An Interpretation of the English Bible THE PROPHETS OF THE ASSYRIAN PERIOD by B. H. CARROLL

An Interpretation of the English Bible


Late President of Southwestern Baptist
Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas

Edited and compiled by
W. Crowder

Grand Rapids, Michigan

New and complete edition
Copyright 1948, Broadman Press
Reprinted by Baker Book House
with permission of
Broadman Press

ISBN: 0_8010_2344_f)

First Printing, September 1973
Second Printing, September 1976

1 976


I. Introduction – The Prophets in General 1
II. The Book of Obadiah 11
III. The Book of Joel 17
IV. The Book of Jonah 24
V. The Book of Amos – Part 1 35
VI. The Book of Amos – Part 2 42
VII. The Book of Hosea – Part 1 50
VIII. The Book of Hosea – Part 2 61
IX. The Book of Isaiah – Part 1 73
X. The Book of Isaiah – Part 2 84
XI. The Book of Isaiah – Part 3 94
XII. The Book of Isaiah – Part 4 106
XIII. The Book of Isaiah – Part 5 116
XIV. The Book of Isaiah – Part 6 129
XV. The Book of Isaiah – Part 7 143
XVI. The Book of Isaiah – Part 8 153
XVII. The Book of Isaiah – Part 9 169
XVIII. The Book of Isaiah – Part 10 179
XIX. The Book of Isaiah – Part 11 188
XX. The Book of Isaiah – Part 12 199
XXI. The Book of Isaiah – Part 13 210
XXII. The Book of Isaiah – Part 14 221
XXIII. The Book of Isaiah – Part 15 235
XXIV. The Book of Isaiah – Part 16 243
XXV. The Book of Isaiah – Part 17 251
XXVI. The Book of Isaiah – Part 18 259
XXVII. The Gospel of Christ in Isaiah 269
XXVIII. The Book of Micah – Part 1 277
XXIX. The Book of Micah – Part 2 289
XXX. The Book of Nahum 304


We now take up a new section of the Old Testament which,
according to Hebrew classification of the books, is called the
Later Prophets.
The literature on this section is abundant but largely radical
in its nature. Therefore it is most difficult to find books on this
section which we can commend to an English Bible student.
Generally speaking, the old commentaries are safe but the
student may read most of the modern books on the prophets
with discrimination.
For the background there are two books which should be
studied carefully. First, Wood’s Hebrew Monarchy, which is
the best of its kind, since it not only gives a fine harmony of
Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, but also inserts the pertinent
passages from the Psalms and the prophets in their chronologi_
cal order. Second, Crockett’s Harmony of Samuel, Kings, and
Chronicles, which is much more convenient than Wood’s He_
brew Monarchy, because of its size. This we use as a textbook
in our studies of the Hebrew monarchy and the divided king_
dom. In most instances the author accepts the chronology of
this work by Crockett.
As to the commentaries, there are many among the older
ones which are excellent, but only a few may be mentioned here.
First, the expository part of “The Pulpit Commentary” is
generally sound and good. Second, the “Bible Commentary” is
excellent, especially its introductions. It is conservative and
practical for the average student of the English Bible, though
its notes on archaeology are not up to date. Third, Hengsten_
berg is one of the author’s favorites. He is scholarly and con_

servative. Fourth, Pusey on the minor prophets is the best. He
is also scholarly and conservative. Fifth, Jamieson, Fausset,
and Brown’s commentary is a good, brief, critical commentary.
Among the later writers on the prophets might be mentioned
as valuable, Orelli’s Old Testament Prophecy, Elliott’s Old
Testament Prophecy, Delitzsch’s Messianic Prophecies in His_
torical Succession and Beecher’s The Prophets and the Promise. Others will be named in connection with some of the books in this INTERPRETATION.
This period extends from Samuel to Malachi, a period of
over seven hundred years. The special mission of the prophetic
order was to serve as a counterpoise to the despotism of the
monarch and to the formalism in the priest. A study of the
history of this period reveals a strong tendency toward Oriental
despotism on the part of the monarch and a very great de_
generacy on the part of the priesthood. The immediate work
of the prophet was to check the tendency to despotism on the
part of the monarch by being God’s mouthpiece to the king,
and to counteract the degeneracy of the priesthood by becom_
ing the speakers for God, and to be the religious instructors of
the people.
The word “prophet” is derived from a Greek word which is a
translation of the Hebrew and means “bubbling over.” The
Creek word is prophetes, which is derived from the Greek pro
and phanai, meaning “to speak for,” i.e., to speak for another.
So, etymologically the word, in its parts, expresses the fol_
lowing ideas: Pro means (1) “beforehand,” (2) “in public,”
(3) “in behalf of,” or “for”; phanai means “to speak.” Hence
the etymological meaning, “to speak for” or to speak for
another. Therefore a prophet is “one who speaks to men, on
behalf of God, the message he has received from God, through
the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” The message may relate to
the past, present, or future, according to the principles of in_
spiration. If it relates to the future it is called predictive

The words used for “prophet” are as follows:
(1) The Hebrew word nabhi the most common word in He_
brew for prophet, means a “speaker.” The word of God came to
the prophet and he spoke it to men. See Jeremiah 1:2,11;
Ezekiel 1:3 et multa al.
(2) A common word for “prophet” in the days of Samuel was
ro’eh, which means a “seer,” and is used to express the vision,
insight, and foresight of the prophet. See I Samuel 9:9.
(3) The Hebrew word chozeh was used for an authoritative
messenger, who received supernatural visions and so, was called a “seer.” See Amos 1:1; Isaiah 1:1; Obadiah 1:1; Nehemiah 1:1.
(4) Several other terms were used to designate the prophet,
such as “man of God,” “servant of Jehovah,” “messenger of
Jehovah,” et al.
The psychological process in the inspiration of the prophet
is stated very clearly by Dr. Sampey, of the Southern Baptist
Theological Seminary, as follows:
The canonical prophets claimed to be under the influence of
the Spirit of God. Their message was from Jehovah. We cannot
understand fully the psychology of the prophets when inspired.
Their mental processes were stimulated and guided by the Spirit,
who clothed them with power. Imagination, memory, and rea_
son were no doubt heightened, as well as intuition and spiritual
insight. The Spirit of God chose proper men for his purpose,
and then turned to account all their powers. The mind of the
prophet perhaps varied from the extreme of trance and ecstasy
all the way to a quiet thoughtfulness over which the Holy Spirit
preaided. Saul, wallowing on the ground under uncontrollable
excitement, and Balaam, stalking forth with closed eyes to seek
enchantments, are not fair specimens of prophets. The prophets
had little in common with dancing and howling dervishes.
Many prophecies, or predictions, receive successive fulfil_
ments, though there is a fulfilment higher and greater than
all the rest. This we call the “perspective” of prophecy. In
general, Orelli’s statement holds good: “A prophecy can only be
regarded as fulfilled when the whole body of truth included in it
has attained living realization.”
1. The prophets before Moses and the biblical proof for each:
(1) Enoch (Jude 14f.)
(2) Noah(2Peter2:5)
(3) Abraham and other patriarchs (Gen. 20:7; 27:27_29; 49)
2. The prophets in the age of Moses:
(1) Moses (Deut. 18:18_22; 34:10_12)
(2) Miriam and Aaron (Ex. 15:20; Num. 12)
(3) The seventy (Num. 11:24_29)
(4) Balaam (Num. 22_24)
(5) Joshua (Josh. 1; 23; 24)
3. The prophets in the period of the judges:
(1) Deborah (Judg. 4_5)
(2) An unknown prophet in the days of Gideon (Judg.6:8)
(3) An unknown prophet in the days of Eli (I Sam. 2:27_36).
4. The prophets from Samuel to the division of the kingdom:
(1) Samuel (I Sam. 3:20, et al)
(2) Companies of prophets (I Sam. 10:10_12; 19:20_24)
(3) Gad (I Sam. 22:5 et al)
(4) Nathan (2 Sam. 7_12)
(5) David (Psalms 110; 2; 22; Acts 2:30)
5. The prophets from the division of the kingdom to the time
of Elijah:
(1) Ahijah of Shiloh (I Kings
(2) Man of God from Judah at Jeroboam’s altar (I Kings
(3) Shemaiah (I Kings 12:21_24)
(4) lddo the Seer (2 Chron. 12:15)
(5) Azariah (2 Chron. 15:1)
(6) Hanani {1 Chron 16:7_10)
(7) Jehu (2 Chron. 19:1_3)
6. The prophets in the period of Elijah and Elisha:
(1) Eliiah (I Kings 17:1 to 2 Kinm 2_17)
(2) Micaiah (I Kings 22:8)
(3) Unknown prophet (I Kings 20)
(4) Jahaziel (2 Chron. 20:14_17)
(5) Eliezer (2 Chron. 20:37)
(6) Elisha (2 Kings 2_8)
There are three great periods of the canonical prophets, via:
The Assyrian Period, the Chaldean Period, and the Persian
Period. The canonical prophets are:
1. The Assyrian Period:
(1) Obadiah
(2) Joel
(3) Jonah
(4) Amos
(5) Hosea
(6) Isaiah
(7) Micah
(8) Nahum
2. The Chaldean Period:
(1) Zephaniah
(2) Habakkuk
(3) Jeremiah
(4) Ezekiel
(5) Daniel
3. The Persian Period:
(1) Haggai
(2) Zechariah
(3) Malachi

In the Assyrian period there appeared the schools of the
prophets, Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, the man of God in
2 Chronicles 25:2_10, the nameless prophet of 2 Chronicles
25:15_16, another Zechariah in 2 Chroniclee 26:5; then follows
Oded and Huldah, the prophetess. In the Chaldean and Per_
sian Periods the canonical prophets alone appear and fill the
foreground of the picture while the false prophets fill the back_
There are three distinct elements for which a student of the
prophets should look. The first element is the message to the
prophet’s own age. In order to understand this message as it
was for the people of their own age, the student must get the
background thereof, or the conditions in which they lived. The
second element is that of prediction, or things foretold. In
considering these we will find that many of them were immedi_
ately fulfilled, that others were fulfilled later and that many
still await fulfilment. The third element to be looked for is
the living message to our own age. They spoke the will of God
and uttered age_abiding principles which have application now
as surely as when they were first spoken. For these the stu_
dent of the prophets should carefully look.
Certain things should be remembered in a study of the
1. The standpoint of the prophet was always that of the sov_
ereignty of God. There are many tones in the prophecies.
There is much thunder, yet very much of tenderness, but al_
ways in obedience to the vision of an enthroned God they ut_
tered their messages.
2. Their protest against things which were contrary to the
will of God was without compromise. They knew nothing of
the word “expedient,” but they knew a great deal of the word
“obedient.” They had but one thing to say to men, namely,
that if, individually or incorporate, or national life, they were
not living in submission to the will of God they were in the
place of certain and irrevocable ruin.
3. Their intention was always that of bringing glory to the
name of Jehovah. Their aim was to restore the people of God
to the true relation to him in order that his name might be
4. With varying notes and emotions, every song raised by
these prophets was a song of hope, a song which came out of
their profound conviction that God could not be defeated, but
that his purpose of love must come to ultimate accomplish_
In the interpretation of prophecy it must be remembered:
1. The very nature of the prophet’s function made it neces_
sary that his utterances should contain “dark sayings” and
enigmas. He was a special messenger of the invisible king to
uphold the constitution of his kingdom on earth. His message
had regard to the principles, and administrative measures, of
divine government, and it inevitably followed that it would
often have to be couched in analogical language: in figures,
symbols, parables, and allegories. This mode of teaching left
the insincere, unbelieving, and formalist to confine themselves
within the narrow limits of literalism, but it rewarded the pa_
tient and docile seeker of God with warning, enlightenment,
and comfort, as we find so often in the teachings of our Lord.
2. A right understanding of the Pentateuch is indispensable
to the proper construing of these “dark sayings.” The law
supplies the basis of the prophetic word, and the great mass of
legal teaching was conveyed in the form of typical history and
emblematic ordinances.
3. As time went on, the history of the nation gave birth to
fresh illustrations of the character of God, and provided addi_
tional material for prophetic allegory.
In considering predictive prophecy there should be especially recognized:
1. The failure of the Chosen People.
2. The coming Messiah.
3. The establishment of the kingdom of God by the Messiah
4. The final restoration of the Jews.
5. The Messiah’s kingdom must ultimately be established
over the whole earth.
There is a special fitness in the arrangement of the prophetic
books as we have them in the Hebrew Bible and in our English
versions. The book of Isaiah ranges over the whole field of
prophetic vision. Beginning with a reiteration of the terms of
the Mosaic covenant and eliciting no signs of repentance it
proceeds to record against the people a sentence of reprobation,
then the instrument by which God.’s chastisement should be
inflicted is declared. Then describing the overthrow of Sama_
ria and Judah’s extreme peril he assures Judah of a remnant of
safety for all future time. He promises the coming one whose
name should be “Immanuel,” “Wonderful,” etc., “a sure Foun_
dation,” “the Servant of the Lord,” a new covenant and “a new
heaven and a new earth.” When we look at the breadth and
grandeur of the vision of Isaiah we need no further reason for
acquiescing in the existing order. All the rest of the prophets
fall within this scope and present one harmonious plan of reve_
To illustrate the one ruling purpose which pervades all the
prophets, we take the book of Jonah. The history of Jonah’s
mission proves:
1. That, if Israel failed in her mission to diffuse the grace of
God over the whole world, God was able, if he so willed, to
work by them even as reluctant agents, for the publishing of
his word among the Gentiles.
2. That the ready reception of that word by the people of
Nineveh was a pre_intimation of,what was thereafter to take
place on a larger scale.
3. That the sparing of Nineveh was an encouragement to
Israel that they too would be spared, if they only repented.
4. That if, on the other hand, they should not repent, “the
men of Nineveh would rise up in the judgment and condemn
5. That this reformation of the Ninevites made them the
more suitable for being employed as “the rod of God’s anger,”
in the punishment of Israel.
6. That in all this there was nothing arbitrary; that the di_
vine procedure was regulated throughout by the supreme rule
of right, as illustrated in the cases of Sennacherib and Heze_
kiah, respectively, and in which is illustrated also the saying,
“mercy rejoices against judgment.”
Not a few have come forward in recent times purporting
to be interpreters of the prophets, who do not so much as admit
the possibility of such a thing as a genuine prophecy. The
assumption rests on the contention that it is inconceivable
that God should communicate to man any foreknowledge, or
pre_vision, of future events. This doctrine is generally intro_
duced as if it were an axiomatic truth, the answer to which is
that it cannot be axiomatic since many who have been eminent
for scientific ability, philosophic insight and practical intelli_
gence have believed that such communication has actually
taken place. Therefore it can have no claim to being an axiom.
Neither is their assumption capable of proof, by either deduc_
tion or induction. For a deductive proof it would have to be
shown) either that God has not the power to impart such knowl_
edge, or that he did not purpose and will to do so. To assert
the first is to limit the Almighty. To assert the second, a man
must needs be himself omniscient. “Who hath known the mind
of the Lord?” As to induction, it may be boldly affirmed that
an inductive process, legitimately performed, on the facts sup_
plied by the Bible, establishes incontestably that men have
foretold future events which lay beyond human knowledge and
which have found a most remarkable amount of verification in
the history of Jesus Christ and the formation of Christendom.
These naturalistic interpreters have come to the conclusion
that these prophecies are much later in date than is generally
conceded. They do not agree among themselves but the gen_
eral tendency among them is to place much of our canonical
prophetic literature into post_exilic times. This is clearly the
result of their reasoning from the mere assumption that it is
incredible that God should reveal future events to man.
lii our studies of the prophets we shall follow the chronologi_
cal order as given in Sampey’s Syllabus. Each book will re_
reive special attention in the intrepretation as to authorship,
date, etc.

1. What section of our Bible do we commence in these studies?
2. What can you say, in general, of the literature on this section?
3. What helps commended and what the special feature commended,
or what the reservation in each case?
4. What the time limits of the prophetic period and what the special
mission of the prophets?
5. What is the definition of the word “prophet”?
6. By what words or terms were the prophets known? Give an illus_
tration of each.
7. What can you say of the psychological process in the inspiration
of the prophets?
8, What can you say of prophecy and fulfilment, in general, and
what says Orelli as to fulfilment of prophecy?
9. Who the prophets before Moses and what the biblical proof?
10. Who the prophets in the age of Moses and what the proof?
11. Who the prophets in the period of the judges and what the proof?
12. Who were the prophets from Samuel to the division of the king_
dom? Cite proof.
13. Who the prophets from the division of the kingdom to the time
of Elijah and what the proof?
14. Who the prophets in the period of Elijah and Elisha and what
the proof?
15. What three great periods of the canonical prophets and who the
canonical prophets of each of these periods?
16. What other prophets contemporary with the canonical prophets?
17. What the three distinct elements for which a student of the prophets should look?
18. What certain things should be remembered in a study of the
19. What important considerations in the interpretation of prophecy?
20. In considering predictive prophecy what may especially be recognized?
21. What the special fitness in the arrangement of the prophetic books
as we have them in the Hebrew Bible and in our English versions?
22. Illustrate the one ruling purpose which pervades all the prophets
by the book of Jonah.
23. What the naturalistic speculation with reference to this view and
what the reply to such contention?
24. To what conclusion have these naturalistic interpreters come with
respect to the date of many of these prophecies?
25. What the order that we shall follow in our studies of the prophets?

Obadiah 1_21

Following the chronology of Sampey’s Syllabus we commence our studies of the prophets with Obadiah.
This name means servant or worshiper of Jehovah and is
found to be of frequent occurrence in the Old Testament, but
cannot be identified with any other. His father’s name is not
given. So, it is utterly impossible to know much about him.
It has been determined with a good degree of certainty that he
was a prophet of Judah.
The vision of Obadiah against Edom, or the punishment of
Edom for its cruel and unbrotherly conduct toward Judah at
the time of some great national calamity is the theme of his
The date of this prophecy is a matter of great dispute. The
time, according to the various scholars, ranges from 840 B.C.
to 588 B.C. and some place it even later, but the author prefers
the earlier date which places it shortly after the invasion of
Judah and the plundering of Jerusalem by the Philistines and
Arabians. This occurred in the reign of Jehoram (2 Chron.
21:16_17; compare 2 Kings 8:20ff.). The description of this
event is brief, but doubtless many other captives were taken
besides the royal family as herein indicated.
The attitude of Edom toward Israel was one of perpetual
hostility. The history of this hatred for Israel commences
with the trouble between Jacob and Esau, after which Esau
settled the country about Mount Seir, afterward called Edom.
Here Esau dispossessed the Horites, the original inhabitants.
At the time of the Exodus the Edomites refused to permit
the Israelites to pass through their territory and then con_
tinued in this state of hostility after the occupation of Canaan.
This attitude toward Israel is seen in the succession of events
in their history. They never lost an opportunity to show
their dislike for the descendants of Jacob. It is this hatred
which found expression in the time of Obadiah in their rejoic_
ing at Israel’s calamities for which Obadiah pronounces the
curse upon them.
The style of Obadiah is remarkably original. He uses many
words and forms found nowhere else. The language is full
of thought and pregnant with meaning. It has a vigor, terse_
ness, and rapidity which carry the reader along and place him
by the prophet’s side in fullest sympathy. One special char_
acteristic of this prophecy is that of the close connection of
its members without a break or interruption.
There are several other passages of Scripture which should
be studied in connection with Obadiah:
1. Joel 2:23 to 3:19, in many particulars, seems to parallel
Obadiah and, in all probability, Joel was acquainted with the
prophecy of Obadiah and refers to it in 2:32. A close study
of the two prophecies reveals a striking parallel in them.
Whether Joel borrowed from Obadiah, is a disputed question.
However, the evidence seems to indicate that he did. If this
be true, then the date of Obadiah is practically settled as
being that of 840 B.C. rather than later.
2. Jeremiah 49:7_22 is, doubtless, an expansion of Obadiah
1_9. A careful inspection of the two prophecies leads to the
conclusion that Obadiah is the original from which Jeremiah
3. Ezekiel 35:1_15, Lamentations 4:21, Psalm 137:7, all
seem to parallel the feeling of Obadiah expressed in Obadiah
10_18, yet they doubtless refer to a different occasion though
they have a similar cause, viz: the perpetual attitude of hos_
tility of Edom toward Israel.

A brief outline, or analysis, of Obadiah is as follows:
1. The title (la)
2. The theme (lb)
I. A judgment announced (lc_9)
1. The summons of the nations (lc_2)
2. Edom, though proud and secure, shall be humbled
3. The destruction shall be complete (5_9)
II. A reason assigned (10_16)
1. The charge specified (10_11)
2. A prohibition of the repetition of such offenses (12_14)
3. The day of restitution at hand (15_16)
III. A victory assured (17_21)
1. The forces in general (17_18)
2. The work of each in particular (19_20)
3. The kingdom established (21)

There is a summons in verses 1_2 to the nations to arise
against Edom and bring her to desolation. The reference is
not very clear but the passage refers to someone, as seen by
the prophet in the vision, going among the heathen to stir
them up against Edom.
In verses 3_4 we have a description of their pride. They
were irreligious, proud, and self_centered. The position of the
Edomites was secluded, they being dwellers of the mountains
and living in houses hewn in rocks on the mountainsides.
Their dwelling places were like the nests of eagles in the clefts
of the highest rocks and almost inaccessible to an enemy.
Petra, the capital, lay completely hidden in a rocky defile
some two miles long, and could easily be defended by a hand_
ful of men. This remarkable place has been most graphically
described by a late traveler. This description may be found
in the “Pulpit Commentary” and the student will do well to
read it. Note the comparison in verse 4.
The completeness of the desolation here foretold is described by contrasting it with the work of thieves, robbers, and grape_gatherers in which the prophet shows that, unlike the thief or the grape_gatherer, the destroyer will not leave anything of them but will bring them to complete desolation.
The prophet assigns as the reason for their desolation the
fact that Edom had sided with the enemy against Israel and
had rejoiced at the calamity of God’s people in their defeat;
he issues a prohibition against the repetition of such acts, and
then he shows that the measure of their penalty should be
their own treatment of Israel in view of the approaching day
of restitution for the nations.
In this dark picture of the destruction of Edom and the
other nations the prophet holds out the hope of Israel’s final
victory over all the nations. According to this prophecy a
remnant shall escape and shall become a fire and the house
of Joseph a flame while Esau shall be as stubble. As fire
burns stubble, so shall Jacob and Joseph consume Esau. Then
follows a description of the details of the work of desolation
out of which shall come the establishment of the kingdom of
Jehovah over the whole earth.
The question naturally arises just here as to the fulfilment
of these several prophecies. There are three of these that now
claim our attention. (1) The conquest of the Edomites by
the heathen on account of their cruelty to the Jews at the time
of the capture of Jerusalem by the Philistines and Arabians.
(2) A second conquest of them and utter extermination by
the Jews. (3) The subsequent expansion of the Israelitish
nation and the triumphant glories of Zion.
The first of these was to be effected by the heathen which
is not very easily found in history on account of the loss of
Edom’s historical records from 588 to 312 B.C. At the latter
date we find the Nabataeans, a people of the Chaldean race
and origin, in full possession of Edom. It was this people who
made Petra famous for its buildings and commerce, but just
when they got possession is not known. Josephus tells us of
an invasion of this country by Nebuchadnezzar about five
years after the destruction of Jerusalem. Probably he con_
quered this country and transported the Chaldeans and settled
them there, upon which the Edomites established themselves
in southern Judah where they were afterward exclusively
found. This history fulfils the first prophecy.
The fulfilment of the second prophecy, viz: the conquest of
Edom by the Jews, may be recognized more distinctly. Judas
Maccabeus overthrew the Edomites at Arabattine and John
Hyracanus captured the cities Adna and Marisa and subju_
gated all the Idumeans. He allowed them to remain where
they were on the condition that they would be circumcised and
adopt the Jewish customs. This they did and thus lost their
nationality, but they still hung together as a party who were
plundered by Simon of Gerasa. The few Edomites left were
slain at the capture of Jerusalem and there was “not any re_
maining of the house of Esau; for Jehovah had spoken it.”
Now what of the expansion of the Israelitish kingdom? The
promise that an escaped remnant should occupy Mount Zion
was literally fulfilled at the return under Zerubabbel but the
idea of the expansion was not. It had a typical and partial
fulfilment in the days of the Maccabees but this expansion
idea finds its fuller completion in Christianity and will be
consummated in the millennium.
There are several important lessons in this book for us:
1. There is the lesson of the family feud, which is usually
the most bitter and the most difficult to settle. Let us remem_
ber the lesson of Jacob and Esau.
2. There is the lesson of the dangers of pride and arrogance.
Truly, “pride goeth before a fall.”
3. There is the lesson of false confidence. No one is secure
against the law of retribution. The clefts of Petra may be too
difficult for man to scale but nothing can withstand God.

4. There is the lesson of God’s method of dealing out his
wrath. “Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind
exceeding small.” Edom received what she had given.
5. There is the lesson of hope in a dark hour. God’s plan
and purpose are not accomplished in a day but he will see to
it that no prophecy shall fail. Let Israel of today learn the
lesson of patient, persistent pursuit of God’s plan for her, and
his glory will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

1. Who was Obadiah?
2. What the theme of his prophecy?
3. What the date and circumstances of this prophecy?
4. What was the attitude of Edom toward Israel and what the his_
tory which evidences this attitude?
5. What of the general character of the book?
6. What other passages of Scripture should be studied in this connec_
tion. and what their relation to Obadiah?
7. Give a brief analysis of the book.
8. What the summons of verses 1_2 and what the reference here?
9. What the characteristics of the Edomites and what of the place
of their security?
10. How is the completeness of the desolation, which is here foretold,
1I. What reason did the prophet here assign for such desolation, what
prohibition issued and what the measure of their penalty?
12. What hope for Israel’s victory does the prophet here hold out to
the people and how is it to be realized?
13. What can you say of the fulfilment of these several prophecies by
14. What the lessons of the prophecy of Obadiah?

Joel 1:1 to 3:21

Helps commended: (1) Hengstenberg, (2) Pusey.
Many men of different periods of the history of Israel bore
the name Joel. All that we know of Joel, the prophet, is
gleaned from the book of his prophecies and that is little in_
deed. He was the son of Pethuel, a man otherwise unknown
to us. From a study of the prophecies of Joel we learn that
he was almost certainly an inhabitant of Judah and Jerusalem.
He was well acquainted with the services of Jehovah’s Tem_
ple. His name means “Jehovah is God” and thus indicates
something of the religious convictions of his parents. There
is a legend that he was born at Beth_horon, ten miles north_
west from Jerusalem, and that he was buried there. We know
not the grounds on which this tradition rests and therefore
cannot determine these things with any degree of certainty.
Nowhere in the Scriptures are we told just the time when
Joel lived and prophesied. The date of his prophecy becomes,
therefore, purely a question of literary and historical criticism.
Like Obadiah, we find an earlier and a later date assigned to
it. The earlier date is 830 B.C., or the reign of Joash; the later
date assigned is after the exile. The author prefers the earlier
date as being far more consistent with the internal evidence.
The occasion of this prophecy is determined according to
the position taken with reference to the interpretation of the
“locusts.” Those who believe that the locusts referred to by
Joel were real, not symbolical locusts, find the occasion of the
book to be the entire desolation of the land of Judah by a
plague of locusts, while those who hold to the symbolic mean_
ing of the word “locusts” make the occasion of the book the
great sins of Judah in turning away from Jehovah. As the
author holds to the symbolical theory of the locusts he sees
the occasion of this prophecy to be the decline of Judah which
is so evident in the latter part of the reign of Joash (see his_
tory of his reign) and which calls forth this great summons
of the people by the prophet to repentance or to the judgments
that would follow.
The canonicity of this book has never been called in ques_
tion. It is classical and almost matchless in style. Joel is
the prince of prophets as to description. His description of
the army of locusts, the battle of Jehoshaphat, the outpouring
of the Holy Spirit and the suffering of brute creation is un_
equaled in literature. It is impossible to read his prophecies
and not be impressed with his culture and literary skill. The
Hebrew scholars tell us that his book is a fine specimen of
pure classic Hebrew. With the strength of Micah it com_
bines the tenderness of Jeremiah, the vividness of Nahum) and
the sublimity of Isaiah.
This prophecy was given to Judah. There is no mention
of the Northern Kingdom. The name “Israel” (2:27; 3:2, 16)
refers to the whole people, while the author mentions Zion,
Judah, and Jerusalem many times.
The analysis of this book consists of the title and three
main divisions, as follows:
The title (1:1)
I. The coming of the locusts (1:2 to 2:27)
1. An unusual desolation (1:2_4)
2. A call to mourning (1:5_14)
3. Forebodings of the “day of Jehovah” (1:15_20)
4. The alarm sounded in view of the approaching day
5. A description of the army and their destructive work
6. A promise of forgiveness and blessings upon the con_
dition of repentance (2:12_17)

7. Repentance vouchsafed and the blessings assured

II. The coming of the Holy Spirit (2:28_32)
1. The spirit poured upon all flesh and the results (2:28_29)
2. The perspective of the final judgment day (2:30_31)
3. A hope for God’s remnant (2:32)

III. The coming of judgments (3:1_21)
1. A summons to the battle of judgment and the reason
2. The result of the judgment here and the hope of Israel
3. Judah’s final victory over all and her final cleansing
In the title to this book we have one of the three common
formulas of introduction to the prophets:
1. “The word of Jehovah that came to Joel.” This formula
is found in Jeremiah 1:2; Ezekiel 1:3; Hosea 1:1; and Zechariah 1:1.
2. “The vision of [author's name],” is found in Isaiah 1:1;
and Obadiah 1:1.
3. “The burden of [author's name],” is found in Nahum
1:1; and Malachi 1:1.
Lamentations and Daniel have no formal introduction, the
former being an elegy in poetic form and the latter being
regarded by the Jews as history rather than prophecy. These
formulas are significant of the authority by which the prophet
spoke and the point of view from which the prophecy is con_
sidered, whether “the word of Jehovah,” “the vision of [the
prophet]” or “the burden [or oracle of Jehovah.]“
In the interpretation of the coming of the locusts it must
be kept in mind that Joel is an apocalypse and therefore these
locusts must be considered apocalyptical. What the author
sees is a swarm of locusts and he describes them as such. So
the coming of these locusts is not to be understood literally,
but allegorically and, therefore, symbolically. The four in_
vasions here are invasions by locusts under four different
names, and represent the curses of the four national powers,
viz: Syro_Babylonian, Medo_Persian, Greco_Macedonian, and
Roman. This corresponds to the apocalypse of Daniel in
which is set forth the relation of Israel to these same powers.
Joel I sets forth the chastisements sent upon the Jews and the
reasons therefor. The book is a book of judgments showing
the divine order, viz: “Judgment begins at the house of God.”
These judgments are in a series of four, one after another, as
indicated by the locusts. They begin with the Babylonian
captivity and culminate in the destruction of Jerusalem and
the taking away of the Jewish nation by the Romans.
The arguments showing that the literal view of the plague
of locusts is inconsistent are as follows:
1. They are described as “the northern” scourge and locusts
never came to Palestine that way.
2. The priests are directed to pray, “Give not thine heritage
to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them” (2:17).
3. The scourge is to be destroyed “because he hath done
great things,” or literally, “hath magnified to do” (2:20), an
expression unsuitable to irrational creatures.
4. The figurative expressions used in connection with the
locusts, viz: The fire and the flame and beasts being desired
to rejoice in the tree. These expressions are unquestionably
figurative; therefore, the whole may be so regarded.
5. The imagery goes beyond the plague of locusts, in that
(1) the people are terrified, (2) the air is darkened and (3)
they enter the city (2:6, 9_10).
6. The effects are greater than would be produced by mere
locusts, in that (1) the meal offering is destroyed, (2) the
fruits of more than one year are destroyed and (3) the plague
is described as worse than any that was remembered (1:2, 9;
7. Locusts could not have been driven at once into the Dead
Sea and the Mediterranean.
8. The day of the Lord is identified with the scourge, and
is far beyond the plague of locusts (2:1, II).
9. The locust is used elsewhere in the Bible symbolically,
to represent a curse (Rev. 9:3_11).
According to this position the prophet announces a com_
plete desolation of the land, as if locusts had laid it waste.
Upon the occasion of this approaching curse he calls for
mourning and penitence. Then he gives the foreboding of the
“day of Jehovah” and orders the sounding of an alarm and
follows that with a masterful description of an invading army
and its destructive work. In 2:12_17 the prophet holds out
the hope of forgiveness and blessings if they will really repent;
at verse 18 he introduces the prediction which stretches across
the messianic age to the introduction of the millennium. In
verse 23, we have the promise of “the teacher of righteousness”
(marginal reading) as in 2 Kings 17:27; Job 36:22; Proverbs
5:13; Isaiah 9:15; 30:20; Habakkuk 2:18. So the order here
seems to be (1) Christ comes, “the teacher of righteousness,”
(2) come Pentecost and the Holy Spirit, (3) comes the de_
struction of Jerusalem which is the climax of the “day of the
Lord” on the Jewish people.
In 2:28_32 we have the first distinct prediction of the ad_
vent of the Holy Spirit, fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, fol_
lowing which is the far distant judgment day, adumbrated by
the destruction of Jerusalem from which destruction escapes
a remnant who are specially called of Jehovah (see Isa. 1:9;
and Rom. 11:5).
In 3:1_21 we have a forecast of the judgments on the anti_
Christian nations. First, there is a summons to the battle
of judgments in which God pours out his wrath upon these
nations because of their treatment of his people, Israel. This
accords with Isaiah 66:5_6; Daniel 11:36_45; Zechariah 14:1_
15; and Revelation 19:11_21, in which is described the great
battle of Jehoshaphat at which the Jews are to be converted,
a result of the interposition of God, as described here in 3:14_
17. This ushers in the millennium in which Judah (or the
prince of Judah) will win the victory over the world in bring_
ing in the Messiah’s kingdom and disseminating the knowl_
edge of him to the ends of the earth.
There appears in this book for the first time the expression,
“The day of the Lord,” which refers to the time of God’s
judgments and has partial fulfilment in the destruction of
Jerusalem, then another in God’s judgments on the ungodly
nations above described, and then finds its final and complete
fulfilment at the last great judgment.
There appears also, for the first time in this book, the idea
of the fountain. This idea expands as we follow it through
the Bible to its fulfilment. Here it is briefly stated, showing
its source and its objective; the valley of Shittim with no
interpretation given. In Ezekiel 47:1_12 we have the idea
very much enlarged, showing this fountain developed into a
great river which symbolizes the river of life presented in
Revelation 22:1_2. Then in Zechariah 13:1 we have an ad_
ditional idea presented, viz: that it is “for sin and unclean_
ness” from which we derive the beautiful hymn, “There is a
fountain filled with blood.” The fulfilment of this idea is
found in Christ’s teaching in John (4_7), where he refers to
the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation and in life.
There are two other ideas that appear in this book for the
first time which have already been explained, viz: The com_
ing of the Holy Spirit and the battle of Jehoshaphat and the
conversion of the Jews.
Some of the most important lessons of this book are as fol_
1. God’s retribution for disobedience. This is plain from
the calls to repentance and the threatened judgments in the
2. God’s long forbearance toward a gainsaying and disobedi_
ent people, showing that his “mercy endureth forever.”
3. God’s blessings of the Holy Spirit. They are for all peo_
ple in all ages. Though he selected and elected one nation as
his own peculiar people, yet “whosoever calleth on the Lord
shall be saved.”
4. God’s blessing of final victory for his cause and people.
Evil may triumph and Jerusalem be trodden down for a time
but the promises of God are sure and the Jew, though reject_
ing his Messiah and scattered to the ends of the earth, shall
eventually accept this Messiah and become a mighty factor in
the spread of his kingdom.

1. Who was Joel?
2. What the date of this prophecy?
3. What the occasion of this prophecy?
4. What of the canonicity of this book?
5. What of the style and character of the book?
6. To whom was this prophecy given and how do you explain the use
of the name “Israel” in 2:27; 3:2, 16?
7. What the essential points in the analysis of this book?
8. What formula of introduction found in the title to this book and
what the three formulas found in the introductions to the prophets?
9. What the interpretation of the coming of the locusts?
10. What the arguments showing that the literal view of the plague
of locusts is inconsistent?
11. According to this position, then how interpret 1:2 to 2:27?
12. What promise in 2:28_32 and where do we find the fulfilment?
13. What the judgments of 3:1_21 and when their fulfilment?
14. What ideas appear for the first time in Joel and what their appli_
15. What the most important lessons of this book?


Jonah is both the author and the hero of the book by this
name. He was the son of Amittai, a reference to whom is also
found in 2 Kings 14:25: “He [Jeroboam II] restored the bor_
der of Israel from the entrance of Hamath unto the sea of
the Arabah, according to the word of Jehovah, the God of
Israel, which he spake by his servant Jonah the son of Amittai,
the prophet, who was of Gath_hepher.” There can be no doubt
as to the identity of this Jonah and the one mentioned in
Jonah I: I since this name occurs nowhere else as the “son of
Amittai, the prophet.” This passage not only accords with
Jonah 1:1 in giving the father’s name but it also gives us
Jonah’s place of residence and the times in which he prophe_
sied. The place of his birth was Gath_hepher, a town in
Zebulun (Josh. 19:13) about three, miles northeast of Naza_
reth which shows that he was a prophet of the Northern
Kingdom. The time in which he lived is clearly shown to be
the reign of Jeroboam II, the “Indian Summer” of Israel’s
history after the division of the kingdom (2 Kings 14:23_29).
There are several traditions relating to Jonah. (1) It is
claimed by some that “Jonah”‘ means grieving and “Amittai”
means true, from which arose the improbable opinion that
Jonah was the son of the widow of Zarephath, whom Elijah
raised to life, because of what she said when she received him
from the dead (I Kings 17:24). (2) It is also supposed by
some that Jonah was the boy who attended Elijah into the
wilderness. (3) There is another tradition that he was the
young man sent to anoint Jehu. (4) And singularly enough,
there is the tradition that he was the husband of the Shunam_
mite woman who extended hospitality to Elisha. (5) Respect_
ing his burial place, there is a tradition that he was buried

pear Nineveh and another, that he was buried at Gath_hepher.
his birthplace. It is needless to say that these traditions are
without foundation in history but they indicate somewhat the
impress of this striking character upon the literature of the
There is a reference to this prophecy of Jonah in Tobit
14::4_6, 15, an apocryphal book, in which Nineveh is said to
have been overthrown according to this prophecy of Jonah.
There are three references to Jonah the prophet in the Koran,
viz: In chapter X, p. 157, there is a reference to the repent_
ance of the Ninevites at the preaching of Jonah; in chapter
XXXVII, p. 338, there is an account of Jonah’s commission,
disobedience, and experience in the sea; in chapter LXVIII,
p. 421, there is a reference to his sea experience, God’s mercy
to him and his election unto righteousness. In Josephus’ Jew_
ish Antiquities IX, 10:1_2, we have an account of Jonah’s
prophecies, both to Jeroboam II and his call and prophecy to
Nineveh. He adds several items of detail to the story of
Jonah’s extraordinary experience in the sea, giving his ob_
jective as Tarsus in Cilicia and the point of landing as the
Euxine Sea. There is little weight of authority to these state_
ments but they indicate a conviction as to the historicity of
the book of Jonah.
There are three legends that illustrate the extraordinary
features of the book of Jonah, viz: (1) Hesione and Hercules,
(2) Andromeda and Perseus, and (3) Saint George and the
Dragon. These legends, the scenes of which are located on
the Mediterranean Sea, reflect, perhaps, the impression made
upon the ancient mind by this story of Jonah.
There are several scriptural references to the book, viz:
2 Kings 14:25; Matthew 12:39_41; 16:4; Luke 11:29_30, the
import of which is that the book is historical and that Jonah
is typical of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The purpose of this book is threefold: (1) To teach the
bigoted Israelites that salvation is for the Gentiles as well
as for the Jews; (2) to give a genuine lesson on repentance, ½
as illustrated, (a) in Jonah, (b) in the Ninevites and (c) lad
God himself; (3) to typify Christ. I
The occasion of this prophecy against Nineveh was the.
moral corruption of the Ninevites, “For their wickedness isl
come up before me” (1:1). To this, other prophets add their I
testimony: “Woe to the bloody city I” (Nah. 3:1). “This is a
joyous city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am,
and there is none else besides me” (Zeph. 2:15).
The annals of Assyria are nothing but a register of military_
campaigns, spoilations, and cruelties. Their monuments display
men of calm and unmoved ferocity, whose moral and mental
qualities are overborne by the faculties of the lower, brutal na_
ture.” – LATARD, Nineveh and Babylon, p. 631.
The style of this book is simple, pure Hebrew. The author
believed that God prepared everything and the book bears the
stamp of a simple, truthful narrative. It is not prophecy, in the strict sense of the word, but history, inserted among the proph-ets because written by a prophet. There is no moralizing I and no reflection. The tale is told graphically and has quite a dra-matic interest, advancing in regular stages to the conclusion, and leaving an impression upon the mind as though its various scenes had been enacted before the eyes of the reader.
The miraculous element of the book is twofold: (1) the
physical, (2) the moral. The physical miracles are the ex_
perience of Jonah in the sea and the incident of the gourd.
The moral miracle is the salvation of the Ninevites.
There are three great doctrines illustrated in the incidents
of the book. (1) There is the great doctrine of the resurrec_
tion set forth in this book symbolically. No one can doubt
this who reads Matthew 12:39_41. (2) There is set forth here
in the most dramatic action the great doctrine of genuine
repentance. Man and beast together wear the symbols of
penitence. (3) There is here illustrated God’s great, forbear_
ing mercy, and loving_kindness. See his forbearance toward
wicked Nineveh and his great loving kindness as here dis_
played toward a lost world.
Nineveh, the great city here referred to, was founded by
Nimrod, a descendant of Ham (Gen. 10:11; Micah 5:6), as
a colony from Babylon which is proved by the monuments of
Assyria. After this simple statement in Genesis the record
is silent respecting Nineveh for a long time. The next men_
tion of these people we find in the prophecy of Balaam (Num.
24:22, 24), that Assyria should carry Israel away captive and
the ships from Greece should afflict Assyria. The next ref_
erence to Assyria is found in Psalm 83:8 which finds its his_
torical reality in 2 Chronicles 20:1_4. This is an account of
Assyria under Shalmaneser II joining with Moab and Ammon
against Israel under Jehoshaphat at which time the Israelites
were victorious. This is the real beginning of Assyria’s strength
and greatness. Her power is now beginning to be felt for the
first time in her history. This brings us in the Bible account
of Assyria up to the time of Jonah and Jeroboam II, where
Nineveh again enters by name on the biblical record. This
reappearing of the name Nineveh is incidental, and shows that
the Bible does not profess to give an orderly and systematic
history of the world. The record here in Jonah says that Nine_
veh was a “great city.” It was located on the Tigris River and
in the shape of a parallelogram, sixty miles around and three
days’ journey on a straight line through it. Its walls were sixty
feet high, with 1,500 towers, 200 feet high. The walls were
broad enough on top to receive three chariots driving side by
side. It is almost certain that this city was larger than Babylon,
especially if we include in the estimate its suburbs. Jonah
calls it “an exceeding great city of three days’ _journey” and
with 120,000 infants, all of which indicate that Nineveh was
no ordinary city.
Nineveh was destroyed by the combined forces of the Medes and Babylonians, the Median king being Cyaxares and the city was complete. Xenophon with 10,000 Greeks passed by it two centuries later and did not even mention it, unless he referred to it as one of the “uninhabited” cities of which he speaks. The remains of this city must have been in evidence in the days of the Roman emperors, since Tacitus refers to a Nineveh on the Tigris, and there is another reference to it as late as the thirteenth century.
The ruins now present a rampart and foss, four miles in cir_
cuit, with a moss_covered wall about twenty feet high. The
archaeologists in recent years have done much to make Nineveh
live before the minds of this generation. Their discoveries of
the libraries have thrown a flood of light on the history of these
people of the Far East; but the Bible account of Nineveh and
the rest of the Oriental empires remains unmolested. The
Ninevites worshiped the fish god and in excavating in this
vicinity many stone images of a fish have been found with a
man coming out of its mouth. There is evidently a connection
between Jonah’s experience and these stone images. This seems
to be a confirmation of the story of Jonah as a sign to the
Ninevites. Since they worshiped the fish god, the Lord ac_
credited Jonah unto them by means of such a miracle as would
leave no doubt in their minds as to the superior power of Jeho_
vah over their object of worship.
There is an abundance of literature on this book but I will
name only a few of the very best helps to its interpretation.
The boat commentaries are Pusey’s Minor Prophets and the
“Pulpit Commentary.” The “Expositor’s Bible” is the worst
that could be mentioned. Dr. A. J. Rowland’s monograph on
Jonah is very fine. The article on Jonah in Smith’s Bible Dic_
tionary is a pretty fair article. Sampey’s Syllabus is fine. A
sermon on Jonah by Melville, a Scotch preacher, is able and
goo_d. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, and Matthew Henry are
also good.
The chapters constitute the divisions of the analysis of this
book, as follows:

I. Jonah’s mission, disobedience, and punishment (1:1_17)
1. His call, commission, and flight (1:1_3)
2. God’s intervention and Jonah’s revelation (1:4_10)
II. Jonah’s prayer, thanksgiving, and deliverance (2:1_10)
1. His prayer (2:1_7)
2. His thanksgiving (2:8_9)
3. His deliverance (2:10)
III. Jonah’s recall, obedience, and success (3:1_10)
1. His recall (3:1_2)
2. His obedience (3:3_4)
3. His success (3:5_10)
IV. Jonah’s displeasure and correction (4:1_11)
1. His displeasure (4:1_5)
2. His correction (4:6_11)
The word “now” (v. 1), is the same word in the Hebrew that
is translated “and” at the beginning of several of the historical
books and forms a connecting link, thus showing a continua_
tion of history, or, as in this case, connecting revelation with
We come across the expression, “the word of Jehovah,” in
our Bible first in Genesis 15:1 and there it means the Son of
God, the Logos of John 1:1. There seems to be the same mean_
ing here. The word of Jehovah came “saying.”
We find three parallels in the Bible to Jonah 1:2, “their
wickedness has come up before me,” viz: (1) the case of Cain,
(2) the case of the flood, and (3) the case of Sodom and Gomor_
rah, in each of which most solemn judgment followed. The
striking difference in this case and those mentioned above is
the repentance of the Ninevites which moved God to repentance
and averted the awful judgment.
In his going from the presence of Jehovah, Jonah renounced
his prophetic office; he went away from “standing before Je_
hovah”; gave up his credentials and “took to the woods”
(waters), to Tarshish, a city in Spain, far away from the

Jehovah country. Thus he thought to leave the land of Jeho_
vah was to get away from the call of Jehovah. Alas! many
a man has tried the policy of Jonah to his own sorrow.
Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh, (1) because of his
hatred for the idolatrous Gentiles, (2) because of his fear that
God would show them mercy and his prediction would be dis_
credited, (3) because of Nineveh’s growing strength and if
spared she would become Israel’s rival and (4) because, per_
haps, he feared ill treatment at the hands of the cruel and
ferocious Assyrians.
In 1:4, “he paid the fare thereof,” we have a picture of the
preacher renouncing his call of God upon which he must pay
his own way, a hard fare indeed when one has lost the divine
favor. But he sends a messenger after him, viz: a storm, and
sometimes the fires of affliction are kindled all about him and
sore distress comes upon him. God must be obeyed. See Psalm
107:23_32. But what the significance of “cast forth the wares”
(1:5)? This expression illustrates the fact that there is some_
thing to do besides to pray. Work is the handmaiden of prayer.
Jonah’s being asleep is an illustration of a man who is guilty
of sin, more especially the backslider. Sin stupefies and there_
fore they need to be aroused. A fine text: “0 sleeper, arise.”
Casting lots was one way of finding out the will of Jehovah.
Compare Acts 1:26 et multa al. This was simply a method of
casting the vote. Jonah, understanding fully that the trouble
was all on account of him, asked that they dispose of him by
casting him into the sea and let him take the chance for his
life, but the sailors saw only death for Jonah in such procedure
and were not willing to take the risk of having upon them in_
nocent blood. As the last resort they yielded.
There are three distinct things affirmed in 2:16, which need
special notice, viz: (1) that they feared Jehovah, (2) that they
offered sacrifice unto Jehovah, and (3) that they made vows,
the explanation of which is, that Jonah had convinced them
that Jehovah had brought the storm and therefore he was the
one who was to be appeased. As to the nature of their fear,
sacrifice, and vows we are not told but we are not to suppose
that it was the reverential fear that brings salvation. It is
probable that they acknowledged Jehovah as one of their gods
after this event but there is nothing here to show that they ac_
cepted Jehovah as the only God to the exclusion of their own
The fish that swallowed Jonah may have been a whale of the kind found in the Mediterranean Sea which is able to swallow a man whole, or it may have been the white shark of the same waters, as it is sometimes found in this section twenty_five feet long and has been known to swallow a man whole, and even a horse. There have been found in this sea three kinds of sea_animals that could easily swallow a man, viz: the Great Spermaceti Whale, the White Shark, and the Rorqual, one specimen of which has been found in this sea seventy_five feet long. So the contention that no whale or fish that could swallow a man is found in these parts is utterly baseless.
Jonah’s hymn is evidently made up of quotations from other
passages of Scriptures which a comparison of the following pas_
sages will prove: Jonah 2:2 equals Psalm 120:1; Jonah 2:3
equals Psalm 42:7 and 18:4; Jonah 2:4 equals Psalm 31:22;
Jonah 2:5 equals Psalm 18:40, 5; Jonah 2:7 equals Psalm 18:6
(last clause) and 142:3; Jonah 2:8 equals Psalm 31:6_7. These
correspondences could not have been fortuitous: the one poet
must have had sounding in his mind the language of the other.
Jonah evidently was well acquainted with the Psalms. “Lying
vanities” in 2:8 means idolatry and indicates a strong charac_
teristic of heathen worship.
The second commission to Jonah is recorded in 3:1_2: “And
the word of Jehovah came unto Jonah the second time, saying,
Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the
preaching that I bid thee.” The circumstances of this second
commission are as follows: Jonah had had his extraordinary
experience in the sea and had, doubtless, returned home, allow_
ing sufficient time for the news of this great and singular event
to reach Nineveh, thus preparing the way for Jonah’s preach_
ing by accrediting Jonah to them in a way that would impress
them with the superiority of Jonah’s God over their fish god.
There are three distinct things here relative to God’s rela_
tion to the ministry that need to be emphasized, viz: (1) God
calls his ministers by a direct appeal to them: “and the word
of Jehovah came unto Jonah, saying”; (2) God selects the
field of labor for his ministers: “Arise, go unto Nineveh, that
great city”; (3) God gives the message: “and preach unto it
the preaching that I bid thee.” This is a fine example of what
the preacher ought to be, viz: God_called, God_appointed, and
God_instructed. With these three essentials in his life and work
the minister knows no failure.
The “yet” in 3:4 indicates an implied promise; that this was
not an announcement of an absolute decree of God, but was a
conditional decree. God repented when they repented. Note
that there are three particular cases of repentance in this book:
(1) the preacher repents; (2) the people repent; (3) God re_
pents. Observe the order. When the preacher repents, the peo_
ple generally repent, and when the preacher and the people
repent, God always repents. The “yet” here indicates God’s
attitude toward a sinner. Though he thunders the law of Sinai
over the sinner’s head, it is only that the sinner may be pre_
pared to hear the voice from Calvary. “Yet forty days and
“Nineveh shall be overthrown,” but the “forty days” furnish
space for repentance.
“Believed God” in 3:5 is equivalent to “believed on God” and is saving faith, as with Abraham. Fasting and sackcloth are
external evidences of repentance. In 3:7 we see the call to real
fasting and repentance. In 3:8 the animals lowing for fodder
were crying to God. The prayers of the people and the crying
of the cattle make a powerful appeal to God. But praying and
crying were not enough. “Let them turn every one from his evil
way and from the violence that is in his hands” and show by
this his real earnestness, as in the New Testament exhortation:
“Let him that stole steal no more but return what he has
stolen.” Restitution is a law of forgiveness. This passage is
equalled in the New Testament by John the Baptist’s preaching
and Paul’s preaching at Ephesus. This is both a moral and
spiritual miracle. It is the biggest case of conversion in the Old
Testament on a foreign field. Jonah was the first foreign mis_
sion preacher and had but one credential. Some say people
cannot be moved religiously by fear but it is a mistake. People
are influenced both by the fear of punishment and by the hope
of reward. The motive in Luke 15 is “Joy in heaven.” “Ye shall
likewise perish except ye repent.” Preach love always, but
don’t leave out hell.
Jonah was much displeased with and angry at the Lord’s at_
titude, but the Lord dealt gently with him giving him the lesson
of the gourd (4:6_11). It was not right for Jonah to be angry
at what God did, nor is it ever right to be angry at what God
does, especially in the salvation of the people. In this connec_
tion he gives the reason for his unwillingness to go to Nineveh
at the outset, but he was wrong in his attitude toward the peo_
ple of Nineveh. This attitude culminated in madness at Jeho_
vah’s attitude toward them and went to the extent of wishing
for death. But it is a very cowardly thing to wish for death
under such circumstances.
To this foolishness of Jonah the Lord answered that Jonah’s
regard for the gourd was but a small matter compared to his
regard for the 120,000 infants and the much cattle of Nineveh.
This is a beautiful lesson of God’s attitude toward the ir_
responsible and gives us a splendid Old Testament view of
God’s attribute of mercy.
As Jonah, after his resurrection, became a missionary to the
Gentiles, so Christ after his resurrection declared his “all_
authority” and commissioned his church to go to the ends of
the world. The resurrection had a marvelous effect in enlarg_
ing the commission.
1. What the traditions relating to Jonah?
2. Who was Jonah and what the time of his writing?
3. What references to this book in literature and what the testimony
in each case?
4. What three legends may be mentioned as illustrating the extraordi_
nary features of the story of Jonah?
5. What the scriptural references to the book and what the import of their teaching?
6. What the purpose of this book?
7. What the occasion of this book and how is it proved from the history of Nineveh?
8. What of the style and character of the book?
9. What of the miraculous element of the book?
10. What doctrines illustrated by the incidents of the book?
11. Give an account of Nineveh.
12. What the form of idolatry in Nineveh at this time and what the
evidence of Jonah’s impress on the Ninevites?
13. What helps on this book commended?
14. What the analysis of this book?
15. What is the force of the word “now” of verse I?
16. Where do we first find the expression, “the word of Jehovah,” in
the Bible and what does it mean there?
17. What parallels to Jonah 1:2, “their wickedness is come up before me,” do we find elsewhere in the Bible and what striking difference in this case?
18. What is the meaning of “Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from
the presence of Jehovah”?
19. What Jonah’s reasons for not wanting to go to Nineveh?
20. What the meaning and application of 1:4, “he paid the fare thereof”?
21. What the significance in 1:5 of “cast forth the wares”?
22. What the suggestion from Jonah’s being asleep?
23. What of casting lots in 1:7?
24. What the remedy for the case as proposed by Jonah and how did
it meet the approval of the sailors?
25. How do you explain, their fearing Jehovah and sacrificing unto him?
26. What of the fish that swallowed Jonah?
27. What the relation of Jonah’s hymn to other passages of Scripture?
28. What the meaning of “lying vanities” in Jonah 2:8?
29. What Jonah’s second commission, what its circumstances and what
three things in this commission, illustrative of God’s relation to the
minister and his work?
30. What is the force of “yet” in 3:4?
31. What the points of 3:5_10?
32. How did Jonah receive the fact of the conversion of the Ninevitea
and God’s mercy to them and how did God deal with him?
33. Was it right for Jonah to be angry, what the extent of his mad_
ness and what do you think of his wish?
34. What was Jehovah’s answer to all this foolishness of Jonah?
35. How is the relation of the resurrection and the commission of
Christ illustrated in this book?

Amos 1:1 to 2:16

Amos, the author of the book by his name, was a .native of
Tekoa, a herdsman and a dresser of sycomore trees. He was
not educated for a prophet but was called by the Lord from his
rural employment to bear his message to the Northern King_
dom (Amos 1:1; 7:14).
Tekoa, the home of Amos, was a city about twelve miles
south of Jerusalem, six miles south of Bethlehem, built for de_
fense by Rehoboam (2 Chron. 11:5_6). It was situated on an
eminence, beyond which (south) there was no village, not even
crude cottages or huts. Such is the vast wilderness which
stretches to the Red Sea and the borders of the Persians, Ethi_
opians, and Indians. The country is a dry, sandy soil and full
of shepherds that make amends for the barrenness of the land
by the multitude of their flocks. Ita elevation gave it a wide
prospect. On the west is seen the sweep of the range from Miz_
pah to Hebron; on the east, the wilderness of Judah; on the
north, Bethlehem; to the right, in the bottom of a wild ravine,
is the cave of Adullam. Farther down, on the shores of the
Dead Sea, are “the cliffs of the wild goats,” from whose side
springs the fountain of Engedi. Beyond the Dead Sea is the
wall_like ridge of Moab, and to the south, the ruddy_tinted
mountains of Edom. Now a mournful and solitary silence
broods over that wonderful panorama. Tekoa now lies in ruins
covering four or five acres, without building sufficient to shade
a man from the scorching sun. Such was the surroundings of
the boy, Amos, who used the geographical peculiarities of his
native land with telling effect in his prophecies.

The date of his prophecy is given in Amos I: I: “In the days
of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son
of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.” This
was early in the eighth century B.C., or about 760 B.C., but the
date cannot be fixed with exactness. The earthquake referred
to is mentioned in only one other place (Zech. 14:5), and from
this the exact date cannot be ascertained.
The occasion of these prophecies is found in the history of the times in which he wrote. It was when Israel and Judah both
enjoyed great prosperity and there was much indulgence in the
luxuries of wealth by the upper classes while the poor were
suffering from their extreme poverty. The moral condition of
the people was terrible. Crime was perverted, and almost
every form of iniquity abounded in the land. The nations
round about were also corrupt and Judah had turned away
from the law of Jehovah. There was enough in the vision of
Amos from his lofty position at Tekoa to stir his righteous soul
into an outburst of denunciation. Such was the occasion of his
The canonicity of the book of Amos is abundantly supported
by both Jewish and Christian writers.
The force, beauty, and freshness of the images freely em_
ployed by Amos are very evident. Oratorical in style, graphic
in description, powerful in thought, observation, and expression
he exhibits a wonderful natural ability. The very simplicity
of his language makes it impressive. In simple, unadorned elo_
quence, in structural regularity, in natural vigor, and in lofti_
ness of thought, Amos reaches a well_grounded eminence, and
the author of such writings was in no wise behind the very
chiefest of the prophets. His prophecy is after the model of a
well_ordered discourse.
The second verse gives his text: “Jehovah will roar from
Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the pastures of
the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither.”
It is taken from Joel 3:16 and indicates the denunciatory nature
of his message.
The outline is simple in its general features. There are three
main divisions and a conclusion.

1. Title, author, and date (1:1)
2. The text and subject (1:2)
I. Denunciations of the nations (1:3 to 2:16)
1. Syria (1:3_5)
2. Philistia (1:6_8)
3. Phoenicia (1:9_10)
4. Edom (1:11_12)
5. Ammon (1:13_15)
6. Moab (2:1_3)
7. Judah (2:4_5)
8. Israel (2:6_16)
II. Proclamations to Israel (3_6)
1. Jehovah’s verdict and sentence (3)
2. Jehovah’s indictment and summons (4)
3. Jehovah’s judgment and woe (5_6)
III. Revelations for all (7:1 to 9:10)
1. The locusts – judgment threatened and restrained (7:
2. The fire – judgment threatened and restrained (7:4_6)
3. The plumb line – judgment determined (7:7_9)
4. Historical interlude – conflict with Amaziah (7:10_17)
5. The basket of fruit – judgment imminent (8:1_14)
6. Jehovah himself – judgment executed (9:1_10)
Conclusion – restoration (9:11_15)

The subject of the prophecy of Amos is judgment, or national accountability. This is indicated by his text: “Jehovah will roar from Zion,” which means that God would soon spread terror, like wild beasts when they roar, or that he would soon
display his power in executing judgment. The next clause of
the text is a parallel thought in which the figure is extended.
At the sound of God’s voice all nature withers.
“For three transgressions . . . yea, for four,” introducing
the denunciations of the nations, is a favorite phrase of the
prophet used, not to express a definite number of transgres_
sions, but means many, or multiplied transgressions, a definite
number being put for an indefinite number. (See Job 5:19 for a
parallel case.)
Fire is used in these several denunciations to symbolize all
the severities of war (see Numbers 21:28), and as an emblem
of God’s wrath (see Deuteronomy 32:22). However, in some
instances here it has a literal fulfilment in the devouring flame
The charge here brought against Syria is that they threshed
Gilead with threshing instruments of iron, the account of which
we find in 2 Kings 10:32_33; 13:3_7. The judgment here de_
nounced with the destruction of their city and the captivity
of the people, which was fulfilled when Tiglath_pileser took
Damascus, carried the people captive to Kir, and slew Rezen,
the king (2 Kings 16:9).
The charge preferred against Philistia was that she had car_
ried captive the whole people, meaning that neither age nor
sex was spared (2 Chron. 21:16; 28:18), and delivered them
over to Edom. The judgment denounced was the complete
destruction of the Philistines, which was fulfilled at different
òtimes and by different parties. Gaza was taken by Sennacherib,
by Pharaoh_Necho, and by Alexander the Great. Ashdod was
taken by Uzziah, by Sargon’s chief, Tartan, and by Psammeti_
chus, king of Egypt, and finally destroyed by the Maccabees
(I Mace. 5:68; 10:77_84; 11:4). Ashkelon was taken by Sen_
nacherib who also took Ekron. There seems to have been a
more distinct fulfilment of the prophecies relating to these cities
by Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:8; Isa. 14:29). The remnant of the
Philistines perished at the hands of the Assyrians (Isa. 20).

The charge against Phoenicia (Tyre) was that they had
delivered up all their captives to Edom and had disregarded
the brotherly covenant made by Hiram with David and Solo_
mon. The judgment denounced was Tyre’s destruction, which
was fulfilled in the thirteen years’ siege by Nebuchadnezzar
and its final and complete destruction by Alexander the Great.
The charge preferred against Edom was that of his perpetual
hatred against his brother, Jacob, and consequent pursuit of
Israel without pity. The judgment denounced was a fire upon
Teman and Bozrah, the two principal cities of Edom. This was
fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar when he captured these cities and
invaded Egypt.
The charge preferred against Ammon was her cruelty to the
people of Gilead, which occurred, perhaps, in connection with
the cruelties perpetrated by Hazael, king of Syria (2 Kings 8:
12; 10:33; cf. 2 Kings 15:16 and Hos. 13:16). The punishment
denounced upon Ammon was the destruction of Rabbah and
the captivity of their king, perhaps meaning their god, Molech.
This prophecy was fulfilled when the city was taken by Nebu_
chadnezzar, either at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem,
or in the course of his Egyptian invasion.
The charge preferred against Moab was that “he burned the
bones of the king of Edom into lime,” which was done, doubt_
less, in connection with Israel or Judah, and may have been
when the Edomites joined Jehoram and Jehoshaphat in the
league against Mesha, the king of Moab (2 Kings 3:7, 9).
There is a Jewish tradition that after this war the Moabites,
in revenge for assistance which the king of Edom had given to
the Israelites, dug up and dishonored his bones. This sacri_
legious act was meant to redound to the disgrace of Israel.
Hence this prophecy against Moab. The judgment denounced
was that Moab should be destroyed, which was fulfilled when
Nebuchadnezzar conquered this country (Jer. 27:3, 6).
The charge preferred against Judah was that he had rejected
the law of Jehovah, and had not kept his statutes; that their
lies had caused them to err, after which their fathers had
walked. The judgment denounced in this case was that Jeru_
salem should be destroyed, which was literally fulfilled by
Nebuzaradan, the captain of Nebuchadnezzar’s guard (2 Kings
25:8_12). Amos 2:4 shows that Judah was already in ‘posses_
sion of God’s law but had broken his statutes. This refutes the
radical theory as to the date of the writing of the Pentateuch.
The charge preferred against Israel was fourfold: (1) injus_
tice; (2) hardness of heart toward the poor; (3) incest; (4)
luxury combined with idolatry. The judgment denounced here
against Israel was the severest oppression and the most de_
grading captivity, which found fulfilment in the captivity
wrought by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria (2 Kings 17:6).
The prophet in this connection cites several incidents in the
history of Israel which should have taught them that God was
their defender and preserver when they humbled themselves
before him and kept his law. These examples are: (1) the de_
struction of the Amorites; (2) their deliverance from Egypt
and forty years in the wilderness; (3) God gave them prophets
and Nazarites of their own sons to instruct and lead them in
the right ways. There is here an additional charge, twofold:
(1) they had caused the Nazarites to drink wine and (2) they
had refused to let the prophets prophesy.
The passage, 2:11, is important since it shows that there were prophets and Nazarites long known in Israel before Amos – another refutation of radical criticism.
In general, there is a difference between the sins of Judah
and Israel for which they were all punished. The heathen were
punished for cruelty or inhumanity in some form; Judah, for
forsaking the law of Jehovah; Israel, for covetousness, injus_
tice, lasciviousness, sacrilege, and forgetting Jehovah’s kindness
and rejecting his messengers. This is positive evidence that all
nations as well aa individuals are under the law of retribution.

1. Who was Amos?
2. What can you say of the city of Tekoa?
3. What the date of his prophecy?
4. What the occasion of the prophecies?
5. What of the canonicity of the book of Amos?
6. What the character of this prophecy?
7. What wag his text and where did he get it?
8. What was his outline?
9. What the subject of this discourse and what the meaning of “Je_
hovah will roar from Zion”?
10. What the meaning of the phrase, “For three transgressions. . . .
yea, for four,” introducing the denunciations of the nations?
11. What the meaning of “I will send a fire, etc.” used so frequently
in these denunciations?
12. What the charge against Syria here denounced, what the judgment
and when fulfilled?
13. What the charge preferred against Philistia, what the judgment
denounced and when fulfilled?
14. What the charge against Phoenicia, what the judgment and when.
15. What the charge against Edom, what the judgment and when.
16. What the charge preferred against Ammon, what the judgment
denounced and when fulfilled?
17. What the charge preferred against Moab, what the judgment de_
nounced and when was it fulfilled?
18. What the charge preferred against Judah, what the judgment de_
nounced and when was it fulfilled?
19. What the importance of 2:47
20. What the charge preferred against Israel, what the judgment de_
nounced against her and when was it fulfilled?
21. What lessons of history here cited by the prophet and what addi_
tional charge brought against Israel?
22. What the importance of 2:11?
23. What, in general, the difference between the sins of the heathen.
nations and the sins of Judah and Israel for which they were all punished?

Amos 3:1 to 9:15

Helps commended: (1) “Bible Commentary,” (2) “Pulpit
Commentary,” (3) Pusey’s Minor Prophets, (4) “Benson’s
The section, 3:1 to 6:14, consists of three parts, or three dis_
tinct addresses, each commencing with the words, “Hear this
The first address consists, in particular, of the verdict and
sentence of Jehovah against all Israel, and is divided as fol_
lows: (1) a principle stated (3:1_8); (2) a reason assigned
(3:9_12); (3) a sentence announced (3:13_15).
The principle stated in 3:1_8 is that an effect proves a cause.
This principle is enforced by seven illustrative questions, viz:
(1) communion proves agreement; (2) the lion’s roar proves
the prey; (3) the cry of the young lion proves the prey pos_
sessed; (4) the fall of the bird proves the bait; (5) the spring_
ing of the snare proves the bird to be taken; (6) the sounding
of the trumpet proves the alarm; (7) calamity in the city
proves Jehovah. The application of all this is made by the
prophet) bringing in his text, as follows: “The lion [Jehovah]
hath roared; therefore I fear. The Lord hath spoken, there_
fore I prophesy.”
In 3:9_12 we hear the prophet giving a special invitation to
the Philistines and Egyptians, Israel’s inveterate enemies, to
assemble in Samaria to witness the great wickedness and de_
struction of Israel because they did not do right, storing up
violence and robbery in their palaces, and whose tumults and
oppressions abounded toward the people. The judgment to fol_
low was to be like the work of the lion devouring his prey.
The sentence announced (3:13_15) is the complete destruc_
tion of Israel, and the thoroughness of its execution is indicated
by the sentence of destruction against its objects and places of
worship and the smiting of the habitations of the rulers, show_
ing the complete desolation of their city, Samaria.
The second address consists, in particular, of an indictment
and a summons of Jehovah, and its parts are as follows: (1)
the king of Bashan threatened (4:1_3); (2) a sarcastic com_
mand (4:4_5) ; (3) a list of providences (4:6_11); (4) a sum_
mons to an account (4:12_13).
In 4:1_3 we have Jehovah’s threat against the carousing
and oppressive women. Bashan was famous for its flocks and
herds. The proud and luxurious matrons of Israel are here
described as like the cattle of Bashan, because the cattle of the
pastures of Bashan were uncommonly large, wanton, and head_
strong by reason of their full feeding. These women because
of their luxuries were oppressing the poor and crushing the
needy. How perverted their natures must have been from the
true instincts of womanhood! But such is the effect of luxury
without grace. How depraved and animal_like to say, “Bring
and let us drink,” but such are the marks of a well_developed
animal nature. No wonder that just here we should hear Jeho_
vah’s oath and threat announced: “they shall take you away
with hooks,” indicating their humiliation in contrast with their
present luxury and pride. How true the proverb: “Pride goeth
before a fall.”
In 4:4_5 we have a sample of the prophet’s sarcasm, com_
manding the people to multiply their offerings in their trans_
gression at Gilgal and Bethel, the two most prominent places
of worship in Israel. At these places they worshiped the calf
after the pattern of Jeroboam 1.
In 4:6_11 there are mentioned five distinct providences of
the Lord as follows: (2) a scarcity of food, or a famine, per-
haps the famine of 2 Kings 8:1; (2) a severe drought; (3) a
blasting with mildew; (4) a pestilence; (5) a destruction of
cities. The express purpose of all these was to turn the people
unto Jehovah. This is an everlasting refutation of the conten_
tion that God’s providences do not come into the realm of the
temporal. He sent the famine, he sent the drought, he sent the
blasting and mildew, he sent the pestilence, and he overthrew
the cities, and why not believe that he “is the same yesterday
and today, yea and for ever” (Heb. 13:8)? A great text is
found in Amos 4:11, and also in Amos 4:12.
In 4:12_13 we have the summons to get ready to meet a
powerful and angry God. He had exhausted his mercy and chas_
tisements to bring them back but all these things had failed,
after which he calls them to meet him in judgment. So we may
say that God is now in Christ exhausting his mercy and visiting
the world with chastisements and when all has failed, he says
to the one who has rejected his mercy and treated lightly his
visitation, “Prepare to meet thy God,” and it is appropriate
to say that we may prepare to meet God in Christ, or we must
meet him in judgment out of Christ, and out of Christ, “God is
a consuming fire.”
The third address consists of repeated announcements of
judgments, with appeals to turn and do good, and its parts are
as follows: (1) a lamentation, an exhortation, and a hope for
the remnant (5:1_15) ; (2) another lamentation, a woe, a dis_
gust, and a judgment (5:16_27); (3) another woe, an abhor_
rence, and a certain judgment (8:1_14).
In 5:1_15 we have a lamentation, an exhortation, and a hope
expressed. The lamentation is that of the prophet himself, over
the condition of Israel and the judgment already decreed. The
exhortation is to repentance and to seek the true God. The hope
is, that through repentance, a remnant of Israel may be saved.
In 5:16_27 we have another lamentation, a woe, a disgust,
and a judgment. The lamentation in this instance is that of
the people when Jehovah comes in judgment upon the land;
the woe is pronounced upon the hypocrite who wishes for the
day of Jehovah, for it will be to him an awful day; the disgust
here is that of Jehovah at their feasts, offerings, and music, be_
cause of their sins, and the judgment denounced is their cap_
tivity, beyond Damascus, or their captivity by the Assyrians.
In 6:1_14 we have another woe, an abhorrence and a certain
judgment. The woe in this passage is to the rich, luxurious op_
pressors who feel secure; the abhorrence is that of Jehovah
for the excellency, or pride, of Jacob. As a result of it all there
is denounced against Israel again her certain doom and the
extent of it particularly noted.
Amos 7:1 to 9:10 consists of revelations for all Israel, con_
veyed by means of visions. The several parts of this section
are as follows: (1) the locusts, (2) the fire, (3) the plumb line,
(4) the basket of fruit, (5) Jehovah himself.
In 7:1_3 we have the prophet’s vision of the locusts which
are represented as eating the grass of the land, the latter
growth after the king’s mowing. This signified a threatened
judgment, which is the threatened invasion of Pul (Tiglath_
pileser II) (2 Kings 15:l_17ff.), but it was restrained by the
intercession of the prophet, at which Jehovah repented and
judgment was arrested.
In 7:4_6 we have the prophet’s vision of fire which is repre_
sented as devouring the deep and was making for the land.
This signified a threatened judgment more severe than the
other, which is the second invasion of Tiglath_pileser II, who
conquered Gilead and the northern part of the kingdom and
carried some of the people captive to Assyria (2 Kings 15:29).
This, too, was restrained by the intercession of the prophet,
at which God repented and arrested the judgment.
In 7:7_9 we have the prophet’s vision of the plumb line in
the hand of Jehovah by which he signified that justice was to
be meted out to Israel and that judgment was determined. So
the prophet holds his peace and makes no more intercession.

This judgment was irremediable and typified the final conquest
by Shalmaneser.
Just after the vision of the plumb line there follows the inci_
dent of the interference of Amaziah, the priest of Bethel. This
Amaziah was an imposter, and yet held the position of priest.
He reported to Jeroboam what Amos was saying, advising his
exile. He, moreover, attempted to appeal to the fear of Amos,
and advised him to flee to Judah. The answer of Amos was full
of dignity, born of the consciousness of the divine authority
of his mission. He declared that he was no prophet, but that
Jehovah had taken him and spoken to him; thus he had become
a prophet in very deed. Then he prophesied against Amaziah
declaring that God’s judgment would overtake him and Israel.
In 8:1_14 we have the vision of a basket of ripe, summer
fruit which indicates that the people were ripe for judgment
and that judgment was imminent. Jehovah declared that the
end had come; that he would not pass by them any more. This
announcement was followed, on the part of the prophet, by an
impassioned address to the money_makers, in which he declared
the effect of their lust for gain, viz: they swallowed the needy
and caused the poor to fail. He described the intensity of that
lust, thus: the new moon and sabbath were irksome. Then
follows a figurative description of judgment, which declared
Jehovah’s perpetual consciousness of these things and his con_
sequent retribution. The final issue of judgment the prophet
declared to be a famine of the words of the Lord, as a result of
which there would come eager and fruitless search, followed by
the fainting of youth because of their thirst for a knowledge of
God. All this finds fulfilment in the events which followed in
the history of Israel. They were deprived of prophets and reve_
lations after Amos and Hosea, and the captivity came accord_
ing to this prophecy, during which they had no prophets in
the strange land of their captivity. This is a foreshadowing of
Israel’s condition today. She rejected the Messiah and for these
two thousand years she haa been without a prophet, priest or
Urim and Thummim, no revelation from God to cheer their
dark and gloomy hearts.
In 9:1_10 we have the vision of God himself standing beside
the altar which symbolizes judgment executed, though there
was no symbol, or sign. We hear the manifesto of Jehovah
himself. It is one of the most awe_inspiring visions of the whole
Bible. The message proceeded in two phases: First, an an_
nouncement of judgment irrevocable and irresistible; secondly,
a declaration of the procedure so reasonable and discriminative.
Jehovah is seen standing by the altar, declaring the stroke of
destruction to be inevitable, and all attempts at escape futile,
because he has proceeded to action. While the judgment is to
be reasonable and discriminative, the claims in which Israel
had trusted were nothing. They became as the children of the
Ethiopians. The Philistines and the Syrians had also been led
by God. The eyes of Jehovah were on the sinful kingdom and
the sifting process must go forward but no grain of wheat should perish.
In Amos 9:11_15, we have a most consoling conclusion of this prophecy in sundry evangelical promises, after so many very severe and sharp menaces.
The phrase, “In that day,” refers to the time after the events
previously mentioned had been fulfilled and extends into the
messianic age. See Acts 15:16. But what does the prophet
mean by raising up the tabernacle of David? The promise,
doubtless, at least in the first place, was intended of the return
of the Jews from the land of their captivity, their resettlement
in Judea, rebuilding Jerusalem, and attaining to the height of
power and glory which they enjoyed under the Maccabees.
This restoration was an event so extraordinary, and the hope
of it so necessary to be maintained in the minds of the Jewish
people, in order to their support under the calamity of their
seventy years of captivity, that God was pleased to foretell it
by the mouth of all his prophets. This prophecy however must
be extended to the days of the Messiah, and to the calling of the
Gentiles to the knowledge of the true God, according to Acts
15:16. They did not possess the remnant of Edom until after
their restoration in the days of Hyrcanus, when they made an
entire conquest of Edom, but the statement which follows, viz:
“and all the nations that are called by my name,” goes farther
into the future and, at least, intimates the salvation of the
In 9:13 we have the promise of the blessings of grace to come in the messianic age in which the reaping shall be so great that the reapers cannot get out of the way of the sowers. This we
see fulfilled now sometimes in a small way but these times of
harvest are but the firstfruits of the harvest which is to follow,
especially, the harvest that is to follow in the millennium.
The promise of 9:14_15 will find its complete fulfilment at
the return of the Jews to their own land and their conversion
which will usher in the millennium and extend the glorious
kingdom of our Lord.

1. Of what in general, does the section, 3:1 to 6:14 consist and how
does each part commence?
2. Of what, in particular, does the first address consist and what its
3. What is the principle stated in 3:18, how illustrated and what the
4. In 3:9_12 who were invited to witness Israel’s doom, what the
reason assigned and what was to be the character of the judgment to come upon Israel?
5. What the sentence announced in 3:13_15, and how is the thor_
oughness of its execution indicated?
6. Of what, in particular, does the second address consist and what
its parts?
7. What the force and application of “ye kine of Bashan” and what
the threat against them?
8. What of the sarcastic command of verses 4_5?
9. What the items of providence cited and what their purpose as
expressed by the prophet in 4:6_11?
10. What the summons of 4:12_13, and what application may be made
of such texts in preaching?
11. Of what, in particular, does the third address consist, and what its
12. What the lamentation, what the exhortation and what the hope, of 5:1-15?
13. What the lamentation, what the woe, what the disgust, and what.
The judgment of 5:16-27?
14 What the woe, what the abhorrence and what the certain judg_
ment of 6:1_14?
15. Of what, in general, does the section, 7:1 to 9:10, consist, and
what are its several parts?
16. What is the vision of locusts and what its interpretation?
17. What the vision of fire and what its interpretation?
18. What the vision of the plumb line and what its interpretation?
19. What historical incident follows the vision of the plumb line and
what the several points of the story in detail?
20. What the vision of the basket of fruit, what its interpretation and
what the prophet’s explanation following?
21. What the vision of God himself and what its interpretation?
22. What, in general, the prophecy of 9:11_15?
23. What the meaning of the phrase, “In that day”?
24. What does the prophet mean by raising up the tabernacle of
25. When did they possess the remnant of Edom?
26. What the meaning of 9:13?
27. What the fulfilment of 9:14_15?

Hosea 1:1 to 4:5

Books commended: (1) “Pulpit Commentary,” (2) “Bible
Commentary,” (3) “Cambridge Bible,” (4) Sampey’s Syllabus.
Hosea, the prophet, was one of three who bore this name.
The other two were Hoshea, afterward called Joshua (Num.
13:8_16), and Hoshea, the last king of Israel. These are short_
ened forms of the name “Jehoshea” which means, the Lord is
my help, but the short form means savior, or deliverer. Hosea,
the prophet, was a son of Beeri, but we know nothing of Beeri;
nor do we know where Hosea was born or buried. We know
that he was a prophet of Israel and, perhaps, was a native of
the Northern Kingdom, but his tribal relation is only a guess
with much uncertainty. He had frequent messages for Judah
as well as for Israel, and at first he praised Judah but later on
he warned and threatened her.
In the title Hosea is said to have prophesied “in the days of
Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in
the days of Jeroboam, the son of Joash, king of Israel.” Now
the reign of these kings of Judah covered a period of one hun_
dred and twelve years; so he must have lived to be quite an old
man. Hosea probably commenced his prophetic work in the
latter part of the reign of Jeroboam and in the early part of
the reign of Uzziah, and extended it through the reigns of Joth_
am, Ahaz, and into the reign of Hezekiah, which would give
us a period of fifty or sixty years for his work, say from 780
B.C. to 725 B.C., about fifty_five years. The internal evidence
fully corroborates the statement of verse 1.

The period covered by his prophetic utterances was
undoubtedly the darkest in the whole history of the kingdom of Israel. Political life was characterized by anarchy and misrule. The throne was occupied by men who obtained possession by the murder of their predecessors and the people were governed by military despotism. Zechariah was slain after a reign of six
months; Shallum, after only one month. A dozen years later
Pekahish was assassinated by Pekah, who met the same fate at
the hands of Hoshea. All these were ungodly rulers, and the
morals of the nation were sinking to the lowest ebb. The con_
ditions were terrible in the extreme; luxurious living, robbery,
oppression, falsehood, adultery, murder, accompanied by the
most violent intolerance of any form of rebuke. The language
of the prophet is influenced by the confusion about him in the
nation and the disgrace of his own home. Then Israel being
situated midway between Egypt and Assyria, two factions
existed: one favoring alliance with Egypt; the other, with As_
syria. Such were the circumstances which furnished the occa_
sion of this prophecy.
The genuineness and canonicity of the prophecies of Hosea
have never been widely called in question, nor has the book of
Hosea been successfully distributed among the several authors
differing in character, culture, and date, a division of labor
which has played a great part in the criticism of other prophets.
The book of Hosea, of a date and authenticity unquestioned,
is a witness of the utmost value for previous portions of the
Old Testament. A number of allusions put it beyond all rea_
sonable doubt, that Hosea, in the eighth century before Christ,
had in his hands a Hebrew literature identical with much of
which we possess at this time.
In this book we find several allusions to the history of Gene_
sis: (1) Adam’s sin in paradise and expulsion therefrom (Hos.
6:7) ; (2) the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Hos. 11:8) ;
(3) God’s promise to Abraham (Hos. 1:10); (4) Jacob’s ex_
perience (Hos. 12:3_4:13:15).
In Exodus, besides general allusions to Moses, we have the
following verbal references: (1) Hosea 1:11 is a reference to
Exodus 1:10; (2) Hosea 2:17, to Exodus 23:13. The curse de_
nounced in Leviticus 26:14ff. is alluded to in Hosea. 7:12. The
sin in the matter of Baal_peor discussed in Numbers is alluded
to in Hosea 9:10.
There are several verbal citations of passages in Deuterono_
my: (1) Deuteronomy 31:18, in Hosea 3:1; (2) Deuteronomy
17:8_13, in Hosea 4:4; (3) Deuteronomy 19:14; 27:17, in
Hosea 5:10, and in many other instances. So we can find al_
lusions to Joshua, Judges, and Samuel, showing that all these
books were in the canon of sacred Scriptures in the time of
Hosea just as we have them today.
Many of the finest passages in Hosea, practically all of the
promises, are treated by the radical critics as interpolations by
later writers; most of the references to Judah are stricken out,
and the historical allusions to great men and events in the past
are also cut out. This is revolutionary criticism and completely
reverses the message of Hosea. There is not a scintilla of evi_
dence to justify such a mutilation of “this book.
To show the fallacy of the radical critic theory of the Penta_
teuch I take the following from Sampey’s Syllabus:
Professor James Robertson, in his able work on the Early Religion
of Israel, has delivered heavy blows against the current radical
theory of the origin of the Pentateuch, by emphasizing the following
facts concerning Amos and Hosea, who are admitted by all parties
to have lived and labored in the eighth century, B.C.:
1. These prophets had a rich vocabulary of moral and theological
terms, implying a high degree of religious culture prior to their time.
2. They displayed literary skill such as would argue for a high
development of the Hebrew language and literature before their time.
3. Both of these prophets, as well as Micah and Isaiah, far from
regarding themselves as pathfinders in thought and practice, speak
of their work as a return to the law of God given in former times.
They plainly regard themselves as reformers, not innovators. These three lines of argument unite in favoring a date for the Pentateuch much earlier than that assigned by Wellhausen and his school.
Hosea, of all the prophets, is the most difficult to translate
and interpret. His style is marked by obscure brevity; his
mind was so aflame with the fiery message which he brought
that he did not stop to weigh words for the sake of clearness.
Jerome says, “Hosea is concise, and speaks in detached sen_
tences.” The prophet felt too deeply to express himself calmly.
Amos 1_3 is in prose; the rest of the book is rhythmical, but
almost destitute of parallelism, a general characteristic of He_
brew poetry. The first three chapters are symbolical and strik_
ingly graphic; the rest is literal, that “he may run who reads,”
i.e., “run through it in reading.”
This book naturally divides itself into two parts: a shorter
one (1_3), and a longer one (4_14), as follows:

I. The preparation of the prophet (1_3)
1. His domestic relations and the symbolical import (1:2
to 2:1)
(1) His orders, his marriage, and his family (1:2_9)
(2) His vision of hope (1:10102:1)
2. His domestic tragedy, a revelation (2:2_23)
(1) The charge explained (2:2_7)
(2) The severity of love (2:8_13)
(3) The tenderness of love (2:14_20)
(4) The promise of enlargement (2:21_23)
3. His reclamation of Gomer and its revelation (3:1_5)
(1) His orders (3:1)
(2) His obedience (3:2_3)
(3) His vision of future Israel (3:4_5)
II. The preaching of the prophet (4:1 to 14:8)
NOTE: Of all the parts of the Bible, this, perhaps, is the
hardest to analyze. Sampey says, “These chapters defy logical analysis,” and Bishop Lowth calls them “scattered leaves of a sibyl’s book.” This section consists of detached selections from Hosea’s prophecies, without regard to logical order. They are perhaps more chronological than logical. There have been several attempts to analyze these chapters but all alike seem to have been baffled with the difficulty of the task. The author ventures, as a kind of analysis to guide us in our study of this
section, the following selected outline:
1. Pollution and pursuit (4:1 to 6:3)
2. Pollution and punishment (6:4 to 10:15)
3. Pollution and pity (10:1 to 14:8)
On the three main views of the marriage of Hosea I take the
following from Sampey’s Syllabus:
1. That the whole is an allegory or parable. This is the view of
Calvin, who objects to an actual marriage of the prophet with an unchaste woman on the ground that it would discredit him with the very people whom he wished to influence. He says: “It would have then exposed the prophet to the scorn of all if he had entered a brothel and taken to himself a harlot.” Calvin insists that the expression “wife of whoredom” could mean nothing less than a common prostitute. He replies to the argument that this was an exceptional case by saying that it seems inconsistent with reason that the Lord should thus gratuitously render his prophet con_
temptible. He thinks the expression, “Children of wantoness,” also
militates against the literal view. Calvin seems to think that the woman referred to in the third chapter was different from the one named in the first, but that we are not to imagine a real occurrence in either case. Calvin’s interpretation, in detail, of the language of Hosea seems to be greatly weakened by his theory of the imaginary character of the marriage.
2. Some think that Hosea actually married a woman who was
leading an unchaste life; that she bore three children to him and then lapsed into her old life once more, sinking into a condition of slavery from which she was bought by Hosea and restored to his home, though not at first to the full intimacy of married life. This view, it must be confessed, would seem the most natural to a plain reader. The chief objection is moral. How could the Holy God direct a pure_minded prophet to form such an unnatural union? Some authorities think that Hosea’s language, in describing his marriage has been colored by his later experiences; and that he has interpreted God’s command to him to marry in darker words by reason of the experiences which followed the union. However that may be, it seems exceedingly difficult to believe that God would direct His prophet to marry a woman already living in unchastity.
3. Others hold that Hosea was directed to marry a woman given
to idolatry, an idolatry which was often associated with licentiousness, although his bride was not an actually unchaste woman at first, but only a spiritual adulteress. She bore to the prophet three children, to whom symbolical names were given. Later on, idolatry brought forth its natural fruitage, and Hosea’s wife became an actual adulteress. Whether she then deserted Hosea, or whether he divorced her, we are not told. Now Hosea could understand why Jehovah was grieved with unfaithful Israel to the point of casting her off. The unspeakable love_ and compassion of God for His unfaithful spouse prepared Hosea in some measure to obey the divine command to recover his own unfaithful wife and restore her
to his home.
The third view has more to recommend it than either of the other
two. Hosea’s bitter domestic sorrow became an object_lessen for
himself and his people. His heart was almost broken by shame
and grief, but he was thereby fitted to portray the heinousness of
apostasy, on the one hand, and, on the other, Jehovah’s tenderness
and compassion toward His unfaithful people.
In 1:2_9 we have set forth the condition of the people of Is-rael at this time and their relation to Jehovah. There are several words and phrases in it that need explanation. “When Jehovah spoke at the first” means the beginning of Hosea’s prophecies in the latter part of the reign of Jeroboam II, and refers to God’s first command to him. “Gomer” means failing, or consumma-tion and indicates the decline of Israel at that time because of her sins. “Jezreel,” the name of the first_born means scattered by God and is contrasted with “Israel” which means, prince with God, i.e., “Jezreel” indicates a prophecy of Israel’s scattering which was fulfilled in the destruction of the house of Jehu in which God would avenge the awful deeds of Jehu though he did his work at the command of God, but with the spirit of venge-ance and with no thought of the glory of God. The kingdom of Israel, though spared about fifty years, soon ceased, when her bow, the symbol of her strength, was broken in the valley of Jezreel by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, & Israel was scattered.
Then a daughter was born to Gomer whom the prophet was
instructed to call “Lo_ruhamah,” which means hath not ob_
tained mercy and as applied to Israel at this time, signifies
that God had visited her in her wickedness; that Israel was pass-ing beyond the hope of mercy and pardon. Then the prophet contrasts with this condition of Israel the mercy of Jehovah to Judah which was fulfilled in the destruction of Sennacherib’s
army and the extension of the life of Judah one hundred and
thirty_two years beyond that of Israel. This prophecy concerning Judah was, doubtless, intended to encourage the faithful in Israel.
Then followed a third child born to the woman, whom the
prophet was instructed to name “Lo_ammi,” which means not
my people and indicates Jehovah’s complete rejection of Israel
because of her violation of the marriage covenant. So the
prophet’s children symbolized, step by step, the sad gradation
of Israel’s fast_coming calamity. The name, “Jezreel,” scat_
tered of God, denotes the first blow dealt to them by divine
Providence, from which it was possible for them by repentance
to recover; “Lo_ruhamah,” without mercy, imparts another
and heavier blow, yet not beyond all hope of recovery; but “Lo_
ammi,” not my people, puts an end to hope, implying the re_
jection of Israel by the Almighty. The national covenant was
annulled; God had cast off his people who were left hopeless
and helpless, because of their sinful and ungrateful departure
from the fountain of all blessing.
In 1:10 to 2:1 we have set forth clearly the promise of the
return and conversion of the Jews. There is, perhaps, a primary
fulfilment in the return under Zerubbabel and Joshua but the
larger and clearer fulfilment is yet to be realized in the gather_
ing of the Jews and their consequent conversion at which time
the millennium will be introduced and the great multitudes of
spiritual Israel here referred to will be converted. Then Jezreel
will be reversed in its application and made to apply to the
planting of Israel in her own land; and right where they are
now said not to be God’s people they shall be called God’s peo_
ple. Israel and Judah shall have one head, the Messiah, and not
only will Jezreel be reversed in its application, but also the
names of the other two children will lose their negative mean_
ing, and, instead of Lo_ruhamah and Lo_ammi, there will be
Ammi, my people and Ruhhamah, the beloved. Such will
be the conditions of fellowship on their return. This accords
with Romans 9:26_27 and other New Testament quotations.
The charge against the Israelites in 2:2_7 is their idolatries
in which they have forgotten him and their obligations to him.
The mother here is Israel taken collectively and is represented
as a wife, unfaithful to the marriage relation. The threat of
stripping her naked is in accord with the Oriental custom of
dealing with the harlot, which is the method also of the Ger_
mans in dealing with an adulteress. This is described by Tacit_
us thus: Accisis crimibus nudatam coram propingius expellit
domo maritus. Her children are the children of Israel individu_
ally who are also barred from the privileges of the covenant
and there are no blessings for them. Her lovers mentioned here
are her idols to which she had turned for support, for which the
Lord pronounces the curse upon them, that will turn them back
to himself.
The severity of Jehovah’s love for them is shown in 2:8_13.
For her disregard of Jehovah’s blessings, and attributing them
to Baalim, he removes them and subjects Israel to the most
severe chastisements, here described as “nakedness,” “shame,”
“mirth to cease, her feasts, her new moons, and her sabbaths,
and all her solemn assemblies,” the waste of the land, the visit
of the days of Baalim, etc., which are expressions of the severity
of his love to bring Israel to repentance. The fulfilment of these
predictions we find in part in the conditions of the captivity
but the author believes the reference here to the feasts and
solemn assemblies to include the fulfilment of them by Christ
on the cross as expressed in Colossians 2:14_17.
The passage, 2:14_20, is in contrast with the preceding para_
graph and should be translated: “Notwithstanding, I will al_
lure, etc.,” which expresses Jehovah’s kindness to Israel in her
captivity, which is intended to allure her to return to him. He
shows here his tender love for Israel by making her troubles
valley of Achor) the door of her hope. The new relation is ex_
pressed by the word, “Ishi,” which means my husband in_
stead of “Baali,” my master. These terms are appellatives
and should not be translated as proper names. There is a play
upon the word, “Baal,” by which it is made to express their
former relation to Jehovah as servant and master, because of
Israel’s going after Baalim, as if to say, “If you make Baal
your God, then I will be to you as Baali, i.e., master, but in
this captivity I will take Baalim out of your mouth.” This is
one of the blessings of the captivity, viz: The permanent cure
of Israel of all forms of idolatry.
Then his love finds expression in the covenant with the beasts
of the field, the doing away with war and the establishing of
the betrothal relation in perfect righteousness. The covenant
with the beasts here seems to correspond exactly with Isaiah
11:6_9 in which there is a clear reference to the messianic age,
and does not find its larger fulfilment until the millennium.
May the good Lord hasten the time when
No strife shall rage, nor hostile feuds
Disturb these peaceful years;
To plowshares men shall beat their swords,
To pruning_hooks, their spears.
No longer hosts, encount’ring hosts,
Shall crowds of slain deplore;
They hang the trumpet in the hall,
And study war no more.
In 2:21_23 we have a clear and distinct promise of the con_
version of the Jews and their consequent evangelization (to_
gether with Gentile Christians) of the world in the millennium.
The blessings of this period are given in the terms of both the
temporal and the spiritual, the temporal referring to the re_
sponse of the heavens and the earth to the call of God and his
people in giving blessings and the spiritual blessings are ex_
pressed in the sowing of Israel among the nations and the
blessings upon them who were not God’s people. This certainly
comprehends the time of the millennium in which the Jews shall play such a signal part in the evangelization of the world, as expressed in Romans 9:23.
Chapter 3 sets forth God’s command to Hosea to go and buy
back Gomer, his unfaithful wife, who had been sold as a slave,
the prophet’s prompt obedience and his vision of future Israel.
This is an illustration of God’s great and boundless love for
depraved unfaithful Israel, though like the unfaithful wife, she
had forsaken Jehovah, her husband. The prophet kept her
many days exercising the restraint upon her necessary to bring
her to repentance. So the prophet explains that the children of
Israel shall abide many days without king, etc., after which
they shall return and seek Jehovah, their God, and shall have
his favor upon them in the latter days.
There was a partial fulfilment of verse 4 in the period of the
captivity, but surely there is a clear prophecy here of the long
period of the tribulation which followed the Jewish rejection
of the Messiah and which will continue until the Jews shall
look on him whom they have pierced and by faith embrace him
as their long looked_for Messiah. As we behold the Jew today
we see him “without king, and without prince, and without sac_
rifice, and without pillar, and without ephod or teraphim,” but
after many days he shall turn and seek Jehovah his God and
David (Christ) his king and in the days of their ingathering
will be the joy of the harvest.

1. Who was Hosea?
2. What the date of his prophecy?
3. What the occasion, or circumstances, of his prophecies?
4. What of the genuineness and canonicity of this book?
5. What its relation, in general, to the sacred canon?
6. What allusions do we find in this book to the book of Genesis?
7. What allusions to the history in Exodus?
8. What allusion to Leviticus?
9. What allusion to Numbers?
10. What allusions to Deuteronomy?
11. How do the Radical Critics deal with the book of Hosea?
12. What the relation of Amos and Hosea to recent theories of radical
criticism respecting the origin of the Pentateuch, as shown by Prof. James Robertson?
13. What can you say of the character and style of this prophecy?
14. What the outline, or analysis, of the book?
15. What the three main views of the marriage of Hosea and which
is the more commendable?
16. What is the interpretation and application of 1:2_9?
17. What the promise of 1:10 to 2:1?
18. What the charge against Israel as revealed in the domestic tragedy
of 2:2_7 ?
19. How is the severity of Jehovah’s love for them shown in 2:8_13,
and what the fulfilment of the predictions contained therein?
20. How does Jehovah show the tenderness of his love in 2:14_20 and
what the fulfilment of its predictions?
21. What the promise of 2:21_23 and when the ideals here set forth
to be realized?
22. What the contents of chapter III and what is revelation?
23. What the fulfilment of the predictions of 3:4_5?

Hosea 4:1 to 14:9

What has previously been presented in figure and symbol in
the first section of the book is now plainly and literally stated.
Jehovah’s controversy with Israel is set forth in Hosea 4:1_5.
Someone has called this “The Lord’s Lawsuit” in which he
brings grave charges against Israel for sins of omission followed
by sins of commission. The sins of omission which led to the
sins of commission are that there were no truth, no goodness,
and no knowledge of God in the land. These omissions led to
the gravest sins of commission, viz: profanity, covenant_
breaking, murder, stealing, and adultery. The evidence in this
case was so strong that there was no plea of “not guilty” en_
tered, and Jehovah proceeded at once, after making the indict_
ment, to announce the sentence: Destruction!
This verdict of destruction was for the lack of knowledge,
which emphasizes the responsibility of the opportunity to know.
They had rejected knowledge and had forgotten the law of
Jehovah, and as the priests were the religious leaders and in_
structors of the people, the sentence is heavy against them,
but “like people, like priest” shows the equality of the respon_
sibility and the judgment. There is no excuse for either. He
who seeks to know the agenda, God will reveal the credenda.
The sentence is again stated, thus: Rejection, forgetting her
children, shame, requite them their doings, hunger and harlotry.
Such a sentence hung over them like a deadly pall.
In 4:11_14 whoredom and wine are named together, not by
accident but because they are companion evils, which is the
universal testimony of those who practice either. Here they
are said to take away the understanding, or as the Hebrew puts
it, the heart. Both are literally true. That the understanding is
marred and blighted by these evils is evidenced in the case of
the thousands who have rendered themselves unfit for service
anywhere by wasting their strength with wine and harlots.
That the heart, the seat of affections, is destroyed by these evils
witness the thousands of divorce cases in our courts today. By
such a course the very vitals of man are burnt out and he then
becomes the prey to every other evil in the catalogue. Let the
youth of our country heed the warning of the prophet. Here
Israel, engrossed with these sins, is pictured as going deeper
and deeper in sin and degradation until they pass beyond the
power of description. Notice that the Lord here holds the men
responsible and pronounces a mighty invective against the
modem double standard of morals. In God’s sight the trans_
gressor is the guilty party, whether man or woman.
Though Israel has played the harlot, Judah is warned in 4:
15-19 that she may not follow the example of Israel. The places
of danger are pointed out and the example of Israel is used to
enforce the warning. Israel is stubborn; Ephraim is joined to his idols; let him alone. Israel is wrapped in the winds of destruc-tion and shall soon be put to shame, therefore, take heed, Judah.
There are several notable things in the address of 5:1_7:
First, the whole people – priests, Israel, and the royal houseù
was involved in the judgment because each one was responsible
for the existing conditions, their great centers of revolt against
Jehovah being pointed out as Mizpeh, east of the Jordan; and
Tabor, west of the Jordan. Second, the fact that Jehovah him_
self was the rebuker of them. God is the one undisputable
judge and he will judge and he will judge them all.
Though the mills of God grind slowly,
Yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience He stands waiting,
With exactness grinds He all,
Third, God’s omniscience: “I know Ephraim, and Israel is
not hid from me.” So he knows us and there is nothing hid from
him. Fourth, men are hindered from turning to God by their
gins. Fifth, positive instruction awaits the sinner (v. 5). Sixth,
gacrifices and seeking are too late after doom is pronounced.
Repentance must come within the space allotted for it; other_
wise, it is too late.
The cornet and trumpet in 5:8_15 signifies the alarm in view
of the approaching enemy. In the preceding paragraph the
prophet signified their certain destruction and now he indicates
that it is at hand, again assigning the reason, that Judah had
become as bold as those who remove the landmarks, and Ephra_
im was content to walk after man’s commandments. Then he
shows by the figure of the moth and the woodworm that he is
slowly consuming both Israel and Judah, but they were apply_
ing to other powers for help to hold out and that the time would
come when he, like the lion, would make quick work of his
judgments upon Israel and Judah; that they will not seek him
till their affliction comes.
Paragraph 6:1_3 is the exhortation of the Israelites to one
another at the time of their affliction mentioned in the last verse
of the preceding chapter and should be introduced by the word,
“saying,” as indicated in the margin of 5:15. The expressions,
“He hath torn” and “he hath smitten,” evidently refer to the
preceding verses which describe Jehovah’s dealing with Israel
and Judah as a lion. This exhortation represents them after
their affliction, saying to one another, “Come, and let us return
unto Jehovah,” etc. The “two days” and the “third day” are
expressions representing short periods, not literal or typical
days. They are then represented as pursuing knowledge which
is the opposite to their present condition in their lack of knowl_
edge. Now they are perishing for the lack of knowledge but
then they will flourish as land flourishes in the time of the latter
rain. There is a primary fulfilment of this prophecy in the re_
turn after the captivity but the larger fulfilment will be at their
final return and conversion at which commences the revival
destined to sweep the world into the kingdom of God. As Peter
says, it will be “the times of refreshing from the presence of the
Lord” (Acts 3:19).
A paraphrase of Hosea 6:4_11 shows its interpretation and
application, thus: “0 Ephraim, 0 Judah, I am perplexed as to
what remedy next to apply to you; your goodness is so shallow
and transitory that my judgments have to be repeated from
time to time. I desire goodness, i.e., works of charity, the right
attitude of life, and the proper condition of the heart, rather
than sacrifice. But instead of this you have, like Adam in the
garden of Eden, transgressed my covenant and have dealt
treacherously against me, as in the case of the Gileadites and
the case of the murderous priests in the way to Shechem, and
oh, the horribleness of your crimes! and, 0 Judah, there is a
harvest for you, too.”
In the charges against Israel in 7:1_16 the prophet gives the
true state of affairs, viz: that the divine desire to heal was frus_
trated by the discovery of pollution, and by their persistent
ignoring of God; that the pollution of the nation was manifest
in the king, the princes, and the judges; that Ephraim was mix_
ing among the people and had widespread influence, over the
ten tribes, yet he was as a cake not turned; that he was an utter
failure, being developed on one side, and on the other destroyed
by burning; that he was unconscious of his wasting strength
and ignored the plain testimony of the Pride of Israel; that as
a silly dove, he was indicating fear and cowardice. Then the
prophet concludes the statement of the case by a declaration of
the utter folly of the people whom God was scourging toward
redemption, to which they responded by howling, assembling,
and rebelling.
Now we take up chapter 8. From the statement of the case
the prophet turned, in verses 1_14, to the pronouncement of
judgment by the figure of the trumpet lifted to the mouth, ut_
tering five blasts, in each of which the sin of the people was set

forth as revealing the reason for judgment. The first blast de_
clared the coming of judgment under the figure of an eagle,
because of transgression and trespass. The second blast em_
phasized Israel’s sin of rebellion, in that they had set up kings
and princes without authority of Jehovah. The third dealt with
Israel’s idolatry, announcing that Jehovah had cast off the calf
of Samaria. The fourth denounced Israel’s alliances and de_
clared that her hire among the nations had issued in her dimin_
ishing. The fifth drew attention to the altars of sin and
announced the coming judgment.
These judgments in detail are given in chapter 9. Its first
note was that of the death of joy. Israel could not find her joy
like other peoples. Having known Jehovah, everything to which
she turned in turning from him, failed to satisfy. How true is
this of the individual backslider! The unsatisfied heart is con_
stantly crying out,
Where is the blessedness I knew,
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul_refreshing view
Of Jesus and his word?
The second note was that of actual exile to which she must
pass: back to the slavery of Egypt and Assyria and away from
the offerings and feasts of the Lord. The third was that of the
cessation of prophecy. The means of testing themselves would
be corrupted. The fourth declared the retributive justice of
fornication. The prophet traced the growth of this pollution
from its beginning at Baal_peor, and clearly set forth the in_
evitable deterioration of the impure people. The fifth and last
was that of the final casting out of the people by God so that
they should become wanderers among the nations.
In chapter 10 we have the prophet’s recapitulation and ap_
peal. This closes the section. The whole case is stated under
the figure of the vine. Israel was a vine of God’s planting
which had turned its fruitfulness to evil account and was there_
fore doomed to his judgment. The result of this judgment
would be the lament of the people that they had no king who
was able to deliver them, and chastisement would inevitably
follow. The last paragraph is an earnest and passionate ap_
peal to return to loyalty.
Some things in chapter 10 need special explanation:
First, note the expression here, “They will say to the moun_
tains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us.” This furnishes
the analogue for the final destruction of the world and the
judgment as given in Luke 23:30 and Revelation 6:16. Here
the expression is used to indicate the horrors of the capture
and destruction of the kingdom of Israel, the sufferings and
distress of which are a foreshadowing of the great tribulation
at the end of the world.
Second, the reference to Gibeah in 10:9 needs a little expla_
nation. This sin of Gibeah is the sin of the shameful outrage
which with its consequences is recorded in Judges 19_20. That
sin became proverbial, overtopping, as it did, all the ordinary
iniquities, by its shameless atrocity and heinousness. By a
long_continued course of sin, even from ancient days, Ephraim
had been preparing for a fearful doom.
The third reference is to Shalman who destroyed Beth_arbel
(10:14). There are several theories about this incident. Some
think that “Shalman” is a short form of “Shalmaneser,” that
Shalmaneser IV, who in the invasion which is mentioned (2
Kings 17:3) fought a battle in the valley of Jezreel, in which
he broke the power of Samaria in fulfilment of Hosea 1:5 and
about the same time stormed the neighboring town of Arbela,
but who this “Shalman” was and what place was “Beth_arbel”
are only matters of uncertain conjecture. All that is positively
known is that the sack of Beth_arbel had made upon the minds
of the Israelites an impression similar to that which in the
seventeenth century was made far and wide by the sack of
According to our brief outline the title of section 11:1 to
14:8 is “Pollution and Pity.” This third cycle of the prophecy
sets forth the pity which Jehovah has for his sinning people,
and contains a declaration of Jehovah’s attitude toward Israel
notwithstanding her sin. Chapters 11_13 are for the most part
the speech of Jehovah himself. He sums up, and in so doing
declares his sense of the awfulness of their sin, pronouncing
his righteous judgment thereupon. Yet throughout the move_
ment the dominant notes are those of pity and love, and the
ultimate victory of that love over sin, and consequently over
judgment. Three times in the course of this great message of
Jehovah to his people (11:1 to 13:16), the prophet interpolates
words of his own.
This message of Jehovah falls into three clearly marked ele_
ments which deal: (1) with the present in the light of past
love (11:1_11); (2) with the present in the light of present
love (12:7_11) ; (3) with the present in the light of future love
The prophet’s interpolations set forth the history of Israel
indicating their relation to Jehovah, and pronounce judgment.
They form a remarkable obligate accompaniment, in a minor
key, to the majestic love song of Jehovah, and constitute a
contrasting introduction to the final message of the prophet.
The first of them reveals the prophet’s sense of Jehovah’s
controversy with Judah, his just dealings with Jacob, and,
reminiscent of Jacob’s history, he makes a deduction and an
appeal (11:12 to 13:6). The second traces the progress of Is_
rael to death (12:12 to 13:3). The third declares their doom
Then in general, Jehovah’s message in 11:1_11 is as follows:
In this first movement, Jehovah reminded the people of his
past love for them in words full of tenderness, setting out
their present condition in its light, and crying, “How shall I
give thee up?” Which inquiry was answered by the deter_
mined declaration of the ultimate triumph of love, and the
restoration of the people.
There are two incidents of Israel’s history cited in this first
part of Jehovah’s message. The first incident cited is the

calling of Israel out of Egypt, which is quoted in Matthew
2:15 and applied to our Lord Jesus Christ as a fulfilment of
this prophecy. Hosea clearly refers to the calling of Israel
out of Egypt, the nation being elsewhere spoken of as
God’s son (Ex. 4:22; Jer. 3:9). But there is evident typical
relation between Israel and the Messiah.
As Israel in the childhood of the nation was called out of Egypt,
so Jesus. We may even find resemblance in minute details; his
temptation of forty days in the desert, resembles Israel’s temptation
of forty years in the desert, which itself corresponded to the forty
days spent by the spies (Num. 14:34). Thus we see how Hosea’s
historical statement concerning Israel may have been also a predic_
tion concerning the Messiah, as the Evangelist declares it was. It
is not necessary to suppose that this was present to the prophet’s
consciousness. Exalted by inspiration, a prophet may well have said
things having deeper meanings than he was distinctly aware of, and
which only a later inspiration, coming when the occasion arose,
could fully unfold – BROADUS on Matthew 2:15.
The second incident in the history of God’s people cited is
the destruction of Adman, Zeboirn, Sodom, and Gomorrah,
all of which are mentioned in Deuteronomy 29:23 as de_
stroyed by Jehovah for their wickedness. The warning is a
powerful one to Ephraim, or Israel, who are here threatened
with destruction.
The prophet’s message in his first interpolation (11:12 to
12:6) is a lesson from the history of Jacob showing Israel’s
relation to him. The prophet here goes back to the earliest
history of Jacob showing God’s dealing with him from his
conception to his settlement at Bethel, where God gave him
the promise of a multitude of descendants. This bit of his_
tory includes the struggle between him and Esau before birth,
and his wrestling with the angel.
In 12:7_11 Jehovah sets out their present sin in the light
of his present love. The sin of Ephraim and its pride and
impertinence are distinctly stated and yet over all, love tri_
umphs. Jehovah declared himself to be the God who de_
livered them from Egypt, and who would be true to the mes_
sage of the prophets, to the visions of the seers and to the
similitudes of the ministry of the prophets. There is an allu_
sion in verse 7 to Jacob’s deception of Isaac, which character_
istic seems to have been handed down to his posterity, as here
In the prophets second interpolation (12:12 to 13:3) he
traces the progress of Israel to death, beginning at the flight
to the field of Aram, through the exodus from Egypt and the
preservation to the present, in which Ephraim was exalted in
Israel, offended in Baal and died. Their certain doom is here
Then follows Jehovah’s message in 13:4_14 in which he sets
forth the present condition of Israel in the light of his future
love. Sin abounds, and therefore judgment is absolutely un_
avoidable. Nevertheless, the mighty strength of love must
overcome at last.
There are several things in the passage worthy of special
note. First, the allusions here to Jehovah’s dealings with
them from Egypt to their destination in Canaan, their exalta_
tion and his destruction of them. Second, the allusion to their
history under kings, beginning with Saul, whom he gave them
in his anger and whom he took away in his wrath. The state_
ment may apply to the long line of kings of the Northern
Kingdom, but it fits the case of Saul more especially and
throws light on the problem of Saul’s mission as king of Israel.
Third, the promise of their restoration under the figure of a
resurrection (13:14), which is quoted and applied to the final
resurrection by Paul (I Cor. 15:55) and which shows the typi_
cal import of this passage. It is like a flash of light in the
darkest hour of despair.
Dr. Pusey on this passage has well said:
God by his prophets mingles promises of mercy in the midst of
his threats of punishment. His mercy overflows the bounds of the
occasion upon which he makes it known. He had sentenced Ephraim
to temporal destruction. This was unchangeable. He points to that
which turns all temporal loss into gain, that eternal redemption. The
words are the fullest which could have been chosen. The word
rendered “ransom” signifies rescued them by the payment of a price;
the word rendered “redeem” relates to one who, as the nearest of
kin, had the right to acquire anything as his own by paying the price.
Both words in their exactest sense, describe what Jesus did, buying
us with a price . . . and becoming our near kinsman by his incarna_
tion. . . . The words refuse to be tied down to temporal deliverance.
A little longer continuance in Canaan is not a redemption from the
power of the grave; nor was Ephraim so delivered.
The expression, “repentance shall be hid from mine eyes,”
means that God will never turn from his purpose to be merci_
ful to Israel.
In the prophet’s last interpolation (13:15_16) he goes back
to the death sentence showing the complete destruction of
Ephraim and Samaria by the Eastern power, Assyria. The
reference to Ephraim’s fruitfulness goes back to the promise
of Jacob to Joseph, “He shall be a fruitful bough,” though
Ephraim had turned this fruitfulness to evil and thus is
brought to desolation.
Chapter 14 gives us the final call of the prophet with the
promise of Jehovah. The call was to the people to return
because they had fallen by iniquity. It suggests the method
of returning, as being that of bringing words of penitence,
and forsaking all false gods. To this Jehovah answered in a
message full of hope for the people, declaring that he would
restore, renew, and ultimately reinstate them. There is no
question but that this final word of prophecy has a reference
to the return from the exile but that this return does not ex_
haust the meaning of this prophecy is also very evident. The
larger fulfilment is to be spiritual and finds its expression in
the final conversion of the Jews as voiced by Peter: “Repent
ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted
out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the
presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
The book closes with a brief epilogue, which demands at_
tention to all the prophet has written, whether for warning, or
reproof, or correction in righteousness, or encouragement to
piety and virtue. Like the dictates of the Word, so the dis_
pensations of his providence are to some the savor of life, to
others the savor of death. So it is added that, while the
righteous walk therein, in them the wicked stumble.
In closing this chapter I will say that Hosea occupies a pe_
riod of transition in developing the messianic idea from the
earlier prophets to Micah and Isaiah, in whose writings
abounds the messianic element:
(1) Hosea, like Amos, predicts the destruction of the king_
dom of Israel, but he looks beyond it to a brighter day, when
the children of Israel will be as the sand of the sea in num_
ber, will be accepted of Jehovah as sons and daughters, and
Judah and Israel will have one head, Christ (Hos. 1:10 to 2:1,
et al).
(2) Hosea’s experience with an unfaithful wife is an object
lesson of God’s forgiveness of Israel. Their spiritual adultery
must lead them into exile but Jehovah will betroth Israel to
himself in righteousness, and take the Gentiles into the same
covenant (Hos. 2:2 to 3:5; Rom. 9:25_26).
(3) Hosea 11:1 was fulfilled in the return of Joseph and
Mary from Egypt with the babe, Jesus (Matt. 2:15). So
Jesus the antitype of Adam, Israel, and David.
(4) Hosea 11:8_11 expresses Jehovah’s promise to restore
(5) Hosea 13:14 is a messianic promise foreshadowing the
(6) Hosea 14:1_8 is a messianic promise of Israel’s final
repentance, God’s reinstatement of them and their abundant
blessings in the millennium.
I quote Dr. Sampey:
In general, the earlier prophets describe clearly a terrible captivity
of Jehovah’s people, to be followed by a return to their own land,
where they were to enjoy the divine blessing. The everlasting love
and compassion of Jehovah are repeatedly described, and the future
enlargement of Israel is clearly set forth. The person of Messiah,
however, is not distinctly brought before the reader. Isaiah and
Micah will have much to eay of the character and work of the Mes_
saih Himself

1. What the character of this division, as contrasted with the first
three chapters of Hosea?
2. What Jehovah’s controversy with Israel as set forth in Hosea
3. Why the verdict of destruction, as set forth in Hosea 4:6_10?
4. What two practices are named together in Hosea 4:11_14, and what
their effect upon the mind of man?
5. What warning to Judah in 4:15_19?
6. What the notable things in the address of 5:1_7?
7. What the significance and the application of the cornet and trum_
pet in 5:8_15?
8. What the interpretation and application of 6:1_3?
9. Paraphrase Hosea 6:4_11 so as to show its interpretation and ap_
10. What the charges against Israel in 7:1_16?
11. How does the prophet pronounce judgment and what the sig_
nificance in each case (Hos. 8:1_14)?
12. Describe these judgments in detail as given in chapter 9.
13. State briefly the prophet’s recapitulation and appeal (Hos.10:1_15).
14. What things in chapter 10 need special explanation, and what the
explanation in each case?
15. According to our brief outline what the title of section 11:1 to
14:8, and what in general, are its contents?
16. What the general features of the message of Jehovah?
17. What the general features of the prophet’s interpolations?
18. What, in general, is Jehovah’s message in 11:1_11?
19. What two incidents of Israel’s history cited in this first part of
Jehovah’s message, and what their interpretation and application?
20. What the prophet’s message in his first interpolation (11:12 to
21. What, in general, Jehovah’s message in 12:7_11?
22. What allusion to an incident in the life of Jacob in this passage?
23. What the substance of the prophet’s second interpolation (12:12
to 13:3)?
24. What, in general, Jehovah’s message in 13:4_14?
25. What things in the passage worthy of special note?
26. What the prophet’s message in his last interpolation (13:15_16)?
27. What the contents of chapter 14?
28. Give a summary of the messianic predictions in the book of Hosea.


Helps Commended: (1) Sampey’s Syllabus. (2) “Bible
Commentary.” (3) “Pulpit Commentary.” (4) Urquhart’s
“Biblical Guide,” Vols. VI and VII. (5) Smith’s Dictionary of
the Bible – Article, “Isaiah.” (6) Jamieson, Fausset and
Brown. (7) Isaiah One and His Book One, Douglas. (8) A
Harmony of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles, Crockett.
Of Isaiah’s personal life we know almost nothing. His name
means “the salvation of Jehovah,” and it was not uncommon,
since several others bore the same name. It was of singular
appropriateness in this case because it was “the salvation of
Jehovah” which he was commissioned to preach. He has
rightly been called “the evangelical prophet,” and he ranks
with such luminaries as. Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Elijah,
and Elisha. Yet, neither he nor his personal concerns are
obtruded upon our notice. We have to search for hints and
indications, and it is only when we have pondered these that
the manner of the man is revealed to us. In his literary pro_
ductions we find the evidence of a high type of culture. He,
in all probability, waa a product of the schools of the prophets
and, undoubtedly, he waa by far the best educated of all the
prophets. He was one of the greatest personalities of his time,
and no one can fail to see the deep devotion, the wholehearted
consecration, and the richly endowed nature of the man.
Of his family we have a few hints. His father’s name was
Amoz, not Amos, the prophet, whose name differs from Amoz,
both in its initial and in its final letter. Amoz, according to
Jewish tradition, was a brother of King Amaziah, but this
tradition is hardly to be credited, since it would make Isaiah
too old. Isaiah was married, and his wife is known as “the
prophetess,” perhaps meaning only that she was the wife of
a prophet. Isaiah tells us that he had two sons, She_ar_jash_
ub and Ma_her_shal_al_hash_baz, the first named being the
elder of the two by many years.
There is a tradition of the rabbis that Isaiah lived to the
reign of Manasseh and then suffered a most horrible martyr_
dom. Isaiah, having resisted the wicked acts of Manasseh,
was seized by his orders, placed between two planks, and
killed by being “sawn asunder.” This mode of punishment is
mentioned in Hebrews 11:37, and perhaps alludes to Isaiah’s
fate. This tradition was accepted as authentic by Justin
Martyr, Tertullian, Lactantius, Jerome, and Augustine, and is
likely true.
As to his character, we can certainly say that he was un_
compromising in his attitude toward all four of the ungodly
“kings with whom his ministry had to do, with respect to all
that bears upon religion. He was frank in dealing with the
evils of his day, concealing nothing and keeping back nothing
in order to court favor. He was unscrupulous in his treatment
of his adversaries, denouncing in the strongest terms their in_
justice, their oppression, their grasping covetousness, their
sensuality, their pride, and their haughtiness. He was sym_
pathetic toward all nations in their calamities and sufferings,
rejoicing in their prosperity and in their admission into the
kingdom of the Messiah. He was sarcastic enough when the
occasion demanded it. _He was profoundly religious, mani_
festing a deep devotion, a spiritual reverence and wholehearted
‘consecration) rarely found in any man.
Isaiah’s official position was historiographer at the Hebrew
òcourt during the reigns of Jotham and Hezekiah, a good posi_
tion, admitting him to familiar intercourse with the Jewish
monarchs and indicating that his dwelling place was Jeru_
salem. In this capacity he wrote an account of the reign of
Uzziah and also one of the reign of Hezekiah which accounts

were embodied in the book of the Kings, and perhaps, he
wrote the history of the reigns of Jotham and Ahaz also,
though the record does not say so. But his main office was
that of prophet, preacher, psalmist, instructor, intercessor,
evangelist, and apocalyptic seer. His book of prophecies is
the only literary work of his that has come down to us, be_
sides those parts of his histories which were selected by in_
spiration for our books of Kings and Chronicles.
Of his call to the prophetic office we have no record, unless
we so regard the call recorded in chapter 6 of his prophecy.
But this can hardly be regarded as his initial call, since there
is no sufficient reason for his postponing the account of such
an event, to this point, if it had been his first call. The rea_
son for this vision here at this particular point seems to be
that the dark picture of the first five chapters necessitated a
vision of the powers operating above, just as in John’s case
when he had seen the great imperfections of the “seven
churches” of Asia. Jesus then showed him the powers working
over and in these imperfect churches to accomplish God’s
purpose to light the world through the churches, though they
were very poor prospects for such a task from the human point
of view. According to this view, Isaiah’s initial call is left
unrecorded, as in the case of so many of the other prophets.
Isaiah tells us that his prophetic career extended over the
reigns of four kings, viz: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Heze_
kiah, which is admitted to have been one of unusual duration.
We do not know how many years of Uzziah’s reign it included
but we have evidence that his work extended far into the
reign of Hezekiah, and, perhaps, through it or beyond it. If
then we allow two years for his work in Uzziah’s reign, sixteen
years for Jotham’s reign, sixteen years for Ahaz’s reign, and
twenty_nine years for Hezekiah’s reign, we have a period of
sixty_three years for his prophetic work. It may have been
longer than this but it could not have been very much shorter.
In such an extension of one man’s service there must have
been more than what one might describe as “the happy chance
of a long life,” for in divine arrangements there are no chances.
The purpose of it is obvious, as the period in which the prophet
served and the character of his work suggest. Isaiah is the
Moses of Israel’s new era. This is a crisis in the history of God’s
people, just as at the time of Elijah and Elisha. Then the
nation was threatened with destruction. So in the time of
Isaiah, and in order that God’s people might be guided, and
that even the darkest heart might understand, the prophet
called for by the crisis of the hour was provided, and his min_
istry was so prolonged and so glorious as to challenge and to
fix the attention of many generations.
There were certain antecedent events in the history of Is_
rael which culminated in the crisis of Uzziah. First, in Solo_
mon’s time intercourse, which had been suspended with Egypt
for about four hundred years, was renewed, which led very
soon to a violation of the law (see I Kings 4:26; Deut. 17:16;
Isa. 2:7; 31:1) and was rapidly followed by disastrous con_
sequences. Solomon lived to see his bitter enemies, Jeroboam
and Hadad, welcomed at the court of Pharaoh, and the next
generation not only saw a king of Egypt capture Jerusalem
and despoil the Temple and the palace, but they witnessed the
establishment of Apis worship over the whole of the Northern
Kingdom, in the form of Jeroboam’s “calves of Dan and
Secondly, the descent from this was easy, and not more
than sixty years from the division of the Kingdom, another
and more decided form of apostasy was introduced into Sa_
maria by Ahab’s fantastical queen, the Sidonian Jezebel, which
was afterward carried to Jerusalem by her daughter, Atha_
liah. This very much endangered both nations and it seemed
that the hope of the cause of truth and holiness had vanished,
and a pall of gloom overshadowed both kingdoms. But the
battle was not over, for at this terrible crisis came Elijah and
Elisha who turned back the tide of sin, but their victory was
not complete, for of one king after another in the Northern
Kingdom it was said, “From after the sins of Jeroboam, the son
of Nebat, he departed not.”
Thirdly, this easy descent was followed until the prosperous
reign of Jeroboam II, when the awful sentence was pronounced,
“Ephraim is joined to his idols; let him alone,” and about
this time, or just before, Joel was directed to proclaim that
the “day of the Lord” was drawing near, and that it was “great
and very terrible.” From this time the spiritual decline was
marked, notwithstanding the many threatenings from the
Lord, though the nation was prosperous in many ways, tem_
porarily. Uzziah’s heart was lifted up with pride, which is
the taproot of infidelity. He had respect toward the traditional
religion, but he was without faith or real devotion. At last
the secret unbelief broke out into a deed of extreme audacity,
unequaled since the days of Korah. Uzziah went into the holy
place and insisted that he had the right to burn incense. The
punishment followed immediately and it was signal. Uaaiah
was smitten with leprosy and was isolated in a “several
house,” excluded from society to the day of his death. Such
are some of the most important antecedent events which cul_
minated in the crisis of Uzziah.
Thus the monarch was stricken, but the people were no
less criminal than the king, and they, too, must be put away
from communion with the Holy One, whom they had rejected.
That is the proposition with which Isaiah had to deal at the
opening of his ministry. So he brought to Judah God’s final
offers of mercy, set before them the fearful consequences of
continued impenitence, told them of the intent of the law and
the worthlessness of an imposing ritual without the love of
God, and he promised full and free pardon with all the cove_
nant blessings, if only they would repent and obey. But the
offer was rejected and the prophet received a new commission
to them, viz: the judicial sentence, dooming the nation to
exile and the land to desolation.

While this was righteous retribution, it was a measure of
mercy as well. For by this means holy love was working out
its gracious design. While the ban was uttered the execution
was stayed by the zeal and piety of the faithful remnant, the
“holy seed.” Through the prophet good Hezekiah and his
people turned to God with decision and uprightness and the
power of Assyria was not allowed to touch Judah. In this
crisis of danger, when the nation seemed to be in its last gasp,
Isaiah performed for it the office which Moses had performed
of old, that of intercessor, and a deliverance was granted
them, second in importance only to that original deliverance
from Egypt. This is the outward seal of the first cycle of his
prophecies, viz: Isaiah 1_39.
The prophet shows us the world full of sin and enveloped
in gross darkness, whose inhabitants are the lawful captives
and prey of the terrible one. Selfishness, greed, and oppres_
sion crush the helpless. Covetousness joins house to house
and lays field to field until the poor have no room for homes.
Debauchees rise up early in the morning to follow strong drink
and sit up late at night to inflame themselves with wine. Their
fame is to be expert in mixing strong liquors and to be mighty
in drinking them. The wicked draw iniquity with cords of
falsehood and sin as with a cart rope. They put darkness for
light and light for darkness. Repudiating all modesty and
humility for inordinate conceit, they become wise in their own
eyes and prudent in their own sight. Justice, righteousness,
and equity are outlawed. Hell enlarges its desire and opens
its mouth without measure. Even the chosen nation has be_
come a brood of vipers, formalists, hypocrites, thieves, and
robbers. Chastisement has vainly beaten them. The whole
head is sick, and the whole heart faint. There is no room to
place another stroke. From the sole of the foot even unto the
head there is no soundness in it. Only wounds and bruises
and putrefying sores. The land is desolate, and the people,
perishing for lack of knowledge grope and shudder under the
shadow of death.
There are two facts which show this to be a remarkable
epoch, whether as regards Israel or the world at large:
1. The historical event standing in the center of the book,
viz: the destruction of Sennacherib’s army took place 710 B.C.,
which is exactly midway between Israel’s complete occupation
of Canaan (1445 B.C.) and John the Baptist’s announcement
that the kingdom of heaven was at hand (A.D. 25). Then if
we bisect the interval between the first erection of the taber_
nacle at Sinai (1490 B.C. and the burning of the Temple in A.D.
70), the middle point will fall again on the year 710 B.C.
2. This same year, 710 B.C., is also the starting point of a
great political movement in the Gentile world. In that year
the foundation of the Median monarchy was laid in a very
singular manner, viz: Deioces was elected king by the free
choice of the Median tribes, on account of his reputation for
justice. This occurred soon after Shalmaneser had placed a
portion of the Israelitish captives in the cities of the Medes.
Is there not a connection between these two facts? At any
rate the rise of the Median kingdom was one of the most in_
fluential events in ancient history. To it, in a large measure,
is attributable the overthrow of Nineveh, the conquest of
Babylon by Cyrus and the establishment of the Medo_Persian
Empire, whose influence on the later history of Asia and Eu_
rope is incalculable.
The canonical prophets who preceded Isaiah were Obadiah,
Joel, Jonah, and Amos; his contemporaries were Hosea, in
the Northern Kingdom and Micah, in the Southern Kingdom.
Sampey says:
Isaiah’s prophetic ministry covered the stirring period during
which Assyria, under the leadership of Pul, Shalmaneser IV, Sargon,
and Sennacherib, repeatedly invaded Syria and Palestine. From his
watch_tower Isaiah surveyed the nations, from Assyria and Elam
on the east to Egypt and Ethiopia on the southwest, and Jehovah
asserted by the mouth of His prophet, His sovereignty over all the
As a writer, Isaiah transcends all the other Hebrew proph_
ets. With a lofty and majestic calmness, a grandeur and dig_
nity of expression, an energy and liveliness of style, he ad_
mirably adapts his language to his subject matter, employing
striking images, dramatic representations, pointed antitheses,
play upon words, strong utterances, vivid description, ampli_
fication and elaboration here and there, wherever needed.
Hengstenberg says, “His style is simple, and sublime; in image_
ry, intermediate between the poverty of Jeremiah and the
exuberance of Ezekiel.”
The book of Isaiah, as it has come down to us, presents a
certain composite character. There are three main parts of
it. The first thirty_five chapters, almost wholly prophetic,
are followed by four chapters which are historical, and the
last twenty_seven chapters are like the first part, prophetical.
There is a marked contrast in subject matter and style, and
the different sections into which each of these parts divides
itself show that they are compilations rather than continuous
and connected compositions. The general arrangement of the
book seems to be chronological. The form of the first and
third sections is largely poetical parallelism, with, however, a
freedom unshackled by undue restrictions. The book as a
whole is one of the most remarkable and important in the
sacred volume. All agree in extolling its power, beauty, and
attractiveness and acknowledge its commanding moral and
spiritual eminence. Even in bulk it is very important. Jere_
miah is the largest, Ezekiel is a little larger than Isaiah, while
the twelve minor prophets, taken together, are considerably
shorter than Isaiah.
In order to be able to rightly interpret Isaiah the student
should be familiar with the following:
1. The history of God’s people in general up to the times of
Isaiah. In setting forth the kingly and priestly character of
our Lord Isaiah ranges over the whole field of the earlier
Scriptures, referring, not only to the several books of the
Pentateuch, but to the historical books, the Psalms, the Prov_
erbs, the Song of Solomon, and the writings of the earlier
prophets. So he, who is most conversant with these earlier
Scriptures, has the best key for opening the great prophecy
before us, and will enter with the profoundest appreciation
of the references and allusions which are made to it in the New
2. The history of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, as
given in Crockett’s Harmony of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles
(pp. 293_329). This gives the history of the times in which,
and the peoples to whom, he prophesied.
3. The history of all the foreign nations mentioned in his
prophecies: Babylon, Assyria, Philistia, Moab, Syria, Ethio_
pia, Egypt, Edom, Arabia, and Phoenicia. There may be
found a fairly good article on each of these nations in Smith’s
Dictionary of the Bible.
A very simple outline of the book of Isaiah, by Dr. Sampey,
is the following:
Introduction: Title, Author, and Date, 1:1.
I. Prophecies of Judgment, 1:2 to 35:10:
1. Book of Mingled Rebukes and Promises, 1:2 to 6:13;
2. Book of Immanuel, Chs. 7_12;
3. Book of Foreign Prophecies, Chs. 13_23;
4. First Book of Judgment, Chs. 24_27;
5. Book of Zion, or Book of Woes, Chs. 28_33;
6. Second Book of Judgment, Chs. 34_35.
II. Historical Interlude, Chs. 36_39;
1. Sennacherib’s Invasion, Chs. 36_37;
2. Hezekiah’s Sickness and Embassy from Babylon, Chs. 38_39.
III. Prophecies of Peace, Chs. 40_66:
1. Theology – The Purpose of Peace, Chs. 40_48;
2. Soteriology – The Prince of Peace, Chs. 49_57;
3. Eschatology – The Program of Peace, Chs. 58_66.
The last twenty_seven chapters of the book constitute one
grand messianic poem, subdivided into three books, the first
and the second closing each with the solemn refrain, “There is
no peace, saith Jehovah, to the wicked,” and the third express_
ing the thought more fully, “Their worm shall not die, neither
shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring
unto all flesh.” Each of these books consists of three sections
of three chapters each, chapter 53 thus becoming the middle
chapter of the middle book of this great prophetic poem, the
very heart of the prophetic writings of the Old Testament.
And the central verses (5_8) of this central chapter enshrines
the central truth of the gospel:
He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement of our peace was upon him;
And with his stripes we are healed.
(Read also verses 6_8.)
There are five passages in the book itself which indicate the
time of the prophecies of the book in general and its several
parts in particular, viz: 1:1; 6:1; 7:1; 14:28; 36:1. The first
verse seems to imply that some portion of the book is to be
allotted to each of the four reigns there mentioned. This,
combined with the indications of time contained in the above
named passages, leads to the following general distribution of
Isaiah’s prophecies:
1. In the reign of Uzziah (1_5)
2. In the reign of Jotham (6)
3. In the reign of Ahaz (7:1 to 14:27)
4. In the first half of Hezekiah’s reign (14:28 to 39:8)
5. In the second half of Hezekiah’s reign (40_66)
The above outline is what the way marks, set up by the
prophet himself, seem to point to, with which also the in_
ternal evidence is in accord.
In Sampey’s Syllabus may be found a most excellent analy_
sis for the more minute divisions of the book, in which are
hints as to dates, doctrines, criticisms, etc.

1. Who was Isaiah and what of his family?
2. What the tradition concerning his death?
3. What can you say of his character?
4. What his official position and what literary works did he write?
5. What of the call of Isaiah to his prophetic office?
6. What the length of his prophetic career and what its special sig_
7. What the preceding events in the history of Israel which culmi_
nated in the crisis of Uzziah?
8. What the national crisis in Uzziah’s time and what was Israel’s
relation to it?
9. What the moral conditions of the world at this time?
10. What can you say of this period in the world’s history?
11. What canonical prophets preceded Isaiah, what ones were con_
temporary with him and what foreign relations at this time?
12. What can you say of the style and diction of the book of Isaiah?
13. What can you say of the character of the book as it has come
down to us?
14. What should a student Study in order to rightly interpret Isaiah?
15. Give an analysis of the book of Isaiah.
16. What the artistic features of the third part of the book?
17. What dates indicated in the book itself and according to these,
what the time of each part thus indicated?
18. Where may the student find an extended and detailed analysis of


The question of “two Isaiahs” was not mentioned, or
thought of, until the twelfth century A.D., when Aben_Ezra,
a Jew of naturalistic tendencies, first ventured to suggest that
the prophecies of Isaiah 40_66 might not be the actual work
of Isaiah. Previous to this date and again from his time to
near the close of the eighteenth century, not a breath of sus_
picion was uttered; not a whisper on the subject was heard.
The book of Psalms was known to be composite and the book
of Proverbs bore on its face that it consisted of, at least, four
collections, but Isaiah was universally accepted as a work of
one author. Toward the close of the eighteenth century
Koppe, a German writer, in his translation of Bishop Lowth’s
Isaiah adopted the suggestion of Aben_Ezra, and thus was
started the theory that Isaiah was not the real author of the
prophecies contained in chapters 40_66 of the book ascribed to
him. The work of an entirely different prophet, living toward
the close of the Captivity, he said, had been attached by some
accident to the genuine prophecies of Isaiah and had thence_
forth passed by his name. The theory thus started was wel_
comed by other Germans of the rationalistic school and shortly
it could boast of many renowned scholars, including the great
Hebraist, Gesenius. The simple theory of “two Isaiahs” thus
started, an earlier and a later, one contemporary with Heze_
kiah, the other with the later captivity, whose works had been
accidentally thrown together, has been elaborated and ex_
panded, chiefly by the labors of Ewald, in a wonderful way.
Ewald traces in the book of Isaiah, as it has come down to us,
the work of at least seven hands. Nor did it reach the final
outcome of the separatist hypothesis started by Koppe, in the
theory of Ewald. It has gone on until now they say that the
whole book of Isaiah, first and last, is a mosaic, or patchwork,
the production of no one knows how many authors, brought
gradually to its present condition. However, it is consoling
to note that along beside this school of the “radicals” runs
the long line of defenders of the integrity of the book. In
this list may be mentioned, to their everlasting credit, many
of the greater lights, like Hengstenberg, Delitzsch, Dean Payne
Smith, and a host of the lesser lights.
It is amazing to learn that, in the last analysis, the original
and sole ground of this critical attack is the infidel assumption
that prediction is an impossibility. It is quite true that other
reasons are assigned but they are afterthoughts. Isaiah’s
authorship of one portion and another was, and is, denied on
the ground that Isaiah could not have foreseen the events
which these portions describe. This is summed up under two
heads: (1) that the author of chapters 40_66 takes for his
standpoint the time of the Babylonian captivity, and, speak_
ing as if that were present, from thence looks forward into the
subsequent future; (2) that he has a knowledge of the name
and career of Cyrus, which a prophet living two centuries be_
fore could not possibly have had. The theory was subse_
quently further supported by alleged differences between the
style and diction of chapters 1_39 and chapters 40_66, which
were declared to necessitate different authors, and to mark
chapters 40_66 as the production of a later age. It is now, as
never before, conceded that there is nothing in the contention
that it is a point of philology, but that prophecy does not have
anything to do with the supernatural, though some of the
critics state the philological argument as corroborative evi_
dence (see Driver’s argument and the reply thereto in Sam_
pey’s Syllabus).
It was soon found that the theory could not stop with the
last part of the book, for there were predictions of the fall
of Babylon, of the most definite kind (13; 14; 21). These

then must, in consistence, also be taken away from Isaiah.
But it was observed that chapter 34 had many verbal resem_
blances to chapter 13, and that chapter 35 was almost a minia_
ture of the second part. Consequently, these must also be
removed. Following up this method they have come at last
to assign the following, to which most of the objectors agree,
to Isaiah: Isaiah 1_12; 14:24_32; 15_20; 21:11_17; 22_23; 28_
33, and the rest of the book they say was written by four or
five unknown prophets, living in Babylon near the end of the
captivity, who were worthy of having their productions asso_
ciated with those of Isaiah, yet of whose names and of whose
existence even, no trace whatever has been preserved. A
thing unthinkable!
The assumption of the radical critics, viz: that it is incon_
ceivable that God should communicate to man any foreknowl_
edge, or pre_vision, of future events, let us consider in the light
of the following facts:
1. Isaiah did undoubtedly, in the acknowledged chapters,
predict in the most clear and positive terms the future deso_
lation of the land (see 3:8, 25_26; 5:13_14, 17, 24; 6:11_12;
7:23_25; 17:9; 32:13_14).
2. Isaiah, in the unquestioned chapters, distinctly foretold
that Assyria, after sweeping like a flood over Samaria, would
bring Judah into the utmost peril of a like catastrophe, but
would be buried back and be overthrown (see 8:7_8; 10:5_34),
the fulfilment of which is well known.
3. Whoever the writer of chapters 41_48 was, he claimed
the right of speaking in God’s name about the distant future.
This claim is put prominently forward, is urged repeatedly,
ia elaborately asserted as a proof of divine prescience, and is
made the crucial test of Jehovah’s being the only true God,
seeing that prevision of a remote contingent, future event is
possible only to him who both knows, and can control, all the
antecedents of the event (see 41:21; 42:9; 43:9_10; 44:7_8,
24_28; 45:1_13, 20_21; 46:9_11; 48:3_8, 12_16).

4. It. is undeniable that the great prophecy in chapters 52_
53 had a unique realization in the person and work of our
Lord Jesus Christ.
5. This dictum is at variance with the whole course of the
history of redemption from its commencement to its consum_
mation. Starting with the first promise of the Saviour in
Genesis 3:15 and coming on down through the whole series
of divine revelations of the Messiah as the hope of the world,
one cannot escape the impression that the historical fact of
the prophetic Christ is too firmly rooted in the world’s history
to be ignored, against which the groundless assertions of nat_
uralism are powerless.
The naming of Cyrus was the earliest objection to the genu_
ineness of the book of Isaiah, but there is not so much made
of this at present as formerly. They say, “Of course God could
have foretold the name of Cyrus one hundred and fifty years
or more beforehand, but this would have been against his way
of acting.” Now let us see whether the revelation of a name_
beforehand is against God’s manner of acting. The recorded
instances which offset this theory are, Ishmael, Isaac, Josiah,.
Jesus, John the Baptist, and Isaiah’s own son. If it be urged
that these are names of persons who were soon to be born, and
very different from that of the case of Cyrus, it may be an_
swered that the length of time may have been unknown to
Isaiah. Besides, in the case of Josiah there was a longer time
than in that of Cyrus. The time element is a very poor
escape for an objection. If God foreknows an event, it does
not matter as to the length of time. A thousand years are
to him as one day, and it is Just as reasonable that he should
foretell an event or give a name two thousand years before_
hand as it is that he should announce the name of a child to
be born one year hence.
In Sampey’s Syllabus we have Driver’s three independent

lines of argument which he says converge to show that the last twenty_seven chapters of this book are not the work of
Isaiah, as follows:
First, the argument from the analogy of prophecy; second,
the literary style is different from that of Isaiah; third, the
theological ideas differ from those found in chapters 1_39.
According to Driver, the prophet speaks always, in the first
instance, to his contemporaries. The prophet never abandons
his own historical position, but speaks from it. Now the au_
thor of Isaiah 40_66 alludes repeatedly to Jerusalem as ruined,
to the sufferings of the Jewish captives among the Chaldeans,
to the prospect of an early return to Judah. The author
speaks not to the contemporaries of Hezekiah, but to Jewish
exiles in the days of Cyrus. Therefore he must have lived in
the days of Cyrus.
We cannot admit the fundamental axiom of Dr. Driver for
it not only begs the whole question, but also contradicts the
teaching of an inspired apostle. Cf. I Peter 1:10_12, espe_
cially verse 12. Dr. Driver’s statement, though containing
much truth, is too broad. Though put forward as a general
principle arrived at by inductive reasoning, it is seemingly
opposed by Isaiah 13:2 to 14:23; 24_27; 34; 35; 40_66.
Then he says that the vocabulary is different, many words
occurring in 40_66 that are not found in the undisputed
prophecies of Isaiah (e.g., “My chosen,” “praise,” both as a
verb and substitute, “pleasure,” “good will,” etc.). Besides,
many words occur frequently, and often with different shades
of meaning, which are found only once or twice in the un_
disputed prophecies (e.g., “isles,” “nought,” “to create,” etc.).
Moreover, certain words and idioms occurring in 40_66 point
to a later period of the language than Isaiah’s age. On the
other hand, the undisputed prophecies of Isaiah use repeatedly
certain expressions which are never found in 40_66, and certain
other phrases that occur quite seldom.
While Dr. Driver has shown great skill in the selection of
words and phrases, his list is too small to count for much,
and it can be counterbalanced by a list of striking words and
phrases that are common to chapters 1_39 and 40_66. (Most
recent critics assign but little force to this argument from
His style argument from the grammatical peculiarities is as
follows: Chapters 40_66 employ a participial epithet with the
divine name quite often (40:28; 42:5, etc.). The relative
particle is more frequently omitted than in the undisputed
It may be well to remember that one’s style may be some_
what modified after the lapse of years, and that a polished and
elaborate composition intended only to be read may differ
from brief notes of public discourses.
His style argument, based on the rhetorical repetition of
words (40:1; 43:11, etc.) may be answered as follows: Here
again let us bear in mind the literary leisure with which this
finished production was wrought out. Moreover, chapters
1_39 have examples of repetition, 1:9_10 (Sodom and Go_
morrah); 2:9_17 (brought low); 29:1 (Ariel, Ariel); 21:11
(Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the
For the items of his style argument from the literary fea_
tures and for his theological argument see Sampey’s Syllabus.
As to external, or historical, evidence of the unity of Isaiah,
it is not pretended by anyone that there is anywhere the
slightest trace of doubt existing on the subject in ancient
times, the evidence of which is all one way. Now, I will give
a few of the items of this evidence:
1. The second part of Isaiah is referred to by the son of
Sirach as a distinctive portion of Isaiah, 220_180 B.C. (See
Eccl. 48:22_25.)
2. In the Jewish canon, in the Septuagint and in all other
ancient versions the book is one whole.
3. Thirteen of the Haftarah’s, or Prophetic Lessons, read in
the synagogues on sabbath days, fesitvals, and fasts were
taken from the second part of the book of Isaiah. This ar_
rangement dates 170 B.C.
4. Josephus mentions it as a received tradition among the
Jews and Cyrus issued his edict for the rebuilding of the
Temple (Ezek. 1:2) after he had been shown Isaiah’s prophecy
respecting himself (see Josephus Jewish Antiquities XI. 1).
This statement is strongly confirmed by the edict itself: “The
Lord God of heaven . . . hath charged me to build, etc.” This
is the only way Cyrus’ language can be accounted for.
5. All the Jewish authorities refer constantly to part two as
Isaiah’s. Indeed for two thousand and four hundred years,
with one exception, no one is known to have hinted at the
possibility of a doubt on the subject,
There are several Old Testament quotations from the book
of Isaiah which bear upon the question of the unity of the
1. Zephaniah 2:15 is a quotation of Isaiah 47:8, 10. But
Zephaniah wrote in the reign of Josiah, between 630 B.C. and
625 B.C., while Judah was still a kingdom. The words, “I
am, and there is none beside me,” are identical in the Hebrew
of both passages.
2. Nahum 1:15 is a quotation of Isaiah 52:7. The reader
will here note the identical expressions in the two passages.
Here, as in the preceding case the fact of quotation is un_
doubted. But Nahum lived not long after Isaiah. Therefore
“the second Isaiah” was in existence shortly after the close
of Isaiah’s ministry, and was recognized as a part of the Scrip_
3. Jeremiah 31:35 is a quotation of Isaiah 51:15. Here
again the resemblance is too marked to be treated as acci_
dental. The connection in both passages is similar and the
correspondences are strikingly impressive. If it be suggested
that “the second Isaiah” may have quoted from Jeremiah, let
it be also remembered that the “Great Unknown,” the “Deu_
tero_lsaiah” and one of the so_called “assured results” of
higher criticism, has never been regarded by any one of their
school as being poor in imagination, or deficient in language,
but in both of these respects he has been assigned the noblest
place in all the prophetic band. But the words are in Isaiah’s
style and the evidence is overwhelming in favor of Jeremiah’s
quoting Isaiah rather than Isaiah’s quoting Jeremiah.
There are nine quotations: from the last twenty_seven
chapters of Isaiah in the New Testament, as follows: Matthew
3:3; 8:17; 12:17; Luke 3:4; 4:17; John 1:23; 12:38; Acts
8:28 and Romans 10:16_20. The bearing of these quotations
on the question of the unity of Isaiah resolves itself into the
question of New Testament inspiration. If we grant the in_
spiration of the New Testament, then this ninefold witness is
final and proves that Isaiah wrote the book that bears his
There are two New Testament references to the book of
Isaiah in which they clearly include the second part, viz:
Luke 4:17 and Acts 8:30_34. These are distinct references to
the book of Isaiah as the passages clearly show and indicate
that there was no thought in New Testament times of a mo_
saic, or patchwork, Isaiah.
There are many links that bind Parts I and 2 together but
we will give only a few to show the line of argument. Com_
pare the following references from the undisputed parts of the
first thirty_nine chapters with the reference in the last twenty_
seven chapters 1:11, 13 with 66:3; 6:1 with 57:15 and 66:1;
66:5_7 with 57:15 and 66:2; 2:2_3 with 56:7 and 60:12_14;
2:11, 17 and 5:15_16 with 40:4; 5:19; 14:24, 27; 19:12; 23:8_9
and 28:29 with 40:13_14; 44:26; 46:10; 59:9 and 64:4, and so
on. (For an extended list of these connecting _links between
the two parts of Isaiah see “Bible Commentary,” pp. 15_18.)
These instances with the many others cited in the list referred
to, are irreconcilable with the contention for the dual author_
ship of the book of Isaiah, and prove beyond question that
one author wrote both parts, which constitute a closely woven
garment, the threads of each part running into the other,
making them both a compact, literary, historical, theological
Here the question naturally arises, Why were the historical
episodes in chapters 36_39 introduced just here? The answer
is obvious. In chapters 36_37 we see Jerusalem besieged and
a strong enemy judged, and we see the godly in Israel over_
whelmed, but clinging to God for help. Let us remember
that the object of these last chapters is to console and we have
the obvious typical significance of these historical facts. They
furnish a historical starting point for the men of Isaiah’s time,
and a historical background to our own time, and are of im_
mense importance to both. Chapter 38 tells of Hezekiah’s
sickness and miraculous recovery, which led to a political al_
liance in which God’s counsel was not sought, and to the cap_
tivity in Babylon as shown in chapter 39. So chapters 36_37
form a starting point and a background for the consolations,
and chapters 38_39 show why the consolations are needed.
In the order of events here we see Judah delivered from
Assyria and having a revival, after which it stumbled again,
to trust in the arm of flesh and to go to the old pollution of
conformity to a godless world around, which again points to
Babylon. Thus the account, from the entry of Sennacherib
upon the historical stage to Isaiah’s prediction of the exile to
Hezekiah, is all the real beginning of the second part of the
book. So when we read chapter 39, the last vestige of the
critics’ case vanishes.
It is urged that in chapters 40_66 the prophet occupies a
Babylonian viewpoint, but already in chapter 39 we have the
Babylonian viewpoint. Here we are confronted with the in_
cidents of the exile. We see the young Judaic princes,
“eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” Could the
prophet stop here? Would he not have a message for Judah
as it stood before the lifted veil? Yea, the first Isaiah had
here gone too far not to become the second Isaiah.
And this is not all. Hezekiah has already had his peaceful
end. He has received his consolation, but the people of the
captivity are in gloom and despair. So Jehovah bursts forth
in the opening verse of the second part, “Comfort ye, comfort
ye my people.” The closing words of chapter 39 make the
opening words of chapter 40 a necessity. Radical criticism
has never so certainly and fully sealed its own final condemna_
tion as when it ventured to draw its great dividing line be_
tween the close of chapter 39 and the opening of chapter 40.
1. Give a brief statement of the rise & progress of the adverse criticism of the book of Isaiah.
2. What the ground of this disintegration theory?
3. What the progress of this theory as it relates to the first part of
the book and what sections of it do these radicals attribute to Isaiah?
4. How does the assumption of the radical critics, viz: that it is in_
conceivable that God should communicate to man any foreknowledge, or prevision, of future events, correspond with facts?
5. How does the radical critic theory respecting the naming of Cyrus
correspond with the facts of revelation?
6, What are Driver’s three independent lines of argument which he says converge to show that the last twenty_seven chapters of this book are not the work of Isaiah?
7. What Driver’s argument from the analogy of prophecy and what the reply?
8. What Driver’s style argument based on the vocabulary and what the reply?
9. What his style argument from the grammatical peculiarities and what reply?
10. What his style argument from the rhetorical repetition of words & reply?
11. What the items of his style argument from the literary features
and what the reply to each seriatim?
12. What the external, or historical, evidence of the unity of Isaiah?
13. What the Old Testament quotations from this book and what
their bearing on the unity of Isaiah?
14. What the New Testament quotations of the last twenty_seven
chapters of the book of Isaiah and what their bearing on this question?
15. What the New Testament references to the book of Isaiah in
which they clearly include the second part?
16. What the argument for the unity of Isaiah based upon the close
relation of the parts of the book?
17. What the argument for the unity of Isaiah based upon the position
of the historical part of the book?

Isaiah I :l to 5:30

There are three things suggested by the word, “vision,” in
the title, viz:
1. Being a vision, it will frequently speak of events, that
are yet future, as if they had already occurred, e.g., 3:8; 5:13.
2. What is seen in vision must be subject to the laws of the
perspective. To illustrate: One who views a series of moun_
tains from a distance may see a number of peaks, which are
many miles apart, as one object. Thus in the fulfilment of
prophecy, there may be a primary fulfilment and a long dis_
tance from that, the larger fulfilment. But they appear to
the eye of the prophet as one fulfilment because they are in
line with each other. A notable instance of this is seen in
the case of the anti_Christs. Antiochus Epiphanes, the first
one, was followed by the papacy; then after him comes the
World Secular Ruler; and last comes the man of sin, who
fills out the outline of all the ones who have preceded him.
3. It is, as a whole, one vision. It consists, indeed, of
various parts, but from the outset they present the same vision.
Though the visions are greatly diversified in size, form, color_
ing, and other details, they are in essential character only one
This vision was “concerning Judah and Jerusalem” and yet
it embraces a vast variety of nations and countries. There
is a primary reference here to Judah versus Israel, but in the
scriptural sense, all this prophecy is “concerning Judah and
Jerusalem,” i.e., the people and city of God. Other nations
and countries are spoken of only as they are related to Judah

and Jerusalem, or at any rate to the people of God symbolized
in those names. The first chapter is the preface to the whole
book, whose standpoint is the covenant as set forth in Le_
viticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28_32, being especially modeled
on Deuteronomy 32, the song of Moses, and consists of “The
Great Arraignment,” divided into four well_marked messages,
in each of which Jehovah is introduced as himself speaking
directly to his people. The divisions are aa follows: 2_9;
10_17; 18_23; 24_31.
The first message (2_9) opens with an invocation to heaven
and earth to hear Jehovah’s indictment against his people,
and it contains (1) a charge of rebellion against their nourish_
ing father; (2) a charge of brutish ignorance, indifference,
and ingratitude, such as the ox and the ass would not have
shown their owners; (3) a charge of corruption and estrange_
ment from Jehovah; (4) a charge of unyielding stubbornness
which rendered the chastisement of Jehovah ineffective though
stroke upon stroke had fallen upon them until there was not
place found on the body for another stroke; (5) a penalty of
desolation of their land and the captivity of the people; (6) a
hope of an elected remnant who would be purified by the com_
ing affliction upon the nation.
In this paragraph we have a picture of severe chastisements,
not of the depravity of human nature, though sin in Israel
has, of course, led Jehovah to chastise his rebellious son. In
verse 9 we have mention of the remnant left by Jehovah. This
is the first mention of it and gives us the key to the hope of
Israel in this dark hour, a favorite doctrine with Isaiah and
The second message of the first chapter (10_17) contains
the charge of formality without spirituality in their religion.
They are compared to Sodom and Gomorrah though they
abound in their ritualistic service. After showing his utter

contempt for this formality without spirituality, Jehovah ex_
horts them to return to him. The ceremonial is not condemned
here, except as it was divorced from the spiritual. The prophet
insists that ritual and sacrifice must be subordinated to faith
and obedience. This is in harmony with the teaching of Hosea
6:5_6; Micah 6:6_8; and Jeremiah 7:4ff., 21ff., et al. In verse
13 here we have the mingling of wickedness with worship
which is an abomination. A real reformation is twofold: (1)
cease to do evil; (2) learn to do well. Human activity i
emphasized in verses 16_17, while divine grace is set forth ia
verse 18.
The third message of this chapter (18_23) is a message of”
offered mercy and grace, with an appeal to their reason and
an assurance of cleansing from the deepest pollution of sin.
There is a back reference here to the promises and threatenings
of the Mosaic covenant (Lev. 26; Deut. 30) in which life and
death were set before them with an exhortation to choose.
There is also a renewed charge here contained in the sad de_
scription of the moral degradation of Zion (w. 21_23) in
which Jerusalem is called a harlot and her wickedness is
described as abominable.
The fourth message in this chapter (24_31) is a message of
judgment on the ungodly. This judgment is both punitive
and corrective. God avenges himself on his enemies and at
the same time purifies his people, especially the holy remnant,
and restores them to their former condition of love and favor.
But the utter destruction of transgressors and sinners is posi_
tively affirmed, the sinner and his work being consumed. Sin
is a fire that consumes the sinner. Therefore sin is suicidal.
Isaiah 1:9 is quoted by Paul in Romans 9:29 and is there
used by him to prove his proposition that, though Israel was
in number like the sands of the sea, only a remnant should be
saved. The remnant of the election of grace is both an Old
Testament and a New Testament doctrine, as applied to the
Someone has called chapters 2_5 “the true and the false glory of Israel.” In chapter I the prominent idea is Justice coming to the help of rejected mercy, and pouring out vengeance on the sinful; in chapters 2_5 the idea is one of mercy, by means of justice, triumphing in the restoration of holiness. The characteristic in chapter I is its stern denunciations of the Sinaitic law, while the reference to Psalm 72 is subordinate; the characteristic of 2_5 is that, though the menaces of the law are still heard in them, it is only after the clearest assurance has been given that the prophecies of 2 Samuel 7 and Psalm 72 shall be realized.
That chapters 2_5 belong to the time of Uzziah, is the natural inference from 1:1 and 6:1. The contents of the chapters are such as to thoroughly confirm this obvious view. They refer
to a period of prosperity (2:6_16) and luxury (3:16_23);
when there was great attention to military preparations (2:7,
15; 3:2) and commerce (v. 16), and great reliance on human
power (v. 22). Above all, it is only by remembering how,
“when Uzziah was strong, his heart was lifted up” (2 Chron.
26:16), and he invaded the holy place, that we can fully ap_
preciate the emphatic assertion of God’s incomparable exalta_
tion and inviolable sanctity which prevails throughout this
In 2:1 we have the title to chapters 2_5 and it shows that the
message is for Judah and not for Israel. In this sense it means
the same as in 1:1. The main body of chapter 2 (7_22) is an
expansion of 1:31, “the strong one shall be as tow.”
Verses 2_4 are intensely messianic and give an assurance
that, amidst the wreck of Solomon’s kingdom and earthly Zion,
as herein described, the promise made to David shall stand
firm. It is the promise of this scripture that a time shall come
when controversies shall not be settled by war; they shall be
settled by arbitration, and the arbiter is the glorious One of
the prophecy, and the principles of arbitration will be his word,
the law that goes forth from his mouth. Cf. Micah 4:1_5. We
may never know whether it is Isaiah or Micah that is borrow_
ing, or whether both alike quote from some earlier prophet.
This glorious and far_reaching prediction has not yet been com_
pletely fulfilled. This is the first messianic prophecy of Isaiah,
the pre_eminently evangelical prophet.
But what is meant here by “the latter days”? I cite only
two scriptures, which tell us exactly what is meant. John, in
his first letter says, “this is the last day,” or the last time, that
is, the times of the gospel are “the latter days.” The prophet,
Joel, says, “It shall come to pass in the last days,” or the latter
days, “That God will pour out his Spirit,” and we know from
the New Testament that this was fulfilled in Jerusalem on the
first Pentecost after the resurrection of our Lord. It is settled
by these words of God that “the latter days” in the Old Testa_
ment prophecies are the gospel days of the New Testament.
Let us remember that the gospel days are the last days. There
is no age to succeed the gospel age. Whatever of good is to be
accomplished in this world is to be accomplished in the gospel
days, and by the means of the gospel. All this universal peace
arbitration, knowledge of the Lord and his kingdom come by
means of this same gospel.
I shall not cite the scriptures to prove it, but it is clearly
established by the New Testament that the “mountain of the
Lord’s house” here is the visible, not invisible, church of our
Lord Jesus Christ, which he established himself, empowered it
through the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and it is through the in_
strumentality of that church that the great things of this
prophecy are to be brought about.
This passage distinctly says, “Out of Zion shall go forth the
law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Our Saviour
came, established his church, and then said, “Go into all the
world, etc.” and “Ye shall preach the gospel to all nations be_
ginning at Jerusalem.” The instrument then, by which these
things are to be accomplished is just the gospel which we preach and which people hear and by which they are saved.
It is here prophesied that the nations shall be impressed with
the visibility of the Lord’s house, the church, and shall say,
“Come, ye, and let us go to the mountain of the Lord, to the
house of the God of Jacob.” They shall be enlightened by the
light of the church, which being full of the Holy Spirit shall
catch the eye of the nations and attract them. Then will they
gay, “Come and let us go up to the house of the Lord.” The
purpose of all this shall be that he may teach them. The church
is God’s school and God himself is the teacher) and they are
taught the principles of arbitration.
The arbiter of the nations, as here described, is the Lord
Jesus Christ, the daysman betwixt the nations. He and the
principles of his gospel alone can bring about such a state of
things that “there shall be war no more.” The result of this
arbitration will be universal peace (v. 4). This shall be a
glorious consummation when will be settled by arbitration con_
troversies of every kind whether between nations or individuals,
and righteousness shall prevail throughout the whole world.
God’s means of preparation of the nation for the great future,
as just shown in the messianic prophecy, are his judgments.
These only can prepare the nation for this great future (2:5 to
4:1), the items of which are (1) the sins to be visited and (2)
the classes of objects to be visited by these judgments. The
sins to be visited by these judgments (2:5_9) are soothsaying,
heathen alliances, luxury, militarism, and idolatry.
The objects against which these judgments are to be brought
(2:10 to 4:1) are everything proud and lofty:
1. Inanimate things that minister to pride, such as cedars
and oaks, mountains, military defenses, ships and idols (2:10_
2. Men, especially the ruling classes (2:22103:15). In 3:4
we have a picture of weak, foolish rulers. Cf. verse 12. The
ruling classes were especially to blame for the growing sin and
corruption of Judah. They were “grinding the face of the poor.”

3. Women, for pride and wantonness (3:16 to 4:1). Here let
us recall the indictment of the cruel, carousing women by Amos
(4:1_3), and the words of Hosea about the prevalence of social
impurity in his day (Hos. 4:2, 13_14). Isaiah dumps out the
entire wardrobe of the luxurious sinner of the capital city. What
a pity that wicked Paris should set the fashions for Christian
After this blast of judgments then follow the messianic pros_
perity, purity, and protection (4:2_6)ùa beautiful picture on
a very dark background. Here we have the first mention of the’
key word, “Branch,” in “the Branch of the Lord.”
The subject of chapter 5 is the vineyard and its lessons, and
the three essential things to note are: (1) the disappointing
vineyard and its identification; (2) a series of woes announced;
and (3) the coming army.
The prophet shows great skill here in securing attention by
reciting a bit of a love song and then gliding gradually into his
burning message to a sinful people. The description of this
vineyard in the text is vivid and lifelike, showing the pains
taken by the owner in preparing, tending, and guarding it. The
great pains thus taken enhanced the expectation and, therefore,
the disappointment. So, in despair and disgust he destroyed
the vineyard and made its place desolate.
The prophet identifies the vineyard with Israel and Judah
which had their beginnings, as a nation, with Abraham, and
from the day of its planting it was under the special care of Je_
hovah. He always gave it the most desired spot in which to
dwell, both in Egypt and in Canaan, but it never did live up to
ite opportunities and more, it never did yield the fruits of jus_
tice and righteousness, but instead, oppression and a cry. These
general terms give way to the particular in the woes that follow.
There are six distinct woes pronounced (5:8_23) against sin_
ners in this paragraph, as follows:
1. Woe unto the land monopolies. This is a picture of what
may be observed in many parts of the world today. Monopolies
lead to loneliness and desolation. God is against the land shark.
For a description of conditions, similar to Isaiah’s, in England,
gee Goldsmith’s Deserted Village, in which are found these
Ill fares the land, to hastening ilia a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay. 2. Woe unto the drunken revelers. This is a vivid picture ol
wine with its accompaniments and results. People inflamed
with strong drink relish a kind of music which is not very re_
ligious. These musical instruments are all right but they were
put to the wrong use. Intoxicating drinks not only pervert the
instruments of the Lord, but they make their subjects disregard
the works and rights of Jehovah. In verse 13 we see the effect
of spiritual ignorance, which is captivity, perhaps the Baby_
Ionian captivity, or it may refer to Israel’s captivity already
begun. Sheol in verse 14 refers to the place of the departed, the
underworld in which the “shades” rested. Here the picture is
that of the increasing multitudes in the spirit world because of
their disobedience here and God’s destruction of them, after
which their land becomes the pasture for the flocks of foreign
3. Woe unto the defiant unbelievers. This is a picture of the
harness of sin, and awful effect produced on those who follow
its course. They are harnessed by it and rush madly on in their
defying of the Holy One of Israel.
4. Woe unto the perverters of moral distinction, calling evil
good, and good evil, putting darkness for light, and light for
darkness. Their moral sense is so blunted that they cannot
make moral distinctions, as Paul says in Hebrews, “not having
their senses exercised to distinguish between good and evil.”
5. Woe unto the conceited men, perhaps their politicians.
They are often so wise that they cannot be instructed, but they
can tell us how to run any kind of business, from the farm to
the most intricate machinery of the government. They may
have never had any experience in the subject which they teach,
yet they can tell those who have spent their lives in such serv_
ice just how to run every part of the business down to the minu_
test detail. But they are really “wise in their own eyes and
prudent in their own sight.”
6. Woe unto drunken officers, who justify the wicked for a
bribe and pervert justice. When one is once allowed to look in
upon our courts of justice (?) he can imagine that Isaiah was
writing in the age in which we live. He goes on to show the just
punishment that they were destined to receive because of their
rejection of the law of Jehovah and because they despised the
word of the Holy One of Israel.
The conditions herein set forth (5:25_30) reach beyond those
of the Assyrian invasion and find a larger fulfilment in the car_
rying away of Judah by the Chaldeans. Here Jehovah is repre_
sented as giving the signal and the call to the nations to
assemble for the invasion of Judah and Israel, which may apply
either to the Assyrians or to the Chaldeans and, perhaps, to
both. Then the prophet describes the speed with which they
come and do their destructive work, which may apply to the
march of the Assyrians against Samaria and the Chaldeans
against Jerusalem. (For minute details of description see the
text.) The prophet closes his description of this invading army
(or armies) and their destructive work, with Israel in the deep_
est gloom, which was fulfilled in three instances: (1) the cap_
ture of Samaria by the Assyrians; (2) the capture of Jerusalem
by the Chaldeans; (3) the final destruction of Jerusalem by
the Romans. Perhaps all three of these events are in the per_
spective of the prophet’s vision, which constitute the dark
picture and disappointing gloom with which he closes chapter
5 and section I of his book.
Chapter 6 gives us Isaiah’s encouraging vision of Jehovah.
The preceding section closed in the deepest gloom; the light of
prophecy only made the darkness more fearful. Already the
heir of David’s throne, Uzziah, had been “humbled” by God’s
stroke, “cut away” as a withered branch, excluded from the
house of the Lord, and continued till death “unhealed of his
plague.” The prophet had delivered his message faithfully,
but being only a man, he was conscious of the failure of his
message, and therefore, at such a time he needed the comfort_
ing revelation of Jehovah, just such as the vision of chapter 6
affords. Thus Jehovah, as he comforted Abraham, Jacob, Mo_
ses Joshua, Elijah, the twelve, Paul, and John, in their darkest
hours by a vision of himself, so here he comforts Isaiah in his
gloom of despondency.
A brief outline of chapter 6 is as follows:
1. The heavenly vision, a vision of the Lord, his throne, his
train, the serephim with six wings each and saying, “Holy,
holy, holy, is Jehovah of hosts.” These creatures are God’s at_
tendants and the six wings represent the speed with which they
fly in carrying out his behests, but when in divine presence four
of them were used for another purpose. One pair veiled the
seraph’s face from the intolerable effulgence of divine glory;
another pair veiled his feet, soiled in various ministrations,
which were not meet for the all_pure presence.
2. The sense of unworthiness produced by the vision and the
symbolic cleansing which encouraged him in his mission. Here
the prophet acts very much as Job and John did when they saw
his holiness, crying out, “unclean.” This is a most natural re_
sult from the contrast between relative and absolute holiness.
Job maintained his integrity until he saw the Lord and then he
was ready to say, “I abhor myself and repent.” So John fell
at the feet of the glorious Son of God as one dead, and Peter
said, “Depart; I am a sinful man.” With these examples before
us we may conclude that he who boasts of his holiness adver_
tises thereby his guilty distance from God.
3. The offer for service, which naturally follows such a
preparation as Isaiah had just received. This, too, is an ex_
pression of renewed courage, in the face of such a dark pros_

4. The message and its effect. He was to preach with the
understanding that his message would not be received and
that the hearer, because of this message, would pass under the
judicial blindness. This passage is quoted by our Lord (Matt.
13:14_15) to show the same condition in his day and that the
responsibility for this condition did not rest upon the prophet
or the preacher but that it was the natural result of an inexor_
able law, viz: that the effect of the message on the hearer of
it depends altogether upon the attitude of the hearer toward
the message. Them that reject, it hardens and them that ac_
cept, it gives life. Thus it has ever been with subjects of gos_
pel address, but the message must be delivered whether it
proves a savor of life unto life or of death unto death.
5. The terrible judgments to follow. Here the prophet asks,
“How long is to continue this judicial blindness?” and the an_
swer comes back, “Until cities are laid waste, etc.” This in_
cludes their captivity in Babylon, their rejection of the Saviour
and consequent dispersion, and will continue until the Jews
return and embrace the Messiah whom they now reject until
the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
6. The final hope expressed. This is the hope of the “rem_
nant,” “the holy seed.” This was Isaiah’s hope of Israel in
his day; it was Christ’s hope of Israel in his day; it was Paul’s
hope of Israel in his day, and is it not our hope of Israel in our
day? “The remnant according to the election of grace.”

1. What three things suggested by the word, “vision,” in the title?
2. How do you explain the fact that this vision was “concerning
Judah and Jerusalem” and yet it embraces a vast variety of nations and countries?
3. What relation does chapter I sustain to the whole book, what it
standpoint, after what is it modeled, and of what does it consist?
4. What the contents of the first message?
5. What expressions in this paragraph worthy of note and what their
6. What the second message of chapter 1 (10_17)?
7. What the third message of this chapter (18_23), what the back
reference here and what the renewed charge?
8. What the fourth message in this chapter (24_31) and what in par_
ticular, the hope here held out to Judah?
9. What New Testament quotation from this chapter and what use
is there made of it?
10. What the nature of the contents of chapters 2_5 and what the
relation of this section to chapter I?
11. To what period of time does the section (2_5) belong and what
the proof?
12. What the title to this section and what does it include?
13. What the close relation of chapters 1_2?
14. What the assurance found in the introduction (vv. 2_4) and how
does this passage compare with Micah’s prophecy on the same point?
15. What is meant here by “the latter days”?
16. What is meant by “the mountain of the Lord’s house”?
17. What means shall be used by the church in accomplishing these
18. What spirit of inquiry is here awakened?
19. To what purpose shall all this be?
20. Who is to be the arbiter of the nations, as here described?
21. What the result of this arbitration?
22. What God’s means of preparation of the nation for the great fu_
ture, as just shown in the messianic prophecy, and what, in general the items of judgment?
23. What the sins to be visited by these judgments (2:5_9)?
24. What the objects against which these judgments are to be brought
(2:10 to 4:1)?
25. What shall follow these judgments on God’s people (4:2_6)?
26. What is the subject of chapter 5 and what the three main points
in it?
27. Describe the disappointing vineyard.
28. Identify this vineyard and show its parallels in history.
29. Itemize the woes that follow (5:8_23) and note the points of in_
terest in each case.
30. What the coming army as predicted in 5:25_30 and what the
parallels of this prophecy and its fulfilment?
31. What the subject of chapter 6 and what its relation to the section
(2_5) and what its bearing on the condition of Judah at this time?
32. Give a brief outline of chapter 6 and the application of each point.

Isaiah 7:1 to 10:14

In the outline the section, Isaiah 7_13, is called the book of
Immanuel, because the name, “Immanuel,” occurs in it twice
and it is largely messianic. There are four main divisions of
this section preceded by a historical introduction, as follows:
Historical introduction (7:1_2)
I. Two interviews with Ahaz and their messages (7:3_25)
II. Desolating judgments followed by salvation (8:1 to 9:7)
III. Jehovah’s hand of judgments (9:81010:4)
IV. The debasement of the Assyrians and the salvation of true Israel (10:5 to 12:6)
There are certain items of information in the historical in_
troduction, as follows:
1. That the date of this section is the “days of Ahaz,” king
of Judah.
2. That, during this reign, Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah,
king of Israel, attempted to take Jerusalem but failed.
3. That the confederacy between Syria and Ephraim caused
great fear in Judah on the part of both the king and the people.
By the command of Jehovah Isaiah, with his son, Shear_
jashub, went forth to meet Ahaz, at the end of the conduit of
the upper pool, in the highway of the fuller’s field to quiet his
fear respecting the confederacy of Rezin and Pekah, assuring
him that their proposed capture of Jerusalem and enthrone_
ment of Tabeel, an Assyrian, should not come to pass because
Damascus and Samaria had only human heads, while Jeru_
salem had a divine head who was able to and would destroy
their confederacy within sixty_five years, which included the
work of Tiglath_pileser III, Shalmaneser IV, Sargon, Sen_
nacherib, and Esarhaddon. The last named completed the
destruction of the power of the ten tribes by placing heathen
colonists in the cities of Samaria (2 Kings 17:24; Ezek. 4:2).
Then the prophet rested Ahaz’s case on his faith in Jehovah’s
word and promise. This challenge of faith to Ahaz is beau_
tifully expressed by the poet, thus:
Happiest they of human race
To whom our God has granted grace
To read, to fear, to hope, to pray;
To lift the latch and force the way.
It seems that Ahaz silently rejected Jehovah’s proposition
of faith. So Jehovah, to give him another chance and to leave
him without excuse, offers, through his prophet, to strengthen
Ahaz’s faith by means of a sign, allowing him to name the
sign to be given. But Ahaz made “a pious dodge” because
of his contemplated alliance with Assyria, saying that he would not tempt Jehovah. Then the prophet upbraids the house of David for trying the patience of Jehovah and announces that Jehovah will give a sign anyway, which was the child to be born of a virgin, after which he goes on to show that the whole land shall be made desolate. Jehovah will summons the nations to devastate the land. Then he gives four pictures of its desolation as follows: (1) Flies and bees; (2) the hired razor; (3) one cow and two sheep; (4) briers and thorns.
Signs were of various kinds. They might be actual miracles
performed to attest a divine commission (Ex. 4:3_9), or judg_
ments of God, significant of his power of justice (Ex. 10:2),
or memorials of something in the past (Ex. 13:9, 16), or pledges
of something still future, such as are found in Judges 6:36_40;
2 Kings 20:8_11 et al. The sign here was a pledge of God’s
promise to Ahaz of the destruction of Damascus, and Samaria

and comes under the last named class. But as to its fulfilment
there is much discussion, the most of which we may brush aside
as altogether unprofitable. The radical critics contend that Isaiah expected a remarkable deliverer to arise in connection
with the Assyrian war and deny that this refers at all to our Lord Jesus Christ. There seems to be no certain or common ground for mediating and conservative critics themselves. There are two main views held: (1) That a child was to be born in the days of Isaiah who was to be a type of the great Immanuel. They say that verses 15_16 favor this view. Now if the birth was to be natural, it seems to have a double sense, or else a very poor type. If there were a miraculous conception of a type of Christ in those days all records have been lost. At least, it is impos-sible to locate definitely the wonderful person who was to prefigure the real Immanuel. (2) That the reference is solely to the birth of Jesus Christ. But how could this be a sign unto Ahaz? Here we note the fact that this language respecting the sign is addressed to the “house of David” and therefore becomes a sign to the nation rather than to Ahaz alone. The time element of the prophecy hinges on the word, “before.” It is literally true that before this child grew to discern good and evil, the land of Damascus and the land of Israel had been laid waste. The text does not say how long before but the word, “before,” is used to express the order of events, rather than time immediately before. A good paraphrase of the prophecy would be, “0 house of David, I will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel, but before the child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, Syria and Israel shall be forsaken and Jehovah will bring upon thee, and upon thy people, days unlike any that have come since Ephraim rebelled in the days of Jeroboam.” All this took place before the child was born who was to be the sign unto all people, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the idea of Genesis 3:15: “The seed of the woman [not of the man] shall bruise the ser-pent’s head,” and forecasts the doctrine of the incarnation, a doctrine essential to the redemption of the world. Of one thing we may be assured, viz: Never was this prophecy fulfilled until Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary. Of him old Simeon said, “He shall be set for a sign which is spoken against.” So we
can plant ourselves squarely on Matthew 1:23 and say, “Here
is the fulfilment of Isaiah 7:14.”
The significance of “the fly,” “the bee,” “the razor,” “the
cow and two sheep,” and “briers and thorns” is important. The
fly is here used to designate the Egyptian army which was
loosely organized, something like the looseness with which flies
swarm. The bee refers to Assyria whose armies were much
better and more compactly organized than the Egyptian army,
something like the order with which bees work. The hired
razor refers to the king of Assyria, who had been hired, as it
were, by Samaria to help them, meaning that this was to be
the power by which Jehovah was going to accomplish his work
of destruction upon Samaria and Damascus. The “cow and
two sheep” signifies the scanty supply of animals left in the
land after this desolation which was so clearly foretold. The
“briers and thorns” represent the deserted condition of the
country, in which the lands that were once tilled and valuable,
would then become overgrown with briers and thorns.
There are three subdivisions of the section, 8:1 to 9:7, as
1. The twofold sign of the punishment about to fall upon
Damascus and Samaria’.
2. The invasion of Judah.
3. Jehovah’s light dispels the darkness.
The twofold sign was the sign of the great tablet and the
child’s name, which was intended especially for the doubters
and unbelievers in the nation, as the sign, in the preceding
chapter, of Immanuel, “God with us,” was sufficient for the
reassurance of the faithful. This was a sign that would be
verified in two or three years and at once placed the king and
people on probation, forcing them to raise the question, “Shall
we continue to look to Assyria for help, or shall we trust the
prophet’s word about Assyria, Rezin, and Pekah?” The writ_
ing on the tablet and the child’s name were identical, meaning
“Plunder speedeth, spoil hasteth,” from which sign and the
obligations involved in its verification there was no escape. It
was fulfilled in three or four years when Pekah was assassi_
nated and Rezin slain by the king of Assyria.
The prophet describes this invasion as the waters of the
Euphrates coming first against Damascus and Samaria be_
cause they looked to Rezin and Pekah rather than to Jehovah’s
resources for relief, and bursting through them, who had been
the breakwater for Judah against this flood, it would sweep
on into Judah and overflow it.
Then the prophet (8:9_10) invites the people of the East to
make an uproar and to devise all means possible for the de_
struction of Judah, but it would all come to nought, for God
was with his people. Immanuel was their hope and is our
hope. As Paul says in Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who is
against us?”
As shown in 8:11_15, their real danger waa not in invading
armies, but in unbelief. Jehovah was to be their dread. He
would be their sanctuary, their refuge, if they only believed on
him. If not, he became a stone of stumbling or a snare unto
them. This thought is amplified in the New Testament in
many places (see Luke 2:34; Rom. 9:33; I Peter 2:8, et al).
The meaning of 8:16_18, “Bind thou up the testimony, etc.,”
is Jehovah’s order to Israel to write the prophecy and to tie
it up in the roll for the generations of his people to follow.
Isaiah then expresses his abiding confidence in his and his chil_
dren’s mission in being signs in Israel, looking to him for his
The warning and exhortation (8:19_22) were given them in.
view of their coming troublous times when they would be
tempted to turn to other sources of information rather than
God’s revelations, which would lead them into greater dark_
ness and confusion. A case of its violation is that of King
Saul. When God refused to hear him because of his sin, he
sought the witch of Endor, which in the light of this passage
illustrates the operations of modern spiritualists.
Across the horrible background of chapter 8 the prophet
sketches, in startling strokes of light, the image of a coming
Redeemer, who brought light, liberty, peace, and joy to his
subjects. The New Testament in Matthew 4:15_16, tells us
that the light, liberty, peace, and joy of the prophecy were
fulfilled in the land of Zebulun and Naphtali when Jesus and
his disciples came among the people dwelling around the Sea
of Galilee and preached his gospel and healed their sick and
delivered their demoniacs. That his gospel was light, a great
light. All knowledge is light. Whatsoever maketh manifest
is light. And this gospel brought the knowledge of salvation in
the remission of their sins. It revealed their relations toward
God. It revealed God himself in the face of Jesus Christ. It
discovered their sins and brought contrition and repentance.
It revealed a sin_cleansing and sin_pardoning Saviour. Its
reception brought peace by justification and brought liberty by
dispossession of Satan. And with light, liberty, and peace
came joy unspeakable.
The central text of this passage is, “For unto us a child is
born and unto us a son is given.” The “for” refers to the pre_
ceding context, which tells us that she who was under gloom
shall have no more anguish. That the people who walk in
darkness behold a great light. That the land of Zebulun and
Naphtali on which divine contempt had been poured is now
overflowed with blessings. That with light has come liberty,
and with liberty peace, and with peace joy – and the joy of
harvest and of victory, for this child is born. The coming of
this child is assigned as the reason or cause for all this light,
this liberty, this peace, this joy. Marvelous child to be the
author of such blessings. Humanity is unquestionably here.
It is a child, born of an earthly mother. But mere humanity
cannot account for such glorious and eternal results. A mere
child could not bear up under the government of the world
and establish a kingdom of whose increase there should be no
The names ascribed to our Lord in 9:6 cannot be Alexander,
Caesar, or Bonaparte. Their kingdoms were not of peace, light,
joy, and liberty. Their kingdoms perished with themselves.
But what is this child’s name? It staggers us to call it: His
name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace! If this be not divinity,
words cannot express it. And if it be divinity as certainly as a
“child born” expresses humanity, then well may his name be
“Wonderful,” for he is God_man. Earth, indeed, furnished
his mother, but heaven furnished the sire. And if doubt in_
quire, how can these things be, it must be literally true as re_
vealed and fulfilled later: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon
thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee,
therefore, also the Holy One who shall be born of thee shall be
called the Son of God.”
In particular these names give us the following ideas of him:
1. “Wonderful, Counsellor” indicates the matchless wisdom
with which he taught and lived among men. In all that con_
cerns the glory of Jehovah and the welfare of his people, we
may rely implicitly on the purposes and plans of this Deliverer.
2. “Mighty God” means the living and true God and refers
to his omnipotence in carrying out his plans and purposes. He
is not only God, but he is Almighty God, at whose command
were the powers of the universe, “head over all things unto the
church,” making “all things work together for good to them
that love God.”
3. “Everlasting Father” means “Father of eternity” and re_
fers to his divinity, whose “goings forth are from of old, from
4. “Prince of Peace” refers to his mission in the nature of his
kingdom. He is not only a mighty hero but his kingdom is a
kingdom of peace.
The promise here concerning his kingdom is that it is to be
an everlasting kingdom, administered in peace and righteous_
ness (v. 6).
The title of section 9:8 to 10:4 is “Jehovah’s hand of judg_
ment,” and is suggested from the fact that this section is di_
vided into four paragraphs, or strophes, each one ending with
the sad refrain, “For all this his anger is not turned away, but
his hand is stretched out still,” i.e., for further chastisement.
The special themes of these four paragraphs, respectively,
are as follows:
1. 9:8_12, The loss of wealth, followed by repeated invasion.
2. 9:13_17, The loss of rulers.
3. 9:18_21, The devouring fire of their own sinfulness.
4. 10:1_4, A woe unto perverters and their utter helplessness.
The loss of wealth is described in 9:8_12. The prophet in_
troduces this section by saying that the Lord had sent word to
Jacob and it had lighted up Israel, i.e., this message of de_
struction was mainly for Israel, who were standing stoutly in
the face of God’s chastisements, by substituting one thing for
another destroyed by Jehovah. The prophet assures them that
God has not exhausted all his means and that he will use
Syria and Philistia to complete the work of desolation.
Then the loss of their rulers is described in 9:13_17. The
prophet introduces this strophe with a complaint that Je_
hovah’s chastisements had been ineffective in turning Samaria
to himself. Then he goes on to show that Jehovah would cut
off from Israel the head, i.e., the elder, and the tail, i.e., the
lying prophet; that he would destroy all without mercy because
they were all profane.
The devouring fire of their own sinfulness follows in 9:18_21. The prophet here likens wickedness unto a devouring fire, which devours briers and thorns, then breaks out in the forests and rolls up its column of smoke. A very impressive picture of the course and penalty of wickedness, as it goes on to full fruitage in its destruction of those who practice it, until without discrimination it devours alike the neighbor and the kinsman.
In 10:1_4 the prophet brings a heavy charge against this
class, that they rob the poor and needy, and devour widows’
houses, making them their prey. What a picture of perverted
justice! Because of this awful corruption there will be no hope
for them before the enemy in the day of Jehovah’s visitation
and desolation. They shall bow down under the prisoners and
fall under the slain. A graphic description of their humiliation
is this, yet, “For all this his anger is not turned away, but his
hand is stretched out still.” A sad wail and a gloomy picture
from which we joyfully turn to another section of the book, in
which we have the enemies of Jehovah’s people brought low
and the true Israel of God exalted. But this will follow in the
next chapter.

1. What the title of Isaiah 7_12 in the outline and why is it so called?
2. What the outline of this division?
3. What the items of information in the historical introduction?
4. Give an account of the first meeting with Ahaz and the message of
the prophet in connection with it.
5. Give an account of the second meeting with Ahaz and the message
of the prophet in connection with it.
6. What is the meaning of Jehovah’s sign to Ahaz and when was the
prophecy of this sign fulfilled?
7. What the significance of “the fly,” “the bee,” “the razor,” “the cow
and two sheep,” and “briers and thorns”?
8. What three subdivisions of 8:1 to 9:7?
9. What the twofold sign of the punishment about to fall upon Da_
mascus and Samaria and what the significance of it?
10. Describe the picture of the Assyrian invasion as given here by the
prophet in 8:5_8.
11. What hope of defense against this invading power does the prophet hold out to Judah in 8:9_10?
12. In what was their real danger as shown in 8:11_15?
13. What was the meaning of 8:16_18, “Bind thou up the testimony,
14. What the special pertinency of the exhortation of’ Isaiah respecting
familiar spirits in 8:19_22 and what Old Testament example of the violation of its teaching?

15. What the fulfilment and interpretation of the great messianic
prophecy in 9:1_7?
16. What the names ascribed to our Lord in 9:6 and what the signifi_
cance of them in general and in particular?
17. What promise here concerning his kingdom?
18. What the title of section 9:8 to 10:4 and what suggests it?
19. What the special themes of each of these four paragraphs?
20. How is the loss of wealth in 9:8_12 described?
21. How is the loss of their rulers in 9:13_17 described?
22. How is the devouring fire of their own sinfulness in 9:18_21 de_
23. How is the woe against perverters of righteousness in 10:1_4 here

10:5 to 12:6

The general theme of this section is the abasement of the
Assyrians and the exaltation of Israel, and the main divisions
1. The Assyrian exalted and then abased (10:5_27)
2. Judah humbled and then exalted (10:28 to 12:6).
There are five distinct paragraphs in the first division:
1. The Assyrian was the rod of Jehovah, though he did not
so thinker purpose it, and threatened Jerusalem because of his
successes (10:5_11).
2. His abasement decreed because he took the glory to him_
self and became exalted (10:12_14).
3. Jehovah’s right to abase Assyria is the right of the hewer
over the ax and the sawyer over the saw, therefore the punish_
ment will be complete (10:15_19).
4. The remnant will be encouraged when they see Jehovah’s
destruction of their enemies (10:20_23).
5. Jehovah’s exhortation to his people not to fear the Assyri_
ans, for he meant good to them by this correction, but now
he was about ready to stretch forth his hand to destroy their
enemies, just as he had saved his people in their past history
from their enemies (10:24_27).
There are five distinct items also in the second division:
1. A vivid description of the invading Assyrian, indicating
his course and progress through the land and his threat against
Jerusalem (10:28_32).
2. A prophecy of the destruction of the proud Assyrians by
Jehovah himself (10:33_34).
3. A shoot out of the stock of Jesse becomes the Deliverer,
the Prince of Peace (11:1_10).
4. The return of Jehovah’s people from all lands (11:11_16).
5. The song of the redeemed (12).
The last three items are messianic and need very careful
and extended consideration which we now take up. An ap_
propriate text with which to introduce this great messianic
prophecy is a passage from Acts:
Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said. It was neces_
sary that the word of God should first be spoken to you: but
seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of
everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord
commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gen_
tiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the
earth. – ACTS 13:46f.
The single point in this passage to which attention is called,
is the fact that Paul calls a prophecy, that the gospel should
go to the Gentiles, a command; that what is prophesied by the
Spirit of God becomes a command resting upon the children
of God. He says, “We turn to the Gentiles, for so hath the
Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of
the Gentiles.” Now if a prophecy of the giving of the gospel
to the Gentiles is a command upon God’s people, then a
prophecy of the ultimate conversion of the Jews becomes also
a command resting upon his people.
Now let us look at Isaiah II: “And there shall come forth
a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of
his roots.” In the book of Job it is said: “There is hope of a
tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again; that through
the vapor of water it will sprout and it will bring forth and
bear.” We have seen that illustrated hundreds of times when
from the stumps of trees that have been cut down shoots will
spring up and make new trees. This means that the royal line
of David, who was the son of Jesse, had fallen under great
misfortune and under the curses of God for their sin, and that
the house of David was brought very low. It was, as if it were
a tree cut down. Now, when it seemed to be utterly gone,
there should come out from the stump of that Davidic tree a
tender branch, and that branch should become a fruit_bearing
tree that would be more remarkable than the original tree it_
self. Jesse’s home was Bethlehem, and in the New Testament
times the family of David had gotten so low that Mary and
Joseph, who both belonged to it, were able to present as of_
ferings only a pair of turtle doves, indicating their great pov_
erty. Joseph was a carpenter and a very poor man. Now,
when they came to Bethlehem and Christ was born, that, ac_
cording to a multitude of scriptures which I will not take time
to cite, was the springing up of the sprout from the stump of
the tree of Jesse.
Verse 2 says: “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon
him, the spirit of wisdom .and understanding, the spirit of
counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of
the Lord.” This was fulfilled at his baptism, when coming up
out of the water he prayed, and the Spirit of God descended
upon him in the form of a dove. This was his anointing, and
John says that on that day he received the Spirit of God with_
out measure. All people upon whom the Spirit of God had
descended before that time had received it in a limited degree,
a measured degree) but the fulness of the Spirit’s power by the
anointing rested upon the Lord Jesus Christ, so that it might
be called the “spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit
of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear
of the Lord.” He himself in Nazareth, where he had been
brought up, read a passage from this same prophecy of Isaiah,
where the spirit of the Lord was promised to rest upon him, and
declared that on that day that prophecy was fulfilled in their
midst; that he stood before them as the fulfilment of the proph_
ecy of Isaiah, and that the Spirit of the Lord had anointed him
to preach the gospel to the poor, to give sight to the blind, to
give deliverance to the imprisoned, those that were in bondage,
and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord, that is, the jubi_
lee year, the fiftieth sabbatical year, that antitype of the Old
Testament which prefigured the millennial day, when the trum_
pet should be blown throughout the ends of the earth, announc_
ing that all bondage was ended, that all prison doors were open,
that all the burdens and ails that flesh was heir to were to be
removed. He announced that through his induement of the
Spirit he came to preach that. Consequently the next verses
say that this Spirit of induement shall make him of quick
understanding in the fear of the Lord; and he shall not judge
after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of
his ears; but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and
decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall
smite the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath
of his lips shall slay the wicked.
The life of our Lord as set forth in the Four Gospels illus_
trates all that is here foretold. Never before in the history of the
world had there come one whose initiative perception of the
realities of things was so vast; who was never misled by an ap_
parent state of affairs, but who looked through all seeming and
all masks to the very heart of things, so that he never made a
mistake. He read the heart of every man that came and pro_
pounded a question to him. He understood the motive that
was back of the question, and in making his reply to these
inquiries he never for one moment used a flattering term, but
he laid bare the secrets of the innermost heart, and all he said
was in righteousness. When cases came before him in which
the great were oppressing the small, in which the rich were
grinding the poor, in which the hypocrite was taking advantage
of the simple, in all these cases he reproved as the oracle of
God. He swept away the subterfuges under which men dis_
guised their real nature, and unveiled the iniquity of their pur_
poses, and no earthly position and honor, no gathering of the
multitude upon one side of the question, ever deterred him
from speaking the plainest and simplest truth without fear,
without favor, and without partiality. The earth had never
been so reproved with equity for the meek. The lowly ones
found in him their everlasting friend, a tower of strength, and
the exalted ones found in him their mightiest enemy, when
their exaltation was based not upon merit and not upon truth,
but upon a fictitious or adventitious circumstance.
The prophecy goes on now to tell the ultimate results:
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall
lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the
fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow
and the bear shall go to the pasture; their young ones shall lie
down together, and the lion shall eat straw like an ox. And the
sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned
child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not
hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be
full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
Now, here is a fulfilment that has not yet come – the preva_
lence of the knowledge of God over the whole earth and such
an acceptance of the teaching of Jesus Christ as shall put an
end to the strifes and bitterness of time; in the imagery here
put forth, as if a cow and a bear should go out to the pasture
together; as if a lion’s nature should be so changed that he
should eat grass like an ox; as if a leopard and a kid should
lie down together, the kid without a fear, and the leopard with_
out the lust of the kid’s blood; that a baby, perfectly helpless,
a little child, sucking child, should put out his hand upon a
venomous reptile, and a child a little older, a weaned child,
should thrust his hand into the den of a basilisk, or cockatrice,
as it is here called.
Now, these figures indicate to us what is called the millen-nial times, the thousand years in which wars will cease and differences between peoples will be settled by arbitration, and according to another prophecy in this book, that Jesus Christ
shall be the Arbiter between the nations, that is, that there
will come a time when the principles presented in the gospel
of Jesus Christ, and not the principles adopted at the Hague
Conference, shall be the basis of the settlement of differences
between nations. It is a long way to that time now. but it
will come.
It is the logical and inexorable result of the world’s full ac_
ceptance of the teaching of Jesus Christ. The hope of every
Christian is turned to that time, and no matter how sinister,
for the time being, may be the portents on the political sky,
nor how gloomy the forebodings of the pessimistic mind, yet
the true Christian is heartfired by faith and is essentially an
optimist. He sees the good times coming. He does not believe
that this world is going to destruction. He does not believe
that God has vacated the throne of government, or allowed to
slip from his hand the reins of government) but that on high,
above all mutations of time and clouds and fogs and dusts of
earth’s battle, in a serenity that is never clouded, he looks
down calmly upon what seems to be the ceaseless perturbations
of time, knowing that in his own way, retaining hi8 control of
every spring of activity, of every source of power and of the
ultimate forces of nature and morals, he is bringing things to
pass in a way that is perfectly irresistible. Every word of God
ever spoken in the past, that was to be fulfilled up to the pres_
ent time, has been fulfilled literally, and we shall see the ful_
filment of this prophecy in due time.
The second part of the chapter, whose connections with
Romans 11 would be apparent is as follows:
And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand
for an ensign of the peoples, to it shall the Gentiles seek; and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
This is a distinct prophecy, connecting the gathering togeth-er of dispersed Israel in some way with that period of millennial
peace and glory. It is to be in connection with that prevalence
of the knowledge of the Lord that will fill the whole earth; not
the first gathering, as when he led Israel out of Egypt; not the
first gathering from Babylon, as when by the command of
Cyrus the captives were ordered to return to their own land;
not the first time, from Elam or Cush, whose kings issued de_
crees, that is, the decree of Cyrus, the decree of Darius Hys_
taspes, the decree of Artaxerxes, and the second decree of
Artaxerxes, all bearing upon the return of the Jews to their
native land. That was the first time. Now he says it shall
come to pass in that day, that is yet ahead of us, that “A sec_
ond time I will gather the dispersed of Israel from all the lands
of the earth,” mentioning Cush, or Ethiopia, Egypt, Persia,
and Assyria. This gathering will certainly come.
He says, “And he will set up an ensign for the nations, and
will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the
dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. The
envy also of Ephraim shall depart.” Ephraim, that is, the
Ten Tribes, always envied Judah, and that envy had to do
with the partition of the kingdom and the calamities that came
upon the divided nation. Now when this gathering takes place
the Ten Tribes shall this time be without envy against Judah,
and “Judah shall not vex Ephraim. And they . . . shall fly
upon the shoulder of the Philistines on the west . . . and the
children of Ammon shall obey them.” That is to say, the Gen_
tiles shall become nursing mothers and fathers to the Jewish
people, and this gathering of the Jewish people shall be brought
about through the action of the Gentile nations. That is yet
to be fulfilled.
Whether the initiation of the movement shall take place by
England, or Germany, or the United States, we do not know,
but the Word of God, which has never failed, will yet bring
about a change of the sentiment of Gentiles toward the Jew_
ish people. The reproach of being a Jew will be taken away.
For a long time the name of a Jew has been a stench in the
nostrils of other nations. The Romans hated him. The Greeks
hated him. The Russians hate him today. The Germans hated
him. The English kings ground him to powder. From all parte
of the world the hand of the oppressor has been stretched forth
to smite the Jew. Now it is the prophecy of God that through
the intervention of Gentile nations these despised Jewish peo_
ple shall be gathered together.
Two thousand years have passed away since they cut off
their Messiah and he cut them off, but Paul says, “Hath he
cast them off forever? God forbid.” When they fell in be_
trayal of their Messiah did they fall forever? He affirms posi_
tively that they did not. They fell, but it was in the purposes
of God only to allow the opening of a door of salvation to the
Gentiles. Three years and a half after the crucifixion of Christ
the gospel that had for the past seven years been preached ex_
clusively to Jews took a different direction, and from that
time on we have no historical account of any great number of
Jews being converted. Multitudes of them were converted
from the time of Christ’s baptism to the time of Saul’s perse_
cution – three thousand in one day, five thousand another day,
great multitudes at other times, so that we may reasonably
conclude that at least a hundred thousand Jews were converted
in the seven years lasting from the beginning of the public
ministry of Christ, at his baptism, when he was received and
anointed, to the persecution under Saul of Tarsus, which turned
the attention of the church to the Gentile world, and from that
time on the thousands of converts have come from the Gen_
tiles. The kingdom of God had been taken from the Jews and
given to the Gentiles. Now, says the apostle Paul, Is that
permanent? When they stumbled that way did they fall final_
ly? He says, “No”; that stumbling was not final, because the
gifts and callings of God are without any change of mind, and
he has not utterly cast off his people, but he has permitted
their fall to bring about the salvation of the Gentiles, until
the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
But the Jews will be cut off as long as the great period of
evangelization lasts among the Gentiles; just that long Jeru_
salem shall be trodden under foot of the Gentiles. The Jew
shall not occupy his holy land, nor his ancient city, but there
will be a full measure ultimately, when because of sin on the
part of the Gentiles the glorious opportunities that are en_
joyed today will be taken away; when we have allowed our
hearts to wax cold and our faith to become dim, and have
turned away from that induement of power which comes by
the Holy Spirit, and trust to money, and trust to personal in_
fluence, and trust to human eloquence; when we have shut our
eyes to the shining of the galaxy of perfect stars that are blaz_
ing in the darkness. Then the fulness of the Gentiles will have
Another result is here described: “And the Lord shall ut_
terly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea.” The tongue of
the Egyptian sea is the Red Sea which projects away up into
Egypt, and when, in the olden time the captives were brought
out of Egypt, with the wind God divided the tongue of that
sea, and they passed over dry shod. Now, something similar
to that will occur in the later times: “And the Lord shall utter_
ly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea, and with his mighty
wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it
into seven streams, and make men go over dry shod.”
When these Jews were approaching their Holy Land in the
olden time, the Jordan was swelling in its flood, with full banks,
and by the voice of God the river was cut in twain, and the
people passed over it. Now, by miracles as astounding as the
Red Sea and the passage of the river Jordan, shall the diffi_
culties and obstacles in the way of the gathering of the Jewish
people be removed in the later time. “And there shall be an
highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left,
from Assyria; like as there was for Israel in the day that he
came up out of the land of Egypt.” The King of Persia gave
an order when the Jews were allowed to return, that men should
be sent to prepare a way for them to go, and all of the officers
of the Persian government along the entire line of the passage_
way to the Holy Land were commanded, by money and every
kindness, to facilitate the passage of these people back to their
ancient home. Now, in the time spoken of here, from every
land of dispersion there shall be a highway, an easy traveling
path, for the returning Jewish remnant. It is this conversion
of the Jews that shall usher in the millennial times.
Zechariah’s testimony to this event is clear and that shall
be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet Zechariah: “I
will pour upon the house of David) and upon the inhabitants of
Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they
shall look unto me whom they have pierced; and they shall
mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son.” Their
mourning in that time shall be greater than their mourning
when King Josiah died in the battle of Megiddon. There the
independent monarchy of the Jews died a royal death. After
that time the three descendants of Josiah were mere dependents
upon Babylon. Consequently the mourning of the Jews when
Josiah died was the greatest mourning in their history. Jere_
miah wrote an elegy on him. Now, says this prophecy of
Zechariah, They shall ultimately be so convicted of their sins
by the outpouring of the spirit of God upon their hearts that
they shall see the Messiah whom they have pierced, and the
mourning that they will experience will be greater than the
mourning in which they indulged when King Josiah died. The
prophecy then goes on to state that in that day there shall be
opened up for the house of Israel and the seed of David a
fountain for sin and uncleanness. That is the prophecy upon
which Cowper wrote the hymn that lingers on the lips of all
congregations which praise God:
There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.
Now this prophecy declares that that fountain in that day
shall be opened for the Jews. Gentile sinners already for two
thousand years have been plunging into its cleansing stream,
but Israel standeth afar off, a people under ban, an outcast,
stricken and forlorn people, the contempt of the nations of the
earth. But the full tide of millennial glory can never come
until these Jews be converted.
I cited that passage in Acts 13, which said that when God
prophesied that Jews should become a light to the Gentiles,
that operated as a commandment upon his church to preach
the gospel to the Gentiles; so now when God prophesies the
future salvation of the Jewish people, and that operates as a
commandment upon us to turn our attention to the salvation
of the Jews, knowing that that is the last barrier between us
and that glorious time when the leopard and the kid shall lie
down together, when the cow and the bear shall go off together
to the same pasture, when the lion shall eat straw like an ox,
when the helpless babe will need no protection though coming
in contact with the most ravenous wild beast or the most ven_
omous serpent, because the power to hurt is taken away from
all of God’s holy mountain, and the old paradise time has
come back, when Adam and Eve without fear mingled with
the beasts, and they even passed in review before them. The
lion did not crouch at his coming, the tiger did not glare upon
him with malignancy, but the fear of man was on all of the
brute creation. Sin came and destroyed the majesty of man
and brought about a war between the man and all the beasts
of the field, and brought a curse upon the earth, so that it
produces thorns and briers. Now, in the millennial times the
disabilities which attach to. present life, the misfortunes which
come, the wars whose thunders today shake the Orient and
whose echoes frighten the Occident, shall cease. God speed
that day, when hatred shall lie down to ashes, when envies and
jealousies and strifes have come to an end; when this world,
this errant globe, that through sin swung out of its orbit of
allegiance to God, and wandered rebelliously and darkly into
space, shall feel the centripetal attraction of the sun of right_
eousness, and by the attracting power of the Son of God shall
be brought back to its place among the realms of the universe
and chaos is ended, and order and harmony restored.
The prophet goes right on from chapter II into the song of
the redeemed, which is a perfect little gem of literature and
reminds us of the song of Miriam and Moses on the banks of
deliverance from the Egyptians, or the great song of deliver_
ance from the apostate church as we have it in Revelation.
Here they sing of Jehovah’s goodness and his comfort, his sal_
vation and his strength, his excellence and his greatness. They
are now drawing water out of the wells of salvation and re_
joicing in their triumphs over their oppressors. That will be
a glorious, good day for God’s people when the Jews accept
the Messiah and add their joyous hallelujahs to the chorus
of the redeemed. Then will they make glad the city of God
in publishing the good tidings to earth’s remotest bounds.
Ye pilgrims on the road
To Zion’s city, sing:
Sing on, rejoicing every day
In Christ th’ eternal King.

1. What the general theme of this section?
2. What the main divisions of this section?
3. What the several items of the first division, 10:5_27?
4. What the several items of the second division, 10:28 to 12:6T
5. What would be an appropriate text with which to introduce this
great messianic prophecy?
6. What the single point of the application of this passage to the mat_
ter in hand?
7. Explain the “rod out of the stem of Jesse” and its application.
8. Explain verse 2: when fulfilled, what the proof and what the re_
9. How are all these things here foretold illustrated in the life of our
10. What the ultimate results as here foretold?
11. What can you say of the fulfilment as to the final results?
12. What is indicated by this prophecy, how to be realized, and what
its bearing on the Christian’s outlook?
13. What the prophecy of the second item of the chapter and with
what other scripture is it connected?
14. When is this to be realized and what gathering is this to be?
15. How is all this to be brought about, i.e., by whom and what to be
one of the glorious results?
16. How long now since the Jews were cut off, how, when, and why
and what hope does Paul hold out to the Jews?
17. How long are the Jews to be cut off and what will indicate the
approach of the end of the Gentile dispensation?
18. What another result and what its meaning?
19. What Zechariah’s testimony to this event?
20. What is our relation to this great future event?
21. What the nature and contents of chapter 12?

Isaiah 13_23

This section is called “The Book of Foreign Prophecies,’”
because it treats of the foreign nations in their relation to
Judah and Israel.
There are ten foreign nations here mentioned, as follows:
Babylon, Assyria, Philistia, Moab, Damascus, Ethiopia, Egypt,
Dumah, Arabia, and Tyre, with second prophecies against
Egypt, Ethiopia, and Babylon, and one thrown in against Is_
rael, Judah) Jerusalem, and Shebna, each. This Shebna was
probably a foreigner. He was to be degraded from his high
office and Eliakim was to take his place.
The radical critics assign to this section a much later date
because of the distinctly predictive prophecies contained in it.
There is no question that it reflects the condition of Babylon
long after the time of Isaiah, and unless one believes heartily
in supernatural revelations, the conclusion that it was written
much later than the time of Isaiah, is unavoidable. The author
accepts it as a prophecy of Isaiah and holds tenaciously to the
theory of the unity of the book.
In chapters 13_23 the prophet gives us a series of judicial
acta on various surrounding peoples, each of whom embodied
some special form of worldly pride or ungodly self_will. But
Asshur_Babel was conspicuous above all the rest. After four_
teen. centuries of comparative quiet, she was now reviving the
idea of universal empire, notwithstanding the fact that Nim_
rod’s ruined tower stood as a perpetual warning against any
such attempt. This was the divine purpose, that God might
use it for his own instrument to chastise, both the various
Gentile races, and especially his own people, Israel. This was
the “hand that is stretched out upon all the nations” (14:26),
to break up the fallow ground of the world’s surface, and pre_
pare it for the good seed of the kingdom of God. Not only
are these chapters (13_23) thus bound together inwardly, but
they are also bound together outwardly by a similarity of title.
We cannot detach chapters 13_14 from what has gone be_
fore without injury to the whole series, because
1. It is only in these chapters that we have the full an_
tithesis to the mighty overflowing of the Assyrian deluge in
chapters 7_8, and 10.
2. Chapter 12 is a fit introduction to chapters 13_14, in that
the deliverance of Zion, so briefly alluded to in chapter 12, re_
quires a further view of the enemies’ prostration, which these
chapters supply. In 14:2_27 we find the song of triumph analo_
gous to Exodus 15, rather than in chapter 12.
3. Isaiah 14:27 seems to be a fit termination of the section
which began with 7:1.
4. There are many verbal links that connect these chapters
with the preceding chapters. For example, take 10:25 and
13:3; 10:27 and 13:5; 9:18 and 13:13, et multa al.
5. The complete cutting off of Ephraim foretold in chapter
7 requires a fuller revelation of the divine purpose concerning
Asshur_Babylon, as its counterpoise and this is found in chap_
ters 13_14.
From 14:28 we infer that this prophecy was written toward
the end of Ahaz’s reign. At that time spiritual darkness had
won the conquest of the whole world. The “lamp of God”
was now dark in his tabernacle. Hoshea, king of Israel, was
the vassal of Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, and Ahaz had long
ago surrendered himself to Tiglath_pileser. So the light of
prophecy, with such a background, was very luminous now.

Assyria was at this time at the height of her power, but Isaiah
tells with distinctness that Assyria shall be broken in pieces in
the Holy Land, and it is certain that Assyria received just
such a blow in the defeat of Sennacherib’s army.
The prophet also saw the doom of Babylon, the city which
was at this time the real center of the empire. He even men_
tions the instruments of the destruction, commencing with the
Medes, who were not at this time an independent nation. Noth_
ing can be more definite than Isaiah’s statements as to the
absolute ruin of the “Golden City,” which prediction at the
time must have seemed to violate all probability. Yet we have
abundant evidence that it was all fulfilled, both regarding the
nearer event of its capture by the Medes and also the ultimate
desolation of its site.
The significant word with which each of these prophecies
opens is the word “burden” which has here its original and
ordinary meaning. This original meaning of the word seems
to be supplied from 2 Kings 9:25, where it is used to mean
the divine sentence on Ahab: “Jehovah laid this burden upon
him.” The appropriateness of its use here is in the fact that
the prophecy to which it is prefixed is usually denunciatory in
character, and always so in Isaiah. It is easy to see that it
here means a grievous threatening oracle. It is claimed by
some that this word is used elsewhere in a good sense, as in
Zechariah 12:1 and Malachi 1:1, but upon close examination
of these passages in their connection it will be seen that they
are denunciatory and that the word has its primary meaning
in these instances also.
The reason that Babylon was given first consideration among the enemies of God’s people seems to be the fact that a divine revelation came to Isaiah at this early date (725 B.C.) showing that Babylon was to be the great enemy to be feared, as the ultimate destroyer of Judah and Jerusalem, the power that
would carry the Jewish people into captivity. The main points
of the denunciation against her are as follows:
1. The instruments of God’s destruction of Babylon are the
far_away nations, which God himself will assemble for this
work of destruction (13:2_5).
2. The vivid description of the sweeping devastation, which
is all inclusive in the objects of its vengeance (13:6_16).
3. The Medes are named as the instruments to begin this
work, and the permanent effects of the desolation to follow
4. The reason for all this is God’s favor to Jacob who had
been oppressed by these foreigners (14:1_2).
5. Israel’s parable of exaltation over Babylon reciting their
oppressive work and God’s intervention which humbled Baby_
lon and exalted Israel (14:3_20).
6. The final announcement of Babylon’s doom and the per_
manency of its desolation (14:21_23).
The prophecy against Assyria under this first burden con_
sists of God’s oath of assurance to his people that his purpose
already foretold concerning Assyria should stand. Babylon
in the first part of the prophecy is presented as the most for_
midable enemy of God’s people, but it had not yet become so
fearful then. But Assyria was their dread at this time. So
Isaiah comes nearer home to meet their present need and as_
sures them that they need not fear the Assyrian for God’s
purpose concerning him should stand.
There are several things in this burden that call for special
1. In 13:2_5 the prophet speaks of the mustering of the host
to battle as if it were then in the process of assembling, indi_
cating the vividness of it all to the prophet’s mind as present,
though it was only a vision of the future.
2. In 13:3 Jehovah speaks of his “consecrated ones,” clearly
referring to the Medes and Persians. Now in what sense were
they “consecrated ones”? It means that they were the in_
struments of his purpose, set apart for the specific work of

executing his judgment. They were consecrated, or set apart,
by the Lord for this work though they themselves were un_
gongcious of the function they performed. There are many
illustrations of such use of men by the Lord recorded in the
Scriptures, two notable examples of which are Cyrua and
Caesar Augustus.
3. In 13:10 there is a reference to the darkening of the heav_
enly luminaries. This is an expression of Nature’s sympathy
with the Lord. When he is angry, the lights of the heavens
grow dark, as at the crucifixion of our Lord, and as it will be
at the end of the world. So it is often the case in the time of
great judgments. There seems also to be a special fitness in
the expression here in view of the importance attached to the
signs of the heavenly bodies by the Chaldeans at this time.
4. The desolation described in verses 20_22 is witnessed by
every traveler of today who passes the site of this once glorious
and proud Babylon.
5. In 14:9_11 we have the glad welcome given to these
Babylonians in their entrance into the lower spirit world. The
inhabitants of this region are represented as rising up to greet
and welcome these unfortunate Babylonians. The idea of
personal identity and continued consciousness after death is
here assumed by the prophet.
6. In 14:12 there is a back reference to the fall of Satan
who, before his fall, was called Lucifer. Here Babylon in her
fall is represented as Lucifer) the bright star of the morning
from heaven. Our Saviour refers to the incident of Satan’s
falling also in Luke 10:18, and we have a like picture of him
in Revelation 12:7_9, all of which must be considered in the
light of the analogue of Satan’s fall when he sinned and was
cast out of heaven.
7. In 14:25 Jehovah says he will “break the Assyrian in his
land,” which refers to the destruction of Sennacherib’s host
from which Assyria never recovered. In verse 26 the Lord
explains that Assyria was the hand that he had stretched out
for chastisements upon the nations of the world as they were
related to Judah and Israel.
The series of burdens from 14:28 to 23:18 may be viewed as
an unrolling of the “purpose concerning the whole earth,” just
mentioned in 14:26. Though the prophet stands on his watch_
tower and turns his eye around to the different points of the
horizon and surveys the relation in which each nation stands to
the advancing judgment, his addresses to the nations must be
thought of as chiefly meant for the warning and comfort of
Israel, which had too often adopted the sins of those whom
she was meant to sanctify.
The burden of prophecy against Philistia is a warning to
Philistia, following closely upon the death of Tiglath_pileser
which brought great rejoicing to Philistia, because they thought
the rod that smote them was broken. The prophet here re_
minds them that out of the serpent’s root there would come
forth the adder. In other words, there would arise from Assy_
ria an enemy far more deadly than the one who had been cut
off, and instead of being a mere serpent he would be a fiery
flying serpent. The reference is, probably, to Sargon who took
Ashdod, made the king of Gaza prisoner and reduced Philistia
generally to subjection. At this time the poor of Israel would
feed safely, but Philistia was to be reduced by famine and the
remnant slain by the Assyrians who are here referred to as “a
smoke out of the north.” Then God’s people will answer Philis_
tia’s messengers that Jehovah had founded Zion and in her the
afflicted would take refuge.
Some critics say that the bulk of the prophecy against Moab
(15:1 to 16:12) is quoted by Isaiah from an earlier writer, and
that he merely modified the wording and added a few touches
here and there. To this we answer that speculations of this
kind are in the highest degree uncertain and lead to no results
of any importance whatever. What matters it whether Isaiah
quoted or not? There is no proof that he did and it makes no
difference if be did. The author will contend that Isaiah was
the original author of these two chapters until the critics pro_
duce at least some proof that he quoted from an earlier author.
A brief outline of these two chapters is as follows:
1. A vivid picture of Moab’s overthrow (15).
2. Moab exhorted to flee to the house of David for shelter,
but refuses to make the right use of his affliction (16:1_12).
3. A confirmation of the prophecy and its speedy fulfilment
For the picture of Moab’s overthrow the reader may read
chapter 15. It is a vivid account of this overthrow and cannot
be well improved upon.
In 16:1_5 we have an exhortation to Moab to take refuge
with the house of David. Perhaps there is here an implica_
tion that Moab is not safe in his relation to Israel but that
there would be safety for him if he would take shelter under
the wings of Judah. Anyhow, there is a promise to Moab that
he might find shelter and security, if only he would comply
with the conditions herein set forth. But the pride of Moab
was the cause of his downfall, which was utterly complete and
accompanied by great wailing (16:6_8).
The prophet was moved to pity and tears for Moab upon
witnessing such desolation and sadness as should come to this
people. No gladness, no joy, no singing, and no joyful noise
was to be found in his borders (16:9_12). Such a prophetic
sight of Jerusalem made Jeremiah the weeping prophet and
moved the blessed Son of God to tears. “Your house is left
unto you desolate” is the weeping wail of our Lord as he saw
the sad fate of the Holy City.
The time set here by the prophet for the humiliation of Moab
is exactly three years, strictly measured, as a hireling would
measure the time for which he would receive his pay, the ful_
filment of which cannot be determined with certainty because
we do not have the exact date of the prophecy, nor do we know
which one of the different invasions that would fulfil the con_
ditions is really meant. Considering the date given in 14:28
we may reasonably conclude that the date of this prophecy
was in the first or second year of Hezekiah’s reign, and may
have had its fulfilment by Shalmaneser, who besieged Samaria
in. the fourth year of the reign of Hezekiah, sending a detach_
ment to these eastern parts of the country.
It is said that Damascus has been destroyed and rebuilt
oftener than any other Eastern city. This may account for
the fact that Damascus, treated so severely by Tiglath_pileser,
was again in a position to attract the attention of Shalmaneser
when he advanced against Samaria. In the time of Jeremiah
the city had been rebuilt, but we do not hear of any more kings
of Damascus.
The burden of prophecy against Damascus includes two
prophecies concerning Israel and Judah and one concerning
Ethiopia, and the main points of this prophecy are the ruin
of Damascus (17:1_3) ; only a remnant left to Jacob who would
look to Jehovah, because he had forgotten the God of his
salvation (17:4_11) ; the multitude of the heathen invaders sud_
denly destroyed (17:12_14) ; Ethiopia’s interest in these move_
ments, and her homage to Jehovah according to which she
sends a present to him (18:1_7).
There are several things in this burden that need special
1. The language referring to the overthrow of Damascus is
not to be pressed too far. Damascus was besieged and tem_
porarily destroyed, but it revived. See Jeremiah 49:23_27;
Ezekiel 27:18; and the New Testament references. Damascus
is still a city of importance.
2. In 17:12_14 we have an account of the sudden destruction
of the Assyrian army which was literally fulfilled in the de_
struction of Sennacherib’s host (2 Kings 19:35_37).
3. There is some controversy as to what nation is referred
to in 18:2, 7, but it is surprising that there should be such con_
troversy, since the evidence is overwhelming that the nation
here mentioned was Ethiopia. This is a region south of Egypt
and far up the Nile. The inhabitants, though black, were not
ignorant and weak, but a nation of vigor and influence in the
days of Isaiah. Cf. the Abyssinians.
4. The act of homage to Jehovah by Ethiopia as mentioned
in 18:7 is not given and therefore not easily determined and
can be ascertained only with some probability. There is evi_
dence that Ethiopia was intensely interested in the downfall
of Sennacherib which is prophesied in this connection, there_
fore, it is probable that the present was sent to Jehovah in
connection with Ethiopia’s alliance with Israel which existed
at this time. It is true that the conditions in Egypt at the
time Isaiah gave his prophecy against it were not favorable.
The government and idolatry were most securely established
and the things predicted seemed most improbable, from the
human point of view.
Then what the reason for a prophecy against Egypt at such
a time as this? The men of Ephraim and some in Judah were
at this time bent on throwing themselves upon Egypt for pro_
tection against Assyria. This was both wrong in itself and
impolitic. So Isaiah was hedging against such alliance by show_
ing the coming humiliation of the power to which they were
looking for aid.
There was an element of hope in this prophecy for the Is_
raelites. The tender sympathy expressed for penitent Egypt
in 19:20_23 must have assured the Israelites that if they would
return to their God, he would be entreated of them and heal
The prophecy against Egypt in 19:1_4 is a prophecy relating
to the political condition of Egypt, in which Jehovah will cause
civil strife and confusion, destroying the power of their idols
and the wisdom of their wise, and will place over them one
who is a “cruel Lord” and a “fierce king.”
The fulfilment of this prophecy is found in the internal
strife in Egypt during the days of Tirhakah and Psammetichus
iii the early part of the seventh century B.C. and the conquer_
ing of Egypt by Esar_haddon, who was decidedly a “cruel
prince” and treated Egypt with severity, splitting it up into a
number of governments, yet this prophecy has been referred
to Sargon, to Cambyses, and to Darius Ochus, and some think
it is applicable to the successive rulers of Egypt, generally, viz:
Chaldean, Persian, Greek, Roman, Saracen, and Turkish. But
this is not probable.
The picture in 19:5_10 is a picture of the distressful condi_
tion of Egypt while passing through the trying ordeal just
prophesied. Then follows (19:11_15) a picture of the con_
fusion of the wise men of Egypt as their wisdom is turned into
There are five happy effects of this judgment on Egypt, in
stages which reach a happy climax:
1. The Egyptians are stricken with fear because of Jehovah
and because of the land of Judah, similar to the fear that came
upon them when they were visited with the ten plagues (19:16_
2. Egypt shall learn the language of Canaan and swear unto
Jehovah. The language here referred to is the Hebrew which
was spoken largely in the country after the introduction of so
many Jews there. The “five cities” represents, perhaps, the
low and weakened condition of Egypt after the judgment is
visited upon it (19:18).
3. The worship of Jehovah is established in Egypt (19:19_
22). This was literally fulfilled in the building of the temple
at Leontopolis by Onias IV, with special license from Ptolemy
Philometor, to whom he is said to have quoted this passage
from Isaiah. Here was offered sacrifice to Jehovah and the
oblation, according to this prophecy. Through the Jewish law
and influence the idolatry of Egypt was overthrown and they
were prepared for the coming Saviour, whom they received
through the evangelization of the missionaries in the early
centuries of the Christian era.
4. The consequent union of Egypt and Assyria in worship
5. The unity and equality of the nations in blessing. This
and the preceding stage of this happy effect finds a primary
fulfilment in the wide_spread influence of the Jews over Syria
and the adjacent countries under the Syro_Macedonian kings,
as well as over Egypt under the Ptolemies. But a larger ful_
filment is to be found in the events at Pentecost, which sent
devout men back from Jerusalem into Egypt and Libya on one
side, and into Parthis, Media, Elam, and Mesopotamia, on the
other, to tell how God, having raised up his Son Jesus (the
Prince and Saviour), had sent him to bless the Jews first, and
in them all nations.
The prophecy of chapter 20 is a prophecy against Egypt and
Ethiopia, who were the hope of Israel in alliance, to be de_
livered from Assyria, which the prophet labored to prevent.
It consists, (1) of the historical circumstance. This is related
in verse 1) which gives the date at the year in which Tartan
came to Ashdod, etc. (2) Isaiah’s symbolical action and its
meaning (2_4). This was a common occurrence with the proph_
ets. Here the action symbolized the humiliating captivity of
Egypt and Ethiopia which was fulfilled either by Sennacherib
or by Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal. (3) The reason for this
visitation upon Egypt and Ethiopia, viz: Israel looked to these
powers instead of Jehovah and they could not be blessed while
they were in alliance with backslidden Israel. So the Lord
was taking care of Israel in his dealings with Egypt and Ethi_
“The burden of the wilderness of the sea” (21:1_10), is a
prophecy against Babylon and contains a vivid description of
the marshalling of forces against Babylon for her destruction,
the overwhelming sympathy of the prophets, the expelling of
sensual security, instructions to the Lord’s watchman, the ful_
filment, and the final declaration. The forces marshalled for
her destruction are the Medes and Elamites under Cyrus and
the prophet leaves us not in doubt that the reference here is to
Babylon. There can be no mistake that this prophecy has its
fulfilment in the capture of Babylon by Cyrus. All this is be_
cause of her relation to Israel and therefore the encouragement
of God’s people and the glory of the one eternal Jehovah.
“The burden of Dumah” is generally conceded to be a
prophecy against Edom, because the word “Seir” occurs in it as the place from which the one is represented as calling to the
prophet. The word “Dumah” means silence and is used alle_
gorically, “of the Silent Land” of the dead (Psalm 94:17), and
refers here, perhaps, to the silent or low state of Edom at this
time. In this burden someone is represented as calling to the
prophet out of Seir, “Watchman, what of the night?” To which
the watchman replied, “There is a brighter day ahead, but it is
to be followed by a period of darkness for you; if you will re_
pent, you may do so.”
The prophecy against Arabia is a prophecy of the desolation
to come upon Arabia and her borders, deranging their com_
merce and causing flight and privation, which would be accom_
plished in one year. The date of the prophecy is not very well
determined but the fulfilment is found in Sargon’s expedition
into Arabia during which the caravans had to leave their reg_
ular routes and “take to the woods.”
“The burden of the valley of vision” (22:1_25) is a prophecy
against Jerusalem in which we have set forth a vivid picture
of the revellings of the city (1_4) ; then a description of an out_
side foreign army threatening the city, causing surprise, and a
hasty preparation for the siege (5_11); instead of humbling
themselves, putting on sackcloth and weeping, and appealing
to God’s mercy, they try to drown care in drink and sensual
enjoyment (12_14) ; then follows the degrading of Shebna from
his high office and the placing of Eliakim in his position (15_
25). The events herein described were fulfilled either in Sen_
nacherib’s siege of Jerusalem or in that of Nebuchadnezzar.
There are some difficulties in fitting this prophecy to either siege and in matters where we have such limited knowledge it does not become us to be dogmatic. Some parte fit one better, and other parts fit the other better, but all things considered, the
author is inclined to believe that this prophecy refers to the
Assyrian invasion.
There are three distinct paragraphs given to the burden of
Tyre (13) : (1) The greatness of Tyre as a city of commerce
and the wail of distress for the fate of the city; (2) Jehovah’s
purpose to cause this destruction and stain the pride of all her
glory; (3) Babylon, an example of what will come to Tyre and
the promise of Tyre’s returned prosperity after seventy years.
After this period Tyre will revive and be of service to Jehovah’s
people. The first part of the prophecy fits into the history
which shows the many reverses of this city and may refer to
the Babylonian siege specifically. The last part of the prophecy
may have its fulfilment in the orders of Cyrus to the Tyrians
to rebuild the Temple, and the Tyrian ships were of incalculable
aid in disseminating Judaism before Christ and Christianity
since Christ.

I, What is the section (Isaiah 13_23) called and what the appropri_
ateness of the title?
2. What the foreign nations mentioned in this book of prophecies and
what additional prophecies thrown in?
3. What the position of the radical critics relative to this section?
4. What the connection between the parts of this section?
5. What the special connection between chapters 13 and 14 and the
preceding section?
6. What the date of the prophecy in chapters 13_14, what the con_
ditions both in Israel and Judah, and also in the other nations, at this time, and what the sure light of prophecy in this dark hour?
7. What the significant word with which each of these prophecies
opens, what its meaning, and what its appropriateness in this connection?
8. Why was Babylon given by tlie prophet first consideration among
the enemies of God’s peoples and what the main points in this denunciation against her?
9. What the prophecy against Assyria under this first burden and why
put in here?
10. What the special things to be noted in this burden?
11. How may the series of burdens from 14:28 and 23:18 be viewed
and what the object of the warnings?
12. What the burden of prophecy against Philistia and how ia the
destructive work upon the country here described?
13. What say the critics of this prophecy against Moab (15:1 to 16:
12) and what the reply?
14. Give a brief outline of these two chapters.
15. Give the picture of Moab’s overthrow?
16. What the exhortation and promise to Moab in. 16:1_5?
17. What the cause of the downfall that was to follow?
18. How did this sight of the future destruction of Moab affect the
prophet and what examples of other such sympathy in the Bible?
19. What the time fixed for the humiliation of Moab and when its ful_
20. What is a remarkable characteristic of Damascus, and for what
does it account?
21. What does this burden against Damascus include and what the
main points in it?
22. What are the things in this burden that need special attention?
23. What the conditions in Egypt at the time Isaiah gave his proph_
ecy against it?
24. What is the reason for a prophecy against Egypt at such a time as
25. What element of hope in this prophecy for the Israelites?
26. What the prophecy against Egypt in 19:1_4 and when was it ful_
27. What the picture in 19:5_10?
28. What is set forth in 19:11_15?
29. What the important and happy effects of this judgment on Egypt?
30. What the prophecy of chapter 20 and what its contents?
31. What “The burden of the wilderness of the sea” (21:1_10), and
what its striking points?
32. What is “The burden of Dumah” and what its interpretation?
33. What the prophecy against Arabia and when the fulfilment?
34. What “The burden of the valley of vision” (22:1_25), and what
the salient points in the prophecy?
35. What the outline of the burden of Tyre and what the salient
points of the interpretation?

Isaiah 24_27

This section (Isa. 24_27) is called, in our outline of the book
of Isaiah, “The First Book of Judgment.” In this section we
emerge out of the prophecies relating to the typical forms of
national life, as in the preceding section, into others of a broad_
er character, which concern the world at large. In this we have
the deluge of divine justice taking in the whole world. The
central people, Israel, first, and then all the surrounding people
have been laid low, and the silence of death reigns. Yet in the
remote parts of the earth songs arise, songs of hope of the future
glory of Jehovah, the king, as he swallows up death forever,
so that they who dwell in the dust, awake, arise, to live forever.
Israel’s recovery is as life from the dead, to the surrounding
nations. In chapter 24 we have a deep elegiac tone, but in
chapters 25_27 we have the sound of the triumphant songs of
the righteous. Of this section Sampey says, “Whatever may be
the historical setting and exact fulfilment of these chapters,
like the book of Revelation, they contain many magnificent
pictures and glorious promises, and a sense of the divine pres_
ence that make them of permanent value.”
The chapters constitute the divisions of this section. Chapter
24 is a picture of the terrible judgments to come. Chapter 25
sounds out the glorious triumph of Jehovah over sin and death.
Chapter 26 is a song of praise to be sung in the land of Judah
for Jehovah’s defense of Zion, the overthrow of the proud city
and the deliverance of his people. Chapter 27 is the pronounce_
ment of Judgment against the oppressor on behalf of Israel. To
sum up, we have (1) World_Judgments, (2) A Song of Tri_
umph, (3) A Song of Praise, and (4) Judgment upon the Op_
pressors of Israel.
The broad sweep of this section reminds us of the prophecy
of Joel. Man’s sin has infected the whole earth, therefore, the
punishment must include the whole world and its inhabitants.
There is a word of frequent occurrence in this section. It is
the Hebrew word for “earth,” here translated “land” in some
instaaces. There is some difficulty in deciding just how it should be translated: whether it should be translated “land” or “earth” uniformly, or whether the translation should vary. Some passages seem to favor the use of the word, “land,” and others the word “earth.” Dr. Day in the “Bible Commentary” says, “The
truth appears to be this: The land of Israel was a miniature of
the world. Its recovery from the moral pollution of the idola_
trous races was a historical prelude of a like recovery of our
The temple congregation was a type of the New Testament
church, which in turn is a type of the “glory church,” and the
visible king, a type of the “king of all the earth.” In Israel was
the germ of blessing for all nations. Consequently, if Israel’s
light was eclipsed, the whole world was darkened. When Israel
languished under a curse, the “everlasting covenant” appeared
to be annulled, or at least suspended. So in the use of this word
Isaiah seems to comprehend the whole earth as involved in Is_
rael’s mission. If the land of Israel was doomed to desolation,
then the whole earth became “waste and void.” (Cf. Jer. 4:23.)
In Isaiah 24:1_12 we have (1) a universal catastrophe in
which there is a complete emptying of the earth and equalizing
of its inhabitants; (2) the causes of it, which are the trans_
gression of the laws, the violation of the statutes and the break_
ing of the everlasting covenant; (3) the manifestations of it in
sadness and gloom, everywhere, all means of joy perverted and
desolation on every hand; (4) the promise of the remnant,
which is compared to the gleaning after harvest.
Now this question arises: What the laws transgressed, the
statutes violated, and the covenant broken, in 24_5? The laws,
statutes, and covenant, referred to in this passage seem to ante_
date the Mosaic law and to include the laws, statutes, atld
covenant which were in the very constitution of things. Law,
in its last analysis, is the intent or purpose of the Creator with
respect to the thing created. So the law of man is God’s purpose
for man in his very being. There were statutes for man ex_
pressed in the history and covenants prior to the Mosaic code.
There was God’s covenant with Adam for the whole race, re_
newed in Noah and particularized in Abraham. It was an ever_
lasting covenant, comprehending the redemption of a lost race.
So the world here is presented as violating every vestige of law
which it had received to this time.
We have in 24:14_20 the songs of the remnant in many parts
of the world and especially from the sea, i.e., the Mediterranean
Sea, and its isles, but these songs are ineffective in view of the
awful distress upon the earth, which represents a mighty up_
heaval to come, before Jehovah, through the remnant, shall
become the recognized, universal king. The reference here to
the sea and its isles corresponds to the fact that it was on the
Mediterranean coasts that the first Christian churches arose,
whose songs have been drowned many a time by the din of war.
In 24:21_23 we have a picture of Jehovah’s overthrow of the
kings of the earth and his own glorious reign in Mount Zion,
and is clearly a reference to the great conflict which will im_
mediately precede the millennium. The kings of the earth shall
be engaged in one mighty struggle after which the Messiah will
be received by the Jews and then will be ushered in the great
reign of our Lord through the converted Jews who become the
flaming evangels of the world. This glorious period we have
presented again in the closing part of the book, in the prophet
Zechariah and in other parts of the Old and New Testaments.
The title of chapter 25 is “A Song of Triumph” and it is
vitally related to the preceding chapter as an effect is related to
a cause. The prophet in the closing part of chapter 24 pro_
claims the final establishment of the kingdom in the heavenly
Zion and now he is carried away by the sense of exultant glad_
ness into a triumphant song of which this chapter is the ex_
This chapter divides iteelf into three parts: (1) a thanks_
giving for deliverance (1_5) ; (2) a commemoration of blessings
granted (6_8) ; (3) an exultation in the security obtained (9_
Isaiah seems to get his pattern for this song from the “Song
of Moses” (Ex. 15) which contains many of the phrases in
Isaiah’s song here.
The word “city” in verse 2 is here used distributively and
does not point to any particular city. The prophet is referring
to all those cities which have been the enemies of Jehovah. The
words “palace” and “strangers” are used in the same way.
The blessings of this glorious triumph of Jehovah are to be
celebrated by a feast of fat things. This idea is presented in
many other scriptures, as in the case of Lazarus in Abraham’s
bosom and the picture which our Lord gave, thus: “They shall
come from the east and from the west, from the north and from
the south, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
in my kingdom.”
Then what the “covering” and the “veil” of verse 7? This is
the glass through which Paul says we see darkly. It includes
the Jewish veil of Judicial blindness and the veil of prejudice
and misconception of all people in their natural state. Blessed
time, when it shall be removed and we shall see face to face.
The swallowing up of death here makes us think of Hosea’s
prophecy: “I will redeem them from the power of the grave; I
will redeem them from death: 0 death, I will be thy plagues;
0 grave, I will be thy destruction.” Otherwise, this is the first
clear announcement of the resurrection, and it was a marked
advance on the dim light respecting the future, .as realized by
God’s people hitherto. This puts us alongside of Paul, and the
wiping away of tears, etc., places us with John on Patmos where
he saw Paradise regained and the glorious bride adorned for
her husband. A glorious outlook, yet to be realized. The exul_
tation expressed here is an exultation in the salvation of Jeho_
vah, with the complete destruction of Moab.
But who is Moab here and why should the name be so used
in this instance? Moab ‘is used symbolically to represent the
degradation of Zion’s remaining enemies. The following are
some of the reasons why Moab may have been chosen:
1. Moab sought to bring a curse on Israel by the help of
Balaam’s sorceries, and although these were ineffectual, yet
the artifice suggested by Balaam of seducing Israel by means
of the licentious rites of Peor, did bring heavy chastisement
upon the people. Moab stood at the entrance of Canaan to
prevent Israel, if possible, from entering upon its inheritance,
and thus it acted the very part of the serpent’s seed.
2. The mountains of Moab, beyond the Dead Sea, rise up
as if in rivalry with those of Judah) from which they are sepa_
rated by the Dead Sea. So between Moab and Zion was “a
great gulf fixed,” like that fixed by divine judgment between
Abraham and Dives.
3. Moab, the child of Lot, the offspring of a dark deed of
unconsciousness superinduced by intoxication, stands as the
mystical representative of the corrupted and sensual world.
Now the theme of chapter 26 is a song of praise to be sung
in the land of Judah. In the preceding song the prophet poured
forth his own thankulness for the prospect of Zion’s glorious
redemption and triumph, but in this he represents the redeemed
themselves in the glorified state singing praise to God for the
The purpose of this prophetic revelation was strictly prac_
tical. It was for the comfort and admonition of that existing
generation. In every age the people of God must have the
characteristic of patient faith and upright obedience, which is
very greatly expanded in the progress of divine revelation.
A synopsis of this chapter is as follows:
1. The New Jerusalem versus the Old, 1_7.
2. The desire of the righteous is for Jehovah versus the per_
verseness of the wicked, 8_10.
3. The prosperity of Jehovah’s people versus the destruction
of their enemies, 11_15.
4. Israel’s barrenness versus her hope in the resurrection,
5. An exhortation to Israel to hide till Jehovah’s indignation
be past, 20_21.
The points worthy of note in 1_7 are:
1. The two cities mentioned in this paragraph are set over
against each other. The first is the New Jerusalem which is
abundantly described by John in Revelation 21, while the sec_
ond is the Old Jerusalem which is here ‘represented aa laid
waste, trodden under foot as we see her today.
2. The expression of and exhortation to implicit faith in
Jehovah as an object of peace and confidence is characteristic
of Isaiah. From Isaiah 26:4 I preached a sermon once on the
theme, “The Rock of Ages,” combining with this text Psalm
61:2, “Lead me to the rock that is higher than 1.” This is the
outline followed:
1. The Foundation (I Peter 2:6; Isa. 28:17)
2. The Shadow (Isa. 32:2)
3. The Fortress (Psalm 18:2)
4. The Water (I Cor. 10:1_4)
5. The Cleft (Ex. 33:21_23)
6. The Rock of Ages: (a) everlasting to me; (b) everlasting
for all of every age.
7. Trust in the Lord forever, for he is a “forever [everlast_
ing] rock.”
3. A suggested translation of verses 3_4 is the following: “A
mind (imagination) stayed (on thee) thou keepest in perfect
peace; because in thee it trusts (is confident). Trust ye in
Jehovah forever, for Jehovah is an everlasting rock.” A poet
has beautifully expressed this lofty idea thus:
As some toll cliff that lifts ita awful form,
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm,
Tho’ round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
The passage (8_10) expresses the longing of the righteous
for the display of Jehovah’s judgment against the wicked and
corresponds to the New Testament teaching that God’s peo_
ple are to leave vengeance to him and await God’s own time
for its display. To this end we have the parable of the unjust
judge, and the cry by the martyrs under the altar, “How long,
Master, the holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our
blood on them that dwell on the earth?” is an expression of
this same desire.
In verse 19 is the expression of Israel’s faith in God’s prom_
ise, a foundation stone of the doctrine of the resurrection. It
certainly suggests a resurrection of individuals, and not merely
a return of material prosperity, as in Hosea 6:2; Ezekiel 37;
Daniel 12:2.
The lesson of verses 20_21 is distinctly a call to prayer and
patient waiting on God. The opening of the door of the prayer
chamber in times of distress is the opening of a door into an_
other world, a scene of serenity and elevation. In the presence
of him who seeth in secret are the most difficult problems
solved. That which opposes us is overcome by the new energy
of the Spirit here imparted. Let us here listen to the poet
Prayer ardent opena heaven, lets down a stream
Of glory on the consecrated hour
Of man in audience with Deity;
Who worships the great God, that instant joins,
The first in heaven, and sets his foot on hell.
The title of chapter 27 is “Judgment upon the Oppressors of
Israel” and the parts, or natural divisions, of this chapter are
as follows:
1. A triple vengeance on the oppressors of Israel and the
protection of Jehovah’s vineyard (1_6).
2. Jehovah’s dealing with Jacob a chastisement instead of
vengeance, and for the purpose of his purification (7_11).
3. The homecoming of the exiles (12_13).
The meaning of the oft_recurring phrase, “In that day,” in
this chapter, is significant. This expression here refers to the
time of God’s vengeance heretofore described, when God is
visiting the enemies of his kingdom in vengeance, as stated in
26:21. There is evidently a variation in the time referred to
in the different instances of its use, since all the prophecies of
the chapter do not refer to the same period of time. So each
instance of its use will have to be determined by the context,
just as in its use in other scriptures.
The meaning of “Leviathan” in verse I is a very difficult
question to answer. Some deny the possibility of identification
of the powers represented by these symbols; others identify
them as three world powers: Leviathan, the swift serpent;
Leviathan, the crooked serpent; and “the dragon of the sea,”
making the first refer to Assyria, the second to Babylon, and
the third, to Egypt. There seem to be points of identification
sufficient for such an explanation, as the swift serpent, referring
to Assyria with its long, swift Tigris; the crooked serpent,
referring to Babylon with its winding Euphrates; and the drag_
on, referring to Egypt, the land of darkness, for which the
dragon stands.
There is a sharp contrast in 27:1_6 between God’s dealings
with Leviathan, the enemies of the kingdom, and his dealing
with Jacob. The one shall be punished into destruction and
the other shall take root, blossom, and bud. The passage
(2_6) is a companion picture of 5:1_7, a joy song set over
against a dirge. Both vineyards refer to God’s people, the
former to Israel nominally, the latter to Israel really. This
is the holy remnant spoken of so often in Isaiah, but now flour_
ishing and prosperous.
The contrast in 7_11 is a contrast in the purpose and extent
of punishment upon Judah and Israel and the enemies of Ju_
dah and Israel. In the one case it was to be without measure,
but in the other it was “in measure”; or without restraint in
the one case, the purpose was purely punitive, while in the
other it was to purify by chastisement.
There is an important lesson of verse 9 which is a lesson on
the conditions of forgiveness. These chastisements of Jacob
were looking to his repentance. Jehovah was looking for the
fruits of repentance, viz: the putting away of sin and idolatry.
The child’s verse is, after all the best theology and practical
Repentance is to leave
The sins we loved before;
And show that we in earnest grieve
By doing so no more.
The prophecy of verses 12_13 is a prophecy of the homecoming of God’s scattered people. As a fruit gatherer Jehovah will gather them from the Euphrates to Egypt. He will give the signal of the trumpet and they shall be gathered from the remote countries of Assyria and Egypt. This prophecy had a
partial fulfilment in the return of the Jews after the captivity
but in this return they did not come mainly from Assyria and
Egypt. There was a larger fulfilment in the gospel trumpet
sounded on the day of Pentecost which was heard and heeded
by representatives from these countries here mentioned, but
the complete fulfilment of this prophecy is doubtless, to be
realized when the signal of our Lord shall call these scattered
Jews from the East and from the West, from the North and
from the South, and thus assembled in their own land the veil
that has so long bedimmed their eyes shall fall from their faces
and they shall behold, by faith, him whom they have pierced.
Then shall come the blessed time when “they shall worship
Jehovah in his holy mountain at Jerusalem,” a glorious antici_

1. What is Isaiah 24_27 called in our outline of the book of Isaiah?
2. Give a brief introductory statement of this section, showing its
nature in the light of the preceding section.
3. What the outline of the section
4. The broad sweep of this section reminds us of what other prophecy?
5. What word is of frequent occurrence in this section, what its mean_
ing, and what the significance of its use here?
6. What the contents of 24:1_13, and what their interpretation?
7. What the laws transgressed, the statutes violated, and the cove_
nant broken, in 24:5?
8. What the contents and interpretation of 24:14_20?
9. What is the picture in 24:21_23?
10. What the title of chapter 25 and what the relation of this chap_
ter to the preceding one?
11. Give a brief analysis of this chapter.
12. Where does Isaiah seem to get his pattern for this song and what
the proof?
13. What city is referred to in verse 2?
14. How are the blessings of this glorious triumph of Jehovah to bo
15. What the “covering” and the “veil” of verse 7?
16. What announcement here as to the resurrection and further bless_
17. How is the exultation expressed?
18. Who is Moab here and why should the name be so used in this
19. What the theme of chapter 26?
20. What the character of this son in contrast with the preceding one?
21. What the purpose of this prophetic revelation?
22. Give a synopsis of this chapter.
23. What the points worthy of note in 1_7?
24. What is expressed in 8_10?
25. What is suggested by verse 19?
26. What the lesson of verses 20_21?
27. What the title of chapter 27?
28. What the parts, or natural divisions, of this chapter?
29. What the meaning of the oft_occurring phrase, “In that day,” in
this chapter?
30. What is the meaning of “Leviathan” in versm I?
31. What the contrast in 27:1_6?
32. What the contrast in 7_11?
33. What the important lesson of verse 9?
34. What the prophecy of verses 12_13 and when the complete fulfil_
ment of it?

Isaiah 28_33

“This section, Isaiah 28_33, is called “The Book of Zion,” or
“The Book of Woes.” The time of this prophecy is the reign
of Hezekiah. In the preceding section the prophet contem_
plated the judgments which were to come in the course of the
ages, upon the nations of the world, but in this section he is
brought back to his own time and people.
Quite a long time has elapsed since the prophet first foretold
the destruction of Samaria (7:17; 8:4_8), but the crisis is now
close at hand. The northern invaders who have been held
back by the divine order so long, are now ready to be let
loose, and the “crown of Ephraim’s pride” is about to be buried
to the ground. At this solemn period a most important work
must be accomplished in Judah, if Jerusalem is to be saved
from Assyria. This must be a religious and moral preparation
for a divine intervention, which was necessary for her salva_
tion. This indeed had been begun by Hezekiah but it would
not prove permanent unless followed up by a steady culture
and patient discipline. This was now the task of Isaiah, the
prophet. In order to do this he must alarm the “sinners of
Zion,” reprove the infidel, stir up the worldly and careless to
repentance, assure the men of Judah, who trusted in their po_
litical schemes of alliance with Egypt, that God would bring
their schemes to nought, all this without unduly disheartening
the poor and the meek. On the other hand, the faithful dis_
ciples were to be cheered. They were to be told that their hope
was in the stone which Jehovah had laid in Zion; that Jehovah
himself would defend Jerusalem; that the Holy City should be
as & tabernacle whose stakes should be secure, and all this
without fostering a reliance upon external privileges. This
was no mean task, but the prophet rose to the demand of the
hour. The prophetic word went forth, giving warning to the
rebellious, confirming and establishing the true hearts, and
putting all on probation.
The word which determines the natural divisions of this sec_
tion is “Woe,” which occurs at 28:1; 29:1; 29:15; 30:1; 31:1
and 33:1. The divisions are as follows:
1. Woe unto Samaria (28)
2. Woe unto Ariel [Jerusalem] (29:1_14)
3. Woe unto the worldly_wise (29:15_24)
4. Woe unto the rebellious (30)
5. Woe unto them that go down to Egypt (31_32)
6. Woe unto the destroyer (33)
This outline does not coincide with Dr. Sampey’s, but it has
the merit of following the author’s divisions rather than the
chapter divisions.
In 28:1_6 we have the woe unto Samaria, “the crown of the
pride of the drunkards of Ephraim.” This is a solemn warning
to Samaria of her speedy downfall. Then the prophet turns
to Judah and pronounces the woe upon Jerusalem because she
has followed the example of Samaria. This he gives in a series
of pictures: In 7_8 we have the drunken priests and prophets,
revelling in their self_indulgence and failing in their visions
and judgments. In 9_10 we hear them mocking Isaiah in his
message, saying, “His words are but repetitions, suited to
sucking babes.” “For it is precept upon precept, precept
upon precept, line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there
a little.” Then in 11_13 the prophet retorts that God would
speak to them by men of strange lips, the Assyrians, because
he had offered them rest and they would not hear. So now
the words of Jehovah would be to them, “precept upon pre_

cept,” etc., that they might be broken, snared, and taken. In
14_22 there is a severe arraignment of the rulers of Jerusalem,
who had made, or were about to make, secret arrangements
with Egypt which, as they thought, would secure Judah against
injury at the hands of the Assyrians. This the prophet calls
a covenant with death and an agreement with Sheol, and in_
structs them that their boasted arrangements would fail com_
pletely in the time of trial; that Egypt, their refuge would be
a refuge of lies and Assyria, the overflowing scourge, would
pass through the land and carry all before it; that only those
resting on the precious cornerstone would be secure; that in
the time of this vexation of the land, their bed which they
made would not suffice, for the decree of destruction had al_
ready gone forth. In 23_29 is a parable to comfort believers,
to the end that God’s wisdom in dispensing judgment and
mercy may be inferred from the skill which he gives to the
husbandman. But this he left to their spiritual insight to dis_
Two passages of this chapter are quoted in the New Testa_
1. Verse II is quoted by Paul in I Corinthisns 14:21 to
show that the gifts of the baptism of the Spirit, just as the
work and message of the prophet, were for a sign.
2. Verse 16 is quoted in several places in the New Testament and applied to Christ, as the stone of stumbling for the Jews in all ages.
Verse 20 may be used in accordance with the context here
to show how futile it is for a man to turn away from God’s
plan, in the matters of salvation, to the devices of men. When
the testing time comes, the bed is found to be too short and the
covering too narrow.
In 29:1_4 we have the prophet’s address to Ariel (Jeru_
salem) in which he predicts her siege by a terrible army and
her great humiliation during that siege. In 5_8 is the vivid
description of this vast host coming up against Jerusalem,
but just as the enemy expects to capture her, the host of them
is scattered. As it is with one who dreams, so shall it be with
this multitude of besiegers. In 9_12 is a description of Israel’s
awful judicial blindness visited upon them by Jehovah because
of their sins. All prophecy is to them as a sealed book. In
their blindness they cannot read the message. What a picture
of the effects of sin! This reminds us of the picture of Jeru_
salem which was drawn by Christ. The natural man cannot
understand divine revelation. The educated and the unedu_
cated are alike helpless. Over against this stands the contrast
of verse 18. In 13_14 we have the cause stated. They are in
this state because of the condition of their hearts. With the
lips they honored God, but their hearts were not with him. How
significant is the application of this truth to all our worship
and service! In 17_21 is the prophecy that this condition shall
not always pertain to them. The day will come when this
condition shall be reversed. The deaf shall hear the words
out of the book and the blind shall see. To many this was
fulfilled in the days of Christ, but we look ahead of us for the
full fruitage of this great promise. In 22_24 is the climax of
the vision in which the marvels of God’s grace upon the sons
of Jacob are exhibited. God speed the day of its realization!
The prophetic description here (1_8) fits well the historical
events of Sennacherib’s siege and the poem, “The Destruction
of Sennacherib” by Byron is the best poetic description of this
event. Two passages from this chapter are quoted in the New
1. Verse 10 is quoted by Paul in Romans 11:8 where it ia
used to show the judicial hardening of Israel which lasted to
Paul’s day and will continue till the fulness of the Gentiles be
come in.
2. Verse 13 is quoted by our Lord in Matthew 15:8_9 to
upbraid the Jews for their hypocrisy and following the com_
mandments of men, showing that the conditions which existed
in Isaiah’s time existed also in Christ’s time.
Chapter 30 consiste of an exposure of the alliance with
ggypt. In 1_5 we have the plain prediction that the alliance
with Egypt, then forming, would be of no assistance to Judah.
The prophet in 6_17 states the oracle with great power, showing
the sin and evil effects of trusting in Egypt rather than in Je_
hovah. In 18_26 there is set forth the hope of the future suc_
cess of God’s people when he shall be gracious to them and
confer upon them marvelous prosperity. In 27_33 we have
another vision of the supernatural overthrow of the Assyrians.
In verse 33 we have the image of a funeral pyre on which the king of Assyria is to be consumed. Topheth was a place in the valley of Hinnom, that was desecrated by idolatrous human
sacrifices (Jer. 7:31; I Kings 23:10). This was fulfilled, not
by the death of Sennacherib in Judah, but by the destruction
of his army there, and his own death at home twenty years
later (881 B.C).
Chapter 31 is a brief summary of what has been so fre_
quently set forth about Samaria, Jerusalem, and Assyria. The
points are as follows: (1) Those who trust in the Egyptian al_
liance shall fall; ‘(2) Jerusalem shall be protected by divine
love; (3) the Assyrian shall be driven away in terror. In
verses 4_5 Jehovah represents himself as a lion and a mother_
bird, a picture of his power and tenderness.
By all scholars Isaiah 32 is accounted messianic. It must
be considered as a whole in order to understand ite parts. It
tells us under what king justice shall be rendered in human
government, and what influences shall bring about an appre_
ciation of this justice in the hearts of the people, and what
shall be the effects of the righteousness rendered by this gov_
ernment and appreciated by these people under this divine
The righteous King is our Lord Jesus Christ, the true Gov_
ernor of this world. “A king shall reign in righteousness.” We
have never yet on this earth been blessed with a perfect hu_
man government. We do not know experimentally what a
genuinely good government is, whose ruler rules according to
principles of exact righteousness and uses his office for the
benefit of the governed, and to subserve the ends of justice;
nor have we ever seen a people whose hearts would properly
appreciate that kind of a government, who really desire it or
who are willing to work for it and willing to submit to it. The
conditions call for a righteous King and righteous subjects.
Granted these two and the effect is righteousness, peace, and
confidence forever.
We may conceive in our minds of an ideal king whose scep_
ter is a righteous scepter, who loves righteousness and hates
iniquity, who holds an even balance when he administers jus~
tice, who has no respect to men’s persons, who is a terror to
evildoers and as the shadow of a high rock in a weary land
to the oppressed. We may conceive of such a ruler, but in
earthly governments, we have never known him. We may
conceive of a people in their hearts desiring such a government,
voting for it, supporting it, on demand sacrificing whatever
they have to its maintenance, and then joyfully resting under
ite benign influence. What a sweet picture to the contempla_
tive mind! Such a king, such a people, and peace and quiet
throughout the land, perfect confidence, no doors locked at
night, no hired policemen, no standing armies, no dread of bur*
glars or assassins, no distrust in business, engagements, perfect
confidence! It is a charming conception. God’s Word de_
clares that this conception shall be realized on this earth; that
“a king shall reign in righteousness, and all of the rulers shall
rule in judgment.”
The influence that prepares the people for that kind of a gov
ernment is here distinctly set forth. It is said that “thorns and
briers shall come up on the land of my people until the spirit
be poured out from on high.” Without the influence of God’s
Spirit the people themselves are not prepared for a righteous
administration of affairs. They have what they want. If they
wish to promote the wicked they promote them. If they wish
to be placed in bondage to the covetous they yield their necks
to the yoke. The people are not prepared for good govern_
ment. And what things disqualify them for living and working
for such a government? We get at the disqualifications by
ascertaining from this chapter what the blessings are which
the Spirit confers by way of preparation.
The first blessing specified is that under the influence of the
Spirit they shall see clearly: “the eyes of them that see shall
not be dim.” This refers to the moral perceptions. Where
there are no clear perceptions of right or wrong, where the
vision is clouded, everything else will be wrong. If the moral
sense of the people be distorted in vision, it will see light as if
it were darkness, and darkness as if it were light; it will call
a churl a liberal man, and a liberal man a churl; it will label
things contrary to their essence and nature. If the eye be
not single our very light is darkness, and how great is that
darkness! So that we have as the first effect of the Spirit
poured out on the people, that they shall see clearly.
It is now painful and humiliating, distressingly so, to get
any ten or twelve men or women together and submit for their
consideration a question involving morals, and see how vari_
ously they look at it. They do not see clearly. And particu_
larly they do not see clearly with reference to the outcome of
things. They look at immediate results. They look at present
effects. They judge of things by what may immediately fol_
low their performance. They do not project their vision far
enough, and they are unable to do it on account of their moral
blindness. So the prophet in the middle of this chapter calls
on the women to hear his discussion. We do well to recall the
words of the apostle Peter concerning the Christian graces, the
fruits of the Spirit:
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that
ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our
Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind,
and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged
from his old sins” – 2 PETER 1:8_9.

Yes, he that lacketh these things is dim_eyed. His vision
will be blurred. He cannot see things afar off. First of all,
therefore the outpoured Spirit enlightens the eye, the moral
eye. It makes us see things as they are in the sight of God.
If a man is a miser, a covetous man, a churl, we see him to be
that way. He appears so to us. He does not seem to be a
liberal man. Oh, when the Spirit is poured out then no longer
will the liberal man be called a churl and the churl a liberal
man. There are examples that may be known and read of all
men in every community, of those whose hearts are as hard aa
a millstone, hearts that have never been melted, never known
any mercy, never felt one heartthrob of joy in ministering to
the necessities of the distressed, and yet the community stands
off and bows before them, and calls them the liberal men
of the community. When the Spirit of God is poured out,
clearness of vision will be given, and men will see a soul just
as easily as they can see a body and the soul that is black will
look black, the soul that is shriveled and miserly will look so,
and the soul that is slimy and obscene and foul will appear to
be so. That is the first effect. Now if people have not that
vision, how can they love a righteous king? How can they
love a righteous government? How can they desire even_
handed justice? How can they wish to be rid of favoritism,
nepotism, and every other form of mischief in government, see_
ing their eyes are dim and their vision distorted? Clear vision
distorted! Clear vision, that is first. They shall see clearly.
The second effect of the out_poured Spirit is, “The ears of
them that hear shall hearken.” They shall hear distinctly and
see clearly. To hear distinctly! You know there is such a
thing as hearing and not hearing, “having ears to hear and
hearing not,” what is called in the Bible an “uncircumcised
ear.” An ear that does not hearken to what? To the divine
voices, to the voice of wisdom speaking on the streets, speaking

in places of business, speaking in places of pleasure, speaking
in the family circle, speaking in the church and in the Sunday
school, the voice of God. The whole earth is filled with the
voices of God. As the psalmist says:
There is no speech nor language;
Where their voice is not heard.
There line is gone out through all the earth;
And their words to the end of the world.
– PSALM 19:3_4.
But if the people have not a hearing ear what matters it
about a voice? “Incline your ear and come unto me. Hear
and your soul shall live,” exhorts the prophet. The giving heed
to the monitions of God’s Spirit, to the declarations of his
Word, the submitting to the voice of God as the end of con_
troversy, we must have that, to see clearly, to hear distinctly.
The right kind of a conscience will hear the faintest whisper
of God. God will not have to speak aloud. God will not have
to send storms and earthquakes and pestilence and famine
and blasting and mildew and other judgments to secure atten_
tion. If they have the hearing ear, though God speaks in the
stillness of the night, that ear hears his whisper, and like a
little Samuel rising up from his bed, saying, “Speak Lord, thy
servant heareth.”
Oh, for the ear that will hearken to God’s Word, to right_
eousness. The evil_minded may devise a most mischievous
falsehood, a shameful, sensational scandal, without the shadow
of foundation in fa.ct, and then with tongue set on fire of hell
whisper his story of malice and, behold, the whole earth hears
it. They have the ear set for hearing such things. But the
good deed has no sound, seems to create no air waves, attains
to no publicity. No wonder Paul said, “Whatsoever things
are good, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are

honest, whatsoever things are of good report, think on these
things.” But they do not hear them. To get an audience, to
come within the range of the ear of the world, speech must have
a different character.
The third effect of the Spirit is “the heart of the rash [the
hasty] shall understand.” That means to choose wisely. And
what a blundering world this is, as to the choices made! All
the time going to the forks of the road, so many times taking
the wrong road, so many times preferring the worse to better
things, so many times electing that which will bring shame
instead of that which will bring honor. Every day there are
put out before men and women multitudes of things from
which to make a selection. Which will you take? And just
see how they do take the poisons, how they take the rubbish,
and the degraded, and that which tends downward, and that
which debases. Oh, for choice God_guided! And that must
come to the people. The hasty! Yes, when Spirit_guided the
hasty need never apologize, thus: “I beg your pardon. I was
inconsiderate. I acted unthoughtedly. I was indiscreet in
that.” If we had the clear vision, if we had the hearing ear,
then could we decide quickly on a moral question, and decide
right. Even the heart of the hasty would be able to under_
The fourth blessing is to speak plainly. What does the record
say? “The tongue of the stammerer shall speak plainly.” Now,
it is a somewhat ludicrous conception, and yet it does present
the truth in a very striking manner. In a time or urgency,
where one needs an utterance at once, and clean_cut, how a
sharp question confounds a stammering man! It throws him
into a fit of agitation. He tries to say something and stammers
and stutters, and every kind of an answer seems hanging on
the end of his tongue, and he cannot say anything. So there are
moral stammerers. Ask him, “How do you stand on this ques_
tion?” and he begins to stammer at once. It distresses one to
listen. We feel like crying out: “Oh, speak plainly! Tell
where you are. Don’t stutter all over a world of morals. Do
gay one plain, straight_out word.” We are cursed with moral
The church is cursed with it. Try some time to find out the
attitude of even God’s people on a perfectly plain question of
morals, or of doctrine, or of practical righteousness, and hear
them begin to answer, “Well, I don’t know. Some people think
it is this, and some people think it is that.” And thus they
go limping around, stuttering over it. Do we not know that
if the Spirit of God was poured out to give us clear moral vi_
sion, so that we could see things as they are, and the hearken_
ing ear, so that God’s whisper would be louder to us than the
devil’s thunder – do not we know that if we had that wiseness
of heart to choose as quick as lightning between good and evil,
that there would not be any stuttering speech? A man would
speak right up and Bay: “Here is where I stand; let there be no
mistake about it.”
We have found the effects of the outpoured Spirit to be clear
vision, acute hearing, wise choice, and plain talk. But work
follows qualification. The outpoured Spirit exhorts: “Sow
beside all waters.” The “sowing beside the waters” refers to
that planting of rice and wheat in the overflowed waters, as in
the overflow of the Nile. They go out in boats when the water
covers the whole surface of the country, and they sow it down
– “cast your bread upon the waters,” i.e., your bread seed.
And then they bring the cattle, and drive them up and down,
tramping the seed down in the slime so that when the waters
recede it has been plowed under by the feet of the stock.
“Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, driving thither
the feet of the ox and of the ass.” That simply means covering
it under. “Cast your bread upon the waters.” A distant bless_
ing then that cornea from the outpouring of the Spirit in this
ideal government set forth in this prophecy will be that every
piece of land fertile enough to grow grain will be sowed down
with grain. “Sow beside all waters,” that is, cast your seed on
every spot of earth that can sprout the seed and make it bear
a crop.
To bring the thought a little more closely: Where we have
a righteous king, and a people who are endowed with clear
vision, hearing distinctly, choosing wisely, and speaking plain_
ly, these people will occupy every foot of ground which God
commands them to occupy. They will let no spot of earth
remain without a crop, if it can bear a crop.
But look at society as it stands, even Christian societies!
You say, “Here is water out here. God has sent the overflow
laden with rich soil in solution, which the receding waves de_
posit. Come, let us sow seed by that water.” “No, no; I have
my little pond here at home. I must sow in this home pond,
this and this only. I will not sow out yonder. Let the waves
come and deposit the fertile soil, and the earth wait expect_
antly for seed to be deposited in its glowing bosom, ready of
itself to make it send up the ripening grain that shall bless the
earth with bread, all in vain. I won’t sow out there.”
What a miserable Christian! What an infinitesimal soul
that man has! God brings soil for bread seed, and says, “Go
forth, bearing precious seed; go forth casting your bread seed
upon the waters; sow beside all waters,” and the delinquent
church says, “I cannot hear that; I cannot hear that now. We
have heathen at home – the Greeks are at our door. I don’t
believe in sowing in waters that are far off.” No, and he doesn’t
believe in sowing in them at home. That is nearer the truth.
He does not believe in any sowing at all. The root _of the
matter is not in him. The spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ
doesn’t reign in his soul; for where the spirit is poured out from
on high, and they have the vision of clearness, and the hearken_
ing ear, the wise choice, and the unstammering tongue, they
will not stop to consider the clouds. They will not stop to ask
whether this or that shall prosper. They will not stop to talk
about the narrow circumference of their own field, but they will
say, “Lord God, let me send out thy word wherever hearts
are hungering and souls are in bondage; wherever the devil
throws his black pall of midnight and superstition over the
bearts and souls of the people. Oh, God, let me by thy grace
send them light to shine in the darkness! Oh, let me hold up
my light higher and throw its radiance farther.” That is the
spirit of the Christian. “Sow beside all waters.”
A final fruit of the spirit is: The liberal deviseth liberal
things, and in liberal things shall he continue. “Ye did run well
for a season,” says Paul. What hindered you? Why did
you stop? What warranted it? Has God’s plan been modi_
fied? Have Christ’s desires abated? Is heaven full? Is the
ground of salvation all pre_empted? Are the corridors of de_
liverance crowded so that there is no room for another one?
Is Jesus Christ satisfied? Has he seen all of the travail of his
soul that he wanted to see? No. There is room yet; the de_
sire of God for human salvation is unabated; the needs of the
lost are increased; the hell that threatens them is nearer to
them. Oh, it is near. The damnation is not lingering. It is
coming stealthily as the footfall of a tiger, or the spread of a
pestilence, but coming nearer and deadlier than before, and we
say, “Let us call a halt in liberal things.”
“Thorns and briers shall come up on the land of my people
until the spirit be poured out from on high.” But if the spirit
be poured out from on high, and we see clearly, and hear dis_
tinctly and choose wisely and speak plainly and sow beside
all waters and devise liberal things and continue in liberal
things, then that is heaven on earth. The kingdom of heaven
has come. Christ is reigning whenever that has come to pass.
And the nearer we approach it the nearer we are to heaven.
Louder than the big guns of our battleships, louder than the
voice of many waters, louder than mighty thunder should be
the acclaim of God’s people, saying, “Hosanna to the Iambi
Hallelujah! The Lord God omnipotent reigneth, and let the
earth rejoice.”

Isaiah 33 is a woe against the Assyrian invaders. The
prophet, after the great messianic ecstasy in the preceding
chapter, comes back to his own times again to take another
start. At first he deals with the local situation picturing the
invading army of Assyrians, the desolation of the land by
them and the awful distress in Jerusalem. Then follows the
prediction of the miraculous deliverance of the city and the
destruction of the enemy, upon which sinners are made to
tremble and the inhabitants of Zion rejoice in quiet confidence
by reason of Jehovah’s protecting presence. There are several
messianic gleams in this chapter, as “the king in his beauty,”
“Zion, . . . Jerusalem . . . a quiet habitation, . . . a place of
broad rivers and streams,” where there is no sickness and the
“iniquity of the people is forgiven”
The historical background for this prophecy is the invasion
of Sennacherib’s host, the desolation of the land, and the threat
of Jerusalem, all of which is described in 2 Kings 18:13 to 19:
37. The essential items of this history are as follows: Sen_
nacherib received at Lachish the stipulated tribute from Heze_
kiah, but then he demanded the unconditional surrender of
Jerusalem. He captured many cities and had broken up all
travel. Hezekiah’s ambassadors came home weeping. Then
Sennacherib sent an army against Jerusalem to enforce his
demands, but Rabshakeh, though skilful in speech, failed to
get the keys to Jerusalem. He returned to Sennacherib whose
army was visited by Jehovah and destroyed. Sennacherib
returned to his own land and was smitten while worshiping
in the house of Nisroch his god.
In Isaiah 33:1_6 we have the woe pronounced against the
destroyer, showing his destruction, at which he would cease
dealing treacherously. Then follows a prayer by the prophet
to Jehovah in which he exalts Jehovah as the God of their sal_
vation and the destroyer of the enemy. In this exaltation of
Jehovah the prophet gets a glimpse of glorified Zion, filled with
righteousness and justice, a city of stability and abounding in
salvation, wisdom, knowledge, and the fear of Jehovah. Thus
be gives the general outlines of the things which are to follow.
In 7_12 we have the particulars of what the prophet has just
stated in general, viz: the shouting of the enemy without, the
weeping of Hezekiah’s ambassadors, the waste and desertion of
the highways, Sennacherib’s disregard of his covenant and his
spoiling of the cities, the languishing of the land, specifying
the destructive work of the Assyrian army, at which point he
presents Jehovah as rousing himself, delivering his people and
disposing of the enemy, as thorns cast into the fire.
In verses 13_16 is a description of the effects of this inter_
vention of Jehovah, upon the sinners and the citizens of Zion
in which the prophet again leaps upon the messianic heights
to show us the characteristics of a true citizen of the New
Jerusalem, whose everlasting dwelling place is with Jehovah.
In verses 17_24 the prophet assures us that, in that glorious
state, we shall see the King in his beauty, we shall behold a
universal kingdom, whose inhabitants shall muse on the days
of terror and their triumphs over their many adversaries. Then
he invites them to look upon Zion and contemplate her security,
her king, her broad streams, her feasts and her inhabitants,
who are never sick, but are in the joy of the fellowship of their
majestic Lord, who reigns forever and ever.
The characteristics here given by the prophet of a true citi_
zen of Zion are very similar to those given by the psalmist in
Psalm 15. This true citizen is herein described as righteous,
upright in speech, hating oppression, rejecting bribes, stopping
his ear to murderous suggestions, and closing his eyes to sinful
sights, a blessed ideal yet to be realized. How different now!
We are vexed in our righteous souls to behold the unrighteous_
ness, the prevarication, the oppression, the graft, the murders
and sinful sights in the present order of things. But this must
give way to the principles of the majestic and beautiful king
who will reign forever in justice and righteousness.

1. What is the section, Isaiah 28_33, called in our outline and what the date?
2. What the difference in the character of this and the preceding section?
3. What the conditions under which this prophecy was delivered, what
Isaiah’s task and how did he meet it?
4. What the key word which marks the natural divisions of this sec_
tion and what the divisions thus marked?
5. Give a brief synopsis of chapter 28, showing its interpretation.
6. What two passages of this chapter are quoted in the New Testa_
ment, what use made of them in each case and what use may be made of verse 20 as touching the plan of salvation?
7. Give a brief synopsis of chapter 29, showing its interpretation.
8. What the fulfilment of 1_8 and what the best poetic description of
the destruction of Sennacherib’s army?
9. What two passages quoted from this chapter in the New Testament,
and what use made of them there?
10. Give a brief statement of chapter 30 with the important points of
11. What is the meaning of verse 33?
12. What the nature of chapter 31 and what the points contained there_
13. What the nature of chapter 32, what in genera] its contents, how
does the ideal set forth correspond with present conditions and what the ideal state herein contemplated?
14. What the influence that prepares for this ideal and what ita importance?
15. What the first blessing of the Spirit herein specified?
16. What the general condition now respecting moral and spiritual
vision and the lesson of Peter on this point?
17. What the second effect of the outpoured Spirit and what the im_
portance of it? Illustrate.
18. What the third blessing of the Spirit and what ita importance? Illustrate.
19. What the fourth blessing of the Spirit and what its importance? Il_
20. What the fifth blessing of the Spirit? Explain and illustrate.
21. What the sixth blessing of the Spirit and what ita importance?
22. What the nature and contents of chapter 33?
23. What the historical setting of this chapter?
24. Show the progress of this prophecy from the local conditions to
the broader mesaianic phases of the kingdom.
25. What are the characteristics, here given by the prophet, of a true
citizen of Zion?

Isaiah 84_39

Isaiah 34_35 form an appendix to the preceding parts of the
book, setting forth the storm of God’s wrath upon the whole
world, and the face of nature in its sweetest forms and bright_
est colors, after the storm is over.
They constitute the counterparts to one great picture. The
first part contains a denunciation of divine vengeance against
the enemies of God’s people and the second, a description of
the glorious state of things after the execution of these judg_
ments is finished. The awful picture, with its dark lurid hues,
prepares the way for the soft and lovely portraiture of the
blessed condition which follows.
This section opens with a call to all nations and people, the
earth and the fulness thereof, the world and all things therein,
to hear the prophet’s message concerning Jehovah’s indigna_
tion, which shows that the judgments to follow embrace the
whole world.
There are three distinct paragraphs in chapter 34. In verses
1_7 we have announcement of the final judgment upon the
whole world, including Edom as the leader. In verses 8_15 we
have the details of the judgment upon Edom as the ideal rep_
resentative of the world. In verses 16_17 the prophet appeals
to the written word.
The allegorical view of the use of the word, “Edom,” in this
chapter is in no way inconsistent with the existence of a basis
of historical fact, therefore we adopt this view for the follow_
ing reasons:

1. The invitation shows that the message to be delivered
was on universal interest arid application, yet the language is
parabolical in kind.
2. The allegorical character of chapter 35 is undeniable, but
the two chapters are linked together by the very phraseology’.
As the Zion of chapter 35 is the ideal “city of God,” so the
Edom of chapter 34 must include all who hate and persecute
the mystical Zion.
3. The names, “Edom and Bozrah,” occur in another alle_
gorical passage (63:1_6).
4. Edom, the surname of him who “despised the birthright,”
was a fitting designation for those who profanely slighted their
privilege as God’s special people.
5. The context is admittedly figurative, but if the lambs,
bullocks, and goats be symbolical, then the unclean animals
that are to occupy their places should be so, too.
6. In Hebrews 12:16_17 Esau stands as the type of profane
and sensual_minded men, who are identified with those against
whom Moses warned Israel in Deuteronomy 29:18_23.
The idea is further carried out in the next paragraph. In
verses 8_15 we have the more detailed account of God’s ven_
geance against the enemies of Zion, which is likened unto that
upon Sodom and Gomorrah. This, of course, is not literal, but
typically represents the punishment of God’s dreadful ven_
geance upon all his enemies while Edom is here again made
the type. Verse 10 shows that this curse is to be everlasting in
its typical aspect while the following verses show that Edom,
as an example of such destruction, was to be literally and per_
petually laid waste, and history verifies this prophecy respect_
ing Edom.
The book referred to in 34:16 is the book of Moses and per_
haps includes the earlier prophets which had written in them
the threatenings against the ungodly. At this time the Pen_
tateuch and history of Joshua and Judges, and the history of

the reigns of the kings up to this time had been written and
preserved, but the reference is very likely to the Pentateuch,
primarily, which was complete in one book and kept in the ark
of the covenant. This appeal to the book by Isaiah is to prove
that he was in line with the threatenings and judgments which
preceded his time and that his prophecies were to be regarded
as equal in inspiration and authority with the other scriptures
of his day.
Isaiah 35 is a glorious counterpart of the judgment on Edom
in chapter 34 and is distinctly messianic. The outline of these
contents consists of three items. In verses 1_2 we have the
blessings on the land pronounced which reverses the corre_
sponding desolation of Lebanon, Carmel, and Sharon, because
of “the glory and excellency of our God.” This is a general
statement of the reversal of the judgments before predicted.
In verses 3_4 is a general announcement of the hope and good
cheer on account of the recompense of God. Then in 5_10 the
prophet particularizes these blessings which were literally ful_
filled in the ministry of Christ. Then the prophet shows us
the highway that shall be there, the way of holiness, with no
unclean person, no fools and no ravenous beasts walking there_
in, over which the redeemed shall walk and the ransomed of
Jehovah shall return with songs of joy to Zion, where they shall
have everlasting joy upon their heads and where sorrow and
sighing shall flee away. Thus commencing with the restora_
tion to their land, then passing on to the coming and healing
work of the Messiah the prophet closes with the blessing of
their conversion. This hope is kept constantly before the holy
remnant of Israel by Isaiah, stimulating them in these dark
and gloomy hours, just
As when the weary traveler gains
The height of some o’er_looking hill,
The sight his fainting spirit cheers,
He eyes his home, though distant still.

This section, Isaiah 36_39, in our outline of Isaiah is called
“The Historical Interlude,” sometimes called “The Book of
Hezekiah.” There is a reference to this section in 2 Chronicles
32:32, thus: “Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his
good deeds, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the
prophet the son of Amoz, in the book of the kings of Judah
and Israel.” Aa a matter of history almost all this section
is embodied in 2 Kings 18_20, which should be carefully stud_
ied in connection with this passage in Isaiah.
This section may be regarded as the history of how Hezekiah stood the test applied to him. A like test was put to Ahaz (7:3_17), and he, an unbeliever as he was, simply put the offered grace from him, as swine would deal with pearls cast
before them. But Hezekiah’s test reveals a different character,
one vastly more interesting and instructive for God’s people in
all ages. He proves to be a man of faith in God and, in a large
measure, wins out in the conflict, but fails in the matter of the
Babylonian messengers and the pride of his heart. Yet again
he shows that he was a child of God in that he humbled him_
self so that the threatened wrath of Jehovah came not upon
them in the days of Hezekiah. The case of David and Solomon, in which the consequences of Solomon’s sins were deferred till after his death for the sake of David, is similar to this.
This section divides itself into two parts, viz: (1) Sennach_
erib’s invasion (36_37) ; (2) Hezekiah’s sickness, and the em_
bassy from Babylon (38_39).
Chapters 36_37 contain a history of an event which had
been predicted long before and frequently alluded to afterward
(see 8:5_10; 10:12_19, 33, 34; 15:24_25; 30:28_31; 31:8). It
was stated definitely that the stream of Assyrian conquest,
after it had overflowed Samaria, would “reach even to the
neck” of Judah, and then be suddenly turned back. The fact
of the prediction is unquestionable. The actual overthrow of
the Assyrian power is as certain as any event in the world’s
annals. These two chapters are thus the historical goal of tile
book from chapters 7 to 35. So this part of the book is as in_
separable from the preceding part of the book as fulfilment is
inseparable from prediction itself.
Chapters 38_39 are, on the other hand, the historical start_
ing point for the rest of the book. These two chapters tell of
the failure of the man who had checked the stream of national
corruption; who suppressed idolatry, restored the Temple wor_
ship, and followed the guidance of the prophetic word; who
had been rescued, both from a fatal malady and from the as_
sault of the Assyrian king. When such & one fell away, no
higher proof could be given that Judah must be subjected to
the severe discipline of the captivity. With this dark fore_
shadowing there was a necessity for the following chapters of
The date of Sennacherib’s attack on Jerusalem is significant.
The record tells us that this event was in the fourteenth year
of Hezekiah, king of Judah, which was forty_six years after
the vision of chapter 6. This taken in connection with 37:30
indicates that they were on the threshold of the Jubilee Year
which, with its blessings, should be the sign unto Hezekiah
that God would make the Jubilee laws effective at this time
and deliver the land from the hand of Sennacherib.
From 2 Kings 18:13_16 we learn that the immediate cause
of Sennacherib’s invasion at this time was Hezekiah’s refusing
to pay tribute. But the record also tells us that Hezekiah
righted this wrong to the king of Assyria by sending the tribute
and begging his pardon. This did not satisfy Sennacherib be_
cause he had a motive beyond that of getting the tribute, for
we see him demanding the unconditional surrender of Jeru_
salem avowedly to be followed by deportation. This was an
act of perfidy, as well as of cruelty and arrogance. Undoubt_
edly Sennacherib’s motive was not merely political, but he
was bent on proving that Jehovah was on a level with the gods
of other nations. Assyria had become a great power and, as
she thought, had overcome the gods of all the other nations,
including Samaria whose God was Jehovah. Just one more
step now was needed to make Assyria the lord of the world, and
that was the capture of Jerusalem. This evidently was his
ulterior motive in this invasion.
In chapters 36_37 we have the details of this history which
is a thrilling account of a conflict between the true and the
false religion, similar to that of Moses and Pharaoh, or Elijah
and the prophets of Baal. Here it is the Assyrian gods versus
Jehovah. The items of this history are as follows: Rabshakeh
was sent by Sennacherib from Lachish against Jerusalem with
a great army which stopped at the upper pool near the Joppa
gate, where Isaiah met Ahaz some forty years before.
Messengers from Hezekiah at once went out to meet Rab_
shakeh through whom he sent a message to Hezekiah belittling
his confidence in Egypt and in Jehovah, saying that Egypt was
a bruised reed and could not be depended upon, and that
Jehovah had commissioned him to destroy the land of Judah.
Then the messengers asked Rabshakeh to speak in the Assy_
rian language so the people on the wall could not understand,
but he deliberately refused to comply, saying that he was sent
to speak to the people on the wall. Then he grew bold and
made a strong plea to those who heard him to renounce alle_
giance to Hezekiah and come over to Sennacherib, but they
held their peace as they had been instructed to do. Upon this
came the messengers to Hezekiah with their clothes rent and
told him the words of Rabshakeh. Hezekiah when he heard
it rent his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth and went
into the house of Jehovah.
Then he sent messengers to Isaiah to ask him to pray for the
remnant. Isaiah returned word that there was no need of fear,
for Jehovah would send Sennacherib back to his own land and
there he would die. Rabshakeh returned to find his master
pushing the conquest on toward Egypt and hearing at the same
time that Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, was coming out to help
Hezekiah. This seemed to provoke Sennacherib and he sent
a letter to Hezekiah to warn him again putting his trust in
Jehovah, reminding him also of the Assyrian victories over the
gods of the other nations. Then Hezekiah took the letter and
spread it before Jehovah and prayed.
For pointedness, faith, and earnestness, this prayer has few
equals on record. Just at this time came another message from
the Lord through Isaiah, assuring Hezekiah of the Lord’s in_
tervention, as in very many instances before, to deliver his
people from this Assyrian, whom he would lead by the nose
back to his own land. Then follows the sign of Jehovah to
Hezekiah assuring him that the remnant should prosper under
Jehovah’s hand, reannouncing also the defeat of the plan of
Sennacherib to take Jerusalem. The rest of chapter 37 is an
account of the destruction of the Assyrian army by the angel
of Jehovah and the death of Sennacherib in his own land.
Chapter 38 opens with the statement, “In those days was
Hezekiah sick unto death,” which is far from being a precise
date, but the promise of fifteen years added to his life and the
twenty_nine years of his reign in all, fixes the date in the four_
teenth year of his reign, which is the date given in 36:1. In
38:5_6 the two deliverances are coupled together in a way
which suggests that they stood in some close relation to each
other. Thus we are led to look on these two pairs of chapters,
not as successive in point of time, but as contemporaneous.
In the record here Hezekiah’s malady is called a boil, but
we learn that it was a special disease marked by the signs of
leprosy. The same word occurs in Exodus 9:9_11 to describe
the Egyptian plague of “boils,” in Leviticus 13:18_20 to de_
scribe the boil out of which leprosy sprang, in Deuteronomy
28:27, 35 to describe the “boil of Egypt” and the “sore boil
that cannot be healed,” and in Job 2:7 to describe the “sore
boils” with which Job was smitten. So, humanly speaking,
his disease was incurable.
When the prophet announced that Hezekiah must die he
prayed and wept. The prayer, as recorded here, is very brief
but pointed, pleading his own faithfulness to Jehovah, an un_
usual petition though allowable in Hezekiah’s case because it
was true and was in line with the promise made to Solomon
(I Kings 9:4).
It was no weak love of life that moved Hezekiah to pray
for recovery. It was because that he, who had followed God
with all sincerity, appeared to be stricken with the penalty
fore_ordained for disobedience. Leprosy means “a stroke,”
and was believed to be a stroke from God. That was what
made the stroke so exceedingly bitter. He was not to witness
that great exhibition of God’s truth and mercy toward which
the faithful had been looking for almost thirty years. Such
was a sore trial to Hezekiah.
Upon the direction of the prophet, a cake of figs was applied. This remedy is said to be employed now in the east for the cure of ordinary boils. But it was quite an insufficient cure
for this incurable “boil” from which Hezekiah was suffering.
In miraculous cures, both the Old Testament prophets and our
Lord himself sometimes employed means, insufficient in itself,
but supernaturally rendered sufficient, to effect the intended
cure. (See I Kings 17:21; 2 Kings 4:34, 41; 5:14; John 9:6;
Mark 7:33:8:23, etc.) These are examples of the natural and
the supernatural working together for the desired end.
The sign given Hezekiah was the turning back of the shadow on the dial ten degrees. The dial was, perhaps, a large structure consisting of steps upon which the shadow of a great shaft was allowed to fall, which indicated the position of the sun in the heavens. In this case the shadow was made to run back, instantly, ten degrees. How this miracle was performed the record does not say, but it may have been seen by the law of
refraction which does not make it any less a miracle.
Hezekiah wrote a song of thanksgiving for his recovery,
which in the first part looks at the case of his sickness from
the standpoint of the despair and gloom of it, while the latter
part treats the case from the stand point of the deliverance and wells the note of praise. In the middle of this poem we find
his prayer which he prayed in this dark hour.
Hezekiah made a great mistake in the latter part of his life
in allowing himself to become exalted in his prosperity and
not humbling himself before the Lord as in former years (2
Chronicles 32:24_33). So when God tested him again in the
matter of the messengers from Babylon, he failed because he
had not the spirit of discernment so as to know their purpose
to spy out the land. He showed them everything and thus
prepared the way for the capture of Judah by the Chaldeans.
The closing part of this section shows the necessity for the
second division of the book. This part closes with the an_
nouncement of the captivity and gives us a very dark picture
which calls for the opening sentence of comfort in the next
division. Hezekiah is reconciled to it as we see from his lan_
guage, but evidently it is to be understood in this connection
that the prophet had already revealed to him that there should
be peace and truth in his days. Now, if Hezekiah had his mes_
sage of comfort and was thereby able to joyfully acquiesce in
the future calamity already announced, should we not expect
a message of comfort also for Judah? The last twenty_seven
chapters furnish just such comfort for Judah, that she too
might not despair in view of the approaching captivity.
From the many lessons that might be selected from the life
of Hezekiah I take but one. Though he was upright and so
highly commended in the Scripture (2 Kings 18:5_7) he had a
burden of guilt, from which only God’s grace could absolve
him. He could not stand as the “Righteous Servant,” who
should “justify many” by “bearing their iniquities.” If good
Hezekiah could not, what child of man can? Nay, we have all
sinned and come short of the glory of God.

1. What the relation of Isaiah 34_35 to the preceding parts, especially
the preceding section, of the book?
2. What the relation of these two chapters to each other?
3. How does this section open and what the nature of the prophecy
as indicated by it?
4. What the analysis of chapter 347
5. Why adopt the allegorical view of the use of the word, “Edom,”
in this chapter?
6. How is the idea further carried out in the next paragraph?
7. What the book referred to in 34:16 and what the import of this
appeal to the Word?
8. What the nature of chapter 35 and what the brief outline of its
9. What is the section, Isaiah 36_39, called, where may we find a
reference to them and where do we find nearly the whole of them embodied?
10. What, briefly, the theme of this section, what similar test was ap_
plied to a king of Israel prior to this and what the difference in the deportment of the two kings under the test of each, respectively?
11. What case in the history of Israel similar to this?
12. How is this section divided and, briefly, what does each part con_
13. What the date of Sennacherib’s attack on Jerusalem and what the
significance of the date in the light of 37:30?
14. What the cause of Sennacherib’s invasion at this time?
15. What the essential points in the narrative of Sennacherib’s attack
upon Jerusalem?
16. What the date of Hezekiah’s sickness?
17. What was Hezekiah’s malady and what ita nature?
18. What did Hezekiah do when the prophet announced that Hezekiah
must die and what plea did he make?
19. Why did Hezekiah pray to be healed?
20. What remedy did he apply and why?
21. What the sign given Hezekiah?
22. How was this miracle performed?
23. What expression have we of Hezekiah’s gratitude for this divine
deliverance and what the viewpoints from which it deals with the case?
24. What Hezekiah’s great mistake in the latter part of his life?
25. How does the closing part of this section show the necessity for the second division of the book?
26. What great lesson from the life of Hezekiah?

Isaiah 40_42

This great section (40_66) of Isaiah is called “The Old
Testament Book of Comfort.” The New Testament cor_
respondence to this book of comfort is John 14_17.
This section is addressed chiefly to the Israelitish exiles in
Babylon. The conservative critics regard this as one of the
greatest marvels of predictive prophecy. As Isaiah had al_
ready announced the Babylonian exile in 39:6_7 he was further
commissioned to provide comfort for those who should be
tempted to despair by reason of their distress in captivity.
In 2 Chronicles 32:25_33 we have an account of the condition at the close of the first part of the book, which does ample justice to the great and excellent Hezekiah as a ruler and a servant of Jehovah, yet it points out the sin of his heart in not
rendering again according to the benefit done unto him. His
heart was lifted up, which was no trivial sin, but he repented
of this sin and thereby averted the immediate judgment from
Judah. All this made Isaiah feel more and more distinctly the
meaning of the Remnant, of which he bad had much to say.
True, Assyria was never to destroy Jerusalem, but Isaiah saw
behind Assyria a dark cloud arising which was to cover the
whole face of heaven and burst upon the guilty city and people.
This Isaiah saw clearly and distinctly. It was this very Baby_
lon who at that time opposed Assyria, so that it was easy for
Hezekiah and his people to take them as an ally. In view of
this rising cloud Isaiah’s responsibility was increased. So now
he directs his latest ministry to the future glory of Israel. The
ten tribes were already in captivity and Judah was ripe for it.
No time now to call to repentance until the Remnant should be
purified by the judgment which was already decreed.
These last twenty_seven chapters are divided into three con_
secutive portions of nine chapters each which are externally
marked off by a sad refrain: “There is no peace, saith Jehovah,
to the wicked.” In like manner each of these divisions is sub_
divided into three equal parts of three chapters each. The cen_
tral verses of the central chapter of the central division of this
section contains the very essence of the gospel (see 53:5_8).
The progress of revelation is also indicated by the subject, or
general theme, of each division of nine chapters. The first is
“Theology,” or the doctrine of God; the second is “Soteriology,”
or the doctrine of salvation; the third is “Eschatology,” or the
doctrine of the last things. Who could imagine that such an
arrangement could have come to be by mere chance in the
hands of a number of Isaiah’s?
In Isaiah 40:1_2 we have an introduction to the rest of the
book. This contains (1) the theme of this entire section, (2)
the announcement that the warfare of Jerusalem was accom_
plished, (3) that her iniquity was pardoned, and (4) that she
had received of Jehovah’s hand double for all her sins.
The theme of this last part of the book, as herein contained,
has been fully explained already. But what is the meaning of
Jerusalem’s “warfare” being accomplished? This means that
her service was fulfilled, the long period of hardship and drudg_
ery during which she has borne the brunt of the enemies’ at_
tacks; that the time was fulfilled and the kingdom of God was
at hand. A new day had dawned for Jerusalem. Her “iniquity
pardoned” means God’s reconciliation to her and that he would
not impute sin to her or punish her any longer for it. “Her
receiving double of Jehovah’s hand” means, not twice as much
as her sins deserved, but that she had received “abundantly”
for her iniquity and therefore she might be assured that, having
been amply punished, she need not fear further vengeance. All
this is spoken from the standpoint of the captivity from which
they are to return.
The theme of chapters 40_42 is the conflict with idolatry in_
side of Israel.
The prophecy of 40:3_5 is a distinct prediction of the work
of John the Baptist and is so declared to be in Matthew 3:3:
“For this is he that was spoken of through Isaiah the prophet,
The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
Make ye ready the way of the Lord,
Make his paths straight.”

This is confirmed by Mark (1:3), Luke (3:4_6), and John (1:
23). But Luke’s quotation of Isaiah 40:3_5 throws more light
on the interpretation than that of the other evangelists. He
says that all flesh shall see the salvation of God, which indicates
that this prophecy reaches over into the gospel dispensation
and takes in the Gentiles.
The main work of John the Baptist is here set forth. His
work, according to this prophecy, was preparatory aud is set
forth in figures of speech showing the levelling and adjusting
work of repentance. Every valley shall be filled, all the hills
shall be leveled and all rough places shall be made plain. The
import of all these figures can be expressed in the one word,
“grading”; so the work of John the Baptist was compared to
the grading of a highway over which Christ was to come to his
people. Then the prophet turns from the figure of grading to
one of agriculture, expressing thereby the same preparatory na_
ture of John’s work. The image employed is that of burning
the grass of a field. (Isa. 40:6_8). John’s preaching subse_
quently fulfilled this figure, of withering the grass of the flesh,
in a most striking manner, by destroying all hope of fitness for
the kingdom of God based on fleshly descent from Abraham.
In 40:9_11, the verses following the description of John’s
preparatory work, we have the thought carried on by a call to
the messenger to get up on a high mountain and proclaim to the
cities of Judah, with a lifted voice, the coming of their God,
who would come as a mighty one to rule and to feed the sheep.
This was all fulfilled in the coming of our Lord, who, heralded
by John the Baptist, stretched forth his hand with authority,
fed the sheep and tenderly cared for the lambs.
The picture of 40:12_17 is that of the incomparably lofty
One, the Jehovah of Israel, who is here exalted above all cre_
ation, showing God’s eternal wisdom and power versus man’s
finiteness and insignificance. This passage is quoted by Paul
in his great exclamation over the supreme wisdom and knowl_
edge of God (Rom. 11:33_35).
The picture presented in 40:18_24 is a contrast between Je_
hovah and the senselessness of idolatry, as the preceding pas_
sage is a contrast between Jehovah and man. In the light of
this truth the prophet shows how monstrous appeared the folly
of those who made an image to represent or symbolize Deity.
This passage is a complement of verses 12_17 showing that if
God be all that is there said of him, how strange that man
should produce the poor, mean likeness of God which he has
in his folly, set up in various times and places. The prophet
here sarcastically contrasts these idols with Deity in their
power, again magnifying Jehovah’s wisdom and power above
every other being in the whole scope of the universe. Doubtless
this argument, together with the many others made by Isaiah,
against idolatry”, helped greatly to bring about the freedom
from Polytheism, which has marked the Jewish people ever
since the restoration from the Babylonian captivity.
The brief paragraph, 40:27_31, sets forth the comfort to
God’s people of knowing the foregoing things concerning their
God: that their way was open to Jehovah and he had not for_
gotten the justice due to them; that Jehovah is an everlasting
God, the Creator of the ends of the earth and does not grow
weary, and that they that wait for the Lord shall renew their
strength, shall mount up with wings as eagles, shall run and
not be weary, shall walk and not faint. But what does the last
verse mean? This passage seems, at first thought, to be an anti_
climax, but it is a real climax. The first part of a journey is
accomplished under the impulse of ardent feeling, as the eagle
mounting upon wings for a long flight. The second stage of the
journey is made by robust and energetic effort; as the traveler,
not so fresh and buoyant, runs and by such effort presses on
the way. The last stage of the journey is made by a steady,
but tranquil and almost unconscious, advance, as when almost
exhausted the traveler walks steadily onward. This verse taken
in connection with the preceding one means this: Though the
journey be such that the strongest, humanly speaking, may be
weary and fall, the Lord giveth such power to those that wait
upon him, though they be faint and have no might, that, in the
first part of the journey, they shall be fresh and buoyant; in
the second stage of the journey they shall run, as other men
would, but unlike them they shall not be weary; and in the
third stage of the journey where there is falling and fainting,
with these it shall not be so, but they shall all have strength
to complete the journey. How beautifully this applies to Chris_
tian service in this life. “They that wait upon Jehovah shall
renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not
The special theme of chapter 41 is Jehovah’s contest with
idols, the outcome of which is that Jehovah proves his Deity in
two ways: (1) by stirring up Cyrus as a scourge to the heathen
nations, and (2) by predicting the future which the false gods
of the heathen could not do.
The prophetic picture in 41:1_7 is a challenge to the isles
and nations to match Jehovah’s strength with the power of
their idols. Jehovah invites them to consider well the evidence.
Then he marches out Cyrus at his word. He passes swiftly to
chastise the heathen nations who tremble at his approach. They
assemble, combine their efforts and encourage one another to
make the very best god possible, so as to meet the power of
The thought is carried on in 41:8_16. In the midst of the
consternation produced by Cyrus, Israel is encouraged not to
fear; that Jacob is the chosen seed and he will be gathered
from the ends of the earth; that Jehovah will be his God, sing_
ing in his ear,
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in His excellent Word;
that he would infuse weakness into their enemies and that he
would give Israel an aggressive vigor that would enable them
to scatter their foes, which was fulfilled, perhaps, in the Mac_
cabean period.
The crowning promise in 41:17_20 is that of spiritual sup_
port and refreshment through the dull and dreary time of the
captivity, which would find its full fruitage in the gospel days.
The picture here is one that cheers the lonely traveler in a
desert land. The anticipation of the blessings of the oasis
stimulates and encourages. Here we have a desert converted
into a garden, such as the gospel alone could do.
A contest between Jehovah and idols is described in 41:21_29. Here Jehovah challenges them to try their hand on revealing the past, predicting the future, or to demonstrate their claim by performing the supernatural, to which he himself replies that they are nothing and render people who choose them abominable. Then the prophet gives a sample of Jehovah’s prediction, which these idols were not able to match, because they were confusion. The prediction here is respecting Cyrus who should come from the north and should make the rulers as potter’s clay under his feet.
Who was the “Servant of the Lord,” occurring so often in
Isaiah? Israel was God’s national son and it was the vocation
of Israel to be God’s servant. So long as they served him loyal_
ly, they had true freedom, but when they ceased to do so they

were chastised and had to learn the service of other kingdoms
(2 Chron. 12:8). Yet their vocation was not annulled. The
promise to Abraham’s seed stood firm. The “holy seed” was
the germ of life which continued intact throughout their his_
tory. The title, “Servant of the Lord,” is applied to Israel, or
Jacob, in chapters 41; 44; 45; 48. In other places where the
title occurs, as 42; 43; 44:26; 49; 52; 53, it is evident that a
person is addressed who, while he is so closely related to Israel
that he can be its representative, has at the same time a tran_
scendent personality which enables him to stand outside of
Israel and to act independently of it or in antagonism to it, as
in 49:5_6; 53.
It is to be noted in this connection that the title “Servant of
the Lord,” occurring nineteen times in 41_53 disappears after
53:11. The reason is obvious. His work as a servant is thence_
forth finished. The everlasting covenant has been established
(55:3). On the other hand after chapter 53 we have “Servants
of the Lord,” which does not occur at all before chapter 44, but
occurs ten times in 44_66. The relation between the two com_
plementary series is fully explained by 53:10: “He shall see
his seed,” and 53:11: “He shall see of the travail of his soul.”
Through the obedience of one righteous servant many are made
righteous (Rom. 5:12_19).
The special theme of chapter 42 is “The Servant of Jehovah
and His Work.”
In 42:1_4 we have set forth the character, anointing, gentle_
ness, and work of the Messiah. The New Testament (Matt.
12:18_21) applies this expressly to Christ. In this we see that
he was chosen with special delight and anointed in the Holy
Spirit for his mission by Jehovah himself. His mission to the
Gentiles, his quietness in his work, and his gentleness in deal_
ing with backsliders are all noted with marked distinction. He
will establish justice in truth and his administration shall in_
clude all the nations. The “bruised reed” refers to a musical
instrument in need of repair, and the “smoking flax” refers to
the wick of an old_fashioned lamp, nearly gone out. Both of
these refer spiritually to the backslider and illustrate the ten_
derness with which Christ deals with the backslider. He will
not break the bruised flute, but will fix it up again. Nor will
he snuff the candle, but will trim it so that it will give forth its
light. Brother Truett had a great sermon on this text in which
he magnified the tenderness of Christ to backsliders.
The thought of verses 1_4 is carried on in verses 5_9. This 13 a solemn reaffirmation that the mission of the “Servant of Je_
hovah” was from the Almighty and that the success of it was
assured by him. This mission of the “Servant” is here declared
to be twofold: (1) for a light of the Gentiles; (2) to open the
eyes of the blind, to liberate the captives from the dungeon and
from the prison house.
The “former things” here (v. 9) are the former prophecies
concerning Israel’s captivity which had been fulfilled, and the
“new things” are the predictions respecting the restoration of
the captive people to their own land.
The thought expressed in 42:10_17 is a new song to Jehovah
for his triumph over idolatry and for the deliverance of his
people. The surrounding nations are called upon to join in this
song, i.e., the nations about Palestine. This is a song of praise
for the gospel and has its fullest realization in the antitype’s
victory over superstition and idolatry. Verse 16 is a striking
statement: “I will bring the blind by a way that they know
not; in paths that they know not will I lead them.” This is an
appeal to trust Jehovah in the darkest hours. The poet has ex_
pressed this great need thus:
When we in darkness walk,
Nor feel the heavenly flame,
Then is the time to trust our God,
And rest upon His name.
In 42:18_25 Israel is represented as blind and deaf, grinding
in prison houses because of disobedience, very much like na_
tional Israel in the days of our Lord, who had eyes but saw not
and ears but heard not. They are also represented as a plun_
dered people, but this is the judgment of Jehovah upon Jacob,
because he was not obedient to his law. Again he is repre_
sented as not laying the matter of Jehovah’s dealings with him
to heart. Is it not true that Jacob is in this condition today?
He has never yet laid the folly of his sin of rejecting the Saviour
to heart. But he will one day be made to consider his rebel_
lious way of unbelief, the veil will fall from his blind eyes and
he will receive our Lord and go with us after a lost world with
a zeal that the world has never yet seen.
1. What ia this section (40_66) of Isaiah called and what the New
Testament correspondence to it?
2. To whom is it addressed and how is it regarded by the conservative critics?
3. Give a brief statement of the general condition in the kingdom at
the close of the first part of the book (39:8).
4. Restate here the artistic features of this last section of the book.
5. What is contained in. 40:1_2 and what the explanation of each of the items?
6. What the general theme of the subdivision, 40_42?
7. What the prophecy of 40:3_5 and where do we find the distinct fulfilment?
8. How is the main work of John the Baptist here set forth?
9. How is this thought of the preparatory work of John the Baptist
for the coming king carried forward?
10. What the picture of 40:12_17 7
11. What the picture presented in 40:18_26 and how does it seem to
have impressed the Jewish people?
12. What the thought in 40:27_31 and what the interpretation of verse 31?
13. What the special theme of chapter 41 and what the outcome?
14. What the prophetic picture in 41 :l_7?
15. How is the thought carried on in 41:8_16?
16. What the crowning promise here (41:17_20)?
17. Describe the contest between Jehovah and idols in 41:21_29.
18. Who was the “Servant of Jehovah,” occurring so often in Isaiah
and what of the usage of the term by this prophet?
19. What the special theme of chapter 42?
20. What the contents of verses 1_4?
21. How is the thought of verses 1_4 carried on in verses 5_97
22. What the “former things” and the “new things” in verse 97
23. What the thought expressed in 42:10_17?
24. What Israel’s condition as described in 42:18_25?

Isaiah 43-45

The theme of these three chapters is the conflict with the
forces of idolatry outside of Israel and arrayed against Israel.
The special theme of 43:1 to 44:5 is, “The Free Grace of Jeho_
vah Brings Redemption.”
Jehovah, speaking to Israel in 43:1, contrasts the curse spo_
ken of in the closing part of the preceding chapter with his free
grace of protection. He says, “But now thus saith Jehovah.”
Then follows a statement of his relation to Jacob. He was Is_
rael’s Creator, Former. Redeemer, and Caller. He created Is_
rael, i.e., brought Israel into being, and when Israel was chaotic,
he formed it into an organized nation. When Israel was in
bondage to Egypt, he redeemed it, and throughout its history
he has called it by name and with special favor he has nourished
“Waters,” “rivers,” and “fire” in verse 2 mean troubles of
various kinds through which Israel must yet pass. It is a back
reference to the Red Sea incident and the crossing of the Jordan,
and a prophecy literally fulfilled in the case of the Hebrew
children in the furnace of fire. But it has a strong and impres_
sive symbolical meaning. They were yet to pass through the
floods and fires of persecutions in their captivity, and dispersion
which was to come later on in their history.
Jehovah had saved Israel from Pharaoh, from the Amale_
kites, from Jabin, from Midian, from the Philistines, from
Zerah, and from Sennacherib. The term. “Saviour.” is quite a
favorite with Isaiah in these last chapters of his book. The
prophet had his eyes fixed on the deliverance of Israel from the
rouble captivity of sin and of Babylon and thus he saw Jeho_
vah not only as their Saviour in the past but their future
Saviour as well. The thought is extended in the expression, “I
have given Egypt as thy ransom,” which means, “In my coun_
sels I have already assigned to the Persians, as a compensation
for letting thee go free, the broad countries of Egypt, Ethiopia,
and Seba.” This was fulfilled when Cambyses, the son of Cy_
rus effected the conquest of Egypt and Ethiopia about 527_6
B.C. This is a marvelous prediction and for its fulfilment, goes
far beyond the date of this part of Isaiah assigned by the
In the prophecy of verses 5_6 Isaiah saw a greater dispersion
than the one of his day and also a greater gathering than the
return from the captivity. Though there was a primary ful_
filment in the restoration from Babylon, that does not by any
means fulfil the conditions herein set forth. They were to come
from the north and the south, the east and the west. But no
such gathering of the Jews has yet been witnessed. We look
to the future for the glories of this prophecy.
In 43:8_13 we have a challenge to the nations to try their
hand on prophecy, either old or new, and to set forth the claims
of their gods against Jehovah. He challenges them to produce
the evidence in their case or acknowledge the truth as revealed
by Jehovah. Israel is Jehovah’s witness, and also his chosen
Servant. Therefore the conclusion is that they have no god;
that Jehovah is the only true God. Not only his predictions
prove him superior to the other gods, but his power to bring
them to pass is beyond all power to hinder.
Israel was Jehovah’s witness (v. 10), thus:
1. Israel was Jehovah’s witness to the truth of the propo_
sition that he was the only God as shown in the records of its
history. A look at the records proves them to be genuine and
in them are found the many predictions and their fulfilments
which are unquestioned. These may be mentioned: the over_
throw of Jeroboam’s altar at Bethel by Josiah, David’s de_
scendants on the throne of Judah, the long continuance of the
house of Jehu, and many others. These are outstanding wit_
nesses of the power of Jehovah to predict the future, as no other
god can do.
2. Israel is yet one of the most powerful witnesses for the
truth of revelation. No other nation has been so preserved in
its dispersion. But all this is found in the prophecy concerning
Israel. The proposition of the “Jew” is the one unanswerable
argument for the inspiration of the Bible with all infidels. On
all other questions they can find a fairly satisfactory answer
to themselves but they cannot get by the “Jew.” He is the one
unanswerable argument for the truth of our religion to the skep_
tic. “That Jew, that Jew; what shall we do with that Jew?”
The “servant” of verse 10 is an added witness and is distinct
from Israel though of Israel. This refers to the Messiah, the
true servant of chapter 42:1_7 whose work was largely witness_
ing for the Father. He is called the “Faithful Witness” (Rev.
1:5; 3:14), who “came into the world that he might bear wit_
ness of the truth” (John 18:37).
The counterpart to this picture of Israel’s redemption as
stated in 43:14_21 is the destruction of Babylon, with several
correspondences between this deliverance and the deliverance
from Egypt.
There are several of these back references here. “The way
in the sea,” “path in the mighty waters,” “the chariot and
horse,” “the army and the mighty man” are references to the
incidents of the Exodus from Egypt and correspond to the
power of Babylon and the way in the desert by which God will
deliver them from Babylon. The “rivers in the desert” is a
reference to the supply of water by Jehovah on the journey
from Egypt to the Holy Land. But this deliverance is to be
so much greater than the former one they are asked not to
mention that one at all: to blot it out of their memory. But
did the return from Babylon under Zerubbabel and Joshua ful_
fil this prophecy? It could not be claimed that this return
was sufficient to fill out such an outline. But when we consider
the typical aspect of this event as it related both to Israel and
Babylon we get the spiritual deliverance of Israel from Baby_
lon. This is impressively pictured in Revelation where the
Israel of God is delivered from the mystical Babylon. So in its
far_reaching application, the future of Israel so eclipsed the
past that they were not to remember the former things.
In 43:22_28 the Lord reproves Jacob for his sin and shows
that Israel had never done anything to merit this deliverance
but on the other hand, his father, Abraham, and his teachers,
the priests and prophets, had all gone out of the way and there
was no reason for his deliverance except for Jehovah’s own
sake, purely an act of grace.
The passage (44:1_5), is set over against the closing verses
of chapter 43 to which it really belongs as a conclusion, and in
which Jehovah states that he had profaned the princes of the
sanctuary, i.e., the priesthood had been deprived of its func_
tion, as a part of the punishment of Israel’s sin, and that he
had made Israel a curse and a reviling. In the opening verses
of chapter 44 the prophet again strikes the joyful note of prom_
ise: that the thirsty land should be refreshed; that the Spirit
would be poured upon the seed of Jacob, and there would come
the blessings of a matchless prosperity, at which time the
Gentiles would come to take the name of Jacob and Israel.
“Jeshurun” in verse 2 is one of Israel’s proper names. It is
found in only four places, viz: Deuteronomy 32:15; 33:5, 26,
and here in Isaiah 44:2. Of these proper names given to Israel
it is well for us to note some of them in this connection. “He_
brew” is derived from Heber, the ancestor of Abraham. “Jacob”
marks them as descendants of the patriarch by the same name.
“Israel” marks their militant character, as soldiers for God.
So when we speak of them from the standpoint of their origin,
we say, “Hebrews”; when we take the standpoint of the found_
er. we say. “Jacob”: when we refer to their militant character
it is “Israel”; when we think of their standard of moral excel-
lence, it is “Jeshurun, the upright.”
The promise here of the outpouring of the Spirit connects
back with Joel 2:28; Isaiah 32:15, and is enlarged upon in the
promises of John the Baptist and Christ, and has its fulfilment
in Acts 2.
The import of verse 5 is that Israel in that day will be so
flourishing that the Gentiles will not be ashamed to own her,
but rather, they will seek to take the name of Jehovah and his
people. One will say, “I am Jehovah’s; another, “I am of
Jacob”; and another, “I am of Israel.”
The special theme of Isaiah 44:6_23 is the “Contrast Between the Living God and Powerless Idols.” The prophet introduces this theme (44:6_8) by exalting Jehovah as king and redeemer of Israel, and the one eternal living God, who founded Israel and revealed himself to him as his impregnable Rock. The prophet then shows the shame of idol makers. The ones who make them are “confusion,” or “darkness”; there is no profit to their idols; their own witnesses, the idols, do not know; they expect something from them; the failure affects the whole guild of idol makers; all their efforts working together cannot save them from the fear of Jehovah. Their utter failure is their
The whole process of image_making is here reviewed. First
comes the making of the adz, or graving tool. The smith works
and hammers, and is hungry, thirsty, and exhausted. Then fol_
lows the carpenter, lining off the idol and shaping it with vari_
ous tools into the form and beauty of man. But these idols
must be made of cedars or other trees, which have to be planted,
which also have to be watered by the rain from Jehovah, the
purpose of which is to be burnt by man. But the idol maker
divides the tree, making part into a god, taking part to burn
for warming himself, and cooking his food. Then bowing down
before his handmade god he worships it, prays unto it and says,
“Deliver me; for thou art my god.” A strange god is such a
contrivance as this!
The reason for all this perversion is summed up in one sen_
tence in verse 20, thus: “A deceived heart hath turned him
aside.” The paragraph, as a whole, throws much light on their
condition. They do not know because God “hath shut their
eyes.” But they once could see and turned away from the light.
Then God turned them over to hardness of heart and reprobacy
of mind (see Rom. 1:18_32). This is the judicial blindness that
comes to those who have the light and reject it. Such is the con_
dition of the heathen world today, except where the gospel has
been proclaimed. One of the greatest results of gospel light is
the destruction of idols. The Jews are also under judicial blind_
ness today because they rejected the Messiah when he came.
The lesson for us is a missionary one. There is but one thing
that can dispel the ignorance here described, and that is the
gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is in line with Paul’s
commission, to open the eyes of the Gentiles, that they might
turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto
God, etc.” (Acts 26:16_18).
The cheering message to Jacob and Israel in 44:21_23 is the
message of forgiveness and redemption, with a call upon all
nature to rejoice in the salvation of Jehovah, “for Jehovah
hath redeemed Jacob and will glorify himself in Israel.”
The special theme of Isaiah 44:24_25 is “The Mission of
Cyrus.” Jehovah here introduces himself, and the introduction
is in this form: “Thus saith Jehovah,”
1. Thy redeemer;
2. That formed thee from the womb;
3. That maketh all things;
4. That stretcheth forth the heavens alone;
5, That spreadeth abroad the earth (by myself) ;
6. That frustrateth the signs of the liars, and maketh diviners
7. That turneth wise men backward, and maketh their
knowledge foolish;
8. That confirmeth the work of his servant, and performeth
the counsel of his messengers;
9. That saith to Jerusalem, She shall be inhabited, and of the
cities of Judah, They shall be built, and I will raise up the
waste places thereof;
10. That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy
11. That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd and shall per_
form all my pleasure;
12. Even saying of Jerusalem, She shall be built, and of the
Temple) Thy foundation shall be laid.
Some of this language is plain enough but several of these
items need special comment. In the sixth item occur the words,
“signs of the liars, and maketh diviners mad,” which is a refer_
ence to the prognostications of the astrologers and soothsayers,
that pretended, falsely, to have a knowledge of future events.
In the eighth item occur the words, “servant” and “messen_
gers.” “Servant” refers to Isaiah himself and “messengers” to
the prophets generally. This means that God attested his
prophets in their work just as he did the Lord and his apostles
in their work, bringing to pass their predictions.
In the tenth item the words, “Be dry, and I will dry up thy
rivers,” refers to the action of Cyrus in drawing off the water
of the Euphrates when he took Babylon.
In the eleventh item are found the terms, “Cyrus” and “shep_
herd,” a term applied to Cyrus with the statement, “and shall
perform all my pleasure.” The occurrence of “Cyrus” here is
very largely responsible for the theory of two Isaiahs, which is
amply discussed in the introduction. Suffice it to say here that
the giving of Cyrus’ name in this passage is not inconsistent
with God’s method of revelation. For instances of names given
beforehand by inspiration, see introduction. “Shepherd” here
applied to Cyrus places him above the ordinary Oriental mon_
arch in his mission. Cyrus was under a special commission of
the Almighty, though he was, in a large measure, unconscious
of divine direction. He may have had this prophecy pointed
out to him, as Josephus claims and his statements in Ezra 1:2_
4 indicate. In doing the pleasure of Jehovah Cyrus was execut_
ing the orders of the unseen hand behind his throne and of the
Great Governor of the universe, who exalts kings and deposes
them at his own will.
The prediction concerning Jerusalem in the twelfth item is a
marvelous prophecy, the fulfilment of which is as certain and
definite as history can possibly make it.
The message of Cyrus (45:1_7) was that he was to be espe_
cially anointed to subdue the nations before him, as Hazael
and Jehu were anointed for their work. He was to take Baby_
lon and liberate Jehovah’s people, build their temple and
establish them in the land. The purpose herein expressed was
threefold: (1) That Cyrus himself might know that it was Je_
hovah who had called him by name; (2) That Israel should
reap the benefit and advantage of his labor; (3) That the whole
world might be taught the unity of God.
It seems most probable that there is a reference in 45:7 to
the dualism of Zoroastrianism, which advocated two external
principles, light and darkness which were perpetually at war
with each other. This verse seems to have supplied a correc_
tive to that error, making God the Creator of all things.
The final aim of all God’s providential acts (v. 8) was that
of the kingdom of heaven and therein righteousness and salva_
tion, should be planted upon earth. The two words for right_
eousness in this verse are different. The first is rather the norm,
or the principle of righteousness; the second, the embodiment of
this principle and character and conduct. The living principle
descends from heaven and the quickened earth shoots forth
“trees of righteousness.”
The prophet shows the folly of striving with one’s Maker
(45:9_13). It would be absurd for the clay in the hands of the
potter to say, “What makest thou?” or the unborn babe to
question and find fault with its parents. So in this wonderful
thing that Jehovah is about to do, he assured Israel that it is
done in righteousness, and his purpose in Cyrus is the rebuild_
ing of Jerusalem and the restoration of the exiles.
In verse 13 Jehovah says, “I have raised him up in righteous_
ness, and I will make straight all his ways.” This refers to
Cyrus as an instrument of God’s righteous purposes, but the
question arises here with respect to his character and his atti_
titude toward religion. The character of Cyrus has been admitted by both ancient and modern writers to have been singularly noble. There is none like him in the ancient world. The explanation of it all is found in this passage in Isaiah. He was God’s “anointed.” He had a special vocation from the God of Israel, was raised up by him in righteousness, was loved by him and chosen to perform his will on Babylon. As to his attitude toward the religion of Jehovah, it was friendly, but there is no evidence, positive, that he ever embraced it or even became a monotheist. In Ezra 1:2_4 he talks like a believer, but this may have been due to his acquaintance with this prophecy,
rather than any personal acquaintance with Jehovah. In ad_
dressing Cyrus (45:4_5) Jehovah says, “I have surnamed thee,
though thou hast not known me.”
The far_reaching effect of the work of Cyrus (14_17) was to
be that _the heathen, put to shame, should confess Jehovah to
be the Saviour of Israel. Verse 15 shows the mysterious ways
of God’s providence, and verse 17 is an expression of the high_
est faith in Israel’s everlasting salvation by Jehovah.
After declaring himself creator and the only God, Jehovah
Bays (v. 19), “I have not spoken in secret, in a place of the land
of darkness; I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in
vain: I, Jehovah, speak righteousness, I declare things that are
right.” The exposition of this text presents some exceedingly
broad views of the government of God. The prophet viewed the
children of Judah here as captives in Babylon, with their city
and temple destroyed, and Babylon the world empire and
the invincible, as holding them. This caused many difficul_
ties in the way of this text, which seemed to make vain the com_
mandment to seek his face. First there was the seeming invinc_
ible power of the world empire, Babylon. This Jehovah was
taking care of through his own unconscious instrument of power, Cyrus, whom he raised up, endowed, and prepared. Secondly, their own degraded condition was a most serious difficulty in the way of building a nation. But Jehovah would put away their sins and restore the nation for his own name’s sake. (For a full discussion of this text see the author’s sermon, “Encouragement to Prayer,” in Evangelistic Sermons, p. 183.)
Jehovah here challenges all the nations, that have escaped,
to try their hand with their gods and see if they can match this
proceeding of Jehovah, and after again asserting that he is the
only just God and Saviour, he throws out the broad invitation
to all the earth to come and be saved, in view of the decrees
which had gone forth by the oath of God, that every knee
should bow and every tongue confess. Here, then, back of all
human exertion, and back of all kaleidoscopic presentations of
seemingly chaotic views of men and purposes, is the great pur_
pose of God, to bring this whole world under the domination of
his Son, Jesus Christ (see Phil. 2:5_11).
In a little chapel, a primitive Methodist chapel, an exceed_
ingly ordinary building, there is in one of the pews on the right
hand side of the church from the pulpit, a tablet which says
that right under that tablet, Aug. 6, 1850, Charles H. Spurgeon
heard an ignorant preacher, who seemed to occupy the pulpit
that day by accident, read this forty_fifth chapter of Isaiah,
and heard the words, “Look unto me, all ye ends of the earth,
and be ye saved,” and he was saved right then and there. This
is an illustration of the power and application of this broad in_
vitation. Surely it is not in vain to seek God.

1. What the general theme of these three chapters?
2. What the special theme of 43:1 to 44:5?
3. How does Jehovah here in 43:1 express his relation to Jacob, or Israel?
4. What the meaning of “waters,” “rivers,” and “fire”in verse 2?
5. When had Jehovah been Israel’s Saviour, what the meaning of “I
have given Egypt as thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in thy stead” and when was this prophecy fulfilled?
6. What the fulfilment of the prophecy of Israel’s gathering in verses 5_6?
7. What the challenge by Jehovah in 43: S_13 and what the results aa
herein forecast?
8. How was Israel Jehovah’s witness and who the servant in verse 10?
9. What is the counterpart to this picture of Israel’s redemption aa
stated in 43:14_21?
10. What back references do we find here to the former exodus from
Egypt and how is this exodus to compare with that?
11. How is this deliverance of Israel shown to be purely of grace?
12. What new contrast in 44:1_5?
13. Who was Jeshurun and what the significance of the different names of God’s people in the Old Testament, when was the promise here of the outpouring of the Spirit fulfilled, and what the import of verse 5?
14. What the special theme of Isaiah 44:6_23?
15. How does the prophet introduce this theme (44:6_8)?
16. How does the prophet then show the shame of idol makers?
17. What the prophet’s sarcastic description of the process of idol
making (44:12_17) and what the point of ridicule?
18. What the reason for all this perversion as here assigned by the
prophet (18_20) and what the lesson?
19. What the cheering message to Jacob and Israel in 44:21_23?
20. What the special theme of Isaiah 44:24 to 45_25?
21. How does Jehovah here introduce himself and what the interpre_
tation of each item of introduction?
22. What the message to Cyrus (45:1_7) and what the purpose expressed?
23. What the interpretation of 45:7?
24. What the final aim of all God’s providential acts (v. 8)?
25. How does the prophet show the folly of striving with one’s Maker
26. What the character of Cyrus and his relation to the religion of Jehovah?
27. What was to be the far_reaching effect of the work of Cyrus (14_17)?
28. What encouragement to prayer in this connection (18_19) and
what the difficulties to be overcome?
29. What the outcome and application of all this discussion about Cyrus?
30. What great preacher was converted by accepting this great invita_
tion and what the circumstances of his conversion?

Isaiah 46_48

The general theme of these chapters is the victory over idol-
atry; the fall of Babylon and its idols. The special theme of
chapter 46 is “The Overthrow of the Gods of Babylon.”
There are two of the Babylonian deities named in 46:1_2,
Bel and Nebo. Bel, the local representation of Baal, the Phoe_
nician sun_god, is identified with Merodach and, in the Baby_
Ionian astrology, he is connected with the planet, Jupiter. Bel
appears in several names of the Babylonian princes, as in Bel_
shazzar and Belteshazzar. Nebo, the Babylonian god of learn_
ing, the son of Merodach, was the messenger of their gods to
men. He is thought by some to have been connected with the
planet, Mercury. Nebo, appears, also, in the names of their
princes, as in Nebopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar, and Nebuzar_
adan. According to Herodotus there was a golden statue of Bel
in the temple of Belus, twelve cubits high, which was carried
away by Xerxes.
The picture here in these two verses is that of the conquered
gods bowing to their victors. Now instead of being borne lightly
along in the procession they are borne away on beasts of burden.
These gods and their subjects together go into captivity.
In 46:3_7 we have a contrast with the preceding picture of
the captives of Babylon bearing their gods away on beasts of
burden. Here Jehovah pictures himself bearing his people. They
have been borne by him from their birth, and will be borne by
him down to old age and to hoary hairs. This reminds us of
the stanza in “How Firm a Foundation,” which embodies this
truth and the sentiment of which was taken from this passage.
Then the prophet follows with another description of the proc_
ess of making a god. This time it is the process of molding
it rather than shaping it out of wood. But the results are the
same. They fall down and worship it. They pray unto it but it
cannot answer, nor save them out of trouble. So the contrast
between Jehovah and idols is this: Jehovah bears his people,
but the idols have to be borne by their people; Jehovah saves
his people out of their troubles, but the idols cannot save out
of trouble.
The exhortation to the transgressors of Israel found in 46:8_
10 is an exhortation to remember. The first thing to remember
is “this,” which refers to the contrast between Jehovah and
idols. Since Jehovah bears Israel, then let Israel show them_
selves men. The marginal reading here is “stand firm.” This
reminds us of the conflict on Mount Carmel between Jehovah
and Baal. Elijah said, “Why go limping between two opinions?
If Jehovah is God serve him; if Baal, then serve him.” The
people here were weak in their conviction and, doubtless, need_
ed Just such an exhortation as this: “Stand firm for Jehovah,
for he is the only God.” The prophet here also intimates that
to waver between Jehovah and idols was transgression.
Remember the First and Second Commandments: “Thou
shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shall not make unto
thee a graven image and bow thyself down to it.” Remember
this is transgression. Then remember “the former things of
old”: that Jehovah is God, and there is none else: that there is
none like him; that he declares the end from the beginning, and
from ancient times things that are not yet done. Remember
that he is a God who foreknows all things and tells them be_
forehand, even things that are yet unfulfilled, 0 ye Radical
Critics. Remember your former experiences, 0 House of Israel.
How ye saw that Jehovah was the great and terrible God. It
sounds like the war cry, “0 ye Mexicans, Remember the Ala_
mo! Remember Goliad!” or Abraham’s voice across the im_
passable gulf, “Remember, son, remember that thou in thy
lifetime hadst thy good things, and Lazarus, his evil things.”
Remember, 0 remember. If God’s people and the world would
only remember! “Remember, too, 0 Israel, that my counsel
never fails and that I will do my pleasure; that I have already
told you that I will call that ravenous bird, Cyrus, from the
East, to do my counsel, and remember that what I have pur_
posed I will do.”
The prophet closes this chapter with an exhortation to the
stubborn in Israel, who were far from righteousness. Jehovah
then announces the speedy approach of his righteous judgments
upon the godless and his salvation in Zion for Israel.
The special theme of chapter 47 is “the overthrow of Baby_
lon, the mistress of kingdoms.” This chapter is a song of tri_
umph and divides itself into four stanzas, as follows: (1) 1_4;
(2) 5_7; (3) 8_11; (4) 12_15 the first two commencing with a
double imperative and the last two, with a single imperative.
Jehovah is the speaker all the way through except in verse 4
which is a kind of parenthetical ejaculation by Isaiah and his
God_given children, or, maybe a chorus in Israel.
There is here a call by Jehovah to Babylon, who boasted that
she had never been captured, to come down from her lofty
throne and sit in the dust. Babylon had hitherto been one of
the chief seats of Oriental luxury, the glory of kingdoms and
the beauty of the Chaldean excellency, the golden city. She
was given to revelry and feasting, to mirth and drunkenness,
to shameless licensed debauchery. All this must now be changed (v.l).
She was now to sit at the mill and grind like a slave. She
must remove the veil, strip off the train, and uncover the leg
to cross the streams, etc. This, of course, is taken from the
figure of the female who had been taken captive, and repre_
sents the great humiliation that must come to the proud and
luxurious Babylon, in which also no man shall be spared.
Verse 4 in this song, which is so different from the rest of it,
is thought by some to be a marginal note of a sympathetic
scribe, which has made its way by accident into the text. It is
admittedly different from the rest of the song and its removal
would artistically improve it. But it may be consistently re_
tained as an outburst of the chorus upon recognizing their Re_
deemer, when they exclaim: “Our Redeemer, Jehovah of hosts,
the Holy One of Israel.”
The first part of verse 5 is an entreaty to the fallen people
to hide their shame in silence and darkness, as disgraced persons do who shrink from being seen by their fellows.
Babylon was not mistress of the kingdoms in Isaiah’s time,
or at any earlier period, unless at a very remote one. She had
been subject to Assyria for centuries when Isaiah wrote, and it
was ruled under Sennacherib by viceroys of his own appoint_
ment. The explanation then is that inspiration and prophetic
foresight enabled Isaiah to see Babylon at the height of her
glory, as in the days of Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar,
when she had taken to herself the greatness of Assyria and
ruled a large part of Western Asia.
The reason assigned for letting Israel go into captivity is that
he was wroth with them, and therefore profaned them. They
did not receive any mercy at the hand of the Chaldeans but
they laid a heavy yoke upon the aged. This God will not tol_
erate and with man it is a mark of the crudest barbarism. The
attitude of Christianity toward the aged is,
Be kind to each other
The night’s coming on,
When friend and when brother
Perchance will be gone.
An additional cause cited (v.7) is her pride and boastfulness.
Without due consideration she said, “I shall be mistress for_
ever.” This is true to the primary instincts of human nature.
We confidently expect the sun to rise tomorrow because it has
never failed yet to rise on a single day. Peter tells us that in
the last days mockers will come, saying, “Where is the promise
of his coming? for, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” And so the world goes on. Perhaps Babylon had more excuse for making such a boast than other nations. Her capital was one of the most ancient cities in the world. For two thousands years or more she had maintained a prominent position among the chief peoples of the earth, and had finally risen to a very proud eminence. But she ought to have remembered that all things come to an end, and to have so deported herself as not to have provoked God to anger. If the management and passengers of the Titanic had remembered this, one of the greatest disasters in the world, perhaps, would have been averted. But the boast of the “unsinkable” and the vainglory of the “world_beater” came to nought. “And thou, Capernaum, shalt thou be exalted unto heaven? thou shalt be brought down to hell.”
The characteristics of Babylon are set forth in 47:8_11 as
1. She was given to pleasures. Herodotus says that when.
Cyrus invested the city the inhabitants made light of his siege
and occupied their time in dancing and revelry.
2. She was self_confident. The evidence goes that, when Cy_
rus captured the city, very slight and insufficient preparations
had been made for the defense of the city.
3. She was boastful. “I am, and there is none else besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of chil_
4. She was conceited. “None seeth me.”
Jehovah made reply to these characteristics of the boastful
city, thus:
1. Jehovah warns her that loss of children and widowhood
should come upon her in a moment in one day, notwithstanding
her multiplied sorceries and enchantments. This was fulfilled
when Cyrus took the city 539 B.C. Then “in a moment” Baby_
Ion lost the whole of her prestige, ceased to reign, ceased to be
an independent power, became a “widow,” had a portion of her
population taken away from her, and was brought down in the
2. Jehovah warns her that her wisdom and knowledge had
perverted her, and that evil should come upon her unawares;
that mischief should fall upon her that she should not be able
to put away and that sudden desolation would overtake her
The import of 47:12_15 is “sorcery cannot remove the im_
pending calamity” and the contest between their sorcery and
Jehovah is precipitated by Jehovah’s challenge to the sooth_
sayers and enchanters to the conflict pretty much in the same
way that Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal on Mount
Carmel. There is a touch of irony in verses 12_13, which would
paraphrase thus: “If Babylon uses all the resources of her magi_
cal art, perhaps she may succeed, who knows? Perhaps she
may strike terror into the hearts of her assailants.”
The three terms, “astrologers,” “star_gazers,” and “prognos_
ticators” in verse 13, do not mean three classes of persons, but
rather the same class under three designations. “Astrologers”
were dividers of the heavens; “star_gazers” were observers of
the stars; and “monthly prognosticators” were almanac_mak_
ers. The astronomy of the Babylonians consisted (1) of divid_
ing the heavens into constellations for purposes of study and
comprehension; (2) of observing the sun, moon, and planetg,
noting eclipses, occultations, conjunctions, and the like, all of
which was legitimate science; (3) of prognostication of events
from the changing phenomena of the heavens. Almanacs were
prepared and put forth in which these predictions were made
and on these much dependence was placed. This phase of their
work is called astrology, and is that which the prophet here
The result of this contest here as foretold by the prophet is
that these men and their means shall be as stubble, i.e., they
will offer no more resistance to Jehovah than dry stubble offers
to fire. It burns up so clean that there is not left a coal to warm
at or sit before. This shall be such a complete desolation that
the traders shall flee to their own countries and the commerce
of the great and flourishing city shall be destroyed forever.
The special theme of chapter 48 is the expostulations with,
and exhortations to Israel in view of its stubbornness and im_
penitence. Its profession is indicated in verses 1_2 by the ex_
pressions, “called by the name of Israel,” “swear by the name
of Jehovah,” “make mention of the God of Israel,” “call them_
selves of the holy city,” and “stay themselves upon the God of
Israel,” all of which indicate their adherence to the names and
formalities of their religion. Their professions were loud but
they were “not in truth, nor in righteousness.”
Jehovah here (48:3_11) reveals Israel’s characteristics, as
obstinacy, stiff_neckedness, brazen_faced, dull of hearing,
treacherous, and transgressing. These characteristics Jehovah
endeavored to offset by revelations beforehand, in two cycles
of predictions, the earlier and the later being reserved for the
emergency of the occasion such as the present crisis in their
All these were not sufficient to save Israel, therefore, he, for
his name’s sake, deferred the just punishment of destruction
and put them in the furnace of affliction that he might purify
them, at the same time save his own name from profanation
and reserve the glory to himself.
The meaning and application of verse II is that God had
selected Israel out of all the nations of the earth to be his “pe_
culiar” people, and having declared this he supported them by
miracles in their struggles with other nations and peoples. Thus
he was committed to protect and defend Israel “for his name’s
sake,” lest his name should be blasphemed among the Gentiles.
He had rolled away the reproach of Egypt when he landed
them safe in Canaan, so that Egypt could never say that he
had failed in his promise to Israel to carry them into their
Promised Land. So now he must save his name from profana_
tion by deferring his anger and chastising Israel. A great lesson
is this. God’s people will not be utterly destroyed nor for_
saken, but they cannot escape the Lord’s chastisements if they
sin. He takes care of his name and his people at the same time.
This is far_reaching in its application. All Jehovah’s promises
to Israel, and the world through Israel) were at stake. Israel
occupied an important position with respect to the scheme of
salvation in its relation to the whole world, and therefore Jeho_
vah could not let Israel go. He must refrain his anger, and
preserve Israel through the furnace of affliction or the plan of
redemption for the world fails and the name of Jehovah is pro_
faned and his glory given over to another.
The appeal to Israel in 48:12_16 is an appeal to profit from
the work of Cyrus. Jehovah asserts his eternity of being and
his creative work, and then challenges the nations to match it
if they can. Then he introduces Cyrus as the instrument of his
pleasure on Babylon and invites them to take notice that this
is by the authority of Jehovah, who had sent the prophet, and
his Spirit.
The possibilities for Israel here (17_19) pointed out are the
possibilities of peace, like a river; righteousness, like the waves
of the sea; their offspring, like the grains of sand on the shore;
and a perpetual name before Jehovah; all this on the one con_
dition that Israel hearken to his commandments. His purpose
throughout their existence was to teach them for their profit.
Thus he had led them through the many dark valleys of afflic_
tion and brought them to their own good land where they had
enjoyed his loving favor and protection, with a bright hope for
their future. But they sinned and forfeited the divine favor,
and now they must hear the sad refrain, “Oh that thou hadst
hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as
a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea; thy seed
also had been as the sand, and the offspring of thy bowels like

the grains thereof; his name would not be cut off nor destroyed
from before me,” which is much like the saying of the poet:
Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: “It might have been.”
The exhortation of 48:20_22 was to “go forth from Babylon,
flee from the Chaldeans.” At first thought such an exhortation
would seem superfluous. It might be reasonably expected that,
when the prison doors should fly open, there would be a mighty
rush from Babylon back to their native land, but not so. The
history of the return shows how poor was the response to the
exhortation. So this exhortation, to “go forth from Babylon,
and flee from the Chaldeans,” was far from being superfluous.
They were to go in the spirit of joy, singing the song of their
redemption, as at the deliverance from the land of Egypt. With
a voice of singing they were to recite the history of Jehovah’s
gracious dealings with them in the wilderness, which were
paralleled here in their deliverance from Babylon.
There was a distinct advance here. The subject of the last
twenty_seven chapters of Isaiah is not merely the return of
Judah from Babylon to Jerusalem. Higher themes engage the
prophet’s mind, viz: That preparation of the way of Jehovah,
and the manifestation of his glory, for all flesh to see it to_
gether. All this was in the mind of the prophet, and the deliv_
erance from Babylon was only a prefiguring of the far greater
deliverance of the world from the thraldom of sin. As the exo_
dus from Egypt was the high_water mark of God’s grace to his
people of the Old Testament dispensation, so is this. last mention by Isaiah of the struggle with Babylon. There is joyous victory here like that which it typifies in Revelation where the
mystical Babylon falls and God’s people shout their everlast_
ing praises to him who rules over the kingdoms of the earth.
There is a connection between verse 22, “There is no peace,
saith Jehovah to the wicked,” and the fall of Babylon. God’s
judgments fell heavily on Egypt at the deliverance of Israel at

the Red Sea and his judgments are heavier on Babylon at the
deliverance of his people from the captivity. But Egypt and
Babylon are types of the great spiritual enemies of God’s king_
dom. So when the Babylon of Revelation falls there is fear
and trembling because of the judgments on her from Jehovah.
When God stretches forth his hand in judgments, there is no
peace to the wicked.

1. What the general theme of these three chapters?
2. What the special theme of chapter 46?
3. What the principal gods of Babylon and what the prophetic picture
of 46:1_2?
4. What the contrast found in 46:3_7?
5. What the exhortation to the transgressors of Israel found in 46:8_10?
6. How does the prophet close this chapter?
7. What the special theme of chapter 47?
8. What the nature of the composition and what the divisions of it?
9. Who the speaker of this song?
10, What the great change in the position of Babylon to be brought
about by its capture?
11. What was to be her new occupation and what the shame of her
new condition?
12. How do you account for verse 4 in this song, which is so different
from the rest of it?
13. What the import of verse 5 and how is it that Isaiah saw Babylon
as the mistress of kingdoms?
14. What is the reason assigned here for Babylon’s having Israel in
captivity and how are they said to have been treated while in captivity?
15. What the added cause of Babylon’s downfall given in verse I?
16. What the characteristics of Babylon as set forth in 47:8_11?
17. What reply does Jehovah make to these characteristics of the
boastful city?
18. What the import of 47:12_15?
19. How is the contest between their sorcery and Jehovah precipitated
and what the irony of their passage?
20. What the meaning of “astrologers,” “star_gazers,” and “prognosti_
cators” in verse 13, and what the value of the work of these men?
21. What the result of this contest here as foretold by the prophet?
22. What the special theme of chapter 48?
23. How is Israel’s profession here set forth (48:1_2)?
24. What the characteristics of Israel herein set forth and what Je_
hovah’s efforts to counteract this disposition?
25. What the result of these favors from Jehovah and in view of such
result what course did Jehovah take with them?
26. What is the meaning and application of verse II?
27. What the appeal to Israel in 48:12_16?
28. What the possibilities for Israel here (17_19) pointed out and why
had it not realized them?
29. What the exhortation of 48:20_22 and what the special need for
such exhortation?
30. In what spirit were they to go from Babylon?
31. How does the exodus here compare with the exodus from Egypt
i.e., was there any advance to something greater and higher as one might expect in the work of God?
32. What the connection between verse 22, “There is no peace, saith Jehovah to the wicked,” and the fall of Babylon?

Isaiah 49:1 to 52:12

The general theme of Isaiah 49_57, is the servant of Jehovah
as an individual and his offices, or salvation through the servant
of Jehovah. In this section the collective sense of the Servant
of Jehovah falls into the background. It is the individual
Servant, the Servant in the highest, or most restricted sense,
with whom we have to do in these chapters. His individuality
is indicated by his already having been given a name and hav_
ing been called from birth.
This section divides itself into three parte, as follows: (1)
49:1 to 52:12, his prophetic office; (2) 52:13 to 54:17, his
priestly office; (3) 55:1 to 57:21, his kingly office.
More fully the theme of 49:1 to 52:12 is the prophetic office
of the Servant and his awakening calls. The Servant, as an
individual represents what Israel ought to have been collec_
tively in the theocracy, executing the offices of prophet, priest,
and king, through the Holy Spirit.
This section opens with a call to the isles and peoples from
far, the significance of which is that the mission of the Servant
of Jehovah is worldwide in its application.
The Servant tells us here (49:1_4) that he was called and
named before he was born; that his mouth was prepared by
Jehovah, as a sharp sword; that he was hid in his hand and
that he had been made a polished shaft. Nevertheless, the
Servant felt depressed. His labor seemed all in vain. Yet his
confidence in his God was unshaken and well founded.
The Servant’s worldwide mission is again emphasized in
verses 5_6. Jehovah here says that raising up and restoring
Israel would be too light a thing for his Servant and so re_
moves the depression of his heart by promising that he should
be a light to the Gentiles and his salvation unto the ends of the
There are three peculiarities in verse 7 which indicate how
deeply the Servant was affected by the difficulties to be met,
but Jehovah encourages his Servant in them. These peculiari_
ties are: (1) He would be despised by man; (2) abhorred by
the nation; (3) a servant of rulers. These all find fulfilment
in Christ. “He was despised and rejected of men”; he was
abhorred by the Jewish nation and rejected; he was truly the
servant of kings and rulers. “He came not to be ministered
unto but to minister.” The encouragement here offered in view
of these characteristics is that kings and princes shall honor
him. This has been fulfilled in many instances and is being
fulfilled now. Every king who has been converted since the
days of Christ’s earthly ministry has done him honor. Many
a king has seen and stood up in wonder, just as the prophet
here indicates.
Our Lord is here (8_13) presented in special relation to the
covenant. But before he could occupy such relation, as the
basis of the covenant with Jehovah’s people, he had to suffer,
which is here intimated in verse 8, which also should be taken
in connection with Psalm 22:21, where he is said to cry out
for deliverance from the lion’s mouth and the answer came.
This was fulfilled in the suffering of our Lord on the cross. So
through suffering he became the basis of the covenant whose
blessings are here enumerated. These blessings are the raising
up of the land, the inheritance of the desolate places, the libera_
tion of the captives, a supply of food and drink, protection from
the sun, and a highway for their journeys all of which has
fulfilment in the supply of spiritual blessings to Jehovah’s peo_
ple through the Lord Jesus Christ. “Whosoever believeth on
me shall never hunger; he that believeth on me shall never
thirst.” The blessings of the everlasting covenant are sufficient
for every need of his covenant people. Not only are they
described as ample but they are for all people. They shall
come from far; from the north, from the west, and from Sinim
which is China. The sight of all this causes the prophet to
call for the outburst of joy in heaven and on earth which re_
minds us of our Saviour’s parables setting forth the joy of
heaven when the sinner returns to God.
Zion here (49:14_23) complained that Jehovah had forsaken
her; that he had forgotten her to which Jehovah gives the
matchless reply found in that passage which has become a
classic: “Can a woman forget her sucking child that she should
not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, these may
forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee
upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before
me.” Then the prophet goes on to show how Zion shall possess
the world, and in complete astonishment at her success and
enlargement, she then will reverse her questions and say, “Who
hath begotten me all these children?” Jehovah responds again
that he is the author of her success and that all who wait for
him shall not be put to shame. This is a glorious outlook for
Zion and removes all just cause for complaint.
The passage (49:24_26) alludes to a series of mighty trans_
actions, involving vast and eternal interests. It reveals the
most astounding tyranny, the most appalling captivity, the
most signal deliverance and by the most eventful tragedy
known to the universe. The persons of the great drama, their
several parts and their destiny, claim our chief attention.
But who is the mighty one of this passage and how did he
bring these captives into this captivity? In many places in the
Scriptures he is declared to be the “prince of this world.” He
is that one who obtained possession of this world by conquest,
guile, and conquest. He obtained possession of it in the garden
of Eden, through enticement to sin. He captured the first pair.
the man and the woman, from whom all of the people of this
world are descended; and by that one man’s disobedience, in
that first great crisis of this world, there came upon all men
death. We died then. All the posterity of Adam and Eve born
hitherto or yet to be born died in that great battle by which
Satan, the prince of demons conquered this world.
His captives are those beings whose creation was the culmi_
nation of the work of God. While incidentally his domain ob_
tained by the Eden_conquest stretches over the material world
and the mere animal world, directly and mainly it extends over
the intelligent, moral, accountable agents into whose hands
God had given this dominion over the earth. When God made
man he gave him dominion over the fowls of the air and the
fish of the sea and the animals of the forest and he commanded
man to multiply and fill the earth with inhabitants, and to
subdue all the forces of nature, making them tributary to him
and to the glory of God. This delegation of dominion to man
was wrested by guile and violence from his feeble hands, and
passed by right of conquest into the hands of Satan; so that
the captives, the prey of the terrible one, are the people of this
earth, and all of them, without any exception of race, or nation,
or family, or individual; without any regard to the artificial
distinctions of class and wealth and society; without any refer_
ence to the .distinctions in intellect and culture. The whole of
them, even the millionaire and the pauper whom he grinds, the
king and the subject whom he oppresses, the gifted orator, the
genius of art, the far_seeing statesman, the beautiful woman,
the prattling infant, the vigorous youth, all of them are under
the dominion of Satan, and his government extends over them
by that original conquest.
They are lawful captives and there is a difficulty suggested
by the inquiry, “Shall the lawful captives be delivered?” This
difficulty can be apprehended in a moment. If one be held in
bondage unlawfully it is easy enough to anticipate that there
shall be deliverance from that unjust captivity, provided that
the law has power to vindicate itself; but if the captive is law_
fully a captiveù1 mean to say that if it is the law itself that
forges his fetters – then indeed does it become an inquiry of
moment, “Shall the lawful captive be delivered?” It is true
that the sting of death is sin, but it is also true that the strength
of sin is the law, and a lawful captive is one whose bonds are
just as strong as the sanctions of the law which he is violating.
And how strong is that law? We have the testimony of in_
spiration that not a jot or a tittle of it shall fail, even though
the heavens fall. And what is the scope of this law? “Thou
shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy
soul and all thy strength and all thy mind and thy neighbor
as thyself.”
That law is an expression, a transcript of the divine mind,
in its intent when man was made; and by so much as it is
strong, and by so much as it is broad, by that much will it hold
the transgressor. Satan knew that it was out of his power
to go into that garden of delights and seize by violence alone
these moral agents into whose hands had been entrusted the
dominion of this world. That would have made them unlawful
captives. So he addressed himself to stratagem and guile. It
became necessary that though he was the tempter they should
consent and by their own act of disobedience should array
against themselves the awful law of God. And while sin is
the sting of death, the law of God should be the strength of sin.
But who shall deliver these lawful captives? This passage
is messianic and the Jehovah of this passage we find in verse
26 to be the Saviour, Redeemer, and Mighty One of Jacob
which could refer only to our Lord Jesus Christ, who is re_
vealed as the destroyer of the works of the devil.
Then how is he to deliver them? The answer to this also is
very explicit. The Scriptures show that he is in some way to
deliver these lawful captives by his own death. “When thou
shalt pour out thy soul unto death I will divide thee a portion
of the great.” “Thou shalt despoil the strong.” And the pas_
sage in Hebrews is pertinent: “That forasmuch as the children
were partakers of flesh and blood he likewise took part of the
same, that through death he might destroy him that has the
power of death, even the devil.” Through his death he is to
bruise the head of Satan. Hence, just before he died he said
to his disciples in the language of the Scriptures, “The prince
of this world cometh and findeth nothing in me. Now is the
crisis of this world, and I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men
unto me.” Not a man can be saved except this one be lifted
up on the cross.
Not a man can be delivered from the bondage of Satan, not
one groaning captive who is the prey of the terrible one, shall
be plucked out of his hand, except by the death of this sub_
stitute. Then he shall see his seed. Then he shall see of the
travail of his soul. Then deliverance shall come because that
death takes away Satan’s armor, in which he trusted. What
armor? That armor of the law. But that death paid the law’s
penalty. That death extinguished the fire of the law. That
death blunted the edge of the sword of justice. That death
exhausted the penal claims of God against the man for whom
he died. It is by death that he is to deliver us, sacrificial, sub_
stitutionary, vicarious death, “He being made sin who knew
no sin, that we may be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Moreover by that death is secured regeneration, which de_
feats depravity, and sanctification, which breaks the power of
evil habits by perseverance in holiness. And that is why a
preacher of this good news declares that he knows nothing but
the cross; no philosophy for me; no weapon could have been
forged strong enough to smite Satan; no leverage mighty
enough to roll off of crushed humanity the ponderous incubus
which bondage to Satan had placed upon them. No, I preach
Christ and him crucified. “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all
men unto me.” And hence how infinitesimal does that preacher
become, how contemptible in the sight of God and man, who
goes out where sin and sorrow and death reigns through the
power of the devil, who goes out where men are in bondage,
where they are captives, where they are under the power of Sa_
tan and in darkness, and would try to charm their captivity by
singing his earth songs, by talking of geology and of evolution,
or of any fine_spun metaphysical disquisition. Away with it
all, and present only the death of Christ; for it is by the death
of Christ that this deliverance is to come.
The import of 50:1_3 is that Israel had suffered through her
own sin, yet she was to be delivered by almighty grace. It is
introduced by a series of questions referring to Israel’s relation
to Jehovah under the figure of a marriage. Israel was chal_
lenged to show a writing of divorcement, but none could be
found, or to find one of Jehovah’s creditors to whom he had
sold her, but no creditor could be found, because Jehovah
owed no one anything. Since this was true and Israel could
produce no writing of divorcement showing that Jehovah had
put her away, therefore she was desolate and separate because
of her own sins, and Jehovah could redeem her by his mighty
arm as he delivered Israel from the bondage of Egypt.
In 50:4_9 we find that the Servant was subjected to a painful
training for his great work. This consisted in giving him the
tongue of a disciple, an ear to hear, his back to the smiters,
his cheek to those who pluck off the hair and his face to shame
and spitting. All this was for the training of the prophet whose
mission it was to speak, to hear, to suffer, and to sympathize.
These are all to be found in much evidence in the life of our
Lord. But he goes on to speak of his confidence of victory in
it all because God would help and justify him, turning the
wickedness of his persecutors upon their own heads.
In 50:10_11 we have a twofold application of these prin-ciples, an encouragement to the faithful and a warning to the self-sufficient. The former were promised guidance through the darkness if they would trust in Jehovah, while the latter try_
ing to make their own light, were endangering themselves and
their neighbors and coming to sorrow in the end.
The passage (51:1 to 52:1) consists of a series of prophetic
calls. The prophetic character of the Servant having been
made sufficiently prominent in the preceding paragraphs, this
section gives a series of prophetic calls introduced by such
words as “Hearken,” “Awake,” “Attend.”
The first call is a call to the followers of righteousness and
the seekers of Jehovah. They are exhorted to take a backward
look at their origin and to God’s dealings with them from
Abraham to the present. Then he encourages them to look
forward to the future when all the waste places and the wilder_
ness shall be like Eden, the garden of Jehovah. This ideal
state will not be realized until the millennium.
The second call is a call to the nation to consider the law,
the law of the gospel, which was to go forth to bless the nations,
the consummation of which is the winding up of the affairs of
the earth and the establishment of everlasting righteousness.
The third call is a call to them that know righteousness, the
ones who know God’s law in their hearts, to fear not the re_
proaches of men. Many of the very best people do fear the
reproaches of men and therefore our Lord gives a like encour_
agement in the beatitudes to those who are reproached for
righteousness’ sake. The reason assigned is that they shall die
and be eaten by moths and worms yet the righteousness of
Jehovah is forever and his salvation unto all generations.
Men may come and men may go
But the righteousness of Jehovah goes on forever.

The fourth call is a call to Jehovah to put on strength, as in
the days of old, and prepare the way for his people to return
with everlasting joy upon their heads. The reply comes to
upbraid the people for fearing man who is only transient and
forgetting Jehovah their maker who had exhibited his power,
not only in their past history, but in all times since the crea_
tion. From this they might take courage, for he who did all
this would liberate the captives and bring salvation to his peo_
pie. The Saviour of the people is Jehovah, whom the waves
of the sea obey. This finds its happiest fulfilment in the person
and work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The fifth call is obviously the counterpart to the call in the
preceding paragraph. This was a call to the arm of Jehovah,
this is a call to Jerusalem; that, to put on strength, this to
awaken from the effects of the drunkenness from the cup of
his wrath, in which condition her sons were like an antelope in
the net. But Jerusalem is now bidden to look for favors from
Jehovah since his wrath has been transferred from her to those
who afflicted her.
The sixth call is to Zion to put on her strength, and beau_
tiful garments. She is assured that her captivity was ended.
While this is cast in the mold of the Jewish conception, yet
the language looks to a fulfilment which is found only in con_
ditions of the new covenant.
The personal knowledge referred to in verse 6 is the experi_
mental knowledge of the new covenant. It was our Lord Jesus
Christ who fulfilled the last clause, “It is I,” or as the margin
has it “Here I am.” He said on one occasion, “Before Abra_
ham was, I am,” on another, “Be not afraid; it is I,” and again,
“Lo, I am with you all the way.” He alone makes possible
the personal, experimental knowledge and abiding presence of
The seventh call, in view of what has gone before, is very
significant. There can be no doubt that this applies to the
evangels of the cross. Paul quotes it and so applies it in Ro_
mans 10. They are here called watchmen and may refer to
the prophets of the Old Testament as well as the preachers and
missionaries of the New Testament. But the prophet sees a
day far beyond his, when the ends of the earth shall see the
salvation of God. The joy of the new day for Zion is pictured
in glowing colors. They shall sing; they shall see eye to eye;
they shall exalt the holy one of Israel as the God of their sal_

The exhortation in 52:11_12 is primarily an exhortation to
depart from Babylon in which the Jews are now represented as
being held in captivity, and the description of their going out
without haste, etc., fits minutely the exodus from Babylon,
cast in the mold of the deliverance from Egypt. But as re_
marked before, the deliverance from Babylon and Egypt are
typical of a greater deliverance of God’s chosen. The deliver_
ance from sin and the Babylon of this world is a far greater
deliverance than either of these. This is all in view of the work
of the Servant in his prophetic office, which has for the basis
of all his success his vicarious suffering, at which this section
barely hints.

1. What the general theme of Isaiah 49_57?
2. What the threefold division of this section (49_57), and what the
special theme of each division?
3. What, more fully, is the theme of 49:1 to 52:12?
4. How does this section open and what its significance?
5. How is this servant of Jehovah equipped for his success and what
the state of mind toward the outcome of it all (49:1_4)?
6. How is the Servant’s worldwide mission again emphasized (5_6) ?
7. What three peculiarities in verse 7 which indicate how deeply the
Servant was affected by the difficulties to be met and how does Jehovah encourage his Servant in them?
8. In what special relation is our Lord here (8_13) presented and what
the blessings of that relation as pictured by the prophet?
9. What Zion’s complaint and what Jehovah’s response to it (49:14_
10. What the importance of the passage, 49:24_26?
11. Who is the mighty one of this passage and how did he bring these
captives into this captivity?
12. Who are his captives, i.e., his prey?
13. Why are they lawful captives and what the difficulty suggested by
the inquiry, “Shall the lawful captives be delivered?”
14. Who shall deliver these lawful captives?
15. How is he to deliver them?
16. What the import of 50:1_3?
17. What the painful training of the Servant of Jehovah which as_
sured him of success?
18. What the twofold application of these principles?
19. Of what does 51:1 to 52:12 consist and how are the parts intro_
20. To whom the first call, and what was involved in it?
21. To whom the second call and what the import of it?
22. To whom is the third call and what the import?
23. To whom the fourth call and what the response?
24. To whom the fifth call and what its import?
25. To whom the sixth call and what the import?
26. What the seventh call, who calls and what the import of this call?
27. What the exhortation in 52:11_12?

Isaiah 52:13 to 54:17

The special theme of this section is the priestly office of the Servant and the happy results of his priestly work to Zion.
Some have called it the “Great Passional.” Polycarp calls this
section “the golden passional of the Old Testament Evangelist.” Delitzsch says, “It is the center of this wonderful book of consolation (40_66), and is the most central, the deepest, and the loftiest thing that the Old Testament prophecy, outstripping itself, has ever achieved.” Another has said, “Here we seem to enter the holy of holies of the Old Testament prophecy, that sacred chamber wherein are pictured and foretold the sufferings of Christ and the glory which should follow.” This section contains the very heart of the gospel and the preacher who leaves it out of his preaching is a preacher of “airy nothings.” The success or failure of the preacher is determined as he relates his preaching to the truth of this great passage.
There are several different interpretations of Isaiah 52:13
to 53:12:
1. The earliest Jewish authorities, even down to Aben Ezra,
A.D.1150, stood for the messianic interpretation of this passage.
Their later writers abandoned this explanation on account of
its bearing on the Christian controversy. It was assumed as in_
disputable by the Christian Fathers, and almost all Christian
expositors down to the commencement of the nineteenth cen_
tury took the same view.
2. The later Jews under the pressure of the Christian con_
troversy abandoned the traditional interpretation and applied
this prophecy to Jeremiah, Josiah, or to the people of Israel.
3. In the present century a number of Christian commenta_
tors have adopted one or the other of the later Jewish theories,
either absolutely or with modifications.
The argument for the messianic theory and against the later
Jewish theories is as follows:
1. The portraiture of the “Servant of Jehovah” here has so
strong an individuality and such marked personal features that
it cannot be a mere personified collection, whether Israel, faith_
ful Israel, or ideal Israel, or the collective body of the prophets.
2. That it could not be the nation at large appears from the
fact that the calamities which Israel suffered are always spoken
of as sent upon them for their own sins.
3. That it could not refer to their prophets or righteous men,
who made expiation for the nation’s guilt, appears from the
following considerations: (1) Such a position is against the
whole tenor of Scriptures. (2) Their most righteous in their
prayers did not plead their own merit but Jehovah’s righteous_
ness and mercy. (3) Many parts of this section are manifestly
such as cannot be applied to either the nation or any body of
men inside of it.
4. It goes so infinitely beyond anything of which a mere man
was ever capable, that it can only refer to the unique man, the
God_man, Christ Jesus our Lord.
The proof from the n’ew Testament that this is the true
interpretation is abundant. Passages from this section are
quoted in Matthew 8:17; Luke 22:37; John 12:37_38; Acts
7:32_33; Romans 10:16 ‘and I Peter 2:24_25, all of which are
unmistakably applied to Christ. This ought to settle the
question once for all that this passage is distinctly messianic.
This great passage divides itself into five paragraphs of three
verses each, as follows: (1) 52:13_15, the introduction, a gen_
eral view of the whole subject; (2) 53:1_3, the prevailing un_
belief and his unpromising appearance; (3) 53:4_6, a substitute
for sinners; (4) 53:7_9, his submissiveness and his purity; (5)
53:10_12, the glorious success of his completed propitiation and
also his intercession.
We have the general view of the whole subject presented in
52:13_15. This passage is a prelude to chapter 53 and is closely
connected with it. In these three verses we have, (1) the
Servant’s exaltations, (2) his humiliation preceding, (3) the
far_reaching blessings which shall result to the whole world.
This includes the whole of his redemptive work, stated gen_
erally. In Philippians 2:5_11 we have our Lord’s humiliation,
exaltation, and success, in which there is a graphic picture of
bis suffering on the cross. The prophet here gets three views
of the Servant of Jehovah: First, he sees him exalted, lifted up,
very high; secondly, he sits at the foot of the cross and there
sees the Lord as he hung upon the accursed tree, after he had
been buffeted, crowned with thorns, smitten, scourged, cruci-fied, his face covered with bruises and with blood, and his frame and features distorted with agony, so that “his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men,” but the picture changes and, thirdly, the prophet sees this suffering Christ as he startles many nations and receives honor at the hands of kings. This is a brief view of a preview or
introduction to the more clearly outlined picture in the next
The first question in Isaiah 53:1 “Who hath believed our
report?” seems to sound a discouraging note from the stand_
point of the prophet. The messengers have gone forth to pub_
lish peace (52:7), and many nations have received the tidings
with reverence (52:15), but Israel in the midst of whom this
wondrous work of atonement has been effected, refused to be_
lieve the message. While the immediate reference is doubtless
to 52:7 this complaint is applicable to the whole revelation of
the prophet. He had brought them the good tidings concerning
“Immanuel,” the “Prince of Peace,” the “Rod out of the stem
of Jesse,” the “Sure Foundation,” the “Righteous King,” and
the “revealed glory of the Lord.” He surely felt that he spoke,
mainly, to unbelieving ears, and this unbelief was likely to be
intensified when so marvelous a prophecy was delivered as that
which he was now to put forth. There is, of course, a rhetorical
exaggeration in the question, which seems to imply that no one
would believe.
The prophet’s second question, “To whom hath the arm of
Jehovah been revealed” raises the question of the recognition
of Jehovah’s displays of power in behalf of Israel. He has
made bare his holy arm before all the nations and the ends
of the earth are made to see the salvation of Jehovah, but where
is the spiritual discernment of these things in Israel? Many
Jews had failed to recognize Jehovah’s marvelous dealings with
them and the nations around because of their unbelief. But
there is a more far_reaching application of these questions to
Israel, as indicated by Paul in Romans 10:16. They did not
recognize the “Arm of Jehovah,” the Lord Jesus Christ, as their
Messiah. His mighty works were not recognized by them as
attestations of the One that was to come, but with blinded eyes
they rejected him, as the prophet here foresaw.
Here it is said that he grew up as a “tender plant” before
Jehovah, i.e., the Messiah was a fresh sprout from the stump
of a tree that had been felled, the tree of the Davidic mon_
archy. Yet he was before Jehovah with his loving favor upon
him. He was also as a “root growing up out of dry ground,”
just like the tall succulent plant in the east, growing from the
soil utterly devoid of moisture. The roots of such plants in
the desert are full of fluid, though the surrounding air is very
dry. The “dry ground” here refers to the corrupt age and na_
tion, and the arid soil of humanity in general.
“He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we see him there is no beauty that we should desire him.” He had no regal pomp nor splendor, nothing to attract the multitudes, but his attractive qualities were to the spiritual rather than to the carnal.
The spiritual beauties of a holy, sweet expression and a majestic
calmness could only have been spiritually discerned. “He was
despised”; men had contempt for his teaching and verily they
hated him because his teaching and life were BO contrary to
them. “He was rejected,” by the Jewish nation and was not
reckoned with men by them. “A man of sorrows, and acquaint_
ed with grief”; his whole ministry illustrates this. His sorrows
appear on every page of the Gospels. Men hid their faces from
him when they met him, because they saw only the external
expression of sorrow and grief. Thus he is pictured as a “ten_
der plant, a root growing up out of dry ground, without come_
liness, no beauty, despised aJid rejected, a man of sorrows, and
acquainted with grief,” men hiding their faces from him aa one
despised and not esteemed.
In verses 4_11 we have the very heart of the vicarious
work of our Lord, but there are other expressions in the passage
that bear on this phase of his work. So we will consider them
all together. There are eleven of these unmistakable expres_
sions of our Lord’s vicarious sufferings: (1) “He hath borne
our griefs”; (2) “he hath carried our sorrows”; (3) “he was
wounded for our transgressions”; (4) “he was bruised for our
iniquities”; (5) “the chastisement of our peace was upon him”;
(6) “with his stripes we are healed”; (7) “Jehovah hath laid
on him the iniquity of us all”; (8) “he was cut off out of the
land of the living for the transgression of my people”; (9)
“when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin”; (10) “he
shall bear their iniquities”; (II) “yet he bare the sins of many.”
In the ninth item above, the sacrificial nature of these suf_
ferings is directly stated. To a people whose approach to God
was limited throughout by the indispensable condition of the
expiatory offering, all these sayings were calculated to suggest
to them that in such a one they might realize all their hopee of
righteousness. The terms, “iniquities,” “transgressions” and
“sins” which occur here, gather around the work of the high
priest on the ‘”day of atonement,” and indicate the priestly
work of Christ, which is the theme of this section. This doc_
trine thus taught in the Old Testament is set forth with equal
distinctness in the New Testament, and forms the hope, the
trust, and the consolation of all Christians.
While thus suffering for a lost world his suffering was re_
garded by those who witnessed it as a smiting from God for his
own sin. Hence they scoffed at him and reviled him in his
greatest agonies. To one only, and him not one of God’s people,
was it given to see the contrary, who declared aloud, “Ger_
tianly this was a righteous man” (Luke 23:47).
The prophet here shows that he was oppressed and afflicted,
though he did not open his mouth. Like the Passover lamb
led to the slaughter, he was dumb, which has a remarkable
fulfilment in the deportment of our Lord under trial.
He was taken away by oppression and judgment, i.e., by a
violence which cloaked itself under the formalities of a legal
process. The people of his generation considered that this
stroke fell upon him, not because of the transgression of God’s
people, but thought that the stroke came because of his own
His innocence and purity are set forth in verse 9. The
prophet shows that the intent of the executioners was to make
his grave with the wicked, as was the case of all criminals who
were crucified on the “Hill of Skull” and buried in a grave in
the midst, but through the providence of Jehovah he had the
rich man’s tomb because there was no violence done by him
nor was any deceit found in his mouth. “Violence” here re_
fers to his overt acta and “deceit” refers to the inward state
of the heart. He was free from both the guilt of sin and the
bondage of sin. He was pure both in life and in character.
It may be truly said that God bruised Christ and put him to
grief, the explanation of which is found in Acts 2:23: “Him,
being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowl_
edge of God, ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and
slay.” The crucifixion of Christ was not an after_thought with
God. It was divinely decreed, and permissively carried out

by the hands of wicked men. He was put to death by the di_
vine stroke, on the charge of sin.
But how shall we sufficiently realize all the significance of
earth’s greatest tragedy? Even when we beggar language we
but bring somewhat nearer the heights and depths of its im_
port. If all the crises in human affairs since Adam first hesi_
tated over the tender of forbidden fruit in the hand of his wife
to the present crisis in the affairs of the Oriental nations could
pool their hazards, they would not surpass the momentous
issues involved when he said, “Now is the crisis of this world.”
Indeed there has never been and never will be but this one real
crisis for this world. Since that time we use only relative terms
when we talk about a crisis.
If all the cups of woe ever pressed to shrinking human lips
since the first sad pair were banished from Eden to the wailing
over the victims of the Eastland disaster were condensed into
one measure of gall and wormwood, they would not exceed the
bitterness enforced on our great substitute when he cried out
in Gethsemane’s bloody sweat: “My Father, if it be possible,
let this cup pass from me.” If all the floods from Noah’s
deluge to the last Mississippi overflow could merge their waters
into one swollen tide of horror, we might not compare it with
his baptism of suffering forecast by the prophets: “All thy
billows have rolled over me. Deep calleth unto deep at the
voice of thy waterspouts.” If all the fires since sulphur and
brimstone were rained on Sodom and Gomorrah to the burning
of San Francisco were combined into one lurid conflagration
“painting hell on the sky,” its devouring flame could not be so
intense and searing as the fire of which he speaks: “I am come
to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kin_
dled?” If all the wars since Abraham dispersed the foray of
Chedorlaorner to the strife by land and sea now raging in the
Orient were massed into one universal conflict, the shock of
arms would make but on echo of his fight with principalities
and powers in the realm of the Spirit and of death from which
he emerged “leading captivity captive” and with head_crushed
Satan chained to his chariot wheels. If all the darkness since
in creation’s dawn, “darkness was upon the face of the deep,”
to the Egyptian darkness which might be felt and thence to
the sun’s latest eclipse, or Byron’s poetic dream, was woven
into one funeral pall of gloom, it might not equal that “hour
of the power of darkness” which enveloped his cross. If all
the loneliness of the exiled since Cain as a fugitive went away
from the presence of God to Croly’s Wandering Jew, or to De_
foe’s Robinson Crusoe, were merged into one desert of solitude,
it could not be compared to his isolation when “of the people
there were none With him,” and when he cried: “My God, why
hast thou forsaken me.” If all the tragedies since Cain slew
his brother Abel, to the last victim of the Inquisition were
grouped into one horrible auto de fe, this concentrated martyr_
dom of all time should not measure the vicarious expiation of
him who died as a felon at the hand of God. Yes, “His soul,
being made an offering for sin,” because “He bear the sin of
many,” was poured out unto death.
And because “the chastisement of our peace was laid on him” it pleased the Father to bruise him and to put him to grief,
“for he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that
we might be made the righteousness of God in him,” and be_
cause when “found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,
therefore hath God highly exalted him and given him a name
which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every
knee should bow, of beings in heaven and beings on earth and
beings under the earth, and that every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
The outcome of it all (10_12), and its bearing on the evan_
gelization of the world are as follows: (1) “He shall see his
seed,” i.e., his disciples, who are said in the Scriptures to be
the begotten of the teacher, as Paul speaking of Onesimus,
“whom I have begotten in my bonds.” (2) “He shall prolong

his days,” i.e., he shall continue to live by the resurrection
and thus extend the time of his work in the salvation of men.
(3) “The pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand,” i.e.,
God’s ultimate aim and end with respect to the universe shall
be accomplished through him as the instrumentality. (4) “He
shall see the travail of his soul and be satisfied,” i.e., because
of the travail of his soul he shall be satisfied. This is exactly
parallel to Philippians 2:5_11 which emphasized the thought,
“No cross – No crown.” (See the author’s sermon on this theme,
Evangelistic Sermons, p. 15.) (5) “Shall justify many,” i.e.,
shall turn many from sin unto righteousness, which corresponds
to Paul’s great discussion in Romans 5:18_19. (6) “A portion
with the great,” i.e., he shall be a great conqueror, shall have
a great kingdom and overcome the strong, making the king_
doms of this world his own, or it may refer to his mighty cham_
pions of evangelism with whom he will divide the possessions.
These are not contingent promises. All their preceding con_
ditions have been fully met. Hence they are absolute promises
made by the Almighty Father to his divine Son. Every at_
tribute of deity is pledged to their literal and complete fulfil_
ment. We might doubt the stability of the material heavens,
the indestructibility of matter, and the persistence of the law
of gravitation, but these promises lie beyond the realm of ques_
tion and peradventure.
The imperiousness of the “shall see” is the ground of posi_
tiveness in the “shall come,” applied to all sinners given to our
Lord by the Father. And the “shall be satisfied” guarantees
and necessitates the salvation of all the elect. And though a
thousand portents forebode a dissolution of the earth before

his satisfaction be complete, it cannot be prematurely dissolved, for the messianic days of salvation shall be prolonged until his purposes be fully accomplished. Some Christians, indeed, consulting their own selfish desires to be relieved at once from trouble may cry out: “Come on, Lord Jesus, come quickly – the time of the second advent is at hand – do not tarry – do not be slack concerning thy promise to come quickly.”
But the Lord, unwilling that any of his elect should perish
and unsatisfied until they shall repent and live) prolongs his
days. We may not propound to a weary and cowardly church
the question, “Are you satisfied?” The church might consult
its selfish greed and fear and stop the good work of salvation
too soon. We may not carry the question to death and hell,
“Are you satisfied?” But only one may answer that question,
our Lord himself. Men must be saved and saved and saved
until he is satisfied – men of all grades of personal guilt, men
of all nations and tribes and tongues. Poor, outcast, wander_
ing Israel must be saved. We may be assured he will not be
satisfied until the redeemed constitute a host that no man can
number, a host whose hallelujah will be louder than mighty
thunderings, louder than the voice of many waters. If the
“great” and the “strong” of this context refer to Satan, we
may be sure Christ will not be content with the present division
of these spoils. Though Satan’s goods be now at peace the
stronger than he will bind him and despoil him. But if “strong”
and “great” refer to Christ’s mighty champions of evangelism,
it is equally sure he will make their portion far greater than
their present possession. Thus the context illumines the text
and makes it reasonable.
The last clause of verse 12 gives us the intercessory work
of Christ as priest. It began when he said on the cross, “Fa_
ther, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” But it
has continued ever since and will continue until lie leaves the
mediatorial throne and returns to this world to wind up the
affairs of time and turn over the kingdom to the Father.
The special theme of chapter 54 is the vast growth and blessedness of Zion, as the result of the Servant’s work. From Isaiah 54:1_3, at Nottingham, England, May 30, 1792, William Carey sounded forth that bugle note of modern missions, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God,” which waked a sleeping world and whose echoes yet linger on every shore of time.

The mighty mandates of this passage stagger all reason, all
probability, all philosophy, indeed everything but superhuman
faith. And even superhuman faith must have some solid
foundation on which to rest, otherwise it becomes blind credu_
lity As the great commission, to disciple all nations and preach
the gospel to every creature, rested upon the preceding assur_
ance, “All power in heaven and in earth is given unto me,” and
the succeeding assurance, “Lo, I am with you all the days even
unto the end of the world,” so these mighty mandates must
have a substantial predicate. That predicate lies in the con_
The verses immediately preceding the text declare: “When
thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin he shall see his
seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord
shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul
and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous
servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. There_
fore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall
divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul
unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and
he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the trans_
gressors.” This passage rests on that context.
There is no break in the thread of continuity between Isaiah
53 and 54. Chapter 54 is unthinkable without chapter 53.
Yes, let it be affirmed with uplifted hand and eyes and heart:
This passage enjoins impossibilities apart from the awful trag_
edy set forth in the preceding context. But on that predicate
of vicarious atonement all it enjoins is both easy and delightful.
There are seven of these mandates, as follows:
1. The barren are commanded to rejoice in heart over un_
born children promised of God contrary to nature. In its spir_
itual application this does not refer to the active, working,
fruit_bearing churches. The reason of their joy is evident and
every way rational. They have not been barren hitherto. The
call is to the barren churches, whose members so far have been
as fig trees producing nothing but leaves. It implies a mar_
velous gift of faith to them, for the heart cannot break forth
in praise over a blessing promised, unless it believe the prom_
ise. Yea, for such praise the faith must be the very substance
of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. At such
a promise the barren Sarai once laughed in derision until
through faith she became Sarah and laughed now with joy and
even named her child “Laughter.”
2. They are commanded not merely to rejoice in heart, but
to provide instant, and abundant house room for the coming
of these multitudinous children of promise: “Enlarge the place
of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habi_
tations.” This injunction reminds us of the vision of Zech_
ariah: A young man went forth with a measuring line to lay
off the site of the messianic Jerusalem. But an angel from God
appears with the injunction: “Run, speak to that young man.”
Tell him, “Jerusalem shall be immeasurable. It shall expand
until it takes in all the neighboring towns and villages. Let
him roll up his insignificant tape line. That cannot measure
this enlarged city of promise. No walls can enclose it. It shall
be as big as the country itself.”
3. In making provision for this enlargement there must be
no regard for the cost. No miserly calculations. No selfish
economy shall restrict the outlay: “Spare not; lengthen thy
cords and strengthen thy stakes.”
4. Enlargement shall be in every direction: “For thou shalt
break forth upon thy right hand and thy left.” The heresy
that giving to one object, or working in one direction precludes
other gifts and objects must die out of the heart.
5. This enlargement in all directions must be without fore_
boding as to the outcome. The heart must not dread the hu_
miliation of possible failure, for says the passage: “Fear not;
for thou shalt not be ashamed.”
6. There must be no premature dread of the possible char_
acter and destiny of the numerous progeny after they have
come: “For all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and
great shall be the peace of thy children.”
7. This great enlargement must be undertaken in absolute
fearlessness of any fighting opposition or talking opposition.
For, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and
every tongue that riseth against thee thou shalt condemn.”
The imagery here employed is very suggestive and im_
pressive to those of us familiar with tent life. We know that
a little squad needs but a little tent, and it needs only a small
place with small curtains, short cords and weak tent pins. But
when we lay off a wide space, that means a big tent and broad
curtains and long ropes and strong, deeply driven stakes to
anchor it securely against storms. Then, with a little tent we
need only a short central tent pole, but with a big tent we need
a tent pole like the mast of a ship. This pole is the center of
unity. When we suddenly and greatly increase our tent our
tent pole must either grow to fit the new conditions or we must
get out a new one.
We are commanded to sing – not to croak – sing for blessings past, sing more for blessings promised, sing if we suffer, as Paul and Silas at midnight in the jail at Philippi. Rejoice that God has counted us worthy to suffer for his name and cause. Let faith that never staggers at the magnitude of commands and promises fire our heart to expect great things from God and to attempt great things for God. Let us learn to make large prayers, prayers for mighty favors. Let us open our mouths wide and God will fill them. It ministers to the self_respect of a people to cut out a big piece of work for them to do. Let us heed these words adapted from Whittier:
What Hell may be, we know not; this we know:
We cannot lose the presence of the Lord:
One arm, Humility, takes hold upon
His dear Humanity; the other, Love,
Clasps his Divinity. So where we go
He goes; and better fire_walled Hell with Him
Than golden_gated Paradise without.
1. What the special theme of this section and how does it rank in
importance with other scripture?
2. What the different interpretations of Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12?
3. What the argument for the messianic theory and against the later
Jewish theories?
4. What the proof from the New Testament that this is the true
5. Give an analysis of Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12.
6. What the general view of the whole subject as presented in 52:13_
7. What the import of the prophet’s double question in Isaiah 53:1?
8. Explain his unpromising appearance.
9. What the proof from this passage that Christ was made a substi_
tute for sinners?
10. While thus suffering for a lost world how was this suffering regard_
ed by those who witnessed it?
11. How, according to this prophecy, did he deport himself under such
12. What the meaning of verse 8?
13. How is his innocence and purity set forth in verse 9?
14. How may it be truly said that God bruised Christ and put him to
grief, and what the significance of this great tragedy?
15. What the outcome of it all (10:12) and what its bearing on the
evangelization of the world?
16. When was the last clause of verse 12, “and made intercession for
the transgressors,” fulfilled?
17. What the special theme of chapter 54?
18. What great sermon was preached from Isaiah 54:1_3, and what of
its lasting effect?
19. What can you say of this passage, and what its relation to the pre_
ceding chapter?
20. What are the mandates enjoined in chapter 54 and what their ap_
21. What can you say of the imagery here employed?
22. What the chief note of exhortation in this chapter?

Isaiah 58_57

The special theme of this section is the kingly office of the
Servant. This appears expressly in 55:3_5. Though the title
“Servant of Jehovah” never occurs in the singular after 53:11
again and again his presence is manifest to the reader, so,
throughout these three chapters the glorious king of Israel
lives and acts.
The first kingly work of the Servant is providing for the
needs of his people (55). The two thoughts of this chapter
are the gracious invitation to the royal feast of the Servant
(55:1_5) and a call to repentance and remission of sins, and
the happy consequences.
The invitation is to “every one that thirsteth.” This is very
much like our Lord’s gracious invitation: “If any man thirst,
let him come unto me and drink;” “Thirst” is used here and
elsewhere in the ‘Scriptures to symbolize the longing of the
human heart for its counterpart which is God. “Water” sym_
bolizes salvation, the satisfying portion that comes to the
thirsty soul when brought to realize its famishing condition.
This corresponds to Zechariah’s “fountain opened to the house
of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for
uncleanness,” and to our Lord’s “water of life” which he offered
to the Samaritan woman at the well of Sychar, and to every
thirsty soul, thus: “I will give unto him that is athirst of the
fountain of the water of life freely.” Upon this thought are
built the many hymns which use this symbolism, such as,
“There is a Fountain Filled with Blood” and “The Fountain
that Never Runs Dry.”
Wine” here symbolizes spiritual joy, or gladness, while
“milk” symbolizes the nourishment of the soul. So the invi_
tation here is to salvation, gladness, and nourishment, or the
complete satisfaction of the spiritual needs of man. The terms,
or conditions, of this invitation are simple: “Come, buy, eat,”
but “Without money and without price,” i.e., you may call it
“buying” if you wish, but it does not cost anything. It is, as
the preacher said once, “free gratis, for nothing.” It is an offer
of “salvation by grace,” purely the gift of God.
But what the import and application of Isaiah’s double ques_
tion, “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not
bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not?” These
questions contrast the value of spiritual and worldly things.
“Not bread” means that which has no real value; that which
does not sustain, or that which does no good. “Bread” here
includes every necessity of life, as food, clothing, and shelter.
But these necessaries are only incidental and should be made
tributary to the higher things of life, things that contribute
to the culture of the mind and heart. The affections of the
great mass of Israelites were set on worldly things, on enrich_
ing themselves by “adding field to field and house to house”
(5:8), and they cared nothing for spiritual blessings, much less
to “hunger and thirst” after them.
Then he says that these things do not satisfy. Worldly
things cannot satisfy the heart, not even the heart of the world_
ly. These thoughts are emphasized in the exhortation which
follows: “Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which
is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” The high_
est aim in life should be soul growth, and the food that makes
for “soul fatness” is found with Jehovah, and not in worldly
things. Worldly things tend to soul poverty rather than soul
prosperity. In this connection John’s language to Gaius should
be kept in mind: “Beloved, I pray that in all things thou may_
est prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” So
it is that “a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the
things which he possesseth.” But it will be noted that all this
is concerning right expenditure and not right acquiring of
wealth. There is much discussion about the methods of getting
wealth, but little on the right expenditure of wealth. There is
some conscience on how to make money, but not very much on
how to spend it. Often the distribution of wealth is more hurt_
ful than the accumulation of it. No man has the right to waste
his money or to spend it for “that which is not bread,” nor has
he the right to labor and spend his life on the pleasures of the
world, which do not satisfy.
The “everlasting covenant” here (v. 3) refers to the cove_
nant of grace, as amplified in the New Testament, and the
“sure mercies of David” refers to Christ, the surety of that
covenant, as Paul shows in Acts 13:34: “And as concerning
that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return
to corruption, he hath spoken on this wise, I will give you the
holy and sure mercies of David,” i.e., the blessings promised to
So verse 4, by New Testament interpretation (Acts 13:34),
refers to the risen and exalted Christ, who was and is a witness,
a leader, and a commander of the peoples. This involves his
kingly office.
In verse 5 the Messiah is addressed, and there is a promise
made to him similar to the promise in Psalm 2:8: “Ask of me,
and I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance, and the
uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Here is it said
to him, “Thou shalt call a nation that thou knewest not; and
a nation that knew not thee shall run unto thee,” the chief at_
traction being the glory of the risen and exalted Lord. “Na_
tion” here is used distributively and means all the Gentile
world, as included in Psalm 2:8.
In verses 6_7 we have a specific direction for seeking salva_
tion. First, it must be sought in the right person – “Jehovah,”
or Jesus Christ who is Jehovah manifested. Second, it must be
sought at the right time – “while be may be found.” Third, it
must be sought by prayer – “call ye upon him.” Fourth, it
must be sought when he is near, or at the moment when his
Spirit is moving upon the heart. “Today if ye shall hear his
voice, harden not your hearts,” for that is the day of salvation
to that person. Fourth, it must be sought in the right way –
by repentance and faith: “Let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts.” Repentance is a change
of outward life and inward thought. It means a change of
mind toward God with respect to sin, but the inward change
of mind works the outward change of life, i.e., the outward
change is the “fruits meet for repentance.” “And let him re_
turn unto Jehovah, and he will have mercy upon him; and to
our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Faith is throwing
oneself upon Jehovah (Christ) for his mercy and his pardon.
The publican prayed, “God, be propitiated toward me, the sin_
ner,” i.e., let thy mercy abound toward me because of the sac_
rifice of expiation.
In verses 8_9 we have the wisdom of Jehovah magnified in
this plan over against what the foolishness of man would have
devised. His thoughts and ways are as high as the heavens
above man’s thoughts and ways.
The instrument used in this great plan of salvation is the
word of God (10_11). As the rain from heaven refreshes the
earth and makes it produce the seed, so shall the word of God,
sent out from Jehovah, accomplish its work in the salvation of
the people.
The manifestations of the new life imparted in conversion,
or regeneration, are joy and peace, the results of the imparta_
tion of new life by the Spirit. All nature reflects the joy also.
Many a time has a soul fresh from the hand of God, imagined
that the mountains were singing, and that the trees were clap_
ping their hands. What a view of one’s environments this new
life gives to its recipient! The world about him seems to be
clad in the garments of gladness and all nature responds to his
song of joy.
The language of verse 13 is highly figurative, picturing the
blessed state of the reign of righteousness in the earth. All this
chapter has a primary reference to Israel and her deliverance
from the captivity through their seeking Jehovah and their
repentance, but as the deliverance of Israel from Egypt was
a type of the individual deliverance from sin, so is the deliv_
erance from Babylon, a type of individual deliverance from
sin, which is the basis of the New Testament evangelism. God
no longer delivers nations from sin as a whole but deals directly
with the individual. So we go on with the work of evangeliza_
tion of the individual until the nations, which are composed of
individuals are converted and then will we see this ideal here
realized. The “thorn” and the “brier” symbolize the curse of
wickedness, and the “fir tree” and the “myrtle tree,” the bless_
ings of righteousness. The promise here is that the “thorn”
and the “brier” shall give way to the “fir tree” and the “myrtle
tree,” which cannot be fully realized until that blessed ideal
of the millennium shall come in to bless the world.
The second work of the Servant king is fresh legislation, or
fulfilling the law and declaring the relations of all the heirs of
the kingdom. The new law for the various subjects of the
kingdom (56:1_5) is as follows: To keep justice and to do
righteousness. This has a fulfilment in Christ’s exposition of
the law, found in the Sermon on the Mount. The equality in
the privileges of the covenant here described finds fulfilment
only in the privileges of the new covenant, of which Paul says,
“There is neither bond nor free, Jew nor Gentile, male nor fe_
male.” Then the proselytes and eunuchs need not fear, for they
shall have honorable mention in the new covenant.
In this new order of things provision is made for the foreign_
ers. They shall have all the privileges of the sanctuary – the
privilege of sacrifice and prayer. They shall be brought to the
holy mountain of Jehovah to share the joys of his house. Not
only will he gather the outcasts of Israel, but he will gather
others besides. Thus said Jesus, “Other sheep I have, which
are not of this flock; them also I must bring, and they shall
hear my voice; and they shall become one flock, one
shepherd.” The house of Jehovah was to be “a house
of prayer for all peoples.” This looks forward to the time when
the temple should be emphatically a place of prayer, the legal
sacrifices having received their fulfilment and being thence_
forth superflous and out of place. But the Jews did not recog_
nize the fulfilment when it came, and thus they held on to the
sacrificial ritual until Jehovah destroyed their “house and
city.” So the larger fulfilment of this passage is found in the
spiritual house, the church, which succeeded the tabernacle
and temple. In this house all people have the same privileges.
The holy of holies is open to all who come in the name of him
who entered within the veil, there to intercede for those who
come to God by faith in him.
The third work of the Servant king is judgment in the in_
terest of righteousness and mercy (56:9_12). This is the pic_
ture of the judgment upon the guilty heads of the community.
The beasts of the field are summoned to come and devour these
ungodly, selfish shepherds, because they are blind, without
knowledge, dumb, greedy, without understanding, and drunk_
en. Their philosophy of life was, “Let us eat, drink, and be
merry; for to_morrow we die.” This picture of the hireling
shepherds corresponds exactly with Christ’s description of
them in John 10. The judgment on them here corresponds to
his judgment upon the religious leaders of his time, which found its consummation in the destruction of Jerusalem.
Here we see the Lord’s favor to the righteous in view of the
judgment upon the evil. He takes them away before the judg_
ment comes. This has always been God’s method. When he
was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah he took Lot and
his family out; before the final destruction of Jerusalem they
were warned by our Lord to flee, and before his final judgment
upon the world he will take all his people out of it. So the
prophet explains here that Jehovah took his righteous pre_
maturely because of the coming judgment upon the evil. The
removing of some of the faithful in Israel before the judgment
came upon them was to them a blessing, since they were in
quiet rest and peace. This must have in it the foreshadowing
of the final destruction of Jerusalem when the wrath of God
fell so heavily upon the Jewish leaders.
The charge against the people in 57:3_10 is the charge of
idolatry and its accompanying sins. To itemize them, they
were sorcery, adultery, harlotry, mockery, transgression, false_
hood, worshiping in the high places, Molech worship, stone
worship, enlarging the bed for others, making covenant with
them and forgetting Jehovah.
The penalty pronounced upon them in 57:11_13 is that their
righteousness and works should not profit them, and their
refuge of lies should be swept away. Most modern interpreters
think that the Jews are addressed here and that the time is the
latter part of Hezekiah’s reign. If this be true, then evidently
the prophet comes back in his vision to the time in which he
lived. This is not at all impossible, but it is probable, as some
of the older commentators think, that, with the condition of
Israel in the time of the prophet as a background, this is a
forecast of the church with its corrupt priesthood and idolatry
in the Dark Ages. The hopeful note in this paragraph is the
inner circle of the faithful who take refuge in Jehovah and who
shall possess the land and inherit his holy mountain. It is con_
soling to find that this remnant is never lost but runs all the
way from Abel down to the present. It matters not how dark
the hour in the history of the world the “salt of the earth” is
in evidence.
This section closes (57:14_21) with a promise to the humble
and a curse upon the wicked. This is a fine prescription for a
revival. There is, first, an order to prepare the way, so that
the people can go to the “holy mountain” of Jehovah. Second,
there is a magnifying of the eternity and holiness of Jehovah
and his transcendence above the universe. Third, there is the
condescension of God, who is the source of all true revivals,
to dwell in the hearts of men. Fourth, there are the conditions
set forth, viz: humility and contrition. Fifth, there is also the
purpose of Jehovah’s condescension, viz: “to revive the spirit
of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Then
the prophet gives Jehovah’s promise to heal backsliding Israel
and to comfort the mourners, announcing peace to his people,
but eternal unrest and sorrow to the wicked.

1. What the special theme of this section?
2. What the first kingly work of the Servant?
3. What the two thoughts of this chapter?
4. Who are invited to their feast, what the symbolism here and upon.
what terms are they invited?
5. What the import and application of Isaiah’s double question,
“Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not?”
6. What the meaning_of the “everlasting covenant,” and the “sure
mercies of David” in verse 3?
7. Who is spoken of in verse 4, and what office is there given him?
8. In verse 5 who is addressed and what the meaning of the verse?
9. Expound verses 6_7.
10. By whose wisdom was such a plan of salvation wrought out?
11. What the instrument used in this great plan of salvation?
12. What the manifestations of the new life imparted in conversion, or
13. What the interpretation of verse 13, and when will the prophecy
here be realized?
14. What the second work of the Servant king?
15. What the new law for the various subjects of the kingdom (56:1_5)?
16. In this new order of things what provision is made for the foreigners ?
17. What the third work of the Servant king?
18. What the picture of 56:9_12?
19. What the Lord’s favor to the righteous in view of the judgment
upon the evil?
20. What the charge against the people in 57:3_10?
21. What the penalty pronounced upon them in 57:11_13?
22. Who are the people here addressed?
23. What hopeful note in this paragraph?
24. How does this section close (57:14_21)?

Isaiah 58_60

This division (Isa. 58_66) is eschatological and consists of
promises and warnings for the future. The special theme of
chapters 58_60 is Israel’s sin, Jehovah’s salvation, and Zion’s
glory. Israel’s sin, as stated in chapter 58, was a heartless
The prophet’s special commission in 58:1 was to cry aloud,
to sound forth like a trumpet against the transgressions and
sin of Jacob.
The people complained (vv. 2_7) that Jehovah had not re_
garded their religious services; that he had not dealt with them
in righteous judgments. To this Jehovah replied that their
fasting was nothing more than a form; that while they fasted
they, at the same time, did their own pleasure and oppressed
all their laborers; that while they fasted they also fought and
did not fast so as to be heard when they prayed; that fasting
was not merely bowing the head like a bulrush and sitting in
sackcloth and ashes; that such fasting was not regarded by Je_
hovah at all, but rather the fasting that put away wickedness,
set the captives free, fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and
aided their own countrymen generally.
The promises to Jacob in this connection and the conditions
upon which they were made are as follows:
1. On the condition that they fast in reality, as Just de_
scribed, he promised that light should break forth upon them;
that they should be healed speedily; that righteousness should
be in front of them and the glory of Jehovah should be their
reward; and then their cries to Jehovah should be answered
by him.
2. On the condition that they take away oppression, scorn_
ing, wicked speaking, feed and sympathize with the hungry
and afflicted, he promised that their light should become as
bright as the noonday; that Jehovah would guide them; that
they should be like a watered garden; and that the land should
be restored to its former blessings.
3. On the condition that they keep his holy sabbath, doing
the Lord’s pleasure therein, he promised that they should have
delight in Jehovah and he would exalt them in the high places
of the earth and would supply their every need.
This chapter has for its historical background the great
atonement day, the only time when Israel was required to fast
as herein pictured. The voice of the prophet here corresponds
to the trumpet which announced the atonement day. His an_
nouncing their transgressions, sins, and iniquities, all of which
cluster about this day corresponds to the reminding of their
sins on the atonement day, on which also was announced the
Jubilee, when there was the breaking of all yokes, and ita pro_
visions for those who had come to be broken down and op_
pressed. But they had only kept the outward form of this
ritual and had not observed it in heart. So the prophet issues a
call to repentance, very much like that of John the Baptist
before he announced the Lamb of God that took away the sin
of the world. The great atonement was just ahead and it was
necessary that they be afflicted in their souls on account of
their sins.
This thought is carried on in the next chapter (w. 1_8).
Here the sins are pointed out more particularly. The prophet
begins by announcing that the difficulty is not with Jehovah
but with the people. Their sins had separated between them
and God. The sins here recited cover the whole catalogue.
Their hands, their fingers, their lips, their tongues, their feet,
and their minds were all involved. Their state was most despic_
able and called for the severest Judgments. They were all gone
out of the way.
There follows (9_15a) a most wonderful confession of sin. In
this confession they state their awful condition and lament
their sins and hopelessness. This is very much like the condi_
tion of Israel when John the Baptist lifted his voice in the wil_
derness of Judea at which they repented confessing their sins.
But relief comes in this state of hopelessness and despair.
Jehovah intervened in the power of his grace and wrought out
their salvation (15&_21). When Jehovah looked on he saw
that there was no justice; that there was not a righteous man;
that there was no one, like Moses or Aaron, to intercede. Just
such a condition existed when our Lord came. There was none
good, no, not one. So he was moved with compassion and
stretched forth his arm and brought deliverance to his people.
When he came to contend like a mighty warrior for his peo_
ple he put on righteousness as a breastplate, salvation for a hel-met upon his head, garments of vengeance for clothing, and zeal as a mantle. Thus panoplied he waged a spiritual conflict with his adversaries and he recompensed to his enemies their dues.
The marginal reading of verse 19 is to be preferred for this
verse: “So shall they fear the name of Jehovah from the west,
and his glory from the rising of the sun; for when the adversary
shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of Jehovah will lift up a
standard against him.” The first part of this verse teaches us
that the true religion will be spread over the whole earth. The
latter part seems to have its analogue in the past deliverance
of Israel, as in the case with Sennacherib, but it connects di_
rectly here with the Messiah who is the standard which Jeho_
vah has set up against the adversary, and for the whole world.
He is the ensign for all peoples.
The Redeemer in verses 20_21 is unmistakably the Messiah.
This passage is highly messianic and reveals the salvation of
Christ. The covenant here is the new covenant, or the covenant
of grace, so much amplified in the New Testament. The Spirit
here is the Holy Spirit who inspired the prophet and inspired
the New Testament writers giving them words that would
never depart from the mouths of God’s people. This is a prom_
ise of inspiration for all the word of God and that there will
always be a seed who will contend for that inspiration. As
surely as the church of Jesus Christ, which is the habitat of
the ‘Spirit, shall be perpetuated, just that surely there will al_
ways be a contention in that church for the word which was
inspired by that same Spirit. A good sign of apostasy upon the
part of a church is for it to deny the inspiration of the word of
God. This is exactly in line with the New Testament teaching
on the Holy Spirit. The new covenant herein spoken of in_
volves the giving of God’s Holy Spirit to his people (Joel 2:28
and Acts 2), and this Spirit was promised by Christ as the
Paraclete of the church forever. He shall not depart from God’s
people while time endures, and his office work in the hearts of
men and women will continue until the Lord, for whom he
must bear witness, shall come back to this earth without a sin
offering unto salvation.
The theme of chapter 60 is the transcendent glory of Zion
and it is in the nature of a song of triumph, a poem which is
the counterpart, perhaps, of chapter 47, describing the fall and
ruin of Babylon. The theme of this song appears in verse 14:
“The city of Jehovah, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.”
The connection between this chapter and the preceding chapter is very close. They are closely bound together, the relation between them being, for the most part, that of contrast. There are five of these points of contrast as follows:
1. In chapter 59 the people were waiting in “dark places for
the light”; now the “light” has come.
2. In chapter 59 “righteousness and peace” stood at a dis_
tance; now they govern the Holy City.
3. In chapter 59 “salvation” was far off; now the walls of the
city are called salvation.
4. In chapter 59 reverence for the “name of Jehovah” and
“his glory” was promised; now it is realized.
5. In chapter 59 a “redeemer” was foreseen; now his work is
The imagery of this poem seems to be borrowed from the
account of the visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon, found in
I Kings 10:1_10. This song consists of five stanzas, of nearly
equal length, as follows:
1. 1_4, Zion’s light and inhabitants
2. 5_9, Zion’s wealth
3. 10_14, Zion’s reconstruction
4. 15_18, Zion’s prosperity
5. 19_22, Zion’s crowning glories
The light of Zion is the reflected light of the glory of Jeho_
vah, just as the light of the disciples of Jesus was his reflected
light. He is the “Sun of Righteousness” and “the Light of the
World”; primarily, while his disciples are “suns of righteous_
ness” and “the light of the world,” secondarily. Here Zion is
exhorted to arise and shine, just as Christ said to his disciples,
“Ye are the light of the world . . . let your light so shine, etc.”
The “promise” is that, notwithstanding gross darkness should
cover the earth and its peoples, Zion should have the light of
Jehovah, and it should be so attractive that the nations of the
earth and the kings of the world should come to her brightness.
The inhabitants of Zion shall come from far, i.e., from all
parts of the world, as Jesus said, “They shall come from the
east, and from the west; from the north, and from the south,
and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the king_
dom of God.” They shall be Jews and Gentiles, Greek and Ro_
man, Chinese and Japanese, Malayan and Australian, Indian
and African, European and American. Yea they shall be Ori_
ental, Occidental, Septentrional, and Austral, but all radiant
with one life, one light, and one love.
The very best of everything in the material world is here
mentioned as coming to Zion, illustrating both the temporal
and spiritual blessings of Zion, the temporal being used to
transport Zion’s sons and daughters, i.e., for missionary pur_
poses. This is literally fulfilled in every material thing that is
consecrated to the service of the king of this splendid city. The
ships, the lower animals) the gold and the silver – the best of
it all has been made to serve the purposes of Christianity from
the time of Paul to the present day.
The reconstructors of this city are here called foreigners
which may refer primarily to Cyrus and Artaxerxes Longi_
manus but the passage has a meaning far beyond the literal
one. “Strangers” of all kinds, Greeks, Romans, Africans,
Gauls, Spaniards, and others, are building the walls of Zion
today. The promises here remind us of those concerning the
New Jerusalem of Revelation. The gates are open continually,
and kings and conquerors bring their trophies into it. The na_
tion that will not serve this one shall perish. Many of them
have come and gone according to this promise. The final and
complete victory of this glorious institution over its enemies
is one of the most encouraging promises of this passage.
But what of her prosperity? Whereas Zion has been down
and trodden under foot, now she stands erect with an eternal
excellency, and becomes the joy of many generations. Her
nourishment comes through the means of the Gentiles. Right_
eousness and peace shall be its rulers, and no more violence
shall be heard in the land. The entire cessation of war and
violence is one of the most characteristic features of the “last
times,” when swords shall be beaten into ploughshares, and
spears into pruning hooks. The Prince of Peace shall ultimate_
ly establish peace. Many men of earnest religious feeling
have thought, at various times, that they saw the actual com_
mencement of the reign of peace upon the earth, so distinctly
promised, so earnestly longed for, and so necessary for the
happiness of mankind. But a calm dispassionate observer of
the twentieth century is shaken from every confidence of its
approach when he witnesses such disastrous wars as the recent
terrific struggles for the championship of the world. Yet just
such conflicts as these must precede the coming in of the reign
of peace and who can tell but that these are the last great
struggles which shall introduce this blessed reign of the Prince
of Peace? (See the author’s discussion of this in his Interpre_
tation of Revelation, pp. 225_267.)
This description (19_22) of the crowning glories of this city
of Jehovah parallels John’s description of the New Jerusalem
coming down out of heaven as a bride adorned for her husband.
Here the redeemed are basking in a light whose radiance eclip_
ses the light of the sun and moon, which streams down upon
them from God the Father of lights in whom there is no vari_
ableness, neither shadow of turning. This light shall be ever_
lasting and there shall be no mourning. All her people shall
be righteous and the saying shall come to pass that “the meek
shall inherit the earth.” The little flock shall become the
strong nation, the multitude that no man can number. All this
must come in its own time, the time fixed in God’s counsels for
the final and glorious triumph of his everlasting kingdom.

1. What the theme of Isaiah 58_66?
2. What the special theme of chapters 58_60?
3. What, in general, was Israel’s sin, as stated in chapter 58?
4, What the prophet’s special commission in 58:1?
5. What complaint do the people of Jacob make against Jehovah
and what his reply?
6. What the promises of Jacob in this connection and upon what
7. What the historical background of this chapter and what time in
the history of Israel does it foreshadow?
8. How is this thought carried on in the next chapter?
9. What the effect of this cry of the prophet against their sin?
10. What relief comes in this state of hopelessness and despair?
11. When Jehovah looked on what did he see and how did it affect him?
12. What were his weapons for this mighty conflict?
13. What the meaning of verse 19?
14. Who the Redeemer, what the covenant and what the mission of
the Holy Spirit as set forth in verses 20_21?
15. What is the special theme and what the nature of chapter 60?
16. Where in this chapter do we find the subject, or theme, of this
17. What the connection between this chapter and the preceding chapter?
18. What the imagery of this poem and where found?
19. Give an analysis of this song, showing its parts and their several
20. What is the light of Zion and what the promise concerning it (1_31?
21. Who are to be the inhabitants of Zion?
22. What shall be the wealth of this glorious city and what use shall
be made of it?
23. Who the reconstructors of this city and what the promises con_
nected with the reconstruction?
24. What of her prosperity? .
25. Describe the crowning glories of this city of Jehovah, the Zion
of the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 61 :l to 63:8

The threefold theme of this section (Isa. 61:1 to 63:6) is the
mission of the Servant of Jehovah, a new picture of Zion’s
glory, and the judgments of the Servant upon his enemies.
The speaker in 61:1_3 is the Messiah and the positive proof
of it is the testimony of our Lord himself:
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up:
and he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the
sabbath day, and stood up to read. And there was delivered unto
him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And he opened the book,
and found the place where it waa written.
The spirit of the Lord is upon me,
Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor:
He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovering of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty them that are bruised,
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant,
and sat down: and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fas_
tened on him. And he began to say unto them, Today hath this
scripture been fulfilled in your ears: – LUKE 4:16_21.
This short paragraph sets forth, in general, the preparation
of the Messiah for his special mission. There are several items
of information in this passage. We are told here that the Mes_
siah had a special anointing for his work. This took place at
his baptism when the Holy Spirit came upon him and abode
with him ever afterward without measure. There follows in
this passage the several offices that the Messiah filled. In the
Old Testament we have the special anointing of prophets,
priests, and kings for their respective offices. This anointing
was performed by the use of the holy anointing oil for which
we have the specific recipe in Exodus 30:22_23. All these of_
fices of the Old Testament prophet, priest, and king were com_
bined in the one person of the Messiah. He was prophet, priest,
and king, and in Jesus Christ we have all these functions per_
In this commission of our Lord here we have these functions
distinctly indicated. His prophetic office is signified in the
special commission to preach the good tidings unto the meek;
his priestly work is indicated in his commission to bind up the
brokenhearted; and his kingly office, in his commission to set
free the captives. Then he was to proclaim the Jubilee year
in which all captives were set free and all oppression of debt
was removed, and there was a time of general rejoicing. All
this has a distinct fulfilment in the gospel dispensation through
Christ and his heralds. The picture here is one of joy and
gladness, just such as comes to a people who have been freed
from the bonds of slavery, of which the greatest is the slavery
of sin. This is the mission of the Messiah and amply fulfilled
in our Lord Jesus Christ.
The results of such a ministry are pictured in 61:4_9. In the
preceding paragraph the recipients of the blessings of the Mes_
siah are called “trees of righteousness, the planting of Jeho_
vah.” In this passage the prophet takes as his starting point
the captivity, then pictures in glowing terms their return and
rebuilding of the waste places, and then sweeps out into the
future where he sees the Jews and the Gentiles in the kingdom
together and the Jews holding a prominent place in the great
plan of God for the salvation of the world. At that time in_
stead of their shame they shall have double honor and instead
of their dishonor they shall have rejoicing. One of the results
of his work is the establishing of justice and the meting out of
rewards in truth, and he makes an everlasting covenant with
Then in verse 9 we have a striking prophecy. Here we are
told that the seed of the’ Jews shall be known among the na_
tions and their offspring among the peoples; that they should
be acknowledged by all who see them, as “seed whom Jehovah
hath blessed.” This marvelous prophecy is being fulfilled in
every nation of the world where the Jew has migrated. No man
fails to recognize the shrewd Jew in the affairs of the govern_
ments and in the great commercial and financial interests of
the marts of the world. He has figured largely at all the great
courts of the earth ever since Joseph was prime minister at the
court of Pharaoh and Daniel, at the court of Nebuchadnezzar.
He is a success everywhere, so much so that the world points
the finger at him and says, “There is the one whom Jehovah
hath blessed.”
The speaker in 61:10_11 is Zion, responding to the gracious
promises of the preceding parts of this section. This was a
great time for rejoicing. The good tidings, their healing and
their liberty brought by the Messiah now finds a hearty re_
sponse in heartfelt joy and rejoicing.
The things here mentioned for which God’s people rejoice
and are joyful in him are as follows: The first thing mentioned
is the garment of salvation, or the robe of righteousness. This,
of course, is the imputed righteousness of Christ, and
Dressed in his righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before his throne,

God’s people may go on rejoicing as a bridegroom or as a bride
adorned for the marriage. There is here also the strong as_
surance of the final triumph of righteousness in all nations. The
whole world is to become an Eden, reclaimed forever out of
the hand of the unrighteous spoiler. In this year of Jubilee the
earth will be restored to its proper heirs, the righteous seed.
For all the preceding weary ages of wrong, compensation shall
be made. All God’s saints, who have long been shame_stricken,
shall then become “kings and priests unto God,” and thus their
joy shall be made full.
Some regard the speaker in chapter 62 as Jehovah; some,
the prophet himself or the prophetic order, while others regard
him as the Servant of Jehovah. The last supposition is by far
the most logical and the best. The close connection with the
preceding chapter is evident. In that chapter we have a so_
liloquy of the Servant and a response upon the part of Zion.
Here the Servant takes up the soliloquy and goes on through
this chapter.
The Servant in 62:1_5 declared that he would not hold his
peace any longer for the time had come for the publishing of
Zion’s righteousness and salvation; that this should be evident
to the nations; that she should have a new name and should
be a crown of beauty and a royal diadem in the hand of God;
that her new name should be expressive of her new relation,
i.e., “not forsaken,” but Hephzi_bah, “My delight is in her,”
and Beulah, which means “married”; that thenceforth Zion
should be a delight and that God would rejoice over her. All
this has its realization in the ministry of Christ and the Holy
There has been a great controversy over the name, “Hephzi_
bah.” Our Campbellite brethren claim that the new name here
given Zion is the name, Christian, which the disciples received
at Antioch (Acts 11:26). They insist that the church should
have that name and that to wear that name is essential to sal_
vation. Just what that new name is, it is not easy to decide.
Two names are given here “Hephzi_bah” and “Beulah.” Why
we should select the first rather than the second, is not evident.
These names are expressive of a new condition and of a new
relation, one meaning, “My delight is in her” and the other,
“married.” Then, it will be noted here that this new name
shall be the “name, which the mouth of Jehovah shall name.”
But the name “Christian” was given the disciples by the
heathen and in derision. Then the name Christian occurs but
three times in the New Testament and in each case it is ap_
plied to the individual disciple and nowhere is it applied to the
church. Another mystery about it all is that if the church of
Jesus Christ should be called “The Christian Church,” why
was it so long receiving this name? Not until 1827 was the
name suggested at all, and then several other names were tried
before they hit upon this name. According to this passage in
Isaiah, if we find this new name in the New Testament, we
must expect to find it given by Christ himself or by some one
of his inspired apostles. But we look in vain for such name in
their ministry and writings.
It seems better to consider these names in the light of the
historical background of Zion at this time and in the light of
the specific meaning of the words here used. The two names,
“Hephzi_bah” and “Beulah,” have their corresponding appli_
cation in the history of Israel, expressing a condition and a
relation at the time the prophet wrote. “Azubah,” forsaken,
was the name of Jehoshaphat’s mother (2 Chron. 20:31) and
Hephzi_bah, “my delight is in her,” was the name of Heze_
kiah’s wife (2 Kings 21:1). So here he says, “Thou shall no
more be termed forsaken [Azubah]; neither shall thy land
any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzi_
bah, and the land Beulah; for Jehovah delighteth in thee, and
thy land shall be married.” This explains that these names
are expressive of Zion’s new condition and relation, which she
was to maintain in the gospel dispensation under the new cove_
nant. We find some New Testament expressions that cor_
respond to these, indicating the relations under the new
covenant, such as “the honorable name,” by James and the
“new name” of Revelation 2:17; 3:12, which will be given to
individual saints in the heavenly kingdom.
Further interest in Zion is expressed by the Servant in 62:6_
9. The interest here is in the setting of the watchmen on the
walls of Jerusalem, who are to watch Jerusalem with an ever_
lasting vigilance. Some think that the watchmen here are the
prophets and priests; others, that they are angels who keep
perpetual watch and ward over Zion. That these watchmen
here are angelic beings appears from their personal vigilance
and that they are reminders to Jehovah of his oath and cove_
nant to bless Zion. This corresponds to the watchers in Daniel
4:13, 17, 23 which are admitted, generally, to be angels. In
the New Testament this idea of angel ministrations is em_
phatic. Our Lord refers to the angels that have charge of the
“little ones” and angels ministered unto him on different oc_
casions. Paul tells us that the angels are present and watching
over the assemblies in the churches, and in Hebrews 1:14 he
defines their work in particular, thus: “Are they not all min_
istering spirits sent forth to do service for the sake of them
that shall inherit salvation?”
Their special mission has already been intimated in the
preceding paragraph. But as this passage here sets forth, they
are to be Jehovah’s remembrancers, reminding him of his cove_
nant with them and his promises to them. They are not to let
Jehovah rest until “He establish and make Jerusalem a praise
in the earth.” This thought of importunity is also expressed
in Luke 11:5_13; 18:1_8. Here is also set forth the oath of
Jehovah respecting Zion, that the enemies of Zion shall no
more triumph over her but that Zion shall enjoy the full bless_
ing of her fruitage.
The proclamation of 62:10_12 is a proclamation for all to
go up to Jerusalem. A highway must be prepared, the stones
must be gathered out and an ensign for the peoples be lifted
up. The prophet here starts again with the Babylonian cap_
tivity, delineates the parts the several peoples perform in the
return and restoration of the Holy City and its institutions.
Then he announces the proclamation of Jehovah to the end
of the earth that the salvation of the daughter of Zion cometh.
Then stretching forward in his vision, he sees the Holy City
called “Sought out, a city not forsaken.” This was not fully
realized after the return and so we keep our faces toward the
future in anticipation of this glorious day when the Jews
everywhere shall receive with joy in their hearts this procla_
mation to go up to their own land and to the Holy City, never
again to be forsaken.
The prophet’s vision in Isaiah 63:1_6 is a vision of someone
coming from Edom, with crimsoned garments from Bozrah.
His apparel is glorious, and his step is characteristic of a con_
queror. But who is this conqueror from Edom? He here an_
nounces himself to be one speaking in righteousness and
mighty to save. This is fulfilled only in our Lord Jesus Christ.
We see him here in the capacity of an avenger, coming in judg_
There is no idea of expiation in this passage whatever. It
is the idea of vengeance upon the enemies of Zion that stands
out prominent here. He explains that he had trampled the
peoples in his wrath and that alone. There was no one with
him and his own arm brought salvation to him.
Edom here, aa in other places in Isaiah, refers to the worst
enemies of Zion. The day of vengeance is yet future. It is
the day when our Lord shall vindicate his people against all
their enemies, who shall feel the weight of his mighty hand.
The whole of this prophecy is future and the verbs here are
claimed by some to be in the future tense, but the dramatic
form of the narrative demands that the verbs be in the past.
So often the prophet sees the events, yet future, as already
accomplished. This emphasized the certainty of their fulfil_
ment, just as the tense of the verbs in Romans 8:29_30 which
present the work of our salvation as if it had already been
We find the parallel of this passage in Revelation 19:1_21.
There we have the man on the white horse going forth to battle
and winning his victor over the nations, stained also with
their blood. This great conflict is a precursor of the millen_

1. What the threefold theme of this section (Isa. 61:1 to 63:6)?
2. Who is the speaker in 61:1_3 and what the proof?
3. What the things set forth in 61:1_3 and what their fulfilment?
4. What the results of such a ministry aa pictured in 61:4_9?
5. Who is the speaker in 61:10_11?
6. What the things here mentioned for which God’s people rejoice
and are joyful in him?
7. Who the speaker in chapter 62?
8. What interest expressed for Zion by the Servant in. 62:1_5?
9. What the controversy over the name, “Hephzi_bah,” and what the
new name given to Zion?
10. What further interest in Zion is expressed by the Servant in 62:6_9?
II. What are these watchmen set by the Servant and what the cor_
responding New Testament teaching?
12. What is their special mission and what Jehovah’s oath here con_
cerning Zion?
13. What the proclamation of 62:10_12 and what will be its fulfilment?
14. What the prophet’s vision in Isaiah 63:1_6?
15. Who is this conqueror from Edom?
16. In what capacity do we here see him?
17. Is there any idea of expiation in this passage, and what his own
explanation of his crimsoned garments?
18. What does Edom here represent and when the “day of vengeance”
here spoken of?
19. What can you say of the tense of the verbs in 3_6?
20. Where do we find the parallel of this passage in Revelation?

Isaiah 63:7 to 66:34

The general theme of this last section of the book of Isaiah
is the divine principle of discrimination. More particularly,
the items of this theme are penitent Israel’s prayer, Jehovah’s
response, and the fixing of final destinies.
This section opens with the prophet’s recounting of the
mercies of Jehovah. In the distant past the Lord had pity on
Israel and bore his people in his arms. The elements of his
compassion are here mentioned as loving_kindness, great good_
ness, mercies, sympathy, love, and pity, the expression of
which is realized in his salvation, deliverance, redemption, and
support. All these terms are strong and significant of the re_
lation Jehovah sustained to his people in the past. This is
a most excellent way to stimulate in a people the spirit of
prayer. The people had rebelled at Sinai in the incident of
the golden calf, at Taberah they murmured, at Shittim in the
case of the daughters of Moab, in the time of the Judges, in
Samuel’s time, the ten tribes under Jeroboam, and Judah under
Manasseh, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. Thus Jacob
was a rebellious people.
The results of this rebellion and the effect on the people were tremendous. This rebellion on the part of God’s people (1)
grieved his Holy Spirit, (2) caused him to turn to be their
enemy, and (3) made him to fight against them. When the
Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the people and Jehovah be_
gan to fight against them, they were set to questioning thus:
Where is the God that brought us up out of Egypt? Where

is he that put his Holy Spirit in our midst? and so on (11_14).
This reminds us of the dear old hymn that runs thus:
Where is the blessedness I knew
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul_refreshing view
Of Jesus and his word?
The prophet here is going back to their glorious experience
with the Lord and in so doing he is kindling in them the spirit
of prayer and supplication which finds expression in the follow_
ing paragraphs.
The elements of prayer in 63:15_19 are striking. In this ex_
cellent and pious prayer in which they entreat God, for his
grace and mercy, to behold them with an eye of compassion,
they argue both from the goodness of his nature, and from the
greatness of the works which he had formerly done for them.
God sees everywhere and everything, but he is said to look
down from heaven, because there is his throne, whereon he
reigns in majesty. This is a plea for Jehovah’s condescension,
followed by a complaint that God had relaxed in his zeal for
them and had restrained his compassion toward them. Then
they plead his fatherhood and his redemption from everlasting,
following it up with a complaint of his judgment of judicial
hardness of heart, and a lamentation for the desolation of their
own land and their forsaken condition in a strange land.
This prayer is continued (64:1_7) in an expression of an
earnest wish that God would show himself as visibly in
favor of his ancient people as he did when he came down upon
Mount Sinai, amidst thunder, and lightning, and tempests,
which shook heaven and earth, and testified his presence. They
plead what God had formerly done, and was always ready to
do for his people. Then they confessed themselves to be sinful
and utterly unworthy of God’s favor, and that they had de_
served the judgments under which they were now suffering.
Note that there are three emphatic “alls” in his confession –
“All unclean,” “ all our righteousness” and “we all do fade as
a leaf.” They were all morally unclean; a moral leprosy was
upon them. They were like a leprous man who had to rend
his clothes and go about crying, “Unclean! unclean!” They
were like one under a ceremonial pollution and not admitted
to the courts of the tabernacle. All their righteousnesses were
as filthy rags, rags which would only defile. This is true when
considering the very best works and actions that can be per_
formed by the very best of mankind, for all our works have so
great an alloy of imperfection that they cannot justify us be_
fore a just and holy God. They were all like a fading and fall_
ing leaf, but
Leaves have had their time to fall,
And flowers to wither at the north wind’s breath,
And stars to set; but all –
Thou hast all seasons for thine own, 0 death.
The final plea of this prayer (64:8_12) is threefold: (1) They
again plead the fatherhood of God who had made them as a
potter makes the vessel out of the clay; (2) his holy cities,
Zion and Jerusalem, were a wilderness and a desolation; (3)
their holy and beautiful house was burned with fire and all
their pleasant places were a waste. They urged that these
things should move Jehovah in pity and compassion to inter_
fere in their behalf.
The special theme of chapters 65_66 is Jehovah’s response to
the prayers and confessions of penitent Israel. In the most
restricted sense, this is an answer of Jehovah to the preceding
confession and prayer. It is the close of the great prophecy of
the Servant who is to glorify Jehovah on earth and to finish
the work given him to do. It is also a winding up of Isaiah’s
The first response to these prayers is a sharp discrimination
between the faithful and unfaithful, a contrast in the hopes of
the faithful and the unfaithful, a contrast in the hopes of ac_
ceptably approaching Jehovah cherished by the two parties:
those who find him had not been called by his name; whereas
Israel in the mass are cast off through their own sinfulness
In verses 1_2 we have the ones who find Jehovah and the
ones who fail to find him. Here he is represented as hastening
to assist and welcome a people that was not called by his name.
This refers to the Gentiles, the proof of which is found in
Romans 10:20_21. These words of Isaiah certainly include the
Gentiles, as he had included them in 56:7, in which he said,
“My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
On the other hand he spread out his hands to a rebellious peo_
ple, which, as Paul construes it, refers to Israel who rejected
The details of their rebelliousness (3_5) are stated, in gen_
eral, as provoking Jehovah to his face, and are specified as
1. Sacrificing in gardens, i.e., the groves and gardens of
Palestine in which they worshiped Astarte. The profligacy of
these rites cannot be described.
2. Burning incense upon bricks, i.e., upon the tiled or bricked roofs of houses, which was directly contrary to the Mosaic Law.
3. Sitting among the graves, i.e., the rock tombs of Pales_
tine, for the purpose of raising the dead, or of obtaining proph_
ecies from them, or of getting prophetic intimations made to
them in dreams.
4. Lodging in the secret places, i.e., in the Crypts, for the
mysteries celebrated in the natural caves and artificial crypts.
5. Eating swine’s flesh, i.e., as a part of the sacrificial meals.
6. Eating broth of abominable things, i.e., from the flesh of
unclean or unlawful animals.
7. They said, “Stand by yourself; I am holier than thou.”
This was self_conceit and hypocrisy.
The votaries of these abominations are described as smoke
in the Lord’s nose, and a fire that burns continually. They
were objects of his wrath and should receive the measure of
their work into their own bosom.
The contrast in 65:8_12, or the second item of Jehovah’s
response, is a contrast in their character and in their notions
of God. In Israel there is a precious seed, or kernel, which
shall be preserved, whereas the doings of the idolaters shall
return upon their own heads.
But what is the meaning of “inheritor of my mountains,”
(v. 9) ? The whole of Palestine is little more than a cluster of
mountains, which may be divided into three groups: (1) the
mountains of Galilee, extending from Hermon to Tabor; (2)
the mountains of Samaria and Judea, extending from Carmel
and Gilboa to the plateau of Mamre above Hebron, separated
from the first group by the plain of Esdraelon; (3) the moun_
tains of the trans_Jordanic region, including those of Bashan,
Gilead, Moab, and Edom, separated from the two other groups
by the Jordan Valley. The inheritor of this whole region of
Palestine was to be the true Israel of God.
Then what the meaning of “Fortune” and “Destiny” in verse
11, and what the application here? These are heathen deities
for whom Israel prepared viands and poured out a drink offer_
ing, respectively. The prophet here makes a play upon the
word, “destiny,” saying, “I will destine you to the sword,”
and then assigns the reason, viz: that he called but they did
not answer.
The third item of Jehovah’s response (13_16) is a contrast
in results. The promised blessings are more than realized to
the one, whereas the other has a corresponding disappointment.
The first paragraph is introduced by the word “therefore,”
which connects back with the thought of their ‘rejecting the
call of Jehovah. The thought, as carried on in this paragraph,
is the supply of good things for his servants while those who
reject the call shall hunger and thirst. The servants shall re_
joice, while they are put to shame. The servants shall sing for
joy of heart, while they shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall
wail for vexation of spirit. They shall leave their name for a
curse unto God’s people. They will be slain by the Lord, while
the servants receive a new name. “So that he who blesseth
himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth;
and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of
truth.” All this is now being realized. The prophet starts with
the call from the captivity which many of them did not have
the heart to hear and suffered many privations among the
nations as the consequence, but the deeper meaning is their
spiritual privation which the Jews have suffered for these
many centuries since they rejected the salvation offered to
them. Their name is a curse to every Jew today, as the Jews
are hated and persecuted in all lands.
The phrase, “the God of truth,” in verse 16 should be trans_
lated, “the God of the Amen,” which is a unique epithet. The
explanation of it is found in the New Testament passages (2
Cor. 1:20; Rev. 3:14). This means the God of the covenant;
the God, to whom that quality of covenant keeping truth es_
sentially belongs, is he in whom all shall “bless themselves”
or “shall be blessed.” The seed of Abraham and the seed of
David are to be identified with this God of truth, a mystery
completely realized in him who is “the Amen, the faithful, and
true witness” of Revelation 3:14. In him “all the promises of
God are . . . Amen.” In his person God and man were joined
in an immutable covenant of peace. To the curse pronounced
upon everyone that violates God’s law, he said, “Amen,” upon
the cross. To the blessings guaranteed to all nations by God’s
promises to Abraham and David, he said, “Amen,” when he
rose from the dead to “live for evermore” (Rev. 1:18). When
the time shall come in which men shall call themselves by the
name of the Lord and know only one God as the source of
blessing in Christ Jesus, then the former state of human af_
fairs, with all its “troubles” will have passed away, and the
new era will be inaugurated, which is abundantly described in
the next paragraph.
The prophetic picture in 65:17_25 is an ideal picture of the
overflowing blessings in the messianic age extending into the
millennium. In some respects this picture corresponds to John’s
picture of the holy city in Revelation, but they cannot be iden_
tical, since death and sin are not banished from Isaiah’s new
Jerusalem. In this ideal state the heavens and the earth are
new; there will be rejoicing, but no weeping and crying. Death
shall be there but the longevity of the patriarchal times will be
restored. There shall be such prosperity as they never saw in
the land of Canaan. Then prayer and its answer are simul_
taneous, and heaven and earth are closer together than ever
before since sin entered the world. The enmity in the animal
creation caused by sin will be removed. The wolf and the lamb
shall feed as one, and the full curse of sin shall fall upon the
serpent whose food shall be dust. Nothing shall hurt nor destroy
in the Holy Mountain of the Lord. This picture makes one
think of paradise regained, but it does not reach the complete
ideal. John carried much of the symbolism here into his picture
of paradise regained, but he saw the Holy City in its state of
perfection, with no death, no sin, no tears, no sea, and with the
glory of all the nations brought into it.
The fourth item of Jehovah’s response to penitent Israel’s
prayer (66:1_4) is a contrast in the ideas and methods of ap_
proach to Jehovah. In the new order of things (vv. 1_2) Jeho_
vah will operate the affairs of his kingdom from his throne in
heaven and will not need the old temple for his resting place.
But his new temple will be a spiritual house and the man to
whom he will look will not be one after the Jewish ritual but
the poor and contrite in spirit. This looks very much like the
beatitudes of our Lord, which set forth the true characteristics
of the citizens of his kingdom.
But what is the import of verses 3_4? This relates to the
sacrifices in the new order of things. The man that offers an
ox will be in God’s sight as if he sacrificed a man, and he that
offers a lamb as if he sacrificed a dog. “He that offereth an
oblation, as he that offereth swine’s blood; he that burneth
frankincense, as he that blesseth an idol.” Then follows a
graphic description of the state of the Jews in their delusion.
The Jews are now holding on to the old ritual and the Catho_
lics would put the whole of Christendom back under the types
and shadows by their system of ritualism. What the prophet
here labors to show, the apostle Paul elaborates in his letters
to the Colossians, to the Ephesians, and to the Hebrews. The
Jews are under this delusion today and in judicial blindness
because they did not heed the call of God through the Messiah.
The fifth response of Jehovah to these prayers (5_6) is a
contrast between the love and favor shown by Jehovah to his
people, and the hatred toward them, cherished by the ungodly
The short passage announces that the true Israel will be
hated and persecuted by Israel after the flesh. These Jews in
their zeal for Jehovah’s cause will persecute the righteous, but
they shall be put to shame, for Jehovah is keeping watch over
his own and recompenses their enemies. All this was fulfilled
in the early history of Christianity and God’s judgment on the
In verses 7_9 we have distinctly, the conversion of the Jews
as a nation which ushers in the millennium. This is the nation
born in a day. It is this restoration that Ezekiel speaks of in
Ezekiel 37, and Zechariah in Zechariah 14:1_8, and Paul in
Romans 11:11_15, and the period here introduced corresponds
to the millennium of Revelation 20:1_6.
The sixth response of Jehovah to the penitent prayer of
Israel is a command to all who love Jerusalem to rejoice that
she is extended and enriched (10_14). There are two tender
expressions in this paragraph relative to Jerusalem, viz: (1)
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of
the nations like an overflowing stream.” (2) “As one whom his
mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.”

These two blessings here are the thoughts of peace and com_
fort: peace like a river, and comfort like a mother’s love. The
added thought of the glory of the nations flowing into it is
worthy of note. This is to be the center of all that is beautiful
and glorious and John carrying this idea over into his descrip_
tion of the New Jerusalem, says, “And the nations shall walk
amidst the light thereof: and the kings of the earth bring their
glory into it . . . and they shall bring the glory and the honor
of the nations into it.”
The seventh item of Jehovah’s response to their prayers is
the announcement of the final work of Jehovah, universal and
everlasting, glorifying his people, and judging his and their
The judgment of verses 15_17 is the final judgment at his
coming after the millennium, in which all the nations are gath_
ered and his fiery judgment is executed upon the abominable
of the earth, and the thought is carried on in verses 18_21.
There is the happy issue of the judgment on the righteous, as
in Matthew 25:31_40.
The final picture of the book (22_24) shows us the final
habitat of the righteous, who will occupy the “New Earth”
forever, and the eternal destruction of the wicked, whose
“worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and
they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”

1. What the general theme of this last section of the book of Isaiah?
2. What more particularly the items of this theme?
3. How does this section open and what the contents of 63:7_9?
4. What had the people done and when?
5. What the results of this rebellion and what the effect on the people?
6. What the elements of prayer in 63:15_197
7. How is this prayer continued in 64:1_7?
8. What the final plea of this prayer (64:8_12)7
9. What the special theme of chapters 6&_66?
10. What the first item of this response?
11. Who are the ones who find Jehovah and the ones who fail to find
him (1_2)?
12. What the details of their rebelliousness (3_5) ?
13. How are these abominations characterized by Jehovah?
14. What the contrast in 65:8_12, or the second item of Jehovah’s
15. What is the meaning of “inheritor of my mountains” (v. 9)?
16. What the meaning of “fortune” and “destiny” in verse II, and
what the application here?
17. What the third item of Jehovah’s response, how does the first
paragraph (13_16) carry on this thought and when the prophecies therein fulfilled?
18. What is the meaning and application of “the God of truth” in
verse 16?
19. What the prophetic picture in 65:17_25 and what the fulfilment?
20. What the fourth item of this response to penitent Israel’s prayer
21. What the import of verses 1_2?
22. What the import of verses 3_4?
23. What the fifth response of Jehovah to these prayers (5_5) 1
24. What the import of verses 5_6?
25. What the import of verses 7_9?
26. What the sixth response of Jehovah to the penitent prayer of
27. What two tender expressions in this paragraph relative to Jerusalem?
28. What the seventh item of Jehovah’s response to their prayers?
29. What the judgment of verses 15_17?
30. How is the thought carried on in verses 8_21 ?
31. What the final picture of the book (22-24)?


The relation between the New Testament Christ and proph_
ecy is that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. To
him give all the prophets witness. All the scriptures, the law,
the prophets, and the psalms, testify of him. And we are fools,
and slow of heart to credit adequate testimony when we dis_
trust any part of the inspired evidence.
Of the ancient prophets Isaiah was perhaps the most notable
witness of the coming Messiah. An orderly combination of his
many messianic utterances amounts to more than a mere
sketch, indeed, rather to a series of almost life_sized portraits.
As a striking background for these successive portraits the
prophet discloses the world’s need of a Saviour, and across this
horrible background of gloom the prophet sketches in startling
strokes of light the image of a coming Redeemer.
In 2:2_4 we have the first picture of him in Isaiah, that of
the effect of his work, rather than of the Messiah himself. This
is the establishment of the mountain of the Lord’s house on the
top of the mountains, the coming of the nations to it and the
resultant millennial glory.
In 4:2_6 is another gleam from the messianic age in which
the person of the Messiah comes more into view in the figure of
a branch of Jehovah, beautiful and glorious. In sketching the
effects of his work here the prophet adds a few strokes of mil_
lennial glory as a consummation of his ministry.
In 7:14 he delineates him as a little child born of a virgin,
whose coming is the light of the world. He is outlined on the
canvas in lowest humanity and highest divinity, “God with us.”
In this incarnation he is the seed of the woman and not of the
The prophet sees him as a child upon whom the government
shall rest and whose name is “Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty
God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). This
passage shows the divinity of Christ and the universal peace
he is to bring to the world. In these names we have the divine
wisdom, the divine power, the divine fatherhood, and the divine
In 11:1_9 the prophet sees the Messiah as a shoot out of the
stock of Jesse, i.e., of lowly origin, but possessing the Holy
Spirit without measure who equips him for his work, and his ad_
ministration wrought with skill and justice, the result of which
is the introduction of universal and perfect peace. Here the
child is presented as a teacher. And such a teacher! On him
rests the seven spirits of God. The spirit of wisdom and under_
standing, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowl_
edge, and the fear of the Lord. He judges not according to
appearances and reproves not according to rumors. With right_
eousness he judges the poor and reproves with equality in
behalf of the meek. His words smite a guilty world like thun_
derbolts and his very breath slays iniquity. Righteousness and
faithfulness are his girdle. He uplifts an infallible standard of
In 40:3_8 appears John the Baptist, whom Isaiah saw as a
voice crying in the wilderness, preparing the way for the com_
ing King.
In 11:2; 42:1; 61:1_3 the prophet saw the Messiah as a work_
er in the power of the Spirit, in whom he was anointed at his
baptism. This was the beginning of his ministry which was
wrought through the power of the Holy Spirit. At no time in
his ministry did our Lord claim that he wrought except in the
power of the Holy Spirit who was given to him without meas_
In 35:1_10 the Messiah is described as a miracle worker. In
his presence the desert blossoms as a rose and springs burst out
of dry ground. The banks of the Jordan rejoice. The lame

man leaps like a hart, the dumb sing and the blind behold
visions. The New Testament abounds in illustrations of fulfil_
ment. These signs Christ presented to John the Baptist as his
messianic credentials (Matt. 11:1_4).
The passage (42:1_4) gives us a flashlight on the character
of the Messiah. In the New Testament it is expressly applied
to Christ whom the prophet sees as the meek and lowly Sav_
iour, dealing gently with the blacksliding child of his grace.
In 22:22 we have him presented as bearing the key of the
house of David, with full power to open and shut. This refers
to his authority over all things in heaven and upon earth. By
this authority he gave the keys of the kingdom to Peter – one
for the Jews and the other for the Gentiles – who used one on
the day of Pentecost and the other at the house of Cornelius,
declaring in each case the terms of entrance into the kingdom
of God. This authority of the Messiah is referred to again in
And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as one dead. And he
laid his right hand upon me, saying. Fear not: I am the first
and the last, and the Living one; and I was dead, and behold
I am alive for evermore and I have the keys of death and of
Hades. – REVELATION 7:17_18
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphis write: These
things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the
key of David, he that openeth and none shall shut, and shutteth
and none openeth. – REVELATION 3:7
In 32:1_8 we have a great messianic passage portraying the
work of Christ as a king ruling in righteousness, in whom men
find a hiding place from the wind and the tempest. He is a
stream in a dry place and the shadow of a great rock in a
weary land.
In Isaiah 28:14_18 the Messiah is presented to w as a foun_
dation stone in a threefold idea:
1. A tried foundation stone. This is the work of the master
mason and indicates the preparation of the atone for its par_
ticular function.
2. An elect or precious foundation stone. This indicates that
the stone was selected and appointed. It was not self_appoint_
ed but divinely appointed and is therefore safe.
3. A cornerstone, or sure foundation stone. Here it is a
foundation of salvation, as presented in Matthew 16:18. It is
Christ the Rock. and not Peter. See Paul’s foundation in I
According to the grace of God which was given unto me; as a wise masterbuilder I laid a foundation; and another buildeth
thereon. But let each man take heed how he buildeth thereon.
For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. – I Corinthians 3:10-11.
In Isaiah 49:1_6 he is presented as a polished shaft, kept
close in the quiver. The idea is that he is a mighty sword. In
Revelation, Christ is presented to John aa having a sharp, two_
edged sword proceeding out of his mouth.
In Isaiah 50:2; 52:9f.; 59:16_21; 62:11 we have the idea of
the salvation of Jehovah. The idea is that salvation originated
with God and that man in his impotency could neither devise
the plan of salvation nor aid in securing it. These passages are
expressions of the pity with which God looks down on a lost
world. The redemption, or salvation, here means both temporal
and spiritual salvation – salvation from enemies and salvation
from sin.
In 9: 1f. we have him presented as a great light to the people
of Zebulun and Naphtali. In 49:6 we have him presented as a
light to the Gentiles and salvation to the end of the earth:
“Yea, he saith, It is too light a thing that thou shouldest be my
servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the pre_
served of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles,
that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”
In 8:14_15 Isaiah presents him as a stone of stumbling: “And
he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and
for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and
for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many shall
stumble thereon, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and
be taken.”
The prophet’s vision of his maltreatment and rejection are
found in Isaiah 50:4_9; 52:13 to 53:12. In this we have the
vision of him giving his “back to the smiters, and his cheeks
to them that plucked off the hair.” We see a man of sorrows
and acquainted with grief. His visage is so marred it startled
all nations. He is a vicarious sacrifice. The chastisement of the
peace of others is on him. The iniquity of others is put on him.
It pleases the Father to bruise him until he has poured out his
soul unto death as an offering for sin.
The teaching of Isaiah on the election of the Jews is his
teaching concerning the “holy remnant,” a favorite expression
of the prophet. See 1:9; 10:20_22; 11:11, 16; 37:4, 31_32;
46:3. This coincides with Paul’s teaching in Romans 9_11.
In 32:15 we find Isaiah’s teaching on the pouring out of the
Holy Spirit: “Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high,
and the wilderness become a fruitful field, and the fruitful
field be esteemed as a forest,” and in 44:3: “For I will pour
water upon him that is thirsty, and streams upon the dry
ground; I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing
upon thine offspring.”
In 11:10 he is said to be the ensign of the nations: “And it
shall come to pass in that day, that the root of Jesse, that
standeth for an ensign of the peoples unto him shall the na_
tions seek; and his resting place shall be glorious.”
Isaiah 19:18_25; 54:1_3; 60:1_22 teach the enlargement of
the church. The great invitation and promise are found in
chapter 55.
The Messiah in judgments is found in Isaiah 63:1_6. Here
we behold an avenger. He comes up out of Edom with dyed
garments from Bozra. All his raiment is stained with the blood
of his enemies whom he has trampled in his vengeance as grapes are crushed in the winevat and the restoration of the Jews is set forth in Isaiah 11:11_12; 60:9_15; 66:20. Under the prophet’s graphic pencil or glowing brush we behold the estab-lishment and growth of his kingdom unlike all other kingdoms, a kingdom within men, a kingdom whose principles are justice,
righteousness, and equity and whose graces are faith, hope,
love, and joy, an undying and ever_growing kingdom. Its prev_
alence is like the rising waters of Noah’s flood; “And the waters
prevailed and increased mightily upon the earth. And the water prevailed mightily, mightily upon the earth; and all the high mountains, that are under the whole heavens, were covered.”
So this kingdom grows under the brush of the prophetic
limner until ita shores are illimitable. War ceases. Gannenta
rolled in the blood of battle become fuel for fire. Conflagration
is quenched. Famine outlawed. Pestilence banished. None are
left to molest or make afraid. Peace flows like a river. The
wolf dwells with the lamb. The leopard lies down with the kid.
The calf and the young lion walk forth together and a little
child is leading them. The cow and the bear feed in one pas_
ture and their young ones are bedfellows. The sucking child
safely plays over the hole of the asp, and weaned children put
their hands in the adder’s den. In all the holy realms none hurt
nor destroy, because the earth is as full of the knowledge of the
Lord as the fathomless ocean is full of water. Rapturous vision! Sublime and ineffable consummation! Was it only a dream?
In many passages the prophet turns in the gleams from the
millennial age, but one of the clearest and best on the millen_
nium, which is in line with the preceding paragraph, is 11:6_9:
“And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall
lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the
fatling together: and a little child shall lead them. And the
cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down
together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the suck_
ing child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child
shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt nor
destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of
the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea.”
The prophet’s vision of the destruction of death is given in
25:8: “He hath swallowed up death for ever; and the Lord Je_
hovah will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the reproach
of his people will he take away from all the earth: for Jehovah
hath spoken it,” and in 26:19: “Thy dead shall live; my dead
bodies shall arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust;
for thy dew is aa the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast
forth the dead.”
The clearest outlines of the prophet’s vision of “Paradise Re_
gained” are to be found in 25:8, and in two passages in chapter
Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all ye that
love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn over her;
that ye may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her conso_
lations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abun_
dance of her glory. For thus saith Jehovah, Behold, I will ex_
tend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like
an overflowing stream: and ye shall suck thereof; ye shall be
borne upon the side, and shall be dandled upon the knees. Aa
one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye
shall be comforted in Jerusalem. And ye shall see it, and your
heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like the tender
grass: and the hands of Jehovah shall be known toward his serv_
ants ; and he will have indignation against his enemies. – ISAIAH
For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make
shall remain before me, saith Jehovah, so shall your seed and
your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one
new moon to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me,
saith Jehovah. – ISAIAH 66:22_23

1. What the relation between the New Testament Christ and prophecy?
2. What can you say of Isaiah as a witness of the Messiah?
3. What can you say of Isaiah’s pictures of the Messiah and their
4. Following in the order of Christ’s manifestation, what is the first
picture of him in Isaiah?
5. What the second messianic glimpse in Isaiah?
6. What Isaiah’s picture of the incarnation?
7. What Isaiah’s picture of the divine child?
8. What Isaiah’s vision of his descent, his relation to the Holy Spirit,
his administration of justice, and the results of his reign?
9. What Isaiah’s vision of the Messiah’s herald?
10. What the prophet’s vision of his anointing?
11. What the prophet’s vision of him as a miracle worker?
12. What the prophet’s vision of the character of the Messiah?
13, What the prophet’s vision of him as the key bearer?
14. What the prophet’s vision of him as a king and a hiding place?
15. What the prophet’s vision of the Messiah as a foundation stone?
16. What the prophet’s vision of him as a polished shaft?
17. In what passages do we find the idea of the salvation of Jehovah,
and what the significance of the idea?
18. What Isaiah’s vision of the Messiah as a light?
19. Where does Isaiah present him as a stone of stumbling?
20. What the prophet’s vision of his maltreatment and rejection?
21. What the teaching of Isaiah on the election of the Jews?
22. Where do we find Isaiah’s teaching on the pouring out of the Holy
23. Where is he said to be the ensign of the nations?
24. What passages teach the enlargement of the church?
25. Where the great invitation and promise?
26. Where the Messiah in judgment?
27. What passages show the restoration of the Jews?
28. What the prophet’s vision of the Messiah’s kingdom?
29. What the prophet’s vision of the millennium?
30. What the prophet’s vision of the destruction of death?
31 What. the prophet’s vision of “Paradise Regained?”

Micah _1:1 to 2:13

Micah was a contemporary of Hosea of the Northern King_
dom and the great prophet, Isaiah, of the Southern Kingdom.
They all prophesied in the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Heze_
kiah, during the last decades of the eighth century B.C. Micah
and Isaiah present contrasts in many respects, as well as great
similarities in other respects. It has been thought, with a de_
gree of reason, that Isaiah belonged to the royal family, or at
least, the princely families of Jerusalem. Micah evidently be_
longed to the poorer classes living in the country, but preached
in the capital and doubtless in the country districts also. While
Isaiah belonged to the noblest of families, we have no account
whatever of the family of Micah. He does not give us his
father’s name, which is an unusual thing among the Israelites,
as they generally give the name of the father and sometimes the
grandfather. Their home life was considerably different, as the
life of the city is different from the life of a country village.
Thus the sphere of their activity was somewhat different. Isa_
iah moved among the politicians and statesmen: he was a
friend and a counselor of the king. Micah moved among the
poorer classes, the yeomen, and was much less interested in
the politics of the country than Isaiah was. Isaiah’s audiences
many times were the royal and the princely families, the
grandees of Jerusalem and Judah. Micah’s audiences were
sometimes the peasantry living in the lowlands, or Shephelah,
of Judea.
Micah has been termed “the prophet of the poor,” for he was
born and reared among the villages, and his message is mainly
a message on behalf of the poor.
The date of his preaching was somewhere between 735 B.C.
and 700 B.C., probably somewhere about 730 B.C. or 720 B.C.
We know that he preached during the reign of Hezekiah for we
have a report of that fact in the book of Jeremiah He says he
also preached in the reign of Jotham and Ahaz. We find by
reference to Jeremiah 26:17_19 that Micah had preached in
Jerusalem, and had said that Zion should be plowed as a field,
and that Jerusalem should become a heap and the mountain of
the house as the high places of the forest. We find also in verse
19 of that same chapter that Hezekiah, the king of Judah, and
all Judah heard him, but did not seek to put him to death, as
Jehoiakim and the nobles were seeking to put Jeremiah to
death. But the rulers of Jerusalem seem to imply that Micah’s
preaching was largely influential in bringing about the reforma_
tion under Hezekiah. He says in that nineteenth verse, “Did
Hezekiah not fear Jehovah, and entreat the favor of Jehovah,
and Jehovah repented him of the evil which he had pronounced
against them?” All that seems to imply that the preaching of
Micah largely influenced the life of the good king Hezekiah,
and helped to bring about the reformation that took place in
his reign, and that Micah was a man of great power and influ_
ence among the higher classes as well as among the lower.
The range of his prophecy was not as wide as that of Isaiah.
The latter was to some extent a prophet of the nations, a states_
man; his eye took in all the politics of the world at that time,
and he prophesied concerning the policies of kings and coun_
selors, princes, and grandees of Jerusalem. He uttered his stern
denunciations and diatribes against the party that would seek
for aid from Egypt, and likewise touched on the politics of
other nations, especially Judah’s and Jerusalem’s relation to
them. Isaiah dealt in world politics, but Micah did not deal
with the political situation; he dealt with the moral, the civil,
and the economic conditions of his country.
In many respects they are like each other. In their messages
they are fundamentally the same – they cry out against the

same evils in Judah and Jerusalem; they denounce them in al_
most the same terms. Their conception of God is much the
same, their conception of sin is almost identical, and their con_
ception of the future of Judah and Jerusalem, and of the resto_
ration, and the blessed messianic age, are almost the same.
Thus God uses two men at the same time for the same end who
are of very different mold, very different characteristics, and
of very different temperaments.
Micah evidently preached among the people and also in Je_
rusalem among the leaders. He preached for some years, we
do not know how long, and probably retired to his home and
put in permanent form the substance of his preaching during
these years. It is altogether likely that that is the case. Jere_
miah did the same and probably others of the prophets, as
many a man does today; after preaching twenty or thirty years,
he chooses the best of his sermons and has them published and
leaves them in permanent form.
There are three distinct addresses, or discourses, in the book, each commencing, “Hear ye, etc.” Following these marks as dividing points we have the following analysis:
Introduction: The author, place, date, and objective of the
prophecy (1:1)

I. Threatened judgment and promised restoration (1:2 to 2:13
1. Jehovah approaching in judgment on Samaria and
Jerusalem (1:2_7)
2. The prophet’s distress (1:2_7)
3. The nature and punishment of their sin (2:1_11)
4. The return and restoration of Israel (2:12_18)
II. A gross sin, a great salvation (restoration) and a glorious
Saviour (3_5)
1. Their gross sin and consequent destruction (3)
2. Their great salvation (restoration) and consequent ex_
altation (4)
3. Their glorious Saviour and consequent deliverance (5)
III. Jehovah’s lawsuit with Israel (6_7)
1. A statement of the case (6:1_8)
2. Jehovah’s charges against the city (6:9_16)
3. The prosecution by the prophet (7:1_6)
4. Pleading guilty and hoping for mercy and pardon (7:7_13)
5. The final pleading of the case by the prophet with the
hope of glorious triumph (7:14_17)
6. Thedoxology (7:18_20)

The introduction to the book of Micah says that he proph_
esied during the reigns of the three kings we have mentioned.
This would imply that he preached during a period of proba_
bly twenty or thirty years, possibly sixty years. He says also
that he prophesied concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. Amos’
message was directed mainly to Samaria, so was Hosea’s. Isa_
iah’s was mainly to Judah and Jerusalem, and Micah’s to
Samaria and Jerusalem, but mainly to Jerusalem.
The theme of 1:2_7 is Jehovah’s approaching in judgment on
Samaria and Jerusalem. Micah begins his prophecy, “Hear ye
people, all of you; hearken, 0 earth, and all that therein is.”
Isaiah says, “Hear, 0 heavens, and give ear, 0 earth, for Jeho_
vah hath spoken.” Micah may have been influenced by Isaiah,
and may have used, to some extent, his phraseology. Certain_
ly the introductory words of his prophecy resemble Isaiah’s in
a striking manner. And he goes on, “Let the Lord Jehovah wit_
nesa against you, the Lord from his holy temple.” The figure
is a little different from that of Isaiah’s who represents Jeho_
vah sitting upon his throne as Judge, and as accuser of the peo_
ple. Here, he is a witness against the people because of their
sins. The figure is much the same though not exactly.
In the next verse we have a vision of the appearance of God
in judgment and this again very strikingly resembles the pas_
sage in Isaiah (64:1_2). He says, “Behold, Jehovah cometh
forth out of his place, and will come down and tread upon the
high places of the earth, and the mountains shall be molten
tinder him, and the valleys shall be cleft as wax before the fire,
as waters that are poured down a steep place.” This of course,
is Oriental imagery representing the appearance of God in
judgment and the terrible effect of his presence and his power
upon nature itself. Isaiah 64:1_2 says, “Oh that thou wouldest
rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the
mountains might flow down at thy presence, as when fire kind_
leth the brushwood and the fire causeth the waters to boil.”
Verse 5 tells why Jehovah is thus going to appear: “For the
transgressions of Jacob,” referring to the entire people of Is_
rael, “and for the sins of the house of Israel,” a parallel expres_
sion, synonymous with the former. Then he raises the question,
“What is the transgression of Jacob? Is it not Samaria?” What
does he mean? He means that the transgressions of Northern
Israel are all centered in its capital, concentrated there, and all
her life – her civil, economic, political, and religious life – is determined by the life of Samaria, the capital. It is concentrated
there, in the heart of the nation, and out of that heart issues
the sins that are going to be the ruin of the nation. What are
the high places of Judah? The high places, of course, refer to
the idolatrous seats of worship, the centers of their iniquities,
and the cause of their downfall. “Are they not Jerusalem?”
Here again he means to imply that the iniquities of Judah are
concentrated in Jerusalem and the life of Judah has been
molded and shaped and fashioned according to the life of
In other words, Micah emphasizes the one great thought
which is now taking hold upon men, and which is sometimes
overemphasized, that is, “as goes the city, so goes the country.”
Now, that is to a large extent true. But it is not absolutely
true. In certain respects it may be, but in a great many moral
conflicts in our land we may thank God that it is not, for the
country is wiping out the saloon element and many other evils
which the city is unable to do. Yet in some respects the country
is shaping the destiny of the nation. In Micah’s day is was dif_
ferent. All the power was centered in the city, and as Samaria
so was Northern Israel, and as Jerusalem, so was Southern Is_
rael. Micah was right in placing the source and cause of all
their evil in their two capitals, Samaria and Jerusalem.
Now verse 6 says, “Therefore I will make Samaria as a heap
of the field.” Samaria was to be like a heap of stones and rub_
bish in a great field; as the planting of a vineyard where there
was scarcely any vegetation, possibly a little life, possibly a
stump or root, dead and dried out, decayed, or possibly a shoot
with a little life in it. “I will pour down the stones thereof into
the valley, – the walls and the great buildings and the palaces
should be leveled to the earth, and he would discover or lay
bare the very foundations of that magnificent capital, Sama_
ria, built upon the second strongest fortification in all that part
of the world.
And as a result, there was to come disaster upon all their
idolatrous worship, their golden calves, their shrines, and their
altars: “And all her graven images thereof shall be beaten to
pieces, all her hire shall be burned with fire, and all her idols
will I lay desolate.” Then he gives the reason for the destruc_
tion of all the instruments of their idolatrous worship: “For
she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to
the hire of an harlot.” This means that Northern Israel had
secured her wealth and luxury by means of idolatrous worship,
which is always described as harlotry, or adultery, by the
prophets, and because of this adultery and harlotry all their
wealth should return to those from whom it came. All this
implies that her idolatrous systems should be utterly wiped out,
and all the profit gotten thereby should be utterly lost. All this
was fulfilled in the capture of Samaria by Shalmaneser.
The special theme of 1:8_16 is the prophet’s distress over this destruction. Here Micah gives us a glimpse into his heart, for he loved his people, his nation, and city, and as he sees the destruction that is to come, he tells us his feelings: “I will go
stripped and naked; I will make a wailing like the jackals, and
a lamentation like the ostriches. For her wounds are incurable
(the wound of Samaria is in his mind) ; for it is come unto Ju_
dah.” It was incurable because of her sins. “It reacheth even
unto the gate of my people,” to the very city of Jerusalem itself.
From verse 10 on, Micah is looking out upon his own beloved country, the Shephelah, or the lowlands, from the hills of Judah, and he sees there a great many thriving villages that dot these lowlands from the Philistine plain on the west to the hills of Judah on the east, and in vision he sees the enemy spreading over that fair land and leaving it desolate, over his own beloved village where he was born and brought up, which he loved. Now in these verses there is a great play upon words,
and the Hebrew of them must be an interesting study. I will
try to give a little idea of how he plays with the meaning of
words showing the fate that should overtake those villages.
“Tell is not in Gath.” But the Septuagint has it, “Tell it not
in Gath, weep not in Aceo.” Translated literally, it would be,
“Tell it not in Tell_town; weep not in Weep_town.” “At Beth_
le_Aphrah have I rolled myself in the dust,” or literally, “At
the house of dust, I have rolled myself in the dust.” “Pass
away, 0 inhabitants of Shaphir,” or “Inhabitant of beauty,”
pass away in anything but beauty – in ugliness, in wretched_
ness, and shame. “The inhabitant of Zaanan,” or the village
that means “going further,” is literally, “not going further.”
“The wailing of Beth_ezel,” wailing on the house of support,
“shall have taken away from her the support thereof.” “The
inhabitant of Maroth” (bitterness), waiteth anxiously for
good, because evil is come down from Jehovah unto the gate of
Jerusalem.” What does he mean? He is using the names of
those various villages to suggest the fate that shall overtake
them. One shall not receive the news of the destruction of Je_
rusalem, another shall receive the news and another shall be
left in shame and ugliness and wretchedness, etc.
Then he speaks of another city which was besieged by Sen_
nacherib, near the parting of the caravan ways leading out
from Judah down to Egypt. Every embassy passing from
Pudah down to Egypt would pass by Lachish, and every con_
quering host would pass that way. “0 inhabitant of Lachish,
bind the chariot to the swift steed: she was the beginning of the
sin to the daughter of Zion, for the transgressions of Israel were
found in thee.” This means that, as Lachish was the hearquar_
ters for the Egyptian steed and the Egyptian cavalry, which
Judah and Jerusalem sent for, to aid them in their struggle
against Assyria, the prophet denounces her because of her alli_
ance with the heathen country in an attempt to secure horses
and chariots for protection. That was their sin. “Therefore shalt
thou give a parting gift to Moresheth_gath; the house of Achzib
shall be a deceitful thing unto the king of Israel,” or, “The
house of the beautiful spring shall be the house of the dried_up,
deceitful spring.” “I will yet bring unto thee, 0 inhabitant of
Mareshah,” or “I will bring unto the possessor, him that will
possess thee.” “The glory of Israel shall come even unto Adul_
lam,” the cave where David remained so long in hiding with his
Thus Micah saw the army of the Assyrians coming and tak_
ing the villages on the borders of the Philistine plain, reaching
up to the foot of the great hills that lead up to Jerusalem, all
the lowlands of Judah thus being laid waste. Because of this,
“Make thee bald, and cut off thy hair for the children of thy
delight: enlarge thy baldness as the eagle (baldness was a sign
of grief and sorrow) ; for they are gone into captivity.”
The special theme of 2:1_11 is the nature of the sin and the
punishment. Micah inveighs against the commercial heads, the
business magnates, the princes, and the great men of Judah. It
is against them that he hurls his prophecies, and he represents
them as businessmen pondering and scheming how they may
seize upon the lands of the poor. “Woe unto them that devise
iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is
light, they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand.”
How many commercial men and land_grabbers, how many
great corporation managers lie awake devising some way by
which they may get their fellow’s land, to satisfy their insatia-
ble greed for more land, or for the possessions of the poor! They
did it in Micah’s day and they are doing it yet. They covet
fields and seize them, foreclose mortgages, sell out the homes of the poor, seize the land and houses whenever they can possibly do so, and take them away, “So they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.”
Micah’s sympathy is with the poor in the lowlands of Judah
and we cannot be surprised at that, for great commercial in_
iquity and the economic distress following therefrom ‘nearly
always attack the poor first. Many of the great uprisings of
history have occurred among the poorer classes. The bloodiest
wars among the Romans in ancient days arose because of the
agrarian outrages perpetrated in that land. It was in the four_
teenth century, that oppression of the yeomanry by the rich
nobles and lords of England and France caused the great peas_
ant uprisings. Just after the Reformation when a new spirit
had been infused into the people there was a notable uprising
in Germany, and among the peasants of France the volcano
of the French Revolution broke forth, which made its impres_
sion upon all the world and all history. Micah’s sympathy goes
out to the poor, for they are the backbone of the nation.
In verse 3 he predicts the penalty of this sin that shall come:
“therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, against this family do
I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks,
neither shall ye walk haughtily; for it is an evil time.” You
are going to be brought so low, that in that day one shall take
up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamenta_
tion, and say, “We are utterly ruined: he changeth the portion
of my people: how doth he remove it from me I to the rebellious
he divideth our fields,” showing how that all the land and law_
system would be completely changed and turned upside down
by the terrible revolution that was to take place. The result
was that there would be none left to divide the inhabitants and
none to measure the fields and allot them to their owners:
“Thou shalt have none that shall cast the line by lot in the con_
gregation of the Lord.”
Micah deals again with the leaders of the people, and this is
what they say to him, that is, these grandees, these business
magnates: “Prophesy ye not . . . reproaches shall never cease.”
Thus they try to persuade Micah to be quiet. “0 thou that art
named the house of Jacob, is the Spirit of the Lord strait_
ened?” This is the reply on the part of Micah to those men who
told him not to prophesy, and implies by way of answer to
them that, if they will do the words of the law and walk up_
rightly, then the Spirit of Jehovah will not be straitened any
more, but they will have the liberty which they claim they have
at present. Then he goes on from verse 8 to denounce their
rapacity. These men were extremely covetous, extremely ruth_
less in their treatment of the poor: “Even of late my people is
risen up as an enemy: ye pull off the robe with the garment
from them that pass by securely, as men averse from war.”
They so oppress the poor that they have robbed them of their
very clothes and take their children from their homes: “The
women of my people have ye cast out from their pleasant
houses, from their children have ye taken away my glory for
ever.” They oppress the women, the widows, and when they
could seize upon a house or a field or anything belonging to
them, they would seize it and drive the women and children
from their own houses, the same as the Pharisees in the time of
Christ, who “devoured widows’ houses and for a pretense made
long prayers.”
Because of that he again denounces them: “Rise ye, and
depart: for this is not your rest: because it is polluted: it shall
destroy you, even with a sore destruction.” Get away from
this, go into exile. That will be the inevitable result. With
stinging sarcasm, he refers to the false prophets and tells them
they are the kind of preachers they like to listen to: “If a man
walking in a spirit of falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy
unto thee of wine and of strong drink, he shall even be the
prophet of this people.” That is the kind of a prophet they
like, a man that will preach to them about wine and strong
drink, or the man that will preach to them the things they like.
The theme of 2:12_13 is the return and restoration of Israel.
This passage has caused a great deal of discussion among com_
mentators. The critics say it is out of place here; that it breaks
the connection, and that it was written in exilic times or after,
because it prophesies the restoration of the exiles. If it appears
to break the logical connection, let it be remembered that Mi_
cah had already predicted their captivity and this paragraph
simply gives the needed encouragement at this time. Surely
Micah, prophesying as he did in the early part of 722 B.C., saw
a vision of the restoration. He certainly gives us a picture here
of Israel restored, as he says, “I will surely gather the remnant
of Israel; I will put them together as the flock in the midst
of their fold; they shall make great noise by reason of the mul_
titude of men. The breaker is gone up before them: they have
broken forth and have passed on to the gate, and are gone out
thereat, and their king is passed on before them, and Jehovah
at the head of them.” This is sometimes taken as a prophecy
of the exile itself, showing how the people are to be gathered
together as a flock and led into captivity; that their king
would be led before them, and Jehovah would be the real lead_
er and cause of it all. The better interpretation, however, is
that it represents Israel as returning from exile and led by
their God.

1. With whom was Micah contemporary, during whose reigns did
they prophesy, and what the contrasts between Micah and Isaiah?
2. What special characterization of Micah and why?
3. What the date of Micah’s preaching and what the testimony from
4. How does the range of Micah’s prophecy compare with that of Isaiah?
5. In what respects were they alike?
6. Who is the author of the book of Micah and what the probabilities
in the case?
7. Give an analysis of the book.
8. What the contents of the introduction (1:1)?
9. What the theme of 1:2_7, how does Micah begin his prophecy,
how does it compare with the opening of Isaiah, and what other parallel with Isaiah?
10. What reason assigned in verse 5 for the appearance of Jehovah,
what the meaning and application of this verse?
11. What the results of this coming of Jehovah in judgments (6_7) and
when fulfilled?
12. What the special theme of 1:8_16, how does the prophet describe
his feelings, and what the case as stated in verse 9?
13. Show Micah’s play on words in his vision of the destruction of the
cities of the plain (10_16).
14. What the special theme of 2:1_11 and against what class does
Micah inveigh in this prophecy?
15. With whom was the sympathy of Micah and what examples in
history of land troubles?
16. What the penalty to be meted out for this sin (3_5) ?
17. What the response of the leaders to the prophecy of Micah, what
Micah’s reply, what the character of the leaders as herein revealed, and what kind of preaching suited them?
18. What the theme of 2:12_13, what do the critics say about it, and
what the fulfilment of this prophecy?

Micah 3_7

The title of this section (Micah 3_5) in the analysis is “A
Gross Sin, a Great Salvation (Restoration), and a Glorious
The prophet characterizes their sin in 3:1_4. In chapter 2
we have a painful picture of their sins but in this paragraph
we have a more detailed account of their sins and the punish_
ment. He again addresses the heads of Jacob and the rulers
of the house of Israel, and asks them the question, “Is it not
for you to know justice?” You are the men that should do
right: you are the men appointed to bring justice to the peo_
ple, but what are you like? “You hate the good, and love the
evil.” And then he gives another and more terrible description
of their oppression and the way they have treated the poor,
“who pluck off their skin from off them and their flesh from
off their bones; and flay their skin from off them, and break
their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as
flesh within the caldron,” which of course) is an extremely
strong way of putting it. Before the French Revolution it
was much the same. A peasant said, “They crop us as a
sheep would crop the grass,” and another peasant made the
remark, “They treat us as if we were but food.” This condi_
tion existed many times previous to the time of Micah, and
many times since. The result will be destruction: “Then
shall they cry unto the Lord, but he will not hear them; he
will even hide his face from them at that time.”
Micah attacks the false prophets in these words: “Thus
saith the Lord concerning the prophets that make my people
to err; that bite with their teeth.” Most people thus bite, but
these prophets had a peculiar purpose in biting with their
teeth; they did all their prophesying that they might have
something to bite. “They bite and cry, Peace; and whoso put_
teth not into their mouths they even prepare war against him.”
Just as in Jeremiah’s day so they did in Micah’s day; both
prophets had to contend with the false prophets. “And whoso
putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against
him,” that is, if a person did not feed them or give them some_
thing they proclaimed a war against him in the name of God.
Because of this, the result would be darkness, mental, moral,
and spiritual as well as political: “It shall be night unto you
that ye shall have no vision; and it shall be dark unto you,
that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down upon the
prophets, and the day shall be black over them.”
The seers, the soothsayers, the diviners, the visionaries, the
fortunetellers, and the class that live by preying upon the
people, shall be ashamed and confounded; “Yea, they shall
all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God.”
Now, the contrast between those false prophets and Micah,
the true prophet of God, follows: “But as for me, I am full
of power by the Spirit of the Lord and of judgment, and of
might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel
his sin.” The difference is an ethical and a spiritual one. One
is indwelt and filled with the power of the Spirit, the other is
indwelt and filled with the power of his own selfish ambition
and desires. The difference is fundamentally one of character.
In 9_12 we hear Micah, again addressing the heads of Jacob,
accusing them of abhorring justice and perverting equity. He
eays, “They build up Zion with blood and Jerusalem with
iniquity. The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests
thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for
money: yet they lean upon the Lord, and say, Is not the Lord
among us: No evil can come upon us.”
They felt this way when Jeremiah prophesied their down_
fall; they said, “The Temple ! The Temple! The Temple!

It is impossible! This city, this temple, this people of Je_
hovah: God will protect us.” And in reply to this plea of
false safety Micah says, “Therefore shall Zion for your sake
be plowed as a field and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and
the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest.” This,
the princes in Jeremiah’s time said, produced in Hezekiah a
deep repentance, and was largely influential in producing the
reformation under that excellent king.
Micah’s vision of the mountain of the Lord’s house is found
in 4:1_5. This magnificent passage is to be found almost
word for word in Isaiah. Micah says,
In the latter days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of
Jehovah’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains,
and it shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow
unto it. And many nations shall go and say, Come ye, and let
us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, and to the house of the
God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk
in his paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word
of Jehovah from Jerusalem. – MICAH 2:1_4
If we compare that with Isaiah 2:1_4 we see the verbal
likeness between the two.
And it shall come to pass in the latter days, that the moun_
tain of Jehovah’s house shall be established on the top of the
mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations
shall flow unto it. And many peoples shall go and say. Come ye,
and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the
God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will
walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the
word of Jehovah from Jerusalem. – ISAIAH 2:2ff.
As we stated before these two prophets were contemporaries.
Now the question arises, Which of these two copied from the
other, which borrowed the other’s thought and the other’s
phraseology, or are they both original, or did both Isaiah and
Micah borrow from another prophet? It is the idea of a
great many of the critics that both borrowed from another
prophet, an earlier one, but it is not necessary to infer that
Isaiah was the kind of man who needed to borrow from any
other prophet. He himself was one of the most sublime poetic
geniuses the world had ever seen; he possessed an imperial
imagination, and he never needed to borrow or plagiarize. It
seems more probable that Micah borrowed from Isaiah, if any
borrowing was done. They lived in the same age, they proph_
esied at the same time and in the same city, and no doubt were
acquainted with each other. They moved in a similar circle
of ideas, and it is possible that a similar idea would come to
both at the same time; that the Spirit of God would present a
vision to each mind very much the same. That is possible,
but the most reasonable explanation is that this is Isaiah’s
vision, his phraseology, his picture. It is Isaiah’s imagination
and Isaiah’s literary genius that is behind this, and Micah being
familiar with the thought incorporated it into his prophecy
and adds verses 4_5 which we do not find in Isaiah, thus:
But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his
fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the
Lord of hosts hath spoken it. For all peoples walk every one in
the name of his god; and we will walk in the name of the Lord
our God for ever and ever.
For the interpretation and fulfilment of this great prophecy
see, Interpretation on Isaiah 2:1_4, pp. 115_117.
The thought is carried forward in verses 6_8. This is the
promise of the restoration. Here he takes up the same thought
from a little different standpoint. He comes now to the details
and peculiarities of the age and deals with the conditions of
those people to whom he is speaking, thus: “In that day, saith
Jehovah, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather
her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted.” This
refers to the exiles. “And I will make her that halted a
remnant, and her that was cast far off, a strong nation; and
the Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion from henceforth,
even for ever.” This agrees with Isaiah, Amos, Hosea, Eze_
kiel, and Jeremiah. This is a picture of the restoration, while
the other was a picture of the restored kingdom. This pic_
ture of the former power and dominion is expressed thus:
“Thou, 0 tower of the flock, the hill of the daughter of Zion,
unto thee shall it come, yea, the former dominion shall come,
the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.”
A period of anguish must precede this restoration. This is
indicated by Micah’s questions, thus: “Now why dost thou
cry out aloud? Is there no king in thee?” There didn’t seem
to be when we remember the king was such a weakling. “Is
thy counselor perished, that pangs have taken hold of thee
as of a woman in travail?” All good counsellors had perished.
He goes on: “Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, 0 daugh_
ter of Zion, like a woman in travail; for now shall thou go
forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and
thou shalt come even to Babylon: there shalt thou be deliv_
ered; there the Lord will redeem thee from the hand of thine
enemies.” This statement, that they should go into Babylon
troubles the critical school. They say that Babylon was not in
the ascendancy in the time of Micah. Assyria was the nation
that loomed upon the horizion as the power that would de_
stroy, therefore they reason that Micah could not have con_
ceived of Babylon being the place of exile because Babylon
was not the leading nation. Of course, according to their
theory Micah could not see into the future one hundred years.
They also say that this is an interpolation, in fact many
of them say that Micah did not prophesy this at all, but it was
spoken during the exile or after by some anonymous writer.
But in verse II he pictures the attitude of the other nations
toward Judah and Jerusalem, thus: “Now also many nations
are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and
let our eye see our desire upon Zion.” Isn’t that exactly why
Ezekiel prophesied against all these nations and buried his
threats of denunciation against them? Now Micah gives the
reason why they act thus: “They know not the thoughts of
Jehovah, neither understand they his counsel; for he hath
gathered them as the sheaves into the threshing_floor.” Be_
cause of his attitude toward Judah they will be gathered as
sheaves on the floor to be threshed.
The call of 4:13 to 5:1 is a call to liberty and dominion.
The prophet is now speaking of triumphant Israel whose time
of deliverance is at hand, and through whom the nations are
to be beaten and threshed in punishment. He says to the
people of Israel, “Arise, and thresh, 0 daughter of Zion; for
I will make thy horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass;
and thou shalt beat in pieces many peoples: and I will con_
secrate their gain unto Jehovah, and their substance unto the
Lord of the whole earth.” The figure is that of a great
threshing floor upon which the sheaves lay, and the threshing
instruments are driven over them, Israel is to be as a thresh_
ing instrument of iron which shall be driven over the other
nations, and shall break in pieces many people, and their
wealth shall be taken by Israel and devoted to the worship of
Jehovah. That corresponds with Isaiah 60 one of the finest
passages in Isaiah’s writings.
It also resembles his prediction of Tyre) which shall be
destroyed and her whole wealth devoted to the worship of
Jehovah. In chapter 5 he again summons Israel to activity:
“Now gather thyself in troops, 0 daughter of troops: he hath
laid siege against us; they shall smite the judge of Israel with
a rod upon the cheek.” A strange expression, “they shall
smite.” In spite of the fact that “thou hast been smitten,
arise, smite back and conquer; your time has come, your
dominion ye shall receive again.”
Chapter 5 is devoted to the glorious Saviour and consequent
deliverance, or the messianic King and the Blessedness of
Israel. This is another view of the same glorious age of the
restoration, a different vision, a different point of view, but
essentially the same.
The king of this blessed age arises from among the poor
(w. 2_4). We saw in the last chapter that Micah was the
prophet of the poor, that his sympathies went out for them in
particular and now when he pictures this glorious age, and
its king as rising, he represents him as rising from the poor
class: “But thou Beth_lehem, Ephrathah, though thou be little
among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall one come
forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth
have been from of old, from everlasting.” Bethlehem, the
home of David, the village where the shepherd boy, who after_
ward became the shepherd king, lived, the place dear to the
heart of every Israelite; this is to be the place whence the
king shall come. It is one of the smallest places, the most
insigificant and most obscure little villages.
It was no accident that the Saviour of the world rose from
among the poor, the working class. Is it not the most fitting
thing that could possibly have happened that a king of the
world should rise from among the poor? Whether it be wise
or not in our estimation it certainly was in God’s estimation,
and a little thought along that line will convince us that God
could not have done a wiser thing than to have Christ rise
from among the poor people. “Whose goings forth have been
from of old, from everlasting,” that is, there have been proph_
ecies of him that had been looking forward, expecting him, and
he had been manifesting himself in various ways from the be_
ginning, and had been set forth in types and shadows as the
one who should come and appear in his glory. Then he goes
on with his picture: “Therefore will he give them up, until
the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then
the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of
Israel.” And then this king, this shepherd_king, this descend_
ant of David, as it says in verse 4, shall stand and shall feed
his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the
name of the Lord his God. This is the picture of the Shep_
herd so common in Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Amos, Hosea,
and again in that immortal parable of the shepherd as found
in John 10. “And they shall abide, for now shall he be great
unto the ends of the earth.”
Micah’s vision of him as a deliverer is found in verses 5_6
He is here presented as the one who shall deliver them from
the Assyrian. He uses the Assyrian here because the Assyrian
was the great barbaric power that was rising up on the horizon
of the world at that time and extending her power over every
nation. The very name itself sent terror to the people of that
time. “And this man shall be our peace. When the Assyrian
shall come into our land, and when he shall tread in our
palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and
eight principal men.” These officials will surround him as his
cabinet, to stand by, to support, to give aid, and he will be
amply and ably supported on his throne. “And they shall
waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of
Nimrod in the entrances thereof.” On time’s horizon the end
seems close with Micah. Twenty_six hundred years or more
have passed by since, and time’s horizon is yet enlarging. The
Assyrians have been extinct since a hundred years after
Micah’s time. So the Assyrian here is used to represent the
enemies of the Messiah’s kingdom and thus includes all the
nations that know not God.
The relation of Israel to her friends and to her foes is stated
in verses 7_9. To her friends the remnant of Jacob shall be as
dew from Jehovah, as showers upon the grass that tarrieth not
for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.” That is true yet
regarding the remnant of Israel. But for their enemies, “the
remnant of Jacob shall be among all the nations in the midst
of many people, as a lion among the beasts of the forests and
as a young lion among the flocks of sheep; who, if he go
through both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none
can deliver.” This is not to be taken literally. There is a
sense in which God’s people go forth like a lion, conquering,
but the Messiah’s kingdom is spiritual.
Israel’s relation to idolatry in this new condition is set
forth in verses 10_15. All idolatrous connection shall be
rooted out: “I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of
thee, and I will destroy thy chariots: and I will cut off the
cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds. And
I will cut off witchcraft out of thine hand; and thou shalt
have no more soothsayers: thy graven images also will I cut
off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and
thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands.” Israel
shall be cleansed of her idolatry.
The title of chapters 6_7 in the analysis is “Jehovah’s Con_
troversy with His People.” This is a different section of the
book of Micah, different problems arise here, different modes
of expression. A great many of the critics maintain that this
was written during the reign of Manasseh when idolatry was
revived, and heathen sacrifices were carried on. It would fit
in with the reign of Ahaz, however, and Micah prophesied dur_
ing the reign of Ahaz, Jotham, and Hezekiah. The conditions
found here existed during that time.
The case of the controversy of Jehovah with his people is
stated in 6:1_9. Here Jerusalem is called upon, thus: “Arise,
contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy
voice. Hear ye, the Lord’s controversy and ye strong founda_
tions of the earth: for the Lord hath a controversy with his
people, and he will plead with Israel.” All nature is called
upon to hear. This is not mere poetry: there is eternal truth
underlying it. “The Lord hath a controversy with his people
and he will contend with Israel.” He goes on to describe the
controversy. What is it about? Not about sin. Jeremiah
calls the people to a great controversy regarding their sin;
Micah does not. It is how they shall serve Jehovah, how they
shall worship him.
Jehovah speaks: “0 my people, what have I done unto thee?
and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me.” A
marvelous statement, Jehovah asking his people to testify
against him, if they have anything to testify. What con_
descension! Just like Isaiah I “Come now and let us reason
together.” Then he goes on, “For I brought thee up out of
the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of serv_
ants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.”
“Remember what happened between Shittim and Gilgal,” that
plain bordering on the Jordan in Moab, and Gilgal across the
Jordan. What happened between these two places? “Ye
know the great miracle I performed, the stopping of the waters,
and the multitude crossing over on dry ground; remember that
ye may know the righteous acts of Jehovah.” Verse 6 gives
a little glimpse into the religious condition of the people,
“Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself
before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt_
offerings, with calves of a year old?” They had been doing
that in abundance. “Will the Lord be pleased with thousands
of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? and shall I
give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body
for the sin of my soul?” The numbers used are an exaggera_
tion of course, for purposes of rhetoric and making it effective
“with ten thousands of rivers of oil.” Oil was a part of the
sacrifice and worship. “Shall I give my firstborn for my
transgressions, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
This gives us an idea of what the people were doing, and how
they were worshiping. They were sacrificing the first_born,
and seemed to seriously believe that Jehovah required them
to do so.
Micah 6:8 is one of the greatest passages in the Old Testa_
ment. Micah sums up the whole of religion in one little verse;
he gives one final answer to all such questions as to how we
should serve and worship God, thus: “He hath shewed thee,
0 man, what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee,
but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with
thy God?” No prophet or writer ever summed up the whole
duty of religion better than Micah does here – to do justly,
righteously in all conduct, i.e., kings, rulers, business magnates,
commercial princes, millionaires, land owners, workmen. That
is the first thing. And more than that, “love mercy,” go
beyond strict justice; go farther than that, delight in tender_
ness. show mercy. That goes as far as Christianity almost.
And then finally, “humble thyself to walk with thy God,” or
“walk humbly with thy God”; the better translation, perhaps
is, “Humble thyself to walk with God.” This is the finest
expression that has ever been used to describe the service of
true religion: “Do justly,” there is our relationship in all civil
life. “Love mercy,” there is, our relationship in all home life,
family life, all social life; there is the tender side of human
life. “Walk humbly with God”; there is the divine side.
There is just one passage that equals this, says Dr. George
Adam Smith, and that is where Jesus says, “Come unto me
all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you
rest” (Matt. 11:28_29).
The charges here against the city (6:9_16) are their various
sins which are the reasons for Jehovah’s visitation. Here we
have the city’s life pictured in a vivid and lurid way. Verse 9,
“The Lord’s voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom
shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed
it.” Verse 10, “Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in
the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abomin_
able?” Verse II, “Shall I count them pure with the wicked
balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights? For the rich
men thereof are full of violence and the inhabitants thereof
have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.”
And because of this he utters his threat of destruction and
predicts the utter desolation of the country and the people.
In verse 16 he charges them with following the example of
Omri: “For the statutes of Omri are kept and all the works
of the house of Ahab.” Ahab seized Naboth’s vineyard and
they followed his example, “and ye walk in their counsels:
that I may make thee a desolation and the inhabitants thereof
an hissing; therefore ye shall bear the reproach of my people.”
The prophet’s part in the case is found in 7:1_6. He appears
as the prosecuting attorney here in this passage and bewails
the utter corruption of society: “Woe is me! for I am as when
they have gathered the summer fruits as the grape gleanings
of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat; my soul desireth the
first ripe fig. The good man is perished out of the earth: and
there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood;
they hunt every man his brother with a net.” It does not
necessarily mean literal blood, but when one takes away a
man’s means of support, his wages, his necessities of life, he
takes away his life because he will have less of the necessities
of life. The oppression of the poor is simply the taking of
the blood of the people. “They hunt every man his brother
with a net,” and how many businessmen there are in this age
that do love to get the net around another man! “That they
may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh,
and the judge is ready for a reward; and the great man, utter_
eth his mischievous desire; thus they weave it together.” There
is a lot of sharp dealing among them, a hard people to deal
with; “The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is
sharper than a thorn hedge. Trust ye not in a friend, put
ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth
from her that lieth in thy bosom.” No one can be trusted.
When a man dare not confide in his own wife, it is about as
bad as it can be. “For the son dishonoureth the father, the
daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter_in_law
against her mother_in_law, a man’s enemies are the men of his
own house.” How desperate the entire life of the nation must
have been with every form of deceit practiced. Jesus Christ
used this very expression to tell how his gospel was going to
cause division and enmity.
The righteous remnant takes part in the case (7:7_13).
They plead guilty and hope for mercy and pardon. It is the
voice of the prophet and in the prophet the voice of the right_
eous kernel the true Israel that speaks here, not the voice of
the people nor the rulers, but the righteous kernel, the true
Israel, the mother of sorrow. Notice what she says in resigna_
tion: “As for me, I will look unto the Lord, I will wait for
the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” That is a
fine text, and the next one is even better: “Rejoice not against
me, 0 mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in
darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.” To translate it
literally: “I have fallen, I will arise.” Faith seldom, if ever,
in dark moments, uttered a more hopeful, a more blessed senti_
ment than that. In Bunyan’s immortal allegory, where he
describes Christian in the Valley of Humiliation and fighting
with Apollyon, and Apollyon throws him to the ground, Chris_
tian thrusts him with his sword, quoting these words, “Rejoice
not against me, 0 mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise.” In
verse 9 we have a note of resignation that is beautiful: “I
will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned
against him, until he plead my cause and execute judgment
for me; he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold
his righteousness.” How hopeful and trustful that is!
Now the effect upon his enemies: “Then she that is mine
enemy shall see it, and shame shall cover her which said unto
me, Where is the Lord thy God? mine eyes shall behold her:
now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets.” He
gives another glimpse of the future: “In that day thy walls
are to be built, in that day shall the decree be far removed.”
That reminds us of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the walls.
Micah says the time will come when the walls will be rebuilt.
“The decree”; we do not know just what is meant here, per_
haps the marginal reading, “boundary,” is correct. Then he
goes on to picture in glowing language the return of the peo_
ple from all nations whither they have been scattered: “They
shall come unto thee from Assyria, and from the fortified cities,
and from the fortress, even to the River, and from sea to sea,
and from mountain to mountain,” but that is to be after the
desolation takes place, for in verse 13, it says, “Notwith_
standing, the land shall be desolate because of them that dwell
therein, for the fruit of their doings.”
The prophet’s final plea for and hope held out to Israel is
as follows: “Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine
heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of
Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of
old.” This seems to imply that Northern Israel had not been
depopulated in Micah’s time, for just before this Tiglath_
pileser had deported all Palestine beyond the Jordan; that
seems to have taken place and Micah pictures the return here
as the people coming to feed in Bashan in the land from which
they had been taken.
The hope here is that the nations, when they see this, shall
come in dread and dismay, verse 17. “The nations shall
see and be ashamed of all their might: they shall lay their
hand upon their mouth; their ears shall be deaf. They shall
lick the dust like the serpent,” referring to the account in
Genesis 3 regarding the serpent, saying that dust should be
his meat, and that he should move along close to the earth and
should lick up the dust. “They shall move out of their holes
like worms of the earth: they shall be afraid of the Lord our
God, and shall fear because of thee.” A picture of the terror
of the nations after the Restoration. Ezekiel pictures them as
being utterly subdued, so does Jeremiah to some extent, but
Micah pictures them as being in abject submission and terror,
crawling like servile beasts in fear before the presence of
Now come the beauties of the doxology: “Who is a God like
unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the trans_
gression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his
anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.” Isn’t that a
beautiful picture of God? There are several texts there. “He
will turn again, he will have compassion upon us: he will sub_
due our iniquities: and thou wilt cast all their sins into the
depths of the sea.” How deep is the sea? In some places it
is five miles deep. If their sins are cast down to the bottom
of the sea they are gone forever. And he closes this beautiful
statement thus: “Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob and
the mercy to ABRAHAM, which thou hast sworn unto our
fathers from the days of old.” He goes back to Abraham,
God’s promise to him: “All nations shall be blessed in thee,”
and that promise must be fulfilled.
1. What the title of this section (Micah 3_5) in the analysis?
2. How does the prophet characterize their sins in 3:1_4, what in_
stances in. modem history, and_what the result of the ain of Jacob?
3. Describe Micah’s attack on the false prophets and his contrast be_
tween himself and them.
4. What charge does Micah bring against the heads, the priests & the prophets, respectively, what their reply and what the consequent
5. What Micah’s vision of the mountain of the Lord’s house (4:1_5),
how does it compare with Isaiah 2:1_4. Who borrowed in this case?
6. How is the thought carried forward in verses ~8?
7. Describe the period of anguish that must precede this restoration,
the radical critics’ position on this passage, and the attitude of the other nations toward Judah and Jerusalem.
8. What the call of 4:13 to 5:1?
9. To what is chapter 5 devoted?
10. What Micah’s vision of this king as to his origin and place of birth?
11. What Micah’s vision of him as a deliverer and why the mention
of the Assyrian in this connection (5_6) ?
12. What the relation of Israel to her friends and to her foes (7_9)?
13. What shall be Israel’s relation to idolatry in this new condition
14. What the title of chapters 6_7 in the analysis and what can you
say in general of this section?
15. State the case of the controversy of Jehovah with his people (6:1_8).
16. What can you say of the beauty and meaning of 6:8 and what the
application of its several points?
17. What the charges here against the city (6:9_16)?
18. What the prophet’s part in the case (7:1_6)?
19. What part does the righteous remnant take in the case (7:7_13),
and what hope do they see?
20. What the prophet’s final plea for and hope held out to Israel?
21. What the beauties of the doxology (18:20)?


The title of the book of Nahum is simply this: “The Burden
of Nineveh.” It is committed largely to the prophecy of the
destruction of the capital of the Assyrian Empire. The writer
is Nahum. We know nothing about him. He mentions not
even his father’s name. He simply mentions the fact that he
was an Elkoshite. Where Elkosh was is disputed. There is
a place in Assyria today called Al_kush which the Arabians
in the region say contains the tomb of Nahum, but the tradi_
tion regarding that only goes back as far as the sixteenth
century and it is exceedingly questionable. There is a place
mentioned by Jerome in Galilee called Elkesi, and Jerome and
a great many other scholars believe that that was the home of
Nahum, a little village in Galilee. This is doubted by others,
and it. has been found that there was a little village down in
Judah called Elkesi also and some scholars maintain that
Nahum had that as his home and that he lived in Judah. He
evidently speaks from the standpoint of a Judean. Other
scholars maintain that Nahum was one of the exiles trans_
ported from Judah and wrote his prophecy while in exile in
Assyria. The reason for that is that Nahum seems to know ex_
actly the fortifications and as we shall see the layout of the
city of Nineveh, the siege of which he predicts. This theory
is not to be credited at all.
The style of Nahum is the most vivid, perhaps, of all the Old
Testament writers. In majesty it almost equals Isaiah. In
the rapidity of its motion, its energy, its movement, in the
imagination displayed he even surpassed Isaiah. This is one
of the finest pieces of literature in all the world.
The date of this prophecy is somewhere between 663B.C. &
607 BC.; 663 B.C. being the date upon which Ashurbanipal, king

of Assyria destroyed Noamon, or Thebes, the great city in
Southern Egypt. To the destruction of that city Nahum refers
in 3:8; so his prophecy took place after that event, possibly
sometime after. It was such an important event as would be re_
membered for a long time. The destruction of a great city
like Noamon would be impressed upon the world. The proph_
ecy must have been written previous to 607 B.C., for that is
the date of the fall of Nineveh, and this year marks one of
the most important events in the political history of that age.
Probably his prophecy comes somewhere between 630 B.C., and
610 B.C., not far from the destruction of Nineveh.
The occasion for the writing of this prophecy is the downfall
of the Assyrian nation, with the sack and destruction of the
great city of Nineveh. The history of Assyria and Nineveh
is a history of conquests, a history of oppression, a history of
remorseless warfare of indescribable cruelties, siege upon siege
of every city that came in contact with any of Assyria’s pos_
sessions. No nation in all the world for two hundred years
had rolled its resistless tide of savage warriors across the face
of the earth as did Assyria. Not a nation in all the known
world but what suffered from her attacks. Eastern Palestine,
Northern Israel, and Southern Israel were overrun and de_
ported, and the inhabitants of Damascus and Syria were
deported also and scores of other nations and tribes were
ruthlessly torn away from home and country and carried into
exile. The blood, the agony, the tears, the sufferings, the sor_
row which Assyria and Nineveh caused, only God himself
could describe.
Not a nation during those two hundred years but that hated,
but that dreaded her; not a nation but that cringed and trem_
bled as she approached. And those two hundred years en_
gendered in every nation a hatred that was intense, and
almost ceaseless. Israel had felt her terrible hand; so had
Babylon and all other Semitic nations. And now at last the
Medes north and east of Assyria, gather together their nation,
with Cyaxares at their head, and march against her. Nabo_
polassar, king of Babylon, also comes against her. Pharaoh_
Necho in the days of Josiah, king of Judah, marched up to the
Euphrates to take Nineveh and secure her boundless treasures.
Thus it became a contest, as to whether Cyaxares the king of
the Modes; Nabopolassar, king of Babylon; or Pharaoh_
Necho, king of Egypt, should conquer this city with its in_
calculable riches. About 625 B.C. Nineveh withstood a great
siege and buried back the Medes. But the country was much
depopulated. Her allies were gone; a weak king sat upon the
throne. The Medes grew more powerful, and at last about
609 B.C. or 608 B.C. Nabopolassar and Cyaxares came to an
agreement. Nabopolassar apparently sent Nebuchadnezzar
to meet Pharaoh_Necho and drive him back. He himself held
the advances to Nineveh and prevented the allies of Assyria
from coming to her relief. The king of the Medes came upon
her from the North and the East, and after a siege of two
years Nineveh fell, and there was not a nation upon the earth
that did not feel a relief and there went up from every people
and every heart this one cry, “At last! At last! At last! the
old savage lion is dead and we are free.” Nahum voices that
sentiment. At last the old lion has gone, as all Europe and,
perhaps, America, when Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo,
said, “At last the scourge of the nation is gone.”
The following is an outline of the book:
Title: The theme and author ( I: I )
I. A verdict of vengeance (1:2_15)
1. The character, majesty, and method of Jehovah (1:2_8)
2. His verdict concerning Nineveh (1:9_14)
3. His verdict of vengeance on Nineveh, an Evangel to
Judah (1:15)
II. A vision of vengeance (2)
1. A description of the attack upon the city (2:1_7)
2. An inside view during and after the attack (2:8_13)
III. A vindication of vengeance (3)
1. The wreck of the city and its causes (3:1_7)
2. An example and its lessons (3:8_19)
Nahum had a strong and deep conviction that Jehovah is
the God who will punish iniquity, and therefore he breaks
forth (1:2_8) : “Jehovah is a jealous God and avengeth; Je_
hovah avengeth and is full of wrath; Jehovah taketh ven_
geance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his
enemies.” See the accumulated effect of his repetition here. He
goes on: “Jehovah is slow to anger and great in power and will
by no means clear the guilty. Jehovah hath his way in the
whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his
feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up
all the rivers; Bashan languisheth, and Carmel; and the flower
of Lebanon languisheth.” This is the effect of Jehovah com_
ing down: “The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt,
and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all
that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation?
and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is
poured out like fire and the rocks are broken asunder by him.”
Now in verse 7 he gives another view of Jehovah, and here
is a beautiful text: “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day
of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” How
different that is from the other, and how different God’s atti_
tude toward his enemies, and toward those that trust him!
“But with an overflowing flood will he make an utter end of
the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.” As
to his character, he is a God of vengeance, and yet the central
fact of his nature is that he is slow to anger. Under the figure
of a storm the prophet sets forth the overwhelming majesty of
Jehovah. The method of God he describes aa “good, a strong_
hold,” toward his friends, but toward his foes, “He will make
a full end.”
Now he speaks against Nineveh (1:9_14) thus: “What do
ye imagine against the Lord? He will make an utter end:

affliction shall not rise up the second time.” Imagine what
you like, he will make a complete end. The affliction shall not
rise up the second time, and it didn’t. “For though they be
tangled in thorns, and while they are drunken as with their
drink, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry.” It mat_
ters not what your condition, what your defense or how im_
possible it would seem that you should be destroyed. “There
is one gone out of thee, that imagineth evil against the Lord,
a wicked counsellor.” We don’t know who that was. Perhaps
it refers to the blasphemous boasts of Sennacherib. “Thus
saith Jehovah, though they be quiet, and likewise many, yet
thus shall they be cut down, when he shall pass through.
Though I have afflicted thee, and will burst thy bonds asun_
der.” Then he describes how he shall destroy the gods of As_
syria, the graven images, and molten images shall be utterly
broken to pieces and buried.
Here (1:15) he pictures a runner hurrying with news to
Judah and Jerusalem: “Behold, upon the mountains the feet
of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!” The
cry, “Nineveh is fallen,” was the best news that came to the
whole world at that time. And Nahum thus voices the feelings
and sentiments of ail these nations. “0 Judah, keep thy sol_
emn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more
pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.”
The attack of the enemy upon Nineveh is described in 2:1_7.
First, he describes the attack upon the fortifications: “He that
dasheth in pieces is come up before thy face: keep the fortress,
watch the way, make thy loins strong, fortify thy power might_
ily.” Thus he ironically advised the city to defend themselves
against the enemy’s approach. Verse 3: “The shield of his
mighty men is made red, the valiant men are in scarlet, the
chariots shall be as flaming torches in the day of his prepara_
tion, and the cypress spears shall be brandished. The chariots
shall rage in the streets, they shall Jostle one against another
in the broad ways: their appearance is like torches, they run
like the lightnings. He remembereth his worthies: they stum_
ble in their walk; they shall make haste to the wall thereof and
the mantelet shall be prepared.” We can almost see and hear
them; the appearance of their chariots is like torches, they run
like lightning, as they approach the walls. The enemy now
opens the sluice gates of the river which flows into the city and
floods it. It is a fact found from excavation that Nineveh was
partly destroyed from the water being turned in through the
watergates. It is interesting to remember that Diodorus Secu_
lus mentions an old prophecy, that the city would never be
taken until the river became its enemy. He moreover declared
that during an enemy’s attack the river burst its banks and
washed away the wall for twenty stadia. Continuing, Nahum
describes the city under the figure of a woman and her at_
tendants. They flee and the enemy captures the spoil.
The inside view of the city during and after the attack is
described in 2:8_13. Here the prophet describes the inhabitants
of Nineveh as the besiegers are attacking the walls: “But Nine_
veh is from of old like a pool of water; yet they shall flee away.
Stand, stand, shall they cry, but none shall look back.” Thus
Nineveh is described as water which has been gathered in a
pool but she scattered in every direction. When the cry is
made, Stand! Stand! they flee away and look not back. Now
the enemy has entered the city and this is the cry: “Take ye
the spoil of silver, take ye the spoil of gold, for there is no end
of the store and glory of all the pleasant furniture.” And they
did take all the spoil, after which he thus describes her: “She
is empty, and waste, and the heart melteth and the knees smite
together, and much pain is in all loins, and the faces of them
all are waxed pale.” They are about to be sacked.
Then the prophet speaks sarcastically, looking at it from the
distance, and seeing the old lion in his den thus besieged:
“Where is the den of the lions and the feasting places of the
young lions, where the lion and the lioness walked, the lion’s
whelp and none made them afraid? The lion (that is, old Nine_

veh), did tread in pieces enough for his whelps and strangled
for his lioness and filled his caves with prey, and his dens with
ravens.” He is representing Nineveh as a lion in his den, and
it was all too true, for thousands and tens of thousands of the
hapless inhabitants of other nations were literally strangled,
and nation upon nation was seized in order that he might fill
his den and his coffers with their wealth. Is it any wonder that
the world felt relieved and Jehovah himself gave the prophet a
message voicing the sentiment? Then in verse 13 he says, “I
am against thee, saith Jehovah, and I will burn her chariots
in the smoke, and the sword shall devour thy young lions; and
I will cut off thy prey from the earth, and the voice of thy mes_
sengers shall no more be heard.”
Then the wreck of the city is described in 3:1_7. The fall of
the city of Nineveh and the causes thereof, are stated in chap_
ter 3. In the first three verses we have a description of the sack
of the city, thus: “Woe to the bloody city I It is all full of lies
and rapine; the prey departeth not; the noise of a whip and
the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the prancing
horses, and of the jumping chariots. The horseman mounting
and the flashing sword and the glittering spears and there is a
multitude of slain, and a great number of carcasses; and there
is no end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses.”
The cruelty and savagery of those two hundred years impressed
itself upon all those nations, and these soldiers broke into that
city, and as Nineveh had never shown any mercy they showed
Nineveh no mercy. Now he goes on with the description of her
as a harlot: “Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of
the well_favored harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth
nations through her whoredom, and families through her witch_
crafts. Behold I am against thee, and I will show the nations
thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.” All the nations
were interested in her destruction. “And I will cast abominable
filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazing
stock. And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon
thee shall flee from thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste: who

will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for thee?”
They bemoaned when Tyre fell, they bemoaned Thebes, they
bemoaned Egypt, and John pictures how they bemoaned the
downfall of Rome, but they never bemoaned Nineveh.
The prophet cites an example in 3:8_15. He compares the
fall of Thebes, or No_amon, with the fall of Assyria, and says,
“Art thou better than No_amon, that was situated among the
rivers, that had the waters round about her, whose rampart
was the sea?” She had mighty allies, too, Ethiopia and Egypt,
and had no end of strength. Now he says, “You are no better
than she; she suffered; she was carried away into captivity.”
Then he gives a further description of how the country is in_
fatuated and all the outlying fortresses were taken: “Thou
shalt be drunken, thou shalt be hid; thou also shall seek
strength because of the enemy.” Then he pictures the inhabi_
tants (v. 13) : “All thy strongholds shall be like fig trees with
the first ripe figs; if they be shaken, they shall even fall into
the mouth of the eater. Behold, thy people in the midst of thee
are women: the gates of thy land shall be set wide open unto
thine enemies; the fire shall devour thy bars.” Then in sarcas_
tic and grim irony he tells the people of Nineveh to go to work
and try to defend themselves: “Draw water for the siege, forti_
fy thy strongholds: go into clay, and tread the mortar, make
strong the brickkiln. There shall the fire devour thee; the
sword shall cut thee off; it shall eat thee up like the canker_
worm ; make thyself many as the locust.”
Nineveh was the greatest commercial center of the age (3:
16_17). He describes her great commercial prestige thus:
“Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heav_
en: the canker_worm spoileth, and fleeth away. Thy crowned
are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers,
which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun
ariseth, they flee away, and their place is not known where
they are.” And that is how they all dispersed when the enemy
entered the city.
The last two verses close with a grim humor, containing a
very significant statement regarding her: “Thy shepherds
slumber, 0 Assyria,” are slumbering yet and will continue to
slumber. “Thy nobles shall dwell in the dust; thy people are
scattered upon the mountains, and no man gathereth them,”
and they have never been gathered since, and never will be.
“There is no assuaging of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous;
all that hear the report of thee shall clap their hands over thee.”
Everybody rejoiced when she went down. ‘Tor upon whom
hath not thy wickedness passed continually?”
It must have been sometime before this, perhaps, two hun_
dred years before this, that Jonah waa sent to Nineveh to
preach her destruction in forty days, and Nineveh repented
and was saved, but there was no Jonah to preach to her now.
Her time had come, her wickedness was too great, she was past
redemption, and in 607 B.C. the city of Nineveh ceased to be
forever. Excavators have been digging there, and they have
found the remains of this great city, the walls and the whole
plan of it.

1. What the title of this book, who the author, what of his family,
and what the traditions and theories about him and his book?
2. What can you say of the style of Nahum?
3. What the date of this prophecy?
4. What the occasion of this prophecy, and what the relation of Nine_
veh to other nations?
5. Give an account of the capture and downfall of Nineveh.
6. Give an outline of the book of Nahum.
7. What the character, majesty, and method of Jehovah as revealed
in this prophecy (1:2_8) ?
8. What his verdict concerning Nineveh (1:9_14)?
9. How is the announcement of Nineveh’s fall to Judah described
10. Describe the attack of the enemy upon Nineveh (2:1_7).
11. Describe the inside view of the city during and after the attack
12. Describe the wreck of the city and cite the cause (3:1_7).
13. What example does the prophet cite and what the lesson (3:8_15)?
14. What says the prophet here of the commerce of Nineveh and her
merchants (16_17)?
15. What the permanent condition of this great city as described in
the last two verses?

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