Ah, I will ease me "Aha! I will be eased" - Anger, arising from a sense of injury and affront, especially from those who, from every consideration of duty and gratitude, ought to have behaved far otherwise, is an uneasy and painful sensation: and revenge, executed to the full on the offenders, removes that uneasiness, and consequently is pleasing and quieting, at least for the present. Ezekiel, Ezekiel 5:13, introduces God expressing himself in the same manner: -
"And mine anger shall be fully accomplished;
And I will make my fury rest upon them;
And I will give myself ease."
This is a strong instance of the metaphor called anthropopathia, by which, throughout the Scriptures, as well the historical as the poetical parts, the sentiments sensations, and affections, the bodily faculties qualities, and members, of men, and even of brute animals, are attributed to God, and that with the utmost liberty and latitude of application. The foundation of this is obvious; it arises from necessity; we have no idea of the natural attributes of God, of his pure essence, of his manner of existence, of his manner of acting: when therefore we would treat on these subjects, we find ourselves forced to express them by sensible images. But necessity leads to beauty; this is true of metaphor in general, and in particular of this kind of metaphor, which is used with great elegance and sublimity in the sacred poetry; and what is very remarkable, in the grossest instances of the application of it, it is generally the most striking and the most sublime. The reason seems to be this: when the images are taken from the superior faculties of the human nature, from the purer and more generous affections, and applied to God, we are apt to acquiesce in the notion; we overlook the metaphor, and take it as a proper attribute; but when the idea is gross and offensive as in this passage of Isaiah, where the impatience of anger and the pleasure of revenge is attributed to God, we are immediately shocked at the application; the impropriety strikes us at once, and the mind, casting about for something in the Divine nature analogous to the image, lays hold on some great, obscure, vague idea, which she endeavors to comprehend, and is lost in immensity and astonishment. See De Sacr. Poesi. Hebr. Praeel. 16 sub. fin., where this matter is treated and illustrated by examples.
Therefore saith the Lord - The prophet having stated the guilt of the nation, proceeds to show the consequences of their crimes; or to foretell what would happen. The name of God is repeated, to attract attention; to fill the mind with awe; and to give emphasis to the solemn sentence which was about to be uttered.
The Lord - אדון 'âdôn This word properly denotes master, lord, owner. Genesis 24:9: “lord over his whole house.” 1 Kings 16:24: “owner of the hill Samaria.” It is applied here to Yahweh, not as a special title, or as one of the names which he assumes to himself, but as owner, proprietor, master, ruler of the nation. The word, when applied to God as one of his special titles, has the form of an ancient plural termination, אדני 'ădonāy The root is probably דוּן dôn to judge, which in ancient times was also closely connected with the idea of ruling.
The Lord of hosts - Yahweh - ruling in the hosts of heaven, and therefore able to accomplish his threatenings; note, Isaiah 1:9.
The mighty One of Israel - He who had been their defender in the days of their peril; who had manifested his mighty power in overthrowing their enemies; and who had shown, therefore, that he was able to inflict vengeance on them.
Ah - הוי hôy This is an expression of threatening. It is that which is used when an affront is offered, and there is a purpose of revenge; see Isaiah 1:4.
I will ease me - This refers to what is said in Isaiah 1:14, where God is represented as burdened with their crimes. The Hebrew word is, I will be consoled, or comforted - that is, by being delivered from my foes - אנחם 'enâchem from נחם nâcham in Niphil, to suffer pain, to be grieved; and hence, to have pity, to show compassion. In Piel, to console or comfort one‘s-self; to take revenge. The idea included in the word is that of grief or distress, either in beholding the sufferings of others, or from some injury received from others. Hence, in Piel, it denotes to obtain relief from that distress, either by aiding the distressed object, or by taking revenge. In both instances, the mind, by a law of its nature, finds relief. The passion expends itself on its proper object, and the mind is at ease. It is used here in the latter sense. It is an instance where God uses the language which people employ to denote passion, and where they obtain relief by revenge. When applied to God, it is to be understood in accordance with his nature, as implying simply, that he would punish them; compare the note at Isaiah 1:13. It means that he had been pained and grieved by their crimes; his patience had been put to its utmost trial; and now he would seek relief from this by inflicting due punishment on them. An expression explaining this may be seen in Ezekiel 5:13; ‹Then shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted.‘ Also, Deuteronomy 28:63: ‹As the Lord rejoiced over you, to do you good; so the Lord will rejoice over you, to destroy you.‘
Mine adversaries - The enemies to his law and government among the rebellious Jews. The expression in this verse is a remarkable instance of God‘s adapting himself to our apprehension, by using our language. Instances occur often in the Scriptures where language expressive of human passions is applied to God; and as human language must be employed in revelation, it was indispensable. But those expressions are not to be understood as they are when applied to the passions of mankind. In God, they are consistent with all that is pure, and glorious, and holy, and should be so understood. The Chaldee renders this verse, ‹I will console the city of Jerusalem; but woe to the impious, when I shall be revealed to take vengeance on the enemies of my people.‘ But this is manifestly a false interpretation; and shows how reluctant the Jews were to admit the threatenings against themselves.
1 (Hebrews 11:37). Isaiah Was Sawn Asunder—Isaiah, who was permitted by the Lord to see wonderful things, was sawn asunder, because he faithfully reproved the sins of the Jewish nation. The prophets who came to look after the Lord's vineyard, were indeed beaten and killed. “They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and goat-skins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented”—men of whom the world was not worthy. They were cruelly treated, and banished from the world (The Signs of the Times, February 17, 1898). 4BC 1137.1Read in context »