Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 2:19

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Into the holes of the rocks "Into caverns of rocks" - The country of Judea being mountainous and rocky, is full of caverns, as appears from the history of David's persecution under Saul. At En-gedi, in particular, there was a cave so large that David with six hundred men hid themselves in the sides of it; and Saul entered the mouth of the cave without perceiving that any one was there, 1 Samuel 24. Josephus, Antiq., lib. xiv., c. 15, and Bell. Jud., lib. 1, c. 16, tells us of a numerous gang of banditti, who, having infested the country, and being pursued by Herod with his army retired into certain caverns almost inaccessible, near Arbela in Galilee, where they were with great difficulty subdued. Some of these were natural, others artificial. "Beyond Damascus," says Strabo, lib. xvi., "are two mountains called Trachones, from which the country has the name of Trachonitis; and from hence towards Arabia and Iturea, are certain rugged mountains, in which there are deep caverns, one of which will hold four thousand men." Tavernier, Voyage de Perse, part ii., chap. 4, speaks of a grot, between Aleppo and Bir, that would hold near three thousand horse. "Three hours distant from Sidon, about a mile from the sea, there runs along a high rocky mountain, in the sides of which are hewn a multitude of grots, all very little differing from each other. They have entrances about two feet square: on the inside you find in most or all of them a room of about four yards square. There are of these subterraneous caverns two hundred in number. It may, with probability at least, be concluded that these places were contrived for the use of the living, and not of the dead. Strabo describes the habitations of the Troglodytae to have been somewhat of this kind." - Maundrell, p. 118. The Horites, who dwelt in Mount Seir, were Troglodytae, as their name הרים horim, imports. But those mentioned by Strabo were on each side of the Arabian gulf. Mohammed (Koran, chap. 15 xxvi.) speaks of a tribe of Arabians, the tribe of Thamud, "who hewed houses out of the mountains, to secure themselves." Thus, "because of the Midianites, the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves and strong holds," Judges 6:2. To these they betook themselves for refuge in times of distress and hostile invasion: "When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, for the people were distressed, then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits," 1 Samuel 13:6, and see Jeremiah 41:9. Therefore "to enter into the rock, to go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth," was to them a very proper and familiar image to express terror and consternation. The prophet Hosea, Hosea 10:8, hath carried the same image farther, and added great strength and spirit to it:

"They shall say to the mountains, Cover us;

And to the hills, Fall on us;"

which image, together with these of Isaiah, is adopted by the sublime author of the Revelation, Revelation 6:15, Revelation 6:16, who frequently borrows his imagery from our prophet. - L.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And they shall go - That is, the worshippers of idols.

Into the holes of the rocks - Judea was a mountainous country, and the mountains abounded with caves that offered a safe retreat for those who were in danger. Many of those caverns were very spacious. At En-gedi, in particular, a cave is mentioned where David with six hundred men hid himself from Saul in the “sides” of it; Judges 6:2; 1 Samuel 13:6. Thus, ‹because of the Midianites, the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds.‘ Judges 6:2. To these they fled in times of hostile invasion. ‹When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait (for the people were distressed), then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits;‘ 1 Samuel 13:6; compare Jeremiah 41:9. Mahomet speaks of a tribe of Arabians, the tribe of Thamud, who ‹hewed houses out of the mountains to secure themselves;‘ Koran, ch. xv. and xxvi. Grots or rooms hewed out of rocks for various purposes are often mentioned by travelers in Oriental regions: see Maundrell, p. 118, and Burckhardt‘s “Travels in Syria,” and particularly Laborde‘s “Journey to Arabia Petrea.” Such caves are often mentioned by Josephus as affording places of refuge for banditti and robbers; “Ant.,” B. xiv. ch. 15, and “Jewish Wars,” B. i. ch. 16. To enter into the caves and dens, therefore, as places of refuge, was a very natural image to denote consternation. The meaning here is, that the worshippers of idols should be so alarmed as to seek for a place of security and refuge; compare Isaiah 2:10.

When he ariseth - This is an expression often used in the Scriptures to denote the commencement of doing anything. It is here derived, perhaps, from the image of one who has been in repose - as of a lion or warrior, rousing up suddenly, and putting forth mighty efforts.

To shake terribly the earth - An image denoting the presence of God, for judgment or punishment. One of the magnificent images which the sacred writers often use to denote the presence of the Lord is, that the earth shakes and trembles; the mountains bow and are convulsed; 2 Samuel 22:8: ‹Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved, because he was wroth;‘ See also Isaiah 2:9-16; Judges 5:4; Habakkuk 3:6-10: ‹The mountains saw thee and trembled;‘ Hebrews 12:26: ‹Whose voice then shook the earth.‘ The image here denotes that he would come forth in such wrath that the very earth should tremble, as if alarmed his presence. The mind cannot conceive more sublime images than are thus used by the sacred writers.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The taking of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans seems first meant here, when idolatry among the Jews was done away; but our thoughts are led forward to the destruction of all the enemies of Christ. It is folly for those who are pursued by the wrath of God, to think to hide or shelter themselves from it. The shaking of the earth will be terrible to those who set their affections on things of the earth. Men's haughtiness will be brought down, either by the grace of God convincing them of the evil of pride, or by the providence of God depriving them of all the things they were proud of. The day of the Lord shall be upon those things in which they put their confidence. Those who will not be reasoned out of their sins, sooner or later shall be frightened out of them. Covetous men make money their god; but the time will come when they will feel it as much their burden. This whole passage may be applied to the case of an awakened sinner, ready to leave all that his soul may be saved. The Jews were prone to rely on their heathen neighbours; but they are here called upon to cease from depending on mortal man. We are all prone to the same sin. Then let not man be your fear, let not him be your hope; but let your hope be in the Lord your God. Let us make this our great concern.
Ellen G. White
Gospel Workers 1915, 265

After the passing of the time in 1844, a number of brethren and sisters were assembled in a meeting. All were very sad, for the disappointment had been sore. Presently a man came in, crying, “Courage in the Lord, brethren; courage in the Lord!” This he repeated again and again, till every face was aglow, and every voice lifted in praise to God. GW 265.1

Today I say to every worker for the Master, “Courage in the Lord!” Ever since 1844 I have been proclaiming present truth, and today this truth is dearer to me than ever before. GW 265.2

Some look always at the objectionable and discouraging features, and therefore discouragement overtakes them. They forget that the heavenly universe is waiting to make them agencies of blessing to the world; and that the Lord Jesus is a never-failing storehouse from which human beings may draw strength and courage. There is no need for despondency and apprehension. The time will never come when the shadow of Satan will not be cast athwart our pathway. Thus the enemy seeks to hide the light shining from the Sun of Righteousness. But our faith should pierce this shadow. GW 265.3

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Ellen G. White
Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 412

On September 1, 1902, Mrs. White wrote: LS 412.1

“Well equipped tent meetings should be held in the large cities, such as San Francisco; for not long hence these cities will suffer under the judgments of God. San Francisco and Oakland are becoming as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Lord will visit them in wrath.” LS 412.2

June 20, 1903: “The judgments of God are in our land. The Lord is soon to come. In fire and flood and earthquake, He is warning the inhabitants of this earth of His soon approach. O that the people may know the time of their visitation! We have no time to lose. We must make more determined efforts to lead the people of the world to see that the day of judgment is at hand.” LS 412.3

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Ellen G. White
Steps to Christ, 18

It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them. “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.” “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Job 14:4; Romans 8:7. Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart; they cannot purify the springs of life. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness. SC 18.1

The Saviour said, “Except a man be born from above,” unless he shall receive a new heart, new desires, purposes, and motives, leading to a new life, “he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3, margin. The idea that it is necessary only to develop the good that exists in man by nature, is a fatal deception. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” 1 Corinthians 2:14; John 3:7. Of Christ it is written, “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men”—the only “name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” John 1:4; Acts 4:12. SC 18.2

It is not enough to perceive the loving-kindness of God, to see the benevolence, the fatherly tenderness, of His character. It is not enough to discern the wisdom and justice of His law, to see that it is founded upon the eternal principle of love. Paul the apostle saw all this when he exclaimed, “I consent unto the law that it is good.” “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” But he added, in the bitterness of his soul-anguish and despair, “I am carnal, sold under sin.” Romans 7:16, 12, 14. He longed for the purity, the righteousness, to which in himself he was powerless to attain, and cried out, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?” Romans 7:24, margin. Such is the cry that has gone up from burdened hearts in all lands and in all ages. To all, there is but one answer, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. SC 19.1

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Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 727

“The loftiness of man shall be bowed down,” declares Isaiah of the day of God's vengeance, “and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols He shall utterly abolish.... In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” Isaiah 2:17-21. PK 727.1

Of those times of transition, when the pride of man shall be laid low, Jeremiah testifies: “I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down.” “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” Jeremiah 4:23-26; 30:7. PK 727.2

The day of wrath to the enemies of God is the day of final deliverance to His church. The prophet declares: “Strengthen ye the weak hands,
And confirm the feeble knees.
Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be
strong, fear not:
Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
Even God with a recompense;
He will come and save you.”
“He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.” Isaiah 35:3, 4; 25:8. And as the prophet beholds the Lord of glory descending from heaven with all the holy angels, to gather the remnant church from among the nations of earth, he hears the waiting ones unite in the exultant cry: “Lo, this is our God;
We have waited for Him,
And He will save us:
This is the Lord;
We have waited for Him,
We will be glad and rejoice
in His salvation.”
Isaiah 25:9.
PK 727.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, 141

Never did this message apply with greater force than it applies today. More and more the world is setting at nought the claims of God. Men have become bold in transgression. The wickedness of the inhabitants of the world has almost filled up the measure of their iniquity. This earth has almost reached the place where God will permit the destroyer to work his will upon it. The substitution of the laws of men for the law of God, the exaltation, by merely human authority, of Sunday in place of the Bible Sabbath, is the last act in the drama. When this substitution becomes universal, God will reveal Himself. He will arise in His majesty to shake terribly the earth. He will come out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the world for their iniquity, and the earth shall disclose her blood and shall no more cover her slain. 7T 141.1

The great conflict that Satan created in the heavenly courts is soon, very soon, to be forever decided. Soon all the inhabitants of the earth will have taken sides, either for or against the government of heaven. Now, as never before, Satan is exercising his deceiving power to mislead and to destroy every unguarded soul. We are called upon to arouse the people to prepare for the great issues before them. We must give warning to those who are standing on the very brink of ruin. God's people are to put forth every power in combating Satan's falsehoods and pulling down his strongholds. To every human being in the wide world who will give heed, we are to make plain the principles at stake in the great controversy—principles upon which hangs the eternal destiny of the soul. To the people far and near we are to bring home the question: “Are you following the great apostate in disobedience to God's law, or are you following the Son of God, who declared, ‘I have kept My Father's commandments’?” 7T 141.2

This is the work before us; for this our publishing institutions were established; it is this work that God expects at their hands. 7T 142.1

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