Isaiah 66:12
For thus said the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall you suck, you shall be borne on her sides, and be dandled on her knees.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Ye shall be borne upon her sides.—Better, upon the side, or upon the knee, or hip. (See Note on Isaiah 60:4.) The outward figure is now presented as in an inverted form, to express a new spiritual fact. The children of Zion will find a maternal tenderness and care at the hands of the heathen nations, who are to be as their “nursing mothers.” (Comp. 60:16.)

Isaiah 66:12-13. For, behold, I will extend — Or am extending, peace to her — That is, all good; like a river — That runs in a constant stream, still increasing till it is swallowed up in the ocean. The gospel brings with it, wherever it is received in its power, peace, which proceeds forward like a river, supplying the souls of believers with all good, and making them fruitful as a river doth the lands through which it passes: such peace as the springs of this world’s comforts cannot send forth, and the dams of the world’s troubles cannot stop or drive back; such a river of peace as will carry us to the ocean of boundless and endless bliss. And the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream — Gentile converts shall come pouring into the church, and shall swell the river of her peace and prosperity; for they shall bring their glory with them; their wealth and honour, their power and interest shall all be devoted to the Lord and employed for the good of the church. Then shall ye suck — Ye Jews also. When you see such crowding for a share in those comforts, you shall be the more solicitous, and the more earnest and diligent to secure your share; not through a fear lest you should have the less, because others come in such multitudes to partake of them, for Christ has enough for all, and enough for each; but their zeal shall provoke you to a holy jealousy. Ye shall be borne upon her sides — Compare chap. 60:4, where see the note. Those that are joined to the church should be treated thus affectionately. The great Shepherd gathers the lambs in his arms, and carries them in his bosom; and so must the under shepherds, that young converts may not be discouraged. As one whom his mother comforteth, &c. — That is, in the most tender and compassionate way. So will I comfort you — I will not only use rational arguments to comfort you, such as a prudent father uses toward his child in distress, but I will manifest toward you such tender affections and compassions, as a loving mother feels toward her afflicted infant. And ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem — In the favours bestowed on the church, which you shall partake of; and in the thanksgivings offered by the church, which you shall concur with.66:5-14 The prophet turns to those that trembled at God's word, to comfort and encourage them. The Lord will appear, to the joy of the humble believer, and to the confusion of hypocrites and persecutors. When the Spirit was poured out, and the gospel went forth from Zion, multitudes were converted in a little time. The word of God, especially his promises, and ordinances, are the consolations of the church. The true happiness of all Christians is increased by every convert brought to Christ. The gospel brings with it, wherever it is received in its power, such a river of peace, as will carry us to the ocean of boundless and endless bliss. Divine comforts reach the inward man; the joy of the Lord will be the strength of the believer. Both God's mercy and justice shall be manifested, and for ever magnified.For thus saith the Lord - This verse contains a promise of the conversion of the Gentiles, and the fact that what constituted their glory would be brought and consecrated to the church of God.

I will extend - The word rendered, I will extend ( נטה nâṭâh) means properly to stretch out, as the hand or a measure; then to spread out or expand, as a tent is spread out, to which it is often applied Genesis 12:8; Genesis 26:5; or to the heavens spread out over our heads like a tent or a curtain Isaiah 40:22. Here it may mean either that peace would be spread out over the country like the Nile or Euphrates spread out over a vast region in an inundation; or it may mean, as Gesenius supposes, 'I will turn peace upon her like a river; that is, as a stream is turned in its course.' To me it seems that the former is the correct interpretation; and that the idea is, that God would bring prosperity upon Zion like a broad majestic river overflowing all its banks, and producing abundant fertility.

Peace - A general word denoting prosperity of all kinds - a favorite word with Isaiah to describe the future happiness of the church of God (see Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 26:12; Isaiah 32:17; Isaiah 45:7; Isaiah 48:18; Isaiah 52:7; Isaiah 54:13; Isaiah 55:12; Isaiah 57:19).

Like a river - That is, says Lowth like the Euphrates. So the Chaldee interprets it. But there is no evidence that the prophet refers particularly to the Euphrates. The image is that suggested above - of a river that flows full, and spreads over the banks - at once an image of sublimity, and a striking emblem of great prosperity. This same image occurs in Isaiah 48:18. See the note at that place.

And the glory of the Gentiles - (See the notes at Isaiah 60:5, Isaiah 60:11).

Like a flowing stream - Like the Nile, says Vitringa. But the word נחל nachal is not commonly applied to a river like the Nile; but to a torrent, a brook, a rivulet - either as flowing from a perennial fountain, or more commonly a stream running in a valley that is swelled often by rain, or by the melting of snows in the mountain (see Reland's Palestine, chapter xlv.) Such is the idea here. The peace or prosperity of Zion would be like such a swollen stream - a stream overflowing (שׁוטף shôṭēph) its banks.

Then shall ye suck - Isaiah 66:11.

Ye shall be borne upon her sides - See this phrase explained in the notes at Isaiah 60:4.

And be dandled upon her knees - As a child is by its nurse or mother. The idea is, that the tenderest care would be exercised for the church; the same care which an affectionate mother evinces for her children. The insertion of the word 'her' here by our translators weakens the sense. The meaning is, not that they should be borne upon the sides and dandled upon the knees of Zion or of the church; but that God would manifest to them the feelings of a parent, and treat them with the tenderness which a mother evinces for her children. As a mother nurses her children at her side (compare the notes at Isaiah 60:4), so would God tenderly provide for the church; as she affectionately dandles her children on her knees, so tenderly and affectionately would he regard Zion.

12. extend—I will turn peace (prosperity) upon her, like a river turned in its course [Gesenius]. Or, "I will spread peace over her as an overflowing river" [Barnes], (Isa 48:18).

flowing stream—as the Nile by its overflow fertilizes the whole of Egypt.

borne upon … sides—(See on [885]Isa 60:4).

her … her—If "ye" refers to the Jews, translate, "ye shall be borne upon their sides … their knees," namely, those of the Gentiles, as in Isa 49:22; and as "suck" (Isa 60:16) refers to the Jews sucking the Gentile wealth. However, English Version gives a good sense: The Jews, and all who love Jehovah (Isa 66:10), "shall suck, and be borne" by her as a mother.

That this promise respects the times of the Messias seems plain, not only from the consideration that no history giveth us any account of any great or long peace or prosperity the Jews had before that time, nor indeed then, if we understand it not of a spiritual gospel

peace, which Christ preached to them that were nigh as well as to those afar off, Ephesians 2:17. It also appears from the mention of the glory of the Gentiles as a flowing stream, which can hardly be understood of any thing but Christ, and the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles. But I leave it to the issues of Providence to expound and determine whether the prophecy of this text doth not relate to a further conversion and calling of the Jews than hath yet been seen. When Christ was revealed to the Jews, not those only of the Gentiles, but those of the Jews who belonged to God’s election sucked gospel doctrine; the Gentiles were borne upon the sides of Jerusalem, and dandled upon her knees, as first hearing from the apostles, who were some of the daughters of Jerusalem, members of the Jewish church, the glad tidings of salvation. For thus saith the Lord, behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,.... As the river Euphrates, so the Targum; or as the Nile, which overflowed Egypt, and made it fruitful; or as any flowing river, large and spreading, continuing to flow, and brings blessings with it where it comes; and so denotes the abundance of this peace, the perpetuity of it, and its blessed effects. This respects not the first times of the Gospel; for though Christ the peacemaker came and made peace by his blood, and went and preached peace to Jews and Gentiles, and many enjoyed spiritual peace in believing, flowing from his blood and righteousness, yet there was very little outward peace to the churches of Christ; and when at any time had, did not last long: but, in the latter day, not only spiritual peace, which passeth all understanding, and joy unspeakable and full of glory, will be extended unto and possessed by the saints; but outward peace in great abundance, and of lasting continuance, with all kind of prosperity, temporal and spiritual, Psalm 72:7, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream; like the Nile, that overflows; meaning either the vast number of converts, from among the Gentiles, that shall flow into the church, and especially many of their great men, princes, nobles, even kings and queens, who shall be nursing fathers and nursing mothers to her; see Isaiah 60:3, or their riches, which are the honour and glory they shall bring with them to the church in great abundance, and shall cheerfully and freely expend them in the service and worship of God, Isaiah 60:6 so Kimchi interprets it of their wealth and substance:

then shall ye suck; the milk of the Gentiles, and the breasts of kings; that is, partake of their good things, Isaiah 60:16 or the church's breasts of consolation, the sincere milk of the word and ordinances, Isaiah 60:11, this is spoken to the friends of Zion, and lovers of Jerusalem, newly converted persons, Isaiah 66:10,

ye shall be borne upon her sides, or "side" (y); children being carried by parents or nurses on one side of them in their arms; it denotes the affectionate care and regard the church has to young converts, who are said to be nursed at her side, Isaiah 60:4 she supporting and supplying them with everything in her power, by means of the word and ordinances:

and be dandled upon her knees: as darling children are, who are taken into the lap, and played with, and are the delight, the exceeding great delight, of their parents; and where they delight to be, as the word (z) used signifies. All shows that young converts are and should be made much of, and tenderly used; the day of small things should not be despised, or the bruised reed broken, or the smoking flax quenched; but these lambs should be gathered into the arms, and carried in the bosom, like sucking children.

(y) "ad latus", Vitringa; "super latus", Calvin, Pagninus, Montanus. (z) "super genua oblectabimini", Montanus; "delectabiliter fovebimini", Munster, Vitringa.

For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend {m} peace to her like a river, and the glory of the {n} Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye be nursed, ye shall be {o} borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.

(m) I will give her happiness and prosperity in great abundance.

(n) Read Isa 60:16.

(o) You will be cherished as her dearly beloved children.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. I will extend (cf. Genesis 39:21) peace … like a river] See ch. Isaiah 48:18.

the glory of the Gentiles] the wealth of nations. Cf. ch. Isaiah 60:5, Isaiah 61:6.

borne upon the side (see on Isaiah 60:4) … the knees] So R.V. The insertion of “her” is misleading. As in Isaiah 60:4 (Isaiah 49:22) the children of Zion are represented as carried and nursed by the Gentiles.

dandled] the passive of the verb rendered “play” in ch. Isaiah 11:8; “delight” in ch. Isaiah 66:7 (R.V. marg.) is a cognate noun.

12–14. A promise of prosperity to Jerusalem and her inhabitants.Verse 12. - I will extend peace to her like a river; literally, I will direct peace to her, like a river. The waters of streams are in the East directed hither and thither by the agriculturist. God would have given his people "peace, as a river," long previously, had they permitted him (Isaiah 48:18). And the glory of the Gentiles (comp. Isaiah 60:5, 11; Isaiah 61:6, etc.). Like a flowing stream; literally, as an overflowing torrent. There is perhaps a contrast intended between the former and the latter times. In the former times Assyria had swept over Israel like an overwhelming flood to destroy her (Isaiah 8:7, 8); now the glory of the whole Gentile world should similarly overflow and overwhelm, but only to enrich and exalt. Ye shall be borne upon her sides (see the comment on Isaiah 9:4). It is Jerusalem, and not the Gentile world (Delitzsch, Cheyne), that will thus care for and caress her children. The continuance of the metaphor from ver. 11 is marked by the repetition of the verb, "ye shall suck." The city and temple, to which they desire to go, are nothing more, so far as they are concerned, than the places from which just judgment will issue. "Sound of tumult from the city! Sound from the Temple! Sound of Jehovah, who repays His enemies with punishment." All three קול, to the second of which שׁאון must be supplied in thought, are in the form of interjectional exclamations (as in Isaiah 52:8). In the third, however, we have omitted the note of admiration, because here the interjectional clause approximates very nearly to a substantive clause ("it is the sound of Jehovah"), as the person shouting announces here who is the originator and cause of the noise which was so enigmatical at first. The city and temple are indeed still lying in ruins as the prophet is speaking; but even in this state they both preserve the holiness conferred upon them. They are the places where Jehovah will take up His abode once more; and even now, at the point at which promise and fulfilment coincide, they are in the very process of rising again. A loud noise (like the tumult of war) proceeds from it. It is Jehovah, He who is enthroned in Zion and rules from thence (Isaiah 31:9), who makes Himself heard in this loud noise (compare Joel 3:16 with the derivative passage in Amos 1:2); it is He who awards punishment or reckons retribution to His foes. In other cases גּמוּל (השׁהיב) שׁלּם generally means to repay that which has been worked out (what has been deserved; e.g., Psalm 137:8, compare Isaiah 3:11); but in Isaiah 59:18 gemūl was the parallel word to chēmâh, and therefore, as in Isaiah 35:4, it did not apply to the works of men, but to the retribution of the judge, just as in Jeremiah 51:6, where it is used quite as absolutely. We have therefore rendered it "punishment;" "merited punishment" would express both sides of this double-sided word. By "His enemies," according to the context, we are to understand primarily the mass of the exiles, who were so estranged from God, and yet withal so full of demands and expectations.
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