|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
48:16-22 The Holy Spirit qualifies for service; and those may speak boldly, whom God and his Spirit send. This is to be applied to Christ. He was sent, and he had the Spirit without measure. Whom God redeems, he teaches; he teaches to profit by affliction, and then makes them partakers of his holiness. Also, by his grace he leads them in the way of duty; and by his providence he leads in the way of deliverance. God did not afflict them willingly. If their sins had not turned them away, their peace should have been always flowing and abundant. Spiritual enjoyments are ever joined with holiness of life and regard to God's will. It will make the misery of the disobedient the more painful, to think how happy they might have been. And here is assurance given of salvation out of captivity. Those whom God designs to bring home to himself, he will take care of, that they want not for their journey. This is applicable to the grace laid up for us in Jesus Christ, from whom all good flows to us, as the water to Israel out of the rock, for that Rock was Christ. The spiritual blessings of redemption, and the rescue of the church from antichristian tyranny, are here pointed to. But whatever changes take place, the Lord warned impenitent sinners that no good would come to them; that inward anguish and outward trouble, which spring from guilt and from the Divine wrath, must be their portion for ever.
Verse 19. - Thy seed also had been as the sand. Israel, at the close of the Captivity, was "a remnant" (Isaiah 37:31), a "very small remnant" (Isaiah 1:9); the ten tribes were for the most part absorbed into the heathen among whom they had been scattered; the two tribes had dwindled in number through the hardships of the Captivity, and were scarcely more than a "handful." Less than fifty thousand returned with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:64); less than two thousand males with Ezra (Ezra 8:2-20). Had Israel not been disobedient, the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would have been literally fulfilled, and the descendants of Abraham would have been millions upon millions, instead of being one or two hundred thousand. The offspring of thy bowels like the gravel thereof; rather, like the grains thereof; i.e. the grains of the sand. His name; i.e. "Israel's name." Should not have been cut off. Israel's name had not been wholly "cut off" or "destroyed." But it had been approximately "cut off." Israel was no more a people, but only a horde of slaves. The restoration to Palestine was a resurrection - the re-creation of a nation which, humanly speaking, had ceased to be.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thy seed had also been as the sand,.... Upon the sea shore, as numerous as that, as was promised to Abraham, Genesis 22:17,
and the offspring of thy bowels as the gravel thereof; that is, of the sand; the little stones that are in it, which lie in great numbers on the sea shore; the same thing expressed in different words, denoting the number of their posterity, as it would have been, had they received the Messiah, his doctrines and ordinances: it may be rendered, "and the offspring", or "those that go out of thy bowels", that spring from thee, are born of thee, "as the bowels thereof" (q), that is, of the sea; as what is within it, particularly the fishes of it, which are innumerable; and so Aben Ezra and Jarchi interpret it; and which sense is mentioned by Kimchi and Ben Melech:
his name should not have been cut off nor destroyed from before me: the name of Israel, as the Targum has it; the name of the people of the Jews is no more in the land where they dwelt; they are cut off as a nation; their city and temple are destroyed, where they appear no more before the Lord; which would not have been, had they hearkened to the Messiah, embraced his truths, and been obedient to his commands.
(q) "sicut viscera ejus", Montanus; "interiora maris"; Munster.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. sand—retaining the metaphor of "the sea" (Isa 48:18).
like the gravel thereof—rather, as the Hebrew, "like that (the offspring) of its (the sea's) bowels"; referring to the countless living creatures, fishes, &c., of the sea, rather than the gravel [Maurer]. Jerome, Chaldee, and Syriac support English Version.
his name … cut off—transition from the second person, "thy," to the third "his." Israel's name was cut off "as a nation" during the Babylonish captivity; also it is so now, to which the prophecy especially looks (Ro 11:20).
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