New American Standard Bible
For wickedness burns like a fire; It consumes briars and thorns; It even sets the thickets of the forest aflame And they roll upward in a column of smoke.
King James Bible
For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke.
Darby Bible Translation
For wickedness burneth as a fire: it devoureth briars and thorns, and kindleth in the thickets of the forest, and they go rolling up like a pillar of smoke.
World English Bible
For wickedness burns like a fire. It devours the briers and thorns; yes, it kindles in the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke.
Young's Literal Translation
For burned as a fire hath wickedness, Brier and thorn it devoureth, And it kindleth in thickets of the forest, And they lift themselves up, an exaltation of smoke!
Isaiah 9:18 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
For wickedness - This commences the third part of the prophecy, which continues to the end of the chapter. It is a description of prevailing impiety. The effects and prevalence of it are described by the image of a raging, burning flame, that spreads everywhere: first among the humble shrubbery - the briers and thorns, then in the vast forests, until it spreads over the land, and sends a mighty column of flame and smoke up to heaven.
Burneth as the fire - Spreads, rages. extends as fire does in thorns and in forests. In what respects it burns like the fire, the prophet immediately specifies. It spreads rapidly everywhere, and involves all in the effects. Wickedness is not unfrequently in the Scriptures compared to a fire that is shut up long, and then bursts forth with raging violence. Thus Hosea 7:6 :
Truly, in the inmost part of it, their heart is like an oven,
While they lie in wait;
All the night their baker sleepeth;
In the morning it burneth like a blazing star.
As an oven conceals the lighted fire all night, while the baker takes his rest, and in the morning vomits forth its blazing flame; so all manner of concupiscence is brooding mischief in their hearts, while the ruling faculties of reason and conscience are lulled asleep, and their wicked designs wait only for a fair occasion to break forth.' - Horsely on Hosea; see also Isaiah 50:2; Isaiah 65:5.
It shall devour - Hebrew, 'It shall eat.' The idea of devouring or eating, is one which is often given to fire in the Scriptures.
The briers and thorns - By the briers and thorns are meant, doubtless, the lower part of the population; the most degraded ranks of society. The idea here seems to be, first, that of impiety spreading like fire over all classes of people; but there is also joined with it, in the mind of the prophet, the idea of punishment. Wickedness would rage like spreading fire; but like fire, also, it would sweep over the nation accomplishing desolation and calamity, and consuming everything in the fire oft God's vengeance. The wicked are often compared to thorns and briers - fit objects to be burned up; Isaiah 33:12 :
And the people shall be as the burnings of lime;
As thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire.
And shall kindle - Shall burn, or extend, as sweeping fire extends to the mighty forest.
In the thickets of the forests - The dense, close forest or grove. The idea is, that it extends to all classes of people - high as well as low.
And they shall mount up - The Hebrew word used here - יתאבכוּ yit'abekû from אבך 'âbak - occurs nowhere else. The image is that of a far-spreading, raging fire, sending columns of smoke to heaven. So, says the prophet, is the rolling, raging, consuming fire of the sins of the nation spreading over all classes of people in the land, and involving all in widespread desolation.
'Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived …
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As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; As wax melts before the fire, So let the wicked perish before God.
Like fire that burns the forest And like a flame that sets the mountains on fire,
Your land is desolate, Your cities are burned with fire, Your fields-- strangers are devouring them in your presence; It is desolation, as overthrown by strangers.
Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes stubble And dry grass collapses into the flame, So their root will become like rot and their blossom blow away as dust; For they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
O LORD, Your hand is lifted up yet they do not see it. They see Your zeal for the people and are put to shame; Indeed, fire will devour Your enemies.
Sinners in Zion are terrified; Trembling has seized the godless. "Who among us can live with the consuming fire? Who among us can live with continual burning?"
Behold, all you who kindle a fire, Who encircle yourselves with firebrands, Walk in the light of your fire And among the brands you have set ablaze. This you will have from My hand: You will lie down in torment.
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