Flies, Bees, and a Razor

Isaiah 7: 18-20. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the holes of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes. In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard.”

Image result for Isaiah 7:18-20

Lots of metaphors in this passage, and very interesting ones. Egypt, a confederate of Assyria, is called “the bee,” and Assyria is “the fly.”  I’m going to quote  you a note from my Dake’s Study Bible:

The invading Assyrian and Egyptian armies are compared to flies and bees in number, and the trouble, and destruction that such creatures cause. The fly referred to here is the dog-fly, which is a little larger than the bee. The head is big, the upper jaw is sharp and has a pointed hair about 1/4 inch long attached to it. The lower jaw has two such hairs and when joined together they are as strong as a hog’s bristle. Flies of this kind are a deadly plague in certain places and when their buzzing is heard cattle run wildly about suffering from fatigue, fright, and hunger. Even elephants, camels and other animals cannot withstand the terror of these creatures which puncture the skin with their pointed proboscis, causing the body to swell and break out with sores, and the beast to die. Bees are also troublesome creatures. The land spoken of as being filled with flies and bees illustrates the multitudes of foreigners who would destroy Judah. In the same day–when Judah would be invaded and the land destroyed by the armies of Assyria and Egypt the destruction would be as clean as a man shaving with a razor.  The Assyrian king is compared to a razor that is hired, referring to Ahaz hiring him to help destroy Syria and Ephraim. After this he turned on Judah and became a bigger scourge than the others would have been.

It is also important to understand that nothing was more shameful for a Jewish man than  to be shaved of his beard, indicating the removal of kingly authority, national independence and the priesthood. This shaving would be complete, including the head and even the hair of the feet. Complete shame, complete destruction.

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