Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 17

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-6



1. Damascus, Capital of Syria, is to become a heap of ruins, (Verse 1; cf. Isaiah 7:16; Isaiah 8:4; Isaiah 25:2; Micah 1:6).

2. Deserted, the towns of Aroer will become a peaceable dwelling for flocks, (comp. Ezekiel 25:5; Zephaniah 2:6).

3. As already indicated to Ahaz (Isaiah 7:7-9; Isaiah 7:16; Isaiah 8:4), the defenses of both Israel and Syria will be overrun by the king of Assyria.

4. The glory of Israel will be cut off - his fatness turned to leanness; a very small amount (like gleanings at harvest-time) will be left, (Verse 4-6; comp. Hosea 9:11; Isaiah 10:3; Isaiah 10:16).

Verses 7-11

1. When the hand of divine judgment is stretched out, Israel will realize how desperately she needs a right relationship with her Maker, (Isaiah 10:20; Hosea 3:5; Hosea 6:1; cf. Isaiah 51:13; Isaiah 55:4).

2. In the day of her trouble, they will not look to the idols or altars that have been made with their own hands - their Asherim or sun-images, Verse 8; Isaiah 2:8; Isaiah 2:20; Isaiah 30:22; Isaiah 27:9; 2 Chronicles 34:7; Exodus 34:13; Deuteronomy 7:4-5).

3. The cities of Israel will become as desolate as those of the heathen who fled before the approach of their ancient fathers, in whose midst God dwelt, (Verse 9; Isaiah 7:25).

4. They have forgotten the God of their salvation, and been unmindful of the Rock in whom they might have found refuge, (Verse 10a; Isaiah 52:13; Isaiah 12:2; Isaiah 33:2; Isaiah 61:10; Isaiah 62:11; Isaiah 26:4; Isaiah 30:29; Isaiah 44:8).

5. It was due to this forgetfullness of the Most High that they could so carefully plant and nourish their vine-slips in honor of idol gods, (Verse 10b).

6. Though beautiful to look upon, they would not help in he day of trouble; the harvest would prove to be a heap - to the grief and sorrow of the idolators, (Verse 11; Job 4:8; Hosea 8:7; Hosea 10:13).

7. Let it be clearly recognized that idolatry (even on the part of the Jews) is not entirely a thing of the past.

a. It is very prevalent today - taking many forms, such as: humanistic philosophy, pride in national heritage and accomplishments, trust in military supremacy, etc.

b. And it will be very widespread in the day of our Lord’s return, (Isaiah 2:20-22; Psalms 97:7; Psalms 96:5; Hosea 13:8; Zechariah 10:2; Revelation 9:20).

c. The ultimate idolatry will be in the acceptance of the antichrist as the true Messiah, (John 5:43; Daniel 9:27).

Verses 12-14


1. Here is a far-reaching prophecy designed for the assurance of those in Judah who are trusting in Jehovah; though the near view may anticipate the coming of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:32-35), the far view looks toward the end of the age and the second coming of our Lord. ’

2. The picture here suggests a confederacy of many nations whose armies, like the rushing of an incoming tide come against the Lord’s anointed - intent upon their destruction, (Verse 12-13a; Isaiah 5:30; Isaiah 8:9-10; Isaiah 13:4; Ezekiel 33:3).

3. But, a "woe" is upon them; at the Lord’s rebuke they will flee afar off - two figures being used to describe their flight, (Verse 13b; Isaiah 41:11; Psalms 9:5; Isaiah 13:14; see Revelation 19).

a. They will be driven "as chaff" before the mountain winds, (Isaiah 19:5; Isaiah 41:15-16; Job 21:18; Psalms 1:4).

b. Like a rolling thing before a tornado, (Psalms 83:13).

4. The contrast between "eveningtide" and "morning" is deeply suggestive. If one will follow these thoughts throughout the scriptures he will find them a basis for great joy, (Psalms 30:5; 2 Samuel 23:1-4).

a. "Eveningtide" suggests the approach of "night" wherein trials, troubles, heartaches, sorrow and death run their course.

b. By way of contrast, "the morning" (heralded by the coming of "the Day Star", 2 Peter 1:19) alludes to the coming Day of the Lord which will bring an end to the night of trouble - the new day dawning with eternal joy and peace for the righteous, while the wicked are forever cut off, (Psalms 49:14-15; Psalms 46:5; Psalms 110:2-3; Revelation 2:26-28; cf. Isaiah 22:16).

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Isaiah 17". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. 1985.