Isaiah 7:13
And he said, Hear you now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also?
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(13) Is it a small thing for you to weary men . . .—The thought that men may try the long-suffering of God till He is “weary to bear them,” is specially characteristic of Isaiah (Isaiah 1:14). We mark the changed note of “my God,” as compared with “the Lord thy God” in Isaiah 7:11. Ahaz has involved himself in a sentence of rejection. In the first part of the question Isaiah becomes the mouthpiece of a wide-spread hopeless discontent. Men also were ‘weary’ of this idolatrous and corrupt misgovernment (Isaiah 8:6).

Isaiah 7:13-14. And he said, Hear now, O house of David — The prophet no longer addresses himself to Ahaz singly, who would not regard his words, but to the whole royal family, all of whom he reproves, as being the king’s counsellors, and promoting the design of sending for the Assyrian succours. Is it a small thing for you — Is it not wickedness enough; to weary men? — To vex God’s prophets and people with your oppressions and horrid impieties? But will ye weary my God also? — By your ingratitude, unbelief, and disobedience to his commands? Therefore — Because you despise me, and the sign which I now offer you, God, of his own free grace, will send you a more honourable messenger, and give you a nobler sign. Or, Nevertheless, (as the particle לכןoften signifies,) the Lord will give you a sign — Although you deserve no sign nor favour, yet for the comfort of those few believers who are among you, and to leave you without excuse, I shall remind you of another and greater sign, namely, of your deliverance and preservation; which God hath promised, and will in his due time perform. Behold, a virgin shall conceive, &c. — One, in the strictest sense, a virgin, as the Hebrew word, עלמה, almah, here used, properly signifies, and is translated by all the ancient interpreters, being never once used in Scripture in any other sense, as several learned men have proved, against the pretensions of the modern Jews. See particularly Bishop Kidder’s Demonstration of the Messias, part 2. chap. 5., and Dr. Whitby on Matthew 1:23. Indeed, independent of the term rendered virgin, the text implies it. For, as the last-mentioned writer observes, “this promise is made as a sign, or miracle, to confirm the house of David in God’s promise made to him of the perpetuity of his kingdom. Now what sign or miracle could it be, that a woman should be with child, after the ordinary manner? Where is the sign or wonder in this? Had no more been intended, what need was there of these words, The Lord himself shall give you a sign? What need of that solemn notice, Behold! there being nothing new or strange in all this.” Add to this, that the original expressions are very emphatical, and are literally rendered by Bishop Lowth, Behold, the virgin conceiveth, and beareth a son, namely, that only woman, who ever was, or should be a mother, while she was still a virgin: and whose offspring, being conceived and born without the concurrence of man, was, therefore, with peculiar propriety, denominated and characterized, the seed of the woman, being her seed exclusively.

But it is inquired, how this birth from a virgin, which was not to happen till many ages after, could be a sign to Ahaz and the Jews, of their deliverance from present danger; and it is urged, that “this promise, being made to Ahaz as a sign, must have relation to a child born in his time, and therefore not to our Jesus, born above seven hundred years after his death.” To this, Dr. Whitby answers, “This objection is founded on a mistake: this promise, or sign, being not given to Ahaz, who, we have just seen, refused to ask a sign; but to the house of David, according to Isaiah 7:13. Now the house of David being then in great danger of being cut off and extinguished, by the kings of Israel and Syria, the promise of a Messiah, who was to be of the seed of David, and to sit upon his throne, was a great security that that house should not be extinguished, and so was a proper remedy against those fears.” To this may be added, that this promised birth of the Messiah supposed not only the preservation of the house of David, but also the preservation of that city, and nation, and tribe, in and of which he was to be born: therefore there was no cause to fear that ruin which their enemies now threatened. This argument is greatly strengthened by the following clause: And shall call — That is, his virgin mother shall call; his name Immanuel — The mother usually giving the name to the child, and this mother having a peculiar right to do it, the child having no human father. To be called, in Scripture language, is the same thing as to be: the meaning is, He shall be Immanuel, that is, God with us; God dwelling among us in our nature, the Word made flesh, John 1:14. God and man meeting in one person, and being a mediator between God and men. Now to whom but the Messiah was this applicable? Or waiving the import of the name; supposing the being called by this name did not imply that the child or person should be what his name signified, namely God with us, what other person, save the Messiah can be pointed out, that was called by this name? To what other event can this passage of the prophecy be made to accord? What woman, then a virgin, and afterward marrying, and bearing a son, called that son Immanuel? Surely they who contend for this sense of the prophet’s words, should point out the person so called. None have done this, and none can do it. No such person ever existed. As to what some have suggested, that Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, might be meant, and be said to be called by that name, because he was the future governor of the land, (see chap. 8:8,) and God was with him, it must be observed, that he was born at least nine years before this prophecy was delivered, even before Ahaz came to the throne, and therefore his birth could not be intended by the prophet here. But not to pursue the argument further, which certainly is not necessary in so clear a case; we will only add, that even if it could be supposed that the prophet did first and immediately refer to some child to be then born, yet, as Bishop Lowth observes, (in words hardly consistent with what he had said, as quoted above, of the primary sense of the passage,) “The prophecy is introduced in so solemn a manner; the sign is so marked, as a sign selected and given by God himself, after Ahaz had rejected the offer of any sign of his own choosing, out of the whole compass of nature; the terms of the prophecy are so peculiar, and the name of the child so expressive, containing in them much more than the circumstances of the birth of a common child required, or even admitted; that we may easily suppose, that, in minds prepared by the general expectation of a great deliverer, to spring from the house of David, they raised hopes far beyond what the present occasion suggested; especially when it was found that in the subsequent prophecy, delivered immediately afterward, this child, called Immanuel, is treated as the Lord and Prince of the land of Judah. Who could this be, other than the heir of the throne of David? under which character a great, and even a divine person had been promised. St. Matthew, therefore, in applying this prophecy to the birth of Christ, does it, not merely in the way of accommodating the words of the prophet to a suitable case, not in the prophet’s view; but takes it in its strictest, clearest, and most important sense, and applies it according to the original design, and principal intention of the prophet.”7:10-16 Secret disaffection to God is often disguised with the colour of respect to him; and those who are resolved that they will not trust God, yet pretend they will not tempt him. The prophet reproved Ahaz and his court, for the little value they had for Divine revelation. Nothing is more grievous to God than distrust, but the unbelief of man shall not make the promise of God of no effect; the Lord himself shall give a sign. How great soever your distress and danger, of you the Messiah is to be born, and you cannot be destroyed while that blessing is in you. It shall be brought to pass in a glorious manner; and the strongest consolations in time of trouble are derived from Christ, our relation to him, our interest in him, our expectations of him and from him. He would grow up like other children, by the use of the diet of those countries; but he would, unlike other children, uniformly refuse the evil and choose the good. And although his birth would be by the power of the Holy Ghost, yet he should not be fed with angels' food. Then follows a sign of the speedy destruction of the princes, now a terror to Judah. Before this child, so it may be read; this child which I have now in my arms, (Shear-jashub, the prophet's own son, ver. 3,) shall be three or four years older, these enemies' forces shall be forsaken of both their kings. The prophecy is so solemn, the sign is so marked, as given by God himself after Ahaz rejected the offer, that it must have raised hopes far beyond what the present occasion suggested. And, if the prospect of the coming of the Divine Saviour was a never-failing support to the hopes of ancient believers, what cause have we to be thankful that the Word was made flesh! May we trust in and love Him, and copy his example.O house of David - Isaiah 7:2. By this is to be understood not only the king himself, but the princes and rulers. Perhaps in addressing him thus, there was implied no small irony and reproach. David confided in God. But "Ahaz," his descendant, feared to "tempt" God! As if God could not aid him! Worthy descendant he of the pious and devoted David!

Is it a small thing - You are not satisfied with wearying people, but you would also fatigue and wear out the patience of God.

Weary - Exhaust their patience; oppose them; prevent their sayings and messages; try their spirits, etc.

Men - prophets; the men who are sent to instruct, and admonish.

Will ye weary my God also? - Will you refuse to keep his commands; try his patience; and exhaust his long-suffering? compare Isaiah 1:14. The sense of this passage seems to be this: When Ahaz refused to believe the bare prediction of the prophet, his transgression was the more excusable. He had wearied and provoked him, but Isaiah had as yet given to Ahaz no direct demonstration that he was from God; no outward proof of his divine mission; and the offence of Ahaz might be regarded as in a sense committed against man. It was true, also, that Ahaz had, by his unbelief and idolatry, greatly tried the feelings of the pious, and wearied those who were endeavoring to promote true religion. But now the case was changed. God had offered a sign, and it had been publicly rejected. It was a direct insult to God; and an offence that demanded reproof. Accordingly, the manner of Isaiah is at once changed. Soft, and gentle, and mild before, he now became bold, open, vehement. The honor of God was concerned; a direct affront had been offered to him by the sovereign of the people of God; and it was proper for the prophet to show that "that" was an offence which affected the Divine Majesty, and demanded the severest reproof.

13. Is it a small thing?—Is it not enough for you (Nu 16:9)? The allusion to "David" is in order to contrast his trust in God with his degenerate descendant Ahaz' distrust.

weary—try the patience of.

men—prophets. Isaiah as yet had given no outward proof that he was from God; but now God has offered a sign, which Ahaz publicly rejects. The sin is therefore now not merely against "men," but openly against "God." Isaiah's manner therefore changes from mildness to bold reproof.

House of David; of which see above, Isaiah 7:2. He reproveth them all, because they were the king’s counsellors, and promoted the design of sending for the Assyrian succours.

Is it a small thing for you? is not that wickedness more than enough? must you add more to it?

To weary men; to vex God’s prophets and people, and the generality of your subjects, with your oppressions and horrid impieties.

Will ye weary my God also, by your cursed ingratitude, and unbelief, and disobedience to his commands? He saith, my God, i.e. the God whose servant and prophet or messenger I am, to intimate that this heinous offence was not committed against a weak and foolish man, such as they might think the prophet to be, but against God himself, who sent the message. Compare Exodus 16:8. And he said,.... That is, the Prophet Isaiah; which shows that it was by him the Lord spoke the foregoing words:

hear ye now, O house of David; for not only Ahaz, but his family, courtiers, and counsellors, were all of the same mind with him, not to ask a sign of God, nor to depend upon, his promise of safety, but to seek out for help, and provide against the worst themselves. Some think that Ahaz's name is not mentioned, and that this phrase is used by way of contempt, and as expressive of indignation and resentment:

is it a small thing for you to weary man; meaning such as himself, the prophets of the Lord; so the Targum,

"is it a small thing that ye are troublesome to the prophets;''

disturb, grieve, and vex them, by obstinacy and unbelief:

but will ye weary my God also? the Targum is,

"for ye are troublesome to the words of my God;''

or injurious to them, by not believing them; or to God himself, by rejecting such an offer of a sign as was made to them.

And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary {l} men, but will ye weary my God also?

(l) You think you have to do with men when you contemn God's messengers but it is God against whom you bend yourselves.

13. Speaking under the deepest excitement, the prophet proceeds to unfold the consequences of such impenetrable hardness of heart.

Is it a small thing for you …] Trans. Is it too little for you to weary men (i.e. the prophet himself) that ye weary, &c. The house of David is addressed, perhaps because Isaiah had already experienced rebuffs from the royal princes, although none was so direct a defiance of God as this of Ahaz. my God] cf. thy God in Isaiah 7:11. Ahaz has practically renounced the religion of Jehovah.Verse 13. - O house of David (comp. ver. 2). It is not Ahaz alone, but the "house of David," which is on its trial. Men are conspiring to remove it (ver. 6). If it will not be saved in God's way, it will have to be removed by God himself. Is it a small thing for you to weary men? i.e. "Are you not content with wearying men; with disregarding all my warnings and so wearying me? Must you go further, and weary God" (or, "wear out his patience") "by rejecting his gracious offers?" My God. In ver. 11 Isaiah had called Jehovah "thy God;" but as Ahaz, by rejecting God's offer, had rejected God, he speaks of him now as "my God." "Because Aram hath determined evil over thee, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah (Remalyahu), saying, We will march against Judah, and terrify it, and conquer it for ourselves, and make the son of Tâb'êl king in the midst of it: thus saith the Lord Jehovah, It will not be brought about, and will not take place." The inference drawn by Caspari (Krieg, p. 98), that at the time when Isaiah said this, Judaea was not yet heathen or conquered, is at any rate not conclusive. The promise given to Ahaz was founded upon the wicked design, with which the war had been commenced. How far the allies had already gone towards this last goal, the overthrow of the Davidic sovereignty, it does not say. But we know from 2 Kings 15:37 that the invasion had begun before Ahaz ascended the throne; and we may see from Isaiah 7:16 of Isaiah's prophecy, that the "terrifying" (nekı̄tzennah, from kūtz, taedere, pavere) had actually taken place; so that the "conquering" (hibkia‛, i.e., splitting, forcing of the passes and fortifications, 2 Kings 25:4; Ezekiel 30:16; 2 Chronicles 21:17; 2 Chronicles 32:1) must also have been a thing belonging to the past. For history says nothing about a successful resistance on the part of Judah in this war. Only Jerusalem had not yet fallen, and, as the expression "king in the midst of it" shows, it is to this that the term "Judah" especially refers; just as in Isaiah 23:13 Asshur is to be understood as signifying Nineveh. There they determined to enthrone a man named Tâb'êl (vid., Ezra 4:7; it is written Tâb'al here in pause, although this change does not occur in other words (e.g., Israel) in pause - a name resembling the Syrian name Tab-rimmon),

(Note: The Hauran inscriptions contain several such composite names formed like Tâb'êl with el: see Wetzstein, Ausgewhlte griechische und lateinische Inschriften, pp. 343-4, 361-363). By the transformation into Tab'al, as Luzzatto says, the name is changed from Bonus Deus to Bonus minime.)

a man who is otherwise unknown; but it never went beyond the determination, never was even on the way towards being realized, to say nothing of being fully accomplished. The allies would not succeed in altering the course of history as it had been appointed by the Lord.

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