Isaiah 41:18
I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the middle of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) I will open rivers.—The words have all the emphasis of varied iteration. Every shape of the physical contour of the country, bare hills, arid steppes, and the like, is to be transformed into a new beauty by water in the form adapted to each: streamlets, rivers, lakes, and springs. (Comp. Isaiah 35:7.)

41:10-20 God speaks with tenderness; Fear thou not, for I am with thee: not only within call, but present with thee. Art thou weak? I will strengthen thee. Art thou in want of friends? I will help thee in the time of need. Art thou ready to fall? I will uphold thee with that right hand which is full of righteousness, dealing forth rewards and punishments. There are those that strive with God's people, that seek their ruin. Let not God's people render evil for evil, but wait God's time. It is the worm Jacob; so little, so weak, so despised and trampled on by every body. God's people are as worms, in humble thoughts of themselves, and in their enemies' haughty thoughts of them; worms, but not vipers, not of the serpent's seed. Every part of God's word is calculated to humble man's pride, and to make him appear little in his own eyes. The Lord will help them, for he is their Redeemer. The Lord will make Jacob to become a threshing instrument. God will make him fit for use, new, and having sharp spikes. This has fulfilment in the triumphs of the gospel of Christ, and of all faithful followers of Christ, over the power of darkness. God has provided comforts to supply all their wants, and to answer all their prayers. Our way to heaven lies through the wilderness of this world. The soul of man is in want, and seeks for satisfaction; but becomes weary of seeking that in the world, which is not to be had in it. Yet they shall have a constant supply, where one would least expect it. I will open rivers of grace, rivers of living water, which Christ spake of the Spirit, Joh 7:38,39. When God sets up his church in the Gentile wilderness, there shall be a great change, as if thorns and briers were turned into cedars, and fir-trees, and myrtles. These blessings are kept for the poor in spirit, who long for Divine enlightening, pardon, and holiness. And God will render their barren souls fruitful in the grace of his Spirit, that all who behold may consider it.I will open rivers - That is, I will cause rivers to flow (see the note at Isaiah 35:7). The allusion here is doubtless to the miraculous supply of water in the desert when the Israelites had come out of Egypt. God then supplied their needs; and in a similar manner he would always meet his people, and would supply their needs as if rivers of pure water were made to flow from dry and barren hills.

In high places - The word used here denotes properly barrenness or nakedness Job 33:21; and then a hill that is bare, or destitute of trees. It is applied usually to hills in a desert Jeremiah 3:2, Jeremiah 3:21; Jeremiah 4:11; Jeremiah 7:29; Jeremiah 14:6. Such hills, without trees, and in a dry and lonely desert, were of course usually without water. The idea is, that God would refresh them as if rivers were made to flow from such hills; and it may not improperly be regarded as a promise that God would meet and bless his people in situations, and from sources where they least expected refreshment and comfort.

And fountains in the midst of the valleys - (See Isaiah 30:25, note; Isaiah 35:6, note).

I will make the wilderness - (See the note at Isaiah 35:7).

18. Alluding to the waters with which Israel was miraculously supplied in the desert after having come out of Egypt.

high places—bare of trees, barren, and unwatered (Jer 4:11; 14:6). "High places … valleys" spiritually express that in all circumstances, whether elevated or depressed, God's people will have refreshment for their souls, however little to be expected it might seem.

In high places; upon the mountains, where by the course of nature there are no rivers.

In the midst of the valleys; or, in the valleys, to wit, in such of them as are not well watered. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water: these people, who are like a dry and barren wilderness, I will abundantly water with my blessing, and make them fruitful and beautiful, as the next verse showeth; which may be understood, either of the Jews, who were in a wilderness condition, till God brought them out of it; or of the Gentiles converted to the true religion under the gospel. I will open rivers in high places,.... Which is not usual; but God will change the course of nature, and work miracles, rather than his people shall want what is necessary for them; thus he opens to them his everlasting and unchangeable love, and makes it manifest, and shows it to them, and their interest in it, which is a broad river, that cannot be passed over; this is in high places, it flows from the throne of God, and of the Lamb; and of this river of pleasure he makes his people to drink, the streams whereof make glad the city of our God; likewise the fulness of grace in his Son, whose grace is as rivers of water in a dry land, exceeding abundant, and very refreshing; also the graces of his Spirit, which he gives in great abundance, and are those rivers of water he causes to flow forth from them that believe in Christ, in the comfortable exercise of them; see Psalm 36:8,

and fountains in the midst of the valleys; God himself is the fountain of life, and of living waters; Christ is the fountain of gardens, and in him are wells of salvation; the grace of the Spirit is a well of living water, springing up unto eternal life; and of these, humble souls, comparable to the lowly valleys, are partakers, Psalm 36:9,

I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water; respecting either the Gentile world, which was like a wilderness and dry land before the Gospel came into it, but by that was watered and made fruitful; or the state and case of the people of God being in a wilderness condition, when the Lord takes notice of them, and supplies them with everything necessary, so that they are like a watered garden, whose springs fail not, Revelation 12:14. This passage is applied by the Jews to the times of the Messiah (w).

(w) Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 1. 4. fol. 212. 3.

I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry {p} land springs of water.

(p) God would rather change the order of nature than that they should want anything, who cry to him by true faith in their miseries: declaring to them by this that they will lack nothing by the way, when they return from Babylon.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. Cf. ch. Isaiah 30:25. in high places] R.V. on the bare heights. The word occurs only in ch. Isaiah 49:9 and in Jeremiah (Isaiah 3:2 &c.). In Numbers 23:3 the text is doubtful.Verse 18. - I will open rivers in high places (comp. Isaiah 30:25). If even the "high places" had water, much more would-the low ground - the valleys - be abundantly supplied. The abundance is indicated by the fourfold designation of the water-supply, as coming from

(1) rivers;

(2) fountains (or wells);

(3) pools; and

(4) springs (comp. vers. 11, 12). With the exclamation hēn (behold) the eyes of Israel are now directed to the saving interposition of Jehovah in the immediate future. "Behold, all they that were incensed against thee must be ashamed and confounded; the men of thy conflict become as nothing, and perish. Thou wilt seek them, and not find them, the men of thy feuds; the men of thy warfare become as nothing, and nonentity. For I, Jehovah thy God, lay hold of thy right hand, He who saith to thee, Fear not; I will help thee." The comprehensive expression omnes inflammati in te (niphal, as in Isaiah 45:24) stands at the head; and then, in order that every kind may be included, the enemies are called by a different name every time. The three substantives bear much the same relation to one another as lis, rixa, bellum (milchâmâh, lit., throng equals war-tumult, like the epic κλόνος), hence adversarii, inimici, hostes. The suffixes have the force of objective genitives. We have founded our translation upon the reading מצּוּתיך. The three names of the enemies are placed emphatically at the close of the sentences, and these are long drawn out, whilst the indignation gives vent to itself; whereas in Isaiah 41:13 there follows nothing but short sentences, in which the persecuted church is encouraged and affectionately embraced. Two clauses, which are made to rhyme with ēm, announce the utter destruction of their foes; then the inflective rhyme ekha is repeated five times; and the sixth time it passes over into ı̄kha.
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