Isaiah 27:12
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) The Lord shall beat off . . .—The English Version conveys scarcely any meaning. The verb used is that which we find in Isaiah 28:27 for the “beating out” of seeds from their husks, as a form of threshing. In Deuteronomy 24:20 it is used of the beating down of the olive crop. So understood, the words imply a promise, like that of Isaiah 17:6, but on a far wider scale. Instead of the gleaning of a few olives from the topmost boughs, there should be a full and abundant gathering, and yet each single olive, one by one” should receive an undivided care. Judah and Israel should once more be peopled as in the days of old, and the ideal boundaries or their territory should be restored.

The channel, or flood of the river, is the Euphrates.

The stream of Egypt.—As in Genesis 15:18, 1Kings 8:65, not the Nile, but the river which divides Palestine from Egypt, known by the Greeks as Rhinocolura, and now the Wady-el-’Arish.

Isaiah 27:12-13. It shall come to pass, &c., that the Lord shall beat off — Or, beat out: which is not meant in the way of punishment, but as an act of mercy, as is evident from the following clause of this, and of the next verse: the sense is, He shall sever, and take from among the nations, and gather together, like thrashed corn into the garner; from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt — All the Israelites that are scattered in those parts. It is a metaphor taken from thrashing, or beating out and separating the pure grain from the chaff. And ye shall be gathered one by one — Which signifies God’s exact and singular care of them. And in that day the great trumpet shall be blown — God shall summon them, as it were, by the sound of trumpet, namely, by an eminent call, or act of his providence on their behalf. He alludes to the custom of calling the Israelites together with trumpets: of which see Numbers 10:2-3. And they shall come which were in the land of Assyria — Into which the ten tribes had been carried captive; and the outcasts in the land of Egypt — Where many of the Jews were, as is manifest, both from the Scriptures and from other authors. This prediction had its first accomplishment in the restoration of the Jews from Babylon, to whom many of the Israelites from Assyria were joined, and returned with them; and to whom many from Egypt, and other parts, came and united themselves, and having rebuilt the city and temple, worshipped the Lord, as is here said, in his holy mountain at Jerusalem. But this prophecy has manifestly a further aspect, and foretels the restoration of the Jews in the latter times; when, the gospel trumpet having been blown, and the fulness of the Gentiles brought in, the Jews shall be gathered from their several dispersions, united to God’s church, numbered among his true worshippers, and probably reinstated in their own land.

27:6-13 In the days of the gospel, the latter days, the gospel church shall be more firmly fixed than the Jewish church, and shall spread further. May our souls be continually watered and kept, that we may abound in the fruits of the Spirit, in all goodness, righteousness, and truth. The Jews yet are kept a separate and a numerous people; they have not been rooted out as those who slew them. The condition of that nation, through so many ages, forms a certain proof of the Divine origin of the Scriptures; and the Jews live amongst us, a continued warning against sin. But though winds are ever so rough, ever so high, God can say to them, Peace, be still. And though God will afflict his people, yet he will make their afflictions to work for the good of their souls. According to this promise, since the captivity in Babylon, no people have shown such hatred to idols and idolatry as the Jews. And to all God's people, the design of affliction is to part between them and sin. The affliction has done us good, when we keep at a distance from the occasions of sin, and use care that we may not be tempted to it. Jerusalem had been defended by grace and the Divine protection; but when God withdrew, she was left like a wilderness. This has awfully come to pass. And this is a figure of the deplorable state of the vineyard, the church, when it brought forth wild grapes. Sinners flatter themselves they shall not be dealt with severely, because God is merciful, and is their Maker. We see how weak those pleas will be. Verses 12,13, seem to predict the restoration of the Jews after the Babylonish captivity, and their recovery from their present dispersion. This is further applicable to the preaching of the gospel, by which sinners are gathered into the grace of God; the gospel proclaims the acceptable year of the Lord. Those gathered by the sounding of the gospel trumpet, are brought in to worship God, and added to the church; and the last trumpet will gather the saints together.And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall beat off - The word which is used here (חבט châbaṭ) means properly "to beat off with a stick," as fruit from a tree Deuteronomy 20:20. It also means to beat out grain with a stick Judges 6:11; Ruth 2:17 The word which is rendered in the other member of the sentence, 'shall be gathered' (לקט lâqaṭ), is applied to the act of "collecting" fruit after it has been beaten from a tree, or grain after it has been threshed. The use of these words here shows that the image is taken from the act of collecting fruit or grain after harvest; and the expression means, that as the farmer gathers in his fruit, so God would gather in his people. In the figure, it is supposed that the garden or vineyard of Yahweh extends from the Euphrates to the Nile; that his people are scattered in all that country; that there shall be agitation or a shaking in all that region as when a farmer beats off his fruit from the tree, or beats out his grain; and that the result would be that all those scattered people would be gathered into their own land. The time referred to is, doubtless, after Babylon should be taken; and in explanation of the declaration it is to be remembered that the Jews were not only carried to Babylon, but were scattered in large numbers in all the adjacent regions. The promise here is, that from all those regions where they had been scattered they should be re-collected and restored to their own land.

From the channel of the river - The river here undoubtedly refers to the river Euphrates (see the note at Isaiah 11:15).

Unto the stream of Egypt - The Nile. "And ye shall be gathered one by one." As the farmer collects his fruits one by one - collecting them carefully, and not leaving any. This means that God will not merely collect them as a nation, but as "individuals." He will see that none is overlooked, and that all shall be brought in safety to their land.

12. Restoration of the Jews from their dispersion, described under the image of fruits shaken from trees and collected.

beat off—as fruit beaten off a tree with a stick (De 24:20), and then gathered.

river—Euphrates.

stream of Egypt—on the confines of Palestine and Egypt (Nu 34:5; Jos 15:4, 47), now Wady-el-Arish, Jehovah's vineyard, Israel, extended according to His purpose from the Nile to the Euphrates (1Ki 4:21, 24; Ps 72:8).

one by one—gathered most carefully, not merely as a nation, but as individuals.

Shall beat off; or, shall beat out; which is not meant in a way of punishment, which is rather designed by threshing, as Isaiah 21:10 25:10, than by beating; but as an act of mercy, as is evident from the following clause of this, and from the next verse. It is a metaphor from some grains which were beaten out with a rod or staff, of which see Isaiah 28:27,28, and then were carefully gathered and laid up, for the use of man.

From the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt; from Euphrates to Nilus, which were the two borders of the Land of Promise, Joshua 1:4 13:3. All the Israelites which are left in the land; which are here opposed to those of them that are dispersed into foreign parts, such as Assyria and Egypt.

Ye shall be gathered one by one; which signifies either the smallness of the remnant of that numerous people; or rather God’s exact and singular care of them, that not one of them should be lost.

And it shall come to pass in that day,.... When the song will be sung, Isaiah 27:2 when God will appear to have taken particular care of his church, and is about to bring it into a flourishing condition; when its troubles and afflictions will come to an end, with a sanctified use of them; and when the city of Rome will be destroyed, and all the antichristian powers, then will be the conversion of the Jews; for antichrist stands in the way of that work:

that the Lord shall beat off; or "beat out" (g); alluding either to the beating off of fruit from a tree, or to the beating out of grain from the ear; and signifies the separating of the Lord's people in the effectual calling from the rest of the world; as the fruit beaten off is separated from the tree, and corn beaten out is separated from the ear and chaff; for this beating off does not intend judgment, but mercy; and is done not by the rod of affliction, but by the rod of the Lord's strength sent out of Zion, even the Gospel, the power of God to salvation; which, in the ministration of it, should reach

from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt; from the river Euphrates, on the banks of which was the city of Babylon, to the river Nile in Egypt, which were the limits and boundaries of the land of Israel, Deuteronomy 11:24 and in which places many Jews (h) were, or would be, as in the following verse Isaiah 27:13. The Septuagint version is,

"from the ditch of the river to Rhinocorura;''

which, Jerom says, is a town on the borders of Egypt and Palestine. The meaning is, that the Lord would find out his people, wherever they were, in those parts, and separate and call them by his grace, and gather them to himself, and to his church and people, as follows:

and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel; as fruit is gathered up, when beaten off of the tree; and the phrase "one by one" denotes either the fewness of them, and the gradual manner in which they will be gathered; or rather, since this does not so well suit with the conversion of the Jews, which will be of a nation at once, it may signify the completeness of this work, that they shall be everyone gathered, not one shall be left or lost, but all Israel shall be saved; or it may be also expressive of the conjunction of them, and union of them one to another, in the Gospel church state, into which they shall be gathered, as fruit beaten off, and gathered up, is laid together in a storehouse. To this sense agrees the Targum,

"ye shall be brought near one to another, O ye children of Israel (i).''

(g) "excutiat", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Cocceius. (h) Ben Melech interprets the river of the river Sabation or the Sabbatical river, beyond which the Jews generally suppose the ten tribes are, and from whence they will come at the time of their restoration; and, as this writer says, will come to Egypt, and there be gathered together with their brethren, the children of this captivity, Judah and Benjamin, which are scattered in every corner, and join one another. (i) "ad unum unum", Montanus; "unus ad unum"; so some in Vatablus, Forerius.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall gather from the channel of the {m} river to the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel.

(m) He will destroy all from the Euphrates to the Nile: for some fled toward Egypt, thinking to have escaped.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. the Lord shall beat off … Egypt] Rather: Jehovah shall thresh out from the corn-ears of the River (the Euphrates) unto (those of) the brook of Egypt, i.e. all that grows between those limits. The term “beat out” is applied both to the beating of olives from the tree (Deuteronomy 24:20) and to the beating out of grain with a staff—a more careful process than the ordinary methods (Isaiah 28:27; Jdg 6:11). The latter analogy gives the best sense here. The “brook of Egypt” is the Wadi el Arish, the south-western frontier of Palestine, this and the Euphrates being the extreme boundaries of the ideal territory of Israel (Genesis 15:18, &c.). The meaning is that within this territory Jehovah will carefully separate the corn from the chaff and straw,—the true Israelites from heathens and apostates, Isaiah 27:13 then describes, under another figure, the ingathering of those who were exiled beyond these limits.

12, 13. The return from Exile,—a prophecy of the same character as ch. Isaiah 11:11-16.

Verses 12, 13. - JUDAH PROMISED RESTORATION. The general practice of Isaiah is to append to gloomy prophecies words of encouragement He does this even when heathen nations are denounced (Isaiah 18:7; Isaiah 19:18-25; Isaiah 23:17, 18); and still more when he is predicting judgments upon Israel (Isaiah 2:2-4; Isaiah 6:13; Isaiah 10:20-34; Isaiah 24:23; Isaiah 29:18-24, etc.). The encouragement in this place is a promise of return after dispersion, and of re-establishment on the "holy mount at Jerusalem" (ver. 19). Verse 12. - The Lord shall beat off; i.e. "gather in his harvest." The metaphor is taken either from the beating of olive trees to obtain the berries (see Isaiah 17:6), or from the beating out of the grain by a threshing-flail (Judges 6:11; Ruth 2:17; and below. Isaiah 28:27). Perhaps the best translation would be, The Lord shall thresh. From the channel of the river; rather, from the strong stream of the river. As usual, "the river" (hannahar) is the Euphrates (comp. Genesis 31:21; Exodus 23:31; Deuteronomy 11:24; Joshua 24:2, 3, 14, 15, etc.). Its "strong stream," or "flood," is contrasted with the scant thread of water which was alone to be found in the "Torrens AEgypti." The stream of Egypt (nachal Mizraim) is generally allowed to be the modern Wady el Arish, which was appointed to be the southern boundary of the Holy Land (Numbers 34:5; 1 Kings 8:65). The Lord would collect within these limits all that were of Israel. He would also, as appears from the next verse, subsequently overstep the limits. Isaiah 27:12But when Israel repents, the mercy of Jehovah will change all this. "And it will come to pass on that day, Jehovah will appoint a beating of corn from the water-flood of the Euphrates to the brook of Egypt, and ye will be gathered together one by one, O sons of Israel. And it will come to pass in that day, a great trumpet will be blown, and the lost ones in the land of Asshur come, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and cast themselves down before Jehovah on the holy mountain in Jerusalem." I regard every exposition of Isaiah 27:12 which supposes it to refer to the return of the captives as altogether false. The Euphrates and the brook of Egypt, i.e., the Wady el-Arish, were the north-eastern and south-western boundaries of the land of Israel, according to the original promise (Genesis 15:18; 1 Kings 8:65), and it is not stated that Jehovah will beat on the outside of these boundaries, but within them. Hence Gesenius is upon a more correct track, when he explains it as meaning that "the kingdom will be peopled again in its greatest promised extent, and that as rapidly and numerously as if men had fallen like olives from the trees." No doubt the word châbat is applied to the beating down of olives in Deuteronomy 24:20; but this figure is inapplicable here, as olives must already exist before they can be knocked down, whereas the land of Israel is to be thought of as desolate. What one expects is, that Jehovah will cause the dead to live within the whole of the broad expanse of the promised land (according to the promise in Isaiah 26:19, Isaiah 26:21). And the figure answers this expectation most clearly and most gloriously. Châbat as the word commonly applied to the knocking out of fruits with husks, which were too tender and valuable to be threshed. Such fruits, as the prophet himself affirms in Isaiah 28:27, were knocked out carefully with a stick, and would have been injured by the violence of ordinary threshing. And the great field of dead that stretched from the Euphrates to the Rhinokoloura,

(Note: Rhinokoloura (or Rhinokoroura): for the origin of this name of the Wady el-Arish, see Strabo, xvi. 2, 31.)

resembled a floor covered over with such tender, costly fruit. There true Israelites and apostate Israelites lay mixed together. But Jehovah would separate them. He would institute a beating, so that the true members of the church would come to the light of day, being separated from the false like grains sifted from their husks. "Thy dead will live;" it is to this that the prophet returns. And this view is supported by the choice of the word shibboleth, which combines in itself the meanings of "flood" (Psalm 69:3, Psalm 69:16) and "ear" (sc., of corn). This word gives a fine dilogy (compare the dilogy in Isaiah 19:18 and Habakkuk 2:7). From the "ear" of the Euphrates down to the Peninsula of Sinai, Jehovah would knock - a great heap of ears, the grains of which were to be gathered together "one by one," i.e., singly (in the most careful manner possible; Greek, καθεῖς κατη ̓ ἓνα). To this risen church there would be added the still living diaspora, gathered together by the signal of God (compare Isaiah 18:3; Isaiah 11:12). Asshur and Egypt are named as lands of banishment. They represent all the lands of exile, as in Isaiah 19:23-25 (compare Isaiah 11:11). The two names are emblematical, and therefore not to be used as proofs that the prophecy is within the range of Isaiah's horizon. Nor is there any necessity for this. It is just as certain that the cycle of prophecy in chapters 24-27 belongs to Isaiah, and not to any other prophet, as it is that there are not two men to be found in the world with faces exactly alike.

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