Monday, 21 November 2011

Setting the scene of Isaiah 17

This is from fausset's dictionary:-

Benhadad his son continued to exercise a lordship over Israel (2Ki_13:3-7; 2Ki_13:22) at first; but Joash, Jehoahaz' son, beat him thrice, according to Elisha's dying prophecy (2Ki_13:14-19), for "the Lord had compassion on His people ... because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, neither east He them from His presence us yet" (2Ki_13:23). Jeroboam II, Joash's son, further "recovered Damascus and Hamath, which belonged to Judah, for Israel ... according to the word of the Lord ... by Jonah the prophet" (2Ki_14:23-28), 836 B.C. Rezin of Damascus, a century later, in a respite from the Assyrian invasions, allied himself to Pekah of Israel against Judah, with a view to depose Ahaz and set up one designated "the son of Tabeal." (See AHAZ.) The successive invasions of Pul and Tiglath Pileser suggested the thought of combining Syria, Israel, and Judah as a joint power against Assyria. Ahaz' leaning to Assyria made him obnoxious to Syria and Israel.
But, as their counsel was contrary to God's counsel that David's royal line should continue until Immanuel, it came to nought (2Ki_15:19; 2Ki_15:29; 2Ki_15:57; 2Ki_16:5; Isa_7:1-6). Elath on the shore of the Red Sea, in Edom, built by Azariah of Judah on territory alleged to be Syrian, was "recovered" by Rezin. Whereupon Ahaz begged Assyria's alliance; and the very policy of Damascus and Israel against Assyria, namely, to absorb Judah, was the very means of causing their own complete absorption by Assyria (2Ki_16:6-9; 2Ki_16:17; Isa_7:14-25; Isa_8:6-10; Isa_10:9). The people of Damascus were carried captive to Kir, as Amos (Amo_1:5) foretold, the region from which they originally came, associated with Elam (Isa_22:6), probably in Lower Mesopotamia = Kish or Cush, i.e. eastern Ethiopia, the Cissia of Herodotus (G. Rawlinson).
Isaiah (Isa_17:1) and Amos (Amo_1:4) had prophesied that Damascus should be "taken away from being a city, and should be a ruinous heap," that Jehovah should "send a fire into the house of Hazael, which should devour the palaces of Benhadad"; and Jeremiah (Jer_49:24-25) that "Damascus is waxed feeble .... How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy!" By the time of the Mede-Persian supremacy Damascus had not only been rebuilt, but was the most famous city in Syria (Strabo, 16:2,19). In Paul's time (2Co_11:32) it was part of (See ARETAS' (see) kingdom. It is still a city of 150,000 inhabitants, of whom about 130,000 are Mahometans, 15,000 Christians, and about 5,000 Jews. Damascus was the center through which the trade of Tyre passed on its way to Assyria, Palmyra, Babylon, and the East.

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