The LORD will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since the day Ephraim separated from Judah--He will bring the king of Assyria."
From this application of Ahaz to Tiglath-Pileser was to date the transition of Judah "to a servile state from which it was never permanently freed, the domination of Assyria being soon succeeded by that of Egypt, and this by that of Babylon, Persia, Syria, and Rome, the last ending only in the downfall of the State, and that general dispersion which continues to this day. The revolt of Hezekiah, and even longer intervals of liberty in later times, are mere interruptions of the customary and prevailing bondage."
The reference of these verses is clearly national; nevertheless they may be pointed so as to bear upon individual men; for we may be sure that it is on the same principles on which God governs communities that he rules the heart and life of each one of his subjects. We gather concerning Divine retribution -
I. THAT IT MAY BE WROUGHT BY VARIOUS INSTRUMENTALITIES.
1. Sometimes by unconscious instruments.
(1) It may be, as here, by men acting blindly. Egypt and Assyria would be wholly unaware that they were employed by God to do his punitive work. It often happens that men suppose themselves to be simply seeking their own ends when they are really fulfilling the purpose of the Most High.
(2) Or it more frequently is by the regular action of physical or social laws.
2. Sometimes by conscious agents. As when the parent utters his strong displeasure in the Name of the heavenly Father, or the Church passes its sentence of reproach or exclusion in the Name of the Divine Master.
II. THAT IT MAY TAKE ONE OR MORE OF VARIOUS FORMS. Retribution may assume the form of:
1. Diminution. (Vers. 21-23.) All diminution is not directly caused by sin, but sin always tends to despoil and to diminish. The result of doing wrong is to come down from the higher estate to the lower, from power to feebleness, from eminence to obscurity, from influence to nothingness.
2. Dishonor. "It shall also consume the beard" (ver. 20). When men have long persisted in folly and in transgression they become the mark of general dishonor. From qualified respect down, through all stages of ill opinion, to absolute aversion and contempt, does sin conduct its victims. Sin may start in lofty defiance, but it ends in lowest shame.
3. Degradation. (Vers. 24, 25.) The country that was once cultivated by the hand of skilful diligence is left to yield the wretched and useless crop of "briers and thorns." The mind that once produced noble thoughts now yields guilty imaginations; the heart that was once full of holy love is now crowded with unworthy passions; the spirit that once soared heavenward with lofty hopes now circles round ignoble aims and ambitions that are of earth and sense; the life which once brought forth all honorable and admirable activities has nothing to offer now but selfish schemes or even deeds of darkness. - C.
The Lord shall bring upon thee...even the king of Assyria.
The calling in of Assur laid the foundation for the overthrow of the kingdom of Judah not less than for that of the kingdom of Israel Ahaz thereby became a tributary vassal of the Assyrian king, and although Hezekiah again became free from Assyria through the miraculous help of Jehovah, nevertheless what Nebuchadnezzar did was only the accomplishment of the frustrated undertaking of Sennacherib.
If Isaiah here, in chaps, 7-12, looks upon Assyria absolutely as the universal empire (2 Kings 23:29
; Ezra 6:22
), this is so far true, seeing that the four empires from the Babylonian to the Roman are really only the unfolding of the beginning which had its beginning in Assyria. And if, here in chap. 7, he thinks of the son of the virgin as growing up under the Assyrian oppressions, this is also so far true, since Jesus was actually born in a time in which the Holy Land, deprived of its earliest fulness of blessing, found itself under the supremacy of the universal empire, and in a condition which went back to the unbelief of Ahaz as its ultimate cause. Besides He, who in the fulness of time became flesh, does truly lead an ideal life in the Old Testament history. The fact that the house and people of David did not perish in the Assyrian calamities is really, as chap. 8 presupposes, to be ascribed to His presence, which, although not yet in bodily form, was nevertheless active. Thus is solved the contradiction between the prophecy and the history of its fulfilment.
()God makes what was announced by prophecy separate itself in reality into different stages.
()Prophecy never seems to forsake the ground of history. However extended the vista which stretches before him, that vista begins at the prophet's feet.
()Bees and swarms of flies are used as a Homeric image for swarms of peoples (Il. 2:87). Here the images are likewise emblematic. The Egyptian people, being unusually numerous, is compared to the swarming fly; and the Assyrian people, being warlike and eager for conquest, is compared to the stinging bee, which is so difficult to turn sway (Deuteronomy 1:44; Psalm 118:12). The emblems also correspond to the nature of the two countries; the fly to slimy Egypt, which, from being such, abounds in insects (chap. 18:1), and the bee to the more mountainous and woody Assyria, where bee-culture still constitutes one of the principal branches of trade in the present day.
()To hiss for them, is to call or summon them, derived from the practice of the bee keepers, who, with a whistle, summoned them from the hives to the open fields, and, by the same means, conducted them home again We are assured by St. Cyril that [the practice] subsisted in Asia down to the fourth and fifth centuries.
()I. GOD IS SOVEREIGN IN THE WHOLE EARTH. All governments are but instruments which He uses when and as He pleases (vers. 17-21). A thought full of comfort for the righteous, of horror for the unrighteous.
II. THE CONSEQUENT INSECURITY OF ALL PROSPERITY THAT IS NOT BASED UPON, AND PROMOTIVE OF, RIGHTEOUSNESS (ver. 23). Britain will be "Great Britain" only so long as God pleases.
III. WHATEVER CHASTISEMENTS GOD MAY HAVE INFLICTED, HE HAS ALWAYS A MORE TERRIBLE ONE BEHIND (ver. 17).
IV. Seeing that all these things were threatened against and inflicted upon God's chosen people, learn that NO MERCY THAT GOD HAS SHOWN US WILL FURNISH ANY IMMUNITY FOR US, IF NOTWITHSTANDING THAT MERCY, WE SIN AGAINST HIM. There is a tendency in our evil hearts to think that because God has been specially good to us, we may sin with less risk than others; but the teaching of the Bible is, that those who "turn the grace of God into lasciviousness" shall be visited with a sorer doom than others.
PeopleAhaz, Aram, David, Immanuel, Isaiah, Jashub, Jotham, Pekah, Remaliah, Rezin, Shearjashub, Tabeal, Tabeel, Uzziah
PlacesAssyria, Damascus, Egypt, Euphrates River, Jerusalem, Samaria, Syria, Washer's Field
TopicsAside, Asshur, Assyria, Bring, Bringeth, Broke, Departed, Ephraim, E'phraim, Father's, Judah, Judah-'even, Separated, Separating, Trouble, Turning, Unlike
Outline1. Ahaz, being troubled with fear of Rezin and Pekah, is comforted by Isaiah
10. Ahaz, having liberty to choose a sign, and refusing it, has for a sign, Christ promised
17. His judgment is prophesied to come by Assyria
Dictionary of Bible ThemesIsaiah 7:17
6641 election, responsibilities
1431 prophecy, OT methods
1450 signs, kinds of
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name IMMANUEL , God with us. T here is a signature of wisdom and power impressed upon the works of God, which evidently distinguishes them from the feeble imitations of men. Not only the splendour of the sun, but the glimmering light of the glow-worm proclaims His glory. The structure and growth of a blade of grass, are the effects of the same power which produced the fabric of the heavens and the earth. In His Word likewise He is …
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1
Honour and Glory unto Him.
IN Revelation V, that great worship scene, beginning some day in heaven and going on into future ages, we read of the Lamb to whom honor and glory are due. He alone is worthy. And every heart who knows Him rejoicing in His love, cries out, "Thou art worthy!" Yea, the sweetest song for the redeemed soul is the outburst of praise, which we find on the threshold of His own Revelation. "Unto Him that loveth us and washed us from our sins in His own blood and hath made us kings and priests unto God and …
Arno Gaebelein—The Lord of Glory
Estimate of St. Augustin.
Augustin, the man with upturned eye, with pen in the left hand, and a burning heart in the right (as he is usually represented), is a philosophical and theological genius of the first order, towering like a pyramid above his age, and looking down commandingly upon succeeding centuries. He had a mind uncommonly fertile and deep, bold and soaring; and with it, what is better, a heart full of Christian love and humility. He stands of right by the side of the greatest philosophers of antiquity and of …
St. Augustine—The Confessions and Letters of St
On Turning the First Page of the Review which Follows...
On turning the first page of the review which follows, follows, "by Rowland Williams, D.D. Vice-Principal and Professor of Hebrew, St. David's College, Lampeter; Vicar of Broad Chalke, Wilts,"--we are made sensible that we are in company of a writer considerably in advance of Dr. Temple, though altogether of the same school. In fact, if Dr. Williams had not been Vice-Principal of a Theological College, and a Doctor of Divinity, one would have supposed him to be a complete infidel,--who found it convenient …
John William Burgon—Inspiration and Interpretation
Gihon, the Same with the Fountain of Siloam.
I. In 1 Kings 1:33,38, that which is, in the Hebrew, "Bring ye Solomon to Gihon: and they brought him to Gihon"; is rendered by the Chaldee, "Bring ye him to Siloam: and they brought him to Siloam." Where Kimchi thus; "Gihon is Siloam, and it is called by a double name. And David commanded, that they should anoint Solomon at Gihon for a good omen, to wit, that, as the waters of the fountain are everlasting, so might his kingdom be." So also the Jerusalem writers; "They do not anoint the king, but …
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica
Letter vi (Circa A. D. 1127) to the Same
To the Same He protests against the reputation for holiness which is attributed to him, and promises to communicate the treatises which he has written. I. Even if I should give myself to you entirely that would be too little a thing still in my eyes, to have recompensed towards you even the half of the kindly feeling which you express towards my humility. I congratulate myself, indeed, on the honour which you have done me; but my joy, I confess, is tempered by the thought that it is not anything …
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux
The Debt of Irenæus to Justin Martyr
If we are to proceed with safety in forming a judgment as to the relation between Justin and Irenæus in respect of the matter which they have in common, it will be necessary not merely to consider a number of selected parallels, but also to examine the treatment of a particular theme in the two writers. Let us set side by side, for example, c. 32 of Justin's First Apology with c. 57 of the Demonstration. Justin has been explaining to his Roman readers who the Jewish prophets were, and then …
Irenæus—The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching
Bunsen's Biblical Researches.
When geologists began to ask whether changes in the earth's structure might be explained by causes still in operation, they did not disprove the possibility of great convulsions, but they lessened necessity for imagining them. So, if a theologian has his eyes opened to the Divine energy as continuous and omnipresent, he lessens the sharp contrast of epochs in Revelation, but need not assume that the stream has never varied in its flow. Devotion raises time present into the sacredness of the past; …
Frederick Temple—Essays and Reviews: The Education of the World
Jewish views on Trade, Tradesmen, and Trades' Guilds
We read in the Mishnah (Kidd. iv. 14) as follows: "Rabbi Meir said: Let a man always teach his son a cleanly and a light trade; and let him pray to Him whose are wealth and riches; for there is no trade which has not both poverty and riches, and neither does poverty come from the trade nor yet riches, but everything according to one's deserving (merit). Rabbi Simeon, the son of Eleazer, said: Hast thou all thy life long seen a beast or a bird which has a trade? Still they are nourished, and that …
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life
Redemption for Man Lost to be Sought in Christ.
1. The knowledge of God the Creator of no avail without faith in Christ the Redeemer. First reason. Second reason strengthened by the testimony of an Apostle. Conclusion. This doctrine entertained by the children of God in all ages from the beginning of the world. Error of throwing open heaven to the heathen, who know nothing of Christ. The pretexts for this refuted by passages of Scripture. 2. God never was propitious to the ancient Israelites without Christ the Mediator. First reason founded on …
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Q-II: WHAT RULE HAS GOD GIVEN TO DIRECT US HOW WE MAY GLORIFY AND ENJOY HIM? A: The Word of God, which is contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him. 2 Tim 3:16. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,' By Scripture is understood the sacred Book of God. It is given by divine inspiration; that is, the Scripture is not the contrivance of man's brain, but is divine in its origin. The image of Diana was had in veneration …
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity
The Mercy of God
The next attribute is God's goodness or mercy. Mercy is the result and effect of God's goodness. Psa 33:5. So then this is the next attribute, God's goodness or mercy. The most learned of the heathens thought they gave their god Jupiter two golden characters when they styled him good and great. Both these meet in God, goodness and greatness, majesty and mercy. God is essentially good in himself and relatively good to us. They are both put together in Psa 119:98. Thou art good, and doest good.' This …
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity
The Plan for the Coming of Jesus.
God's Darling, Psalms 8:5-8.--the plan for the new man--the Hebrew picture by itself--difference between God's plan and actual events--one purpose through breaking plans--the original plan--a starting point--getting inside. Fastening a Tether inside: the longest way around--the pedigree--the start. First Touches on the Canvas: the first touch, Genesis 3:15.--three groups of prediction--first group: to Abraham, Genesis 12:1-3; to Isaac, Genesis 26:1-5; to Jacob, Genesis 28:10-15; through Jacob, …
S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks about Jesus
LESSON I. 1. In what state was the Earth when first created? 2. To what trial was man subjected? 3. What punishment did the Fall bring on man? 4. How alone could his guilt be atoned for? A. By his punishment being borne by one who was innocent. 5. What was the first promise that there should be such an atonement?--Gen. iii. 15. 6. What were the sacrifices to foreshow? 7. Why was Abel's offering the more acceptable? 8. From which son of Adam was the Seed of the woman to spring? 9. How did Seth's …
Charlotte Mary Yonge—The Chosen People
Commencement of the Legends Concerning Jesus --His Own Idea of his Supernatural Character.
Jesus returned to Galilee, having completely lost his Jewish faith, and filled with revolutionary ardor. His ideas are now expressed with perfect clearness. The innocent aphorisms of the first part of his prophetic career, in part borrowed from the Jewish rabbis anterior to him, and the beautiful moral precepts of his second period, are exchanged for a decided policy. The Law would be abolished; and it was to be abolished by him. The Messiah had come, and he was the Messiah. The kingdom of God …
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus
Of Faith. The Definition of It. Its Peculiar Properties.
1. A brief recapitulation of the leading points of the whole discussion. The scope of this chapter. The necessity of the doctrine of faith. This doctrine obscured by the Schoolmen, who make God the object of faith, without referring to Christ. The Schoolmen refuted by various passages. 2. The dogma of implicit faith refuted. It destroys faith, which consists in a knowledge of the divine will. What this will is, and how necessary the knowledge of it. 3. Many things are and will continue to be implicitly …
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Jesus Makes his First Disciples.
(Bethany Beyond Jordan, Spring a.d. 27.) ^D John I. 35-51. ^d 35 Again on the morrow [John's direct testimony bore fruit on the second day] John was standing, and two of his disciples [An audience of two. A small field; but a large harvest]; 36 and he looked [Gazed intently. The word is used at Mark xiv. 67; Luke xxii. 61 Mark x. 21, 27. John looked searchingly at that face, which, so far as any record shows, he was never to see on earth again. The more intently we look upon Jesus, the more powerfully …
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel
The Upbringing of Jewish Children
The tenderness of the bond which united Jewish parents to their children appears even in the multiplicity and pictorialness of the expressions by which the various stages of child-life are designated in the Hebrew. Besides such general words as "ben" and "bath"--"son" and "daughter"--we find no fewer than nine different terms, each depicting a fresh stage of life. The first of these simply designates the babe as the newly--"born"--the "jeled," or, in the feminine, "jaldah"--as in Exodus 2:3, 6, 8. …
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life
CHAPTERS I-XXXIX Isaiah is the most regal of the prophets. His words and thoughts are those of a man whose eyes had seen the King, vi. 5. The times in which he lived were big with political problems, which he met as a statesman who saw the large meaning of events, and as a prophet who read a divine purpose in history. Unlike his younger contemporary Micah, he was, in all probability, an aristocrat; and during his long ministry (740-701 B.C., possibly, but not probably later) he bore testimony, as …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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