Isaiah 10:28
He is come to Aiath, he is passed to Migron; at Michmash he has laid up his carriages:
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(28) He is come to Aiath . . .—There is an obvious break between this and the preceding verse, and a new section begins, connected with the former by unity of subject, both referring to Sargon’s invasion of Judah. That such an invasion took place at or about the time of that king’s attack on Ashdod (Isaiah 20:1) the inscriptions leave no doubt. The Koujunyik cylinder names the king of Judah as having joined with the king of Ashdod; and in another, Sargon speaks of himself as “the subduer of the lands of Judah” (Layard, Inscriptions, xxxiii. 8). There is nothing in the passage itself to determine whether Isaiah 10:28-32 are predictive or historical, or when they were first uttered. Assuming that the Messianic prophecy of chap 11 is in close connection with them, it seems most probable that now, as in the earlier attack of Pekah and Rezin (Isaiah 7), as in the later invasion of Sennacherib (Isaiah 37), the bright vision of the future came to sustain the people when they were at their lowest point of depression. This would obviously be when Sargon’s armies were actually encamped round the city, when they had reached the last halting-place of the itinerary which Isaiah traces out. We may infer accordingly that the Assyrian armies were then at or near Nob, and that the prophet, supplied, either by human agency or supernaturally, with a knowledge of the movements of the Assyrian armies, describes their progress to a terrified and expectant people, and fixes the final goal. That progress we now have to trace. (1) Aiath is probably identical with the Ai of Joshua 7:2, the Aija of Nehemiah 11:31, in the tribe of Benjamin, not far from Bethel. (2) Migron. The route taken was not the usual one, but passed over three valleys, probably with a view to surprise Jerusalem by an unexpected attack. The modern name, Bure Magrun, survives, a short distance from Bethel. (3) Michmash. Now Muchmas, on the east side of the Migron valley. Here the carriages, i.e., the baggage (Acts 21:15; 1Samuel 17:22), the impedimenta, of the Assyrian army was left behind that the host might advance with greater rapidity to immediate action. (4) Geba, in the tribe of Benjamin (1Chronicles 6:60). Here, after defiling through the “passages,” probably the gorge of Wady Suweinit memorable for Jonathan s adventure (1Samuel 14:4-5), the army halted and encamped. (5) The panic spread rapidly to Ramah, memorable as the chief residence of Samuel (1Samuel 7:17). (6) The inhabitants of Gibeah, still retaining in its name its old association with the hero-king of Israel (1Samuel 11:4), left their town deserted and undefended. (7) Gallim, not now identifiable, but mentioned in 1Samuel 25:44. (8) Laieh, not the northern city of that name (Judges 18:29), but near Jerusalem. Read, Listen, O Laish, as if to the tramp of the armies as they passed. (9) Anathoth; about four miles north of Jerusalem, the birth-place of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:1). There is a special pathos in the prophet’s accents, anîyah Anathôth. A various reading adopted by many critics gives, Answer, O Anathoth. (10) Madmenah, or Madmen, appears in Jeremiah 48:2, as a Moabite city. The name (“dung-hill”) was, however, not an uncommon one. It is named (Joshua 15:31) as one of the south-eastern cities of Judah. (11) The people of Gebim (“water-pits;” locality not identified) gather their goods for flight. (12) At last the army reaches Nob, memorable as having been one of the resting-places of the Tabernacle in the time of Saul (1Samuel 21:1). The site has not been identified with certainty, but it was obviously a position that commanded Jerusalem, between it and Anathoth, probably not far from the hill Scopos (“watch-tower”) where Titus and his troops encamped during the siege of Jerusalem. The prophet’s narrative leaves the invader there shaking his hand, as with defiant menace, against the holy city. For “that day,” read this very day, fixing, as it were, the very hour at which Isaiah spoke.

Isaiah 10:28-32. He is come to Aiath — Here the prophet returns to his former discourse concerning Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah, of whose march toward Jerusalem, the route of his army, and their several stations, he gives so minute a detail, that though the description is a prophecy, he seems rather to speak like an historian, who is relating facts already past. This is the fifth part of the prophet’s discourse, in which we have, 1st, the expedition of the Assyrian monarch, described in the most lively manner in these verses; and, 2d, the unhappy success of that expedition, with its consequences, Isaiah 10:33-34. The several places here mentioned, are those where Sennacherib may be supposed to have pitched his camp; and were most of them towns of Benjamin, though some were in Judah, as appears from other scriptures. He is passed to Migron — Namely, Sennacherib, in his way to Jerusalem. At Michmash he hath laid up his carriages — Leaving such things there as were less necessary, that so he might march with more expedition. They are gone over the passage — Some considerable passage, then well known. Gibeah of Saul is fled — The people fled to Jerusalem for fear of the Assyrians. Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim — Jerusalem was the mother city, and lesser towns were commonly called her daughters. O poor Anathoth — Hebrew, ענתות עניה, Aniah Anathoth, where the former word, rendered poor, relates to the signification of Anathoth; “a beauty frequently to be met with in the original of the sacred Scriptures, but which can seldom be preserved in any translation.” He shall shake his hand against the mount of Zion — By way of commination. But, withal, the prophet intimates, that he should be able to do no more against it; and that there his proud waves should be stayed, as is declared in the following verses, and in the history.10:20-34 By our afflictions we may learn not to make creatures our confidence. Those only can with comfort stay upon God, who return to him in truth, not in pretence and profession only. God will justly bring this wasting away on a provoking people, but will graciously set bounds to it. It is against the mind and will of God, that his people, whatever happens, should give way to fear. God's anger against his people is but for a moment; and when that is turned from us, we need not fear the fury of man. The rod with which he corrected his people, shall not only be laid aside, but thrown into the fire. To encourage God's people, the prophet puts them in mind of what God had formerly done against the enemies of his church. God's people shall be delivered from the Assyrians. Some think it looks to the deliverance of the Jews out of their captivity; and further yet, to the redemption of believers from the tyranny of sin and Satan. And this, because of the anointing; for his people Israel's sake, the believers among them that had received the unction of Divine grace. And for the sake of the Messiah, the Anointed of God. Here is, ver. 28-34, a prophetical description of Sennacherib's march towards Jerusalem, when he threatened to destroy that city. Then the Lord, in whom Hezekiah trusted, cut down his army like the hewing of a forest. Let us apply what is here written, to like matters in other ages of the church of Christ. Because of the anointing of our great Redeemer, the yoke of every antichrist must be broken from off his church: and if our souls partake of the unction of the Holy Spirit, complete and eternal deliverances will be secured to us.He is come to Aiath - These verses Isaiah 10:28-32 contain a description of the march of the army of Sennacherib as he approached Jerusalem to invest it. The description is expressed with great beauty. It is rapid and hurried, and is such as one would give who was alarmed by the sudden and near approach of an enemy - as if while the narrator was stating that the invader had arrived at one place, he had already come to another; or, as if while one messenger should say, that he had come to one place, another should answer that he was still nearer, and a third, that he was nearer still, so as to produce universal consternation. The prophet speaks of this as if he "saw" it (compare the note at Isaiah 1): as if, with the glance of the eye, he sees Sennacherib advancing rapidly to Jerusalem. The general course of this march is from the northeast to the southwest toward Jerusalem, and it is possible still to follow the route by the names of the places here mentioned, and which remain at present.

All the places are in the vicinity of Jerusalem, and this shows how much his rapid approach was suited to excite alarm. The name עית ‛ayâth does not occur elsewhere; but עי ‛ay is often mentioned, and עיא ‛ayâ' is found in Nehemiah 11:31. Doubtless, the same city is meant. It was situated near Bethel eastward; Joshua 7:2. It was at this place that Joshua was repulsed on account of the sin of Achaz, though the city was afterward taken by Joshua, the king seized and hanged, and the city destroyed. It was afterward rebuilt, and is often mentioned; Ezra 2:28; Nehemiah 7:32. It is called by the Septuagint, Ἀγγαι Angai; and by Josephus, "Aina." In the time of Eusebius and Jerome, its site and scanty ruins were still pointed out, not far distant from Bethel toward the east. The name, however, has at present wholly perished, and no trace of the place now remains. It is probable that it was near the modern Deir Diwan, about three miles to the east of Bethel: "see" Robinson's "Bib. Researches," ii. pp. 119, 312, 313.

He is passed to Migron - That is, he does not remain at Aiath, but is advancing rapidly toward Jerusalem. This place is mentioned in 1 Samuel 14:2, from which it appears that it was near Gibeah, and was in the boundaries of the tribe of Benjamin, to the southwest of Ai and Bethel. No trace of this place now remains.

At Michmash - This was a town within the tribe of Ephraim, on the confines of Benjamin; Ezra 2:27; Nehemiah 7:31. This place is now called Mukhmas, and is situated on a slope or low ridge of land between two small wadys, or water-courses. It is now desolate, but bears the marks of having been a much larger and stronger place than the other towns in the neigchourhood. There are many foundations of hewn stones; and some columns are lying among them. It is about nine miles to the northeast of Jerusalem, and in the immediate neighborhood of Gibeah and Ramah. - Robinson's "Bib. Researches," ii. p. 117. In the time of Eusebius it was a large village. - "Onomast." Art. "Machmas."

He hath laid up his carriages - Hebrew, 'He hath deposited his weapons.' The word rendered "hath laid up" - יפקיד yapeqı̂yd - may possibly mean, "he reviewed," or he took an account of; that is, he made that the place of "review" preparatory to his attack on Jerusalem. Jerome says, that the passage means, that he had such confidence of taking Jerusalem, that he deposited his armor at Michmash, as being unnecessary in the siege of Jerusalem. I think, however, that the passage means simply, that he had made Michmash one of his "stations" to which he had come, and that the expression 'he hath deposited his armor there,' denotes merely that he had come there as one of his stations, and had pitched his camp in that place on the way to Jerusalem. The English word "carriage," sometimes meant formerly, "that which is carried," baggage, vessels, furniture, etc. - "Webster." In this sense it is used in this place, and also in 1 Samuel 17:22; Acts 21:15.

28-32. Onward gradual march of Sennacherib's army towards Jerusalem, and the panic of the inhabitants vividly pictured before the eyes.

come to—come upon as a sudden invader (Ge 34:27).

Aiath—same as Ai (Jos 7:2; Ne 7:32). In the north of Benjamin; so the other towns also; all on the line of march to Jerusalem.

Michmash—nine miles northeast of Jerusalem.

laid up … carriages—He has left his heavier baggage (so "carriages" for the things carried, Ac 21:15) at Michmash, so as to be more lightly equipped for the siege of Jerusalem. So 1Sa 17:22; 25:13; 30:24 [Jerome and Maurer].

He is come to Aiath: here the prophet returns to his former discourse concerning the Assyrian invasion into Judah; which he describes, after the manner of the prophets, as a thing present, and sets down the several stages by which he marched towards Jerusalem. The places here named are most of them towns of Benjamin, and some of Judah, as appears from other scriptures; of which it is needless to say more in this place.

He, to wit, Sennacherib, king of Assyria,

is come in his way to Jerusalem.

He hath laid up his carriages; leaving such things there as were less necessary, that so he might march with more expedition. Heb. he visited his vessels or instruments; which may be meant of his taking a survey of his army and artillery, to see that all things were ready for his enterprise. He is come to Aiath,.... In this and the following verses is prophetically described the expedition of Sennacherib to Jerusalem, when he either went from Assyria, or returned from Egypt thither; and the several places are mentioned, through or by which he passed, or near to which he came, the tidings of which greatly distressed the inhabitants of them; and the first that is named is Ajath, thought to be the same with Ai, which was beside Bethaven, and on the east side of Bethel, Joshua 7:2 and though it was burnt, and made desolate by Joshua, Joshua 8:28 yet it was afterwards rebuilt, for it was in being in Nehemiah's time; or at least there was a place of this name, which was upon or near the spot where this stood, since it is mentioned with Geba, Michmash, and Bethel, Nehemiah 11:31 according to the ancient Jewish writers (w), it lay three miles from Jericho. Jerom (x) calls it Agai, and says that in his time there was scarce any remains of it, only the place was shown.

He is passed to Migron; this place, as the former, was in the tribe of Benjamin; mention is made of it, as in the uttermost part of Gibeah, 1 Samuel 14:2. Sennacherib seems not to have stayed either in this, or the former place:

at Michmash he hath laid up his carriages; here was a passage, called the passage of Michmash, where was the garrison of the Philistines; and on each side of it were two rocks, one called Bozez, and the other Seneh; one of which fronted Michmash to the north, and the other Gibeah to the south, 1 Samuel 13:23 by Josephus (y) it is called Mechmas, a city; and so it is in the Apocrypha:

"Thus the sword ceased from Israel: but Jonathan dwelt at Machmas, and began to govern the people; and he destroyed the ungodly men out of Israel.'' (1 Maccabees 9:73)

In Jerom's time it was a very large village, who says it was nine miles from Jerusalem (z): mention is made of it in the Misna (a), as famous for the best fine flour; and this the king of Assyria made his magazine, and in it laid up his provisions and warlike stores, from whence he might be supplied upon occasion. The words may be rendered, "he hath laid up his arms"; and Kimchi thinks he left the greatest part of his arms here, and went in haste to Jerusalem, imagining he should have no occasion for them, but should easily take it. The Targum is,

"at Micmas he shall appoint the princes of his army;''

the generals of it: perhaps the sense is, that here he made a muster of his army, examined the arms of his soldiers, appointed the proper officers, and gave them their instructions.

(w) Shemot Rabba, sect. 32. fol. 135. 2.((x) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 87. E. (y) Antiqu. l. 6. c. 6. sect. 1. & l. 13. c. 1. sect. 6. (z) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 93. F. (a) Menachot, c. 8. sect. 1.

He is come to {y} Aiath, he is passed to Migron; at Michmash he hath attended to his carriages:

(y) He describes by what way the Assyrians would come against Jerusalem, to confirm the faithful, when it would come to pass, that as their plague was come, so should they be delivered.

Verses 28-32. - This graphic portraiture of the march of an Assyrian army on Jerusalem is probably not historic, but prophetic. Isaiah sees it in vision (Isaiah 1:1), and describes it like an eye-witness. There are at present no sufficient means of deciding to what particular attack it refers, or indeed whether the march is one conducted by Sennacherib or Sargon. Sargon calls himself in one inscription "conqueror of the land of Judah" (Layard, 'Inscriptions,' 33:8), and the details of the present prophecy, especially ver. 9, suit the reign of Sargon rather than that of his son, so that on the whole it is perhaps most probable that some expedition of Sargon's is portrayed. Verse 28. - He is come to Aiath. "Aiath" is probably Ai (Joshua 8:1-28), with a feminine termination. It lay about three miles south of Bethel, which had become Assyrian with the conquest of Samaria. If an Assyrian army mustered at Bethel, it would naturally enter Judaean territory at Ai. He is passed to Migron; rather, he has passed through Migron. "Migron" is mentioned as a village in the territory of Gibeah of Benjamin (1 Samuel 14:2); but the Migron of this passage must have been further to the north. He hath laid up his carriages; i.e. "has left his baggage-train." Michmash was about seven miles nearly due north of Jerusalem. The heavy baggage might conveniently be left there, especially as it was difficult of attack (1 Samuel 14:4-13), while a lightly equipped body of troops made a dash at Jerusalem. To Him the remnant of Israel would turn, but only the remnant. "For if thy people were even as the sea-sand, the remnant thereof will turn: destruction is firmly determined, flowing away righteousness. For the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, completes the finishing stroke and that which is firmly determined, within the whole land." As the words are not preceded by any negative clause, ci 'im are not combined in the sense of sed or nisi; but they belong to two sentences, and signify nam si (for if). If the number of the Israelites were the highest that had been promised, only the remnant among them, or of them (bō partitive, like the French en), would turn, or, as the nearer definition ad Deum is wanting here, come back to their right position. With regard to the great mass, destruction was irrevocably determined (râchatz, τέμνειν, then to resolve upon anything, ἀποτόμως, 1 Kings 20:40); and this destruction "overflowed with righteousness," or rather "flowed on (shōtēph, as in Isaiah 28:18) righteousness," i.e., brought forth righteousness as it flowed onwards, so that it was like a swell of the penal righteousness of God (shâtaph, with the accusative, according to Ges. 138, Anm. 2). That cillâyōn is not used here in the sense of completion any more than in Deuteronomy 28:65, is evident from Isaiah 10:23, where câlâh (fem. of câleh, that which vanishes, then the act of vanishing, the end) is used interchangeably with it, and necherâtzâh indicates judgment as a thing irrevocably decided (as in Isaiah 28:22, and borrowed from these passages in Daniel 9:27; Daniel 11:36). Such a judgment of extermination the almighty Judge had determined to carry fully out (‛ōseh in the sense of a fut. instans) within all the land (b'kereb, within, not b'thok, in the midst of), that is to say, one that would embrace the whole land and all the people, and would destroy, if not every individual without exception, at any rate the great mass, except a very few.
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