Isaiah 43:20
The beast of the field shall honor me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Isaiah 43:20. The beast of the field shall honour me — Shall have cause, if they had abilities, to honour and praise me for their share in this mercy; the dragons, &c. — Which live in dry and barren deserts. “The image,” says Bishop Lowth, “is elegant and highly poetical. God will give such an abundant, miraculous supply of water to his people traversing the dry desert, in their return to their country, that even the wild beasts, the serpents, the ostriches, and other animals that haunt those adust regions, shall be sensible of the blessing, and shall break forth into thanksgiving and praises to him for the unusual refreshment which they receive from his so plentifully watering the sandy wastes of Arabia Deserta, for the benefit of his people passing through them.”43:14-21 The deliverance from Babylon is foretold, but there is reference to greater events. The redemption of sinners by Christ, the conversion of the Gentiles, and the recall of the Jews, are described. All that is to be done to rescue sinners, and to bring the believer to glory, is little, compared with that wondrous work of love, the redemption of man.The beast of the field shall honor me - The sense of this passage is plain, and the image is highly poetical and beautiful. God would pour such copious floods of waters through the waste sandy deserts to supply his people, that even the wild beasts would be sensible of his abundant goodness, and would break forth into thanksgiving and praise for the unusual supply.

The dragons - (See the note at Isaiah 13:22). The Septuagint renders the word used here (תנין tannı̂yn), by σειρῆνες seirēnes - 'sirens' - among the ancients a marine monster that was fabled to use sweet and alluring tones of music. It is probable, however, that the Septuagint understood here some species of wild-fowl which responded to one another. The Syriac translator here interprets it as denoting some wild animal of the canine species - a wood-dog.

And the owls - Margin, as Hebrew, 'Daughters of the owl, or ostrich' (see the note at Isaiah 13:21).

20. beast—image of idolaters, defiled with blood and pollutions, dwelling like dragons, &c., in the wastes of Gentile ignorance: even they shall be converted. Or else, literally, such copious floods of water shall be given by God in the desert, that the very beasts shall (in poetic language) praise the Lord (Ps 148:10) [Jerome].

dragons—"serpents," or else jackals (see on [790]Isa 13:22).

owls—rather, "ostriches."

The beast of the field shall honour me; shall have cause, if they had abilities, to honour and praise me for their share in this mercy. Possibly the beast of the field may mystically signify the Gentiles, whom the Jews reputed as beasts, and who were as destitute of all saving knowledge as the beasts which perish, yet should become the Lord’s people, as they seem to be called, Isaiah 43:21. The dragons; which live in dry and barren deserts, and are very thirsty, and therefore more sensible of this mercy.

To give drink to my people; to whom these waters were principally designed, but the beasts fared better for their sakes. Thus Christ was primarily sent to the lost sheep of Israel, Matthew 15:24; yet the Gentiles, there compared to dogs, fared better for the children, picking up some crumbs of their bread; and the Jews generally rejecting Christ, the Gentiles came in their stead. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons, and the owls,.... Which is not to be understood literally of these creatures, who as they had honoured the Lord, when Israel passed through the wilderness, so would again in their way praise the Lord, when they came through the deserts from Babylon, for giving them water to drink in such dry and thirsty places, to which there may be an allusion; but spiritually of the Gentiles, compared to those creatures for the savageness, fierceness, and stupidity of them, and who were reckoned by the Jews no other than as the beasts of the field; who should honour and glorify God for the Gospel brought unto them, and for his grace and mercy bestowed on them:

because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert; as before; See Gill on Isaiah 43:19; because of the plenty of divine grace, and the means of it:

to give drink to my people, my chosen; to refresh and comfort the hearts of his people, whom he had chosen out from among the Gentiles, and now would call them by his grace, and set them a thirsting after Christ, and salvation by him.

The {u} beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.

(u) They will have such abundance of all things as they return home, even in the dry and barren places, that the very beasts will feel my blessings and will acknowledge them: much more men ought to be thankful for the same.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. Even the wild beasts shall honour Jehovah, unconsciously, through their joy at the abundant supply of water.

the dragons and the owls] Render as R.V. the jackals and the ostriches. see on ch. Isaiah 13:21-22.Verse 20. - The beast of the field shall honour me. The animal creation shall, participate in the benefits of the "new thing" introduced by the restoration of Israel, and in their dumb way shall show their gratitude. The dragons and the owls. The recent mention of the desert causes animals of the desert (Isaiah 13:21, 22) to be taken as examples. (On the animals intended, see the comment on Isaiah 34:13.) If even the beasts of the desert honoured God, much more would the rest of the animal creation (comp. Isaiah 11:6-8). In close connection with the foregoing prophecy, the present one commences with the dissolution of the Chaldean empire. "Thus saith Jehovah, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, For your sake I have sent to Babel, and will hurl them all down as fugitives, and the Chaldeans into the ships of their rejoicing. I, Jehovah, am your Holy One; (I) Israel's Creator, your King." Hitzig reads באניות, and adopts the rendering, "and drowned the shouting of the Chaldeans in groaning." Ewald also corrects Isaiah 43:14 thus: "And plunge their guitars into groanings, and the rejoicing of the Chaldeans into sighs." We cannot see any good taste in this un-Hebraic bombast. Nor is there any more reason for altering ברייחם (lxx φεύγοντας) into ברייחם (Jerome, vectes), as Umbreit proposes: "and make all their bolts

(Note: This would require כּל־בּריחיה.)

fall down, and the Chaldeans, who rejoice in ships" (bāŏniyōth). None of these alterations effect any improvement. For your sakes, says Jehovah, i.e., for the purpose of releasing you, I have sent to Babylon (sc., the agents of my judgments, Isaiah 13:3), and will throw them all down (viz., the πάμιμκτος ὄχλος of this market of the world; see Isaiah 13:14; Isaiah 47:15) as fugitives (bârı̄chı̄m with a fixed kametz, equivalent to barrı̄chı̄m), i.e., into a hurried flight; and the Chaldeans, who have been settled there from a hoary antiquity, even they shall be driven into the ships of their rejoicing (bŏŏniyōth, as in Proverbs 31:14), i.e., the ships which were previously the object of their jubilant pride and their jubilant rejoicing. והורדתּי stands in the perf. consec., as indicating the object of all the means already set in motion. The ships of pleasure are not air-balloons, as Hitzig affirms. Herodotus (i. 194) describes the freight ships discharging in Babylon; and we know from other sources that the Chaldeans not only navigated the Euphrates, but the Persian Gulf as well, and employed vessels built by Phoenicians for warlike purposes also.

(Note: See G. Rawlinson, Monarchies, i. 128, ii.448.)

הוריד itself might indeed signify "to hurl to the ground" (Psalm 56:8; Psalm 59:12); but the allusion to ships shows that בּ הוריד are to be connected (cf., Isaiah 63:14), and that a general driving down both by land and water to the southern coast is intended. By thus sweeping away both foreigners and natives out of Babylon into the sea, Jehovah proves what He is in Himself, according to Isaiah 43:15, and also in His relation to Israel; we must supply a repetition of אני here (Isaiah 43:15), as in Isaiah 43:3. The congregation which addresses Him as the Holy One, the people who suffer Him to reign over them as their King, cannot remain permanently despised and enslaved.

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