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CRITICAL, EXPLANATORY, AND PRACTICAL

ON

THE BOOK

OF THE

PRO P HET IS A I A H;

WITH

A NEW TRANSLATION,

BY ALBERT BARNES.

IN THREE VOLUMES.

VOL. 11.

BOSTON:
PUBLISHED BY CROCKER & BREWSTER,

47 WASHINGTON-STREET.

NEW YORK:
SOLD BY THEIR AGENT, JONATHAN LEAVITT,

114 NASSAU-STREET.

1840,

viz

$1802
ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1838, by

ALBERT BARNES,
In the Office of the Clerk of the District Court of the Eastern District of

Pennsylvania.

THE PROPHET ISAIAH.

CHAPTER XVII.

ANALYSIS.

The prophecy which comprises vs. 1–11 of this chapter professes by its title to be against Damascus only. But it relates to the kingdom of Samaria and the Israeliles no less than to Damascus. The reason is, that ihe kingdoms of Israel and Damascus and the Syrians were confederated against the kingdom of Judah. The design of the prophecy may have been 10 warn the kingdom of Israel of the approaching destruction of the city of Damascus, and to keep them in this way from forming an alliance with them against Judah. When it was delivered is unknown. Lowth supposes that it was immediately after the prophecies in the viith, and viiith chaplers in the reign of A haz, and this supposition is not improbable, though it is not quite certain. He also supposes ihat it was fulfilled when Damascus was taken captive by Tiglath-Pileser, and its inhabitants carried to Kir (2 Kings xvi. 9), and when he overran also a great part of the kingdom of Israel and carried its inhabitants captive to Assyria.

In regard to the lime when it was ullered, there can be liule doubt that it was when the alliance existed between Damascus and the kingdom of Ephraim, or Samaria, for on no other supposition can it be accounted for that the iwo kingdoms were united in the prophecy. See ver. 3. The scope or design of the prophecy is indicated in the close (ver 14). “This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us; and one design at least was to give consolation to the kingdom of Judah by the assurance that the alliance between the Syrians and the kingdom of Israel was not to be dreaded, but that the kingdom of Judah would be safe. No alliance formed against them would be successful; no parpose to destroy them should be an object of dread.

The prophecy may be regarded as consisting of three parts. (i.) The prediction of the divine judgment against Damascus. Vs. 1, 2. (ii) The predic

respecting Ephraim, the ally of Damascus, and its fulfillment. Vs. 3–11. (11.) A prediction respecting the Assyrians, and the calamities that should come upon them as a nation, vs 12–14.

The kingdom of Syria or Damascus was overthrown in the fourth year of the reign of Abaz. It is clear, therefore, that the prophecy was delivered before that time. And if so, its proper place in the collection of the prophecies of Isaiah would have been immediately after the vijith chapter. The reason why it is placed here, Lightfoot supposes to be, that in those chapters (vii. viji. ix.) the special design was to denounce judgment on the twokingdoms of Damascus and Ephraim; but that the design here was to connect the

prediction of those judgmenis with the surrounding kingdoms, and to show how they would be affected by it. The prophecy is therefore placed amidst those which relate to foreign nations; or to kingdoms out of the land of Canaan.

Damascus was a celebrated city of Syria, and was long the capital of the kingdom of Damascus. It was a city in the time of Abraham, for the steward in his house, Eliezer, was said to be of Damascus. Gen. xv. 2. It is situated in a very fertile plain at the foot of Mount Libanus or Lebanon, and is surfounded by bills. It is bounded by a river which the ancients called ChrysorThoas, as if it flowed with gold. This river was divided into several canals,

tion

which were conducted to various parts of the city. It rose in the mountains of Libanus, and it is probable that the branches of that river were called Abana and Pharpar. 2 Kings v. 12. The Persian geographer says that the plain of Damascus is one of the four Paradises of the Easi, and it is now said that there is not in all Syria a more delightful place.

From the iime of Abraham until ihe time of David the Scripture says nothing of Damascus. In his time it was subdued, and brought under his authority. Towards the end of the reign of Solomon the authority of the Jews was cast off by Rezin, and Damascus became again independent. Jeroboam, king of Israel, again conquered Damascus and brought Syria into subjection (2 Kings xiv. 25); but after his death the Syrians again established their independence. Rezin became king of Damascus, and entered into an alliance with Pekah, king of Israel, and unitedly they invaded Judah, and made great havoc in its territories. See Notes ch. vii. Comp. 2 Kings xvi. 5. Tiglath-Pileser, however, king of Assyria, came to the assistance of the king of Judah and took Damascus, and destroyed it, and killed Rezin, and carried the Syrians into captivity beyond the Euphrates. To this event, probably, Isaiah refers in the prophecy bɔfore uş. He, however, did not foretell its utter and perpetual ruin as he did that of Babylon. Damascus again recovered from its calamities. Holofernes again took it. Judith ii. 27. It is spoken of as flourishing in the time of Ezekiel, xxvii. 2. The Romans took it in the time, and by the agency of Pompey the Great, about sixty years before Christ It afterwards fell into the hands of the Arabians. It is now a city of considerable size and importance under the government of the Ottoman emperors, by whom it was taken A. D. 1517. See Calmet's Dictionary, Art. Damascus; and Vitringa on this chapter. See also Jones' Travels for a full description of the present state of Damascus. At present, it is a part of the Paschalic of Damascus, which extends to the southern extremity of ihe Dead Sea, and as far East as the Euphrates. It is under the control of Ibrahim, son of Mohammed Ali of Egypt.

The prophecy respecting Damascus occupies vs. 1-11 of the chapter. The general sense is, that Damascus and its allies should be greatly enfeebled and almost destroyed; destroyed so that few should be left. Its fulfillment is to be referred to the invasion of Damascus by Tiglath-Pileser and the Assyrians. The remainder of the chapter (vs. 12–14.) is a distinct prophecy. See Notes on ver. 12.

1 The burden of Damascus. Be- | being a city, and it shall be a ruinous hold, Damascus , is taken away from heap. cJer. 49. 23, &c. Amos 1. 3-5. Zech. 9. 1, fulfilled.

d2 Kings 16. 9.

New Translation. Vision XI. CHAP. XVII. 1-11. Damascus. 1. Lo, Damascus is removed from being a city,

And is become a pile of ruins.

1. The burden of Damascus. The oracle indicating calamity, or destruction to Damascus. See Note ch. xiii. 1. Damascus is taken away. That is, it shall be destroyed. It was represented to the prophet in prophetic vision as destroyed. Note ch. i. 1. { And it shall be a ruinous heap. A pile of ruins; its walls thrown down, and its houses reduced to ruins. See ch. xxxv. 2. It should be destroyed, and its inhabitants should be carried away. This took place under

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