Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Isaiah
Book: Isaiah
Chapter: 17

Syria and Israel threatened. (1-11) The woe of Israel's
enemies. (12-14)

1-11 Sin desolates cities. It is strange that great conquerors
should take pride in being enemies to mankind; but it is better
that flocks should Lie down there, than that they should harbour
any in open rebellion against God and Holiness. The strong holds
of Israel, the kingdom of the ten tribes, will be brought to
ruin. Those who are partakers in Sin, are justly made partakers
in ruin. The people had, By sins, made themselves ripe for ruin;
and their Glory was as quickly cut down and taken away By the
enemy, as the Corn is out of the Field By the Husbandman. Mercy
is reserved in the midst of Judgment, for a remnant. But very
few shall be marked to be saved. Only here and there one was
left behind. But they shall be a remnant made holy. The few that
are saved were awakened to return to God. They shall acknowledge
his Hand in all events; they shall give him the Glory due to his
name. To bring us to this, is the design of his Providence, as
he is our Maker; and the work of his Grace, as he is the Holy
One of Israel. They shall look off from their idols, the
creatures of their own fancy. We have reason to account those
Afflictions happy, which part between us and our sins. The God
of our Salvation is the Rock of our strength; and our
forgetfulness and unmindfulness of him are at the bottom of all
Sin. The pleasant plants, and shoots from a foreign soil, are
expressions for strange and idolatrous Worship, and the vile
practices connected therewith. Diligence would be used to
promote the growth of these strange slips, but all in vain. See
the evil and danger of Sin, and its certain consequences.

12-14 The rage and force of the Assyrians resembled the mighty
waters of The Sea; but when the God of Israel should rebuke
them, they would flee like Chaff, or like a rolling thing,
before the whirlwind. In the Evening Jerusalem would be in
trouble, because of the powerful invader, but before morning his
Army would be nearly cut off. Happy are those who remember God
as their Salvation, and rely On his power and Grace. The trouble
of the believers, and the prosperity of their enemies, will be
equally short; while the joy of the former, and the Destruction
of those that hate and spoil them, shall last for ever.