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Sarcastic description ..
A. M. cir. 3292.
B. C. cir. 712.
B. C. cir. 712.
A. M. cir. 3292. all be gathered together, let them
and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth
Olymp. XVII. 1.
R. Roman., 4.
Numa Pompilii, 17 And the residue thereof he R. Roman., 4. maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.
12 The smith with the tongs both worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with the strength of his arms: yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth he drinketh no water, and is faint. 18 "They have not known nor understood: 13 The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he for he hath shut their eyes, that they canmarketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with not see; and their hearts, that they cannot planes, and he marketh it out with the com-understand. pass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man: that it may remain in the house.
14 He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it.
15 Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.
16 He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast,
Chap. xl. 19; xli. 6; Jer. x. 3, &c.; Wisd. xiii. 11, &c.
Olim truncus eram ficulnus, inutile lignum,
HORAT, Satyr., lib. 1. sat. viii.
19 And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire: yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?
20 He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?
21 Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed
Heb. setteth to his heart.y Chap. xlvi. 8.
Verse 12. The smith with the tongs, &c." The smith cutteth off a portion of iron"] y meatstsed, Participium Pihel of yy atsad, to cut; still used in that sense in the Arabic. See Simonis Lex. Heb. The Septuagint and Syriac take the word in this form but they render it sharpeneth the iron. See Castell. Lex. in voce.
Verse 14. He heweth him down-"He heweth
The sacred writers are generally large and eloquent upon the subject of idolatry; they treat it with great severity, and set forth the absurdity of it in the strongest light. But this passage of Isaiah, ver. 12-20, far exceeds any thing that ever was written upon the sub-down"] For lichroth, the Septuagint and Vulgate read carath or myichroth. ject, in force of argument, energy of expression, and elegance of composition. One or two of the apocry-three MSS., the Septuagint, and Vulgate add the conVerse 16. With part-" AND with part"] Twentyphal writers have attempted to imitate the prophet, but with very ill success; Wisd. xiii. 11–19; xv. 7, &c.; Baruch vi., especially the latter, who, injudiciously dilating his matter, and introducing a number of minute circumstances, has very much weakened the force and effect of his invective. On the contrary a heathen author, in the ludicrous way, has, in a line or two, given idolatry one of the severest strokes it ever
z Heb. that which comes of a tree?
Ver. 1, 2.
"Formerly I was the stump of a fig tree, a useless log; when the carpenter, after hesitating whether to make me a god or a stool, at last determined to make me a god. Thus I became a god!" From the tenth to the seventeenth verse, a most beautiful strain of irony is carried on against idolatry. either read or heard it, must have been for ever And we may naturally think that every idolater, who ashamed of his own devices.-L.
junction ↑ vau, and, hyr veal.
Verse 17. He falleth down unto it] There were four forms of adoration used among the Hebrews: 1. HISHTACHAVAH, The prostration of the whole body. 2. 77 KADAD, The bowing of the head. 3. CARA, The 'bending of the upper part of the body down to the knees. 4. 772 BARACH, Bowing the knee, or kneeling. See on chap. xlix. 23.
Verse 18. He hath shut their eyes" Their eyes are closed up"] The Septuagint, Chaldee, and Vulgate, for no tach, read no tachu. See note on chap. vi. 10. Verse 20. He feedeth on ashes] He feedeth on that which affordeth no nourishment; a proverbial expres
Expressions of the
Divine regard for Israel.
A. M. cir. 3292. thee; thou art my servant: O spreadeth abroad the earth by A. M. er. 3292.
B. C. cir. 712.
B. C. cir. 712.
Olymp. XVII. 1.
R. Roman., 4.
Olymp. XVII. 1. Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten myself:
R. Roman., 4.
22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.
24 Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that Chap. xliii. 25. Chap. xliii. 1; xlviii. 20; 1 Cor. vi. 20; 1 Pet. i. 18, 19.-e Psa. lxix. 34; xcvi. 11, 12; chap. xlii. 10; xlix. 13; Jer. li. 48; Rev. xviii. 20.- Chap. xliii. 14; Ver. 6. Chap. xliii. 1.
sion for using ineffectual means, and bestowing labour to no purpose. In the same sense Hosea says, "Ephraim feedeth on wind." Chap. xii. 1.
Verse 22. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins—“I have made thy transgressions vanish away like a cloud, and thy sins like a vapour"] Longinus admired the sublimity of the sentiment, as well as the harmony of the numbers, in the following sentence of Demosthenes: Τουτο το ψήφισμα τον τότε τη πόλει περισταντα κινδυνον παρελθειν εποίησεν ώσπερ νέφος. "This decree made the danger then hanging over the city pass away like a cloud." Probably Isaiah alludes here to the smoke rising up from the sin-offering, dispersed speedily by the wind, and rendered invisible. He who offered his sacrifice aright was as sure that the sin for which he offered it was blotted out, as that the smoke of the sacrifice was dispersed by the wind, and was no longer discernible.
Verse 24. By myself] Thirteen MSS., six ancient, confirm the reading of the Keri, meittai.
Verse 27. That saith to the deep, Be dry-"Who saith to the deep, Be thou wasted"] Cyrus took Babylon by laying the bed of the Euphrates dry, and leading his army into the city by night through the empty channel of the river. This remarkable circumstance, in which the event so exactly corresponded with the phecy, was also noted by Jeremiah, chap. 1. 38, li. 36. "A drought shall be upon her waters, and they shall be dried up
I will lay her sea dry;
And I will scorch up her springs."
25 That frustrateth the tokens
of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, 1and maketh their knowledge foolish;
26 That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the "decayed places thereof: 27 That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers:
28 That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.
Job ix. 8; Psa. civ. 2; chap. xl. 22; xlii. 5; xlv. 12; li. 13. Chap. xlvii. 13. Jer. 1. 36.- 1 Cor. i. 20.- -m Zech. i. 6. Heb. wastes. See Jer. 1. 38; li. 32, 36.- -P2 Chron. xxxvi. 22, 23; Ezra i. 1, &c. ; chap. xlv. 13.
diminish the inundation, and to carry off the waters, two canals were made by Nebuchadnezzar a hundred miles above the city; the first on the eastern side called Naharmalca, or the Royal River, by which the Euphrates was let into the Tigris; the other on the western side, called Pallacopas, or Naharaga, (DIN 17) nahar agam, The river of the pool,) by which the redundant waters were carried into a vast lake, forty miles square, contrived, not only to lessen the inundation, but for a reservoir, with shuices, to water the barren country on the Arabian side. Cyrus, by turning the whole river into the lake by the Pallacopas, laid the channel, where it ran through the city, almost dry; so that his army entered it, both above and below, by the bed of the river, the water not reaching above the middle of the thigh. By the great quantity of water let into the lake, the sluices and dams were destroyed; and being never repaired afterwards, the waters spread over the whole country below, and reduced it to a morass, in which the river is lost. Ingens modo et navigabilis, inde tenuis rivus, despectus emoritur; et nusquam manifesto exitit effluit, ut alii omnes, sed deficit. "And thus a navigable river has been totally No wonder lost, it having no exit from this morass. then that the geographical face of this country is completely changed;" MELA iii. 8; HEROD. i. 185, 190; XENOPHON, Cyrop. vii.; ARRIAN vii.
Verse 28. That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd "Who saith to Cyrus, Thou art my shepherd"] Pastor meus es; Vulg. The true reading seems to beroi attah; the word nns attah, has probably been dropped out of the text. The same word is lost out of the text, Psa. cxix. 57. It is supplied in the Septuagint by the word 8, thou art.
Saying to Jerusalem] For velemor, the Septuagint and Vulgate read I haomer.
It is proper here to give some account of the means and method by which the stratagem of Cyrus was effected.
The Euphrates, in the middle of the summer, from the melting of the snows on the mountains of Armenia, | lirushalayim, before; the preposition is necessary, and like the Nile, overflows the country. In order to the Vulgate seems to read so.-Houbigant
( 12* )
לירושלם uleheuchal, as ולהיכל [And to the temple
Cyrus and his
That saith of CYRUS, He is, or thou art, my shepherd-Saying to JERUSALEM, "Thou shalt be built;" and to the TEMPLE, "Thy foundation shall be laid."There is a remarkable beauty and propriety in this
1. Cyrus is called God's shepherd. Shepherd was an epithet which Cyrus took to himself; and what he gave to all good kings.
Prophecy concerning Cyrus, the first king of the Persians. Every obstruction shall be removed out of his way, and the treasures taken from his enemies shall be immense, 1–3. To whom, and on what account, Cyrus was indebted for his wonderful success, 4–6. The prophet refutes the absurd opinion of the Persians, that there were two supreme beings, an evil and a good one, represented by light and darkness, herë declared to be only the operation of the ONE true God, 7; and makes a transition to the still greater work of God displayed in the dispensation of the Gospel, 8. Great impiety of those who call in question the mysterious providence of God towards his children, 9-12. The remaining part of this chapter, interspersed with strictures on the absurdity of idolatry and some allusions to the dark lying oracles of the heathens, may partly refer to the deliverance begun by Cyrus, but chiefly to the salvation by the Messiah, which, it is declared, shall be of universal extent and everlasting duration, 13-25.
A. M. cir. 3292.
THUS saith the LORD to his 2 I will go before thee, and anointed, to Cyrus, whose make the crooked places Numa Pompilii, a right hand I have holden to straight: I will break in pieces R. Roman., 4. subdue nations before him; and the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:
I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
2. This Cyrus should say to the temple: "Thy foundation shall be laid." Not-thou shalt be built. The fact is, only the foundation was laid in the days of Cyrus, the Ammonites having prevented the building; nor was it resumed till the second year of Darius, one of his successors. There is often a precision in the expressions of the prophets which is as honourable to truth, as it is unnoticed by careless readers.
Chap. xli. 13.-Or, strengthened.- -c Chap. xli. 2; Dan. v. 30.
To open before him the two leaved gates, &c.— "That I may open before him the valves; and the gates shall not be shut"] The gates of Babylon within the city leading from the streets to the river, were providentially left open, when Cyrus's forces entered the city in the night through the channel of the river, in the general disorder occasioned by the great feast which was then celebrated; otherwise, says Herodotus, i. 191, the Persians would have been shut up in the bed of the river, and taken as in a net, and all destroyed. And the gates of the palace were opened imprudently by the king's orders, to inquire what was the cause of the tumult without; when the two parties under Gobrias and Gadatas rushed in, gót possession of the palace, and slew the king.-XENOPH., Cyrop. vii., p. 528.
3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, 'that
d Chap. xl. 4 - Psa. cvii. 16- Chap. xli. 23.
NOTES ON CHAP. XLV.
Verse 2. The crooked places-"The mountains"] Verse 1. Loose the loins of kings-"Ungird the For hadurim, crooked places, a word not easily loins of kings"] See the note on chap. v. 27. Xeno- accounted for in this place, the Septuagint read phon gives the following list of the nations conquered hararim, ta opn, the mountains. Two MSS. have by Cyrus: the Syrians, Assyrians, Arabians, Cappahadarim, without the vau, which is hardly docians, both the Phrygians, Lydians, Carians, Pho- distinguishable from the reading of the Septuagint. nicians, Babylonians. He moreover reigned over the The Divine protection that attended Cyrus, and renBactrians, Indians, Cilicians, the Sacæ, Paphlagones, | dered his expedition against Babylon easy and prosand Mariandyni.-Cyrop., lib. i. p. 4, Edit. Hutchin-perous, is finely expressed by God's going before him, son, Quarto. All these kingdoms he acknowledges, in and making the mountains level. The image is highly his decree for the restoration of the Jews, to have poetical:been given to him by JEHOVAH, the God of heaven. Ezra i. 2.
At vos, qua veniet, tumidi subsidite montes,
OVID, Amor. ii. 16. "Let the lofty mountains fall down, and make level paths in the crooked valleys."
The gates of brass-" The valves of brass"] Abydenus, apud, Euseb. Præp. Evang. ix. 41, says, that the wall of Babylon had brazen gates. And Herodotus, i, 179, more particularly: "In the wall all round there are a hundred gates, all of brass; and so in like manner are the sides and the lintels." The gates likewise within the city, opening to the river from the several streets, were of brass; as were those also of the temple of Belus.-Herod. i., 180, 181.
Verse 3. I will give thee the treasures of darkness] Sardes and Babylon, when taken by Cyrus, were the wealthiest cities in the world. Croesus, celebrated
Cyrus and his
A. M. cir. 3292. thou mayest know that I, the though thou hast not known A. M. cir. 3292.
B. C. cir. 712.
B. C. cir. 712. Olymp. XVII. t.
R. Roman., 4
Olymp. XVII. 1. LORD, which call thee by thy me:
Numa Pompili, name, am the God of Israel.
R. Roman., 4. 4 For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.
5 I am the LORD, and 1there is none else, there is no God beside me: m I girded thee,
Exod. xxxiii. 12, 17; chap. xliii. I; xlix. 1.- Chap. xliv. 1. il Thess. iv. 5. Deut. iv. 35, 39; xxxii. 39; chap xliv. 8;
beyond all the kings of that age for his riches, gave up his treasures to Cyrus, with an exact account in writing of the whole, containing the particulars with which each wagon was loaded when they were carried away; and they were delivered to Cyrus at the palace of Babylon.-Xenoph. Cyrop. lib. vii. p. 503,515,540.. Pliny gives the following account of the wealth taken by Cyrus in Asia. Jam Cyrus, devicta Asia, pondo xxxiv. millia auri invenerat; præter vasa aurea, aurumque factum, et in eo folia, ac platanum, vitemque. Qua victoria argenti quingenta millia talentorum reportavit; et craterem Semiramidis, cujus pondus quindecim talents colligebat. Talentum autem Ægyptium pondo lxxx. patere 1. capere Varro tradit.Nat. Hist. xxxiii. 15. "When Cyrus conquered Asia, he found thirty-four thousand pounds weight of gold, besides golden vessels and articles in gold; and leaves, (folia, perhaps solia, bathing vessels, Hol.,) a plane, and vine tree, (of gold.) By which victory he carried away fifty thousand talents of silver; and the cup of Semiramis, the weight of which was fifteen talents. The Egyptian talent, according to Varro, was eighty pounds." This cup was the crater, or large vessel, out of which they filled the drinking cups at great entertainments. Evidently it could not be a drinking vessel, which, according to what Varro and Pliny say, must have weighed 1,200 pounds!
The gold and silver estimated by weight in this account, being converted into pounds sterling, amount to one hundred and twenty-six millions two hundred and twenty-four thousand pounds.—Brerewood, De deribus, cap. x.
Treasures of darkness may refer to the custom of burying their jewels and money under the ground in their house floors, fearing robbers.
6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Verse 7. I form the light, and create darkness] It was the great principle of the Magian religion, which prevailed in Persia in the time of Cyrus, and in which probably he was educated, that there are two supreme, co-eternal, and independent causes always acting in opposition one to the other; one the author of all good, the other of all evil. The good being they called LIGHT; the evil being, DARKNESS. That when LIGHT had the ascendant, then good and happiness prevailed among men; when DARKNESS had the superiority, then evil and misery abounded. An opinion that contradicts the clearest evidence of our reason, which plainly leads us to the acknowledgment of one only Supreme Being, infinitely good as well as powerful. With reference to this absurd opinion, held by the person to
"I am JEHOVAH, and none else;
I JEHOVAH am the author of all these things." Declaring that those powers whom the Persians held to be the original authors of good and evil to mankind, representing them by light and darkness, as their proper emblems, are no other than creatures of God, the instru ments which he employs in his government of the world, ordained or permitted by him in order to execute his wise and just decrees; and that there is no power, either of good or evil, independent of the one supreme God, infinite in power and in goodness.
There were, however, some among the Persians whose sentiments were more moderate as to this matter; who held the evil principle to be in some measure subordinate to the good; and that the former would at length be wholly subdued by the latter. See Hyde, De Relig. Vet. Pers. cap. xxii.
That this opinion prevailed among the Persians as early as the time of Cyrus we may, I think, infer not only from this passage of Isaiah, which has a manifest reference to it, but likewise from a passage in Xenophon's. Cyropædia, where the same doctrine is applied to the human mind. Araspes, a noble young Persian, had fallen in love with the fair captive Panthea, comPon-mitted to his charge by Cyrus. After all his boasting that he was superior to the assaults of that passion, he yielded so far to it as even to threaten violence if she would not comply with his desires. Awed by the reproof of Cyrus, fearing his displeasure, and having by cool reflection recovered his reason; in his discourse with him on this subject he says: "O Cyrus, I have certainly two souls; and this piece of philosophy I have learned from that wicked sophist, Love. For if I had but one soul, it would not be at the same time good and evil; it would not at the same time approve of honourable and base actions; and at once desire to do, and refuse to do, the very same things. But it is plain that I am animated by two souls; and when the good soul prevails, I do what is virtuous; and when the evil one prevails, I attempt what is vicious. But now the good soul prevails, having gotten you for her assistant, and has clearly gained the superiority." Lib. vi. P. 424.
I make peace, and create evil] Evil is here evidently
God is the universal Ruler,
A. M. cir. 3292.
8 P Drop down, ye heavens, | What begettest thou? or to the Olymp. XVII. 1. from above, and let the skies woman, What hast thou brought Numa Pompilii, pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it.
R. Roman., 4.
put for war and its attendant miseries.
Verse 8. Drop down, ye heavens] The eighty-fifth
And shall direct his footsteps in the way.
See the notes on these verses.
These images of the dew and the rain descending from heaven and making the earth fruitful, employed by the prophet, and some of those nearly of the same kind which are used by the psalmist, may perhaps be primarily understood as designed to set forth in a splendid manner the happy state of God's people restored to their country, and flourishing in peace and plenty, in piety and virtue; but justice and salvation, mercy and truth, righteousness and peace, and glory dwelling in the land, cannot with any sort of propriety, in the one or the other, be interpreted as the consequences of that event; they must mean the blessings of the great redemption by Messiah.
12 "I have made the earth, and created man
and upholds all things.
A. M. cir. 3292
B. C. cir. 712.
-Verse 9. Wo unto him that striveth with his Makér "Wo unto him that contendeth with the power that formed him"] The prophet answers or prevents the objections and cavils of the unbelieving Jews, disposed to murmur against God, and to arraign the wisdom and justice of his dispensations in regard to them; in per mitting them to be oppressed by their enemies, and in promising them deliverance instead of preventing their captivity. St. Paul has borrowed the image, and has applied it to the like purpose with equal force and elegance: "Nay, but, O man! who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, out of the same lump to make one vessel to honour, and another to dishonour?" Rom. ix. 20, 21. This is spoken, says Kimchi, against the king of Babylon, who insulted the Most High, bringing forth the sacred vessels, drinking out of them, and magnifying himself against God.
Or thy work, He hath no hands-" And to the workman, Thou hast no hands"] The Syriac renders, as if
-velo hayithi pheal yadey ולא היתי פעל ידיך,he had read
cha, "neither am I the work of thy hands;" the Septua-
and thou hast no hands." But the fault seems to be in
the transposition of the two pronouns; for
Verse 11. Ask me of things to come" And he that formeth the things which are to come"] I read " veotser, without the vau suffixed; from the Septua gint, who join it in construction with the following word, ποιησας τα επερχόμενα.
Let the earth open, &c.] Jonathan, in his Targum, refers this to the resurrection of the dead; the earth shall be opened, ' ¡n" vèyechon meiteiya, and the "Do ye question me."- tishaluni, Chald. dead shall revive. A plain proof that the ancient Jews recte; præcedit tau; et sic forte legerunt reliqui believed in a future state, and acknowledged the resur-Intt.-Secker. "The Chaldee has, more properly, rection of the dead.
Let them bring forth salvation—“Let salvation produce her fruit"] For 175" vaiyiphru, the Septuagint, Vulgate, and Syriac read " vaiyiphrah; and one MS. has a rasure close after the latter 1 vau, which probably was n he at first,
Jibson tishaluni, with a tau preceding; and thus
"Thus saith Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel;