Isaiah 66:13
As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) One whom his mother comforteth . . .—The image of maternal love, with which the prophet’s mind is full, is presented in yet another aspect. The love which Zion gives, the love which her children receive from the nations, are both but shadows of the infinite tenderness of Jehovah. In this instance the object of the mother’s love that comforts is not the child at the breast, but the full-grown man, returning, like the prodigal, to his home after long years of exile. The words are characteristic at once of the special tie which unites the son to the mother, almost more than to the father, in most Eastern nations, and, perhaps also, of the prophet’s personal memories of his own mother’s love.

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.As one whom his mother comforteth - See the notes at Isaiah 49:15, where the same image occurs. 13. mother—(Isa 49:15).

comforteth—(Isa 40:1, 2).

That is, in the most tender and compassionating way imaginable; the husband doth not comfort his wife with that tenderness and those bowels that the mother comforteth the child after it hath received some fall or mischief. Jerusalem now mourneth, and you mourn with her; but she shall recover from her affliction and from her sorrows, and shall be comforted; and you that mourn for her shall partake of her joys, as you now share with her in her afflictions; God, in the day that he wipeth tears from her eyes, shall also wipe them from yours; and you shall have as great an occasion of joy from the happy, as now you have of sorrow from the afflicted, state of Jerusalem. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you,.... Though ordinances are means, and ministers are instruments of comfort, God is the sole efficient cause of it; and very wonderful it is that he should condescend to administer it, since he is an immense and infinite Being, the high and lofty One, possessed of all perfections, and yet deigns to revive the spirit of the humble and contrite; since he is the Maker of heaven and earth, and all things, and those he comforts are dust and ashes; and especially since they have sinned against him, and rendered themselves abominable to him; and moreover, seeing he is so strictly just and righteous, and they also continually guilty of backslidings and revoltings from him: and yet there are many things which confirm that he will comfort them, as he here declares; since he has loved them with an everlasting love, insomuch as to give his Son for them, and to quicken them when dead in sin; and seeing he has taken them into covenant with himself, and is their covenant God and Father; and, besides, has promised to do it, who never fails, and who is able, being God all sufficient. The Targum is,

"my Word shall comfort you;''

his essential Word Christ, the consolation of Israel, from whom all true and solid comforts flow; or the written word, read or heard, and especially as applied by the Spirit of God, who is another Comforter, and whose consolations the people of God walk in, nor are they small. Now the manner in which the Lord comforts the saints, especially young converts, is the most kind, tender, and affectionate; as a tender hearted mother comforts her child; when it has fallen and hurt itself, and cries, she takes it up in her arms, hugs it in her bosom, and speaks comfortably to it, to still and quiet it. The children of God often fall into sin, and hurt themselves, their peace and joy, break their bones, and lose the enjoyment of God; when, being sensible of their evils, they roar as David did, and weep bitterly as Peter; then the Lord speaks comfortably unto them, and bids them be of good cheer, for their sins are forgiven them. Or as, when a mother has an afflicted child more so than the rest, her heart yearns most after it, and she does all she can to comfort it. The people of God are an afflicted people, and their afflictions are grievous and painful; and they cry to God in their distress, who pities them, visits them, looks upon their afflictions, grants them his presence, supplies them with his grace, supports with his everlasting arms, makes their bed for them, and comforts them in all their tribulations. Or as, when a child behaves ill, the mother looks shy at it, and carries herself at a distance; which being observed, the child takes it to heart, and then that affects her, and she returns to it, and comforts it: thus, for faults committed, the Lord hides himself from his people, which grieves and troubles them; and then he gathers them to himself with great mercies, and with lovingkindness has mercy on them; and having also chastised them for their sins; and hearing them bemoaning themselves, his heart is moved towards them, and he restores comforts to them, to their mourning souls; see Isaiah 49:14, it is in the original, "as a man whom his mother comforteth" (a); for mothers have a tender regard to their sons when grown up to men's estate; and all the things above mentioned may befall the people of God, when they are become young men, yea, fathers: and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem; nothing shall hinder comfort when God speaks it, or resolves to give it; not Satan, and all his temptations; the world, and all its afflictions; nor all their sins and transgressions, and the sense they have of them; nor all their unbelief, by reason of which sometimes they refuse to be comforted; but when it is the will of God they should, a tide of comfort flows in, that overpowers all: and this is often done in Jerusalem, in the church, where the Lord grants his presence, and commands his blessings; where his word is preached unto consolation, and the ordinances, those breasts of consolation, are ministered and held forth; though this is said not to the exclusion of other places, where the Lord may meet his people and comfort them, in their own houses, in their closets, in their shops, in rising up and lying down, in going out and coming in.

(a) "sicut vir quem mater sua consolatur", Pagninus; "consolabitur eum", Montanus.

As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. A still finer image, “the grown man coming back with wounds and weariness upon him to be comforted of his mother” (G. A. Smith).Verse 13. - As one; literally, as a man. Israel is now looked upon as grown up, and receiving comfort from God himself in Jerusalem. All of these fall victims to the judgment; and yet Zion is not left either childless or without population. "Before she travailed she brought forth; before pains came upon her, she was delivered of a boy. Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen anything like it? Are men delivered of a land in one day? or is a nation begotten at once? For Zion hath travailed, yea, hath brought forth her children. Should I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith Jehovah: or should I, who cause to bring forth, shut it? saith thy God." Before Zion travaileth, before any labour pains come upon her (chēbhel with tzere), she has already given birth, or brought with ease into the world a male child (hı̄mlit like millēt, in Isaiah 34:15, to cause to glide out). This boy, of whom she is delivered with such marvellous rapidity, is a whole land full of men, an entire nation. The seer exclaims with amazement, like Zion herself in Isaiah 49:21, "who hath heard such a thing, or seen anything like it? is a land brought to the birth (hăyūchal followed by 'erets for hăthūchal, as in Genesis 13:6; Isaiah 9:18; Ges. 147), i.e., the population of a whole land (as in Judges 18:30), and that in one day, or a nation born all at once (yivvâlēd, with munach attached to the kametz, and metheg to the tzere)? This unheard-of event has taken place now, for Zion has travailed, yea, has also brought forth her children," - not one child, but her children, a whole people that calls her mother.

(Note: There is a certain similarity in the saying, with which a talmudic teacher roused up the sleepy scholars of the Beth ha-Midrash: "There was once a woman, who was delivered of 600,000 children in one day," viz., Jochebed, who, when she gave birth to Moses, brought 600,000 to the light of freedom (Exodus 12:37).)

"For" (kı̄) presupposes the suppressed thought, that this unexampled event has now occurred: yâledâh follows châlâh with gam, because chı̄l signifies strictly parturire; yâl, parere. Zion, the mother, is no other than the woman of the sun in Revelation 12; but the child born of her there is the shepherd of the nations, who proceeds from her at the end of the days, whereas here it is the new Israel of the last days; for the church, which is saved through all her tribulations, is both the mother of the Lord, by whom Babel is overthrown, and the mother of that Israel which inherits the promises, that the unbelieving mass have failed to obtain. Isaiah 66:9 follows with an emphatic confirmation of the things promised. Jehovah inquires: "Should I create the delivery (cause the child to break through the matrix) and not the birth (both hiphil, causative), so that although the child makes an effort to pass the opening of the womb, it never comes to the light of day? Or should I be one to bring it to the birth, and then to have closed, viz., the womb, so that the word of bringing forth should remain ineffectual, when all that is required is the last effort to bring to the light the fruit of the womb?" From the expression "thy God," we see that the questions are addressed to Zion, whose faith they are intended to strengthen. According to Hofmann (Schriftbeweis, ii. 1, 149, 150), the future יאמר affirms what Jehovah will say, when the time for bringing forth arrives, and the perfect אמר what He is saying now: "Should I who create the bringing forth have shut up?" And He comforts the now barren daughter Zion (Isaiah 54:1) with the assurance, that her barrenness is not meant to continue for ever. "The prediction," says Hofmann, "which is contained in ה יאמר, of the ultimate issue of the fate of Zion, is so far connected with the consolation administered for the time present, that she who is barren now is exhorted to anticipate the time when the former promise shall be fulfilled." But this change in the standpoint is artificial, and contrary to the general use of the expression ה יאמר elsewhere (see at Isaiah 40:1). Moreover, the meaning of the two clauses, which constitute here as elsewhere a disjunctive double question in form more than in sense, really runs into one. The first member affirms that Jehovah will complete the bringing to the birth; the second, that He will not ultimately frustrate what He has almost brought to completion: an ego sum is qui parere faciat et (uterum) occluserim (occludam)? There is no other difference between יאמר and אמר, than that the former signifies the word of God which is sounding at the present moment, the latter the word that has been uttered and is resounding still. The prophetic announcement of our prophet has advanced so far, that the promised future is before the door. The church of the future is already like the fruit of the body ripe for the birth, and about to separate itself from the womb of Zion, which has been barren until now. The God by whom everything has been already so far prepared, will suddenly cause Zion to become a mother - a boy, viz., a whole people after Jehovah's own heart, will suddenly lie in her lap, and this new-born Israel, not the corrupt mass, will build a temple for Jehovah.

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