Isaiah 25:4 Commentaries: For You have been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; For the breath of the ruthless Is like a rain storm against a wall.
Isaiah 25:4
For you have 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. But if the old earth passes away in this manner out of the system of the universe, the punishment of God must fall at the same time both upon the princes of heaven and upon the princes of earth (the prophet does not arrange what belongs to the end of all things in a "chronotactic" manner). They are the secrets of two worlds, that are here unveiled to the apocalyptic seer of the Old Testament. "And it cometh to pass in that day, Jehovah will visit the army of the high place in the high place, and the kings of the earth on the earth. And they are imprisoned, as one imprisons captives in the pit, and shut up in prison; and in the course of many days they are visited. And the moon blushes, and the sun turns pale: for Jehovah of hosts reigns royally upon Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before His elders is glory." With this doubly expressed antithesis of mârōm and 'adâmâh (cf., Isaiah 23:17) before us, brought out as it is as sharply as possible, we cannot understand "the army of the high place" as referring to certain earthly powers (as the Targum, Luther, Calvin, and Hvernick do). Moreover, the expression itself is also opposed to such an interpretation; for, as Isaiah 24:18 clearly shows, in which mimmârom is equivalent to misshâmaim (cf., Isaiah 33:5; Isaiah 37:23; Isaiah 40:26), מרום צבא is synonymous with השּׁמים צבא; and this invariably signifies either the starry host (Isaiah 40:26) or the angelic host (1 Kings 22:19; Psalm 148:2), and occasionally the two combined, without any distinction (Nehemiah 9:6). As the moon and sun are mentioned, it might be supposed that by the "host on high" we are to understand the angelic host, as Abravanel, Umbreit, and others really do: "the stars, that have been made into idols, the shining kings of the sky, fall from their altars, and the kings of the earth from their thrones." But the very antithesis in the word "kings" (malchē) leads us to conjecture that "the host on high" refers to personal powers; and the view referred to founders on the more minute description of the visitation (pâkad ‛al, as in Isaiah 27:1, Isaiah 27:3, cf., Isaiah 26:21), "they are imprisoned," etc.; for this must also be referred to the heavenly host. The objection might indeed be urged, that the imprisonment only relates to the kings, and that the visitation of the heavenly host finds its full expression in the shaming of the moon and sun (Isaiah 24:23); but the fact that the moon and sun are thrown into the shade by the revelation of the glory of Jehovah, cannot be regarded as a judgment inflicted upon them. Hence the commentators are now pretty well agreed, that "the host on high" signifies here the angelic army. But it is self-evident, that a visitation of the angelic army cannot be merely a relative and partial one. And it is not sufficient to understand the passage as meaning the wicked angels, to the exclusion of the good. Both the context and the parallelism show that the reference must be to a penal visitation in the spiritual world, which stands in the closest connection with the history of man, and in fact with the history of the nations. Consequently the host on high will refer to the angels of the nations and kingdoms; and the prophecy here presupposes what is affirmed in Deuteronomy 32:8 (lxx), and sustained in the book of Daniel, when it speaks of a sar of Persia, Javan, and even the people of Israel. In accordance with this exposition, there is a rabbinical saying, to the effect that "God never destroys a nation without having first of all destroyed its prince," i.e., the angel who, by whatever means he first obtained possession of the nation, whether by the will of God or against His will, has exerted an ungodly influence upon it. Just as, according to the scriptural view, both good and evil angels attach themselves to particular men, and an elevated state of mind may sometimes afford a glimpse of this encircling company and this conflict of spirits; so do angels contend for the rule over nations and kingdoms, either to guide them in the way of God or to lead them astray from God; and therefore the judgment upon the nations which the prophet here foretells will be a judgment upon angels also. The kingdom of spirits has its own history running parallel to the destinies of men. What is recorded in Genesis 6 was a seduction of men by angels, and one of later occurrence than the temptation by Satan in paradise; and the seduction of nations and kingdoms by the host of heaven, which is here presupposed by the prophecy of Isaiah, is later than either.
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