Isaiah 30:12
Why thus said the Holy One of Israel, Because you despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon:
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(12) Because ye despise this word—i.e., the message which Isaiah had delivered against the alliance with Egypt. We note how the prophet enforces it, as coming from that very Holy One of Israel of whom they were tired of hearing.

Isaiah 30:12-14. Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression — In the wealth which you have gotten by oppression, whereby you now think to procure Egyptian succours; and perverseness — In your perverse and rebellious course of sending to Egypt for help. This iniquity shall be to you as a breach, &c. — Like a wall, which is high, and seems to be strong, but, swelling out in some parts, upon the least accident falleth down suddenly to the ground. Such shall be the issue of your high and towering confidence in Egypt. And he shall break it — Namely, God, or the enemy whom God will send against you.30:8-18 The Jews were the only professing people God then had in the world, yet many among them were rebellious. They had the light, but they loved darkness rather. The prophets checked them in their sinful pursuits, so that they could not proceed without fear; this they took amiss. But faithful ministers will not be driven from seeking to awaken sinners. God is the Holy One of Israel, and so they shall find him. They did not like to hear of his holy commandments and his hatred of sin; they desired that they might no more be reminded of these things. But as they despised the word of God, their sins undermined their safety. Their state would be dashed in pieces like a potter's vessel. Let us return from our evil ways, and settle in the way of duty; that is the way to be saved. Would we be strengthened, it must be in quietness and in confidence, keeping peace in our own minds, and relying upon God. They think themselves wiser than God; but the project by which they thought to save themselves was their ruin. Only here and there one shall escape, as a warning to others. If men will not repent, turn to God, and seek happiness in his favour and service, their desires will but hasten their ruin. Those who make God alone their confidence, will have comfort. God ever waits to be gracious to all that come to him by faith in Christ, and happy are those who wait for him.Wherefore thus saith the Holy One - Yahweh. There may be some reference here to the fact adverted to in Isaiah 30:11, that they were weary of the name of the Holy One of Israel, and of the perpetual reiteration of his commands. Isaiah, as if to show them how little he was disposed to comply with their prejudices, again makes an appeal to that name, and urges the authority of Yahweh. It is often proper to "repeat" the very doctrine to which sinners object, and which has given them offence. That they are offended, shows that their minds are "awake" to the truth, and gives some indication that their consciences trouble them. Ministers of God should never shrink from their duty because people oppose them; they should never cease to speak in the name and by the authority of the Holy One of Israel, because that name may excite opposition and disgust.

Ye despise this word - That is, the word or message of Yahweh Isaiah 28:13-14; or perhaps it means the word 'Holy One of Israel.' The sense is, that they did not trust in the promise and protection of Yahweh, but relied on human aid.

And trust in oppression - Margin, 'Fraud.' The word עשׁק ‛osheq properly denotes oppression, or extortion Ecclesiastes 5:7; Ezekiel 22:7, Ezekiel 22:12; then, that which is obtained by extortion, and also by fraud Leviticus 6:4; Psalm 62:11; Ecclesiastes 7:7. It may refer here to the fact that they had, by unjust and oppressive exactions, obtained the treasures referred to in Isaiah 30:6, by which they hoped to conciliate the favor of Egypt; or it may mean that they trusted in their fraudulent purposes toward God, that is, to a false and perfidious course, by which they were unfaithful to him.

Perverseness - A crooked, perverse, rebellious course. They refused submission to Yahweh, and relied on the aid of strangers.

12. Holy One—Isaiah so little yields to their wicked prejudices that he repeats the very name and truth which they disliked.

this word—Isaiah's exhortation to reliance on Jehovah.

oppression—whereby they levied the treasures to be sent to conciliate Egypt (Isa 30:6).

perverseness—in relying on Egypt, rather than on Jehovah.

In oppression; in the wealth which you have gotten by oppression, whereby you now think to procure Egyptian succours; of which See Poole "Isaiah 30:6".

And perverseness; and in your perverse and rebellious course of sending to Egypt for help. Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel,.... The prophet introduces his message with the phrase they objected to: ministers of the word must not seek to please men, nor should they be deterred from the use of phrases, because disliked by natural men: as, in our days, men do not love to hear the name of Christ so often mentioned, or his Gospel, or the glorious truths of it; but the use of them should not be left off on that account, but rather they should be the more inculcated, as we find this phrase was; see Isaiah 30:15,

Because ye despise this word; either this name of the Lord, "the Holy One of Israel"; or this prophecy that was delivered unto them, which reproved them for their confidence in Egypt, and exhorted them to sit still at home, and trust in the Lord; but instead of that they trusted in what was very bad, as follows:

but trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon; either in oppressors, and perverse persons, as the Egyptians were; or in their wealth, got by oppression, rapine, and fraud, which they carried to Egypt, and on which they depended for help and relief; and in that perverse disposition of mind, contradicting the Lord speaking by his prophets, resolving to take their own way, not doubting but that they should have success.

Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in {l} oppression and perverseness, and lean upon it:

(l) Meaning, in their stubbornness against God and the admonitions of his prophets.

12. this word] the warnings against the Egyptian alliance.

oppression and perverseness (lit. “crookedness”)] The first word is explained of the oppressive war taxation necessitated by the policy now finally decided on; this is not altogether obvious, and some prefer, by transposing two consonants, to read “perverseness and crookedness.” The same words are conjoined in Proverbs 2:15.

12–14. The answer of “Israel’s Holy One,” whose revelation is thus challenged.Verse 12. - Because ye despise this word; rather, because ye reject this word (see 1 Samuel 8:7; 1 Samuel 15:23, 26; 2 Kings 17:15, etc.). The "word" intended is probably the prophecy against trusting in Egypt (vers. 1-7). And trust in oppression; or, extortion. Oppressive measures employed to obtain the rich gifts which had to be sent into Egypt (ver. 6) are probably intended (setup. 2 Kings 15:20). Gratz and Cheyne change the reading from 'oshek to 'ikkesh ("perverseness"); but without any necessity. And perverseness; literally, crookedness; i.e. "tortuous policy" (Kay). And stay thereon; rather, lean or stay yourselves thereon. The prophet's address is hardly commenced, however, when a heading is introduced of the very same kind as we have already met with several times in the cycle of prophecies against the heathen nations. Gesenius, Hitzig, Umbreit, and Knobel, rid themselves of it by pronouncing it a gloss founded upon a misunderstanding. But nothing is more genuine in the whole book of Isaiah than the words massâ' bahămōth negebh . The heading is emblematical, like the four headings in chapters 21, 22. And the massâ' embraces Isaiah 30:6, Isaiah 30:7. Then follows the command to write it on a table by itself. The heading is an integral part of the smaller whole. Isaiah breaks off his address to communicate an oracle relating to the Egyptian treaty, which Jehovah has specially commanded him to hand down to posterity. The same interruption would take place if we expunged the heading; for in any case it was Isaiah 30:6, Isaiah 30:7 that he was to write upon a table. This is not an address to the people, but the preliminary text, the application of which is determined afterwards. The prophet communicates in the form of a citation what has been revealed to him by God, and then states what God has commanded him to do with it. We therefore enclose Isaiah 30:6, Isaiah 30:7 in inverted commas as a quotation, and render the short passage, which is written in the tone of chapter 21, as follows: "Oracle concerning the water-oxen of the south: Through a land of distress and confinement, whence the lioness and lion, adders and flying dragons; they carry their possessions on the shoulders of asses' foals, and their treasures on the humps of camels, to a nation that profits nothing. And Egypt, worthlessly and hollowly will they help; therefore I call this Egypt, Great-mouth that sits still." The "water-ox of the south" is the Nile-horse; and this is the emblem of Egypt, the land of the south (in Daniel and Zechariah Babylonia is "the land of the north"). Bahămōth is the construct of behēmōth (Job 40), which is a Hebraized from of an Egyptian word, p-ehe-mau (though the word itself has not yet been met with), i.e., the ox of the water, or possibly p-ehe-mau-t (with the feminine article at the close, though in hesmut, another name for a female animal, mut equals t. mau signifies "the mother:" see at Job 40:15). The animal referred to is the hippopotamus, which is called bomarino in Italian, Arab. the Nile-horse or water-pig. The emblem of Egypt in other passages of the Old Testament is tannin, the water-snake, or leviathan, the crocodile. In Psalm 78:31 this is called chayyath qâneh, "the beast of the reed," though Hengstenberg supposes that the Nile-horse is intended there. This cannot be maintained, however; but in the passage before us this emblem is chosen, just because the fat, swine-like, fleshy colossus, whose belly nearly touches the ground as it walks, is a fitting image of Egypt, a land so boastful and so eager to make itself thick and broad, and yet so slow to exert itself in the interest of others, and so unwilling to move from the spot. This is also implied in the name rahabh-hēm-shâb. Rahab is a name applied to Egypt in other passages also (Isaiah 51:9; Psalm 87:4; Psalm 89:11), and that in the senses attested by the lxx at Job 26:12 (cf., Isaiah 9:13), viz., κῆτος, a sea-monster, monstrum marinum. Here the name has the meaning common in other passages, viz., violence, domineering pride, boasting (ἀλαζονεία, as one translator renders it). הם is a term of comparison, as in Genesis 14:2-3, etc.; the plural refers to the people called rahabh. Hence the meaning is either, "The bragging people, they are sit-still;" or, "Boast-house, they are idlers." To this deceitful land the ambassadors of Judah were going with rich resources (chăyâlı̄m, opes) on the shoulder of asses' foals, and on the hump (dabbesheth, from dâbhash, according to Luzzatto related to gâbhash, to be hilly) of camels, without shrinking from the difficulties and dangers of the road through the desert, where lions and snakes spring out now here and now there (מהם, neuter, as in Zephaniah 2:7, comp. Isaiah 38:16; see also Deuteronomy 8:15; Numbers 21:6). Through this very desert, through which God had led their fathers when He redeemed them out of the bondage of Egypt, they were now marching to purchase the friendship of Egypt, though really, whatever might be the pretext which they offered, it was only to deceive themselves; for the vainglorious land would never keep the promises that it made.
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