Isaiah 2:14
And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up,
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(14)And upon all the high mountains.—Possibly the prophet may have had in his mind the thunderstorm of Psalm 29:5—“the Lord breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.” The oaks of Bashan were, like the cedars of Lebanon, proverbially types of forest greatness (Isaiah 33:9). Literally, the words must have found a fulfilment in the ravages of Sargon’s and Sennacherib’s armies.

2:10-22 The taking of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans seems first meant here, when idolatry among the Jews was done away; but our thoughts are led forward to the destruction of all the enemies of Christ. It is folly for those who are pursued by the wrath of God, to think to hide or shelter themselves from it. The shaking of the earth will be terrible to those who set their affections on things of the earth. Men's haughtiness will be brought down, either by the grace of God convincing them of the evil of pride, or by the providence of God depriving them of all the things they were proud of. The day of the Lord shall be upon those things in which they put their confidence. Those who will not be reasoned out of their sins, sooner or later shall be frightened out of them. Covetous men make money their god; but the time will come when they will feel it as much their burden. This whole passage may be applied to the case of an awakened sinner, ready to leave all that his soul may be saved. The Jews were prone to rely on their heathen neighbours; but they are here called upon to cease from depending on mortal man. We are all prone to the same sin. Then let not man be your fear, let not him be your hope; but let your hope be in the Lord your God. Let us make this our great concern.And upon all the high mountains - Judea abounded in lofty mountains, which added much to the grandeur of its natural scenery. Lowth supposes that by mountains and hills are meant here, 'kingdoms, republics, states, cities;' but there are probably no parallel places where they have this meaning. The meaning is probably this: high mountains and hills would not only be objects of beauty or grandeur, but also places of defense, and protection. In the caverns and fastnesses of such hills, it would be easy for the people to find refuge when the land was invaded. The meaning of the prophet then is, that the day of God's vengeance should be upon the places of refuge and strength; the strongly fortified places, or places of sure retreat in cases of invasion; compare the notes at Isaiah 2:19.

Hills that are lifted up - That is, high, elevated hills.

14. high … hills—referring to the "high places" on which sacrifices were unlawfully offered, even in Uzziah's (equivalent to Azariah) reign (2Ki 15:4). Also, places of strength, fastnesses in which they trusted, rather than in God; so To which men used to betake themselves in times of war and danger. It is usual with the prophets to describe God’s judgments upon men by the shaking and smoking of the mountains, the trembling of the earth, and the like.

And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up. By which may be meant either kingdoms and cities belonging to the Roman jurisdiction, or churches and monasteries, and such like religious houses, and the dissolution of them. See Revelation 16:20. And upon all the high {t} mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up,

(t) By high trees and mountains are he means the proud and lofty, who think themselves most strong in this world.

Verse 14. - Mountains... hills. It is Sennacherib's boast that he "came up to the height of the mountains" (Isaiah 37:24). Isaiah 2:14The prophet then proceeds to enumerate all the high things upon which that day would fall, arranging them two and two, and binding them in pairs by a double correlative Vav. The day of Jehovah comes, as the first two pairs affirm, upon everything lofty in nature. "As upon all the cedars of Lebanon, the lofty and exalted, so upon all the oaks of Bashan. As upon all mountains, the lofty ones, so upon all hills the exalted ones." But wherefore upon all this majestic beauty of nature? Is all this merely figurative? Knobel regards it as merely a figurative description of the grand buildings of the time of Uzziah and Jotham, in the erection of which wood had been used from Lebanon as well as from Bashan, on the western slopes of which the old shady oaks (sindiân and ballūt) are flourishing still.

(Note: On the meaning of the name of this region, Bashan (Basanitis), see Comm. on Job, Appendix, Eng. Tr.)

But the idea that trees can be used to signify the houses built with the good obtained from them, is one that cannot be sustained from Isaiah 9:9 (10.), where the reference is not to houses built of sycamore and cedar wood, but to trunks of trees of the king mentioned; nor even from Nahum 2:4 (3.), where habberoshim refers to the fir lances which are brandished about in haughty thirst for battle. So again mountains and hills cannot denote the castles and fortifications built upon them, more especially as these are expressly mentioned in Isaiah 2:15 in the most literal terms. In order to understand the prophet, we must bear in mind what the Scriptures invariably assume, from their first chapter to the very close, namely, that the totality of nature is bound up with man in one common history; that man and the totality of nature are inseparably connected together as centre and circumference; that this circumference is affected by the sin which proceeds from man, as well as by the anger or the mercy which proceeds from God to man; that the judgments of God, as the history of the nations proves, involve in fellow-suffering even that part of the creation which is not free; and that this participation in the "corruption" (phthora) and "glory" (doxa) of humanity will come out with peculiar distinctness and force at the close of the world's history, in a manner corresponding to the commencement; and lastly, that the world in its present condition needs a palingenesia, or regeneration, quite as much as the corporeal nature of man, before it can become an object of good pleasure on the part of God. We cannot be surprised, therefore, that, in accordance with this fundamental view of the Scriptures, when the judgment of God fell upon Israel, it should also be described as going down to the land of Israel, and as overthrowing not only the false glory of the nation itself, but everything glorious in the surrounding nature, which had been made to minister to its national pride and love of show, and to which its sin adhered in many different ways. What the prophet foretold began to be fulfilled even in the Assyrian wars. The cedar woods of Lebanon were unsparingly destroyed; the heights and valleys of the land were trodden down and laid waste; and, in the period of the great empires which commenced with Tiglath-pileser, the Holy Land was reduced to a shadow of its former promised beauty.

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