King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Isaiah 7

Ahaz threatened by Israel and Syria; and is assured their attack would be in vain. (1-9) God gives a sure sign by the promise of the long-expected Messiah. (10-16) The folly and sin of seeking relief from Assyria are reproved. (17-25)

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Ahaz threatened by Israel and Syria; and is assured their attack would be in vain

1 And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it.

2 And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind.

3 Then said the LORD unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field;

4 And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah.

5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying,

6 Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal:

7 Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.

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.

9 And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.

God gives a sure sign by the promise of the long-expected Messiah

10 Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying,

11 Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.

12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.

13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?

14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

The folly and sin of seeking relief from Assyria are reproved

17 The LORD shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father’s house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria.

18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.

19 And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the holes of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes.

20 In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard.

21 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep;

22 And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land.

23 And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, it shall even be for briers and thorns.

24 With arrows and with bows shall men come thither; because all the land shall become briers and thorns.

25 And on all hills that shall be digged with the mattock, there shall not come thither the fear of briers and thorns: but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for the treading of lesser cattle.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Achaz. This must be seventeen years later than the former prediction. 4 K. xv. 37. The kings of Syria and Israel jointly attacked Juda, but were forced to raise the siege of Jerusalem. The next year they came separately, and committed the following ravages. The news of their junction threw all into confusion. v. 2. Isaias was then sent to inform the king, that the designs of his enemies should not take effect. Yet the two kings obtained each a victory. But they could not dethrone Achaz, as they intended. C. — Paine traduces this prophecy as a lie, asserting that they succeeded. What! did they make Tabeel king? v. 6. The Israelites would not even keep the captives who had been taken. 2 Chron. xxviii. 15. Watson, let. 5. — Achaz had been made captive before. But now the Lord defeated the projects of his enemies, as he will the conspiracy of heretics against his Church. W.

Ver. 3. Jasub. This name was mysterious: Shear-Jashub means “the rest shall return” from Babylon, or be converted under Ezechias. C. x. 22. C. — Prot. Go “thou, and Shear-Jashub, thy son, at the end of the conduit,” &c. H.

Ver. 4. Tails. So he styles the two kings in derision. The distrust of Achaz was punished by the loss of many of his subjects, but he was not dethroned, having engaged the Egyptians and Assyrians to attack his enemies. v. 17.

Ver. 6. Tabeel. Chal. “whom we shall think proper.” He will not so much as name him.

Ver. 8. Rasin. Both the king and his capital shall be ruined. — And five. Capellus (p. 497.) would read six and five; or, in eleven years time. But (C.) Ephraim was led captive twenty-one years after, and the Cutheans took their place when sixty-five years had elapsed. A. 3327. Usher — Most people date from the prophecy of Amos to the ruin of Samaria, just sixty-five years. The former solution seems preferable. C.

Ver. 9. Continue. Sept. “and will not understand, even the Lord,” &c. H. — Heb. “and since you do not believe,” (C.) or “because you are not confirmed” by a miracle. Grot.

Ver. 11. Above. Require it to thunder, (1 K. xii. 17.) or the earth to open. Num. xvi. 28. C.

Ver. 12. Lord. He was afraid of being forced to relinquish his evil ways. S. Jer. — Though an idolater, he knew he ought not to tempt God.

Ver. 14. Virgin, halma, (H.) one secluded from the company of men. Alma in Latin signifies “a holy person,” and in Punic “a virgin.” The term is never applied to any but “a young virgin.” If it meant a young woman, what sort of a sign would this be? S. Jer. — It was indeed above the sagacity of man to declare that the child to be born would be a boy, and live till the kings should be destroyed. But the prophet undoubtedly speaks of Jesus Christ, the wonderful, &c. (c. ix. 5.) as well as of a boy, who should prefigure him, and be an earnest of the speedy destruction of the two kings. He was to be born of Isaias, (c. viii. 4.) and of all the qualities belonging to the true Emmanuel, only that regards him, which intimates that the country should be delivered before he should come to years of discretion. v. 16. C. Diss. Bossuet — The Fathers generally apply all to Christ. — Called. Or shall be in effect. C. i. 26. C. — The king hardly trusted in God’s mercies, whereupon the incarnation of Christ, &c. is foretold. W.

Ver. 15. Honey. Like other infants. C. — The new baptized received some to remind them of innocence. Tert. cor. 3. — Christ shall be true man. M.

Ver. 16. Good. Being arrived at the age of discretion, Achaz engaged the Assyrians to invade Damascus. Its citizens and four tribes were carried into captivity the year following. Phacee only survived another year, A. 3265. This was a pledge, that what regarded the son of the virgin would also be accomplished. C. — Land of the enemy. C. 4 K. xvi. M.

Ver. 17. Assyrians. His aid shall prove the greatest scourge, (2 Par. xxviii. 20.) while the Idumeans and Philistines shall also ravage the country. Ib. 17. Achaz has vainly trusted in man.

Ver. 18. Of Egypt. The Idumeans, &c. dwell on the borders. C. v. 26. Yet many explain this of the victories of Nabuchodonosor and Nechas.

Ver. 20. Razor. Or cut off with scissors all the hair, as was done with lepers, (Lev. xiv. 9.) and Levites. Num. viii. 7. The country shall be pillaged, and all shall be in mourning. C. — The men shall be despised as no better than women and cowards. S. Jer. Theod. — Hired. With large sums. C.

Ver. 22. Land. Pastures shall be so large, (M.) though uncultivated, the greatest part of the inhabitants being removed.

Ver. 23. Pieces. Sicles. This was the price of the best vineyards. Cant. viii. 2. C. — Now people may hunt in them. H. — The subjects of Achaz were much reduced. C.

Ver. 24. Thither. The hedges shall be rooted up (H.) or neglected, so that cattle may graze. M. — Two sorts of mountains are specified; some for vineyards, and others for pasture. C.