Isaiah 57:18
I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts to him and to his mourners.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) I have seen his ways . . .—The words have been interpreted: (1) of the evil ways described in the previous verse; (2) of the way of repentance into which Israel had been led by chastisement. (1) seems most in harmony with the context. The paths had been rough and thorny, but Jehovah presents Himself as the Healer to those who had been wounded by them, and leads them into a better way. The “mourners” are those who have been touched as with the “godly sorrow” of 2Corinthians 7:10-11.

Isaiah 57:18. I have seen his ways — I have taken notice of those evil ways in which he seems resolved to walk, and that he is neither reformed by mercies nor judgments; and will heal him — Or rather, yet I will heal him: although I might justly destroy him, and leave him to perish in his own ways, yet, of my mere mercy, and for my own name’s sake, I will pity this people, turn them from their sins, and bring them out of their troubles. Which promise was partly fulfilled when God restored them from Babylon, and will be more perfectly and evidently accomplished, when he shall convert them to the Christian faith in the latter days. And restore comforts unto him — Comforts as great as his troubles had been; and — Or rather, to wit; to his mourners — To those who are humbled under God’s hand, and that mourn in Zion for their own and other people’s sins, Isaiah 61:2-3; and Ezekiel 9:4; and for the calamities of God’s church and people, Isaiah 66:10. The mourners here spoken of, Vitringa thinks, mean those true penitents, who lamented the scandals and offences of professing Christians in their times, under whom they grievously suffered, such as the Waldenses, the Lollards, and others who, by the mercy of God, were rescued from the errors and corruptions of the fallen church, when the light of the Reformation began to dawn.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.I have seen his ways - That is, either his ways of sin, or of repentance most probably it means the former; and the idea is, that God had seen how prone his people were to sin, and that he would now interpose and correct their proneness to sin against him, and remove from them the judgments which had been brought upon them in consequence of their crimes.

And will heal him - That is, I will pardon and restore him. Sin, in the Scriptures, is often represented as a disease, and pardon and salvation as a healing of the disease (2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 41:4; Jeremiah 3:22; Jeremiah 17:4; Jeremiah 32:6; Hosea 14:4; see the notes at Isaiah 6:10).

And to his mourners - To the pious portion that mourned over their sin; or to the nation which would sigh in their long and painful captivity in Babylon.

18. Rather, "I have seen his ways (in sin), yet will I heal him," that is, restore Israel spiritually and temporally (Jer 33:6; 3:22; Ho 14:4, 5) [Horsley].

I will … restore comforts unto him and to his mourners—However, the phrase, "his mourners," favors English Version; "his ways" will thus be his ways of repentance; and God's pardon on "seeing" them answers to the like promise (Isa 61:2, 3; Jer 31:18, 20).

I have seen his ways; I have taken notice of these evil ways in which he seems resolved to walk, and that he is neither bettered by mercies nor judgments.

And will heal him; or, yet I will heal him. Although I might justly destroy him, and leave him to perish in his own ways, yet of my mere mercy, and for my own name’s sake, I will pity him, and turn him from his sins, and bring him out of his troubles. And, or, to wit, the copulative conjunction being put expositively, as it is frequently,

to his mourners; to those who are humbled under God’s hand, that mourn in Zion, Isaiah 61:2,3, for their own and others’ sins, Ezekiel 9:4, and for the calamities of God’s church and people, Isaiah 66:10. I have seen his ways, and will heal him,.... Either the ways of such who trust in the Lord, the ways of the humble and contrite, who are brought by repentance and reformation, by the dealings of God with them; these he sees, knows, and approves of, and heals their former backslidings; for though not all, yet some may be reformed hereby; or rather the ways of the froward, their evil ways, which are their own ways in opposition to God's ways, peculiar to themselves, of their own devising and choosing; these the Lord sees, resents, and corrects for, and yet graciously pardons them, which is meant by healing:

I will lead him also; out of those evil ways of his into the good and right way in which he should go; into the way of truth and paths of righteousness; for it is for want of evangelical light and knowledge that so many err from the truths of the Gospel, and from the simplicity of Gospel worship; but in the latter day the Spirit of truth shall be poured down from on high, and shall lead professors of real religion into all truth, and they shall speak a pure language, and worship the Lord with one consent:

and restore comforts to him, and to his mourners; that mourn over their own sins, and the sins of others; that mourn in Zion, and for Zion; for the corruptions in doctrine and worship crept into the reformed churches; for the want of church discipline and Gospel conversation; for the declensions of professors of religion, and the divisions among them; and for that worldly, earthly, and carnal spirit that prevails; for these, as bad as our times are, there are some that mourn publicly and privately; and to these, and to the church for their sakes, comfort shall be restored, by sending forth Gospel light, truth, and knowledge, which shall cover the earth as the waters the sea; by reviving primitive doctrines and ordinances; by blessing the word to the conversion of a multitude of sinners, and to the edification of saints; by causing brotherly love, peace, and spirituality, to abound among professors, and by blessing all the means of grace to the consolation of their souls; and by making particular applications of the blood, righteousness, and sacrifice of Christ, for pardon, justification, and atonement, the solid foundation of all true comfort.

I have seen his ways, and will {u} heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts to him and to his mourners.

(u) Though they were obstinate, yet I did not withdraw my mercy from them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. I have seen his ways] Either “his sinful ways” or “the amendment of his ways.” The first view is perhaps more probable, in which case the words would be better joined to the preceding verse (so Duhm).

and will heal him] Or, “And I will heal him,”—beginning a new sentence. Cf. Hosea 6:1; Hosea 14:4; Jeremiah 3:22.

For comforts read comfort.

his mourners] ch.Isaiah 61:2, Isaiah 66:10.Verse 18. - I have seen his ways, and will heal him. God had seen the wanderings of his people in perverse ways, and his heart had been touched with pity thereat. The good Shepherd follows and recalls the wanderers of the flock. When they have suffered hurt he "heals" them. He is willing to "lead" them also - to go before them, and show them the way that they should walk in (Isaiah 49:10; Ezekiel 34:11-16), and "restore comforts" to them, especially to such of them as have begun to "mourn" over their perversity. But this silence would not last for ever. "I will proclaim thy righteousness; and thy works, they will not profit thee. When thou criest, let thy heaps of idols save thee: but a wind carries them all away; a breath takes them off; and whoever putteth trust in me will inherit the land, and take possession of my holy mountain." According to the context, צדקתך cannot be a synonym of ישׁוּעה f here. It is neither salvation nor the way of salvation that is intended; nor is this even included, as Stier supposes. But the simple reference is to what Israel in its blindness regarded as righteousness; whereas, if it had known itself, it would have seen that it was the most glaring opposite. This lying-righteousness of Israel would be brought to a judicial exposure by Jehovah. ואת־מעשׂיך is not a second accusative to אגּיד, for in that case we should have ומעשׂיך את־צדקתך; but it commences a second sentence, as the accents really indicate. When Jehovah begins thus to speak and act, the impotence of the false gods which His people have made for themselves will soon be exposed; and "as for thy works (i.e., thine idols, Isaiah 41:29, cf., Isaiah 1:31), they will do thee no good" (Isaiah 44:9-10, compare Jeremiah 23:33; for the question מה־משׂא), here an empatic elevation of the subject, compare Isaiah 53:8, ואת־דורו, Ewald, 277, p. 683). This determines the meaning of קבּוּציך, which Knobel supposes to refer to the large army of the Babylonians, with which the apostates among the exiles had formed an offensive and defensive alliance. But the term is really applied to the heaps (qibbūts, collectio, not an adjective of the form limmūd) of different idols, with which Israel had furnished itself even in its captivity (compare qibbâtsâh in Micah 1:7). It was in vain for them to turn to these pantheons of theirs; a single rūăch would carry them all away, a hebhel would sweep them off, for they themselves were nothing but hebhel and rūăch (Isaiah 41:29). The proper punctuation here is יקּח־הבל; the first syllable of יקח, which is attached to a word with a disjunctive accent, has a so-called heavy Gaya, the second a euphonic Gaya, according to rules which are too little discussed in our grammars. When Knobel supports his explanation of קבוציך on the ground that the idols in Isaiah 57:13 and the worshippers of Jehovah in Isaiah 57:13 do not form a fitting antithesis, the simple reply is, that the contrast lies between the idols, which cannot save, and Jehovah, who not only saves those who trust in Him, but sends them prosperity according to His promises. With the promise, "Whoso trusts in me will inherit the land," this prophecy reaches the thought with which the previous prophecy (Isaiah 51:7-8) closed; and possibly what is here affirmed of קבּוּציך forms an intentional antithesis to the promise there, לנקבּציו עליו אקבּץ עוד: when Jehovah gathers His faithful ones from the dispersion, and gathers others to them (from among the heathen), then will the plunder which the faithless have gathered together be all scattered to the winds. And whilst the latter stand forsaken by their powerless works, the former will be established in the peaceful inheritance of the promised land. The first half of the prophecy closes here. It is full of reproach, and closes with a brief word of promise, which is merely the obverse of the threat. The second half follows an opposite course. Jehovah will redeem His people, provided it has been truly humbled by the sufferings appointed, for He has seen into what errors it has fallen since He has withdrawn His mercy from it. "But the wicked," etc. The whole closes here with words of threatening, which are the obverse of the promise. Isaiah 57:13 forms the transition from the first half to the second.
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