Isaiah 5:25
Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and he has stretched forth his hand against them, and has smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcasses were torn in the middle of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
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(25) The hills did tremble.—We again trace the influence of the earthquake which was still fresh in the memories of men. (See Note on Isaiah 2:10.)

Their carcases were torn.—Better, were as sweepings, or, as refuse. The words may point either to pestilence, or war, or famine. The stress laid on scarcity in Isaiah 5:10 makes it probable that the last was prominent in the prophet’s mind.

For all this his anger is not turned away.—The same formula meets us in Isaiah 9:12; Isaiah 9:21; Isaiah 10:4; Isaiah 14:27, with a solemn knell-like iteration. It bids the people remember after each woe that this is not all. They do not as yet see the end of the chastisement through which God is leading them. “For all this” may mean (1) because of all the sins, or (2) notwithstanding all the punishment already inflicted. (Comp. Leviticus 26:18; Leviticus 26:23.)

Isaiah 5:25. Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled — This implies that, before the time of that final vengeance, concerning which the prophecy principally treats, God had afflicted, or, rather, would afflict and chastise this rebellious people, with the most grievous calamities: that those calamities should consume many, who, being slain in the wars, should be trod upon by their enemies, like the dung in the streets; most certain indications these of the divine justice and wrath, while they, unawakened by these chastisements, would not so much as attempt to appease the divine displeasure, but would provoke it still more by repeated crimes; till, at length, it should come upon them to the uttermost. — Vitringa. And the hills did tremble — A metaphorical and hyperbolical description of a grievous calamity, familiar to the prophets: see the margin. For all this, his anger is not turned away, &c. — This is not the end, as you vainly imagine, but, if you repent not, only the beginning of your sorrows, and an earnest of further miseries.5:24-30 Let not any expect to live easily who live wickedly. Sin weakens the strength, the root of a people; it defaces the beauty, the blossoms of a people. When God's word is despised, and his law cast away, what can men expect but that God should utterly abandon them? When God comes forth in wrath, the hills tremble, fear seizes even great men. When God designs the ruin of a provoking people, he can find instruments to be employed in it, as he sent for the Chaldeans, and afterwards the Romans, to destroy the Jews. Those who would not hear the voice of God speaking by his prophets, shall hear the voice of their enemies roaring against them. Let the distressed look which way they will, all appears dismal. If God frowns upon us, how can any creature smile? Let us diligently seek the well-grounded assurance, that when all earthly helps and comforts shall fail, God himself will be the strength of our hearts, and our portion for ever.Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled - The Lord is "enraged," or is angry. Similar expressions often occur; Numbers 11:33; 2 Kings 23:26; Deuteronomy 11:17; Psalm 56:1-13 :40; Job 19:11; Psalm 2:12. The "cause" of his anger was the crimes which are specified in this chapter.

And he hath stretched forth his hand - To stretch forth the hand may be an action expressive of protection, invitation, or punishment. Here it is the latter; compare Isaiah 14:27.

And hath smitten them - Punished them. To what this refers particularly is not clear. Gesenius supposes that the expressions which follow are descriptive of pestilence. Lowth and Rosenmuller suppose that they refer to the earthquakes which occurred in the days of Uzziah, and in the time of the prophets; Amos 1:1; Zechariah 14:5. The words, perhaps, will bear either construction.

And the hills did tremble - This expression is one that is often used in the Scriptures to denote the presence and anger of God. It is well adapted to describe an earthquake; but it is also often used poetically, to describe the presence and the majesty of the Most High; compare Psalm 144:5; Job 9:6; Job 26:11; Psalm 114:7; Jeremiah 4:24; Habakkuk 3:10; Psalm 18:7; Psalm 97:5; Psalm 104:32. The image is one that is very sublime. The earth, as if conscious of the presence of God, is represented as alarmed, and trembling. Whether it refers here to the earthquake, or to some other mode of punishment, cannot be determined. The fact, however, that such an earthquake had occurred in the time of Isaiah, would seem to fix the expression to that. Isaiah, from that, took occasion also to denounce future judgments. This was but the beginning of woes.

And their carcasses were torn - The margin here is the more correct translation. The passage means that their dead bodies were strewed, unburied, like filth, through the streets. This expression would more naturally denote a pestilence. But it may be descriptive of an earthquake, or of any calamity.

For all this - Notwithstanding all this calamity, his judgments are not at an end. He will punish the nation more severely still. In what way he would do it, the prophet proceeds in the remainder of the chapter to specify; compare Isaiah 9:12; Isaiah 10:4.

25. anger … kindled—(2Ki 22:13, 17).

hills … tremble—This probably fixes the date of this chapter, as it refers to the earthquake in the days of Uzziah (Am 1:1; Zec 14:5). The earth trembled as if conscious of the presence of God (Jer 4:24; Hab 3:6).

torn—rather, were as dung (Ps 83:10).

For all this, &c.—This burden of the prophet's strains, with dirge-like monotony, is repeated at Isa 9:12, 17, 21; 10:4. With all the past calamities, still heavier judgments are impending; which he specifies in the rest of the chapter (Le 26:14, &c.).

The hills did tremble; a metaphorical and hyperbolical description of a grievous calamity, familiar in the prophets, as Isaiah 64:1,2 Jer 4:24, and in other authors.

His hand is stretched out still, ready to give you another and a sorer blow. This is not the end, as you vainly imagine, but, if you repent not, the beginning, of your sorrows, and an earnest of further calamities. Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against his people,.... His professing people; which character, as it aggravated their sin in rejecting and despising the word of the Lord, so it increased his anger and indignation against them:

and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them; which some understand of past judgments and afflictions upon them, under Joash, Amaziah, and Ahaz; and others of future ones, under Shalmaneser and Nebuchadnezzar:

and the hills did tremble; which Jarchi interprets of their kings and princes; or it may be only a figurative expression, setting forth the awfulness of the dispensation:

and their carcasses were torn in the midst of the streets. The Targum renders it, "were as dung"; so the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions; being slain there, and lying unburied, were trampled upon, and trodden down like "clay", as the Syriac version; or like the mire of the streets.

For all this his anger is not turned away; this being abundantly less than their sins deserved; which shows how great were their sins, and how much the Lord was provoked to anger by them:

but his hand is stretched out still; to inflict yet sorer judgments. The Targum is

"by all this they turn not from their sins, that his fury may turn from them; but their rebellion grows stronger, and his stroke is again to take vengeance on them;''

which expresses their impenitence and hardness of heart, under the judgments of God, which caused him to take more severe methods with them.

Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his {e} hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills trembled, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

(e) He shows that God had so sore punished this people, that the dumb creatures if they had been so plagued would have been more sensible, and therefore his plagues must continue, till they begin to seal them.

25. Therefore] The Hebr. word differs from that in Isaiah 5:13-14; Isaiah 5:24, and agrees with that in Isaiah 9:17. The following tenses are perfects (or consec. impf.) usually taken as prophetic pert.; but this is scarcely natural. Past judgments are probably referred to (see on Isaiah 9:8 ff.). Some think of a pestilence (Amos 4:10), pestilence being preeminently the stroke of God (he hath smitten them); others (from the next clause) of an earthquake. Both may be meant.

their carcases were torn] rather, were as offal, a very common figure (2 Kings 9:37; Jeremiah 16:4; Jeremiah 25:33; Zephaniah 1:17; Psalm 83:10).

For all this …] See on ch. Isaiah 9:12.

25–30. A warlike Nation, summoned from the Ends of the Earth, is the destined Instrument of Israel’s final Chastisement

That the Assyrians are here alluded to is certain both from the explicit statements of later prophecies, and from the terms of the description itself. It speaks of the foe as characterised by the rapidity of his movements, the perfection of his discipline and military equipment, his love of conquest, and his irresistible might. These features are no doubt highly idealised (as was natural in a first sketch), but it is clear that some particular nation is meant, and we can have no hesitation in saying that the reference is to the most perfect military machine that then existed, the Assyrian army.

Although the passage might be explained fairly enough as the continuation of Isaiah 5:24, it gains immensely in significance when read as the final strophe of the prophecy in ch. Isaiah 9:8 to Isaiah 10:4, a position to which several considerations lead us to assign it. (1) The latter part of Isaiah 5:25 occurs as a refrain in Isaiah 9:12; Isaiah 9:17; Isaiah 9:21 and Isaiah 10:4. It is found nowhere else and its isolated occurrence in Isaiah 5:25 distinctly weakens the force of Isaiah 5:24. (2) The four equal strophes of Isaiah 9:8 to Isaiah 10:4 correspond very nearly in length with Isaiah 5:26-30. (3) After reading Isaiah 10:4, we feel that the last word has not been spoken: the hand is still outstretched, we wait to hear of the final blow. The verses before us supply the appropriate climax. On the other hand, they are not necessary where they stand, Isaiah 5:24 affording a satisfactory conclusion. The hypothesis, to be sure, does not remove every difficulty. It is vain to speculate as to the reasons which may have led to the transference; although it might have been suggested by the appositeness of the passage as a reply to the challenge of Isaiah 5:19. Further, Isaiah 5:25 is far too short for a complete strophe, and therefore can hardly have followed immediately on Isaiah 10:4. We must suppose that some verses have been omitted in the process of transference, as irrelevant in their new context.Verses 25-30. - THE NATURE OF THE COMING JUDGMENT EXPLAINED. Hints have been already given that the judgment which is to fall on the nation is a foreign war, or a series of foreign wars (see Isaiah 3:25; Isaiah 5:13). But now for the first time a terrible invasion, in which many nations will participate, is clearly announced. At first the imagery is obscure (ver. 25), but it soon grows more distinct. "Nations" are summoned to the attack; a vast army comes, and comes" with speed swiftly" (ver. 26); then their array is described (vers. 27, 28); and finally their ravin is compared to that of lions, and their success in catching and carrying off their prey is prophesied (ver. 29). In the last verse of the chapter the prophet falls back into vaguer imagery, comparing the roar of the invaders to the roaring of the sea, and the desolated land to one seen under the gloom of a preternatural darkness (ver. 30). Verse 25. - The threats of this verse are all vague and general, for there is no reason to suppose that the phrase," the hills did tremble, "refers to an actual earthquake. That there was an earthquake in the reign of Uzziah is, indeed, clear from Amos 1:1; but it was probably a thing of the past when Isaiah wrote this chapter, and he is spiking of the future. A "trembling of the hills" is, in prophetic language, a commotion among the chief men of the land. He hath stretched forth his hand. Again the "perfect of prophetic certitude." Their carcasses were torn; rather, were as refuse (comp. Lamentations 3:45). There would be many slain, and lying unburied, in the streets of Jerusalem. For all this, etc. (comp. Isaiah 9:12, 17, 21, and Isaiah 10:4, where the same words are used as a refrain). The words imply that God's judgment upon Judah will not be a single stroke, but a continuous smiting, covering some considerable space of time. Isaiah 5:19 shows very clearly that the prophet referred to the free-thinkers of his time, the persons who are called fools (nabal) and scorners (lētz) in the Psalms and Proverbs. "Who say, Let Him hasten, accelerate His work, that we may see; and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come, that we may experience it." They doubted whether the day of Jehovah would ever come (Ezekiel 12:22; Jeremiah 5:12-13), and went so far in their unbelief as to call out for what they could not and would not believe, and desired it to come that they might see it with their own eyes and experience it for themselves (Jeremiah 17:15; it is different in Amos 5:18 and Malachi 2:17-3:1, where this desire does not arise from scorn and defiance, but from impatience and weakness of faith). As the two verbs denoting haste are used both transitively and intransitively (vid., Judges 20:37, to hasten or make haste), we might render the passage "let His work make haste," as Hitzig, Ewald, Umbreit, and Drechsler do; but we prefer the rendering adopted by Gesenius, Caspari, and Knobel, on the basis of Isaiah 60:22, and take the verb as transitive, and Jehovah as the subject. The forms yâchishâh and taboâh are, with Psalm 20:4 and Job 11:17, probably the only examples of the expression of a wish in the third person, strengthened by the âh, which indicates a summons or appeal; for Ezekiel 23:20, which Gesenius cites (48, 3), and Job 22:21, to which Knobel refers, have no connection with this, as in both passages the âh is the feminine termination, and not hortative (vid., Comm. on Job, at Job 11:17, note, and at Job 22:21). The fact that the free-thinkers called God "the Holy One of Israel," whereas they scoffed at His intended final and practical attestation of Himself as the Holy One, may be explained from Isaiah 30:11 : they took this name of God from the lips of the prophet himself, so that their scorn affected both God and His prophet at the same time.
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