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Adam Clarke Commentary

Isaiah 32

Introduction

Prophecy of great prosperity under Hezekiah; but, in its highest sense, applicable to Christ, Isaiah 32:1 -8. Description of impending calamities, Isaiah 32:9 -14. Rejection of the Jews, and calling of the Gentiles, Isaiah 32:15 . The future prosperity of the Church, Isaiah 32:16 -20.

Verse 1

Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness - If King Hezekiah were a type of Christ, then this prophecy may refer to his time; but otherwise it seems to have Hezekiah primarily in view. It is evident, however, that in the fullest sense these words cannot be applied to any man; God alone can do all that is promised here.And princes - ושרים ve-sarim, without ל lamed, to; so the ancient Versions. An ancient MS. has ושריו vesaraiv, and his princes.

Verse 2

As the shadow of a great rock - The shadow of a great projecting rock is the most refreshing that is possible in a hot country, not only as most perfectly excluding the rays of the sun, but also as having in itself a natural coolness, which it reflects and communicates to every thing about it.Speluncaeque tegant, et saxea procubet umbra.Virg. Georg. 3:145.Hesiod. 2:206.Parched skin, and feeble knees refreshment need;Then to the rock's projected shade retire,With Biblin wine recruit thy wasted powers."

Verse 3

And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim "And him the eyes of those that see shall regard" - For ולא velo, and not, Le Clerc reads ולו velo, and to him, of which mistake the Masoretes acknowledge there are fifteen instances; and many more are reckoned by others. The removal of the negative restores to the verb its true and usual sense.

Verse 5

The vile person shall no more be called liberal - The different epithets here employed require minute explanation.The vile person - נבל nabal, the pampered, fattened, brainless fellow, who eats to live, and lives to eat; who will scarcely part with any thing, and that which he does give he gives with an evil eye and a grudging heart.Liberal - נדיב nadib; the generous, openhearted, princely man, who writes on all his possessions, For myself and mankind, and lives only to get and to do good.The churl - כילי kilai, the avaricious man; he who starves himself amidst his plenty, and will not take the necessaries of life for fear of lessening his stock.Thus he differs from נבל nabal, who feeds himself to the full, and regards no one else; like the rich man in the Gospel. The avaricious man is called כילי kilai, from כי ki, for, לי li, myself; or contracted from כל col, all, and לי li, to myself: all is mine; all I have is my own; and all I can get is for myself: and yet this man enjoys nothing; he withholdsFrom back and belly too their proper fare: - O cursed lust of gold, when for thy sakeThe wretch throws up his interest in both worlds,First starved in this, then damned in that to come!Bountiful - שוע shoa, he who is abundantly rich; who rejoices in his plenty, and deals out to the distressed with a liberal hand.

Verse 6

The vile person will speak villany "The fool will still utter folly" - A sort of proverbial saying, which Euripides (Bacchae, 369) has expressed in the very same manner and words: Μωρα γαρ μωρος λεγει· "The fool speaks folly. "Of this kind of simple and unadorned proverb or parable, see De S. Poes, Hebr. Praelect. xxiv.Against the Lord "Against Jehovah" - For אל El, two MSS. read אל al, more properly; but both are of nearly the same meaning.

Verse 7

The instruments also of the churl are evil "As for the niggard, his instruments are evil" - His machinations, his designs. The paronomasia, which the prophet frequently deals in, suggested this expression וכלי כליו vechelai kelaiv. The first word is expressed with some variety in the MSS. Seven MSS. read וכילי vekili, one וכל vechol, another וכולי vecoli.To destroy the poor with lying words "To defeat the assertions of the poor in judgment" - A word seems to have been lost here, and two others to have suffered a small alteration, which has made the sentence very obscure. The Septuagint have happily retained the rendering of the lost word, and restored the sentence in all its parts: Και διασκεδασαι λογους ταπεινων εν κρισει· ולהפר דברי אביון במשפט ulehapher dibrey ebyon bemishpat, "And disperse the words of the poor in judgment. "They frequently render the verb הפר haphar by διασκεδασαι, A MS. reads ולדבר uledabber, which gives authority for the preposition ל lamed, to, necessary to the sense, and the Septuagint, Syriac, and Chaldee read במשפט bemishpat, In judgment.

Verse 8

Liberal things "Generous purposes" - "Of the four sorts of persons mentioned Isaiah 32:5 , three are described, Isaiah 32:6 , Isaiah 32:7 , and Isaiah 32:8 , but not the fourth." - Secker. Perhaps for והוא vehu, and he, we ought to read ושוע veshoa, the bountiful.

Verse 9

Rise up, ye women "ye provinces. "Ye careless daughters "ye cities." - Targum.From this verse to the end of the fourteenth, the desolation of Judea by the Chaldeans appears to be foretold.

Verse 11

Gird sackcloth - שק sak, sackcloth, a word necessary to the sense, is here lost, but preserved by the Septuagint, MSS. Alex. and Pachom., and 1. D. II., and edit. Ald. and Comp., and the Arabic and Syriac.Tremble - be troubled - strip you - פשטה peshotah, רגזה regazah, etc. These are infinitives, with a paragogic ה he, according to Schultens, Institut. Ling. Hebr. p. 453, and are to be taken in an imperative sense.

Verse 12

They shall lament - for the pleasant fields "Mourn ye for the pleasant field" - The Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate read ספדו siphdu, mourn ye, imperative; twelve MSS., (five ancient), two editions, the Septuagint, Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion, Syriac, and Vulgate, all read שדה sadeh, a field; not שדי shedey, breasts.

Verse 13

Shall come up thorns and briers "The thorn and the brier shall come up" - All the ancient Versions read ושמיר veshamir, with the conjunction. And an ancient MS. has תעלה בו taaleh bo, "shall come up in it, "which seems to be right; or rather בה bah: and there is a rasure in the place of בו bo in another ancient MS.Yea, upon all the houses of joy - For כי ki, the ancient Versions, except the Vulgate, seem to have read ו ve. כי ki may perhaps be a mistake for בו bo, or בה bah, in it, above mentioned. It is not necessary in this place.The description of impending distress which begins at Isaiah 32:13 belongs to other times than that of Sennacherib's invasion, from which they were so soon delivered. It must at least extend to the ruin of the country and city by the Chaldeans. And the promise of blessings which follows was not fulfilled under the Mosaic dispensation; they belong to the Kingdom of Messiah. Compare Isaiah 32:15 with Isaiah 29:17 (note), and see the note there.

Verse 14

The palaces shall be forsaken - The house of the sanctuary (the temple) shall be destroyed. - Targum.The forts "Ophel" - It was a part of Mount Zion, rising higher than the rest, at the eastern extremity, near to the temple, a little to the south of it; called by Micah, Micah 4:8 , "Ophel of the daughter of Zion. "It was naturally strong by its situation; and had a wall of its own, by which it was separated from the rest of Zion.

Verse 15

And the fruitful field - והכרמל vehaccarmel. So fifteen MSS., six ancient, and two editions; which seems to make the noun an appellative.

Verse 17

The work of righteousness - Righteousness works and produces peace.The effect of righteousness - עבדת abodath, the culture. Righteousness, cultivated by peace, produces tranquillity of mind and permanent security. Reader, hast thou the principle? If so, dost thou cultivate it? If thou dost, thou hast peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, and a sure and certain hope of everlasting life.

Verse 19

The city shalt be low all a low place. "The city shall be laid level with the plain" - For ובשפלה ubashephelah, the Syriac reads וכשפלה ukeshephelah. The city - probably Nineveh or Babylon: but this verse is very obscure. Saltus; Assyriorum regnum: civitas; magnifica Assyriorum castra. Ephrem Syr. ire loc. For וברד ubarad, a MS. has וירד vaiyered; and so conjectured Abp. Secker, referring to Zechariah 11:2 .

Verse 20

That sow beside all waters "Who sow your seed in every well-watered place" - Sir John Chardin's note on this place is: "This exactly answers the manner of planting rice; for they sow it upon the water, and before sowing, while the earth is covered with water, they cause the ground to be trodden by oxen, horses, and asses, who go mid-leg deep; and this is the way of preparing the ground for sowing. As they sow the rice on the water, they transplant it in the water. "Harmer's Observ. vol. 1 p. 280. "Rice is the food of two-thirds of mankind." Dr. Arbuthnot. "It is cultivated in most of the eastern countries." Miller. "It is good for all, and at all times." Sir J. Chardin, ib. "Le ris, qui est leur principal aliment et leur froment (i.e., des Siamois), n'est jamais assez arrose; il croit au milieu de l'eau, et les campagnes ou on le cultive ressemblent plutot a de marets que non pas a des terres qu'on laboure aver la charue. Le ris a bien cette force, que quoy qu'il y ait six ou sept pieds d'eau sur lui, il pousse toujours sa tige au dessus; et le tuyau qui le porte s'eleve et croit a proportion de la hauteur de l'eau qui noye son champ. Voyage de l'Eveque de Beryte, p. 144. Paris, 1666. - L. "Rice, which is the principal grain and aliment of the Siamese, can never be too much watered. It grows in the water, and the fields where it is sown resemble marshes rather than fields cultivated by ploughing. Rice has that property that although it be covered with water six or seven feet deep, yet it raises its stalk above it; and this grows long in proportion to the depth of the water by which the field is inundated."

Isaiah 32


  1 Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.
  2 And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
  3 And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken.
  4 The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly.
  5 The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful.
  6 For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practice hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.
  7 The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right.
  8 But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.
  9 Rise up, ye women that are at ease; hear my voice, ye careless daughters; give ear unto my speech.
  10 Many days and years shall ye be troubled, ye careless women: for the vintage shall fail, the gathering shall not come.
  11 Tremble, ye women that are at ease; be troubled, ye careless ones: strip you, and make you bare, and gird sackcloth upon your loins.
  12 They shall lament for the teats, for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine.
  13 Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city:
  14 Because the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left; the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks;
  15 Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.
  16 Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.
  17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
  18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;
  19 When it shall hail, coming down on the forest; and the city shall be low in a low place.
  20 Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.

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