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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Yeshayahu- Isaiah - Chapter 7

Yeshayahu- Isaiah - Chapter 7

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 7

1. And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz son of Jotham son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah son of Remaliah, king of Israel, marched on Jerusalem to wage war against it, and he could not wage war against it.   א. וַיְהִי בִּימֵי אָחָז בֶּן יוֹתָם בֶּן עֻזִּיָּהוּ מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה עָלָה רְצִין מֶלֶךְ אֲרָם וּפֶקַח בֶּן רְמַלְיָהוּ מֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל יְרוּשָׁלִַם לַמִּלְחָמָה עָלֶיהָ וְלֹא יָכֹל לְהִלָּחֵם עָלֶיהָ:
And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz: What did Scripture see to trace his lineage? But, since the end of the verse states: “And he could not wage war against it,” it teaches you that the merit of his forebears stood him in good stead. The ministering angels said before the Holy One, blessed be He, Woe! Who is this wicked man who has become king? He replied to them, He is the son of Jotham; he is the son of Uzziah. His forebears were righteous. I, therefore, do not wish to harm him. This is the meaning of the words, “and he could not wage war against it,” because of the merit of his forefathers. [This is found in Gen. Rabbah 63:1.]  
2. And it was told to the House of David, saying, "Aram has allied itself with Ephraim," and his heart and the heart of his people trembled as the trees of the forest tremble because of the wind.   ב. וַיֻּגַּד לְבֵית דָּוִד לֵאמֹר נָחָה אֲרָם עַל אֶפְרָיִם וַיָּנַע לְבָבוֹ וּלְבַב עַמּוֹ כְּנוֹעַ עֲצֵי יַעַר מִפְּנֵי רוּחַ:
And it was told to the House of David: Since he was wicked, Scripture did not mention his name.  
Aram has allied itself with Ephraim: lit. has rested upon Ephraim. The king of Aram has joined the king of Israel to attack you. נָחָה is the feminine gender, since the kingdom (מַלְכוּת) joined. Posad in O.F., lay, comp. (Exodus 10:14) “And it rested (וַיָּנַח) in all the boundary of Egypt.”  
and his heart… trembled: Since each one individually had already waged war with him and defeated him, as it is said (II Chron. 28:5): “And the Lord his God delivered into the hand of the king of Aram…,” and it states further (v. 6): “And Pekah son of Remaliah slew 120,000 men.” Both verses are in Chronicles.  
as the trees of the forest tremble: The sound of trees that do not produce fruit is heard more than that of all fruit trees [var. the sound of fruit trees], as is [found] in Gen. Rabbah (16:3).  
3. And the Lord said to Isaiah, "Now go out toward Ahaz, you and Shear-Yashuv your son, to the edge of the conduit of the upper pool, to the road of the washer's field.   ג. וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל יְשַׁעְיָהוּ צֵא נָא לִקְרַאת אָחָז אַתָּה וּשְׁאָר יָשׁוּב בְּנֶךָ אֶל קְצֵה תְּעָלַת הַבְּרֵכָה הָעֶלְיוֹנָה אֶל מְסִלַּת שְׂדֵה כוֹבֵס:
and Shear-Yashuv your son: The small remnant that will return to Me through you, and they are like your sons.  
to the edge of the conduit: There you will find him. תְּעָלַת is fosed [a ditch] in O.F.  
the upper pool: A type of gathering of water that is made for fish.  
upper: On the incline of the mountain, and there is one below it at its base.  
the washer’s field: A field in which the washers spread out laundry to dry. So did Jonathan render this. Our Rabbis expounded that Ahaz humbled himself before Isaiah and placed on his head a washer’s utensil, i.e., he inverted a vessel on his head [i.e., a perforated vessel used by the washers, with which they sprinkle water on the clothing].  
4. And you shall say to him, "Feel secure and calm yourself, do not fear, and let your heart not be faint because of these two smoking stubs of firebrands, because of the raging anger of Rezin and Aram and the son of Remaliah.   ד. וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו הִשָּׁמֵר וְהַשְׁקֵט אַל תִּירָא וּלְבָבְךָ אַל יֵרַךְ מִשְּׁנֵי זַנְבוֹת הָאוּדִים הָעֲשֵׁנִים הָאֵלֶּה בָּחֳרִי אַף רְצִין וַאֲרָם וּבֶן רְמַלְיָהוּ:
Feel secure: Heb. הִשָּׁמֵר. Sit tranquilly like wine on its lees (שְׁמָרָיו).  
smoking stubs of firebrands: Consider them as stubs of firebrands whose flame has been extinguished. אוּדִים is tisons [embers] in French.  
5. Since Aram planned harm to you, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, saying:   ה. יַעַן כִּי יָעַץ עָלֶיךָ אֲרָם רָעָה אֶפְרַיִם וּבֶן רְמַלְיָהוּ לֵאמֹר:
6. 'Let us go up against Judah and provoke it, and annex it to us; and let us crown a king in its midst, one who is good for us,'   ו. נַעֲלֶה בִיהוּדָה וּנְקִיצֶנָּה וְנַבְקִעֶנָּה אֵלֵינוּ וְנַמְלִיךְ מֶלֶךְ בְּתוֹכָהּ אֵת בֶּן טָבְאַל:
and provoke it: Let us provoke them to war.  
and annex it to us: Heb. וְנַבְקִיעֶנָּה. Let us even it out with us like a valley (בִּקְעָה) that is even. And so does Jonathan render: And let us even them with us, that they should be even with the ten tribes under one king.  
one who is good for us: Heb. בֶּן טָבְאַל [a combination of the words: טוֹב אֶל,] good for us; so did Jonathan render it. It is also possible to interpret it as: טוֹב אַל, not good in the eyes of the Omnipresent, and according to the calculation of the letters of ‘al- bam,’ Tov’al is Ramla.‘Teth’ equals ‘resh’; ‘beth’ equals ‘mem’; ‘aleph’ equals ‘lammed.’ Hence, “ben tov’al” equals ‘ben Ramla.’  
7. So said the Lord God, 'Neither shall it succeed, nor shall it come to pass.   ז. כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יֱהֹוִה לֹא תָקוּם וְלֹא תִהְיֶה:
Neither shall it succeed: This plan of theirs, that Judah should be subordinated under them.  
8. For the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and in another sixty-five years, Ephraim shall be broken, no longer to be a people.   ח. כִּי רֹאשׁ אֲרָם דַּמֶּשֶׂק וְרֹאשׁ דַּמֶּשֶׂק רְצִין וּבְעוֹד שִׁשִּׁים וְחָמֵשׁ שָׁנָה יֵחַת אֶפְרַיִם מֵעָם:
For the head of Aram: that is Damascus, and Jerusalem has nothing with them.  
and the head of Damascus is Rezin: In Damascus he shall be head, but not in Jerusalem, and also as regards Pekah and the ten tribes in another sixty-five years from the day it was decreed in the days of Amos (7:11): “And Israel shall surely be exiled from upon its land.”  
Ephraim shall be broken, no longer to be a people: Ephraim shall be shattered, no longer to be a people, for Sennacherib will exile them with their king, Hoshea son of Elah. Go out and calculate from Amos’ prophecy until the ten tribes were exiled, and you will find them to be sixty-five years. Amos’ prophecy was two years before Uzziah was stricken, as it is stated (Amos 1:1): “Two years before the earthquake.” And Uzziah was stricken for twenty-five years, plus these two years, giving us a total of twenty-seven years. Add the sixteen years of Jotham and the sixteen years of Ahaz and six years of Hezekiah, as it is stated (II Kings 18:10,11): “And they captured it [at the end of three years]; in the sixth year of Hezekiah, which is the ninth year of Hoshea, king of Israel… And the king of Assyria exiled Israel to Assyria.” Here are sixty-five years. Now how do we know that the duration of Uzziah’s state as a confirmed metzora was twenty-five years? For it is stated (ibid. 15:1): “In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam the king of Israel, Azariah the son of Amaziah the king of Judah, became king.” Is it possible to say this? Did not Uzziah and Jeroboam reign simultaneously, according to the calculation you will find in the Book of Kings (See Rashi II Kings 14:22)? Rather he reigned a plagued kingship. In the twenty-seventh year he was stricken, and he reigned for fifty-two years. It is impossible, however, to count “and in another sixty-five years” from the day that Isaiah said this prophecy, for he said it in the days of Ahaz, and they were exiled in the sixth year of Hezekiah. In this manner it is explained in Seder Olam (ch. 28), that Scripture counted from the prophecy of Amos.  
9. And the head of Ehpraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah; if you do not believe, it is because you cannot be believed."   ט. וְרֹאשׁ אֶפְרַיִם שֹׁמְרוֹן וְרֹאשׁ שֹׁמְרוֹן בֶּן רְמַלְיָהוּ אִם לֹא תַאֲמִינוּ כִּי לֹא תֵאָמֵנוּ:
if you do not believe: My prophecy, you, Ahaz, and his people, for I know that you are wicked.  
it is because you cannot be believed: There is no truth in you.  
10. And the Lord continued to speak to Ahaz, saying,   י. וַיּוֹסֶף יְהֹוָה דַּבֵּר אֶל אָחָז לֵאמֹר:
And the Lord continued: [Jonathan paraphrases:] And the prophet of the Lord continued.  
11. "Ask for yourself a sign from the Lord, your God: ask it either in the depths, or in the heights above."   יא. שְׁאַל לְךָ אוֹת מֵעִם יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ הַעְמֵק שְׁאָלָה אוֹ הַגְבֵּהַּ לְמָעְלָה:
Ask for yourself a sign: for this thing, for I know that you do not believe the words of the Holy One, blessed be He.  
ask it in the depths: Heb. הַעֲמֵק שְׁאָלָה. Go down to the depths and ask. שְׁאָלָה is like, “ שְׁמָעָה, hear, סְלָחָה, forgive” (Daniel 9:19). Ask for a sign in the depths of the abyss, to resurrect a dead person for you, or go up to the heights above to ask for a sign in the heavens.  
12. And Ahaz said, "I will not ask, and I will not test the Lord."   יב. וַיֹּאמֶר אָחָז לֹא אֶשְׁאַל וְלֹא אֲנַסֶּה אֶת יְהֹוָה:
and I will not test: I do not wish that His Name be hallowed through Me.  
13. And he said, "Listen now, O House of David, is it little for you to weary men, that you weary my God as well?   יג. וַיֹּאמֶר שִׁמְעוּ נָא בֵּית דָּוִד הַמְעַט מִכֶּם הַלְאוֹת אֲנָשִׁים כִּי תַלְאוּ גַּם אֶת אֱלֹהָי:
to weary men: God’s prophets.  
that you weary, etc.: For He knows that you do not believe in Him, and you weary Him with your wickedness.  
14. Therefore, the Lord, of His own, shall give you a sign; behold, the young woman is with child, and she shall bear a son, and she shall call his name Immanuel.   יד. לָכֵן יִתֵּן אֲדֹנָי הוּא לָכֶם אוֹת הִנֵּה הָעַלְמָה הָרָה וְיֹלֶדֶת בֵּן וְקָרָאת שְׁמוֹ עִמָּנוּ אֵל:
the Lord, of His own, shall give you a sign: He will give you a sign by Himself, against Your will.  
is with child: This is actually the future, as we find concerning Manoah’s wife, that the angel said to her (Judges 13:3): “And you shall conceive and bear a son,” and it is written, “Behold, you are with child and shall bear a son.”  
the young woman: My wife will conceive this year. This was the fourth year of Ahaz.  
and she shall call his name: Divine inspiration will rest upon her.  
Immanuel: [lit. God is with us. That is] to say that our Rock shall be with us, and this is the sign, for she is a young girl, and she never prophesied, yet in this instance, Divine inspiration shall rest upon her. This is what is stated below (8:3): “And I was intimate with the prophetess, etc.,” and we do not find a prophet’s wife called a prophetess unless she prophesied. Some interpret this as being said about Hezekiah, but it is impossible, because, when you count his years, you find that Hezekiah was born nine years before his father’s reign. And some interpret that this is the sign, that she was a young girl and incapable of giving birth.  
15. Cream and honey he shall eat when he knows to reject bad and choose good.   טו. חֶמְאָה וּדְבַשׁ יֹאכֵל לְדַעְתּוֹ מָאוֹס בָּרָע וּבָחוֹר בַּטּוֹב:
Cream and honey he shall eat: [i.e.,] the child [shall eat,] for our land shall be replete with all good.  
when he knows to reject bad and choose good: Heb. לְדַעְתּוֹ [lit. to his knowledge], when he knows to reject bad and choose good. Now whence will we have this plenty? Is not our land desolate now from the troops of the kings of Aram and Pekah the son of Remaliah?  
16. For, when the lad does not yet know to reject bad and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread, shall be abandoned."   טז. כִּי בְּטֶרֶם יֵדַע הַנַּעַר מָאוֹס בָּרָע וּבָחוֹר בַּטּוֹב תֵּעָזֵב הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה קָץ מִפְּנֵי שְׁנֵי מְלָכֶיהָ:
For, when the lad does not yet know to reject bad and choose good: the land shall be abandoned by its inhabitants, [i. e.,] the land of Rezin and the land of Pekah.  
you dread: and fear its two kings, Rezin and Pekah, for in that year the king of Assyria marched on Damascus since Ahaz hired him, as it is stated in the Book of II Kings (16:9): “And seized it and exiled its inhabitants to Kir, and he slew Rezin,” and in that very year (ibid. 15: 30), “Hoshea the son of Elah revolted against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and he struck him and slew him… in the twentieth year of Jotham,” which was the fourth year of Ahaz.  
17. The Lord shall bring upon you and upon your people and upon your father's house, days which have not come, since the day that Ephraim turned away from Judah, namely, the king of Assyria.   יז. יָבִיא יְהֹוָה עָלֶיךָ וְעַל עַמְּךָ וְעַל בֵּית אָבִיךָ יָמִים אֲשֶׁר לֹא בָאוּ לְמִיּוֹם סוּר אֶפְרַיִם מֵעַל יְהוּדָה אֵת מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר:
The Lord shall bring upon you and upon your people: “And yet greater that this, the Lord shall bring upon you and upon your people [ms]. Upon Hezekiah your son, who will reign after you,” but since he was righteous, he did not call him his son.  
days which have not come: since the day the kingdom of the House of David was divided, and Ephraim seceded from Judah. And what are the days? The days of the army of the king of Assyria, and even then [lit. in them], a miracle shall be performed for Judah, and so we find in II Chron. (28:20) that he came first upon Ahaz, for it is written: “And Tilgath-Pilnesser [not as in printed editions] came upon him and distressed him, but did not strengthen him.” And in the days of Hezekiah his son, the miracle was performed.  
18. And it shall be on that day, that the Lord shall whistle to the "fly" that is at the edge of the canals of Egypt, and to the "bee" that is in the land of Assyria.   יח. וְהָיָה | בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִשְׁרֹק יְהֹוָה לַזְּבוּב אֲשֶׁר בִּקְצֵה יְאֹרֵי מִצְרָיִם וְלַדְּבוֹרָה אֲשֶׁר בְּאֶרֶץ אַשּׁוּר:
the Lord shall whistle: Shall signal them that they assemble.  
to the “fly”: Armies as numerous as flies, will come from Egypt with Sennacherib.  
the canals of Egypt: Since all the land of Egypt is made into canals, for rain does not fall there, but the Nile rises and waters it.  
and to the “bee”: An army of heroes who sting like bees.  
19. And they shall come and all of them shall rest in the desolate valleys and in the clefts of the rocks and in all the thornbushes and in all the shrines.   יט. וּבָאוּ וְנָחוּ כֻלָּם בְּנַחֲלֵי הַבַּתּוֹת וּבִנְקִיקֵי הַסְּלָעִים וּבְכֹל הַנַּעֲצוּצִים וּבְכֹל הַנַּהֲלֹלִים:
in the desolate valleys: Heb. נַחֲלֵי means valleys, i.e., fallow fields.  
and in the clefts of the rocks: to ambush. נְקִיקֵי is synonymous with נִקְרוֹתהַצּוּר.  
and in the thornbushes: the places of the thorns called broces [briars]. And similarly (infra 55:13): “Instead of the thornbush (הנַּעֲצוּץ) the fir tree shall come up.”  
the shrines: houses of praise [from Jonathan].  
20. On that day, the Lord shall shave with the great razor on the other side of the river, on the king of Assyria, the head and the hair of the legs, and also the beard shall be entirely removed.   כ. בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יְגַלַּח אֲדֹנָי בְּתַעַר הַשְּׂכִירָה בְּעֶבְרֵי נָהָר בְּמֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר אֶת הָרֹאשׁ וְשַׂעַר הָרַגְלָיִם וְגַם אֶת הַזָּקָן תִּסְפֶּה:
the Lord shall shave with the great razor: Heb. (שְּׂכִירָה) , comp. (Jer. 46:21) “Also its officers (שְׂכִירֶיהָ) in its midst,” which Jonathan renders: its great ones.  
on the other side of the river: Of those who dwell on the other side of the river, and of which of those dwellers? The king of Assyria, the head He will shave and the hair of the legs. Since it is in the construct state, it is voweled with a ‘pattach,’ (שַׂעַר) instead of (שֵׂעָר).  
shall be entirely removed: Will be destroyed. The shaving is the slaying, and the razor is the sword.  
the head: This symbolizes the king.  
the legs: [This symbolizes] his camps [from Jonathan].  
the beard: [This symbolizes] the governors [from Jonathan]. But our Rabbis said that this literally refers to shaving, and the removal of the beard is by singeing it with fire. “The beard” refers to the beard of Sennacherib, as is found in the Aggadah of the chapter entitled, ‘Chelek.’  
21. And it shall come to pass on that day, a man shall keep alive a heifer of the herd and two sheep.   כא. וְהָיָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יְחַיֶּה אִישׁ עֶגְלַת בָּקָר וּשְׁתֵּי צֹאן:
a man shall keep alive: and since the land will be empty, for the armies will pillage the livestock, and in the few that remain I will give a blessing.  
22. And it shall be, because of the plentiful milk produced, that he shall eat cream, for everyone left in the land will eat cream and honey.   כב. וְהָיָה מֵרֹב עֲשׂוֹת חָלָב יֹאכַל חֶמְאָה כִּי חֶמְאָה וּדְבַשׁ יֹאכֵל כָּל הַנּוֹתָר בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ:
And it shall be, because of the plentiful milk: that these two sheep will produce, they will despise the milk and eat the cream, which is the fat of the milk.  
everyone left: The righteous who were saved from the sword of Sennacherib he is bringing them good news, that sustenance will be prepared for them after that desolation.  
23. And it shall come to pass, that every place where there were a thousand vines for a thousand pieces of silver, will be for the worms and the thorns.   כג. וְהָיָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִהְיֶה כָל מָקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה שָּׁם אֶלֶף גֶּפֶן בְּאֶלֶף כָּסֶף לַשָּׁמִיר וְלַשַּׁיִת יִהְיֶה:
And it shall come to pass on that day: that the land will be desolate, there will be a place where there were, before the coming of the armies.  
a thousand vines: worth a thousand pieces of silver will be for the worms and the thorns, for their owners will abandon them and flee, and they will be overgrown by thorns and worms and scorpions.  
24. With arrows and with a bow shall one come there, for the whole land shall be worms and thorns.   כד. בַּחִצִּים וּבַקֶּשֶׁת יָבֹא שָׁמָּה כִּי שָׁמִיר וָשַׁיִת תִּהְיֶה כָל הָאָרֶץ:
With arrows and with a bow shall one come there: Everyone who wishes to enter therein, will require a bow and arrows in his hand, to save himself from wild beasts, snakes, and scorpions.  
25. And all the mountains that will be dug with a spade-the fear of worms and thorns shall not come there; it shall be for the pasture of oxen and for the treading of sheep.   כה. וְכֹל הֶהָרִים אֲשֶׁר בַּמַּעְדֵּר יֵעָדֵרוּן לֹא תָבוֹא שָׁמָּה יִרְאַת שָׁמִיר וָשָׁיִת וְהָיָה לְמִשְׁלַח שׁוֹר וּלְמִרְמַס שֶׂה:
And all the mountains: where there are wheat fields fit for grain.  
that will be dug with a spade: It is a kind of shovel called fosojjr in O.F.  
the fear of worms and thorns: For in them they will engage to sow grain for food, for it is impossible without grain, but the vines will be neglected, for that generation of Hezekiah will return to Me to engage in the Torah, and not to drink wine, as it is [stated] in [the chapter of] “Chelek” (San. 94b): They searched from Dan to Beer- sheba, and did not find any man who was not well-versed in the laws of prohibition and permissibility and ritual defilement and purity. And concerning that generation, Scripture says: And it shall come to pass, that every place, etc. This is what is stated (Prov. 25: 1): “Which the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah, strengthened.”  
and it shall be for the pasture of oxen: There their cattle will graze on fat pastureland.  
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