English Standard Version
From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.
King James Bible
For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
Darby Bible Translation
Never have men heard, nor perceived by the ear, nor hath eye seen a God beside thee, who acteth for him that waiteth for him.
World English Bible
For from of old men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen a God besides you, who works for him who waits for him.
Young's Literal Translation
Even from antiquity men have not heard, They have not given ear, Eye hath not seen a God save Thee, He doth work for those waiting for Him.
Isaiah 64:4 Parallel
CommentaryKeil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament
After the long period governed by לוּא has thus been followed by the retrospect in Isaiah 64:3 (4.), it is absolutely impossible that Isaiah 64:4 (5a) should be intended as an optative, in the sense of "O that thou wouldst receive him that," etc., as Stier and others propose. The retrospect is still continued thus: "Thou didst meet him that rejoiceth to work righteousness, when they remembered Thee in Thy ways." צדק ועשׂה שׂשׂ is one in whom joy and right action are paired, and is therefore equivalent to לעשׂות שׂשׂ. At the same time, it may possibly be more correct to take צדק as the object of both verses, as Hofmann does in the sense of "those who let what is right be their joy, and their action also;" for though שׂוּשׂ (שׂישׂ) cannot be directly construed with the accusative of the object, as we have already observed at Isaiah 8:6 and Isaiah 35:1, it may be indirectly, as in this passage and Isaiah 65:18. On pâga‛, "to come to meet," in the sense of "coming to the help of," see at Isaiah 47:3; it is here significantly interchanged with בּדרכיך of the minor clause bidrâkhekhâ yizkerūkhâ, "those who remember Thee in Thy ways" (for the syntax, compare Isaiah 1:5 and Isaiah 26:16): "When such as love and do right, walking in Thy ways, remembered Thee (i.e., thanked Thee for grace received, and longed for fresh grace), Thou camest again and again to meet them as a friend."
But Israel appeared to have been given up without hope to the wrath of this very God. Isaiah 64:4 (5b). "Behold, Thou, Thou art enraged, and we stood as sinners there; already have we been long in this state, and shall we be saved?" Instead of hēn ‛attâh (the antithesis of now and formerly), the passage proceeds with hēn 'attâh. There was no necessity for 'attâh with qâtsaphtâ; so that it is used with special emphasis: "Behold, Thou, a God who so faithfully accepts His own people, hast broken out in wrath." The following word ונּחטא cannot mean "and we have sinned," but is a fut. consec., and therefore must mean at least, "then we have sinned" (the sin inferred from the punishment). It is more correct, however, to take it, as in Genesis 43:9, in the sense of, "Then we stand as sinners, as guilty persons:" the punishment has exhibited Israel before the world, and before itself, as what it really is (consequently the fut. consec. does not express the logical inference, but the practical consequence). As ונחטא has tsakeph, and therefore the accents at any rate preclude Shelling's rendering, "and we have wandered in those ways from the very earliest times," we must take the next two clauses as independent, if indeed בהם is to be understood as referring to בדרכיך. Stier only goes halfway towards this when he renders it, "And indeed in them (the ways of God, we sinned) from of old, and should we be helped?" This is forced, and yet not in accordance with the accents. Rosenmller and Hahn quite satisfy this demand when they render it, "Tamen in viis tuis aeternitas ut salvemur;" but ‛ōlâm, αἰών, in this sense of αἰωνιότης, is not scriptural. The rendering adopted by Besser, Grotius, and Starck is a better one: "(Si vero) in illis (viis tuis) perpetuo (mansissemus), tunc servati fuerimus" (if we had continued in Thy ways, then we should have been preserved). But there is no succession of tenses here, which could warrant us in taking ונוּשׁע as a paulo-post future; and Hofmann's view is syntactically more correct, "In them (i.e., the ways of Jehovah) eternally, we shall find salvation, after the time is passed in which He has been angry and we have sinned" (or rather, been shown to be guilty). But we question the connection between בהם and רדכיך in any form. In our view the prayer suddenly takes a new turn from hēn (behold) onwards, just as it did with lū' (O that) in Isaiah 64:1; and רדכיך in Isaiah 64:5 stands at the head of a subordinate clause. Hence בהם must refer back to ונחטא קצפת ("in Thine anger and in our sins," Schegg). There is no necessity, however, to search for nouns to which to refer בּהם. It is rather to be taken as neuter, signifying "therein" (Ezekiel 33:18, cf., Psalm 90:10), like עליהם, thereupon equals thereby (Isaiah 38:16), בּהן therein (Isaiah 37:16), מהם thereout (Isaiah 30:6), therefrom (Isaiah 44:15). The idea suggested by such expressions as these is no doubt that of plurality (here a plurality of manifestations of wrath and of sins), but one which vanishes into the neuter idea of totality. Now we do justice both to the clause without a verb, which, being a logical copula, admits simply of a present sumus; and also to ‛ōlâm, which is the accusative of duration, when we explain the sentence as meaning, "In this state we are and have been for a long time." ‛Olâm is used in other instances in these prophecies to denote the long continuance of the sate of punishment (see Isaiah 42:14; Isaiah 57:11), since it appeared to the exiles as an eternity (a whole aeon), and what lay beyond it as but a little while (mits‛âr, Isaiah 63:18). The following word ונוּשׁע needs no correction. There is no necessity to change it into ונּתע, as Ewald proposes, after the lxx καὶ ἐπλανήθημεν ("and we fell into wandering"), or what would correspond still more closely to the lxx (cf., Isaiah 46:8, פשׁעים, lxx πεπλανήμενοι), but is less appropriate here, into ונּפשׁע ("and we fell into apostasy"), the reading supported by Lowth and others. If it were necessary to alter the text at all, we might simply transpose the letters, and read וּנשׁוּע, "and cried for help." But if we take it as a question, "And shall we experience salvation - find help?" there is nothing grammatically inadmissible in this (compare Isaiah 28:28), and psychologically it is commended by the state of mind depicted in Isaiah 40:27; Isaiah 59:10-12. Moreover, what follows attaches itself quite naturally to this.
Library"Seek First the Kingdom of God," &C.
Matt. vi. 33.--"Seek first the kingdom of God," &c. It may seem strange, that when so great things are allowed, and so small things are denied, that we do not seek them. The kingdom of God and his righteousness are great things indeed, great not only in themselves, but greater in comparison of us. The things of this world, even great events, are but poor, petty, and inconsiderable matters, when compared with these. Yet he graciously allows a larger measure of these great things relating to his kingdom …
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning
The Lack of Prayer
Meditations on the Hindrances which Keep Back a Sinner from the Practice of Piety.
"But Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God," &C.
1 Corinthians 2:9
But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"--
Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!
It will be said on that day, "Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation."
Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her children.
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