Isaiah 25:4
For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.
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(4) Thou hast been a strength . . .—Literally, a fortress. The fierceness of the oppressor is represented by the intolerable heat, and the fierce tornado of an eastern storm, dashing against the wall, threatening it with destruction. From that storm the faithful servants of the Lord should find shelter as in the castle of the great King.

25:1-5 However this might show the deliverance of the Jews out of captivity, it looked further, to the praises that should be offered up to God for Christ's victories over our spiritual enemies, and the comforts he has provided for all believers. True faith simply credits the Lord's testimony, and relies on his truth to perform his promises. As God weakens the strong who are proud and secure, so he strengthens the weak that are humble, and stay themselves upon him. God protects his people in all weathers. The Lord shelters those who trust in him from the insolence of oppressors. Their insolence is but the noise of strangers; it is like the heat of the sun scorching in the middle of the day; but where is it when the sun is set? The Lord ever was, and ever will be, the Refuge of distressed believers. Having provided them a shelter, he teaches them to flee unto it.For thou hast been a strength to the poor - Thou hast sustained and upheld them in their trials, and hast delivered them. God is often spoken of as the strength of his people. Isaiah 26:4 : 'In the Lord Yahweh is everlasting strength.' Psalm 27:1 : 'The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?' Psalm 28:8; Psalm 29:11; Psalm 31:2; Psalm 46:1; Isaiah 45:24. By the 'poor' and the 'needy' here undoubtedly are mean; the captive Jews who had been stripped of their wealth, and carried from their homes, and confined in Babylon.

A refuge - A place of safety; a retreat; a protection. God is often spoken of as such a refuge; Deuteronomy 33:27 : 'The eternal God is thy refuge.' 2 Samuel 22:3; Psalm 9:9; Psalm 14:6; Psalm 46:1, Psalm 46:7, Psalm 46:11; Psalm 57:1; Psalm 59:16)

From the storm - This word (זרם zerem) usually denotes a tempest of wind and rain. Here it is put for calamity and affliction. The figure is common in all languages.

A shadow from the heat - (See Isaiah 4:6, note; Isaiah 16:3, note; compare Isaiah 32:2.)

When the blast of the terrible ones - Of the fierce, mighty, invading enemies. When they sweep down all before them as a furious tempest does.

Is as a storm against the wall - For 'wall' here (קיר qiyr), Lowth proposes to read קוּר qûr, from קרר qârar, to be cold or cool, and supposes that this means a winters storm. In this interpretation also Vitringa and Cappellus coincide. But there is no need of supposing an error in the text. The idea is, probably, that of a fierce driving storm that would prostrate walls and houses; meaning a violent tempest, and intending to describe in a striking manner the severity of the calamities that had come upon the nation.

4. the poor … needy—the Jews, exiles from their country (Isa 26:6; 41:17).

heat—calamity (Isa 4:6; 32:2).

blast—that is, wrath.

storm—a tempest of rain, a winter flood, rushing against and overthrowing the wall of a house.

For thou hast been a strength to the poor, & c.; for thou hast defended thy poor and helpless people against the fiercest assaults of their enemies.

When the blast of the terrible one is as a storm against the wall; or, for (as this particle commonly signifies; or rather, therefore, as it is frequently used, because thou art their defender)

the blast of the terrible, or strong, or violent one, was like a storm (of hail, or rain, or wind) against a wall, which makes a great and terrible noise, but without any effect, for the wall stands firm in spite of it. It is probable the prophet in these words had a special respect to that miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem from the rage and attempt of Sennacherib; although the words be general, and include other deliverances of a like nature.

For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress,.... The people of God, who are poor and needy, both in a literal and in a spiritual sense; and especially when under afflicted circumstances, in times of desertion, temptation, bodily affliction, and persecution from men, which may be here chiefly intended; to whom the Lord is a strength: he strengthens their hearts, and his own grace in them; he sheds abroad his love in their hearts, which makes their mountain to stand strong; he directs them to Christ, in whom is strength, as well as righteousness; he strengthens them by his Spirit, his promises, word, and ordinances. Christ may be more especially meant; and it may refer to the strength and power he will give to his people in the latter day; when a small one shall be a strong nation; when the feeble shall be as David, and the house of David as the angel of the Lord; when they shall have got the victory over the beast, his mark and image, Isaiah 60:21,

a refuge from the storm; or tempestuous rain, or overflowing flood; as Christ is a refuge from the tempest and storm of divine wrath and vengeance, by his satisfaction and righteousness, Isaiah 32:2 so from the flood of persecution, by his power and providence, Revelation 12:15,

a shadow from the heat; which gives refreshment and rest, and is a protection from the scorching beams of the sun. Christ, as he is the shadow from the heat of a fiery law, from the flaming sword of justice, from the wrath of God, and the fiery darts of Satan's temptations; so from the violence of persecution, which heat shall now be no more, antichrist being destroyed, Revelation 7:15,

when blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall; these terrible ones are either Satan and his principalities, who are very terrible to the Lord's people; and whose temptations are like a strong wind, which beat against them as against a wall, but they stand, the Lord being their strength, refuge, and shadow; see Isaiah 49:24 or rather antichrist and his persecuting princes, the kings of the earth, that have joined him, and persecuted the saints, and have been terrible to them; and whose persecutions have been like a blustering strong wind, threatening to carry all before them; but the Lord has been their protection, and made them to stand as a wall, firm and immovable, against them. The Targum is,

"so the words of the wicked are to the righteous, as a storm that dasheth against a wall.''

For thou hast been a defence to the poor, a defence to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat, when the blast {e} of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.

(e) The rage of the wicked is furious, till God breaks the force of it.

4, 5. Its happy consequences nor Israel. The “for” may refer back to Isaiah 25:1 or to Isaiah 25:3; in either case the judgment on the oppressive city is regarded as a signal proof of Jehovah’s protecting care over His people.

For strength render stronghold, as in R.V.

when the blast … wall] Lit., “for the blast of the terrible ones is as rain of a wall.” The construction is too condensed to be natural. A better rendering would be “as rain of winter” (reading qôr for qîr). But the whole clause is justly suspected by some critics of being a gloss, on account of its prosaic character, and its doubtful appropriateness in the context.

Verse 4. - The poor... the needy. The "poor and needy" are especially the afflicted saints, whom the ungodly of the earth have so long injured and oppressed. God is ever a "Strength" and "Refuge" to such (comp. Isaiah 14:30; Isaiah 29:19; and see also Psalm 72:12-14). A Refuge from the storm (comp. Isaiah 4:6; and the Psalms passim). A Shadow from the heat. The idea is a little enlarged in Isaiah 32:2. Its germ is, perhaps, to be found in Psalm 121:5, 6. No writer accumulates striking images with such force and beauty as Isaiah. Primarily, the entire imagery has reference to what God will have done for his people when the final consummation arrives. Secondarily, a precious encouragement is held out to all who are undergoing their earthly trial and probation, who are taught where to look for a sure refuge in time of trouble. Isaiah 25:4The first echo is Isaiah 25:1-8, or more precisely Isaiah 25:1-5. The prophet, whom we already know as a psalmist from Isaiah 12:1-6, now acts as choral leader of the church of the future, and praises Jehovah for having destroyed the mighty imperial city, and proved Himself a defence and shield against its tyranny towards His oppressed church. "Jehovah, Thou art my God; I will exalt Thee, I will praise Thy name, that Thou hast wrought wonders, counsels from afar, sincerity, truth. For Thou hast turned it from a city into a heap of stones, the steep castle into a ruin; the palace of the barbarians from being a city, to be rebuilt no more for ever. Therefore a wild people will honour Thee, cities of violent nations fear Thee. For Thou provedst Thyself a stronghold to the lowly, a stronghold to the poor in his distress, as a shelter from the storm of rain, as a shadow from the burning of the sun; for the blast of violent ones was like a storm of rain against a wall. Like the burning of the sun in a parched land, Thou subduest the noise of the barbarians; (like) the burning of the sun through the shadow of a cloud, the triumphal song of violent ones was brought low." The introductory clause is to be understood as in Psalm 118:28 : Jehovah (voc.), my God art Thou. "Thou hast wrought wonders:" this is taken from Exodus 15:11 (as in Psalm 77:15; Psalm 78:12; like Isaiah 12:2, from Exodus 15:2). The wonders which are now actually wrought are "counsels from afar" (mērâcōk), counsels already adopted afar off, i.e., long before, thoughts of God belonging to the olden time; the same ideal view as in Isaiah 22:11; Isaiah 37:26 (a parallel which coincides with our passage on every side), and, in fact, throughout the whole of the second part. It is the manifold "counsel" of the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 5:19; Isaiah 14:24-27; Isaiah 19:12, Isaiah 19:17; Isaiah 23:8; Isaiah 28:29) which displays its wonders in the events of time. To the verb עשׂית we have also a second and third object, viz., אמן אמוּנה. It is a common custom with Isaiah to place derivatives of the same word side by side, for the purpose of giving the greatest possible emphasis to the idea (Isaiah 3:1; Isaiah 16:6). אמוּנה indicates a quality, אמן in actual fact. What He has executed is the realization of His faithfulness, and the reality of His promises. The imperial city is destroyed. Jehovah, as the first clause which is defined by tzakeph affirms, has removed it away from the nature of a city into the condition of a heap of stones. The sentence has its object within itself, and merely gives prominence to the change that has been effected; the Lamed is used in the same sense as in Isaiah 23:13 (cf., Isaiah 37:26); the min, as in Isaiah 7:8; Isaiah 17:1; Isaiah 23:1; Isaiah 24:10. Mappēlâh, with kametz or tzere before the tone, is a word that can only be accredited from the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 17:1; Isaiah 23:13). עיר, קריה, and אמרון are common parallel words in Isaiah (Isaiah 1:26; Isaiah 22:2; Isaiah 32:13-14); and zârim, as in Isaiah 1:7 and Isaiah 29:5, is the most general epithet for the enemies of the people of God. The fall of the imperial kingdom is followed by the conversion of the heathen; the songs proceed from the mouths of the remotest nations. Isaiah 25:3 runs parallel with Revelation 15:3-4. Nations hitherto rude and passionate now submit to Jehovah with decorous reverence, and those that were previously oppressive (‛arı̄tzim, as in Isaiah 13:11, in form like pârı̄tzim, shâlı̄shı̄m) with humble fear. The cause of this conversion of the heathen is the one thus briefly indicated in the Apocalypse, "for thy judgments are made manifest" (Revelation 15:4). דּל and אביון (cf., Isaiah 14:30; Isaiah 29:19) are names well known from the Psalms, as applying to the church when oppressed. To this church, in the distress which she had endured (לו בּצּר, as in Isaiah 26:16; Isaiah 63:9, cf., Isaiah 33:2), Jehovah had proved Himself a strong castle (mâ'ōz; on the expression, compare Isaiah 30:3), a shelter from storm and a shade from heat (for the figures, compare Isaiah 4:6; Isaiah 32:2; Isaiah 16:3), so that the blast of the tyrants (compare ruach on Isaiah 30:28; Isaiah 33:11, Psalm 76:13) was like a wall-storm, i.e., a storm striking against a wall (compare Isaiah 9:3, a shoulder-stick, i.e., a stick which strikes the shoulder), sounding against it and bursting upon it without being able to wash it away (Isaiah 28:17; Psalm 62:4), because it was the wall of a strong castle, and this strong castle was Jehovah Himself. As Jehovah can suddenly subdue the heat of the sun in dryness (tzâyōn, abstract for concrete, as in Isaiah 32:2, equivalent to dry land, Isaiah 41:18), and it must give way when He brings up a shady thicket (Jeremiah 4:29), namely of clouds (Exodus 19:9; Psalm 18:12), so did He suddenly subdue the thundering (shâ'on, as in Isaiah 17:12) of the hordes that stormed against His people; and the song of triumph (zâmı̄r, only met with again in Sol 2:12) of the tyrants, which passed over the world like a scorching heat, was soon "brought low" (‛ânâh, in its neuter radical signification "to bend," related to כּנע, as in Isaiah 31:4).
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