Isaiah 38:16
O LORD, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: so will you recover me, and make me to live.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) By these things . . .—i.e., by the word of God and the performance which fulfils it. For “in all these things,” read wholly through them. The words remind us of Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man doth not live by bread alone . . .

Isaiah 38:16. By these things men live — By virtue of thy gracious word, or promise, and powerful work; or, by thy promises, and thy performance of them: and therefore it is not strange that one word of God hath brought me back from the jaws of death. And in all these things is the life of my spirit — As all men’s lives are thy gift, so I shall always acknowledge the preservation of mine to be owing to thy goodness in promising, and thy faithfulness in fulfilling thy promise. So wilt thou recover me, &c. — Or, for thou hast recovered me. Thou hast restored my health and prolonged my life. — Bishop Lowth.38:9-22 We have here Hezekiah's thanksgiving. It is well for us to remember the mercies we receive in sickness. Hezekiah records the condition he was in. He dwells upon this; I shall no more see the Lord. A good man wishes not to live for any other end than that he may serve God, and have communion with him. Our present residence is like that of a shepherd in his hut, a poor, mean, and cold lodging, and with a trust committed to our charge, as the shepherd has. Our days are compared to the weaver's shuttle, Job 7:6, passing and repassing very swiftly, every throw leaving a thread behind it; and when finished, the piece is cut off, taken out of the loom, and showed to our Master to be judged of. A good man, when his life is cut off, his cares and fatigues are cut off with it, and he rests from his labours. But our times are in God's hand; he has appointed what shall be the length of the piece. When sick, we are very apt to calculate our time, but are still at uncertainty. It should be more our care how we shall get safe to another world. And the more we taste of the loving-kindness of God, the more will our hearts love him, and live to him. It was in love to our poor perishing souls that Christ delivered them. The pardon does not make the sin not to have been sin, but not to be punished as it deserves. It is pleasant to think of our recoveries from sickness, when we see them flowing from the pardon of sin. Hezekiah's opportunity to glorify God in this world, he made the business, and pleasure, and end of life. Being recovered, he resolves to abound in praising and serving God. God's promises are not to do away, but to quicken and encourage the use of means. Life and health are given that we may glorify God and do good.O Lord, by these things men live - The design of this and the following verses is evidently to set forth the goodness of God, and to celebrate his praise for what he had done. The phrase 'these things,' refers evidently to the promises of God and their fulfillment; and the idea is, that people are sustained in the land of the living only by such gracious interpositions as he had experienced. It was not because people had any power of preserving their own lives, but because God interposed in time of trouble, and restored to health when there was no human prospect that they could recover.

And in all these things - In these promises, and in the divine interposition.

Is the life of my spirit - I am alive in virtue only of these things.

So wilt thou recover me - Or so hast thou recovered me; that is, thou hast restored me to health.

16. by these—namely, by God's benefits, which are implied in the context (Isa 38:15, "He hath Himself done it" "unto me"). All "men live by these" benefits (Ps 104:27-30), "and in all these is the life of my spirit," that is, I also live by them (De 8:3).

and (wilt) make me to live—The Hebrew is imperative, "make me to live." In this view he adds a prayer to the confident hope founded on his comparative convalescence, which he expressed, "Thou wilt recover me" [Maurer].

By these things; by virtue of thy gracious word or promise, and powerful work; by thy promises, and thy performances of them, mentioned in the foregoing verse. This place may be explained by comparing it with Deu 8:3, Man doth not live by bread, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord. The sense is, Not I only, but all men, do receive and recover, and hold their lives by thy favour, and the word of thy power; and therefore it is not strange that one word of God hath brought me back from the very jaws of death.

In all these things is the life of my spirit; and as it is with other men, so hath it been with me in a special manner; for in these above all other things is the life of my spirit or soul, i.e. either the comfort (which is sometimes called life) of my spirit; or rather, that life which is in my body, from my spirit or soul united to it.

So wilt thou recover me, and make me to live; or, and or for thou hast recovered me, &c., to wit, by these things. O Lord, by these things men live,.... Not by bread only, but by the word of God: by the promise of God, and by his power performing it; and by his favour and goodness continually bestowed; it is in him, and by his power and providence, that they live and move, and have their being, and the continuance of it; and it is his lovingkindness manifested to them that makes them live comfortably and go on cheerfully:

and in all these things is the life of my spirit; what kept his soul in life were the same things, the promise, power, and providence of God; what revived his spirit, and made him comfortable and cheerful, was the wonderful love and great goodness of God unto him, in appearing to him, and for him, and delivering him out of his sore troubles. Ben Melech renders and gives the sense of the words thus; "to all will I declare and say, that in these", in the years of addition (the fifteen years added to his days) "are the life of my spirit"; so Kimchi. The Targum interprets it of the resurrection of the dead,

"O Lord, concerning all the dead, thou hast said, that thou wilt quicken them; and before them all thou hast quickened my spirit:''

so wilt thou recover me, and make me to live; or rather, "and" or "for thou hast recovered (t) me, and made me to live"; for the Lord had not only promised it, but he had done it, Isaiah 38:15, and so the Targum,

"and hast quickened me, and sustained me.''

(t) So Gataker.

O Lord, {q} by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: so wilt thou {r} restore me, and make me to live.

(q) They who will outlive the men that are now alive, and all they who are in these years will acknowledge this blessing.

(r) That after that you had condemned me to death you restored me to life.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. The thought expressed by E.V. is somewhat as follows: “By such Divine words and deeds (Isaiah 38:15) men are preserved in life; and by such things my spirit is revived.” No one will say that this is either good Hebrew or a natural sense; and the text is almost certainly corrupt. The verb “live” closely resembles an Aramaic verb (ḥivvâh occurring several times in the O.T.) meaning “to declare”; and this was evidently read by LXX.: περὶ αὐτῆς γὰρ ἀνηγγέλη σοι. Starting with this, Duhm makes the verse read:

“Lord, of this doth my heart make mention to Thee,

Give rest to my spirit and recover me, &c.”

His emendations however are somewhat sweeping.

so wilt thou … live] The first verb is impf. (fut.), the second imperat. recover me is literally “give me health.”Verse 16. - By these things; i.e. "the things which thou speakest and doest" (ver. 15). Man does not "live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 8:3). And in all these things. This rendering is against the laws of grammar. Translate, and wholly in them. Strophe 1 consists indisputably of seven lines:

"I said, In quiet of my days shall I depart into the gates of Hades:

I am mulcted of the rest of my years.

I said, I shall not see Jah, Jah, in the land of the living:

I shall behold man no more, with the inhabitants of the regions of the dead.

My home is broken up, and is carried off from me like a shepherd's tent:

I rolled up my life like a weaver; He would have cut me loose from the roll:

From day to night Thou makest an end of me."

"In quiet of my days" is equivalent to, in the midst of the quiet course of a healthy life, and is spoken without reference to the Assyrian troubles, which still continued. דּמי, from דּמה, to be quiet, lit., to be even, for the radical form דם has the primary idea of a flat covering, of something stroked smooth, of that which is level and equal, so that it could easily branch out into the different ideas of aequabilitas, equality of measure, aequitas, equanimity, aequitas, equality, and also of destruction equals complanatio, levelling. On the cohortative, in the sense of that which is to be, see Ewald, 228, a; אלכה, according to its verbal idea, has the same meaning as in Psalm 39:14 and 2 Chronicles 21:20; and the construction with בּ ( equals ואבואה אלכה) is constructio praegnans (Luzzatto). The pual פּקּדתּי does not mean, "I am made to want" (Rashi, Knobel, and others), which, as the passive of the causative, would rather be הפקשׂדתּי, like הנסהלתּי, I am made to inherit (Job 7:3); but, I am visited with punishment as to the remnant, mulcted of the remainder, deprived, as a punishment, of the rest of my years. The clause, "Jah in the land of the living," i.e., the God of salvation, who reveals Himself in the land of the living, is followed by the corresponding clause, הדל עם־יושׁבי, "I dwelling with the inhabitants of the region of the dead;" for whilst הלד signifies temporal life (from châlad, to glide imperceptibly away, Job 11:17), הלד signifies the end of this life, the negation of all conscious activity of being, the region of the dead. The body is called a dwelling (dōr, Arab. dâr), as the home of a man who possesses the capacity to distinguish himself from everything belonging to him (Psychol. p. 227). It is compared to a nomadic tent. רעי (a different word from that in Zechariah 11:17, where it is the chirek compaginis) is not a genitive ( equals רעה, Ewald, 151, b), but an adjective in i, like אוילי רעה in Zechariah 11:15. With niglâh (in connection with נסּע, as in Job 4:21), which does not mean to be laid bare (Luzz.), nor to be wrapt up (Ewald), but to be obliged to depart, compare the New Testament ἐκδημεῖν ἐκ τοῦ σώματος (2 Corinthians 5:8). The ἁπ γεγρ קפד might mean to cut off, or shorten (related to qâphach); it is safer, however, and more appropriate, to take it in the sense of rolling up, as in the name of the badger (Isaiah 14:23; Isaiah 34:11), since otherwise what Hezekiah says of himself and of God would be tautological. I rolled or wound up my life, as the weaver rolls up the finished piece of cloth: i.e., I was sure of my death, namely, because God was about to give me up to death; He was about to cut me off from the thrum (the future is here significantly interchanged with the perfect). Dallâh is the thrum, licium, the threads of the warp upon a loom, which becomes shorter and shorter the further the weft proceeds, until at length the piece is finished, and the weaver cuts through the short threads, and so sets it free (בצּע, cf., Job 6:9; Job 27:8). The strophe closes with the deep lamentation which the sufferer poured out at that time: he could not help feeling that God would put an end to him (shâlam, syn. kâlâh, tâmam, gâmar) from day to night, i.e., in the shortest time possible (compare Job 4:20).

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