Isaiah 10:3
And what will you do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will you flee for help? and where will you leave your glory?
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(3) And what will ye do in the day of visitation . . .?—The question was not without a certain touch of irony. Had those corrupt judges asked themselves what they would do when the Supreme Judge should call them to account? Had they an ally who could protect them against Jehovah? Or had they found a hiding-place for the treasures which they had made their “glory”? Had they made a covenant with Hades and with death? (Isaiah 28:18).

Isaiah 10:3-4. What will ye do — To save yourselves? in the day of visitation? — When I shall come to visit you in wrath, as the next words limit the expression. The desolation which shall come from far — From the Assyrians. This he adds, because the Israelites, having weakened the Jews, and being in amity with the Syrians, their next neighbours, were secure. To whom will ye flee for help — To the Syrians, as now you do? But they shall be destroyed together with you, 2 Kings 16:9; and where will you leave your glory — To be kept safe for your use, and to be restored to you when you call for it? By their glory, he means, either, 1st, their power and authority, which now they so wickedly abused; or, 2d, their wealth, gotten by injustice, as glory sometimes means: see Genesis 31:1; Psalm 49:16-17. Without me — Without my favour and help, which you have forfeited, and do not seek to recover; they shall bow down — Notwithstanding all their succours; under the prisoners — Or among the prisoners; and they shall fall under the slain — Or among the slain. The meaning is, that it was in vain for the Israelites to trust in their own strength, or in the assistance of the Syrians, or any other allies, since it was from God alone they could obtain deliverance, without whose aid, or when he deserted them, they should all bow down under the yoke of the Assyrians. In the Septuagint, and vulgar Latin, these words are joined to the foregoing verse, to this sense: “Whither will this people flee for refuge to preserve themselves, that they may not bow down, or be subdued among the captives, or destroyed among the slain?”10:1-4 These verses are to be joined with the foregoing chapter. Woe to the superior powers that devise and decree unrighteous decrees! And woe to the inferior officers that draw them up, and enter them on record! But what will sinners do? Whither will they flee?And what will ye do - The prophet here proceeds to denounce the judgment, or punishment, that would follow the crimes specified in the previous verses. That punishment was the invasion of the land by a foreign force. 'What will ye do? To whom will you fly? What refuge will them be?' Implying that the calamity would be so great that there would be no refuge, or escape.

In the day of visitation - The word "visitation" (פקדה peqûddâh) is used here in the sense of God's coming to punish them for their sins; compare Job 31:14; Job 35:15; Isaiah 26:14; Ezekiel 9:1. The idea is probably derived from that of a master of a family who comes to take account, or to investigate the conduct of his servants, and where the visitation, therefore, is one of reckoning and justice. So the idea is applied to God as designing to visit the wicked; that is, to punish them for their offences; compare Hosea 9:7.

And in the desolation - The destruction, or overthrowing. The word used here - שׁואה shô'âh - usually denotes a storm, a tempest Proverbs 1:27; and then sudden destruction, or calamity, that sweeps along irresistibly like a tempest; Zephaniah 1:15; Job 30:3, Job 30:14; Psalm 35:8.

Which shall come from far - That is, from Assyria, Media, Babylonia. The sense is, 'a furious storm of war is about to rage. To what refuge can you then flee? or where can you then find safety?'

Where will ye leave your glory - By the word "glory" here, some have understood the prophet as referring to their aged men, their princes and nobles, and as asking where they would find a safe place for them. But he probably means their "riches, wealth, magnificence." Thus Psalm 49:17 :

For when he dieth, he shall carry nothing away;

His glory shall not descebd after him.

See also Hosea 9:2; Isaiah 66:12. The word "leave" here, is used in the sense "of deposit," or commit for safe keeping; compare Job 39:14. 'In the time of the invasion that shall come up like a tempest on the land, where will you deposit your property so that it shall be safe?'

3. what will ye do—what way of escape will there be for you?

visitation—of God's wrath (Isa 26:14; Job 35:15; Ho 9:7).

from far—from Assyria.

leave … glory—rather, "deposit (for safekeeping) your wealth" [Lowth]. So Ps 49:17.

What will ye do to save yourselves? In the day of visitation: when I shall come to visit you in wrath, as the next words limit it, and as this phrase is oft used; although sometimes it signifies a visitation in mercy, as Luke 19:14, and elsewhere.

From far; from the Assyrians. This he adds, because the Israelites, having weakened the Jews, and being in amity with the Syrians their next neighbours, were secure.

To whom will ye flee for help? to the Syrians, as now you do? But they shall be destroyed together with you, as they were, 2 Kings 16.

Where will you leave, to be kept safe for your use, and to be restored to you when you call for it, your glory? either,

1. Your power and authority, which now you so wickedly abuse; or,

2. Your wealth, got by injustice, as glory is taken, Genesis 31:1 Psalm 49:16,17, &c. And what will ye do in the day of visitation,.... Not in a way of grace and mercy, but of wrath and anger, as the following clause explains it, when God should come and punish them for their sins; and so the Targum,

"what will ye do in the day that your sins shall be visited upon you?''

it designs the Babylonish captivity, as the next words show; the same phrase is used of the destruction of the Jews by the Romans, Luke 19:44,

and in the desolation which shall come from far? from Assyria, which was distant from the land of Judea: the word (h) for "desolation" signifies a storm, tumult, noise, and confusion; referring to what would be made by the Assyrian army, when it came upon them:

to whom will ye flee for help? Rezin king of Syria, their confederate, being destroyed; and Syria, with whom they were in alliance, now become their enemy, see Isaiah 9:11,

and where will ye leave your glory? either their high titles, and ensigns of honour, as princes, judges, and civil magistrates, which they should be stripped of; or rather their mammon, as Aben Ezra interprets it, their unrighteous mammon, which they got by perverting the judgment of the poor and needy, the widow and the fatherless, of which they gloried; and which now would be taken away from them, when they should go into captivity.

(h) "sub procella, quae a longinquo veniet", Cocceius; so the Targum renders it, "in tumult of tribulation".

And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from {b} far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your {c} glory?

(b) That is, from Assyria.

(c) Your riches and authority, that they may be safe and that you may receive them again.

3. The unjust lawgivers are reminded that there is a day of revision, when they must answer to the Supreme Judge.

And what will ye do?] cf. Hosea 9:5. day of visitation] cf. Hosea 9:7; Micah 7:4; Jeremiah 11:23; Jeremiah 23:12, &c.

desolation] or, storm; the word is only employed here by Isaiah. The “storm” of invasion “comes from far”; cf. ch. Isaiah 5:26, Isaiah 30:27.

leave your glory] i.e. “your wealth”; Genesis 31:1; Isaiah 61:6; Isaiah 66:12.Verse 3. - What will ye do in the day of visitation? "The day of visitation" is the day when God reckons with his servants, and demands an account from each of the work done in his vineyard, being prepared to recompense the good and punish the bad (comp. Hosea 9:7). It is oftenest used in a bad sense because, unhappily, so many more are found to deserve punishment than reward. The desolation which shall come from far; rather, the crashing ruin (Cheyne). It is sudden, and complete destruction, rather than mere desolateness, that is threatened. Previous prophecies, especially Isaiah 7:17-20, had informed the Jews that it was to "come from far," "by them that were beyond the river." To whom will ye flee? The prophet speaks in bitter irony. Is there any one to whom ye can flee? any one who can protect you from the wrath of God? Ye well know there is no one. Where will ye leave your glory? With whom will ye deposit your riches, your magnificence, your jewels, your grand apparel? You cannot save them. They will all make to themselves wings, and "fly away like a bird" (Hosea 9:11). Strophe 3. "For the wickedness burneth up like fire: it devours thorns and thistles, and burns in the thickets of the wood; and they smoke upwards in a lofty volume of smoke. Through the wrath of Jehovah of hosts the land is turned into coal, and the nation has become like the food of fire: not one spares his brother. They hew on the right, and are hungry; and devour on the left, and are not satisfied: they devour the flesh of their own arm: Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: these together over Judah. With all this His anger is not turned away, and His hand is stretched out still." The standpoint of the prophet is at the extreme end of the course of judgment, and from that he looks back. Consequently this link of the chain is also past in his view, and hence the future conversives. The curse, which the apostasy of Israel carries within itself, now breaks fully out. Wickedness, i.e., the constant thirst of evil, is a fire which a man kindles in himself. And when the grace of God, which damps and restrains this fire, is all over, it is sure to burst forth: the wickedness bursts forth like fire (the verb is used here, as in Isaiah 30:27, with reference to the wrath of God). And this is the case with the wickedness of Israel, which now consumes first of all thorns and thistles, i.e., individual sinners who are the most ripe for judgment, upon whom the judgment commences, and then the thicket of the wood (sib-che,

(Note: The metheg (gaya) in סבכי (to be pronounced sib-che) has simply the caphonic effect of securing a distinct enunciation to the sibilant letter (in other instances to the guttural, vid., ‛arboth, Numbers 31:12), in cases where the second syllable of the word commences with a guttural or labial letter, or with an aspirate.)

as in Isaiah 10:34, from sebac, Genesis 22:13 equals sobec), that is to say, the great mass of the people, which is woven together by bands of iniquity (vattizzath is not a reflective niphal, as in 2 Kings 22:13, but kal, to kindle into anything, i.e., to set it on fire). The contrast intended in the two figures is consequently not the high and low (Ewald), nor the useless and useful (Drechsler), but individuals and the whole (Vitringa). The fire, into which the wickedness bursts out, seizes individuals first of all; and then, like a forest fire, it seizes upon the nation at large in all its ranks and members, who "whirl up (roll up) ascending of smoke," i.e., who roll up in the form of ascending smoke (hith'abbek, a synonym of hithhappēk, Judges 7:13, to curl or roll). This fire of wickedness was no other than the wrath (ebrâh) of God: it is God's own wrath, for all sin carries this within itself as its own self-punishment. By this fire of wrath the soil of the land is gradually but thoroughly burnt out, and the people of the land utterly consumed: עתם ἁπ λεγ to be red-hot (lxx συγκέκαυται, also the Targum), and to be dark or black (Arabic ‛atame, late at night), for what is burnt out becomes black. Fire and darkness are therefore correlative terms throughout the whole of the Scriptures. So far do the figures extend, in which the prophet presents the inmost essence of this stage of judgment. In its historical manifestation it consisted in the most inhuman self-destruction during an anarchical civil war. Destitute of any tender emotions, they devoured one another without being satisfied: gâzar, to cut, to hew (hence the Arabic for a butcher): zero'o, his arm, according to Jeremiah 19:9, equivalent to the member of his own family and tribe, who was figuratively called his arm (Arabic ‛adud: see Ges. Thes. p. 433), as being the natural protector and support. This interminable self-immolation, and the regicide associated with the jealousy of the different tribes, shook the northern kingdom again and again to its utter destruction. And the readiness with which the unbrotherly feelings of the northern tribes towards one another could turn into combined hostility towards Judah, was evident enough from the Syro-Ephraimitish war, the consequences of which had not passed away at the time when these prophecies were uttered. This hostility on the part of the brother kingdoms would still further increase. And the end of the judgments of wrath had not come yet.

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