Isaiah 30


The Jews reproved for their reliance on Egypt, 1-7.

Threatened for their obstinate adherence to this alliance,


Images the most elegant and lofty, by which the intense

gloriousness of Messiah's reign at the period when all Israel

shall be added to the Church is beautifully set forth, 18-26.

Dreadful fall of Sennacherib's army, an event most manifestly

typical of the terrible and sudden overthrow of Antichrist; as,

unless this typical reference be admitted, no possible

connexion can be imagined between the stupendous events which

took place in Hezekiah's reign, and the very remote and

inconceivably more glorious displays of Divine vengeance and

mercy in the days of the Messiah, 27-33.


Verse 1. And that cover with a covering-"Who ratify covenants"]

Heb. "Who pour out a libation." Sacrifice and libation were

ceremonies constantly used, in ancient times by most nations in

the ratifying of covenants: a libation therefore is used for a

covenant, as in Greek the word σπονδη, for the same reason, stands

for both. This seems to be the most easy explication of the Hebrew

phrase, and it has the authority of the Septuagint, εποιησατε


Verse 4. Hanes] Six MSS. of Kennicott's, and perhaps six others,

with four of De Rossi's, read chinnam, in vain, for

Hanes; and so also the Septuagint, who read likewise

yageu, laboured, for yaggiu, arrived at.

Verse 5. Were-ashamed] Eight MSS. (one ancient) of Kennicott's,

and ten of De Rossi's, read hobish, without aleph.

So the Chaldee and Vulgate.

But a shame-"But proved even a shame"] Four MSS. (three ancient)

after ki, add im, unless, which seems wanted to

complete the phrase in its usual form.

Verse 6. The burden] massa seems here to be taken in its

proper sense; the load, not the oracle. The same subject is

continued; and there seems to be no place here for a new title to

a distinct prophecy.

Does not burden of the beasts of the South in this place relate

to the presents sent by Hoshea king of Israel to the South-to

Egypt, which lay south of Judea, to engage the Egyptians to

succour him against the king of Assyria?

Into the land of trouble and anguish-"Through a land of distress

and difficulty"] The same deserts are here spoken of which the

Israelites passed through when they came out of Egypt, which Moses

describes, De 8:15, as "that great and terrible wilderness

wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought; where

there was no water." And which was designed to be a kind of

barrier between them and Egypt, of which the Lord had said, "Ye

shall henceforth return no more that way," De 17:16.

Shall not profit them] A MS. adds in the margin the word

lamo, them, which seems to have been lost out of the text: it is

authorized by the Septuagint and Vulgate.

Verse 7. Their strength is to sit still-"Rahab the Inactive."]

The two last words, hem shabeth, joined into one, make the

participle pihel hammeshabbeth. I find the learned Professor

Doederlein, in his version of Isaiah, and note on this place, has

given the same conjecture; which he speaks of as having been

formerly published by him. A concurrence of different persons in

the same conjecture adds to it a greater degree of probability.

Verse 8. For ever and ever-"For a testimony for ever"] leed.

So the Syriac, Chaldee, Vulgate, and Septuagint, in MSS. Pachom.

and I. D. II. εισμαρτυριον, which two words have been lost out of

the other copies of the Septuagint.

Verse 12. In oppression-"In obliquity"] beakesh,

transposing the two last letters of beoshek, in oppression,

which seems not to belong to this place: a very probable

conjecture of Houbigant.

Verse 13. Swelling out to a high wall-"A swelling in a high

wall"] It has been observed before, that the buildings of Asia

generally consist of little better than what we call mud walls.

"All the houses at Ispahan," says Thevenot, Vol. II., p. 159, "are

built of bricks made of clay and straw, and dried in the sun; and

covered with a plaster made of a fine white stone. In other places

in Persia the houses are built with nothing else but such bricks,

made with tempered clay and chopped straw, well mingled together,

and dried in the sun, and then used: but the least rain dissolves

them." Sir John Chardin's MS. remark on this place of Isaiah is

very apposite: Murs en Asie etant faits de terre se fendent ainsi

par milieu et de haut en bas. "The walls in Asia being made of

earth often cleave from top to bottom." This shouts clearly how

obvious and expressive the image is. The psalmist has in the same

manner made use of it, to express sudden and utter destruction:-

"Ye shall be slain all of you;

Ye shall be like an inclining wall, like a shattered fence."

Ps 62:4.

Verse 14. He shall not spare-"And spareth it not"] Five MSS. add

the conjunction vau to the negative; velo.

Verse 17. At the rebuke of five shall ye flee-"At the rebuke of

five, ten thousand of you shall flee"] In the second line of this

verse a word is manifestly omitted, which should answer to one

thousand in the first: the Septuagint supply πολλοι,

rabbim. But the true word is rebabah, as I am persuaded any

one will be convinced, who will compare the following passages

with this place:-

"How should one chase a thousand;

And two put ten thousand () to flight?"

De 32:30.

"And five of you shall chase a hundred;

And a hundred of you shall chase () ten thousand."

Le 26:8.

Verse 18. And therefore will he be exalted-"Even for this shall

he expect in silence"] For yarum, he shall be exalted, which

belongs not to this place, Houbigant reads yadum, he shall be

silent: and so it seems to be in a MS. Another MS. instead of it

reads yashub, he shall return. The mistakes occasioned by the

similitude of the letters daleth and resh are very

frequent, as the reader may have already observed.

Verse 19. For the people shall dwell in Zion-"When a holy people

shall dwell in Sion"] λαοςσγιος, Septuagint; am

kadosh. The word kadosh, lost out of the text, but happily

supplied by the Septuagint, clears up the sense, otherwise

extremely obscure. When the rest of the cities of the land were

taken by the king of Assyria, Zion was preserved, and all that

were in it.

Thou shalt weep no more-"Thou shalt implore him with weeping"]

The negative particle lo is not acknowledged by the Septuagint.

It may perhaps have been written by mistake for lo, to him, of

which there are many examples.

Verse 20. Though the Lord-"Though JEHOVAH"] For Adonai,

sixteen MSS. and three editions have Yehovah, many of De

Rossi's have the same reading; all my own have Yehovah.

Verse 21. When ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to

the left-"Turn not aside, to the right or to the left."] The

Syriac, Chaldee, and Vulgate, translate as if, instead of

ki-vechi, they read lo-velo.

Verse 22. Ye shall defile-"Ye shall treat as defiled"] The very

prohibition of Moses, De 7:25, only thrown out of the prose into

the poetical form: "The graven images of their gods ye shall burn

with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or the gold that is on

them; nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein; for it

is an abomination to JEHOVAH thy God."

Verse 25. When the towers fall-"When the mighty fall."]

migdalim, μεγαλους, Sym.; μεγαλυνομενους, Aquila;

rabrebin, Chald.; all signifying mighty sizes.

Verse 26. Shall be sevenfold] The text adds keor

shibath haiyamayim, "as the light of seven days," a manifest

gloss, taken in from the margin; it is not in most of the copies

of the Septuagint. It interrupts the rhythmical construction, and

obscures the sense by a false, or at least an unnecessary,


By moon, sun, light, are to be understood the abundance of

spiritual and temporal felicity, with which God should bless them

in the days of the Messiah, which should be sevenfold, i.e. vastly

exceed all that they had ever before possessed.

Verse 27. And the burden thereof is heavy-"And the flame raged

violently"] massaah; this word seems to be rightly rendered

in our translation, the flame, Jud 20:38, 40, &c.; a sign of

fire, Jer 6:1; called properly

masseeth, an elevation, from its tending upwards.

Verse 28. To sift the nations with a sieve of vanity-"To toss

the nations with the van of perdition"] The word lahanaphah

is in its form very irregular. Kimchi says it is for

lehaniph. Houbigant supposes it to be a mistake, and shows the

cause of it; the joining it to the he, which should begin the

following word. The true reading is lehaniph haggoyim,

"to sift the nations."

The Vulgate seems to be the only one of the ancient interpreters

who has explained rightly the sense; but he has dropped the image:

ad perdendas gentes in nihilum, "to reduce the nations to

nothing." Kimchi's explanation is to the following effect: "

naphah is a van with which they winnow corn; and its use is to

cleanse the corn from the chaff and straw: but the van with which

God will winnow the nations will be the van of emptiness or

perdition; for nothing useful shall remain behind, but all shall

come to nothing, and perish. In like manner, a bridle is designed

to guide the horse in the right way; but the bridle which God will

put in the jaws of the people shall not direct them aright, but

shall make them err, and lead them into destruction." This latter

image the prophet has applied to the same subject afterwards,

Isa 37:29:-

"I will put my bridle in thy jaws,

And turn thee back by the way in which thou camest."

And as for the former it is to be observed, that the van of the

ancients was a large instrument, somewhat like a shovel, with a

long handle, with which they tossed the corn mixed with the chaff

and chopped straw into the air, that the wind might separate them.

See Hammond on Mt 3:12.

There shall be a bridle in the jaws] A metaphor taken from a

headstrong, unruly horse: the bridle checks, restrains, and

directs him. What the true God does in restraining sinners has

been also attributed to the false gods of the heathen. Thus

AEschylus, prom. Vinct. 691:-



"But the bridle of Jupiter violently constrained him to do

these things."

Verse 30. The Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard]

Kimchi understands this of the great destruction of the Assyrian

host by the angel of the Lord. Instead of bezaaph ats,

"with swift anger," five of Dr. Kennicott's MSS. and one of my

own, read bezaam aph, "with detestation indignant." For

ats, "swift," which is the common reading, forty-two of

Kennicott's, forty-three of De Rossi's, and two of my own, have

aph, "wrath or fury." The former reading, ats, is not

found in any Bible previously to that of Van der Hooght, in 1705;

and there it seems to be a typographical mistake.

Verse 31. Which smote with a rod-"He that was ready to smite

with his staff"] "Post ashshur, forte excidit

asher."-SECKER. After ashshur, probably asher,

"which," has been omitted.

Verse 32. The grounded staff-"The rod of his correction"] For

musadah, the grounded staff, of which no one yet has been

able to make any tolerable sense, Le Clerc conjectured

musarah, of correction; (see Pr 22:15;) and so it is in two

MSS., (one of them ancient,) and seems to be so in the Bodleian

MS. The Syriac has deshuebedah, virgo domans, vet

subjectionis,-"the taming rod, or rod of subjection."

With tabrets and harps] With every demonstration of joy and

thanksgiving for the destruction of the enemy in so wonderful a

manner: with hymns of praise, accompanied with musical

instruments. See Isa 30:29.

With it-"Against them."] For bah, against her, fifty-two

MSS. and five editions read bam, against them.

Verse 33. For Tophet is ordained] Tophet is a valley very near

to Jerusalem, to the southeast, called also the valley of Hinnom

or Gehenna; where the Canaanites, and afterwards the Israelites,

sacrificed their children, by making them pass through the fire,

that is, by burning them in the fire, to Molech, as some suppose.

It is therefore used for a place of punishment by fire; and by our

blessed Saviour in the Gospel for hell-fire, as the Jews

themselves had applied it. See Chald. on Isa 33:14, where

mokedey olam is rendered "the Gehenna of everlasting

fire." Here the place where the Assyrian army was destroyed is

called Tophet by a metonymy; for the Assyrian army was destroyed

probably at a greater distance from Jerusalem, and quite on the

opposite side of it: for Nob is mentioned as the last station,

from which the king of Assyria should threaten Jerusalem,

Isa 10:32, where the prophet seems to have given a very exact

chorographical description of his march in order to attack the

city; which however he never reached.-L.

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