Isaiah 24

CHAPTER XXIV

Dreadful judgments impending over the people of God, 1-4.

Particular enumeration of the horrid impieties which provoked

the Divine vengeance, 5, 6.

Great political wretchedness of the transgressors, 7-12.

The calamities shall be so great that only a small remnant

shall be left in the land, as it were the gleanings of the

vintage, 13.

The rest, scattered over the different countries, spread there

the knowledge of God, 14-16.

Strong figures by which the great distress and long captivity

of the transgressors are set forth, 17-22.

Gracious promise of a redemption from captivity; and of an

extension of the kingdom of God in the latter days, attended

with such glorious circumstances as totally to eclipse the

light and splendour of the previous dispensation, 23.

From the thirteenth chapter to the twenty-third inclusive, the

fate of several cities and nations is denounced: of Babylon, of

the Philistines, Moab, Damascus, Egypt, Tyre. After having

foretold the destruction of the foreign nations, enemies of Judah,

the prophet declares the judgments impending on the people of God

themselves for their wickedness and apostasy, and the desolation

that shall be brought on their whole country.

The twenty-fourth and the three following chapters seem to have

been delivered about the same time: before the destruction of Moab

by Shalmaneser; see Isa 25:10, consequently, before the

destruction of Samaria; probably in the beginning of Hezekiah's

reign. But concerning the particular subject of the twenty-fourth

chapter interpreters are not at all agreed: some refer it to the

desolation caused by the invasion of Shalmaneser; others to the

invasion of Nebuchadnezzar; and others to the destruction of the

city and nation by the Romans. Vitringa is singular in his

opinion, who applies it to the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes.

Perhaps it may have a view to all of the three great desolations

of the country, by Shalmaneser, by Nebuchadnezzar, and by the

Romans; especially the last, to which some parts of it may seem

more peculiarly applicable. However, the prophet chiefly employs

general images; such as set forth the greatness and universality

of the ruin and desolation that is to be brought upon the country

by these great revolutions, involving all orders and degrees of

men, changing entirely the face of things, and destroying the

whole polity, both religious and civil; without entering into

minute circumstances, or necessarily restraining it by particular

marks to one great event, exclusive of others of the same kind.-L.

NOTES ON CHAP. XXIV

Verse 4. The world languisheth] The world is the same with the

land; that is, the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, orbis

Israeliticus. See Clarke on Isa 13:11.

Verse 5. The laws-"The law"] torah, singular: so read the

Septuagint, Syriac, and Chaldee.

Verse 6. Are burned-"Are destroyed"] For charu, read

charebu. See the Septuagint, Syriac, Chaldee, and Symmachus.

Verse 8. The mirth, &c.] sheon, the noise. geon,

the pride, is the reading of three of De Rossi's MSS., with the

Septuagint and Arabic.

Verse 9. Strong drink-"Palm wine"] This is the proper meaning of

the word shechar, σικερα.

See Clarke on Isa 5:11. All enjoyment shall cease: the

sweetest wine shall become bitter to their taste.

Verse 11. All joy is darkened-"All gladness is passed away"] For

arebah, darkened, read aberah, passed away,

transposing a letter. Houbigant, Secker. Five of Dr. Kennicott's

and five of De Rossi's MSS., several ancient, add col, all,

after mesos: the Septuagint adds the same word before it.

Verse 14. They shall lift up their voice-"But these shall lift

up their voice"] That is, they that escaped out of these

calamities. The great distresses brought upon Israel and Judah

drove the people away, and dispersed them all over the

neighbouring countries: they fled to Egypt, to Asia Minor, to the

islands and the coasts of Greece. They were to be found in great

numbers in most of the principal cities of these countries.

Alexandria was in a great measure peopled by them. They had

synagogues for their worship in many places, and were greatly

instrumental in propagating the knowledge of the true God among

these heathen nations, and preparing them for the reception of

Christianity. This is what the prophet seems to mean by the

celebration of the name of JEHOVAH in the waters, in the distant

coasts, and in the uttermost parts of the land. mayim, the

waters; υδωρ, Sept.; υδατα, Theod.; not miyam

from the sea.

Verse 15. In the isles of the sea-"In the distant coasts of the

sea."] For beurim, in the valleys, I suppose we ought to

read beiyim, in the isles, which is in a great degree

justified by the repetition of the word in the next member of the

sentence, with the addition of haiyam, the sea, to vary the

phrase, exactly in the manner of the prophet. iyim is a word

chiefly applied to any distant countries, especially those lying

on the Mediterranean Sea. Others conjecture biorim,

beharim, beummim, beammim,

bechorim, beurim, a bar, illustrate-Le

Clerc. Twenty-three MSS. of Kennicott's, many of De Rossi's,

and some of my own, read beorim, in the valleys. The

Septuagint do not acknowledge the reading of the text,

expressing here only the word iyim, ενταιςνησοις, in

the islands, and that not repeated. But MSS. Pachom. and I. D. II.

supply in this place the defect in the other copies of the

Septuagint thus, διατουτοηδοξακυριουεσταιενταιςνησοις

τηςθαλασσηςενταιςνησοιςτοονοματουκυριουθεουισραηλ

ενδοξονεσται "Therefore the glory of the Lord shall be in the

isles of the sea: in the islands shall the name of the Lord God of

Israel be glorified." Kimchi says, that by beurim, in the

valleys, is meant the cities, because they were generally built in

valleys. The Vulgate has in doctrinis, and so my old MS., in

techingis. Coverdale translates, Praise the name of the Lord God

of Israel in the valleys and in the floodis. It should not be

rendered in the fires; none of the ancient Versions understood it

thus. According to which the Septuagint had in their Hebrew copy

beiyim, repeated afterwards, not beurim.

Verse 16. But I said] The prophet speaks in the person of the

inhabitants of the land still remaining there, who should be

pursued by Divine vengeance, and suffer repeated distresses from

the inroads and depredations of their powerful enemies. Agreeably

to what he said before in a general denunciation of these

calamities:-

"Though there be a tenth part remaining in it;

Even this shall undergo a repeated destruction."

Isa 6:13. See the note there.-L.

My leanness, my leanness-Or, my secret; so the Vulgate,

Montanus, and my old MS; razan has this meaning in Chaldee;

but in Hebrew it signifies to make lean, to waste. This sentence

in the Hebrew has a strange connexion of uncouth sounds:

Vaomer, razi

li razi li, oi li, bogedim bagadu, ubeged bogedim bagadu. This may

be equalled by the translation in my Old MS. Bible: And I seide,

my priveye thinge to me: my priveye thinge to me: woo to me: The

lawe breykynge thei breken: and in lawe brekynge of the overdon

thingis, they breken the lawe.

The treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously-"The

plunderers plunder"] See Clarke on Isa 21:2.

Verse 17. Fear, and the pit-"The terror, the pit"] If they

escape one calamity, another shall overtake them.

"As if a man should flee from a lion, and a bear should

overtake him:

Or should betake himself to his house, and lean his hand

on the wall,

And a serpent should bite him."

Am 5:19.

"For," as our Saviour expressed it in a like parabolical manner,

"wheresoever the carcass is there shall the eagles be gathered

together," Mt 24:28. The images are taken from the different

methods of hunting and taking wild beasts, which were anciently in

use. The terror was a line strung with feathers of all colours,

which fluttering in the air scared and frightened the beasts into

the toils, or into the pit which was prepared for them. Nec est

mirum, cum maximos ferarum greges linea pennis distincta

contineat, et in insidias agat, ab ipso effectu dicta formido.

Seneca de Ira, ii. 12. The pit or pitfall, fovea; digged deep in

the ground, and covered over with green boughs, turf, &c., in

order to deceive them, that they might fall into it unawares. The

snare, or toils, indago; a series of nets, inclosing at first a

great space of ground, in which the wild beasts were known to be;

and then drawn in by degrees into a narrower compass, till they

were at last closely shut up, and entangled in them.-L.

For mikkol, a MS. reads mippeney, as it is in

Jer 48:44, and so the

Vulgate and Chaldee. But perhaps it is only, like the latter, a

Hebraism, and means no more than the simple preposition mem.

See Ps 102:6. For it does not appear that the terror was intended

to scare the wild beasts by its noise. The paronomasia is very

remarkable; pachad, pachath, pach: and

that it was a common proverbial form, appears from Jeremiah's

repeating it in the same words, Jer 48:43, 44.

Verse 18. Out of the midst of the pit-"From the pit"] For

mittoch, from the midst of, a MS. reads min, from, as it is

in Jer 48:44; and so likewise the

Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate.

Verse 19. The earth-"The land"] haarets, forte delendum

he, ut ex praecedente ortum. Vid. seqq.-Secker. "Probably the

he, in haarets, should be blotted out, as having arisen

from the preceding."

Verse 20. Like a cottage-"Like a lodge for a night"]

See Clarke on Isa 1:8.

Verse 21. On high-upon the earth.] That is, the ecclesiastical

and civil polity of the Jews, which shall be destroyed. The nation

shall continue in a state of depression and dereliction for a long

time. The image seems to be taken from the practice of the great

monarchs of that time; who, when they had thrown their wretched

captives into a dungeon, never gave themselves the trouble of

inquiring about them; but let them lie a long time in that

miserable condition, wholly destitute of relief, and disregarded.

God shall at length revisit and restore his people in the last

age: and then the kingdom of God shall be established in such

perfection, as wholly to obscure and eclipse the glory of the

temporary, typical, preparative kingdom now subsisting.

Verse 23. Before his ancients gloriously] In the sigt of their

olde men he schal ben glorified. Old MS. BIBLE.

"The figurative language of the prophets is taken from the

analogy between the world natural and an empire or kingdom

considered as a world politic. Accordingly the whole world

natural, consisting of heaven and earth, signifies the whole world

politic, consisting of thrones and people; or so much of it as is

considered in prophecy: and the things in that world signify the

analogous things in this. For the heavens and the things therein

signify thrones and dignities, and those who enjoy them; and the

earth with the things thereon, the inferior people; and the lowest

parts of the earth, called hades or hell, the lowest or

most miserable part of them. Great earthquakes, and the shaking of

heaven and earth, are put for the shaking of kingdoms, so as to

distract and overthrow them; the creating a new heaven and

earth, and the passing away of an old one, or the beginning

and end of a world, for the rise and ruin of a body politic

signified thereby. The sun, for the whole species and race of

kings, in the kingdoms of the world politic; the moon, for the

body of the common people, considered as the king's wife; the

stars, for subordinate princes and great men; or for bishops and

rulers of the people of God, when the sun is Christ: setting of

the sun, moon, and stars, darkening the sun, turning the moon

into blood, and falling of the stars, for the ceasing of a

kingdom." Sir I. Newton's Observations on the Prophecies, Part I.,

chap. 2.

These observations are of great consequence and use, in

explaining the phraseology of the prophets.

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