on Isaiah 8 :1
Take thee a great roll "Take unto thee a large mirror" - The word גליון gillayon is not regularly formed from גלל galal, to roll, but from גלה galah, as פדיון pidyon from פדה padah, כליון killayon from כלה, calah, נקיון nikkayon from נקה nakah, עליון elyon from עלה alah, etc., the י yod supplying the place of the radical ה he. גלה galah signifies to show, to reveal; properly, as Schroederus says, (De Vestitu Mulier. Hebr. p. 294), to render clear and bright by rubbing; to polish. גליון gillayon, therefore, according to this derivation, is not a roll or volume: but may very well signify a polished tablet of metal, such as was anciently used for a mirror. The Chaldee paraphrast renders it by לוח luach, a tablet, and the same word, though somewhat differently pointed, the Chaldee paraphrast and the rabbins render a mirror, Isaiah 3:23. The mirrors of the Israelitish women were made of brass finely polished, Exodus 38:8, from which place it likewise appears that what they used were little hand mirrors which they carried with them even when they assembled at the door of the tabernacle. I have a metalline mirror found in Herculaneum, which is not above three inches square. The prophet is commanded to take a mirror, or brazen polished tablet, not like these little hand mirrors, but a large one; large enough for him to engrave upon it in deep and lasting characters, בחרט אנוש becheret enosh, with a workman's graving tool, the prophecy which he was to deliver. חרט cheret in this place certainly signifies an instrument to write or engrave with: but חריט charit, the same word, only differing a little in the form, means something belonging to a lady's dress, Isaiah 3:22, (where however five MSS. leave out the י yod, whereby only it differs from the word in this place), either a crisping-pin, which might be not unlike a graving tool, as some will have it, or a purse, as others infer from 2 Kings 5:23. It may therefore be called here חרט אנוש cheret enosh, a workman's instrument, to distinguish it from חרט אשה cheret ishshah, an instrument of the same name, used by the women. In this manner he was to record the prophecy of the destruction of Damascus and Samaria by the Assyrians; the subject and sum of which prophecy is here expressed with great brevity in four words, מהר שלל הש בז maher shalal hash baz; i.e., to hasten the spoil, to take quickly the prey; which are afterwards applied as the name of the prophet's son, who was made a sign of the speedy completion of it; Maher-shalal-hash-baz; Haste-to-the-spoil, Quick-to-the-prey. And that it might be done with the greater solemnity, and to preclude all doubt of the real delivery of the prophecy before the event, he calls witnesses to attest the recording of it.
The prophet is commanded to take a great roll, and yet four words only are to be written in it, מהר שלל הש בז maher shalal hash baz, Make haste to the spoil; fall upon the prey. The great volume points out the land of Judea; and the few words the small number of inhabitants, after the ten tribes were carried into captivity.
The words were to be written with a man's pen; i.e., though the prophecy be given in the visions of God, yet the writing must be real; the words must be transcribed on the great roll, that they may be read and publicly consulted. Or, חרט אנוש cherot enosh, the pen or graver of the weak miserable man, may refer to the already condemned Assyrians, who though they should be the instruments of chastening Damascus and Samaria, should themselves shortly be overthrown. The four words may be considered as the commission given to the Assyrians to destroy and spoil the cities. Make haste to the spoil; Fall upon the prey, etc.
on Isaiah 8 :1
Take thee a great roll - The word which is here translated 'roll' more properly signifies tablet. So the Chaldee renders it. Those tablets were made of wood, metal, or stone, for the purpose of writing on; see Isaiah 30:8; Habakkuk 2:2. On these tablets, or smooth plates, writing was performed by cutting the letters with an iron stylus, or small chisel. The process was slow, but the writing was permanent. They sometimes used the skins of animals, or the bark of trees, and subsequently the papyrus of Egypt (compare the note at Isaiah 19:7); and it is possible that Isaiah may have used such a roll or volume on this occasion; compare Isaiah 8:16.
With a man's pen - The word "pen" here (חרט chereṭ) denotes the iron stylus, which was used to engrave or cut the letters in the metal or wood. The phrase 'a man's pen,' has been variously interpreted. The Chaldee renders it, 'Write in it an open, or clear writing, or an expanded writing;' meaning that he should make it clear and distinct, so as to be easily read. The Syriac, 'Write on it in the (usual) custom of men.' The word which is translated 'man's אנושׁ 'ĕnôsh usually denotes common men, the lower ranks, in opposition to the higher ranks of society. And probably the direction means simply, 'write on it in letters such as men commonly use; in a plain, open, distinct manner - without using any mysterious emblems or characters, but so that men may read it distinctly and easily.' A parallel place occurs in Habakkuk 2:2 : 'Write the vision and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.'
Concerning - Hebrew ל (le). This preposition may denote concerning, of, or to. I understand it here as referring to the heading or title of the prophecy. This was to be set over the prophecy, as a running title, to denote the main subject of it. The subject is indicated in the name which is immediately added.
Maher - Hasten; or, he shall hasten. "Shalal." Spoil, or prey.
Hash - Hasten, or make speed.
Baz - Spoil, or prey. The name used here is a repetition of the same idea - denoting haste in seizing prey, or spoil; and is repeated to give emphasis, and to excite attention. The idea is, that the Assyrian would hasten to his plunder - that it would be accomplished with speed. This name was to be given to a child of Isaiah; and this child was to be a sign of the event which was signified by the name; see Isaiah 8:18; compare Habakkuk 2:2-3.
on Isaiah 8 :1
8:1 A roll - Or, a great volume, because the prophecy to be written in it was large, and God would have it written in large and legible characters. Pen - With such a pen as writers use. Concerning - Concerning that thing which is signified by the name of the child, which is here mentioned by way of anticipation.