Isaiah 7:19
And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the holes of the rocks, and on all thorns, and on all bushes.
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(19) The desolate valleys . . .—The Hebrew adjective has rather the meaning of precipitous or steeply walled, and the noun that of torrent valley, like the Arabic wady. The whole verse is a graphic description of the characteristic features of the scenery of Judah.

7:17-25 Let those who will not believe the promises of God, expect to hear the alarms of his threatenings; for who can resist or escape his judgments? The Lord shall sweep all away; and whomsoever he employs in any service for him, he will pay. All speaks a sad change of the face of that pleasant land. But what melancholy change is there, which sin will not make with a people? Agriculture would cease. Sorrows of every kind will come upon all who neglect the great salvation. If we remain unfruitful under the means of grace, the Lord will say, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforth for ever.And they shall come - The idea in this verse is, that they would spread over the land, and lay it waste. The poetic image of flies and bees is kept up; meaning, that the armies would be so numerous as to occupy and infest all the land.

And shall rest - As bees do. Thus the "locusts" are said to have "rested" in all the land of Egypt; Exodus 10:14.

In the desolate valleys - The word translated "valleys" usually means "a valley with a brook," or a brook itself. The Chaldee translates it, 'In the streets of cities.' But the idea is derived from the habits of flies and bees. The meaning is, that they should fill all the land, as innumerable swarms of flies and bees - would settle down everywhere, and would infest or consume everything. Bees, probably, chose situations near to running streams. Virgil, in his directions about selecting a place for an apiary, gives the following among others:

At liquidi fontes, et stagna virentia musco

Adsint, et tennis fugiens per gramina rivus.

Georg. iv. 18, 19.

But there let pools invite with moss arrayed,

Clear fount and rill that purls along the glade.


In the holes of the rocks - Probably the same image is referred to here. It is well known that in Judea, as well as elsewhere, bees were accustomed to live in the holes or caverns of the rocks. They were very numerous; and the figure here is, that the Assyrians would be numerous as the swarms of bees were in that land, even in the high and inaccessible rocks; compare Isaiah 2:19-21.

Upon all thorns - The image here is kept up of flies and bees resting on everything. "Thorns" here refer to those trees and shrubs that were of little value; but even on these they would rest.

All bushes - Hebrew 'All trees that are commendable, or that are to be praised;' see the margin. The word denotes those shrubs and trees that were objects of "praise;" that is, that were cultivated with great attention and care, in opposition to "thorns" that grew wild, and without cultivation, and that were of little value. The meaning of the passage is, that the land would be invaded in every part, and that everything, valuable or not, would be laid waste.

19. rest—image of flies and bees kept up. The enemy shall overspread the land everywhere, even in "desolate valleys."

thorns—wild, contrasted with "bushes," which were valued and objects of care (see Margin).

They; the flies, and especially the bees.

Shall rest all of them; they shall have an easy victory; few or none of them shall be slain in the attempt.

The desolate valleys; either,

1. Such as were and had long been desolate. So it signifies the vast numbers of their enemies, which filled all places, both such as were well inhabited, and such as were in a great measure desolate. Or,

2. Such as they found very fruitful, but made them desolate.

The rocks; to which possibly the Israelites fled for refuge.

Bushes; which he mentions, partly because flies and bees use frequently to rest there, and partly to intimate that no place should escape the fury of this enemy. And they shall come,.... The Egyptian and Assyrian armies, when the Lord calls for them in his providence, and his time is come to make use of them as a scourge to his people:

and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys: made so by war; this is said in allusion to flies and bees resting on trees and flowers; and signifies that these armies, after long and tedious marches, should all of them, without being diminished by the way, enter the land of Judea, fill all places, and take up their abode there for a while:

and in the holes of the rocks. Kimchi thinks that the former phrase designs cities in valleys, and this fortified cities which are upon rocks:

and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes; in allusion to flies and bees. Kimchi interprets this of unwalled towns and villages. The Targum of the whole verse is,

"and they shall all of them come and dwell in the streets of the cities, and in the clifts of the rocks, and in all deserts full of sedges, and in all houses of praise.''

The sense is, that they should be in all cities, towns, and villages, whether fortified or not, and in all houses of high and low, rich and poor, in cottages and in palaces; there would be no place free from them, nor no escaping out of their hands.

And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the clefts of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all {s} bushes.

(s) Signifying that no place will be free from them.

19. The figure is kept up. desolate valleys] rather, precipitous ravines (lit. “valleys of precipices”). upon all thorns … bushes] Render: upon all the thorn-bushes (Isaiah 55:13) and upon all the pastures. These are the places naturally frequented by insects.Verse 19. - And rest; or, settle. In the desolate valleys. Gesenius and Vance Smith translate "the precipitous valleys;" Mr. Cheyne, "the steeply walled valleys." But the cognate word used in Isaiah 5:6 can only mean "waste," which supports the rendering of the Authorized Version. The exact word used does not occur elsewhere. Upon all bushes; rather, upon all pastures. The prophet might have ceased speaking now; but in accordance with the command in Isaiah 6:1-13 he was obliged to speak, even though his word should be a savour of death unto death. "And he spake, Hear ye now, O house of David! Is it too little to you to weary men, that ye weary my God also?" "He spake." Who spake? According to Isaiah 7:10 the speaker was Jehovah; yet what follows is given as the word of the prophet. Here again it is assumed that the word of the prophet was the word of God, and that the prophet was the organ of God even when he expressly distinguished between himself and God. The words were addressed to the "house of David," i.e., to Ahaz, including all the members of the royal family. Ahaz himself was not yet thirty years old. The prophet could very well have borne that the members of the house of David should thus frustrate all his own faithful, zealous human efforts. But they were not content with this (on the expression minus quam vos equals quam ut vobis sufficiat, see Numbers 16; 9; Job 15:11): they also wearied out the long-suffering of his God, by letting Him exhaust all His means of correcting them without effect. They would not believe without seeing; and when signs were offered them to see, in order that they might believe, they would not even look. Jehovah would therefore give them, against their will, a sign of His own choosing.
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