Isaiah 26:17
Like as a woman with child, that draws near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and cries out in her pangs; so have we been in your sight, O LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) Like as a woman with child.—This, as in Matthew 24:8, John 16:21, comes as the most natural image of longing, painful expectation, followed by great joy.

26:12-19 Every creature, every business, any way serviceable to our comfort, God makes to be so; he makes that work for us which seemed to make against us. They had been slaves of sin and Satan; but by the Divine grace they were taught to look to be set free from all former masters. The cause opposed to God and his kingdom will sink at last. See our need of afflictions. Before, prayer came drop by drop; now they pour it out, it comes now like water from a fountain. Afflictions bring us to secret prayer. Consider Christ as the Speaker addressing his church. His resurrection from the dead was an earnest of all the deliverance foretold. The power of his grace, like the dew or rain, which causes the herbs that seem dead to revive, would raise his church from the lowest state. But we may refer to the resurrection of the dead, especially of those united to Christ.Like as a woman with child ... - This verse is designed to state their griefs and sorrows during the time of their oppression in Babylon. The comparison used here is one that is very frequent in the sacred writings to represent any great suffering (see Psalm 48:6; Jeremiah 6:24; Jeremiah 13:21; Jeremiah 22:23; Jeremiah 49:24; Jeremiah 50:43; Micah 4:9-10). 17. An image of anguish accompanied with expectation, to be followed by joy that will cause the anguish utterly to be forgotten. Zion, looking for deliverance, seemingly in vain, but really about to be gloriously saved (Mic 4:9, 10-13; 5:1-3; Joh 16:21, 22). So have we been, such was our anguish and danger, in thy sight; whilst thou didst only look upon us like a mere spectator, without affording us the least degree of pity or help. Or this phrase notes only the reality of the thing; God was witness of this our misery, and knoweth the truth of what I say. Like as a woman with child,.... By this simile are set forth the great distresses and afflictions the church of Christ will be in, before redemption and deliverance from the antichristian yoke comes:

that draweth near the time of her delivery; when her burden is great and very troublesome:

is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; for her friends to come about her, and give her all the help and assistance they can:

so have we been in thy sight, O Lord; in great distress and trouble, and crying to him for salvation and deliverance, all which were well known unto him.

As a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy {q} sight, O LORD.

(q) That is, in extreme sorrow.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. The agony of the crisis is compared to the pangs of a woman in travail,—a common figure, Hosea 13:13; Micah 4:10, &c.

in thy sight] Or, because of thee—Thy chastening hand.Verse 17. - Like as a woman with child (comp. Isaiah 13:8; Isaiah 21:3). Isaiah uses the metaphor to express any severe pain combined with anxiety. So have we been in thy sight; rather, so have we been at thy presence. When thou wert visiting us in anger, and laying thy chastisements upon us. The situation still remains essentially the same as in Isaiah 26:11-13 : "Jehovah, Thy hand has been exalted, but they did not see: they will see the zeal for a people, being put to shame; yea, fire will devour Thine adversaries. Jehovah, Thou wilt establish peace for us: for Thou hast accomplished all our work for us. Jehovah our God, lords besides Thee had enslaved us; but through Thee we praise Thy name." Here are three forms of address beginning with Jehovah, and rising in the third to "Jehovah our God." The standpoint of the first is the time before the judgment; the standpoint of the other two is in the midst of the redemption that has been effected through judgment. Hence what the prophet states in Isaiah 26:11 will be a general truth, which has now received its most splendid confirmation through the overthrow of the empire. The complaint of the prophet here is the same as in Isaiah 53:1. We may also compare Exodus 14:8, not Psalm 10:5; (rūm does not mean to remain beyond and unrecognised, but to prove one's self to be high.) The hand of Jehovah had already shown itself to be highly exalted (râmâh, 3 pr.), by manifesting itself in the history of the nations, by sheltering His congregation, and preparing the way for its exaltation in the midst of its humiliation; but as they had no eye for this hand, they would be made to feel it upon themselves as the avenger of His nation. The "zeal for a people," when reduced from this ideal expression into a concrete one, is the zeal of Jehovah of hosts (Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 37:32) for His own nation (as in Isaiah 49:8). Kin'ath ‛âm (zeal for a people) is the object to yechezū (they shall see); v'yēbōshū (and be put to shame) being a parenthetical interpolation, which does not interfere with this connection. "Thou wilt establish peace" (tishpōt shâlom, Isaiah 26:12) expresses the certain hope of a future and imperturbable state of peace (pones, stabilies); and this hope is founded upon the fact, that all which the church has hitherto accomplished (ma‛aseh, the acting out of its calling, as in Psalm 90:17, see at Isaiah 5:12) has not been its own work, but the work of Jehovah for it. And the deliverance just obtained from the yoke of the imperial power is the work of Jehovah also. The meaning of the complaint, "other lords beside Thee had enslaved us," is just the same as that in Isaiah 63:18; but there the standpoint is in the midst of the thing complained of, whereas here it is beyond it. Jehovah is Israel's King. He seemed indeed to have lost His rule, since the masters of the world had done as they liked with Israel. But it was very different now, and it was only through Jehovah ("through Thee") that Israel could now once more gratefully celebrate Jehovah's name.
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