Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Ephraim. That is, the kingdom of the ten tribes. (Challoner) — Flower. The pride of the kingdom shall thus decay. (Menochius) — Head. Samaria, situated on a hill, having under it a most fertile valley. (Challoner) — See Amos ii. 6., and iv. 2. Samaria was taken in the sixth year of Ezechias.
Ver. 2. The Lord. By his instrument, Salmanasar. (Haydock) — Hebrew, “behold the strong one, and the mighty to the Lord, as,” &c. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “behold the Lord’s fury….as.” (Haydock)
Ver. 4. Up. Theglathphalassar was captivated with the beauty of the country, and made it tributary. But Salmanasar, fearing a revolt, destroyed it, 4 Kings xvii. 4.
Ver. 5. People, who returned to the service of God; or it refers to the kingdom of Juda.
Ver. 6. Gate. Ezechias reunited the divided kingdoms, and inspired his troops with courage, bringing them back victorious, 2 Paralipomenon xxx. 1., and 4 Kings xviii. 7. (Calmet)
Ver. 7. These also. The kingdom of Juda. (Challoner) — Ezechias could not correct every abuse; though what is here specified, regards rather the reigns of his successors.
Ver. 8. Place. All was defiled: they gloried in their shame.
Ver. 9. Breasts? St. Paul seems to allude to this text, 1 Corinthians iii. 2. (Calmet) — The abandoned Jews ask contemptuously, if they be to be taught like children? (Haydock)
Ver. 10. Command, &c. This is said in the person of the Jews, resisting the repeated commands of God, and still putting him off. (Challoner) — They deride the prophets, speaking words of no meaning, as if their predictions were no better. (St. Jerome) — Think they that we have to learn the first elements, or to join syllables together? (Calmet) — Hebrew Tsav latsav, &c. (Haydock) — The Nicholaites abused these words. (St. Epiphanius 25.) — Why do they not speak plain? Sometimes terrible things are denounced, then subjects of joy! Isaias answers, that since they pretend not to understand, God will lead them into a country where they shall indeed have to learn the language, like children, chap. xxix. 11. (Calmet) — Protestants, “for precept must be upon precept….line upon line….here a little, and there a little. For with stammering lips,” &c. (Haydock)
Ver. 12. Hear. To leave off their wicked practices, and cruelty. The Jews would not understand: therefore Christ spoke to them in parables, chap. vi. 9., and Matthew xiii. 14., &c.
Ver. 13. Taken. God will make his prophets speak, notwithstanding your repugnance; or he will reduce you to the necessity of learning an unknown language. (Calmet)
Ver. 14. Men, who make a parade of your knowledge, (Haydock) to turn the most sacred things into ridicule.
Ver. 15. Protected. Their conduct spoke this language. They would not fail to make alliances with Egypt, and to trust in idols, whatever the prophets might say to dissuade them. (Calmet)
Ver. 16. Stone. Christ. (Challoner) — The Jews and Grotius would apply it to Ezechias. But he was already on the throne, and never could realize these glorious promises. The people were not to believe in him, &c. (Calmet) — Hasten. Let him expect his coming with patience. (Challoner) — It would be delayed some time. Hebrew may also signify “stagger;” (Calmet) in which sense the Septuagint and the authors of the New Testament seem to have taken it. “Whosoever believeth in him, shall not be confounded.” See Romans ix. 33. (Haydock) — Isaias promises a Redeemer, though these people were unworthy; and then returns to his own times. (Menochius)
Ver. 17. Measure. In the days of the Redeemer, they shall lead a virtuous life, (Calmet) or the scorners shall be treated with rigour. — Protection. The wall, (Menochius) or lies, (ver. 15.; Calmet) on which you depend, shall turn to your confusion. (Haydock)
Ver. 19. Hear. Under the last kings of Juda, the misery was continual. Captivity opened the eyes of the people, and they were afterwards more docile. The murder of Christ, and the subsequent evils which befell the nation, seem to have had a quite different effect. They will at last submit to his yoke. (Calmet)
Ver. 20. Straitened. It is too narrow to hold two: God will have the bed of our heart all to himself. (Challoner) (1 Corinthians x. 20., and 2 Corinthians vi. 14.) (St. Jerome, &c.) — The Jews explain it of the utmost distress, to which the people would be reduced, so that they would not be able to assist a friend, Amos iii. 12. (Forcr.[Forerius?]) (Calmet)
Ver. 21. As in, &c. As the Lord fought against the Philistines in Baal Pharasim, (2 Kings v.) and against the Chanaanites, in the valley of Gabaon, Josue x. (Challoner) — Strange. He punished unwillingly. (Calmet) — “It is not God’s work to ruin what he has created.” (St. Jerome) — He will punish in an extraordinary manner those scoffers, ver. 15., and Numbers xvi. 29. (Piscator)
Ver. 22. Earth. Nabuchodonosor will take a complete and speedy vengeance, chap. x. 22.
Ver. 24. Sow. The works of the husbandman vary, so will God’s punishments be inflicted with measure, according to each one’s deserts, ver. 27., and Wisdom vi. 7. (Calmet)
Ver. 25. Gith. Heberw ketsach. Septuagint, melanthion. (Haydock) (Pliny, [Natural History?] xx. 17.) (Menochius) — Septuagint have not expressed all the terms of the original, (Haydock) being perhaps ignorant of their meaning. (St. Jerome)
Ver. 26. God. From him proceeds every useful invention. The pagans attributed the discovery of corn, &c., to their idols.
Ver. 27. Saws, or heavy instruments. It would be thus crushed too much. (Calmet)
Ver. 28. But. Septuagint, “it shall be eaten with bread. For I will not be angry with you for ever, nor shall the sounds of my bitter wrath trample upon you.” (Haydock)
Ver. 29. This also, &c. Such also is the proceeding of the Lord with his land, and the diverse seeds he sows therein. (Challoner)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The punishment of the Israelites, for their pride, intemperance and contempt of religion. Christ the corner-stone.
1 Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, and to the fading flower, the glory of his joy, who were on the head of the fat valley, staggering with wine.
2 Behold, the Lord is mighty and strong, as a storm of hail; a destroying whirlwind, as the violence of many waters overflowing, and sent forth upon a spacious land.
3 The crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim shall be trodden under feet.
4 And the fading flower, the glory of his joy, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be as a hasty fruit before the ripeness of autumn: which, when he that seeth it shall behold, as soon as he taketh it in his hand, he will eat it up.
5 In that day the Lord of hosts shall be a crown of glory, and a garland of joy to the residue of his people:
6 And a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and strength to them that return out of the battle to the gate.
7 But these also have been ignorant through wine, and through drunkenness have erred: the priest and the prophet have been ignorant through drunkenness; they are swallowed up with wine; they have gone astray in drunkenness; they have not known him that seeth; they have been ignorant of judgment.
8 For all tables were full of vomit and filth, so that there was no more place.
9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand the hearing? them that are weaned from the milk, that are drawn away from the breasts.
10 For command, command again, command, command again; expect, expect again, expect, expect again; a little there, a little there.
11 *For with the speech of lips, and with another tongue he will speak to this people.
12 To whom he said: This is my rest, refresh the weary, and this is my refreshing: and they would not hear.
13 And the word of the Lord shall be to them: Command, command again; command, command again; expect, expect again; expect, expect again: a little there, a little there: that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
14 Wherefore, hear the word of the Lord; ye scornful men, rule over my people that is in Jerusalem.
15 For you have said: We have entered into a league with death, and we have made a covenant with hell. When the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come upon us: for we have placed our hope in lies, and by falsehood we are protected.
16 *Therefore, thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will lay a stone in the foundations of Sion, a tried stone, a corner-stone, a precious stone, founded in the foundation. He that believeth, let him not hasten.
17 And I will set judgment in weight, and justice in measure: and hail shall overturn the hope of falsehood: and waters shall overflow its protection.
18 And your league with death shall be abolished, and your covenant with hell shall not stand: when the overflowing scourge shall pass, you shall be trodden down by it.
19 Whensoever it shall pass through, it shall take you away; because in the morning early it shall pass through, in the day and in the night, and vexation alone shall make you understand what you hear.
20 For the bed is straitened, so that one must fall out, and a short covering cannot cover both.
21 *For the Lord shall stand up as in the mountain of divisions: **he shall be angry as in the valley which is in Gabaon: that he may do his work, his strange work: that he may perform his work, his work is strange to him.
22 And now do not mock, lest your bonds be tied strait. For I have heard of the Lord, the God of hosts, a consumption and a cutting short upon all the earth.
23 Give ear, and hear my voice, hearken, and hear my speech.
24 Shall the ploughman plough all the day to sow? shall he open and harrow his ground?
25 Will he not, when he hath made plain the surface thereof, sow gith, and scatter cummin, and put wheat in order, and barley, and millet, and vetches in their bounds.
26 For he will instruct him in judgment: his God will teach him.
27 For gith shall not be thrashed with saws, neither shall the cart wheel turn about upon cummin: but gith shall be beaten out with a rod, and cummin with a staff.
28 But bread-corn shall be broken small: but the thresher shall not thresh it for ever; neither shall the cart wheel hurt it, nor break it with its teeth.
29 This also is come forth from the Lord God of hosts, to make his counsel wonderful, and magnify justice.
11: 1 Corinthians xiv. 21.
16: Psalm cxvii. 22.; Matthew xxi. 42.; Acts iv. 11.; Romans ix. 33.; 1 Peter ii. 6.
21: 2 Kings v. 20.; 1 Paralipomenon xiv. 11. — ** Josue x. 13.