Isaiah 28:26
For his God does instruct him to discretion, and does teach him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26) For his God doth instruct him to discretion . . .—Better, as in the margin, with a slight variation, He treateth each as is fitting, his God instructing him. The prophet looks on the skill of the tiller of the soil, which seemed the outcome of a long experience, as nothing less than a gift of God. The legends of the Gentiles embraced that thought in the myths of Osiris and Oannes, of Dionysius and Triptolemos; Isaiah states the fact without the mythos.

Isaiah 28:26. For his God doth instruct him — The art of husbandry is so necessary for the support of human life, that all men have ascribed its original to God as the inventor and ordainer of it. The Most High hath ordained husbandry, saith the son of Sirach, Sir 7:15. In like manner, Virgil, Georg., lib. 1. line 121:

“ — — — — — — — — — Pater ipse colendi Haud facilem esse viam voluit, primusq; per artem Movit agros — — .”

“Himself invented first the shining share, And whetted human industry by care;

Himself did handicrafts and arts ordain;

Nor suffer’d sloth to rust his active reign.”


By other heathen, the invention of agriculture is ascribed to the goddess Ceres.28:23-29 The husbandman applies to his calling with pains and prudence, in all the works of it according to their nature. Thus the Lord, who has given men this wisdom, is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in his working. As the occasion requires, he threatens, corrects, spares, shows mercy, or executes vengeance. Afflictions are God's threshing instruments, to loosen us from the world, to part between us and our chaff, and to prepare us for use. God will proportion them to our strength; they shall be no heavier than there is need. When his end is answered, the trials and sufferings of his people shall cease; his wheat shall be gathered into the garner, but the chaff shall be burned with unquenchable fire.For his God doth instruct him ... - Margin, 'He bindeth it in such sort as his God doth teach him.' The more correct idea is conveyed in the text. The word יסרו yiserô, properly means, he instructs, admonishes, or teaches him. The idea that skill in agriculture is communicated by God is not one that is discordant to reason, or to the general teachings of the Bible. Thus the achitectural and mechanical skill of Bezaleel and Aholiab, by which they were enabled to make the tabernacle, is said expressly to have been imparted to them by God Exodus 31:2-6. Thus also Noah was taught how to build the ark Genesis 6:14-16. We are not, indeed, to suppose that the farmer is inspired; or that God communicates to him by special revelation where, and when, and how he shall sow his grain, but the sense is, that God is the author of all his skill. He has endowed him with understanding, and taught him by his providence. It is by the study of what God teaches in the seasons, in the soil, in the results of experience and observation, that he has this art. He teaches him also by the example, the counsel, and even by the failures of others; and all the knowledge of agriculture that he has is to be traced up to God. 26. to discretion—in the due rules of husbandry; God first taught it to man (Ge 3:23). The sense of the words thus rendered is this, All this he performeth by that discretion which God hath put into him; and therefore be assured that God will order all his affairs with judgment, and will in due season execute the punishments which now he threatens, and will perfect his own works. But the words by some are rendered otherwise.

And he beateth it out (as this word may be rendered, 1 Kings 12:11 Proverbs 19:18 29:17) in such sort as his God doth teach him; in a discreet manner, which being generally mentioned here, is particularly described in the following verse. For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him. God gives the husbandman instruction and discretion how to sow his seed, at what time, and in a proper place; for this refers to what goes before; though some think a new act is here intended, namely, threshing or beating out of corn, rendering the words, "and he" (the husbandman) "beateth it out, according to the discretion", or "judgment, his God teaches him" (h); which is expressed in general terms here, and is next particularly insisted on in the following verses Isaiah 28:27.

(h) "Excutit illud ad eam rationem, quam Deus, ipsius docet eum", Piscator, Gataker; "vel colligat", &c. Junius & Tremellius.

For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
26. All this is done in obedience to an inherited, almost instinctive, wisdom, which rests ultimately on Divine inspiration. See Isaiah 28:29; and Sir 7:15 (“husbandry which the Most High hath ordained”). Verg. Georg. I. 147.

to discretion] to right, i.e. “right, or orderly, method.” The word is that usually rendered “judgment,” used here in a non-ethical application.Verse 26. - For his God doth instruct him. Through the reason which God has given to men, they deal thus prudently and carefully with the pieces of land which they cultivate. And the whip which Jehovah swings will not be satisfied with one stroke, but will rain strokes. "And your covenant with death is struck out, and your agreement with Hades will not stand; the swelling scourge, when it comes, ye will become a thing trodden down to it. As often as it passes it takes you: for every morning it passes, by day and by night; and it is nothing but shuddering to hear such preaching. For the bed is too short to stretch in, and the covering too tight when a man wraps himself in it." Although berı̄th is feminine, the predicate to it is placed before it in the masculine form (Ges. 144). The covenant is thought of as a document; for khuppar (for obliterari (just as the kal is used in Genesis 6:14 in the sense of oblinere; or in Proverbs 30:20, the Targum, and the Syriac, in the sense of abstergere; and in the Talmud frequently in the sense of wiping off equals qinnēăch, or wiping out equals mâchaq - which meanings all go back, along with the meaning negare, to the primary meaning, tegere, obducere). The covenant will be "struck out," as you strike out a wrong word, by crossing it over with ink and rendering it illegible. They fancy that they have fortified themselves against death and Hades; but Jehovah gives to both of these unlimited power over them. When the swelling scourge shall come, they will become to it as mirmâs, i.e., they will be overwhelmed by it, and their corpses become like dirt of the streets (Isaiah 10:6; Isaiah 5:5); והייתם has the mercha upon the penult., according to the older editions and the smaller Masora on Leviticus 8:26, the tone being drawn back on account of the following לו. The strokes of the scourge come incessantly, and every stroke sweeps them, i.e., many of them, away. מדּי (from דּי, construct דּי, sufficiency, abundance) followed by the infinitive, quotiescunque irruet; lâqach, auferre, as in Jeremiah 15:15, and in the idiom lâqach nephesh. These scourgings without end - what a painful lecture Jehovah is reading them! This is the thought expressed in the concluding words: for the meaning cannot be, that "even (raq as in Psalm 32:6) the report (of such a fate) is alarming," as Grotius and others explain it; or the report is nothing but alarming, as Gussetius and others interpret it, since in that case שׁמועה שׁמע (cf., Isaiah 23:5) would have been quite sufficient, instead of שׁמוּעה הבין. There is no doubt that the expression points back to the scornful question addressed by the debauchees to the prophet in Isaiah 28:9, "To whom will he make preaching intelligible?" i.e., to whom will he preach the word of God in an intelligible manner? (as if they did not possess bı̄nâh without this; שׁמוּעה, ἀκοή, as in Isaiah 53:1). As Isaiah 28:11 affirmed that Jehovah would take up the word against them, the drunken stammerers, through a stammering people; so here the scourging without end is called the shemū‛âh, or sermon, which Jehovah preaches to them. At the same time, the word hâbhı̄n is not causative here, as in Isaiah 28:9, viz., "to give to understand," but signifies simply "to understand," or have an inward perception. To receive into one's comprehension such a sermon as that which was now being delivered to them, was raq-zevâ‛âh, nothing but shaking or shuddering (raq as in Genesis 6:5); זוּע (from which comes זועה, or by transposition זעוה) is applied to inward shaking as well as to outward tossing to and fro. Jerome renders it "tantummodo sola vexatio intellectum dabit auditui," and Luther follows him thus: "but the vexation teaches to take heed to the word," as if the reading were תּבין. The alarming character of the lecture is depicted in Isaiah 28:20, in a figure which was probably proverbial. The situation into which they are brought is like a bed too short for a man to stretch himself in (min as in 2 Kings 6:1), and like a covering which, according to the measure of the man who covers himself up in it (or perhaps still better in a temporal sense, "when a man covers or wraps himself up in it," cf., Isaiah 18:4), is too narrow or too tight. So would it be in their case with the Egyptian treaty, in which they fancied that there were rest and safety for them. They would have to acknowledge its insufficiency. They had made themselves a bed, and procured bed-clothes; but how mistaken they had been in the measure, how miserably and ridiculously they had miscalculated!
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