Isaiah 29:18
And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book.—The open vision of the future is contrasted with the self-chosen ignorance of Isaiah 29:11. The “book” (the Hebrew has, however, no definite article) is, perhaps, the prophet’s own message, or the book of the law of the Lord, which will then be understood in all its spiritual fulness. The doom of the “closed eyes” of Isaiah 6:10 shall then be in force no more.

Isaiah 29:18-19. In that day, &c. — In these two verses we have the first happy consequence of Lebanon’s becoming a fruitful field, “the spiritual blessings of light and understanding in divine things, and of joy and consolation to be diffused among the Gentiles, formerly deaf and blind.” The deaf hear the words of the book — That is, the truths of divine revelation are declared to the heathen, and their ears are opened to hear, and their hearts to understand them. And the eyes of the blind to see — They who had been for ages in a state of the greatest spiritual blindness and darkness, shall be enlightened with the clear and satisfactory knowledge of God and his will. The meek also — Humble and meek believers of the Gentiles, opposed to these proud and scornful Jews, spoken of in the former part of this, and in the foregoing chapter; shall increase their joy in the Lord — Shall greatly rejoice in this, that Jehovah is now their God and portion. And the poor among men — The poor in spirit, or the poor of this world, to whom, especially, the gospel has been and is to be preached, or those whom the Jews viewed as a mean and despicable people; shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel — Whom before they neither knew nor regarded.29:17-24 The wonderful change here foretold, may refer to the affairs of Judah, though it looks further. When a great harvest of souls was gathered to Christ from among the Gentiles, then the wilderness was turned into a fruitful field; and the Jewish church, that had long been a fruitful field, became as a deserted forest. Those who, when in trouble, can truly rejoice in God, shall soon have cause greatly to rejoice in him. The grace of meekness contributes to the increase of our holy joy. The enemies who were powerful shall become mean and weak. To complete the repose of God's people, the scorners at home shall be cut off by judgements. All are apt to speak unadvisedly, and to mistake what they hear, but it is very unfair to make a man an offender for a word. They did all they could to bring those into trouble who told them of their faults. But He that redeemed Abraham out of his snares and troubles, will redeem those who are, by faith, his true seed, out of theirs. It will be the greatest comfort to godly parents to see their children renewed creatures, the work of God's grace. May those who now err in spirit, and murmur against the truth, come to understanding, and learn true doctrine. The Spirit of truth shall set right their mistakes, and lead them into all truth. This should encourage us to pray for those that have erred, and are deceived. All who murmured at the truths of God, as hard sayings, shall learn and be aware what God designed in all. See the change religion produces in the hearts of men, and the peace and pleasure of a humble and devout spirit.Shall the deaf hear the words of the book - They who now have the law and do not understand it, the people who seem to be deaf to all that God says, shall hear and understand it.

Shall see out of obscurity ... - That is, the darkness being removed, they shall see clearly the truth of God, and discern and love its beauty. Their eyes are now blinded, but then they shall see clearly.

18. deaf … blind—(Compare Mt 11:5). The spiritually blind, &c., are chiefly meant; "the book," as Revelation is called pre-eminently, shall be no longer "sealed," as is described (Isa 29:11), but the most unintelligent shall hear and see (Isa 35:5). The deaf; who were deaf before God by his word and grace did open their ears; even the deaf and blind Gentiles, as was now noted. Compare Isaiah 35:5.

Shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness; being, by God’s grace, brought out of that gross and worse than Egyptian darkness of ignorance and wickedness, in which they formerly lived, unto a clear and saving knowledge of the truth. And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book,.... That is, in the Gospel day, or times of the Gospel dispensation, when that should be preached to the Gentiles; who before were deaf, but now should be made to hear, and be willing to hear, and hear so as to understand the doctrines contained in the Scriptures, the prophecies of them concerning the Messiah; even the words of that book that is sealed to the Jews, and could not be read, neither by the learned nor unlearned among them; but should be both read, heard, and understood, by the Gentiles, having ears given them to hear the Gospel, to receive its doctrines, and obey its ordinances:

and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness; such, who before were blind and ignorant as to spiritual things, being called, through the ministry of the word, out of darkness into marvellous light, and their eyes being opened by it, should now see their sin and misery, their lost and dangerous estate, the way of life and salvation by Christ, the great and glorious truths of the Gospel, and what eye has not seen, nor ear heard.

And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. the words of the book] There is a reference implied to Isaiah 29:11-12. “Deafness” and “blindness” are metaphors for the spiritual obtuseness which at present characterises the nation (Isaiah 29:10).Verse 18. - In that day - i.e., when that time comes - shall the deaf hear the words of the book; the spiritually deaf shall have their ears opened, many of them, and shall not only hear, but understand, the words of Scripture addressed to them by God's messengers. No particular "book" is intended - sepher being without the article, but the words of any writing put forth with Divine authority. The eyes of the blind shall see also out of obscurity. Men shall shake off the "deep sleep" (ver. 10) in which they have long lain, and have once mute "eyes to see" the truth. This enigma of the future the prophet holds out before the eyes of his contemporaries. The prophet received it by revelation of Jehovah; and without the illumination of Jehovah it could not possibly be understood. The deep degradation of Ariel, the wonderful deliverance, the sudden elevation from the abyss to this lofty height - all this was a matter of faith. But this faith was just what the nation wanted, and therefore the understanding depending upon it was wanting also. The shemu‛âh was there, but the bı̄nâh was absent; and all שׁמועה הבין was wrecked on the obtuseness of the mass. The prophet, therefore, who had received the unhappy calling to harden his people, could not help exclaiming (Isaiah 29:9), "Stop, and stare; blind yourselves, and grow blind!" התמהמהּ, to show one's self delaying (from מההּ, according to Luzzatto the reflective of תּמהמהּ, an emphatic form which is never met with), is connected with the synonymous verb תּמהּ, to be stiff with astonishment; but to שׁעע, to be plastered up, i.e., incapable of seeing (cf., Isaiah 6:10), there is attached the hithpalpel of the same verb, signifying "to place one's self in such circumstances," se oblinere (differently, however, in Psalm 119:16, Psalm 119:47, compare Isaiah 11:8, se permulcere). They could not understand the word of God, but they were confused, and their eyes were, so to speak, festered up: therefore this self-induced condition would become to them a God-appointed punishment. The imperatives are judicial words of command.

This growth of the self-hardening into a judicial sentence of obduracy, is proclaimed still more fully by the prophet. "They are drunken, and not with wine; they reel, and not with meth. For Jehovah hath poured upon you a spirit of deep sleep, and bound up your eyes; the prophets and your heads, the seers, He has veiled. And the revelation of all this will be to you like words of a sealed writing, which they give to him who understands writing, saying, Pray, read this; but he says, I cannot, it is sealed. And they give the writing to one who does not understand writing, saying, Pray, read this; but he says, I do not understand writing." They were drunken and stupid; not, however, merely because they gave themselves up to sensual intoxication (יין, dependent upon שׁכרוּ, ebrii vino), but because Jehovah had given them up to spiritual confusion and self-destruction. All the punishments of God are inflicted through the medium of His no less world-destroying than world-sustaining Spirit, which, although not willing what is evil, does make the evil called into existence by the creature the means of punishing evil. Tardēmâh is used here to signify the powerless, passive state of utter spiritual insensibility. This judgment had fallen upon the nation in all its members, even upon the eyes and heads of the nation, i.e., the prophets. Even they whose duty is was to see to the good of the nation, and lead it, were blind leaders of the blind; their eyes were fast shut (עצּם, the intensive form of the kal, Isaiah 33:15; Aram. עצּם; Talmud also עמּץ: to shut the eyes, or press them close), and over their heads a cover was drawn, as over sleepers in the night. Since the time of Koppe and Eichhorn it has become a usual thing to regard את־הנּביאים and החזים as a gloss, and indeed as a false one (compare Isaiah 9:13-14); but the reason assigned - namely, that Isaiah's polemics are directed not against the prophets, but against the stupid staring people - is utterly groundless (compare Isaiah 28:7, and the polemics of his contemporary Micah, e.g., Isaiah 3:5-8). Moreover, the author of a gloss would have been more likely to interpret ראשׁיכם by השּׂרים or הכּהנים (compare Job 9:24). And Isaiah 29:11, Isaiah 29:12 are also opposed to this assumption of a gloss. For by those who understood what was written (sēpher), it is evident that the prophets and rulers of the nation are intended; and by those who did not understand it, the great mass of the people. To both of them, "the vision of all," i.e., of all and everything that God had shown to His true prophets, was by the judgment of God completely sealed. Some of them might have an outward knowledge; but the inward understanding of the revelation was sealed to them. Some had not even this, but stared at the word of the prophet, just as a man who cannot read stares at what is written. The chethib has הסּפר; the keri ספר, though without any ground, since the article is merely generic. Instead of נא־זה קרא, we should write זה קרא־נא in both cases, as certain codices and old editions do.

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