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Full text of "A critical and exegetical commentary on the book of Isaiah 1-39. 40-66"

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Uto Cestamcnts 



UNDER THE EDITORSHIP OF 



The Rev. CHARLES AUGUSTUS BRIGGS, D.D. 

Professor of Theological Ettcyclopedia and Symbolics 
Union Theological Seminary, New York 



The Rev. SAMUEL ROLLES DRIVER, D.D. 

Regius Professor of Hebrew, Oxford 

The Rev. ALFRED PLUMMER, M.A., D.D. 

Late Master of University College, Durham 



The International 

Critical Commentary 

On the Holy Scriptures of the Old and 
New Testaments 



EDITORS' PREFACE 



THERE are now before the public many Commentaries, 
written by British and American divines, of a popular 
or homiletical character. The Cambridge Bible for 
Schools, the Handbooks for Bible Classes and Private Students, 
The Speaker's Comme7itary, The Popular Commentary (Schaff), 
The Expositor's Bible, and other similar series, have their 
special place and importance. But they do not enter into the 
field of Critical Biblical scholarship occupied by such series of 
Commentaries as the Kurzgefasstes exegetisches Handbuch zum 
A. T ; De Wette's Kurzgefasstes exegetisches Handbuch zum 
N. T. ; Meyer's Kritisch-exegetischer Xom?nentar; Keil and 
Delitzsch's Biblischer Commentar iXber das A. T. ; Lange's 
Theologisch-homiletisches Bibelwerk ; Nowack's Handkommentar 
zum A. T. ; Holtzmann's Handkommentar zufn N. T Several 
of these have been translated, edited, and in some cases enlarged 
and adapted, for the English-speaking public ; others are in 
process of translation. But no corresponding series by British 
or American divines has hitherto been produced. The way has 
been prepared by special Commentaries by Cheyne, EUicott, 
Kalisch, Lightfoot, Perowne, Westcott, and others; and the 
time has come, in the judgment of the projectors of this enter- 
prise, when it is practicable to combine British and American 
scholars in the production of a critical, comprehensive 
Commentary that will be abreast of modern biblical scholarship, 
and in a measure lead its van. 




The International Critical Commentar 



Messrs. Charles Scribner's Sons of New York, and Messrs. 
T. & T. Clark of Edinburgh, propose to publish such a series 
of Commentaries on the Old and New Testaments, under the 
editorship of Prof. C. A. Briggs, D.D., D.Litt., in America, and 
of Prof. S. R. Driver, D.D., D.Litt., for the Old Testament, and 
the Rev. Alfred Plummer, D.D., for the New Testament, in 
Great Britain. 

The Commentaries will be international and inter-confessional, 
and will be free from polemical and ecclesiastical bias. They 
will be based upon a thorough critical study of the original texts 
of the Bible, and upon critical methods of interpretation. They 
are designed chiefly for students and clergymen, and will be 
written in a compact style. Each book will be preceded by an 
Introduction, stating the results of criticism upon it, and discuss- 
ing impartially the questions still remaining open. The details 
of criticism will appear in their proper place in the body of the 
Commentary. Each section of the Text will be introduced 
with a paraphrase, or summary of contents. Technical details 
of textual and philological criticism will, as a rule, be kept 
distinct from matter of a more general character ; and in the 
Old Testament the exegetical notes will be arranged, as far as 
possible, so as to be serviceable to students not acquainted with 
Hebrew. The History of Interpretation of the Books will be 
dealt with, when necessary, in the Intfroductions, with critical 
notices of the most important literature of the subject. Historical 
and Archaeological questions, as well as questions of Biblical 
Theology, are included in the plan of the Commentaries, but 
not Practical or Homiletical Exegesis. The Volumes will con- 
stitute a uniform series. 




The International Critical Commentary 



ARRANGEMENT OF VOLUMES AND AUTHORS 

THE OLD TESTAMENT 

GENESIS. The Rev. JOHN Skinner, D.D., Principal and Professor of 
Old Testament Language and Literature, College of Presbyterian Church 
of England, Cambridge, England. [Now Ready. 

eXODUS. The Rev. A. R. S. KENNEDY, D.D., Professor of Hebrew, 
University of Edinburgh. 

LEVITICUS. J. F. Stenning, M.A., Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford. 

NUMBERS. The Rev. G. Buchanan Gray, D.D., Professor of Hebrew, 
MansfieVi College, Oxford- [JVow Ready. 

DEUTERONOMY. The Rev. S. R. Driver, D.D., D.Litt., Regius Pro- 
fessor of Hebrew, Oxford. \Now Ready. 

JOSHUA. The Rev. George Adam Smith, D.D., LL.D., Principal of the 
University of Aberdeen. 

JUDGES. The Rev. George Moore, D.D., LL.D., Professor of Theol- 
ogy, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. {Norw Ready. 

SAMUEL. The Rev. H. P. Smith, D.D., Professor of Old Testament 
Literature and History of Religion, Meadville, Pa. \Now Ready, 

KINGS. The Rev. Francis Brown, D.D., D.Litt, LL.D., President 
and Professor of Hebrew and Cognate Languages, Union Theological 
Seminary, New York City. 

CHRONICLES. The Rev. Edward L. Curtis, D.D., Professor of 
Hebrew, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. [Now Ready, 

EZRA AND NEHEMIAH. The Rev. L. W. Batten, Ph.D., D.D., Pro- 
fessor of Old Testament Literature, General Theological Seminary, New 
York City. ^ 

PSALMS. The Rev. Chas. A. Briggs, D.D., D.Litt., Graduafe Fro- 
fessor of Theological Encyclopaedia and Symbolics, Union Theological 
Seminary, New York. [2 vols. Now Ready 

PROVERBS. The Rev. C. H. Toy, D.D., LL.D., Professor of Hebrew. 
Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. [Now Ready, 

JOB. The Rev. S. R. Driver, D.D., D.Litt. Regius Professor of He- 
brew. Oxford. 



The International Critical Commentary 



ISAIAH. Chaps. I-XXVII. The Rev. G. Buchanan Gray, D.D., Pro- 
fessor of Hebrew, Mansfield College, Oxford. [^IVcrtU Ready. 

ISAIAH. Chaps. XXVIII-LXVI. The Rev. A. S. Peake, M.A., D.D., 
Dean of the Theological Faculty of the Victoria University and Professor of 
Biblical Exegesis in the University of Manchester, England. 

JEREMIAH. The Rev. A. F. Kirkpatrick, D.D., Dean of Ely, sometime 
Regius Professor of Hebrew, Cambridge, England. 

EZEKIEL. The Rev. G. A. Cooke, M.A., Oriel Professor of the Interpre- 
tation of Holy Scripture, University of Oxford, and the Rev. Charles F. 
BuRNEY, D.Litt., Fellow and Lecturer in Hebrew, St. John's College, 
Oxford. 

DANIEL. The Rev. John P. Peters, Ph.D., D.D., sometime Professor 
of Hebrew, P. E. Divinity School, Philadelphia, now Rector of St. Michael's 
Church, New York City. 

AMOS AND HOSEA. W. R. Harper, Ph.D., LL.D., sometime President 
of the University of Chicago, Illinois. \N(yw Ready. 

MICAH, ZEPHANIAH, NAHUM. HABAKKUK. OBADIAH. AND JOEL. 

Prof. John P. Smith, University of Chicago; W. Hayes Ward, D.D., LL.D., 
Editor of The Independent, New York; Prof. Julius A. Bewer, Union 
Theological Seminary, New York. \N(yw Ready, 

ZECHARIAH TO JONAH. Prof. H. G. MITCHELL, D.D., Prof. John P. 
Smith and Prof. J. A. Bewer. {In Press. 

ESTHER. The Rev. L. B. Paton, Ph.D., Professor of Hebrew, Hart- 
ford Theological Seminary. [Now Ready. 

ECCLESIASTES. Prof. George A. Barton, Ph.D., Professor of Bibli- 
cal Literature, Bryn Mawr College, Pa. [JVow Ready. 

RUTH, SONG OF SONGS AND LAMENTATIONS. Rev. Charles A. 

Briggs, D.D., D.Litt., Graduate Professor of Theological Encyclopaedia 
and Symbolics, Union Theological Seminary, New York. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT 

ST. MATTHEW. The Rev. WiLLOUGHBY C. Allen, M.A., Fellow and 
Lecturer in Theology and Hebrew, Exeter College, Oxford. \Now Ready. 

ST MARK. Rev. E. P. GouLD, D.D., sometime Professor of New Testa- 
ment Literature, P. E. Divinity School, Philadelphia. \_N(m) Ready. 

ST. LUKE. The Rev. Alfred Plummer, D.D., sometime Master of 
University College, Durham. {.Njw Ready. 




The International Critical Commentary 



ST. JOHN. The Very Rev. John Henry Bernard, D.D., Dean of St. 
Patrick's and Lecturer in Divinity, University of Dublin. 

HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS. The Rev. WiLLlAM Sanday, D.D., 
LL.D., Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, Oxford, ana the Rev. WiL- 
LOUGHBY C. Allen, M.A., Fellow and Lecturer in Divinity and Hebrew, 
Exeter College, Oxford. 

ACTS. The Rev. C. H. Turner, D.D., Fellow of Magdalen College, 
Oxford, and the Rev. H. N. Bate, M.A., Examining Chaplain to the 
Bishop of London. 

ROMANS. The Rev. William Sanday, D.D., LL.D., Lady Margaret 
Professor of Divinity and Canon of Christ Church, Oxford, and the Rev. 
A. C. Headlam, M.A., D.D., Principal of King's College, London. 

\_Now Ready. 

i. CORINTHIANS. The Right Rev. Arch Robertson, D.D., LL.D,, 
Lord Bishop of Exeter, and Rev. Alfred Plummer, D.D., late Master of 
University College, Durham. \Norw Ready. 

II. CORINTHIANS. The Rev. Dawson Walker, D.D., Theological 
Tutor in the University of Durham. 

GALATIANS. The Rev. Ernest D. Burton. D.D., Professor of New 
Testament Literature, University of Chicago. 

EPHESIANS AND COLOSSIANS. The Rev. T. K. Abbott, B.D., 
D.Litt., sometime Professor of Biblical Greek, Trinity College, Dublin, 
now Librarian of the same. {Now Ready. 

PHILIPPIANS AND PHILEMON. The Rev. Marvin R Vincent, 
D.D., Professor of Biblical Literature, Union Theological Seminary, New 
York City. {Now Ready. 

THESSALONIANS. The Rev. James E. Frame, M.A., Professor of 
Biblical Theology, Union Theological Seminary, New York City. 

{In Press, 
THE PASTORAL EPISTLES. The Rev. Walter Lock, D.D., Warden 
of Keble College and Professor of Exegesis, Oxford. 

HEBREWS. The Rev. James Moffatt, D.D., Minister United Free 
Church, Broughty Ferry, Scotland. 

ST. JAMES. The Rev. James H. Ropes, D.D., Bussey Professor of New 
Testament Criticism in Harvard University. 

PETER AND JUDE. The Rev. CHARLES BiGG, D.D., sometime Regius 
Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Canon of Christ Church, Oxford. 

{Now Ready. 

THE EPISTLES OF ST. JOHN. The Rev. E. A. Brooke, B.D., Fellow 
and Divinity Lecturer in King's College, Cambridge. 

REVELATION. The Rev. Robert H. Charles, M.A., D.D., sometime 

Professor of Biblical Greek in the University of Dublin. 



[I 



THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 

GEORGE BUCHANAN GRAY 
VOL. I 




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5 DEPARTMENTAL 



AL Critical Commentary 



A 

CRITICAL AND EXEGETICAL 
COMMENTARY 



ON 



THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 



I-XXXIX 

BY 

GEORGE BUCHANAN GRAY, D.D., D.Litt. 

fROFESSUR OF HEBREW AND OLD TESTAMENT EXEGESIS 
IN MANSFIELD COLLEGE, OXFORD 



XL-LXVI 

BY 

ARTHUR S. PEAKE, D.D. 

RYLANDS PROFESSOR OF BIBLICAL EXEGESIS 
IN THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER 



IN TWO VOLUMES 
VOL. I 
INTRODUCTION, AND COMMENTARY ON I-XXVII t 



NEV^ YORK 

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 

1912 






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7%e Rights of Translation and Reproduction are Reserved 




I 



PREFACE. 



This Commentary should have been written by another ; 
and all who are in any way familiar with the work of the 
late Dr. A. B. Davidson, and conscious of the profound 
sympathy and penetrating insight that he always brought 
to the interpretation of Scripture, must regret that he had 
made no substantial progress with the Commentary, which 
the editors of this series had entrusted to him, at the time 
when Christian scholarship and Christian life were left the 
poorer by his death. 

After Dr. Davidson's death, the editors, with a view to 
the speedier completion of this series, decided to make the 
Commentary on Isaiah the work of two writers; and at 
their request I undertook the preparation of the Com- 
mentary on chs. 1-39. For the present volume I am, 
then, entirely responsible ; and, owing to the unequal size 
of the two main parts of the Book of Isaiah, the con- 
clusion of my work must be held over for the second 
volume, which will also contain Dr. Peake's Commentary 
on chs. 40-66, completing the work. 

For the general Introduction to the entire book I am 
also solely responsible, though Dr. Peake, who has read 
it, is in general agreement with it, and in particutar with 
such references as it contains to chs. 40-66. The more 
special Introduction to those chapters will be written by 
him, and appear in vol. ii. The second volume will also 
contain full Indexes to the whole work. 

I cannot claim, as 1 could in writing my Preface to 



Vi PREFACE 



% 



the Commentary on Numbers, in this series, that the lack 
of recent Commentaries is in itself sufficient justification 
for the publication of a new one. Once again I have 
been able to avail myself of the learning of Dillmann, 
with on this occasion the additions or corrections of 
Kittel ; but as a commentator on Isaiah, Dillmann stands 
far less alone. Like all who have devoted themselves to 
the study of Isaiah since 1892, I am profoundly indebted 
to the Commentary of Bernhard Duhm, as my frequent 
references to him may be left to show ; frequently agree- 
ing with him, I have also frequently differed from him ; 
but often when I have differed, I have differed because 
I first have learnt from him. In some respects Duhm 
seems to me to have led those astray who have followed 
him too closely, and particularly by his line- and strophe- 
divisions; but that is only a small offset to the really 
great service which he has rendered. Marti in brief com- 
pass has found it possible to advance frequently beyond 
Duhm ; and to his work I have constantly turned, and 
seldom unrewarded. But to come now nearer home. 
Two names of Oxford scholars should always be associ- 
ated with the study of Isaiah : they are those of Robert 
Lowth (Introduction, § 44) and T. K. Cheyne. The 
Commentary of the latter at the end of last century for 
long stood out conspicuous, in the general dearth of good 
English Commentaries on the Old Testament; it was 
itself the successor of earlier and valuable works on 
Isaiah, and it has been succeeded and, in some measure 
superseded, by his later works, especially (though even 
these are not his latest discussions of Isaiah) his edition 
of the Hebrew text and of an English Translation with 
notes in Haupt's Sacred Books of the Old Testament. 
But the English student is also happy in the possession 
of excellent shorter Commentaries by Skinner {Cambridge 
Bible), Whitehouse {Century Bible), and Wade {West- 
minster Commentaries). The last appeared too recently 
to be of much use to me in the preparation of this volume. 
Briefer still, but admirable also, and to be commended in 




I 



PREFACE vii 

particular because, as in Dr. Skinner's, the text is printed 
in poetical form, is McFadyen's Commentary in The Bible 
for Home and School. Of works not taking the form of 
a Commentary it must suffice to refer to Driver's Isaiah: 
His Life and Times, the famous volumes in the Expositors 
Bible by the distinguished Principal of Aberdeen Uni- 
versity, and to the translations in poetical form by Box 
(1908), Glazebrook {Studies in the Book of Isaiah, 19 10), 
and Kent (in the Students^ Old Testament : The Sermons, 
Epistles, and Apocalypses of Israel's Prophets, 1910). But 
my purpose here is not to compile a catalogue, or to re- 
peat what will be found elsewhere (pp. xvi fif.) ; sufficient 
has been said to show that recent works on Isaiah are 
lacking neither in quality nor in quantity. One other 
work in French may be referred to; I have found 
Condamin's Livre dlsate (1905) valuable not only for its 
intrinsic merits, but because it is based on a different 
theory of rhythm, and it frequently criticises the work 
of writers with whom, in general, I am in greater agree- 
ment. 

I have made no attempt to record opinions with any- 
thing approaching the fullness of reference that marks 
Harper's Commentary on Amos and Hosea in this series. 
Consideration of space alone forbade it ; two volumes for 
a commentary on what, after all, is a short book may seem 
ample, yet they are but little when compared with the 
1600 double-columned folio pages of Vitringa, or even the 
i6cx) smaller pages of Gesenius. But I have endeavoured 
to discharge that part of my duty which consists in atten- 
tion to the history of exegesis : if I have seldom or never 
referred to some Commentaries of the 19th century, though 
they were excellent in their day, it is because much that 
was said in them, as much that is said in my own, has an 
earlier origin. I have made constant use of Jerome's 
Commentary as a good example of patristic scholarship 
and exegesis, and as the source of so much that served 
throughout the Middle Ages, and of not a little that is 
rightly repeated to-day. Another important source of 



Vin PREFACE 

interpretation is to be found in the work of the mediaeval 
Jewish scholars, among whom I have chiefly consulted 
Rashi, Kimhi, and Ibn Ezra. I have made more occa- 
sional use of, or at least more limited reference to, Calvin, 
Grotius, Vitringa, and Koppe; but with Gesenius' great 
Commentary (1821) comes a fresh and plentiful source 
of valuable information and suggestion ; it still repays 
constant use of it ; Hitzig and Ewald, among those who 
fill up the time before the recent writers to whom 1 have 
referred, also made characteristic contributions to the 
interpretation of Isaiah. 

The task of interpreting the Book of Isaiah is by no 
means complete; and this is largely because the philo- 
logical basis is as yet far from secure. This cannot be 
conveniently discussed in briefer commentaries ; but as a 
contributor to the present series I have, as in duty bound, 
devoted much attention to it. I might be more satisfied 
with the result of my labours if I could feel that two or 
three important fields of inquiry were really worked out. 
As it is, I must at least indicate here what appear to 
me certain general grounds for considering much of the 
interpretation tentative and uncertain. 

I. The text is frequently corrupt, frequently at least 
open to suspicion of corruption, even where it has very 
generally been accepted without demur. Ultimately in 
many passages we shall always be driven back on conjec- 
ture ; but I am persuaded that the evidence of the Greek 
version has not been as yet completely and accurately 
sifted (cp. Introduction, § 4). 

Another but partially worked out subject that bears 
very considerably on the soundness of the text, and often 
in consequence on interpretation, is that of metre or 
rhythm. I came to the study of Isaiah still sceptical on 
the subject of Hebrew metre; I remain sceptical of the 
finality of any existing theory of it ; but the approxima- 
tion to regularity in the parallel periods is too striking 
to be neglected, and I have systematically drawn atten- 
tion to it in the small print notes prefixed to the trans- 




PREFACE IX 

lations: at the same time I have endeavoured to make 
the irregularities, which in the present text at all events 
are frequent, as obvious as the approximations to regu- 
larity. At the present stage metrical arguments alone 
appear to me a precarious textual criterion, but as con- 
firmatory of other considerations they often have value. 
I discuss the matter more fully in the Introduction 

(§§ 44-57). 

2. Uncertainty of another kind is due to the in- 
sufficiency of our historical knowledge. The brilliant 
genius of Winckler, in particular, has started many theories 
of ancient history, geography, and thought which, if sound, 
would largely modify the interpretation of the Book of 
Isaiah, as well as most of our conceptions of the history 
of Israel and the influence of the Jews on religion and 
history. I have not found myself able to go very far in 
adopting these theories, but the discussions of Winckler 
and others serve at least to throw into relief the in- 
adequacy of our knowledge of the facts (as distinguished 
from theories based upon them) of that history which 
must form the background to the Book of Isaiah. 

The plan of the present series provides for a trans- 
lation of the poetical parts of the Old Testament : this 
has called for a translation of by far the greater part of 
the Book of Isaiah, virtually, indeed, of the whole of it 
apart from chs. 36-39. I have aimed at making my 
translations the pivot of the Commentary ; apart from it 
they have, indeed, little claim to consideration ; I have 
deliberately, where necessary, sacrificed form and style, in 
order to make them as expressive as possible of what 
I understand the Hebrew text to mean, but also of the 
numerous uncertainties which appear to me at present 
to beset the text. For this reason I have introduced 
many marks of interrogation; and as additional marks 
of interrogation I would suggest that the single inverted 
commas, which indicate emendation, should be regarded : 
few emendations are certain, though many enable us to 
approximate more closely to the original thought of the 




X PREFACE 

writer than do the prevalent conjectural translations of 
the existing Hebrew text. By conjectural translation 
I mean translations that rest on ancient or modern guesses 
at the meaning of words or phrases, and either lack sup- 
port in usage and etymology altogether, or obtain the 
semblance of such support only by means of improbable 
inferences from actual usage (see, e.g.^ p. 458 top). In 
some cases, if any translation at all is attempted, there is 
no escape from guessing, and it is merely a question 
whether the guess shall take the form of conjectural 
emendation, or of conjectural translation.* Where the 
sense seemed to me hopelessly obscure, and any prevalent 
conjectural rendering or reading more likely to conceal 
than to illumine the meaning of the passage as a whole, 
I have preferred to leave words or lines entirely un- 
translated. 

1 would draw attention here to what I have discussed 
more fully in the Introduction : the line divisions of the 
translations are determined by regard for parallelism and 
with disregard of rhythm or metre, where this conflicts 
with parallelism. 

In general, I have given entire in the translations what 
appears to me to constitute a single poem, and no more ; 
occasionally, for particular purposes, I have, however, 
brought together in translation what may be a collection 
of one or more poems, or fragments, rather than a single 
poem (see, e.g.y i^"^^ 5^"^*). The small print in the transla- 
tions indicates the possibility that the words in question 
are intrusive ; but the degree of uncertainty so indicated 
varies greatly ; in some cases it is very slight. 

So many features of these Commentaries are now 
familiar that they call for no special explanation here. 
But to one detail I must refer. I have in general followed 

* I have discussed these alternatives in an essay entitled English Versions 
and the Text of the Old Testament (in Mansfield College Essay s^ presented to 
the Reverend A. M. Fairbaim, D.D.^ London, 1909), and both in that 
Essay and in Hastings' Smaller Dictionary of the Bible, art. Text, Versions, 
and Languages, § 40, I have given illustrations of conjectural translation in 
the EV. See also S. R. Driver, Expositor, Jan. 1910, p. 23. 



H 



PREFACE Xi 

Swete's text of the Greek version, accepting his authority 
in matters of accentuation, etc., when I had no occasion 
to question it. But one principle of accentuation followed 
in that text is misleading in relation to many, of the more 
or less minute, points of philology. I refer to the accen- 
tuation of the proper names and of transliterations of 
Hebrew words, for which there is no authority in the 
oldest Greek MSS. In Swete's text the accentuation of 
the later MSS is abandoned, and the Greek forms in 
question are accentuated in accordance with the accentua- 
tion of the vocalised Hebrew of the Massoretic text.* 
Unfortunately, owing to a misunderstanding, the accentua- 
tion of Swete's text has been allowed to stand in some of 
the transliterations cited in this Commentary; it was in- 
tended that all such words should have been consistently, 
as they are frequently, left without accent as in Lagarde's 
edition, and in the names cited in EBi. For the same 
reason, breathings (which in Swete's text are inserted in 
accordance with the existing Massoretic Hebrew text, so 
that they possess no authority of their own) are omitted. 

Unless, in common with most modern writers on 
Isaiah, I am fundamentally wrong in the conclusion that 
the Book of Isaiah is not, as we have received it, the work 
of Isaiah, it must be one of the main tasks of a com- 
mentator on the book to disengage the work of that 
prophet from the accretions which it has received, and so 
to recover, as I have attempted to do in the last division 
of the Introduction, the spirit and teaching of a single 
personality in place of the confused and composite form 
that must present itself, if we attempt to treat the entire 
book as the work of a single mind. This, I say, is one 
of the tasks of the commentator ; another is, of course, to 
do the same service for the author of the main part of 
chs. 40-55. But there is yet another; and that is to do 
justice to other contributors ,to the book, and, above all, 
to approach with sympathy the work of, perhaps, many 
nameless writers that now forms so large a part of it. 

* Swete, Old Testament in Greeks i. p. xiii. 



XU PREFACE 



m 



No full justice can be done to a book which is a great 
monument of Jewish religion after the Exile, if all our 
attention is devoted to determining whether this or that 
passage is " genuine," and dismissing it as not " genuine," 
if it is not the work of Isaiah. In reference to works such 
as the Book of Isaiah, the term " genuine " is indeed 
misleading. None of these nameless writers may have 
possessed the religious genius of Isaiah, but together they 
represent the play of the earlier prophetic teaching on the 
Jewish Church. In religion, as elsewhere, great person- 
alities count first, and it is the privilege of a student of 
the Book of Isaiah to come face to face with one, if not 
two, such personalities : but the religious community is 
the necessary outcome, or field of action, of the great 
religious personality and his teaching, and the student 
of the Book of Isaiah has but half entered into his inherit- 
ance, if he communes with Isaiah and the great exilic 
prophet, but fails to feel the life of that post-exilic 
religious community which not only preserved for them- 
selves and for us the words of the earlier prophets, but 
preserved them in books which were also made to breathe 
the hopes and aspirations that sustained the Jews through 
centuries of isolation, oppression, and temptation. 

I cannot bring this Preface to a close without acknow- 
ledging my gratitude to Dr. Driver for the help which 
I have again received from his reading of my proofs, and 
the numerous suggestions which he has made with regard 
to them. These have withheld me, at times at least, from 
unsafe places, and they have enabled me to enrich my 
Commentary ; my only regret is that, without more 
extensive alteration of the printed sheets than seemed 
reasonable, I could not enrich it still more from the same 
source. 

G. BUCHANAN GRAY. 

December 191 1. 




CONTENTS. 



XXlll 

xxiii 

XXV 

xxix 
xxxii 



FAGH 

Principal Abbreviations employed, . . • . xv 

Addenda and Corrigenda, . 

Introduction, 

§§ 1-3. Title and Place in the Canon, 
§ 4. Text and Versions, 

§§ 5-7" The Book of Isaiah a post-exilic Compilation, 
§§ 8-40. Origin and History of the Book of Isaiah, 

'(i) External Evidence, .... xxxii 

(2) The Greek Version and the Prophetic Canon, . xxxix 

(3) The testimony of the Book of Isaiah to itself, . xlv 

(4) Prophetic teaching and Prophetic literature, . Hi! 

(5) Tentative synthesis from the preceding evidence, Iv 

Kteria for distinguishing the words of Isaiah from the 
additions of later writers, .... Ivii 

§§ 44-57* The poetic forms of the Prophetic literature, and of the 

Book of Isaiah in particular, . . . . lix 

§§ 58-76. Isaiah in relation to the political and social conditions 

of his age, ...... Ixviii 

§§ 77-89. Isaiah as Prophet and Teacher, .... Ixxxi 

Chronological Table, .•••«. xcvii 

Commentary, ....... i 

Map I. Egypt, Syria and Assyria . . . To face title-page 

,, 2. Moab and part of Judah, to illustrate the Commentary on 

Is io"-*» 15. 16, . . . To face page 273 

xiii 




■^ 




PRINCIPAL ABBREVIATIONS EMPLOYED, 



I. Texts and Versions. 



Aq. 
AV. 
EV. 
MT 



OT. 
RV. 



M * • • 


w> . . 


!L . . . 


S . . . 


Symm. . 


E . . . 


Theod. . 


H . . . 



Aquila (p. xxvi). 

Authorised Version. 

English Version. 

The Massoretic Text {t.g. the vocalised text of the 
Hebrew Bible). Variants in the Hebrew codices 
have been cited from De Rossi, Variae Lectiones 
Vet. Test.y vol iii., or R. Kittel, Biblia Hebraica. 

Old Testament. 

Revised Version. 

The Greek (LXX) Version of the Old Testament 
(ed. Swete, Cambridge, 1887-1894). The readings 
of the codices are, when necessary, distinguished 
thus: — (K^ ©^ (Alexandrian, Vatican, etc.). For 
the cursives, reference has been made to Vet, Test. 
Graece^ cum variis lectionibus^ ed. Holmes, Oxon. 
1798, which is cited as HP followed by a numeral. 

Jewish recension of the Hebrew (unvocalised) text, 
i.e. the consonants of the ordinary Hebrew MSS 
and printed Bibles. 

The consonants of the traditional Hebrew Text (J^) 
irrespective of the present word divisions and after 
the removal of the vowel consonants : see p. xxv. 

Old Latin version of ffi : see p. xxix n. * 

The Syriac Version (Peshitto). 

Symmachus (p. xxvi). 

The Jewish Aramaic Version or Targum (p. xxvi). 

Theodotion (p. xxvi). 

Vulgate. 



XVI 



PRINCIPAL ABBREVIATIONS EMPLOYED 



2. Author's Names and Books. 




[See also the literature cited at the beginning of several sections of the 
Commentary ; the works thus given are, within the section, often cited by 
the author's name only.] 



AJSL 

ATAO 
Baud. 

BDB 



Box, G. E. . 
Breasted, J. H. 



Bredenkamp, C. J. . 
Che[yne], T. K. . 



CIS , , , 
Cond[amin], A. . 
COT . 



Dav[idson], A. B. . 
DB . , , 



Del[itzsch, Franz] . 
Del. 



Di[llmann, A.] 
Dr[iver, S. R.] 



American Journal of Semitic Languages and Litera- 
ture. 

See Jeremias. 

W. W. von Baudissin, Einleitung in die Biicher des 
Alien Testaments, 1901. 

A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament 
based on the Lexicon and Thesaurus of Gesenius^ 
by F. Brown, C. A. Briggs, and S. R. Driver, 
Oxford, 1906. 

The Book of Isaiah, 1908. 

{\) A History of Egypt, 1906; 

(2) Ancient Records of Egypt, 1906 (a collection of 
Egyptian historical texts, transliterated, translated, 
and annotated). 

Der Prophet Jesaja erlailtert, 1886- 1887. 

/*/= The Prophecies of Isaiah, ed. 5, 1889 ; 

Introd= Introduction to the Book of Isaiah, 1895 ; 

SBOT, see SBOT below. 

Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum, Paris, 1881 ff". 

Le Livre d^Isaie, 1905. 

The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the OT. ', a. transla- 
tion (London, 1885), by O. C. Whitehouse, of the 
second edition of Die Keilinschriften und das alte 
Testament (abbreviated KAT), by Eb. Schrader. 
References are given to the pages of the 2nd 
German edition which are marked in the margin 
of the translation. 

A third edition of the German work i^KAT^) has 
been edited (and indeed entirely rewritten) by H. 
Zimmern and H. Winckler (1903). 

Hebrew Syntax (Edin. 1894). 

Dictionary of the Bible, and in particular A Diction- 
ary of the Bible, edited by James Hastings (Edin. 
1898-1902). 

Biblical Commentary on the Prophecies of Isaiah 
(translated from the 4th edition, 1889), Edin. 1890. 

In reference to Assyrian matters stands for Friedrich 
Delitzsch (especially Assyrisches Handworterbuch, 
1896). 

Per Prophet Jesaja, 1890. 

{\) A Treatise on the Use of the Tenses in Hebrew 
(ed. 3, Oxford, 1892). 

(2) An Introduction to the Literature of the OT 




PRINCIPAL ABBREVIATIONS EMPLOYED 



XVll 



Dupim, B.] . 
EBi, 

Eich[horn, J. G. L.] 

Ew[ald, H.] . 
Exp. 

Ges[enius, W.] 
Ges-B. . 



Giesebrecht, Fried. . 
O— Iv. • • • 

Gressmann, H. 

Hal[6vy, I.] . 

Hackmann, H. • 
Hitz[ig, F.] . 
Houb[igant, C. F.] . 



HPN . 



• • 



Ibn Ezra, Abraham 

(tii67) 
JBLit. . 
Jer[ome](t420) 



• • 



Jeremias, A. 



/PA 
JThS 
KAT 
KB 



Kennett, R. . 

VOL. I. — b 



(abbreviated LOT), cited according to the pagina- 
tion of ed. 8 (Edin. 1909), which is also that of 
editions 6 and 7. 

Das Buchjesaiay 1892 (ed. 2, 1902). 

Encyclopaedia Biblica, edited by T. K. Cheyne and 
J. S. Black, 1 899- 1 903. 

(1) Einleitung in das Alte Testament, ed. 2, 1 787; 

(2) Die Hebrdischen Propheten, 1816-1819. 

Die Propheten des Alien Bundes, ed. 2, 1867, 1868. 

The Expositor. 

Der Prophet Jesaja, 1821. 

Wilhelm Gesenius' Hebrdisches und Aramaisckes 
Handw'&rterbuch ilber das Alte Testament . . . 
bearbeitet von Frants Buhl, 19 10. 

Beitrdge zur Jesaiakritik, 1890. 

Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar, as edited and enlarged 
by the late E. Kautzsch . . . second English 
edition, revised in cucordance with the twenty- 
eighth German edition {igog), by A. Cowley, 
1910. 

Der Ursprung der israelitisch-jiidischen Eschatologie, 

1905. 
Le Livre (Tlsaie (in course of publication in Revue 

Semitique : carried down to ch. xxii., July 191 1). 
Die Zukunftserwartung des fesaia, 1893. 
Der Prophet /esaja, 1833. 
Biblia Hebraica cum notis criticis et versione latina, 

t. IV, Prophetae posteriores, Paris, 1753. 
Studies in Hebrew Proper Names, by G. Buchanan 

Gray, 1896. 
Hebrew Commentary on Isaiah in Buxtorf's Biblia 

Rabbinica. 
Journal of Biblical Literature (Mass., U.S.A.). 
Commentariorum in Isaiam libri octo et decem, in 

Migne's Patrologia Latina, vol. 24. 

(1) ATAO — Das Alte Testament im Lie hte des alien 
Orients (ed. 2, 1906) ; English translation by 
C. L. Beaumont (191 1) ; 

(2) BNT=Babylonisches im Neuen Testament, 1905. 
Journal of Philology. 

Journal of Theological Studies. 

See COT. 

Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek, ed. Eb. Schrader (Berlin, 

1889 ff.). 
A collection of Assyrian and Babylonian texts 

transliterated and translated into German by various 

scholars. 
The Composition of the Book of Isaiah, 19 10. 



XVlll 



PRINCIPAL ABBREVIATIONS EMPLOYED 




Ki[mhi, David] 

(t 1230) 
Kit[tel, R.] . 

Kon[ig, Ed.] • 



Koppe, J. B. • 
Kue[nen, A.] . 
Lag[arde, P. de] 



Levy, J. . 
Liebmann 
LOT . 
Lowth, R. 



Luzzatto, S, D. 



Marti, K. 
Meinhold, J, . 
NHB . 
Numbers . 

NSE . 
NSI 

Onom, • • 



Oo. 

Or[elli, C. von] 

Ottley, R. R. , 
PEFQuSt. . 
PRE . 

Rashi . • 



Hebrew Commentary on Isaiah in Buxtorf s Biblia 
Rabbinica. 

(1) Der Prophet Jesaj a, a new edition (1898) of Di. ; 

(2) Biblia Hebraica, 1906. 
Historisch-Kritisches Lehrgebdude der Hebrdischen 

Sprache^ 1881, 1895 • the concluding volume (cited 
as Kon. iii. or simply Kon.) appeared in 1897 with 
a fresh title, Historisch- Comparative Syntax der 
Hebrdischen Sprache. 

The references to the Syntax are to the sections, but 

the references to the earlier volumes are to the pages. 

D. R, Lowth's Jesaias . . . mit Zusdtzen und 

Anmerkungen, i779fif. 
Historisch - critisch Onderzoek . . . Tweede dttly De 

Profetische Boeken des ouden verbondes, 1889. 
(i) Semiiica, i., 1878; 
(2) Uebersicht iiber die . . . iibliche Bildung der 

Nomina : abbreviated BN. 
NHB =■ Neuhebrdisches u. Chalddisches Worlerbuch. 
See p. 397. 
See Dr. 

Isaiah: a new translation; with a preliminary 
dissertation^ and notes^ critical, philological, ana 
explanatory y 1778 (ed. 3, 1795, has been used). 
// Profeta Isaia volgarizzato e commentato ad uso degP 
Israeliti, 1867 (an Italian translation with Hebrew 
Commentary). 
Das Buck Jesaja, 1900. 
Die Jesajaerzdhlungen Jesaja j6-j9, 1 898. 
See Levy. 
A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of 

Numbers, by George Buchanan Gray, 1903. 
Lidzbarski, Handbuch der Nordsem. Epigraphik, 1898. 
G. A. Cooke, A Text-book of North-Semitic Inscrip- 
tions, 1903. 
Onomastica Sacra, ed. Lagarde (Gott. 1887). 

This contains several ancient Onomastica, includ- 
ing those of Eusebius and Jerome. 
H. Oort (see p. 397). 
The Prophecies of Isaiah (English translation by J. S. 

Banks, 1889), '1904. 
Isaiah according to the Septuagint, 1904, 1906. 
Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement. 
Herzog's Real-Encyklopddie fiir Protestantische Theo- 

logie u. Kirche ; 3rd edition, by A. Hauck. 
R[abboni] Sh[elomoh] Y[ishaki] (1040-1105). 

Hebrew Commentary on Isaiah in Buxtorf 's 
Biblia Rabbinica. 



IK 



PRINCIPAL ABBREVIATIONS FMrLOYED 



XIX 



Rev. Bibl. 



Rogers, R. W. 
Saad. 
SBOT . 



Sievers, E. • 



Skinner, J. 



Smith, G. A. . 
Sta[de, B.] . 
Th. Ti[jd.] . 

Vitr[inga, C] . 

Wade, G. W. . 
Whitehouse, O. C. 

ZATfV . 
ZDMG . 

ZDPF , 



Revue Biblique Internationale publide par Vkcole 
pratique d^£tudes Bihliques itablie au couvent 
Dominicain Saint- Etienne de Jerusalem (Paris). 

A History of Babylonia and Assyria, ed. 2, 1 90 1. 

Saadiah (t942). 

The Sacred Books of the Old lestameut, ed. Paul 
liaupt. (Part lo, The Book of Isaiah, by T. K. 
Cheyne — Hebrew Text, 1899; English translation, 
1898.) 

Metrische Studien. i. Studien zur hebrdischen 
Metrik, Erster Theil ; Unlersuchungen : Zweiter 
Theil ; Textproben (including Is 1-5. 14. 3722^- ^q). 
These studies are published in the Abhandlungen 
der Philologisch- Hisiorischen Classe der Kiinig. 
Sdchsichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften^ Ein- 
undzwanzigster Band (1901). 

The Book of the Prophet Isaiah (vol. i (i.-xxxix.), 
1896; vol. 2 (xl.-lxvi.), 1898), in The Cambridge 
Bible for Schools and Colleges. 

The Book of Isaiah, 1889, 1890. 

Lehrbtuh der Hebrdischen Grammatik, 1879. 

Theologisck Tifdschrift (Leiden). 

Theologische Studien u. Kritiken (Gotha). 

Commentarius in librum pivphetiarum Jesaiae . . . 
editio nova, Leovardiae, 1724. 

Ihe Book of the Prophet Isaiah (1911), 

The Book of the Prophet Isaiah (^Century Bible), i., 
1905. 

Zeitschrift fiir die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft. 

Zeitschrift des deutschen morgenldndischen Gesell- 
schaft. 

Zeitschrift der deutschen Paldstina- Vereins. 



Biblical passages are cited according to the Hebrew enumeration of 
chapters and verses : where this differs from the English enumeration, the 
reference to the latter has commonly (except in the philological notes) been 
added in a parenthesis. 

The sign t, following a series of references, indicates that all examples 
of the phrase, word, or form in question, occurring in the OT, have been 
quoted. 

The single inverted comma [e.g. "and *he' strikes bargains," 2^) is used 
to indicate departures from the Hebrew consonantal text ; such readings are 
not necessarily conjectural ; many rest on the evidence of (Sr. 

al.=alii (others). 

Cp. = Compare. 

Ct.= Contrast. 

NH = New Hebrew (the language of the Mishnah, etc.). 



H 




i 



ADDENDA AND CORRIGENDA, 



P. 69 (phil. n. on 3^*) ; also p. 80 (n. on 4*), p. 86 (n. on 5*), 
p. Ill (n. and phil. n. on 6^^). Whether or not lyn, to exter- 
minate, also developed the specific meaning to exterminate by 
depasturing, or whether or not "l^y3, a (domestic) beast, gave rise 
to a denominative vb. meaning to depasture, depasturing seems 
to be in the writer's mind both in 3^*, where the treatment of the 
vineyard, however reckless and destructive, is yet probably con- 
ceived as yielding some profit (cp. v.^*^) to the persons ad- 
dressed, and in 5^ where destruction by animals is suggested by 
the parallel D»"ID. In these passages, therefore, even if depasture 
could not be defended as a literal rendering, it might be admitted 
as a paraphrase bringing out the particular form of destruction 
which was probably in the writer's mind. If the text of J^ in 
Ex 22* was sound, and not, as it probably is, corrupt (see, e.g.. 
Dr. ad loc), "lyn might perhaps be a denominative of "i^y3, beast; 
in this case it might either mean to depasture, or merely (being 
quite synonymous with njn) to graze. But, apart from the very 
doubtful evidence of Ex 22*, nothing suggests that "lya was a 

denominative of "l^ya ; on the other hand, "i^ya may rather be a 
noun created after the root had developed the meaning to de- 
pasture. If the meaning attaching to lya, when it is used ot 
animals, is a direct development from the root, so far from being 
merely synonymous with njn, to graze, it should be to graze 
destructively, to remove (or destroy) by grazing, to depasture ; for the 
idea of total removal, or destruction, is so fundamental to, or so 
closely associated with, the root "iy3 and its derivatives, that, as 
applied to animals, it would naturally call up the idea of the 
destruction which they do, rather than the profit they receive, by 
feeding ; lya would therefore be entirely fitting in reference to 
the reckless indifference of the persons addressed in 3^* and to 
the destructive browsing of the beasts let in through the broken 
walls and hedges of 5^ but (unless the word lost much of its 
force) "sv^h would not be a suitable substitute for r\)rh in a 
promise such as Budde would make of 6^^ (see n. there) 

Setting aside the meanings to burn, to blaze {e.g. Ex 22^, Is 



xxii ADDENDA AND CORRIGENDA 



jsi ^17 ioi7 2^9 ^225 438 52!^ and so in the Aramaic of ST), as prob- 
ably going back to a distinct root, a possible connection between 
most of the remaining meanings of "ij;! can be discerned. In 
Syr. ^Ik^ bears the meanings to search out^ and then to glean 
{i.e. to search out the last grapes and remove them) : see Payne 
Smith, s.v. jSn, 




^ 



and cp. I K 14^^ (Pesh.) ^-.S^AlD? yJ\ 
To glean would suit Is 3^* admirably : Ye 



have gleaned my vineyard to the last grape ; but since it would 
not also suit 5^, it would be rather hazardous to postulate glean 
as a meaning of lya in Hebrew. The idea of total removal (e.g. 
of y-in, Dt 136; !?^3, I K 14IO; \in\>r\, Dt 2613), which is so con- 
spicuous in Hebrew, may also start from the meaning to search 
out. If the idea of total removal of pasture by cattle was early 
developed, the Heb. and Syr. 1^y3, I^IjO, a (domestic) beast^ 

Ai.jJMy a camel, and, more rarely, an ass, Eth. beraivi, an ox, 
may have meant literally total removers (of herbage), depasturers. 

Possibly also jtJ> (5cil^, dung, was so called as that which is 
put away : cp. i K 14^0 ^^^ -,^3^ itj^xa. Other denominatives 
will then have arisen with meanings derived directly from l^ya, 

beast, and ^, dung] cp. "lyn (Kal, Niph., Piel, Hiph.), to be 
brutish, stupid (see, e.g.. Is 19^^), ;JLO (Peal and Ethpeal), to be 

fierce] for derivatives from mj, dung, see Lane. ^' 

P. 321, line 26. The entire collection of the Elephantine 
papyri is now published; see E. Sachau, Aramdische Payprus 
und Ostraka aus einer jUdischen Militdr-kolonie zu Elephantine, 
Leipzig, 191 1. It now seems clear that the Jewish colony at 
Elephantine was military in origin. 

P. 382, 1. 8 of small print. K3255^ is probably, if a Hebrew 
name, a hypocoristicon of 0)n>n:j', as is NtV of ^nny, and NVDK' 
of "in^ytDK^. In the OT (l)n''33B^ occurs only in Chr., Ezr., Neh. 
But on seals, some of which are probably pre-exilic, it occurs 
with some frequency ; in^^ntr, probably also n^J^K^, and perhaps 
^:3[K'] too, occur stamped on jar handles found at Tell el-Judeideh 
(about 22 miles from Jerusalem). See M. A. Levy, Siegel u. 
Gemmen, pp. 40, 45 ; Bliss and Macalister, Excavations in 
Palestine, 119 f.; Clermont-Ganneau, PEF Qu. St., 1902, pp. 
264-266 ; Lidzbarski, Ephemeris, i. 183 (cp. p. 182), ii. 70. 



1 



INTRODUCTION. 



5S 1-2. Title and Place in the Canon, 

I. The Book of Isaiah is one of the eight sections, or 
volumes, entitled D"'fc?''33, Prophets^ which constitute the second 
of the three parts of which the Hebrew Scriptures, D^N'^33 min 
D''l'inD1, consist. This part, according to a mediaeval Jewish 
distinction,* subdivides into D^^t^Ni D"'K''33, the Former Prophets^ 
consisting of the four books, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, 
and the Q*3inK D''fc<^3D, the Latter Prophets^ consisting of the four 
books, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, " The Twelve " (the " Minor 
Prophets," as the last named is commonly called, constituting a 
single volume). 

In Hebrew printed Bibles, in Hebrew MSS, and in Hebrew 
tradition, the eight books called " Prophets " form a group which 
is never broken either by omission or intrusion ; moreover, 
when and where the custom of confining a single roll f to a single 
book \ did not exclusively prevail, and many books were written 
in the same roll or codex, the " former prophets " always precede 
the " latter prophets " without variation of order. On the other 
hand, there is evidence of some variation of order within the 
group of the latter prophets. 

In Hebrew printed Bibles, Isaiah immediately follows Kings, 
and is then followed by Jeremiah, Ezekiel, "The Twelve"; 
and this is the order of the latter prophets in the earliest 
extant Hebrew MSS, such as the codices at St. Petersburg, 

* H. E. Ryle, The Canon of the Old Testament, p. 228. 

t H. St. J. Thackeray argues that in early times each book occupied two 

rolls: %t^JThS\\,^ 85-98; Grammar of the OT in Greek, p. 65. 

X Lk 4"; Baba Bathra, 13d. 

xxiii 




XXIV INTRODUCTION 

dated in the years which correspond to a.d. 916 and 1009 
respectively, and commonly in other MSS, except those written 
in Germany or France. On the other hand, according to a 
Rabbinic decision recorded in Baba Bathra^ i4<^,* the correct 
position of Isaiah is after Ezekiel; this order is also found in 
many MSS, especially those written in Germany or France. In 
other MSS, e,g, a Paris MS dated 1286 and Brit. Mus. MS 
Oriental 2091, a yet different arrangement is found, viz. Jeremiah, 
Isaiah, Ezekiel, "The Twelve"; see, further, C. D. Ginsburg, 
Introd. to the Massoretico- Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible 
(1897), pp. I ff. For different views of the relative antiquity of 
the different arrangements and for the reasons of them, see Ryle, 
Canofiy pp. 225-229 ; E. Konig, Einleitung in das AT^ p. 458. 

2. In ffir the " latter prophets " are separated from the 
"former prophets," Kings being followed by Chronicles, and, 
in most MSS, by other books also, before any of the "latter 
prophets" occur. In the arrangement of the group, Isaiah, 
Jeremiah, Ezekiel, "The Twelve," the MSS of f& differ: in 
some, e.g. B (and consequently in Swete's edition of C&), A, and V, 
the minor Prophets precede Isaiah, which is followed by Jeremiah 
(together with Baruch, Lam., and the Letter of Jeremy) and 
Ezekiel. In K, Isaiah stands first of the group. Varieties of 
arrangement are also found in various lists of the Jewish 
Scriptures in Greek and Latin writers : thus Isaiah stands first 
of the group, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, " The Twelve," in lists of 
the Eastern Church, such as those of Melito (latter half of 2nd 
cent. A.D.), Origen (f 254), Leontius (f c. 543), and in lists of 
the Western Church, such those of Ruffinus (f 410), and Cassio- 
dorus (t c. 570) ; but it stands after " The Twelve " in the Eastern 
lists of Athanasius (t 373), Epiphanius (f 403), Amphilochius 
(t after 394), John of Damascus (f before 754), the Laodicene 
Canons (f. 360), and in the Western lists of Hilary (f 367), Augus- 
tine (t 430), and the Council of Carthage (a.d. 397). See, further, 
Swete, Introd. to the OT in Greeks pp. 197-230. 

3. The title of the Book in Heb. MSS and commonly in 
Hebrew references is simply iTiyK^, Isaiah ; so in fflr it is Ho-ata?. 
Occasionally in references to the book fuller titles are found, 
such as Isaiah the prophet (Acts 8^^, ' Ho-atai/ tov 7rpo<f>T^Tr]v ; cp. 
v.28)j f^e look of the prophet Isaiah (Lk 4^'^ /StySAtov tov Tr/ao^^Jrou^ 

* The passage is translated at length in Ryle, Canon, pp. 273 f. 



TEXT AND VERSIONS XXV 

'Ho-aiov) : in dSt^ the title runs Ho-atas opa/xaricrTOS (rd. opafiaTiaTrj<i) ; 
but the full title of EV does not rest on MS authority. 

The form of the name in the Title — iTj/r' (Origen, Je<T<ria) — differs from 
that which is used in the Book itself, viz. in'y»\ So also of other prophets 
whose names ended with the divine name, the shorter form occurs in the title, 
whether that or the longer form occurs in the books : see n'or, nnay, iTjcj*, 
n'n3T. That is to say, the form of the name in the title is governed by the 
usage of the age when the title was added, not by the usage of the Book to 
which it is prefixed. On the earlier use of both forms, see Bonk, in ZA TfV, 
1891, pp. 126 ff. : at the end of proper names the shorter form n' is already 
exclusively employed in the Assouan and Elephantine Papyri (5th cent. B.C.). 

§ 4. Tgxt and Versions, 

4. It is unnecessary to write at length on the Text and 
Versions of the Book of Isaiah, for all that is of peculiar import- 
ance to the study of this book is limited to the question of the 
value of the Greek version ; for the rest the conditions are those 
which are discussed in any general treatment of the Text and 
Versions of the Old Testament,* and which have also been briefly 
described by the present writer in Hastings' Smaller Dictionary 
of the Bible ^ art. Text and Versions. Elaborate accounts of the 
Versions of Isaiah in particular are given by Ges. (i. 56-106), 
and (with special reference to chs. 24-27) by Liebmann, in 
ZATWy 1902, pp. 1-56, 285-304. 

In the present work the symbol J^^ is used as a convenient 
abbreviation for the consonants of the traditional Hebrew text, 
irrespective of the present word divisions and after the removal 
of the vowel letters (n, \ ^). It is important to observe that the 
symbol denotes in any particular instance a hypothetical text ; 
for though there can be no question that these vowel letters were 
much more sparingly used in the period when the prophecies 
were written than later (cp. G-K. § 7), and that they still were 
more sparingly used as late as the date of the Greek version 
(see, e.g.^ the phil. nn. on 8^^ 2i2); yet to some extent and for 
some purposes, especially, for example, to indicate a final vowel, 
they were employed as early as the age of Isaiah (cp. the 
Siloam Inscription, Mesha's Inscription, etc.). Nevertheless, 
in all cases it is important to consider what meaning a passage 
may have borne apart from these vowel letters ; for there can 
* See also Dr., Samuel^ Introd. §§ 3-4 (ed. i, pp. xxxvi-lxxxiv). 



xxvi INTRODUCTION 



4 






never be any certainty that they are due to the original author, 
and at times their presence or absence makes a serious difference 
to the meaning ; see, e.g., i^^'^^. 

The variations* between the existing Hebrew MSS, the 
earliest of which is dated a.d. 916 (§ i), present as usual but 
little of interest. Nor are the variants from the consonants of 
the Hebrew text suggested by the Vulgate, the Targum,t or the 
Syriac Version, J or the surviving fragments § of the Greek 
translations (2nd cent. a.d.) of Aquila, Symmachus, and 
Theodotion, numerous or important; more frequently these 
versions show a different interpretation from that which is 
embodied in the vowels added by the Massoretes (6th-8th 
cent. A.D.) to the consonants of the Hebrew text ; cp., as an 
interesting example, 3^^, where Aq. C render D*B^3, but MT 

points D''C'3. 

But in spite oF this evidence that the text of Isaiah, in 
common with that of the rest of the Old Testament, has been 
handed down with great care since the 2nd cent, a.d., there can 
be no question that between 700 B.C. and a.d. 100 it suffered in 
many passages serious corruption. This is clear from internal 
evidence, as the discussion of numerous passages in the Com- 
mentary must be left to show. It is also clear that the Greek 
version, the date of which was probably not much later than 
150 B.C. (§ 22), was made from a text differing considerably from 
1^. But though the difference between the Hebrew original 
of the Greek version {(&) and the traditional Hebrew text (J^) is 
clear, the exact form, and in many cases even the approximate 
form, of the Hebrew original of ffi cannot be determined. 
Indeed, it has been questioned whether (& is of any appreciable 
value for the determination of the original text. For example, 
Mr. Ottley, to whom we are indebted for a useful edition of 
Codex Alexandrinus (A) of Isaiah, with introduction and notes, 
writes, " In Isaiah I find it hard to see that the LXX gives any 

* Collected in De Rossi, Variae Lectiones Vet. Test. (1786), vol. iii. 

t Lagarde, Prophetae Chaldaice (1872). Cp. Bacher, Kritische unter- 
suchungen zum Propheten-Thargum^ in ZDMG^ 1874. See, further, the 
Bibliography in Stenning's art. Targuni, in DB. 

X D. L. Warszawski, Die Peschitta zu Jesaja {^Kap. 1-39), ihr Verhaltnis 
zum massoretischen Texte, zur Septitaginta u. zum largurn, Berlin, 1 897. 

§ Collected in F. Field, Origenis Hexaplorum quae supersunt. 




TEXT AND VERSIONS XXVii 

proof at all (unless in a few isolated exceptions) of an older and 
superior Hebrew text : because the translators seem to have 
been so constantly mistaken in reading their Hebrew, or unable 
to translate it, as to deprive their witness of all authority " (i. 49) ; 
and again (p. 50), " the failures of the translator (or translators) in 
reading his original may have been largely justified by illegibility 
of MSS, and very likely by abbreviations also ; the actual script 
may have been difficult. But over and above all this, it seems 
as if his knowledge of Hebrew was imperfect : and if this was so, 
he may have thought that he saw before him not merely some- 
thing different from the reality, but something such as no skilled ' 
Hebrew writer would have written. The hypothetical Hebrew ' 
underlying his Greek need not therefore be always good or 

^classical Hebrew, and this must be taken into account. If this 
view be correct, it takes away yet more from any claim of the 
LXX to give decisive witness as to a Hebrew text older than we 
have, or can trace from other sources." There is much here 
that rests on correct observation ; but the conclusions drawn are 
unsound. There can be little question (i) that the translators 
sometimes, and even often, misread the Hebrew before them; 
(2) that their knowledge of Hebrew was imperfect ; (3) that the 
Hebrew which they thought they saw before them was such as 
no skilled Hebrew writer would have written. But over against 
this we have to observe: (i) the possibility that a translator 
misread his text is balanced by the equal or almost equal 
probability that copyists of the original text also at times 
misread ; moreover, what was obviously misreading on the part 
of the translators does not in all cases seriously conceal the 
reading which was actually before them, and which may be 
a valuable variant of the reading in f^, just as while some 
misprints are extremely confusing, or, simply because they make 
some sense, dangerous, others that make nonsense are im- 
mediately detected and understood. We must then reckon with 
the possibility of mis-copying, whether we follow J^ or whether 

-we follow mSc* and we have no more ground for refusing to con- 

* Mr. Ottley, indeed, would meet this by a dogmatic consideration, 
" Some minds, moreover, will still not refuse to entertain the idea that the 
Heb. text has been guarded, not only by the watchful care of the Jews, but 
also by the special providence of the Almighty " (ii. p. xvii). Yet even if 
dogmatic considerations were in place here at all, it is difficult to see why the 



XXVIU 



INTRODUCTION 




sider the evidence of C&, because the translators* sometimes 
misread their original, than we have for refusing to consider the 
evidence of |^ ; (2) the lack of knowledge of Hebrew on the 
part of the translators may in some passages make the recovery 
of the text which they translated difficult, or impossible ; on the 
other hand, in other cases it may be the surest pledge of the 
actual existence of a particular reading; even translators with 
inadequate knowledge do not make nonsense of their translation 
in mere wilfulness : if only the nonsense in the translation can, 
as is sometimes the case, be seen to be the equivalent (or an 
obvious misreading) of Hebrew letters that, rightly understood, 
make good sense, we have about the best evidence we can 
possess that such a Hebrew reading actually existed; the 
translators of Judges, as is well known, makes nonsense by 
rendering the precative '^2, iv i/xoi; but an €v i/xot making 
nonsense is better proof than if it made sense that the translators 
actually read the Hebrew letters ^3 ; (3) ** Hebrew such as no 
skilled Hebrew writer would have written " is to be found not 
only in the Hebrew which the Greek translators in some passages 
attempt to render, but in the present Hebrew text itself; and in 
some places where the Hebrew is impossible, or at least poor 
and improbable, in the present Hebrew text, it is good in what 
appears to have been before the translators of ffi. 

The main difficulty in the use of ffi is occasioned by its 
tendency, which is at times very conspicuous, to paraphrase. 
But though it is important that this should be fully recognised, 
and duly allowed for, it is still the fact that the mass of the 
translation is either not paraphrastic at all, or not paraphrastic in 
such a manner as to prevent the recognition of the Hebrew text 
lying behind it. Generally speaking, ffi: renders three different 
forms of service: (i) where it agrees with J^, it proves the 
existence of the reading in question at least as early as c. 150 
B.C. ; (2) where it differs from J^, and the Hebrew lying behind 
it is obvious, it proves the existence of a reading differing from 
J^ about 150 B.C. ; (3) even when it is obviously paraphrastic it 
may more or less clearly support f^ (cp. e.g. 8^n.), or raise a 
more or less serious suspicion of J^. 

Almighty granted to the text of the Jews a special Providence which He 
withheld from the Greek Text, which became the Bible of the Christian 
Church. 



THE BOOK OF ISAIAH A POST-EXILIC COMPILATION XXIX 

Much more work needs to be done, both on the text of G 
itself, which at present needs in many passages to be laboriously 
sought for,* and on the idiosyncrasies of the translators ; and till 
this has been accomplished, the actual evidence of Cr cannot be 
either exhaustively or in all cases accurately determined. At 
present it is necessary for each succeeding investigator of the 
Book of Isaiah to test critically the suggestions of his predecessors, 
for readings have been claimed for 6r on very questionable 
grounds ; and, on the other hand, there are readings latent in ffi 
that have not been considered. A difficult practical question, 
however, arises, viz., how in a commentary of limited scope to 
discuss with fullness f the evidence of this version, or to indicate 
it with brevity without at the same time misleading the reader. 
It has been found impossible to include a reference to all 
variants or possible variants, and it has seemed best where the 
Hebrew equivalent of (Sc is ambiguous to quote the Greek rather 
than, if not as well as, a possible Hebrew equivalent. Occasion- 
ally the Greek has been cited without comment where it may 
seem to some at least to raise or strengthen a reasonable 
suspicion of the correctness of the text of f^. 

Valuable special studies of the Greek translation of (& and 
the Hebrew text underlying it are those of Liebmann (see p. 397 
below) on chs. 24-27, and Zillesen on oh. 53, in ZATPVxxv. 
261-284. 

§§ 5-7. TAe Book of Isaiah a post-exilic Compilation. 

5. It is probable that the title "Isaiah," attached to the 
entire book (§ 3), was intended to imply that the prophet Isaiah 
was the author of the whole, and that the book, as we now have 
it, owed its form to him. It is true that it would be in accord- 

* Swete, OTin Greeks vol. iii., prints the text of B with the variants of 
K A O Q Z r ; other variants must be sought in Holmes and Parsons, Vet. Test. 
Graece, iii. For attempts to group the MSS of Isaiah, see Liebmann, in 
ZATW, 1902, pp. 9ff. ; Ottley, i. Sff. The proportion of the Old Latin 
Version of ffi that has survived is fortunately large — about three-quarters of 
the whole ; see Petrus Sabatier, Bibliorum sacrorum versiones antiquaey ii. 

515-^39. 

t A reference to the notes on 2* 25^'- 34'^'", in ZATW, 191 1, pp. m- 
127, will show what is the present writer's conception of adequate fullness, and 
the consequent impossibility of discussing all the passages that need it, with 
any approach to fullness in the present work. 




XXX INTRODUCTION 

ance with Jewish practice to entitle the book from a prominent 
word in the opening sentence,* and such is the name Isaiah, 
though title and book differ as to the orthography of the name 
(§ 3)) true, too, that the Talmud, in the passage already (§ i) 
referred to, records that " Hezekiah and his college wrote Isaiah " 
— whatever that may mean.f Yet the simplest supposition is 
that the titles of the " latter prophets " implied authorship from the 
first, as they certainly suggested it later. Be this, however, as it 
may, the references in the NT (§§ iif.) are sufficient evidence 
that it was customary, as early as the ist cent, a.d., to 
attribute anything and everything in the book so entitled to 
Isaiah, and the passage in Sir. discussed below (§ 14) carries back 
this custom to the beginning of the 2nd century B.C. It is 
precarious to infer the existence of a conflicting theory, or 
tradition, from the fact that Isaiah, according to some authorities, 
had its place in the Canon after Jeremiah and Ezekiel 

But ancient as the theory that Isaiah is the author of all that 
is in the book that bears his name may be, it is certainly very 
erroneous. The book is badly arranged : to refer to but a single 
point, the account of the prophet's call stands not at the 
beginning, where we might expect it (cp. Jer i, Ezk i, Hos i, 
but cp. Am 7^^^*), but in ch. 6. Yet bad arrangement dy itself 
need prove nothing more at most than that the arrangement of 
the material was not due to Isaiah : the material arranged might 
still be entirely his ; Mohammed was the author, though not 
the arranger, of the entire Koran, and an analogy for the position 
of the account of Isaiah's call in the middle of the book may 
be found in the fact that Mohammed's call is only recorded 
towards the close of the Koran (Sura 96).! 

6. The proof that Isaiah is, nevertheless, not the author of 
the Book of Isaiah, lies in the fact that a large part of the Book 
was written at the least two centuries after his time, and some 
of it later still. How large a part is subsequent to the age of 
Isaiah it may be difficult to determine ; but even a superficial 
critical survey of the Book must discern that so much is subsequent 

* Cp. e.g. nanD3 as a title of Numbers : Numbers, p. xx. 
t Cp. Driver, LOT, p. viif. ; Cheyne, Introd. p. xviii. 
X Cp. G. B. Gray, The Comparative Study of Semitic Literature, in the 
Contemporary Review, July 1907, pp. 84 fF, 




THE BOOK OF ISAIAH A POST-EXILIC COMPILATION xxxi 

to his age that it is incorrect and misleading to speak or think of 
the Book as the work of Isaiah; it is, on the other hand, a 
compilation of the post-exilic period, containing, it is true, 
prophecies of Isaiah which were already ancient when the Book 
was compiled, but containing also, and in larger quantity, 
prophecies and narratives of much more recent date. 

Just as parts of the Book unmistakably presuppose the 
conditions of the 8th century b.c. as those under which they 
were written, so others as clearly pre-suppose the conditions of 
the 6th century. Thus 9*^-10* pre-supposes the existence oVi^^i'* Fl^cc^ "^ 
the Northern kingdom, which came to an end in 722 B.C., and ' J Jf JPy 
predicts its fall ; chs. 40-55 pre-suppose the Babylonian Exile, ? ^ ^ </, 

which began in 597 (586) B.C., as an existing fact, and predict its 
approaching end, presuppose that Cyrus has already advanced 
far in his victorious career, and predict that he will become 
master of Babylon (which as a matter of fact he did in 538 b.c.), ^ 
and release the Jewish exiles. A prophecy, unless it can be ; 
shown to be a vaticifitum ex eventu^ must have been written before -^ 
what it predicts, but after what it pre-supposes; 9^-10* was 
therefore written before 722 b.c., and 40-55 before 538; but 
the latter section, since it pre-supposes that Cyrus has already 
achieved remarkable victories, must have been written after 
c. 550 B.C. Much of chs. 56-66 probably pre-supposes conditions 
that prevailed nearly a century later — in the middle of the 5th 
century ; but this is less superficially obvious and as yet less ..^ 
generally admitted. Ch. 13 pre-supposes an age when Babylon ^^ ^ ^^ > ^ 
was still "the glory of kingdoms" (13^^) but already threatened 
by the Medes : the conditions, not predicted but pre-supposed as 
already existing, are again not those of the age of Isaiah, when 
Assyria was the dominan t worldpower ; t hey are those of the 
6th century B.C., the age of the Babylonian exile, which is almost 
unmistakably pre-supposed also in 14^'*; thus 132-142, like 40- 
55, was written long subsequent to the age of Isaiah. On similar 
grounds, not to speak here of passages of more ambiguous 
origin, ai^"^*^ 24-27. 34 f. must have been written not earlier 
than the 6th century B.C. 

7. Thus, then, we have to recognise in the Book of Isaiah at 
least these different elements : (a) prophecies of the 8th century 
B.C., {b) prophecies of the 6th century B.C. or later, and {c) the 
work of an editor who brought together these prophecies which, 




xxxii INTRODUCTION 

though so widely separated in time, are intermingled in a single 
compilation. 

The fact that the Book of Isaiah is not the work of the 
prophet of Isaiah, but a post-exilic compilation, ought to be the 
starting-point in all detailed criticism, or interpretation of the 
Book. In a continuous work, such as the historical narratives 
of Josephus or Thucydides, alien matter may have intruded ; but, 
unless signs of interpolation can be detected, the presumption is 
that any section of the whole is of the same origin as the rest. 
On the other hand, in a compilation of disconnected pieces of 
different authorship and different ages, no such presumption 
holds : each piece must be judged by itself. It does not follow 
that a passage is not Isaiah's because it contains no unmistak- 
able evidence that it was written in the 8th century ; but just as 
little does it follow that a passage must be Isaiah's because it 
bears no unmistakable marks of belonging to a later age. It 
may well be that much in this or any similar compilation must, 
for lack of decisive evidence, remain of uncertain date and 
origin. But the fact that much proves uncertain or ambiguous, 
when we attempt a more detailed and exact analysis of the Book 
and its contents, cannot invalidate the conclusion that follows 
from what is obvious, viz., that the Book is a post-exilic compila- 
tion : nor is it wise to minimise the significance of this 
conclusion. 

We may now proceed to a more detailed examination of the 
origin of the Book of Isaiah : and in the first instance to an 
examination of the external evidence to the existence of the 
Book. 

§§ 8-19. Origin and History of the Book of Isaiah : 
(i) External Evidence. 

8. Apart from the significance of the Greek version (§§ 20- 
22), and the history of the Prophetic Canon (§§ 23-26), external 
evidence shows : (i) that the Book of Isaiah in its present form 
and extent existed at latest by the end of the ist century a.d. 
(§§ 10-13); (2) that a Book of Isaiah having certain of the 
most conspicuous features of the present Book, if not the present 
Book itself, existed about 180 b.c. (§§ 14-17); moreover, certain 
external evidence suggests (3) that part of the Book of Isaiah, 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE BOOK OF ISAIAH xxxill 

viz. chs. 40-66 in whole or in part, about 300-200 b.c. passed in 
certain circles under the name of Jeremiah (§§ 18, 19). The 
most reasonable inference from the evidence is that neither the 
present Book of Isaiah nor a book either approaching it in 
extent or possessing its outstanding features existed long before 
200 B.C., but that either this present Book or a book possessing 
the same outstanding features and attributed to Isaiah existed not 
long after that date. 

9. The nature of the Book of Isaiah, as indicated in §§ 5-7, 
necessarily limits the significance of certain forms of external 
evidence. A quotation of known age from any part of a work 
like the histories of Thucydides or Josephus would determine 
the terminus ad quern of the entire work, even though it were 
anonymous ; but a mere quotation, say from ch. 66 of the Book 
of Isaiah, while it would determine the terminus ad quem of that 
particular prophecy, would prove nothing as to the date of the 
Book of Isaiah ; for the quotation might be from ch. 66 before 
that chapter was included in the compilation that now bears the 
name of Isaiah, just as a quotation (Jer 26^^) from a prophecy 
now included in "The Twelve" (Mic 3^2^ only proves that 
Micah's prophecy existed before Jeremiah's time, and proves 
nothing with regard to the date of " The Twelve," which as a 
matter of fact also contains prophecies of the 5th cent. (Malachi), 
and cannot have been compiled for at least two centuries after 
the quotation in Jeremiah. 

10. But there is other evidence that is available for proving 
not only the date of some particular passage, but of the book in 
which such passages are incorporated. 

It is unnecessary to labour the point that the conclusion of 
the Canon of the Jewish Scriptures, which may be fixed about 
the end of the ist cent, a.d., prevented henceforth any addition 
to, or alteration in, the books included within it ; and that since 
Isaiah formed part of this Canon, the Book at that time existed 
in its present form and extent. It will suffice to refer, for a 
matter so generally admitted, to standard works on the Canon of 
the Old Testament. 

But in view of recent theories (§ 17) that would place the 
final stages in the compilation of the Book of Isaiah much later 
than was formerly considered possible, it is worth collecting the 
evidence of the New Testament of which some {e.g» Romans) 

VOL. I. — c 



XX XIV 



INTRODUCTION 




carries us back to the middle of the ist cent. a.d., and all to 
some part of that century. 

Quotations from, or allusions to, the Book of Isaiah in the 
NT may be divided into three classes : the first class consists of 
those quotations which specify Isaiah, or the Book of Isaiah, as 
the source ; the second specify or imply the Jewish Scriptures as 
the source ; and the third, mostly allusions rather than quotations, 
specify no source. Only the first two classes are of interest 
here. 

IT. The passages from Isaiah (J^ or ffi) cited in the NT with 
direct reference to that book, and the NT passages in which 
the citations are made, are as follows : 

Is i^ cited in Ro 9^^. 



69f. 



Mt I3i4f-, Jn i240f-, Ac 2 826f. ; cp. Mk 4I2, Lk 810. 



82391(91^.),, Mt4i5^-. 



I022f. 




» 


Ro 927^. 


„10 




» 


Ro 1512. 


29I3 




» 


Mt 158^-, Mk f^: 


4o3-5 




» 


Mt 33, Mk i'^ Lk 3^-6, Jn i^. 


42I-4 




» 


Mt 12I8-21. 


53^ 




» 


Ro iqIS, Jn 1 25^8. 


53^ 




}) 


Mt 817. 


53'^- 




a 


Ac 832*.. 


6iif- 




» 


Lk 4i8f-. 


651^- 




jj 


Ro io20f-. 



12. The passages cited with some formula implying that they 
are derived from the Jewish Scriptures, or in some cases more 
specifically from "the prophet(s)" (Mt 122, Jn 6*^ Ac 7*^), 
are : 



IS71* 




cited 


in Mt i23. 


814 ( + 2 


'816) 




„ Ro 9=^3 (i p 28). 


glTf. 






„ He 213. 


25« 






„ I Co 1554. 


28iif. 






„ I Co 1421 


2816 






„ Ro 933 loii, I P 2« 


29io( + 


610) 




„ Ro 118. 


2914 






„ I Co ii9. 


(406-8) 






„ (i P i24f.). 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE BOOK OF ISAIAH XXXV 



45^" 




cited 


in 


Ro 14I1. 


49' 




}f 


>> 


Ac 1347. 


49* 




>» 


)) 


2 Co 62. 


S»» 




>» 


M 


Ro 224. 


5^^ = 


Nah 


■") „ 


» 


Ro ioi«. 


52" 




>) 


)> 


2 Co 6^7. 


S3" 




>> 


J) 


(Mk 1528), Lk 2 237. 


54' 




)> 


J> 


Gal 4^^. 


54" 




i> 


J> 


Jn 645. 


5S» 




>J 


M 


Ac 13^4^ 


56^ 




» 


» 


Mt 2ii3=Mk iii7 = Lk I94«. 


5920f. 




)) 


J> 


Ro Il26f.. 


64* 




» 


>> 


I Co 29 (free). 


66Jt 




)) 


)) 


Ac 749^-. 



13. In addition to these quotations in the NT, the following 
quotations from Josephus {B/^ written about 73-75 a.d., and 
Anf., written about 93 a.d.) and other works of the ist century 
A.D. may be given here : 

Is i^® is referred to Isaiah in Asc. Is 3^®. 

19^9* j^ j^ ^^ Jos. Anf. xiii. 3^; -^vii. lo^. 

4428 4^1 ^^ ^^ ^^ Jos. Anf, xi. ii^-. 

432 „ „ „ 4 Mac 1 81*. 

Philo (first half of the ist cent a.d.) refers Is i* to "a certain 
prophet, the kinsman and friend of Moses (Quaes f. 43)." 

14. We may next consider the evidence of the Book of 
Ecclesiasticus, which was written about 180 B.c.t The author 
in his praise of famous men (44^-5021) writes thus of Isaiah 

(4822-25) . J __ 

* It would perhaps be arguable, though the point is not here put forward 
as having any probability, that Jos. refers to an uncanonical pseudepigraphon 
whence Is 19^** was subsequently incorporated in the present Book ; he speaks 
not only of a or ^Ae Book of Isaiah, but also of his books : see An^. xi. i^ 
t6 ^i^Xlop rrjs avroO vpoiprjreias 6 'Haatas KaTiXiire ; Ant. x. 2' diravd* 8<ra 
7rpoe<f>rjT€v<X€v iyypdyj/as ^i/3\otj /carAtTrei'. 

t Mr. Hart {Ecclesiasticus in Greek) argues ingeniously, but unsuccessfully 
(cp. e.g. Kennett, p. 89), that Ecclesiasticus was written c. 280 B.C. 

X Du. (p, vii) remarks, without, however, alleging any reason, that it is by 
no means certain that Ben Sirach wrote /\%'^'^. 



a- 



XXXVl INTRODUCTION 

22 For Hezekiah did that which was good,* 

And was strong in the ways of David, f 
Which Isaiah the prophet commanded (him), 
Who was great and faithful in his vision. J 

23 In his days § the sun stood still,|| 

And he added life to the king; 
.2* By the spirit of might he saw the end, 
-^ And comforted the mourners in Sion : 

25 Yor ever he declared things that should be, 
And hidden things before they came. 

Just before this passage, in vv.^^^*, Ben Sirach had summarised, 
as the most significant events of Hezekiah's days, the approach 
and overthrow of Sennacherib, and, referring to the prayer of 
the people to God, had said, playing on the name of Isaiah (cp. 
Is 7^*), as in v.22b j^g plays on the name of Hezekiah, that 
Yahweh " saved them by the hand of Isaiah " (in''yiJ'^ n^3 Dy^'Vl). 

15. From the main passage we can infer with certainty that 
this writer referred, and that apparently without any uncertainty, 
chs. 40-66, or at least what is most characteristic in those 
chapters, to the prophet Isaiah. V.^* refers unmistakably to the 
recurrent arguments from prophecy in, e.g.^ 4121-24 4^9 ^59 48"^^-, 
and vv.24*^' are intentionally coloured with the phraseology of Is 
40-66 : what the idols could not do, Isaiah by the spirit of might 

(cp. Is 1 12) could : cp. nnriDii ni\-i3 T^n cf?\v ny . . . n^nnx nrn 
|Kn ':zh with iK'ya i6 "ik'k dipdi rr'nns h^c^nid t-^d (Is 4610), 
nanpn is^k ns i:i> n'»r (Is 4122). Cp. also p^x ^i»3« Dm''^ with 

^Dj; IDHD IDm (Is 40^), 'li1 VV '^2^6 D1S5'i» D-bx b Dnji> (Is 6 1 2^-). 

t Of David, %%-, ^ his father, ©. 

X Vv.22C' ^- 23 are missing, through mutilation of the MS, from ^. Vv.22o- d 
23 above are translated from ©. For "^ 5 has |Ym? ] .^ v ^ ^ Vn the 
{most) praiseworthy of the prophets, ffi is probably correct. 'Ef opdvet 
aiiTov, in his vision, probably corresponds to uunn in the original ; cp. Spaais 
= pin in 40^, and also, e.g., in Is i^, Nah i^ ; but it might also =inNnoa : cp. 
11^ 49^; that it renders nann (cp. 46^"), as Peters infers, is improbable, more 
especially if opdo-ews in 46^' is a gloss from 48^ (Smend, Peters). 

§'E»' rats rj/Jiipais avrov : & 01, »/^? ^Q{)V), becatise by his hand'. 
cp. 46^. 

irAi'e7r65i(re»' = nDy, 46^ in reference to Jos 10^^; here, too, probably 
avtirbbKytv renders ^Dy, though the allusion is to B'Dcn dbti, koX dvi^-q ijXios, 
Is 388. 




ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE BOOK OF ISAIAH XXXVii 

i6. We can, further, infer with great probability that in Ben 
Sirach's Book of Isaiah chs. 40-66 were already preceded by 
chs. 36-39, and certain visions, or prophecies (cp. n. on ptn in 
i^ in the Commentary), corresponding to some or all of chs. i- 
35. V.23 certainly refers to the narrative that appears both in 
2 K 20 and Is 38 ; Ben Sirach has already (vv.^^^i) drawn on 
the group of narratives (2 K 17^^-20 = Is 36-39) to which this 
belongs in his praise of Hezekiah ; his recurrence to it in prais- 
ing Isaiah is best accounted for by the supposition that these 
chapters stood in his Book of Isaiah : for he selects in praising 
the prophets Jeremiah (49^^-) and Ezekiel (49^*^-) certain phrases 
or incidents from the books that bear their names. The entire 
first part of Is., viz. chs. 1-35, would be summarily recalled by 
the term vision in v.^s^^ if that word already stood in the title 
to the whole Book of Isaiah (i^) 

17. The great characteristic of the Book of Isaiah as it now 
exists is that it consists of a group of prophecies, chs. 1-35, 
which we will call A ; a historical section, chs. 36-39, B ; and 
another group of prophecies, chs. 40-66, C. The present book, 
then, expressed in a formula, is A + B + C. 

It is highly probable, if not certain, that the Book of Isaiah 
as it existed c. 180 B.C. already consisted of A + B + C, just 
as the " Book of the Twelve " must already have contained 
twelve sections referred to twelve different prophets ; cp. Sir 49^0. 

But the question remains : were the three parts as they 
existed then co-extensive with the three parts as they exist now?"^ 

This is a question which the direct testimony of external 
evidence does not answer. Till recently the identity of Ben 
Sirach's Book of Isaiah and our own was not questioned. But 
Du. and several others since have claimed that both A and C 
received accretions after 180 B.C. It is entirely a question of 
probability which must be estimated in the light of internal as 
well as external evidence. 

18. Meantime we may proceed to consider the evidence of 
2 Ch 3622^' = Ezr 1^-3. This appears to give a terminus a quo for 
the Book of Isaiah, to show that when Chronicles was written, 
i.e. not earlier than 300 b.c., and perhaps later, though a Book 
of Isaiah may have existed, and doubtless did exist, it was less 
extensive than the present Book ; that as yet chs. 40-66 formed 
no part of it. 



XXXVlll 



INTRODUCTION 




The last verses of Chronicles read as follows : 

20^ And they (viz. the exiles) were servants to him (Nebu 
chadnezzar) and his sons, until the rule of the sovereignty of 
Persia, ^i in order to fulfil (niK^oi') the word of Yahweh by the 
mouth of Jeremiah, until the land enjoyed her sabbaths : all the 
days of its desolation, it kept sabbath to fulfil seventy years. 
22 And in the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, in order to 
complete (nii?3f5) the word of Yahweh by the mouth of Jeremiah, 
Yahweh stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, and he 
made proclamation through all his kingdom and also (put it) in 
writing, saying, 23 Thus saith Cyrus, king of Persia, "All the 
kingdoms of the earth hath Yahweh, God of Heaven, given to 
me, and he hath commanded concerning me that I should build 
for him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah : whosoever then 
is among you of all his people, Yahweh his God be with him, 
and let him go up (Ezr i^) to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and 
build the house of Yahweh, the God of Israel." 

In v.21 the Chronicler quite obviously, and even explicitly, 
refers to the fulfilment of the prophecy in Jer 29^^ that the 
Exile would last seventy years and then come to an end. In 
vy22f. and Ezr i3 = Ezr i^"^ it seems equally obvious that the 
Chronicler is referring to the fulfilment of Yahweh's words in 
Is 4428, Cyrus " shall perform all my pleasure, even saying of 
Jerusalem, She shall be built, and to the Temple, Thy foundation 
shall be laid," just as the words that immediately follow in Is. 
" Thus saith Yahweh to . . . Cyrus, whose right hand I have 
holden, to subdue nations before him and to loose the loins of 
kings" (45^), obviously seem to prompt the opening words of 
Cyrus' decree in Ezr i2*. 

19. But this prophecy in Is 442^ is referred not to Isaiah, 
but to Jeremiah ! unless, therefore, appearance deceive us, Is 40- 
66 was attributed by the Chronicler, and if so, certainly not by 
him alone, to Jeremiah ; in this case chs. 40-66 as yet formed 
no part of a Book of Isaiah. 



Du. seems to have been the first to recognise the obvious significance of 
2 Ch 3622'' fQj. tjjg history of the Book of Isaiah. It had been obscured 
previously, and is still obscured, by a prevalent, but most improbable, inter- 
pretation {e.g. see Ryle, Bertholet, Curtis on the passage) : according to 
this interpretation, v.^^ as well as y.^^ refers to the prophecy of seventy years ; 
but (i) v.^2 is far more naturally taken as giving an additional statement to 




ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE BOOK OF ISAIAH XXxix 

v.^^ rather than a mere repetition, as referring to a further fulfihnent rather 
than repeating a reference to the same ; note, "and in the first year," etc. ; 

(2) though m^aV, v.^, might be a mere synonym of hkSdS, v. 2^, it is at least as 
probable that it means in order to complete the fulfilment of what Jeremiah 
said : Jeremiah had prophesied that the exile must last seventy years : it had 
done so, and that prophecy was fulfilled (v.^i) : Jeremiah had also (in Is 44^ 
45^) prophesied that Cyrus would secure the rebuilding of the Temple ; in 
order to complete the fulfilment of Jeremiah's predictions, Yahweh had 
moved Cyrus to give the Jews permission to return and build the Temple ; 

(3) whether we admit the distinction in (2) or not, v.^ is closely linked 
with v.^, and the prophecy to be fulfilled, referred to in v.'^, is most naturally 
identified with the prophecy cited by Cyrus in his decree in v.^ ; only so is 
the entire form of vv.^'- really explained ; if v.^ was merely to repeat v.**, 
the writer would rather have said simply, In the first year of Cyrus, Yahweh 
brought up the people, or moved Cyrus to let the people return, to Judah ; 
the double reference to the building of the house clearly indicates that this 
is the point to which the writer in v.^ moves forward. 

It would be preferable, if the interpretation just suggested were proved 
impossible, to infer that Jeremiah in \.^ has been accidentally substituted 
for Isaiah, or that the entire clause i.tdt 'S3 m.T nan ni'?3'? in v. 22 is a mis- 
placed variant of 'n' 'S3 rriiT 'yi'x rwvhvh in v.*^ But inasmuch as other con- 
siderations tend to show that the Book of Isaiah was certainly not complete 
much, if at all, before 180 B.C., and there is certainly no evidence to show 
that chs. 40-66 were attributed to Isaiah much earlier than Sir 48^^"^ {c. 180 
B.C.), it is unnecessary to assume textual corruption, and very unwise to 
prefer an unnatural to an obvious interpretation * of 2 Ch 36^. 

§§ 20-27. Origin and History of the Book of Isaiah : (2) The 
Greek Version and the Prophetic Canon. 

20. In addition to the direct external testimony to the exist- 
ence of the Book of Isaiah before the ist cent, a.d., there are two 
important matters that indirectly testify to it — the existence of 
an early Greek version of the Book, and the existence of a 

* It is interesting to observe how Josephus, intentionally or unintention- 
ally, softens down the difficulty ; and it is significant that he quite clearly 
and naturally sees in 2 Ch 36^ a fulfilment of Is 44^^ 45^ : see Ant. xi. i^* 2, 
especially § 2, where he says : '* Now Cyrus knew this (raCra, viz. that Cyrus* 
name had been foretold by the * prophets,' etc. ) from reading the book of 
his prophecies which Isaiah left behind him : for this (prophet) said secretly 
[iv 6Liro{)p-f)Tif) that God spoke thus to him : * My will is, that Cyrus, whom I 
have appointed king of many and great nations, send my people to their 
own land, and build my Temple.' This Isaiah foretold 140 years before 
the Temple was demolished. Accordingly, when Cyrus read this ... an 
earnest desire and ambition seized upon him to carry out (7rot^<rot) what was 
so written," etc. 




xl INTRODUCTION 

prophetic canon prior to the conclusion of the entire Canon of 
the Old Testament at the end of the ist cent. a.d. 

(a) The Greek Version. 

In respect of the relation between the Hebrew text and the 
Greek version, the Book of Isaiah presents a striking contrast 
to the Book of Jeremiah. The Greek version of the Book of 
Jeremiah differs widely from the present Hebrew text both in 
extent and in arrangement : from this fact it is a reasonable 
inference that at the time the Greek version was made the form 
and extent of Jeremiah had not been firmly fixed, and it is a 
tolerably certain inference that at that time even the prophetic 
books were not protected from re-arrangement and expansion by 
any theory of the sanctity of Scripture such as protected the 
entire Canon from the ist cent. a.d. onward. In arrangement 
the Book of the Twelve also differs in the Hebrew and Greek 
Bibles. On the other hand, both in extent and arrangement^ the 
present Hebrew Text and the Greek Version of the Book of Isaiah 
ar^ substantially identical. Two or three' verses (2^2 381^ 40"^ 56^-), 
present in |^, are absent in ©, and in sundry other places ffi is 
shorter than J^ by a clause or two ; and in much the same 
number of cases © has clauses not found in J^. There is no 
difference of arrangement. 

The most natural and obvious conclusion to draw is that, at 
the date when the Greek version was made, the Book of Isaiah had 
already reached its present form and 2i\sOy with the possible excep- 
tion of some or all of the slight + and - of ffi, its present extent. 

21. An alternative conclusion is, mdetdi possible : a Book of 

Isaiah, smaller than the present, may have been translated into 

Greek at a certain date; additions may have been made after 

that date to the Hebrew text, and these additions may have been 

subsequently translated into Greek, and added to the existing Greek 

version, yet so that their position in the version corresponded 

exactly to their position in the original (ct. Jeremiah). But if 

this were actually the case, the additions to the original Greek 

version should reveal themselves as such by differences of style 

and method, for even quite brief additions to the original text of 

(& are commonly betrayed by stylistic differences.* But as a 

matter of fact the Greek version of Isaiah is marked in general 

* See nn. on 11^ and the references in Thackeray, Grammar^ p. 294, 
under "Interpolations." 




ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE BOOK OF ISAIAH xH 

by greater homogeneity of style than the versions of Jeremiah and 
" the Twelve" : such differences as exist are not perhaps sufficient 
to prove difference of translators, and, if they are sufficient, they 
would point to chs. 40-66 (or perhaps 40-55, 56-66) proceeding as 
a whole from one translator and chs. 1-39 as a whole from another ; 
they would lend no probability to a theory that such parts of the 
Book of Isaiah {e.g. chs. 24-27) as have been regarded by some 
recent writers as the latest parts of the book, and not written before 
the last third of the 2nd cent. B.C., were translated by a different 
hand from that which translated the main body of chs. 1-39. 

Thackeray has argued that whereas three hands are distinguishable in the 
Greek version of Jeremiah (a. chs. 1-28 ; /3. 29-51 ; 7. 52 — Greek enumera- 
tion) and two in Ezekiel (o. chs. 1-27 and 40-48 ; /3. 28-39, including a 
heterogeneous section /3^. 36-^"'^), there is no similar evidence pointing to the 
work of different translators in Isaiah ; he is able 10 point to common character- 
istics that run through the whole Book of Isaiah, for example, the translitera- 
tion of mxas in the phrase ni«3J< niiT, which, rarely found outside Isaiah, 
occurs in Isaiah fifty-three times ; the phrase /xiKpbs kuI fx^yas, or &irb fiiKpov ^ws 
fieyiXov, occurs in five places (9'^ (^^' 22"* ^* 23*' ^^)> where the Hebrew does 
not immediately suggest it ; the phrase e^s rbv aluva xp^'^o*' is used seven 
times in Isaiah, and elsewhere only in Ex 14"*, Bar 3^*^ (cp. rbv aldva xpbvov, 
V.*'), Jth 15^** : and in general Isaiah is marked by greater correctness of style 
than Jeremiah and Ezekiel : see/T/iS iv. 245-266, 398-41 1 ; Grammar^ 11 f. 
I have myself drawn attention to differences as between chs. 1-39 and 40-66, 
and amongst others to differences in the use of the article and in the 
rendering of tdk na and dkj ; the particles ?rdXt»', 5iJ, bioTi^ and rolvvv, which 
are frequent in chs. 1-39, are almost entirely absent from chs. 40-66 : see 
/TAS, 1911, pp. 286-293. 

22. What, then, is the date of the Greek version ? Briefly 
stated, the most important evidence is as follows : — (i) the 
author of Wisdom, commonly supposed to have written about 
50 B.C.,* must have been familiar with the existing version of 
Isaiah, for in 2^2 be quotes the very peculiar version of Is 3^^ ffi : 
cp. also Wis 15^® with Is 44^0 ffi. Other later or more uncertain 
but interesting traces of ffir are to be found in 4 Mac iS^*^- (cp. 
Is 432), Orac. Sibyll. iii. 606 (cp. Is 2^^^-), 708 ff. (cp. Is ii^ff-); 
(2) the translator of Ecclesiasticus in his prologue (c. 132 B.C.) 
refers to (Greek) versions of "the law and the prophecies (at 
7rpo<j>7)T€Lai) and the rest of the books " ; (3) the style and 
language of the version. 

* Thackeray {Grammar, 61 f.), on grounds of Greek orthography, proposes 
an earlier date, c. 130 B.C. ; cp. Church Quart. Keviezv, Oct. 1910, pp. 209 f. 



\ 




xlii INTRODUCTION 

It is possible that a more thorough and detailed investigation of the style 
and language of fflr may yield more convincing results than have been obtained 
at present. Thackeray {JThS iv. 583, x. 300-303) adduces considerations, 
worthy indeed of attention, but by no means final or conclusive on this 
particular issue, to show that Isaiah was translated earlier than the other 
prophetical books : (l) the Greek of Isaiah approaches more nearly than that 
of the other prophetical books to the classical style : in the Grammar^ 
Thackeray classifies it as good koiv^ Greek with the Pentateuch, translated in 
the 3rd cent. B.C., but also with i Mac. which cannot have been written before 
the end of the 2nd cent. B.C.; (2) "the greater ease of style, and the 
tendency to give a free rather than a verbatim rendering," may ho. "marks 
of a comparatively early date," though the analogy of the Aramaic Versions 
would, so far as it had any value, point to the opposite conclusion; the 
earliest Targum is far less free than the later Targums ; (3) some of the 
renderings in Isaiah agree with renderings in the Book of Exodus; there 
are also, it may be added, affinities with renderings in other books of the 
Pentateuch ; see Ges. i. 56, and cp. the use of 6.px<^v as an equivalent in Pent, 
and Is. (also in Ezk.) of l'?D, to which H. Wiener draws attention in Bibli- 
otheca Sacra^ 191 1> PP- 491 ff. In the Grammar^ Thackeray "conjectures" 
that Isaiah may have been translated near the beginning of the 2nd cent. B.C., 
the other prophetical books nearer its close. The occurrences in Isaiah of 
the form ovQd% (ixrjdels) and oidels {firjdeis) would indicate a date not much, if 
at all, before 132 B.C., if we could trust the orthographical tradition: 
unfortunately we cannot do so ; see Thackeray, Grammar, pp. 58 ff. It is 
scarcely safe at present to assert more than that proof is not yet forthcoming 
that the language and style of the version are less compatible with a date 
c. 150 B.C., or even earlier, than with a later date. 

The Greek version, then, is certainly not later than the Book 
of Wisdom, t.e. than the first half of the ist cent. b.c. More- 
over, either (a) this version is earlier than 132 B.C., or (d) the 
prophecies referred to in the Prologue to Sir. did not include 
Is., or (c) the version known to the author of the Prologue and 
the existing version are not identical. Of these alternatives (a) 
is the most probable, though neither (d) nor (c) can be ruled out 
as absolutely impossible; and, indeed, if Thackeray is right in 
considering the version of large parts of 2-4 Kings to be not 
earlier than the ist cent. B.C., then the TrpofftrjTeiat of the Prologue 
to Sir. were at all events not co-extensive with the books of the 
" prophetic Canon " (cp. §1). 

Failing good evidence to the contrary, it will be wise to 
reckon with the probability that the Greek version of Isaiah 
existed, if not even earlier, at least very soon after 150 B.C., and 
consequently that by the same date the Book of Isaiah had 
attained its present extent, except for any sections which can be 




ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE BOOK OF ISAIAH xliii 

shown to have been translated into Greek by other hands than 
those responsible for the main body of the work (cp. § 21). 

23. {b) The "prophetic Canon." 

After the final determination of the Canon of Scripture at the 
end of the First Century a.d., every book included in it was 
protected from expansion or alteration (§ 10). But the final 
determination of the Canon was, probably, the last of three 
stages, of which the first was the acceptance of the Law, i.e. the 
Pentateuch, in the 5th cent. B.C. (Neh 8); the second consisted 
in the constitution of a second group of sacred writings, which 
continue to exist as the second part of the Hebrew Bible, 
"the Prophets" (§ i). This second stage was probably reached 
early in the 2nd cent B.C. ; for Daniel, written^. 167 B.C., though 
it would naturally belong to the group, as a matter of fact forms 
no part of it.* 

24. Can we then argue : The prophetic Canon was complete 
before the middle of the 2nd century B.C., probably even before 
c. 165 B.C., the Book of Isaiah forms part of that Canon, there- 
fore the Book of Isaiah can contain nothing of Maccabaean 
origin, can scarcely contain anything written after the close of 
the 3rd cent. B.c. ? The argument has been used, and its 
validity has been disputed. It is scarcely safe to press it too far, 
or to rely on it exclusively. The final determination of the 
entire Canon falls at a period (ist-2nd cent. a.d.) when we have 
evidence that a very strict theory of the letter of Scripture was 
developing. But we are not justified in assuming that the same 
theory existed in the 2nd cent. B.C., and that it was applied to 
the earlier and smaller bodies of Scripture that had gained, or 
were then gaining, form and recognition. As a matter of fact, 
we have evidence that such a theory, even if it existed, was 
ineffective : " the Law " received additions after the time of 
Ezra (Numbers^ p. xxxi ff".), the Books of Jeremiah and "The 
Twelve " differ in extent or arrangement or both in fflr and J^, 
Isaiah (J^) itself has in all probability received some very slight 
additions even after the date of €r, and harmless additions 
to the text of the Samaritan Pentateuch {Numbers^ p. xxxviii f.) 

* For a fuller discussion of the summary statements of this section, refer- 
ence must again be made to standard works on the Canon. It is to be 
observed that Du. (p. vif.) disputes the value of the argument from the 
absence of Daniel. 




xliv INTRODUCTION 

show a similar tendency in the neighbouring Samaritan com- 
munity. 

Thus the rigid theory of the finality of Scripture and the strict 
division between Scripture and its interpretation, which prevailed 
from the ist cent. a.d. downwards, had been preceded by a 
period during which the ancient words of the prophets were 
subject to adaptation to the new conditions and needs of later 
generations. Ancient promise or threat and modern interpreta- 
tion, application, or modification, were at this period not kept 
absolutely distinct, but were combined into new written words 
adapted to present needs. 

25. And yet the failure of Daniel to be incorporated in the 
prophetic Canon shows that in some degree the extent of 
expansion or change to which " the Prophets " were subjected 
was limited. Is it likely that entire sections like chs. 24-27, 
(32) 34-35 were first incorporated in the Book of Isaiah after the 
middle, or even after the end, of the 2nd cent. b.c. ? Daniel 
and, say. Is 24-27 are, indeed, not quite in the same case: 
to have included Daniel in the prophetic Canon would have been 
to expand that Canon by the introduction of the work of a 
prophet not yet recognised ; whereas, if chs. 24-27 had indepen- 
dently established a claim to be Isaiah's, their inclusion merely 
meant that the work of a prophet already recognised in the 
Canon was made more complete. 

On the whole, it seems improbable that long sections not 
obviously related to the existing Book, and the place which they 
now occupy in it, were first incorporated in it after "the 
Prophets " had become a body of Scripture. They would 
naturally, like Daniel, have found their way into the "writings." 

26. Du. and Marti dismiss the argument from the Canon 
altogether, on the ground that the History of the Canon must be 
judged by what it contains and not vice versa. This is perfectly 
true ; and if any section of the Book bears unmistakable evidence 
of having been written at the end of the 2nd cent. B.C., it 
certainly follows that the Book of Isaiah and the prophetic Canon 
were still open to expansion as late as that. But if it is a case of 
probability merely, if it merely seems probable, without appearing 
certain, that a section of the Book was written at so late a date, 
then we are justified in placing probability over-against prob- 
ability : a possible, but not necessary, theory of the interpretation 




ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE BOOK OF ISAIAH xlv 

and origin of a section may rightly be judged unproven if it 
conflicts with the probable, even though not certain, history of 
the prophetic Canon. 

27. Reviewing the various lines of evidence which have 
already been discussed, we should not expect to find much in 
the present Book of Isaiah that was written after c. 180 B.C., still 
less to find much that was written after r. 150 B.C., unless differenced 
in (K can be established which point to different translators. 
On the other hand, there is no reason why even much of the 
Book may not have been written as late as the 3rd cent. B.C., for 
our present Book, in common probably with the Book of the 
Twelve, appears to have taken shape within that century, and 
rather perhaps towards its close than its beginning. Whether 
matter so late even as the 3rd cent. B.C., and, if any, how much 
of such matter is to be found in the Book, will be determined 
mainly by internal evidence. 

§ 28-35. Origin and History of the Book of Isaiah : (3) The 
Testimony of the Book of Isaiah to itself. 

28. When we turn to interrogate the Book itself as to its 
origin and history, two significant features at once strike us: (i) 
the arrangement of the matter; (2) the presence of several titles. 

To the arrangement of the Book a passing reference has 
already been made in § 5. Certain principles of arrangement 
can be detected,* but none is consistently carried through. 
Regard for the subject-matter may have exercised some influence 
in keeping, if not in bringing, together kindred prophecies or 
sections: as in Ezekiel (chs. 25-32) and Jeremiah (chs. 46-51), 
so in Isaiah (chs. 13-23), prophecies concerning foreign nations 
are grouped together ; yet this principle of arrangement is less 
consistently carried through in Isaiah, for (i) the foreign 
prophecies in chs. 13-23 are interrupted by a section, or 
sections, dealing with Judah in ch. 22 ; (2) other foreign 
prophecies appear elsewhere in the Book ; Edom is the subject 
of ch. 34, Babylon of ch. 47 ; so in the book of " The Twelve " 
prophecies concerning foreign nations are separated from one 
another ; see, e.g.. Am i f., Nahum ; in this case the reason is 
obvious : the book of " The Twelve " is a compilation which in 

* Ges. pp. iSff. ; Cornill, Die Composition des Buches fesaia^ in ZATW 
iv. 83-105 ; Che. Introd. xxii. 




Xlvi INTRODUCTION 

its arrangement is primarily governed by the principle that 
previously existing books (Amos, Nahum, etc.) should be retained 
distinct in the compilation : the same principle is probably 
responsible for the separation in the existing Book of Isaiah of 
chs. 34 and 47 from chs. 13-23. 

Another principle that has exercised some influence in the 
"arrangement of Isaiah is regard for chronology : " the year in 
which Uzziah died" (6^), i.e. c. 740 B.C., is followed in ch. 7 by a 
section that refers definitely to the reign of the next king but one 
to Uzziah, Ahaz (from c. 735 B.C.); 14^^ refers to "the year in 
which king Ahaz died," which was not later than 715 B.C.; 20^ 
refers to the year 711 B.C., and the Assyrian king Sargon; chs. 
36-39, to the days of Hezekiah and Sennacherib, the successor 
of Sargon; 44^^ etc. to Cyrus, c. 550 B.C. Yet a detailed 
examination shows that, apart from the striking disregard of 
chronology, which allows ch. 6, the record of Isaiah's call to be 
a prophet, to stand after a group of his prophecies (chs. 1-5), 
chronological sequence is frequently violated in the present 
arrangement of the Book. The extent to which prophecies are 
out of chronological sequence may be in part due to the 
inadequacy of the post-exilic (§§ 5-7) editor's knowledge ; but 
in part this also is probably due to the desire to keep distinct the 
previously existing books which he has incorporated in his 
compilation. And in any case the extent of chronological 
inconsequence in the Book of Isaiah is after all no greater than 
in the Kor'an, though that work was arranged within a generation 
of its composition, and while a considerable amount of valuable 
tradition as to the age of its several parts was still young. 

29. Certainly the presence of various titles strongly suggests 
that the editor of the Book of Isaiah has incorporated in his 
compilation previously existing books much as he found them, 
without attempting any free and general rearrangement of the 
material thus at his command. This editor may himself be the 
author of the title in i^, but scarcely of the title in 2^ for 2^, far 
from being the heading of a mere section, is as wide in its scope 
as i^ ; it stands where it does because the editor has here 
incorporated, title and all, a previously existing book. A further 
title occurs in 13^ which runs, "the Oracle of Babylon, which 
Isaiah the son of Amos saw," and in the succeeding chapters 
down to ch. 23 a number of sub-titles follow, "the Oracle of 




V 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE BOOK OF ISAIAH xlvii 

Moab" (15^), "the Oracle of Damascus" (17^), and so forth. 
Was 13^ hke 2^ originally the title of a previously existing book 
which the editor of Isaiah incorporated entire, or was it shorter 
like the titles of 15^ 17^ etc., and merely a sub-title of a section? 
On the one hand, the general title of an entire book containing 
oracles on several nations would more appropriately have run, 
" The Oracles which Isaiah the son of Amos saw " ; on the other 
hand, the editor who had already (i^) prefixed a title indicating 
Isaiah as author of the whole volume, had no obvious reason for 
reasserting his authorship in this particular sub-title. On the 
whole, it seems most probable that chs. 13-23 are derived from 
an independent " Book of Oracles " ; possibly this was at one time 
anonymous, and the later ascription to Isaiah was recorded by 
attaching a clause to the title of the first section of the Book, 
while it still circulated separately and before it had come to 
form part of the present Book of Isaiah. 

30. We find no further titles; but other sections of the 
book are marked off by certain characteristics. Chs. 28-32 
consist of a series of sections beginning with the exclamation 
"•in (28^ 29^ 30^ 31^ 33^) ; these are widely separated from a series 
of shorter sections which begin with the same exclamation (5^"^^) ; 
these two series of similar sections are probably separated in the 
present Book of Isaiah because the editor found them in different 
works which he has incorporated entire : cp. the separation of 
the prophecies in chs. 34. 47 from chs. 13-23. Chs. 36-39 
(except 39^'^^) are an extract from the Book of Kings. 

The book thus divides into these sections : 

a. I. General Title attributing authorship to Isaiah (i^), and d ' 
a small group of prophecies (i^-^i). 

b. 2-12. A Book of prophecies mainly concerning "Judah <" 

and Jerusalem," ascribed in a title (2®) to Isaiah. /) 1 . 

c. 13-23. " Oracles " which the title to the first section (13I) '^^^ -^ p^^ 
probably intends to attribute to Isaiah. ^ p i, 1 

d. 24-27. Anonymous Prophecy. - ' 

e. 28-33. A collection of poems beginning with ^in. "^*^ Jv^/O-^^ 
/ 34 f. Anonymous Prophecy. "" 

g. 36-39. Mainly an extract from 2 Kings. 
h. 40-66. Anonymous Prophecy. 

Of these sections, g. has its analogy in Jer 52, and the 
analogy suggests that it once formed the close of a volume 




Xlviii INTRODUCTION 

attributed to Isaiah, whether that volume contained the whole or 
only part (§ 17) of what now stands between the title i^ and 
this historical appendix in chs. 36-39. There is also this differ- 
ence between chs. 1-39 and 40-66, that whereas much in chs. 
1-39 was written later than the age of Isaiah and as late as most, 
if not all, of 40-66, yet throughout 1-39 we constantly return 
to direct references to Isaiah, or prophecies unmistakably of his 
age ; but in 40-66 there is no reference to Isaiah, nor are there 
any prophecies of his age. 

31. Probably, then, a stage, if not the latest, consisted in 
attaching chs. 40-66 to chs. 36-39, which latter chapters were 
already preceded by chs. 1-35 in whole or in part. Whether this 
attachment of chs. 40-66 to 1-39 was in the first instance due 
to the fact that a roll containing a Book of Isaiah — 1-39 — was 
filled out with what was understood to be an anonymous 
prophecy (chs. 40-66), either simply to fill a blank space, or to 
make the fourth prophetic collection approximate more nearly in 
size to Jeremiah, Ezekiel and " The Twelve," or whether chs. 
40-66 were attached to chs. 1-39 because they had already 
come to be attributed to Isaiah, are speculations that need be 
pursued no further here ; see, however, Eichhorn, Eitileitung^ iii. 
(1783) 94; Ges. pp. 17 f. ; Cheyne, Introd. xviif., 237 f. 

Both books, chs. 1-39 and chs. 40-66, had had their own 
separate history before they came, whether by accident or 
design, to be treated as a single work. Chs. 40-66 appear to 
contain work of at least two periods {c. 540 and c. 450 b.c.) 
separated from one another by nearly a century : the matter will 
be fully argued in its proper place in the Commentary. An 
editor must have brought together the work of these two different 
periods, and that scarcely much before, and possibly, even 
probably, considerably after, the close of the 5th century. 

32. It remains to discuss here the separate history and the 
complexity of chs. 1-39 more fully. From the nature of the 
case, various alternative theories are often possible : no attempt 
will be made to discuss or even to mention them all : it must 
suffice to indicate so much as will suggest the complexity of the 
problem, and the number of stages by which chs. 1-39 may have 
attained their present form. 

The Book that contained chs. 40-66 was in the first instance 
anonymous ; but the Book that was concluded with chs. 36-39 — 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE BOOK OF ISAIAH xlix 

the long extract from Kings relating to Isaiah — was probably 
from the first understood to consist entirely of prophecies by 
Isaiah and narratives relating to him, in this resembling the 
Books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. As a matter of fact, Is 1-39 
may contain the work of nearly as many different writers as the 
book of " the Twelve," but, unlike that book, it passed as the 
work of, or about, a single prophet. 

33. But how much of chs. 1-35 belonged to the Book of 
which chs. 36-39 formed the closing section ? In all probability 
at least the three sections which are referred by separate titles 
to Isaiah, viz. (a) ch. i ; (d) chs. 2-12 ; (c) chs. 13-23. But did 
this Book also include from the first the anonymous chapters 
24-35 ^ Of these chapters, 28-33 (32) contain much that is ad- 
mittedly the work of Isaiah, whereas chs. 24-27. (33). 34. 35 con- 
tain nothing that can with any probability be defended as work 
of the 8th cent. b.c. A theory that the anonymous sections 24- 
27. 33. 34. 35 are subsequent interpolations cannot be considered 
proved, but it would have in itself nothing improbable. Only it 
would be reasonable to believe that if chs. 24-27. 33. 34. 35 were 
interpolated into a Book of Isaiah that consisted of i. 2-12. 13- 
23. 28-32, they were so interpolated because they were already 
believed to be the work of Isaiah, or, if we prefer the alternative, 
because the interpolator wished them to pass as Isaiah's. 
Again, if these prophecies were added to a book that closed with 
chs. 36-39, it is easy to see why they were inserted somewhere in 
the middle among the prophecies rather than appended to the 
narratives, though the reason for the particular place assigned 
them may not be obvious. On the other hand, if they were 
interpolated after chs. 40-66 had been already added to a book 
which consisted of chs. i. 2-12. 13-23. 28-32. 36-39, it is by no 
means easy to see why they were interpolated where they now 
stand rather than at the close of the prophecies in chs. 40-66, for 
they are certainly not very obviously connected with their present 
setting. From this point of view, then, there seems some 
probability that, if interpolated at all, chs. 24-27 and 33-35 were 
interpolated before chs. 36-39 and 40-66 were united, i.e. before 
c. 180 B.C. ; and if this were so, it would follow that chs. 24-27 
and 33-35 were written before 180 b.c. The case is rather 
different with i9i7(i9)-25 . \{ this were written c. 160 b.c, it must 
have been interpolated ; but it may equally well have been inter- 
VOL. I. — d 



I 



INTRODUCTION 




polated after the union of chs. 36-39 and 40-66, as before : after 
66 it would have stood in no natural connection; in ch. 19 the 
verses are attached to others which also deal with Egypt. 

34. We proceed next to a survey of the sections of which 
several, if not all, once existed separately as smaller books. 

Ch. I may have been a prophetic fly-sheet of about the size 
of the Book of Obadiah, or its several parts may have been first 
put together by the final editor of the Book : see Introd, to ch. i 
in the Comm. 

2-12. This section, which opens with its own title and 
has the main body of its contents enclosed between poems 
(2^** 12) relating to the Ideal Future, may well have formed 
a Book of Isaiah. But if so, like our present Book it had 
itself had a history. It may be noted that (i) the section is 
wider in its scope than " Judah and Jerusalem " (2^), for see 9^- 
10*; (2) the account of Isaiah's call falls in the middle of it, 
ch. 6 ; (3) chs. 6-8 are more largely narrative than " vision," 
ptn (2^ ; cp. n. on i^) ; (4) in 525-29 ^^ i^ayg ^ clear case of mis- 
placement; these verses form the close to 9'^- 10*; (5) not a 
little even of these chapters is later than the age of Isaiah. 

There is room for various conjectures; 6-8^8 shows in the 
main at least a clear chronological sequence, and is drawn in part, 
if not entirely, from an autobiographical work by Isaiah; chs. 
2-5 contain prophetic poems and sayings. It is possible that 2^ 
was in the first instance a title to a small body of prophecy — say 
2-4, or 2-5, to which the extracts from autobiographical, or 
biographical, memoirs — 6-8^8 — were appended, as chs. 36-39 
were appended to 1-35.* The remainder of chs. 2-12, including 
the prophetic poem on Ephraim (g'^-io^), may have gained its 
way into this Book at one time or at several. It is, of course, 
conceivable that some or all of such additional matter was 
added by the final editor of the Book : but this is not probable ; 
for had he been freely re-arranging his material, it would have 
been natural to group 9^-10* with other prophecies concerning 
Ephraim, such as ly^^^^ 28^-*. 



* It is less probable that the Book, claiming in its title to be prophecies 
concerning Judah and Jerusalem, contained, in addition to 2-5, ^-\q^. and 
that 6-9^ was subsequently interpolated between 2-5 and 9'-io^ (Di.) ; nor is 
Di.'s argument that Isaiah himself is answerable for combining 2-5. 6-9" 
(or 6-11^^) at all conclusive. 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE BOOK OF ISAIAH li 

But if we cannot speak with certainty as to the original 
contents of the Book to which 2^ was the prefixed title, or as to 
its contents when used by the editor who incorporated it into 
Is 1-39, so neither can we speak with certainty as to the date 
of the Book, either in its original or expanded form. In its 
expanded form, however, it must be a work of the post-exilic 
period: for not a little of 2-12 was first written in that period, 
ch. 12 by very general consent, probably also other passages, 
viz. 22-4 42-6 (9I-8) II and parts of 10. 

Chs. 13-23. This book consists of (a) a series of "oracles" 
indicated by title (13^) and sub-titles (15^ 17^ 19^ ai^-"-^^ 22^ 
23I), (d) sections not entitled "oracles" (1424-27. 28-32 1^12-14 jg. 
( 1 917-25). 20. 22^^-^^). The term KBTD, which appears in the titles 
that give so striking an external feature to this section, occurs 
nowhere else in the Book of Isaiah except in 30^, but it is found 
in the titles of certain sections of the book of " The Twelve " ; see 
Hab i\ Nah i^, Zee 9I 12^, Mai i^. This Book of Oracles, if, 
as seems likely, the ten sections entitled KU'O, orac/e, once 
existed separately, was a post-exilic work, for some of the oracles 
were themselves written in the Exile or later — certainly 13^-14* 
2ii-i<>, possibly also 15 f. 19 (in whole or part), 23 ; but the Book 
also contained some work belonging to the age of Isaiah ; see 
ch. 17. It is possible, and indeed far from improbable, that the 
untitled sections were, most or all of them, added to the " Book 
of Oracles " before that work was utilised by the editor of Isaiah 
1-39 ; but some at least of the additions, g.^. c. 20, must have 
been made after the " Book of Oracles " as a whole had been 
attributed to Isaiah. 

Chs. 24-27. This anonymous prophecy is certainly post- 
exilic, and so, too (even though they be of independent origin), 
are the songs now incorporated with it; see more fully the 
Introduction to the section in the Commentary. 

Chs. 28-33. Externally these chapters are held together by 
the recurrent ^in at the beginning of sections. A further striking 
characteristic is the constant interchange of denunciations which 
bear the stamp of a particular period in Isaiah's career, and 
passages of glowing promise. Some almost certainly, and possibly 
all, of the passages of promise are of post-exilic origin (see, g.g.y 
on 28^^- 29i'^-24 30I8-26). Since this feature does not run through 
the whole of chs. 1-39, we may infer that it marked these 




Ill INTRODUCTION 

chapters before they were incorporated in chs. 1-39. In chs. 
28-33 we appear to have a record of a period in Isaiah's career 
made the basis of a (late) post-exilic work; see, further, on 
28-33 ') ^^^ ^or ^^ elaboration of the hypothesis barely suggested 
here, see M. Briickner, J^ie Composition des Buches Jes, cc, 

28-33 if' 1897). 

Chs. 34f. An anonymous post-exilic prophecy. 

35. This summary statement of much that will be found 
more fully discussed in the Commentary is enough to show that 
the Book of Isaiah is the final stage in a literary process of 
which many of the previous stages fell within the post-exilic 
period. And thus an analysis of the Book itself, though it may 
not indicate a precise date for the origin of the complete Book, 
certainly prepares us for the suggestion of 2 Ch 36 (see above, 
§ 18), that the Book did not as yet exist c, 300 b.c., and to 
believe that it did not exist any long time before 180 b.c. 

We can only go further, if we can determine the age of the 
latest section of the Book ; for the Book, of course, in its final form 
is later than its latest section. Unfortunately there are several 
sections which are clearly post-exilic, but of which the exact age 
is anything but clear. The present writer hesitates, as the Com- 
mentary must be left to show, to follow Du. and others in 
assigning much, or Kennett in assigning more than half, of the 
book to the 2nd cent. B.C., and some passages even to the end 
of that century. But it is extremely difficult to believe that 
chs. 24-27 were written until far on in the post-exilic period, and 
1^19-25 may have been written as late as 160 B.C., and inserted 
in the then virtually closed Book. Even after that date a few 
brief notes — marginal glosses in the first instance — may have 
found their way into the text and probably did ; see 2^0 6^3 (last 
clause), etc. 

The exact age of the last editor's work cannot be determined ; 
but the character of the age can be divined. Is 24-27 is an 
apocalyptic work, and forms part of the Book of Isaiah ; no 
great time after the conclusion of that Book we have evidence 
of the activity of apocalyptic thought in Daniel and the earlier 
portions of Enoch, The latest editor of the Book, as probably 
enough some of the editors of the books he utilised or incorpor- 
ated, lived in an age saturated with apocalyptic thought. It 
need not surprise us if the thought of the age has frequently 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE BOOK OF ISAIAH liii 

affected the form in which even the ancient prophecies have 
been handed on to us. 



§§ 36-39. Origin and History of the Book of Isaiah : (4) Prophetic 
Teaching and Prophetic Literature, 

36. Literature was not the primary expression of prophecy. 
Elijah was a speaker, he was not a writer; and (so far as we 
know) Amos was the first prophet to record his teaching in 
writing. But the earliest of even the so-called literary prophets 
were speakers first and writers afterwards : Amos, Isaiah, Micah, 
and doubtless Hosea, too, were called in the first instance to 
deliver a message to the nation by word of mouth. The call to 
write, when it is recorded (Is 30^, Jer 36^), came to these prophets 
later ; their first need was fitness or power to speak, pure lips, 
and not "the pen of the ready writer." Later, prophecy, 
especially as it passed over into apocalyptic, became purely 
literary; it was expressed from the first in writing. There is 
also much of the prophetic literature of which we cannot say with 
certainty whether it rests on spoken prophecy or not. 

37. Much of the Book of Isaiah, including perhaps most or 
all of that which is unrelated to the prophet Isaiah, may rest on 
no previously spoken word : it may have had literary form from 
the first : in this case all that is needed is to trace the literary 
process to its literary origin. But much certainly goes back to the 
public or private utterances of the prophet Isaiah, and in this 
case we have to inquire what is the relation between the first 
literary stage and the spoken word. Our information on this 
point is unfortunately scanty, but it is suggestive ; so also is the 
form of the written record itself. The questions that arise 
cannot be adequately answered ; but much of the Book of Isaiah 
can only be satisfactorily discussed and interpreted, if the possi- 
bilities or probabilities in this matter are constantly kept in mind. 

38. The records of Isaiah's teaching consist of {a) prophecies, 
{V) memoirs of the prophet, either (a) autobiographical, 6-8^^ 
(in the main), and a document underlying 28-32 ; or ifi) bio- 
graphical, 20. 36-39. 

In b ((3) we certainly see Isaiah through the medium of 
others, and, probably, in chs. 36-39 through the medium of 
somewhat long popular tradition. In d (a) we have Isaiah's 



liv 



INTRODUCTION 




account of himself; but how do the prophecies stand related to 
him and his spoken words ? * 

The first thing to be remarked is that the prophecies are 
almost without exception poems or poetic fragments (§§ 44 ff.), 
and that these poems are short. Probably the longest poem is 
q7_jq4 and 526-29^ and this, in Hebrew, scarcely exceeds 300 
words. We have therefore no speech, sermon, oration (or what- 
ever other term we may prefer to use) of Isaiah's that would have 
taken in its present literary form more than 4 or 5 minutes to 
deliver. 

Now, were these poems (a) Composed first and then recited by 
the prophet in public ; or (y8) were they written after the prophet 
had spoken or preached in a different style and at greater length, 
in order to perpetuate, not the words of his speech, but the ideas 
that had formed the substance of it ; or (y) are some of them, and 
particularly the more fragmentary, pregnant sayings remembered 
by his hearers, and subsequently grouped together much like the 
" Logia " of the Gospels ? 

39. The alternatives just suggested are not mutually exclusive : 
all three processes may actually have taken place and each may 
account for some of the prophecies that have survived in literary 
form. Certainly the prophets may at times have availed them- 



selves of the methods of the Moshelim (Nu 21 2^: see Numbers^ 
pp. 299 f., xiii f.) ; but, having gathered their audience, they may 
have held it by reciting, instead of songs of past victory, poems 
of their own composing in which they laid bare the real signifi- 
cance of the present ; perchance the song of the vineyard in 5^-^ 
had such an origin. So, too, in view of much that is fragmentary, 
it is far from improbable that we owe something to the memory 
of the disciples of the prophet (cp. S^^-^^); and certainly the 
grouping of six or seven brief "Woes" in 5^24 recalls the 
"Beatitudes" of the Gospels which we have received in two 
very different groupings, one of which at least is not that of their 
author. But probably the bulk of the prophecies in the Book of 
Isaiah, as in Amos, Hosea, Jeremiah, are condensations into 
artistic poetic form of what Isaiah had said in public at greater 
length, but without the same restraint of form. This is 
suggested by the particular instance recorded in 30^ (8^^ is 
more ambiguous), read in the light of the full account given 
* Cp. Cheyne, Introd. xxix. 



^ 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE BOOK OF ISAIAH Iv 

by Jeremiah (ch. 36) of the way in which he came to commit 
his teaching to writing : not till Jeremiah had been teaching for 
more than twenty years did he compose the prophetic poems 
which summarise what he had said. How early, or how often, 
Isaiah gave literary form to his teaching we cannot determine : 
there is some reason for believing that it was some years after 
his Call that he wrote his account of it (see on ch. 6), and the 
preparation of these memoirs may have been Isaiah's first literary 
work. In the case of the prophecies on the Northern kingdom, 
the two most probable alternatives are these : either (a) Isaiah 
wrote 9'^-io* 17^"® 28^-* and despatched the written poems to be 
recited or read by others, or (d) he himself, like Amos (Am 7^®"^*), 
proceeded to some place in the North, delivered his message, 
and subsequently reduced the substance of what he had said 
to literary form. Some of the " oracles " on foreign nations were 
presumably cast in literary form from the first (cp. Di. xxi), 
though ch. 18 again may well be a summary of what Isaiah had 
previously spoken. 

§ 40. Origin and History of the Book of Isaiah : (5) A 
tentative synthesis from the preceding evidence. 

40. In the preceding analytical discussion it has several 
times been pointed out that more than one theory will 
satisfy many of the phenomena: no synthesis of results can 
therefore be more than tentative; all that is offered here 
is one such tentative theory * of the origin of the Book of 
Isaiah. 

At times rather than continuously between the years c. 740 
to 701 B.C., and perhaps somewhat later, Isaiah was a public 
teacher in Judah ; he gradually gathered around him disciples. 
Some years after he had been teaching he wrote some memoirs 
recording the experience which made him a prophet and the way 
in which he had in the earlier years (735-732) of the reign of 
Ahaz delivered his prophetic message. He also at various times 
perpetuated in the form of prophetic poems the substance of 
what he had said in rebuke of the sins of Judah (see, e.g.^ 2-4), 
or Ephraim (9^-10^ 17^'^^ zS^-*), or in reference to political issues 
of the day in which foreign nations also were involved (see, e.g., 
* For another recent theory, see Kennett, pp. 39-42. 




Ivi INTRODUCTION 

chs. 1 8. 28-31); in some cases he was moved to do this by 
^ the unwillingness of the people to listen to him (30^). 

The memoirs and prophetic poems of Isaiah, forming small 
booklets, became the treasures of his disciples and their suc- 
cessors ; it is probable enough that early owners of these booklets 
made annotations in them, and we have, perhaps, an instance of 
7 th century annotations in 7^^' ^. 

But the personality of Isaiah impressed itself not only on his 

immediate disciples : he became the hero of popular story, and 

some of these stories relating to the latest period(s) in his life 

\ were a century or more later written down, and found their way 

' like the similar cycle of stories about Elijah and Elisha into the 

Book of Kings (2 K 18-20). 

Various writers during and after the Exile wrote oracles on 
^ foreign nations ; and a great writer produced a book (Is 40-55) 
intended to rouse and encourage the Exiles in Babylon. 

After the Exile much of the existing prophetic literature was 
newly arranged and expanded, especially by the addition of 
passages of promise and comfort ; and among the results of this 
activity were books closely resembling chs. 2-12 and chs. 13-23. 

New and independent prophecy was also produced, and in 
1 the middle of the 5th cent. b.c. much of 56-66 was written. 
Later, chs. 40-55 and 56-66 were combined into a single book. 

Other independent post-exilic works are chs. 34 f., 24-27 — the 
latter written late in the post-exilic period. 

Possibly about the beginning of the 3rd cent. b.c. the 
existing Books of Isaiah (2-12 and 13-23 and ? 28-32) were 
brought together by an editor who prefixed a title i^ and 
another booklet of Isaiah's (i^"^^), and added (36-39) to the 
prophecies the narratives from 2 K 17^^-20 (with the omission, 
however, of 2 K iS^^-^^ and the addition of Is 38^-20): whether 
this editor also included in his work chs. 24-27 and 33. 34. 35, 
or whether these sections were later interpolated, is uncertain. 
i Some time before 180 b.c, chs. 1-39 (24-27. ^^f.posstd/y 
being absent) and 40-66 were united in a single whole, which 
with Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and " The Twelve " formed four volumes 
of prophecy of approximately equal size. 

After 180 B.C. the Book of Isaiah may have received some 

f additions such as ig^'^-^^y possibly even, though less probably, 24- 

27. 34 f. 



CRITERIA FOR DISTINGUISHING WORDS OF ISAIAH Ivii 

About 150 B.C. the Book of Isaiah was translated into Greek. • 
After this date it is very doubtful whether the Book received any 
additions extending beyond a clause or a verse : such small 
additions, however, were made to the Hebrew text and include 
6^3 (last clause) 220. 

Against even such minor additions the Hebrew text was 
secured from the end of the ist cent. a.d. onwards by the 
conclusion of the Canon and the doctrine of the finality of 
Scripture. Thenceforward the Book of Isaiah could no longer 
be adapted to the needs or hopes of the living community by 
addition or alteration, but only by exegesis ; between the 5th 
and the 9th centuries a.d. the approved exegesis was closely 
wedded with the text by means of the vowel points. At times 
these vowel points are flagrantly at variance with the actual 
sense of the text, and embody not a possible interpretation of 
the prophecies, but the hopes of these later Jews (see, e.g.^ on 

§§ 41-43. Criteria for distinguishing the words of Isaiah from 
the additions of later writers. 

41. The task of interpreting a work with a history so long 
and complicated and yet in detail so obscure and uncertain as 
that which has just been sketched, is difficult indeed. There is 
no question that the Book contains words of Isaiah and words 
of other and later authors ; nor can there be any serious doubt 
that in parts of the Book these two elements are closely inter- 
mingled. We may immediately set aside chs. 40-66, 24-27, 
34 f. as containing no words of Isaiah, though in their turn these 
chapters also present their own similar problems of analysis. 
But in chs. 1-23, referred by title to Isaiah, and in chs. 28-33, 
how and to what extent can the earlier and the later elements 
be distinguished? The earlier critical method was rough and 
ready, and left correspondingly rough places for the interpreter ; 
tacitly the accepted canon was : what cannot be clearly proved 
to be later than the age of Isaiah is the work of Isaiah. But 
the canon is illegitimate. The Book of Isaiah is a late com- 
pilation : even the books incorporated in it and attributed to 
Isaiah — chs. 2-12 and 13-23 — are post-exilic works. All that 
can be strictly claimed is that what clearly proceeds from Isaiah 



Iviii 



INTRODUCTION 




is to be regarded as his, all that clearly proceeds from other 
or later writers is not to be regarded as his, and all that is 
neither clearly his nor clearly not his must be regarded as un- 
certain. And, of course, there is wide range in the degrees of 
uncertainty. 

42. The criteria for distinguishing the work of different 
writers and determining the date of any particular passage are 
mainly of three kinds. 

(a) The Political and Social implications. 

In some cases these are clear and ample ; they show that 
chs. 6-8 are, in the main, the work of Isaiah; that chs. 132-22 
and 40-55 (in the main) are works of the exilic period. In 
other cases the interpretation of what is implied is less clear. 
It is certain that if 11^ implies that the dynasty of David has 
fallen, the prophecy, 11^*^, was written no earlier than the 
Exile ; but many interpreters find themselves able to place an 
interpretation on the verse which would leave the date an open 
question. 

(d) Style and Language. 

These may prove or help to prove either (i) that a passage, 
or even a clause, is not Isaiah's ; or (2), more definitely, the ap- 
proximate date of such a passage. It is unnecessary to use the 
argument from style and language to prove that chs. 40-55 are 
not the work of Isaiah ; for it is abundantly clear from criteria 
of class (a) alone that these chapters were written 150 years 
after the close of Isaiah's career. At the same time, style and 
language alone would suffice to show that 40-55 were not the 
work of Isaiah, though they would not quite so closely define 
the date of that work. 

The data have been very carefully collected by Cheyne {Intro- 
ductioti), who at times may overrate the significance of them. 

(<:) Ideas. 

In this case, too, there is frequently room for difference of 
judgment on the facts; for we cannot write the history of 
Hebrew ideas with such precision and certainty as to rule out 
the possibility that some ideas which seem to find expression 
solely in later religion may not have been current earlier. In 
particular is there difference of judgment at the present time 
as to the critical significance of certain eschatological ideas (see 
below, § 89). 



POETICAL FORMS OF THE PROPHETIC LITERATURE lix 

43. In most cases a final judgment on any passage will rest 
in some measure on criteria of all three classes ; and in cases 
where no single type of criteria yields ground for certainty, the 
combination of probabilities derived from a study of the three 
classes may yield a high degree of probability approaching 
certainty ; in others, even all the criteria combined will only give 
a balance of probabilities (9^"^), and sometimes this will be 
of the slightest kind, so that to one observer the balance may 
seem, if it inclines at all, to incline to one side, though to 
another observer it will appear to incline to the other. 

Kennett (pp. 4 f. ) states the problem well ; but his method of solution would 
be sound only if our knowledge of all periods of Jewish history were full instead 
of being with reference to some periods exceedingly meagre, and with refer- 
ence to most, inadequate. "It is necessary," he writes, "to inquire with 
reference to each section or fragment which literary criticism declares to be 
homogeneous, at what period every one of its phrases would have a clear 
meaning. ... If history repeats itself, it seldom does so to such an extent 
that every word and phrase of a document written in one age will be equally 
suitable to another : and for practical purpose it will usually be enough to 
point out one period of history to which such a document really corresponds 
in all its parts." Unfortunately for this method, there is a vast difference 
between suitability to a particular age and suitability to what is known of 
the same age : a document may very well correspond, or not be inconsistent 
with, what is known of two or three different periods of all of which next 
to nothing is known ; and if the correspondence with only one such period 
is pointed out, a false impression of certainty or probability is necessarily 
given. As a matter of fact, considerable parts of the Book of Isaiah are not 
inconsistent with what is known of more periods than one (cp. e.g. the 
introduction to 19^"^') : if our knowledge were increased, the range of ambigu- 
ity might be diminished ; on the other hand it might be increased ; for what 
had seemed peculiar to a particular period may be shown by fuller knowledge 
to have been common to more than one : till lately an allusion to a Jewish 
Temple in Egypt would have corresponded to what was known of the period 
from c. 160 B.C. to 73 A.D. only ; it is now known that there was a Jewish , 
Temple in Egypt from before 525 down to 411 B.C. also. / 

§§ 44-57. The poetical forms of the prophetic literature^ 
and of the Book of Isaiah in particular. 

44. Robert Lowth (1710-1787), sometime Professor of 
Poetry in the University of Oxford and Bishop of London, 
rendered two great services to the critical study of the Old 
Testament. He revealed by a masterly analysis the parallelistic 
structure of Hebrew poetry ; and he perceived that the prophetic 




Ix INTRODUCTION 

literature was poetical in form."^ He also proved that in trans- 
lating from Hebrew poetry it is possible to reproduce not only 
the sense, but also the form, in so far as this depends on parallel- 
ism ; and in his translation of Isaiah he presented the poetical 
form of the original to the eye of his readers. In this he was 
followed amongst others by Koppe, who translated his Isaiah into 
German, by Gesenius in the translation prefixed to his Com- 
mentary, and by the English scholar Henderson (1840). Un- 
fortunately this practice suffered a check ; and even in Cheyne's 
Commentary,! which in other respects marked a notable advance 
in the criticism and interpretation of the Book, the prophecies 
were translated throughout in the form of prose : still more 
unfortunately the RV (1885), which presented the Psalms, Job, 
and other poetical parts of the OT in poetical form, by printing 
the Prophets as prose, obscured the important fact that the 
greater part of these books is no less poetical in form than either 
Psalms or Job. 

Parallelism is one of the forms of Hebrew poetry : is it the 
only one? Since the time of Lowth the question of Hebrew 
metre, which he had treated as non-existent or irrecoverable, 
has received repeated attention. Into the general question \ it 
is impossible to enter at length here ; but it is necessary to 
explain the principle on which the form given to the translations, 
and the account taken of metre in the Commentary, have been 
decided. 

45. In the translations the division into lines has been deter- 
mined primarily by regard to parallelism : i.e. Lowth's method 
has been resumed. This would be justifiable even if the metre 
were always clearly to be recognised — which it is not; for there 
would be no reason to adopt in translating from Hebrew a 
method which for good reasons has found no favour with those 
who have translated the metrical lines of other poetry: in 
translations (which are not themselves metrical) from Homer or 
Vergil, for example, it is not customary to distinguish in the 

* De Sacra Poesi Hebraeorum Praelectiones (1753) ; A new translation of 
Isaiah (1778). 

t The Prophecies of Isaiah (1880, 1882 ; ed. 5, 1889). 

X Cp. Harper, Amos and Hosea (in this series), pp. clxiv-clxix, and W. H. 
Cobb, A Criticism of Systems of Hebrew Metre (1905), — a useful survey of the 
subject, with (pp. 191-202) an extensive bibliography. 



POETICAL FORMS OF THE PROPHETIC LITERATURE Ixi 

translation the lines of the original ; neither is there any reason 
so to distinguish the Hebrew metrical lines if, or when, these 
lines do not coincide with the periods of parallelism, as Du., for 
example, has not infrequently done (see, e.g., p. 212 below, note 
on the structure of 11^"^). 

46. But parallelism is not a constant phenomenon of 
Hebrew poetry : lines frequently occur which are not related to 
their neighbours by parallelism of terms, or even by a general 
parallelism of sense. What Lowth called "synthetic parallel- 
ism" (Dr. LOT 363) is in reality absence of parallelism in 

lines such as 

Yet I have set my king 
Upon Zion, my holy hill. 

But in a poem which contains for the most part lines parallel in 
sense, the remainder of the poem in which parallelism is absent 
tends to fall into periods of the same length. So, in the example 
just cited, 

'^mp -in ji-'v^y 

contains two periods of the same length as the periods in 
v.i of the same Psalm which are related to one another by 
parallelism — 

If an entire poem contained no parallel lines, there would be no 
sound reason for distinguishing the lines in the English transla- 
tion ; yet if the end of the lines always coincided with a pause 
in the sense, the line-division might be retained in English as a 
form of articulation ; and when, as is most frequently the case, 
parallelism is sometimes present, sometimes (though generally 
less frequently) absent, it is convenient to show the line-division 
throughout. 

This approximation to a similar length and rhythmical 
character in the periods of a poem is the best evidence that 
parallelism is not the only form of Hebrew poetry, but that it 
followed also certain rhythmical laws, however elastic those laws 
may have been. 

47, So far it is assumed that the rhythmical unit and the 



Ixii INTRODUCTION 

sense divisions in Hebrew poetry are identical; and that that 
poetry has nothing to show like — 

Sing, Heavenly Muse, that, on the secret top 

Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire 

That shepherd who first taught the chosen seed 

In the beginning how the heavens and earth 

Rose out of Chaos; or if Sion hill 

Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flowed 

Fast by the oracle of God, I thence 

Invoke thy aid to my advent'rous song — 

in which passage the rhythmical units regularly close where there 
is no sense-division, and the pauses of sense occur in the middle of 
the rhythmical units. If the assumption is wrong, and if Sievers 
is right in his contention that " run on " lines do occur even with 
frequency in Hebrew poetry, it might have a considerable bearing 
on textual criticism ; but it would not affect the correct method 
of dividing the lines in an English translation : these might and 
should still serve the useful purpose of clearly presenting the 
parallelistic structure coinciding with sense-divisions. 

But the more elaborate metrical analysis of Hebrew texts, 
such as Bickell or Sievers oifers, rest on too precarious a basis to 
be made as yet a secure instrument even of textual criticism. 

48. The prominent element in Hebrew poetry is the accented 
syllable; the laws that governed the number of unaccented 
syllables that accompanied it are obscure, though it is obviously 
an over-statement, as Cobb (pp. cit. 123 f.) caustically points out, 
to say that the number of unaccented syllables was " a matter of 
no consequence" (Harper, Amos and Hosea, p. clxvii). We 
may, then, at the present stage of investigations into Hebrew 
metre, obtain a provisional determinant of rhythm in Hebrew 
poetry by observing the accented syllables. Each word, or each 
complex of words united by makkeph, represents, generally 
speaking, a single-word accent ; it may be that in some cases in 
a word of five or more syllables the secondary accent also ranks 

as a word-accent, and that, e.g. ioi^na^ Ps 2^, DiTnn^njn Is lo^sd 
contains not one accent only, but two. Seeing that MT can no 
more be trusted in its particular applications of makkeph than in 





POETICAL FORMS OF THE PROPHETIC LITERATURE Ixiii 

respect of the vowels, it will be seen that there is room even in 
this simpler determination of rhythm for no little uncertainty. 

49. Broadly speaking, the lines of Hebrew poetry are related 
to one another in one of two ways : they are equal, or they are 
unequal; in the one case we have a balancing rhythm^ in the 
other an echoing rhythm ; for example, in i^ 

)r]:\> niB^ jn^ 3'- "^ ' ' rH 

v5>y3 D)3K i^om , . _ t.«-^ *^^ 






the lines in each couplet balance one another ; each line of the 
first couplet certainly contains three accents; each line of the 
second couplet also contains three accents, if MT is right, 
and it probably is so, in leaving the nh in each line unconnected 
by makkeph with the verb ; if the makkeph is inserted the lines 
still balance, but the length of each is two accents. In the 
one case the couplet may be described as 3 : 3, in the other 
as 2 : 2. 

50. Examples of echoing rhythm* are found later in the 
same chapter, especially in vv.^i-^s, and also, e.g.^ in 132-8 14^-21 ^ 
J 21. 26. 27 ujay serve as examples : 

nW niTin na^K ^ : ^ 

man esK'Da n^v 
npi'ii rvi^in 

In each of these couplets a line of three accents is followed 
by a line of two : the rhythm is 3 : 2. 

51. Within the broad distinction into balancing and echoing 
couplets, minor distinctions are to be observed, especially in 
balancing couplets : the length of the lines in balancing couplets 

* On account of its use in elegies, this rhythm has also been termed the 
Ktnah [elegy) rhythm. But it can no longer be maintained that the rhythm 
\s peculiar to elegy, though it may be said to be characteristic of it. On this 
rhythm, see Budde, ZATW^ 1882, pp. 1-52; Dr. ZOT' 457-459 ; EBi. s.v. 
Lamentation^ § 2, and Poetical Literature^ § 8. For examples in the Book 
of Isaiah of the rhythm not in elegy, see i^"'- 40^'' 



V 



t^ 



•,1. 



Ixiv 



INTRODUCTION 



commonly varies between two and four accents : e.g. 32^1 contains 
two couplets 2:2: 

nnton nm 







and in addition to i^ given above, ^i^^'^' ^ ^^ may serve as 
examples of 3 : 3 : 

Couplets which in the last analysis are 4 : 4 are rarer. Of 
course, wherever a succession of couplets 2 : 2 occurs, it would 
be possible, by combining two lines, to express the rhythm as 
4 : 4. The real distinction, however, lies here — that in some 
periods of four accents there is a marked pause after the second 
accent, and also the two parts of this period of four accents are 
parallel in sense (cp. 32^1 above), whereas in others there is 
neither pause nor parallelism within the periods in either line, 
or at least not in both of the lines of four accents that constitute 
the couplet. Clear examples of couplets 4 



4 are 5^^ q^^* «* : 



"1-VP3 nnDlJ'3 l-JD^ IHDK^ 

See also note on rhythm prefixed to chs. 15 f. 

Periods of five accents without a pause scarcely occur ; for 
most couplets 5 : 5 can also be treated rhythmically as double 
couplets of 3 : 2, with 2 : 3 as a rare variant. And the same 
is true of periods of six accents, though these may occasionally, 
from certain points of view, be treated as rhythmical units ; for 
successive periods may be differently divided, some into 3 : 3, 
others in 2:2:2; see on i^^* and 261-^^; cp. also, e.g.^ Ps i^ — 
2:2:2 followed by 3 : 3. 

52. There is less variety in echoing couplets: the prevailing 
type of these is 3 : 2, already illustrated (§ 50). Obviously 
3 : 2 may be regarded as an abbreviated 3 : 3, and we might, 
therefore, expect 2 : i and 4 : 3, abbreviations of 2 : 2 and 4 : 4 



POETICAL FORMS OF THE PROPHETIC LITERATURE Ixv 

respectively, to be as frequent variations on 3 : 2 as are 2 : 2 
and 4 : 4 on 3 : 3 ; but 2 : i is not, at least, a frequent variant, 
and 4 : 3 (cp. Sievers' frequent "Siebeners") rarely possesses 
the characteristic echoing value of 3 : 2. Interchanging with 
3 : 2 we find rather 4 : 2 or 2 : 2. 

That the echo is the really characteristic thing in periods of 
five accents appears from two considerations: (i) these periods 
are, with the rarest exceptions, divided into 3:2; the obvious 
alternative 2 : 3, which would give no echoing effect, does occur, 
but with such rarity * that some writers consider its occurrence 
sufficient evidence that the lines have suffered accidental trans- 
position : such accidents certainly occurred, for see Ps 18**^ = 
2 S 22**^; (2) the rhythmic echo is frequently combined with a 
sense echo, i.e. two terms of the first line are paralleled in the 
second line, the third is not merely not paralleled, — that happens 
often enough in parallel couplets 3 : 3, — but it has nothing 
corresponding to it. 

53. So far this analysis of the rhythmical facts has been 
confined to the couplet, f or distich, which is so prevalent in 
all Hebrew poetry. There also occur, though with far less 
frequency, monostichs and tristichs; tetrastichs, too, though 
these can generally be regarded as two distichs. The distich 
is a rhythmical complex in itself: the monostich is not ; it merely 
acquires a specific rhythmical quality from its relation to other 
lines, most of which will almost invariably be found to be com- 
bined into distichs. The monostich is a period in a poem 
equivalent in length to one line of a distich. A tristich is a 
complex of three rhythmically similar lines, and for this reason 
can only occur in balancing rhythm. Both monostichs and 
tristichs are of relatively rare occurrence even in the existing 
text, and in the original they were probably rarer still. Whether 
three lines are to be regarded as a tristich, or as a distich followed 
or preceded by a monostich, will sometimes, when all three lines 
are not parallels, be uncertain. In the translations the second 
line of the distich and the second and third of tristichs are inset. 

* Cp. Sievers, Metrische Siudien, pp. 1 1 1 f. 

t It is because the couplet is so characteristic of Hebrew poetry that I 
prefer the symbols 2 : 2, 3 : 3, 4 : 4, 3 : 2, etc., which describe the couplet, 
to the terms dimeter, trimeter, tetrameter, pentameter, hexameter, for lines 
of two, three, four, five, and six accents respectively. 
VOL. I. — e 





Ixvi INTRODUCTION 

54. Rhythmically similar periods may, from the point of view 
of parallelism, be different in character : and inasmuch as par- 
allelism is made the basis of the line-divisions of the translations 
in this volume, rhythmically similar periods are differently 
treated. This applies more especially to the typical echoing 
lines. In the examples given above the entire period of five 
accents divides into two unequal lines, of which the second and 
shorter is parallel to the first and longer : 

And I will restore thy judges as at the first, 
And thy counsellors as at the beginning. 

Denoting the ideas or main terms by a. b. c, and the parallel 
ideas by a' b', etc., the scheme is a. b. c | b' c'. In other cases 
there is no parallelism between the unequal divisions of the 
period of five accents ; and parallelism, if it occurs, is between 
the entire periods — the scheme being a. b. c. d. e | a' b' c' d' e', 
or, almost invariably, with less complete correspondence, a. b. c. 
d. e — a' b' c' f. g., and so forth ; cp., for example : 

I am satiated with burnt-offerings of rams and fat of fed 

beasts ; 
And in the blood of bullocks and he-goats I delight not. 

Here the distich is 5 : 5, and the parallelism of terms or ideas, 
which extends over the entire length of the lines, may be repre- 
sented thus : — a. b. c. (b). d | b' c' d' a'. But if parallelism 
were disregarded and rhythm only considered, each line of the 
above distich would be correctly described as 3 : 2. 

55. Enough, perhaps, has been said to indicate the chief 
varieties of couplets or distichs that occur in Hebrew. There 
remains the question. How are such distichs combined into a 
poem ? Must a poem consist entirely of distichs identical both 
in rhythmical quantity and in rhythmical quality? For example, 
does a poem necessarily consist of a succession of couplets 3:3; 
and, if the couplets are occasionally interrupted by monostichs 
or tristichs, must these consist exclusively of lines of three 
accents? Or is it possible for couplets 3 : 3 to be interchanged 
with other balancing distichs 2 : 2 or 4 : 4, or even with couplets 
of another quality and kind, viz. the echoing couplets 3:2? 
Certainly in our present text we get almost every possible 
combination, within a few verses, and, unless all the separate 



POETICAL FORMS OF THE PROPHETIC LITERATURE Ixvii 

poems are exceedingly short, within the same poem. But (i) 
the mixture of lines of different quality, the echoing and the 
balancing, is probably far less frequent than the mixture of 
lines of different length but of the same quality ; (2) the extent 
of mixture, even of lines of the same quality but of different 
length, was probably less in the original texts ; (3) the extent 
of mixture differs greatly, at all events in the present text, in 
different poems ; (4) it is generally possible to discern a 
dominant rhythm^ i.e. a rhythm which occurs more frequently 
throughout the poem in question than any other rhythm, and 
commonly more often than all other rhythms put together. 

56. If the preceding remarks suggest that there is considerable 
uncertainty or irregularity in Hebrew rhythms or metre, they 
will very correctly convey the impression left on the present 
writer by his study of them. Is the uncertainty and irregularity 
so great as to cast doubt on the very existence of rhythm, or, at 
least, on the value of these rhythmical uncertainties and irregu- 
larities for the criticism or interpretation of the Book? Such 
scepticism is not unnaturally provoked by the far-reaching 
changes that are often made in the text in obedience to hypo- 
thetical laws of metre. On the other hand, there is too much 
approximation even to metrical regularity to justify such com- 
plete scepticism. The notes on rhythm prefixed to the various 
poems must be left to tell their own tale : the attempt is there 
made to analyse the actual facts of the existing text, and to give 
the reader a clue to, if not always a complete statement of, the 
differences in quantity or quality in the Hebrew text of the 
lines and distichs of the poem, as presented in the translations. 
Without some such statement the reader would often acquire a 
very erroneous impression — sometimes suspecting irregularity 
where regularity prevails, and sometimes the reverse ; * a refer- 
ence back to these notes will also give a measure of the value to 
be set on the rhythmical considerations when such are sub- 
sequently referred to in the commentary or philological notes. 

It may be rarely wise to insist on any textual change merely 
on rhythmical grounds : on the other hand, when rhythmical and 
other considerations point towards the same change, though 
each consideration taken by itself may have slight weight, taken 

* This needs to be borne in mind by those who use the translations of Du. , 
Cheyne, or Box. 



Ixviii 



INTRODUCTION 



together they may have much. Further, though a line may seem 
abnormally long, all that the rhythm will suggest is that one or 
more words are intrusive ; it will not determine which — unless, 
indeed, we can pass beyond the detection of rhythm of word 
accents to syllabic rhythm. 

Again, the mere occurrence of a 2:2 distich in the midst ot 
3 : 3 distichs (as, e.g., in 2^-^) may be a very unsafe ground for 
treating the 2 : 2 distich as intrusive. On the other hand, a 
change in the dominant rhythm, as, say, from 3 : 3 to 3 : 2 (see 
chs. 13. 34), may generally raise a suspicion that we have passed 
from one poem to another. 

57. A further form of Hebrew poetry is the strophe. If the 
lines of the original be leproduced in the translation, so, too, should 
the strophes. They are marked off in the translation by spaces. 

In some cases the strophic division is obvious, as, e.g., in 
g'^-io*, where each strophe closes with a refrain. In other cases 
the division is less obvious; we can only be guided by the 
greater sense-pauses. 

In connection with the strophe, the question of regularity 
again presents itself. Are the strophes of a poem necessarily 
of the same length ? In certain cases they appear to be so ; in 
others it is doubtful whether there is more than some approxima- 
tion to regularity. Du., in general, succeeds in reducing the 
poems to strophes of regular length, but sometimes at con- 
siderable cost; see the notes in this Commentary prefixed to 



11^-8 13. 



§§ S^~73' — Isaiah in relation to the political and social 
conditions of his age. 

58. The greater part of Isaiah's life fell within the last half 
of the 8th cent. B.C., but he must have been born from ten to 
twenty years before 750 ; and, since he was certainly living and 
active in 701, he probably outlived the century, possibly even by 
as much as ten or twelve years. In his boyhood his countryman 
Amos, of the land and kingdom of Judah, prophesied against 
the neighbouring kingdom of Israel ; and Jerusalem, the home of 
Isaiah, lay about half-way between Tekoa, the home of Amos, 
and Bethel, the scene of his preaching. Both Tekoa and Bethel 
lay within an easy day's walk of Jerusalem, at a distance of 




■ 



POLITICAL AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS OF THE AGE Ixix 

about twelve miles from the capital. In Isaiah's early manhood 
and the first years of his own activity as a prophet, Hosea, a 
native of the Northern kingdom, was preaching to his own 
people of judgment to come ; and about half-way through Isaiah's 
active life his teaching was enforced by Micah. Isaiah living 
in the capital, and Micah living in the country, a day's journey 
towards the coast, and the coast road by which merchants and 
soldiers from time immemorial had passed, as they still passed, 
from the valley of the Euphrates to the valley of the Nile, 
saw and judged some things differently, yet with fundamental 
agreement. 

59. Isaiah received the call to prophesy in the year that 
Uzziah, king of Judah, died (6^), i.e. in, or within a year or 
two of, 740 B.C. — as late as 738 on one interpretation of 
certain Assyrian records, not necessarily quite so late as 740 
on another. 

Ahaz became king of Judah not later than 735 B.C., for Tiglath-pileser * ^ 
ipentions him (Ja-u-ha-zi (mit) Ja-u-da-ai) along with other Syrian princes as 
paying tribute to him in 734 B.C. ; and, according to 2 K 16', Is 7^*^', he was 
already king during the Syro-Ephraimitish war which preceded Tiglath-pileser's \ 
campaign of 734. To Ahaz' predecessor, Jotham, the Book of Kings assigns 
a reign of 16 years, which would carry back the death year of Uzziah to 
751 ; but, as is well known, these chronological statements of Kings cannot 
be implicitly trusted ; a date as early as 751 for Isaiah's call is improbable, 
since he was still active 50, if not 60, years after that date. .. 

Now, in the Annals of the year 738, Tiglath-pileser mentions an Azariah '~)'Z^ i*^' 
(Az-ri-ia-a-u, 1. 131 ; Az-ri-a-[u], 1. 123 ; [Az-ri-i]a-a-u, 1. in ; [Is-ri-]ia-a-u, 
104; Is-ri-ia-u, 105) of the land of Ja-u-da-ai (1. 104), or Ja-u-di (1. 105). 
Since Uzziah of Judah was (also) called Azariah according to several passages 
in the OT (cp. 6^n.), there seemed to be at least a good prima facie case 
for the identification of "Az-ri-ia-u (mat) Ja-u-da-ai (Ja-u-di)," and n'ly (or 
nm.T ^'?D (nnTy. S>chra.Aex {Keilinschriften und Geschichtsforshung^ ^^. 395- 
421 ; cp. KAT^) argued for the identification, and it was generally accepted, 
with the result that Uzziah's death was placed in 740 (the year to which 
Schrader erroneously referred this part of the Annals) or later. It thus 
became necessary to contract Jotham's reign within very narrow limits. 

On the basis of Rost's edition of the Annals (1893), which placed several 
things in a new light, and of native inscriptions of a land of '^N' in northern 
Syria discovered in 1890 close to Zinjirli (see now Cooke, NSI^ pp. 159 ff-)* 
Winckler {Altor. Forschungeriy i. 1-23) challenged the identification, and 
argued that the Az-ri-ya-u of the inscriptions was not king of Judah ^^'^'') 
but of nx', to which the Assyrian Ja-u-di might equally well correspond. 

* Clay Tablet, Reverse 1. il. 




Ixx INTRODUCTION 

Briefly stated the case stands thus : according to the inscription, Az-ri-ia-u 
was the prime mover in opposition to Assyria, and was supported by 19 
districts of Hamath ; these districts were conquered by Tiglath-pileser and 
made an Assyrian province ; the fate of Az-ri-ia-u himself is, owing to a muti- 
lation of the inscription, obscure : " 19 districts of Hamath . . . which in 
their sin and folly had taken the side of Az-ri-ia-u I added to the territory of 
Assyria" (11. 130-132) ; cp. "who had taken the side of and strengthened 
Az-ri-ia-u" (1. ill). 

Now it would certainly be remarkable if two contemporary kings of two 
countries, the names of which are scarcely distinguishable, had the same 
name ; remarkable also, in spite of the parallel case of Jaubidi, king of 
Hamath in 720 B.C. (Sargon, Nimrud-inscription, 1. 8), that a king of a 
northern Syrian state should bear a name compounded with n\ On the 
other hand, (i) it is not certain that Azariah rather than, or as well as, 
Uzziah was the name of the king of Judah ; (2) a somewhat parallel caprice 
of similarity, which certainly led to a wrong identification, is afforded by Mena- 
hem, king of Israel (and therefore of Samaria), in 738 B.C., and Menal?em, 
king of Samsimuruna in 701 B.C. (Sennacherib's inscription : Taylor Cylinder, 
ii. 47) ; (3) nothing in the OT, or in what is otherwise known of the history 
of the period, would lead us to expect that Uzziah of Judah would be the 
leader of an opposition to Assyria, and supported by the distant districts of 
Hamath (only) ; (4) so late a date as 738 for the death of Uzziah, though not 
impossible, is, failing direct evidence, not very probable. 

60. Of Isaiah's life between the year of his call, c. 740 b.c. 
and 735 we have no direct and unambiguous records ; but we may 
infer from 8^ (n.) that he had during these years himself grown 
assured of, and probably also gained recognition for, his pro- 
phetic calling. In pursuit of it he may have visited Ephraim 
(§ 39)j ^^^ spoken according to the tenor of 9^-10'*. In 6-8* 
we can trace his activity in the opening years of the reign of 
Ahaz, who succeeded to the throne c. 735. He had then been 
already some time married, and was the father of a child at least 
three or four years old (7^n.), to whom he had given the name 
Shear- Yashub, which, meaning "a Remnant shall return," ex- 
pressed an important element in his teaching (§ 86). He appears 
to have had easy access to the king (71^- : chs. 36 ff.), and he 
may have belonged to a family of some standing, though the 
inference to this effect drawn from 8^ is precarious, and the view 
that he was of royal blood (i^n.) rests on nothing more than 
Rabbinic ingenuity. Another son was born to him in 734, and 
to the younger as to the elder he gave a name, Maher-shalal- 
hash baz, embodying one prominent element in his teaching, his\^ 
conviction, viz., that Damascus and Israel were doomed to early 1 




V 



POLITICAL AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS OF THE AGE Ixxi 

extinction. In thus using these opportunities of his domestic 
life to enforce and emphasise his teaching, he was adopting 
a practice, and perhaps dehberately following the example, of 
Hosea (Hos i). At this time, as probably throughout his life, 
he was resident in Jerusalem (cp. 6^ 7^ 22^^^- 28^* 36-39). 

61. For more than twenty years (c. 733-711) the life of 
Isaiah remains a blank to us, except so far as we can follow it by 
surmise and conjecture : there is no narrative of this period, 
except, perhaps, that which records the embassy from Merodach- 
baladan (ch. 39), and no prophecy that can wt't/i certainty be 
referred to these years (though see 14^® n. 28^-^). And yet within 
these twenty years falls the most outstanding event, for a Jew, 
of the whole century: in 72*, Samaria, the capital of the 
Northern kingdom, was, after a three years' siege, captured by 
the Assyrians ; the tribes, which had hitherto been the more 
numerous and more powerful common inheritors with Judah of 
the Land of Promise which Yahweh the God of Israel had given 
to His people, were exiled, and their land became an Assyrian 
province. 

The fact, if it be a fact,* that Judah between 734 and 711 
quietly accepted the Assyrian over-lordship and took no part in 
the attempts of Samaria in 724-722, or of several neighbouring 
states in 720, to cast it off, is at best scarcely more than a partial 
reason for this remarkable silence. Isaiah certainly preached 
a policy of non-intervention ; and if Judah during this period 
practised it, Isaiah may have been satisfied with the external 
policy of Judah, and so have found little occasion for reiterating 
this particular element in his teaching. But the injustice and 
unrighteousness against which he also raised his voice were 
scarcely less in need of denunciation during these years than 
during other parts of his life. Some of the prophecies, the date 
of which cannot be closely determined, may therefore belong to 
these years : for example, parts of chs. 2-5. 

* Neither the OT nor the Assyrian inscriptions directly record any 
revolt of Judah from Assyria during this period. But in an inscription of the 
year 717, Sargon speaks of himself as mu-sak-nis {mdtu) Ja-u-du sa asar-su 
ru-u-ku, "subduer of the far-off land of Ja-u-di" (Nimrod Inscription, 1. 8 ; 
KB ii. 37). From this it has sometimes been inferred (cp. KAT^ 67) that 
Judah took part in the Syrian revolt of 720, as it certainly did in the revolt 
of 711. It is, however, possible that Ja-u-di is here nK» and not .tiiT. See 
above, § 59. 



Ixxii 



INTRODUCTION 




62. Ch. 20, a narrative referring to the year 711 B.C., relates 
that, on one occasion at least, Isaiah enforced his spoken 
message by strange symbolical action ; for three years he went 
barefoot and half-clad, and so by his conduct represented the 
lot of those whose captivity he predicted. 

Again some years are a blank, and then, in a series of 
prophecies (in chs. 28^-31, and, perhaps, ch. 18) we are able 
to trace, and in a group of narratives (chs. 36 f. and perhaps 
also 38 f.) to see the deep impression left on the popular mind 
by, the part which Isaiah played at the time of Sennacherib's 
invasion of Palestine in 701, and probably, if Sennacherib really 
invaded Palestine some ten years later (§ 70), on that occasion 
also. 

The date of Isaiah*s death is unknown : even if the tradition, 
based probably on some Midrash, and perhaps alluded to in 
He 11^'', that Isaiah was sawn asunder by King Manasseh,* 
deserved credence, it would determine little ; for the date of 
Manasseh's accession cannot be closely or certaintly fixed; 
according to some chronological schemes it is to be placed as early 
as 698 — i.e. 29 years (2 K 18^) after 727, in which year, accord- 
ing to one statement in the Book of Kings (2 K i2^% the earliest 
date of the accession of Hezekiah must be placed, according 
to others as late as 686, i.e. 29 years after the date which another 
statement in Kings (2 K i2>^^), if correct, would require us to 
assign to Hezekiah's accession. But the date of Isaiah's death 
would be brought down to about 690 b.c. at earliest, if he really 
played a part on the occasion of Sennacherib's (hypothetical) 
second invasion (§ 70). 

63. Isaiah's life was spent during a time of change in the 
political and social conditions of Judah. This change was due 
in large measure to the new and greater activity of Assyria,! 

* ** Beliar was wroth with Isaiah ; and he dwelt in the heart of Manasseh, 
and he sawed him in sunder with a wooden saw," Ascension of Isaiah, 5^ 
(probably written in the first century A.D.) ; Charles, Asc. of Isaiah, p. xliv. 

t For the evidence for the details enumerated in the following sections, 
see the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser (ed. Rost, 1893), Sargon (ed. H. 
Winckler, 1889), Sennacherib, Esar-haddon, and Asshurbanipal ; also the 
Assyrian Eponym lists [KB i. 204-215) and the Babylonian Chronicle 
{KB ii. 273 ff. ). New editions of the Inscriptions of the Assyrian kings just 
mentioned are promised in the Vorderasiatische Bibliothek, but none has 
yet appeared. Meantime KB ii. contains a convenient collection of most of 



4 



POLITICAL AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS OF THE AGE Ixxili 

which followed on the accession of Tiglaih-pileser to the throne 
of that country in 745 B.C., and which was already beginning to 
make itself felt in the West by the year 742, and probably, there- 
fore, a year or two before the death of Uzziah and the call 
of Isaiah. 

Since the disruption of the united kingdoms of Judah and 
the northern tribes on the death of Solomon, c. 930, Judah the 
smaller had also been the weaker of the two, and often stood 
rather in the position of a vassal-state to the Northern kingdom. 
The attendance of Jehoshaphat of Judah on Ahab of Israel 
(i K 22), when that monarch was conducting one of those 
campaigns against Syria which formed the characteristic political 
feature of the 9th cent. b.c., may not have been altogether 
voluntary, but rather the service rendered by a vassal to his over- 
lord. And this relation of the two kingdoms to one another 
may account for there being no direct reference to Judah, as 
distinct from Israel, in the Assyrian records of the 9th cent. Be 
this as it may, Assyria had already in the 9th cent, made itself 
felt among the Syrian and Palestinian states. As early as 876, 
Asshurnazirpal with his army reached the coast of Northern 
Phoenicia, and re-established that command of the line of 
communication with the Mediterranean which had been won 
by Tiglath-pileser i. in the 12th cent, and subsquently lost. To 
secure what he had won, Asshurnazirpal left an Assyrian colony 
in Aribua, a town near the river Sangara (mod. Nahr-el-Kebir), 
and on the northern frontier of the state of Hamath. Phoenician 
cities as far south as Tyre, far further south than he himself or 
his army proceeded, sent him gifts. On the other hand, Damascus 
was neither attacked nor, like the Phoenician states, induced to 
send gifts. Shalmaneser 11. made several attempts to extend the ; 
area of Assyrian authority in Syria, though at first without any 
success. Ben-hadad of Damascus was the leader of a Syrian 
league which checked the Assyrian advance ; his chief supporters 
were Hamath and Israel. In 854, Shalmaneser fought a battle) 

the more important. A clear and admirable presentation of the history of 
Assyria from the accessitm of Asshurnazirpal to the death of Asshurbanipal 
will be found in R. H. Rogers, History of Babylonia and Assyria {^^. 2, 1903), 
ii. pp. 46-282 ; in the same work fuller references to editions and translations 
of the inscriptions relating to each reign will also be found. A recent full 
discussion of Sargon's reign in particular is, A. T. Olmstead, Western Asia 
in the days of Sargon of Assyria (New York, 1908). 



Ixxiv 



INTRODUCTION 



against the combined Syrian forces at Karkar near the Orontes 
and further south than the Nahr-el-Kebir ; the Assyrian king 
claimed a victory, but, since neither tribute nor acquisition of 
territory followed, the victory was barren ; similarly fruitless were 
the Assyrian western campaigns of 849 and 846 B.C. The next 
campaign, that of 842 B.C.; was more effective; Ben-hadad of 
Damascus had now been succeeded by Hazael, and Ahab of 
Israel by Jehu. Israel had fallen away from the Syrian league, 
and Jehu in this year paid tribute to Assyria, in this perhaps 
anticipating the policy of Ahaz of Judah a century later {735 
B.C. ; cp. Is 7). Damascus, though it suffered siege and the 
ravaging of its immediate surroundings, successfully resisted 
the Assyrians, and Shalmaneser was unable to capture the 
city, either in this year or in 839. Nor could his successor 
Shamsi-Adad (825-813 b.c.), who rather lost ground in the West : 
but Adad-Nirari (812-783) repeated the limited success of 
Shalmaneser; he received tribute from Israel as well as from 
Sidon, Tyre, Edom, and Philistia, and he besieged and harassed, 
but failed to conquer, Damascus. During the reigns of the next 
three kings (782-745), Assyria suffered a marked decline; a 
(probably) unsuccessful campaign against Damascus in 773, and 
others against the far more northern towns of Hadrach and 
Arpad in 755 and 754 respectively, exhausts the list of the 
Assyrian western movements during this period. Thus for a full 
generation Assyria had passed practically out of sight of Israel 
and Judah, and even their bulwark (172) Damascus had felt but 
little shock from Assyrian attack. 

64. Egypt during the same period was also weak and divided 
(§ 68), and exercised little influence and no restraint over Palestine. 
Thus there was the same opportunity which David had used with 
so much vigour and success three centuries before for the Pales- 
tinian states to enjoy freedom from the thrall of the great Empires 
of the Nile and the Tigris-Euphrates valleys, and to strive for the 
supremacy among themselves. Alike in Israel and Judah the 1 
period of Assyria's greatest weakness was covered by a single reign j 
— of Jeroboam 11. in the North, and of Uzziah in Judah. This ) 
meant internal political stability not only for Judah, but for the 
generally more unstable Northern kingdom. According to 2 K 
1425-28 (cp^ Am 6^*), Jeroboam re-established the dominion of 
Israel from the Dead Sea in the South to the entering in of 



POLITICAL AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS OF THE AGE Ixxv 

yamath (cp. Nu 13^^ n.) in the North, and also gained the 
supremacy over Damascus. One of the earliest and most signifi- 
cant of Uzziah's achievements (2 K 14-^), unless it is rather to 
be attributed to his predecessor Amaziah, was the recovery of 
Elath (which was lost again by Ahaz, 2 K 16^) ; he thereby 
regained for Judah that command of the trade route to the Red 
Sea which Solomon had held (i K g^^), but which had subse- 
quently been lost. The Chronicler, in a passage where he may 
well be drawing on ancient and trustworthy data, gives further 
illustrations of the success and strength of Judah at this time : 
Uzziah waged successful war against the Philistines, Ammonites, 
and Meunim (? Minaeans) ; he strengthened the fortifications of 
Jerusalem ; he devoted himself to the rearing of cattle, of which 
he had many, and agriculture (2 Ch 26®-^^). 

65. The Books of Kings and Chronicles record the success 
and prosperity of the kings, Jeroboam and Uzziah ; but we are 
not left merely to infer from this that others besides the kings 
were prosperous ; the prophecies of Amos and Isaiah speak 
clearly of wealth and luxury, and the dissoluteness that accom- 
panies them, in both the Northern (Am 3!^ 5I1 6'*-^, Is 9^ 17* 28^-*) 
and the Southern (Is 2^ 310^. 59.12f.14.22 gg^f.) kingdoms. But 
though increase of wealth extended beyond the king, it was not 
widely or evenly distributed ; the lot of the weaker seems rather 
to have become aggravated. Not a little of the increased wealth 
was probably due to trade (see below, p. 53); and not a little of 
the wealth so acquired was expended in bringing unjust pressure 
to bear on the weak, in repeating the conduct of Ahab towards 
Naboth which had so provoked Elijah ( i K 2 1) : the nouveaux i-iches 
bought up the patrimonies of their needier fellow-countrymen ; 
by aggregation great estates arose (below, pp. 90 ff.), and cruel 
evictions (Mic 2^) aroused the indignation of the humane. In 
the courts the weak could obtain no redress, for money again 
bribed the judges (lo^). 

66. But if the weaker and poorer had not shared in the 
increased wealth and luxury of Uzziah's time, there is little 
reason to suppose that they profited by the changes that came 
after his death and during the lifetime of Isaiah : the most 
immediate effect, so far as Judah was concerned, was that that 
country became tributary to Assyria in 735-734 B.C. and remained 
so : tribute meant heavier taxation, and this was doubtless to a 



Ixxvi INTRODUCTION 

large extent wrung out of the poor, even though the king obtained 
it directly from the "mighty men" of Judah (cp. 2 K 15^0 of 
Israel). Be that as it may, this is clear : whereas Isaiah had 
grown up to early manhood in the latter half of a long and pros- 
perous reign, a citizen of a country that paid no tribute to any 
foreign power, near neighbour to the kindred kingdom of Israel, 
which was also free and prosperous, within a year or two of his 
call he had seen the kingdom of Israel torn by faction after the 
death of Jeroboam {c. 746), and heard of Assyria's more vigorous 
action in the West. Arpad offered a stern resistance to Tiglath- 
pileser, but in 740 it fell before him ; and Assyria recovered what 
the kings of the 9th century had won for it, and their weaker 
successors had lost — access to the Mediterranean. But this was 
merely the prelude to greater achievements in the West than the 
greatest of the past; in 738, Tiglath-pileser defeated an extensive 
coalition of Syrian states, which included, or consisted of, "19 
districts of Hamath," " which in their disloyalty had fallen away 
to Azriyau of the land of Ja-u-di," who is identified by many 
with Uzziah (Azariah), king of Judah (see above, p. Ixx) ; these 
districts he made an Assyrian province ; he captured Kullani 
(lo"^ n.) ; he received tribute, amongst others, from Rason of 
Damascus, Menahem of Samaria (whose land, according to 2 K 
151^^-, he had invaded), Hirom of Tyre, and Zabibi, queen of 
Arabia. About 735, Ahaz paid tribute (2 K i6''^-), and hence- 
forward Judah was tributary to Assyria. In 734, Tiglath-pileser 
was in Philistia, and captured Gaza, furthest S. of the Philistine 
cities and nearest to Egypt; in 733 and 732 he was attacking 
Damascus and Israel ; in the former year he captured the northern 
districts of Israel (2 K 15^^), and in the latter year he achieved 
what his predecessor in the 9th century had attempted and failed 
to achieve, the capture of Damascus ; the native sovereignty was 
abolished (17^); Damascus became an Assyrian province. Ten 
years later, in consequence of Hoshea's withholding the annual 
tribute to Assyria (2 K 17*), the same fate befell Samaria, after a 
protracted siege (724-722) conducted by Shalmaneser (727-722) 
and Sargon (722-705) successively. In accordance with the 
new Assyrian policy, the Israelites were carried captive to dis- 
tant districts (Gozan, Media, etc. — 2 K 17^), while Babylonians, 
Cuthites, and others were settled in Samaria. Henceforward, 
instead of a kindred people, Judah had on its northern border 

I! 




POLITICAL AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS OF THE AGE Ixxvii 

which lay but an easy day's walk from Jerusalem, an Assyrian 
province and a mixed population (2 K ly^*-*^). 

67. In 720, Sargon quelled an important and extensive rising 
in Syria, which may have been instigated or fomented by 
Merodach-baladan of Babylon (see on ch. 39) ; he defeated 
Yaubidi of Hamath at Karkar — the scene of an earlier victory 
of Shalmaneser 11. (p. Ixxiv) — and the combined forces of IJanno 
of Gaza and Sibe (Biblical So, or rather S^w^) of Musri (Egypt? : 
see § 68 f.) at Raphia, on the coast between Gaza and Egypt ; 
perhaps also in the same campaign he inflicted defeat on Judah 
(but see above, p. Ixxi n.). 

In 715, Sargon (Annals, 97-99) subdued certain Arab tribes, 
and received tribute from, amongst others, Pir'u (? Pharaoh), 
king of Mu§ur (? Egypt). It may be surmised that Judah did 
not remain uninterested in these events, but there is no evidence 
that in this year it took any active part in opposition to Sargon, 
or that Sargon came any nearer to Judah than Arabia. 

In 711, by his Tartan (20^) rather than in person, Sargon 
quelled another rising, of which Ashdod was the centre, but in 
which not only Philistia, but also Moab, Edom, and Judah were 
concerned (see Sargon's Annals, 205-221 ; General Inscription, 
90-110). Moreover, behind these Palestinian states stood, 
according to Is 20^, Egypt and Ethiopia (DnVD and triD) ; accord- 
ing to Sargon's inscriptions, Musur and Miluhha, which have 
commonly likewise been equated with Egypt and Ethiopia. 

68. In 712 (Breasted) the Ethiopian dynasty established its authority over, 
and at the same time brought union and increased strength to, Egypt, Till 
recently (see below) it was supposed that Sabako, the first of the Ethiopian 
kings of Egypt, succeeded to the throne as early as 728 : on that hypothesis, 
now known to be erroneous, there was little difficulty in accounting for 
Egypt, or, as under the circumstances, it was quite natural to say, Ethiopia, 
intriguing with the Syrian states and inducing them to oppose Assyria ; the 
identification of So (Kio, 2 K 17* MT), or rather S6we (Kip, cp. Assyr. Sib'i), 
with Sabako, though frequently made, was always more questionable and, in- 
deed, indefensible. Before the accession of the Ethiopian dynasty lies a period 
of great obscurity in Egyptian history, though this much may be said, that the 
Delta was at the time governed by a number of petty princes, and the Pharaoh 
of the lists who is mentioned immediately before Sabako is Bokchoris. It is 
possible, then, as Breasted even recently has written (A^zV/. of Egypt, S49f.), 
that So (2 K 17*) was "an otherwise unknown Delta dynast," that "unable 
to oppose the formidable armies of Assyria, the petty kinglets of Egypt con- 
stantly fomented discontent and revolt among the Syro-Palestinian states, in 




Ixxviii INTRODUCTION 

order, if possible, to create a fringe of buffer states between them and the 
Assyrians," possible also that the " Pir'u, king of Musur," of Sargon's record of 
715 B.C. was Bokchoris, who in that case is mentioned by his title (Pharaoh) 
instead of his proper name ; just as Hebrew writers use the expression, not 
found in Egyptian, "Pharaoh, king of Egypt" {e.g. 36^ n., cp. F. LI. 
Griffith, in DB, s.v. "Pharaoh"). 

Alt {Israel u. Aegypten^ pp. 44 ff.) conceives the situation somewhat dift'er- 
ently : according to him, the pressure of Ethiopia on Egypt, which had already 
become severe in the time of the Ethiopian Pi'ankhi (from about 741 B.C. 
according to Breasted's chronology, or earlier according to others), had brought 
about a certain reaction against the gradual dissolution of the Egyptian kingdom 
into a large number of petty princedoms, especially in the Delta, that marked 
the period of the 22nd and 23rd dynasties {c. 945-f. 718, Breasted). The 
Pi'ankhi stele (Breasted, Ancient Records, iv. 860-883) reveals Tefhakhte 
of Sais, whose son Bokchoris became the sole ruler of the 24th dynasty, 
as exercising a supremacy over the Delta princes, and as so far anticipating 
that renewed unity of Egypt which certainly marks the time of the Ethiopian 
dynasty. Under these circumstances, Tefnakhte may already have exercised 
sufficient political farsightedness to have perceived the danger threatening 
Egypt from Assyria, and to have provoked the Palestinian states to oppose 
the Assyrian advances. 

But there are certainly here unsolved, or but partially solved, problems ; 
and Winckler, and after him others, have sought quite another way out. 

69. As early as 1893, Winckler, in Altor. Forschtmgen, i. 24 ff., argued that 
the Assyrian Musur and the Hebrew Misraim in many cases meant not 
Egypt, but "the country abutting on Edom, the later Nabataea." In his 
earlier or later discussions of the subject, accordingly, Sibe, the ally of IJanno 
of Gaza, becomes an Arab sheikh, and Pir'u (cp. the Sabaean nn:' yns), king 
of Mu§ur in 715, is Arabian not Egyptian; it is again the Arabian people 
whom Pir'u ruled, and not Egypt under the new Ethiopian dynasty, that stand 
behind the revolting Palestinians in 71 1 and even in 701; Egypt first 
co-operates with Palestine under Tirhakah in the (hypothetical) second cam- 
paign of Sennacherib in Palestine about 691 B.C. (see § 70). The theory 
that the Assyrian Musur and the Hebrew DnsfD may refer not only to Egypt, 
* but also to a district in North Arabia, has also been presented by others ; 
various forms of the theory and various conclusions drawn from it may be 
studied in H. Winckler, Alt&r. Forschungen (1893), i. 24-41, Musri-Meluhha, 
Mdin (1898), KAT^ (1903), 67, 70-72, I36-I5i» ^72, 273 (see also Index, 
s.v. Mu§ri), Die jungsten Kdmpfer wider den Panbabylonismus (1907); 
F. Hommel, Vier neue Arabische Landschaftsnamen ; T. K. Cheyne, Mizraim^ 
in EBi. iii. (1902), and, e.g., Traditions and Beliefs of Ancient Israel {i^o^), 
xi f, 1 71-173; Decline and Fall of the Kingdom of Judah (1908), xiii ff., 
xlif., 88; The Two Religions of Israel {\<)ii), pp. 335, 345. 356-361 (see also 
references in Index to Misrim in the three works last named). It is not 
without significance that Breasted in his History of Egypt is able to dispense 
with the theory of the North Arabian Mu?ri, and that Ed. Meyer {Die 
Israeliten u. ihre Nachbarstdmme { 1 906), 455-47 1 ) decisively and totally rejects 
the theory ; see also against the theory in its application to the times of 




POLITICAL AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS OF THE AGE Ixxix 

Isaiah, Fr. Kiichler, Die Stellting des Propheten Jesaja zur Politk seiner Zeit 
(1906) ; A. T. Olmstead, Western Asia in the days of Sargon of Assyria 
(1908), pp. 56-71. A. Alt in his survey of the relations between Israel and 
Egypt in the time of Isaiah {Israel u. Aegypten, 1909, pp. 41-87), while 
admitting Pir'u, king of Mu§ur in 715 B.C. (Sargon, Annals, 97), to bean 
Arabian, limits the significance of the Arabian Mu§ur, and allows far more 
for the activity of Egypt in Palestine than do most of those who admit the 
existence of a kingdom of Musur in Arabia. 

Fortunately for the understanding of Isaiah, it is of relatively little im- 
portance whether between 720 and 701 B.C. the power that kept stirring up 
the Palestinian states was Egypt, the history of which country immediately 
prior to 712 is obscure, or Mu§ur in North Arabia, of which, as an inde- 
pendent kingdom in Arabia sufficiently important to divide with Assyria the 
interests of Palestinian states, nothing is known for certain, and which, 
perhaps, has never enjoyed more than a speculative existence. 

70. Sennacherib, Sargon's successor, had also once at least 
to secure Assyrian authority in Syria by force: in 701, Philistia 
and Judah at the instigation, not of an Arabian kingdom of 
Musur or Meluhha (Wi.), but of the Ethiopian dynasty in Egypt, 
were in revolt. In two respects Sennacherib's campaign, which 
was undertaken to suppress this revolt, was not an unqualified 
success : victory over the Egyptians at Eltekeh was not followed 
up by an invasion of Egypt itself, and Jerusalem, though it was 
besieged, was not captured. Nevertheless Judah, in common 
with the rest of Syria, remained tributary to Assyria. According 
to a hypothesis which would explain the allusion to Tirhakah 
in 37®, Sennacherib was again called back to Syria {c. 690 b.c.) : 
the nearest support for this hypothesis in Assyrian sources is an 
account of a campaign against Arabia, the date of which is un- 
known, but which may have taken place about 690. 

This campaign was already known by allusions to it in inscriptions ot 
Esarhaddon and Asshurbanipal, when in 1904 (Orientalische Literatur- 
zeitung, cols. 69, 70), Scheil announced the discovery of an inscription of 
Sennacherib describing the campaign. This inscription was published by 
Ungnad, in Vorderasiatische Schriftdenkmdler, i. 77 ff.; and in a translation, 
for which I am indebted to Prof. R. W. Rogers, it runs as follows : 
*' Telhunu, the queen of Arabia, in the desert, from her I took away a 
thousand camels. The fear of my dominion cast her down, and Hazail also. 
They left their tents and fled to Adummatu, whose location is in the desert, 
a place of thirst, where there is neither provision nor place to drink." If 
from Arabia, Sennacherib (who is himself described in Herod, (ii. 141) as 
'* king of the Arabians and of the Assyrians," and whose army, as the " army 
of the Arabians"), somewhat repeating his movements of 701, advanced on, 
without entering, Egypt, and also attacked Judah, it would be possible to 



Ixxx INTRODUCTION 

regard the different narratives which, it is clear, have been combined in 
chs. 36 f. (see Comm. ), as narratives of different events and not different and 
discordant narratives of the same event, and also to justify the allusion to 
** Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia" (37^) ; Tirhakah was not king of Ethiopia in 
701, he was king in or soon after 694. On the other hand, it is doubtful 
whether either Hezekiah or Isaiah, who are also associated with the narra- 
tive that refers to Tirhakah, were alive in 690 ; Isaiah would probably at that 
time have been between 70 and 80 years of age. Some further discussion of 
these points will be found in the discussion of chs. 36 f. in the Comm. 

71. Since the Egyptian chronology comes into consideration on several 
occasions, it may be convenient briefly to indicate here the grounds on which, 
contrary to earlier views, the date of Tirhakah's accession can be fixed with 
certainty as falling after 701 B.C., and consequently the beginning of the 
Ethiopian dynasty as falling about 712 or 714 B.C., and not as early as 728. 

According to a Serapeum stele (Breasted, Ancient Records^ iv. 959), an 
Apis died at the age of 21 years, 2 months, 7 days, on the 21st day of the 
I2th month of the 20th year of Psamtik : since according to the same stele 
the Apis was born in the 26th year of Tirhakah, Tirhakah's reign cannot have 
exceeded 27 years. Now Tirhakah was certainly still alive and king in 
668-667, for Asshurbanipal, who became king of Assyria in 668, defeated 
Tirhakah in his first campaign ; Asshurbanipal also states of Tirhakah 
(Rassam Cylinder, ii. 21 ; KB ii. p. 166 f.), il-lik limat mu-H-lu, his nighi- 
fate came {upon him), which should mean that Tirhakah was not only defeated 
at that time, but died. In that case the year of Tirhakah's succession is 
694-693 ; it cannot have been earlier. Some Egyptologists, disregarding this 
interpretation of the Assyrian inscription, and reckoning back 138 years, a 
number obtained from calculations based on data given in the Egyptian 
records (Breasted, Ancient Records, iv. 1026-1029) from the close of the 
26th dynasty in 525 B.C., obtain 663 as the date of Psamtik i.'s accession and 
Tirhakah's death ; this gives 689-688 as the date of Tirhakah's accession. 

The years of accession of Tirhakah's immediate predecessors, Sabako and 
Shabataka, the first two kings of the Ethiopian dynasty, cannot be so closely 
determined by the inscriptions. But from an inscription that mentions year 
3 of Shabataka, it appears that Shabataka's third year was near 700 B.C. 
(Breasted, iv. 887 ; and cp. 452 n. c). Manetho assigns to Sabako 8, to 
Shabataka 14 years — in all 22 years ; Syncellus 12 years to each of these 
kings — in all 24 years. Thus the earliest date, that rests on any evidence, for 
the beginning of the Ethiopian dynasty is 24 years before 694-693, i.e. 718- 
717 ; Breasted's dates are 712 B.C. for Sabako, 700 for Shabataka. 

Bokchoris, who immediately preceded Sabako, reigned at least 6 years, 
exactly the period stated by Africanus (44 according to Syncellus). 

72. The ultimate goal of the Assyrian advance resumed by 
Tiglath-pileser iv. and his successors was first attained after the 
Hfetime of Isaiah : after an apparently unsuccessful invasion of 
Egypt in 676, Esarhaddon captured Memphis in 671, and 
Assurbanipal took Thebes in 667. 





ISAIAH AS PROPHET AND TEACHER Ixxxi 

73. This rapid sketch may serve to make clear the political 
conditions under which Isaiah lived, and to which not a little of 
the form of his teaching is due. Briefly, Isaiah's public life 
coincided with the first half of the period of 80 years from the 
accession of Tiglath-pileser to the Assyrian conquest of Egypt, 
during which the Assyrian advance westwards and supremacy in 
the West was, though at first resisted, unchecked : conquered 
districts never permanently recovered their independence, tribu- 
tary states never permanently escaped the necessity of paying 
tribute : for example, Damascus never recovered the indepen- 
dence which it lost in 732, nor did the retreat of Sennacherib 
release Judah from tribute. 

§§ 74-89. Isaiah as Prophet and Teacher, 

74. Isaiah appears from the first to have discerned the 
meaning and issue of the new spirit and policy (§ 63) of Assyria, 
and to have realised the fruitlessness of political combinations 
against that power : he was certainly convinced of the wrongness 
of Judah in taking any part in them. Against all such combina- 
tions, of which there was no lack, he consistently set himself. 
No one who instigated these combinations, whether as at one 
time it was Merodach-baladan (721-709 B.C., and also 702 b.c.) 
of Babylon (cp. ch. 39), or as at others one of the kings of 
the Ethiopian dynasty which established its authority over Egypt 
about 712 B.C. (§ 71), or, as it may have been earlier, one of the 
Delta chieftains who divided authority in Egypt prior to 712, or, 
as some think, the rulers of a region in Arabia called Mu§ur 
(§ 69), counted against Assyria : they were one and all helpless 
and useless (cp. ch. 20). 

The only, yet at the same time an overwhelming, counter- 
weight to Assyria was not political, nor human : it was the power 
and purpose of Yahweh. Yahweh was using Assyria to achieve 
His purpose (10^) : so long as Assyria carried out that purpose no 
powers would avail against it : as soon as Assyria overstepped its 
commission, it, too, must go down before the greater power of 
Yahweh (10^"^'^). Not man, but God determines history — that 
is the key-note to Isaiah's political action and advice; not by 
clever alliances, but by watching for and quietly carrying out the 
will of Yahweh is the true welfare of the state to be secured. 
VOL. I. — f 




Ixxxii INTRODUCTION 

The advance of Assyria was, according to Isaiah, by the will of 
Yahweh ; that advance would necessarily entail the withdrawal 
of the Syro-Ephraimitish army from Jerusalem, therefore let 
Ahaz and his people put away their fear of Syria and Ephraim 
(ch. 7), nor pay Assyria to do what it will assuredly do, unpaid by 
them : such seems to have been Isaiah's advice in 735, and if 
so it included a condemnation of Ahaz in becoming voluntarily, 
and while as yet there was no need, a tributary to Assyria, in 
seeking by political action instead of reliance on Yahweh to 
escape the attack of the combined forces of Ephraim and 
Damascus. But, once the step had been taken, Isaiah judged 
it to be the will of Yahweh that Judah should remain tributary, 
and certainly that it should not attempt to escape that tribute by 
yielding to the invitations, whether of Egypt, or Babylon, or 
its neighbours in Palestine, to revolt. Finally, though it was 
the will of Yahweh that Assyria should punish not only Ephraim 
but Judah too, it was (if we may trust the popular biographical 
stories of the prophet in chs. 36-39) the will of Yahweh, as Isaiah 
read it, that Jerusalem should not be taken by Sennacherib ; 
consequently in 701 he is as confident that the Assyrians will 
not capture Jerusalem as he had been in 735 that the Syro- 
Ephraimitish army would not do so ; and he counsels Hezekiah 
accordingly. But though on the one occasion he was con- 
vinced that Ra§on, and on the other that Sennacherib, would 
not capture Jerusalem, it is quite another question whether he 
ever abandoned his belief that the sin of Judah would lead 
Yahweh to destroy His people and their land (§§ 85-87). 

75. In 735, Isaiah appears to have appraised at its true worth 
the condition of Ephraim and Syria, and in 701 (and ? 711) the 
promises of Egypt. Whether his diagnosis of the political situa- 
tion was at other times and in all respects equally correct, or his 
policy of non-intervention always politically sound, is a secondary 
question. And not only is it a secondary question ; it may, if 
it is not kept in its place, very seriously obscure what is of 
primary significance in the life and character of Isaiah. Isaiah 
is of " the goodly fellowship of the prophets " ; and consequently 
how far he secured the safety of the Jewish state at the time, 
and so secured its continued existence for another century, is of 
little moment ; what is all-important to determine, so far as we 
can, is his faithfulness and fruitfulness as a teacher sent from 



\ 



ISAIAH AS PROPHET AND TEACHER Ixxxiii 



God : what had he himself learned from God, what did he teach 
his own age, and what through it has he contributed to man's 
increasing knowledge and consciousness of God ? 

76. These questions can be answered up to a point; but, 
owing to the uncertainty that hangs over many questions of the 
literary origin of much of Is 1-39 (§§ 8-43), they cannot with 
advantage be pursued into the detail that has sometimes been 
attempted. Here, at all events, no fresh elaborate attempt will 
be made to trace development in Isaiah's conceptions and 
teaching, to bring to light conflicting conceptions in his view 
of the future, for example, or in his judgment of Assyria, and 
then to determine the chronological sequence of the changes. 

All the more elaborate structures of Isaiah's " theology " rest of / / ' 

necessity on shifting and insecure foundations ; even if it were * i 

certain, and it is not, that passages such as ii^*^ 9^'^ 32^"* were ^[ 
the work of Isaiah at all, it is altogether uncertain at wnat period jf X 
of his life he composed them, and how he came by, or how he 
modified, his conceptions of a Messiah.* 

77. If there is one passage in which, above all others, we may 
feel certain that Isaiah speaks to us in his own words, it is ch. 6 ; 
and that chapter, in spite, if not also in some measure in virtue 
of its brevity, clearly reveals to us a personality of great spiritual 
depth and moral power. And this revelation, though in that 
case the name of the person revealed would be unknown, would 
remain, even if any one cared to question Isaiah's authorship of 
the chapter. As a matter of fact, there is no ground for raising 
such a question, or for doubting that we owe that chapter and 
much else in the Book of Isaiah to one and the same person. 
But, in attempting a synthesis of Isaiah's character and teaching, 
it will be well to start from, and at every possible point to return 
to, this record. We are not at liberty to affirm that nothing that 

* For theories of changing expectations of the future attributed to Isaiah, 
see, e.g.^ B. Duhm, Die Theologie dkr Propheten (1875), pp. 158-168 (in 
some respects modified in his Comm., 1892) ; H. Guthe, Das Zukunftsbild 
des Jesaia (1885), a theory withdrawn in Jesaia {Religionsgeschichtliche Volks- 
bucher), 1907 ; F. Giesebrecht, Beitrdge zur Jesaiakritik (1890), pp. 76-84; 
H. Hackmann, Die Zukunftserwartung des Jesaia (1893). Cp. also G. A. 
Smith, DB ii. 489-491, and also in the Review of Theology and Philosophy, 
1907 (July), pp. 2 ff., where, inter alia^ the reason of Guthe's modification of 
his earlier complex theory is criticised. See also Exp., 1904, pp. 330-342. 
On Isaiah's attitude towards Assyria, see F. Wilke's/waw u. Assur, 1905. 



Ixxxiv INTRODUCTION 

finds no expression here was ever elsewhere expressed by Isaiah ; 
but the more clearly whatever else claims to be Isaiah's can be 
related to this chapter, the more confident may we feel that the 
claim is good. 

78. Isaiah, though a prophet and a pioneer in religious ex- 
perience and the apprehension of religious truth, was none the 
less, and indeed necessarily and naturally, the child of his people's 
past, the inheritor of their beliefs and experience. To him, as 
to them, Sion had been pre-eminently the place of Yahweh's 
earthly abode (8^^ ; cp. 8^ n.) from the time that David, the 
chosen of Yahweh, had encamped there (29^), and by Yahweh's 
power, then and there manifested, had wrested it from the 
Jebusites (2 S 5*'^^ 6).* But the hereditary belief of childhood 
became the conviction begotten of personal experience ; it was 
in Sion that Isaiah himself saw with his own eyes Yahweh seated 
on His throne in royal state (6^^-). Again, to Isaiah, as to his 
countrymen, the people of Israel, both (81^) Judah and the tribes 
of the now separate Northern kingdom, were connected by special 
and peculiar ties with Yahweh ; they were Yahweh's family (i^), 
Yahweh's people (i^), compared with whom others were aliens 
(i''); they were His treasure and carefully tended possession 
(51-''). And so in turn Yahweh was peculiarly the possession of 
Israel : the people recognised the existence of gods of other 
nations as well of their own, and, when necessary, distinguished 
Yahweh by the term God of Israel (cp. e.g. Jg ii2i-24)- Isaiah's 
favourite term for Yahweh is a modification of this older term, 
and it retains (though with a difference (see below)) the sugges- 
tion of Yahweh's special relation to Israel : Yahweh is the Holy 
One of Israel. It is unnecessary to attempt any complete cata- 
logue of popular beliefs, such as that in Seraphim (6^), which find 
expression in Isaiah. The two that have been more particularly 
referred to are important for this reason : though Isaiah rises 
above the old limited thought of God which confined Him in the 
range of His presence and the extent of His authority, he retains 
what there was of permanent value in the belief in the local 
manifestation of deity and His connection with a single people ; 
a more exalted conception of God did not rob Isaiah of the great 
intensity of the limited popular belief; God does not cease to be 

* These passages are derived from a Jewish work probably already ancient 
in the time of Isaiah, and familiar to him. 




ISAIAH AS PROPHET AND TEACHER Ixxxv 

near because He is also afar off (lo^n.); nor, again, because 
He is God of all, does Yahweh cease to claim the special service 
of a nation or an individual ; nor, because His glory fills the i 
whole world, does He cease to be intensely personal, commun- , 
ing as a person with His servants the prophets, and still therefore ' 
best described in that anthropomorphic and anthropopathic lan- 
guage which had its roots in those more limited religious beliefs, 
in which the personal qualities of a god, and the devotion of his 
worshippers to him, were accentuated by his relations or conflicts 
with other and similar deities. 

79. But Isaiah is not only the child of his people, he is the 
child also of the new prophetic movement which began while he 
was still a boy (§ 58). There is no direct allusion, it is true, in 
any of Isaiah's prophecies to either Amos or Hosea, and not 
very much that can be said to be unmistakably due to either of 
these two older prophets ; but there is too much resemblance in 
the fundamental positions of all three prophets for it to be 
probable that, in a small country, no knowledge of the earlier 
passed to and influenced the later. Only this must be added : 
Isaiah, though, unlike Amos (7^*), he did not refuse the title ] 
prophet (8^), was no prophet of the school ; he did not repeat, 
merely because he approved, what he had heard about Amos' 
preaching at Bethel, or what he had read in some fly-sheet 
containing the substance of Hosea's teaching. It is probable 
enough that he was familiar with what Amos had taught and 
Hosea was teaching before the crucial day in the year of Uzziah's 
death ; but he first began to say with power the same things, or 

to treat of similar themes, after that day on which he saw Yahweh, 
and heard and obeyed His call to service (ch. 6). Even before his 
call, as we may well believe, there had been added, in the mind 
of Isaiah, to the old and limited conceptions which he had 
received in childhood from his natural kinsmen or ordinary 
acquaintance, some of the new and wider conceptions of spiritual 
kinsmen such as Amos and Hosea ; and all these conceptions, 
popular and prophetic alike, were fused by his own personal 
experience, as recorded in ch. 6, into a vital unity, which became 
Yahweh's message through him to his people. 

80. The vision that showed Yahweh seated in §ion con- 
vinced Isaiah also that the whole earth was the sphere of 
Yahweh's action (6^) ; the sin of Israel (6^- ^^'), Yahweh's own 



Ixxxvi INTRODUCTION 

peculiar people, is seen as a blot in the world-enveloping blaze 
of Yahweh's glory ; the weakness and meanness of man and of 
all that man relies on for help, or looks up to as lofty and 
majestic, is seen in heightened relief against the absolutely 
unrivalled majesty and the inaccessible exaltation of Yahweh 
^51-6 26-19 2 1 If.). Neither here nor elsewhere does Isaiah take 
occasion to assert with precision, like the later Jewish prophet 
(45^* ^^' 22)j that there is no God but Yahweh, or, like Muhammed, 
that there is no God but the (one) God ; yet his conception of 
Yahweh leaves no room for any other being of the same class 
(cp. 2^^^-) ; the world that is full of Yahweh's glory has no room 

> left in which to reflect the glory of any other God ; and if Assyria 
is Yahweh's instrument (lo^^-), made merely to serve His pur- 
pose, or, failing to do so, to be by Him destroyed, there is n6 
place for any gods of Assyria to control and guide that nation. 
The images, whether of Yahweh or of other gods, which abounded 
in Judah (2^), and commanded the devotion of the people, are of 
no real value and quite powerless to help (2^^ : cp. 2^ n.) ; and 
the same is true of the spirits that were supposed to haunt trees 
and gardens (i^^f- : cp. 17^®), and of the spirits whom the necro- 
mancers consulted (8^^). But whether Isaiah denied all reality 

I of existence to national gods other than Yahweh, or whether he 

' assigned to them some subordinate position in Yahweh's world 
government, we cannot determine with certainty. In this virtual 
monotheism, Isaiah was anticipated by Amos. Into a fuller dis- 
cussion of its origin and nature it is not possible to enter here. 
But two things may be said: (i) this apprehension of the 
greatness and uniqueness of Yahweh, carrying with it the total 
disregard of, if not absolute disbelief in, the gods of other 
nations, was the accompaniment not of national aggrandisement, 
1 but of national decline ; it was the very men who perceived before- 
hand the approaching doom of Israel and the destruction of its 
existence as a nation who also believed and taught that Yahweh 
so controlled the entire world that no room was left for any other 
divine controllers ; and the fact that in the course of his ministry 
the larger part of Yahweh's people perished or were exiled from 
their land, and that the Northern kingdom ceased to be, never 
led Isaiah to waver in his conviction that Yahweh alone was 
exalted and great. In earlier times and to the great bulk of 

\ Isaiah's contemporaries Israel seemed as necessary to Yahweh as 




ISAIAH AS PROPHET AND TEACHER Ixxxvii 

Yahweh was to Israel ; in Isaiah's thought Israel owed everything 
to Yahweh (i^), and through Him alone could be; Yahweh, on the 
other hand, was in no way dependent on Israel, but would rather 
vindicate His greatness by Himself destroying His people since 
they had turned away from Him, and become incurably sinful 
and corrupt (6^*^* : cp. §§ 83-87). (2) But if the increased sense 
of the greatness of the God of Israel, and the new sense of His 
uniqueness which characterises the prophetic teaching in general 
and Isaiah's in particular, was in no way the reflection of an 
increase in the national strength and fame of Israel, so neither 
was it the outcome of speculation on the fusion of peoples and 
of a common principle lying behind all their deities. The new 
prophetic conception of Yahweh is no abstraction from qualities 
common to Yahweh the god of Israel, and Chemosh the god of 
Moab, or the gods of the conquering Assyrians. And the 
prophetic conception of Yahweh is as distinct and different from j 
the monistic speculations which appear to have arisen in 1 
Babylon, as it is from the old popular Hebrew religion. There 
may be room to question the absoluteness, and certainly the 
explicitness, of the monotheism of the prophets of the 8th 
century ; there can be no doubt of the intensity with which they 
apprehended Yahweh as a distinct and living personality. He is 
to them not power, but person ; not the lowest common measure 
of all known deities, but a personal God whose activity com- 
prehends all that seemed to them worthy in the activity which 
other nations had attributed to their several gods. 

81. On one occasion Isaiah had been allowed to see Yahweh ; 
but not every day, nor, so far as we know, ever again after the 
first occasion, did Isaiah see Yahweh as he had seen Him then ; 
yet what he had once seen he must have known to be always 
there, though by no means there alone; the power that ruled 
the world was Yahweh, and Yahweh dwelt in Jerusalem — 
unseen (cp. 18*), unheard, unrecognised even or misunderstood, 
and the might of His quiet working utterly unsuspected (8^ n.), 
by those whose ears were heavy and whose eyes closed, and 
whose heart was without understanding (6^^^- ^^'^^') ; and dwelling 
there He was working out His plan, which would prove to be to 
the confusion and destruction of those who, regardless of it and 
reckless of what was not seen, formed plans of their own {$o^^- ^*), 
associating themselves with and trusting in flesh and not spirit, 



Ixxxvill INTRODUCTION 

in what was human and not in what was divine (30' 3 1^*^: 8^2-15 . 
ct. 28^^"^^). Isaiah is certain of Yahweh ; from him the quiet- 
ness of His action, and the fact that He waits His time (18*), 
does not conceal (ct. 5^^^-) the all-sufficient power and wisdom 
that will carry through the line of action on which He has 
decided. Yahweh is to him not only the Supreme Power in 
the World, but also the consistent Purpose which works itself out 
in human history, yet supreme power and consistent purpose in 
a person ; " a power not ourselves that makes for righteousness " 
would be a correct translation into abstract language of Isaiah's 
thought, but certainly a translation and, moreover, a translation 
which Isaiah could not and would not have made himself. To 
Isaiah, Yahweh is as personal as the politicians of his day : he 
can compare them : each has his plan ; but the plan of the 
politicians is doomed to failure, because it has no power behind 
it ; because it is not only unrelated to, but opposed to the wisdom 
and power that reside in Yahweh, and are directed against 
iniquity. Cp. 30^'^ 31^"^; also 5^1^- 2821^' and if, or in so far as, 
the work of Isaiah, lo^^. 23 j^24. 26f. 22I1. 

82. The consummation and manifestation of Yahweh's plan 
was expected at a definite time, which Isaiah, as Amos before 
him and many since his day, expected in the near, even the 
immediate, future. Isaiah (2^-^^) follows Amos in using the old 
popular phrase, "the day of Yahweh," with a meaning quite 
opposed to that which the people generally put upon it ; * the 
people expected on that day help from their national God, the 
God of Israel, and consequent prosperity (Am 518-20^ • Amos and 
Isaiah, to whom Yahweh was God of righteousness first and 
God of Israel only second, and in so far as the national relation 
was not inconsistent with the moral, expected on that day 
disaster to Israel; Isaiah pictures it as manifesting the unique 
exaltation of Yahweh, and convicting men of the uselessness of 
all other sources of help but Him. He whom Isaiah called the 
Holy One of Israel, unlike the God of Israel of the popular 
thought, does not work necessarily, and under the present con- 
ditions certainly does not work at all, for the prosperity of 

* Gressmann argues that the conception of the Day of Yahweh as a day of 
disaster for Israel was not a creation of the prophets, but that they only 
ethicised a previously existing popular belief in a coming world-catastrophe 
{hr. jud. Eschatologie, pp. 142 ff.). 




ISAIAH AS PROPHET AND TEACHER Ixxxix 

Israel ; He will manifest His holiness by securing righteousness 
and destroying, if need be, the entire people of Israel in order to 
secure this (5^® : cp. e.g. s^-^). 

83. Yahweh was God controlling the whole world, and work- 
ing out in the history of mankind a consistent plan that would 
establish and secure righteousness : such was Isaiah's belief: how 
does his favourite term for God, "the Holy One of Israel," 
stand related to it ? The term, as we have seen, is, in respect of 
its national limitation, rooted in the old, popular, national 
religion ; and so also, of course, is the first part of the term 
intimately associated with early and even primitive religion. 
"Holy" (K^lp) is a word which was originally, and in certain 
connections remained to the end, completely destitute of moral 
import {Numbers^ pp. 209-211); but just as Amos gave, or re- 
stored to, the *' Day of Yahweh " a meaning which it had never 
had, or had practically lost, in popular usage, and just as Rosea 
charged with spiritual meaning the conception of the marriage 
of the deity which in the popular religion was fouled with the 
basest associations, so Isaiah, out of a term that was at best 
ethically neutral and a definition that suggested national limita- 
tion, created a phrase that served him well in expressing a 
conception of Gk)d intensely moral and free from national limi- 
tations. It has been acutely observed* that it was the very 
emptiness in respect of ethical meaning of the term holy that 
enabled Isaiah to charge it with his own deep ethical conception 
of God. In itself it denotes not a particular personal quality, 
but rather the essential nature of deity; whatever is god, or 
related to, or set apart for the service of the gods, is holy; if, 
therefore, the conception of god is unethical, or non-ethical, so 
also are the associations of the term holy ; but if the conception 
of God is ethical, so also are the associations of the term : "the 
Holy God hath shown himself holy in righteousness" (5^^). 
" Yahweh of Hosts " (and that which is related to Him) exhausts 
for Isaiah the idea of holiness (6^) : there are for him no other 
holy gods ; the Holy One of Israel is the God who formed and 
revealed Himself to and guided Israel; He is also the One God 
whose glory fills the world. 

The Holy One of Israel is, then, not limited by needing 

* Cp. e.g. W. R. Smith, Prophets^ ^ 225; Davidson, Ezekiel^ xxxixf. ; 
Skinner, xlvi. 



XC INTRODUCTION 

Israel ; His glory shines apart from Israel. Nay more, the very 
closeness of the relation between Yahweh and Israel can only 
mean the more necessary and more immediate destruction of 
Israel, if Israel is unholy, unfit through unrighteousness to be 
associated with Yahweh. 

84. And what constituted holiness in Israel? what were the 
qualities or conditions that made the approach of Israel tolerable 
to Yahweh or safe to Israel ? Not that they should come having 
scrupulously observed laws of ceremonial cleanness, not that 
they should come with hands full of presents of sacrificial 
animals for Yahweh ; they showed zeal enough and to spare in 
honouring Yahweh thus in accordance with ancient custom and 
prescription (29^^) and ancient thought of what pleased Yahweh. 
But the Holy One of Israel was indifferent to these things ; He 
loathed hands stained with the blood of murder, however full of 
sacrificial presents ; He desired justice which He did not find, not 
sacrifice with which He was satiated (iii-i3 ^7j. it is not neces- 
sary to conclude that Isaiah regarded sacrifice as positively 
offensive and intolerable to God under all conditions, but he 
regards it as something that Yahweh does not require, and that 
in no way palliates the sii) of those who offer it ; Israel has gone 
deep in rebellion against God, and the multiplication of sacrifices, 
so far from being proof of renewed loyalty, merely affords fresh 
evidence that the nation is without knowledge of Yahweh. 

The conviction of the sin of Yahweh's people and the 
destruction which it necessarily involved, in addition to the 
vitalising and deepening of his conception of God, was the chief 
result to Isaiah of his vision. But what more exactly did his 
conviction involve ? With what view of the future of his nation 
did Isaiah undertake his prophetic mission? Did he remain 
constant to that view throughout? These questions have 
received, and, till the literary origin of several passages can be 
determined with greater certainty than at present, are likely to 
receive, different answers. All that will be attempted here is to 
bring out the salient ideas that must be duly weighed in attempt- 
ing any answer, and to indicate some of the uncertainties. 

85. That the Holy One of Israel being righteous cannot 
tolerate unrighteousness, but will destroy the unrighteous, is a 
fundamental conviction with Isaiah. But there certainly goes 
along with this a belief in the grace and forgiveness of Yahweh, 




ISAIAH AS PROPHET AND TEACHER XCl 

Both these points are illustrated by the vision : feeling his sin 
and uncleanness, Isaiah immediately awakes to the danger of 
the sight which he has seen, the Holy presence in which he 
stands ; " then cried I, Woe is me ! for I am undone : for I am a 
man of unclean lips ... for it is the king, Yahweh of Hosts, 
whom my eyes have seen " ; but with the awakened conscious- 
ness of sin, and recognition of its offensiveness to the Holy 
Yahweh of Hosts, comes immediately the sense of forgiveness ; 
the seraph touches his unclean lips with the burning coal, and 
assures him that his iniquity will pass away from him and his sin 
be expiated. Freed from his sin, not by sacrifice or outward / 
rite learned from men, but by the free grace of Yahweh meeting 
him at once as he turns away in horror from his sin to Yahweh, 
he is not exposed to the destructive reaction of Yahweh's 
righteousness against sin. 

But Isaiah associates with his danger not only his own 
personal sin, but the sin of his people : " I am dwelling in the 
midst of a people of unclean lips." It might have seemed a 
natural sequel if Isaiah had received a commission to awaken 
the people to a similar sense of Yahweh's presence in their 
midst and of their sin, and, consequently, of the imminence of 
destruction, unless they repented and received forgiveness. But 
this is not the actual sequel in the vision : Yahweh, in the words 
of the commission, tacitly accepts Isaiah's admission of the 
people's sin ; He does not dwell on it, but only on the fact that 
the people will, sinning on, remain blind to the consequences of 
sin, and, therefore, suffer those consequences to the full : Israel 
will perish, and the land of Israel will be desolated. And Israel, 
the people who are to perish, must be understood as including 
both houses of Israel, and certainly Judah ; the meaning of ch. 6 
must not be blunted by limiting the people whose destruction 
is determined to those of the Northern kingdom ; see n. 
on 6®. 

86. But the possibility of forgiveness and riddance from sin 
which Isaiah had personally experienced, he assuredly did not 
limit to himself; not in the vision itself, but in the name which 
he gave his eldest son very shortly after his call (7^ n.), we find 
this more directly implied, unless indeed, which is not very 
likely, Shear-yashub is, as some have supposed, a name of purely 
sinister meaning. Isaiah, then, anticipated that a remnant of 



XCii INTRODUCTION 

individuals, a small part of the whole of Israel, would return to 
Yahweh, be forgiven, and become quit of their sin. 

How then did these ideas ot the irremediable moral condition 
of the people necessarily involving the destruction of the nation, 
and of a Remnant that should return in penitence to Yahweh, 
work themselves out in Isaiah's teaching? 

87. The belief in the imminent and certain destruction of the 
people is by no means limited to the narrative of the vision ; 
it was expressed in the name given by Isaiah to his second son 
Maher-shalal-hash-baz (8^ n.), and was implicit even in the name 
of Shear-yashub — the remnant that returns is but the remnant of a 
larger part that perishes ; and the same belief, clearly in relation to 
Judah, is the theme, for example, of the parable of the Vineyard 
(5^"^)j a^d again it is expressed in what is commonly understood 
to be the latest of Isaiah's utterances, " Surely this iniquity shall 
not be expiated for you till ye die," 22H So far as the Northern 
kingdom is concerned, there is nothing to suggest that Isaiah 
ever expected that more than a few individuals (17^) would 
escape destruction : see 9^-10* + 526-29 17I-11 28^-*. On the other 
hand, at times he certainly seems to have held that Judah would 
survive at least the perils immediately threatening her j so at the 
time of the Syro-Ephraimitish war (735 B.C.) he maintained 
against the King and Court that Jerusalem had nothing to fear 
from the invaders (7^"-^^); and, if we admit 37^^^'^^^ in 701 B.C. 
Isaiah maintained that Sennacherib would not enter Jerusalem, 
because Yahweh would defend it for His own sake and for 
David's sake. It would be quite unsafe to press the reason 
given in this narrative (which is not the work of Isaiah, but an 
account based on popular tradition) for Isaiah's belief that Jeru- 
salem would not fall to Sennacherib : if he held that belief, we 
may more safely seek the reasons in lo^^- : the Assyrians were not 
to capture Jerusalem, because their disregard of Yahweh's com- 
mission must be punished by ill-success. But Isaiah's conviction, 
after being justified by the event, may well have made a deep im- 
pression on the popular mind : it may have formed the basis of 
the popular stories that gathered round this period of his work, 
while his own reasons for his conviction were forgotten and other 
less welcome elements in his teaching passed out of the popular 
mind; and this may account for the fact that Jeremiah's de- 
fenders appeal not to Isaiah, but to Micah as an earlier prophet 



ISAIAH AS PROPHET AND TEACHER xciii 

who had predicted the fall of Jerusalem and yet been left 
unmolested. A conviction of Isaiah that Jerusalem would not 
fall on a particular occasion and under particular circumstances 
went, all against the intention of the prophet, to strengthen the 
popular dogma that on no occasion and under no circumstances 
would Jerusalem fall, because Yahweh must defend His own. 

Unless Isaiah changed the fundamental conviction that 
underlies the narrative of the vision, he must have held through- 
out that the only way to safety for Jerusalem lay in a return to 
Yahweh and the establishment of righteousness. Certainly the 
terms of Yahweh's commission in the vision do not hold out the 
hope that Isaiah's preaching will bring about the repentance of 
the people and the safety of the state ; but in spite of this a 
conditional promise underlies some of the sayings of the prophet, 
and other sayings which at least cannot be clearly shown to be 
not his: see i^^ (and perhaps also i^8(n.)) 7* 30^*. But the 
condition implicit in 7^ — If ye believe, ye shall be established — 
was not fulfilled : Ahaz and his people did not " believe " : and 
by this further disloyalty to Yahweh they drew destruction nearer, 
not at the hands of the Syrians and Ephraimites, indeed, whom, 
as the prophet warned them, they needlessly feared, but at the 
hand of the Assyrians (S^^^). So later, while Isaiah insisted that 
no harm would befall the city from Sennacherib, he may have 
held, and apparently did (22") hold, that harm would befall it 
from another quarter, unless they repented. Whether he 
expected that the disaster would in this case be due to the direct 
interposition of Yahweh we cannot say ; but it is altogether im- 
probable that Isaiah believed that Assyria by its arrogance, and 
consequent unfitness to be any longer Yahweh's instrument of 
punishment, had left Yahweh without other means of punishing 
and destroying His own sinful people. 

88. Beyond the judgment, Isaiah looked to the establishment 
of a new Sion where the corrupt and unjust judges and the faith- 
less counsellors of the present would be replaced by just judges 
and faithful counsellors, and the whole community would be 
righteous and loyal to Yahweh (i^s) : cp. 281^-^8. Out of the 
remnant would arise (cp. S^'^) a new state. 

Yahweh does not need Israel, the actual sinful people ; nay. 
His righteousness must destroy them : but it will also re-create 
out of those who by their righteousness come out of the fire of 



XCIV INTRODUCTION 

judgment a new state — in Sion. The influence of his time and 
people on Isaiah (§ 78) may still be seen ; it leads him to place 
the new state in Sion ; but there is nothing here inconsistent with 
the conviction that the Holy One of Israel, being resident in 
Sion, must destroy the existing city and society."^ 

89. How far and in what way did Isaiah elaborate his concep- 
tion of the life in Sion after the judgment ? The question turns 
on the criticism of passages like 9^"^ ii^'^ ^o^^"^^ 32^^^ 33 ; the 
view taken in the Commentary is that none of these passages can 
be assigned with certainty to Isaiah, that several of them are for 
various reasons more or less clearly not his work : under these 
circumstances, reference should be made to the commentary on 
the various passages for the more elaborate details of the future 
which are to be found in them. 

But a few general remarks may be made here : 
(i) Though unquestionably Isaiah was in the first instance a 
prophet of judgment, and his narrative of the vision contains no 
word of promise, or any suggestion of a happier future and the 
establishment of a righteous society beyond judgment, it would 
be quite unreasonable, even if there were no evidence at all to 
the contrary, such as i^^, to infer that his mind never dwelt on 
the ideal which should be the very opposite of the present state. 
With his conception of Yahweh, and especially of Yahweh's 
work in history. His carefully-maturing plans, he could not well 
have thought that Yahweh's work would be complete with the 
destruction first of Israel and then of arrogant Assyria. Yahweh 
looked for righteousness (5^) : but if, as assuredly He would do, 
He destroyed the people whom He had chosen that they might 
produce it, but to whom He had looked for it in vain. He would 
renew His work of choice and construction till He obtained the 
righteous society of His desire. Nothing could be more natural 
than that the idea of a righteous state on earth should possess 
Isaiah ; and if so, nothing again could be more natural than for 
him to place it in Sion, where Yahweh dwelt (§§ 78, 88). And this 
is precisely what he does in i2i-26^ where the picture of the ideal 
state is most intimately and closely connected with the picture 
and condemnation of the actual city. Unfortunately none of the 

* It is probable that G. A. Smith (DB ii. 490) considerably overstates 
Isaiah's conviction when he says, "There was no other way for a spiritual 
community to exist in Isaiah's day except through the security of Jerusalem." 




■ 



ISAIAH AS PROPHET AND TEACHER XCV 

other passages that deal with this ideal future are thus inti- 
mately connected with the condemnation of the present. This, 
of course, is not proof that such passages are not the work of 
Isaiah, but it does distinctly weaken the positive grounds for 
holding that they are. 

(2) Many of the passages in question are attached to pro- 
phecies of judgment without being organically connected with 
them. In these cases it would be difficult to believe that in one 
and the same speech Isaiah drew alarming pictures of coming 
disaster and bright pictures of coming glory, without in any way 
marking or defining the relation between them. But again this 
is not in itself necessary proof that the passages of promise are 
not the work of Isaiah : the present arrangement may be due to 
editors. At the same time, it is perhaps remarkable that 121-20 
stands almost alone in organically connecting the two ideas. 

(3) There were probably two sides to Isaiah's activity : he 
spoke in public to the people, he delivered to the nation 
Yahweh's message of national doom ; he also probably taught his 
disciples (8^^ n.). There is nothing impossible in the view that 
more elaborate pictures of the glorious future, though they formed 
no part of his public teaching, were yet presented by him to his 
disciples. At the same time it must b^ admitted that there is 
nothing in most, if indeed in any of the passages in question, 
that suggests this more limited audience. 

(4) Though the mere fact that a passage implies the belief that 
a glorious future awaits Judah or Sion, or again that Assyria, the 
enemy of Judah, will be destroyed, is no evidence that the pass- 
age cannot be the work of Isaiah (cp. (i)); and though it could 
be shown that all the ideas contained in such passages are frag- 
ments of a pre-prophetic eschatology, as Gressmann has argued, it 
is anything but probable that Isaiah, out of patriotic sympathy, 
was content to perpetuate the traditional eschatological matter 
"without much troubling about the inner unity" (Gressmann, 
p. 243) of his teaching. Patriotic sympathy of that kind, we 
may be fairly sure, was as absent from Isaiah as later from Jere- 
miah. Isaiah may have utilised such traditional eschatological 
ideas ; but if so, we shall be safer in believing that he modified 
them by the setting he gave them, and by the inner unity into which 
he worked them with that message of judgment which he had 
received in his vision In a word, if the more elaborate pictures 



XCVl INTRODUCTION 

of eschatological blessedness which stand in Is 1-39 are, any 
of them, the work of Isaiah, they have reached us independently 
of their original setting (cp. (3)). In another respect Gressmann 
scarcely conceives the problem correctly. Those who have 
argued against the genuineness of the eschatological passages 
may too often have relied over much on the criterion of ideas ; 
it may be, for example, that an allusion to a multiplicity of 
nations receiving judgment before Jerusalem {e.g. 17^2-14. ^p. 
pp. 307 f.) is not a conclusive proof that the passage which con- 
tains it is later than the 8th century ; but Gressmann is himself 
one-sided, even if less dangerously so, when he claims that the only 
" legitimate criterion for so denying the genuineness (of a passage) 
consists of the historical circumstances pre-supposed in it" ("als 
einzig berechtigtes Kriterium, um die Echtheit zu leugnen, sind 
nur die vorausgesetzten zeitgeschichtlichen Verhaltnisse anzu- 
sehen"); and he is wrong in his conclusion that "so long as 
these (historical circumstances pre-supposed) do not speak against 
the original authorship of him in whose book the future hope 
{Heilseschaiologie) is handed down, so long may the 'genuine- 
ness' be maintained " ("so lange wird man die Echtheit aufrecht 
erhalten diirfen ") : all that follows, in the case of the Book of 
Isaiah at least, is this, that provided the historical pre-suppositions 
are not inconsistent with the age of Isaiah, so long may the 
genuineness of any particular passage remain an open question ; 
the passage may be Isaiah's, or it may be the work of some writer 
living in any age with which also the historical pre-suppositions 
are not inconsistent (cp. § 43). For though the book bears the 
name of Isaiah, considerable parts even of chs. 1-39 are by 
general consent the work of later ages ; and, moreover, the edi- 
torial processes through which the book has passed belong to 
periods when eschatology was rife.* Generations subsequent 
to Isaiah have played too large a part in the composition of the 
Book of Isaiah for it to be more than one possibility among 
several that a passage, the historical pre-suppositions of which 
are vague, is Isaiah's. The possibilities in such cases must be 
reduced in number, if at all, by other criteria. 

*Cp. Th. L. W. van Ravensteyn, De Eenheid der eschatologischen Voorstel- 
lingen in het Boek Jesaja (Utrecht, 1910), in which as against Gressmann it is 
argued that the eschatology (as distinct from the prophetic elements) of all parts of 
the Book of Isaiah belong to a single period, and that probably the 4th century. 





CHRONOLOGICAL TABLES 



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INTRODUCTION 







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XXIII. Egypt dis- 
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divide authority 


T 

w 

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to Tiglath-pileser 
Philistine campaign 
Capture of Gaza 

Campaign against 
Damascus 

Capture of Dam- 
ascus 

Shalmaneser IV. 
Sarg^on 


C/3 

"1 


End of the 
Kingdom 
of Dam- 
ascus 






J 
w 

en 

1-1 


Exile of North- 
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Pekalj slain 
Hoshea suc- 
ceeds him as 
an Assyrian 
vassal 

Siege and fall 
of Samaria 

End of the 
Northern 
Kingdom 








Ahaz pays tribute 

• 
(or 715) Death of 
Ahaz. Hezekiah 




[Dates 

that are 

certain are 

in heavy 

type.] 





41 



i 




CHRONOLOGICAL TABLES 



xcix 



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INTRODUCTION 








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Earliest possible date for the 
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Memphis 
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Pharaoh-necoh 


< 

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Sennacherib in Arabia (and 

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Esar-haddon 

Esar-haddon captures 
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king of Babylon 

Fall of Assyria: Capture 

of Nineveh by Medes * 

(and Babylonians) 
Battle of Carchemish : 

Nebuchadnezzar defeats 
Nebuchadnezzar, king of 

Babylon 

of Jewish Exile in Babylon 

Median Empire overthrown 

by Cyrus, king of Persia 




1 


Josiah's Reformation 

Fall of Jerusalem 

597> 586 Commencement 




[Dates 

that are 

certain are 

in heavy 

type.] 


694 

c. 690 
682 

671 
668 
667 
625 

621 
c. 607 

605 
604 
586 

549 




CHRONOLOGICAL TABLES 



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COMMENTARY. 





**Quae si longa tibi videbitur, non mihi imputes, sed 
Scripturae sanctae difficultati, praecipueque Isaiae prophetae, 
qui tantis obscuritatibus involutus est, ut prae magnitudine 
rei brevem explanationem putem, quae per se longa est. 
Certe nos studiosis scribimus, et sanctam Scripturam scire 
cupiencibus, non fastidiosis, et ad singula nauseantibus." 

Jerome. 



A COMMENTARY ON THE 
BOOK OF ISAIAH. 



'I. I. A title defining the subject and age of Isaiah's pro- 
phecies. It served, in the first instance, perhaps, as a title of 
chs. I-I2 only. It was prefixed, not by Isaiah, but by a post- 
exilic editor. Isaiah, in accordance with the prominence given 
by him to Jerusalem throughout his prophecies (i2iff. ^leff. 
(4^-) io32ff- 22^*^* 28i''^- 29^^- 30^®*-), speaks of Jerusalem and 
Judah (3^-^ 5^ 22^1: occasionally elsewhere, 2 K 24^^, Ezr 2^); 
in the title, as in 2^ and, e.g.^ 2 K 18^^, 2 Ch 34^- ^ the order is 
Judah and Jerusalem, A contemporary Jew would have had 
no occasion to add to the list of kings the explanatory clause 
kings of Judah (cp. Jer i^^-, Mic 2^) ; an editor looking back on 
the monarchy as a vanished institution might well do so. It is 
doubtful, too, whether Isaiah would have applied the term 
vision to his collected prophecies (see below). The period of 
Isaiah's prophetic activity may be correctly described, though 
this is not certain (cp. 6^ n.), as beginning in the reign of Uzziah : 
and the title is certainly correct in extending the period into the 
reign of Hezekiah (cp. chs. 36-39) : but Judah and Jerusalefn 
is an inadequate description of the scope of Isaiah's teaching, 
still more of chs. 1-39 ; chs. 13-23 contain a series of oracles 
directed against foreign nations; and even within chs. 1-12 
at least one prophecy (9^-10*) is primarily concerned with 
Ephraim. 

The vision"] fitn signifies (i) a vision, then (2) the verbal 
record of what is seen in vision, and also, perhaps, with a total 
loss of the original sense of the word, (3) any revelation or 

VOL. I. — I 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



prophetic discourse even though it has not been suggested by 
vision. The word is used here with either the second or the 
third of these meanings ; in illustration of these, cp. " the book 
of the vision of Nahum," Nah i^; "the vision of Obadiah," i^; 
" the matter ("I3nn) which Isaiah saw-in-vision " (ntn), Is 2^ ; " the 
rest of the affairs of Hezekiah . . . behold they are written in 
the vision of Isaiah," 2 Ch 32^2 ; " write the vision and inscribe 
it on the tablets," Hab 2^. Certainly neither the verb ntn nor 
the noun ptn is necessarily late, nor the belief that God revealed 
things to some prophets by means of vision (cp. Nu 12^ 24** 1*, 
I K 22i^-i^, Am 7-9, Jer i^i-^^^. Nevertheless, since actual 
vision plays but little part in the recorded experience of Isaiah, 
and when he does refer to such experiences (6^), he, like Amos, 
uses the verb ns"), the use of fitn in this and similar titles 
may be due to the later conception that the chief function of 
prophecy was apocalyptic, that prophecy was a revelation of the 
final stage of history: cp. e.g. Dn 8^ and Ben Sirach's (48^) 
description of Isaiah n^nriN ntn miaa V\T\1. To the authors of 
these titles the prophecies of Isaiah, Nahum, Obadiah may 
have been, as they subsequently were to many generations of 
Christian scholars, not so much or at all the teaching of these 
prophets to their own age, but a record of events seen in vision 
several centuries before they actually happened. Consequently, 
vision not improbably retains here the second of the meanings 
mentioned above. — l5aiaK\ the name means Yahweh has delivered^ 
or Yahweh is deliverance (cp. Ps. 29^ ; see phil. n.) : the prophet 
is the only pre-exilic person of the name who is known ; but 
several persons so named are mentioned in Chr. Ezr. Neh. and 
also in the Assouan papyri (5th cent. B.C.). — Son of 'Amos] the 
name 'Amos is otherwise unknown; but the root 'ama§, to be 
mighty^ occurs in Amaziah — a fact which probably created, 
without in the slightest justifying, a Rabbinic theory that Isaiah's 
father and King Amaziah were brothers (cp. Pesikta d. Rab 
Kahana, 117b). By a grosser blunder, resting on ignorance of 
Hebrew, but assisted perhaps by the Rabbinic canon, that 
where a prophet's father is mentioned the father himself was 
a prophet, Isaiah's father (|*CK, ffi 'Aftws) was identified with the 
prophet *Amos (DDV, ffi 'A/aws). m 

liTyr'] so always throughout the book : in the title of the book •Tye'', see 
ntrod. § 3. MX may be right in pointing "in;ytt': (cp. 'Hcrafas, ffi), and the 




*^ 




I. 2-31 3 

name may, as Del. maintains, consist of a 3rd pf. +i.T — a formation already 
common in the 8th cent. {HPN 176 f. : cp. 192), cp. <rt6<rct Kuptos {Onom. 
Cotslinianum, in Lag. Onom. 165*^) ; but since vv does not occur in the Kal 
and the n. pr. rvv^^n actually occurs later, yc may be a noun, yet scarcely 
a noun in the construct, so that the name means (Turrripla KvpLov, sa/us domini 
(Jer. al. : see Lag. Otiom. 69', 173"*, 191*°), but rather predicative (cp. HPN 
75 ff., 175 f.) — Yahweh is salvation : cp. in the inverse order yr'^K, where the 
second element, in spite of MT pointing, is yr' rather than yr, and also VKyr», 
Lidzbarski, NSI. The original pronounciation may have been 'n;y^», like 
i.Tp^n, XeXK(e)ias : cp. Origen's *l€(r<rta, and 'Iea(r(c)/ou in (J&, 2 Ch 26". 

I. 2-31. — A Collection of Prophetic Poems, 

This section stands between two titles (i^ 2^): and it is 
natural to infer from this fact that the editor derived it from 
another source than ch. 2 ff. : see Introd. § 29. Why the 
editor, who can scarcely have been Isaiah himself, placed this 
section first cannot be determined ; it has been suggested that 
the reason may be found in its general character and "immediate 
applicability to many other circumstances " of ancient, or later 
(Ro 9^*), Jewish life (Di.). But, as a matter of fact, it did 
not prove more widely applicable than other sections of the 
book: 6-8^®, or even ch. 6 by itself, which on chronological 
grounds should stand first, is also cited more frequently in the 
NT. 

It must also remain uncertain whether the editor found the 
chapter circulating by itself, — a prophetic fly-sheet of about the 
same size as the prophecy of Obadiah, — or himself arranged 
passages drawn from some larger collection, or even from dif- 
ferent sources. However this may be, the section is not a 
single poem or prophetic oration : it consists of several distinct 
poems or fragments. Most clearly distinct is vv. 21-26 (28) ; this is 
a complete poem with well-marked rhythmical character, and 
reflects a different historical situation from w.^-^*: in vv.*^-^^ 
judgment is still to come ; in vv.*^*^ it is in process of fulfilment. 
Since there is no indication that these vv. have been interpolated, 
the chapter immediately falls into at least three independent 
sections— vv. 2-20, 21-26(28)^ 27(29).3i. But of these sections the first 
is scarcely a unity; the fresh start in v.^^ suggests, and the 
contents, if not also the rhythm, favour, the conclusion that 
vv. 18-20 are an independent saying or sayings. Whether even 
vv.2-17 are a single poem is uncertain. 



4 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

Koppe distinguished as separate poems or fragments vv.''* (time of AliaJt) 
and vv. ^'^'^ (time of riezekiah) ; Lagarde (Semih'ca, i. if.) and Corn. (ZA TIV, 
1884, pp. 86-88), VV.2'. 4-9. 10-17. Cheyne {Inlrod.), vv.^-^- «-»• i»-" (cp. Stade, 
Gesch. i. 586 n. 2, 622). 

But whether vv.^'^' be a unity or not, the difficulty of maintaining the 
strict unity of the entire chapter has been increasingly felt since Koppe first 
seriously raised the question. Some, however, still maintain that it is a 
literary unity; for example, Di. says, "The chapter is just as little as 
many others an oratorical unity or the accurate report of a speech actually 
delivered : it is too rich in ideas and varied in contents for this, and the con- 
nection both within vv.^'*"^^ and between these verses and vv.^"^ and ^^ is not 
close enough. But in view of the relation of v.^" to v.', and the references 
back from v.^ to vv." and ^^''j and from v.*^ to v.**, the literary unity of the 
chapter cannot reasonably be denied : that is to say, we must see in it a 
literary work composed by Isaiah himself, in which he has enriched a speech 
delivered on some particular occasion with leading thoughts and turns from 
other similar speeches delivered at not too widely separated periods, and 
reduced the whole to a form used by earlier and later prophets (Hos 4^, Mic 6, 
Ps 50) of a legal process between God and the people " (but see below, 
p. 27). Cond. has recently maintained that his strophic theory proves 
yy a-27 to be a single poem, which is unfortunate for the strophic theory. 

If the chapter consists of different poems, questions of date, 
so far as they can be answered, fall for consideration in connec- 
tion with the several sections. Here it must suffice simply to 
record the earlier view elaborately maintained as late as the 
19th cent, by C. P. Caspari,* that the chapter belongs to the 
reign of Uzziah and is earlier than ch. 6 ; and the wide diverg- 
ence of judgment among other writers who have maintained the 
unity of the chapter, the two main views being that it belongs to 
the period of the Syro-Ephraimitish war in 735 (Ges., Del., Di.), 
the other that it belongs to the time of Sennacherib's invasion 
in 701 (Vitr., Eich., W. R. Smith). Many other theories are 
referred to by Caspari (p. iff.). 

So also the question of rhythm is dealt with in detail in the various 
sections. For a different view from that which is taken below of the changes 
of rhythm in this chapter, see Francis Brown, The Measurements of Hebreiv 
Poetry^ mJBLit.y 1 890, 82-86, who finds w.^"* six- toned, vv.^'^" five-toned, 
yy 21-28 six-toned, vv.^"*^ five-toned. 

I. 2-17. — The sin of Yahweh^s people, their punishment and 
mistaken sense of His requirements. 

Rhythm and Parallelism. — Cp. Introd. "On Poetic forms." Within 
vv.*'^' there is a marked difference between vv.^'^- ^^''- " and ^°'^^'' : balancing 

* Beilriige zur Einleitung in das B. fes.y Berlin, 1848. 





I 



I. 2-17 5 

rhythm is dominant in the first named verses, echoing rhythm (3 : 2) is dearly 
to be recognised in vv.'°* "• ^^- (omitting ddtd) i*"- '*'• (omitting D3D) "»»• '"o-io^ 
^"'; the rest of vv."'''^''is more uncertain, partly at least owing to textual 
corruption. Of the lines clearly 3 : 2 only vv.^^**' ^*^ show parallelism of sense 
between their parts: but the entire periods 5 : 5 are parallel in vv.'**"'***^ 
15a. b . jj^us absence of parallelism, or parallelism only of longer periods, as 
well as difference of rhythm, sharply distinguishes vv. '""'"' from vv.^"* and 

16c. 17^ 

Where the balancing rhythm prevails, some diflcrence of length in the 
lines may be observed : 

(fl) Vv.2- ' consist of one tristich — 2 : 2 : 2, and three distichs 3 : 3, t.e. four 
complete periods of six accents. 

{6) Vv.*"' : most of the distichs are unmistakably 2 : 2, but v.***'' is 3 : 3 
unless 'in is rhythmically independent (see p. 89) and }iyi33, one 
accent: in MT it is two. Insert makkephs as follows: no^Sy (so 
generally in MT), niyian in v."*, after K^ in v.', and perhaps in 
rK-n(i)DnB' in v.' (see phil. n.). Lines irregularly of three accents 
are v.'*, unless nriK be omitted : and vv.*'* unless v.*** '• » (2 : 3 : 2 in 
1^, 2:3 in (JEr) is intrusive (see Comm.); '• omitted in the trans- 
lation is probably a gloss (see Comm.). 

(c) Vv.^*'' " : distichs 2 : 2. 

(d) V.', if tsyos be omitted (ffi), consists of two distichs, 3:3 and 2:2 

respectively ; i.e. it is like vv.''"^ in balancing rhythm. If tsyoa be 

retained and taken with what follows, '*'• ^ is 3 : 2 and rhythmically 

similar to vv.^***''* ; **•*• might perhaps with difficulty be read in the 

same rhythm by inserting makkeph, uS'Tnin. 

Strophes. — The translation will show that vv.^"* falls into four, or w.^' 

into three, almost equal sense-divibions ; v.' is but half the length of any one 

of them. Again, two sets of four lines of five accents are recognisable in 

vv."' ^^ and ^"-^^t", and the intervening verses before they were amplified may 

have been of the same length : then v.^* with its two lines stands by itself. 

If the text of |^ were preferable to (K in v." (see above), it would be tempting 

to see in vv.^"® and ^'^^^ two poems rhythmically different in character but each 

divided into four equal strophes. 

The marked difference in poetical form between vv.*** and 
yv.io-16^ which has just been pointed out and is in some measure 
indicated in the translation, makes the unity of vv.^-i^ uncertain. 
But the thought of the two poems, if there are two poems here 
rather than one, is not so different that either suffers much by 
being read with the other, and in a consecutive translation of 
vv.2-17 the relation of v.® can be more readily considered ; that 
verse may be rhythmically, textually, and exegetically uncertain, 
and may possibly be intrusive, but it cannot be rejected with 
confidence. 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



Israels unfilial conduct and its punishment. 
2 Hear, O heaven, 

And give ear, O earth ! 
For 'tis Yahweh hath spoken — 
"Children have I reared and brought up^ 
But they have rebelled against me; 
' An ox knoweth its owner. 

And an ass it's master's manger; 
Israel doth not know, 

My people doth not consider.** 

* Ah ! sinful nation, 

People whose guilt is heavy, 
Brood that doeth evil, 

Children that deal corruptly — 
Who have forsaken Yahweh, 

Contemned the Holy One of Israel, 

Are estranged (?) backward — 

* Wherefore will ye yet be smitten, 

(Wherefore) continue in your defection? 

The whole head is sick, 

And the whole heart diseased: 
® From the sole of the foot to the very head 

No soundness is in him ; 
(But) bruises and contusions 

And still bleeding wounds, 
Not pressed out, nor bound up, 

Nor softened with oil. 

^ Your land is a desolation, 

Your cities are burned with fire; 
Your tilled land before you, 
Aliens are devouring it ; 

• And the daughter of Sion is left 

Like a booth in a vineyard. 
Like a night refuge in a cucumber-field, 
Like a tower (?) for the watch (?). 

• Had not Yahweh of Hosts 

Left of us some that escaped, 
Like Sodom had we become, 
Gomorrah had we resembled. 





I. a-17 7 

Not Sacrifice I 

^^ Hear the word of Yahweh, | ye chiefs of Sodom ! 

Give ear to the instruction of our God, | people of 

Gomorrah ! 

11 What good to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? | saith 

Yahweh. 
I am satiated with burnt-offerings of rams | and fat of fed 

beasts ; 
And in the blood of bullocks and he-goats | I delight not. 

12 When ye come to see my face, | who hath required this at 

your hand 7 

Trample my courts ^^ shall ye no more, 

To bring gifts is vain. 

Smoke (of sacrifice) is an abomination to me. 
New moon and sabbath, convoking of convocations, I cannot (endure); 

Fast and sacred seasons ^* your new moons and your set times my 

soul hateth. 
They have become a burden upon me, | I weary of carrying. 

15 And when ye spread out your hands, | I will hide mine 

eyes from you 

Yea when ye make many prayers, | I do not listen. 
Your hands are full of shed-blood : | ^^ wash youselves pure ; 
Put away the evil of your doings | from before mine eyes. 

But Justice, 

!•" Cease to do evil, 

1^ Learn to do well ; 
Seek out the right, 

Make the violent (?) keep straight (?) ; 
Secure the right of the orphan, 

Undertake the cause of the widow. 

Heaven and earth are summoned to listen to Yahweh's charge 
against His people : they have requited His fatherly care with 
indifference and open rebellion (vv.^^*). Sufficient reason this 
that blow after blow has fallen till Judah is covered with bruises 
and wounds from head to foot (vv.^^^), that the land of Judah 




8 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

has been desolated and its cities burned by a foreign army, 
which now invests Jerusalem itself (vv.''^^-). Indeed, had not 
Yahweh saved a few, Judah would have been wiped out of 
existence as completely as Sodom and Gomorrah (v.^). But 
even now in the beleaguered city — so we must understand the 
transition if the poem is one — rulers and people alike utterly 
misunderstand Yahweh : misfortune has at last awakened them 
to their need of Him, but not to the nature of their sins, or of 
His demands : they bring Him in abundance sacrifices which 
He abhors, they are still indifferent to justice and humanity 
which He requires — the very hands which they stretch out to 
Him in prayer are stained with the blood of murder (vv.^**"^^). 
Yahweh's word to them (v.^^), if they would really find Him, is : 
Not sacrifice (vv.^^'^^), nor prayers unaccompanied by moral 
change (^'''•), but justice ! 

The leading ideas of w.^-i^^ are {a) sin, {b) punishment, 
{c) misunderstanding of what Yahweh demands, {d) what 
Yahweh actually demands ; {a) and {b\ (c) and (d) are, each 
pair taken separately, very natural sequences, but it is a question 
whether (^), which is really an explication of (a), would not im- 
mediately have followed (a) had all entered into the same poem. 
The date of the poem, or at least of vv.^-s, is 701 b.c. ; see n. on 
vJy where other less probable theories are cited. Nothing in 
vv.2-1^ is inconsistent with the date 701, for it is only by a very 
improbable interpretation that v.^ can be made to imply a present 
state of national prosperity. On the other hand, nothing either in 
vv.^' or vv.i^'i''' independently points to the year 701 ; and if any 
of these verses are derived from different poems, their exact date 
is uncertain : the ideas are such as Isaiah might have expressed 
at almost any time of his life. 

2a. b. C. Kxordium. — Since the prophet is about to utter 
the words of none other than Yahweh, words which Yahweh kas 
spoken to him, which he must not and cannot keep to himself 
(cp. Am 3^^-, Jer 20^), heaven and earth (cp. Jer 2^2) aj-g called 
upon to give audience ; cp. Dt 32^ for the same rhetorical appeal, 
and for a similar one Mic 6^ ; for heaven and earth as witnesses, 
cp. also Dt 4^*' 30^^ 32^9. — Hear . . . give ear] cp. 28^3 32^, 
Gn 4^^ : this type of prelude may, as Du. suggests, have been 
derived from popular poetry. 




I. 2, 3 9 

2d. e. 3. Yahweh charges Israel with unfilial con- 
duct. — Yahweh's charge against His people is that in return 
for His fatherly (Hos ii^-*) care (cp. Am 3^) they have broken 
loose from Him and become rebels against His authority. — 
Children] EV rightly renders D^33 thus, as in the phrase 
"children of Israel," and % correctly interprets the word as 
equivalent to "my people" (v.^). Less satisfactory is the 
rendering sons;* for though, when the Hebrews spoke of 
children they no doubt thought primarily of sons, the plural 
D^33 is not limited in meaning to male children (see Gn 3^^, 
Jos 17^), and note, even in the sing., a male child ("13? p) in 
Jer 20^2. Where parallelism admits (it does not here) the use 
of the terms, Yahweh's people may be described as His " sons " 
and "daughters" (43®). — Brought up and reared] i.e. played 
the part of a parent by them. For T\l in this sense, cp. 23* 
4921 ^iis^ 2 K 10*, Hos 9^2; and for DDn, 23*, also the analogous 
use in Ezk 31*: so ina in the Kal is used of the growth of the 
infant (Gn 21^) or youth (Gn 2\^). Both verbs have also the 
meaning to make greats powerful^ exalted', and the second by 
many f and both by some % have been so understood here ; but 
the two verbs should be rendered as synonyms (see phil. n.); 
and both the parallel in 23* and the context here (see vv.^^-) 
favour interpreting the ,line of Yahweh's parental care§ for 
Israel, not of the pre-eminence of Israel among the nations, or 
of the greatness of Israel in numbers and military power. Con- 
sequently, there is no allusion to the prosperity of Judah, and 
the case for assigning this passage to the same early period of 
Isaiah's activity as 2^^- (Che. Introd. p. 2) falls to the ground. 
In the simplest terms, without the pathetic details of Hosea's 
picture of Yahweh training and tending His child (Hos ii^-, 
esp. V.8), Isaiah places in contrast Yahweh's parental care which 
had brought Israel to manhood, and Israel's unfilial conduct 
in casting off the father's authority and disobeying the father's 
commands. — They have rebelled against me] '3 VK^Q means to 
revolt from one's ruler {e.g. i K 12^^, 2 K i^), to renounce 
authority (cp. ^min h"^ IVK'S, Hos 8^) : here it is used of a child's 
renunciation of a father's authority. A reference to idolatry, 

* Ew., Di., Che., Du., Whitehouse, Box. 

t fflr (C^wtra), U {exaliavt)^ Di., Du., Che., Marti, al. 

t ]p., RVmarg. § AV, RV (text), Ges., Cond. 



«l 



lO COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

which has sometimes been suspected here, would be possible 
(cp. Jer 2^- 2^ 3^^), but it is very far from certain ; other ways of 
rebelling against Yahweh were to rely on Egypt or Assyria 
(Hos 7^^), or to be unjust, inhumane ; cp. 59^^^- and the use of 
the noun ytJ'Q in Am 5^2 . moreover, Am. chs. i. 2 are simply a 
series of illustrations of inhumanity regarded in the light of 
rebellion against Yahweh. 

3. Israel has not only been an unfilial child of Yahweh, but 
has shown himself less intelligent than the animals (cp. Jer 8^) 
that form part of a household (Ex 20^^). Ox and ass find their 
way to their stables ; but Israel cares nothing for Yahweh, nor 
discerns that it owes everything to Him : cp. the thought of 
Hos 2^^^^\ Dt 32^*^, where it is implied that Israel not only did 
not recognise Yahweh, their true Baal or owner, as the giver of 
harvest, but attributed the produce of Canaan to the ancient 
Baals of the land. — Owner . . . master\ the first word ^'^\>) 
denotes tov KTrjcrdfievov (ffi), one who has come into possession 
of anything as, for example, by purchase (cp. Lv 25^*^, Zee 11^); 
the second (bv^) is commonly used of the person to whom 
property belongs (e.g. Ex 21^8, Jg 1922). — Israel] If vv.^ and ^ 
belong to the same poem, Israel is not the Northern kingdom, 
but Judah : cp. ^"^ n. ^ 

4-9. Israel sinful and suffering. — Isaiah, like Amos in 
3^-8, follows up the brief saying of Yahweh {w.^^- <*• ^) with speech ^ 
in his own person. 4. And first with a cry of threat and lamenta- 
tion, Ak/ or JVoe/ (5^*^^ etc.), he emphasises by means of a 
succession of short clauses the rebellious and unfilial conduct 
of Israel, the nation^ people^ race, and children of Yahweh : they 
are sinful^ heavily laden with guilty evil-doers (cp. 9^^ 312), and 
of corrupt life (cp. Gn 6^2^ Zeph 3^, Ps 14^). — 4e. f. g. One at 
least of the last three lines of v.* is probably not original, possibly 
none of them are (Marti), though strophic regularity requires two 
lines here, ffi omits the last line, and the previous one is 
rhythmically suspicious. If the lines stood by themselves they 
would probably, if not quite necessarily, imply idolatry (C); 
but the remainder of the poem suggests that Isaiah had, 
instead of idolatry, ethical offences in mind. To forsake 
Yahweh often, though not invariably (Dt 282^), with writers 
later than Isaiah, means specifically to abandon Him for another 
God; see, e.g.^ Jg 2"^- lo^-^o, Dt 31^*, Jer i^' 2^^ 5^; and if 





1 



■ 



I. 3-6 II 

vv.28f. below were originally connected with one another, the 
same specific sense was intended there. To contemn (|*W) God 
was to think little of His power, to distrust His capacity to 
fulfil His promises or His threats (Nu 52* 12'^ 1411-28 x6M 
Ps lo^'is y^io. 18J. and once (Dt 3120) it is associated with 
serving other gods. The verb in the last line (see phil. n.) refers 
to idolatry in Ezk 14*, and so do similar phrases in Ps 44I* 
78*''. — The Holy One of Israel] Isaiah's favourite term for Yah- 
weh : see Introduction. — 5a. b. The question put to the persons 
addressed in ^- ^' '^ <*. — Why will the people invite fresh punish- 
ment by renewing and continuing their sinful courses ? Judah 
to Isaiah, as Israel to Amos (4*'^^), appears to have suffered 
already often and severely. — Wherefore] the regular meaning of 
nD"i>j;. Many modern interpreters* appeal to Job 38* and 
render on what (part of the body) will ye yet be smitten^ seeing 
that none is left which has not already been smitten : this 
destroys the parallelism, and, as Cond. justly urges, it pro- 
duces an "image assez froide," for the person who chastises 
does not take pains to discover a spot on which no stroke has 
yet fallen. — ( Wherefore) will ye continue in your defection] the 
force of wherefore in the previous line is carried on into this, 
and these two lines are, like their neighbours, parallel in sense — 
liy being parallel in thought to 1D"'Din, and mo, defection, which 
necessarily implies punishment, to \2T\. Generally the second 
line is taken to be circumstantial (G-K. 156^; Or. § 163) or 
relative — seeing that^ or ye that^ continue^ etc. The term defection 
occurs also in 31^, Jer 281^, Dt 13*. The original sense of the 
verb "no is to turn aside from one's course, from the straight 
road (Dt 2^7, Jg 4I8 148) . then morally it means to turn aside^ 
whether from the right — from Yahweh, His commands, etc. 
(Ex 32^, I S 1220) — or from the wrong Qob 28^8, Ps 341''); but, 
used absolutely, the verb, like the noun here, has the sinister 
sense — Ps 14^, Jer 523, Dt iii^ 171^; religiously it is the anti- 
thesis of 7N or ny y\^ — how long will this people turn away from 
Yahweh to their undoing, instead of returning to Him to be 
healed ? Cp. Hos 61, Am 4^ ny DnnB^ xi^l . . . Ti^Dn. 

5C. d. 6. The whole body politic is sick. In contrast with 
v.***^ (plural vbs.), we have now one of those personifications 
of the entire nation which are so frequent with Hebrew writers 
* Ges., Ew., DL, Du., Che., Guthe, Marti, Whitehouse ; cp. "S super quo. 



12 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



(cp. Numbers^ pp. 265 f., 370) : — Judah is a wounded man whose 
bruises and sores, so recent that the blood still flows, receive 
no attention : there is nought of soundness in him ; cp. particularly 
Hos 5^^, " Ephraim perceived his sickness, and Judah his wound," 
and Hos 7^, where Ephraim is described as a man sapped of his 
strength and grown grey without realising it. The injuries are 
described by three terms : yvs, bruises^ produced by crushing 
{j\2\ Dt 232), or smiting {^'2r\, Ca 5^, i K 20^^) : the term also 
occurs in Job 9^'', Pr 27^^ (fig'X ^.nd, coupled as here with 
mnn, in Ex 2i25, Gn 4^8, Pr 20^0 (^) f ; the remaining instances 
of mnn are 53^ Ps 38^ (festering stripes) : the third term n30 is 
of wide meaning (cp. nan), but it includes open, bleeding wounds 
(i K 22^5), and it is such that are here pictured — they are n^"il3, 
moist^ juicy (Jg 15^'' : cp. ,c^), i.e. still bleeding. These wounds 
have not been pressed out to purify them from purulent matter, 
nor bound up with bandages, nor softened and the pain of them 
assuaged by the pouring in of oil (cp. Jer. 8^2, Lk lo^*). 

7. 8. The figurative (vv.^^-<^) is followed by a literal 
description of the desperate state of Judah : the whole country 
lies desolated by the ravages of war, the cities have been burnt 
out, and, at the moment, before the very eyes of the inhabitants 
of Jerusalem, an army of foreigners is encamped and supporting 
itself on the produce of the fields. The capital, indeed, still 
stands, but insecure as the slight structures made for their 
refuge by those working in the fields, too far away from their 
homes to return to them at night. 

The only known circumstances that correspond to this description are 
those of the year 701 B.C. Sennacherib in his account of his campaign of 
that year writes : '* Hezekiah of Judah, who had not bowed himself under 
the yoke, 46 of his fortified towns, fortresses, and small cities in their 
neighbourhood innumerable, with casting down of battering-rams and assault 
of siege-engines, with attack of infantry, of arrows ... I besieged, I 
captured. . . . Himself, like a bird in a cage, in the midst of Jerusalem, 
the city of his kingship, I shut up. Fortifications against him I erected, and 
those coming forth from the gates of his city I turned back " (Taylor Cylinder, 
iii. 11-17 and 20-23). "V.' describes what those shut up in the capital could 
see, and is silent about the 200,000 Jews whom Sennacherib boasts of having 
taken prisoners (from the other cities ; Taylor Cylinder, iii. 17-20) — probably 
because they had as yet no knowledge of this" (Du.). The actual descrip- 
tion of the Syro-Ephraimitish war (see on ch. 7)> even with the additional 
details of 2 Ch 28, falls short of the present, but some [e.g. Di. ) infer from 
the general character of ancient warfare that the circumstances of that war 





I. 6-8 



13 



must have been such as to justify the terms in which Isaiah here speaks. 
It has been questioned whether an army lai^ely composed of Israelites would 
be called "aliens" (D'li). No siege of Jerusalem by Sargon, to which some 
referred this description,* is recorded, and the hypothesis that there was 
such a siege is now generally abandoned. f 

Your tilled land before you] the fields or cultivated country 
(riDIK, cp. Gn 3^^), within sight of those addressed, i.e. the besieged 
in Jerusalem. — Aliens] the word means belonging to another class^ 
or circle (Nu i*^ n.), here, therefore, belonging to another race^ 
foreigners (cp. Jer 5^^, Ezk 28^, La 5^) : this would very naturally 
describe either Assyrians or Syrians, but much less naturally an 
army consisting equally of Syrians and Ephraimites, since the 
latter were not D^T in the sense here intended. — Are devouring 
ii\ for the idiom nD15< 7D^{, to eat the landy meaning to live on its 
produce, see Gn 3^'^; for its use of an enemy living on the 
produce of an invaded or conquered country, cp. Jer 8^*. The 
enemy have reduced the country behind them to ruin by fire 
and sword, and they have now closed in on Jerusalem and are 
living on its immediate neighbourhood; the addition at this 
point of the phrase, and {it is) a desolation like the overthrow 
of . . . does not seem very suitable : it is, moreover, structurally 
redundant. Probably the words are a gloss \ on the word 
desolation at the beginning of the verse, meaning your land is a 
desolation — and that a desolation like the overthrow of. . . . 
Grammatically, the clause, an overthrow of aliens (f^ffi), may 
mean either such an overthrow as barbarians customarily bring 
about, or such an overthrow as customarily befalls barbarians 
(cp. Del.) ; but neither meaning is very probable. It is far more 
probable that D''"»T, aliens^ has replaced ono, Sodom ; § everywhere 
else the word overthrow (nasriD) refers to the overthrow of 
Sodom and Gomorrah (13^^ Dt 29^2, Am 4", Jer 49^^ 50*^). — 
8. Daughter of Sioti] Cities with their inhabitants are poetically 
regarded as a woman; cp. e.g. "daughter of Babylon," 47I; 
" virgin Israel," Am 5^. Sion here is used widely of the entire 
city, not of the South-Eastern Hill alone (cp. G. A. Smith, 
Jerusalem^ i. 269). — A booth] for the slightness and insecurity of 
the n3D, cp. Job 27^^; and of the night-refuge (njfc). Is 2420, 

* Cp. Che. /Y, Introd. notes to x. 5-xii. 6. 

t Che. Introd. p. 3f. (with references); cp. Driver, Isaiah (188$), p. loi. 

X So Du., Che., Marti, Cond. al. 

§ So, e.g., Ew., Che., Du., Mar. 



14 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

" It shall shake to and fro like a night-refuge." For a picture 
of a modern structure of this kind, see SBOT^ p. 162. — Like 
a tower for tjie wafcJi] No entirely satisfactory rendering of 
mi^3 T'ya can be suggested; like a tower for the watch (cp. 
D'^lXli 7liD, 2 K 17^) fits in well with the two preceding lines, 
but n^y, meaning alarm-post^ or to7ver (? cp. "i^V: Kon.), and 
miVJ, watch, are both uncertain. Besieged, too, is a questionable 
rendering of miV3 ; and it is an objection both to as a besieged 
city (RV) and like a ^forsaken' (naity, cp. 66^^ 62^2) ^(y 
(Che. SBOT\ that Sion not merely resembles, but actually is, 
a besieged, or forsaken, city. A well-guarded city would be the 
safest rendering, and yet it can only really express the meaning 
if Haupt (see SBOT) is right in treating the clause as a gloss ; 
and this is improbable, for the structure of the poem seems to 
require the line. See also phil. n. 

9. Had not Yahweh allowed some of the Jews to escape, the 
nation would have perished as completely as the " cities of the 
plain" (Gn iq^s, Dt 29^2^. According to v.^, Jerusalem stands 
entire, though isolated now and insecure: the escaped of this 
V. ought to be, then, the besieged inhabitants of Jerusalem, and 
the conviction lying behind the words that in Jerusalem they are 
safe, that the capital is inviolable : and yet v.* suggests anything 
but the invincibility of Jerusalem; and for this reason Marti 
suspects the originality of v.* in its present position. On the 
difference in rhythm and strophic length that distinguishes v.^ 
from vv.**^, see above. — Some that escaped\ RV inadequately 
renders remnant ; T»"iB^, from a root meaning to take fright, run 
away (cp. Ar. sarada), is one who survives from defeat, one 
who escapes', cp. e.g. Jer 31^, Nu 24^*. In MT, though not in 
ffirS»H, the survivors are said to be like a little, i.e. very few : cp. 
yj-i Dyes, "like a little moment," 2620. J^ also admits of the 
word DyJOD being taken with the next clause — almost had we 
become (cp. Gn 26^^; BDB 590a). But this fails to do justice 
to the obvious thought of v.®, for if Yahweh had not allowed 
some to escape, Judah would have been clean wiped out, and, < 
therefore, not almost, but quite like Sodom. I 

2. 'nDDm 'nVnj] the simple (not consecutive) waw coupling two synonymous 
terms (Dr. § 131 f.)- Ki- rightly remarks, "Two words of like meaning are 
used for the sake of emphasis, but the sense of both is one and the same " ; 
he is wrong, however (see above), in the meaning which he gives to both — 
□y Va SyD n^nDom oniN ^ih-yx '3. — oni] but they ; the emphasis implied by the 






I. 9 AND I. 2-6 15 

use of the separate pronoun is in such cases as this best expressed by rendering 
]y due, instead of and; cp. Gn 42^, and further, Dr. § 160, Ohs. (p. 201). — 
3. onx] sere for bateph seghol : G-K. 84a, ^. «y 03k, means /<? /ged up, 
fatten, and DUK is iht feeding trough : cp. Job 39''. — v^ya] pluralis majesiatis ; 
G-K. 1241. — yT K*? '?»!nB"] (& 'l<rpa^\ 5^ yue oi/k iyvto: the ace. pronoun 
here (and in the next clause) is an interpretation, not a variant. The 
objects in Hebrew are left to be supplied in thought: cp. 6'. — "oy] some 30 
MSS and also dSc&'B read 'Dyi — a mistaken assimilation to the previous 
lines. — 4. in] may be followed by the 3rd pers. as in 5^^^ 10" 17^' and 
often : see Kon. iii. 321a, d. But 'in is also followed by the 2nd pers. {e.g. 
33* SSS J^"^ 47*)» ^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^^ sound, both here and in 5* by the 3rd 
pers. (v.*, cf. * J^ ; dSc, 2nd pers.) passing over into the 2nd (v."*). — \\i! 122] 
for this genitival cstr., see G-K. I28.;t; and for 1^1 = 159, Sta. § 202^. — yni 
D'jriD] the two terms, whether in apposition or cstr. and gen. (Ron. 337^), 
are co-extensive; cp. 65^®: hence not seedy i.e. descendants, of evil-doers, 
but seedy i.e. race^ consisting of evil-doers \ (K, correctly, <nr4pna irovtipdv 
(cp. €^5). It is possible that D'j;TD=Djno was originally yno, and that the 
clause was symmetrical with its three fellows. — D'n'nrD] sc. oam (Gn 6^), or 
something similar. — rnp nx . . . m.T nn] Marti finds the repeated prosaic nn 
suspicious. — TinK nu] <& om. The punctuators treat nij as Niph. of tit, as 
also, though in view of v.' doubtfully, in Ezk 14* ; the cstr. is then pregnant, 
they are estranged (from Yahweh and gone) backward — a strange mixture of 
two figures each in itself sufficient (Marti). So already U etbalienati sunt 
retrorsum. The consonants may also be punctuated r\\i (cp. Ezk 14'), Niph. 
of ^T^, but they have dedicated themselves backwards is no more probable. 
t?r (cp. Sb) has KmnKS nm nnnOK— the same phrase that is used to render jidj 
mnK in 50" ; whether % actually read 1J03 for r\n is doubtful, but this has been 
suggested as the original reading by Marti : for nnx jd3, cp. Ps 40^* 70* and 
references above. Since the poem is for the most part composed of distichs, 
one (if not all) of the last three clauses of the v. seems superfluous : the 
last being absent from (& has not unnaturally been suspected (Brown, Du.) ; 
but rhythmically the clause Skib" vnp nx ij^kj, with three accents against the 
prevailing two accent lines, is more doubtful ; it is also a less satisfactory 
balance to .Tin'-nK i3ij; than ninK ihia. Haupt (SBOTy p. 109) attempts 
to meet the case by transposing mo (emended to is'oin) iB'Din from v." 
and making it parallel to mnw ni3.— 5. no Vy] Kit. no-ny? Possible, but 
unnecessary. — tfKT Sd] with poet, omission of the art. : G-K. 127^. Hence 
the whole head, not every head (RVmarg.), as if every individual Israelite 
were physically sick and covered with actual sores. — '^n^] probably *? of the 
product : cp. 2 Ch 21^*. — 6. dhd u j'k] (& has no equivalent for ono 12, but 
it is a mistake when Marti says that (& omits the whole clause : the oike 6i 
(& implies that they read pK ; and as without ono ^^2 the sentence (there is no 
wound, etc. ) is impossible in the context, we must suppose that (& used a 
text from which onD 13 had accidentally dropped out. The clause is not a gloss 
from Ps 38^* ^ MT punctuates DhD — a strange nominal formation from taon, 
on which see Kon. ii. 98 n. i. Better with Haupt, in SBOT{p. no), dfio, 
there is nought of soundness. — ni] MT by accentuating on the penult, perhaps 
intended to connect the form with mi (see Del.). Going back to the 



1 6 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

consonants alone we may connect it with TiT, mr, or mt. Olsh. (p. 536) 

treated it as pass. Kal (^^^5 ij)* froiw m (cp. G-K. 52^, 67m): we must 

then suppose "ni is an otherwise unused modification of nns, io bind up^ with a 
special technical sense (cp. Du., Kon. i. 328, 333f.)« Sta. (§ 415^) considers 
ni to be Pual of mi ; but it is doubtful whether the sense required here could 
naturally be derived from mi, to disperse^ scatter, winnow. BDB treats the 
form as pass, of nn = 5 01 , J\,to cotnpress; cp. iTttin, Job 39^', and the ambiguous 
forms in Is 59" {pressed under foot) and Jg 6^ {pressing, wringing out a 
fleece). However the form be explained, the sense is reasonably well secured. 
— naan . . . itrnn . . . ni] nDST (a transcriptional error for 133T?) could be 
explained by G-K. 14&/, but the change of cstr. is extraordinary, and is not 
satisfactorily explained by calling it an approximation to a chiasm (Del. ), or 
by treating naan as impersonal cstr. (G-K. 144*) — and there has been no 
softening with oil, or by the distance from the subject (cp. 35^, Jer 44'^'' ; 
Kon. 3463). Marti, partly on the ground of the cstr., partly on the ground 
that binding up should follow, not precede, the treatment with oil, deletes 
'n vh^ n; n^ as a gloss on mum yss, which, when it came into the text, led to 
] being prefixed to noan k^. Both objections could be met less drastically 
by supposing that n'na nam originally followed it^nn kSi ni vh ; and, since 
□no 13 J'N is not a gloss, the distichic structure would favour this alternative. — 
7. VH msntyjif the line is of two accents, v^-msrw, or perhaps trK-ns-i.?' (cp. 64^" 
9^ <&) : or omit B'K as a gloss. — nnK D''?3K] insert makkeph, or omit nnx. — d'^dn, 
are (now) devouring'. Dr. § 135 (2). — n"j«} Ty] nw regularly means to watch, 
guard (from danger) — hence a city guarded (from danger). The sense 
besiege is but doubtfully supported by Ezk (i^"^, where the meaning may 
rather be preserved, and Jer 4^*, where ffi suggests omx. The regular word for 
to besiege is Sy 'sya, cp. e.g. 29' 2 K (?^ : hence Di. explains misj as the Niph. 
part, of this vb. Du. and Marti treat mua as an infin. noun like ^V^v, rvs^zi'^, 
miaa, meaning watch {Beobachtung). ^, 

10-17. The futility of sacrifices. — With the formula, 
Hear the word of Yahweh, a. fresh section, if not a fresh poem, 
begins, and the change is marked by a change of rhythm (see 
above, p. 4 f.). There has been too much sacrifice and too httle 
justice — that is what has alienated Yahweh from Israel and led 
Him to punish His people again and again (vv.^*^), and that is 
why even now He takes no notice of their prayers (v.^^) so as 
to rescue them. 

This is one of the most notable statements of the common 
standpoint of the prophets : that what He demands of those 
who worship Him is not sacrifice, but justice and humanity. 
Compare, for example, among those who preceded Isaiah, 
Hos 6^-^ and Am 4* 521-25 ; and among those who followed him, 
Mic 66-8, Jer f- 2if.^ jg 40I6. 






I. 6-9 AND 10-17 17 

Sacrifice and many of the forms of religion Israel shared with 
the nations, and it is not the institution, but the repudiation, of 
sacrifice that distinguishes the religion of Israel. Not, perhaps, 
that the utterances of the prophets need be taken as a prohibi- 
tion absolute of sacrifice (ct. 30^9) for their own time ; but cer- 
tainly a non-sacrificial, not less than a monotheistic, religion was 
the natural outcome of their teaching. Historically, the unessen- 
tial character of sacrifice in the higher development of Hebrew 
religion is shown by the continuance of the religion without 
sacrifice during the first Exile and, subsequently, both in Judaism, 
after the fall of the Temple, and in Christianity. Prior to the 
Exile the practical outcome of prophetic teaching did not extend 
to the suppression of sacrifice, but only to its purification and 
centralisation (Deuteronomy : the reforms of Josiah) ; but the 
emphasis laid by the prophets on the essentially ethical nature of 
Yahweh and of His demands upon men (cp. Mic 6^-^) enabled 
the nation not only to survive the Exile, but as a religious com- 
munity to emerge from it even stronger. 

10. Under the suggestive and caustic titles cAt'e/s of Sodom, 
people of Gomorrahy Isaiah addresses the prophets of Jerusalem 
and Judah, and especially their leaders, whom he elsewhere re- 
gards as responsible for the moral condition of the people (v.^s). 
" V.^<> is most closely connected with v.^, for the address to the 
chiefs of Sodom, etc., would be unintelligible without v.^ ; even 
if the persons intended could be conjectured, it would remain 
obscure why the people of Jerusalem are so termed. This, to be 
sure, does not exclude the possibility that w.'^^^' were not spoken 
in the same breath with vv.^-^. . . . Jerusalem is compared with 
Sodom and Gomorrah in the first instance because of their 
almost identical fate ; whether also on account of the similarity 
of their moral state could only be decided if it were known 
what Isaiah understood 'the cry of Sodom' (Gn iS^*^) to mean : 
if he had Gn 19 in mind, a moral comparison would have 
implied great exaggeration" (Du.). This is probably right if 
the connection is due to Isaiah, and not, as some think, to a 
later editor, who brought together two independent poems on 
account of the verbal resemblances in w.* and ^*', or supplied 
V.® as a link between vv.^*^ and ^®'^^. Certainly the fate (13^^, 
Am 41**, Jer 20^^ 49^^, Zeph 2*) of Sodom and Gomorrah is 
more frequently alluded to in the OT than their sins (La 4^, 
VOL. I. — 2 



1 8 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



A. 



Dt 32^2^ Ezk i6i6ff-), though both are naturally enough some 
times thought of at the same time (Dt 29^2), as is so frequently 
the case with the references in the Koran to Ad and Thamud. 
On the other hand, if Sodom typifies for Isaiah the same sins — 
pride, fullness of bread, prosperous ease, failure to help the poor 
and the needy — as it did a century and more later for Ezekiel 
(16**), the comparison of the moral state of Judah with Gomorrah 
would have been quite in harmony with his general point of 
view, and sufficiently obvious for him to begin an address to a 
crowd assembled in the temple courts (w.^^-^^j^ which numbered 
among it persons of position, with the epithets cAie/s of Sodom^ 
people oj Gomorrah. — Chiefs] the word '^^'^ is a synonym of K^KT in 
the sense of leader-, cp. Mic 3^- * (in parallelism with B^«"i), Jg 1 1^- 
{=K'K1, vv.8- 9) 11 (coupled with t^Ni). In Jg 1 1«- ", Jos lo^* (JE), 
Dn 11^8 the word is used of a leader in war: in Is 3^^ 22^, 
Mic 3^*', Pr 6''t (a leader of the ants) it is used more generally ; 
in Pr 25^* pvp is corrupt. In Hebrew the word appears to 
have retained less of the apparently original meaning decide 
than has the Arabic Kadi. Chiefs of the people of Yahweh 
ought to make it their aim to keep things right in the State 
(Mic 3^); but, since Isaiah shares with Micah (3^) the view 
that their aim is just the opposite, he addresses them not as I 
chiefs of Yahweh's people, but as chiefs of Sodom ; so also the 
people misled by them are worthily termed people of Gomorrah. 
Yet the prophet has for these misleading chiefs and misled 
people a communication from Yahweh : they have gone astray 
because they have misunderstood what Yahweh really cares 
for. The doom of Sodom and Gomorrah will only become 
actually theirs if they refuse to obey the word of God by His 
prophet : cp. the survey of neglected prophetic monitions in the 
Koran, Sura 7. — The instruction of our God] the word min in 
passages such as these is very unsatisfactorily represented by law 
(RV). Both in the sing, and the plural it is used in Ex.-Dt. and 
elsewhere of laws properly so called ; but an earlier sense, which 
was also retained even after the special sense of law had become 
established, was instruction^ teachings direction^ in the first instance 
probably a communication of the will of the god ; cp. the Assyr. 
t^rtu^ if the term is derived from Babylon (KAT^, p. 606); or, 
perhaps, m\ to cast lots, Jos 18^, if the word is of Hebrew origin. 
The word is also used of the teaching given to a child by a parent, 






I. 10-14 19 

which may be in the form of command or law (cp. Pr 6**- 2^), or 
of much wider scope; and, as the context suggests, in Pr 4^ i^, 
it is the imparting of wisdom. The instruction of God is teach- 
ing concerning the will and ways of God (2^), more especially as 
communicated through prophets (8^ 30^: cp. La 2*, Job 22^^^ 
or priests (Hos 4^ Jer 2^ 18^^). — II. Why this constant bringing 
of sacrifices? that is the question which Yahweh is repeatedly 
putting to the people. How mistaken a proceeding, if it is 
intended to please, not the people themselves (Am 4*), but 
Yahweh I He has no good of sacrifices ; cp. Am 521^-, Jer 6^0, 
Is i5^2f.. The first term DDTiat (v.^^*) is used widely of all slain 
sacrifices, many of which went mainly to furnish forth a feast 
for those who sacrificed; the two following lines refer to the 
special sacrifices, the burnt-offerings and to the special parts 
(Lv 3^^, cp. 2 S 2^^^' i4S2f.) Qf all sacrifices, to wit, the fat and the 
blood (Lv 3^'^, cp. 2 S 7}^'^' 14^^^-), which were not consumed by 
the people, but reserved entirely as holy to Yahweh — Failings] 
except in 1 1* the word K^"ID is always used (Am 5^2, Ezk 39^^^ 2 S 
6^^ I K i^"^^- 26) of beasts fattened for sacrifice ; in some cases 
it is clear that these fatted beasts were eaten (apart from the 
flesh and the blood) by the worshippers (so i K i). — Bullocks'] 
^ adds, and lambs; but the words are due to an annotator 
who desired completeness; they are absent from (K, and the 
tone and sense are rhythmically and rhetorically complete without 
them. 

12-14. As vocalised and accented by the Massoretes, the 
Hebrew text yields a less severe utterance than ffi. Alike in J^ 
and ®r, v.^^ has implicitly denied that sacrifices form any essen- 
tial part of the religion of Yahweh — What good are they to 
Him ? At any rate, He has received them in superabundance : 
and they give Him no pleasure. Then ffir (followed in the 
translation above) continues : Certainly it is not God who has 
asked man to bring sacrifices when they come to worship Him : 
offerings are useless; the smoke ascending from them when 
burnt on the altar is an absolute abomination to Him; the 
sacred seasons with the preparatory fast and the accompanying 
gluttonous (cp. 28^^) feasts are hateful to Him. Cp. Am 521-26, 

Offence was probably given at a relatively early period by 
this unqualified condemnation of religious worship; and by a 
single slight change in the consonantal text, viz. the substitution 



20 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

of jIN, iniquity^ for D1V,/flj-/ (so fflr), in v.^^, a milder interpretation 
was made possible. According to MT, Yahweh repudiates not 
the bringing of sacrifice, but the trampling of His courts, and 
condemns not all offerings and sacred seasons, but vain offerings 
and iniquitous festivals. This interpretation already appears in 
.SSTF ; but though much older than the Massoretic punctuation, 
it is in all probability not original. That the severity of such 
a saying was softened, is far more probable than that it was 
enhanced. There are reasons for thinking that the text of 
these verses has suffered enlargements or other changes (see 
phil. n.) to which even €r gives no clue ; but these do not appear 
to have affected the fundamental meaning of the passage. 

12. To see my face\ i.e. to worship Me. The anthropo- 
morphism implicit in the phrase, which is frequently used of 
visiting, or being admitted to the presence of men (Gn 43^, 
Ex 10^8, 2 K 25^^), has been obscured by the punctuators (see 
phil. n.), hence EV to appear before me. A similar attempt to 
soften down a phrase that implied the visibility of God is 
seen in (&'s paraphrase of Ex 24^®: J^ there runs, "and they 
saw the God of Israel," dSi "and they saw the place where 
the God of Israel stood." — Wko hath required this ?] viz. offer- 
ings (v.^i) — certainly not Yahweh. Isaiah criticises the law 
and religious customs of his time with the same freedom as 
Jeremiah (y^^^*), and, later, our Lord Himself (Mt 5). Even 
the earliest law required that the Hebrews when they came " to 
see Yahweh's face" should not come empty-handed (Ex 23^^ 
3420). — Trample my courts'] i.e. the courts of the Temple in 
Jerusalem. The trampling may be that of the sacrificial 
animals (v.^^) which the worshippers bring with them (cp. Ezk 
26^^), or the irreverent entrance of the worshippers themselves 
into the sacred precincts ; cp. the use of irarctv, (K's rendering 
here, in Jer 11 2, and of KarairaT€Lv ( = DD-i 16*) in i Mac 3*5.61 
4®®. The awe which fell upon Isaiah as he entered the temple- 
precincts, the place of the Holy One of Israel (cp. ch. 6), makes 
the careless familiarity with which others treated them peculiarly 
offensive to him (cp. 288n.). — 13. Offerings'] the word nrUD 
means etymologically, and frequently in Hebrew usage, presents^ 
gifts : it is here used with its widest sacrificial sense of any 
offerings made to the deity, whether of vegetables or animals ; 
cp. Gn 4^"^ J ffir (o-c/AtSoAts also 66^) gives it the specific sense of 





I. 12, 13 21 

cereal offering which it acquired later (P). — Sacrificial savours] 
mop, later used {e.g. by P) of the fragrant smoke produced by 
burning aromatic substances, originally (see phil. n.) meant the 
smell of the burning flesh of sacrifices, and this is its meaning here. 
The early Hebrews, in common with the Babylonians, thought 
of the gods as delighting in these savoury smells; in the 
Babylonian Flood story we read, "The gods smelt the savour, 
the gods smelt the sweet savour; the gods gathered like flies 
over the sacrificer " ; cp. in Heb. Gn 9^1, i S 26^^, and the sacri- 
ficial term "savour of gratification" (EV, sweet savour) which 
held its own to the latest times. The prophets with their more 
spiritual conception of Yahweh repudiate the belief; the scent 
of burnt flesh is not a pleasure, but an abomination to God 
(cp. Am 5^^). — New moon and sabbatK\ for the coupling of these 
two sacred days, cp. 2 K 4^8, Am 8^ ; for the religious observance 
of the new moon, i S 20^^-, and see Benzinger, Arch. § 69. The 
attitude of the successors of the prophets is in striking contrast 
to Isaiah's: see 56** •, Jer 17210. (both post-exilic). — The calling 
of assembly] or, as we may render so as to retain the etymological 
connection of vb. and noun (fc<"ipD Nip), the convoking of convoca- 
tions. If the clause is a part of the original text (see phil. n.), it 
explains that what is particularly intolerable to Yahweh on the 
sacred days is the meetings, or rather, the summoning of such 
meetings, to which the Jews were probably called by the voice, as 
are the Moslems to-day. In P (Ex 12, Lv 23, Nu 28 f. — 19 times 
in all) KHp N"ipD, holy assembly^ is the technical term for the meet- 
ing of the community on the Sabbath, the new moon, and other 
sacred occasions ; and fc<"ip», assembly^ unqualified, both here and 
in 4**, must have the same meaning. The only other occurrences 
of tilpD are Neh 8^, Nu lo^, where the sense is entirely different. 
— Fast and sacred season] so fflr, cp. Joel i^* 2^*^; f^ has the 
milder, and therefore probably not the original, reading iniquity 
aftd sacred gathering (see phil. n.) ; this would mean that God 
does not tolerate sacred gatherings associated with iniquity; 
cp. iniquity and teraphim^ i S 15^^. According to 6r, we have 
another of the absolute statements that abound here: fasting 
and sacred seasons are not demanded by Yahweh under any 
circumstances : He cannot endure them. The fasting intended 
is quite probably that fasting which was widely practised " as a 
preparation for the sacramental eating of the holy flesh " (W. R, 



22 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

Smith, Rel, Sem.^ 413): the sacramental eating itself would be 
intimately associated in Isaiah's mind with the second term — 
mvy, cp. Am 521, 2 K io20-24. The precise force of niVV is not 
clear. Except in Jer 9^ (2) j^ jg always used of something sacred 
or religious (cp. 2 K lo^o hv^h TS'TiV it^'li^) ; but whether it is 
a sacred gathering, as Jer 9^(2) and perhaps 2 K lo^^ would 
suggest, or a sacred season, as the parallelism with an in Am 5^1, 
and perhaps the remaining uses would rather suggest, is not 
quite certain. In the laws (Dt 16^, Lv 23^6, Nu 29^^) it is re- 
quired that the mvy shall be accompanied by abstinence from 
work (cp. (& apyiav). In view of this taboo on work, which 
may well be ancient, and the use of the word "Tivy in Jer 36^ 
Neh 6^0 and of "1W3 in i S 21^, Marti's suggestion is probable 
that mvy meant a time during which men are under taboo. 
Such gatherings or seasons occurred annually on the last day of 
the Feast of Massoth (Dt 16^), and of Booths (Lv 2326, Nu 292^, 
2 Ch 7^, Neh 8^^) ; they were also proclaimed when it seemed 
specially necessary to appease Yahweh or seek His favour (Joel 
J 14 215-17 and perhaps Am 521). — 14, Your new moons and your 
set times\ perhaps a gloss on new moon and sabbath : see above. 
The set times (D^yio) are seasons that recur in the course of the 
year (Gn i^*), annual sacred days or times. — A burden"] the 
noun (nntD), Dt i^^; the vb.. Job 37". It is a burden that rests 
upon (isy) Yahweh, and which He has grown weary of carrying. 
The bold anthropomorphism (J^SU) is euphemized by ffiST. 

15 f. Prayers, too, though long and frequent (cp. Mt 6'^), when 
offered by blood-stained evil-doers who persist in their wrong- 
doing, are of no avail. It is significant that the absolute terms 
in which the inefficacy of sacrifices and sacred seasons is 
asserted is followed by a careful definition of the prayers 
that are without effect. Not all prayers, but your prayers, are 
useless ; not imto all who call upon Him does Yahweh turn a 
deaf ear, but to those who pray without recognising the need for 
amendment of life; even these murderers, and these violent and 
oppressive men whom Isaiah addresses will find Yahweh ready 
to hear if they cease from their evil ways, and instead of defraud- 
ing and oppressing the weak — the widow and the orphans — see 
that they get their rights. The prophet's teaching anticipates that 
of our Lord in Mt 523^- ; Pr 28^ j 5^- ^9 may also be compared. 

When ye spread out your hands] The gesture of prayer was 





I. 14-17 23 

to spread out the palm (t)3) of the hands (cp. Ex ^^'^- ^^ Ez 9*, 
Job 11^^ Ps 4421, and (with t) Ps 1^^^). From the time that 
Yahweh was thought to dwell in heaven, the hands were 
stretched heavenwards (i K g^^-w^ 2 Mac 320). Cp. the varying 
custom of the Greeks, "The suppliant stood with face and 
hands upraised to heaven when he called upon the dwellers 
therein. In addressing the deities of the sea, he might merely 
stretch his arms towards the waters. And when the beings 
addressed were those of the nether world, the suppliant would 
stretch his hands downwards"; Gardner and Jevons, Greek 
Antiquities J p. 223. The attitude was that more generally of 
entreaty (65^, La i^^). — I will hide mine eyes from you] turn away 
from and disregard you : cp. Pr 2827. Yahweh turns away His 
eyes from hands red with shed blood. The blood (D^Dl) is not 
the sacrificial blood of v.^^, which would be, as it is there, Dl 
(G-K. 124 n.) ; nor is it simply blood as rendering ceremonially 
unclean, so that Hector's plea {Iliad, vi. 268) that he cannot 
pray " imbued with blood and dust," though cited here by Ges., 
is but a very partial parallel : it is blood (guiltily) shed ; cp. 4*, 
Hos I* 4*, Gn 410^-. 

16. Wash you^ make yourselves pure\ wash yourselves pure, 
figuratively for what is stated literally in the next line. The 
word wash is used ritually, but when so used the result is 
ritual cleanness ("inD — e.g. Lv 14*). Here the result is moral 
purity, righteousness ; nST is never used of ceremonial cleanness, 
but of ethical purity: cp. Job 15* 25* (where it is parallel with 
pIV to be righteous\ Ps 57^ Mic 6^^ (shall I be pure with wicked 
balances and with a bag of deceitful weights?), Ps 73^* H9^ and 
the use of the kindred root ^3T, especially in Job 8^ 9^0. — 16, 17. 
Cease to do evily learn to do well] " an abstract paraphrase of the 
highly concrete exhortations" (Che. SBOT, p. in), and there- 
fore judged by Du., Che., Marti to be a gloss ; Du. also argues 
that the clauses overload the metre ; yet the two clauses metri- 
cally resemble the four that follow. Marti refers to Jer 4^2 7^ • 
but the second of these passages serves as a parallel to the 
present combination of the general and the particular. — 
17b. C. d. e. Illustrations of the positive requirements of Yahweh 
— the powerful must be kept within bounds, the rights of the 
weak must be secured : cp. the denunciation of the opposite 
conduct in lo^. — Seek out right] inquire what is demanded 



24 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

by tDStJ'D, i.e. old established custom which rested on the will o 
Yahweh as it had been declared of old by successive decisions ; 
such customs were gathered together into a body of customs or 
Judgments before the time of Isaiah, and one such collection has 
come down to us (Ex 2ii^'). As our Lord selected (Mt 22^^^), 
or approved (Lk lo^^ the selection, from the great bulk of the 
later Jewish law, of two principles, love of God and love of man, 
as a summary of the law of God, so Isaiah here selects (cp. Ex 
2220f. 23^*^') the duty of maintaining even-handed justice between 
the strong and the weak as the very essence of Yahweh's 
demands. Cp. the somewhat fuller summary of a later writer 
in Mic 6^ — Make the violent keep straight"] so, in spite of some 
uncertainty, the clause may best be rendered ; see phil. n. The 
versions agree in expressing a sense similar to U, subvenite 
oppresso^ whence EV. — Secure the right of] or do justice tOy a 
frequent sense of tDDtJ', cp. 6^8 11*, i S 24!^, Ps 43^ 72*. 

9, iriKSJC mn«] for the breviloquence, cp. G-K. 125-^. — nntr] (& (xvipfxa, 

V semen ; variants?— II. "h no"?] for this idiom, see Gn 27^, Am 5". — TDK'] 

frequentative impf. ; Dr. § 33.— 12. "Jfl rfK-j^] see G-K. 51/ for other 

instances where MT assumes syncope of the n of Niph. inf. : and see Kon. 

ii. pp. 312 f. for the use of the ace. of D'JS if the vb. were really Niph. But 

the punctuation is due to scruples against the suggestion that man could see 

God (Geiger, Urschrift, pp. 337 ff.). Point ':b n"ix-j^.— V.^* should end with 

D3T (cp. (K), and nsn odt be carried over to ". In ^* punctuate KUf nhjtp 

(cp. (ffir) instead of Nwnof?, and for pN read mx (with (ffir). Then " and " 

stand thus : 

«\v\ nnJD K'an is'oin K? nsn odt 

"h K'n najnn fmep 

'?DiN vh t NipD xip t ''^•'^ "J^n 

TSJ nwts' foDnyiDi OD'ennf rxyn'^ dis 

.tKB'J nx^i rrxh '^y vnf 

The lines, it will be observed, are irregular. Marti by omitting the words 
enclosed between t and in v.^^ D3TD reduces the passage to "tolerably regular " 
lines of four accents (the rhythm of vv.^"^ but not of vv.'<*^ ^^ ^^^). Certainly 
'di uyvix\ {youTf not necessarily all, new moons), which might well be a gloss 
intended to mitigate the absoluteness of naB'i tnn and K^pi:> Kip, is (in spite 
of the parallel in Ps 45°- *, Job 42' cited by Del. ) an awkward asyndeton ; but 
the arguments in favour of the other omissions are far less substantial. Haupt 
gains rhythmical regularity by omitting DD'nyiDi UTv^n and me'? "h]} vn (with 
Marti) and also n^fn DDi, m!ij;i pK Vdik vh, "'vamHW. Though the rhythmical 
irregularity is probably due to some and perhaps considerable textual corrup- 
tion, no reconstruction in detail seems likely to command general assent. — 
12. nxi] this, viz. the conduct just described; cp., for this use of nxi (fem. 
G-K. 122^), Dt 32*, Jg 7", Ps 1 1 8^3 etc. The /ikt is clearly understood 




1. 9-17 25 

thus, and rightly, by (ffir ; but according to MT and the verse division nxi 
points forward (cp. 27', Jer 9=®, i S 11') to "^^n om. — qdtd] t in such 
phrases is not w^^wjar/Tj/ literal : cp. pr^ T2, Pr iS'^^ and, frequently, T3 nan, 
/<? j/^a/& djy the hand of . In itself, therefore, this phrase does not exclude the 
possibility of the cstr. in MT. A Hebrew would certainly not have said who 
hath required D3'Sa"iD that ye should trample^ as Du.'s criticism would suggest. 
— nsn DDn] in MT a permutative of r«i : grammatically possible, for rpa may 
take as its obj. the simple ace. without S (Jer 26^). But according to (K dot 
n^cn is the ace. of iB'Oin vh (v."), preceding its vb. like the ace. infin. in Gn 
48". — iB'oin kS] the k^ of emphatic command : G-K. \o^o. — K'2n] in MT inf. 
cstr. without ^ (G-K. \i^m) dependent on ^ID' ; but it is rather an inf. cstr. 
constituting together with its ace. nniD the subj. of a sentence : cp. 7", i S 
23^. — mop] the smell produced by aromatic substances is expressed in 
P either by the full phrase d'DD mop (Ex 25* etc.) or by mop alone (Nu i6*^*-)' 
By a natural extension of meaning mop came to mean also, alike in Heb. 
(Lv 10") and Phoen. (see G. A. Cooke, NSI^ p. 126), the substance which 
produced this smell. But etjrmolc^ically nap (nnp) has a much wider meaning : 
note the sense of smoke in Heb. no'p (Gn 19^), Assyr. J^utru {i.e. nnp), 

Aram. KnBip(=i«'y, Ps i8'), Jo (=*uip), to smoke (of a fire), and the develop- 
ment from that meaning ofyo, aloe wood burnt for fumigation^ and juaS, 
scent of flesh-meats roasted on live coals (cp. EBi. 2165 n. i). Hence, too, 
the verbal forms in Heb. nop and Ttspn mean to bum so as to produce smoke : 
so Am 4* (of leavened material), i S 2^' (of fat) ; and then they are used very 
frequently without an object and sometimes in parallelism with a wide term 
like nai (Hos 4^' 11", Is 6$''): i.e. nop or n*Bp.n and nni are general terms 
alluding to different aspects of sacrifice — nai to the slaying of the victim, "^^ 
to the burning of the victim so as to produce a savour agreeable to the Deity. 
In a similar wide sense is nnop used here and in Ps 66^ and nniop in Dt 33^°. 
In view of the well-established pre-exilic use of the vb. it is quite unnecessary 
to doubt, with Marti, whether Isaiah could have used the noun. — \ih . . . cnn 
'\s\ pK ^31k] on the cstr. of MT, see Dr. § 197, Obs. 2. — Knpo vr\'^'\ (5U 
felt the lack of the copula (see above) and supplied it — koX ijfiipav fxeydXrjp 
(cp. Jn 7^), et festivitates alias. — ^3"ik vh] hy=able to endure^ only here and 
Ps loi' (doubtful). But cp. also Hos 6", Job 42^. Perhaps DNt?^ has dropped 
out; cp. Jer 44^^. — 14. Kb^ ^T\vhi\ cstr. as Jer 6^^ 9* 15' 20^: Hb} is instead 
of the usual n«r ; G-K. 76b. (& renders paraphrastically oi)Kh-i dvijo-w rds 
ifiaprlas bfuav ; KB'3 might, of course, va&dXi forgive, yet not naturally here after 
the preceding clause, ffi also paraphrases nno by TrXfja-nov^. — 15. D2{fn9?'] 
G-K. 6of., 61*. The vocalised text assumes a use of the Piel for the more 
common Kal in some other places also : see 65^, Jer 4'^, La i", Ps 143'. — 
ikVd D'Dn Dan'] on the order, see Dr. § 208 (3).— 16. lai.n ijtnn] cp. G-K. 
121^, h. — lim] as accented Hithp. of nai (G-K. 54^/) ; but perhaps rather 
Niph. of 131 — ^laf.n. — j;n.n] infin. absolute as direct obj.: G-K. 113^; so 3'e\n 
in v.". — 17. nsTK] nB'N means to go straight on (Pr 9" and, MT Piel, 4^*) ; the 
Piel in 3^^ 9^"* to cause to go straight on (antithesis to nyn.n) ; whether it further 
developed the meaning to keep within bounds, which would be very suitable 



26 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

here, is uncertain ; but it is almost suggested by the association with pen — 
make the violent, instead of breaking all bounds by ill-treatment of the weak, 
keep straight. Punishment of the violent is not required by the context, and 
Che.*s proposal n?: unnecessary. The versions probably connected ifffti with 
i^N, nB-N, happiness^ and then rendered freely : (&. pijaaa-de, C5 Q-OJ^Io, Vg. 
subveniie. — pon] the Versions give the word a passive sense : (& dSiKotjfievov, 
S |V) wfc? ^ D'JNi, U oppresso. But the form Slop has in some cases 
an active sense ; cp. P'ijpVj J^r 22^, jin^, Jer (P. The meaning must be inferred 
from the association of {'Din with Wd in Ps 71^, and the root may be a by-form 
of Don, to treat violently ^ rather than of fon, to be sour, sharp, 

18-20. — Yahweh's Invitation, 

The sajdngs between the opening line {4 accents) and the closing formula 
are distichs consisting of long lines containing 4 or 5 accents each and parallel 
in sense. Perhaps originally each line contained 5 accents (=3 + 2). 
These distichs resemble some of those in vv.^°"^*, but are quite dissimilar to 
those that follow in vv.^^"^^ where the lines are shorter (3 or 2) and the 
parellelism is between lines unequal in length. 

1^ Come, now, and let us reprove one another, saith Yahweh : — 
Though your sins were like scarlet (robes), they might become 

white like snow; 
Though they were red like crimson, they might become 

like wool. 
^^ If ye be willing and obey, on the best of the land shall ye 

feed, 
20 But if ye refuse and rebel, on husks (?) shall ye feed — 
For the mouth of Yahweh has spoken it. 

Attempts have been made to find a connection between these 
lines and vv.^-i^ "Jehovah has been addressing His people in 
anger, but even in the exhortations of vv.^^- ^'^ His love had begun 
to move. This love, which seeks not the destruction of Israel, 
but their inward and outward salvation, now breaks forth in v.^^" 
(Del.) But the lack of close connection has by no means 
escaped notice. Ew. suspected the loss of a v. before v.^^ ; Di. 
suggested that Isaiah placed the section, though delivered under 
other circumstances, side by side with the foregoing, because 
both sections agree in maintaining that only by repentance and 
acquiescence in the ethical demands of God can the people be 
saved. 

It certainly seems doubtful whether Isaiah would in im- 
mediate succession first represent the people as red-handed 





I. 18-20 27 

criminals (v.^^) and then treat the redness of their sins as 
hypothetical (v.^^). 

Nor must we claim the unity of a trial scene for the chapter. Whether 
the vb. in v.** implies the figure of a trial (see below) or not, Cheyne 
{Introd. 6) is right in withdrawing his earlier {PI) acquiescence in Ewald's 
theory that vv.^"* introduce a great trial scene, of which vv.^^"'^ give the 
conclusion, and in abandoning as illegitimate his earlier translation, * * Come 
now and let us bring our dispute to an end." 

Du. suspects and Marti concludes that vv.** and ^'' ** are unconnected 
sayings. The reasons are partly formal ( * ' in v.^ Yahweh speaks, cp. mn' tdk' ; 
in v.^^' the prophet, otherwise the closing formula would run : for my mouth 
hath spoken it" (Marti)), partly based on the interpretation (see below). 

18. Come^ now] the introductory (w) nai? or («3) 13P expresses 
various emotions, and is used by persons of different positions, 
as (i) by one equal to another, Gn 31** 19^^^ i S'20", 2 K 14*; 

(2) by a superior to an inferior, e.g. Jg 19^^, i S 9^*^ 14^; or 

(3) by an inferior to a superior Jg 19^^. Other instances are 
Gn 3720-87, 2 K 7*, Neh 62-7, Ps 83^, Is 23, Ca 712. The phrase 
commonly introduces a proposal for the mutual benefit of the 
parties, or, at least, for that of the party addressed. — Let us 
reprove one another] the various efforts to render nnaw show how 
difficult it is to discover an English equivalent that is at once 
etymologically justifiable and suitable to the context. The 
Niphal of na* occurs but twice elsewhere : in Gn 20^^ it means 
to be righted \ in Job 23^ (followed by DV) it means to argue with^ 
put one's case. Here the Niphal must be reciprocal. In Job 23^ 
the Niph. and in Mic t^' the Hithp. occur in connection with 
the figure of a lawsuit ; so also the Hiph. is often used of giving 
judicial decisions {e.g, 2* 1 1^^-, Job 9^2)^ or in passages where the 
figure of a law-court or of judgment is or may be present ; see 
Job 138-15 i9» 22*, Ps 518-21, pr 2^26^ Is 2921, Am 5I0, Hab i^\ 
Hence many claim that it means here let us go to law with one 
another^ carry on litigation with one another^ and tacitly, therefore, 
that "Israel is worthy of death" (Del.); whence Del. further infers 
that Yahweh "is willing to remit the punishment," and to deal 
with Israel " not in accordance with His retributive justice, but 
according to His free mercy alone." Marti and Du., starting from 
the same translation, argue that in a court of law, justice and not 
mercy must rule, and that therefore the following saying cannot 
contain an offer of free pardon, but something very different. 
Yet it is very precarious to base the interpretation of the whole 



28 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

passage on the assumption that nn313 must imply a lawsuit ; the 
Hiph. (as also the noun nnain) is frequently used where any such 
process is definitely excluded or not necessarily present — Gn 21^5, 
Ezk 326, Pr 312 97f. 1512 1925 2823, Ps 1416, Job 5^7. The occur- 
rence of nriDin and nvy in parallelism (Pr i25. 30) suggests that 
nn313 was nearly =nvvi3 {e.g. Neh 6^), and meant little more than 
advise together^ reason together (EV). Or, derived from the Hiph 
in the sense to reprove^ find fault with {e.g. Ezk 32^, Job 62^), the 
Niph. may mean to reprove one another^ to point out one another's 
faults, to discuss with one another who is right and who wrong. 
Cp. Rashi's comment, "nnD13, i.e. I and you together, that we 
may know who has wronged whom : and if it is you who have 
wronged me, I will yet give you hope of repentance." For 
the offer of free pardon in such a connection, cp. 4322-28 * — 
Saith YahweK\ the frequentative sense again : i^^ n. — Though 
your sins were] the case is put as a merely imaginary 
one (Driver, § 143: cp. e.g. Nu 22^8, Jer 222), and the argu- 
ment is : even though the people may have committed the 
most flagrant sins, they may regain the highest degree of 
innocence ; and if, hereafter, they continue obedient to Yahweh 
(v.^®), they may enjoy prosperity. The Hebrew might also 
be rendered,! If your sins are . . . they shall become (cp. Dr. 
§ 136 (^)), and, perhaps, even though your sins are like scarlet 
robes, shall they become white like snow ? and so in the next line. 
But Dr. Burney has lately argued with much force that " no clear 
case occurs throughout the OT in which a question is to be 
assumed as implied by the speaker's tone (without use of an 
interrogative particle) in the apodosis of a conditional or con- 
cessive sentence " {JThS xi. 433-35). 

Especially since the time of J. D. Michaelis, exception has been taken to 
the interpretation of v.*^ as an offer of forgiveness, and various others have 
been proposed. It is urged that such an offer of complete forgiveness is out 
of place in a summons to judgment (yet cp. hbsb'J in 43^ after v.^^), that it 
is out of accord with vv.^"^^' ^^^ ^\ that Isaiah "nowhere so complacently 
offers the people free forgiveness: ct. 22^*" (Du.). Unless nnsu (see n. 
above) necessarily implies the figure of judgment, the first objection falls to 
the ground, the second can be met by abandoning the unity of the chapter 

* Since the above note was written, C. F. Burney {JThS xi. 433-438) 
also has challenged the prevalent view that nnDU implies a legal process. 

t J. D. Mich., Koppe, Eichh., We., Box. Cp. G-K. 150a; Davidson, 
Syn. 121. 





I. i8 29 

(for doing which there are other good reasons) ; the third, if its cogency 
were admitted, by questioning the Isaianic authorship of the verse. 

Elsewhere in OT forgiveness is represented as ( i ) a removal of sin, the 
vbs. used being kj^j, tdh, p'n^n, mart; cp. Mic 7^' and the "scapegoat"; 
(2) a covering over or hiding of sin : nos and ?"1S3 (BDB, Kon. £T xxii. 
233) ; (3) a disregarding of sin : cp. "ot k*?, 43^5 ; jsn "^k, Dn 9', see also 
Is 38" ; (4) a cleansing from sins or a wiping away of sins, nno and ? nca 
(Ges-B. ; ATAT^y 601); cp. Ps Si*-", Zee 13^ The figure here employed 
would certainly be unparalleled, if it refers to forgiveness. It has been ai^ed 
that it would also be unsuitable, representing the sins, not as vanishing, but 
as changing their appearance : they remain as white sins. But the language 
is that of poetry not of science, and sins "covered over" also remain. It 
has also been urged that the saying makes no allusion to Yahweh's action 
in forgiveness, the sins of themselves just become white sins. Yet the intro- 
ductory formula may be held to suggest Yahweh's action. 

The interrogative interpretation, though grammatically questionable (see 
above), would accord with prophetic teaching (see, e.g.y We. Proleg. c. 11, 
§ I end ; ed. 4, p. 423 f. ). If the sins are really flagrant, are they to put 
on the appearance of mere trifling errors ? The whole argument of Yahweh 
in vv.^^-'* then embodies the fundamental new teaching of the prophets : 
that Yahweh is Israel's God does not make Him more lenient to Israel's 
sin (cp. Am 3^) : scarlet sins He will treat as scarlet, not as white (v.^) : 
only through obedience to Yahweh's moral demands can Yahweh's favour 
be gained (v.^') : disobedience must invoke disaster (v.^). 

Du. and Marti prefer to give the saying a sarcastic tone : though your 
sins were scarlet, of course they can easily turn white : of course you know 
how to make innocent lambs of yourselves. Then cp. Jer 2^ for a direct 
negation of what is here implicit in the sarcasm. But this gives a less 
satisfactory connection between vv.^* and ", which Marti (perhaps rightly) 
does not seek to establish. Hackm. (p, 118 n.) raises the question whether 
scarlet robes are not here symbols of pomp and majesty (cp. Rev 17*), and 
the meaning consequently. Your sins, though they may now flaunt forth in 
all the glory of colour, will lose it and become washed out. But the associa- 
tion of whiteness with innocence as contrasted with sin seems too close to 
admit of this interpretation. 

Scarlet . . . crimson\ not two colours, but one: the second 
word (cp. La 4*^) means primarily worm, the insect whence the 
colour was obtained (see EBi, Colours § 14, Crimson, Scarlet). 
The first word is pi. D^^K^, and means as in Pr 3121 (cp. sing. 
2 S 1^4, Jer 4^0) scarlet clothes : cp. D"'n3, linen clothes (G-K. 125^. 
Sin is conceived of as a blood-stained (cp. 63^-2) garment 
enwrapping the sinner: cp. the "filthy garments" of iniquity 
(Zee 33^-). — White as snow] cp. Ps 51*. Ges. recalls here the 
saying of the Arabs, that the holy stone of Mecca fell white 
from heaven but became black on account of the sins of men ; 



30 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

cp. also, for the whiteness of restored innocence, Rev yis^- 1^'-. — 
Like wool] a sheep's fleece as typical of whiteness may appear 
to us anti-climactic after snow; but not so to the Hebrews. 
Black sheep were exceptional (Gn ^o^^^') : the colour of wool 
was regularly white: hence the "beloved's" teeth are compared 
to ewes shorn and washed (Ca 4^), and the hair of the 
"Ancient of Days" is compared to wool as well as snow 
(Dan 7^): Rev i^*, however, is explicit — "as white wool." 

19. The alternative here presented — obedience and prosperity, 
or disobedience and destruction — recalls Isaiah's attitude when 
the Syro-Ephraimitish army was approaching Jerusalem (ch. 7 f.) : 
cp. also 3o9ff-i5ff.. — The good of the land] i.e. the produce of the 
land: Gn ^f^''^\—Feed] i)3N as in \J.—On husks shall ye feed] 
J^ is ambiguous and the exact meaning uncertain. If this line 
is symmetrical with the preceding, 2'\T\ should be the direct 
object of li>3Kn (Kal); then render either {i) ye shall feed on 
desolation (3in), but an abstract noun is not very probable here, 

or (2) . . . on desolations (Du. reading nb"in ; note following n), 

an idiom used of animals in 5^^, but less obviously applicable 
to men, or (3) . . . on husksy lit. the carob^ or carob-pods (3^n, 

or D^3-in • see Che. SBOT, and Husks in EBiX There is no 

certain example of this word in the text of the OT, but it is 
frequent in NH and Aramaic. Carobs were the food of swine 
(Lk 15^^) and donkeys (Levy, NHB, s.v.\ and, in time of dis- 
tress, of men: cp. Lk 15^^ and the saying in Midrash R. cited 
by Levy {NHB iL 105b), "When Israelites are reduced to the 
carob (xinni) i)K"it5^ r^^"!^), they repent." If v.^* and v. 20* are 
not perfectly symmetrical, J^ may be treated as a bold passive 
(MT) construction and rendered either (4) ye shall be devoured 
with the sword (RV), or, less probably, (5) ye shall be made to 
devour the sword (Ges-B. s.v. 73K). For the idiom the sword 
devours in the act., cp. 2 S 2^^ 18^. — For the mouth of Yahweh 
hath spoken (/V)] Perhaps a late addition : cp. 40^ 58^^ Mic 4^ 
and see Cheyne, Introd. p. 7 n. 3. If not, and vv.^^'^o belong 
together, the divine speech ends at v.^^, and vv.^^* contains the 
prophet's comment : cp. on vv.^-*. 

18. D'JB's] 4 MSS (cp. VV.) 'atrD. — iDnx'-DK] many MSS dki: possibly 
right, cp. v.^ — note the rhythm, but note also 133^' preceding. — 20. ^V?><^ ain] 
to the cstr. assumed by RV (see no. 4 above), an exact parallel is afforded 




I. 19 AND 21-26 31 

by the Arabic idiom cited by Kon. iii. 102, huriqa Utaubu ^ImismSra, the 
garment was torn with the nail. See, further, on Hebrew constructions more 
or less similar, G-K. 121c. d; Kon. iii. 3322;. 

I. 21-26 (28). — An Elegy on Jerusalem. 

In this, as in other ktnoth^ i.e. elegies {e.g. La 1-4), the echoing rhythm 
(see Introd.) is employed. Parallelism is constant, but within the distichs 
(3 : 2), not as in vv.^*^** ^^'^j between the periods of 5 accents. Of the 12 
distichs, or strictly 11 distichs and a line (^^) in the present text, 5 are 
unambiguously 3 : 2, viz. vv.2i»« t . 28c. d . 24c. d . mo. d . 2«». b^ ^nd another 
(2^ ') is 2 : 3 (makkeph ibeb"-n^ and n3D'?K-3'ni) unless by transposing the lines 
(cp. Introduction) we make this also 3 : 2. Another distich (26*- •*) is 4 : 2. 
Two distichs consist in the present text of lines that are rhythmically balanced, 
viz. ***• "^ (3 : 3) and 2"*- *» (2 : 2) : on these and on the irregularities in 2i«- «>• 
24*. b. as* seg notes below. 

Yy 21-86 divide into two equal strophes, each containing 6 distichs (in 
the present text the second contains but 5i) : the first strophe beginning 
with na'H deals with the present state of the city : the second introduced by 
pS with its future. 

Vv.'"'* contain two distichs of which the former (3 : 2) is exactly similar 
in type to those of w.*^*^ : the second (4 : 3) less so. 

21 How hath she become a harlot 1 

The (once) faithful city, 
Sion which was full of justice 

Wherein righteousness abode, but now murder«i». 

22 Thy silver hath become dross, 

Thy drink adulterated (?) with wat«r. 

23 Thy rulers are unruly, 

And associates of thieves; 
Every one loveth bribes. 

And pursueth rewards; 
They secure not the right of the orphan, 

Nor doth the widow's cause come unto them. 

2* Therefore saith the Lord 

Yahweh of Hosts the Mighty One of Israel : 

Ah 1 I will get me comfort from my adversaries, 

Avenge myself on my foes. 
25 And I will turn my hand against thee. 

• •••••* 

And I will smelt out thy dross 'in the furnace,' 

And remove all thine alloy. 



32 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



26 And I will restore thy judges as at the first, 
And thy counsellors as at the beginning ; 
Afterwards thou shalt be called City of Justice, 
Faithful City. 



27 Sion shall find redemption through justice, 

And they that turn of her through righteousness : 

28 And the destruction of rebels and sinners shall be together, 

And those that forsake Yahweh shall be consumed. 

The following considerations indicate that vv.2i-26 contain a 
complete poem distinct from what now precedes it and follows 
it: (i) it opens with the characteristic opening of independent 
elegies — na^K as in La i^ 2^ 4I, Jer 481^, cp. TtK in 2 S i^^; 

(2) it is a complete treatment of a subject which is artistically 
treated under two aspects in two symmetrical strophes (see 
above) — Jerusalem, its present state (vv. 21-23), its future (vv.24-26) • 

(3) in V.26 the subject reaches an effective close ; (4) the relation 
between rhythm and parallelism (see above), which is maintained 
almost unbroken throughout vv.21-26, scarcely appears at all in 
vv.1-20 • V.27 is similar, but in addition to the first three of the 
considerations just stated, exegesis (see below) favours the con- 
clusion that vv.27f' formed no original part of the elegy. M 

The date of the poem is uncertain. The criteria on which 
Du. and Hackm. rely for referring it to the time before or 
during the Syro-Ephraimitish war, and those which lead Che. 
and Marti to refer it to about 705 B.C., are unlike insufficient. 
Du. argues that the eschatology which arose out of the crisis 
described in chs. 7, 8 is not yet represented here ; Hackm., that 
the eschatology agrees with that of ch. 8; Che. and Marti 
consider that the parallelism in thought of vv.23^ and ^"^ connects 
the two pieces in time, and Marti sees in the misleading leaders 
(v. 23) an allusion to the party favouring the Egyptian alliance. 
If the similarity of v.23 and v.^^ is not sufficient (and it is not) 
to prove that both belong to the same piece, it proves nothing : 
the affliction of the orphan and widow was perennial, and cannot 
have attracted Isaiah's attention at one period of his life only. 
The similarity may rather have been the cause that led an editor 
— whether Isaiah or another — to place the one poem after the 
other. 



■_ 



I. 21-23 33 

21-23. First Strophe. — §ion, once the faithful city, has turned 
faithless ; once the loyal wife of Yahweh, she has wandered from 
Him and become a harlot (cp. Hos 2). By a further figure 
(v.22) and by illustrative literal charges (v.^^), the present 
unrighteousness of Sion, once the home of righteousness, is 
emphasised: the leaders of the people lead them only into 
rebellion against Yahweh ; they pervert justice, letting thieves 
go unpunished in return for a share in their gains, and through 
their love of unjust gain (cp. 5^8, Mic 3^^) they deprive the poor 
who can pay them nothing for their right (cp. vv.^^^-). 

Adopting allusively Hosea's figure of the nation, or city, as 
Yahweh's wife, Isaiah gives it an even more direct ethical 
application. Judah is here Yahweh's faithless wife because she 
has taken to be her paramours, not other gods, the Baals, but 
unrighteousness. 

21. The faithful city\ nnp is a choice synonym for "i^y, the 
ordinary word for city (cp. Nu 2i28, Ps 48^), and occurs again 
when Isaiah (29^) describes Jerusalem as "the city where David 
encamped." Of the days of David the prophet may be here 
thinking. The phrase recurs as the closing words of the poem : 
what Sion once was it will again become, when it has passed 
through the purifying judgment. — Abode\ impf. was wont to 
abide ; p to spend the night (cp. lo^*), perhaps because a man's 
place by night is his home, developed the further sense to abide ; 
cp. Job 172 19*, Ps 25^^^ — V.21, unless the rhythm is quite 
irregular, contains two words too much. Possibly the intrusive 
clause is the faithful city : if this were omitted, vP- would contain 
two good echoing distichs, each contrasting (though the arrange- 
ment of the two would be chiastic) the present and past character 
of the city. Du. omits the last clause of the v., but now murderers^ 
which in this case must be a note based on w.^*- ^^ : then the 
first clause of the v. describes the present condition (cp. vv.^*- 28^^ 
and the three remaining clauses glance back at the past con- 
dition of the city : in this case Sion (ffi : cp. vv.^^*^- J^) in v.^i^ 
has been accidentally omitted in J^ : Haupt selects for omission 
the clause that was full of justice. — 22. In two figures present 
and past are contrasted : the degeneration of the city is like 
the exchange of silver for dross, or good sound wine for a 
disagreeable drink (see phil. n.). — 23. Thy rulers are unruly^ so 
Che. brings out this (D''"niD T"'^^), the first of several paronomasias, 
VOL. I. — 3 



34 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

which occur in Isaiah's writings ; it may have been borrowed, t<^ 
gether with the figure of the harlot (v.^^), from Hosea (2. 4^^). 
The word DmiD means stubborn^ rebellious (Dt 21^^) ; it is chiefly 
used of conduct towards Yahweh, see, e.g.^ 30^ 65^, and cp. the 
figure in Hos 4^^. — 23b. Every one\ or rather the whole mass of 
them-, cp. 9^^ 15^, and see BDB 481^ (bot). The judges not 
only take bribes when offered, but go in pursuit of, follow eagerly 
after, payments: they pursue not peace (Dw, Ps 34^^), but 
payment {WZ'oh^, here only). i|j 

24-26. Second Strophe. — This opens with a different figure : 
Judah by her unrighteousness has become, not as in v.^^ the 
wandering, disloyal wife, but the enemy of Yahweh on whom 
He is about to avenge Himself. But Yahweh contemplates 
more than punishment ; He has in view refinement and purifica- 
tion ; taking up one of the figures of the first strophe (v.*^), the 
prophet asserts that Yahweh will smelt away the dross and 
bring again pure silver (v.^^); and then, corresponding to the 
literal charges of v.^, comes the promise that Yahweh will 
restore again just judges as in the first days of the city, the 
days of David, and the city will become again as of yore the 
home of righteousness (v.^^) 

24. The Lord Yahweh of Hosts'l so 3^ io1«-m 19*: but 
here perhaps the words are an addition (Du.) ; Budde and Marti 
omit instead the Mighty One of Jacob (Gn 49^*), thinking this 
less in place than Yahweh of Hosts, which might here very 
suitably suggest — Yahweh who makes war upon His people. 
^ read the phrase Mighty One of Jacob in the form mighty ones 
of Jacob after the following word ^in ; and this increases the 
suspicion that the words may not be original. — 24b. Yahweh 
will comfort himself {^V\1)^ as, e.g., Ezk 5^^, Jer 31^^) by taking 
vengeance on those unjust rulers who by their unrighteousness 
had made themselves His enemies. In the popular use of the 
phrase the enemies of Yahweh were the enemies of Israel 
(2r : cp. e.g. Jg 5^^) : with Isaiah, as with Amos (cp. Am 5^^'^^), 
Yahweh's enemies are His own people. — 25- 1 2«//// turn my hand 
against thee\ so Am i*. Zee 13^, Ps 81^^: not "I will bring my 
hand again " (RVmarg.), as though another judgment, such as 
is described in vv.^^-, had already visited Israel. — / will smelt 
away thy dross as with alkali] so J^ ; ^ perhaps differently (see 
phil. n.). If the assertion is correct that alkalies were used by 





I 



I. 23-26 AND 21, 23 35 

the ancients to accelerate the separation of the dross in the 
ore from the metal (Nowack, Arch. i. 245 ; Ges.), |^ should 
mean, I will smelt thee quickly, or clean ((5 : cp. EV) — as 
quickly, or clean, as if I used alkali in smelting silver ore. But 
this is very doubtful (cp. Dr. on Mai 3^). Elsewhere alkali is 
mentioned only as cleansing the person or clothes — see Mai 3*, 
Jer 2^2 (nnn), and, perhaps, Job 9^* (">3). Since the i8th century 
(Seeker, Lowth) many have emended "13D into 133, in the furnace ; 
and this, or IDD, as in the furnace, is probably right. — 25 f- The 
verse is important in its bearing on Isaiah's view, or ideal, of the 
Future. No individual ruler figures here : the prophet does 
not think of a king; but those who advise and give decisions 
in the State, those who mould its life, are to be men of char- 
acter: under their guidance the people will no longer, as at 
present (v. 2^), be led into revolt against Yahweh, but will again 
become faithful and righteous. The name, as in all such cases, 
denotes the actual character of the city (cp. 62*, Ezk 482^) : it 
will actually be the city of righteousness. Again, Isaiah does not 
expect the annihilation of Judah, as perhaps Amos expected 
that of Israel: the judgment will be severe: good and bad 
alike must suffer — according to the figure that is used, the whole 
city must pass through the furnace : but in the result the good 
will come forth as pure gold, the bad will be cast away as 
worthless dross. The removal of the bad is expressed figurat- 
ively (v.25^* *') ; the discovery of the good directly (v.^^). 

21. 'nttVo] G-K. 90/. — nn p^' pnjt] three accents, or (n3-pV') two. On the 



10 



IS 



impf. \h\ see Dr. § 30. — 22. 1K30] since the text in Hos 4^^ Nah i 
doubtful, this may be the only occurrence in Heb. of the noun. The vb. 
is used of hard drinking (56*^, Dt 21**, Pr 23^). In Ass. sabu means sesame- 
wine, and possibly in Heb. Kao meant specifically some strong or choice 

wine. In Arabic UU; (probably a loan word) and some derivative nouns are 
used of or with reference to wine generally. — ^ino] meaning uncertain. The 
suggestions offered are (i) that ^no, which in NH means to circumcise (cp. 
Sid), meant also, though of this there is no evidence, to cut. Then for to 
cut wine, meaning to spoil it by adulteration with water, many parallels 

are cited by Ges. (after Schultens) from Arabic, e.g. u:i,s;sj.aj-l iJ^A> 

W>5f-l^ 'j' lasi-i' y-^csN', and other languages (e.g. "scelus est jugulare 
Falemum": Martial i^'), and Marti compares the French couper du vin. 
The versions, including EV, paraphrase mixed', better, adulterated — for the 
figure has in view wine adulterated in commerce rather than simply weakened 



36 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

with water for table use. Cp. fflr ol KdirrfKol aov filayova-i rhv oXvov ^dari 
which, however, wrongly turns the figure into a direct charge. (2) Others 
(cp. J. Barth, Beitrdge z. Erkl. des Jes. p. 3 f. ) interpret the word in the 

light of NH "^mo, Ar. ^J^-*, "the dark turbid liquid pressed out of olives" 
(Nold., Che.). — D'on] probably a gloss to secure the understanding of Vinn : 
it is rhythmically superfluous. — 23. Two weighty words (subj. and pred.) 
in a against two closely connected in b : cp. Dr. LOT, p. 458. Budde to 
establish three accents in the first line adds vn. — 24. }3^] frequent in Isaiah : 
BDB 4863.-25. y^V n' nn'B'Ki] either the long line of a distich of which 
the shorter line has been lost, or a gloss ; see Marti's Comm. where several 
possibilities are discussed. The remainder of the v. is a distich 3:2. It 
is most unlikely that Du.'s harsh lines (3 : 2 and 2 : 2) are original ; he 
divides : 

(& renders the entire v. as follows : Kai iird^w rrjv x«/>a fiov irl ck koI irvpdxru) 
els KaOapSp. rods d^ a-rreidovvTas dwoX^ffu Kal dtpeXCj Trdvras dvdfMovs dvb aov : 
but we cannot safely infer that ffi's Hebrew text was fuller and contained 
the now missing half line ; for the overlined words are probably a later 
addition to (& : see Thackeray, Grammar^ p. 230. 

27/ 28. Two distichs re-open, or enforce, the theme apparently 
closed in v.2<J. In thought v.^^ is parallel to v.^^ (the survival 
of the good), V.28 to v.^s^. c (^^ destruction of the bad). 

Yet the thought is not quite the same : here the writer does 
not speak of any judgment yet to come which is to affect all 
alike (v.^s and even Am p^*): for the (true) Sion, viz. those 
in her who turn away from unrighteousness, the future has only 
deliverance (msn) : the coming destruction will affect only the 
sinners (cp. 33^- ^^•); ct. her converts^ or they that turn of her, i.e. 
converts who belong to §ion, with the terms in v.^s without the 
pronoun — sinners have no part or lot in Sion. 

Still greater is the difference if IDDK^D and nplX are used of 
man^s justice and righteousness,* as in 5^ 9^, Am ^'^ 6^2 . for then 
V.27 means §ion will be delivered because she is just and 
righteous. As another writer puts it, Yahweh will repay accord- 
ing to deserts : to Sion, deliverance, for her conduct has deserved 
it; to sinners, destruction (5 9^''-20 61^). If this be the correct 
interpretation the verses can scarcely be Isaiah's. 

In view of the parallelism of the clauses we must not with 
3E (cp. (&) take tOSK'D as meaning the Judgment (Day) as in 
Ps. i^, and npnv righteousness; the meanings should be parallel. 
* Rashi, ]^i., Ges., Che. al. 



J 






I. 23-28 37 

If Isaiah's, the thought is rather this — Sion, i.e. those in her 
who turn away from sin, will be delivered by means of Yahweh's 
refining judgment and by His judicial righteousness, which will 
distinguish the just from the unjust : cp. the thought of v.^^ 
and the use of 13BB^ and r\\n'^ in 5!^ 28^^. The hope of the 
righteous in Sion was in the fact that Yahweh must do right 
and therefore cannot destroy §ion, for in so doing He would 
carry away good and bad alike (cp. Gn 18). 

27. Shall be ransomed] ms strictly means to buy a person 
or animal off from death, etc., by means of a substitute or 
money-payment (e.g. Ex 13^^) : it is used figuratively of deliver- 
ance from trouble, danger, etc. — Hos 13^*, Ps 78*2 (see Dr. Deut 
loi). It is hardly necessary to press the figure as closely as 
Du. does — " Sion is to be ransomed, is consequently at present 
a slave or debtor. But the strange owner or creditor has not 
the right or the full right that he claims. Therefore Sion is not to 
be set at liberty by payment, but by a just judgment " : though, 
if the passage be post-exilic, it is likely enough that Du. divines 
the writer's thought. — They thai turn of her] cp. 6^0 7* lo^^. J^ 
may also mean her captivity (HJ^K'), and is so taken by (&Sb. 

28. '131 ■Q?'i] abrupt and unusual : perhaps rather n?f 1, or n3¥h. 

Vv.*'*' cannot be referred with any confidence to Isaiah : see the foregoing 
interpretation. Che. {Introd. p. 7) urges : "Of the four participial class 
names, though three have points of contact with Isaiah (see 6^*^ 7' i^* ^), none 
actually occur in the Book of Isaiah, except in prophecies which on many 
grounds cannot be Isaiah's (a. yrs '3!?, 5920; b. D'VB'Ij, 46^ 5312; c. n'»<»n, 13* 
33"; d. m.T 'aiy, 65". Add to this that ms (though found in Hos 7^3 13^^) 
does not occur elsewhere in true Isaiah, 29^ 35^", not to add 51^^, being 
late passages." Not quite conclusive, though suggestive. More suspicious 
is the sharp division of the people into two classes defined by their respective 
labels : ct. the sinfulness of the entire nation in w.^ '^^' ^^ 2^"^' 3^ 5^"'' ^' d^' **• 
8'. Certainly we find in Isaiah the germ of the subsequently permanent 
distinction between the two classes in Israel — the sinner and the righteous : 
see 8^^'^^, and cp. the distinction of silver and dross, which, however, a fiery 
smelting, i.e. a severe judgment affecting the whole people, \% first to rendet 
manifest. In vv.^'* the judgment, so it would seem, is to consume a previously 
distinguished class of sinners and to rescue those who had previously mani- 
fested their righteousness : cp. 65^^-, Mai 3"''^ (3^^-4'). 

I. 29-31. — Fragments: Condemnation of Tree Worship, 

Vv.2»'' contains two distichs of parallel lines in 4 : 4 rhythm (makkeph 
vn'-'D and ira'-'a) : there is nothing like them in the rest of the chapter. 



38 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

V.^^ contains two disticns m 3 : 2 rhythm : in the first the lines are parallel 
in sense. V.^^ resembles v.^. 

2^ For * ye ' shall be ashamed of the terebinths in which 
ye delighted, d\ 

And abashed because of the gardens that ye chose; 
80 For ye shall be as a terebinth whose leafage fades, 

And as a garden which hath no water. 




^^ And the strong one shall become tow; 
And his work a spark; 
And they shall both burn together, 
With none to quench them. 

The sinners will perish (v.^s), because Yahweh whom they 
have forsaken will not, and the gods housing in trees and beside 
springs, whom they have chosen in His stead, cannot save 
them. Cp. 220 if' 11, Jer 226-28. 

Such is the connection if vv.27-3i form a connected whole 
and do not rather consist of two fragments — vv.27f- 29-31 * jf 
the connection be real, (& may be right in reading all the verbs 
in vv.29f- in the 3rd pers. ; but see phil. n. 

Nothing in the verses indicates clearly either date or author- 
ship. They may have been written by Isaiah either before 
722 B.C. and addressed, like 9^-10*, to the Northern kingdom,! 
or after that year and addressed to Judah ; or, again, they may 
have been written in the 5th cent, and addressed to apostate Jews 
by a man like-minded with the author of 65^2 553f. (note "in3 : 
little used by Isaiah). | The practices condemned were of great 
antiquity and persisted later (Jer 2^"^ 172, Ezk 6^^, Is 57**^* 65^). 

29. J^or ye shall be ashamed] i.e. fail to receive expected 
help; see 2o5*"-, Jer 12^^ ^gis^ -^[^ ^r (|| ^-,q|-| ^s here and Job 620), 
Ps 252^' 37^^. Ve is conjecturally substituted for Ihey (J^ffi) : 
see phil. n. — Terebinths] or, more widely, sacred trees. Dv[^]t< may 
at times (cp. Hos 4^^^ refer specifically to terebinths ; so (£ in 
v. 3^, and see EBi. and DB^ s.v. ; but even more frequently the 
word is used of any large umbrageous tree, such as palms, appa- 
rently, at Elim (Ex 1 52^), which a numen 7N was popularly supposed 
to inhabit or frequent. This wider meaning is intended here, 
and ^ significantly paraphrases twi' ctSwAwv avrwi/. The venera- 

♦ Che., Du. t Du., Che. % Marti. 





I. 29-31 39 

tion of such trees was ancient, and must have prevailed in 
Canaan before the Hebrew invasion ; the Hebrews who were 
loyal to Yahweh either identified the numen with Him (cp. Gn 
13I8 iS^*^-, Jg 9^7 etc.), or like Hosea (4^^^-) and this writer, they 
recoiled entirely from the veneration of these trees — doubtless 
on account of the cults connected with them. Many trees in 
Palestine are still thought to be inhabited by spirits, and are the 
objects of vows and offerings from both Bedawin and Fellahiin : 
see S. I. Curtiss, Primitive Sem. ReL 90 ff., and the material 
collected by J. G. Frazer in Sacred Oaks and Terebinths (pp. 
iiof.), one of the Anthropological Essays presented to E. B. 
Tylor. Lagrange (ReL Skm. 173) denies that the trees themselves 
were objects of worship. — 30. These worshippers will perish 
like the objects they worship. The life of the holy tree is seen 
in its thick foliage, of the numen of a spring in its bubbling 
waters : these idolaters will shrivel up and fail like a tree whose 
leaves wither and a garden in which the fountain that made it 
luxurious flows no more. — 31. This v. might continue v.* as 
well as v.^ : rhythmically, it is similar to vv.^^t and dissimilar to 
yv.29f.^ It is capable of more than one interpretation as it stands, 
and various emendations have been proposed (see phil. n.). 
Perhaps the work of the strong means preparations for war, 
alliances, and so forth (cp. 31^^') j these works are the sparks 
which set fire to the strong who become as tow (mj;3, Jg i6*), 
ue. inflammable, and so the strong and all his works come to 
nothing — such a meaning would quite accord with Isaiah's 
standpoint : cp. 9^^". 

29. W3'] 3rd pers. ; but in the dependent relative clause and in the succeed- 
ing lines the vbs. are 2nd pers. — omnn, nann, omon, vnn. That this change 
was due to the excitement of the author at the end of his discourse (Del. ) is not 
rendered probable by Di.'s reference to 5* 22^* 31*. Three Heb. MSS and 
% read it^an — a correction rather than a survival from a continuous correct 
tradition. The real question is whether wa' is a survival of the true text in 
which the verbs were in the 3rd pers. (so (JR), or an early error for iB'nn due 
to accident, or a deliberate substitute for iran, the purpose of which was to . 
create a connection with v.*. Failing good reasons to the contrary, it is 
better to assume a single error {yoy for iB'an) than four. Marti suggests that 
the 2nd pers. arose after Dmon, meant to be DCJon, was read onn^n ; but 
dR, which has the 3rd pers. (probably substituted for the 2nd pers. of J^ to 
improve the connection), does not appear to have read D^i-npn ; if i\^oi\ovro 
really presupposes anything but Dnion, it presupposes non. — d'S'xd] the 
absence of the art. here is noticeable : ct. nuano. — rhii] agrees with rhyt 



40 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

(fem.) not with nVy (masc.) ; cp. ]W t23 oy, v.*. — 31. fon] Am 2't (d'31^n3 ^ 
of the Amorites). For jon, Lagarde proposed to read \on, and for iVys 
in the next clause "i^ya — a sun-image and its Baal. Du.'s criticism of this 
emendation has not been met. — i^;/&] possibly for ^^]^.9 ; cp. nKFi, 52''*; 
G-K. 93^ ; Kon. ii. 493. More probably Ki. interprets MT (though not |§) 
correctly when he sees in }on idol, and ^\!^ the part. — he that makes it. The 
fulfilment of the prophecy he then finds in the fact that 'nn '?3 r^v pNnnai 
D''?''?Kni D'^'oan vn onni t^xa oVt^iT. — ps'j] Att. Xe7. ; cp. fsj (Ezk i^), NH 

pw, Ar. j^lj, to shine ^ flashy sparkle, whence the sense spark is inferred — 
perhaps not quite securely. Rubens ( Crit. Remarks y p. 1 1 n. ) suggests f xyj 
(cp. 7'^ 55^*)> which as inflammable stuff would be a good parallel to my3 and 
would better account for nn* nyni in the next line. 



II.-XII. — Prophecies mainly devoted to Judah and Jerusalem. 

These chapters very much in their present form probably 
constituted a distinct book before the larger work of which 
they now are part came into existence. When they were 
incorporated in the larger work, the title which had previously 
attached to them was retained (2^), in spite of the fact that 
another was prefixed (i^) to the first chapter of the larger work 
(see Introd. § 29). The title, 2^, describes the prophecies as 
the word^ or matter^ which Isaiah the son of ^ Amos saw (in vision : 
cp. 13^) concerning Judah and Jerusalem. On the names and on 
the conceptions underlying the terminology, see i^ n. The 
scope of these chapters is fairly well described as Judah and 
Jerusalem (i^ n.), though this is not an exhaustive description, 
since g'^-io* is primarily concerned with Ephraim; but this 
title was, of course, never intended to cover chs. 13-23, which 
mainly consist of prophecies concerning foreign nations, and are 
provided with another title (13^). 

It has been argued that originally the title 2^ stood immediately 
before 2* and that 22-*, now misplaced, formed the conclusion, 
and that an admirable one, to i^^*^^ (Lagarde, Stade, Gesch. i. 
608 ; Cheyne, Marti) ; but the argument is very precarious. 

These chapters fall into groups as follows : 2-4, 5, 6-9^, 9''-ioS 
10^-12. 

1 1. -IV. — Jerusalem ideal and actual. «P 

The sections into which these chapters fall and their 
contents may be briefly described thus : — 2^ Title (see above) ; 
2^"* Jerusalem the religious centre of the entire world ; 2^*22 Tj^g 





I. 31-II. 4 41 

Day of Yahweh, which is about to bring low the land of Jacob, 
now wealthy, self- sufficient, and forgetful of Yahweh ; 3^-^'^ 
Jerusalem and Judah denounced and threatened; 3^*^-4^ 
Denunciation of the women of Jerusalem ; 42-^ The holiness 
and glory of Jerusalem after a purifying judgment. 

Jerusalem is the prominent, when it is not the exclusive, 
subject of every section, except 2'^"22. The entire section consists 
of warnings by Isaiah of judgment to come (2*^-41) enclosed 
between two poems of exilic or post-exilic writers who had an 
eye only for glory to come, and either disregarded judgment 
altogether {2^"^), or looked upon it as, in large part at least, 
accomplished (4^'®). 

II. I. — Title. — See above. 

njn njTKj (& 6 yepSfievos wpds, i.e. Vk 7\''7\ nts-K ; cp. Hos iS Jl 1*. With 
J^, cp. Am I* : in Mic i' both Vk .Tn ne'K and nm nrK occur. 

II. 2-4. — ^ion the religious Capital of the World, 

Including the two final lines, absent from the text of Is. but found in Mic 
4*, the following poem contains ten distichs of balanced (3 : 3, or 2 : 2) and 
parallel lines. V.***' • is a 2:2 distich ; the remaining distichs are 3 : 3, 
except that the now uncertain text of v.^**^ /«ay have contained irregularities, 
and v.^, if the nD« is original, contained four accents ; in v.^ Dn'nin'jm was 
probably read as two, and in v.^ ♦U"^k-ij (cp. Sievers) as one. 

I. 

2 And it shall come to pass in the end of the days 
The mountain of Yahweh a shall be 
Firmly set on the top of the mountains, 
And raised higher than the hills. 

2. 

And nations shall come streaming to it, 
3 And many peoples shall go and say : 
Come and let us go up to Yahweh's mountain, 
And to the house of the God of Jacob : 

3- 

That he may instruct us out of his ways, 

And that we may walk in his paths. 
For from §ion instruction goes forth. 

And the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem, 



42 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

* And he will judge between the nations, 
And give decisions for many peoples; 
And they will beat their swords into ploughshares, 
And their spears into pruning-knives. 

5- 

Nation against nation shall not lift up sword. 
Nor learn any more (the art of) war, 
[Mic * But they will dwell each under his vine 

And under his fig-tree, with none to terrify.] 

A strophic arrangement so naturally reveals itself that it 
reasonable to suppose that it was intended : the ten distichs 
divide into five sets of twos (Marti), each of which deals with a 
distinct point or aspect of the subject, thus : 

1. The exaltation of Sion. 

2. The advent of the Nations ; 

3. To obtain, at its source, instruction in the religion of 
Yahweh. 

4. Yahweh, the arbiter of the Nations. 

5. Under Yahweh's government (strophe 4) there will be 
universal peace and unmolested enjoyment of the fruits of the 
earth. 

Du.'s division into three strophes of six lines is much less probable. That 
the poem may be read in its completeness, the final lines from Micah are 
added in square brackets, without prejudice to the question whether they 
ever formed part of the Book of Isaiah. So in regard to the numerous 
variations between the text of the poem as given in Is. and Mic. (Hebrew 
and Greek) it is impossible to determine whether the inferior readings arose 
before, at the time of, or after incorporation in either book ; consequently 
the translation is based on what appears to be the nearest that we can get to 
the original text of the poem by a comparison of the two forms in which it 
occurs. 

The origin of the poem is obscure ; that it occurs both in the 
Book of Isaiah and in the Book of the Twelve (Mic 2'^-^) 
necessarily raises questions, and these have been very differently 
answered. 

In the earlier stages of criticism the questions asked were — Was the poem 
written by Isaiah and borrowed by Micah ? or written by Micah and borrowed 





11. 2-4 43 

by Isaiah? or borrowed by both these prophets from some now unknown 
predecessor ? It was assumed that one at least of the two prophets must have 
borrowed. We need scarcely with Du. pronounce such borrowing on the part 
of a true prophet incredible, or, if real, a theft (Jer 23^) ; still there is no 
other clear example of a prophet borrowing from another at this length, and 
this being so it would be strange that this particular poem should be cited 
independently by two prophets. But once due weight is given to the 
character of the books of prophetic literature, this assumption that either 
prophet borrowed becomes unnecessary, not to say precarious. The Book of 
Isaiah and the Book of the Twelve are alike collections made after the Exile, 
and indeed not long before the end of the 3rd cent. B.C. (Introd. §§ 8ff. 35) ; 
this poem has been preserved in both collections, just as some Psalms {e.g. 14 
= 53) have been preserved in more than one hymn-book. It is perfectly 
possible that this poem owes its double preservation not to a double process 
either of quotation or interpolation, but to the fact that at some time before 
the close of the 3rd cent, it passed under two ascriptions, — to Micah and 
Isaiah respectively, — and was therefore incorporated by two editors in their 
different compilations. It is important to observe that the poem stands 
isolated in both books ; in Isaiah it follows a title, and has therefore no 
connection with what precedes ; in Micah it follows the statement that §ion, 
Jerusalem, and the mountain of the house will be reduced to desolation. If 
the poem were really appended by Micah, it is difficult to believe that he 
would have left the strong contrast entirely unmarked ; so necessary is it to mark 
it (if the passages are really connected) that RV mistranslates n'm, but it shall 
come to pass i etc., in order to create an antithesis, though as a matter of fact 
iTiTi marks sequence not contrast. Even if Micah were quoting, he could 
have secured the contrast by simply dropping rrm and starting his quotation 
with the next word. If Micah added 4^"* to 3^'^^ the apologists for Jeremiah 
were singularly audacious in their use of 3^^ (Jer 26^^). What follows the 
poem in Isaiah has some sort of connection with it (see on v.''), so also has 
what follows in Micah ; yet in neither place is it the connection of originally 
continuous passages. Both editors, wishing to include the poem in their collec- 
tions, had to find some place for it ; but the reasons for the particular place 
given elude us just as do the reasons for the order in which Psalm follows 
Psalm, though the editor of Micah may have been guided by the principle of 
catch-word arrangement ("mountain of the house" — 3^^ 4^). Whether the 
poem owes its place in Isaiah to the final editor of the book, or to the 
compiler of chs. 2-12, is uncertain : perhaps the latter alternative is the more 
probable. 

Judged by itself, without prejudice derived from its present 
position, the poem perhaps does not betray its origin un- 
mistakably. But if the arguments that have been adduced 
be insufficient to prove that it was not written in the 8th cent. 
B.C., still more insufficient are the arguments to prove that it 
was. The spirit of the whole and some of the particular ideas, 
as hinted in the commentary that follows, leave the impression 



44 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

of a passage that was written nearer to the time of chs. 40-55 and 
Ezek. than of Isaiah. jjii 

If Zee 8^*^'*^, Jl 4^" be reminiscences and not anticipations of lines of 
the poem, a minimum date is fixed ; the poem in that case is earlier than 
520 B.C. For the theory, still preferred by Box, that the poem is the work of 
a prophet earlier than either Mic. or Is., see Koppe, Hitz., Ew., Del., Di. ; 
the similarities to Joel on which this theory partly rested now point, for what 
they are worth, to a post-exilic origin, for the theory of the early origin of 
Joel scarcely continues to be defensible. The authorship of Isaiah is still 
maintained by Du. (who connects the passage with 11^"^ 32^"''' ^''"'^ as products 
of Isaiah's old age) ; the authorship of Mic. by Ryssel, Textgeschichte des Micha^ 
218-224 (see also Ges.) ; G. A. Smith argues for the *' possibility of a date in 
the 8th or beginning of the 7th cent." {Book of the Twelve, i. 365-367). The 
later origin of the poem suggested by Stade {ZATJV, 1881, 165-167, and 
1884, 292) is accepted by We. {Klcine Proph. I39f.), Nowack {Kleine 
Propheten)^ Hackmann (126 fF. ), Cheyne {introd. 9-16), and Toy {Judaism and 
Christianity y 313). Toy, with whom Marti agrees, dates the poem about 
500 B.C., though he considers the beginning of the Greek period also possible. 

2a. b. C. d. First Strophe. — The text is in some details 
uncertain (see phil. n.). — In the end of the days] " the final 
period of the future so far as it falls within the range of the 
speaker's perspective " (Dr. Deut. p. 74) : the phrase is applied, 
for example, to Israel's settlement in Canaan (Gn 49^), to 
Israel's conquest of Edom and Moab (Nu 24^*), and, as here, 
to the Messianic age ; cp. e.g. Hos 3^ Jer 2320, and in NT He 
I*, I P 1^0, Jn 6^^ 12^8. The phrase itself is not late (cp. in 
Assyr. ina ahrat umi)\ nor is it safe to conclude with Che. 
{Introd. 11) and Marti that it is necessarily so when used in 
connection with Messianic expectations ; so soon as such 
expectations arose and needed expression, such a phrase being 
obviously suitable would naturally be employed. — YahweKs 
mountain] i.e. Mt. Sion. YahweKs mountain is the reading of 
ffi both here and in Mic. J^ in both places has the unique 
phrase mountain of YahwehUs house \ cp. mountain of the 
House^ Mic 3'^^ The temple is directly mentioned in the next 
line. — Firmly set] for the force of }133, cp. Jg 162^ and 
especially Ps 93^^- ; the word is the opposite of DID, which 
describes the tottering or shaking of that which has become 
insecure, whether mountains (Ps 46^) or kingdoms (i^. vJ). 
After all the commotions which will precede the Messianic age, 
removing the things that can be shaken (Hag 2^^-, He 1226^-), 





". 2, 3 45 

Mt. Sion and the universal kingdom of which it will be the 
centre (Ps 87) will remain immovable, unshaken, because the 
one true God, governor and judge of all nations (strophe 4), is 
there (Ps 46^). The poet breathes the same spiritual atmosphere 
as the authors of Ps 46 and 87 : cp. also Is 9®. — On the top of 
the mountains] this is but one of the possible translations of the 
phrase D^"inn 6^X13 : for this rendering, cp. e.g. Ex 24^^, Is 42^^ 
Doubtless {^Ni i>y might have been used to express this (Di.), 
but is scarcely necessary. Other possible translations are (i) as 
the chief of the mountains^ or the chief choicest mountain : for the 
1 essentiae, cp. G-K. 119/, BDB 88^; and for ^^'^ = chief cp. e.g. 
Jg 10^^, Ezk 2']^^ {choicest) ; (2) on the chief of the mountains ; Du. 
adopts this in connection with a reading of fit " and the house 
of (our) God (shall be established) on the chief of the moun- 
tains." But this is not the most probable text : see phil. n. 
The effect of it is to predict the coming exaltation directly of 
the temple and only indirectly of Mt. Sion. Whatever translation 
be correct, the entire meaning is hardly that mountain will be 
piled on mountain and Mt. Sion on the top of all, though this 
interpretation appears in Rabbinic literature : " The Holy One 
will bring Sinai and Tabor and Carmel, and build the Sanctuary 
on the top of them " (Fesi^ta R. Kahana, 144^). On the other 
hand, it is unlikely that it is merely metaphorical (Di.) ; but as 
Messianic expectation looked forward to various transformations 
in the physical world (40* 41^^^-, Ezk 47^^-, Jl 4(3)^^ Zee 14), 
so here to the elevation of Mt. Sion to such a height that it 
should overtop all mountains instead of being, as in the actual 
world, overtopped by other mountains of Palestine (Ps 68^'^*^') 
and even by the neighbouring mountains ; the Mt. of Olives, for 
example, is nearly 300 feet higher. To Ezekiel, the temple hill 
in vision appeared " very high " (40^), and the author of Zee 14^® 
expected the relative elevation of Sion to be produced by the 
depression of the surrounding country (cp. below, vv.^^ff.^^ 

2e, 3a. b. C. Second Strophe. — All nations will come 
streaming (x^nTf Jer 31^2 51^4) to this conspicuous and immov- 
able mountain — to Sion and to Yahweh, no more to Babylon 
and to Bel (Jer 51^). The expectation of such an advent of the 
nations frequently occurs in late prophecies, e.g. 60, 66^3, Jer 
3!^ Zee 820-22 14I6-W Hag 2^^-: cp. Ps 651^- etc.— But did the 
prophets of the 8th cent, attach this world-wide significance to 




46 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 




the Temple and the Temple Mount ? — God of Jacob'\ The 
phrase occurs nowhere else in either Isaiah or Micah : it is 
frequent in the Psalms {^e.g. 46^ 75^^ 76'^ 84^) : see also 2 S 23^. 

3d. e. f. g. Third Strophe. — The object of the nations in 
coming to Sion will be to learn and practise the only true 
religion — the ways^ or conduct, which Yahweh prescribes and 
approves. The nations are to feel the moral attraction of the 
Hebrew or Jewish religion. The standpoint is substantially that 
of chs. 40-55 (see, e.g.^ 42^^') with some differences in detail; in 
40-55 the missionary people are to carry the knowledge of 
Yahweh to the nations ; here, the nations are to come to §ion 
to receive it (cp. Ps 87, Zee 820-22): in 40-55 Israel is the 
Teacher ; here, Yahweh Himself (cp. Ps 94^^). But the political 
subserviency of the nations to Israel, as sometimes anticipated 
{e.g. 60^2)^ seems as little thought of here as in chs. 40-55. Du., 
however, in defending the Isaianic authorship minimises the 
meaning unduly : " perhaps," he says, " the nations will not even 
give up their own cults : they merely acknowledge that Yahweh 
is the most upright and truest God. Recognition to a certain 
extent of strange gods was something quite usual in antiquity : 
even earlier, foreigners sought Yahweh (Naaman), or Israelites 
other gods (2 K i)." But the outlook here is to something 
unusual, something fresh and remarkable. — That he may instruct 
us of his ways] of (p) = out of (the treasure of), not concerning : 
cp. Ps 94^2^ cp, Ec 7^^ — For from Sion (emphatic) . . . from 
Jerusalem] the lines are perhaps echoed in 37^2 (Meinhold, 

p. 47> 

4a. b. C. d. Fourth Strophe. — If all the nations practise the 
moral requirements of the religion of Yahweh (strophe 3), they 
will naturally refer their disputes to Him, He alone being God 
and King ; there will be no further need for the arbitrament of 
war. The writer's ideal is universal peace (strophe 5) ; ct. the 
conceptions underlying the ancient phrases " the Wars of 
Yahweh," "the day of Yahweh." The reverse of the last two 
lines occurs in Jl 4^^ : on the relation between the two passages, 
see Exp.^ Sept. 1893, pp. 214 f., 218 f. — Ploughshares] is the 
conventional rendering of DTIN, which is obviously the name 
of an agricultural implement; but precisely what, neither the 
etymology, which is obscure, nor the usage (i S \'^^^\ Jl 4^^ Mic 
4^t), suffices to determine. 




II. 2-4 47 

4 e. f. + Mic 4**•^ Filth Strophe. — The poem closed 
with a picture of world-wide peace and quiet agricultural life. 

2. It is not certain that the existing evidence preserves quite completely 
the original words of this first strophe. However we choose amongst it, 
some awkwardness remains. On the whole, Mic. seems distinctly better than 
Is. ; the rhythm in Mic. is that of the rest of the poem, and the parallelism 
is better. To make this clear both texts are given here, rhythmically 
marked : 

Is. mn'-nu in | iT.t p33 | cd'h nnnN3 1| .rm 

.niynjD hvzi \ w^nn J5'K^3 
Mic. ni.T n'3 -in n\T | wen nnnwa n'm 

.niyaao Kin HVi^ \ D'-inn vmi pn 

In Isaiah, after throwing n'm out of the rhythmical scheme, we have the 
long six-accented line with two caesuras, which is unparalleled, and scarcely 
very suitable, in this poem. The words mynjo HVi^ nnnn vmi also awaken 
suspicion, not because they would form a 2 : 2 distich (v.*^ *), but because they 
seem insufficiently independent to form a distich at all. This second objec- 
tion applies also in some degree to the second distich in Mic, unless we may 
give to n'-T a force greater than that of the mere copulative or auxiliary : 
if it could mean here, as, of course, it often does elsewhere {e.g. Gn i and BDB, 
col. 226 bot.), come into existence^ the two distichs would be sufficiently inde- 
pendent. Was there a belief that there would be a new creation of the mountain 
of Yahweh in the Messianic age ? and even if so could such a belief be expressed 
by n\T ? But the reading n'.T is not free from suspicion : for it (apparently) Mic. 
(K has ifi(f>avis, and Is. dSt has ifi<pavh for n\T p33 ; iii<j>avii might conceivably 
(cp. 65^) point to rrr (Niph. of m as used in Am 5"), if this vb. yielded a 
meaning more suitable to the strophe instead of one that anticipates the next. 
For some other features of (& see following notes, and for a view in some 
respects different see SBOT. — .t.t . . . .rni] cp. ^'^ -. also 718.21^ ^nd see 
Dr. § 121. For n'm ffi reads n'rr o, which Du. adopts.— m.T ma nn] the 
phrase occurs nowhere else ; it may be the result of a conflation of the 
readings. (K in Mic. simply has rh 6pos toO Kvpiov, i.e. n'3 is absent, while 
here (K reads rh 6pos Kvpiov Kal 6 oTkos tov deov, i.e. D'n'?K n'3i ni.T nn — the 
two readings not yet conflate (cp. v.'). — niyaJD nb'Ji] Mic. mynjD Kin kwi ; 
the length of the line in Mic. is more probably correct than in Is. On the 
other hand, Kin, if to be expressed, might rather be expected in the previous 
clause. (& Is. koL v^w^ijcrerat inr^pdvu) tCjp ^ovvdv, (& Mic. koI fieTeupiadi/ia-eTai 
{nrepdv(o tQv povvwv ; except in these two passages inrepdvu) nowhere else renders 
the simple D. Did ^ ^yo once stand here (cp. Mai i'', Gn 5')? Possibly ^ 
but the corruption of *? '?j;d into D Kin is not easy. — v'?k] Mic. v^y. — D'un-'?3] 
read D'la ; cp. Mic. ; So makes o'm of the parallel clause anti-climactic. In Mic. 
D'u stands in the next line, D'Dy here : © has here (ret) iQpt] in both clauses 
( = D'u). The same difference between the Hebrew texts occurs in v.*»* *• = 
Mic 4**' ^ — 4. D'm D'DV . . . D'un] Mic. pirn ny D'Dsy d'u . . . D'm o'oy (K 
supporting |§). Rhythm strongly favours the originality of Is. here ; the 
text of Mic. may have been influenced by Zee 2P^, 



48 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



1 

4 



5. A brief homiletic reflection which unites the poem 
that precedes with that which follows, and derives its phraseology 
in part from the one, in part from the other : — O house of Jacob 
(cp. v.^), come and let us go (cp. v.^) in the light of Yahweh : i.e. 
let us not be behind the nations as while what is next described 
continues (w.^^*), we are ; they propose to walk in Yahweh's paths : 
let us do the same, following the path lighted w^ by the law (cp. Ps 
I \(^^^y Pr 6^3). The words are apparently prose, and certainly out- 
side the rhythmic and strophic scheme of either the preceding 
or the following poem : they are probably an editorial remark. 

Mic 4^'* ( = Is 2^**) is followed by (i) the concluding formula, "for the 
mouth of Yahweh of Hosts hath spoken it" (cp. Is \^ ^o^ 58^^), and then (2) 
by a homiletic reflection fuller and more rhythmical than Is. : in Micah the 
point is — at present the nations walk each in the name of its god, but we in 
the way of our God, the true God. Mic. asserts what Is. exhorts to. What 
then is the relation between the two ? or are they the independent comments on 
the poem of two different editors ? Obviously the words O house of Jacob are to 
be explained from what follows in Is., i.e. so much of Is. is independent : thus 

the common matter is reduced to m.r nwa r\:hy\ 13^ (Is.) and 13*?' D'oyn Va ♦a 

njn oSiy^ irn^x m.T ^vi i?i unJKi mn* or 3 vh (Mic), and the actual verbal 
coincidence is limited to the overlined words ; these are derived from the 
poem, and in making a variation on the phrase used in the poem mK3 ^Vn 
mn'. Is. and Mic. differ from one another (Is. mw, Mic. Dv). If either passage is 
dependent on the other, is Mic 4' an expansion of Is 2° (Che.), or Is 2" an 
abbreviation of Mic 4° (Marti)? If, as has been urged, the editor of Is. 
abbreviated because there was merely so much space to fill up, why did he 
add O house of Jacob} The closer approximation of the na^ji ^^h of Is. as 
compared with the "i'?J ijnJNi of Mic. to the phraseology of the poem (nVyji laS 
and '3 nsVii) might seem to favour the priority of Is. But the question is 
hardly to be answered with confidence either way. 

II. 6-22. — The Day of Yahweh. 
This section, pronounced by Du. to be the worst preserved 
of the entire book, has certainly suffered very serious mutilation 
in transmission. (& preserves some better readings than |^ (see 
V.® n.), but the text had already fallen into disorder before the 
time of ffi. In the main the sense is clear in spite of the state 
of the text, but it is more difficult to determine with certainty the 
form of the poem (or poems). 

The presence of refrains (v." = v.", cp. v.* : and v.^*' = v,^=v.2i) points 
to a poem (or poems) divided into strophes. But what is the rhythm ? In 
vyia-17 (down to n3'7 ; in v. ^' omit o'NB'jm CDnn) and in v.^^ we have 15 
lines of three accents, for the most part combined into distichs of parallel 




II. 5, 6-22 49 

lines; six, or if we makkeph 3nn »)D3 in v.'* all, of the seven lines in vv."- 
and the last line of the refrain in vv.^^- ^^ are of the same length ; so also is 
the last line of v.', which at present stands isolated and without a parallel. 
On the other hand, the first part of v.* in "^ certainly is not in 3 : 3 rhythna ; 
possibly it should be read as two distichs 3 : 2, though the second of these 
is certainly corrupt and the first is rather 2 : 2, if not indeed u sin^^le line of 
three accents (Sievers). There is at least one distich 3 : 2, perhaps two, in 
the refrain as it appears in vv.^^'^^ : but as it appears in v.^" it contains at most 
one 3 : 2 distich ; even that, as the other distich certainly is, may be 2 : 2. 
Whether in any of the three places the refrain now retains its original form 
may be doubted. Clearly then the dominant rhythm throughout w.''^^ is 
3 : 3, and it is not improbable that this rhythm was originally maintained 
unbroken. Du., followed by Cheyne, has indeed postulated two fragments 
with different rhythm : (a) vv."*^^, rhythm 3 : 3 ; (^) vv.'^^"- ^^'^i, long lines 
(3 + 2, or the like). But the difference in rhythm, if it existed at all, did not 
originally, nor does it now, coincide with this division. 

Obviously v.® is not the beginning of a poem, perhaps one or 
two strophes have been lost (Du.) ; or the refrain now appearing 
in w.^^- 1^- 21 was an opening refrain, and this alone preceded v.* ; 
then w.^and ^^ are closing refrains (Marti). The matter peculiar 
to each strophe probably consisted of twelve lines, i.e. six distichs. 
Enough has been said to indicate that the form of the 
following translation is only an approximation to that of the 
original poem. 

I. 
*• Enter into the caves of the rocks, 

And [hide yourselves] in the holes of the dust; 
Away from the terror of Yahweh, 
And from His glorious majesty, 
When he arises to terrify the earth. 

• For he hath abandoned his people, 

. . . the house of Jacob, 
For his land is full of 'traders' (?) 

And ' he ' strikes bargains with (?) the children of foreigners, 
'^ And (so) his land has become full of silver and gold. 
And there is no end to his stores; 
And (so) his land has become full of horses, 
And there is no end to his chariots; 

• And so his land has become full of idols, 

To the work of his hands 'he* bows down. 
To that which his fingers have made. 
VOL. I. — 4 



50 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

(9) 1^ ' And ' the pride of man shall * sink low,' 
And the loftiness of man be ' abased ' ; 
And Yahweh alone shall be exalted, a 
[But the idols shall one and all vanish] 

2. 

^® Enter into [the caves of] the rock, 

And hide yourselves in [the holes of] the dust; 
Away from the terror of Yahweh 
And from His glorious majesty. 

^ For Yahweh of Hosts hath a day, 

Against everything that is proud and lofty, 
And against everything that is uplifted and 'high,' 



^ And against all cedars of Lebanon, a a 

And against all oaks of Bashan; 
^* And against all lofty mountains, 

And against all uplifted hills; 
^^ And against every high tower. 

And against every fortified wall; 
^^ And against all ships of Tarshish, 

And against all . . . 

^^ And the pride of man shall sink low, 
And the loftiness of man be abased: 
And Yahweh alone shall be exalted a a 
^8 But the idols shall one and all vanish. 

The subject of the poem is the Day of Yahweh {y^^)f when 
Yahweh will gloriously and terribly manifest His presence (v.^<>). 
Isaiah follows Amos in depicting this " Day," which was popularly 
expected to bring "light" and national success (Am 5^^), as a 
day of terror for Israel no less than for the rest of the world. It 
is not to be a day on which Israel's foes will for ever go under 
and Israel emerge successful, but on which Israel with the rest of 
mankind will do well to seek out holes and crannies (w.^®* ^^), if 
haply they may there cower away from Yahweh. And the reason 
for this common doom that awaits Israel as well as the rest of the 
world is Israel's abandonment of Yahweh, which has led in turn 
to His abandonment of them. Israel has grown wealthy, and has 






II. 6-22 5' 

expended its wealth on equipments for war (vJ) and on the 
manufacture of idols (v.^) and in these has placed its trust; 
thereby in Yahweh's judgment, if not in its own, showing dis- 
loyalty to Yahweh : consequently Yahweh has abandoned Israel ; 
it is no more His people, has no longer closer ties with Him than 
the rest of mankind, and must therefore share the result of the 
common overthrow of all wherein man places his pride and 
confidence on the day which will show Yahweh alone supreme, 
and all the works of man's hands, including the idols, valueless 
(yyii. 19), According to the present text of v.^ a specific offence 
of Israel has been the practice of magic ; whether this is what 
was originally intended by that line, or whether it spoke of a 
recent increase in foreign trade as the cause of the increased 
wealth that has led to abandonment of Yahweh, is discussed 
below. The first strophe dwells more fully on the present 
condition of Israel (^^'^), the two refrains and the ominous words 
of v.^* ^ indicating the coming doom. The second strophe is 
entirely devoted to a description of that doom — the day of 
Yahweh is at hand, when He will overthrow all lofty and towering 
objects and man's pride itself, all that rises above the ordinary 
level and thereby even distantly competes with the sole exaltation 
of Yahweh which the " Day " is to manifest, and consequently 
all the objects in which foolish man, not recognising Him that is 
truly High and lifted up, has vainly placed his trust. 

Whether these two strophes constituted the entire poem or 
not, the connection of the two main subjects — prevailing sin and 
inevitable judgment — is clear and characteristically prophetic; 
and each is forcibly expressed by the monotonous cast of the 
sentences : wealth, wealth, nothing but wealth and the trust in it 
(yy 6-8) ; overthrow, overthrow, nothing but overthrow of all else 
but Yahweh (w.^^-iej^ 

Since the term " House of Jacob " in v.^ is ambiguous, it 
must remain uncertain whether Isaiah is here depicting the doom 
of the Northern Kingdom (as in g''^' 1 7^-*), or of the Southern 
Kingdom, or of both together. In either case the prevalence of 
wealth and the easy confidence in the more than sufficiency of 
the military resources of the kingdom point to a very early period 
in Isaiah's career — say before the Assyrian campaign of 738 B.C., 
— as the probable if not certain date of the poem ; some, too, detect 
the "rush and abandon'* of youth in the composition, and the 




52 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

influence in vv.^^'^^ of the great earthquake that occurred in 
Isaiah's childhood (Am i^, Zee 14^). 

6. For he. hath abandoned his people\ so ^ : }^ for thou has\ 
abandoned thy people (see phil. n.). The words are obviously 
not the beginning of a poem ; nor could they be so regarded, 
even if '•D might be rendered surely^ or certainly (BDB, p. 
472^5 : cp. Nu 23*^^ n.). Nor can they give the reason for v.*; 
they cannot mean " for thou (Israel) hast abandoned thy 
nationality, or national character " * — an interpretation which 
places on DV an impossible meaning. The subject of the vb., 
whether the 3rd pers. (ffi) or the 2nd (f^), is God. What originally 
preceded v.^ can only be conjectured ; if, as in the translation 
above, the refrain of ysP- ^®- ^i, the reading of ffi is the more 
suitable.— ^<3^<?^] €r Israel', either term might refer exclusively 
to the Northern kingdom (9^^) ; but 8^* proves that " Israel " with 
Isaiah included Judah, and the same is doubtless true of Jacob 
(cp., further, 5^ 8^'' \qP- 29^2). In Mic 2,^- Jacobs House of Jacobs 
is even used when the reference is to Judah exclusively. — For his 
(i.e. Jacob's) land is full of etc.] so fflr, in harmony with the follow 
ing lines : '^for they are full of The last part of v.^ is certainly 
more or less corrupt (see phil. n.). Literally rendered, |^ reads ; 

For they are full from (or, fuller than) the East, 

(or. For they are full from of old) 

And of (or, and (they are)) soothsayers like the Philistines, 

And they strike (bargains) with (?) the children of 

foreigners. 
ffi reads : 

And their land is full as of old of soothsayings like that of 

the Philistines, 
And many alien children have been born to them. 

The first line in J^ obviously lacks an object : RV " for they 
be filled (with customs) from the East " is not a translation of ?^, 
but virtually rests on an unacknowledged and improbable con- 
jectural emendation. Many others since Lowth have conjecturally 
supplied, as an object to they are full of the word diviners : then 
the first and second lines in J§ thus emended express the same 
general thought as the first line in ffi — the land of Jacob is full 
of soothsayers. The connection between the presence of sooth^ 

* Saad., Hitz. I 




II. 6 53 

sayers and the striking of bargains with foreigners (third line in f^) 
is not obvious ; and since the meaning of the third line is by no 
means beyond question, Marti suspects a third reference in that 
line to magic or enchantment Still no such meaning can be 
extracted from the text of the third line or from any obvious 
emendation of it. But if we look at the wider context, another 
question arises, viz.. Is any reference to soothsaying or the like 
probable? Ought we not rather to find in the line(s) that precede 
a sense parallel to that of the third line ? By a conjecture dis- 
cussed in the phil. n. and more fully in ZATW^ 191 1, pp. 112 ff., 
and tentatively expressed in the above translation, this is obtained. 
Judah (or Israel) has become a busy commercial people thronged 
with foreign traders : hence flows wealth, which is expended on 
munitions of war and the manufacture of handiwork to which, 
instead of Yahweh, the people pay worship. The word DiWD, 
conjecturally substituted for D^33y and rendered ^^ traders ^^ is 
literally Canaanites (cp. Zeph i^^, Ezk i629, and? Hos 12®; Is 
238, Pr 3i24, and ? Zee 14^^) — a fact which would increase the 
suitability di foreigners in the parallel. For the association of the 
presence of foreigners with a wealth-producing commerce, cp. 
ch. 23, Ezk 27. On the increase of trade in Israel in the sixth 
century B.C., see G. A. Smith in EBi. 5174, " the Hebrew prophets 
from Amos onwards bear witness to an extraordinary increase of 
trade, and to the tempers which grow with it. . . . The old agri- 
cultural economy is disturbed ; farmers give place on their ancestral 
lands to a new class of rich men, who can only have been created 
by trade ; and the rural districts are partly depopulated (Is 5^*^, 
Mic 2^-^' ^). The sins of trade : covetousness, false weights, and 
the oppression of debtors and of the poor, are frequently castigated 
(Am 2« 4I S^ff-, Hos 12^, Is 36- ^ 523, Mic 2 and 3)."— Z//^^ the 
Philistines^ the appropriateness of the comparison in the text of 
1^ or ffi is obscure. We have no other indication that the 
Philistines were pre-eminent in divination. That the Philistines 
consulted oracles (2 K i^) and resorted to magic practices (i S 
62) merely shows that they formed no exception to the general 
habits of the ancient world. On the other hand, the Philistines 
were great traders, and Gaza was one of the great markets of the 
ancient world : cp. G. A. Smith, Hist. Geog., ch. ix. If we retain 
the Hebrew text, we may perhaps best explain — alike from East 
and West (cp. 9^1 ii^*) they borrow their magic customs. The 




54 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

particular form of magic expressed by D''33y, which is denounced 
in Dt 1 8^0, Lv 19^6, and otherwise referred to in Jg q^^^, Mic 5^1, 
Is 57^, 2 K 21^, is uncertain; it has been variously explained 
from py, a cloud, hence rain-producers, from |^y, the eye, hence 
persons who exercise the power of the evil-eye, a power widely 
believed in and dreaded down to the present day in Palestine ; 
from the Arabic gunnat, a twang, the hum of insects, hence 
diviners as the interpreters of such sounds, or as delivering their 
instruction with such sounds, or " singing " * their spells ; and 
from the Arabic 'anna, to appear, hence dealers in phenomena 
(see references in BDB, j.z;.). — He strikes bargains with foreigners^ 
f^ they, etc. : the sing, in reference to Jacob, the personified 
people, should probably be restored in agreement with the 
following clauses. On the degree of uncertainty attaching to the 
verb, see phil. n. : the rendering adopted seems at least more 
probable than the alternative they abound with (©, AVmarg.). — 7. 
Whether the previous v. had led up to it or not, we have here 
clearly enough a description and tacit condemnation of the 
multiplication of material resources {gold, silver, and stores) and 
equipment of war {horses, chariots) which had been the result of 
the long and successful reign of Jeroboam 11. in the N. and of 
Uzziah in the S. Isaiah in common with other prophetic writers 
condemns these things because they blind men to worthy and 
spiritual ideals, which are summed up for him in Yahweh the 
Holy One of Israel: cp. 3015-17 31I-3, Mic 510, Hos 2>^\ Zee 46 
9!^ Dt 1716^- (cp. 20I-4), ps 208.— 8. Idols] the word h'h^^ also 
occurs in w.^^- 20 loiof- 191- » 3i7 Ezk 30I3, Hab 2^8, Ps 96^ 
(= I Ch i626) 97^, Lv 19* 26^. It often conveys an unmistakable 
suggestion of contempt. The meaning of the word as used by 
the prophets is sufficiently indicated by the expressions Wkh ^y"i, 
worthless shepherds (Zee ii^^), and h'h^ "'65S1, good-for-nothing 
physicians (Job 13*). It is possible that it was originally a 
respectable word for gods,t just as D^1D3 must have been for 
priests, and that it was the irony of the prophets that associated 
it with the adjective ^'h^, worthless (cp. Syr. ^^jJl|), or perchance 
the negative h\^, perhaps, too, with a play on fjK, strong] so here, 

* Cp. Incantatio, carmen, iiraoiS-^, and see references and illustrations in 
J. B. Jevons's Essay, " Graeco-Italian Magic," in Anthropology and the Classics 
(ed. R. R. Marett), pp. 94flf., 99 f. 

t See BDB. 



E 



n. 7-^5 55 

his land is full, not of strong ones, but of noughts or good-for- 
nothings. — The work of his hands . . . that which his fingers 
have made] cp. 17®, Hos 13^. — 9. The v. omitted in the transla- 
tion above is parallel in sense to v.^^; the last clause seems 
corrupt; the first two clauses re-appear in 5^*, whence perhaps 
they were transferred to the present passage, in the first instance 
as a marginal parallel : see, further, phil. n. — 10. Variants of the 
refrain occur in vv.^^ and ^i for which see phil. n. ; on the original 
position of the refrain, see above, p. 49. — When Yahweh marches 
forth on His day, the earth quakes (Jg 5*), or He comes in the 
thunder-storm. If from human enemies men run for safety to 
the caves (i S 13^), how much more before this foe! cp. Hos 
108. — From before the terror of Yahweh^ and from his glorious 
majesty] cp. the expressions of Assyrian conquerors, pul-ha-at 
bilii-ti-ia na-mur-rat kakki-ia iz-zu-ti ip-la-hu-ma^ "of the terror 
of my lordship, the panic of my mighty weapons they were afraid " 
(Shalmaneser, Monolith, ii. 79 = ^^ i. 171); "Him, Hezekiah, 
terror of the glory of my lordship (pul-hi mf-lamm{ bilfi-ti-ia) 
overwhelmed" (Sennacherib, Taylor Cylinder, iiL 2^ = KB ii. 

95)- 

12-17. V.^2 states the general theme of the strophe : Yahweh 

on His Day will lay low every lofty object, that His own unique 
exaltation may appear (v.^^) ; then in detail the prophet pictures 
the overwhelming and irresistible might of Yahweh, affecting first 
Lebanon (lo^* 148 etc.) and Bashan (33^ n.), laying low the great 
and strong trees that cover them iy?^) and the hills themselves 
(v.i*), and then the creations of man's pride and confidence — 
on land, his citadels and walled cities (v.^^), and on sea, his 
ships (v.i^). The line of movement is from the N.E. (Lebanon 
N., Bashan E.) : does the prophet think of the Assyrians as 
Yahweh's warriors (cp. 10*)? — 15 f. In these verses Isaiah may 
have specially in mind, though not exclusively, the towers and 
fortifications which Uzziah built and the new sea trade which 
resulted from Uzziah's capture of Elath on the Red Sea (2 K 
1422). "Moreover Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem over the 
corner gate, and over the valley gate, and over the angle (of the 
wall), and fortified them," and Jotham " built much on the wall 
of Ophel" (2 Ch 26^ 27^; cp. G. A. Smith, Jerusalem^ ii. 119 f., 
125). — 15. Fortified] miVD means cut off, inaccessible, and %o forti- 
fied, impregnable (cp. Jer 15^^) : cp. " thy high and fortified walls 



56 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

wherein thou trustest"(Dt 28^2) — j^^ Ships of TarshisK\ ships 
fit to make the longest voyages, large ships, consequently ships 
with lofty masts. The meaning is obvious from the context here 
and in some of the other passages where the phrase occurs (23^* ^^ 
6o9, Ezk 2725, Ps 48^, 2 Ch 921). ffi either transliterates the 
proper name (60^), or renders by TrXota Kapx^Sovos (23^* 1*), or, as 
perhaps here, by ttAoiov OaXda-a-r]^ (but see £Bi. 4897 n. i); see 
also Ezk 27^5. The best identification of Tarshish still seems 
to be Tartessus (23^ n.) in Spain — at the remote corner of the 
ancient world. — And against all ... ^ the phrase (monn nVSK') 
might perhaps (see phil. n.) mean desirable or costly imagery^ but 
this does not suit the context, which requires that the phrase 
should describe some lofty object; moreover, the analogy of 
vv.13-16 suggests that the phrase should describe something closely 
resembling, or intimately connected with, large ships. None of 
the various suggested renderings of the phrase, as in |^ or 
emended, satisfy both these requirements (see phil. n.). — 17. Cp. 
v.^*. — 18. But the idols will one and all vanish forms an excellent 
antithetical parallel to the third line of v.^^ Yahweh alone will 
be exalted', cp. Ps 102^^ heaven and earth vanish (P|7nashere: 
also Job 9^6), Yahweh abides. 

19. Cp. v.i^, and see phil. n. — When he arises to terrify the 
eartK\ pKH py?, ut terreat terram. — Enter into the caves\ so v.^^ 
®r ; ^ and they shall enter^ which would mean that the idols will 
enter into the caves. — 20. An annotation in prose, or, at least, not 
in the dominant rhythm of the poem. It explains how the idols 
will get into the caves (v.^^ f^). Men perceiving the uselessness 
of the idols will throw them away (cp. 30^2 317) to animals that 
house in the darkness of caves and holes. — Moles^^ or rats. 
The noun mDiDn means literally a much-digging (animal). AV, 
RV rightly, though without acknowledgment, abandon the 
unintelligible MT (m2 isni)) and follow U talpes.— Bats'] "The 
majority of the bats of Palestine (and they are very numerous) 
inhabit caves, caverns, tombs, ruins, and disused buildings " 
{EBi.). With the standpoint of this annotator, cp. Bar 6'^^^-, 
" They are as one of the beams of the temple ; and men say 
their hearts are eaten out, when things creeping out of the earth 
devour both them and their raiment . . . upon their bodies and 
heads alight bats, swallows, and birds ; and in like manner the 
cats also. Whereby ye may know that they are no gods." — 





II. l6-22 57 

21. Either a corrupt variant of vv.^^ and ^^ (Du.), or the annotator 
(v.20) has slightly modified the refrain to convey his meaning — 
men will cast away the idols so that they, the idols, may find 
themselves clefts and crannies (Marti). — 22. A still later annota- 
tion,* for, unlike v.^o (21), it is later than ffi, from which the v. is 
absent. It is an obvious reflection on the chapter — cease to 
place confidence in man (cp. Jer ly^ Ps 1468^-), who is of no 
account ; but it is the reflection of some reader possessed of 
a roll of the prophet rather than (as Di. suggests) of Isaiah 
himself when he put ch. 2 and ch. 3 together. — In whose nostril is 
a breathy Cp. Gn 2^ 7^, Job 27^. The breath being given by 
God, man lives ; but being withdrawn, he dies (nil, Ps 104^^). 

The history of the interpretation of the v. is interesting and explains 
the rendering of the H, and consequently of some English versions. Jews, 
correctly understanding the clause at what is he accounted to mean that he 
is of no worth, referred the passage to Christ. Jerome met this not by 
denying the reference to Christ, but by placing on the words atrm noa '3 an 
impossible meaning. He points out, correctly, of course, that nD3 may be 
pronounced bamma at what, or bamah, which he interprets excelsus (it is, of 
course, the (heathen) high place). He renders the whole verse, "Quiescite 
ergo ab homine, cuius spiritus in naribus eius : quia excelsus reputatus est 
ipse," and comments, "Quisquam ne hominum ita quempiam laudet ut dicat : 
cavete ne offendatis eum, qui omnino nihili est? Ergo e contrario sic 
intellegendum : Cum haec universa ventura sint vobis, et prophetali spiritu 
praedicantur, moneo atque praecipio, ut quiescatis ab eo qui secundum 
camem quidem homo est, et habet animam, et ita spirat, et naribus halitum 
trahit ut nos homines spiramus et vivimus : sed secundum divinam majestatem 
excelsus et est et reputatur et creditur. Tacita mecum mente pertractans, non 
possum invenire rationem quare LXX tam perspicuam de Christo prophetiam 
in Graecum noluerint vertere. Caeteri enim, qui verterunt quidem, sed 
sermonem ambiguum ad impietatis traxere sensum, non mirum cur male 
interpretati sint, nee voluerint de Christo gloriosum quid dicere in quern 
non credebant : videlicet Judaei aut Semijudaei, id est, Ebionitae." 

6. "PV nne'ttj] For the form nnroj, see G-K. 44^. (& (IL) reads 6.vriKev 
yip rhv \a.hv airov. It is disputed whether this represents a real Hebrew 
variant icy vnni (so Mar. ; cp. Du.) or not (Che. SBOT). (ffir fits the 
context better, for nowhere else throughout the entire passage is Yahweh 
addressed, except in a probably corrupt clause (v.*). On the other hand, it 
is difficult to account for the derivation of |^ from (Ir's reading. If the 
stichos be editorial (Che.), ^ may be right ; but if part of the poem, (& is to be 
preferred. If the text were substantially correct a suggestion of W. R. 
Smith in a letter to Che. {SBOT) would deserve attention; this is, that n 
(lost by haplography after rnn') should be prefixed to '3, so as to give a 

* So Che. (following Studer : see SBOT), Du., Marti, Cond. 



58 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

sentence of the form of Mic 4'' and of the same tenour as Ezk 8^^, Jer 2*, 2 K i*. 
— :ip]}'''\ (& 'la-pa-^X. — 1n'?d] (S iveirkijadr), i.e. n'?D or rather hnSd, since (K 
read iJjnN after Dipo. — DipD] (& ws rb aw' dpxrjs (cp. U2r<S) perhaps freely for 
|§, or reading DnpD3 ; after dpxv^, (Sc continues i) X'^P^ airruv (^ p3j;nN)=i2i"iJ< 
(cp. V.'), and then for D'Jjyi has KKTjdovia-fiQv, i.e. D'JJJ? without the waw. 
Apparently, then, ffi's Hebrew text read D'33y "udk DipD2 nN^D »a ; this is 
probably nearer at least to the original text than |§ MT, which arose from 
the accidental loss of {'nx in D'iiyisnx and the subsequent change of hnVd 
into IN^D. If CEr read mpD3, the 3 also dropped out. But <& even is 
scarcely the original text. Possibly mpD3 is a corrupt dittograph of hn^ds. 
This would leave a better sentence than |^, but substantially the same sense : 
their land is full of enchanters like the Philistines. If the allusion to 
enchanters is rightly suspected (see comm.), we may conjecture that D'^ay is an 
error for D':y33, traffickers ; by also omitting D'nty^SD we should obtain, finally, 
a line not only parallel to the probable sense of, but rhythmically equal to, 
ip'SB>» 0^33 *nVui. That the clauses D'nB''?S3 D'jjyi mpo ikVd o are in some 
measure corrupt is generally admitted ; the emendation most usually adopted, 
since the time of Lowth, has been the insertion of DopD or 'Dop or D'DDp before 
mpD, or the substitution of one of these words for onpo ; but there are serious 
objections to this widely accepted emendation: (i) in'7D with a personjil 
subject and a personal object is improbable ; (2) the emendation fails to 
explain (K, and falls to the ground if fir's text, which contains an object tor 
"ikVd, be correct ; (3) wvmh^z D'33in is left awkwardly limping, if a second 
object of in'?d, and inelegant, though abstractly possible (Dr. § 135 (6)), if it 
be a new predicate ; (4) DTity^SD . . . ikSd '3 is too long for one line, somewhat 
too short for two, and if two lines, the following line is left isolated. — D'jajn] 
if the text be correct (but see last n. ), D'Jay is Poel part, without the performa- 
tive D, as in Jer 27* ; G-K. 52^. — ip'sr* Dn33 n'?'3i] w-oi nS', if the text is 
correct, must be a unique variant of 133 'J3 or Dn33 ; it scarcely means 
young foreigners {T)!.). Hitz. proposed *n'? for n^-3. Thevb. pats", to suffice, 
occurs once in the ICal in a North Palestinian source (i K 20^"), and the noun 
pHJC, sufficiency y in Job 20^ j the vb. also occurs in the late Heb. of Ecclus. 
(3933 (Kal), 39^* 42" (Hiph.)), and pBD is common in Aramaic. The use by 
Isaiah of a vb. with such a history is not very probable, though it was natural 
for (& to assume its use. It is safer to suppose that pssr here = pSD (G-K. 
6k) ; this (with D'S3) means to strike hands (in anger, Nu 24^", or mockery, 

La 2^*, Job 27^) ; cp. /jji-j, and the citation by Lane {Arab. Diet. 1373) 

of the tradition ** ^yu!i\ ^ xIAmJI means the striking of hands of the 

contracting parties on the occasion of selling and buying in token of ratifica- 
tion thereof in the markets. ^^ Unless we adopt Hitz.'s emendation we 
must suppose that pi5r(r») is here a breviloquence for D'S3 pSB'(n), cp. ypn, 

Pr 11^'*= 13 ypn, Pr 17^^ 22^, and the alternative expressions iJu /ii-tfj 
i Jo . ^ ip^y ^^^ (S^*^ (Lane, p. 17CX)), meaning to strike hands in 
concluding a bargain: cp. also djii*^, (i) a striking of the hands, (2) 
a contract, — The most suspicious thing in the present text is the prep. 3 : we 




■ 



II. 6-i8 59 

should rather expect h or Dy.— 7. h r\)ip pni] Nah 2".— 8. D'S'^k wtk kSdhi] 
very probably a parallel line has fallen out : Du. suggests vnaity^ n:tp pKi. — 
nnnr'] read ninnt?% note vt : otherwise explain by G-K. 145m. — 9. oriH ne"i 
□nV Hvn ^Ki r'K "^B^'i] a«^ j<7 mankind is bowed down and man humbled: 
the consequences of v.^ though actually appertaining to the future, are 
described as though they had already ensued (Dr. 7>«j« ', p. 94) : and {there- 
fore) do thou (Yahweh) not forgive them^ a poetical way of expressing — and 
therefore shall they not be forgiven (Dr. § 57). So with some ingenuity, but 
without probability, ^ may be explained. It is difficult to believe that 
yy 9. ii». b are anything but corrupt variants of the refrain which occurs in 
nearly its original form in vv."* ^^. Yet another variant probably occurs in 
5^' : there the first four words are as here, but instead of the almost certainly 
corrupt on*? Kirn Vki, 5^" has r\htx;T\ D'n33 'ryi. For KB'n, ffi has dj'ij(rw = 
KBfK. — 10. The refrain occurs with variants in v.^' : it is improbable that the 
rhythmical dissimilarity of the two occurrences of the refrain is original ; since 
the rhythm was probably 3 : 3, restore nnyo (or rnpa, cp. v.^i) and ni'?nD as 
in v.". Moreover, read ik3 (ffi : cp. v.^*) for ku and "UDon for pen : in v.^^ 
supply from here udb.t before ni'?nD. At the end of the v. (K read pyS iDipa 
pK as in vv.^*' 2^ |^. — IJIKJ nnno] for similar combinations of synonyms, 
cp. Ps 145'- ^' : J. Kennedy proposes uikj m-inp (cp. i S 14^°) : unnecessary ; 
see Che. SBOT.—ii, '*?sv mnaj 'ry] G-K. 146a: but the text is probably 
corrupt. See on v.*. — Kinn dv3] rhythmically redundant and probably an 
editorial addition ; but the refrain should be completed as in "'• by restoring 
here iflSn' S'^a O'V'Vk.ti. — 12. hsm] (& kuI /xerioipop Kal raireiPud'^ovTcUf of 
which the first two words = ?ii9i or a word of a similar sense. The parallel 
suggests that this was right ; xal rair. rendered Van after it had come into 
the text. — 13. D'Krjfn D'cnn] Sta., Marti omit: the words are rhythmically 
redundant and they weaken the sense, for cedars of Lebanon being the tallest 
of their kind need no epithet (cp. ** ships of Tarshish" without epithet). 

x6. monrr nvar] mon means that which is desirable, or, by a slight and 
easy transference of meaning, precious, costly (see 2 Ch 36^'* "all the costly 
furniture " of the temple ; cp. Hag 2'). But the art. is suspicious : ct. '^3 
mon regularly : possibly monn as well as nrar is corrupt. The idea of 
desirableness or costliness does not elsewhere in this strophe interrupt the 
monotonous expression of the idea of loftiness. t\V2V together with nioro, 
the only other derivative of the root found in OT (see Nu 33'^i n.), is 
explained by the Aram. K3D, to look out, look for, expect. Meanings that 
have been su^ested are imagery (EV : cp. noB'D in Nu. ; and (& here koI ivl 
iracrav diav ir\oi(av KciWovs), watch towers (? & i^OJ, Ew., RVmsirg.), ^ags 
(of ships as being conspicuous ; Ges. Thes. ). Other renderings presumably 
based on the text, but either questionable, or paraphrastic, are palaces (^), H 
^uod visu pulchrum est (for both words). The most interesting emendation 
suggested in m3'BB'=n3'SD (Jon i''), ships (Siegfried-Stade) ; while Bennett 
(see BDB, s.v.) and others have suggested that rwyo itself may have been 
a term for a particular kind of ship: cp. Che. in SBOT, who ultimately 
prefers to read monn niKOD ; both emendations half, but only half, meet the 
case (see comm. above). — 18. '^xv S'hz D'S^SK.ni] exactly equal rhythmically 
to the first two lines of v.^'^ and also to the last line, if we omit KVin era as 



60 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 






editorial. Restore iKa I3^n' (Marti) ; this gives at once the pi. vb. required 
after D''?''?Nn (cp. CBr KaTaKp6\pov<nv) and the imper. at the beginning of 
v.^^ corresponding to v.^". '?''?3 is ace. (cp. G-K. Ii8, 5) in entirety, all 

together, one and all ; cp. \xJ-^s>- />wljO^ as a variant on /juwlJo^ %.^j<a>^- 
( Wright, Ar. Gram. ii. 82^), and, e.g., lx^/«.5»- St^^' ^^ forth all together 

(Kor. 4, 73), lx>^5»- L-xi ^^j^Ss ^J^ i<-^*^' ^'^^^^ *^^y ^^^^^ ^^^ 
have entered therein [ib. 6, 36). — 20. itJ'J?] subj., ace. to Hitz., Di., is they, viz. 
the craftsmen : improbable. Either VT has dropped out (cp. 31'), or the vb. 
was sing. — rway, scarcely IB'V (Lag., Du.) with retention of the original 3rd 
radical (cp. G-K. TSb). (& also has no equivalent for i*?. — nns nsn*?] the 
correct Massoretic text, though a few Hebrew MSS have gone back to the 
original reading of ^ nnsisn?. fflr (rots /naraiois) clearly read one word 
only : so Thcod. 0a/)^a/9c«;^. For meanings that have been suggested for the 
impossible nns nan*?, see Ges., Di. ; for the nominal form msisn, G-K. 84^. — 
22. JO 1*?^] So with different nuances, Ex 14^^ i S 9^ Pr 23*, Job 7^*, 2 Ch 
35^^ — asyna] with gerundive force, G-K. 116^.— noa] upretii-. G-K. 119/. 



III. I-15. 

This section has been commonly regarded as a single con- 
tinuous whole. More probably, as Du. has suggested, it consists 
of two poems, (i) vv.^"^^^ (2) w.^^'^*^; the first has been enlarged 
by the incorporation of notes and parallels, the second perhaps 
lacks its conclusion. 

The reasons for supposing that there are two poems here 
are briefly these : (1) v.^^ constitutes an obviously suitable 
commencement of a poem ; (2) the attitude towards the rulers in 
vv.^'^ and v.^* is different ; the point of the former verses is that 
the rulers are to be removed, and that their removal will cause 
the fall of the state, the point of the latter that the conduct of 
the rulers has brought Yahweh to judgment; (3) a marked 
difference of rhythm and structure. 

In vv.^"^* a consistent rhythm is very clearly maintained (3 : 3) and in 
three out of the four couplets the lines are parallel in sense ; in vv.^"^^ 
no single rhythm is maintained throughout in the present text, but the 
dominant rhythm is 3 : 2 ; see v.^ (to njyu'Di, two distichs), v.** (two distichs), 
v.* (to Ssj) ; v.* is ambiguous — 3 : 2 (MT) or 3 : 3. Another good 3 : 2 
distich may be obtained by transposing '• and reading \"ii^ 'JD'B'n'KV 
vfin r\''r\^-vh \ Dy. The interruption of the 3 : 2 rhythm may be partly, or 
entirely, due to textual corruption and interpolation ; but whether this 
be so or not, there is certainly but little of the rhythm and parallelistic 



i^ 



II. 20-22 AND III. T-15 61 

structure of w.^" invv.*'"; it appears only in v.'^ and possibly also v.* ; 
yy 10. n clivide into periods of three accents, but the periods of parallelism 
are 6 : 6. Thus, judged by rhythm alone, v.^- might go with vv.'^"*°; 
but if 1"^' is not continuous, the new start in vJ^ obviously marks the main 
division. 



III. 1-12. — A Prophecy of Anarchy in Judah. 

Rhythm. — Irregular, but in vv.^"® the distichs shown in the translation are 
mostly 3 : 2, in ***"" they are 6 : 6. See more fully just above. 

1 For behold the Lord 
Yahweh of Hosts 
Is removing from Jerusalem and Judah 
Staff and stay. 

^ The whole staff of bread and the whole staff of water. The mighty man 
and the warrior, the judge and the prophet and the diviner and the 
elder ; * the captain of fifty and the man of repute and the counsellor 
and the skilled in magic arts and the expert in charms. 

* And I will give youths to be their captains, 

And caprice shall rule over them ; 

* And the people shall tyrannise man over man, 

Yea, each one over his neighbour; 
The youth shall act rudely towards the old man, 
And the lightly esteemed towards the highly respected. 

* When a man shall lay hold on his fellow, 

In whose father's house is a mantle (saying,) 
Come, thou shalt bei our ruler. 

And this ruin shall be under thine hand, 
7 He shall make utterance in that day, saying, 
I will not be a binder up, 
For in my father's house there is no bread, 

And there is no mantle; 
Ye shall not make me ruler of the people; 

* For Jerusalem hath stumbled. 

And Judah hath fallen; 
For their tongue and their deeds are against Yahweh, 

(?) Provoking the eyes (?) of His glory. 
Their partiality hath witnessed against them. 

And they have given evidence of their sin like Sodom 
^ without concealing ought. 




62 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

Woe to themselves, for they have done themselves harm. 

10 ' Happy is ' the righteous, for he is fortunate : for they 

eat the fruit of their doings. 

11 Woe to the unrighteous : he is unfortunate : for the 

dealing of his hands is done unto him. 

12 The taskmasters of my people deal cruelly, 

And exactors of usury rule them. 
O my people, thy guides mislead. 
And confound the way of thy paths. 

The main theme of the foregoing verses is as follows : 
Yahweh is on the point of removing from Judah all those who 
give stability to the state by the discharge of civil or military 
duties, or by advice. All effective administration will then come 
to an end, violence will pervail, age and character will no longer 
command respect, and, even if appealed to, men of standing and 
substance will refuse to act as leaders. This imminent and cer- 
tain collapse of the state (vv.i^'^) is Yahweh's judgment on His 
people for evil ways and unblushing sins (vv.^*). 

As a matter of fact this theme is exhausted in w. *"•*», and indeed is 
sufficiently presented in the rhythmically similar distichs (3 : 2) within 
vv.^'*. Vv.*' **"^2 may be sayings that had at one time another setting. 
The last clauses of v.^ have been generally, and rightly, regarded as 
a gloss (see below): and some (cp. Che. Introd. 17) consider that the 
catalogue in vv.***, which seems to be in prose, has been interpolated or at 
least expanded. 

For all that is known the main theme of vv.i*^ might have 
been handled at many periods of Isaiah's life. The argumient 
drawn from vv.*- 1^ that these verses were written in anticipation, 
or at the beginning, of the reign of Ahaz, is very precarious (see 
comm.); and not much less so Hackmann's argument (p. 122) 
that the wickedness of which Isaiah speaks must have been 
long observed by him and in vain denounced, to account for his 
certainty of ruin. 

I. For\ the ^3 links 3I-15 to 26^- (Marti), or 222 (DL), but is 
perhaps editorial, and was possibly absent from the text of ffi 
(see phil. n.). — The Lord Yahweh of Hosts] i^* n.^Jerusalem 
and JudaK\ cp. ii n. — Staff and stay] all means of support 
whatsoever, all "pillars of the state" (cp. 191^, Jg 20^, i S 14^^ 
Zee 10*): EV by its alliteration happily secui^ some similarity 




in. 1-3 63 

to the original (see phil. n.). — "Staff and stay" appears to 
receive two explications : first, in the clause every staff of bread 
and every staff of water^ it is interpreted of what supports 
physical life ; the removal or breaking of such a staff means 
famine, see Lv 2626, Ezk 4^^ 5^^ 14^3 (where staff vs, ntOD, not ^ma). 
Since there is no further suggestion of famine (except, at most 
subsidiarily, in v.'), but the entire prophecy turns on the removal 
of the staff 2iS next explained, this clause is generally considered 
to be a gloss supplied by a reader who was familiar with Ezekiel, 
and who saw in the present passage a prophecy of the famine that 
accompanied the Fall of Jerusalem in 586.'* — 2. 3. An enumera- 
tion of typical pillars of state, — military, judicial, religious ; vv>^- 
the social disorder and confusion which follows when every such 
staff and stay (v.^) is removed. The pillars of state are enumer- 
ated mostly in pairs, but in a curious order, or lack of order ; v.^ 
contains a second and similar series rather than a continuation of 
the series begun in v.^, yet scarcely of less important though 
similar officials (Di.), for the classes mentioned second and third in 
v.^ are certainly important Further, the enumeration is of persons 
whom the prophet's audience accounted sources of strength: 
" diviners " and " charmers " could never have appeared such to 
Isaiah himself, and indeed his fundamental thought here as in ch. 2 
is that Yahweh alone is the true strength of Judah j in alienating 
Him and thus losing His support, the people work their own fall 
and ruin (v.^). — The mighty man and the man of war'] cp. Ezk 
3920 where the prefixing of " all " to the second term (nonfe \i^Vi) 
suggests that the first (lUi) denotes the soldier under some 
aspect ot superiority, whether the veteran or soldier in command 
(Di.), or the soldier by profession, Berufsoldat (Ges-B.), a 
member of the bodyguard as distinguished from the man who 
simply takes to arms in time of war (cp. 2 S 23^, Jer 5^^). In 
view of such passages as i S 16^^ 17^^, 2 S 17^, the distinction, 
if it ever existed apart from the suggestion of the context, was 
scarcely well-marked. — The diviner] the term DDp denotes a 
person who obtained information by divination, as, for example, 
by drawing lots with arrows (Ezk 21 26^- (21^-))^ the practice is 
directly or tacitly condemned whenever it is referred to in OT 
(cp. e.g. Dt iS^o^-). See fuller notes in Numbers^ 329, 355. — 3, 
Captain of fifty] may be intended to refer typically to petty 
*So, or substantially so, Ges., Hitz., Di., Che., Du., Cond., Marti. 




64 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

military officers : or possibly f^ should be differently punctu- 
ated and the term rendered " captain of the armed men " (see 
phil. n.). — The man of repute] lit. he whose face is lifted up (xi{}': 
D'^JQ), the person whose reputation rests on actual achievement 
rather than on mere occupation of office ; cp. 2 K 5^ Naaman 
not only held high office, but enjoyed a high repute because of 
his victories over Israel; the phrase also occurs in 9^*, Job 22^ 
(II jmt B^''K). — The counsellor] an important person — see i^e 95 
19^1, Mic 4®, Job 3^* 12^'^. — The skilled in magic arts] so with 
RVmarg. rather than the cunning artificer or craftsman^ 
see phil. n. — The expert in charms] or, more literally, he that 
has understanding of whispering charms ; the adjectives (D3n, 
J133) used in the two parallel clauses are frequently combined 
(Gn 4188.39 Dt lis 48, I K 3^2). The noun ^rh, starting from the 
sense of whisperings found in the vb. in 2 S 12^^, Ps 41', and 
in Aram, and Eth., came to be used specifically of the speech of 
the serpent-charmer (Ec lo^^ cp. Ps 58®), and then, as apparently 
here, more widely of charms or spells (cp. 320). 

4. And I will make youths their captains] the sudden intro- 
duction between w.^"8 and w.^*^* of Yahweh speaking in the first 
person is strange : the v. is possibly not in its original position 
(see above). — Captain] "IK^ as in v. 2. — And caprice shall rule 
them] abstract for concrete — capricious persons. The kind of 
conduct intended by D^i^li^yn is illustrated less by the only other 
occurrence of the noun (66*) than by some uses of the vb. 
(i'i?ynn), which means to treat some one (maliciously) y^r one's own 
pleasure, with the result that they are made to look ridiculous, or 
lose character (Nu 2 2^9, Ex 10*, i S 6*, Jg 19^). The noun seems 
to denote here the habit of mind that leads to action guided 
by no sound or grave reason. — If this v. stands in its original 
position, it repeats the thought of vv.^' 8 under another form. 
" In removing the elders he virtually makes youths captains over 
them " (Di.). The terms are quite general, and there is no good 
reason for detecting, as many do, a specific allusion to Ahaz, who 
succeeded to the throne in 735 B.a at the age of twenty (2 K 16*); 
and if there were any such allusion, it would be to the prospect 
(Che. Introd, 18 f.) of such a succession, not (as Del. and others 
assume) to the actual reign of Ahaz : the tenses in vv.^*** naturally 
refer to the future. — 5. Political and moral anarchy. Respect 
for the old is a duty coupled in Lv 1 9^2 with the fear of God. 




III. 6-8 65 

6-8. In this condition of things, when the state is obviously 
falling to pieces, authority and leadership will no longer be 
desired, but will be refused even by those upon whom it is 
thrust. — When a man lays hold on his clansman in whose father's 
house is a mantle {saying), Come] the words may also be trans- 
lated, When a man lays hold on his clansman in his father's house 
(saying), Thou hast a mantle : the first translation is supported 
by the reply in my father's house there is . . . no mantle (v.^). — 
Clansman] not brother in the limited English sense of the word, 
for note his (not, their) father, and below (v.^ my (not, our). — 
In his father's house] if this be the right translation (see above), 
the suggestion is that in this evil time men keep at home and 
need to be dragged into public (cp. Am ^^). Does it also 
imply that the man addressed is a person of family who lives in 
his own ancestral home ? Or should we draw just the opposite 
conclusion, viz. that authority goes begging (cp. 4^) to the 
lower classes, to those who are singled out by the mere 
possession of a mantle? Or is mantle here a robe of office, 
and the meaning : you belong to a family which has furnished 
officers of state?* — This ruin] the overthrown mass {rh^'2'0T\) 
caused by the fall of the state (cp. min^ rh^2, \.^). — Under thy 
hand] or authority: cp. Gn 16^ and (n^ nnn») Ex i8i<>. The 
phrase is parallel to thou shall be ruler in the previous line : 
cp. " Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah and made a 
king over themselves," 2 K S^o. — 7, A binder up] of wounds or 
fractures received by the state in its fall (ni»65^3D, v.* : ni^K'a, v.^) ; 
cp. I* 30^8, Hos 6^. — 8. The reason for the imminent and, as 
the prophetic perfects in line a imply, certain fall of the state is 
the opposition of the people to Yahweh in both word and deed. 
On the strange style of line b, see phil. n. — 9. Their partiality] 
lit. their regard for faces, viz. in dispensing justice. This is 
certainly the most obvious interpretation ; f it assumes that the 
nominal phrase Dn^ja mDn follows the meaning of D^:a Tan in 
Dt ii7 i6i», Pr 2423 2821. On the ground that the entire people 
rather than the judicial class alone is here condemned many 
consider the interpretation unsuitable, and rather hazardously 
propose either (i) the show (or, appearance) of their faces, % or 
the examination of their faces \ or (2) their impudence '.% but 

• Marti. t QTS, RVmarg., Du., Marti, Che. 

t Di., AV, Ges., Del., Cond. § Joseph Kimhi, Di. 

VOL. I.— 5 



66 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



4 

A 



(2) assumes that man is from V"i3n (Job 19^!), itself of most 
uncertain meaning (BDB); cp. (& ala-xvvq. Some such 
meaning as the last would no doubt give a good parallel to the 
following line, and would be acceptable if it were philologically 
better supported : the whole v. would then mean : they are 
shameless as the men of Sodom in their sin. ||h 

pc, 10, II. General moral reflections. — "The connec- 
tion is certainly rather loose and . . . Isaiah is here merely 
putting together in writing leading ideas of prophecy" (Di.); 
but the sayings may be later than the age of Isaiah, and probably 
are if Du. is right, as he well may be, in detecting here (ct vv.^"^) 
a well-marked doctrine of individual retribution, and in the 
righteous and the unrighteous the pious observer and the 
careless disregarder of the Law respectively. — ii. The dealing 
of his hands'] Jg 9^^, Pr 12^^ : for the idea that as a man deals he 
is dealt with, see 33^ (of nations). 

12. Misgoverned and misled. — The first distich describes 
the pitiable state of Yahweh's people due to the cruelties of 
severe rulers and money-lenders (€r), or to the caprice of 
incompetent rulers — boys (cp. v.*) and women (MT, EV). 
Those who adopt the latter interpretation find an allusion here 
to Ahaz and his harem. Here as in v.* Yahweh is the speaker, 
and, as probably there, the rhythm (3 : 3) is unlike that which 
most prevails in vv.^"^. Unlike v.* which predicts, this distich 
describes an existing state of things. — c. d. The change from the 
3rd pers. of description to the 2nd of address suggests that the 
two couplets of v.^2 may come from different poems. A variant 
of this one occurs, probably out of place, in 9^^ 

I. njn '3]®r ^5oi> 5i^, possibly =r\zr\ without 'r, cp. 22" 10^ and also 13^ 
62^^ where 7\v\ is rendered t5oi> 7(i/). — TDD . . . r\ir\'\ of the imminent future : 
Dr- § 13s (S)- — '"'"'''''''O"' d'?«!'ttd] in ®r (except B) the order is reversed : cp. i^ 
2^ in 1^ ; but ct. 3^ both <& and |^. — rcyts-Di jycj-D] masc. and fem. forms 
combined to exhaust an idea : see Kon. iii. 91, who cites Nah 2^^, Ex 35"^, 
Is 11^^, 2 8 19^^ and Ges. on this passage, who cites Arabic examples, such as 

i ^ ^. -^1 <y \^y he has neither male nor female sheep y i.e. nothing at 
all. Neither njytfD nor (thus pointed) jy^'D occurs again : with jy^p (cstr. ), 
cp. 2 S 22^^=Ps iS^^t- — 'j'^i . . . *?3] ®r omits '?3 in both clauses.— 2. ni2J] 
ffi •^i'^o.vra. KoX laxiovTo., scarcely a real variant, but the last two words in ffi 
may be a dittograph from v.^, or a doublet. — 3. D'B'Dn ne'] the versions 
anticipate the D>"pq of MT with which Haupt {SBOT) compares the Assyr. 
rob ^anJa. Che. (after Sta.) points DToq the armed men\ for D'if'Dn, see 




III. I-I2 6^ 

Ex 13^', Jos i^* 4^', Jg 7", and cp. Ges-B." pp. 239^, 240a, with references 
there given. — j'yvi D'js kw3i] ffi koX dav/xaffrbv <t6(jl§ovKov (ep. 9') : instead of 
the two terms of J^, (K probably had but one : we should perhaps omit {'jn'i (Gun. 
in Sievers), then v.* would consist of pairs of grammatically symmetrical terms ; 
it cannot safely be claimed (Marti) that (& omits D'jb Kirji, for cp. redavfioff- 
fi4voi irpo<rdy!r(p = 's Kirj in 2 (4) K 5^ — D'tenn cam] H sapientem de architectis^ 
and, but that the superlative would be out of place, ^ might certainly mean 
the cunningest craftsman (G-K. 133^, //). But the gen. is rather that of 
improper annexion (G-K. \2&x) and D't^nn pi. of an assumed sing, enn, 
meaning crafts^ handiwork (cp. EV), or, more probably, in view of the 
following clause, magic arts : cp. «.^;_k», to practise magic, see, further, BDB. 
—4. □'^i'?vn] abstract pi. ; G-K. 85^. — 5. b33i] generally taken to be Niphal, 
with reciprocal sense (G-K. ^id) of baj, to drive (to work : 58^), be a task- 
master (cp. Ex 3') or a ruler, especially a foreign or oppressive ruler (9' 14*). 
The Niph. with a different force occurs in 53'^, i S 13^ (? 14*^*). b>J3 read by 
8 MSS is not preferable. The Versions read differently or rendered inade- 
quately — (JR KoX a-vfiveaeiTai, % pnjn'i, Sh ^-2U0. — 6. nxin rhv^Qrci] (& 
apparently read '9^5«i?i — wrong ; note uV, plural suf., in the previous clause. — 
naS] either ^ + 2nd sing. m. suff. as in Gn 27^, 2 S 18^ (G-K. I03^and9ifl0> 
or 2nd sing. impr. of iSn with emphatic ending (G-K. 48/). — 8. nnD'?]=nnDn'? 
(G-K. 53^), but many of the alleged instances of this syncope are questionable, 
mo, to be contentious, rebellious {towards), is commonly used either absolutely 
or with a personal, or virtually personal (rm), object, or with an ace. signifying 
a command : 'jy if='3'y is a strange object for the vb. The sentence uiveh "2 
. . . ni33 'jy is rhythmically overloaded and awkward, whether with Di. we 
interpret their tongue and their deeds are in relation to Yahweh of such a 
kind that they must provoke, etc., or with Du. al. assume that Vk stands for 
Sy. (ffir renders koX al '{KOxraai airuv fierk dvofdas, rd irpbs Kjjpiov dTreidovvres. 
5i6ti vvv iTaireivudi) ij 56^a airwv, which may point to the presence between 
niToS and 'jy of some letters now lost in |^ (cp. &tlL). For 'jy, C& probably 
read m];, & py; neither variant is preferable to J^ or supports Gratz's 
conjecture '3£3. The scriptio defectiva 'jy for 'J'y (read by a few Heb. MSS) is 
suspicious, though it occurs in Phoenician : see Lidzbarski, NSE 339, Eph. 
i. 158. — 10. 31D '3 p'"i)t noK] awkward, even if '3 is = 3rt recitative (BDB 
471^ bottom), pns subj. of 3ia prefixed for emphasis (cp. Gn i82<', Dt3i^, 
Mic 5*), and 3io means fortunate, prosperous (Jer 44^", Ps 112'^) — Say ye 
the righteous is fortunate. Lowth, al. read 'ttk for noK, which makes 310 '3 
rather superfluous. (K renders curiously or from a fuller text dirbvTt^ 
A-f{(ru)fJLev (Wis 2^^ ''EvedpeCaw/j.ev) rbv SUaiov, 8ti Sycxpijcrroj ijfjuv iariv. — 
11. y> yvh '1k] rather awkward whether vvh be connected with 'ik or with 
ri.— 12. ^'?iyD] " hh^V 1D3," ^fi. ; but there is no other instance of '?'?iyD for the 
frequently occurring hhVt child. This interpretation is as ancient as Symm., 
and has been adopted by a stream of interpreters since ; a slight variation of it 
Is obtained by treating SViyo as part. Poel of an otherwise unknown denom. 
vb. from VSiy, child, meaning to cut the child (BDB "jSob). W. R. Smith 
cited by Che. (SBOT) attempted to obtain a less questionable basis for this 
interpretation by emending '?'?iyD vvii into ^Siy crjj. In spite of the lack of 



68 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



^S^^^K 



an expressed object it is more probable that f?'?iyD is part. Poel of SVy, to 
glean (ffilTS', Aq., Theod., U spoiiaverunt), or to act with severity towards 
(Marti, Cond.). For the sing. pred. distributing the pi. subj. (Vb'jj), see, e.g.y 
Gn 272" and, further, G-K. 145/. Others take vb'jj as //. majestatis (G-K. 
I24>&), referring to a single person. — D'ty:] (R, Aq. 01 dirairoOi'Tes, ® Nmn 'td, 

Theod. daveia-ral, i.e. D^a (so Houb., Marti, Cond.); % \-m^,'ff mu/ieres, 
i.e. D';^: — MT, Rashi, Ki., and most moderns. — T^nntt im] the expression 
is curious : but fflr scarcely suggests a real variant (T^JT 'n), and Cheyne's 
omission of inT on rhythmical grounds is very unsafe in view of the varieties of 
rhythm in the chapter : |^ is an excellent balanced distich. — "I'nn-jN] for Tnn")K 
— lengthened vowel due to t and the counter tone : Sta. 109. — iy'?3] by a bold 
figure, paths, of which all trace had been obliterated, might perhaps have been 
described as swallowed up. But we may infer that yVa, to swallow up, 
developed, or a distinct root (allied to V71) furnished, the meaning to confuse^ 
confound, see 28' g^^ j^s^ pg 1072? 5510 ; Barth, Beitrdge, 4f. 



III. 13-15. — A Judgment Scene, 



M 




The rhythm is 3 : 3 ; in three of the four distichs the lines are parallel 
in sense. The concluding formula is a monostich of three accents. 

18 Yahweh is taking his stand to plead, 

And is standing to judge 'his people*; 
1* Even Yahweh will enter into judgment 

With the elders and princes of his people. 
"And ye, ye have depastured the vineyard. 

What ye have plundered from the poor is in your 

houses : 
" What mean ye that ye crush my people, 

And grind the faces of the poor?" ^ 

Is the oracle of the Lord Yahweh of Hosts. 

The prophet sees Yahweh in the act (2V3, ^oy, participles^ 
Dr. § 135) of taking up His position as judge (v.^^); so far it is 
the fact that a judgment scene is opening that the order of the 
words emphasises. But in v.^* the emphasis changes : it is on 
the judge ; it is none other than Yahweh who comes, and He 
comes to call to account the rulers of His people. Then in vv.^**'- <* 
15a. b He lays the charge which opens with effective abruptness — 
and ye — ye rulers, the very persons appointed to protect the 
poor — ye have robbed and wronged them. 

The more elaborate judgment scene of Mic 6^ opens also 
more elaborately. Cp., too, the opening of the judgment scene 
of Ps 82. 




III. I3-IV. I 69 

13. His people] so rightly ffi ; cp. v.^*; "^peoples^ which Du. 
explains, unsatisfactorily, of the Hebrew tribes ; the reading has 
rather arisen from the desire to turn the particular judgment of 
Israel into a world judgment. — 14. The elders] representatives 
of the families, survivals from the earlier clan-constitution of 
IsraeL — The princes] the officials of the royal government. — Ye 
have depastured the vineyard] perhaps a proverbial expression 
(Du.) : if the vineyard were used figuratively of the Hebrew 
people or state, perhaps we should have had my vineyard (so ffi). 
In either case the meaning is — instead of tending the vineyard, as 
true guardians should have done, so that the shoots of the vines 
should not be eaten off by intruding animals, they have used it 
recklessly for their own immediate profit (cp. v.^**^) by letting loose 
their own animals to eat it down. — Grind the faces] the verb JPID 
is commonly used of grinding corn between the mill-stones. — 
The poor] here plural, in v.^* singular collective. 

14. DnKi] cp. '3K1, Ps 2*. — omya] cp. nya in 5* where the parallel odtd and 
the context (cp. 5' n. ) suggest that "lya refers to destruction by animals (cp. 
Ex 22* ?). Depasture may be a specific development of the meaning exter- 
minate (4* n. 6", Nu 24^), or "lya, to depasture, may have been originally a 
distinct root; see, further, Addenda.— rhii] G-K. 95A. —'jyn rhn} plunder 
taken from the poor ; cp. T3'K ^^r, spoil taken from thine enemies^ Dt 20^* j 
G-K. 128^.-05^5] G-K. yjc.—i^, rmyi . . . ow] (!R omits. 



III. 16-IV. I, — The Doom of the Ladies of Jerusalem. 

The lines in most of these distichs are parallel in sense, but the rhythm 
varies : in 3^"' 4^ and probably in 3* also (note the tQ\\ovc\g parallelism) it is 
still predominantly and was once perhaps exclusively, an echoing rhythm ; 
but the lines balance (3 : 3 or 4 : 4) in '^' * ^6 certainly, and in 3=^* •» if 
n'.T) be disregarded and n'n»"pD makkephed : so also, if these verses be not 
prose, in "^^^ and in 3*, if TiniaJi be read as two accents (Sievers). 

^^ Because they are haughty — 
The daughters of $ion, 
And go with outstretched necks, 

And ogling with their eyes; 
Yea, go tripping ever as they go, 
And jingling with their feet: 
^^ The Lord shall smite with a scab the scalps of the 

daughters of §ion. 
And Vahweh shall lay bare their shame (?). 



70 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 




^® In that day the Lord will turn away the finery of the anklets and the 
net-bands (?) and the moons, ^' the ear-rings and the bracelets and the veils, 
^ the head-dresses and the armlets and the sashes and the perfume-boxes and 
the charms, ^^ the signet-rings and the nose-rings, ^ the state-gowns and the 
mantles and the shawls and the satchels (?), *^ the diaphanous garments and 
the linen garments and the turbans and the large veils. ^^ And it shall come 
to pass. 

Instead of perfume there shall be rottenness, 

And instead of a girdle a rope ; 
And instead of workmanship of hair well dressed (?), baldness 

And instead of a rich dress girding of sackcloth, 
Branding instead of beauty. 

25 Thy men shall fall by the sword, 

And thy mighty in the battle. 

26 Its gates shall mourn and lament, 

And it shall be clean empty sitting on the ground. 



dness, 



4^ And seven women shall lay hold 

On a single man in that day, 
Saying, We will eat our own bread, 

And wear our own mantle : 
Only be thy name called over us; 

Take away our reproach. 

The ladies of Jerusalem, who now spend their days walking 
about the city, casting wanton looks, and calling attention to 
themselves, will be smitten with unclean disease and exposed to 
insult (vv.^6^-) ; they will be deprived of all their choice clothing, 
perfumes, amulets, and knick-knacks (w.^^-^s) ; instead they will 
become offensive, will feceive coarse clothing and turn bald 
(v.^"*) : in the city, which will have lost its men in battle (v.^^) 
and be lying empty and desolate (v.^^), seven women will think 
themselves fortunate if they can find a single man to take them 
into his possession without providing them with either food or 
clothing. 

The fates of the women are alternatives: for the seven 
women of 4^ are scarcely the leprous women of 3^^. 

Possibly these alternatives did not originally appear in the same poem. 
Rhythmical differences in 3^^-4^ have been pointed out above. There are 
other features that throw doubt on the unity, or completeness, of the passage ; 
in V.25 there is a very sudden address to a city, presumably Sion ; in v.^^ the 




III. I6-IV. 1 71 

city is spoken of in the 3rd pers. ; if vv.*'* really led up to 4*, neither the 
loss of men nor the emptiness of the city must be taken absolutely. V.^ 
might be a development of v." though it is rhythmically different from w.^'*- ; 
but if it is, the catalogue of w.^^'^s «« completely conceals the close connection 
between v." and v.'*" (Cheyne). In the catalogue, note the use of the article 
21 times, and ct. the anarthrous nouns in v.**. It is also claimed that the 
catalogue "displays an attention to trifles which is out of character with 
Isaiah, who in his description selects representative features (see, e.g.^ 9** "), 
and abstains from giving exhaustive catalogues (ct. Ezk 27)." On the other 
hand. Gun. sees in the "jaw-breaking" (Zungenbrecherische) list (Sievers) 
an expression of the prophet's anger (cp. Whitehouse). Du., Che., Marti, 
Box attribute vv.^^"^* to "the inveterate editorial habit of supplementing,' 
and treat vv.'^'* as a misplaced fragment of an elegy ; this leaves, as a single 
poem in denunciation of the women, 3^'** ^ 4^. Possibly, if the unity of the 
passage is abandoned, and it is difficult to defend it, 3^"' is a little poem by 
itself : it would be quite complete, and as long as some of the shorter and 
earlier suras of the ^oran ; 3^* is not in the same rhythm, and, perhaps, not 
even 4^. Another possibility is that lines have been lost (between w.*** **• ^) 
and others mutilated. 

There is little to determine the date of this passage: in 
specially denouncing women (cp. 32^-), Isaiah follows Amos 
(4^*^'); and the picture of the women in search of a husband 
(4^) may have been written about the same time as its companion 
— the men in search of a ruler (3*"^). Du. suggests that ^^' is 
too elegiac in tone to be Isaiah's. 

16. And Yahweh said] these words were probably prefixed 
by an editor * who wished to indicate the commencement of a 
new poem, and overlooked the fact that the prophet, not Yahweh 
(cp. v.^^), is the speaker. — Haughty] n23, to be highy acquired the 
meaning to be proud^ set up^ stuck up^ self-sufficient-, cp. Jer 13^^, 
Ezk 16^^, Zeph 3^^ — The daughters of Sioti] the ladies of the 
" West-end " : on Sion lay the royal palace. — Tripping] the vb. 
fl^DlD (here only) probably signifies the quick, tripping gait, making 
a patter on the ground, of the women whose legs were bound 
by ornamental chains (v.^o ?) ; just as t]l3 denotes little children, 
probably on account of their pattering walk. The word is 

onomatopoetic : cp. the like sounding Aryan tap-. l-c1^ has 
amongst other meanings that of passing by quickly^ and -*^^<^ f^ 
is used of a flickering candle. Cp. U, plaudebant ambulabant 
pedibus suis. — -Jingling with their feet] so walking that the metal 
anklets, a favourite ornament with the women of the East, 

* Che., Marti. 



72 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

striking against one another, make a jingling noise and attract 
attention. Cp. Muhammed's prohibition — " Let them not strike 
with their feet, so that those ornaments of theirs that be hidden 
be made known" (Kor. 24^1). — 17. A scab'] such as accompanies 
leprosy, Lv 13 f. — Shame] cp. 47^, Jer 1326, La i^, Ezk i637; but 
the meaning of J^ is very doubtful. U renders hair^ and this has 
been defended by Sta. : the veil worn by women of position will be 
stripped away (cp. 47^), and the hair exposed ; see, further, phil. n. 
18-23. A catalogue of one-and-twenty articles of women's 
finery : probably a prose addition to the poem : see small print 
n. above. Some of the terms are of uncertain meaning, and it is 
therefore difficult to say whether the catalogue is carelessly 
compiled without any principle of arrangement, or an artistically 
constructed list. Cond. ingeniously defends the latter view, and 
argues that the bijoux and analogous articles are mentioned first 
(vv.^^"2i), and then the sumptuous vestments (vv.22^-). But DnxB, 
head-dresses (v.^o), and niQ''3V, turbans (v.^i), are widely separated 
from one another. Cond. also detects a subtle arrangement of 
grammatical forms ; the 2 1 forms fall into three groups of 8, 5 
and 8; the first 8 nouns consist of 3 masc. pi. + 3 fem. pi. f 
I masc. + 1 fem. ; the second 8 are disposed in an inverse order, 
3 fem. pi. + 3 masc. pi. + i fem. + 1 masc. Two earlier scholars 
wrote extensive monographs on this list : N. W. Schroder, Comm. 
de vestitu mulierum Heb. adjes. 3^^^*, 1745, and A. Th. Hartmann, 
Die Hebrderin am Putztischy 1809 ; see also the commentaries of 
Ges., Del., Di. The following notes merely attempt to indicate 
briefly the nature of the evidence for the meanings attributed to 
the words. — 18. Anklets] cp. the sing. DDy in Pr 7^21 (text 

doubtful), the denominative vb. in v.^^ and ^juwK^, the cord tied 

in the forepart of the nose of a camel to his fore-legs (Lane). — 
The net-bands] the D''3K^ in NH was the ornamental band that 
passed from ear to ear over the n33D, a net covering and enclos- 
ing the hair (Levy, iv. 498) ; ffir ra cttAokui. Less probably 1 and 
D have interchanged, and the word means a little sun (-ouj<^«^), 

a pendant worn round the neck. Cp. the next term. — The moons] 
amulets worn by animals (Jg S^i- 26|) as well as women. They 
were pendants in the shape of the moon, in particular perhaps of 
the new, or crescent (RV), moon ; the meaning was evident to 
(K firjvLaKOL (cp. U lunulae\ and is supported by the etymology. 




III. 17-20 73 

which is obvious : pnt5^ is a derivative, not necessarily a diminu- 
tive (G-K. 86^), from "inc (= -y-2*,^ the new moon\ which occurs 

not only in Aramaic literature (see Levy, s.v. Kin^D, N"inD), but 
also in early Aramaic and in South-Arabian inscriptions as 
the name of the moon, or moon-God ; the god inB^ is men- 
tioned along with ^^^ in the Aramaic inscription of Zakir 
(9th cent. B.C.).* Similarly, hildly the new moon^ is also used 
of crescent-shaped ornaments or amulets : We. Reste d. Arab. 
Heidenthums^^ 145. — 19. The ear-rings] Jg S^^f : there also coupled 
with " moons." These nefiphoth were probably drop-like or pearl 
ear-rings; cp. C]ID3, to drip^ nitphi (cstr.), drops (of water); Ar. 
nafafat, an ear-ring or small pearly naffafa, to put on ear-rings, 
and (reflexive) tanafiafa. — Bracelets] with ni"ll5't cp. the Aram. 
]; > *j K"i^B', chains, both for the arms and other parts of the body. 
5r is here explicit, NH^ n^6J^ : cp. also Arab, siwdr^ a bracelet, and 
Assyr. hmiru {^sewiru, sawiru) with the same meaning: see 
Zimmern in ZA 17, 242. BDB derive from ^|'\'^'^. — Veils] with 

H^ixnfj cp. Jxj, a kind of veil (Freytag). It is doubtful whether 
(&% recognised this meaning. — 20. Head-dresses] onNB else- 
where used of the ornamental cap of a bridegroom (61 3- ^o) or of 
priests (Ex 392®, Ezk 2417. 28 4418^)^ — Armlets] with nnyvf, cp. 

mWN (Nu 31*^ (n.), 2 S 1^0) and Juic, the upper part of the arm. 
jLit, a large bracelet. Others derive from 1j;v, to march, and 
render step-chains, i.e. chains connecting the anklets (v.^^). — 
Sashes] Jer 2^'^\ : cp. the vb. in Is 41^. — The perfume boxes] lit. 
houses of soul, or soul-houses, these may have been carried in the 
sashes; cp. Ca i^^. Unfortunately the meaning is far from 
certain; Pr 27® gives very uncertain support for K'BJ meaning 
perfume. Nor is boxes of desire, or exciting the sense of smell, very 
probable : see BDB 66i«, 109^. Haupt {SBOT, p. 82) would 
derive tJ'Sa here from the Assyr. pasdsu, and explain ointment-boxes. 
Frazer retains the normal sense of soul for B^B3, and traces the 
phrase to the belief in the external soul : " it may well be that 
these * houses of the soul ' were amulets in which the soul of the 
wearer was supposed to lodge" : Anthropological Essays presented 

* Pognon, Inscriptions Simitiques (1908), no. 86, ii. 24, reproduced by 
Driver in -ff^/., June 1908, pp. 481 ff., with note on Sahar (p. 489). See also 
Cooke, NSI 188. 




74 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

to E. B. Tylor, p. 148. — Charms'\ or amulets probably consisting 
of something inscribed with magic formulae : with D^K^np here, cp. 
K^np in V.3. — 21. Signet-rings] see, e.g.^ Est 3^2 Q^ ^1^2 — j\^ose- 
rings] cp. e.g. Gn 24*''. — 22. State-gowns] Zee 3*: apparently 
so called as those which were stripped off (K^n) before resuming 
ordinary life : ct. the English " undress," dress not worn on 
formal occasions. — Mantles] niStOVD f : cp. fjOy, to envelope oneself 
II C'i?, to clothe oneself Ps 65^* ; i_jLac, a mantle, — Shawls] or veils 
{DB i. 627^): Ru 3i5f.^ — Satchels] or purses \ with D^tDnnf, cp. 
«itk) ^r»- with the same meaning. Peiser, on the ground that pockets 

are out of place here, surmises that this is another term for clothing, 
ZATWy 1897, 341. — 23. Diaphanous garments] €r, apparently 
for D''31vli, has Sia^av^ AaKojnKa ; if this be the right meaning, the 
garments are so termed as revealing {rhi) the form beneath : cp. 

Assyr. gul^nu^ an article of clothing, Arab. ^^^^ fine silk 

garments. Others render mirrors, i.e. tablets (cp. 8^ n.), that 
reveal the reflected face. — Linen garments] Jg 14^2. w p^ 3ii!4| ,. 
cp. Assyr. sudinnu, a garment) see EBi. 2933; M.00TQ, Judges, 
335, 337. — Turbans] costly or official: see especially Ecclus ii^; 
see also 62^, Zee 3*, Job 29^*, Ecclus 47^t- — Large veils] like 
the modern izar {DB i. 627) may be intended by DH^Ti (Ca 5^!): 
cp. lfj»?5l, NTTi, in Gn 246^ 381*, SiW' = ^ ^l^yv. 

24. Perfume] the smell of sweet aromatics used, for example, 
by women in purification (Est 2^^), or at burial (2 Ch 16^*). The 
contrast is rottenness (po), i.e. the smell of scabs or festers iy.^'^) : 
cp. " my wounds fester (lp03) stinkingly," Ps 38^. — A rope\] that 
encircles {f\pi, 29^) the waist. — Hair well dressed] nc^pp f is to 

be interpreted, in the light of the context and nc'pp, hammered, 
or turned, metal work, of some artistic treatment of the hair. — A 
rich dress] such should be the meaning of the obscure 7i^nBt : 
(5r XtTu>v fi€a-o'7r6pc}>vpo<s. — Sackcloth] 20^ n. — Branding for beauty] 
the clause, if not a popular assonance placed on the margin by a 
reader (Du.), may be a fragment of a distich. With ^3 cp. n^ia, 
Ex 21^^ Sta. {ZATW, 1905, 133) suggests that it is not the 
branding of punishment that is referred to, but branding as a 
means of cure. This is energetically applied to men and children, 
but the beauty of women and girls is spared : they will be so 



ik< 



III. 2I-IV. I AND III. 16-24 75 

spared no more, when the days of catastrophe come. — 25, 26. 

On the relation of these verses to the rest, see pp. 70 f. — Thy . . . 
ifs . . . /V] these pronouns are fern, and refer to the city (of 
Jerusalem). The gates (D^nnD, 13^) mourn (^1^^ 13K, 19*), 
because people no longer pass through them. The empty city is 
pictured as one sunk to the ground and mourning : cp. La 2^'', 
Job 2I8, Is 47I. — IV. I. Women will not wait for men to ask them 
in marriage, but will press to be married, promising to forego the 
food and raiment which a husband should provide (Ex 21^**), if 
only they may gain protection against insults by passing into a 
man's possession. — Be thy name called over us\ i.e. pass as our 
owner, or possessor : cp. 631'^, 2 S 1228, Dt 28^*^, Am 9^^^ 

III. 16. '3 jy] 7" 8« 29" : also Nu ii» i K 13" 2i»t. Isaiah docs not 
use the more frequent nrK |y\ — nnoj] i.e. riwxi) with preservation of the 
radical (G-K. T^v) : K*re, nvtp^. — nnpbD] not, as in some MSS and the 
Bomberg edition, '«W3, whence AVmarg. deceiving with their eyes. nBJf is 
dir. Xe7. in Hebrew, but cp. Aram. npD, to look out, eye, especially with evil 
intent (so i S iS* 5), or to look abotit : cp. also \\ ornVn, squint-eyed. In 
wy]} "[pv the vb. may be causative and the noun a direct ace, making the eyes 
look about, or more probably the Piel is intensive and the noun, as in the 
previous clause, an epexegetical gen. (G-K. 128^:), ogling with the eyes. (& 

renders here iv vtvfuanriv 6<f>0a\/jMv, ^ 1 1 » V^ j]^;^, U nutibus oculorum, 
C pi'y IpsnoD may express the same sense (cp. Levy, Aram. Worterbuch, ii. 
571), or, as some think, it vatKus anointing their eyes with stibium. " Rabbi 
Jose of Caesarea explained, 'they painted their eyes with Knp'O'; Resh 
Lakish said, 'with red collyrium '" (Pesikta d. R. Kahana, 132a, b). — 
nja^n f]i£)ai ^^'?^] G-K. 113J, w.— on^Sj-ia] on- for }n- ; G-K. 135^. — njDjyn] 
pathah for Sere : cp. 13^^ and see G-K. $2n. The vb. is a denominative of 
Day ; v." n.— 17. nsri] b for d : G-K. 6k : cp. nn£o(D), a scab, Lv i3»-8 14". 
— pns] in I K 7** nine denotes the sockets in the lintel and threshold in 

which the doors turned, and the Arabic Ci->fti means interstitium, space 

between two fingers ; hence it has been most precariously inferred that ne 
meant pudenda muliebria. If this meaning, which seems in harmony with 
the context, was intended, it is not improbable that jnns, or rather jnnD mnn, 
is a corruption of jnninm, nsnn being used as in 47' ; see J. Bachmann in 
TSKy 1894, p. 650. ffi,SC may have detected this meaning and euphemiscd 
— t6 <rx^/*a ainQ)p, »m » Vr> . nmj^ mp\ U. crinem earum, on the 
other hand, treated fnnfl as = {nnKS (G-K. 23/) ; and this explanation has 
been defended by Sta., as earlier by Koppe and Hitz., in ZATW vi. 336, 
xxvi. 130-133. — 18. mKBn] this cstr. case is followed by twenty-one genitives 
— an extraordinary instance of a construction which, even in milder forms, 
the language preferred to avoid; G-K. 128a: Kon. iii. 276. — 24. nB'yo] 
pointless before rwpa, and probably a dittograph of it (Du.). — n"unD] perhaps 




^6 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

the original, or a dittograph, of mun above, — 24, 25. xro 'S' nnn 'd] (& Kal 6 
vl6s (Tov 6 KdWiffTos 8p dyair^s, perhaps presupposes a different text. With 
the form *?(= 'i?), cp. % % 's ; see G-K. 24^, 937. — 26. am px'? nnpji] 
with this cstr. cp. 29'* ; and see Dr. § 163 Obs. To be cleaned out (cp. Zee 
5*^), though rare in Hebrew, may be the original meaning of n^i : see BDB. 
— IV. I. vc\Tir\ DV3] ffir cm. 



IV. 2-6. — -Judah and Jerusalem after the Judgment 

There is unquestionably a marked tendency in the following poem to a 
rhythm formed by groups of two accents, one, two or three such groups 
forming lines, which are combined into balanced distichs and are parallel in 
sense. If the words represented in the translation by small print be 
additions, and nos n\T (^) be read as one accent (cp. Sievers), this rhythm 
is not merely dominant but maintained unbroken. The separate lines, or the 
sections marked off by ], correspond (the small print being disregarded) to 
two accents in the Hebrew. The transposition in v.'* (ddv jjy before ""jyi 
.TxipD) does not affect the rhythm, but it secures greater independence and 
more complete parallelism for the two lines. 

Other views of the rhythmical structure will be found in Marti, Sievers, 
Cond., and Box. Du. and Che. print the whole as prose. 

2 In that day | the vegetation of Yahweh shall be | a beauty 

and a glory, 
And the fruit of the land | a pride and an adornment | 

for the escaped of Israel. 

3 And it shall come to pass thosc that remain in Sion, 

And those that are left in Jerusalem — 
Holy shall they be called, 

All that are written for life in Jerusalem. 
* When the Lord shall have washed away | the filth of the 

daughters of §ion. 

And shall rinse away from its midst | the bloodstains of 

Jerusalem, 
With the spirit of judgment. 
And the spirit of extermination, 
^ Then will Yahweh create | over the whole site of Mount §ion | 

*a cloud by day, 
And over its assemblies' | smoke and brightness of fire | a 

flame by night ; 
For over all glory is a canopy' and a booth, 
And he will be a shade | by day (?) from the heat, 
A refuge and a shelter | from storm and from rain. 




IV. 2-6 ^^ 

After Yahweh, by means of an exterminating judgment (v.*) 
which will allow few to escape (vv.^^- ^), has cleansed Jerusalem 
from moral filth and bloodstains (v.*), a time will come when 
the land of Israel will be clothed again with verdure and will 
produce crops, which will make the Jewish survivors from the 
judgment and their land glorious in the eyes of the nations (v.^). 
§ion will again become a city of sacred convocations (v.*) ; the 
entire community will be holy (v.^); and Yahweh will visibly 
manifest His presence in the same way as at the Exodus — in 
cloud by day and flaming brightness by night (v.**) ; and He will 
protect His city and people from all manner of misfortune and 
disaster (v.*). 

Even if this poem were Isaiah's, it would be doubtful in what 
period of his life it was written ; it has often been assigned to 
the same period as 3^^-4\ but the connection of 4* and 3^® is 
probably illusory : see below. 

It is more probably of exilic, or post-exilic, origin, though by 
no means necessarily so late as the 2nd cent. (Du.). Whether 
written for the purpose or obtained from some already existing 
book, it may have been added to $^^-4^ in order that the little 
book consisting of chs. 2-4 might have a consolatory conclusion. 

Though the awkwardness and incoherence of style, the absence of rhythm 
and the slight amount of parallelism, which have been alleged as reasons for 
questioning the Isaianic authorship (Che. Introd. 20 f. ), may be in large part 
due to textual corruption, or incorrect analysis of the rhythm and parallelism 
(see above), the ideas and thought of the passage alone are sufficient to 
render a late date very probable. "Jerusalem is already first and foremost 
a city of religious rites (cp. 33^). The ' convocations ' are the * holy 'ones 
of the later legislation (Ex I2^«, Lv 232- *• «', Nu 2.%^- 2* 29^ ^- "). To 
Isaiah such festivals were uncongenial (l^'). ... To the writer of i^"^ they 
would be glorified in the future by a constant appearance of the glory of 
Yahweh (cp. 2428 6oi- '• i»- «>, Ezk 42^-') " (Che.). The writer by no means 
disregards ethical qualities (v.*), but in his union of ritual and ethical he 
more closely resembles Ezekiel (ch. 18 with 40-48) and later writers (48^ 52^ 
62", Zee 1420-", Jl 4", Ezr 828) than Isaiah {e.g. i^**-). See, further, the 
Comm. 

In language the most significant fact is the use of Kna (ffi K3) in v.', a 
word which is predominantly, if not exclusively, late ; cp. Che. Introd. p. 21, 
and Ges-B. s.v.^ with the references there given. 

In 1884 {ZA TW, pp. 149-15 1 ), Sta. thought it possible to regard w.** *• ^ 
(in this order) as Isaiah's, and only vv."* ' as late ; and some still admit the 
late origin only of v.* (with '*) : so Di., Cond., Whitehouse. But there is 
really no good ground for separating v.* from what precedes ; on the other 
hand, a common rhythmical character probably runs through vv.^-^ (see 




78 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

above), and v.' is connected with v.^ by a point of style (see phil. n. on v.*). 
Du., Che., Marti, Kent agree in regarding the whole of 4-'* as late, while 
Dr. {LOT) still assigns the whole to Isaiah. 

2. In that day] not the day that is mentioned in v.^, 3^*, but 
a time determined by what follows, to wit, after the judgment. — 
T/ie vegetation of YahweK\ all that Yahweh will cause to grow out 
of the soil; cp. Gn 2^, Ps 104^* i47^- In order to emphasise 
the point that Yahweh will be the source of the future fertility, 
the writer employs nin"' nox as an alternative to the more usual 
phrases T^yy^ixr^ nov (Gn 1926), me^n 'V (Ezk la'') ; but it is at least 
unnecessary to think of the land yielding a miraculous growth 
without any work of man (Marti) : for see Ps 104^*. HD^f means 
not branch (EV), but whatever grows or shoots forth from the 
ground, whether herbage (Gn 2^), or trees (Ex 10*) ; meta- 
phorically it is used as a term for him who should re-establish 
the Davidic monarchy (Jer 23^ 33^^, Zee 3^ 6^2^, and it has often * 
been given a Messianic sense in this passage ; but this is incon- 
sistent with the parallel the fruit of the ground^ which indeed 
Del. unsuccessfully labours to show also means the Messiah ! 
Di. criticises this and some other mistaken interpretations at 
length.— 7%<? fruit of the land] of Palestine (cp. Nu 1326). The 
land of promise was a fruitful land (Dt 8^-^^, cp. 28^-1*), but from 
the first promise was accompanied by warning : if the people 
neglected Yahweh the fertility of the goodly land was to be 
destroyed, or neutralised, by war, depopulation, continuous 
drought, bad seasons ; see Lv 26, Dt 28, esp. vv.22-24. ss. ssff.^ ^nd 
cp. Mai 3^"^2, The people had neglected Yahweh : the threats 
had been carried out, harvests were yielding little, and what this 
poem promises is a restoration of the natural fertility of the land 
to those that escape and remain (v.^), after the cleansing, exter- 
minating judgment (v.'*) ; the fertility and fruitfulness of their 
land is to be the pride and glory of the community that 
survives, making it enviable in the eyes of the nations : cp. 
3730-82 6oi4f. 622-4, Jer 3I9, Ezk 2o« 3425-29._7%^ escaped of Israel] 
the abstract riD^^Q is used for the concrete: cp. io20 15^ 3731^-, 
Jg 21^^, 2 S 15I*; it is not confined to late writers, though in 
its technical sense of those that escape the (final) judgment 
(cp. Ob ^^, Jl 3^) it not improbably is. — 3. Those that remain 
. . . those that are left . . . they . . . all that are written] all 
* E, Ki., Vitr., Del., Lag. 




IV. 2-4 79 

these words in Heb. are sing, collectives ; for such sing, collect, 
participles, see 7*^, 2 Ch 34^^ : cp. also Gn 4.^^, and see O-K. 
126/. — //ofy shall they be called^ because they will actually be 
(i*^ n.) such: cp. Zee \/^^^'. — All that are written for life in 
Jerusalem] a third description of the community referred to in 
a, b ; for it is altogether improbable that the clause is restrictive 
(Di.), meaning that though there will be some who will acci- 
dentally (!) escape the judgment, only those who escape by the 
pre-ordination of Yahweh will be called holy. The v. may be 
awkward, but the awkwardness is not overcome thus, nor by 
rejecting this last line as a gloss (Sta.), for this does not restore 
either ease of style or regularity of parallelism. Those who will 
be found to have been written for life will consist of those who 
sought and feared Yahweh (Am 5*, Mai 3^*), who did good and 
not evil (Am 5^*, Ps 69^^), and so avoided the exterminating judg- 
ment (v.*), which destroys the wicked (Mai 3^^). To be written 
for life is to have one's name written in " the book of Yahweh," 
otherwise known as " the book of life (or the living)," etc. ; 
those whose names are written there live, those whose names 
have never been written there, or have been erased, die. The 
earliest reference in the OT to this book is Ex 3282^- ; later 
references are frequent: see Mai 3^^, Ps 692^, Dn 12^, En 47^ 
104I io83. Jubilees 3020-22, Lk io20, Ph 48, He 1223, Rev 3* 
138 lyS 20^2. 16 2i27. In most of thcse later references the 
life secured for those whose names are written is that of the 
blessed after death j here it is life on earth as a member of the 
holy Jewish community. The idea of the book of Yahweh, or 
of life, has its parallel, if not indeed its origin, in Babylon : the 
god Nebo wrote on tables "not only the fate of the world, but 
also that of individuals," and there were "tables of favour" and 
" of good works " : see JCAI^, pp. 402 ff. ; and Jeremias' article 
"Book of Life," in Hastings, Encyc. of Rel. and Ethics. — 4. The 
daughters of ^ion\ (&Jhe sons and daughters of $ion : this is not 
a variant, but an amplified translation expressing the probably 
correct conclusion that the context requires a reference to the 
entire population and not merely to the women ; m32, the 
daughters of is very probably an annotator's insertion * to 
establish a connection with 3^^ : the omission of the word 
improves the balance of the two lines and restores the normal 
* So tentatively Marti. 




8o 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



parallelism Sion . . . Jerusalem : cp. e.g. 40^ 41^7 64®, Mic 
^10. 12^ Then with the filth of Sion, cp. " the uncleanness " of 
Jerusalem, Ezk 22^^. — The bloodstains of Jerusalem] cp. Ezk 
2 22^-, Jer 2^*; the writer may be thinking in particular of the 
innocent blood that was the cause of the Exile: 2 K 21^^ 24^^'? 
Ezk 723 222-4, and ? Ps 51^^. — Rinsed out] nn is used in Ezk 4088, 
2 Ch 4^ of rinsing clean animals offered for sacrifices : later (Levy, 
NHB^ s.v,\ of rinsing out cups also. In Assyr. dihu and rihsu 
are synonyms, as nn and I'm here : see Del. Proleg, 2770. i. — 
With the spirit of judgment^ etc.] that unseen power, the spirit of 
Yahweh, which at other times is creative or life-giving (Gn i^, 
Ps 104^0), will come into play, executing judgment on those who 
have filled Jerusalem with blood, and exterminating all evil-doers 
(i28, Am 9^0). The word "lya, extermination (C), may be used 
with conscious reference to the Deuteronomic phrase, "Thou 
shalt exterminate that which is evil from thy midst"; e.g, Dt 13*. 
lya also means to burn : hence ffi,SU, E V, the spirit of burning : 

cp. Mt 3^^. — 5* Over the city thus purified will rest the same 
physical phenomena that marked Yahweh's presence at the 
Exodus, Ex 1321^-. — Then will Yahweh create] ffi And he 
will come and {it shall) be ; but this is not preferable to J^ (see 
phil. n.). The creation of the cloud by day and the fiame by 
night is a parallel to the return of the " glory of Yahweh " (Ezk 
431-4) after the Exile to the holy city, which becomes in conse- 
quence the city of Yahweh's presence (Ezk 48^5) ; these 
accompaniments of the divine presence are to cover not only 
the Temple (cp. Ex ^o^-^\ i K S^o'-), but the whole site of Mount 
Sion. — Its assemblies] i^^ ^^ — ^^ ^ygf^ ^11 glory is a canopy] or 
for over all (cp. Gn 16^2 24I), glory is a canopy. This strange 
remark, which is not much illuminated by the quotation in Ecclus 
40^7, is probably an annotation : it may be corrupt ; the opening 
words of v.^ and a booths probably belong to it, either as a 
synonym added to a canopy or a note explaining it. nan in 
Jl 2^^, Ps 19^1 is the bridal chamber: here it is supposed to 
have a less restricted meaning — canopy, covering : cp. the vb. in 
2 S 15^^ Jer 143. "As the king sits under, as the bride and 
bridegroom go under, a canopy, so the Temple Mount as a 
king's throne, the religious community as bride of the heavenly 
bridegroom, must have a canopy over it" (Du.). — 6. And he 
will be] so ffi ; ?^ and a booth (emphatic) will be, or, a booth will 

^1 



i 



IV. 2-6, V. 8 1 

it (viz. Sion) be ; both most improbable, for booths (cp. Jon 4*) 
and cities at all times furnished some sort of shelter from 
weather, but the point of the v. is that Yahweh will be the shelter 
and protection of the community, and that therefore no harm or 
hurt will befall it: cp. 25^ and Ps <^\^^ (where i)V, nono, and 
">nD are predicated of Yahweh as are i>V, nono, and linOD here), 
I2i6f. (Yahweh giving shade from the heat), Jl 4^® (Yahweh a 
refuge ; and so often in Pss.). 

2. Whether (!& read very differently (Che. ) or paraphrased a text similar 
to f§ (cp. Oort, Th. Tijd. xx. 565) is uncertain ; perhaps nos was read nn:* 
( = X(iAt7reti', La 4'). — ^3. TDK' . . . n'm] Dr. § I2i, Obs. i ; but tvtu can be 
spared, and it seems to be rhythmically redundant. — 1^ TDK'] 'V nDK3, to be 
called, occurs also in 19" 32' 61^ 62H. — 4. d«] ivheriy cp. 24^' 7.%^ and, in 
narrative of the past, Gn 38^ Nu 21*, and, if the text be sound, Am 7^. V.* 
is taken by many as the completion of v.*, not the commencement of v.". — 
5. nin» Kn3i] J^^'STF ; but fflr reads /cai -^^ei koX #(j-rat = .Tm xni. Che., who 
renders He will come and there will be, and Marti adopt ffi ; Du. Cond. 
combine ffi and f^ and read ni.T k31 ; this involves, as Du. perceives, the 
omission, which is supported by neither J^ nor ffi, of Sa before psD ; for 
Vy K3 in a friendly sense, cp. Ex 18^. — nx^pD] some MSS read -TNipo. — 
nmpD Vyi] fflr koX irdvTa tA ireptKi^xXy avrrjs (claimed by Oort as = n'B'njD), S (?) 
C7Lk5{3«» NIL, ^ n'wor n»a vik '?j;i, U «/ ubi invocatus est. ffi's Tdti'Ta may 
render Sv misread Sa, or Va may have been lost in J^ (cp. || pan Sa) ; Du. 
with less probability omits Sy altogether. The parallelism is improved if 
we suppose this clause originally stood after ddv. — '1 jB'yi] jry is perhaps a 
dittograph of py, and the two \ subsequent additions. — 5, 6. nna^Va-Vy '3 
n'nn naoi nsn] (K /cal irdcri; r^ 86^]? aKewaadi^erai Kal (ffrai. In ffi (TKeiraa- 
d-^<T€Tai (=130, Ex 40*- 2^) renders one of the words nsn and naoi, and has no 
equivalent for the other. Instead of n'nn, dSc probably read n\ni ; and this, 
moreover, is probably the true reading, for which n\nn was substituted after 
nao was erroneously separated from what precedes. From n'ni to the end of 
v.* is a well-balanced distich (4 : 4) of parallel lines ; though the balance 
would be imperfect if ®r is correct in omitting ddv : probably in this respect 
1^ is preferable to ffi, though it is possible DDV conceals a synonym to ^s — 
Yahweh will be a shade and a . . . from the heat ; note the writer's fondness 
for synonyms : see vv.^ *•• "^ and probably ^^, If the reading n'm be correct, 
the intrusive nature of nam nsjn maa-^a-Vy 'a is obvious. 



V. 

This chapter is in no sense a continuation of ch. 4 : from 
the Messianic hopes at the end of chs. 2-4 we return here to 
announcements of judgments in three very distinct and un- 
connected poems — (i) w.^-*^, the parable of the vineyard; 

VOL I. — 6 



82 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 




(2) vv.^-24, a collection of "woes"; (3) w.^^-si, the misplaced 
conclusion of 9'^-io* 



V. 1-7. — The Parable of the Vineyard, 

Special Discussions : — P. Cersoy, " L' Apologue de la Vigne," in Rev, Bibl,^ 
1899, pp. 2-12 ; P. Haupt, •* Isaiah's Parable of the Vineyard," AJSL xix. 
193-202. 

The rhythm of the poem can only be reduced to regularity by extensive 
omissions such as Haupt makes in reducing the whole to four stanzas, each 
consisting of four lines, each line containing four accents equally divided by a 
caesura. If the present text is substantially correct, the quality of the rhythm 
appears to change ; the light tripping effect of short lines (down to v.^^) gives 
place to longer and weightier lines in the grave and solemn application of the 
parable at the close. The following types of distich occur : 

2 : 2 in vv.^*- ^ (makkeph wm'B'K and nn-m'»), •• ^ (if 'h'r\''7\ be 
substituted for nn'^), **• »>• ^ •*. 




2c. d. 4a. b 



(?) ^- *» (makkeph 'JK'nts'K-nK) *^ <*. 



3 : 3 m w. 

3 : 2 in vv.i«- ^ (|§), 2e. f. Sa. b. 4». b (probably). 

4 : 2 in v.^- **. 

4 : 4 in vv.''*'* **• '■- *• (makkeph 'r"-n'a or omit niK3s). 

4 : 3 in vv.**' •> (if tdi'-k^ and myK*?! may each be read as one accent), 

1 Let me sing of my loved one, I pray, 

A song of . . . touching his vineyard. 

A vineyard belonged to my loved one 
On a fertile hill-top; 

2 And he opened up the ground, and cleared out its stones, 

And he planted it with the choicest vines ; 
And he built in its midst a tower, 

And hewed out in it also a wine-press; 
And he expected it to yield grapes, 

And it yielded — wildings. 

8 And now, ye dwellers in Jerusalem, 
And ye men of Judah, 
Judge, pray, between me 
And between my vineyard. 
* What remained to do for my vineyard 
That I had not done in it? 
Why when I looked for yield of grapes 
Yielded it — wildings? 






V. 1-7 83 

» And now, pray, let me acquaint you 
With what I shall do to my vineyard; 
1 will take away its hedge that it be depastured, 

I will make breaches in its walls that it be trampled down, 
* I will make it a waste, unpruned and unhoed, 
And it shall spring up with thorns and briars; 
And I will command the clouds 
That they rain no rain upon it. 

'' For the vineyard of Yahweh Sebaoth is the House of Israel, 
And the men of Judah the plantation in which he 

delighted ; 
And he expected justice, but, behold, bloodshed, 
Righteousness, but, behold, a cry! 

In J^ the poem is articulated as follows : v.^** \ introduction ; 
^"-^f the prophet's description of the vineyard ; ^"^, the speech 
of the owner of the vineyard which towards its close (v.^''- ^) 
somewhat clearly reveals the speaker to be Yahweh ; vJ, the 
prophet's interpretation of the parable. In ffi vv.^^- ^ also belong 
to the speech of the owner. 

The vineyard which has received all the care that any vine- 
yard could receive is Judah ; its owner, Yahweh ; the fruit it 
should have yielded, righteousness and justice ; the fruit actually 
yielded, violence and inhumanity. With great rhetorical effect- 
iveness the ultimate conclusion is left for the audience to draw 
for themselves — Yahweh will abandon Judah to destruction. 

With the theme of the parable, cp. the teaching of Amos 
at Bethel a generation before : see especially Am 3^. For 
other applications of the figure of the vineyard to Israel, see 
27^*, Jer 2^1 i2iof.^ Ps 8o»^-, Mt 2188^-. In the specific applica- 
tion of details, as of the tower in v.* to the Temple, of the 
wine-press to the altar, C (cp. Jerome) is mistaken. 

Possibly enough this poem was recited by Isaiah (cp. 
Introd. §§ 36 ff.) on a great national feast day : at the close of the 
vintage and in the Temple Courts he would easily have found 
men of the country as well as of the city — v.**- ^ : cp. Jer 36^. 
But the year in which the poem was either written or recited 
cannot be even approximately determined : the thoughts 
expressed in it may have occupied Isaiah's mind at almost any 
period of his life. Du. argues, inconclusively, that the parable 



84 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 




form indicates that the poem was written early, since later the 
audience would have guessed from the start the burden of the 
song; Hackm. (p. 123), that it was written late, when Isaiah, 
being long known as a prophet of evil, had to conceal his 
meaning in order to gain a hearing. An early date has been 
inferred by others rather on account of the early date, assumed 
or proved, of the neighbouring poems (chs. 2-4 5^"^®) than 
from anything in the parable itself. 

la. b. These lines are ambiguous, and the text not beyond 
question. — My loved one] Tl^ is used of Judah (Jer ii^^^ Ps 60^), 
and Benjamin (Dt 33^2^ ^s the loved one of Yahweh : cp. also 
Ps 1272. Here, if the text in v.^*' is correct, it must be applied 
to Yahweh : yet it is remarkable that Isaiah should use, even in 
parable, so familiar a term : poets of another race and temper 
may speak of God as " my darling," * but to Isaiah, Yahweh was 
the Holy One, the Lord, the Mighty One. If v.^*' is corrupt we 
might render in ^^ to my loved one^ i.e. Israel (cp. ffiFC, AV), or of 
my beloved (vineyard) : see below. That Tn^ in v.^* is Israel and 
in in v.i^ and by restoration in v.^*' is Yahweh, as Sta. {ZA W 
xxvi. 134) proposed, is very improbable. — The song of , . .] nn, 
left untranslated on account of its ambiguity, may be a synonym 
(cp. e.g. Ca i^^^-) of in"' in the previous line : in also means 
uncle, and is actually rendered here by Jer., though with obvious 
unsuitability, patruelis. In the pi. DHIT means love^ but always 
perhaps specifically sexual desire or its satisfaction : see Ezk 
158 2317^ Pr 7I8, Ca i^-* 410 5I. If we render the song of my 
beloved (MT, EV), then v.^* will imply that the loved one is the 
subject of the poem, or the person to whom it is addressed, ^^ 
that he is the author of the song and his vineyard the subject : 
this is awkward and improbable in itself; moreover, the next 
lines show that the friend is not the author, but the subject of 
the poem : he is spoken of in the 3rd pers. Di. indeed, though 
quite unsatisfactorily, attempts to meet this difficulty by suggest- 
ing that Isaiah has translated the words of the friend into the 
3rd pers. and so avoided making God recite a popular song (ct. 
272-6). — His vineyard^ fflc my vineyard. If we adopt ffi, and 
also the ist persons of (& in v.^, and assume further that 
"•in^fj in line c is a corruption, under the influence of the same 
word in the previous line, of ^7, that *in^ might be used of life- 
* E. G. Browne, A Year amongst the Persians, p. 490. 



V. I, 2 85 

less objects, and that *in was not limited to sexual desire, 
then, pointing ^llT we should have an excellent introductory 

couplet : 

Let me sing of the thing that I love. 

The song of my love for my vineyard. 

Then the entire song, so far as it treats directly of the vineyard, is 
in the first person : the prophet in reciting it seems at first to be 
referring to a vineyard of his own, and only towards the close 
does he allow it to be seen that he is speaking in Yahweh's 
name. But the difficulties of the v., and of the relation of f^ 
and (&J have as yet reached no solution. 

ia-2. The site of the vineyard is an isolated hill-top or hill, 
which catches all the sunshine : the soil is fertile. The owner 
has carefully turned the soil to increase its power to bear well, 
and cleared it of stones, an important process in the rocky, 
stony but potentially fruitful soil of Palestine; cp. Job 5^8, ct. 
2 K 3^'. On this well-chosen and well-prepared soil vines of 
choice stock have been planted, and something more than a 
mere temporary shelter (i 8), a permanent tower (cp. Mt 21^3), has 
been erected for the protection of the vineyard. Finally, a wine- 
press is hewn out in the rock to receive the juice of the grapes 
which ought to be the result of all this care. The actual crop 
consists of worthless berries. 

My loved one] possibly an error for to mei see last n. on 
v.^^ — A fertile hilltop] in Heb. idiom, which U renders literally, 
and after it, Wycliffe, a horn the son of oil. The use of pp, hom^ is 
paralleled by ^^.5, a small hill, or a part of a hill separated from 

the rest, and by Alpine names such as Gabelhorn, Matterhom ; 
with pK^, oil, for fatness, fertility, cp. D^3»K^ S"'i, 28^, and the use of 
the vb. in Dt 32^* ; and for the idiomatic use of " son," see BDB, 
s.v, 8. — 2. He opened up the ground] in NH the vb. pTV (here only 
in OT) means to turn over the ground, as, for example, under olive- 
trees (vn^T nnn pnyu^ 1KV»), or in a graveyard, to see whether bones 
remain there : see Levy, NHB, s.v. In Arabic the root occurs 
with a similar meaning. MT perhaps rightly treats the word as a 
Piel — he well, ox frequently, turned over the ground', ffiF, AV, he 
fenced it, anticipate a point that comes out in v.*. — Choicest 
vines] % Sore^ — apparently the name of a specially choice 
vine : cp. Jer 2^^\, The nonien unitatis PlplB^ in Gn 49^^!. — A 



86 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



wine-press] the Dp"* is strictly the lower trough into which the 
juice pressed out in the upper trough drained off; but it is 
sometimes used of the whole press: see EBi. 531 iff. The 
wine-press is hewn out^ i.e. in the solid rock, which in Palestine 
rises close to the surface of the soil and often crops out above 
it. — Wildings] U renders D''B'N3 (v.*!) by labruscas^ i.e. grapes 
that grow wild : and this is doubtless right. The root in Aram, 
means to be bad, evil^ in Heb. to have a bad smell. — 3. For the 
transition in 5^ at this point to the ist person, see above. Du. 
supposes that up till now the audience treat the matter as a joke, 
ask themselves, will the owner get rid of the vineyard to us, 
or turn it into pasture, or perchance try the experiment of 
planting it with wild vines. But the owner does not ask the 
audience what he should do : on this his mind is made up and 
communicated immediately (w.^*^-). He asks for their judgment 
on the vineyard, i.e. on themselves. Like David (2 S 12), they 
are driven to self-condemnation ; for they can only avoid self- 
condemnation by denying the applicability of the parable, i.e. by 
denying Yahweh's care (v.*^*- ^), or the present prevalence in 
Israel of violence and unrighteousness (7*'* ^). — 4. After this v., 
before the first and now of v.^ (cp. v.^), a pause may be assumed 
in which the audience silently allow that the owner had done all 
that was required for the vineyard, and that for the vineyard itself 
no excuse can be offered. — 5 f* Judgment on the vineyard : all 
protection, care, and attention to be withdrawn from it. V.* fills 
in fresh features of the picture. The vineyard had been pro- 
tected by a hedge such as those hedges of the prickly pear which 
form so efficient a protection to the gardens of modern Palestine 
— around Beirut or Gaza and elsewhere, and by a wall^ perhaps 
of stone (cp. Nu 22*). Hedge and wall will be removed, so 
that cattle and wild beasts will be no longer hindered from coming 
in to depasture and trample down ; cp. Ecclus 363^. Much of the 
present treeless character of Palestine is due to the grazing off 
of unprotected young shoots by goats : cp. 72*. — 6. All that 
the site, henceforth unpruned and untilled, will yield will be 
thorns and briars. Even rain will be withheld from it by 
command of the owner. — 7« ^^^ ^^ owner is Yahweh, who has 
power to withhold rain, and does do so as a punishment for wrong- 
doing: cp. Am 4'', Dt ii^^-i'^. — Bloodshed] the exact meaning is 
not quite certain : see phil. n. The word was probably a rare one 




V. 1-7 8; 

chosen to gain one of the two effective assonances of these final 
lines which cannot be satisfactorily represented in English — he 
looked for mispaf, and lo 1 mispahi.^ Jor ^dhakah, and lo I ^"akahy 
the cry especially of the wronged : see, e.g., Gn 27^, Ps 9^^ — The 
house of Israel] either (i) this refers (whether exclusively or in- 
clusively) to the northern kingdom, in which case the parable was 
composed before 722 b.c. ; but, in view of the distinct limitation 
to Judah in v.*, this seems a little improbable ; or (2) it is a 
synonym for Judah, as Israel perhaps is in i^ (op. 8^** ^* 31*, 
Mic I ^^'•, cf. I K 12^^); but this usage, though frequent enough 
later, was certainly, and naturally, rare before the Fall of Samaria. 

I. •'^^'•vh'] for the ) here and in iDnaV, q>. e.g. Gn 20", Ps 3*. (& apparently 
read TT^ without the suffix (r^ -^airrj/x^vifi). — iDia] C5 'Dna; see Comm. — 
'Tin rn'r] Lowth, whom many have followed, suggested wm 'v, a love-song^ 
which does not meet the difficulties mentioned above, and labours under the 
fresh difficulty that the song is scarcely a love-song in a general and unde- 
fined sense. — 2. inSpo'i] Piel privative : G-K. 52A. — 4. nwy'?] Dr. § 203. — 
WVHi . . . yiTO] for the interrogative affecting the entire chain of sentences, 
cp. 22^2 56". — 5. rw]i '3k] fuL instans : Dr. 135 (3). — non] the infin. Abs. is 
explained by G-K. 113^ as virtually dependent on the notion of willing 
implied in rw^ : by Kon. 400^, as in virtual apposition to the objec. irx. — 
nawD] in MT the a is dagheshed, which would suggest as the root "I3B' More 
probably (note wawplene) the 3 should be raphi^ as in Pr 1 5^^ and, with d 
for r, in Mic 7*. The root is -pr (Job i'», Hos 2^1) = TD (Job 32* 388), to 
shut in. — nna] the context is the best clue to the meaning of this word, which, 
if it occurs s^ain, occurs only in 7^'. In 7^ MT points niB3, here n^p ; if 
the words are from the same root and that root nna, the word should be 

punctuated here n^s. In Arabic c^-o means to cut off^ to cut, whence it is 

customary to explain n'na in 7^' as cut off, abrupt places, precipices, and nni 
here as end or destruction, and the whole phrase nna n'C as parallel to n'?D nry 
(10^), to make an utter end of . But this is all uncertain. The addition of 
the clauses 'in lOr k^ favours a rather different meaning, such as waste or 
derelict land. — 6. n*?!;] cp. 34^', Pr 24'^ — nsbo] ffi's avo^iiav, H iniquitas, 
are general renderings guessed from the context; % |jlj2)Q-Ajsj, rapine, 
plunder, is more specific. Del., though without reference to %, argues for 
such a meaning on precarious etymological grounds. If t? stands incorrectly 

for D (cp. (j-K. 6i), the word may be explained from the Arabic >^su^, to 
pour out, to shed (blood) : Lane, s.v., cites the phrase --Ia«j /•^>:>» there 

is shedding of blood between them. Cp. U»-yi*u^ L«t>, Kor. 6^"^. Cp. n'so, 

Is 37*' : also, if correctly read, Job 14^' and, in the Mishnah, n£0 of a river 
/^«r/«^ «?«/ alluvial soil (see Levy). Haupt proposes to read onk;'o = nnB'D, 
corruption, instead of nsro. 



88 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

V. 8-24. — A Collection of Denunciations. 

Six, or perhaps in the original text seven or more (cp; 
yy 14. 23 nn.)f classes of persons are successively threatened iri 
sections introduced by the word ''in, ah ! (v.^ n.). \ 

The third, fourth, and fifth sections are the shortest ; they 
consist of a single tetrastich, tristich, and distich respectively: 
each defines a class that is threatened, but indicates its fate by 
means of the ominous interjection alone. 

In the first, second, and sixth sections, not only the class but 
its punishment is described : the threat is introduced by Ah I the 
punishment by therefore^ in vv.^^- 2* and (by emendation) in v.*. 
So "'in is followed by pi^ in Am (^-^^ Mic 2^-^, Jer 22^^-^^ 2'^- 50^7, 
Ezk 133-8- 18-20 342-7, Since, however, in 28I 2^'^^, Jer 48I, Am 
5I8, Zeph 2*, Hab 2, no therefore follows ah I it is unnecessary 
to assume with Du. that a description of punishment so intro- 
duced must have fallen out of the text in sections 3, 4, 5. 

The rhythmical differences, as well as these differences of 
structure, suggest that the following sections are sayings uttered 
at different times, perhaps also memorised, or recorded by 
different disciples of the prophet, and then ultimately brought 
together by an editor on account of their beginning with the 
same interjection : cp. chs. 28-33, ^"<i the Beatitudes of the 
Gospels of which one at least of the two arrangements (Mt 58-12, 
Lk 620-26) must be due to an editor. 

It is customary to refer these sayings to an early period of 
Isaiah's life, and to assume that they refer to Judah. The 
latter assumption at least is probable, failing clear evidence to 
the contrary. Yet neither the dates at which nor the audience to 
which they were delivered can be considered absolutely certain. 

To facilitate the perception of differences of structure, 
the translation of all the denunciations is given together. 
Several re-arrangements have been suggested and are recorded 
by Giesebrecht, who himself suggests the following: iqI 5^8 
io2-4 ^8-10. 22. 11-13. 17-19. 14-16. 20. 21. 24 (^Bcitrdge, 21-23). No great 
probability attaches to any of these suggestions. 

Parallelism is conspicuous and the parallel lines balance perfectly, or give 
at least more the impression of balance than of echo : the distichs are certainly 
not for the most part 3 : 2 (Du.). The distichs are 3 : 3 in vv.i^^'- «• 2»- ^' \ 
and probably in ^^' «*• "• i»- " ; 4 : 4 in w.i«- "^ and probably 22 ; 5 : 5 in »»>. « ; 



V. 8-24 89 

6 : 6 (?) in ". In **• "*• ^* (cp. 28^ 31^ 33^) 'in forms no part of the balance 
of the distich : in ^^* it does. Cp. Sievers, 360 ff. 



I. 

8 Ah ! they that add house to house, 
That join field to field; 
Till there is no more room . . . 
... in the midst of the land. 
* * Therefore ' Yahweh of Hosts ' hath sworn * in mine ears : 
" Surely many houses shall become a desolation, 
Great and goodly (houses) without inhabitant ; 
^^ For ten acres of vineyard shall yield but one bath, 
And a homer of seed shall yield but an ephah.'* 

2. 

11 Ah I they that rise early in the morning in pursuit of 

strong drink. 
That tarry into the twilight while wine inflames them ; 
^2 Whose feast is wont to be (made merry with) lute and 

harp, timbrel and flute and wine, 
But who behold not the activity of Yahweh, 
And see not the work of his hands. 
*' Therefore my people hath gone into exile for lack of 

knowledge, 
And its nobility are dying of hunger, 

And its populace are parched with thirst 
• ••••••• 

" Therefore Sheol hath enlarged its appetite, 
And opened its mouth immeasurably wide. 
And her splendour and her populace shall descend 

(thither), 
And her tumult and (all) in her that (now) is exultant. 
^^ And man sinketh down and men are brought low, 

And the eyes of the exalted are brought low, 
1^ And so Yahweh of Hosts hath become exalted in judg- 
ment. 
And the Holy God hath shown himself holy in right- 
eousness. 
^^ And lambs shall graze . . . 

And ' kids ' shall feed upon the ruins. 



90 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 




1* Ah ! they that draw guilt (on themselves) with cords of 

ungodliness, 

And (the punishment of their) sin as with wagon-ropes; 

1* Who say, Let him speedily hasten his work that we may 

see, 

And let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel draw 

near and be fulfilled that we may know (it). 



^^' Ah ! they that call evil good and good evil, 

Making light into darkness and darkness into light, 
Making sweet into bitter and bitter into sweet. 




21 Ah ! they that are wise in their own eyes, 
And in their own sight intelligent. 



6. 

22 Ah ! the mighty topers of wine, 

And the valiant in mixing strong drinks, 

23 Who acquit the guilty in return for a bribe. 

And deprive the innocent of his acquittal. 
^ Therefore, as a tongue of fire devoureth stubble, 
And hay falls (to ashes) in the flame, 
Their root shall be as rottenness, 

And their blossom when it opens as dust 
^For they have despised the instruction of Yahweh of 

Hosts, 
And contemned the word of the Holy One of Israel. 

8-10. Denunciation of those who dispossess their neighbours 
of their homesteads in order to increase their own estates. 
Such dispossession, whether brought about by fraudulent or 
oppressive action (Mic 2^) or by purchase (cp. i K 21^''), cut 
deep into a strong religious feeling in favour of the perpetua- 
tion in the family of the family land. It is probable that 
religious feeling and the immediate appeal to the human 



V. 8-10 gi 

sentiment occasioned by evictions rather than a far-seeing percep- 
tion of the effect which the new fashion might have on the 
national economy, account for the common criticism of Isaiah 
and Micah : Micah appears to feel most keenly the sufferings of 
the evicted, Isaiah perhaps the effect on the powerful appropri- 
ators. But Yahweh has sworn, and Isaiah heard the oath, that 
these men who trust in the greatness of their estates, purchased, 
perhaps, with money gained in trade (cp. 2* n.), will find in them 
the cause of their own ruin. Deprived by Yahweh of its fertility, 
the land will yield no return, and will therefore swallow up the 
money spent on working it. — 8. AA/] cp. i* 28^ 29^ etc. — 7/7/ 
/here is no room . . .] left for any but these rich land purchasers, 
till the old yeoman class ceases to retain any position in the 
country. This is what the context suggests : whether it is ex- 
pressed by the two words which follow in ^, and which may be 
translated and ye are made to dwell alone^ is doubtful : see phil. n. 
— 9. Therefore Yahweh of Hosts hath sworn in my ears\ RV tacitly 
emends the text, but badly. J^ is certainly wrong ; it can only be 
translated in my ears is Yahweh of Hosts ^ which is nonsense, or in 
the ears of Yahweh of HostSy which would be obviously defective. 
(& goes far to support the conjecture adopted in the trans. : see 
phil. n. — In my ears] the prophet has heard Yahweh's threat. 
Am 3^". — 10. Ten acres] ten times as much ground as a yoke of 
oxen can plough in a day, will only yield one dathj i.e. about 
8 gallons of wine : and seed sown will only yield a ^^^th ; a ^omer 
= io~epIiahs, Ezk 45". 

8. unp' . . . 'y^JD] Dr. § 1 17 f.— Dipo osh ny] fK tva toG vXrjcriov itp^Xuvral ti 
— a paraphrastic rendering of perhaps the same words as now stand in |^. — 
□DnnV DDDB'ini] ffi fi^ oiKT^aere fjidvoi may imply very nearly the same letters as ^. 
But the sudden introduction of the 2nd pers. casts suspicion on |^ ; and it is 
very doubtful vv'hether the Hophal of ae" (Is 44^=/<? 6g inhabited) really meant 
to be a tandowner (Du.). — 9. nin» »3TK3] (ffir ^Koiadij yhp els rd (Bra Kvpiov, i.e. 
♦"' 'iJK3 HDtPi ?, which is obviously in itself unsuitable, but points to [l]3[S] 
'"' •'iiH2 ]12V3 as the original text (Marti) ; for the frequent confusion of D 
and a, cp. Driver, Samuel^ p. Ixviii. Note the formula of the oath Kf?"DK which 
follows. Others, on the ground of 22**, restore n^aa pV. — '"nox] for the closed 
syllable in the cstr. pi., see G-K. 93/w. 

II-13. Woe to those who give themselves up to carousals, 
drinking from early morning till late in the evening, made merry 
with music, and blinded by their gaieties to the work of 
Yahweh, or, as we might say, to the reality of the unseen. The 



92 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



4 



punishment of these wine-bibbers and gluttons will be hunger and 
thirst accompanying exile. Similar denunciations occur in Am 
6*^, and of women who drink in 4^ : cp. also Ecclus lo^^^- — 
Twilight] strictly the time when the (evening) breeze springs up : 
cp. Gn 3^. — Hath gone into exile] the perfect used with reference 
to a future irrevocably fixed. — 13. For lack of knowledge] cp. 
Hos 4^ ; for lack of the knowledge of God (cp. i^), which the 
leaders ought to have given, but had not, the whole people is 
doomed : a general captivity is imminent : cp. Am 6^. Possible 
also is the rendering without knowledge^ unawares^ i.e. in their 
intoxication they will fail to realise their fate : cp. Job 4^^. — Its 
nobility] or those held in honour : 11133 is abstract for concrete 
(cp. 3^^), and the sing. suf. refers to my people. — Dying with 
hunger] 3^1 ""riD, or '"i ""np (MT), men of hunger^ i.e. famished 
with hunger. — Its populace] or, the crowd thereof-, the entire 
people (1^), plebs* (^^*') as well as nobles (i^^), will suffer 
privation. For 1133 and jion as antithetic terms, see 16^*; and 
for jicn, meaning the undistinguished mass of people, 2 S 6^^ 
The crowd JIDH is so called from the noise {^x:iT^ of a multitude, 
and mostf give the word here a specific reference to the 
noisy revellers (cp. v.^*) of v.^^^ making the terms of ^*^* ° co- 
extensive instead of complementary. 

14. Therefore] cp. v.^^ ; the recurrence of therefore with no 
ah \ intervening suggests that a verse (beginning with ah !) has 
been lost at this point ; note also that there is nothing in v.^^ to 
which the four pronominal suffixes {her^ of v.^* can attach ; these 
pronouns doubtless refer to a city, probably Jerusalem. — 
Sheot] is personified as an insatiable (Hab 2^, Pr 30^^) monster 
ready to swallow up in an instant the whole of the gay city- 
throng (cp. 2 2^^-); but alongside of this personification, the 
belief in Sheol as a country under the earth makes itself felt ; 
the multitude go down into it : cp. Gn 37-'^^ — 15. A repetition, 
with some variation, of 2^'^^ ^- i^*-^ ; here probably out of place, as 
Eichhorn already perceived. V.^* speaks of men perishing, v.^* of 
their being brought low; and, unlike the rest of vv.^^^^ which 
speaks of definite classes, v.^^ refers to mankind in general. — 
16. Cp. 2^'^^^ but the resemblance here is much less close than in 
the previous v. Nevertheless many % consider that this v. also is 

* Du. t Hitz., Ew., Del., Di., Che., Marti. 

X Eich., Sta., Du., Che., Kit., Marti, Cond. 



V. II-I7 93 

interpolated ; yet it would not be impossible to discover a con 
nection between v.^* and v.^* : the holiness of God is revealed 
through His righteousness, His righteousness through His judg- 
ment on His own people and city (v.^^), who have violated His 
demands for justice and humanity (cp. 5^). — 17. A picture of 
desolation, which once perhaps immediately followed not v.^® * 
but v.^*, forming its sequel : on the desolate site of the once busy 
and exultant city, cattle now feed : cp. 17^ 32^^ The point of the 
V. is clear from the words. And lambs shall graze . . . and (on) 
ruins . . . shall . . . feed : the other words are uncertain ; but 
probably kids (cp. C&) was the subject of the 2nd vb. Line b f^ 
is commonly understood to mean, (Shepherd-)wanderers shall 
feed^ i.e. cause their flocks to feed, on the ruins, which were once 
the home of the fat, i.e. of the prosperous persons ; but this is 
impossible ; not to speak of other improbabilities, D''"IJ does not 
mean wanderers. The corruption of D^li (ffli), kids, into D^"i3 (5^), 
sojourners, may be not unconnected with an early allegorising 
interpretation which may even underlie ffir, " and they that were 
spoiled shall feed like bulls, and lambs shall devour the wastes of 
them that were led away," and appears clearly in 21^, " and the 
righteous shall feed, as was said concerning them : they shall 
multiply, and the righteous shall possess the substance of the 
unrighteous." Jer. gives a Christian turn to the allegory, " Tunc 
qui fuerunt de agnorum numero non haedorum pascentur in 
Ecclesiae pratis." Finally, Rashi (abbreviated) — " the poor will 
now come to sojourn {yd^p) in the houses of the rich who had 
oppressed them, and will devour their portion." These are 
interesting examples of interpretation eliciting the exact opposite 
of the writer's intention. 

II. ipaa 'D'3BTD] cstr. before a prep. ; G-K. 130a. — op'^i*] Dr. § 163. — 
12. D.TJiB'D] sing. ; G-K. 93JJ. — 13. nyi »V3d] for the causal p, cp. Dt 9**. — 
'09] MT seems to embody a late interpretation ; ffitZT^U all imply 'Cp. 
With MT, cp. Kir 'no and p« 'no, Job 11" 22^^ Hitzig's suggestion to read 
here niD after Dt 32^ (itself doubtful) has found considerable favour. — 14. 
nrsj] trsj, appetite, as 29^, Pr 23^. — '3 B'npj] to show oneself holy in or by means 
of: Nu 20^^ (P) and several times in Ezek. , e.g. 28^* ^. — 17, D^a^^] (K (is raOpoi, 
i.e. Dn3N3. V {juxta ordinem suum), Rashi, Ki., AV, give "OT the meaning 
oi manner (cp. e.g. Dt 15^^) — feeble and improbable; modem scholars, since 
Ges., have commonly assumed that '\2i = ')2iD, pasture (cp. \i^^ feld), and 

• Ew., Guthe, Cond. 



^ 



94 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



4 



rendered as in their pasture, i.e. freely ; but in Mic 2^t, where nm, pasture (?) 
is supposed to occur, the text is very doubtful. Marti proposes naiDa. — 
i'?DK' nnj D'nD nmni] corrupt ; for ona ^, (& read ona, kids (dpves, cp. &pva = 
nj, Ex 23^* etc. ) ; and this was not suggested by d'?'??, lambs, in the parallel 
clause, since ffi there renders dnjpTrcurfi^uoi, i.e. Q'^^^. Whether even Cii 
is the original text, or a note explaining /a/Zz^^j- (?), D'nD (Du. ) is not quite 
certain ; but on the whole the simple term kids is a more likely parallel to 

/amds. For the meaning of D'Hof, cp. D'n*D (nhSiy) Ps 66*'' t : ;^^y^, to contain 

marrow, be fat ; (nb), marrow. D'nD may be a corruption of Dn'[n3nn], or the 
like. Unless a word has dropped out in a (see Marti), b should contain only 
three words, i.e. either ona or D'no is superfluous. 

18, 19. Woe to those who give themselves up to sin in the 
belief that Yahweh will not punish them. — Who draw guilt] 
with its punishment near to themselves by their carelessness : 
for "|K^D and the parallel terms cords, wagon-ropes, see Hos 1 1*. 
The figure of v.^^ is heightened in '^^^ : wagon-ropes are strong, 
unbreakable. — 19. Scepticism with regard not to God's existence, 
but the reality of His moral government (cp. v.^^), underlies this 
mocking speech; cp. Ps lo^*^ 36^"*. Possibly v.^^ has lost an 
initial ^VT ; it is rhythmically unlike v.^*. 

20. Woe to those who deny the reality of moral distinctions \ 
ct. 32^ — 21. Cp. 28^' 29!*^ — 22 f. If these verses are really 
connected they condemn those who drink heavily and also 
pervert justice. Isaiah might very well have pronounced woe 
on those who go fuddled into court (cp. 28^^), but this is not 
what is done here : these persons acquit the guilty not because 
they are too intoxicated to see who is guilty and who innocent, 
but because they have taken a bribe from the guilty party ; cp. 
1^3, Ex 23^. It is forced, too, to assume that the line of thought 
is — Drinking is expensive, and bribes are necessary to pay the 
bill. Drunkenness has already been denounced, v.^^; some 
transpose v.^s to follow v.^^. — The valiant in mixing strong 
drinks'] Heady mixtures are also referred to in Ca 8^, Pr 238O ; 
and the spiced wines used by the modern Jews of Hebron and 
Jerusalem are such mixtures. See Kennedy in EBi., Wine, § 29. 
The sin denounced is certainly not that of mingling water with 
the wine ! (Del.). — The guilty . . . the innocent] not the wicked 
. . , the righteous (RV); here as in Dt 25I ytn — pnv retain 
their original forensic sense. — 24. Quickly as chaff and stubble 
catch fire and are reduced to ashes, will judgment fall on those 



V. i8-24, 25-30 95 

who have neglected to comply with Yahweh's expressed will. 
This judgment is not closely related to the sins denounced in 
w.22f. . the cause for it is given in what follows in lines c and f. 
Thus the v. has a distinct character, and it may not have reached 
us in its original form (Du.). Note, too, that the judgment is 
described figuratively (c, d); and enforced by comparison with 
another and discordant figure (a, b). — Their root shall be as 
rottenness^ etc.] stock and shoot will become worthless, the stock 
will rot, and the fruit grow mouldy. Cp. Am 2®, Hos 9^*, Mai 3^^ 
and Eshmunazar's curse " Let them have no root below or fruit 
above" {CIS'i, 11. 11, 12). The ms is the budding shoots or 
foliage (Nah i*), the bud or blossom (18*). — For they have 
despised, etc.] Cp. i*. 

x8. Line a is longer than b ; Da. would supply a vb. i| to *avD ; Sievers 
would omit nKBn, thereby making v." a single line of 6 accents. — 20. jn^] ^ 
as in v.*. — 23. o'p'i:*] read p"^^ with (& : note the || ;?n and the following 
UDD. — 24. rK prS rp V3K3] the obj. of the infin. first, then the subj. : a rare 
cstr., G-K. ii5>&. — nzrh vvTi\ flaming hay (Kon. iii. 306c); or nan^ is ace. 
—CiSa/' (sinks down) into (or, as) flame (Marti).— nn*] Dr. §§ 117, X18. 



V. 25-30. — 77ie Final Destruction of Ephraim* 

yy^26<i-29 contain the conclusion to 9^-10* ; the translation and 
critical discussion will be found on pp. 177 fif. Some attribute 
yy 26a-c and 80 also to that poem : more probably they are fragments 
or editorial additions. 

25a-c. The rhythm is obscure (see Sievers), or lacking ; but 
the opening words of the v. may be a distich 4:4: 

Wherefore the anger of Yahweh was hot against his people. 
And he stretched out his hand against him and smote him. 

Wherefore\ this v. is not needed to give the consequence of 
y 246. f fQj ^2X has been already stated in v.^^*^. Moreover, the 
judgment in v.^ is complete — the people are there described as 
being destroyed root and branch ; but v.^s* even in itself and still 
more as leading up to vv. 20-29 describes a partial judgment — a 
destructive but not an absolutely annihilating earthquake : — the 
mountains quaked, and their corpses became like refuse in the midst 
of the streets. — Against him'\ the people : ct. their in c. 



96 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



I 



Y 25a-c jj^j^y ]u,g aj^ editorial link to prepare the way for ^^' * by indicating 
a partial judgment that has not exhausted Yahweh's power to punish ; it 
seems to be in part educed from the refrain itself and in part built up with 
the help of frequently repeated details of theophanies and judgments : with 
the quaking mountains, cp. 13'^"^*, Am 8^, Mic i**', Nah i^ etc., with corpses 
abandoned in the streets, Jer 9^^ 16^ 25^, Zeph i^^ : so Giesebrecht, Beitrdge^ 
p. 9. Others {e.g. Du. ) hold that ^*'*' is part of a lost strophe of the poem. 

^^'di-Tl^. Conclusion of p"^-!©*. — 25d. e. The refrain of 
a lost strophe, or of the last strophe in 9'^-io*. — His anger 
turned not bacJi\ cp. 12^ Jer 4^, Hos 14^, Ps 85^ etc. — His hand 
is still stretched out] to smite and to destroy : cp. Ex 9^^, 2 S 24^^. 
— 26-29. This last strophe describes the final destruction of 
Ephraim : a nation from the end of the earth is depicted 
advancing swiftly, irresistibly on the doomed nation; Ephraim 
will resemble the prey of a lion whereof nothing is rescued (ct. 
Am 3^2) . it will perish utterly, and none will remain to provoke 
Yahweh's anger further. At the end of this strophe, the refrain 
(y 25d. e^^ which closes all the other strophes of the poem, would 
clearly be out of place. 

It has been commonly supposed that Isaiah without naming 
them refers to the Assyrians (cp. Am 6^*), the only people on his 
horizon that satisfy the terms used. Gressmann (pp. 174 ff.), 
indeed, has argued that the description does not strictly apply to 
the Assyrians, that it was not written from Isaiah's knowledge 
of them and their methods, but was derived from the stereotyped 
indefinite descriptions of the Destroying Army which formed 
a feature of the (hypothetical) pre-prophetic Eschatology. It is 
true that there is nothing so distinctive in the description that 
it might not have been applied by later writers to other invaders 
— Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, or Romans; but 
this is not strange in a brief poetical description of an expected 
invasion. That there is anything actually unsuitable to the 
Assyrians is a conclusion which appears to rest on prosaic 
interpretation (see v.^^b n.). 

26a. b. Yahweh summons a nation in arms from the ends of' 
the earth. — A signal] cp. nio. 12 jga- placed on a bare height 
such a signal was conspicuous afar. In Nu 21^^- D3 signifies 
a \o{ty poky in Ezk 27^", Is 33^^ apparently a sail ox pennon ^ here 
probably a lofty pole with a flag attached. — A nation afar off] 
so ffir ; J^ nations afar offy a reading which has arisen accident- 
ally (see phil. n.), or is due to a scribe who wished to assimilate 




V. 25-29 97 

to 11^* or to introduce the plurality of nations to which later 
writers frequently refer. |^ has been explained of the nations 
united in the Assyrian army (cp. 14^^ ly^^f. j^Tf. ^q28 ^^s^^ qj. ^s 
a conventional eschatological usage (Gressmann). But the 
correctness of the reading of dSt is proved by the consistent use 
of the singular, rendered by plurals in RV, throughout the rest 
of the strophe. The term nation afar off (pniDO ^W) is applied 
in Jer 5^* to another people, probably the Scythians. On the 
idea of distance, see 10^ n. — Whistle for ii\ summon it; 7** n. 
— From the end of the earth] cp. Jer 6^2. The centre of the 
Assyrian empire lay some thirty days' journey from Palestine. 
Du., Di., and others infer that Isaiah's earth was a small one ; 
Gressmann (p. 176), that he here uses the phrase because it was 
a technical eschatological expression. Both conclusions are 
precarious : Isaiah was a poet. — 26 c-27 a. Assyria comes with 
all speed, but without fatigue. With the way in which, while 
speaking of the entire armed nation as a single personality (cp. 
Numbers^ pp. 265 f.), Isaiah yet thinks of the individuals 
composing it, cp. Dt 25^^, Remember how Amalek . . . fell in 
with thee, and smote at thy rear all those that were fagged (for 
there were such), seeing that thou {i.e. the entire body of the 
Israelites) wast faint and weary. — 27b. // slumbers not nor sleeps] 
the line is not improbably intrusive (see p. 177), though it is 
rather prosaic of Du. to insist that it must be so because the 
words could apply to God only (Ps 121^). — 27c. d. The army is 
all trim, and, 28a. b, its weapons ready. — Its bows bent] as they 
would be only on the point of being used. For the bows and 
arrows of Assyrian armies, see 21^* 22^ 37^^; of other armies, e.g. 
Jer 5^^. — 28c. d. The cavalry, too, of the Assyrians (cp. 22^^- 
36*) sweeps on unhindered and with the pace and onset of the 
whirlwind. — Its horses' hoofs are like flint] horses were not shod, 
and therefore hard hoofs were a highly prized virtue in them : 
Ges. compares the ^^(pXKOTto^ lttttoi of Homer, and gives other 
classical and Arabic illustrations. — Its wheels like the whirlwind] 
cp., in a similar description, Jer 4^* ; in Is 66^* Yahweh's chariots 
are compared to the whirlwind, which leads Gressmann to 
consider the present description " fabulous " : poetical rather, 
like the dcAAoTroScs tTTTrot, "horses with feet as swift as the 
storm," of the Homeric Hymn {in Ven. 217), or Fitzgerald's 
" I came like water, and like wind I go." — 29. The form of the 
VOL. I — 7 



98 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 




text is suspicious, see phil. n., but the sense is clear. The 
noise of the advancing army, compared in 1 7^2 to the tumult of 
mighty waters, is here compared to the dread (Am 3^) roar (njfc^K^) 
of a lion (cp. Jer 2^\ Ps 74*) ; the figure thus introduced is de- 
veloped, and the utter destruction of Israel to which the poem 
works up as its climax is expressed, by the statement that the lion 
(Assyria) growling (onr) seizes (THK"'), or holds fast {o.^^. W. R. Smith 
Proph.^, p. 24) its prey (Israel), whom no one attempts to deliver. 

26. piniD D'W^] D*u may be an error for *u through dittography of D, or 
read pmOD *M^ (Roorda, al. mult. ) : cp. Jer 5^* ; after the words had been 
wrongly divided the scriptio plena was inserted inpm. — ^p r\'\r\xi\ cp. mrsD ^p, 
Jl 4* : mno is adverbial, Vp ace. of the state — hastily as a fleet one, — 28. is] 

flinty thus pointed here only, but cp. nx and Arab. Aj. — v^J^ai urra] read 

rather with (K vSaVa urw (so Sievers) : this balances the lines better ; "% is 
due to dittography of the \ — 29, 30a. There are several considerations 
which justify suspicion as to the correctness of the text: (i) The Hebrew 
variant JNen, y»xr in v.^** ; (2) the virtual repetition of the first word of v.*** 
in "^^ (JNB" naKB') : (3) the undue shortness of one of the four lines of v.* — 
of 2«bj if D.nn be thrown forward to ", or of * if this line is limited to S"^ pKi ; 
(4) the position of onj'i in f& after mK'i ; (5) certain other features of (ffi: : 
thus 1^ naKB' = d/>7tw<rti' (al. opjMuxnp), but iHtff''='jrap4<rTr)Kav ; tj'^S'i = ^*r)3aXet, 
whereas ^/c/SdXXetJ' nowhere else=DVs; in Is 2^ it renders I'Vcn ; in 22^^, 
•^es^is ; (6) the improbable meaning that has to be attached to tt'?S'i in the 
present text. There is no means of restoring the exact form of the text, nor 
is it very necessary, for the sense is sufficiently established, jkk" is not 
improbably a gloss on, or variant of, '^ njNC. — a''?3'i] this is supposed to mean 
carries off into security y i.e. the lion carries oflf the prey to a place where it 
may eat undisturbed. But the sense of escape^ deliverance is so prominent in 
the uses of the root that it is very doubtful whether the Hiphil expressed the 
very opposite. 

30. The succession of intelligible distichs of regular rhythm 
leading up to a climax and a conclusion in v.^^, is here followed 
by some exceedingly obscure sentences. Rhythm is not obvious, 
but is certainly different from that which prevails in w.^^-^^. 
, Render : And he will growl over him in that day as the growling of 
the sea ; and if he looks to the earthy then lot distressful Q^ darkness^ 
and the light has grown dark in the clouds (??) thereof There are 
two main theories of interpretation : (i) Some, including Del., 
consider that the subject and object of the growl are the same as 
the subject and object in w.^^-^s : Assyria growls, and Israel hears 
the ominous sound. The growl, and the unrelieved darkness on 
which the eyes of the prey rest, imply the doom of Israel. On 




V. 26-30, VI. 99 

this interpretation v.*® is parallel to v.^*^ ^ ; it does not carry the 
thought as far as v.^^' • ^ ; for this reason, v.^® would probably be 
a parallel, not belonging to vv.^c'-^^. (2) Others * consider that 
the subject changes : it is Assyria here against whom the growl 
is uttered, and Assyria whose outlook is unrelieved gloom. In 
this case it is equally difficult to believe that v.^ is the original 
sequel to v.**. 

»33i] Piel or Niph. Elsewhere Heb. always uses the Hiph. of this vb. 
Du. has pointed out the similarity to 8'^ of v.^^ (J^), and the still greater 
similarity of v.**^ ffi, which omits iB'n niKi. That the two passages are not 
unrelated is probable ; that a process of assimilation has gone on is also 
probable. Under the circumstances it is safest to question, or accept very 
tentatively, the strange interpretations that have been offered of 5**. »]ny is 
probably a mere corruption (cp. 8^ and fflr in both passages). The accentua- 
tion and punctuation of MT niKi "xa iB'n embodies an old interpretation (noticed 
by Rashi) which took mKi n!« together ia& = moon (n:f = nnD !) and sun, Cond., 
making one or two emendations, attaches 8^*^ ^' ^ to ^-''^, 

VI. The Vision and the Call of Isaiah. 

There is no reason to question the impression conveyed by 
this chapter that we are here reading the prophet's autobiography, 
from which we have further extracts in S^-^^ and, perhaps, in 
yi-16 'pijg narrative is in prose ; the words spoken by the 
seraphim and by Yahweh are in poetical form, perhaps also the 
words of the seraph in v.'^. The interrogations of Isaiah in w.^* * 
are too brief to show poetical form, and the rhythmical quality of 
his first startled cry in v.* is not obvious ; the words may be 
read as three lines (so in Kittel's text) of six accents each, but 
without parallelism ; Du. divides them into four words of unequal 
length. Cond. remarks : " Le style rhythm^, propre k la solennit^ 
des oracles, convient mal \ la spontaneity de ce cri d'effroi," 
which has some force, and would have more if the cry at the 
time formulated itself in spoken words, and if Isaiah necessarily 
repeated verbatim in his narrative written subsequently the 
words he heard, or the words he uttered, at the time of the 
vision. The translation distinguishes the words that seem more 
clearly poetical in form. 

^ In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting on 
a throne that was lofty and uplifted, and his skirts filling the 

* Du., Marti; cp. E. 





100 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

Temple. ^ Seraphim were standing above him : each had six 
wings — two to cover the face, two the feet, and two to fly with. 
3 And they kept calling to each other, and saying. 

Holy, holy, holy is Yahweh of Hosts, 
The whole earth is full of his glory. 

* And the foundations (?) of the threshold trembled at the voice 
of them that called, and the House began to fill with smoke. 

^ And I said, " Woe is me ! for I am undone ; for I am a 
man of unclean lips, and am dwelling in the midst of a people of 
unclean lips : for it is the King, Yahweh of Hosts, whom mine 
eyes have seen." ® Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a 
red-hot stone in his hand, which with tongs he had taken off" the 
altar, '' and with it he touched my mouth, and said, Lo ! this has 
touched thy lips : thy iniquity will pass away (from thee), and 
thy sin will be expiated. ^ And I heard the voice of the Lord, 

saying, 

Whom shall I send? 

And who will go for us? 

And I said, Here am I : send me. • Then he said. Go, and 
say unto this people, 

Hearken on, but understand not! 
See, yea, see, but perceive not! 

1* Make dull the heart of this people, 

And make its ears heavy, and plaster over its eyes; 
Lest it see with its eyes and hear with its ears. 
And its heart understand, and it be healed once more. 

11 And I said : How long, O Lord ? And he said, 
Until they lie waste — 

Cities without inhabitant 

And houses without human beings — 
And the ground be left a desolation; 

12 And Yahweh remove men far away, 

And the forsaken places in the land be many: 
18 And though a tenth yet (remain) in it : 
It must again be exterminated. 
Like an oak or a terebinth, wherein at the felling is a stump. 

On a day within a few months of the death of Uzziah, 





VI. lOI 

though whether before or after that event is uncertain, Isaiah 
came up to the Temple. And falling into an ecstasy, he saw 
and heard more than he had been wont to see and hear — things 
that others who were present that day in the Temple Courts 
neither saw nor heard : he saw Yahweh in kingly state ; in His 
Holy presence he felt his own uncleanness ; he realised the 
power of Yahweh to forgive immediately without sacrifice or gift 
on man's part (ct. i"-^*) ; he heard, understood, and obeyed His 
call to service. 

This is record oi fact] but the fact is spiritual experience, 
which must be described, though inadequately, by means of 
material terms and pictures. 

The central fact is the decision of the prophet to deliver 
Yahweh's message to His people ; and this decision was taken on 
a single particular day. Yet, though we cannot be certain, we 
may somewhat safely assume that the vision of Yahweh, bring- 
ing with it the clear apprehension on the prophet's part of 
Yahweh's purpose concerning him, was the culmination of a 
longer experience; not, we may well believe, for the first time 
on that day had he felt his own unworthiness, or contrasted the 
moral uncleanness of his people with the ethical holiness of 
God (vv.*- ^) ; he had been anxious to speak to his people, but 
had not yet been sure of the divine commission to speak, nor 
certain what to say. Some such experience before the call is 
suggested, if not by one or two details in the account of the 
day of decision, yet certainly by the analogy of the experience 
of other great religious personalities — of Mohammed, for 
example, who had long felt that his people were astray from 
God before the particular day when the call came to him, 
" Recite, in the name of thy Lord, recite " ( Kor. 96^). 

It is not only probable that the narrative thus presupposes 
a religious experience of which it records the culmination, but it 
is possible that, as some have supposed, it is coloured by the 
prophet's experience after the day of decision. It is generally 
held, and certainly probable, that this account of his call was not 
written by Isaiah immediately after the event, but some years 
later, when it was natural to define the year to which the record 
refers. It may be then that the terms of the divine commission 
in vv.^*^ reflect the discouraging effect on Isaiah of years of 
fruitless warning (but see below). 




I02 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

1-4. The Vision. — I. In the year that king Uzziah died] 
for this method of dating, see 1428, and cp. KAT\ p. 323. The 
Hebrew year ran from autumn to autumn {EBi. 5365). Between 
two autumns King Uzziah died : between the same two autumns 
Isaiah received his call. That is all that can be inferred with 
certainty from the clause. It leaves the question open whether 
Isaiah received his call before (cp. i^) or after Uzziah's death. 
Early Babylonian usage defined the remainder of a year after 
the accession of a new ruler as " the year in which N. [the new 
ruler's predecessor] entered into the house of his father " : later, 
when the system of numbering the years of a king from the 
1st of Nisan after his accession prevailed, i.e, from about 1500 
B.C., the broken year before that ist of Nisan was known as 
" the beginning of his reign " (E. Meyer, Gesch. d, Alterthums\ 
I. ii. pp. 330 f.). If Hebrew usage followed contemporary 
Assyrian usage, Isaiah's call took place before the death of 
Uzziah. Uzziah died within a few years of 740 b.c. : some 
time before 735 (cp. 7^), but after 738, if Uzziah (Azariah) is 
correctly identified with the Azriyau of Jaudi mentioned by 
Tiglath-pileser in his annals of the year 738. If that identifica- 
tion is fallacious (see Introduction), Uzziah's death may have 
occurred before 740, yet not so early as 753 (Jerome, cp. 
T>q\.).— Uzziah] so (in>Ty) i^ 7^, 2 K 1532.34^ 2 Ch 261^- 272, and 
(nny) 2 K 1513-30, Hos i^, Am i\ Zee 14^, perhaps also Uzzah 
(2 K 2118-26); but Azariah (nnry), 2 K 1421 15I. 7. i7. 23. 27^ j q^ 
312, and (innry) 2 K 156- ». Unless the king bore both names, 
the distribution of the evidence in OT favours Uzziah. Azariah 
would be confirmed if the identification of this king with Azriyau 
of Jaudi (last note) were certain. 

/ saw the Lord] There is no elaborate description of the 
divine being here (cp. Am 7^ 9I; ct. Ezk i, Dn 7^); but the 
very terseness heightens the impression that is given of the 
ideas that dominated Isaiah at this moment; he is absorbed 
with the thought of the kingliness of Yahweh ; he sees nothing 
but Yahweh enthroned : his eyes cannot linger on the divine 
face (cp. Ex 33^^'^^), they fall instinctively to the skirts of His 
robes which fill the Temple, — On a throne] Isaiah, like Micah 
the Morashtite (i K 22^^), sees Yahweh in kingly state, enthroned 
on a conspicuously lofty throne. — His skirts] this, however 
aesthetically unsatisfactory in English, and not train (RV), is the 




VI. 1-4 I03 

• 

correct rendering of O^b)^; for the D^inB^ are the loose-flowing 
parts of the robe or upper garment (i'^VD, Ex 28^), especially the 
part from the waist downward (cp. Jer 1322.26^ ^ah 3*); here the 
word is used of the robe as it flows down over the knees of 
Yahweh seated on the throne, and reaches to and covers the 
floor. This boldly anthropomorphic touch was euphemised 
away by the ancient translators : (& renders Ais glory (cp. Jn 
12^1), 2r the brilliance of his glory, U (following Symm., Theod.) 
quae sub ipso erant. Ibn Ezra gains the same end by an interest- 
ing, though improbable, explanation ; he refers the suffix to the 
throne, and sees in the skirts the loose hanging draperies with 
which it is " the custom of kings " to have their thrones covered. 
Filling the Temple\ i.e. covering the entire floor, unless, indeed, 
we could suppose with Jer. and some Jewish commentators that 
the throne was lifted up high above the Temple, and that the 
Temple itself was filled by the flowing skirts ; but had this been 
the meaning, covering the Temple would seem the more appropri- 
ate description. — The Temple'] in Hebrew, as in Sumerian (e-gal), 
from whence through the Assyrian (e-kallu) the Hebrews 
borrowed the word, iaST denotes primarily a great house, a royal 
residence, a palace (i K 21^, 2 K 20^', Pr 3028) j \^yj^^ \^ actual 
usage it more frequently refers to the " House of Yahweh " or 
Temple, whether to the whole (i S i® 3*, 2 K 23* 24^^, Hag 2^^, 
Neh 6^*'), or the front and larger chamber (i K 6^^^, Ezk 41^) as 
distinguished from the smaller inner chamber (l*m). In one 
passage clearly (Ps 11*), in others (Mic i', cp. vv.*^, Ps 18^ 29*, 
cp. wv}^') probably, the term i)3M is used of Yahweh*s heavenly 
residence; but in none of these passages is the sense temple 
rather than palace required. At a later period the idea of a 
Temple in heaven was familiar in certain Jewish pircles ; this can 
be first traced clearly at the end of the 2nd cent B.a (Test. Levi 
5I), and then frequently in John's Apocalypse (e.g, 'j\ ct. n^®). 
That such an idea existed in Israel in the time of Isaiah there 
is no direct proof, and the attempt to prove the early existence 
in Babylonia of such an idea has so far met with doubtful 
success. But even though such an idea may have been 
familiar to Isaiah, and though, in that case, he might have used 
the term f)3\T of the heavenly as well as of the earthly Temple, it 
is not to any such heavenly temple, as many * have supposed, 
* E, Koppe, Del., Di., Jeremias (ATAC^, p. 565, BNT6S). 




104 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

that Isaiah here refers, but to the Temple of Jerusalem * which 
was daily before his eyes. He sees in vision no strange and 
unfamiliar scene, but a long familiar scene transfigured. This 
interpretation is favoured by (i) the unqualified reference to the 
temple and the altar (v.^), contrasted with the careful qualification 
(" the temple that is in heaven ") of such writers as the authors 
of the Testaments and the Apocalypse of John, and (2) by the 
analogy of the visions of Amos (9^), where an earthly altar and an 
earthly temple are unmistakably the scene of vision, and of 
Ezekiel (8^ 10*). Nor can it be safely urged in favour of the 
alternative interpretation, that "the presence of the seraphim 
is a sufficient indication that the scene is in heaven . . if Elisha's 
servant, when his eyes were opened, saw horses and chariots of 
fire in Dothan (2 K 6^'^), Isaiah, with eyes open in vision, might 
well see seraphim in Jerusalem. It is indeed the very fact that 
he sees Yahweh holding court in Jerusalem that gives full point 
to his alarm ; it is the actual presence of the Holy One of Israel 
in the midst of Israel and not remote in heaven that spells 
doom to the unclean people ; the sinners in Sion must needs be 
alarmed (cp. 33^*)." t A persistent Jewish exegetical tradition, as 
represented indirectly by Jer. and directly by Rashi, explains 
that Isaiah saw Yahweh " sitting on his throne in heaven with 
his feet in the (earthly) Temple, ' the footstool of his feet ' " 
(Rashi); cp. "non ipse Dominus implebat Templum cuius 
coelum thronus est et terra scabellum pedum eius . . sed ea quae 
sub pedibus eius erant implebant Templum " (Jer.). — 2. Beside 
Yahweh stand seraphim : since He is seated and they stand- 
ing, they rise adove him — not //, viz. the Temple (Jer.). Each 
seraph has six wings (cp. Rev 4^), one pair to screen their faces 
from the unbearable brightness of the divine presence (cp. Ex 3*, 
1 K 19^^), one to conceal their feet, i.e. their nakedness (so 
720 36^2 K^re; cp. "their bodies," Ezk i"), from the divine eye 
(Ex 2o26 28'^2ff.)^ and one to use in flight (cp. y.^). Again, Isaiah 
only particularises what closely concerns him at the moment. 
His allusions to the seraphim serve to emphasise his thought of 
Yahweh's majesty and kingliness ; if these lofty and superhuman 

*Lowth, Ges., Du., Cheyne {SBOT i^SL), Skinner, Whitehouse. 

t Cited from an article by the present writer, "The Heavenly Temple 
and the Heavenly Altar " {ExJ>., May, June, 1908, pp. 385-402, 530-546), in 
which the points summarised in the text are discussed at length. 




VI. 2 I05 

beings must screen their faces, how much more mortals (cp. Job 
4^''^^') : so again not slowly with feet, but with the rapidity of 
flight they move to do Yahweh's bidding, ffi represents the 
seraphim as standing round Yahweh {kvkXu} avrov), feeling 
perhaps that the majesty of Yahweh requires that He should, 
even when seated, tower above His attendants. But to Isaiah, 
Yahweh appeared majestic in size and attended by beings 
equally colossal. It is unnecessary to press the sense of loy so 
as to insist that the seraphim stood on their feet (though see 
next clause) : the vb. is certainly used of objects or beings 
without feet (Nu 14^*). But the attempt made by Del., Di., Che. 
(in /V), and others to prove that it means " to hover," is not 
successful. 

Many interesting questions are raised by this description which it was no 
concern of Isaiah's to satisfy, and which modem investigation has only 
partially illumined. What was the form of the seraphim ? Were they human ? 
Were they serpentine? How many were attending Yahweh? As to their 
form : they stand (^Dy, see above), and have feet (v.^) and hands (v.*), and 
therefore, if originally connected with serpents, they have acquired non- 
serpentine characteristics. Beings half human half animal in appearance 
figure in later descriptions (Ezk i. Rev 4'). The connection of the 
seraphim with serpents is suggested by the name itt, which, meaning io 
burity is used in Nu 2i"' of serpents, apparently so called from the burning 
sensation produced by their bite (see Numbers^ p. 277), and in Is 14^ 30* of 
flying serpents (|| trnj, npsK). According to 2 K 18*, at the time of Isaiah's 
vision there still stood (probably in the Temple Court) the bronze serpent, 
or seraph, the erection of which popular tradition attributed to Moses (Nu 
21^*) ; on this object Isaiah's eye may have been resting just before he fell 
into ecstasy. We may infer, if not with certainty yet with probability, from 
v.* that the seraphim of Isaiah's vision were stationed about the threshold 
of the temple, and by a further inference may be led to suspect that the 
seraphim belong to the class of guardians of thresholds — that part of the 
dwelling with which so much religious or superstitious awe has been widely 
associated (H. Clay Trumbull, The Threshold Covenant^ 1890) — who repel 
intruders, or, as rather here (v.'**), admit under fit conditions to the presence 
of, or communication with, the deity. Some analogy both to the name and 
to this function of the seraphim has often been sought in the Egyptian Sefr 
(demotic Serref), a winged griffin guarding an Egyptian tomb ; see, further, 
BDB, Ges-B., EBi.^ and DBy s.v. On the other hand, the connection 
sought by some Assyriologists (Del., Hommel) between D*£nB' and Sarrabu (or 
^arrapu), a name said to have been borne by the god Lugalgira (? Nergal) 
in the westland, is denied by Zimmern {KAT^ 415)- The number of 
seraphs that attend Yahweh in Isaiah's vision is uncertain; the phrase 
nr^M ni (v.*) rather suggests two (see phil. n.), the plural D'fl*w (not O'Bnr "w) 
in V.*, on the other hand, rather suggests many. Early Christian interpreters 




l66 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

commonly thought of two, and allegorised : the two seraphim were the Son 
and the Holy Spirit attending the Father — a view not unnaturally rejected 
by Jerome as "impious." The view that the two seraphim represented the 
Old and New Testament found more favour. Jewish interpreters differed as 
to the number — Dun paam d'w ohDK b" (Ibn Ezra). 

3. The constantly repeated (K"ipl) refrain of the seraphim 
sung antiphonally (n? hi< riT). For other allusions to songs sung 
by heavenly beings, see Ps 29^- ^- ^, Job 38*^, Rev 5^^- y^i^-. — Ho/y] 
thrice repeated for the sake of emphasis: cp. Jer 7* 222^, Ezk 
21^2^ One of the main tasks of the prophets was to transform, 
and especially to ethicise, current religious terms : so Amos 
dealt with the " Day of Yahweh," so Hosea with " the marriage 
of Yahweh," and so Isaiah ethicises the word " Holy." Originally 
a term without, in Isaiah's hands it became charged with, moral 
import, so that when he speaks of the " Holy One of Israel " he 
thinks of a power that executes justice and demands just dealing 
of His worshippers. How unethical a term the prophets found it 
may be most briefly suggested by the fact that the religious 
prostitution which Hosea denounced was carried on by " holy " 
men and women (see, further, JVum^erSj pp. 209-2 11). In Isaiah's 
conception we see points of contact with the popular thought ; 
with him, too, it is dangerous to approach that which is Holy 
(v.^) ; with him, too, a common quality is needed in the Holy 
Being and those who approach Him ; but with Isaiah this common 
quality is freedom from sin (DNDn) : what this in turn is may be 
seen by noting such passages as i^^^* ; it is moral, not ceremonial ; 
it is acquired not by expiatory sacrifices, but by turning from evil 
to good, by executing justice and cultivating mercy (cp. also 
^7 (i6)j One of a sinful nation whose lips are rendered unclean, 
unfit to speak to Yahweh, Isaiah is himself sinful, unable to 
address Yahweh; he does not even, like the publican of the 
parable (Lk iS^^), cry to God for forgiveness; his lips open, but 
in self-address — " Wretched man that I am." But freed from 
sin (v."^), Isaiah is fitted to be entrusted with the secret of 
Yahweh (cp. Am 3^^), or, as we might express it, for communion 
with God. This holy, moral power which is revealed to Isaiah 
in his vision is Lord of the (heavenly) hosts, and the whole world 
reflects the lustre of His righteousness. History, human life is 
under the government of a righteous power that rules the world, 
and is not devoted merely to satisfying the unethical desires of 



VI. 3, 4 lo; 

a petty nation or tolerating its sins. Isaiah is no exponent, like 
the author of chs. 40-55, of an intellectual monotheism, but he is 
possessed by the moral thought that in due time demanded an 
explicit monotheistic statement. — His glory\ here, as in Nu 1421, 
Ps 72^* 968, of Yahweh's self-revelation in His dealing with men. 
4. The Temple quakes to its foundations (?) with the sound of 
the song of the seraphim, just as mountains tremble when 
Yahweh appears (Ex 19^^, Jg 5*); whether a heavenly temple 
would have quaked at what in a heavenly temple should have 
been an ordinary occurrence, may be doubted. — The foundations 
of the thresholds^ the exact sense of the Hebrew phrase is 
uncertain : see phil. n. — Them that called] i.e. the seraphim,* 
who alone as yet have called (v.*) : the sing. part. (N"i1pn) is used 
collectively as are other sing, participles elsewhere ; see, e.g.^ Jos 
6^- ^, Gn 4^0; G-K. 126m; Kon. iii. 256. Others have given to 
the part, a sing, sense and referred it, inappropriately, to Yahweh 
thundering out "welcome" to Isaiah (Ew.), or expressing anger 
at the sin of the people (Di.). — The house] the Temple: cp. 
I K 6** * etc. — Began to fill with smoke] in spite of " cloud " 
rather than smoke being mentioned there, Ezk 10* seems the 
nearest parallel, and to suggest that the smoke here is the cloud 
that so commonly accompanied theophanies — Ex 14^* 40^4, 
I K 8»f-, Is 45 (cp. EBi., Pillar of cloud, Theophany). Only for 
a moment does Isaiah see the unveiled glory of Yahweh. Others 
explain the smoke as the breath of the seraphim (cp. Ps 18*: 
so Du.), or as the smoke of Yahweh's anger (Ps 74^ So^ (^), Dt 
29"; Di.). 

I. nmin . . . xvwi\ Dr. Tenses, 127/3. (ffir begins with koX iyhero to 
establish a connection, which did not originally exist, with ch. 5. — "inn] here 
and in v.* many MSS read ni.T : so in 3^'* ^^. — Hvy\ m] not grammatically 
parallel to 2»\ and, as in 57^", directly descriptive of Yahweh, but (as in (& 
clearly) attributives of kd3. — 2. i*? "ryDO] adove hint, cp. 14", Dn I2'**, Gn 
22^ ; S Sv'^'Ci loy is not merely the same as Sv noy, to stand in attendance on — 
Jg 3^^, Jer 36"^ (reading hv for Vyo). — n03'] this and the following imperfects 
describe what is liable to occur (Dr. 33/3), really therefore the purpose of the 
wings, rather than what Isaiah actually saw frequently occur (Dr. Tenses, 
30 a). — 3. nONi . . . xnpi] frequentatives : Dr. § 120, G-K. 1 12-^. — nt *?{< ni] the 
one to the other; cp. Ex 14^''. In similar correlative usages ni refers definitely 
to one of two (Gn 29^', Ex 14''®, i K 3^), or to a single individual of a series 
(i K 22*", Is 44*^). In Ps 75^ nt appears to correspond to the English 

* So €r, Ges., Del., Du., Marti. 




I08 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

indefinite one . . . another: cp. the second nr in Job x^'^-'^^, but to the 
Hebrew mind the nr was probably vivid and definite. Certainly rw ^k ni is 
not the normal Hebrew for "to one another," which is expressed by the 
plural vb. with in^T W tf'X (G-K. I39<?). Nor again would it normally express 
" the one group to the other group" : this should be n"?** *?« n'?N (cp. Dt 2.*]^^-^ 
2 S 2^^, I K 20^, Dn 12^). Unless nj •?« ni here implies i?zy<7 seraphs only, 
we can only find a somewhat inadequate parallel in Ec '^'^ where one nr refers 
to a pi. (c-;«<n '33) and the other to a collective (nDna). — nuD \-\^Ti '?3 nVd] 
cp. 8^, and for the cstr., Driver, § 189. Possibly nx^D should be read : cp. 
(HBr^ST, and see Nestle in ZATW^ 1905, 218 ff.— 4. D'sjon didn] hdn (apart from 
'\f. — cubit and, in 2 S 8^, mother-city) here only. It has been explained as a 
metaphorical development from □«, mother, and htnce foundations ; uncertain ; 

but cp. Assyr. ammatu. ^0 regularly means threshold, though ^2ICD has also 
the meaning porchy doorpost. (& renders the two words by the single word 
viripdvpov, lintel (cp. 2rU,S). Gra. suggests /^[jJdn, supporters, i.t. pillars 
(2 K 18^^), which brings us back, so far as the mt aning goes, very nearly to the 
posts of the doors of AV, which rests on a philologically questionable Jewish 
exegesis ; cp. Rashi. — kVd'] impf. of incipient action : Dr. §§ 26, 27. 

5-8. The effect of the vision on Isaiah. — 5. Having 
in vv.^'* described what he saw, the vision proper, Isaiah passes 
on to speak of the effect on himself ; the alarm which he felt was 
the effect of the whole of what he saw, not merely of the last or 
any other single detail. He is a sinful man, member of a sinful 
nation, and yet he has seen God! cp. Lk 5*, Ex 33^^, Jg 1322. 
He is in the presence of God, but has not that cleanness of lips 
which they need who would call upon God (Zeph 3^). He 
cannot pray for himself, or his sinful folk. — For I am undone] 
for the vb. see, tf.^., 15^, Hos 10''. An ancient theory that Isaiah 
was struck dumb for not rebuking Uzziah's presumption (2 Ch 
2 6i6flF.^ was based on the confusion of the roots noT and W01 {to 
be silent) : hence U quia tacui^ Aq. ia-iwTrrja-a, cp. C and possibly 
ffi^'s KaravivvyixjcLi. — 6, 7' ^^^ Isaiah does not find himself driven 
forth on account of his sinfulness : on the other hand, the same 
vision which had intensified his consciousness of sin is, before it 
vanishes, to assure him of the removal of his sin. One of the 
seraphim, leaving his fellow(s) at the threshold, flew to the altar 
which stood just in front of the porch of the Temple, and, taking 
off the altar a glowing coal, or stone, continued his flight across 
the court of the Temple to the place where Isaiah stood, perhaps 
near its entrance, and touched his unclean lips with it, purging 
them with fire (cp. Mai 32^-, Lk 3^^) and making them clean ; his 
Ups being cleansed he can address Yahweh (v.^). — Thy iniquity 



«. 



VI. 4-9 I09 

will depart] the sense of the pf. with waw Conv. must be future 
here (Dr. 119 a): EV is taken atvay^ is wrong both in respect of 
the tense and the passive vb. ; ID in Heb. is intrans. to remove^ 
depart, pass away. For such quasi-personification of sin as the 
expression implies, cp. 2 K 7^, Iniquity (punishment) will find, 
overtake, us (iJXVDl) ; cp. (with riNDn as subj.) Nu 32^3. — g. The 
sense of forgiveness in Isaiah is immediately accompanied by the 
desire for service; cp. the prayer of Ps 5113-15(11-13). purification 
from sin has set him free to understand Yahweh's will ; he now 
hears Him consulting the members of His court (i K 22^®^-) and 
asking who shall be His messenger ; Isaiah offers himself. The 
passage is important for the light it throws on the nature of the 
prophetic consciousness and inspiration. Isaiah becomes a 
prophet owing to no physical compulsion, but by a perfectly 
free choice, or at least all that compels him is his sympathy with 
the purposes of Yahweh ; cp. Am 3^''. 

5. 'n'Dnj] Houtsma in ZATW, 1907, p. 57, conjectures 'Ji'P^j = 'nKDOJ. — 
6. ritDTi] also i K 19" — D'*3n (njy), (bread baked on) hot stones ; cp. Syr. 

(^ \h, bread baked on ashes ; Ar. /i«^ •» « hot stone, nsjn, pavement 

(Ezk4o"), is from a different root, /iitf 1, k2)f5; see BDB. (Br rightly 
&v6pa^. — 7. yj'i] MT rightly points as Hiphil; the unemphatic object is 
omitted.— m] neuter; see Kon. iii. 45.-8. 13^] €r, perhaps to avoid the 
question raised by |§ (see above), substitutes vphs rbv \ahv toOtop : cp. v.^ 

9-13. The message entrusted to Isaiah by Yahweh. 

— The doom of the people is inevitably fixed : there is to be no 
further healing of their sick state (cp. !**•) ; let them now persist 
in their insensitivity (cp. i*) to the voice and will of God : even 
the prophet's preaching is but to render them blinder, deafer, 
and more insensitive. The gradual hardening and ultimately 
fatal effect on character of continued disobedience to the voice 
of God is here stated in the bold, direct, dramatic speech of 
prophecy. The doings of God will still be before the people, 
the voice of God will still speak through the prophets and in the 
events of the time, but they will not understand ! — T/iis people] 
so also 8^' 12 9I6 2811- 1* 29^3. u contemptuously, and always, 
except in 9^^, of the unbelief or superstitions of the people (Du.). 
The phrase is ambiguous, and raises the question whether at his 
call Isaiah was charged with a mission to Judah only or to the 
Northern kingdom only, or to both kingdoms. Against limiting 




no COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

the phrase to Judah is the fact that much of Isaiah's earHer 
prophecies was actually addressed in whole or in part to the 
Northern kingdom (g"^^- 17^^- 28^-*). Hackmann (pp. 52-54, 
70-76) has argued strongly that the phrase here refers to Israel 
only; he points out that the prophecies clearly belonging to 
Isaiah's early life are mainly devoted to Israel, that the fate of 
Israel predicted in them is along the lines of the preaching of 
Amos and Hosea, and agrees with the terms of the commission 
here — total destruction ; that, on the other hand, Isaiah's attitude 
towards Judah as depicted in ch. 7 f. does not correspond to the 
commission. The fatal objection to this otherwise attractive 
theory, which is insufficiently criticised by Cheyne {Introd. 
p. 28), is that the people in v.* cannot well be an entirely 
different body from the people of v.^, and that in v.* the people 
must at least include Judah. But if we must conclude that 
"this people" includes Judah as well as Israel, or even, as surely 
v.^ suggests, refers particularly to Judah, how is the unrelieved 
pessimism as to the national future to be accounted for in view 
of ch. 7 ? And how on any interpretation is the absence of 
any reference to Isaiah's fundamental (7^ n.) doctrine of the 
remnant to be explained ? Cheyne (p. 29) finds it sufficient to 
assume that ch. 6 was originally intended as a prologue to 7^-8^* 
(in the course of which the doctrine of the remnant is developed) ; 
others, following Ew., think that this record of Isaiah's call having 
been written long after his call, was influenced by the darker 
outlook of a later time. The difficulty is not completely over- 
come, but escape is least of all to be found by retaining, against 
the evidence of ffi, the last clause of y?^. — Dull the heart'] 
Heb. make fat ^ i.e. insensitive; cp. Ps 119^®. — Plaster over its 
eyes] as with the sticky secretion that exudes from diseased eyes. 
— And it be healed once more] as it had been wont to be healed 
by Yahweh (Hos 6^). (R replaces the indefinite subj. of |^ by 
the ist pers., And I heal them. EV, " and turn again \i.e. to God] 
and be healed," follows the erroneous punctuation of MT. — 
II-13. How long, asks Isaiah, is this hardening process to 
proceed ? The answer comes clearly : till the nation be no 
more, till it be destroyed root and branch, and the country which 
it now inhabttfs be left full of uninhabited ruins and untilled : cp. 
22^*. — Be left a desolation] so 6r; "^be wasted into a desolation. 
— 13. And Yahweh remove men] Yahweh will not Himself be 



VI. 9-13 m 

destroyed, as the people supposed, in the destruction of His 
people ; He is Himself the cause of it. Israel will vanish ; 
Yahweh will remain. The land of Israel will become a desola- 
tion, but the whole earth (v.*) will still reflect Yahweh's righteous- 
ness ; the very desolation of Yahweh's country will speak of His 
righteous anger, which will not tolerate the sins of those whom 
He had chosen to be peculiarly His own (cp. ^^'"^f Am 32). This 
thought remains implicit in the entire suggestion of the vision 
(cp. especially v.*), even if with Marti we were to consider v.^^f. 
a post-exilic explanatory addition to v.^^ ; but his arguments are 
hardly quite conclusive ; for it is perhaps hypercritical to claim 
that men cannot be removed (v. 12) from an already (v.^^) 
desolated country ; and the use of Yahweh in words attributed 
to Yahweh — particularly at some little distance from the 
beginning of the speech, is hardly sufficient by itself to prove 
that v. ^2 was not the original continuation of v.^^ — 13. Even 
though a fraction of the population, a tenths is left behind in 
Judah when Yahweh exiles the rest (v.^^a^, it will not escape, but 
it too must be exterminated^ as when a tree is cut down, the 
stump which remains is also destroyed — such seems the intention 
of the text. If the last clause of the v. were really original^ and 
not a late gloss added to J^ after the time of ffi, it would be 
necessary to suppose that the announcement of judgment closes 
with the word exterminated ("»J?3) ; and that then a figure of hope 
is abruptly introduced — As an oak or a terebinth wherein at 
felling is a stump, so the holy seed is its stump, from which a new 
and holy Israel will spring ; such in any case is the meaning of 
the annotator who added the last clause. With the phrase holy 
seed, cp. the post-exilic ^inpT^ int of Ezr 9^ and DMi'N ynt, Mai 2^^. 

9. yiDtr iyD»] G-K. 113^.-10. aif'}] point so, connecting closely with 
what follows (cp. v.^'), not n^f'i (MT). — Kflni] and one heal; indef. subj. — 
G-K. I44df. — II. nKB'n] (K AcaTa\et00^6Tat=nNfp. f^ is a poor repetition 
of the vb. in the first line ; MT attempts to create a difference by pointing 
this form Niphal; but note the different sense of Niphal in 17^^. — 13. .Tn'ni 
lyaS] cstr. as in 5**, but the meaning of nyn is different : here to exterminate 
(cp. 4*, 2 S 4^S Dt 13^' etc. ), there to depasture. Budde, indeed {New Worlds 
1895, p. 12), adopts the latter meaning here — it shall be for {cattle) to feed on^ 
and sees in the words a promise that Judah will return to pastoral life and 
the divine favour. — 13. p^KDi nVx^] probably neither term denotes a distinct 
species of tree (i'* n.): the combination of the two terms is curious: Kit. 
tentatively proposes the omission of jiSkoi : note that about 100 Hebrew MSS 
(and ? (!&) read na, not 03, in the next clause. 




112 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

VII. i-VIII. 1 8. — Incidents and Prophecies at the time of the 
Syro-Epraimitish War (735-734 B.C.). fl 

Special Literature: — F. Giesebrecht, *'Die Immanuel Weissagung," in 
TSKy 1888, pp. 217-264 (in the main a detailed discussion of ch. 8); A. B. 
Davidson, "Immanuel" (in £>B) ; A. S. Peake, "Immanuel" (in Z)ici. of 
Christ and the Gospels). See, further, pp. 135 f. 

This section consists of {a) narratives in prose relating 
Isaiah's interview with Ahaz 7^"^^, his use of the name Maher- 
shalal-hash-baz, 8^"*, and his use of his disciples and his children, 
816-18 ;'(/^) poems, 717-25 g^-io-n-iB; {c) prose notes (S^- n) 
prefixed by Isaiah to the last two of these poems. 

In 8i'i8 both the prose style and the autobiographical 
character of ch. 6 re-appear, see Z^-^- ^- n- i^-is ; but the narrative 
parts of ch. 7 speak of Isaiah in the 3rd person. That Isaiah 
spoke of himself in immediately consecutive passages, now in the 
ist, now in the 3rd pers. (Di.), is not very likely. More probably 
the use of the 3rd pers. indicates either {a) that the author of 
7 1-16 was not Isaiah himself, but that the passage like chs. 20 and 
36-39 is biographical ; or {b) that 71-16, originally like chs. 6, 8 
autobiographical, was modified by an editor who added v.^, and 
for reasons no longer obvious substituted the 3rd for the ist 
person. Of these alternatives the second is favoured by a usage 
(^3 IV) characteristic of Isaiah in 7^ and by the general similarity 
of style throughout the narratives of chs. 7 f. ; cp. 7^ and 86, 7^ 
and 816, 7I6 and 8^, 7!*- 16 and Z^^'. Isaiah's memoirs must then 
have suffered a similar fortune to those of Ezra, surviving in 
part intact (cp. e.g. Ezr 9), in part modified by an editor who 
substituted the 3rd pers. for the ist (cp. e.g. Ezr 10). 

The prophecy in 8i^-23 is scarcely derived from Isaiah's 
memoirs, still less 9i"6; nor again within 6I-8I8 is 717-26 go 
derived ; see below on the several passages. 

VII. I. A summary statement of the ill-success of 
the operations of Syria and Israel against Judah. — The 
V. is logically out of place, the hostile approach of the Syro- 
Ephraimitish army to Jerusalem and the failure of the attack 
are events which occurred after what is related in vv.^-i^. The 
verse with some verbal variations not affecting the sense occurs 
also in 2 K i6^ It was probably derived from Kings (cp. chs. 
36-39) by the editor of the present passage ; ct. the genealogical 
description of Ahaz with Isaiah's simple reference to Uzziah in 6I. 




VII. I-VIII. 1 8 113 

The priority of Is 7^, at one time commonly assumed or maintained, is 
now generally abandoned, but Di. still defended it on these grounds: (i) 
2 K 16' stands very isolated ; (2) Is 7' recjuires some introductitm ; (3) the 
omission of n'Vy at the end of the v. in Kings is less correct ; iVa* (Ki.) is easier 
than ^3' (Is.)» ^^^ therefore presumably secondary. Of these arguments the 
second is the weightiest, and indeed it should be recognised that something 
once preceded and introduced v.^. Either that introduction was lost through 
mutilation before the passage came into the hands of the editor, or for 
some reason unknown he preferred to substitute for it 2 K 16". The first 
argument is of little weight ; 2 K 16" may stand isolated, but Is 7^ is logically 
out of place (see above). As to the 3rd argument, the reading ^3' in Is. is 
uncertain : dSc has the //. The additional clause inK Sy nj«i of Ki. is not 
strikingly like an editorial expansion to improve the bad style of Is. ; the 
awkwardness of Is. is rather due to abbreviation. 

And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz . . . king of JudaH\ 
this rather vague time definition was correctly inferred by the 
editor from what immediately precedes 2 K 16^; the phrase- 
ology is not that of a contemporary, who would have said " At 
the beginning of the reign of Ahaz," or " In the first year of 
Ahaz." — Re^on\ EV Rezin (see phil. n.). Reson was king of 
Damascus as early as 738, for he is mentioned by Tiglath-pileser 
in his annals of that year ; but Pel^ah's accession must be placed 
later, for the king of Israel who paid tribute to Tiglath-pileser in 
738 was Menahem, and between Menahem and Peljiah intervened 
the reign of Pekahiah. — Went up\ so regularly of motion towards 
Jerusalem (cp. e.g. 2^, Ezr 7^, Jn 2^8, ct. Lk 9^^), departure from 
Jerusalem being expressed by to go down (i K 22^, Ac 8*). — 
Reson went up ... to Jerusalem to attack it, but could not attack 
it] 2 K 16* runs: "Reson . . . went up to Jerusalem to attack 
(it), and laid siege to Ahaz {& ' to it '), but could not attack it." 
The meaning of Kings is clear : Reson and Pekah reached 
Jerusalem and invested it, but were unable to proceed to actual 
assaults on the city : no sooner was the investment complete 
than the besiegers were called away. The meaning of Is. is the 
same, though it is more awkwardly expressed : the last clause 
is more specific than "they could not prevail against it" (RV), 
which might imply failure after a long siege; it means that they 
were not even able to make any active assault on the city. The 
speedy withdrawal from Jerusalem may be attributed to news 
having reached the besiegers that the Assyrians were advancing 
westwards. In 735, as in the two previous years, Tiglath-pileser 
had been campaigning to the S.E. and N. of Assyria, i.e. in parts 
VOL. I. — 8 



4 



114 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

remote from Syria ; to this period we may attribute the raid on 
Judah in the last year(s) of Jotham (2 K 15^^). In the early 
spring of 734 we may suppose that the allied armies marched 
on Jerusalem, but had scarcely laid siege to the city when news 
reached them that Tiglath-pileser was moving westward; his 
objective in this year was, as we know from the Eponym 
Canon, Philistia. Starting about the same time (cp. 2 S 11^), 
Reson might well traverse the distance (about 140 miles) from 
Damascus to Jerusalem, and prepare to lay siege to the latter 
city, before he received news, that this year the Assyrian king 
was marching from Nineveh on his own capital; the military 
route from Nineveh to Damascus would be about 550 miles (cp. 
EBt. 5167). 

^3* H^^ . , . npsi . . , pjn n^y] if Sa* is correct, the waw before nps is waw 
concomitantiae^ which in Arabic requires the ace. after it — Re^6n with Pekah 
went up and was unable ; the instances in Heb. are at best few ; see G-K. 
1 54a footnote ; BDB 253a. In this case Reson appears as the principal 
person. More probably Vd"- should be read ^p; with 2 Ki., |^ and ffir, and (15 
here: then nSy is sing, as preceding the subj. ; G-K. 146/". — pn] "^ \sr\ wjis 
erroneously amplified in 1^^ to \'sr\ instead of pxn ; €r, "Paao-wj/, 'Pao-o-wy (with 
late variants 'Paacii' accommodated to |^^), and the Assyrian Ra-§un-nu alike 
indicate that the final vowel was 0. — n'^y nDnf^D"?] 2 Ki., inN •?]; ns'i nDn'?D^, 
where thk ^y is perhaps an erroneous specification of an original n'^y (Stade) ; 
whether the omission of nsM in Is. was editorial or transcriptional is uncertain. 
The actual investment of a city is expressed by Sy mx, the more active 
operations, such as assaults on the walls, carried on during the investment in 
order to reduce the city, or as the immediate prelude to its capture (^^^), by 
Sy □n'?n (Dt 20^^, 2 K 12^*, Jos 10*^), or a urhn (i K 20^, Jg 9^^ 2 S 
J 22a. 27. 2»^ Is 20^) or simply Dn'?n (2 S ii^*'^). The purpose of a hostile 
approach to a city may, of course, be described either as "to besiege it," or 
" to attack it " {rs-hrf onSn*?, Dt 20^*> and here, with the noun instead of the 
infin. .T'?y hdh'td'?). onSn does not mean "to continue the fight" (Box), or 
"to be successful in fighting" — "to prevail," not even in Nu 22" cited for 
this sense by BDB ; success is there implied by the following verb vnsnai. 

2-16. Isaiah's interview with Ahaz. "Immanuel. 

— At a time when news has reached Jerusalem of the union 
of the Syrian with the Ephraimite army at two or three days' 
distance from Jerusalem, and the court and people are in 
great alarm, Isaiah is commanded by Yahweh to take with him 
his son Shear-jashub, whose name signified " A Remnant shall 
return," and to meet Ahaz outside the city in the " Fuller's Field 
Road " ; he is to exhort the king to keep calm, and to assure him 




VII. i-i6 115 

that Syria and Ephraim possess no power to do Judah serious 
mischief, or to carry out their plan of taking Jerusalem and 
overthrowing the Davidic dynasty in favour of an outsider 
(probably a Syrian). Lack of trust in Yahweh can alone, but 
would surely, lead to Judah's undoing. In a further appeal, 
Ahaz is offered any sign (of Yahweh's sufficiency) that he likes 
to choose, but he declines the offer. Thereupon Isaiah 
announces that Yahweh nevertheless will (hereafter) give a sign 
of His own choosing : the nature and purpose of this sign has 
been much discussed, and no general agreement has been 
reached (see below); but Isaiah goes on to predict (v.^^) that 
within two or three years Ephraim and Syria will be a land of 
ruins. In w.^^**, which probably do not belong to the original 
account of the interview, the desolation of Judah also is 
predicted. 

In this passage much is obscure ; two things are clear : 
Isaiah's contemptuous disbelief in the power of the allied armies 
of Syria and Israel, and his profound belief in Yahweh : in both 
respects he differs from king and people, who fear the foe and 
have no sustaining confidence in Yahweh. 

Isaiah's attitude to Assyria is not definitely stated in w.^'^^ ; 
and it must be a matter of inference only whether Ahaz had 
already paid tribute to Assyria, or was at the time contemplating 
doing so. Isaiah may have judged the allied armies as he did, 
because he was convinced that an immediate advance of Assyria 
to the West would force them to turn back before they could 
inflict serious injury on Judah ; but even if so, this was but the 
form which his belief in Yahweh took, for with him Yahweh 
directed the movements of Assyria. 

The date of this interview is the early part of 734. It fell 
some few years later than Isaiah's call (ch. 6) : see on v.^. 

2. News comes to the court in Jerusalem that the plans of 
Syria and Ephraim (v.^) for attacking Jerusalem and over- 
throwing the Davidic dynasty (w.*- ^) are now taking practical 
and menacing effect The entire might of Syria has settled for 
the moment in the country of its allies, the Ephraimites; the 
Syrian army has covered more than half the distance between 
Damascus and Jerusalem, and is within two or three days' march 
of its goal. King and people quail at the news, like trees bending 
before the wind (cp. Mt 11^). — The house of David\ so w.^^ ^'^. 



Il6 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

The substitution of an alien for the reigning king (v.^) would 
involve loss of place and power for the entire house or entourage 
(cp. e.g. 2 S 9) of the king. They therefore, and not Ahaz 
alone, are described as recipients of the news, and active • 
promoters of the policy directed against Syria and Ephraim 
(v.i^) ; but it is unnecessary to conclude that on account of the 
youth of the king, who may have been barely twenty-one (2 K 
16^; but see 2 Ch 28^, Kit.), other members of the royal house 
took at this time a more than ordinary part in government. — 
Syria hath settled down upon Ephraini\ the phrase to settle upon 
(i>y ni3) is used (11^) of the spirit taking possession of men, of 
the ark grounding on Mt. Ararat (Gn 8*), of carrion birds 
lighting on dead bodies (2 S 21^^); construed with 1 the verb is 
also used of insects, such as locusts (Ex 10^*), settling on a 
tract of country (v.^^). None of these uses quite corresponds 
to what the context here seems to require, the friendly and 
temporary halt of an army in the country of allies ; the nearest 
parallel for the temporary halt is the absolute use of the vb. in 
Nu 10^^. It is doubtful whether the verb was so associated with 
swarms of insects as to suggest by itself that the army of Syria 
was large (Di.). The unjustifiable rendering is confederate with 
(EV), or conjectural emendations to obtain such a sense, increase, 
if they do not create, difficulty ; the hostile alliance in itself was 
no new thing needing to be announced : it already existed before 
Ahaz became king, 2 K \<^'^. 

3-9. Yahweh commands Isaiah to interview Ahaz outside 
the city, and to assure him that he has no cause for fear; for 
the plans of the allied powers will be frustrated. The carrying 
out of the command is not directly recorded; it is merely 
implied by the fact that in vv.^^^- the actual interview is in 
progress; so the fulfilment of Jer 19^'* is implied in 19^* but not 
directly recorded. 

3. Shear-jashub] unless with Che. {Crit. Bib.) we substitute 
for 2\^^ "ISC' of 5^ niK'^ "itJ'X, a name of purely sinister meaning — 
"Asshur shall return," the name of the son whom Isaiah is 
bidden to take with him, is at once a warning and a promise : a 
large part of the whole will perish and not return, but the 
remnant will return and be saved. Isaiah may at different 
times have explained the whole and the remnant differently ; 
but on this occasion he would explain it as meaning that the 




VII. 2, 3 



117 



larger part of " the whole house of Israel," the northern kingdom, 
will certainly perish; but the remnant, Judah, may return to 
Yahweh and be saved (cp. vv.^*-^^). In any case we must 
assume that Isaiah takes his son, whose name was a sign (8^^), 
because he knows that King Ahaz when he sees the boy will 
recall his name and its significance. Before this time Isaiah had 
probably drawn public attention to his elder son's name, as later 
he did to the name of the younger (S^^-), and an account of this 
may have stood originally in the memoirs. There is no 
suggestion that Isaiah was to carry Shear-jashub : the child 
therefore must have been old enough to go for a walk. The 
name with its prophetic significance must have been given after 
the call (ch. 6) : therefore this incident falls at least two or three, 
perhaps several years, after that event. — Go out . . . to the end of 
the channel of the upper pool, to the Fuller's Field Road^ we may 
assume that Ahaz was engaged at the time in inspecting the 
water supply of the city against the siege which might now be 
expected within a day or two. The city of Jerusalem contains 
no springs, but is and must always have been entirely dependent 
for its water supply * on cisterns filled by (i) the rain of winter, 
or (2) by aqueducts from springs, or reservoirs, outside the city. 
The only perennial supply of water in the immediate vicinity of 
Jerusalem is the Virgin's Spring, "'Ain Sitti Maryam": this was 
connected, perhaps later than the time of Ahaz (cp. 2 K 2o2<^, 
2 Ch 32^®), by an underground passage, 586 yards long, with 
the pool of Siloam within the city, and so made available 
for the inhabitants in time of siege. An external conduit had 
previously connected these points (Benzinger, Kon. 187), but 
this was liable to be cut by an enemy. The place of the 
interview, in spite of the full definition, cannot be identified ; 
perhaps it lay to the north of the city, for the Assyrian army is 
said to have encamped there (362), and the north is the natural 
side from which to attack Jerusalem, as the Romans also later 
perceived. Others f put it to the S.E., below the city "at the 
mouth of the Tyropoeon valley." The Fuller's Field may 
indeed have lain there, *' where alone water abounded " ; but was 
the entire course of the Fuller's Field Road below the city ? The 

* G. A. Smith, y<?/-«ja/tfw, i. 15 and ch. v. 

t Sta. Gesch. i. 592 f. (with plan); G. A. Smith, ferusatem, i. 105, Ii4ff,, 
ii. 127. 




ii8 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



verb Go out does not suggest descent into the valley. — 4. Isaiah 
is to say to Ahaz : See to it that you keep quiet, free from agitation, 
not like trees trembling in the wind (v.^) ; have no fear of Syria 
and Ephraim, who, worn out with their previous internecine 
warfare, have little power of mischief left, but are like the stumps 
of fire brands now smouldering before they finally grow cold and 
harmless. Smoke, not fire, is all that the latest news means. 
Isaiah condemns two things in Ahaz : his fear, for it is needless ; 
his faith in material resources — here typified by a secure water 
supply in time of siege ; the only faith that will secure the real 
solidity of the state is faith in Yahweh (v.®). He demands of 
Ahaz, directly by his words, confidence and, by the presence of 
his son Shear-jashub, " return " to Yahweh. The point of view 
is essentially the same years later, and expressed in part by the 
same terms: "in returning {shubah) and resting shall ye find 
support, in keeping quiet (topJJ'n, as here and 32^7, cp. 18*) and 
confidence shall your strength lie " (30^^), not in cavalry or the 
power of Egypt (30^^). — At the heat of the anger of Reson and 
Syria, and Remalial^s son\ an explanation, supplied perhaps by 
the editor, of the figure of the smouldering stumps in the 
previous clause. The combination of the terms Re^on, Syna, 
RemaliaJCs son is curious. RemaliaKs son appears to be a 
contemptuous mode of reference to Pekah : cp. i S 20^^ and, 
below, " the son of Tabeel." — 5, 6. The plan of the allies, which 
has alarmed Ahaz, but appears to Isaiah certain of frustration 
(v.^, is to take Jerusalem by storm and then dethrone Ahaz, 
overturn the house of David, and set up as king of Judah a 
creature of their own, called contemptuously not by his own 
name, but merely the son of Tabeel, If ffi preserve the correct 
pronunciation, Ta^o}\, the name (cp. Ezr 4^) of the father is 
Aramaic and the man, presumably, an Aramaean. If this be 
so, then, whether Winckler be right or not in identifying the son 
of Tabeel with Reson,* we have here an indication that Syria is 
the dominant power in the alliance. — Let us go up into Judah and 
cause her to be in dread] or, more probably, reading n3p''V3 for 
njVp^, and let us bring her into straits, cp. 29'^. — And let us break 
into her\ here, if not in the previous clause, the suffix refers to 
Jerusalem rather than to Judah as a whole ; it can scarcely be 
"let us force a passage into her territory" (Box), for the first 
* ATUntersuchungen, 74 ; KAT^ 135. 




VII. 4-8 119 

clause of the v. already expresses invasion of the territory. For 
the vb. (vpn, Kal, Niph.) of breaking into cities, see 2 Ch 32^, 
2 K 25^ Ezk 30I6, Jer 392. Even in 2 Ch 211^ r\)]}p2'^'\ is prob- 
ably a breviloquence for "and broke into the cities thereof." 
— I^or us] let us break in it so as to bring it unfo us (l3^^fc<, cp. 
2 Ch 32^), i.e. into our hands. 

7-9. Over against the fears of Ahaz and the plans of Syria 
and Ephraim is now set the sentence of Yahweh. The evil plan 
(nyi, V.*) will not be carried out. Reson is head of Damascus, 
Damascus capital of Syria, Pel^ah head of Samaria, and Samaria 
capital of Ephraim, and they will never be anything more ; not to 
them belongs, or ever will belong, the headship of Judah. So 
far as they are concerned, Judah is safe. But its ultimate safety 
and continuance rest on its relation to Yahweh. It is not really 
threatened by the evil plans of its foes ; it is not rendered safe 
because their plans are foiled. Safety will be secured by a 
practical and personal belief in and understanding of Yahweh, 
which will lead to a quiet confidence in His sufficiency (v.* 30^^^-), 
and to righteousness of life (cp. Gn 15^); but if yg believe not^ye 
shall not be established', an early and correct interpretation of 
this great saying is found in 2 Ch 20^0 ; the positive alternative, 
here left to be understood, is expressed by Isaiah in 28^^. Note 
the paronomasia — Hm lo tcHaminu ki lo tVdmenUy cp. i^s ^7 ^^.c^ 
This passage or Gn 15® is the earliest extant containing the 
expression to believe. 

8b. Sixty-five years hence Ephraim shall be broken in pieces^ 
that it be no more a people. — Eich. and Ges. pointed out, and 
later scholars have very generally recognised, that these words are 
an annotation by a later writer. Like the Aramaic gloss in 
Jer lo^^ they spoil a sentence by intruding into the middle of it. 
Moreover, the note in its present position anticipates the allusion 
to Ephraim (v.^) which it attempts to explain. The origin and 
nature of the clause are sufficiently indicated by its position ; 
but it may be observed further that it could afford Ahaz little 
assurance that the present peril was unreal, to know that long 
after he was dead Ephraim would be destroyed. The precise dat- 
ing of a prediction, too, would be without analogy in Hebrew pro- 
phecy, round numbers occur, 16I* 20^ 21^^, Jer 2^^^'. The writer 
of the note refers to some event in the history of Ephraim that 
occurred 65 years after 735 B.C., i.e. in 670-669 B.c. The Book 



120 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 




of Kings appears to know nothing of any kingdom of Ephraim 
after its conquest by Sargon in 722 B.C. (2 K 17). On the other 
hand, Ezr 42- 10 speaks of settlements of Babylonian peoples in 
Samaria in the time of Esar-haddon (681-668) and Osnappar = 
Asshurbanipal (668-626). Since there is no obvious reason why 
a late annotator should invent the number 65, it is probable that 
the gloss is the note of a seventh century scribe, and records 
some deportation of the inhabitants of Ephraim by Esar-haddon 
or Asshurbanipal. Cp. Winckler, ATUntersuchungen^ 97 ff- 

2. nnj] Fem., in reference to the whole people of Aram : cp. 21*42", 
Ex 12^, and see G-K., 122A, i. Houb. emended to niSj, Lag. to nnK3, a 
verbal form assumed from n«, brother. If emendation were necessary, njn (cp. 
Sebastian Munster) would be easy, but the prep, ^y would give it an inap- 
propriate hostile force, ffir renders <ri;j'e0c6»'97(rei'(='nan, Gn 14'; nN(Niph.), 
2 K 128), ^ innnN, ,S «^oZl»1.— 4. T^ Kal impf. in a, G-K. 67/.— »]t< nna 
'ui J'J«n] loosely attached to the foregoing. For this clause and the whole of 
the next v. (J5 has firay 7ip bprfy rod dvfiov fiov y^vrjrai, irdXiv Idao/xai' Kal 6 
vlbs Tov 'ApA/4 Kal 6 vlbs tov 'FofieXlov 8ti i^ovXe^aavro ^ovXtjt Trovijp&v. This 
is obviously not the original sense ; nor is an original text to be obtained by 
mere retranslation.' But possibly the difference between |^ and (& is in part 
due to a short original text having been expanded by glosses which did not 
find quite the same place in ^ and the original of fflr. Perhaps the original 
of vv.*'' (from nnn) and "^ consisted simply of nin yh]} ijj;' '3-|j;' j all beyond 
this adds words, but nothing to the sense. — 5. *3 |y'] rather characteristic of 
Isaiah: 3^* n. — 6. n-^n":! n'?j;j] 3 nSy implies actual entrance m/^ the city or 
district concerned, not mere approach to it : see 2 S 2^, Jg i^, i Ch 14", 
2 Ch 21", and even in Jer 48^^, where the object is the personified people (cp. 
Jos 9^). — njji'pj] Hiph. (here only) of X^^i in the sense found in v.^*, Ex i^^^ 
Nu 22*. Read rather (with Ges. Tkes. al.) n^p;'4} — a better transition to 
ny]j''p2y ffi (Tvv\a'K'fiaavTe$ airroh, doubtful. — ^N3t5] if Aramaic, cp. pmno, 
Ta^epeixd. (i K 15^*), the name of Ben-hadad's father. If the name was 
Hebrew, it was pronounced '?><3b, and would then have been transliterated by 
aScTuPi^X: cp. .T3-IB, lu^Las. MT ('?><3b) in the first syllable preserves the 
tradition that the name is Aramaic ; in the second the pathah is hardly pausal for 
sere, but rather a punctuator's witticism, who would have the name mean '* No- 
good." — 7. i*n.T ':in] CEr Kvpios ffa^aibd. — 9. ••3] surely, as in nny '3, etc. : BDB 
472<J ; G-K. i59S^^^But '3 may be an error for '3 ; on this and on ffi (iL^) 
avuiJTe intellegatis — \i2r^ for i3D(K)n ; see Nestle in ZATW, 1905, pp. 215 ff. — 
8. nn'] for the less usual sense of >/nnn, to be shattered, cp. the use of the Hiph. 
in 9^ of D'nn (pi.) in i S 2*, and of nnnn (? Piel) in Jer 51^^. The use of the 
Kal in 30^^, often cited as parallel, is ambiguous. For the more usual sense 
to be dismay ed^ cp. 8'n. 

10-13. Isaiah offers, and Ahaz provokes his indigna- 
tion by refusing, a sign. — 10 f. Isaiah offers then and there 




VII. 2-9, IO-I3 121 

to Ahaz any sign he may like to demand, in Heaven above or 
Sheol below, in proof that Yahweh determines what shall come 
to pass, and that it is His present will that Jerusalem shall suffer 
nothing from the advancing armies of Ephraim and Syria, but 
that these armies will within a short time retire and leave Judah 
unmolested. 

Obviously we have no full account of the interview. We 
must, therefore, infer what definite statements by Isaiah preceded 
this offer of a sign, and what that sign was to prove. 

And Yahweh again spake\ Yahweh spoke through His 
prophet, Isaiah : cp. 3^^ In the original form of the narrative, 
if autobiographical, the clause must have run, " I spake again." — 
W, A sign\ a sign (niK) is an event which is the pledge for the 
fulfilment of a prophecy, the genuineness of a promise, the 
reality of an experience, and the like. It may be given as a token 
that something really will happen in the future, or as a reminder 
that something predicted previously has now actually happened. 
The sign may be a quite ordinary event, especially if it is itself 
a matter of prophecy (as in v.^*), or it may be of an extraordinary, 
miraculous nature, in which case it is also a " wonder '' (naiD). 
An example of the first kind is afforded by i S 2^'^'^^ where the 
removal of the priesthood from the house of Eli is predicted ; and 
the sign that this prediction will come true is that, in the nearer 
future, Eli's two sons will die on a single day — a striking, but by 
no means a miraculous, occurrence. Again the sign, or reminder 
(Ex 3^2), that it really was Yahweh that spoke to and commis- 
sioned Moses, will be the fact that in Sinai the Hebrews will 
worship God, i.e. the later event confirms the reality of a previous 
experience. Jeremiah confirms his prediction of the annihilation 
of the Jews in Egypt by the prediction that (in the nearer future) 
the king of Egypt will fall into the hand of his enemies (Jer 
442^-). For signs which are also wonders, see 38'^' ^2^ Jg 6^'^. 
Here Isaiah first offers Ahaz a miraculous sign to take place at 
the present moment in proof that things will happen as he has 
said. But (v.^^^ Ahaz declines the offer, asserting that he is 
unwilling to tempt Yahweh by making Him prove His power 
(cp. Ex 17^). Isaiah is not deceived by this show of piety, but 
interprets the king's refusal of a sign as an indication of his 
unwillingness to accept the guidance of Yahweh, and his 
determination to pursue his own policy. With the king and 



1 




122 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

(v.^^) court in this mood a miraculous sign at the present momen 
becomes useless ; on the other hand, Yahweh insists that whether 
Ahaz and his court will it or not, a sign they shall have, not now 
but after the event, which will recall the correctness of the 
prophet's prediction, and refer the relief from the siege not to the 
human efforts of Ahaz, but to the will of Yahweh. This sign will 
be not of Ahaz', but of Yahweh's choosing, and, its purpose being 
different, it will not need to be miraculous like that offered to and 
rejected by Ahaz. — Ask a sign from Yahweh . . . deep down in 
Sheol or high up above\ Yahweh's power extends to Sheol below, 
as well as to the heights above, Am 9^ ; alike in Sheol and in 
heaven, He can work wonders. Isaiah's willingness that Ahaz 
shall choose the sign, indicates that he had already proved by 
experience his power to work wonders, unless we should detect 
here the result of an enthusiastic disciple's exaggerated conception 
of the prophet's powers (cp. Che. EBi. 3859). There is, of 
course, no question of necromancy : the sign is to be a sign from 
Yahweh. But to avoid misunderstanding, ST paraphrased — Ask 
of thee a sign from the Lord : ask that a miracle may be done on 
earth, or that a sign may appear in heaven. But to interpret J^ 
Ask it either in the depth (MT, EV), instead of deep down in Sh^ol^ 
though idiomatically possible, is certainly wrong: it involves a 
weak repetition of ask and a mutilation of the parallelism in the 
last clauses of the v. — Yahweh thy God] Isaiah addresses Ahaz, 
and Ahaz replies (v.^^), as a servant of Yahweh : after Ahaz' 
answer, interpreted by Isaiah as contumacious, Isaiah significantly 
varies the phrase and says " my God " (v.^^). — 12. See n. on sign, 
v.^\ — 13. And he said] sc. Isaiah ; originally perhaps and I said'. 
see v.^® n. — Let Ahaz and his courtiers know that it is not only 
men, prophets like and including himself, whose patience they 
exhaust : they weary (cp. i^*) out Yahweh Himself by their per- 
sistent disregard of what He really requires. 

14-16. Immanuel. — Christian interpreters, dominated by 
the use in Mt 1^3 of v.^*, for many centuries saw in these verses 
an assertion that our Lord was ** conceived by the Holy Ghost, 
born of the Virgin Mary." Jewish interpreters have throughout 
insisted that what Isaiah here predicts is a birth due to ordinary 
human intercourse, and about to take place in the normal manner. 
Modern interpreters, whether Jews or Christians, are much 
divided, and in particular on these points : (i) Who is the mother 



VII. i3-i6 123 

and who the son referred to in v.^* ? (2) What is the sign given 
by Yahweh Himself, and what does it signify ? Is it miraculous ? 
Wherein precisely does it consist ? Does it signify (a) that Judah 
will be delivered, or (d) that it will be destroyed, or (c) that it will 
be first delivered and then destroyed? The ambiguities and 
awkwardnesses of the passage are so numerous as to give little 
hope of reaching an interpretation that will command general 
assent; and under these circumstances even the dogmatic or 
traditional Christian interpretation will doubtless continue to 
find defenders, while others may infer that the text has been 
deeply corrupted and must be reconstructed by bold and exten- 
sive conjectures : see Che., most recently in the Two Religions^ 
309 ff. It will be convenient to summarise here before passing 
on to the discussion of details, pp. 123-133, and the history of 
the interpretation, pp. 133-136, what appears on the whole to be 
the most probable interpretation of two disputed particulars, and 
the general meaning of the verses on the supposition that |^ is 
not hopelessly corrupt : (i) the predicted birth will be in no way 
abnormal ; but a child (or children) conceived and bom in the 
ordinary course of nature will be named Immanuel, God with 
us ; (2) v.^*^ predicts plenty and not starvation. The general 
meaning of the whole is this : Judah will not suffer harm from 
Ephraim and Syria (cp. v.*) ; on the other hand (v.^^), Ephraim 
and Syria will within two or three years be in ruins. If this 
interpretation is correct, Isaiah concludes his interview with Ahaz 
by reiterating what he was sent to tell him (v.*). Such a con- 
clusion would be altogether natural, and the interpretation just 
suggested might be regarded as certain, but for v. ^3, in which 
Isaiah expresses his indignation at the unbelief of Ahaz and the 
court. Some interpreters out of regard to v.^^ interpret vv.^*-^^ as 
wholly or in part a threat : v.^* can be ingeniously interpreted in this 
sense; v.^* is commonly, but mistakenly, construed as a threat by 
modern scholars : v.^^ can be turned into a threat only by omitting 
the last part of it, or by an illegitimate view of the construction. 

14, Ahaz refused (v.*^) to accept Yahweh's offer (v.^*) that he 
might choose any sign he liked to be wrought at once ; there- 
fore Yahweh Himself chooses the sign, and will see that it takes 
place not at once, indeed, but in the near future. It has been 
repeatedly argued by Christian scholars from Justin Martyr down- 
wards that the sign which Yahweh is Himself to choose and give 



I 



124 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

must be a miracle : " Signum autem a Deo, nisi novitas aliqua 
monstruosa fuisset, signum non videretur " (Tert. Adv. Jud. 9) ; 
but the argument rests on a misconception of what the term niK, 
sigriy necessarily implies, and of the purpose of the particular sign 
here contemplated \ Yahweh had been willing to do a miracle to 
convince Ahaz, but a very ordinary event may serve to remind 
him, when the time comes, that what His prophet predicted 
has come true. The miracle here, so far as there is a miracle, 
may lie solely in the prediction. Neither the term niN, sign (see 
v.^^ n.), nor the circumstances compel us to seek a miracle in the 
event predicted. This being so, we shall be safest in understanding 
the statement of vv.^*"^® as follows : within a few months at most, 
and perhaps immediately, a child (or children) now in the womb 
will be receiving the name Immanuel, God is with us : for the 
present popular tension will be relieved; and mothers will 
express the general feeling of relief at the favourable turn in 
public events (ct. i S 4^1) when they name their children. Such 
children with their names will be a reminder that the terror 
of the king and the people (v. 2) was groundless, and the con- 
fidence of the prophet justified. Moreover, the withdrawal of 
Syria and Ephraim will not be merely temporary ; the child(ren) 
to be born will neither starve as they grow up in a beleaguered 
city, nor in a devastated country side : they will feed on curds 
and honey (v.^^) — the highly prized products of the land of 
promise. For within two or three years, Ephraim and Syria 
will have perished, their land will be a land of ruins (v.^^). The 
sign lies not, as the traditional Christian and some recent 
theories assume, in the circumstances of the birth, but in the 
chain of events now predicted, and their association with the 
birth and naming of a child, and in the time and order of their 
occurrence being determined by reference to the child's growth, 
as in 8^^- This interpretation is by no means beyond criticism 
or without difficulty; but it is at least less improbable than 
others that have been offered. — Therefore] p7 often introduces a 
threat, as in i^* 518- 24 . buj- \i (joes not always do so (cp. Jer i6i^), 
and it is therefore precarious to argue, as Di. does, that the sign 
so introduced must be a threat of punishment. Again, it would 
not have been surprising to find that Isaiah, driven by the king's 
contumacy, substituted a threat (cp. i^^^-) for the promise which 
he came to bring : still the v. does not as a matter of fact 




VII. 14 125 

refer to any such change ; the v. does draw attention to a 
change ; but, as the emphasis shows, it is a change of the person 
who chooses the sign, and indeed of the sign, but not of the 
future to which that sign is to refer : the Lord (v.l. Yahweh) 
himself will now choose and give a sign. V.^^ clearly con- 
templates the same view of the future as vv.***, and these con- 
template nothing that would justify fear in Judah. Certainly the 
presence of God of which the sign speaks might mean a great 
deal more than relief from the threatened invasion if Ahaz and 
his court continued contumacious, but it is not clear that it was 
Isaiah's purpose at this interview to dwell on this side of the 
matter. — Behold, a damsel is with child, and shall bring forth a 
son, and call his name Immanuet\ the Hebrew article is ambiguous 
(see phil. n.) : nDfjyn may mean either the damsel^ or a damsel, or 
even damsels. That it has here one of the two latter meanings 
is the view advocated above ; among earlier advocates of this 
view are J. D. Mich., Eich., Kuen., Du., W. R. Smith, Budde, 
Sta., Marti. It falls to the ground if, as is possible, though not 
necessary, in J^, and impossible in fflr, Immanuel is addressed 
in the vocative in 8^. If a particular definite individual is 
intended, it is curious that she is not more precisely 
specified. The damsel would be a strange mode of reference 
either to the wife (or a concubine) of the king,* to the prophet's 
own wife,t or to some pregnant woman present at the interview 
and singled out by the prophet for his purpose ; % but for this 
much might be said for identifying the damsel with Isaiah's wife, 
who is, however, called " the prophetess " in 8^ : knowing that she 
was near child-birth, Isaiah would be thinking of a sign that he 
could be certain of bringing about, except so far as the sex of 
the child is concerned, and that is immaterial to the sign. The 
sign, moreover, would be of the same kind as the signs that he 
(S^^* : cp. 8^^ 7^) and other prophets (Hos i) employed. The 
mode of reference would be better satisfied by a theory of 
Rosenmiiller's which has been recently revived in a modified form 
by Gressmann and others. Gressmann § postulates the existence 

•Early Jewish Exegesis (see Jer.), Ki., and, recently, C. M. Brown in_ 
f BLit.y 1890 , 118-127; Maspero, Hi stoire Ancienne, iii. 1^ 4, 

t Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Grotius, Ges. , Hitz. % Isenbiehl. 

%Eschatotogie, pp. 276 f., cp. 2706"., 284; cp. Burney (independently) in 
IThSx. 580-584 ; Jeremias, ATAO 556 f. ; Box. 




126 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

in Judah before and at the time of Isaiah of a well-known 
prophecy that a wonderful child was to be born and was to be 
called Immanuel, was to eat milk and honey in his infancy, and 
before he was five years old deliver his people. All that Isaiah 
does, according to this theory, is to assert that this (hypo- 
thetically) well-known prophecy is on the point of fulfilment, 
the damsel familiar to every one in the current prophecy is about 
to bear her child, the divine mother is to give birth to a divine 
child. Difficulties arise, as Gressmann admits, if we begin to 
press the words of the text : e^g. the words taken strictly mean 
that the delivery of Judah is to be delayed for the child to 
accomplish, i.e. five years. Gressmann accounts for these diffi- 
culties, which he does not eliminate, by the assumption that in 
reproducing traditional material Isaiah retains irrelevances. This 
theory and all theories that detect the influence of mythology 
here start from an alleged but unreal necessity for satisfying two 
conditions of which the text says nothing : it is assumed that 
there must be something miraculous here, though the text speaks 
merely of a sign^ and that the child must be a deliverer, whereas 
the text neither says nor implies anything of the kind; and, 
indeed, the passive tense in v.^^ is altogether unfavourable to the 
assumption that Judah will be delivered by Immanuel. There 
is just as Httle suggestion here that Immanuel will deliver Judah 
as there is in Hos i that Hosea's son Jezreel would exact 
vengeance on the house of Jehu. — Damsel^ ffi TrapOevoSj EV 
virgin ; but this rendering is unquestionably, and is now gener- 
ally admitted to be, unjustifiable. The word noijy is fern, of 
t^hv, youth^ which is used in i S 17^* 20^2 and corresponds to 
^Li, a derivative not from the root D^jy, to conceal^ which seems 

to be unknown in Arabic, but from oi^V, *ii, to be lustful ; r\xh^ 

means a girl, or young woman, above the age of childhood and 
sexual immaturity (in this being more specific than the 
synonymous myj), a person of the age at which sexual emotion 
awakens and becomes potent ; it asserts neither virginity nor the 
lack of it ; it is naturally in actual usage often applied to women 
who were as a matter of fact certainly (Gn 24^^, Ex 2^), or 
probably (Ca i^ 6^, Ps 6826), virgins. On the other hand, it is 
also used in Pr 30^9 where the marvels of procreation and 
embryology (cp. Ps 139^^"^^ Ec 11^) seem to be alluded to, and 



VII. 14 127 

the corresponding term (or terms) is used in Aramaic of persons 
certainly not virgin, as, e.g.^ in C Jg 19^ of a concubine who 
had proved unfaithful ; in Palmyrene it is used of harlots, and 
in a bi-lingual inscription NHDIPV apparently corresponds to 
[€]Tat/)oj[v] : see Cooke, North- Semitic Inscriptions^ pp. 330, 335, 
340. The Hebrew word for virgin is rh\T\2 (Ex 22^^, Lv 21^^), 
and corresponding to the difference between rhwsi and i\rhv are 
the different abstract nouns D^Dipy, youth and youthful vigour^ 
naturally including sexual maturity (Job 20^1 332*, Ps 89*^, Is 
54*), and D^^na, virginity (Jg 1 1^^^, Dt 22^^). Where stress needed 
to be laid on a woman's virginity even more unambiguous 
phraseology was employed ; see Nu 31 3^. All this serves to 
show how the prophet would have expressed himself if he had 
had to announce the miracle of birth without loss of virginity. 
Why the term rxohv in preference, say, to HK'X or my: was chosen, 
no theory yet propounded explains, but least of all the theories 
that require the passage to express the fact that the woman con- 
ceives and bears without ceasing to be a virgin. — Is with childy 
and shall bear"] this rendering is justified by Gn 16^^ where the 
same phraseology is used of a woman who has already conceived 
(cp. vv.*^-) and is near giving birth. If this is intended here, the 
promise is that within a few weeks, or days even, God's act of 
deliverance will be in every one's mouth. The alternative 
rendering, shall be with child and bring forth, would postpone the 
deliverance for the best part of a year, whereas the narrative 
seems to suggest that Isaiah expected it at once. — And shall call 
his name^ MT rightly punctuates nxnp — an unusual form of the 

3rd pers. fem. : the child is to receive his name in the ordinary 
way, viz. from his mother : see Hastings, DB iii. 480^ ; prophets 
who wished to use their children's names as signs naturally 
availed themselves of the less usual naming by the father ; see 
8^, Hos I. 1^ can indeed, and would most obviously, be pointed 
nxij?, thou shall call\ so ffi^^ Aq., Symm., Theod., cp. H 
vocabitis ; ST is ambiguous, but SH render by the passive ; cp. the 
3rd pi. of ^ and of Mt i^^. Thou shall call would, of course, 
imply that the child was to be a son of Ahaz. — Immanuet\ this 
name, God is with us, no more implies that the child will be 
God, as Christian exegetical tradition kept affirming, or that he 
will in any other way be remarkable, than do other names. 




128 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

which predicate something of God or Yahweh, assert anything in 
reference to those who bore them. The name in 9^ is different 
in character. The name Immanuel asserts that God will be 
present with the Jews, that they will experience success, deliver- 
ance, freedom from danger and anxiety ; the meaning and result 
of God's presence can be gathered from such sayings as " I fear 
no evil, because thou art with me," Ps 23** ; "I will be with thee, 
and bless thee," Gn 26^; "Yahweh of Hosts is with us" — the 
refrain in the confident lines of Ps 46 ; cp. also Jg 6^2f. 16 ^nd 
Am 5I*, where the synonymous prep, (nx) is used, " Seek ye good 
. . . that ye may live, and that Yahweh God of Hosts may 
be with you, as ye say." Porter in JBLit.^ 1895, pp. 19-35, 
has argued that such a prediction of the beneficent presence 
of God with Judah, is inconsistent with the standpoint of the 
pre-exilic prophets, including Isaiah. He suggests, therefore, 
that " the name Immanuel expresses not the prophet's faith, but 
the false faith, the ungrounded confidence, of the king and the 
people. It is a name which a Jewish woman, soon to give 
birth, might naturally give to her son, but which the experiences 
of such a son, even in his earliest infancy, would contradict. 
The sign consists, then, not in the name, nor in the lot, of the 
boy, but in the relation of the two, in the contradiction of the 
name by the lot." But this is really difficult and unsatisfactory ; 
it is also inconsistent with the rest of the narrative, according to 
which Isaiah did expect immediate relief for Judah, and so far 
at least such a beneficent presence of God as to justify the name. 
If Porter's objection to the common interpretation of the name 
holds good, the genuineness of the whole passage would have to 
be questioned, or with Che. {The Two Religions^ p. 316) we 
should have to suppose that a name implying a threat has been 
altered so as to convey a consolatory sense by an editor who 
modified this ancient prophecy in the interests of a Messianic 
interpretation. — 15, 16. After the name, the reason might be 
expected, as, e.g.^ in Gn 16^^ "Thou shalt call his name Ishmael 
(God hears), because God hath heard " ; but these verses at best 
imply a reason. V.^*, indeed, opens with ^3, because^ but it refers 
to what is to happen some years after the birth of the child, not 
to anything which happening at the birth might account for the 
name ; for the explanation of the name we must turn back to 
what precedes v.^* and infer that the presence of God with Judah 




VII. 15, i6 129 

at the time when the child is born will be manifested in the 
withdrawal just at that time of the Syro-Ephraimitish army. A 
considerable degree of awkwardness in the composition at this 
point is not to be overlooked ; it may, like other features in the 
narrative, be due to abbreviation and alteration of the original 
memoirs. This awkwardness is not eliminated, nor even 
diminished, by omitting either v.^^,* or v.^*.t On the other 
hand, the omission of both verses would allow the narrative to 
conclude appropriately and clearly ; yet it would be difficult to 
give any reason for the subsequent addition of the two verses. — 
Curds and honey shall he eai\ " Victus ei affluet " is Grotius* 
terse and pertinent comment: he rightly sees in these words a 
promise ; % for milk and honey were highly esteemed.§ Neverthe- 
less, since J. D. Mich, most modern interpreters, including Koppe, 
Ges., Ew., Del., Di., Che., Du., Marti, Skinner, Peake treat the 
V. as a threat ; see below. Curds (riNOn) are milk (37n) that has 
thickened : in several passages of the OT, including the present, 
it seems to answer to leben^ or sour milk, which is used, not by 
any means alone by nomads, in Syria to-day : it is a valued and 
refreshing article of diet : see, e.g.^ EBi. 3089. This form of milk 
was offered by Abraham to the three men who came to him in 
the heat of the day (Gn 18^), by Jael to the weary Sisera (Jg 5^5), 
to David and his thirsty company (2 S ly^^-^^). The value set 
on it is also attested by the part it plays in descriptions of 
abundance, and that not only in the OT (Job 20^^ 29^); an 
Assyrian prayer has been cited {EBi. 2104), which in invoking a 
blessing on a king begs that God may cause to flow into his 
channels " honey and curds " {di^pa himeta). Honey and 
curds, moreover, play an important part in Babylonian cultus ; 
see KAT^ 526. Since nxon is a valued form of milk, it is 
extremely difficult to believe that, though " milk and honey shall 
he eat " would have been a promise, " curds and honey shall he 
eat " was a threat : we may rather with safety cite as further 
illustrations of the promise here made, the fact that " milk and 
honey " are the two things singled out to indicate the abundance 

•Hitz., Du., Che., Marti, Peake. 

t Budde, cited and supported by Kuen. Onderzoek, ii. 43 f. 

itCp. Rashi, Lowth, and recently F. Wilke, Jesaja u. Assur, 1905, pp. 

37-39. 

§See at length Bochart, Hierozoicon, iv. 12. 

VOL. I. — 9 




I30 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

of the land of promise ; the land in which the Hebrews were to 
exchange their nomadic for a settled life was in the oft-recurring 
phrase " a land flowing with milk and honey " ; in a longer 
description of the land of promise both forms of milk are 
mentioned — "curds of kine and new milk of sheep," Dt 32i3^-, 
cp. Gn iS^: and much later Ben Sirach defines the staple of 
food as consisting of "flour of wheat, and honey, and milk, the 
blood of the grape, and oil" (Sir 39^^). It should be clear 
then what " curds and honey " meant to Hebrews of the time of 
Isaiah, whether we feel free or not to accept an attractive theory 
that has recently been advanced, according to which the phrase 
"curds (milk) and honey," describing in the first instance the 
food of the gods, had its brigin in mythology and, in particular 
perhaps in Iranian mythology, which knew of heavenly honey 
and holy cows ; whence the phrase descended through Babylonia 
to the Hebrews and by another line to the Greeks, who described 
the food of the infant Zeus on Crete as curds and honey.* A 
phrase with such associations cannot either here or in v.22 imply 
hardship ; and to make v.^*^ mean he shall eat (nothing but) honey 
and curds, because these will be the only products of a land 
devastated by war, is much as if we were to say in English — it 
will be all butter and honey then, so reduced will they have 
become ! or as if we were to justify calling a painful career " a 
path of roses," by remarking that roses have thorns ! And not 
only do the associations of the phrase suggest the very reverse of 
a threat : so too does the context ; v.^* says God will be with 
Judah at the time of the child's birth, and v.^^ that before the 
child is two or three years old, Ephraim and Syria, which now 
threaten Judah, will be destroyed. V.^^ gives the ground for v.^, 
and a promise cannot be the reason for a threat. Nor again is 
the V. a veiled promise and the meaning that Immanuel shall be 
brought up on the fare of nomads and Judah in his childhood 
return to nomadic life for its moral warfare (cp. Hos 2) : f for 
"eating curds and honey " cannot have meant living the nomadic 
life to a people who called the land in which they had abandoned 
the nomadic life "a land of milk and honey," and centuries 
after they had outlived the nomadic stage of their history held 

* See H. Usener in Rhein. Museum fur Phil,, 1902, pp. l*n~l9S » 

Eichhorn as cited in Gressmann, p. 291, 
t Budde. 




VII. 15, i6 131 

" curds (milk) and honey " in the esteem indicated by the passages 
mentioned above, especially Sir 39^^, Dt ^2^^^'. — Af the time 
that he kn(nvs\ at about three years of age : see next n. The 
alternative rendering, that he may knoWy is grammatically 
legiiimate, but this translation stands or falls with the interpreta- 
tion rejected at the end of the last n. — To reject the bad and 
choose the good] this most probably refers to the power to distinguish 
between good and bad, palatable or unpalatable, food ; a child 
without this power (Dt i^^) is a child as yet unweaned, or but 
lately weaned, i.e. of two or three years of age (cp. 2 Mac 7^7). 

The point is illustrated by a modern Syrian popular tale : ** It is said of 
Moses that when he was three years of age, Pharaoh set him on his lap ; and 
Moses stretched out his hand to Pharaoh's beard, and pulled some hairs from 
it. And Pharaoh was angry, and said : This is my enemy : he must be killed. 
And Asiah, Pharaoh's wife, said to him : It is the nature of small children : 
they have no knowledge ; and I will show thee a thing that will prove it to 
thee. And she went and brought two vessels, in one a stone, in the other 
fruit, and put them before Moses, that Pharaoh might know the nature of 
small children. And Moses chose the vessel in which was the stone, and 
Pharaoh ceased from his wrath against Moses, when he saw that he knew not 
to distinguish between them" {PEF Qu St., 1909, p. 37). 

Some * interpret the phrase " knowledge to reject the evil 
and choose the good " of moral perception, and place the age 
here implied much later than the 3rd year (e.g. 10 or 20; Di.). 
But the analogy of 8* and the proof thereby afforded that Isaiah 
a little later certainly expected the desolation of Ephraim and 
Syria within a year or two, favour an interpretation of the phrase 
that implies a brief period in the life of the child. — 16. Within 
two or three years (see last note) from the present time and the 
immediately expected birth of Immanuel, Ephraim and Syria will 
be depopulated. With this final stage in the future of Ephraim 
and Syria, the word of Yahweh (v.^), with which Isaiah was 
sent to Ahaz, reaches its natural conclusion. It is improbable 
that vv.i^^- predicting the desolation of Judah formed any part 
of Isaiah's speech on this occasion. The v. does not, as the 
introductory for might suggest, give the reason for the name 
Imma7iuel\ the name will be given in consequence of the with- 
drawal of Ephraim and Syria from Judah; but this v. looks 
forward to a later stage of events : the Assyrians will first by their 
advance recall the Syrians and Ephraimites to their own 

* Ew., Di. 




132 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

territory, and then after defeating them devastate their country. 
Isaiah expected the subjection of Ephraim and Syria to take 
some little time : and his forecast was substantially justified by 
events. We may place the interview with Ahaz early in 734. 
Damascus was reduced in 732. The captivity of Galilee 
(2 K 1529) may be placed in 734. — The child] The term ("1^3) is 
used of any age from infancy (Ex 2^, i S i^^) up to early man- 
hood (Gn 34^^, Jar i^- '^). — The land of Ephraim and Syria, 
whose two kings, Reson and Pekah thou art in dread (|*p, see 
BDB), shall be left by (3TVn), and so be empty of, its inhabitants ; 
cp. Jer. 429, Zeph. 2*, and naity in 6^2 179. The singular nnnxn, 
land, for the two countries of Syria and Ephraim is curious ; if 
Isaiah's sign was a threat, and if v.^'^ was the direct continuation 
of v.^^, it would be reasonable to suspect that the last clause of 
the v. is intrusive and that the original text ran: For before the 
child knows, etc., the land (viz. of Judah) shall be abandoned', 
^"^ Yahweh shall bring upon thee (viz. Ahaz) and upon thy people, 
etc. Cond. has revived the attempt to gain the same sense by 
following © but retaining the last clause : the land (viz. of Judah) 
for which thou art in dread because of two kings : but see phil. n. 

II. rhv(v P'0VT(\ the construction implied by MT n^K^ is, of course, in 
itself possible and thoroughly idiomatic — go deep, ask, i.e. ask in the depth, 
the first verb having an adverbial force (G-K. II4«): cp. Ps 51*. For 
the emphatic form of the imperative thus presupposed, cp. nj;^'??', •"'O/'P* 
and cp. G-K. 48/. The construction was so understood by % (and ? C), 
but wrongly. 3J in profundum inferni, Aq., Symm., Theod. {eh &8rjv), 
and perhaps (& with its brief rendering of the two clauses els ^ddoi ^ eh (jx/zos, 
correctly read n^Ntf', to SheoL It is unlikely that MT meant " to Sheol" and 
yet pointed npx^, to gain an assonance with rhv^ (Kon. i. p. 262). — 14. 'jhn] 
some 40 MSS read nin\ — Kin] G-K. 135a, c. — riNnpi p mS'i 7\-\r\ nrh^n r\v<\ 
"the part, is used, lastly, of future time, which it represents as already 
beginning : hence, if the event designated can only in fact occur after an 
interval, it asserts forcibly and suggestively the certainty of its approach." 
" The part., after r\v\ does not necessarily refer to the future ... it may 
describe an occurrence in the present, Jg 9'"^, I S 14^^" (Driver, § 135 (3) and 
Obs. i). In Gn 16^^ the first part, after the Ti'in refers to the present, the 
second to the fut. : and so probably here. Similar combinations of the vbs. 
r\-yn, nV% Nnp occur in Jg 13'' '. — nD'?i;n] this may, of course, according to the 
commonest use of the art. in Hebrew as in other languages, mean '* the (well- 
known) young woman " — some one so known already to Isaiah and his 
audience that it was unnecessary to define her further. But the art. may also 
"indicate a particular unknown person or thing which under the given 
circumstances is to be thought of as being concerned " (G-K. 126^ ; Dav. 




VII. ii-i6 133 

Syntax^ 21 (e) : see, e.g.y Am 3'^ 5*', i K 20^). In Am 3^' the circumstances 
are such as may affect many members of the class defined, and 7\'^'\t\ liecomes 
equivalent to shepherds. So here the future circumstances may similarly 
affect more than one young woman : no"?!;.! may therefore mean *' a young 
woman " as yet unknown, but whom future circumstances may define, or since 
the circumstances may similarly affect an indefinite number, "young women." 
Which of these grammatical possibilities was intended must be determined 
(if possible) by the entire context. — nmp if 3rd sing. fem. pf., as in MT 
TK-jp, it stands for nK-ijj, a form retaining like n^m the orig. n of the fem. Cp. 
the forms nN^iJj, Ps ii8®j nxan, Gn 33"; G-K. 74^. The form can be 
pointed riK-jj; ; but had the writer intended to change the subject and to make 
the point that Ahaz himself would give the name that was to convict him of 
ungrounded lack of faith, he would almost certainly have expressed the subject 
Nipn nnNi. — 15. inyn'?] at the time that he knows — h of the point (rather than the 
period) of time, as in Gn 3^ Dvn nn*?, 8" 3iy ny*?, 2 S iiS Ps 30', and, with an 
infin. as here, np3, my mas'?, Gn 24^, Ps 46^. The use of "?, meaning up to, till 
(for which ny is normally used), is rarer ; but see Ex 34^^, Am 4' (not infinitives) ; 
V, with the infin. meaning in order that^ is, of course, common (G-K. 114/, g\ 
BDB 5I7«). (ffi renders "Kplv ^ yvGivax influenced by v.^' rather than by a 
variant tnyi '3sS. — dind] inf. abs., direct obj. of inyn : G-K. w^fd. — noiNn 

n's^D 'Jir 'j£3D fp nnK ik'k] Cond. , after Ephraem Syrus ^-»-j5j JJCTI p*)] 
m . \v ^oAj |, renders la terre pour laquelle tu redoutes les deux rois ; but 
this would require in |^ no less than in Syriac the addition of .T^y. Moreover, 
the indef. D'a^D which Cond. substitutes for .tdSd would be unsuitable, and 
D'D^Dn which his translation {,les, . . . rois) really implies is less like |^. 

History of the interpretation of w.'^^'^* (^^). — The earliest interpretation is 
to be found in Mic 5^, if, as is commonly assumed, the words m^' nihv ny ny 
refer to Is 7" (but see Exp., April 191 1, p. 209 f.). The writer, whatever his 
date, then identifies the child to be born with the coming deliverer of Israel, 
synchronises with his birth the restoration of Israel to Yahweh's favour, and 
probably (see v.^) regards the coming deliverer as a scion of the House of 
David, though some infer from the last words of v.^ that the child will be of 
divine h'neage. The term m"?!' used in Micah is far more colourless than 
no^y, and does not even remotely suggest that the mother must necessarily be 
young or unmarried, still less that she must be virgin. Indeed, the use of 
this colourless word is to be explained by G-K. 144^, so that the sentence 
means until his mother, whoever she may be, shall have borne him, i.e. until 
he is born. 

Apart from Mic 5^, the earliest interpretation of Is y^*"^* is ffi. Here we 
note the following as the main points : ( i ) mn is rendered iv yaarpl XiJ/ti/'crat, 
i.e. the conception as well as the birth of the child is still future ; (2) if 
Ka\4o-eis (BA, cp. Mt l'^) be the true text of © and not Ka\4<T€c (n), or 
Ka\4a€T€ (Q*), or Kokiaowriv (F, Mt i^^), the child is to receive its name from 
Ahaz, and is therefore presumably to be the child of Ahaz ; the variants in (& 
may be due to a change of interpretation of this point ; (3) here as in 
Gn 24^, f& renders noSyn by ^ trapdevos ; this should imply at least that (K 
understood and wished to make clear that ot the time the sign was ^ven the 




134 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

future mother was a virgin and that Immanuel would be her first-bom. But 
it is very far from certain that the translators held that the mother would still 
be virgin when the child was born. On the other hand, their rendering 
would be entirely explained and in harmony with the reading KoKiaeis and 
the future rendering of n^rt, if (Sc, anticipating the later Jewish interpretation, 
saw in the child to be born Hezekiah the first-bom of Ahaz, and conceived 
the interview as taking place in immediate prospect of the marriage of Ahaz. 

It is then very doubtful whether, and, if KoXiffeis be the true text in 
Is 7^* fflr, exceedingly improbable that, (& gave to Is 712-14 ^ny Messianic 
significance. It is certainly worthy of note that in 8^ fflr does not, like many 
modern interpreters, who thereby support the Messianic interpretation of 
7^*, treat ha ijoy as a proper name in the vocative, but (like hn woy »3 in 8^*) 
as a sentence. For a fuller discussion of the place of ffir in the history of the 
interpretation of Is 7^^-18, see £xp., April 191 1, pp. 3(X)fF. 

The first clear and unmistakable Messianic interpretation of the passage 
is to be found in Mt ii8-28^ Jt is an interesting question whether the 
quotation goes back to the Aramaic original of the Gospel, or first appears in 
the existing Greek version ; unlike irapd^vos, noSy would not suggest to the 
Aramaic writer virginity ; and if the quotation goes back to the Aramaic, it 
was introduced without any intention of specifically matching the virginity of 
Mary with the prediction : the primary point was the identification of Jesus 
and Immanuel (cp. Tertullian, Adv. Marc. iii. 12). But once the Gospel 
was current in Greek form. Christian interpreters of Is 7" were compelled to 
recognise in it the prediction not only of the incarnation and redeeming work 
of Jesus, but also of the virginity of His mother. 

Henceforward down to the i6th century, and in the main for yet another 
two centuries, Jewish and Christian exegesis remained totally opposed ; Chris- 
tians affirmed and Jews denied that Isaiah spoke of the birth of the Messiah 
from a virgin mother ; Jews affirmed and Christians denied that Isaiah spoke 
of a birth which was to take place in his own age of the son of a human 
father and a woman not virgin. The influence of this opposition is seen in 
the substitution of the more correct veavii for the irapd^vos of (& in the 
versions of Aq., Symm., Theod. (2nd cent. A.D.), for which these translators 
were very naturally, though most unjustifiably, upbraided by Christian 
scholars ; and, on the other hand, of the translation of no^j; by jA^oAs 
in the (probably) Christian version .S ; IL, of course, and H render vtrgo. 

In greater detail we can watch the conflict of interpretation in the 
writings of many of the Fathers, and first in Justin Martyr (Dial. 43, 48, 66, 
67-71, 77 f., 84). In Justin's dialogue, Trypho the Jew maintains that 
noSy means veavis and not irapdivos, and that the child to be born dudpurros 
i^ dvdpd}irov was Hezekiah, the first-born (cp. c. 84) son of Ahaz. Justin 
uses but a single argument against this, viz. that the birth of a first-born after 
ordinary human intercourse would be no sign ; 7^-1* 8* 7" thus combined 
(though 8* refers to Isaiah's son !) explains to believers what is, and what Is. 
elsewhere (53^) implies to be, inexplicable to men in general, viz. that the 
birth of Jesus the Messiah will take place without loss of virginity by His 
mother : Justin does not reject Trypho's statement that such an interpretation 
makes the prophecy as silly as the Greek fable of the birth of Perseus from 




VII. i2-i6 135 

the union of Zeus with the virgin Danae, but argues that the Greek fable is a 
devilish imitation of the prophecy, which is a prediction of actual fact. 

Very different from the rhetoric of Justin is the refutation of the Jewish 
theory by Jerome. Following Eusebius {Dem. Ev. vii. i), he shows that 
Hezekiah was already born before the sign was given (2 K 16* 18', 2 Ch. 28^), 
and by a philological argument defensible then, though so no longer, argues 
that noVy meant "virgoabsconditaet secreta, quae nunquam virorum patuerit 
aspectibus." The child to be born so long afterwards will yet be able to save 
immediately, for he is identical with Him who appeared to Abraham and 
spoke to Moses ; and, a point already made by Irenaeus (iii. 21. 4), he will 
be no phantasm, but will eat butyrum et mel in proof of his humanity. For 
further patristic interpretations, see Iren. Haer. iii. 2i^"* ; Tert. Adv. MarCy 
iii. 13, iv. 10, Adv. Jud. 9 ; Origen, Contra Celsum^ i. 34 f. ; Eus. Dem. 
Ev. vii. I ; Cyril. Hier. Cat. xii. ; Basil. Comm. in Is. ; Cyril. Alex. In Is. 

The patristic criticisms of the early Jewish theory, that the child to 
be bom was Hezekiah, had its effect ; when we come to mediaeval Jewish 
scholars we find them identifying the noVy either (i) with the wife of Isaiah 
— a view already mentioned as that of some Christians {qutdam de nostris) 
by Jer. ; so Rashi, Ibn Ezra ; or (2) with another wife of Ahaz, Ki. 

Protestant scholars in the i6th cent, follow in the main the traditional 
Catholic tradition, though Luther (cited by Del.) and Calvin, for example, are 
Mailing to grant that Tvch]} need not necessarily mean, though here, as often, 
it actually does refer to, a woman still virgin. Pellicanus attributed to the 
passage a double meaning — the current Christian interpretation and, for 
Ahaz who could not appreciate this, the meaning that "quae hodie virgo est 
propediem conceptura sit et filium paritura qui et nomen habiturus sit Im- 
manuel in signum proxime ingruentis redemptionis vestrae." Later, Grotius 
abandoned the traditional Christian interpretation. The Catholic J. L. 
Isenbiehl in 1778 published a monograph, Neuer verstuh iiber die Weissa- 
gung vom Immanuely in which he argued at length that the prophecy related 
to the time of Isaiah ; he also argued that the noVy was some woman present 
at the interview, and that the article was used deiKTiKus. Isenbiehl 
suffered heavy pains and penalties for his temerity (see Ges. p. 309) ; but 
from this time onward an exclusive Messianic interpretation became increas- 
ingly less frequent, and an increasing number, especially of Protestant scholars 
(see Che.'s article "Immanuel," in EBi.), denied that the prophet intended 
to make any reference to the birth of Jesus. 

But no sooner had Christian scholars begun in numbers to accept the 
fundamentally more defensible interpretation of the Jews than Rosenmiiller 
gave a new turn to the Messianic interpretation, substantially anticipating 
an exegetical theory which has recently been expounded and defended by a 
number of scholars — Gressmann, Jeremiais, Box, Burney. Rosenmiiller in 
a monograph published in Gahler^s Journal /. auserlesenetheol. Lit. 1806, and 
in the 2nd edit, of his Scholia, argued that Isaiah did definitely intend to 
speak of the virgin-birth of the Messiah, and in defence of this view appealed 
to numerous ancient myths which speak of great men born of virgins or in 
other marvellous ways. Rosenmiiller cites many of these ; and it is now 
possible to survey them conveniently in E. S. Hartland, The Legend of 




136 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

Perseus^ vol. i. ; but Ges. rightly disputes the relevance of them to the passage 
in Isaiah. Recent exponents of this theory lay stress, in particular, on what 
is claimed to have been a belief dominating the entire Orient (Jeremias) ; 
Burney recalls the remarkable circumstances attending the birth of many 
Hebrew heroes (Gn 11^ i8^^- 2521^- 30^, Jg 13, i S i), and the birth and 
infancy of Sargon of Agade ; he appeals to Mic 5^ to show that in the age 
of Isaiah the birth of a great deliverer was expected, and he argues that 
Isaiah's sign consists in setting a time in the immediate future when the 
damsel, well known to every one from the part assigned to her in the current 
expectation, would bring forth the Deliverer in marvellous circumstances 
befitting his high destiny : see/TAS x. 580-584. All such theories are vitiated 
by the fact that Is y^'^-^^ speaks clearly of a Deliverance, but is silent as to a 
Deliverer: it is not said that Immanuel will deliver, and the passive in v.^' 
rather clearly implies that he will not. Different forms of another improbable 
theory, noted in EBt. (/.^.), and recently favoured by Whitehouse, treat no^yn 
as a personification (cp. nSnn, Am 5^) of the house of David, or the com- 
munity of §ion, Immanuel as the new generation, or the ideal ruler. 

17-25. A prophecy, or a collection of prophetic frag- 
ments, predicting ruin and especially depopulation of a 

country which, according to v.^^, is unmistakably Judah. 

Attempts have been made to discover a connection, either 
between vv.^*^^ and ^"^'^ or, v.^^ being omitted as a gloss, between 
1-^^ and ^^"2^ If v.^*^ (with its reference to Judah) be omitted, 
18-25 can be treated (Hackm. p. 66) as an amplification in detail 
of what is stated summarily, but sufficiently, in v.^^^, the ruin of 
Ephraim and Syria. But the theory of Du., Che., Marti, that 
v.i^ is a gloss written to connect vv.^'^^ and vv.^^-^^ founders on 
the fact that it is particularly between v.i^ and y.^"^ that the lack 
of connection is most conspicuous ; ffir feeling this supplied dAAa 
at the beginning of v.^^. To attribute v.^^ to a glossator who 
wished to create a connection between ^-^^ and ^^"^^ is at the 
same time to accuse him of failing in his attempt. The entire 
tenor of ^'^^ as interpreted above is that Judah has nothing 
to fear, is not to suffer ruin ; the entire tenor of w.^^-^^ is that a 
most complete ruin is impending over the country: of course 
either Isaiah himself or a glossator may very well have held 
that these two contrary fortunes were to be successive stages in 
the future, but v.^^ fails to mark a transition from one stage to 
another. Or again, Isaiah's promise of (lasting) safety for Judah 
may have been and indeed was (cp. v.'-^) conditional, so that 
vv.17-25 would have been intelligible if they had immediately 
followed v.i^ ; we could have understood Isaiah illustrating his 




VII. 17-25 137 

general principle enunciated in v.® by saying to Ahaz, You have 
refused to believe, therefore Judah shall not stand but come to 
ruin. He does not do this, but makes the promise of w.^**^^. 
After that, to such a threat as is contained in w.i7-26 some clearly 
marked transition would be required. Even if it were correct 
to see in v.^^ a threat, it would still remain altogether forced and 
artificial to treat vv.^^ and ^'^ together as the ground of vv.^* and 
^5 taken together, v.^^ justifying the promise of v.^* and v.^^ the 
threat of v.^^; and yet this is the best that can be done to 
connect the two passages — a significant indication that there 
is no organic connection. Vv.^-^^ and ^"^-^^ are of independent 
origin. They were placed in juxtaposition by an editor, possibly 
on account of the similarity of vv.^^^- and y.^^. 

Some early annotations have crept into the text : such are 
the words " the king of Assyria " (vv.^^ and ^o) at least, as most 
scholars since Houb. and Lowth have recognised, perhaps also 
(Du., Mar.) "at the end of the streams of Egypt" and "which 
is in the land of Assyria" (v.^^). Even what is left after the 
removal of these notes looks more like an editor's collection 
and restoration of fragments than a prophetic poem in its original 
form : note the recurrent " And it shall come to pass in that 
day " (vv.^^- ^o- 21. 23j^ ^^e awkward fourfold occurrence of n\T in 
V.23, and the apparent mixture of rhythmical and unrhythmical 
elements. To what part of Isaiah's lifetime the groundwork 
belonged, and what precisely are the limits of Isaiah's work, 
cannot be determined with certainty. 

17. Yahweh will bring upon thee] the words are addressed to 
a king of Judah — possibly Ahaz in any case, and certainly if 
v.^^ is the continuation of v.^^. — Days such as have not come] the 
loss of the ten tribes was as nothing to the loss of population 
that now awaits Judah — such is probably the thought of the 
writer ; but an early annotator explained these words as mean- 
ing the king of Assyria. — Since Ephraitn withdrew from union 
with Judah] Ephraim is used for the entire Northern kingdom, 
as in 9^ and Hos. The standpoint is obviously that of Judah. — 
18 f. Under the figure of swarming and ferocious insects the 
writer predicts that Yahweh is about to bring on Judah (v.^^) an 
overwhelming invasion. If his verses have reached us in their 
original form, he expected invasion from both Assyria and 
Egypt — a point of view which finds an incomplete parallel in 



138 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



J 



Hos 9^, and none at all in Isaiah. Elsewhere Isaiah feared 
alliance with (chs. 29-30), not invasion from, Egypt. Moreover, 
previous to Sabako's accession, ^.712 B.C., Egypt was too weak 
to cause much fear in her neighbours. If which is in the end 
of the streams of Egypt and which is in the land of Assyria 
are notes added to the text by an annotator who mistakenly 
inferred that two insects must imply two nations,* Isaiah was 
predicting here, as elsewhere, an Assyrian invasion. The 
omission of the prosaic annotations leaves two almost perfect 
distichs 4 : 4 — 

Yahweh will whistle for the fly and the bee. 

And they will come . . . and settle all of them, 

In inaccessible wadys and clefts of the rocks. 
And on all the thorn-bushes and all the pastures. 

Will whistle'] cp. 5^^, Zee 10^, with men as obj. ; here perhaps the 
word is used in strict keeping with the figure. Bochart {Hieroz, 
Lib. iv. c. X.) has collected a number of ancient testimonies to 
the custom of summoning bees by various noises, such as the 
clanging of brass instruments (Verg. Georgics, iv. 64), of which the 
most pertinent, if it is not merely educed from the biblical 
passages, is Cyril's comment on this v. : " Bee-keepers are ac- 
customed to whistle {(rvpt^€Lv, as fflr here) to the bees, and so 
entice them out of their hives to the flowers and herbs, or get 
them in from the fields and make them stop at home." — Thefiy'\ 
Flies abounded in Egypt, but were, of course, frequent elsewhere, 
though, curiously enough, allusions to the fly in the OT are con- 
fined to this passage and Ec 10^ and the divine name Baal-zebub. 
A further allusion to the flies of Egypt has been often but mis- 
takenly discovered in 18^. Apart from the following clause the 
fly would not suggest Egypt ; it suggests number (cp. Hom. //. 
ii. 469) and noisomeness, not locality. — In the end of the streams 
of Egypt'] in far-distant Upper Egypt. The plural streams (D^IX^) 
is also used of Upper Egypt in Nah 3* : ffi here has the sing. — 
The dee] a figure for persistent, numerous and ferocious enemies ; 
see Dt I**, Ps it 8^2, also Homer, //. ii. 87 fl". ; the bees of the 
East are a far more aggressive race than those of England (EBi.f 
s.v. Bee). — And settle] v.^ n. The figure is maintained: the 
invading insects settle in such places as they are wont to settle 

*Du., Che., Marti. 



4 



VH. 18-22 139 

in, where they can find food and shelter; but there is also 
probably an implicit resolution of the figure ; the Jews will find 
no escape from the Assyrians even in inaccessible wadys and in 
clefts of the rocks (cp. Dt 720). — Thorn- (?) bushes and pastures (?)] 
ffi caves and clefts. But although the 2nd term (o^i^^jna) occurs 
nowhere else and the first (D^vivy:) only once (55^^ sing.), it is 
probable that both refer to feeding-places of insects : see, further, 
phil. n. — 20. A new figure of devastation and depopulation : 
here, whatever may be the case in v.^^ Yahweh's agent (cp. 10'') 
is Assyria only. In i^^- Judah is personified as a man with no 
sound spot left in his body ; here, as a man who is to be subjected 
to the extreme ignominy of being shorn of his hair from head to 
foot (cp. 2 S 10*). — With a razor] correctly, but unnecessarily — 
for Assyria is sufficiently indicated by the phrase (in the parts) 
beyond the River ^ i.e. the Euphrates (cp. Jos 242 and often) — an 
annotator added, with the king of Assyria. The razor is said 
to be hired^ because Yahweh pays for services rendered: cp. 
Ezk 29^^-. Others see in the expression an allusion to Assyria 
hired by Ahaz's tribute (2 K 16'^^-). — The hair of the feet] euphe- 
mistic : cp. " water of the feet," 36^2 . ^p^ ^Iso 62. — 21, 22. These 
verses no doubt contained a further picture of the ruin and de- 
population of the country; but as they now stand in J^ they 
seem to speak, in the main, of abundance — there is to be an 
abundant yield of milk, and every one is to find good food {curds 
and honey) to eat. It is true that here as in v.^* (see n. there) 
most modern interpreters have endeavoured, contrary to the 
regular force of the phrase, to make eating curds and honey 
mean privation; Del., for example, writes, "Whoever has 
escaped . . . eats curds and honey : this, and nothing but this, 
without change ad nauseam.''^ Others make the expression 
typical of nomadic fare, and so indirectly of (relative) privation. 
But the earlier interpreters, like C, which paraphrases " on curds 
and honey shall all the righteous live," and the mediaeval Jewish 
commentators, Rashi, Ki., Ibn Ezra, were certainly right in re- 
taining here the well established meaning of the expression. 
Yet though the allusions in the v. to abundance must not be 
explained away, there are also suggestions of privation : for a 
man to succeed in keepifig alive a you?tg cow and two fe?nale 
("•nc), i.e. milch, sheep, or goats (|KV), is not a sign of wealth, and 
the phrase all that are left in the tnidst of the land suggests that 




140 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

the people are not only poor but few. Justice can be done both 
to the suggestions of privation and to those of abundance if it be 
assumed that J^ has been (accidentally) amplified and that (& is 
the better reading ; read : and it shall come to pass in that day, {if) 
a man shall preserve alive a young cow and two {milch) sheep, then 
it shall come to pass that owing to the abundatice of the yield of 
milk, every one that is left in the midst of the land shall eat curds 
and honey ; this is an effective picture of depopulation : two or 
three cattle will yield more than enough for the handful of 
survivors, and enable them to enjoy the best of fare. The 
difficulties of the vv. are insufficiently met by simply eliminating 
from 1^ because of the abundance of milk, he shall eat curds, as "an 
eschatological fragment describing the happy lot of those who 
live on into the New Era" (Box). Nor do these words in 
themselves ring true to the custom of the country where the 
milk is likely to be consumed by preference in the form of curds 
(nKDPi), whether it be abundant or not. — 23-25. The whole 
country will go out of cultivation, even the land where the 
richest vines were trained will, like the rest, yield only thorns 
and briats, or (v.^^) at best serve for grazing : cp. 5^*^* 32^2f.^ — ^ 
thousand vines at a thousand of silver shekels, i.e. vines worth a 
shekel (about 2s. 6d.) a piece — a high price (cp. Ca. 8^^), 
greatly in excess of the normal value of a vine in modern Syria, 
which, acccording to Del., is a piasta, i.e. about twopence. — 
Shall be for'\ shall belong to (p n-n^ as 17^) thorns and briars. — 24. 
Through fear of wild animals, which will house there, or to gain 
food from the chase, men will not go into this thicket covered 
country without bows and arrows. — 25. And all the hills which 
used to be hoed with the hoe, thou shall not come thither out of fear 
of thorns and briars ; this is partly a repetition of v.^^, and the 
change to the 2nd sing, is without apparent reason. Probably 
the text has suffered more or less : see phil. n. 

17. mn'] ffi 6 ^c6s. — ySv . . . n'^^] Sv ki3, Sv N'an, rarely used of 
bringing good fortune (Jos 23'^ cp. Gn 27^^), is commonly used of mis- 
fortune {e.g. 47», Dt2926, I K g^).— nt^N] such as: cp. e.g. Ex io« 34^*.— 
dvd'?] the double prep, as Jg IQ^", 287^: see BDB 583^.— '?yD . . . nio] 
to withdraw from union with ; for the force of the compound prep. cp. 
Jer 32*0 (same phrase), 2 K 1721, Is 56^ ; BDB 759a.— 18. ninan] cp. 5« n. ; 
apparently mnan 'Vna means ivadys of the cut off places, i.e. ravines of the 
precipices (BDB), inaccessible ravines. The Versions seem to have guessed at 
the meaning. — D'xisyi] in Is 55^^ psya is clearly a plant or bush of some kind : 



■- 



VII. 17-25, VIII. 1-4 14^ 

aSt there renders by (rroifi^ ; and this, according to Pliny, 21. 15, § 54> ^^ ^ 
plant with a prickly stalk. U hex^frutetis. In favour of the meaning 2i prickly 
shrub or thorn bush in particular it is customary to refer to the New Hebrew 
fyj ; but though this certainly means to thrust or wedge in^ it much less 
certainly means to prick (cp. Levy, s.v.). The Arabic dictionaries (Freytag), 

however, cite ^yaxi as the name of a prickly shrub frequently found in the 

Hejaz. — D'SSnj] Not, of course, from v/*?^, as C takes it (nnnncnn 'M, cp. 
"commendable trees," RV marg.), but from Vnj (Barth, NB^ § 142), the 
primary meaning of which appears to have been to lead to a watering place ; 

like ^y^t^X/*, therefore, ^^."T3 may have meant watering plcue, or perhaps 
more generally pastures. AV bushes goes back on an etymologically 
unsupported guess of Jewish scholars (Saad., Abul-Walid). — 20. rjT3rn nyn|] 
MT assumes that nyn is cstr. ; but though in Ps 52* nyn is masc, it is 
shown by nson below to be fem. here. Point, therefore, morn nyng ; 
cp. (& T<fi ^vp<p T(^ fx€fjLi<xd(t)fi^v(^ (or fi€fxedv(rfi4v(p = nT^v), H novcuula con- 
ducta. — nnj nnyn] the pi. nay might mean the parts beyond (Ges. 124^), 
and nnj (without the art. ) Euphrates : cp. Jer 2^^ But read inan naya (ffi 
Trkpav rov TToranoO). — 22. '3 nNDn h^H"] (& om. If the omission from dB is 
not accidental, but represents the original text (see above), the addition of 
the words in ^ may be due to the incorporation of a Hebrew variant in 
which SaK' preceded instead of following cam nKOn. — 23. .t.t (2)] like pmy 
of what used to recur (Driver, § 30). — 1D3 'jSna] Beth pretii: G-K. 119/. 
For the omission of ^pr (supplied by CR), see G-K. I34«. — 24. «3'] for the 
indef. subj., see G-K. 144^; the expression of the indef. subj. by the 2nd 
sing. (K3n V.25) is rarer; G-K. 144A. — 25. n'ri TOr nxT nor Nun-K*?] may 
well be intrusive (cp. Box), and is perhaps a variant (slightly corrupt) of 
n'n . . . nor M3' in v.^*. Nun is probably wrong, Q.nd perhaps <& (^xei 0(J/3o5 
^orat 7A/3 dir6 r^s X'^P<^°^ '^^'^ dKdvdrjs els (idaKruxa.) may point to further 
corruption. For the ace. of cause "lOr nxT, which is common in Arabic 
(Wright, Arabic Grammar, 44^ = ^ ii. p. 132), see G-K. 118/; Kon. iii. 
332/ ; for nxT, terror, dread, cp. Dt 2^, Ps 55*. It is altogether improbable 
that nNT is subj. of Nun (AV). Nor is Kennedy's suggestion. If (n^) thou 
wert to go thither, then thou shouldest see (hnii for hkt), convincing ; but he 
has good reason to suspect the text and existing interpretations of it {Exp. 
Times, viii. 477 f.). 

VIII. 1-4. Maher-shalal-bash-baz. — A further extract 
from Isaiah's autobiography (Introd. §§ 34, 38). Some time 
before the fall of Damascus (732 b.c.), Isaiah, at the command of 
Yahweh, records in two different ways and at different times his 
conviction of the approaching fate of both Damascus and Samaria: 
(i) he writes down, or engraves, in the presence of witnesses, the 
legend, "Belonging to Maher-shalal-ljash-baz (spoil is speedy — 
plunder hasteneth)"; (2) nearly a year later he names his new- 
born son Maher-shalal-bash-baz, in the expectation that Assyria 



4 



142 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH ^g | 

will have despoiled both Damascus and Samaria before the clinc 
is more than about a year old. 

The point of view is the same as in 7^^^^ ; only the security 
of Judah against Ephraim and Syria is there explicitly, is here 
implicitly, asserted. In 7^*^^ Isaiah addresses the king, here he 
makes his outlook on affairs known to the people at large. 

It is probable that Isaiah crystallised his teaching into the 
phrase Maher-shalal-hash-haz de/ore Ahaz, by appealing to 
Assyria, gave the people of Judah reason, beyond or apart from 
the prophet's word, to hope that Samaria and Damascus would 
be spoiled. The inscription may have been engraved in 735 B.C., 
the child born and named in 734. 

In 710-16 gi-* Isaiah predicts three features, or stages, in the immediate 
future: (i) the relief of Judah, 7"; (2) the desolation of Ephraim and 
Syria, 7^* ; (3) the spoiling of Samaria and Damascus, 8^ ; according to a 
frequent but improbable interpretation (see on 714-I6) he also predicted 
(715. i7ff.) (^j the desolation of Judah. 

The first stage he expected within nine or ten months at most of his 
interview with Ahaz (7^^) ; the second within two or three years after the 
first (f^). The fourth, if really referred to in 7"- "^s would fall after (2). 
Possibly Isaiah placed (3) between (i) and (2); for the stage in child life 
defined in 8"* is somewhat earlier than that defined in 7** ; on the other hanci, 
Maher-shalal-hash-baz may not have been born till some months after Isaiah 
expected the birth of Immanuel ; and, moreover, Isaiah may never have 
sharply defined the chronological relation of (2) and (3). 

On the main issue Isaiah's prophecies were justified. Judah was quickly 
relieved, much of Ephraim and Syria desolated, and Damascus captured and 
spoiled, within three years of the interview with Ahaz. The destruction of 
Samaria was deferred another ten or eleven years — rather longer than Isaiah 
anticipated. 

I. A large tablet] In 2!^^ ]'\'h^ is some ornament or article 
of toilet, and possibly a hand mirror of polished metal, which 
reflects and so reveals irhi) the beholder. So some under- 
stand |Vf>i to be here a polished tablet of wood (Ezk 37^'^), 
or stone (Ex 34^), or metal (Job iq^^?) for receiving writing. 
But the Mishnah use of the word for the margin, i.e. the still 
blank part of a page, suggests that pvJ may have been widely 
applicable to any blank surface intended for writing, whether 
tablets, parchment, or papyrus ; ffi to/xoi/ (xaprov) Kaivov, Aq. 
K€<^aAt8a, Symm. tcvx©?; ST trh. Whatever it was, the object 
being large would be conspicuous and attract attention. — Write 
upon it in common characters (?)1 The exact force of {5^3^ Din is 



f 



VIII. I, 2 143 

uncertain, but the general sense seems to be, write so that every 
one who sees this conspicuous tablet may be able to read it ; cp. 
Hab 2*. IDin (Ex 32* t ?) is, apparently, a synonym for oy (Jer 
17I, Job 19^*), and means a stylus \ 8^365 is a poetical synonym 
for B'^K, so that on the analogy of K^K riDK, an ordinary cubit 
(Dt 3^^), Kn3K t3"in should mean an ordinary stylus. C (cp. Di.) 
paraphrases write clearly ; but it would presumably be as easy to 
write illegibly with an ordinary as with an extraordinary stylus. 
Perhaps Din also meant written character \ cp. "style," from 
"stylus," "to write round hand" -, then the command is to use 
the ordinary alphabet with which every one was familiar 
Benzinger {Arch.^ 176 if.) thinks that the implied contrast is 
between the human, i.e, the Phoenician, and the divine (Ex 31^® 
32^^), i.e. the cuneiform, characters, both of which he infers 
were concurrently in use as late as the 7th century ; two cunei- 
form contract tablets discovered at Gezer were drawn up in 
649 and 647 B.C. respectively, and in one of these one of the 
parties is a Jew. Sta. (ZATIV, 1906, pp. 135 f.) also argues that 
the implied antithesis is human and divine, but that what is 
referred to is the substance of the inscription, not the character 
in which it is written. — Belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz\ the 
legend is in form like that inscribed by Ezekiel on two sticks 
(Ezk 37^^), or those which occur on old Hebrew or Canaanite 
seals ; cp. e.g. " Belonging to Shama* the servant of Jeroboam " 
(DVm^ 12J? V^^% the legend on a seal of about the 9th cent. 
B.C. discovered at Megiddo, and reproduced in Steuernagel, Tell 
el Mutesellim^ 117: also in Driver, Modern Research as illustrat- 
ing the Bible, p. 91 ; for other examples, see Cooke, North-Sem. 
Inscriptions^ 360 f.; Lidzbarski, Ephemeris^ ii. i4off. — The name 
means, swift is the spoil to come, speedy is the prey, and 
portends the imminent destruction of Samaria and Damascus 
(v.*). — 2. The inscription is to be witnessed by credible witnesses. 
In 6r, V.2 continues the command of v.^ and cause trustworthy 
witnesses to attest the writing ^r me (Yahweh). This is probably 
right. J^ may be rendered, and I caused^ etc. ; or and I will cause 
(MT, EV) ; in the former case the first person refers to Isaiah, in 
the latter to Yahweh. Of the two witnesses, Uriah the priest ^2& 
certainly a person of importance (2 K 1 6i<^-i6) ; Zechariah was 
probably of similar standing. Neither was necessarily a close 
friend of the prophet ; their testimony would be more effective 



^r 



144 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



if they were not. — It is generally inferred (i) that Isaiah put up 
his inscription in some public place for all to read, and (2) that 
he had it witnessed, so that when events proved his forecast 
correct, the prophet might be believed to have spoken the word 
of Yahweh; (i) is a reasonable inference from the size of the 
tablet and from C^1J&< D*in3, if the interpretation given above is 
correct ; (2) is the only reasonable inference from v. 2. Yet it is 
not entirely clear why an inscription publicly exposed long before 
it was verified by events required witnesses ; they would be more 
necessary for a document sealed and put away for a time (cp. 
v.^^). — 3. Then I drew near] Not JVow I had drawn near : the 
tense cannot be pluperfect (Driver, Tenses^ § 76 Obs.). It would 
be better to assume a misplacement (cp. 3821) of vv.^^' than 
a plupf. sense for anpNI. If vv.^^- stood before vv.^^-, the tablet 
of v.^ would have a clear destination ; it would be for Isaiah's 
son. As the text stands, the tablet is inscribed with a name that 
attaches to no one. — The prophetess] nN^33 here means the wife of 
a prophet, as riD^D commonly means the wife of a king. Isaiah, 
unlike Amos (7^^), did not repudiate the title prophet. 

I, ino] is a verbal adj. quick to come (cp. Zeph i^^ unless nno should be 
read nnoD), and B'n a part. It would, however, be equally possible to point "irtp 
and take both verbs as prophetic perfects. — 2. m'i'Ni] MT n^'i'^i, but point 
preferably, if |^ be retained, nryxi, arid I took \ Sta. ZATW, 1906, p. 136. 
dR Kal fxdpTvpds fioi iroLrfcrov, i.e. m'y.Ti, of which it is just possible that %l is 
merely an Aramaic scribe's orthography. Cp. (Ibn Ezra) ')"^Kn '3 D'nDN tsf 
H"n nnn. — hv'] G-K. 144^: cp. K3', 7^ (n.). 

5-10. The Extreme Peril and Complete Security of 
Judah. — 

The prevailing rhythm, though, in the present text, at all events, it is not 
maintained unbroken, is 4 : 4 in vv.""^ ; 3 : 3 in vv.'*^". 



JudaJUs Peril, 

^ Because this people have rejected 

The gently flowing waters of Shiloah, a a 
■^ Therefore behold the Lord is causing to rise a 

The mighty and many waters of the River, a a 
And it shall rise over all its channels, 

And go over all its banks, 
^ And it shall sweep on into Judah, an over-flowing flood, 

, . . reaching even to the neck. 





VIII. i-io 145 

Judah^s Safety. 

• ••••••a 

^ And his outstretched wings will cover 
The entire width of the land — 
For God is with us. 

• Take knowledge ye peoples and be dismayed, 

Give ear all ye distant parts of the earth, a 
1^ Plan plans, and they shall come to nought, 

Scheme schemes, and they shall not be carried out : 
For God is with us. 

Textual corruption, the intrusion of glosses, — omitted in 
the preceding translation, — and, probably, the juxtaposition of 
passages of different origin, have obscured the meaning of these 
verses. 

yv.6-8b predict, under the figure of a vast flood, due to the 
rise of the Euphrates, which is to inundate the land of Judah to 
a dangerous depth, the devastation of Judah by Assyria ; ww.^-^^ 
the complete security of Judah owing to the presence of God, 
which frustrates the hostile plans of the nations of the world. 
There is no transition from the one theme to the other, but 
there is probably a change of rhythm, — facts which point to 
yy 6-8b 2tx\di ^^'^^ being of different origin. 

Yy 6-8b are rather later than the interview with Ahaz (7^'^^), 
if the conclusion is right that Isaiah's object at that time was to 
enforce the security of Judah from the Syro-Ephraimitish attack. 

Yy sc-io are probably post-exilic (see below), and contain 
a fragment of a poem which consisted of short stanzas closing 
with the refrain, "For God is with us." On account of the 
refrain the poem was given a place near 7^*. 

5. Cp. 7^^. — 6-8b. Because Judah has rejected Yahweh, 
therefore Yahweh will subject Judah to a devastating Assyrian 
invasion. — This people\ 6® n. Here the phrase clearly means the 
Jews, see v.^. The entire people, and not only the king's court 
(7^3) are here condemned. — The gently flowing waters of ShiloaK\ 
the waters of Shiloah are the waters flowing from the one 
spring in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, the modern *Ain sitti 
Maryam, which rises in a cave on the eastern declivity of the 
eastern hill of Jerusalem, that is the ancient Mount Sion, about 
VOL. I. — 10 



n 



146 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

353 yards south of the south-east angle of the Temple area : on 
the opposite side of the ravine lies the modern village of Silwan 
( = Shiloah), and lower down on the same side, at a distance in a 
direct line of 1090 feet, the Birket, or *Ain, Silwan, probably 
identical with the rh^n n3"i3 of Neh 3^^ The words, tke gently 
flowing waters of Shiloah^ suggest waters whose flow could be 
watched; they are not the waters of the tunnel in which the 
Siloam inscription was found, even if that were as ancient as the 
time of Ahaz (cp. 7^ n.), but they are either the water conveyed 
by the open conduit, which existed before the tunnel, or more 
probably the waters flowing down the valley (cp. G. A. Smith, 
Jerusalem^ i. 90). From the nature of their source, these waters 
must have flowed gently, and, like the artificially controlled water 
of to-day, they doubtless served to irrigate the gardens of the 
valley. These waters, then, were closely associated with Sion, 
the site of Yahweh's temple and the royal palace ; and they were 
the " living " waters of Jerusalem, as contrasted with the waters 
stored in cisterns (cp. 7^ n.). Isaiah is obviously speaking in 
metaphor ; the most probable explanation of the metaphor seems 
to be that the living waters of Shiloah rising under Sion stand 
for Yahweh, who in Jeremiah (2^^) is compared to a " fountain 
of living waters." The waters of Shiloah, " however beneficent, 
are to outward appearance insignificant " (Che.) ; so the power 
of Yahweh, wlych had been the source of Judah's welfare {e.g, 
5^^-), and to Isaiah seemed an all-sufificient ground for quiet 
confidence (7* 30^^), was in the eyes of the people insignificant, 
not to be trusted, but forsaken for other sources of strength (cp, 
3o2- 12. 16 31I-8). For the " gentleness " of Yahweh's activity, cp. 
Job 15^^. The explanations of "the waters of Shiloah" as the 
house of David,* or as the Syro-Ephraimitish invasion,! or as an 
allusion to some lost poem or some now unknown popular 
idea, J may be dismissed. The last words of v.^, omitted from 
the above translation, are awkward and difficult; if they have 
any meaning (see phil. n.), the meaning is and a rejoicing (or, 
and because they rejoice) with Reson and the son of Remaliah ; 
which is inconsistent with the context, for the Jews, so far from 
rejoicing with Reson and the son of Remaliah, stood in dread of 
them (72^-1 An emended text (see phil. n.) may be rendered, 

♦ Ibn Ezra. ' t F- C. Burkitt, infThS xii. 294. 

X Gressmann, p. 68. 




VIII. 6-8 147 

And have melted with fear because of Reson^ etc. But (i) the 
emendation is not free from serious objection ; (2) the immediate 
transition which takes place, if the words be omitted, from the 
figure of Shiloah with its gentle flow to the Euphrates in 
desolating flood, is very eflective ; and (3) the words, like those 
generally recognised to be a gloss in v.'^, form an isolated stichos. 
Probably, therefore, Re^on and the son of Remaliah are an early 
annotator's erroneous explanation of "the waters of Shiloah," 
and the first word of the v. (B^K^) a corrupt variant of D«0 
above, or an isolated fragment, or possibly, as Bredenkamp, 
Giesebrecht, and Burkitt have suggested, though on rhythmical 
grounds this is not very probable, BnK'D is a synonym {oozing, 
trickling ?) of Dn!? : note the two synonyms in v.''^. — 7. Yahweh 
will punish His disloyal people by causing a fateful rise of the 
Euphrates, i.e. by an Assyrian invasion : so the destruction of 
Philistia by the Chaldaeans is predicted under the figure of a 
fateful rise of the waters from the north (Jer 47^). The figure 
here is blurred even in ^ and still more in EV, which makes 
the king of Assyria overflow his banks and reach even to the 
neck! An early annotator explained the River (720 n.) as the 
king of Assyria and all his glory, and also perhaps added UTfhVy 
against thetn, which explain rather unnecessarily the destination 
of the flood. — 8. And it shall sweep on] for f[hn, cp. 21^. — Into 
/udah] this is the destination of the desolating flow of waters : 
nothing is said of the flood affecting Ephraim on the way, for 
Ephraim is not in the poet's thoughts. — An overflowing flood] 
more literally, having flooded and overflowed, unless, omitting the 
waw, we restore the phrase used in Nah i*. — Reaching even to 
the neck] of dangerous depth. Cp. "an overflowing torrent 
reaching (nvn% synonymous with y^r here) up to the neck," 3028. 
The swelling stream described in Ezk 47^-5 rose gradually from 
being ankle-deep to being knee-deep and deep as the loins, after 
which it became too deep to be passed through, and required to 
be swum if the passage of it was to be safely made. 

6. '3 ]]l'] 3^^ n.— pxT DK enro^] Di. explains MT thus : bibo is the constr. 
case of nro (32^') before the prep, nn, and dependent on jr — on account of 
the rejoicing with Res6n. Ges. similarly, except that he takes nK as the nota 
ace. and cites 35^ (corrupt) as justifying nr with the ace. But nK bik^ is 
very doubtful, and but partially paralleled by 5^^ or 9^. G-K. 130a cites no 
case of the cstr. before the prep. nK and only one before nK, the sign of the 
ace. — ^Jer 33^2 (text very doubtful ; cp. v.'*). Kon. (iii. p. 115 n. 3) suggests 




148 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



that tyiB'Di may be inf. abs. {v^&^) with D prefixed to gain alliteration with 
DND ; but it is doubtful wisdom to seek forced explanations of a text which is 
exegetically condemned (see above). The emendation of the text adopted by 
Du., Marti, and others goes back to a suggestion of Hitzig's, that vwd is a 
mis written form of the like sounding didd, to melt away (in fear ; not used by 
Is., but see 13^) ; then, inasmuch as ddd is not followed by the ace, it becomes^ 
necessary to emend further by reading 'jsd for hm ; that nt« was substituted by a 
scribe for 'JSD after the hypothetical didd (inf abs. ) had become v\\on is improb- 
able, inasmuch as 'JSD vr\& could not have seemed so strange as to demand 
alteration. Du. further omits 'o at the beginning of the v. in order that \T 
may govern DiDD. ffir apparently paraphrased the present text of |^, dXXd 
jSoAec^at ?x^*'' 'Pao'O't*"' t^-oX rbv vlbv 'Po/j.e\iov j8a<rt\^a i4> iffiuv. — J. J37l] Waw 
before ph is quite unusual ; ffi om. : it is probably dittographic. — Dn'^y] omit 
(see above), and so restore a line of four accents. — VT\ii ^3 Sy ^m] cp. «'?D 
vnnj '?3 Vy (of Jordan), Jos 3^°. — ']13B'] pf. in a description of the fut. to give 
variety to the scene or confer emphasis on individual isolated traits in it (Dr. 
§ 14 7) : nayi is co-ordinated with fpv (Dr. §§ 131, 132). But the writer may 
have intended niyi fpi^ (G-K. 113^), if he did not actually write i3y r]Viv. 

8a-iO. The safety of Judah. — The last words of v.^ are 
obscure. If they are, as till Du. commentators always took 
them to be, the direct continuation of v.^- ^ the pronouns in kis 
(or its) outstretched wings must refer to the River, or, possibly, to 
that of which the River is a figure, viz. Assyria or the king 
of Assyria. The wings have been explained as " masses of water 
branching off like wings from the main current" (Che. PI i. 53), 
or as the cavalry of the Assyrian army (Ges.) ; then cp. the Lat. 
alae, the Arabic Jj^^ --Uj»-» wings of the cavalry^ Siud. possibly 

the Hebrew CaJK ; cp. ST "the people of his army." Others 
see in the words the introduction of an entirely fresh figure. In 
this case, if ^'^- ^ goes with ^'^^ the figure must be that of a hostile 
bird of prey hovering over Judah (cp. Hos 8^, Ezk 17^"^^ Jer 
48^^). But " the outstretched wings " far more naturally imply 
protection; cp. Ru 2^2^ Ps 17^ 36^ 572 61^ 63^ 91*, Mt 23^^ = 
Lk 13^* ; if that is implied here also, the point of the figure is that 
, the entire land of Judah will dwell in safety under the protecting 
wings of the Almighty, undisturbed by any futile raging of the 
nations, vv.^^-. — The land. For God is with US'] this way of 
reading the Hebrew consonants * is favoured by the recurrence 
of the last clause, which may well have been a refrain (cp. Ps 
46), in y}^. The consonants may also be divided as in J^, and 
rendered either (i) thy land. God is with us; so ^ and Abarbanel 

* Du., Che., Marti. 




VIII. 8-IO 149 

(cited by Vitr. p. i86); or (2) thy land^ O Imfnanuel', so dTSF, 
Rashi, EV, and most interpreters. The last-mentioned inter- 
pretation has to contend with the difficulty, never satisfactorily 
met, of explaining an appeal to Immanuel, and the description of 
Judah as his land ; even if Immanuel was some single definite 
child, whose birth Isaiah expected (see on 7^*), he was not yet 
born if this passage is continuous with 8^-^ ; and, if the passage be 
later, and Immanuel the name of an actually existing person, it is 
strange that no more is heard of him. To base a far-reaching 
construction of Messianic belief on so ambiguous a passage is 
a mistake. — 9 f, God's presence (in §ion) ensures the futility of 
all schemes of the nations directed against the people of God. 
The outlook resembles that of Pss 2 and 46, Ezk 38 f.. Is 54^*"^'^ 
and perhaps lo^^ (see note there), and the passage is probably no 
earlier than these : in that case it owes its position here to one 
of the post-exilic editors of the prophecies of Isaiah, and was 
intended to alleviate the minatory tone of the preceding verses. 

The argument against Isaiah's authorship of vv."* ^^ is well stated by 
Marti: "If the 'peoples' of v.* could be Ephraim and Syria, the verses 
might refer to the protection of Judah in the Syro-Ephraimitish war. But 
the peoples absolutely are addressed, and the Syrians and Ephraimites do not 
dwell at the end of the earth. If it is urged that Isaiah immediately extends 
his horizon from these neighbours to all peoples and all times, this is irrecon- 
cilable with Isaiah's attitude to Assyria, whose plans s^ainst Judah he did 
not expect to fail (vv.^* ^) ; finally, to limit the plans of the nations which 
were to fail to the * bad ' plans and so to make an exception of Assyria, who 
came commissioned by Yahweh, lays an emphasis on "lyi which it cannot bear, 
even if that word were textually more certain than it is." 

9. Take 'knowledge] a suitable parallel to give ear in the next 
line : so ffi ( = Heb. lyi). Cp. Ps 46" (lo), l^ss probable is the 
reading of J^ iy"», rendered associate yourselves in AV, or make 
an uproar^ RV : see phil. n. — Be dismayed] this is the regular 
meaning conveyed by the root nnn in Heb. ; see, e.g., 20^ 31**^ 
3727 5i7j and note the frequent parallelism with 6<1"', to fear {e.g, 
Dt 1^^). Cp. Assyr. hattu, terror. Some render be shattered, see 
phil. n. on 7^; in this case, if f^ be followed in the previous 
clause, the two imperatives constitute a virtual conditional 
sentence (G-K. no/) — though ye make an uproar (?), ye shall 
be shattered. — All ye far parts of the earth] \\ to peoples used 
absolutely, as is D^'5n"i» in Zee 10'. — f^, which is paraphrased 
by ffi, adds the words Gird yourselves (cp. Job 38^) and be 



ISO COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



i 



dismayed (or shattered) (repeated twice) ; but see phll.' h. 
10. Cp. 7^-^. 

8. ^KuOy ISIk] in f^^ this could have been read equally well '?Ni3Dy 3 pK ; 
o is written plene in the Siloam inscription and on the Moabite Stone ; but 
the Phoenician inscriptions afford many examples of the form 3 ; e.g. "n»<ni 
NH pis iVd 3 injB'i ID', Byblus Inscr. 1. 9; Cooke, N-Sem. Inscr. p. 18; 
Lidzbarski, Nord. Sent. Ep. p. 295. 

9. 1^1] The form cannot be satisfactorily explained. Explanations that 
have been offered are that it is the impr. of (i) yyn, and means be wicked ; 
or (2) of yjn, the Aramaic equivalent of ya^ and means breaks or more doubt- 
fully still, be broken ; or (3) of yn, whence comes nynn, war-cry, and means 
make an uproar ; but it is the Hiph. of this vb. that is used elsewhere ; or (4) 
of nyn (whence ai), and means associate yourselves (RV 2nd marg.) ; but this 
would require a reflexive conjugation. — u'tkhi] the 1 is probably dittographic : 
6r iiraKoijffaTe. — {bis) inm nmnn] perhaps these rather curious clauses of two 
accents, which do not agree with the prevailing 3 : 3 rhythm, are due to a 
miswriting of iriKm inn. 

11-15. The way of the prophet and his disciples and 
the way of the people. — In an autobiographical note, Isaiah 
records that Yahweh made a communication to him warning 
him not to share the standpoint of his fellow-countrymen. The 
lines that follow are not addressed to Isaiah only, for the 2nd 
pers. plural is used throughout ; nor to the people at large (note 
sy^% but to Isaiah and his disciples (cp. v.^^) ; these are not to 
fear what the people at large fear, for danger does not lie where 
the people fear it, but in Yahweh, whom they have ceased to fear 
(cp. 31^'^) : He will destroy " many " of the two houses of Israel 
and of Jerusalem, but, so it is implied, will save those who fear 
Him. 

It is commonly assumed that this section refers to the same period as 7^- 
8*", i.e. the period of the Syro-Ephraimitish war — ** parallel to vv.*"^, but of 
slightly earlier date " (Che. Introd. p. 40). Beyond the mere position of the 
passage the positive grounds for this are two: (i) the '3 with which the 
section opens ; precarious, for the word is absent from fflr^ ; (2) the allusion 
to the alliance of Pekah and Reson supposed to occur in v.^^a^ This rests on 
a text that is doubtful and, if correct, ambiguous. In any case the passage is 
earlier than the fall of Samaria in 722 (v.^'*). 

V.^^ is prose ; in vv.^2-15 ^j^g rhythm is irregular and uncertain. Vv.^^b. 
^ and (more doubtfully) ^* are lines of 4 accents ; ^' is ambiguous : v.^^ falls 
into no scheme, whether treated as one line (Du.) or two (Cond.). 

1^ For thus Yahweh said unto me when the Hand grasped 
(me) that he might warn me not to go in the way of this people, 
saying, 




VIII. 8-15 ^5' 

** Ye shall not call ... all that this people calls . . • 

And their fear ye shall not fear nor dread; 
*' Yahweh of Hosts — him shall ye . . . 

And he shall be your fear, and he your dread. 
** And he shall become a . . . and a stone to strike 

against, 

And a rock of stumbling to both Houses of Israel; 
A trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 
^* And many of them shall stumble and fall, and be broken 

And snared and captured. 

11. When the hand grasped (me)] lit. wifh strength, or 
pressure, of the hand of God ; with 'V\\ npTna, cp. 'h^ mn^ n*1 
nptn, Ezk 3^*. The sense of prophetic inspiration was traced not 
only to the invasion of the personality by the spirit of God, but 
also to the hand of God, which, grasping and sometimes throwing 
down (cp. ? Nu 24'^ i>B3) the recipient, induced the prophetic 
trance or ecstasy (2 K 3!^). Ezek. has several allusions to the 
hand of Yahweh as accompanying inspiration, see Ezk i^ 3^2 37I 
(i^y nn-n), 8^ (f)y bam); cp. also Jer 1517, "because of thy hand 
I have sat alone : for thou hast filled me with indignation." 
That the communication which follows must be of an extra- 
ordinary and special nature (Du.), is a precarious inference. — 
That he might warn me not to go] 1^ may also be read ^3">p^ 
(cp. Dt 7*), and withdrew me from going. Isaiah, like Jeremiah 
(1^17-21^^ may have had inward conflict in order to refram from 
following the easier path of acquiescence. 

12, 13. The two verses are negative and positive comple- 
ments of one another. Not the way of the people (v. ^2), but of 
Yahweh (v.^^), are Isaiah and his disciples to follow. Not the 
baseless objects of the people's fear, but Yahweh, who alone has 
power to destroy (vv.^^^-), are they to fear : cp. the antithesis in 
Luke 12*^-. V.i2b and v.^^^ correspond to one another in the use 
of terms ; but at present vv.^^a ^^^ isa ^Jq f,Qj . ^^ words left 
untranslated above are ^^a (twice) "i^kJ'P, a conspiracy, but in 1** 
ItJ^lpn, ye shall sanctify. It is not surprising, therefore, that it 
has been proposed that BH'p, holy, should be read in v.^^a^* or 
n^SJ'pn shall ye count a cofispirator in v.^f Still there are 

* Seeker, Lowth, Lag., Sta. {ZATW, 1906, p. 137). 
t Du., Hackm., Buhl (in Ges-B.). 




152 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

difficulties in both suggestions and also in f^. Even ^^^ and ^^^ 
are ambiguous. So far as usage goes, their fear (ij^iid), viz. the 
object of the people's fear, in v.^^a jjj^y be human beings, their 
enemies Reson and Pekah, of whom, if vv.^^'^^ are a direct 
continuation of 7^-8^®, it is natural to think ; cp. the use of KTiD 
in Gn 9^, Dt ii^^ In this case the warning here addressed to 
Isaiah and his disciples is substantially identical with the warning 
addressed by Isaiah himself to Ahaz in 7*. On the other hand, 
their fear^ if the passage stood by itself, would in view of v.^^ 
most certainly suggest supernatural objects of fear : Fear not the 
gods of this people (cp. v.^^) : cp. the constant use of i<T of 
fearing, i.e. worshipping, God, and the use of the synonymous 
noun ins in the expression "fear of Isaac" (|| "God of Abraham") 
in Gn 31^2, If the text of v.^^a |-,g sound, it would decide in favour 
of the former of these interpretations. Keeping the text we may 
render v. ^2*, Call not everything a conspiracy which this people 
calls a conspiracy^ in defence of which Che. {Introd. 40) argues 
that itJ^p (noun and verb) is " used of those leagues which have a 
destructive object — leagues of subjects against a king (i 822^- 1^, 
2 S 15^^' ^\ 2 K 11^*, Am 7^^), of men banded together for 
immoral or heathenish ends (Jer 11^, Ezk 22^^), or of the 
confederated enemies of a single nation (Neh 4^). This last 
application of the term is suitable here. On the first news of 
the Syro-Ephraimitish invasion there was a cry, "iK^p, i.e. the 
enemies of Judah are confederated against it. But Isaiah is 
warned by a strong impulse from above that this is an abuse of 
terms. Syria and Israel are but " two stumps of smoking fire- 
brands " : how can such feeble powers be said to have formed a 
"iK^p ? {Binding implies strength : cp. D^ie'p, Gn 30^2)^ xhe 

warning is expressed in general terms, "IK'K 73?, because the same 
circumstances may arise again. To Isaiah a itJ'p only becomes 
worthy of its name when Yahweh is the chief member of the 
league, as when he " sends " Assyria " against the people of his 
wrath" (10^). But the true fear of Yahweh, which shows itself 
equally in obedience to His tord (see 1 10-1 7) and in perfect reliance 
on His word of promise (7^), binds him to the side of his people." 
Che., though agreeing substantially in interpretation with Du., 
prefers not to follow him in substituting for ItJ'npn, ye shall 
sanctify^ the unique Hiphil 'n"'lt'pn — Yahweh of Hosts ^ him shall ye 
make your conspirator. " Those who sanctify him," he adds. " by 



VIII. 13-14 153 

fearing Yah web in the right way . . . make Yah web their ally." 
The very elaboration of this interpretation makes it doubtful ; it 
also fails effectually to parry Di.'s criticisms. The combination 
of Syria and Ephraim was a fact ; it was no part of Isaiah's work 
to quibble over the use of terms, whether to call this combination 
a conspiracy or something else ; he differed from the people not 
as to the fact, nor as to the name by which it should be called, 
but as to the interpretation of it : to them it was dangerous, in 
Isaiah's judgment it was not. They feared that the " destructive 
object " of the league would be attained : Isaiah, without denying 
that the league had a destructive object, was convinced that it 
would fail. Di. himself interprets the term conspiracy of the 
understandings which the people imagined to exist between 
Isaiah and the enemy (cp. the suspicions that fell upon 
Jeremiah), but which did not exist in fact : he further suggests 
that these popular suspicions had made Isaiah's disciples begin 
to doubt whether Isaiah's principles were sound. This interpre- 
tation also is unconvincing and fails more than the other to 
account for the antithetical line, v.^**. The narrower context of 
vv. 12-16 strongly favours the emendation KHp in v.^^a suggested by 
IK^npn (v.^*^) : Ye shall not call everything holy that this people call 
holy . . . Yahweh of Hosts ^ him shall ye hallo7v (cp. 2922^- ? late); 
but if w.^^'^^ be the continuation of 7^-8^<*, the wider context is 
against it. Either w.^^'^^ were not originally the direct continua- 
tion of what precedes, or they call for a more satisfactory inter- 
pretation than they have yet received. — 14. And he shall become 
a sanctuary^ if the text is correct, which is very doubtful, this 
means He will become a holy object, which no man touches or 
injures unpunished — cp. 5^® (Di.). To interpret * He shall be 
an asylum (cp. Ezk ii^^, also Ex 21^*, i K i'^^') for those who 
hallow Him, but to others a cause of ruin, is to create an anti- 
thesis which does not exist in the text. Not improbably ^inpy:h 
is a corruption of ^p\o\ which was itself erroneously substituted 
from the following distich for the term which stood in the original 
text. — The two Houses of Israel] the Northern and Southern 
kingdoms. Marti suspects that the phrase is a generalising sub- 
stitution for " men of Judah." — A trap and a lure] the figure is 
resumed in v.^^^ The HD (mod. Ar.fakh; PEF Qu. St., 1905, 
p. 38) is a trap kept open till the bird, alighting on a trigger, 

• MX accents, F, RV. 




154 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

causes the trap to close and itself to be caught. Whether S^pltD 
was the name for such a (baited) trigger (cp. Am 3^ |^ ; but see 
ffi), or for a snare^ or noose (Kennedy, EBi. 1561), or (if J^p^ = 
B^p3, to strike) for a clap-board (cp. /3.), which strikes the enticed 
bird down, is not clear. But in certain passages K'pio seems to 
have the meaning, whether original or derived, of lure (cp. e.g. i S 
1 821, ps 1 06^6) ; so, too, both here and in Jer 502* (|^) the vb. CTp* 
expresses what precedes the act of capture {^y>\ presumably the 
act of alluring or enticing, though in Pr 6^, it is true, Cp^ seems 
to be more exactly synonymous with Id!?, and in Ec 9^2 ^j^h 
tnt?. — Be broken] of broken limbs, as Ex 22^- 1^, La ii^*. 

II. '3] ffl<S om.— npma] some MSS npins. — 'jno'i] Not pf. Piel of 10% 
for the waw conv. with the impf. would be the correct cstr. to express and he 
instructed me (RV). It may be either the impf. Kal with simple waw (Dr. 
§ 59 ff. ) of "10% that he might admonish me, which is a little unnatural, or 
impf. Hiph. with waw conv. of "iiD. ffi &ireidov<rtv probably connected the 
form with T10. — 12. TK'p] (ffir, both times, crK\rjp6v, i.e. rivp. If np was the 
original reading, the transposition of the last two letters which produces f^ 
nrp had taken place earlier than (&. — 13. mK3s] (K om. — DSKmD] (ffi 2nd sing. 
suf. — DDJinyo] Hiph. part. ; but with a different sense from the Hiphil in v.*"^ 
and 29^ : hence Gra., Du. suggest DDinyD, a noun parallel to ODKniD. — 14. '3«r] 
(&^ om. — 3^'] some MSS and the VV "ivv — note " following.— 15. D3] among 
them : cp. Ex. 14*, Lv 26^*. Others give 3 its instrumental sense — by means 
of them, i.e. the rocks just mentioned. 

16-18. The Epilogue to Isaiah's Memoir. — ^^ {I wilt) 
tie up the testimony {and) seal the teaching in (?) my disciples. 
^"^ And I will wait for Yahweh who hideth his face from the 
House of Jacobs and I will look for him, ^' Behold, I and the 
children whom Yahweh hath given to me are for signs and 
portents in Israel from Yahweh of Hosts who dwelleth in 
Mount ^ion. 

In spite of some ambiguity in v.^*, these words read like 
the conclusion of the autobiographical memoir which recorded 
Isaiah's teaching during the Syro-Ephraimitish war by word and 
symbol and the significant names of his children, Shear-Jashub 
and Maher-shalal-hash-baz. They also give the impression that 
Isaiah realised that a stage in his ministry was closed ; that for 
an indefinite time to come he might speak to his people no 
more as he had been speaking ; a time of waiting for Yahweh — 
of waiting in perfect confidence — lay before him ; and during 
this time his teaching would be with (? incorporated in) his 




VIII. 11-15, i6-i8 155 

disciples, and perpetually eloquent in himself and the names of 
his children. The words received of Yahweh at the time of his 
call have come true : the people have not listened, and Yahweh 
is alienated from them. True, too, has proved the conviction 
that led him to name his child " A Remnant shall return " : he 
has not indeed led Judah to repentance; but he has made 
disciples. If the doubtful and ambiguous v.^^ will bear the 
weight of the conclusion, those are not wrong who see here an 
important epoch in the history of religion — the emergence of a 
spiritual, as distinct from a national, religious society; Isaiah, 
unlike Amos and Hosea, is not a voice crying unheeded; his 
distinction lies less in a doctrine of the remnant than in the 
practical step of creating the remnant in which he believed. 

16. {I will) tie up . , . seaf\ the verbal forms are ambiguous 
(see phil. n.) : they may be assertive, in which case Ki. correctly 
expresses the nuance — nothing remains for me but to tie up, 
etc. ; or they may be imperative, tie up. V.^'^ favours the former 
view. If the words were a command, Yahweh would be the 
speaker ; my disciples (^ ; ffiCS otherwise) would then mean 
" those taught by my prophet," i.e. Isaiah's disciples ; and this 
meaning would even more directly attach to the words on the 
other view. To the sealing of documents there are several 
allusions in the OT: see 29^1, Jer 32i<^^-, i K 21^, Dn 12*. 
The Jewish Aramaic papyri of Assouan (5th cent. b.c.) were 
found tied with string and sealed : see illustrations on the title 
page of Cowley and Sayce's edition. — The testimony . , . the 
instruction] the two terms cover the contents of a single 
document which is both tied up and sealed. The testimony 
(miyn, v.^*, Ru 4^t in a different sense) more particularly refers 
to such sides of Isaiah's public utterances as his assertions that 
Ephraim and Syria would do Judah no harm, but would be 
speedily destroyed : cp. the attesting of the name Maher-shalal- 
hash-baz in 8^'* : the teaching (min, i^® n.) is more particularly 
his insistence on the need for quiet confidence and faith in 
Yahweh. — In my disciples] the preposition (3), read differently by 
ffi, is difficult, and has called forth many interpretations: (i) 
deposited in the custody off* but this would probably have 
required n^ ^N or n^D, and in any case why should Isaiah 
deliver his teaching to his disciples in a sealed book which they 
* ?^i.. Dr. {Isaiah: his Lift and Times^ p. 35), Che. {SBOT). 





156 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

could not read (cp. 29^^)? (2) with* i.e, having my disciples pre- 
sent ; cp. Di., " in the presence of and witnessed by " ; but this 
also is pointless and strains the meaning of 3; (3) by means of 
(Ew.), which would rather require ^"3. Least objection seems 
to beset an interpretation which goes back to Rashi, who equates 
3 with nS hVi and has been developed by Del., Du., Marti. This 
interpretation gives 3 its common force in (of place) ; the 
question (cp. Di.) is whether it sufficiently accounts for the 
nature of the figure, for it makes the tying and sealing of the 
law figurative ; Isaiah on this view determines to place his 
teaching in the hearts of his disciples and to make of them 
"living oracles": cp. Jeremiah's "law written upon the heart" 
(Jer 31^^), and St. Paul's figure, "Ye are an epistle of Christ . . . 
written not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God " (2 Co 
3^). — 17. Isaiah will rest firm in his belief in Yahweh, though 
troubled for his people who have caused Yahweh to hide his face, 
i.e. withdraw His favour, from them, and have thereby exposed 
themselves to destruction. — 18. Isaiah's children are signs and 
portents in virtue of their names ; he himself as the prophet and 
representative of Yahweh. Whether Isaiah made his own name 
Yahweh hath saved (i^ n.) a text on which to base his doctrine 
that Yahweh was the only true ground of confidence, we do not 
know. In any case he is scarcely thinking merely of his name 
here. — Yahweh of Hosts who dwelleth in Mt. ^ion"] the last clause 
need not be omitted as the addition of a late scribe to whom it 
was a standing epithet of Yahweh ; it is a natural expression of 
personal experience. Isaiah closes his memoir with words which 
recall the great experience recorded at the outset (ch. 6). 

l6. As the equivalent or substitute for the words which in |^ lie between 
naSai at the end of v.^° and 'n'am at the beginning of v.^'^, <& has dvdpcoiroi iu 
d(r<f>a\eig.. Tdre ^avepol iffovrai ol atppayi^biicvoi rbv vofiov rod fiTj ixadeXv koL 
ipei. That the translators read (and read wrongly) [']nD'?3 nmn Dinn as Di)h 
iD^D min is clear : how they read the rest is very doubtful. Neither C nor 
Si recognises any reference to disciples — Dinn . . . nis] the scriptio plena of 
the 2nd word is not ancient ; cp. ffi. The present orthography is probably 
due to interpreters who read the verbs as infinitives absolute Dhij nx, and 
inserted the 1 to distinguish the originally long vowel of the inf. abs. from 
the merely tone-long vowel of inf. cstr. and imperative (G-K. 67«). Cp. 
the usual (though not invariable) orthography of the strong vb. in f^ — 
inf. cstr. Vap, but inf. abs. *?iop (G-K. 4Sa). For ns as the inf. abs. instead 

* Dr. in BDB 89*. 



VIII. i6-i8, 19-23 157 

of n*)y, cp. 3^, Nu 23^8 ; Sfc>, Ru 2^* : for the syntax, G-K. ii3<5/5 ; apart from 
aSc and the authors of the scriptio plena^ early interpreters took the forms as 
imperatives ; so C (deriving mx from 1:^3), 5 {plurals), U. The sequence of 
'noni, v.", is normal (Dr. § 113, p. 126) if the vbs. be inf. abs.: cp. especially 
Jer 7"' — The exact process implied by ms is to tie up rather than to bind 
together \ so the n"n^ is the pouch (i S 2^) ox purse (Gn 42**) which is closed 
by having string tied round its mouth. 



VIII. 19-23. — Three Fragments. 

These are {a) a warning against necromancy and magic, 
w.^^'^' ; ip) a picture of some person, or people, starved and 
encompassed by darkness, vv.^^^- and probably the last words of 
v.*^ ; {c) a promise of a better day for Galilee, v.^s. 

Of these fragments, {a) and {c) are prose ; {b) consists of 
distichs of balanced (3 : 3 or 2 : 2) and parallel lines. 

This difference of style at once suggests, as Du. has clearly 
perceived, that w.^^^^s are not all of a piece. And this is still 
more strongly suggested by the inability of interpreters, who 
assume their unity, to establish a probable as distinct from an 
ingenious connection between the verses themselves, or between 
the verses and what precedes or follows them. Note provision- 
ally that vv.^^'^8 do not supply any natural explanation of the 
subject in they say^ v.^®, or the pronoun you ; in v.^i through it 
refers to nothing in vv.^^^*, nor does the singular pronoun 
throughout the last clause of v.^® and v^P^ find any satisfactory 
explanation in w.^^* 

The verses are in several respects ambiguous, and probably 
contain more than one corruption. Under the circumstances it 
cannot be expected that the Isaianic authorship or the date of 
any or all of them can be either maintained or denied with 
certainty. It is inconclusive to say, for example, that vv.^®'' are 
too didactic for Isaiah. 

19 f. A warning against necromancy and magic. — 
Such a warning would have been timely at most periods of 
Hebrew history ; see Dt iS^-i^, i S 28, Lv 198I, 2 K 216, Is 65*. 
— When they say] the subj. is indef. (G-K. 144/) ; it is not 
resumptive of a plural in vv.^^"^^, since, for various reasons, the 
several plurals in those verses are obviously unsuitable. — C/nto 
you] it is improbable that this belongs to S^^-ie . \f jt did it would 
naturally have stood de/ore vv.^^"^^. The n^n^ behold^ of v?^ does 



158 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

not suggest you (Di.). The persons addressed may be th 
disciples of the person who is speaking, and this may be Isaiah. 
How far the invitation to necromancy extends and where the 
rejection of the. invitation begins is uncertain (see phil. n.). The 
chief views that have been taken have been these : (i) When they 
say unto you^ " Consult the ghosts and the familiar spirits that chirp 
and that murmur" (Ye shall say unto them,) *^ Should not a 
people consult its god? on behalf of the living (should they consult) 
the dead ? " This may represent substantially the meaning of the 
original text, but as the text now runs it is open to serious 
objections : (a) the first assumed ellipsis is very harsh and but very 
partially paralleled by Ps 8*^- ; (d) the second ellipsis is question- 
able in that it carries forward the influence of the interrogative 
part of the particle (wn) without the negative — should they not 
consult the dead would be the natural way of supplying the 
ellipsis. (2) The other view, which admits of many variations, 
regards the speech as extending to the end of v.^^ and the reply 
to it as beginning with v.2<>, — When they say unto you^ " Consult 
the ghosts and the familiar spirits that chirp and that mutter. 
Should not a people consult its gods ? on behalf of the living {should 
they not consult) the dead?" ^o p^ay, but to the law and to the 
testimony — unless they speak according to this word (viz. " to the 
law and the testimony "). In brief, Do not consult ghosts, but 
the scriptures, or, according to another interpretation, the 
prophetic teaching. On the whole, the argumentative " should 
not a people," etc., seems improbable in the invitation ; and yet 
these sentences probably were argumentative in their original 
form. — The ghosts and the familiar spirits'] the terms (ni)3K and 
(D)^3yi^ together as frequently, Lv 19^1 20^- 27, i S 283- ^ 2 K 21* 
( = 2 Ch 33^) 232*, Is 19^. The distinction between them seems 
to be that a person who divined by the nUK claimed to have power 
to summon any ghost (i S 28^^), whereas the person who divined 
by a ^3yn^ consulted his own particular or familiar spirit (Ac i6^% 
which was at his beck or call ; see Dr. on Dt 1 8". The dead at the 
end of the v. covers both sets of spirits, and on the 2nd interpreta- 
tion noted above so also does Vnij^, its gods ; cp. the use of D^n7K, 
god, for the manes of Samuel in i S 28^3. — That chirp and that 
murmur] for the squeaking and gibbering of the spirits, cp. 29* n. ; 
to chirp (si^BV), used of the thin notes of birds, see lo^*; and 
murmur (Hin) of doves, see 38^* 59". — 20. According to one way 




VIII. 19, 20 159 

of regarding this v., it completes the sentence begun in v.^® : see 
on v.^^. According to another, it is complete in itself: when 
things have grown desperate and a man is without hope, he will, 
but too late, penitently exclaim, To the Law and the Tesiimony, 
i.e. the Scriptures (Du.). Men will at last seek for the word of 
Yahweh and not find it (cp. Ezk 72^, Am 8"^- : and see Che. 
Introd. p. 42). Most improbable of all is the view that v.*® is a 
protasis of which v.*^ is the apodosis — improbable in itself, and 
condemned too by the fact that v. 20 is prose and v.^i poetry. 
It is impossible to interpret the v. satisfactorily : probably the 
last clause is not the original continuation of the first part. — To 
the Law and to the Testimony^ the same terms in inverse order 
occur in v.^^ of Isaiah's teaching. If w.^^'^s are not the con- 
tinuation of vv.^'^*, the terms may not have the same meaning as 
in v.^^. If V.20 is late, Torah^ Law, may mean written law, the 
Scriptures, and miyn, Testimony ^ like nny in Ps 19®, may be 
a synonym of Torah in this sense. — If they speak not] possible 
also is surely they shall speak : see phil. n. But in either case 
this clause is very awkward if joined with the next : examples of 
the improbable sentences thus produced are : if they speak not 
thuSy he (note change of number) shall have no dawning^ or 
surely they shall speak thus who (lit. he who) has no dawning. It 
is more probable that the last three or four words (from ISTK or 
I^N) belong to the poem of which another and larger fragment is 
contained in v. 21^. — For whom there is no dawn] whose state is 
desperate, because no morning will ever break on his present 
night of distress; cp. 21"'* (n.) 58^ Ps 30^ 

tm" vn^K Sk oy-KiVn] commentators assign no reason for the emphatic 
position of the subj. oy. Not improbably «nT goes with the following words, 
and vn^K Vk oy niS.t is a corrupt fragment ; the corruption in this case is the 
cause of the ambiguity of the v. (see above). It is one reason against Ruben's 
elaborate reconstruction of vv.*''^ that he allows this difficulty to remain. — 
'i3i D"nr» nya] ffi prefixes rl iK^rirovaiv, supplying, like modern translators, 
something where something, though not obviously this, is needed in the 
present probably corrupt text : see last n. — 20. ©is paraphrastic, but read 
nnr for nnc. — nne' -h yn iifK nm nana itdk' vh dk] the best proof that these 
words were not originally connected is the mere statement of the devices 
which have been resorted to in order to construe them, (i) iV has been 
explained as a sing, distributing the pi. in itdk', in support of which 2^ 5^ 
(themselves probably corrupt) have been cited (Kon. 348^). Du. reads ton'. 
Grammatically the most straightforward course is to make nai the antecedent 
of \h ((!&, Ruben) ; but exegetically this is improbable. (2) The relation of the 



i6o 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 




two parts of the sentence has been variously, but always' unsatisfactorily, 
explained, (a) If they speak not thus^ {surely) he shall have no dawning', cp. 
RV. But (BDB 84a) there is a complete absence of evidence that ick was 
ever used (like 1) as the simple introducer of the apodosis (Ges., cp. Kon. 
4I5«), or, like O, as an affirmative, {b) Surely they will speak thus ^ when he 
has no dawning \ this translation might pass if when were temporal, but 
usage only admits of its being conditional (cp. e.g. Dt 11^, Jos 4*'), on con- 
dition that ; and this sense is incompatible with the tenor of the passage, for if 
it is a unity, the writer regards calamity as a certainty, (r) Surely they will 
speak thus who (really he who) have no dawning 'y but nan and not the subj. of 
TTDN', both on account of its neighbourhood to nt^x and agreement in number 
with 1^, is the natural antecedent to "w^. It is, no doubt, tempting in view of 
Jer 8^' to take '\vx) in the sense of witchcraft ^ counter-spell (cp. 47^^ n.), and 
render, {d) This word against which there is no counter-spell. But Ruben, 
who has revived the suggestion, is compelled to resort to violent textual 
correction to make the meaning harmonise with the context : he reads udk' 
1313 for nana noN', and places D'non "^k D"nn nya after D'ayn*. Those who 
infer that the real cause of these difficulties lies in the fact that nni? iV px nrK 
and 'i3i TON' kS'DK belonged originally to different contexts, generally consider 
that nnB' i"? J'K ntrx formed a fragment of the poem to which vv.^'* belonged : 
Cond. thinks they form the direct continuation of 5^. 

21, 22. The poetic fragment which appears to begin in 
the middle of a distich ; the last words of v. 20, if they belonged 
to the poem, are scarcely the first lines of the distich of which 
V.21* is the second, for the lines would not be parallel, nor would 
the last clause of v.^o contain the antecedent of na, through 

it. The fragment appears to picture a man — whether Jew or 
Ephraimite or even foreigner, cannot, of course, be determined — 
passing through a country, probably his own (? in search of food, 
cp. I K 18^*^, Am 48 8^^^*), distressed and famishing ; angry at his 
plight, he curses his king and his God, from whom he can gain 
no help ; whether he looks up or down there is no ray of light 
to be seen : he is surrounded by impenetrable gloom. 

In the following translation, to heaven (v.2i<*) and beneath 
(v.22a) are taken from ^. The distich is then 3 : 3, which appears 
to have been the rhythm of the poem. 

21 And he shall pass through it hard pressed and hungry ; 
And being hungry he will become enraged. 

And curse his king and his God. 
And he will turn (his eyes) * to heaven ' above, 

22 And he will look to the earth ' beneath ' ; 
And behold distress and darkness. 

Thick impenetrable (?) gloom. 




VIII. 21-23 i6i 

21. And curse his king] Finding no help from king and God, 
from whom he might have expected it (cp. 2 K G"^*^^-)^ and 
smarting under his grievances, the man grows reckless and 
commits the mortal (i K 21^*^, Lv 24"^*, cp. Ex 2227(28)) offence 
of cursing king and God. Cp. Rev i6^\ "And they blasphemed 
the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores." — 
Elsewhere the obj. of hh^ is in the ace, and in i S 1 7*^ 2 K 2^^ 
3, which introduces both y270 and Vni>K here, is used of the person 
in whose name the curse is pronounced. We might therefore 
render curse by his king and by his god ; but this would leave the 
object cursed unnamed ; and, seeing that the prep, is repeated, it 
would give us an altogether unusual case of cursing in the name 
of a king. — His God] possible also is the rendering his gods 
{vP n.) : then cp. 220. But cp. i K 2 i^o- ^^.— Thick impenetrable (?) 
gloom] this translation merely represents what was, as suggested 
by the previous line, the general sense of this one. The text of 
1^ is most questionable, and (K is probably paraphrastic. The 
attempt to gain a transition from the gloom of v. 21^- to the 
bright hopes of v.^ and 9^*^ by rendering and thick darkness 
shall be driven away : 23 for there shall be no gloom to her 
that was in anguish (RVmarg.), involves a number of improb- 
abilities, disregards the parallelism and rhythm of the poem, 
and assumes a transition from the poetic fragment ta the prose 

of V.28. 

23 (9^). Apart from the opening sentence (see last n.), this v. 
is a prose note explaining that the darkened land of the poetical 
fragment (82i'-), to wit, the northern and north-eastern territory 
of Israel (cp. Zee 10^^, Mic 7^*) will be compensated for its 
former distress by a corresponding glory (9^^^ (2-7)). If either 
32if. or ^-^ is not the work of Isaiah, neither is this note; if 
both are, this note may have been added by him when he 
combined two poems of different periods. In this case he looks 
back on the humiliation of Naphtali^ which took place in 734 b.c. 
as long past ; it belongs to ihQ former time. — The land of Zebulon 
and the land of Naphtalt] northern and north-eastern Palestine; 
cp. Ps 6828 (27)^ Naphtali is explicitly mentioned in 2 K 152*. 
The terms in the antithetical clause are all direct objects — he 
hath made glorious the way of the sea^ the land beyond Jordan^ 
Galilee of the nations. These terms are more extensive than 
those in the previous clause, for they include the country East of 

VOL. I. — II 



l62 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

Jordan ( = Gilead, 2 K 15^^). Cp. EBL 1629. — The way of the 
sea] according to Jer., Rashi, a/., the sea meant is the Lake of 
Galilee (cp. Dt 33^^). More frequently D\T means the Medi- 
terranean ; and so here the way of {i.e. leading to : cp. On 32*) 
the sea probably is, like the ' Via Maris ' of the Crusaders, the 
caravan route which ran from Damascus to the Mediterranean 
sea at Acre. — The land beyond Jordan] pTn nay, as frequently 
of the country E. of Jordan (BDB 719). — The Galil of the 
nations] cp. Jos 1 2^3, " the nations of the Galil," if as against 
f^ (**of Gilgal") this reading of ffir^ be correct; also raXtAata 
dA.Xo<^v\a)v, I Mac 5^5 ; elsewhere in OT the * Galil,' hhlT\ (Jos 
2o7 2i32, I K 9I1 I ch 66it) or 7h'^\r\ (2 K 1529), is undefined. 
The term means circuit, but is always used specifically of a 
district in Northern Palestine; cp. the different specific refer- 
ence of naan, "The Round" (Gn 19"). But the district 
covered by the term was not always, nor need it be here, as 
extensive as the later Galilee : Ges. suggested that at one time 
it defined a relatively small district round Kedesh (Jos 20^ 
2i82=i Ch 6«i, To r2, I Mac ii^s): in i K 1529 it appears 
less extensive than Naphtali, which it subsequently included : 
see, further, EBi,, s.v. Galilee. The definition given here and 
in I Mac 5^^ (cp. Jos 1223 ffi^) reflects the mixed population 
which was at all periods more or less characteristic of this 
northern territory. 

21. ayn ntrpa nn najn] (5 koI ^?« i<t! i/juii aKXrjpd, \iix6s = nvp dd3 najn 
ajn, which is obviously corrupt. ^ is quite possible, since the absence of an 
antecedent to na may be due to these words being the beginning of a 
fr^ment. — nVyD*?] (& els rhv oiipavhv &vu>. — 22. pK ^ni] (& koI els t^v yrjp 
koIto). — mJD n"?£3Ni npis ^lyo] signs of corruption here are : (i) these four words 
overbalance, or if 'd h'^ski be separated (Du., Cond.) then np^ fjiyn is too 
short for, the parallel line n^vm msf nam ; (2) however construed, mjD mSbki 
destroys the parallelism with the first line ; (3) for mao, fflr read niK-ip ; (4) 
npi}i is detached from ms with which it is coupled in 30^, Pr i^, cp. mj< or 
npixDi, Zeph i^° ; (5) the difficulty of construing mjD nV»5K. The conclusions 
that appear probable are: (i) one word between miD . . . njni is superfluous: 
(2) mjD is a corruption of some qualification of n'?SN, cp. Am ^^ nj3 k^) ^sk 
*.S. Possibly npij£ f]ii;D is a misplaced corruption of npi!fD (Zeph i^^), and just 
possibly ffi's hkid is correct — a poetic breviloquence to express what Ex icP^' 
expresses more fully in prose, vnx hk r'K i«t vh , , . nSstt '\vn '.Ti. Then 
we may restore 

npixDi m:« njm 

.nNTD n'?BN1 HDJ^n 




I 



VIII: 21-23 i63 

nam] Mic 3« (% not MT), Gn 15" (JE?), Ps 18" (not 2 S 22") 82» 139" ; 
pi. Is 50*" t. — T^d] the existence of a root »)iy, /o ^ <&r/t, is well secured ; 
but this form is doubtful, for (i) there also exist from the same root as nouns 
meaning darkness ns'y and noiyn ; (2) masc. nouns of the form maktHl from 
i'V roots are exceedingly rare (St. 275a), while, if against MT we treat 
»)iyD as a form like Dipc, it would more probably mean place of darkness, 
especially in view of the existence of nD'y, nsiyn. The term is perhaps due to 
an early corruption (see above). — mjD hSbki] The rendering and into darkness 
he is driven^ or banished (cp. Jer 23^^), is the only one that continues or 
completes the thought of the distich ; but n^5t| for nSsK Sk is exceedingly harsh 
(this might be partially met by pointing n^ek with he locative), the suppression 
ofthenewand different subj. is awkward, and the clause is somewhat of a 
hysteron-proteron, for the man is depicted as already encompassed by darkness. 
The alternative rendering, and darkness is driven away, banished, may be 
justified grammatically, for n'"*£3N (fern.) might be the obj., not the subj., of the 
masc. pass. part. (17^ n., Ps 87^) ; but it is very improbable : m3 is not a suit- 
able word for the dispersal of darkness ; a fresh synonym for darkness, if the 
thought of the preceding words is continued, would be suitable, but quite the 
reverse if the sentence is a strong antithesis. As part of the same distich, too, 
the clause, had it this meaning, would be intolerable. That these two obscure 
and ambiguous words are ** the turning point to which v. ^-9' attaches 
itself" (Di.) is anything but " natural. "—23. rh pyiD "wnh f]yiD mS 'a] the 
attempt is made by those who treat 8^'-9* as a unity and as free from 
corruption, to make this the reason for the last clause of v.'^^ (second transla- 
tion) \h\xs—for {there shall) not {be) gloom {to the land) to which there {was) 
distress ; but again the change of words (from nVsK to »]yiD, from ^yiD to pJfiD) 
is most improbable, and the change of tense which is all-important is in no 
way indicated in the text. At least more probable than this is Du.'s 
suggestion that the sentence is a gloss on fjiyo in v.^, explaining that that 
word is used metaphorically : for is not »]yiD used (metaphorically) of a person 
who is said to be in distress ? — nya] at the former time, 3 of point of time : 
BDB 453^. — pB'Nin nys] the fern, n being regarded as radical was treated by 
some writers from the time of Ezek. (7'* ^^) onwards as masc. : cp. Kon. iii. 
251/. — 1^33.1 . . . Vpn] are antithetical — literally, to make light and to make 
heavy, and then in accordance with common metaphorical usage to render 
inglorious and to render glorious : cp. the antithesis of the Niphals of the 
two vbs. in 2 S 6^^. The subj. in each case is perhaps best treated as 
undefined (G-K. 144^^); others consider it to be Yahweh unnamed, "after 
the well-known later custom" (Du.). Jewish commentators {e.g. Rashi) 
make Tiglath-pileser subj, of h^r\ and Sennacherib of T33n, with, of course, 
a very different and an illegitimate interpretation of the whole sentence. 
T33n is proph. pf. — nxnn] pK + old ace. ending ; it is by accident rather than 
design that the noun actually is in the ace. here : G-K. 90. — In view of the 
absence of the n in the next sentence it is hardly likely that nsnN is ace. of 
direction — he brought shame towards the latid . . . he brought honour towards 
the way (Du., Marti). — jnnK.Ti] ace. temporis (G-K. 118/), and in the latter 
(time). 



164 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



i 



IX. 1-6 (2-7). — The glorious Future of YahweKs now 
enslaved People, 

The poem consists of distichs, except perhaps in the last four lines. The 
lines of the distichs balance one another, except perhaps in vv.^- ''• *"• ^ ; the 
last line also is longer than the three which precede. These irregularities may 
possibly be due to corruption, but independent signs of this are slight. 
Although the lines within the several distichs balance one another, the length 
of line in different distichs varies from clearly 2 in vv.^ **• ^* •* to clearly 3 
in v.^, and 4 in ^' *. In v." some (Du., cp. Lowth) make ^ rhythmically 
equivalent to ^' ^ and divide ^' *• '• ^' ^ at Wonderful Counsellor into two 
rhythmically equal halves, the whole being rhythmically equivalent to ^- •*. 
Certainly *• '• *• ** might easily be read as a single distich 4 : 4 instead of two 
distichs 2:2; but in any case it is probable that the significance of the name 
was heightened by being thrown into an independent distich. 

Parallelism of lines is prominent : in v.^, the parallelism extends over the 
entire distichs, though a subordinate parallelism of antithesis marks the lines 
within each distich. 

1 The people that were walking in darkness 

Have seen a great light; 
They that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, 
Light hath shone upon them. 

2 Thou hast multiplied * the rejoicing,* 

Thou hast made great the joy ; 
They have joyed before thee as men joy at harvest, 
As they rejoice when they divide the spoil. 

8 For the yoke of his burden, 

And the * bars' about his shoulder, 
The stick of his driver 

Hast thou shattered as in the day of Midian. 



* For every shoe worn in tumult (of battle) (?), 
And (every) garment * stained' (?) with blood, 
Shall be for burning, 
For fuel of the fire. 

5 For a child has been born to us, 
A son has been given to us ; 
And dominion is upon his shoulder ; 
And his name has been called — 





IX. 1-6 i6s 

Wonderful Counsellor, 

Mighty God, 
A Father for ever, 

Prince of Peace. 

• Great is the dominion, 

And endless is the peace. 
Upon the throne of David, 
And throughout his dominion; 

To establish it and to support it 

In justice and righteousness — 
From henceforth and for ever, 

The jealousy of Yahweh of Hosts will do this. 

Light now shines on the people that have been (long) in 
darkness (v.^), and they rejoice before Yahweh with great joy 
(v.^). For (i) Yahweh has delivered the people from the yoke 
of a foreign oppressor (v. 8) ; (2) He has also made an end of 
war (v.^) ; moreover, (3) a child has been born, who, as a native 
ruler in contrast to the (foreign) oppressor of v.*, will exercise 
dominion, and is marked out as exceptional by the name which 
he receives, v.*. He will rule justly and righteously from the 
throne of David over a vast dominion undisturbed to its furthest 
bound by any breach of peace ; this righteous government by the 
will and act of Yahweh is to be endless (v.*). 

Except in vv.** ® the tenses used throughout the poem are 
perfects and imperfects with waw conversive, i.e. tenses naturally 
used in historical narrative. But the situation described in 
vv.i-8' 6 in no way corresponds to any known circumstances, and 
the name in v.** has no appearance of being one borne by an 
actual person. It has therefore been widely and correctly held 
that the poem is, at least in part, prophetic. 

It is, of course, possible that the perfects are in part prophetic, 
in part historical ; if this were actually so, the question would 
arise, how much is prophetic, how much historical? Has the 
great deliverance from foreign oppression actually taken place ? 
Has some birth awakened the poet*s hopes, but the actual 
present not yet fulfilled them by bringing the child born to the 
throne of David ? Many have held that the birth is historic, and 



1 66 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

that the poet refers in particular to the birth of Hezekiah ; but 
this view is now generally and rightly abandoned. 

It is more probable that the poem is prophetic throughout in 
all its direct statements — the light has not yet actually shone, the 
people have not yet actually rejoiced, the child has not yet 
actually been born ; all these things are past, not in reality, but 
only in the hopeful vision of the poet. The circumstances under 
which the poem was written can only, but may probably, be 
detected in the implicit statements ; from these we may infer two 
things : (i) the people were at the time in " darkness," i.e. distress ; 
and (2) under a foreign yoke. On one interpretation of v.*, if 
not also from v. 5, it would also follow that (3) the throne of 
David was at the time vacant ; another interpretation would still 
admit, but no longer require, such a situation (see note on v. 5). 

If all we can infer are the two circumstances first mentioned, 
the historical situation presupposed is obviously one that 
occurred even in Isaiah's lifetime, for Judah felt the pressure 
of Assyria and paid tribute; but it also frequently recurred 
later, when the yoke of Babylon, Persia, the Ptolemies or the 
Seleucids rested on the Jews. 

The determination of the date and authorship of the poem 
must therefore turn on other considerations ; but these, too, are 
unfortunately less decisive than could be desired. 

1. Language. — Cp. Cheyne, Introd. p. 44 ; Hackmann, p. 148. This 
is indecisive. On the one hand, the only occurrences of S^fa (as distinct 
from ^^p) are in v.* 10^ 14^, passages commonly, though not unanimously, 
attributed to Isaiah ; on the other, nv, pei-petuity^ and niD^x, both frequent 
later, occur in no passage certainly as early as the 81 h cent, (see phil. notes). 
It is the idea rather than the word ^^i^ that is significant. For the rest, the 
language is such that it might equally well, so far as we know, have been 
employed in the 8th century or much later, though jiko, if loaned from 
Aramaic rather than Assyrian (cp. v.* n.), would more easily be explained 
by a date later than the 8th century. 

2. It is urged that no echo of the passage is found in Jer., Ezek., Is 40-66. 
This is correct, but inconclusive. It is, of course, at once explained if the 
passage was written later than these writers ; but unless we place it as late as 
the 2nd cent. B.C. (Kennett), why does it also find no echo in still later 
writers, Zech., Hag., Mai., the Psalms? or should we possibly find echoes 
of it in Ps 72 ? The connection with Is 1 1 does indeed seem probable, and 
if that connection is due to unity of authorship, the exilic or post-exilic date 
to which that passage is probably to be referred is the date also of this. 

3. Ideas. — The conception of Yahweh's "zeal" (v.*) is probably enough 
that which is characteristic of Ezekiel and of subsequent writers, yet <*TK3p may 





IX. 1-6 16; 

be so interpreted as not to be absolutely incompatible with Isaiah's thought 
(see n. on v.*). Several writers (see especially Volz, Die vorexilische Jahwe- 
prophetic^ pp. 3 and 6fF.) treat the reference to the Messianic king as in itself 
conclusive proof of post-exilic origin ; this is unsafe. At the same time two 
facts remain : ( i ) the Messianic king does figure in later writers ; (2) we lack 
positive proof that the prophets of the 8th cent, were acquainted with the 
idea, or, if acquainted with it, also tnade use of it. Marti rather overstates 
the case when he says that the Messiah here is ** throughout a political figure 
(Grosse) which has no direct significance for Religion " — at least the remark 
would equally apply to the judges and counsellors to whom Isaiah looks 
forward in i'-^. If Isaiah did look forward to a king in the future and had 
wished to describe him, he must have described him much as he is here 
described — righteous, just, mighty in defence of the weak (see notes on vv.*' •). 
The ideal certainly has its national limitations : the king will be a Jew and yet 
have a wide, a universal dominion, but no stress is laid on the servitude of 
the nations to Israel. Certainly, too, the ideal falls below that of the ' ' servant 
of Yahweh " ; but at the same time this ideal of the kingdom established in 
righteousness and of the peace-loving, justice-securing king b anything but 
ignoble. 

The best complete vindication of Isaianic authorship would be to establish 
a clear connection with some period of the prophet's activity ; but, unfortun- 
ately, those who agree in rejecting the view that the passage is post- Isaianic, 
differ as to the period of Isaiah's activity to which it belongs. It must 
suffice to refer to two or three theories of date. 

Kit. argues that the passage fits into the range of ideas found in chs. 6-8 
and other passages of the period to which these chapters belong. Isaiah then 
expected the conquest of the country and the city, and the overthrow of the 
monarchy (2*^* 3^** 5*"') ; but also that a remnant would survive (7' 6'^) ; 
from the remnant would arise a deliverer, Immanuel, representative of the 
new generation, who would grow up in affliction. Judah must drink the cup 
of affliction at the hand of Assyria {f^- ^^i'^«'^«-). Then the hope 
represented in Immanuel is realised, 8^^*'''. It increases, 8^'', and reaches its 
climax, p^"^' — Assyria must fall. The climax was not clearly perceived at first, 
but may have been so after 722, when the section 8-9* may have been written 
down. The sequence of thought and, perhaps, the original sequence of the 
sections is— 8^2. m (20). 2if.^ Disaster ; 8^«-"- 20, Hope ; S^'- ^^^', Fulfilment. 
This elaborate construction rests on details, such as the identification of 
Immanuel and the prince of 9*, which, according to the view taken in this 
commentary, are insecure, or definitely unsound. It certainly mitigates to 
some extent the difficulties attached to the view that 9^** was the direct 
sequence of ch. 7, and written at the time of the Syro-Ephraimitish war. 
Would Isaiah have described the people as walking in darkness, because they 
were threatened, in his own phrase, by two fagends of smoked out fire-brands ? 

Du. holds that the "driver" of v.' must be Assyria, and the "soldier" of 
v.* Sennacherib's army. 

The Isaianic authorship seems to have been first questioned by Stade, 
Gesch. i. 596, ii. 209 f., ZATW vi. 161 ; then by H. Hackmann, Die 
Zukunftserwartung des Jesaia^ 130-136, 143 if. ; Cheyne, Introd. pp. 44 f. ; 



1 68 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 




Marti, Comm. ; Volz, Die vorexilische Jahweprophetie^ pp. 57-60 ; R. H. 
Kennett, yZ'^.S' vii. (1906), 321-342. Sta., Che., Hack, suggest a post-exilic 
date not closely defined, Kennett, who treats the passage as historical^ 
refers it to about 140 B.C., when "the yoke of the heathen was taken away 
from Israel" (i Mac 13*^), and Simon held a rejoicing "because a great 
enemy was destroyed out of Israel " (i Mac 13''^). In addition to the general 
objection to assuming a Maccabaean origin for any parts of the Book of Isaiah 
(see Introd. §§ 26 f. ), this theory rests on several very questionable assumptions : 
(i) that 8^ (9^) is part of the poem ; (2) that the name given to the prince 
implies a warrior ; (3) that the boots of v.* must be boots of Greek soldiery ; 
(4) that the child of v.*^ is not a child^ as suchy but the offspring given to 
the nation, to wit, Simon. Marti with far more probability places the 
prophecy between 540 and 440 B.C., roughly about 500, not far remote in 
time from Haggai and Zechariah, both of whom expected a Messiah of the 
Davidic house. 

On the whole, if the passage was not written by Isaiah, it 
may be best regarded as a lyrical counterpart of chs. 40-55, 
though the work of an author with different ideals, written 
towards the close of the Exile, when the people had long been 
walking in the darkness of captivity, long dwelling in the land 
of the shadow of death — Babylon. Like Ezekiel, the writer 
was convinced that the jealousy of Yahweh must bring about 
the restoration and exaltation of his people: like Haggai and 
Zechariah, he looked for a Davidic Messiah ; unlike Ezekiel, he 
gives to his prince a supreme place in the restored community ; 
though, like the Deutero-Isaiah, he expects the restoration itself 
to be the direct act of Yahweh without the mediation of the 
Messiah : this is a possible, even a probable, but at the same 
time not a certain theory of the origin of the poem. If it 
should be correct, we have three great ideals represented in the 
literature of the Exile — Ezekiel's, of the Holy Community 
devoted to ritual and sanctified by the presence of God in 
its midst ; the Deutero-Isaiah*s, of the Prophetic People preach- 
ing true religion to the nations ; and this writer's, of the Righteous 
Kingdom with its king righteously ruling from Jerusalem over an 
unlimited empire. 

I (2). The people] the entire people of Israel, descendants of 
those who had constituted the kingdom of David (v.®); the subject 
is not the same as in 8^3 (9I), nor as in S^i^- (note the consistent 
use of sing, there and pi. here); it is rather the new subject 
of an entirely independent poem. — Darkness . . . light] for these 
figures of calamities of various kinds and prosperity or deliver- 




IX. 1-3 1 69 

ance from calamity respectively, cp. e.g. 588- ^^ 59* 60^, La 3^, 
Job 1522^-. Darkness signifies, in particular, captivity. Cp., 
either for this last point or for the phrases used in this v., 42^ 
{}^n2 ^2^\ 49» ("iK'na -ib^n || onioN), Mic 7^- (ncna aK^s o 
iiNi> ^3K*^'' ' . . 'h y\^ rm% Ps 107I0. u ^-,^55^ nio^ "itj'n ^2^) 
[>T\T Dn^miDiDi moi^yi "iK'no DN^yi^ . . . bnai ^^V).—The land of 
the shadow of death\ or, of gloom (see phil. n.) ; the phrase pK 
niiD7V occurs here only ; but cp. " the land of darkness and the 
shadow of death" (Job lo^^ cp. 38^'^), i.e. Sheol : this meaning 
can scarcely be intended here ; what is meant is either the land 
of Israel temporarily obscured by calamity, or Babylon, the 
land of captivity. ST avoids both these applications by para- 
phrase — " The people of the house of Israel who were walking 
in Egypt as in darkness came forth to see a great light ; they 
that dwelt in the shadow of death, light hath shone upon them." 
2 (3). Thou hast multiplied the rejoicings etc.] the translation rests 
on a very slight conjectural emendation ; see phil. n. J^ reads 
thou hast multiplied the nation : thou hast not increased the joy^ 
which is obviously unsuitable ; the K®re (RV) is probably an early 
conjectural emendation which restores sense at the expense of 
style and without restoring the parallelism (see phil. n.). The 
two figures which enforce the greatness of the joy both recur; 
see Ps 4^ 126^ (joy in harvest), Ps 119^^2 (joy over spoil). It 
no more follows that the poet expected the new era to open 
after a victorious battle, than that he expected it to begin at 
the end of harvest. — 3 (4). The great joy is on account of the 
end of Israel's servitude. The people referred to in the pi. in 
vv.i^* are here collectively represented by singular suffixes ; the 
change is occasioned by the introduction of a figure (cp. i^^- 
after i*). Israel is compared to an animal with a burdensome 
yoke resting on its neck and compelled to work by its driver, 
who uses his stick upon it. In the terms of the figure, Yahweh 
(not the Messiah) brings Israel's servitude to an end by breaking 
in pieces both the yoke and the driver's stick : burden and 
blows are alike done away. The figure of the yoke is a favour- 
ite one with Hebrew writers, and is used of the oppressive 
government of native rulers (i K 12*- ^^•), of the hard treat- 
ment by foreigners (Assyrians, 142^ lo^^, Jer 27^- "'^' ; cp. Dt 28^^) 
of Israel in its own land, or in a land not theirs (Lv 26^^). — 
The yoke of his burden^ the yoke that is his burden, his burden- 




I/O COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

some yoke: cp. lo^'' 14^^ where yoke and burde?i stand 
synonymous parallelism. The yoke (^V) is specifically the heavy 
cross-beam that rested on the neck of the animal; through 
holes in this passed wooden pegs or bars (nt30), which, being 
tied below, enclosed the animal's neck; see the illustration in 
PEF Qu. St., 1891, p. 113, reproduced in EBL 78. MT and 
probably |^ (though cp. Nah i^^) means the rod (niSD) of his 
shoulder, or neck, i.e. the rod with which his neck was beaten ; 
but (i) this would anticipate the driver of the next distich, and 
(2) the neck protected by the yoke was not the special recipient 
of blows. — The stick of his driver'] it is unnecessary to follow 
RV and introduce a new figure by rendering of his taskmaster : 
for driver, cp. Job 39'^. Nor, in view of the reference to the 
stick {p2^) for beating (cp. e.g. Ex 21^0, Pr 10^^), is the render- 
ing oppressor (14* n.) suitable. — As in the day of Midian\ an 
allusion to the ending of another foreign oppression (Jg 6-8). 
With the phrase day of Midian, cp. " day of Jezreel," Hos 2^ 
(i"); "day of Egypt," Ezk 30^; "day of Jerusalem," Ps 1371 
Why does the poet refer in particular to the deliverance from 
Midian? Is it because the story told then, as it is read now 
(Jg 7^), illustrated the prophetic doctrine that deliverance is 
wrought not by the size and equipment of human armies, but 
by Yahweh ? In any case the poet does not say that the " light " 
will shine, the change of fortunes come, after a great battle. — 4 (5). 
For\ this v. does not give the reason for v.^, but a further reason 
for the joy of v.^; men will rejoice because the age of universal 
and unbroken peace (2*) has begun. War is already abolished, 
and everything that pertains to it, typically illustrated by the 
soldier's dress, will be destroyed by fire. Cp. especially Ezk 
399, also Is 2^ Hos 220(18), Zee 9I0, Ps 4610(9) 754(3). It is curious 
that the writer selects the soldier's dress rather than the imple- 
ments of war for destruction ; Che. {SBOT p. 89) reconstructs 
the text on the basis of the references just given, so that shields, 
bows, arrows, and quivers may be consumed by the flames 
instead. — Every shoe worn in tumult {of battle)] the last part of 
this translation in particular is uncertain ; pSDf is not battle 
(AV), nor armour (RV), but foot-gear. It has been claimed 
that the word means in particular the heavy military boot ; and 
Ges. referred to Josephus' description {Bell. Jud. vi. i. 8) of the 
" shoes all full of thick and sharp nails " of the Roman soldiers 




IX. 4 171 

in illustration of its character; but neither the Assyr. shiu nor 
the Aram. WD, (JolcD, from either of which Heb. may have 
borrowed the word, has any such specific sense ; N^D is used, 
e.g., in 5r Ex 3^, Dt 25®, Jos 5^^ "ljo]rD (for which the Peshitta 
prefers ]i]rr>Vo) in the Harklensian version of Mt 3^^ Lk 10* 1522. 
Abimilki of Tyre in his letters to the king of Egypt describes him- 
self as " the dust under the shoe {Sinu) of my lord the king (Tell 
el-Amarna Tablets, 152*, and elsewhere). Yet though the word 
pND is not specifically a heavy military boot, the writer would 
probably have had such in mind if the following words really 
mean " of him that is heavily booted " (Kennett), or " of him 
that makes an earthquake as he treads " (cp. BDB under both 
words); but both these renderings are very questionable, the 
denominative vb. (jND) should, as in Assyr. and Aram., mean no 
more than to draw on, to wear a shoe. If the text is right, which 
is doubtful, worn in the tumult of battle is the safest rendering 
of J^, which should be pointed |Np not [ND (MT). This gives 
the best parallelism, adopts the most probable meaning of the 
denominative, and for the rendering of tJ'V"' by tumult {of battle) 
has the close, though not exact, parallel of Jer 10^2 ; cp. also 
Is 29**. Elsewhere the noun I5>jn means a trembling or quaking^ 
an actual earthquake, or, by hyperbole, the shaking of the earth 
attributed to war-chariots (Jer 47 8, Nah 3^). The poet then 
has no special type of boot in mind; it is the fact that shoe 
(|1t?D) and garment (n»DB^), of whatever nature, have been worn 
in battle, that condemns them to the flames. In the golden 
age of peace, war and all that pertains to war will be taboo, 
and must, as things unclean, be destroyed. Consequently 
that part of Kennett's ingenious argument* for the late date 
of the poem, which rests on the conclusion that pND must refer 
to the heavy nailed boots which were characteristic of the Syro- 
Greek soldiery, falls to the ground. It remains noticeable, 
however, that in Is 5^^ Isaiah calls the foot-gear of the 
Assyrians 7M\ sandals. — Stained with blood] reading by con- 
jecture n^Nip ; \07)y0y f^, rolled, or weltering, in blood, seems to 

* fotimal of Theol. Studies, vii. 327-331 f., 338: criticised by C. F. 
Burney, ib. xi. 438-441, to whom Kennett replies, ib. xii. 114 f. My own 
note above stands as it was written before the appearance of Dr. Burney's 
note. 



172 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

say too much ; Amasa is fitly described as " weltering " (i?^3nD) 
in his blood (2 S 20^2), but the garments to be consigned to 
the flames are scarcely limited to those which had " weltered " 
in blood ; enough that they had met the usual fate of soldiers' 
garments, and had become blood-stained (cp. Is 63^). — 5 (6). The 
third cause of the people's joy is the birth of a prince of their 
own race \to us), who receives (at once) the dominion and power 
over them that had been exercised in the days of darkness (v.^) 
by an alien ruler (v.^), and who is (v.^) to extend his dominion 
widely but peacefully. This child is Hezekiah according to 
mediaeval Jewish interpreters (Rashi, Ki., Ibn Ezra), Simon the 
Maccabee according to Kennett, the Messiah according to most 
(cp. ST). The ideal standpoint of the poet seems to be (shortly) 
after the birth of the prince, after he has been recognised as 
prince of Israel, but before the wide extension of his kingdom 
has begun. — Child . . . so?t\ placed first in their respective 
sentences for emphasis; *TT is applicable to an infant as yet 
unweaned (Gn 21^) as well as to older children. — To us] the 
poet who has hitherto spoken of his people in the 3rd pers. here 
associates himself with them. — And the dominion is upon his 
shoulder] is this fact mentioned between the birth and the nam- 
ing because the name was given after the prince had grown up 
and earned it by his exploits (Du.)? or is the meaning that the 
name is given as usual a few days after birth, and that the 
child is "born in the purple" (Grotius), because, though the 
house of David survived (v.^), it had at the time no reigning 
prince (Marti)? or is the position of the clause without signifi- 
cance? tXWO, dominion, appears to mean here the royal dignity, 
in v.^t the royal authority; the entire phrase here refers to 
entering on a reign rather than to the burden of governing; 
it may possibly have originated in a practice of wearing a royal 
robe on the shoulder: cp. 22^2. — His name has been called] cp. 
i26 n. — The eight words of the name fall into four clauses, each 
containing two words closely connected: less probable views 
are that the first four (Jer.), or the first two (EV, Ges.), words 
should be taken singly ; some Jewish interpreters distribute the 
names among God and the child, e.g. " God who is marvellous 
in counsel. Mighty God, Everlasting Father, gave him the name 
Prince of Peace (Rashi, Ki. : cp. ST) ; but Ibn Ezra rightly 
insisted that the whole eight words belonged to the child's 




IX. 5 173 

name. Luzzatto treated the names as a sentence, predicating 
(like Immanuel, 7^* n.) something of God, and therefore imply- 
ing nothing as to the child. Some of the names singly, and 
even more in combination, are as applied to men unparalleled 
in the OT, and on this account are regarded by Gressmann 
(p. 280 ff.) as mythological and traditional : cp. also Rosenmiiller's 
Scholia. — Wonderful Counsellor] Like God Himself (28^ 25^), 
the Messiah will give counsel that will be exceptional, exceeding 
what has hitherto been known or heard. — Mighty God] cp. lo^i; 
"the great (and) the mighty God," Dt lo^^, Neh 9^2, Jer 
32^8. The ambiguous Dnni ^ijfc5 of Ezk 32^1, the application 
of D^IJ i'N to Nebuchadnezzar in Ezk 31I1, and the fact, if it be 
such, that in the remaining three clauses of the name here the 
words are cstr. and gen., scarcely justify a departure from the 
obvious rendering mighty God in favour oi god of a hero, and still 
less a whittling down of the meaning of 7K to hero, so that the 
clause means no more than tnighty hero. The child is to be more 
than mighty (fj^pn, Ibn Ezra), more than a mighty man ("lUa 5^65, 
I S 14^2), more than a mighty king ("1133 I^D, Dn ii^) : he is to 
be a mighty 7K, god. This attribution of divinity, implying that 
the Messiah is to be a kind of demigod, is without clear analogy 
in the OT, for Ps 45^ <^> is ambiguous. Not only i)N but "lUi has 
been differently interpreted : "lua is often used of warriors, and 
many understand it to refer here to the military success of the 
Messiah. But if the writer had wished to summon up the 
thought of one who gained renown in war before he became 
prince of peace, he might better have chosen an unambiguous 
term, such, for example, as nonte "IU3, mighty in battle (Ps 24®). 
At all events lUJ is also used of might manifested in other 
ways than those of war (cp. e.g. Gn 10^). As the lion is 
mightiest of beasts because he quails before no other (Pr 30^®), 
so Yahweh is mighty as one who cannot be browbeaten or 
bribed into abandoning the defence and care of the helpless 
and the poor(Dt 10^^). In Jer 32^^ the idea of Yahweh's might, 
conveyed in the epithets "great, mighty," "terrible," is particular- 
ised in what follows as greatness in counsel (nvy) and action, in 
the signs wrought in Egypt, and in finding nothing beyond his 
power (xi'D* IDO). Mighty is to be taken here with this wider 
reference. Yahweh Himself will bring war to an end and so bring 
in the Messianic age of peace : the Messiah endued with the 



174 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 




Spirit of God, " a spirit of counsel and might " (nnnJI nvv nn), 
will like the mighty God Himself fearlessly defend the rights 
of the weak and poor, and, after judicial process, have the 
violent and guilty disturbers of civic peace slain (ii^-^). — Father 
forever] the benevolent guardian of His people so long as He and 
they endure. For the cstr. and force of ly here, cp., on one 
view of the construction there, iy m3J, a lady for ever, 47'', and 
the phrase with the synonymous Dpiy? ub^V "l^y, a slave for ever, 
Dt 15^7^ I S 2712^ Job 4o28. For ny predicated of the (Messianic ?) 
king, see, e.g.^ Ps 21^-'^; in view of these and other references it 
is unnecessary to take the phrase as equivalent to Eternal father 
(cp. xhs^ ^'rh^ 4o28). For father used figuratively of a protector 
or benefactor, see Job 29^^, Is 22^1. Two alternative interpreta- 
tions. Eternal One, and Father^ i.e. acquirer or distributor, of 
booty, are both open to the serious objection that they pre- 
suppose an Arabic use of 2K, father, which has no parallel in 
Hebrew, not even as has sometimes been assumed in proper 
names Uke Abihud, Abihail ; see HPN p. 7 7 ff. — 6 (7). The zeal 
of Yahweh will secure the endurance of the wide and peaceful 
dominion of the new Davidic dynasty, will secure also that it is 
both established and maintained in justice and righteousness. 
— To support it in justice and righteousness] cp. 16^, and Pr 20^8 
"his throne shall be supported in mercy (S righteousness)." — 
The jealousy of Yahweh of Hosts will do this] the same phrase in 
3732. The term nwp, used of passionate emotion in man {e.g. 
Ca 8^), here refers to Yahweh's emotion : so, with other terms of 
emotion, in 63^^ This jealousy, or ardour, or passion, of Yahweh, 
which will not suffer Him to be deprived of His due, especially 
of the proper regard for His power and honour, is frequently 
referred to by Ezekiel and later writers ; it led to the punish- 
ment by captivity of His people who had been disloyal to Him, 
but it subsequently necessitated the restoration of Israel, lest the 
nations should think Yahweh weak; cp. Ezk 3925-29 ^iso 5IS 16^^ 
2325 365ff.^ Is 42I3 5917, Zee i"f. 82f-, Jl 2^8^-, Nah i2. The phrase 
and the idea expressed by it would be entirely in place if this 
prophecy is exilic or post-exilic; and it would be difficult to 
think it earlier, if the main thought is that the jealousy of Yahweh 
will restore the Jewish monarchy. But if the main thought is 
that Yahweh will establish and maintain a righteous government, 
it may be merely a more passionate expression of Isaiah's ideal 




IX. 6, 1-4 175 

in i^. The attribution of nn^p, jealousy, to Yahweh would still 
remain unique so far as Isaiah's extant writings are concerned. 
Cp. Kiichler, Der Gedanke des Eifers Jahwes im AT^ in ZATW^ 
1908, pp. 42-52. 

IX. I. iKi] (!I5 treats this as impv. with Dj/n vocative, renders njj by 
impf. and reads D3''?y — scarcely real variants. On the text of the quotation 
in Mt 4^", see Swete, OT in Greek, 396 f. — pKa '3^'] 5" n. — The clause is a 
casus pendens, the cstr. being doubtless chosen for purposes both of rhythm 
and emphasis: Dr. § 197. i. — niD^K] Am 5^ being probably later than the 
8th cent., the earliest occurrences of mDS:« elsewhere are Jer 2^ 13" : it occurs 
besides four times in Psalms (23^ 44^0 loy^*** ") and ten times in Job. The 
traditional view (i^Cffi) that nioSsf is = n]ip + '?y, rather generally abandoned 
for a time in favour of Ew.'s suggestion that it is =m + dSs, niopv, has perhaps 

rightly been revived by No. {ZATIV, 1897, pp. 183 ff.); the root aUc', 

Assyr. saldmu, is not otherwise represented in Hebrew. — njj] Kal as Job 18" 
22^* ; Hiph. 13^'', 2 S 22^= Ps i2P\ ; but the noun occurs early, e.g. Am 5^ : 
cp. Assyr. nag^, to shine. Possibly the writer intended the noun here, iik in 
that case being 3rd pf. : note the order and cp. Pr 4^^; but (!I5 = MT. — 2. 
nnocn nVun kS 'un n'mn] so K*tib : K^re reads *h for k*?, cp. the same 
variants in Ps lOo", Job 13"; Sb Olii^, VL jm"? agree with the ]^«re, F, 
Symm. with the K^tib. (& is paraphrastic and ambiguous. In favour of the 
emendation S'jn {e.g. 16^'') or nV'jn (65^^ probably also 35^t)> "ote that lines 
a. b thus show the parallelism nS'an, nnorn as c. d show iSu', inOB'. The 
conjecture, now commonly accepted, is due to W. Selwyn, Horae Hebraicae, 
Camb. 1848. For a defence of the K*re, see Del. ; but he fails to justify the 
emphatic position given by it to i*? ; in the passages he cites (45^, Lv 7'-', 
I S 2', Job 29^', Ps 7^* 139") 1^ is either really emphatic (so pre-eminently in 
Lv 7'""), or textually questionable.— 3. 'i'?;|D] for "iSap ; G-K. 93^. For the 
noun, see lo'" I4^t > the root was in use at all peiiods. — nnnn] 7^ n. — 
4. pND] dir. X67. : see above. If Isaianic, the word is probably loaned from 
Assyr. ; for D= Assyr. § in such loan words, cp. \\y^^ = Sarrukin ; pD = JfaX'««. 
For the vowel change pKD = i<?«w, Haupt in SBOT compares rrm^tirlu, 
]H^=fMu. — For B'i;n3 ]tiO pxo, ffi has aroXriv iinavvrjy/jiivrjv 86\(p, probably 
following much the same text as f^, but perhaps reading ]}f\ for «?in. The 
length of the line and the difficulty of finding a translation in all respects 
beyond criticism create some suspicion of ^, but we are in no position to 
emend, — nn'm] the waw introducing the direct pred. is uncommon, but not 
unparalleled (Dr. § 123a) ; so also is the agreement with the immediately 
preceding part (n'?D2') of the compound subj. (G-K. 146^ ; Kon. 349/), cp. 
Jer 7^. The combination of the unusual together with the shortness of this 
and the next line (yet cp. 2****), and the fact that r« n'?3KD in idea echoes 
rather than balances r\tr\'eh nn'm, may reasonably raise the question whether 
the text is sound at this point. — r\*r\v\ perhaps, in view of the parallel, that 
which is bwnt ; see Numbers, p. 208. This meaning is also possible in Gn 
11^ (C). — nSsND] the word is no indication of date ; it is true it occurs again 




iy6 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

only in v.**, where the text is doubtful, and in the form n^so in 1X5^*; 
but the root is one of the commonest at all periods, the noun form is paralleled 
by mano, mano, npVno, mabo, all occurring in early literature, and the corre- 

sponding forms occur in both Syr. and Arabic — |A\r}nKp ^i^. — 
5. mB'Dn] v.*t. (& renders apx^J. ^ Ol 1 t>\o •, V in v.® principatus^ in 
v.^ imperium, W Knmx, /aw, which is obviously wrong, and due to connect- 
ing the word with no' (cp. Symm., Theod. i) iraideLa). MT n-i^-a presupposes a 

meaning /<? rule for the root me', ^^Jm, of which there is no evidence. Point 

rather n"jB^ or n"it?p, from "W, a prince, denom. ■nt?, to nde {e.g. Jg <f^). The 
punctuation of MT can be traced as early as Jerome (MESRA) and perhaps 
Aquila, who renders rh fiirpov, being deceived by the similar sound of the 
Latin mensura (Lagarde, Sem. i. 15). 

TOB'KnpM] either (i) Kal unpn (MT) with indef. subj. (Kon. iii. 324^), as 
certainly in Gn 25^, and possibly in some of the apparent cases of naming 
by the father (see Hastings, DB iii. 480''). This would be the common 
idiom for naming a child at birth (see, e.g., 7^^ 8^). Since the important 
matter here is the name, and the person who gives it unessential, the in- 
definite idiom cannot be considered improbable ; less probable views of the 
cstr. with the same punctuation is that God unnamed, or named in part of 
the names that follow (C), is the subj. ; or (2) Niphal Nii5»i : this idiom 
is used of names given in later life ; see Dt 25^^, Dn 10^, cp. Gn 35*''. — 
I'yv N^£3] commonly explained on the analogy of onit KiiJ, a wild ass of a man, 
DiK ^''Q^, fool of a man (c^. G-K. 128/; Kon. iii. 337^) as meaning literally 
a wonder of a counsellor, or rather taking j^yv like mx as collect. , a wonder 
among counsellors, most wonderful of counsellors. Possible also is it that nS*) 
is the ace. prefixed (cp. 22^), giver of wonderful counsel. On the differing 
traditions as to the punctuation kSs, k^s (the second being intended to mark 
the status constructus), see Kon. ii. p. 66. — ly '3n] ny, booty, is an early word, 
Gn 49^ ; but it is not intended here (see above), and consequently the pro- 
posed substitution of hhv for uhv below (Neubauer, Margolis, cited by 
Cheyne in SBOT) falls to the ground, ny, perpetuity, is predominantly, if 
not exclusively, late ; no indisputable instance can be found earlier than the 
Exile : frequent in the Psalms, it occurs also in such passages of doubtful age 
as Am i", Mic 4^ Pr 12^^, Ex i^^. — 6. nmo'?] the final D in the middle of the 
word (K^tib), which is corrected in the K^re, points to an early corruption 
or ambiguity of the text. In the translation above Gratz's suggestion ( Gesch. 
ii. I, p. 223) has been adopted, viz. that □*? is a dittograph of ^\v\ a 
relatively late dittograph, for it presupposes the use of the final letters. 
fflr at the end of ^ and beginning of ' has d^w 7Ap elp-^prjv eirl roi>s dpxopras 
Kal ir/elav avrc^' fxeydXr} 17 dpx^ airrov : the overlined words seem to represent 
a conflate text nm nnD*?, the first of these two words being wrongly read by 
© Nana 'h (Cheyne in SBOT). The parallelism and independence of the 
short two-accented lines is best preserved by reading nm. The word nano, 
presupposed by the other reading, occurs again in 33^t' See, further, on the 
text, Cheyne in SBOT; Lagarde, Semitica, i. 17. If the reading naTD^ be 
retained, Gressmann's (p. 279) suggestion to read ivon (cp. 11*, Mai 2*, 



IX. 7-X. 4, V. 26-29 177 

Ps 45' 67') for mron is worth considering. — niK3x] possibly an addition, sec 
2 K I9»> Knib (without) = Is 37** (with). 

IX. 7 (8)-X. 4, V. 26-29.-7%^ Doom of Ephraim. 

The five strophes of the following poem, even in the present text, are of 
very nearly equal length : in the original poem each strophe probably con- 
tained exactly 14 lines. The third strophe still contains this number, and so 
do the second and the fourth ; but the genuineness of two, or four, lines of 
the second, and the whole of the fourth, has been suspected. The first 
strophe now contains 13 lines, but there are strong grounds for suspecting 
that a line has fallen out after v.^W^ The fifth strophe contains 15 lines, 
but one of these {^^) rests under suspicion as being a monostich. 

The regular succession of distichs is broken in the present text by four 
monostichs ; but one of these is (in \.^) probably due to the loss of its 
parallel, and two others, <^^' ^^ <^*'' ^'^\ are probably two parts of a distich 
which have been accidentally separated from one another (see Comm. ) : in 
the following translation they are restored to fellowship. The remaining 
monostich is 5^** ; it is probably intrusive, for the fifth strophe is at present 
a line too long. 

We may conclude that the poem originally contained four or five equal 
strophes, and each strophe seven distichs. 

The lines of the distichs are for the most part parallel in sense and 
balanced. Of the 35 distichs, 19 are clearly 3:3; so, too, probably are 
gi6a. b (omit unK), io2»- •* (read o-^jy for nDy "jy), ^- ^ (reading vSaSj for 
vSi^ji), perhaps also lo**- •» (ynp-'p^?^) and <y^' 27* (Kn'-"??). There is at least 
one distich 4 : 4, viz. 9' ; other probable, or possible, examples are 9^*^ ** ((ffi 
4:4, |§ 5:4), 9^*"* •* (omit mn'), <^^- *» (omit makkeph in ns Vm). The 
gloss in 9^* is also 4 : 4. The opening distich (9') is exceptionally 4 : 2, 
and 9^° also may originally have been 4 : 2. On the other hand, ^' •* was 
probably 3 : 3, and has been turned in transcription into 4:2. On ^ and 
5*, see notes. 

Note. — The prophetic past tenses of the original are retained in the 
translation ; but the whole poem is a forecast of the future, not a survey of 
the actual past : see below. 

I. 

f^ The Lord hath sent a word against Jacob, 
And it shall fall upon Israel. 

* And all the people shall recognise (it), 

Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria. 
[For they said . . .] 

Proudly and greatly daring, 

• " Bricks have fallen, but with hewn stone we will rebuild ; 

Sycomores have been cut down, but with cedars will 

we replace them." 
VOL. I. — 12 



178 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 




10 And (so) Yahweh exalted (?) ' his ' adversaries against him, 

And will spur on his enemies — 

11 Syria on the East and the Philistines on the West, 

And they devoured Israel with full mouth. 
In spite of all this his anger turned not back, 
But his hand is stretched out still. 

2. 

12 Yet the people returned not to him that smote them, 

Nor inquired of Yahweh of Hosts ; 
12 So he Yahweh cut off from Israel head and tail, 

Palm-branch and reed in a single day. 
^^ The elder and the person held in respect, that is " the head," 

And the prophet who delivers false oracles, that is "the tail." 
^' And those who should have led this people aright led them astray, 
And those who should have been led aright were swallowed up. 
1^ Therefore the Lord will not rejoice over his young men, 
Nor show compassion to his orphans and widows, 
Because he is wholly profane and given to evil, 

And every mouth is speaking impiety. 
In spite of all this his anger turned not back, 
But his hand is stretched out still. 



1^ For unrighteousness burnt like a fire : 
It (first) consumed thorns and briars, 
And (then) it kindled the thickets of the forest, 

And they twisted about in a (rising) column of smoke. 
1^ Through the overflowing anger of Yahweh the land . Pj,^^4 

And the people became like ' devourers ' of men ; 
1^ They carved (slices) on the right hand and were hungry, 
And they ate on the left hand and were not satisfied. 
18^ None will show any pity to his brother, 

i^^'But each shall devour' his 'neighbour's' flesh — 
-0 Manasseh (devouring) Ephraim and Ephraim, Manasseh, 
Together (will) they (be) against Judah. 
In spite of all this his anger turned not back. 
But his hand is stretched out still. 



tqI Ah ! they that decree mischievous decrees, 

And that, busily writing, write nought but trouble, 




IX. lO-X. 4, V. 26-29 179 

2 That they may turn aside the needy from judgment, 
And make plunder of the right of the poor, a 
That widows may become their spoil, 

And that they may make a prey of orphans. 

* What then will ye do in the day of visitation, 

And at (the time of) the storm that cometh from afar? 
And to whom will ye flee for help, 
And whither will ye abandon your glory, 

* 'To avoid' .crouching under (?) the prisoners, 

And falling under the slain? 
In spite of all this his anger turned not back, 
But his hand is stretched out still. 

5- 
52s Then will he raise a signal for a * nation ' afar off, 
And whistle for it from the end of the earth : 
And, lo ! speedily, quickly will it come, 
27 With none of it(s number) growing faint or stumbling ; 
It slumbers not nor sleeps 

The waistcloth about its loins has not been untied, 
The thong of its sandals has not snapped; 
•* Its arrows are sharpened. 

And all its bows bent (ready); 
Its horses' hoofs are like flint, 

Its wheels are accounted like the whirlwind; 
28 Its roaring is like that of a lioness. 

And it will roar (?) like young lions : 
And it will growl and seize the prey 
And carry it off, with none to rescue. 

The grounds for believing that 526-29 originally formed the 
close of the poem in g'^-io* are these : (i) the refrain that marks 
the close of the several strophes and, in consequence, immedi- 
ately precedes the commencement of each strophe but the first 
in 9^-10*, also immediately precedes 52«-29 . (2) the burden of 
this refrain is that yet more of the divine chastisement is to 
descend on Ephraim : admirably adapted, therefore, as it is for 
the close of each of the earlier strophes, it is not adapted to 
close the entire poem : consequently 10* is not the close of the 
poem, and the final strophe of the original poem lacked the 
refrain ; so in Am 4^-^2^ ^ poem which not improbably influenced 



i8o 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



Isaiah in the composition of his own, a four times repeated 
refrain (mn^ D^53 '•ly Dn3K^ ^h)) was unsuitable to close the poem. 
(3) At the close of a strophe almost, or (if we omit ^^"^^ as 
intrusive) exactly, equal in length to the (second), third (and 
fourth) strophes, and to what, as it would seem, was the original 
length of the first strophe in 9''- 10*, occurs a suitable climax to 
the whole poem — the utter destruction of the threatened people 
of whom none escapes ; (4) not only the climax, but also the 
general tenor of the 14 lines of 5^^"^^, form a suitable sequence 
in thought to 9^-10* ; (5) the structure (a succession of distichs) 
and the rhythm (mainly 3 : 3) of 526-29 jg the same as that of 
9^-10*; (6) the conclusion of 9'^-io* is not in lo^^-, for this deals 
with a totally different subject; nor (7) is the introduction to 
^25-29 to be found in 51-2* (see notes thereon). 

That 525-80^ in whole or in part, formed a part of the same poem as 9^-10* 
has been very generally recognised. Ew. reconstructed thus : 5^ + 9' to 1 C 
+ 5^*^» seeing in 9' a new start in a great speech which included 2^-5^ and 
9^-10*. Giesebrecht introduced an important modification of this view by 
insisting that 9' is the beginning of an altogether independent poem. 
According to him, 9'"^° closed with 526-30 . jqI-s jg g. misplaced fragment to 
which the refrain was added after it had become attached to 9'"^^ j 5^'^ is a 
gloss. Di., Du., Hackmann, Che. {Inirod.), Marti closely follow Giesebrecht, 
except that Du., Che., Marii find the close of the poem in 5^^ (not 5^) and 
Du., Che. do not delete 10^"^; Di. and Du. consider 5^^' the fragment of 
one or more lost strophes (on Judah, Di.), and Hackmann treats 10^ as an 
original part of the poem. The contents (see below), the marked change of 
rhythm in 5^, the length of the strophe, all point to 5^, not 5^", being the 
real close of the poem. The arguments against 10^'^ are strong (see below), 
but not absolutely conclusive. In addition to the commentaries, see especi- 
ally Giesebrecht, Beitrdge (1890), 3-24; Hackmann, 54 ff. ; Cheyne, Introd. 
24 f., 46 f. 

Two different views have been widely held with regard to the 
purpose and general character of the poem. According to one, 
the entire poem is prophetic, predicting a succession of 
calamities that are to fall on Israel;* according to the other, 
it is for the most part an historical survey of past calamities 
(9^-20), closing (5^^"^^) with the prediction of a yet more complete 
calamity which is still to come.f 

* Ges., Driver {Isaiah^ 37 f., LOT)y Du., Marti, Whitehouse, Gressmann 
(p. 171). 

t Ew., Giesebrecht, Di., Kue., Che. {Introd.), Kon. (369^, 368-^), Sta. 
{ZATWf 1895, P- 138 f.), Skinner, F. Wilke {Jesaja und Assur, p. 25). 




IX. 7-X. 4, V. 26-29 181 

It is generally agreed that the tenses in 9'* ^ and s^*** have a future force, 
and also that the perfects in the words spoken by the Ephraimites in 9" refer 
to the past. But Sta. treats vv."* also as historic, and therefore points t^^ ((!K) 
in v.^*, reads VflJ Sbji in v.'**, and points ^jn*! in v.^. It is, however, the force 
of the tenses in g}'^'^ that is most disputed. If the section is a survey of the 
past, perfects and imperfect consecutive tenses are normal and require no 
explanation, but perfect consecutives and simple imperfects must be explained ; 
whereas, if the section is predictive, it is the perfects and imperfect consecutives 
alone that require explanation. The consonantal text distinguishes the impf. 
consec. from the impf. with simple waw in one case only ('.ti, v.'") ; for the 
rest we must be guided by the sense in determining whether the waw before 
an impf. or a pf. is simple or consecutive. 

The tenses used in 9^"-^ are 5 perfects {2V '2, wm ^\ n-)]}! ", onyj '*, lyar ") 
in addition to 2V in the thrice repeated refrain, 9 impf. with waw (nam'", 
iVdk'i", m3'i'3^ ViTi^*^, nsm", i33Nn'i", wi^^, nini', Sdk'i'^), 5 imperfects 
(IDDD' ^", nov, onr ^*, iVon' ^^, i'^^n' ^^), and i pf. with waw (ny^1 '»). 

If 910-20 jjg narrative, the most difficult imperfects to explain are those 
in ^^ and ^^ Of 1D3D', Di. says that it expresses duration in the past ; but 
mere continuance, in the sense of duration without progress y is never expressed 
by the impf. (Dr. § 31). Giesebrecht treats it (apparently) as a ** picturesque " 
impf. or, hazardously (cp. Dr. §§ 83-85, 170-173), as a case of the impf. 
consec. separated from its waw ; Sta. substitutes the pf. ^ppp for the impf. of 
^. On v.i', Di. says, "The Impff. . . . express the principle according to 
which God always acts in such cases and so has also (v.^^) acted with them " ; 
but this is surely a counsel of despair : the jrVy and the suffixes both render 
it improbable : had the writer wished to express what Di. suggests, he would 
rather have written something as follows: 'wi nots" vh cyn nina ^y mn»i. 
Giesebrecht apparently would attribute the use of the impfF. here to the fact 
that they describe circumstances lasting up to the present. 

If 910-20 be prophetic, the difficulty of the perfects and imperfect consecutives 
does not lie in any particular instance ; for it is a well-known prophetic usage 
to employ either tense or both tenses in describing the future (Dr. §§ 14, 81 f.) ; 
it lies rather in the multiplication of the instances in a short passage ; and even 
this multiplication of narrative tenses can be paralleled ; see 9^"^ where we find 
ten narrative tenses, and two only (nn'ni, v.*; njyyn, v.') that immediately 
suggest the future ; cf., further, lo^"^^. But between 9^"' and 9^'2° Giesebrecht 
draws a real distinction : in 9^"^ future events are described which will all fall 
at pretty much the same time, but 910-20^ brings before us a chain of events as 
they follow one on another. If predictive, 9^0-20 jg jj^ some respects a unique 
example of the sustained use of the prophetic past in describing an unfolding 
future. But apart from ^^'^^ 9^"^ (generally though not unanimously admitted 
to be prophetic) would be a unique example of the sustained use of the 
prophetic past ; it would scarcely be safe therefore to deny the prophetic 
character of 9^''-*> ©n the ground that it is unique. Moreover, if 9'*"* with 
the introductory lines clearly pointing forward would naturally suggest the 
future to a reader, the refrain would mark a stage after which the reader may 
naturally expect another future event. 

In a further distinction which Giesebrecht seeks to draw, he is even less 




1 82 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

successful : he says that in 9'"^ "the ideal" standpoint is clearly indicated in 
the first verse. Allowing that this is so (and it would scarcely hold of 10^), 
it is not to the point ; for the same is true of 9'"^^ It is indeed precisely 
because in the solemn opening of the poem the poet carries us forward into 
the future, that it is difficult to believe that the greater part of it is a mere 
survey of the past. The first verb of the poem may be pf. of past fact 
or prophetic pf. : it makes but little difference whether the poet represents 
the divine decision as already taken or immediately to be taken ; the essential 
point is that the action of the self-fulfilling word of God, according to |^ at 
least, has not yet begun : the " word " has yet to fall (V331) into Israel, and then 
disaster will happen and become apparent (9'^''' ^). After such an opening 
we naturally expect to see not a panorama of the past, but of the future (cp. 
the perfects in 14'"* after the opening in 14**) ; and the first scene in the 
future as it unfolds itself before the prophet's eyes is given in 9^"* ^^ after he 
has briefly indicated its cause in the self-confident temper of the people who 
have not profited by calamities already past (^*'' ^). It is surely artificial in 
the extreme to make the words, ** And Yahweh hath exalted his enemies over 
him" (v.^''), explicative of "Bricks have fallen down" (in v.^ : so Kon.). 
The impf. consec. is impressive and effective if it is the equivalent of a proph. 
pf. (Dr. § 82) ; for in this case it represents the coming calamity " not merely 
with the certainty of the prophetic pf. , but as flowing naturally out of^ being 
an immediate consequence of" Israel's self-confident speech (^'•), just as the 
future humiliation of man is prophetically conceived as the certain and 
immediate sequence to the present custom of idolatry in 2^"'(n8''i . . . iinnc"). 
On this ground it is not advisable (with Du., Box) to turn the impf. consec. 
(ails';!) into the impf. with simple waw (3a'8''i). In the parallel clause the 
simple impf. alternates, as often (Dr. § 14), with the prophetic past. 

If lo^'^ be an original part of the poem, which is doubtful, then, since the 
tacit threat of v.^ obviously and admittedly refers to the future, the refrain in 
one instance (10*) certainly comes after a strophe which has the future in 
view. 

7-1 1. Ephraim's pride to be humbled by the Philis- 
tines and Syrians. — The opening lines announce that 
Yahweh has determined the doom of the Northern kingdom; 
this will now work itself out in such a way that the people 
must recognise what is happening. The fifth line of the poem 
(now lost) appears to have given the reason for this decisive 
judgment; or to have suggested the difference between the 
judgment yet to come, the significance of which men will be 
compelled to see, and the past calamities which they have light- 
heartedly minimised (v.^). In w.^^^-^i*-^ the first stage of the 
coming judgment is then described; it will consist of devas- 
tating attacks by external foes, the Syrians and the Philistines 
being definitely named. 

7, The word of God once sent forth (Ps 10720 14715. is)^ 




IX. 7-1 I 183 

whether its purpose be the destruction or the well-being of men, 
cannot return to God till it has wrought His purpose (Is 55^°'- ; 
cp. 133^t5'N ifhj Am 1 3 etc.). Even the solemnly uttered word of 
men, especially the blessing or the curse, was conceived as 
acquiring after utterance an existence of its own independent of 
the speaker: cp. Nu 22® n. This destructive word dispatched 
by Yahweh will find its mark : it will /a// info Israel. Israel and 
Jacob are synonymous, and here mean specifically the Northern 
kingdom ; for a third synonym is (8) all the people ; and this phrase 
in turn is unmistakably explained in the parallel line as 
Ephraim, the leading tribe, and the inhabitants of Samaria^ the 
capital, of the Northern kingdom. — All the people shall recognise 
(//)] when the destructive word of Yahweh has reached its goal 
and begun to work, the people will learn by actual experience of 
its effects how overwhelming the coming calamity is to be : for 
to know or to recognise^ cp. 5^^, Hos ^. — For they said . . .] the 
Hebrew text is mutilated at this point (see phil. n.); RV "that 
say in pride," etc., rests on a (tacitly) emended text. — Greatly 
daring] lit. in greatness 0/ heart; but "the heart " was the seat 
of courage, cp. 2 S 17^^, Ps 76^, Dn ii^s. A day of Yahweh is 
coming that will abase pride (2'^^^'), and prove the insecurity of 
all confidence which, instead of resting on Yahweh (7^), rests on 
self (cp. Am 6^^), or any other human power (30^"^ 3^^'^)- — p. 
These words, perhaps a popular proverb, reveal the self-reliant, 
God-forgetful temper that makes the coming doom inevitable : 
the people are confident that they can themselves much more 
than make good the losses that they have suffered. Common 
houses were made of bricks of sun-dried clay which easily fell to 
pieces (Job 4^^) ; the houses of the wealthy of hezvn stone (Am 
5^1). Sycomores were common, and stood to the highly-prized 
cedars as stone to silver (i K lo^^). What are the losses of 
which the Ephraimites make so light? Not, if the poem is 
prophetic, those caused by the Assyrian invasion in 734-732, 
but rather those due to Tiglath-pileser's exaction of tribute in 
738, and (or perhaps even only*) those that resulted from the 
anarchic period that followed the death of Jeroboam 11., c. 746 
B.C. The entire situation suggested in this v. closely resembles 
that described by Hosea (7^^-) : Hosea and Isaiah alike see the 
gravity of what the people treat so lightly ; old age bringing with 

*Di. 



1 84 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

it the loss of the strength of youth has, as Hosea puts it, crept 
on the nation unawares. The connection between Hosea and 
Isaiah is even closer, amounting to the verbal dependence of 
one on the other, if Hos 710 ('\r]^p2 i6) D3\t^K mn> i>K niJ' i6) 
nj^T 7D3) be original, and not, as some suppose, a gloss. — Ift's 
adversaries . . . his enemies'\ the singular pronoun refers to 
Israel, the Northern kingdom, cp. vv.^^- ^^ The general terms 
adversaries^ enemies^ are explained in v.^^ to be the Philistines 
and Syria \ so the special follow and explain the general 
terms in w.**- ^- ^^' ^oa. His adversaries is a conjectural, but 
fairly certain, reading; J^ has suffered from the invasion of a 
misleading gloss ; it reads the adversaries of Resin, king of Syria 
(7I n.), which has been understood to mean the Assyrians ; but 
this would be inconsistent with v.^^ Several Hebrew MSS read 
princes of Resin, but this is either a transcriptional error (n^ for 
nv) or a conjecture; see, further, phil. n. — II. If prophetic, the 
meaning of this v. taken together with the preceding is clear : 
Israel is to become the prey of foes who will fall on it from 
all sides, East and West being specified, and Syria and the 
Philistines being named as typical of neighbouring peoples from 
whom, as having been frequently hostile in the past, hostility 
might be expected. In this case the prophecy was probably 
delivered before Ephraim and Syria became allies, i.e. before 
c. 736 B.C. If the verses are a survey of recent history, they 
refer to events of which we have no other knowledge ; for the 
Philistines' attack on/udah in the time of Ahaz (2 Ch 28^^) is no 
evidence of an attack on Ephraim, which is the sole subject of 
this strophe at least (v.^), and Am i® is ambiguous. — iic. d. 
Cp. 5^^ 

7. lan] <& ddvarov (cp. Am 4^^) vocalising n^^, which is adopted as 
correct by Sta. {ZATW, 1905, p. 140) ; MT n^^ is right (so E^F and the 
later text of (& ^*^). — ^BTi] pf. with waw conv. after a prophetic pf. : Dr. 
§ 113 (i). Du., Marti think v.'** over-short, and Marti suggests reading 
Ssj ^331. But even this would not balance the lines : apparently here, as in 
9^^ and probably in 9^*^, the full unit of six accents is divided into 4 + 2 instead 
of the prevailing 3 + 3. — 8. iSd oyn] more emphatic and rhythmically more 
suitable than oyrrVs : cp. I4-''- ^^, and see Driver, Samuel, p. 187 (on 2 S 2^). 
— tdk'? . . . niNJ3] ffi had the same text, but it is now generally admitted 
that the clause is corrupt, hdn*? can only be a gerundial continuation of lyiM, 
they shall know {it) . . . saying; and this gives no satisfactory sense. The 
clause is, to judge from the well marked structure of the poem, the 




IX. 7-1 I, 12-16 185 

remnant of six words : I suspect that three words, in part parallel to mMJ3 
22^ h'\i2^, have dropped out before mKJ3, and that TDK? was added after this 
loss. Emendations have mostly proceeded from the supposition that two 
words have been lost before niKJ3 : Bick. supplies iSSnnn -itk, Che. (SBOT) 
Dflny Dnppon, Marti im ttk, Cond. and RV tacitly nOK "wn. — xo. 33«n] the 
idea of inaccessibility as well as that of height, seems frequently to be ex- 
pressed by the root 2iv ; so the Piel may mean to render {^inaccessibly) highy 
and hence secure ; see Ps 20^ 59^ 91" (|| oVa) and cp. the force of Kal, Dt 2* : 
see also Is 2^^ But this would obviously give no suitable sense here ; for 
the clause would mean that the enemies would be placed beyond attack. It 
is usual (see BDB) therefore to assume a unique nuance for ivo in the pre- 
sent passage, viz. to exalt (in effective hostility) ; but even so the sentence 
is not altogether satisfactory. Versions earlier than U {elevavit) do not 
recognise any such sense here ; ^ ']'pm and & ^Jik-.^^ both meaning to make 
'strong. It is not clear that (Sr's text had 3JB'1: f>da<reiVy which stands for 
it here, represents ran in 13'*, voi in Jer 23^, but never 2iv. And yet 2W 
and its derivatives were understood by the Greek translator of Isaiah : 
for though he uses different words (dxvpds, 26' and probably 30"*, dyiosy 
33', and iyj/wO-fyreTai in 2"* *'), all of them are true to the sense of inac- 
cessibility or height. The reading 3Jri thus rests under suspicion. — nx nit 
vhv \'^'\ The overlined letters obviously stood in (!Er as well as in ^ j for ffi 
renders roi/s ivaviarafi^ovs iirl 6poi Zctcby iir airrdv of which the last four 
words are certainly =v^j; pjf in. Du. claims that (& read in full pst in iy, 
and that this was an incorrect division of a stage in J^, pjn rvvt^ due to the 
intrusion of pJ<n which had been a gloss on mx (=nj<, G-K. gie). It is not 
certain that (& read (')n^ ; but that p^fT should be rejected as a gloss is fairly 
certain, and that we should read vnx (Bredenkamp, al.) not improbable; 
the presence of psn disturbs the reference of the pronoun in the next line and 
makes its own line overlong and the whole difficult of interpretation. The 
omission of pj^T gives for the whole v. the same rhythm as in v.', viz. 4+2. — 
1030'] and 'nsDOO, i9^t, are now generally regarded as forms with substitution 

of for b of 13b, whence Ife', a thorn : cp. Ar. CJ w», to pierce ; hence 1030, to 
spur on. Rather less vividly % my, and in 19* nan : (ffi in 19* iTreyep- 
d-^aovrat. — iVdki] ST pf. ; ^H future ; MT impf. with waw conv. ; (jR rodt 
KaTe<rdLovTas = chjiiri. — na ^3] cp. I* n. 

12-16. A day of overwhelming disaster. — The first 
judgment leads to no greater regard for Yahweh (v.^^), complete 
depravity continues (v.^^®* <*). Consequently Yahweh will bring 
about a single day of overwhelming disaster when high and low 
will perish (v.^^). The flower of Israel's youth, its widows and 
orphans, no longer enjoy Yahweh's care (v.^®). The vagueness of 
the description points to the strophe being prophetic, not 
historical. Even Di., who would interpret historically, doubts 
whether the " day " is a day of battle (cp. v.^), or of revolution, as 



1 86 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

when Pekah with fifty companions slew Pelj:ahiah (2 K 15^^). 
In any case the strophe does not refer to any known event, 
much less to any event known to have occurred between what is 
described in the preceding and following strophes, 

12. The people returned noi\ Hos 7^^, Am 4^ etc. — Him that 
smote theni\ i.e. Yahweh : cp. Hos 6^, and ct. the entirely different 
use of the phrase in lo^o. — 12b. Cp. 31^. — Head and tail, palm- 
branch and reed] the high and the low, or the leaders and the 
rank-and-file. Cp. 19^^ Dt 28^^-^. Ges. cites from the Arabic, 
"Some are the nose and the rest the tail." — 14. An annotation,* 
interpreting " the head " and " the tail " of v.^^. Note the charac- 
teristic fc?in, used alike by Jewish and Arabic annotators, the 
borrowed phraseology (cp. 32^-), and the fact that the interpretation 
agrees neither with the context nor with 19^^ — 15. A variation 
of 3^2c. d This v., too, may be a gloss ; it neither makes a good 
sequence to v.^^, nor gives ground for the therefore of v.^^. — 16. 
He will not rejoice over] the phrase (39^) is perhaps too weak for 
the context, see phil. n. — Young men] Am 4^^. — Because he is 
wholly profane] the pron. refers to the personified nation. — 
Impiety] cp. 32^ n. 

12. inaon] Originally, perhaps, nann (so one MS) ; but inaon (with both 
art. and suffix), called in question by Lag., is defended by No. {ZDMC^ 
1878, p. 402); the suf. is ace. : G-K. ii6/".— iiik3s] (& omits. — 13. .ti.t] is 
unnecessary, and apparently disturbs the rhythm. — 15. Dy'?3D] 3^2 jj^ — jg^ 
nofc"] Lag. nB'3' = nD3', 31*: cp. Ex i^^-^, — ^y\H] possibly an addition 
after the intrusion of w.*** ("). 

17-20. Civil War is the fresh element in this third picture 
of coming jndgment : Israelite relentlessly pursues Israelite, tribe 
is ranged against tribe. — 17, More punishment must come, for 
unrighteousness will still pervade the State like a destructive fire 
which, kindling in inflammable briars of the steppes, spreads to 
and destroys the forest. — 18. This land, whose people are wholly 
unrighteous (v.^^), will suffer from the overflow of YahweKs anger 
{r\\r\'' mnv). So in 10* the "profane nation" of Judah is "the 
people of, i.e. who provoke, my overflowing anger" (^ni3y Dy). 
The meaning of the vb. in v.^^, left untranslated above, is 
altogether uncertain ; see phil. n. — l8b. And the people became 
like] the point of comparison is ambiguously expressed : J^ may 

* So Koppe, Ges., and with few exceptions {e.g. Del., Cond.) all writers 
since. 





IX. 12-20 1 87 

mt2tn food for fire, as in v.*, or food for men^ or with the alteration 
of a single letter, devourers of men^ cp. Ezk 36^^ (see phil. n.) ; if 
the last be correct, v.^^^ forms a suitable introduction to the 
description that follows of the cannibal-like hostility of the 
Israelites towards one another. On the other hand, |^, however 
interpreted, forms no suitable introduction to vv.^^* '^ \ in MT, 
RV, the line recurs to the figure of a fire, though that figure 
appears to be complete in v.^^; and the people as a whole 
are represented as consumed by fire before they fall on one 
another. — i8c is out of place in J§ : it should follow ^®^ : see 
phil. n. — 19a. b. The inappeasable hostility of the people is 
compared to a hunger which is constantly and largely fed but 
never satisfied. — Ipc. His neighbour's flesh"] see phil. n. ?^ has 
the flesh of his own arm. — 20. As participants in the Civil War, 
Ephraim and Manasseh are singled out for mention, partly 
because these tribes were the two chief constituents of the 
Northern kingdom, partly because, as sons of Joseph, they were 
the most closely related. In prophecy this would be perfectly 
natural and effective, and in a poetical retrospect of the past 
scarcely impossible, even though the actual feuds of recent 
years had not been limited to the two tribes that are named. 
Winckler, however, thinks that the references to the past are 
specific and precise; he argues that the characteristic of the 
period between the death of Jeroboam 11. and the reorganisation 
of Israel by Assyria was strife between the people E. and W. of 
Jordan, i.e. Ephraim and Manasseh; he sees in Shallum ben 
fabesh who overthrew Zechariah (2 K 15^®) a citizen of Jabesh- 
Gilead in Manasseh (KAT^ 263). However that may be, in 
Yy^i6-20a Isaiah certainly is describing, whether historically or 
(as is more probable) prophetically, a state of affairs similar to 
what he actually witnessed in the Northern kingdom. Within 
a single year Jeroboam 11. died, and his successor Zechariah was 
overthrown by Shallum, and Shallum in his turn by Menahem 
b. Gadi (2 K 15^^'-). — Together . . . against JudaK\ not al- 
together easy to explain either historically or prophetically if 
the words are a part of the original poem. It would be curious 
in a historical reference to the Syro-Ephraimitish war not even 
to mention Syria, the chief opponent of Judah. On the other 
hand, if it is prophecy, the point of this strophe, which is that 
the Northern kingdom will be punished by civil discord, is 



1 88 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

blunted by being made to close with the announcement that the 
civil discord will give place to union, even though that union be 
utilised for an attack on Judah. Possibly Eichhorn was right, 
even though his reasons were wrong, in treating these words as 
a gloss. They may be the comment of a scribe who had in 
mind the Syro-Ephraimitish war, and the original text may have 
brought the strophe to an effective close on the note of civil 
discord within the Northern kingdom. The distich in the 
present text is rhythmically peculiar (4 + 3 : see above) ; at need 
it could be read differently (3 + 3 + 3) ; then Manasseh^ Ephraim^ 
and Ephraim^ Manassehy instead of being a single line, makes 
two parallel lines in the normal rhythm of the poem. If the 
next strophe is intrusive (see below), this description of civil war 
was immediately followed by the description of the Assyrian 
invasion which is to subdue all these tribes now set against one 
another. The sequence in this case, and the phraseology at the 
close of this strophe, may be paralleled by the prediction in the 
legend of Dibbarra of the wars which are to involve all creation : — 
And thus the warrior Dibbarra spoke : Sea-coast (against) sea- 
coast, Subartu against Subartu, Assyrian against Assyrian, . . . 
country against country, house against house, man against man. 
Brother is to show no mercy towards brother ; they shall kill one 
another. . . . After a time the Akkadian will come, overthrow 
all and conquer all of them; cited by M. Jastrow, Bab. Ass. 
Eel. 532 : cp. KB vi. 67. 

17, "l32Kni] (& <rv7/faTa0a7crat=l^3Kni. fj^ is a Snc. X67., but cp. Assyr. 
ab&ku (see Haupt in SBO T). i3Knn, if akin to iB.nnn, should mean to twist 
about ; cp. the similar nuances of isnnrt in Gn 3^*, Job 37^^, Jg 7^', — jjyy niNJ] 
modal ace. (cp. G-K. § Ii8<7), or ace. of the product (G-K. 117//). mna of 
physical uplifting is rare ; but see Ps 89^". — 18. niK3J<] ffi om. : in |^ rhyth- 
mically suspicious. — pK Dny:] Doubtful. Note (!)(!& ffvyK^Kaxrrai ij 7^ ^^7 ; 
(2) pK is indef., but the || Dyn defined ; (3) px is fem., onyj masc. ; yet 
see G-K. 145*? ; (4) onyj is from a root otherwise unknown in Heb. or Aram. 

Arabic has (a) Jkc, t9 be late ; {b) itJ^% to be dogged in speech ; aJLc» suffocating 

hecU\ whence onyj has been supposed to mean either (i) to be dark^ or (2) to 
be burnt up ; but see W. R. Smith mJPh.^ 1885, p. 61. We are reduced to 
guessing either the meaning of onya or the word of which anyj is a corruption. 
€r avyK^Kavrai, tZH nann (v.l. nann), S AlI (=V>i, 242®); U conturbata est. 
Kroch., Kit., Che. propose nnyi, which would be a feeble repetition ofthevb. 
in v."® ; Marti nyna {reels) ; but whether this or 7\^-i (,S) is the right word to 
introduce the next line is doubtful.— sfN n^DKoa] MT i?n, as in v.*; but »n 





IX. I7-20, X. 1-4 1^9 

is possible ; «"k is always written vh in the Siloam Inscr. Then reading 
♦^jk 03 for nVDKDD, Du. obtains /t'ke devomers of men. — 19. iivi] subj.— oyn 
in v.^'*», from which v.'^ is now separated by the misplacement of v.**" (sec 

above), iia means to cut, particularly to cut in twoy or like y^^^ to cut off. — 
V3r] read yar ; note ffi and the three preceding vbs. — ijnJ] read with Seeker, 
al. ^y"! : (!K^ has fipaxiovot toO ddeXtpov — a doublet in which the first word b 
secondary ; tJT n'2np. 

X. 1-4. The Doom of unjust Judges.— This strophe 
is curiously unlike those that precede : in each of those, judgment 
is categorically announced, and the cause for it directly stated ; 
here the coming of " a day of visitation " is assumed in a question 
put to those whom it will overtake, and the ground of judgment 
is implied in the description of those to whom the opening inter- 
jection of calamity refers. The subject of the first three strophes 
is an entire people or country, which is throughout referred to in 
the third person : the subject of this strophe is a particular class 
— the judges that take bribes and wrong the poorer litigants ; and 
these people are here addressed in the second person. 

Largely on the ground of this change some scholars treat lo*****, or lo^"' 
(Marti), as intrusive (see above, p. 180). Other reasons urged are that if lo* 
be original, ^^'^ would describe a catastrophe after the catastrophe, that the 
opening 'in connects 10*"* with 5^"^, that lo^"' forms no advance in the ascending 
series of punishments, that the care for the widow expressed in 10' represents 
rather a less severe attitude than that of 9^'. A further argument urged by 
some is that this strophe refers to Judah, and is therefore out of place in a 
poem directed against Israel. Apart from the last (on which see below), some 
of these arguments taken singly and still more when taken together are weighty. 
On the other hand, it may be urged, though perhaps with scarcely equivalent 
force, that it would be curious for an intrusive section to be of the exact 
length of the other strophes. Even if intrusive, the section is probably 
Isaianic, and possibly it once formed part of the collection of ** Ah's" in 5^"^ : 
it is slightly longer than 5^'^, somewhat shorter than 5""" ; but the question 
and the address in 10^ differentiates this section no less from the ** Ah's" of 
5®"^ than from the other strophes of the poem. See in addition to the 
Commentaries, Giesebrecht, 10 ff. ; Hackmann, 54. 

It has been supposed by many * that this strophe refers to 
Judah. That it could refer to Judah, if it stood by itself, is 
obvious ; but that it must refer to Judah, because it could not 
refer to the Northern kingdom, holds only, if even then, provided 
the reading " the poor of my people " in v.^ be retained. Other 
arguments prove no more than that the section, if it stood by 
itself, might refer to Judah : thus it is true that the interjection 

•Ew., Che., Di. 



190 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

MH is common to the several sections of 5^-2* and to this ; but 
while it is not certain that the whole of 5^"^* refers to Judah, it is 
certain that ""in also introduces Isaiah's denunciations of Ephraim 
in 28^-*. Charges against the rulers of greed and unrighteousness 
do indeed " run like a red thread through Isaiah's speeches 
against Judah" (3'^'^^- ^^-"^^ jiz. 26j. i^^t the same disorder pre- 
vailed in the Northern kingdom (cp. e.g. Am 5^2). Finally, Di. 
urges that 9^0 forms the transition to Judah ; but the allusion 
to Judah in 9^0 is perhaps secondary (see above), and in any 
case, though 9^0 may mention, it forms no transition to, Judah ; 
it contains no indication that the poet having spoken of Ephraim 
hitherto, is now going to limit himself to Judah. On the other 
hand, if lo^^* refers to Judah, it is not both the immediate sequel 
to ^^^ and the immediate prelude to 526-29 ; it is either intrusive, 
or the transition has been lost. For, on the supposition that 
10^-* refers to Judah, and that with ^''^^ and 526-29 it forms a 
complete poem, we should have this highly improbable result : 
in three strophes condemnation of the entire people of the 
Northern kingdom, in one strophe condemnation of a very 
limited class in the Southern kingdom, in a final strophe the same 
complete judgment for the two kingdoms, whose cup of iniquity 
(as described) is so unequally filled. 

We must conclude, then, that this strophe, if it formed the 
fourth of a poem complete in five strophes, referred like the rest 
to Ephraim ; but that if it is not an original part of the poem, it 
may have referred to either Judah or Ephraim (or both) if " my 
people" in lo^ be rejected, but in all probability to Judah only 
if " my people " be retained. 

I, 2. One class of persons, not two (RV), are here denounced, 
and their evil activity is described by two parallel and synonymous 
expressions (see phil. n.). The persons referred to are not the 
makers of laws (Di.) — for new laws, whether good or bad, were 
not an annual production as in modern states — but the admin- 
istrators of the laws, the judges or arbitrators; these, being 
bribed, assigned property in dispute, or determined penalties 
without regard to the rights of the question, but merely according 
to the price paid for their decision, so that the poor lost their 
cases, or the substance of widows and orphans was wasted in 
trying to pay a high enough price for what was theirs by right. 
Thus the decrees^ or decisions^ of these judges are mischievous^ or 




X. 1-3 191 

hurtful to, and entail suffering on, the weaker parties. The force 
of pN, hurt, or mischief may be illustrated by Pr 12^^ 22^, Jer 
4^^ cp. also Nu 23*1 n. ; and of the synonymous i^oy, which is not 
perverseness (RV), by 59*, Ps 7^^, and especially 9420. When the 
judges are said to inscribe and write the decrees, it is not, of 
course, meant that they necessarily did the actual writing, but 
that they were the authors of the decisions and had them written 
down : this use of the vb. to write, not uncommon in other 
languages, occurs clearly in Jer 36^8 (cp. yP\ Est 8*-^®, and 
doubtless often elsewhere, e.g. Dt 24^ 17^^; but cp. especially 
Job 13^^ "Thou writest (or registerest) (a bitter decision) against 
me, and causest me to inherit the iniquities of my youth," where 
the Kal (nn^n) seems to be used with the same technical, legal 
sense as the Piel (DUnao) here. 

A very large number of the written records of decisions of the Assjrian 
and Babylonian law-courts have been preserved ; these deal with a great 
variety of disputes touching inheritance, deposits, partnerships, lands, houses, 
and other property (see Johns, Bab. and Ass. Laws, Contracts, and Letters, 
ch. vi.); the procedure in some cases is described, e.g. "two parties dispute 
as to the possession of a sum which is actually in the hands of a banker. The 
banker accordingly undertakes to produce the sum and its interest in court, 
and to pay it over to the successful party in the suit. The decision was 
written down and the notary of the court gave a copy to the plaintiff, if not 
also to the defendant, and kept one copy for the archives" {ib. p. 109). 
Similar Jewish documents of the 5th cent. B.C. have been found; for some 
of the Assouan papyri are agreements with regard to property drawn up after 
an appeal to the tribunal. In Jer 3a''** we have a precise account of the 
writing of a deed of sale. 

2. See under I. — The poor\ J^ffi -Vof my people. But the 
addition has probably resulted from dittography : it overloads 
the line, has nothing corresponding to it in the parallel line, and 
it suddenly introduces the first person, which appears nowhere 
else in the poem. If my people be original, or an intentional 
addition to the text, the pronoun refers either (i), least unnatur- 
ally, to the prophet: cp. 22* and perhaps 3^2 22I8. is^ or (2) to 
Yahweh, as in 3^^ 10** and perhaps 312 (cp. 3*- 1*). If (i) be 
right, the people must be Judah ; if (2) either Judah, or Israel, 
or both, though perhaps more probably Judah. — 3. What will 
ye do (cp. Hos 9^), ye judges, who have provoked Yahweh by 
your unrighteous abuse of your office (cp. i^^^ 5^), when His day 
comes ? — The day of visitation'] i.e. of punishment ; cp. Hos g^ 



192 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



the days of visitation^ the sing, and pi. interchanging as in the 
phrases " that day," or " those days," applied to the great 
future day when Yahweh will appear. — The storni\ tempestuous 
weather is one of the accompaniments of a theophany, or the 
means whereby Yahweh executes judgment ; see 2^^*^ Z^^i Nah i^. 
Ps 508, Zee 9l^ Am i^*, Job 9!^ 381 40^, i K 19". So here 
the day of visitation of Yahweh is thought of as a desolating 
storm already brewing in the distance, noisy with thunder and 
hail : men would fain flee from it (cp. Ex gi^ff.) to some place of 
refuge for themselves and their glory, i.e. valuable possessions 
(61*, Gn 31^, Ps 49^^) ; but Yahweh, the true refuge {e.g. 25*, 
Ps 46^), is Himself the cause of this storm, and consequently for 
the unjust judges here addressed there will be no refuge to flee to. 
— That cometh from afar] c^. 5^6 30^7 "the conception of distance 
had a peculiar fascination for the early prophets. For the 
common Numina were gods * near at hand * : Yahweh alone sees 
and works in the distance ; cp. especially Jer 2322^, a passage 
which clearly shows how the conception of a distant god formed 
the bridge to the idea of the all-present God" (Du.); cp. also 
Ps 138^ — 4. The text of the first line must be wrong (see phil. n.) : 
the translation above presupposes that J^ has suffered through the 
loss of a single letter ; possibly the corruption may be deeper ; 
if not, there appears to be a rapid transition from the picture of 
the storm to that of a battle, in which many fall prisoners to 
Yahweh and the rest are slain. Lagarde, by a re-division of the 
words in J^, obtained the meaning Beltis is crouching, Osiris is 
broken in pieces (cp. 46^, Jer 50^), and therefore cannot be your 
refuge. But there is no independent proof that the Hebrews 
worshipped Beltis ( = Isis) at all, nor evidence of any prevalence 
of the worship of Osiris ; yet it must be obvious that Isaiah 
could only have closed his strophe thus, if these two deities were 
among those most widely worshipped at that time by Israelites 
disloyal to Yahweh. At a later date, Plutarch {Isis et Osiris, 15, 
16) refers to the worship of Osiris at Byblus ; and some, though 
comparatively few, images of Osiris have been found at Gezer; 
see Exp., May 1909, p. 440. 

I. D'3n3D . , , D'ppnn] o'dddd without the art. (€r as well as |^) is probably 
WQ\. parallel to li''p^r\n with the art. ; nor is una '?Dy a rel. sent., but ian3 is 
the finite vb. carrying on what was begun with the part. D'ppnn (Dr. § 117 J 
G-K. ii6jf), and it is strengthened by D'ansD, which, being in the ace, is 




X. 1-4 193 

therefore undefined, as, e.g.^ in Ps 56' 92" (G-K. 118/). The Piel (inten- 
sive) of ana occurs here only. — 'ppn] G-K. 93M.— cow nni] hk with an 
undefined noun— rare : G-K. i\Td\ BDB 85a. — ua'] G-K. 114^. — ^3. 
rjKirV)] S resumes dv^ of v.**, though even by itself it means at the time of 
(7" n.).— nKW] storm (as Pr i", Ezk 38', Zeph i"), is from \/»n», which is 
parallel to \^iw : derivatives from both roots seem to point to the meanings 
of noisiness and wasteness ; prob. that of noisiness (whence the meaning 
storm) is the original ; see especially jiKr (from r\wtf) used of various noises, 
TiiMf (Is i7^-'*)» Tmxn\ (Is 22^^). — 'D Sy] prob. pregnant — to whom will ye flee 
and rely on them? — 4. "I'OK nnn jna ^nSa] impossible. Most attempted 
translations assume for 'nVa a meaning, or usage, which cannot be justified. 
The actual Hebrew usage of 'nVa is as follows : i. it may be = nVa+ 1st pers. 
sing, suffix, and mean except me (Hos 13*, i S 2't) ; but this does not justify 
without me — RVmarg., and some earlier interpreters (cp. Ges. ) ; or 2. it 
may be = n^a + a binding vowel. In this case it is used (a) as an adv. meaning 
not before adjectives {e.g. 14*, i S 20^) — obviously inapplicable here : or {b) 
as an adv., but always after a negative expressed or implied, meaning except 
{e.g. Gn 21^, Nu 32^^): cp. usage i ; or (^) as a conj., but always after a 
negative expressed or implied : cp. Gn 43', Nu 1 1*, and with the addition of 
DK, Am 3*' *. BDB bring the present passage under the last usage, explaining 
" (And where will ye leave your glory ?) save that they bow down under the 
prisoners, and fall under the slain, i.e. (iron.) their only refuge will be among 
the corpses of a battle-field." Grammatically this might do, if the verbs in 
the exceptive sentence were in the same person as that in the principal ; as a 
matter of fact the 2nd pi. (laiyn) of the principal sentence is followed in the 
exceptive sentence by one vb. in the 3rd sing. pf. (yna) and one in the 3rd pi. 
impf. (^Vfl')* This really separates the present passage sharply from Nu 1 1*, 
its nearest parallel. RV They shall only bow down^ etc., might find some 
support in Phoenician usage, for the Tabnith Inscription (Cooke, NSI^ p. 26) 
contains this sentence : i jina aar ijk n^a . . . pn |Sik 'K, / have nogoldy 
I am only lying in this coffin ; but the use of the binding vowel with such a 
meaning would be strange, and Hebrew has its own particle to express only, 
viz. "IH. From this surely it will be seen that it is only by assuming an 
unparalleled usage of TiSa that it is possible to obtain even such highly im- 
probable translations as unless one stoops under a prisoner they must fall under 
the slain (Di.). The corruption of the text is probably as old as (& : the 
whole V. runs in ^ tov fx\) ifnreffeiv els iirayuiyfiv, with the addition in **a, of koI 
inroK&roi dLvrjp-qfiiviav veaovvrai ; rod fi^ points to 'nSa ; with ifiireffeiv cp. the 
simple veaeTv as a rendering of yna in 46^ 65*^, and with dirayury^ the use of 
the vb. Airdyeiv in Gn 39^ 40' 42^^ ; the noun dTa7W7^ occurs only in I Es 
8** and Sir 38^'. (& may have read 'n^a^ ; but whether it did so or not the 
restoration of 'n^a^ and the substitution of iSfin for iVb» in the next line gives 
an excellent Hebrew construction iSfln . . . yh? 'nSaS : cp. 11a* , . . wnV, 
v.* n. ; or as an alternative, epigraphically somewhat likelier, we might read 
'n^ao, assuming that D was lost through haplography. But is to crouch under 
the prisoners (tdr coll.) a probable idiom? Lagarde {Academy ^ 15 Dec. 
1370= Symmicta, i. 105) proposed tdk nn nyna ♦nSa, Beltis is crouching, 

VOL, I» — 13 



194 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



\ 



Osiris is shattered', cp. 46^ Jer 50^; nyns being a part., the subj. 'nVa would 
precede it according to rule (Dr. § 135 (4)) ; for idn (of which ton would be 
merely a later scriptio plena), Osiris, cp., in Phoenician, e.g. iDcnoN, noKnay 
{CIS i. 122 : Malta, 2nd cent. B.C.), and the same form in other Phoenician 
names. 

X. 5'"34* — Three Poems^ together with annotations and addenda. 

The poems, or poetical fragments, are {a) w.*-®* i^-^^ (i^) \ 
prevailing rhythm 3 : 3 (: 3) : to this w.^^-^^ may also belong ; 
{b) VV.27C-32 • prevailing rhythm 2:2; (<:) vv.^^^- ; rhythm probably 
3:3. Prose notes and addenda are v v. i^- 19. 20-23. 24-26. other 
addenda are the distich in v. 27 and vv.^^* ^^ (prose ?). 

Isaiah's authorship of («), at least of vv.^-^* i^^-, is probable : 
there are no conclusive positive arguments either for or against 
his authorship of (f) and (<:). The dates of the poems cannot be 
very closely determined : the prose addenda are late. 

A close and detailed interpretation of the passage is the best proof that 
it lacks the unity of a speech or prophecy written on or for a single particular 
occasion. Two views that its heterogeneous elements have been welded into 
a literary unity may be referred to. (i) Di., who extends this literary unity 
down to 11^*, remarks, "The passage is, to be sure, a literary, but not 
a rhetorical unity. . . . The double description of the punishment of Assyria 
with the result therefrom ensuing for Israel (lo^^'^- ^■^) does not leave the 
impression of having been spoken at the same time; 11"*^' though cleverly 
united by v.^° with w.^"* is yet too dissimilar to vv.^"* to have been announced 
in one and the same discourse with it, and 11^"^ again can scarcely have been 
originally attached to lo^'**, since there is no indication there of the setting 
aside, or previous abdication, of the reigning king. The entire passage seems 
rather to be an artistic collection of the leading thoughts of Isaiah's speeches 
between 732 and 716 (at latest Tii), possibly made for the purpose of serving 
as a conclusion to chs. 7ff. (or iff.)." This theory breaks down if the view 
taken below of vv.*^*" (see also on v.^*'**) be correct ; on the other hand, it 
would still be possible to hold (2) Marti's theory, according to which lo"*** is 
a skilful arrangement of fragments made by an editor so as to produce a small 
picture depicting the pangs of the Last Days, and the assembling of the 
world power of Antichrist before the Gates of Jerusalem, and of its destruction 
there. 

X. 5-17. — The fatal arrogance of Assyria, 41 

After the removal of nDN(') '3 {y\.^^), which is doubtless an editorial 
addition, the prevailing rhythm in vv."''* ^^'* is the line of three accents 
arranged in distichs or tristichs. Lines of doubtful or different length are 
vv.sb. «c. d. 8. 14b In y^5a ,,,t j^ay stand by itself (cp. ^-^ : see p. 89) ; in 
Y_i3d D.Tm'ny is two accents. The '•hythm 3 : 3 also appears in v.^, and by 




am 


wroth 


I 


com- 




mand 


him, 


like 


mire 


of 


the 






Streets. 



X. 5-34 195 

emendation, partly after (Br, in w."- '*» ; but in v.** it is 6 : 6. Vv.*'"** are 
mostly or entirely prose, and are omitted from the translation. 

5 Ah! 
Assyria the rod of my anger, 

And . . . the staff of my indignation. 
* Against a profane nation I send him, 
And against the people with whom I 

To take spoil and acquire plunder, 
And to make them trampled upon 



^ But he thinketh not so, 

Nor thus doth his heart devise; 
But to destroy is in his heart, 

And to cut off nations not a few : — 

® "Are not my rulers one and all kings? 
• Is not Calno like Carchemish ? 

Is not Hamath like Arpad? 

Is not Samaria like Damascus? 

13 By the strength of my hand have I wrought, 
And by my wisdom, for I have discernment. 
I have removed the boundaries of peoples. 
And I have plundered their stores (?), 
And I have brought down *in the dust' the enthroned. 

1* And my hand hath reached as to a nest 

To the wealth of the peoples; 
And as one gathereth eggs 

/ have gathered the whole earth : 
And there was none that fluttered wing, 

Or opened mouth or chirped." 

1^ Should the axe vaunt itself against him that heweth there- 
with? 
Or the saw magnify itself against him that draweth it to 

and fro? 
(Nay, that would be) like the rod swinging him that 

raiseth it, 
Like the staff raising (him that is) not wood. 



196 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



i 



^^ Therefore Yahweh of Hosts will send leanness into his fat, 
And under his glory hath he kindled a kindling as a 

kindling of fire; 
^*' And it shall be . . . ^^^ consuming soul and body. 

^"^ And the light of Israel shall become a fire, 
And his Holy One a 'burning' flame; 
And it shall devour his thorns and briars a, 

^8 And the glory of his forest and his garden land. 

Assyria, who was being used by Yahweh to punish His 
disobedient people (cp. g^-io^ + ^^^-^^), had arrogantly attributed 
all its success to its own power, not discerning that it was a mere 
instrument in Yahweh's hands : therefore it must be destroyed 
(cp. vv.i^^-). 

The allusions in v.® show that this poem was written after 
717 B.C. Further than that nothing conclusive can be said. 
Some think that it was written in 711 B.C. ; others in 701. Che. 
{Introd. pp. 50 f.) gives a survey of theories and arguments. If 
V.® forms no part of the poem (Marti, Comnu p. 104 f.), the date 
becomes so much the more undefined ; and Konig {Einleitungy 
p. 315), though he retains v.^, attempts to assign io*-ii^*^ to the 
years 724-722 B.c. 

5 f. Assyria is the rod (Pr 23^^-) with which Yahweh whips 
His rebellious children (i^) for their good; in order to satisfy 
His righteous anger with His people, He suffers Assyria to plunder 
Judah and trample it down. — The staff of my indignation] the 
two parts of the phrase (cp. the parallel phrase) are interrupted 
in 5^ by the words // is in their hand-, these are probably the 
note of a reader who had remarked that in v.^^ Assyria wields 
the rod. RV by straining the Hebrew obtains the bizarre figure 
of a staff holding indignation in its hand. — 6. A profane nation] 
cp. 9^^. — / send him] the tense may be frequentative, am 1 
wont to send him. Yahweh's will is that His people shall be 
plundered (cp. 8* of Ephraim) and downtrodden (cp. 28^8 56 
725) ; but 7, Assyria thinks otherwise ; it is in his heart (63*, i S 
14'', 2 K lo^^'), i.e, he intends, {a) to destroy and not only to 
plunder and trample down ; {b) to exterminate many nations 
irrespective of their having provoked Yahweh's anger. Such is 
the thought suggested by the present connection; it may be 
summed up in this — Assyria is guided not by the will of Yahweh, j 




X. 5-17 197 

but by its own cruel lust ; consequently it exceeds its commission. 
Assyria's other thoughts are also expressed in vv.^"^* ^^^-^ but there 
the emphasis falls rather on the pride and self-confidence of the 
nation or its king. — 9. All cities are alike before it, is the boast 
of Assyria. The six capitals of states here mentioned represent 
the ominous extension of Assyria's conquest towards Jerusalem : 
Carchemesh, the most remote, begins the list ; each following 
name is nearer Jerusalem than that which precedes, and the list 
ends with Samaria nearest both geographically and by the tie of 
kinship of its inhabitants. The order is clearly geographical; 
it is not chronological. Carchemish^ mod. Jerabis on the 
Euphrates, is about 360 miles in a direct line from Jerusalem, 
and further by the military and trade route. Calno is in all 
probability the Kullani of the Assyrian inscriptions (see phil. n.), 
which was in Northern Syria: the name perhaps survives in 
Kullanhou, about 6 miles from Tell Arfad (Arpad); see KAT^ 
55, 186, and S. R. Driver's note on Am 6^, where other less 
probable views are also mentioned. Kullani lay about 50 miles 
S.W. of Carchemish, Arpad lies 13 miles N.W. of Aleppo, 
^amath on the Orontes is about 100 miles S. of Arpad and 
rather more than that distance N. of Damascus^ Damascus being 
again about 100 miles N.E. of Samaria. Some of these places 
were frequently made tributary and even captured by Assyria; 
but it is difficult to believe that the mention of Damascus and 
Samaria refer to anything but the capture of the former in 734 
by Tiglath-pileser, and of the latter in 722 by Sargon. Conse- 
quently we have here the conquests of Assyria (cp. v.** ; ct. vy^\ 
not of a single Assyrian king. The references are probably to 
the captures of Carchemish in 7 1 7 B.C., Kullani in 738, the event 
of that year in the Eponym list, Arpad in 740, Qamath in 720, 
Damascus in 734, Samaria in 722. 

10 f. Since the great cities mentioned in v.^ have fallen, 
Jerusalem need not expect to stand; cp. 36^^- 37^^"^^ also 
Am 62. The argument is sufficiently suggested by the order in. 
which the towns are mentioned in v.®, and not improbably the 
original poem adopted the rhetorically effective device of leaving 
the ominous conclusion to be drawn (cp. 5'' n.) : for w.^<^-, which 
indicate the conclusion explicitly, may be an addition : v}^ seems 
to be prose, and though v.^^ may be a distich, yet the lines 
would be longer than those which prevail in the poem. — 10. |^ 



198 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 




As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idol{s) (2* n.) 
and their graven images than {ox from) Jerusalem and Samaria, is 
mutilated (see phil. n.), but the general" sense is clear. — 11. Shall 
I not, as I have done to Samaria and its idols, so do to Jerusalem 
and its images ?] In another context these might well be words of 
Yahweh. In the mouth of Assyria they are blasphemy against 
Yahweh, for they imply that He is but one of the not-gods. V.io 
appears to contrast the cities which are said to have fallen (v.^) 
with Jerusalem and Samaria as still standing, but in v.^ Samaria 
is one of those that had fallen ; v.^^ reverts to the standpoint of 
v.^ and expresses the conclusion, which v.® suggests, that after 
Samaria comes the turn of Jerusalem. 

12. Yahweh, having punished Jerusalem by means of Assyria 
(v.''), will round off His work in Mt. Sion by punishing the king 
of Assyria for his arrogance : in w.^^*^- this arrogance appears to 
consist in attributing success to his own power. — And it shall 
come to pass when the Lord finishes off all his work in Mt, Sion\ 
for the expressive vb. yxa, cp. Zee 4^, " the hands of Zerubbabel 
have laid the foundations of this house ; his hands shall also give 
it the finishing touch." The punishment of Assyria in Jerusalem 
will be the finishing touch in the work that Yahweh has to do 
there. The v. is prose : of its origin two views may be taken : 
(i) it is a prose note added by Isaiah or an early editor at the 
time when the present chapter was pieced together (cp. Cond. 
p. 95) ; or (2) it is the note of a late editor or scribe. If (i) be 
correct, the v. may be the literary germ of the eschatological idea 
subsequently elaborated, that a great judgment on the nations 
that had attacked Israel would take place in or about Jerusalem : 
see Ezk chs. 38 f., Jl 4 (3)12-17, Zec 12I-9, Dn ii« If (2) be 
correct, it is a summary statement of this idea, or a deduction 
from it, applied to the specific case of Assyria. Gressmann 
(pp. 177-179) cites as rare references to this idea in pre-exilic 
prophecy. Is 8^^- i74ff. i2ff.^ ]y[ic 4; but in the case of each of 
these passages either the proposed date or interpretation is 
questionable : see above on 8^^*. — He will punish'] so ffi ; J^ 
I will punish. — Greatness of heart"] i.e. audacity, 9^ n. ; tYvQ fruit 
of audacity is perhaps audacious speech (cp. BDB Z26b). — King 
of Assyria] in the poem, Assyria is the subject : the singular 
referring to Assyria being taken individually instead of collect- 
ively, suggested the king to the annotator. — The height of his 



X. II-I9 *99 

eyes] i.e. his pride: the phrase occurs in Pr 21*, the idea in 
Is 2". 

13 f. Assyria attributes its conquests, so easily and completely 
obtained (v.^^), to its own power and wisdom (v.^^). — Their stores 
I plundered] the text is anything but certain, for why should the 
conqueror plunder only things laid up in store? In Dt 32^ the 
word rendered stores seems to mean "the destined future" 
(Driver, ad loc.) : elsewhere it is used of persons ready or pre- 
pared to do something (Job 152*, Est 3I* 8^3, Job 3^).— /« the 
dust] for the conjecture, see phil. n. J^ like a mighty one 
(Job 2tA^^ La 1^5), or, by a more questionable translation (Di.), 
like a bull (cp. Ps 22^^ 50^^); ffi cities. — The enthroned] for 2K'\ 
to sit (enthroned)^ see Ps 2* 29^^, and perhaps Am i^'^. If the 
wider sense inhabitants is meant, cp. "Bring down peoples," 
Ps 56®C^. — 14. In vivid figures the speaker enforces v.^^; he 
has robbed, captured, and silenced the whole earth. 

15. In attributing all its success to its own power (v.^**-), 
Assyria had vaunted itself against Yahweh (cp. Jg 7^), or, being in 
the terms of v.* a rod and stick in the hand of Yahweh, had 
vaunted itself of guiding the hand that used it. Yet this was a 
vain boast: as a matter of fact, and as everyday life proves, 
implements such as the axe or the saw have no power of them- 
selves, everything depends on the purpose and power of the man 
who uses them. So the boast of Assyria is vain : history is the 
revelation of Yahweh's purpose, not of Assyria's might. Such 
seems to be the thought, but it is awkwardly expressed, for 
which reason Du. considers it to be a late addition, and Cond. 
places it after v.''. 

16-19. The punishment of Assyria.— Something like 
the substance of these verses is certainly required at this point 
to carry out the threat suggested by the previous vv. ; but a 
number of scholars have agreed with Du. that this section 
cannot in its present form be the work of Isaiah ; the conclusion 
is correct, but it might be more widely stated, viz. that in their 
present form these verses do not represent the work of any 
writer, but that they have suffered from some transposition of 
lines and other corruption. For it seems incredible that even a 
bungling imitator of Isaiah would have made quite such a 
muddle of borrowed material as is found in the present text. 
Du. holds that v.^^' ^ is borrowed from 17*, i^°* ^ suggested by 9*, 



200 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

ira by 2i9^ 17b (fire and flame) by so^o, that i7«- ** = 9" + (in one 
day) 9^^, and that v.^^^- (wood and garden land) comes from 32^^, 
and "the child" in v.^^ from 11^. If all this is really borrowed 
material, the passage is doubtless the work of a late supple- 
menter. In that case the conclusion of the poem in vv.^- ^' ^^' ^^ 
has been lost: it is not to be sought with Che. in i42*-27. 
Even if the verses belong to the same poem, they may not 
be the immediate continuation of v.^^^^*)^ the suffixes in v.^^ 
suggest a more recent direct mention of Assyria. The 
coming destruction is expressed by means of two figures — the 
one of fatal disease attacking a healthy body, the other of a 
destructive fire, consuming everything before it save for a few 
trees that escape. At present the clauses referring to illness, 
y 18b. 0^ stand in the middle of the description of the forest fire : 
it is reasonable to suppose they are misplaced. \ 

16. Assyria, like Israel in i^, is compared to a human body; 
at present it is in lusty health, /at and flourishing. But into this 
body Yahweh dispatches leanness that it may waste the man 
away. The figure is paralleled by 17*, the phraseology by 
Ps 106^^ (if the text there be correct). But in spite of this the idea 
is independently expressed, and with freshness and vigour which 
by no means suggest a mere imitator. — His fai\ D^JtttJ'D are the 
fat parts of the body, cp. 17* (sing.), and, figuratively, Dn 11 2*; 
less probably his fat ones (RV), i.e, the warriors, cp. Ps 78^1. 
Fat to the Hebrews was a sign of health and strength ; cp. 
Jg 3^^' — Like the kindling offire\ this clause, if the kindling is an 
actual fire, as is generally assumed, is a mere multiplication of 
sound and words which may be attributed to the incompetent 
imitator (Du.), or (? cp. (K) to textual accretion (Kit., Mar.). But 
the kindling need not be a literal fire ; it may refer to fever : cp. 
"like a burning fire shut up within my bones" (Jer 20^). Then 
Assyria is conceived as a man not only fat and strong, but 
gloriously apparelled ; under the outward glory ^ i.e. the splendid 
raiment (cp. Ex 282- ^o^ Ps 45I* (?), Mt 6^9), the body burns with 
fever which consumes both soul and body (v.^^^) ; cp. " consumption 
and fever which consume the eyes and make the soul pine away " 
(Lv 26^^). V.^6 indicates that Assyria will rapidly decay; the 
figure of fire (v.^") suggests even more sudden destruction, 
particuarly if in that day be original. Other explanations oi glory 
are (i) that it refers to the imposing military might of Assyria 





X. 1 6- 1 9, 5-9 201 

regarded as a mass of inflammable material; so Di., and very 
similarly Du., who compares 9* ; (2) that, as in 5^*, it means the 
nobility, the nobles of Assyria (Ges.), who are to be burnt up with 
the fire of war. In no case are both the significance of nu3 and 
the figure the same as in 1 7*. — 17. A fresh figure : Yahweh the 
light of Israel (q."^. Ps 27^), illuminating the way along which His 
people should walk (2*^), is also a destructive fire, destroying 
their enemies (Dt 9^) ; the Assyrians (cp. yy^'^^\ who if the v. 
occupies its original position must be referred to here, are by 
the requirements of the figure, the thorns and thistles^ in which a 
fire kindles, forest and garden-land^ or orchard^ too, to which 
such a fire may spread. — In a single day] 6r in that day. The 
clause is out of place between the two sets of vegetation which 
the flame consumes. With its omission ^^*- ^** becomes, like 
the preceding, a 3 : 3 distich. — Consuming soul and flesh] the 
clause, being inapplicable to trees (^^), is out of place ; see above. 
— And it shall be . . .] the words that follow are doubtful (phil. n.) ; 
neither as when a standard-bearer fainteth^ nor as when a sick man 
pineth away, would be in place here; this clause, too, may be 
misplaced as well as corrupt. — 19. The destruction is not quite 
complete ; trees so few that they can easily be counted, or that 
a child can make a list of them, survive. Possibly the v. comes 
from a description of Yahweh's consuming fire destroying Israel 
(Dt 4^4), but sparing an exiguous remnant (17^). The rhythm 
is not that of vv.^'^- ^**. 

5. DT3 Kin] a gloss (Hitz., al. : see Che. SBOT) ; note {a) the 3rd//. suffix 
in reference to nu^K contrasts with the 3rd sing, in the poem ; {b) the words 
divide 'Dyi noD, the synonymous parallel to 'BK B3t7 (v.***) ; (c) their presence 
creates bad sense and poor parallelism. Probably some word either before 
(cp. Che. SBOT, p. 195) or after 'oyj ntsD has dropped out; *in in the first 
line is outside the rhythm of the distich : see note introductory to 5^"^ (p. 89). 
For Kin ntsD some MSS have wbd. — 6. la la^ S^r Shvhl cp. Ezk 29'* 38^''*. 
This and the next line read naturally as a 4 : 4 distich. Are the lines an 
original part of the poem ? If they stand, v.'"* ^ seems to express the excess 
of Assyria's action over Yahweh's commission ; yet is there much difference 
between trampling a people to mire and destroying it? — tdk' 'a] an error, 
through dittography, for not* '3 (cp. v.")? — 9. iJ*?a] MT points \3^3, in Am 
6^, where the association with Hamath makes it fairly certain that the same 
place is intended, nj^s : probably the name was 'jV|i ; cp. (K XoXawi;, Assyr. 
Ep. list Kul-la-ni-i. But (5r wrongly identifies this XaXaypii with the 
XaXavvT? of Gn lo^** and adds the note, inferred from Gn 10^® ll^**, o5 hirip^oi 
(pKodofJL'^dr} ; the tower of Babel seems to have been a favourite thought with 



202 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 




ffi, cp. 9^*. (K further substitutes Arabia for Arpad and Hamath, and in 
other respects renders vv.^*^' very freely. — 10. It is very doubtful whether 
this V. ought to be made a little more tolerable in its context by reading nhttn 
for h'hun and omitting |nDsyDi (Che. in SB07\ following suggestions of Gratz, 
Hackm., Giesebrecht) : Marti rightly argues that ffir's iXoXiJIare (="i^'^'n) is 
nearer '?''?Kn than rhnn -. certainly (It's TaiJras, in view of its position and the 
paraphrase in ffir, is no evidence that rhi<ri stood after nia^Da*?. — Dn'!?'D£3i 
nSm'D] commonly explained to be a circumstantial clause and an ellipsis for 
uhm'T ♦V'DSD 13T d.t'?'D31, Kon. SoS^-; G-K. 133* : but in the alleged parallels 
the text (Mic 7*, Pr iS^^), or the interpretation (Koh 4" 9", Is 412^, Ps 62^0) 
is doubtful, or the cast of the sentence is different; in Job 11" a vb. is 
expressed, and in Ezk 15', Ca 5' no.— 13. nniKi . . . Toxi] <& consistently 
renders all the vbs. of vv."** " by futures, understanding that what Assyria 
intends, Yahweh does not allow him to do. This interpretation also under- 
lies the scriptio plena TDK, ttk. MT is inconsistent — TpNi, TniN], but 
Ny^fil. The pf. tenses show that the writer intended npx;, ni'iNi, 'dbi : the 
scriptio plena and ffi are wrong.— D.Tm'njn] The K"re 'ninyi differentiates the 
word here from 'nJnyi in Dt 32^. On the Aramaic colouring of the word, 
see Driver, Deut. pp. 374 f. It would be easy to restore onmnyi; cp. U 
principeSi and see 14®. — "•ne'ir] = 'noiB' (cp. 42^4; see G-K. 6k) 'j T'Dit? is 
read by some MSS.— Taio nniNi] K^tib T9><?, K«r6 T93 (17" 28=*), <& koI 
aelffo) irSXeis. Du., combining |^ and (&, conjecturally restores any miNi 
nsi^^ (or iJJNn) ; if nsya is rightly conjectured, nsyn nmw was probably the 
source of both -i2K3 nxi (|§^) and my mwi {(B). — 14. (& abbreviates lines a-d, 
paraphrases e-f ; b is short in |^. — 15. fi'jna] with the like of a staff's 
shaking: see BDB, s.v. 3, p. 454b; cp. Wright, Arabic Gram. ii. 63: or 
perhaps 3 represents a whole sentence. For instruments to boast them- 
selves against the agent (^'^** *•) is like claiming to be themselves actually 
agents. — ntao . . . ena'] without the art. : ct. jnjn, mrDn : this difference 
is the stranger if a2B' refers back to v.*. — vd'TDTx] some MSS read 'D-riNi. 
The pi. is an attempt by means of the pluralis majestatis to make the 
reference to Yahweh clear: some MSS more correctly read tenD. — {'y k"?] 
cp. jf'N-N'?, 318. — 16. \r\\i^Ti\ 3 MSS and ffir omit.— nnm] C5 KaX d%.—Vj. itjmpi 
TC\vy\ Tiirhhl ^ koX ayidtxei avrbu iv irvpl Kaiofihcp = rf)]!2 n^nhn Sv-^p]; read 
mj)2 nmh^ i8'i(?i, which is rhythmically equal, and parallel in sense, to JT'T 
vnh 'b"'Tin. — 18. DD3 DDD3] (& 6 ^€&y<av (l)s 6 (f>eijy<i>v dirb (pXoybs Kaio/n^prji ; % 

pnyi T3n ; SS (001 |\j y| |001J0 ; '}B terror e prof ugus. These guesses 
are significant. Later, ddj suggested to Rashi dd, a wormy and to Ki. 03, a 
standard {c^. AV, RVmarg,), The similar ending of the two words is sus- 
picious. Like a sick man^s melting away, as when a sick man, etc., are very 
questionable renderings ; for 0D3, to be sick, is without parallel in Heb., and 
Syr. «DQJ, to be sick, may be derived from v6aoi ! see Che. in SBOT. The 
text is corrupt. j 

20-27. An Appendix to the preceding poem, 

explaining that Yahweh's anger against His people is all but 
spent ; that immediately those of them who have escaped and 



^ 



X. io-i8, 20-27 203 

remain, will be set free from the bondage of " Assyria," which 
will in turn become the object of Yahweh's anger. 

Two things are clear: (i) w. 20-27 are connected with w.*^-, 
for his smiter, v. 20, ike rod^ v. 2*, and the stick, v.2«, are obvious 
references back to v.*: (2) these verses are prose, except that 
v.*'^ closes with a distich. 

Isaiah wrote prose as well as poetry, but there is no reason 
to believe that he allowed fine poems to dribble out in prose 
conclusions. Either {a) vv. 20-27 are due to some disciple of 
Isaiah, who recalled the substance, but no longer the form, of the 
conclusion of the poem preserved fragmentarily in \\y^^\ or, 
more probably, {p) the verses are the work of some late student 
of Scripture, who sought, mainly by compiling a cento of Scrip- 
ture texts and phrases (see references in the notes that follow), 
to give the old poem greater suitability in an age which required 
positive comfort for itself as well as a promise that Assyria should 
be destroyed. 

20. And it shall come to pass in that day] 7^' and often. — 
The remnant (hnC^) of Israet] so the remnant of Jacob, v.^i. Cp. 
"The remnant (nn«K^) of Israel," Jer 31 7, Mic 2^2, Ezk ii^S; 
"of Jacob," Mic 5«^. Cp. also "the remnant (nxt^) of his 
people," 1 1"- ^« 285 . «« of Syria," 178 x\.—And the escaped] 42 n.— 
Of the House of Jacob] 2* n. ffi here omits the House of — Shall 
no more lean for support upon him that smote it] the remnant will 
no more trust in foreign powers as the nation had done in days 
of old, as when Ahaz in 734 B.C. relied on Assyria (ch. 7), which 
smote Judah in 701 b.c. Du.'s epigram, "Ahaz leant for support 
on Assyria (2 K 16), but was not smitten ; Hezekiah was smitten, 
but did not lean for support on Assyria," is true, for it would be 
too odd to describe Assyria as smiting Ahaz when, though at 
a ruinous cost, they gave him the support for which he appealed 
(Kon. Einleitung, p. 305). The writer is oblivious of the 
chronology of Isaiah's age : whether Du.'s detailed explanation 
is correct is more doubtful (see Introd. § 26 f.) : according to him, 
the writer is applying the old threat against the Assyria of Isaiah's 
day to the New Assyria (cp. Ezr 6^2, Ps 83®?), the Seleucid 
Empire, which prevailed in his own ; under Alkimus and, later, 
John Hyrcanus, the Jewish community, willingly or unwillingly, 
rested on the Seleucids and were smitten by them ; freedom 
was expected by the pious as soon as Israel rested solely on 



204 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

Yahweh. — Him that smote it] cp. and ct. 9^2^ — But shall lean 
for support upon] 30^2 ^i^, 2 Ch 13^^ 14^® i6'^'*: differently 
Mic ^^\—The Holy One of Israef] i* i\.—In truth] \6^ 388 48^ 
618 : cp. also Jg 9^^ i S 122*. — 21. The remnant shall return] 
73 n. — Unto the Mighty God] 9^ n. The v. is a proof of what 
has been asserted in v. 20, drawn not by Isaiah from his own 
prophecies, but by a late student from Scripture. Whether 
to this student the Mighty God meant the Messiah as in 9*, or 
God Himself, is not quite clear. — 22. Here the writer seems to 
reflect on two prophecies, one foretelling that the people of Israel 
shall be as the sand of the sea (Hos 2^ (i^^), cp. Gn 22^^" 32^^), the 
other that only a remnant of them will return. In the 2nd cent 
B.C., and even a century or two earlier, the Jews, including the 
millions living in Egypt and Mesopotamia, had become, what 
they were not in Isaiah's day, very numerous ; but there were 
among them "many apostates, still more indifferentists : those 
loyal to the law, the Ilasidim, the little band who fought for 
freedom, were only a little band" (Du.). — 22b, 23. This double 
aspect of the future will certainly be realised, for Yahweh has 
irrevocably determined a judgment which, taking place in the 
midst of the earth, will be universal in its scope ; it will give over- 
flowing proof of Yahweh's righteousness (cp. i^'^ 5^^) by working 
deliverance of the elect, and accomplishing ''^ the annihilation 
already decisively determined" (28^), of the wicked, whether 
Israelite or heathen (cp. 59^*'*'2^). 

24-27. Sion has nothing to fear from Yahweh's anger — a 
point of view radically unlike that commonly taken by Isaiah, 
but resembling that of, e.g., 40^*'*. — Therefore thus saith] 30^2^ — 
The Lord Yahweh of Hosts] -^.—Fear not] 7* 35* 4110- 1^^- 43!- « 
44^. — My people] i' 40^ and often. — Who dwell in Sion] cp. 30^^ 
— Because of Assyria] see v.^o n. — When he smites with the rod] 
V.5 30^1. — And lifts up his stick] v.^ — After the manner of Egypt] 
Am 4^*^ : here Assyria whips the Jews, as the Egyptians whipped 
Israel in Egypt (Ex 5^*'^^); in v.^^ the stick is used against 
Assyria, as it was used against Egypt. — 25. There is no need 
for Yahweh's people to fear {y.'^%for within a very little time 
(29^^) Yahweh's wrath (DVT, v.**, Dn 8^^) against them will be spent 
(Dn 11'*, cp. Is 26^0): the last blows which His righteous anger 
against their sin compelled Him to inflict on them with His rod, 
" Assyria " (v.*), are now falling ; He is about to scourge Assyria 





X. 21-27 205 

instead (v.*^). The last clause of v.^ is commonly supposed to 
mark the transition from v.^s* to v.*^ : assuming a rather harsh 
and improbable ellipsis, J^ may be rendered and my anger (shall 
turn) to their destruction ; but the style is most awkward, and the 
use of bv and of the 3rd pi. in reference to Assyria very sus- 
picious, f^, if the consonants were differently divided, might 
also mean, and my anger against the world shall be at an end : 
but this, too, would be awkward ; for " the world " in that case 
must exclude Assyria and refer only to that part which is en- 
slaved by Assyria (cp. 14^^. But if we omit hlD f»y, against the 
world, as a gloss, what remains is an excellent parallel to the 
previous clause ; for the two vbs. nh^ and DDD in parallelism, cp. 
16* and (reading ion) La 3^2. — 26. And Yahweh of Hosts will 
brandish over him\ i.e. over Assyria : "niy, brandish, as 2 S 23^ — 
A scourge] 28^^ — As when Midian was smitten] 9^ n., Ps 83^^^. 
—At the rock of'Oreb] Jg 725, cp. Ps 83I2 (M),—And his stick over 
the sea — he will raise it after the manner of Egypt] Ex 14^^: see 
above, v. 2* n. — 27. After the opening formula (cp. v.20), if ^n* 
be read for biv\\ an excellent distich (4 : 4), a variation of 142^ 
(cp. 9^ n.), is recovered — 

His burden shall depart from upon thy shoulder, 

And his yoke shall cease from (resting) upon thy neck. 

The remaining words of the v. (jDK' *:BD fjy) have been slightly 
mutilated and wrongly detached from v. 28. The attempts to 
interpret J^ as it stands are the best proof that it is corrupt : the 
last sentence can, of course, be translated and a yoke will be 
ruined because of oil, or fat (5^ n.) ; these words, it is said, con- 
tain a comparison of Judah to an animal grown so fat that the 
yoke is broken by the counter pressure of its fat neck, the pur- 
pose of the comparison being to indicate that deliverance is to 
come from within as well as from without (Del.). For other 
explanations neither better nor worse, see Ges. and Di. 

22. 318" . . . r\'>7\'' DK] Dr. §§ 136, 143.-103;] (&. oy.— u . . . nxr] cp. 
Din nxB'jn, Lv 5* : see BDB 88a (bottom).— |v'?3] Dt 28<» f (in a different 
sense). — pnn] the Kal meaning, to determine, occurs again only in Job 14' ; 
but cp. the Niphal in v.^ ; and see Dn q^^'- i i^, which are, in other respects 
also, phraseologically connected with this passage. — np'x^i rjor] ace. after verba 
copiae: G-K. 1170.— ^3. mK3s m.r] (!R om.— 24. -jntt] ffi^ om.— nD3'] G-K. 
58^, «.— 25. nyiD] 16" 24« 29"t.— dj;t] Che. proposes TDyi ; cp. the parallel 'BK : 
but perhaps 'SN arose by dittography from on' r\H : see next n, — Dn'^an ^y 'ijK] 



206 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

a few MSS read on'Von, which would be synonymous with Dn'Vnn f ; for n'^an 

from vn^ would mean a wearing out, destruction, hv is used to express 
direction towards, ** not common except in the sense against " (BDB 757a) ; but 
examples of the use of hv such as Ca 7^^, 2 Ch 20^^, cited in BDB 757^ (under 
7c {c)), are really very different from that commonly assumed here. The 
obvious meaning if it were suitable in the context would be my anger at 
(roused by) their destruction." Luzzatto proposed tipc, Vag Vy *9ij ; this is 
improbable (see above) : on the other hand, on' 'Ski oyt n^ai gives all that 
seems to be wanted ; San Vy was perhaps the note of some reader who took the 
verbs nSa and DOn in their other sense to be fulfilled, and explained the wrath 
as that which would affect the whole world in the last judgment. — 26. aits'] 
possibly, through similarity of sound, for v>2V (v.^). (& omits. — D'n hu inoDi 
wtJ'Ji] rather poor Hebrew. Winckler {ATUntersuchungen, 177) suggests 
vw> d.tVj; ; but this introduces the suspicious pi. suffix : Marti, ^v vVy. 
Perhaps the corruption goes deeper, fflr renders koX 6 dvfxbs avrov ry oSy ry 
KarcL dakaaaav. — 27. Sam] this is an early error for Sin', which is parallel to 
niD' and completes the rhythm of the distich 4 : 4. The emendation is due to 
W. R. Smith (Journal of Philology, xiii. 62 f.). — pv 'jsd '^y] yields no sense : 
see above and phil. n. on p. 209. 

X. 27C-32. — A Dramatic IdylL 

The prevailing rhythm in vv. *'"*** is 2 : 2 ; in vv.*^^"'^ the rhythm becomes 
more uncertain, and the text at the same time shows signs of corruption (see 
phil. n. ). The poem is probably defective : perhaps two lines at the ban- 
ning and four of the last strophe have been lost. 

27c He hath gone up from Pene * Rimmon,* 

28 He hath fallen on 'Ayyath j ^Hl 

He hath passed through Migron, ^"' 

At Michmas he depositeth his baggage; 
2* * He hath ' passed over the ravine, 
(In) Geba is *his* night quarters. 

Ramah hath trembled, 
Gibeah of Saul hath fled. 
^ Give a shrill cry, . . . . ! 

daughter of Gallim I 

Give heed, Laishah ! 
Answer her, Anathoth ! 
*^ Madmenah hath run away, 

The inhabitants of Gebim have sought refuge. 

«2 To-day 

He will swing his hand. 
Towards the Mount of the daughter of §ion, 
The hill of Jerusalem. 




I 




X. 26-32 207 

The poet assumes the standpoint of one who is in Jerusalem 
on the morrow after an invader, marching from the north, has 
entered Judaean territory and encamped within a few miles of the 
capital, ready to strike at it the next day. 

First, the invader's march is described in a succession of short 
telling clauses, w.27-29: from Pene Rimmon, some ten miles 
north of Jerusalem, he has advanced through *Ai and Migron to 
Michmas ; leaving his heavy baggage there, he has without delay 
descended into the deep Wady Suwenit below Michmas, crossed 
its bottom and made the steep ascent to Geba*, where at less 
than six miles from Jerusalem he has encamped for the night. 
This concludes the description of the march, for in w.^^'^-^^ the 
subject of the verb is no longer the invader, and the towns 
mentioned do not lie on any single route from Geba* to 
Jerusalem. The object of w,^^-^^ is to indicate, partly by 
descriptive tenses, partly by imperatives addressed to the 
terrified towns, the terror of the country between Geba' and 
Jerusalem as news reaches them the same evening of the near 
presence of the hostile army. The poem closes with the 
inevitable yet ominous inference. To-day the invader will fall 
on Jerusalem itself, v.^. 

Many have supposed that the poem ends not at v.**, but at v.** ; in that 
case Isaiah's purpose in the whole would be to describe the invading army, 
whether Syro-Ephraimitish or, more probably, Assyrian, advancing right up 
to Jerusalem, only to fall there before the unseen power of Yahweh. But 
this is improbable : for (i) the rhythm in vv.*^'- is different ; (2) the figurative 
language of vv.*^'* has no natural connection with the simple and sustained 
literalism of w.*'"* ; cp. Cheyne, Introd. p. 56. 

If the poem concludes with v.*^, it threatens Jerusalem 
without any alleviating promise, and is therefore inconsistent 
with Isaiah's attitude at the time of the Syro-Ephraimitish war 
(c. 7) ; but it may have been written by him later, in expectation 
of some assault by Assyria, though it is improbable that Assyria 
would ever have followed the line of march indicated. 

Isaiah's authorship has been questioned (Du., Marti) on the grounds of 
(i) the numerous paronomasias: cp. Mic i^-ia . ^2) the special emphasis 
on Jerusalem ; (3) the objective character of the description which scarcely 
suggests a prophet living in the midst of the circumstances. Against (2), cp. 
i^ n., and note that vv.'^'^^ show feeling for the country as well as the city. 
The number of plays on words, or paronomasias, has been exaggerated ; the 



208 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

supposed play on the name of Michmas, for example, rests on a very question- 
able etymology. i 

27c-29b. The Invader's March. — Be hath gone up] ^ 
a yoke, see phil. n., and above on v.^''^ — Pen^ Rimmon'] Du.'s 
conjecture for pene shemen (J^). The name means Face of 
Rimmon\ cp. Peniel, Face of God\ the deity Rimmon is 
mentioned in 2 K 5^^. The modern Rammon lies about 3 
miles N.N.E. of Michmas. — 28. *AyyatK\ probably the same as 
Ai, which lay to the E. of and near Bethel (Gn 1 2^, Jos 7^), and 
consequently a little to the N. of Michmas. It is identified by 
some with Der Diwan, about 3 miles N. of Michmas. — Migron\ 
obviously lay N. of Michmas, perhaps on the site of the modern 
Makrfin. W. R. Smith,* indeed, argued that the Migron 
mentioned in i S 14^, which must have lain South of Michmas, 
was intended here ; and that a detachment of the invaders fell 
upon it and secured it before the main body attempted the 
difficult passage of the Wady es-Suwenit : but the rendering of 
3 nay by to fall upon is not justified. — At Michmas] mod. 
Muhmas, 7 J miles N. of Jerusalem. It lies at an elevation of 
1990 feet, distant about 2 miles, and separated by the deep Wady 
es-Suwenit, from Geba* (2220 feet), which stands on the top of 
the opposite slope. To avoid the difficulty of transport over this 
troublesome piece of country, the invader deposits his heavy 
baggage at Michmas. — 29. He] so (!& ; J^ they^ but note the 3rd 
sing, in other sentences in J^. — Has crossed the ravine] lit. has 
passed the passage (mayc), or crossed the crossing, viz. of the wady 
between Michmas and Geba*; this crossing in i S 132^ is called 
" thepassage, or crossing (i^VD), of Michmas." The passage (nayo) 
of Jabbok (Gn 32^3) was a real ford ; but the Wady es-Suwenit is 
often dry: the present writer found it so on Feb. 25, 1904: cp. 
Dalman in ZDFV xxv'ni. 163 f. Ravine is not a strict equivalent 
of nnayo, but it is used here in order to summon up the picture 
which the phrase would recall to a Hebrew familiar with the 
district : (B TrapeXtva-erai ^dpayya retains the picture ; but RV, 
they are gone over the pass^ suggests an ascent, a passage of the 
top, and a descent, whereas what is actually described is a steep 
descent, a passage of the bottom, and a steep ascent — (/«) Gebct 
are his night-quarters] see phil. n. J^ might best be rendered 
Gebci be our night-quarters, a dramatic cry of the army as it 
* fPh., 1884, p. 63: cp. Driver, Isaiah^ p. 72; Stenning, in Z>^ ii. 169. 




m 



X. 27-32 209 

climbs the southern slope of the valley to Geba*, which lies 
within six miles of Jerusalem. 

29C-31. The alarm of the country-side. — Ramah'] is 
er-Ram, 35 minutes along the crest of the hill W.S.W. from 
Geba* (Baed. Pai. 2^2>).—Gibeah of Sauf] probably Tell el-FOl, 
the site of which satisfies the requirements of Jg 19^2-16^ j g io2-7. 
10-": see EBL and DB, s.v. Gibeah.—I^W el-FQl lies about 2 J 
miles S.S.E. of er-Ram, about 3 miles S.S.W. of Geba*, and 
about I J miles N.W. of *Anata (Anathoth). — 30. Three or four 
towns between Geba* and Jerusalem are dramatically invited to 
participate in the lamentation which the approach of the invaders 
occasions. — Gallim and Laishah (which is scarcely el-*Isawiyyeh, 
between *Anata and Jerusalem) are not identified : but cp. 
"Palti, the son of Laish, which was of Gallim," i S 25*^ — Answer 
her, 'Anathoth^ or, less probably, O poor one, 'Anathoth; in 
either case there is a paronomasia — *aniah 'anathoth, or *aniyyah 
'anathoth. *Anathoth is the mod. 'An^ti, 2 J miles from Jerusalem 
and on the road that runs from Geba* to Jerusalem through 
yizmeh ; another road from Geba* to Jerusalem ran through er- 
Rim (Ramah). — 31. Madmenah and Gebim are both unknown 
cities. — Have sought refuge\ for themselves and their belongings ; 
cp. Ex 9^®, where the obj. of ryn is expressed, and Jer 4® 6^, 
where, as here, it is omitted : cp. also the use of Kal in 30*, and 
the noun ny» in 1 7'. 

32. Assault on Jerusalem is imnjinent. — The text is in 
several respects uncertain : see phil. n. To-day is the morning 
after the night spent by the invaders at Geba* (v.^^) ; speaking 
dramatically, as one risen early on that day and in receipt of the 
news which has already thrown the places between Geba* and 
Jerusalem into alarm, the poet draws the conclusion : To-day the 
foe will take up its position before the walls of Jerusalem. — In 
No^ the text is doubtful, and the site of Nob uncertain. Neh 
1 1^2 mentions this place next to *Anathoth, and as occupied by 
Benjamites: 1 S 2i2(i) 22®- ^^ f fails, even if the text be correct, 
to define the site more closely. Mainly on the ground of the 
present passage, it has been located at some point on the high 
ground to the N. of, and over-looking, Jerusalem. See, further, 
Nob, in DB, 

27. joty '3DD Sy] 1^ yields no sense : see p. 206. ^^—xh^; cp. 33 = n33 in 
Phoenician inscriptions, e.g. CIS i. 4' = Cooke, NSI 6^ : cp. ib. 33^ For 'J£D 
VOL. I. — 14 



2IO COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

jots', W. R. Smith {J Ph. xiii. 63 ff.) proposed mt? jssd, the waster {i.e. Assyria) 
from the North ; Du. JQ"i '33D, which is easier and preferable (see above). (& 
airb Twv (bfitap {//iQv. — 28. ^y K3] of hostile approach : so Gn 342^, i S 12^*, 
Jg 18" {v./. ny).— n'y] = »«% n'V (Neh ii^i, i Ch 7^) with retention of the old 
fem. n. The position of n^y between Michmas and Bethel points to identifica- 
tion also with 'yn. dSt €l$ t^v t6\iv ^Ayyai (of which koX ij^ei els ' kyYO-f' in v.^ 
may be a variant) should represent 'yn "^vt^, which might be a text conflate of 
two variants of n'y. — Tp£3' bODD*?] many editions have tddd^, which is incorrect. 
It is very questionable whether troDD means store-place ; odd in Dt 32^ is 
probably an error for 033. In Jer 36^® 3721 ^pan, to deposit ^ is followed by 5 ; 
with 7 the vb. may mean to the town of Michmas he entrusts his baggage 
(Ges.), though the person to whom a deposit is entrusted is elsewhere intro- 
duced by T ^y (i K 14"), or T3 (Ps 31'), or nK (Jer 40').— 29. nny] ffl^ 
7ra/!)eXei;(rerai = n3y, or perhaps rather nny (note v'pa preceding). The 3rd 
sing. pf. is right. — ^h p^D yaj] 13^ if correct is either \i) for us: the pi. in 
such a dramatic cry would not be impossible in spite of the prevalent singu- 
lars ; or (2) 3rd pi. pf. of pV, {the night-quarters where) they have spent the 
night ; but this would give a pointless redundance, and a 3rd pi. instead of 
the 3rd sing., which is used of the invader throughout the poem. More 
probably "u^ pSo =13^3^0 has arisen through dittography from \h^. — ^30. ♦^nst 
n*?!?] double subj. : G-K. 144OT. (!& omits the words ; but possibly even |^ 
is incomplete, the present line of three accents being a mutilation of a distich 
2 : 2. — D*^3*na] perhaps n3 = n'3, then for the equivalence of names with and 
without B*a, see HPN 127 £.—32. Qvn -ny] this very day (RV) would be a 
suitable, if it were a less questionable, rendering : niy is nowhere else used 
with the sense presupposed in it. Dr. in BDB 728^ renders "j/zV/ to-day 
(such is his haste) will he tarry in Nob." But what day is intended ? If the 
day on which the invaders reach Geba', the clause seems inconsistent with 
Geba' being the night-quarters ; but if the morrow is intended, the clause 
becomes rather feeble, for Jerusalem is but a couple of hours' march from 
Geba'. Other established meanings of niy seem equally unsuitable here : for 
example, stilly as he has been doing, will he tarry ; again will he tarry ; in 
Noby mx)reover (as well as in other places), will he tarry. Probably iiy is a 
corruption : it is absent from C5, and ly may have been a dittograph of Tyn= 
'W^'n at the end of v.". — 333] perhaps corrupt : see above and Che. EBi. 3430. 
(!Er iv 6d(^. — ncyS] he must tarry : Dr. § 204. But perhaps noy should be 
restored, unless the corruption of the text goes deeper. — \y «]£313'] the Polel of 
»)13 occurs here only; the Hiphil used more or less similarly occurs in li" 
19^', Zee 2**, Job 31''^, Sir 12^*. — '\r\\ is commonly explained as the ace. of 
direction (cp. G-K. 118/"); but the omission of Vy (cp. references in last n.) 
is suspicious. — jvx n'3 nn] the K®tib gives an unparalleled phrase : K*re 
's na nn as i6^ — nysa] CK ol povvol=T\:}2i. The phrase 0'"?^^ '3 does not 
occur again. — The accumulation of unusual, and in some cases suspicious, 
phenomena render it probable that the text of v.^ has suffered. It is unsafe, 
therefore, to assume a change of rhythm (cp. Di.); the last two clauses are 
2 : 2, the dominant rhythm of the poem. 




X. 28-34 AND XI. 1-8 211 

X. 33, 34. — The Fall of the Forest 

V."** is of two accents; •*•• "^ of four, but perhaps \\\nr\ (cp. v.**) in the 
one and Snaa (see phil. n.) in the other should be omitted. The original 
rhythm was then 3 : 3 with the variant 3 : 2 in v.**^ *. 

*8 Behold the Lord Yahwch of Hosts 

Is lopping off the branches with a terrible crash ; 
And those that have grown high will be hewn down, 

And the lofty will be brought low. 
** And he will strike away the thickets of the forest with iron, 

And Lebanon with *its* majestic (cedars) shall falL 

Under the figure of a forest of lofty trees felled by the woodman, 
this brief fragment describes the approaching destruction of some 
people that have provoked Yahweh's majesty by their pride (cp. 
2iiff-). 

The fragment, though not the original conclusion of w.27-82 
(see p. 207), may have been placed here by the compiler in 
order to suggest that any enemy approaching the sacred city 
would perish. The figure of a forest occurs in w.^*^* 1** ; but 
there destruction is by fire; for destruction by felling, cp. Dn 
^^11. (i4)flf.^ Zee II*, and especially the elaborate description of 
Assyria under the figure of a cedar in Ezk 31. 

34. Thickets of the forest] 9^^. — With * its * majestic (cedars)] 
cp. 2^% Zee 11*, and see phil. n. ; J§ is commonly understood to 
mean Ify a Majestic one, viz. Yahweh. 

33. mNB] ^«r6 .TnB: with the Knib, cp. niKS, Ezk 17* 3i»'« 8. m. _ 
n2<nyD3] this derivative from \^]) (2^"' *^) occurs here only : Du. conjectures 
n!<yD3, with an axe. — 34. 'jpii] Piel, the subj. being Yahweh, or Niph., the 
pi. subj. following the pred. (G-K. i45<7).— mna . . . ^naa] these should 
be parallel terms, but they are not : hence some substitute for thk the name 
of an implement such as mnp or V'ra (Ges.). It is better to read v^^tt (cp. 
(& ffifp rots i\{/T]\ois) and omit Sn33 as a gloss (note the rhythm). So Che., 
Marti. 

XI. 1-8. — The Righteous Ruler of the Stock ofjesse^ and the 
Return of the Golden Age. 

Apart from the first three words of v.", which are a dittograph, |^ contains 
23 lines. It is argued in the n. on v.** that one of these (v.**) is intrusive 
and one (v.'*') misplaced ; the 22 lines that remain fall into eleven distichs. 
An alternative theory retains v.'** and inserts from 65^ a line which there 
accompanies v.'" : this would bring up the number of lines to 24. 



212 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



The distichs (3:3, or 4 : 4) are mostly well-balanced and marked by 
great regularity of parallelism. Some apparent exceptions are probably due 
to textual corruption: see notes on vv.****^'*; in v.^ read n^nn (see n.) or 
makkeph mn^-riNT, the two words forming a single idea. But vv.'*- *• and ^ 
are two distichs 4 : 3. 

Whether we reduce the number of lines to 22, or raise them to 24, or 
keep them at 23, the main divisions of sense do not give strophes of exactly 
equal lengths. The first strophe contains 6, the second 8, the third 8, 9, or 10 
lines according to the view taken of vv.*' and '^°. If the poem once possessed 
complete strophic regularity, it most probably consisted of three strophes each 
containing four distichs. In that case it is probably the opening distich of 
the poem that has been lost. At present the poem opens with Waw Conv. 
and the pf. : yet so also does 2'. 

Du. obtains strophic regularity in another way : he finds four strophes, 
each of six lines, ending with vv.^- *• * and ^ respectively. But this division 
involves several improbabilities : (i) v.° is torn away from the description of 
the king, of which it forms a part, to be coupled with the first half of the 
description of the beasts ; (2) the description of the beasts is divided into two 
strophes ; and (3) in order to eke out w.'** into six lines, v.*'' is very mistakenly 
(see phil. n. ) divided into two, with the result that the suckling playing about 
the serpent's hole shares a distich with the lion eating straw, while his true 
mate, the weaned child, stands apart in a separate distich examining the 
basilisk's eye. 

^ And there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of 

Jesse, 

And a scion from his roots shall bear fruit; 
2 And there shall rest upon him the spirit of Yahweh, 
The spirit of wisdom and discernment, 
The spirit of counsel and might, 

The spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh. 




He will not judge by that which his eyes see, 

Nor by that which his ears hear will he decide; 
But he will judge the needy with righteousness. 

And decide with equity for the poor of the earth, 
And he will smite the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, 

And with the breath of his lips will he slay the wicked. 
And righteousness will be the 'girdle' about his waist, 

And faithfulness the waist-cloth around his loins. 




^ And the wolf shall dwell as a guest with the lamb. 

And the leopard shall have the same lair with the kid; 

'■'^ And the lion shall eat straw like the ox, 

^"^ And the calf and the young lion * will graze ' together ; 
With a little child acting as their driver. 



XI. 1-8 213 

^* And the cow and the bear shall be 'companions to one 

another,* 
Together shall their young make their lair; 
8 And the suckling shall play over the hole of the asp, 
And over the dwelling (?) of the viper shall the weaned 

child * trip about ' (?). 

The poem predicts the restoration of the Jewish monarchy in 
the person of a king sprung from the family of Jesse, the father 
of David, who will be equipped by Yahweh's spirit for all the 
duties of a righteous ruler, w.^**. Thus equipped, he will in 
virtue of his wisdom discern what is right, and in virtue of 
his might achieve it, securing for the weak what is due to them, 
and smiting down the powerful who do wrong. All that he does 
will be done in righteousness and faithfulness, vv.^-*. In his 
days the conditions of Paradise will return ; the beasts will no 
longer be at enmity with one another and with men, but all will 
live together in peace and friendship, w.^ 

The thought of the poet is concentrated on the future of the 
Jews, though he sees it in the light of conditions (w.^-^) which 
will presumably be universal and not limited to Palestine. The 
larger thought, too, of the world-wide government of the king 
breaks through in v.*, if the words of the earth be original. 

Of the conditions which immediately precede the reign of 
this king he says nothing directly, nor gives any indication how 
soon the future which he predicts may be expected. It is 
possible that an opening distich has been lost (see above, p. 212) 
which may have resembled 9^ ^^^ in its tenor. 

The editor, whether Isaiah himself (Di. p. 104), or another [e.g, Marti), 
who is responsible for the present arrangement of Isaiah chs. io''-i2, may 
indeed have intended that this reign was to begin when the world-power has 
been destroyed and the destruction of everything opposed to God within 
Israel and without (lo^^*) has been accomplished. But Di., no less than 
Du., argued that ii^*- is not the immediate continuation of lo""**; and in 
spite of Kit's attempt to prove the contrary, this remains clear (see above on 
lo""**). It is not even probable that lo^'*, which is certainly not the original 
continuation of lo^"^, contains the opening distich, or distichs, of ii*''^' : 
10", indeed, if we omit "with iron," is a distich similar in rhythm and 
parallelistic structure to ii^*^, but by itself it forms a less probable beginning 
than 11^ On the other hand, 10** is less similar to ii^"® and is still no good 
opening ; moreover, the elaborate metaphors of lo"*** contrast with the 
general literalness of 11^-* : the figure in 11* is simple, and ii**^ is, of course. 



214 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

intended literally, not metaphorically. Finally, the antithesis sought between 
lo^'* and 11^ — the Assyrian cedar forest is smitten down, the tree of Jesse is 
rejuvenated — is anything but inevitable — ("unverkennbar," Di.), and is 
certainly not suggested by the order of the words. Had the writer of ii* 
been the author also of the antithesis attributed to him by those who make 
11^ the immediate continuation of lo**, it is probable that he would have 
written KS* npn v* yjJDi. 

It follows that ll^"® must be judged by itself and not in connection 
with I0»-". 

If the most obvious is the correct interpretation of v.^, the 
poem was written after 586 b.c. (see on v.^). A downward limit 
of date is fixed by the quotation in 6525. Like 9^-^ the poem might 
well have been written towards the end of the Exile when men's 
minds were turning towards Restoration, and when some may 
have been setting high hopes on Zerubbabel, of the stock of 
Jesse, who immediately after the Return certainly focussed such 
hopes upon himself (Hag., Zech.). 

Apart from the historical presuppositions of v.*, which point more 
decisively than those of Q*"* to an exilic or post-exilic date, the evidence is 
no more conclusive than in the case of 9^**. The language is certainly 
compatible with a post-exilic date, and the occurrence of the three words yu, 
ion, nw in v.* is even better explained by it than by an earlier date. For 
the significance of the ideas, reference must be made to the commentary. 

Among those who assign the poem to Isaiah, much difference of opinion 
prevails as to the period of his life to which it belongs. For the most part it 
is connected with lo""'*, and simply on the ground of that supposed connection 
assigned to the same period: see, e.g., Dr. LOT^ 210 f., where the date 
701 B.C. is suggested, and allusion is made (with references) to other theories 
placing the prophecy early in Sargon's reign (W. R. Smith, Prophets'^, 296 ff.), 
or at the end of Sargon's reign. Earlier writers thought of the reign of Ahaz 
(Vitringa). Finally, Du. groups ii^** with 2^-^ 32*'' as one of Isaiah's 
** swan-songs" written in extreme old age, in the reign of Manasseh, for the 
private use of his disciples and not for publication. 

I, 2. The origin and endowments of the Future 
King". — I. The poem opens with a prediction of the restoration 
of the Davidic monarchy. This is expressed figuratively. Jesse, 
the father of David, is compared to a root from which there 
had grown a tree — the line of Jewish monarchs descended from 
David ; this tree has been cut down \ but the roots remain in 
the earth and a mere stump above ground, />. the throne of 
David has fallen, but the family of David survives ; as from the 
stump of a tree that has been felled there may shoot forth new 
growth (Job i4''-^, cp. Is 6^^), so while the family of David sur- 




XI. I, 2 215 

vives, hope remains that some member of it may re-establish 
the monarchy, and thus, in the terms of the figure, become the 
new shoot and green growth from the old roots. What the 
opening distich of the poem asserts is that this hope will be 
actually realised. The revival, and not the fall of the tree, is 
the subject of prediction. The fall of the tree belongs to the 
past ; the stump is an existing fact familiar to the poet and his 
audience. Thus this v. presupposes a period when no Davidic 
king was reigning. The necessary inference is that the poem 
was written some time after 586 B.C. This inference can only 
be avoided by adopting less natural and obvious interpreta- 
tions : thus (i) Di. considers that the implication of the figure 
is that each successive king from David downwards was a tree 
sprung from the root and stump of Jesse; by means of an 
improbable figure Isaiah would then be expressing the rather 
jejune idea that as there had already been a dozen kings or 
more descended from Jesse, one of whom was reigning at the 
present moment, so there would be another; (2) Du. sees in 
the passage a prediction that the Messiah will not spring from 
David, but as being himself a new David will spring from 
another branch of the house of Jesse, in the terms of the figure 
from another of the roots (^plural) — an unparalleled and most 
improbable idea ; moreover, this interpretation does not explain 
the assumption that the tree of David has already fallen. On 
this Du. says that the expression yw, stocky indicates that before 
the Messianic age the Dynasty will suffer ill. — A shoot] iDn, Pr 
14^ t« In Aramaic, early and late, and Assyrian the word meant 
sceptre (see phil. n.). — The stu7tip'\ 40^^, Job 14't. The word 
yn is derived from a root meaning to cut, (so c j^ commonly) ; 

in view of this, of the parallel here, and of the parallel and the 
context in Job, the word probably meant primarily the part 
(above ground) left after felling. In 40^ it seems rather to be 
used of the bole of a growing, newly planted tree; cp. the 
New Hebrew usage : see Levy, NHB, s.v, — The stump of Jesse'] 
this phrase well reflects the fact that the Jewish monarchy is no 
more, though the family, from which it sprang, survives; "the 
stump of David" would have reflected this less clearly and 
might more appropriately have been used if the monarchy had 
merely lost power and glory as at the Disruption. — A scion] 



2l6 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

14^^ (?) 60*^, Dn 11^, Sir 40^5 (margin). The word "iVi comes 
probably from the root which in Arabic (^*a)) means to be 

fresh and beautiful^ and, of the foliage of a tree, to become green ; 
it was presumably applied to vigorous growth from a tree, 
whether as here and in 60^1 directly from the root, or from some 
other part; it is used in NH of withies -y cp. IVJ i>3n, a rope of 
withies \ D^nV3 ^^D, a basket made of withies (Levy, NHB iii. 431^)- 
— Shall bear fruit'] if the text is right, the 2nd line of the distich 
goes beyond the first — not only will a new tree grow from the 
old root, but it will yield fruit ; not only will the Davidic monarchy 
be restored, but the new king will prosper (cp. Ps i^). But 
ma"* may be an error for ms^ shall sprout forth (cp. Job 14®), 
and the two lines throughout synonymously parallel. — 2. The 
king will be a man on whom the spirit of Yahweh rests 
(Nu ii^^'*, cp. 2 K 2^*, Nu 11^'' n.), and therefore fit for ex- 
ceptional achievements; as the spirit gives the exceptional 
craftsman (Ex 31^ 35*^)> or the warrior (Jg 6^ 11^ 132* 
146' 19), or the prophet (Nu ii^s^*. Is 61I), or the interpreter of 
dreams (Gn 41^^), the power to do or be something beyond the 
ordinary (cp. 2 K 2^^), so it gives kingliness to the king 
(1 S 1 6^^^*). King and people often seemed to the prophets to 
forget this, and in consequence to trust in " flesh " rather than 
in "spirit" (31^); but the Messianic age will be distinguished 
by the outpouring of the spirit (32^^ Jl ^^' (2^^^')) on all men, 
and, in particular, the point with which alone the present passage 
is concerned, on the Messiah. The spirit of Yahweh settles 
upon the king as a spirit of or, as we should say, imparting, 
wisdom and discernment {c,"^. Ex 31^), a capacity to discern what 
rightly belongs to the king's office and to the right discharge 
of it, and to detect the right in difficult circumstances (v.^, cp. 
I K 3^"^- 28). The spirit is also one of counsel and mighty i.e. 
the king receives power not only to discern the right, but to 
execute it, to secure for the weak their due, and to punish and 
put to death the guilty, however powerful (v.*). By the spirit 
of Yahweh the king becomes a wonderful, or exceptional. 
Counsellor and Mighty One (9^). In spite of 36^, it is very 
questionable whether the king is here represented as a great 
soldier. Finally, the spirit makes him careful for the will of 
God and a true worshipper of Yahweh, and consequently 





XI. 2-5 217 

righteous, v.', cp. Jer 23^'- : he is possessed of knowledge and 
fear of Yahweh : knowledge is here not knowledge of his craft, 
as in Ex 31®, an idea sufficiently covered by v. 2^, but knowledge 
of God which shows itself in care for the poor and weak : cp. 
Jer 22^®. 5E gives to the spirit of Yahweh the specialised sense 
of the spirit of prophecy — an interpretation which made the 
passage a convenient proof, though it is certainly not the 
ultimate source of the idea, of "the seven spirits which are 
before the throne of God " (Rev i*) ; for the idea, see Schottgen 
Horae Talmudicae ; for its origin, cp. Gunkel, Schopfung u, Chaos^ 
pp. 294-302; KAT^ 624 f. — The opening words of 3 J^ are 
obviously the result of dittography, or of the intrusion into 
the text of variants (see phil. n.). As they stand they are 
meaningless : literally translated they read, and his enjoyment of 
the scent of the fear of Yahweh, or, assuming an awkward sup- 
pression of the copula, and the scent that he enjoys is the fear 
of Yahweh, which is paraphrased by RV into " and his delight 
shall be in the fear of the Lord " ; i.e. himself God-fearing, 
he will delight to find the fear of God in others. — The real 
sense of the phrase used in fl^ is clear in Ex 30^, " Whosoever 
makes anything like it (this sweet incense), to enjoy the scent of it, 
shall be cut off from his people"; cp. Lv 26^^. Since the 
feasts and solemn assemblies of the Hebrews were thick with 
the fumes of sacrificial victims, it was quite appropriate to say, 
" I will not enjoy the scent of them (Am 5^1) " ; but " the fear 
of Yahweh," which is here made the object of the vb., was not 
a smell. Another meaning that has frequently been tortured 
out of the words is this, He will scent out the fear of God, re- 
cognise at once the God-fearing; but in this sense n^n takes 
the simple ace. (Job 39^^). 

3-5. The character of the king and his method of 
government, which will spring from his spiritual endowments 
(v.^). Here there is certainly no hint that the king will be a 
warrior : he reigns after war has been abolished (cp. 9*^). The 
king will possess something of the wisdom of God; he will 
know all that goes on in his country (cp. 2 S 14^^), and will be 
able like God (i S iS'^), or a prophet of God (i S 9^^), to probe 
things to the bottom (cp. Pr 25^), not being misled by deceitful 
appearances or lying words, but reading men's hearts. En 
49*, which may be a paraphrase of the v., gets near to the 



21 8 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

meaning — "He will judge the secret things, and no one will 
be able to utter a lying word before him." — 4. As the perversion 
of justice by which the poor and weak suffered was a constant 
feature in actual life (i^^- 23 io2), so it is natural that the 
securing of the rights of these classes becomes a permanent 
feature of the ideal ruler, cp. Ps 72. — The 7ieedy. . . the poor] lo^. 
1^ here has ''13^, the humble-minded, meek; but the parallel 
suggests that this is an error for ^^:v ; the two forms were liable 
to be confused: see Dr. DB iv. 20. — Of the earth] not required 
by the parallelism and perhaps an addition. It indicates the world- 
wide sway of the king (cp. 9^); for the rendering of the land* 
is improbable. — 4c. d. The Messianic age is not to be an age 
free from sin (cp. 6520 32^); the conception is thus entirely 
different from the later conception of heaven. But the wicked 
will not as now sin on with impunity: the king will make 
use of the divine power given to him, to smite such sin- 
ners dead with a word; cp. 9^^^ n., Ac 51-10. — The ruthless] 
reading py (13II n.) for pN (fl^(3r), earth or land. Earth 

cannot by itself mean the godless world (Del.). A real parallel 
to ytn, the wicked, of the next line is required, and such is pV ; 
cp. Job 1520 27!^: note also the connections in which pj; is 
used in 2920, Ps 3785^ Jer 1521. — The rod of his mouth] i.e. by a 
mere word: see above. Cp. the two-edged sword proceeding 
from the mouth in Rev i^*. More remote parallels to the idea 
of speech as a deadly, cutting instrument may be found in 
Jer 1 818, Ps 575(*>. — The breath of his lips] this also means 
speech; cp. Ps 33^ "the word of the Lord . . . the breath 
of his mouth." — The wicked] the Hebrew term is sing., but, of 
course, generic in meaning. Nevertheless it is interpreted indi- 
vidually of Antichrist by 3^, " He will kill the wicked Armillos," 
and by Paul in 2 Th 2^. — 5* The description of the king's char- 
acter closes with a figure derived from the custom of girding up 
the clothes before undertaking any active work : whatever he 
undertakes is undertaken in righteousness and faithfulness : cp. 
plV and ni^OK of man, Hab 2*, i S 262^, and of Yahweh as 
King, Ps 96^^. — It corresponds closely to the justice and right- 
eousness of 9^ 

6-8. The return of the golden age. — Nature will be 




♦Du., Che., Box. 




XI. 4-6 219 

transformed in the days of this king ; the golden age of the past 
will return ; wild beasts will no longer prey on one another, or 
be hurtful to men. The harmlessness of the wild beasts is 
clearly connected in v.'^*' with the expectation that in the 
age to come they will cease to be carnivorous and become 
graminivorous, as they, like man (ct. after the Flood, Gn 9^), were 
first created (Gn i^^); the same idea may be, but is much less 
clearly suggested by y.^% in a passage that depends on the 
present (65^^) ; this harmlessness of the beasts is rather ineptly 
heightened by making the serpent continue to eat dust, which 
was not a feature of the golden age, but part of the curse that fell 
on the serpent. For security from the present hurtful habits of 
wild beasts in pictures of the future, see Hos 2^0 (is) ; less genially 
expressed, Ezk 34^^'^^, cp. Lv 26^. The idea was wide-spread; 
Virgil's use of it (£c/. iv. 21 f., v. 60) is famous, and many other 
parallels are cited by Ges. i. 425 f. It is far less probable that 
Virgil is dependent on Isaiah than that both Hebrew prophet and 
Latin poet are common users of an ancient oriental idea; cp. 
Gressmann, 193 flf., and Conway's Essay in Mayor, Fowler and 
Conway's VirgiPs Messianic Eclogue. 

6a. b. Wolves will no longer devour lambs, nor leopards kids, 
but these strong and ferocious beasts will dwell together with the 
others and under their protection ! They will be gerim (14^ n. : 
cp. NumberSy p. 175) of these domestic animals. — 6c. The calf 
and the young lion\ against the analogy of 6a. b. 7a. c ^^^p^ y sa. bj^ j^ 
adds a second domestic beast, the fatling (i^^ n.) ; apart from ffi 
it would be fairly obvious that this third term has driven out, or 
is a corruption of, a verb : the young of oxen and lions will graze 
on the same pastures. Probably v.'^*' once formed the first line 
of this distich, which then resembled the next (vJ** ^) in mention- 
ing the two kinds — the wild and the domestic — in the first line, 
their young in the second. In this case v.**, which introduces 
the little child fearlessly driving young lions as well as calves, was 
supplied by some annotator, probably from a parallel poem. If 
these suppositions are correct, the marked parallelism of terms in 
the two lines of each distich, which characterises most of the 
poem in any case, would be maintained without break ; the one 
monostich (v.''^*') which at present stands isolated among the 
distichs would disappear ; and the poet would complete at once 
what he had to say of lions, instead of introducing the bears 



220 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

between the young lion and the lion. — 7* After the males (v.^an 
perhaps "^^ see last n.), the females — cow and she-bear — (m, fem., 
as 2 K 2^*). — Shall be companions to one another] as Lagarde per- 
ceived, one of the two D's at the beginning of n3''y"inn (cp. Pr 
22^*) has accidentally dropped out, leaving in f^ nrynn, shall feed, 
which by itself is pointless ; for, since the cow as well as the bear 
is mentioned, the point cannot be that the bear will graze instead 
of continuing to hunt (Di.). — 'jc = 65^5 ; this line should precede 
v.^*: see above. Like stalled animals such as the ox (i^), the 
lion will eat chopped straw (Gn 2425- 32^ Jg 19I9, i K 5^). — 8. 
Not only with one another, but with man will animals, now hurt- 
ful, be friends: the point is expressed by picturing the safety 
with which the weakest members of the human race, babies 
under two or three years of age, will approach with safety the 
most malignant of beasts (Gn 3^^), the serpent, and make its 
haunts their favourite playground. — The weaned child\ is the child 
just weaned (cp. 28', Ps 131^), i.e. two or three years old (2 Mac 
72'). — Shall play about] or take its delight : in any case the vb. 
suggests more than the mere fact of playing with immunity, 
it implies delight. Cp. the use of the vb. {WW)i or noun 
(D^yc^j;t5'), in 57 6612, jg^ ^i^o, Pr S^o^- : in Syriac the vb. is used 
of diverting oneself with hounds, with a ball, etc. — The hole] "in 
occurs in the pi. in 42^2, and (differently punctuated) in i S 14^^ of 
holes in the ground; in Zee 14^2 jt jg used of the socket of the 
eye. To infer from the last usage a reference here to the eye of 
the snake is precarious. — Asp . . . viper] it is impossible and, for 
the appreciation of this passage, unimportant to determine the 
precise species of serpents intended : see EBi. and DB^ s.v. 
Serpent. — The dwelling] a term with such a meaning as this is 
required by the parallel, but it is very questionable whether 
miXD, f^, which means place of lights meant also specifically 
lighthole (BDB), den (RV); Di., Du. take the word to mean 
the shining {thi?tg), i.e. the serpent's shining, glistening eye; 
unfortunately, if this meaning of miKD could be admitted, the 
parallel would still make it improbable that the poet is here 
making use of the observation that babies " readily stretch out 
their hands to shining objects." We should perhaps read mVD, 
hole (Che.), or HDiyo, lair (Beer). — Trip about] the translation 
rests on a conjectural emendation ; RV put for \\in is a con- 
jectural rendering of the very questionable text of fl^. 





XI. 1-8 221 

I. Ten, ytj, nxa] all three words "are first found in the later [OT] litera- 
ture" (Hackmann, p. 149); this is correct and not altogether insignificant, 
nan was in use in the Aramaic dialect of N. Syria before the age of Isaiah : 
cp. naaVn nen . . . nn n'a jnj, Zinjerli Inscriptions (Hadad), I. 3= Cooke, 
NSI 61' ; and it is frequent in later Aramaic. Kioin renders oar, sceptre (Ps 
45' ^). ot noD, staff (iixx 17'^ C) ; in Gn 30" % it is used of fresh cut poplar 

wands, and in Nu 17^^ C of the rod that was to bud. In Syriac f^i^Q^^ 

c 

means stuffy rod, sceptre ; in Assyr. hutartu means staff \ and Aari- has, as 

one of its meanings according to the l^amiis as cited by Lane, a branch of a 
tree, "ion (Pr 14' t) may have been more frequently in use with the Hebrews 
than the two occurrences suggest. — n«] possibly late (see last n.), but not due 

to Aramaic influence, for /^ii;j = n«=^»aJ (cp. Dr. § 178) does not appear 

to occur in Aramaic. — 2. mn' nNTi nyn] one of the rare instances of two 
co-ordinated construct cases depending on the same gen. (G-K. 128a; Kon. 
iii. 275^). But possibly even this is the result of textual error. V.^** is at 
present longer than **, and ffi renders mn' nKT by ey<rc/3c/a$ without the 
addition of irpis rhv KiJ/Jtoj/ (33*). The original text may have had hkt, and this 
may have been replaced by a correct marginal note explaining hkt to be nitv 
nin\ — 3. ni.T nKTD innm] a corrupt dittograph of nm* nKTi nyn nn, not (Beer) 
an error for '*'♦ tkt n n'jm (cp. Ezk 24"). Note that (!& renders mn' hkt 
by 0<J/Soi; Qtov in v.*, by tiffipeia in v.* ; v.** (Br may be the addition of a 
later hand. — 5. tiik . . Tijn] so read instead of Tim . , mm |^ (cp. 16' n.). 
The evidence of (& in favour of two diflFerent words is strong, for ^uvyiieip, 
idivni are frequently used for both njn, nm (and derivatives) ; here, where both 
words occur together, dXrjuivoif which nowhere else renders either word, is 
adopted in order to preserve the diflference. — 6. k'tdi] read ijn' : the strongest 
evidence is given above. After Kal X^wv=td31, (St continues dfia ^wTK-rid-fyrov- 
rat ; ffi also inserts between Kal tioax'i-pi-ov ( = Vain) and koI \iwv the words 
Kal ravpos ( = ? K'TDi in a different position from f§). — D3 JfW] (S d^et airrovs, 
Di. draws attention to the cstr. with 3 instead of the normal ace, and 
therefore renders a driver among them. — 8. mn n'] Doubtful, for note (a) 
vr\7\ would be the only occurrence in the poem of a pf. tense, and this 
remains suspicious in spite of Driver, § 147 ; {h) the length of the line ; [c) 
apart firom the possibility of its being found in the proper name *nn% nn, the 

root is unknown in Hebrew: in Arabic and Syriac (,^J^, pOl) it is 
frequent, and means to lead, direct ; yet no trace is to be found in either of 
these languages of the meaning to stretch out commonly attributed to it in 
this passage. The second of these objections is merely brought into relief, but 
not removed, by chopping v. *** into two lines at Uiyfix, for the whole of **• is 
parallel to ** : the halves are parallel neither to one another, nor to v.*». 
mfriT is an early error, and conceals a single word which was the imperfect 
tense of a verb parallel in sense to j/B'^en in v.^, possibly iTnn' (38** n.), shall 
trip about, with the movements natural to a child learning to walk. 



222 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



XI. 9-16. — The Return of the Dispersion to the Holy Land. 

This passage is not entirely poetical (Lowth.), nor even with the excep- 
tion of v.^^ from onnsD to the end (Du., Cond. ), but in part prose, as shown 
below. Che. treats w.^'^^- ^*, Box i<"- ^^, Marti "■", as prose. In w.^^-w ^^ 
dominant rhythm in 3 : 3 ; this is probably not continued in v.^^, though the 
V. has almost certainly suffered some textual corruption, leaving the exact 
nature of the rhythm an open question. Marti treats vv.^^'^^ as a poem of 
four strophes each containing two distichs : if this were right, the poem con- 
tained ahysteron proteron, see on v.^'. 

• No harm nor destruction shall be wrought throughout all 
my holy mountain : for the land will have become full of the 
knowledge of Yahweh as the waters cover the sea. ^^ And it 
shall come to pass in that day the root of Jesse which will be 
standing for a signal to the peoples — Jl 

Him shall the nations consult, 

And his resting-place shall be glorious. 

11 And it shall come to pass in that day the Lord shall again 
'raise' his hand to acquire the remnant of his people, which 
remains over, from Assyria and from Egypt and from Pathros and 
from Cush and from 'Elam and from Shin*ar and from Hamath 
and from the isles of the sea. 

^2 And he will raise a signal to the nations ; 
And he will gather the outcasts of Israel, 
And collect the dispersed (fem.) of Judah 
From the four corners of the earth. 





18 And jealousy of Ephraim shall cease, 

And the vexers of Judah shall be cut off; 
Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah, 
Nor shall Judah vex Ephraim. 

1* And they shall swoop down upon the shoulder of the 

Philistines, westward, 
Together shall they plunder the sons of the East ; 
Edom and Moab shall be brought under their dominion. 
And the children of Ammon shall be obedient to 

them. 



XI. 9-i6 223 

i'^ And Yahweh will * dry up ' the tongue of the sea of 

Egypt, 
And he will swing his hand over the River . . . 
And he will smite it into seven wadys, 

And make it (a way) to be trodden with sandals. 

^* And there shall be a highway for the remnant of his people 
who remain over from Assyria, as there was for Israel in the day 
that it came up from the land of Egypt. 

The well-marked and sustained rhythm and parallelism, which 
is so conspicuous in vv.^^^, is not continued in vv.®*^^. In 
yv.12-14 something similar reappears, and but for the fact that 
the tenor and spirit of these verses is different, and vv.^^^ 
sufficiently complete in themselves, w.^*^- ^^-i* might be regarded 
as a single poem which has been interpolated (vv.*'^^) and added 
to (vv.15^-) 

Vv.9-16 appear to be a collection of brief pieces, in part prose, 
in part poetry (see above). They are arranged in no very obvious 
order, but they deal with related subjects, viz. the future glory of 
Sion, and its attractiveness, as the home of true Religion, for 
the Gentiles, vv.*'- ; the restoration of the Jews at present dis- 
persed throughout the world, vv.^^*^ ^*'' ; the freedom of the future 
community from attack and internal dissensions (v.^^), and its 
success in establishing its authority over its neighbours, v.H 

It is very doubtful whether any part of this section is the work 
of Isaiah : most of it is clearly post-exilic, since it presupposes 
the Exile and the Dispersion of the Jews as existing facts. The 
argument for post-exilic date is well and fully stated by Che. in 
Introd. pp. 59-62. 

9 = 6525b + Hab 2I*. In 652* the subject of the vbs. are 
clearly the harmful beasts, and the fact that 65 ^^^^^ is a speech of 
Yahweh's immediately accounts for the first person in the phrase 
my holy mountain : in Hab. pKH clearly means the earth, and 
not merely the land of Judah. Here the first person is not 
accounted for by the context, and both the subject of the vbs. 
and the meaning of pNn are ambiguous. This closer cohesion 
of the two parts of the v. with their respective contexts in 6525 
and Hab 2^* is good reason for holding that their original homes 
are there, and that here they are quotations carrying out the 
general thought of what proceeds, viz. that there will be no more 



224 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

harm and destruction, but not harmonising closely either with 
thought or structure of the passage. If, now, v.^ is the original 
continuation of vv.^"^, those verses must be later than Hab. and 
65^5; so, e.g.^ Hackm. pp. 136-138, 146; but v.^ is rhythmically 
distinguished, and should be separated from vv.^^^ So long as 
ch. II in its entirety was referred to Isaiah, it was naturally 
assumed, rather than critically maintained, that v.^ was the source 
whence two later writers derived their words. I 

Owing to the ambiguities referred to above, the exact point 
which the annotator, who combined two quotations and inserted 
them here, wished to make is not clear : possibly that Yahweh's 
territory will no longer suffer from the nations of the world, for the 
whole earth will have come to know that Yahweh is Yahweh, and 
that His people are not to be molested with impunity, a line of 
thought found in Ezk 39^^^'^^ ; but the modification of Habakkuk's 
phrase, " the knowledge of the glory of Yahweh " (cp. Is 66i^^-) to 
the knowledge of Yahweh, does not favour this. More probably we 
should abandon the meaning earth, which p&iii has in Hab., and 
seek another interpretation of the subjects of the vbs. They shall 
not hurt, etc., obviously cannot refer to the weaned child and the 
suckling, the last mentioned subjects in vv.^^^, nor, since they 
are incapable of the knowledge of Yahweh, to the wild beasts of 
vv.^*^ That the thought passes far back to attach itself only to 
the ruthless and the wicked men of v.* is altogether improbable : 
the subjects are best taken in the most indefinite way — no one 
shall hurt, no hurt shall be done by man, for the knowledge of 
Yahweh, which restrains from such conduct, will prevail throughout 
the land. — All my holy mountain^ this may mean here the entire 
Holy Land, for this was a mountain country, and, as belonging to 
Yahweh, holy ; all is then explained, and the phrase is co-extensive 
with the land in the next sentence. Naturally, of course, 
Yahweh's "holy mountain," a phrase never used by Isaiah, is 
Mount Sion. — As the waters cover the sea"] the comparison would 
most naturally suggest itself to one who was thinking of the whole 
earth (Hab.). — 10. The capital of the monarchy of the restored 
Jewish community will be famous, and the nations of the world 
will come and consult the king as an organ of the revelation of 
the one true God ; cp. 2^** : but here prominence is given to the 
vehicle of Yahweh's Revelation ; there the nations are said to 
obtain instruction from Yahweh Himself. — The root of /esse] 




^ 




XI. lo, II 225 

i.e. the new shoot from the old root (cp. v.^), root being used in 
the same sense as in 53^. — Which will be standing] the part here 
is in any case awkward, but the future sense (ST) is preferable to 
the present (U, RV). The pf. tense would be stylistically prefer- 
able, but unsuitable in the context. — As a signal to the peoples'] 
cp. 5^^ (n.) : also 49^*. That a root should stand as a signal, or 
banner, is an extraordinary combination of figures; root no 
doubt, as a technical term, might at once suggest a person, 
the Messianic king ; cp. " my servant the Shoot," Zee 3^ ; but 
it remains extraordinary that a person stands like a signal or 
banner (ct. v.^^). Possibly here, as in v.* the writer is citing 
phrases from different places without welding them well together. 
— Him shall the nations consult] so as to obtain oracles (S^^), or 
religious instruction (cp. 2^), from him. — And his resting-place 
shall be glorious] glorious things will be spoken of Sion, the city 
of Yahweh, the resting-place (cp. e.g. Dt 12*, i K S^^) of His 
Messiah and the birthplace of the nations into a new life (cp. 
Ps 87) ; or, perhaps, we might compare 4^ nm^O is used also 
of Yahweh's abode in the midst of His people (Ps 95" 132^*). 
U renders " his sepulchre " ; this reflects an exegesis which saw in 
the " signal " of the first part of the v. the Cross ; it is not due 
to an etymology based on the use of the vb. m3 in 57*. 

II. The Lord will re-possess himself of the survivors of his 
people now scattered over the known world. The style is 
awkward and some details are ambiguous; but the general 
impression of a wide dispersion of the Jews as an existing fact is 
too strongly and clearly conveyed for the passage to be pre-exilic : 
cp. Zee io^"^2^ — Th£ Lord shall again * raise^ his hand to acquire 
the remnant of his people] taken strictly, this should mean that the 
remnant has already once been acquired, to wit, when Yahweh 
brought back some of the exiled Jews from Babylon. But 
possibly the style is loose, and all that the writer means is that 
there will be a second acquisition : at the Exodus, Yahweh 
acquired (^yi \^^^ cp. Ps 74^) a whole people; He is now going 
to acquire what remains of His people by gathering the exiled 
Jews from all quarters of the earth. — From Assyria^ etc.] either 
the clauses define from whom the acquisition is to be made, in 
which case the clause which remains over is otiose ; or there 
is an awkward breviloquence — the remnant . . . which remains 
over of (those who were in) Assyria^ etc. — Assyria, which as in 
VOL. I. — 15 



226 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

Ezr 6^* (cp. I ©20 n.) may refer to the Persian Empire as the 
contemporary occupant of the Tigris-Euphrates valley which 
formerly belonged to Assyria, and Egypt are mentioned first as 
being the centres of the two great civilisations of the Ancient 
World. After these two wide terms follow (i) two specific districts 
of the Nile valley, Pathros and Cush : Pathros is upper Egypt : 
the Egyptian P-to-res meant South Land, and more particularly, 
perhaps, the country extending from a few miles S. of Memphis 
to Syene (Assouan) at the First Cataract;* Cush (cp. iS^ n.) is 
Ethiopia, and extended southwards from the First Cataract ; (2) 
two specific districts of the Tigris-Euphrates basins, Elam^ lying 
to the E. of the lower Tigris (21^ n.), and Shinar (Gn ii^, Jos 
7^^, Zee 5^^, Dn i^), i.e. Babylonia, the district in which the 
city of Babylon and also Erech, Accad, and Calneh were situated 
(Gn 10^*^) ; (3) Ifamath on the Orontes (10^ n.), for which Lag., 
deeming the reference to a city so relatively near Judah improb- 
able, proposed to substitute a more remote district, and the isles, 
or coastlandSy of the Mediterranean sea. The last term, never 
used by Isaiah, is a favourite with the Deutero-Isaiah, who thereby 
indicates his far western horizon. W. Max Miiller {DB — 
Pathros) takes a different view of the relation of the terms 
Egypt, Pathros, and Cush : he would give to Egypt here the 
limited sense of lower Egypt ; then the three terms together 
cover the Nile valley. So Esar-haddon describes himself as king 
of the kings of Musur, Paturisi, and Ku-si. Some f hold that 
from Pathros to the end of the v. is a subsequent addition. (& 
has a rather different list. 

12. The thought that Yahweh will gather home His widely 
scattered people, expressed in prose and with geographical partic- 
ularity in v.^^, is here expressed in poetry with poetical brevity 
and expressiveness. The Dispersion will be brought ha-ckfrom 
the four corners of the earth (Ezk 7^, Job 37^); Yahweh will raise 
a signal {^^ n.), in response to which the nations will bring home 
the exiled people (49^2 6620), and indeed the whole of it, Israel 
as well as Judah, males (^mj) and females (niVD3) alike (cp. 49^2 
60*). — 13. Israel, now called Ephraim (cp. 9^), andjudah, thus 
restored (v. ^2^, will no more be subject to the envy and opposi- 
tion of the nations, nor will the internal feuds which marked 

* W. Max Miiller, in DB iii. 693. 

t Sta., Du., Cond. j but not Di., Che., Marti. 




XI. i2-i6 227 

the actual history of Yahweh's people (cp. 9^0 (21))^ be renewed in 
the age to come. For the future unity of Israel and Judah, see 
Ezk 37^^^* and Hos 2^ (i^^); cp. "unto David their king" in 
Hos 3^ ; for the cessation of outward hostilities, cp. e.g. 9** ^^. 
—Jealousy of Ephraim . . , the vexers of JudaK\ D'*"1D« nK3p 
may, of course, mean (G-K. 128^, 135^) either the jealousy 
which Ephraim feels, or the jealousy of which Ephraim is the 
object (cp. Ezk 35^^) ; and r\'y\\\'^ mv either those who had op- 
posed or oppressed Judah, or those in and of Judah who are 
at enmity with another country (RV marg.). But to treat the 
genitives as subjective gives an unsatisfactory antithesis : — 
Ephraimite sentiment will change, but in Judah opposition to 
Ephraim will only be brought to an end by an annihilation of 
those who will still cherish enmity towards Ephraim. The two 
distichs of v.^^ speak of different things ; consequently the second 
is not superfluous, and there is no reason for omitting it with 
Du., Che., al. — 14. Re-united (v.^^), Yahweh's people will, as of 
old under David, exercise dominion over the whole of Palestine, 
East and West of Jordan; cp. Am 9^^-, also Ps 608-10(9-"). — 
They shall swoop] cp. Hab i® ft^V). — The shoulder of the 
Philistines] the hills between the maritime plain and the Judaean 
highlands which formed a debatable ground between Judah and 
Philistia. For the idiom, cp. "the shoulder of the sea of 
Chinnereth"(Nu 34II), "the shoulder of Moab" (Ezk 259).— 
The sons of the East] the nomadic tribes of the desert to the E. 
of trans-Jordanic Palestine; cp. Jer 4928^., Jg (fi, — Shall be 
brought under their dominion] lit. are the outstretching of their 
handf i.e. that which their hand stretches out to take possession 
of: cp. Ex 227.io(8.ii)._i5^ l5. Cp. Zee iqIO*^-. The second 
Exodus (v.i^), in which the Remnant will depart as easily from 
Assyria as Israel of old from Egypt (v.^^), would in reality be the 
prelude to the unmolested life and victorious undertakings of the 
restored exiles (v.^^^-). The present connection, or the order, of 
vv.18-16 is perhaps not the original. — Will dry up] so ffi ( = nnnm, 
cp. 50^) : J^ D^inm, will ban, devote. — The tongue of the sea of 
Egypt] the Red Sea; tongue is also used for a tongue-shaped 
piece of water in Jos 1$^'^ iS^*. — He will swing his hand] 1082 n., 
19!^ — The River] probably the Euphrates (7^0 n.); possibly the 
Nile (cp. "in3 without the art. in 19^). — With the glowing heat of 
his breath] or wind (see phil. n.). The clause, if the rendering 



228 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

at all represents its meaning, goes oddly with he shall swing %zs 
hand', perhaps it is a gloss on the previous line (Du., al.). — 
The last part of the v. also is inadequately explained : it is 
supposed to mean that the Euphrates will be smitten into 
" seven (shallow) streams " (Che. SBOT), so that the returning 
exiles may easily wade over. But why wear sandals to wade ? 
Why seven streams? And would not this miracle be anti- 
climactic after the complete drying up of the Egyptian sea? 
Others think of waterless wadys over which the exiles pass in 
sandals, i.e, dry-shod (Rashi, Ki.). The f)n3, wady^ is not speci- 
fically a shallow stream ; it may be deep and strong enough to 
carry away those who attempt to cross it (Jg 5^1, cp. Ezk 47^), 
and at other times it dried up completely (i K 17^). — 16. A 
highway] for the returning exiles : cp. 40^, the source (Du.) 
rather than an echo (Di.) of this v. 

9. r[^'\'] cp. 28', Ex 2* ; ct. nyn, ii^ On the ace. **' nw, see G-K. ii$d^ 
E renders inn* nx r\]n by *"'i KnSm n' j;nD'?='"' 133 nx nynS, Hab 2". 
Houb.,Cond. read '^»nKTi nyi (cp. v."). — d'03D d*^ d'dd] "a unique form of 
expression " with more analogy in Arabic than Hebrew : the nearest parallel 
in Hebrew is Nu lo^" (P) ; remote parallels are 14^, Nu 25^* (P), Dt 4^ ; Dr. 
§ 13s (7) Obs.— II. 'n«] many MSS read nw\— n'jr] (& rod dei^ai; read 
riN^ (Marti). If |§ be retained, it is necessary to assume an ellipse of an 
infinitive dependent on 1*01* and governing n\ — 12. 'nnj] for the omission 
of daghesh in the t, see G-K. 20m. The Niph. part, of ma is also used of 
banished, exiled Hebrews in 27^' 56^ Mic 4' (Zeph 3"), Dt 30* (Neh i*). — 
14. »]n|] MT is due to erroneous interpretation : cp. W, and see Dr. § 190, 
Obs. ; the cstr. is ^n^, which should be read here. — 15. The four lines are 
unequal. The text may have suffered considerably. — irm D'ya] D'y is a Att. Xey. 

In Arabic aIjJ means io be cloudy ^ to become thirsty y to be affected with 

internal heat (see Lane) ; but this does not make it very probable that D'yn 
inn is a rare synonym for ifJK pin^, and means in the heat of his spirit ^ still 
less that it means in the glowing heat of his wind. Ges. ( Thes. ), al. read 
inn Dsy3 (cp. Ex 14**) ; whether (!& xyeiJ/xart /Stafy (cp. U in fortitudine 
spiritus sui) read this, or guesed at the meaning of |^, is uncertain — 16. 
"WHD -nvHD nKB" nrx . . . nKts'] this persistent alliteration may have been 
intended : there is nothing like it in Isa. — nwKD] (& iv AlyOm-ip, 



XII. — Songs of Deliverance : to be sung on the occasion of the New 

Exodus {11'^^'^^). 

The chapter consists of two songs, (a) vv.^*^, (d) vv.**^, each 
of which is provided with an introductory formula, resembling 




XI. 9-1 6 AND XII. 229 

those which introduce similar songs (25* 26^ 27^, cp. 14^^) in 
chs. 24-27 ; and (c) a prophetic promise (v.*). 

Each song written for the New Exodus (ii^^-^*) is suitably 
enough reminiscent of the song (Ex 15^'^^) which, according to 
the tradition already current in the writer's age, had been sung 
by Moses and the children of Israel on the occasion of the First 
Exodus; with v.**^<* cp. Ex 15**-^; with v.*^. Ex 15I. 

The first song expresses Israel's gratitude that though 
Yahweh had been angry (cp. lo'^), His anger had turned away 
(io25), and He had comforted His people (cp. 40^-), delivering 
them and restoring them to their land, and to an unmolested (v. 2^) 
and glorious life there (ch. 11). The second song calls for the 
proclamation to the nations of the might of Yahweh displayed 
in the restoration of His people, and (v.^) for §ion to cry out 
joyously at the presence in her midst of her great and Holy God. 

It thus seems obvious that the chapter was written to occupy 
its present position after a collection of prophecies that spoke of 
Yahweh's anger with His people, but concluded with an account 
of the New Exodus. Whether this collection of prophecies was 
io*-ii^^ only or chs. i-n, ch. 12, being the sequel to ii^^^-^*, is 
no earlier than that passage, and, therefore, post-exilic. 

The argument as to date just stated is the briefest, and it is sufficient. 
But the chapter, even if it be regarded by itself and independently of its 
relation to what precedes, is clearly post-exilic. Ew. in 1840 was the first to 
detect that it was not Isaiah's: "Words, figures, terms of expression, yes, 
and the entire contents and spirit, are not Isaiah's : and this is so clear that 
further proof would be superfluous. . . . The colour and character of the 
passage clearly refer it to the times soon after chs. 40-66 ; and an old scribe or 
reader who found with great delight a fulfilment of the words of ii^"'* in the 
release from the Babylonian exile may at that time have enlarged Isaiah's 
oracle with these exultant words" {Propheten des AB^^ i. 459, cp. pp. 77 f.). 
Ew.'s discovery remained for some time unfruitful ; but his conclusion was 
emphatically endorsed by Lag. in 1878 (Semiticay i.), and has since then been 
widely admitted: see Stade {ZATIV, 1883, p. i6), Kuenen {Ottd.^iu 57), 
Francis Brown {JBLit.y 1890, pp. 128, 131), Di., Du., Kon. {Einleitung, 
319), Che. {Introd. 57-59), G. A. Smith (in Hastings' DB), Marti; cp., less 
decisively, Dr. in ZOT* ; and for a defence of Isaiah's authorship, see W. H. 
Cobb, viiJBLit., 1891, pp. 131-143. A date very considerably later than the 
Exile seems more probable than that suggested by Ew. in view of the relation 
of the poem to late Psalms. ** In scope and expression, in its conceptions 
and its hopes, it is closely allied to the late Psalms, such as 118, 138, 145 : 
cp. also 91-100, 107, III" (Brown). 

Rhythm. — In w.**-, balanced dislichs — 3 : 3 ; in *'• the distichs are all 



230 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 




balanced, but of different length : the first distich in v.* is 2 : 2, the seconc 
3:3; those in vv.^** are 4 : 4, each line being divided by a caesura into 2 : 2. 

1 And thou shalt say in that day : — 

^ I give thanks to thee, Yahweh, for thou wast angry with 

me, 
*And' thine anger turned away and thou comfortedst 

me. 

2 Behold, God is my salvation, 

I trust and dread not; 
For my strength and *my' song is Yah, 
And he has become my salvation. 

^ And ye shall draw water with joy out of the fountains of 
salvation, * and ye shall say in that day : — 
Give thanks to Yahweh, 

Invoke his name; 
Make known among the people his deeds, 
Make mention that his name is exalted. 
^ Make melody to Yahweh, for he hath wrought proudly ; 

Let this be known throughout the whole earth. 
* Give a shrill cry, give a ringing cry, O inhabitress of Sion 
For great in thy midst is the Holy One of Israel. 




I. Thou shalt 5ay'\ Israel, who speaks in the first pers. sing. 
in the following poem, as so often in the Psalter, is here addressed. 
Ct. the distributive pi. of v.* (5^). — I give thee thanks] the word 
(min) occurs also in v.^ 25^ 3818- ^^ and nowhere else in the Book of 
Isaiah: it occurs in Gn 29^^, very frequently in the Psalter, and 
elsewhere most frequently in Chron. ; cp. Driver, Parallel Psalter, 
pp. 461 f. Israel gives thanks because Yahweh's anger had not 
been drawn out to all generations (cp. Ps 85^), but had turned 
away (ct. 9II etc.). The vb. c^jx is used here only in the Book of 
Isaiah ; other occurrences of it are worth comparing in illustra- 
tion of the similarity in tone and temper of this Psalm and late 
liturgical pieces : see Ps 60^ 79^ 85^, i K 8^^ (with the following 
verses). — And thine anger tiirtied away\ it is best to assume a 
slight mutilation of the text (see phil. n.) : let thine anger turn 
away (RVmarg.) is a correct rendering of |^, but leaves Yahweh's 
anger as the sole ground for giving thanks, which is highly 
improbable.-iG^d?^] 7X without the art. absolutely of the one 



H 




XII. 1-6 231 

true God, as in Deutero-Isaiah (40^^ 45^*) and Psalms (e.g. 
16I i7« 106"). Cp. "with us is God " (El) in 2fi' 10, and perhaps 
"the stars of God (El)" in 14^^^ but the predicative use in 31^ 
is, of course, different, as also are the remaining occurrences of 
h^ in 1-39, viz. 9^= lo^^ (El Gibbor) and 5^^ (with the art). — 
2C. d = Ex 1 52, which is also used in Ps 11 8^* : see above. — And 
dread not] 19^^ n. — Yakwek] is inserted in J^ after Yah (cp. 26*), 
but it is absent from ffi and from Ex 15^, and it overloads the 
line. — 3. The restored Israelites will rejoice as they draw on the 
unfailing fountain of Yahweh's grace ; cp. 55^, Jer 33^0'- ; for the 
figure of Yahweh as a fountain or cistern, see Jer 2^^ 17^^, cp. Ps 
^6^^ 87^. — 4. And ye] (!K And thou ; cf. v.^. — 4a. b. C = Ps 105^. — 
4d. Cp. Ps 148^8 : ct. "Yahweh (not his name, as here) is exalted," 
217. — 5. Cp. Ex. 15^^ — Make melody to] this word ("IDT) is very 
characteristic of the Psalter, and occurs outside it only here 
and in Jg 5^ — He hath wrought proudly] niW nt^y : in Ex 
15I rm Tm\ cf. Ps 93I IJ'nij nis: . . . niiT; niW is similarly 

used in 26^®, but with different nuances by Isaiah (9^^ 28^). — 
Let this be known] this with backward reference to the fact of 
God's proud and majestic achievements. — 6. Give a shrill cry] 
so 24I* 54I, Jer 31'^ — all, as here, synonymous with pi: in lo^^^ 
i)nv has a different force. — Inhabitress of Sion] Jer 51^*^ f: cp. 
"inhabitress of Shaphir," "of Maroth," "of Lachish," Mic i". 
What is meant is the entire population of the city. — For great in 
thy midst] cp. " Great is Yahweh ... in the city of our God," 
Ps 482 0) ; cp. Ps g^^.—The Holy One of Israel] this favourite 
term of Isaiah's and the Deutero-Isaiah's is used by this Psalmist 
in common with two or three other Psalmists: see Ps 71^ 78*1 
89I9. 

I, 'ipn^i ^£5K a^;] MT clearly takes the vbs. as jussives : cp. the fut. of 
5n, "When I shall have returned to thy Law thy anger will turn away from 
me and thou wilt have pity on me " ; but f& {koX dir^cTT/jc^as rbv 0v/jl6v <rov 
Kal ^\iT](rds /le), 5 = ^f^l (Hiph. ; cp. Ps 78^, Job 9^* •). Read, 'JOnjBi ibn 3;fJn. 
Marti prefers to read a«?, assuming a dittography of ' in |§ ; but the coupling . 
of the vbs. {(&) is far more probable, since the real reason ('3) of Ttik is first 
reached in the last two (cp. 5*). This point also weighs against the theory 
that the text is sound and ^tff" a *' poetically shortened " form for a^','!, a theory 
that is precariously supported by reference to Hos 6* (note preceding 1) and 
Ps 18" (ct. 2 S 22^2) . cp. Dr. § 174.— 2. n' man] mon has suffered the loss 
of' before .t. — 3. 'Jiyi^p for the two pathahs, cp. ni^y: from nbji;! ; in i K 18' 
the alternative form 'j^yj? occurs. — 5. nyn'c] K«tib, Pual part. ; K*r^ ny?D, 



232 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

Hoph. part. The Pual part, elsewhere means acquaintance. The IC're (Lv 
4^- ^t) is preferable, the part, being gerundial (G-K. Ii6^); but perhaps 
lyYin (ffi) was the original reading ; cp. the 1| noi and v.*. 



XIII.-XXIII. — Prophecies mainly devoted to Foreign Nations, 

This main section of the Book of Isaiah falls into the follow- 
ing subsections : — The Oracle of Babylon, 13^-1428; The Fall of 
Assyria, 1424-27; of Philistia, 1429-32; The Oracle of Moab, i5f.; 
The Oracle of Damascus (and Ephraim), 1 7^"^^ ; The Tumult of 
many Nations, 17^2-14. The Land beyond the rivers of Cush, 18; 
The Oracle of Egypt, 19; Isaiah a sign against Egypt and 
Ethiopia, 20 ; The Oracle of "the Wilderness of the Sea," 21^*1**; 
The Oracle of Dumah, 2iii^-; The Oracle "In Arabia," 21I3-I6; 
The Oracle of the Valley of Vision, 22'-^'^; The Fate of Shebna, 
2 216-25; The Oracle of Tyre, 23. 

The nine, or (including 1429-32) ten, "oracles," either in whole 
or in part, not improbably at one time formed by themselves an 
anonymous " Book of Oracles " ; to these the sections not defined 
as oracles were in that case subsequently added ; the addition of 
the words " which Isaiah the son of 'Amos saw " to the title of 
the first section (13^), may indicate that the whole of the enlarged 
work came to be attributed to Isaiah : see, further, Introduction 
§§33f. 





XIII. i-XIV. 2Z.— Babylon. 



The " Oracle of Babylon " consists of {a) a poem predicting 
the capture of Babylon, " the beauty of kingdoms," by the Medes, 
and the complete and permanent desolation of the site of the 
city, 132-22; (^) a section, part poetry, part prose, explaining that 
the Fall of Babylon will be the prelude to Yahweh's restoration 
of the Israelites to their land, and the subjection to them there 
of those who at present exact from them the hard service of 
captives, 14^"^; possibly 13220.(1 belongs to this section: see 
Geiger, Urschrift, p. 353 ; (r) a song of triumph over a cruel and 
arrogant tyrant who had conquered and held in subjection the 
entire world, 14*^-21 ; according to section (b) this king was a 
king of Babylon (14^*); {d) a prose re-statement of the theme 
of {a) — Yahweh is about to exterminate the Babylonians and 
make the site of the city desolate ; {d) also appears to refer to {c). 



m 



XIII. i-xiv. 23 233 

Whoever is answerable for the final form of the oracle quite 
clearly, whether correctly or not, understood the whole to refer 
to Babylon. The poem in ch. 13 was written at a time when 
Babylon was the commanding city of the entire world (13^^), and 
when it was natural to expect that her supremacy, if wrested 
from her at all, would be wrested by the Medes (13^^); i.e. it 
was written at some time after the Fall of Nineveh in c. 606 b.c., 
but before the actual Fall of Babylon in 538 b.c. ; not later than 
538, for the fate of Babylon is described in 1319-22 prophetically, 
not ex eventu ; the desolation of the site of the city was by no 
means what the writer depicts. A date about, or a little before, 
550 B.C. best meets the case (see below on 13^^). 

Clearly, then, the oracle of Babylon is no earlier than the 
Exile: it is probably later, for 141-** (22f.) js post-exilic rather 
than exilic; Babylon to the writer of these verses may be a 
symbolic name for all those that oppress Israel; the Israelites 
who are to be restored are to come from many quarters (see 
141-^). The song of triumph (14*'^^) judged by itself less clearly 
reveals its date (see below) ; but it is fairly safe to infer, if merely 
from the striking difference in style, that it is not the work of the 
author of i4^-^. 

We may then attribute the oracle in its present form to a 
post-exilic editor who wrote 14^*** to connect two poems (132-22 
and 14*^*21) which he understood, and in the case of the first at 
least correctly, to refer to the Fall of Babylon. He, too, may 
have added 1422^-, and perhaps have introduced some modifica- 
tions into 132-22. 

For some two thousand years and more the singularly unfortimate guess 
of some editor who thought that the entire oracle was a prophecy of Isaiah's 
(13^) led to the unquestioning acceptance of Isaiah's authorship of 13^-14^. 
The impossibility of this was perceived by Eichhom, who, however, though 
he correctly perceived the terminus a qu*^ failed to see that ch. 13 at least 
was written before the end of the Exile. He treated the entire oracle as 
post-exilic. Ges. correctly dated ch. 13 in the Exile, and with him, as with 
most succeeding scholars till Du., this was allowed to determine the date 
of the entire section. Bredenkamp, who maintained Isaiah's authorship of 
ch. 13, but saw in i4**'-2® a poem on the fall of Nebuchadnezzar, assigned 
14"* to a third hand. Rejected by Di. as "apologetische Halbheit," this 
correct perception of difference was utilised by Du., who treated I4^-*^ as a 
post-exilic editor's link connecting 132-22 (to ^hich he thought 1422*' might 
also belong) and i4*''-2^, the two poems being possibly, but not necessarily, the 
work of the same author. The analysis has been accepted by Che,, M^rti, 




234 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

and others ; but with less readiness to admit that the two poems may be the 
work of the same hand, or that ijs^^- may belong to i^'^. "There are such 
differences in the imaginative pictures of the judgment in the two works, and 
there is so much more poetic heat in the ode than in the prophecy, that the 
conjecture (already offered in PI \. 21) of a twofold authorship is a reason- 
able one " (Che. Introd. p. 75). 

But once i^^'"^^ is isolated, the date of it cannot be determined so clearly 
or so closely as the date of 132-22. and there have been attempts of late to 
show that it is earlier and, indeed, the work of Isaiah ; see below, pp. 251 f. 

That the section 13^-1422 cannot in its entirety be the work of Isaiah 
follows so obviously from the historical situation presupposed in 13^'^^, that 
it need not be more elaborately proved here. For such proof, see, e.g..^ Ges., 
Di., Che. Introd. 67 ff. For defences of Isaiah's authorship, see Uhland, 
Vat. Jes. cap. xiii. . . . prophet ae Jesaiae vindicatum (Tubingen, 1798), the 
commentary of Or. , and earlier editions of Del. 

XIII. I. Title. — The oracle of] i.e. concerning Babylon ; 

cp. 15^ 17^ 19^ 21^-11 22^ 23I, Nah i^ NK^, oracle^ or utterance^ 

is a noun derived from the vb. KK'a used as in t^ (n.) 42^. — 

Which Isaiah saw] i.e. received by revelation : cp. i^ n., 2K See 

further on this title, Introduction, §§ 28 ff. 



XIII. 2-22. — The coming Destruction of Babylon. 

The dominant rhythm in vv.^"® is 3 : 2, in w.^-^ it is 3 : 3. In vv.^"^ 
there are 12 to 14 distichs, most of which are obviously 3:2; at most two are 
3 : 3, and even these were probably 3 : 2, for in v. 2*" makkeph Sp'ionn (cp. 
II onKB') ; and in v.'*' truN may be intrusive (see n. below). Of some 25 
distichs in vv.^"^ most are clearly 3 : 3 ; in MT only one (v.""* *») is 3 : 2, 
though by makkephing vh with the vb. in w.^'**'' 22d two further 3 : 2 distichs 
could be obtained. On the other hand, if the makkeph be omitted after ^yi, 
even v.*^** ^ is 3 : 3, not 3 : 2. 

By omitting a word from the second line of several distichs (viz. in 
yy 9d. lid. 12b. i4dj^ ^y assuming the loss of two words after v.*^* and also after 
v.^^'', by treating v.^* as two distichs (** Langverse "), and by other hazardous 
treatments of the text and improbable line divisions, Du. nearly succeeds in 
reducing the whole of vv.2-22 |.q ^hat he, and after him Marti, Box, and 
Whitehouse, claim that it was — 42 distichs 3 : 2. Box is less consistent than 
Du. in his reconstruction, but still boldly claims that the whole is in the 
rhythm of the Hebrew dirge. But if the 5 successive distichs in vv.^** and 
the 6 successive distichs in vv.^^'^'^^ are, as they stand in |^ (and Box does not 
emend), in the same rhythm, then there is no such thing as distinction of 
rhythm in Hebrew. Vv.^'* are in echoing, vv.^^''"^* in balanced rhythm. 

In both parts of the chapter there are irregularities, i.e. distichs neither 
3 : 2 nor 3:3; but at least some of these are due to textual corruption ; see 
notes on vv,'* •• '• *• ^^- '^. Note, further, that vv.'-'- 2"a- ^ were 2 : 3 unless a 



XIII. 2-22 235 

word II Din has dropped out after ipT in v." and nip in v.^''* (see n.) ; v."** '• 
contains in all only 4 accents ; ^'*'' * is 2 : 2 (balanced, not echoing). 

The strophic structure, if such was intended, is not clear, or, if clear, 
irregular. In the translation, spaces are left where there seems to be a larger 
pause in the sense. Du., followed by Box, distributes his hypothetical 42 
long lines into six strophes each containing exactly seven lines, and ending 
respectively with w.** ^ ^^' ^^ ^^' ^, 

* " On a bare hill raise the signal, 

Cry aloud to them; 
Wave the hand that they may enter 
Through the gates of the nobles. 

* (For) 'tis I have charged * to (execute) my anger * 

[The host of] my consecrated ones, 
Yea, I have summoned my warriors, 
My proudly exultant ones." 

* Hark ! a tumult on the mountains 

As of much people ; 
Hark ! the din of kingdoms, 

Of nations assembled. 
Yahweh of Hosts is mustering 

The host of battle. 

* They are coming from a land afar off, 

From the end of heaven — 
Yahweh and the instruments of his indignation. 
To ruin all the earth. 

* Howl ! for the day of Yahweh is near, 

As devastation from the Almighty it cometh. 
"^ Therefore all hands will hang slack. 
And every heart of man faint. 

* And . . . will be dismayed . , . 

• •••••• 

They shall be seized with pangs and pains. 

As a travailing woman shall they writhe; 
They shall look at one another in amazement. 

Their faces will be aflame. 

* Behold the day of Yahwch cometh, 

Cruel with wrath and heat of anger, 
To make the earth a desolation, 

And to destroy the sinners thereof from it. 



236 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



^0 For the stars of heaven and its Orions 
Shall not give their light; 
The sun is dark when it rises, 

And the moon shall not let its light shine. 

^^ "And I will punish the world for 'its' evil, 
And the wicked for their iniquity ; 
And I will make the pride of the presumptuous cease. 
And the haughtiness of the awe-inspiring will I bring 

low. 
^2 I will make mortals more rare than fine gold. 
And men than gold of Ophir." 

^3 Therefore the heavens * will tremble,* 
And the earth quake out of its place, 
Through the wrath of Yahweh of Hosts, 
And in the day of the heat of his anger. 

^* And it shall come to pass, as a hunted gazelle, 

And as a flock with none to gather it. 
They shall turn every one to his people. 

And they shall flee every one to his land. 
1^ Every one that is found shall be thrust through. 

And every one that is caught shall fall by the sword. 
1^ Their children shall be dashed in pieces in their sight, 

Their houses shall be spoiled and their wives ravished 



^'' *' Behold I am stirring up 
Against them the Medes, 
Who take no account of silver, 
And in gold find no delight. 

18 .... 



m 



They have no compassion on the fruit of the womb. 
Nor doth their eye look pityingly on children. 



^' And Babylon the beauty of kingdoms. 
The glorious pride of the Chaldaeans, 
Shall be as when God overthrew 
Sodom and Gomorrah. 



XIII. 2-22 237 

2® It shall be uninhabited for ever, 

It shall be undwelt in to all generations : 
The Arab shall not pitch tent there, 
Nor shepherds fold (their flocks) there. 
*^ But yelpers (?) shall make their lair there, 
And their houses shall be full of shriekers ; 
And there shall ostriches dwell, 
And satyrs shall dance there. 
22 And howling beasts shall sing in the mansions thereof, 
And jackals in the delightful palaces. 
Its time is nearly come. 
And its days shall not be prolonged. 

The poem describes the summoning of Yahweh's warriors, 
vv.*'*, their assembling and advance, vv>^-, and the terror 
of the people against whom they march, w.^^^ ; the effect 
on Heaven and earth, vv.^^^^ ; the flight of the foreign people 
in the threatened city to their own lands and the slaughter 
of those that remain, w.^^-^^. In v.^*^ it is first stated that it 
is the Medes who are to be Yahweh's warriors, and in v.^® that 
Babylon is the threatened city. The poem closes with a 
description of the complete and eternal desolation of the site of 
Babylon. 

The poem is itself, substantially as it stands, or it rests upon 
a poem which was, the work of a Jew living during the Exile, 
watching the movements of the Medes, and anticipating that the 
proud city and empire of Babylon would be overthrown by them ; 
it must have been written about 550 b.c. ; see above, p. 233, and 
on v.^^. 

Two characteristics of the section, one of its form and one 
of its substance, suggest that the original poem may have 
received additions and been subject to modifications beyond 
those (of which there are many) that are due to ordinary 
processes of textual corruption. Firstly, there is a clearly 
marked change in the dominant rhythm which formally 
distinguishes vv.^'^ from w.®-22 (see above). Secondly, whereas 
in vv.^'''"^* the poem is quite clearly concerned with actual 
conditions, and possibilities closely related to them, in other 
places there appears the vagueness of an eschatological poem ; 
the opening verses might well refer to superhuman armies of 



n 



238 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH ^^ 

Yahweh,* and by no means obviously suggest a single specific 
nation — the Medes : so again the darkness (v.^^) and the uni- 
versal commotion are eschatological features, and in v.^^ it is 
not Babylon, but the whole world, that is to be punished. If 
these eschatological features were limited to the 3 : 2 distichs 
(vv.^-8), we might suppose that an eschatological fragment has 
been prefixed to a poem predicting the Fall of Babylon ; but they 
are not ; they appear also in vv.^^^^. 

2-4. Yahweh's warriors summoned and assembled. 
— Let those whose duty it is to do so make signals to the Medes 
(v.^^) to enter Babylon (v.^^) as the executants of Yahweh's 
anger. — On a bare hill'\ where the signal will be conspicuous. 
With nSB': in f, cp. D''^BB', bare hills, e.g. 4118, jgr ^2 4II. — 
Raise the signal] Jer 51^7, see 5^^ n. — Wave the ha?td\ clearly 
as a third way of giving a signal : but this meaning of T C]"'in 
(11^^ 19^^) does not occur again. — The gates of the nobles'] 
apparently the Babylonians are treated as nobles in relation to 
the other inhabitants of the world (cp. 47'^). The term D'2n3 is 
applied to men of rank and position on whom society and 
government rest; it is parallel to "king" in Job 34^*, to 
"princes" (onC') in Nu 21^^ and Pr 8^^; cp. also, "It is better 
to take refuge in Yahweh than to trust in nobles," Ps 118^. — 
3. On the conjectural emendations underlying the translation, 
see phil. n. — /] Yahweh. — Consecrated ones] i.e. soldiers; see 
next line. Cp. "consecrate nations against her," Jer Si^*^; 
" consecrate war, rouse up the warriors," Jl 4 (3)^. War was a 
sacred institution, and therefore those who fought were conse- 
crated and subject to strict laws of purity and taboo : see Dt 
2310-15^ 2 S 1 1^1, also Jer 6* 22'', Mic 3^; F. Schwally, Semitische 
Kriegsalterthilmer. — My proudly exultant ones] Zeph 3^^; cp. 
2 2^ n. — 4. The mountains] of Media. — Kingdoms . . . nations] 
under the sway of the king of Media; cp. Jer 51 2"^-, "Call 
together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and 
Ashkenaz . . . consecrate against her the nations, the king 

* They were so understood by Eus. , who, if the poem has come down in 
its original form, is rightly criticised by Jer. in his comment on v.". ** Principes 
et gigantes juxta LXX Translatores Eusebius virtutes Angelicas interpre- 
tatur, et pessimos daemones, qui ad eversionem Babylonis missi sunt," and on 
v.^' " Apertum est quod late bat : quod nequaquam fortes et gigantes, Angeli 
intelligendi sunt et daemones, sed Medorum gens. 




XIII. 2-6 239 

(dSi) of Media, his governors and all his viceroys, and all the 
land of his dominion." 

2. iK3'i] followed by the ace as in Ps loo*. — ^3, ♦npoS 'n'W '3k] for ^ of 
the obj. of .Tijf, see Ex i'^, Jer 32^3. But the words are probably a mutilated 
distich : one of the lost words ('Bw*?), perhaps shifted down to the next line 
which is over long. By a further conjecture Marti obtains two good 3 : 2 

distichs : 

'tnpo K3!< I 'bkS 'nix 'jk 

WKJ "Vhu I '1133 'HKip D3 

4. mm] for ? : rare ; see BDB 198a. — n'lo^?©] to be so pointed (t!D), not 
nb^Dij (MT), which destroys both rhythm and parallelism. — 

5-8. Terror at the approach of Yahweh and His 
warriors. — 5a. b. Cp. s^^ 46I1. — T/ie instruments of his indig- 
nation'] Jer 50^^ ; cp. " instruments of war " as applied to Saul 
and Jonathan, 2 S i^"^. — All the earth] rhetorical for the entire 
Babylonian empire (Jer. al.), or eschatological ? See above, 
p. 237 f. — 6. Hoivl] Jl i5-i3. and the remainder of v.^ = Jl i^^b. 
other similarities to Joel occur in vv.^ ^®* ^*. Joel is imitative 
{Exp, 1893, Sept., pp. 208-225), and may be the borrower, or 
second user, of most of these common phrases or ideas ; but this 
V. is rhythmically peculiar in its present setting ; it is a distich 
4 : 3, or, apart from howl^ 3 : 3 i in the latter case the rhythm 
is that of vv.^-22, but not of w.^-^ (3:2); in the former it re- 
sembles the rhythm of neither part of ch. 13. Possibly the v. 
was interpolated so as to generalise a prophecy of the overthrow 
of Babylon by the Medes into a prophecy of the final and 
universal judgment. If original in its present position, the 
imperative wail must be addressed to the Babylonians ; but it 
breaks in awkwardly and forms a less satisfactory antecedent 
than v.* to the therefore of v.''. Nothing is gained by putting 
w.^"8 after vv.^'^^ (Cond. ). — As devastation from the Almighty] 
or, reproducing the assonance in '•ItJ'D IB'D, as an overpowering 
from the overpowerer (Dr., Joel and Amos^ p. 45). The coiner 
of the present phrase associated the divine name HK' with, 
the root nnU' (21^ 33I etc.), and must have understood it to mean 
the Waster, or Devastator. The actual etymology and original 
meaning of the term is altogether obscure ; (& frequently renders 
by TravTOKpaTwp, whence EV Almighty ; the later Greek versions 
by Uavos, which is probably also intended by the MT punctua- 
tion "^K^, he that is sufficient. By modern scholars it has been 



240 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

explained as ^*1B^, my lord? (cp. ^JHK), or compared with the 
Babylonian epithet of Bel, sadu rabbu— great mountain (cp. liv 
as an epithet of God). The term occurs nowhere else in the 
Book of Isaiah. Frequent as an archaism in Job and P, it 
occurs rarely elsewhere : Gn 49^5, Nu 24*- ^^ are, presumably, 
early, and Ezk i^* lo^, Ps 681^ 91I, Ruth i^o^-, late instances of its 
use. See, further, on the usage, etymology, and meaning of the 
name, HPN 196 ff.; Dr., Joel and Amos^ 8 if.; EBi. 3326; 
Ges-B. s.v. — 7 f' The sequence to v.^ ; v.^ being parenthetic, if not 
interpolated. The Babylonians become paralysed with fear. — 
All hands] The seat of power, cp. Jos 8^^, Ps 76^. — Hang down] 
helpless: cp. Jer 50*^; also 2 S 4^, Jer 62*, Ezk 'j^'^ 21I2, Zeph 
3^*, Job 4^. — Every heart of man] the heart of man without every 
is quite a general expression : cp. Ps 104!^ ; every heart is a more 
exact parallel to all hands. Of man is perhaps a misplaced 
fragment of the mutilated line that follows, or an interpolation 
intended to modify every (Babylonian) heart into every heart of 
mankind. In J^ the distich is 3:3, with the omission, like the 
neighbouring distichs, 3 : 2. — 8. And they will be dismayed] 
according to Di. the subj. is the owners of the hearts and hands 
just mentioned in v.^ : very improbable ; the word ^i>n33 is the 
fragment of a lost distich. — a. d. For the figure of birth-pangs, 
never found in the prophecies of Isaiah, see 21^, Jl 2^, Jer 50*^ 
49^*, Ps 48^^. — Their faces are aflame] in feverish excitement ; 
cp. Nah 2^1, Jl 2^. 

7. The obvious parallelism of nrsin D'T So and dd* 33V ^3, and th 
prevalent parallelism within the distichs, makes the theory that 'in dt j3-^y 
is one mutilated distich and i'?n33i dd' K'Ijk 33*? ^3 (Du., Che. , Box) is another, far 
less probable than the theory of mutilation stated above. — 8. pmK'] either the 
obj. them is omitted, or D'^3m D'TX is the obj. ; for ton with similar objects, 
cp. Job 18^ (f^ not (!K) 21* (construction ambiguous). 

9-13. Darkness and universal commotion ac- 
companying Yahweh's judgment of the world for its 
wickedness. — 9a. b. On the text, see phil. n. — 10. Darkness : 
cp. 58O 822, Am 89, Ezk 30I8 32'^-, Zeph i^s, Jl 2^0 3* 4I5 Jer 428: 
see, further, KAT^, p. 393. — loa. b. Possibly a variant of c. (d.). 
Note the absence of parallelism. — Its Orions] "Orion and other 
constellations of the same brilliancy" (BDB). But thQ plural 
is strange, and was perhaps not read by 6r : see phil. n. Other 
allusions to Orion are Am 5^, Job 9^ 38^11. The identification 





XIII. 7-14 241 

of i^D3 with Orion goes back to (5 and is probably correct ; if 
so, the name meaning fool goes back to a myth of " some fool- 
hardy, heaven-daring rebel, who was chained to the sky for 
his impiety" {Dr. ^ Joel and AmoSy 179); for etymological 
speculations, see Harper's note on Am 5^. — 11 f. Yahweh speaks. 
— The world] !)2n is never, like pK, limited to a single country. 
The entire world is to be punished for its wickedness and 
violence; in 14^'^ it is the object of the wickedness and violence 
for which the king of Babylon is to be punished. The following 
terms, the wicked^ the presumptuous^ the awe-inspiring {2^\ may 
be as wide and universal as the world \ but they might also apply 
specifically to the Babylonians : cp. 14^ (Hab i** ^3) for the first ; 
and note that "the most awe-inspiring of the nations" is a 
standing epithet with Ezekiel for the Babylonians : see Ezk 3o^<>^- 
32i2f. 287 3ii2._i2. Gold of Ophir] Cp. Ps 4510, Job 28i«, i Ch 
29*, Job 222*. This specially prized gold was brought from 
Ophir, a district reached by ships sailing from *Esion-geber at 
the head of the Gulf of 'Akabah (i K 9^-8). For the understand- 
ing of the present passage it is unnecessary to discuss the exact 
situation of Ophir : for theories, see DB and EBi. s.v. ; also 
Skinner, Genesis^ p. 222. — 13a. b. Cp. Jl 2^<*. — The heavens will 
tremble'] so (Sr : f^, awkwardly continuing the speech of Yahweh 
(vv.^^), half-way but only half-way through v.^^, / will make the 
heavens tremble. 

9. qK pnm n-iajn ni3K H3 ni.r dv 7\i7\'\ the distich is scarcely 3 : 3, still 
less 3:2; nor is the cast of it quite like that of the other distichs. If the 
text is correct, nnn is best taken as in apposition to m.T di» and rriDyi as 
a case of waw concomitantiae (7' n.). Possibly ffi read may niSK (ace. of 
respect: G-K. 131/, y). Du. omits m.T dv ; but an expressed subject of k3 
seems to be required. Possibly, however, dv has been inserted (cp. v.^') ; 
ni3K would go better with m.T than with DV : cp. Job 30^^ (n)3K). — 10. 'aao '3 
DiT^'oai D'DB'n] (!K o\ 7A/3 AffT^pes toO ovpavod koX 6 'Cipeluv Kal iroj 6 K6<rfios tov 
oirpavov : are the last two clauses a paraphrase of Dn''?'03i ? or did (& read 
V'03i, and is the last clause in (Sr a doublet of the first? Du. omits '3313. — 
II. nyn] read a^VT: cp. the parallel DJiy. IB xaKd probably = nyn — inter- 
mediate between |^ and the original text. — 13. I'JTK] ^ is an error for im» 
ffi {dvfJt.ud'^aeTai : cp. 37*). 

14-16. Flight from Slaughter and Violation.— All 

foreigners in Babylon (cp. 47^^ Jer 51^) will attempt to flee 
(v.i*), but if found there will share the fate of the Babylonians, 
who will perish one and all. — 14. A flock] ffi a wandering (l3K, 

VOL. I. — 16 



242 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

as I S 93-20, Ezk i\^) flock. For the figure, cp. i K 22^7^ Ezk 
34^ — 15 f. The Jewish aspiration for vengeance lies behind the 
description : may the Babylonians be served as they served us ! 
Cp. Ps 137^^-. — Strictly speaking, people who have fallen by the 
sword (v.^^) cannot subsequently (v.^^) see their children dashed 
in pieces (Marti); but it would be precarious to deny the 
possibility that the present sequence of the w. is original. — 
l6b. Cp. Zee 142. But the spoiling of the houses stands 
curiously between the fate of the children and of the women. 
The text may be in some disorder. Haupt attempts a recon- 
struction {SBOT, p. 124). 

17 f. The Medes. — Yahweh speaks again, revealing the 
instruments of His indignation — the Medes — and (v.^^) the 
object of it, Babylon. Whether the divine speech extends to 
the end of the poem, and if not how far, is uncertain. — 
17. Behold I am about to stir up against them the Medes\ cp. 
Jer 57^^ "Yahweh hath stirred up the spirit of the king (ffi ; J^ 
kings) of Media, because his device is against Babylon to destroy 
it : for it is Yahweh's vengeance, the vengeance for [what was 
done in 586 b.c. to (cp. 51^^)] his temple." The historical situa- 
tion in both passages is the same; Babylon still occupies a 
supreme position in the eyes of the world ; but the Medes are 
threatening that supremacy. This historical situation can be 
closely defined : it existed not earlier than 561 B.C., and it ceased 
to exist with the capture of Babylon by Cyrus in 538 b.c. The 
Medes (no, Assyr. Madai\ in Persian inscriptions Mdda) are 
first mentioned by Shalmaneser 11. in the 9th cent. b.c. ; and in 
the 8th century raids against Median chieftains are recorded by 
the Assyrian kings Tiglath-pileser and Sargon. Increasing in 
power through the 7th cent., the Medes, or Umman {i.e. hordes of) 
Manda,* at the end of that century, in alliance with, but without 
the active support of, the Babylonians destroyed Nineveh, and 
subsequently divided the spoils with the Babylonians. Down to 
the end of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar friendly relations existed 

* M^Soi (Herod, i. 106, 185 ; cp. no, Jer $1^) ; Umman-Manda (stele of 
Nabuna'id ; ed. Messerschmidt). For some different explanations of the exact 
relation of the terms Medes, Madai, and (Umman-) Manda to one another, 
and for fuller discussion of the points summarised above, see KAT^ 177, 
100-105 ; S. Langdon, Neubabyl. Konigsinschriften^ 3 fF. ; Jeremias, PR£?yi\\. 
491 ; Sayce, DB, s.v. Medes; Rogers, Hz'st. of Bad. and Ass. ii. 288 ff., 368 ff. 




XIII. 15-21 243 

between the Babylonians and the Medes (or Manda) ; but these 
ceased with his death in 561 B.C. From the mention of the Medes 
only without reference either to the Persians or Cyrus, some infer 
that the prophecy was written before 549, in which year Cyrus 
overthrew the Median empire of Astyages (Dr. LOT^ 2 1 2). — Who 
regard not silver^ etc.] their attack is not to be turned aside by 
money payments. — 18. The opening words of the v. can be ren- 
dered and bows shall dash youths in pieces^ but the text is certainly 
corrupt : see phil. n. — The fruit of the womh\ parallel to, and 
synonymous with, children (or, sons\ i^ n.); cp. Ps 127^, Mic 6^. 

18. nat^oin onyj mnj^pi] (&. ro^ei'ifiara veavlaKuv awTpirj/ovaiv. The order 
— subj., obj., vb. — is unusual, but not unknown: Dr. §208(3). The vb. 
being ^rd/em. pi. onyj cannot be the subj., nor can the subj. be either indef., 
or the Medes ; cp. ®r, and "B sed sagittis parvulos interficient. mncp must be 
the subj., if the text be correct; yet it is very doubtful whether bows meant 
bowmen^ or vtr\ could be predicated of bows : in 2 K 8", Ps 137"! the subj. 
of roT is personal. The three words of |^ occupy the place of a whole distich, 
i.e. they are the (corrupt) fragment of six words. Du. constructs two distichs 
out of the three words on the basis of Jer 50*^^ 51^'^; but his distichs are 
3 : 2, and therefore not in the rhythm prevailing in w.^"^. 

19-22. The eternal desolation of Babylon. — Babylon, 
still as yet glorious and supreme, will be overthrown as 
completely as Sodom and Gomorrah : its site will be for ever 
uninhabited ; even nomads will avoid it ; it will be given up 
to solitude-loving and demonic beasts. — 19. The beauty] or 
ornament of the many kingdoms that constituted the Babylonian 
empire, or perhaps the phrase was intended even more widely. — 
As when God overthrew] Jer ^o^^ (49^^): cp. i'^ n. — 20a. b = 
Jer 50^^^ — The Arab] the Arabs are first mentioned in Jer 3^ : 
the word means dweller in the steppes^ and is applied to the 
Bedawin of the Syro-Arabian desert. — 21. Cp. Jer 50^^. — Yelpers] 
the D^^V, whatever the name precisely means (see phil. n.), 
appear in other descriptions of desolation, 23^^ 34^^, Jer 50^^. — 

Shriekers] DTlNf ; precise meaning uncertain : cp. — ^, to cough ; 

-.U-^, a shriek', the Assyr. ahu may mean y«r^<«/ (Del.), but this 

beast is probably mentioned just below in y.'^-. (& echo! — 
Ostriches] cp. 34^8 ^^20^ Mic i^ Job 10^'^ .— Satyrs] D^^VJ^ is 
commonly used of he-goats^ though usually in the phrase Cty T'VtJ^, 
lit. a hairy one of the goats. RV renders he-goats here, but the in- 



244 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

troduction of domestic animals is improbable. Here as in 34^*, 
Lv 17'^, 2 Ch iii^, 2 K 238 (point D^iyb^), we must think of 

demonic animals, howling after the wont of demons and jinn 
in unfrequented places, of a hairy nature and perhaps goat-like 
in form ; see EBi. s.v. Satyr. — 22. Howling beasts] D^^K (34^*> 
Jer 50^9 1) are perhaps wolves^ perhaps jackals, DB i. 620. — 
Jackals] D'*3n (or wolves, DB i. 620) made mournful noises 
(Mic i^), and frequented desolate spots (34^^ Jer ^^^ \o^'^). 

19. naSHD] «<?wtf« verbi (c^. G-K. 45*?) with nx ; cp. ii'n. — 20. ntyn n^] 
Jer 50^^ + my; if niy is inserted here, then v.^** ** is 3 : 3, at present it is 
exceptionally 2 : 3. — V.r] = '?nK: : cp. G-K. d^k. (&'^r\^.. — 21. d"x] if the 
text be correct in 23^', Ps 72^, the word may be used of human beings : some 

therefore derive from the root nix, ^^, to be parched, and give it the meaning 
desert dweller. Another possible derivation is from the root i^^t ^0 yelp 
(Dozy). Desert dweller, or yelper, would be applicable to many animals. 
Wild cats (Bochart, Hieroz. iii. c. 14) is badly supported by .^j^, which is 

from another root. The meaning was already obscure to the early translators : 
®rU5 here render by a general term for wild beasts, ^ here and in 341', 
Jer 50^* by Jion, which by no means necessarily means monkeys (Walton) : 
in 34" f& has daifiSvia, in Jer 50** IvMXfiara, U dracones. — 22. njyi] sing, 
pred., pi. subj. following (G-K. 145^) : yet it is suspicious that this cstr. 
should occur in just one of several similar sentences. Whether ®r's icarot/c^- 
ffovffip implies a reading i3Dri is doubtful. — vnuoVN] its widows, i.e. deserted 
palaces ! (Ki.). But read n'nuDnK. — nny . . . y\'\p] since the pred. precedes, 
ry was not necessarily meant to be masc. (8^ n.). 

XIV. i-4a. The restoration of Israel. — Babylon must 
fall (ch. 13), and that immediately (13^^'^'^); for (14I) it is 
Yahweh's gracious purpose to set free the Jews from their 
present captivity, and to re-establish them in Canaan (vv.^^-) : 
restored to Canaan, the Jews will sing a paean (14^^- 2^) over the 
fall of the king of Babylon. — These verses are probably an edi- 
torial link (see above, p. 233); even the distichs in vv.^^- hardly 
formed the original conclusion of the poem in ch. 13, which is 
rather to be found at 13^2 (•> ^^ ^) ; and vv.^*- ^^•, which are prose, are 
marked off from both the poem that precedes and that which 
follows. Whether the editor composed the distichs in vv.^^* or 
derived them from elsewhere {e.g. Zee i'^) is uncertain. 

Du., al. treat 14^"^ as prose, Cond. as poetry, throughout. It requires 
some audacity to detect poetry in vv.^- ^ ; and v.^ would yield but a poor 
distich 4 : 4, even if the last clause were omitted. But v.^** **• ^' * are as a 




XIII. 20-XIV. 4 245 

matter of fact two distichs {3 : 3) of lines parallel in sense, and ^^ a monostich 
of 3 accents : v.'*'* ' is 3 : 3 or 3 : 2, according as Dn'rJ33 be read as one or 
two accents. 

1 For Yahweh will have pity on Jacob, 
And will again choose Israel; 
And he will settle them on their ground. 
And the ger will join himself unto them, 

And they will become members of the House of Jacob. 
2 And peoples will take them and bring them to their place, and 
the House of Israel will possess themselves of them on the 
ground of Yahweh for slaves and slave-girls, 

^ And they will be captors to their captors, 

And the lords of their (former) task-masters. 
8 And it shall come to pass in the day that Yahweh giveth 
thee rest from thy toil and turmoil, and from the hard service 
which thou wast made to serve,* thou shalt utter this taunt-song 
against the king of Babylon, and say — 

la. b. Cp. Zee 1^7 2I6. — I. Por Yahweh'] (& and Yahweh. 
— Will again choose'] the first choice was at the beginning of 
the nation's history : Dt 7®^-, Ezk 20^*^'. Yahweh's choice of Israel 
is a favourite idea of the Deutero-Isaiah's : see 41^'- 43^° 44^S 
and Dr. LOT^, p. 238.— ic Cp. Zee 2^^ and Ezk 3712. w " I will 
bring you into the land of Israel . . . and I will settle you upon 
your ground." n''3n is generally used of placing a person in a 

particular place after his removal from another; cp. 46'^, Gn 19^*, 
Jos 623, Lv 24^2^ Nu 15^. — The ger] the term originally denoted 
a person not of the same tribe or people as those among whom 
he lived, but enjoying at their hands certain conceded (as 
distinct from inherited) social rights and privileges. Such rights 
and privileges naturally carried with them some accommodation 
on the part of the ger to Jewish religious practices ; for example, 
it was incumbent on the Jews to concede the privileges, and on 
the ger to observe the laws, of the Sabbath (Ex 20^° 23^^^ ; yet as 
late as the Deuteronomic code the ger was no full member of 
the holy nation : he might eat unclean food (Dt 14^^). In P 
the term has become purely religious ; persons not Israelite by 
descent may by accepting the rite of circumcision become as full 
members of the community as those born Jews, and subject to 
the same rights and duties (see, e.g.^ Nu 15^^ n.). P seems to 



246 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

contemplate such persons as were united geographically with the 
Jewish community in Palestine. Later even this limitation 
disappears from the word : the ger is any person not of Jewish 
descent who becomes a convert to the Jewish religion, a proselyte ; 
it is this last sense that the word bore to some of the Greek 
translators, for in some books "13 is rendered by ttpootJXvto?, and 
with this sense it is used in the Mishna (Levy, NHB, s.v.). In 
the present passage the term probably has much the same sense 
as in P, and is very nearly equal to convert or proselyte. The 
restored Jewish community will be enlarged by the inclusion of 
men of other nations, who, seeing what Yahweh has done for 
His people (cp. Ps 126^), will seek to be united with them. 
Foreigners who do not become converts will pass into the 
possession of the restored people, as slaves and slave-girls. 
The writer contemplates for the world at large two alternatives — 
conversion to Judaism, or enslavement to the Jews : cp. the 
alternative presented elsewhere (6o^°"^2) — conversion or sub- 
mission.— ^<?m himself] 7\yy^ is used of the close relationship of 
husband and wife (Gn 29^*), of Levites and priests (Nu 18^), and 
also of religious union which is elsewhere defined as union witli 
Yahweh ; see 563* ^, Jer 50^, and especially, as parallel to the 
present usage, Zee 2^'^ "and many nations shall join themselves 
unto Yahweh . . . and shall become his (ffir) people, and they 
(ffir) shall dwell in thy midst." — Andthey'\ the plural pronoun carries 
on the sing, collective term ger. — Will become members of] nSDJ, 
too, denotes close attachment : see 182^ (Kal), Job 30^^ (in 
MT Pual), and especially 1826^^ (Hithp.) ; Hab 2^^^ is probably 
corrupt. — 2. And peoples shall take them and bring them] cp. 
4922. — To their place] their country or home ; cp. e.g. Nu 242^. — 
The ground of Yahweh] Canaan. Cp. " the land of Yahweh," 
Hos 9^; "the holy ground," Zee 2^^. Restored to their land, 
the Jews will need slaves, which the later law forbade them to 
seek from those of their own race (Lv 25*^^-) ; they will therefore 
subject to slavery those of the nations who do not seek and 
obtain incorporation in the Jewish community as gerim (v.^ n.). 
The tables will be turned : those who had enslaved the Jews will 
now become their slaves. Babylon for the moment seems to be 
lost sight of, or rather has become a generic term for all 
oppressors of the Jews : the writer lives at a time when many 
nations at one time or another had enslaved the Jews. The 




XIV. 2-21 247 

phrase slaves and slave-gtrls (ninSKn onay) is frequent {e.g. Gn 
1 2^^ 20^* 30*3 Jer 34®^-) ; as compared with the synonymous nox, 
nriBB^ rather points to more servile conditions, or the more 
menial nature of the tasks exacted (BDB, s.w.). Not only 
the thought, but the phraseology in v.^ seems to be affected 
by Lv 25*^^- ; irionn is confined to this passage, P (Lv 25^, Nu 
32^® 3^54 3413), and Ezk 47^^; here and in Lv 25^ the objects 
possessed are slaves, in the other passages land. So the vb. 
rm probably echoes Lv 25^^- *^- ^^ and refers to domestic rule, not 
to political dominion, which RV suggests; B^i3, task-master, is 
used as in Ex 3^ 5^ Job 3^^ ; below in v.* rather differently. — 
Captors to their captor s'\ Jg ^^. 

3. The exiled nation is now addressed : ct. vv.^'*. — Giveth 
thee rest] releases thee from servitude ; with this use of n^Dn, cp. 
that of m: in Ex 2312, Dt s^S Job 3^^. In Dt. (e.g. 2$^^) the 
Hiphil is rather differently used : see Che. Introd. 71. — Toit\ cp. 
88^, Ps 1272. — Turmoif] Ti"i denotes strong mental agitation pro- 
ceeding from various causes, here the disquiet of the slave who 
lives in fear of " the voice of the taskmaster " (Job 3^^, cp. 26). — 
The hard service] Dt 26^, Ex i^* 6» (P).— In 13 Tay "1K'«, lit. 
wherewith it was worked with thee, the Pual (Dt 2i^t) is the passive 
of '3 ^3y, lit. to work by means of, Lv 25*^, Ex i^*, Ezk 34^^ etc. 
— 4. Thou shalt take up] on the lips, and so utter \ cp. i K 8^^ 
Jer 7^8, and the noun NKID, 13^ n. — Taunt-song] so may f>tJ^ be 
rendered here and in Hab 2^, Mic 2* ; on other meanings, see 
Numbers, pp. 299 f., 344 f., xiiif., where it is suggested that the 
following poem may have been modelled on the ancient 
m'shalim which used to be actually recited (Nu 21^7), and of 
which many probably still existed in and after the Exile. 

XIV. 4,h-2i.— The Fall of the Tyrant, 

The dominant rhythm is clearly 3:2; parallelism is occasionally between 
entire periods of 5 accents (see w.'* '• ^'^) ; but far more frequently it is 
between the period of 3 and the period of 2 accents. The translation is' 
arranged to bring into relief the more frequent form of parallelism. 

Down to v."" and in ^^^' "• '^- "• **'■*• "*• ^ the rhythm is for the most 
part obviously 3 : 2. But vv.'* ^^- ^ are 4 : 2, unless we omit ni.T in the one 
case and B"Nn in the other ; and **• '• '^^' *• are 2 : 2, and so also is '^* ^ in |^, 
but prefix yn. V. '*'*'• ^ would be 3 : 3 if ony is part of the line (but see n.). 
On the obviously mutilated text of v."""^* see notes. 

The first twenty-one distichs (vv.*'''''^) are clearly marked off, as Ew. 



248 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

already perceived, into three equal strophes of 7 distichs each. It is probable 
that this equality of strophes was maintained throughout, but the mutilated 
text in vv."'^ prevents certainty on this point. ^ contains slightly less than 
fourteen distichs between vv.^* and ^^ : but with the addition of vv.^* ^ it 
would contain considerably more. 

On the structure of the poem see especially Budde in ZA TIV, 1882, pp. 
12-15, where some earlier theories of strophic division are noticed : Bickell, 
Carmina Vet. Test. (1882) p. 202 f., and Wiener Z^itschr. filr die Kunde des 
Morgenlandesy viii. loif. ; W. H. Cobb, mJBLit. xv. iSflf. 

I. 

^ How hath the Tyrant ceased, 

The Terror (?) ceased ! 
^ Yahweh hath broken the staff of the wicked, 

The rod of the rulers; 
* Which smote the peoples in wrath, 
With smiting unceasing. 
Which angrily trampled (?) on nations, 
With * trampling ' (?) unrestrained. 
^ All the earth is at rest, is quiet. 

They have broken forth into a ringing cry; 
^ The fir-trees, too, have rejoiced at thee. 
The cedars of Lebanon — 
"Since thou hast lain down, there cometh not up 
The feller against us." 




2. 

• Sheol beneath is thrilled at thee. 
Meeting thine advent ; 
Arousing for thee the shades, 

All the bell-wethers of Earth, 
Making rise up from their thrones 
All the kings of the nations. 
1® They shall all of them answer 
And say to thee, 
*' ThoUy too, art made weak as we, 
Unto us art made like." 
^^ Brought down unto Sheol is thy pomp. 
The music of thy lutes; 
Beneath thee maggots are spread, 
And (of) worms is thy coverlet. 



1 



XIV. 4-21 249 



^* How art thou fallen from Heaven, 
O Shining One, son of the dawn ! 
*How' art thou hewn down to the earth, 
. . . of ' all ' nations ! 
^3 Thou that hadst said in thine heart, 
"Heaven will I scale; 
Above the stars of God 

Will I set on high my throne. 
That I may sit (enthroned) in the Mount of 

Assembly, 
In the recesses of the North : 
^* I will ascend over the summits of the clouds, 

Will be like the Most High." 
^ Yet to Sheol shalt thou be brought down, 
To the recesses of the Pit 



!• They that see thee look narrowly at thee, 
To thee give attention — 
"Is this the man that caused earth to thrill, 
That caused kingdoms to quake; 
^"^ That made the world like a wilderness. 
And overthrew its cities?" 
• • * • • • • 

18 AH the kings of the nations, 
They all have lain down in glory, 
Each one in his house; 
1® But tAou art cast forth * tom bless,* 

Like an abhorred * untimely birth ' (?) 
. ....... the slain. 

That are thrust through with the sword, 
That go down to the stones of the Pit, 
As a corpse trodden under foot. 
2* Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial. 



250 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

5- 

^^ For thy land hast thou ruined, 
Thy people hast thou slain. 
Never more shall it be named, 
The seed of evil-doers. 
21 Prepare a butchery for his sons, 
For the iniquity of their fathers, 
That they rise not and possess the earth, 
And fill the face of the world. 

The poem expresses the exultation over the fall of a Tyrant 
who had treated the peoples of the world with unsparing and 
unremitting severity : in the first strophe the world-wide terror, 
which his career had inspired, and the world-wide relief and joy 
at his fall, are effectively contrasted. The second strophe 
illustrates in another way the supreme position of the Tyrant in 
the world of his time : his entrance to Sheol is depicted : he is 
greeted by all the kings of the earth, who are amazed that one 
who had been so much greater and more powerful than they, is 
now weak as one of themselves. In the third strophe the over- 
weening pride and ambition of the Tyrant is pictured : not 
content with conquering earth, he would have conquered heaven 
and dethroned the supreme God and King ; actually he attains 
to the lowest depths of Sheol. Such is the fate of his spirit : the 
fourth strophe dwells on the fate of his dead body : it receives 
no royal burial in the mausoleum which he had built for himself, 
but lies unburied, one of a heap of carcases on the battlefield 
where he fell. The final lines, or strophe (vv. 20^-21)^ are more 
miscellaneous ; first, they find reason for the Tyrant's fate in the 
fact that he had ruined his own land and people as well as others, 
and then assert that he and his race shall pass out of memory ; 
and finally they call for the slaughter of his children that no 
future member of his line may repeat his career. 

How far does this poem depict the actual career of a single 
definite historical individual ? How much of it was determined 
by certain definite events, how much by the imagination of the 
poet ? Of course the speeches of the cedars in v.^, of the shades 
in v.i®, of the Tyrant himself in vv.^^f.^ and of the people on the 
battlefield after the battle, v.^^ all of which betray a keen 



XIV. 4-21 251 

dramatic sympathy and power of expression, are due to the 
poet's imagination. But how much more? Had the Tyrant 
actually fallen when the poem was written ? Or does the poet 
merely throw himself forward in imagination to the day and the 
scene which he feels would be the fitting conclusion to the career 
of the cruel and arrogant conqueror under whose government he 
has lived and suffered ? 

If v.^^ be imaginative prophecy, then it is simplest to see in 
the entire poem a paean over Assyria, or Babylon, personified (cp. 
io^-i3), or " totum corpus Regum Assyriorum et Babylonicorum " 
(Vitr.), rather than over a particular Assyrian or Babylonian king. 
So it is of the character and achievements of a people rather than 
of a single definite monarch that Ezekiel thinks, even when he 
uses the term " king of Tyre," " king of Egypt," in prophecies 
that have several points of contact with this poem : see Ezk 
28-32. For a briefer example of a lament written to suit merely 
anticipated and not actual conditions, see Am 5^ 

But if v.i® refers to an actual historical event, it refers to 
details of which nothing is otherwise known, whether the king 
in question be Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar (Jer., l^i.), or 
Nabonidus (Hitz., Du.). It is indeed recorded that Sargon was 
" not buried in his house " (cp. v.^^) ; but this does not necessarily 
imply that he died a violent death, and lay unburied (cp. v.^^) : 
moreover, Sargon certainly did not involve his country and people 
in ruin (v.^o) : within twelve days of his death his son Senna- 
cherib was recognised as king, and Assyria suffered no serious 
check for half a century after Sargon's death. 

In Altor. Forschungeity i. 193 f., Winckler attempted to explain v.** as an 
allusion to the murder of Sennacherib in 682 B.C. ; this obviously inadequate 
explanation with the claim that the poem was written by Isaiah (some sixty 
years after his Call !) was adopted by W. H. Cobb in JBLit. xv. 18 ff. 
Later, Winckler {ib. pp. 410 ff., KAT*^ pp. 74 f.) advanced the far more 
satisfactory theory that the allusion is to the death of Saigon ; an ominous, but 
through mutilation obscure, reference in the Eponym canon for the year 705 
B.C. is illumined by K 4730, an inscription of Sennacherib (also mutilated) in 
which he says, " the death of Sargon . . . in his house he was not buried . . . 
{tna bttiiu la ktb-ru)^ the transgression of Sargon, my father by expiation will 
I expiate : I will [blot out] the transgression which they (? he) committed against 
a god . . . against the gods of Akkad ; because he the curse of the king of the 
gods up [on himself] brought, in his house he was not b[uried] — ina btti- 
su la ^i-biry Recognising that vv.^*^^* were unsuitable to Sargon, Wi. 
held that the ode written in 705 B.C. extended from v.*** to v.** only. It is 



252 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

not impossible that an editor may have found in a collection of m^shalim 
(v.* n. ; Numbers^ pp. xiiif.) a paean over Sargon and, adding a strophe 
^yy 20b-2ij suitable to the Fall of Babylon, have given it here as a song to be 
sung when " Babylonian " tyranny was ended. It would not necessarily 
follow that Isaiah was the author of the song : his attitude towards Assyria 
{not the king) in lo**'^^ is, in spite of some resemblances, different. There 
are, however, some linguistic usages and some ideas in the poem which would 
perhaps find a more easy explanation if even vv.***'^^ were written later than 
the age of Sargon. See notes below on rJJ, v.* ; d'Wd, v.* ; mo, v.* ; nn nxs, 
V.' ; iv'?y, Most High, v." ; "na ( = Sheol), v.^* ; nutrn, v.^^ ; hi, v.^^. Are the 
resemblances between this poem and Ezekiel, especially chs. 28-32 (see 
Comm. on vv.^^"^'* ^'), due to the dependence of Ezekiel on this poem, or of 
this poem on Ezekiel, or to the fact that both belong to the same century? 
Certainly this poem far excels Ezek. in poetical and dramatic power, but 
that is precarious proof of priority. The same questions arise with regard 
to 3722-29 . bjjt^ there is not the same difference in poetic quality ; Is I4*'''2i 
and 37^'^ might be the work of the same hand. Some of the conceptions 
of Sheol and life after death found here have no earlier parallels in the OT 
than Ezekiel : but are they such as to demand that the author of this ode must 
have lived as late as the Exile? see, on the one hand, Che. Introd. 69 f., on 
the other, Gunkel, Schopfung u. Chaos. 

4b-8. The Relief of the World at the Fall of the 
Tyrant. — How] so v.^^ . ^p^ p ^2. — The tyrani\ cp. Zee 9^ ; but 
in V.2 (n.), 9^ ^yi has a different meaning. — The Terror] uncertain. 
J§ nnmD, has been rendered the golden city (EV), the exactress 
of gold (AVmarg.), the exactress (RVmarg.), tribute (U) ; but all 
these renderings rest on the illegitimate assumption (cp. Ki., Ibn 
Ezra) that a Hebrew noun would be derived from an Aramaic 
form (sm, gold) of which the Hebrew form (ant) was in constant 
use. If 1 is, as often, a mis-written 1, the root is 3m which is 
used in 3^, in close connection with K'Ji, of the vulgar bluster of 
the inferior when social restraint is withdrawn ; here, where the 
attitude of the superior, or stronger, is in question, the nuance 
would be different : Che. renders raging^ Box insolent raging. But 
since in Ca. 6^ STnn means something like to terrify and Ar. 
e^jb. certainly and often means tofear^ namo may rather mean 
Terror^ this idea being associated with tyranny or oppression as 
in 51^^. — 5. Yahweh has broken] perhaps originally Broken has 
been : see note on rhythm. — The staff , , , the rod] cp. lo*^ 9^ 
The genitives that follow each term may be appositional (Kon. 
iii. 337^. d), so that the phrases mean the wicked staffs the imperious 
rod] the second phrase is rather differently used in Ezk 19^^ 
The king, or nation, which should have corrected the wicked, has 




XIV. 4-1 I 253 

itself proved wicked: cp. lo'-^l But if this view of the con- 
struction be correct, since the terms Q^VK^T (i3")» D^^t^ (49^ 52^) 
are plural, the writer has not in view merely a single individual. 
— 6. Which, smote] the sing. HDO refers back to rod and staff: 
cp. V.29, — Trampling] J^ persecution : but see phil. n. — 7. All 
the earth is . . , quiet] DpK^ occurs in 18*, the Hiph. in 7* 
30^5 3217. It is the vb. used in Judges {e.g. i^'^) of the quiet 
enjoyed after one of the Judges had delivered Israel from a foreign 
lord: it is also used of the relief of slaves in Sheol in being quit 
of their taskmasters (Job s^^f- 26)._8. Cp. 372*, Hab 2I7. On a 
rock-relief in the Wady Brissa in Lebanon, Nebuchadnezzar is 
represented " breaking the cedars with bare hands." But cedars 
were felled to satisfy the needs of most Mesopotamian monarchs 
and of Egyptian monarchs too: see Jeremias, ATAO, p. 494; 
KAT^i p. 190. Hebrew poets often represent inanimate objects 
participating in the joys of others : see, e.g., 55^2^ Ps ^6^^^- : more 
rarely is the emotion represented as due to a cause peculiarly 
affecting them alone. See Koberle, Natur u. Geist, p. 105. — 
Since thou hast lain down] in death ; v.^^ 43^^, Job 14^2^ 

4. name] Del. suggested p/ace where they are made to pine away, from an 
otherwise unknown 2m = 3Kn, or an. Very improbable. It is commonly 
supposed that fit's ^irt<nroi;5curTiJs (whence also Sb) implies n^rrva ; but 'id is 
an abstract, ivKrirovS. a personal noun meaning one who presses hard upon 
another : this would indeed form an admirable parallel to rJ3, but it would 
require TO.V instead of rsrav. Perhaps ffi read irran roxf, but in view of the 
anarthrous ifJi this is not likely to have been the original text. Che. {SBOT, 
p. 199) conjectures rri2]ir$ ^^i'. cp. v.'. — 6. n^o] G-K. I3cwr.— mo-'nSa] of 
non-cessation : a rare use of 'n'?a : BDB, p. 11 63. With mo, cessation, cp. the 
use of the vb. in 11", Am 6^. In i' 31" the noun has a different meaning — 
apostasy.— f^{VO . . . mn] the noun should doubtless be cognate with the vb. 
as in the previous line — nan . . . hdd. If mn is correct, the noun (cstr.) was 
nrra ; but nm to rule, though sometimes used of hard or strict rule, does not 
seem strong enough in the context. Either mn has here exceptionally the sense 

to trample, like j^»^, or to chastise, like j)5 ; or we may restore nino nni : 
cp. HIT in 41', Ps 144^ and in NH to beat, stamp down. — Ti'^ri 'Va] MT 
assumes a rare use of '^a with the finite vb. ; see BDB 1153. Probably ifon 
was intended to be an infin. or a noun. — 7. nn inss] 44^3 49I8 54I 5512^ ^^^^ 
without nil, 52*, Ps 98*. The only other occurrence of the root nsB is the 
Piel, meaning to break in pieces, in Mic 3*. There is no secure pre-exilic 
instance of njT meaning ioyous cry : cp. Che. Introd. p. 268. 

9-11. The Tyrant's reception in Sheol.— This strophe 
depicts the excitement and emotions of the inhabitants of Sheol 



254 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

at the descent into their midst of a monarch whose fame ha 
reported him so great that he seemed likely to escape the 
common lot that had befallen even monarchs before him. 
These kings of earlier days, according to a prevalent belief that 
the distinctions of life were in some degree perpetuated in Sheol 
(cp. e.g. Ezk 3221^-, I S 28^^), sit each on his throne : they 
respectfully rise to greet the new-comer and address him with 
words that reflect at once their sense of his greatness and a 
certain satisfaction that he is now made weak as they. 

9. Sheot] different conceptions of Sheol mingle in the writer's 
mind : it is a realm beneath (cp. 5"^**^) the earth ; it is a com- 
munity of the dead who step forward to meet the newly dead 
king at his advent among them ; it is a person who has all the 
dead, even the dead kings of the nations^ under his control : 
with this personification cp. 28^^- 1^, where Sheol is a monarch 
with whom those who would avoid death would fain make 
treaties ; commoner is the personification of Sheol as a monster 
with an insatiable appetite for (5^^, Hab 2^, Pr i^^ 2720 io^^\ or 
a hunter who snares (Ps 18^ 116^), the living. On these and 
other ideas with regard to the dead which appear in this passage, 
see, further, EBi. 1338 ff. ; Hastings, DB i. 739 f., v. 668 f. ; F. 
Schwally, Das Leben nach dem Tode ; A. Jeremias, Die Bab. Ass. 
Vorstellungen vom Leben nach de7ti Tode . . . mit beriicksichtigung 
der AT Parallelen \ S. Langdon, Baby. Eschatology^ in Essays . . . 
presented . . . to C. A. Briggs (191 1), pp. 141-161 ; and C. 
Griineisen, Der Ahnenkultus^ pp. 41-60 (with full references to 
comparative material). — Is thrilled] with excitement at strange 
and portentous news : Mi, to quake (of the earth, 5^^, i S 14^^; of 
kingdoms, 23^^), is also used of various emotions such as fear, 
V.16 64I 3210^-, or grief, 2 S i()\—The shades'] the D"'«B"i are the 
inhabitants of the world of the dead, probably so called as the 
weak (cp. nD"i, e.g. 13'^), or enfeebled (cp. v.^^), continuations of 
the strong and lusty living. The term occurs also in 26'^^' 1^, 
Job 265, Pr 2I8 9I8 21I6, Ps 88iit, and in Phoenician: cp. e.g. 
" Mayest thou have no seed among the living under the sun, nor 
resting-place with the shades" (D^KD"i nx 235^) — Tabnith 
Inscr. c. 300 B.C. (Cooke, NSI, p. 26). Whether the term 
used for the vanished giant race {e.g. Gn 152O: cp. "the valley 
of Rephaim," 17*^) is identical in origin, as well as in form, is not 
absolutely certain; but see, further, Schwally, in ZATW^ 1898, 






XIV. 9-15 255 

pp. 127-135. — The hell-wether s\ D^iny, he-goats^ used specifically 
of the leaders of the flock (Jer 50^), and figuratively of human 
beings as in 34**, Jer 51^^, Ezk 39^^. — II. No throne in Sheol for 
the once proud monarch : dethroned and disgraced at the last 
in life he has nothing in death but a bed of maggots and a 
coverlet of worms : to this has come the pomp (pw as 4^ 23* 
do^*^) and gay music (5^*) amid which he lived. 

9. D'pn . . . niiy] 3rd pfF. : cp. C iD'pK . . . nryK ; but if the vbs. were 
pff. the forms should have been fern. Read therefore opn . . . Tiy — infin. 
abs. (G-K. 1 13-4).— II. yx'] Pual pf. 3rd masc. ; noT is ace. ; G-K. \2\a. b. 
— I'DDD] many MSS 103D ; r\^'^^^ coveringy 23'^, Ezk 27', Lv 9^' ; but also 
with a mere difference of pointing (np??), Gn 8^' (J) and several times in P. 

I2-IS The Tyrant attains, not to the heaven of his 
ambition, but to the lowest hell. — 12. The Tyrant is half 
compared, half (for the moment) identified, with the radiant 
hero of some astral myth. A similar instance of mingled com- 
parison and identification of an earthly power with a mythic 
figure occurs in Ezk 28^^"^^; whence the myth came, whether 
from Babylon or Phoenicia,* and what was its exact form is 
uncertain. The natural phenomenon which gave rise to the 
myth, and still affects the phraseology of this passage, may be 
the contrast between the brilliance of a star, such as Venus,t at 
the seasons when it is apparent, and its total disappearance at 
other seasons : or it may be " the overpowering of the temporary 
brilliance of the morning star by the rays of the sun" {EBi, 
2828) ; for other views, see next n. but one. — Shining one] " In 
the happy realms of light clothed with transcendant brightness." 
hh'^n is to be connected with 9?^]^ to shine (13^®, Job 29^ 312^ 41IO) . 

Jjfe, to begin to shine : cp. Jlii, new moon, and Ass. ellu, bright. 
fflr renders well cwo-^opos (cp. <j>oi(T<f>6pos, 2 P i^^); U Lucifer (cp. 
Lk 10^8). Cp. the Arabic name for Venus if jbj, the bright 
shining one. — Son of the dawn] so called because the luminary 
in question shines at dawn : (& 6 vpon avarikktav (cp. Rev 22^^). 
It would, of course, be easy, if necessary, for "iriK^ to read "int? 
(3^8 n.) and render son of the moon, as VVinckler has suggested 
(Gesch, Isr. ii. 24) : then the shining one might be the new 

crescent moon (JiU); or, retaining "iHK', we might suppose that 

* Cp. Gunkel, Schopfung u. Chaos, 132-134 ; KAT* 464, 565. 
t Cp. Jeremias, ATAO 568, iia 




256 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

h^'^n is the waning crescent moon {KAT^ 565), which is seen 
in the morning sky. — Hewn down to the earth] so the Tyrian 
king is described as cast down from Eden and the mount of God 
to the earth, Ezk 22>^^-^^. The vb. does not necessarily imply the 
figure of a tree: see 222^, Jer 502^. — . . . of all nations] 7)3 ^?^ 
is not transitive (RV) in spite of Ex 17^^ MT (see Dr. ad loc.) : 
it may be corrupt (cp. S) and conceal an epithet like " Hammer 
of all the earth," Jer 50^8 : or the line may have depicted the 
shining one lying powerless on the corpses (nV13 for D^li*) of those 
whom he had led in his warfare against the Most High. — 13 f. 
The boasting of the tyrant is not merely hyperbolic and figura- 
tive; he is identified for the moment with, or represented as 
renewing the presumptuous role of, the mythic hero (v.^^^. The 
opening boast (v.^^- ^) might indeed be mere hyperbole (cp. 
Job 20^), but not what follows : the wicked may in his pride act 
as though God did not govern the earth (cp. Job 2212^.), but he 
does not think of dethroning the Most High and taking over the 
administration of Heaven : yet this is precisely what the speaker 
here means (cp. Ezk 28^) ; he is guided, as Milton very correctly 
interprets, by 

** Ambitious aim 
Against the throne and monarchy of God." 

The Most High, according to the ancient (Babylonian) concep- 
tions which here govern the poet, sat enthroned above the stars 
of God in the highest point of Heaven, or, as the next line puts 
it, in the Mountain where the gods assembled in the recesses of 
the North. — The Mountain of Assembly] cp. "the Mountain of 
God," Ezk 28i«; for Assembly (njno), cp. the Tent of Assembly 
(nyiD i^nx), which may originally have meant a tent for the 
assembly of the gods, though to the Hebrews it came to bear 
quite another meaning (Ex 33^"^0> ^"^ "^^7 have had a con- 
nection with the Babylonian conception of the World-Mountain 
piercing into heaven, where the gods assembled to determine 
destinies {KAT^ 592, cp. p. 355 with references).^ — That I may 
sit] enthroned; cp. lo^^, Ps 61^, and frequently of Yahweh, e.g. 
Ps 2* 9* 29^^. — The recesses] lit. the two flanks ('•DDI*), but 
idiomatically the most distant parts-, see 37^*, i S 24*, Am 6^®, 
Jer 622. xhe recesses of the Norths in Ezk 386- ^^ 392, has not the 

♦ Gunkel, Schdpfungy p. 133 ; Che. {SBOT\ 





XIV. I3-20 257 

same sense as in the present passage to which the difficult 
passage in Ps 48^ may be more closely parallel ; here, as the 
context clearly shows, it is the seat of the god. Anu, the chief 
member of the principal divine triad of the Babylonians, had his 
throne in heaven, and, apparently, was particularly localised in 
the Northern heaven, at the north pole: see KAT^ SS^f-; 
ATACP- 2of.— 14. The Most High] ^"^^V here, as in Nu 2\^\ in 
the mouth of a foreigner. Very rare in pre-exilic, but a 
favourite term with post-exilic, writers : see Che. Origin of the 
Psalter^ p. 84. Note also that, according to Philo Byblus, *EXtovi/ 
was in use among the Phoenicians (Eus. Pr, Ev. i. 10). — 15. The 
Recesses of the Pit] ct. "the Recesses of the North," v.^^ (n.).— 
Pitj 113, " poetical and late " (BDB), is a synonym for Sheol 
(cp. e.g. Ps 88^, Ezk 2620 32^^-24), conceived as resembling a 
vast cistern, roomy below but with a narrow mouth or opening 
(Ps 69i«— 1K3). 

12. nyiJj] TX may be prefixed for rhythm's sake. — V^'n] MT intends the 
word to mean Aowt (15^ n.) : cp. (& howl in the morning. — D'U Vy rVm] (K 
6 dkVwirkXKMv irpbs irdvTa ra (Ovrj, reading nSir, which must be wrong, for 
B'Vin, and Sa before D'U, which may be right. With e''?n, cp. Job 14^", Jl 4^". 

i6-2oa. The once all-conquering tyrant lies on the 
battlefield where he fell, a rotting and unburied 
corpse. — 16. Cp. the terms in which Yahweh speaks of His 
treatment of the proud king of Tyre : " I cast thee out upon the 
earth, before kings I set thee for them to feast their eyes upon 
thee ... I turned thee into ashes upon the earth in the sight of 
all them that saw thee (^^K'^ ^3, as here). All that knew thee 
among the peoples were appalled at thee," Ezk 28^''-^*. — Zook 
narrowly] the vb. is also used of peering through a window, 
Ca 2®; of the high priest Simon looking out of the Temple, 
Sir 50*; of the intense and hungry look of a (poor) man on 
another's (well-laden) table. Sir 402^; of God's all-seeing gaze 
out of heaven over men, Ps 33^* : with the last usage, cp. NH 
nnasyn. Providence. — l6c. d. The same kind of astonished 
question occurs in 23"^. — 17c, 18. It is uncertain, probably owing 
to textual corruption at this point, whether all or any of the 
words of these lines belonged to the speech that began in v.^**'. 
From the resumption of the address to the king (cp. w.^^f.^ 
16a. bj^ ^g may assume that the speech has ended before v.^*, 
and v. ^8^- *', which is antithetical to v.^*, should naturally also 

VOL. I. — 17 



258 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

fall outside the speech. V.^'^*' (J^ : ^ omits the last word) may 
be rendered his prisoners he released not hojuewards ; if f^ is sub- 
stantially correct, then v.^^ all the kings of the nations is best 
regarded as the second and shorter line of the distich, and as 
an explanatory apposition to his prisoners (Du.) ; this, as com- 
pared with the verse division of J^, RV, has the merit of 
maintaining the rhythm of the poem unbroken through vv.^^^* 
while it still leaves the antithesis of vv.^^^* ® and i^- ^ well 
stated : all the kings of the nations died indeed, but received 
honourable burial, and now lie each one in his house, i.e. in the 
mausoleum which each had built for himself; whereas (v.^^) the 
king of Babylon is flung forth, dishonoured, one of a mass of 
common corpses that lie unburied like his own. But this inter- 
pretation of vv.^^'i^ is open to two objections, the second of 
which lies even more forcibly against J^, RV. (i) Du. himself 
perceives, and states, and attempts to meet the first of these 
difficulties : ** Strictly speaking, the kings of the nations cannot 
have been buried each in his house, if they had not been 
allowed by Chaldaea to return home. The poet doubtless, 
means that the kings were released owing to the fall of the 
Chaldaean, so that they recovered their kingdoms and died in 
peace ; and he is guilty of a hysteron proteron in representing 
them as already dead before the now - expiring Babylonian. 
But the poet may be pardoned for what would not be tolerated 
in prose." (2) Unreadiness to release prisoners (ordinary, 
common captives, according to J^) is not the greatest of enor- 
mities ; and therefore v.^'^*' comes as a rather violent anti-climax 
after the preceding description of the king's creating world-wide 
desolation and terror. If the main point were the capture of the 
kings, the anti-climax would be less ; and this we could obtain 
in a slightly emended text from which nn^3 is omitted as in ffi, 
and vh\ "ID« (J^ ^) is read for \^ 1'»-»^DK, 

He fettered and released not 
All the kings of the nations. 

But the hysteron proteron (see above) still remains. Not im- 
probably v.^'^*' is seriously corrupt. — I9-20a. The Tyrant's 
corpse, unlike those of other kings, which, retaining something 
of royal state, rest each in its own mausoleum (v.^^), lies outcast, 
trodden under foot, where it fell pierced with the sword in battle. 





XIV. 19, 20 259 

So much remains clear : but we have the disjecta membra rather 
than the whole of the distichs in which the poet indicated the 
contrast to v.^^. — Art cast fortH\ the vb. is used of corpses left 
to lie unburied (34^, Jer 14^^ 36^^), or hurried unceremoniously 
into the nearest available tomb (2 K 13^^), or, like those of 
malefactors, thrown down to be covered over with stones 
(Jos 829). The vb. is followed in ?^ by Ti3pD, which might be 
rendered (i) from thy tomb; but the passage is clearly speaking 
not of disinterment, but of non-interment; or, though much 
less naturally after napKTl, (2) (far) away from thy tomb ; see 
BDB 578a, b. It would be better to treat "j as dittographic and 
read laplO, tombless (Dr.) : cp. Ps 527(^nso, tentless), Job 1 1^*. (5 Iv 
opicriv {v.l. tdvecriv) probably read D''"in3, on the mountains : see 
phil. n. — Like an abhorred . . .] the object of comparison is 
1X3, which is rendered by S, Theod., and U commonly shoot 
(ii^ n.). But the adjective and noun in that case seem ill-suited 
to one another. Di., feeling that abhorred or abominable (cp. 
Job 15^^; navin, abomination^ e.g. i^^) is too strong an epithet 
for a useless shoot cut out of a tree and thrown away, suggests 
that combined with the idea of a rejected shoot is that of the 
scion of a human family expelled and abhorred on account of 
his badness : improbable. Other versions either gave a different 
meaning to iva, or read differently : ffi v^Kpo'i, Aq. i^wp, Symm. 
€KTpo)/Ma, 3r isn*; and Jer. alludes to sanies as a rendering. 
Schwally {ZATW, 1891, p. 258) conjectured i>Q3, untimely birth 
(Job 3^^); while Nestle {ib. 1904, pp. 127-129) claimed that 
1^3 meant something like putrefying matter : cp. NH {jv:, decayed 
matter^ liquid and coagulated portions of a corpse. — The slain] 
cp. 10*. ^*2h might be a noun (cp. e.g. 63^), but a garment of 
the slain is nonsense; better, clothed with the slain^ of which 
fflt with mdny slain may be merely a paraphrase ; but in spite of 
other rather similar metaphorical uses of ^2h (Job 7^, Ps 65^*), 
it is doubtful whether the text is sound here. — That go down to 
the stones of the Tit] MT treats mi\ like the participles that pre- 
cede, as a plural ; and this is probably right. That nnv is sing. 
— an instance oi yod campaginis (cp. i^i, Zee iii'^. La i^) — thou 
that goes t down (Du.), is abstractly possible. (& has those that go 
down to HadeSy which is probably a correct paraphrase, if not 
the literal rendering of an earlier and shorter text containing 
the phrase that occurs in 38^8, Ps 30* etc. If ^J3N i^x, to the 




260 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

stones ofy is not a corrupt fragment that has crept into f^ since 
6r, ^33X is probably an error for "i^lX, the bases of the Pit, i.e. of 
Sheol (v.^^ n.), with which cp. the bases of the earth (Job 38^), 
a synonym with "the recesses of the Pit" (v.^^).* Others 
understand by the stones of the Pit^ the tomb or grave — the 
stone or rock tomb of the rich (22^^; Ges.), or the casual 
grave into which an enemy cast a fallen foe, covering him with 
stones (2 S 18^''; Du.), or the stones which were rolled up to 
or placed over the mouth of a grave (Mt 28^; Hitz.). — 20. 
With them] with whom ? doubtful. Ew., Di. answer, with those 
that go down to the stones of the pit {i.e. the graves of the rich, 
see last n.), which clause they extract from v.^^ and prefix as a 
casus pendens to v.^®. Du. prefixes by conjecture thy fathers — 
thou shalt not be joined with them. 

l6a. b. CK renders briefly, and adds (cp. CS) an explanatory koX 
ipovaiv. — i6c. nm] fflr ni. — vny] nny would be correct ; '?3n is fem. — 17. 
nn'a nns kS vtdk] on the wider question of the text as affected by exegesis, 
see above. Note that (&^ omits the preceding clause Din viyi. dSc read 
D(')n(')ON (without the suffix) or ■i(')dn (rendered collectively) instead of vtdix. 
The emphatic position of the object vtdk in 5& admits of no obvious explana- 
tion, and may be a further indication of corruption. Che., Marti recon- 
struct w."''-^* as follows : 

waS B"K I nns te*? vtdk 

7)333 "ISDiy I oSa D'13 "J^D 

But in'aS r'K is a feeble redundance, whereas ^'33 vh where it stands in 

f^ is efifective. Kit. al. : 

K^|n n'3 I nns kV vtdn^ 

in'3a r»K | 11333 i33t5' d'?3 di: '3'?D 

But the first of these distichs, though rhythmically tolerable, is still anti- 
climactic in sense, and the second distich is rhythmically bad. — nns] nn^ 
(MT) if Kit.'s emendation be accepted ; otherwise nn? : cp. Jer 40*. — 18. 
0*73 D'i3 '3'?D S3] it would be unsafe to infer that (Sc had one only of the 
words ^3, 0^3. MT takes all four words together (cp. e.g. Nu 16*, 
Ezk 11^^). For the idiom in Kit.'s reconstruction, cp. 9^ — 3in 'jytsD] for 

the commoner 'n 'hhn (22^). jyo occurs nowhere else in the OT, but j^*b 
and Aram, jyo are common. — 19, 20a. After the first five words the 
rhythmical scheme of the poem breaks down in f^. ffii differs to some extent, 
but yields no satisfactory text. If iv 6pe(rtj' = Dnn3 represents an original 
D'Jin3 (Du., Che.), it is nearer the original text than |^. On KaTa^aivdvTuv 
eii "Adov, see above. For nJ33 ffi read iJ33 and then treated D3"id as = noDisno 
(Ezk 16'). OiK icTai Kadapbv oCrws ov8k <ri> ^(xri Kadapbs may represent 
something very different from mi3p3 dtik inn vh ; with '3 . . . inn k*?, cp. 

• Gunkel, Schopfungu. Chaos, p. 133 ; Che. {SBOT). 



n 



XIV. i6-2i 261 

Gn 49*. — Elaborate reconstructions such as Du. and Che., who regard vv. *•'*'• 
as the mutilated fragment of five distichs, offer, are of necessity very un- 
certain ; but it is unwise to invent muj yn as a fitting introduction to ^M3 
while the unfitting epithet ayw is left attached to n«. 

20b-2i. May no descendant of the Tyrant survive to 
repeat his career. — TAy land hast thou ruined^ thy people hast 
thou slain] fflr my land . . . my people^ doubtless understanding 
the words to refer to Nebuchadnezzar's treatment of the Jews 
(cp. Jer.). J^ means that the conqueror, who has ruined (cp. 
Ezk 30^1) other lands by his conquests (v.^), has also ruined his 
own. But how? Merely, like all great conquerors, who press 
heavily on their land by the drain of war, and expose many of 
their subjects to death in their campaigns?* This rather 
inadequate explanation would apply equally well to any of the 
great conquering kings of Assyria or Babylon. Or is the 
meaning that the career of the conqueror has brought about the 
downfall of the state and people, that the people have exchanged 
the role of the conqueror for the fate of the conquered ? Then 
this particular trait might fit Nabonidus, or the last king of 
Assyria, or, perhaps best of all, the personified nation. — Seed of 
evil-doers] ffi the evil-doer. Even if the plural is correct, the 
phrase has not quite the same meaning as in i* : here it means 
the descendants of the evil and hurtful kings. — 21. A butchery] 
n3t3D t may denote either the act of slaughtering animals, or the 
place where they are slaughtered. — Fathers] 6i^ father. — And 
fill the face of the world] '^■Vwith cities — to subserve their 
tyranny (Del.) : improbable. Many emendations of D^iy have 
been suggested (see below), but the line is rhythmically complete 
without it (Du., Marti). Both Dny and ^3B, the face of which is 
not expressed by ffir, may be additions; and the original text 
may have had the common parallelism earth and world (see, e.g.^ 

24* 34^)- 

21. iDip''^3] Si seems to have the force of so that . . , not\ cp. 
Ps 10'* 78^. With the exception of two not altogether certain occurrences 
in Hos 7^ 9^', ^3 is confined to the later literature — chs. 26. 33. 35, and 
40-66, Pr., Job, I Ch., Ps. — any] (&. iro\itiu)v, which is probably an error 
for vbXeuv (Aq., Theod., Symm., and some MSS of (&), or 7roXe/Afwi' = Dny, 
taken in its Aramaic sense of enemy (Dn 4'^) : cp. tJT. Among emendations 
that have been suggested are D"j; (llitz.)i Q'SPV (Ew.), Dny nmn (Di.), niyn, 
to be taken closely with 'nopi in v. 2' (Cobb). 

* Cp. Jer., Ges., Di., al. 



262 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

22-23. Yahweh promises to wipe out the Baby- 
lonians, and to make of Babylon a desolate city. — This 
is scarcely either poetry or the original continuation of vv.*^-2i : 
see above, p. 233 f. — I will arise against] 312. The response to 
V.21. — Saith] DW thrice in these verses : nowhere else in 13^-1421. 
— I will cut off name and remnant] and so wipe out of existence 
and memory : the response to v.^^^^- ®, cp. Zeph i^ : similar 
phrases occur in i S 24^2, 2 S 14*^. Name and remnant and kith 
and kin^ or more WteraWy />rogeny and posterity (1331 pj), are both 
alliterative phrases: *7D3 and pi always occur together — Gn 21^3, 
Job 1 819, Sir 4i5 47221 : in (^ q{ the last passage 1331 p is in 
synonymous parallelism with ^"it, seed. — 23. The possession of the 
porcupine] 34-^^ n. — / will sweep it away with the besom of 
destruction] the proud city is implicitly compared to filth that 
must be swept away : cp. for rather similar vigorous figures, 
I K 1410, 2 K 2ii3. 

23. .TOMBxai] probably Pilpel of ki», otherwise unknown. For a full 
discussion of the form, see Konig, i. 652 f. 

XIV. 24-27. — Yahweh^ s plan to destroy Assyria on the 
Mountains of Palestine. 

The opening words down to vh dn fall outside the rhythmical scheme, are 
absent from C&, and may be editorial. The ten lines that follow fall into 
5 distichs of equal (or approximately equal) lines parallel to one another in 
sense. Two, or if niKas be omitted in v.^^*, three, of the distichs are 4:41 
23»- b is 3 . 3 ; 25«- d 1^ 3 : 4, or, with the omission of nio\ 3 : 3. 

^ Yahweh of Hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely 
As I have thought, so shall it come to pass, 

And as I have planned — even that shall be realised; 
25 That I will break Assyria in my land, 
And trample him on my mountains. 
And his yoke shall remove from upon them, 

And his burden from upon his shoulder shall remove. 
2*^ This is the plan that hath been planned against the 

whole earth. 
And this is the hand that has been stretched out 

against all the nations : 

27 For Yahweh of Hosts hath planned, who then can annul? 

And his hand is the out-stretched (hand); who then 

can turn it back? 





XIV. 2 2, 23; 24-27 263 

This poem or fragment is unconnected with that which 
precedes it ; it is separated by a concluding and, in J^, by an 
initial formula ; it is also distinguished by difference of rhythm 
and subject ; vv.^-^^ deal with the approaching fall of Babylon, 
vv.24-27 ^ith the approaching destruction of Assyria. It is 
separated from what follows by a fresh editorial note (v.^^). 
Some see in the fragment a misplaced conclusion to lo*^"^- ^^-'^^ 
(Che.), or to io82 (Cond.), or to lo^* (Ges.), or to iS^ (Ew.); 
but after any of these passages v.^^ would be necessary to explain 
the ist pers. of v.^^^, and v.^^ is not rhythmical. 

If the fragment is Isaiah's (cp. e.g. Du., Che. Ititrod. 79), it 
may have been written during the campaign of Sennacherib; 
but the phrase my mountains (v.^s), and ideas in v.^^ and v.^^ 
recalling Ezekiel and later writers, leave room for the suspicion 
that it is the work of a post-exilic writer familiar with Isaiah's 
prophecies: see Stade in ZATW\\\. 16, and Marti. 

24. Yahweh . . . hath sworn] cp. Am 4^ 6^ 8*^, Gn 22^*, 
and, probably, Is 5®; also, in later writings, e.g. 4523 549 62^, 
Jer 22^, Ps 95". — As I have thoughi\ Nu 33^^: ntS"! occurs also 
in 10'^, but it is questionable whether this clause refers back to 
lo*^: the subject of the sentence is not emphasised so as to 
suggest an antithesis between Yahweh's thought and Assyria's. — 
As I have planned] This, like all Yahweh's (Ps 33", Pr 19"), 
but unlike many human (S^^), plans, will be carried out ; for yv^ 
or nvy, see also 5^^ 19^2. 17 238 25I 4610, Jer 4920 50*5. — 25. 
Yahweh's plan is to destroy Assyria, and in order that it may be 
clear that He is the author of this destruction, the destruction is 
to take place in His own land (cp. Ezk 38i«- 22f. 3921^-), on the 
hills of Palestine; cp. lo^^ n. Yahweh is conceived as a warrior 
(cp. 63!-^) mangling ("I2B^, cp. Jer 141^ 19", Is 3026, Lev 2ii») and 
then trampling (Ps 44* 60^*, Zee 10*) on the prostrate corpse 
(cp. 14^^) of Assyria; for similar personifications of nations, see 
i3 n. lo^^ n. — Assyria] if the term has its primary sense and . 
refers to the Assyrian Empire, this passage was written at all 
events before the close of the 7th cent, and anticipates the 
elaboration of the idea in Ezk 38 f. If, as in Ezr 6^2, Assyria is 
used of one of the empires that succeeded Assyria proper, 
the passage may be late and dependent on Ezk 38. 39. — My 
mountains] cp. 65^, but probably not Ezk 3821. With Ezek. the 



264 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



term " mountains of Israel " is a favourite mode of reference to 
Palestine : cp. 6^^- 1 9^, and, in reference to the scene of the 
destruction of the world power, 392- *. 17^ — 25c. d. Cp. lo^''. 
The lines may be an interpolation ; Judah, to whom the pronouns 
in upon them and his shoulder must refer, has not been mentioned. 
— 26. Not only Assyria, strictly speaking, is the object of 
Yahweh's plan : all the nations of the world also must assemble 
on the mountains of Judah to feel there the destructive power 
of Yahweh : cp. Jl 4 (3)^2ff.^ Some understand all the earth and 
all the nations to be entirely synonymous with Assyria : so Di., 
who appeals to 10^* 8^ ly^^f. 297 30^8, and also 13^ — The hand 
that has been stretched out] 528 9". — 27. Cp. Nu 2$^% Is 4^^% 
Dn482(36), job9i2. 




24. kS-dk . . yajyj] (& om.— Dipn . . . nn'n] for the vbs. and the fem., cp. 
7''; for the proph. pf., Dr. § 14. — 25. nne''?] is dependent on 'n'Di, 'nxy, in 
V.**; in the parallel clause the inf. passes over into the impf.: Dr. §§ 117, 118. 
— yoDv] some would read DDDr : cp. on'Syo. — nio'] overloads the line and 
inelegantly repeats the vb. of the parallel line. 



•^ 



28-32. — The Fate of Philistia, 

The introductory note, v.^, is prose ; vv.*"'* consist of 6 distichs, "*'• ^ 
is another distich ; the opening words of v.*^ are not, but look like the 
fragment of another distich. The distichs consist of balanced lines mostly 
parallel in sense : the length of the line is 3 or 4 accents. On a possible 
intrusion of B'nj into ^^c, which at present overbalances ^ see n. below j 
TlOnt<¥'' ii^ v.***^ should be read as two accents. 

28 In the year that King Ahaz died was this oracle : — 

^ Rejoice not, O entire Philistia, 

Because the rod that smote thee has been broken; 
For from the root of the serpent shall issue an asp, 
And its fruit shall be a flying fiery serpent. 

^ And the poorest of the poor shall feed, 
And the needy will lie down in security ; 
And *he' will cause thy root to die of hunger, 
And thy remnant will he slay. 

'^ Howl, (every) town ! cry out, (every) city ! 
Faint away, entire Philistia ! 
For out of the north smoke cometh, 
And there is no straggler in his ranks. 



XIV. 25-27, 28-32 26s 

* And what answer will . . . give 

. . . the messengers of the nation (?)? 
"That it is Yahweh who hath founded §ion, 

And in her the afflicted of his people take refuge.** 

Some event, presumably the death, overthrow, or enfeeble- 
ment of some victorious adversary, who had inflicted severe 
suffering on the entire Philistine country, has led the Philistines 
to rejoice (cp. 2 S i^o). The prophet warns them that their 
rejoicing will be short-lived, for worse things await them from 
the same quarter ; an army descending from the N. will destroy 
the Philistines, root and branch. 

Appended to (v.^^^^ ^nd at present interwoven with (v.^**'** ^), 
this prediction of the destruction of Philistia are promises that 
the poor (v.^<^), i.e. the Jewish nation, or the afflicted part of that 
nation (v.^^)^ ^^rill find security in §ion. 

So much seems clear ; but the identification of the adversary 
and the determination of the date of the poem are closely related 
problems which cannot be solved with certainty. Some theories 
may be ruled out at once as inconsistent with a sound exegesis ; 
unless the unity of the poem be abandoned, so that v.^^ is 
referred to one and v.^^ to another poem, the " asp " and the 
"fiery serpent" and "the smoke from the North" all refer, 
directly or indirectly, to the person, or power, that is to destroy 
Philistia. But, since the " asp " and " the fiery serpent " are 
sprung from the same root as " the rod " that has already inflicted 
injury on Philistia, we may infer (i) that the writer has the same 
hostile nation in view throughout, and believes that the same 
nation that has already smitten Philistia will destroy it ; and (2) 
that this nation is not Judah, for Judah would have attacked 
Philistia from the East (cp. 9^^ n^^); this power descends from 
the North : the writer is doubtless thinking of the great coast 
road from the N. by which alike Assyrian, Babylonian, and, later, 
Greek invaders came. On the ground, then, of both (i) and (2) 
we may rule out the theories that "the rod" was Ahaz (or 
Uzziah ; Rashi, Ki.), the " asp " Hezekiah, and the " fiery serpent " 
the Messiah (Del.; cp. ST, Jer.); or that "the rod" was the 
Jewish, the " asp " the Assyrian, dominion over Philistia (Di.) : 
on the ground of (2) we may dismiss the theory that "rod " and 
" asp " indicate different periods of Jewish dominion, interrupted 
by a period of weakness (Ges.); and on the ground of (i) the 




266 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

theory that the " rod " was the Persian dominion, and the 
Alexander the Great (Du., Marti). 

But various possibilities remain ; though the number is reduced, if we can 
prove that the poem dates from the 8th century. According to the introductory 
note, it does do so ; but the evidence of this note has been much challenged. 
Some hold that it is an editor's inference from the contents of the poem ; 
interpreting the rod of Ahaz and the asp of Hezekiah, he inferred, so it is 
suggested, that the occasion of the poem must have been the death of Ahaz, 
which the poem describes as the breaking of the rod. This is extremely 
improbable ; for Ahaz did not smite the Philistines, but was smitten by them 
(2 Ch 28^^) ; it is one thing for interpreters with the note before them, and 
even then in desperation, to identify the rod with Ahaz ; quite another for an 
editor uninfluenced by the note to stumble on an interpretation so improbable 
that to avoid it the mediaeval Jewish commentators fell into other improb- 
abilities by identifying the rod with Uzziah, who died several years before Ahaz. 
The possibility remains that a late editor inferred, on grounds no longer 
obvious, the dcUCy not the occasion, of the poem, and gave his chronological 
note the same form as that in 6^. Yet this is not very probable, and were it 
not for the suspicious KB'Dn at the end of the note, might be dismissed ; but 
KB'Dn may be a substitute for nmn, or the whole of the last clause may be a 
substitute for a different conclusion more resembling the form of 20^. 

There is probability, then, that the chronological note is 
genuinely ancient, and not a mere imitation of an old type of 
note ; its evidence, therefore, must not be lightly dismissed. 

Unfortunately, even if the note be correct, the date remains 
uncertain within limits of a dozen years or so. Ahaz was 
certainly alive in 728, but some chronological schemes place his 
death in 727, i,e. in the 6th year before 722 B.C. (2 K iS^^), 
others in 715 or 714, i.e. in the 14th year before 701 (36^), 
others at some intermediate date such as 720. If 727 be the 
correct date, the " rod " would be Tiglath-pileser, who also died in 
that year and had treated Philistia with severity ; the event of the 
year 734 singled out for reference in the Eponym canon is Tiglath- 
pileser's campaign in Philistia, and we have more particular 
evidence of his treatment of Gaza and Ashkelon. It can be no 
objection to this theory that Tiglath-pileser's immediate successor, 
Shalmaneser, inflicted, so far as is known, no defeat on Philistia ; 
for while the "rod" is matter of history to the prophet, the 
"asp" is subject of prediction: in 727, Isaiah may have anti- 
cipated a renewal of Assyrian hostiHty against Philistia, which as 
a matter of fact did not take place till the reign of Sargon, just 



XIV. 28-32 26; 

as he anticipated the destruction of Samaria a dozen years earlier 
than the actual event. 

It is possible that the death of Shalmaneser (722) and the 
death of Ahaz nearly synchronised ; and some have identified the 
" rod " with Shalmaneser. But it does not seem probable that 
Shalmaneser ever troubled Philistia, though the lack of inscrip- 
tions by him does not admit of a positive statement on this 
point. 

Rejecting the evidence of the note, many have identified the 
"rod" with Sargon, whose death occurred in 705. Sargon's 
treatment of Philistia in 720 and again in 71 1 (ch. 20) was severer 
even than Tiglath-pileser's. 

Accepting the note and placing the death of Ahaz in 720, i.e. 
16 years (2 K 16^) after c. 735, when Ahaz was already (ch. 7), 
though he had probably only just become, king, but abandoning 
the interpretation of the broken rod as a reference to the death 
of a king, Wi. attributes the joy of Philistia to the effect of the 
news of the battle Dur-ilu in 721 : according to Sargon's own 
account, he was successful in this battle against the Elamites, the 
allies of Merodach-baladan ; but, according to the Babylonian 
Chronicle, Sargon was defeated, and subsequent events show that 
it was certainly several years before Sargon made good his 
position in Babylon. Che. adopted this theory in Introd. p. 
81, but abandoned it later {SBOTy p. 195) in favour of the 
theory that 1428-32 jg^ \\\^q 14*'^^ a post-exilic poem referring to 
Sennacherib's death in 681. 

Du. and Marti have also argued for a non-Isaianic origin, and indeed for a 
post-exilic date on these grounds: (i) v.'^ attributes the foundation of §ion 
to Yahweh, 29' to David ; (2) the application of the terms D'*?!, D'3V3k, D"jj; 
in vv.*'*- **• ^ ; (3) '^^n3 conjecturally substituted for 'ni33 in v.***. (i) and (3) 
have no great weight : for if David's battles might be called Yahweh's battles 
(i S 25^), surely David's foundation might also be called Yahweh's founda- 
tion : Isaiah surely conceived Yahweh as working through David ; "vi in v.*" 
is anything but certain (see n.). (2) is not without weight : see notes below. 
But *'*• ''• ^, the only parts of the poem affected by the argument, might well 
be subsequent additions (see especially n. on ^^ **). 

28. Cp. 6^ ; and on the meaning and probable genuineness of 
the note, see above. — 29. Philistia] nc^Q occurs in the OT (v.^'. 
Ex 15I*, Jl 4^ Ps 6o^<> = 108^0 3^8 8y4|) only as a poetical synonym 
for "the land of the Philistines" (D^nK'^3 pN); but Palastu^ 




268 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

Pilistu^ occurs in Assyr., e.g. ana {matu) Pilista in the Eponym 
Canon for 734, and Pilesheth in Egyptian Inscription of the 22nd 
Dynasty {c. 945-745 b.c.) : see H. Vincent, Canaan^ 454. — The 
staff that smote thee\Q.^. lo^jOx the staff of thy smiter{(Bi)\ cp. 1020-2* 
14^ (9^) i in the latter case the broken stick corresponds directly 
to the death of the king at whose hands Philistia has suffered ; 
in the former, to the temporary withdrawal from Philistia of the 
hostile army, probably in consequence of the death of the king. 
If under the dead king the Philistines were smitten with a stick, 
under the new king they will be smitten with serpents (cp. 1 K 
1 2^*). For suggested identifications, see above. — For from the 
root of the serpeni\ rejoice noX^for worse is to follow than has yet 
come and from the same quarter. At present there is an abrupt 
change of figure : serpent takes the place of rod in the previous 
line. Possibly serpent (K^nj) is a gloss on the rare word VQV, asp^ 
and the original text ran from its root^ i.e. the root whence the 
rod came. In any case the meaning is that the future greater 
mischief will issue from the same quarter as the mischief that is 
past ; if asp and fiery serpent refer to Assyrian king(s), so too 
does rod\ and if r^^ referred to a Jewish king or dominion, so 
too would asp and fiery serpent. It is quite unsafe to assume 
that V.29C- ^ refer to successive stages in a future increasing peril 
(Di.), and asp 2ind fiery serpent to distinct persons, one succeeding 
to and proving more dangerous than the other. Certainly, if {5^n: 
be original in v.^^^^, it is most natural to explain its fruit as 
meaning the fruit of the serpent (t^nj) rather than the fruit of the 
asp : the two lines are then parallel and synonymous statements 
of the same fact or anticipation — the future issue and offspring 
of the root whence the rod was taken will be dangerous serpents. 
Again, there is no sound evidence that three terms tJ'n:, ysv, and 
5]DiyD 9p;^ refer to reptiles of differing degrees of venomousness. 
The first is generic (Gn 3), but is used of dangerous serpents 
(Gn 49^^, Am 5^^, Ec lo^, Ps 58^ (4)) ; the second and third refer 
to specific types of venomous reptiles, actual or mythical : but 
what particular types are intended cannot be determined. The 
VBV mentioned here only may be the same as the "•JVS^ of 1 1^ 
595, Jer 8^7, Pr 23^21; for the tlDiyo cjiK', see 30^; and for the 
meaning of PjlC', cp. 62 n., Nu 21^ n. — 30. The hostile power will 
destroy Philistia with famine and the sword of war, but will 
leave Judah unmolested : the Jews will live in peace and plenty 



XIV. 30, 3' 269 

(cp. v.^). Such must be the meaning, if v.^^* ^ is original ; yet 
the use of the terms />oor and needy for Yahweh's people savours 
more of the Psalter than of Isaiah : lo^, of course, being different, 
probably also ii*. Possibly these lines at least are later than 
the age of Isaiah. In any case they are probably misplaced : 
for the peace and plenty of the poor, v.^oa- ^^ is no natural sequence 
(iy"i"l) to the succession to the stick of a serpent (v.^^), nor again 
is the slaughter of the Philistines (v.^^*'- ^) a natural sequence 
(^nom) to the peace and plenty of Judah ; on the other hand, 
y 80c. d jg tiie sequence of v.^^ ; while ^^^' ^ could find a more 
suitable place after v.^^^ — The poorest of the poor] lit. the firstborn 
of the poor: the nearest parallels to the idiom are in Job iS^^ 
Ps 89^8 (27\ But the text is open to suspicion ; the superlative 
seems pointless (see line b), and parallelism suggests that man 
conceals a term synonymous with ntSDP in the next line ; ^^3 
(Dt 33^^, Jer 49^^ : cp. "y^'i>, Nu 23^, Mic 7^*) would be suitable, 
the poor shall feed by themselves^ unmolested by the nations 
(cp. Nu 23^). Easier palaeographical emendations (see phil. n.) 
give a definition of place ; but this would form a less satisfactory 
parallel : the line then reads, And the poor shall feed on my 
meadow or on my mountains (v.^^ n.); in this case Yahweh is 
the speaker. — And he will cause to die . . . he will slay] the 
rendering rests on the reading n^DH^. (ffirST) for Wni, I will slay ; 
the subject is the same as in v.^^*'* \ Many prefer to obtain two 
vbs. in the first person by following f^ instead of (& in the first 
line, and reading airiN for Jin^ in the second : in this case Yahweh 
is the subj. — Thy root] in contrast to the root of v.^^, which sends 
up stronger growth, the root of Philistia will die. But (i) the 
parallel line does not maintain the figure of a tree ; ct. 5^*, Hos 
9^^ ; (2) a dead tree is not a good figure of complete destruction 
(cp. Job 14^); (3) trees die for lack of water; the famine of 
which Philistia is to die is probably the famine of beleaguered 
cities (cp. 5^^), and some term more immediately suggestive of 
human beings seems wanted ; consequently fflr's thy seedio,-^. e.g. 
54^) may represent the original text. — 31. Touni\ lit. gate : cp. 
the Deuteronomic phrase " within thy gates," i.e. in all thy 
towns. — From the north] cp. Jer i^* 10^2 472^ — Smoke] if this is 
correct, the enemy is represented as capturing and burning the 
country as it moves southward towards Philistia : the next line, 



2fO COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

in spite of the uncertainty of the last word (see phil. n.), suggests 
that a more personal term may have been used ; the enemy 
moves on compactly and rapidly with no straggler^ lit. one who 
is separated^ in his ranks ; cp. ^'^. — 32. In contrast to Philistia 
(vv.29-3i)j Sion, the existing city (ct. 28^^ n.), is safe, for none other 
than Yahweh has founded it (cp. 54^^ Ps 87^) : in Sion, Yahweh's 
people will find a secure retreat (cp. v.^^*- ^ with n.). So much is 
clear; but how this idea was introduced and connected with 
what proceeds is not clear, for the opening words are a corrupt 
fragment of an entire distich (see phil. n.). It is possible that 
v. ^2 was not the original continuation of v.^^ j but if it was, then 
the odd expression the messengers of {the) nation^ if not itself the 
result of corruption, must imply that the Philistines send envoys 
to Jerusalem (cp. 18^, Jer 27^) to seek aid, and receive in 
response the words of ^'^^' ^ — for them a somewhat irrelevant 
answer. The answer would doubtless be more relevant if 
addressed to messengers of Assyria demanding the capitulation 
of Jerusalem ; but the difficulty is to establish the connection of 
an Assyrian embassy to Jerusalem with a threat of the destruction 
of Philistia ; the difficulty remains if we read nations {(B). — The 
afflicted of his people"] does this mean that another portion of 
Yahweh's people will not find refuge there ? If v.^^b jg \^ agree- 
ment with v.^^*- ^ and the terms poor and needy here mean Judah 
as opposed to Philistia, this is improbable. At the same time it 
is rather unsatisfactory to take \0V ^^3y as an appositional gen. 
and render the afflicted^ {even) his people. Possibly ''''jy is an 
error (cp. lo^) : the term, like those of v. 2^*- ^ is more easily 
explicable by post-exilic circumstances than by those of the 8th 
cent. 

28. Ntron] (K Tbpij/w., as in 15^ 17^ 22^ 23^—30. mD3] ^Tff MT 'i^2^,Jirsi- 
bof-no/'f Lowth 'l^s?, {the poor shall feed on) my choice first fruits. Koppe 
proposed '1^3, in my meadows \ and many have adopted this or '")33, in my 
meadow ; but see 30^^ n. ; Che. , Marti 'TJij?, on my mountains ; but ct. 'I-tVv, 
v.^^ For another suggestion, see above, ffi's equivalent for D'*?! msn is 

TTTUXol 5t' avTOv. — aiq: . . . 'nom] ffi dveXet . . . dj'eXet ; & . . . A » Vojn 
V. ^o A 1 : ^ hv^p* , . . n'D'i ; "B interire fcuiam . . . interficiam. On the 
choice of readings, see above. — iK'ne'] (ffi rh airipixa <xov ; ST 133. — 31. "lyjy 'V'^'.n] 
lyt:' is here exceptionally fern. ; Kon. iii. 249W. — aiDJ] inf. abs. Niph. : G-K. 
727/, ii-^bb. — viyiD] so pointed, here only; and nyio nowhere has quite 
the sense required here ; the word lyiD is explained as the place appointed 
(^y') for the soldier, i.e. the ranks of an army. Marti proposes imoy ; cp. 




XIV. 28-32 AND XV. XVI. 27 1 

fry in the previous line. On (HEr's rendering of injnoa Tna pK by koI ovk fartp 
Tov elvai, see Ges. p. 102, and Ottley.— 32. 'w 'okSd njy noi] certainly, if v." 
is part of the poem in ^"^', these words look like a fragment of a distich. 
(Sc reading '^Vd for '3kSd, and (cp. also C) probably uy for njy, and D'u for 
'13, renders Kal rl iiroKpi6T^<roi>Tai ^curiXeis idvdv. The best that can be done 
with ^ is to treat njy as a vb. with an indefinite subject (G-K. 144^, what 
then shall one answer (RV) ; cp. H : this is obviously unsatisfactory. Sb reads 
njyj, what answer shall we give — also improbable. Very unconvincing 
attempts to complete the distich have been made by Bick., Du., and Che. 



XV. X\l.— The overthrow of Moab, 

These chapters, containing the oracle (13I n.) of Moah^ in 
part describe and lament, in part, as it seems, predict a great 
calamity. An appendix, i6i^^-, treats the entire oracle as a 
" word of Yahweh," i.e. a prophecy, which was spoken long ago 
and has hitherto remained unfulfilled, but is now to be fulfilled 
within the term of three years. 

The oracle is probably enough not the work of a single 
writer. It would be easier to speak with decision on this point 
if the text were less corrupt, and the interpretation of many 
details less uncertain. 

In the first place, it is to be noted that the major part of the 
oracle re-appears with many textual variations and much differ- 
ence of order in Jer 48.* Thus : 

Is 151-2^ absent from Jeremiah; yet cp. 48^^- ^8. 

J e2c-7a _ Tgj. ^gSTa. 38. 34a. 31 (cp. 36a. b) 84b. 6. 34d. 860^ 

i5'''^-i6^ absent from Jeremiah. 

1 56-11 _ Jej. A^l^. 30b. 36a. b. 32c. b. a. d. 33. 86a. b 

\G^ absent from Jeremiah. 

Even in i52c-7a and i6^-ii there are a few lines, or clauses, 
not incorporated in Jer. ; the more important are 15^^- ^ i6^- ^- ^^ 
But it remains remarkable that whereas almost the whole of 
15!-'^* i6®-^^ is quoted, or has left its trace, in Jer 48, no trace of 
the long intervening section is to be found there. Was then the 
compiler of the cento in Jer 48 familiar with Is 15. 16, or did 
he and the editor of Is 15. 16 alike make use of an elegy over 
Moab of which the whole or much of Is 15^^-1 6^ and 16^2 formed 
no part ? The latter alternative seems the more probable ; for 
there is a difference of character between A 15^*^* id^'^^ and 
* Cp. the translation and notes in Dr. Book offer. 280 fF. 




272 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

much of B i5''^-i65 16^2^ A is throughout descriptive, or 
expressive, of the emotions which naturally find an outlet 
in elegy: the first person, when it is used (Is 15^ i6^-^i: also 
Jer 48^6 = Is 16''), refers to the poet. On the other hand, in B 
the first person (15^^ ? 16^ (&) refers to Yahweh, and the prophetic 
element is conspicuous; note n\"l1, i62-i2^ and the other clearly 
prophetic statements in 15^^ 16*. A less significant difference is 
the dramatic character, as it appears, of 16^-*. But this differ- 
ence of character in the different sections of Is 15. 16 cannot be 
the reason why Jer 48 does not quote from B as well as A ; for 
Jer 48 has incorporated the passages from A, the elegy, into a 
whole which resembles B in being prophetic, and in introducing 
Yahweh as the speaker (cp. e.g. Jer 481- ^2. 30. 35. 38^^ 

If we are right in this conclusion, we have to inquire whether 
the extent of the elegy can be more closely determined, (i) 
Such parts of i5'^^-i6^ as are not clearly prophetic may belong 
to the elegy and have been omitted by Jer., as are a few lines of 
the remainder of Is 15. 16. Not improbably, then, j^'^^-^a- 
belonged to the elegy ; at all events they scarcely formed part 
of the prophecy, though it is possible that they were variants or 
parallels not yet incorporated in the elegy when the editor of Jer 
48 made use of it. Even 162, if r^^n) be read for n\Ti, might 
have formed part of the elegy; but the awkwardness which is 
occasioned by the present position of this v. may be due to the 
certainly corrupt state of 16^. (2) Possibly enough some of the 
original elegy has failed of preservation in either Is. or Jer. We 
appear to have in i5^*'* •*• ^ 16'' and 16^^ a thrice-repeated, 
though in each case more or less mutilated, refrain. The 
number of rhythmically similar lines at present preceding each 
occurrence of the refrain is nearly though not quite equal. If, 
however, 15^^-16^, entire or in large part, were included in the 
elegy, great inequality would result ; and this is some confirma- 
tion of the conclusion that most at least of that section is really 
foreign to the elegy. (3) 16^ though also found in Jer. is unlike 
the rest of the elegy (note the isi plural), and may be a reflection 
on it which, at an early period of the text, was incorporated in 
the elegy. 

To facilitate the study of the section along lines which seem 
safest where all is uncertain and many details most uncertain, 
a continuous translation — in many respects quite tentative — of 



"8£ 



V 



X 



!'08 










Iti^ 







rvx.vi.se-TSX.el no 



ftc^"^ tu^ tu trtb «»nM\ (VNbW- 



•Jl'^ 



.■,U. ! , H.,,,. 



\u 'o*dt i€»i %f>eJ 



f 









— . , I — Y^ -J 

7 >-• •■ '• 



Jt. 



':^ •' 



I. 






o«C 



35%o 



35°4-o' 




MOAB 

AND 

PART OF JUDAH 

to illustrate the Commentary 
on Is. X 27-32, IV.IVl 

Scale of English Miles 



Modern names are in thin type 



aS'zo' 



Lon^ Eagt 354-0' of Greenwich 



36' 



WfcA.K.Johneton V* Uinburjh (, London 



XV. XVI. 273 

the elegy is given first. The translation of the prophetic section 
15^^-16^ is given below, p. 286, and of 16^2 jn its place. 

XV. i-ga + XVI. (6) 7-1 1. — An Elegy on Moab. 

The text is so uncertain, or ambiguous, that it is difficult to speak with 
certainty of the rhythm. It is often said to be ^irtah rhythm ; but if so, 
the variation 2 : 2 for 3 : 2 is so frequent as to give the poem a very different 
rhythmical character from 14*"^^ Parallelism occasionally occurs between 
periods of 2 accents : see, e.g.y i^^ and the distich IS**** "• ^ ; more often the 
periods of parallelism are longer — 4 14; see 16^"^'' with phil. n. The rhythm 
of the refrain (see 15*°* **• °* i6''") in its original form perhaps, and of 15**" •• 
certainly, was 3 : 3. On the strophic division, see above. 



I. 

* Because in a (single) night *Ar has been spoiled, 

Moab is undone; 
Because in a night ^ir has been spoiled, Moab is 

undone. 
•*The daughter of Dibon hath ascended the high 

places to weep; 
On Nebo and on Medeba, Moab doth howl. 
On every *head' is baldness, every beard is clipped, 
Jer 48^^^ [Upon all hands are gashes, and on all loins sack- 
cloth.] 

* In his streets they have girded on sackcloth. 

On * his ' roofs and in * his ' squares (Moab), one 

and all, howls, 
Running down (?) with weeping. 

* Heshbon and Ele'aleh cried out, 

As far as Yahas was. their voice heard. 
Wherefore the loins of Moab (?) 'quiver' 
His (?) soul quivereth for himself: 
** My heart crieth out for Moab. 



2. 

^ ^ *^ For the ascent of Luhith — he goeth up thereon weeping, 
For the way to Horonaim — they raise (thereon) the 

cry of destruction. 
18 



274 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



^ For the waters of Nimrim became desolations. 
For the grass has dried up, 
The young grass is exhausted, 
Green things have not grown. 
7 Wherefore the abundance he had acquired and their (?) . . 

Over the Wady of Willows they carry them away. 
^ For the cry hath gone round the border of Moab ; 
As far as Eglaim is the howl thereof. 

And (as far as) Be'er Elim is the howl thereof. 
^* For the waters of Dimon are full of blood, 
j516 \Ye have heard of the pride of Moab, very proud. 

His haughtiness and pride and overbearing— not right are his 

pratings. 
7 Therefore *!' howl *for' Moab, 
For entire Moab ' I ' cry out. 
For the raisin-cakes of Kir-'heres' 



I' moan. 



** For the tract of Heshbon the vinc of Sibmah hath languished, 

^The lords of nations its red clusters smote down: 
^ Its tendrils have stretched out, gone over to the sea, 
^^ Unto Ya'zer have they reached, strayed into the 

wilderness. 
9 Wherefore I weep with the weeping of Ya'zer, 

O vine of Sibmah I drench thee with my tears, 

Heshbon and Elealeh ; 

For upon thy grapes and thy (grape-)harvest shouting 

(?) hath fallen, 
^^ And joy is withdrawn and exultation from ' thy vine- 
yards.' 
And in the vineyards no ringing cry is given, 

The wine 'is not trodden,' in the vats 'none is left'; 
11 Wherefore my bowels for Moab sound like a harp. 

And my inward parts for Kir-^eres [sound like a pipe]. 

The ^rsf strophe (151'^*) states the disaster, and its effect, — 
the destruction of Moab, — and then depicts the lamentation 
that spreads with the news through Moab. The disaster ap- 
pears to have been an attack from the South ; *Ar and ^ir 
(sites to the S. of Arnon), taken unawares, fell before the enemy 





XV. XVI. 27S 

almost without a blow (v.^). The news spreads northwards 
across Arnon to Dibon and to the extreme northern towns of 
Moab — Heshbon and Ele'aleh (v.^). The refrain in the present 
text records the emotion of both Moab and the poet (vv.^'^- ^- ^). 

The second strophe^ i^5b-9a(7) 157. further scenes of lamenta- 
tion and desolation ; the sites mentioned are all uncertain ; but 
some at least probably lay in Southern Moab, though not 
necessarily, with the exception perhaps of So*ar, in the extreme 
south, i.e. on the Edomite border. The refrain in the present 
text of Is (emended above) records the emotion of Moab; in 
Jer the refrain refers mainly to the poet's emotion. 

Many writers find in this strophe a description of the flight 
of Moabite refugees into Edom ; this view rests partly on 
identifying the Wady of Willows with the Edomite border, partly 
on emending 15^ so as to introduce the word Edom, and partly 
on a particular explanation of a very obscure v., i6\ An allusion 
to flight into Edom is anything but certain, even if 15^^-16* 
formed an integral part of the poem. 

Third strophe^ \(i^'^^\ a special feature in the disaster — the 
extensive and famous vineyards of Northern Moab are destroyed ; 
the enemy have fallen on the country in the time of vintage, 
and there will be no joy of the vintage and no wine for Moab. 
The refrain records the poet's emotion. 

The age of this elegy is very uncertain. It is earlier than 
the Appendix (i6i3^-), and earlier than the composition of Jer 48 ; 
but the dates of these are unfortunately also uncertain. It 
belongs to an age when the territory of Moab stretched far 
north of the Arnon. In the time of Omri, Israel held the 
country as far south as Arnon ; Mesha, toward the end of the 
9th century B.C., recovered this northern territory, at least as far 
north as Nebo. Soon after, if we may press 2 K lo^^f.^ j^ 
passed back to Israel and then into the hands of the Syrians ; 
and then, possibly after another period of Moabite occupation 
(cp. 2 K \'^^^'\ if we may rely on Am 6^*, 2 K 142^ with the 
more specific implications of i Ch s^-^'^, it was restored to 
Israel by Jeroboam 11. in the first half of the 8th century b.c. It 
ceased to be Israelite in 722 at latest, and much at least of it 
was Moabite at the beginning of the 6th century (Ezk 25^) ; 
but there is no definite evidence to show precisely how long 
before and how long after the time of Ezekiel the Moabites 



276 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

held it. But we may infer with great probability that the dis- 
trict both south and north of Arnon was overrun by Arab 
nomads, who so completely subjugated the ancient population 
that they gave their own name of Nabataeans, or Arabians, to 
the population of the country. The chief facts are these : (i) 
Ezek. in the early part of the 6th cent, foresees such an invasion ; 
(2) Nehemiah (mid. 5th cent, b.c.) couples Arabians and 
Ammonites ; and he may well mean by Arabians, inhabitants of 
Moab (Neh 4^ W, cp. 2^*) ; (3) in the 2nd cent. B.C. the popula- 
tion of ancient Moab is certainly Nabataean, and Medeba in 
particular belonged to the tribe of Jambri (an Arab name) — 
I Mac 9^^^- ; so, later, Josephus terms the people of this district 
Arabians {Ant. xiv. i. 4), and the district formed part of the 
Roman Provincia Arabia; (4) Mai i^-^ attests the northern or 
western movement of nomads from the Syrian wilderness into 
the neighbouring country of Edom. (2) and (4) together 
suggest the 5th century as the period of the Nabataean con- 
quest of Moab of which we have no direct information, but 
which fell between c. 570 and 170 B.C. — (i) and (2). 

Not improbably the elegy actually relates this Nabataean 
conquest of the 5th cent. ; if so, subsequent events showed 
that the poet was not employing any rhetorical exaggeration 
when he declares that the fall of *Ar and Kir signified the 
extinction of Moab as an independent people. It would accord 
with this that the attack described in the poem seems to be 
delivered from the south or east; it is possible, too, that the 
special emphasis laid on the destruction of the vines reflects 
the special animosity displayed by the Nabataeans (Diodorus 
19^^) towards vine-culture (so Marti). There is nothing in the 
poem, even if it included 15^^-16^, inconsistent with this theory; 
and the strong sympathy with Moab displayed by the poet 
would find some parallel in the Book of Ruth, if that book is 
rightly attributed to the 5 th century. 

It is still more difficult to determine, even approximately, 
the absolute date of the Appendix or epilogue {i6^^^'\ or of 
15^^-16^, if this section is rightly judged to be an interpolation. 
But it will be convenient to say what may be said at this point. 

(1) We can hardly simplify the problem by attributing the 
interpolations in the elegy to the writer of the epilogue ; for the 
epilogue certainly purports to be added to a *' word of Yahweh " 




XV. XVI. 277 

concerning Moab, which 15^-16^2 j^ its present form is (see 
15®^), but which the elegy was not. 

(2) The style and language of both epilogue and interpola- 
tion is indecisive ; due regard being had to the state of the 
text, they show little or nothing necessarily late, nor again 
anything decisively Isaianic; for the fact that some of the 
vocabulary can be paralleled from the prophecies of Isaiah no 
more proves the passages to be Isaianic than the fact that in 
part it cannot be so paralleled proves by itself that it is non- 
Isaianic (cp. Cheyne, Introd. 83-85). With this epilogue, cp. 
that in 23^^'-. So long as the Book of Isaiah was regarded as 
being primarily a work compiled by Isaiah into which certain 
interpolations had crept, it was not unreasonable to argue that 
no sufficient case was made out against the Isaianic authorship 
of the epilogue; but once it is recognised that the Book of 
Isaiah is a prophetic collection of the 3rd century B.C. (Introd. 
§ 27), it becomes a bold and unjustifiable assumption that this 
epilogue to a prophecy, which is perhaps not much older than 
the 3rd century, was itself written by a particular prophet 
five centuries before ; more especially is this so in view of the 
fact that other "oracles" in chs. 13-23 are clearly later than the 
age of Isaiah. 

(3) At the same time it is no easier to select a period in the 
age subsequent to Isaiah than in the age of Isaiah itself to which 
the epilogue can be confidently assigned. 

Brief reference may be made to some other theories. Since the time of 
Koppe and Eichhorn the Isaianic authorship of the elegy at least has been 
increasingly questioned and is now seldom maintained, though it is not 
decisively rejected by Driver (LOT^ 213 f.). This is due to the style and 
manner of the piece — the unrestrained sympathetic emotion, the absence 
of any reference to Yahweh, "the very awkward accumulation of the 
particles '3 and p Vy," the excessive use of paronomasia; see more fully 
Che. Introd. 85 f., Di. p. 146, where, however, the list of expressions not 
found in Isa. includes along with a few which, taken together, have some 
weight, some which are textually doubtful. The style, however — though this- 
points decisively away from Isaiah — does not point decisively to any par- 
ticular age : many, therefore, have attributed the elegy to a writer earlier than 
Isaiah, and, in particular, to the period of the (assumed) conquest of Moab by 
Jeroboam II. This theory, relying on the supposed reference to a flight 
of the Moabites south in 15', assumes, in spite of 15^"°, that the elegy 
describes an attack on Moab from the north by Jeroboam 11. of Israel ; then 
16^'"*, treated as part of the elegy, is supposed to refer to Jeroboam's con- 



278 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

temporary Uzziah (whose friendship was sought by the Ammonites (2 Ch 26®), 
and therefore, it is inferred, might have been sought by the Moabites also) 
as the king whose protection is sought by the Moabite refugees (6^"^). So sub- 
stantially, among others, Hitz., Reuss, Wellh. {EBrit.^ xvi. 535), W. R. Smith, 
Di., Skinner, Whitehouse. 

Du. ascribes the elegy to a very recent date : the epilogue only fits a 
period when the hope was cherished of thoroughly destroying the Moabites 
and the Nabataeans ; such a period is that of Alexander Jannaeus (104-78 
B.C.). The elegy itself should not be much earlier, and may refer to a 
Nabataean incursion in the 2nd cent. B.C., the ruler in Sion (16^) being 
John Hyrcanus (135-105 B.C.). 

Marti suggests that the elegy written in the 5th cent, (see above) may, 
not long after it was written, have been turned into a prophecy by the 
addition of i5^*'-i6*. 

Ew. {Propketen^f i. 380 f.) already detected the work of three hands in 
chs. 15. 16, and assigned (l) 15. 16'"^'^ to a prophet who lived East of the 
Jordan between the beginning of the 9th cent, and the time of Amos ; (2) 
16^"* to a contemporary of Uzziah, who lived perhaps nearly half a century 
before Isaiah's appearance as prophet ; (3) i6^^'* to Isaiah. 

For modern attempts to defend the Isaianic authorship of the entire 
section — elegy or prophecy, epilogue and all — reference may be made to 
Barth, Beitrdge (1885), pp. 20-23, and the commentaries of Del. (Eng. tr. 
1890) and Orelli. 

XV. i-5a. First Strophe of the Elegy. — i. However 
"•D be explained and the lines punctuated (see phil. n.), this v. 
gives the cause of the alarm described in the following verses. 
*Ar (Moab) and Kir (Moab) have been taken by sudden assault ; 
the country was hardly aware of danger till the blow had actually 
fallen, and its fall had been sealed. In vv.^'* follow scenes of 
the lamentation called forth by the news as it travels northwards 
through Dibon, Nebo, and Medeba, to Heshbon and Ele'aleh. 
— In a night] The suddenness with which the assault was made 
and the rapidity with which all was over seem to be expressed 
by this phrase, emphasised as it is by being placed before the vb. 
Cp. 17^* "At evening, lo ! terror, before morning it is no more." 
— Ar {of Moab)] one of the chief places of Moab ; see Nu 21 28, 
where the only (other) occurrence of the name in the form *Ar 
of Moab is found. But the same place is intended by the 
abbreviated form *Ar, which on one view of the construction is 
the form used here, in Nu 21^^, Dt 2*- 1^- 2^, and probably by *Ir 
Moab in Nu 22^^*, 'Ir and *Ar being indistinguishable, if the text 
be written without the vocalic consonants. *Ar of Moab appears 
to have lain on the upper waters of the Arnon {Numbers^ p. 




XV. I, 2 279 

286), i.e, E. of Dibon and S. of Nebo, Medeba, Heshbon and 
Ele'aleh. (& gives for Ar of Moab^ as for Moab throughout the 
section, 17 Mwa^Sems : and Buhl (Geog. p. 269) thinks the name 
covers a district — the region south of Arnon — rather than a city. 
^Kir Moab'\ is commonly identified with I^ir-heres (16''^ n.), 
and so with the modern Kerak, which is situated in the 
extreme south of Moab on a lofty spur between two ravines 
whose bottoms lie about 1000 feet below — a position almost 
impregnable in ancient warfare (Hastings, DB). For fuller 
description, with illustrations of Kerak, see A. Musil, Arabia 
Petraea, \. 45 ff. But, as Buhl {Geog. 270) rightly observes, 
there is no convincing reason for the equation. If it is incorrect, 
the site of ^ir Moab, which is mentioned here only, is quite 
unknown ; from the northward line indicated in vv.^-* we 
might infer that it lay somewhere S. of Dibon. — 2. Lamentation 
in Dibon, Nebo, and Medeba. On certain views of the wholly 
improbable text of J^ (see phil. n.), a fourth place otherwise 
unknown, Bayith (EV), is mentioned. — The daughter of Dibon 
hath ascended] reading by conjecture \y\ 03 nn^jy (Du.) for rhv 
p''^1 n^3n ; the daughter of Dibon is the personified population of 
Dibon (1^ n.). Dibon, mod. Dhiban, lay about 4 miles N. of 
Arnon and 13 E. of the Dead Sea. "Dhiban is usually de- 
scribed as lying on two hills ; but there are really three . . . 
Probably . . . the ancient city comprised all three hills along 
with the col connecting them ; but . . . also spread eastward 
over the road and the shallow wady beside it to the slopes beyond, 
on which are many scattered ruins." " At one period or another 
the town must have been as large as any in Moab: cp. the 
epithet UafifityWr)^ applied by Eusebius " (G. A. Smith, PEjF 
Qu St. J 1905, p. 41 f.). — The high places to weep] before their 
god(s); cp. 16^2^ — Nebo] the modern Jebel Neba, on or near 
which the town of the same name presumably lay, is about 18 
miles due north of Dibon and 5 S.W. from IJeshbon. It is 
about 4 miles N.W. from Medeba (mod. Madeba), which lies 
about 15 miles slightly E. of N. from Dibon. The mountain top, 
which is 10 miles back from, and 4000 feet above, the Dead 
Sea, commands a very extensive view.* Madeba lies on a slight 
elevation rising from the Moabite plateau. Both Nebo 
{Nufubers^ 32^^ n.) and Medeba {ib. 21^^ n.) are mentioned in 
* Expositor^ Nov. 1904, pp. 322 ff. 



280 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

Mesha's inscription and several times in tlie OT. The remain 
of a stone-circle, as probably its name also, is a token of the 
sacred character of Nebo. — 2C, 3. The description of the 
mourning continues, with particular reference to the chief rites 
of mourners — the tonsure of the head (cp. e.g. Am 8^*^, Jer 16^, 
Lev 21^), the shorn beard (cp. Jer 41^), and the girding on of 
sackcloth (20^ n.). The greater rhythmical regularity of Jer 
^837. 88a jjj^y ijg ^jug ^-q ^jjg |-gxt of thc pocm being better 

preserved there : in particular, all his, viz. Moab's, heads is 
improbable ; read with €r and Jer on every head : cp. next clause. 
See, further, phil. n. — In his streets'] the pronoun (masc.) refers, 
rather awkwardly, to Moab (cp. Jer 48^^). — 4a. b. The cry of 
distress raised by the news in Heshbon and Ele*aleh, situated 
close together in the most northern district of Moab, is heard as 
far as Yahas. Heshbon, mod. ^esban, famous as the city of Sihon 
(Nu 2i2i-27 nn.), lay 5 miles N.E. of Nebo ; Elealeh (Nu 32^7 n.), 
mod. Eral, about ij miles N.E. of Heshbon. The site of 
Yahas (Nu 2\^'^ n.) is unfortunately uncertain; if Mesha's 
statement (1. 20), that he took Yahas "to add it to Dibon," 
really implies, as it would seem to do, that Yahas lay near Dibon, 
the point of vv.^-* is that lamentation follows the news of v.^ as 
it travels northward from Arnon to Ele'aleh and echoes back 
again through the whole length of this district. — 4c. The loins of 
Moab\ so (!K ^ oo-<^v9 ( = '^i'n)» ^i cp- Jer 30^. This gives a 
better parallel to his soul than MT ^V^Jn, the armed men ; cp. e.g. 
Nu 3227 As against MT it is to be further observed that the 
poet deals throughout with the fate, the actions, the emotions 
of an entire people, not of particular classes within it. Yet, 
possibly, neither fflr nor f^ is quite correct ; for this distich de- 
scribing Moab's emotion at its own fate is followed in v.^* by an 
isolated monostich expressing the poet's emotion at Moab's fate : 
cp. 1 6^1. Not improbably vv.*''- <*• ^ are the expansion, due 
mainly to transcriptional accidents, of a distich expressing 
throughout the poet's emotion (cp. 16"): it may have run some- 
what as follows : 

4c. d Wherefore my loins quiver, 

5* My heart crieth out for Moab. 

1. '3] possibly affirmative (Di.), Surely (7'n.), or interjectional (Marti), 
Ah ! that ; more probably causal, the causal sentence being prefixed as in 28'' 




XV. 1-5 , 28 1 

(BDB 473^). The causal sentence may extend over the whole of v.', *3 being 
repeated, as is 3 with the infin. rather similarly in Jg 5' ; more probably the 
causal sentence ends in each line after ny and I'p respectively ; so Jer. Quia in 
node vastata est Ar^ Moab conticuit ; quia in nocte vastatus est Murus^ Moab 
conticuit. Editions of "Sy indeed, commonly place the comma after Moab, 
but Jer.'s commentary on the v. implies the punctuation given here (see 
Migne). Then, nDi3 has a personal subject (cp. 6*), and ' Ar occurs, as most 
frequently, in its simple form (not *Ar-Moab); Tp is unique, so also would 
3»r«Dn'p be; and if Tp=Bnn Tp below, a simple abbreviation rather than a 
different genitival combination is perhaps more likely to occur in the same 
poem. Du. makes the main pause after nnr ; in that case the unusual post- 
ponement of the subj. to the 2nd sentence would be due to rhythmical 
considerations: cp. 4I**''. — ^'!?^i] 21^^ n. Possibly here intended, though 
wrongly, to be cstr. (cp. G-K. 130^). — ny ne'] ny is ace. after the pass. ; 
G-K. I2ia : or the name of the city is, exceptionally, masc. (Kon. iii. 249a). 
— 3K1D Tp] C 3KTD1 H3n3=/^r/r«j of Moob \ probably identified by E with 
mod. Kerak, which in Greek writers appears as Xapaxfiufia : q>. Musil, 
Arabia Petraeay i. 58. 

2. pm vfirx n^y] the least improbable translation of the text, on the 
supposition that |^ is correct, is Bayith and Dibon have gone up. Of other 
attempts to translate, these examples may suffice : One^ viz. Moab, hath gone 
up to the [temple) house and Dibon to the high-places (cp. ^Li.) : the {royal) house 
and Dibon have gone up to the high-places (Jer.). Modem interpreters have 
been unable to improve on these obviously improbable interpretations. The 

text is at fault. (Sr unfortunately is too obscure to be useful ; Sh ]A » <^\ 
yTs «'>i .^% (cp. O apparently read no ) before \y"\ and no n before nu ; {3n n3 
in Jer 48^* may be a reminiscence of the correct text |3n n3 nn^y. — niDsn] 
ace. of direction : G-K. ii8/". — ^'^rj for this instead of ^♦^'♦j see G-K. joc. — 
vrnS] very precariously explained as a colloquial (Ki.), or dialectic (Di.), 
variation of vvtri. Note the sing. |pi in the next clause (cp. Kon. ii. p. 356). 
Read rKT with Jer 48'' and (& {ivl vdffijs KetpaXijs). — n^n'O] the sense to shave 
(commonly expressed by rhi), found only here and in the parallel passage 

Jer 48*^, is common in Aramaic, whence l^tHi* ^ barber ; | ^^ ^\ iij a monk ; 

see also Levy, NHW^ s,v, ynj. Many MSS have here nyrv^:, ; but yiJ, used 
of hewing off a limb such as an arm (cp. (Sr here), does not occur again in the 
present sense. — .Tn3m3 . . . rvmn . . . vn«n3] the change of gender is rather 
due to textual corruption than to the fact that the masc. refers to the people, 
the fem. to the land, of Moab (Di.). After n'nua, Du., al. add ibdd (cp. Jer 
4888 J — precariously, for the original text of w.*°* •, which may have closely 
resembled that of Jer, is not to be so lightly restored ; the suggestion is 
hardly supported by the fact that ®r reads Kal Kdnreade ^mso before nWiJ Sy ; 
ct. K<merbv —"MXXi in Jer 6*. (& may be an addition to the text under the 
influence of Jer 4^49'. — '333 it] also doubtful, even if with Che. we substitute 
Tpn (22*) for nT. (K has no equivalent for Ti*. For '333 Ti' ^'S" n^3, Jer % 
has simply ibod nVa and Jer ®r nothing. The idiom to run down in weeping 
does not occur again ; elsewhere the eye runs down tearsy or {streams of) 



282 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

•water, Jer 9", Lam i^* 3*^.— 4a. D^^p . . . pyini] here the text of Is is 
earlier and better than in Jer 48^ ; cp. also Jer 48* r\p)3\ ly'DBTi. — 3kid ''^r(\ 
so C 3K1D "niD, U expediti Moab ; but ffi^ nr\ dff^ds rrjs MwajSetriSos, and 
similarly SS. Perhaps originally 3K1D was absent and 's^q was intended (see 
above).— 4, 5. pv^ . . . nyT . . . lyn'] (!K /3o^ . . . yvtaffercu . . . /3o^ ; F 
ululabunt . . . ululabit . . , clamabit\ ^ . . . | Vo / . . , . n vnt 1 
V^\ I 1 ; E pno' . . . rmsfO . . . p^S'o. If irr was originally written 
defectively, both lyT and nyn' would be most obviously derived from jn\ The 
meaning is in any case uncertain. There is no evidence (for Mic 4^ is corrupt) 
that ynn, regularly used of the shout of triumph, was also used of the shout of 
distress, which would alone be in place here (U). Nor is there any other 
occurrence of yr, to quiver, though this meaning may be inferred as the starting- 
point of the meanings timidity in certain Arabic derivatives, and curtain in 
nyn' (an object that easily shakes). — "i^] dat. of reference; cp., particularly 
with 1^, 2 K 427, Jer 4".— 5- 3K1D^ 'a^] ffi i> KapUa. rijs M. It would not 
be wise to change 'aS (|^5) into uS to agree with w«a in v.*** ; for probably 
the text of v.**'* * has suffered : see above. 

Sb-pa. Second Strophe of the Elegy. — ^V.^^ is preceded 
in J^ by five words which do not constitute a sentence, appear 
to have no relation either to what precedes or to what follows 
them, are scarcely intelligible, and are probably corrupt. The 
first word nnna, absent from Jer 48^* and rendered tn her by (Sr, 
has been variously rendered and interpreted : (i) U vedes eius, 
her {i.e. Moab's) bars^ which is supposed to be a metaphor for 
either the defences or the nobles of Moab ; (2) her fleeing 
(pnes\ fugitives (MT, RVmarg.). Together with the next two 
words, this is supposed to mean her defences (extend), or her 
nobles ^ or fugitives (flee), as far as ^o^ar. — So^ar^ (& ^rpftap^ and 
in Jer 48^^ Soyop. So*ar is generally supposed to have lain at 
the South end of the Dead Sea, and, in particular, in the verdant 
Ghor es-Safiye ; a place called by Eusebius Zoopa and Stywp, by 
Jer. Zoara or Segor {Onom. 258*^ 159^*), and by mediaeval Arabs 
Zughar, ^ughar, Sukar. Some have sought for §o*ar to the N. 
of the Dead Sea, and identified it with Tell Shaghfir; but 
ShaghOr and So'ar are not philological equivalents. See, further. 
Dr. in Z>^, art. Zoar-, and also Musil, Ar. Fetraea/i, 74. — Unto 
Soar ^Eglath ShelishiyyaK\ ct. from Soar unto Horonaim *Eglath 
Shelishiyyah, Jer 48^4. That *Eglath Shelishiyyah really defined 
both So'ar and the apparently distant Horonaim is very improb- 
able ; but whether Is or Jer is here nearer to the original is 
uncertain. See, further, phil. n. 'Eglath Shelishiyyah appears to 
mean the third *Eglath and to be the name of a place, which 




XV. 4, 5 283 

was perhaps * identical with T€XiOiov mentioned by Josephus 
{Anf. XIII. XV. 4) immediately after 'OpCjvw: = J^oro/iaimf in a list 
of Alexander Jannaeus' conquests in Moab. On the very 
questionable supposition that these words can mean a heifer 
of three years old^\ *Eglath Shelishiyyah has been taken as an 
epithet expressing either the beauty and strength of hitherto 
unsubdued cities, or as comparing the cry of Moab (ffi) to that 
of a heifer on the point of being broken in, or as alluding to the 
celebrated cattle-rearing in the Ghor es-§ifiye (Musil, Ar. 
Petraea^ i. 74). — 5b. C. He goeth up . . . they raise\ the subject 
is Moab; the change from the sing. (cp. vv.^^- * 16^) to the pi. is 
suspicious. — Lu1pitH\ Onom. (276^2^-) states that there is between 
Areopolis and So*ar a village now called Aov«^a. If this 
identification be accepted, Luhith lay in Southern Moab.| — The 
way to fforonaim\ Jer 48^ the descent to Iforonaim : cp. go down 
to ^oronaim (Mesha's Inscrip. 1. 32). ^Joronaim (Jer 483* *• w j j 
clearly lay on, or at the bottom of, some descent from the 
Moabite plateau ; the phrase " from $o*ar as far as Horonaim " 
(Jer 48^) implies that it was remote from §oar. It is not 
mentioned in lists of Israelite towns, whence it is commonly 
inferred,§ by a precarious argument from silence, that it lay 
south of Arnon, south even of the Wady Kerak.|| All the other 
conquests of Mesha lay north of Arnon; but he mentions 
Horonaim by itself at the end of the inscription : it may 
therefore have lain further south than the rest. From the order 
in which Josephus {Ant. xiii. xv. 4) mentions the Moabite towns 
— ^eshbon, Medeba, Lemba, Oronas, Gelithon, Zara, the valley 
of the Cilices — it would appear that IJoronaim lay south of 
Medeba and Lemba (? = Libb, 3 hours S. of Medeba); not 
necessarily as far south as Arnon, but possibly somewhere on 
the descent from Libb to ez-Zara, which is on a "once much 
frequented natural road " running along the E. of the Dead Sea, 
and also on an important way striking eastwards up to the 
plateau: Musil, Arabia Petraea, i. pp. 20 f.; cp. pp. 234 ff. — The 
waters of Nimrini] the name Nimrim may be traced to-day both 

* We., Deutsche Lit. ZeiL, 1890, 31. 
t ffiS^T (F) Ki., EVmarg., Del. ; but see phil. n. 

X See S. R. Driver, Exp. Times, xxi. 495-497 (in a paper on the untrust- 
worthiness of current maps of Palestine with regard to many ancient sites). 
§ See, e.g.y Buhl, Geog. 273. || Sec, e.g., Musil {Ar. Peiraea, i. 75). 



284 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

at the S. end of the Dead Sea and to the north of it, to the S 
in Moyet Numere, and the Wady en-Numere,* and to the N. in 
Tell-Nimrin, some 8 or 10 miles N. of the Dead Sea and 13 E. 
of Jordan, and in the WMy Nimrin.f Beth-Nimrah (Nu $2^^ n.) 
is identical with Tell-Nimrin ; but Eus. and Jer. {Onom. 143^^ 
284^3) connect the waters of Nimrim with Bennamerium, " North 
of Zoar." The question must remain open unless on other 
grounds it can be shown whether the writer is here referring 
to North or South Moab. — Desolations] the vb. DDK^ and its 
derivatives are commonly used of the devastation and desolation 
of countries, cities, etc. ; its application to water is unusual. 
" The waters of Nimrim " may have given their name to a city 
situated upon them, though Me-jarkon in Jos 19*^, on account 
of the state of the text, is a precarious parallel. If the water is 
only, or primarily, thought of here, cp. 2 K 3^5, which speaks of 
the stopping up of the springs of the Moabites by their Israelite 
adversaries. — 6b-d. Absent from Jer. — For the grass has dried 
up] this cannot, of course, give the reason for the stopping up of 
the waters of Nimrim. The lines are rather, if original, further 
parallels to the preceding three lines. — *JB. = ]Qr 48^^; 75-16*^ is 
absent from Jer. The text of the v. is very uncertain (see phil. 
n.), and consequently the interpretation. Whether the v. really 
related the flight of the Moabites with all their substance across 
their southern border (Di.) into Edom (Du.), must remain 
altogether doubtful. On this assumption, the Wady of the Arabsy 
or of the poplars % — either translation is possible — may reasonably 
be identified with the Widy el-Ahsa which flows into the Southern 
end of the Dead Sea from the S.E., forming the boundary 
between Edom and Moab, as it still forms that between the 
districts of el-Kerak and Petra (Numbers^ p. 283). Apart from 
the assumption, the Wady cannot be identified; for on this 
assumption also rests the much favoured, but questionable, 
identification of the Wady here mentioned and the Wady of the 
Arabah (Am 6^*). — He had acquired . . . their . . . they carry] 
all the pronouns refer to Moab ; if the text is sound, which is 
very doubtful, cp. for the transition from sing, to pi. v.^. — 8a. 

* Seetzen, Reise^ ii. 354 ; Tristram, Moahy 56 f. ; Buhl, Geog. 272. 
t Buhl, Geog. 264; Abel in RB^ 1910, pp. 341 f. 

X Cp. for the latter meaning the mod. W^dy §af§^f (Tristram, Moaby 35, 
58). 




XV. 6-9 285 

The cry of distress (cp. v.*) has passed through the length and 
breadth of Moab, and has reached, in particular, 'Eglaim and 
Be'er-Elim. Neither place has yet been identified ; the parallel 
line and the context suggest that they lay at opposite extreme 
points of Moab : if so, Be'er-Elim is scarcely identical with Be'er 
in Nu 21^^, nor *Eglaim with AiyoAXci^ 8 R. miles S. of 
Areopolis (Onom. 228^1*^). — pa. The waters of Dimori] also not 
identified. Dimon may be an error for Dibon, or possibly a 
dialectic variation, like Mecca and Becca, adopted to gain an 
assonance with dam^ blood; Jerome, indeed, asserts that both 
names Dimon and Dibon were in use in his day. 

5. ^nn?] MT intends this to be plural ; cp. G-K. <)ik. Du. punctuates 
nhnjzr'innn (cp. G-K. 91(f), assuming that the form is sing, with collective 
force. Certainly a fern, suffix between the masculines of vv.**^ <* and ^ is 
strange, nnn, fleeing, occurs in 27^ Job 26^' ; proof of the substantival use 
( ^.fugitive) rests on this and one other doubtful instance — 43^*. ^ renders 
OT-kjOj.^, C pni'D^. There is probably some serious corruption. Was 
nn(')na a corruption of Danno, and nyjf y) D'jnno a variant of D'jnn ly nyxo, Jer 
48S4p — Thvi\ rhvi ">D3, l^i. : see G-K. So/". Forms with the old fem. ending 
n occur in Mesha's Inscr., e.g. 1. 3, nni noan. — r\''vSv\ third, not three years old 
(Versions), which would be vxhtra (cp. Gn 15*). — \yST'\ possibly an error for, 
or modification (G-K. I^cc) of, njny, Pilpel of niy. But the text is uncertain ; 
(K = »i;m, 5 =1(5^3;', and Jer 48* has ijror. — 6. 'D 'o] Jer 48" »D dj '3.— r3' 'a] 
\iz& perhaps not read by (55. — 7* DO'ipS^ '"'''y nnn' p S\i\ again very doubtful, 
especially the last word. Jer 48'* reads nnn rvo^ irw p hv (in another con- 
nection). (&. renders here /a^ koX oCtws /tAXei ataQrflKU. mn', a Bar. XC7., is 
commonly supposed to have the same meaning as "in% abundance', nry, to 
acquire, cp. Gn 12*: for the cstr. of the sentence, see G-K. 155-*. — ompai] 
(fEr eird^u ydp, which in v.* renders nTK 0, here perhaps implies a reading 
'mpsi. Jer 48^ reads n3K (see last n.). It is precarious to invent the 
meaning store for mpB out of regard to this most questionable passage and 
Ps 109® (ambiguous). ^ renders pnoinn, their boundary, "B visitatio — a 
common meaning of mps, but unsuitable here. — D^Htr] subj. the Moabites ; 
D- {(& ain-fiv) refers to DmpiJi mn' (cp. Dr. 197 (i)).— 8. n»«3i nT\Vy> D'Vjinj; 
nnV^* D'^pk] awkward : the fem. suffixes must refer to 3K1d, but ct. the masc. 
suffixes in v.=» i6«. With MT D!^3^, ct. ffi 'AyaXKel/i, F ad Gallim. Before 
D''?K nK3, sc. ny (G-K. 119^^4); Perles, Marti suggest that D'^k •u<3 is really 
one word, In Arielaim (cp. 29* n.). 

pb-XVI. 5. Further distress is to befall Moab.— This 

exceedingly difficult and obscure section seems to be mainly, or 
entirely, a prophetic interpolation in the elegy on Moab : see 
above, pp. 276 ff. — The rhythm is, perhaps, predominantly, like 
the elegy, 4:4; but the text is too corrupt, or at least too 



286 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

questionable, to make it worth while to discuss the rhythm in 
detail. 

»^ For I will set . . . 

For the escaped of Moab a lion, 
And for the remnant of . . . 
16^. , . the ruler (?) of the land, 

... to the mountain of the daughter of Sion. 
2 And like birds in flight, like nestlings sent forth, 

Shall the daughters of Moab be at the fords of 

Arnon. 
' " Bring counsel, make decision ; 
Spread thy shade like the night at very noon. 
Conceal the outcasts, disclose not the fugitives. 

* Let the outcasts of Moab find guest-right in thy 

midst, 
Be to them a concealment from the spoiler." 
For the extortioner has come to an end, the 

'spoiler' has ceased. 
The treader down *has been* consumed out of 

the land ; 

* And a throne shall be established through loving- 

kindness, 
And one shall sit thereon through fidelity — 
In the tent of David one who judges. 

And both seeks out what is right, and is swift 

in justice. 

9b. C. The distress described in vv.'-** ("the elegy"), which 
has already befallen Moab, does not exhaust Yahweh's judg- 
ment: further distress is in store: cp. 16^^'^. Such appears to 
be the meaning of these lines and the general purport of what 
follows down to 16^; but the details are most uncertain. — I will 
sei\ or put^ or lay (cp. e.g. Ex 21^2, Nu 12^^). This is followed 
in 5^ by upon Dimon (v.^* n.), and then by a word niSDIi which 
should mean things addedy additions : the whole is supposed to 
mean, I will place fresh calamities on Moab ; but neither the vb. 
nor the object really suggests calamity. Marti has suggested 
that the clause is a misplaced rubric directing that 15^^-16^ 
is to be added to Dimon^ i.e. that the passage was to follow 




XV. 9-xvi. 5 287 

"Dimon" in 15**. (& is intelligible, For I will bring upon 
Dimon Arabs ; but it may be merely a guess : it would be diffi- 
cult to derive Jl^ from (&. — J*br the escaped] 4* n. Moab has 
already suffered severely ; vv.^'®*. — A lion] has been understood 
to refer to some pre-exilic king of Judah, or the regent of 
Jeroboam 11. (Di,), or Alexander Jannaeus (Du.), or the Assyrian 
invader (Che.), or lions (cp. 2 K ly^^, Jer.). In so corrupt and 
obscure a passage it would be easier to multiply guesses than to 
justify them. — The remnant of] the soil (MT) : J^ might also 
mean Admah {/&. *A8a/xiJ), one of the fellow cities to Sodom 
and Gomorrah. It would be easy to read Edom^ if the prophecy 
really treats of Edom as well as Moab (16^ n.). 

XVI. I. Text and interpretation continue most uncertain. 
In ffi this V. continues the threatening words of Yahweh in 
j^9b. c — I will send the likeness of creeping things upon the land, 
jj^ might be a continuation of the description of Moab in 15^'®* — 
they have sent^ etc., or an address to some people, presumably 
Moabites, send ye (so MT). — The obj. of the vb. in J^ is the lamb 
of the ruler of the land^ which is commonly supposed to refer to 
the tribute paid in kind by Moab to the king of Israel (cp, 2 K 
3*)> or Judah, as overlord of Moab. The words that follow in 
^ might mean {i)from Sela* to Midbar: Sela* is then identified 
by many with the great Edomite, or Nabataean, emporium, 
Petra, which was famous from the 4th cent. b.c., or with some 
place in Edom (? cp. Jg i^) less remote from Moab ; Midbar 
m2Ly possibly be the proper name of a place in Moab (Nu 21^^)1 
or {7) from the rocks of the Arnon valley (Wetzstein), or of Moab 
generally (Baud, cited by Di.), or of Edom (Di.), to the wilderness^ 
which is supposed to mean in the direction of Judah, because 
Moab and Judah were separated (if an indirect way was taken) 
by wilderness : this would be much as though we were to speak 
in England of " sending seawards to Italy." It must suffice to 
refer to one or two of the interpretations of the whole v. built 
up on these uncertain details, on which see, further, phil. notes. 
Di. sees in the v. advice tendered by the Edomites, or by leading 
Moabites, to the Moabite refugees in Edom ; the refugees are 
advised to seek the protection of the king of Sion, backing up 
their request by a present of lambs which they are to send, not 
by the nearer route north of the Dead Sea and across Jordan, 
which must be supposed closed to them, but first south over the 




288 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

rocky land of Edom and then N. through the wilderness. Da 
explains similarly, except that he treats )nb^ as pf. and descriptive 
rather than imperative and hortatory. Marti, in part following 
(&J renders ^ke Edomites will send (the refugees) like a swarm 
of insects on the land to Sion. The assumption that Moabite 
refugees have fled to Edom is not supported by any clear 
indication of such a flight in ch. 15 ; and the following v., if 
in its right position, is distinctly unfavourable to it: for there 
the Moabites appear at the Arnon, far away from Edom. — 
2. The V. introduced by nTil is predictive like 15^^* ", like 16^ 
also, if ffi's text for the first word (see above) is correct. But 
if J^ in v.^ is correct, the predictive clauses 159^.0 552 ^jg 
awkwardly separated: Du. therefore places 162 immediately 
after 15^. — In flight'] from the nest: cp. Pr 27^. — Nestlings'] p, 
a nest, has here the transferred meaning brood that inhabited 
the nest. — Daughters of Moab] in Nu 25I means the women of 
Moab ; but a limited reference to women seems out of place 
here. (& reads daughter, i.e. population (lo^^, cp. e.g. La i^^), 
of Moab. Possibly daughters was a rare variant of daughter in 
such phrases (cp. ? Ezk i627): or perhaps daughters of Moab 
means the inhabitants of the several towns of Moab : cp. ? Ps 
^812(11). — The fords] ox passages, cp. lo^^ n. Du. gives mnyo 
here the unproven meaning of banks, and treats the whole 
phrase, the banks of Arnon, as in apposition to daughters of 
Moab. Arnon cutting through its lofty canon formed at times 
the northern boundary of Moab, but at others, as here (15^* * n.), 
it roughly bisected the territory occupied and governed by 
Moab; cp. Numbers, p. 284. — ^3f. The fugitive Moabites, thrust 
forth from their country like birds from their nest (v.^), now 
arrived in Jerusalem (v.^), supplicate for shelter and protection 
against the devastator of their land. — Bring counsel, make 
decision] these peculiar phrases may be due to corruption of 
the text, see phil. n. A request for counsel is a curious open- 
ing for refugees, who want rather what they go on to ask for, 
protection. It is disputed whether the second clause means 
(i) settle (quickly) whether we may remain in your country, or 
(2) decide the rights and the wrongs of the case between us 
and our enemies ; perhaps the original text expressed something 
entirely different and more appropriate. — 3b. Be to us a protection 
against the hot anger of our foes, like deep shade at high noon- 



XVI. 2-5 289 

day. — 3C. Hide us also from them, do not discover us to them. 
— 4. Let us, driven out from Moab, enjoy guest-rights in thy land, 
and, among them, the right not to be discovered (cp. Jg 4**^) to 
those who have already devastated our country and would destroy 
us. — The outcasts of Moab\ so (5S. MT, U (by an obviously 
wrong punctuation) distort the sense of J^; hence RV my 
outcasts: as for Moab^ etc. : possible also, but improbable, would 
be the rendering my outcasts^ O Moab ; see phil. n. — Find guest- 
right amongst thee\ be girim (i i^ n.) in thy midst ; the prep, is 3, 
/«, not DV, with^ as in 11^. — For the personifying sing. obj. thee^ 
cp. Jos 9^, a similar sentence. — 4c. d, 5. The various attempts, 
some of which are mentioned below, to explain this passage, as 
it stands or is arbitrarily emended, in its present connection 
have been so unsatisfactory as to lend considerable probability 
to the suggestion that it is an interpolated Messianic passage 
which has re-acted on the interpretation of v.*** ^ turning what 
was an address to §ion (v.^) into an address to Moab. Stand- 
ing by itself, the passage would suggest familiar features of the 
Messianic age : the land of Israel no more troubled by enemies 
and war, 2920, ch. 33, Ps 8920-24 (i»-23)^ the throne of David re- 
established through Yahweh's loving-kindness and fidelity (cp. 
Ps 8925- 29f. 37f.j^ and occupied by a just and righteous ruler (9^' ^ 
1 1*^ etc.). The term ^i>D, king^ is not actually applied to this 
ruler, but the reference to the throne and the tent of David point 
as unmistakably to a king as does the description in 9^**, from 
which the term ^pD is also absent. It is quite unnecessary, and 
indeed incorrect, to see here the description of some vassal or 
viceroy of the king of Israel stationed in Edom (Kn.) or Moab 
(Di.). — Through loving-kindness . . . through fidelity^ this trans- 
lation, which refers the qualities named to God, is favoured by 
the analogy of Ps 89 cited above: cp. also Is 55*. Others refer 
the loving-kindness to the king (Ges., Di.) who secures his throne 
by his humanity (cp. ii***, Pr 16^* 20*^ 29"), or to his subjects 
(Kn.). The fidelity is also referred to the king by some (Gesr), 
while others again render differently in security (cp. 39®, Jer 14^^), 
i.e, uninterruptedly (Di., Marti). Of attempts to interpret the 
passage as an integral and original part of the prophecy, two may 
be mentioned : (i) Ges. renders the pff. as prophetic pff., For the 
oppression will cease^ etc., and comments, " so that we (Moabites) 
shall be able to return again to our country, and no longer need 
VOL. I. — 19 



290 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

to be a burden to you (Jews)," when the country of Moab is 
free from the foe : in v.^ the suppHants urge as a motive for 
favour the blessing which such humanity would bring on the 
House of David ; (2) Di., adopting Lagarde's conjecture and 
reading ^3 IV instead of ^3, translates and interprets ?/nU7 the 
extortioner shall have ceased . . . out of the land of Moab, and a 
throne shall be set up for a vassal or viceroy ruling in Moab 
under the protecting shelter of his over-lord in Sion ; i.e. the 
passage, together with v.**- ^, is an insincere promise of the 
Moabites, in return for shelter in their hour of need, to be humble 
subjects of the Jews hereafter ; the Jews, detecting this insincerity, 
refuse the request of the Moabites (v.^). 

9b. C. nO'Sfl^ ni«3Di3] <& "A/sajSas koX d/)w rh criripfia : Kal d/)w=*nBONi. — 
XVI. 1. p« ^riD nD] aSc (hs ipverd, iirl tt}v 7^1/ = pH'? conD. The sing, of 13, 
lamb, occurs nowhere else ; it is improbable that it is a collective. Gratz 
proposed nDtfK. — mmo yVoD] IB petra deserii'. this is improbable, for note the 
n locale ; but |^ may well be a corruption of some single phrase of place, D 
denoting the starting-point and ^k in p's nn ^k the goal. — 2. With the certainly 
more or less corrupt text of w.^**, cp. the more or less corrupt text of Jer 48^. 
— \y\vh nnayo] (& eVl rASCi 'Apvdv, which points to nothing satisfactory. ^ is 
a little suspicious, for (l) there is no obvious reason for the periphrasis of the 
gen. (G-K. 129^) here i&'B, Rashi), and, indeed, tS) (cp. Ki.) does not treat 
the S as such, but takes mayo as Hoph. part, and renders brought across to 
Arnon ; (2) ace. of place, at the fords (G-K. 1 18^), is, as Dr. has pointed out 
(on I S 2^), all but confined to cases in which the ace. is followed by a 
noun in the genitive ; the only case, except the present, cited by Dr. is 2 Ch 
33^", but ct. ffir there. The S would be best accounted for (cp. i8\ Dt 30^*) 
if we read S ^?^!0, or, assuming that ttq.'^ was a synonym of nay, \ fil?];^'?, 
beyond Arnon. — 3. Tvi^ iN'an] apparently a synonym for nxy lan (Jg 20', 
2 S 16^*'), give counsel (to others) ; but the analogy of the use of K'an in Ps 
90^^ would rather suggest the meaning, unsuitable here, take counsel. — n^'Sfi] 
(Stt. Xe7., apparently meaning the office or duty of a V'^£3, judge or umpire. It 
is not clear that ®r had the same text ; the words which seem to correspond 
to rh'hti icy n)i\j iN'an are vKdova. (in v.') ^ovXevov Troieire {(rK^irrjp). For 
ityy . . . win, K^tib (ST), the K^re i&'B) has 'cy . . . 'K'sn— 2nd fem. sing. 
as in the following clauses. ®r does not support the reading iK'an. — h'ho] 
could be punctuated '?'^|, entire, complete : cp. ffi 5i4 "navrb^. But the anti- 
thesis onnjf gives probability to MT V:^3 ; on h^h. instead of n'?''?, cp. 21" n. — 
4. axiD 'ma] rhythmically both words go with 13 r\\i\ constituting together 
the first line of a 4:4 ( = 2|2:2|2) parallel distich ; the balance is 
entirely destroyed, if 3nid be taken with 'ui 'in (MT, RV).— 'in] in OT 
nin = n'n is mostly late: see Gn 272*, Neh 6', Ec 2^ ii3(?)t, and cp. Kin, 
Job 37'. But dR read I'n', and 03^ below instead of id"?.— fon] the following 
nouns being anarthrous, this was probably so too ; consequently it is little worth 
while to labour the point that J'D, a squeezer (cp. f'D, squeezing or wringing^ 




XVI. I-I2 291 

Pr so"), might mean an extortioner. Du. suggests j'fcij (i" n.). An easy 
emendation, if psn really possessed the nuance suitable here, ffi ^ avfifiaxio. ; 

SS |>NK.i_»a) ; 3J pulvis ; JZT Kp'yD. — nr] probably an error, through haplo- 
graphy, for me' : Lowth, al. ; cp. C5. — ddt ion] pi. before a sing. part, used 
collectively : G-K. 1450^. But in view of the singulars nSa, oek, the pi. iDn 
is suspicious ; for the same reason to read Dpijh for con is unwise ; the change 
in the similar sentence 29™ is not parallel, for it is occasioned by the 
introduction of So. — 5. thdi . . . rnn] fori . . . \ = both . . . and^ BDB 
253a. For BcrD m, cp. i^^ 

6-iz Conclusion of the second strophe of the 
elegy, and the third and concluding strophe. — V.« ( = Jer 

48^*) probably formed no part of the elegy; note the ist pi. and 
ct. the first sing, used throughout the elegy. It is very question- 
able, too, whether v.^ formed an original part of the interpolated 
prediction (9^^^-i6^): unlike the interpolation, it re-appears in 
Jer. It is customary, indeed, to see in v.^ §ion's reply to the 
Moabite suppliants (see on v.^), and refusal to grant them 
protection. This is very doubtful : (i) the words contain no 
actual refusal ; (2) the reply is given in the ist pi., whereas 
the community is addressed in the 2nd sing, in vv.^^* *. The v. 
is best regarded as an isolated reflection on the pride of Moab. 

7. Moab's emotion at her fate; but the original text, like 
Jer 48^^, perhaps expressed the poet's emotion at Moab's fate ; 
see phil. n., and cp. v.^^ below, also v.® and 15*^'* n. — The 
raisin-cakes of Kir-haresetK\ Jer. the men of ^ir-heres ; cp. Cr rot? 
Ka.roiKov(Tw tiered. Raisin-cakes^ i.e. cakes of dried grapes, were 
an article of food ; see Hos 3^, 2 S 6^*, Cant 2*. Foundations 
(,S, Ki., Ges., AV) is an improbable alternative translation of 
''K^''K'N. If Kir-heres is Kerak (15^ n.), and its raisin-cakes rather 
than its inhabitants were here mentioned, it is to the point to 
observe that there is much vine culture, " for eating only," round 
Kerak in modern times (Seetzen, Reisen^ i. 415), and interesting 
to recall that, as Marti points out, cakes of pressed grapes and 
fine meal are still prepared in Cyprus for festivals — an inheritance 
of the Christian Church from old Phoenician custom. The 
allusion, like that in v.*, points to autumn as the season when 
disaster fell on Moab. — / moan\ J^ ye moan ; Jer 48^1 he moans ; 
by some emended to they moan. J^ adds utterly stricken^ which 
being pi. implies, if correct, a plural subject to the vb. ; for it 
more naturally forms an attribute to the subj. of the sentence 



292 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

than to raisin-cakes. — 8-10. For the famous vines of Northern 
Moab the poet now weeps, v.^. They have ripened not for 
the Moabites to gather with the customary joy of the vintage, 
but for the enemy to destroy. Of these verses ^- ^ and *^ are 
absent from Jer 48 ; while ^°' ^ is found there (v.^^) ^jt^ consider- 
able variations. — Tracts'] cp. Dt 32^3 : other occurrences of niDlK^, 
the etymology and exact meaning of which are unknown, are in 
Hab 3^^^, Jer 31^*^ (K®re), and in two passages where the text is 
doubtful, 37^7, 2 K 23*!. — SibmaK\ "between ^eshbon and 
Sibmah there are scarce five hundred paces " (Jer.). A site 2 J 
miles W.N.W. of Hesban bearing the name Sumia may give an 
echo of the ancient Sibmah. From Nu 2^2^- 3^, Jos i3^^t we 
should infer that the place lay in Northern Moab though not 
necessarily so close to Heshbon as Jerome's Subama, or the 
modern S^mia. — 8b. So famous was this vine that kings — lords 
of the nations — drank and became smitten down (28^), i.e. drunk, 
with the wine of it. Less probable is the view that the line gives 
the cause of the destruction of the vine; for it is doubtful 
whether the vb. would be suitable, the reason for specifying the 
lords is not obvious, and the cause of destruction would scarcely 
correspond to the suggestion of line a. that the vine dies for lack 
of water. — Red-clusters\ n^pliK^ : cp. pnK', 5^ n. Other suggested 
readings here are vine-tendrils^ or choice plants. — 8c. d. These 
lines, translated above in the better order d. C (cp. Jer 48^), give 
a hyperbolical description of the size and ramifications of the 
celebrated vine ; the site of Ya'zer (Nu 21^* n.) is uncertain,* 
but according to Eus. it lay 15 (Roman) miles N. of IJeshbon 
(jOnom. 264^^^*). Westwards the vine stretched out^ i.e. extended 
tOy or perhaps rather across, the Dead Sea, the N.E. comer of 
which lies about 16 miles in a straight line from yeshbon and 
some 4000 feet below it. Eastwards the vine extends till the 
cultivated land passes into the vast Syrian desert — 9. / weep 
with the weeping of Ya*zer'\ the poet joins his tears (cp. 22* n., 
La i^®) to those of Ya'zer ; but why he singles out Ya'zer is not 
clear, unless, indeed, we could believe that he was himself a man 
of Ya'zer (cp. Du.), and therefore a Moabite. — Heshbon and 
[Ele'alek] i5*n. — Thy grapes . . . thy grape-gathering\Khek . . . 
^e^trek ; for the sake of the alliteration the writer appears to use 
the wide term j^is, summer fruits (28*), instead of 'andbim^ grapes^ 
* See S. R. Driver, Exp. Ti?nes, xxi. 562 f. 




XVI. 8-12 293 

and l^^irek^ cuttings harvest^ instead of Ifftrek^ vintage : Jer 48^^ 
preserves, or substitutes, If^trek, — Shouting hath fallen] 'W7\ is 
the joyous shouting of the grape treaders, Jer 25^. Not you, 
but the enemy will shout with joy over your grapes, and over 
yourselves who will become their vintage; all this may be 
suggested by the context and the predicate. But the reading of 
Jer, the spoiler (^*^l^'), may be correct, ffi differs from both, but 
is wrong. — 10. No joy of the vintage, no wine for use: the 
general sense is clear : the text is in considerable disorder, see 
phil. n. — None is left] lit. // has been caused to cease (cp. ffir) ; J^, 
I have caused {ii) to cease, the subj. being Yahweh; cp. 15®, but 
between vv.® and ^^, where the first persons cannot refer to 
Yahweh, the reading of J^ is most improbable. Even the passive 
is doubtful ; n3B', it has ceased, may be the true text. — II. = Jer 
48^^ the poet's emotion ; here as in v.® the first person is certain ; 
ct. 1 5*^' 6 16^. The second line has perhaps lost a clause of two 
words, supplied in the translation, comparing the inward emotion 
to the resounding of flutes ; cp. Jer. — My bowels are sounding] 
i.e. my compassion is stirred: cp. 63^*, Jer 31^; for other 
instances of bowels as a term for the seat of deep emotions, see 
Jer 4^*, Ca 5*; and of the vb. HDH, to sound, murmur, of the 
organs of emotion, intelligence, and the like, see Jer 4^® (ni)), Ps 
42* (B'S^). — 12. No attendance in the sanctuary, no prayer will 
avail Moab. The v. is absent from Jer, and introduces a 
religious turn not found in the verses common to Is and Jer ; 
not improbably it was added to the elegy over Moab by the 
same hand that added 15^^-16'; note the common use of n^ni 
here and in 16^. In its present form the v. is unrhythmical. It 
may be rendered. And it shall come to pass, when Moab shall have 
appeared, when he shall have wearied himself on the high place and 
shall (or, then he shall) enter into his sanctuary to pray, he shall 
not prevail 'y but either -when he shall have appeared or when he 
shall have wearied himself, should probably be omitted as due 
to dittography; in the former case the inconsistency with 15^, 
where Moab is depicted as being actually and already on the 
high places, which might doubtless be attributed to the careless- 
ness of the interpolater, disappears. For the wearisome practices 
of the heathen, cp. 47^', i K 1826^-. 

6. nxD Kj] looks suspiciously like a dittograph of 3K0 |N3. In Jer. the Air. 
X€7. KJ is replaced by hkj. — vnajn uikjt imnj] one of the first two words is not 



294 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



m 



represented in (ffir : the last was misread 'my3. Jer 482^ reads iniKJi wikji insj, 
but v.**" contains "imay (immediately before ma p nVi). — p n*?] treated by many 
as a compound noun, the untruth {of his pratings) ; but it is questionable 
whether such combinations as din nS in 31^ (G-K. 152a footnote) were ever 
so completely treated as a single word that they could be used in the con- 
struct, p vh is predicative ; cp. (5.-7. '?*'?" n'?3 nNiD"? dnid V'^" pS] the re- 
peated S'^" (so ^) is probably an error (cp. Iii^n., 26' n.) : Jer 48" reads p Sy 
pyiN n'?3 3nid'?i V''?'k 3N1D ^y ; note also that in Jer "j'^'k governs by means of 
•^y, and pym by means of ^, as in Is 15^- ^ respectively. On the question of 
1st pers. or 3rd (in Jer (&. 2nd pi. imper.), see above. In spite of DnsD 
DnxD2 (19*), 3N1dV aNiD V'S" remains awkward, whether we interpret Moab 
howls for {over) Moab (Ges., Di.), or Moab howls to Moaby i.e. they howl 
to one another (Marti). Nor is it altogether satisfactory to place the caesura 
before nxiD"?: for entire Moab he howls.— ■'w^'\ Jer ^rJK •?« = © here. — 
ntynn Tp] So 2 K 3^5 |§ ; but v.", Jer 4831- ^ tynn n^p.— ijnn] Jer 4821 nj^' ; 
®r here /tteXer7j(rets = njnn : read njn« ; others conjecture un (n dittographic 
from riB'nn) or u.t. — D'ks: HN] not in Jer. dR xal o^/c ivrpaTri^a-ri. If the text is 
correct, for D'K33, implying N33 = nD3, cp. ntoj nn, Pr 15^2 1722, and the Niph. of 
the vb. Job 30't; 1»<, utterly, as in 19" ; see BDB, i.z/.— 8-10. Most of the 
ten or eleven lines in these verses are certainly of four accents ; but vv.^a* »*• 
at present are of six. Possibly jne'n vrxTW and nSySxi jnt^n are glosses : note 
that the 2nd sing. fem. suffixes in v.* refer naturally to the sing, rvoiv }BJ and 
not to the pi. nSySni jUtrn. — 8. ^"^dk] the sing, after the fem. pi. moiB' would 
be abnormal in spite of Hab 3" and G-K. 145^ ; on the other hand, if 'n monr 
be omitted (see last n.), the sing. masc. before the fem. pa would be normal 
(G-K. 145^7) : cp. 2" 9^8 14" etc. : yet ct. p3 nSSox, 24'.— .Tpntr] (J5 ri<f 
dfiTT^Xovs airrjs ; rather red-clusters (cp. pT^ of the colour of horses in Zee I*), 
whence the pntt' (5^) vine receives its name. — 9. "P'''»*] an error for TnK with 
retention of the final radical ' (G-K. IS^d) ; on the form, see Sta. 634^ : 
Kon. i. 589 f. ; in ®r the penultimate letter must have been \ — 'd] Jer 48*2 
cm. — HTn] Jer mis' : ffi here koX Trdura. — 10. ^okji] sing, before a com- 
pound subj. ; G-K. I45(?; Jer hsdnji ; G-K. 146/, ^.— SD^3^ p] Jer Vd-idd, 
which carries us back half-way to l(')Dn3D, the reading of Is ffli»<AQr {iK rdv 
d/iireXibvcav ffov), and probably the original text. The clause is followed in 
Jer by 3kid pxDi, which is a fairly obvious gloss explaining that the whole 
country and not only the garden land will grieve. In ^ there follows D'Dnaai 
pT «h, which looks at first more likely to be original, but the first word is 
probably merely a corrupt variant of TDHDD, and ]iV n*? is an explanation of 
the following yyT nh after that corrupt reading had arisen. We thus explain 
the absence of 3N1D pNDi from Is and of jn' nh D'DnD3i from Jer. — yi/h; . . . |}-i;] 
cp. Zeph 3" ; but the forms are probably no original part of the text : see 
preceding and following notes. As they stand they are impersonal passives : 

G-K. 144/t. (K may have read iJ3n\— 'nntrn irn innn ^^T h^ D'3p'3 p' yyT K*?] 

Jer 48^ m'n t<h m'n m\n nm' h^ 'nac'n D'ap'O |"i ; Is (K Kal oi fi^ iraTi^a-ovffiv 
oXvov els rd. iiroX-fivia, ^iTravTaiydp = n2e;n D'2p'2 }" 13m' t<h, which is probably 
the original text or quite close to it : note that it is a line of four accents 
equally divided by the caesura. The overlined words in f^ are amplifications. 



XVI. 6-14, XVII. i-ii 295 

partly due to glosses and partly due to dittography. In Is J^, moreover, ViH' 
is a corruption of (i)3it, for ffi's Tan^ovctv corresponds to this and not to 
T»T below (note the order in ffi). Perhaps Qop'D (Jer J^) is preferable to 
Isf^dS Q'3p'3 ; with D nam, cp. the use of the Niph. in 17* and of the Hiph. 
in Lv 26«, Jer 36»— ynn T"' kS] cstr. as 28*-^: cp. G-K. 144/r.— 12. Ew. 
treated the whole v. as a protasis, and supplied from Jer 48^' as an apodosis 
ino3D roDD 3K1D r3i : so Che. SBOT; but this is improbable, since v." is 
absent from Jer.— noan] ^ pi. ; cp. nioan, 15' ^ (not ffi).— Sav kVi] Ae shall 
mut with no success : for the absolute use of the vb., cp. Ps 21'', Jer 5" 20". 

13, 14. A Prose Appendix (cp. 2ii«f) to the foregoing 
Oracle of Moab, probably by a later hand (see above). In 
three brief years all will be fulfilled : Moab, as yet still honoured 
and numerous, will become despised and almost exterminated. — 
13. The word which Yahweh spoke] this description suits the 
interpolated section 15^^-16*; for the speaker in 15^^ is Yahweh, 
but the speaker throughout the parts common to Jer and Is is 
not. — In time past] the phrase TKD may refer to a past falling 
within the speaker's own mature life (2 S 15^), or to a more 
remote past (Ps 93^, Pr S^^). In 448, as here, it refers to old 
prophecies. — As the years of a hireling] years strictly reckoned; the 
hireling works no longer than he must. Du. explains differently : 
it will only be necessary to hire the mercenaries (i^DK' as in Jer 
46^1) for the usual period of 3 years, and sees an allusion to the 
use by Alexander Jannaeus of mercenary troops. — The glory of 
Moab] cp. the glory of Assyria, 10^^; of Kedar, 21**. — 14. nan 
TWS] (Sr Xeyo).— -lytD OVO] io2« 2^^"^^, 



XVII. I-II. TTie coming Destruction of Syria and Ephraim. 

The text is faulty ; but there can be little doubt that the poem consisted 
mainly if not exclusively of distichs of balanced and, generally, parallel lines. 
But the length of line varies in different distichs ; vv.***- "• "*• '' are clear 
instances of 3 : 3, which was probably the most frequent rhythm, and v.*"* * 
of a longer distich, probably 4 : 4. 

The original poem contains three equal or nearly equal strophes ; the first 
and second each consists of 8 lines and an additional line containing a con- 
cluding formula ; the second, like the third, strophe contains also an opening 
formula: the third strophe contained lo lines, unless we reject two as 
intrusive. 

Vv."' appear to be an addition to the poem (see comm.), and are placed 
at the end of, and separated from, the poem itself in the following translation. 



296 



COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 



I. 

1 Lo ! Damascus is about to be removed from being a city, 
And it shall become a a ruin ^ * forsaken for ever * 
Flocks shall possess *her cities,' 
And lie down, with none to terrify (them) away. 
^ And Ephraim shall lose (her) fortress. 

And the sovereignty [shall be taken away] from 

Damascus 
And the remainder of Aram . . . 

Like the glory of the sons of Israel shall they be — 
Is the Oracle of Yahweh of Hosts. 



i 



2. 



m 



* And it shall come to pass in that day, 
The glory of Jacob shall be diminished. 
And the fat of his flesh shall become lean ; 
^ And it shall be as when a reaper gathereth standing corn, 
And his arm reaps off the ears a a ; 
Or ^^as when an olive-tree is struck, 
** And there remains thereon something to glean — 
^'^ Two or three berries on the uppermost branch, 
Four or five on the boughs of the fruit tree — 
Is the oracle of Yahweh, God of Israel. 



• In that day 
*Thy' cities shall become forsaken (ruins), 

Like the forsaken (ruins) of * the Amorites and Hivites,' 
Which they forsook before the children of Israel, and it shall become 

a desolation. 
1® Because thou forgattest the God of thy salvation, 
And didst not remember the Rock, thy Refuge, 
Therefore (though) thou plantest plantations of Adonis, 
And puttest in (vine-)cuttings of an alien (god), 
^^ (And though) on the day thou plantest, thou make (it) grow. 
And (though) on the morrow thou make thy seed 

blossom — 
The harvest has fled (?) in the day of sickness (?), 
And incurable pain ... 




XVII. i-ii 297 

^ In that day shall man regard his Maker, 

And his eyes shall look towards the Holy One of 

Israel ; 
8 And he shall not regard the a work of his hands 

Nor look upon what his fingers have wrought, a a 

The first strophe is devoted mainly to the fate of Syria, but 
incidentally also to that of Ephraim. Syria is to lose its inde- 
pendence : Damascus, the capital, and other cities are to be 
reduced to perpetual desolation. The last two strophes are 
devoted exclusively to Ephraim, i.e. the Northern kingdom of 
Israel : in strophe 2 the almost total depopulation of Ephraim is 
depicted under three figures : strophe 3 dwells on the inutility in 
the day of disaster of those cults to which Ephraim had devoted 
itself. In w.'^^- the point of the last strophe is universalised : 
all mankind will be convinced in the coming day of the inutility 
of works of men's hands, and will turn instead to the Holy One 
of Israel, who is also Maker of mankind. 

The poem was composed before the Fall of Damascus 
(732 B.C.), and, as we may infer from the coupling of Ephraim 
and Damascus, after the formation of the Syro-Ephraimitish 
alliance (ch. 7), which took place about 736 b.c. 

The predictions were in large part fulfilled : Re§on (7^ n.) 
was the last native sovereign of Damascus ; he was slain by 
Tiglath-pileser (2 K 16®), who was not in the West after 732 B.C., 
and with him " the sovereignty was taken away from Damascus " 
(v.^), which became an Assyrian province {KAT^ i35)- Though 
less complete and lasting than Isaiah expected (for Damascus 
never actually became an uninhabited spot), the devastation of 
Damascus and the neighbouring country in 732 b.c. was great. 
Tiglath-pileser speaks of cutting down numberless gardens and 
plantations, carrying off many captives with their property, and 
wasting 591 cities of 16 districts of the land of Damascus: see 
his Annals^ 11. 203-209. The full fate of Ephraim was not 
simultaneous, as Isaiah seems to have expected it to be, with 
that of Damascus: Samaria survived till 722 B.C. : then the fall 
of the city was followed by such extensive deportations of the 
Israelite population as go far to justify the terms of w.*^: see 
2 K 17 and Sargon's annals. 

I, The Oracle of Damascus] 13^ n. The title is taken from 



298 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

the first important word only, and so ignores the main subject 
of the piece — Ephraim. 

1-3. The fate of Damascus. — On the emendations 
adopted in the translation, see phil. n. — I. Is about to be removed^ 
immediately: not present tense is taken away (EV), nor in v.^ are 
forsaken : those renderings are, indeed, grammatically legitimate 
(7I* n.), but unsuitable here. — 2. Flocks shall possess^ S^'^ n. — 
Her cities\ i.e, the towns of the country dependent on Damascus : 
cp- Jer 34^ 49^^ 51^^. J^ (not ffi) reads the cities of ^Arder\ 
this strange phrase, which is really due to corruption of the 
text, has been explained, unsatisfactorily, in various ways : (1) the 
two cities of the name of *Aro*er, one on the northern edge 
of the defile of the Arnon (162 n. : cp. Nu 32^* n.), the other 
near Rabbath-Ammon (Jos 13^^); (2) the cities dependent on 
the more northern (which is, however, the less important) of the 
two *Aro*ers; both (i) and (2) are hazardously understood to 
mean the country E. of Jordan : both *Aro*ers are remote from 
Damascus; (3) Di. gives *Aro*er an appellative force, so that 
the phrase means the ruined cities \ feeble and improbable. — 
3. Fortress\ perhaps Samaria * the capital, or, giving "l^:^D a 
collective force, all Xki'i fortresses \ of the Northern kingdom are 
intended ; but on either of these interpretations this line anti- 
cipates v.*. More probably Damascus { is meant ; owing to its 
geographical situation, Damascus first invited the attack of the 
Assyrians coming E., and so formed a bulwark or fortress of 
Ephraim. On this interpretation the line, in common with the 
rest of v.^, threatens Damascus, while at the same time together 
with the following words, like the glory of the children of Israel 
(cp. V.*), they form a transition to vv.*-^- ^-^^ which threaten 
Ephraim exclusively. — The sovereignty^ see above. 

1. nn'm . . . noiD . . . njn] fut. instans (Dr. § 135 (2)), followed by the 
pf. with waw conv. [ib. § 113). The change from iDiD (Du. moiD) to nn'm is 
strange, unless pt^DT is ace. to "IDID (cp. e.g. Ps 87^; G-K. \z\b). — tj;d] a 
poetical breviloquence for ry nvnD : cp. 7' 52^* ; BDB 583a.— i, 2. 'j;o nn'm 
"liny ny nmy n'?£3D] CR koX ^trrat ets tttCxtlv KaToXeXi/Ji/xePT] els rhv a^(3i'a = nn'm 
ny 'ny niiy n'?DD('?). The non-form 'yo in |§ is a scribal error later than fflr : not, 
however, for 'yS (Di.), but through dittography of [nj'yo. For the rest, (& is 
near the original text : read lynaiy. n'?2D('?) nn'ni, which balances the preceding 

* Ges., Hitz., Che. (SBOT), Whitehouse. t W> Del. 

t Jer., Eichh., Ew., Di., Du., Skinner, Marti. 





XVII. 1-6 299 

parallel line, and then nnj; as subj. of nynn ; with ny ^7% cp. oSiy mn, Jei 
20"**, and see Kon. iii. 336^. The detection of nny is due to Lag. and Du. — 
nj'^ij] heret, but n^gp, 23'' 25^!. — 3. If the poem showed any other trace of 
the 3 : 2 rhythm, the text of ^ down to pvQiD need awaken no suspicion ; the 
remainder too, could, of course, be construed, dhk n«r being casus pendens 
before v.T (RVmarg.) rather than a clause coupled with prCTD (RV); but 
however taken it would be rhythmically quite unlike the rest of the poem, and 
also lacking in parallelism. The first and third lines seem to be correct ; 
each of the intervening clauses has probably lost a word : after prmo perhaps 
niy^n, shall pass away^ or k^: (cp. 8^), has dropped out. (K paraphrases 
throughout, and on the whole remarkably well : it is doubtful whether it read 
differently except ti33? for nna and perhaps vrm for x^"". Du. proposes n3K' 
for ni33D ; but it is hazardous to claim (K for this, for ov ybip <tv peXrluv el is 
probably a paraphrase of iu3D, and Kal r^s Sd^rfs airrdv at the end of the v. 
a subsequent addition to (&. 

4-6. The fate of Ephraim. — 4. The nation is personified 
(cp. i*^ n.) as a man whose glory^ i.e. reputation among his 
neighbours, will become slight (through lack of children : cp. 
Hos 9^1-1^; ct. Ps 127), and whose once well-nourished body will 
become lean (cp. lo^^). Or possibly, with the precarious 
support of 10^^, we might render his glory . . . will become 
impoverished (cp. adj. pn), i.e. Jacob will exchange the outward 
marks in dress, etc., of a prosperous man for the garb of a pauper. 
Glory is not, as in 5^^ (n.), dignitaries^ the nobility \ for this would 
make Jacob the literal nation in v.^, the personified nation in 
v.***. — 5> 6. The point of these verses is clear ; compared with 
what the population was before, the survivors in the Northern 
kingdom will be as few as the ears of corn left uncut, or dropped 
by the reapers, or as the olive berries still left on a tree after it 
has been beaten (cjpi, 24^^, cp. 10^; lD3n, Dt 24^0) with poles to 
bring down the crop. But in J^ these comparisons are awkwardly 
expressed. V.^- ^ alone sufficiently suggests the figure from 
com harvest : still it may have been followed by a distich com- 
pleting the figure by reference to the few ears left for gleaners : 
cp. the completion of the figure of the olive crop. But v.^*' (left 
untranslated above), which is rhythmically defective, instead of 
completing the figure, starts off as if it were a fresh figure, And 
it shall be as a gleaner of ears of corn in the vale of Rephaim^ 
a fruitful vale in the neighbourhood of Bethlehem (Jos 15^). 
These words are probably either a gloss (Marti) or a mutilated 
distich. In v.^ the difficulties are even more serious; n^OT 
means the gleaning of grapes, or olives, not the gleaning of grain, 



300 COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 

which is expressed by Dp7 (so v.^^) ; consequently v.^* is no 
proper continuation of v.^*' ; and M, therein^ or thereof^ cannot 
refer to the vale of Rephaim. RV is thus doubly misleading, 
for gleaning in English without any qualification suggests gleaning 
of grain. Further, in f^ the figure of the olives, which is the 
real parallel to v.^*- ^, can refer directly to Jacob only if i3> 
meaning of him (i^n.), resumes the distant 2pV^ of v.*; otherwise 
it is a comparison within a comparison. For Marti's emendation 
adopted above, which avoids these improbabilities, see phil. n. — 
Reaps off the ears] in reaping, the stalks of corn were reaped near 
the top, so that little more than the ears were cut