Isaiah 17

Isaiah 17  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 11
In the days of Isaiah, Damascus had been allied with the ten tribes. Its “burden” fills the three verses that open chapter 17. The prophetic strain however quickly passes from Damascus to the children of Israel for disaster was to come on both, since both had united in alliance against Judah. The figure is used of harvest, whether of corn or of grapes, which would leave them poor and thin, yet a remnant would be left, like a gleaning of grapes or a few berries on an olive tree, and that remnant will turn their eyes to “the Holy One of Israel”, and away from the idolatrous things that formerly held them.
All this found a fulfillment in days immediately ahead, yet will have an ampler fulfillment in the last days yet to come. The prediction about the “pleasant plants”, or “plantations”, and the “strange slips” is often referred to in connection with the recent doings of Jewish immigrants in Palestine. They have indeed been busy with plantations in their agricultural colonies and have imported vast quantities of vine cuttings from other lands in order to reestablish vineyards.
But look at verse 11, which predicts that, though this work will have a promising beginning, it will suffer a crushing blow. And, how? By a great and antagonistic uprising among the nations, of which the rest of the chapter speaks. Here doubtless we have a brief yet comprehensive sight of the final convulsions among the nations, when God will make Jerusalem “a cup of trembling” and a “burdensome stone” to all the peoples round about, and “gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle” (Zech. 12:2-3; 14:22Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. 3And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. (Zechariah 12:2‑3)
2For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. (Zechariah 14:2)
). Jerusalem and the Jews will indeed be heavily chastised, but the proud nations themselves will meet ultimately the fury of God and be scattered before Him, like chaff or thistle down is blown away by a whirlwind. As we view present doings in Palestine let us not forget this solemn prediction.
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