The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.—On the relation of this chapter to Isaiah 1, see Introduction. The moral and social state described in it points to an earlier date than the reformation of Hezekiah. The sins of the people are more flagrant; but there is not as yet with them the added guilt of a formal and ceremonial worship. The character of the king in Isaiah 3:12 corresponds with that of Ahaz. The influence of the Philistines, traceable in Isaiah 2:6, is probably connected with their invasion of Judah in that reign (2Chronicles 28:18). The mention of “ships of Tarshish” in Isaiah 2:16 points to a time when the commerce of the Red Sea (1Kings 9:26; 1Kings 22:48) was still in the hands of Judah, and prior, therefore, to the capture of Elath by Rezin, king of Syria (2Kings 16:6). We are able, therefore, with hardly the shadow of uncertainty, to fix the date of the whole section as belonging to the early years of the reign of Ahaz, with, perhaps, a backward glance at evils which belonged also to the reigns of Uzziah and Jotham. The title of the superscription unites in an exceptional form the two ideas of the prophet and of the seer. What follows is “the word” of Isaiah, but it is a word that he has seen.Isaiah 2:1. The word that Isaiah saw — The matter, or thing, as the Hebrew word, הדבר, commonly signifies; the prophecy or vision. He speaks of the prophecy contained in this and the two following chapters, which makes one continued discourse. “The first five verses of this chapter foretel the kingdom of the Messiah, the conversion of the Gentiles, and their admission into it. From the 6th verse to the end of this second chapter is foretold the punishment of the unbelieving Jews for their idolatrous practices, their confidence in their own strength, and distrust of God’s protection: and, moreover, the destruction of idolatry in consequence of the establishment of the Messiah’s kingdom. The whole third chapter, with Isaiah 2:1, of the fourth, is a prophecy of the calamities of the Babylonian invasion and captivity; with a particular amplification of the distress of the proud and luxurious daughters of Sion. Isaiah 4:2-6, promises to the remnant, which shall have escaped this severe purgation, a future restoration to the favour and protection of God. This prophecy was probably delivered in the time of Jotham, or, perhaps, in that of Uzziah, to which time not any of his prophecies (and he prophesied in their days) is so applicable as that of these chapters.” — Bishop Lowth.Isaiah 2:1, but the meaning is substantially the same. The term "word" דבר dâbâr, denotes a "command, a promise, a doctrine, an oracle, a revelation, a message, a thing," etc. It means here, that Isaiah foresaw certain "future events" or "things" that would happen in regard to Judah and Jerusalem.
Judah ... - see the notes at Isaiah 1:1.
1. The inscription.
The word—the revelation.A prophecy of Christ’s kingdom, and the calling of the Gentiles, Isaiah 2:1-5; and rejection of the Jews for their idolatry and pride, Isaiah 2:6-9. The great majesty and power of God; and his terrors on the wicked; with an exhortation to fear God, and not to trust in man, Isaiah 2:10-22.
"the word of prophecy, which Isaiah, the son of Amoz, prophesied:''
or the thing, the "decree", as some choose to render it, the purpose of God concerning things to come, which was revealed to the prophet, and he here declares:The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Isaiah 2:2-4. ZION THE CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSAL RELIGION IN THE LATTER DAYS
In this striking picture of the Messianic age the following features should be noticed:—(i) The preeminence, amongst the mountains of the world, of Zion, the acknowledged seat of Jehovah’s universal dominion (cf. Jeremiah 3:17; Psalm 2:6; Psalm 110:2, &c., also Ezekiel 40:2). (ii) The extension of the true religion is effected, not by conquest, but by the moral influence of Israel’s theocratic institutions on surrounding peoples (cf. Isaiah 60:3). The submission of the nations is spontaneous; they are filled with eager desire to learn the ways of Jehovah (comp. Zechariah 2:11; Zechariah 8:22). Hence (iii) the nations retain their political independence. They are not conceived as absorbed in the Jewish nationality or as incorporated in a world-empire. Jehovah, not Israel, rules the world, and He rules it by His word, not by the sword. (iv) The authority of Jehovah, appealed to in all international disputes, brings war to an end, and ushers in an era of universal peace.
The representation is ideal, yet it contains little to which the hope of the Church does not look forward as the issue of the Christian dispensation. The only traces of the limitations of the Old Testament stand point spring from the idea of Zion as the earthly centre of Jehovah’s sovereignty. Even this has been understood literally by many Christians. But it is more in accordance with the analogy of prophecy to regard it as one of those symbols of spiritual truth, which, although conceived realistically by the prophets, were destined to be fulfilled in ways that could not be perfectly revealed until the true nature of God’s kingdom was disclosed by Christ.
The occurrence of this prophecy, with slight variations, in Micah 4:1-4, raises a difficult literary problem, for no one will now hold that the two prophets were independently inspired to utter identical words. Did Isaiah borrow from Micah or Micah from Isaiah, or both from some unknown earlier prophet? Against the first hypothesis it is pointed out that Micah’s prophetic career had not begun till a time considerably later than the date of these chapters; hence if either prophet borrowed from the other the citation must be on the part of Micah. But against this it is urged that its position in Isaiah and the want of connexion with what follows mark it out as a quotation, and also that it is given by Micah in what appears to be the more original form. Hence the third alternative (originally propounded by Koppe in the last century) has been widely accepted by critics. On this view the utterance of an older prophet has been adopted by Isaiah and Micah as a “classic” and perhaps popular expression of the ideal to which they both looked forward. But a theory which is reached by a process of exhaustion cannot command much confidence, especially when the process is after all not exhaustive. The possibility of a later insertion in both places cannot be ignored, and a certain presumption in favour of Isaiah’s authorship is furnished by resemblances both in matter and style to other passages in the book (Isaiah 11:1-8, Isaiah 32:1-8), (so Duhm). At the same time it cannot be denied that its connexion in the present passage is somewhat loose, and it must remain doubtful whether it was originally composed as the introduction to this group of prophecies or belongs to a later stage of Isaiah’s life. The assertion that the conception presented would be unintelligible in the age of Isaiah may be disregarded. As Wellhausen remarks, the prediction is one that would be remarkable in any age; it is perhaps even less surprising from the pen of Isaiah than from that of a later prophet.Verse 1. - TITLE OF THE CHAPTER. It is generally allowed that the heading belongs, not to this chapter only, but to a section of the work, beginning here and ending at the close, either of Isaiah 4. or of Isaiah 5. It is probable that the section was originally published separately. Isaiah 1:26 it should pass over into a pure promise; the meltingly soft and yearningly mournful termination of the clauses with ayich, the keynote of the later songs of Zion, being still continued. "And I will bring back thy judges as in the olden time, and thy counsellors as in the beginning; afterwards thou wilt be called city of righteousness, faithful citadel." The threat itself was, indeed, relatively a promise, inasmuch as whatever could stand the fire would survive the judgment; and the distinct object of this was to bring back Jerusalem to the purer metal of its own true nature. But when that had been accomplished, still more would follow. The indestructible kernel that remained would be crystallized, since Jerusalem would receive back from Jehovah the judges and counsellors which it had had in the olden flourishing times of the monarchy, ever since it had become the city of David and of the temple; not, indeed, the very same persons, but persons quite equal to them in excellence. Under such God-given leaders Jerusalem would become what it had once been, and what it ought to be. The names applied to the city indicate the impression produced by the manifestation of its true nature. The second name is written without the article, as in fact the word kiryah (city), with its massive, definite sound, always is in Isaiah. Thus did Jehovah announce the way which it had been irrevocably determined that He would take with Israel, as the only way to salvation. Moreover, this was the fundamental principle of the government of God, the law of Israel's history.
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