Isaiah 17

* Syria and Israel threatened. (1-11) The woe of Israel's

enemies. (12-14)

1-11 Sin desolates cities. It is strange that great conquerors

should take pride in being enemies to mankind; but it is better

that flocks should lie down there, than that they should harbour

any in open rebellion against God and holiness. The strong holds

of Israel, the kingdom of the ten tribes, will be brought to

ruin. Those who are partakers in sin, are justly made partakers

in ruin. The people had, by sins, made themselves ripe for ruin;

and their glory was as quickly cut down and taken away by the

enemy, as the corn is out of the field by the husbandman. Mercy

is reserved in the midst of judgment, for a remnant. But very

few shall be marked to be saved. Only here and there one was

left behind. But they shall be a remnant made holy. The few that

are saved were awakened to return to God. They shall acknowledge

his hand in all events; they shall give him the glory due to his

name. To bring us to this, is the design of his providence, as

he is our Maker; and the work of his grace, as he is the Holy

One of Israel. They shall look off from their idols, the

creatures of their own fancy. We have reason to account those

afflictions happy, which part between us and our sins. The God

of our salvation is the Rock of our strength; and our

forgetfulness and unmindfulness of him are at the bottom of all

sin. The pleasant plants, and shoots from a foreign soil, are

expressions for strange and idolatrous worship, and the vile

practices connected therewith. Diligence would be used to

promote the growth of these strange slips, but all in vain. See

the evil and danger of sin, and its certain consequences.
12-14 The rage and force of the Assyrians resembled the mighty

waters of the sea; but when the God of Israel should rebuke

them, they would flee like chaff, or like a rolling thing,

before the whirlwind. In the evening Jerusalem would be in

trouble, because of the powerful invader, but before morning his

army would be nearly cut off. Happy are those who remember God

as their salvation, and rely on his power and grace. The trouble

of the believers, and the prosperity of their enemies, will be

equally short; while the joy of the former, and the destruction

of those that hate and spoil them, shall last for ever.

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