Isaiah 58:7
Is it not to deal your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the poor that are cast out to your house? when you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you hide not yourself from your own flesh?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) To deal thy bread.—Literally, to break bread, as in the familiar phrase of the New Testament (Matthew 26:26; Acts 20:11; Acts 27:34). The bread of the Jews seems to have been made always in the thin oval cakes, which were naturally broken rather than cut.

The poor that are cast out.—The words include all forms of homelessness—tenants evicted by their landlords, debtors by their creditors, slaves fleeing from their masters’ cruelty, the persecuted for righteousness’ sake, perhaps even political refugees. Note the parallelism with Matthew 25:35-36.

From thine own flesh.—Usage, as in Genesis 29:14; Nehemiah 5:5, leads us to refer the words primarily to suffering Israelites, but those who have learnt that “God hath made of one blood all the nations of the earth” (Acts 17:26) will extend its range to every form of suffering humanity.

Isaiah 58:7. Is it not — Namely, the fast that pleases me. Having shown the evil they were to abstain from in order to keep an acceptable fast, namely, every species of cruelty, he here proceeds to speak of the duty that was required, namely, the exercise of every kind of mercy, as a necessary fruit of true repentance, Daniel 4:27; Luke 19:8. For there are two parts of righteousness toward our neighbour; one, to do wrong to no man; the other, to do good to all: which two must always go together, and never be separated from each other, especially in acts and seasons of humiliation. And, as under the evils here mentioned are comprehended all other evils whatsoever, all which men must abstain from if they would give evidence of true humiliation and godly sorrow, so in the duties here spoken of are comprised all the duties, to the practice of which they ought to apply themselves as the effects of true repentance. To deal — The word פרסproperly signifies to divide, or to break into parts; thy bread to the hungry — Bread is here put for all things necessary for the support of human life, any or every kind of food. And that thou bring the poor — Those that are not only needy, as to their present condition, but helpless, and utterly unable to support themselves; that are cast out — Forced from their dwellings, deprived of house and harbour by the injustice of the powerful, or by persecution for conscience’ sake, and who are thereby become wanderers, and have no abiding place; to thy house — That thou be hospitable, and make thy house a shelter to them, or provide lodging for them. When thou seest the naked — Those that either have no clothes, or are so poorly clothed that their clothing is not sufficient to preserve them from perishing by cold; that thou cover him — That thou give them raiment suited to these wants, James 2:15-16. And that thou hide not thyself — That thou not only seek no occasion to excuse thyself, but that, out of compassion, thou apply thyself heartily and speedily to his relief; that thou be not like the priest and Levite, but like the good Samaritan, Luke 10:31-35. From thine own flesh — Some restrain this to our own kindred, but this would confine our charity within too narrow a compass, inasmuch as often, nay, perhaps most commonly, the necessities of others are greater than those of our own relations; neither is it congruous, that the other words here should be taken in the greatest latitude, and this alone be confined within such narrow limits. Our Saviour teaches us to consider every man as our neighbour. And surely we can look on no man but there we contemplate our own flesh; and therefore it is barbarous, not only to tear, but not to love and succour him. Therefore feed him as thou wouldest feed thyself, or be fed; shelter him as thou wouldest shelter thyself, or be sheltered; clothe him as thou wouldest clothe thyself, or be clothed, if in any of these respects thou wert in his circumstances.58:3-12 A fast is a day to afflict the soul; if it does not express true sorrow for sin, and does not promote the putting away of sin, it is not a fast. These professors had shown sorrow on stated or occasioned fasts. But they indulged pride, covetousness, and malignant passions. To be liberal and merciful is more acceptable to God than mere fasting, which, without them, is vain and hypocritical. Many who seem humble in God's house, are hard at home, and harass their families. But no man's faith justifies, which does not work by love. Yet persons, families, neighbourhoods, churches, or nations, show repentance and sorrow for sin, by keeping a fast sincerely, and, from right motives, repenting, and doing good works. The heavy yoke of sin and oppression must be removed. As sin and sorrow dry the bones and weaken the strongest human constitution; so the duties of kindness and charity strengthen and refresh both body and mind. Those who do justly and love mercy, shall have the comfort, even in this world. Good works will bring the blessing of God, provided they are done from love to God and man, and wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit.Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry? - The word renderd 'deal' (פרס pâras), means to divide, to distribute. The idea is, that we are to apportion among the poor that which will be needful for their support, as a father does to his children. This is everywhere enjoined in the Bible, and was especially regarded among the Orientals as an indispensable duty of religion. Thus Job JObadiah 31:16-22 beautifully speaks of his own practice:

If I have witheld the poor from his desire,

Or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail;

Or have eaten my morsel myself alone,

And the fatherless hath not eaten thereof;

If I have seen any perish for want of clothing,

Or any poor without covering; - ...

Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade,

And mine arm be broken from the bone.

And that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house - Margin, 'Afflicted' Hospitality to all, and especially to the friendless and the stranger, was one of the cardinal virtues in the Oriental code of morals. Lowth renders this, 'The wandering poor.'

When thou seest the naked ... - This duty is also plain, and is everywhere enjoined in the Bible (compare Matthew 25:38).

And that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh - That is, from thine own kindred or relations who are dependent on thee. Compare Genesis 29:14; Genesis 37:27; where the word 'flesh' is used to denote near relations - relations as intimate and dear as if they were a part of our flesh and blood Genesis 2:23. To hide oneself from them may denote either, first, to be ashamed of them on account of their poverty or humble rank in life; or, secondly, to witchold from them the just supply of their needs. Religion requires us to treat all our kindred, whatever may be their rank, with kindness and affection, and enjoins on us the duty of providing for the needs of those poor relatives who in the providence of God are made dependent on us.

7. deal—distribute (Job 31:16-21).

cast out—rather, reduced [Horsley].

naked … cover him—(Mt 25:36).

hide … thyself—means to be strange towards them, and not to relieve them in their poverty (Mt 15:5).

flesh—kindred (Ge 29:14). Also brethren in common descent from Adam, and brethren in Christ (Jas 2:15).

Is it, viz. the fast that pleaseth me, supplied from the former verse. Having showed the evil they are to abstain from in order to an acceptable fast, viz. cruelty, he here speaks of the duty that is required, viz. mercy, as a manifestation of repentance, Daniel 4:27 Luke 19:8. For there are two parts of justice, one to do no man wrong, the other to do good to all; which two ought always to accompany each other, and cannot be parted, especially in acts of humiliation: and as by those evils mentioned he understands all other evil whatsoever, that they are to be abstained from as the consequence of a day of humiliation, so under these duties mentioned are comprised all the duties that we are to set upon as the effect of true repentance; and he instanceth rather in those of the second table than those of the first, not that they are to be neglected, but because cheerful performance of external duties to our neighbour is the clearest discovery and indication of our inward piety towards God, 1Jo 4:20.

To deal: the word properly signifies to divide, or break into parts, for the more equal and expeditious doing whereof they were wont of old to bake their loaves with cuts or clefts in them, more or fewer according to the bigness of the loaf, not much unlike that which we ordinarily call buns. It implies, that as none is obliged to give away all, so none is exempted from giving some, but a distribution to be made according to the abilities of rich and poor; or the meaning is, What thou sparest on thy fasting day from thine own belly, thou give it to refresh the bowels of the hungry; what thou takest from thyself give to another, that thy poor neighbour’s body may be refreshed by that from the abstinence whereof thine own is afflicted.

Thy bread: bread is taken for all necessaries for the support of human life, and here for all kind of food; and it is here limited by a term of propriety, thy, which may seem to have some emphasis in it: See Poole "Ecclesiastes 11:1". Speaking of their grinding and oppressing the poor, he would have them be sure to give of their own, not that which of right is another’s, and thou hast, it may be, unjustly gotten. For to refresh some poor with that which thou hast gotten by the oppressing of others, and thereby possibly made them poor, will turn but to a bad account; it will bring a curse upon thy house, or family, Proverbs 15:27, or will transfer thy estate over to such strangers that will manage it as thou shouldst have done, Proverbs 28:8.

That thou bring, i.e. voluntarily, without pressing. Invite, encourage, freely accommodate.

The poor, viz. that are not only needy and necessitous as to their present condition, but helpless and shiftless as to the means of getting out of it.

That are cast out; and thereby become wanderers, having no abiding place; or rather, suffered to abide no where, such are mentioned Hebrews 11:37,38. Or, this word coming from a root that signifies to rebel, it may be applied to such as have been adjudged, whether wrongfully or no, rebels, and therefore cast out, viz. of favour and protection, and so become as banished ones, or pilgrims in another country; or afflicted, as in the margin, viz. grievously oppressed by the cruelty of great men, whereby they are east out of their possessions, and so become wanderers, seeking relief abroad. To thy house; that thou be hospitable, and make thy house a shelter to them that have none of their own left, but, as we usually say, cast out of house and home: see Acts 16:34.

The naked, i.e. either that have no clothes, or that are so meanly clothed that they have scarce enough to cover their nakedness, 1 Corinthians 4:11, where naked is to be taken as hunger and thirst is, not absolutely starved, so neither quite stripped; but either in a ragged and undecent condition, as to others’ sight, or so thinly and insufficiently clothed as not to defend him from the injury of weather, as to his own sense of feeling.

That thou cover him, i.e. that thou give him raiment suited to these wants, or that wherewith he may procure it, Jam 2:15,16: most of these circumstances we find were the eases of the apostles, 1 Corinthians 4:11.

That thou hide not thyself; that thou not only seek no occasion to excuse thyself, either by absence, or discountenancing and disowning of him; but that out of compassion thou apply thyself heartily to his speedy relief; that thou be not like that priest and Levite, Luke 10:31,32, but like the good Samaritan, Luke 10:33-35, not giving him occasion to complain as David, Psalm 142:4.

From thine own flesh: some confine this to our own kindred, and relations, and family; and this the LXX. seem to favour, who render it, those of thine own house, of thine own seed, overlook not; agreeable to that of 1 Timothy 5:8, where the apostle useth the same word that the LXX. doth for kindred: but this would confine our charity within too narrow a compass, inasmuch as often, nay, most commonly, the necessities of others are greater than our own; neither is it congruous that the other words should be taken in the greatest latitude, and this alone confined within so narrow a compass. It is true the Hebrews by their own flesh do mostly understand those who are of the same stock, or lineage, and tribe, as Genesis 37:27 2 Samuel 19:12,13; and thus many understand Paul’s meaning, Romans 11:14. But here it is to be taken more generally, for every man, he being thine own nature; and in this latitude our Saviour interprets the relation of neighbour to that lawyer, Luke 10:29,30, &c. We can look on no man but there we contemplate our own flesh; and therefore it is barbarous, not only to tear, but not to love and succour, our own flesh, Nehemiah 5:5. In which soever of these two senses you take it, there is a note of similitude to be understood; so that the sense is this, break thy bread, &c. to them as unto thine own flesh; be not more severe to them than thou wouldst be to thyself; and thus it agrees with that of our Saviour, Matthew 22:39, and with that of the apostle, Ephesians 5:29. In short, feed him as thou wouldst feed thyself, or have it fed; shelter him as thou wouldst shelter thyself, or have it sheltered; clothe him as thou wouldst clothe thyself, or be clothed; if in any of these respects thou wert in his circumstances. Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry?.... Or "to break" (f) it, divide it, and communicate it to them; that which is "bread", food fit to eat, wholesome and nourishing; which is thine, and not another's; which thou hast saved by fasting, and therefore should not be laid up, but given away; and that not to the rich, who need it not, but to the hungry and necessitous: and this may be understood of spiritual bread, of imparting the Gospel to such who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, which to do is an acceptable service to God; and not to bind and oppress men's consciences with burdensome rites and ceremonies of men's own devising. These are husks, and not bread.

And that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house; poor ministers, cast out of the church, cast out of their livings, cast out of their houses, cast out of the land; and other Christian exiles for conscience sake; poor travellers and wanderers, as the Targum, obliged to flee from persecution into foreign countries, and wander about from place to place, having no certain dwelling place; these take into your house, and give them lodging: so some have entertained angels unawares, as Abraham and Lot, as indeed the faithful ministers of Christ are: or,

the poor rebels (g); for the word has this signification; such who have been accused and attainted as rebels; who have been charged with being rebels to church and state, though the quiet in the land, and so have been forced to flee and hide themselves; do not be afraid to receive them into your houses, though under such an imputation:

when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; the naked Christian especially; not entirely so, but one that is thinly clothed, whose clothes are scarce anything but rags, not sufficient to keep him warm, or preserve him from the inclemencies of the weather; put a better garment upon him, to cover him with:

and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh; meaning not only those "near akin" (h), though more especially them; but such as are in the same neighbourhood, of the same country; and indeed all men are of one blood, and so are the same flesh; and from persons in distress, and especially such as are of the household of faith, of the same religion, that support the same Protestant cause, though differing in some lesser matters, a man should not hide himself, or turn his eyes from, or refuse to relieve them, or treat them with disdain and contempt; see Galatians 6:10.

(f) "nonne ut frangas?" Pagninus; "nonne frangere?" Montanus. (g) Heb. "rebellatos, expulsos tanquam rebelles", Piscator; "qui persecutionem patiuntur", Vitringa. (h) "a cognatis tuis", Vatablus. So R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 85. 1.

Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou shouldest bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou shouldest cover him; and that thou shouldest not hide thyself from {g} thy own flesh?

(g) For in him you see yourself as in a mirror.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. Comp. Ezekiel 18:7 f., 16 f.; Job 31:13 ff.

the poor that are cast out] the vagrant (homeless) poor. The word rendered “vagrant” is peculiar, but is supposed to come from a verb meaning “wander.” It occurs with an abstract sense, and along with the abstract noun corresponding to the word here rendered “poor,” in Lamentations 1:7; Lamentations 3:19.

hide not thyself (Deuteronomy 22:1; Deuteronomy 22:3-4) from thine own flesh] from thy fellow Israelites (as in Nehemiah 5:5).

8 ff. When these conditions are complied with, the glory of the latter days shall break on the regenerated community.

thy light] (ch. Isaiah 60:1; Isaiah 60:3), the emblem of salvation; cf. ch. Isaiah 9:2.

break forth as the dawn] “Break forth” is the verb used in ch. Isaiah 35:6; Genesis 7:11; Psalm 74:15, of the bursting of waters through a fissure in the earth’s surface; by a vivid metaphor the dawn was conceived as “splitting” the heavens and flooding the world with light. The same word occurs on the Moabite Stone (50:15) in the phrase “from the splitting of the dawn.”

thine health] thy healing (as R.V.), or thy recovery. The word (Heb. ’ǎrûkah, Arab, ’arîka) seems to mean literally the new flesh which is formed when a wound is healing (see Delitzsch’s Commentary on the verse); it is used three times by Jeremiah with the sense of recovered health or prosperity; in Nehemiah 4:7 (Isaiah 4:1 Heb.) and 2 Chronicles 24:13 the metaphor is applied to the repairing of damages (in the walls or the Temple). Since Isaiah 58:12 shews that the prophet has the restoration of ruins in his mind, the coincidence with Nehemiah 4:7 is certainly suggestive; but the figure here does not go beyond the general idea of recovered prosperity.

shall go before thee … shall be thy rereward] Comp. ch. Isaiah 52:12. It is difficult to say whether righteousness means in this case “right vindicated “by outward tokens of Jehovah’s favour, or ethical righteousness as described in Isaiah 58:6-7.

9 a. The immediate answer to prayer, in contrast to the complaint of Isaiah 58:3, is the evidence of harmony re-established between Jehovah and His worshippers; comp. ch. Isaiah 65:24, Isaiah 30:19.

9 b should be joined to Isaiah 58:10. The conditions of acceptance with God are recapitulated in terms differing slightly from those of Isaiah 58:6-7.

the putting forth of the finger] a gesture of contempt (Proverbs 6:13) towards the oppressed mentioned in Isaiah 58:6-7. Compare (with Gesenius) the infamis digitus (Pers. 11. 33).Verse 7. - Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry? In the early Christian Church almsgiving was connected with fasting by law (Dressel's 'Patr. Apost.,' p. 493). It was also accepted as a moral axiom that "fasting and alms were the wings of prayer." Cast out; or, homeless ἀστέγους LXX.). That thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh. Their "flesh" were not merely their near kindred, but their countrymen generally (see Nehemiah 5:5). As the last prophecy of the second book contained all the three elements of prophetic addresses - reproach, threat, and promise - so this, the first prophecy of the third book, cannot open in any other way than with a rehearsal of one of these. The prophet receives the commission to appear as the preacher of condemnation; and whilst Jehovah is giving the reason for this commission, the preaching itself commences. "Cry with full throat, hold not back; lift up thy voice like a bugle, and proclaim to my people their apostasy, and to the house of Jacob their sins. And they seek me day by day, and desire to learn my ways, like a nation which has done righteousness, and has not forsaken the right of their God: they ask of me judgments of righteousness; they desire the drawing near of Elohim." As the second prophecy of the first part takes as its basis a text from Micah (Micah 2:1-4), so have we here in Isaiah 58:1 the echo of Micah 3:8. Not only with lisping lips (1 Samuel 1:13), but with the throat (Psalm 115:7; Psalm 149:6); that is to say, with all the strength of the voice, lifting up the voice like the shōphâr (not a trumpet, which is called חצצרה, nor in fact any metallic instrument, but a bugle or signal horn, like that blown on new year's day: see at Psalm 81:4), i.e., in a shrill shouting tone. With a loud voice that must be heard, with the most unsparing publicity, the prophet is to point out to the people their deep moral wounds, which they may indeed hide from themselves with hypocritical opus operatum, but cannot conceal from the all-seeing God. The ו of ואותי does not stand for an explanatory particle, but for an adversative one: "their apostasy ... their sins; and yet (although they are to be punished for these) they approach Jehovah every day" (יום יום with mahpach under the first יום, and pasek after it, as is the general rule between two like-sounding words), "that He would now speedily interpose." They also desire to know the ways which He intends to take for their deliverance, and by which He desires to lead them. This reminds us of the occurrence between Ezekiel and the elders of Gola (Ezekiel 20:1.; compare also Ezekiel 33:30.). As if they had been a people whose rectitude of action and fidelity to the commands of God warranted them in expecting nothing but what was good in the future, they ask God (viz., in prayer and by inquiring of the prophet) for mishpetē tsedeq, "righteous manifestations of judgment" i.e., such as will save them and destroy their foes, and desire qirbath 'Elōhı̄m, the coming of God, i.e., His saving parousia. The energetic futures, with the tone upon the last syllable, answer to their self-righteous presumption; and יחפצוּן is repeated, according to Isaiah's most favourite oratorical figure, at the close of the verse.
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