Isaiah 29:12
And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray you: and he said, I am not learned.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
29:9-16 The security of sinners in sinful ways, is cause for lamentation and wonder. The learned men, through prejudice, said that the Divine prophecies were obscure; and the poor urged their want of learning. The Bible is a sealed book to every man, learned or unlearned, till he begins to study it with a simple heart and a teachable spirit, that he may thence learn the truth and the will of God. To worship God, is to approach him. And if the heart be full of his love and fear, out of the abundance of it the mouth will speak; but there are many whose religion is lip-labour only. When they pretend to be speaking to God, they are thinking of a thousand foolish things. They worship the God of Israel according to their own devices. Numbers are only formal in worship. And their religion is only to comply with custom, and to serve their own interest. But the wanderings of mind, and defects in devotion, which are the believer's burden, are very different from the withdrawing of the heart from God, so severely blamed. And those who make religion no more than a pretence, to serve a turn, deceive themselves. And as those that quarrel with God, so those that think to conceal themselves from him, in effect charge him with folly. But all their perverse conduct shall be entirely done away.And the book is delivered ... - That is, they are just as ignorant of the true nature and meaning of the revelations of God as a man is of the contents of a book who is utterly unable to read. 12. The unlearned succeed no better than the learned, not from want of human learning, as they fancy, but from not having the teaching of God (Isa 54:13; Jer 31:34; Joh 6:45; 1Co 2:7-10; 1Jo 2:20). The vision of all; of all your prophets, whether the true or false ones. As the words of a book that is sealed; in which no man can read whilst it is scaled up, as books then sometimes were, 1 Kings 21:8 Esther 3:12,13, being made in the form of rolls, which was convenient for that purpose.

The book is delivered to him that is not learned; unsealed and opened, as the following clause implies. God so orders the manner of delivering this book, that neither the learned nor unlearned could read and understand it. And the book is delivered to him that is not learned,.... Or that knows not a book or letters, as before, and so consequently cannot read, having never been put to school, or learned to read:

saying, Read this, I pray thee; or "now" (w), at once, immediately:

and he saith, I am not learned; he does not excuse himself on account of its being sealed, but on account of his want of learning; which shows the former was but an excuse. In short, the sum of it is this, that neither the learned nor unlearned, among the Jews, cared to read their Bibles, or to search the Scriptures, and the prophecies in them, concerning the Messiah, and that neither of them understood them; these things were hid from the wise and prudent, as well as from the ignorant and unlearned of the people, in common, and were only made known to a few babes and sucklings. There was great ignorance of the Scriptures in the times of Christ, to which these passages truly belong, Matthew 11:25.

(w) "nunc", Pagninus, Montanus.

And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 12. - Him that is not learned; i.e. "that cannot read writing." Even in our Lord's day the ordinary Jew was not taught to read and write. Hence the surprise of the rulers at his teaching the people out of the Law (John 7:15, "How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?"). Thus far does the unfolding of the hoi reach. Now follows an unfolding of the words of promise, which stand at the end of Isaiah 29:1 : "And it proves itself to me as Ariel." Isaiah 29:5-8 : "And the multitude of thy foes will become like finely powdered dust, and the multitude of the tyrants like chaff flying away; and it will take place suddenly, very suddenly. From Jehovah of hosts there comes a visitation with crash of thunder and earthquake and great noise, whirlwind and tempest, and the blazing up of devouring fire. And the multitude of all the nations that gather together against Ariel, and all those who storm and distress Ariel and her stronghold, will be like a vision of the night in a dream. And it is just as a hungry man dreams, and behold he eats; and when he wakes up his soul is empty: and just as a thirsty man dreams, and behold he drinks; and when he wakes up, behold, he is faint, and his soul is parched with thirst: so will it be to the multitude of the nations which gather together against the mountain of Zion." The hostile army, described four times as hâmōn, a groaning multitude, is utterly annihilated through the terrible co-operation of the forces of nature which are let loose upon them (Isaiah 30:30, cf., Isaiah 17:13). "There comes a visitation:" tippâqēd might refer to Jerusalem in the sense of "it will be visited" in mercy, viz., by Jehovah acting thus upon its enemies. But it is better to take it in a neuter sense: "punishment is inflicted." The simile of the dream is applied in two different ways: (1.) They will dissolve into nothing, as if they had only the same apparent existence as a vision in a dream. (2.) Their plan for taking Jerusalem will be put to shame, and as utterly brought to nought as the eating or drinking of a dreamer, which turns out to be a delusion as soon as he awakes. Just as the prophet emphatically combines two substantives from the same verbal root in Isaiah 29:1, and two adverbs from the same verb in Isaiah 29:5; so does he place צבא and צבה together in Isaiah 29:7, the former with על relating to the crowding of an army for the purpose of a siege, the latter with an objective suffix (compare Psalm 53:6) to the attack made by a crowded army. The metsōdâh of Ariel (i.e., the watch-tower, specula, from tsūd, to spy)

(Note: In Arabic, also, masâd signifies a lofty hill or mountain-top, from a secondary form of tsud; and massara, to lay the foundations of a fortified city (‛ı̄r mâtsōr, Psalm 31:22), from tsūr.))

is the mountain of Zion mentioned afterwards in Isaiah 29:8. כּאשׁר, as if; comp. Zechariah 10:6; Job 10:19. אוכל והנּה without הוּא; the personal pronoun is frequently omitted, not only in the leading participial clause, as in this instance (compare Isaiah 26:3; Isaiah 40:19; Psalm 22:29; Job 25:2; and Khler on Zechariah 9:12), but also with a minor participial clause, as in Psalm 7:10; Psalm 55:20, and Habakkuk 2:10. The hungering and thirsting of the waking man are attributed to his nephesh (soul: cf., Isaiah 32:6; Isaiah 5:14; Proverbs 6:30), just because the soul is the cause of the physical life, and without it the action of the senses would be followed by no sensation or experience whatever. The hungry stomach is simply the object of feeling, and everything sensitive in the bodily organism is merely the medium of sensation or feeling; that which really feels is the soul. The soul no sooner passes out of the dreaming state into a waking condition, than it feels that its desires are as unsatisfied as ever. Just like such a dream will the army of the enemy, and that victory of which it is so certain before the battle is fought, fade away into nothing.

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