above the political horizon. Elam, whence 


Cyrus came, is represented by Isaiah as furnishing contingents to the 
Assyrian armies (xxii. 6), and Media was a subject Ass)a'ian province 
(2 Kgs. xvii. 6). Of predictions foretelling a captivity of Judah in 
Babylon there is only one which is expressly connected with Isaiah, 
viz. xxxix. 6 ; and that, if in its present form authentic (see note 
ad loc), is most reasonably understood of a deportation thither of 
Judaean captives by an Assyrian king ; whilst no mention of a release 
from such a captivity is made anywhere in writings which bear the 
stamp of Isaiah's own age\ The prophecies contained in these cc. 
could only have been written by that prophet if he, in his old age, had 
completely detached himself from his own time, and, projecting himself 
into the future, had placed himself in the situation of a distant genera- 
tion and devoted himself to meeting their needs exclusively. Whether 
it was psychologically possible for a prophet to do this may be arguable ; 
that the result for his own generation would have been in a high degree 
perplexing cannot be doubted. Nor indeed would any purpose have 
been served by a prediction delivered 150 years before the event. The 
function of a Hebrew prophet was ordinarily to explain to his own 
contemporaries the trend of their own conduct and to foretell the 
consequences it would have for themselves ; and an eighth century 
prophecy of the termination of the Babylonian exile would have been 
a useless forestalling of the predictions afterwards delivered about it 
by Jeremiah and Ezekiel in the seventh and sixth centuries. The 
only conclusion which is consistent both with the antecedent prob- 
abilities and with the actual allusions is that these cc. are the work of 
a prophet who lived during the Exile, that they were occasioned by 
events that occurred shortly before the close of it, and that they were 
addressed to those who were really resident in Babylon. 

(2) These cc. dififer conspicuously from the prophecies of Isaiah, as 
preserved in cc. i. — xxxix., in respect both of their writer's spirit and 
temper, and of many of the thoughts and ideas presented. 

(a) The pervading spirit is consolatory, in marked contrast to 
jthat of Isaiah, whose utterances are mainly denunciations of his 
^countrymen's sins, and exhortations to amendment. This distinction 
' "cannot be adequately explained by a difference of conditions and by 
.lie fact that the chastisement for the national offences is assumed to 
ijbave already fallen, for it is plain from various passages that the 
lommunity addressed is by no means regarded as free from fault. 

^ On Mic. iv. 10 see p. xliii. 


Nevertheless, though the prophet shews himself conscious of their 
mistrust of the Lord and their unresponsiveness to His advances, he 
does not dwell on their shortcomings, but seeks by every device to 
animate and encourage them. 

(6) In the conception of the Lord's character here presented the 
dominant attributes are His love for Israel (xliii. 4, c£ xliv. 21, xlix. 15), 
His tenderness and compassion towards it (xl. 11), and His faithfulness to 
His original purpose in regard to it (xlii. 6, 21 and perhaps xli. 2. 10); 
whereas the quality in God's nature which Isaiah chiefly accentuates is 
His sense of right and equity, which resents in His people the com- 
mission of social injustice and wrong. Hence the terms righteous and 
righteousness, when predicated of the Lord, are not significant, as in 
Isaiah, of retributive justice (i. 27, v. 16, x. 22) but of salvation or 
deliverance (xlv. 8, xlvi. 13, li. 5, 6, 8), the redress of Israel's wrongs 
being required by the Lord's trustworthiness and moral consistency (c£ 
xlv. 21)'. 

(c) The theme of the Lord's supremacy, though a subject common 
to both Isaiah (vi. 3) and the writer of these cc, is handled by the 
latter in a distinctive manner. Both prophets look to the events of 
history for the proof of the Lord's superiority over the powers upon 
which the worshippers of other gods, whether within Israel or among 
foreign peoples, rely; but whereas Isaiah assumes that the occurrences 
which he has in mind will carry conviction to the hearts of all who 
witness them, without his explicitly defining how the conviction is to 
be produced that the Lord is the sole Author of them, the writer of 
cc. xl. — Iv. appeals specifically to the coincidence of the events with 
the Lord's prior predictions of them (xli. 21 — 29, xliii. 9 — 13). 

{d) Their writer contemplates, like Isaiah (iv. 2 — 4), the re-estab- 
lishment in Jerusalem of happy and glorious conditions (lii. 1, liv. 1 f.), 
but it is not represented (as in Isaiah) as reserved for a mere " remnant " 
of the nation, or associated with the rule of an ideal king. There is but 
a single passage that is remotely suggestive of the advent of the 
Messianic King, viz. Iv. 3, 4, but the real tenor of it seems to be that 
the Divine promises made to the historic David are to be realized by 
the nation as a whole. The actual deliverance of the exiled people 
from their calamitous circumstances is depicted as achieved by a 
foreign prince, to whom alone the title of the Lord's "Anointed" 

1 Sometimes righteousness only means truthfulness, correctness (xlv. 19, 
xli. 26). 



(Messiah) is applied (xlv. 1). The only king in the restored 
community is the Lord (xli. 21, xliii. 15, xliv. 6). 

(e) In these cc. there emerges a conception of Israel's relation to 
the world which transcends anything that appears in Isaiah ^ The last- 
ly named prophet, indeed, implies in xviii. 3 that the Lord's overthrow of 
Assyria has an interest for all nations (cf. p. xxxviii), and in xviii. 7 (if 
the V. be authentic) declares that a single foreign people, who havat 
sought alliance with Judah, will send a token of homage to the Lord in y 
consequence of that signal manifestation of His power. But the writer 
/of these cc. looks forward to the rescue of his countrymen from Babylon 
as being instrumental in extending amongst mankind at large a know- 
{ledge of Judah's God and attracting their adhesion (cf. xlv. 4 — 6, 
'li. 4, 5, lii. 10). The collective nation is personified, and, under the 
iname of the Lord's Servant, is regarded as designed to witness, both by 
/the predictive powers with which (through its prophets) it is endowed, 
j and by the extraordinary course of its fortunes, to the wisdom and 
\ might of the Lord, and thereby to win for Him the allegiance of the 
Gentiles and promote their salvation (xlv. 22, cf. xliv. 5). This theme 
is further developed in a series of passages which are probably insertions 
in the original prophecy ; and the Jewish people is depicted as having 
atoned, by its sufferings and national extinction, for the sins of the 
■ heathen and as being destined to labour for their conversion. 
^ (/) To certain of the characteristic thoughts of the writer parallels 
;are found only in the post-Isaianic prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Of 
^hose already enumerated the conception of Israel as the Lord's Servant 
is found in Jer. xxx. 10, xlvi. 27 ; whilst another, not previously men- 
tioned, namely, the view that the people's release from exile is required 
not by their deserts but by consideration for the Lord's honour (xliii. 25, 
xlviii. 9 — 11), occurs also in Ezek. xxxvi. 22. 

Such distiuctive differences between the modes of thought per- 
vading these sixteen cc. and the writings of Isaiah can scarcely admit of 
the conclusion that they are the production of one and the same mind 
working under dissimilar conditions. They seem intelligible only if the 
two groups of prophecies are regarded as proceeding from two separate 
writers, who were not only placed in different situations, but were also 
endowed with diverse temperaments and intellectual qualities. 
! (3) The style and phraseology of these cc. are as individual as the 

i| 'ideas, and are in keeping with the position in which the historical 

V"_^^ ^ On ii. 2 — 4, see note. 


allusions imply that the writer was situated. Whereas Isaiah was a 
statesman, who addressed his utterances to the nation's rulers or to 
gatherings of the people, and whose writings exhibit the energy, the 
pregnant phrasing, and the rapid transitions of an orator, the author 
of these cc. writes as one who, if he sought to influence his countrymen, 
had to do so not by public addresses but through literary channels. 
His style is impassioned, imaginative, and stately, and marked by the 
structural symmetry of poetry. In striking contrast to the brevity 
of Isaiah, it is remarkably diffuse and expansive. The writer circles 
round his favourite thoughts, often without appreciably advancing 
them, and sometimes with a reiteration, almost tedious, of particular 
phrases (such as lift up thine {your) eyes (xl. 26, xlix. 18, li. 6), fear not 
(xli. 10, 13, 14, xliii. 1, 5, xliv. 2, liv. 4), the first and the last (xli. 4, 
xliv. 6, xlviii. 12), / am the Lon-d {God) and there is none else (xlv. 5, 
6, 18, 22, xlvi. 9)). Again, unlike Isaiah, whose utterances are more 
calculated to impress and awe than to persuade, his_tone is tender and 
pleading, and he makes his j;ppeals_hy rftasnm'ng fyrfWrmimor.f But 
in spite of the argumentative strain in his writing, the poeticquality of 
his genius is evidenced by the short lyrics which occur here and there, 
and by his frequent resort to Personification (xl. 10, xhii. 6, xlvii. 1, 
xlix. 13, li. 9, 17, lii. 1, liv. 1, Iv. 12), Metaphor (xli. 14, xliii. 2, 
xlv. 9, xlvi. 11, 1. 1, liv. 9) and Simile (xl. 11, xliv. 4, xhx. 18). Other dis- 
tinctive features of his diction are the duplication ^f emphatic phrases 
(xl. 1, xliii. 11, 25, xlviii. 11, 15, li. 9, 12, 17," lii. 1, 11)7 the number 
of rhetorical questions (xl. passim, xli. 2, 4, 26, xlii. 23, 24, xliii. 19, 
xliv, 7, 8, 10, xlv. 9, 21, xlvi. 5, xlix. 15, 24, etc.) and the accumula- 
tion of epithets and descriptive clauses in connection with the names of 
the Lord (xl. 28, xlii. 5, xliii. 14, 16, 17, xliv. 6, 24—28, xlv. 11, 18, 
xlviii. 17, li. 13), of Israel (xli. 8, xlvi. 3, xlviii. 1, xlix. 7), and of Cyrus 
(xlv. 1). 

His phraseology, as compared with Isaiah's, offers almost as many 
points of contrast as his style, for it is marked both by {a) the absence 
of many of Isaiah's favourite words and figures, and {b) the inclusion 
of many expressions which are foreign to that prophet, {a) Of phrases 
that recur with some frequency (three times or more) in Isaiah the 
following are wholly or almost wholly absent from these cc. : — 
Jehovah of hosts, Lord, idols (Qvv^), a treading-down (D?"?0), to 
smear (i.e. to blind) the eyes, mighty C^??), a remnant, to he wasted ('"i^^), 
a burden y'^P), a fruitful field (or plantation, ^91?), tempest (or rain 
storm, 211), briers and thorns, to fight (or war), to fiee (^l^), and it 



shall come to pass, in that day. Of metaphors and similes to which 
Isaiah is partial (each being used at least twice) the following do not 
occur : — to arise (of the Lord's activity), to exalt Himself (pi^^), to 
stretch out the hand (of the Lord's infliction of chastisement upon 
a nation or country), the thickets of the forest (a figure for large forces), 
head and tail, palm branch and rush (terms applied to the highest and 
lowest ranks in the state), fatness and leanness (figures for prosperity 
and adversity), briers and thorns (figures for hostile armies), a scourge 
(a metaphor for a severe infliction), an overflowing stream (applied to 
an overwhelming calamity), to be broken, snared, and taken (of the 
victims of a disaster), (b) On the other hand the following words and 
expressions which are comparatively rare or wholly absent in Isaiah 
are frequent in these cc. : all flesh, anger ('^'PCI), bring good tidings, 
break forth into singing C^VS), comfort, choose (of the Lord's choice 
of Israel), create, coastlands (or isles), declare i^^^), gather (K?!?), 
nothing (P^^\ offspring (^''^V^V), pleasure (r?n), praise, right hand, 
redeem (''^1), shew (V'??^'!'), spring forth (p'Q'^),from the beginning {^^'V), 
the farmer things (niaiK^N"]), salvation (Vtl, ''^W'^, the Lord's {my, his) 
servant. Two words which, though occurring in Isaiah, are much 
commoner in these cc. are righteousness (Pl^) and for ever ('^fiJ'?). 
Among favourite figures in cc. xl. — Iv. are widowhood (for the desolation 
of a city), darkness (for imprisonment), and the Lord's arm (for His 
power). But most significant of all are certain particles or adverbs 
which are used (each more than half a dozen times) in these cc. but 
which occur rarely or not at all in Isaiah's undoubted writings. The 
most noteworthy are :— "inx, qK i?K, '?3, |n, ir»^, nn^, n^pri. Other 
peculiarities which are only manifest in the Heb. are the omission of 
the relative (^^^) and the use of fern, adjectives and participles 
(in the plural) to express the neuter. 

These literary features constitute by themselves a strong argument 
in favour of cc. xl. — Iv. having been produced by another writer than 
Isaiah, for they extend beyond the choice of particular words (which 
might in some instances be determined by the subject-matter) to the 
structure and articulation of sentences. If Isaiah was their author, it 
must be supposed that he not only put himself into the situation, and 
became imbued with the ideas and sentiments, of a later generation, 
but that in writing for such he departed widely from his ordinary 
phraseology and manner of composition. Thus, three separate lines of 
proof converge to establish the conclusion that this part of the book 
does not proceed fi-om that prophet. This conclusion the traditional 


ascription of the whole book to him is not sufficient to neutralize 
Inasmuch as independent investigation shews that the Pentateuch, 
which is traditionally attributed to Moses, the Psalter, which is 
generally associated with the name of David, the book of Proverbs, 
which is similarly connected with Solomon, and the book of Zechariah, 
which has for its title the name of a single prophet, are all compilations 
from several sources, it is far from surprising that the book of Isaiah 
should likewise be composite. Nor can the accuracy of the tradition 
which treats the book as the work of one author be decided by the 
citation in the N.T. of all parts of it (cc. xl. — Iv. no less than cc. i. — xxxix.); 
as Isaiah's (see p. i). Both by our Lord and by the N.T. writers' 
the name of the prophet was used to denote the book from which they 
quoted because it was popularly known as his ; and by such use the 
question of the integrity of the book is left untouched ^ The external 
testimony, therefore, to the unity of authorship cannot counterbalance 
the internal evidence that it is the work of more than one writer, and 
that cc. xl. — Iv. are the composition of a prophet who lived a century 
and a half after Isaiah. That the memory of one who has written so 
noble a book should have passed so completely into oblivion is, no doubt, 
strange, but may perhaps be accounted for by the character of the 
prophecy, which, if the writer lived in Babylon, might make it ex- 
pedient that the authorship should not be widely known. In any case, 
it is not unexampled, for the author of the book of Job, a work equally 
remarkable, is also forgotten. In the absence of all knowledge of the 
real name of the writer of these cc, he is usually designated as Deutero- 

The limits ofjifiae-within which the prophecy was written can be 
deduced with some confidence from the statements made in regard to 
Cyrus, who is represented not as about to start upon his course of con- 
quest, but as having already entered upon it (xli. 2), and as having 
been summoned by the Almighty from the north and the east (xli. 25). 
This description is only applicable to him if he had by this time become 
master of Media, of which he was made king in 549. But it is possible 
that the date is a little later than this; for the declaration that the 
isles (i.e. the coasts of the Mediterranean) trembled before him (xli. 5) 
seems to imply that he had also subdued Croesus of Lydia, the aUy of 

* It is not implied that our Lord and His Apostles used the title by way of 
" accommodation " to the popular beliefs of the time ; the latter inevitably shared 
such, whilst the former participated in them through His self-limitation which was 
inherent in the Incarnation. 


the Babylonian king Nabunaid (the Labynetus of Hdt. i. 77), who 
was defeated in 546. The work, however, cannot be subsequent to 538, 
when Babylon, whose fall is regarded as still in the future (xliii. 14, 
xlvii. 1, xlviii. 14), was captured; and accordingly its composition may 
be plausibly assigned to some period between 546 and 538. The place 
of its origin has been variously identified. Marti (following Ewald) 
favours Egypt on the inadequate grounds of the reference to that 
country in xliii. 3, xlv. 14y, of a supposed allusion to the oracle of 
Ammon in xlv. 19, and of the use of Syene (if this is meant by Sinim 
in xlix. 12) to designate the extreme south. Duhm suggests Phoenicia 
since the writer has so much in mind the isles of the west, and alludes 
to Lebanon (xl. 16), where he could see snow (Iv. 10) and become 
acquainted with cedars (xli. 19) and other trees mentioned in xli. 19, 
xliv. 14, Iv, 13. But the bulk of the available evidence points to 
Babylonia. Only if the writer lived in Babylon is the word here 
natural in lii. 5\ In that country information respecting the early 
successes of Cyrus would be disseminated sooner than in Palestine or 
Egypt: there, more than in any other locality, would the prophet 
become familiar with the idolatry, the processes of image manufacture, 
the names of Babylon's chief deities, the sorcery and the astrology, 
which he describes; there the Semitic mythology (alluded to in li. 9) 
would be still current ; and there the circumstances and feelings of the 
exiled people would be most readily learnt. About the mountains and 
trees of Palestine he could obtain information through hearsay or 
literature, or he might have seen trees of Palestinian origin introduced 
into Babylonia ; whilst two that are named by him appear to be really 
Babylonian — the willow (or poplar), which is referred to in Ps. cxxxvii. 
2, and the myrtle, which is mentioned as growing in Palestine only by 
post-exilic writers (Zech. i. 8, 10, 11, Neh. viii. 15) and seems to have 
become known to the Jews in the course of the Exile. In a few passages 
which appear to be written from the standpoint of a resident in 
Palestine (xli. 9, hi. 7, 11), the prophet obviously places himself in 
fancy in the land of his fathers. 

^ This V. occurs in a passage deemed by some critics to be an interpolation 
(see note). 

w. I. 


§ 2. Jewish History in the interval between Isaiah and 

The kingdom of Judah survived the crisis of 701 for more than a 
hundred years, and outlasted the empire of Assyria itself. Sennacherib, 
who made one or more expeditions westward after 701, but did not 
again threaten Jerusalem^ was assassinated in 681 (Is. xxxvii. 38) and 
was succeeded by his son Esarhaddon (681 — 668). The most notable 
events of his successor's reign were the destruction of Zidon (cf. p. 150), 
and the invasion of Egypt, the latter being the first successful attempt 
on the part of an Assyrian monarch to penetrate into the land 
of the Pharaohs. On Esarhaddon's death the Assyrian dominions 
passed to Asshurbanipal (668 — 626), the Osnappar of Ezra iv. 10, and 
the Sardanapalus of Greek historians. Like his father, the new king 
made campaigns in Egypt; but the country was not permanently 
occupied, and Psammetichus, the son of Necho, one of the Egyptian 
vassal kings, declared himself independent before 660. Asshurbanipal 
reduced Tyre, which had successfully defied his father, and ravaged 
Elam ; but the power of the Assyrian empire was already beginning to 
be impaired ; and when he died in 626 it quickly crumbled. After the 
death of Asshurbanipal the annals of Assyria are fragmentary; his 
successors are mere names ^. Babylonia, which had occasioned so much 
trouble to Sargon and Sennacherib through the activity of Merodach- 
baladan of Bit-yakin, now passed into the hands of Nabopolassar, who 
like Merodach-baladan, was a Chaldean by race. Nabopolassar, however, 
was attacked by Sin-shar-ishkun, the contemporary king of Assyria; 
and to defend himself he appealed for help to the Manda, a group of 
nomadic tribes of Kurdistan, speaking an Indo-European tongue, who 
seem to have incorporated the Medes. The Manda drove the Assyrians 
out of Babylonia, and pursued them to Nineveh, their capital. The 
city failed to withstand the assault of the invaders; it was stormed, 
sacked, and burnt; and Sin-shar-ishkun perished in the flames that 
consumed his palace. The date of Nineveh's capture was 607. 

In Judah Hezekiah died about 692, and was succeeded by Manasseh 
(692 — 638), in whose reign there was a violent reaction against the 
religious reforms advocated by Isaiah and perhaps carried out in some 
degree by Hezekiah (p. 227), in the course of which the prophet him- 
self is said to have been put to death (p. xviii). According to 2 Ch. 

1 See on cc. xxxvi., xxxvii., Eogers, HBA. n. 203 (note), 213. 
* Asshur-etil-ili, Sin-shum-lishir, Sin-shar-ishkun. 


xxxiii. 11, retribution fell upon Manasseh at the hands of Assyria, the 
Assyrian king (Esarhaddon?) invading Judah and carrying its ruler 
into captivity (cf. Is. xxxix. 6, note), whence he is said to have been 
subsequently released \ Manasseh was succeeded by Amon (638 — 
637), and Amon by Josiah (637 — 607); and it was in the reign of the 
latter that Assyria began to totter to its fall. The signs of the coming 
collapse were apparent to its neighbours, and a claimant for the prospec- 
tive spoils of the falling empire appeared in Egypt. As has been 
mentioned, Psammetichus had there asserted his independence in the 
reign of Asshurbanipal, and his son Necho II. aspired to extend 
Egyptian power eastward. Palestine was the country wliich lay nearest, 
and the Philistine city of Gaza was the first which Necho assailed^. 
After the capture of this, he was opposed by Josiah, whose independ- 
ence the Egyptian invasion of Asia threatened. The encounter took 
place at Megiddo*, and Josiah was defeated and mortally wounded. 
The control of Judah then passed for a while into Egyptian hands, and 
Necho dethroned Josiah's son Jehoahaz, or Shallum (Jer. xxii. 11), who 
had been made king by popular choice, and replaced him by his brother 
Eliakim or Jehoiakim. But the Egyptian king did not long enjoy the 
fruits of his success. About the same time that the battle of Megiddo 
was fought, Nineveh was taken by the Manda; and the Chaldean 
Nabopolassar set about securing for himself the region of Mesopo- 
tamia. Hence when Necho, seeking to extend his conquests, marched 
to the Euphrates, he was opposed by Nebuchadrezzar, son of Nabo- 
polassar, at Carchemish (cf. Jer. xlvi. 2), and completely defeated (605). 
This victory placed Judah in the power of the Chaldeans. For three 
years Jehoiakim paid tribute to Nebuchadrezzar'*, who succeeded (605) 
to the throne of Babylon on the death of his father (2 Kgs. xxiv. 1); 
but then revolted. Judah was thereupon harassed by detachments of 
the Chaldean hosts, aided by the Syrians, Moabites and Ammonites; 
but after the death of Jehoiakim, who was succeeded by Jehoiachin, 
the Chaldean king advanced in force against Jerusalem and compelled 
its surrender. Jehoiachin, with his court and the flower of the popu- 
lation (cf. Jer. xxiv.), was carried into captivity (597), and his uncle 
Mattaniah under the title of Zedekiah was made king in his room. 

^ Manasseh is mentioned as an Assyrian vassal in the inscriptions of both 
Esarhaddon and Asshurbanipal (Schrader, COT. ii. 40). Much doubt attaches to 
the story of his captivity at Babylon and his subsequent release, in consequence of 
the silence of the writer of Kings about it. 

2 Herodotus (ii. 157) mentions an attack of Psammetichus on Ashdod. 
The Magdolus of Hdt. ii. 159. * Strictly Nebuchadrezzar II. 


Meanwhile in Egypt Necho had been succeeded by Hophra (the 
Apries of the Greek historians), and it was probably through Egjrptian 
encouragement that the states of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Zidon 
sought to induce Judah to unite with them in rebelling against their 
suzerain. The policy was opposed by the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. xxvii.) ; 
but eventually Zedekiah, in spite of his oath of fealty (Ezek. xvii. 13), 
decided on revolt. Nebuchadrezzar sent an army to blockade Jerusa- 
lem ; but for a time the siege was raised through the approach of an 
Egyptian relieving force. The Egyptians, however, soon retreated, 
perhaps in consequence of a defeat {Jos. Ant. x. vii. 3), and Jerusalem 
was again invested. Zedekiah himself attempted to escape across the 
Jordan, but was overtaken near Jericho, carried to Riblah, where 
Nebuchadrezzar himself was, and there, after witnessing his sons' 
deaths, had his eyes put out, and was carried captive to Babylon. His 
capital, meanwhile, had been entered, its treasures seized, its walls 
breached, and its buildings burnt. Of its remaining inhabitants a 
large number were deported, only the poorest being left to cultivate 
the soil (587 B.C.). As governor of these there was appointed a Jew of 
royal descent named Gedaliah ; but he, together with a number of those 
about him, both Jews and Chaldeans, was murdered by another de- 
scendant of the royal house called Ishmael ; and in fear of the possible 
vengeance that the Chaldean king might wreak on the country, the 
bulk of the survivors fled to Egypt, whither some Jews had withdrawn 
after 597 (see Jer. xxiv. 8), and where there was eventually gathered a 
large Jewish population. 

The principal facts of importance in the religious history of Judah 
during this period were the promulgation of the Deuteronomic Law in 
the reign of Josiah, and the prophetic ministry of Jeremiah during the 
reigns of his successors. The importance of Deuteronomy lay in its 
injunction that the national worship of the Lord should be restricted 
to a single sanctuary, an injunction which was enforced by king 
Josiah. Such a departure from the previous usage allowing worship 
to be conducted at numerous local shrines was calculated to preserve 
the religion of the Lord from being contaminated with the idolatrous 
and immoral rites which found shelter in obscure sanctuaries, and it 
thus helped to safeguard both the purity and the spirituality of the 
Hebrew faith. In the long run, however, the centralizing of all 
worship at the Temple could scarcely fail to have a narrowing effect 
upon Jewish conceptions of the Deity, and of the conditions under 
which He desired to be approached (cf Joh. iv. 20). On the genera- 


tion that was confronted with the armies of Nebuchadrezzar it had a 
further calamitous influence by encouraging them to defy the enemy 
in reliance upon the belief that Jerusalem was secure against capture 
in virtue of the existence of the Lord's Temple within it (cf. Is. xiv. 32, 
xxix. 7, 8, xxxi. 9). It was among the services rendered by Jeremiah 
to his countrymen that he sought to disabuse them of this superstitious 
confidence in the Temple as a palladium. He maintained that Jerusalem 
was doomed to fall into the hands of the Chaldean enemy, in conse- 
quence of its sins, and that its people would be carried into captivity, 
whence they would be restored only after a long period of exile. 
Jeremiah's view of the destiny awaiting his countrjmaen contrasts so 
strikingly with Isaiah's that an explanation of it must be sought in 
the different conceptions of religion entertained by the two prophets. 
For Isaiah the religious unit was the state ; and so the survival of the 
religion of Jehovah seemed to require the survival of the nation 
which professed it. On the other hand, for Jeremiah the religious 
unit had become the individual : the existence of a law-book had 
made the preservation of the religion of Jehovah possible, apart from 
the preservation of the state ; and so the prophet could contemplate 
^vithout fear the extinction of his country's independence by exile, 
whence it was to emerge and enter upon a better future when the 
Lord would create in each member of the community a new spirit 
(Jer. xxxi. 31 — 34). It is this recognition of the individual heart as 
the real sphere of religious life that is the most distinctive feature in 
Jeremiah's teaching, and constitutes his most valuable contribution to 
religious thought. 

The number of the Jews carried into exile at the various deporta- 
tions can only be approximately estimated. Those taken in 597 are 
put in 2 Kgs. xxiv, 14 at 10,000 : whilst those taken in 587 and 
afterwards are reckoned in Jer. lii. 28 — 30 at 4600 \ This makes a 
total of about 15,000 ; so that if these figures relate to men only, and 
if many were accompanied by their families (though see Ezek. xxiv. 21), 
the full number of captives may have amounted to 50,000". They 
were drawn from the most valuable sections of the c immunity, only the 
poorest classes being left in occupation of the country . The localities 
where they were settled cannot with certainty be ascertained. One of 
them was Tel-abib on the stream Chebar (Ezek. iii. 15), which has been 

^ In Jer. lii. 28 seventh should be emended to seventeenth. 

'^ Meyer (cited by Whitehouse) places the probable total at over 100,000. 


thought to be a large canal near the city of Nippur. Other places 
where Jews in 458 assembled to return with Ezra were Tel-melah, 
Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer (Ezra ii. 59) ; but their 
situation has not been identified. Another settlement was at Casiphia 
(Ezra viii. 17), which is equally unknown. It may be inferred, however, 
that the exiles were widely distributed in order to preclude treasonable 
combinations. Many of the first generation of exiles, though enslaved, 
were probably enabled to practise the occupations to which they had 
been accustomed in their own land, for the Babylonians were an 
industrial people, and skilled labour would be valued. By Jeremiah 
they were exhorted to enter into the life of the country and to be loyal 
to their Babylonian rulers (c. xxix.) ; and it would seem that many 
acted on his counsel and thereby acquired considerable wealth. Conse- 
quently, although complaints occur in the Hebrew writers of harsh 
treatment undergone by their countrymen (Is. xiv. 3, xlii. 22, xlvii. 6), 
it is not likely that in general the conditions of their servitude were 
rigorous. They appear to have had among them some kind of civil 
organization, the patriarchal system of elders naturally replacing the 
princes to whose authority the Exile put an end (Ezek. viii. 1). In 
their new home the exiles came in contact with a very elaborate 
system of idolatrous worship. Upon some of them it would doubtless 
exercise attraction. But in others it would induce feelings of revulsion ; 
and upon those who eventually returned to their own land their 
experiences in Babylon seem to have exerted a purifying influence, for 
such idolatry as existed in the post-exilic community seems to have 
had its seat among the dregs of the population that were left on their 
native soil (p. Ixix). A cause which helped to detach the captive Jews 
from idolatrous tendencies was the study of the writings of their 
prophets. During the Exile sacrifice was suspended, and religious 
activity took a literary direction. A body of prophetic literature had 
by this time accumulated, and was now collected and edited ; historical 
records were put into shape and their lessons enforced by comments ; 
and the legal and ritual regulations which had been transmitted by 
tradition began to be codified. But beside the influences of the past 
which it was thus sought to preserve, there was operative among the 
exiles the influence of contemporary prophets. Of these the chief 
were Ezekiel and the unknown writer designated as Deutero-Isaiah. 
These not only pointed the moral of their past experiences but cheered 
them with hopes for the future. Ezekiel, whose writings were produced 
between 592 and 570, was a priest, and his interest was chiefly centred 


in the reorganization of the national religion, with its Temple, priest- 
hood, and sacrificial system, against the time when the national life 
should be renewed on the soil of Judah. Deutero-Isaiah, who (as has 
been shewn) lived nearer the close of the Exile and wrote between 549 
and 538, was principally concerned to induce his countrymen to welcome 
the prospects of redemption afforded by the successes of the Persian 
Cyrus, whom he described as the Lord's Anointed. Many of the exiles 
were depressed by the protracted duration of their captivity (cf. Lam. 
iii. 18, V. 20) : others probably looked for rescue to the rise among 
them of a deliverer of their own race, and not to a foreign conqueror. 
To the dissipation of such despondency and discontent the prophet 
devoted all his efforts, embodying his appeals and consolations in 
writings which in some ways constitute the crown of Hebrew prophecy. 
The external history of the Babylonian empire from its destruction 
of Jerusalem in 587 to its own overthrow by Cyrus can be summarized 
briefly. Nebuchadrezzar, upon the conclusion of the war against 
Judah, attacked Tyre (585), which had been one of the states that 
encouraged Zedekiah in his rebellion. The siege lasted 13 years, and 
ended without the city being captured. He next invaded Egypt (567), 
and penetrated into it, but does not appear to have effectively sub- 
jugated the country. He was succeeded in 561 by Amil-marduk (the 
Evil-merodach of the O.T.). This king displayed clemency to the 
captive Jehoiachin by releasing him from prison (2 Kgs. xxv. 27 — 30, 
Jer. Iii. 31 — 34) ; but little else is recorded of him, and he died by 
violence after a reign of only two years. The author of his death was 
Nergal-shar-usar^ (Neriglissar), who succeeded him, and whose reign 
was also short. He was followed by Labashi-marduk (Labassarachos), 
a youth who was murdered after occupying the throne for less than a 
year. His successor was Nabu-naid (Nabonidus) (556 — 538), who was 
more interested in the building of temples than in the cares of empire, 
and who left the administration of the state largely in the hands of 
his son Bel-shar-usar (the Belshazzar of the O.T.). Early in his reign 
the Manda, who had been instrumental in the overthrow of Assyria, 
and who had subjugated, and become amalgamated with, the Medes, 
had been conquered by Cyrus, the ruler of Anshan (a little state in 
N.W. Elam)^ their king Astyages being betrayed by his own troops 
(549). After this success Cyrus, who now called himself king of the 

1 Perhaps the Nergal-sharezer of Jer. xxxix. 3. 

2 On Elam see Driver, Gen. p. 128. 


Parsu (or Persians), conquered Croesus of Lydia and captured Sardis 
(546) ; and he then menaced Babylon. He advanced upon it in 538 
and entered it without resistance, Nabunaid being taken within his 
capital. Thus Babylon fell, some 50 years after it had brought about 
the fall of Jerusalem, so fulfilling the prophecy of Jeremiah delivered 
66 years previously (Jer, xxv. 12) ^ 

§ 3. Theology of Deutero- Isaiah. 

The prophecy of Deutero-Isaiah, like other prophecies, was composed 
in view of a particular crisis, and its theological affirmations are not 
made as abstract propositions, but designed to interpret certain passing 
and impending events to a particular body of people. The events in 
question were the movements of the Persian Cyrus against Babylon and 
its allies; and of the peoples whom they affected none were more deeply 
interested in them than the Jewish exiles in that country. But what- 
ever hopes were inspired in these by the report of Cyrus' successes, they 
could not overcome the influences conducive to depression and despair. 
The reasons for their despondency were partly the vast material re- 
sources of their oppressors (11. 13), and partly the imposing system of the 
Babylonian religion, with its ritual, its enchantments, and its vaticina- 
tions, which induced doubts whether the gods of Babylon might not be 
more potent than their own God. Accordingly the prophet's efforts 
were directed to encouraging and stimulating the disheartened exiles 
by dwelling upon (a) the sovereignty of the Lord over the forces of 
nature and the events of human history, (h) His love for, and fidelity 
to, His people, (c) the powerlessness of Babylon's idol-gods, as evinced 
both by the processes of their manufacture and by their inability to 
foresee and predict the future. The writer in developing his thesis 
"that the Lord had both the power and the will to deliver His people 
out of all their tribulation pursues in some measure the ordinary 
method of the Hebrew prophetic writers. In regard to the Lord's 
creation of, and rule over, the physical world he starts from the current 
beliefs, deeply rooted but vague, of his countrymen, and proceeds to 
enlarge their conception of the extent of the Lord's resources by a 
series of affirmations respecting His relations to various parts of the 
universe. But in respect of His influence over human fortunes, and 

1 The seventy years which Jeremiah declared that the Exile was to last is 
probably a conventional number (cf. Is. xxiii. 15, Zech. vii. 5). 


f His superiority in regard to this over the idols of Babylon he essays 
-^ demonstration, and appeals to the evidence of prophecy. To the 
Lord's foreknowledge of the future the Jews could furnish testimony. 
They were His witnesses, their own experience supplying instances of 
predictions verified by the event, which argued in the God Who inspired 
them control over the occurrences foretold. To the idols a challenge 
is flung to produce similar proofs of prescience ; and as it is assumed 
that none is forthcoming, an adverse conclusion concerning their power 
and reality is inevitable. 

(a) That heaven and earth were the creation of the Lord was a 
belief much older than Deutero-Isaiah, being found in the Pentateuchal 
narrative JE (Gen. ii. 4 b) and implied by Amos (v. 8, ix. 6). But in 
this prophecy it is re-affirmed with the utmost emphasis (xl. 12, 28, 
xlii. 5, xliv. 24, xlv. 12, 18, xlviii. 13). The Lord is declared to be the 
Creator and Marshaller of the stars (xl. 26), to be the Ruler of the sea 
(xliii. 16, li. 10, 15), and to be the Source of all that lives on the earth 
(xli. 4, xlii. 5). The warrior who uses, and the smith who forges, 
deadly weapons, alike owe their existence to His creative power (liv. 16). 
He is able to effect the most marvellous transformations of nature 
(xl. 4, xli. 18, 19, xlii. 15, xliii. 19, xliv. 27, 1. 2, 3), and in the whole 
of His operations He is independent of all counsel and help (xl. 12 — 14). 
In comparison with Him nations are negligible quantities (xl. 15, 17), 
and the inhabitants of the world shrink into insignificance (xl. 22, 23). 
He is the Author of light and darkness, the Originator of good and evil 
(xlv. 7). His existence extends through all time (xli. 4, xliv. 6, xlviii. 
12), He is an everlasting God (xl. 28), and He foresees and correctly 
announces events before they come to pass (xli. 26, 27, xlii. 9). In 
fine, He alone is God, before or after Him there is none other, and beside 
Him there is no Saviour (xliii. 10, 11, xliv. 6, 8, xlv. 6, 14, 20, 21, xlvi. 9). 
In consequence of His thus being the only existing God, the epithet Holi/ 
One, a term connoting Divinity, becomes appropriate to Him as a 
proper name (without the article, xl. 25) : He concentrates in Himself 
all that constitutes godhead. Hence, in opposition to the Lord all 
hostile combinations of human forces are vain (xl. 6, 7, 23, xliii. 13, li. 
12). Tireless and inexhaustible Himself, He is able to recruit the 
strength of the faint and weak, if they trust Him (xl. 29, 31). His 
promise is unfailing (xl. 8, Iv. 11); Cyrus is His agent for rescuing His 
people (as the Assyrians had once been His instrument for their chas- 
tisement, X. 5, 12) ; and their return to their own land is therefore 
assured (xliv. 28, xlv. 13, Iv. 12). 


(b) The conviction that a special bond subsisted between the Lord 
and Israel may be described as part of the racial heritage of the people, 
for every Semitic nation and community believed itself to be an object 
of care and interest to a particular god, whom it repaid by exclusive 
worship. Originally a Semitic divinity seems to have been regarded as 
attached primarily to the land in which his worship was maintained, 
and which was thought of as united to him by conjugal ties, its 
inhabitants being the offspring of the union (see on i. 2). Among the 
Jews any sensuous associations suggested by this view of the relations 
between the Lord and themselves were early replaced by ethical con- 
ceptions; and whilst terms derived from marriage were retained to 
describe the bond between the Lord and Jerusalem, they were expres- 
sive of nothing but the tenderest and purest emotion. And it is 
especially to these that Deutero-Isaiah has recourse when seeking to 
renew in the despondent exiles trust in the love and faithfulness of the 
Lord. The Lord had chosen them in the person of their ancestor 
Abraham (li. 2), and to that choice He was consistently loyal (cf. xli. 8 — 
14). They were His sons and daughters (xliii. 6); and any interrup- 
tion in the current of His affection for Jerusalem, their mother, was 
only temporary (1. 1), and its flow would soon be renewed for ever 
(liv. If.). There was no divorce between her Husband and her; the 
period of her widowhood was on the point of terminating ; and the 
Lord was about to recall her to Him (liv. 5, 6). But the writer does 
not confine himself to figures like these : he uses most of the metaphors 
and comparisons which best convey thoughts of compassion and solici- 
tude. The Lord is Israel's next of kin (Goel), Whose right it is to 
redeem it from slavery (xli. 14, xliii. 14, xliv. 6, 24, xlviii. 17, xlix. 7, 
liv. 8). His unfailing care for Israel exceeds even the unforgetting love 
of a mother (xHx. 14, 15). His tendance of its people is like that of 
a shepherd who leads his sheep, and carries his lambs in his bosom 
(xl. 11). It is His purpose to facilitate their homeward journey across 
the desert (xl. 3, 4, xlii. 16), to relieve all their wants (xli. 18, 19, xhii. 
19, xlix. 10, 11), and to restore Jerusalem to honour and happiness 
(xl. 9, xlix. 14 — 21, hi. 1, 2, liv. 1 — 17). The Lord is represented as 
magnifying in His pity the suflferings of the exiles as compared with 
their sins (xl. 2), and as assuring them ample compensation for the 
wrongs they have sustained (xlix. 22 f.). It is in consequence of this 
view of Israel as more innocent than the agents of its punishment 
that the term righteousness undergoes the transition of meaning to 
which allusion has been made (p. xlvi). The Divine righteousness 


which in Proto-Isaiah causes the Lord to inflict chastisement upon His 
people on account of their misdeeds is, in Deutero-Isaiah, the motive — 
faithfulness to His original beneficent purposes — which inspires Him to 
achieve through Cyrus their redemption (xlv. 13, 23, cf. xli. 2, 10, xlii. 
21), or else the proof of His justice as thereby manifested (xlv. 8, xlvi. 
13, li. 5, 6, 8), and so equivalent to victory or triumph (synonymous 
with strength (xlv. 24) or salvation (xlvi. 13, li. 5, 6)). And similarly, 
as the effect of the earlier purifying judgments upon Israel is regarded 
by Isaiah as the renewal in it of righteousness in the sense of social 
uprightness and integrity, so the effect of Israel's rescue from its 
oppressors is thought of by the writer of these cc. as re-establishing its 
righteousness by publicly vindicating its character, upon which its 
calamities had cast reproach. 

(c) In the contrast drawn between the Lord as the Helper of 
Israel, and the idols in which Babylon's confidence was placed, use is 
made of two lines of argument. In the first place, the Lord's claim to 
.be the prime mover in the events that were transpiring (the successes 
of Cyrus and his advance upon Babylon) is supported by the evidence 
of His wisdom and foreknowledge afforded by the fulfilment of His 
earlier predictions (xliii. 12, xlv. 21, xlviii. 14), which Israel could 
attest (xliii. 10, xliv. 8, xlviii. 6); whereas no proof of prophetic power 
could be produced on behalf of the idols (xli. 21 — 24, xliii. 9, xlv. 21). 
Secondly, the materials out of which the idols had been constructed 
and the process of their manufacture are derisively set forth as a 
crowning demonstration of the impotence and unreality of deities so 
made (xl. 19, 20, xli. 6, 7, xliv. 9—20, xlvi. 6, 7)^ In the description 
of the fabrication of a god out of the same block of wood from which 
the artificer obtains fuel to give him warmth and to cook his food, the 
writer's sarcasm is mordant and scathing. 

But if the prophet, in contending for the superiority of the God of 
Israel over the gods of Babylon, had done no more than point to the 
success of Babylon's enemy, the evidence of prophecy, and the helpless- 
ness of images made by human hands, he would not have advanced 
much beyond the ideas of many of his predecessors. Although to Israel 
Cyrus' success might be evidence of the potency of the Lord Who had 
set him in motion (cf. Josh. iii. 10), yet Babylon might have accounted 
for its disasters by the plea that its god Bel was angry with his land 
(just as Mesha of Moab, in his inscription, explains the disasters of the 

^ The authenticity of xliv. 9 — 20 and xlvi. 6, 7 is denied by many critics. 



Moabites as caused by the resentment of Chemosh)\ The Babylonian 
soothsayers, if allowed to speak for themselves, would probably have 
been at no loss for instances of true vaticination on the part of Nebo 
the god of prophecy, the tutelary divinitj'- of Borsippa. And even the 
prophet's exposure of the folly of idol-worship is effective only against 
the vulgar view that identifies the god with his image. Deutero-Isaiah, 
however, did not stop here ; and his first great distinction in the sphere 
of theology is the explicitness with which he afiirms the Lord to be the 
only God. It is possible that his mind may at times have fluctuated a 
little in regard to the gods of the heathen, and that he did not uni- 
formly consider them as altogether non-existent powers (see xlvi. 2). 
But even if he does not quite consistently maintain the monotheistic 
position, he seems to gain it. He repeatedly represents the Lord as 
declaring that He is God and none else (xliv. 6, 8, xlv. 5, 6, 18). It is 
to this conclusion that the exhaustive description of the Lord as the 
Creator and Ruler of the world naturally leads ; it is this belief in the 
existence of only one God that is destructive of the claims of any rival 
deities ; and it is upon this faith that he builds his hopes for his 

But a conviction that the God hitherto worshipped by one single 
nation is really the only God that exists to receive worship at all is, if 
thought out, fatal to the belief that He can be the God of that nation 
in any exclusive sense ; and it is the secoTiH p fTpa.t rjjstiiT^^'^i'^Ti nf Dmitero- 
Isaiah that he becamfi..aensibli? of t4wsr He recognized that if Israel 
waslhe favoured people of the God of the whole universe, Who was 
controlling a great contemporary movement for its advantage, the 
favour bestowed upon it must be a means to a further end and contri- 
to the good of all mankind. Hitherto the Lord's choice oP, and 
love for, Israel had been asserted, but not accounted for (Am. iii. 2, 
Hos. xi. 1, Deut. vii. 6f.); and it could only be saved from appearing 
arbitrary by being regarded as subsidiary to a purpose embracing the 
whole human race. The prophet's conclusion took expression in the 
designation of Israel as th Lord's Servant. The title, which implied 
that those who were thus described were devoted to the worship and 
service of the Lord (cf. Neh. i. 10, Dan. vi. 20, and the proper name 
Ohadiah, 1 Kgs. xviii. 12), had been previously for the most part 

1 See the inscription on the Moabite stone in Driver, Sam. p. Ixixv f. or 
Hastings, BB. iii. p. 403 f. 

2 The event which originally manifested the Lord's choice of Israel is variously 
represented as the Exodus or the Call of Abraham (Hos. xi. 1, Is. xli. 8, li. 2). 


applied to individuals (see on xli. 8); but by Deutero-Isaiah (following 
the precedent of Jeremiah, see xxx. 10, xlvi. 27) it was applied to the 
collective people of Israel. The function which Israel, as the Lord's 
Servant, was commissioned to discharge was that of manifesting and 
attesting before the world the Lord's power and wisdom and goodness 
(xliii. 21). It was qualified to do this by its experiences, which 
illustrated the nature and character of its God, His faculty of predic- 
tion, and the justice of His claim to direct and control events (xliii. 10, 
xliv. 8). In the immediate future it was destined to have an unprece- 
dented opportunity for fulfilling this function. Its approaching release 
from captivity and its restoration to its own land were events which by 
their unexpectedness were calculated to attract the attention of the 
world at large (xl. 5). So extraordinary a rescue could not fail to excite 
among those who witnessed it emotions of reverence and awe towards 
the Deity who brought it about (xlv. 6, 14). A desire would be kindled 
in them to secure for themselves the protection of so mighty a Deity ; 
and the heathen peoples would be led to renounce their idolatries and 
to attach themselves to Israel in order to share the blessings derivable 
from a knowledge of the one true God (xliv. 5, xlv. 22, 23). 

In thus setting before his countrymen the Divine scheme which 
they were intended to be instrumental in promoting, the prophet '| 
doubtless aimed at stimulating them, depressed as they were by half a ij 
century's slavery, with the thought of their being called to a high and ;| 
ennobling destiny. But truth would not allow him to ignore altogefHer | V 
the many defects of his nation. In spite of the privileges which had \ 
been conferred upon it, Israel had hitherto not responded adequately to \ 
its obligations. It had shewn itself spiritually blind and deaf (xlii. 18, r 
19, xliii. 8), had transgressed against its God, and had been in conse- \ 
quence punished by exile in a foreign laud (xlii. 24, 25). Even thefBr^ 
it had been refractory, querulous, and unresponsive to the Lord's 
advances (xl. 27, xlv. 9, xlvi. 12, 1. 2). It could not, however, be 
allowed to defeat the Lord's purposes. His name would be dishonoured, 
and His power disparaged, if His people were left in the hands of their 
enemies indefinitely (xlii. 8), for the heathen could not be expected to 
understand the disciplinary purpose which Israel's humiliation sub- 
served, and would only infer from it the powerlessness of its God. 
Consequently, since, notwithstanding their ill-treatment by Babylon, 
they could not be deemed to deserve redemption by any merits of their 
own, the Lord was constrained to forgive and deliver them for His own 
sake (xliii. 25, xlviii. 11), and Israel was still to become, despite its 


failings, an agency whereby a saving knowledge of the Lord might reach 
mankind (xhv. 5, xlv. 14, 22, 23, li. 4, lii. 10). 

Deutero-Isaiah thus harmonized the truth of the Lord's interest in 
the nations of the earth generally with his ancestral belief in the 
Lord's peculiar relation to Israel in particular by the thought that 
Israel, in being chosen for special privileges, was intended to be an 
agent in the extension of the same to others. The idea, however, 
was not peculiar to him, for the passages within his wi'itings in 
which it is most fully developed seem to have been incorporated by 
him from another source. These passages \ generally known as the 
"Serxaiit Songs," are marked by a much higher estimate of Israel's 
character and conduct than that entertained by Deutero-Isaiah, and 
by a very singular view of the significance of its history and ex- 
periences. In them Israel, as the Lord's Servant, is represented, with 
even more expHcitness than in Deutero-Isaiah, as expressly designed 
to acquaint the Gentiles, whose spiritual condition is sympathetically 
described (xlii. 3, 4), with a knowledge of the true religion (xlii. 1). 
It is affirmed of him that he will use the methods of a gentle and 
unobtrusive, but at the same time, an unflagging, teacher (xlii. 3, 4). 
For the discharge of his duty he is portrayed as equipped with the 
faculty of incisive speech (xlix. 2), and as submissive and responsive 
to the Lord's instruction (1. 5). In the course of his career he has 
overcome by his faith feelings of disappointment and failure (xlix. 4) ; 
he has patiently endured humiliation and outrage (1. 6, liii. 7) ; and, 
though innocent of evil, he has been destroyed as a criminal (liii. 8, 9). 
But it is predicted that his career is not finally closed : his life will be 
renewed because his sufferings and death have been vicarious (liii. 4 — 6), 
procuring the Divine forgiveness for those who occasioned or witnessed 
them (liii. 10 — 12). This fact will be brought home to men by the 
marvel of his triumphant restoration, which will excite the greatest 
astonishment amongst kings and peoples, and will evoke from them 
. marks of the utmost veneration (lii. 15). 
<il In this delineation of the Lord's Servant, his calamities and death 
<^ are obviously regarded as past : it is only his restoration to life, his 
/ exaltation to honour, and the success of his mission, that are still 
) future. By the writer the former must be intended to denote the 
oppressive treatment which Israel underwent at the hands of its 
heathen neighbours, which was consummated by its extinction as a 

1 Viz. xUi. 1—4, xlix. 1—6, 1. 4—9, lii. 13— liii. 12. 


nation ; whilst the latter represent the expected renewal of its 
national life and independence. In the vivid personification exhibited 
in these passages there is nothing that goes beyond Deutero-Isaiah's 
portrayal of Israel as an individual (see xliv. 1, 2, xlvi. 3, 4, and 
cf. c. xlvii. of Babylon) : the features in them which are really 
remarkable and distinctive are the qualities of innocence and patience 
attributed to the collective nation, and the vicarious character of its 
sufferings, which are represented as availing to intercede for the offences 
of the heathen. There is nothing, however, to suggest that the inno- 
cence is to be construed as sinlessness ; and for the claim that Israel 
was relatively righteous in comparison with the heathen, parallels are 
not wanting (see on liii. 9). On the other hand, the substitutionary 
value here assigned to the adversities and national extinction of Israel 
does not occur anywhere else in the O.T. But it is not unnatural that 
such an estimate of the significance of Israel's calamities should have 
come to be entertained when once the problem pressed for solution as 
to why a race, which, with all its faults, was in faith and morals 
superior to nations like Assyria, Babylon, or Persia, should have been 
allowed to be oppressed and destroyed. The wTiter of these passages 
seeks therein to furnish an answer to a question which perplexed his 
predecessor Habakkuk — the question why the Lord permitted the 
wicked to swallow up the man that was more righteous than he 
(Hab. i. 13) ; and he finds it in a theory of vicarious atonement, to 
which he was possibly led by the increasing thought bestowed, during 
the Exile, upon sacrifices of expiation \ The substitutionary idea 
admitted of extension from the sphere of animal, to that of human, 
life ; and the author of the Songs applied it to remove the feeling 
of injustice which tTTe" Tiboughr oitheir past adversities might have 
created in his countrymen. Israel's sufferings were not to be regarded 
as an altogether inexplicable calamity, but accounted for as a factor 
in the accomplishment of a Divine plan. They had been designed to 
•expiate the sins of the Gentiles, and to exert upon them, when know- 
ledge of the truth should be brought home to them, a redemptive 
influence. Israel's sense of injustice might thus be lost in the con- 
sciousness of service done for God and man ; and the nation, when 
made acquainted with the purpose of its experiences, might not only 

1 Cf. Lev. xvii. 11, where, however, the manner in which the sacrifice of an 
iinimal made atonement is left unexplained. The LXX., departing from the Heb., 
renders the final claise by t6 yap ai/xa avrod dvrl \l/vxv^ e^LXdcrerai. 


be reconciled to the past but stimulated to become an active agent for 
the conversion of the heathen for whose transgressions it had atoned. 

The view of Israel's history and destiny set forth in the prophecies 
of Deutero-Isaiah and in the "Servant Songs" began to be justified in 
the century immediately following the Return ; for when cc. Ivi.— Ixvi. 
were written, foreigners were already seeking to attach themselves to 
the Jewish community as proselytes (Ivi. 3, 6, 7) ; and in later times 
such proselytes were numerous. But a still mo re signal verification 
of it has been furnished by Christianity, through which the Hebrew 
dQctrine^rGodhas become" the religious faith of the foremost natjons_] 
of the^orld (cf. Luke 4i.-32). -Of -i;he-TtescTiptionr6F the Servant's 
sufferings contained in the last of the Songs (c. liii.) a fulfilment has 
also been traced by the N.T. writers in the Passion and Death of our 
Lord (see Mk. ix. 12, Luke xxiv. 46, Acts iii. 18). That the descrip- 
tion cannot be strictly a prediction of Christ's sufferings will be clear 
from what has been said (cf also p. 347). But so far as Israel's 
afflictions, which c. liii. is really meant to depict, contributed in their 
degree to promote the same end as that which our Lord had in view, 
namely, the bringing of all mankind to a knowledge of God, they may 
be justifiably regarded as prefiguring His Passion. The destruction 
of Israel's national existence by the Exile was symbolic of our Lord's 
death in the same sense as its restoration, as foretold by Hosea, was 
symbolic of His resurrection (see Luke xviii. 31, 33, xxiv. 46, and cf 
Uos- vi. 1, 2). In Christ, a Jew after the flesh, the noblest attributes 
" of His race reached their culmination. By His character and life He 
fulfilled the vocation to which His countrymen so imperfectly responded. 
He reproduced on a higher plane His nation's experiences, and He 
consummated the Divine purpose which it was designed to subserve. 
On His withdrawal from the earth, the perpetuation of His teaching 
was committed to the Christian Church. There thus devolved upon 
the Church the rehgious responsibilities toward mankind which 
formerly rested upon the people of Israel j and in consequence the 
figure of the Servant has received a fresh realization. The denotation 
of the term has again become collective ; the Servant is, in a trans- 
ferred sense, a personification of the whole Christian community ; and 
the account of his office and mission describes the duty and work of 
the Church throughout the world. 




Trito-Isaiah (cc. Ivi. — Ixvi.). 
§ 1. Origin and Date. 

The last eleven cc. of the Book of Isaiah are not distinguished 
from the preceding sixteen by the same conspicuous contrasts that 
differentiate the latter from cc. i. — xxxix. Indeed, both in subjectr 
matter and in diction, cc. Ivi. — Ixvi. present many features of resem- 
blance to Deutero-Isaiah. Like the latter they anticipate in their - 
contents the release of Jewish exiles and their return to their own 
country (Ix. 4, 9, Ixi. 1, cf. xlix. 12), the rebuilding of Jerusalem's 
ruined walls and dwellings (Ixi. 4, cf. xliv. 28), the rendering of 
homage to her by the heathen nations (Ix. 14, cf xlix. 23), the enrich- 
ment of her by their wealth and labour (Ix. 6 f., 16, Ixi. 5, cf. xlix. 23), 
and the bestowal upon her of security and glory (Ix. 18 f., cf. liv. 11 f., 
Ixi. 8, cf. Iv. 3, 4). With the latter, too, they have certain common 
elements of style (e.g. the duplication of an emphatic sentence or 
word^) ; and a number of the words and phrases which are distinctive 
of cc. xl. — Iv., as compared with cc. i. — xxxix., recur in them^ 
Nevertheless, by the side of these similarities there exist differences 
of so grave a character that it is difficult to suppose that these cc. 
proceed from the same writer or from the same period as cc. xl. — Iv. ; 
and it consequently seems necessary to postulate for them another 
author or other authors, who lived after Deutero-Isaiah and wrote 
under different circumstances, but became acquainted with, and in- 
fluenced by, his prophecies. 

The contrast presented to cc. xl. — Iv. by cc. Ivi. — Ixvi. is most 
apparent in connection with (1) the external situation and the social 
and other conditions which are implied in them, (2) the convictions 
and sentiments pervading them, (3) the distinctive features of their 
style and the peculiarities of their diction. 

(1) The contemporary situation which the contents of most of 
the cc. in question reflect is one which is only compatible with a 
date after the Exile. 

1 The duplication of a word occurs in Ivii. 6, 14, 19, Ixii. 10, Ixv. 1. 

2 Of the words and phrases enumerated on p. xlix, as characteristic of Deutero- 
Isai^ the following occur in cc. Ivi. — Ixvi. : — all flesh, anger (or fury), comfort, 
create, isles, gather, offspring, pleasure, praise, right-hand, redeem, spring forth. 

W. I. / 


(a) No mention is anywhere made of Babylon. When the author 
wrote, a large proportion of the Israelite people were still dispersed, 
but a body of exiles had already returned to their own land (Ivi. 8), 
where they were in much distress (Ixi. 3), their numbers being few ; 
and one of the purposes of the Avriter was to encourage hopes of an 
early and large increase in the population from abroad (Ix. 4, 8, 22, 
Ixvi. 6 — 9, 20), where many Jews were resident long after the Pteturn 
under Zerubbabel in 537. Among the places from which arrivals were 
expected were over-sea countries (Lx. 9), a circumstance pointing to a 
wide dispersion of Jews at the time, which is more natural in the 
post-exilic than in the exilic period. 

(6) The Temple was no longer in ruins \ but had been rebuilt 
(Ivi. 5, 7, Ixii. 9, Ixv. 11, Ixvi. 6), though it was still mean in 
appearance and lacked adornment (lx. 7, 13). The reconstruction of 
it was completed as early as 516 B.C. (Ezra vi. 15) ; but when these cc. 
were composed, the religious reorganization must have been fully 
accomplished, and the Temple worship restored and regularly main- 
tained, for participation in its privileges was an object of desire to 
foreigners (Ivi. 3, 6), and a refusal of it was apprehended, whilst the 
Jews themselves are regarded by the author as designed to be the 
priestly nation of the world (Ixi. 6). These features seem to involve a 
date considerably later than 516. 

(c) The walls of Jerusalem were stiU unrestored^ (Iviii. 12, lx. 10), 
much of the land was waste (Ixii. 4), and many of the cities of Judah 
were desolate (Ixi. 4) ; but the country was in part occupied by Jewish 
husbandmen, who were exposed to the raids of ill-disposed neighbours 
and lost the produce of their exertions (Ixii. 8, Ixv. 21 — 23). The 
animosity displayed by the writer against the Edomites (Ixiii. 1 — 6) is 
easily accounted for, if the resentment originally excited by their 
attitude on the occasion of the capture of Jerusalem (Ps. cxxxvii. 7) 
had been aggravated by their complicity in such raids. 

(d) Much assiduity was manifested by the people in the formal 
observance of the ordinances of religion, and in the practice of 
austerities (Iviii. 2), which made the delay in the relief of their 
distress seem the more inexplicable (Iviii. 3) ; and whereas the exiles 
in Babylon were charged by Deutero-Isaiah with indifference to the 
worship of the Lord (xliii. 22 — 24), the community addressed in these 

1 The only passage representing Jerusalem as desolate and the Temple in ruins 
is Ixiv. 10, 11 ; but this belongs to a section probably distinct in origin fre^ the 
rest of cc. Ivi. — Ixvi., and dating from a period shortly after 537 (see p. 397). 


cc. shewed no lack of interest in the external rites of devotion. This 
difference in the popular attitude points to the lapse of some interval 
since the Exile, during whicli the influence of an organized religious 
system had again made itself felt. 

(e) The moral state of the people is depicted as extremely grave, 
and complaint is made, less of their mistrust and unresponsiveness 
in face of the Lord's promise of a deliverance close at hand (as in 
xl, 27, xlv. 9, 10) than of the prevalence among them of the sins of 
violence (Ivii. 1), bloodshed (lix. 3), and falsehood (lix. 3 — 8), which 
retarded the return of felicity (lix. 9, 11). The community was torn 
by social disunion and strife ; the observance of fasts put no check 
upon rapacity and contentiousness ; and the tribunals of justice were 
depraved and corrupt (Ivii. 1, 2, Iviii. 3, 4, 6, 7, lix. 14, 15). For the 
existence of such disorders, the leaders of the community, by reason 
of their selfishness and supineness, are represented as accountable 
(Ivi. 10 — 12) ; and this seems to imply that the government of the 
Jewish people was at the time to some extent exercised by their own 
responsible heads. Such a position of comparative independence is 
more probable in the post-exilic period at Jerusalem under Persian 
rule, when Jews were placed in authority over their countrymen (e.g. 
Zerubbabel (Hag. i. 1) and Nehemiah (Neh. v. 14)), than during the 
Exile in Babylonia. 

(/) A section of the people were guilty of idolatry (Ivii. 3 — 10, 

:v. 1 — 7, Ixvi. 3, 17) ; and some of the localities where it was practised 

ihew the scene of it to be Palestine, not Babylon (Ivii. 5 — 7) ; whilst 

>f the deities to whom sacrifice was offered, one is known to be 

[Canaanite, whilst the other was probably Arabian (Ixv. 11). The 

section of the population which was addicted to heathen practices 

ippears to have been in the majorit)^, and to have persecuted those 

svho were faithful to the Lord (Ixvi. 5) ; and it is a plausible inference 

:hat of the two factions into which the community at this time was 

livided, that which indulged in idolatrous rites consisted of the residue 

)f the population left in the country by Nebuchadrezzar in 587, 

vhich, mingling with the inhabitants of adjoining countries like Moab, 

Vrabia, and the province of Samaria, had adopted a syncretistic 

ariety of religion, in which both Jehovah and heathen gods were 

.orshipped in combination (Ivii. 12, 13, Ixv. 11, Ixvi. 3 ; cf. 2 Kgs. 

vii. 33). 

(2) In these c.^.., which, in general, present less unity of sentiment 
nd feeling than prevails in Deutero-Isaiah, the tone of the writer in 



certain passages is in conspicuous contrast to the spirit pervading the 
preceding sixteen cc. 

(a) In several places the writer, in response to the people's surprise 
at the Lord's delay in redressing their wrongs, gives as an explanation 
the existence amongst them of heinous sins (lix. 1, 2), and implies 
that the desired realization of the Lord's promise is conditional upon 
a moral reformation (Iviii. 9); whereas in Deutero-Isaiah the deliverance 
announced is unconditional, the nation's sins are forgiven (xl. 2, xliv. 22), 
and the only obstacle to its redemption is its own backwardness in 
welcoming it (1. 2). 

(b) A difference in the motive impelling the Lord to intervene 
in His people's cause distinguishes these cc. from the work of Deutero- 
Isaiah. Here it is the reflection that human nature is too frail to 
support protracted chastisement, whereas there it is consideration for 
His own name which the continued oppression of His people by their 
enemies would bring into contempt (contrast Ivii. 16 with xliii. 25). 

(c) In these cc. the Lord is represented as having no human aid 
in the achievement of His people's deliverance (lix. 16, Ixiii. 5), but in 
Deutero-Isaiah He uses Cyrus as His agent. 

(d) Whilst in these cc. the term righteousness is sometimes 
synonymous with salvation, which is its predominant signification 
in Deutero-Isaiah (see Iviii. 8, lix. 9, Ixi. 10, Ixii. 1), it is also 
frequently employed to describe the conduct required by the Lord 'i 
from His people, embracing both moral and ceremonial duties (Ivi. 1% 
Iviii. 2, lix. 4, 14, Ixi. 3, Ixi v. 5). 

(e) Though in these cc. there is no tendency to regard the per- 
formance of religious exercises as a substitute for moral duties, and 
though there is displayed in general a spirit of religious tolerance and 
comprehensiveness, yet there appears to be more interest in the sacrificial 
system and in consecrated days and localities than is the case with 
Deutero-Isaiah. The thoughts of the writer (or writers) of these cc. 
often circle around the practice of sacrifice and sacrificial feasts (Ivi. 7, 
Ix. 7, Ixii. 9, Ixvi. 20) ; and there is attached much importance to the 
observance of the Sabbath (Ivi. 2, 6, Iviii. 13) and to attendance at the 
Temple, which is described as a house of prayer for all nations (Ivi. 7). 
By Deutero-Isaiah little prominence is given to the institution of ; 
sacrifice (though see xliii. 23, 24) ; the Sabbath (the observance of 
which was emphasized by the exilic prophet Ezekiel) is not mentioned 
at all; and though it is predicted that to the Lord every knee shall ' 
boiv, it is not declared, explicitly at least, that uhe worship of the 


Gentiles is to be rendered at Jerusalem. Thus in contrast to the 
preceding sixteen cc. these are pervaded by a decidedly legalist 
atmosphere, pointing to a difference in the authorship, if not in the 
date of production. 

(3) The structure and phraseology of this group of cc. manifest 
certain distinctive features. 

(a) These cc. are not marked by the same uniformity of subject- 
matter as cc. xl. — Iv. They fall into certain smaller groups which, 
indeed, seem (with one exception) to belong to the same period, but 
which are otherwise detached from one another, and appear to have 
been evoked by varying circumstances. 

(b) The strain of argument is less prominent ; the prevailing tone 
is that of promise or of menace; and the tone of menace is more 
conspicuous than in Deutero-Isaiah. 

(c) Whilst the language in many respects offers great similarity to 
that of Deutero-Isaiah, it produces in certain passages the impression of 
being borrowed, but used in a different connection from that in which it 
was originally employed, or else varied with imperfect success. Thus in 
Ivii. 14, a command adopted from xl. 3, where it is intended in a literal 
sense, is applied metaphorically; in Ix. 13 the same three trees which 
in xli. Id^ are to serve for one purpose are designed for another ; in 
Ix. 16 the thought of xlix. 23* is couched in a different and rather 
unpleasing form. 

(d) The vocabulary in some measure is different from that of 
Deutero-Isaiah. Among the phrases used within cc. xl. — Ixvi. which 
are almost, if not quite, limited to the last eleven cc. are keep (in con- 
nection with religious ordinances, see Ivi. 1, 2, 4, 6), mant/ generations 
{yrt\ "i^'H), do righteousness, separate, recompence y'^'^^)), rejoice (t^-l't^), 
minister unto {^1^), choose that wherein (the Lord) delights not, do that 
which is evil in the eyes (of the Lord). Several of these expressions are 
characteristic of Deuteronomy^; and there are a few others, such as 
afflict the soul and abominable things, which are found only in Ezekiel, 
the Priestly Code of the Hexateuch and certain Psalms. A very 
significant form is "inXD, used in Ixv. 25 (instead of '^n\ as in xi. 6, 
7), which is elsewhere found only in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah and 
Ecclesiastes. One or two quite late words occur in Ixvi. 23, 24, verses, 

1 Other parallels with Deuteronomy are joy of heart (Ixv. 14, cf. Deut. xxviii. 47 
Heb.), provoke to anger (Ixv. 3, cf. Deut. iv. 25, ix. 18, xxxi. 29). 


however, which are, perhaps, subsequent to the rest of the composition 
(see note, p. 421). 

The conckision to which the facts just reviewed point is that these 
cc. are not exilic in origin, but were written after the Exile and do not 
proceed from Deutero-Isaiah. It is more difficult to decide whether 
they all belong to one period and are the work of a single hand, or 
whether their composition covers a considerable time and was shared 
by several writers. If the former view, maintained by Duhm, is correct, 
the date probably synchronizes approximately with that of Malachi, who 
is thought by some to have written shortly before 445 and by others 
shortly before 458 \ Social and religious corruption, such as that 
described in Ivii. 1 — 10, Iviii., lix., Ixv. 3 f., Ixvi. 17, prevailed in the time 
of that prophet (see Mai. ii. 11, iii. 5, 13 — 18), who also, like the writer 
of Ixiii. 1 — 6, regards Edom as the object of Divine wrath (i. 2 — 5) ; 
and many of the circumstances implied in other cc. present a close 
correspondence to the situation and conditions existing at Jerusalem 
shortly before the arrival there of Nehemiah in 445. It was the de- 
fenceless state of the city and the afflictions of its inhabitants that led 
Nehemiah to proceed thither from Babylon (Neh. i. 3, ii. 3). He found 
the population of the place scanty, and its buildings unrepaired (Neh. 
vii. 4, xi. 1). Early in his governorship (which lasted from 445 to 433) 
he received complaints of the oppressive treatment of the poorer by the 
richer classes (Neh. v.), which recall what is asserted in cc. Iviii., lix. 
He took measures to enforce respect for the sanctity of the Sabbath 
(Neh. xiii. 15 f.), in accordance with the spirit of Ivi. 2, Iviii. 13. 
During his rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem he encountered great 
opposition from Sanballat of Samaria, who was aided by Arabians, 
Ammonites, and Ashdodites (Neh. iv.) ; and the activity of semi- 
paganised elements in the population such as these, with whom some 
of the Jews intermarried (Ezra ix. 1, 2, Neh. xiii. 23 — 28, cf. Mai. ii. 
10, 11), accounts best for the idolatry with which a section of the 
people are charged in Ivii. 3 — 13, Ixv. 1 — 5, Ixvi. 1 — 4, 17. The cc, 
however, must have been written before Nehemiah's reconstruction of 
the city's walls in 445 (for these are represented as still to be built), 
and perhaps before the arrival of Ezra in 458, who forced those of his 
countrymen who had married foreign wives to repudiate them (Ezra ix.), 
for here a separation between the Jews and their heathen or semi- 

^ Some scholars would place Malachi after 458 but before 432 (see Driver, 
Minor Prophets, ii. (Century Bible) p. 292). 


heathen neighbours is still in the future (Ivii. 13, Ixv. 8 f.). Accordingly, 
on the assumption that these cc. are the work of a single author, they 
may be dated some time in the first half (perhaps in the second quarter) 
of the fifth century B.C., some 80 or 90 years after the composition of 
Deutero-Isaiah. Littmann thinks that the date of their production 
may be more closely defined, and that they were written between the 
arrival of Ezra in 458 and that of Nehemiah in 445 ; but the allusions 
do not seem precise enough for this. But the theory of single author- 
ship is not undisputed. Cheyne rejects it, and considers the various 
compositions, ten in number, to be devoid of unity, though he assigns 
them all, except Ixiii. 7 — Ixiv. 12, to one period, namely, the time of 
Nehemiah, and allows that most of them proceed from the same school, 
and that several may possibly come from the same writer. Dillmann (ed. 
Kittel) does not think that they are the products either of a single writer 
or of a single period, but holds that whilst some are as late as the time 
of Ezra- Nehemiah (458 — 445), or even later, others may date from the 
early beginnings of the new community. Certainly parallels to the 
passages concerning the return of exiles (cc. Ix. — Ixii.), the practice of 
fasting (c. Iviii.), and the prevalence of social oppression (cc. Ivii. — lix.) 
are found in the writings of Zechariah (see Zech. i. 17, ii. 4, 7, v. 3f, 
6 f., viii. 16-19 ; cf. also Is. Ixv. 20 with Zech. viii. 4). And in the case 
of one section, at any rate, an early post-exilic date is probable, viz. the 
section Ixiii. 7 — Ixiv. 12, which for reasons given in the commentary 
(p. 397) may be plausibly assigned to the first fifteen years immediately 
succeeding the Return in 537. Accordingly, whilst for purposes of dis- 
tinction the group of cc. Ivi. — Ixvi. is here comprehensively designated 
by the name Trito-Isaiah (proposed by Duhm), the expression is not 
intended to imply that all the cc. can be confidently regarded as the 
production of a single prophet. 

§ 2. Jewish History in the interval between Deutero-Isaiah 
and Trito-Isaiah. 

Cyrus entered Babylon in the autumn of 538, and in the first year 
of his reign over the subjugated empire (537) he allowed the Jewish 
exiles to return to their own country, and restored to them the vessels 
that had been pillaged from the Temple at Jerusalem in order that they 
might renew after their traditional manner the worship of their God. 
The permission seems to have been part of a general policy of concilia- 
tion adopted by the Persian king towards his new subjects, for in one 
of his inscriptions he states in regard to certain Babylonian towns, 


" whose abode from old time lay in ruin, the gods who dwelt in them I 
brought back to their places, caused them to inhabit a permanent 
abode " ; and further declares that the gods of Sumer and Accad whom 
Nabunaid had brought into Babylon he caused to dwell in their abode 
in security \ A certain number of the exiles availed themselves of the 
leave thus granted, and left Babylon for Palestine under the leadership 
of Zerubbabel, a grandson of king Jehoiachin^, who was accompanied by 
Jeshua or Joshua as high priest, the latter being a grandson of Seraiah, 
who filled that position at the time of Jerusalem's destruction (2 Kgs. 
XXV. 18). In certain passages of the records giving an account of the 
Return (Ezra i. 8, 11, v. 14 — 16) another personage is mentioned as 
being in authority, viz. Sheshbazzar (1 Esd. ii. 12, Sanabassar). In 
Ezra i. 8 he is termed the prince of Judah, and by Josephus {Ant. xi. 
i. 3) he is identified with Zerubbabel, the name being thought to be 
a Babylonian appellation given to the Hebrew Zerubbabel, just as the 
names Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were bestowed 
on Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Dan. i. 7). The two, 
however, are distinguished in 1 Esd. vi. 18; and since, if they were 
identical, the fact might be expected to be stated in Ezra v. 14 — 16 
(compared with v. 2, iii. 8), it is probable that they are really distinct. 
Some scholars have deemed Sheshbazzar to be the same as Shenazzar, 
one of the sons of Jehoiachin (1 Cli. iii. 18), and so uncle of ZerubbabeP. 
But it is more likely that he was a Persian official, who was governor 
of Judsea (Ezra v. 14)"* and responsible for the re-establishment of the 
Jews on their native soil, the delivery to them of the Temple vessels, 
and the formal foundation of the Temple, and who was afterwards suc- 
ceeded in his office by Zerubbabel, to whom the title of governor at a 
later date is applied (Hag. i. 1, 14). The route taken by the returning 
exiles probably followed the course of the Euphrates to Carchemish, and 
then turned S. W., the more direct route across the desert being avoided 
on account of its arduousness. The distance has been calculated to be 
about 900 miles, and since a second body of Jews some 79 years after- 
wards occupied 108 days on the journey (Ezra viii. 31, vii. 9), the time 
spent on the march must have been about four months. 

^ See the inscription on the Clay Cylinder of Cyrus, translated in Whitehouse's 
Isaiah, ii. pp. 342 — 3. 

2 Zerubbabel is represented as a son of Shealtiel, son of Jeconiah (or .Jehoiachin) 
in Hag. i. 1, but as the son of Pedaiah in 1 Ch. iii. 19. Probably he was the real 
son of the one and the legal son of the other. 

^ This would account for his being entitled the prince of Judah (Ezra i. 8). 

* The LXX. here styles him 6 6ri(Tavpo<pi\a^ 6 iwl rov OrjaavpoD. 


The number of those who returned is given in Ezra ii. 64 (= 1 Esd. 
V. 41, Neh. vii. 66) as 42,360, besides servants and attendants amount- 
ing to some 7500 more ; and according to 1 Esd. v. 41 the total only 
included those of 12 years old and upwards. The sum of the items, 
however, which make up the total, only reaches in Ezra ii. to 29,818, 
in 1 Esd. v. to 30,143, and in Neh. vii. to 31,089 ; and there is reason 
to question whether those who accompanied Zerubbabel in 537 were 
really as numerous as is represented by even the lowest of these figures. 
For (a) Deutero-Isaiah describes his countrymen as being backward in 
responding to the promise of redemption which the Lord through him 
made to them (1. 2) ; (b) there were serious deterrents in the ties con- 
tracted in Babylon, and in the length of the journey to Palestine ; 
(c) many Jews were still in exile 17 years after this date (Zech. ii. 7) ; 
{d) Judah, even 92 years later, was still but thinly populated (Neh. vii. 
4), and the Jewish community was so weak as to excite the scorn of its 
adversaries (Neh. iv. 2) ; (e) a certain proportion of those who are 
enumerated in Ezra ii. are classified not by families or clans but by 
localities (Ezra ii. 20 — 35), and these are more likely to be the places 
which the people referred to occupied after the Return than their 
original homes, so that if this is so it suggests that the list represents 
conditions prevailing at a date subsequent to the time of Zerubbabel. 
But though on these grounds the numbers recorded appear exaggerated, 
there would be many who had ample motives, both religious and patriotic, 
for taking advantage of Cyrus' clemency. The memory of their past 
glories, the degrading associations of exile in a foreign land, the 
prospect of resuming their ancestral mode of worship, and the bright 
future which Deutero-Isaiah had displayed before them cannot have 
failed to have their effect, and to induce the more pious and hope- 
ful among them to encounter the difficulties and perils attending the 
re-occupation of a land which had, in some measure at least, fallen out 
of cultivation. 

On reaching Palestine the new comers at once restored the worship 
of the Lord by erecting an altar on the spot where the earlier altar had 
stood ; and in the second year after their arrival (536) they began the 
reconstruction of the Temple, the foundation being laid by the Persian 
official Sheshbazzar (Ezra v. 16). Progress in it, however, was checked 
in consequence of the hostility of the neighbouring Samaritans. These 
were the hybrid population (cf. Ivii. 3) which at this time inhabited what 
had once been the kingdom of Ephraim, and which traced its descent 
to unions between those Israelites who had been left in the land 


when a number of their countrymen were deported in 722, and the 
foreigners who from time to time had been introduced to fill the places 
of those who had been taken away. These people claimed to be wor- 
shippers of the Lord, and appealed to the Jews to be allowed to share 
in the rebuilding of the Temple. Their appeal, however, was rejected, 
chiefly perhaps because of the admixture of heathen elements in their 
worship (see 2 Kgs. xvii. 24 — 41), but partly from prudential motives, 
since such an alliance might excite the suspicions of the Persian authori- 
ties ; and on being thus repelled, they succeeded, by misrepresentation 
at the Persian court, in having the work suspended. The Jews them- 
selves seem, in consequence, to have lost heart ; and the depression 
caused by the opposition of their neighbours was aggravated by a suc- 
cession of bad harvests (Hag. i. 5 — 11) which plunged them in poverty 
that contrasted ill with the felicity which they had been led to expect. 
Accordingly they made no further efibrt to accomplish their design, 
and the Temple remained unfinished for 16 years. 

In the meantime Cyrus had been succeeded by Cambyses (527 — 525), 
of whose reign the chief event was an invasion of Egypt (525) ; and he 
by Pseudo-Smerdis (the Magian Gaumata), who occupied the throne for 
only a few months. He was murdered by a number of conspirators ; 
and to the vacant throne one of these was elevated, Darius I. (Hystaspis) 
(521 — 486), the beginning of whose reign was disturbed by revolts in 
all parts of the empire. One of the most serious occurred in Babylon, 
where a certain Nidintu-bel claimed to be son of Nabunaid, and took the 
title of Nebuchadrezzar III. ; but Babylon was captured in 520 and the 
pretender put to death. These disturbances, which seemed to herald 
a general collapse of the Persian domination, were perhaps among the 
causes that led the prophets Haggai and Zechariah (see Hag. ii. 6, 7) 
to come forward in 520 to encourage their countrymen to re-commence 
the building of the Temple as a necessary preliminary to a happy turn 
in the nation's fortunes and the advent of its predicted glories. The 
rebukes and promises of the two prophets had their influence, the work 
of reconstruction was renewed, and confirmation being obtained from 
Darius of the original authorization granted by Cyrus (Ezra v., vi.), the 
Temple was finally completed in 516 in the governorship of Zerubbabel, 
who appears to have succeeded to the office previously held by 

By some critics it has been inferred from the prophecies of Haggai 
and Zechariah, which are contemporary with the events just described, 
that the erection of the Second Temple was not begun until 520, and 


that the writer of the book of Ezra, who was separated from the time of 
Zerubbabel by some 220 years, has ante-dated it; whilst others have 
maintained that those who undertook the work in 520 were not Jews 
who had returned from Babylon, but Jews who had never been in 
Babylon, that the account of the re-establishment of a body of Jews in 
Jerusalem under Zerubbabel (Ezra i. — iv., vi. 1 — 5) is unhistorical, 
and that there was really no return from Babylon until the time of 
Ezra, who first brought back a body of exiles in 458. The evidence 
for the first contention consists in the statements in Haggai (a) that 
the house of the Lord in 520 was lying waste (i. 4, 9), and (b) that the 
foundation was laid on the 24th day of the ninth month of Darius' 
second year (ii. 18, of. i. 14, 15)^; whilst in support of the second it is 
urged {a) that in neither prophet are those who are addressed described 
as the children of the captivity or they of the captivity (as in Ezra iv. 1, vi. 
16, ix. 4, X. 6), but as the remnant of the people (Hag. i. 12, 14, ii. 2, 
Zech. viii. 6, 11, cf. Jer. xlii. 2, 15, xliv. 12) or the people of the land 
(Hag. ii. 4, Zech. vii. 5, cf. 2 Kgs. xxiv. 14), (6) that the desolation of 
Judah is represented as having lasted for 70 years without interruption 
(Zech. i. 12), (c) that the only return of Jews to which allusion is made 
is considered as still future (Zech. ii. 6, 7, cf. vi. 15, viii. 7, 8)1 But in 
regard to the second view, that the builders of the Temple in 520 were 
the relics of the population left in the land by Nebuchadrezzar, the 
arguments noticed above are far from cogent. The evidence cited from 
Haggai and Zechariah amounts to little, for (a) the phrases quoted are 
applicable to a body of returned exiles as the most representative sur- 
vivors of the Jewish nation^, (6) the arrival of such a body, doubtless 
small in numbers, would not necessarily bring about much improvement 
in the condition of the land, (c) the return of some is compatible with 
the continuance of others in captivity. The account in Ezra i. — iv. of 
the re-settlement of a party of Jews in Palestine with permission to 
rebuild the Temple is at least consistent with what is known of Cyrus' 
S)Tnpathy with the religious feelings of the peoples of whom he became 
master (see p. Ixxiii). Moreover, it is more probable that the response 
evoked by the appeals of Haggai and Zechariah should come from 
persons who had recently migrated from Babylon to Palestine through 

' According to 1 Esd. iv. 42 — 57, it was Darius, not Cyrus, who allowed 
Zerubbabel (see v. 17) to proceed to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. 

2 Cf. EB. col. 1482. 

^ Zech. vi. 10, them of the captivity refers to a deputation from Babylon to the 
people of Jerusalem. 


pious motives than from a people who for more than two generations 
had done nothing to restore the sanctuary of the Lord, which lay 
desolate before them. And if the builders of the Temple were really 
exiles who returned with Zerubbabel in 537, it is antecedently more 
likely, in view of the hopes that inspired them, that they should have 
begun the reconstruction of it on their arrival and desisted from it after- 
wards in consequence of opposition than that they should have deferred 
the beginning of it for 16 years ; whilst the language of Haggai (i. 4, 9, 
ii. 18) is not seriously inconsistent with the supposition that though 
the foundation was laid originally in 536, it did not become the basis 
of a superstructure till 520, and so might be said to be laid effectively 
then for the first time. 

It was probably to the children or grandchildren of the builders of 
the Second Temple that the prophecies of Trito-Isaiah were addressed. 
Darius I. died in 486 and was succeeded by Xerxes I. (486 — 465) and 
Artaxerxes I. (Longimanus) (465 — 424) ; and for the period between 
520 and 458, an interval of 62 years, the historical books of the O.T. 
are silent respecting the condition and fortunes of the Jews in Palestine. 

In 458 Ezra, a priest, arrived at Jerusalem from Babylon with a com- 
pany of exiles numbering 1496 (in 1 Esd. 1690) men, who were presum- 
ably accompanied by their wives and children, so that the whole party 
might amount to 5000 or more. He brought with him a legal code 
{Ezra vii. 14)^ which he was empowered by the Persian king to enforce 
(Ezra vii. 25, 26) ; and when on his arrival he found that the Jews 
settled at Jerusalem had contracted marriage alliances with the various 
nations around them, in violation of the laws comprised in Ex. xxxiv. 16, 
Deut. vii. 3, xxiii. 3, he insisted upon their repudiating their foreign 
■wives. Some time after this, an attempt was made to surround Jerusa- 
lem with a wall (Ezra iv. 7 — 23) ; and it is a plausible conjecture that 
the proposal originated with Ezra, who desired to secure the city against 
the hostility of the neighbouring peoples to whom, by his recent action, 
be must have given great offence. But a letter despatched to the 
Persian court informing Artaxerxes of what the Jews were doing brought 
& rescript forbidding the undertaking ; and such portions of the wall as 
had already been constructed were destroyed. The ruins remained un- 
repaired until 445, when Nehemiah came from the Persian court with 
authority from the king to carry out their restoration^: and consequently, 

1 On the character of this code see T. W. Davies, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther 
<Century Bible), pp. 8—11. 

2 Cheyne (Jewish Eel. Life after the Exile, pp. 38, 39) suggests that Artaxerxes' 


in spite of the opposition of the enemies of the Jews, Jerusalem was 
fortified by a wall in less than two months. It was within the interval 
between the erection of the Second Temple and the rebuilding of the 
city walls that most of the writings included in Is. Ivi.— Ixvi. seem to 
have been produced. As has been shewn, they were composed at a time 
when the Temple was in existence and its rites practised, but when 
Jerusalem was still unwalled and the Jews were exposed to the depre- 
dations of their foes. The pagan superstitions represented as prevalent 
among a certain section of the people agree with this date, being 
explicable by the influence of the surrounding peoples, especially the 
Samaritans, upon those Jews who had remained in the land when the 
upper classes were carried into exile. It was to a condition of disorder 
and distress similar to that depicted in these cc. that relief was brought 
by Nehemiah in 445 ; and to a date later than 520, but before Nehemiah's 
arrival at Jerusalem in 445, or even before the arrival of Ezra in 458 \ 
the bulk of Trito-Isaiah may with some reason be assigned. 

§ 3. Theology of Trito-Isaiah. 

The post-exilic writer (or writers) of Trito-Isaiah had to confront 
a situation of no little difficulty. There was the depression caused by 
the hardships which the small and unprotected body of Jews who 
were re-established on their native soil had to endure from jealous 
rulers and unfriendly neighbours — hardships which must have created 
all the greater disappointment by contrast with the bright hopes held 
out to them before the Return. There was the corrupting influence 
exerted by the semi-paganism of the population that had remained in 
the land since the Fall of Jerusalem in 587. Finally, there were moral 
evils within the Jewish community itself: — negligence on the part of 
those responsible for the maintenance of civil order, oppression of the 
poorer by the wealthier classes, falsehood and partiality in the adminis- 
tration of justice. And the prevalence of these social ofiences was 
accompanied by much zeal for the outward ordinances of religion, so 

change of attitude was due to the Jews' abstention from any share in the revolt of 
Megabyzus in 448. 

1 Some critics hold that Ezra's visit to Jerusalem, related in Ezra vii. — x., was 
later than that of Nehemiah and took place either in the seventh year of ArtaxerxesIL, 
i.e. 398, or in the twenty-seventh year of Artaxerxes I., i.e. 438 (Ezra vii. 7, 8, 
seventh being emended to twenty-seventh, see EB. 3385). But see the writer's 
O.T. Hist. p. 479. 


that there was added to the crimes of violence and injustice the sin of 
religious formalism. All these elements of difficulty form the subjects 
of oracles variously designed to console, to rebuke, to instruct, or to 
warn the distressed and disunited people. 

(a) In those cc. of Trito-Isaiah which are devoted exclusively to 
renewing in the depressed community hope for the future of Zion there 
is little originality ; and the felicity and glory which are promised 
afresh to Jerusalem are depicted in colours resembling, and probably 
imitated from, those used by Deutero-Isaiah. But a feature of 
difference between the two compositions is the absence in the later 
one of any figure corresponding to Cyrus. In more than one passage 
within cc. Ivi. — Ixvi. it is definitely affirmed that the Lord could find 
no human helper to co-operate with Him in the deliverance of His 
people (lix. 16, Ixiii. 5), and that He in Person would have to intervene 
alone. In cc. Ix. — Ixii., which are mainly occupied with a description 
of the security, wealth, and dignity that are to be the lot of Zion's 
inhabitants, spiritual feeling is by no means lacking, for it is predicted 
that her people will be all righteous (Ix. 21, cf. Ixi. 3). Similarly in 
lix. 21 (if the v. be authentic) it is asserted that the people will be 
permanently endowed with the spirit of the Lord. The Jewish society 
is regarded as destined to be the priestly nation of the world (Ixi. 6) ; 
and though most stress is laid upon its privileged position as entitling 
it to be supported by the Gentile peoples (Ix. 6, 10, 11, 16, Ixi. 5, 
Ixvi. 12), the thought that the whole world is to be, through it, brought 
into right relations with the Lord is likewise present (Ix. 3). It is also 
plainly contemplated in c. Ivi. that foreigners will desire to attach 
themselves to the Lord, and to worship Him, and that the Temple is 
designed to become a house of prayer for all mankind (Ivi. 7, cf 
Ixvi. 23). But whilst there thus breathes throughout this series of 
prophecies a spirit of universalism, it is yet hampered by the Jewish 
particularism fostered by the legislation of Deuteronomy which made 
Jerusalem the only lawful centre for the public worship of the Lord 
(contrast Joh. iv. 21). Moreover, in these prophecies there is no 
reproduction of the idea conveyed by the " Servant Songs " that Israel 
was invested with a commission to carry the knowledge of the Lord 
to the Gentiles. The attitude assumed towards the Gentiles in some 
degree varies ; for in c. Ixvi. a feeling of antagonism is displayed to 
them, and an avenging judgment is predicted for them. Only the 
more distant peoples are exempt (seemingly because less responsible 
for the oppression of the Jews), and these are represented as being 


made acquainted with the Lord's glory (as manifested by the judgment) 
through the agency of such of the others as should survive it (Ixvi. 19). 

(b) The idolatry to which reference is made in Trito-Isaiah 
(Ivii. 3 — 13, Lxv. 1 — 7, Ixvi. 1 — 4, 17) probably had its centre among 
that section of the population that had not undergone the discipline 
of the Exile. The rites denounced are Canaanite in character ; and it 
is a plausible conclusion that what the prophetic denunciations had in 
view was a syncretism of the worship of Jehovah with the ancient 
Canaanite nature-worship and ancestor-worship. It was the prevalence 
of these superstitions in the land that caused the predictions of judg- 
ment in these cc. not to be confined, like those in Deutero-Isaiah, to 
the external foes of Israel. There was a body of Jews attached to 
the practices condemned which was numerous enough to cause great 
annoyance to their more pious brethren, and sought to exclude them 
from social intercourse (Ixvi. 5) ; and hence it is declared that the 
Lord will interpose to destroy the disloyal in Israel as well as the 
foreign tyrants outside it (lxv. 7 f., Ixvi. 17, cf. Ivii. 13). 

(c) In order to account, in answer to complaints, for the postpone- 
ment of the nation's final deliverance from its troubles, the explanation 
furnished is the prevalence within it of falsehood, rapacity, and blood- 
shed that excites the Lord's anger (c. lix.). And occasion is at the 
same time taken to correct the current belief that outward acts of 
worship avail, of themselves, to propitiate the Lord. It is insisted 
that all external appeals to Him through fast or prayer are valueless 
when they are divorced from the practice of moral and social duties. 
No performance of ceremonies, no abstinence from meat or drink, can 
secure the Lord's favour, if the cardinal virtues of justice and mercy 
are disregarded. The fast which the Lord approves involves abstention 
from cruelty and the cultivation of charity : only such will dispose 
Him to listen to entreaties, and to remove the cloud of calamity which 
has so long hung over the nation. 

The protest here made against the belief that ceremonial prostra- 
tions and bodily mortification on the part of worshippers have for the 
Lord some intrinsic worth recalls the teaching of Isaiah. But it is all 
the more remarkable in Trito-Isaiah because it was delivered at a time 
when circumstances seemed to require the accentuation of the formal 
side of religion, and when some of the best spirits of the age were in 
sympathy with it. In the absence of political independence, religious 
rules and ritual might well appear to be the only means of dis- 
criminating between the Lord's people and the surrounding heathen. 


he protracted suspension of the sacrificial system during the Exile 
as calculated to cause a high value to be put upon it when it was 
ice more resumed. Moreover, in Trito-Isaiah itself there is a sense 
■ the importance of the external accessories and regulations of religion, 
he rebuilding of the Temple had once more provided a sanctuary 
here prayer could confidently be offered : and accordingly it is the 
emple that is thought of as becoming a house of prayer for all 
3oples. The absence of sacrifice during the Exile had rendered the 
jservance of the Sabbath more solemn and austere ; and Sabbath- 
3eping and adhesion to the covenant (i.e. the Deuteronomic law) are 
isisted upon as the conditions of the admission of foreigners to the 
rivileges of the Temple worship (Ivi. 6, 7). Consequently, in this 
galist atmosphere (as it may be denominated) the warnings just 
3scribed gain in impressiveness, and illustrate how deeply at every 
3riod morality entered into the prophetic conception of true religion. 
lid inasmuch as rules of abstinence are often desirable in the religious 
fe as an aid to self-discipline, whilst they are peculiarly liable to be 
igarded as possessing a virtue of their own instead of being merely 
eans to the development of character, it is with much appropriateness 
lat the use of c. Iviii. in the Church is directed at the beginning of 



Chapter I. Introductory Prophecy. 

This initial c. is an arrai^ment of Judah by the Lord for its disloyalty, for 
its false conceptions of the service He values, and for the prevalence of crime 
and injustice, and is marked by a uniform tone of denunciation. It cannot, 
however, as a whole date from a single occasion, since it consists of sections 
which imply diverse conditions, and so must have been composed at diflferent 
periods. On the one hand, the opening section {nv. 2 — 9), of which the next 
{vv. 10 — 17) is probably a continuation, contains an indictment of the nation 
for sins that have already brought upon it retribution, from which it is at the 
moment suflFering (in v. 7 the Heb. has a pres. part. — are devouring). On the 
other hand vv. 18 — 20 imply that chastisement has not yet fallen, and can be 
averted by repentance ; whilst vv. 21—28 (31) contain a prediction of a penal 
judgment in the near future. But if the constituent elements really thus 
proceed from different occasions, they have probably been designedly united 
to form an introduction to the succeeding prophecies. 

The actual dates of the component parts have been diflferently estimated. 
The situation depicted in the first half of the c, which describes the country 
as devastated and the capital as isolated, might apply to a date in the reign of 
Ahaz, after the land had been invaded by the Syrians and Ephraimites (vii. 1), 
if reliance could be placed on the account of the serious injuries inflicted by 
them, which is given in 2 Ch. xxviii. (where an inroad of the Philistines is also 
recorded). But the Chronicler is not a good authority for this period, and his 
account does not harmonize with the contempt for the power of Syria and 
Ephraim expressed by Isaiah in vii. 4. Hence vv. 2 — 17 may with greater 
probability be assigned to Hezekiah's reign {circ. 701), when Judah was 
ravaged and Jerusalem blockaded by the Assyrians (xxxvi. 1, 2), to whom 
the term strangers (in v. 7) is more appropriate (cf xxix. 5, Heb.) than to a 
hostile combination which included the sister-kingdom. The main constituents 
of the section vv. 18 — 28 must be earlier than this ; and just as the contrast of 
the evil present with a better past (v. 21) points to the reign of Ahaz (rather 
than to that of Hezekiah), so the vagueness of the threats of chastisement 
favours an early period in the prophet's career. The concluding portion 
{vv. 29 — 31) is of doubtful origin and date, and if Isaianic, is also probably 
early (see note). 


I. 1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw 
concerning Judah and Jerusalem, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, 
Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. 

2 Hear, heavens, and give ear, earth, for the Lord 
hath spoken : I have ^nourished and brought up children, and 

^ Or, made great and exalted See Ezek. xxxi. 4. 

1. 1. The superscription serves now as a heading for the whole 
collection of prophecies contained in cc. i. — xxxix. ; but in view of the 
fact that these cc. include oracles directed against a number of foreign 
countries, it cannot have been originally intended for this. It may 
have been at first prefixed to the smaller compilation cc. i. — xii., though 
it is not strictly true even of this, since ix. 8 — 21, v. 25 — 30 relate to 
Ephraim^ It must have been written not by Isaiah but by an editor, 
for (a) the order of the words Judah... Jerusalem (cf xxxvi. 7) differs 
from that which obtains in the body of the prophecies (iii. 1, 8, v. 3, 
cf xxii. 21), and (b) the form of the name Hezekiah (liT'pTn'') is late 
(occurring in 2 Kgs. xx. 10, Jer. xv. 4, and in Chron.). 

The vision. The term was originally descriptive of such visual 
sensations as those sometimes experienced in dreams and trances 
(Dan. viii. 2 f ) ; but later it lost its etymological meaning and became 
a current word for revelations received through the intellectual and 
spiritual faculties (not through the senses) and expressed either with 
or without symbolic imagery : see Ob. v. 1, Nah. i. 1, Hab. ii. 2, 
1 Ch. xvii. 15. In the present context it must have a collective 
signification, as in Hos. xii. 10. 

in the days of, etc. For the date implied see p. xl f 
2 — 3. The Lord's complaint that Israel has shewn more than the 
insensibility of brutes to the claims of His love. Verse 3 is quoted in 
Pseudo-Matt. xiv. in connection with the birth of our Lord in a stable 
(cf Luke ii. 7, 12) where the ox and the ass adored Him. 

2. Hear, heavens. The invocation proceeds from the prophet : 
cf Deut. xxxii. 1. When the Lord arraigns His people, the whole of 
nature is the appropriate audience (cf Mic. vi. 2, Jer. ii. 12, Ps. 1. 3, 4), 
and is expected to share the indignation which the conduct denounced 

nourished and brought up. The rendering is supported by xxiii. 4, 
though the second word in this context perhaps conveys the sense of 
promoted or exalted (see mg.) : LXX. vi//wcra, Vulg. exaltavi. 

children. Among the Semites a land (or city) was considered to 
be the wife of its god, and the mother of its inhabitants (see 
Num. xxi. 29, Mai. ii. 11, Jer. ii. 27 and cf 2 Sam. xx. 19) ; and as 
Jerusalem was regarded as the wife of the Lord (liv. 1, 5, Ezek. xxiii. 
4), its people were accounted His sons. 

they have rebelled. The pronoun is emphatic : the recipients of the 
greatest benefits are they who have shewn the most signal ingratitude. 

1 The heading cannot apply to c. i. exclusively, since this can scarcely have 
been composed in the reigns of four kings. 


they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knoweth his owner, 
and the ass his master's crib : hut Israel doth not know, my 
people doth not consider. 4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden 
with iniquity, a seed of evil-doers, children that deal corruptly : 
they have forsaken the Lord, they have despised the Holy One 
of Israel, they are estranged and gone backward. 5 ^Why will 
ye be still stricken, that ye revolt more and more ? ^ the whole 

1 Or, Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt <&c. ^ Or, every 

For similar complaints over Israel's base return for the Lord's goodness 
see Deut. xxxii. 10 — 18, Ezek. xvi. 

3. doth not know. The LXX. has doth not know me... doth not 
consider me. Israel practically disavowed the Lord by ignoring His 
requirements : cf. Jer. viii. 7. 

4—9. The prophet's remonstrance with his countrymen on the 
gravity of their offence and the serious condition to which their sin 
has brought the country. 

4. a seed of evil-doers, i.e. a brood consisting of (not, descended 
from) evil doers (for their forefathers are regarded in the opposite 
light, V. 21) : LXX. a-n-epixa iTovqpov. Cf xiv. 20, Ixv. 23, and the 
similar expressions in xxxi. 2, Ivii. 4, Matt. iii. 7. 

they have forsaken. The LXX. has ye have fwsaken (in harmony 
with vc. 5 — 7). Sin is regarded by the prophets less as the infraction 
of a law than as defection from a Person. It may be inferred from 
vv. 10 — 14 that what is meant here is not an open transfer of allegiance 
from the Lord to other gods (as in Deut. xxxi. 16, Jud. ii. 12, 13, 
Jer. i. 16), but an alienation from Him in moral character {vv. 15 — 17). 

the Holy One of Israel. The expression is characteristic of Isaiah 
among the eighth century prophets, though reproduced by some of 
later date (xli. 14, 16, 20, xliii. 3, 14, etc., Jer. 1. 29, K. 5, Ps. Ixxi. 22, 
Ixxviii. 41, etc.). Since the epithet holy connoted what was Divine 
(cf 1 Sam. ii. 2, Hos. xi. 9), to designate the Lord as the Holy One of 
Israel was popularly synonymous with calling Him the God of Israel 
(see xxix. 23). But the expression, as Isaiah used it, especially em- 
phasized His separateness from human sin and infirmity (see vi. 5, 7, 
cf. Josh. xxiv. 19, 1 Sam. vi. 20), and with it the corresponding claim 
that He made upon the people that stood peculiarly near to Him and 
were in a sense consecrated to Him (cf Ex. xix. 6) ; see p. xxxiv. 

they are... backward. Cf Ezek. xiv. 5. The words here are absent 
from the LXX. and the O.L., and as the balance of the clauses in the 
V. is disturbed by them, they are best regarded as an interpolation. 

5. Why, etc. This rendering (supported by the LXX. and Syr.) 
is preferable to the alternative translation (supported by the Vulg.) 
Upon what part (of the body) will ye be still stricken 1 (as though no 
sound part were left for fresh blows to light upon^), for the people are 

' Cf. Ovid, Ep. II. vii. 41, Vix habet in vobis iam nova plaga locum, Eur. Here. Fur. 
124i'5, y^fiw KaKwv 8ri, kovk^t iad' 6irov redy. 



head is sick, and ^the whole heart faint. 6 From the sole of 
the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it ; but 
wounds, and bruises, and ^festering sores : they have not been 
closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with oil. 7 Your 
country is desolate; your cities are burned with fire; your 
land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, 
^as overthrown by strangers. 8 And the daughter of Zion is 

^ Or, every 2 Or, fresh stripes ^ Or, as the overthrow of strangers 

still addressed in the plural, and the corporate body is not spoken of 
as an individual sufterer until the next clause. Kittel proposes How 

long will ye he further stricken ? (i^P "^y for "^^ -'y) : cf. Ps. Ixxix. 5. 

the whole head. There is a transition here (cf. v. 6) from the 
separate members of the state to the state as a whole, personified as a 
single individual, sufi"ering under a succession of blows : cf. Hos. v. 13. 

6. there is no... in it. This clause is omitted by the LXX. 
festering sores. Better, raw stripes (cf mg.). 

closed. Better, pressed out (Jud. vi. 38), for the removal of im- 
purities or matter. 

mollified with oil. The use of oil to ease the pain of wounds occurs 
in Luke x. 34 ; cf Pliny, Hist. Nat. xxxi. 47, In vulnerum curatione et 
sucidae lanae vicem implent, nunc ex vino et oleo, nunc, etc. King Herod, 
in his last illness, was bathed in a vessel full of oil (Jos. Ant. xvii. vi. 5, 
Wars, I. xxxiii. 5). For figures borrowed from medical practice to 
describe the amelioration of political or moral conditions cf iii. 7. 

7. devour it in your presence. The expression suggests that those 
whom the prophet addressed were cooped up in the capital, and 
watched from its walls the ravage of the country — a situation realized 
in Sennacherib's invasion in 701 (see p. xxvii). 

as overthrown by strangers. So Vulg. sicut in vastitate hostili, 
LXX. Karco-Tpa/x/xeVr; vivo Aatov aXXorpiaiv. But such a Comparison, 
when the country was actually overrun by a foreign army, seems 
otiose ; and the text, which is literally as the overthrow of strangers 
(see mg.), probably means "like an overthrow which only foreigners 
(who were not the Lord's people) might be expected to sufier" (an obj. 
gen.) ; cf Ixiii. 19. But it is suspicious that the word for overthrow is 
elsewhere only used of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (xiii. 19, 
Deut. xxix. 23, Jer. xlix. 18, 1. 40, Am. iv. 11, cf Gen. xix. 25); so 
that it is not improbable that the text should be corrected to as 
the overthrow of iSodom (^''"'P for ^''11), i.e. a complete overthrow 
(cf V. 9), the word strangers being an accidental substitute from the 
first part of the verse. I)uhm and others reject the whole clause and 
it is desolate as overthrown by strangers as a gloss which spoils the 
symmetry of the verse. 

8. the daughter of Zion. Equivalent to the daughter Zion (the 
gen. being appositional). Lands and cities were often thus personified 


left as a booth in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cu- 
cumbers, as a besieged city. 9 Except the Lord of hosts had 
left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as 
Sodom, we should have been like unto Gomorrah. 

as women; cf. the parallels in xxxvii. 22, x. 32, xxiii. 10, 12, xlvii. 1, 
lii. 2, Jer. xlvi. 11, Lam. iv. 21, Ps. xlv. 12. 

is left, etc. The capital, the solitary survivor of the general over- 
throw, is compared to the lonely platforms (supported on poles and 
screened by brushwood), which were erected in vineyards and in gardens, 
when the fruits were ripe, to shelter the watchman who guarded them 
against depredation : cf Job xxvii. 18. 

cucumbers. These were a favourite food, Num. xi. 5- 

as a besieged city. i.e. as isolated (by reason of the surrounding 
devastation) as if it were actually invested. But since in the Assyrian 
war of 701 Jerusalem was really blockaded (see p. xxvii), Duhm is 
perhaps right in taking the participle as a noun (not elsewhere found) 
and rendering a city of watch, i.e. an outlying fort, situated in an 
exposed and lonely spot (cf 2 Kgs. xvii. 9). 

9. the Lord of hosts. This expression, commonest in Isaiah, 
occurs also frequently in several of the other prophetic writers (Jer., 
Am., Hag., Zech., Mai.) and, as employed by them, refers especially to 
the supramundane resources of the Lord, and so describes Him as 
possessed of power irresistible by mortal men. By the LXX. it is 
either left untranslated, or rendered by Kvpios t<3v 8wa/A€a»v (Ps. xxiv. 
10, etc.) or Kvpio<; TTavTOKpaVwp (Jer. V. 14, etc., the Almighty of the 
Nicene Creed). Sym. and Theod. also have Kuptos twv Svi/a/Aewv, but 
Aq. has Kwpto? (rrpareiiav, and the Vulg. Dominus exercituum. On its 
probable origin see p. 12. 

a very small remnant. As Jerusalem could not be considered a 
small or unimportant part of Judah, the original of the words very 
small (which is omitted by the LXX., Syr., O.L., and Vulg.) is best 
connected (despite the Heb. accents) with the second half of the v. in 
the sense of soon (Ps. Ixxxi. 14) — we should have been soon like Sodom 
(which had been completely destroyed, Gen. xix. 24 — 28). The v. is 
applied by St Paul (Rom. ix. 29) to the small minority of Jews who 
accepted Christianity. 

10 — 17. An exposure of the worthlessness of formal worship when 
divorced from morality. 

This section seems to date from the same period as the preceding, 
to which it is hnked by the reference (in v. 10) to v. 9 {Sodom... 
Gomorrah). The people may be supposed to meet the charge that 
they have forsaken the Lord, by adducing the number of their 
sacrifices to Him. The Lord's rejoinder is that He derives no satis- 
faction from their offerings because they are accompanied by moral 
offences, and that what He requires is the practice of social justice and 
mercy, for which sacrifices can be no substitute. Utterances of the 
same tenor as this occur in Hos. vi. 6 (quoted in Matt. ix. 13, xii, 7), 

6 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [i. lo-i. 

10 Hear the word of the Lord, ye ^rulers of Sodom; give 
ear unto the ^law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. 11 To 
what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me ? saith 
the Lord: I am full of the burnt ofierings of rams, and the fat 
of fed beasts ; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of 
lambs, or of lie-goats. 12 AVhen ye come ^to appear before me, 

^ Or, judges ^ Or, teaching 

3 Or, as otherwise read, to see my face 

Am. V. 21—24, Mic. vi. 6—8, Jer. vii. 4—7, 21—23, Ps. xl. 6—7, 
1. 7 — 15, li. 16 — 17, Prov. xv. 8, xxi. 3, 27. The censures here and 
elsewhere passed upon the belief that God derives gratification from 
formal worship and material sacrifices, independently of the wor- 
shipper's conduct, obviously do not disparage external acts of worship 
as a means both of expressing and of fostering sincere religious 

10. 1/e rulers of Sodom. Since Jerusalem had almost experienced 
the fate of the cities of the Plain, it must be comparable to them in 
moral state : cf iii. 9, Jer. xxiii. 14, Ezek. xvi. 48, Rev. xi. 8. The 
governing classes are specially arraigned because they were responsible 
for the maintenance of civic justice (cf. iii. 14). Gesenius quotes an 
Arabic proverb (probably derived from this passage). More unjust than 
a judge of Sodom. 

the law. Better (as in the mg.), the teaching or the direction (and 
so in ii. 3, v. 24, viii. 16, xxx. 9, xlii. 21), i.e. the Divine revelations 
imparted by the prophet (e.g. w. 11 — 17) : cf Jer. xxvi. 4, 5. 

11. To what purpose, etc. Probably the desperate situation of the 
country had led to the multiplication of ofi"erings in order to obtain 

your sacrifices. The term here used was confined to flesh offerings 
which included {a) burnt offerings, in which the victim was wholly 
given to God and consumed by fire (Lev. i. 3 f ), (6) peace off'erings, in 
which only the fat and the blood were given to God (cf 1 Sam. ii. 16, 
xiv. 34, Deut. xii. 16, Lev. iii. 1 — 5) whilst the rest of the victim was 
eaten by the priests and worshippers (Lev. vii. 28 — 34). 

or of lambs. Omitted by the LXX. 

12. to appear before me. i.e. to attend at my sanctuary (cf 
Ex. xxiii. 17, xxxiv. 23). The most natural rendering of the original 
(diff"erently pointed) is to see my face (cf mg. and Ex. xxxiv. 24, Deut. 
xxxi. 11). The phrase to see the face of God is analogous to seeing the 

J ace of a king (which implied admission to the court and royal favour, 
2 Sam. xiv. 24, 2 Kgs. xxv. 19), and perhaps originated at a time when 
the presence of the Lord was associated with some material object like 
the Ark (cf Num. x. 35, 36) which privileged worshippers were allowed 
to behold. When a higher conception of Deity made the thought of 
actually seeing the Divine face inadmissible (cf Ex. xxxiii. 20, Deut. 
iv. 12), the pointing of the verb was altered. 


Avho hath required this at your hand, to trample my courts? 
13 Bring no more Wain oblations; incense is an abomination 
unto me; new moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies, — 

1 Heb. an oblation of vanity. 

who hath required, etc. Attendance and offerings at the three 
agricultural festivals are prescribed in those parts of the Pentateuch ( JE) 
which are believed to be of earliest, and certainly pre-prophetic, date 
(Ex. xxiii. 14—17, xxxiv. 22—23, cf 1 Sam. i. 22), so that Isaiah's 
language must be rhetorical. What the question here really implies is 
that God does not want such worship as His worshippers actually 
rendered Him — formal service and practical apostasy (cf. 1 Sam. xv. 22). 

to trample. The phrase, appropriate to acts of desecration (1 Mac. 
iii. 45, 51, iv. 60), is a contemptuous description of the formalism that 

mi/ courts. The LXX. has mi/ court. Solomon's temple in strictness 
had only a single court; but a second court enclosed the palace, and a 
third surrounded both temple and palace together (see BB. iv. 695). 

13. oblations. The word denotes both (a) offerings in general, 
whether animal or cereal (Gen. iv. 3, 4, 1 Sam. ii. 15 — 17), and 
(b) offerings of grain or meal in particular (1 Ch. xxi. 23, Jer. xli. 5 mg., 

1 Kgs. viii. 64, 2 Kgs. xvi. 13, Lev. ii. 1, etc.). The context is in 
favour of the word here having the wider meaning. 

incense. Better, abominable incense are they unto me. The term 
incense is ambiguous, and signifies both (a) the savour or steam of 
burnt sacrifices (Ps. Ixvi. 15 and perhaps Deut. xxxiii. 10, cf. the 
Homeric Kvtarj, B. i. 66), and (6) incense of spices (Ex. xxx. 35, 

2 Ch. ii. 4). Here the first signification is most likely, for the earliest 
mention of frankincense is in Jer. vi. 20, the references to it in the 
Hexateuch occurring only in the Priestly code. 

The connection of this v. with the preceding is given differently in 
the LXX., which implies a text like the following : When ye come to 
appear before me, who hath required this (i.e. the sacrifices mentioned in 
V. 11) at your hands t Trample my courts no more; to bring an 
oblation is vain; incense is an abomination unto me. This furnishes 
a more appropriate context for the words at your hands, but involves 
a slight change in the text (-in^P or nin?p for rin;p). 

new moon and sabbath. Directions for observing the sabbath occur 
in the earliest legislation of the Pentateuch (see Ex. xx. 8 — 11, xxxiv. 21, 
cf. also Lev. xix. 3, Num. xxviii. 9—10), whereas the observance of 
the new moon is enjoined only in the Priestly code (Num. x. 10, 
xxviii. 11 — 15) ; but evidence that the latter was an early institution 
in Israel is furnished by 1 Sam. xx. 5, 18, 24 ; cf. also 2 Kgs. iv. 23, 
Hos. ii. 11, Am. viii. 5. 

the calling of assemblies, i.e. for the observance of religious festivals 
— occasions on which no servile work was permitted (Lev. xxiii., Num. 
xxviii., xxix.). 

8 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [1.14-17 

^I cannot away with iniquity and the solemn meeting. 14 Your 
new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth : they are 
a ^trouble unto me ; I am weary to bear them. 15 And when 
ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: 
yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear : your hands 
are full of blood. 16 Wash you, make you clean ; put away the 
evil of your doings from before mine eyes ; cease to do evil : 
17 learn to do well; seek judgement, ^relieve the oppressed, 
judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 

1 Or, I cannot away with; it is itiiquity, even the solemn meeting 

2 Or, cumhrance ^ Or, set right the oppressor 

I cannot away with, etc. Better, / cannot brooJc (the combination 
of) iniquity and a solemn meeting. The term solemn meeting (Am. 
v. 21) was specially applied to the religious gatherings at the close of 
the feasts of Unleavened Bread (Deut. xvi. 8) and Tabernacles (Lev. 
xxiii. 36) which were accompanied by abstention from labour. 

14. appointed feasts. For an enumeration of these, as prescribed 
in the Priestly code, see Lev. xxiii., Num. xxviii., xxix. In the 
LXX. the division between this v. and the preceding differs from 
that in the Heb. : your new moons and sabbaths and holidays (77/xepav 
fieydXrjv) I cannot brook : fasting (reading Qi^ for ])}$) and idleness 

(reading i^/Vy for "^"JV^) and your new moons and yowr appointed feasts 
my soul hateth. 

15. And when ye spread, etc. i.e. in prayer (cf, 1 Kgs. viii. 22, 38, 
Ex. ix. 29, Ezra ix. 5, Ps. xhv. 20, Hor. Od. ill. xxiii. 1, Caelo supinas 
si tuleris manus. 

when ye make many, etc. Cf Matt. vi. 7, where the practice is 
discouraged by our Lord as reflecting heathen conceptions of God. 

your hands, etc. Cf -y. 21, iv. 4. The context (vv. 17, 23) suggests 
that the blood-guiltiness was incurred by the commission of judicial 
murders (similar to that of Naboth, 1 Kgs. .$xi. 8 f ). 

16. Wash you. A figure for repentance and amendment (cf 
Ps. xviii. 20, 24, xxiv. 4, Job ix. 30). Duhm connects this clause with 
the last clause of v. 15. 

16, 17. cease to... well. This abstract generalisation is omitted 
by Duhm as an insertion. 

17. seek judgement, i.e. pursue justice. Hebrew judges were pro- 
bably unpaid, and so were the more liable to be bribed by wealthy 
suitors (cf V. 23, v. 23). The prevalence of corruption is evidenced 
by the numerous warnings against it (Ex. xxiii. 6 — 9, Deut. xvi. 
19, 20, xxvii. 19, Lev. xix. 15, Am. v. 12, Mic. iii. 9—11). 

relieve the oppressed. Better (as in the mg.), set right the oppressor. 
Cheyne and Marti substitute discipline (or chastise) the oppressor 
C*""!?! for •1'>?'fr?). 


18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: 
though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow ; 
though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 If 
ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land : 
20 but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the 
sword : for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. 

21 How is the faithful city become an harlot! she that 
was full of judgement ! righteousness lodged in her, but now 

18—20. An appeal to the people to cousider the alternatives 
before them — security attending obedience, and destruction ensuing 
on disobedience. 

This section, which seems to be a detached oracle, must, from its 
tenor, have been written before the country had been devastated in the 
manner described in v. 7. 

18. let us reaso?i together. This may mean either "let us come to 
an understanding " (the apodosis in the sentence that follows being 
a gracious promise), or "let us implead one another" (the following 
clause being an exclamation of indignant irony). In the latter case, the 
second half of the v. will run : if your sins be as scarlet, they are to be 
as white as snow ! if they be red like crimson, they are to be as wool ! 
(i.e. accounted by you as non-existent or of no importance). 

19. ye shall eat, etc. Plenty and the secure enjoyment of it are 
similarly promised as the reward of obedience in Lev. xxvi. 1 — 13, 
Deut. xxviii. 1 — 14. 

20. ye shall be devoured, etc. There is a rhetorical antithesis to 
V. Id : according to their conduct they should eat or be themselves 
consumed. Some render, ye shall be made to eat the sword. 

21 — 26 (28). A lament over the contrast between the present and 
the past state of Jerusalem, and an announcement of a purifying judg- 
ment which will restore it to its earlier and better condition. 

This section is written in the Hebrew elegiac rhythm, compositions 
in which often begin with the exclamation How ! (cf xiv. 4, Lam. i. 1, 
ii. 1, iv. 1). 

21. an harlot. The relation between the Lord and Jerusalem 
being comparable to those of husband and wife (see on v. 2 and cf 
Rev. xxi. 2, 9), the disregard shewn by the city for His authority is 
described as an act of conjugal infidelity (cf. Ex. xxxiv. 15, Ezek. xvi. 
22, Hos. i. — iii., Matt. xii. 39). The expression, which is here used 
of moral unfaithfulness, is more commonly applied to idolatry (Jer. ii. 
20, Ezek. vi. 9, xx. 30, etc.) than to social sins. 

was full of judgement. There is perhaps a reference to Solomon 
(1 Kgs. iii. 16 f ) or to Jehoshaphat (2 Ch. xix. 5—7). 

righteousness, i.e. the upright administration of justice (see v. 7, 
xxxii. 16, and cf Am. v. 24). 

but now murderers. These words, which spoil the balance of the 
clauses and do not harmonize with the preceding abstractions {judg- 

10 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [1.22-25 

murderers. 22 Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed 
with water. 23 Thy princes are rebellious, and companions 
of thieves ; every one loveth gifts, and folio weth after rewards : 
they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the 
widow come unto them. 

24 Therefore saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts, the Mighty 
One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and 
avenge me of mine enemies : 25 and I will ^turn my hand 
upon thee, and ^throughly purge away thy dross, and will take 

^ Or, bring my hand again 
2 Heb. as with lye. 

ment, righteousness), seem rightly rejected by Duhm as a gloss suggested 
by w. 15, 18. 

22. Thy silver, etc. The figure of adultery (u 21) is here replaced 
by that of adulteration. The metaphors of silver and wine probably 
refer to the highest classes in the state : cf Jer. vi. 28, 30, Ezek. 
xxii. 18. 

mixed. Literally, circumcised : cf the similar phrase in Pliny, 
Hist. Nat. XIX. 19, vina saccis castrari (i.e. strained and weakened). 

23. Thy princes, etc. Better, Thy princes are unprincipled (there 
being an assonance in the Heb.). The title princes probably only 
denotes high officials (cf. their function in Jer. xxvi. 10 f). 

companions of thieves. Perhaps by accepting bribes to acquit 

24. saith. Literally, an utterance of (the term being usually con- 
fined to solemn communications imparted by the Lord to the prophets 
(cf. Jer. xxiii. 31)). 

the Lord. Heb. Ha-Adon, a title of honour, distinct from the 
Lord, which is the equivalent of Jehovah (and so in iii. 1, x. 16, 
23, 33, xix. 4). 

the Mighty One. The term (which appears first in Gen. xlix. 24) 
recurs in xlix. 26, Ix. 16, Ps. cxxxii. 2, 5. The multiplication of the 
divine titles is designed to heighten the people's alarm, now that they 
have made an enemy of Him Who was formerly their champion, and 
Whose resources are so vast. 

25. throughly purge away, etc. More literally, refine away thy 
dross as with alkali and take away all thy alloy. One of the metaphors 
oiv. 22 is resumed : the debased metal must be re-smelted, the process 
being effected by mixing the ore or unpurified metal with an alkali and 
exposing the whole to great heat. But since all the expressions are 
figurative, the qualifying as prefixed to alkali alone is inappropriate, and 

the conjecture in a furnace is not improbable ("i33 for "^22), cf Ezek. 
xxii. 18, 20. The LXX. has Trupwo-w o-c ei? KaOapov ; the Vulg. 1 
excoquam ad purum scoriam ttiam (reading "i?^ for IS?). 

I. ,6-29] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 11 

away all thy Hin: 26 and I will restore thy judges as at the 
first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou 
shalt be called The city of righteousness, the faithful city. 
27 Zion shall be redeemed with judgement, and ^her converts 
with righteousness. 28 But the ^ destruction of the trans- 
gressors and the sinners shall be together, and they that 
forsake the Lord shall be consumed. 29 For they shall be 
ashamed of the *oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be 

1 Or, alloy ^ Or, they that return of her 

3 Heb. breaking. * Or, terebinths 

26. and I will restore, etc. i.e. by the elimination of the in- 

thou shalt be called. The name is supposed to reflect faithfully the 
character; cf. iv. 3, ix. 6, xix. 18, xlvii. 1, xlviii. 8, Ivi. 7, Iviii. 12, 
Ixi. 6, Ixii. 4, Zech. viii. 3. 

city... city. Better, citadel... city (distinct words being used in the 

27—28. These two vv. are thought by Duhm and Cheyne to be an 
addition (both the Lord and Zion being spoken of in the 3rd pers., 
contrast vv. 24—26), and to date from the post-exilic period (cf. the 
phraseology of Hx. 20, Ixv. 11). But the contents are not inconsistent 
with the context ; the metre oi v. 27 at least seems the same ; and 
judgment and righteousness (i.e. the execution of a just sentence) form 
a characteristic Isaianic combination (v. 16, xxviii. 17). 

27. redeemed, i.e. delivered from her disordered condition by the 
removal of the impenitent {v. 28) ; cf. iv. 3. 

her converts. Literally, they of her that turn (or return, cf mg.)^ 
i.e. her penitents (vi. 10 Heb.). The LXX. and Syr. have her captivity 
(J^\W for i?*?^), i.e. her captive people, but the antithetic terms in 
V. 28 are against this. 

29 — 31. A prediction of destruction for idolaters. 

The abrupt transition from complaints of oppression and judicial 
corruption to a charge of idolatry, coupled with a change of number 
and metre, makes it probable that these vv. are alien to their context, 
and since in both contents and diction they bear some resemblance to 
cc. Ixv., Ixvi. (see Ixv. 3, 12, Ixvi. 3, 17), they may be post-exilic. Those 
critics who regard them as Isaianic mostly think they refer to Ephraim 
(cf Hos. iv. 13). 

29. For they... ashamed of. Better (with a few MSS.), in agree- 
ment with the foil, verbs, For ye shall be ashamed because of. 

oaks. Better (as in the mg.), terebinths (or turpentine trees^). 
These are named as representatives of large trees in general, which 
were objects of idolatry (Ivii. 5, Deut. xii. 2, Jer. ii. 20, Ezek. vi. 

^ These have pinnate leaves and bear clusters of small berries of a reddish 

12 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [1.30,31 

confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen. 30 For ye 
shall be as ^an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that 
hath no water. 31 And the strong shall be as tow, and his 
work as a spark ; and they shall both burn together, and none 
shall quench them. 

^ Or, a terebinth 

13). The worship of such doubtless originated in an animistic con- 
ception of them, to which the phenomena of their life and growth were 
calculated to give rise. In Britain oaks were similarly regarded by 
the Druids as sacred, the appearance of mistletoe upon one of them 
marking the tree as chosen by a god (Pliny, Hist. Nat. xvi. 95). 

30. ye shall be, etc. i.e. your prosperity shall fade like the trees 
you worship (contrast Iviii. 11, Jer. xvii. 8, Ps. i. 3). 

31. the strong, i.e. he who in reliance upon superstitious practices 
deems himself secure against adverse fortune. 

his work. i.e. his idolatry, which will occasion his destruction ; cf 
ix. 18. The translation involves a slight correction (supported by the 
LXX.) of the Heb. 

Additional Note on v. 9 (TTte Lord of hosts). 

Though in later times the expression Lord (or Jehovah) of hosts (of 
which the God of hosts (Am. v. 27), and Jehovah the God of hosts (Am. 
iv. 13 etc.) are variant forms) had relation to the Lord's supramundane powers 
(cf. ii. 12, vi. 3), it has been thought by some scholars that it originally had 
reference to the hosts of Israel, because (a) the forces of Israel are actually 
styled the hosts of the Lord (Ex. vii. 4, xii. 41) and the armies of the living 
God (1 Sam. xvii. 26, 36), (b) the two phrases the Lord of hosts and the God 
of the armies of Israel appear as synonyms (1 Sam. xvii. 45), (c) Israelite wars 
were entitled the wars of the Lord (Num. xxi. 14), {d) it is only in connection 
with earthly hosts, especially those of Israel, that the plural form tsebdoth is 
otherwise found \ {e) the Ark which usually accompanied the Israelite armies 
to battle (1 Sam, iv. 3, 2 Sam. xi. 11, Num. xiv. 44) was called by ths name of the 
Lord of hosts (2 Sam. vi. 2). But on the whole, it is more probable that the 
phrase under consideration had in view, from the first, celestial, and not terres- 
trial, forces. Whatever may have been the original conception of Jehovah, 
He was from very early times associated with the heavens and atmospheric 
disturbances, commotions in the elements being represented as manifestations 
of His presence or as His agencies for aiding His people and destroying His 
enemies. The wind in the trees was the sound of His marching (2 Sam. v. 24), 
hailstones were His missiles (Josh. x. 11, cf Ezek. xxxviii. 22), the driving wind 
or cloud was His war chariot (Ps. xviii. 10, Hab. iii. 8), and the lightning was 
the glancing of His spear or arrows (Hab. iii. 11, Ps. Ixxvii. 17, cxliv. 6). The 

1 This plural form in connection with the hosts of Israel occurs chiefly in the 
Priestly source of the Hexateuch : elsewhere only in 1 Kgs. ii. 5, Deut. xx. 9, and 
the later compositions 1 Ch. xxvii. 3, Heb., Ps. xliv. 9, Ix. 10 (cviii. 11). 


Lord, when thought of as present in such phenomena, would naturally be 
imagined not as a solitary warrior but as accompanied by an army of celestial 
beings or angels (of. Deut. xxxiii. 2, Josh. v. 14, Zech. xiv. 5, Joel iii. 11), to 
whom the expressions God's camp (or company), God's hosts {tsebdim), and 
the host of heaven are actually applied (Gen. xxxii. 2, Ps. ciii. 21, cxlviii. 2, 
1 Kgs. xxii. 19, Neh. ix. 6) : cf also a-Tpana ovpdvios {Luke ii. 13). Such celestial 
armies were probably connected in popular fancy ^vith the stars (cf. Job 
xxxviii. 7), which, besides being styled collectively the host of heaven (Deut. 
iv. 19, 2 Kgs. xvii. 16, Is. xxxiv. 4) are represented as being marshalled by the 
Lord (Is. xl. 26), and described in Jud. v. 20 as fighting (for the Lord) 
against Sisera. (Cf. Driver in Hastings, DB. iii. 137.) 


Chapters II. — IV. 

Within the first collection of Isaiah's prophecies (cc. ii. — xii.) to which the 
superscription in ii. 1 is at present prefixed, a minor group is constituted by 
cc. ii. — iv., to which the heading may originally have belonged. This group 
consists of a number of distinct oracles, viz. (a) ii. 2 — 5, (&) ii. 6 — 22, (c) iii. 
1—12, {d) iii 13—15, {e) iii. 16— iv. 1, (/) iv. 2—6 ; and some of these may 
themselves l)e composite. They form, however, in some measure, a literary 
unity (iv. 4, lor instance, refers to iii. 16 f.), and have been so arranged that the 
announcement of an imminent judgment closes with a promise of felicity for 
the survivors of it. Such of the oracles as are Isaianic in origin are probably 
among the earliest of the prophet's utterances that have been preserved, and 
date from the reign of Jotham or the beginning of that of Ahaz. This period 
is fixed by the contemporary situation implied in them. (1) The accumulation 
of wealth (ii. 6, 7, iii. 16 f.), and the multiplication of the means of defence 
(described in ii. 6, 7, 15) reflect the prosperity which the comitry had enjoyed 
under Uzziah and Jotham, and the provision which these kings had made 
for its security (2 Ch. xxvi. 8, 10, xxvii. 3—6, cf. Hos. viii. 14) ; and point to a 
1 time preceding the reverses sustained in the reign of Ahaz from Syria and 
Ephraim (c. vii.). (2) The allusion to the nation's shipping (ii. 16) implies that 
Elath, Judah's port on the Red Sea, acquired by Amaziah (2 Kgs. xiv. 22) but 
taken from Ahaz by the Syrians (2 Kgs. xvi. 6), was not yet lost. (3) The 
description of the judgment (ii. 12 f.) looks as if it had been composed when 
the impression produced on the writer by the earthquake in the reign of 
Uzziah (Zech. xiv. 5, Am. i. 1) was still fresh. (4) The character of the 
country's rulers in iii. 12 suggests that when that passage was written Ahaz 
had already come to the throne. 

Chapter IL 

This c. consists of two originally distinct sections very awkwardly connected 
together: (1) a prediction, of imcertain origin, announcing the future pre- 
eminence of mount Zion, the site of the Temple, as a centre of enlightenment 
for the world {vc. 2—5); (2) a description of the godless condition of the nation, 
and of the judgment impending over it (6—22). 


II. 1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concern- 
ing Judah and Jerusalem. 

II. 1. This superscription, wliich like that in i. 1 gives the name of 
Isaiah's father, is obviously the heading of a collection which was once 
detached from c. i., and did not include cc. xiii. foil., though whether 
it originally referred to the group, cc. ii. — xii., or the smaller group, 
cc. ii. — iv., there is nothing to shew. 

The word ...saw. The term wore? is equivalent to revelation (Jer. 
xviii. 18) ; the verb saw, used in connection with it, merely visualises 
the prophet's intuitions : cf. xiii. 1, Am. i. 1, Mic. i. 1, Hab. i. 1, ii. 1, 
Lam. ii. 14 \ 

2 — 5. A prediction that in the time to come the Temple hill 
will attract to itself all the nations of mankind, for there the Lord will 
instruct them and usher in an age of universal peace. 

These vv. recur in Mic. iv. 1 — 3, b"^, the variations being unimpor- 
tant ; and the coincidence implies that the passage is unoriginal in 
one or both of the books that contain it. (1) In Isaiah the abruptness 
with which the section begins, and the awkwardness of the transition 
from it to the passage that follows {vv. 6 — 22), suggest that it is an 
insertion here. (2) In Micah the section appears in a longer and 
seemingly more original form ; but there also it is introduced too 
abruptly to be quite appropriate to its context'. (3) Hence it is 
probable that the passage really belongs to neither, but is derived from 
a third writer, and transferred to the books of Isaiah and Micah by an 
editor. It was perhaps originally inserted as a sequel to the description 
of the purifying judgment in i. 24 — 28 (31) to which it was meant to be 
attached : if so, the superscription of c. ii. has somehow become mis- 
placed, and should follow, instead of preceding, this section. Its author 
is more likely to have been a successor than either a contemporary or a 
precursor of the two prophets amongst whose writings it appears. It is 
in compositions later than the eighth century that the ideal it describes 
seems to obtain earliest expression. It is in Jeremiah and in the exilic 
and post-exilic prophets that it is first anticipated that the heathen 
peoples will gather to Jerusalem to receive religious instruction and 
offer worship (Jer. iii. 17, Zech. ii. 11, viii. 20 — 22, xiv. 16 — 19, Is. Ivi. 7, 
Ix. 3, Ixvi. 23), and that the Jewish nation will become a source of 
spiritual enlightenment to mankinds Moreover, it is in Zech. ix. 10 
that the prediction of a universal reign of peace has its nearest 
counterpart ; and the conception of the physical elevation of the hill of 
Zion finds a parallel only in Ezek. xl. 2, Zech. xiv. 10. 

* Cf. 1 Sam. iii. 15 where vision is used in reference to the Lord's calling Samuel. 

2 The previous v. (Mic. iii. 12) predicts the desolation of Zion, so that some 
mention of its re-building should precede the prophecy of its exaltation. It is a 
further objection to the view that the passage is authentic in Micah and borrowed 
by Isaiah that in Micah it follows upon a prophecy delivered in the reign of 
Hezekiah (see Jer. xxvi. 18). 

^ On Is. xviii. 7 see note. 

11.1,3] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 15 

2 ^And it shall come to pass in the latter days, that the 
mountain of the Lord's house shall be established ^in the top 
of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills ; and all 
nations shall flow unto it. 3 And many peoples shall go and 
say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to 
the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his 
ways, and we will walk in his paths : for out of Zion shall go 

^ See Micah iv. 1 — 3. ^ Or, at the head 

2. And it shall come, etc. This phrase naturally suggests that the 
section which it introduces was once the continuation of a preceding 
passage and not the beginning of a separate collection of prophecies, as 
its present position implies. 

in the latter days. Literally, in the sequel of days. The phrase 
does not imply finality but succession ; and describes a future which is 
the sequel of the present, without distinguishing between what is near 
and what is remote. It is generally employed in connection with pre- 
diction, in order to designate the period when the hopes, whatever they 
are, that relieve a dissatisfying present will be fulfilled (see Gen. xlix. 1, 
Num. xxiv. 14) ; and in the prophetic writings it is most commonly 
applied to a future time of recovery and restoration from existing 
material or spiritual ilP (Deut. iv. 30, Hos. iii. 5, Jer. xlviii. 47, 
xlix. 39). The expression has given rise to imitation in the N.T., see 
Heb. i. 2, 1 Pet. i. 20, 1 Cor. x. IL Cf the last day in Joh. vi. 39, 
xii. 48. 

the mountain, etc. i.e. Mount Zion, the eastern of the two hills on 
which Jerusalem stands. The LXX. implies the reading the mountain 
of the Lord shall he established, even the house of God on the tops of the 
mountains, which is favoured by v. 3 ; though cf Mic. iii. 12. 

in the top. Better, on the top. The writer's conception seems to be 
that the Temple hill (which was lower than many rival hills, Ps. Ixviii. 
15, 16) is to be physically elevated above all others (cf Zech. xiv. 10, 
Ezek. xl. 2) partly as a token of the dignity belonging to it, as the 
earthly seat of the Lord's sovereignty (Jer. iii. 17), and partly to 
render it a conspicuous landmark, so that the nations of the world may 
see it, and be able to converge towards it from all directions. 

3. he will teach us. The conception of the Lord as a Teacher 
recurs in xlviii. 17 (and perhaps xxviii. 26), Ps. xxv. 8, xciv. 10. 

of his ways. Strictly, out of his ways, i.e. out of His store of 
precepts regulating the course of life which He requires; cf xlii. 24, 
Iviii. 2, Ixiii. 17, Deut. viii. 6, x. 12, Ps. xviii. 21, xxv. 4, h. 13, 
cxix. 15. For the sense of way compare the use of 6S09 in Mk. xii. 14, 
Matt. xxii. 16. 

for, etc. The speech of the peoples continues to the close of v. 3. 

^ An exception occurs in Deut. xxxi. 29. 

16 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [11.4-6 

forth Hhe law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 
4 And he shall judge ^between the nations, and shall ^reprove 
many peoples : and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, 
and their spears into pruninghooks : nation shall not lift up 
sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 

5 house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of 
the Lord. 6 For thou hast forsaken thy people the house of 

^ Or, instruction ^ Or, among ^ Or, decide concerning 

the law. Better (as in the mg.), instruction (and so in li. 4). 
The prediction has obtained a fulfilment in the fact that it was within 
the Jewish nation that Christianity, with its universal range, had its 

4. he shall judge, etc. Since all nations will acknowledge the 
Lord, disputes will be settled by Him instead of by the arbitrament of 
the sword. 

reprove. Better, arbitrate for (xi. 4, Gen. xxxi. 37, Job ix. 33). 

plowshares. Perhaps better, mattocks, see 1 Sam. xiii. 20. For 
the promise of universal peace cf Zech. ix. 10. The phraseology 
resembles Mart. Ep. xiv. 34 (of the sickle), Pax me certa duds placidos 
curvavit in usus ; Agricolae nunc sum, militis ante fui. A converse 
prediction occurs in Joel iii. 10. 

This V. forms an appropriate conclusion to the present passage, 
though in Micah it is followed by a fourth verse. 

5. This V. (an exhortation to Israel to use the privileges which it 
possesses and which the heathen will desire to share) seems to have 
been adapted from Mic. iv. 5, perhaps by an editor who, finding 
m>. 2 — 4 incorporated in c. ii., instead of concluding c. i., sought by it 
to adjust the citation tv. 2 — 4, to its new context. 

house of Jacob. Here a designation of Judah only, as in viii. 17, 
X. 20. 

the light. For this term, applied to instruction as a source of 
illumination, see xlii. 6, xlix. 6, Prov. vi. 23. 

6 — 22. This section, perhaps the very earliest of Isaiah's prophecies, 
consists of an account of the advent of the Lord in judgment, to 
punish and humiliate the nation for its self-sufficiency and idolatry. 
The prophecy, though tolerably uniform in tenor, is marked by the 
repetition (in slightly variant forms) of two refrains, one occurring in 
w. 10, 19, 21, and the other in the intervening vv. 11 and 17, and this 
feature has suggested that it is really a combination of two separate 
fragments {a) vv. 6—10, 18—21, (b) vv. 11—17. 

6. I^or, etc. This v. cannot without harshness be connected with 
V. 5 as an explanation of conduct occasioning the foregoing exhortation, 
since the Lord's rejection of His people should be the consequence, not 
the cause, of His people's perversity. If the opening word is rightly 
rendered loj For, the true beginning must have been lost. But possibly 
For should be replaced by Surely (cf iii. 1, xv. 1). 


Jacob, because they be filled with customs from the east, and 
are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they strike hands with 
the children of strangers. 7 Their land also is full of silver and 
gold, neither is there any end of their treasures ; their land also 
is full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots. 

thou hast forsaken. Better, thou hast cast ojf (Jud. vi. 13, 2 Kgs. 
xxi. 14). The pronoun refers to the Lord : the LXX. and O.L. have he 
hath cast off his people. 

they be filled with, etc. Literally, they are filled from the east. 
The original is probably defective, and the succeeding clause suggests 
that the word to be supplied is not customs but diviners or divination 
(D^pp'p or °pi^). The prevalence of divination in Judah in Isaiah's time 
(cf. iii. 2) is attested likewise by Micah (v. 12); and the addiction 
of the people to it appears from the prohibitions against it in Deut. 
Ixviii. 10 f.. Lev. xix. 26. By the east here is probably meant Syria 
i(the Aram whence the enchanter Balaam came (Num. xxiii. 7)) : cf. 
!Gen. xxix. 1. 

and are soothsayers. Or and are full of soothsayers. Tlie word 
rendered soothsayers probably means either "crooners of charms," or 
" observers of clouds " : see EB. i. 1119. 

like the Philistines. Reference to diviners in Philistia occurs in 
1 Sam. vi. 2, and there was a famous oracle at Ekron (2 Kgs. i. 2). 

strike hands, etc. i.e. make engagements, probably (as the context 
suggests) in order to obtain the services of heathen enchanters 
[cf. Balak's hiring of Balaam, Num. xxii. 5 f ). But even commercial 
d political compacts with foreign countries tended, by the increase of 
ealth and the introduction of heathen usages, to impair the nation's 
ehgious faith, and were accordingly disapproved of by the Hebrew 
rophets. As the original of children of strangers is not the usual 
)eriphrasis for strangers (Joel iii. 6, Am. ix. 7), the text, which has 
I?!?-"!, should possibly be corrected to *1"'?-1. But some scholars, 
etaining the text, take the verb in a different sense, and render 
fbound with (cf. 1 Kgs. xx. 10, Heb.) the young children of strangers 
i.e. youthful foreign slaves) : cf. LXX. reKva ttoXXo. dXX6(fivXa iyevijOrj 
•vToi?. The Vulg. has pueris alienis adhaeserunt (reading "in^D* for 

7. silver and gold. The possession of Elath facilitated commerce 
rith the gold- producing regions of S. Arabia and E. Africa and perhaps 
ven India (cf 1 Kgs. x. 11, 22). 

horses... chariots. Horses were associated with war and martial 
ride (Job xxxix. 19 — 25) (just as the ass was with peace and peaceful 
ualities, Zech. ix. 9), and the multiplication of them was in con- 
3quence censured by the prophets (see xxx. 16, xxxi. 1, Mic. v. 10, 
f. Deut. xvii. 16). In the time of David horses began to be used for 
ding by persons of dignity (2 Sam. xv. 1, contrast Jud. v. 10, x. 4) ; 
jut it was by Solomon that a force of chariots and horses was first 

w. 1. 

18 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [ii.s-i. 

8 Their land also is full of idols ; they worship the work of their 
own hands, that which their own jBngers have made. 9 And the 
mean man ^is bowed down, and the great man ^is brought low: 
therefore forgive them not. 10 Enter into the rock, and hide 
thee in the dust, from before the terror of the Lord, and from 
the glory of his majesty. 11 The lofty looks of man shall be 
brought low, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, 
and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. 12 For ^ there 
shall be a day of the Lord of hosts upon all that is proud and 

^ Or, boweth down ^ Or, humbleth himself 

^ Or, the Lord of hosts hath a day 

acquired for military purposes (1 Kgs. x. 26). The country from which 
they were principally obtained was Egypt (1 Kgs. x. 28, but see Burney). 

8. idols. The original term (Dvv^) seems to mean nonentities, 

being associated with the negative particle ^^. It occurs several 
times in Isaiah (vv. 18, 20, x. 10, 11, xxxi. 7, cf. also xix. 1, 3), but is 
otherwise rare (Lev. xix. 4, xxvi. 1, Ezek. xxx. 13, etc.). For the pre- 
valence of idolatry in Judah, see Mic. v. 13. 

9. the mean man... tJie great man. The terms probably do not here 
describe contrasted classes (as in Ps. xlix. 2), but are synonyms, 
equivalent to mankind .. .man \ cf. v. 11, xxxi. 8 (Heb.), Prov. viii. 4 

is bowed, down. The perfect expresses the certainty and inevitable- 
ness of the approaching catastrophe. The mg. howeth down... humbleth 
himself, in homage (Ix. 14) before the idols {v. 8), is inconsistent with 
the sense which the verbs have in -y. 11, cf. v. 15. 

therefore, etc. Better, and thou must not forgive them. But the 
sentence is not very appropriate to the context, and Duhm conjectures 
and surely there is no uplifting (recoYery) for them (^n'^ DK] for ^^^J?"^^^!). 

10. -Enter, etc. The LXX. (probably rightly) has the full refrain 
as it recurs in vv. 19, 21, and replaces the 2nd sing, by the 2nd plur. 
Refuge will be sought in dens and caves from the anger of the Lord as 
once from the rage of men (Jud. vi. 2, 1 Sam. xiii. 6). The first part of 
the V. has influenced Rev. vi. 15, and the latter part 2 Thess. i. 9. 

11. The lofty looks. Better (by an omission which restores the 
grammar of the Heb.), The loftiness ; cf. v. 17. 

12. For there shall be, etc. Better (as in the mg.) For the Lord 
of hosts hath a day. The word day was applied to the occasion of a 
decisive victory (ix. 4, cf Ezek. xiii. 5) ; and the Lord being thought 
to be Israel's champion, the phrase the day of the Lord popularly 
described the occasion when He was expected to intervene to over- 
throw the nation's enemies (see xiii. 6, 9, xxxiv. 8, Ob. v. 15). But 
Isaiah foreboded that the Lord's intervention would bring a catastrophe 
upon the nation itself, and used the phrase to denote a day of chastise- 
ment for the national offences (cf xxii. 5, Am. v. 18, Zeph. i. 7), and the 


haughty, and upon all that is lifted up ; and it shall be brought 
low: 13 and upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and 
lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan; 14 and upon all the 
high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up; 
15 and upon every lofty tower, and upon every fenced wall; 
IG and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant 

expression was afterwards employed to denote the universal judgment 
(Matt. vii. 22, 2 Tim. i. 12, iv. 8). Here the predicted overthrow is 
especially directed against the sources of the people's pride. Among 
the Hebrews (as well as other nations) everything in human conduct or 
human possessions that seemed to encroach upon, or rival, the Divine 
prerogatives was considered to be peculiarly provocative of the Divine 
resentment (see Gen. iii. 22, xi. 6, 1 Sam. viii. 7, 2 Sam. xxiv.S 
Is. xiv. 13 — 15, XXX. 16, xxxi. 1, Ezek. xxviii., Hos. x. 13, xii. 8, Am. 
vi. 13, Mic. V. 10). 

and it shall be brought low. This clause requires to be replaced by 
the words and high ('B^^^D ; cf v. 13 and the LXX. l-n-l iravra iif/r]Xbv 
I Ktti /Li€T€wpov KOL TaTreLV(j>Or)(TovTai (a conflate reading). 
I 13. upon all tJie cedars, etc. Better (by transposition), upon all the 
cedars of Lebanon that are high, and upon all the oaks of Bashan that are 
lifted up : cf V. 14. The day of the Lord is conceived as a violent con- 
vulsion of the earth, sea, and atmosphere, levelling and demolishing 
everything elevated, the source of the imagery being doubtless the earth- 
quake in the reign of Uzziah which Isaiah probably witnessed. The mere 
physical altitude of Lebanon and Bashan (which are named as typical 
heights, though neither belonged to Judah) is thought of as a challenge 
to the Lord's supremacy (cf Ps. xxix. 5) ; whilst their cedars 
(1 Kgs. iv. 33, Ps. xcii. 12) and oaks (Ezek. xxvii. 6, Zech. xi. 2) 
furnished materials for military defence (cf xxii. 8). Probably, too, 
the idea that such were the objects of the Divine resentment was helped 
by their being frequently struck by lightning^. 

15. lofty tower .. fenced wall. The fortitications erected by Uzziah 
nd Jotham (2 Ch. xxvi. 9, xxvii. 3, 4) are perhaps in the writer's mind. 

16. ships of Tarshish. i.e. sea-going ships (LXX. -n-av irXolov 
9aXdaar]<;). The vessels are probably so described from their build 
[Uke our " Indiaman ") and not from the place to which they voyaged, 
:or Tarshish, a western region (Ps. Ixxii. 10), famous for its mines 
Jer. X. 9, Ezek. xxvii. 12), and probably colonized from T}Te (xxiii. 
5, 10), is usually identified with Tartessus in Spain at the mouth of 
:he Baetis (mod. Guadalquivir), whereas Elath, Judah's only port, was 
)n the Red Sea. 

pleasant imagery. Cf. Vulg. omne quod visu pulcrum est. But 

1 To number Israel was parallel to attempting to number the stars (Gen. xxii. 7) 
fhich only the Almighty could do (Is. xl. 26). 

- Cf. Hdt. VII. 10, bpq.s ujs es oiKrjfiara ra (liyiaTa alel Kal 8ivSpea to, toioOt' 
liroff/ciJiTTet /S^Xea, ^iX^ei yap 6 Beds to, vTrep^xovra irdvTa KoKoveif. 

2 2 

20 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [ii. 17-22 

^imagery. 17 And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, 
and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low: and the 
Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. 18 And the idols 
shall utterly pass away. 19 And men shall go into the caves 
of the rocks, and into the holes of the ^ earth, from before the 
terror of the Lord, and from the glory of his majesty, when he 
ariseth to shake mightily the earth. 20 In that day a, man 
shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which 
they made for him to worship, to the moles and to the bats ; 

21 to go into the caverns of the rocks, and into the clefts of 
the ragged rocks, from before the terror of the Lord, and from 
the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake mightily the 
earth. 22 ^ Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: 
for wherein is he to be accounted of ? 

1 Or, watch-towers ^ Heb. dust. '^ The Sept. omits this verse. 

since the context suggests something elevated, the word rendered 
imagery may perhaps mean gazebos or belvederes (from a root signifying 
"to look out," cf. the mg. watch-towers), though the apparently 
cognate term in Num. xxxiii. 52, Lev. xxvi. 1, Ezek. viii. 12 suggests 
sculptured stones (as objects of worship). The LXX. has eiri irao-av Oeav 
TrXotwv KakXov^, and some scholars accordingly take the word to mean 
the ornaments (Lat. aplustria) at the sterns of ships, whilst others 
would substitute stately vessels (reading nia^pp for nio!^, cf. Jon. i. 5). 

18. And the idols, etc This v., which consists of one clause only, 
seems incomplete. 

19. And men shall go. LiteraWy, Atid they shall go. The parallel 
oi V. 10 (LXX.) suggests that in place of the future there should be 
substituted the imperative, go (or enter), reading -1X3 for •l^^?''. The 
passage is imitated in Rev. vi. 15. 

20. In that day. This v. seems to be an interpolation (in prose) 
expounding the mutilated v. 18. The day of the Xorc? will reveal the 
worthlessness of idols : cf xvii. 8, xxx. 22, xxxi. 7. 

which they made for him. Better (with the LXX.), which he made 
for himself. 

21. to go into, etc As this v. is substantially a repetition of the, 
refrain in v. 19, it must be either a variant of it, or some vv. must 
have been lost before it. The infin. (for the imperat.) is perhaps due 
to the sentence having been adjusted to the intrusive v. 20. 

22. This V. is omitted by the LXX., and is perhaps the moralizing 
comment of an editor. 

Cease ye, etc. i.e. cease to place trust in man (cf Jer. vii. 16, 
Ps. cxlvi. 3 — 4, cxviii. 8, 9). 

whose breath, etc. Better, in whose nostrils is but a breath (which 
is so easily quenched, cf Ps. civ. 29), /or at what is he to be valued? 
(i.e. how little is his worth !). 


Chapters III. — IV. 

The prophecies in these cc. are distinct from those in the preceding, the 
sins here denounced being not idolatry and national self-sufficiency, but social 
injustice and private luxury. Their date, however, cannot be far removed from 
that of c. ii., the description of the nation's condition being appropriate to the 
beginning of the reign of Ahaz (cf. on p. 13). 

The prophecies comprise four separate oracles, {a) iii. 1 — 12, (&) iii. 13 — 15, 
(c) iii. 16 — iv. 1, {d) iv. 2 — 6, of which the first three announce an imminent 
judgment, and describe the off'ences that call it down, whilst the last depicts 
the future felicity of Jerusalem after the corrupt elements in it have been 

III. 1 For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take 
away fi-om Jerusalem and from Judah stay and staflT, the whole 
stay of bread, and the whole stay of water ; 2 the mighty man, 
and the man of war; the judge, and the prophet, and the 
diviner, and the ^ancient; 3 the captain of fifty, and the 
honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning ^artificer, 

^ Or, elder 2 Or, charmer 

III. 1 — 12. A prediction of the removal from the state (by 
deportation or death) of its chief supports and the surrender of it to 
disorder as a penalty for the oppression that is rife in it. 

1. For. As at present arranged, c. iii. serves to illustrate the 
means whereby the national overthrow predicted in c. ii. will be 
accomplished ; but, since this c. seems to be separate from the foregoing, 
the conjunction should perhaps be rendered Surely (cf ii. 6). 

Jerusalem... Judah. The order of the words (cf v. 8, v. 3) is 
significant of the preponderant influence of the capital. 

the whole stay., .water. This clause misinterprets the terms stay and 
staff, and is probably a gloss, suggested by ■». 7 and influenced by 
Lev. xxvi. 26, Ezek. iv. 16. The true sense of the terms is given in 
V. 2, viz. the classes that chiefly sustain the social fabric (cf the 
metaphors in xix. 1,3, Jud. xx. 2 mg., and Hom. //. xvi. 549, IpiJ-a Tr6\r)o<s, 
of Sarpedon), 

2. the mighty man. Representing the royal bodyguard (2 Sam. 
xxiii. 8 f ). 

the man oj war. The representative of the national militia. 

the diviner. The original word seems to mean one who practised 
his art by drawing lots (perhaps with arrows, cf Ezek. xxi. 21, 22). 

the ancient. Better, the elder, who was responsible for the admini- 
stration of justice (cf 1 Kgs. xxi. 8). 

3. th£ captain of fifty. Cf 1 Sam. viii. 12, 2 Kgs. i. 9. 

the honourable man. Strictly, one who has received jjromotion, 
i.e. (probably) a royal favourite (2 Kgs. v. 1). 

22 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [111.4-7 

and the skilful enchanter. 4 And I will give children to be 
their princes, and ^ babes shall rule over them. 5 And the 
people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one 
by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly 
against the ^ancient, and the base against the honourable. 
6 When a man shall take hold of his brother in the house of 
his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ^ ruler, and 
let this ruin be under thy hand : 7 in that day shall he lift up 
his voice, saying, I will not be ^an healer ; for in my house is 
neither bread nor clothing: ye shall not make me ruler of 

1 Or, iDith childishness shall they rule over them ^ Or, elder 

^ Ot, judge * Heb. a binder up. 

the counsellor, i.e. a member of the royal council (cf. i. 26, Mic. 
iv. 9). 

the cunning artificer. Although craftsmen were a very important 
class of the community (cf. 2 Kgs. xxiv. 14, 16, Jer. xxiv. 1), the 
context is in favour of the mg., the cunning charmer (literally, the 
wise in (magic) arts). 

the skilful enchanter. Literally, one skilled in whispered charms : 
Vulg. prudentem eloquii mystici. 

4. / will give. The Lord is abruptly represented as speaking 
(cf. «.^ 14). 

children. After the removal of the older and more experienced 
men the control of affairs will pass into the hands of the young and 
hare-brained, with deplorable results (cf Eccles. x. 16). 

hahes. Literally, wantonness, the abstract term being used to de- 
scribe irresponsible and wayward characters : cf v. 12. 

5. the child shall, etc. With young and insolent upstarts in 
power, respect for experience and worth will disappear. 

6. When.. .his brother. A Heb. idiom for When one skill take hold 
of another. 

in the house of his father. The man importuned to assume 
authority and put an end to anarchy is one who in the collapse of the 
social order has retained some portion of his patrimony. 

clothing, i.e. the outer garment which in more normal times every 
one would have (Ex. xxii. 26, 27, Deut. x. 18), but which in the 
prevailing distress is an exceptional possession. 

ruler. The office meant is not that of king, the word being the same 
as that used in i. 10. 

this ruin. i.e. the disorganised commonwealth. 

7. an healer. The cure of physical ills as a figure for moral or 
political restoration recurs in xix. 22, xxx. 26, Ivii. 18, 19 : cf also 
the expression " The Good Physician." 

for in my house, etc. The appeal is refused on the ground of lack 
of means to support the burden of office, most civic officials among the 
Hebrews probably being unpaid. 


the people. 8 For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: 
because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, 
to provoke the eyes of his glory. 9 ^The shew of their 
countenance doth witness against them; and they declare 
their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! 
for they have -rewarded evil unto themselves. 10 Say ye of 
the righteous, that it shall be well with him : for they shall eat 
the fruit of their doings. 11 Woe unto the wicked! it shall 
he ill with him: for the ^reward of his hands shall be *given 
him. 12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, 
and women rule over them. my people, they which lead 
thee cause thee to err, and ^destroy the way of thy paths. 

1 Or, Their respecting of persons doth dc. ^ Or, done 

^ Or, doing ■* Heb. done to him. ^ Heb. swallow up. 

8. because, etc. The approaching ruin of the state has its causes 
in acts of social oppression (vv. 14, 15) and utterances of defiant impiety 
(see v. 19). 

the eyes of his gl<yry. Better, his glorious eyes. The Lord is not 
unobservant, as His people imagine, of their conduct, and the iniquity 
He witnesses rouses His resentment (cf. Hab. i. 13). 

9. The shew of their countenance, i.e. the expression, bold and un- 
blushing, of their faces : they do not pay to virtue even the homage of 
hypocrisy. But since the passage seems to be an indictment of the 
ruling classes in particular (see vv. 14, 15, cf i. 17, 23), perhaps 
better as in the mg., Their respecting of persons, i.e. partiality in judg- 
ment (Deut. i. 17, Prov. xxiv. 23, Heb.). The Vulg. has agnitio vultus 
("a glance at their face," which suffices to read their characters). 

rev)arded. Better, done or dealt out. The evil whicli they have 
wrought to others will recoil upon themselves : cf the phrase sinners 
against themselves in Heb. xii. 3. 

10 — 11. These vv. are not improbably a marginal comment, since 
the generalizations they contain are out of keeping with the directness 
of the rest of the address (though cf i. 19, 20). 

10. Say ye of. The parallelism with -y. 11 seems to require the 
emendation Happy is C'D^'t^ for •1"'P'>*) the righteous, for, etc. 

11. the reward, etc. Better, the work of his hands shall he done to 
him, in accordance with retributive justice. 

12. children, etc. Better, their oppressor plays the child (the 
^ural being a plural of dignity). The description suits Ahaz. 

women, i.e. the queen mother and the ladies of the royal harem. The 

rtant place often occupied by the mother of the reigning sovereign 

's from the allusion in 2 Kgs. xxiv. 12, cf also 2 Ch. xxii. 3. 

■ which lead, etc. The original is more graphic : they which 

t thee right lead thee wrong, and confuse the way of thy paths ; 

V-. -^. i6. 

24 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [m. 13-17 

13 The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the 
^peoples. 14 The Lord will enter into judgement with the elders 
of his people, and the princes thereof : It is ye that have eaten 
up the vineyard ; the spoil of the poor is in your houses : 
15 what mean ye that ye crush my people, and grind the face 
of the poor? saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts. 

16 Moreover the Lord said, Because the daughters of Zion 
are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton 
eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling 
with their feet: 17 therefore the Lord will smite with a scab 

1 Or, people 

13 — 15. A trial scene, wherein the Lord judges the rulers of His 
people. This short section would be more in place after v. 1 — 7. 

13. to plead, i.e. to contend as a complainant. 

t/ie peoples. Better (with the LXX. and Syr.) his people^ (cf. Deut. 
xxxii. 6). 

14. the elders... the princes. The first are the representatives of 
the old patriarchal system (perhaps surviving chiefly in the country 
districts), the second are the royal officials brought into existence by 
the monarchy. 

It is ye. The words begin the Lord's address to the offenders. 

the vineyard. The LXX. has my vineyard. The metaphor is 
elaborated in v. 1 — 7 and recurs frequently (see xxvii. 2, Jer. ii. 21, 
V. 10, xii. 10, Ps. Ixxx. 8 f.. Matt. xx. 1 £, xxi. 33). The guardians 
of the Lord's vineyard have themselves done what it was their duty 
to prevent (cf. v. 5). 

15. crush... grind the face. For the figures here used to describe 
the merciless treatment of the poor, cf. the parallel metaphors in Mic. 
iii. 2, 3, Am. iv. 1. 

16 — IV, 1. This oracle, though distinct from the preceding, is pre- 
sumably contemporaneous in time as it is similar in spirit. It 
denounces the fashionable ladies, who spend the wealth, which their 
lords have gained by extortion, upon luxury and frivolity. 

16. the daughters of Zion. For the denunciation of the women 
of Jerusalem see xxxii. 9 — 12 : cf also Am. iv. 1 f (of the women of 

stretched forth necks, i.e. expressive of an arrogant demeanour. 

mincing .. .tinkling . The unnatural gait, and the sound accom- 
panying their movements, were produced by the anklets and ankle 
chains mentioned in vv. 18 and 20. 

17. the Lord. Heb. Adonai, a title, not a proper name : and so 
in vi. 1, xxviii. 2, xxxvii. 24, xxxviii. 16. 

will smite, etc. The beauty of which they are so vain will be 

^ In Deut. xxxiii. 3 where peoples seems to be used of the tribes of Israel the 
LXX. has his people (see Driver ad loc). 


the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord 
will lay bare their secret parts. 18 In that day the Lord will 
take away the bravery of their anklets, and the ^ cauls, and the 
crescents ; 19 the pendants, and the ^bracelets, and the mufflers ; 
20 the headtires, and the ankle chains, and the sashes, and the 
perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21 the rings, and the nose 
jewels ; 22 the festival robes, and the mantles, and the shawls, 
and the satchels ; 23 the hand mirrors, and the fine linen, and 
the turbans, and the veils. 24 And it shall come to pass, that 
instead of sweet spices there shall be rottenness ; and instead of 
a girdle a rope; and instead of well set hair baldness; and 

1 Or, networks 2 Qr, chains 

disfigured by disease, and their persons, which they adorn so sumptu- 
ously, will be exposed to indignities (cf. xlvii. 3). The last clause 
Dillmann and others render, will lay hare their temples (reading 
inD^'? for inri?) : cf. Vulg. crinem eorum nudabit. 

18 — 23. This long and prosaic catalogue of finery (21 articles in 
all) is deemed by Duhm, Cheyne, and others an interpolation, conceahng 
the close connection between vv. 17 and 24. The insertion, however, if 
such it be, is not ineffective as a satire, and, though inartistic, deepens 
the contrast between the fashionable lives which the ladies lead now 
and the condition to which they will shortly be reduced. 

18. anklets. These are said to be still used in Egypt, Syria, and 

cauls. A kind of head-dress: "front-baud." But some explain 
the word to mean little suns, which, charged with solar and planetary 
influence by sympathetic magic, were worn as amulets. 

crescents. Probably used as charms ; cf .Jud. viii. 21, 26. The 
metal crescents that still adorn the harness of horses are, in origin, 
likewise charms. 

19. pendants. Or ear-drops, 
mufflei's. Perhaps better, gauzes. 

20. ankle chains. Or stepping -chains, connecting the anklets 
{v. 18), and rendering the steps taken by their wearers short and 
tripping. But some explain the word to mean armlets. 

amulets. Or charms, worn as a protection against hostile incanta- 

21. rings. Better, signet rings (Gen. xli. 42). 

nose jewels. For the wearing of nose-rings see Gen. xxiv. 47. 

23. hand mirrors. These consisted of discs of polished metal (Job 
xxxvii. 18). But the LXX. has Siacfiavrj AaKwvtKa, i.e. transparent robes. 

24, rottenness... a rope. The accompaniments of disease and 

baldness. Caused by tearing the hair as a mark of distress (see 
XV. 2, xxii. 12, Am. viii. 10, Mic. i. 16). Among the Hebrews and 

26 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [iii. 25-iv. i 

instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth : branding instead 
of beauty. 25 Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy ^mighty 
in the war. 26 And her gates shall lament and mourn; and 
she shall be ^desolate and sit upon the ground. IV. 1 And 
seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, 
We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only 
let us be called by thy name ; take thou away our reproach. 

^ Heb. might. ^ Or, emptied 

Greeks it was more particularly a sign of mourning for the dead (Jer. 
xvi. 6, Ezek. xxvii. 31), the severed hair being placed on the corpse 
or the grave (probably as a means of effecting union with the departed); 
cf. Hom. II. XXin. 135, Opi^i Se Travra ve/<w KaTaetio^crav, as €7re/5aA,A,ov 
K€Lp6fievoi, Aesch. Cko. 167, opwrofialov TovSe l36(TTpv)(Ov rae^o). 

stomache/r. Sym. has aT-qOoSea/jii';, the Vulg. fascia pectoralis. 

sackcloth. A usual sign of woe (2 Kgs. vi. 30, Am. viii. 10, Jer. iv. 
8). Possibly the wearing of it was a mourning custom originally adopted 
as a disguise to hinder the ghost from recognizing and troubling the 
living, but retained to prevent the ordinary attire from being con- 
taminated by proximity to the dead body and thereby rendered useless: 
cf Num. xix. 13—19. 

branding. This they would undergo as slaves. The final clause 
spoils the symmetry of the v. and is omitted by the LXX. and Vulg. 

25 — 26. These two vv. contain an apostrophe to a devastated city, 
and interrupt the connection between v. 24 and iv. 1 . They are pro- 
bably citations from a poem bewailing the capture of Jerusalem (perhaps 
in 587), which have been added to the text by an editor. 

26. her gates. These, the resort of the citizens in prosperity, are 
personified as grieving over their deserted condition: cf xiv. 31, Jer. 
xiv. 2, Lam. i. 4. 

sit upon the ground. The depopulated city is regarded as a woman 
seated in a posture of distress and abasement ; cf xlvii. 1, Lam. ii. 10. 
On coins struck by Vespasian to commemorate the capture of Jerusalem 
in A.D. 70 Judaea is similarly represented as a woman seated on the 
ground (see Madden, Coins of the Jews, pp. 208, 209). 

IV. 1. And seven women. This v. connects with iii. 24. It is 
presupposed that in the predicted overthrow the bulk of the male 
population will perish, so that of the survivors the women will outnumber 
the men; and as in their forlorn condition they each will seek a husband, 
seven (a round figure for many, see xi. 15) will woo one man. 

We will eat, etc. Their motive is not the desire to relieve themselves 
of the burden of their own support (though every wife could claim from 
her husband food and raiment, Ex. xxi. 10) but to gain protection from 
the insults to which they are exposed. 

called by thy name. Cf Lucan, Phars. n. 342, Da tantum nomen 
inane Conubii ; liceat tumulo scripsisse, Catonis Marcia. 

our reproach. Amongst other circumstances provoking insult would 


2 In that day shall the ^branch of the Lord be beautiful 
and glorious, and the fruit of the ^land shall be ^excellent and 
comely for them that are escaped of Israel. 3 And it shall 
come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth 
in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is 
written ^among the living in Jerusalem : 4 when the Lord shall 

^ Or, shoot Or, sprout ^ Or, earth ^ Or, majestic * Or, unto life 

be their unmarried and childless condition (see liv. 4, Gen. xxx. 23, 
Jud. xi. 38, 1 Sam. i. 5 — 11). In the absence of the hope of personal 
immortahty, it was the perpetuation of the family that was the chief 
solace for the transitoriness of the individual life. 

2 — ^6. A prediction of a wonderful change in the material con- 
ditions of the people, after the impending chastisement has eradicated 
from among them all evil. 

The authenticity of this passage has been questioned by Duhm, 
Cheyne, and others, the diction, the ideas, and the imagery being 
alleged to be non-Isaianic and post-exilic. But the objections to vv. 2 — 4 
at least seem insufficient (see below). 

2. In that day. The event that executes God's vengeance (iii. 18) 
also ushers in an age of bliss. 

the branch of the Lord. Better (as in the mg.), the sprout of the 
Lord. The close parallelism with the next clause is decisive for the 
conclusion that the phrase (like the fruit of the land, cf Num. xiii. 26) 
denotes vegetation, and is not meant figuratively (like sprout of 
righteousness in Jer. xxxiii. 15, xxiii. 5, cf Zech. iii. 8, vi. 12). The term 
translated sprout is ordinarily used of that which springs from the 
ground (see Ixi. 11, Gen. xix. 25, Ezek. xvi. 7, Ps. Ixv. 10), ariifthe 
phrase sprout of the Lord is a natural expression for luxuriant wild 
produce, which is made to grow exclusively by Divine and not by 
human agency (Num. xxiv. 6, Ps. Ixxx. 10, civ. 16). The augmented 
fertility of the soil is a feature in other descriptions of the final happiness 
of the Lord's people; see xxx. 23—25, xxxii. 15, Iv. 13, Am. ix. 13, 
Hos. ii. 21, 22, as well as Jer. xxxi. 12, Ezek. xxxiv. 27, 29, Zech. ix. 
17, Joel ii. 19, 22—27. 

beautiful and glorious, etc. Better, /w beauty and for majesty... 
for pride and for glory, i.e. enhancing the reputation of the people 
among the nations (cf Deut. xxviii. 10), 

for .. .escaped, etc. That Isaiah believed that a remnant, though 
only a remnant, of his countrymen would escape the judgment is 
evidenced by the name of his eldest son (vii. 3). The phrase here used 
occurs in x. 20, xxxvii, 31, 32. 

3. shall be called holy. i.e. shall be holy (see on i. 26). Though 
the epithet is not elsewhere applied by Isaiah to the people (for vi. 13 
seenote), its connotation here (as shewn by v. 4) is the Isaianic ideal of 
civic righteousness (i. 26), not the later ideal of religious consecra- 
tion and dignity (Ixii. 12, cf Deut. vii. 6, xxvi. 19, Lev. xix. 2). 

written among the living. Better, registered for life (cf mg. and 

28 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [iv.5,6 

have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall 
have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof, 
by the ^spirit of judgement, and by the ^spirit of burning. 
5 And the Lord will create over ^the whole habitation of 
mount Zion, and over her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by 
day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night : for over all the 
glory shall he spread a canopy. 6 And there shall be a pavilion 

^ Or, blast ^ Or, every dwelling place 

LXX. 01 ypa(j>ivT€^ €is ((o-qv). Those who are destined to survive the 
coming judgment are thought of as entered by the Lord in a book, 
the figure (which occurs in early as well as late writings) expressing 
the precision and fixity with which He regulates human existence, 
cf. Ex. xxxii. 32, Ps. Ixix. 28, cxxxix. 16, Dan. xii. 1 ; also Jer. xxii. 30. 
Here the life meant is life on earth : in Phil. iv. 3, Rev. iii. 5, xvii. 8, 
xiii. 8, XX. 15, xxi. 27 the language is applied to eternal life; cp. Luke 
X. 20. 

4. the filth. A figure for moral foulness (Pro v. xxx. 12) — see iii. 16. 
the blood, etc. i.e. such as accompanied the acts of oppression 

implied in iii. 1 — 15 ; cf. also i. 15. The capital, Jerusalem, is 
representative of the country at large. 

the spirit of, etc. Better, a blast 0/ judgment (i. 27, v. 16) and a 
blast 0/ destruction, i.e. an exterminating judgment. 

5 — 6. The genuineness of these two vv. is more doubtful than 
that of vv. 2 — 4, for the contents and phraseology are both rather 
suggestive of a late date, though some of the suspicious features do 
not occur in the LXX. 

5. And the Lord will create, etc. The text is best corrected (in 
part after the LXX.) to And He will come, and there shall be over the 
whole habitation of mount Zion and over her suburbs (reading ^ly}\ ^5''' 
for nin; n-}21 and V^'fW for ^'^Ip). It is implied that the protection 
of the Lord's presence will not be confined to the Temple alone, but 
extend to the dwellings on the Temple hill and to the fields and pastures 
in the vicinity. The emendations remove a word (create) which is 
characteristic of the Priestly source of the Hexateuch. 

a cloud and smoke, etc. Better (after the LXX.), a cloud by day 
and the smoke of a flaming fire by night. The Lord is thought of as 
being present in an enveloping cloud which becomes luminous at night 
(the conception being apparently based on Num. ix. 15, 16, Ex. xl. 38 
(P) ; cf Zech. ii. 5). 

for over all the glory. The text is probably in some disorder, and 
should be corrected (by the insertion of ^V^), after the LXX. (A), and 
the transfer to this v. of the first word of the next) to for over every- 
thing (Ezek. xliv. 30) shall the glory of the Lord be a canopy and a, 

pavilion (cf Ps. xxvii. 5, xxxi. 20). Point "113? ?3 for li^?"^?. 

6. And there shall be, etc. Better (with the LXX.), And it (i.e. 
the glory) shall be for a shadow, etc (reading n^^ni. for n^nri) i.e. the 


for a shadow in the day-time from the heat, and for a refuge 
and for a covert from storm and from rain. 

Lord's Presence will be a screen and shelter against all adversities 
(which are described, as in xxv. 4, xxxii. 2, under the metaphors of 
heat and storm). The words in the day-time are omitted by the LXX., 
and are doubtless inserted from v. 5. 

Chapter V. 1 — 24. 

This section falls into two parts : (1) a parable, setting forth the Lord's care 
for Judah and the nation's unworthy return {vv. 1 — 7) ; (2) a series of denuncia- 
tions of national vices (wr. 8—24). 

The section is independent of the preceding group of cc. ii. — iv. (of which 
iv. 2 — 6 is manifestly the conclusion) ; but it has certain points of contact with 
them, for it uses the same figure of the vineyard which occurs in iii. 14, and 
denounces the sins of reckless living and social oppression which are the subject 
of c. iii. {vv. 16 f , 14 — 15) ; whilst, in addition, an artificial Unk has been created 
between it and c. ii. by the introduction at ». 15 of the refrain of ii. 9, 17. 
Hence it is probable that the section dates from virtually the same period as 
CO. ii. — iv., viz. the early years of Ahaz, when the country whose moral condition 
is portrayed in such dark colours was as yet undisturbed by war. The two 
divisions {vv. 1 — 7 and 8—24) into which it falls seem to be distinct, and 
presumably proceed from different, though closely-connected, occasions. 

V. 1 Let me sing ^for my wellbeloved a song of my 
beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved had a vineyard 
in ^a very fruitful hill : 2 and he ^made a trench about it, and 

1 Or, of 2 Heb. a horn, the son of oil. ^ Or, digged it 

V. 1 — 7. A parable illustrative of Israel's moral unfruitfulness 
and the consequent fate in store for it. 

j The prophet, who may be assumed to have gathered an audience 
around him (perhaps by playing a few notes on an instrument), recites 
to them a poem (cf Ezek. xxxiii. 32) of a certain Friend, relating his 
disappointing experience with his vineyard, and then explains who his 
Friend is, and who are represented by the vineyard. 

The Hebrews were much addicted to the use of parables and alle- 
gories : see Jud. ix. 7 f , 2 Sam. xii. 1 — 4, 2 Kgs. xiv. 9, Ezek. xvii. 
3 f , etc., and in the N.T. cf Matt. xiii. 3 f , xx. 1 f , xxi. 33, etc. For 
the figure of the vineyard cf iii. 14. 

1. for my wellbeloved. Better, about my wellbeloved (cf mg.). 

a song of ...his vineyard. Lowth and others would substitute a song 
of love for his vineyard (Dni"^ for ''ll"^). 

in a very fruitful hill. Vines were grown on hills to catch the sun 
(cf Am. ix. 13, Verg. G. n. 113, Bacchus amat colles, Hom. Od. i. 193, 
yoi;vos dXiDrjs oivoweBoio) ; but there is perhaps also an allusion to the 

30 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [v. 3-6 

gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest 
vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also hewed out 
a ^winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth 
grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. 3 And now, in- 
habitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, 
betwixt me and my vineyard 4 What could have been done 
more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, 
when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth 
wild grapes? 5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do 
to my vineyard : I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall 
be ^ eaten up; I will break down the fence thereof, and it shall 
be trodden down: 6 and I will lay it waste; it shall not be 
pruned nor hoed; but there shall come up briers and thorns: 

1 Or, winefat ^ Or, burnt 

hill-country of Judah, where the people typified by the vineyard had 
their dwelling. 

2. made a trench about it. i.e. for drainage. But probably better, 
as in the mg., (with the Syr.), digged it. 

the choicest vine. Literally, a sm^ek (cf. Jer. ii. 21, Heb., Gen. 
xlix. 11), a variety of vine bearing red grapes. The disappointing 
results were due to no lack of care on the part of the husbandman. 

a tower, i.e. a building (more substantial than the booth of i. 8) 
designed as a shelter for the watchman who kept guard whilst the 
grapes were ripening (cf. Mk. xii. 1, Matt. xxi. 33), and as a store-house 
for tools. 

a winepress. Better, a wine-vat, a deep receptacle hewn in the 
rock to receive the juice extracted from the grapes by treading them 
(Ixiii. 3, Joel iii. 13) in the press (a shallower but larger cavity on a 
higher level). 

3 — 4. And now, inhabita?its, etc. The appeal made by the 
prophet, in the character of his friend, to the audience to decide where 
the responsibility for the failure lies is meant to lead the people to 
condemn themselves, as Nathan led David, and our Lord the Jews of 
His own day (2 Sam. xii. 1—6, Matt. xxi. 33—41). 

5. As the audience can offer no defence for the vineyard, the 
owner explains his decision about it. 

hedge .. -fence, i.e. of thorns (Prov. xv. 19, Mic. vii. 4) and stones' 
respectively (cf. Prov. xxi v. 30, 31, Verg. G. n. 371, texendae saepes 
etiam etpecus omne tenendum, Praecipue dumfrons tenera imprudensque 
laborum). The verse has a close parallel in Ps. Ixxx. 12, 13. 

6. / will lay it waste. Better, / will make an end of it. 

1 Such walls at the present time are constructed without mortar and vary in 
height from 4 to 12 feet (Whitehouse, Primer of Heb. Ant. p. 97). 


I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. 
7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, 
and the men of Judah 4iis pleasant plant: and he looked for 
judgement, but behold -^oppression; for righteousness, but 
behold a cry. 

8 Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to 
field, till there be no room, and ye be made to dwell alone in 

^ Heb. the plant of his delight. * Or, shedding of blood 

command the clouds, etc. The prophet in declaring his friend's 
resolve to withhold the rain (which no human being could do) lays 
aside the disguise in which he had wTapped his meaning, and prepares 
his hearers for the announcement which follows. 

7, tJie house of Israel. Not a designation of the kingdom of 
Ephraim, but synonymous with men of Judah. 

judgement, i.e. just decisions (cf i. 17, Ps. xxxvii. 30). 

oppression. Perhaps better, bloodshed (cf i. 15). 

righteousness, i.e. upright administration. 

a cry. i.e. an outcry from the victim of injustice (Ex. xxii. 23). 

The expressions used summarize the complaints respecting the 
prevalence of social wrongs already made in i. 21 — 23, iii. 14. There 
is an assonance in the original which may be distantly imitated by he 
looked for rule and behold misrule ; for redress but behold distress. 
(Similar assonances occur in vii. 9, xiii. 6, Ivii. 6, Ixi. 3, Ixv. 11, 12.) 

This parable was adapted by Christ and applied lay Him to the 
Jews of His time, who similarly disappointed the expectations of the 
Lord (Matt. xxi. 33—41). 

8 — 24. A series of Woes pronounced against various classes of 
people who were guilty of flagrant sins. 

These Woes are at present six ; but it is not improbable that 
originally there was a larger number (see on v. 14). In the case of the 
first two the denunciation of a particular sin is followed at once by the 
announcement of an appropriate penalty ; but to each of the last four 
a corresponding threat of judgment is lackiug, and these may once 
have existed in a longer form. It is possible that the Woe in x. 1 — 4 
belongs to the same series (see on p. 71). 

8. Woe unto them that join, etc. The first Woe is directed against 
the rapacious owners of large estates who absorbed the property of 
smaller freeholders and left no room for a class of yeomen beside them. 
It is probably implied that the appropriation of the land was brought 
about by illegitimate and cruel pressure upon the occupiers, e.g. through 
loans at usurious interest, which forced them to surrender it (see 
Mic. ii. 2 and cf 1 Kgs. xxi., Neh. v. 3, 5). In an agricultural com- 
munity like that of Judah in Isaiah's time the concentration of all the 
land in the hands of a few was even a more serious evil tban in modern 
industrial states, for those who lost their freeholds scarcely had any 
other resource than to become hirelings or slaves, and the state 

32 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [v.9-11 

the midst of the land ! 9 In mine ears saith the Lord of hosts, 
Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, 
without inhabitant. 10 For ten acres of vineyard shall yield 
one bath, and a ^ homer of seed shall yield hut an ephah. 

11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that 
they may follow strong drink; that tarry late into the night, 

1 See Ezek. xlv. 11. 

suffered by the independence of numbers of its citizens being impaired 
or destroyed. The abuse was denounced not only by Isaiah but by his 
contemporaries Micah and Amos (Mic. ii. 2, 9, Am. ii. 7, iv. 1) ; and 
it was to prevent the permanent alienation of estates that the Law of 
Jubilee was designed (Lev. xxv. 10). The same evil existed in Rome 
and evoked like complaint from Roman writers ; see Sail. Cat. xx., 
Quis...tolerare potest... illos hinas, aut amplius, domos continuare'i Hor. 
Od. II. xviii. 23, Qwe'c?, quod usque proximos Revellis agri terminos et 
ultra Limites clientium Sails avarus ? 

9. In mine ears saith the LoRD. The word to be supplied is 
revealed himself (xxii. 14). The phrase, though perhaps originating 
in experiences accompanjdng a state of trance, is here probably a con- 
ventional way of expressing the intuitive conviction that what is about 
to be uttered is God's truth. 

many houses, etc. The punishment is in keeping with the offence : 
the land thus acquired will be doomed to sterility, and famine will 
force the rich landowners from their homes as they had previously 
driven the poor from theirs : cf Am. iv. 9, v. 11. 

10. ten acres. The word rendered acres strictly means the extent 
of ground which a yoke (or pair) of oxen could plough in one day : 
cf the Homeric measure of distance ovpov rjjxiovoiiv {Od. viii. 124), the 
English furlong (i.e. furrow-long), and the Latin iugerum and iugum 
(cf Varro, R.R. i. 10, in Hispania ulteriore metiuntur iugis : iugum 
vacant quod iuncti boves uno die exarare possini). The space denoted 
by acre here is estimated to be equivalent to half an English acre. 

one bath. Better, only one bath (little more than eight gallons) of 

a homer. About 83 gallons. 

an ephah. A dry measure of the same capacity as the bath (Ezek. 
xlv. 11). The produce would thus be only one-tenth of the seed sown. 

11. Woe unto them that rise, etc. The second Woe has in view 
the dissolute, whose intemperance dulled their capacity for serious 
reflection. The prevalence of drunkenness in both Israel and Judah 
appears from xxii. 13, xxviii. 1, 7, Am. ii. 8, iv. 1, vi. 6, Hos. iv. 11, 
vii. 5. 

early. To begin feasting early was a characteristic of those given 
to excess : cf. Eccles. x. 16. So at Rome, tempest iva convivia had a bad 
reputation ; cf Juv. Sat. i. 49, ab octava Marius bibit (the usual hour 
being the ninth). 

V. 12-16] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 33 

till wine inflame them! 12 And the harp and the lute, the 
tabret and the pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they 
regard not the work of the Lord, neither have they considered 
the operation of his hands. 13 Therefore my people are gone 
into captivity, for lack of knowledge: and Hheir honourable 
men are famished, and their multitude are parched with thirst. 
14 Therefore ^hell hath enlarged her desire, and opened her 
mouth without measure : and their glory, and their multitude, 
and their ^pomp, and he that rejoiceth among them, descend 
into it. 15 And the mean man is bowed down, and the great 
man is humbled, and the eyes of the lofty are humbled: 16 but 

1 Heb. their glory are men of famine. 

2 Or, the grave Heb. Sheol. See Gen. xxxvii. 35. ^ Or, tumult 

12. the harp, etc. Cf. Am. vi. 5, 6. Of the two stringed instru- 
ments here named, the harp (or li/re, LXX. Kiddpa) was square, with a 
sound-box at the base, whilst the lute (or viol, LXX. ij/aKrijpLov) was 
triangular, or bow-shaped, with the sound-box above. The tabret was 
a variety of hand-drum or tambourine; whilst the pipe (ovjiute) was a 
wind instrument (see DB. iii. 458 f.). 

regard not the work, etc. i.e. ignore the workings of Divine 
Providence, and the tokens of God's moral government of the world, 
cf. V. 19, X. 12, xxviii. 21, xxix. 23, Deut. xxxii. 4, Job xxxvi. 24, 
Ps. xxviii. 5. 

13. are gone into captivity, etc. The perfects are perfects of 
certitude : cf ii. 9. 

for lack of knowledge. The LXX. has 8ta to jxr] etSeVat airoiis tov 
Kvpiov. But better, unawares, i.e. before they realize their danger. 

famished. The text has men of famine, whilst the LXX. and Vulg. 
have dead of famine (pointing "Tip for ''DP) ; but many critics adopt 
the emendation wasted with famine (reading i^.tP for ''DP, as in Deut. 

ii. 24). The rich revellers are appropriately punished by privation. 

their multitude. Better, their uproarious ones (the upper and 
wealthy classes alone being in the prophet's thoughts ; cf vv. 14, 17). 

14. TJierefore. This v. follows unnaturally upon v. 13 (which 
ikewise begins with therefore), and probably after v. 13 a verse has 

|been lost describing another sin of which this v. announces the penalty. 
It may have contained a reference to the city or land, for the pronouns 
in the second half are strictly fern, sing., not masc. plur. (see below). 

hell. Heb. Shsol, the abode of the dead (see on xiv. 9). This, like 
J, ravenous monster (cf Prov. xxx. 16 mg., Hab. ii. 5), devours the 

their glory, etc. Better, her (Jerusalem's) splendour and uproar 
\ind tumult, and he who rejoices (or revels) in her. 

15 — 16. These two w., which, unlike their context, do not refer to 
[jarticular classes of offenders, but to all classes, and repeat in a 

w I. 3 

34 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [v. 17-19 

the Lord of hosts is exalted in judgement, and God the Holy 
One is sanctified in righteousness. 17 Then shall the lambs 
feed as in their pasture, and the waste places of the fat ones 
shall ^wanderers eat. 

18 Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, 
and sin as it were with a cart rope: 19 that say, Let him make 
speed, let him hasten his work, that we may see it : and let the 
counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we 
may know it ! 

1 Or, strangers 

variant form the refrains of c. ii. (see w. 9, 11, 17) are intrusive here, 
and separate vv. 14 and 17 which should stand in close connection. 

16. is exalted... is sanctified. By the righteous judgment (cf. 
i. 27) inflicted on ofl"enders the Lord asserts His supremacy and 
vindicates His Godhead, which their wickedness has insulted (see 
iii. 8, and cf. xxix. 23, Lev. x. 3, Ezek. xxviii. 22, xxxvi, 23, 
xxxviii. 16). 

17. The7i shall, etc. This v. continues vv. 13, 14, and describes 
the land as depopulated and reduced to pasturage : cf. the similar 
descriptions in vii. 21, 22, xvii. 2, xxxii. 14, Mic. iii. 12, Zeph. ii. 14, 
Hor. Od. III. iii. 40, Dum Priami Paridisque busto Insultet armentum. 

the fat ones. i.e. the once powerful and prosperous (cf x. 16, 
Ps. xxii. 29). 

wanderers. Literally, sojourners, which, if the text is sound, must 
mean nomad shepherds. But the LXX. has apves, lambs (^''l? or QVll 
for l^n^), which suits the parallel clause better. Duhm rejects the word 
altogether as a corrupted gloss on the word rendered fat ones, which he 
takes to vaeanfatlings (Ps. Ixvi. 15) and renders and fatUngs shall eat 
the waste places (^i^nn for rinin). 

18 — 19. The third Woe is directed against the impious who de- 
fiantly disbelieve in any retribution awaiting upon sin. For the 
presence of sceptics in Judah cf xxviii. 14, 22, Jer. v. 12, xxvii. 14, 
Ezek. xii. 22. 

18. draw iniquity, etc. i.e. court guilt and consequent destruc- 
tion (the words iniquity and sin connoting also penalty and punish- 
ment ; see Gen. iv. 13 mg., Zech. xiv. 19, 1 Sam. xxviii. 10, 
2 Kgs. vii. 9). 

cords of vanity, i.e. the unbelief which draws vengeance all the 
more speedily upon them by daring the Almighty to inflict it. 

as it were with a cart rope. i.e. they use the surest means whereby 
to bring guilt and retribution upon them. But the parallelism and 
sense is improved by Knobel's emendation with a rope of wickedness 
(n^iyn niaya for ^}VJ} rinp). 

19. his work... the counsel, i.e. the execution of His retributive 
purpose (cf v. 12). 

V. 20-24] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 35 

20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil ; that 
put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter 
for sweet, and sweet for bitter ! 

21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and 
prudent in their own sight! 

22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men 
of strength to mingle strong drink: 23 which justify the wicked 
for a reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous 
from him! 24 Therefore as the tongue of fire devoureth the 
stubble, and as the dry grass sinketh down in the flame, so their 
root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as 

20. The fourth Woe denounces the class that sought to justify 
iniquitous practices (such as those which are the subject of w. 8, 11) 
by sophistry, and confounded moral distinctions. 

21, The fifth Woe is directed against the self-confident — probably 
the politicians who advocated courses which the prophet knew to be 
opposed to the true interests of the country ; cf xxviii. 9 £, xxix. 14, 
XXX. 1, 9 f , xxxi. 1 — 2. 

■ 22 — 23. The sixth Woe seems to embrace two distinct classes : (1) 
the drunken, already denounced {v. 11) ; (2) venal judges. 

to mingle, i.e. not, to dilute it with water (as in 2 Mac. xv. 39), but 
to compound ("mull") it out of various ingredients (such as spices, 
Cant. viii. 2), the mixture (Ixv. 11, Prov. xxiii. 30) being probably a 
headier liquor than the ordinary wine of the country. Cf Pliny, Hist. 
Nat. XIV. 15, lautissima apud priscos vina erant myrrhae odm-e condita. 

23. which justify, etc To connect this v. with v. 22 it has been 
suggested that the intemperate are thought of as selling justice in 
order to get means for indulging their cravings (cf Am. ii. 8) ; but it 
is perhaps more likely that the text is defective and that two Woes 
have become merged in one. By Giesebrecht this v. is placed after 
X. 1, and the whole section x. 1, v. 23, x. 2 — 4, in this order, con- 
sidered to be the opening Woe of the present series, and placed after 
V. 7. Verse 22 he prefixes to -y. 11. 

24. Therefore, etc. This v., in which the punishment does not 
correspond to the foregoing ofiences (as is the case with vv. 9, 10 and 

: 13, 14), and which ends with a general reason for the menace it 
contains, is probably the conclusion of the whole series of Woes. 

as the tongue, etc. The figure of a prairie conflagration is intended 
to illustrate the swiftness of the approaching doom : cf xlvii. 14, 
Obad. V. 18. 

their root... their blossom. The terms, like "root and branch," 
express the comprehensiveness of their extermination (cf Mai. iv. 1, 
Job xviii. 16, Am. ii. 9). The preceding figure is here (in the Heb.) 
replaced by one derived from the decay of vegetation ; but the LXX. 
Ijseems to have read chaff {fo) instead of rottenness (P^). 


36 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [v. 25, ^6 

dust : because they have rejected the ^law of the Lord of hosts, 
and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. 

1 Or, teaching 

V. 25—30. 

These vv. are misplaced and belong to the section ix. 8 — 21 (a prophecy 
against Ephraim). That they are alien to their present context appears from 
the facts (a) that the preceding section v. 8 — 24 has its proper conclusion in 
V. 24, so that another prediction of a judgment for Judah is herp superfluous, 
(&) that V. 25, beginning with therefore, is not the logical sequel of v. 24, 
which begins similarly. PMrther, their connection with ix. 8 — 21 is shewn by 
(a) the occurrence of the same refrain as in ix. 12, 17, 21, (6) the identity of 
the Hebrew for therefore {v. 25, i?"?y) with that employed in ix. 17 and not 
with that used in v. 13, 14, 24 Q?^). Accordingly the section ought to be 
transposed to the end of ix. 21, though others would place it after x. 4 (but see 
on X. 1 — 4). 

25 Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against his 
people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and 
hath smitten them, and the hills did tremble, and their carcases 
were as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger 
is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. 26 And 
he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss for 

25. This V. refers to the past, and describes a punitive judgment 
that has already fallen upon the kingdom of Ephraim (see ix. 9), but 
has not yet exhausted the Lord's wrath. It is probably a fragment, 
the end of a lost strophe, following upon those contained in ix. 8 — 2L 

Therefore is the anger. Better, Therefore was the anger, etc. 

the hills did tremble. The chastisement implied is perhaps an 
earthquake (cf ii. 19). 

their carcases, etc. The loss of proper burial added a further 
horror to death: cf. 2 Kgs. ix. 37, Zeph. i. 17, Jer. viii. 2, xvi. 4, 
XXV. 33, Ps. xviii. 42, Ixxxiii. 10. 

26 — 30. A description of the nation whom the Lord will summon 
to complete His vengeance. 

These vv. are a prediction of a judgment to come, and form the 
last strophe of the oracle ix. 8 — 21, v. 25. As it relates to the 
future and depicts the last stage of the drama of retribution, when 
the Lord's anger is finally exhausted, it appropriately lacks the refrain 
that occurs in ix. 12, 17, 21, v. 25. 

26. he will lift, etc. The summons will be communicated by both 
sight and sound. For the employment of an ensign or banner, as a 
signal, cf. xi. 10, 12, xiii. 2, xviii. 3, xlix. 22, Ixii. 10. 

the nations. Better, with Duhm and others (reading PCl^P "'^V for 


^them from the end of the earth : and, behold, -they shall come 
with speed swiftly : 27 none shall be weary nor stumble among 
them ; none shall slumber nor sleep ; neither shall the girdle of 
their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken : 
28 whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent ; their 
horses' hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like 
a whirlwind : 29 their roaring shall be like a lion, they shall 
roar like young lions : yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the 
prey, and carry it away safe, and there shall be none to deliver. 
30 And they shall roar ^against them in that day like the roaring 

1 Heb. him. ^ Heb. he, and in the following verses. ^ Or, over 

pinnp Dl'il? cf. Jer. v. 15) a nation, since the sing, is used in the rest of 
the V. (see mg.). The nation meant is the Assyrian (cf. Am. vi. 14). 

hiss. The word is here equivalent to our whistle (cf. Zech. x. 8). 

from the end of the earth. Though so far away, the summons of the 
Lord can still reach them. The world of the Hebrews was a very 
circumscribed one ; Assyria, Mesopotamia (xli. 9) and Media (xiii. 5) 
are all represented as being at the world's end. 

27 — 29. All the details of this description help to deepen the 
impression of the formidable character of the invaders, their readiness 
for immediate battle, their rapid and untiring advance, and their 
unyielding grip. 

27. none shall slumber, etc. This clause (in strictness appropriate 
to the Lord only, and metrically isolated) is regarded by Duhm as 
introduced from Ps. cxxi. 4. 

the girdle. This, worn by those engaged in active exertion (cf 
1 KgS. xviii. 46, Hom. Od. XIV. 72, t,oia-TijpL 6o<2<; aweepye x'^wva, /3y S' 
Ifxev K.T.X.), was usually laid aside for repose. 

nor... broken. The fact is intended to illustrate the excellence of 
their military equipment. 

28. their horses' hoofs, etc. A hard hoof was a valuable quality in 
a horse, since in antiquity horses were generally unshod. Cf Hom. 
//. V. 329, KparcpwVvxes Ittttoi, Verg. G. III. 88 (among the points of a 
good horse) solido graviter sonat ungula cornu. 

their wheels, etc. For the comparison see Jer. iv. 13, Ezek. x. 13, 

Hom. H. Ven. 218, acAXoVoSes L-n-n-ot, Soph. O.T. 466, aeAAaSes iTTTTOi. 

The Assyrians used two-wheeled chariots in war. 

29. their roaring, etc. The comparison illustrates the terrifying 
character of their war-cry : cf Jer. ii. 15, Ps. Ixxiv. 4. 

yea, they shall roar. Better, yea, they shall growl (the verb differing 
from the preceding). 

30. And they shall roar, etc. The simile here changes, and 
probably the subject of the verb also, which seems to be the Lord: 
hence better, And He shall rumble (literally, growl) above them like 
the rumbling of tlie sea, i.e. God with thunder and gloom will intensify 


of the sea : and if one look unto the land, ^behold darkness and 
distress, and the light is darkened in the clouds thereof, 

^ According to the Massoretic test, behold darkness; distress and light; it is 
dark c&c. 

the horror of the onslaught. By Duhm and others the v. is considered 
to be a late addition (of consolatory tenor), above them being tantamount 
to against them (the Assyrians). 

unto the land. Better, unto the earth (in antithesis to the heavens 
where the thunder manifests the Lord's wrath). 

darkness and distress. Better (altering the accents), distressful 
darkness (Vulg. tenebrae tribulationis) : cf. viii. 22, Zeph. i. 15. 

in the clouds thereof, i.e. in the clouds covering the earth. Possibly 
the text should be corrected (with Houbigant) to {the light is darkened) 
with heavy clouds (reading ^^'^., for C''?''!^, cf. Ix. 2). 

Chapters VI. 1— IX. 7. 

These cc form another group of prophecies, beginning with Isaiah's call 
(c. vi.) and ending with a Messianic passage (ix. 1 — 7); and since c. vi. would 
naturally stand in the front of any collection which first included it, this group 
probably once existed separately. When to this collection the collection 
cc. ii — iv., with c. v., was prefixed, the original order of the cc. was not 
disturbed ; and the existing arrangement has the advantage of bringing into 
view the nature of the national sins before the c. is reached that affirms the 
people's impenitence, with its consequences. The prophecies here included, 
the detached character of which appears from the introductory words prefixed 
to several (vii. 3, 10, viii. 1, 5), belong to various dates. 

Chapter VI. 

This c, which narrates the occasion when Isaiah first became conscious that 
he had a commission from the Lord to speak to his countrymen, should be 
compared with the accounts given by Jeremiah (i. 4 — 10) and Ezekiel (cc. i. 1 — 
iii. 3) of the inauguration of their respective ministries. Though the event 
here related was the earliest in Isaiah's prophetic career (see vv. 8, 9), the 
dating of it suggests that the account was not written until after some 
interval, perhaps late in the reign of Ahaz, at a time when Isaiah had come 
to believe that the mass of his fellow-countrymen were incorrigible (see v. 10) — 
a conviction which he can scarcely have entertained when he first entered 
upon a mission to reform them. 

VI. 1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord 
sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his ^ train filled 

^ Or, skirts 

VI. 1. In the year, etc. On the chronology see p. xl f. For the 
method of dating (by events and not by the years of a reign, as in 
xxxvi. 1) cf. xiv. 28, xx. 1, Am. i. 1, Jer. xlvii. 1. This seems to be 
a trait of pre-exilic writers. 



the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim : each one had 
six wings ; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he 

/ saw, etc. Isaiah's call, like those of Moses (Ex. iii. 3 — 4), 
Ezekiel (Ezek. i. 1 f.) and St Paul (Acts ix. 1 — 9), is described as 
attended by experiences that appealed to the senses. The sights and 
sounds perhaps in part represent the instinctive externalizing of inward 
thoughts and reflections at a time of spiritual development and spiritual 
conflict, and in part are the deliberately chosen imagery of conscious 
art, suggested by contemporary beliefs and conceptions. But though 
the experiences narrated were doubtless not objective in the sense of 
being visible and audible to the physical eyes and ears, they none the 
less express a real revelation, imparted to the prophet through mental 
and spiritual processes, of God's nature and requirements, and of his 
own duty (cf Acts x. 9 — 16). 

high and lifted up. The description here applies to the throne, 
though used in Ivii. 15 of the Lord Himself. The elevation of the Lord's 
throne is symbolical both of His exaltation above all eartlily powers 
and of His separateness from human sinfulness. 

his train, i.e. of His royal robes. The prophet, with reverential 
self-restraint, describes only the state and retinue of the Divine King, 
not His Person. 

the temple. Or palace (LXX. 6 oikos). The prophet must be sup- 
posed to be standing in the court in front of the temple at Jerusalem 
(see V. 6 and cf. Ezek. viii. 3, x. 4, Jer. xxiv. 1), the open doors of 
which revealed the interior, transformed from its ordinary aspect into 
that of the Almighty's heavenly palace (Ps. xi. 4, xviii. 6, xxix. 9), 
where He was present with His angelic attendants. 

2. Above him. As the Lord was seated, 'the figures of the erect 
seraphs extended above Him. 

stood. The term is not to be understood literally (see v. 2^), but 
denotes the attitude of servants (cf. 1 Kgs. x. 8). 

the seraphim. These celestial attendants of the Lord are only 
mentioned here, the word elsewhere denoting "fiery" or "burning" 
serpents, real or figurative (Num. xxi. 6, Deut. viii. 15, Is. xxx. 6, 
xiv. 29). As serpents in various places have been considered in the 
light of guardians of sacred localities, it has been thought that the 
seraphim were at first the serpent-guards of the abode of the Lord. 
In Egypt, winged griffins, represented as protecting tombs, were 
actually called serefs. But comparison with the cherubim, which 
attend or convey the Lord in Ezek. x., points to a different explana- 
tion : for as the conception of the cheruhim seems to have been derived 
from the wind or the clouds (Ps. xviii. 10), so that of the seraphim may 
have come from the serpentine lightning. Here, however, the associa- 
tion of them with serpents or a serpent-like shape seems to have, 
disappeared, the description suggesting gigantic winged human figures, 
inasmuch as they have hands, feet, and voiced 

six wings. The description has influenced Rev. iv. 8. 

^ In Enoch xx. 7 the serpents who are represented as being, with the cherubim, 
under the charge of the angel Gabriel seem to correspond to the seraphim. 

40 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [vi. 3-5 

covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried 
unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts : 
^the whole earth is full of his glory. 4 And the foundations of 
the thresholds were moved at the voice of him that cried, and 
the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then said I, Woe is me ! 

^ Heb. the fulness of the whole earth is his glory. 

covered his /ace. i.e. as fearing to look upon the Divine glory (cf. 
Ex. iii. 6, 1 Kgs. xix. 13). 

covered his feet. i.e. as shrinking from exposing the lower parts of 
the body to the Divine gaze (Ezek. i. 11). 

3. cried, etc. More accurately, kept crying. This description is 
reproduced in the Te Deum : incessahili voce proclamant ; cf. Rev. iv. 
8, V. 9, 10, vii. 11, 12. 

Holy, holy, holy. Holiness (see p. xxxiv) is the intrinsic quality of 
the Lord's character. The threefold repetition is intensive (like the 
Greek Tpto-^Aeyio-Tos, rpcAXto-To?, and the Latin terfelix (Ov. Met. viii. 51), 
cf. also Jer. vii. 4, xxii. 29, Ezek. xxi. 27), though it gains special appro- 
priateness from the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. 

the whole earth.. -glory. The glory of the Lord is the manifestation 
of His external majesty and dominion, of which the sphere is the whole 
world as contrasted with the limited area over which the authority of 
a mere national god was supposed to extend (1 Sam. xxvi. 19) : cf. 
Num. xiv. 21, Ezek. xxxix. 21. 

The two central ideas respecting the Lord here impressed upon 
Isaiah were (1) that He was in His essence a moral Being, to whom 
everything impure and corrupt was alien (whence it followed that only 
by moral service — by righteousness and not ritual merely — could He be 
honoured, cf i. 11 — 17, v. 7, iv. ?>, 4) ; (2) that He possessed universal 
supremacy (so that His power both to punish sin and to vindicate faith 
was absolute). 

4. the foundations, etc. Better (in this context), the supports of 
the lintel (Heb. lintels), the latter being here described by the term 
more appropriate to the sill of the doorway, cf Am. ix. 1 (where the 
Vulg. has superUminaria). 'Y\\q foundations (or suppo9'ts) are the side- 
posts sustaining the lintel. The LXX. has merely t6 v-n-epOvpov.^ 

were moved, i.e. rocked with the volume of sound. 

smoke. This is probably to be regarded as a manifestation of the 
Divine displeasure (xxx. 27, Ixv. 5, Ps. Ixxiv. 1, Ixxx. 4 mg.), the reaction 
of the Divine holiness at the approach of the prophet whilst yet un- 
purified from his sin : cf Bev. xv. 7, 8. 

5. Woe is me. It was an early belief that the mere sight of God, 
or intrusion into Divine concerns, was dangerous to a mortal (Gen. xix. 
17, 26, xxxii. 30, Ex. iii. 6, xix. 21, xx. 19, xxxiii. 20, Jud. vi. 22, 
xiii. 22, 1 Sam. vi. 19); but what inspired Isaiah with fear was the 
sense of his sinfulness (cf xxxiii. 14)'. 

^ Instances of human beings seeing God and yet surviving (like those recorded 
in Gen. xxxii. 30, Ex. xxiv. 10) are regarded as very exceptional; see also 
Ex. xxxiii. 21 — 23 (where the sight of God is represented as only partial). 


for I am undone ; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I 
dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips : for mine eyes 
have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. 6 Then flew one of the 
seraphim unto me, having a ^live coal in his hand, which he had 
taken with the tongs from ofl* the altar : 7 and he touched my 
mouth with it, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips ; and 
thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin ^purged. 8 And I 
heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send, and 
who will go for us ? Then I said. Here am I ; send me. 9 And 

^ Or, Jiot stone ^ Or, expiated 

unclean lips. The sin of his lips is uppermost in Isaiah's mind 
because his being present with God naturally prompted him to speech 
with, or praise of, Him, for which his unclean lips unfitted him 
(cf Zeph. iii. 9). For the Divine displeasure against sins of the lips 
cf iii. 8, Iviii. 9, 13, lix. 3, Matt. xii. 34. 

/ dwell in, etc. The prophet's own sin could not be compensated 
for by any merits on the part of his countrymen (cf Gen. xviii. 23 — 33), 
for such were lacking. 

the King. The title is applicable to the Lord both as King of Israel 
(xxxiii. 22, xli. 21, 1 Sam. xii. 12, Zeph. iii. 15) and as universal King 
(Jer. X. 7, Zech. xiv. 9). 

6. Then flew. Upon the consciousness and confession of sin there 
jfoUowed at once its forgiveness and removal (cf Luke xviii. 13, 14). 

a live coal. This rendering (LXX. avdpaKa Trvpo?, "glowing charcoal") 
eems preferable to the mg. a hot stone (Aq., Th., Sym. \prj<l>o<;, Vulg. cal- 
culus) if the altar is the altar of incense within the Temple, where the 
scene is laid. Fire, which was an agency for removing ceremonial de- 
filement (Num. xxxi. 22, 23), is here symbolic of an agency capable of 
effecting moral purification (cf Mai. iii. 2, Luke xii. 49, Matt. iii. 11). 

7. purged. Better, cancelled (by the free forgiveness of God). 
The primary sense of the verb is disputed, some authorities taking it to 
)e "cover," others "wipe out": see W. R. Smith, OTJC. p. 381. 

8. who ivill go, etc. The LXX. supplies 7rp6? rov Xaov tovtov. The 
Lord avails Himself of human agents for the admonishing of the sinful 
18 He does for the chastising of the incorrigible (x. 5, 6) and for the 
ieliverance of the distressed (xlv. 1 — 7) ; and He invites voluntary and 

ngrudging service. 

for us. The plural points to the attendance upon the Lord of a 

ouncil of celestial beings whom He consults. These are elsewhere de- 

ribed as the so7is oj God (Job i. 6, ii. 1, xxxviii. 7), the holy ones 

Ps. Ixxxix. 7, Deut. xxxiii. 2, Zech. xiv. 5), the host of^ heaven (1 Kgs. 

xii. 19) ; and their presence is implied in Gen. i. 26, iii. 22. 

Then I said. With Isaiah's spontaneous offer the hesitation and 
elf-distrust of Jeremiah under similar circumstances (Jer. i. 4 — 8) 
tand in marked contrast. 

42 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [vi. lo-ia 

he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye Mndeed, but under- 
stand not ; and see ye ^indeed, but perceive not. 10 Make the 
heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut 
their eyes ; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their 
ears, and ^understand with their heart, and turn again, and be 
healed. 11 Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered. 
Until cities be waste without inhabitant, and houses without 
man, and the land become utterly waste, 12 and the Lord have 
removed men far away, and the forsaken places be many in the 

^ Or, continually ^ Qr, their heart should understand 

9. this peojile. Probably Judah (since the scene is the Temple at 
Jerusalem), though some of Isaiah's prophecies were addressed to the 
northern kingdom (ix. 8 — 21, xvii. 4 — 11, xxviii. 1 — 6). The phrase 
has a touch of scorn ; see viii. 6, 11, 12, xxviii. 11, 14, xxix. 13, xxxvi. 
6, Ex. xxxii. 1, 1 Sam. x. 27, and cf. also xxii. 15, Acts vi. 14, xix. 26. 

Hear ye indeed. Better (cf mg.). Go on hearing... go on seeing. 
The imperatives are equivalent to futures (cf viii. 9) : the people will 
have repeated opportunities of learning God's will through His prophets 
or through experience, but they will not heed (cf xxix. 10, xxx. 9 — 11). 
Verses 9, 10 are quoted by Christ in Matt. xiii. 14, 15, Mk. iv. 12, 
Luke viii. 10 (cf also Joh. ix. 39), and they are used by St John 
(xii. 40) and by St Paul (Acts xxviii. 26, 27) in connection with 
Jewish disbelief in our Lord. 

10. Make the heart ■■ .fat. i.e. coarsen and dull their understanding, 
(of which in Heb. the heart is the seat, x. 7, xxxiii. 18, Jer. v. 21 mg., 
Hos. vii. 11 mg.). For/a^, in the sense of spiritually and intellectuaDy 
obtuse, cf Ps. cxix. 70, Ov. Met. xi. 148, pingue sed ingenium mansit. 
The prophet is represented as bringing about the consequences destined 
to follow upon his preaching (cf Jer. i. 10, xxxi. 28, Hos. vi. 5). 

lest they see, etc. It was not God's original intention that His 
people should be indifferent to His revelation, but it was His purpose 
that an attitude of indifference or defiance, once assumed, should be 
punished by an increasing incapacity to abandon it: cf Ixiii. 17, Ex. iv. 
21, Joh. ix. 39. The very abundance of the revelations imparted to 
them involved the greater guilt if they did not profit by them (cf Matt, 
xiii. 12). 

tu7'n again. Cf x. 21 and the name of Isaiah's son Shear-jashub. 
But some take this in combination with the next verb (cf v. \^, Heb.), 
as equivalent to he restored again to health. 

11. Until, etc. i.e. the nation's perversity will be brought to an 
end by nothing short of its extermination by death or exile : cf 
xxii. 14. 

become utterly waste. Better (with the LXX. and Vulg.), be left waste 
(iKtrn for n5>:^'ri). 

12. removed men, etc. i.e. caused them to be deported by a foreign 
enemy : cf v. 13. 


midst of the land. 13 ^And if there be yet a tenth in it, it shall 
again be -eaten up : as a terebinth, and as an oak, ^ whose 
^stock remaineth, when they ^are felled ; so the holy seed is 
the * stock thereof. 

^ Or, But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall he eaten up 
^ Or, iiirnt ^ Or, whose substance is in them 

* Or, siibstance ^ Or, cast their leaves 

13. And if there be, etc. The punitive judgment will be so 
thorough that if a fraction of the people survive the first chastisement, 
it will be subjected to a second, which will consume it altogether. 

eaten up. Better, extirpated (cf. Deut. xiii. 5, Heb.). 

as a terebinth, etc. The comparison is intended to illustrate the 
completeness of the nation's annihilation, the surviving tenth being 
likened to the stump of a felled tree, which is not allowed to remain in 
the soil but is rooted up. The LXX. ends the c. at this point, and if, 
as seems probable, it preserves the true text, Isaiah does not manifest 
here the hope which he expresses elsewhere that a remnant of the people 
would permanently survive (see below). 

so the holy seed, etc. Better, so a holy seed is the stock thereof (i.e. 
of the land). For the term holy seed, cf Ezra ix. 2. The addition of this 
clause gives a different turn to the preceding comparison, which, instead 
of illustrating the destruction, is thereby made to illustrate the survival, 
of a fraction of the nation, from which it could again be revived (cf. 
Job xiv. 7). The clause is probably a gloss, inserted with a consolatory 
purpose ; for it is absent from the LXX., and Isaiah is scarcely likely to 
have introduced so important a qualification of his preceding announce- 
ment of doom thus briefly and abruptly. But though probably a gloss, 
it is a useful reminder that the prophet in reality did modify the pre- 
diction of extermination here uttered against his countrymen, as he 
shewed by the name he gave to his eldest son (vii. 3) ; cf also i. 25, 26, 
iv. 3, x. 24—27, xiv. 24, 25, xxxvii. 31, 32 (xxviii. 5). 

Chapter VII. 

The occasion which evoked the prophecies contained in this c. was the con- 
federation of Syria and N. Israel against Judah, circ. 735 — 4, in the reign of 
Ahaz. The king of Israel at the time was Pekah, who, it is probable, was 
anti-Assyrian in his policy (see Int. p. xxii) ; and it is a plausible supposition 
ithat his alliance with Rezin, king of Syria, against Ahaz was designed to force 
jthe latter to imite with them against Assyi'ia, or, if he refused compliance, to 
I depose him. 

The c. describes the alarm of Ahaz in consequence of the attack of Rezin 
and Pekah, the endeavours of Isaiah to reassure him, and the calamity which 
the prophet predicted would ensue for Judah from the king's want of faith in 
the Lord. The prophecies which it comprises are placed in a setting of 
historical narrative which in its present form proceeds from a late editor (see 
on tx. 1, 8). 

44 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [vii. 1-3 

VII. 1 And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of 
Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king 
of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up 
to Jerusalem to war against it ; but could not prevail against it. 
2 And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria ^ is confederate 
with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his 
people, as the trees of the forest are moved with the wind. 

3 Then said the Lord unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet 
Ahaz, thou, and ^Shear-jashub thy son, at the end of the 

^ Heb. resteth on Ephraim. ^ That is, A remnant shall return. 

VII. 1 — 9. Ahaz's dismay at the coalition of Syria and Israel, and 
Isaiah's assurance of the certain failure of the enemy's schemes. 

1. And it came to pass, etc. This v. seems to have been borrowed 
from 2 Kgs. xvi. 5 (with some slight modification), where it is more in 
place; here it anticipates the issue of the events foretold in w. 4 — 16 
(cf. XX. 1). 

in the days of Ahaz. In 2 Kgs. xv. 37 the beginning of this hostile 
movement is assigned to the reign of Jotham, whom Ahaz probably suc- 
ceeded in 735 (see p. xli). 

Rezin. The LXX. (A) has Paao-crwi/, corresponding to a Heb. form 
Rezon or Razon, which comes nearer than Rezin to the Assyrian 
equivalent Rasunnu (Schrader, COT. 11. p. 252). 

could not prevail. 2 Kgs. xvi. 5 has and they besieged Ahaz but 
could not overcome him. According to 2 Ch. xxviii. 5 — 8, Pekah 
slew 120,000 Judseaus in one day and carried off 200,000 women and 
children as captives (who were afterwards sent back by the direction of 
the prophet Oded), whilst the Edomites and the Phihstines simul- 
taneously raided Judah (2 Ch. xxviii. 17 f ). In view of the depreciatory 
estimate of the confederacy in v. 4, and of the prevalent exaggeration 
of the Chronicler some of these statements are improbable. The chief 
disaster sustained by Judah was the loss of Elath, which was taken by 
Rezin and restored to Edom (2 Kgs. xvi. 6 mg.). 

2. the house of David, i.e. Ahaz and his family, the latter being 
included in the plural ye, used in vv. 9, 13 : cf iii. 12. 

is confederate with. The rendering really implies the conjectural 

reading "^J ?P (cf LXX. o-vv€</>wvt;o-cv) : the received text means (as in the 
mg.) resteth upon (cf v. 19, Ex. x. 14, 2 Sam. xxi. 10), the phrase de- 
scribing the encampment of the Syrians upon Ephraimite territory. 

Epfiraim. A common designation of the kingdom of the Ten tribes 
(of which Ephraim was the strongest). 

3. She-ar-jashub. The child's name gave expression to one of 
Isaiah's predictions {Only) a remnant shall return (see iv. 3, vi. 13, 
X. 22) : cf the significant names bestowed on Hosea's children (Hos, i. 
4, 9). Isaiah, in taking his son with him to meet the king, perhaps 
hoped to convey to Ahaz a tacit warning not to precipitate by unbelief 
the calamity of which the boy's name was ominous. 


conduit of the upper pool, in the high way of the fuller's field ; 
4 and say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet ; fear not, neither let 
thine heart be faint, because of these two tails of smoking fire- 
brands, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and of the son of 
Remaliah. 5 Because Syria hath counselled evil against thee, 
Ephraim also, and the son of Remaliah, saying, 6 Let us go up 
against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for 
us, and set up a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeel : 

the end, etc. i.e. the lower end, or outlet. It may be assumed 

I J that Ahaz had gone thither to take measures for husbanding the supply 
of water, in the event of a siege (cf xxii. 9 of Hezekiah). The situation 
of the upper pool has been variously identified. The most probable opinion 
seems to be that it was the basin of the Gihon spring (2 Ch. xxxii. 30) 
in the gorge of the Kidron. At Gihon (the mod. Ain Sitti Mariam 
or Virgin's spring) was the principal water supply of Jerusalem in early 
times ' ; and the conduit here mentioned was most likely a surface con- 
duit from it, which has been found to lead towards the Lower pool of 
Siloam (the Birket el Hamrd, see xxii. 9), a little to the S.E. of the 
Upper pool of Siloam (the Birket Silwdn), at the S. end of the Temple 
hill. Another view identifies the upper pool with a pool reported to 
have been discovered N.E. of the Birket Silwdn. (See further G. A. 
Smith, Jerusalem, ii. p. 127.) 

the fuller's field. To full is to thicken woollen cloth by washing, 
beating, and drying it in the sun. The process serves also to bleach'it 
(cf Mk. ix. 3). 

4. he quiet, i.e. maintain an attitude of abstention from political 
entanglements (either with Syria and Ephraim by submission, or with 
Assyria by an appeal for help), and of calm confidence in the Lord : 
cf XXX. 15. Isaiah no doubt knew aheady that Ahaz was more inclined 
to rely for defence upon material, than spiritual, means of protection. 

these two tails, i.e. these two fag-ends of firebrands that are no 
longer alight, but only smouldering, and so incapable of causing serious 
harm. Possibly the strength of the two allies had previously been 
exhausted in mutual conflict (cf on ix. 11, 12). Isaiah's contempt for 
Pekah in particular is marked by the designation of him (here and vv. 5, 
9, viii. 6) merely by the name of his father (cf 1 Sam. xx. 27, 31, 
sxii. 12, 13), who was of humble, or at least not royal, lineage 
'2 Kgs. XV. 25). 

ffr the fierce... Remaliah. This clause is probably an explanatory 
5I0SS, cf vv. 17, 20 : in view of v. 5 it is certainly superfluous. 

6. vex it. Better, dismay (or cow) it. But some critics would 
substitute press it hard, as in xxix. 2 (n:p^^3 for n^vpj). 

the son of Taheel. The object of the confederates in seeking to re- 
jlacB Ahaz by a creature of their own was to set over Judah a king more 

It is probably the fons perennis aquae mentioned by Tacitus (Hist. v. 12)'. 



7 thus saith the Lord God, It shall not stand, neither shall it come 
to pass. 8 For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of 
Damascus is Rezin : and within threescore and five years shall 
Ephraim be broken in pieces, that it be not a people : 9 and the 
head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is 
Remaliah's son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be 

amenable to their wishes. Isaiah's contempt is again shewn (see v. 4) 
by the omission of the man's own name. His father's name, Taheel 
(like Tabrimmon, 1 Kgs. xv. 18), is Syrian, and this suggests that the 
person intended was a nominee of Rezin's'. 

7. It shall not stand, i.e. the scheme shall not succeed (cf viii. 10, 
xiv. 24, xxviii. 18, Pro v. xv. 22 Heb.). 

8. For the head, etc. i.e. the head of Syria is only Damascus, and 
the head of Damascus is only Rezin (similarly in v. 9). The enemies 
threatening Judah were merely insignificant units, unsupported by 
other and more formidable powers. 

within threescore, etc. i.e. before 669. This clause is probably a 
gloss, since (a) it separates very awkwardly the first part of v. 8 and 
the first part of v. 9, which should stand in close juxtaposition ; {b) the 
precision of the statement is contrary to the run of prophetic predictions 
(numbers being usually expressed in round or conventional figures, see 
xxiii. 17, Jer.xxv. 11, Ezek. xxix. 11); (c) the interval it defines is too large, 
for the fall of Ephraim at so distant a date could not ensure Ahaz's de- 
liverance from his present peril, whilst in v. 16 it is predicted for the near I 
future, and the country was actually invaded and seriously crippled ' 
within a year or two (734). The interpolator must have had in mind 
the introduction of heathen colonists into Samaria by the Assyrian ' 
king Esar-haddon (681 — 668) (see Ezra iv. 2, 2 Kgs. xvii. 24), thinking 
that thereby the prophet's prediction obtained the fullest verification. 
The interpolation has been accidentally misplaced; it should follow I 
V. 9^ (not V. ^'■y. 

9. If ye will not believe, etc. There is an assonance in the original 
(occurring also in 2 Ch. xx. 20) which may be faintly reproduced by If 
ye will not confide, ye shall not abide. The warning probably has re- 
gard to the continuance of the dynasty, for the verb rendered established 
is the same as that used in the phrase a stire house in 1 Sam. ii. 35, 
XXV. 28, 1 Kgs. xi. 38. The faith which was demanded of Ahaz and his 
princes was entire reliance upon the Lord and renunciation of material 
resources and political devices (cf xxviii. 16, xxx. 15). The penalty 

1 Some scholars think that Rezin himself is meant, Taheel being a cypher for 
Remaliah (the position of the first three letters of Tabeel in the first half of the' 
Hebrew alphabet corresponding to those of the first three letters of Remaliah in 
the second half). 

- That the gloss is late in date is shewn by the arrangement (in the Hebrew) of 
the numerals. 

vir. I0-.4] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 47 

10 And the Lord spake again unto Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask thee 
a sign of the Lord thy God ; '^ask it either in the depth, or in 
the height above. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will 
I tempt the Lord. 13 And he said. Hear ye now, house of David; 
is it a small thing for you to weary men, that ye will weary my 
God also ? 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign ; 

' According to some ancient authorities, make it deep unto Sheol. 

I which is here declared to follow upon a lack of faith is not overthrow at 
I the hands of Syria and Ephraim (for deliverance from them is unquali- 
I fiedly promised (v. 16, viii. 4)) but destruction in a subsequent judgment 
[of which Assyria was to be the instrument (see vv. 18 — 25). 
' 10 — 16 (17). The offer of a sign in order to stimulate the king's 

Between the events recorded in the previous paragraph and what] is 
related in this an interval may have elapsed, in which Ahaz shewed an 
increasing disposition to ask from Assyria the aid which he eventually 
jsought (2 Kgs. xvi. 2, 8). 

10. And the Lord. The Lord's communication would be made 
through Isaiah (see v. 13 and cf iii. 16); and some critics would 
[substitute the prophet's name. 

11. a sig?i. i.e. some proof that the promise of security given by 
}the prophet had the Divine power behind it (cf Jud. vi. 1 7, Deut. xviii. 
!;21, 22). 

|. thy God. Ahaz, though not loyal to the Lord (see 2 Kgs. xvi. 10 — 
115), was not an open apostate, for he gave to his son Hezekiah a name 
jwhich means Jehovah is strong, or Jehovah strengthens. 

ask it either .. .above. Better (linking this with the previous clause, 
and emending the text after Aq., Th. and Sym.), either in the depth of Sheol 

\pr in the height above (reading ^4^^ for '^?^^, cf Vulg. in jyrofundum 
infernx\ i.e. ask a sign of any description. The phrase was perhaps 
ijproverbial : cf Job xi. 8. 

12. neither will /, etc. Better, nor will I put the Lord to the proof 
tcf Ex. xvii. 7, Deut. vi. 16, Ps. Ixxviii. 18, 41, 56). The language 
Ijveiled the king's unwillingness to abandon his projected appeal to 
iiAssyria, to which acceptance of the Lord's offer would have committed 

! 13. is it a small thing, etc. Better, is it too little for you to weary 
\rnen. Isaiah had presumably sought to influence Ahaz and his court, 
ibut unsuccessfully, and the Lord's overtures were equally vain. The 
brophet's resentment finds expression in the substitution of my God for 
j% God (v. 11). 

j 14. Therefore... shall give. A sign spontaneously given in conse- 
liuence of Ahaz's refusal to choose a sign would leave the king without 
'iixcuse,_ if he persisted in his contemplated policy. 

a sign. The term does not, of itself, throw much light upon what 
s meant, for it is used equally of occurrences which are distinct from, 

48 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [vii. ,5 

behold, ^a ^virgin ^shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call 
his name *Immanuel. 15 ^Butter and honey shall he eat, ^when 

^ Or, the ^ Or, maiden ^ Or, is with child, and beareth 

* That is, God is with us. ' Or, Curds ^ Or, that he may know 

and prior to, the event of which they are designed to be a pledge (see 
xxxviii. 7, 8, Ex. iv. 2—5, 7, 8, 1 Kgs. xiii. 3—5, 1 Sam. ii. 34, x. 2—7, 
Jer. xliv. 29, 30, Luke ii. 12), and of circumstances which are incidental 
to the event itself (see xxxvii. 30, cf Ex. iii. 12). 

a virgin. Better, a (literally, the) young woman. The Heb. word 
(napy) seems etymologically to mean a girl of marriageable age, whether 
actually married or not (Gen. xxiv. 43, Ex. ii. 8, Ps. Ixviii. 25, Prov. 
XXX. 19, Cant. vi. 8). A different word (n>in?) is employed for virgin 
in the strict sense, and might have been expected here, if stress were 
laid on virginity (see Gen. xxiv. 16). The LXX. has Trap^eVos, but the 
other Greek versions have veai/t?. It appears from this that the nature of 

the sign does not turn upon a virgin birth, though the expression ^"Q^^ 
is more natural if the prophet had in his thoughts a woman who at the 
time when he spoke was unmarried. 

shall conceive and hear. Perhaps better (as in the mg.), is with 
child and heareth (or shall hear): cf Gen. xvi. 11, Jud. xiii. 5. The 
birth which was in the prophet's thoughts was presumably expected 
to take place within less than a year, and so to encourage trust in the 
prediction of the event which was promised for a later date (y. 16). 

shall call. Among the Hebrews in early times children were often 
named by the mother (see Gen. iv. 1, 25, xxix. 32, 33, xxx. 18, 20, 23, 
1 Sam. i. 20; though contrast viii. 3, Gen. xxi. 3, Hos. i. 4). LXX. 
(A, B), Aq. and Sym. all have thou shalt call, probably identifying 
Immanuel with a son of Ahaz (perhaps Hezekiah). The Vulg. has 

Immanuel. i.e. "God is with us." In the absence of any state-' 
ment about the lineage, endowment, or future functions of the child 
whose birth is predicted, it is difficult to decide with confidence 
whether his name is expressive of an exceptional personality, or 
whether it is merely commemorative (cf 1 Sam. iv. 21) and reflects 
the circumstances under which he was to be born (see p. 52). But 
certain considerations in favour of the view that Isaiah had in mind 
the birth of a remarkable child arise from (a) the unrestricted choice . 
originally offered to Ahaz in regard to the sign {v. 11), which is a, 
presumption that the sign actually tendered was of no ordinary , 
character, (6) the designation of the mother as a ?/oww^ woman, suggesting > 
that the child was to be her firstborn, (c) the reference to him in viii. 8, 
where he seems to be represented as the owner of, or heir to, the country, ; 
{d) the prophecies respecting a godlike king in ix. 6, 7 and xi. 1 — 9, •' 
and in Mic. v. 2 — 5. It is not unlikely that there was already current in 
Judah an expectation of the coming of a wonderful king (see Gen. xlix. 
10 mg.), and such an expectation would account for the use of the ex- 
pression the young woman, i.e. the young woman familiar to popular 


he knoweth to refuse the evil, and choose the good. 16 For 
before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the 
good, the land whose two kings thou abhorrest shall be forsaken. 

thought as the destined mother of the looked-for king (though the 
article can be explained by a Heb. idiom, see Gen. xxviii. 11 mg., 
Ex. xxi. 20 (Heb.), Josh. ii. 15 (Heb.), 1 Sam. xvii. 34 (Heb.)). If 
so, the gist of the prediction is the imminence of his advent, which was 
to occur within a very short interval. On the analogy of the prophecies 
in ix. 6, 7, xi. 1 — 9, Mic. v. 2 — 5, it is probable that the child was ex- 
pected to be the divinely appointed means for ensuring for Judah, after 
its present troubles, permanent security against the encroaching Assyrian 
(see viii. 9, 10), his name impl3dng his character (see on i. 26) as the 
representative and agent of the Lord. It is also probable that he was 
expected to be of the lineage of David (see ix. 7, xi. 1); but the identity 
of the mother^ was left to be disclosed by events, it being perhaps 
assumed that some unusual circumstance or portent attending the 
child's birth would indicate who he was, and lead to the bestowal 
upon him of the appropriate name Immanuel. But whilst this view 
does most justice to the language and spirit of this and the adjacent 
prophecies, it necessitates the conclusion that a circumstantial fulfil- 
ment of them never occurred. There is no record of any child 
answering to the prophet's expectations having been born in Isaiah's 
own age ; and the birth of our Lord could be no fulfilment (as repre- 
sented in Matt. i. 22, 23) of a prediction relating to a deliverance of 
Judah from temporal perils 700 years previously. Nevertheless the 
advent of our Lord was an illustration, in the spiritual sphere, of those 
gracious purposes of God towards His people in which Isaiah expressed 
such confident faith, and it verified in a pre-eminent degree the import 
of the name Immanuel (cf p. xl). For other views of the v. see p. 52. 

15. Butter and honey, etc. This v. seems to be an insertion, for it 
separates -y. 16 from v. 14, of which v. 16 is the logical sequel. The 
insertion is based on r-y. 21, 22 : Immanuel, if born at the time 
indicated (see on v. 14), would obviously share during his childhood 

he privations destined to befall the country within a few years through 
an Assyrian inroad: he could only be his people's defence at a maturer 
"'Tage. Butter (or curds. Gen. xviii. 8) and honey (i.e. wild honey, Mk. i. 6, 
- -iMatt. iii. 4) are here regarded as products of a land that has gone out 
jof cultivation and only affords pasturage. 

tvhen he knoweth, etc. i.e. when he begins to exercise his faculties 

cf 2 Sam. xix. 35 and perhaps Deut. i. 39), and to display tokens of 

ntelligence. The age implied is about three. For the temporal 

eaning of the preposition rendered when cf Gen. xxiv. 63, Ex. xiv. 27, 

2 Sam. xviii. 29 ^ 

16. For before, etc. This v. connects with v. 14 (cf viii. 3, 4), 

sllSlj 1 The Tjoung woman may possibly be a figurative expression for Judah : cf. the 
jeslpersoiiification of the nation as a virgin (xxxvii. 22). 

The Vulg. has ut sciat puer reprobare malum et eligere bo7ium (taking the 

w. I. 4 

50 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [vir. 17, i8 

17 The Lord shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and 
upon thy father's house, days that have not come, from the day 
that Epliraim departed from Judah ; eve7i the king of Assyria. 

18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall 
hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, 

and explains the approaching relief, of which (together with a still 
greater deliverance at a more distant date, viii. 10) the birth of 
Immanuel was the assurance. Before the child should reach the age 
of three or thereabouts the countries whose kings inspired in Ahaz such 
alarm would be depopulated through a hostile invasion. Of the event 
here predicted Immanuel could not be the author, for it is expected to 
be realized during his infancy. But since his birth is anticipated to 
occur within less than a year of the time when the prophet was 
speaking, his childhood is taken as a measure of the interval within 
which the event was to happen (though for this purpose any child born 
about the same period would have done as well). The prediction here 
uttered was substantially fulfilled almost, if not altogether, within the 
limited interval defined by the prophet. The northern provinces of the 
kingdom of Israel were ravaged by Tiglath-pileser in 734 : and two years 
later the same Assyrian king took Damascus, deported its inhabitants, 
and slew Rezin (2 Kgs. xv. 29, xvi. 9). (For a different view of this v. 
see p. 53.) 

17. This V. should probably be attached to the w. that follow, to 
which it serves as an introduction : the LXX. marks the transition by 
prefixing But. The rescue of Judah from the danger threatening it 
from Syria and Israel was not to leave its future unclouded ; there was 
in reserve for it, in consequence of Ahaz's want of faith (see viii. 6), a 
chastisement severer than any sustained by it since the secession of 
the Ten tribes (1 Kgs. xii.). 

even the king of Assyria. This clause is probably a gloss (and so in 
V. 20), since king harmonizes badly with days. 

18—25. Predictions of the occupation of Judah by devastating 
enemies, and of the thoroughness with which the country will be 
ravaged. The prophecies contained in this section were probably 
delivered by Isaiah when Ahaz's decision to seek Assyrian aid (2 Kgs. 
xvi. 7, 8) was definitely known (cf viii. 5 f ). They are obviously later 
than those in vv. 1 — 16, and probably than those in viii. 1 — 4, and 
are not addressed directly to Ahaz. 

18. hiss. The word reflects the belief that bees are attracted by 

sounds (Arist. Hist. An. IX. 40, ^okovo-l t>l xaipet" oX /xeXtrrai Ktti TW 
(fpoTO) : cf Verg. G. iv. 64). 

prepos. in the final sense). The thought suggesting the translation presumably 
was that the discipline of privation undergone by the child in his infancy would 
conduce to the development in him of high ethical qualities. But possibly milk 
and honey were originally believed to produce these qualities, if Gressmann is right 
in holding that such food was regarded as the proper fare of divine or semi-divine 
beings. The food of Zeus, when an infant in Crete, was the milk of the goat 
Amaltheia and honeycomb (Call. Hym. in Jov. 48, 49). 


and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. 19 And they 
shall come, and shall rest all of them in the Mesolate valleys, and 
in the holes of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all 

20 In tliat day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is 
hired, tvhich is in the parts beyond the River, even with the 
king of Assyria, the head and the hair of the feet : and it shall 
also consume the beard. 

21 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall 
nourish a young cow, and two sheep ; 22 and it shall come to pass, 
for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat 
butter : for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in 
the midst of the land. 

1 Or, rugged '^ Or, bushes 

the fiy . . .the hee. Swarms of flies and bees are common figures for 

vast hosts (cf. Horn. II. II. 469, i^'vre /xvloudv d8ivd(DV eOvea TroAXa . . . roVcrot 
...'A^uLol laravTO, Aesch. Pe7'S. 126, Tras yap tTrTnyXara? Koi TrcSoaTi^rys 

Xcws cr/j.rjvo'i ws cKAe'AotTrev /AcAio-crav) ; and bees are used as similes for 
aggressive enemies in Deut. i. 44, Ps. cxviii. 12. The text ideutifies 
the Jli/ with Egypt (where flies are a constant plague, cf. xviii. 1, 
Ex. viii. 21 — 32) and the bee with Assyria (where bee-keeping is still 
much practised), thus implying that .Judah would become the battle- 
ground between the two nations. But at this period Egypt was not 
in a position to make an inroad into Palestine, and it is possible that 
the explanatory clauses that follow the words Jly and bee are (partially 
mistaken) glosses, and that only one hostile people is meant, viz. 
Assyria, which alone is mentioned in v. 20. If Egypt is really referred 
to, Isaiah's anticipations were not realized. 

19. in the desolate valleys. Better, in the precipitous ravines. The 
various localities enumerated are designed to illustrate the ubiquity of 
the invading enemy. 

20. a razor that is hired. The expression alludes ironically to 
Ahaz's hire of Assyrian help by the sacrifice of his treasures (2 Kgs. 
xvi. 7, 8). 

the River, i.e. the Euphrates (cf .Jer. ii. 18, Mic. vii. 12). 

the heard. Since this was regarded as a symbol of dignity, and 
[injuries to it were acutely felt (cf 2 Sam. x. 4, 5), the metaphor is 
significant of the utmost humiliation in store for the country (which is 
[personified as a man, cf i. 5). 

21. a young cow, and two sheep. Such scanty possessions would 
ttest the impoverished condition of the country. 

22. and it shall... eat butter. If this clause is genuine, it indicates 
ndirectly the wide extent of pasturage in comparison with the small 

umbers of the population and of their cattle : by some critics it is 
■ejected as a gloss on the next (thought to describe great fertility). 


52 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [vii. 23-25 

23 And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place, 
where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, 
shall even be for briers and thorns. 24 With arrows and with 
bow shall one come thither ; because all the land shall be briers 
and thorns. 25 And all the hills that were digged with the 
mattock, ^thou shalt not come thither for fear of briers and 
thorns, but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for 
the treading of sheep. 

^ Or, where never came the fear of briers and thorns, shall be d'c. Or, there 
shall not come thither the fear.. .hut it shall be d'c. 

23. a thousand vines at, etc. i.e. vineyards formerly planted with 
costly vines will be reduced to thickets. A silmrling (or piece of silver, 
Gen. XX. 16, Jud. xvii. 2) was a shekel, estimated to have been worth 
intrinsically about 2s. Sd. 

24. With arrows, etc. i.e. wild beasts, in consequence of the 
depopulation of the country, will increase to such a degree (cf. 2 Kgs. 
xvii. 26, of Samaria) that the only persons who will resort to the land 
will be hunters in pursuit of game to supply their needs. 

25. the hills. These were the usual sites for vineyards (v. 1). 
digged with the mattock. Better, hoed with the hoe (see v. 6). 

thou shalt not come, etc. The 2nd pers. must represent an indefinite 
subject : some critics would substitute one shall not come (as in v. 24). 

for fear of briers, etc. Where briers and thorns abounded wild 
animals were to be dreaded. (For the construction cf 2 Sam. xxiii. 3.) 

it shall hefm- the sending, etc. i.e. it shall be fit for nothing but a 
cattle-run and sheep-walk (cf on v. 17). 

The prediction in vv. 17 — 25 of the devastation of Judah was not 
fulfilled until the reign of Hezekiah some 35 years later. 

Additional Note on vv. 14 — 16. 

Several explanations of this passage, differing from the one given on 
p. 48, have been suggested. 

(1) The prophecy has been held to be a prediction of the birth of 
Hezekiah, the virgin (or young woman) being Ahaz's queen. But apart from , 
the inappropriateness of the expression for the queen, the explanation is 
contradicted by the chronology, if any confidence can be placed in the state- 
ment (2 Kgs. xviii. 2) that Hezekiah was 25 years old at his accession ; for 
whether this occurred in 727, 720 or 715 (see p. xli), he must have been bom , 
before 734. 

(2) The virgin (or young woman) is identified by Gesenius with a woman • 
who was about to become Isaiah's second wife^ The sign would then consist 
in the evacuation of Judah by its invaders wthin a short period (perhaps less 

^ Isaiah's first wife would be the mother of Shear-jashub. 


than a year) of the time when the prophet was speaking — a happy occurrence 
which would be reflected in the name given by the prophet's wife to her first- 
born child ^ According to this explanation the name and not the personality of 
the child is alone of importance. Verse 14 thus becomes an indirect prediction 
of speedy relief for Ahaz from the pressure of invasion, and the realization of 
it would be an earnest of the truth of the further prediction (in v. 16) of the 
final overthrow of Ephraim and Syria. This view has in its favour the analogy 
of viii. 1 — 4, where Isaiah embodies a prediction of evil for the confederates 
in the name of one of his children ; but it renders it necessary to under- 
stand the concluding words of viii. 8 as merely implying that Judah was 
Immanuel's native land (not his realm), and it is scarcely probable that the 
prophet would describe the woman whom he was about to marry in the terms 
oiv. 14. 

(3) The prophecy is likewise regarded by Duhm and others as an indirect 
prediction of the withdrawal of the forces of Ephraim and Syria from Judah, 
but the term virgin or young woman is understood in an indefinite sense, the 
prophet's declaration in ». 14 being taken to mean that any young woman who 
was shortly to become a mother would have reason to call her child hmnanuel 
because the retirement of the foe by that time would have manifested God's 
presence with His people 2. Duhm omits v. 15 — a proposal which is intrinsically 
defensible (see note) — and also emends viii. 8 (see note). This view does not 
accoimt for the use of HDpy (for the sense would be more appropriately 
expressed by nL*'X), and seems to do less than adequate justice to the general 
tenor of the prophecies in viii. 9, 10, ix. 2 — 7. 

(4) The prediction in vv. 14 — 16 is regarded by Davidson (Hastings, DB. 11. 
pp. 454—456) as foretelling the birth, within a year, of a remarkable child, 
destined to be the pledge of his country's eventual deliverance, but is con- 
sidered to have for Ahaz himself an exclusively sinister significance (the 
therefore of v. 14 introducing an announcement of the penalty provoked by 
the king's obstinate unbelief, v. 12). The prophecy is taken to have no 
reference to a deliverance for Judah by the imminent overthrow of Ephraim 
and Syria, but only to foretell an approaching devastation for Judah itself by 
Assyria during Immanuel's childhood, in consequence of the king's mistrust. 
This, however, involves either the omission of v. 16 altogether, or the cor- 
rection of it to For before the child... the good, the land shall he forsaken 
(omitting n^^bp '•:?:' \55ip f p^ HFIX l^'t^). In favour of this view is the use of 
the sing, land, which is more appropriate to Judah than to the two countries 
of Syria and Ephraim ; but against it is the improbability that the prophecy 
should lack all reference to the destined frustration of the designs of Rezin 
and Pekah of which Isaiah was so convinced (see viii. 4). 

(5) The name Imm,anuel is considered by Porter to express the popular 
faith that the Lord wovdd be present mth, and support, His people in their 

* Cf. the name Ichabod, given by the wife of Phiuehas to her child born when 
the Ark was captured at Ebenezer (i Sam. iv. 19 — 22). 

'■^ Peake (Hastings, DCG. i. 783) thinks that Isaiah predicts that some young 
woman will bear a son and, in virtue of her faith, will call his name Immanuel 
although he will be born in a time of invasion and distress. 

54 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [viii.i,. 

emergency, whatever their conduct might be (cf. Am. v. 14); and Isaiah, to 
disabuse them, is supposed to declare that though a woman, sharing that 
belief, might give her child the name Immanuel^ yet the significance of the 
name would be contradicted by the privations which he would have to undergo 
in his childhood in consequence of the desolation which was about to come on 
the land. This view, which requires the same explanation of viii. 8 as (2) 
and the same modification of ». 16 as (4), and is open to the same objections as 
(3), is opposed by the tenor of viii. 9, 10, which imply that Immanuel's name 
was for Isaiah of good augury, and which therefore have to be omitted. 

Chapter VIII. 

This c. consists of a number of detached utterances, most of which belong 
approximately to the same period as the previous c, and relate to the same 
subject (the crisis of 735 — 4). 

VIII. 1 And the Lord said unto me, Take thee a great 
tablet, and write upon it ^with the pen of a man, For ^Maher- 
shalal-hash-baz ; 2 and I will take unto me faithful witnesses to 

^ Or, in common characters ^ That is, The spoil speedeth, the prey hasteth. 

VIII. 1 — 4. A renewed prediction of the overthrow, within a 
brief interval, of Damascus and Samaria. 

This prophecy is a reiteration (later in date, see on v. 4) of the one 
contained in vii. 14 — 16; but unlike that, which was communicated only 
to Ahaz and his court, was made known to the populace at large, two 
devices being employed with a view to its wide dissemination. 

1. Take... tablet. The putting of the prophecy into writing en- 
sured not only its publication (cf Hab. ii. 2), but its preservation ; so 
that when the event predicted occurred, proof of the prophet's pre- 
vision would be at hand ; cf xxx. 8. The tablet (cf TrivaKiSioy, Luke 
i. 63) was probably of wood or metal (the same word is used of a metal 
mirror in iii. 23), smeared with wax, upon which characters were drawn 
by means of an instrument like a Roman stilus. 

the pen of a man. i.e. one suitable for making the letters that were 
generally employed and understood by the common people (cf mg.) 
whose attention was to be attracted (cf the cubit of a man in Deut. 
iii. 11 and the number of a man in Rev. xiii. 18). The Heb. script in 
use at the time was not that in which modern Hebrew Bibles are 
printed, but that which occurs in the inscriptions (Heb., Aram., 
Moabite) of the ninth and eighth centuries. 

jPor Maher-sJuilal-hash-haz. Strictly, Maher-shalal-hash-baz' s (cf. 
Ezek. xxxvii. 16, Heb.), the preposition marking possession, as in the case 
of engraved seals (e.g. innnyS, ObadiaKsy. The phrase constituting 
the name means "Swift (is) spoil, speedy (is) prey," and is a con- 
densed announcement of the imminent sack by Assyria of the capitals 

1 See Benzinger, Hebrdische Archdologie, p. 258. 


record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah. 
3 And I went unto the prophetess ; and she conceived, and bare 
a son. Then said tlie Lord unto me, Call his name Maher-shalal- 
hash-baz. 4 For before the child shall have knowledge to cry. 
My father, and, My mother, the riches of Damascus and the 
spoil of Samaria shall be carried away before the king of 

5 And the Lord spake unto me yet again, saying, 6 Foras- 
much as this people hath refused the waters of Shiloah that go 

of the two countries that were menacing Judah. The enigmatic 
sentence, calculated to excite curiosity, was doubtless explained orally 
by the prophet. 

2. and I will, etc. Better (with the LXX. and Syr.), and taJce, 
etc. {^T^y} for "^T^^)- The purpose of taking witnesses was to obtain 
evidence for the utterance of the prophecy before the event. 

Uriah. Probably identical with the priest mentioned in 2 Kgs. 
xvi. 10, who would be a man of influence and therefore a valuable 

Zechariah. The person meant may have been the Levite bearing 
the name who is mentioned in connection with the reign of Hezekiah 
(2 Ch. xxix. 13). 

3. the propJietess. Isaiah's wife is so called because of her con- 
nection with her husband (as the wife of a bishop or a priest in 
ecclesiastical canons is sometimes termed episcopa or preshytei-a). 

Call his name. The use of such a name for the boy, as well as the 
sight of it upon the tablet, would keep the prediction which it conveyed 
in the minds of the people. For similar lengthy appellations see 
1 Ch. XXV. 4, Num. i. 6 ; and cf. the names assumed by the English 
Puritans (e.g. " Had-not-Christ-died-for-me-I-had-been-damned-Bare- 
bone "). 

4. For before, etc. The present prophecy virtually repeats the 
prediction of vii. 16 (this foretelling the capture of the enemies' 
capitals, and that the devastation of their territory), but the limit 
fixed for its fulfilment is shorter, for the child would learn to utter 
simple words within a year or so. The prophecy is therefore a year, or 
perhaps two years, later than the one just cited. Though Damascus 
fell in 732 (2 Kgs. xvi. 9) Samaria was not taken till 722 (2 Kgs. 
xviii. 10). 

5 — 8. A prediction of the invasion of Judah by the Assyrians in 
consequence of Ahaz's mistrust of the Lord. 

This oracle, which bears the same relation to the preceding as 
vii. 17 — 25 does to vii. 3 — 16, must have been delivered after Ahaz 
had decided to rely upon the aid of Tiglath-pileser (2 Kgs. xvi. 7). 

6. this people, i.e. Judah; cf. vi. 9. 

the waters of Shiloah. These were the waters of Gihon, which 
at this time were conveyed (the etymological meaning of Shiloah is 

56 Tvm BOOK OF ISAIAH [viil7,8 

softly, ^and rejoice ^in Rezin and Remaliah's son ; 7 now 
therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters 
of the River, strong and many, even the king of Assyria and all 
his glory : and he shall come up over all his channels, and go 
over all his banks : 8 and he shall sweep onward into Judah ; he 
shall overflow and pass through ; he shall reach even to the 
neck ; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth 
of thy land, ^ Immanuel. 

^ Or, even them that rejoice ^ Or, with •* See ch. vii. 14. 

"sent" or "conducted," cf. Joh. ix. 7) from the Kidron valley to the 
Lower pool of Siloam by an open channel (see on vii. 3). Springs and 
fountains had for Semitic peoples religious associations (at Gihon, 
as at a hallowed spot, Solomon had been consecrated king), and the 
waters of Shiloah, as they issued from the rock, above which the 
Temple stood, were an appropriate symbol of the Lord and the defence, 
little regarded but unfailing, which He ensured for His people (cf 
Ps. xlvi. 4, 5) so long as they trusted Him. 

rejoice in, etc. The expression seems to imply that a section 
of the people sympathized with the designs of Rezin and Pekah (vii. 6) ; 
but this is inconsistent with vii. 2. Hence most critics correct the 
text to despond on account o/ (reading '.^^ip DIDD for n^ b'ib^p): cf v. 12. 

7. the River. The Euphrates (vii. 20) is here an emblem of 
Assyria (as it is of Parthia in Verg. A. viii. 726). 

even the king... glory. This clause is generally considered a super- 
fluous gloss : cf vii. 4, 17, 20. The king's glory is his imposing 
military power (cf x. 16, xvii. 3, xxi. 16). 

and he shall come up, etc. Strabo (xvi. 1, § 9) states that the 
Euphrates becomes swollen at the beginning of summer, when the 
snow melts in Armenia; see also Arrian, Exp. Alex. vn. 21, § 2. 

his channels, i.e. the artificial canals of Assyria and Babylonia 
(cf Ezek. xxxi. 12). 

8. he shall sweep, etc. For the comparison of an invading host to a 
flood cf xxviii. 2, 18, Jer. xlvii. 2, Nah. i. 8, Dan. xi. 10. Ephraim, 
with its ally Syria, would naturally be the object of Assyria's hostility, 
and Judah, which had thrown itself upon Assyrian protection, expected 
to be undisturbed ; but Isaiah represents its chastisement as coming 
from the very power which it had preferred before the Lord. 

even to the neck. Judah is likened to a man struggling in a swollen 
stream: cf xxx. 28. 

the stretching out of his wings. Better, the extension of his margins. 
The word which the B.V. renders by vrings is used of the bounds of 
the earth in xi. 12, Job xxxvii. 3, xxxviii. 13, and is here employed of 
the edges of the spreading waters. It is not probable that there is a 
change of figure from a river in flood to a bird of prey (cf Hos. viii. 1), 
still less (as Cheyne and Marti suppose) that the clause represents 


9 ^Make an uproar, ye peoples, and ye shall be broken in 

js ; and give ear, all ye of far countries : gird yourselves, 

and ye shall be broken in pieces ; gird yourselves, and ye shall 

be broken in pieces. 10 Take counsel together, and it shall be 

' Or, Break According to some ancient authorities, Associate yourselves, 

the Lord as a p?-otecting bird (cf. xxxi. 5, Ps. xvii. 8, xxxvi. 7, xci. 4), 
and connects the contents with the section vv. 9, 10. 

of thy land, Immanuel. Ahaz's policy was calculated to bring 
devastation upon the native land and eventual realm of the wonderful 
child who was the pledge of the country's ultimate salvation. Duhm 
and other critics, in accordance with the view adopted by them of the 
prophecy in vii. 14, emend the concluding words of this v. to shall fill 

the breadth of the land. For with us is God (^K -lasV *? ri^ for ^VIX 

9 — 10. A challenge to Judah's enemies, and a prediction of their 
ultimate overthrow. 

These two vv. are marked by a sudden transition from denunciation 
of Judah to defiance of its foes. The foes must be the Assyrians, not 
the Syrians and Ephraimites ; for (a) the words ye of far countries are 
appropriate only to the former (v. 26), not to the latter ; {h) the tone 
is too exultant to be evoked by a prospective triumph over con- 
temptible enemies like Rezin and Pekah (vii. 4); (c) this passage 
resembles xvii. 12 — 14 and xiv. 24 — 27, both of which have the 
Assyrians in view. The utterance was probably intended for the circle 
of believers who attached themselves to Isaiah at this time, and 
designed to encourage them with the thought that, though the 
Assyrian would invade and devastate the country {vv. 5 — 8), he 
would be eventually repulsed. The use in v. 10 of the phrase for 
God is with us (recalling Immanuel's name, see mg.) renders unlikely 
the opinion of some critics that the section belongs to a later date 
(722 or 711) than its context. 

9. Make an uproar, i.e. raise your war-cries. But better (if the 
text is sound). Be harmful. The peoples (Assyria and its subject 
nationalities, cf xvii. 12, xxix. 7, xxx. 28) are bidden ironically to 
pursue against Judah their hostile projects and take the inevitable 
consequences (for the imperative cf xxix. 9). The mg. Break (i.e. be 
broken) connects the verb with a different root. But the LXX. has 
Take knowledge (-"ly^. for "ly), which suits better the parallel clause give 
ear. On the other hand, Aq., Sym. and Th. have a-waOpoia-OrjTe, and 
the Vulg. has congregamini (apparently reading ly but connecting the 
verb with ny-i instead of j;y"i): hence the mg. Associate yourselves. 

and ye shall be broken in pieces. Cf xxx. 3 1 . This sentence, in the 
first half of the v., where it destroys the balance of the clauses, should 
be omitted as an accidental reproduction of the same words that follow 

gird yourselves, i.e. equip and arm yourselves for war. 

58 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [viii. n-ij 

brought to nought ; speak the word, and it shall not stand : for 
^God is with us. 11 For the Lord spake thus to me ^with a 
strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the 
way of this people, saying, 12 Say ye not, A conspiracy, concern- 
ing all whereof this people shall say, A conspiracy ; neither fear 
ye their fear, nor be in dread thereof. 13 The Lord of hosts, 
him shall ye sanctify ; and let him be your fear, and let him be 

^ Heb. immanu El. ^ Heb. with strength of hand. See Ezek. iii. 14. 

10. speak the word. Better, speak a word, i.e. announce your 

for God is with us. The prophet, to express his faith in his country's 
final triumph over its enemies, uses the name of Immanuel, the child 
whose advent was to be the earnest of it. 

11 — 15. An exhortation to the prophet's followers not to share the 
popular apprehensions, but to repose confidence in the Lord. The 
subject here reverts to the situation produced by the attack of Rezin 
and Pekah. 

11. For. The causal particle connects the section with w. 5 — 8 
(especially v. 6). 

spake... strong hand. The expression with a strong hand originally 
referred to the abnormal physical conditions which sometimes charac- 
terised the earlier prophets, and which they attributed to their being 
in the grasp of a superior power (cf 1 Kgs. xviii. 46, 2 Kgs. iii. 15) ; 
and the figure was retained by the later prophets to express the forcible 
mastery which strong mental impressions or convictions exerted over 
them (see Ezek. iii. 14, Jer. xv. 17). 

the ivay of this people, i.e. their conduct in misjudging the relative 
power of their human antagonists and their Divine Protector (see v. 6). 
The pronoun this marks contempt : cf. on vi. 9. 

12. Say ye nx)t, etc. Isaiah and his disciples are warned by 
the Lord against discovering, like the multitude, reasons for panic in 
all directions. The term conspiracy can apply to the external coalition 
of Pekah and Rezin (cf the verb in Neh. iv. 8) ; but, as the word all 
shews, the popular fears were not confined to this. Some critics (in 
view of v. 13) emend the text to Say ye not, A holy thing, concerning 
all whereof this people shall say, A holy thing (reading t^'"]? for ""^'i^). 
This emendation supposes that Isaiah here utters a warning against 
superstitious practices, to which the populace, in its alarm, had 
recourse (cf v. 19). 

13. him shall ye sanctify. Better, him shall ye count holy and 
therefore to be held in awe (cf. xxix. 23). The words are adopted by 
St Peter in regard to our Lord (1 Pet. iii. 14, 15). Duhm, for the sake 
of a closer parallel with Say ye not, A conspiracy in v. 12, substitutes 
him shall ye regard as the conspirator (•liTipJ!^ for •I'ki'npri)^ i.e. fear Him 
as the source whence real danger will come (see v. 14). 

viii. 14-17] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 69 

your dread. 14 And he shall be for a sanctuary ; but for a 
stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses 
of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inliabitants of Jeru- 
salem. 15 And ^many shall stumble thereon, and fall, and be 
broken, and be snared, and be taken. 

16 Bind thou up the testimony, seal the ^law among my 
disciples. 17 And I will wait for the Lord, that hideth his face 

^ Or, 77iany among them shall stumble, and fall dx. ^ Or, teaching 

14. for a sanctuary, i.e. the Lord, to those who stand in awe of 
Him and trust Him, will be a centre of security — an asylum in 
circumstances of peril (cf. Ezek. xi. 16). The thought of a sanctuary 
as an asylum (cf. 2 Mac. iv. 33) seems to be derived from the altar to 
which those whose lives were in danger fled for refuge (Ex. xxi. 14, 
1 Kgs. i. 50, ii. 28). By Duhm the word (which does not harmonize 
with his proposed correction of v. 13) is rejected from the text, since 
it spoils the balance of the clauses. 

a stone of stumbling, etc. i.e. to all who underrate or ignore the 
"Lord's power and goodness (as did Ephraim by its aggression, and 
iJudah by its want of faith) He will be a cause of disaster (symbolised 
by the figures of an obstacle by which they will be tripped, and a snare 
by which they will be trapped) : cf Ezek. xliv. 12, xii. 13, xvii. 20, 
xix. 8, Ex. xxxiv. 12. Part of the v. is cited in Rom. ix. 33, 
1 Pet. ii. 8. 

15. And many... thereon. Better (with the LXX. and Vulg., 
followed by the mg.), And many among them (i.e. the people of 
Ephraim and Judah) shall stumble ; cf. xxviii. 13, Hos. xiv. 9. The 
verse has influenced Luke ii. 34 (the stone being interpreted of Christ) : 
cf also Matt. xxi. 44. 

16—18. Directions to preserve a record of the prophet's predictions. 

This section must have been written after Isaiah had abandoned as 
fruitless further public opposition to the king's policy, and was content 
to wait, with a small body of adherents, for the vindication of his pre- 

16. Bind. A command of Isaiah's to an attendant to tie up and 
seal the roll upon which had been written the oracles (contained in 
cc. vii., viii.) that were to be preserved against the future (cf xxx. 8, 
.Jer. xxxvi. 2, Dan. xii. 4). 

the testimony. Better, the attestation (or admonition), i.e. the 
solemn warnings and injunctions delivered through the prophet; 
3f 2 Kgs. xvii. 15. 

the law. Better, the teaching (as in i. 10). 

my disciples. It was probably these to whom Isaiah addressed 
est of his consolatory utterances (cf p. xxxi), and whom he expected 
form the nucleus of the remnant destined to survive the judgment. 

17. I ivill wait for the Lord, etc. i.e. for the Lord's verification 
f the predictions of ill for the people at large and of eventual deliver- 

60 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [viii. is, 19 

from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. 18 Behold, 
I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs 
and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth 
in mount Zion. 

19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that 
have familiar spirits and unto the wizards, that chirp and that 
mutter : should not a people seek unto their God ? on behalf of 

ance for those who should trust Him. The words are the prophet's 
personal expression of the same faith which he recommended to his 
countrymen (vii. 9, xxviii. 16). 

hideth his face. A metaphor for the withdrawal of favour : cf. 
liv. 8, Ivii. 17, Ixiv. 7, Jer. xxxiii. 5, Mic. iii. 4, Ezek. xxxix. 23. 

18. I and... given me, etc. In Heb. ii. 13 these words are applied 
to our Lord, and those who through Him become the children of God. 

for signs and for wonders. Better, for signs and tokens, i.e. agencies 
designed to reveal God's purposes ; cf. xx. 3, Ezek. xii. 6, xxiv. 24, 
Zech. iii. 8. The very sound of Isaiah's own name and those of his 
children (see pp. xvii, 44, 54) would recall to such as heard them the 
burden of his teaching. 

ivhich dwelleth, etc. Though the Lord, in Isaiah's conception, was 
far removed from being a national or a local deity (see vi. 3), yet Zion 
was the centre of His worship and His revelations (vi. 1 f., cf Am. i. 2); 
and it was with Zion that His protective presence was expressly 
associated: cf xiv. 32, xxviii. 16, xxxi. 5, 9 (cf p. xxxvii). 

19 — 22. A description of the perplexity and helplessness of those 
who in the coming distress should have recourse to necromancy. 

This passage is united to the preceding by the reference in v. 20 to 
v. 16. In it the prophet's disciples, who are alluded to in the 
3rd pers. in v. 16, are directly addressed, and cautioned against 
being misled by their superstitious countrymen. 

19. And when, etc. The time contemplated is when the predicted 
judgment {m>. 7, 8, 14) has fallen, and people are seeking to obtain 
oracles from the dead. For seek unto cf, xi. 10, xix. 3. 

them that... the wizards. Perhaps better, the ghosts and the knowing 
folk, the terms here designating the spirits of the dead (xxix. 4, cf. 
1 Sam. xxviii. 8), not the persons who professed to be able to call 
them up (who were in strictness described as possessors of a ghost, 
1 Sam. xxviii. 7, cf Lev. xx. 27) or to be in communication with 
them (Deut. xviii. 11, cf Acts xvi. 16). The second of the two words 
here used is perhaps merely explanatory of the first. The Semitic 
belief that the dead possessed greater knowledge and power than the < 
living, and could be appealed to for aid, had its parallel among the ' 
Greeks : cf. Aesch. Cho. 476 — 7, kAuovtcs, /Aa/capes x^^^''-^'-' ^W^^ 
KttTcux^s Tre/xTrer' dpwyiyv. 

chirp... mutter. The words express the feeble tones in which the 
spirits were supposed to speak: cf xxix. 4, Horn. 77. xxiii. 100, ^^xv--- 


the living should they seek unto the dead ? 20 To the ^law and 
to the testimony ! ^if they speak not according to this word, 
surely there is no morning for them. 21 And they shall pass 
through it, hardly bestead and hungry : and it shall come to pass 
tliat, when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and 

' Or, teaching 

- Or, surely according to this xcord shall they speak, for whom there is no 

wxero TCTpiyvia, Verg. A. VI. 492 (of the shades of the Greeks) pars 
tollere vocem exiguam, Shaksp. Ham. i. i., the sheeted dead did squeak 
(ind gibber. The LXX. by its rendering of the passage suggests that 
the means used by the medium to create the impression that the voice 

i heard came from the Underworld was ventriloquism. 
I should not... God i Cf. Eur. Hel. 753, tL hrJTa fxavrevofJieOa ; Tots 

Oeolai XPV @vovTa<; airelv dyaOd, /Aavretas 8' idv. By SOme Critics thlS 

and the next sentence are regarded not as an answer to the preceding 
exhortation, but as part of it, and rendered, should not a people seek 
tmto the spirits of their departed (cf 1 Sam. xxviii. 13, Heb.)? on 
behalf of the living should they not seek unto the dead ? 

20. To the law, etc. See on v. 16. This is the counter advice 
to be given to those who counsel resort to the necromancers : Let them 
seek the revelations of the Lord. 

if they speak, etc. The translation of this clause, and its relation 
to the following v. is uncertain. If the text is sound and the connec- 
tion of the passage unbroken, the best of several suggested renderings 
is the mg., Surely according to this word shall tJiey speak fm^ wham 
there is no morning (or dawn), i.e. assuredly they shall recognize as 
true the prophet's revelations when it is too late, and when the calamity, 
now impending, admits of no relief (for the metaphor cf Iviii. 8, lix. 9). 
But against seeking the subject of the verb speak (pi.) in the relative 
clause that follows it is the fact that the pronoun for wJmm is really 
singular (not pi.), and as the verbs in v. 21 are also singular (a fact 
disguised in the R.V.) it is probable that the clause for whom there is 
no morning refers to the subject of v. 21, and that after this word in 
V. 20 a lacuna should be assumed. If so, the subject of the verb speak 
is the teaching and the admonition, i.e. the Divine oracles which (it is 
implied) will be found self-consistent, and the passage will run : Surely 
according to this ivord (i.e. Isaiah's recent utterances) shall they 
(i.e. later revelations) speak... For whom (sing.) there is no moi'ning. 
21. And he shull pass through, etc. 

21. And they. Better (as above), ^ /zo? ^e. The passage describes 
the misery of some wanderer, a representative of those who had dis- 
believed the Lord's warnings. The pronoun it refers to the land 
(presumably mentioned in a lost v.), which has been devastated as 
predicted (v. 13, vii. 18 f). 

when they shall, etc. Better, when he shall be hungry, he shall 
burst into anger. 


^ curse by their king and by their God, and turn their faces 
upward : 22 and they shall look unto the earth, and behold, 
distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish ; ^and ^into thick 
darkness they shall he driven away. 

^ Or, curse their king and their God 

^ Or, and thick darkness shall he driven away: for there d-c. [Ch. viii. 23 in 
Heb.] 3 Or, in 

curse hy their king, etc. Better (with the Vulg.), curse his king and 
his god, and turn his face upward. The word king is a title for the 
divinity who has been consulted and trusted in place of the Lord ; 
of Am. V. 26. The false god cannot, and the true God will not, 
aid him. 

22. they shall look. Better, he shall look. Whether his eyes turn 
heavenward or earthward, they can see no promise of relief (cf. v. 30). 

the gloom of... away. Cf Jer. xxiii. 12. But perhaps better (after 
the LXX.), tJie gloom of anguish and thick daj'kness, so that there is no 
seeing (reading ri'"iwS"ip for n'ljp). 

Chapter IX. 1 — 7. 

This section forms a Messianic conclusion in the group of cc. vi. 1 — ix. 7, 
and depicts, as a sequel to the description of distress contained in viii. 21, 22, 
a wonderful transformation destined to take place in the condition of the land 
and its people, the tyranny of the Assyrian oppressor being replaced by the 
righteous rule of a native sovereign. 

The Isaianic oracle is contained in vv. 2 — 7, and exhibits the usual paral- \ 
lelism of Hebrew poetry. From the reference to the throne of David {i\ 7) it 
appears to have in view the prophet's own laud of Judah, and since v. 4 seems 
to reflect the actual experience of invasion (cf. x. 27, xiv. 25), it is perhaps to 
be assigned to the year 701 in the reign of Hezekiah, when Judah was occupied 
by the forces of Sennacherib, rather than to 734 (as its context suggests). But 
prefixed to the oracle is a prose introduction (v. 1), which is designed to 
connect it with the preceding section, viii. 19 — 22, and the writer of which has 
seemingly erroneously identified the land enveloped in darkness (viii. 22) 
with the provinces of N. Israel which were ravaged by Tiglath-pileser in 734. 

The association of the future felicity here depicted with the reign of a 
national king (as in xi. 1 — 9, xxxii. 1 — 5) has been regarded as an objection to 
the Isaianic authorship of the passage, and a reason for assigning it to post- 
exilic times, it being maintained by some critics that Isaiah took a sombre 
view of his country's future (vi. 11, 12), and that his hopes for it were limited 
to the survival of a small religious community (viii. 16 — 18) without any 
political organization. But Isaiah certainly expected Jerusalem to survive 
the Assyrian invasion of 701 (x. 24 — 27, xiv. 32, xxviii. 16, xxix. 7, xxx. 19?, 
xxxiii. 5, xxxvii. 31 — 35) ; and in an Isaianic picture of its future a king might 
certainly be expected to figure, for the most glorious memories of Hebrew 
history were connected wdth a king (David), whose dynasty had occupied the 
throne of Judah continuously (save for the brief usurpation of Athaliah) for 


some 300 years. Moreover, the king here portrayed is represented as pro- 
moting the same ideal as that which Isaiali himself had in view for his 
country — social righteousness (cf. i. 26) ; whilst there is no trace of exihc 
or post-exilic anticipations, such as the return of dispersed Israelites, the 
submission of the heathen, or their attendance at the Temple worship. Nor 
is it a serious difficulty that elsewhere Isaiah represents the personal presence 
of the Lord with His people as the guarantee of their safety and welfare 
(xxviii. 16, cf. iv. 5, 6?), for the Messianic king is what he is through being 
endowed with the spirit of the Lord (see xi. 2). There is, it is true, no 
explanation as to how the king is related to the reigning monarch ; but to 
such a question an answer is scarcely to be looked for. The prophet was 
content to assert his conviction that a bright destiny under a native sovereign 
was in store for his country ; the precise manner in which it was to come about 
he left for time to reveaP. On the relation of the passage to Christ see p. xl. 

IX. 1 ^But there shall be no gloom to her that was in anguish. 
In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun 
and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time hath he made it 
glorious, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, ^Galilee of the 

1 Or, For ^ Or, the district [Ch. ix. 1 in Heb.] 

IX. 1. But. Perhaps better (as in the mg.), Z^or. The sentence 
lis possibly an interrogation and to be regarded (with Duhm) as a gloss 
I on the words gloom of anguish in the previous v. : For is there not 
qloom to it (i.e. the land) ivhich is in anguish ? 

In the former time. i.e. in the unhappy past (cf. Zech. viii. 11). 
The allusion is to 734, when some of the northern districts of the 
kingdom of Ephraim were ravaged by Tiglath-pileser (see 2 Kgs. xv. 29 
and p. 50). The whole of this v. probably comes from a post-exilic 
editor ; and his reason for connecting the prophecy that follows with 
the Israelite provinces mentioned in it can only be conjectured: 
possibly he was a native of one of them. 

he brought, etc. The subject is the Lord, Who was the ultimate 
Author of the distress alluded to. 

Zebulun. This tribe occupied a small district N. of the plain of 
•Jezreel (Esdraelon) and W. of Lake Chinnereth (the Sea of Galilee). 

Naphtali. Naphtali's territory extended to the N. and E. of 

in the latter time. i.e. in a happier and better future (cf. ii. 2). 

hath he... glorious. The tense here must be a prophetic perfect 
( and so in vv. 2, 3, 4). The editor probably had in view the restoration 
)f the northern tribes and their re-union with -Tudali in the Messianic 
i-;e: cf xi. 13, Am. ix. 11 — 15. 

^ If the prophecy of Immanuel (vii. 14) really relates to the birth of a great 
; Personality, Isaiah retained faith in his advent, in spite of his not being born within 
,the period then predicted. Probably more than 30 years separated that prophecy 
from this. 

64 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [ix. .,3 

nations. 2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great 
light : they that dwelt in the land of the ^shadow of death, upon 
them hath the light shined. 3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, 
^thou hast increased their joy : they joy before thee according 

^ Or, deep darkness ^ Another reading is, thou didst not increase the joy. 

hy the way of the sea. i.e. towards the Mediterranean : cf. Gen. 
xlix. 13. 

beyond Jordan, i.e. west of the (upper) Jordan, the position of 
Zebulun and Naphtali being described from the point of view of a post- 
exilic writer resident somewhere E. of Palestine (cf 1 Kgs. iv. 24 mg.). 

Galilee of the nations. Literally, the circle of the nations (cf. 
1 Mace. v. 15, and the similar expression in Josh. xiii. 2, Heb.), and 
called sometimes simply the circle {Galilee), see Josh. xx. 7, xxi. 32, 
1 Kgs. ix. 11, 2 Kgs. XV. 29; cf Matt. iv. 12. The land occupied 
by the two tribes named was very incompletely subdued at the 
conquest, and in it a large Canaanite population survived (see Jud. 
i. 30, 33). 

2. The original prophecy begins here, and is probably addressed to 
the prophet's own disciples, the expected survivors of the judgment 
(note unto us, v. 6). 

The people, i.e. the inhabitants of Judah. 

walked. A common Heb. synonym for lived : cf Eng. fare. 

darkness . . . light. Ordinary metaphors for adversity and prosperity ; 
see V. 30, Lam. iii. 2, Mic. vii. 8. 

the shadow of death. Better, deep shadow (cf mg.): it is probably 
only by an error of pointing that the word has become associated with 
the idea of death. 

Vv. 1, 2 are quoted in Matt. iv. 15, 16 in connection with our 
Lord's residence at Capernaum in the borders of Zebulun and 

3. multiplied the nation. Though an increase of population is a 
feature in many prophetic descriptions of the nation's future (xxvi. 15, 
xlix. 19, liv. 2, 3, Hos. i. 10), the parallelism favours the emendation 

multiplied the rejoicing (n?*iiri for (1?)^^ *i^0) : cf next note. 

hast increased their joy. This Q??'^,?'^ ''^) is the reading of the 

Heb. mg. (supported by the Syr.) : the Heb. text has ^?'^?>? N? (sup- 
ported by Sym. the Vulg. and perhaps the LXX., whose o looks like a 
corruption of ov), which must be taken as a relative clause (thou hast 
multiplied the nation) Jor ivhom thou didst not formerly increase joy (a 
litotes for whom thou didst greatly distress). But the true reading 

is probably thou hast increased the joy (i^ and ^^ being merely corrup- 
tions of the last syllable of the concluding word of the preceding clause 

before thee. The expression implies that the Lord is recognized 
as the source of the people's joy. 


to the joy in harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 

4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the 
rod of his oppressor, thou hast broken as in the day of Midian. 

5 For ^all the armour of the armed man in the tumult, and the 
I garments rolled in blood, shall even be for burning, for fuel of 
• fire. 6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given ; and 

the government shall be upon his shoulder : and his name shall 
I be called -Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, ^Everlasting 

^ Or, every boot of the hooted warrior * Or, Wonderful couiisellor 

^ Heb. Father of Eternity. 

j j the joy in harvest. Proverbial for great delight (Ps. iv. 7, cf. 

; icxxvi. 6). 

J I when they divide the spoil. Another proverbial occasion for great 

I satisfaction (Ps. cxix. 162). 
4. the yoke, etc. The terms used (the yoke which beasts of burden 
_ wore, the staff, and the rod (or club) with which slaves were beaten) are 
all symbols of the oppression which the nation had to endure from 
Assyria (cf. x. 24, 27, Nah. i. 13). But for staff of his shoulder some 
propose yoke bar (Iviii. 6, 9) of his shoulder, reading riniD for Hgd. 

as in the day of Midian. i.e. as on the occasion of Midian's over- 
throw by Gideon (cf x. 26, Ps. Ixxxiii. 11 and see Jud. vii.). The 
Midianites were nomads who roamed the deserts S. and E. of Palestine 
(Ex. iii. 1, 1 Kgs. xi. 18, Jud. vi. 33). 

5. For all the armour, etc. Better, For every boot of him that 
tramps noisily (cf Jer. xlvii. 3). The original term for boot is probably 
an Assyrian loan-word. (See Burney, JTS., Ap. 1910.) 

the garments, etc. Better, the cloak, worn by soldiers, and after 
battle usually stained with blood. Some critics instead of rolled would 

read defiled (^^^fJ?? for ^k^'^^'O). 

The articles here mentioned represent the accoutrements of the 

ssyrian troops, which, alter their wearers have perished, will be 
jcollected and burnt : cf Ezek. xxxix. 9, 10, Verg. A. viii. 562, 

utorum incendi victor acervos. 

6. is born. The tense is a prophetic perfect, the birth being still 
D the future. The child is not the destined agent of the Assyrian 
verthrow — that is supposed to be achieved by the Lord — but is to be 

[the nation's safeguard against the renewal of all danger in the future : 
f Mic. V. 5, and see p. 49. 

his shoulder. On the shoulder the insignia of authority were 
Tried (xxii. 22). Cf Pliny, Paneg. 10 (quoted by Gesenius), 
:pertus Pater quam bene humeris tuis sederet imperium. 

his name. The expressions that follow are separate titles descriptive 

f the characteristics of his rule (see on i. 26). Symmetry requires that 

ihey should be arranged as four (not five), each consisting of two 


Wonderful, Counsellor. Better (as in the mg.), Wonderful counsellor 

W.I. 5 


7 : 

Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government 
and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, 
and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with 
judgement and with righteousness from henceforth even for 
ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts shall perform this. 

(literally, a wonder of a counsellor, cf. Gen. xvi. 12, a wild ass of a 
man), i.e. endowed with extraordinary understanding and prudence. 

Cf. Theod. OavfjiacrTws (3ov\€vwv. 

Might!/ God. Better, Divine Warrior, (Heb. JEl Gibbor, literally, 
a God of a warrior). The term Bl was not exclusively used of beings 
believed to be really divine (x. 21), but was employed also of men 
in whom, as invested with godlike power or authority, God seemed 
to be present, see Ezek. xxxi. 11, xxxii. 21 ; perhaps cf. also the use of 
the synonym Elohim in Ex. xxi. 6, xxii. 8, vii. 1, Ps. xlv. 6 (mg.). 
The expression Divine Warrior describes the child as endued with 
superhuman prowess. 

Everlasting Father. Literally, Father of (i.e. in) 2yerpetuity (cf. 
xlvii. 7), i.e. one who will be perpetually the father of his country (cf. 
xxii. 21, Gen. xlv. 8, Jobxxix. 16, 1 Mace. ii. 65, Hom. Od. ii. 234, oTo-tv 
avacra-€ Trar'^p ws r)7rio% rjev). The term rendered perpetuity or eternity 
(see mg.), though used of 'God's existence (Ivii. 15), is also employed 
to describe long, but not endless, duration (see Ps. xxi. 4, 6, Prov. 
xxix. 14). A word of identical form means spoil (xxxiii. 2.3, Gen. 
xlix. 27, Zeph. iii. 8), and hence some render Father of spoil, i.e. taker 

or possessor of booty ; but this would seem to require ^P3 instead of ''5?:?. 

Prince of Pexice. i.e. ensuring for his subjects, by his successful 
rule, the blessings of prosperity : cf Mic. v. 5. 

7. Of the increase, etc. The Heb. text is irregularly written, and 
suggests that the word rendered increase is a corruption (through 
dittography) of an adjective, which is preserved in the LXX. ; and the 
true reading probably is Great will be his dominion, and of peace there 
will be no end. 

upon the throne, etc. It is a reasonable inference from these words ' 
that the child is regarded as sprung from the family of David 
(cf xi. 1). 

judgement .. .righteousness. Cf xvi. 5, Ps. xlv. 4, 7, Ixxii. 1 — 4 
The quahties of the Messiah's rule (cf xxxii. 1) recall those of David; 
(2 Sam. viii. 15) and Solomon (1 Kgs. x. 9). 

for ever. This does not refer to the duration of the king's life, but 
to the permanence of his kingdom or dynasty (Ezek. xxxvii. 25). The 
expression implies long continuance, not eternity (see on v. 6). 





IX. 8—21. 

This section is a separate prophecy (ix. 8 being obviously the beginning of 
an oracle) which is concerned exclusively with the kingdom of Israel (Ephraim) 
— see ix. 9, 21. As it appears here, it is imperfect, the concluding portion 
having been transferred to c. v. Its division into sti'ophes, marked by the re- 
currence of a refrain', is very perceptible. The present passage, ix. 8 — 21, 
contains three (1) ix. 8—12, (2) ix. 13—17, (3) ix. 18—21 : a fragment of a 
fourth is found in v. 25 ; and a fifth and final strophe occurs in v. 26 — 30. 
Many critics consider that another strophe, anterior to the last, exists in 

X. 1 — 4, which ends with the same refrain ; but see note. 

The character and date of the section are ditticult to determine with con- 
fidence, not only from the obscurity of the allusions, but also from the uncertainty 
.whether the past tenses in it relate to the actual past, or are prophetic perfects 
describing the future. The refrain, however, is most naturally understood of 
punitive blows that have already fallen ; and on the whole the simplest 
view is that the three strophes contained in this c. {vv. 8 — 21) constitute 
;i review of past chastisements, that the fragment of the fourth strophe in 
V. 25 is likewise retrospective, and that v. 26 — 30 (concluding the oracle) is 
lii'iie a prediction of an impending final chastisement. Inasmuch as Syria 
i)il)ears only as the enemy of Ephraim, whereas in 734 it was its ally, the date 
> probably prior to that year, and the prophecy may have been written about 
;.""), when Pekah had recently succeeded to the throne of Israel (Jotham being 
:hon king of Judah, 2 Kgs. xv. 32), and when the northern kingdom had begun 
:<> recover from the humiliation suffered under Menahem (2 Kgs. xv. 19, 20), 
uid the alliance ^vith Syria had not yet been contracted. The conclusion that 
he oracle is earlier than 734, the year of the Assyrian invasion of Gilead and 
aphtali, is confirmed by the description of the Assyrians in v. 26 — 30, which 
mplies that they were an unfamiliar foe. 

8 The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon 
srael. 9 And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the 

8 — 12. The first strophe. Ephraim, for its self-confidence, has 
>een punished by attacks from its neighbours on either side. 

8. a word. i.e. the prediction in v. 26 — 30 (see p. 36). 
Jacob... Israel. Here synonymous with Ephraim, the northern 


hath lighted. Better, shall light, i.e. take eff"ect (cf. Zech. ix. 1). 
'he word, which is the expression of the Lord's will, is hypostatized 
as it were) into a distinct entity, and despatched to work out its own 
ulfilment (seelv. 11, cf. xxxi. 2, Ps. cvii. 20, cxlvii. 15, Ecclus. xhi. 15). 
limilarly the divinely inspired utterances of Isaac and Balaam are 
epresented as irreversible when once made (Gen. xxvii. 33, Num. 
^ii. 6). 

9. shall know. i.e. shall discover by bitter experience (cf. Hos. ix. 


1 For similar refrains cf. ii. G— 22, Am. iv. 6—11, Ps. xlii. 5, 11, xliii. 5, 
Ivi. 7—11, xlix. 12, 20, Ivii. 5, 11. 


68 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [ix. io,ii 

inhabitant of Samaria, that say in pride and in stoutness of 
heart, 10 The bricks are fallen, but we will build with hewn 
stone : the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them 
into cedars. 11 Therefore the Lord ^ shall set up on high 
against him the adversaries of Rezin, and ^ shall ^stir up his 

1 Or, hath set - Or, hath stirred '•' Or, join together Or, arm 

7, Job xxi. 19, Ezek. xxv. 14) what the Lord has purposed concerning 

that say. In the original the sentence is imperfect, and should per- 
haps run (as suggested by Bickell), that boasted in pride and in stoutness 
of heart, saying, etc. The occasion alluded to was a time when the 
kingdom of Ephraim had undergone a recent decline ; but instead of 
repenting of the sins which the decline was designed to chastise, it was 
full of confidence that it would not only regain, but surpass, its former 
prosperity (cf Hos. v. 5, vii. 10, Am. vi. 13). The decline to which 
reference is made is perhaps that which the nation had experienced 
during the reigns of Zechariah, Shallum and Menahem, after the pros- 
perity enjoyed under Jeroboam 11. (see 2 Kgs. xiv. 23 — xv. 22, and cf. 
Hos. vii. 1, viii. 8). The northern kingdom, besides being a land of much 
natural fertility, was placed on one of the main trade routes between 
the Euphrates and the Nile ; and under favourable conditions its i 
wealth doubtless accumulated rapidly. 1 

10. Th^ bricks, etc. The hoped-for retrieval of their recent mis- 
fortunes is described in terms borrowed from the reconstruction of a 
fallen edifice. Bricks formed the ordinary, hewn stone superior, building 
materials, cf Am. v. 11, 1 Kgs. v. 17. Sycomwe (not the tree known i 
by that name in this country, but a species of fig, ficus sycomorus) 
furnished a wood that was common and cheap (1 Kgs. x. 27) ; whereas 
cedars (described by Jerome as enodes et imputribiles) afforded the ' 
choicest timber (2 Sam. v. 11, 1 Kgs. vi. 9 f.). \ 

11. shall set up, etc. Better (as in the mg.), hath set up... hath ^ 
stirred up. 

the adversaries of Rezin. If the text is sound, the expression must i 
denote the Assyrians, to whom Rezin was tributary in 738, and who ' 
threatened the kingdom of Ephraim in the reign of Menahem (see ^ 
2 Kgs. XV. 19), but were bought off by that king. But the second liaK ' 
of the V. seems to identify the people meant with the Syrians ; and ! 
hence it appears necessary to emend the phrase TV"? *!}V. Among the ! 
emendations proposed are (1) the princes of Rezin (rVI ''!!5^') — which : 
finds support in several Heb. MSS. ; (2) his (Israel's) adversaries I 
(l''")y),^omitting Rezin as a gloss ; (3) his (Israel's) adversary Rezin ; 
(I'VI ^"ly), this being favoured by the LXX. (which seems to have mis- i 
read it as FV ^n ny)\ ■ 

1 Whitehouse adopts the LXX. reading as the true text, and, taking the verb as ; 
a futiire, explains it to mean that the Syrians and Philistines, who were the enemies i 
of Judah in 734, are to become the foes of Ephraim their former ally. He dates 
the oracle about 726 in the reign of Hoshea. 


enemies ; 12 the Syrians ^before, and the Phih'stines ^ behind ; 
and they ^ shall devour Israel with open mouth. For all this 
his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out 

13 Yet the people hath not turned unto him that smote 
them, neither have they sought the Lord of hosts. 14 Therefore 
the Lord ^will cut off from Israel head and tail, palm-branch 
and rush, in one day. 15 The ^ancient and the honourable 
man, he is the head ; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is 

^ Or, on the east 2 0,.^ q„ fj^g ^.ggf^ 3 Qr, have devoured 

* Or, hath cut 5 Or, elder 

his enemies, i.e. Israel's enemies. 

12. the Syrians. If the c. describes the past, it must be assumed 
that Syria, which had been conquered by Jeroboam II. (2 Kgs. xiv. 28)^ 
recovered its independence under his successors in a war of which no 
record is preserved, but which ended with an alliance, the two foes 
uniting against Judah (vii. 1). 

the Philistines. These, though they are not mentioned as having 
made war on Pekah, may be credited with having taken advantage of 
Israel's misfortunes whenever they could. 

before... behind, i.e. on the E. and W. respectively (cf Job xxiii. 8, 
Heb.). The Hebrews, when designating the points of the compass, 
faced the sunrise (cf Joel ii. 20, Zech. xiv. 4 (Heb.), Ezek. xvi. 46). 

shall devour. Better, devoured. The expression (for which cf. 
Jer. X. 25, XXX. 16) obviously does not imply complete destruction (see 
w. 13 f). 

13 — 17. The second strophe. Impenitence has been avenged by a 
sudden disaster embracing all classes. 

I 13. hath not turned, etc. Better, did not turn (cf Am. iv. 6, 8, 9, 
10, W)... neither did they seek (i.e. consult, cf xxxi. 1) the Lord of hosts. 

14. will cut off. Better, cut off, by a hostile overthrow, civil 
commotions (cf v. 20), or perhaps a pestilence. 

palm-branch, etc. Figures (like head and tail) for the highest and 
lowest orders in the state (cf xix. 15) : the destruction will be compre- 

in one day. i.e. within a brief period : cf x. 17. 

15. The ancient. Better, The elder. This v., which explains the 
■words head and tail to mean political and religious leaders respectively, 
seems to be a mistaken gloss, though its omission leaves the strophe 

that teacheth lies. i.e. communicates pretended revelations (Jer. 
xiv. 14). 

The text of Kings in this passage is doubtful, see Burney ad loc. 

70 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [ix. 16-20 

the tail. 16 For they that lead this people cause them to err ; 
and they that are led of them are ^destroyed. 17 Therefore 
the Lord shall not rejoice over their young men, neither shall 
he have compassion on their fatherless and widows : for every 
one is profane and an evil-doer, and every mouth speaketh 
folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is 
stretched out still. 

18 For wickedness burneth as the fire ; it dev.oureth the 
briers and thorns : yea, it kindleth in the thickets of the forest, 
and they roll upward in thick clouds of smoke. 19 Through the 
wrath of the Lord of hosts is the land ^ burnt up : the people 
also are as the fuel of fire ; no man spareth his brother. 20 And 
one shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry ; and he shall 

^ Heb. swallowed up. - Or, darkened 

16. J^or they that lead, etc. Better, And the leaders of this people 
became misleaders, and they that tvere led were misguided (or confused, 
cf. iii. 12, xxviii. 7, xix. 3, Ps. cvii. 27). By Duhm and Clieyne this v., 
as well as the preceding, is rejected as an editorial addition. 

17. shall not rejoice, etc. Better, does not rejoice over (a litotes for 
withdraws His favour from) their young men (i.e. their warriors, cf. 
xxxi. 8) neither has he compassion on their fatherless and widows (who 
are ordinarily the objects of His special care, cf. Ps. Ixviii. 5, x. 14). 
Instead of does not rejoice over Duhm reads does not spare (literally, 
does not pass over), changing np^'^_ to l^P^I : cf. xxxi. 5, Ex. xii. 13. 

profane, i.e. irreligious (x. 6, xxxii. 6, xxxiii. 14), placing their 
confidence, not in the Lord, but in worldly policy. 

speaketh folly, i.e. gives expression to sceptical utterances (like 
those in v. 19, xxviii. 15) : cf. xxxii. 6. 

18 — 21. The third strophe. A description of Israel's distracted 

18. For wickedness, etc. The lack of religious principle among 
the people, like a fire kindled in a forest, results in their destruction. 

For the comparison cf. i. 31, xxxiii. 12, Job xxxi. 12. 

19. burnt iip. i.e. by the flames of war (Num. xxi. 28, Ps. 
Ixxviii. 63). The verb (which is ungrammatical) only occurs here, 
and the translation follows the LXX. (n, B) o-vyKUavrai. The Vulg. has 
conturhata est terra (perhaps reading ^W for D^l'?) ; but the parallel 
clause favours burnt up. 

are as the fuel of fire. To make this clause correspond more 
nearly to the next, Duhm proposes the peoptle became as man eaters 
(tj'^K h-:^^ ID? for m nJ'^NiP?) ; but see next note. 

no man spareth, etc. This clause should probably be transposed to 
the end of v. 20, to the iinal clause of which it forms a parallel. 

20. And one shall snatch, etc. Better, And one cut off {p. portion) 


eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied : they shall 
eat every man the flesh of his own arm : 21 Manasseh, Ephraim ; 
and Ephraim, Manasseh : and they together shall be against 
Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand 
is stretched out still. 

...and was hungri/... ate... they were not satisfied. Internal feuds were 
a conspicuous feature in the history of the northern kingdom (1 Kgs. 
XV. 27 — 29, xvi. 9 — 12, 16 — 18, 2 Kgs. ix.), and of the four kings 
that immediately preceded Pekah three perished by violence (2 Kgs. 

they shall eat... arm. Better, thsy eat, etc. The expression the flesh 
of his own arm describes figuratively the suicidal character of such 
intestine strife. But the text should probably be corrected (with 
some support from LXX. A) to they eat every man the flesh of his 
neighbour (iV") for iVt) ; cf Jer. xix. 9. 

21. Alanasseh, Ephraim, etc. The rivalry between these two 
tribes was of long standing (see Jud. viii. 1, xii. 1, etc.). Possibly 
Pekah, who gained the throne by the assassination of Pekahiah, belonged 
to Manasseh, since his fellow-conspirators were Gileadites (2 Kgs. 
XV. 25). 

shall he against, etc. Better, are against. In Pekah's reign the 
hostility which so often marked the relations between the northern 
and southern kingdoms issued in the coalition against the latter of 
Ephraim and Syria. 

For the conclusion of the poem see v. 25 — 30. 

Chapter X. 1 — 4. 

This section is probably misplaced. The refrain in r. 4 appears to connect 
it with the prophecy contained in ix. 8 — 21 and v. 25 — 30, of which it has been 
deemed by many critics to be one of the middle strophes (see p. 67). But 
against this connection are the facts (1) that the evils denounced are not the 
pride and factious spirit of a whole nation, but the unjust decisions of a 
particular class, (2) that the reference to the desolation which shall come from 
far {r. 3), which naturally means an Assyrian invasion, must, if this section is 
prefixed to v. 25 — 30, impair the impressiveness of the description of the 
Assyrians in v. 26 f. (where they seem to be alluded to for the first time). On 
the other hand, the denunciation of the ruling class, and the opening exclama- 
tion Woe, associate the passage with the prophecy v. 8 — 24 (which is directed 
against Judah, not Israel), and it is with the last-named section that it has 
been plausibly connected by Giesebrecht^. Accordingly the refrain in 4^ 
which is really inappropriate after a prediction of the future {r^r. 3 — 4*), must 
be regarded as a mistaken addition. 

1 See his Beitrage zur lesaiakritik (1890), pp. 1 — 24, 

72 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [x. 1-4 

X. 1 Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and 
to the writers that write perverseness : 2 to turn aside the needy 
from judgement, and to take away the right of the poor of my 
people, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make 
the fatherless their prey ! 3 And what will ye do in the day of 
visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far ? to 
whom will ye flee for help ? and where will ye leave your glory ? 
4 ^They shall only bow down under the prisoners, and shall fall 
under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but 
his hand is stretched out still. 

^ Or, Without me they shall hoiu down <&c. X| 

X. 1 — 4. The iniquity of the judges of Judah calls for vengeance, 
from which there will be no escape. 

1. that decree, etc. The prophet's denunciation is directed against 
those responsible for inequitable judicial decisions. Such decisions, 
after being recorded, would constitute a body of case-made law, guiding 
subsequent judgments, so that injustice would be perpetuated. 

that write perverseness. Better, that register oppression, i.e. op- 
pressive sentences. 

3. of visitation, i.e. of punishment (cf Hos. ix. 7, Mic. vii. 4, 
Jer. X. 15). 

the desolation. Perhaps better, the storm (the allusion being pre- 
sumably to an Assyrian invasion). The direct question is obviously 
only appropriate if addressed to the people (Judah) amongst whom 
Isaiah was resident. 

to whom. Idols (ii. 20), or the powers of the under- world (viii. 19, 
xxviii. 15), were impotent to aid, and the Lord was estranged. 

your glory. Better, your wealth (cf Ixi. 6, Gen. xxxi. 1, mg.). 

4. They shall only, etc. Perhaps better, Except they bow down 
.. .prisoners, they shall, etc. : their only resource is captivity or death 
(cf. Jer. vi. 15, Ezek. xxxii. 20). But the original is obscure and perhaps 
corrupt. An ingenious emendation (by Lagarde) is Beltis boweth 
down, Osiris is broken, and under the slain shall they fall (nn nyib ''FOl 
"ripx for TE^* nnPi yip '•ri??). Osiris was an Egyptian deity, and Beltis, 
as the equivalent of Baalah or Baalath, "lady," might be applied as 
a title to the goddess Isis. The emendation (which is modelled on 
xlvi. 1, cf also Jer. 1. 2) pre-supposes that as early as Ahaz's reign (see 
p. 51) Egyptian deities had been introduced into Judah, but affirms 
that they will be found powerless to defend those who have trusted 
them and that their prostrate and shattered images will be buried 
beneath heaps of carnage. The concluding refrain should be omitted. 


X. 5—34. 

This oracle (distinguished from the preceding context by both contents 
and spirit) was addressed to Judah on the occasion of an invasion by Assyria, 
and designed to encourage the people by the assurance that the chastisement 
of which the AssjTians were the instruments (cf. vii. 18—20, \'iii. 5 — 8) would 
be regulated by the Divine purposes and not by the invader's ambition, and 
would not end in the total destruction of the Lord's people (cf. viii. 9, 10). 
The date must be at least later that 717, for mention is made in v. 9 of the 
capture of Carchemish, taken by the Assyrians in that year. By Cheyne 
w. 5—9, 13, 14 are assigned to the reign of Sargon who, about 713 — 711, 
assailed Ashdod (see c. xx.) and in a contemporary inscription (if it is correctly 
interpreted) claims to have subdued Judah •. But on that occasion Isaiah 
anticipated that the Assyrian arms would be carried into Egypt and Ethiopia 
(xx. 4), whereas in the present oracle, composed apparently before the march 
of the invaders had actually reached as far south as Judah (vv. 28 — 32), the 
prophet regards their destruction as imminent. Hence the prophecy (so 
far as it is Isaiah's) is more plausibly attributed to the reign of Sennacherib 
and the year 701 (cf. the reflexions of the Assyrian king in vv. 8 — 11, 13, 14 
with the language of Sennacherib in xxxvi. 18 — 20, xxxvii. 11 — 13). It thus 
approximately synchronizes with xxviii. 7 — 29 and cc. xxix. — xxxi., but is 
somewhat later than these ; for whereas in the cc. just cited Isaiah aims at 
discouraging the false hopes of his countrymen, he here seeks to prevent a 
recoil from exaggerated self-confidence to exaggerated despondency. Certain 
superficial objections to the date (701) here assigned are considered in the 
notes on vv. 27, 28 — 34. 

The authenticity of large portions of this section has been questioned ; and 
those passages which are suspected with most reason are indicated as they 

5 ^Ho Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, the staff in whose 
hand is mine indignation ! 6 I will send him against a profane 

1 Or, Woe to Asuhur 

5 — 15. The Assyrian proposes and the Lord disposes. 

5. the rod, etc. The figures are confused, for Assyria cannot 
with consistency be regarded at the same time as being the instrument 
of God's wrath, and as wielding it (see v. 24). Probably the text 
should be corrected (with Duhm) to the rod of mine anger, the staff of 
my indignation CPyt nLDO-l^ omitting ^T,^ t^-in as an ill-considered 
gloss, based on v. 24) ; for the metaphor cf. Jer. li. 20. 

6. / will send. Perhaps better, / send. The conception of foreign 
nations as agents for the accomplishment of the Divine purposes recurs 
in V. 26, xxxvii. 26. 

a profane nation, i.e. a people false to their religious obligations ; 
cf ix. 17. 

1 Schrader, GOT., i. p. 178. 

74 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [x.7-11 

nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a 
charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and Ho tread 
them down like the mire of the streets. 7 Howbeit he meaneth 
not so, neither doth his heart think so ; but it is in his heart to 
destroy, and to cut off nations not a few. 8 For he saith, Are 
not my princes all of them kings ? 9 Is not Calno as Carchemish ? 
is not Hamath as Arpad? is not Samaria as Damascus ? 10 As 
my hand hath 2 found the kingdoms of the idols, whose graven 
images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria ; 11 shall I 

^ Heb. to make them a treading down. ^ Or, reached 

the people of my wrath, i.e. the people against whom my anger is 
directed (cf. Jer. vii. 29, the generation of his wrath). 

7. he, meaneth not so. i.e. he does not deem himself merely 
empowered by God to inflict a hmited chastisement upon offenders but 
free to pursue his own unrestricted schemes of spoliation and destruction 
(cf. xlvii. 6, Zech. i. 15). 

8. For he saith. The subject of the verb is the Assyrian king, as 
impersonating the spirit and policy of his country. 

Are not my princes, etc. His reasons for counting upon a triumph 
over Jerusalem are the rank and power of his officers (who are vassal 
kings) and his previous successes over other cities. 

9. Calno. LXX. XaXaj/vr;, usually identified with Kullani, a 
country near Arpad and subdued by Tiglath-pileser in 738 : cf. 
Am. vi. 2. 

Carchemish. Identical with the Greek Europos and the mod. 
Jerdbis, on the right bank of the upper Euphrates ; it was an important 
Hittite city and was taken by Sargon in 717. 

Hamath. The Greek Epiphaneia (now called Hamah), on the 
Orontes, conquered by Tiglath-pileser in 738, and reconquered by 
Sargon in 720. 

Arpad. The mod. Tell Erpdd, not far from Aleppo ; taken by 
Tiglath-pileser in 740 and again by Sargon in 720. 

Samaria. Subjugated by Sargon in 722. 

Damascus. Taken by Tiglath-pileser in 732. 

10. my hand. The Assyrian speaks in a representative character, 
since the cities named in v. 9 were not all subdued by the same king. 

found. Better (as in the mg.), reached or seized (and so in v. 14) ; 
cf Ps. xxi. 8. 

the idols. Better, the non-entities (cf on ii. 8), i.e. gods who by the 
arbitrament of events were proved to be impotent beside those of 
Assyria (cf xxxvi. 18, 19, xxxvii. 12). But some (guided by the 
LXX.) would replace the kingdoms of the idols by these kingdoms (ni3?Pw 

nWn for ^'b]f>^ nb^PD^). 

of Jerusalem and of Samaria. The two cities are here coupled 
together as though they were both still uncaptured, whereas Samaria 

x.,2-i4] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 75 

not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jeru- 
salem and her idols ? 

12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath 
performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, 
I will ^punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, 
and the glory of his high looks. 13 For he hath said, By the 
strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom ; for I 
am prudent : and I have removed the bounds of the peoples, 
and have robbed their treasures, and I have brought down as a 
valiant man -them that sit on thrmies : 14 and my hand hath found 
as a nest the riches of the peoples ; and as one gathereth eggs 
that are forsaken, have I gathered all the earth : and there was 
none that moved the wing, or that opened the mouth, or chirped. 

^ Heb. visit upon. ^ Or, the inhabitavts 

had been already taken {w. 9, 11); and the inconsistency has led to the 
V. being regarded as an insertion. It is certainly supertiuous, v. 11 
connecting naturally with v. 9. By Cheyne both v. 10 and u 11 (as 
well as V. 12) are considered to be interpolations on the ground that 
the term idols is inappropriate in the mouth of" an Assyrian. 

12. Wherefore, etc. This v. (including Foi- he hath said in v. 13) 
is in prose, and as it interrupts the Assyrian's soliloquy, may be an 

his whole work. i.e. the correction of His people (xxviii. 21, cf. 
V. 12, 19). 

/ will punish. Better (with the LXX.), he will punish. 

the fruit of the stout heart, i.e. the outcome (the vaunting) of his 
self-confidence (ix. 9). 

13. By the strength, etc. Sennacherib and other Assyrian kings 
in their inscriptions do not, as here represented, arrogate to themselves 
all their successes, but ascribe them to the favour of the national God 

the hounds of the peoples. The Assyrian policy of obliterating 
national boundaries by the deportation of subjugated populations 
(2 Kgs. xvi. 9, xvii. 6, 24) oft'ended Hebrew religious sentiment, for the 
bounds of nations were thought to have been fixed by the Lord 
Himself (Deut. xxxii. 8). 

as a valiant man. Perhaps better, as a Mighty One (i.e. a god, 
cf. i. 24). But the LXX. seems to have had ^'"^K for ^^?N? and the text, 
which seems defective, may be corrected (with Mitchell) to 1 have 
brought down cities to the earth (Duhm, into the dust), and I have made 
their inhabitants to perish (reading tC"??'^' 1'?'«J ^^nr y^j^h nniNi). 

^ Schrader, COT., i. pp. 240, 284. 

76 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [x. 15-18 

15 Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith ? 
shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it ? as if a 
rod should shake them that lift it up, or as if a staif should lift 
up him that is not wood. 

16 Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among 
his fat ones leanness ; and ^ under his glory there shall be 
kindled a burning like the burning of fire. 17 And the light of 
Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame : and it 
shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day. 
18 And he shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his 
fruitful field, both soul and body : and it shall be ^as when a 

1 Or, instead of ^ Or, as when a sick man pineth away 

15. Shall the axe, etc. The Assyrian's speech ends at v. 14, and 
this v. is a comment upon it. His independence is imaginary, and his 
self-assertion is as ridiculous as would be that of a tool or a staff 
(cf. IB. 5) seeking to invert relations with a human being who used it ; 
cf. the similar rebuke in xxix. 16, xlv. 9. Che}aie rejects the v. as " an 
ironical insertion like xxix. 16." 

16 — 19. An announcement that the Assyrian's vaunted power 
will be reduced to impotence. 

The predicted disappearance of the martial strength that had 
fostered the Assyrian's pride is represented under two incongruous 
figures which are strangely entangled with one another — viz. the 
wasting of a human body through disease, and the destruction of a 
forest by fire. The mixture of metaphors has led Cheyne, Duhm, and 
Marti to regard the section as non-Isaianic and late : cf Zech. xii. 6. 

16. his fat ones. i.e. (possibly) his stalwart warriors (cf. Ps. 
Ixxviii. 31). But better (in this connection, see v. 18 mg.) his fat limbs 
(cf. Ps. x. 10, his strong ones, i.e. his strong limbs or claws), a figure for 
his prosperous condition : cf xvii. 4. 

leanness. A figure for adversity ; cf xxiv. 10 mg. 

his glory, i.e. his nobles (cf v. 13 mg.), or preferably, his military 
power and resources (cf viii. 7, xvii. 4), which will be annihilated : cf. 
xxxi. 8, xxxiii. 12. 

17. the light of Israel. A title of the Lord, usually expressive of 
His power to illuminate and cheer (cf ii. 5, Ps. xxvii. 1, xxxvi. 9), but 
(since a source of light is ordinarily a source of heat) suggestive also 
of His capacity to consume and annihilate (cf xxx. 27, Deut. ix. 3). 

his thorns... briers. Brushwood burns easily, and the Assyrian 
power will consume with equal rapidity : cf ix. 18, xxxiii. 12, Ps. 
Ixxxiii. 14. 

in one day. Not to be understood literally, but equivalent to 
"speedily": cf ix. 14. 

18. his fruitful field. Better, his plantation (or orchard). The 


standardbearer fainteth. 19 And the remnant of the trees of 
his forest shall be few, that a child may write them. 

20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant 
of Israel, and they that are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall 
no more again stay upon him that smote them ; but shall stay 
upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. 21 ^ A remnant 
shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. 
22 For though Hhy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only 
a remnant ^of them shall return : a consumption is determined, 

1 Heb. shear jashub. See ch. vii. 3. 

2 Or, thy people, Israel ' Heb. in it. 

metaphor of the briers and thorns is here replaced by kindred ones : 
cf the similar figures in xxxii. 19, Jer. xxi. 14, xlvi. 23. 

soul and body. A phrase expressive of the completeness of the 
disaster destined to overtake them. There is an abrupt change to the 
figure oiv. 16*^ : cf. the combination of metaphors in xxviii. 18. 

when a standardbearer, etc. Better (in harmony with the figure 
of V. 16*), when a sick man wastes away (cf. mg.). 

19. And the remnant, etc. The writer returns to the metaphor 
of the forest fire (vv. 16'' — IS'^). So extensive will be the destruction 
wrought that the trees left standing (i.e. the surviving Assyrian forces) 
will be few enough for even a child to count. 

20 — 23. The conversion, to the Lord, of the survivors in Judah. 

This passage interrupts the connection between w. 19 and 24, for 
the there/ore of v. 24, which introduces an exhortation to Israel to lay 
aside its fears is the natural sequence of the encouraging prediction of 
Assyria's discomfiture in vv. 16 — 19 and not of a reminder that Judah 
is to be all but completely exterminated (vv. 22, 23). It is, moreover, 
not free from internal difficulty (see on v. 20). In view of these facts 
many critics with some justice regard it as a late interpolation, 
though reproducing Isaianic expressions (cf v. 20 with iv. 2, «;. 21 with 
vii. 3, Heb., v. 23 with xxviii. 22). 

20. him that smote them. i.e. Assyria. Judah relied for support 
upon Assyria in the reign of Ahaz (2 Kgs. xvi. 7), not in the reign of 
Hezekiah (when the foreign power from which help was sought was 
Egypt, XXX. 2, xxxi. 1). 

in truth, i.e. sincerely and steadfastly ; cf xlii. 3. 

21. shall return, i.e. shall reverse the present distrustful attitude 
of the nation : cf i. 26, 27, xxx. 15, ix. 13, xxxi. 6. 

the mighty God. Or, the Divine Warrior : cf Jer. xxxii. 18, 
Deut. X. 17. 

22. For though... be, etc. Better (as in the mg.), For though thy 
pmple, Israel, be, etc. (Cf Gen. xxii. 17, xxxii. 12.) 

a consumption, etc. Better, destruction is decided upon, i.e. the 
extermination of the sinful majority in Israel is irrevocably fixed : 
cf. Dan. ix. 27. 


78 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [x. 23-^6 

overflowing with righteousness. 23 For a consummation, and 
that determined, shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, make in the 
midst of all the ^ earth. 

24 Therefore thus saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts, my 
people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of ^the Assyrian : 
though he smite thee with the rod, and lift up his staff against 
thee, after the manner of Egypt. 25 For yet a very little while, 
and the indignation shall be accomplished, and ^mine anger, in 
their destruction. 26 And the Lord of hosts shall stir up 
against him a scourge, as in the slaughter of Midian at the rock 
of Oreb : and *his rod shall be over the sea, and he shall lift it 

1 Or, land - Heb. Asshur. ^ Or, 7nine anger shall be to their <&c. 

* Or, as his rod was over the sea, so shall he d'c. 

overflowing with righteousness. The process of destruction, which 
is likened to a flood (cf. viii. 8, xxviii. 15, 18), will be an execution of 
justice (cf. i. 27, v. 16). 

The V. is used by St Paul in Rom. ix. 27, 28 of the exclusion of the 
majority of the Jews from the privileges of Christianity. 

23. For a cojisummation, etc. Better, For an end, and that a 
decisive one, shall, etc. The words are a citation, slightly modified, of 
part of xxviii. 22 (which has also influenced Dan. ix. 27). 

24—27. An exhortation to the inhabitants of Zion to patience and 

24. Therefore, etc. This is the sequel of -?;. 15 or 19. 

after the manner, etc. i.e. as the Egyptian task-masters were wont 
to do (Ex. ii. 11, V. 14). 

25. the indignation. Perhaps better (by a slight addition), my 
indignation (against Judah) : cf v. 5 and xxvi. 20. 

and mine anger, etc. Better, and mine anger shall turn to their 

(the Assyrians') destruction (reading "ly (with two MSS.) for ^V). 

26. stir up. Better, lift up or wield (2 Sam. xxiii. 18). For the 
imagery cf xxx. 30 — ^32. 

as in the slaughter of. Better, like the smiting of. See Jud. vii. 
25 ; cf ix. 4 (sup.) and Ps. Ixxxiii. 9 — 11. The rock oj Oreb may have 
meant originally "the Raven's rock'". 

and his rod, etc. The mention of the sea is inappropriate in con- 
nection with the impending overthrow of Assyria, and if the text is 
retained the rendering must be and his rod (which was once stretched) 
over tJie sea (Ex. xiv. 26, 27) he shall lift up, etc. (cf nig.). But this is 
awkward ; and the text should perhaps be corrected, with Winckler {ap. 
Mitchell), to and his rod over them (the AssjTians) he shall lift up 

(reading ^T- "^^M for i^t?-^ ^\'^'^V). 

1 Cf. En-hakkore, "the Partridge's spring" (Jud. xv. 19). 

x.27,28] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 79 

up after the manner of Egypt. 27 And it shall come to pass in 
that day, that his burden shall depart from off thy shoulder, and 
his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed 
^because of ^the anointing. 

28 He is come to Aiath, he is passed through Migron ; at 

^ Or, hy reason of fatness ^ Heb. oil. 

after the manner, etc. i.e. as He lifted it over the Egyptians (cf. 
Am. iv. 10). 

27. his burden. Although Hezekiali had thrown off the yoke of 
Assyria before 701, the invasion of that year virtually reimposed it. 

because of the anointing, i.e. because of the consecrated character 
of the Judaean people (cf Ps. cv. 15); but this is too obscurely ex- 
pressed to be the true sense. The mg. by reason of fatness implies 
that Judah, like an ox, will wax so lusty and vigorous (cf Deut. xxxii. 
1 r> ) as to break its yoke by its restiveuess ; but the tenor of the whole 
passage is that deliverance will come to the nation not through its own 
strength but through the intervention of the Lord. Hence Duhm 
jouuects shall be destroyed with the previous clause, and emends the 
remaining words to He is ascended from Pene Rimmon, transferring 

them to the following v. (reading I'lrsi ';?P nbr :^3n> for Vy '?3ni 
|D^<->ijspy_ Pq^iq Rimmon (for this form of name cf Peniel, Gen. 
xxxii. 30) is a hypothetical locality ; but a rock oj- Rimmon'^ is 
mentioned in Jud. xx. 45, 47, and a place 3|- m. E. of Bethel still 
bears the name Rammon. 

28 — 34. A description of the Assyrian advance towards Jerusalem, 
aid of its sudden frustration. 

The places named are, so far as they can be identified, all N. of 
Tenisalem ; so that the Assyrians must be supposed to be advancing 
from the direction of Samaria. When Sennacherib's army approached 
Jerusalem in 701 it came from Philistia in the S.W. (see xxxvi. 2), but 
[)rophetic descriptions of the future were not so uniformly accurate 
that the discrepancy necessitates the assignment of this section to 
mother date than 701 (e.g. 722, Cheyne). In the original, assonances 
)i-cur in connection with some of the place-names (cf Mic. i.). 

28. He is come. The perfect tenses are prophetic perfects. 
Aiath. i.e. Ai or Ayyah (1 Ch. vii. 28 mg.), 9 m. N.N.E. from 

Jerusalem and rebuilt since Joshua's time (Josh. viii. 28), the mod. 
Till el Chajar. 

Migron. The mod. Makrun, north of Michmash; the Migron of 
I jl Sam. xiv. 2 was south of the latter place. 

' W. R. Smith proposed {and the yoke from off thy neck) shall cease. A destroyer 
Kijh ascended from thenorth (reading lib' j'Mp ibv '. hin\) which has the advantage 
iving a nominative to the verbs that follow in v. 28, but departs from the 
r -ived text further than Duhm's emendation. Duhm in ed. 2 accepts ^"^n\ 
Ij =* Rimmon (Ramm&n) was a Syrian god (2 Kgs. v. 18), 

80 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [x. 29-32 

Michmash he layeth up his baggage : 29 they are gone over the 
pass ; Hhey have taken up their lodging at Geba : Ramah 
trembleth ; Gibeah of Saul is fled. 30 Cry aloud with thy 
voice, O daughter of Gallim ! hearken, Laishah ! ^O thou 
poor Anathoth ! 31 Madmenah is a fugitive ; the inhabitants 
of Gebim ^gather themselves to flee. 32 This very day shall 
he halt at Nob : he shaketh his hand at the mount of the 
* daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem. 

1 Or, Geha is our lodging, tbey cry 

* Or, as otherwise read, answer her, Anathoth ! 

■^ Or, make their households _^ee * Another reading is, house. 

Michmash. This, named in 1 Sam. xiii. 2, xiv. 31, etc., is the mod. 
Muchmas, 7 m. from Jerusalem. 

layeth up, etc. i.e. to facilitate the ascent of the southern slope of 
the pass (v. 29). 

29. the pass. i.e. the Wady Suweinit, a defile separating 
Michmash on the N. from Geba on the S. (of. 1 Sam. xiii. 23, 
xiv. 4, 5). 

they have taken, etc. Better (with the Vulg.), Geba is our bivouuc 
(they cry): cf mg. The place (identified with the mod. Jeba) was 
in Benjamin. 

Ramah. A town near the frontier of the Judsean territory (1 Kgs. xv. 
17), the mod. Er-Rdm, S.W. of Geba. 

trembleth. The description (from here to the end oi v. 31) depicts 
the alarm of the Judgean towns lying near the route followed by the 

Gibeah of Saul. Saul's home (1 Sam. x. 26) : probably the mod. 
Tell-el-Ful, a little more than 4 m. from the capital. 

30. Gallim.. .Laishah. These (the first is alluded to in 1 Sam. xxv. 
44) have not been identified with certainty. 

thou poor Anathoth. The context is in favour of a verb rather 
than an adjective, and the Syriac supports a different pointing (cf mg.) 
Anathoth, answer her ij}^^ for ^V^V) ; but the clause is parallel to the 
following (not the preceding), and Mitchell suggests Anathoth coweretk 
(nji^y). Anathoth (the birthplace of Jeremiah) is the mod. Andta, 
3 m. N.E. of Jerusalem. 

31. Madmenah. Thought to be the mod. Shafat. 
Gebim. The site is unknown. 

gather themselves, etc. Perhaps better, make (their cattle) to flee 
into safety (cf Ex. ix. 19). 

32. Nob. A city where, in David's time, a community of priests 
lived (1 Sam. xxii. 11). The situation is not precisely known, but it 
is conjectured to have been on Mount Scopus, where preparations would 
be made for the assault upon Jerusalem. 

shaketh, etc. A gesture of menace: cf xix. 16, xi. 15. 

daughter. So the Heb. mg., LXX. and Vulg. : the Heb. text has house. 

x.33,34] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 81 

33 Behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, shall lop the boughs 
with terror : and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, 
and the lofty shall be brought low. 34 And he shall cut down 
the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a 
mighty one. 

33. Behold, etc. The moment the enemy gets within sight of his 
goal, his career is arrested (cf. xiv. 25, xvii. 14, xviii. 5, xxix. 7, xxxi. 
5, xxxvii. 35 f.). 

the boughs. The figure of the forest {v. 18) is resumed, but it is here 
represented as destroyed not by burning but by felling. 

with terror. Better, with a shock (or crash), for which Duhm would 
substitute with an axe (reading "iVy^S for n^"Typ5) ; cf. with iron {y. 34). 

34. and Lebanon. Better, and the Lebanon, a metaphor, like the 
thickets of the forest, for the Assyrian host. 

by a mighty one. i.e. the Lord. Some substitute a tool, to suit 
the parallelism, but possibly the text should be emended (after the LXX. 
avv Totq v\pri\.ol<i, Vulg. cum excelsis) to with its mighty ones (i.e. its cedars) 
— V-J^-IN? for -r^m-. cf Zech. xi. 2, Heb. 

Chapter XI. 

This c. consists of two distinct sections (1) vv. 1 — 9, (2) vv. 11 — 16, together 
j vdth an intervening y. (10) designed to unite them. The first section foretells the 
advent, and describes the equitable and pacific reign, of a gifted king of the 
family of David ; whilst the second predicts a return of Hebrew exiles from 
various countries, and their future supremacy over neighbouring lands. The 
two parts are of different origin and date. 

XL 1—9. 

This section forms an appropriate sequel to the preceding (x. 5 — 34), to 
which it aff"ords an eflfective contrast, setting over against the arrested violence 
and arrogance of the Assyrian king the just and tranquil rule of a native prince, 
and completing the description of Israel's tribulation and rescue with a picture 
of its final felicity (cf the relation of xxxii. 1 — 8 to c. xxxi.). But though the 
section, in relation to the previous c, is artistically in place, it is probably 
separate in date, and may be assigned to a time when the Assyrians had 
completely withdrawn from Judah. 

The correspondence in attributes and functions between the child whose 

birth is predicted in ix. 6, 7 and the ruler here described {vv. 1 — 5) is exceed- 

gly close. As the first is to be entitled Wonderful Counsellor and Divine 

Warrior, is to sit on the throne of David, to rule with righteousness, and to 

tablish a reign of peace, so the second is to be endued with the spirit of 

ounsel and might, to spring from the same stock as David, to judge with 

quity, and to difi"use a peace embracing even the animal creation. The 

•esemblance makes it clear that the writer on both occasions had before him 

w. I. 6 

82 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xi.1,2 

the same ideal figure, though the description in the present passage is the more 
elevated and spiritual. There is no sufficient reason to doubt that both passages 
were composed by Isaiah, and several objections advanced against both in 
common have already been considered (see p. 62). In addition, it has been 
urged against the authenticity of the present section that (a) it presupposes the 
fall of the Davidic dynasty {i\ 1) and so could only have been written after the 
destruction of Jewish independence ; (6) that the hope of a universal peace, ex- 
tending even to the animal creation, is only paralleled in post-Isaianic composi- 
tions (Ixv. 25, Hab. ii. 14). But (a) v. 1 does not necessitate the conclusions drawn 
from it (see note) ; and (&) the hope of a return to the conditions of the Golden 
Age of the past (Gen. ii. especially vv. 19, 20) cannot be deemed more improbable 
in the eighth than in subsequent centuries. « 1 

XI. 1 And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock 
of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit : 2 and the 
spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and 
understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of 

XI. 1 . a shoot ...a branch. For the application of the terms to the 
offshoot of a family see xiv. 19, Dan. xi. 7 : cf (.pvo<; and o^o? in Greek 
(Horn. //. II. 540, 'EA.€(^i7Fwp o^os^ApT^o?). See also Jer. xxiii. 5, xxxiii. 
15, Zech. iii. 8 (though a different word is used). 

It is apparently this prophecy which in St Matthew's Gospel (ii. 23) 
is regarded as fulfilled by our Lord's residence at Nazareth (the name 
of which the writer associates with the Heb. for branch, i^?.). 

the stock of Jesse. It is implied that the coming Ruler is to be of 
the royal Judaean house (cf ix. 7), which has suffered severely (in 
common with the nation, x. 12, 24), but has not been removed from its 
native soil: contrast Ezek. xvii. 4, 22, 23. The expression stock of 
Jesse is used, instead of the more natural stock of David (cf Rev. v. 5, 
xxii. 16), the better to suggest that the future Prince is himself to be a 
second David (cf Mic. v. 2). 

shall bear fruit. The renderings of the LXX., Syr. and Vulg. have 
suggested the emendation shall bud (p1^\ for '^.Ip.'*). 

2. and the spirit, etc. The spirit of the Lord was deemed the 
source of all personal endowments or conditions beyond the ordinary 
(see Jud. iii. 10, vi. 34, xi. 29, xiii. 25, xiv. 6, 19, Ex. xxxi. 3, 
Num. xi. 25, 1 Sam. x. 6, xi. 6, xvi. 13, Is. xxviii. 6, xxxii. 15, Joel ii. 
28). Here it confers upon the Messiah the highest excellences of mind 
and character, as estimated by the needs of the times (for the duty of 
a Hebrew king was to deal justice to his subjects, and to lead them in 
battle against their foes (see 1 Sam. viii. 5, 20, 1 Kgs. iii. 9 : cf 2 Sam. 
XV. 2, 4, 2 Kgs. XV. 5, Jer. xxi. 12, Ps. Ixxii. 3, 4)). Hence of the three 
pairs of attributes with which he is to be invested the first are 
the intellectual faculties of the judge (cf Deut. i. 13, 1 Kgs. iii. 9, 12), 
the second the practical qualities of the administrator and warrior 
(cf xxxvi. 5), and the third the fundamental principles of aU moral 
life (Prov. ix. 10, Ps. cxi. 10). 


knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; 3 and ^his ^delight 
shall be in the fear of the Lord : and he shall not judge after 
the sight of his eyes, neither ^reprove after the hearing of his 
ears : 4 but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and 
reprove with equity for the meek of the *earth : and he shall 
smite the *earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath 
of his lips shall he slay the wicked. 5 And righteousness shall 
be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. 
G And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall 

1 Or, he shall be of quick understanding - Heb. scent. 

3 Or, decide * Or, land 

3. his delight, etc. Literally, his smelling (cf. Gen. viii. 21, 1 Sam. 
xxvi. 19, Am. v. 21). If the clause is genuine, it describes the king's 
satisfaction in the piety of his subjects. But it is metrically redundant 
and is probably a corrupt repetition of the last clause of v. 2. 

he shall not judge, etc. In the dispensing of justice (a function of 
the Messiah in Jer. xxiii. 5, xxxiii. 15) he will not be misled by appear- 
ances or misrepresentations, but will be empowered to discern the truth 
with unfailing certainty; cf xxviii. 6, 2 Sam. xiv. 20. 

reprove. Better (as in the mg.), decide or arbitrate (and so in v. 4). 

4. the meek of the earth. Better (by a slight emendation of one 
\vord), the needy of the land (?5y for ''1^^, cf Sym. tous trTinxov'i rrjs y^s), 
since a word denoting not a disposition but a condition is required, and 
since the sphere of the Messiah's authority is Judah (v. 9*), not the 
whole world : cf the parallelism in x. 2, xxvi. 6. 

smite the earth, i.e. the impious inhabitants of the earth (or land) : 
cf xiii. 1 1. But in view of the parallelism, better (by a slight correction) 
smite the terrible (or the tyrant), reading Y^l^ for Y~}^ (cf xxix. 20). 

the rod of his mouth, etc. His sentences upon offenders will be 
executed with immediateness and inerrancy, like those of the Lord 
Himself (cf Hos. vi. 5, and see 2 Kgs. v. 27 ; cf 2 Th. ii. 8, Acts v. 
1 — 10). The breath of his lips is a synonym for "his word" (as in Ps. 
xxxiii. 6). The rule of the Messiah will prevent the recurrence of the 
wrongs that have previously excited the Divine anger (i. 15, 23, iii. 15, 
V. 7, X. 2). 

5. righteousness... faithfulness. The qualities named will be his 
ec^uipment for the discharge of his duties, a girdle (to loop up the 
flowing Eastern dress) being regularly worn by men engaged in active 
exertion (see v. 27). For the metaphor cf the parallel figures in Ixi. 3, 
10, 1 Sam. ii. 4, Job xxix. 14, Ps. cix. 18, 19: also Eph. vi. 14. 

the girdle of his reins. Better (after the Vulg., which renders girdle 
in the two clauses by different words), the cincture of his reins ("li^n for 

6. A nd the wolf, etc. The abolition of blood-thirstiness amongst 
beasts of prey enters into the prophet's description of the conditions 
prevailing under the Messiah's rule, partly because conceptions of the 


84 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xi.7-9 

lie down with the kid ; and the calf and the young lion and the 
fatling together ; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the 
cow and the bear shall feed ; their young ones shall lie down 
together : and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the 
sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned 
child shall put his hand on the ^basilisk's den. 9 They shall 
not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain : for the earth 
shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover 
the sea. 

^ Or, adder's 

Golden Age of the future naturally reproduced those of the past 
(and myths doubtless survived amongst the Hebrews, as amongst some 
other nations, of a time when animals were harmless and friendly to man, 
cf Gen. ii. 19), and partly because the mischief wrought by savage 
animals in Palestine (where wolves, bears, leopards and lions were 
common) was so serious that the removal of it was likely to figure in 
any picture of a happy era to come (cf Hos. ii. 18). 

and the fatling. The symmetry of the clause is improved by 
Duhm's emendation s/iall be fattened (^''")?- for ^''IP''), which supplies a 
verb. Other critics would substitute s/iall graze (Cy for ^''10^) : 

LXX. (ioo-K-qOrjfxovTai. 

7. sJiall feed. Better, shall graze. The LXX. adds together (cf 
Ixv. 25) ; but possibly the verb should be emended to shall be friends 
(nj^i^-jj^n (cf Prov. xxii. 24) for nj^yiFi). 

eat straw. This probably reproduces a feature in the legends of the 
Creation, though of the Biblical records it is only Gen. i. 29, 30 (P) 
that represents herbs as having once been the meat of all living 

8. the asp. The asp is the -Vipera asjoa's ; but some have thought that 
the snake meant is the Egyptian cobra {Naja haje), cf Ps. Iviii. 4, 5. 

tJie basilisk. The serpent to which the name is applied by 
naturalists is a native of Africa, and does not occur in Palestine, 
and the creature here mentioned has been thought to be the yellow 
viper (Daboia xanthina), but see on lix. 5. 

den. Or lair. This rendering implies an emendation (^'DV'? for 
nnit^p- cf LXX. koittj, Vulg. cavema): the received text perhaps 
means glistening eyeball, by w^hich the child must be supposed to be 
attracted as by a flashing gem. 

9. They. The pronoun refers comprehensively to both mankind and 
the animal world : men, as well as beasts, will be divested of their evil 
qualities; cf iv. 3, Ix. 21. 

all my Jioly mountain, i.e. the hill country of Judsea (cf Ivii. 13, 
Ex. XV. 17, Josh. xi. 21). The phrase (in which the possessive adjective 
my refers to the Lord) is isolated in Isaiah. 

the earth. Better (in view of the parallel clause), the land. 

The authenticity of this v. has been suspected, for the first half 
occurs in Ixv. 25 and the second half, slightly varied, in Hab. ii. 14 ; 


and it has been thought that these are the original sources. Ixv. 25, 
however, comprises not only v. 9" but also fragments of vv. 6, 7, and 
consequently appears to be dependent upon the present passage, which 
is brought to an appropriate conclusion by this v., and would end 
abruptly without it. 

Additional Note on vv. 1 — 9. 

The resemblance to this prophecy displayed by Vergil's Fourth Eclogue (see 
especially vc. 13, 14, 21, 22, 24, 25)^ has led some to the conclusion that the Roman 
writer was acquainted directly or indirectly with Isaiah's prediction or with ideas 
borrowed from it (see Merivale, Hist, of the Romans under the Empire, iii. 
p. 247, ed. 1875). To explain the supposed connection, it has been suggested 
that Vergil in this poem was indebted to some oracle, passing as Sibylline 
(cf. V. 4), which came from the East, and incorporated Hebrew beliefs and 
expectations (see J. B. Mayor, Vergil's Messianic Eclogue, p. 104 f.)". But the 
jMjints of likeness between the Eclogue and Isaiah are not really so remarkable 
as to require to be thus accounted for. It is more probable that Vergil, influ- 
enced by the hopes raised by the peace of Brundisium (b.c. 40), merely elaborated, 
and transferred to the future, the description of the Golden Age of the past 
which was given first by Hesiod {Op. 109 — 119 (120)), and which he has made 
tise of in Georg. i. 125—135 (cf Ovid, M. i. 89—112). The abolition of human 
wickedness and a change in the instincts of savage beasts and deadly serpents 
are sufficiently natural features in any ideal picture of earthly peace and felicity 
to have occurred independently to more than one writer 3; nor is it surprising 
that both a Hebrew prophet and a Roman poet should have associated the 
dawn of a new era for their respective countries with the advent of a scion of 
the ruling house. 

Te duce, si qua nmnent sceleris vestigia nostri, 
Irrita perpetua solvent fortiiidine terras. 

Ipsae lacte domtim referent distenta capellae 
libera, nee viagnos metuent armenta leones, 

Occidet et serpens, et faUax herba veneni 
- Gesenius quotes from Oracula Sibi/llina, iii. 478 f. (a section supposed to have 
been written in the second century by an Alexandrian Jew) verses which have 
obviously been influenced by Is. xi. 6 — 8. 

iv 5e XiiKoi re Kal &pv€? iv oupfcni/ dfJ.fMS ^dovrai 
X&pTov, TrapSdXi^s t epicpois afia ^ocTKyjcrovTat, 
dpKTOi aiiv /Ciocrxots vbfxahi's r aiiki-crd-qcrovTaL, 
crapKo^opSs re X^uu dxvpov <f)dy€TaL wapd (pdrvris, 
cis /SoCs" Kal watdes fj.d\a vrjinoL iv oeafJLoIcriv 
d^ovaiv ■ TT-qpos yap eiri x^'^"'- ^VP'^ Trrri^ei, 
(Tvv ppicpecriv re SpaKovres dfi datncn KOifiTjcrovTai 
KOVK dSiK-qcrovcnv x^^P ydp 0eou ^<t<J€t kir avro'us. 
3 Cf. Hor. Epodes xvi. 51, 52 (of the isles of the Blest) 

Nee vespertinus circumgemit iirsus ovile, 
Neque intumescit alta viperis huimis. 

3f. also Theoc. Id. xxiv. 86, 87. 

86 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xi. lo 

XI. 10—16. 

This section predicts a gathering of the heathen to seek instruction from the 
Messiah, a restoration of Hebrew exiles, and an extension of Hebrew rule over 
neighbouring peoples. The passage is linked to the foregoing vv. 1 — 9 by the 
reference, in v. 10, to the root of Jesse ; but the general tenor alike of this v. 
(which is detached in some measure from the following) and of vv. 11 — 16 is 
against their being Isaianic in origin. Both (a) the contents and (Jb) the 
phraseology render it probable that the whole section {vc. 10 — 16) proceeds 
from a later age than Isaiah's, {a) The return of exiles predicted in v. 11 
implies a dispersion of a far more extensive character than is likely to have 
taken place in the eighth century. In Isaiah's time the country where most 
Hebrew captives were to be found was Assyria, whither numbers had been de- 
ported from both Israel (2 Kgs. xv. 29, xvii. 6) and Judah (see on xxxvi. 1); but 
here the places whence exiles are represented as about to return include coun- 
tries as far remote as Elam^ in the B., Ethiopia in the S., and the Mediterranean 
coasts in the W. (though see note). So vride-spread a dispersion seems to suit 
best an exilic or post-exilic date, when, after the destruction of Jerusalem by 
Babylon, the Jews were naturally distributed over many regions. And it is to 
the latter period that a prediction like that in ». 10 can most plausibly be 
assigned ; for the marvel of the Return in 537 was the event which created the 
anticipation that the heathen would be attracted to Israel and woxild seek 
to know Israel's God (cf. xlv. 22 — 25). (&) The vocabiUary, whilst including 
several expressions which occur in authentic prophecies of Isaiah, comprises 
many that do not. Even of the Isaianic words employed {ensign, seek unto, 
remnant, depart, shake his hand, etc.) two are used in an exceptional way (see 
notes on ?5». 10, 11); whilst of the words and expressions that do not occur else- 
where in Isaiah (e.g. isles (or coastlands) of the sea, outcasts of Israel, corners 
(or wings) of the earth), some are found only in exilic or post-exilic writings 
(see notes). In view of these facts, the passage can scarcely be earlier than the 
age of the Exile, and is probably post-exilic. 

10 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the root of 
Jesse, which standeth for an ensign of the peoples, unto him 
shall the nations seek ; and his resting place shall be ^glorious. 

1 Heb. glory. 

XI. 10. This V. possibly proceeds from an editor, who inserted it 
to unite w. 11 — 16 with vv. 1 — 9. 

the root of Jesse. The term here does not bear the sense it has in 
V. 1, but is equivalent to the branch or shoot (liii. 2) destined to spring 
from the root, viz. the Messianic King himself The passage is the 
original of the figure in Rev. v. 5, xxii. 16. 

an ensign. The word here does not denote a signal to convey an 
announcement (as in v. 26, xviii. 3, xlix. 22), but a standard indicating 
a rallying point, and is applied figuratively to the Messiah. 

^ This might possibly be regarded as under Assyrian rule. 


11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord 
^ shall set his hand again the second time to ^recover the 
remnant of his people, which shall remain, from Assyria, and 
from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cash, and from Elam, 
and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the ^islands of 
the sea. 12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and 

1 Or, shall again the second time recover with his hand 
"^ Or, purchase See Ex. xv. 16, •* Or, coastlands 

unto him, etc. To the Jewish Messiah the nations of the earth will 
have recourse, as to an oracle (viii. 19, xix. 3). Jerusalem is here re- 
garded as the centre of Divine revelations for all nations (as in ii. 2 — 4) 
and the Messiah of vv. 1 — 9 as the mouthpiece of them. The v. (in 
the LXX.) is applied by St Paul in Rom. xv. 12 to the conversion of 
the Gentiles to Christ. 

kis resting place. Or Ms abode (xxxii. 18, Mic. ii. 10, Gen. xlix. 15, 
Num. X. 33, Ps. cxxxii. 8, 14), i.e. Zion. The promise resembles 
Ix. 5. 

11. shall set, etc. The Heb. has no verb, and the text should 
perhaps be corrected after the LXX. (which has Trpoa-Otja-iL tov Set^ai t^v 
Xeipa, K.T.A.) to shall lift up his hand (with the omission of the second 
time), reading with Marti n^?'5f for ^W : cf xlix. 22. 

again. The previous occasion thought of is either the Exodus (cf 
V. 16), or if the section is post-exilic, the first return of exiles from 
Babylon in 537. 

to recover. Literally, to purchase, a word used in connection with 
the deliverance of the Exodus (Ex. xv. 16, cf Ps. Ixxiv. 2). 

the remnant. In vii. 3 mg., x. 20, 21, xxviii. 5 this is used of those 
who survive a national disaster in their own country, but here is applied 
to exiles in a foreign land. 

A ssyria. This may denote Persia, which, through its overthrow of 
Babylon, the successor of Assyria, had come into possession of the 
Assyrian dominions : cf Ezra vi. 22, 

Pathros. i.e. Upper Egypt, in the vaUey of the Nile, S. of 
Memphis (Jer. xliv. 1, 15), as distinguished from Mizraim, or Lower 
Egypt, in the Delta. 

Ctish. i.e. Ethiopia (the mod. Nubia), lying S. of Syene {Assotian) 
(Ezek. xxix. 10 mg.). 

Elam. The country on the N.E. of the Persian Gulf, of which Susa 
was the capital. 

Shinar. i.e. Babylonia. For Hamath see on x. 9. 

the islands of the sea. i.e. the Mediterranean coasts. The word 
rendered islands (better, as in the mg., coastlands) is very frequent 
in the exilic and post-exilic cc. xl. — Ixvi. (see p. xlix, Ixvii), but the 
combination islands of the sea only recurs again in xxiv. 15 (non- 
Isaianic) and Esth. x. 1. The words are omitted by the LXX. 

12. an ensign. The word here has its ordinary sense of a signal 

88 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xi. 13-15 

shaU assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the 
dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. 13 The 
envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and they that vex ^Judah 
shall be cut off : Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall 
not vex Ephraim. 14 And they shall fly down upon the shoulder 
of the Philistines on the west ; together shall they spoil the 
children of the east : they shall put forth their hand upon 
Edom and Moab ; and the children of Ammon shall obey them. 
15 And the Lord shall ^utterly destroy the tongue of the 
Egyptian sea ; and with his ^scorching wind shall he shake his 

* Or, in Judah ^ Heb. devote. According to some ancient versions, dry up. 
3 According to some ancient versions, mighty. 

(v. 26, xviii. 3), designed to direct the heathen to restore the Hebrews 
whom they hold captive (see xiv. 2, xHx. 22, Ix. 4, Ixii. 10, Ixvi. 20). 

the outcasts of Israel, etc. Literally, the outcast men of Israel. . . 
the dispersed women of Judah (the variety of gender being used to 
render the expression more comprehensive). 

13. The envy, etc. i.e. the envy (felt by Judah) for Ephraim, 
corresponding to they that (in Ephraim) vex Judah (LXX. ot lydpol 
'lovSa). The re-union of the two branches of the family of Jacob, 
sundered after the death of Solomon and frequently at war with one 
another whilst they existed as states (1 Kgs. xii. 19, xiv. 30, xv. 16, 
2 Kgs. xiv. 11 — 12, xvi. 5), was a subject of hope (Hos. i. 11, iii. 15). 

14. And they shall fly, etc. i.e. like a bird of prey (cf. Hab. i. 8 
of the Chaldeans). The schemes of territorial conquest here outlined 
contrast strikingly with the purely ethical conception of the ideal 
King in vv. 1 — 9. 

the shoulder, etc. The phrase refers to the situation of the Philistine 
territory on the slopes of the Shephelah ; cf. the use of the term in 
Num. xxxiv. 11, Josh. xv. 8, 11, xviii. 12, and the parallel expression 
employed in Gen. xlviii. 22 (mg.). 

the children of the east. The wandering Arabs of the Syrian desert 
(see Jud. vi. 3). The Philistines, the Edomites, the Moabites, and the 
Ammonites had all been subdued by David (2 Sam. viii. 1, 2, 14, 
xii. 26 — 31), and the re-united branches of the Hebrew people are to 
subjugate their lands : cf. Am. ix. 12, Ob. w. 18, 19, Zeph. ii. 4 — 9. 

15. utterly destroy. The verb, which means literally devote or 
place under a ban, and is properly applicable only to the extermination 
of a people (see on xxxiv. 2), is here inappropriate, and is best corrected 
(after the LXX.) to dry up {^''lVi\}\ for '^''IQC"': ; the converse emendation 
is required in xxxvii. 18). All physical obstacles to the return' of the 
dispersed Israelites will be removed. 

the tongue, etc. Perhaps the Gulf of Suez ; for tongue in the 
sense of bay or gulf cf. Josh. xv. 2, 5, xviii. 19. 

with Ms scorching wind. Literally, ivith the heat of his wind, but 



hand over the River, and shall smite it into seven streams, and 
cause men to march over dryshod. 16 And there shall be an 
high way for the remnant of his people, which shall remain, from 
Assyria ; like as there was for Israel in the day that he came up 
out of the land of Egypt. 

as the word rendered hmt does not occur elsewhere, it should perhaps 
be corrected (after the Vulg. in fortitudine sjjirifus sui, confirmed by the 
LXX.) to with the strength of his wind (0^1?? for D^V^) : cf mg. The 
expression is probably misplaced, and should be attached to the 
preceding clause dry up, etc. (cf Ex. xiv. 21, of the Red Sea). 

the River, i.e. the Euphrates (vii. 20, viii. 7, 1 Kgs. iv. 24, etc.). 
This is to be parted into a number of small water-courses, shallow enough 
for travellers to ford without removing their sandals ^ 

16. an high way, etc. i.e. a raised causeway (see on xxxv. 8) 
constructed across the desert separating Assyria (i.e. Babylonia (cf 
Zech. X. 10) or Persia) from Palestine. 

Chapter XII. 

This c, which forms the conclusion of the collection cc. i. — xii., is a thanks- 
giving. That Isaiah is not its author is probable from the facts (a) that it 
contains several words and thoughts which are strange to his writings but are 
common in the Psalms (see notes) ; (6) that it seems to have been composed 
with the post-Isaianic section xi. 10 — 16 in view, and if so, cannot be earlier 
than the latter. It may therefore vdth some reason be considered to be of 
post-exilic origin (see p. 86). 

The thanksgiving consists in reality not of one song, but of two songs, 
(1) vv. 1^ — 2; (2) TV. 4^ — 6; which are introduced by short prefaces vt>. P and 
3 — 4% distinguished respectively by the use of the 2nd sing, and the 2nd plur. 

XII. 1 And in that day thou shalt say, I will give thanks 
unto thee, O Lord ; for though thou wast angry with me, ^ thine 

^ Or, let thine anger turn away, and comfort thou me 

XII. 1 — 2. The first song. An expression of gratitude to the 
Lord for a recent mercy, and of confidence in Him for the future. 

1. in that day. i.e. the day when the exiles are restored and 
re-united : cf xxv. 9, xxvi. 1, xxvii. 2. 

thou. i.e. the collective people, who have been rescued. 

thou wast angry. The original recurs in Ps. ii. 12, Ix. 1, Ixxix. 5, 
Ixxxv. 5, etc., but is not found elsewhere in this book. 

^ Cyrus (Hdt. i. 189) is related to have divided the Euphrates (in which one of 
his sacred white horses had been drowned) into 360 channels, so that women could 
ford it without wetting their kuees. 

90 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xii.2-6 

anger is turned away, and thou corafortest me. 2 Behold, God 
is my salvation ; I will trust, and will not be afraid : for Hhe 
Lord jehovah is my strength and song ; and he is become my 
salvatioiL 3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the 
wells of salvation. 4 And in that day shall ye say, Give thanks 
unto the Lord, ^call upon his name, declare his doings among 
the peoples, make mention that his name is exalted. 5 Sing unto 
the Lord ; for he hath done ^excellent things : *let this be known 
in all the earth. 6 Cry aloud and shout, thou inhabitant of 
Zion : for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee. 

^ Heb. Jah Jehovah. ^ Or, proclaim his name ^ Or, gloriously 

* Or, this is made known ^ Heb. inhabitress. 

is turned away. The rendering implies a slight correction of the 
Heb. The expression comfortest recalls Deutero-Isaiah (xl. 1, xlix. 13): 
cf. Zech. i. 17. 

2. the Lord Jehovah. Literally, Jah Jehovah ; but one of 
the names should probably be omitted (with the LXX. and Vulg.). 
The clause is borrowed from Ex. xv. 2 : cf. also Ps. cxviii. 14. 

3 — 6. The second song. An exhortation to declare throughout 
the world the Lord's great acts. 

3. shall ye draw. The several units of the community are here 
addressed, instead of the personified aggregate (as in 'c. 1). 

out of the wells of salvation, i.e. from the source of deliverance, 
viz. the Lord (cf Jer. ii. 13, xvii. 13, Ps. Ixxxvii. 7, Joh. iv. 14). 

4. Give thanks, etc. For the general tenor of the v. cf Ps. cv. 

call upon his name. Better (as in the mg.), proclaim his name, 
i.e. celebrate (among the heathen) His character and attributes (cf Ex. 
xxxiii. 19, xxxiv. 5). 

Ms doings. The original is used of Divine actions elsewhere only in 
Ps. ix. 11 (cv. 1, 1 Ch. xvi. 8), Ixxvii. 12, Ixxviii. 11, ciii. 7. 

5. hath done excellent things. Better, hath wrought majestically. 

6. inhabitant of Zion. Literally, inhabitress of Zion (cf Jer. li. 
35, and the similar expressions in Jer. xlvi. 19, Mic. i. 11), the collec- 
tive citizens being personified as a woman. 


In this series, forming the second division of Proto-Isaiah, the prophecies 
comprised in cc. xiii. — xxiii. are, with a few exceptions, described as burdens 
or oracles. This general characteristic suggests that these cc. may have once 
composed an independent collection, a conclusion confirmed by the opening title, 
in which the addition to Isaiah's name of that of his father (as though the 



prophet's writings were introduced to the reader for the first time) seems to 
imply that the collection was not always preceded by cc. ii.— xii., where Isaiah's 
name and parentage also occur (ii. 1). The four passages in these cc. lacking 
titles were perhaps incorporated subsequently. The bulk of the prophecies 
relate to foreign nations. Their origin is varied, for whilst some (including all 
those without superscriptions) undoubtedly proceed from Isaiah, others bear 
manifest traces of another age and origin. 

The last four cc, xxiv.— xxvii., constitute a single prophecy of late, though 
uncertain, date. By some critics this group of cc. is included within the third 
division of Proto-Isaiah : but there appear to be preponderant reasons for 
attaching them to the second (see p. iv). 

Chapter XIII. 1— XIV. 23. 

This section constitutes an oracle relating to Babylon. It consists of two 
parts, each with a supplement : (i) a prediction in poetic form of the overthrow 
of Babylon (xiii. 1—22), to which is attached a passage in prose (xiv. 1— 4»), 
foretelling the release of the Israelite people held captive there, and introduc- 
ing the second part ; (ii) an ode or triumph-song by Israel over the descent of 
the king of Babylon into the Under-world (xiv. 4^—21), to which is appended 
an additional prediction respecting the complete destruction of Babylon itself 
(xiv. 22—23). 

This section in the editorial superscription is attributed to Isaiah, who in 
xxxix. 6 is represented as predicting for Judah a period of captivity in 
Babylon. A comparison, however, of the historical situation implied in the 
prophecy and of the peculiarities of its vocabulary with the political conditions 
of Isaiah's time and the characteristic phraseology of his writings affords good 
grounds for regarding the statement as an error. (1) The prophecy assumes 
(a) that Babylon is a sovereign power that has long enjoyed supremacy over 
other peoples (xiii. 11, xiv. 5, 6, 16, 17); (6) that its overthrow is imminent 
(xiii. 3, 4, 22) and that the agents destined to accomplish its destruction are 
the Modes (xiii. 17) ; (c) that Israel is actually in exile in Babylon and about to 
be deHvered from it (xiv. 1, 2, cf. xiv. 17). But in Isaiah's age a very diflFerenfc 
state of things existed, and to his contemporaries the foregoing allusions would 
have been unintelligible, (a) It was Assyria, not Babylon, that was then the 
dominant power in Western Asia, and it was not until 607 that the former was 
supplanted by the latter ; but of the overthrow of Assyria by Babylon there is 
no prediction here, as there is in Nahum and Zephaniah. (&) If Isaiah Avas 
acquainted with the name of the Medes (as is no doubt possible, cf 2 Kgs- 
xvii. 6, xviii. 11), he must have known of them as a subject people of the 
Assyrian empire, whose sympathies were likely to be on the side of Babylon 
and not against her, and who in 607 united with the Babylonians to destroy 
Nineveh, the Assyrian capital (p. lii). It was not until the middle of the 
sixth century, Avhen Cyrus became niler of Media, that the Medes menaced 
Babylon itself with destruction, (c) Though Isaiah predicted captivity for 
many of his countrymen (v. 13, 14, cf. xxii. 1—14), it was the Assyrians whom 
he expected to be the agents of their chastisement (viii. 8, x. 5, 6), and if he 


92 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xiii. i 

thought of Babylonia as the scene of their exile (xxxix. 6, 7), it could only be 
because it was often a subject province of Assyria (cf. 2 Kgs. xvii. 24). The 
situation presented in these cc. thus does not correspond with any that Isaiah 
is likely to have foreseen, but with conditions that existed at a much later 
period ; and a prophecy of the termination of a captivity, the beginning of 
which is not also predicted, is only intelligible on the hypothesis that the 
prophet was contemporai-y with that captivity. In agreement with the con- 
clusion that the writer lived in the time of the Babylonian exile are the 
vindictive satisfaction manifested over Babylon's downfall, which is natural 
only in one who had actually witnessed her oppression of his countrymen, 
and the character of some of the ideas and beliefs that here find expression, 
which include Babylonian conceptions with which a Hebrew would scarcely 
become acquainted before the exile (see on xiv. 12, 13). (2) The style and 
vocabulary of the prophecy are to some extent divergent from Isaiah's. 
Though a certain number of expressions occur which have parallels in Isaiah's 
writings, there are various words and turns of speech which are foreign to 
them, and found chiefly in late compositions. The descriptions are more 
elaborated than is usually the case with Isaiah's ; and the writer's qualities are 
poetical rather than rhetorical. 

If for these reasons the origin of the section is rightly assigned to the Exile 
(587 — 537) S the period within which it must have been written can with some 
plausibility be still further narrowed, for not only must it have been composed 
before the capture of Babylon by Cyrus in 538, inasmuch as the fate of both 
Babylon and its king diflFered from the anticipations here expressed, but even 
before 549, since there is no mention of Cyrus, who became king of the Modes 
(here represented as the agents of Babylon's overthrow) in that year. Hence 
the date of the prophecy may be fixed at some time between 587 and 549, and 
probably shortly before the latter year. "Whether the two poems of which it 
consists, and which are both written in the same metre as the elegies in 
i. 21 — 26 and cc. xv. and xlvii., were the work of one writer or not there is 
nothing to determine. The two prose passages, that respectively unite the 
first poem to the second and conclude the latter, are presumably the composi- 
tion of the editor. The section manifests a certain likeness in spirit and in 
tone to Jer. 1., li., which were probably written shortly before the fall of 
Babylon (Driver, LOT. pp. 266—268). 

Chapter XIII. 

XIII. 1 The ^burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of 
Amoz did see. 

1 Or, oracle concerning 

XIII. 1. The burden of. Better (a,s in the mg.), O^'acle conceding 
(and so in (xiv. 28), xv. 1, xvii. 1, xix. 1, xxi. 1, 11, 13, xxiii. 1). The 
word, which seems to mean literally a lifting up of the voice, is especially 

1 The parallels between these cc. and cc. xl. — Iv. (Exilic) are numerous : 
cf. xiii. 5 -with xlvi. 11, xiv. 2 with xlix. 22, xiv. 1 with Iv. 5, xiv. 7 (break forth into 
ringing) with xliv. 23, xlix. 13, liv. 1, Iv. 12. 


2 Set ye up an ensign upon the bare mountain, lift up the 
voice unto them, wave the hand, that they may go into the gates 
of the nobles. 3 I have commanded my consecrated ones, yea, 
I have called my mighty men for mine anger, even ^my proudly 
exulting ones. 4 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, 
like as of a great people ! the noise of a tumult of the kingdoms 
of the nations gathered together ! the Lord of hosts mustereth 
the host for the battle. 5 They come from a far country, from 

^ Or, them that exult in my majesty 

used of the utterances ascribed to the Lord (.Jer. xxiii. 33, Ezek. xii. 
10, 2 Kgs. ix. 25, though see Prov. xxx. 1, xxxi. 1). 

2 — 22. An announcement of the Lord's purpose to destroy Babylon 
through the agency of the Medes. 

2. Set ye up. The command (spoken by the Lord, v. 3) is addressed 
to all capable of executing it (of. xl. 1). 

the hare mountain. Better, a hare mountain, where it would be 
most conspicuous. 

wave the hand. i.e. beckon (contrast Isaiah's use of the phrase in 
x. 32). 

they. i.e. Babylon's distant foes, the Medes (see v. 17). 

the gates of the nobles, i.e. the gates of the city whose inhabitants 
are the haughty tyrants of the world (xiv. 5, cf. Job xxi. 28). 

3. my consecrated ones. The expression (for which cf. Mic. iii. 5, 
Jer. xxii. 7, li. 27, 28) reflects the religious character which attached 
in ancient times to soldiers on active service. When the army of a 

: people went on an expedition, its god was thought to accompany it, 
Nergal (for example) being represented as going before Shalmaneser, 
whilst the Ark of the Lord accompanied the marches and expeditions 
of the Israelites (Num. x. 35, 36, cf. 1 Sam. iv. 3, 2 Sam. xi. 11), whose 

I wars were the "wars of the Lord" (Num. xxi,. 14, cf Ex. xvii. 16). 

' Hence precautions had to be taken against provoking the Divine 
anger by any defilement in the camp or on the march (Deut. xxiii. 9, 
1 Sam. xxi. 5), sacrifices were offered before the force started (1 Sam. 
vii. 9, xiii. 9, cf Horn. //. ii. 400), and probably the soldiers' weapons 

; were hallowed (1 Sam. xxi. 5, where vessels = arms). Similar ideas 

' probably lie behind the Roman lustration of arms (W. W. Fowler, The 
Roman Festivals, p. 58), and perhaps the Homeric phrase tepos o-Tparo's. 
/(/r mine anger, i.e. as agents to execute it ; LXX. TrXrjpwaai t6v 
Ovixov fiov. The expression should be transferred to the first clause. 

4. The noise of a multitude, etc. Better, Hark ! (xl. 3, Iii. 8) 
o tumult in the mountains, etc. The mountains are the chain of 
Alt Zagrus beyond the Tigris where the Medes were mustering. 

the noise of a tumult, etc. Better, hark! the uproar of kingdoms, of 

'.nations gathered together (pointing nb^po). With the Medes were 
I united the Elamites (xxi. 2). 

5. from a far country. The same phrase is used in connection 

94 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xiii.6-io| 

the uttermost part of heaven, even the Lord, and the weaponai 
of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. 6 Howl ye ; fori^ 
the day of the Lord is at hand ; as destruction from ^ the 
Almighty shall it come. 7 Therefore shall all hands be feeblej 
and every heart of man shall melt : 8 and they shall be* 
dismayed ; ^ pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them ; they 
shall be in pain as a woman in travail : they shall be amazedl 
one at another ; their faces shall he faces of flame. 9 Behold* 
the day of the Lord cometh, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger i 
to make the land a desolation, and to destroy the sinners thereol^ 
out of it. 10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations*! 

^ Heb. Shaddai. See Gen. xvii. 1. 

2 Or, they shall take hold of pangs and sorrows 

with Cyrus (xlvi. 11) ; the unfamiliarity of the invaders increases th(. 
dread of them. 

the tvhole land. Perhaps better, the whole earth (and so in v. 9 
cf. V. 11 ; LXX. Tr}v oiKov^iiv-qv oXtjv). The chastisement of a world 
power like Babylon is described as a universal judgment: cf. xiv. 26. 

6. Howl ye. Perhaps addressed by the prophet to the Babylonians 
the day of the Lord. The phrase here designates the day a\ 

Divine retribution upon Israel's oppressors (cf. Zeph. i. 14 and contrasi 
Is. ii. 12). ij 

destruction from the Almighty. Better, destruction i^^) from thB 
Destroyer Q^P), there being an alliteration in the Heb. (cf Joel i. 15) 
But though it is possible that the name Shaddai (Gen. xvii. 1, Ex. vi. 3) 
here applied to the Almighty, is etymologically connected with *^K]; 
and the verb "n^ to lay waste (xv. 1, xxiii. 1) and describes thf 
activity of God as displayed in destruction or affliction (cf P^; 
Ixviii. 14, Ruth i. 20, 21), it is perhaps more likely akin to "T^^ "t«' 
pour out," tempest and hail being especially regarded as manifestationi, 
of the Lord's anger (see Josh. x. 11, Ezek, xxxviii. 22, Ps. xi. 6); 
Others associate it with "'??' (Deut. xxxii. 17, Ps. cvi. 37) signifyinj; 
demon, but perhaps originally meaning jyrotecting spirit. Anothe: ( 
conjecture identifies it with an Assyrian word shadu meaning mountain 
and applied to the Assyrian gods Bel and Asshur; cf the applicatioi; i 
of the title rock to Jehovah (xvii. 10, xxx. 29). ' 

7. melt. An expression for a condition of terror and consternatioi: 
(cf xix. 1, Nah. ii. 10, Ps. xxii. 14, Josh. vii. 5). 

8. faces of flame. Alarm usually produces pallor or lividness, am 
not a high colour (Joel ii. 6, Nah. ii. 10) ; but possibly it is meant tha 
their colour comes and goes : cf LXX. to Trpdo-wTrov avTwv cJ? (f>Xo. 


10. the Stars, etc. The horror of the catastrophe is intensified b^ 
darkness — a feature which occurs in other descriptions of calamity an( 

„j XIII. 1.-15] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 95 

Hi] thereof shall not give their light : the sun shall be darkened in 
ot i his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. 
lifi 11 And I will punish the world for tfielr evil, and the wicked for 
lie ' their iniquity ; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to 
cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. 12 I 
will make a man more rare than fine gold, even a man than the 
pure gold of Ophir. 13 Therefore I will make the heavens to 
tremble, and the earth shall be shaken out of her place, in the 
wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. 
14 And it shall come to pass, that as the chased ^roe, and as 
sheep that no man gathereth, they shall turn every man to his 
own people, and shall flee every man to his own land. 15 Every 

1 Or, gazelle 



tribulation (v. 30, viii. 22, Mic. iii. 6, Am. v. 18, 20, viii. 9, Zeph. i. 15, 
Joel ii. 10, 31, Ezek. xxxii. 7, 8, Mk. xiii. 24, Matt. xxiv. 2d\ etc.). 

a7id the constellations thereof. Lit., a7id the Orions thereof, i.e. con- 
stellations comparable with Orion. But the LXX. has merely and 
Orion. The identification of the Heb. term (which means literally 
fool) with Orion is made by the LXX. here and in Job xxxviii. 31, and 
by the Vulg. in Job ix. 9, Am. v. 8 : the name is supposed to be a 
survival of some myth which represented the constellation in question 
as a foolhardy giant bound in the sky (cf. Job xxxviii. 31). 

11. the arrogancy. The pride of Babylon is reflected in the 
language of her king in xiv. 13, 14 ; cf also xlvii. 7, 8. 

12. Ophir. This locality, which was either the source of, or a 
mart for, gold, gems, and sandal wood (1 Kgs. ix. 28, x. 11), has been 
variously placed in N.W. India (cf Jos. Ant. viii. vi. 4), the E. coast 
of Africa (perhaps Sofala, cf LXX. ^ov(ji€Lp), and the S.E. of Arabia. 
A situation in Arabia is suggested by the occurrence of Ophir with 
Sheba in Gen. x. 28, 29. 

13. TJierefore I... tremble. Better (with the LXX.), Therefyre 
the heavens shall tremble (■1T^7- for ^''H'^). The Lord's speech is con- 
fined to ?w. 11, 12, and the therefore (cf v. 7) introduces the consequences 
which are anticipated from the Lord's purpose declared in vv. 11, 12. 

the earth shall, etc. An earthquake will accompany the manifesta- 
tion of the Lord's wrath (as in xxiv. 19, Jer. x. 10, Joel iii. 16). 

14. the chased roe. The roe or gazelle was noted for its fleetness 
(cf 2 Sam. ii. 19 mg., 1 Ch. xii. 8). With the utmost haste the hetero- 
geneous population that gathered at Babylon from all parts for trade 
(Ezek. xvii. 4) or other purposes will disperse at the approach of the 
assailants : cf. Jer. 1. 16, Ii. 6, 9. 

^ The two N.T. passages have probably been iufluenced by the present passage. 

96 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xiii. 16-21 

one that is found shall be thrust through ; and every one that 
is Haken shall fall by the sword. 16 Their infants also shall be 
dashed in pieces before their eyes ; their houses shall be spoiled, 
and their wives ravished. 17 Behold, I will stir up the Medes 
against them, which shall not regard silver, and as for gold, they 
shall not delight in it. 18 And their bows shall dash the young 
men in pieces ; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the 
womb ; their eye shall not spare children. 19 And Babylon, 
the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans' pride, shall 
be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. 20 It shall 
never be inhabited, neither shall it be dM elt in from generation 
to generation : neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there ; 
neither shall shepherds make their flocks to lie down there. 
21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there ; and their 

^ Or, joined thereunto 

15. found. ..taken. Such will be the fate of the native Babylonians, 
who will have no place of refuge. 

17. the Medes. The disclosure of the name of the people who are 
to execute the Divine vengeance (cf xxi. 2, Jer. li. 11, 28) is artistically 
reserved till late. Media lay S. W. of the Caspian Sea : its capital was 
Ecbatana (the Achmetka of Ezra vi. 2). For the events preceding the 
attack of the Medes on Babylon see p. Ivii. 

shall not regard, etc. i.e. Babylon's ferocious assailants (Jer. 1. 42) 
cannot be bought off. Cf Xen. Cyr. v. i. 20 (Cyrus to his troops) ov 

18. their bows, etc. The phrase, understood literally, makes 
nonsense, nor is it much more intelligible if bows be taken as equivalent 
to bowmen (cf xxii. 3) : the text must be corrupt, and some suggest 
They lay hold on bows and spears, they are cruel; they shatter the young 
men, and the maidens are dashed in pieces (cf Jer. 1. 42, li. 22). 

19. tJie glory of kingdoms, i.e. the most glorious of kingdoms, 
cf Ezek. XX. 6, 15 (of Israel). 

the Chaldeans pride. The Chaldeans were a people of S.E. Baby- 
lonia from whom came Merodach-baladan, who made several attempts 
to become master of Babylon (p. 245), and Nabopolassar, who established 
a dynasty there in 625 b.c, 

as when... Gomorrah. The comparison is meant to illustrate the 
completeness of Babylon's overthrow : cf Jer. 1. 39, 40, Zeph. ii. 9 (of 
Moab and Ammon). 

20. the Arabian. Better, the steppe-dweller. Even the wandering 
shepherds of the desert (Jer. iii. 2) will avoid the site of Babylon for 
fear of the uncanny creatures that will haunt it. 

21. wild beasts of the desert. A related Arabic term is said to 
mean wild cats. 

xiii. 22-xiv. i] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 97 

houses shall be full of doleful creatures ; and ostriches shall 
dwell there, and ^satyrs shall dance there. 22 And ^wolves 
shall ^cry in their castles, and jackals in the pleasant palaces : 
and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be pro- 
longed. XIV. 1 For the Lord will have compassion on Jacob, 
and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land : and 
the stranger shall join himself with them, and they shall cleave 

^ Or, he-goats "^ Heb. howling creatures. ^ Or, answer 

doleful creatures. Better, howling creatures, such as jackals. 

satyrs, i.e. demons (LXX. hai^ovia) in the shape of he-goats, or 
(like the classical Pan and Faunus) of human shape, with the horns 
and tail and feet of goats : cf xxxiv. 14. Desert places were regarded 
as the special haunts of demons (cf. Bar. iv. 35, Rev. xviii. 2, Lev. xvi. 
10, Matt. xii. 43 (=Luke xi. 24)); and to the satyrs here mentioned 
sacrifices (presumably oi aversion) were sometimes offered, 2 Ch. xi. 15, 
I cf Lev. xvii. 7. For dance cf Verg. E. v. 73, saltantes satyri. 

22. wolves. . .jackals. Perhaps better reversed, jackals. ..wolves. 

cry. Literally, answer, i.e. howl to one another. But the LXX. 
has KaroiK-qcTovaLv. 

castles. A necessary correction of the Heb., which by a scribal 
error has widows. 

her time. . .her days. i.e. the hour of her destined punishment shall 
not be deferred : cf Jer. 1. 27, 31. 

Babylon neither experienced the horrors of a sack nor underwent 
complete destruction when taken in 538 by Cyrus, who obtained 
possession of it by peaceful surrender (cf p. Iviii). After the sup- 
pression of its rebellion in 514 part of its walls was demolished by 
Darius Hystaspis (cf Hdt. iii. 159), but it was not until the third 
century, in the time of the Seleucidae that it sank into decay, Seleucus 
Nicanor having built near it the town of Seleucia, which drained it of 
the bulk of its population. In the time of Strabo (xii. i. § 5) and 
Diodorus Siculus (ii. 10) the greater part of it lay waste. Its present 
desolate site is the mod. Hillah, on the E. bank of the Euphrates, 
S. of Bagdad. 

XIV. 1 — 4*. A prediction of Israel's restoration to its own 
land, and of its lordship over its tyrants. 

These w., which are in prose, contain a brief summary of expecta- 
tions that likewise find expression in cc. xl. — Ixvi., and are probably 
post-exilic in origin. 

1. For. The destruction of Babylon is a necessary consequence 
of the Lord's renewal of His love for Israel, whom Babylon has kept in 

will yet choose. Better, will again choose (after His previous rejec- 
on of them, Jer. vii. 29), cf Zech. i. 17, ii. 12, iii. 2. 

ths stranger, etc. Strictly, the settler (Gen. xv. 13, Josh. xx. 9). 
eathens, attracted to the Hebrew faith by the evidence of the Divine 

w. I. 7 

98 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xiv.2-6 

to the house of Jacob. 2 And the peoples shall take them, and 
bring them to their place : and the house of Israel shall possess 
them in the land of the Lord for servants and for handmaids : 
and they shall take them captive, whose captives they were ; 
and they shall rule over their oppressors. 

3 And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall 
give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy trouble, and from 
the hard service wherein thou wast made to serve, 4 that thou 
shalt take up this parable against the king of Babylon, and say, 
How hath the oppressor ceased ! the ^golden city ceased ! 
5 The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, the sceptre of 
the rulers ; 6 -that smote the peoples in wrath with a continual 
stroke, that ruled the nations in anger, with a persecution that 

^ Or, exactress ^ Or, he that smote... is persecuted, and none hindereth 

favour towards Israel which its deliverance afforded (cf Ps. cxxvi. 2), 
will attach themselves to it, as proselytes : cf. xliv. 5, Iv. 5, Ivi. 3, 6, 7, 
Zech. ii. 11, viii. 23. 

2. And the peoples, etc. The same thoughts appear in xlix. 22, 
k. 10, 12, 14, Ixi. 5, Zech. ii. 9. 

3. hard service. The term used recalls the experience of the 
bondage in Egypt and the deliverance of the Exodus (Ex. i. 14, 
vi. 9 (r). Allusion to the rigour of the Babylonian captivity occurs 
in xlvii. 6, Ii. 14, Zech. i. 15. 

4. parable. Better, taunt-song. The original term (mdshdl), 
which seems primarily to denote likeness or correspondence (cf the 
parallelism exhibited in Prov. xxv. 1 f ), is used indiscriminately of 
many varieties of composition, including proverbs or proverbial sayings 
(1 Sam. x. 12, Ezek. xviii. 2, Prov. x. If), similitudes (Ezek. xvii. 2, 
XX. 49), satiric songs (Num. xxi. 27, Hab. ii. 6), didactic poems 
(Ps. xlix. 4, Prov. i. 1), and prophetic utterances (Num. xxiii. 7). 
The present poem (like c. xiii.) is written in the Heb. elegiac metre, 
but it is strikingly ironical in spirit and relates to an event still 
in the future (cf c. xlvii.). It is divided into five strophes, which 
begin respectively with w. 4^ 9, 12, 16 and 20 ; the last seems to be 

4** — 21. A contrast between the proud estate of the king of 
Babylon in life and his ignominious condition in death. 

4. the golden city. The rendering assumes a connection between 
the word here used and the Aramaic term for " gold " ; but better (by 
a slight emendation), insolence or the insole?it one (i^^^l^ for n3n*ip): 
cf the name Rahab in xxx. 7, and the corresponding verb in iii. 5. 
The LXX. has cTrto-TrouSaa-TJ^'s (exactor). 

5. the staff, i.e. the instrument of oppression, as in x. 24, ix. 4. 
the wicked.. -the rulers. For the parallelism cf liii. 9, .Job xxi. 28. 

6. ruled., with a persecution. Symnaetry seems to require the 
correction, ruled... with a rule (JTlilP- •ni'i for ^11'^-n'l'l). 



none restrained. 7 The whole eartli is at rest, and is quiet : 
they break forth into singing. 8 Yea, the fir trees rejoice at 
thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid 
down, no feller is come up against us. 9 ^Hell from beneath is 
moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming : it stirreth up ^the 
dead for thee, even all the ^ chief ones of the earth ; it hath 
raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. 10 All 
they shall answer and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak 
as we ? art thou become like unto us ? 11 Thy pomp is brought 
down to ^hell, and the noise of thy viols : the worm is spread 

' Heb. Sheol. ^ Or, the shades Heb. Rephaim. ^ Heb. he-goats. 

8. ^fir trees. Or cypresses. Even nature suffered from the domi- 
nation of the Babylonians, who, like the Assyrians (xxxvii. 24), felled 
quantities of timber, in the forests of Lebanon and elsewhere, for the 
construction of warlike engines, ships, or edifices (cf. Hab. ii. 17). 

9. Hell. Heb. tSheol, the abode of the spirits of the dead. The 
locality is here personified, like the earth in v. 7. As the world of the 
living begins to enjoy repose by the departure of the Babylonian king, 
so the world of the dead is disturbed by his arrival. 

the dead. Heb. Rephaim (xxvi. 14, Ps. Lsxxviii. 10, Prov. ii. 18, 
ix. 18). The word has been taken to mean primarily the weak (from a 
verb meaning "to droop," or "be relaxed") ; cf v. 10, and the Homeric 
dfievrjvd Kaprjva. But as it also designated the pre-historic inhabi- 
tants of Canaan (Gen. xiv. 5, Deut. ii. 10, 11) who were believed to be 
giants (the LXX. here has ol ytyavre?), it may have been applied to the 
dead as a complimentary epithet from motives of fear (cf the Latin 
manes, from mdnus "kindly"). 

chief ones. Literally, he-goats, a figure for those who lead the 
peoples, as the he-goats or bell-wethers do the flocks : cf Ezek. 
xxxiv. 17, Jer. 1. 8, Zech. x. 3, Ex. xv. 15 mg. and the parallel metaphor 
in Ps. Ixviii. 30. 

from their thrones. It is implied that in Sheol the distinctions of 
rank which prevail on earth still persist. Similarly soldiers in Sheol 
retain their weapons (Ezek. xxxii. 27). So too in Homer the phantoms 
of Orion and Heracles in Hades appear equipped with the arms, 
and engaged in the occupations, which characterised them in life 
(fid. XI. 572—5, 601—608). 

10. Art thou, etc. The pronoun is emphatic : of the downfall of 
one so great there was no expectation. It is pre-supposed that the 

ipirits ot the dead preserve consciousness and memory. 

11. Thy pomp, etc. The speech of the dead kings is limited to 
10, and this v. proceeds from the poet. 

the worm, etc. Better, the wormlet . . .and the worm, etc. The state 
f the Babylonian king's corpse (left to corruption (cf v. 19) instead of 


100 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xi v. 12-14 

under thee, and worms cover thee. 12 How art thou fallen from 
heaven, O day star, son of the morning ! how art thou cut down 
to the ground, which didst lay low the nations ! 13 And thou 
saidst in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my 
throne above the stars of God ; and I will sit upon the mount of 
congregation, in the uttermost parts of the north : 14 I mil 

being embalmed or otherwise cared for) is thought to affect the con- 
dition of his spirit in the under- world. 

12. day star. Literally, shining (or radiant) one, i.e. (as the 
following words imply) the planet Venus. Stars were believed to be 
celestial powers (cf. Job xxxviii. 7), exercising great influence over 
human fortunes (xxiv. 21), and the metaphor alludes not only to the 
brilliant estate and dazzling career of the Babylonian king (cf Num. 
xxiv. 17, Rev. xxii. 16, Cic. ad Att. ii. 21 (of Pompey) quia deciderat 
ex astris, lapsus potius quam progressus videbatur) but to his aspirations 
to equal or surpass these heavenly potentates (v. 13). The evil 
associations of Babylon (cf Zech. v. 5 — 11) and the resemblance between 
this description of the fall of its king and our Lord's words respecting 
Satan (Luke x. 18) occasioned the use of the name Lucifer (by which 
the Vulg. translates day star, cf LXX. ewo-^opos) as an appellation of 
the devil (cf Rev. ix. 1). 

which... nations. Better (with the LXX.), which didst lay low (or 

prostrate) all the nations (reading "?? for ^V) : cf Jer. 1. 23. But some 
critics would substitute prostrated (Job xiv. 10) upon corpses (reading 
ni»l| for D:i5). 

13. / will ascend, etc. It was the Babylonian king's ambition to 
become superior to the sidereal powers, and equal to Him who is 
supreme over them : cf Ezek. xxviii. 2, 6, 9 (of the prince of Tyre). 
The overweening pride of Babylon itself finds somewhat similar 
expression in xlvii. 8. 

the mount of congregation. This appears to allude to a Babylonian 
belief that there existed a mountain (called Aralu) where the gods 
dwelt together^ ; see Ezek. xxviii. 14 — 16, and cf the association of the 
Greek gods with Olympus and of Jehovah with Horeb (Ex. iii. 1, 
1 Kgs. xix. 8). That the Babylonians placed their sacred mountain 
in the north (as this passage implies) was probably due to the fact that 
it was in that quarter that the chief mountains they knew were situated; 
and Ezekiel's representation of the Lord as approaching from the north 
(i. 4) is perhaps due to Babylonian influence (since that prophet was 
one of the Jewish captives (i. 1))'. 

1 See Schrader, COT. ii. pp. 79, 80. 

"^ Burney thinks that the conception was derived from the North Pole of the 
sky, which, as the highest point, was regarded as the abode of deity (cf. Jl'S. Ap. 
1910, p. 440). The Etruscans also considered the dwelling of the gods to be in the 
northern part of the sky W. W. Fowler in Companion to Latin Studies, p. 167). 


ascend above the lieights of the clouds ; I will be like the Most 
High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to ^hell, to the 
uttermost parts of the pit. 16 They that see thee shall narrowly 
look upon thee, they shall consider thee, saying, Is this the man 
\ that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms ; 

17 that made the world as a wilderness, and overthrew the 
cities thereof ; that let not loose his prisoners to their home ? 

18 All the kings of the nations, all of them, sleep in glory, every 
one in his own house. 19 But thou art cast forth away from thy 

1 Heb. Sheol. 

14. the Most High. Heb. Elyon, a Divine title used not only by 
the Hebrews (Gen. xiv. 18, Num. xxiv. 16, Deut. xxxii. 8), but also by 
the Phoenicians, for Eusebius {Prep. Ev. i. 10, 11) quotes Philo of 
Byblus to the effect that included in the Phoenician theogony was 
EXtoCv KaXou/ACvos Yi^tcrros. 

15. the pit. The word, which sometimes means the grave (Ps. 
xxviii. 1, XXX. 3), here denotes the depth of Sheol (Ezek. xxvi. 20, 
xxxi. 14, 16). The contrast between the king's ambition and his real 
fe,te is intensified if the entrance to Sheol is here thought to be, as the 
Babylonians imagined it, under the mount of congregation. 

Verses 13 — 15 seem to have been in the mind of our Lord when 
He apostrophised Capernaum (Matt. xi. 23, Luke x. 15). 

16. They that see thee, etc. The speakers in this v. are not the 
spirits of the dead in Sheol (as in v. 10), but men upon earth, who look 
upon the Babylonian king's unburied corpse. 

17 — 18. that let not loose, etc. Cf Jer. 1. 33. The pleonasm in 
v. 18, all the kings... all of them is avoided by the emendation that 
opened not to his prisoners the prison house ? 18 The kings of the nations, 
all of them, etc. (reading : N^|n n^3...VTpt<:^ for ■"?? : nn^3...VTp.^?). 

18. in his own house, i.e. in the tombs they constructed for 
themselves in their lifetime ; cf xxii. 16, 1 Sam. xxv. 1, 1 Kgs. ii. 34, 
xiii. 30, Matt, xxviii. 60. 

19. But thou art cast, etc. The general sense of this v. is that 
the king was left on the field of battle, covered with the slain, and did 
not receive the burial due to his rank ; but the text has undergone 
some corruption. The loss of burial in early ages was accounted a 
grievous calamity (Jer. xxv. 33, 2 Kgs. ix. 10), perhaps originally 
because it deprived the dead of the sacrifices ordinarily offered to 
them, and it is probably here regarded as producing for the king of 
Babylon humiliation in Sheol. Hence though Divine justice did 
not punish great offenders after death directly, it might do so in- 
directly, the dishonour with which their dead bodies were often 
treated on earth affecting for ill the state of their spirits in the nether 

102 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xiv. 20-21 

sepulchre like an abominable branch, ^clothed with the slain, 
that are thrust through with the sword, that go down to the 
stones of the pit ; as a carcase trodden under foot. 20 Thou 
shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast 
destroyed thy land, thou hast slain thy people ; the seed of 
evil-doers shall not be named for ever. 21 Prepare ye ^slaughter 
for his children for the iniquity of their fathers ; that they rise 
not up, and possess the earth, and fill the face of the world with 

^ Or, as tlie raiment of those that are slain - Or, a place of slaughter 

like... branch, i.e. as an unworthy scion of the family. But Sym, 

has w? €KT|ow^a, i.e. like an abominable abortion (^|>?. for "i^A). 

that go... pit. This seems to describe those who are honourably 
buried in sepulchres of stone ; and as the sense is inappropriate here, 
Kittel transfers the words to the beginning of v. 20 (see note). But 
pit in ■y. 15 means Sheol, not the grave, and should here have the same 
signification ; and Gunkel is perhaps right in retaining the words in 
their position and correcting them to that go down to the bases of the 
pit (reading ''.3'iX for ''.^??^), i.e. are consigned to the lowest parts of 
Sheol (cf V. 15) because their bodies have not received proper burial 
(cf. Ezek. xxxii. 18). Sym. has eis 6efie\(.a XaKKov, the Vulg. ad 
fundamenta lad. 

20. vnth them. A substantive (or some equivalent), to which the 
pronoun refers, seems to be lost. With Kittel's emendation of v. 19, 
this V. will begin, As for those that go doivn to the stones of the pit 
(i.e. distinguished princes who are buried in state), thou shalt not be 
joined with them, etc. Duhm conjectures the loss, from the beginning 
of the v., of the words, Asfoi- thy fathers. 

thy land... thy people, i.e. the Babylonian king had sacrificed his 
people's lives and wealth to his own ambition. But the LXX. has rrjv 

yrjv fj.ov...TOv Xaov fiov. 

the seed of evil-doers. Better (by a slight correction), the seed oj 
an evil-doer ; see v. 2\ (init.). 

shall not be named, i.e. shall cease to exist. 

21. Prepare, etc. Probably addressed to those to whom the 
direction in xiii. 2 is given. 

slaughter. Better, a slaughtering-place (Cheyne, shambles), 
of their fathers. The context requires (with LXX. B) of their 

with cities, i.e. (if the text is correct) fortresses, to control subject 

Eopulations. But better (by a slight emendation), with ruins (^''W for 
^l'): cf V. 17. 
22 — 23. A renewed declaration of the Lord's purpose to destroy 

These two w. are a later appendix to the preceding ode, from 
which they differ both in form and in subject-matter, and relate, like 


cities. 22 And I will rise up against them, saith the Lord of 
hosts, and cut oflf from Babylon name and remnant, and son and 
son's son, saith the Lord. 23 I will also make it a possession 
for the porcupine, and pools of water : and I will sweep it with 
the besom of destruction, saith the Lord of hosts. 

c. xiii., to Babylon itself, and not to its king. They were probably 
added in post-exilic times as a further prediction of a destruction 
which had not been realized in 538 on the scale expected. 

22. against them., i.e. the Babylonians in general, and not merely 
the king's offspring (-y. 21). 

son and sons son. There is an alHteration in the original, similar 
to chick and child. 

23. porcupine. Or hedgehog. Others render bittern, since the 
creature meant is here associated with water and in Zeph. ii. 14 with 
the pelican, a water bird ; but the etymology (the cognate verb means 
to roll up, see xxxviii. 12) and the versions (LXX. l)^vo%, Vulg. 
ericius) favour the translation of the text. 

pools of water. Babylon is represented by Diodorus Siculus (n. 7) 
as surrounded by marshes ; and the country was often inundated by 
floods, the violence of which was in some measure reduced by a system 
of canals and ditches (Strabo, xvi. i. § 9). The neglect of these works, 
after the destruction of the city, would naturally turn the vicinity into 
a swamp. 

the besom, etc. A figure for a clearance that would leave nothing 
behind (cf. 1 Kgs. xiv. 10, and the parallel figure in 2 Kgs. xxi. 13). 

XIV. 24—27. 

This short section is an announcement of the Lord's design to shatter the 
might of Assyria. The oracle doubtless proceeds from Isaiah, whose diction it 
exhibits ; and is probably the complement of some earlier prophecy, since it 
appears to re-afBrm a purpose previously expressed. The most plausible date 
is Sennacherib's invasion in 701, so that the section will belong to the same 
period as x. 5 f. ; but whether it ever followed upon x. 14 or 15 (as Cheyne 
thinks) is more doubtful ; for v. 25^, which favours such a connection, may be 
suspected of being an interpolation (see note). The subject-matter has parallels 
in xvii. 12—14, x. 33, 34, xxx. 27—33, xxxi. 8, 9. 

24 The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have 
thought, so shall it come to pass ; and as I have purposed, so 
shall it stand : 25 that I will break the Assyrian in my land, and 

24. as I have thought. The Lord's thoughts, which are certain 
of realization, contrast with those of the Assyrian king described 
in X. 7. 

104 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xiv. .6, ^^ 

upon my mountains tread him under foot : then shall his yoke 
depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their 
shoulder. 26 This is the purpose that is purposed upon the 
whole earth : and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all 
the nations. 27 For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who 
shall disannul it ? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall 
turn it back ? 

25. my mountains. The overthrow of the Assyrians in the Lord's 
land would reveal to the world who was the author of it (cf xviii. 
4, 7, xxix. 7, 8). The actual phrase here used only recurs in exilic 
and post-exilic writings (xlix. 11, Ixv. 9, Ezek. xxxviii. 21, Zech. xiv. 5); 
but this is insufficient to neutralize the impression of Isaianic author- 
ship produced by other features of the passage. 

from off them. The pronoun must relate to the people of Judah. 
But the abruptness of the reference supports the suggestion that the 
last half of this v. is a marginal insertion, reproducing x. 27 (cf ix. 4). 
Apart from it, the section consists of two symmetrical divisions or 

26. the whole earth. The Ass5a-ian empire must have absorbed by 
701 the greater part of the world as known to the Hebrews of Isaiah's 
time (comprising as it did little more than the countries between the 
Euphrates and the Nile); cf x. 13, 14, xvii. 12, xxix. 7, xxx. 28. 

27. is stretched out. i.e. to smite; cf v. 25, ix. 12, 17, 21. 

XIV. 28—32. 

This prophecy must have been addressed to thv'? Philistines at a time when 
the removal or crippling of an oppressor had inspired them with hopes, and 
had led them to approach Judah with a view to concerted action for their 
common interests. The writer declares that the hopes of Philistia will be 
disappointed, but that Judah has in Zion, the Lord's city, an assured defence. 

There is no adequate reason for doubting that the section in the main 
proceeds from Isaiah, or for assigning it (with Duhm and Marti) to the fourth 
century. Its precise date, however, is difficult to determine with confidence. 
The superscription assigns it to the year when Ahaz died (which cannot be 
ascertained with certainty, see p. xl f.), and the writer of it probably identified 
the rod and the serpe,nCs root alluded to in ». 29 with that king, and the basilisk 
and fiery flying serpent with Hezekiah (cf. 2 Kgs. xviii. 8). But there is no 
evidence that Ahaz was formidable to Philistia (see, on the contrary, 2 Ch. 
xxviii. 18) ; and the fact that the people of Judah are represented in the 
prophecy {v. 32) as themselves needing a refuge makes it impossible that any 
Judaean king can be meant. On the other hand, the supposition that the rod 
represents an Assyrian king finds support in the parallels furnished by x. 5, 24, 
ix. 4. Of Assyrian kings three died during Isaiah's lifetime, Tiglath-pileser III. 
in 727, Shalmaneser IV. in 722, and Sargon in 705 ; and there is evidence that 
on the occasions of the deaths of the two last-mentioned rulers the Philistines 

Xlv.28-31] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 105 

sought to throw oflF the Assyrian yoke. In 720, shortly after Sargon had 
succeeded Shalmaneser, Hanun (Hanno) of Gaza revolted; and some 15 or 18 
years later, when Sennacherib had succeeded Sargon, the people of Ekron 
rebelled, and dethroned the king whom Assj-ria had imposed upon them 
(p. xxvi). On the last occasion, which occurred between 705 and 701, the 
Ekrouites must have entered into negotiations with Hezekiah, king of Judah, 
before their revolt, since they placed in his hands their dethroned king. 
[Consequently this seems the most likely time when the present oracle was 
delivered, inasmuch as it implies the presence at Jerusalem of Philistine 
envoys, who had come with overtures for a coalition against Assyria, and is 
designed to discourage the Jewish statesmen from acceding to their proposals. 
Cheyne decides for the earlier date 720. 

28 In the year that king Ahaz died was this ^burden. 

29 Rejoice not, Philistia, all of thee, because the rod that 
smote thee is broken : for out of the serpent's root shall come 
forth a ^basilisk, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent. 
30 And the firstborn of the poor shall feed, and the needy shall 
lie down in safety : and I will kill thy root with famine, and thy 
remnant shall be slain. 31 Howl, gate ; cry, city ; thou art 

' Or, oracle * Or, adder 

28. In the year, etc. The heading probably proceeds from an 
editor : cf. xx. 1. 

29. all of thee. i.e. all the five cities (Josh. xiii. 3, Jud. iii. 3) of 
which the Philistine confederation consisted. 

the serpent's root. The figure is a blend of the metaphors that 
[)recede and follow. The two symbols of the rod (cf. x. 5, 15, 24) and 
the serpent's root both represent Sargon. 

a basilisk... ser^Jent. These two symbols likewise represent a single 
king, viz. Sargon's successor Sennacherib. For basilisk see on xi. 8. 
The idea of a flying serpent is perhaps based on accounts of an arboreal 
lizard (such as is found in the East Indies), having the_ lower ribs 
extended and connected by folds of skin which look like wings (cf on 
1 xxx. 6). Fiery probably means venomous (cf Num. xxi. 6). 

30. the firstborn of tlie poor. i.e. the poorest (cf Job xviii. 13, 
the firstborn of death, i.e. the deadhest disease). Some critics sub- 
.stitute in my meadows or on my mountains C"!?? or ^"]i7? for ''l^^?) and 
connect them with the poor shall feed : othevmse feed must be qualified 
by in safety (from the following clause). 

The terms poor and needy must denote the Jewish people, im- 
[loverished by a foreign oppressor ; but the terms are more natural in 
exilic or post-exilic times, after the loss of national independence 
(cf XXV. 4, xli. 17, Ps. Ixxiv. 21), and in consequence the Isaianic 
origin of the section has been denied. But the v. interrupts the 
sequence between vv. 29 and 31, and may be a later insertion. 

thy root. Better (with the LXX.), thy seed. 

106 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xiv. 3^ 

melted away, O Philistia, all of thee ; for there cometh a smoke 
out of the north, and ^none standeth aloof at his appointed 
times. 32 What then shall one answer the messengers of the 
nation ? That the Lord hath founded Zion, and in her shall the 
afflicted of his people take refuga 

^ Or, there is no straggler in his ranks 

31. art melted away. Better, as an imperative, melt away, i.e. 
collapse through fear (Ex, xv. 15, Josh. ii. 9, Jer. xlix. 23). 

a smoke, i.e. a cloud of dust raised by the advancing host (cf. Verg. 
A. XI. 908, fumantes pulvere campos), or perhaps a figure, like our 
" war-cloud." 

none standeth aloof, etc. Better (as in the mg.), there is no straggler 
in his ranks (or at his musters). 

32. What then shall one, etc. Perhaps better (with Duhm), What 
shall my people answer (inserting "^W). 

That the Lord... Zion. Isaiah believed that, though Judah would 
be devastated, its capital would survive any assault made upon it by 
the Assyrians : see xxix. 7, xxxi. 5, xxxiii. 20. 

the afflicted of his people. The genitive is appositional — the afflicted, 
who are His people. 

Isaiah in 705 was unsuccessful in his efforts to keep Judah from 
entanglements with the Philistine cities, for Hezekiah undertook to 
keep under arrest the philo- Assyrian king of Ekron whom his subjects 
dethroned ; and the prophet's predictions of evil for Philistia were 
verified by Sennacherib's capture of both Ekron and Ashkelon. 
Hezekiah's policy brought upon Judah also the horrors of an invasion 
(see xxxvi. 1), but Jerusalem itself escaped capture, as Isaiah had 

Chapters XV.— XVI. 

These two cc. contain (1) an elegy over a hostile invasion of Moab in the 
past (xv. 1 — 9* xvi. 7 — 11) ; (2) a prophecy, embedded in the elegy, predicting 
another similar calamity for Moab in the future, from which it will vainly seek 
protection from Judah (xv. 9^ — xvi. 6, xvi. 12) ; (3) an epilogue re-afBrming the 
prophecy and declaring that the predicted disaster will befall Moab in the near 
future (xvi. 13, 14). 

(1) The elegiac part is characterised by a sympathetic feeling for Moab 
(xv. 6, ivL 9, 11), and is not likely to be the production of Isaiah, fi*om 
whom its writer differs greatly in manner, diction, and local knowledge. 
{a) His style is plaintive and monotonous, and is remarkable for the regularity 
with which successive sentences are introduced by the same or similar con- 
necting particles (for, ther^ore (or wJisrefore)) ; whereas Isaiah's writings are 
distinguished by unusual vigour and variety. (6) His vocabulary is unlike 
Isaiah's, and contains a number of peculiar forms, (c) He shews great 
familiarity with the land E. of the Dead Sea, a district which never belonged 


to Isaiah's native country Judah, but was alternately in possession of the 
Ephraimite kingdom and of Moab. This acquaintance with the trans-Jordanic 
region suggests that the author was a native of it and a subject of the northern 
kingdom, Hitzig, who treated the whole section xv. 1 — xvi. 12 as relating 
to the future, inferred from the fact that the Moabites are represented as 
fleeing southward (xv. 7) that their foe came from the north, and conjectiu-ed 
that the prophecy was tlie work of Jonah, the son of Amittai^ from Gath 
Hepher on the borders of Zebulun, in which he predicted the success of 
Jeroboam II. of Israel {circ. 781 — 740), who recovered the territory lost by his 
predecessors, and extended his conquests to the Dead Sea (2 Kga xiv. 25X 
The contemporary king of Judah was Uzziah (or Azariah, 2 Kgs. xv. 1), who 
asserted his authority over Edom (2 Kgs. xiv. 22), and who, on this view, is the 
sovereign to whom the Moabites appealed (xvi. 1). But it is scarcely likely that 

H a prophet of Northern Israel would sympathize with Moab when invaded by his 
own countrymen ; and the poem (in xv. 1 — 9% xvi. 7 — 11) seems to relate to a 
disaster that has already occurred, not to one still to come. Moreover, the 
attack here described cannot come from the north, since the southern towns of 
Ar and Kir are assaulted before the more northerly places like Nebo, Medeba, 
and Heshbon, whereas the latter would have been the first to suflFer from an 
Israelite invasion. The inroad seems really to have come from the east, and 

I the assailants to have been Ai-ab tribes (cf. Jud. vi. 3 f., Ezek. xxv. 8 — 11). 

(2) The prophecy in xv. 9*> — xvi. 6, 12, which breaks up the elegy into two 
parts, seems to be by a different writer, who has used an earlier poem as a 
frame for his own composition. Though it reproduces some Isaianic expres- 
sions (cf. xvi. 1 with i. 8, x. 32, xvi. 2 with x. 14), it does not resemble Isaiah's 
work; and hke (1), it may proceed from an Ephraimite prophet. The answer 
represented as returned by Judah to the Moabites' appeal seems to betray an 

j animus against Moab ; and the view of Hitzig described above may be the 
true account of the origin of this part of the composite oracle. 

(3) The epilogue (xvi. 13, 14), for a passage of such small compass, contains 
a large proportion of Isaianic words. It is scarcely probable, however, that a 
prophet of such power and originality as Isaiah would himself append an 
epilogue to the composition of an earher writer or writers (if xv. 1 — xvi. 12 is 
correctly regarded as such). Possibly v. 14 is an Isaianic fragment (predicting 
an overthrow for Moab, perhaps from Sargon, see p. 108) which has been 
attached to the foregoing section by an editor : for a plausible date see note 
on xvi. 13. 

A large portion of these two cc. occurs also in Jer. xlviii., though the 
succession of the vc. (which are much modified) is different (Is. xv. 2 — 7 = Jer. 
xlviii. 37, 38, 34, 35, 34, 5, 34, 36, Is. xvi. 6— 11= Jer. xlviii. 29—33, 36). 

The Moabites, who by race were akin to Israel (Gen. xix. 30 f ), occupied at 
an early period the country E. of the Dead Sea by the expulsion of the Emim 
(Deut. iL 9 — 11); but were themselves afterwards driven out of the district 
N. of the Arnon by the Amorites (Num. xxi. 26). This region was taken from 
the Amorites by the Israelites (Num. xxi. 24) ; but in the time of Ehud was 
regained by the Moabites, who even crossed the Jordan and for a time occupied 
Jericho (Jud. iii. 12, 13). Saul fought successfully against them(l Sam. xiv. 47), 
and David made them tributary (2 Sam. viii. 2). After the Disruption they 

108 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xv.1,2 

presumably passed under the suzerainty of Ephraim, but seem to have revolted. 
They were reconquered by Omri (see Mesha's inscription), but shook ofiF the 
Israelite yoke in the time of Ahab and Joram (2 Kgs. i. 1, iii. 5); and the 
attempt of Joram to re-assert his authority ended in failure (2 Kgs. iii. 27). 
By Jeroboam II., however (as has been said), they must have been re-subdued ; 
though they recovered their independence under his feeble successors. Like 
the other Palestinian states they suffered from Assyrian aggression. In 711 
they were among those who are described by Sargon as "plotting treason" 
against their Assyrian suzerain; but on the occasion of the wide-spread 
Palestinian revolt in 701 their submission is expressly recorded by Sennacherib 
(see p. xxvi). 

Chapter XV. 

XV. 1 The 1 burden of Moab. 

For 2 in a night Ar of Moab is laid waste, and brought to 
nought ; for -in a night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and brought 
to nought. 2 2 He is gone up to ^Bayith, and to Dibon, to the 
high places, to weep : Moab howleth ^over Nebo, and ^over 

1 Or, oracle concerning ^ Or, in the night 

3 Or, Bayith and Dibon are gone up to the high places 
* Or, the temple ^ Or, upon 

XV. 1—9. A description of the consternation and distress in 
Moab when its chief cities were suddenly stormed by an enemy. 

1. For. This particle (which occurs in xv. 5, 6, 8, 9, xvi. 8, 9) 
is perhaps elliptical : Alas ! fw (or that). But it may possibly mean 
surely (cf. vii. 9). 

Ar...Kir. Both places were Moabite strongholds lying S. of the 
Arnon, Ar being on the left bank of the river, and Kir (probably 
identical with Kir-hareseth (xvi. 7) and the mod. Kerak) being 
17 m. further south. 

2. He is gone up. Better (if the text is retained), Bayith and Dibon 
(i.e. their inhabitants) are gone up. But Baijith ("house") as the 
name of a place without any qualifying genitive (such as appears in 
Beth-diblathaim or Beth-baal-meon, cf Jer. xlviii. 22, 23) is strange ; 
and it has been proposed to read. The daughter of Dibon (cf on i. 8) 
has gone up (f^^l nz nn^r for pni n:3n nbr) : cf Jer. xlviii. 18. 
Dibon (mod. Dhibdn) was 6 m. N. of the Arnon, not far from Ar. 

the high places. These were sites of religious worship, generally on 
the summits of hills (1 Sam. ix. 12, 13, 1 Kgs. xi. 7), furnished with 
altars for sacrifice (1 Kgs. iii. 4, 2 Kgs. xxiii. 15) and sometimes with 
buildings (1 Kgs. xii. 31, xiii. 32, 2 Kgs. xvii. 29). Examples of 
Canaanite high places have recently been found at Gezer, and elsewhere; 
and an Edomite high place is situated on the hills above Petra (see 
Driver, Mod. Research as Illustrating the Bible, pp. 60 f ). Mesha, the 
king of Moab, records in his inscription the erection of a high place to 


Medeba : on all their heads is baldness, every beard is cut off. 
3 In their streets they gird themselves with sackcloth : on their 
housetops, and in their broad places, every one howleth, weeping 
abundantly. 4 And Heshbon crieth out, and Elealeh ; their 
voice is heard even unto Jahaz : therefore the armed men of 
Moab cry aloud ; his soul trembleth within him. 5 My heart 
crieth out for Moab ; her ^nobles Jlee unto Zoar, ^to Eglath- 
shelishiyah : for by the ascent of Luhith with weeping they go 

^ Or, as otherwise xe&di, fugitives ^ Or, as an heifer of three years old 

I the national god Chemosh : cf. .Jer. xlviii. 35. On Mount Hermon, near 
the highest summit, are the remains of more than one temple; and 
sacrifices are said to be still offered on Mount Sinai and Mount Serbal 
(Curtiss, Pi'imitive Semitic Religion To-day, p. 142). 

over Nebo, and over Medeba. Better, upon Nebo and Medeba, which 

f are the mod. Jebel Nebu and Mddebd respectively, the former being 
near the northern end of the Dead Sea, and the latter some 12 m. to 

3. on their housetops, etc. Better (supplying a word CIPP) with the 
LXX.), on their housetops there is lamentation, and in their broad places 
emery one howleth, weeping abundantly : cf Jer. xlviii. 38. The house- 
tops, which were flat, served as places of concourse and converse (cf. 
xxii. I, Jud. xvi. 27, 1 Sam. ix. 25, Neh. viii. 16, Acts x. 9), and 
the broad places of the cities were similarly centres of meeting 
(Zech. viii. 4, Heb., Am. v. 16, 2 Ch. xxix. 4, xxxii. 6). 

4. Heshbon... Elealeh. The mod. Hesbdn and Khirbet el Al, towns 
3 lying close together N. or N.E. of Medeba, some 16 m. E. of the Jordan. 

Jahaz. The site of this place (mentioned in Num. xxi. 23 and 
described by Eusebius as between Dibon and Medeba) has not been 

therefore the armed men. Cf. Jer. xlviii. 41. But better (after the 
I LXX.), for the sake of the parallelism, therefore the loins of Moab cry 

out, reading ""Vpn for ^>?<*ri. The particle of inference connects the 
thought with V. 1, and so probably in v. 7, xvi. 7, 9, 11. Its re- 
currence is regular enough to suggest that it marks the division of the 
poem into strophes. 

5. My heart. Cf. xvi. 9, 11. But perhaps better, His (Moab's) 

heart (13? for ■•? ?) : LXX. -q KapUa ryj<; Mwa^LTiSos. 

her nobles. Literally, her bars, i.e. her chief defenders (cf. Hos. 
xi. 6). The word, differently pointed, means her fugitives (•?ri*"!3 for 

CO^I?), but the true reading is probably his fugitives ("^f^H?, a collective 
fM singular). 
^\\ Zoar. Perhaps Khirbet es Sdfia, near the south-eastern corner 

of the Dead Sea (see DB. iv. p. 985). 

Eglath-shelishiyah. Probably the name of another locality — " the 

no THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xv.6-9 

up ; for in the way of Horonaim they raise up a cry of destruc- 
tion, 6 For the waters of Nimrim shall be ^desolate : for the 
grass is withered away, the tender grass faileth, there is no green 
thing. 7 Therefore the abundance they have gotten, and that 
which they have laid up, shall they carry away ^to the brook of 
the willows. 8 For the cry is gone round about the borders of 
Moab ; the howling thereof unto Eglaim, and the howling 
thereof unto Beer-elim. 9 For the waters of Dimon are full of 

1 Heb. desolations. 2 Qr, over 

third Eglath " (cf. the dual Eglaim in v. 8), though nothing is known 
of it. The LXX. and Vulg. render a heifer three years old (cf. mg.): 
if the translation be adopted, the words are best applied to Moab 
(cf. Jer. xxxi. 18, Hos. x. 11) which is so described because it was now 
brought under the yoke (kine being broken in when three years old, 
Phny, Hist. Nat. viii. 70 (45)). 

Luhith. Described by Eusebius as being between Zoar (see on v. 5) 
and Rabbath Moab S. of the Arnon and called in his time Lmmtha 
(see Driver, Exp. Times, Aug. 1910). 

Horonaim. Since in Jer. xlviii. 5 mention is made of the going 
down of Horonaim, the place may have been at the foot of the slope on 
which Luhith stood. 

a cry of destruction, i.e. a lament for the destruction caused by the 

6. Nimrim. Perhaps Wddy Numeire, at the S.E. corner of the 
Dead Sea. 

shall be desolate. Better, become desolate. The desolation described 
is due to the invaders, whose practice it was to stop the springs, fell 
the trees, and deface the fields by casting stones upon them (see 
2 Kgs. iii. 19, 25). 

7. the abundance, etc. i.e. their possessions and savings. 
shall they carry. Better, they carry. 

brook of the willows. Or torrent of the poplars (see on xliv. 4). 
It is generally thought to be the same as the brook of the Arabah 
(Am. vi. 14), and has been identified with the mod. Wddy el Ahsa, 
which flows into the southern end of the Dead Sea, and was probably 
the boundary between Moab and Edom. 

8. Eglaim. Identified with a locality of the same name mentioned 
by Eusebius as situated 8 m. S. of Babbath Moab. 

Beer-elim. Perhaps the Beer of Num. xxi. 16. This and the pre- 
ceding place may have been situated near the southern and northern 
borders of Moab respectively. 

9. Dimon. Perhaps an intentional substitute for Dibon (which 
the Vulg. reads) to produce an assonance with the following word 
blood (^"1). Its waters are represented as coloured by the blood of 
Moab's slaughtered people (cf 2 Kgs. iii. 22). 


blood : for I will bring yet more upon Dimon, a lion upon him 
that escapeth of Moab, and upon the remnant of the land. 

/ ivill bring. The speaker must be the Lord. The passage here 
passes from lament to menace, predicting for Moab the occurrence of 
another calamity in addition to the one already sustained. The 
clause is probably the beginning of an insertion conveying a prophecy 
and extending to xvi. 6. 

a lion. Probably a figure for a desolating conqueror (cf v. 29, 
Jer. iv. 7). 

Chapter XVI. 

XVI. 1 ^Send ye the lambs for the ruler of the land from 
^Sela ^ which is toward the wilderness, unto the mount of the 
daughter of Zion. 2 For it shall be that, as wandering birds, 

1 See 2 Kings iii. 4. 2 Or, Petra » Or, to 

XVI. 1 — 6. An appeal from the Moabites to the people of 
Judah for protection, and a disheartening response. 

The occasion is not the past overthrow described in xv. 1 — 9*, but 
the coming overthrow predicted in xv. 9''. The scene is apparently 
placed in Edom, into which country it is assumed that the Moabites 
will have been driven (as had been the case previously, xv. 7), and 
whence they will petition Judah to give them succour. 

1. This V. and the next should be transposed (see v. 2, note). 
Send ye. If the text is sound, the imperative must be regarded as 

a direction from the Edomites to the Moabites, or from the Moabite 
leaders to their followers, to despatch to the ruler of Zion a present to 
reinforce their appeal for succour ; but the connection is much improved 
by the emendation And they shall send (-in?^! for •inpK'). 

the lambs. Moab was a pastoral country, and sheep constituted 
the tribute which was paid when Moab was subject to the kingdom of 
Ephraim (2 Kgs. iii. 4). In place of lambs Gratz suggests a gift (or 
tribute) OW^ for i?). The ruler of the land (i.e. of Judah), if the date 
suggested for the prophecy (p. 107) be correct, must be Uzziah. 

from Sela which, etc. Better, from Sela toward the wilderness, 
describing the starting-point and the direction of the proposed mission 
to the Jewish capital. Sela is mentioned as a city of Edom in 2 Kgs. 
xiv. 7, and is usually identified with Petra (see mg.) ; but Petra seems 
too far S., and the word is possibly employed in the sense of the rock, 
and intended to describe the rocky region of Edom in general (cf xlii. 
11, Ob. V. 3 = Jer. xlix. 16). The wilderness is the barren district in 
the south of Judah, across which the envoys, with their present, would 
have to travel (Josh. xv. 61). 

2. For it shall be, etc. Better, And it shall be. This v. is a 
prediction hke xv. 9"*, and describes the defenceless condition in which 

112 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xvi. 3-5 

as a scattered nest, so shall the daughters of Moab be at the 
fords of Arnon. 3 Give counsel, execute judgement ; make thy 
shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday : hide the 
outcasts ; bewray not the wanderer. 4 ^Let mine outcasts 
dwell with thee ; as for Moab, be thou a covert to him from the 
face of the spoiler : for ^the extortioner is brought to nought, 
spoiling ceaseth, ^the oppressors are consumed out of the land. 
5 And a throne shall be established in mercy, and one shall sit 

1 According to many ancient versions, Let the outcasts of Moab dwell with thee ; 
be thou etc. ^ Or, extortion ^ Heb. the treaders down. 

the Moabites will find themselves when the invasion there announced 
occurs. The verse in its present position interrupts the connection 
between w. 1 and 3, and would be more appropriately placed before 
V. 1, and attached to c. xv. The view that the occasion to which 
XV. 9^ — xvi. 6 refers is distinct from that which is the subject of xv. 
1 — 9* is confirmed by the fact that the Moabite fugitives are here 
represented as gathered at the Arnon, whereas in xv. 7 the flight 
described has reached a stream much further south (see note there). 

nest. i.e. nestlings : cf. Deut. xxxii. 11, Verg. A. xii. 475, nidi 

the daughters of Moab. i.e. the Moabite communities (cf. Ps. 
xlviii. 11). 

3. Give counsel, etc. The speakers are the Moabite envoys 
addressing Zion. 

execute judgement. Better, deliver (as mediator) a judgment between 
the pursuer and the pursued. 

thy shadow... noonday. Figures for relief or shelter in oppressive 
circumstances : cf. iv. 6, xxx. 2, xxxii. 2, Livy, viii. 30, umbra vestri 
auxilii, Romani, tegi possumus. 

4. Let mine outcasts, etc. If the text is retained, the rendering 
must be. Let mine outcasts, even Moab's, dwell with thee. But better, 
after the LXX. and Syr. (see mg.). Let the outcasts of Moab dwell with 
thee Cn"!? for ^O'lJ). For be thou there is employed an unusual form of 
the verb, occurring in both early and late writings (Gen. xxvii. 29, 
Neh. vi. 6, Eccles. ii. 22, xi. 3), which here may be a dialectic 
(Ephraimite) peculiarity. 

for the extortioner. Probably a word (^V) is lost, and the rendering 
should be until the extwtioner is brought to nought, etc. (the perfects ' 
being equivalent to future perfects, as in 2 Kgs. vii. 3). Marti emends ; 
spoiling to the spoiler (^1^* for "i^). 

5. And a throne, etc. Better, Then a throne, etc. The words { 
explain the advantages which will accrue to the Judaean king, if he will '■ 
interpose to protect the fugitives : the authority of himself and his 
dynasty (instead of Ephraim's) will be established over Moab (which 
was once subject to David, 2 Sam. viii. 2) by ties of gratitude for 
mercy and justice. 


thereon in truth, in the tent of David ; judging, and seeking 
judgement, and swift to do righteousness. 

6 We have heard of the pride of Moab, that he is very 
proud ; even of his arrogancy, and his pride, and his wrath ; his 
boastings are nought. 7 Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab, 
every one shall howl : for the ^raisin-cakes of Kir-hareseth shall 
ye mourn, utterly stricken. 8 For the fields of Heshbon 
languish, and the vine of Sibmah ; ^the lords of the nations 
have broken down the choice plants thereof ; they reached even 
unto Jazer, they wandered into the wilderness ; her branches 

^ Or, foundations ^ Or, her choice, plants did break down the lords of nations 

in truth. Equivalent to permanently (cf. xxxix. 8, Jer. xiv. 13). 

in the tent of David. Implying the continuance of the Davidic 
djmasty. The phrase (like Am. ix. 11) is a survival from the nomadic 
life of early Israel : cf. 2 Sam. xx. 1, 1 Kgs. xii. 16. 

6. We have heard, etc. These words are Judah's answer to 
I Moab's plea. 

j the pi'ide of Moab. Reference to this feature in the Moabite 
1 character occurs in xxv. 11, Zeph. ii. 10, Jer. xlviii. 26, 42. 

his boastings are nought. Or, {tve have heard) of the insincerity of 
his boastings (i.e. his professions, v. 5). 

7 — 11. A wail over the desolation of the Moabite vineyards. 

7. shall Moab... for Moab. Perhaps better, Moab howls to Moab. 
In the present connection the lament appears to be renewed in con- 
sequence of the repulse received from Judah ; but probably originally 
the passage was a continuation of xv. 1 — 9\ 

the raisin-cakes. These were not only favourite dainties (Cant. ii. 5), 
but were also presented as offerings to the national god (Chemosh). 
They are mentioned in connection with the feasts of false gods in 
Hos. iii. 1, and with a feast of the Lord in 2 Sam. vi. 19. 

Kir-hareseth. See on xv. 1. Vineyards are said still to abound 
near Kerak. 

shall ye mourn. The context requires they mourn (l^n for •I'^HJ^). 

8. the fields. Used here of vineyards, as in Deut. xxxii. 32. 
languish, i.e. wither from want of irrigation (see xv. 6). 
Sibmah. The mod. Sumia (near Heshbon, Nebo and Elealeh, 

Num. xxxii. 37, 38), where there are ruined vineyard towers. 

tthe lords of the nations. These words should be taken as the object, 
not the subject, of the verb : hence better, her choice plants (or clusters) 
did break down (i.e. intoxicate, cf. xxviii. 1) tJie lords of nations (the 
wine of Sibmah being exported abroad). 

they readied, etc. i.e. the cultivation of the Sibmah vine extended 
northward, eastward, and westward to the places named. 

Jazer. Perhaps the mod. Khirbet Sar, 10 m. N. of Heshbon. 
the wilderness, i.e. the Syrian desert. 

w. I. 8 

114 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xvi.9-12 

were spread abroad, they passed over the sea. 9 Therefore I 
will weep with the weeping of Jazer for the vine of Sibmah : I 
will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon, and Elealeh : for 
upon thy summer fruits and upon thy harvest the battle shout 
is fallen. 10 And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the 
fruitful field ; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, 
neitlier joyful noise : no treader shall tread out wine in the 
presses; I have made the vintage shout to cease. 11 Where- 
fore my bowels sound like an harp for Moab, and mine inward 
parts for Kir-heres. 12 And it shall come to pass, when Moab 
presenteth himself, when he wearieth himself upon the high 
place, and shall come to his sanctuary to pray, that he shall not 

passed aver the sea. Better, passed to the sea (i.e. the Dead Sea). 
For the construction cf. Am. v. 5, vi. 2. 

9. I will weep. Better, I weep (cf. v. 11). 

upon thy summer fruits, i.e. the sudden calamity of which xv. 1 
speaks took place in the summer, when the vintage was ripe. 

thy harvest, i.e. thy grape harvest, the word harvest ("'''Vf?) being 
substituted in place of the proper term vintage ("'"'V?) for the sake of 
the assonance with the neighbouring word summer fruits (f^i'^). But 
"i^V? occurs in the LXX. and the parallel passage Jer. xlviii. 32. 

the battle shout. Literally, the shout, the same term being used for 
the fierce war-cry of an invader (see Jer. li. 14) and for the cheerful 
shouting of vintagers {v. 10, Jer. xxv. 30) : the former will now replace 
the latter (cf Jer. xlviii. 33). 

10. in the presses. Better, into the vats (LXX. ra iiroXrjvLa) ; see 
on V. 2. 

I have made... to cease. The pronoun must refer to the Lord (as in 
XV. 9), but better (with the LXX.), the vintage shout has been made to 
^ease {r\wn for ^Pi3^n). 

11. my bowels, etc. i.e. my emotions are touched and find ex- 
pression. Among the Hebrews the bowels were regarded as the seat of ^ 
tender feeling (see Ixiii. 15, 1 Kgs. iii. 26, Jer. iv. 19, xxxi. 20, Cant. 
V. 4 mg.): cf the Greek o-TrAayxva (Col. iii. 12, Phil. i. 8, ii. 1). 

Kir-Jieres. Probably an accidental error for Kir-hareseth \v. 7). 

12. And it shall come, etc. This v. is a prediction, and like xv. %^ — 
xvi. 6 is part of an insertion in the original elegy. 

presenteth himself, etc. i.e. resorts to the sanctuaries (i. 12) for 
purposes of intercession (cf xv. 2). 

when he wearieth himself. Cf. 1 Kgs. xviii. 26. But the clause is 
out of place before the mention of the act of prayer, and is probably to 
be omitted as an accidental dupHcate of the preceding word (which it 
closely resembles). 


13 This is the word that the Lord spake concerning Moab 
in time past. 14 But now the Lord hath spoken, saying, Within 
three years, as the years of an hireHng, and the glory of Moab 
shall be brought into contempt, with all his great multitude ; 
and the remnant shall be very small and of no account. 

13 — 14. A prediction that a calamity of a crushing character will 
befall Moab within a very brief interval. 

The oracle in -y. 14 may possibly be Isaianic (Driver suggesting as 
its date some year shortly before 711 when Moab was intriguing 
against Assyria, cf on c. xx.). If it is really Isaiah's, the editor (from 
whom V. 13 proceeds) has used it to affirm that the prediction of 
renewed woe for Moab, contained in xv. 9'' — xvi. 6, 12, will be fulfilled 
very shortly through an Assyrian invasion. But the close resemblance 
between this and the similar epilogue (xxi. 16, 17) attached to xxi. 
13 — 15 throws some doubt upon the Isaianic origin of both. 

14. as the years of an kireling. i.e. the period named is not likely 
to be exceeded (a hireling only working for the stipulated time) : 
cf. xxi. 16. 

the glory. Probably (in view of the parallel clause) a collective 
expression for the honourable men : cf v. 13, Heb. 

Chapter XVIL 1—11. 

This section, described as the burden of (better, oracle concerning) 
Damascus, predicts not only the utter destruction of that city, but also an 
overwhelming disaster for Ephraim, which only a small remnant will survive. 
It appears to assume the existence of the confederacy between Rezin and 
Pekah (vii. 1, cf vv. 3, 10), and hence may be dated about 735, being probably 
later than ix. 8 — 21 and v. 25 — 30 and earlier than the prophecies in cc. vii., viii. 

Damascus, whose people were immigrants from Kir (Am. ix. 7), was 
conquered by David (2 Sam. viii. 3 — 6), but revolted under Solomon (1 Kgs. 
xi. 23, 24), and after the secession of the northern tribes from Judah was 
engaged in a series of wars vnth the Ephraimite kingdom, in which it met with 
varying fortune (1 Kgs. xv. 20, xx., xxii. 1 f., 2 Kgs. vi. 8 — vii. 20, viii. 28, 
J29, x. 32, xiii. 3). By Jeroboam II. it seems to have been subjugated (2 Kgs. 
xiv. 28), but under his successors it regained its independence. In the time 
of Pekah, it formed with Ephraim the alliance alluded to, in order to oppose 
' Assyria ; but the resistance offered proved futile, and Damascus was taken in 
732, and its people deported and replaced by Assyrian colonists (Jos. Ant. ix. 
xii. 3). It was an important place in Babylonian, Persian, and Greek times, 
ind is still the chief city of Syria, with a population of 150,000. 


116 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xvii. 1-4 

XVII. 1 The ^burden of Damascus. 

Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it 
shall be a ruinous heap. 2 The cities of Aroer are forsaken : 
they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall 
make them afraid. 3 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. 

4 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the glory of 
Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax 

^ Or, oracle concerning 

2 Or, from Damascus; and the remnant of Syria shall dtc. 

XVII. 1 — 3. A prediction of the extinction of Damascus. 

1. Damascus. The city is situated E. of Hermon, in a fertile 
vale watered by the two rivers Abana (mod. Baradd) and Pharpar 
(mod. Awaj\ which flow into some neighbouring swamps, now called 
the Meadow Lakes. 

a ruinous heap. Better (omitting a word with the LXX.), a ruin. 

2. The cities of Aroer. Of the three Aroers named in the O.T. 
one was in Judah (1 Sam. xxx. 28) and the others in Reuben and Gad 
respectively (Josh. xiii. 16, 25). If the text is retained the last must 
be alluded to, and taken to represent Gilead, which was ravaged by 
Tiglath-pileser in 734 (2 Kgs. xv. 29). But the prediction in m). 1 — 3 
seems to relate to Damascus alone, not to the kingdom of Ephraim ; 
and since the LXX. has d<i tov atwm {y^ ^!]I^ for "i^y '''%) the true 
reading is probably Her (Damascus') cities for ever are forsaken. 

they., for flocks, i.e. their sites shall be unoccupied and turned into 
pasture grounds (cf. v. 17, xxvii. 10, xxxii. 14). 

3. The fortress. Probably not Samaria, or the Ephraimite fortresses 
collectively, but Damascus, which appeared to be a bulwark to Ephraim 
against the Assyrians. 

and the kingdom, etc. Better (with the LXX. n, A), and the 
kingdom (i.e. its independence) shall cease yrom Damascus, and the 
remnant of Syria shall perish (inserting '^2^''). The same fate is here 
predicted for the nation as in vii. 1 6, viii. 4. 

as the glory, etc. The phrase is meant ironically : the people of 
Damascus shall resemble the pitiful remnant to which the once glorious 
kingdom of Israel is destined to be reduced. The clause anticipates 
awkwardly the following v., and is perhaps an insertion based on it. 

4 — 11. A prediction of loss and humiliation for Israel, and an 
explanation of the cause of its calamities. 

4. the glory of Jacob, i.e. the population and wealth of the 
kingdom of Ephraim, the diminution of which is likened to the ravages 
of illness (cf x. 16). 


lean. 5 And it shall be as when the harvestman gathereth the 
standing corn, and his arm reapeth the ears ; yea, it shall be as 
when one gleaneth ears in the valley of Rephaim. 6 Yet there 
shall be left therein gleanings, as the ^shaking of an olive tree, 
two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or 
five in the outmost branches of a fruitful tree, saith the Lord, 
the God of Israel. 7 In that day shall a man look unto his 
Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of 
Israel. 8 And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his 
hands, neither shall he have respect to that which his fingers 
have made, either the ^Asherim, or the sun-images. 9 In that 

1 Heb. beating. ^ See Ex. xxxiv. 13. 

5 — 6. The figure of bodily decay is here replaced by others. 
Israel is to be denuded of its people and possessions as completely as 
a corn field or olive yard is stripped by the reapers or gatherers, who 
leave little behind. 

5. t/is harvestman. The rendering involves a slight emendation 
of the original ("ip for I'Vi'^), which is required by the words his arm. 
Amongst the Hebrews corn was cut close to the ears, the straw being 
regarded as of small value. 

the valley of Rephaim. A vale or perhaps a series of vales, S.W. of 
Jerusalem (Josh. xv. 8), and hence a familiar locality to the prophet 
and his countrymen. Josephus {Ant. vii. xii. 4) describes it as 
extending to Bethlehem : cf 2 Sam. xxiii. 13, 14. 

6. Yet there shall be left, etc. Better, And there shall be left therein 
(i.e. in Jacob, v. 4) only gleanings, etc. 

shaking. Better (as in the mg.), beating. Olive trees were regularly 
beaten to dislodge the fruit : cf xxiv. 13, Deut. xxiv. 20. 

a fruitful tree. In the Heb. there is a play upon the name 
Ephraim which is connected in Gen. xli. 52 with the verb pdrah "to 
be fruitful" (cf Gen. xlix. 22, Hos. xiii. 15). 

7 — 8. These two vv. which predict Ephraim's conversion, have 
been suspected to be a late insertion (of consolatory purport) because 
the context on both sides is exclusively concerned with the desolation 
of Ephraim. The passage resembles xxx. 22, cf also xxvii. 9. 

7. shall a man look unto, etc. i.e. the survivors shall repose 
confidence in the Lord (cf xxxi. 1, xxii. 11). 

his Maker. The expression is not found elsewhere in Isaiah, but 
occurs in Deutero-Isaiah (H. 13, liv. 5). 

8. the altars, i.e. such as had been constructed for idolatrous 
rites (cf Hos. viii. 11, x. 1, xii. 11). But since the following phrase 
the work of his hands usually means idols (ii. 8, 20, xxxvii. 19) not 
altars, some critics reject the word here as a mistaken gloss. 

Asherim. These were wooden poles (Ex. xxxiv. 13, Jud. vi. 26), 
designed to symbolize the presence of a divinity or to mark the 

118 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xvii. .o 

day shall his strong cities be as the forsaken places Mn the 
wood and on the mountain top, which were forsaken from before 
the children of Israel : and it shall be a desolation. 10 For 
thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been 

^ The Sept. reads, of the Amorites and the Hivites. 

precincts of a sanctuary (a Phoenician inscription speaking of " the 
Ashtoreth in the asherah, the god of Hammon," Cooke, NSI. p. 50). 
They were probably originally emblems of a goddess of fertility called 
Asherah, who is mentioned together with Baal in Jud. iii. 7, who had 
prophets (1 Kgs. xviii. 19), graven images, and sacred vessels (2 Kgs. 
xxi. 7, xxiii. 4), and whose worship seems attested by the personal 
name Abd-Ashratum (" Servant of Asherah," cf. Obadiah, "Servant of 
Jehovah ") in the Tell-el-Amarna tablets. Subsequently, however, such 
poles appear to have been used for religious purposes in connection 
with other gods (Jud. vi. 25), and were even sometimes erected near 
the altar of the Lord (2 Kgs. xxiii. 6, cf the prohibition in Deut. 
xvi. 21). 

sun-images. Heb. hammdnim (xxvii. 9, Lev. xxvi. 30, Ezek. vi. 
4, 6). These were probably obelisks representing a Phoenician deity, 
Baal Hamman, "the glowing Baal," who was perhaps associated with 
the sun. Such a deity is mentioned in inscriptions found at Carthage, 
Malta, and elsewhere ; and a trace of his worship in Palestine occurs 
in the name of the locality Hammon in Asher (Josh. xix. 28). Both 
of the words Asherim and sun-images have been suspected to be 
glosses, as they injure the correspondence between w. 7 and 8. 

9. In that day. i.e. in the day of vengeance {v. 4). 

his strong cities, etc. i.e. the fortresses of Ephraim will become as 
depopulated through foreign invasion as were the woods and hills of 
Canaan through the Israelite conquests under Joshua. But woods and 
hills are not naturally populous places, and the text has been plausibly 
corrected (in the main after the LXX.) to thy cities shall he forsaken 
like the deserted places of the Hivite and the Amorite which they forsook 
before the children of Israel, and there shall be desolation (reading 
noxni ^inn nniTy? ^^ny for I'^o^ni. t^^nn n?-iTy? vr-ii?p nr). The con- 
cluding words which they forsook, etc., are redundant and rejected by 
Cheyne as a gloss. The name Amorite is sometimes employed to 
designate the pre-lsraelite population of Canaan generally (Gen. xv. 16, 
xlviii. 22, Am. ii. 9, 10) ; but is also used, in distinction from other 
local Canaanite names, to denote the inhabitants of the hill-country as 
contrasted with those of the coast or the Jordan valley (see Num. 
xiii. 29). The Hivites seem to have dwelt in central Palestine, being 
particularly associated with Shechem and Gibeon (Gen. xxxiv. 2, 
Josh. ix. 7, etc.). 

10. For thou hast forgotten, etc. The reliance upon foreign aid 
{v. 3) had been accompanied by the adoption of heathen religious rites 
(cf the conduct of Ahaz, 2 Kgs. xvi. 10 f ). 


mindful of the rock of thy ^strength ; therefore thou plantest 
^pleasant plants, and settest it with ^strange slips: 11 in the 
day of thy planting thou hedgest it in, and in the morning thou 

• Or, stronghold ^ Or, plantings of Adonis 

3 Or, vine slips of a strange god 

the rock. A common appellation of the Lord (xxx. 29, xliv. 8, 
Deut. xxxii. 4, Hab. i. 12, Ps. xix. 14, xxxi. 2, xcii. 15), as affording 
protection and security like a mountain fastness (cf. the parallelism in 
xxx. 29, Ps. xviii. 2, Ixxi. 3). It is also applied to heathen gods in 
Deut. xxxii. 4, and "great rock" is said to be a common title of 
Asshur and Bel in Assyrian. 

pleasant plants. Better, plants of Naaman. Though there is 
no actual evidence, there is a certain presumption that Naaman 
("darling") was a title of a heathen (presumably Syrian) deity. 
Kindred forms of the word occur in proper names like Abinoam, 
Ahinoam, which are analogous to theophoric appellations such dusAbijak, 
Ahijah ; and Naaman itself is a proper name (Gen. xlvi. 21,2 Kgs. v. 1). 
The god or demi-god most likely to be so designated is Tammuz, 
of whose worship among the Hebrews in the sixth century Ezek. 
viii. 14 affords evidence. Tammuz was the Babylonian Dumuzi, beloved 
by the goddess Ishtar : he was a god of vegetation and especially corn ; 
and spent half the year in the upper world, and half in the lower. His 
worship no doubt extended to Syria, and in the time of Isaiah the 
relations between N. Israel and Sj^ia would conduce to the intro- 
duction into the former of the rites of a Syrian deity. Through the 
common Semitic title Adonai, "my lord," Tammuz came to be known 
to the Greeks as Adonis; and to the "gardens of Adonis" (k^ttoi 
'AScu'viSos) the plants of Naaman were probably parallel in character 
and significance. The KrjTroi 'AStJi'iSo? (Plato, Phaedr. 276) were shallow 
pots of earth in which plants were set that grew and faded with equal 
rapidity. They symbolized the life and death of Adonis, with whose 
image they were carried out and flung into the sea or some spring. 
The rite was perhaps originally a piece of sympathetic magic, the rapid 
cultivation of the plants in the shallow earth being designed to promote 
the growth of the corn. The name Naaman occurs in the Arabic 
title {Nahr Na'aman) of the S)rrian river Belus\ and is probably 
preserved in that of the flower A nemone (though a popular etymology 
of the latter connected it with dvc/Aos, see Ovid, Met. x. 735). 

settest it. The pronoun refers to " the garden " which is implied in 
the previous clause. 

strange slips. Better (cf the mg.), slips of (i.e. dedicated to) 
a strange god (Deut. xxxii. 16, Jer. ii. 25, iii. 13, v. 19). 

11. thou hedgest it in. Perhaps better, tJwu makest it grow. 

^ This is also a divine name, derived from Baal ("Lord"). 

120 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xvii. 12 

makest thy seed to blossom : but the harvest ^fleeth away in 
the day of grief and of desperate sorrow. 

1 Or, shall be a heap 

the harvest fleeth, etc. The prophet takes the qiiickly-fading Adonis- 
gardens as emblematic of the hopes which the Ephraimites, in the time 
of Pekah, based on the alliance with Damascus and the adoption of 
S3a"ian rites, and which would never come to anything. The word 
rendered ^gg^A aivay may be a noun (Ex. xv. 8, Josh. iii. 13) and the 
passage translated : but the harvest heap shall be in a day, etc. 

XVII. 12—14. 

This short section foretells the sudden discomfiture by the Almighty of a 
combination of hostile peoples, and must be quite distinct from the preced- 
ing, with which its tone is in marked contrast. Though the passage contains 
no names, there can be little doubt that the threatening hosts are those of the 
Assyrians, and that the people against whom they are gathered is Judah (note 
tis in V. 14). The occasion when the prophecy was composed is more uncertain ; 
but the most plausible date for it is 701, when Sennacherib threatened 
Jerusalem. The consternation that then prevailed in the Jewish capital is 
attested by x. 24, and the historical accomit in cc. xxxvi., xxxvii. ; and the 
suddenness of the catastrophe here predicted can be illustrated by xxxvii. 36. 
The present oracle is probably a little later than x. 5 — 34, and wiitten when 
the Assyrians were actually in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem. 

Another view (advanced by Cheyne) is that the section was added by Isaiah 
as a supplement to the preceding x^^i. 1 — 11 in 723, during the time when 
Sargon was besieging Samaria, and when the people of Judah might dread an 
Assyrian inroad into their own territory ; but there are no intenial links 
between the sections, and too little is known about the relations of Assyi'ia to 
Judah in 723 — 2 to render this view as likely as the preceding. Some critics 
have thought that the passage forms a imity with c. xviii. ; but «. 14 here is as 
clearly the end of one oracle as xviii. 1 is the beginning of another. 

12 Ah, the ^uproar of many peoples, which roar like the 
roaring of the seas ; and the rushing of nations, that rush like 

^ Or, multitude 

12. many peoples, i.e. the various subject nations that con- 
stituted part of the Assyrian forces (see xxii. 6, cf xxix. 7, viii. 9). 
For the comparison of the noise of armed men to the roar of the sea 
cf Jer. vi. 23. 

rushing. Better, crashing or thundering. The epithet mighty 
should be transferred (with the LXX.) to nations. 


the rushing of mighty waters ! 13 The nations shall rush like 
the rushing of many waters : but he shall rebuke ^them, and 
^they shall flee far ofi", and shall be chased as the chafl^ of the 
mountains before the wind, and like the whirling dust before 
the storm. 14 At eventide behold terror ; and before the 
morning ^they are not. This is the portion of them that spoil 
us, and the lot of them that rob us. 

1 Heb. him. 2 Heb. he. ^ Heb. he is. 

13. The nations... ivaters. The opening words of this v. are an 
accidental repetition of the last clause of v. 12, and are omitted by 
some Heb. MSS. and by the Syriac. 

but he shall rebuke. Better, but he (the Lord) checks them (cf Ps. 
ix. 5, xviii. 15, Ixviii. 30, Job xxvi. 11). 

as the chaff of the mountains. The comparison recurs in xxix. 5, 
xli. 15. Threshing-floors were generally placed on elevated positions 
exposed to the wind (see 2 Ch. iii. 1), But the LXX. has the chaff oj 
winnowers (Q''1T for 0^1^)). 

14. At eventide. . .before the morning. The words are not to be taken 
literally, and are only intended to suggest the swiftness with which 
relief will come to the panic-stricken city (cf. xxix. 5, Ps. xxx. 5). 

Chapter XVIII. 

This c. consists of a message addressed by Isaiah to certain envoys from 
Cush, or Ethiopia, predicting the overthrow of an unnamed power by the Lord, 
independently of any human agency. The situation imphes that Judah is 
confronted by an invading force, to oppose which the Ethiopians have offered 
assistance. The oracle probably relates to the Assyrians ; and the conviction 
which is here expressed that the enemy's projects will meet with a check when 
it is least expected so closely resembles xvii. 12 — 14 as to make it likely that 
the date is approximately the same. Negotiations between Judah and Egypt 
where Shabaka, who belonged to an Ethiopian dynasty, was the reigning 
Pharaoh, were set on foot in the course of the years 705 — 702 (see xxx. 12, 
xxxi. 1), with a view to united action against Assyria ; and it is probably to these 
negotiations that the oracle refers. An alternative date (favoured by Marti) is 
728, if the So, who about that time encouraged Hoshea of Israel to revolt from 
Assyria (2 Kgs. xvii. 4), is really identical with Shabaka ; but the identification 
is questioned. 

Duhm thinks that the section is connected with xvii. 12 — 14; but see 
p. 120. 

The substance of the oracle is contained in vv. 4 — 6, the opening vv. 1 — 3 
being an impressive introduction to it, while c. 7 is an epilogue. 

122 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xviii. i, 2 

XVIII. 1 Ah, the land ^of the rustling of wings, which is 
beyond the rivers of ^Ethiopia : 2 that sendeth ambassadors by 
the sea, ^even in vessels of papyrus upon the waters, saying, Go, 
ye swift messengers, to a nation ^tall and smooth, to a people 

^ Or, shadowing with wings '■* Heb. Gush. 

^ Or, and * Or, dragged away and peeled 

XVIII. 1 — 3. A direction to the envoys of Ethiopia to return to 
their countrymen and bid them and others watch for an impending 

The speech was probably not actually delivered by Isaiah in person 
to the Ethiopian ambassadors, but was designed to influence Hezekiah's 
response to their overtures. The difference in tone between the 
prophet's courteous language here respecting the power which the 
envoys represented and the contemptuous description of Egypt in 
XXX. 5 — 7 (cf also c. xx.) is best accounted for by the fact that in the 
present case he is in the situation of one addressing the ambassadors 
of a friendly nation, whereas in the other he is speaking his mind to his 
own countrymen. 

1. Ah, the land... wings. Or, Ho, land of the buzzing of wings. 
This rendering, which is supported by Sym. (who has oval 7175 o ^x"^ 
TTTcptoTo's) and virtually by the Vulg., describes Ethiopia (or Egypt) 
as abounding in swarms of flies and other insects. Of the other 
renderings given by the versions the most interesting is that of Aq., who 

has oval yrjs (tklo. aKia TTTtpirytov, reading ^'^. ^"^ for ^Vf'V, and probably 
taking the Heb. to mean Ah ! land of shadow on both wings (or sides), i.e. 
a country within the tropics, where the shadows fall alternately N. and S. 
at different seasons. 

the rivers, etc. As a Jewish writer is not likely to have known of 
the Blue and White Niles or the Atbara the plural is probably "ampli- 
ficative." The clause which... Ethiopia (cf Zeph. iii. 10) is regarded by 
Cheyne as a prosaic geographical gloss. 

2. the sea. i.e. the Nile (xix. 5, Nah. iii. 8, Job xli. 31). 

vessels of papyrus. Cf Pliny, Hist. Nat. xiii. 22, Ex ipso quidem 
papyro navigia texunt, et e libro vela; Lucan, Phars. iv. 136, Conseritur 
bibula Memphitis cymba papyro. 

saying. This should be omitted. Its insertion assumes that the 
direction that follows is given to the messengers by Ethiopia, on de- 
spatching them to the Jews ; but v. 7 shews that the people to whom 
they are sent can only be the Ethiopians, so that the direction Go, etc. 
must be given by the prophet, who dismisses the messengers on their 
return journey. (The mg. in v. 2 assumes that nation means the Jews.) 

tall. Cf. xlv. 14. Herodotus describes Ethiopia as producing avSpas 
/ncyicTTOvs Ktti KaXXicrT0U9 (ill. 11-4). 

smooth. Herodotus speaks of the Egyptians as shaving off the hair 
which other nations allow to grow (ii. 36) ; but the epithet here may 
aUude to the shining skins characteristic of the Nubians. 


terrible from their beginning onward ; a nation Hhat meteth 
out and treadeth down, whose land the rivers ^divide ! 3 All 
ye inhabitants of the world, and ye dwellers on the earth, when 
an ensign is lifted up on the mountains, see ye ; and when the 
trumpet is blown, hear ye. 4 For thus hath the LoiiD said unto 
me, I will be still, and I will behold in my dwelling place ; ^like 
clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest. 
5 For afore the harvest, when the blossom is over, and the flower 
becometh a ripening grape, he shall cut ofl^ the sprigs with 

^ Or, meted out and trodden down Heb. of line, line, and of treading down. 
' Or, have spoiled ^ Or, when there is 

from... onward, i.e. throughout its whole extent. But some take 
it to mean, throughout its whole history. 

that meteth out, etc. The text, as ordinarily read, means literally 
(as in the mg.) a nation oj line, line, and of treading down, and if 
correct describes the Egyptians or Ethiopians as a nation that subjugates 
other peoples and apportions by line their territories. But the terms 
used are then in an unnatural order, and probably the words rendered 
line, line should be combined into one, and the passage translated a 
nation of might and of treading down, i.e. a strong and conquering 

whose... divide. This is an indirect allusion to Ethiopia's fertility 
and wealth, the prophet's own land of Judah being comparatively 
waterless and unproductive. 

3. All ye inhabitants, etc. These words begin the message (ex- 
tending to V. 6) which Isaiah gives to the Ethiopian envoys to convey 
home. The attention of all the world is called to the overthrow 
impending over Assyria. 

when an ensign, etc. The ensign and trumpet are the Lord's signals, 
which will inform the nations when the time for His decisive intervention 
has arrived. 

4 — 6. An oracle from the Lord, declaring that He will await 
patiently the ripening of the Assyrians' plans and then frustrate 
them just as they mature. 

The oracle is meant to inform the Egyptians that no political com- 
pact such as they propose is required to meet a danger which the Lord 
will deal with at the right moment. 

4. in my dwelling place. Possibly Zion (cf LXX. eV ttj ifxrj 
TTo'Xet), but more probably heaven. 

like clear heat, etc. The Lord's attitude will seem for a while as 
favourable to Assyria's plans as the sunshine and dewy mists of summer 
are to the vintage, harvest here meaning the season of the ingathering 
of the grapes (see v. 5 and cf xvi. 9). 

in the heat of harvest. The LXX. and Vulg. have in the day of 
harvest, reading QV? for Dn?. 

5. the flower. Better, the berry. 

124 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xviii. 6, 7 

pruning-hooks, and the spreading branches shall he take away 
and cut down. 6 They shall be left together unto the ravenous 
birds of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth : and the 
ravenous birds shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of 
the earth shall winter upon them. 7 In that time shall a present 
be brought unto the Lord of hosts of a people ^tall and smooth, 
and from a people terrible fi*om their beginning onward; a 
nation that meteth out and treadeth down, whose land the rivers 
divide, to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the mount 

1 See ver. 2. 

6. They shall he left. The figurative description of the termination 
of Assyria's enterprise is replaced by a matter-of-fact announcement of 
the fate of its numerous soldiers (cf. Jer. vii. 33, Rev. xix. 17, 18). 

7. A prediction of homage rendered by the Ethiopians to the Lord 
at Zion. 

This v. is probably a later (post-exilic) addition. The prediction is 
of a tenor that is isolated in the genuine writings of Isaiah, but resembles 
xlv. 14, Ix. 6, 7 ; the repetition of the terms applied to the Ethiopians 
in V. 2 is not what might be expected of that prophet ; and the expras- 
sion the place of the name of the Lm'd seems to be post-Deuteronomic. 

a present., .of a people. Better (after the LXX. and Vulg.), a 
present .. .from a people (reading Q^P for ^T). 

the place of the name of the Lord. i.e. the place of the Lord's self- 
revelation, viz. the Temple ; cf Jer. iii. 1 7 and see Deut. xii. 5, 1 Kgs. 
viii. 16. 

Chapter XIX. 

This oracle concerning Egypt falls naturally into two halves. The first 
{vv. 1 — 15), which presents indications of a poetical structure, is a prediction of 
calamities destined to be brought by the Lord upon Egypt — calamities which 
include internal anarchy, cruel oppression, and severe drought. The second 
{vv. 16—25), which is written in prose, is characterised in the main by a tone of 
sympathy with Egypt, predicts its conversion to the Lord, its use of the 
Jewish tongue, and its union with "Assyria" and Israel in the worship of the 

Between the age of Moses and the age of Isaiah Egypt figures little in 
Hebrew history, though Solomon is stated to have married an Egyptian prin- 
cess (1 Kgs. iii. 1), and Judah was invaded in the reign of Rehoboam by 
Shishak (1 Kgs. xiv. 25) and possibly again in the reign of Asa by Zerah 
(perhaps Osorkon I.) (2 Ch. xiv. 9 — 15). But in the eighth century the 
activity of Assyria alarmed Egypt, and she encouraged both Hoshea of Israel 
and Hezekiah of Judah to rebel against their Assyrian suzerain. In the 


seventh century Egypt was invaded by the Assyrian kings Esar-haddon (about 
670) and Asshurbanipal (662) ; but when towards the close of the century the 
Assyrian empire came to an end, the Egyptian king Necho advanced into Asia, 
slew Josiah at Megiddo, and made Judah tributary (see p. liii). Necho, 
however, was defeated by the Babylonians at Carchemish (605), and in 567 the 
Babylonian king Nebuchadrezzar penetrated into Egypt. In 525 it was con- 
quered by the Persian Cambyses, and its subjugation was completed by Darius 
Hystaspis. Other Persian kings who made expeditions into it to suppress re- 
volts were Xerxes, Artaxerxes Longimanus, Artaxerxes Mnemon, and Artaxerxes 
Ochus. After the fall of Persia and the death of its conqueror Alexander, 
Eg}i)t passed in 322 to Ptolemy Soter and the dynasty which he founded. 

This c. is of uncertain date and seems to be of composite origin. Viewed 
as a whole it exhibits many features unfavourable to Isaiah's authorship. 
(a) In Isaiah's visions of Judah's future there is nothing suggestive of any 
occasion calculated to lead to the establishment in Egypt of Jewish communi- 
ties from which the Egyptians could learn the Jewish language : such settlements 
on any scale presumably first originated after the overthrow of the Judsean 
kingdom by the Babylonians (Jer. xlii. 14, xliv. 1). (&) The circumstantial 
allusion to a particular Egj'ptian city (». 18, see note) is unlikely in an Isaianic 
prophecy, (c) The style is dissimilar to Isaiah's, being prolix, and marked by 
the reiteration of particular words (Egypt (Heb. Mizrairri), for instance, 
occurring five times in the first two verses and twenty-five times in the course of 
the c). And although there are a certain number of Isaianic phrases, many ex- 
pressions are alien to Isaiah's vocabulary, and the forms of one or two are 
late (see ct. 6, 17). 

The objections to an Isaianic origin are strongest in the case of the second 
half of the c. ; but some of those noticed occur in the first half also. Some 
critics, who agree that the two halves proceed from different authors, think that 
the first part (where the resemblances to Isaiah's diction are most numerous) 
proceeds from that prophet and refers to a prospective invasion of Egypt by 
Sargon in 720 or 711, or by Sennacherib in 701. But on the whole the earliest 
date that has much likelihood is the first half of the sixth century, when 
Pharaoh Necho invaded Judah (p. liii) and evoked Jewish hate. Several 
critics, however, place the oracle later than this, in the Persian age, Cheyne 
deciding for the period between 528 (Cambyses) and 485 (Xerxes), and Duhm 
for the middle of the fourth century (Artaxerxes Mnemon and Artaxerxes 
Ochus). The knowledge displayed in it of Egyptian conditions (»«. 2, 6, 7) 
suggests that the wTiter had some acquaintance with the country. 

The latter half of the c. contains a series of separate oracles, some of which 
seem certainly to belong to the Greek period (i.e. after 323), since in ». 18 there 
appears to be an allusion to the Greek name of the city of On (Heliopolis), and 
probably all are to be assigned to this date. Assyria (mentioned in vv. 23, 24) 
had, it is true, come to an end long before this ; but the name (which is used of 
Persia in Ezra vi. 22) was applied about this time to Syria (which is called 
Asharu in hieroglyphic inscriptions, see Cheyne, Int. p. 107). This part of the 
c, which is of the nature of an epilogue to the earlier portion, seems most 
likely to have been composed at the end of the fourth or beginning of the third 
century — perhaps in Egypt. 

126 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xix. .-4 

XIX. 1 The ^burden of Egypt. 

Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and cometh unto 
Egypt : and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, 
and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it. 2 And I 
will "Stir up the Egyptians against the Egyptians : and they 
shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against 
his neighbour ; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom. 
3 And the spirit of Egypt shall be made void in the midst of it ; 
and I will ^destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek 
unto the idols, and to the * charmers, and to them that have 
familiar spirits, and to the wizards. 4 And I will ^give over 

1 Or, oracle concerning ^ Or, join together Or, arm ^ Heb. swallow up. 
* Or, whisperers ^ Or, shut up 

XIX. 1 — 4. An announcement of a judgment to be brought 
upon Egypt by the Lord through intestine strife and foreign tyranny. 

1. the Lord rideth, etc. The Lord is similarly represented as 
riding on a cloud in Ps. xviii. 10, civ. 3, cf. also Nah. i. 3. The 
place whence He is supposed to come may be either Zion (cf. v. 17) or 
heaven (cf. xxvi. 21, Mic. i. 3), though the expression is perhaps a 
mere imitation of passages like Deut. xxxiii. 1, Jud. v. 4, implying that 
the Lord journeyed from a distant earthly sanctuary, such as Horeb. 

the idols. Literally, nonentities (as in ii. 8). The false gods, as 
well as the inhabitants, of Egypt will quake before the Lord ; cf. 
Ex. xii. 12, Num. xxxiii. 4, Jer. xlvi. 25. The passage is quoted in 
Pseudo-Matt, xxiii., which relates that, when our Lord was taken by 
Joseph into Egypt, and was carried by Mary into a temple, all the 
idols there prostrated themselves before Him. Cf. also the Arabic 
Gospel of the Infancy, x. 

2. / will stir up, etc. Cf. ix. 11. The Lord Himself is the 
speaker, His speech extending to v. 4. 

kingdom, etc. In the seventh century Egypt was governed by 1 2 local 
kings under Assyrian suzerainty, of whom one, Psammetichus (663 — 
610), made himself master of the whole country (Hdt. ii. 147, 151); but 
the partition of the country among several rulers was probably not 
confined to this period. The passage has perhaps suggested Mk. xiii. 8 
(= Matt, xxiii. 7, Luke xxi. 10). 

3. the spirit of Egypt, i.e. its intelligence and resourcefulness. 
shall be made void. Cf. Jer. xix. 7. The LXX. has shall be con- 

Jounded (n?n: for r\p;^y) : cf. Esth. iii. 15 Heb. 

destroy. Better, distract ; cf. iii. 12, ix. 16. 

charmers. Literally, whisperers, who supported their pretensions by 
ventriloquism (see viii. 19). 

to them that... wizards. Better, to the ghosts and the knowing 
people (i.e. the spirits of the dead) : see on viii. 19. 


the Egyptians into the hand of a cruel lord ; and a fierce king 
shall rule over them, ^saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts. 5 And 
the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted 
and become dry. (3 And the rivers shall stink ; the ^streams of 
-Egypt shall be minished and dried up : the reeds and flags 
shall wither away. 7 The meadows by the Nile, by the brink of 
the Nile, and all that is sown by the Nile, shall become dry, be 
driven away, and be no more. 8 The fishers also shall lament, 
and all they that cast angle into the Nile shall mourn, and they 
that spread nets upon the waters shall languish. 9 Moreover 
they that work in combed flax, and they that weave ^ white 

^ Or, canals 2 Heb. Mazor. * Or, cotton 

4. a cruel lord. A foreign oppressor, not a native ruler (like 
Psammetichus), must be meant. The prophecy may be regardea as 
having been fulfilled by some one of the invasions mentioned on p. 125. 
The LXX. takes the sing, as a collective and has Kvptoc <rK\r]pol.../3a(TiXcL<; 
(TKX-qpoi : of. the plural oppressors in v. 20. 

5 — 10. Egypt's calamities will be augmented by the drying up of 
the Nile, and the consequent decay of the industries that depend upon it. 

These vv., describing a physical disaster, are considered by some 
critics to be an insertion, interrupting the account of the political ruin 
of Egypt, which occupies vv. 1 — 4 and 11 — 15. In them another word 
is used for Egypt — Mazor (v. 6), which occurs elsewhere only in xxxvii. 
25 (= 2 Kgs. xix. 24) and Mic. vii. 1 2. 

5. the sea. i.e. the Nile (cf xviii. 2, Nah. iii. 8 : cf Pliny, Hist. Nat. 
35, 11, Nili aqua mari similis est). Similarly Herodotus states that 
when the Nile inundates the land " the cities alone appear above the 
surface, just like the islands in the Aegean, for the rest of Egypt be- 
comes a sea" (11. 97), and Diodorus (i. 96) asserts that the name 
Ocean was popularly applied to the Nile by the Egyptians. A similar 
prediction is found in Ezek. xxx. 12. 

6. the streams. Better, the Nile arms, i.e. the channels which 
border and intersect the Delta. 

7. The meadows by tlie Nile, etc. The text, if retained, must mean 
Bare places are by the Nile, by the brink of the Nile ; but it is better 
emended (partly after the LXX.) to All the reed-grass (Gen. xli. 2, 18) 
by the brink (Ps. cxxxiii. 2 Heb.) 0/ the Nile shall pass away (reading 
inx"*?!. -inyi. for iiN'-'?y n'ly). 

all that is sown. i.e. (in view of the verb driven away) sown seed 
rather than sown ground. 

8. The fishers. Diodorus (i. 36) describes the Nile as abounding 
with an incredible quantity of fish of all kinds, and Herodotus (11. 92) 
states that some of the Egyptians hve entirely on fish. 

9. they that work, etc. The Vulg. implies the reading, Asham^ 

128 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xix. 10-13 

cloth, shall be ashamed. 10 And her ^pillars shall be broken 
in pieces, all they ^that work for hire shall he grieved in soul. 
1 1 The princes of Zoan are utterly foolish ; the counsel of the 
wisest counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish : how say ye 
unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient 
kings ? 12 Where then are thy wise men ? and let them tell 
thee now ; and let them know what the Lord of hosts hath 
purposed concerning Egypt. 13 The princes of Zoan are become 
fools, the princes of ^Noph are deceived ; they have caused 
Egypt to go astray, that are the corner stone of her tribes. 

1 Or, foundations 2 Or, that make dams 

3 Or, Memphis 

shall he they that work in flax, and the women that card, and they that 
weave white stuff {i.e. cotton), reading nipib^ for nipnip. 

10. her pillars, i.e. the principal men of the state; cf -y. 13 and 
the similar metaphors in Zech. x. 4, Gal. ii. 9. But the parallelism 
requires a word designating a class of craftsmen, and favours the 
reading of certain cursive MSS. of the LXX. oi Sia^ofievoi aird, the 
weavers of it (C'D^ for •^'^W). 

broken in pieces. Better, crushed (in spirit). 

11 — 15. In the presence of the predicted disasters the wisest 
statesmen of Egypt will be helpless. 

A return is here made to the political troubles described in vv. 1 — 4. 

11. Zoan. LXX. Tanis (cf. Hdt. ii. 166), the mod. San, an 
ancient city (Num. xiii. 22) situated in the N.E. of the Delta, on one 
of the Nile channels, to which it gave its name. 

the counsel of the, etc. Better, the wisest counsellors of Pharaoh are 
a stupid council, the abstract n^y being used in a concrete sense. 

how say ye. i.e. with what right, in view of your helplessness, can 
ye, Pharaoh's counsellors, lay claim to inherited statecraft? For 
Egypt's reputation for wisdom cf. 1 Kgs. iv. 30, Acts vii. 22, Hdt. n. 

160, TOii? (TO<f)(jiT(iTOVi dvdputTrcov AtyVTTTtOUS. 

12. Where then are thy wise men, etc. The question is addressed 
to Pharaoh, who has with him no one capable of explaining the origin 
or the issue of the national troubles. The challenge resembles that in 
xlvii. 12, 13. 

let them know. Better (with the LXX. and Vulg.), let them make 
known (■ly'lV"! for •IVI.^.l). 

13. Noph. i.e. Memphis, situated at the S. angle of the Delta, 
10 m. S. of the mod. Cairo. The name appears in Hos. ix. 6 as Moph : 
the ancient Egyptian is said to be Mennufer. 

the corner stone. Better, the pinnacles, a metaphor for the upper 
classes (cf Jud. xx. 2, 1 Sam. xiv. 38, Zech. x. 4). 

her tribes, i.e. the local divisions or petty kingdoms {v. 2). 


14 The Lord hath mingled a spirit of perverseness in the midst 
of her : and they have caused Egypt to go astray in every work 
thereof, as a drunken man ^staggereth in his vomit. 15 Neither 
shall there be for Egypt any work, which head or tail, palm- 
branch or rush, may do. 

16 In that day shall Egypt be like unto women : and it shall 
tremble and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the Lord 
of hosts, which he shaketh over it. 17 And the land of Judab 
shall become a terror unto Egypt, ^every one to whom mention 
is made thereof shall be afraid, because of the purpose of the 
Lord of hosts, which he purposeth against it. 

18 In that day there shall be five cities in the land of Egypt 

1 Or, goeth astray 

2 Or, every one that maketh mention thereof, to him shall they turn in fear 

14. The Lord hath, etc. Though the rulers of the nation are the 
immediate cause of the country's ruin (v. 13), the Lord is its ultimate 
Author (cf xxix. 10, 1 Kgs. xxii. 22, 1 Sam. xvi. 14). 

in the midst of her. The LXX. seems to have had in the midst of 
them, which suits best the following plural, they have caused, etc. 

to go astray. Better (to correspond to the next clause), to stagger. 

15. which head w tail, etc. Better, ivhich head and tail, palm- 
hranch and rush (ix. 14) may do, i.e. no united action on the part of 
the discordant ranks in the state will be possible. 

16 — 25. The terror inspired in Egypt by the Lord will bring about 
its conversi(m and eventual participation in the religious privileges of 

This section, which probably originated with a later writer, seems 
to have been composed as an appendix to the preceding, v. 17 
expanding the thought of v. 12, and v. 20 {oppressors) alluding to v. 4. 

16 the shaking, etc. i.e. the Lord's infliction of chastisement, 
cf x. 32, xi. 15, Zech. ii. 9. 

17. shall become a terroi'. i.e. because it is the abode of the Lord, 
the Author of Egypt's calamities. The word terror is Aramaic in 
form, and suggests a late date for the passage. 

18. there shall be five cities, etc. The conversion of Egypt will 
begin with the adoption of the Hebrew faith and language by a few 
cities {five being a conventional figure for a small number, cf. xvii. 6, 
XXX. 17, 1 Sam. xvii. 40, xxi. 3, Lev. xxvi. 8). For the diffusion of the 
Hebrew religion in Egypt means existed (probably as early as the end of 
the seventh century ) in the .Jewish colonies there. In 609 Pharaoh Necho 
must have carried some .Jewish captives to Egypt with king Jehoahaz 
(2 Kgs. xxiii, 34) ; and after the fall of Jerusalem in 587 many of its 
citizens took refuge in that country (Jer. xlii. 14), three towns, Migdol 
(near Pelusium), Tahpanhes (Daphnae) and Noph (Memphis) being 
named as localities where they settled (cf Jer. xliv. 1, xlvi. 14). In 

130 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xix. 19 

that speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the Lord of 
hosts ; one shall be called The city of Mestruction. 

19 In that day shall there be an altar to the Lord in the 

* Or, Heres Or, according to another reading, the sun 

the sixth century (as recently discovered papyri ' shew) Jewish colonies 
also existed at Syene (Assouan) and Yeb (Elephantine). At a still later 
date Ptolemy Soter (322 — 285) further increased the Jewish population 
in Egypt by forcibly transporting many Jews thither, whilst others 
settled there voluntarily (Jos. Ant. xn. i.). 

one shall he called, etc. i.e. one of the cities will receive a new 
name, descriptive of a change of character (see on i. 26). The new 
name, citi/ of destruction, though naturally meaning " a city that is, or 
is to be, destroyed" (cf xxiv. 10, citi/ of wasteness, i.e. city destined to 
be wasted, Zech. xi. 4, Ps. xliv. 22, Heb. flock of slaughter), here 
signifies a city wherein idolatrous symbols are to be demolished (in 
consequence of its conversion to the true God). The city designated 
is probably On or Heliopolis, the Heb. for city of destruction (^TIDlI "fl') 
being a play upon the Heb. equivalent for Heliopolis {^y)^ "'''^). On 
(a little S. of the apex of the Delta, about 6 m. from Cairo) was 
famous for its temple of the Sun (" Cleopatra's needle " was one of a 
number of obelisks that once stood in front of it) ; and it is perhaps 
the destruction of this temple that the passage especially contemplates 
(cf Jer. xliii. 13). In place of Dinn t;;, some Heb. MSS., Sym., and 
the Vulg. have onnn i''y the Heb. equivalent of Heliopolis ; but with 
this reading the words one shall be called The city of the sun must mean 
one named The city of the sun shall be included, which is against usage. 
The LXX. A. B, have the city of righteousness (P>^^1 I'V) and LXX. K has 
the city of graciousness CPC"^ "^'^), readings which look like altera- 
tions to avoid the ill-omened meaning which might be attached to the 
name city of destruction. 

19. shill there be an altar, etc. The altar meant is obviously an 
altar for sacrifice {v. 21), and its erection would constitute a breach of 
the command in Deuteronomy limiting sacrifice to the central sanctuary 
at Jerusalem (Deut. xvi. 5, 6, 15). The fact that the writer thus con- 
templates the construction of an altar or altars to the Lord elsewhere 
than in Jerusalem has been urged in favour of the Isaianic or at least 
of the pre-Deuteronomic origin of this section. But some post-Deutero- 
nomic prophets seem, in their anticipations respecting the extension of 
the religion of the Lord among foreign peoples, to ignore the restriction 
which the letter of the legal codes imposed under different circum- 
stances (see Mai. i. 11); and the papyri recently found at Assouan 
(see on v. 18) shew that the Jewish community at Yeb actually had a 
temple of Jehovah {Yahu) built previous to 528, in which was an 

^ See Sachau, DreA Aram. Papyrusurkunden aus Elephantine (Berlin 1907). 
A translation by Driver appeared in the Guardian for Nov. 6, 1907. 


midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof 
to the Lord. 20 And it shall be for a sign and for a witness 
unto the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt : for they shall cry 
unto the Lord because of the oppressors, and he shall send them 
a saviour, and ^a defender, and he shall deliver them. 21 And 
the Lord shall ^be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall 
know the Lord in that day ; yea, they shall worship with sacrifice 
and oblation, and shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and shall per- 
form it. 22 And the Lord shall smite Egypt, smiting and 

^ Or, a mighty one ^ Or, make himself known 

altar whereon sacrifices were offered as late as 411. It was to this 
r. that Onias IV., who took refuge in Egypt about 170 B.C. appealed 
when applying to Ptolemy Philometor (181 — 146) for leave to build a 
temple to the Lord at Leontopolis (Jos. Ant. xii. ix. 7, xiii. iii. 1, 
Wars, VII. X. 2, 3). 

a pillar. A pillar that had religious significance (and such must 
be meant here) was usually an unhewn stone, which was probably in 
primitive times considered to be the abode of a divinity, offerings 
being placed or poured upon it in order to be conveyed to the in- 
dwelling spirit (see Gen. xxviii. 17, 18), but which eventually became 
a mere symbol and was set up beside an altar (cf Ex. xxiii. 24, Deut 
vii. 5). Rows of such monoliths have been found in Palestine at Gezer 
and Taanach, in some of which holes are cut, either at the top or at the 
sides, presumably as receptacles for libations. That pillars were once 
associated with the worship of the Lord appears from Ex. xxiv. 4, 
.Josh. xxiv. 26, 27, 1 Sam. vii. 12, as well as Gen. I.e. ; but the use of 
them was rendered illegitimate by the Deuteronomic legislation (Deut. 
xvi. 22), which here seems to be disregarded. 

20. for they shall cry, etc. Better, for when they shall cry... he 
will send, etc. 

the oppressors. Probably the Persians, especially Artaxerxes Ochus. 

a saviour. Better, a deliverer (such as had been sent to the Jews 
themselves in the past, Jud. iii. 9, 15). The name Soter became the 
appellation of Ptolemy Lagi (322 — 285) who seized Egypt after the 
death of Alexander. 

21. shall be knoivn. Better (as in the mg.), shall make himself 
known. Egypt's conversion to the Lord, initiated in a few places 
{y. 18), will be promoted by experience of His power both to chasten 
and to befriend. 

oblation. Better, meal offering (see on i. 13). 

a vow. i.e. such as were made in time of need or distress (Gen. 
xxviii. 20, 21, Num. xxi. 2, Jud. xi. 30, Ps. Ixv. 1), to secure 
Divine aid. 

22. shall smite, i.e. to correct faults committed after its con- 
version to the true religion. 


132 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xix. 23-25 

healing ; and they shall return unto the Lord, and he shall be 
intreated of them, and shall heal them. 

23 In that day shall there be a high way out of Egypt to 
Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the 
Egyptian into Assyria ; and the Egyptians shall jworship with 
the Assyrians. 

24 In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with 
Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth : 25 for that the 
Lord of hosts hath blessed them, saying, Blessed be Egypt my 
people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine 

and they, etc. Better, when they... the Lm'd, he shall, etc.: their 
sufferings will be mitigated as soon as the reformation they are designed 
to secure is effected (cf. Jer. xlvi. 26, Zeph. iii. 8, 9). 

23. Assyria. If the author of the section is not Isaiah, the name 
Assyria must represent one of the powers that succeeded to Assyria's 
empire, e.g. Babylon, Persia (cf Ezra vi. 22), or Syria. The last is the 
most probable (the name Syria being derived from Assyria, cf Verg. 
G. II. 465, Assyrium venenum, i.e. Phoenician purple), and the term 
probably has this significance in Zech. x. 10. The writer anticipates 
that in consequence of the conversion of Egypt the knowledge and 
worship of the Lord will extend to Syria, which Ptolemy Lagi had 
partly subdued (Jos. Ant. xii. vii.). 

The highway is designed to protect travellers between Egypt and 
Palestine from the dangers of the desert separating the two countries 
(xxx. 6) ; cf XXXV. 9. 

worship. Literally, serve (i.e. the Lord), cf Job xxxvi. 11. 

24. the third. Israel will no longer be unique in respect of its 
spiritual privileges (Ex. xix. 5), for these will henceforth be shared by 
the two other nations named. Cf Ps. Ixxxvii. 

a blessing, i.e. an embodiment of blessedness, so that happiness 
comparable to Israel's will be the utmost that men can invoke upon 
themselves or others (cf Gen. xii. 2, Ps. xxi. 6 (mg.), Zech. viii. 13). 

25. for that .. .blessed them. Better (after the LXX. and Vulg.), 
(in the midst of the earth) which the Lord hath blessed, reading '^?r!3 for 
i^!!?. The blessing conferred on the earth is illustrated by the blessing 
bestowed on so many of its peoples. 

my people... the work of my hands. Titles hitherto belonging ex- 
clusively to Israel (x. 24, Ix. 21 (xxix. 23), Ixiv. 8) are henceforth to 
be applicable to others. 

mine inheritance. Israel is so designated in xlvii. 6, Ixiii. 17, Deut. 
xxxii. 9, 1 Kgs. viii. 53, Ps. cvi. 5. 


Chapter XX. 

The occasion of the prophecy comprised in this c. (which looks like an 
extract from a biogi-aphy of Isaiah) is explained in the opening vv. ; and the 
date is determined by an inscription of Sargon's, which alludes to the siege 
therein mentioned. Ashdod was besieged and taken by Sargon in 711, in con- 
sequence of a revolt. The Assyrian king had dethroned Azuri, the king 
of Ashdod, on account of his anti-Assyrian sympathies, and had substituted 
his brother Ahimit ; but the latter was deposed by the citizens, and a certain 
Yaman or Yatnan was raised to the throne. Sargon sent his commander-in- 
chief to piit do\vn the insurrection ; and Ashdod, Gath, and a place called 
Ashdudimmii (Ashdod-on-Sea) were captured, and their inhabitants deported. 
Yaman fled to Meluhhi (supposed to be a country in N. Arabia), whose king, 
however, was forced to surrender him to avoid invasion (see Schrader, COT. 
n. p. 91). 

The interest which the fortunes of Ashdod had for Isaiah arose from the 
inclination shewn by Judah (a vassal, like Ashdod, of Assyria, see 2 Kgs. xvi. 
7, 8) to pursue the same policy as the Philistines. Sargon expressly names 
Judah, together with the people of Philistia, Edom and Moab, as engaged in 
hostile designs against their Assyrian over-lord, and as appealing for assistance 
to P/rw, king of Muzri. This last expression has generally been thought 
equivalent to " Pharaoh, king of Egypt." But several scholars entertain the 
view that Muzri was in N. Arabia (see on v. 3) ; and it is possible (as Winckler, 
Cheyne, and some others think) that the name has here been confused with 
Mizraim, the Heb. term for Egypt, and that the same confusion has oc- 
curred in other passages in the O.T. where Egypt, or Egyptian, appears in the 
Heb. text (see Encyc. Bib. s. Mizraim). However this may be, the disaffected 
Philistines on this occasion relied for aid upon some external power, Egyptian 
or Arabian ; and Isaiah, knowing that his countrymen were disposed to make 
common cause with them, sought by this prophecy to disabuse them of their 
hopes of obtaining from the power in question any effective support. 

XX. 1 In the year that ^Tartan came unto Ashdod, when 
Sargon the king of Assyria sent him, and he fought against 
Ashdod and took it ; 2 at that time the Lord spake by Isaiah 

1 The title of the Assyrian commander in chief. 

XX. 1. In the year, etc. i.e. 711 B.C. 

Tartan. Better, the Tartan, since the word is a title (not a 
proper name) designating the officer who ranked next to tlie king. 

Ashdod. The later Azotus (1 Mac. viii. 18, Acts viii. 40), and the 
mod. Esdud, one of the five confederate PhiHstine cities, situated 3 m. 
from the Mediterranean coast. 

2. at that time. The words are used loosely {v. 2 being a paren- 
thetical statement, needed to explain v. 3, which, in the Heb., is the 
natural sequel of f . 1) : the prophet's symbolic action, presaging the fate 
of Ashdod, would naturally take place about the time of the revolt there 
{v. 3). 

134 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xx.3,4 

the son of Amoz, saying, Go, and loose the sackcloth from oflE* 
thy loins, and put thy shoe from oif thy foot. And he did so, 
walking naked and barefoot. 3 And the Lord said. Like as my 
servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot ^ three years for 
a sign and a wonder upon Egypt and upon ^Ethiopia ; 4 so shall 
the king of Assyria lead away the captives of Egypt, and the 
exiles of Ethiopia, young and old, naked and barefoot, and 

1 Or, to be for three years a sign d'C. * Heb. Cush, 

spake by Isaiah. Literally, spake hy the hand of Isaiah. The Heb. 
phrase, which is specially common in the post-exilic Priestly code and 
the books of Chron., is here used inappropriately for spake to Isaiah. 

Go, and loose, i.e. assume the garb of a deported captive (see v. 4, 
and cf 2 Ch. xxviii. 15). The sackcloth was possibly the hairy mantle 
which prophets were accustomed to wear (Zech. xiii. 4, 2 Kgs. i. 8 mg. : 
cf. Mk. i. 6)\ 

naked. Better, unclad, the prophet retaining an under-garment 
only (cf 2 Sam. vi. 20 and 14). 

3. three years. It is not necessary to suppose that Isaiah acted as 
described for three years uninterruptedly : he may have done so at 
intervals. The period is probably the space included between the first 
symptoms of revolt (perhaps in 713^) and the capture of Ashdod in 711. 

wonder. Better, premonition. For similar symbolic acts on the 
part of Hebrew prophets see Jer. xxv\\. 2f., Ezek. xii. 1 — 7, xxiv. 15 — 
24, Zech. iii. 4 — 8, and the conduct recorded of Samuel and Ahijah 
(1 Sam. XV. 27, 28, 1 Kgs. xi. 30 f ) : cf also Acts xxi. 10, 11. 

upon. Better, concerning. 

Egypt. Heb. Mizraim. In favour of regarding the Heb. word as 
here representing an Arabian Muzri is the fact that Sargon associates 
Pirii king of Muzri, Samse queen of Aribi (N. Arabia), and Itamara of 
Sabsea together as paying tribute to him (Schrader, COT. 11. p. 88). 

Ethiopia. Heb. Cush. Those scholars who here identify Mizraim 
with a district in Arabia hold that there was likewise an Arabian Cush, 
whence came the Cushites who are represented as neighbours of the 
Arabians in 2 Ch. xxi. 16 : cf also Cushan in Hab. iii. 7. 

4. lead away .. .Ethiopia. If Mizraim and Cush really represent 
Egypt and Ethiopia, the prophecy was not literally fulfilled by Sargon, 
who, though he took Ashdod, did not invade Egypt ; but the fact that 
Ashdod was not saved from capture vindicated Isaiah's estimate of the 
power in which the Philistines and their Judsean sympathizers placed 
such confidence. 

^ The apparition of Samuel, raised by the witch of Endor, was recognized by the 
robe worn (1 Sam. xxviii. 14) ; and the casting of Elijah's mantle upon Elisha was 
equivalent to a summons to the latter to become a prophet (1 Kgs. xix. 19, 
cf. 2 Kgs. ii. 13). 

^ In one of the Assyrian inscriptions relating to the overthrow of Ashdod, the 
date is given as the ninth year of Sargon (i.e. 713 B.C.). 


with buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. 5 And they 
shall be dismayed and ashamed, because of Ethiopia their 
expectation, and of Egypt their glory. 6 And the inhabitant 
of this coastland shall say in that day. Behold, such is our 
expectation, whither we fled for help to be delivered from 
the king of Assyria : and we, how shall we escape ? 

to tJm shame, etc. Better, the nakedness of Egypt, probably a gloss on 
the preceding words. 

5. ashamed, i.e. disappointed (i. 29, xix. 22, Jer. viii. 9, xvii. 18). 

6. the inhabitant, etc. i.e. the people of the smaller Palestinian 
states, including Judah, Philistia, Moab and Edom. 

hmo shall we escaped There is no evidence that in 711 Judah 
suffered invasion, so that it is probable that Hezekiah did not become 
seriously involved in the revolt of Ashdod, or else escaped by sub- 

Chapter XXI. 1—10. 

This section is a prediction of a successful assault upon Babylon ; but the 
data for determining which of the city's many sieges is meant are conflicting. 
Babylon entered into diplomatic relations with Judah in the reign of Hezekiah 
(see c. xxxix.), when the king's welcome of the Babylonian envoys met with the 
disapproval of Isaiah. This occasion would both furnish a motive for the de- 
livery of the prophecy (Isaiah seeking to discourage Judah from entering into 
an alliance with Babylon by predicting the capture of the latter, which occurred 
in 710 and again in 704 — 703) and would account in some degree for the 
feeling of distress manifested in the passage (for though Isaiah was opposed to 
foreign alliances, Babylon was a friendly power). But this view is confronted 
by some serious difficulties, (a) No mention is made of Assyria ; (&) among the 
assailants of Babylon is Elam, whose king in Isaiah's time was in alliance with 
Merodach-baladan, the king of Babylon \ though part of Elam had been con- 
quered by Assyi-ia (cf. xxii. 6); (c) Judah is represented as crushed {r. 10), 
which is not an appropriate description of its state in 710 or 704; {d) the 
phraseology, though reproducing certain Isaianic expressions (rp. 2, 6, 10), is in 
several respects unhke Isaiah's. In view of these facts it is more probable that 
the prophecy is exilic in origin, written between 549 and 538, and that the 
siege of Babylon described in it is the successful attack of Cyrus in the last- 
mentioned year (cf. xiii. 1 — xiv. 23). In Cyrus' expedition Blamites and 
Medes, who are named together here, were united (for Cyrus was prince of 
Anshan, a part of Elam, and became king of Media in 549) ; and at the time 
Babylon was the oppressor of W. Asia, and held a large body of Jews in 
captivity (cf. xiv. 4— 6). The motive of the writer is thus the desire to comfort 
his countrymen in Babylon with the hope of release through the overthrow of 
their captor (see v. 10). The principal objection to this conclusion is the 
feeling of painful emotion excited in the prophet by the vision of the city's 

1 Rogers, B.BA. ii. p. 163. 

136 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxi.i,. 

downfall, in place of the satisfaction which might be expected of a Jewish 
writer living about the middle of the sixth century (see xiii. 15 — 19, c. xlvii., 
Jer. 1., li., Ps. cxxxvii. 8, 9). To account for this, it must be assumed that the 
author was a man of acute sensibility, in whom the thought of the horrors in- 
separable from the storm and sack of a great city containing a number of his 
own countrymen overpowered for a time the joy which the prospect of his 
nation's deliverance would otherwise have inspired (similar emotions over the 
fate of a foreign nation are displayed by the writer of xv. 1 — 9% xvi. 7 — 11). If 
this view of the origin of the section is correct, its date is probably rather later 
than that of xiii. 1 — xiv. 23. 

The prophecy is marked by an abruptness of style verging on obscurity, and 
presents rapid changes of situation. The prophet in vision first sees and hears 
the assault delivered by the foes outside the walls (»». 1 — 4) ; next, he is trans- 
ported to the interior of the city, where the inhabitants are taken by surprise 
{v. 5) ; then he watches for, and finally observes, a body of the enemy's troops 
on their homeward march, and recognizes that Babylon has fallen {vv. 6—10). 

XXI. 1 The ^ burden of the wilderness of the sea. 
As whirlwinds in the South sweep through, it cometh from 
the wilderness, from a terrible land. 2 A ^ grievous vision is 

' Or, oracle concerning ^ Or, hard 

XXI. 1. the wilderness of the sea. The title of the c. seems to 
be based upon an expression in the contents, viz. the wilderness men- 
tioned in V. \^ (of. vv. 11, 13, xxii. 1, xxx. 6, 2 Sam. i. 18). This 
naturally refers to the direction whence the vision comes, and so 
probably denotes the desert separating Palestine from Babylonia (see 
below), though the meaning of the phrase (wilderness) of the sea is 
obscure. Perhaps the sea is an allusion to the Euphrates (as in Jer. li. 
36), whose waters frequently inundated the neighbouring country 
(Hdt. I. 184) ; others, who consider the wilderness to be the desert 
between Babylonia and Elam, think the Persian Gulf to be meant. 
Some critics would substitute deserts (Dn^lP for Qr"'5"lP), for the LXX. 
has only to opa/Aa T17S iptjixov. Possibly, however, the phrase should 
be emended to t/w wilderness of the south (reading \yi for DJ, cf the 
mistake in Ps. cvii. 3), or the wilderness of mountains (reading D^ll?, 
cf Ps. Ixxv. 6, mg.). 

the South. Heb. the Negeh, the appellation given to the parched 
region south of .Judah, between Hebron and Kadesh, cf xxx. 6, Gen. 
xii. 9, XX. 1, xxiv. 62, Josh. xv. 21. The comparison to the whirlwinds 
prevalent in this district (cf Zecli. ix. 14, Jer. xiii. 24) seems intended 
to express the suddenness of the catastrophe announced, and the choice 
of such a comparison points to the writer being a resident in Palestine. 

it cometh. i.e. the disclosure conveyed in the vision described in 
V. 2. 

a terrible land. The desert was viewed by the Hebrews with much 
horror (see xxx. 6, Deut. i. 19, viii. 15, Jer. ii. 6). 


declared unto me ; the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, 
and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O Elam ; besiege, Media ; 
all the sighing thereof ^have I made to cease. 3 Therefore 
are my loins filled with anguish ; pangs have taken hold upon 
me, as the pangs of a woman in travail : I am ^ pained so that 
I cannot hear ; I am dismayed so that I cannot see. 4 My 
heart ^ panteth, horror hath afii'ighted me : the twilight that 
I desired hath been turned into trembling unto me. 5 They 
prepare the table, they * set the watch, they eat, they drink : 

1 Or, will I make ^ Heb. bent. 

3 Heb. wandereth. * Or, spread the carpets 

2. grievous, i.e. because of the distressing sights and sounds 
involved in the vision of Babylon's overthrow. 

the treacherous dealer. Better (in this context), the barbarous dealer 

dealeth barbarously. The terms (which recur in xxiv. 16, xxxiii. 1) must 

j be understood of the butchery which the prophet's imagination conjures 

up in connection with the storming of Babylon by Cyrus. In point of 

fact, Cyrus' entry into Babylon appears to have been peaceful (see p. Iviii). 

Go up. The term is appropriate to attacks on fortresses generally 
(1 Kgs. xxii. 6, 2 Kgs. vi. 24), though Babylon lay in a plain. The 
speaker (to the end of v. 2) is the Lord, Who is thought of as bidding 
Babylon's enemies advance against it. There is an assonance in the 
Heb. between this word and Elam. 

Elam. Situated on the east of the lower Tigris. The name here 
represents Anshan (the country of Cyrus) which was part of Elam. On 
Media see xiii. 17, and p. lii. 

all the sighing thereof. i.e. the groaning of all the peoples 
oppressed by Babylon. But the expression is unnatural, and perhaps 

3. my loins. The loins were regarded as the seat of painful 
emotions (cf Jer. xxx. 6, Ezek. xxi. 6, Nah. ii. 10). The prophet's dis- 
tress at the vision is suggestive of the fearful character of Babylon's 
impending overthrow. 

4. My heart panteth. Better, My senses reel. 

5. They prej)are, etc. The scene shifts to the heart of the 
luxurious city (cf xiv. 11), where the principal inhabitants are at a 
feast which is interrupted by a sudden call to arms (cf Jer. li. 39). 
The storming of Babylon whilst the king and his nobles were banqueting, 
which appears here in a vision of the future, is represented as an historic 
fact in Dan. v., Hdt. i. 191, Xen. Cyr. vii. 5 ; but this is not 
supported by the evidence of contemporary inscriptions. 

set the watch. Better (in view of the preceding and following ex- 
pressions), spi-ead the coverlets, i.e. of the lounges upon which the 
leasters recHned. For the practice of recHning at meals (cf Lat. 
accumbere, accubitio) see Am. iii. 12, vi. 4, Joh. xiii. 23. 

138 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxi. 6-9 

rise up, ye princes, anoint the shield. 6 For thus hath the 
Lord said unto me. Go, set a watchman ; let him declare what 
he seeth : 7 ^ and when he seeth ^ a troop, ^ horsemen in pairs, 
^ a troop of asses, ^ a troop of camels, he shall hearken diligently 
with much heed. 8 And he cried as a lion : Lord, I stand 
continually upon the watchtower in the day-time, and am set 
in my ward * whole nights : 9 and, behold, here ^ cometh a 
troop of men, ^horsemen in pairs. And he answered and 
said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen ; and all the graven images 

^ Or, and he saw... and he hearkened ^ Or, a chariot Or, chariots 

8 Or, a pair of horsemen * Or, every night * Or, come chariots of men 

rise up. This is the cry of the sentinels on discovering that the 
city is surprised. 

anoint the shield, i.e. either for the purpose of polishing the sur- 
face that blows might glance off it (cf. 2 Sam. i. 21, Verg. A. vii. 626 
leves clipeos...tergent arvina pingui) or (more probably) as a religious 
rite. Some critics substitute draw forth (from its cover), reading 13^P 
for in^p ; cf. xxii. 6. 

6. For. The causal particle introduces the grounds for the 
prediction implied in v. 2. 

set a watchman. It is scarcely likely (as has been suggested) that 
the act of setting the watchman is meant to represent the prophet's 
entry into the clairvoyant state, in which he could discern events 
passing at a distance (cf Ezek. viii. 3); for if this were intended, it 
should have been described earlier (the sounds and sights of vv. 2 and 
5 being part of the vision). Probably the reference to the watchman is 
merely a literary artifice, modelled on descriptions like 2 Sam. xviii. 24, 
2 Kgs. ix. 17, and designed to render the prophet's final announcement 
the more impressive. 

7. a troop, etc. Better, a mounted troop, horsemen in pairs, a troop 
mounted on asses, a troop mounted on camels. The Persians, who were 
skilful horsemen (Hdt. i. 136), employed camels and asses chiefly for 
carrying baggage (Hdt. i. 80, vii. 83), but Cyrus mounted some of his 
troops on camels in a battle against the Lydians (Hdt. i. 80). 

8. he cried as a lion. If the text is sound, cf Rev. x. 3 ; but it is 
better corrected to the seer cried (reading i^^'^') for 'T.1^?), or he cried, 

Lord. Perhaps better, my lord (pointing '?"'??), the watchman 
addressing the prophet as his master. 

whole nights. Better (as in the mg.), every night. 

9. a troop of men. Better, mounted men. The expected cavalcade 
appears, and the watchman recognizes that what he sees is the victorious 
Persian army returning from the overthrow of Babylon. 

Babylon is fallen. The words are quoted in Rev. xiv. 8, xviii. 2, 
and applied to imperial Rome. 


of her gods are broken unto the ground. 10 O thou my 
threshing, and the ^ corn of my floor : that which I have 
heard from the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have I 
declared unto you. 

1 Heb. son. 

all the graven images, etc. The overthrow of Babylon was thought 
to involve the overthrow of its deities (cf. xlvi. 1, 2, Jer. 1. 2, li. 47, 52); 
but Cyrus, in his inscription relating his success, attributes it to the 
favour of Bel Merodach, the chief Babylonian divinity (see Sayce, 
HCM. p. 504 f ). 

10. thou my threshing. An address to the writer's countrymen. 
The epithets are appropriate to the humiliation undergone by the Jewish 
people in 587 at the hands of Babylon. Some kinds of corn were 
threshed by being trodden underfoot by oxen (Deut. xxv. 4, cf Horn. 
II. XX. 496, ws 8' oT€ Ti9 ^ev$j) (36a's...TpLf3€fji€vat Kpi XevKov) or pressed be- 
neath cart wheels (xxviii. 28) ; and the figure is employed for the harsh 
treatment of a vanquished enemy, not only by Heb. writers (cf xli. 15, 
Jer. h. 33, Am. i. 3, Hab. iii. 12, Mic. iv. 13, 2 Kgs. xiii. 7), but also 
by the Assyrian Tiglath-pileser III., who, in one of his inscriptions, 
speaks of "treading down" a hostile country "as in threshing" (see 
Schrader, COT. i. p. 225). 

the corn of my floor. Literally (as in the mg.), ths son of my floor. 
So arrows are called sons of the bow and sons of the quiver (Job xli. 28,, 
Lam. iii. 13). 

XXL 11, 12. 

This brief section consists of a question which reaches the prophet from 
Seir or Edom, and of the answer which he returns. Like the preceding oracle,^ 
it was probably written in Palestine, with the south-east of which Edoui 
marches ; but it is so short that its date is difficult to determine. In Isaiah's 
time Edom chafed under the yoke of Assyria ; and such may be the situation 
which the oracle reflects. But the presence in the passage of some words which 
are found chiefly in later writings is against its having originated with Isaiah ; 
and the oppression from which relief is longed for is probably the Babylonian. 
Cheyne assigns the section to 593, prior to the fall of Jerusalem, when the king 
of Edom, together with the kings of Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Zidon, concerted 
with Zedekiah, king of Judah, an uprising against Nebuchadrezzar (Jer. xxvii> 
3); and certainly the absence of bitterness in the prophet's tone is rather 
against a date subsequent to 587 (when the exultation of the Edomites over the 
fall of Jerusalem excited in the Jews the intensest resentment (see Ps. cxxxvii. 
7)). This, however, may be due to the writer's temperament ; and Duhm and 
Marti assign it to the same exilic date (549 — 538) and origin as xxi. 1 — 10, on 
the ground that it is marked by similar conciseness and obscurity. In any ctise, 
the writer of this, like the writer of the preceding oracle (see on xxi. 1), must 
have resided in the south of Palestine. 

140 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH \xxi.ix,i2 

11 The ^burden of Dumah. 

One calleth unto me out of Seir, Watchman, ^ what of the 
night? Watchman, ^what of the night? 12 The watchman 
said. The morning ^ cometh, and also the night : if ye will 
inquire, inquire ye : ^ turn ye, come. 

^ Or, oracle concerning ^ Or, what hour * Or, is come * Or, come ye again 

11. Dumah. Of the Dumahs mentioned in the O.T. one is the 
name of an Arab tribe (Gen. xxv. 14), the other of a place in 
Judah (Josh. xv. 52), and neither is associated with Edom. Gesenius 
thinks that the locality meant is "Dumah of the rock," between Arabia 
and the Sj^ian desert, but this also seems too remote from Edom. 
Probably the name is either a textual corruption of Edom (read by the 
LXX.) or (since the word means "silence") an intentional modification 
of it, suggestive of the stillness of death (cf Ps. xciv. 17, cxv. 17), 
which Jewish animosity (after 587) desired for that country'. 

One calleth. The consultation of a Jewish prophet by a foreign 
people is paralleled by the deputation sent to Elisha by the king of 
Damascus (2 Kgs. viii. 7 f ). 

Seir. i.e. Edom (see Gen. xxxii. 3, xxxvi. 8, Ezek. xxxv. 15). 

Watchman. Literally, Guardian (Ps. cxxx. 6, cxxvii. 1). 

what of the night? i.e. what portion of the night is past ? By the 
Hebrews the interval between sunset and sunrise was divided into 
three watches (see Lam. ii. 19, Jud. vii. 19, Ex. xiv. 24), and the 
question may have been one commonly addressed to city watchmen 
{Cant. iii. 3). But here the night is only emblematic of a period of 
depression or distress (Job xxxv. 10, xxxvi. 20). 

12. The morning, etc. i.e. relief is approaching, but it will not be 

turn ye, come. Better (as in the mg.), come ye again. The answer 
implies that the prophet, at the time, had no clear revelation respecting 
the future, but hoped to receive one. 

XXL 13—17. 

This section consists of two parts. The first {vv. 13 — 15) is an oracle 
addressed to the Dedanites, a tribe of Arabian caravan traders, and announcing 
that they will be driven to flight through the pressure of war. The writer 
shews some sympathy with the needs of the fugitives. In Isaiah's lifetime N. 
Arabia, within which Dedan was included, felt the weight of Assyrian oppres- 
sion (the Arabian queens Zabibiye and Samse being made tributary) : but the 
phraseology is unfavourable to Isaiah's authorship of the section, and the oracle 
is probably contemporaneous with the preceding. Cheyne places it in the time 
of Nebuchadrezzar circ. 590 (when Jeremiah predicted evil for Dedan, Jer. xxv. 
23, cf xlix. 8), whilst Duhm and Marti assign it to an exilic date, suggesting 

^ The heading presumably proceeds from a post-exilic editor. 


that the Dedanites, who were perhaps among those that traded with Babylon 
(xiii. 14), were in danger from the Persians, the assailants of Babylon. The 
second part (r». 16, 17) is a fragment appended to the original oracle, and pre- 
dicting a disaster, not to Dedan, but to Kedar. It lacks the sympathetic tone 
of the preceding, and its phraseology resembles that of xvi. 13, 14, and recalls 
that of Isaiah. If it really proceeds from him, it must be a fragment (referring 
to the conquest of Kedar by an Assyrian king) which has been attached by an 
editor to a later passage ; but see on xvi. 13, 14. 

13 The ^ burden upon Arabia. 

In the ^forest ^in Arabia shall ye lodge, ye travelling 
companies of Dedanites, 14 Unto him that *was thirsty they 
brought water ; ^ the inhabitants of the land of Tema did 
meet the fugitives with their bread. 15 For they fled away 
from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, 
and from the grievousness of war. 16 For thus hath the Lord 

' Or, oracle * Or, thickets 

* Or, according to the ancient versions, at evening * Or, is thirsty bring ye 

' Or, as otherwise read, ye inhabitants of the land of Tema, meet 

13. The burden upon Arabia. Better, The oracle, In Arabia. 
The title, like that of xxi. 1 — 10, is obviously taken from a word 
in the oracle itself, which may, however, have been misunderstood 
(see below). Arabia ip-lS) in the O.T. means the N. part of the modern 
Arabian peninsula (2 Ch. ix. 14, Ezek. xxvii. 21). 

the forest. Better (as in the mg.), the thickets (or the bush). In this 
inhospitable region the Dedanites, leaving the regular caravan route, 
■with its and wells, which the pursuit of their enemies rendered 
unsafe {v. 15), will have to seek shelter. 

in Arabia. Better, in the steppe {^'^V). The LXX., Syr. and Vulg. 
(pointing differently) have in the evening (^IV), influenced perhaps by 
the verb lodge (literally, pass the night ; of Ps. xxx. 5). 

Dedanites. These were Arab traders (Ezek. xxvii. 15, 20) whose 
country lay S.E. of Edom (Jer. xlix. 8, Ezek. xxv. 13). 

14. IJnto him that was, etc. Better (after the LXX. and Vulg., 
pointing •l^'^i^ for •I'^^P), Unto him that is thirsty bring water; in- 
habitants of the land of Tema, meet the fugitives (who in their place of 
refuge will be in great straits). 

Tema. A country S. of Dedan and E. of the Aelanitic Gulf (Gulf 
of Akaba). 

their bread, i.e. the bread needed by the refugees. 

15. the drawn sword. Literally, a sword let go, for which some 
critics substitute the whetted sword (n'l^'it:^ for ^:^'^n:), after Ps. vii. 12. 

16. For. The conjunction implies that, by the editor who united 
thi8 prophecy to the preceding, Dedan was reckoned a part of the region 
denoted by Kedar, upon which the disaster previously predicted was 
shortly expected to fall : cf Jer. xlix. 28, 29. 

142 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxi. 17 

said unto rae, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, 
and all the glory of Kedar shall fail: 17 and the residue of the 
number of the archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, 
shall be few : for the Lord, the God of Israel, hath spoken it. 

Within a year. In view of the following comparison {years), Duhm 
conjectures that some numeral has been lost (the Heb. rendered year 
being used with numerals above 10); cf. 1 Sam. xiii. 1. 

tJie glory, i.e. the wealth and resources (viii. 7, x. 16, xvii. 3). 

Kedar. A pastoral district of Arabia, whose inhabitants were rich 
in flocks (Ix. 7, Ezek. xxvii. 21, Jer. xlix. 28, 29). 

17. the residue... Kedar. LiteTaWj, the residue of the number 0/ the 
bow (xxii. 3) 0/ the mighty men, etc. Cheyne and others (after the 
Vulg.) would transpose and read the residue of the number of Kedar s 
mighty men of the bow. In Gen. xxv. 13 Kedar is accounted a son of 
Ishmael, who is represented as an archer (Gen. xxi. 20). 

Chapter XXII. 1—14. 

This section, of which the Isaianic origin is beyond doubt, consists of a de- 
nunciation of the irreligious spirit in which the inhabitants of Jerusalem faced 
a situation fraught with peril. The reference to an impending siege of the city 
{vv. 5 — 7) suggests that the oracle was delivered shortly before or during the 
invasion of Sennacherib in 701 ; and the self-confidence of the population is 
similar to that described in xxviii. 15 (which belongs to that period) ; but the 
precise circumstances which it has in view have been variously understood. 
Many critics connect it with some incident after the invasion had begun. 
W. R. Smith {Prophets, p. 346) suggests the time when the Assyrian forces 
first approached the capital, and when some of the defenders fled {vv. 2, 3), 
whilst others took refuge from despair in debauchery {vv. 12, 13) ; and Cheyne 
thinks of the occasion when the Assyrians withdrew from the city after 
Hezekiah's submission (as related in 2 Kgs. xviii. 14), and when the people 
abandoned themselves to joy on the enemy's retirement. But the defensive 
preparations described in vv. 8—11 (or 8, 9*) seem most appropriate to the very 
beginning of the war ; so that the occasion which appears to explain best the 
language of the passage is the moment when Hezekiah first asserted his inde- 
pendence of Assyria, and when the citizens of Jerusalem went wild with 
excitement at the outbreak of hostilities which they confronted with a con- 
fidence and light-heartedness which Isaiah knew to be iU-justified. The 
prophet's tone in this section differs from that which marks most of the other 
prophecies which were delivered in connection with the invasion of 701 (e.g. 
X. 5f.), and which are probably later : his menaces are here unqualified by any 
promise, and for the citizens of the capital nothing but destruction is 

The whole of the section seems to proceed from the same date {vv. 12, 13 
obviously referring to the same situation as vv. 1, 2), though the transitions of 
thought are abrupt. 


XXII. 1 The ^ burden of the valley of vision. 

What aileth thee now, that tliou art wholly gone up to the 
housetops ? 2 O thou that art full of shoutings, a tumultuous 
city, a joyous town ; thy slain are not slain with the sword, 
neither are they dead in battle. 3 All thy rulers fled away 
together, they were bound ^ by the archers : all that were 
found of thee were bound together, ^they fled afar off". 
4 Therefore said I, Look away from me, I will weep bitterly ; 
^labour not to comfort me, for the spoiling of the daughter 

1 Or, oracle concerning '^ Or, without the bow 

^ Or, which had fled from far * Or, hasten 

XXII. 1. The burden oj the valley of vision. The title of the 
oracle is taken (as in other cases, xxi. 1, 13) from a phrase occurring in 
it (see V. 5). The expression presumably refers to one of the valleys 
surrounding Jerusalem (see v. 7), and as the word (^'^.) is not the one 
used to designate the ravine of the Kidron, but the valley of Hinnom 
(which is sometimes called without any qualification the valley, see 2 Ch. 
xxvi. 9, Neh. ii. 13), this is probably the locality meant. It is generally 
identified with the mod. Wddy er Rabdbi, on the W. and S. of the city. 
The designation of it as the valley of vision perhaps comes from the 
traditional association of a site in it with a vision of God: cf. the 
local name Jehovah-jireh or Jehovah jeraeh (Gen. xxii. 14 and mg.) and 
2 Ch. iii. 1 {mount Moriah where the Lord appeared unto David). 

What aileth thee. Better, What meanest thou (cf. iii. 15). The 
prophet's question was prompted by the crowds that on the flat house- 
tops (see XV. 3) watched the preparations for the city's defence and 
discussed the prospects of success. 

2. thy slain. The past tenses, here and in v. 3, probably have in 
Yiew, not something that has already occurred, but something that will 
occur. The prophet projects himself into the future and sees mentally 
A very diflferent scene from the one actually before him ; those that have 
died have perished miserably by famine or pestilence (not honourably in 
battle, cf Lam. iv. 9), and those that have fled (the leaders) have been 
overtaken and are prisoners. 

3. by the archers. Literally, by the bow, cf. xxi. 17. But better 
(as in the mg.), without the bow, i.e. unresisting. The text, however, 
seems in some disorder, and is possibly corrupt. Duhm (partly after the 
LXX.) corrects the v. to All thy rulers have fled, that grasp the bow ; 
all thy strong ones have been bound, that fed far off (reading ^i^p Dnn'S 
for n^ijp in; and '^':i'm for XW^^, and omitting HD! n^JN). 

4. Therefore said I. Better, Therefore say I. The prophet, deeply 
moved by his vision of the country's doom (c£ Mic. i. 8, 9, Jer. xiii. 19), 
attracts, by his distress amid the general cheerfulness, the notice of 
the bystanders ; but he refuses to be comforted. 

the daughter of my people. A personification of Israel, cf Jer. iv. 11, 
"viii. 19, xiv. 17, Am. v. 2. 

144 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxii. 5-9 

of my people. 5 For it is a day of discomfiture, and of 
treading down, and of perplexity, from the Lord, the Lord 
of hosts, in the valley of vision ; a breaking down of the 
walls, and a crying to the ^mountains. 6 And Elam bare 
the quiver, with ^ chariots of men and horsemen ; and Kir 
uncovered the shield. 7 And it came to pass, that thy choicest 
valleys were full of chariots, and the horsemen set themselves 
in array at the gate. 8 And he took away the covering of 
Judah ; and thou didst look in that day to the armour in the 
house of the forest. 9 And ye saw the breaches of the city 

^ Or, mountain * Or, troops 

5. For it is a day, etc. Better, For a day of discomfiture, and of 
treading down, and cf confusion hath the Lord, etc. (cf ii. 12). Isaiah's 
sadness is due to his foreknowledge of an impending disaster in the 
approaching war, whereby the Lord will execute judgment upon the 
self-confident city. 

a breaking down, etc. The prophet mentally sees the breaching of 
the walls by the foe, and hears the cries of their wounded or dying 

6. And Elam, etc. The v. describes prophetically the advance 
of two of the contingents of the Assyrian army. The king of Elam was 
hostile to Sennacherib (see on c. xxi.), but part of the country had been 
conquered by Sargon, and some of its people (who were famed for 
archery, Jer. xlix. 35) may have served with their conquerors, as a body 
of Philistines served with David (2 Sam. xv. 18). 

with chariots of men, etc. Better, with chariots and horsemen 
(omitting {of) men as a gloss on ^^^"3?^ which means both horses and 
horsemen). Winckler has proposed and Aram (i.e. Syria) rode on 
horses (reading D^tJ^-js-br D^x^ 33-;i). 

Kir. The original home of the Syrians of Damascus (Am. ix. 7), 
and the place to which they were deported in 732 (2 Kgs. xvi. 9) : its 
situation is unknown, but it has been conjecturally identified by some 
with Cyrrhestica near Mt. Amanus. 

uncovered the shield. For the protection of shields when not in use, 
cf. Caesar, B.G. n. 21, ad scutis tegimenta detrahenda tempus. 

8. And he took, etc. The vision of the future ends with the 
previous v., and the prophet here reverts to the recent past, when the 
defects in Judah's defence became apparent. The subject of the verb 
is the Lord, Who was the cause of the country's critical position {v. 11). 

thou didst look. The 2nd sing, should probably be replaced by the 
2nd plur. (as in the following w.). 

the house of the forest, i.e. the armoury, which was constructed 
with columns of cedar brought from Lebanon. It stood S. of the 
Temple and palace, and was the largest of Solomon's buildings (1 Kgs. 
vii. 2, x. 17). 


of David, that they were many : and ye gathered together 
the waters of the lower pool. 10 And ye numbered the 
houses of Jerusalem, and ye brake down the houses to fortify 
the wall. 11 Ye made also a reservoir between the two walls 
for the water of the old pool : but ye looked not unto ^ him 
\ that had done this, neither had ye respect unto him that 
fashioned it long ago. 12 And in that day did the Lord, the 

1 Or, the maker thereof 

9. And ye saw, etc. i.e. a survey of the walls was made, with a 
view to their repair (cf. 2 Ch. xxxii. 5). 

the city of David, i.e. the citadel (2 Sam. v. 7) on the eastern of 
the two hills upon which modern Jerusalem stands. 

gathered, i.e. stopped. The passage beginning here {v. 9^) and ex- 
! ;| tending to v. 11* is considered by Duhm and Cheyne to be a prosaic 
e li insertion, introducing unnecessary details between vv. 9"* and 11^, which 
ij should be closely connected ; but some mention of the measures taken 
li j, to repair the breaches of the wall (y. 9*) seems to be required. 
; 1 the lower pool. Probably the mod. Birket el Hamrd, which was 
3 the first receptacle for the waters of Gihon (see on vii. 3). The 
e ([waters were now diverted to a new reservoir (v. 11). 
it ii 10. ye numbered, etc. The houses were examined, and those 
t j] that could be dispensed with were demolished, either to leave space for 
jl additional fortifications, or to furnish materials for them (Jer. xxxiii. 4) : 
cf 2 Ch. xxxii. 5. 

11. a reservoir, etc. This was probably the pool of Siloam (the 

mod. Birket Silivdn), constructed to receive the waters which had 

jhitherto flowed into the old pool, which is presumably identical with 

|)the lower pool of v. 9. The water of the Gihon spring was conveyed to 

ilthe pool of Siloam by a subterranean tunnel (2 Kgs. xx. 20, 2 Ch. 

'jSxxxii. 2 — 4, Ecclus. xlviii. 17), on the walls of which there was dis- 

ijcovered in 1880 an inscription, probably cut by some of the workmen, 

giving an account of the meeting of the two parties who had begun the 

excavation from opposite ends (see Driver, Notes on the Heb. Text of 

fhe Books of Samuel, pp. xv. — xvii.). 

the two walls. Of these (which are mentioned in Jer. xxxix. 4, 
lii. 7) one probably ran up the Tyropoeon valley at the edge of the 
western hill (constructed when that was fortified independently of the 
3astern hill), whilst the other ran across the entrance of the vaUey 
between the two hills. Traces of walls in these positions have been 
discovered by Dr Bliss (see 6. A. Smith, Jerusalem, i. pp. 220, 222, 

J ye looked not... done this. i.e. no account was taken of the Lord, 
» Who was really the dominant factor in the situation (see v. 8). 
I; 12. in that day. i.e. when the judgment for their offences 
. !cf xxix. 2, XXX. 20), of which Assyria was the destined agent, was 
i Imminent (see v. 5). 

w. I. 10 

146 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxii.13,14 

Lord of hosts, call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, 
and to girding with sackcloth: 13 and behold, joy and gladness, 
slaying oxen and killing sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine : 
let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall die. 14 And the 
Lord of hosts revealed himself in mine ears, Surely this iniquity 
shall not be ^ purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord, the 
Lord of hosts. 

1 Or, expiated by 

to baldness... sackcloth. Cf. xxxii. 11, and see on iii. 24. 

13. let us eat, etc. The words (perhaps overheard by the prophet) 
were presumably uttered in mockery of his predictions of ill : they are 
here the language not of despair (as they are in St Paul's application, 
1 Cor. XV. 32) but of irreligion. 

14. revealed ...ears. i.e. through the spiritual perceptions (cf v. 9). 
Surely/ this iniquity, etc. Such contempt for the Lord's warnings 

would have to be expiated by the violent death which they fancied : 
they had little reason to fear. 

XXIL 15—25. 

This section is a denunciation of a minister named Shebna, and a prediction 
of his downfall and replacement by a more deserving successor called Bliakim. 
Shebna's name, here and in cc. xxxvi., xxxvii., is Aramaic in form ; and from 
this it may be inferred that he was a Syrian — a conclusion confirmed by the 
question addressed to him in ??. 16 and by the absence of any mention of his 
father in xxxvi. 3, 22. He may possibly have accompanied Ahaz on his return 
from the visit to Damascus related in 2 Kgs. xvi. 10. The hostihty which 
Isaiah felt for him on account of his ambitious character was perhaps increased 
by political antagonism ; for it is a reasonable conjecture that he was a 
supporter of the policy of resisting Assyria in reliance upon the help of Egypt, 
a policy to which the prophet was vehemently opposed (xxx. 1 f , xxxi. 1 f , cf. 
also xxviii. 14 f.). If so, the section, or at least the main portion of it, dates 
from about the same time as the preceding {circ. 703 — 701), when the philo- 
Bgyptian party in Judah had succeeded in inducing Hezekiah to renounce his 
vassalage to Assyria. The oracle perhaps contributed to Shebna's deposition 
from the office which he is here described as holding and from which he was 
dismissed before the Assyrians' demand for the surrender of Jerusalem (see 
xxxvi. 3). 

The genuineness of the two concluding vv. is open to grave suspicion in 
consequence of the unlikelihood that Isaiah, after predicting Eliakim's pro- 
motion, eulogizing his character, and promising him a permanent tenure of 
office {vv. 20 — 23), would go on to assert that he would be eventually degraded, 
with calamitous consequences to his relations who had profited by his 
advancement (vv. 24, 25). Hence it is probable that these w. are a later 
addition. The Isaianic origin of vc. 19 — 23 has also been suspected, but on 
less adequate grounds (see note). 


15 Thus saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts, Go, get thee 
unto this Hreasurer, even unto Shebna, which is over the house, 
and say, 16 What doest thou here? and whom hast thou here, 
that thou hast hewed thee out here a sepulchre ? hewing him out 
a sepulchre on high, graving an habitation for himself in the 
rock ! 17 Behold, the Lord will hurl thee away violently ^as 
a strong man ; yea, he will ^ wrap thee up closely. 18 He will 
surely ^ turn and toss thee like a ball into a large country ; there 

^ Or, steward ^ Or, O thou, strong vian '^ Or, lay fast hold on thee 

■* Or, ivind thee round and round like a hall and toss thee 

15 — 23. An announcement to Shebna of his impending deposition 
from office, and of his expulsion from the country ; and a declaration 
that his place will be filled by Eliakim. 

15. this treasurer. Perhaps better, this (viii. 11) administrator. 
The word which seems to mean literally servitor does not designate a 
particular official, for the corresponding fem. is used of Abishag (the 
nurse of David in his old age) in 1 Kgs. i. 2, 4 ; and in a Cyprian 
inscription (Cooke, NSI., p. 52) the masc. is employed of the governor 
of a city. The title of Shebna's actual office follows. 

Shebna. The Vulg. has Sobna, cf LXX. Sojuia. The words unto 
Shebna... house, by their position, look like an explanatory gloss. 

over the house, i.e. steward of the royal household (1 Kgs. iv. 6). 
This position, like that of the Mayor of the Palace under the Prankish 
kings, was a high one, and sometimes filled by relatives of the sovereign 
(see 2 Kgs. xv. 5, 2 Ch. xxvi. 21). 

16. What doest thou, etc. Or, What meanest thou (cf v. 1). It 
may be assumed that Isaiah had encountered Shebna on that part of 
mount Zion where only distinguished persons of Jewish race were wont 
to be buried (see 1 Kgs. xi. 43, xiv, 31, xv. 24, and cf Ezek. xliii. 7), 
and where Shebna, as a foreigner, had none of his kin interred, to 
justify his construction of a burial place for himself (cf Matt, xxvii. 60) 
in such a spot. 

hewing him out, etc. This clause, marked by the 3rd pers., should 
perhaps be transposed to the end of v. 15. If it is kept here, the 
3rd pers. should be changed, with the LXX. and Vulg., to the 2nd pers. 

an habitation. Por the use of this expression to describe a grave, 
see Ps. xHx. 11 (LXX.), and cf xiv. 18 {supra), Eccles. xii. 5. 

17. as a strong man. Better (as in the mg.), thou strong man 
(reading "i?!'!' ''P/P for i^^^i npppn)^ the expression being designedly 
' 'onical. 

will wrap thee up. i.e. (if the rendering is correct) will roll thee up 
n thy garments conveniently for throwing aw^ay. But the verb in this 
lense is elsewhere intransitive or reflexive, and some render vnll grasp 
hee forcibly (cf mg.). 

18. surely turn and toss thee. Better (cf mg.), surely wind thee 
'ound and round like a ball. 


148 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxii. 19-22 

shalt thou die, and there shall be the chariots of thy glory, thou 
shame of thy lord's house. 19 And I will thrust thee from 
thine office, and from thy station shall he pull thee down. 
20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my 
servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: 21 and I will clothe him 
with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will 
commit thy government into his hand : and he shall be a father 
to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. 
22 And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his 
shoulder ; and he shall open, and none shall shut ; and he shall 

into a large country. The words are perhaps to be connected with 
hurl thee away in v. 17% the intervening clauses being parenthetic. 
Shebna's fate is to be banishment to a distance. 

the chariots of thy glory. The possession of these is another 
indication of Shebna's pride, chariots, in time of peace, being a mark 
of dignity and luxury (see 2 Sam. xv. 1, 1 Kgs. i. 5, Jer. xvii. 25, cf. 
also Gen. xli. 43). 

19. / will thrust thee. The Lord is the speaker : for the change of 
person cf. iii. 4, xxxiv. 16. Shebna's degradation from office, implied 
in the prediction of his banishment, is re-stated in connection with 
Eliakim's advancement, and it is not necessary to suppose that 
w. 19 — 23 are a later supplement, added to qualify the previous 
prediction because Shebna was only reduced in rank and not exiled 
(see xxxvi. 2, 22, xxxvii. 2). 

shall he pull, etc. Better (with the Vulg. and Syr.), will I pull thee 

20. my servant. The term (for which cf. xx. 3) suggests that 
Eliakim, like Isaiah, advocated a policy of dependence upon the Lord 
instead of upon political alliances. 

21. thy robe. Probably court officials had a distinctive dress : 
cf 1 Kgs. X. 5. 

thy girdle. Perhaps better, thy sash, the original not being the 
usual term for girdle : cf. Ex. xxviii. 4 (of the high priest). 

a father. His government will be marked by paternal care for 
those whom he rules (see on ix. 5). 

22. the key. This at first may have designated the official in 
question as responsible for the safety of the palace or the city ; but 
afterwards it became merely a symbol of authority in general : cf. 
Rev. iii. 7, i. 18, Matt. xvi. 19. 

upon his shoulder. Cheyne (Fol. Bible, p. 160) gives a picture of 
a Cairene merchant carrying on his shoulder keys 12 or 14 inches long. 

he shall open, etc. i.e. his office will be the highest in the state 
and his acts will not be liable to be reversed by a superior minister 

(cf. LXX. ap^ei KOL OVK ecrrai 6 ai/ri\eywv). Eliakim's promotion tO 

Shebna's position is attested by xxxvi. 3, xxxvii. 2. 


shut, and none shall open. 23 And I will fasten him as a nail 
in a sure place ; and he shall be for a throne of glory to his 
father's house. 24 And they shall hang upon him all the glory 
of his father's house, the offspring and the issue, every small 
vessel, from the vessels of cups even to all the vessels of flagons. 
25 In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall the nail that was 
fastened in a sure place give way ; and it shall be hewn down, 
and fall, and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off; for 
the Lord hath spoken it. 

23. / will fasten, etc. The permanence of Eliakim's authority 
and the distinction which he will confer upon his kindred are symbolized 
by two figures — a nail or peg (cf. Zech. x. 4, Ezra ix. 8) fastened 
securely enough to sustain whatever is suspended upon it, and a seat 
of honour which dignifies everyone who rests upon it. 

24 — 25. It is unnatural to regard (with Kirkpatrick, Doctrine of 
the Prophets, p. 147) these vv. as a warning to Eliakim against allowing 
his promotion to be abused for the benefit of his relatives, and to 
render Should they hang... in that day shall, etc. They are obviously 
a prediction that advantage will be taken of his position by his kindred 
to further their own interests, and that eventual disgrace will befall 
both him and them. The vv. seem to be a supplement by a later 
writer who knew of Eliakim's failure to justify the prophecy contained 
in vv. 15 — 23, and accordingly qualified Isaiah's oracle. 

_ 24. they shall hang, etc. The words suggest that Eliakim will be 
guilty, if not of nepotism, at least of culpable weakness in connection 
with the advancement of his kinsfolk (who are designated by figurative 

all the glory. Perhaps better, all the weight. 

vessels of cups. i.e. basin-shaped vessels (cf Ex. xxiv. 6, Heb.). 

vessels of flagons, i.e. jar-shaped vessels (cf xxx. 14, Heb.). Both 
expressions are probably meant to be contemptuous. 

25. the nail. i.e. Eliakim {v. 23). 

Chapter XXIIL 

This c. consists of two parts, {a) vv. 1 — 14, (6) vv. 15 — 18, which are 
probably of distinct origin. The first, though primarily a prediction of the 
overthrow of Tjto (»p. 5, 8), also anticipates calamity for Zidon and the 
Phoenician seaboard generally {vv. 2, 4). The second part is an appendix 
foretelling an eventual revival for Tyre, to which alone the passage alludes. 

Tyre and Zidon in the course of their history sustained numerous invasions 
and sieges, one or other of which must be the event which the first part of the 
C has in view. In the eighth century, within the life-time of Isaiah, Tyre was 
attacked by the Assyrian Shalmaneser IV. (Jos. Ant. ix. .xiv. 2) and Zidon by 


Sennacherib (see p. xxvi)', and in the next century Tyre was again invaded 
by Esar-haddon and Asshurbanipal ; and though it more than once escaped 
actual capture by assault, it was repeatedly forced to submit to Assyiiau 
supremacy. When after the fall of Nineveh the Babylonians became the 
dominant power in Asia, Tyre and Zidon concerted against them an alliance 
which included Judah, and the former city again underwent a siege. Under 
the Persians, the Phoenician cities enjoyed a long period of tranquillity ; but in 
350 Zidon revolted and was in consequence reduced to ashes by Artaxerxes 
Ochus. When the Persian empire was assailed by Alexander, Tyre experi- 
enced its most signal overthrow, for after Alexander's victory over Darius at 
Issus the city refused to admit the conqueror, and was thereupon besieged 
and captured, most of the surviving inhabitants being sold into slavery. 

If the prophecy can be plausibly ascribed to Isaiah, the attack delivered 
by Shalmaneser or by Sennacherib affords an adequate occasion for it. There 
are, however, reasons for doubting Isaiah's authorship, (a) There is no 
evidence that the Phoenician cities were sufficiently closely involved in the 
politics of Judah in the time of Isaiah to make their fate a matter of interest 
to the prophet (like that of Damascus and Ashdod). (b) The vocabulary, 
though in part having parallels in Isaiah's wi-itings, presents certain features 
that are unfavourable to an Isaianic origin (see on ne. 3, 8, 11). Some critics, 
while agreeing that the oracle is not by Isaiah, still take the subject of it to be 
an overthrow of the Phoenician cities by the Assyrians, viz. in the time of 
Esar-haddon 2 and his successor Asshurbanipal (672 — 668). But the contents 
seem best explained by the coalition of Tyre and Zidon with Judah, Edom, 
Moab, and Ammon against Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon in the reign of 
the Judsean king Zedekiah (597 — 587). This view accounts for (a) the interest 
shewn by a Hebrew prophet in an invasion of Phoenicia, (b) the combined 
allusions to both Tyre and Zidon. The overthrow of the nations that leagued 
themselves against Nebuchadrezzar is predicted by Jeremiah (xxvii. 1 — 6); 
and the impending destruction of Tyre is the subject of a prophecy by Ezekiel 
(cc. xxvi. — xxviii.). The last-named city was besieged by the Babylonians in 
586 — 5, and the siege (which lasted 13 years, see Jos. Ant. x. xi. 1, c. Ap. i. 21), 
was probably not crowned with complete success (see Ezek. xxix. 18) ; but this is 
not a serious objection to the explanation, for Hebrew prophecies were seldom 
verified to the letter. Duhm and Marti think that the oracle has in view the 
almost total destruction of Zidon by the Persian Artaxerxes Ochus in 346, and 
get rid of the references to Tyre in vv. 5 and 8 by treating ». 5 as a gloss and 
emending v. 8. 

The epilogue {vv. 15 — 18), which is in prose, is difficiilt to date with exactness. 
But the announcement that Tyre's gains, after its restoration, are to be brought 
to Jerusalem resembles the predictions of exilic and post-exilic writers respecting 
the enrichment of the latter with the wealth of the nations (xlv. 14, Ix. 6, H, 

^ Since Menander, who is Josephus' authority, styles the king of Tyre Elulaus, 
a name apparently identical with that of the king of Zidon expelled by Sennacherib, 
many critics suspect confusion, and think that the invasion attributed to Shalmaneser 
was really conducted by Sennacherib, see McCurdy, HPM. ii. p. 282, Rogers, 
HBA. II. p. 146. 

2 Eogers, HBA. ii. pp. 223—227. 


Ixi. 6, Hag. ii. 7) ; and the condition of the Jews is represented as one of 
poverty, as was the case in early post-exih'c times (Hag. i. 9—11, Zcch. viii. 10). 
Hence it seems pi'obable that its origin should be placed after the siege of 
Tyre by Nebuchadrezzar, and within the Persian period. 

XXIII. 1 The ^burden of Tyre. 

Howl, ye ships of Tarshish ; for it is laid waste, so that there 
is no house, no entering in : from the land of Kittim it is revealed 
to them. 2 Be still, ye inhabitants of the ^isle ; thou whom the 
merchants of Zidon, that pass over the sea, have replenished. 
3 And on great waters the seed of Shihor, the harvest of the 

1 Or, oracle concerning ^ Or, coastland 

XXIII. 1 — 14. An announcement to the Phoenician traders of 
the destined overthrow of Zidon and Tyre, and of the dispersal of 
their inhabitants to their colonies, where calamity will again dog them. 

1. Howl, etc. The imperative is equivalent to a prediction, fore- 
telling the grief in store for the Phoenician seamen. 

ships of Tarshish. The expression is here used of vessels actually 
voyaging to Tartessus (contrast ii. 16). 

it is laid waste. The resemblance between this clause and w. 14 
has suggested that it is a refrain (at the beginning and end of the 
oracle, cf. Ps. viii. 1, 9) and that it should be emended to your strong- 
hold is laid waste (by the substitution of I?'t^'? for n)3P). 

no entering in. Duhm connects this with the following clause, and 
renders, At the entering in (i.e. on the homeward voyage) /rom the land 
of Kittim (i.e. C)^rus (named in Hebrew from its chief town KiViov) 
where they have touched on the way from Tarshish) it is revealed to 
them (perhaps by the smoke of the burning town). 

2. Be still, etc. i.e. Be stupefied with alarm and grief (cf Ex. 
XV. 16, Lam. ii. 10), in consequence of the fall of Tyre (cf Ezek. 
xxvi. 18). Others render, Wall (which suits better the parallel in v. 1). 

thou whom, etc. The Heb. is not quite grammatical, and Duhm 
and Cheyne (who assume that the prophecy relates to the destruction 
of Zidon exclusively) connect with this v. the opening words of v. 3, 
and emend the whole passage to Perished are the inhabitants of the isle 
(or coastland), the merchants of Zidon, that passed over the sea, whose 
messengers were on great (or many) waters (reading -1^7^ (or ""'^'53) for 
'©'"^ and : Q*?"] D'O? "i?5<^0 for Q'?! D!^3-i : Ti-is'?p). 

3. the seed of Shihor. Duhm (guided by some omissions in the 
LXX.) corrects to whose harvest was the seed of Shihor, tvhose revenue 
was the traffic (or merchandise, v. 18) of the nations (reading nhx-in^ ..iTVi"5 
for "T'Vi? and nnx-n;^, and omitting "li^' as a gloss on Shihor and ^njiii as 
perhaps a dittograph of the last part of the preceding word). Shihor 
(which occurs elsewhere only in post-lsaianic writings) here stands for 
the Nile, as in .ler. ii. 18, though strictly it is said to designate the eastern- 
most (Pelusiac) channel, and in Josh. xiii. 3, 1 Ch. xiii. 5 seems to mean 


Nile, was her revenue ; and she was the mart of nations. 4 Be 
thou ashamed, Zidon : for the sea hath spoken, the strong 
hold of the sea, saying, I have not travailed, nor brought forth, 
neither have I nourished young men, nor brought up virgins. 
5 ^When the report cometh to Egypt, they shall be sorely pained 
at the report of Tyre. 6 Pass ye over to Tarshish ; howl, ye 
inhabitants of the ^isle. 7 Is this your joyous city, whose 
antiquity is ^of ancient days, whose feet carried her afar off to 
sojourn? 8 Who hath purposed this against Tyre, ^the crowning 

^ Or, As at the report concerning Egypt, so (&c. ^ Or, coastland 

^ Or, of ancient days? her own feet shall carry die. * Or, that giveth crowns 

the Wddy el Arish. The Phoenicians, cut off from the interior of Syria 
by the range of Lebanon, were forced to become a mercantile people, 
depending for their corn-supplies upon Egypt (one of the chief granaries 
of the ancient world, cf Gen. xii. 10, xli. 54), and drawing their revenue 
from their carrying trade. 

4. Be thou ashamed, i.e. be confounded (the imperative being again 
equivalent to a future, cf v. 1). Zidon has reason for alarm, because the 
sea (represented as the mother of a maritime, as the soil is of an 
agricultural, people, liv. 1) mourns over the overthrow and depopula- 
tion of Tyre, whereby it has become as childless as if it had never borne 
offspring. The words the stronghold of ths sea are probably a gloss, 
changing the subject from the sea to Tyre itself (cf Ezek. xxvii. 4). 

5. When the repm-t, etc. Or (by a slight correction), When it is 
heard in Egypt (y^^! for V^??*, LXX. orav a/covo-roi/ yivrjTaC). Probably 
Egypt had encouraged Phoenicia (as it had encouraged Judah, Jer. 
xxxvii. 5) against Nebuchadrezzar, and so would see in the disaster to 
Tyre a presage of its own overthrow. Duhm and Marti, who consider 
that the prophecy relates to Zidon alone, reject the v. as alien to the 
context, and supplied by a reader. 

6. Pass ye over, etc. The Phoenicians, on the destruction of 
their principal city, will have to take refuge in their own colonies. 

7. Is this, etc. The ruined condition of Tyre, as the prophet fore- 
sees it, is contrasted with the prosperity for which it was famed. 

whose antiquity, etc. i.e. whose origin, etc. Strabo (xvi. 2) 

describes Tyre as fxeyLarr] rwv <I>oivtKaJv KOL dp^^aioTaTr] ttoXis, and 

Herodotus, when at Tyre, was informed that it had been built 2300 years 
previously, i.e. circ. 2750 (Hdt. 11. 44). Zidon claimed a still greater 
antiquity (cf Gen. x. 15), and styled itself the mother city of Tyre, and 
is the only one of the two mentioned in Homer (Od. xv. 425). 

whose feet carried, her, etc. i.e. in pursuit of her commercial and 
colonizing enterprises. Phoenician colonies and trading stations were 
planted all over the coasts of the Mediterranean (including Greece, 
.Sicily, Corsica, Spain, and Africa). 

S, Tyre, Duhm here emends the text to Zidon (PV for "li^). 


mty, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the 
honourable of the earth ? 9 The Lord of hosts hath purposed 
it, to ^ stain the pride of all glory, to bring into contempt all 
the honourable of the earth. 10 -Pass through thy land as the 
Nile, daughter of Tarshish ; there is no girdle about thee any 
more. 1 1 He hath stretched out his hand over the sea, he hath 
shaken the kingdoms : the Lord hath given commandment 
concerning ^Canaan, to destroy the strong holds thereof 12 And 

1 Heb. profane. ^ Or, Overflow * Or, the merchant people 

the crowning city. i.e. the bestower of crowns, the expression 
alluding to the kingdoms into which some of the Phoenician colonies 
developed (e.g. Tartessus (Hdt. i. 163) and Carthage (under Dido)). 
Cheyne emends to the crowned city (^^"i^^^^^} for '"in''P^sn)j cf Vulg. 

traffickers. The word, which in form is identical with Canaanite, 
occurs in this sense in Job xli. 6, Prov. xxxi. 24, Zech. xiv. 21. The 
close of this description of Tyre is applied in Rev. xviii. 23 to Babylon 
(symbolizing Rome). 

9. to stain. Duhm by transposition obtains to profane pride, to 
bring into contempt all glory, even all the honourable of the earth. The 
pride of Tyre, like that of Israel (ii. 12), is an offence to the Lord. 

10. Pass through, etc. If the text is retained, the comparison to 
the unrestricted flow of the inundated Nile implies that Tarshish, freed 
from the control of the mother city (such control being likened to a 
confining girdle) will enjoy greater independence than before'. But in 
Heb. a girdle is usually represented as the support of the wearer's 
strength (cf Job xii. 21), not a restraint upon his movements; and 
the passage is probably corrupt. In place of ^"'^yyTQ, "iK^3 "n^ix n.^;? 
IW r\VQ px, the LXX. has Cultivate thy land, for ships from Tarshish 
come no mare (perhaps reading "liy nip px ^^i^-^^ ni'px ^? ^yr\^ n?y), 
the exhortation being directed to Tyre, whose surviving inhabitants are 
l)idden to have recourse to agriculture instead of commerce, since it is 
to perish as a trading centre. Kittel (partly after the LXX. and 
partly after Duhm) proposes Cultivate thy land, daughter of Tarshish, 
there is no haven'' any more (reading liV ThD pN K^'''Lihri n? "qvn.X n^y). 

11. He hath stretched, etc. The subject is the Lord; for the 
phrase cf v. 25, ix. 12. 

Canaan. The name, as a designation of Phoenicia (cf Matt. xv. 22), 
occurs on a coin (bearing the inscription of Laodiceia, a mother-dty 
in Canaan) ; but it has this sense nowhere else in the O.T. 

' That Tyre was sometimes the oppressor of her colonies is suggested by the 
rebellion of the Kitteans mentioned in Jos. Ant. vs.. xiv. 2. 

^ It is, however, doubtful whether TflD (which occurs only in Ps. evil. 30) has 
this meaning : the Oxford Lexicon gives city. 

154 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxiii. 13, h 

he said, Thou shalt no more rejoice, thou oppressed virgin 
daughter of Zidon : arise, pass over to Kittim ; even there shalt 
thou have no rest. 13 Behold, the land of the Chaldeans ; this 
people Ms no more ; the Assyrian ^hath appointed it for ^the 
beasts of the wilderness : they set up Hheir towers, they 
^overthrew the palaces thereof; he made it a ruin. 14 Howl, 

1 Or, was not - Or, founded 

3 Or, them that dwell in the wilderness 

* Or, the towers thereof ^ Or, raised up 

12. pass over to Kittim, etc. i.e. the inhabitants of Zidon, when 
it is assaulted by the invaders, may seek to escape to Cyprus, but even 
there misfortune will pursue them. 

13. the land of the Chaldeans, etc. On the assumption that the c. 
is Isaianic, this V). has been understood by some scholars to allude to 
the Assyrian subjugation of Babylonia by Sargon in 710 or Sennacherib 
in 703 (see p. 135), which is adduced as an illustration of the fate in 
store for Phoenicia ; but the name Chaldeans is not hkely to have 
designated the Babylonians until the time of Nabopolassar (625— 605)\ 
By others who consider that the oracle dates from the time, of 
Shalmaneser's siege of Tyre in 727—723 the reading Chaldeans (D''"^^?) 
has been emended to Canaanites {y^WX). But if (as is probable) the 
prophecy is non-Isaianic and relates to the Babylonian attack upon 
Phoenicia under Nebuchadrezzar in the sixth century, the v. is best 
regarded as a late interpolation, designed to call attention to the 
subsequent destruction of Babylonia, Phoenicia's conqueror, by the 
Persians, who are here indicated under the name Assyrians (as in Ezra 

vi. 22). (For ^\^ ^ with the meaning is no more, cf xv. 6, Job 
iii. 16.) Cheyne renders, BeJwld the land of the Chaldeans (this is the 
people, it was not the Assyrians): they appointed it (Phoenicia) /or, etc., 
and, holding that the poem is Isaianic but has been extensively retouched 
by a post-exilic editor, considers the v. to proceed from the latter, who 
has in mind the siege of Tyre by Nebuchadrezzar. The words in the 
parenthesis he deems a gloss. Duhm reduces the whole v. to Behold the 
land of the Kitteans (reading C':^!?, see v. 12) ; he (the Lord) hath made 
it a ruin^. 

their towers, i.e. their siege towers, enabling besiegers of a city to 
reach the top of its walls. 

1 At least by a Heb. writer of the eighth century the Babylonians would scarcely 
be styled Chaldeans, even though Merodach-baladan is called by Sargon "king of 
the land Kaldu " (Schrader, GOT. ii. p. 24). 

2 The intervening words are regarded by Duhm as a gloss on Kitteans and 

translated : This is the people, is it not that which is a settlement (^C^'K X-IH k? 
tMD\ for rllp^. "l-ltJ'N n^n iO) of sailors, they set up their watch-towers, their cities 
rVVJ for -niiy), and their palaces (VniaDnX') for H'-niJpnS). 

xxiii. I5-I8] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 155 

ye ships of Tarshish : for your strong hold is laid waste. 15 And 
it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten 
seventy years, according to the days of one king : after the end 
of seventy years Mt shall be unto Tyre as in the song of the 
harlot. 16 Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that 
hast been forgotten ; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that 
thou may est be remembered. 17 And it shall come to pass after 
the end of seventy years, that the Lord will visit Tyre, and she 
shall return to her hire, and shall play the harlot with all the 
kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth. 18 And her 
merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the Lord : it shall 
not be treasured nor laid up ; for her merchandise shall be for 
them that dwell before the Lord, to eat sufficiently, and for 
^durable clothing. 

^ Or, shall Tyre sing as an harlot 
- Or, stately 

15 — 18. A supplementary prediction relating exclusively to Tyre 
and foretelling the ultimate renewal of its earlier commerce, and the 
application of its gains to the maintenance of the .Jews. 

15. seventy years. This is tlie limit assigned to the subjugation of 
Judah, together with the nations round about, by Babylon in Jer. xxv. 
11, xxix. 10 ; cf xxvii. 6, 7\ 

according. king. i.e. Tyre's subjection during the time indicated 
is to be continuous and uninterrupted. 

the song of the harlot. Better, the song about the harlot. The v. that 
follows is probably a fragment of some popular lay. The comparison of 
Tyre to a prostitute is based on her commerce : usually it is not trade 
but idolatry that is likened to fornication (cf. Nah. iii. 4 of Nineveh, 
and see Ex. xxxiv. 15, Ezek. vi. 9, etc.). 

16. Take an harp. Gesenius quotes Donatus, Fidicinam esse 
meretricum est. 

17. ivill visit, i.e. relieve (cf. xxix. 6, Jer. xv. 5, xxvii. 22, 
xxix. 10). Similar predictions of mercy towards foreign nations occur 
in Jer. xii. 14 — 17, xlviii. 47, xlix. 6, 39, Ezek. xxix. 13. 

shall play... world. The passage is imitated in Rev. xvii. 2, 
xviii. 3, 9. 

18. for them that dwell, etc. i.e. for the Jews, who are thought of 
as constituting the priestly nation of the world (see Ixi. 6, Ixii. 12, 
Ex. xix. 6), and to whose support Tyre (whose conversion to the Lord is 
assumed, cf. Ps. Ixxxvii. 4) will, with other nations (Lx. 11), contribute 
lavishly. The passage involves a verbal infraction of Deut. xxiii. 18. 

durable clothing. Better, choice attire. 

1 The number 70 is a conventional figure, cf. Zech. i. 12, vii. 5, Dan. ix. 2. 


Chapters XXIV.— XXVII. 

This prophecy predicts an impending judgment upon the world at large, 
which is to be followed by the reign of the Lord in Zion, by the abolition of 
sorrow and death, and by a return of Jewish exiles from the lands of their 
dispersion. The predictive portion of the prophecy is interrupted by a number 
of lyric passages (xxv. 1—5, xxv. 9 — 12, xxvi. 1 — 19, xxvii. 2 — 5), which consist 
partly of rejoicings over triumphs which the Lord has either already achieved, 
or is about to achieve, for His people, and partly of complaints over the 
disappointing conditions of the actual present. 

The section is singular for both the matter and the manner of its contents. 
Though Assyria and Egypt are named as lands where Jews are in exile (xxvii. 
13) and though there is an allusion to Moab, expressive of animosity towards it 
(xxv. 10, 11), the scope of the prophecy as a whole is vast but vague, and the 
references to contemporary circumstances are elusive ; and this characteristic 
assimilates it to the class of Apocalyptic compositions, a distinguishing mark of 
which is the comprehensive and indefinite range of their predictions. Remark- 
able features in the prophecy are the destined extinction of death (xxv. 8), the 
belief in a hostile celestial host (xxiv. 21), and the representation of certain for- 
midable powers (either elemental or human) under the symbolism of great 
monsters (xxvii. 1). Nor is the style less peculiar than the subject matter. 
Whilst it does not lack impressiveness, it is redundant and laboured. It is 
marked by a straining after emphasis (the same thought being often reiterated 
in identical or synonymous terms, generally grouped in threes), by a fondness 
for alliteration and assonance (the latter being sometimes secured at the ex- 
pense of some modification of the ordinary form of a word), and by a rather 
strange vocabulary. The imagery is not unfrequently curious, and the meaning 
intended is more than usually obscure. 

That these cc. cannot be by Isaiah is apparent from the diS"erences which 
they present to his writings in respect aUke of the situation implied, the scale 
of the catastrophe foretold, certain of the ideas expressed, and the stylistic 
peculiarities, {a) Although Assjn-ia is mentioned by name (xxvii. 13), what is 
here predicted for Judah in regard to the nation thereby denoted is dissimilar 
to Isaiah's prophecies in respect of historic Assyria; for whereas the deliver- 
ance that Isaiah declared to be in store for his country was the preservation of 
its capital from Assyria's attack (x. 24 — 27, xiv. 25), the deliverance here antici- 
pated is the restoration of dispersed Jews fi'om exile in a land called by that 
name, and whilst Isaiah predicted the overthrow of the Assyrian army (x. 16 — 
19, 33, 34, xviii. 6, xxix. 7, 8), the present writer speaks of the downfall of an 
oppressing city, (p) Though Isaiah describes the defeat of Assyria as involving 
that of other nations (xiv. 26, xvii. 12), his representation does not correspond to 
the vastness of the catastrophe here depicted, which is a convulsion of the whole 
earth (as in Hag. ii. 6, 7, 21, 22, Joel iii. 16). (c) Of the ideas that are contained 
in these cc. the expectation of the aboUtion of death and the behef in supra- 
mimdane beings allied with heathen kings have no parallel in Isaiah's MTitings 
or those of his contemporaries, {d) Both the style and the vocabulary are un- 
like Isaiah's. The occurrence in these cc. of numerous songs is in itself a 
singular feature ; whilst there is present little of the oratorical manner of 


public addresses (though see xxvi. 20, 21, xxvii. 7 f.)- The frequent repetition, 
and the laboured effort after assonance are in conspicuous contrast to the 
vigour and spontaneity of Isaiah's utterances (even though the latter are by no 
means devoid of paronomasias) ; and whilst the cc. contain a certain number of 
Isaianic words and phrases^ they are distinguished by many expressions which 
are altogether unique or rare, or used with an exceptional meaning. 

Of the songs one, at least, viz. xxv. 1 — 5, seems to be independent of the 
original scheme of the prophecy, for it begins abruptly and severs the con- 
nection between xxiv. 23 and xxv. 6 ; and as it appears to pre-suppose that the 
predicted catastrophe has in part occurred, it may be rather later than the rest 
of the composition. But in general it is impossible to discriminate between 
the various parts of the prophecy (which exhibit much imiformity of style, e.g. 
the frequent repetition of a word, see xxiv. 4, 8, 16, xxv. 4, 5, 9, xxvi. 5, 15, xxvii, 
5) in respect of origin and date. The section as a whole appears to have been 
written at Jerusalem (xxv. 6, 7, 10), but not before the Exile, since the expiation 
due for national offences has already been exacted (xxvii. 7, 8) and some measure 
of relief has been experienced, though it has come short of the nation's hopes 
(xxvL 14, 17, 18). The population of the city is represented as scanty and 
depressed, and a large number of Jews are dispersed in exile all over the world. 
An unnamed oppressing power is on the brink of, if it has not already sus- 
tained, a disaster (xxiv. 10, xxv. 2) ; but redress for the Jews is still in the 
future (xxvi. 20). These circumstances point to post-exilic times ; and this 
date is corroborated by the ideas contained in the prophecy (so far as they can 
be plausibly regarded as the products of a particular age). The same conclu- 
sion is favoured by the resemblances shewn to Apocalyptic writings, a class of 
compositions which, beginning with Ezekiel, became numerous in the post- 
exilic period. The prediction that death will be wholly annihilated goes 
beyond the promise of patriarchal length of days in Ixv. 20, and looks like a 
later conception ; and the alliance between celestial and terrestrial powers (xxiv. 
21) resembles the idea of the angelic princes of the nations in Dan. x. 13, 20. 
Finally, the writer seems to be acquainted with the Priestly narrative of the 
Hexateuch, which was completed probably about 440 (see xxiv. 5, 18). These 
feiCts are perhaps most consonant with a date late in the Persian period, during 
the reign of Darius Codomannus (338 — 331). It seems not improbable that (as 
Cheyne thinks) the author, writing after the Jews had suffered cruelly under 
Ai-taxerxes Ochus (359 — 338) (who deported many of them to Hyrcania and 
Babylonia, Eus. Chron. ii. 112), had in view the overthrow of the Persian 
empire by Alexander in 334 — 331 ; and the prophecy may be conjecturally 
assigned to the decade 340—330. That the Jews regarded the Persians as 
oppressors is suggested by Zech. i. 15 (date 520) and attested by Josephus 
(c. Ap. I. 22) ; so that if the hostile city whose overthrow is alluded to is the 
Persian capital, the feelings with which its fall is contemplated are suflBcieutly 
accounted for. Prudential reasons may have led the writer to leave it 

Of other views, the only one which need be mentioned here is that of 
Dillmann (favoured by Driver, LOT. p. 221), who attributes the prophecy to 
the early Persian period and the reign of Darius Hystaspis ('521 — 486). At the 
b^nrdng of his reign revolts broke out in many places (including Babylon 

158 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxiv. 1-5 

which, though taken by Cyrus, had not been destroyed) ; and such wide-spread 
commotions would account for the language of xxiv. 1 f. (cf. Hag. ii. 6, 21, 22). 
Some of the contents of these cc. have parallels in the prophecies of Zechariah 
(cf. xxvi. 11 with Zech. i. 14, and viii. 2; xxvii. 12, 13 with Zech. viii. 7; xxv. 6 
with Zech. viii. 20 — 23). But the city which is here represented as being 
overthrown is clearly a dominant power, which Babylon under the Persians 
was not. 

Chapter XXIV. 

This c. describes a universal catastrophe which is destined to usher in the 
reign of the Lord in Zion. 

The tenses in the original vary, but the passage seems throughout to be a 
prediction of the future depicted in colours derived from certain conditions 
already prevailing in the present. 

XXIV. 1 Behold, the Lord maketh the ^earth empty, and 
maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth 
abroad the inhabitants thereof. 2 And it shall be, as with the 
people, so with the priest ; as with the servant, so with his master ; 
as with the maid, so with her mistress ; as with the buyer, so 
with the seller ; as with the lender, so with the borrower ; 
as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. 
3 The earth shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled ; for 
the Lord hath spoken this word. 4 The earth mourneth 
and fadeth aw^y, the world languisheth and fadeth away, 
^the lofty people of the earth do languish. 5 The earth 

^ Or, land and so in vv. 3, 4, &c. * Or, the high ones of the people 

XXIV. 1 — 15. The approaching desolation of the earth, involving 
the destruction of a great city, which is greeted with joy by the 
Jews dispersed over the world. 

1. the earth. That this is the right rendering (and not the land of 
the mg.) appears from vv. 13, 21 ; cf. also xxv. 8, xxvi. 9, 21. The 
phraseology recalls Nah. ii. 10. 

2. the priest. The fact that, among the classes of persons enume- 
rated, ecclesiastical authorities are mentioned where civil officials might 
be expected to be named confirms the suggested post-exilic date, for 
at that period the priesthood was the most influential body in the 
community (see Ezra x. 5). 

4. the lofty people, etc. Better, the highest (literally, the height) of 
the people of the earth, i.e. the classes of pre-eminent rank. Cheyne 
and Marti adopt the correction the height (i.e. Jieaven) with the earth 
(Dr DnD for Dy D'np) : cf vv. 11, 21. 


also is polluted under the inhabitants thereof; because they 
have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the 
everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the 
earth, and they that dwell therein are found guilty : therefore 
the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. 
7 The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merry- 
hearted do sigh. 8 The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of 
them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth. 9 They 
shall not drink wine with a song ; strong drink shall be bitter 
to them that drink it. 10 The city of ^confusion is broken 
down : every house is shut up, that no man may come in. 
11 There is a crying in the streets because of the wine ; all joy 
is darkened, the mirth of the land is ^gone. 12 In the city is 

1 Or, wasteness See Gen. i. 2. ^ Heb. gone into captivity. 

5. polluted, i.e. by homicide (cf. xxvi. 21, and see Num. xxxv. 33, 
Ps. cvi. 38). 

t/is laws. The plural of this word is not used by Isaiah. 
changed. Better, overstepped. 

the everlasting covenant. The allusion is to the covenant made 
with Noah (see Gen. ix. 5 — 17, P). 

6. the curse, etc. The malediction incurred by human kind, 
through their offences, affects for ill the earth on which they dwell 
(cf. Gen. iii. 17, iy. 11, 12). 

are burned. Literally, are parched up (Job xxx. 30), by fever or 
pestilence, perhaps the resultants of war. Some, guided by the LXX., 

read languish (-1?"^ for -lin). 

7. Thenew wine mourneth. i.e. the vintage fails : cf Joel i. 10, 12. 

9. shall he hitter. Not only will the means for revelry be absent, 
but likewise all relish for it. 

10. The city of confusion. Better, either The city of wasteness 
^6en. i. 2, Jer. iv. 23), or The city of unreality (xli. 29, xliv. 9) ; 
i.e. either, the city that is (or is to be) wasted, or, the city that 
worships vain gods. If an individual city is meant, it is most likely 
Shushan (Susa), the Persian capital. Dillmann identifies it with 
Babylon : but the LXX., which has rjprjiJiwOr] iracra ttoAis, takes the 
expression in a collective sense ; and this, in view of the fact that the 
whole world is represented as devastated (v. 13), is perhaps correct. 

shut up. i.e. barricaded, through fear, by the surviving inmates 
(cf xxvi. 20). 

11. the streets. Or the fields (or open country) ; cf. Job v. 10, Prov. 
viii. 26, Ps. cxliv. 13. 

hecause of the vnne. i.e. on account of the desolation of the 
.-vineyards {v. 7) ; cf. xxxii. 12, xvi. 9, Joel i. 5. 

is darkened, i.e. clouded and ended. Many critics, in view of the 

160 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxiv. 13-16 

left desolation, and the gate is smitten with destruction. 13 For 
thus shall it be in the midst of the earth among the peoples, as 
the ^shaking of an olive tree, as the grape gleanings when the 
vintage is done. 14 These shall lift up their voice, they shall 
shout ; for the majesty of the Lord they cry aloud from the sea. 
15 Wherefore glorify ye the Lord in the ^east, even the name of 
the Lord, the God of Israel, in the ^ isles of the sea. 

16 From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard 
songs, glory to the righteous. But I said, *I pine away, I pine 

1 Heb. beating. 2 Qr, lights Or, fires 

3 Or, coastlands * Heb. Leanness to me. 

parallel clause, substitute (after the LXX. TreVavrat) is passed away 
(n-3?v for ni-iv). 

is gone. More literally, is banished (or exiled): cf. Hos. x. 5 (Heb.) 

13. For thus, etc. The figure, illustrating the paucity of sur- 
vivors, seems to be iniitated from xvii. 6. 

14. These shall lift, etc. Better, Those yonder lift, i.e. the dispersed 
Jews, to whose redemption the judgment is preliminary. 

the majesty of the Lord. i.e. the display of His destructive power 
(cf. ii. 10, 19, Ex. XV. 1, Heb.) in some recent events. 

from the sea. i.e. from the west (cf. Hos. xi. 10, Heb.), viz. the 
sea-board of the ^gean and Mediterranean. 

15. Wherefore, etc. The v. (which should be placed within in- 
verted commas) illustrates the jubilant exhortations which the Jewish 
exiles address to one another. 

in the east. Literally, in the lights, which, if the text is sound, is 
equivalent to "in the regions of light," i.e. the countries of the east. 
But the use of the plural is unique; and various emendations have 
been suggested, of which the best is in the isles (D"^? for ^"'"l^.?), 
since it produces in the concluding clause the "ascending rhythm" 
which is common in the prophecy (see xxv. 6, xxvi. 5). 

the name of the Lord. i.e. the revelation of Himself in the events 
of history; cf xxv. 1, xxvi. 8, xxix. 23. 

the isles of the sea. i.e. the west : see on xi. 11. 

16 — 20. Such rejoicings are premature, for further tribulation is 
still to come. 

16. have we heard, etc. The words pre-suppose that some event 
favourable to the Jews had occurred (e.g. a defeat of the Persians), 
which had filled the exiles in remote lands with high hopes to which 
they gave expression. 

the righteous, i.e. the Jews (cf. xxvi, 2, 7, Hab. i. 4, 13, ii. 4), 
whose uprightness the judgment that was overtaking their oppressors 
appeared to vindicate. 

But I said, I pine, etc. Literally, But I said, Leanness to me, etc., 
the expression leanness being a figure for distress (x. 16). The prophet 


away, woe is me ! the treacherous dealers have dealt treacher- 
ously ; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously. 
17 Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant 
of the earth. 18 And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth 
from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit ; and he that 
Cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the 
snare : for the windows on high are opened, and the foundations 
of the earth do shake. 19 The earth is utterly broken, the earth 
is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. 20 The 
earth shall stagger like a drunken man, and shall be moved to 
and fro like a hut ; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy 
upon it, and it shall fall, and not rise again. 

21 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall 
^punish the host of the ^high ones on high, and the kings of the 

^ Heb. visit upon. ^ Heb. height. 

regards his countrymen's rejoicing as premature, since many horrors, 
which he cannot but contemplate with pain (cf. xxi. 3, 4), must pre- 
cede the final redemption of the Jews. 

the treacherous dealers, etc. Better, the barbarous dealers (the 
assailants of the Persians) deal barbarously (cf. xxi. 2). 

17. Fear, and the pit, etc. The tribulations in store are varied 
enough to prevent any from escaping (cf. Jer. xlviii. 43, 44, Lam. iii. 47). 

18. from the noise of the fear. The fugitives are perhaps thought 
of as hunted animals fleeing before the shouts of the beaters. But the 
LXX. has only /row the fear. 

the windows on high. The conception (borrowed from Gen. 
vii. 11, P) is that of openings in a solid firmament (like the Homeric 
XaA.Kcos oupavos) above which are the reservoirs of the rain. 

19. is clean dissolved, etc. Better, is utterly split .. .tottereth ex- 

20. a hut. The kind of structure meant is the lodge of i. 8 
which would easily sway with the wind. 

it shall fall. The reference is to the approaching overthrow of the 
dominant heathen powers : cf. xxvi. 14. 

21 — 23. The punishment of hostile heavenly powers, and the 
nauguration of the reign of the Lord in Jerusalem. 

21. the host of the high ones. i.e. supramundane powers (perhaps 
regarded as tenanting or animating the stars, cf. Swd/unL^ rwv ovpavwv 
in Matt. xxiv. 29), which were leagued with, and befriended, foreign 

yrants (cf Jer. xlvi. 25). In Deut. xxxii. 8 (LXX.) angelic beings 
re represented as allotted to the heathen nations, presumably as their 
irotectors, whilst the Lord takes Israel for Himself (cf Ecclus. xvii. 17) ; 
,nd in Dan. x. 13, 20, 21 the angelic princes of Persia and Greece are 
Krithstood by the angel Michael as prince on behalf of the Jews : 

w. I. 11 

162 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxiv. c., .3-xxv. i 

earth upon the earth. 22 And they shall be gathered together, 
as prisoners are gathered in the ^pit, and shall be shut up in 
the prison, and after many days shall they be ^visited. 23 Then 
the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed ; for the 
Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and 
^before his * ancients gloriously. 

^ Or, dungeon 2 Qr, punished 

' Or, before his ancients shall be glory ■* Or, elders 

cf. also Jude v. 7. Akin to the conception here alluded to is 
St Paul's belief in the malign influence of the prince 0/ the power 0/ 
the air (Eph. ii. 2) and in angels and principalities as spiritual 
antagonists (Rom. viii. 38, 39). 

22. they shall be gathered. The same idea of an incarceration of 
the offending host of heaven occurs in Enoch x. 12, 13, xviii. 13 — 16; 
cf also 2 Pet. ii. 4, Jude v. 6, Rev. xx. 2, 3. 

the pit. i.e. a dungeon (Ex. xii. 29, Jer. xxxviii. 6, Zech. ix. 11). 

visited, i.e. relieved (see on xxiii. 17). But better (with the mg.) 
punished (the verb having the same sense as in v. 21, cf x. 12, xxvi. 14, 
Jer. ix. 25). The imprisonment previously mentioned is of the nature 
of a detention against the time of the final act of judgment (cf Jude 
V. G). 

23. Then the moon, etc. The light of the two chief luminaries 
will be dimmed and rendered superfluous by the radiance of the Lord's 
own presence: cf Ix. 19, Rev. xxi. 23. 

and before, etc. Better, and before his elders there shall be glory 
(cf mg.). The representation is probably based on the description of 
the ascent of Moses and the seventy elders to the top of Sinai where 
they beheld God (Ex. xxiv. 9 — 11). Cf also iv. 5. 

Chapter XXV. 

This c. consists of three separate divisions : (1) a song of praise to the Lord 
for the overthrow of a tyrant power {vv. 1 — 5) ; (2) a prediction (continuing the 
prophecy in c. xxiv.) of future felicity in Zion for all peoples (vv. 6 — 8 1 ; (3) a 
second song of praise in which the humiliation of Moab is anticipated {vv. 9 — 
12). The firet of the two lyric passages seems to be a detached poem, for it 
lacks an inti'oduction (such as is prefixed to those beginning at xxv. 9, xxvi. 1), 
and interrupts the sequence of the predictive sections xxiv. 1 — 23 and xxv. 

XXV. 1 Lord, thou art my God ; I will exalt thee, I 
will praise thy name ; for thou hast done wonderful things, even 

'K.'XM. 1 — 5. A thanksgiving for the fall of a hostile city, and 
for the protection extended to the Jews. 

The thanksgiving (the time for which must be assumed to have 
come at last, contrast xxiv. 16) may have been evoked by some decisive 


counsels of old, in faithfulness and truth. 2 For thou hast 
made of a city an heap ; of a defenced city a ruin : a palace of 
strangers to be no city ; it shall never be built. 3 Therefore 
shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible 
nations shall fear thee. 4 For thou hast been a strong hold to 
the poor, a strong hold to the needy in his distress, a refuge 
from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the 
terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. 5 As the heat in a 
dry place shalt thou bring down the noise of strangers ; as the 

success obtaiued by Alexander over Persia. The opening words 
resemble Ps. Ixiii. 1, cxlv. 1. 

1. even counsels of old. Better, counsels of old have proved to be 
truth and verity, i.e. purposes formed and predicted long ago have been 
executed with perfect faithfulness. 

2. a city. The identity of the city (if the sing, is correct) can 
only be conjectured. It is most natural to take it to be the Persian 
capital, representing the empire, which could be regarded as overthrown 
by Alexander's victory at Issus. The LXX., here as in xxiv. 10, 12, 
has cities. 

a palace. Better, a castle or fortress, Prov. xviii. 19, 1 Kgs. xvi. 18, 
2 Kgs. XV. 25. 

strangers, i.e. foreign enemies (cf i. 7, xxix. 5). The LXX. has 
d(jefS<2v (possibly reading ^''11 for Q'")!). 

3. the strong people. The expression probably designates the 
heathen peoples generally, who, from the favourable consequences 
which (it is assumed) will result to the Jews from the success of Greece 
over Persia, will ascribe that success to the agency of the Lord 
(cf. xlv. 14, 24, xviii. 7). 

the city of the terrible nations. The sing, city is here almost 
certainly collective (note nations), and is perhaps used to contrast with 
the city of v. 2 ; but as the verb, in the original, is plur., it should possibly 
be omitted, and the text corrected to the terrible nations shall fear thee. 

4. For. The v. supplies a reason for the praise expressed in v. 1. 
the poor... the needy, i.e. the Jews (cf xxvi. 6, xiv. 30, xli. 17). 

a refuge... heat. For the figures here used to represent protection 
ind relief in distressful conditions cf xxxii. 2, iv. 6, xvi. 3. 

ivhen the blast, etc. Better, /or the blast of the terrible ones (i.e. the 
.rage of the Jews' oppressors) is as a storm against a wall (or by an 
iasy emendation ("ip for "'''i?) a winter storm). The clause is probably 
I gloss to explain the storm from which the Lord is a refuge. 

5. As the heat .. .place. Perhaps a scribal error for the words 
IS the heat .. .cloud, which seem a gloss on a shadow .. .heat in v. 4. 

shalt thou bring, etc. Better, thou dost bring down. 

the noise oj strangers, i.e. the vaunts of the Jews' foreign masters 
the Persians). Duhm substitutes the arrogancy of the proud (Q^.t P^<^ 
brOnnW): cf. xiii. 11. 


164 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxv. 6-8 

heat by the shadow of a cloud, the song of the terrible ones 
shall be brought low. 6 And in this mountain shall the Lord 
of hosts make unto all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of 
wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the 
lees well refined. 7 And he will ^destroy in this mountain the 
face of the covering that is cast over all peoples, and the veil 
that is spread over all nations. 8 He hath swallowed up death 
for ever ; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all 
faces ; and the reproach of his people shall he take away from 
off all the earth : for the Lord hath spoken it. 

1 Heb. swallow up. 

the song... shall be brought low. Better, the song... he brings low. 
The clause is probably a gloss (note the change of person) on thou 
dost bring down the noise of strangers. 

6—8. The Lord in Zion will create happiness for all, and do 
away with everything that can interrupt or mar it. 

6. And in this mountain. This v. continues the prophecy from 
xxiv. 23. The beginning of the Lord's reign in Zion will be accompanied 
by a coronation feast (cf 1 Sam. xi. 14, 15, 1 Kgs. i. 9, 25) which will 
not be confined to the Jewish community, but extended to all sur- 
viving peoples who have been brought by the judgment to recognize 
the Lord's supremacy : cf. Zech. xiv. 16 — 19, and the parallel of the 
marriage feast in Matt. xxii. 2, Rev. xix. 9; see also Luke xiv. 15. 

fat things, i.e. the richest dainties, the expression being meant 
figuratively: cf Iv. 2, Job xxxvi. 16, Ps. xxiii. 5, xxxvi. 8, Ixiii. 5, 
Jer. xxxi. 14. 

wines on the lees. i.e. old wines, in which the sediment has been 
allowed to remain long, before being strained, in order to impart 
additional strength and flavour. 

7. the face of the, covering, i.e. the surface of the covering 
(cf Job xli. 13 mg.), a figure for sorrow, especially sorrow for the dead 
(v. 8), mourners being accustomed to veil their heads (2 Sam. xv. 30, 
xix. 4) : cf. also Jer. xiv. 3, 4. 

the veil, etc. More literally, the web that is woven over. 

8. He hath swallowed up. i.e. annihilated (for the metaphor ■ 
cf V. 7 (mg.), 2 Sam. xx. 19, 20, Job viii. 18, Heb., Lam. ii. 2, 5). 
The passage seems to mean the cessation of all death (not merely 
death by violence, as in xi. 9) ; and the thought reappears in Rev. xxi. 4. 
The writer of Ixv. 20 looks forward only to an extension of life, not 
immortality. Th. has Death has been swallowed up in victory, pointing 

the verb as a passive (J'??) and giving to the Heb. l^V?. the sense which 
it bears in Aramaic ; and the same rendering appears in St Paul's 
citation in 1 Cor. xv. 54. 

will wipe away tears, etc. The passage is cited in Rev, vii. 17, xxi. 4. 

the reproach, etc. i.e. the Jews will be raised from their depressed 


9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God ; we 
have waited for him, and he will save us : this is the Lord ; we 
have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. 
10 For in this mountain shall the hand of the Lord rest, and 
Moab shall be trodden down in his place, even as straw is 
trodden down Mn the water of the dunghill. 11 And he shall 
spread forth his hands in the midst thereof, as he that swimmeth 
spreadeth forth his hands to swim : ^and he shall lay low ^his 
pride ^together with the craft of *his hands. 12 And the 

1 Another reading is, in the dunghill. ^ Or, of them 

3 Or, hut •* Or, their ^ Or, for all the craft 

condition, which had brought shame on both themselves and their 
religion (cf Zeph. ii. 8, iii. 18, Ps. xHv. 14, Ixxix. 10, Joel ii. 17). 
9 — 12. A second song, foretelling an ignominious overthrow for 
Moab. This poem is linked to the previous prophecy by the reference 
to this mountain (v. 10, cf v. 6), but betrays an unexpected animus 
against Moab (cf. xvi. 6). 

9. Zo, this is our God, etc. Better, Behold our God for whom we 
have waited that he might save us (cf xxxiii. 2, Jer. xiv. 22). The 
clause is a retrospect. The repetition in the next clause is probably 
a variant and due to accidental error : it is omitted in the LXX. 

10. the hand, etc. i.e. the Lord's enabling power (cf Ezra vii. 
6, 28, viii. 18, Neh. ii. 8) will permanently abide with Zion. But the 
LXX. has the Lord shall give rest (reading n^JFi for n-l^JJi). 

and, Moab, etc. The resentment here expressed was perhaps 
occasioned by the memory of Moab's offences at the time of Jerusalem's 
fall, when Moabites took part in the devastation of Judah in conjunction 
with the armies of Nebuchadrezzar (2 Kgs. xxiv. 2) : cf Zeph. ii. 8 — 10, 
Ezek. XXV. 8 — 11. Cheyne takes Moab to be a type of Israel's enemies 
in general. 

in his place, i.e. in his own land (2 Sam. vii. 10, Am. ii. 13). 

dunghill. Better, dung-jnt. The comparison resembles Ps. Ixxxiii. 
10, cf also 2 Kgs. ix. 37, Jer. viii. 2, ix. 22. The Heb. {Madmenah) 
seems to involve a play upon the name of the Moabite town Madmen 
(Jer. xlviii. 2). 

11. And he shall, etc. Better, And if he shall spread forth... he 
(the Lord) shall lay low, etc., i.e. if Moab (thought of as a drowning 
man) attempts to save himself from sinking, the Lord will baffle his 

together with, etc. This rendering involves a zeugma : and hence 
! better (cf mg.), in spite o/'(Neh. v. 18, Heb.) the devices of his hands. 
\ 12. the fortress, etc. i.e. thy fortified towering walls. The 
i expression probably refers to the Moabite fortresses in general, of 
f which Kir Moab (see on xv. 1) was one of the strongest. The v. is 
j regarded by Cheyne and Duhm as alien to the context here, and as 
I probably a variant of xxvi. 5. 

166 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxvi. 1-5 

fortress of the high fort of thy walls ^hath he brought down, 
laid low, and brought to the ground, even to the dust. 

^ Or, shall he bring down, lay low, and bring <&c. 

hath he brought, etc. The tense must be a prophetic perfect (and 
so in xxvi. 5) : cf. mg. 

Chapter XXVI. 

This c. consists of two separate parts. The first {cv. 1 — 19) is a poem, in 
which the writer at first projects himself into the future, and, anticipating the 
overthrow of a hated city, expresses his confidence in the Lord ; but afterwards 
returns to the present and laments that the earlier national hopes have fallen 
short of complete realization. The second part {m. 20, 21) picks up the main 
strand of the prophecy, and is an exhortation of the Lord to His people to 
exercise patience. 

XXVI. 1 In that day shall this song be sung in the land 
of Judah : We have a strong city ; salvation will he appoint for 
walls and bulwarks. 2 Open ye the gates, that the righteous 
nation which keepeth truth may enter in. 3 ^Thou wilt keep 
him ^in perfect peace, whose ^mind is stayed on thee : because 
he trusteth in thee. 4 Trust ye in the Lord for ever : for in 
*the Lord jehovah is ^an everlasting rock. 5 For he hath 

^ Or, A stedfast mind thou keepest in perfect peace, because it (&c. 
2 Heb. peace, peace. ^ Or, imagination 

* Heb. Jah Jehovah. See ch. xii. 2. ^ Or, a rock of ages 

XXVI. 1 — 10. An expression of thankfulness for a deliverance 

1. that day. i.e. the day of the Lord's final vindication of His 

salvation, etc. Supernatural protection, and not material ramparts, 
is Jerusalem's real defence (though it possesses walls and gates, v. 2) : 
cf. xxxiii. 6, 20, Ix. 18, Zech. ix. 8. The pronoun he refers to the 

2. Open, etc. The Jews already resident in Jerusalem are bidden 
to receive their countrymen of the Dispersion (see xxiv. 16, xxvii. 13). 

keepeth truth. Better, maintaineth faithfulness (to the Lord). 

3. Thou wilt keep, etc. Better (as in the mg.), A steadfast 
(Ps. cxii. 7) mind (or purpose) thou keepest in perfect peace (or prosperity) 
because it trusteth in thee. For perfect peace (literally, peace, peace) see 
Ivii. 19 : by the LXX. and Syr. the second peace is omitted. 

4. Trust ye, etc. The words are an exhortation addressed by the 
returning exiles to one another. 

for in the Lord, etc. Better, for the Lord Jehovah is an 
everlasting rock; cf xxx. 29. The passage is the original of the phrase 


brought down them that dwell on high, the lofty city : he layeth 
it low, he layeth it low even to the ground ; he bringeth it even 
to the dust. 6 The foot shall tread it down ; even the feet of 
the poor, and the steps of the needy. 7 The way of the just is 
^uprightness : thou that art upright dost ^direct the path of the 
just. 8 Yea, in the way of thy judgements, Lord, have we 
waited for thee ; to thy name and to thy memorial is the desire 
of our soul. 9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night ; 
yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee ^early: for when 
thy judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world 
learn righteousness. 10 Let favour be shewed to the wicked, 
yet will he not learn righteousness ; in the land of uprightness 

^ Or, a right way; the path of the just thou directest aright 
^ Or, level * Or, diligently 

"Rock of Ages." The Heb. has Jajt Jehovah, and one of the names 
should perhaps be omitted as a dittograph : cf xii. 2. 

5. them that dwell on high. i.e. those who were in fancied security. 
the lofty city. The phraseology of the second half of the v. so 

closely resembles that of xxv. 12 that the reference in both passages 
must be to the same city. If xxv. 12 is in place, a fortress of Moab is 
alluded to both there and here; and to such (as near Judah) v. 6 is 
more appropriate than to a distant city like Susa, which else is denoted 
here. Cheyne thinks that Tyre, taken by Alexander in 332, is meant. 

6. the, poor .. .the needy, i.e. the Jews (as in xxv. 4). 

7. The way. . .is uprightness. Better, The way (i.e. the outward lot) 
of the just is even, i.e. free from the obstacles that bring about the 
downfall of the wicked: cf Jer. xxxi. 9, Prov. iii. 6 mg., xi. 5. 

thou that art upright, etc. Better, thou makest level (or smooth, 
cf Prov. V. 21) the path oj the just (omitting, with the LXX., thou that 
art upright as an accidental repetition of the last word of the previous 

8. in the way of, %iz.^ i.e. we have waited for Thy self-manifestation 
in the execution of Thy judgments upon our oppressors. 

to thy name, etc. i.e. for a revelation of the Lord's power and 
goodness {y. 15) such as had been recorded in the past. Name and 
memorial are virtually synonymous (as in Ex. iii. 15, Ps. cxxxv. 13). 

9. have I desired. The writer speaks in the name of his collective 

unthin me. Some critics would substitute in the morning (1p.3? for 
'37'^?)) as correlative to in the night. 

for when, etc. The nation's desire proceeds from the belief that 
nothing but chastisement will effect the conversion of the heathen. 

10. in the land of uprightness, i.e. in the Holy Land, where the 
piety of the Jews does not produce in the heathen who witness it the 
reformation it should do. 

168 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxvi.ii-15 

will he deal wrongfully, and will not behold the majesty of the 

11 Lord, thy hand is lifted up, yet they see not: but 
they shall see ^thy zeal for the people, and be ashamed ; yea, 
2 fire shall devour thine adversaries. 12 Lord, thou wilt ordain 
peace for us : for thou hast also wrought all our works for us. 

13 Lord our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion 
over us ; but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. 

14 ^They are dead, they shall not live ; they are * deceased, they 
shall not rise : therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, 
and made all their memory to perish. 15 Thou hast increased 

^ Or, and he ashamed, in their envy at the people 

- Or, the fire of thine adversaries shall devour them 

"* Or, The dead live not, the deceased rise not ■* Or, shades Heb. Rephaim. 

11 — 15. An expression of confidence that the past oppression will not 
recur, and that a great expansion awaits the nation in the near future. 

11. thy hand, etc. i.e. the chastisement of the heathen has begun 
and is already in progress, but they have not yet realized its true 

for the people, i.e. the Lord's own people the Jews : Cheyne reads 
for thy people (cf. thine adversaries in the parallel clause). 
fire. Probably a figure for war. 

12. ordain peace, i.e. establish prosperity for us (cf v. 3). 

all our works, i.e. all the national achievements and experiences 
of the past. 

13. other lords. In the course of Israel's history various heathen 
powers, such as Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, had successively 
exercised dominion over them, instead of the Lord. 

hut by thee only, etc. i.e. only through Thy aid are we enabled to 
celebrate Thy name. But this is clumsy, and Dillmann renders, only 

of thee, even thy name, will we make mention : probably ^^^""'5? should 

be emended to T?^?. Duhm regards the sentence as defective, and 
suggests the loss of •IJnwti'Jii — in thee only is our salvation, and we will 
make mention, etc. (cf. Jer. iii. 23). 

14. They are dead, etc. Better, The dead shall not live again, nor 
shall the shades (xiv. 9) rise. The declaration relates to the other lords 
of V. 13: the tyrannous nationalities thereby designated had perished 
and were destined never to revive : cf. Jer. li. 39 (of the Babylonians). 

therefo7'e. The clause thus introduced as an inference merely 
develops the thought of the preceding clause: cf Job xxxiv. 25. 
visited, i.e. punished (cf xxiv. 22 note, Jer. vi. 15, xlix. 8). 

15. Thou hast increased, etc. The tenses here must be prophetic 
perfects : the LXX. renders the first verb as an imperative. The 
prophet looks forward into the future, and sees Israel, when its last 
oppressor is overthrown, augmented in population and territory. 


the nation, O Lord, thou hast increased the nation ; thou art 
glorified: ^thou hast enlarged all the borders of the land. 

16 Lord, in trouble have they ^visited thee, they poured out 
a Sprayer tvhen thy chastening was upon them. 17 Like as a 
woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is 
in pain and crieth out in her pangs ; so have we been ^before 
thee, Lord. 18 We have been with child, we have been in 
pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not 
wrought any deliverance in the earth ; ^neither have the 
inhabitants of the world fallen. 19 Thy dead shall live; my 
dead bodies shall arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the 

1 Or, thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth 

2 Or, looked for ^ Heb. ivhisper. * Or, at thy presence 
* Or, neither have inhabitants of the world been born 

thou art ghrified. i.e. by the manifestation of Thy power on 
behalf of Thy people (Ex. xiv. 4). 

16 — 19. A reflection upon the paucity of the nation's numbers in 
the actual present and the assertion of a belief that its missing 
members will be re-united to it. 

16. have they visited. Better (by a slight correction), have we 
visited (^-l^li^? for T'"'!??), i.e. sought Thee for the purpose of intercession. 

they poured out a prayer, etc. The LXX. has eV 6X[\pei fxiKpa. 
(probably an error for ttlkpS.) r) iraiSia a-ov rip-lv, which has suggested 
the emendation (Cheyne) we cried out because of affliction, when thy 
chastening was upon us (reading -13? TiD-ID '•3 f n>>p -IJpy^ for ^U2 l-IPV 

ioS Tip-io). 

18. brought forth wind. A figure for fruitless effort : cf Hos. xii. 1, 
Eccles. i. 14. This clause is rejected by Duhm as a gloss on the next. 

neither .. fallen, i.e. the heathen oppressors have not been over- 
thrown as completely as was hoped. But it is more in keeping with 
the metaphor of the first part of the v. to render (as in the mg.), neither 
have inhabitants of the world been born : for fall in the sense of be born, 
cf ^??., an untimely birth, Statins, Theb. i. 60, si me de matre cadentem 
Fovisti gremio, and the Homeric ■w'nm.iv fx-cTo. ttoo-o-i ywatKos (//. xix. 110). 
The want of population, which is the subject of complaint, was a 
feature of the post-exilic period (Neh. iv. 19, vii. 4). 

19. Thy dead. i.e. the exiled members of the Lord's people. 
my dead bodies. If the text is sound, the prophet speaks for the 

collective nation. But the Syriac has their dead bodies. The import 
of the passage is that those Jews, who, cut off by exile from the life of 
the community, are figuratively dead and buried in foreign lands 
(cf Ezek. xxxvii., Hos. vi. 2, xiii. 1, 14), will be restored to national 
existence (see Additional Note). 

Awake and sing. Better (reading the fut. with the LXX.), They that 
dwell in the dust shall awake and sing. 

170 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxvi. 20,21 

dust: for thy dew is as the dew of %erbs, and the earth shall 
cast forth ^the dead. 

20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut 
thy doors about thee : hide thyself for a little moment, until the 
indignation be overpast. 21 For, behold, the Lord cometh 
forth out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for 
their iniquity : the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall 
no more cover her slain. 

^ Or, light " Or, the shades Heb. Rephaim. 

thy dew, etc. A Divine influence, comparable to the dew that 
freshens and invigorates vegetation, will bring about their revival to 
national life : cf Hos. xiv. 5. 

cast forth. Better, bring Jm-th or hear (the verb being the causative 
of that used in the sense of he born in v. 18). 

ths dead. Better, the shades (as in v. 14). 

20 — 21, A reiteration of the prediction of the speedy punishment 
coming on the earth for its iniquity. 

This section probably forms part of the main prophecy (as distinct 
from the preceding lyric passage) : cf xxiv. 1 — 20. 

20. enter thm into thy chambers. The judgment is regarded as 
executed through a destructive agency which slays all who are not 
sheltered from it: cf the conception of the destroyer in Ex. xii. 23, 
and of the destroying angel in 1 Ch. xxi. 15, 30. 

21. out of his place, i.e. from heaven, see Mic. i. 3. 

disclose her blood. The blood of a murdered man, if exposed to 
God's sight, constituted a mute appeal to Him for vengeance upon the 
murderer: see Gen. iv. 11, Ezek. xxiv. 7, 8, Job xvi. 18. The ^v^iter 
here probably has the slaughter of his own countrymen exclusively in 

Additional Note on v. 19. 

This V. is usually regarded as an expression of faith in the literal resurrec- 
tion of dead Jews. It is supposed that the Jewish community, despondent on 
account of its feebleness and insignificance, and impatient of the tardiness of 
its expansion by natural increase, declares its belief that its numbers will be 
multiplied by the physical resurrection of those of its countrymen who lie in 
the grave (cf. ye that dwell in the dust with Dan. xii. 2, them that sleep in the 
dust). The word nhlN, rendered in the text by herbs (cf. 2 Kgs. iv. 39), is 
taken (with the Vulg.) to be an exceptional form of the plural of liN or ITjiX, 
light (ordinarily D"'"iiK) and the clause is translated, thy dew is a dew of light 
(cf. mg.), and as the term light is sometimes associated with life (cf Ps. xxxvi. 9, 
Ivi. 13, Job iii. 20) the expression a detc (flight is explained to mean a dew 
which falls from the regions of heavenly light wherein the Lord dwells 
(Ps. civ. 2), and which imparts to the dead renewed physical Ufa The 
objections to this view are fourfold- (1) In v. 14, which denies that those who 

xxviL i] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 171 

had previously held sway over Israel shall live again, the word live clearly 
refers to national revival, and affords a presumption that the same word 
conveys a Uke sense here. (2) The language of the text does not seem to 
go beyond that of Hosea and Ezekiel in the passages cited (p. 169) where 
these prophets admittedly speak allegorically, and by death and burial mean 
exile, and by resurrection from the grave mean revival to national life. The 
use of the term shades in the present v. cannot be decisive for a different 
interpretation ; for if exiled Jews may be described as slain and as dry hones, 
they can equally well be termed departed spirits. Moreover, the dew of 
Jehov.\h here corresponds in function to the wind in Ezek. xxxvii. 9, and to 
the rain in Hos. vi. 3 (cf also Hos. xiv. 5), and should consequently be regarded 
as producing the like result. (3) The preceding vv. 16—18 afford no sufficient 
motive for the affirmation of a belief in the resurrection of the actually dead. 
If the cause of the people's unhappiness was the paucity of their numbers (as 
these w. suggest), a remedy for it would naturally be first looked for in a 
return to Palestine of those of their countrymen who were still in exile (as in 
xxvii. 12, 13), not a return to life of those who were in the grave. An ex- 
pression of faith in the restoration to renewed life of such as were really dead 
would more fittingly be based on distinctively ethical grounds (cf. Dan. xii. 3). 
(4) If in V. 19 a literal resurrection were in the writer's thoughts, ». 21 might 
be expected to predict unambiguously the rising again of slaughtered Jews, 
whereas it seems only to express figuratively the appeal which their blood will 
make for vengeance. 

Chapter XXVIL 

This c. consists of a number of detached sections. 0) v.l constitutes part 
of the description of the universal judgment, linking on to xxvi. 20, 21 ; 
(2) vv. 2—6 contain another lyric poem; (3) vv. 7—11, which appear to be 
fragmentary, are an expostulation in reply to Jevrish complaints; (4) vv. 12, 13 
revert to the main prophecy, and probably connect with v. 1, the prediction of 
the judgment ending with an announcement of the return of Jewish exiles. 

XXVII. 1 In that day the Lord with his sore and great 
and strong sword shall punish leviathan the ^ swift serpent, and 
leviathan the ^ crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon 
that is in the sea. 

1 Or, gliding Or, fleeing * Or, winding 

XXVII. 1. A prediction of the overthrow, by the Lord, of a 
hostile power or powers, symbolized by reptile forms. 

leviathan... sea. The three reptiles are probably survivals of a 
mythic stage of belief, when the watery chaos, which existed before the 
Creation, was thought of under the figure of a great monster. This in 
Babylonian mythology was called Tidmat (cf the Heb. Tehom, 
Gen. i. 2), and represented as a dragon or serpent slain by the god 
Marduk (Merodach). Similarly in the present passage the dragon tJuit 

172 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxvii.2,3 

2 In that day: ^A vineyard of wine, sing ye ^unto it. 3 I 
the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any 

1 Or, according to some ancient authorities, A pleasant vineyard ^ Or, of 

is in the sea symbolizes the Deep (cf. Am. ix. 3); and a Hebrew 
parallel to the Babylonian legend respecting the slaughter of Tiaraat 
seems hinted at in li. 9 (cf. Job xxvi. 12), where the dragon is 
represented as having been wounded by the Lord, but not slain, its 
final destruction being predicted here. The two leviathans are perhaps 
emblems of the two largest rivers known to the Hebrews, the Tigris 
and Euphrates, which are regarded as akin to the sea, and, like it, are 
symbolized by monsters and destined to be destroyed by the Lord 
(cf. xliv. 27, xi. 15). By leviathan the swift {o'c fleeing) serjjent is 
meant the Tigris, which, according to Strabo (xi. 14. § 8), got its 
name from its swiftness ( Tigris being the Median for arrow) ; whilst 
leviathan the crooked serpent stands for the Euphrates which the same 
writer describes as flowing (tko\l<^ tw p^iOpw. The punishment of these 
monster representatives of elemental forces seems to be regarded as a 
necessary preliminary to the renovation of the world and the establish- 
ment of the Divine kingdom (xxiv. 23). 

By Burney the three reptiles are identified with the astronomical 
constellations Serpens, Draco and Hydra, the sea being " the heavenly 
ocean," the part of the sky south of the ecliptic (cf. Job xxxvi. 13 and 
see JTS. Ap. 1910, p. 443 f.) ; but the constellations named are com- 
paratively inconspicuous'. Other scholars, whilst allowing the reptiles 
to be of mythic origin, nevertheless take them to symbolize national 
world-powers (cf. xiv. 29, and the imagery in Dan. vii., Rev. xii. 3). 
The dragon is generally explained to mean Egypt (the sea being the 
Nile, cf. xix. 5, Ezek. xxix. 3, xxxii. 2) ; whilst the two leviathans 
are supposed to designate Assyria and Babylonia, or Babylonia and 

2 — 6. A song expressing the Lord's care for Israel, and His desire 
to defend it {vv. 3 — 5), followed by a prediction of Israel's expansion 
in the future. 

The section pre-supposes the cessation of the Lord's wrath against 
Israel (xxvi. 20), the nation's redemption (to which the judgment upon 
the earth has been instrumental), and its restoration to the Divine 

2. In that day. Some word or words are lacking, and Duhm 
supplies one shall say C^^l) : cf. xxv. 9, xxvi. 1. 

A vineyard of wine. The expression is pleonastic (though cf. Jud. 
XV. 5, Heb.), and the LXX. has the preferable reading A vineyard of 
delight ("i^n for npD); cf. xxxii. 12, Am. v. 11, Jer. iii. 19. The figure 
recalls vv. 1 — 7. 

sing ye unto it. Better, sing ye of it (v. 1, Heb., Ps. iii. 2). 

^ If only one leviathan were mentioned (as in Job xxxvi. 13), it might represent 
the supra-terrestrial waters (cf. Gen. i. 7) as the dragon represents the sub-terrestrial 
waters ; but the fact that there are two is in the way of this explanation. 


hurt it, I will keep it night and day. 4 Fury is not in me: 
would that the briers and thorns were against me in battle ! I 
would march upon them, I wouki burn them together. 5 Or 
else let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace 
with me; yea, let him make peace with me. 6 ^In days to 
come shall Jacob take root ; Israel shall blossom and bud : and 
they shall fill the face of the world with fi-uit. 

7 Hath he smitten him as he smote those that smote him? 
or is he slain according to the slaughter ^of them that were 
slain by him? 8 ^In measure, *when thou sendest her away, 

1 Or, In the generations that come ^ Or, of their slain 

^ The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain. ■* Or, by sending her away 

3. lest any hurt it. There is no subject to the verb in the Heb. ; 
and Duhm, by very slight alterations, emends the text to lest its leafage 

he missing (C^V "'P?' for ^'^^ "I'p?:) ; cf. Jer. xvii. 8. 

4. Fury is not in me. The Lord's anger against the vineyard, 
once occasioned by its faikire to bear fruit (v. 2 — 6, cf Ezek. xvii. 9), 
is no longer retained. The clause should be attached to v. 3. 

would that, etc. The wish is equivalent to a condition : if briers 
and thorns (figures for human foes, as in x. 17, 2 Sam. xxiii. 6, 7) were 
against me. 

in battle. This (despite the Heb. accents) goes best with the 
following clause : in battle (or war') I would march upon them. The 
metaphor of the briers and thorns is dropped, and replaced by 
expressions appropriate to actual human enemies (cf xviii. 5, 6, 
xxviii. 18). 

5. Or else, etc. Israel's foes can escape annihilation only by 
submission to, and by reconciliation with, Israel's God. 

my strength. Better, my strongJiold (xvii. 10, Ps. Hi. 7). 

6. This V. is not part of the song, but a declaration by the 

shall fill... with fruit, i.e. occupy the earth with their increasing 
numbers (contrast xxvi. 18 mg.). 

7 — 11. A suggestion of hope for Israel based on the moderation 
with which it has been punished, a statement of the condition of its 
pardon, and a description of the desolation of the tyrant city. 

This section begins abruptly and continues the thought of xxvi. 
20 — xxvii. 1, rather than of xxvii. 2 — 6, though the connection is 
somewhat broken. 

7. or is he slain, etc. Better (after the LXX. and Syr.), or is he 
(Israel) slain as his slayers (the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian 
tyrants) have been slain (reading VJ"!h for l''?"in). The chastisement 
inflicted on Israel was only designed for its correction, that sustained 
by its enemies amounted to annihilation (cf xxvi. 14). 

8. In measure. The original is taken by Aq. and Sym, to be a 

174 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxvii.g-ir 

thou dost contend with her ; he hath removed her with his rough 
blast in the day of the east wind. 9 Therefore by this shall the 
iniquity of Jacob be ^purged, and this is all the fruit ^of taking 
away his sin ; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as 
chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, so that the ^Asherim and 
the sun-images shall rise no more. 10 For the defenced city is 
solitary, an habitation deserted and forsaken, like the wilderness : 
there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and con- 
sume the branches thereof. 11 When the boughs thereof are 
withered, they shall be broken off; the women shall come, and 

1 Or, expiated ^ Or, to take aicay ^ See ch. xvii. 8. 

duplication of the word seah, a measure of capacity containing 
2^ gallons, and to be a metaphor for "in just proportion," "without 
any excess" (cf. Jer. xxx. 11, xlvi. 28). But the expression in this 
context is strange, and many commentators regard the word as an 
infinitive, by driving (or scaring) her away. 

when thou sendest her away. Better (after the LXX.), by sending 
her away (i.e. into exile) he contendeth with her. As there is no noun 
in the preceding v. to which the fem. pronoun can relate, Duhm 
regards the present v. as a displaced marginal citation, relating to 
V. 10, the pronoun referring to the city (assumed to be Jerusalem). 

the east wind. i.e. the violent sirocco, which is often represented 
as destructive to vegetation and property (Gen. xli. 6, Ezek. xvii. 10, 
Ps. xlviii. 7), and is here a figure (cf Jer. li, 1, Job xxvii. 21) for the | 
invasion which carried the Jews into captivity; cf Hos. xiii. 15, if| 
Jer. xviii. 17. 

9. Therefore, i.e. as a consequence of the Lord's lenient disposi- 
tion towards Israel. 

by this. i.e. on this condition (Gen, xxxiv. 15, Heb,), viz. the 
cessation of idolatry. 

all the fruit, i.e. all the desired result (iii. 10, Hos. x. 13). 

his sin. i.e. the penalty of his sin. 

maketh... chalkstones. i.e. breaks into fragments the altars and 
symbols associated with idolatry. That pagan rites were practised 
during post-exilic times appears from Ivii. 3 — 13, Ixv. 1 — 12, Ixvi. 1 — 4. 
On the Asherim see xvii. 8. 

10. For the defenced city, etc. The reference seems to be to the 
chastisement of the tyrant Persia (cf xxiv. 10, 12), which will be a 
proof of the Lord's reconcihation to Israel {v. 9). Cheyne thinks that 
the condition of Jerusalem after its ruthless punishment by Arta- 
xerxes Ochus is described ; but this produces a contradiction between 
V. 11^ and the tenor of vv. 7, 8. 

there shall the calf etc. i.e. the site of it is to be a pasture ground 
(cf V. 17, vii. 25, xxxii. 14). 

the branches thereof, i.e. the sprigs of brushwood covering the spot. 


I set them on fire : for it is a people of no understanding ; there- 
fore he that made them will not have compassion upon them, 
and he that formed them will shew them no favour. 

12 And it sliall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall 
^beat off Ms fruit, from the flood of the River unto the brook 
of Egypt, and ye shall be -gathered ^one by one, ye children 
of Israel. 

13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great trumpet 

^ Or, beat out his corn '^ Or, gleaned ^ Or, one to another 

11. set them on fire. i.e. use them as faggots. 

for it is a people. If the citi/ of v. 10 stands for Persia, or the 
Persian capital, the people here designated must be its population. 
The Persians, though not idolaters in the strict sense, had no knowledge 
of the Lord, the Creator of them as of all other men (xlv. 12, 18, 
Ps. Ixxxvi. 9), and consequently had no claim to His compassion. But 
the critics who identify the city with Jerusalem naturally take the 
people to be the Jews whose past calamities had been occasioned by 
their lack of spiritual discernment (cf i. 3, xlii. 25). 

12 — 13. A prediction of an in-gathering of the Lord's people from 
the countries of their dispersion to Mount Zion. 

The allusion to the holy mountain at Jerusalem associates this 
section with xxiv. 23, xxv. 6, 7, which belong to the original prophecy 
(or apocalypse), and makes it probable that it connects directly with 
V. 1, the return of the dispersed Jews {v. 13) being the sequel of the 
destruction of all powers hostile to the Lord and His people. 

12. beat off, etc. The word rendered ^ooc? means likewise ears (of 
corn) : hence better beat out from the corn ears of the River (i.e. the 
Euphrates) unto those of the brook of Egypt (the Wddy el Arish, 
separating Canaan and Egypt, Num. xxxiv. 5). The term rendered 
beat out is commonly employed of beating olive berries from the trees 
TDeut. xxiv. 20), but is here used of threshing corn with a rod or flail 
(cf xxviii. 27, Jud. vi. 11, Ruth ii. 17). The scene of the threshing 
is the country between the Euphrates on the N.E. to the Wddy el 
Arish on the S.W., which once constituted (at least ideally) the borders 
of Israel's territory (see 1 Kgs. iv. 24, viii. 65, Gen. xv. 18); and the 
purpose of it is to separate the Jews (the grain) from the rest of the 
population (the chaff) within the region named. 

gathered. Strictly, gleaned (xvii. 5, Ruth ii. 3, 7, 17), suggesting 
the care with which the Lord will collect His people. 

13. And it shall come, etc. In addition to the separation of the 
Jews from the heathen within the land which once belonged to the 
former, there is to be a recall of Jewish exiles from the distant parts 
of the heathen world. 

a great trumpet. Strictly, a great (ram's) horn, cf Josh. vi. 5. 
The same kind of signal figures in the description of the Last Day 
(Matt. xxiv. 31, 1 Cor. xv. 52, 1 Th. iv. 16). 


shall be blown ; and they shall come which were ^ ready to 
perish in the land of Assyria, and they that were outcasts in the 
land of Egypt; and they shall worship the Lord in the holy 
mountain at Jerusalem. 

1 Or, lost 

ready to perish. The expression refers to exile in a foreign land 
(cf. Deut. xxvi. 5 mg.). 

Assyria. The name here probably represents the Persian empire, 
which included the former dominions of both Assyria and Babylon (see 
Ezra vi. 22 and cf on xi. 11, xxiii. 13). 

Egypt. Jews took refuge in Egypt after the capture of Jerusalem 
in 587 ; and tlieir numbers eventually increased so greatly that a 
translation of the Heb. scriptures (the LXX.) was required to meet 
their needs, and was begun in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus 

A restoration of exiles from the east and from the west was a 
frequent subject of hope and prophecy in post-exilic times : see Zech, 
viii. 7, 8, Is. Ix. 4, Ixii. 10. 

shall worship, etc. i.e. not, by making pilgrimages to Jerusalem 
from a distance, but by being permanently re-established there : 
cf xxiv. 23, Zech. viii. 8. 


These cc. form the third division into which Proto-Isaiah naturally falls. 
The first 6 cc. constitute a distinct group, since they all (with one exception) 
begin with the interjection Woe ! (better Ho !). These are, in the main, 
authentic Isaianic oracles relating to Judah, though the genuineness of 
portions of them may be open to suspicion. Though they have no common 
heading, most of them pertain to approximately one period in Isaiah's 
ministry, viz. the years {circ. 705 — 701) when the politicians of Judah were 
desirous of obtaining the aid of Egypt with a view to revolting against 
Sennacherib, and when the prophet sought to deter his countrymen from 
such a project ; and they may once have composed an independent collection 
of the prophet's oracles. One small oracle (xxviii. 1 — 4) belongs in origin to a 
date some 20 years previous to 701 ; a second oracle (xxxii. 1 — 8) may be later 
than 701; and a third (xxxii. 9 — 20) may perhaps date from the reign of Ahaz. 

The remaining cc. xxxiv., xxxv. are non-Isaianic, and belong to a much 
later age. They seem to bear the same relation to the foregoing cc. xxviii. — 
xxxiii. as cc. xxiv. — xxvii. do to cc. xiii. — xxiii., and cc. xi. 10 — xii. to cc. i. — 
xi. 9 (see p. iv). 



Chapter XXVHL 

This c. falls into three parts : ( 1 ) a prophecy of doom for Samaria (w. 1 — 4 (6)) ; 
(2) a denunciation of the religious and political leaders of Jerusalem (vv. 7 — 
22) ; (3) a parable illustrative of the Lord's methods of dealing with His people 
{vv. 23 — 29). Of these the central portion must have been ^vritten when the 
people of Judah were facing the imminence of invasion with ill-grounded 
confidence ; and the presumptuous spirit here represented as pervading the 
nation is so like that which prevailed shortly before 701 (cf xxii. 1 — 14, 
cc. XXX., xxxi.), that it is most reasonably assigned to that date {circ. 703). 
The last, if Isaianic (see note), is appropriate to the same period. But the 
fiirst must have been composed before the fall of Samaria in 722 (perhaps 
in the reign of Hoshea, circ. 730 — 722), and seems to have been prefixed to 
prophecies written more than 20 years later in order to recall the doom of 
Samaria to the minds of the Judseans, whose ofi'ences resembled those of the 
ill-fated sister kingdom. 

XXVIII. 1 Woe to the crown of pride of the drunkards 
of Ephraim, and to the fading flower of his glorious beauty, 
which is on the head of the fat valley of them that are ^over- 
come with wine ! 2 Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong 
one ; as a tempest of hail, a destroying storm, as a tempest of 
mighty waters overflowing, shall he cast down to the earth ^with 

^ Heb. smitten down. ^ Or, with violence 

XXVIII. 1 — 4. A prophecy of woe for the dissolute people of 

The overthrow of the kingdom of Ephraim was predicted by Isaiah 
as early as the reign of Ahaz (vii. 16, viii. 4), but the absence here of 
any reference to Damascus makes it probable that the present prophecy 
was delivered after the overthrow of that city in 732 and shortly before 
Ephraim came to an end in 722. 

1. Woe to the croivn, etc. More strictly, Ho! the crown, etc. 
(and so in xxx. 1, xxxi. 1, xxxiii. 1). Samaria, as being the pride 
of its inhabitants, but destined to perish in consequence of their vices, 
is likened to the garlands of quickly fading flowers wherewith dissolute 
revellers wreathed their heads (Lam. v. 16, Wisd. ii. 8). 

of the fat valley. The Heb. being irregular in construction, these 
words are better omitted (with Kittel) as an interpolation from v. 4. 

overcome with wine. Literally, broken (or smitten^ down with wine 
(cf xvi. 8, Prov. xxiii. 35, Tibullus i. ii. 3 multo percussus tempora 
Baccho, Mart. iv. Ixvi. 12, saucia vena mere, and the Greek olvoir\rj^). 
For intemperance in Ephraim see Am. iv. 1, vi. 6, Hos. vii. 5. 

2. a mighty and strong one. i.e. the Assyrian, the Lord's agent 
for the chastisement of His people (cf x. 5). 

as a tempest, etc. For the comparison of an invasion to a storm and 
flood cf viii. 7, 8, xvii. 12. 

w. 1. 12 

178 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxviii. 3-7 

the hand. 3 The crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim 
shall be trodden under foot: 4 and the fading flower of his 
glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be 
as the firstripe fig before the summer; which when he that 
looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up. 

5 In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, 
and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people: 

6 and for a spirit of judgement to him that sitteth in judgement, 
and for strength to them that turn back the battle ^at the gate. 

7 But these also ^liave erred through wine, and through strong 

^ Or, to 2 Or, reel 

with the hand. Better (as in the mg.), with violence (LXX. ySia). 

3. shall be trodden, etc. The verb is plur., and both the construc- 
tion and sense are improved by a slight transposition proposed by 
Duhm : Then shall be trodden under foot the crown of pride of the 
drunkards of Ephraim, 4. and the fading flower .. .valley ; and it 
(i.e. Samaria) shall be, etc. 

4. on the head of the fat valley. The hill of Samaria (1 Kgs. 
xvi. 24, Am. iv. 1, vi. 1), rising from a fertile plain and crowned by 
the city, is itself here compared to a garlanded head. 

before the summer. Better, before the fruit-harvest (which occurred 
in August). Such figs as ripened before this were esteemed a delicacy 
(Jer. xxiv. 2, Hos. ix. 10, Mic. vii. 1), and the eagerness with which 
they were plucked and eaten by epicures is used to illustrate the speed 
with which the Assyrians are expected to gain possession of Samaria. 
Isaiah, however, under-estimated the city's powers of resistance, for it 
stood a siege of more than two years (2 Kgs. xviii. 10). 

5 — 6. These two w., which qualify the previous doom of annihila- 
tion by predicting the survival of a remnant, injure the moral which 
the fate of Samaria had for Jerusalem : both Cheyne and Duhm (who 
consider the residue to be Judah, which Isaiah expected to owe its 
rescue to the Lord's intervention alone, see xxix. 1 — 8, xxxi. 8, 9) 
reject them as a late supplement (like xvii. 7, 8). 

5. In that day. In the Messianic age the Lord, and not the 
stately fortress, will be His surviving people's pride and confidence. 

the residue of his people. The expression recurs only in xi. 11, 16. 

6. for a spirit of judgement, etc. i.e. will inspire in them both civic 
and martial virtue (cf. Ps. cxliv. 1 and the description of the Messianic 
king in xi. 2, xxxii. 1). 

at the gate. Better (as in the mg.), to the gate, through which the 
enemy have penetrated and to which they are forced back. 

7 — 22. A rebuke of the leaders of Judah for their drunken excesses 
and irreligious self-confidence, and an exposure of the hoUowness of 
their fancied security. 

That this prophecy is directed against Judah appears from v. 14 



drink ^are gone astray; the priest and the prophet ^have erred 
through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are 
gone astray through strong drink; they ^err in vision, they 
stumble in judgement. 8 For all tables are full of vomit and 
filthiness, so that there is no place clean. 9 ^Wliom will he 
teach knowledge? and whom will he make to understand the 
^message? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from 
the breasts? 10 For it is precept upon precept, precept upon 
precept ; ^line upon line, line upon line ; here a little, there a 

1 Or, stagger ^ Or, reel 

* Or, Whom shall he teach... and whom shall he make... breasts. For <&c. 

* Or, report ^ Or, rule 

7. these also. i.e. the people and rulers of Jerusalem, as well as 
those of Samaria. 

erred ...gone astray. Better (as in the mg.), reel... stagger (cf. 
xix. 14, Prov. XX. 1, mg.). Habits of drunkenness in Judah are 
referred to in v. 11, 22, Mic. ii. 11. 

ths priest... the prophet. These, by their authoritative decisions 
{Judgement) and professed revelations {vision), had doubtless supported 
the policy to which Isaiah was opposed, but were rendered by intemper- 
ance unworthy of confidence. 

swallowed up of wine. Better, distraught through wine : cf the use 
of the verb in iii. 12, ix. 16. 

9. Whom tvill he, etc. The speakers in vv. 9, 10 are the priests 
and prophets, resenting Isaiah's reflections upon the value of their 
counsel : they imply that they are not children, requiring to be schooled 
in their functions. 

knowledge. An allusion to the qualifications expected of the priests 
(Mai. ii. 7). 

the message. Better, a message (and so in v. 19), i.e. a communica- 
tion from the Lord, such as the prophets claimed to receive (cf Jer. 
xlix. 14, Obad. v. 1). 

10. precept... line. Heb. "li? IV. If the first is rightly rendered jt?rgcfj9#, 
the second must be equivalent to regulation. But better (if the expres- 
sions in the original are real words), rule... line (both being understood 
in the sense of tools, such as are used by builders or carpenters ; 
for the second see v. 17, xxxiv. 11, 17, xliv. 13). By the Vulg., 
which has manda, remanda, expecta, reexpecta, they are connected 
with the verbs command (Heb. i^JV) and wait for (Heb. '"iji?). But 
if the expressions were intended to have a meaning, they might be 
expected to be mocking reproductions of some favourite phrases of 
Isaiah's ; whereas words identical with, or similar to, them are not very 

; common in the prophet's addresses. Hence the Hebrew terms (which 
' |are rhyming monosyllables) are probably not words at all, but imitations 

jof the jingUng nonsense which a nurse might use to a child. 

I here a little, etc. These are actual words (not, like the preceding, 

I 12—2 

180 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxviii. 11-15 

little. 11 ^Nay, but by men of strange lips and with another 
tongue will he speak to this people : 12 to whom he said, This is 
the rest, give ye rest to him that is weary; and this is the 
refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13 Therefore shall the 
word of the Lord be unto them precept upon precept, precept 
upon precept ; line upon line, line upon line ; here a little, there 
a little ; that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, 
and snared, and taken. 

14 Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, 
that rule this people which is in Jerusalem: 15 Because ye 
have said. We have made a covenant with death, and with ^hell 

1 Or, For with stammering lips 2 Heb. Sheol. 

unmeaning sounds), and should perhaps be rendered, here a little while, 
and there a little while (cf. Job xxxvi. 2). They seem to be a sneer at 
Isaiah's rapid transitions from one subject of censure to another (as in 
v. 8—23). 

11. Nay, but, etc. Better, Yea (xxxii. 13), with jabberings of lips, 
and with an alien (Deut. xxviii. 32, xxix. 28) tongue, etc. This is 
Isaiah's response to their mockery : the speech of the nursery, to which 
they compare his language, will shortly be replaced by the still stranger 
tongue (xxxiii. 19) of a foreign conqueror. The v. (in a form based on 
Aq.'s translation) is quoted in 1 Cor. xiv. 21, with reference to the gift 
of tongues as a sign to the unbelieving. 

12. This is the rest. i.e. this (the line of policy advocated by the 
prophet, viz. faith in the Lord, abandonment of a warlike attitude, and 
detachment from all foreign alliances, cf xxx. 15) is what will most 
conduce to national security and tranquillity. 

him that is weary, i.e. the poorer classes upon whom the burdens 
of war (military service, money contributions, the interruption of 
agriculture, and the like) fall heaviest. 

the refreshing. Better, the repose, i.e. the means of recovery. 

13. TJierefore s/kzU, etc. i.e. the Lord will henceforward speak to 
them through the unintelligible but irresistible Assyrians. 

that they... taken. In place of the security which might have been 
theirs, they will be trapped and captured like hunted animals. 

15. a covenant with death, i.e. a compact (effected by magic rites) 
with the spirits of the dead in Sheol, which was expected to ensure 
safety in the hour of danger (see viii. 19 and cf 1 Sam. xxviii. 7 f). 
But some scholars consider that a covenant with death and an agree- ! tkll 
ment with hell (Sheol) figuratively describe the supreme confidence ifcLlQ 
entertained by the speakers that destruction by Assyria would not ; ||j» 
befall them (cf. Job v. 23, Hos. ii. 18 and Lucan, Phars. ix. 898 (of a j^ 
people immune from serpents' poison). Pax illis cum morte data est), 
their security having been ensured by a political compact with Egypt 
(xxx. 1, xxxi. 1). J tij 


are we at agreement ; when the overflowing scourge shall pass 
through, it shall not come unto us ; for we have made lies our 
refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: 16 therefore 
thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I ^lay in Zion for a foundation 
a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone of sure founda- 
tion: he that belie veth shall not make haste. 17 And I will 
make judgement the line, and righteousness the plummet : and 

^ Or, have laid 

are we at agreement. Lit. have ive had a vision, and so in v. 18 
(perhaps meaning that an apparition from the dead had conveyed an 
assurance of safety). But the LXX. has crvv6-qKa<i and the Vulg. 

the overflowing scourge. The metaphor (designating the hostile in- 
cursion) is a confused one, and, though parallel confusions occur in v. 24, 
X. 18, xiv. 29 \ should perhaps be corrected, here and in v. 18, to 
the overflowing overflow, reading ^Pt^ ^19^ (after LXX. Karatyis (jiepofxivr}, 
Theod. KaTaKXva/xos <^epo/u.€vos) : cf. V. 17, viii. 7, 8, X. 22. 

lies... falsehood. The words probably express Isaiah's own estimate 
of the unreality of the protection (supernatural or political) to which 
they have committed themselves. But some critics think they allude 
to the breach of fealty in respect of Assyria, which the policy of Isaiah's 
opponents involved (cf. Ezek. xvii. 15, 16). 

16. Behold, I lay, etc. The protection provided by the Lord 
^through His relation with Israel) for those who trust Him in the 
impending crisis is represented under the figure of a sheltering 

- building, of well-tested and costly materials. The metaphor, which 
was probably suggested by the Temple fabric, is applied in 1 Pet. ii. 6 
to our Lord, who is described as the chief corner-stone of the spiritual 
Temple, the Church : cf. also Eph. ii. 20. 

in Zion. Jerusalem was the seat both of the Lord's worship 
(xxxi. 9) and of the Davidic monarchy, to which permanence had been 
promised (cf xxxvii. 35, 2 Sam. vii. 13—16, xxiii. 5): cf. xiv. 32. 

he that believeth, etc. i.e. enjoyment of the Divine protection is not 
absolute but conditional : it only avails for those who place their con- 
fidence in a God who is spiritual in nature and holy in character, instead 
of in the arts of sorcery or the resources of military power : cf. vii. 9. 
The LXX. has he that believeth thereon, i.e. on the tried stone, and 
St Paul in Rom. ix. 33, x. 11, following the LXX., refers the pronoun 
(eV avTw) to Christ, the Messiah (cf 1 Pet. ii. 6). 

shall not make haste, i.e. shall not have to flee. But better (after 
tlie LXX.), shall not he put to shame (^i^.l for t^'*n^'). Cheyne conjectures 
shall not give way (^'PJ) : cf. xxii. 25, liv. 10 (Heb.). 

17. make judgement the line. i.e. the faith, upon which the Lord's 

1 Combinations of incongruous expressions occur in the poetry of all languages: 
e.g. Soph. O.T. 186 iratav \aixirei, Eur. Med. 107 vi<f>os olfi(xrYrjs...dvdfeL. 

182 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxviii. i8-a. 

the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall 
overflow the hiding place. 18 And your covenant with death 
shall be disannulled, and your agreement with ^hell shall not 
stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then 
ye shall be trodden down by it. 19 As often as it passeth 
through, it shall take you ; for morning by morning shall it pass 
through, by day and by night : and it shall be nought but terror 
to understand the ^message. 20 For the bed is shorter than 
that a man can stretch himself on it ; and the covering narrower 
than that he can wrap himself in it. 21 For the Lord shall rise 
up as in ^ mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of 
Gibeon ; that he may do his work, his strange work, and bring 

1 Heb. Sheol. = Or, report » See 1 Chr. xiv. 11, &c. 

protection is conditional, must be accompanied by a moral reformation : 
the national conduct must square with the Divine standards of social 
justice and uprightness, and failure to conform to them will involve 
destruction (cf. i. 27, v. 16, x. 22). The similar figure of a plumb-line^ 
occurs in Am. vii. 7 — 9. 

the kail.. .the waters. Figures for a Divine judgment (xxx. 30), here 
executed through the agency of an Assyrian invasion, which will 
demonstrate the instabihty of the refuge to which the rulers of 
Jerusalem have resorted (v. 15). Cf. Matt. vii. 26, 27. 

18. disannulled. Literally, covered or perhaps obliterated (the 
covenant being regarded as a document that is cancelled or blackened 
out, cf. the verb in Gen. vi. 14). But as the Heb. term is generally 
used of the cancelling of offences (vi. 7, xxii. 14, xxvii. 9), not compacts, 
many critics would substitute here brought to ww^^i^^CPni for "133"!): cf. 
viii. 10, Jer. xxxiii. 21. 

trodden down. The previous figure is here exchanged for another 
(occurring in x. 6, Mic. vii. 10, Dan. viii. 13) which is more appropriate P 
to oppression by actual invaders. 

19. nought but terror, etc. i.e. the true import of the Divine 
revelations {v. 9), now wantonly ignored, will, when forced by events j 
upon them, leave room for nothing but terror. 

20. For tJie bed, etc. i.e. the fancied security {v. 15) will be found 

21. For the Lord shall rise, etc. i.e. the Lord will again intervene ! " 
decisively in human history as He did in the time of David (see 2 Sam. 
V. 17 — 25, 1 Ch. xiv. 8 — 16), but not, as then, on the side of Israel,; 
but against it. 

mount Perazim. . .Gibeon. In 2 Sam. v, 20, 25 Baal Perazim and^ 
Geba. \ 

his strange work. Better, strange is his work... foreign is his act.' 
i.e. the execution of vengeance (v. 19, x. 12) upon His own people,! 
instead of upon their enemies, is alien to His normal attitude. ' 

xxviii. 72-25] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 183 

to pass his act, his strange act. 22 Now therefore be ye not 
scorners, lest your bands be made strong : for a consummation, 
and that determined, have I heard from the Lord, the Lord of 
hosts, upon the whole ^ earth. 

23 Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my 
speech. 24 Doth the plowman plow continually to sow? doth 
he continually open and break the clods of his ground? 
25 'When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not 
cast abroad the '^fitches, and scatter the cummin, and put in 
the wheat in rows and the barley in the appointed place and 

^ Or, land 

" Or, hlack cummin (Nigella sativa) 

22. lest your bands, etc. i.e. lest the retribution (through Assyria), 
already merited, be enhanced by further persistence in mockery. The 
bands are those linking sin to punishment, which they had fastened 
upon themselves (cf v. 18). 

a consummation, etc. Better, an end and that a decisive one... upon 
all the land. 

23 — 29. A parable drawn from husbandry, designed to illustrate 
the Lord's judiciousness in His dealings with His people. 

The Isaianic origin of this section has been questioned partly on the 
ground that its tenor is inconsistent with the foregoing sentence 
of doom, and partly because it contains a word common only in 
" Wisdom " literature {v. 29). But it is probably addressed to the 
prophet's disciples (v. 23 seems to be the opening of a fresh speech, cf. 
Ps. xlix. 1, Lxxviii. 1), and the purport of it corresponds to Isaiah's 
conception of the Lord's scheme of action, which was not to exterminate 
but to purify Israel (i. 24—28, x. 20, iv. 3, 4). 

24. Doth the plowman, etc. It is implied that, as the process of 
ploughing eventually gives place to sowing, so Israel's chastisement 
will by and by be succeeded by different treatment. 

25. made plain. Better, levelled. 

fitches. Better, vetches or black cummin {Nigella sativa), the seeds 
of which were used to flavour bread. 

cummin, i.e. cuminum cyminum, an umbelliferous plant used as a 
condiment : its seeds in appearance and flavour are said to be like 

in rows. This word, omitted by the LXX. and Syr., is rejected by 
some as a dittograph, but it occurs as the name of a kind of grain in 
an inscription (Cooke, NSI., p. 176). 

in the appointed place. The meaning is doubtful, and the LXX. 
omits the word ; but the following words in (better as) the border thereof 
favour its retention, since the pronoun rendered thereof cannot gram- 
matically apply to wheat or barley. It may denote some cereal ; the 
Vulg. names, after wheat, three other plants (and not two only). 

184 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxviii. 16-29 

the spelt in the border thereof? 26 ^For his God doth instruct 
him aright, and doth teach him. 27 For the fitches are not 
threshed with a sharp threshmg instrument, neither is a cart 
wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are 
beaten out with a stafi*, and the cummin with a rod. 28 ^ Bread 
corn is ground; for he will not ever be threshing it: and 
though the wheel of his cart and his horses scatter it, he doth 
not grind it. 29 This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, 
which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in ^wisdom. 

1 Or, A nd he traineth each of them aright ; his God doth teach him 
^ Or, 7s bread corn crushed? Nay, he will not ever be threshing it, and driving 
his cart wheels and his horses over it ; he doth not crush it 
^ Or, effectual working 

26. J^or his God, etc. As the husbandman's prudence in the treat- 
ment of the soil is due to the instruction of God (cf. Ecclus. vii. 15, 
Lucr. V. 14, Verg. G. i. 147), the latter may be trusted to know how 
best to deal with humanity. 

27. i^or the fitches, etc. The varied methods of threshing employed 
with different kinds of grain illustrate how the Lord may be expected 
to proportion His disciplinary measures to the circumstances of Israel. 

a sharp threshing instrument, i.e. a sledge (like the Latin tribuluni), 
studded on the underside with spikes or sharp stones, which was 
dragged by oxen across the corn on the threshing-floor. 

a cart wheel. The implement thus designated consisted of a series 
of rollers, moved by horses or oxen, and supporting a wagon-like frame 
(see Driver, Joel and Amos, pp. 227 — 8). 

28. Bread corn is ground. Better, Is bread-corn crushed t Nay, 
he will not ever be threshing it, but he drives his cart-wheels and his 
horses over it without crushing it, i.e. even the grain for which threshing 
by sledges and rollers is suitable is not subjected to them continuously. 
Duhm, to avoid putting the cart before the horse \ emends the last clause 
to when he has driven the wheel of his cart over it, he scatters (i.e. 
winnows) it without crushing it (reading i^'J?-'i for IT"}?-"!). 

29. This also, etc. i.e. the insight displayed in the judicious use 
of heavy implements. As this, too, is of Divine origin, it argues that 
the Lord will use equal judgment in not extending the tribulation of 
His people to the point of annihilation. 

^ The Heb. usually means war-horse (Jer. xlvi. 4, Ezek. xxvii. 14), and so is 
unsuitable in such a context as this. 


Chapter XXIX. 

This c. consists of four sections : (1) an announcement of impending distress 
for Jerusalem (»p. 1—8) ; (2) a denunciation of the blindness of the people and 
their leaders {vv. 9—12) ; (3) a rebuke of religious insincerity {vv. 13, 14) ; 
(4) a condemnation of secret political intrigues, and a prediction of eventual 
deliverance from oppression and in-eligion {vv. 15 — 24). 

The c. seems to have in view the same situation as the preceding, namely a 
prospective invasion of Judah by Sennacherib, against which the nation's rulers 
were hoping to organize a successful resistance by political diplomacy, the 
issue of which Isaiah knew would only disappoint the politicians. The 
occasion may have been the inception of the scheme to negotiate with Egypt, 
of which more is said in cc. xxx., xxxi. ; but the precise date between 705 
and 701 is impossible to determine. Cheyne suggests 703. All of the four 
divisions, though probably distinct addresses, seem to belong to the same 
period of Isaiah's ministry. The authenticity of various portions of the c. has 
been questioned ; the most suspicious passage is vv. 17 — 24. 

XXIX. 1 ^Ho 2 Ariel, Ariel, the city where David en- 
camped! add ye year to year; let the feasts come round: 

1 Or, Woe to ^ That is, The lion of God or, The hearth of God. 

XXIX. 1 — 8. An announcement of the Lord's intention to 
distress and humiliate Jerusalem by a siege, and then to deliver it 
by a sudden display of His power. 

1. Ho Ariel. The name is here a designation of Jerusalem. An 
Ariel (or Arial) was probably an altar-hearth, at which cattle were 
slaughtered and burnt in sacrifice (the word (^^'■?^) being synonymous 
with ^''?<n^? and ^*?"!lI in Ezek. xHii. 15 and ^i^i^^ in the inscription on 
the Moabite stone) ; and the expression may have been popularly 
apphed as a title to Jerusalem as the seat of the Lord's altar-fire 
(of. xxxi. 9). Isaiah here makes use of it with a sinister reference to 
the carnage with which, he anticipates, the city will soon be filled. 
Cheyne {Encyc. Bib. i. 298), here and in vv. 2* and 7, would substitute 
Uriel, supposing that the prophet modifies in this way the city's earlier 
name Urusalim (in the Tell-el-Amarna tablets) for the sake of the 
assonance with the term Ariel, " altar -hearth " (see v. 2^). 

where David encamped, i.e. when he laid siege to it, whilst it was 
still in the hands of the Jebusites (2 Sam. v. 6, 7) : cf. LXX. 17V 

AaveiS eiroXe^rjaev. 

add ye year, etc. The prophecy was perhaps delivered at the last 
of the three agricultural festivals, the feast of Ingathering, which in 
early times coincided with the close of the year (Ex. xxxiv. 22), after 
which the annual cycle began afresh. The prophet's words con- 
sequently seem to imply that by the time the round of feasts should 
again be complete, tribulation would be at hand. 

186 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxix. 

2 then will I distress Ariel, and there shall be mourning and 
lamentation: ^and she shall be unto me as Ariel. 3 And I 
will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege against 
thee with a fort, and I will raise siege works against thee. 
4 And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the 
ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust ; and thy 
voice shall be as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the 
ground, and thy speech shall ^whisper out of the dust. 5 But 
the multitude of thy ^foes shall be like small dust, and the 

1 Or, yet - Or, chirp 3 Heb. strangers. 

2. then ivill I distress. The speaker is the Lord, Who works 
through the agency of the Assyrians (x. 5, 6). 

mourning and lamentation. An assonance in the original is imitated 
by Cheyne with moaning and bemoaning : of. Lam. ii. 5 (Heb.). 

as Ariel. Better, as a veritable Ariel, i.e. she shall reek, like an 
altar-hearth, with blood, and so justify in an unexpected way her 
(popular) appellation. The mg. ;i/et (for and) she shall be... as Ariel, 
assumes that Ariel means "God's lion" (it probably has this sense 
in the personal names occurring in 2 Sam. xxiii. 20, Ezra viii. 16), and 
supposes that Jerusalem in the coming conflict will turn to bay like 
a lion or lioness (of. Ezek. xix. 2, 3) and vanquish its enemies; but 
this is alien to Isaiah's belief that the city would owe its deliverance to 
the Lord alone. 

3. round about. Better, after the LXX., like David (pV}^ for "'•l'^?, 
cf. V. 1), i.e. the Lord will act towards His own Jerusalem as though 
it were a Canaanite city: cf xxviii. 21. 

a fort. Better, an earthwork or entrenchment : Vulg. iaciam contra 
te aggerem. 

4. out of the ground. Better, from the ground, i.e. in a position of 

as of one... spirit. Better, as a ghost's, i.e. subdued and feeble 
(cf on viii. 19). 

5. But the multitude, etc. From a description of the straits to 
which the city is to be reduced there is here a sudden transition to a 
promise of relief {vv. 5 — 8) ; and the abrupt change of tone has led 
Cheyne and others to regard vv. 5, 7, 8 as later interpolations designed 
to qualify the sternness of the original prediction (v. 6 alone being 
retained and interpreted of a hostile visitation). But in reality the 
passage seems to correspond with Isaiah's actual anticipation con- 
cerning Jerusalem, which he expected to be brought to the verge of 
destruction and then preserved by the direct intervention of the Lord, 
see V. 14 and cf x. 5—19, 24—27, 33, 34, xxviii. 16. 

thy foes. Literally, thy strangers (xxv. 2, Ps. liv. 3) ; but better 
(by a slight correction), thy enemies (y?^ for "n^"?J)- 

like small dust, etc. The same comparisons occur in xvii. 13. 



multitude of the terrible ones as chaff that passeth away : yea, 
it shall be at an instant suddenly. 6 ^ She shall be visited of 
the Lord of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great 
noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring 
fire. 7 And the multitude of all the nations that fight against 
Ariel, even all that fight against her and her strong hold, and 
that distress her, shall be as a dream, a vision of the night. 
8 And it shall be as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, 
he eateth ; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty : or as when 
a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he 
awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: 
so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against 
mount Zion. 

9 ^Tarry ye and wonder; ^take your pleasure and be blind: 
they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not 

1 Or, There shall be a visitation from the Lord dc. ^ Or, Be ye amazed 
"* Or, blind yourselves and be blind 

yea, it shall be, etc. Better (prefixing the clause to v. 6), And it 
shall come to pass at an instant suddenly that.... 

6. visited, i.e. relieved (see on xxiii. 17). Though the verb is 
ambiguous and may mean punished (see on xxiv. 22), the description 
of the theophany supports the view that the Lord's interposition is 
directed to the deliverance of His people and the overthrow of their 
foes (cf. xxx. 27, 30). 

7. that fight against her, etc. The construction of the original is 
unusual, and the text should perhaps be corrected to her besiegers and 
their siege wm-ks (Dn^n'-i>-p-i r^^^^ for nnnVrp-i n^p) -. d. v. 2. 

8. as when an hungry man, etc. The simile of a dream, used in 
V. 7 as an illustration of the suddenness of the foe's disappearance 
(cf Job XX. 8), is here replaced by that of a dreamer, to express the 
disappointment of their expectations. 

9 — 12. A declaration that the blank gaze of incredulity at the 
prophet's predictions of evil will be succeeded by a blank gaze of 
bewilderment when they come to pass. 

9. Tarry ye. Better (after the Vulg.), Be astounded (reading 
^ntpnn for ■inpnorin). The command is an ironical exhortation to 
maintain their incredulous attitude. 

take your pleasure, i.e. amuse yourselves with fancied triumphs. 
But better (as in the mg.) blind yourselves (the first verb coming from 
the same root as the second). 

they are drunken. Better (by a change of points), he drunken 
(LXX. »cpai7raAr;craTe) and Stagger, i.e. persist in your besotted insensi- 
bility to the plainest warnings. 

188 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxix. 10-13 

with strong drink. 10 For the Lord hath poured out upon 
you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed ^your eyes, the 
prophets ; and your heads, the seers, hath he covered. 1 1 And 
all vision is become unto you as the words of a ^book that is 
sealed, which men deliver to one that ^is learned, saying, Read 
this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed: 12 and 
the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying. Read 
this, I pray thee : and he saith, I am not learned. 

13 And the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw nigh 
unto me, and with their mouth and with their lips do honour 
me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear 
of me is a commandment of men which hath been * taught them: 

^ Or, your eyes; the prophets, and <&c. ^ Or, writing 

^ Heb. knoweth writing (or letters). * Or, learned by rote 

10. For the Lord, etc. The people's obtuseness to wiser counsels 
(like Rehoboam's in 1 Kgs. xii. 15) is ascribed to Divine agency (cf. vi. 
9, 10). The passage is quoted in Rom. xi. 8 in reference to the Jews' 
rejection of Christianity. 

the prophets .. .the seers. These words are probably mistaken glosses 
(like ix. 15), the terms eyes and heads being meant literally. 

11. And all vision. Better, And the vision of all this. The simile 
illustrates the rejection which the prophet's revelations encounter from 
all classes alike. By some critics vv. 11 and 12 (prosaic in style) are 
deemed to be a late addition: with -y. 11 cf Dan. xii. 9, 10. 

13 — 14. The Lord's design of confounding the expectations of 
those whose worship of Him is insincere. 

13. draw nigh, etc. The sentence is better balanced in LXX. B, 
which has draw nigh tmto me with their mouths, and with their lips do 
honour me. The kind of religion here rejected as worthless is similar 
to that reprobated in i. 11 f, viz. formal homage divorced from obedience 
of the heart and will ; but whereas in i. 1 1 f the unreality of the 
people's profession is evidenced by their acts of social injustice, here it 
is shewn by the faith they repose in their own statecraft. 

have removed their heart. The LXX. has their heart is removed 
(pn-1 for pn-i). 

their fear of me. i.e. their religion. Instead of is a commandment, 
etc. the LXX. has is unreal, a commandment, etc. (reading •I'^ni for ''^^V). 
The popular religion was a system of conventional rites practised out 
of deference to authority or custom, and inspired by no spiritual motive 
and consequently without value for a purely spiritual God. The 
greater part of the v. is quoted (from the LXX.) by our Lord in refer- 
ence to the traditional teaching of the Pharisees, who prescribed 
ceremonial precautions against external defilement but were indifferent 
to the moral impurity which had its seat within (Mk. vii. 6, 7, Matt. 
XV. 8, 9). Cf also Col. ii. 22. 


14 therefore, behold, I will ^proceed to do a marvellous work 
among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder : and 
the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding 
of their prudent men shall be hid. 

15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel 
from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, 
Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? 16 ^Ye turn things upside 
down! Shall the potter be counted as clay; that the thing 
made should say of him that made it. He made me not ; or the 
thing framed say of him that framed it, He hath no under- 
standing? 17 Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon 

1 Or, again do Heb. add to do. ^ Or, O yoiir perversity ! 

14. I will proceed to do. Better (as in the mg.), I will again do, 
i.e. as once before in the reign of Ahaz (see cc. vii., viii.). 

a marvellous work. i.e. the promotion of Assyria's success (cf 
xxviii. 21) and the deliverance of Jerusalem at the last moment by 
unforeseen means. 

and' the wisdom, etc. i.e. the calculations of the Jewish politicians 
will be upset (cf v. 21, xxviii. 14 — 22) and their boasted statesmanship 
cast into the shade. By St Paul (1 Cor. i. 19) the passage is applied 
to the confounding of human expectations by the salvation of the world 
through the Cross. 

15 — 24. An assertion of the impotence of the political schemers in 
the face of the Lord's purpose, and a prediction that a change for the 
better in the condition of the nation will be brought about by 
superhuman power. 

15. Woe unto them. Better, Hoi they who seek, etc., i.e. the 
Jewish statesmen who, in pursuing their intrigues with Egypt, kept 
them from the knowledge of Isaiah, from whom such could receive no 
approval (see xxx. 1). 

16. Ye turn, etc. Better (as in the mg.), Oh, your perversity (the 
word being a noun, not a verb). 

Shall the potter, etc. Their fancied ability to act without the know- 
ledge or control of the Lord was a misapprehension of their real relation 
to Him Who was their Maker. The figure employed to illustrate the 
presumption of those who deemed themselves independent of, or wiser 
than, the Lord, though parallel to that used in x. 15, does not occur 
elsewhere in Isaiah, but is common in later writings (xlv. 9, Ixiv. 8, 
Jer. xviii. 4, 6); and the v. is rejected by Cheyne and others as out of 
place in a censure of statecraft (contrast xxx. 3 — 5). The passage 
seems to be quoted by St Paul in Rom. ix. 20. 

17 — -24. A prophecy of an impending transformation of nature and 
an amelioration of political and social evils. 

These 8 vv. are thought by Cheyne, Duhm and Marti to be non- 
Isaianic and post-exilic, chiefly on the ground that whereas the preceding 

190 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxix. 18-21 

shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall 
be counted for a forest? 18 And in that day shall the deaf 
hear the words of ^the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see 
out of obscurity and out of darkness. 19 The meek also shall 
increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall 
rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. 20 For the terrible one is 
brought to nought, and the scorner ceaseth, and all they that 
watch for iniquity are cut ofi": 21 that ^make a man an ofifender 
in a cause, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, 

^ Or, a book or writing 2 Qr, make men to offend by their words 

part of the prophecy anticipates for the people persistence in its delusions 
and consequent chastisement (see xxix. 9, 10, cf. vi. 9 — 13), this passage 
does not predict a judgment for the nation as a whole (as might be 
expected after the tone of v. 15), but only for an irreligious section of 
it, together with foreign tyrants. The lack of any insistence upon a 
period of calamity preceding the promised relief (contrast xxxii. 9 — 20), 
and the pervading consolatory spirit of the passage are certainly rather 
un-Isaianic, and though the phraseology has points of contact with 
Isaiah's writings (vv. 17, 20, 23), it contains features suggestive of 
lateness (see vv. 19, 24). 

17. Lebanon... a for est. Since Lebanon was famous for its forests, 
the change described must be figurative for an inversion of the prevailing 
political and social conditions, the proud being humbled and the humble 
exalted. The passage seems dependent on, but modified from, xxxii. 15, 
and used in a different sense. 

18. shall the deaf, etc. i.e. the spiritual insensibility (see vi. 10 
and cf xlii. 18, 19) hitherto prevailing (vv. 9 — 12) is to disappear: cf. 
xxxii. 3. 

19. The meek... the poor. The terms must designate the Jewish 
nation — a usage commonest in late (post-exilic) writings (cf xxv. 4, 
Ixi. 1, Ps. Ixix. 32, 33). The LXX. for the meek has itto^xol (D'*^i? 
for D''l^y): cf. on xi. 4. 

20. the terrible one. i.e. the contemporary foreign oppressor (see 
V. 5 and cf xiii. 11, xxv. 3). 

the scorner. If the passage proceeds from Isaiah the expression 
will refer to the Jewish politicians and others who were incredulous of 
Isaiah's predictions of evil (xxviii. 14, 22, cf. v. 19). But the word is 
a common designation in Proverbs for religious sceptics in general 
(Prov. i. 22, ix. 7, xxi. 24, cf Ps. i. 1). 

thei/ that watch, etc. i.e. those who deliberately seek occasion to 
efiect some harmful purpose (cf Dan. ix. 14). 

21. that make a man, etc. i.e. cause, or help, a man to commit 
wrong in a suit. The rendering that procure the condemnation of a man 
by a (false) word (cf xxxii. 7) would seem to require ''V.V'P instead of 


and turn aside the just with a thing of nought. 22 Therefore 
thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the 
house of Jacob : Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall 
his face now wax pale. 23 ^But when he seeth his children, 
the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify 
my name ; yea, they shall sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and 
shall stand in awe of the God of Israel. 24 They also that err 
in spirit ^ shall come to understanding, and they that murmur 
shall learn ^doctrine. 

^ Or, But when his children see (&c. 
"^ Heb. shall know understanding. 
' Or, instruction 

lay a snare for. i.e. seek to mislead or corrupt. 

him that reproveth, etc. Better, him that arbitrateth in the (city) 
gate (the place where trials and arbitrations were usually conducted, 
see Am. v. 10, Deut. xvi. 18, xxi. 19, Ruth iv. 1, 11, 2 Sam. xv. 2, 
Prov. xxii. 22). 

turn aside, etc. i.e. deprive a man of his rights on unsubstantial 
grounds (cf. x. 2, Ex. xxiii. 6, Am. v. 12, Prov. xviii. 5, Mai. iii. 5). 

22. who redeemed, etc. The occasion meant may be some signal 
rescue (perhaps from his heathen kinsmen in Chaldea) which is unre- 
corded in the O.T. and related only in tradition (see Charles' note on 
the Book of Jubilees xii. §§ 12 — 14). 

concerning the house, etc. Many critics adopt Lowth's emendation, 

the God of the house, etc. (^^ for ?^), 

wax pale. i.e. with fear (Jer. xxx. 6). 

23. ivhen he seeth, etc. This presumably means "when he seeth 
his children purified and preserved through the execution of my judg- 
ment " ; but the distinction between Jacob and his children seems 
pointless. Hence better (cf. mg.), when he, even his children, see the 
woi-k oj mine hands (i.e. witness the operation of the Divine power in 
giving relief after due chastisement). But the phrase his children is 
probably a gloss explaining that the better conditions predicted will 
be experienced by a future generation ^ 

sanctify, i.e. regard with reverence and fear instead of ignoring 
Him {v. 15): cf. viii. 13. 

24. This V. resembles in tone the book of Proverbs, and the word 
doctrine seems to belong chiefly to Gnomic literature (see Prov. i. 5 Heb., 
iv. 2, ix. 9 Heb., xvi. 21, etc.). 

1 A similar gloss occurs in xlv. 11, where it is intended to explain the work of 
my Iiands, and Cheyne thinks that it applies to the same words here. 

192 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxx.1-3 

Chapter XXX. 

This c. has in view a later phase of the policy denounced in xxix. 15. The 
plans for seeking the aid of Egypt, hitherto concealed, had so far emerged into 
the light that it was known that envoys had been despatched to negotiate an 
alliance ; and Isaiah renewed his condemnation of them. The c. (dating from 
about 703 or 702) consists of five sections : (1) and (2) oracles declaring the 
futility of any reliance upon Egypt {vv. 1 — 5 and 6, 7) ; (3) a description of 
Israel's estrangement from the Lord, and its calamitous consequences (»». 8 — 
17); (4) a prediction of a change of spirit in the nation and a return of its 
prosperity {w. 18 — 26) ; (5) an announcement of the chastisement about to be 
inflicted upon Assyria {vv. 27 — 33). Of the last two sections the genuineness 
is denied by some critics (see notes). 

XXX. 1 Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, 
that take counsel, but not of me; and that ^ cover with a 
covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: 
2 that walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my 
mouth; to ^strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, 
and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! 3 Therefore shall the 
strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow 

1 Or, weave a web Or, pour out a drink offering Or, make a league 
^ Or, fiee to the strong hold of Pharaoh 

XXX. 1 — 5. An oracle denouncing negotiations with Egypt 
whose boastful professions end in nothing. 

1. Woe to the rebellious, etc. The Jewish people, as the Lord's 
children (i. 2), might have been expected to seek the guidance and aid 
of their God and Father through His prophets ; but this they had not 
done (cf. xxix, 15). 

take counsel, etc. Better, execute a purpose (or plan) that is not 
from me (cf. Hos. viii. 4). 

cover with a covering, etc. Literally, weave a web (xxv. 7 Heb.), i.e. 
either, procure means of protection (cf. xxii. 8, xxviii. 20), or, engage in 
political scheming. But the LXX. (perhaps taking the original to mean 
pour a drink offering, a usual accompaniment of a covenant) regards it 
as equivalent to make a treaty (cf. the Greek o-n-oi'Sas o-irevSeaOai), 
though a compact with Egypt was not yet actually concluded (see v. 6). 

that they may add, etc. Such conduct aggravated their previous 
guilt (the consequences, in accord with Heb. idiom, being represented 
as a purpose; cf. xliv. 9, Jer. xxvii. 10): see cc. vii., xx. 

2. to strengthen themselves, etc. Better (as in the mg.), to flee for 
refuge to the stronghold of {i.e.. the security afforded by) Egypt. 

shadow. A figure for shelter and protection, as in xvi. 3, xxxii. 2. 

3. Therefore, etc. Better, But the stronghold, etc. The supine- 
ness or weakness of Egypt at this time was calculated to bring 


of Egypt your confusion. 4 For his princes are at Zoan, and his 
ambassadors are come to Hanes. 5 They shall all be ashamed 
of a people that cannot profit them, that are not an help nor 
profit, but a shame, and also a reproach. 

6 The ^burden of the beasts of the South. 

Through the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come 

^ Or, oracle concerning 

disappointment to all who trusted it ; see xx. 5, xxxvi. 6, and cf. Jer. 
ii. 36, 37. 

4. I^or his princes, etc. Better, F'or though his (Pharaoh's) princes 
(i.e. vassals) are at Zoan and his messengers reach to Hanes, yet they 
(the Jews) shall all be brought to shame by a people, etc., i.e. though 
Pharaoh's authority extends widely N. and S., yet Judah's trust in his 
support will only result in disillusion. Some critics consider his princes 
and his messengers to mean Judah's envoys, but the singular his (as 
contrasted with you and they) seems decisive for the reference to 

Zoan. i.e. Tanis in the Delta (see xix. 11). 

Hanes. The later "Awo-is and Heracleopolis magna, situated in the 
Nile valley, S. of Memphis. 

5. be ashamed. The rendering is that of the Heb. mg. and Vulg. ; 
the Heb. text has become stinking to or be in bad odour with (Prov. 
xiii. 5, 1 Sam. xxvii. 12, Heb.). Certain critics would emend to they 
have all brought gifts to a people (reading ^^ •"1^<''?D D^3 for Ei'''N?ri >3) 
to purchase their aid : cf v. 6. 

6 — 7. A second oracle asserting the uselessness of an appeal to 
Egypt for help. 

This short passage, repeating the substance of the preceding, seems 
to be distinct from it, as it has a title. In thus having a heading it is 
isolated amongst the prophecies contained in cc. xxviii. — xxxiii. ; and 
the oracle would consequently be more in place in the series cc. xiii. — 
xxiii., whence Duhm conjectures that it has been transferred by the 
latest editor. 

6. The burden, etc. Better, The oracle concerning the beasts of the 
South. The title, like those in xxi. 1, 11, 13, xxii. 1, is suggested by 
the contents, the beasts of the South being the wild animals and venomous 
serpents infesting the South (or Negeb) of Judah (see on xxi. 1), which 
the envoys of Judah had to traverse in their journey to Egypt. But the 
word beasts in the sense of dangerous animals is unusual (it generally 
denotes cattle), and some critics take it to be sing, and to designate 
the hippopotamus (as in Job xl. 15) and interpret it as a symbol of 
Egypt (which is thought to be denoted by the South as in Dan. viii. 9, 
xi. 5), rendering. The oracle concerning the beast of the South. 

from whence. The Heb. is ungrammatical and there is no verb, so 
Klostermann and others emend to {the land... of the lioness) and of the 
roaring lion, etc. (reading ^nb for Oil!?). 

w. I. 13 

194 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxx.7-10 

the lioness and the lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they 
carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their 
treasures upon the bunches of camels, to a people that shall not 
profit them. 7 For Egypt helpeth in vain, and to no purpose : 
therefore have I ^called her Rahab that sitteth still. 8 Now 
go, write it before them on a tablet, and inscribe it in a book, 
that it may be for the time to come ^for ever and ever. 9 For 
it is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not 
hear the ^law of the Lord: 10 which say to the seers. See not; 

1 Or, cried concerning this, They are but arrogancy : be still 

2 Or, according to some ancient authorities, for a witness for ever ' Or, teaching 

viper... serpent. For the presence of these in the desert between 
Palestine and Egypt see Num. xxi. 6,Deut. viii. 15. Herodotus (11. 75, 
76, III. 107 — 109) speaks of flying serpents which fly from Arabia 
towards Egypt, having wings like a bat's (cf. on xiv. 29). 

their riches, i.e. valuable presents. 

7. have I called her, etc. Better (if the text is retained), / (the 
Lord) have declared concerning her, Rahab, she is (literally, they, i.e. the 
Egyptians, are) inaction. The name Rahab, though originally desig- 
nating the monster which in Heb. mythology was the personification of 
chaos (see on li. 9), was probably also a current title for Egypt 
(Ps. Ixxxvii. 4), which in Ezek. xxix. 3 is represented as a great 
sea-monster; and was the more appropriate because it etymologically 
means boisterousness or bluster (cf the verb in iii. 5, Prov. vi. 3, and the 
noun in Ps. xc. 10 (pride)), and the policy of Egypt (called by Pliny 
ventosa et insolens natio) was one of vainglorious vaunting and supine 
inactivity. Some critics emend the text to / have called her, Rahab 
the inactive or Rahab the quelled, i.e. the impotent (reading ri5|'>n or 
naf »n for nn^ dpi). 

8 — 17. A solemn prediction of an overwhelming disaster for the 
nation in consequence of its presumptuous self-confidence. 

8. write it, etc. As Isaiah's prediction fell on deaf ears, he is now 
bidden by the Lord to put it on record against the time when events 
should justify him (cf viii. 16). 

before them. i.e. certain witnesses: cf. viii. 2. 

inscribe it in a book. Perhaps better, inscribe it on a document 
(the phrase being equivalent to " put it in writing "). Probably only a 
tablet was used. What was written upon it may have been the title 
given to Egypt in v. 7 (cf viii. 1), or the substance of the oracle 
contained in vv. 12 — 17. 

fm- ever and ever. This, following upon for the time to come, is 
unduly pleonastic, and the text should be emended (after the Vulg. and 

Syr.) to as a testimony fm- ever (^V{ for "^V^) -. cf Deut. xxxi. 19 — 21. 

9. lying children, i.e. such as practically renounce their filial 
relationship and consequent duties (cf Ixiii. 8, Job xxxi. 28). 



and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak 
unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits : 1 1 get you out of the 
way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel 
to cease from before us. 12 Wlierefore thus saith the Holy 
One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in 
oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon; 13 therefore 
this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling 
out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an 
instant. 14 And he shall break it as a potter's vessel is broken, 
breaking it in pieces without sparing; so that there shall not 
be found among the pieces thereof a sherd to take fire from the 
hearth, or to take water withal out of the cistern. 15 For thus 
said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, In returning and 
rest shall ye be saved ; in quietness and in confidence shall be 
your strength: and ye would not. 16 But ye said. No, for we 
will flee upon horses ; therefore shall ye flee : and, We will ride 

10. Prophesy not, etc. For similar attempts to suppress the 
utterance of uncongenial truths see Am. ii. 12, vii. 12, 13, Mic. ii. 6, 
Jer. xi. 21, and cf. 1 Kgs. xxii. 8, 13. 

smooth things. ..deceits. Isaiah puts into the mouth of his opponents 
terms describing the real significance of what they said (cf. xxviii. 15). 

11. get you out of the way, etc. i.e. refrain from obstructing the 
policy which we are bent on pursuing. 

cause the Holy One, etc. i.e. cease insisting on the faith and 
obedience which the Lord requires (see v. 15) and which we are 
unwilling to yield (cf xxviii. 9, v. 21). 

12. oppression, i.e. the exactions rendered necessary by the policy 
of amassing war-material and of purchasing the help of foreign powers 
{v. 6). But many critics adopt the emendation uiliness {^\?^ for P^^) as 
better describing the political scheming which is here condemned : cf. 
liXX. cTTi if/evSei. 

13. as a breach, etc. i.e. the policy initiated in defiance of the 
Lord is like the beginning of a crack in masonry, which widens till it 
euds in a collapse : cf Ps. Ixii. 3. 

14. as a potter's vessel. To express better the completeness of the 
impending ruin, the figure of a broken wall is exchanged for that of an 
earthen vessel shattered into fragments too small to be of any use 
(cf Jer. xix. 11, Ps. ii. 9). 

15. In returning, etc. i.e. by repentance and a reversal of their 
policy of diplomatic intrigue and military preparation, and by a 
tranquil reliance upon the Lord's protection (cf. vii. 4, 9, xxviii. 12, 16). 
But instead of returning some would read sitting still ('^??j' for i^^-lt^*). 

16. ive willjlee. Better, we will fly upon horses (i.e. to the attack); 
therefore shall ye fly (i.e. from the attack). The war party in 


196 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxx. 17-.9 

upon the swift; therefore shall they that pursue you be swift 
17 One thousand shall Jlee at the rebuke of one ; at the rebuke 
of five shall ye flee : till ye be left as ^ a beacon upon the top of 
a mountain, and as an ensign on an hill. 18 And therefore will 
the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore 
will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you : for the 
Lord is a God of judgement; blessed are all they that wait for 

19 For ^the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou 

^ Or, a mast ^ Or, people that dwellest in Zion at Jerusalem 

Jerusalem possessed war-horses (ii. 7, Mic. v. 10), but calculated upon 
a further supply from Egypt (xxxi. 1, 3). 

the swift... swift, i.e. the speed of your horses shall be tested by 
speedy pursuers. 

17. One thousand... one. This clause, which lacks a verb, and 
makes the next an anti-climax, is thought by Duhm to be a gloss 
suggested by Deut. xxxii. 30, Josh, xxiii. 10. 

rebuke, i.e. menace (xvii. 13, li. 20, Ixvi. 15). 

a beacon. Better, a flagstaff, which usually stands in isolation. 
Judah's troops will be reduced to solitary units. 

18 — 26, A prophecy of the restoration of the people, in consequence 
of their afflictions, to right relations with the Lord, and of their 
resultant prosperity. 

With v. 18 a new paragraph begins, consolatory in tenor, which, 
being introduced by therefore, cannot be the immediate sequel of the 
preceding denunciation; so that if it proceeds from Isaiah it must 
belong to a different occasion. Its contents, for the most part, are 
compatible with his authorship (cf xxix. 5 — 8, xxxii. 1 — 5 (8)), and 
it exhibits some of his phrases (see w. 25, 'i&fin.) ; but its authenticity 
is denied by Cheyne and Duhm, partly on the ground of v. 20 (see note), j 

18. wait... be exalted, i.e. (if the v. be attached to the preceding I 
paragraph) delay before being gracious and remain aloof before having 
mercy. But this does violence to the Heb., and Dillmann and some 
other critics, to obtain the same sense, emend be exalted to be still 
(DIT; for Q-l"'^). But a different division of the paragraphs allows the 
text to be retained and rendered And therefore the Lord longs (viii. 17, 
Lxiv. 4, Job iii. 21) to be gracious unto you, and therefore he rises 
(or exerts himself triumphantly, cf xxxiii. 10, Ps. xlvi. 10, xxi. 13) to 
have mercy upon you. 

a God of judgement, i.e. the Lord's justice is a warrant for the « 
eventual deliverance of those who trust Him (or, according to Dillmann's 
view, for the punishment of the impious before His mercy is shewn to 
the penitent, cf i. 27). 

19. For the people, etc. Better, by a change of points (cf mg.), 
people in Zion that dwellest at Jerusalem (reading '^y?'' for ^K'.^). The 



shalt weep no more ; he will surely be gracious unto thee at the 
voice of thy cry; when he shall hear, he will answer thee. 
20 ^And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and 
the water of affliction, yet shall not thy ^teachers ^be hidden 
any more, but thine eyes shall see thy ^teachers: 21 and thine 
ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, 
walk ye in it; when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye 
turn to the left. 22 And ye shall defile the overlaying of thy 
graven images of silver, and the plating of thy molten images 
of gold: thou shalt ^cast them away as an ^unclean thing; thou 
shalt say unto it. Get thee hence. 23 And he shall give the 
rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground withal; and 
bread of the increase of the ground, and it shall be fat and 

^ Or, And the Lord will give. ..and thy teachers shall not (&c. 
^ Or, teacher ^ Or, hide themselves 

■* Heb. scatter. ' Heb. menstruous. 

fact that they are dwellers in Zion, the Lord's city, is a source of 
hope (cf. X. 24, xiv. 32). 

20. And though, etc. i.e. though the people have to undergo 
privation (1 Kgs. xxii. 27) — perhaps through a siege — yet it will bring 
spiritual compensation. 

shall not thy teachers be hidden, etc. Better, shall not thy teachers 
he thrust aside any more, i.e. the faithful prophets shall emerge from 
the obscurity into which they have been driven (cf v. 10), and resume 
the guidance of their countrymen. But a few MSS. have teacher, and 
the plur. read by the rest may be a plur. of dignity; and as the verb is 
in the sing., the true text is perhaps, yet shall not thy Teacher (i.e. the 
Lord) be thrust aside (i.e. ignored) any more. Some critics, assuming 
this rendering to be correct, urge it as an objection to the authenticity 
of the section w. 18 — 26, since the representation of the Lord as 
personally instructing His people seems to be late (cf liv. 13, 
Ps. XXV. 5, 8, 9, xciv. 12, cxix. 12, 26). 

21. a word behind thee. The people are thought of as a child 
learning to walk under the eye of his father. But perhaps better 
(substituting ^^Tl^i^P for T'TID^?'?), the word oj thy correctors (or 

22. ye shall defile. Better (with the LXX. and Vulg.), thou shalt 
defile; cf the adjoining 2nd pers. sing. 

the overlaying, etc. Idols ordinarily consisted of a core of wood, 
or some common metal, plated with gold or silver (see xl. 19, Jer. x. 
3, 4). 

cast them away. Literally, scatter them, which assumes that they 
were first ground to powder (cf Ex. xxxii. 20, 2 Kgs. xxiii. 6). The 
idolatrous associations attaching to the plating will render the destruc- 
tion of it necessary : see Deut. vii. 25. 

198 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxx..4-c«7 

plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures. 
24 The oxen likewise and the young asses that till the ground 
shall eat ^savoury provender, which hath been winnowed with 
the shovel and with the fan. 25 And there shall be upon every 
lofty mountain, and upon every high hill, rivers and streams of 
waters, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 
26 Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the 
sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of 
seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the hurt of his 
people, and healeth the stroke of their wound. 

27 Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from far, burning 
with his anger, and in thick rising smoke : his lips are full of 

^ Heb. salted. 

23. fat and plenteous. Better, rich and fattening. The scarcity, 
alluded to in v. 20, will give place to abundance (cf. iv. 2). 

in large pastures, i.e. in pastures no longer circumscribed in 
consequence of a hostile occupation of the land (cf. xxxii. 20, xxxiii. 17). 

24. shall eat savoury, etc Better, shall eat salted jjrovender : the 
husbandman's cattle are to share his plenty. The admixture of salt 
with fodder is recommended in Verg. G. in. 394, At cui lactis amor... 
ipse manu salsas ferat praesepibus herbas. 

fan. Better, pitchfork, an implement with prongs. 

25. upon every lofty, etc The phraseology recalls ii. 14. Even 
ground that is naturally dry and sterile shall be irrigated and rendered 

the great slaughter. If the section is Isaianic, this must refer to 
the predicted destruction of the Assyrians (cf xviii. 6) ; if post-exilic, 
it has in view an eschatological overthrow of the heathen, like that 
described in Ezek. xxxviii., xxxix. 

the towers. Better, towers (omitting the article). The expression 
may be understood literally of siege towers, or figuratively with Sym. 
(who has €v Tw Trecreti' //.cyaXovs) of hostile leaders. 

26. the light of the moon, etc. The light of the full moon was 
thought to be normally one-seventh of that of the sun (Enoch Ixxiii. 3). 
Light intenser than ordinary is a feature of the blissful future described 
in Ix. 20 (though there it proceeds from the Lord's presence). 

as the light... days. This clause is omitted by the LXX. and is 
probably a gloss. 

27 — 33. A description of the theophany on the occasion of the 
Lord's advent to annihilate Assyria. 

Opinions differ as to whether this passage, impetuous in movement 
and crowded with vivid but not very consistent imagery, manifests the 
qualities of Isaiah (many of whose figures it reproduces) or shews a 
non-Isaianic lack of restraint and sobriety. Duhm accepts it as 

XXX. .8, .9] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 199 

indignation, and his tongue is as a devouring fire: 28 and his 
breath is as an overflowing stream, that reacheth even unto 
the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of ^vanity: and a 
bridle that causeth to err shall he in the jaws of the peoples. 
29 Ye shall have a song as in the night '-^when a holy feast is 
kept ; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to 
come into the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel. 

^ Or, destruction 

^ Or, ichen a feast is hallowed 

genuine, Cheyne rejects it. It forms an appropriate sequel to the 
preceding section, affording a needed explanation of the great slaughter 
of V. 25. The substantive thought of the passage has a parallel in 
X. 24 — 27, 33, 34, though the details vary. Cf also xxix. 5 — 8. 

27. the name of the Lord. i.e. His Personality (Ps. xx. 1, xliv. 5, 
Prov. xviii. 10), of which His Name was the expression (see Ex. xxiii. 21, 
and cf the use of names for "persons" in Num. i. 2, Acts i. 15). 

from far. The Lord's approach is conceived to be like the rising of 
a storm above the distant horizon, the smoke (literally the uplifted) 
being the ascending masses of cloud, the Lord's tongue (likened to 
devouring fire, xxix. 6, xxxiii. 14) being the darting lightning, and His 
breath being the accompanying blast of wind and rain : cf Ps. xviii. 8, 
Is. Hx. 19, Jud. V. 4. 

28. an overflowing stream. The simile (cf viii. 7, 8, xxviii. 17) 
is drawn from a ravine, or wddy, filled, by a sudden storm, with a 
torrent which rises to the neck of a traveller before he has made his 
way through it. 

to sift the nations, etc. Better, to shake to and fro the nations in 
the winnowing fan of destruction, from which they fall and perish 
(cf xli. 16, Jer. xv. 7). 

a bridle that causeth, etc. i.e. the various nationalities composing 
the Assyrian forces (xvii. 12, 13) are diverted from their intended goal 
(i.e. Zion) like brute beasts by their tamer: cf the similar figure in 
xxxvii. 29. 

29. Ye shall have a song as, etc. The strain of joy with which the 
Jews will greet the overthrow of their enemies is likened to the songs 
with which the annual pilgrimages to the sanctuary (Deut. xvi. 16, 
Ps. cxxii. 4) were celebrated (cf Ps. xlii. 4 and the "Songs of Ascents," 
Pss. cxx. — cxxxiv.). If a particular festival is in the writer's mind, it 
is probably that of Ingathering (Tabernacles), which was " the feast " 
par excellence (see 1 Kgs. viii. 2, 2 Ch. vii. 8, 10, Ezek. xlv. 25), though 
Dillmann and others decide for the Passover, which is described as 
a night festival in Ex. xii. 42 ; cf v. 32 (note). 

a pipe. Or a flute, the instrument specially fitted to accompany a 
procession or march (cf 1 Kgs. i. 40). 

the Rock of Israel. The same title for the Lord occurs in 
2 Sam. xxiii. 3; cf. also Deut. xxxii. 4, 31. 

200 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxx. 30-33 

30 And the Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and 
shall shew the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation 
of his anger, and the flame of a devouring fire, with ^a blast, 
and tempest, and hailstones. 31 For through the voice of the 
Lord shall the Assyrian be broken in pieces, ^which smote 
with a rod. 32 And every ^stroke of the * appointed staff", 
which the Lord shall lay upon him, shall be with tabrets and 
harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with them. 
33 For ^a Topheth is prepared of old ; yea, for the king it is made 

1 Or, crashing ^ Or, with his rod shall he smite him ^ Heb. passing. 

* Or, staff of doom { fomidation) ^ See 2 Kings xxiii. 10, Jer. vii. 31. 

30. And the Lord shall cause, etc. The imagery is again derived 
from a storm {v. 27), the Lord's voice being the thunder (Ps. xxix. 3, 4, 
Ex. xix. 16, 19), and His arm the lightning, which is here regarded as 
a weapon. 

with a blast. Better, with a cloud-burst (Cheyne). 

31. be broken in pierces. Better, be dismayed (cf. xx. 5, xxxvii. 27). 
which smote, etc. Better (if the pointing is retained) as in the mg., 

with his rod shall he (the Lord) smite him. But the text should 
probably be emended to with a rod shall he (the Assyrian) be smitten 

32. the appointed staff. Literally, the staff of destiny (cf. mg.\ 
But some MSS. have the staff of chastisement (or of his chastisement), 
reading nnpID (or niD-ID) for n"ipio. 

shall be with tabrets, etc. i.e. the smiting of the Assyrians is to be 
celebrated with music and rejoicings (as was the overthrow of the 
Egyptians at the Bed Sea, Ex. xv. 20). 

battles of shaking. The writer seems to return to the thought of 
V. 28 : the Lord in His battle with the Assyrians will shake them 
to and fro as in a sieve or winnowing shovel, and they will fall to the 
ground like flying chaff. But some scholars think that the expression 
shaking refers to the brandishing of a weapon (cf v. 30, xix. 16); 
whilst others render, battles of wave-offering, as though the Assyrians 
are to be ritually "waved" (Lev. vii. 30, Num. vi. 20), preparatory 
to being slaughtered and burnt (cf v. 33). 

33. a Topheth. Perhaps better, his Topheth (pointing "Tn^n for 
nri?)Fi), Topheth (the word probably means fire place, see W. R. Smith, 
Bel. Sem. p. 377) was the name applied to a locality in the valley of 
Hinnom, W. of Jerusalem, where children were burnt in sacrifice to 
Molech (2 Kgs. xxiii. 10, 2 Ch. xxviii. 3, Jer. vii. 31, xix. 6) and the 
writer thinks of the Assyrian as about to be consumed at a similar 

yea, for the king, etc. Better, it too is made ready for Molech 
(literally Melech "the (divine) king"), i.e. the new Topheth (like the 
old) is to be the scene of a Molech-sacrifice, the Assyrians being the 
human victims. 


ready ; he hath made it deep and large : the pile thereof is fire 
and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of 
brimstone, doth kindle it. 

he hath made, etc. The Topheth which the Lord has prepared is 
regarded as an excavation containing a heap of faggots, and capacious 
enough to receive the Assyrian king and his army. 

fire. As mention of this is inappropriate before the kindhng, the 
text should probably be emended (as proposed by Duhm) to straw 

(^?. for m:). 

the breath of the Lord. i.e. His fiery rage. 

Chapter XXXI. 

This prophecy belongs to the same period, and relates to the same political 
situation, as c. xxx., being directed, like the latter, against the alUance with 
Egypt. It is partly menacing and partly consolatory, affirming both Egypt's 
powerlessness to protect Jerusalem against its assailants, and the Lord's 
pm7)ose to be Himself its eventual defender. The point at which the 
transition is made from the exposure of Egypt's impotence to the expression 
of the Lord's resolve to save Zion is disputed, some critics placing it at v. 4, 
others at v. 5, the latter probably correctly. Certain scholars hold that the 
second half of the c. (from w. 4 or 5 to the end) is composite, a combination of 
Isaianic fragments and later interpolations ; and Cheyne believes vv. 5 — 9 as a 
whole to be a supplement by a post-exilic winter. But there seems no sufficient 
reason to deny the Isaianic origin of vv. 8, 9, which are a fitting complement 
to p. 5 : it is only vn. 6, 7 that raise serious doubts. 

XXXI. 1 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help, 
and stay on horses; and trust in chariots, because they are 
many, and in horsemen, because they are very strong ; but they 
look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord! 

XXXI. 1 — 4. An announcement of disaster for those who rely 
for help on the military resources of Egypt, in opposition to the Lord. 

1. Egypt.. .horses. Egypt had a strong force of chariots as early as 
the Exodus (Ex. xiv. 6, 9, xv. 4), and seems to have been famous for 
its horses (Deut. xvii. 16, 1 Kgs. x. 28, Cant. i. 9, Hom. //. ix. 380— 4) i; 
and it was not Hezekiah alone of Judsean sovereigns who turned to the 
same quarter for supplies of them (see Ezek. xvii. 15). 

stay on. The LXX. implies look unto (W- for "IW-)-.. 
very strong. Perhaps better, very numerous (cf xlvii. 9, Jer. v. 6, 
Ps. xl. 5, 12) : LXX. Trk-fjOo? a-ffioSpa. 

seek the Lord. i.e. consult Him (see xxx. 2). 

^ Diodorus Siculus (i. 45) states that between Memphis and Thebes there once 
existed 100 stables, each containing 200 horses. 

202 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxi. .-5 

2 Yet he also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back 
his words : but will arise against the house of the evil-doers, 
and against the help of them that work iniquity. 3 Now the 
Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and 
not spirit : and when the Lord shall stretch out his hand, both 
he that helpeth shall stumble, and he that is holpen shall fall, 
and they all shall fail together. 4 For thus saith the Lord 
unto me, Like as when the lion growleth and the young lion 
over his prey, if a multitude of shepherds be called forth against 
him, he will not be dismayed at their voice, nor abase himself 
for the noise of them : so shall the Lord of hosts come down to 
fight ^upon mount Zion, and ^upon the hill thereof. 5 As 
birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts protect Jerusalem; he 

^ Or, against 

2. Yet he also, etc. Isaiah uses irony: the statesmen of Judah 
(xxix. 14) have no monopoly of wisdom, to which the Lord likewise can 
lay claim. 

and will bring, etc. Better, and brings evil and hath not called 
back his words (i.e. his fiats, which are thought of as self-fulfilling, 
unless withdrawn: cf. Iv. 11). 

the evil-doers, i.e. the Jewish politicians, whose diplomacy betrayed 
distrust of the Lord (see xxx. 1 and cf. Jer. xvii. 5). 

3. flesh... spirit, i.e. the conflict between the Egyptians (in whom 
such confidence is placed) and the Lord (Who is ignored) will be found 
to be unequal, for they and their horses are of a nature dependent and 
perishable (cf xl. 6, 7, 2 Ch. xxxii. 8, Jer. xvii. 5), whereas He is the 
originating source of all life, independent and free from decay. 

4. as when the lion, etc. The lion represents the Lord (cf 
Hos. V. 14, Jer. xxv. 38, Ps. Ixxvi. 1 — 4), Who, through the agency 
of the Assyrians (cf v. 29) will hold Jerusalem, like a stricken quarry, 
in His grasp, and cannot be scared away by the Egyptians, though they 
come, like a band of shepherds, to the rescue (cf Horn. //. xviii. 161, 

162, ws 8' diro crwytiaros ov Tt \iovT aWiova 8vvavTaL 7rot/u,ev£S...8teo"aatJ. 

Some critics, separating v. 4 from v. 3, think that the comparison 
illustrates the Lord's defence of Zion; but a beast of prey growling 
over its victim is an unsuitable figure for the Lord as the protector of 
His people. 

abase himself. Better, be coived. 

upon... upon. Better, against... against (cf. xxix. 7, 8, Zech. 
xiv. 12). 

5 — 9. A declaration of the Lord's intention to preserve Zion and 
to destroy the forces of Assyria. 

5. In this V. the previous announcement of chastisement for Zion 
is qualified, as elsewhere, by a prediction of deliverance from final 


will protect and deliver it, he will pass over and preserve it. 
6 Turn ye unto him ^from whom ^ye have deeply revolted, O 
children of Israel. 7 For in that day they shall cast away every 
man his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own 
hands have made unto you for a sin. 8 Then shall the Assyrian 
fall with the sword, not of man ; and the sword, not of men, 
shall devour him: and he shall flee from the sword, and his 
young men shall become tributary. 9 And his rock shall pass 
away by reason of terror, and his princes shall be dismayed at 

^ Or, from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted 
2 Heb. they. 

capture (cf. xxix. 5). The Lord is represented as hovering over 
Jerusalem to protect it, as mother-birds flutter over their nestlings (cf. 
the kindred figures in Deut. xxxii. 11, Ps. xci. 4, Matt, xxiii. 37). 

pass over. The verb recalls the preservation of Israel on the 
occasion of the first "Pass-over" (Ex. xii. 13, 23, 27). 

6 — 7. These two vv. interrupt awkwardly the connection between 
vv. 5 and 8, 9 (the announcement of the Lord's defence of Zion having 
its natural sequel in a description of the discomfiture of its assailants), 
and are probably an interpolation. Verse 7 seems to be imitated from 
ii. 20. 

6. Tur7i ye. The exhortation, in its present context, must have in 
view only the survivors of the judgment, for, since chastisement is 
determined on (xxviii. 22), no repentance can avail to avert it. 

7. they shall cast away, etc. i.e. shall repudiate them, in penitence 
(cf XXX. 22, xvii. 8). 

your own hands .. .unto you. Better, with the LXX., their own 
hinds... unto them. 

8. Then. More strictly, And (linking the v. to v. 5). 

not oj man. i.e. the Assyrians will be discomfited by the super- 
human power of the Lord Himself: cf v. 3, and see xxx. 31, xxxvii. 36. 

he shall flee. The reference is to such of the Assyrian troops as 
escape slaughter. 

his young men. i.e. his warriors (ix. 17, Jer. xviii. 21, xlix. 26). 

become tributary. Strictly, be put to forced labour (cf Deut. xx. 11, 
Jud. i. 30 (mg.), 1 Kgs. v. 13 Heb.). 

9. his rock, etc. i.e. his martial strength (cf Yn\g.,/oi-titudo eius), 
which is the source of his confidence, shall disappear (cf xxix. 5). But 
some scholars take the metaphor to mean his god (cf Deut. xxxii. 
30, 31, 37), whilst others, disregarding the parallelism, consider the 
substantive to be the object (instead of the subject) of the verb, and 
render either he shall pass over to his rock (i.e. to a place of refuge in 
some rocky height) or shall pass by his rock (like a hunted animal that 
in its terror runs past its rocky lair). 

be dismayed at, etc. Better, Jiy in dismay from the ensign, i.e. 

204 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxii.i,. 

the ensign, saith the Lord, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace 
in Jerusalem. 

abandon their standard. An Assyrian standard, bearing the figure of 
Asshur, is represented in Ragozin's Assyria, p. 252. 

whose fire is, etc. i.e. whose altar- fire at Jerusalem marks it as the 
seat of His worship and the object of His care. But fire was also a 
symbol of the Deity (cf Gen. xv. 17, Ex. iii. 2), and the words thus 
suggest the peril confronting all who seek to injure the city where the 
Lord's Presence abides (cf x. 16, 17, xxxiii. 14). 

Chapter XXXH. 

This c. consists of two parts. The first, comprising vr. 1 — 8, is a descrip- 
tion of the Jewish state in the future, under a righteous government. The 
second {oe. 9 — 20) contains a prediction of calamity, addressed to the women 
of Jenisalem, followed by a second announcement of a future age of felicity 
succeeding the chastisement. The two sections are detached both from one 
another and from their context, and the question of their respective date and 
origin are most conveniently considered separately. 

XXXII. 1 Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, 
and princes shall rule in judgement. 2 And a man shall be as 
an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest ; 

XXXII. 1 — 8. A prediction of the establishment, under a just 
ruler, of social security and spiritual enlightenment. 

This section bears to c. xxxi. much the same relation as xi. 1 — 9 
to X. 5 — 34, xxix. 17 — 24 to xxix. 9 — 1 6, and xxx. 18 — 33 to xxx. 1 — 17, 
and depicts the sequel of the judgment when the purification of the 
nation has been accomplished ; and it may, like xi. 1 — 9, be styled a 
Messianic prophecy. Isaiah's authorship of it has been denied by 
Cheyne and some other critics, chiefly on the ground of the unusual 
vocabulary and the colourless description of the future king (as con- 
trasted with ix. 6, 7, xi. 1 — 9). Duhm, however, with some reason 
defends the authenticity of vv. 1 — 5, perhaps composed when the 
writer of xi. 1 — 9 had passed the prime of his powers. More suspicion 
attaches to vv. 6 — 8, which look like a character-study in the manner of 
the Gnomic writers. 

1. a king... princes. Isaiah, as a statesman, regarded good govern- 
ment as conditioning the future welfare of his country (cf i. 26). 

in righteousness, etc. Better, according to righteousness .. .according 
to justice. 

2. a man. Perhaps better, a great man (Ps. xlix. 2, Ixii. 9), a 
collective expression for the upper classes ; though some take it dis- 
tributively and render each of them (Gen. xl. 5). For the metaphors 
that follow cf iv. 6, xxv. 4. 


as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock 
in a weary land. 3 And the eyes of them that see shall not 
be Mini, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken. 4 The 
heart also of the -rash shall understand knowledge, and the 
tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly. 
6 The ^vile person shall be no more called * liberal, nor the 
^churl said to be bountiful. 6 For the ^vile person will speak 
^villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise pro- 
faneness, and to utter error against the Lord, to make empty 
the soul of the hungry, and to cause the drink of the thirsty to 

^ Or, closed ^ Heb. hasty. ^ Or, fool See 1 Sam. xxv. 25. 

* Or, noble ^ Or, crafty * Or, folly 

the shadow of a great rock. Cf. Hes. W. and D. 589, wcTpatr; a-Kvq, 
Verg. G. III. 145, saxea umbra. This, in a treeless desert, would be the 
only shelter possible. 

3. And the eyes, etc. i.e. the spiritual unreceptiveness which the 
people have hitherto shewn (vi. 9, 10, xxix. 10) will cease (cf. xxix. 18, 

he dim. Literally, as in the mg., be closed (as in vi. 10, xxix. 10). 
This implies a necessary correction (after Sym. and the Vulg.) of the 
Heb., which has look. 

4. Ths heart also of tJie i-ash, etc. i.e. opposite defects will be 
remedied, the precipitate becoming judicious, and the hesitating 

5. The vile person, etc. i.e. the inversion of moral distinctions 
which once obtained (v. 20) will no longer continue, but every one will 
be seen in his true colours and appraised at his true value. The vile 
person is one who neither fears the judgments of God nor respects the 
rights of his fellow-men\ 

liberal. Better (as in the mg.), noble (by reason of his rank only). 

rwr the churl, etc. Better, nor the trickster (Vulg. fraudulentus) 
said to be respectable (or a gentleman) in virtue of his wealth or the 
like (cf. Job xxxiv. 19 Heb.). 

6 — 8. These three vv. look like an alien addition, since, instead of 
continuing the description of the altered state of the community, they 
enlarge upon the habits of two of the characters previously mentioned. 
In contents and manner the vv. resemble Proverbs (cf. Prov. xxi. 24). 

6. will speak villany. Better, speaks folly (see ix. 17). The tense 
is a frequentative, and so in v. 8. 

will work. Better (after the LXX.), meditates ("3^q^ for nby!). 
profaneness. i.e. irreligion and unbelief (cf. x. 6) ; see v. 12, 19 
and cf. Ps. x. 4, 13, xiv. 1. 

' On the meaning of the Heb. term rendered vile person or fool see Driver, 
Parallel Psalter, p. 457. 

206 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxii.7-11 

fail. 7 The instruments also of the churl are evil : he deviseth 
wicked devices to destroy the ^meek with lying words, even 
when the needy speaketh right. 8 But the liberal deviseth 
liberal things; and ^in liberal things shall he continue. 

9 Rise up, ye women that are at ease, and hear my voice; 
ye ^careless daughters, give ear unto my speech. 10 *For days 
beyond a year shall ye be troubled, ye careless women : for the 
vintage shall fail, the ingathering shall not come. 1 1 Tremble, ye 
women that are at ease ; be troubled, ye careless ones : strip you, 
and make you bare, and ^gird sackcloth upon your loins. 

^ Or, poor ^ Or, by liberal things shall he sta^id ^ Heb. confident. 

* Or, After a year and days Heb. Days above a year. ' Or, put a girdle upon 

7. T/is instruments, etc. Better, The tricks of the trickster (there 
being an assonance in the Heb.). 

the meek. So the Heb. text : the Heb. mg. has the poor, 
speaketh right, i.e. has, in a law-suit, right on his side (cf. 
xxix. 21). 

8. the liberal. Better, the noble (i.e. in character, cf. Prov. xvii. 26). 

9 — 20. A prediction, addressed to the luxurious ladies of Jerusa- 
lem, of impending devastation for the country and its capital and of a 
subsequent transformation of physical nature and human society. 

The Isaianic authorship of this section is denied by Cheyne, chiefly 
on the ground of a certain vagueness pervading the invective (as con- 
trasted with iii. 16, 17); and its origin is assigned to post-exilic times; 
but as it is considered that it represents "what a post-exilic editor 
thought Isaiah would be likely to have written," its general resemblance 
to the prophet's utterances is admitted. If the oracle is Isaiah's, it 
probably proceeds from an early period in his ministry, since the pre- 
diction of prolonged desolation for the city no less than for the country 
(v. 14) is more intelligible in the reign of Ahaz (cf v. 14, 17) than in 
the years 705 — 701 when the prophet anticipated that Zion would be 
preserved from its foes (x. 24, xiv. 32, xxxi. 5, xxxvii. 33, 34). Duhm 
favours the Isaianic origin of the passage, but denies its unity, holding 
that w. 9 — 14 and vv. 15 — 20 are distinct oracles (see further on v. 15). 

9. Rise up. i.e. abandon your attitude of heedless unconcern. 
By Duhm and Marti the verb is omitted as spoiling the parallelism. 

10. Fm- days, etc. Better, After a few days beyond a year, 
i.e. within little more than a year : cf xxix. 1. 

the vintage, etc. The occasion of the prediction was probably the 
festival of Ingathering at the close of the year (Ex. xxxiv. 22), and the 
prophet implies that by the time it comes round again the vintage 
which supplies the means for their careless enjoyment will have been 
destroyed by a hostile invasion (cf xvi. 7 — 10). 

11. Tremble, etc. i.e. because of the certainty and nearness of the 
approaching disaster. 


12 They shall smite upon the breasts for the pleasant fields, 
for the fruitful vine. 13 Upon the land of my people shall 
come up thorns and briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy 
in the joyous city: 14 for the palace shall be forsaken ; the popu- 
lous city shall be deserted; Hhe hill and the watch-tower shall 
be for dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks; 
15 until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the 

1 Or, Ophel 

12. Tkey shall smite. The Heb. is ungrammatical, and the text 
should be corrected (after the LXX.) to Smite (literally, mourn) upon 
the breasts for tlie pleasant fields, or (by another slight emendation) 
Mourn far (2 Sam. i. 12, xi. 26) the fields, the pleasant fields (reading 
nnbp Dnb'-'pi; for onsb □nc^-'py). 

is. Upon the land, etc. This v. is a continuation oi v. 12 : {mourn) 
for the land of my people, which shall spring up in thorns and briers, 
yea, for all the houses of mirth in tlie joyous town. The prediction re- 
sembles vii. 23—25, v. 13—17. 

14. for the palace, etc. i.e. the mansions of the wealthy. Although 
the destruction of many of the inhabitants of the Jewish capital is 
prophesied in xxii. 2, 14, the complete depopulation of the city is 
nowhere else so unequivocally predicted ; and the prediction was 
subsequently qualified. 

the populous city. Better, tlie boisterous city (cf. v. 14, note). 

the hill. Literally, the Ophel, a word usually explained to mean a 
natural swell in the earth's surface, a knoll, but regarded by Burney 
{Kings, p. 282) as denoting an artificial citadel or keep. It occurs 
in connection with Samaria (2 Kgs. v. 24) and a place mentioned on the 
Moabite stone, but it is applied in particular to the southern extremity 
of the eastern hill of Jerusalem (Mic. iv. 8, 2 Ch. xxvii. 3, xxxiii. 14, 
Neh. iii. 26, xi. 21). 

watch-tower. The tower meant was probably on Ophel, where there 
existed one described as the tower tlmt standeth out (Neh. iii. 25, 27). 

for ever. The word does not necessarily mean more than an unde- 
fined period of considerable duration (cf ix. 7, Ps. xxi. 6, 1 Sam. i. 22, 
2 Sam. vii. 16). _ 

a joy of wild asses, i.e. a wilderness (see Job xxxix. 5, 6). 

15. The incongruity between vv. 15 — 20, which prophesy a happy 
change, and the foregoing passage (;vv. 9 — 14) predicting protracted 
desolation has led Duhm to conclude that these verses (in which no 
reference is made to the women addressed in v. 9) are not the sequel of 
^w. 9 — 14, but have been appended by an editor (who perhaps inserted 
mitil to link the two together). He suggests that they were originally 
■connected with vv. 1 — 5, and describe the condition destined to prevail 
in the Messianic age. 

the spirit. Better, a spirit. The wonderful change alike in physical 
Jiature and human character will be wrought by supernatural influence 

208 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxii. 16-20 

wilderness become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be 
counted for a forest. 16 Then judgement shall dwell in the 
wilderness, and righteousness shall abide in the fruitful field. 

17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the 
effect of righteousness quietness and confidence for ever, 

18 And my people shall abide in a peaceable habitation, and 
in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. 19 But it shall 
hail, in the downfall of the forest ; and the city shall be utterly 
laid low. 20 Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send 
forth the feet of the ox and the ass. 

(cf. xxviii. 6, xliv. 3, 1 Sam. xi. 6, Num. xi. 29, Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27, 
xxxix. 29, Joel ii. 28). 

us. The prophet associates himself with his countrymen, as in ix. 6. 

the wilderness, etc. The series wilderness, fruitful field (or planta- 
tion^ and forest seem to constitute a climax (contrast xxix. 17) : in 
the transformed world the sterile ground will be as productive as an 
orchard, and an orchard will be so luxuriant as to resemble a forest 
(xxxvii. 24); cf. li. 3. 

16. judgement. . .wilderness, i.e. under the sway of righteous rulers 
justice will be ensured even in the open prairie which was ordinarily 
the scene of frequent quarrels about wells and pasturage (Gen. xiii. 7 f , 
xxvi. 20, 21). 

17. confidence. Better, security (cf xiv. 30 Heb.). To avoid the 
duplication of righteousness and to improve the symmetry of the clauses, 
the second has been emended to and the effect of justice security for 
ever (reading tSS^p for ^\VtV). 

19. This V. is suspicious. Though the forest might be a figure for 
Assyria (c£ x. 18, 19, 33, 34), the city cannot refer to it (for Assyria 
is nowhere else so described in Isaiah). Nor can the first deuote 
Assyria and the second .Jerusalem, for the affliction of the latter should 
precede (not follow) the downfall of the former. Both expressions must 
be understood literally of Jerusalem and its woods ; but since a 
renewed prediction of disaster is inappropriate in the midst of a 
description of its felicity, the v. is probably a misplaced marginal 
citation which has intruded into the text. 

shall hail. Though hail figures in the judgment upon Jerusalem in 
xxviii. 2, 17, the verb here used does not recur, and the symmetry of 
the clauses is improved by the emendation. But the forest shall come 
down (Zech. xi. 2) with a downfall (literally, a down-come), and the 
city in lowliness shall lie low (reading "iljl for "I1!?-1). 

the forest. The woods are doomed to destruction as providing the 
material defences which fostered the nation's self-sufficiency (cf ii. 13). 

20. This u continues the tenor of ■Dv. 15 — 18. 

that sow beside all waters, i.e. enjoy conditions of peace and security 
permitting country employments to be carried on unrestrictedly, cL ' 
XXX. 23—25. 


Chapter XXXIII. 

This c. is an announcement of Zion's deliverance which is less qualified by 
utterances of an adverse character than any other in this group of cc. (xxviii. — 
xxxiii.). It begins with a prediction of the enemy's impending overthrow and 
the city's assured safety {vp. 1 — 6), depicts the nation's extremity and the 
Lord's resolve to annihilate the foe (pp. 7 — 12), and concludes by describing the 
consternation of the sinful at the Lord's interposition, and the felicity which 
will result to the righteous (w. 13 — 24). 

The c, if by Isaiah, belongs to the occasion of Sennacherib's invasion, but 
is a little later in date than the companion cc. xxii., xxviii. 7—29, xxix, — 
xxxi. The hypothesis which best explains the external situation that seems 
to be implied is one suggested by the historical narrative in 2 Kgs. xviii. 
14 — 17. There it is related that Hezekiah, under stress of invasion, treated 
for peace, and, petitioning the AssjTian king to withdraw from him, agreed to 
pay a heavy fine as a penalty for his rebellion ; but Sennacherib, uotvrith- 
standing this payment, sent his officers to demand the surrender of Jerusalem 
(presumably as being too strong a fortress to leave behind him in his advance 
towards Egypt). If it is assumed that Hezekiah consented to the fine on 
condition that the surrender of his capital was not required, and that this 
condition was subsequently disregarded by the Assyrians, several allusions iu 
the present c. can be accounted for. Thus v. 18 points to the payment of a 
tribute or ransom, v. 8 implies the violation of an agreement, v. 7 is explicable 
by the supposition of an unsuccessful remonstrance with the violators, whilst 
the reference to the foreign speech of the enemy (». 19) corresponds to the 
description of the Assyrians in xxviii. 11. But by many critics the prophecy 
has been denied to Isaiah and assigned to post-exilic times on the gi-ound of 
its unlikeness to Isaiah's writings and its resemblance to post-exilic composi- 
tions in respect (mainly) of (a) the unqualified assurance herein contained of 
an approaching deliverance (contrast xxii. 14), (&) the piety and faith to which 
expression is given in the name of the community {vv. 2, 22), (c) the similarity 
in tone to the language of the Psalms (»». 2, 10, 15 — 16, 22), (d) the interest in 
religious services {e. 20), (e) the character of the vocabulary, which exhibits a 
number of peculiarities. A difi'erence of attitude, however, consequent upon 
a difi'erence iu the situation, is intelligible in Isaiah himself, who, believing as 
he did in the survival of a remnant of his countrymen, might naturally exchange 
his tone of menace for one of encouragement when the surrender of the capital 
was demanded ; whilst the people's self-confidence could scarcely survive the 
presence of the enemy at their very gates. To such a degree, indeed, does the 
prophecy fit in with the historical circumstances described in 2 Kgs. xviii. 14 — 
17, that Cheyne, who dates it in the Persian period {circ. 350 — 330), thinks 
that the author places himself imaginatively in the time of Sennacherib's, 
invasion, and endeavours to write as Isaiah would have wi-itten. Nevertheless,, 
since some of the linguistic features are remarkable (see note on vo. 20 — 24), 
the riiost reasonable conclusion seems to be that, whilst the bulk of the c. 
proceeds from Isaiah, and was written in 701, it has been enlarged by insertions 
in the middle (see on »». 15, 16) and additions at the close (e.g. vv. 20—24). 

w. I. U 

210 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxiii. i-6 

XXXIII. 1 Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not 
spoiled ; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacher- 
ously with thee ! When thou hast ceased to spoil, thou shalt be 
spoiled ; and when thou hast made an end to deal treacherously, 
they shall deal treacherously with thee. 2 Lord, be gracious 
unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every 
morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble. 3 At the 
noise of the tumult the peoples are fled; at the lifting up of 
thyself the nations are scattered. 4 And your spoil shall 
be gathered as the caterpiller gathereth: as locusts leap shall 
they leap upon it. 5 The Lord is exalted ; for he dwelleth on 
high: he hath filled Zion with judgement and righteousness. 
6 ^And there shall be stability in thy times, abundance of 
salvation, wisdom and knowledge : the fear of the Lord is his 

^ Or, And abundance of salvation wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of 
thy times 

XXXIII. 1 — 6. A prediction of retribution for the enemy, and 
of deliverance for Zion. 

1. Woe to thee. Or, Ho thou. The address, which resembles that 
of cc. xxviii. — xxxi., is directed, not (as there) to the Jews, but to 
their enemy. 

2. unto us. The prophet identifies himself with his countrymen as 
in xxxii. 15. 

their arm. Better (with the Vulg. and Syr.), our arm, i.e. our 
means of defence (Jer. xvii. 5, Ps. Ixxxiii. 8, mg.). 

3. the tumult, i.e. the roar of the elements accompanying the 
Lord's approach (in a theopbany) to save Zion (cf. xxx. 30). 

the peoples... the nations, i.e. the aUies and auxiliaries of the 
Assyrians : cf viii. 9, xxix. 7. 

4. your spoil, i.e. the spoil taken by you (the Jews). But perhaps 

better (with Duhm), spoil (omitting i/our and reading i^? ^T^ for 

caterpiller. In the original another term for locust. 

5. is exalted, i.e. exhibits His supremacy : cf ii. 11, 17. 

tuith judgement, etc. The writer anticipates a moral change in the 
nation, which will result from the removal of the impious and the 
preservation of the faithful ; cf i. 26 — 28, xxix. 20, xxxii. 16. 

6. And there shall be stability, etc Better (by a slight emenda- •■ 
tion). And there shall be stability in her times (i.e. fortunes, 1 Ch. xxix. 
30, Ps. xxxi. 15), wisdom and knowledge are a store of salvation, th^ 
fear of the Lord is her treasure (reading C^^^ and ^')'iS^ for T*^^ and 

xxxin.7-io] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 211 

7 Behold, their valiant ones cry without: the ambassadors 
of peace weep bitterly. 8 The high ways lie waste, the way- 
faring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath 
despised the cities, he regardeth not man. 9 The land mourneth 
and languisheth: Lebanon is ashamed and withereth away: 
Sharon is like ^a desert; and Bashan and Carmel shake off 
their leaves. 10 Now will I arise, saith the Lord; now will 

1 Or, the Arabah 

7 — 12. A description of the nation's desperate situation, and the 
Lord's resolution to discomfit its adversaries. 

7. their valiant ones. The original (D^??l^) is of curious form and 
conjectural meaning: it seems simplest to correct the text to Q''??<''")N., 
Ariels, i.e. " lions of God" (see on xxix. 2), heroes, assuming that "lion 
of God " was an honorific designation of a warrior : cf. 2 Sam. xxiii. 20. 
Others take the word to mean men of Ariel, i.e. the people of Jerusalem 
(see on xxix. 1). 

without, i.e. outside the walls, where a conference has been held. 
the ambassadors, etc. i.e. the Jewish envoys, who have failed to 
obtain any abatement of the enemy's demands. 

8. The high ivays, Qlc. i.e. all traffic has been interrupted, through 
the Assyrians' seizure of the main roads: cf Jud. v. 6. 

broken the covenant. Though Sennacherib is not charged with 
having done this by the author of Kings, his demand for the capitula- 
tion of Jerusalem after Hezekiah had surrendered his treasures (2 Kgs, 
xviii. 14) looks suspiciously like pertidy. 

the cities. Better, cities: cf Hab. i. 10. Many of the Judaean 
fortresses were already captured, and Jerusalem's capacity for resistance 
was held in contempt ; see x. 9 — 11, xxxvi. 18 — 20. Duhm conjectures 
witnesses (Ciy for Q'lV), i-e. those before whom was made the engage- 
ment which is now broken. 

9. The land, etc. Nature is thought of as sympathizing with the 
national distress: cf xxiv. 4, 7, Nah. i. 4. 

Ld)anon, etc. The places named were not within the territory of 
Judah, but were typical features of a Palestinian landscape : cf. 
XXXV. 2. 

Sharon. The fertile maritime plain between Carmel and Joppa. 

a desert. Literally, the Arabah, a term that specifically denoted 
the floor of the Jordan valley (the mod. El Ghor) and the corresponding 
depression S. of the Dead Sea, but here is used in the more general 
sense oi steppe (cf xxxv. 1, 6, Jer. xvii. 6, 1. 12). For Bashan, the high 
plateau E. of Jordan, cf ii. 13. 

Carmel. The ridge S. of the plain of Esdraelon : its dells are said 
to be still covered with coppices. 

10. Now will I arise, etc. Cf Ps. xii. 5. Judah's extremity is 
the Lord's opportunity. 


212 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxiii.ii-17 

I lift up myself ; now will I be exalted. 1 1 Ye shall conceive 
chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath is a fire that 
shall devour yoiL 12 And the peoples shall be as the burnings 
of lime : as thorns cut down, that are burned in the fire. 

13 Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that 
are near, acknowledge my might. 14 The sinners in Zion are 
afraid ; trembling hath surprised the godless ones. Who among 
us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall 
dwell with everlasting burnings? 15 He that walketh right- 
eously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of 
^oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, 
that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his 
eyes from looking upon evil ; 16 he shall dwell on high : his place 
of defence shall be the munitions of rocks : his bread shall be 
given him] his waters shall be sure. 17 Thine eyes shaU see 

^ Or, fraud 

11. Ye shall conceive, etc. An address to the Assyrians, whose 
efforts are to be fruitless (cf., for the metaphor, lix. 4, Ps. vii. 14 and 
the parallel in xxvi. 18). 

your breath, i.e. your rage. But the text should perhaps be 
corrected to mi/ breath (i^^? *n-n for C)?n-1i). 

12. as the burnings oj lime. i.e. totally consumed (cf. Am. ii. 1). 
13 — 24. A description of the impressions produced by the Lord's 

achievement (assumed to have been accomplished) and the consequences 
ensuing from it. 

13. Hear, ye that, etc. Perhaps better (with the LXX.), They that 
are far off {i.e. distant nations, cf. xviii. 3) shall hear... they that are 
near (i.e. the disloyal Jews) shall acknowledge, etc. 

14. The sinners. The impious section of the Jewish people (ix. 17, 
X. 6) are overwhelmed with alarm at what they have witnessed ; for the 
Lord's indignation, so destructive to the enemy (v. 12, x. 16, xxx. 27, 
30, xxix. 6), cannot but be fatal to themselves likewise. 

15. He that walketh, etc. In the proximity of such a God those 
alone can be safe who are unsullied by social crimes (see i. 15 — 23, 
iii. 13—15, iv. 4, v. 23, x. If.). 

he that despiseth, etc. The rest of v. 15 (from this clause to the 
end), since it expands the answer to the questions of v. 14 after the 
manner of Pss. xv. 2 — 5, xxiv. 3, 4, v. 4 — 6, is rejected by Duhm as an 

hearing 0/ blood, i.e. listening with approval to schemes of murder. 

16. dwell on high. i.e. be secure from all dangers. 

munitions of rocks. Better, rocky fastnesses, a figure for the impreg- 
nable defence afforded by the Lord : cf. xvii. 10, Ps. xviii. 2. 


the king in his beauty: they shall behold ^a far stretching 
land 18 Thine heart shall muse on the terror: where is ^he 
that counted, where is he that weighed the tribute'^, where 
is he that counted the towers? 19 Thou shalt not see the 
fierce people, a people of a deep speech that thou canst not 
perceive; of a ^strange tongue that thou canst not understand. 
20 Look upon Zion, the city of our ^solemnities: thine eyes 
shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tent that shall not be 
removed, the stakes whereof shall never be plucked up, neither 
shall any of the cords thereof be broken. 21 But there the 
Lord will be with us in majesty, ^a place of broad rivers and 
streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall 

1 Or, a land that is very far off Heb. a land of far distances. 

^ Or, the scribe 3 Qr, stammering * Or, set feasts 

" Or, but in the place .. .streams there shall go d:c. 

17. the king in his beauty, i.e. the ideal king of the peaceful 
future, in all his royal splendour, as contrasted with the recent spectacle 
of Hezekiah in the garb of woe (see xxxvii. 1). 

a far stretching land. i.e. the .Jewish territory, no longer reduced 
in compass by the presence of an enemy in it (cf. xxx. 23), but restored 
to its ideal limits (cf on xxvii. 12). 

18. Thine heart, etc. Cf. Verg. A. i. 203, Forsan et haec olim 
meminisse iuvabit. 

counted the towers, i.e. as a preliminary to an assault. But the 
sense is not very appropriate to the context, and the text is perhaps 

19. the fierce people. Perhaps better (by a slight correction), an 
unintelligible people Q]t> for TWiJ) : cf Ps. cxiv. 1. 

of a deep speech. Better, obscure of speech. The Assyrian tongue, 
though cognate with Hebrew, would be unintelligible to the bulk of the 
Jews, a circumstance that increased the aversion which the presence of 
the invaders inspired (cf Jer. v. 15). 

of a strange tongue. Better, jabbering of tongue: cf xxviii. 11. 

20 — 24. In view of the recurrence in these last five tw. of the 
negative '?, which occurs in cc. xxiv. — xxvii. and xl. — Ixvi. but is not 
found in Isaiah's authentic prophecies, it seems probable that they are 
a later conclusion to an Isaianic oracle that appeared to end abruptly. 

20. a tent, etc. Usually such structures were not permanent 
(cf xxxviii. 12), but Jerusalem was to be secure against all instability; 
contrast Jer. x. 20. 

21. But there, etc. Better (if the text is sound). But (LXX. For) 
there we^ shall hum a Mighty One (x. 34), emn the. Lord, as a place of 
broad rivers and streams, whereon, etc. ; i.e. the Lord, like an encom- 
passing stream (or streams), will encircle and protect the inhabitants of 

214 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxiii. 22-24 

gallant ship pass thereby. 22 For the Lord is our judge, the 
Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us. 
23 Thy tacklings are loosed ; they could not strengthen the foot 
of their mast, they could not spread the sail : then was the prey 
of a great spoil divided ; the lame took the prey. 24 And the 
inhabitant shall not say, I am sick : the people that dwell therein 
shall be forgiven their iniquity. 

Zion as the Euphrates and Nile defend Babylon and Egypt; (cf. 
Nah. iii. 8). But the direct comparison of the Lord to a river is very 
harsh, and probably the passage should be corrected (with Duhm and 
Cheyne) to For there we shall have the river (or channel) of the Lord 
instead of (Hos. i. 10 mg.) broad streams (like those of Egypt and 
Babylon), omitting D5< (with the LXX.), reading P'a^? for i'^^?, and 
omitting rivers as a gloss on streams (Q''"!'*^.): cf. the conception in 
Ps. xlvi. 4. Marti prefers the emendation, For we shall have a 
majestic (or glorious) name, a source of broad streams, etc. reading ^P "? 

wherein shall go, etc. i.e. the river of the Lord which will fertilize 
and enrich Jerusalem (cf Ps. xlvi. 4, Ezek. xlvii. 1 — 12, Zech. xiv. 8) 
will not allow (like the Euphrates or the Nile) hostile fleets to navigate 
it and endanger the safety of the people who dwell by it. 

22. lawgiver. Better, marshal or commander (Jud. v. 14). 

23. Thy tacklings. This (down to sail) seems to be an apostrophe 
to the ship, if such there should be, that attempts to ascend the stream 
flowing by Jerusalem (v. 21) : its fate is to become dismasted and 
helpless. As the address separates most awkwardly two passages 
{m. 22 and 23'') which should be in close connection, it is rejected by 
Duhm, Cheyne, and Marti as a marginal citation that has been 
imported into the text. 

th^y. Probably the tacklings, or ropes, which, hanging slack, 
cannot keep the mast secure or the sails spread. 

the foot. i.e. the socket (the Homeric la-TOTreSr} or /xcctoS/a?;) in 
which the mast was stepped, and in which it was secured by stays. 

then was the prey... spoil, etc. The expression is pleonastic: hence 
better (in view of the parallelism), with Duhm and others, then shall 
even the blind divide great spoil, even the lame take the prey (reading 

"1.^.?^ P?J^\ for "ly P^Q)j i.e. so complete will be the discomfiture of the 
enemy (see v. 3) that even the sightless and infirm will secure a share 
of the booty. The passage forms a better sequence to v. 22 {he will 
save us) than to the first half of v. 23. 

24. And the inhabitant, etc. i.e. the people of Zion will no more 
incur suffering for sin, for their iniquity is forgiven (cf Ps, ciii. 3, 
Mk. ii. 5 — 12). The metaphor of sickness recalls i. 5, 6. 


Chapters XXXIV., XXXV. 

These two cc. are companion pictures, the first predicting the destruction 
of the heathen world in general and the desolation of Edom in particular, and 
the second the fertility in store for Judah and the felicity awaiting the Lord's 
people on their return from the Dispersion. Though distinct from one another, 
they are nevertheless united by certain common characteristics of matter and 
style. They both produce an impression of detachment from reality, their 
descriptions are overloaded with detail, and their imagery and diction have 
numerous points of contact with other writings. One or two features in 
c. XXXV. seem to be specially designed to afford a contrast to the contents 
of c. xxxiv. (cf XXXV. 6^ 7 with xxxiv. 9, 13, xxxv. 9 with xxxiv. 14, 15) ; and 
it is reasonable to suppose that they proceed from the same author. They 
were manifestly «Titten at a time when many Jews were in exile (from which 
their return is here predicted), and they consequently must date from some 
period after 587, so that their composition by Isaiah (to whose diction they 
present many contrasts) is precluded. But since there were Jews living in 
Babylon and other countries after the restoration of some of their number in 537 
(see Zech. ii. 6, 7), it cannot be inferred with confidence that the date of the 
cc. falls within the exile ; and the fact that the hatred of the writer is concen- 
trated upon Edom, and not upon Babylon, is in favour of his having resided in 
Palestine and having lived after the Return. The animosity which was inspired 
in the Jews by the joy of the Edomites over the fall of Jerusalem in 587 
continued after the Return (see Mai. i. 1 — 5), being perhaps revived by 
encroachments upon Judaean territory ; and it has been conjectured that the 
present prophecy originated in the fifth century. If this post-exilic date is 
correct, the many parallels which this prophecy presents to cc. xl. — iv. (cf. 
xxxv. 4 with xl. 9, xxxv. 2 with xl. 5, xxxv. 6, 7 with xliii. 19, xlix. 10, xxxv. 8 
with xl. 3, xlix. 11) can be explained by imitation ; and the conclusion that the 
descriptions in these cc. are later than the similar passages in the cc. just cited 
is confirmed by their laboured character. There is also much likeness between 
these cc. and the prophecy against Babylon in xiii. 1 — xiv. 23 (sixth century) : 
cf. xxxiv. 11, 14, 15 with xiii. 21, 22, xiv. 23 ; cf also xxxiv. 8 with Ixiii. 4 (where 
Edom is also the object of the Lord's vengeance). 

Chapter XXXIV. 

This c. begins with an announcement of a universal judgment (cr. 1 — 4), 
which passes over into a description of the retribution about to befall Edom 
(rr. 5 — 17). The universality of the doom here predicted, which extends to 
heaven as well as earth, is a mark of Apocalyptic writings (cf. p. 156), and this 
feature is corroborative of the late date that has been assigned to the prophecy. 
The general judgment, however, here serves for little more than a setting for the 
vengeance upon Edom, in which the writer is chiefly interested. The historical 
relations between the Hebrew people and the Edomites, whose origin was 
traced to Esau, the brother of Jacob (Gen. xxxvi. 1), were marked by great 
animosity. In Mosaic times the latter refused to Israel permission to traverse 

216 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxiv.1,2 

their land on the way from the Sinaitic desert to Canaan (Num. xx. 14 — 21)^ 
In the period of the Hebrew monarchy they were assailed by Saul (1 Sam. 
xiv. 47) and subjugated by David (2 Sam. viii. 13, 14) ; and though some 
measure of independence was acquired in the reign of Solomon (1 Kgs. 
xi. 14 — 22), the authority of Judah was still acknowledged in the reign of 
Jehoshaphat (1 Kgs. xxii. 47)^ who used Bzion-geber as his port (1 Kgs. 
xxii. 48). In the reign of Jehoram, however, they freed themselves from 
Judgean control (2 Kgs. viii. 20 — 22, cf. Gen. xxvii. 40) ; but did not recover 
the harbour of Elath until the reign of Ahaz, when it was regained for them 
by Rezin of Syria (2 Kgs. xvi. 6 mg.). The hostility of the two peoples was 
perpetuated after the capture of Jerusalem in 587 by the malevolent satisfac- 
tion manifested by the Edomites on that occasion ; see Obad. w. 10 — 16, 
Ezek. XXV. 12, xxxv. 5 f , xxxvi. 5, Jer. xlix. 7 — 22, Lam. iv. 21 f., Ps. cxxxvii. 7, 
Ecclus. 1. 25, 26 (mg.). In the fourth century Bdom was overrun by the Nabatseans 
(Diod- Sic. XIX. cc. 94, 95), and its people were driven into the south of 
Judah, occupying Hebron, whence they were expelled by Judas Maccabaeus 
(1 Mace. V. 65). In the second century John Hyrcanus compelled the Edomites 
(or Idumaeans, as they were then called) to be circumcised and accept the 
Jewish law (Jos. Ant. xiii. ix. 1) ; but eventually they gave to their Jewish 
adversaries a king in the person of Herod. 

XXXIV. 1 Come near, ye nations, to hear ; and hearken, 
ye peoples: let the earth hear, and the fulness thereof; the 
world, and all things that come forth of it. 2 For the Lord 
hath indignation against all the nations, and fury against all 
their host : he hath ^utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered 

^ Heb. devoted. 

XXXIV. 1 — 4. A summons to the nations of the world to 
receive their sentence of approaching doom. 

1. all things that come forth of it. Though the expression is more 
appropriate to vegetation (cf. xlii. 5) the thought conveyed is that of 
human kind. 

2. indignation... fur 1/. Within the book of Isaiah these words 
occur only in sections which, for independent reasons, are regarded as 
late: see for the former (1>??.) liv. 8, Ix. 10, and for the latter (J^^D) 
xxvii. 4, xlii. 25, li. 13, 17, lix. 18, Ixiii. 3, Ixvi. 15. 

utterly/ destroyed. Better (as in the mg.), devoted or placed under 
the ban. The word connotes a practice prevailing among the Hebrews 
and the Semitic races generally, whereby in war a people dedicated its 
enemies, if vanquished, to its national god (Num. xxi. 2), and thereupon 
consigned them to indiscriminate slaughter fsee xxxvii. 11, xliii. 28, 
Ex. xxii. 20, Josh. vi. 17, 18, x. 28, 37, Deut. ii. 34, 1 Sam. xv. 3, 
Jer. XXV., Moabite Inscrip., /. 17). The property of the victims 
was sometimes destroyed with them (Josh. vi. 21), sometimes not 

1 This account comes from the Priestly narrative : contrast Deut. ii. 4 — 8, 29. 
■^ The king of Edom mentioned in 2 Kgs. iii. 9 was probably a vassal. 


them to the slaughter. 3 Their slain also shall be cast out, and 
the stink of their carcases shall come up, and the mountains 
shall be melted with their blood. 4 And all the host of heaven 
shall ^be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as 
a scroll : and all their host shall fade away, as the leaf fadeth 
from oif the vine, and as a fading leaf from the fig tree. 5 For 
my sword hath drunk its fill in heaven: behold, it shall come 
down upon Edom, and upon the people of my ^ curse, to judge- 
ment. 6 The sword of the Lord is filled with blood, it is made 
fat with fatness, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat 
of the kidneys of rams : for the Lord hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, 

^ Or, moulder aioay ^ Heb. devoting, or, ban. 

(Deut. ii. 35, Josh. viii. 26, 27, xi. 12, 14, Mic. iv. 13). A similar 
practice is recorded by Caesar (B. G. vi. 17) of the Gauls: JIuic 
(i.e. the war god Hesus), cum proelio dimicare constituerunt, ea quae 
hello ceperint plerumque devovent; cum super aver unt, animalia capta 
immolant, reliquasque res in unum locum conferunt. Tacitus {Ann. 
xni. 57) also relates of certain German tribes : Victores diversam aciem 
Marti ac Mercurio (i.e. Tiu and Woden) sacravere, quo veto equi viri, 
euncta viva occidioni dantur. 

3. cast out. i.e. left unburied; cf. xiv. 19, Jer. xiv. 16. 
shall he melted with. Better, shall run with. 

4. And all the host .. .dissolved. The received text of this clause 
duplicates in substance the opening words of the second half of the v. ; 
it should probably be corrected (with Bickell) to and all the hills shall 
he dissolved (or decay), and transferred to v. 3. 

and all their host. i.e. the stars, which are imagined to drop out of 
the firmament (in which they are fixed) as it is rolled together. Similar 
convulsions of the heavens are represented as accompanying the Last 
Judgment in Mk. xiii. 25, Matt. xxiv. 29, Rev. vi. 13, 14. 

5 — 17. A prediction of the slaughter of the Edomites and the 
desolation of their land. 

5. my sword. If the text is correct, the Lord is the speaker, but 
it should perhaps be emended to ths sword of the Lord (who is else- 
where referred to in the 3rd pers.). 

hxith drunk its fill. i.e. is intoxicated with fury (cf. v. 2), the latter 
words being added to the text by many critics (who insert ""^^1)- 
Divine vengeance on celestial powers is mentioned in xxiv. 21. 

the people of my curse. Perhaps better (see above), the people of his 
ewrse (or ban), reading i'^nn for 'Pin^ i.e. those whom the Lord has 
devoted to destruction (see on v. 2). 

6. lambs... goats. The approaching slaughter is compared to a 
sacrifice (cf. Jer. xlvi. 10, Zeph. i. 7, Ezek. xxxix. 17 — 19), and the 
Edomites to the customary victims (cf. Jer. 1. 27, li. 40). 

the fat of the kidneys. This was one of the choicest portions of 

218 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxiv.7-11 

and a great slaughter in the land of Edom. 7 And the wild-oxen 
shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; 
and their land shall be drunken with blood, and their dust made 
fat with fatness. 8 For it is the day of the Lord's vengeance, 
the year of recompence in the controversy of Zion. 9 And the 
streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof 
into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. 
10 It shall not be quenched night nor day ; the smoke thereof 
shall go up for ever : from generation to generation it shall lie 
waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever. 11 But 
the pelican and the porcupine shall possess it; and the ^owl and 

' Or, bittern 

sacrificial victims (Lev. iii. 4), the fat, like the blood, being regarded 
as the seat of life (cf. the parallelism in 2 Sam. i. 22). 

Bozrah. The Edomite city of this name (there was another Bozrah 
in Moab, Jer. xlviii. 24) has been identified with the mod. Buseirah, 
some 20 m. S. of the Dead Sea. Mention of it occurs in Ixiii. 1, Am. 
i. 12, Gen. xxxvi. 33. 

7. the wild-oxen. Heb. r^emim. The animals of which this was the 
name belonged to an extinct species {Bos primigenius), thought to be 
identical with the urus described by Caesar, B.G., vi. 28: in the O.T. 
they are famed for their strength and untameableness (Num. xxiii. 22, 
Job xxxix. 9 — 12). Here they represent (with the bullocks and bulls) 
the chiefs of Edom : for the like figures cf xiv. 9 mg., Ps. Ixviii. 30, 
Jer. 1. 27. 

come down. i.e. sink down slain (cf Hag. ii. 22, Jer. xlviii. 15, 1. 27, 
li. 40) : LXX. o-u/A7r£(rowTai. 

with them. i.e. with the smaller cattle {v. 6). Duhm suspects the 
loss of a word, e.g. the failings (cf Ezek. xxxix. 18). 
their dust. Perhaps better, its dust (J^l^V, for Ci^Qy). 

8. the controversy of Zion. i.e. Ziou's quarrel with Edom. 

9. And the streams thereof . \Ai., And its (FidLora'^) torrent-valleys. 
The description that follows (suggestive of a conflagration caused by 
the ignition of bitumen) was perhaps inspired by the proximity of Edom 
to the site of Sodom and Gomorrah (see Gen. xix. 24) : cf xiii. 19, Jer. 
xlix. 18. 

10. night nor day. The LXX. (B) connects this with v. 9 and reads : 
the land thereof shall become as pitch burning night and day, it shall not 
be quenched for ever, the smoke thereof shall go up from generation to 
generation, it shall lie waste for ever and ever. Part of this description 
is applied in Rev. xix. 3 to the destined destruction of Babylon, the 
symbol of Rome. 

11. But the pelican, etc. The picture here changes from a scene 
of perpetual conflagration (in which a water-bird is an inappropriate 
figure) to one of desolation : cf xiv. 23, Zeph. ii. 14, Ps. cii. 6. 


the raven shall dwell therein : and he shall stretch over it the 
line of confusion, and the ^plummet of emptiness. 12 ^They 
shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be 
there; and all her princes shall be nothing. 13 And thorns 
shall come up in her palaces, nettles and thistles in the fortresses 
thereof: and it shall be an habitation of jackals, a court for 
ostriches. 14 And the wild beasts of the desert shall meet with 
the ^wolves, and the ^satyr shall cry to his fellow; yea, ^the 
night-monster shall settle there, and shall find her a place of 

' Heb. stones. 

^ Or, As /or her nobles, none shall be there to proclaim the kingdom 

* Heb. howling creatures. * Or, he-goat ^ Heb. Lilith. 

porcupine. Or bittern, see xiv. 23. Here (as in Zeph. ii. 14) the 
creature denoted is associated with birds. 
owl. The LXX. and Vulg. have ibis, 
he shall stretch. The subject is the Lord, and Cheyne inserts 

the line of confusion, etc. Better, the line of wasteness. The meta- 
phors (derived from the operations of building) imply that the work of 
destruction will be accomplished with the same care and completeness 
as usually mark the work of construction : cf. Lam. ii. 8, 2 Kgs. xxi. 13. 
The words conjusion (or wasteness) and emptiness only recur in com- 
bination in Gen. i. 2 (P), Jer. iv. 23. 

12. They shall call, etc. The Heb. is imperfect, and a more complete 
text is supplied by the LXX., which suggests that the true reading is 
Wolves (or Jackahy shall dwell therein, and her nobles shall cease to be, 
and there shall be none there to proclaim a kingdom (i.e. a new reign), 
and all her princes shall be nothing. 

13. thorns... nettles and thistles. In a similar connection Isaiah 
uses different words: see v. 6, vii. 23, 24, 25, cf. also ix. 18, x. 17 

jackals. Better, wolves (xiii. 22). 

a court. Or enclosure (a tacit correction of the Heb. after the LXX.). 

14. wolves. Better, jackals (cf. mg.). 

and the satyr shall cry to. Better, and the satyr shall meet (reading 
■^lli?! for ^"JPO- Desert places were thought to have evil spirits, as well 
as wild beasts, for tbeir denizens: cf. on xiii. 21. The present passage 
is imitated in Rev. xviii. 2. 

the night-monster. Better, the night hag (Heb. Lilith^). This was 
a female demon that persecuted men in their sleep, and sought to kill 
children. According to Rabbinic legend she was the first wife of Adam, 
and became a demon after leaving him. 

1 The LXX. has dvoK^vravpoi, which in v. 14, xiii. 22 corresponds to the Heb. D''*X. 

2 The Vulg. renders the name by Lamia, a female monster that fed on the blood 
of children. 

220 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxiv. 15-17 

rest. 15 There shall the arrowsnake make her nest, and lay, 
and hatch, and gather under her shadow : yea, there shall the 
kites be gathered, every one with her mate. 16 Seek ye out of 
the book of the Lord, and read : no one of these shall be missing, 
none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, 
and his spirit it hath gathered them. 17 And he hath cast the 
lot for them, and his hand hath divided it unto them by line : 
they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall 
they dwell therein. 

15. the arrowsnake. If a variety of serpent is really denoted (see 
next note), the species cannot be determined with certainty. 

gather, etc. i.e. her young. But the words are inappropriate to a 
snake, and Duhm transposes and emends the text to shall gather and 

hatch her eggs (C'V^ for i^/V?). To this correction it has been objected 
that no serpents, except pythons (and these are not found in Palestine), 
incubate ; and hence certain authorities think that the word rendered 
arrowsnake means some kind of bird (cf. Jer. xvii. 11) : see DB. 
m. 637. 

every one with her mate. The Heb. is defective and is part of a 
sentence which has been accidentally transferred to v. 16 : re- transferred, 
it should be rendered as there, none shall ivant her mate. 

16. the book of the Lord. The direction to seek and read shews 
that the book does not refer to the Lord's secret book of fate (Ps. cxxxix. 
16) but to some written document capable of being consulted (cf Dan. 
ix. 2), and probably designates a collection of scriptures which would 
include this prophecy. It is implied that the prophecy, if examined on 
the occurrence of the event, will be found to have accurately predicted 
all the circumstances. 

none... mate. This clause, as aheady stated, is misplaced here. 
my mouth. Cheyne emends to the Lord's mouth (inserting '"iji^l 
between ^-in and '•?) ; cf vv. 5 (note), 6, 8. 

his spirit. Perhaps better, his breath (Ps. xxxiii. 6). 

17. cast the lot for them. i.e. assigned Edom to them as their 
permanent possession (cf Num. xxvi. 55). 

by line. i.e. by the measuring line, used for apportioning parcels of 
ground (cf Jer. xxxi. 39, Ezek. xlvii. 3). 

Chapter XXXV. 

This c. is the counterpart of c. xxxiv., the juxtaposition of the two (whether 
due to author or editor) being obviously intended to accentuate the contrast 
between them. The fact that the contents of the present c. are thus purposely 
opposed to a picture of the devastation of Edom (not of Babylon) makes it 
probable that it is a prediction of a transformation in the condition of Judah 


after the Return from Babylon, and that it was designed to console those 
who, though restored to their owti country, found in their circumstances much 
that was adverse and disappointing. Their comparative poverty and the 
paucity of their numbers must have hampered them in the cultivation of the 
soil ; and hence the opening part of the c. predicts renewed and enhanced 
fertility for the land, whilst the conclusion foretells the restoration to Palestine 
of Jews still in exile and the facilitation of their journey over the intervening 

XXXV. 1 The wilderness and the ^solitary place shall be 
glad; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the ^rose. 
2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and 
singing; the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the 
excellency of Carmel and Sharon: they shall see the glory of 
the Lord, the excellency of our God. 

3 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the ^feeble 

1 Or, parched land ^ Or, autumn crocus See Cant. ii. 1. ^ Or, tottering 

XXXV. 1 — 2. A prophecy that barren places will become 
fertile and luxuriant. 

1. The wilderness, etc. The passage begins so abruptly that the 
wilderness and the solitary place (or 'parched land) must denote localities 
which those whom the prophet addresses had constantly before them, 
viz. the uncultivated pasture grounds of Judah (see on xxxii. 15) : 
cf. H. 3. 

the desert. Literally, the Arahah (and so in v. 6) : see on xxxiii. 9. 

as the rose. This should be transferred to the next v. (where it 
improves the symmetry of the clauses), and connected with it shall 
blossom. The flower meant is some meadow plant (Cant. ii. 1), either 
(as in the mg.) the autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale) or some 
variety of narcissus {N. tazetta or N. serotinus). 

2. Lebanon... Carmel... Sharon. These were the localities in 
Palestine most noted for dignity or fertility : cf on xxxiii. 9. Sharon 
was famous both for its pastures (Ixv. 10) and for its corn-lands (men- 
tioned in the inscription of Eshmunazar, see Cooke, NSL, p. 31). 

they. Better, these, i.e. the Jewish people (to whom allusion is 
made in v. 3). 

the glory of the Lord. i.e. the visible splendour betokening His 
presence as He brings back His exiled people (see xl. 5, Hi. 8). 

3 — 10. An exhortation to confidence, and a promise of the removal 
of all infirmities and hardships, and of a joyful return of exiles to their 

3. Strengthen. The command seems addressed to all whose faith 
has remained steadfast. 

the wexik hands, etc. i.e. the spiritless and hopeless (cf Job iv. 3, 4) 
who constituted a great part of the Jewish community in the years 
succeeding 537. The v. has influenced Heb. xii. 12, 

222 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxv.4-8 

knees. 4 Say to them that are of a ^fearful heart, Be strong, 
fear not: ^behold, your God will come with vengeance, with 
the recompence of God; he will come and save you. 5 Then 
the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf 
shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, 
and the tongue of the dumb shall sing: for in the wilderness 
shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. 7 And the 
^glowing sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground 
springs of water : in the habitation of jackals, where they lay, 
shall be * grass with reeds and rushes. 8 And an high way 
shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of 

^ Heb. hasty. 

^ Or, behold, your God! vengeance will come, even the recompence of God 

3 Or, mirage * Or, a court for reeds <&c. See ch. xxxiv. 13. 

4. of a fearful heart. The original is the same as that used by 
Isaiah in xxxii. 4, but here denotes not the hasty, but the despondent 
and anxious. 

behold, etc. Better, as in the mg., or as Dubm, who emends the 
text to behold your God; he will come wreaking (inserting Di?.^) vengeance 
(cf. xxxiv. 8) ; then will come the recompense of God (inserting J^i^^) ; 
he will come and save you. 

5. Then the eyes, etc. The infirmities mentioned are, no doubt, in 
the first place bodily, for in the transformation of nature the healing of 
man's physical ills can scarcely be omitted ; but the cure of the body 
may be supposed to be accompanied by the enlightenment of the 
understanding (cf. xxix. 18, xxxii. 3, 4, Matt. xi. 5). 

6. for. The issuing of water in the desert is a token that a 
Golden Age is at hand when deficiencies of all kinds will be remedied. 
The writer is probably drawing on the description (in xliii. 19, 20, 
xlviii. 21, xlix. 10) of the provision promised by the Lord to the 
exiles when returning home in 537, but employs it merely to illustrate 
the coming change in the face of nature generally. 

7. glowing sand. The parallel passage xlix. 10 (see note) seems 
decisive for this rendering (as against the mg. mirage) : cf. LXX. 
■q arvSpos (yi?). 

in the habitation, etc. The text is defective, and should probably 
be corrected (after xxxiv. 13, which describes the converse change) to 
in the habitation oj jackals (or wolves) your flocks shall lie down, and 
the enclosure of ostriches shall become reeds and rushes, i.e. desert places 
shall be turned into well-watered meadows. 

8. and a way. To be omitted (with the Syr.) as a dittograph. 
The LXX., for the opening sentence, has And a pure way shall be 

The way of holiness. Better, The holy way, i.e. confined to the holy 
people (cf. Ixii. 12), the Jews. 



holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; ^but it shall be for 
those : the wayfaring men, yea fools, shall not err tJierein. 9 No 
lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast go up thereon, 
they shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk 
there: 10 and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come 
with singing unto Zion ; and everlasting joy shall be upon their 
heads : they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing 
shall flee away. 

1 Or, for he shall be with them &c. Or, and he shall walk in the way for them, 
and fools <£c. 

the unclean, i.e. the heathen (cf. lii. 1). 

but it... men. If the text is to be retained, better as in the mg., 
and he (the Lord) shall walk in the way for them. But since there is 
no noun to which the pronoun them can refer, the text should be 
corrected to but it shall be for his people when journeying (i.e. to 
Jerusalem), reading i^y? for i^?. By Duhm and Cheyne the words 
are rejected as a gloss because they separate the preceding and follow- 
ing clauses, which are parallel. 

yea fools, etc. Better, and fools (i.e. impious heathen) shall not 
roam there. 

9. No lion, etc. The high way {v. 8) is thought of as being 
elevated as a causeway (cf xlix. 11, Ivii. 14, Ixii. 10) above the 
thickets wherein wild animals have their lairs (Jer. iv. 7), so that 
travellers upon it will be secure from molestation by them. 

they shall not... there. This clause spoils the metre and is best 

the redeemed, i.e. the Jews who shall be restored from exile (the 
term being the same as that used in li. 10, Ixii. 12). 

10. and the ransomed. . .return. This clause belongs to the previous 
v., being parallel to the redeemed shall walk there. 

and come. Better, They shall come (beginning the v.). For the 
thought cf Ps. cxxvi. 2. 

upon their heads. The redeemed are represented as crowned with 
joy as with a garland (the wearing of a wreath of flowers being a token 
of rejoicing, Ixi. 3). 

they shall obtain, etc. The LXX. has gladness and joy shall over- 
take them — a personification of gladness and joy parallel to that of 
sorrow and sighing in the following clause (cf xiii. 8 and Hom. 77. 

XVII. ] 43, rj (t' avTws /<A.€OS iadXov ex^')- 

The V. recurs in li. 11, whence it has probably been borrowed: 
cf also li. 3, Ixi. 3, 7. 



These four cc. consist of an historical naiTative, constituting an appendix 
to the foregoing collected prophecies, and containing an account of certain 
additional predictions attributed to Isaiah on various occasions in the reign of 
Hezekiah. The occasions referred to are three : (1) the expedition of Sen- 
nacherib against Jerusalem (cc. xxxvi., xxxvii.) ; (2) a dangerous illness 
experienced by Hezekiah (c. xxxviii.); (3) an embassy received by that king 
from Merodach-baladan, king of Babylon (c. xxxix.). 

These cc. recur substantially in 2 Kgs. xviii. 13 — xx. 19 and are summa- 
rized in 2 Ch. xxxii. 9 — 31. Apart from some minor textual variations, the 
only important differences between the parallel accounts in Isaiah and Kings 
are the omission from Isaiah of 2 Kgs. xviii. 14 — 16, and the absence from 
2 Kings of Is. xxxviii. 9 — 20. A comparison of the two accounts shews that 
the section in Kings ^ is prior to that in Isaiah, and that the latter has been 
excerpted from the former, for the narrative in Isaiah (a) is shorter than, and 
seemingly abbreviated from, that in Kings (cf. Is. xxxvi. 2, 3 with 2 Kgs. 
xviii. 17, 18, Is. xxxvi. 17 with 2 Kgs. xviii. 32, Is. xxxvii. 36 with 2 Kgs. 
xix. 35, Is. xxxviii. 4, 6 with 2 Kgs. xx. 4, 6, Is. xxxviii. 8 with 2 Kgs. xx. 9), 
(&) departs from the natural order, which is found in Kings (see Is. xxxviii. 
21, 22, which should follow xxxviii. 6, cf. 2 Kgs. xx. 6 — 8), (c) exhibits some 
of the characteristic diction of Kings (cf. Is. xxxvii. 35, /or my servant Davids 
sake, with 1 Kgs. xi. 13, 32, 2 Kgs. viii. 19, Is. xxxviii. 3, walked before thee 
in truth, with 1 Kgs. ii. 4, iii. 6 (cf. ix. 4), a perfect heart, with 1 Kgs. viii. 61, 
xi. 4, XV. 3, 14, done that which is good iti thy sight, with 1 Kgs. xi. 33, 38, 
xiv. 8, XV. 5, 11, 2 Kgs. xviii. 3, Is. xxxviii. 1, in those days, with 2 Kgs. x. 32, 
XV. 37, Is. xxxix. 1, at that time, with 1 Kgs. xiv. 1, 2 Kgs. xvi. 6 ; cf. Driver, 
LOT. p. 200 f.). As the editor of Isaiah who inserted these chapters thus drew 
upon 2 Kings, he must have been later in date than the editor of the latter 
work, and lived after the time of Josiah if not after the Exile. The poem 
ascribed to Hezekiah (xxxviii. 9 — 20), which does not occur in 2 Kings, must 
have been derived by the editor from a different source. 

Chapters XXXVL, XXXVII. 

The proximate source of these cc. (as has been said) is 2 Kings ; but their 
ultimate origin is less clear. The writer of Chronicles (2 Ch. xxxii. 32) cites as 
an authority for the history of Hezekiah the vision of Isaiah, contained in 
the hook of the kings ofjudah and Israel, the latter being an historical work 
(distinct from 1, 2 Kings) which drew upon some earlier sources relating to 
Isaiah and other prophets ; and it seems likely that the existing books of 
Kings were similarly based, for part of their contents, upon prophetical 

1 The compiler of Kings was probably contemporary with Jeremiah (Driver, 
LOT. p. 199). 


records. If so, the section of 2 Kings (xviii. 17 — xx, 19), which the editor of 
Isaiah lias incorporated, may be derived from a biography of Isaiah. 

The unity of the narrative contained in these cc. is open to grave suspicion 
since it relates two demands from Sennacherib for the surrender of Jerusalem, 
diflFering in circumstances and sequel but couched in similar language (cf 
XXX vi. 15 with xxxvii. 10, xxxvi. 18, 19 with xxxvii. 12, 13, xxxvii. 7 with 
XXX vii. 34, xxxvii. 1 with xxxvii. 14, xxxvii. 4 with xxxvii. 17). The first 
demand is made through the Rabshakeh \vith a strong force ; thereupon 
Hezekiah goes to the Temple, and by his servants intreats Isaiah to pray to 
the Lord, and Isaiah predicts that Sennacherib will return to Nineveh in 
consequence of a rumour and there perish by assassination (xxxvi. 2 — xxxvii. 7). 
The second is made through a letter, Hezekiah goes to the Temple with the 
letter and himself prays to the Lord, and Isaiah, without being appealed to, 
sends to him a prediction that Sennacherib will return home unsuccessful 
(xxxvii. 9 — 21 (22 — 32), 33—35). It seems rather unlikely that a demand which 
failed when supported by an army should be renewed by a letter merely (in 
which no reference is made to any prior demand), and the prediction in 
xxxvii. 33 seems inconsistent with an investment of Jerusalem by a hostile 
force a short time previously. Hence many critics hold that the narrative 
consists of two parallel, but in details divergent, accounts of a single 
summons for the surrender of the city in 701, viz. (a) xxxvi. 2 — xxxvii. 7 (8), 
and {b) xxxvii. (8) 9 — 35, and that xxxvii. 37, 38 forms the conclusion of the first 
(cf xxxvii. 7), whilst xxxvii. 36 is the conclusion of the second. On the other 
hand the Assyrian inscriptions furnish evidence that Sennacherib really made 
two (or more) expeditions in the direction of Palestine \ the second taking 
place about 690 ; and it is to this later occasion that the second of the two 
narratives is thought by some scholars (e.g. Winckler) to have originally 
referred. On this hypothesis the events of 701 and 691 have been confused 
by the vrriter of 2 Kings, and the records of them combined into one. But 
the correspondence in language between the two accounts is against this 
view, and favours the inference that they represent variant traditions of one 
and the same episode. 

XXXVI. 1 ^Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year 
of king Hezekiah, that -Sennacherib king of Assyria came up 

1 See 2 Kings xviii. 13, 17, &c. 2 Heb. Sanherib. 

XXXVI. 1. in the fourteenth year. Sennacherib's invasion 
took place iu 701, which was probably Hezekiah's twenty-seventh year 
(see p. xli). The figure here given seems to be an erroneous inference 
from xxxviii. 5 (see note) and 2 Kgs. xviii. 2. 

Sennacherib. The son and successor of Sargon, the conqueror of 
Samaria: his reign lasted from 705 to 681. His invasion of Judah 
was an episode in an expedition against the collective Palestinian 
states and Egypt (see p. xxvi). 

1 See G. A. Smith, Jerusalem, u. pp. 171—172. 
w. I. 15 

226 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxvi.. 

against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them. 2 And 
the king of Assyria sent ^Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem 
unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the 
conduit of the upper pool in the high way of the fuller's field. 

^ The title of an Assyrian oflScer. 

all the fenced cities. See p. xxvii. The word all is not to be pressed ; 
see xxxvii. 8. 

After this v. it is related in 2 Kgs. xviii. 14 — 16 that Hezekiah, in 
consequence of Sennacherib's capture of the Judsean fortresses, sub- 
mitted to the invader and offered to pay such additional tribute as 
might be imposed upon him; and the statement is confirmed (with 
some difference of detail) by the inscriptions (Int. p. xxvii) : cf also 
xxxiii. 7. The source of the statement seems to be different from 
that whence the rest of the narrative is derived, for in it Hezekiah's 
name (in Heb.) is spelt otherwise than in vv. 4, 7, etc. (= 2 Kgs. xviii. 
19, 22, etc.). The passage was perhaps omitted by the editor of Isaiah 
because Hezekiah's payment of tribute might seem to impair the com- 
pleteness of the deliverance which (in accord with Isaiah's prediction) 
the king experienced. 

2 — 22. A demand from Sennacherib, through an officer accompanied 
by an army, for the surrender of Jerusalem. 

This section, together with xxxvii. 1 — 7 and xxxvii. 37, 38, consti- 
tutes the first of the two parallel narratives. It is more faithful to 
historical truth than the second, in so far as it implies that Jerusalem 
was actually invested though not taken, for according to Sennacherib's 
own account he "shut up Hezekiah like a bird in a cage in the midst of 
Jerusalem" (p. xxvii). But if xxxvii. 37, 38 is rightly held to be a part 
of it, the implication that Sennacherib was assassinated shortly after his 
return to Nineveh is erroneous. 

2. Rabshakeh. Better, the RabsJiaJceh, a title which in Assyrian 
is said to mean "chief officer." In 2 Kgs. xviii. 17 it is stated that he 
was accompanied by two other officers the Tartan (see xx. 1) and the 
Rab-saris (cf Jer. xxxix. 3), and their presence seems to be implied in 
xxxvii. 6. The demand for the surrender of Jerusalem, of which they 
were the bearers, is not related in the inscriptions. 

Lachish. The mod. Tell-el-Hesy in the Shephelah, 33 m. S.W. of 
Jerusalem, and 16 m. E. of Gaza. According to Josh. xv. 39 it was 
included in Judah (cf 2 Ch. xi. 9). Recent excavations have shewn 
that it has been the site of some eight or nine successive cities, the 
earliest of which dates from about 1700 B.C. (see Driver, Modern 
Research, etc., p. 41)'. Sennacherib's siege of it is not mentioned in 
his inscriptions, but a bas-relief, found at Kouyunjik, and now in the 
British Museum, represents the Ass5a'ian king receiving the spoils of 
the place. 

the conduit, etc. See on vii. 3. 

^ Driver refers to Bliss, A Mound of Many Cities. 


3 Then came forth unto him Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which 
was over the household, and Shebna the ^scribe, and Joah the 
son of Asaph the ^recorder. 4 And Rabshakeh said unto them, 
Say ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of 
Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest? 5 I 
say, thy counsel and strength for the war are but vain words : 
now on whom dost thou trust, that thou hast rebelled against 
me? 6 Behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, 
even upon Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his 
hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that 
trust on him. 7 But if thou say unto me, We trust in the Lord 

1 Or, secretary ^ Or, chronicler 

3. the scribe. Better, the secretary, the official who had charge of 
the state registers and records, and perhaps the king's correspondence. 

the recorder. Better, the remembrancer (cf. Ixii. 6), an official whose 
duty it was to bring before the king matters of state requiring his 
consideration, and who was perhaps equivalent to a modern chancellor. 

4. And RabsJiakeh said. The speech that follows implies that a 
I previous demand for the capitulation of the city had been refused; and 

asserts that neither Hezekiah's own resources {v. 8), nor his expectations 
of foreign aid (v. 6), nor his hopes of Divine help {vv. 7, 10) could 
I justify further resistance. 

5. / say. Better (with 2 Kgs. xviii. 20), Thou sayest (i.e. deemest, 
cf Gen. XX. 11) that a (mere) word of the lips (i.e. some promise of 
aid) is counsel and strength (xi. 2) for war. 

6. this bruised reed. Cf. Ezek. xxix. 6, 7. This estimate of Egypt 
agrees with Isaiah's (xx. 6, xxx. 3 — 7, xxxi. 1 — 3). 

7. if thou say. Better (with LXX. and 2 Kgs. xviii. 22), if ye say 
(a change which suits better the plur. we trust, etc.). This v. (in 

I which Hezekiah is referred to in the 3rd pers.) interrupts the address 
jto the king {vv. 5, 6, 8), and its allusion to a matter of religious 
i] administration seems a little out of place in a calculation of military 
I resources ; so that it is regarded by Cheyne and others as an interpola- 
|tion. (The order of the words Judah and Jerusalem agrees with that 
in the editorial headings i. 1, ii. 1.) It is implied, both here and in 
2 Kgs. xviii. 4 (cf. also 2 Ch. xxix. — xxxi.^), that by 701 Hezekiah had 
anticipated the action of Josiah (2 Kgs. xxiii. 4 — 20) in centralizing 
the national worship of the Lord (cf. Deut. xii. 5) and restricting it to 
Jerusalem (ef. 2 Kgs. xxi. 3); but the credibility of the statement has 
been questioned (see Wellhausen, Proleg. pp. 46, 47). If such a 
reform had been initiated by Hezekiah, it could scarcely have failed 
jto be included among those advocated by Isaiah ; but Isaiah seems to 

I 1 By the Chronicler it seems to be implied that Hezekiah's alleged reforms were 
'jbegun at the outset of his reign. 

■ i 


228 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxvi.8-i, 

our God: is not that he, whose high places and whose altars 
Hezekiah hath taken away, and hath said to Judah and to 
Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar? 8 Now there- 
fore, I pray thee, ^give pledges to my master the king of Assyria^ 
and I will give thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy 
part to set riders upon them. 9 How then canst thou turn away 
the face of one captain of the least of my master's servants, and 
put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 10 And 
am I now come up without the Lord against this land to destroy 
it? The Lord said unto me. Go up against this land, and destroy 
it. 1 1 Then said Eliakim and Shebna and Joah unto Rabshakeh, 
Speak, I pray thee, unto thy servants in the ^Syrian language ; 

1 Or, make a wager with ^ Heb. Aramean. 

have sought the abolition of idolatry and necromancy merely (i. 29 — 31, 
ii. 8, viii. 19, xvii. 8, xxviii. 15, 18, xxx. 22, xxxi. 7), and not of the 
provincial sanctuaries as such. Of the measures ascribed in 2 Kgs. 
xviii. 4 to Hezekiah the destruction of the pillars, the Asherim, and 
the brazen serpent are more in accordance with the tenor of con- 
temporary prophetic teaching. At any rate, if the removal of the 
high places was really undertaken at this time, it cannot have been 
very complete, since those which were built by Solomon for his foreign 
wives in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem survived until the time of 
Josiah (see 2 Kgs. xxiii. 13). 

8. give pledges. Better, exchange pledges, i.e. make a wager (cf mg,). 
the king of Assyria. Better, the king, the next word being (in Heb.) 

an ungrammatical addition (and so in v. 16). 

horses. The Judseans, even before the war, looked to Egypt for 
supplies of horses (xxxi. 1 — 3), and in the course of it must have lost 
many of those they had (horses being mentioned among Sennacherib's ) ™fi 
captures). .1 (''' '^ 

9. captain. The word (literally, governor of a province) is irregular J ^ 
in form, and best omitted. | ^ Jf 

10. this land. Better (with 2 Kgs. xviii. 25), this place, i.e. 
Jerusalem with its temple (thus avoiding a duplication of the next ' 
clause). The assertion is not impossible for an Assyrian to have made, 
since the successful invasion of a country was generally deemed to be 
a token that the national god was angry with his land (cf. the language 
of Mesha in the Moabite inscription, /. 5) ; but the historian may 
have had in his mind Isaiah's statements in x. 5. The argument that 
the Lord will not defend Jerusalem is replaced in v. 20 by the conten- 
tion that He cannot. 

11. the Syrian language, i.e. Aramaic, which, as a medium of 
international intercourse (cf. Ezra iv. 7), was understood by the state 




ivi. ; 




for we understand it : and speak not to us in the Jews' language, 
in the ears of the people that are on the wall. 12 But Rab- 
shakeh said, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, 
to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men that sit 
upon the wall, to eat their own dung, and to drink their own 
water with you? 13 Then Rabshakeh stood, and cried with a 
loud voice in the Jews' language, and said. Hear ye the words of 
the great king, the king of Assyria. 14 Thus saith the king. 
Let not Hezekiah deceive you ; for he shall not be able to deliver 
you : 15 neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, saying. 
The Lord will surely deliver us ; this city shall not be given into 
the hand of the king of Assyria. 16 Hearken not to Hezekiah : 
for thus saith the king of Assyria, ^Make your peace with me, 
and come out to me ; and eat ye every one of his vine, and every 
one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his own 
cistern : 17 until I come and take you away to a land like your 
own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vine- 
yards. 18 Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying. The 
Lord will deliver us. Hath any of the gods of the nations 
delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 

^ Heb. Make with me a blessiiig. 

the Jews' language. In consequence of Assyria's relations with 
Palestine her officers were naturally acquainted with the Hebrew 
tongue (for the term here used cf. Neh. xiii. 24). The Jewish 
officials feared that further representations like those in w. 6 — 10, if 
couched in Hebrew, would increase the dismay of their countrymen 
(cf. 2 Ch. xxxii. 18) and induce disaffection towards Hezekiah. 

12. to thee. i.e. EHakim, the chief of the Jewish representatives. 

to eat. i.e. who will be reduced by the privations of a siege to eat 
(2 Ch. xxxii. 11). 

with you. i.e. you who support a policy of resistance. 

16. Malte your peace,^ etc. Literally, Make a blessing with me 
^exchange friendly greetings) and come out to me, i.e. surrender 
(1 Sam. xi. 3) cheerfully. 

17. until I come. i.e. after bringing to a close the expedition 
against Eg}'pt. 

take you away. For the Assyrian practice of deportation (designed 
to secure the tranquillity of conquered territories) cf. 2 Kgs. xv. 29, 
xvi. 9, xvii. 6, 24. 

18 — 20. These w., which in spirit are inconsistent with v. 10, 
are considered by Cheyne and others to be interpolated (under the 
influence of x. 9 — 11) ; but they are referred to in xxx vii. 4. 

230 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxvi. 19-xxxvii. 4 

19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? where are the 
gods of Sepharvaim ? and have they delivered Samaria out of 
my hand? 20 Who are they among all the gods of these 
countries, that have delivered their country out of my hand, 
that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand? 21 But 
they held their peace, and answered him not a word : for the 
king's commandment was, saying, Answer him not. 22 Then 
came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, that was over the household, 
and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, 
to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of 

XXXVII. 1 ^And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah 
heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with 
sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. 2 And he sent 
Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, 
and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, unto Isaiah 
the prophet the son of Amoz. 3 And they said unto him. Thus 
saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and 
of contumely : for the children are come to the birth, and there 
is not strength to bring forth. 4 It may be the Lord thy God 
will hear the words of Rabshakeh, ^whom the king of Assyria 
his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will rebuke 

^ See 2 Kings xix. ^ Qr, wherewith the king of Assyria... hath sent him 

19. Sepharvaim. Identified variously with Sippar in Babylonia 
on the left bank of the Euphrates, and Sibraim in Syria between 
Hamath and Damascus (see Ezek. xlvii. 16). 

have they delivered Samaria. Before this clause the sense requires 
the insertion (with 2 Kgs. xviii. 34, LXX. Luc.) of and where are the 
gods of the land of Samaria ? 

21. they held, etc. 2 Kgs. xviii. 36 has the people held their peace. 

the king's commandment, etc. Hezekiah did not wish his own 
decision forestalled either by his ministers or by the clamours of the 

XXXVII. 1 — 7. Hezekiah's appeal to Isaiah to pray to the 
Lord for deliverance and the Lord's answer through the prophet. 

3. rebuke. Or punishment ; of. the use of the verb in Ps. vi. 1, 
xxxviii. 1. 

contumely. Better, rejection. The word is an acknowledgment 
that the nation's extremity was caused by the Lord, Who had cast it 
off for its sins : cf. the verb in Deut. xxxii. 19, Jer. xiv. 21. 

for the children, etc. For the metaphor, describing a critical 
position, cf. Hos. xiii. 13. 


the words which the Lord thy God hath heard : wherefore lift 
up thy prayer for the remnant that is left. 5 So the servants 
of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah. 6 And Isaiah said unto them, 
Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the Lord, Be not 
afraid of the words that thou hast heard, wherewith the servants 
of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. 7 Behold, I will 
put a spirit in him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return 
unto his own land ; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in 
his own land. 

8 So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria 

4. the living God. The Lord is so termed in contrast to idol gods 
(styled the dead in Ps. cvi. 28). 

the remnant. Cf. xxxvii. 32. Numbers of the people had perished 
or been captured in the course of the war (Int. p. xxvii). 

5. *S'o the servants, etc. Better, And when the servants ...Isaiah, 
6 Isaiah said, etc. 

7. a spirit, i.e. of alarm, the Lord being regarded as the inspirer 
of all emotions or impulses beyond the ordinary (see xix. 14, xxix. 10, 
xxviii. 6, 1 Sam. xvi. 14, 1 Kgs. xxii. 23). Cf. the ascription by the 
Greeks of extreme fear to Pan. 

a rumour. If cc. xxxvi., xxxvii. are a unity, this must refer to the 
news of the approach of Tirhakah {v. 9). But a serious objection to 
regarding xxxvii. 1 — 7 and xxxvii. 8 — 36 as continuous is the absence 
from Isaiah's response here of any reference to the repulse of Sen- 
nacherib which is implied in the later part of the c. (see w. 29 and 
36) ; and if vv. 1 — 7 here are independent of vv. 8 — 36 the rumour 
probably relates to tidings from home of a rebellion in Babylon, where, 
after expelling Merodach-baladan in 703, he had set up a vassal king 
called Bel-ibni, who shortly afterwards revolted, and against whom he 
directed a campaign in 700 (cf G. A. Smith, Jerusalem, n. 154, 161, 
Bogers, HBA. ii. p. 205). In the combination of the narratives 
mention of the fulfilment of the prediction about the rumour may have 
been lost ; but the return of Sennacherib to his own land is described 
in w. 37, 38 which form the sequel of this account. 

8 — 36. A demand from Sennacherib by letter for the surrender of 
Jerusalem, a prayer of Hezekiah for deliverance, and a response from 
the Lord through Isaiah. 

This seems to be a second account of the incidents recorded in 
xxxvi. 2 — xxxvii. 7. It differs from the first in representing the 
summons for the capital's surrender as sent from Libnah (not Lachish) 
by letter (not through Babshakeh with an army) ; and in thus imply- 
ing that the Assyrians did not approach the city in force (cf vv. 33, 34) 
is less plausible than the parallel narrative (see also on vv. 9, 36). 

8. So Rabshakeh, etc. This v. appears to be an editorial link to 
connect the two accounts. 

232 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxvii.9-13 

warring against Libnah : for he had heard that he was departed 
from Lachish. 9 And he heard say concerning Tirhakah king 
of Ethiopia, He is come out to fight against thee. And when he 
heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, 10 Thus shall 
ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying. Let not thy God in 
whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be 
given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11 Behold, thou 
hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by 
destroying them utterly : and shalt thou be delivered? 12 Have 
the gods of the nations delivered them, which my fathers have 
destroyed, Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of 
Eden which were in Telassar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, 

1 Heb. devoting them. 

Libnah. A city in the Shephelah (Josh. xv. 42) ; its site is not 
known with certainty, but is supposed to be near the mod. Beit Jihrin. 
If so, it lay between Ekron and Jerusalem, and would naturally be 
besieged before Lachish. 

9. And he heard. The pronoun refers to Sennacherib, not (as the 
connection in which the v. now stands suggests) to Rabshakeh. 

Tirhakah. An Ethiopian who became sovereign of all Egypt in 69 1\ 
The writer of this narrative, if it relates to the year 701, has mistaken 
the name of the Egyptian king, who in 701 was Shabaka". 

he sent messengers. The LXX. implies the reading he sent messengers 
again (cf. 2 Kgs. xix. 9) ; but this is probably a harmonizing correction. 

10. Thus shall ye speak... saying. Inasmuch as v. 14 implies that 
the Assyrians' demand was conveyed by letter, this direction to the 
bearers of it (which is omitted in 2 Kgs. xix. 10, LXX.) to carry an 
oral message seems superfluous and is perhaps an interpolation. 

11. by destroying. Literally, by devoting (see on xxxiv. 2). 

12. fathers. Probably equivalent to "predecessors" : Sennacherib 
inherited the throne from his father Sargon, but the latter was a 

Gozan. A district near the Habor (Chaboras), to which a part of 
the population of the Ephraimite kingdom was transported (2 Kgs. 
xvii. 6, xviii. 11). 

Haran. Better, Han-an, a city in N.W. Mesopotamia on the Balikh 
(or Baliar), the Latin Carrhae. 

Rezeph. A place between Palmyra and Thapsacus (on the Euphrates), 
the name remaining in the mod. Riisdfa. 

Eden. A district between the Euphrates and Balikh, called in the 
inscriptions Bit-Adini. 

1 According to Breasted, 688. 

"^ Possibly identical with the So (otherwise vocalized as Seve) mentioned in 
2 Kgs. xvii. 4. 


and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, 
of Hena, and 4vvah? 14 And Hezekiah received the letter 
from the hand of the messengers, and read it : and Hezekiah 
went up unto the house of the Lord, and spread it before the 
Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed unto the Lord, saying, 16 O 
Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, that ^sittest upon the cherubim, 
thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the 
earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. 17 Incline thine ear, 
O Lord, and hear ; open thine eyes, Lord, and see : and hear 
all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the 
living God. 18 Of a truth, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid 
waste all the countries, and their land, 19 and have cast their 
gods into the fire : for they were no gods, but the work of men's 
hands, wood and stone ; therefore they have destroyed them. 
20 Now therefore, Lord our God, save us from his hand, that 
all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord, 
even thou only. 

1 In 2 Kings xvii. 24, Avva. - Or, dwellest between 

Telassar. A town (perhaps deriving its name from the god Asshur, 
Asshur's mound) which has not yet been identified. 

13. Hena...Ivvah. The first of these towns is not elsewhere 
mentioned, the second is probably the same as Avva (named in 
2 Kgs. xvii. 24): they were both presumably in Syria. 

14. spread it. Perhaps in order that the Lord might be the more 
induced to resent the impiety to which it gave expression. Cf. 1 Mace. 
iii. 48. 

16. that sittest upon, etc. The Lord was believed to be locally 
present (in the Shechinah) above the Ark, which was placed in the 
innermost chamber of the Temple. 

the cherubim. These, which were attached to the mercy seat, a 
slab of gold covering the ark (Ex. xxv. 18 — 22), were probably com- 
posite figures, perhaps with the body of an ox or lion, the wings of an 
eagle, and the face of a man. Their original significance is conjectural. 
It is possible that they personified the wind (of. Ps. xviii. 10), similar 
figures being shewn on Assyrian monuments in the act of fertilizing the 
date palm by conveying pollen to the female flowers ; but they also 
represented guardian powers of sacred places (see Gen. iii. 24 ; cf. Ezek. 
xxviii. 16). In the Temple they appear to have symbolized the Lord's 
chariot (see 1 Ch. xxviii. 18, Ezek. i., x., and cf Ps. xviii. 10). 

18. have laid waste, etc. The text, which literally is all the lands 
and their land, is obviously in error, and should be emended (from 
V. 11 and 2 Kgs. xix. 17) to have destroyed (strictly devoted) all the 
nations and their lands. 

20. tkit thou a/rt the Lord. Better (after 2 Kgs. xix. 19), that 

234 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxvil.i-h 

21 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, 
Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Whereas thou hast 
prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, 22 this is the 
word which the Lord hath spoken concerning him : The virgin 
daughter of Zion hath despised thee and laughed thee to scorn ; 
the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head ^at thee. 
23 Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against 
whom hast thou exalted thy voice and lifted up thine eyes on 
high ? even against the Holy One of Israel. 24 By thy servants 
hast thou reproached the Lord, and hast said, With the multitude 
of my chariots am I come up to the height of the mountains, to 
the innermost parts of Lebanon ; and I will cut down the tall 
cedars thereof, and the choice ^fir trees thereof: and I will 
enter into his farthest height, the forest of his fruitful field. 

1 Heb. after. ' Or, cypress 

thou, Lord, art alone God. The conflicts of Semitic nations were 
generally thought of as involving conflicts between their gods likewise 
(cf Ex. XV. 11); but the writer of the present passage had attained to 
a developed monotheistic faith (cf xliii. 10, xliv. 6, Deut. xxxii. 39). 

21. Whereas, etc. The text in its present context has to be 
emended (after the LXX. and 2 Kgs. xix. 20) to That which thou hast 
prayed...! have heard (inserting ''^P^t)- But originally it most likely 
in its" existing form preceded v. 33 (see note). 

22 — 36. This section contains two oracles, viz. (a) 22 — 32, and 
(b) 33 — 35, which duplicate one another (cf. v. 29 with v. 34). The 
second probably linked on originally to v. 21 (see note on v. 33). The 
first, which consists of a taunt-song, hurling defiance at the Assyrian 
king {vv. 22^ — 29), followed by an address to Hezekiah and his people, 
displays much of Isaiah's vigour and something of his diction, though 
the latter is combined with some non-Isaianic phrases (especially in 
V. 25, cf xix. 6) : in its present position it appears to be an insertion. 

22. hath shaken, etc. Literally, hath shaken her head after thee, a 
gesture of contempt (Ps. xxii. 7, cix. 25, Jer. xviii. 16, Lam. ii. 15, 
Ecclus. xiii. 7, Matt, xxvii. 39) at the baffled and retreating foe. 

23. Wfwm hast thou, etc. Better (in accord with the Heb. accents), 
Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed, and against whom hast thou 
exalted thy voice 1 that thou hast lifted up thine eyes on high against the 
Holy One of Israel. 

24. Lebanon. The name is merely representative of high moun- 
tains, which had proved no obstacle to the progress of his arms. 

/ will cut down, etc. Better (pointing diff'erently, with the LXX.), 
/ have cut down. . .1 have entered. 

his farthest height. 2 Kgs. xix. 23 has his (or its) farthest lodging 
place (or camping-ground), reading li/P for Di"'P (which occurs earlier). 


25 I have digged and drunk water, and with the sole of my feet 
will I dry up all the rivers of ^ Egypt. 26 Hast thou not heard 
how I have done it long ago, and formed it of ancient times? 
now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay 
waste fenced cities into ruinous heaps. 27 Therefore their 
inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and 
confounded ; they were as the grass of the field, and as the 
green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as ^a field of 
corn before it be grown up. 28 But I know thy sitting down, 
and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy raging against 

1 Or, defence Heb. Mazor. See ch. xix. 6. ^ In 2 Kings xix. 26, corn blasted. 

the forest of. . .field. Better, his forest-like (i.e. dense) plantations (of 
cedar and other valuable trees) : for the form of the expression cf. Gen. 
xvi. 12, Heb. 

25. drunk water. Better (as in 2 Kgs. xix. 24), drunk strange 
waters (inserting °*1I)- The expression implies the conquest of foreign 
lands (contrast Prov. v. 15). 

will 1 dry up, etc. Better (with the LXX.), / have dried, up 
(pointing ^^"}n?<J) all the rivers of Egypt. The mouths of the Nile 
formed one of Egypt's chief means of defence (cf Nah. iii. 8), but these 
(it is implied) had been no barrier against the iVssyrian king. For the 
hyperbole cf Judith xvi. 4, Hdt. vii. 21 (of Xerxes), koZov Se tnvoixevov 

fiiv v8wp oiiK iirekLTre, vKtqv twv fieydXayv Trora/xwv ; Claudian, de Bell. Get. 
527 (of Alaric), subsidere nostris sub pedibus monies, arescere vidimus 
amnes. In the lips of Sennacherib the claim to have subdued Egypt is 
an idle boast. His successor Esar-haddon was the first Assyrian king 
to invade it successfully. 

26. Hast thou not, etc. The Lord's reply to the Assyrians : what- 
ever the latter had achieved had been subservient to the Lord's own 
purpose; see x. 5 f, and cf xxii. 11. 

that thou shouldest be. Better (by a slight correction), that thmi hast 
been Qr}T]\ for ^njp-l). 

27. as the grass of the field, i.e. short-lived and transient : cf. 
xl. 6, Ps. xxxvii. 2, xc. 5, 6, ciii. 15, 16, cxxix. 6. 

and as a field. . .grown up. The text is defective, and the concluding 
words belong to the next v. (see note). A plausible correction (proposed 
by Marti) is {as the grass on the house-tops) blasted by the east wind 
(DHi^ fl-n-f (cf. 2 Kgs. xix. 26 nsn^-i) for ^r^^?^*•1 ; cf Ps. cxxix. 6). 

28. But I know, etc. Better (transferring hither, and emending, 
the final words of v. 27), Before me are thy rising up, and thy sitting 

down, and I know thy going out and thy coming \in (reading ^Pi^ *JQ? 

for npi5 ^)^?), i.e. all thy proceedings ; cf Deut. xxviii. 6, Ps. cxxi. 8, 
exxxix. 2. 

and thy raging against me. These words are probably an accidental 
duphcation of the beginning of u 29. 

236 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxvii. .9-33 

me. 29 Because of thy raging against me, and for that ^ thine 
arrogancy is come up into mine ears, therefore will I put my 
hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee 
back by the way by which thou camest. 30 And this shall be 
the sign unto thee : ye shall eat this year that which groweth of 
itself, and in the second year that which springeth of the same ; 
and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and 
eat the fruit thereof. 31 And ^the remnant that is escaped of 
the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear 
fruit upward. 32 For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, 
and out of mount Zion they that shall escape : the zeal of the 
Lord of hosts shall perform this. 33 Therefore thus saith the 
Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come unto 
this city, nor shoot an arrow there, neither shall he come before 

■• Or, thy careless ease ^ Heb. the escaped of the house of Jtidah that remain. 

29. arrogancy. The original (i^^^) means at ease (cf. mg.), and 
should be corrected to uproar (P^^, xxiv. 8, xxv. 5). 

will I put my hook, etc. i.e. the Assyrian wiU be treated like a 
brute beast that is led by bridle and nose-ring : cf. xxx. 28, Ezek. xix. 
4, xxix. 4, xxxviii. 4. 

30. And this shall be the sign, etc. The occurrences described are 
not thought of as a pledge of the retreat of the Assyrians (since they 
are in the main subsequent to it), but as events which, by happening 
just as predicted, are calculated to deepen the people's behef in the 
Lord's prescience, already created by the deliverance experienced (cf. 
Ex. iii. 12), and to strengthen their faith in His promise of security for 
the future {yv. 31, 32). 

that which groweth, etc. Though Sennacherib's campaign occupied 
only a single year, it presumably prevented both the sowing of the corn 
in the spring of that year and the preparation of the soil in the autumn, 
without which the next year's crop would be a failure. Only in the 
third year (reckoned inclusively) would the regular succession of 
agricultural operations be renewed. 

31. shall again take root, etc. i.e. the nation is destined to revive 
like a plant that has been cut down ; cf. xxvii. 6, Hos. xiv. 5 — 7. 

32. shall go forth a remnant, i.e. the population hitherto cooped 
up in the city will once more be free to occupy the country. The 
thought of the survival of a remnant is one common in Isaiah (see 
vii. 3, and cf iv. 3), but the word here used (which occurs in xiv. 30) 
is not the same as that in the passage just cited. The expression they 
that escape is found in iv. 2, x. 20. 

33 — 36. This section, which contains an oracle given in response 
to Hezekiah's prayer ivv. 15 — 20), is probably the sequel of the 

xxxviL 34-36] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 237 

it with shield, nor cast a mount against it. 34 By the way that 
he came, by the same shall he return, and he shall not come 
unto this city, saith the Lord. 35 For I will defend this city to 
save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake. 
36 And the angel of the Lord went forth, and smote in the 

(second) narrative in xxxvii. 9 — 21, for it presupposes, like the latter, 
that no Assyrian army was at the time encamped before Jerusalem, and 
the Lord's motive in v. 35 corresponds to the consideration to which 
Hezekiah appeals in v. 20. If it was originally attached to v. 21, the 
two w. perhaps dovetailed thus: Because (1 Sam. xv. 15, xx. 42, Heb.) 
tkou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, therefore thus 
saith the Lord, etc. Both the contents (see on p. 231) and the phrase- 
ology of the oracle (see below) attest that it is not in its existing form 
contemporary with the circumstances to which it relates (contrast v. 33 
with xxii. 5, xxix. 3). 

34. This v., which agrees better with the first narrative (see 
xxxvii, 7) than with the second, is supposed by Cheyne to be an insertion 
(based on v. 29) to link together the two narratives. 

35. for mine own sake. The phrase (with its equivalent Jor my 
name's sake) is characteristic of the post-Isaianic prophets Deutero- 
Isaiah (cf xhii. 25, xlviii. 9, 11), Jeremiah (xiv. 7, 21), and Ezekiel 
(xx. 14, xxxvi. 22). 

for... David's sake. i.e. in fulfilment of the promise recorded in 
2 Sam. vii. 16; cf 1 Kgs. xi. 13, 34, xv. 4, 2 Kgs. viii. 19. 

36. And the angel, etc. The cause of the destruction of the 
Assyrian host (which is perhaps thought to have been at Libnah 
xxxvii. 8) was probably a pestilence (cf the representation in Ex. xii. 
23, 29, 2 Sam. xxiv. 15, 16, Ps. Ixxviii. 49, 50) infecting the low-lying 
N.E. frontier of Egypt (cf Am. iv. 10, Jos. Ant. x. i. 5). By Herodotus 
(ii. 141) it is related that the Assyrians, whilst invading Egypt, sustained 
a great disaster near Pelusium, a multitude of field-mice devouring 
their bow-strings, their leathern quivers, and the thongs of their shields, 
and thereby leaving them defenceless ; and as a mouse was possibly a 
symbol of plague or pestilence^ (cf 1 Sam. vi. 4, and the epithet 
^fi.LvO(v?^ (from the Cretan and ^olic cr/xtV^o?, mouse) given to Apollo, 
the author of the pestilence in Horn. B. i. 43 f ), both the Greek 
and Hebrew accounts may preserve traditions of the same calamity. 

_ 1 Such symbolism has been curiously justified by the modern discovery that 
mice and rats are agents in the propagation of plague. But it is far from certain 
that the golden mice in 1 Sam. vi. 4 were emblems of the disease from which the 
Philistines suffered: the LXX. implies that they had relation to a plague of field- 

2 The true significance of the title Z/jLivdevs is doubtful. Marti compares the 
epithets \vkokt6vos and aavpoKTdvos likewise applied to Apollo, and suggests that 
Apollo was entitled Z/xivOevs because he drove away mice from cornfields: whilst 
some scholars have held that he was a god of totemistic origin (cf. Farnell, Cults of 
the Greek States, iv. pp. 130, 256). 

238 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxvii. 37, 38 

camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand : 
and when men arose early in the morning, behold, they were all 
dead corpses. 37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and 
went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. 38 And it came to 
pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that 
Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword : 
and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esar-haddon 
his son reigned in his stead. 

Whether, indeed, Sennacherib really retired from Jerusalem in con- 
sequence of some such disaster to his troops as Isaiah expected (x. 33, 34, 
xiv. 25, xxix. 7, 8, xxx. 27 — 33, xxxi. 8) or for a different reason (as 
xxxvii. 7 represents) is doubtful; but that the threatened city really 
experienced the deliverance which Isaiah predicted is certain. 

a hundred and fourscore, etc. The enormous number of those 
related to have perished, and their annihilation in a single night (see 
2 Kgs. xix. 35), must be imaginative details to enhance the marvel. 

37 — 38. These vv. are probably the conclusion of the first narrative 
xxxvi. 2 — xxxvii. 8 (cf v. 7). 

37. dwelt at Nineveh. The words are meant to imply that Judah 
was henceforth left undisturbed by him. 

38. And it came to pass, etc. The death of Sennacherib is 
probably regarded by the writer as following closely upon his return ; 
but in point of fact his life did not end till 681 (20 years later). 

Nisroch. This name does not occur elsewhere, and has been con- 
jectured to be a corruption of Nusku (a solar god), Merodach, or Asshur 
(cf LXX. A. 'Aaapdx). 

Adrammelech. . .Sharezer. The murder of Sennacherib in an insur- 
rection is recorded on the monuments, but is represented as perpetrated 
by his son (not sons). The murderer, according to the historian 
Abydenus, was Adrammelech. The name Sharezer, though occurring 
in Zech. vii. 2, is possibly abbreviated, since it is a common element in 
several appellations, e.g. Bel-sJiarezer (Belshazzar), Nebo-sharezer, 
Nergal-sJmrezer (cf Jer. xxxix. 13)'. 

Ararat, i.e. Armenia. The escape of the murderer or murderers 
to Armenia (cf Tob. i. 21) is not mentioned outside the O.T. By 
Abydenus Adrammelech is stated to have been killed by Esar-haddon, 
who, at the time of his father's death, was himself in Armenia. 

Esar-haddon. The Sarchedonus of Tob. i. 21. His reign lasted 
from 681 to 668. 

1 Cf. Ahaz for Jehoahaz (as that king's name appears in the inscriptions, 
Schrader, COT. i. p. 249). 


Chapter XXXVIII. 

This c. consists of two parts, (1) a narrative of Hezekiah's illness and its 
cure (pp. 1 — 8, 21, 22), (2) a song of thanksgiving for his recovery {vn. 9—20). 

The narrative is taken from 2 Kgs. xx. 1^11, where the account of the 
king's recovery {ec. 1 — 7) precedes that of the sign requested and given as a 
pledge of it (w. 8 — 11) ; and the unnaturalness of this makes it probable that 
w. 8 — 11 there are a later addition to the original version. In Isaiah this 
awkwardness is obviated by the omission of »». 7, 8 ( = Is. vv. 21, 22), which 
were afterwards supplied and inserted in their present unsuitable position. 
Certain features in the narrative suggest that it was originally connected with 
the account contained in xxxvii. 9 — 36 (p. 225); cf. xxxviii. 2 with xxxvii. 15, 
xxxviii. 7 with xxxvii. 30, xxxviii. 6 with xxxvii. 35. 

The song, which does not occur in 2 Kings, seems to have been extracted 
from a liturgical collection of Psalms (see r. 20). It is appropriate enough to 
one suffering from a dangerous illness, and Hezekiah, to whom it is attributed, 
is credited with an interest in literature and music (see Prov. xxv. 1, 2 Ch. 
xxix. 30). But there is nothing in it specifically suggestive of a royal sufferer; 
and as several of its figures of speech have parallels in Job (cf ??. 10 with 
Job xxxviii. 17, v. 12 with Job vii. 6, vi. 9, v. 13 with Job x. 16), and part of its 
vocabulary appears to be late, many critics conclude that it proceeds from 
a more recent age than Hezekiah's, and Cheyne assigns it to the fourth century. 

XXXVIII. I ^In those days was Hezekiah sick unto 
death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, 
and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in 
order ; for thou shalt die, and not live. 2 Then Hezekiah turned 
Ti his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, 3 and said. 
Remember now, Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked 
before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done 

1 See 2 Kings xx. 1, &c. 

XXXVIII. 1. In those days. As this narrative is at present 
arranged these words imply that Hezekiah's ilhiess occurred about the 
time of Sennacherib's campaign in 701 ; but inasmuch as it preceded 
the embassy from Babylon (c. xxxix.), and this took place before 701 
(see on xxxix. 1), the arrangement of cc. xxxviii., xxxix. after cc. xxxvi,, 
xxxvii. is misleading. 

2. tvrned...wall. The posture indicated a wish to be alone (cf. 
1 Kgs. xxi. 4), in consequence of which Isaiah left the king (see on 
V. 4). 

3. how I have walked... in truth, i.e. steadfastly: cf 1 Sam. xii. 
24, 1 Kgs. ii. 4. Loyalty to the Lord was expected to be rewarded by 
length of days (Deut. xxx. 16). 

with a perfect Jieart. i.e. with undivided allegiance (cf 1 Kgs. xv 
14, 2 Kgs. xviii. 5, 6 and contrast 1 Kgs. xi. 4, xv. 3). 

240 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxviii.4-8 

that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. 
4 Then came the word of the Lord to Isaiah, saying, 5 Go, and 
say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy 
father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears : behold, 

1 will add unto thy days fifteen years. 6 And I will deliver thee 
and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria : and I will 
defend this city, 7 And this shall be the sign unto thee from 
the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that he hath spoken : 
8 behold, I will cause the shadow on the steps, which is gone 
down on the Mial of Ahaz ^with the sun, to return backward ten 
steps. So the sun returned ten steps ^on the dial whereon it 
was gone down. 

1 Heb. steps. ^ Qj-^ i,y 3 Qr, by which steps it d;c. 

4. came... to Isaiah. The prophet, after leaving the king, had not 
yet reached the middle court (i.e. the courtyard surrounding the palace, 

2 Kgs. XX. 4 mg.), when he received the Divine communication. 

5. fifteen years. On the editor's assumption that Hezekiah's illness 
happened in 701, the deduction of the fifteen years of life here promised 
to him from the 29 years of his reign (2 Kgs. xviii. 2) probably explains 
the statement in xxxvi. 1 that Sennacherib's invasion occurred in 
Hezekiah's 14th year. 

6. And I will deliver, etc. This v. (=2 Kgs. xx. 6''), which 
assumes that the king's sickness synchronized with Sennacherib's 
attack on Jerusalem, is probably an insertion of the compiler of 
Kings (cf xxxvii. 35, 2 Kgs. xix. 34). The sign of v. 7 relates only to 
Hezekiah's recovery (v. 5), not to the deliverance of his capital. 

7. the sign. According to the parallel account in 2 Kgs. xx. 8 — 
11 Hezekiah requested a sign as a pledge of the promised recovery, and 
was given a choice of two, an accelerated advance of the sun's shadow 
(2 Kgs. XX. 9 LXX.) or a return of it, and chose the latter. 

8. the shadow on the steps, etc. Better (with the LXX.), the shadow 
on the steps which the sun has gone down on the steps of Ahaz^. The 
steps may have been those which led up to the entrance of the palace 
(the LXX. inserts the ten steps of the house of thy father^, or they may 
have formed part of a structure specially designed to measure the time 
(cf Vulg. horologio Achaz), such as a stepped pedestal sur- 
mounted by a column. Ahaz may have learnt of the device when he 
went to Damascus to meet the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser (2 Kgs. 
xvi. 10), and the Assyrians (or the Syrians) may have derived it from 
the Babylonians who, according to Herodotus (ii. 109), taught the 
Greeks the division of the day into 12 parts, and the use of a concave 
sundial on which a shadow was cast by a gnomon. 

^ A more complete reconstraction of the text is Cheyne's, I will cause the shadow 
to return backward the steps which the sun has gone down on the steps of Ahaz. 


9 The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been 
sick, and was recovered of his sickness. 

10 I said, In the ^noontide of my days I shall go into the gates 
of -the grave : 
I am deprived of the residue of my years. 
Ill said, I shall not see ^the Lord, even ^the Lord in the land 
of the living : 
I shall behold man no more *with the inhabitants of the 

1 Or, tranquillity ^ Heb. Sheol. ^ Heb. Jah. 

* Or, when I am among them that have ceased to be 

So the sun returned. The writer obviously has iu mind an actual 
retrogression of the sun in the heavens (cf. Horn. //. ii. 413, xviii. 239 f.). 
The narrative has been thought to be a distorted account of some real 
phenomenon connected with an eclipse or caused by refraction, Sir 
C. Wren (who was Gresham Professor of Astronomy) suggesting that it 
was caused by a parhelion, the sun being under the horizon or hidden 
by a clouds But the late date of these cc. really renders such specula- 
tions superfluous ; the account may be merely a prosaic interpretation 
of a metaphor (parallel to " setting back the clock of life " or the like) : 
cf. the literal construction put on a poetic phrase in Josh. x. 12 — 14. 

9. The writing. Some critics emend the text to a Michtam, a term 
of unknown meaning, found in the titles of several psalms (Pss. xvi. 
Ivi. — Ix.), and perhaps signifying a golden (i.e. choice) poem. 

The poem that follows seems to consist of two parts — a prayer 
during illness and a thanksgiving on recovery (see v. 19), the transition 
probably occurring at v. 17 (and not, as usually thought, at v. 15). But 
Duhm considers it to be a prayer only, and changes the past tenses in 
V. 17 to imperatives. 

10. I said. i.e. I thought; and so in -?;. 11 (cf on xxxvi. 5). 

In the noontide, etc. Literally, In the pause (or quiet) of my days, i.e. 
(if the metaphor be taken from the apparent stationariness of the sun 
at noon) in the prime of age (cf Vulg. in dimidio dierum meorum). 
But some take it to mean, in the midst of a tranquil life (cf mg.). 

I shall go, etc. Duhm and others render I must go away (i.e. die, 
Ps. xxxix. 13): within the gates of Sheol (Ps. ix. 13, cvii. 18, Matt. xvi. 
18, cf the Homeric TrAat 'AiSao) / am consigned (Jer. xxxvii. 21) for 
the residue of my years. 

11. see the Lord. i.e. visit His sanctuary (cf i. 12 note). The 
duplication of the Lord's name does not occur in the LXX. 

ivith the The rendering implies a tacit correction (sup- 
ported by some MSS.): the Heb. text has (when 1 am) ivith the 
inhabitants of cessation, i.e. of Sheol, where all activity ceases. 

1 Wren's explanation was brought to my notice by Professor H. H. Turner, of 
Oxford. The same suggestion was made by Spinoza (see Gesenius, Is. i. 987). 

W.I. 16 

242 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxviii. 12-14 

12 Mine ^age is removed, and is carried away from me as a 

shepherd's tent : 
I have rolled up like a weaver my life ; he will cut me off 

from the ^loom : 
From day even to night wilt thou make an end of me. 

13 ^I quieted myself until morning ; as a lion, so he breaketh 

all my bones : 
From day even to night wilt thou make an end of me. 

14 Like a swallow or a crane, so did I chatter ; 

I did mourn as a dove : mine eyes fail with looMng upward ; 
Lord, I am oppressed, be thou my surety. 

^ Or, habitation ^ Heb. thrum. 

3 Or, I thought until morning. As a lion, so will he break (&c. 

12. Mine age. Better, My abode (cf. the cognate verb in Ps. 
Ixxxiv. 10), i.e. the body as the habitation of the soul : cf. 2 Cor. v. 4, 
2 Pet. i. 13. 

a shepherd's tent. A figure of transitoriness (since such a tent 
might be pitched one day and struck the next). 

/ have rolled up. Better (with Duhm), He (the Lord) has rolled up 
(cf the next clause). For the metaphor, expressive of completion, cf 
the Greek toXuttcvw, "to wind wool into a clew," as used in Horn. Od. 
I. 238, ei"€i TToXejxoy ToXvirevae. 

he will... loom. Better, he cuts me 0^ from the thrum. 

From day. . .end of me. Better, From day even to night (i.e. between 
morn and eve, cf Job iv. 20) thou dost make an end of me, or (after the 
LXX.) thou surrenderest me (to suffering). 

13. / quieted myself i.e. sought to be resigned : cf Ps. cxxxi. 2. 
But better (by a slight emendation), I cry out (with pain) until morning 
(reading ''P\VW for T^'W). The clause, which should be attached to the 
end of V. 12, implies that the night, as well as the day, is a time of 

From day... end of me. This clause has perhaps been accidentally 
repeated from v. 12. 

14. or a crane. The words are better omitted with the LXX. (as 
having been introduced from Jer. viii. 7) : the crane's note, which is a 
kind of trumpeting, is unsuitable as an illustration of a sick man's 
anguished cries. 

chatter. Or, scream. The swallow is perhaps a swiji. 

as a dove. i.e. plaintively; cf lix. 11, Nah. ii. 7, Ezek. vii. 16, 
Theoc. VII. 141, ^a-reve rpuytuV. 

Jail.. -upward. Better, look languishingly upward. 

my surety. The speaker, under the fear of death, compares himself 
to a debtor in the hands of a creditor from whose power he desires re- 
lease (cf Ps. cxix. 122). The Lord, Who in vv. 12, 13 is represented as 
bringing death near, is here appealed to for aid against it : cf Job xix. 25. 


15 What shall I say? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself 

hath done it : 
I shall go ^softly all my years because of the bitterness of 
my soul. 

16 Lord, by these things men live, 

And wholly therein is the life of my spirit : 
^Wherefore recover thou me, and make me to live. 

17 Behold, it was for mj/ peace that I had great bitterness : 
But ^thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit 

of * corruption; 
For thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. 

^ Or, as in solemn procession See Ps. xlii. 4. 
^ Or, So ivilt thou recover me 
^ Heb. tho^i hast loved my soul from the pit. 
* Or, nothingness 

15. What shall I say, etc. Many critics assume that at this point 
the sick man's illness takes a turn, and he cannot find words to express 
his gratitude both for the promise of recovery (cf. v. 5) and the actual 
change for the better. But the prayer for recovery seems to be renewed 
in V. 16^ and the text should perhaps be emended (with Duhm) to What 

shall I speak and say unto him (reading v'lpi^l. for v"i^^?i.), seeing that it 
is he that hath done it ? i.e. what avails an appeal to One who is Himself 
the cause of my suffering ? 

/ shall go, etc. Better (if the ordinary view of the preceding clause 
is correct), I slmll go softly (i.e. tranquilly) all my years following upon 
(ox in spite of) the bitterness of my soul. But the verb elsewhere 
(Ps. xlii. 4) means to go in procession (see mg.), and the text is perhaps 
corrupt. I)uhm renders / must toss to and fro all my sleeping hours 
because of bitterness of soul, reading '^'Jl? (from ll^) for '"•'7.1!^, and 
connecting Tii:'^ with ^W- 

16. by these things, i.e. by the Divine power and mercy (as 
recently illustrated). But the R.V. rendering of the v. cannot be got 

1 from the text as it stands, and the passage seems to be incurably 

I corrupt. 

i 17. that / had great bitterness. Or, that bitterness was bitter to me 
\\ (cf Vulg. amaritudo mea amarissima). For the sentiment cf. Job v. 
.!j 17. It is probably here that the sick man's recovery is assumed to 
ri have taken place. 

hast in love, etc. Better (after the LXX. and Vulg.), hast withheld 
y\my soul from the pit of annihilation (reading ^?5?'0 for l?i?^P): cf. Job 
'ilxxxiii. 18. 

! For thou hast cast, etc. Since suffering was regarded as retribu- 

|tion for sin, the relief implied forgiveness (cf. xxxiii. 24, Matt. ix. 2). 

jWith the figure employed contrast the converse in Ps. xc. 8, Hos. vii. 2. 

i 16—2 

244 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxviii. iS-n 

18 For Hhe grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate 

thee : 
They that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. 

19 The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: 
The father to the children shall make known thy truth. 

20 The Lord is ready to save me : 

Therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments 
All the days of our life in the house of the Lord. 
21 ^Now Isaiah had said. Let them take a cake of figs, and 
lay it for a plaister upon the boil, and he shall recover. 

1 Heb. Sheol. 2 gee 2 Kings xx. 7, 8. 

18. the grave. Better, Sheol. In the Underworld the relations of 
man with God, constituting the religious life, were believed to be 
permanently interrupted (cf. Ps. vi. 5, xxx. 9, Ixxxviii. 5, 10, 11, 
cxv. 17). 

thy truth. Better (after the LXX.), thy mercy (or, thy loving kind- 
ness), reading ^IPO for 1,'^'Q^ : cf. Ps. Ixxxviii. 11. 

19. Th^ father, i.e. Hezekiah himself (if he is the author of the 
poem) who is now restored to health : cf Ps. Ixxviii. 4. 

20. to save me. Better (after the Syr.), to save us. 

we will sing, etc. Better (after the Vulg.), we will play our stringed 
music; cf. Lam. v. 14, Heb. The plural pronoun seems to refer to the 
Temple singers, and to imply that the poem had been adapted to 
liturgical use. 

in the house. Better, by the house, probably in the Temple court. 

21—22. These vv. are a misplaced portion of the narrative xxxviii. 
1 — 8 and occur in 2 Kgs. xx. 1 — 11 in their proper position, after v. 6. 
They must have been added by a copyist who fancied that their 
absence was due to an accidental oversight, and who did not notice that 
the editor had omitted in v. 5 the prophet's reference to the house of the 
Lord in 2 Kgs. xx. 5 (without which the king's question in v. 22 is 
obscure), and had modified in v. 7 (note and this shall be, etc.) the 
language of 2 Kgs. xx. 9. 

21. Now Isaiah had said. Strictly, And Isaiah said (the sentence 
in its original context linking on to t>. 6 : see 2 Kgs. xx. 7). 

a cake of figs. Pliny, Hist. Nat. xxiii. 63, mentions the use of 
figs for opening ulcers and softening or dispersing tumours and other 

lay it for a plaister. Better, rub it. 

the boil. It has been suggested that the boil was a plague boil, and 
that Hezekiah suffered from the same malady that destroyed Senna- 
cherib's host. But the date of the incident here recounted is against 
this (see on v. 1, xxxix. 1), and the Heb. term is used of any kind of 
ulcerated swelling or sore, including the eruption of leprosy (see Ex. ix. 
9, Lev. xiii. 18, Job ii. 7, etc.). 

xxxviii. 12-xxxix. 2] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 245 

22 Hezekiah also had said, What is the sign that I shall go up 
to the house of the Lord ? 

22. Hezekiah also had said. Strictly, And Hezekiah said (as in 
2 Kgs. XX. 8). 

the sign that I shall go up, etc. An allusion to Isaiah's assurance 
(preserved in 2 Kgs. xx. 5) that within three days the Lord would heal 
the king, and he would be able to go to the Temple to render thanks. 

Chapter XXXIX. 

This c, extracted from 2 Kgs. xx. 12 — 19, recounts a congratulatory 
embassy received by Hezekiah from Merodach-baladan of Babylon, the king's 
display of his treasures, and a prediction by Isaiah that his descendants 
would be carried into exile at Babylon. 

XXXIX. 1 ^At that time Merodach-baladan the son of 
Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah : 
for he heard that he had been sick, and was recovered, 2 And 

1 See 2 Kings xx. 12, &c. 

XXXIX. 1. At that time. The determination of the date 
of the incident here recorded fixes approximately that of Hezekiah's 
illness which occurred shortly before it. The Baloylonian king named 
was a Chaldean, the ruler of a small state called Bit-Jakin (at the 
mouth of the united Tigris and Euphrates), who made himself master 
of Babylon on two occasions. The first was in 721, his occupation of 
it lasting till 710 or 709, when he was expelled by Sargon. The second 
was early in the reign of Sennacherib, between 704 and 701 ; but he 
retained possession for a few months only (see M'^Curdy, History, 
Prophecy, etc., ii. pp. 273, 274). Even if his embassy to Hezekiah 
occurred during his second occupation of the throne it cannot have 
synchronized (as the historian seems to imply) with Sennacherib's in- 
vasion of Judah in 701 (for by that time he had been driven into exile), 
but must have preceded it (perhaps by two or three years). The longer 
tenure of his power on the first occasion (721 — 710) makes that the 
more hkely date for what is here related. It is possible that the 14th 
year of Hezekiah's reign, to which the invasion of Sennacherib is 
(probably) wrongly assigned in xxxvi. 1, was really the date of the 
mission from Babylon, which, if 727 was the date of Hezekiah's 
accession, would be 713 (cf. Burney, Kings, p. 340). 

Merodach-haladan. Called in 2 Kgs. xx. 12 (by error) Berodach- 

sent letters. The LXX. adds and ambassadors, to whom the words 
them {v. 2) and these men (v. 3) refer. 

for he heard. So the LXX. and 2 Kgs. xx. 12 : the Heb. here has 
and he heard. The writer represents as the cause of the embassy 

246 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xxxix. 3-6 

Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his 
^precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and 
the precious oil, and all the house of his ^armour, and all that 
was found in his treasures : there was nothing in his house, nor 
in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not. 3 Then 
came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, 
What said these men ? and from whence came they unto thee ? 
And Hezekiah said. They are come from a far country unto me, 
even from Babylon. 4 Then said he, What have they seen in 
thine house ? And Hezekiah answered. All that is in mine house 
have they seen : there is nothing among my treasures that I 
have not shewed them. 5 Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear 
the word of the Lord of hosts. 6 Behold, the days come, that 
all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid 
up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon : nothing 

^ Or, spicery ^ Or, jewels 

Merodach-baladan's desire to congratulate Hezekiah on his recovery, 
and the Chronicler (2 Ch. xxxii. 31) the Babylonians' interest in the 
wonder that was the sign of it; but probably the real motive was 
political (cf. mention of the present with xxx. 6 and see p. xxiv). 

2. the house of his precious things. The Heb. term is supposed 
to be of Assyrian origin {bit-nakamdti, "treasure-house"): the mg. 
follows Aq., Sym. and the Vulg. Hezekiah's wealth at this time (cf. 
2 Ch. xxxii. 27 — 29) confirms the conclusion that the incident here 
related preceded the exactions of Sennacherib (2 Kgs. xviii. 15). 

spices. . .precious oil. The first were probably foreign importations, 
the second a native product (2 Ch. xxxii. 28, Ezek. xxvii. 17). 

the house of his armour, i.e. the house of the forest of Lebanon 
(xxii. 8). The word all is best omitted (with 2 Kgs. xx. 13). 

4. All that is in. mine, etc. Probably Hezekiah's display of his 
treasures was in part designed to impress the Babylonians with the 
extent of his resources, in the event of an alliance being contracted be- 
tween them against Assyria. To Isaiah an alliance with Babylon 
would be as objectionable as one with Egypt (xxx. 1, 2, xxxi. 1). 

6. shall be carried to Babylon. The prophecy, so far as it is 
authentic, is more likely to be a prediction of the success of Assyria 
over Babylon and its allies (some of whom might be deported to 
Babylon as to a subjugated province, cf 2 Ch. xxxiii. 11) than a pre- 
diction of Babylon's success over Assyria and an exchange of tyrants 
for the Jews, for Isaiah expected the eventual repulse of the Assyrians 
to be followed by the inception of the Messianic age (ix. 2 — 7). But it 
is probable that the post-exilic writer of the narrative, being acquainted 
with the deportation of the Jews to Babylon by Nebuchadrezzar, has 


shall be left, saith the Lord. 7 And of thy sons that shall issue 
from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and 
they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. 
8 Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, Good is the word of the Lord 
which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there shall be 
peace and truth in my days. 

regarded that event as the fulfilment of the prophecy, and modified the 
latter accordingly. 

7. which thou shalt beget. This superfluous clause has been 
thought to be an insertion, referring to the imprisonment of Manasseh, 
Hezekiah's son, at Babylon by the Assyrian king Asshurbanipal (2 Ch. 
xxxiii. 11). 

eunuchs. For the emasculation of captives see Dan. i. 3. 

8. Good is the word. The postponement of the merited chastise- 
ment to another generation is regarded as an act of clemency, as in 
1 Kgs. xxi. 29, 2 Kgs. xxii. 18—20. 

He said. i.e. he reflected (cf on xxxviii. 10). 
truth. Better, stability (Jer. xiv. 13, xxxiii. 6). 


First Collection. Chapters XL. — XL VIII. 

The prophecies of Deutero-Isaiah fall into two divisions in consequence of 
a difiference in the subject-matter of the first nine cc. and the last seven. The 
principal topics in the former cc. are the Divine commission given to Cyrus by 
the Lord to overthrow Babylon and to release the Jewish exiles held captive 
there, and the proof aflForded, by events transpiring when the prophet wrote, 
of the supremacy of the God of the Jews and the impotence of the idols of 
Babylon. In the later cc. these topics are discontinued ; and the distinction 
established between the two groups by the nature of their contents is confirmed 
by the fact that cc. xl. — xlviii., which begin with a consolatory address to the 
desolate Jerusalem, end with an exhortation to its exiled popijlation to depart 
from Babylon and commence their homeward march. Hence it is probable 
that the first nine cc. constitute a separate collection of prophecies, to which 
others were appended at a slightly later date. 

Chapter XL. 

The contents of this c, divided according to the subject-matter, fall into 
three principal divisions : (1) an announcement to Jerusalem of the termination 
of her chastisement, and of the approaching restoration, by the Lord, of her 
exiled people {vc. 1 — 11); (2) an assertion of the Lord's incomparable power 
{m. 12 — 26) ; (3) a remonstrance to Israel in exile not to doubt His purpose 
and power to right them (»». 27 — 31). 

XL. I Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 
2 Speak ye ^comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that 

^ Heb. to the heart of. 

XL. 1 — 11. This opening passage is an appropriate introduction 
to the series of consolatory addresses that follow. In it expression is 
given to the thoughts most calculated to cheer the despondent exiles — 
the tie between the Lord and themselves {my people... your God, cf. 
Hos. ii. 23), the Divine compassion that magnified the punishment 
undergone in comparison with the offence it requited, the predicted 
removal of all obstacles that would else retard the homeward journey, 
the Lord's ability to coerce their enemies, and His tender care for 
their own helplessness. 


her ^warfare is accomplished, that her ^iniquity is pardoned ; 
that she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her 

1 Or, time of service - Or, punishment is accepted See Lev. xxvi. 43. 

1, 2. A command from the Lord to declare to Jerusalem the 
expiration of her period of affliction. 

The speaker who conveys the command is the prophet. The 
persons addressed are undefined, and probably include all who are 
sufficiently in sympathy with the depopulated Jerusalem to become 
the bearers to it of good news: cf Hi. 7 — 9. 

1. Comfort... coinfort. For the duplication see p. xlviii. That 
there was need amongst the exiles for comfort appears from v. 27, 
xlix. 14. This passage was probably the source of the expectation 
cherished by Simeon and others, who looked for the consolation of 
Israel (Luke ii. 25). 

2. comfortably. Better, kindly (Gen. 1. 21) or tenderly, the 
original phrase being usually appropriated to the addresses of a 
wooer or a bridegroom (see Gen. xxxiv. 3, Jud. xix. 3, Hos. ii. 14). 

Jerusalem. The city had suffered in, and with, her exiled people, 
and their deliverance was hers (cf xlix. 14, lii. 9). 

warfare. Better, hard service. The word, primarily applicable to 
military service, is used (as in Job vii. 1, x. 17, xiv. 14) of a period of 
hardship from which relief is desired. 

accomplished, i.e. expired (1 Sam. xviii. 26, Jer. xxv. 12, xxix. 10). 

her iniquity, etc. Better, her penalty is discharged (or worked off), 
cf Job xiv. 6, Lev. xxvi. 41, 43 (Heb.)- The substantive used in the 
original may denote, like the Latin piaculum, both guilt and its 
punishment (liii. 11, Gen. iv. 13, Lam. v. 7). 

double. A rhetorical hyperbole (like its counterpart the prediction 
in Jer. xvi. 18) for an ample penalty ; cf Rev. xviii. 6. Indeed, in 
xlvii. 6 (cf Zech. i. 15) the Babylonians, whom the Lord employed to 
chastise His offending people, are declared to have actually gone 
beyond their mandate : on the other hand, see xlii. 18 — 25, xliii. 22 — 
28, xlviii. 1—11 (?)\ 

2 — 5. A celestial voice bids preparation be made for the advance 
of the Lord to Zion at the head of the returning exiles. 

The unseen speakers in vv. 3 — 6 (cf Ivii. 14, Rev. iv. 1, x. 4) are 
probably heavenly powers, the Lord's avant-coureurs, who herald His 
approach. Those here addressed by them are other celestial spirits 
who are directed to remove all natural obstacles which obstruct the 
passage through the desert, and would ordinarily have to be circum- 
vented by circuitous routes. The idea finds some parallel in what is 
related of Oriental sovereigns, for Justin (ii. x. 24) says of Xerxes, 
' Monies in planum deducebat, et conveora vallium aequabat, and Diodorus 

^ Bumey suggests that double means doable compensation, the perfect being 
a prophetic perfect. If so, cf. Ixi. 7. 


3 The voice of one Hhat crieth, Prepare ye in the wilderness 
the way of the Lord, make ^straight in the desert a high way 
for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain 
and hill shall be made low : and ^the crooked shall be made 
straight, and the rough places * plain : 5 and the glory of the 
Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together : for 

^ Or, that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way etc. ^ Or, level 

' Or, the uneven shall be made level * Or, a plain 

Siculus (11. 13) records that Queen Semiramis, when, in her march to 
Ecbatana, she reached a mountainous district, instead of making a 
detour round it, constructed a direct road across it by digging down 
the precipices and filling up the hollows. 

3. The voice of... crieth. Better, Hark! one crying (cf. xiii. 4, 
lii. 8, Ixvi. 6). The LXX. and Vulg. connect in the wilderness with 
crying, and the same construction is followed by the citations of the 
passage in the N.T. (Mk, i. 3, Matt. iii. 3, Luke iii. 4, Joh. i. 23), where 
it is applied to the preaching of John the Baptist and his exhortation 
to prepare for the advent of the kingdom of heaven ; but the fact that 
the voice is a heavenly voice, and the parallelism and accentuation of 
the Heb., are decisive for the construction in the text. The wilderness 
and the desert (Heb. Arabah, xxxiii. 9) designate the barren region 
separating Babylonia from Palestine. 

Prepare. Or Clear, by the removal of obstacles, cf Gen. xxiv. 31, 
Lev. xiv. 36. Though the preparation is for the Lord, Who is thought 
of as coming in person to Zion (cf lii. 8, 12, Ixii. 10, 11), the process 
described has in view the needs of the human beings whom He is 
about to bring back. 

make straight. Better (as in the mg.), make level or even : Sym. 
bfiaXtaaTf. For high way see on xxxv. 9. 

4. the crooked, etc. More literally, the uneven shall be made a 
plateau and the ridges a vale. The word rendered rough places (or 
ridges), which does not occur elsewhere, perhaps denotes a mountain 
chain. The language is somewhat imaginative, for the desert between 
Babylonia and Palestine is, in reality, tolerably level. 

5. the glory of the Lord. i.e. the visible splendour that indicated 
the Divine Presence : cf iv. 5, xxxv. 2, Iviii. 8, Ix. 1, 2, Ixvi. 18, 
1 Kgs. viii. 11, Ex. xl. 34, 35, Ezek. xliii. 4. The conception is a 
refinement of the earlier belief that the Lord sometimes appeared on 
earth in human form (Gen. iii. 8, xviii. 1 f) ; and a transitional stage 
between the two seems marked in Ezek. i. (cf. w. 26 and 28). 

all flesh, i.e. mankind at large, as in Gen. vi. 12, Jer. xxv. 31. 

shall see it. The unexpressed object is supplied in the LXX. by 
TO oroiTripiov tov 6fov, see lii. 10 and cf. Luke iii. 6. 

The V. is rejected as an interpolation by Duhm and Cheyne on 
grounds of metre. The phrase the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it 
does not ifecur in Deutero-Isaiah, though found in i. 20, Iviii. 14. 


the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. 6 The voice of one 
saying, Cry. And ^one said, What shall I cry ? All flesh is 
grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field : 
7 the grass withereth, the flower fadeth ; because the breath of 
the Lord bloweth upon it : surely the people is grass. 8 The 
grass withereth, the flower fadeth : but the word of our God 
shall stand for ever. 

1 The Sept. and Vulgate have, I said, 

6 — 8. A proclamation of the transitoriness of human pride and 
power contrasted with the changelessness of the purpose and promise 
of the Lord. 

Duhm and Cheyne consider that w. 6 — 8 should exchange places 
with w. 9 — 11 and that the latter w. should be inserted here (see 
on p. 252), partly because they maintain better the thought and 
exultant tone of tv. 3, 4, and partly on grounds of metre. 

6. The voice, etc. Better (as in v. 3), Hark ! one crying. A second 
celestial spirit is heard, to whom a third speaker replies. 

And one said. If the text is sound, the answer may come from 
any one of the audience left undefined in w. 1, 2 ; but the LXX. 
and Vulg. (which have / said) take it to proceed from the prophet : 
cf. vi. 8. 

All flesh, etc. The words are the response returned to the question 
by the heavenly voice. The expression all flesh, though sometimes 
merely a synonym for all mankind {v. 5, cf Jer. xxv. 31), is generally 
suggestive of humanity in its frailness (see on xxxi. 3). 

the goodliness thereof. The original is elsewhere always used of human 
and Divine goodness or mercy (xvi. 5, Ivii. 1, liv. 8, Gen. xx. 13, xxiv. 27) ; 
but here may be employed with the same comprehensiveness of meaning: 
as the English grace and the Latin gratia Twhich are used in the sense 
of both "graciousness" and "gracefulness") : cf also the Greek x«V'5- 
The LXX., however, has 8o^a (cf 1 Pet. i. 24), the Vulg. gloria (perhaps 
reading i"iin or i"ilL! for i'^pn). 

The comparison of mankind to fading herbage and flowers is here 
designed to illustrate not so much the transitoriness of human life (as 
in Ps. xc. 5, 6, ciii. 15, 16, Job xiv. 2, James i. 10, 11, cf also the 
similes in Bacchylides, 63 — 4, Verg. A. vi. 309 — 10) as the transitori- 
ness of human glory, the rapid flourishing and fading of the world's 
most splendid empires (cf xxxvii. 27). Assyria had already perished, 
and Babylon, after enjoying a brief supremacy, was about to perish in 
its turn (cf xiii. 19). 

7. the breath of the LoRD. Or perhaps, a wind of the Lord, cf 
Hos. xiii. 15, Ezek. xvii. 10 ; see also Ps. ciii. 16. 

n the people, i.e. mankind at large, as in xiii. 5, xliv. 7. The final 
clause spoils the balance of the verse, and is perhaps an addition. The 
whole V. is omitted by the LXX. and O.L. 

8. the word, etc. In contrast to the abortive schemes of earthly 


9^0 thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into 
the high mountain ; ^0 thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, 
lift up thy voice with strength ; lift it up, be not afraid ; say 
unto the cities of Judah, Behold, your God ! 10 Behold, the 
Lord God will come as a mighty one, and his arm shall rule for 
him : behold, his reward is with him, and his recompence before 
him. 1 1 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd, he shall gather 

* Or, O Zion, that bringest good tidings 

^ Or, Jerusalevi, that bringest good tidings 

potentates, the Lord's will, as expressed by His fiats and as revealed 
by His prophets, will be unalterably accomplished (cf. xlv. 23, Iv. 11, 
xxxi. 2, xiv. 24). The writer doubtless has particularly in mind the 
promise of the Lord respecting Israel (xliv. 26, xlvi. 10, Iv. 11, 
cf. lii. 6, Ixiii. 1). Verses 6 and 8 are quoted in 1 Pet. i. 24, 25 (the 
word being interpreted to mean the Gospel). 

9 — 11. Directions for messengers to report the approach of the 
Lord with His people, like a conqueror with his booty or a shepherd 
with his flock. 

If the order of the vv. is preserved (see on vv. 6 — 8), the speaker is 
probably the prophet, but if Duhm's transposition be adopted, it is the 
invisible voice of -y. 3. 

9. tkou, etc. Better, band that tellest good tidings to Zion 
(cf. LXX. o €uayy£\i^o/x,evos StwV, Vulg. tu qui evaugelizas Sion), and 
similarly in the next clause. The fem., used in the original, is a 
collective expression (cf xii. 6) for those of Jerusalem's friends who 
are prepared to be the first to watch for (cf lii. 8), and announce to 
her, the approach of the train of returning exiles. The mg. Zion, 
that bringest good tidings follows Aq., Th., Sym., who have cvay-veXtto/LieVi; 
Stojv ; but Zion is the receiver of good news (cf xli. 27, lii. 7), not the 
bringer of it to other Judsean cities. 

into the high mountain, i.e. in order that they may soonest descry 
the advancing train, and that their voices, as they communicate the 
welcome sight, may carry farthest (cf Jud. ix. 7, 1 Sam. xxvi. 13). 

a/raid. Or diffident, as though their joyous tidings would gain no 

10. as a mighty one. The LXX. and Vulg. have with strength 
(pThg for pm?). 

his arm. The Lord's arm, like His face, name (xxx. 27), hand, 
denotes a particular aspect of His self-manifestation or activity, which 
is hypostatized almost like a separate entity, as the embodiment of His 
control over human history: cf Ixiii. 12. 

reward... recompence. The terms describe, not the requital which 
the Lord has in store for His people (Ixi. 8), but that which has 
accrued to Himself from His overthrow of Babylon, viz. the rescued 
exiles who, as His spoil, precede Him in His triumphal march ; 
cf Lxii. 11. The phrase is adopted by St John in Rev. xxii. 12. 


the lambs in his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall 
gently lead those that give suck. 

12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, 
and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the 
dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in 

11. He shall feed, etc. The figure is abruptly changed from that 
of a spoil-laden conqueror to that of a shepherd — the latter being 
expressive of the Lord's love and sympathy for the way-worn people 
as they traverse the desert. The comparison of Israel to a flock 
shepherded by the Lord (not found in cc. i. — xxxix.) recurs in xlix. 9, 
Ixiii. 11, cf also Jer. xiii. 17, xxiii. 1, xxxi. 10, Ezek. xxxiv. 11 — 16, 
Ps. Ixxvii. 20, Ixxviii. 52, Ixxx. 1, xxiii. 1, c. 3. The same figure was 
adopted by our Saviour (Joh. x. 14, cf Luke xii. 32) ; cf also 
Heb. xiii. 20, 1 Pet. ii. 25, v. 4. 

he shall gather. A slight omission, favoured by many scholars, 
gives the reading, he shall gather it (the flock) with his arm, he shall 
carry the lambs in his bosom. 

gently lead. Displaying the same care not to overdrive them as 
was shewn by a flock-master like Jacob (Gen. xxxiii. 13). 

12 — 26. A declaration of the Lord's supremacy over both physical 
nature and human fortunes. 

The transposition of vv. 9 — 11 and 6 — 8 (see on p. 251) produces 
in connection with this section a better sequence of thought, the 
assertion of the unchangeableness of the Lord's word being naturally 
followed by an assertion of His transcendent power. Though the 
address is not formally directed to the Jewish exiles, it seems to be 
designed to reassure such of them as might question whether the Lord 
could really efl'ect His people's redemption from so great an empire as 
the Babylonian, supported, as it was imagined to be, by mighty gods 
whose images were visible everywhere. The prophet, to re-establish 
their faith, appeals to the nation's traditional belief (v. 21) that the 
Lord is the Creator and Controller of the universe : His comprehensive 
sovereignty ensures His designs against failure. 

12—17. The Lord is the sole Author of the physical world (cf 
Job xxxviii. 4 f , Ps. civ.); and beside Him collective humanity is 
i. . Who hath, Qic. The rhetorical questions, here and in tw. 13, 14, 

' differ in their implication, the first being equivalent to "Think who..." 
whilst the others expect the negative reply " No one " (cf h. 19, 
Num. xxiii. 10). 

the hollow, etc. All the instruments of measurement, relatively to 
things of such great extent or bulk as the sea, the firmament, and the 
earth, are small ; and mention of them in such a connection is sug- 
gestive of the completeness of the Almighty's mastery over the 
elements that constitute the universe (cf Job xxviii. 25, Wisd. xi. 20). 
The span was the distance between the tip of the thumb and the 
little finger of the spread hand, and considered equivalent to half a 

254 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xl. 13-18 

scales, and the hills in a balance ? 13 Who hath ^directed the 
spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him? 
14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and 
taught him in the path of judgement, and taught him knowledge, 
and shewed to him the way of understanding? 15 Behold, the 
nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small 
dust of the balance : behold, ^he taketh up the isles as a very 
little thing. 16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the 
beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt oflfering. 17 All the nations 
are as nothing before him ; they are counted to him ^less than 
nothing, and ^vanity. 18 To whom then will ye liken God ? or 

^ Or, meted out ^ Or, the isles are as the fine dust that is lifted up 

3 Or, as a thing of nought * Or, confusion 

cubit. A measure is properly a tierce, the third of an ephak, and 
contained approximately 22 pints. The word rendered scales probably 
means the beam of the balance. Instead of the dust of the earth the 
LXX. has the whole earth and the other Greek versions have merely 
the earth (omitting dust). 

13. Who hath directed, etc. As the Lord's handling of the vast 
masses of the earth and sea attested His power, so His independence 
of any counsel but His own in the arrangement of them attested His 
wisdom. The spirit of the Lord is the seat of the Divine intelligence : 
a different word (heart) is usually employed for the seat of human 
intelligence (xxxii. 4, li. 7, Ps. xxxvii. 31, xl. 8). The LXX. has n's 
lyvo) vovv Kvpiov, whence it is quoted by St Paul, in respect of the 
Divine scheme of salvation through Christ, in Rom. xi. 34 ; cf also 
1 Cor. ii. 16. 

14. the path of judgement. Better, the right (or model) path, i.e. the 
suitable course ; cf xxviii. 26. The word mistranslated judgment is 
used in Ex. xxvi. 30, 1 Kgs. vi. 38, Ezek. xlii. 1 1 of a pattern or plan. 
The writer has in mind the order that prevails in the physical world. 
The clause and taught him knowledge, which awkwardly repeats the 
preceding word taught and separates two parallel clauses, is omitted 
by the LXX. 

15. a drop of a bucket. Better, a drop hanging from a bucket, 
which, whether it clings or falls, is unnoticed by the bearer. 

dust of the balance. Better, dust on the balance, which is ignored 
in weighing. 

he taketh up, etc. Or, he could take up the isles like fine dust. 

16. And Lebanon, etc. There is no disparagement of sacrifice as 
a symbolic practice, but only a reminder that no holocaust can be 
commensurate with God's dignity, even though the forests of Lebanon 
(ii. 13) be the fuel, or all their wild creatures the victims : cf Judith 
xvi. 16. 

17. less than nothing. More strictly, a bit of nothing. Vanity 


what likeness will ye compare unto him ? 19 The graven image, 
a workman melted it, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over 
with gold, and casteth for it silver chains. 20 He that is too 

/perhaps better, vacancy) in the Heb. is the same word as waste 
(xlv. 18, Gen. i. 2). 

18 — 20. The folly of regarding idols as having any likeness to 
what is Divine. 

The argument is probably designed to counteract the dispiriting 
effect which the pretensions of the Babylonian religion were likely to 
have upon the Jewish exiles ; but it follows a different course from 
that which might have been expected. In form it is not a direct 
comparison between Israel's God and the gods of Babylon, but an 
exposure of the folly of all representations of the Divine by artificial 
imagery. But in effect it carries the conclusion that the gods of 
Babylon were nonentities, for since idol worshippers in general believed 
their divinities to be embodied in their images (cf. xlvi. 1, 2), to shew 
the unreason of supposing objects made by human art to have in them 
anything Divine was to deprive the Babylonian idols of all claim to 
godhead. The passage is the first of a series dealing with the same 
subject, see xhv. 9—20, xlv. 20, xlvi. If.; and has parallels in 
Hab. ii. 18, 19, Jer. x. 1—9, h. 15—19, Ps. cxv. 4—7, Deut. iv. 15 f., 
Wisd. xiii. 10 f., xv. 7 — 19, Bar. vi.. Acts xvii. 29. 

18. God. Heb. El (not Jehovah), which is the most widely dis- 
tributed of the various Semitic words for Deity, and so most appropriate 
to express the unity of God (and so in xlv. 14, xlvi. 9). 

19. graven image. The word, as the context shews, is used also 
of a molten image. The idol, whose claim to represent God is exposed 
by a description of its manufacture, consists of a core of inferior metal, 
cast (or forged, xH. 7) by one workman, which is covered by another 
(the goldsmith) with gold plating ; cf. xxx. 22, Jer. x. 9. In a Cyprian 
inscription the king of Idalion speaks of "a plating of gold " given by 
him to the god Besheph (G. A. Cooke, A^*S'/. p. 75). 

casteth... chains. The meaning of the clause, which is omitted by 
the LXX., is uncertain, since the text is defective, if not corrupt. The 
word rendered casteth (^i>') is identical with the word for goldsmith 
:(xli. 7, xlvi. 6), and probably disguises a verb (Kittel suggests adds 
^.hereto, R'P'V). The chains would be used to fasten it to a pedestal. 

After this v. Duhm, Cheyne, and others think that the text has 
iudergone some displacement, and that xH. 6, 7 should follow here, 
:he opening words of v. 6, They helped every man his neighbour, being 
hen referred to the workman and goldsmith of xl. 19, and carpenter in 
'. 7 being corrected to workman. The account of the image of metal 
certainly becomes more complete by the addition of a passage describing 
ts erection (as is the case with the idol of wood, see v. 20''), and the 
;wo vv. in question are, at first sight, rather out of keeping with their 
present context ; but see note there. 

20. He that is too impoverished, etc. More literally, He that is 

256 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xl.2i,« 

impoverished for stich an oblation chooseth a tree that will not 
rot ; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to ^set up a graven 
image, that shall not be moved. 21 Have ye not known ? have 
ye not heard ? hath it not been told you from the beginning ? 
have ye not ^understood from the foundations of the earth? 
22 It is he that sitteth ^upon the circle of the earth, and the 
inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers ; that stretcheth out the 
heavens as *a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell 

^ Or, prepare ^ Or, understood the foundations * Or, above * Or, gauze 

impoverished in regard to an oblation. A worshipper who has not 
much to spend upon an idol, instead of having an image of metal, has 
to content himself with one of wood. But the word oblation (HDlin)^ 
which means strictly "a heave-offering," a part lifted or separated from 
a larger quantity (Lev. vii. 14, Ex. xxv, 2, Ezek. xlv. 1, xlviii. 8), is 
very inappropriate to describe an idol ; and the LXX., which has 
o/xoMfjia KaT€aKeva(Tev avrov, seems to have read njion. Guided by this 
Duhm has proposed the correction, He that carveth a likeness chooseth, etc. 
(n3-iDJ;i rsP^Ll^ for ry'q^'^T^ l^opn), and Kittel, As a base {ox pedestal) M 

the image he chooseth (nj-IDJii lisp?). 

be moved, i.e. totter and fall (xli. 7, Jer. x. 4, Wisd. xiii. 15, 16). 
This would be a bad omen, cf. 1 Sam. v. 3. 

21 — 26. The Lord is the disposer of human fortunes. 

21. Have ye not known, etc. Or, Know ye not? hear ye not? It 
seems to be assumed that a knowledge of the Lord was possessed at 
the beginning of human history, cf. Gen. iv. 26. 

understood from the foundations. The rendering implies the correc- 
tion nnp'p for nnpio. The Heb. text, supported by the LXX. and 
Vulg., requires (as in the mg.), understood the foundations, etc., i.e. dis- 
cerned what they have to teach (cf. Rom. i. 20), which disturbs the 

22. upon the circle, etc. Better (as in the mg.), above the circle 
(or disc) of the earth, bounded by the horizon (cf. Prov. viii. 27 and the 
corresponding verb in Job xxvi. 10). Others take the circle of the 
earth to mean the vault (of heaven) over-arching the earth (cf. Job 
xxii. 14 mg.). The Lord is throned so high (Ps. cxiii. 5, 6) that men 
look as small as grasshoppers (a figure for what is insignificant, Num. 
xiii. 33). 

as a curtain. The heavens are usually conceived by O.T. writers 
as a solid firmament rather than as a texture of cloth or gauze (though 
cf. Ps. civ. 2, xix. 4). The LXX. has ws Ka/xdpav, as a vaulted 
chamber, and the Heb. P"^? may really be a mutilated corruption of 
yi?l? (as a firmament). The phrase a tent to dwell in means a 
habitable tent in general, not a tent for the Lord in particular. 

^ This is a conjectural derivative from |"'2K' (pSD), "knife" (Prov. xxiii. 2). 

XL. 23-26] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 257 

ill : 23 that briiigeth princes to nothing ; he maketh the judges 
of the earth as Canity. 24 ^Yea, they have not been planted ; 
yea, they have not been sown ; yea, their stock hath not taken 
root in the earth : moreover he bloweth upon them, and they 
wither, and the whirlwind taketh them away as stubble. 25 To 
whom then will ye liken me, that I should be equal to him? 
saith the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high, ^and see 
who hath created these, that bringeth out their host by number : 
he calleth them all by name ; by the greatness of his might, and 
for that he is strong in power, not one is lacking. 

^ Or, confusion 

^ Or, Scarce are they planted, scarce are they sown, scarce hath their stock taken 
root in the earth, tvhen he bloweth upon them <&c. 

^ Or, and see: who hath created theses he that (&c. 

23. that bringeth, etc. Cf. Job xii. 17 f., Dan. ii. 21. The 
writer perhaps has in mind the recent overthrow of Astyages of Media 
and Croesus of Lydia by Cyrus. 

24. Yea, they have not, etc. Better (as in the mg.). Yea, scarcely 
have they been planted. ..when he bloweth upon them (for the construction 
cf 2 Kgs. XX. 4). The idea is similar to that of v. 7. 

25. the Holy One. As the Lord had come to be regarded as the 
sole God, the epithet holy, which was the commonest expression to 
connote what was Divine (see on i. 4), from being a title for the Lord, 
became equivalent to a proper name for Him, and is here used without 
the article as in Job vi. 10, Hab. iii. 3 and (pi.) Hos. xi. 12 (= xii. 1 
Heb.), Prov. ix. 10, xxx. 3. 

26. and see whx) hath. Better, and see : who hath — ? The prophet 
is not arguing from nature to a creator — the existence of such is 
assumed — but appealing to the vastness of nature in order to enlarge 
his countrymen's conception of the greatness of its Creator. The Heb. 
term rendered created is exclusively used of the originating activity of 
the Deity, and implies independence of mechanical means, but not 
production out of nothing (see Driver on Gen. i. 1). 

bringeth out. Better, leadeth forth in a military sense, cf 2 Sam. 
V. 2. The comparison of the stars to a living host is probably not a 
mere poetic fancy but a survival from an early stage of belief in which 
the heavenly bodies were regarded as animated and intelligent powers, 
to which worship was often rendered. Amongst the Israelites the stars 
were commonly thought of as subservient to the Lord (Jud. v. 20, 
Job xxxviii. 7), though occasionally they are represented as defying, 
and rebelling against, His authority (xxiv. 21, Enoch xviii. 15, Ixxx. 6). 

he calleth... name. i.e. like a general acquainted with the names of 
the soldiers entered on his muster-roll (cf. Ps. cxlvii. 4). By man 
even knowledge of their number was unattainable (Gen. xv. 5). 

by the greatness, etc. Better (after the LXX. and other Greek 

w. I. 17 

258 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xl. 27-31 

27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, Israel, My 
way is hid from the Lord, and my judgement is passed away 
from my God? 28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard? 
^the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the 
earth, fainteth not, neither is weary; there is no searching of 
his understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to 
him that hath no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the 
youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly 
fall : 31 but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their 
strength ; they shall mount up with wings as eagles ; they shall 
run, and not be weary ; they shall walk, and not faint. 

^ Or, the Lord is an everlasting God, the Creator... he fainteth not c&c. 

versions), because of the greatness of his might and the strength of his 
power (Y^'i^ for y^^)- The stars, as animated beings, are represented 
as influenced by motives (awe and fear), not merely acted upon by 
physical forces. 

27 — 31. Israel's fear that the Lord is indiiferent to its claims to 
redress is unjustifiable in view of His changelessness and inexhaustible 

27. Ml/ way is hid, etc, Israel's fortunes (for this sense of way 
cf xlv. 13, xlviii. 15, Ps. xxxvii. 5) had not been ameliorated as might 
have been expected (see Jer. xxx. 18). 

my judgement. Better, my right (or dvs) : cf. xlix. 4, x. 2, Ps. ix. 4. 
Though in regard to the Lord Israel had sinned (xlii. 24, xlvii. 6, 
1. 1) and deserved chastisement, yet in respect of Babylon it was 
sinned against (cf lii. 5), and could appeal to the Lord to do it 
justice. Compare the similar complaints in xlix. 14, lix. 9. 

28. the everlasting God, etc. Better (as in the mg.), the Lord is 
an everlasting God, the Creator, etc. 

no searching, etc. Or, no fathoming of his insight (cf Iv. 8, Job xi. 7). 
Israel's condition does not escape the Lord's notice. 

29. He giveth, etc. The thought contained in the final clause of 
V. 28 is here developed. The Lord is not only possessed of tireless 
energy Himself but He sustains the flagging energy of others. 

30. Even the youths. These are representatives of human strength 
at its best ; but the writer is no doubt thinking in particular of the 
military resources of Israel's enemies, youths and young men (literally, 
" picked men ") often designating warriors (see xxxi. 8, 2 Sam. ii. 14, 
xviii. 15, Lam. i. 15). 

31. wait upon. i.e. wait for His intervention to vindicate or 
deliver ; cf xxvi. 8, Ps. xxv. 5. 

mount up, etc. Better, grow pinions like those of eagles (LXX. 
TTTepocjiVTJtjovcriv m dcroi, Vulg. assument pennas sicut aquilae). The 
verb is the causative of to grow or come up (Iv. 13) ; cf Ezek. xxxvii. 6, 
Jer. xxx. 17, xxxiii. 6. The thought is not that of the renewal of 


decayed powers (as the eagle' iu age was supposed to renew its 
plumage, and so, in a measure, its youth, Ps. ciii. 5), but of the 
acquisition of altogether new capacities for vigorous action, of which 
the large and powerful wings of eagles are so suggestive (cf. 2 Sam. 
i. 23). Elsewhere the Lord is represented as bearing Israel upon 
eagles' wings (Ex. xix. 4, Deut. xxxii. 11); but here Israel is to get 
for itself eagles' wings, i.e. become endowed with extraordinary powers 
of activity and endurance. 

run... walk. No distinction between the verbs is intended, they 
are parallel as in Pro v. iv. 12. The clause is rejected by Duhm as 
outside the metre. 

Chapter XLI. 

This c. develops three thoughts that are contained in c. xl. : (1) the Lord's 
claim to control the destinies of mankind, illustrated by the success of Cyrus 
{re. 1 — 7, of. xl. 6, 7, 17, 23, 24) ; (2) His benevolent purpose towards Israel 
lci\ 8—20, cf. xl. 1—5, 9—11, 27—31); (3) the futility of idols as proved by the 
test of prophecy {vv. 21—29, cf. xl. 18—20). 

XLI 1 Keep silence before me, islands; and let the 
peoples renew their strength: let them come near; then let 
them speak: let us come near together to judgement. 2 Who 
hath raised up one from the east, ^whom he calleth in right- 

* Or, whom righteousness calleth to its foot Or, whom righteousness vieeteth 
whithersoever he goeth 

XLI. 1 — 7. The Lord's challenge to the heathen peoples to 
shew who. He or their idol-gods, had set in motion the conqueror 
from the east. (For the movements alluded to see Introd. p. Ivii.) 

1. Keep... me. Perhaps better. Come in silence unto me, to hear 
my contention (for the construction cf. xi. 10, Gen. xlii. 28). 

renew their strength, i.e. let them collect all their energies (cf. 
Job xxxviii. 3) to make a counter-contention for their idols. But 
there is nothing suggestive of previous discouragement on the part 
of the heathen, and the expression, following closely upon the same 
phrase in xl. 31, is suspicious: hence Klostermann and Cheyne read 
^and, ye peoples, wait for my argument C^HSiri? •IPq! for D^ -"iSvO!). 
' 2. raised up. i.e. stirred into activity (v. 25, xlv. 13, xiii. 17, 
iJer. 1. 9, li. 1). The allusion is to the conquering career of Cyrus, 
iwhich was begun by the overthrow of Astyages, king of Media, about 

from the east. i.e. from Anshan, S.E. of Babylonia (cf. v. 25, 
xlvi. 11). 

whom he... foot. i.e. whom with faithfulness to His purpose (cf. 

^ The Hebrew term is a generic one, denoting both eagles and vultures, the 
jlatter being specially meant in Mic. i. 16 ; cf. also Prov. xxx. 17. 



eousness to his foot? he giveth nations before him, and maketh 
him rule over kings; ^he giveth them as the dust to his sword, 
as the driven stubble to his bow. 3 He pursueth them, and 
passeth on safely; even by a way that he had not gone with 
his feet. 4 Who hath wrought and done it, calling the genera- 
tions from the beginning? I the Lord, the first, and with the 
last, I am he. 5 The isles saw, and feared; the ends of the 

■* Or, he maketh as the dust their sword, as the driven stubble their bow 

xlii. 6, 21) He calleth to follow Him (for the sense of "^'^pb cf. 1 Sam. 
XXV, 42). If the rendering is correct, the thought is parallel to 
xlv. 2, 3. But a preferable translation is, whom victcn-y meeteth 
whithersoever he turneth — literally, whom righteousness meeteth at his 
foot — the verb ^1\i being taken as equivalent to "T^i? (as in xiv. 9, 
li. 19) and the term righteousness being interpreted of the success 
which, under the rule of a just God, was believed to be ordinarily its 
outward sign and vindication (cf xlv. 8, xlvi. 13, li. 5). The words at 
his foot can be understood in the sense they have in Gen. xxx. 30. The 
Vulg. has qui excitavit ah Orients iustum et creavit eum ut sequeretur 
se, reading P"''^.V (perhaps a victor) for P^V- 

giveth. i.e. giveth up (Deut. vii. 2, Josh. x. 12, 1 Kgs. viii. 46). 

maketh him rule over. The original is irregular in form, and the 
LXX. has cKo-TT^'o-ct, terrifieth ('^'X! for "^T.). Suggested emendations 
are suhdueth ("fj, cf xlv. 1) and hringeth doivn ('^''T). 

he giveth them as the dust, etc. The R.V. follows the Vulg. The 
Heb. text, if correct, must mean he (the Lord) maketh like (flying) dust 
his (Cyrus') sword, like driven stubble his bow, the comparison describing 
the Persian king's rapidity of movement. But slight corrections 
produce renderings which yield a better sense : (1) he (Cyrus) maketh 
them (QP-Jp''. for 1131) as dust with his sword, as driven stubble with his bow; 
(2) his sword maketh them (O.^rin for V^''!) like dust, his bow like driven 
stubble ; (3) he maketh as the dust their sword (Q^in for i^nn)^ as the 
driven stubble their bow (p'^W for riK'i?)^ after the LXX., which is 
followed by the mg. 

3. even by a way, etc. The tense of the original requires the 
rendering even by a way that he doth not go vnth his feet, i.e. the 
Persian conqueror will press towards his aim like a winged bird of 
prey (xlvi. 11), with more than human directness and speed: cf 
Dan. viii. 5. 

4. calling. Better, He that calleth (i.e. hringeth into existence, cf. 
Ps. xc. 3), the clause that begins here being the answer to the preceding 

the first... last. The phrase is equivalent to the everlasting God oi 
xl. 28 (cf xliv. 6, xlviii. 12), and is the original of Rev. i. 17, ii. 8, 
xxii. 13. 

1 am he. The expression (which recurs in xliii. 10, 13, xlvi. 4, 
xlviii. 12, Ps. cii. 27, Heb.) designates the Lord as the abiding initiator 


earth trembled: they drew near, and came. 6 They helped 
every one his neighbour ; and every one said to his brother, Be 
of good courage. 7 So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, 
and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smiteth the 
anvil, saying of the soldering, It is good: and he fastened it 
with nails, that it should not be moved. 

8 But thou, Israel, my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, 

of all that happens in space and time : cf. Deut. xxxii. 39. The same 
pronoun (Heb. hu), probably with the same connotation, enters into the 
composition of personal names like Abiku and Elihu. The evidence 
for the assertion, here made, that it was the Lord who had raised up 
Cyrus is supplied in v. 27. 

5. The isles saw, etc. The heathen nations, agitated and alarmed, 
in answer to the Lord's challenge, assemble for the trial (which begins 
in V. 21). After came Duhm (guided by the LXX.) plausibly suppHes 
together to judgment (cf v. 1). 

6 — 7. These vv., as has been previously noticed, are by some 
recent commentators transferred to c. xl. and inserted between iw. 19 
and 20, where they suit the context excellently ; whereas here there is 
considerable abruptness in the transition from the assembling of the 
heathen to the operations of the idol factory. On the other hand their 
retention in their present position seems desirable in view of vv. 21 — 
24, where the address to the idol gods (see especially v. 23) appears to 
require some previous mention of them. 

6. Be of good courage. Literally, Be strong, an exhortation to in- 
creased alacrity and energy (Zech. viii. 9) in the work of manufacture. 

7. the carpenter. Better, the workman, the same word as in xl. 
19, and here, as well as there, denoting the metal worker, who makes 
the core of the idol. From this workman the image is passed to the 
goldsmith to plate. 

he that smootheth. A synonym for the goldsmith who with the 
hammer adjusts the gold plate to the core of inferior metal. 

him that... anvil. The rendering, if correct, probably describes a 
workman who produces an image at a forge (cf. xliv. 12). But another 
suggested translation is he that smiteth with the mallet, descriptive of a 
second workman engaged with the plating. 

the soldering, i.e. which attaches the plating to the core of the image. 

fastened it. i.e. to its pedestal (cf xl. 19, note). 

8 — 20. A consolatory address to Israel, assuring it of success over 
all its enemies and relief from all its wants. 

At the end of v, 7 the trial begun in v. 1 is interrupted and not 
resumed till v. 21. The dislocation caused by the position of w. 8 — 
20 in the middle of the debate with the idol-gods (for vv. 1 — 7 and 
21 — 28 are manifestly intended to be consecutive) is so violent that the 
section must be regarded as misplaced. Its proper position is pre- 
sumably at the end of the chapter. 


the seed of Abraham my friend ; 9 thou whom I have taken hold 
of from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the corners 

8. my servant. This term, naturally applicable to any person 
from whom the Lord, as the universal Ruler, requires service, is used 
not only of individual Hebrews like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Gen. 
xxvi. 24, Deut. ix. 27), Moses (Num. xii. 7, Deut. xxxiv. 5), Caleb 
(Num. xiv. 24), Joshua (Josh. xxiv. 29), David (2 Sam. vii. 8, 
Ps. Ixxviii. 70, Ixxxix. 3), Eliakim (Is. xxii. 20), Zerubbabel (Hag. ii. 
23), the prophets generally (Am. iii. 7, 2 Kgs. ix. 7, Jer. vii. 25, xxv. 4), 
and the Messiah (Zech. iii. 8), but likewise of foreigners like Job (i. 8, 
ii. 3) and Nebuchadrezzar (Jer. xxv. 9, xxvii. 6). It is also employed 
in a collective sense of Israel as a people, and is thus used by Jeremiah 
(xxx. 10, xlvi. 27) and in Ps. cxxxvi. 22 (cf. Luke i. 54)^; but in this 
sense it is particularly characteristic of Deutero-Isaiah. The idea here 
conveyed by it is that Israel is the Lord's witness and messenger 
(xlii. 19), designed to make known among the heathen His superiority 
over other gods (xliii. 10, Iv. 4): and so to bring them into allegiance 
to Him (xlv. 14, 24, Iv. 5). In the qualities expected of it in this 
capacity Israel is, in these cc, for the most part described as sadly 
deficient (xlii. 19, 20, xliii. 8); but in certain passages, usually known 
as the Servant Songs, it is depicted so differently that it seems 
impossible for the conflicting representations to proceed from the same 
author (see on xlii. 1 — 4). 

whom... chosen. By the Lord's choosing Israel, a term frequent in 
Deutero-Isaiah, but found also in Ezek. xx. 5, Deut. iv. 37, Ps. cv. 6, 
cvi. 5, the prophetic writers express the preferential relations with the 
Almighty to which they believed their race had been admitted (as 
manifested, for example, by its possession of a religious faith superior 
to that of other nations, Deut. iv. 7, 8). No reason is given by them 
for God's seemingly arbitrary choice of Israel as the object of His love 
(xliii. 4, cf Mai. i. 2, 3), but though the difficulty occasioned by this 
unequal treatment is not completely solved, the gravity of it is greatly 
lightened by the consideration, developed elsewhere in Deutero-Isaiah, 
that the privileges conferred upon a few are entrusted to them for the 
eventual good of all (cf p. Ixii). The same consideration is of value 
in connection with the similar problem raised by the superior intellec- 
tual endowment of certain peoples, races, and individuals above the 

the seed of. . .friend. Cf Ps. cv. 6. The title my friend (literally, my 
lover) which is here applied to Abraham is reproduced in 2 Ch. xx. 7, 
James ii. 23, and the Vulg. of Judith viii. 22 {Abraham... per multas 
trihulationes probatus, Dei amicus ejfectus est), and appears likewise in 
the Koran (Sura iv.). 

9. whom I have taken, etc. What the Lord had done for Israel 
in the past was an earnest of what He would do for it in the future. 

^ In Ezek. xxviii. 25, xxxvii. 25 the words my servant Jacob seem to designate 
the patriarch, not the nation. 

XLi. 10-15] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 263 

thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant, I have chosen 
thee and not cast thee away ; 10 fear thou not, for I am with thee ; 
^be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; 
yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right 
hand of my righteousness. 1 1 Behold, all they that are incensed 
against thee sliall be ashamed and confounded : they that strive 
with thee shall be as nothing, and shall perish. 12 Thou shalt 
seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contend 
with thee : they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and 
as a thing of nought. 13 For I the Lord thy God will hold thy 
right hand, saying unto thee. Fear not; I will help thee. 
14 Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will 
help thee, saith the Lord, and Hhy redeemer is the Holy One of 
Israel. 15 Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing 

1 Or, look not around thee ^ Or, thij redeemer, the Holy One &c. 

The event referred to is probably not the Exodus of the nation from 
Egypt, but the call of its ancestor from Ur (Gen. xi. 31) or Meso- 
potamia (Gen. xii. 4). These places, though near Babylon, where Israel 
now was, are described as the ends of the earth, because viewed in thought 
from Palestine, the nation's home ; cf on v. 26. 

10. be not dismayed. More literally, look not despairingly around 
(cf. V. 23) : see xl. 27. 

will strengthen thee. Perhaps, ivill secure thee for myself ; cf. 
xliv. 14, Ps. Ixxx. 15 (Heb.). 

the right hand of my righteousness. Better, either my faithful right 
hand or my vindicating (or victorious) right hand : cf v. 2. 

11. ashamed. Better, disappointed (and so in xlv. 16, 17, liv. 4). 

14. thou worm. A figure for humiliation and degradation (Ps. xxii. 
6, Job XXV. 6). 

ye men of Israel. The parallelism requires a synonym for worm ; 
and a plausible emendation is t/Mu wormlet Israel (reading ns") for 
*DP): cf xiv. 11, Job xxv. 6. 

thy redeemer. The original term {Goel) denotes the next-of-kin 
whose duty and right it was to redeem a fellow-kinsman's person or 
property, if either had been sold (Lev. xxv. 25, Ruthiii. 12, 13, iv. 4, 6), 
or to avenge his death, if he had been the victim of violence (Num. xxxv. 
12, 19, cf 2 Sam. iv. 11). The equivalent of this tie the Lord 
recognized as subsisting between Himself and Israel, and claimed the 
consequent right of avenging the nation's wrongs (cf Ex. xv. 13). 

the. Holy One of Israel. See on i. 4. This is one of the few charac- 
teristic phrases of Isaiah that are common in Deutero-Isaiah (see vv. 16, 
20, xliii. 3, 14, xlv. 11, xlvii. 4, xlviii. 17, etc.). 

15. sharp. The word so rendered is itself used for threshing 
instrument (or sledge) in xxviii. 27, and is perhaps here a gloss. 

264 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xli. 16-21 

instrument having teeth : thou shalt thresh the mountains, and 
beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. 16 Thou 
shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the 
whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the 
Lord, thou shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel. 17 The poor 
and needy seek water and there is none, and their tongue 
faileth for thirst; I the Lord will answer them, I the God of 
Israel will not forsake them. 18 I will open rivers on the bare 
heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys : I will make 
the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of 
water. 19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia 
tree, and the myrtle, and the ^oil tree; I will set in the desert 
the fir tree, the ^pine, and the ^box tree together: 20 that 
they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, 
that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One 
of Israel hath created it. 

21 Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your 

^ Or, oleaster ^ Or, plane ^ Or, cypress 

the mountains. Probably symbols for formidable foes (who are the 
objects of threshing in Mic. iv. 13). 

Since in vv. 15, 16 Israel is described as being itself the destroyer 
of all that opposes or obstructs it, whereas elsewhere in these cc. it 
owes its deliverance to others, Marti thinks that vv. 11 — 16 proceed 
from another writer than Deutero-Isaiah. 

17. The poor and needy. Expressions designating the Jewish 
community; see Ps. Ixxiv. 21, Hab. iii. 14. 

18. / will open rivers. Similar promises occur in xliii. 19, 20, 
xlviii. 21, xlix. 10, Iv. 13. 

19. / will plant, etc. Of the trees, planted to shade the travellers, 
the oil tree is taken by some (see mg.) for the oleaster or wild olive (cf. 
Neh. viii. 15), but is more probably a resinous tree like the pine. The 
Jir (so Vulg.), according to some, should be the cypress (so Sym. ; cf. 
Lx. 13 LXX.). What is here called the pine (so LXX. in Ix. 13) is 
probably the plane (see mg.) though Sym. has -n-TeXea and Vulg. has 
ulmus ; whilst the box tree (Vulg.) may be the sherbin-tree, a variety 
of cypress (cf. mg.). 

20. that they, etc. The pronoun seems to refer to men in general, 
who, from beholding the transformation of the wilderness just described, 
will come to understand better the character and power of Israel's God, 
see Iv. 13. 

21 — 29. The Lord's challenge to the idol-gods to substantiate their 
claims to divinity by predictions hke His own respecting Cyrus (see 
p. Ixi). 

XLi 1.-24] THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 265 

strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. 22 Let them bring 
them forth, and declare unto us what shall happen : declare ye 
the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, 
and know the latter end of them; or shew us things for to 
come. 23 Declare the things that are to come hereafter, that 
we may know that ye are gods : yea, do good, or do evil, that 
we may ^be dismayed, and behold it together. 24 Behold, ye 

1 Or, look one upon another 

The trial scene, introduced in w. 1—7, and interrupted by the 
intrusion of vv. 8 — 20, is here resumed. 

21. Produce. The challenge is addressed to the idols (but see 
next note). 

bring forth... reasons, i.e. to prove that you are not nonentities. 
Gratz, assuming that the idol-worshippers are addressed, emends the 
text to bring forth your idols (DS^nU-vy for DD^niD^y). 

the King of Jacob. The appellation distinguishes the Lord from 
the gods of the heathen who were also entitled kings (viii. 21, Am. v. 

22. Let them... forth. This must be addressed to the idol-wor- 
shippers, but the LXX. and Vulg. have Let them (the idol-gods) 
approach (^^V'. for •15i'''ii!:), which is preferable. 

declare unto us, etc. True predictions (made through their 
prophets) would be evidence for the reality of the Babylonian gods, 
because only from beings controlhng events could foreknowledge of 
them be derived. On the other hand, though isolated predictions 
which the events falsified might only discredit the prophets who 
uttered them (see Deut. xviii. 22), complete failure to predict the 
future correctly would discredit the gods themselves. 

the former things. Instances of past predictions, with which the 
actual sequel (the latter end of them) could be compared. But the 
balance of the clauses is greatly improved if (with Duhm and others) 
the words (that we may) krMW the latter end of them are placed at the 
end of the verse. 

things fm- to come. i.e. predictions concerning what is still future, 
which time will verify or disprove. By the plur. pron. us and we (see 
w. 23, 26) the Lord probably associates with Himself His people who 
are present as His witnesses (see xliii. 9, 10). 

23. do good, etc. If the idol-gods shrink from the test proposed, 
they may select their own conditions, so long as they do something to 
shew that they are alive (cf Jer. x. 5). 

may be dismayed. Better (cf mg.), may look around on one another 
in astonishment : LXX. OaviJuaa-ofjieOa. 

24. Behold, etc. After v. 23 it must be assumed that there is a pause 
whilst an answer is awaited. But the idols are silent and motionless, 
and the conclusion here drawn is inevitable. In reality, no doubt, the 
oracles and prophets of Babylon, like those of Greece and Rome, could 

266 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH [xli. .5, ^6 

are of nothing, and your work of nought : an abomination is he 
that chooseth you. 

25 I have raised up one from the north, and he is come; 
from the rising of the sun one that calleth upon my name : and 
he shall come upon ^rulers as upon mortar, and as the potter 
treadeth clay. 26 Wlio hath declared it from the beginning, 
that we may know? and beforetime, that we may say, He is 

^ Or, deputies 

have cited many coincidences between their predictions and the ensuing 
events \ 

your wm'k. i.e. your achievements. The rendering nought is a 
necessary correction (based on xl. 17, xli. 12, 29 and confirmed by the 
Vulg.) of the Heb., which contains a scribal error. 

an abomination, etc. i.e. an object of abhorrence is he who chooses 
you for worship (Jud. v. 8, x. 14). 

25. / have raised, etc. A reiteration of the assertion of vv. 2 — 4 
that it was the Lord who was the Author of Cyrus' successful career; 
to which is now added {vv. 26, 27) the proof supplied by the prior 
prediction of it. 

the north... the rising of the sun. A designation of the N.E., the 
direction in which Media lay relatively to Babylon. 

that calleth, etc. Better, tJiat will call upon (i.e. worship, Ixiv. 7, 
Gen. iv. 26), or perhaps that will proclaim (i.e. make known, Ex. xxxiii. 
19, xxxiv. 5) my name. The passage is an anticipation that Cyrus will 
eventually acknowledge the Lord as the Author of his success, not (as 
the B.V. implies) a statement that he, as king of a nation which 
(like the Jews) did not worship images, is already a genuine, even 
though an unconscious, worshipper of the true God (see xlv. 4, 5). 
There is not sufficient evidence, notwithstanding Ezra i. 2 (= 2 Ch. 
xxxvi. 23), that Cyrns ever worshipped the Lord (as here foretold), 
and in his own inscriptions he attributes his success over Babylon to 
the Babylonian gods Nabu (Nebo) and Marduk (Merodach); but by 
the Hebrews the restoration of the Israelite exiles, which rendered 
feasible the re-building of the Temple, might be regarded as an act of 
homage satisfying the present prediction. It is possible, however, that 
the text is at fault : the parallelism is improved by the emendation / 
call him hy his name Q^f"^ ^IR^ for 'P^? ^1\T-); cf xlv. 4, xlviii. 15. 

come upon. Many critics adopt the conjecture trample upon (D3J 
for ^3^) as affording a better parallel to treadeth; cf xiv. 25, Ixiii. 6. 

rulers. The original word (said to be an Assyrian loan-word) only 
occurs elsewhere in exilic and post-exilic writings (Jer. li. 23, Ezra ix. 
2, Neh. ii. 16, etc.), and so supports an exilic date for these cc. 

26. the beginning, i.e. of Cyrus' advance (xlviii. 16). 

1 For Greek oracles verified by the event see Hdt. i. 46 — 48, 52, 53, vii. 178, 
188, 189, viu. 36, 37. 


righteous? yea, there is none that declareth, yea, there is none 
that sheweth, yea, there is none that heareth your words. 27 / 
first ivill say unto Zion, Behold, behold them ; and I will give 
to Jerusalem one that bringeth good tidings. 28 And when I 
look, there is no man ; even among them there is no counsellor, 
that, when I ask of them, can answer a word. 29 ^Behold, all 
of them, their works are vanity and nought: their molten 
images are wind and confusion. 

^ Or, Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nought 

He is righteous. Better, He (or It) is correct, LXX. on dX-qOrj la-riv. 

27. I first, etc. The sentence in the original is defective, and it 
is doubtful whether the tenor of it is Beforehand (literally, As a first 
one) to Zion I declared, or A precursm- (literally, A first one) to Zion I 
sent. The latter suits best the parallel clause, and is favoured by the 
LXX. There is a reference to xl. 9. 

Behold, etc. i.e. the approaching train of returning exiles; cf. 
xlix. 18. Some critics think the words conceal the missing verb of the 
preceding clause, and substitute / declared it (C!"'^'!?'? or CJ^IIO for 
Dsn nsn). 

/ will give. Better, / give. 

28. And when I look. The Lord, as it were, gives a final glance 
round to see whether there is any among the idol-gods who will dispute 
His conclusion {v. 26) and furnish evidence of prophetic power. But 

Duhm would read, But as for them {*^^) for ^1^1). 

counsellor, i.e. predicter ; cf the meaning of counsel (i.e. prediction) 
in xliv. 26 and the corresponding verb in Num. xxiv. 14. 

29. all of them, etc. Better (cf mg.), all of them are vanity (or by 
the substitution of P^ for 11><, nothing), their wm-ks (i.e. their activities 
and achievements) are nought : cf v. 24. 

their molten images. The possessive pronoun refers to the makers 
and worshippers of the idols. For ivind as a symbol of nothingness cf 
Job vii. 7, Eccles. i. 14, 17. Confusion is literally wasteness or 
emptiness, see xl. 17 and cf 1 Sam. xii. 21. 

Chapter XLII. 1—4. 

This section describes a mission to the heathen with which the Lord's 
Servant is entrusted, his methods of working, and his constancy of purpose. 
It is written in three symmetrical quatrains, and constitutes the first of the 
passages already alluded to (p. 262) as the Servant Songs, the others being 
xlix. 1 — 6, 1. 4 — 9, lii. 1.3 — liii. 12. These differ from the rest of the prophecy 
partly in their style, which is less impetuous than that of the rest of cc. xl. — Iv., 
and partly in their contents. Elsewhere in this prophecy the Servant is 
portrayed as expected by the Lord to witness before the world to His Divine 


power (xliii. 10), but as failing to understand and promote the Divine purposes 
(xlii. 18 — 20), as having incurred suffering by sinning (xlii. 24, 25, xliii. 25, 
xlvii. 6, 1. 1), as complaining under tribulation (xl. 27, xlix. 14), as owing his 
approaching redemption to the Lord's spontaneous mercy (xliii. 25, xliv. 27), 
and as meriting compensation only because his guilt has been exceeded by 
his punishment (xl. 2, xlvii. 6). But in these poems, wherein he appears as 
expressly commissioned to acquaint the heathen with the religion of the Lord 
(xUi. 1 — 4, xlix. 6), he is depicted as resolute in the discharge of his duty 
(xlii. 4, xlix. 4), as obedient to the Divine will even at the cost of many 
indignities (1. 5 — 7), as patiently submitting to affliction and persecution 
though innocent of wrong (liii. 7 — 9), as expiating by his undeserved suflFerings, 
which end in death, the offences of others (liii. 5, 6, 8, 11, 12), and as being 
rewarded by a renewal of life and by the success of his mission (liii. 10). 
Since the Servant seems to designate the actual nation of Israel in the Songs 
just as in the rest of cc. xl. — Iv. (his death and revival representing the 
nation's political extinction and subsequent restoration), it is probable that 
the Songs (which in their respective contexts begin abruptly) are insertions in 
the prophecy, since it is unnatural that two such dissimilar conceptions of 
Israel's character and bearing should originate with the same author. The 
insertion of them, however, seems to have been effected by Deutero-Isaiah 
himself, who in two instances appears to have expanded them (see on xlii. 5-9, 
xlix. 7-13). For alternative views see on p. 345. 

XLII. 1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; my chosen, 
in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my spirit upon him; 
he shall bring forth judgement to the ^Gentiles. 2 He shall 

^ Or, nations (and elsewhere) 

XIiII. 1. Behold my servant, etc. The LXX. here explicitly 
identifies the Servant with Israel (cf. xlix. 3) by inserting Jacob before 
my servant and Israel before my chosen. 

whom I uphold ; my chosen. Both expressions are used of historic 
Israel, the former in xli. 10 (though the construction differs), the latter 
in xliii. 20, xlv. 4. 

in... delighteth. Cf Ps. cxlvii. 11, Prov. iii. 12. The soul, in 
Heb., denotes the seat of the higher affections as well as the lower 
appetites (xxix. 8). 

I hive put my .spirit, etc. Cf xliv. 3 (of Israel). It was through the 
bestowal of the spirit of the Lord that both individuals and nations 
were empowered to undertake duties or achieve enterprises beyond 
ordinary capacity (see on xi. 2). It is with the qualifications of a 
religious teacher that Israel is here represented as endued; cf 1. 4. 

judgement. The word, here and in w. 3, 4, li. 4, Ivi. 1, is the same 
as that which in Iviii. 2, Jer. viii. 7 is rendered by ordinance. It is 
a collective expression for the Divine requirements both ceremonial 
(2 Kgs. xvii. 26, 27) and moral (Jer. v. 4); and so is practically 
equivalent to the religion of Jehovah. It was the destiny of Israel to 
be the channel of the Divine revelation, which, hitherto confined within 


not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. 
3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the ^ smoking flax shall 
he not quench : he shall bring forth judgement in truth. 4 He 
shall not ^fail nor be ^discouraged, till he have set judgement 
in the earth ; and the isles shall wait for his law. 

^ Or, dimly burning wick ^ Or, burn dimly • Or, bruised 

the limits of a small people, was