Isaiah 57:16
For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTeedTTBWESTSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) I will not contend for ever . . .—The words come as a message of comfort to the penitent who is still bearing the chastisement of his sins. The time during which God “contends” with him as an accuser and a judge has its limits. Were it not so. the souls which he had made would be utterly consumed, and His purpose in creation would be frustrated. The words seem like an echo of Genesis 6:3; Genesis 8:21. (Comp. Psalm 103:9-10).

57:13-21 The idols and their worshippers shall come to nothing; but those who trust in God's grace, shall be brought to the joys of heaven. With the Lord there is neither beginning of days, nor end of life, nor change of time. His name is holy, and all must know him as a holy God. He will have tender regard to those who bring their mind to their condition, and dread his wrath. He will make his abode with those whose hearts he has thus humbled, in order to revive and comfort them. When troubles last long, even good men are tempted to entertain hard thoughts of God. Therefore He will not contend for ever, for he will not forsake the work of his own hands, nor defeat the purchase of his Son's blood. Covetousness is a sin that particularly lays men under the Divine displeasure. See the sinfulness of sin. See also that troubles cannot reform men unless God's grace work in them. Peace shall be published, perfect peace. It is the fruit of preaching lips, and praying lips. Christ came and preached peace to Gentiles, as well as to the Jews; to after-ages, who were afar off in time, as well as to those of that age. But the wicked would not be healed by God's grace, therefore would not be healed by his comforts. Their ungoverned lusts and passions made them like the troubled sea. Also the terrors of conscience disturbed their enjoyments. God hath said it, and all the world cannot unsay it, That there is no peace to those who allow themselves in any sin. If we are recovered from such an awful state, it is only by the grace of God. And the influences of the Holy Spirit, and that new heart, from whence comes grateful praise, the fruit of our lips, are his gift. Salvation, with all its fruits, hopes, and comforts, is his work, and to him belongs all the glory. There is no peace for the wicked man; but let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, and he will abundantly pardon.For I will not contend for ever - I will not be angry with my people forever, nor always refuse to pardon and comfort them (see Psalm 103:9). This is to be regarded as having been primarily addressed to the Jews in their long and painful exile in Babylon. It is, however, couched in general language; and the idea is, that although God would punish his people for their sins, yet his wrath would not be perpetual. If they were his children, he would visit them again in mercy, and would restore to them his favor.

For the spirit should fail before me - Critics have taken a great deal of pains on this part of the verse, which they suppose to be very obscure. The simple meaning seems to be, that if God should continue in anger against people they would be consumed. The human soul could not endure a long-continued controversy with God. Its powers would fail; its strength decay; it must sink to destruction. As God did not intend this in regard to his own people; as he meant that his chastisements should not be for their destruction, but for their salvation; and as he knew how much they could bear, and how much they needed, he would lighten the burden, and restore them to his favor. And the truth taught here is, that if we are his children, we are safe. We may suffer much and long. We may suffer so much that it seems scarcely possible that we should endure more. But he knows how much we can bear; and he will remove the lead, so that we shall not be utterly crushed. A similar sentiment is found in the two following elegant passages of the Psalms, which are evidently parallel to this, and express the same idea:

But he being full of compassion,

Forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not;

Yea many a time burned he his anger away,

And did not stir up all his wrath.

For he remembered that they were but flesh;

A wind that passeth away and returneth not again.

16. For—referring to the promise in Isa 57:14, 15, of restoring Israel when "contrite" (Ge 6:3; 8:21; Ps 78:38, 39; 85:5; 103:9, 13, 14; Mic 7:18). God "will not contend for ever" with His people, for their human spirit would thereby be utterly crushed, whereas God's object is to chasten, not to destroy them (La 3:33, 34; Mic 7:8, 9). With the ungodly He is "angry every day" (Ps 7:11; Re 14:11).

spirit … before me—that is, the human spirit which went forth from Me (Nu 16:22), answering to "which I have made" in the parallel clause.

I will not contend for ever; I will not constantly proceed to the utmost severity with sinful men in this life, and therefore I will put an end to the miseries of the Jews, and turn their captivity.

For the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made; for then their spirits would sink and die under my stroke, and I should do nothing else but destroy the works of mine own hands. Therefore I consider their infirmity, and spare them. Compare Psalm 78:38,39 103:13,14. For I will not contend for ever,.... By afflictive providences; with the humble and contrite, the end being in a great measure answered by their humiliation and contrition; when God afflicts his people, it shows that he has a controversy with them, for their good, and his own glory; and when these ends are obtained, he will carry it on no longer:

neither will I be always wroth; as he seems to be in the apprehensions of his people, when he either hides his face from them, or chastises them with a rod of affliction:

for the spirit should fail before me; the spirit of the afflicted, which not being able to bear up any longer under the affliction, would sink and faint, or be "overwhelmed", as the word (c) signifies:

and the souls which I have made; which are of God's immediate creation, and which are also renewed by his grace, and made new creatures. The proselytes Abraham made are called the souls he made in Haran, Genesis 12:5, much more may this be said of the Father of spirits, the author both of the old and new creation. The Lord knowing the weakness of the human frame, therefore restrains his hand, or moderates or removes the affliction; see a like reason in Psalm 78:38, the last days of trouble to God's people, which will be the time of the slaying of the witnesses, will be such that if they are not shortened, no flesh can be saved, but for the elect's sake they will be shortened, Matthew 24:22.

(c) "obrueretur", Junius & Tremellius, Vitriuga; "in deliquium incideret", Piscator, Gataker.

For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always angry: {s} for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.

(s) I will not use my power against frail man, whose life is but a blast.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. Hardly less remarkable is the motive here assigned for the Divine clemency,—Jehovah’s compassion for the frailty of His creatures (Psalm 103:9; Psalm 103:13 f., Psalm 78:39). The argument somewhat resembles that of ch. Isaiah 45:18 ff.: it cannot be Jehovah’s purpose to undo His own creation. The continuance of His anger would annihilate the souls which He Himself has made; therefore when chastisement has produced the contrite and humble spirit, He relents and shews mercy.

The word for souls is that which in Genesis 2:7 means “breath (of life),” the principle of life in virtue of which man becomes “a living person” (cf. ch. Isaiah 42:5). The parallel spirit has the same sense; it is the Divine power by which human life is sustained.Verse 16. - I will not contend for ever. God "will not always chide, neither will he keep his anger for ever" (Psalm 103:9). If he were "extreme to mark what is done amiss," none could abide it (Psalm 130:3). He remits somewhat, therefore, from the claims of strict justice, and is content to take lower ground. Were it otherwise, man's spirit should fail before him. Man, i.e., would be utterly unable to justify himself, and would faint and fade away before the Divine fury. The souls which God has made would, one and all, perish. He, however, has not made them for this purpose, but that they should live (Deuteronomy 30:19; Ezekiel 18:31); and has therefore devised for them a way of salvation (see Isaiah 53:5-10). נואשׁ - Fleischer says: "Just as in Arabic 'ml and rj' the meaning of hope springs out of the idea of stretching and drawing out, so do Arabic ayisa and ya'isa (spem deposuit, desperavit) signify literally to draw in, to compress; hence the old Arabic ya'asun equals sillun, consumption, phthisis. And the other old Arabic word waysun, lit., squeezing, res angustae equals fakr wa-faka, want, need, and penury, or in a concrete sense the need, or thing needed, is also related to this."
Links
Isaiah 57:16 Interlinear
Isaiah 57:16 Parallel Texts


Isaiah 57:16 NIV
Isaiah 57:16 NLT
Isaiah 57:16 ESV
Isaiah 57:16 NASB
Isaiah 57:16 KJV

Isaiah 57:16 Bible Apps
Isaiah 57:16 Parallel
Isaiah 57:16 Biblia Paralela
Isaiah 57:16 Chinese Bible
Isaiah 57:16 French Bible
Isaiah 57:16 German Bible

Bible Hub
Isaiah 57:15
Top of Page
Top of Page