Isaiah 27:11
When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, and set them on fire: for it is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will show them no favor.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTeedTTBWESTSK
(11) When the boughs thereof are withered . . .—The picture of the wasted city receives another touch. Shrubs cover its open spaces (perhaps the prophet thinks of the gardens and parks within the walls of a city like Babylon), and women come, without fear of trespassing, to gather them for firewood.

For it is a people of no understanding.—The words are generic enough, and may be applied, like similar words in Isaiah 1:3; Jeremiah 8:7; Deuteronomy 32:28, to Israel as apostate, or to the world-power, which was the enemy of Israel. In this case, as we have seen, the context turns the scale in favour of the latter reference. So taken, the words are suggestive, as witnessing to the prophet’s belief that the God of Israel was also the Maker and the Former of the nations of the heathen world.

27:6-13 In the days of the gospel, the latter days, the gospel church shall be more firmly fixed than the Jewish church, and shall spread further. May our souls be continually watered and kept, that we may abound in the fruits of the Spirit, in all goodness, righteousness, and truth. The Jews yet are kept a separate and a numerous people; they have not been rooted out as those who slew them. The condition of that nation, through so many ages, forms a certain proof of the Divine origin of the Scriptures; and the Jews live amongst us, a continued warning against sin. But though winds are ever so rough, ever so high, God can say to them, Peace, be still. And though God will afflict his people, yet he will make their afflictions to work for the good of their souls. According to this promise, since the captivity in Babylon, no people have shown such hatred to idols and idolatry as the Jews. And to all God's people, the design of affliction is to part between them and sin. The affliction has done us good, when we keep at a distance from the occasions of sin, and use care that we may not be tempted to it. Jerusalem had been defended by grace and the Divine protection; but when God withdrew, she was left like a wilderness. This has awfully come to pass. And this is a figure of the deplorable state of the vineyard, the church, when it brought forth wild grapes. Sinners flatter themselves they shall not be dealt with severely, because God is merciful, and is their Maker. We see how weak those pleas will be. Verses 12,13, seem to predict the restoration of the Jews after the Babylonish captivity, and their recovery from their present dispersion. This is further applicable to the preaching of the gospel, by which sinners are gathered into the grace of God; the gospel proclaims the acceptable year of the Lord. Those gathered by the sounding of the gospel trumpet, are brought in to worship God, and added to the church; and the last trumpet will gather the saints together.When the boughs thereof are withered - This is a further description of the desolation which would come upon Babylon. The idea is, that Babylon would be forsaken until the trees should grow and decay, and the branches should fall to be collected for burning. That is, the desolation should be entire, undisturbed, and long continued The idea of the desolation is, therefore, in this verse carried forward, and a new circumstance is introduced to make it more graphic and striking. Lowth, however, supposes that this refers to the vineyard, and to the fact that the vine-twigs are collected in the East from the scarcity of fuel for burning. But it seems to me that the obvious reference is to Babylon, and that it is an image of the great and prolonged desolation that was coming upon that city.

They shall be broken off - That is, by their own weight as they decay, or by the hands of those who come to collect them for fuel.

The women come - Probably it was the office mainly of the women to collect the fuel which might be necessary for culinary purposes. In eastern climates but little is needed; and that is collected of the twigs of vineyards, of withered stubble, straw, hay, dried roots, etc., wherever they can be found.

And set them on fire - That is, to burn them for fuel.

Of no understanding - Of no right views of God and his government - wicked, sinful Proverbs 6:32; Proverbs 18:2; Jeremiah 5:21.

11. boughs … broken off—so the Jews are called (Ro 11:17, 19, 20).

set … on fire—burn them as fuel; "women" are specified, as probably it was their office to collect fuel and kindle the fire for cooking.

no understanding—as to the ways of God (De 32:28, 29; Jer 5:21; Ho 4:6).

When the boughs thereof are withered; when they shall begin to wither, as they will when they are thus gnawed and cropped by cattle.

They shall be broken off, that there may be no hopes nor possibility of their recovery.

The women; he mentions women, either because it is their usual work in the country to make fires, and to gather fuel for them, or to signify that the men should be generally destroyed.

It is a people of no understanding; they do not understand either me or themselves, either my word or works; they know not the things which concern their own peace and happiness, but, like brute beasts made to be destroyed, they blindly and wilfully go on in those courses which will bring them to certain ruin. He that made them; both as they are creatures, and as they are his people; for this also is expressed by making or forming, as Psalm 100:3 102:18 149:2. Thus he overthroweth their false and presumptuous conceits, that God would never destroy the work of his own hands, nor the seed of Abraham his friend for ever; and plainly declareth the contrary. When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off,.... This city is compared to a tree, whose branches are not only gnawed and consumed by cattle, as in the former verse Isaiah 27:10; but which, in a hot dry summer, are withered and dried up, and so are easily broken, and are fit for nothing but the fire; hence it follows:

the women come and set them on fire; or "gather" them (f) in order to burn them; as is commonly done with withered branches, John 15:6 it may design the burning of the whore of Rome by the kings of the earth; for as antichrist is signified by a woman, so the ten kings that shall hate her, and burn her flesh with fire, may be signified by women; see Revelation 17:16. The word here used signifies to illuminate, or give light, which is done when wood is set on fire; hence the Vulgate Latin renders it, "women coming, and teaching it"; and so the Targum,

"women shall come into the house of their gods, and teach them;''

as the woman Jezebel does, Revelation 2:20 the former sense is best:

for it is a people of no understanding; or "understandings": that is, the people that inhabit the above city, they are sottish and stupid, have no understanding of God and divine things, of the Scriptures, and the doctrines of them; among whom this maxim obtains, that ignorance is the mother of devotion; they are under a judicial blindness, are given up to strong delusions to believe a lie, 2 Thessalonians 2:10,

therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them; and he that formed them will show them no favour; but his wrath shall be poured out upon them to the uttermost, which will be fulfilled in the seven vials, and in the destruction of Rome, and the everlasting ruin of the worshippers of the man of sin; see Revelation 16:1 no argument can be taken from men's being God's creatures and offspring, and from his being the former and maker of them, to their salvation; or because they are so, therefore shall be saved when they are sinful and sottish; for, being like brutes without understanding, they shall perish as they, without mercy.

(f) So Abendana in Miclol Yophi observes, this is the sense some give of the word, taking it to be the same as is used in Cant. v. 1.

When its boughs are withered, they shall be broken off: the {l} women come, and set them on fire: for it is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will show them no favour.

(l) God will not have need of mighty enemies: for the very women will do it to their great shame.

11. women come, and set them on fire] i.e. come thither to gather fuel.

a people of no understanding] (lit. “not a people of discernment”) because it does not perceive that deliverance is delayed solely by its continued impenitence (ch. Isaiah 44:18).Verse 11. - When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off. By a sudden introduction of metaphor, the city becomes a tree, the prophet's thought going back, perhaps, to ver. 6. "Withered boughs" are indications of internal rottenness, and must be "broken off" to give the tree a chance of recovery. Samaria may be viewed as such a "bough," if the "tree" be taken as "the Israel of God" in the wider sense. Otherwise, we must suppose a threat against individual Judaeans. The women come. Weak women are strong enough to break off dead branches; they fall at a touch, and "their end is to be burned" (Hebrews 6:8). For it is a people of no understanding. It was folly, madness, to turn away from Jehovah, and go after other gods. Only through having "no understanding" could Israel have been so foolish (comp. Deuteronomy 32:28; 2 Kings 17:15; Jeremiah 4:22). He that made them... he that formed them (scrap. Isaiah 43. ], 7). God "hateth nothing that he has made" (Collect for Ash Wednesday). He made all men, but he "made" and "formed" Israel with exceptional care, and exceptional care leads on to exceptional love. Will not have mercy... will show them no favor; i.e. "will not spare." No contradiction of vers. 7, 8 is intended. God will have "measure" and "mercy" in his punishment of Israel, but will not so have mercy as not to punish severely. The prophecy here passes for the fourth time into the tone of a song. The church recognises itself in the judgments upon the world, as Jehovah's well-protected and beloved vineyard.

In that day a merry vineyard - sing it!

I, Jehovah, its keeper,

Every moment I water it.

That nothing may come near it,

I watch it night and day.

Wrath have I none;

O, had I thorns, thistles before me!

I would make up to them in battle,

Burn them all together.

Men would then have to grasp at my protection,

Make peace with me,

Make peace with me.

Instead of introducing the song with, "In that day shall this song be sung," or some such introduction, the prophecy passes at once into the song. It consists in a descending scale of strophes, consisting of one of five lines (Isaiah 27:2, Isaiah 27:3), one of four lines (Isaiah 27:4), and one of three lines (Isaiah 27:5). The thema is placed at the beginning, in the absolute case: cerem chemer. This may signify a vineyard of fiery or good wine (compare cerem zaith in Judges 15:5); but it is possible that the reading should be cerem chemed, as in Isaiah 32:12, as the lxx, Targum, and most modern commentators assume. ענּה ל signifies, according to Numbers 21:17; Psalm 147:7 (cf., Exodus 32:18; Psalm 88:1), to strike up a song with reference to anything - an onomatopoetic word (different from ענה, to begin, literally to meet). Cerem (the vineyard) is a feminine here, like בּאר, the well, in the song of the well in Numbers 21:17-18, and just as Israel, of which the vineyard here is a symbol (Isaiah 3:14; Isaiah 5:1.), is sometimes regarded as masculine, and at other times as feminine (Isaiah 26:20). Jehovah Himself is introduced as speaking. He is the keeper of the vineyard, who waters it every moment when there is any necessity (lirgâ‛im, like labbekârim in Isaiah 33:2, every morning), and watches it by night as well as by day, that nothing may visit it. על פּקד (to visit upon) is used in other cases to signify the infliction of punishment; here it denotes visitation by some kind of misfortune. Because it was the church purified through afflictions, the feelings of Jehovah towards it were pure love, without any admixture of the burning of anger (chēmâh). This is reserved for all who dare to do injury to this vineyard. Jehovah challenges these, and says, Who is there, then, that gives me thorns, thistles! עיתּנני equals לי יתּן, as in Jeremiah 9:1, cf., Joshua 15:19.) The asyndeton, instead of ושׁית שׁמיר, which is customary elsewhere, corresponds to the excitement of the exalted defender. If He had thorns, thistles before Him, He would break forth upon them in war, i.e., make war upon them (bâh, neuter, upon such a mass of bush), and set it all on fire (הצית equals הצּית). The arrangement of the strophes requires that we should connect כּמּלחמה with אפשׂעה (var. אפשׂעה), though this is at variance with the accents. We may see very clearly, even by the choice of the expression bammilchâmâh, that thorns and thistles are a figurative representation of the enemies of the church (2 Samuel 23:6-7). And in this sense the song concludes in Isaiah 27:5 : only by yielding themselves to mercy will they find mercy. או with a voluntative following, "unless," as in Leviticus 26:41. "Take hold of:" hechezik b', as in 1 Kings 1:50, of Adonijah, who lays hold of the horns of the altar. "Make peace with:" ‛âsâh shâlōm l', as in Joshua 9:15. The song closes here. What the church here utters, is the consciousness of the gracious protection of its God, as confirmed in her by the most recent events.

Isaiah 27:11 Interlinear
Isaiah 27:11 Parallel Texts

Isaiah 27:11 NIV
Isaiah 27:11 NLT
Isaiah 27:11 ESV
Isaiah 27:11 NASB
Isaiah 27:11 KJV

Isaiah 27:11 Bible Apps
Isaiah 27:11 Parallel
Isaiah 27:11 Biblia Paralela
Isaiah 27:11 Chinese Bible
Isaiah 27:11 French Bible
Isaiah 27:11 German Bible

Bible Hub

Isaiah 27:10
Top of Page
Top of Page