Isaiah 2:7
Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots:
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(7) Their land also is full of silver and gold.—The long and prosperous reign of Uzziah, especially his trade with Ophir, had reproduced the wealth of the days of Solomon. Tribute came from the Arabians and Ammonites (2Chronicles 26:8). The words point to an earlier date than that at which Ahaz was left” naked and distressed” (2Chronicles 28:19). Even under Hezekiah, Sennacherib records in the inscription on the Taylor cylinder that the tribute paid by that king amounted to 30 talents of gold, and 800 talents of silver, besides wrought metal; and a like profusion of wealth, prior to Sennacherib’s invasion, is shown in the account of Hezekiah’s display of his treasures, in Isaiah 39:2 (Cheyne, in loc.; Records of the Past, i. 38).

Their land is also full of . . . chariots.—Here also the reign of Uzziah was like that of Solomon (1Kings 10:26-28). Chariots were used probably both for state pageants (Song of Solomon 1:9; Song of Solomon 3:9-10) and as part of the matériel of war (2Chronicles 1:14; 2Chronicles 9:25). Isaiah here also agrees with Micah (Micah 1:13) in looking on this as “the beginning of sin” (see Deuteronomy 17:16; 1Samuel 8:11). For him, as for Zechariah (Zechariah 9:9), the true King was to come, not with chariots and horses, but riding, as the judges of Israel had ridden (Judges 5:10; Judges 10:4; Judges 12:14), on “a colt, the foal of an ass.”

Isaiah 2:7. Their land also is full of silver, &c. — They have heaped up riches immoderately, and still are greedily pursuing after more. Lowth thinks the prophet is especially reproving those who, in the midst of the public calamities, made no conscience of enriching themselves by oppression and injustice. Their land also is full of horses — Which even their kings were forbidden to multiply, (as they were also forbidden to multiply gold and silver,) and much more the people. In the original this verse consists of a stanza of four lines, in which the construction of the two members is alternate, the first line answering to the third, and the second to the fourth.2:1-9 The calling of the Gentiles, the spread of the gospel, and that far more extensive preaching of it yet to come, are foretold. Let Christians strengthen one another, and support one another. It is God who teaches his people, by his word and Spirit. Christ promotes peace, as well as holiness. If all men were real Christians, there could be no war; but nothing answering to these expressions has yet taken place on the earth. Whatever others do, let us walk in the light of this peace. Let us remember that when true religion flourishes, men delight in going up to the house of the Lord, and in urging others to accompany them. Those are in danger who please themselves with strangers to God; for we soon learn to follow the ways of persons whose company we keep. It is not having silver and gold, horses and chariots, that displeases God, but depending upon them, as if we could not be safe, and easy, and happy without them, and could not but be so with them. Sin is a disgrace to the poorest and the lowest. And though lands called Christian are not full of idols, in the literal sense, are they not full of idolized riches? and are not men so busy about their gains and indulgences, that the Lord, his truths, and precepts, are forgotten or despised?Their land also is full of silver and gold - This "gold" was brought chiefly from Ophir. Solomon imported vast quantities of silver and gold from foreign places; 2 Chronicles 8:18; 2 Chronicles 9:10; 1 Chronicles 29:4; compare Job 28:16; 1 Kings 10:21, 1 Kings 10:27; 2 Chronicles 9:20. 'And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones.' 'It was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.' From these expressions we see the force of the language of Isaiah - 'their land is full,' etc. This accumulation of silver and gold was expressly forbidden by the law of Moses; Deuteronomy 17:17 : 'Neither shall he (the king of Israel) greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.' The reason of this prohibition was, that it tended to produce luxury, effeminacy, profligacy, the neglect of religion, and vice. It is on this account that it is brought by the prophet as an "accusation" against them that their land was thus filled.

Treasures - Wealth of all kinds; but chiefly silver, gold, precious stones, garments, etc.; compare the note at Matthew 6:19.

Their land also is full of horses - This was also forbidden in the law of Moses; Deuteronomy 17:16 : 'But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses.' This law, however, was grossly violated by Solomon; 1 Kings 10:26 : 'And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen; he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.' It is not quite clear "why" the use of horses was forbidden to the Jews. Perhaps several reasons might have concurred:

(1) Egypt was distinguished for producing fine horses, and the Egyptians used them much in war Deuteronomy 17:16; and one design of God was to make the Jews distinguished in all respects from the Egyptians, and to keep them from commerce with them.

(2) Horses were chiefly used "in war," and the tendency of keeping them would be to produce the love of war and conquest.

(3) The tendency of keeping them would be to lead them to put "trust" in them rather than in God for protection. This is hinted at in Psalm 20:7 : 'Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of Yahweh our God.'

(4) "Horses" were regarded as consecrated "to the sun;" see "Univ. Hist. Anc. P.," vol. x., 177. Ed. 1780. They were sacrificed in various nations to the sun, their swiftness being supposed to render them an appropriate offering to that luminary. There is no evidence, however, that they were used for sacrifice among the Hebrews. They were probably employed to draw the chariots in the solemn processions in the worship of the sun. The ancient Persians, who were sun-worshippers, dedicated white horses and chariots to the sun, and it is supposed that other nations derived the practice from them. The sun was supposed to be drawn daily in a chariot by four wondrous coursers, and the fate of Phaeton, who undertook to guide that chariot and to control those coursers, is known to all. The use of horses, therefore, among the Hebrews in the time of Ahaz, when Isaiah 54ed, was connected with idolatry, and it was mainly on this account that the prophet rebuked their use with so much severity; 2 Kings 23:11. It may be added, that in a country like Judea, abounding in hills and mountains, cavalry could not be well employed even in war. On the plains of Egypt it could be employed to advantage; or in predatory excursions, as among the Arabs, horses could be used with great success and effect, and Egypt and Arabia therefore abounded with them. Indeed, these may be regarded as the native countries of the horse. As it was the design of God to separate, as much as possible, the Jews from the surrounding nations, the use of horses was forbidden.

Chariots - "Chariots" were chiefly used in war, though they were sometimes used for pleasure. Of those intended for war there were two kinds; one for the generals and princes to ride in, the other to break the enemy's ranks. These last were commonly armed with hooks or scythes. They were much used by the ancients; Joshua 11:4; Judges 1:19. The Philistines, in their war against Saul, had 30,000 chariots, and 6000 horsemen; 1 Samuel 13:5. There is no evidence, however, that the Jews used chariots for war. Solomon had many of them 1 Kings 10:26, but they do not appear to have been used in any military expedition, but to have been kept for display and pleasure. Judea was a mountainous country, and chariots would have been of little or no use in war.

7. gold—forbidden to be heaped together (De 17:17). Solomon disobeyed (1Ki 10:21, 27).

horses … chariots—forbidden (De 17:16). But Solomon disobeyed (1Ki 20:26). Horses could be used effectively for war in the plains of Egypt; not so in the hilly Judea. God designed there should be as wide as possible a distinction between Israel and the Egyptians. He would have His people wholly dependent on Him, rather than on the ordinary means of warfare (Ps 20:7). Also horses were connected with idolatry (2Ki 23:11); hence His objection: so the transition to "idols" (Isa 2:8) is natural.

Neither is there any end of their treasures; they have heaped up riches immoderately, (which was forbidden even to their king, Deu 17:17) and by wicked practices; they are never satisfied, but still greedily pursuing after more and more wealth, making this their chief business and joy. Their land also is full of horses; which even their king was forbidden to multiply, Deu 17:16, much more his subjects. Their land also is full of silver and gold,.... Procured by pardons, indulgences, masses, praying souls out of purgatory, tithes, annates, Peter's pence, &c.

neither is there any end of their treasures; laid up in the pope's coffers, in their churches, monasteries, and convents:

their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots; for the cardinals, archbishops, bishops, &c. to ride on and in. Horses and chariots are mentioned among the wares and merchandise of Rome, in Revelation 18:13.

Their land also is full of {p} silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots:

(p) The prophet first condemned their superstition and idolatry next their covetousness and thirdly their vain trust in worldly means.

7. Their land also is full …] Lit. and its (the people’s) land has become filled (and so throughout Isaiah 2:7-8). silver and gold … treasures] The wealth of the country had increased enormously through commercial activity and the control of the Red Sea traffic (2 Kings 14:22) in the reigns of Uzziah and Jotham. These “treasures” were partly expended in procuring “horses and chariots,” as in the time of Solomon. The prophets condemn all such accumulation of earthly resources, as tending to lead the nation away from reliance on the help of Jehovah. Cf. Deuteronomy 17:16-17; Deuteronomy 20:1; Isaiah 31:1; Micah 5:10; Zechariah 9:10.Verse 7. - Full of silver and gold. The results of the commercial activity - not evil things in themselves, but probably acquired by sharp dealing, and leading to undue softness and luxury. The Law had given a warning against "greatly multiplying silver and gold" (Deuteronomy 17:17). For the fact of the vast abundance of the precious metals in Judaea at this time, see 2 Kings 14:16; 2 Kings 20:13; 2 Chronicles 32:27; and compare Sennacherib's inscription on the Taylor Cylinder ('Ancient Monarchies,' vol. it. p. 163, 2nd edit.). Full of horses... chariots (comp. Micah 5:10). There is no reason to believe that the Jews or Israelites ever possessed (unless it were under Solomon) any considerable cavalry or chariot force. But from the time of David horses and chariots were imported for convenience and for show by the kings, the princes, and the nobles (see 2 Samuel 15:1; 1 Kings 4:26; 1 Kings 10:28, 29; 1 Kings 22:31; Ecclesiastes 10:7). Like the silver and the gold, they were signs of luxury and ostentation. The limits of this address are very obvious. The end of Isaiah 4:1-6 connects itself with the beginning of chapter 2, so as to form a circle. After various alternations of admonition, reproach, and threatening, the prophet reaches at last the object of the promise with which he started. Chapter 5, on the other hand, commences afresh with a parable. It forms an independent address, although it is included, along with the previous chapters, under the heading in Isaiah 2:1 : "The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw over Judah and Jerusalem." Chapters 2-5 may have existed under this heading before the whole collection arose. It was then adopted in this form into the general collection, so as to mark the transition from the prologue to the body of the book. The prophet describes what he here says concerning Judah and Jerusalem as "the word which he saw." When men speak to one another, the words are not seen, but heard. But when God spoke to the prophet, it was in a supersensuous way, and the prophet saw it. The mind indeed has no more eyes than ears; but a mind qualified to perceive what is supersensuous is altogether eye.

The manner in which Isaiah commences this second address is altogether unparalleled. There is no other example of a prophecy beginning with והיה. And it is very easy to discover the reason why. The praet. consecutivum v'hâyâh derives the force of a future from the context alone; whereas the fut. consecutivum vay'hi (with which historical books and sections very generally commence) is shown to be an aorist by its simple form. Moreover, the Vav in the fut. consecut. has almost entirely lost its copulative character; in the praet. consec., on the other hand, it retains it with all the greater force. The prophet therefore commences with "and"; and it is from what follows, not from what goes before, that we learn that hayah is used in a future sense. But this is not the only strange thing. It is also an unparalleled occurrence, for a prophetic address, which runs as this does through all the different phases of the prophetic discourses generally (viz., exhortation, reproof, threatening, and promise), to commence with a promise. We are in a condition, however, to explain the cause of this remarkable phenomenon with certainty, and not merely to resort to conjecture. Isaiah 2:2-4 do not contain Isaiah's own words, but the words of another prophet taken out of their connection. We find them again in Micah 4:1-4; and whether Isaiah took them from Micah, or whether both Isaiah and Micah took them from some common source, in either case they were not originally Isaiah's.

(Note: The historical statement in Jeremiah 26:18, from which we learn that it was in the days of Hezekiah that Micah uttered the threat contained in Micah 3:12 (of which the promise sin Micah 4:1-4 and Isaiah 2:2-4 are the direct antithesis), apparently precludes the idea that Isaiah borrowed from Micah, whilst the opposite is altogether inadmissible, for reasons assigned above. Ewald and Hitzig have therefore come to the conclusion, quite independently of each other, that both Micah and Isaiah repeated the words of a third and earlier prophet, most probably of Joel. And the passage in question has really very much in common with the book of Joel, viz., the idea of the melting down of ploughshares and pruning-hooks (Joel 3:10), the combination of râb (many) and âtsum (strong), of gephen (vine) and te'enah (fig-tree), as compared with Micah 4:4; also the attesting formula, "For Jehovah hath spoken it" (Chi Jehovah dibber: Joel 3:8), which is not found in Micah, whereas it is very common in Isaiah - a fact which makes the sign itself a very feeble one (cf., 1 Kings 14:11, also Obadiah 1:18). Hitzig, indeed, maintains that it is only by restoring this passage that the prophetic writings of Joel receive their proper rounding off and an appropriate termination; but although swords and spears beaten into ploughshares and pruning-hooks form a good antithesis to ploughshares and pruning-hooks beaten into swords and spears (Joel 3:10), the coming of great and mighty nations to Mount Zion after the previous judgment of extermination would be too unprepared or much too abrupt a phenomenon. On the other hand, we cannot admit the force of the arguments adduced either by E. Meier (Joel, p. 195) or by Knobel and G. Baur (Amos, p. 29) against the authorship of Joel, which rest upon a misapprehension of the meaning of Joel's prophecies, which the former regards as too full of storm and battle, the latter as too exclusive and one-sided, for Joel to be the author of the passage in question. At the same time, we would call attention to the fact, that the promises in Micah form the obverse side to the previous threatenings of judgment, so that there is a presumption of their originality; also that the passage contains as many traces of Micah's style (see above at Isaiah 1:3) as we could expect to find in these three verses; and, as we shall show at the conclusion of this cycle of predictions (chapters 1-6), that the historical fact mentioned in Jeremiah 26:18 may be reconciled in the simplest possible manner with the assumption that Isaiah borrowed these words of promise from Micah. (See Caspari, Micha, p. 444ff.))

Nor was it even intended that they should appear to be his. Isaiah has not fused them into the general flow of his own prophecy, as the prophets usually do with the predictions of their predecessors. He does not reproduce them, but, as we may observe from the abrupt commencement, he quote them. It is true, this hardly seems to tally with the heading, which describes what follows as the word of Jehovah which Isaiah saw. But the discrepancy is only an apparent one. It was the spirit of prophecy, which called to Isaiah's remembrance a prophetic saying that had already been uttered, and made it the starting-point of the thoughts which followed in Isaiah's mind. The borrowed promise is not introduced for its own sake, but is simply a self-explaining introduction to the exhortations and threatenings which follow, and through which the prophet works his way to a conclusion of his own, that is closely intertwined with the borrowed commencement.

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