|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:4-8 Israel seeks God's face, and they shall not seek it in vain. His anger is turned from them. Whom God loves, he loves freely; not because they deserve it, but of his own good pleasure. God will be to them all they need. The graces of the Spirit are the hidden manna, hidden in the dew; the grace thus freely bestowed on them shall not be in vain. They shall grow upward, and be more flourishing; shall grow as the lily. The lily, when come to its height, is a lovely flower, Mt 6:28,29. They shall grow downward, and be more firm. With the flower of the lily shall be the strong root of the cedar of Lebanon. Spiritual growth consists most in the growth of the root, which is out of sight. They shall also spread as the vine, whose branches extend very widely. When believers abound in good works, then their branches spread. They shall be acceptable both to God and man. Holiness is the beauty of a soul. The church is compared to the vine and the olive, which bring forth useful fruits. God's promises pertain to those only that attend on his ordinances; not such as flee to this shadow only for shelter in a hot gleam, but all who dwell under it. When a man is brought to God, all who dwell under his shadow fare the better. The sanctifying fruits shall appear in his life. Thus believers grow up into the experience and fruitfulness of the gospel. Ephraim shall say, God will put it into his heart to say it, What have I to do any more with idols! God's promises to us are more our security and our strength for mortifying sin, than our promises to God. See the power of Divine grace. God will work such a change in him, that he shall loathe the idols as much as ever he loved them. See the benefit of sanctified afflictions. Ephraim smarted for his idolatry, and this is the fruit, even the taking away his sin, Isa 27:9. See the nature of repentance; it is a firm and fixed resolution to have no more to do with sin. The Lord meets penitents with mercy, as the father of the prodigal met his returning son. God will be to all true converts both a delight and a defence; they shall sit under his shadow with delight. And as the root of a tree; From me is thy fruit found: from Him we receive grace and strength to enable us to do our duty.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I will be as the dew unto Israel,.... To spiritual Israel, to those that return to the Lord, take with them words, and pray unto him, whose backslidings are healed, and they are freely loved; otherwise it is said of apostate Israel or Ephraim, that they were "smitten, and their root dried up, and bore no fruit", Hosea 9:16. These words, and the whole, context, respect future times, as Kimchi observes; even the conversion of Israel in the latter day, when they shall partake of all the blessings of grace, signified by the metaphors used in this and the following verses. These words are a continuation of the answer to the petitions put into the mouths of converted ones, promising them many favours, expressed in figurative terms; and first by "the dew", which comes from heaven, is a great blessing of God, and is quickening, very refreshing and fruitful to the earth: and the Lord is that unto his people as the dew is to herbs, plants, and trees of the earth; he is like unto it in his free love and layout, and the discoveries of it to them; which, like the dew, is of and from himself alone; is an invaluable blessing; better than life itself; and is not only the cause of quickening dead sinners, but of reviving, cheering, and refreshing the drooping spirits of his people; and is abundance, never fails, but always continues, Proverbs 19:12; and so he is in the blessings of his grace, and the application of them; which are in heavenly places, in Christ, and come down from thence, and in great abundance, like the drops of dew; and fall silently, insensibly, and unawares, particularly regenerating grace; and are very cheering and exhilarating, as forgiveness of sin, a justifying righteousness, adoption, &c. Deuteronomy 33:13; and also in the Gospel, and the doctrines of it, which distil as dew; these are of God, and come down from heaven; seem little in themselves, but of great importance to the conversion of sinners, and comfort of saints; bring many blessings in them, and cause great joy and fruitfulness wherever they come with power, Deuteronomy 32:2. The Targum is,
"my Word shall be as dew to Israel;''
the essential Word of God, the Messiah; of whose incarnation of a virgin some interpret this; having, like the dew, no father but God, either in his divine or human nature; but rather it is to be understood of the blessings of grace he is to his people as Mediator; being to them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, and every other, even their all it, all:
he shall grow as the lily; to which the church and people of God are sometimes compared, especially for their beauty and comeliness in Christ, Solomon in all his glory not being arrayed like one of these; particularly for their unspotted purity, being clothed with fine linen, clean and white, the white raiment of Christ's righteousness, and having their garments washed and made white in his blood; see Sol 2:1; and here for its growth. The root of the lily lies buried in the earth a long time, when it seems as if it was dead; but on a sudden it springs out of the earth, and runs up to a great height, and becomes very flourishing; which is not owing to itself, it "toils not"; but to the dew of heaven: so God's elect in a state of nature are dead, but, being quickened by the grace of God, spring up on a sudden, and grow very fast; which is not owing to themselves, but to the dews of divine grace, the bright shining of the sun of righteousness upon them, and to the influences of the blessed Spirit; and so they grow up on high, into their Head Christ Jesus, and rise up in their affections, desires, faith and hope to heavenly things, to the high calling of God in Christ, and become fruitful in grace, and in good works. The Targum is,
"they shall shine as the lily;''
see Matthew 6:29;
and cast forth his roots as Lebanon; as the tree, or trees, of Lebanon, as the Targum; and so Kimchi, who adds, which are large, and their roots many; or as the roots of the trees of Lebanon, so Jarchi; like the cedars there, which, as the word here used signifies, "struck" (c) their roots firm in that mountain, and stood strong and stable, let what winds and tempests soever blow: thus, as in the following, what one metaphor is deficient in, another makes up. The lily has but a weak root, and is easily up; but the cedars in Lebanon had roots firm and strong, to which the saints are sometimes compared, as here; see Psalm 92:12; and this denotes their permanency and final perseverance; who are rooted in the love of God, which is like a root underground from all eternity, and sprouts forth in regeneration, and is the source of all grace; is itself immovable, and in it the people of God are secured, and can never be rooted out; and they may be said to "strike" their roots in it, as the phrase here, when they exercise: a strong faith in it, and are firmly persuaded of their interest in it; see Ephesians 3:17; they are also rooted in Christ, who is the root of Jesse, of David, and of all the saints; from whom they have their life, their nourishment and fruitfulness, and where they remain unmoved, and strike their roots in him, by renewed acts of faith on him, claiming their interest in him; and are herein so strongly rooted and grounded, that all the winds and storms of sin, Satan, and the world, cannot eradicate them; nay, as trees are more firmly rooted by being shaken, so are they; see Colossians 2:7. The Targum is,
"they shall dwell in the strength of their land, as a tree of Lebanon, which sends forth its branch.''
(c) "percutiet", Montanus, Tarnovius, Rivet, Cocceius; "figet", Calvin, Pareus; "defiget"; Zanchius; "et infiget", Schmidt; "incutiet", Drusius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. as the dew—which falls copiously in the East, taking the place of the more frequent rains in other regions. God will not be "as the early dew that goeth away," but constant (Ho 6:3, 4; Job 29:19; Pr 19:12).
the lily—No plant is more productive than the lily, one root often producing fifty bulbs [Pliny, Natural History, 21.5]. The common lily is white, consisting of six leaves opening like bells. The royal lily grows to the height of three or four feet; Mt 6:29 alludes to the beauty of its flowers.
roots as Lebanon—that is, as the trees of Lebanon (especially the cedars), which cast down their roots as deeply as is their height upwards; so that they are immovable [Jerome], (Isa 10:34). Spiritual growth consists most in the growth of the root which is out of sight.
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