Isaiah 7:8
For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people.
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(8) The head of Syria is Damascus . . .—The prediction of the failure of the alliance is emphasised. Each city, Damascus and Samaria, should continue to be what it was, the head of a comparatively weak kingdom, and should not be aggrandised by the conquest of Judah and Jerusalem. There is an implied comparison of the two hostile cities and their kings with Jerusalem and its supreme King, Jehovah. Bolder critics, like Ewald, assume that a clause expressing that contrast has been displaced by that which now follows, and which they reject as a later interpolation.

Within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken.—Assuming the genuineness of the clause, we have in it the first direct chronological prediction in the prophet’s utterances. Others follow in Isaiah 16:14; Isaiah 17:1; Isaiah 21:6; Isaiah 23:1. Reckoning from B.C. 736 as the probable date of the prophecy, the sixty-five years bring us to B.C. 671. At that date Assyrian inscriptions show that Assurbanipal, the “Asnapper” of Ezra 4:2-10, co-regent with his father Esarhaddon, had carried off the last remnant of the people of Samaria, and peopled it with an alien race (Smith’s Assurbanipal, p. 363). This completed the work which had been begun by Salmaneser and Sargon (2Kings 17:6). Ephraim then was no more a people.

7:1-9 Ungodly men are often punished by others as bad as themselves. Being in great distress and confusion, the Jews gave up all for lost. They had made God their enemy, and knew not how to make him their friend. The prophet must teach them to despise their enemies, in faith and dependence on God. Ahaz, in fear, called them two powerful princes. No, says the prophet, they are but tails of smoking firebrands, burnt out already. The two kingdoms of Syria and Israel were nearly expiring. While God has work for the firebrands of the earth, they consume all before them; but when their work is fulfilled, they will be extinguished in smoke. That which Ahaz thought most formidable, is made the ground of their defeat; because they have taken evil counsel against thee; which is an offence to God. God scorns the scorners, and gives his word that the attempt should not succeed. Man purposes, but God disposes. It was folly for those to be trying to ruin their neighbours, who were themselves near to ruin. Isaiah must urge the Jews to rely on the assurances given them. Faith is absolutely necessary to quiet and compose the mind in trials.For the head of Syria - The "capital." The "head" is often used in this sense.

Is Damascus - For an account of this city, see the notes at Isaiah 17:1; compare the notes at Acts 9:2. The sense of this passage is, 'Do not be alarmed as if Rezin was about to enlarge his kingdom, by taking Judea and making Jerusalem his capital. The revolution which these kings contemplate cannot be accomplished. The kingdoms of Syria and Israel shall not be enlarged by the conquest of Judah. The center of their power shall remain where it is now, and their dominion shall not be extended by conquest. The capital of Syria is, and shall continue to be, Damascus. The king of Syria shall be confined within his present limits, and Jerusalem, therefore, shall be safe.'

The head of Damascus - The "ruler, or king" of Damascus is Rezin.

And within threescore and five years - There has been some inquiry why "Ephraim" is mentioned here, as the prophet in the former part of the verse was speaking of "Syria." But it should be remembered that he was speaking of Syria and Ephraim as "confederate." It was natural, therefore, to intimate, in close connection, that no fear was to be apprehended from either of them. There has been much difficulty experienced in establishing the fact of the exact fulfillment of this, and in fixing the precise event to which it refers. One catastrophe happened to the kingdom of Ephraim or Israel within one or two years of this time, when Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, invaded the land and carried no small part of the people to Assyria; 2 Kings 15:29. Another occurred in the next reign, the reign of Hoshea, king of Israel, when Shalmaneser king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away captive into Assyria; 2 Kings 17:1-6.

This occurred in the twelfth year of Ahaz. But that the Israelites remained in Samaria, and kept up the forms of a civil community, and were not finally carried away until the time of Esarhaddon, is evident; compare 2 Chronicles 34:6-7, 2 Chronicles 34:33; 2 Chronicles 35:18; 2 Kings 23:19-20. Manasseh, king of Judah, was taken captive by the king of Assyria's captains 2 Chronicles 33:2 in the twenty-second year of his reign; that is, sixty-five years from the second year of Ahaz, when this prophecy is supposed to have been delivered. And it is also supposed that at this time Esarhaddon took away the remains of the people in Samaria, and put an end to the kingdom, and put in their place the people who are mentioned in Ezra 4:3. "Dr. Jubb, as quoted by Lowth." The entire extinction of the people of Israel and the kingdom did not take place until Esarhaddon put new colonists from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim in the cities of Samaria, instead of the children of Israel; 2 Kings 17:24; compare Ezra 4:2, Ezra 4:10.

Long before this, indeed, the power of the kingdom had been on the wane; a large portion of the people had been removed 2 Kings 17:5-6, 2 Kings 17:18; but its entire extinction was not accomplished, and the kingdom utterly destroyed, until this was done. Until this occurred, the land might be still regarded as in the possession somewhat of its former people, and all hopes of their rising again to the dignity of a kingdom was not extinguished. But when foreigners were introduced, and took possession of the land; when all the social organization of the ancient people was dissolved; then it might be said that 'Ephraim was forever broken,' and that it was demonstrated that it 'should be no more a people.' Its inhabitants were transferred to a distant land, no longer to be organized into a unique community, but to mingle with other people, and finally all traces of their origin as Jews were to be lost. This event, of placing the foreigners in the cities of Samaria, occurred just sixty-five years after it had been predicted by Isaiah. - "Dr. Usher."

It may be asked here, how the statement of what was to occur at so remote a period as sixty-five years could be any consolation to Ahaz, or any security that the designs of the kings of Syria and Samaria should "then" fail of being accomplished? To this we may reply:

(1) It was the assurance that Jerusalem could not be finally and permanently reduced to submission before these dreaded enemies. "Their" power was to cease, and of course Jerusalem had nothing "ultimately and finally" to dread.

(2) The design was to inspire confidence in Yahweh, and to lead Ahaz to look directly to him. If these formidable powers could not ultimately prevail, and if there was a certain prediction that they should be destroyed, then it was possible for God, if Ahaz would look to him, now to interpose, and save the city. To inspire that confidence in Yahweh was the leading purpose of Isaiah.

(3) This prediction is in accordance with many which occur in Isaiah, that all the enemies of the people of God would be ultimately defeated, and that God, as the head of the theocracy, would defend and deliver his people; see the notes at Isaiah 34. A kingdom that was so soon to be destroyed as Ephraim was, could not be an object of great dread and alarm. Rosenmuller conjectures, that Isaiah refers to some unrecorded prophecy made before his time, that in sixty-five years Israel would be destroyed; and that he refers here to that prophecy to encourage the heart of Ahaz, and to remind him that a kingdom could not be very formidable that was so soon to come to an end. At all events, there is no contradiction between the prophecy and the fulfillment, for within the time mentioned here, Ephraim ceased to be a kingdom. The ancient Jewish writers, with one consent, say, that Isaiah referred here to the prophecy of Amos, who prophesied in the days of Uzziah, and whose predictions relate mainly to the kingdom of Israel. But as Amos, does not specify any particular time when the kingdom should be destroyed, it is apparent that Isaiah here could not have referred to any recorded prophecy of his.

Be broken - Its power shall be destroyed; the kingdom, as a kingdom, shall come to an end.

8. head—that is, in both Syria and Israel the capital shall remain as it is; they shall not conquer Judah, but each shall possess only his own dominions.

threescore and five … not a people—As these words break the symmetry of the parallelism in this verse, either they ought to be placed after "Remaliah's son," in Isa 7:9, or else they refer to some older prophecy of Isaiah, or of Amos (as the Jewish writers represent), parenthetically; to which, in Isa 7:8, the words, "If ye will not believe … not be established," correspond in parallelism. One deportation of Israel happened within one or two years from this time, under Tiglath-pileser (2Ki 15:29). Another in the reign of Hoshea, under Shalmaneser (2Ki 17:1-6), was about twenty years after. But the final one which utterly "broke" up Israel so as to be "not a people," accompanied by a colonization of Samaria with foreigners, was under Esar-haddon, who carried away Manasseh, king of Judah, also, in the twenty-second year of his reign, sixty-five years from the utterance of this prophecy (compare Ezr 4:2, 3, 10, with 2Ki 17:24; 2Ch 33:11) [Usher]. The event, though so far off, was enough to assure the people of Judah that as God, the Head of the theocracy, would ultimately interpose to destroy the enemies of His people, so they might rely on Him now.

Is Damascus; or rather, shall be Damascus; for the verb is not expressed in the Hebrew text, and therefore may be either way supplied. The sense is, Damascus shall still continue to be the capital and chief city of the kingdom of Syria; and therefore Jerusalem shall not be taken, nor become a part of Rezin’s dominion; but he shall be kept within his own bounds, and be king of Damascus only, and not, as he hopes, of Jerusalem.

Within threescore and five years; to be computed either,

1. From the prophecy of Amos, who prophesied in the days of Uzziah, two years before the earthquake, Amos 1:1, which the Jews affirm to have happened about the time of his usurpation of the priest’s office, and being smitten with leprosy, 2 Chronicles 26:16, &c., which though it be not proved, yet it may be admitted, because it cannot be disproved. And it is more than probable that that action and accident was divers years before his death, during which time Jotham acted as his viceroy, 2 Chronicles 26:21. And the prophecy of Amos being express and full concerning the destruction of the people and commonwealth of Israel, being also fresh in the memory of many now living, the prophet Isaiah might well have respect to it. So the sense is as if he had said, There shall be but sixty-five years between the delivery and the execution of that prophecy. And so the number of years may be thus made up. Fix the beginning of them ten years before Uzziah’s death, add the sixteen years of Jotham’s reign, and then the sixteen years of Ahaz’s reign, and then six of Hezekiah’s reign, in which Israel was carried captive, 2 Kings 18:10, these make up forty-eight years; and for the seventeen years which yet remain of the sixty-five, they may be taken out of the rest of Hezekiah’s reign. For although the transportation of that people began in the sixth year of Hezekiah, yet it might be continued or repeated divers years after, and completed seventeen years after, Jeremiah 52:28-30. Or rather,

2. These years may be computed from the time of this prophecy of Isaiah. And whereas it may objected against this opinion, that the judgment here threatened was executed in the sixth year of Hezekiah, as was before noted, and therefore within eighteen or nineteen years of this prophecy, which was delivered in the third or fourth year of Ahaz; two things may be answered,

1. That the Israelites were not transported in the sixth year of Hezekiah; for although Samaria be said to be taken in the sixth year of Hezekiah, 2 Kings 18:10, and the transportation of the Israelites be mentioned immediately after it, Isaiah 7:11, yet it doth not thence follow that it was done immediately, and at that one time; because this is not unusual in Scripture, in historical relations to mention those things together which were done at a considerable distance of time one from another, as it is recorded, Acts 7:15,16, Jacob died, he and our fathers, and were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre of Abraham, &c., although it was above two hundred years ere all which is said in those few words was done. And other instances of like nature might easily be produced.

2. That this work of transportation was not done at once, but successively, and by degrees. Thus it certainly was in the transportation of Judah, which was begun in Nebuchadnezzar’s seventh year, continued in his eighteenth year, and perfected in his three and twentieth year, Jeremiah 52:28-30. And thus it might be, and probably was, in this transportation. It might be begun presently after the taking of Samaria, and afterwards continued, until at last the whole body of the people was removed; and as soon as that was done, and not before, the king of Assyria brought into their place those new colonies mentioned 2 Kings 17:24. Which that it was not done at the time of the taking of Samaria, but many years after it, seems to me evident, because those colonies were not brought thither by Shalmanezer, who took Samaria, 2 Kings 18:10, no, nor by Sennacherib, his next successor; but by Esar-haddon, as is affirmed, Ezra 4:2, who was the son and successor of Sennacherib, 2 Kings 19:37, and reigned above fifty years; for he seems to have begun his reign about the fourteenth year of Hezekiah’s reign, by comparing 2 Kings 18:13, and 2 Kings 19:35-37; and so he reigned with Hezekiah about fifteen years, and with Manasseh above forty years, as the learned Sir John Marsham affirms in his Chronicus Canon, &c, p. 496. And this work of transporting the remainders of the Israelites, and bringing the new colonies, might not be done till towards the end of his reign; which delay might be occasioned by his wars, or other great affairs. And lest this should seem to be only my own private conjecture, if the reader consult Sir John Marsham’s fourth and last chronological table, inserted after p. 589 of his work, he will find that learned chronologer to be of the same mind, and to make above fifty years’ distance between the taking of Samaria, and the translation of the new colonies into those parts. And thus these sixty-five years might well be accomplished in his time. And so this place agrees with other scriptures, and the difficulties objected against other interpretations seem to be avoided.

For the head of Syria is Damascus,.... Damascus was the metropolis of Syria, the chief city in it, where the king had his palace, and kept his court; of which See Gill on Genesis 15:2, Acts 9:2,

and the head of Damascus is Rezin; he was king of it, as of all Syria; the meaning is, that Syria, of which Damascus was the principal city, was the only country that Rezin should govern, his dominion should not be enlarged; and Ahaz, king of Judah, might assure himself that Rezin should never possess his kingdom, or be able to depose him, and set up another; and as for Ephraim or Israel, the ten tribes, they should be so far from succeeding in such a design against him, that it should befall them as follows:

and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people; which is by some reckoned, not from the time of this prophecy, that being in the third or fourth year of Ahaz, who reigned in all but sixteen years; and in the ninth of Hosea king of Israel, and in the sixth of Hezekiah king of Judah, Samaria was taken, and Israel carried captive into Assyria, 2 Kings 17:6 which was but about eighteen or nineteen years from this time: some think indeed the time was shortened, because of their sins; but this does not appear, nor is it probable: and others think that it designs any time within that term; but the true meaning undoubtedly is, as the Targum renders it,

"at the end of sixty and five years, the kingdom of the house of Israel shall cease.''

This is commonly reckoned by the Jewish writers (d) from the prophecy of Amos, who prophesied two years before the earthquake in Uzziah's time, concerning the captivity both of Syria and Israel, Amos 1:1, Amos 7:11 which account may be carried either through the kings of Judah or of Israel; Jarchi goes the former way, reckoning thus,

"the prophecy of Amos was two years before Uzziah was smitten with the leprosy, according to Amos 1:1. Uzziah was a leper twenty five years, lo, twenty seven. Jotham reigned sixteen years, Ahaz sixteen, and Hezekiah six; as it is said, "in the sixth year of Hezekiah (that is, the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel) Samaria was taken", 2 Kings 18:10 lo, sixty five years.''

So Abarbinel; but Kimchi goes another way, which comes to the same, reckoning thus,

"the prophecy of Amos, according to computation, was in the seventeenth year of Jeroboam, son of Joash, king of Israel, how is it? Jeroboam reigned forty one years, Menahem ten, so there are fifty one; Pekahiah the son of Menahem two, so fifty three; and Pekah twenty, so seventy three; and Hoshea the son of Elah nine, and then Israel were carried captive, so there are eighty two: take out of them seventeen (the years of Jeroboam before the prophecy), and there remain sixty five, the number intended; for we do not reckon the six months of Zechariah, and the month of Shallum.''

Cocceius reckons from the death of Jeroboam, who died in the forty first year of his reign, and in the fifteenth of Uzziah, so that there remained thirty seven years of Uzziah; in the twentieth of Jotham, that is, in the fourth after his death, Hoshea son of Elah was made king, this was the twelfth of Ahaz, 2 Kings 15:30 and in the ninth of Hoshea, Samaria was taken, and Israel carried captive. But Junius and Tremellius are of a different mind from either of these, and think the prophecy wholly respects time to come; they observe, that

"Isaiah in these words first shows, that the kingdom of Syria should be immediately cut off, and the king should die, which at furthest must needs happen four years after; so (say they) we may suppose that these things were said by the prophet in the first year of Ahaz; thence, from the destruction of the Syrians, to the full carrying captive of the Israelites, or from the time of this prophecy, sixty five years must have run out; for although the kingdom of Israel was abolished in the sixth year of Hezekiah, yet Israel did not immediately cease to be a people when only some part of it was carried away; but they entirely ceased to be a people when new colonies were introduced by Esarhaddon, the son of Sennacherib, and all the Israelites were forced into bondage, which the Samaritans explain, Ezra 4:2 wherefore so we fix the series of the times, from the fourth year of Ahaz, in which the kingdom of Syria fell, unto the end, are eleven years, Hezekiah reigned twenty nine years, so the last translation of the Israelites was in the twenty fifth year of Manasseh's reign; but if you begin from the time of the prophecy; the thing will fall upon the twenty first or twenty second of Manasseh's reign; at which time perhaps, as some say, Manasseh was carried captive into Babylon.''

And of this mind was the learned Dr. Prideaux (e), who observes, that in the twenty second year of Manasseh, Esarhaddon prepared a great army, and marched into the parts of Syria and Palestine, and again added them to the Assyrian empire; and adds,

"and then was accomplished the prophecy which was spoken by Isaiah in the first year of Ahaz against Samaria, that within threescore and five years Ephraim should be absolutely broken, so as from thenceforth to be no more a people; for this year being exactly sixty five years from the first of Ahaz, Esarhaddon, after he had settled all affairs in Syria, marched into the land of Israel, and there taking captive all those who were the remains of the former captivity (excepting only some few, who escaped his hands, and continued still in the land), carried them away into Babylon and Assyria; and then, to prevent the land becoming desolate, he brought others from Babylon, and from Cutha, and from Havah, and Hamath, and Sephervaim, to dwell in the cities of Samaria in their stead; and so the ten tribes of Israel, which had separated from the house of David, were brought to a full and utter destruction, and never after recovered themselves again.''

And this seems to be the true accomplishment of this prophecy; though the sense of the Jewish writers is followed by many, and preferred by Noldius; so that there is no need with Grotius and Vitringa to suppose a corruption of the text. Gussetius (f) fancies that signifies twice six, that is, twelve; as twice ten, or twenty; and so five, added to twelve, makes seventeen; and from the fourth of Ahaz, to the taking of Samaria, was about seventeen years.

(d) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 28. p. 85. Aben Ezra in loc. (e) Connection, &c. par, 1. B. 1. p. 30. Bishop Usher, Annal. Vet. Test. A. M. 3327. (f) Comment Ebr. p. 892.

For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within {h} sixty five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people.

(h) Counting from the 25 years of the reign of Uzziah, at which time Amos prophesied this thing, and now Isaiah confirms that the Israelites would be led into perpetual captivity, which came to pass 20 years after Isaiah gave this message.

8. and within threescore and five years … people] This clause is suspicious on several grounds. (1) Because of its position; Ephraim has not yet been mentioned, and a prophecy of its annihilation would hardly have been followed by an argument (9a) which assumes its continued independence. (2) There is no analogy in the prophets for so exact a specification of time with regard to a distant event. When the prophets fix a term of years they use round numbers (ch. Isaiah 23:17, &c.). (3) Isaiah could not expect to allay the fears of Ahaz by a prediction that was not to be fulfilled for 65 years. In Isaiah 7:16 and ch. Isaiah 8:4 he foretells the overthrow of Pekah and Rezin within a very short period. Even Delitzsch, who defends the verse as a whole, admits the force of the last two objections and proposes to substitute the words “within a little while.” But the great majority of commentators agree in regarding the whole clause as a marginal gloss, intended to be read after the first half of Isaiah 7:9. This view ought probably to be accepted; but Duhm rightly observes that the gloss must be a very old one, since a late annotator would almost certainly have dated the extermination of Ephraim from the destruction of Samaria in 721, about 15 years after Isaiah spoke. What precise event he had in his mind is indeed very uncertain. The most plausible conjecture remains that of Archbishop Ussher, who explained it of the settlement of foreign colonists in Samaria by Esarhaddon or Asshurbanipal (Osnappar, Ezra 4:2; Ezra 4:10). Sixty-five years from the assigned date of the prediction would bring us to about 670 b.c.; and Esarhaddon was succeeded by Asshurbanipal about 668. Of course the chronology need not be strictly accurate.

8, 9. A confirmation of Isaiah 7:7; but the thought is difficult to grasp. The general meaning seems to be that the league is an attempt to obliterate the political distinctions which Jehovah has established between the neighbouring states. (Observe that in Isaiah 7:16 the prophet seems to speak as if Syria and Israel had become one kingdom in virtue of their alliance.) Syria and Ephraim are separate nationalities, each with its own capital and king; Judah belongs to neither of them and is not to be amalgamated with them. In short: “Damascus is the head of Syria and of nothing else, &c.” We may even suppose (with Ewald) that Isaiah intended to add, “but the head of Judah is Jerusalem and the head of Jerusalem is Jehovah of Hosts.”

Verse 8. - For the head of Syria is Damascus, etc. Syria and Ephraim have merely human heads - the one Rezin, the other (ver. 9) Pekah; but Judah, it is implied, has a Divine Head, even Jehovah. How, then, should mere mortals think to oppose their will and their designs to God's? Of course, their designs must come to naught. Within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, etc. If this prophecy was delivered, as we have supposed, in B.C. 733 (see note on ver. 1), sixty-five years later would bring us to B.C. 669. This was the year in which Esar-haddon, having made his son, Asshur-bani-pal, King of Assyria, transferred his own residence to Babylon, and probably the year in which he sent from Babylonia and the adjacent countries a number of colonists who occupied Samaria, and entirely destroyed the nationality, which, fifty-three years earlier, had received a rude blow from Sargon (comp. Ezra 4:2, 9, 10, with 2 Kings 17:6-24 and 2 Chronicles 33:11). It is questioned whether, under the circumstances, the prophet can have comforted Ahaz with this distant prospect, and suggested that in the present chapter prophecies pronounced at widely distant periods have been mixed up (Cheyne); but there is no such appearance of dislocation in Isaiah 7, in its present form, as necessitates any such theory; and, while it may be granted that the comfort of the promise given in ver. 8 would be slight, it cannot be said that it would be nil; it may, therefore, have been (as it seems to us) without impropriety added to the main promise, which is that of ver. 7. The entire clause, from "and within" to "not a people," must be regarded as parenthetic. Isaiah 7:8"For head of Aram is Damascus, and head of Damascus Rezin, and in five-and-sixty years will Ephraim as a people be broken in pieces. And head of Ephraim is Samaria, and head of Samaria the son of Remalyahu; if ye believe not, surely ye will not remain." The attempt to remove Isaiah 7:8, as a gloss at variance with the context, which is supported by Eichhorn, Gesenius, Hitzig, Knobel, and others, is a very natural one; and in that case the train of thought would simply be, that the two hostile kingdoms would continue in their former relation without the annexation of Judah. But when we look more closely, it is evident that the removal of Isaiah 7:8 destroys both the internal connection and the external harmony of the clauses. For just as Isaiah 7:8 and Isaiah 7:8 correspond, so do Isaiah 7:9 and Isaiah 7:9. Ephraim, i.e., the kingdom of the ten tribes, which has entered into so unnatural and ungodly a covenant with idolatrous Syria, will cease to exist as a nation in the course of sixty-five years; "and ye, if ye do not believe, but make flesh your arm, will also cease to exist." Thus the two clauses answer to one another: Isaiah 7:8 is a prophecy announcing Ephraim's destruction, and Isaiah 7:9 a warning, threatening Judah with destruction, if it rejects the promise with unbelief. Moreover, the style of Isaiah 7:8 is quite in accordance with that of Isaiah (on בּעוד, see Isaiah 21:16 and Isaiah 16:14; and on מעם, "away from being a people," in the sense of "so that it shall be no longer a nation," Isaiah 17:1; Isaiah 25:2, and Jeremiah 48:2, Jeremiah 48:42). And the doctrinal objection, that the prophecy is too minute, and therefore taken ex eventu, has no force whatever, since the Old Testament prophecy furnishes an abundance of examples of the same kind (vid., Isaiah 20:3-4; Isaiah 38:5; Isaiah 16:14; Isaiah 21:16; Ezekiel 4:5., Isaiah 24:1., etc.). The only objection that can well be raised is, that the time given in Isaiah 7:8 is wrong, and is not in harmony with Isaiah 7:16. Now, undoubtedly the sixty-five years do not come out if we suppose the prophecy to refer to what was done by Tiglath-pileser after the Syro-Ephraimitish war, and to what was also done to Ephraim by Shalmanassar in the sixth year of Hezekiah's reign, to which Isaiah 7:16 unquestionably refers, and more especially to the former. But there is another event still, through which the existence of Ephraim, not only as a kingdom, but also as a people, was broken up - namely, the carrying away of the last remnant of the Ephraimitish population, and the planting of colonies from Eastern Asia by Esarhaddon.

(Note: The meaning of this king's name is Assur fratrem dedit (Asuṙacḣyiddin): vid., Oppert, Expedition, t. ii. p. 354.)

on Ephraimitish soil (2 Kings 17:24; Ezra 4:2). Whereas the land of Judah was left desolate after the Chaldean deportation, and a new generation grew up there, and those who were in captivity were once more enabled to return; the land of Ephraim was occupied by heathen settlers, and the few who were left behind were melted up with these into the mixed people of the Samaritans, and those in captivity were lost among the heathen. We have only to assume that what was done to Ephraim by Esarhaddon, as related in the historical books, took place in the twenty-second and twenty-third years of Manasseh (the sixth year of Esarhaddon), which is very probable, since it must have been under Esarhaddon that Manasseh was carried away to Babylon about the middle of his reign (2 Chronicles 33:11); and we get exactly sixty-five years from the second year of the reign of Ahaz to the termination of Ephraim's existence as a nation (viz., Ahaz, 14; Hezekiah, 29; Manasseh, 22; in all, 65). It was then that the unconditional prediction, "Ephraim as a people will be broken in pieces," was fulfilled (yēchath mē‛âm; it is certainly not the 3rd pers. fut. kal, but the niphal, Malachi 2:5), just as the conditional threat "ye shall not remain" was fulfilled upon Judah in the Babylonian captivity. נאמן signifies to have a fast hold, and האמין to prove fast-holding. If Judah did not hold fast to its God, it would lose its fast hold by losing its country, the ground beneath its feet. We have the same play upon words in 2 Chronicles 20:20. The suggestion of Geiger is a very improbable one, viz., that the original reading was בי תאמינו לא אם, but that בי appeared objectionable, and was altered into כּי. Why should it be objectionable, when the words form the conclusion to a direct address of Jehovah Himself, which is introduced with all solemnity? For this כּי, passing over from a confirmative into an affirmative sense, and employed, as it is here, to introduce the apodosis of the hypothetical clause, see 1 Samuel 14:39, and (in the formula עתּה כּי) Genesis 31:42; Genesis 43:10; Numbers 22:29, Numbers 22:33; 1 Samuel 14:30 : their continued existence would depend upon their faith, as this chi emphatically declares.

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