These petty kings had troubles enough of their own from the greater powers, yet they could not be at peace, plunder was sweet to them.
the house of David, or the representative of David’s royal house
The object of the invasion by Syria and Israel was to put down the kings of the line of David once for all, and set up the son of Tabeal, a creature of their own. There was so much discontented feeling abroad among his own subjects that Ahaz was at his wit’s end with fear.
Ahaz was probably going there to see that water was secured for Jerusalem in case of siege, or that it was cut off from the besiegers: at the conduit the prophet was bidden to meet the king.
Here was a most encouraging message, and a noble opportunity for Ahaz; he had but to trust in the Lord, and have his kingdom established about him, but he was at that moment meditating an appeal to the great Assyrian monarch, and preferred to lean upon an arm of flesh rather than upon the Lord of Hosts.
This was a mere evasion. He knew that if he accepted a sign it would be fulfilled, and then he would have no excuse for distrusting the Lord, but he did not wish to commit himself to the course of action which faith would involve; he preferred to continue his negotiations with Tiglath-pileser. How universally do men prefer the crooked road of policy to the straight path of faith; such conduct never prospers.
Butter and honey shall he eat, that or until
As Ahaz had refused a sign, God appointed one far above anything he could have imagined. A son would be born of a virgin, a divine child, whose name should be “God with us.” Such a child would naturally reach years of discretion very early, but in even less space than it would take for this heaven-born son to arrive at a responsible age, the two enemies of Judah would both be dethroned. Blessed be the Lord for granting to his people so glorious a sign of grace; nothing can afford such comfort to the troubled as the fact that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
Ahaz rejected the way of faith, and therefore the prophet added the following threatening sentence—