And the LORD shall guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and make fat your bones: and you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
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And satisfy thy soul in drought - (See the notes at Isaiah 41:17-18). The word rendered 'drought' (Margin, 'droughts;' Hebrew, צחצחות tsachetsâchôth) means "dry places" - places exposed to the intense heat of a burning sun and parched up for the want of moisture. The idea is, that God would provide for them as if in such places copious rains were to fall, or refreshing fountains to burst forth.
And make fat thy bones - Lowth, 'Shall renew thy strength.' Noyes, 'Strengthen thy bones.' Jerome renders it, 'Shall liberate thy bones.' The Septuagint 'Thy bones shall be made fat.' The idea is undoubtedly that of vigorous prosperity, and of strength. Job JObadiah 21:24 expresses a similar idea of a strong man dying:
'His watering places for flocks abound with milk,
And his bones are moist with marrow.'
For the propriety of this translation, which differs from the common version, see my notes on Job, in loc. The word used here (חלץ châlats), however, does not often, if ever, denote to make fat. It rather means to be manful, active, brave, ready for war; and the idea here is, probably, derived from the preparation which is made for the active services of war, rather than that of being made fat.
And thou shalt be like a watered garden - Syriac, 'Like paradise.' This is a most beautiful image to denote continued prosperity and blessedness - an image that would be particularly striking in the East. The ideas of happiness in the Oriental world consisted much in pleasant gardens, running streams, and ever-flowing fountains, and nothing can more beautifully express the blessedness of the continued favor of the Almighty. The following extract from Campbell (African Light), may illustrate this passage: 'In a hot climate, where showers seldom fall, except in what is called the rainy season, the difference between a well and ill watered garden is most striking. I remember some gardens in Africa, where they could lead no water upon them, the plants were all stinted, sickly, or others completely gone, only the hole left where the faded plant had been. The sight was unpleasant, and caused gloom to appear in every countenance; they were pictures of desolation. But in other gardens, to which the owners could bring daily supplies of water from an overflowing fountain, causing it to traverse the garden, every plant had a green, healthy appearance, loaded with fruit, in different stages toward maturity, with fragrant scent proceeding from beds of lovely flowers; and all this produced by the virtue God hath put into the single article of water.'
Whose waters fail not - Margin, 'Lie,' or 'Deceive.' Hebrew, כזב kâzab - 'Lie.' Waters or springs lie or deceive when they become dried up, or fail in the dry seasons of the year. They deceive the shepherd who expected to obtain water there for himself or his flock; they deceive the caravan which had traveled to the well-known fountain where it had been often refreshed, and where, it is now found, its waters are dried up, or lost in the sand. Hence, such a brook or fountain becomes an emblem of a false and deceitful friend Job 6:15 :
My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook,
As the stream of brooks they pass away.
But in the supplies which God makes for his people there is no such deception. The fountains of pardon, peace, and joy are ever open and ever full. The streams of salvation are always flowing. The weary pilgrim may go there at any season of the year, and from any part of a desolate world, and find them always full, refreshing, and free. However far may be the pilgrimage to them from amidst the waste and burning climes of sin, however many come to slake their thirst, and however frequently they come, they find them always the same. They never fail; and they will continue to flow on to the end of time.Isaiah 40:29, Isaiah 40:31, et Isaiah 41:1. - Secker. "The Chaldee perhaps read יחליף עצמתך yachaliph otsmathecha. "The Chaldee has וגופך יחיי בחיי עלמא veguphach vechaiyey bechaiyey alma, "and he will vivify thy body in life eternal." The rest of the ancients seem not to know what to make of יחליץ yachalits; and the rendering of the Vulgate, which seems to be the only proper one, ossa tua liberabit, "he will deliver thy bones," makes no sense. I follow this excellent emendation; to favor which it is still farther to be observed that three MSS., instead of עצמתיך atsmotheycha, have עצמתך otsmathecha, singular. - L.
and satisfy thy soul in drought; or, "in drynesses" (l); in an exceeding dry time; when in a dry and thirsty land; when thirsting after Christ and his grace, Christ and his righteousness; after more knowledge of him, communion with him, and conformity unto him; after the word and ordinances; after the presence of God in them; and after more spiritual light, knowledge, and experience:
and make fat thy bones; with the good report of the Gospel, Proverbs 15:30 that is, quicken, comfort, refresh, and strengthen the soul, and make it fat and flourishing in spiritual things, by means of Gospel ordinances. The Targum is,
"and shall quicken thy body with life everlasting;''
or give rest to thy bones, as others (m):
and thou shalt be like a watered garden; like a "garden", the church of Christ is separated from others, by electing, redeeming, and efficacious grace; and like a "watered" one, watered by the Lord himself, and the dews of his grace, and by the ministry of the word; whereby the plants that are planted in it thrive and flourish, lift up their heads, shoot up and grow, and bring forth fruit:
and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not; as there is in every believer a well of living water springing up unto everlasting life, not of themselves, but from Christ, and which is very abundant, and never fails; so there is in the church a spring of the living waters of Gospel doctrines, and of Gospel ordinances; here runs the river of divine love, which makes glad the city of God; here Christ is the fountain of gardens; and here the Spirit and his graces are communicated; all which remain, and never fail; see Psalm 87:7.
(k) "requiem tibi dabit", V. L. (l) "in siccitatibus", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Vitringa; "in summa ariditate", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. Abendana observes, that some interpret the word in the sense of purity, and understand it of the delight of the soul, in the world of souls, where the Lord leads them continually, and satisfies them with pure light, which is the brightness of the Shechinah, or divine Majesty. (m) R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 55. 2.And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
make fat—rather, "strengthen" [Noyes]. "Give thee the free use of thy bones" [Jerome], or, "of thy strength" [Horsley].
watered garden—an Oriental picture of happiness.Leviticus 16:29)? The ה of הלכף is resumed in הלזה; the second ל is the object to תּקרא expressed as a dative. The first ל answers to our preposition "to" with the infinitive, which stands here at the beginning like a casus absol. (to hang down; for which the inf. abs. הכפוף might also be used), and as in most other cases passes over into the finite (et quod saccum et cinerem substernit, viz., sibi: Ges. 132, Anm. 2). To hang down the head and sit in sackcloth and ashes - this does not in itself deserve the name of fasting and of a day of gracious reception (Isaiah 56:7; Isaiah 61:2) on the part of Jehovah (ליהוה for a subjective genitive).
Isaiah 58:6 and Isaiah 58:7 affirm that the fasting which is pleasant to Jehovah consists in something very different from this, namely, in releasing the oppressed, and in kindness to the helpless; not in abstinence form eating as such, but in sympathetic acts of that self-denying love, which gives up bread or any other possession for the sake of doing good to the needy.
(Note: The ancient church connected fasting with almsgiving by law. Dressel, Patr. Ap. p. 493.)
There is a bitter irony in these words, just as when the ancients said, "not eating is a natural fast, but abstaining form sin is a spiritual fast." During the siege of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans a general emancipation of the slaves of Israelitish descent (who were to be set free, according to the law, every three years) was resolved upon and carried out; but as soon as the Chaldeans were gone, the masters fetched their liberated slaves back into servitude again (Jeremiah 34:8-22). And as Isaiah 58:6 shows, they carried the same selfish and despotic disposition with them into captivity. The זה which points forwards is expanded into infin. absolutes, which are carried on quite regularly in the finite tense. Mōtâh, which is repeated palindromically, signifies in both cases a yoke, lit., vectis, the cross wood which formed the most important part of the yoke, and which was fastened to the animal's head, and so connected with the plough by means of a cord or strap (Sir. 30:13; 33:27).
(Note: I have already observed at Isaiah 47:6, in vindication of what was stated at Isaiah 10:27, that the yoke was not in the form of a collar. I brought the subject under the notice of Prof. Schegg, who wrote to me immediately after his return from his journey to Palestine to the following effect: "I saw many oxen ploughing in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and the neighbourhood of Ephesus; and in every case the yoke was a cross piece of wood laid upon the neck of the animal, and fastened to the pole of the plough by a cord which passed under the neck of the animal.")
It is to this that אגדּות, knots, refers. We cannot connect it with mutteh, a state of perverted right (Ezekiel 9:9), as Hitzig does. רצוּצים are persons unjustly and forcibly oppressed even with cruelty; רצץ is a stronger synonym to עשׂק (e.g., Amos 4:1). In Isaiah 58:7 we have the same spirit of general humanity as in Job 31:13-23; Ezekiel 18:7-8 (compare what James describes in James 1:27 as "pure religion and undefiled"). לחם (פרשׂ) פרץ is the usual phrase for κλᾶν (κλάζειν) ἄρτον. מרוּדים is the adjective to עניּים, and apparently therefore must be derived from מרד: miserable men who have shown themselves refractory towards despotic rulers. But the participle mârūd cannot be found elsewhere; and the recommendation to receive political fugitives has a modern look. The parallels in Lamentations 1:7 and Lamentations 3:19 are conclusive evidence, that the word is intended as a derivative of רוּד, to wander about, and it is so rendered in the lxx, Targ., and Jerome (vagos). But מרוד, pl. מרוּדים, is no adjective; and there is nothing to recommend the opinion, that by "wanderers" we are to understand Israelitish men. Ewald supposes that מרוּדים may be taken as a part. hoph. for מוּרדים, hunted away, like הממותים in 2 Kings 11:2 (Keri המּמתים); but it cannot be shown that the language allowed of this shifting of a vowel-sound. We prefer to assume that מרוּדים (persecuted) is regarded as part. pass., even if only per metaplasmum, from מרד, a secondary form of רוּד (cf., מכס, מלץ, מצח, makuna). Isaiah 58:7 is still the virtual subject to אבחרהוּ צום. The apodosis to the hypothetical כּי commences with a perf. consec., which then passes into the pausal future תתעלּם. In hsilgnE:egaugnaL\&מבשׂרך (from thine own flesh) it is presupposed that all men form one united whole as being of the same flesh and blood, and that they form one family, owing to one another mutual love.Verse 11. - The Lord shall guide thee continually; i.e. "direct thee in all thy paths - teach thee the way that thou shouldst walk in." In drought. In time of spiritual depression and weariness. Make fat thy bones; i.e. sustain thy strength. Thou shall; be like a watered garden (comp. Jeremiah 31:12).
drought. Heb. droughts. make fat
fail. Heb. lie, or deceive
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