Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 5:30

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

If one look unto the land, etc. "And these shall look to the heaven upward, and down to the earth" - לארץ ונבט venibbat laarets . Και εμβλεψονται εις την γην . So the Septuagint, according to the Vatican and Alexandrian copies; but the Complutensian and Aldine editions have it more fully, thus: - Και εμβλεψονται εις τον ουρανον ανω, και κατω ; and the Arabic from the Septuagint, as if it had stood thus: Και εμβλεψονται εις ουρανον, και εις την γην κατω, both of which are plainly defective; the words εις την γην, unto the earth, being wanted in the former, and the word ανω, above, in the latter. But an ancient Coptic version from the Septuagint, supposed to be of the second century, some fragments of which are preserved in the library of St. Germain des Prez at Paris, completes the sentence; for, according to this version, it stood thus in the Septuagint. - Και εμβλεψονται εις τον ουρανον ανω, και εις την γην κατω ; "And they shall look unto the heavens above and unto the earth beneath," and so it stands in the Septuagint MSS., Pachom. and 1. D. II., according to which they must have read their Hebrew text in this manner: - למטה ולארץ למעלה לשמים ונבט . This is probably the true reading, with which I have made the translation agree. Compare Isaiah 8:22; where the same sense is expressed in regard to both particulars, which are here equally and highly proper, the looking upwards, as well as down to the earth: but the form of expression is varied. I believe the Hebrew text in that place to be right, though not so full as I suppose it was originally here; and that of the Septuagint there to be redundant, being as full as the Coptic version and MSS. Pachom. and 1. D. 2 represent it in this place, from which I suppose it has been interpolated.

Darkness "The gloomy vapor" - The Syriac and Vulgate seem to have read בערפלח bearphalach ; but Jarchi explains the present reading as signifying darkness; and possibly the Syriac and Vulgate may have understood it in the same manner.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

They shall roar against them - The army that shall come up shall roar against the Jews. The image of “the roaring of the sea” indicates the great number that would come; that of the roaring of the “lion” denotes their fierceness and terror.

And if one look unto the land - This expression has given some perplexity, because it is supposed not to be full or complete. The whole image, it has been supposed (see “Lowth”), would be that of looking “upward” to the heaven for help, and then to the land, or “earth;” compare Isaiah 8:22, where the same expression is used. But there is no need of supposing the expression defective. The prophet speaks of the vast multitude that was coming up and roaring like the tumultuous “ocean.” On “that” side there was no safety. The waves were rolling, and everything was suited to produce alarm. It was natural to speak of the “other” direction, as the “land,” or the shore; and to say that the people would look there for safety. But, says he, there would be no safety there. All would be darkness.

Darkness and sorrow - This is an image of distress and calamity. There should be no light; no consolation; no safety; compare Isaiah 59:9; Amos 5:18, Amos 5:20; Lamentations 3:2.

And the light is darkened … - That which gave light is turned to darkness.

In the heavens thereof - In the “clouds,” perhaps, or by the gloomy thick clouds. Lowth renders it, ‹the light is obscured by the gloomy vapor.‘ The main idea is plain, that there would be distress and calamity; and that there would be no light to guide them on their way. On the one hand a roaring, ragtag multitude, like the sea; on the other distress, perplexity, and gloom. Thus shut up, they must perish, and their land be utterly desolate.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Let not any expect to live easily who live wickedly. Sin weakens the strength, the root of a people; it defaces the beauty, the blossoms of a people. When God's word is despised, and his law cast away, what can men expect but that God should utterly abandon them? When God comes forth in wrath, the hills tremble, fear seizes even great men. When God designs the ruin of a provoking people, he can find instruments to be employed in it, as he sent for the Chaldeans, and afterwards the Romans, to destroy the Jews. Those who would not hear the voice of God speaking by his prophets, shall hear the voice of their enemies roaring against them. Let the distressed look which way they will, all appears dismal. If God frowns upon us, how can any creature smile? Let us diligently seek the well-grounded assurance, that when all earthly helps and comforts shall fail, God himself will be the strength of our hearts, and our portion for ever.