In that day shall his strong cities be as a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch, which they left because of the children of Israel: and there shall be desolation.
In that day shall his strong cities be as a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch,.... Meaning the strong cities of Ephraim or Jacob, the ten tribes, which should be forsaken of their inhabitants; having fled from before the enemy, or being slain or carried captive; like a bough of a tree, that is forsaken stripped of its leaves, and an uppermost branch of a tree that is dead and dry, and has nothing on it:
which they left; or "as they left", or "were left":
because of the children of Israel; "from the face of" them; or for fear of them; that is, the same cities which the Canaanites left; and as they left them, or were left by them, for fear of the Israelites; the same, and in the same manner, shall they be left by the Israelites, for fear of the Assyrians; and so the Septuagint version reads the words,
"in that day thy cities shall be forsaken, in like manner as the Amorites and Hivites left them, from the face of the children of Israel;''
and this sense is given by Aben Ezra and Kimchi: though some interpret it of some places being spared and left for the remnant to dwell in; but what follows in this verse, and in the next Isaiah 17:10, shows the contrary sense:
and there shall be desolation; over all those cities, and in all the land; though Aben Ezra particularly applies it to Samaria, the royal city. Jerom interprets the whole of the cities of Judea being forsaken of their inhabitants, when the Romans besieged Jerusalem, and made the land desolate; which calamity came upon them, for their neglect and forgetfulness of Jesus the Saviour.