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Isaiah 17


Syria was sometimes called Aram. Their country lay on the north-east of Canaan and Mount Lebanon.  They were conquered by David about 2964 B.C. but about 60 years later under the leadership of Rezon who formed a kingdom for himself at Damascus, which extended itself over all Syria and proved itself to be a scourge in the side of Israel, particularly in the days of Baasha, Ahab, etc.  God did not suffer the injuries which they did to his people to pass unpunished.  Twice, with a handful of men, Ahab routed their huge armies, and brought them to the brink of ruin, I Kings 20.  A noise in the trees terrified them from their cruel siege of Samaria  2 Kings 7 and Joash and Jeroboam, reduced them to the very brink of despair.  But more terrible judgments overtook them.  Hired by Ahaz, the Assyrians burned their cities, murdered the inhabitants, and took survivors to the slave world.  During the decline of Assyria the Syrians returned and repeopled their country.  But not long after  Nebuchadnezzar marched his troops into Syria and burned Damascus and murdered the inhabitants or reduced them to slavery. Century after century they have been at war from Alexander to the Romans, Eqyptians, Parthians, Persians, Saracens, the crusaders and the Druses, it has been one scene after another of plundering Arabs murdering it inhabitants.  (Gathered from various sources)


1The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.

This inspired prediction regarding the demise of Damascus as a city was fulfilled when it was invaded by the Tiglathpileser king of Assyria.  He captured the capital city of Syria and slew Rezin their king.



2Ki 16:9  And the king of Assyria hearkened unto him: for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin.  Read:  Jer 49:23-27; Amo 1:3-5


2The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.

The surrounding cities and townships were deserted and turned into a sheep run where the animals roamed undisturbed by people.



2Ki 15:29  In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.

3The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the LORD of hosts.

Ephraim will lose its defenses─Damascus will lose its sovereignty─their fate is one.  The prophet predicts that both will look like Israel when she lost her glory.



Isa 7:8  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.

Isa 7:16  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.

2Ki 17:6  In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

Hos 13:16  Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.

Amo 3:14-15  That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Bethel: and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground.  And I will smite the winter house with the summer house; and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end, saith the LORD.

4And in that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh  shall wax lean.

Jacob was the founder of Israel.  This verse likens them to a person who had gained weight and now lost weight and looked like a rack-of-bones.  The prophet predicts that they will look like walking death.



Isa 10:16  Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.  Read:  Isa 24:16; Deu 32:15-17; Jer 9:22; Jer 51:33


5And it shall be as when the harvestman gathereth the corn, and reapeth the ears with his arm; and it shall be as he that gathereth ears in the valley of Rephaim.

I helped my father gather the corn in my arms and put it in the shock, so the prophet likens Israel and Syria being gathered by the Assyrians and carried away into captivity.  He likens it to gathering corn in the rich fertile land of the valley or Rephaim.



Isa 24:13  When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done.  Read:  Eze 36:8-11; Mic 7:1-2


6Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the LORD God of Israel.

When the crops are gathered in there is a small amount left that is called gleanings which were left for the poor and homeless to pick.  The prophet likens the few poor stragglers left behind to the “two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough.”  That is how it would be when Damascus and Israel were stripped bare of its people leaving only a few behind.




Isa 24:13  When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done.

Mic 7:1  Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the firstripe fruit.

7At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel.

When people are in trouble they will look to their Maker for help.  When they were carried off into captivity and became slaves it had a sobering effect upon their thinking and they began to have respect for the Holy One of Israel.



Isa 22:11  Ye made also a ditch between the two walls for the water of the old pool: but ye have not looked unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago.

Jdg 10:15-16  And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day.  And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.

8And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands, neither shall respect that which his fingers have made, either the groves, or the images.

They got their fill of the sacred poles and solar pillars.  They will no longer seek the help from the idols─no longer worship the works that their hands have made.



Isa 1:29  For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen.

Isa 30:22  Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence.   Read:  2Ch 34:6,7; Hos 14:8; Zec 13:2


9In that day shall his strong cities be as a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch, which they left because of the children of Israel: and there shall be desolation.

On that day all their strong cities will be deserted like a used birds nest.  They will look like a forsaken uppermost tree branch─all shall be desolate.




Hos 13:15-16  Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels.  Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up. robbery in their palaces.   Read:  Amo 3:11-15; Amo 7:9; Mic 6:16; Mic 7:13


10Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with strange slips:

They had turned their back on God—He was the rock of their salvation but they had planted pleasant plants and then mingled the grounds with strange slips of a foreign god.




Isa 51:13  And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?

Deu 6:12  Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

Psa 106:13  They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:

Hos 8:14  For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.

11In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning shalt thou make thy seed to flourish: but the harvest shall be a heap in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow.

Their religious garden had some strange slips of foreign gods planted in it but the only harvest they will gather is a harvest of desperate sorrow and incurable pain.



Isa 18:5-6  For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches.  They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth: and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them.

Job 4:8  Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.

Hos 8:7  For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.  Read:  Joe 1:5-12


12Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!

The roar is caused by a riot of people roaring like the mighty ocean waves or the sound of rushing waters after a torrential downpour of rain.




Isa 8:7-8  Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks:  And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.

Psa 65:6-7  Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; being girded with power:  Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.

Jer 6:23  They shall lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, set in array as men for war against thee, O daughter of Zion.

13The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.

The nations will come roaring like rushing waters as it hits the shoreline but God will chase them off like chaff that is blown by the wind at threshing time or like a rolling tumbleweed in a tornado.



Isa 14:25  That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders.

Isa 27:1  In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.  Read:  Isa 33:9-12; Isa 30:30-31


14And behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us.

At eveningtide they waited in terror and confusion but when the dawn appeared God had driven off her enemies like dandelion seeds in a Kansas tornado.



2Ki 19:35-37  And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.  So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.  And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.  Read:  Psa 37:36; Job 20:29; Pro 22:23; Jer 2:3

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