|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
28:23-29 The husbandman applies to his calling with pains and prudence, in all the works of it according to their nature. Thus the Lord, who has given men this wisdom, is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in his working. As the occasion requires, he threatens, corrects, spares, shows mercy, or executes vengeance. Afflictions are God's threshing instruments, to loosen us from the world, to part between us and our chaff, and to prepare us for use. God will proportion them to our strength; they shall be no heavier than there is need. When his end is answered, the trials and sufferings of his people shall cease; his wheat shall be gathered into the garner, but the chaff shall be burned with unquenchable fire.
Verses 23-29. - A PARABLE TO COMFORT BELIEVERS. Isaiah is always careful to intermingle promises with his threats, comfort with his denunciations. Like his great Master, of whom he prophesied, he was fain not to "break the bruised reed" or "quench the smoking flax." When he had searched men's wounds with the probe, he was careful to pour in oil and wine. So now, having denounced the sinners of Judah through three long paragraphs (vers. 7-22), he has a word of consolation and encouragement for the better disposed, whose hearts he hopes to have touched and stirred by his warning. This consolation he puts in a parabolic form, leaving it to their spiritual insight to discover the meaning. Verse 23. - Give ye ear (comp. Psalm 49:1; Psalm 78:1). A preface of this kind, enjoining special attention and thought, was appropriate to occasions when instruction was couched in a parabolic form.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Give ye ear, and hear my voice,.... So said the prophet, as the Targum introduces the words; and because what he was about to say was of importance, and delivered in a parabolical manner, and required attention, he makes use of a variety of words to the same purpose, to engage their attention:
hearken, and hear my speech; now about to be made; listen to it, and get the understanding of it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
23. Calling attention to the following illustration from husbandry (Ps 49:1, 2). As the husbandman does his different kinds of work, each in its right time and due proportion, so God adapts His measures to the varying exigencies of the several cases: now mercy, now judgments; now punishing sooner, now later (an answer to the scoff that His judgments, being put off so long, would never come at all, Isa 5:19); His object being not to destroy His people any more than the farmer's object in threshing is to destroy his crop; this vindicates God's "strange work" (Isa 28:21) in punishing His people. Compare the same image, Jer 24:6; Ho 2:23; Mt 3:12.
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