The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Isaiah 2

Isa 2:1

Background of Isa 2-5: the reign of Uzziah, a period marked by great prosperity (2Ch 26). The ships of Isa 2:16 // the development of port of Elath in 2Ki 14:22. (And Isa 6:1 occurs in the year when Uzziah died.)

CONCERNING... JERUSALEM: "We do not know anything of Isaiah's family or of the details of his upbringing. He was a member of some family of Jerusalem, and in intimate relations with the Court. It has been believed that he was of royal blood, but it matters little whether this be true or not. A spirit so wise and masterful as his did not need social rank to fit it for that intimacy with princes which has doubtless suggested the legend of his royal descent. What does matter is Isaiah's citizenship in Jerusalem, for this colours all his prophecy. More than Athens to Demosthenes, Rome to Juvenal, Florence to Dante, is Jerusalem to Isaiah. She is his immediate and ultimate regard, the centre and return of all his thoughts, the hinge of the history of his time, the one thing worth preserving amidst its disasters, the summit of those brilliant hopes with which he fills the future. He has traced for us the main features of her position and some of the lines of her construction, many of the great figures of her streets, the fashions of her women, the arrival of embassies, the effect of rumours. He has painted her aspect in triumph, in siege, in famine, and in earthquake; war filling her valleys with chariots, and again nature rolling tides of fruitfulness up to her gates; her moods of worship and panic and profligacy -- till we see them all as clearly as the shadow following the sunshine, and the breeze the breeze, across the cornfields of our own summers.

"If he takes wider observation of mankind, Jerusalem is his watch-tower. It is for her defence he battles through fifty years of statesmanship, and all his prophecy may be said to travail in anguish for her new birth. He was never away from her walls, but not even the psalms of the captives by the rivers of Babylon, with the desire of exile upon them, exhibit more beauty and pathos than the lamentations which Isaiah poured upon Jerusalem's sufferings or the visions in which he described her future solemnity and peace.

"It is not with surprise, therefore, that we find the first prophecies of Isaiah directed upon his mother city" (GA Smith, "Isaiah").

Isa 2:2

MOUNTAIN: That is, the "kingdom": cp Dan 2:35,44; Zec 14:10.

MOUNTAIN OF THE LORD'S TEMPLE: The vast court of the Gentiles in Solomon's Temple (Temple 25).

AMONG THE MOUNTAINS: That is, other earthly powers: Jer 51:24,25; Zec 4:7.


Isa 2:3

COME, LET US GO UP: A winning appeal taken up also by later prophets: Jer 31:12; 50:5; Zec 8:21,22.

HE WILL TEACH US HIS WAYS, SO THAT WE MAY WALK IN HIS PATHS: See Zec 8:20-22; 14:16-19. The eagerness to learn expressed here is an almost incredible ct with Isaiah's indignant accusations of Isa 1:10, etc.

JERUSALEM: The capital of God's Kingdom: Jer 3:17; Mic 4:2; Isa 52:1,2; 62:1-7.

Isa 2:4

HE WILL JUDGE... SETTLE DISPUTES: Cp Isa 11:4. Christ will rebuke the nations afar off: Mic 4:3. He will first "break in pieces" (Dan 2:45; Psa 2:9; Rev 2:27), and then rule with a rod of iron (Psa 110:2; Rev 19:15).

THEY WILL BEAT THEIR SWORDS INTO PLOWSHARES AND THEIR SPEARS INTO PRUNING HOOKS: This would have happened quite literally with the weapons gathered from the devastated Assyrian camp outside Jerusalem, after the destruction of Sennacherib's host.

NOR WILL THEY TRAIN FOR WAR ANYMORE: In short, wars will cease: Psa 46:9; Hos 2:18.

Isa 2:7

SILVER... GOLD... TREASURES: Tribute to Uzziah: 2Ch 26:8.

HORSES... CHARIOTS: Uzziah's wholesale preparation for warfare: 2Ch 26:11-15. Judah's royal bureaucracy had accumulated great wealth and military might, in violation of Deu 17:16,17.

Isa 2:8

THEIR LAND IS FULL OF IDOLS: As those of Syria and Babylon, imported by Ahaz (2Ki 16:10-12).

THE WORK OF THEIR HANDS: Ref to idols, but also to armaments (v 7), in which men trust also!

Isa 2:10

Poss ref to Uzziah's being stricken with leprosy for the arrogance (vv 11,12) of attempting to act as a priest. According to Josephus, his smiting was accompanied by a great earthquake (cp v 19 here), and a great beam of light (the Shekinah glory?) revealing his smitten flesh.

HIDE IN THE GROUND: Death, hiding in the dust?

Isa 2:13

CEDARS OF LEBANON: The house of the forest of Lebanon (1Ki 7:2,3; 10:17; Zec 11:1,2), the mighty armory built by Solomon. Cp also Jer 22:6,7,23; Isa 10:34; Eze 17:3.

OAKS OF BASHAN: Perhaps a similar allusion (see Zec 11:1,2 again), but perhaps also sym of the "mighty men" of Judah (2Ki 24:15).

Isa 2:15

TOWERS... WALLS: The elaborate defenses of Jerusalem (2Ch 26:9,10; 27:3,4; Hos 8:14; Mic 5:11) -- which crashed to ruins in the great earthquake of Uzziah's day (Jos Ant 9,10,4).

Isa 2:16

TRADING SHIP: Heb "ship of Tarshish". See Lesson, Tarshish.

SHIP... VESSEL: Solomon, Jehoshaphat, and Uzziah (1Ki 9:26; 22:48; 2Ki 14:22) had all attempted to boost the nation's prosperity with a fleet of merchantmen sailing east from their port of Elath. Perhaps the great earthquake also loosed a tidal wave which destroyed the fleet at anchor (WIsa 107).

EVERY STATELY VESSEL: "All pleasant pictures" (AV); "images of desire"; "goddesses" (LXX). Context suggests elaborate carved or painted mastheads installed on the fleet -- worshiping gods of sea?

Isa 2:18

// Zec 13:2; Rev 6:6; 13:15; 19:20. An obvious LD application as well.

Isa 2:19

WHEN HE RISES TO SHAKE THE EARTH: Earthquakes accompany awesome manifestations of God: Exo 19:18; Jdg 5:4; Psa 77:18; 114:4; Isa 2:10-22; Jer 4:24; Eze 38:20; Joe 3:16; Amo 9:1,5; Hag 2:6; Zec 14:4; Heb 12:26-28; Rev 6:12; 11:19; 16:18. Such an earthquake that, many years later, was still talked about (Zec 14:4,5).

See Lesson, Earthquakes.

Isa 2:20

RODENTS... BATS: Sym blindness, darkness, filth -- the chief dominions of idols!

Isa 2:22

STOP TRUSTING IN MAN: Isaiah's curt and caustic dismissal of the flesh as utterly powerless, in fact, as nothing but dust!

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