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.
Ahaz — A most wicked king: yet no prophecies are more comfortable than those which were delivered in his time; God so ordering it for the encouragement of the faithful that lived under his impious reign.
 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.
David — Ahaz, and his relations. He calls them the house of David, to intimate that the following comfortable message was sent to Ahaz, not for his own sake, but for the sake of his worthy progenitor David.
Ephraim — The kingdom of the ten tribes, commonly called Ephraim, because that was the most numerous of all.
Moved — With fear, arising from a consciousness of their own guilt, and their enemies strength.
 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;
Thy son — Whose very name carried in it a sign and pledge of the promised deliverance, signifying, The remnant shall return.
Fuller's field — Whither he probably went to take care about the waters which thence were brought into the city, to secure them to himself, or keep them from the enemy, as Hezekiah afterward did, 2 Chronicles 32:3,4.
 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.
Be quiet — Settle thy mind by the belief of that joyful message which I am now to deliver thee from the Lord.
Fire-brands — They are not whole fire-brands, but small pieces or ends of them, taken out of the fire, in which there is more smoak than fire. They have more of shew and terror, than of strength. Pekah, king of Israel, he calls only the son of Remaliah, to intimate, that he was unworthy the name of king, as having got that title by usurpation, and the murder of his master, 2 Kings 15:25.
 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:
Let us — Break their power and kingdom and subdue it to ourselves.
 Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.
It — Their evil counsel.
 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.
Damascus — Damascus shall still continue the capital of the kingdom of Syria; and therefore Jerusalem shall not become a part of Rezin's dominion: but he shall keep within his own bounds, and be king of Damascus only.
 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.
Samaria — Samaria shall continue to be the chief city if the kingdom of Israel, and Pekah shall not conquer Jerusalem.
If — If you do not believe this, but seek to the Assyrians for succour, ye shall be consumed thereby.
 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.
I will not — By asking a sign, as if I questioned the truth of his word: but this was deep hypocrisy.
 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?
David — He reproves them all, because they were the king's counsellors.
Is it a small thing — Is it not wickedness enough.
My God — To vex God's prophets and people, with your oppressions and horrid impieties. And by your ingratitude and unbelief, and disobedience of his commands.
 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Therefore — Because you despise me, and the sign which I now offer to you, God of his own free grace will send you a more honourable messenger, and give you a nobler sign.
A sign — Of your deliverance. But how was this birth, which was not to happen 'till many ages after, a sign of their deliverance from present danger? This promised birth supposed the preservation of that city, and nation and tribe, in and of which the Messiah was to be born; and therefore there was no cause to fear that ruin which their enemies now threatened.
Immanuel — God with us; God dwelling among us, in our nature, John 1:14. God and man meeting in one person, and being a mediator between God and men. For the design of these words is not so much to relate the name by which Christ should commonly he called, as to describe his nature and office.
 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
Butter — The common food of children in that country.
He — The virgin's son.
Know — To discern between things good and evil.
 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.
Yea — Not only this land shall be preserved until the virgin's son shall be born, but thine enemies land shall be sorely scourged, and these two kings destroyed within a very little time.
This child — Shear-Jashub, whom in all probability the prophet pointed at, and who was brought hither by God's special command, verse 3. for this very use.
The land — The lands of Syria and Israel.
Forsaken — So far shall Pekah and Rezin be from conquering thy land, that they shall lose their own lands, and their lives too; which they did within two years after this time, being both slain by the king of Assyria.
 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.
Shall bring — But altho' God will deliver you at this time, yet he will requite all your wickedness.
Thee — For part of this Assyrian storm fell in Ahaz's reign.
And — Upon thy sons and successors, the kings of Judah.
Days — Calamities.
Departed — When ten tribes revolted from thy father's house.
The king — Who may well be called their plague or calamity, as he is called the rod of God's anger, chap. 10:5.
 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.
The fly — The flies. So he calls these enemies, to imply their great numbers.
In — In their extremity, where they go out into the sea.
Rivers — Of the river Nile, which may be called rivers, either for its greatness, or because towards the end of it, it is divided into seven streams. When the Chaldeans had in good measure subdued the Egyptians, it is probable great numbers of the Egyptian soldiers listed themselves in the Chaldean army, and with them invaded the land of Judah.
The bee — The Assyrian army, compared to bees, as for their numerous forces and orderly march, so for their fierce attempts and mischievous effects.
Assyria — In the empire of Assyria, or Babylon; for these two were united into one empire, and therefore in scripture are promiscuously called sometimes by one title, and sometimes by the other.
 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.
Valleys — Such as they found fruitful, but made desolate.
Rocks — To which possibly the Israelites fled for refuge.
Bushes — Which he mentions because flies and bees use frequently to rest there; and to intimate, that no place should escape their fury.
 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.
Shave — Utterly spoil, as shaving takes away the hair.
Hired — By Ahaz, who did hire them, 2 Kings 16:7,8. And so the prophet notes the just judgment of God, in scourging them with a rod of their own making.
By — By the successive kings of the Assyrian empire, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, and especially by Nebuchadnezzar.
The head — By these metaphorical expressions he signifies the total destruction of their state, from head to foot, from the highest to the lowest.
 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep;
Sheep — They who formerly used to keep great herds of cattle, and many flocks of sheep, shall esteem it a happiness if they can keep but one cow and two sheep.
 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.
Abundance — Because they shall have large pastures, by reason of the great scarcity of cattle.
Butter — Which the poorer sort had formerly used to sell, to procure them cheaper food for themselves: but now the land should be so destitute of people, that there were none to whom they could sell them.
 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.
Of silver — Each of the thousand vineyards might have been sold or let for a thousand shekels, which was the yearly rent of some excellent vineyards.
 With arrows and with bows shall men come thither; because all the land shall become briers and thorns.
With arrows — Either to hunt, or to defend themselves from wild beasts, which commonly abide in desolate grounds.
 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.
Digged — That used to be digged and dressed for the planting of vines, or other choice fruit-trees.
The fear — That they might be freed from briars and thorns.
Cattle — All sorts of cattle may enter, and feed there, the fences being broken down, and the owners slain, or carried into captivity.