Isaiah 33 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of Isaiah 33)
33:1 Woe to thee that a layest waste, and thou [wast] not laid waste; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt b cease to lay waste, thou shalt be wasted; [and] when thou shalt make an end of dealing treacherously, c they shall deal treacherously with thee.

(a) Meaning, the enemies of the Church, as were the Chaldeans and Assyrians, but chiefly of Sennacherib, but not only.
(b) When your appointed time will come that God will take away your power: and that which you have wrongfully gained, will be given to others, as in (Amos 5:11).
(c) The Chaldeans will do the same to the Assyrians, as the Assyrians did to Israel, and the Medes and Persians will do the same to the Chaldeans.

33:2 d O LORD, be gracious to us; we have waited for thee: be thou e their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.

(d) He declares by this what is the chief refuge of the faithful, when troubles come, to pray, and seek help from God.
(e) Which helped our fathers as soon as they called on you.

33:3 At the noise of the tumult the f people fled; at the g lifting up of thyself the nations were scattered.

(f) That is, the Assyrians fled before the army of the Chaldeans, or the Chaldeans for fear of the Medes and Persians.
(g) When you, O Lord, lifted up your arm to punish your enemies.

33:4 And your spoil shall be gathered [like] the gathering of the h caterpiller: as the running to and fro of locusts shall i he run upon them.

(h) You who as caterpillars destroyed with your number the whole world, will have no strength to resist your enemies the Chaldeans: but will be gathered on a heap and destroyed.
(i) Meaning, the Medes and Persians against the Chaldeans.

33:6 And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of k thy times, [and] strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD [is] his treasure.

(k) That is, in the days of Hezekiah.

33:7 Behold, l their valiant ones shall cry outside: the m ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly.

(l) Sent from Sennacherib.
(m) Whom they of Jerusalem sent to intreat of peace.

33:8 The n highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man.

(n) These are the words of the ambassadors, when they returned from Sennacherib.

33:9 The earth mourneth [and] languisheth: Lebanon is ashamed [and] hewn down: o Sharon is like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel shake off [their fruits].

(o) Which was a plentiful country, meaning, that Sennacherib would destroy all.

33:10 Now will I p rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself.

(p) To help and deliver my Church.

33:11 q Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath, [as] fire, shall devour you.

(q) This is spoken against the enemies, who thought all was their own, but he shows that their enterprise will be in vain, and that the fire which they had kindled for others would consume them.

33:13 Ye [that are] r far off, hear what I have done; and, ye [that are] near, acknowledge my might.

(r) His vengeance will be so great that all the world will talk of it.

33:14 The s sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?

(s) Which do not believe the words of the prophet, and the assurance of their deliverance.

33:16 He shall dwell on t high: his place of defence [shall be] the strong holds of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters [shall be] sure.

(t) Meaning, that God will be a sure defence to all them that live according to his word.

33:17 Thy eyes shall u see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the x land that is very far off.

(u) They will see Hezekiah delivered from his enemies and restored to honour and glory.
(x) They will be no more shut in as they were by Sennacherib, but go where it pleases them.

33:18 Thy heart y shall meditate terror. Where [is] the scribe? where [is] the receiver? where [is] he that counted the towers?

(y) Before this liberty comes you will think that you are in great danger: for the enemy will so sharply assail you that one will cry "Where is the clerk that writes the names of them who are taxed?" another, "Where is the receiver?" another will cry for him that values the rich houses, but God will deliver you from this fear.

33:21 But there the glorious LORD [will be] to us a place z of broad rivers [and] streams; in which shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass through it.

(z) Let us be content with this small river of Shiloah and not desire the great streams and rivers, by which the enemies may bring in ships and destroy us.

33:23 Thy a tacklings are loosed; they could not well strengthen their mast, they could not spread the sail: then is the b prey of a great spoil divided; the lame take the prey.

(a) He derides the Assyrians and enemies of the Church, declaring their destruction as they who perish by shipwreck.
(b) He comforts the Church, and shows that they will be enriched with all benefits both of body and soul.