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Isaiah’s Son a Sign of the Assyrian Invasion


Then the L ord said to me, Take a large tablet and write on it in common characters, “Belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz,” 2and have it attested for me by reliable witnesses, the priest Uriah and Zechariah son of Jeberechiah. 3And I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the L ord said to me, Name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz; 4for before the child knows how to call “My father” or “My mother,” the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away by the king of Assyria.

5 The L ord spoke to me again: 6Because this people has refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently, and melt in fear before Rezin and the son of Remaliah; 7therefore, the Lord is bringing up against it the mighty flood waters of the River, the king of Assyria and all his glory; it will rise above all its channels and overflow all its banks; 8it will sweep on into Judah as a flood, and, pouring over, it will reach up to the neck; and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.



Band together, you peoples, and be dismayed;

listen, all you far countries;

gird yourselves and be dismayed;

gird yourselves and be dismayed!


Take counsel together, but it shall be brought to naught;

speak a word, but it will not stand,

for God is with us.

11 For the L ord spoke thus to me while his hand was strong upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: 12Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what it fears, or be in dread. 13But the L ord of hosts, him you shall regard as holy; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14He will become a sanctuary, a stone one strikes against; for both houses of Israel he will become a rock one stumbles over—a trap and a snare for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15And many among them shall stumble; they shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.

Disciples of Isaiah

16 Bind up the testimony, seal the teaching among my disciples. 17I will wait for the L ord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. 18See, I and the children whom the L ord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the L ord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. 19Now if people say to you, “Consult the ghosts and the familiar spirits that chirp and mutter; should not a people consult their gods, the dead on behalf of the living, 20for teaching and for instruction?” surely, those who speak like this will have no dawn! 21They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry; when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will curse their king and their gods. They will turn their faces upward, 22or they will look to the earth, but will see only distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be thrust into thick darkness.

21. Then they shall pass through that land. Not to permit believers to be ensnared by the common errors, he adds how dreadful is the punishment which awaits the ungodly when they have revolted from God, and have labored to induce others to join in the same revolt. The passage is somewhat obscure; but the obscurity arises from the want of proper attention in examining the words. The verb עבר (gnabar) is emphatic; for by passing through he means that uncertainty in which men wander up and down, and are not able to find a resting-place, or any permanent abode. To the indefinite verb we must supply a noun, The Jews shall pass. By the pronoun בה, (bahh,) in it, 136136     Through it. — Eng. Ver. he means Judea, which the Lord had preferred to all other countries; and therefore it is easily understood, though the Prophet does not express it. As if he had said, “I promised indeed that that country would be the perpetual inheritance of my people, (Genesis 13:15; 17:8;) but they shall lead a wandering and restless life, as is the case with those who, driven from their habitations, and afflicted with hunger and pestilence and every kind of calamities, seek, but nowhere find, a better condition and abode.” These words are therefore contrasted with the extraordinary kindness of God, which is so frequently mentioned by Moses, namely, that they will have a fixed residence in Judea; for here he threatens that they will be stragglers and wanderers, not in their own, but in a foreign country; so that, wherever they come, they will be attacked and hunted down by innumerable vexations.

When they shall be hungry. The Prophet appears to point out the conversion of the Jews, as if he had said, “When they have been weighed down by afflictions they will at length repent;” and undoubtedly this is the remedy by which the Lord generally cures the disease of obstinacy. Yet if any one suppose that the word hunger describes the indignation and roaring of the wicked without repentance, it may be stated that it includes not only hunger and thirst, but, by a figure of speech in which a part is taken for the whole, (συνεκδοχικῶς,) every other kind of calamity.

They shall fret themselves. 137137     Not satisfied with the Latin word irritentur for conveying the import of the Hebrew התקצף, (hithkatzeph,) Calvin illustrates it by a phrase taken from his own vernacular, Ils se despiteront, which means, they will fume, or chafe, or burst into furious passion. — Ed They will begin to be displeased with themselves, and to loathe all the supports on which they had formerly relied; and this is the beginning of repentance; for in prosperity we flatter ourselves, but in sore adversity we loathe everything that is around us. But if it be thought preferable to refer it to the reprobate, this word denotes the bitterness, which is so far from leading them to humility that it rather aggravates their rage.

And curse their king and their God. By King some suppose that he means God. In this sense Zephaniah used the word מלכם (malcham), that is, their King. (Zephaniah 1:5.) But here I draw a distinction between King and God; for wicked men are first blinded by a false confidence in idols, and afterwards they place their defense in earthly things. When the Jews had a king, they were proud of his glory and power; and when Isaiah preached, wicked men enraged the king against him, and even aroused the whole of the nation to follow the king as their standard-bearer. Since, therefore, their false boasting had been partly in the idols and partly in the king, he threatens that they will be afflicted with so many calamities, that they will be constrained to abhor both their gods and the king. And this is the beginning of repentance, to loathe and drive far from us everything that kept us back or led us away from God.

And look upward. He describes the trembling and agitation of mind by which wretched men are tormented until they have learned steadfastly to look up. There is, indeed, some proficiency, as I lately hinted, when, in consequence of having been taught by afflictions and chastisements, we throw away our indifference and endeavor to find out remedies. But we must advance farther. Fixing our eye on God alone we must not gaze on all sides, or through fickleness be tossed to and fro. (Ephesians 4:14.) However that may be, Isaiah threatens the utter destruction of the Jews; for so thoroughly were they hardened, that their rebellion could not be subdued by a light and moderate chastisement from the hand of God. Yet it might be taken in a good sense, that the Jews will at length raise their eyes to heaven; but in that case we must read separately what follows: —

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