For behold, the Lord will come with fire - The Septuagint reads this ' As fire' ( ̔ ́ hōs pur ). Fire is a common emblem to denote the coming of the Lord to judge and punish his enemies Psalms 50:3 :
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence;
A fire shall devour before him,
And it shall be very tempestuous round about him.
So Habakkuk 2:5 :
Before him went the pestilence,
And burning coals went forth at his feet.
So Psalms 97:3 :
A fire goeth before him,
And burneth up his enemies round about.
So it is said II Thessalonians 1:8, that the Lord Jesus will be revealed ' in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God' (compare Hebrews 10:27; II Peter 3:7). So Yahweh is said to breathe out fire when he comes to destroy his foes:
There went up a smoke out of his nostrils,
And fire out of his mouth devoured;
Coals were kindled by it.
Compare the notes at Isaiah 29:6; Isaiah 30:30. This is a general promise that God would defend his church, and destroy his foes. To what this particularly applies, it may not be possible to determine, and instead of attempting that, I am disposed to regard it as a promise of a general nature, that God, in those future times, would destroy his foes, and would thus extend protection to his people. So far as the language is concerned, it may be applied either to the destruction of Jerusalem, to any mighty overthrow of his enemies, or to the day of judgment. The single truth is, that all his enemies would be destroyed as if Yahweh should come amidst flames of fire. That truth is enough for his church to know; that truth should be sufficient to fill a wicked world with alarm.
And with his chariots like a whirlwind - The principal idea here is, that he would come with immense rapidity, like a chariot that was borne forward as on the whirlwind, to destroy his foes. God is often represented as coming in a chariot - a chariot of the clouds, or of a whirlwind. Psalms 104:3 :
Who maketh the clouds his chariot,
Who walketh upon the wings of the wind.
Compare Psalms 18:10; see the note at Isaiah 19:1. See also Jeremiah 4:13 :
Behold, he shall come up as clouds,
And his chariots shall be as a whirlwind.
Chariots were commonly made with two wheels, though sometimes they had four wheels, to which two horses, fiery and impetuous, were attached; and the rapid movement, the swift revolving wheels, and the dust which they raised, had no slight resemblance to a whirlwind (compare the notes at Isaiah 21:7, Isaiah 21:9). They usually had strong and sharp iron scythes affixed to the extremities of their axles, and were driven into the midst of the army of an enemy, cutting down all before them. Warriors sometimes fought standing on them, or leaping from them on the enemy. The chariots in the army of Cyrus are said to have been capacious enough to permit twenty men to fight from them.
To render his anger with fury - Lowth renders this, ' To breathe forth his anger.' Jerome translates it, Reddere , that is, to render. The Septuagint, ̓͂ Apodounai , to give, or to render. Lowth proposes, instead of the present text, as pointed by the Masorites, ׁ le hâshı̂yb , to read it ׁ le hashı̂yb , as if it were derived from ׁ nâshab . But there is no necessity of a change. The idea is, that God would recompense his fury; or would cause his hand to turn upon them in fury.
With fury - Lowth renders this, ' In a burning heat.' The word used ( chēmâh ) properly means "heat," then anger, wrath; and the Hebrew here might be properly rendered, ' heat of his anger;' that is, glowing or burning wrath, wrath that consumes like fire.
With flames of fire - His rebuke shall consume like fiery flames; or it shall be manifested amidst such flame.
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing Isaiah 66:15:
1 Corinthians 3:13
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