The Geneva Bible Translation Notes, , at sacred-texts.com
isa 17:1The (a) burden of (b) Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from [being] a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.
(a) See Isa 13:1
(b) The chief city of Syria.
isa 17:2The cities of (c) Aroer [are] forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make [them] afraid.
(c) It was a country of Syria by the river Arnon.
isa 17:3The fortress also shall cease from (d) Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the (e) glory of the children of Israel, saith the LORD of hosts.
(d) It seems that the prophet would comfort the Church in declaring the destruction of these two kings of Syria and Israel, when as they had conspired the overthrow of Judah.
(e) The ten tribes gloried in their multitude and alliance with other nations: therefore he says that they will be brought down and the Syrians also.
isa 17:4And in that day it shall come to pass, [that] the glory of (f) Jacob shall be diminished, and the fatness of his flesh shall become lean.
(f) Meaning, of the ten tribes who boasted themselves of their nobility, prosperity, strength and multitude.
isa 17:5And it shall be as when the reaper gathereth (g) the grain, and reapeth the heads with his arm; and it shall be as he that gathereth heads in the valley of (h) Rephaim.
(g) As the abundance of corn does not fear the harvest men that would cut it down: no more will the multitude of Israel make the enemies shrink, whom God will appoint to destroy them.
(h) A valley which was plentiful and fertile.
isa 17:6Yet gleaning grapes shall (i) be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two [or] three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four [or] five in the outmost fruitful branches of it, saith the LORD God of Israel.
(i) Because God would have his covenant stable, he promises to reserve some of this people, and to bring them to repentance.
isa 17:7At that day shall a man look to his (k) Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel.
(k) He shows that God's corrections always bring fruit, and cause his to turn from their sins and to humble themselves to him.
isa 17:9In that day shall his strong cities be as a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch, which (l) they left because of the children of Israel: and there shall be desolation.
(l) As the Canaanites left their cities when God placed the Israelites there, so the cities of Israel will not be able to defend their inhabitants any more than bushes, when God will send the enemy to plague them.
isa 17:10Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with foreign (m) slips:
(m) Which are excellent and brought out of other countries.
isa 17:11In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning shalt thou make thy seed to flourish: [but] the harvest [shall be] a heap in the day (n) of grief and of desperate sorrow.
(n) As the Lord threatens the wicked in his law, (Lev 26:16).
isa 17:12(o) Woe to the multitude of many people, [who] make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, [that] make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!
(o) The prophet laments, considering the horrible plague that was prepared against Israel by the Assyrians, who were infinite in number, and gathered from many nations.
isa 17:13The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but [God] shall (p) rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.
(p) He adds this for the consolation of the faithful who were in Israel.
isa 17:14And behold at the time of evening (q) trouble; [and] before the morning he [is] not. This [is] the portion of them that plunder us, and the lot of them that rob us.
(q) He compares the Assyrians to a tempest which rises overnight and in the morning is gone.