Isaiah 2:18-22 Commentary

To go directly to that verse

Isaiah 2:18 But the idols will completely vanish. (NASB: Lockman)

English Translation of the Greek (Septuagint): And they shall hide all idols made with hands,

Amplified: And the idols shall utterly pass away (be abolished). (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

KJV: And the idols he shall utterly abolish.

NET: The worthless idols will be completely eliminated. (NET Bible)

NJB: When the idols all disappear, (NJB)

NLT:But the idols will completely vanish. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Young's Literal: And the idols -- they completely pass away.

("Jehovah is Salvation")

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Judah &
Is 1:1-12:6
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"A throne" Is 6:1
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But the idols will completely vanish:

  • Is 27:9; Ezek 36:25; 37:23; Ho 14:8; Zeph 1:3; Zec 13:2
  • Isaiah 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

The idols will completely vanish - Click Isaiah 2:8 for discussion of idols including passages that take us to the end of this age when Babylon the mother of idolatry will be finally and fully destroyed!

Related Resources: Greek Word studies on - Idols = eidolon; Idolater = eidololatres; Idolatry = eidololatreia

Idols (0457) (eliyl/elil [plural = elilim]) (Used in Is 2:8, 18, 20; 10:10, 11; 19:1, 3; 31:7) describes that which is worthless, good for nothing, of no value. The spelling of the Hebrew word for idol is very close to the Hebrew word for God (= el) (and some etymologists suggest it is actually a diminutive of the Hebrew word for God). The term for God however relates to the idea of strength or power, which makes Isaiah's contrast with "nothing" (eliyl) all that more pointed and dramatic! Worthless and good for nothing is a fitting name for objects of worship made by human hands! God's assessment of any "god" but Himself is that “all gods of the peoples are nought (nothing)” (Ps 96:5YLT = 1Chr 16:26YLT)

The following is a Biblical summary of eliyl - They are the product of human hands (Is 2:8, 20; 31:7; Lv 26:1), and one can therefore discard them (Is 31:7); they are dumb (Hab 2:18); they quiver before Yahweh (Is 19:1) and vanish before Him (Is 2:18). The expression eliyl recalls the impotence and the insignificance of these strange gods. The force of the term is probably most clearly seen in Ps 96:5YLT “for all gods of the peoples are nothing, but Yahweh made the heavens.”

Elilim often parallels other words related to idols - pesel/pāsîl “sculpted image” (Is 10:10; Lv 26:1; Hab 2:18; Ps 97:7), 'atsab “carved image” (Isa 10:11), gilluwl “idols” (Ezek 30:13), and massēkâh “molten image” (Lv 19:4; Hab 2:18).

As Sam Storms says we in modern societies can also practice "idolatry without idols"! Storms writes that…

Idolatry need not entail a statue of Buddha or genuflecting in a pagan temple. Idolatry is any tendency in the human heart to dethrone God for the sake of something else, whether that be money, sex, ambition, power, pride, or something as seemingly innocuous as respectability. To the extent that we give our affections to anything other than God on the assumption that it can do for our souls what he can’t, we are guilty of idolatry.

John Piper defines covetousness as “desiring something so much that you lose your contentment in God” (“Future Grace,” 221). Thus the opposite of covetousness is resting satisfied with God. Covetousness is idolatry “because the contentment that the heart should be getting from God, it starts to get from something else” (221). Covetousness, simply put, “is a heart divided between two gods” (221). (See papers by Storms in Resource List for Col 3:5-notes)

Eissfeldt summarizes the OT designations for “idol” into five groups according to the OT Scriptures…

(1) Derogatory terms: bōšet =“shame” (bos = to be ashamed), šiqqûs = “horrible thing,” tôebâ = “abomination” (tb = abhor), hattat = "sin” (ht' = to miss a mark, fall short), 'ēmâ = “horror”;

(2) Terms that deny the existence of the gods represented by the idols: hebel = “vapor, breath,” šeqer = “lie” (šqr = to deceive), šāw = “vanity, deceit” elîl = “nothing,” lō-ēl (no god) and lō-elōhîm “not-god”

(3) Terms that deny idols divine dignity and relegate them to the sphere of the lower, evil spirits: śeîrîm = “satyrs,” šēdîm = “demons,” → āwen = “harm, disaster, evil power”;

(4) Designations that declare them to be foreign and so more or less explicitly describe them as useless: phrases with ahēr = “other”, zār = “foreign, strange, different” (verbal adj of the root of zur = to turn away), nēkār = “strange, foreign” → hādāš = “new”;

(5) Designations that identify them with their images and so declare them to be lifeless matter: massēkâ and nesek = “molten image,” pesel and pāsîl = “sculpted image,” ōseb and āsāb = “carved image,” → selem and semel = “carved image,” gillûlîm = “(hewn) blocks of stone,” sîr = “image,” maśkît = “showpiece,” and neśûâ = “processional image.” (Adapted from the Theological Lexicon of the OT)

The Septuagint (LXX) renders elilim variously, most frequently with cheiropoiēta “human product” (6x) and eidola “idols” (4x).

Paul describes the vanity of idols writing to the Corinthians that…

concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. (1Co 8:4)

Completely vanish - While modern Israel does not overtly worship idols in the classic sense described in the OT, the majority of Israel is not even orthodox but decidedly secular. As such they, like America, are still involved in a form of "idol worship", for anything placed in the place of the Holy One of Israel is tantamount to idol worship. This verse will not be fulfilled until the Millennium when Israel will have no other gods before her Beloved, the Messiah Who reigns the world from Jerusalem.

Young explains why idols must completely vanish for they…

are the root from whence the other evils flow. When men turn to idolatry they pervert everything else. The root, therefore, must be done away. (Young, Ed: The Book of Isaiah - Volume 1, Chapters 1-18. Eerdmans Pub. 1992)

Completely (03632) (kaliyl) expresses totality, both of accomplishment and of destruction. It means perfect, complete, whole, wholly, all and pertains to a complete degree of an attribute.

Kaliyl - 15 verses in the OT - Ex. 28:31; 39:22; Lev. 6:22f; Num. 4:6; Deut. 13:16; 33:10; Jdg. 20:40; 1 Sam. 7:9; Ps. 51:19; Isa. 2:18; Lam. 2:15; Ezek. 16:14; 27:3; 28:12. The NAS renders kaliyl as all(2), burned entirely(1), completely(1), entirely(1), perfect(3), perfection(1), pure(1), whole(3), whole burnt offering(2), whole burnt offerings(1).

Vanish (02498) (chalaph) means to to hasten away, pass on or away, to be over. The word has the meaning of to pass away or to vanish with reference to days (Job 9:26), rain (Song 2:11), and idols (Is 2:18). The Lxx translates with the verb katakrupto which means to cover over or conceal. Given that they are "nothing" they will be easy to cover over! Why do we find them so enthalling?

Chalaph - 27v in the OT - Ge 31:7, 41; 35:2; 41:14; Lv 27:10; Jdg 5:26; 1Sa 10:3; 2Sa 12:20; Job 4:15; 9:11, 26; 11:10; 14:7; 20:24; 29:20; Ps 90:5,6; 102:26; Song 2:11; Is 2:18; 8:8; 9:10; 21:1; 24:5; 40:31; 41:1; Hab 1:11

Through His mouthpiece Zechariah Jehovah declares that…

“It will come about in that day,” (What day? This refers specifically to the Millennial Kingdom) declares the Lord of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered; and I will also remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land. (Zec 13:2)

Ortlund comments that…

Idols are precious. They are always our hard-won silver and gold. That’s why we prize them. They are beautiful, but also contemptible. J. R. R. Tolkien portrayed this in The Lord of the Rings. Everyone who wears the golden ring of power morphs into something weirdly subhuman, like Gollum, who cherishes it as “My Precious.” So for Middle-earth to be saved, the ring must be thrown into the fire of Mount Doom and destroyed forever. Tolkien understood that the key to life is not only what we lay hold of but also what we throw away. Paul wrote,

“I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8-note).

What golden idols do we cherish as essential to our happiness? What must we throw away, to possess the one treasure we really cannot live without—Christ, who will not make us weird but beautiful, like himself? (Ortlund, Raymond: Isaiah God Saves Sinners - Preaching the Word Series. Crossway. 2005)

Isaiah 2:19 Men will go into caves of the rocks and into holes of the ground Before * the terror of the LORD and the splendor of His majesty, when He arises to make the earth tremble. (NASB: Lockman)

English Translation of the Greek (Septuagint): having carried them into the caves, and into the clefts of the rocks, and into the caverns of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and by reason of the glory of his might, when he shall arise to strike terribly the earth.

Amplified: Then shall [the stricken, deprived of all in which they had trusted] go into the caves of the rocks and into the holes of the earth from before the terror and dread of the Lord and from before the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake mightily and terribly the earth. [Luke 23:30.] (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

KJV: And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.

NET: They will go into caves in the rocky cliffs and into holes in the ground, trying to escape the dreadful judgment of the LORD and his royal splendor, when he rises up to terrify the earth. (NET Bible)

NJB: they will go into the caverns of the rocks and into the fissures of the earth in terror of Yahweh, at the brilliance of his majesty, when he arises to make the earth quake. (NJB)

NLT: And men will go into caves of the rocks, And into holes of the ground Before the terror of the LORD, And before the splendor of His majesty, When He arises to make the earth tremble. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Young's Literal: And men have entered into caverns of rocks, And into caves of dust, Because of the fear of Jehovah, And because of the honour of His excellency, In His rising to terrify the earth.

Men will go into caves of the rocks and into holes of the ground before the terror of the LORD and the splendor of His majesty:

  • Is 2:10,21; 1Sa 13:6; 14:11; Je 16:16; Ho 10:8; Mic 7:17; Lk 23:30; He 11:38; Re 6:15; 9:6
  • Of the rocks - Is 2:10; 2Th 1:9
  • Isaiah 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Men will go into caves of the rocks - In Isa 2:10 this action is commanded and here it is declared as that which in fact will be done! Men who gloried in their prowess and strength will flee from God in fear to seek shelter in the rocks and dirt!

Jesus quotes from a similar passage in Hosea 10:8 in Luke 23:30+ which are His last words as He walks to the Cross, there warning the women wailing for Him that they should wail for themselves as a horrible destruction is destined for Jerusalem in less than 40 years (70 AD). \

John describes another horrible time, the one of a kind Great Tribulation of the last of the Last Days, when the Jews would experience the Time of Jacob's distress described in Jeremiah 30:7. The earth-dwellers (unbelieving Jews and Gentiles ) at that time will be so horrified at God's hand of judgment that they will cry out "to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb." (Rev 6:16+).

Caves (04631 - מְעָרָה) (mearah) is an underground chamber, usually of natural origin and often used as a shelter, hideout, or burial cave. The related word den usually refers to a wild animal's covert hiding place (as when David fled from Saul = Ps 57:1). In ancient days caves served as burial places and were valuable property.

The Lxx translates mearah with the noun schismas (English - schism - a division or separation) which means crack, cleft or fissure. How ironic that all who refuse to humble themselves and seek their hiding place in the cleft of the Rock Christ Jesus, will seek to hide themselves from His all seeing eye in the day of distress which as described below will be consummated when the wrath of God falls full force on a faithless world in the time of tribulation which precedes the rising of the Sun (Son) of righteousness Who will return and bring healing in His wings, not only to the believing Jewish remnant but to all who have chosen to hide themselves in the Rock of their salvation, Christ Jesus. Glory! Hallelujah!

Caves could be natural or artificial and were found in open fields (Ge 23:20), rocks (Isaiah 2:19) and were used as dwelling-places (Ge 19:30), places of concealment (1 Samuel 13:6; 14:11; 1 Kings 18:4; cp Hebrews 11:38), resting places (1 Samuel 24:3; 1 Kings 19:9), burial places (Genesis 23:19; cp John 11:38), haunts of robbers (Jeremiah 7:11; cp Matthew 21:13), hiding placed of wild beasts (different Hebrew word - Nahum 2:12), often capacious (1 Samuel 22:1,2; 24:3), afford no protection from the judgments of God (Isaiah 2:19; Ezekiel 33:27; cf Revelation 6:15), were occasionally give names (Adullam - 1 Samuel 22:1, Machpelah Genesis 23:9, Makkedah Joshua 10:16,17).

  • Torrey Topical Textbook Caves
  • American Tract Society Cave
  • Easton's Bible Dictionary Cave
  • Fausset Bible Dictionary Caves
  • Holman Bible Dictionary Caves
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible Cave
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the NT Cave
  • International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Cave
  • Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia Caves
  • The Jewish Encyclopedia Caves in Palestine

Mearah - 34 verses

Genesis 19:30 Lot went up from Zoar, and stayed in the mountains, and his two daughters with him; for he was afraid to stay in Zoar; and he stayed in a cave, he and his two daughters.

Genesis 23:9 that he may give me the cave of Machpelah which he owns, which is at the end of his field; for the full price let him give it to me in your presence for a burial site."

11 "No, my lord, hear me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the presence of the sons of my people I give it to you; bury your dead."

17 So Ephron's field, which was in Machpelah, which faced Mamre, the field and cave which was in it, and all the trees which were in the field, that were within all the confines of its border, were deeded over

19 After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field at Machpelah facing Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan.

20 So the field and the cave that is in it, were deeded over to Abraham for a burial site by the sons of Heth.

Genesis 25:9 Then his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, facing Mamre,

Genesis 49:29 Then he charged them and said to them, "I am about to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,

30 in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a burial site.

32 the field and the cave that is in it, purchased from the sons of Heth."

Genesis 50:13 for his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre, which Abraham had bought along with the field for a burial site from Ephron the Hittite.

Joshua 10:16 Now these five kings had fled and hidden themselves in the cave at Makkedah.

17 It was told Joshua, saying, "The five kings have been found hidden in the cave at Makkedah."

18 Joshua said, "Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and assign men by it to guard them,

22 Then Joshua said, "Open the mouth of the cave and bring these five kings out to me from the cave."

23 They did so, and brought these five kings out to him from the cave: the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon.

27 It came about at sunset that Joshua gave a command, and they took them down from the trees and threw them into the cave where they had hidden themselves, and put large stones over the mouth of the cave, to this very day.

Judges 6:2 The power of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of Midian the sons of Israel made for themselves the dens which were in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds.

1 Samuel 13:6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait (for the people were hard-pressed), then the people hid themselves in caves, in thickets, in cliffs, in cellars, and in pits.

1 Samuel 22:1 So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father's household heard of it, they went down there to him.

1 Samuel 24:3 He came to the sheepfolds on the way, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the inner recesses of the cave.

7 David persuaded his men with these words and did not allow them to rise up against Saul. And Saul arose, left the cave, and went on his way.

8 Now afterward David arose and went out of the cave and called after Saul, saying, "My lord the king!" And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground and prostrated himself.

10 "Behold, this day your eyes have seen that the LORD had given you today into my hand in the cave, and some said to kill you, but my eye had pity on you; and I said, 'I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the LORD'S anointed.'

2 Samuel 23:13 Then three of the thirty chief men went down and came to David in the harvest time to the cave of Adullam, while the troop of the Philistines was camping in the valley of Rephaim.

1 Kings 18:4 for when Jezebel destroyed the prophets of the LORD, Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave, and provided them with bread and water.)

13 "Has it not been told to my master what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the LORD, that I hid a hundred prophets of the LORD by fifties in a cave, and provided them with bread and water?

1 Kings 19:9 Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

1 Chronicles 11:15 Now three of the thirty chief men went down to the rock to David, into the cave of Adullam, while the army of the Philistines was camping in the valley of Rephaim.

Isaiah 2:19 Men will go into caves of the rocks And into holes of the ground Before the terror of the LORD And the splendor of His majesty, When He arises to make the earth tremble.

Isaiah 32:14 Because the palace has been abandoned, the populated city forsaken. Hill and watch-tower have become caves forever, A delight for wild donkeys, a pasture for flocks;

Jeremiah 7:11 "Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight? Behold, I, even I, have seen it," declares the LORD.

Ezekiel 33:27 "Thus you shall say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "As I live, surely those who are in the waste places will fall by the sword, and whoever is in the open field I will give to the beasts to be devoured, and those who are in the strongholds and in the caves will die of pestilence.

This world wide "terror of the LORD" will be clearly manifest for all to see (and feel and experience) in the horrible seven years commonly known as the Tribulation (Note: Jesus used the term which strictly speaking refers the Great Tribulation the final 3.5 years when "the wrath of God is finished" Rev 15:1-note) (Daniel's Seventieth Week) and being described in the Revelation 6 through Revelation 20…

And the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us (cp Ge 3:8 = Adam and Eve - hiding is the effect of sin in the presence of God's holiness!) from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb" (Rev 6:15-note, Re 6:16-note)

Tony Garland commenting on Rev 6:15, 16 writes…

Here is the classic record of man’s response to his own sin—a vain attempt to hide from the omnipresent, omniscient, almighty God (Ge 3:8; Re 6:16). In the irony of God, those who persecuted God’s servants, who were “destitute, afflicted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy,” who “wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth” (Heb. 11:38) now experience firsthand a similar affliction from the very hand of God.

So intense is their fear of God’s judgments that they temporarily seek even death—anything to flee from His manifest presence (Ho 10:8; Lk 23:30; Re 9:6-note).

Hide us - Attempting to hide from God illustrates how sin and fear warp the intellect, for it is impossible to hide from the Omnipresent One (Job 34:22). How different the motivation of the godly from the ungodly. Those with faith in Christ desire His presence and seek His face. (Ps. 17:15; Pr. 8:7; Isa. 45:19; Is 58:2; 65:1; Je 29:13; Amos 5:4). Those who reject God fear His presence and flee His face. This dichotomy is seen today in the reaction of people to the preaching of the gospel:

For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? (2Co 2:15, 16)

At the scene of God’s final judgment of the ungodly, there will be nowhere available to hide from His face, for heaven and earth will have fled away (Re 20:11). All things are naked in His sight!

The wrath of the Lamb - Here we encounter a phrase of seeming contradiction. The Lamb Who was silently led to the slaughter (Is 53:7) now metes out wrath. It is the Lamb which opens each of the seals bringing forth these judgments which are indicative of the wrath of God. See commentary on Revelation 5:5.

The wrath of God began earlier, when the Lamb arose from His seat to open the first seal. Now it is recognized for what it is.

“It should be noted that the passage does not say that the wrath of God begins only with the sixth seal, but that only with the sixth seal do unbelievers recognize that it is the wrath of God.” (Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003, 221)

Those on the earth are ignorant of the Scriptures. Yet even they recognize that the time of God’s wrath has now come upon the earth (Re 11:18-note; Re 14:9-note, Re 14:10-note, Re 14:19-note; Re 15:1-note, Re 15:7-note; Re 16:1-note, Re 16:19-note). See commentary on Revelation 5:6-note. (A Testimony of Jesus Christ - Revelation 6:16)

When He arises to make the earth tremble

  • Is 2:10,21; 1 Samuel 13:6; 14:11; Jeremiah 16:16; Hosea 10:8; Micah 7:17; Luke 23:30; Hebrews 11:38; Revelation 6:15; 9:6
  • Of the rocks - Is 2:10; 2Th 1:9
  • When He arises - Is 30:32; Psalms 7:6; 18:6-15; 76:7-9; 114:5, 6, 7; Micah 1:3,4; Nahum 1:3, 4, 5, 6; Habakkuk 3:3-14; Haggai 2:6,21,22; Hebrews 12:26; 2Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 6:12, 13, 14; 11:13,19; 16:18; 20:11
  • Isaiah 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

John Martin writes that "Throughout this section (Is 2:6–4:1) and many others in the Book of Isaiah, there is an interesting interplay between the judgment which the Lord will inflict on the nation by the Assyrian and Babylonian Captivities and the judgment which will come on Israel and the whole world in the ‘last days’ just before the Millennium. Probably Isaiah and the other prophets had no idea of the lengthy time span that would intervene between those exiles and this later time of judgment. Though many of the predictions in Is 2:10–21 happened when Assyria and Babylon attacked Israel and Judah, the passage looks ahead to a cataclysmic judgment on the whole world (Ed: As indicated by Isaiah's description -- when He rises to make the earth tremble [Is 2:19-note, Is 2:21-note]-- which speaks of a global or worldwide fulfillment not restricted geographically to Israel and not yet fulfilled in history which thus speaks of a yet future event). (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985. Victor)

In Hebrews we read that "His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake (seio - literally, as causing violent movement or disturbance, especially of universal dimension) not only the earth, but also the heaven.” (Heb 12:26)

When He arises - When Christ (Who is now seated at the right hand of His Father in heaven - Ps 110:1-note, Mt 22:44, Lk 22:69, Col 3:1-note, He 1:3-note, He 8:1-note, He 10:12-note, He 12:2-note) stands up and begins His reign, this reign will culminate in His Second Coming at the end of the Great Tribulation.

Arises (06965 - קוּם) (qum) which refers literally to the physical action of "rising up" (Ge 19:33, 35, Ru 3:14) or standing as the result of rising up (Josh 7:12-13). It may denote any movement to an erect position, such as getting up out of a bed (Gen. 19:33), or it can be used as the opposite of sitting or kneeling, as when Abraham “stood up from before his dead” (Gen. 23:3). Qum (figuratively) can mean to come about. Qum has a host of additional figurative meanings - to show honor and respect (Ge 27:19; Ex. 33:10; Num. 23:18); to move (Ex. 10:23); to recover (Ex. 21:19); to belong (Lev. 25:30); to cost (Lev. 27:14, 17); to be valid (Nu 30:5); to appear (Dt. 13:1[2]); to follow (Dt. 29:22[21]); to be hostile (Jdg. 9:18); to endure (1Sa 13:14); to replace (1Ki 8:20). The word can also mean to ratify (Ru 4:7); to obligate (Esther. 9:21, 27, 31); to establish or strengthen (Ps 119:28); to fulfill (Ezek 13:6). In the causative form, it means to provide (Ge 38:8; 2Sa 12:11); to rouse (Gen. 49:9); to perform (Dt 9:5); to revive (Ru 4:5, 10); to keep one’s word (1Sa 3:12); to erect (1Ki 7:21); to appoint (1Ki 11:14); to be victorious (Ps. 89:43); to bring to silence (Ps. 107:29). (Baker - WSDOT)

The first use of qum in Ge 4:8 describes the first murder of a man by another man when Cain "rose up against Abel his brother and killed him." The last use of qum in the OT is Zech 11:16 "For behold, I am going to raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for the perishing, seek the scattered, heal the broken, or sustain the one standing, but will devour the flesh of the fat sheep and tear off their hoofs (Ed: Most think this is a reference to the future Antichrist - John MacArthur writes "Because they did not choose the Good Shepherd, Israel will receive a foolish one who will do absolutely the opposite of what is expected of shepherds, he will destroy the sheep (v. 16). This is exactly what Antichrist does = cf. Da 9:27; Mt 24:15–22)."

Qum is used in Genesis of establishing a covenant (Ge 6:18, 9:9, 11, 17, 17:7, 19, 21, 26:3 where covenant is called an "oath", Ex 6:4) Qum describes Abraham's obedience to arise and take Isaac to Mt Moriah to sacrifice him (Ge 22:3). Qum refers to deeding over property (Ge 23:17, 20). In Joseph's dream his sheave arising before his brothers' spoke a prophecy of his rise to greatness (Ge 37:7). In Ge 38:8 "raise up offspring" refers to procreating an heir. Joseph uses qum to predict seven years of famine that would arise (Ge 41:30). Qum describes a new king arising (to power) in Egypt (Ex 1:8). In Ex 15:7 "rise up against" speaks of those who oppose God. Qum is used to "erect (Lxx - anistemi - cause to arise) the tabernacle" (Ex 26:30).

Vine adds that qum "Qum may be used by itself, with no direct object to refer to the origin of something, as when Isaiah says, “It shall not stand …” (Isa. 7:7). Sometimes qum is used in an intensive mood to signify empowering or strengthening: “Strengthen thou me according unto thy word” (Ps. 119:28). It is also used to denote the inevitable occurrence of something predicted or prearranged (Ezek. 13:6). In a military context, qum may mean “to engage in battle.” In Ps. 18:38, for instance, God says, “I have wounded them that were not able to rise …” (cf. 2 Sam. 23:10). Qum may also be used very much like ˓amad to indicate the continuation of something—e.g., “Thy kingdom shall not continue” (1 Sam. 13:14). Sometimes it indicates validity, as when a woman’s vow shall not “stand” (be valid) if her father forbids it (Num. 30:5). Also see Deut. 19:15, which states that a matter may be “confirmed” only by the testimony of two or more witnesses. In some passages, qum means “immovable”; so Eli’s eyes were “set” (1 Sam. 4:15). Another special use of qum is “rise up again,” as when a childless widow complains to the elders, “My husband’s brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel …” (Deut. 25:7). In other words, the brother refuses to continue that name or “raise it up again.” When used with another verb, qum may suggest simply the beginning of an action. When Scripture says that "[Jacob] rose up, and passed over the [Euphrates] river” (Gen. 31:21), it does not mean that he literally stood up—merely that he began to cross the river. Sometimes qum is part of a compound verb and carries no special meaning of its own. This is especially true in commands. Thus Gen. 28:2 could simply be rendered, “Go to Padan-aram,” rather than, “Arise, go …” (KJV). Other special meanings emerge when qum is used with certain particles. With ˓al, “against,” it often means “to fight against or attack”: “A man riseth against his neighbor, and slayeth him …” (Deut. 22:26). This is its meaning in Gen. 4:8, the first biblical occurrence. With the particle be (“against”), qum means “make a formal charge against”: “One witness shall not rise up against a man …” (Deut. 19:15). With I (“for”), qum means “to testify in behalf of”: “Who will rise up for me against the evildoers?” (Ps. 94:16).The same construction can mean “to deed over,” as when Ephron’s field was deeded over (KJV, “made sure”—Gen. 23:17).

Qum - Over 600 uses in 592 verses - NAS translates qum as - Usage: accomplished(1), accuses(1), arise(103), arise and let us go(1), arisen(1), arises(6), arose(136), assailants(1), assume(1), avail(1), brighter(1), build(1), carried(3), carry(4), caused(1), certainly help(1), certainly help him to raise(1), come(2), confirm(13), confirmed(3), confirming(1), confirms(1), deeded over(2), dim(1), endure(4), enemies(1), erect(2), erected(10), establish(20), established(11), fulfill(3), fulfilled(4), fulfillment(1), get(8), gets(1), go ahead(1), go ahead and confirm(1), got(2), grown(1), lift(2), make it good(1), obliging*(1), observed(2), opponent(1), pass(1), passes(1), posted(1), prepared(1), raise(29), raised(12), raises(3), raising(1), remained(1), restore(1), rise(73), risen(11), rises(10), rising(2), rose(36), rouse(2), set(22), setting(1), spent(1), stand(31), stands(2), station(1), stirred(1), stood(8), strengthen(1), succeed(1), surely stand(1), take his stand(1), taken(1).

Gen 4:8; 6:18; 9:9, 11, 17; 13:17; 17:7, 19, 21; 18:16; 19:1, 33, 35; 21:18, 32; 22:3, 19; 23:3, 7, 17, 20; 24:10, 54, 61; 25:34; 26:3; 27:19, 31, 43; 28:2; 31:13, 17, 21, 35; 32:22; 35:1, 3; 37:7, 35; 38:8, 19; 41:30; 43:8, 13, 15; 46:5; 49:9; Exod 1:8; 2:17; 6:4; 10:23; 12:30f; 15:7; 21:19; 24:13; 26:30; 32:1, 25; 33:8, 10; 40:2, 17f, 33; Lev 19:32; 25:30; 26:1, 9; 27:14, 17, 19; Num 1:51; 7:1; 9:15; 10:21, 35; 11:32; 16:2, 25; 22:13f, 20f; 23:18f, 24; 24:9, 17, 25; 25:7; 30:4f, 7, 9, 11ff; 32:14; Deut 2:13, 24; 6:7; 8:18; 9:5, 12; 10:11; 11:19; 13:1; 16:22; 17:8; 18:15, 18; 19:11, 15f; 22:4, 26; 25:6f; 27:2, 4, 26; 28:7, 9, 36; 29:13, 22; 31:16; 32:38; 33:11; 34:10; Josh 1:2; 2:11; 3:16; 4:9, 20; 5:7; 6:26; 7:10, 12f, 26; 8:1, 3, 7, 19, 29; 18:4, 8; 24:9, 26; Judg 2:10, 16, 18; 3:9, 15, 20; 4:9, 14; 5:7, 12; 7:9, 15, 19; 8:20f; 9:18, 32, 34f, 43; 10:1, 3; 13:11; 16:3; 18:9, 30; 19:3, 5, 7, 9f, 27f; 20:5, 8, 18f, 33; Ruth 1:6; 2:15; 3:14; 4:5, 7, 10; 1 Sam 1:9, 23; 2:8, 35; 3:6, 8, 12; 4:15; 9:3, 26; 13:14f; 15:11, 13; 16:12f; 17:35, 48, 52; 18:27; 20:25, 34, 41f; 21:10; 22:8, 13; 23:4, 13, 16, 24; 24:4, 7f, 20; 25:1, 29, 41f; 26:2, 5; 27:2; 28:23, 25; 31:12; 2 Sam 2:14f; 3:10, 21; 6:2; 7:12, 25; 11:2; 12:11, 17, 20f; 13:15, 29, 31; 14:7, 23, 31; 15:9, 14; 17:1, 21ff; 18:31f; 19:7f; 22:39f, 49; 23:1, 10; 24:11, 18; 1 Kgs 1:49f; 2:4, 19, 40; 3:12, 20f; 6:12; 7:21; 8:20, 54; 9:5; 11:14, 18, 23, 40; 12:15; 14:2, 4, 12, 14, 17; 15:4; 16:32; 17:9f; 19:3, 5, 7f, 21; 21:7, 15f, 18; 2 Kgs 1:3, 15; 3:24; 4:30; 6:15; 7:5, 7, 12; 8:1f, 21; 9:2, 6; 10:12; 11:1; 12:20; 13:21; 16:7; 21:3; 23:3, 24f; 25:26; 1 Chr 10:12; 17:11; 21:18; 22:16, 19; 28:2; 2 Chr 3:17; 6:10, 41; 7:18; 10:15; 13:4, 6; 20:19; 21:4, 9; 22:10; 28:12, 15; 29:12; 30:14, 27; 33:3; Ezra 1:5; 3:2; 9:5; 10:4ff, 10; Neh 2:12, 18, 20; 3:1; 4:14; 5:13; 9:3ff, 8; Esth 5:9; 7:7; 8:4; 9:21, 27, 29, 31f; Job 1:20; 4:4; 7:4; 8:15; 11:17; 14:12; 15:29; 16:8, 12; 19:18, 25; 20:27; 22:28; 24:14, 22; 25:3; 27:7; 29:8; 30:12, 28; 31:14; 41:26; Ps 1:5; 3:1, 7; 7:6; 9:19; 10:12; 12:5; 17:7, 13; 18:38f, 48; 20:8; 24:3; 27:3, 12; 35:2, 11; 36:12; 40:2; 41:8, 10; 44:5, 26; 54:3; 59:1; 68:1; 74:22f; 76:9; 78:5f; 82:8; 86:14; 88:10; 89:43; 92:11; 94:16; 102:13; 107:29; 109:28; 113:7; 119:28, 38, 62, 106; 124:2; 127:2; 132:8; 139:2, 21; 140:10; Prov 6:9; 15:22; 19:21; 24:16, 22; 28:12, 28; 30:4; 31:15, 28; Eccl 4:10; 12:4; Song 2:10, 13; 3:2; 5:5; Isa 2:19, 21; 7:7; 8:10; 14:9, 21f, 24; 21:5; 23:12f; 24:20; 26:14, 19; 27:9; 28:18, 21; 29:3; 31:2; 32:8f; 33:10; 40:8; 43:17; 44:26; 46:10; 49:6ff; 51:17; 52:2; 54:17; 58:12; 60:1; 61:4; Jer 1:17; 2:27f; 6:4f, 17; 8:4; 10:20; 11:5; 13:4, 6; 18:2; 23:4f, 20; 25:27; 26:17; 28:6; 29:10, 15; 30:9, 24; 31:6; 33:14; 34:18; 35:14, 16; 37:10; 41:2; 44:25, 28f; 46:16; 49:14, 28, 31; 50:32; 51:12, 29, 64; Lam 1:14; 2:19; 3:62; Ezek 3:22f; 7:11; 13:6; 16:60, 62; 26:8; 34:23, 29; Dan 8:27; 9:12; Hos 6:2; 10:14; Amos 2:11; 5:2; 6:14; 7:2, 5, 9; 8:14; 9:11; Obad 1:1; Jonah 1:2f, 6; 3:2f, 6; Mic 2:8, 10; 4:13; 5:5; 6:1; 7:6, 8; Nah 1:6, 9; Hab 1:6; 2:7; Zeph 3:8; Zech 11:16

Isaiah 2:20 In that day men will cast away to the moles and the bats their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship, (NASB: Lockman)

English Translation of the Greek (Septuagint): For in that day a man shall cast forth his silver and gold abominations, which they made in order to worship vanities and bats;

Amplified: In that day men shall cast away to the moles and to the bats their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship, (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

KJV: 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;

NET: At that time men will throw their silver and gold idols, which they made for themselves to worship, into the caves where rodents and bats live, (NET Bible)

NJB: That day, people will fling to moles and bats the silver idols and golden idols which have been made for them to worship, (NJB)

NLT: In that day men will cast away to the moles and the bats Their idols of silver and their idols of gold, Which they made for themselves to worship, (NLT - Tyndale House)

Young's Literal: In that day doth man cast his idols of silver, And his idols of gold, That they have made for him to worship, To moles, and to bats,

In that day men will cast away to the moles and the bats their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship:

  • Is 30:22; 31:7; 46:1; Ho 14:8; Php 3:7,8

In that day - What day? The "day" Isaiah has just described "When He (Messiah) arises to make the earth tremble", the day the Messiah returns as King of kings and Lord of lords.

In that day - 86x in 83v in the Bible -

Lev. 7:35; Num. 32:10; Deut. 31:17f; 1 Sam. 3:12; 8:18; Isa. 2:11, 17, 20; 3:18; 4:1f; 5:30; 7:18, 20f, 23; 10:20, 27; 11:10; 12:4; 17:4, 7, 9; 19:16, 18f, 21, 23f; 20:6; 22:8, 12, 20, 25; 23:15; 24:21; 25:9; 26:1; 27:1f, 12f; 28:5; 31:7; 52:6; Jer. 4:9; 48:41; 49:22, 26; 50:30; Hos. 2:16, 18, 21; Joel 3:18; Amos 2:16; 8:3, 9, 13; 9:11; Mic. 4:6; 5:10; Zeph. 3:11, 16; Zech. 2:11; 3:10; 9:16; 12:3f, 6, 8f, 11; 13:1f, 4; 14:4, 6, 8f, 13, 20f

We see a parallel passage in Isaiah 31

Isaiah 31:7 For in that day (In context when is that day? Is 31:4 "LORD of hosts [will] come down to wage war on Mount Zion and on its hill" = Second Coming) every man will cast away his silver idols and his gold idols, which your sinful hands have made for you as a sin.

Men will cast away… their idols - There seems to be some irony here if moles are indeed rodents (or even worse "dung beetles"), for men will throw aside things they had previously placed great value on and throw them aside to things people generally detest. As an aside, it's too late to cast them away, for the external objects are still set up on the altar of the worshipper's heart! And God looks at the heart (1Sa 16:7). And when He returns, not only will the earth tremble but so too will the idolaters, for they will realize that the true Object, the only One worthy of their worship is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Oh, beloved, let us worship Him today in spirit and in truth, so that we might see His glory, His resplendent glory that would overshadow any idols we might have in our heart and might cast them out today.

Moles (02663) (chaphor) is the only OT use and derives from a verb which conveys the basic idea of to dig in the ground for some reason. The Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains writes that this is a "ceremonially unclean rodent: the holy shrew-mouse Crocidura religiosa." NIV translates it as "rodents".

A R Faussett writes in regard to moles that…

Others translate “mice.” The sense is, under ground, in darkness.

Grogan notes that instead of moles

The NEB reads "dung beetles" for "moles" (KJV; NIV, "rodents"). Herbert (in loc.) says, "The Hebrew word must mean a digging creature, but moles do not inhabit rocky places. This beetle gathers animal droppings as food, rolls the dung into a ball and carries it into a crevice. Known as the scarab, it was venerated in Egypt." (Grogan, G. Isaiah -EBC)

Bats - in caves. Moles - in holes. This is where men will try to hide!

Idols… made for themselves to worship - Idols are not just for show. They are not passive entities. Idols are manmade creations with the prescribed function of facilitating creature worship rather than Creator worship (Ro 1:22, 23-note, Ro 1:25-note) The reference to man-made idols reminds one of Is 44:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, Is 46:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

The idols will completely vanish - Vanish (02498) (chalaph) See above for comments on Isaiah 2:18.

Related Resources:

Greek studies on - Idols = eidolon; Idolater = eidololatres; Idolatry = eidololatreia

Isaiah 2:8 commentary which discusses idols

Idols (0457) (elil) (Used in Is 2:8, 18, 20; 10:10, 11; 19:1, 3; 31:7) describes that which is worthless, good for nothing, of no value. The spelling of the Hebrew word for idol is very close to the Hebrew word for God. The term for God however relates to the idea of strength or power, which makes Isaiah's contrast with "nothing" (eliyl) all that more pointed and dramatic! Worthless and good for nothing is a fitting name for objects of worship made by human hands, for they will all burn one day! The Septuagint (Lxx) translates elil with the adjective cheiropoietos which literally means made by hands (man made) and is used again to translate "idols" in Isaiah 19:1.

Isaiah 2:21 In order to go into the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs before * the terror of the LORD and the splendor of His majesty, when He arises to make the earth tremble. (NASB: Lockman)

English Translation of the Greek (Septuagint): to enter into the caverns of the solid rock, and into the clefts of the rocks, for fear of the Lord, and by reason of the glory of his might, when he shall arise to strike terribly the earth.

Amplified: To go into the caverns of the rocks and into the clefts of the ragged rocks from before the terror and dread of the Lord and from before the glory of His majesty, when He rises to shake mightily and terribly the earth. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

KJV: 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.

NET: so they themselves can go into the crevices of the rocky cliffs and the openings under the rocky overhangs, trying to escape the dreadful judgment of the LORD and his royal splendor, when he rises up to terrify the earth. (NET Bible)

NJB: and go into the crevices of the rocks and the clefts in the cliffs, in terror of Yahweh, at the brilliance of his majesty, when he arises to make the earth quake. (NJB)

NLT: In order to go into the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs, Before the terror of the LORD and the splendor of His majesty, When He arises to make the earth tremble. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Young's Literal: To enter into cavities of the rocks, And into clefts of the high places, Because of the fear of Jehovah, And because of the honour of His excellency, In His rising to terrify the earth.

In order to go into the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs before * the terror of the LORD and the splendor of His majesty, when He arises to make the earth tremble:

  • Is 2:10,19; Exodus 33:22; Job 30:6; Song 2:14
  • Isaiah 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

In order to go into the caverns… - Isaiah explains how the idols vanish as men come to realize that in the presence of the splendor and majesty of the LORD, their handmade images are worthless. How applicable this is to all of us, for even as believers we so easily can fall into the trap of giving other things a higher priority than the glorious, majestic One, Who alone is worthy of such an exalted position. What are your "idols" beloved? Do you have any? One day they will vanish.

It is notable that for the third time (Is 2:10-note, Is 2:19, 21) in this section Isaiah sees sinners running from the Righteous One. Dear reader if you are an unrepentant, unsaved sinner, you will seek to run from His Holiness one day. I plead with you to make the choice to run into the cleft of the Rock of Ages…

Seek (command) the LORD while He may be found (Ed: When He arises to make the earth tremble it is too late!). Call (command) upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. (Isa 55:6, 7)

Turn (command to "Look unto") to Me, and be saved (command), all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. (Isa 45:22 - the passage God's Spirit used to save C H Spurgeon -C. H. Spurgeon's Testimony)

Caverns (05366) (neqarah) a large crack, fissure or split in a rock which is such a size that it allows people to hide in or take refuge in. The only other OT use presents a dramatic contrast…

Ex 33:22 and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.

Comment: Moses was to see only the "afterglow" which was but a foretaste of the majesty of His splendor. These pride filled in Is 2:21 will see the majesty of His splendor and seek to hide just like Adam and Eve did after they sinned (Ge 3:8).

Rocks (06697) (tsur) is a mass of stone material and the context determines the size and shape of the rock. For example, the context of the first use in Scripture (Ex 4:25) clearly pictures a small rock.

It is sad that most of mankind will refuse to run (by grace through faith) into the Rock of salvation (Ex 17:6 "rock" = type of Christ in 1Co 10:6, cp 2Sa 22:47, Ps 89:26-note, Ps 19:14-note). When men refuse to hide in the Rock of our Salvation from the righteous wrath of God (cp Ro 1:16-note, Ro 1:17-note), the One Who could be their Cornerstone (Christ our foundation - cp Is 28:16, 1Pe 2:6-note) becomes their stumbling Stone (into a Christless perdition, cp 2Th 1:9, Mt 25:34, 41, 46). See related resource - Scriptural Study of Christ the Rock, the Stone, the Cornerstone.

Clefts (05585) (ca'iyph) is a fissure in a rock which is used only 6 times in Scripture - Jdg 15:8, 11; Isa. 2:21; 17:6; 27:10; 57:5. The idea is that of a large rock which overhangs or of a crevice which is large enough for lodging (Samson - Jdg 15:8, 11). In Isa 2:21 the context clearly describes a place where one can seek refuge. It was also a place used for sacred sacrificial rites of a pagan nature (Is 57:5). This word in some contexts refers to branches (Isa 17:6, 27:10).

While the first use of ca'iyph describes the place that unrepentant sinners run to seek refuge from God's wrath, the last use by Isaiah describes the cleft as a site for "sacred" child sacrifices (cp Je 32:35, Ezek 20:26, 31)! How fitting that they would run to seek refuge in the place of their most perfidious practices!

Isaiah 57:5 Who inflame yourselves among the oaks, under every luxuriant tree (cp sites of rebellious, deceitful "fertility" worship = Judah and Israel's idolatry = spiritual adultery - Je 3:6, Ezek 16:16), who slaughter the children in the ravines, under the clefts of the crags?

Cliffs (05553) (sela) comes from a root which means lofty and refers to a rock or cliff. The irony is that these proud men refuse to run to the Rock of our salvation, of Whom David testified (from his experience)…

The Lord is my Rock (sela) and my Fortress and my Deliverer, My God, my Rock, in Whom I take refuge; My Shield and the Horn of my salvation, my Stronghold. (Ps 18:2-note)

Spurgeon commenting on David's psalm writes…

Dwelling among the crags and mountain fastnesses of Judea David had escaped the malice of Saul, and here he compares his God to such a place of concealment and security. Believers are often hidden in their God from the strife of tongues and the fury of the storm of trouble. The clefts of the Rock of Ages are safe abodes.

My Deliverer, interposing in my hour of peril. When almost captured the Lord's people are rescued from the hand of the mighty by him who is mightier still. This title of "deliverer" has many sermons in it, and is well worthy of the study of all experienced saints. (Play: My Deliverer)

My God; this is all good things in one. There is a boundless wealth in this expression; it means, my perpetual, unchanging, infinite, eternal good. He who can say truly "my God," may well add, "my heaven, my all." (Play You are My All in All)

My Strength; this word is really my Rock, in the sense of strength and immobility. My sure, unchanging, eternal confidence and support. Thus the word rock occurs twice, but it is no tautology, for the first time it is a rock for concealment (You Are My Hiding Place-As The Deer), but here a rock for firmness and immutability.

In Whom I will trust. Faith must be exercised, or the preciousness of God is not truly known; and God must be the object of faith, or faith is mere presumption.

My buckler (My Shield), warding off the blows of my enemy, shielding me from arrow or sword. The Lord furnishes his warriors with weapons both offensive and defensive. Our armory is completely stored so that none need go to battle unarmed.

The Horn of my salvation, enabling me to push down my foes, and to triumph over them with holy exultation.

My high tower (My Stronghold) (Watermark -You Are My Stronghold), a citadel high planted on a rocky eminence beyond the reach of my enemies, from the heights of which I look down upon their fury without alarm, and survey a wide landscape of mercy reaching even unto the goodly land beyond Jordan. Here are many words, but none too many; we might profitably examine each one of them had we leisure, but summing up the whole, we may conclude with Calvin, that David here equips the faithful from head to foot.

Terror (06343) (pachad) means a dread, fear, terror, panic. It is either a strong emotion of fear or terror and was often caused by the Lord (1Sa 11:7; Job 13:11; Is 2:10, 19, 21). This same dread could cause trembling (Job 13:11; Ps. 119:120). Pachad implies a fear which is caused by an enemy or inflicted by God Himself (2Chr 20:29). Pachad (Fear) is even used as a name for God (see Ge 31:42, 31:53). The fear of the Lord was so central to Isaac’s concept of God that one of his names for God was “Fear”! One can either have the rightful fear of Isaac or the terrifying fear of a rebellious unbeliever. Take your choice. It will make all the difference "out of this world" (i.e, in the world to come - either heaven or hell)!

Splendor (01926) (hadar) means glory and describes the character of God here and in (1Chr 16:27), where His great magnificence and brightness (as the splendor of the sun with its rays) causes sinners to flee from His presence. The Septuagint (Lxx) translates hadar with the noun doxa which in simple terms means to give a proper opinion or estimate of something and thus the glory of God expresses all that He is in His Being and in His nature, character, power and acts. He is glorified when He is allowed to be seen as He really is. To be where God is will be glory. To be what God intended will be glory. To do what God purposed will be glory. Ryrie adds that the glory of God "is the manifestation of any or all of His attributes. In other words, it is the displaying of God to the world. Thus, things which glorify God are things which show the characteristics of His being to the world."

This verse is reminiscent of John's introduction to the Revelation of Jesus Christ

BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen. (Rev 1:7-note)

Tony Garland comments that…

The Jews will mourn because of the awful realization of the truth of the crucifixion of their own Messiah and the subsequent record of history triggered by this most colossal mistake of all history:

Israel must, indeed, be dumb if one asks them today: Tell me, pray: How can it be that the Eternal sent the fathers out of their land into captivity in Babylon for only seventy years, on account of all the abominations and idolatry by which they for centuries defiled the Holy Land:—and now Israel has been dispersed among all peoples for over eighteen hundred years, and Jerusalem, the city of the great King, is trodden down by the nations until this day? What, then, is the great and terrible blood-guiltiness which perpetually prevents you from dwelling in peace in the land of your fathers?—But Israel is not willing to know! And yet it is precisely its sin against its Messiah that is indeed the root of Israel’s misery. (Erich Sauer, The Dawn of World Redemption Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s Publishing Company, 1951, c1964, 118-119)

The Gentiles too will mourn as they realize the truth of Christianity which they have steadfastly rejected, and the inescapable fact of their impending judgment. John records the astonishing hardness of heart of the “earth dwellers” at the time of the end. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence of God’s existence, sovereignty, and power, they will not repent (Rev. 16:9-note, Re 16:11-note, Re 16:21-note). It is our belief that this is one reason Paul says, “now is the day of salvation” (2Co 6:2). For every day, every hour, every minute that a person continues to reject the knowledge of God makes it more likely they will never turn to accept the free offer of salvation. (Garland adds "Having personally sat with those in their dying days who continue to reject God’s free and gracious offer of salvation when they have nothing to lose and everything to gain, we have gained a genuine appreciation regarding the fearful consequences of the continual rejection of the gospel offer.")

Brethren, I do not wonder that worldlings and half-Christians have no love of this doctrine, or that they hate to hear about Christ’s speedy coming. It is the death knell of their gaieties and pleasures—the turning of their confidence to consternation—the conversion of their songs to shrieks of horror and despair. There is a day coming, when “the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of man shall be made low;” [Is 2:11-note, Is 2:17-note] (J. A. Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation) (Commentary)

Majesty (01347) (gaon) can refer in some contexts to pride or arrogance, but here refers to the exalted majesty or excellence of the Lord (cp Ex 15:7; Isa. 24:14; Mic 5:4). Gaon can refer to even to God's redeemed remnant who express their pride in Him as in (Is 4:2). The Septuagint (Lxx) translates gaon with the noun ischus which means strength, might or power and is used to describe a divine attribute in Rev 5:12.

Gaon - 44v in the OT -

Ex 15:7; Lev. 26:19; Job 35:12; 37:4; 38:11; 40:10; Ps. 47:4; 59:12; Prov. 16:18; Isa. 2:10, 19, 21; 4:2; 13:11, 19; 14:11; 16:6; 23:9; 24:14; 60:15; Jer. 12:5; 13:9; 48:29; 49:19; 50:44; Ezek. 7:20, 24; 16:49, 56; 24:21; 30:6, 18; 32:12; 33:28; Hos. 5:5; 7:10; Amos 6:8; 8:7; Mic. 5:4; Nah. 2:2; Zeph. 2:10; Zech. 9:6; 10:11; 11:3

The earth - If taken literally, which is reasonable, this verse impacts speaks of divine retribution impacting not only Judah and Jerusalem but the world.

Tremble (06206) (arats) means to to shake involuntarily as with fear and here describes a terror incited by the presence of the LORD Who is coming to judge the sinful world in righteousness.

Arats - 15v in the OT - Dt. 1:29; 7:21; 20:3; 31:6; Jos 1:9; Job 13:25; 31:34; Ps 10:18; 89:7; Is 2:19, 21; 8:12, 13; 29:23; 47:12. Arats is rendered as cause terror(1), cause to tremble(1), cause trembling(1), dread(3), feared(2), make tremble(2), shocked(1), stand in awe(1), tremble(3).

Criswell rightly reasons that…

When the Lord shall arise to terrify the earth, man's civilization and proud achievements will become dust. In view of this, the prophet appeals to the house of Jacob to give up any trust in man and his devices.

Dear reader tremble now before the splendor of the majesty of Jehovah, yielding to His right to rule your life, so that you do not need to tremble in that day! Wash yourself, that you might be part of the godly remnant of those who are saved by grace through faith.

Isaiah 2:22 Stop [regarding] man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils; for why should he be esteemed? (NASB: Lockman)

English Translation of the Greek (Septuagint): This verse is not in the Septuagint.

Amplified: Cease to trust in [weak, frail, and dying] man, whose breath is in his nostrils [for so short a time]; in what sense can he be counted as having intrinsic worth? (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

KJV: Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?

NET: Stop trusting in human beings, whose life's breath is in their nostrils. For why should they be given special consideration? (NET Bible)

NJB: Have no more to do with humankind, which has only the breath in its nostrils. How much is this worth? (NJB)

NLT: Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils; For why should he be esteemed? (NLT - Tyndale House)

Young's Literal: Cease for you from man, Whose breath is in his nostrils, For -- in what is he esteemed?

Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils; For why should he be esteemed:

  • Ps 62:9; 146:3; Jeremiah 17:5
  • Genesis 2:7; 7:22; Job 27:3
  • Job 7:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21; Ps 8:4; 144:3,4
  • Isaiah 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Resource: Isaiah 2:22 Man, Whose Breath Is in His Nostrils

From Isaiah 2:6-21 Isaiah has been describing the glory of man and now concludes this section with the command to stop placing your trust in weak, frail, dying men and on what they can accomplish. This frailty of men is brought out by the phrase "breath of life is in his nostrils" (cp the source of this breath = Ge 2:7, it's transience = Ge 6:17, it's only source of salvation = Ge 7:15).

What a clear contrast are men whose days are but a shadow (Job 8:9, 14:2, Eccl 6:12, Ps 37:2-note) (Motyer however does not think breath is a metaphor for the brevity of man's life but instead a marker of the one from Whom such life is derived and thus Who alone should be trusted - cp Is 42:5) with the unending power of the Almighty (Ps 90:4, 5, 6-note), Who alone is worthy of and can justify our full dependence and trust.

This verse is in some ways the opposite of what Isaiah had written earlier…

Come (command) house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. (Is 2:5-note)

In the earlier verse, the call was to focus on the Lord and here the idea is to get our focus off of men! Trust in Jehovah. Do not trust in man!

The psalmist records…

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. (Ps 118:8, 9-note)

Jeremiah writes…

Thus says the Lord, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord. (Je 17:5)

Comment: Look back at what Jeremiah records. Do you see the progression? Trust in man and his strength precedes the heart turning from God! And the result? Cursed! (cp Pr 14:12, 16:25, 3:5, 6, 7, 8)

John Martin (as opposed to Motyer above) interprets this passage as reflective of the fact that…

Man is merely like a vapor. His breath can be snuffed out quickly. Therefore to trust in him is nonsensical, for man is easily removed (Is 2:9, 11, 12, 17). In view of God’s coming judgment Judah should begin to turn to Him in the present. God’s glory should cause them to live righteous, holy lives and thus escape His severe judgment. (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985. Victor )

J Vernon McGee exhorts us - "Don’t put your confidence in man. You and I exhale, but we don’t know whether we are going to inhale the next breath. That is the frailty of man—if he misses one breath he is out of the picture. Multitudes today going about their daily business will have fatal heart attacks and disappear from the earth’s scene. Don’t put your confidence in man. Put your confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ today. (Isaiah Commentary - 219 Mp3's)

Stop (a command) (02308) (hadal) means to cease something - anxiety (1Sa 9:5), ability to bear children (Ge 18:11), evil (Isa 1:16). The word regarding is added by the translators as determined from the context (balancing the word "esteemed").

Hadal - 53v in the OT - Gen. 11:8; 18:11; 41:49; Exod. 9:29, 33f; 14:12; 23:5; Num. 9:13; Deut. 15:11; 23:22; Jdg. 5:6f; 9:9, 11, 13; 15:7; 20:28; Ruth 1:18; 1 Sam. 2:5; 9:5; 12:23; 23:13; 1 Ki. 15:21; 22:6, 15; 2 Chr. 16:5; 18:5, 14; 25:16; 35:21; Job 3:17; 7:16; 10:20; 14:6f; 16:6; 19:14; Ps. 36:3; 49:8; Prov. 10:19; 19:27; 23:4; Isa. 1:16; 2:22; 24:8; Jer. 40:4; 41:8; 44:18; 51:30; Ezek. 3:27; Amos 7:5; Zech. 11:12 and rendered in NAS as cease(10), ceased(8), ceasing(1), deserted(1), fail(1), failed(1), gave up(1), hold back(1), leave(5), let alone(1), neglects(1), never mind(2), no(1), past(1), quit(1), refrain(6), refrained(1), refuse(1), regarding*(m)(1), rest(1), stop(4), stopped(4), stops(1), unavoidable*(1).

Esteemed (02803) (hasab) conveys the basic idea is employment of the mind in thinking activity. Reference is not so much to "understanding" (cp Hebrew verb = biyn), but to the creating of new ideas. From the mental effort to think come the other ideas of to compute, make account of, consider, esteem, impute, reckon, regard.

Chuck Smith rightly concludes from this passage that it is "Better to trust God than man."

Grogan - After the idols have been cut down to size by the revelation of the true God in his judicial majesty, the spotlight of the divine contempt focuses on human beings—through whom the religious infection had taken root (Is 2:6-note)—whose dignity as creatures made in God's image had been cast away by their groveling before idols made by their own hands (Is 2:8, 9-note, Is 2:20), and whose arrogant pride would be abased before God's disclosure (Is 2:11, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21). (Grogan, G. Isaiah in Expositor's Bible Commentary OT 7 Volume Set: Books: Zondervan Publishing)

Constable - Human beings have no real value as objects of trust. Idolatry is but a result of man’s self-glorification, not its cause. Human beings will never bring about Israel’s glorious destiny. Only God can and will do that. This verse, like Is 2:5 (note), is transitional and bridges the preceding proclamation of universal judgment and the following more specific judgment. (Isaiah - Expository Notes)

Ed Young - What an accurate description of the condition of mankind apart from God! Fallen mankind places all its confidence and hope in man. In its crudest form this confidence may appear as idolatry, such as existed when Isaiah wrote. The greatest need of man is to reject man, and, as children, to seek the heavenly Father. The verse thus forms a fitting conclusion to the chapter, and at the same time it also serves as a bridge between the proclamation of universal judgment made in Isaiah 2 and the more specific judgment to be introduced in Isaiah 3:1ff. (Young, Ed: The Book of Isaiah - Volume 1, Chapters 1-18. Eerdmans Pub. 1992)

Gingrich - Since the great and the powerful men of this earth are temporary and are to be humbled and destroyed, we should not place our confidence in them but in Christ, “a quickening (life-giving) Spirit,” 1 Corinthians 15:45. (Gingrich, R. E. The Book of Isaiah. Memphis, TN.: Riverside Printing)