Isaiah 30:20
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not your teachers be removed into a corner any more, but your eyes shall see your teachers:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) The bread of adversity.—Better, bread in small quantity, and water in scant measure. The words seem to imply an allusion to the scant rations of a siege such as Jerusalem was to endure from the Assyrian armies. For this there should be the compensation that the true “teachers” of the people, Isaiah and his fellow-workers, should at least be recognised—no longer thrust into a corner, as they had been in the days of Ahaz. The clearer vision of the truth was to be the outcome of the sharp teaching of chastisement. A various reading gives “thy teacher,” i.e., Jehovah Himself; but the plural seems more in harmony with the context. In the mission of Isaiah 37:2 we have a virtual fulfilment of the prediction.

Isaiah 30:20-21. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity — Although in that time and state of the church you will be subject to many outward straits and afflictions, which was the case with the Jews after their restoration from Babylon, and which was also the lot of the first converts to Christianity; yet shall not thy teachers be removed, &c. — As they have been in former times, both in Israel and Judah, when the godly prophets, and other instructers of the people, were but few, and when they were persecuted and banished by their wicked rulers. The Jews, after their return from Babylon, were blessed with many excellent instructers, as appears from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, at the head of which we must place these two eminent servants of God. In the times of the New Testament, however, God provided still better for his church, sending his Son, the great teacher of his people, into the world; and pouring forth the gifts and graces of the Spirit in abundance, increasing the number of faithful ministers, and promising a continued succession of them to the end of the world. This is the second great benefit predicted by the prophet to follow these judgments. Thine eyes shall see thy teachers — They shall be present in your assemblies, instructing, exhorting, warning, and encouraging you from time to time. The original word, מורים, here used, means ordinary teachers, and not those of an extraordinary kind, such as the prophets or seers were. And thine ears shall hear a word, &c. — As often as need shall require, thou shalt hear the voice of God’s word and Spirit directing thee in thy course: behind thee — A metaphor, borrowed either from shepherds, who used to follow their sheep, and to recall them when they went out of the way; or from travellers, who, if they go out of the right way, are ofttimes admonished of their error, and recalled by some other passenger or person behind them.30:19-26 God's people will soon arrive at the Zion above, and then they will weep no more for ever. Even now they would have more comfort, as well as holiness, if they were more constant in prayer. A famine of bread is not so great a judgment as a famine of the word of God. There are right-hand and left-hand errors; the tempter is busy courting us into by-paths. It is happy if, by the counsels of a faithful minister or friend, or the checks of conscience, and the strivings of God the Spirit, we are set right when doubting, and prevented from going wrong. They shall be cured of their idolatry. To all true penitents sin becomes very hateful. This is shown daily in the conversion of souls, by the power of Divine grace, to the fear and love of God. Abundant means of grace, with the influences of the Holy Spirit, would be extended to places destitute of them. The effect of this should be comfort and joy to the people of God. Light, that is, knowledge, shall increase. This is the light which the gospel brought into the world, and which proclaims healing to the broken-hearted.And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity - The bread that is eaten in a time of calamity; that is, he would bring upon them sore distress and want.

The water of affliction - Margin, 'Oppression.' That is, water drank in times of affliction and oppression, or in the long and weary days of captivity.

Yet shall not thy teachers - Your public instructors and guides Psalm 74:9; Isaiah 43:27; Daniel 12:3; Amos 8:11-12. This refers to "all" those who would be the true guides and teachers of the people of God in subsequent times; and relates, therefore, not only to prophets and pious men whom God would raise up under their own dispensation, but also to all whom he would appoint to communicate his will. It is a promise that the church of God should never want a pious and devoted ministry qualified to make known his will and defend his truth.

Be removed into a corner - The word used here (יכנף yikânēp from כנף kânap) occurs nowhere else in the Scriptures. It is probably derived from כנף kânâp, "a wing;" and in the Syriac and Chaldee, it means to collect together. The Septuagint renders this, 'And they who deceived thee shall no more come near unto thee.' The Syriac, 'And he (that is, the Lord) shall no more collect thy seducers.' The Chaldee, 'And he shall no more take away his own glory from the house of his sanctuary.' Rosenmuller, in accordance with Schultens, renders it, 'And thy teachers shall no more hide themselves,' referring to the fact that the wing of a fowl furnishes a hiding-place or shelter. This would accord with the general idea that they should not be removed from public view. Lowth, singularly, and without authority from versions or manuscripts, renders it,

'Yet the timely rain shall no more be restrained.'

The general idea is, evidently, that they should be no more taken away; and probably the specific idea is that proposed by Taylor ("Heb. Con."), that thy teachers shall no more, as it were, be winged, or fly away; that is, be removed by flight, or as a flock of birds moving together rapidly on the wing.

20. Rather, "The Lord will give"; the "though" is not in the original.

bread of adversity—He will not deny you food enough to save you in your adversity (1Ki 22:27; Ps 127:2).

be removed—rather, "hide themselves"; they shall no more be forced to hide themselves from persecution, but shall be openly received with reverence [Maurer]. Contrast with this Ps 74:9; Am 8:11.

And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction; and although in that time and state of the church you will be subject to many outward straits and afflictions. This phrase is borrowed from Deu 16:3 1 Kings 22:27. He seems to allude to the condition of besieged cities, and particularly of Jerusalem, as it was straitened and distressed by Sennacherib, and as it should be far more straitened by the Chaldeans; of which see 2 Kings 25:3. Heb. And the Lord will give, &c. Or, the Lord indeed will give, &c. Yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more; as they have been in former times, both in Israel and Judah, when the godly prophets and ministers were but few, and when they were persecuted and banished by their wicked rulers. But in the New Testament God hath made better provision for his church, sending his Son, the great Teacher of the church, into the world, and pouring forth the gifts and graces of the Spirit in abundance, and increasing the number of able and faithful ministers, and promising a continued succession of them to the end of the world, Matthew 28:19,20.

Thine eyes shall see thy teachers; thou shalt have their presence, and their instruction and assistance. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction,.... Either at this present time, when the city was besieged by Sennacherib; or when it should be besieged by the Chaldeans, when adversity was their bread, and affliction their water; or when they had only bread and water in their adversity and affliction; or a famine of bread and water, as is common in times of a siege. It may refer to the poor, and mean, and afflicted state of the people of God, in the first times of the Gospel especially:

yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more; or, "thy rain" (b), as some interpret it; one and the same word signifies both rain and a teacher, because doctrine from the mouth of a teacher drops like rain upon the tender herb, and as showers on the grass; and is to be understood, not merely in a literal sense, of rain, and fruitfulness by it, in opposition to penury and famine for want of it; but of rain of spiritual doctrine; and so the sense is much the same as if it was rendered teachers; that though the people of God should be attended with afflictions, yet they should have spiritual consolation; and though they might have a famine of bread and water, yet not of hearing the word of the Lord; their teachers should not be removed from them, as they had formerly been, perhaps in the time of Ahaz: or "take wing" (c), and fly away from them, as the word signifies, being scared by persecutors; so the prophets in the time of Ahab were forced to fly, and were hid by fifty in a cave. The word here used has in the Arabic language the signification of hiding, as Maimonides (d) from Aben Ganach has observed; and so may be read, "thy teachers shall not be hidden any more"; things being hidden under wings; see Psalm 17:8,

but thine eyes shall see thy teachers; in their proper place, doing the work of their office: it denotes not a bare seeing them with their bodily eyes, but a seeing them with pleasure and delight, a wistfully looking at them, and a diligent and attentive observance of what they said. Some understand these teachers of Hezekiah and his princes, as Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Abendana; others of the priests and prophets in his time, the principal of which was Isaiah; others of the prophets a little before, in, and after the Babylonish captivity; it may be applied to John the Baptist, Christ, and his apostles, and other Gospel ministers. Jarchi interprets it of God himself, who teaches to profit, and who would not hide his face from his people; the Targum, of the Shechinah not removing from the sanctuary, but being seen there; and being in the plural number, may denote all the three Persons.

(b) "pluvia tua", some in Munster, Calvin; so Ben Melech interprets it; and the same in the next clause. (c) "non avolabit", Piscator; "ad verb. alabitur", Forerius. (d) More Nevochim, par. 1. cap. 43. p. 61. So "operuit, sub alis tutatus est", Castel. col. 1760.

And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction] (cf. 1 Kings 22:27) the most meagre necessities of existence. The reference is to the period of distress (perhaps the siege) which precedes the great deliverance.

shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner] Rather: shall not thy Teacher (God) hide Himself; (nearly as R.V. marg.). The alternative rendering “teachers” is no doubt possible, but the verb is in the singular, and the conception of Jehovah as the personal teacher of His people, although surprising, gives the fullest meaning to the expressions of this verse and the next, and is not too exalted for a description of the Messianic age. If the other view be adopted, the reference must be to the prophets, who are now driven into concealment, but shall then freely appear in public. But such an anticipation has no parallel in Messianic prophecy, and certainly receives no light from the circumstances of Isaiah’s time.

20, 21. The restoration of religious privileges and instruction.Verse 20. - And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity (so Mr. Cheyne). But most modern critics (Kay, Delitzsch, Vance Smith, etc.) regard the words as a promise of support through the siege, and omit the interpolated "though." Translate, And the Lord will give yon bread of adversity, and water of affliction; i.e. scant rations, but sufficient; and thy teachers shall not, etc. Be removed into a corner; i.e. "have to hide themselves from persecution." A persecution of Jehovah's prophets had commenced in Judah during the reign of Joash (2 Chronicles 24:19-22), and had probably continued with more or less severity ever since. Thus do they fall out with Jehovah and the bearers of His word. "Therefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye dislike this word, and put your trust in force and shufflings, and rely upon this; therefore will this iniquity be to you like a falling breach, bent forwards in a high-towering wall, which falls to ruin suddenly, very suddenly. And He smites it to pieces, as a potter's vessel falls to pieces, when they smash it without sparing, and of which, when it lies smashed to pieces there, you cannot find a sherd to fetch fire with from the hearth, or to take water with out of a cistern." The "word" towards which they cherished me'ōs (read mo'oskhem), was the word of Jehovah through His prophet, which was directed against their untheocratic policy of reckoning upon Egypt. Nâlōz, bent out or twisted, is the term used to denote this very policy, which was ever resorting to bypaths and secret ways; whilst ‛ōsheq denotes the squeezing out of the money required to carry on the war of freedom, and to purchase the help of Egypt (compare 2 Kings 15:20). The guilt of Judah is compared to the broken and overhanging part of a high wall (nibh‛eh, bent forwards; compare (בּעבּע, a term applied to a diseased swelling). Just as such a broken piece brings down the whole of the injured wall along with it, so would the sinful conduct of Judah immediately ruin the whole of its existing constitution. Israel, which would not recognise itself as the image of Jehovah, even when there was yet time (Isaiah 29:16), would be like a vessel smashed into the smallest fragments. It is the captivity which is here figuratively threatened by the prophet; for the smashing had regard to Israel as a state. The subject to וּשׁברהּ in Isaiah 30:14 is Jehovah, who would make use of the hostile power of man to destroy the wall, and break up the kingdom of Judah into such a diaspora of broken sherds. The reading is not ושׁהברהּ (lxx, Targum), but וּשׁברהּ, et franget eam. Kâthōth is an infinitive statement of the mode; the participle kâthūth, which is adopted by the Targum, Kimchi, Norzi, and others, is less suitable. It was necessary to proceed with יחמל לא (without his sparing), simply because the infinitive absolute cannot be connected with לא (Ewald, 350, a). לחשּׂוף (to be written thus with dagesh both here and Haggai 2:16) passes from the primary meaning nudare to that of scooping up, as ערה does to that of pouring out.
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