Isaiah 17:13

13 Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them they flee far away, driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale.

Read Isaiah 17:13 Using Other Translations

The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall 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.
The nations roar like the roaring of many waters, but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far away, chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind and whirling dust before the storm.
But though they thunder like breakers on a beach, God will silence them, and they will run away. They will flee like chaff scattered by the wind, like a tumbleweed whirling before a storm.

What does Isaiah 17:13 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Isaiah 17:13

The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters,
&c.] With great force and noise, and run over the whole land, as the Assyrian army did, until it came to Jerusalem, and there it stopped; see ( Isaiah 8:7 Isaiah 8:8 ) : but [God] shall rebuke them;
as he did the waters of the Red Sea, ( Psalms 106:9 ) and as Christ rebuked the winds and sea, and made a calm, ( Matthew 8:26 ) . The word "God" is not in the text, but rightly supplied; for as none but he can rebuke the mighty waters of the sea, so none but he could have destroyed such an army in the manner it was, and wrought such a salvation for his people. The phrase, is expressive both of his wrath and power. And they shall flee afar off;
from Jerusalem to Nineveh, reckoned to be six hundred and eighty four miles from thence: or, "he shall flee afar off" F24; that is, Sennacherib, and the few that escaped with him, for, his army was destroyed; see ( 2 Kings 19:36 ) : and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind;
chaff upon the floor is easily chased away with the fan, and much more easily chaff upon the mountains with the wind; it was usual with the Jews to thresh their corn, and winnow it on hills and mountains, to which the allusion is; see ( 2 Chronicles 3:1 ) or "the dust of the mountains", as some F25 render it, which is more exposed to the wind than that in the valleys. Kings and great men of the earth are but as dust with God; and the higher they are, or they exalt themselves, the more they are exposed to the power of his wrath, and as easily cast down as the dust is scattered by the wind: and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind;
or "like a wheel" {z}, as the word is sometimes rendered; or any round thing, as a round wisp of straw or stubble, which is easily and swiftly moved and rolled along, especially by a strong wind. Jarchi interprets it of the flower of thorns; that is, the down of the thistle, which, when blown off, rolls up, and, being exceeding light, is carried away at once; see ( Psalms 83:13 ) all which shows what poor light things the greatest of men are in the hands of God, and with what ease he can chase them from place to place, and out of the world, when it is his pleasure.


FOOTNOTES:

F24 (qxrmm onw) "fugiet de procul", Vatablus.
F25 (Myrh Uwmk) "velut, pulvis montium", Tigurine version.
F26 (lglg) "sicut rota". Junius & Tremellius; "tanquam glomus [stipularum]", Piscator.
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