Isaiah 27:4
Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together.
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(4) Fury is not in me.—Better, There is no wrath in me. Who will set briars and thorns before me? With war will I go forth against them; I will burn them up together. The reversal of the sentence is continued. Wrath against this vineyard has passed away from Jehovah. Should briars and thorns (symbols of the enemies of His people, as in Isaiah 9:18; Isaiah 10:17; 2Samuel 23:6-7; Ezekiel 2:6) spring up, he will do battle against them, and consume them utterly.

Isaiah 27:4-5. Fury is not in me — Namely, against my vineyard or my people; I have been displeased with them, and have chastized them, but I am not implacable toward them, and resolved utterly to destroy them, as their enemies are. Who would set the briers and thorns against me, &c. — Yet if any hypocrite in the church, false professor, or wilful sinner, shall offer to contend with me, he shall feel the effects of my fury. Or, more largely, thus: “Though fury doth not belong to me, and vengeance be called my strange work, (Isaiah 28:21,) yet if the briers and thorns, that is, the wicked and incorrigible, bid defiance to me, they will find I shall soon destroy and consume them like fire.” Or let him take hold of my strength, &c. — Rather, let such a one return to me, and make his peace with me, by unfeigned repentance and living faith, and he shall make peace with me — For I am always ready to receive returning sinners, and to pardon the truly penitent, who have recourse to me for mercy and salvation.

27:1-5 The Lord Jesus with his strong sword, the virtue of his death, and the preaching of his gospel, does and will destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, that old serpent. The world is a fruitless, worthless wilderness; but the church is a vineyard, a place that has great care taken of it, and from which precious fruits are gathered. God will keep it in the night of affliction and persecution, and in the day of peace and prosperity, the temptations of which are not less dangerous. God also takes care of the fruitfulness of this vineyard. We need the continual waterings of Divine grace; if these be at any time withdrawn, we wither, and come to nothing. Though God sometimes contends with his people, yet he graciously waits to be reconciled unto them. It is true, when he finds briers and thorns instead of vines, and they are set in array against him, he will tread them down and burn them. Here is a summary of the doctrine of the gospel, with which the church is to be watered every moment. Ever since sin first entered, there has been, on God's part, a righteous quarrel, but, on man's part, most unrighteous. Here is a gracious invitation given. Pardoning mercy is called the power of our Lord; let us take hold on that. Christ crucified is the power of God. Let us by lively faith take hold on his strength who is a strength to the needy, believing there is no other name by which we can be saved, as a man that is sinking catches hold of a bough, or cord, or plank, that is in his reach. This is the only way, and it is a sure way, to be saved. God is willing to be reconciled to us.Fury is not in me - That is, I am angry with it no more. He had punished his people by removing them to a distant land. But although he had corrected them for their faults, yet he had not laid aside the affection of a Father.

Who would set - Hebrew, 'Who would give me.' The Septuagint renders this, 'Who would place me to keep the stubble in the field?' Great perplexity has been felt in regard to the interpretation of this passage. Lowth translates it:

'O that I had a fence of the thorn and the brier;'

evidently showing that he was embarrassed with it, and could not make of it consistent sense. The whole sentence must refer either to the people of God, or to his enemies. If to his people, it would be an indication that they were like briers and thorns, and that if his fury should rage they would be consumed, and hence, he calls upon them Isaiah 27:5 to seize upon his strength, and to be at peace with him. If it refers to his enemies, then it expresses a wish that his enemies were in his possession; or a purpose to go against them, as fire among thorns, and to consume them if they should presume to array themselves against his vineyard. This latter I take to be the true sense of the passage. The phrase 'who would set me,' or in Hebrew, 'who will give me,' may be expressed by "utinam," indicating strong desire; and may be thus paraphrased: 'I retain no anger against my people. I have indeed punished them; but my anger has ceased. I shall now defend them. If they are attacked by foes, I will guard them. When their foes approach, "I desire, I earnestly wish," that they may be in my possession, that I may destroy them - as the fire rages through briers and thorns.' It expresses a firm determination to defend his people and to destroy their enemies, unless Isaiah 27:5, which he would prefer, they should repent, and be at peace with him.

The briers and thorns - His enemies, and the enemies of his people (compare the notes at Isaiah 9:17; Isaiah 10:17). Perhaps the phrase is used here to denote enemies, because briers and thorns are so great enemies to a vineyard by impeding growth and fertility.

I would go through them - Or, rather, I would go against them in battle to destroy them.

I would burn them up together - As fire devours the thorns and briers; that is, I would completely destroy them.

4. Fury is not in me—that is, I entertain no longer anger towards my vine.

who would set … in battle—that is, would that I had the briers, &c. (the wicked foe; Isa 9:18; 10:17; 2Sa 23:6), before me! "I would go through," or rather, "against them."

Fury, to wit, against my vineyard, or my people; which is easily understood both from the foregoing and following verses. I have been displeased with them, and have chastised them; but I am not implacable towards them, and resolved utterly to destroy them, as their enemies are, and would have me to be.

I would go through them, I would burn them together: this is added as a reason of the foregoing clause and assertion; which may be conceived either,

1. Thus, I rather desire to contend with briers and thorns, i.e. with the wicked enemies of my church, who are thus called, Isaiah 10:17 Ezekiel 28:24; and if my wrath was now kindled against them, as it is against my people, I would be furious towards them, and never leave till I had utterly consumed them; but I will deal more indulgently with my people. Which exposition seems to receive some light and strength from Isaiah 27:6-8. Or,

2. Thus, For I consider the weakness of my people, that if I should let loose my fury upon them, they could no more stand before me than briers and thorns (to which God’s people, when they fall into sin, and provoke God, are not unfitly resembled) can stand before a devouring fire, and therefore they would in an instant be utterly destroyed; which I will not do. And this consideration of man’s imbecility is elsewhere alleged as a reason of God’s indulgence, as Psalm 103:13-16 Isaiah 57:16. But this I deliver with submission.

Fury is not in me,.... Against his vineyard he takes so much care of, his church and people, whom he has loved with an everlasting love; they are indeed deserving of his wrath, but he has not appointed them to it, but has appointed his Son to bear it for them, who has delivered them from wrath to come, and they being justified by his blood and righteousness, are saved from it; and though the Lord chastises them for their sins, yet not in wrath and sore displeasure; there is no wrath or fury in his heart towards them, nor any expressed in the dispensations of his providence:

who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? either suggesting the weakness of his people, who, was he to deal with them as their sins and corruptions deserved, for which they may be compared to thorns and briers, they would be as unable to bear his wrath and fury as briers and thorns could to withstand a consuming fire; or rather intimating, that should such persons rise up in his vineyard, the church, as often do, comparable to briers and thorns for their unfruitfulness and unprofitableness, for the hurt and mischief they do, and the grief and trouble they give to the people of God, as hypocrites and false teachers, and all such as are of unsound principles, and bad lives and conversations, and which are very offensive to the Lord; and therefore, though there is no fury in him against his vineyard, the church, yet there is against those briers and thorns, wicked men, whom he accounts his enemies, and will fight against them in his wrath, and consume them in his fury; see 2 Samuel 23:6,

I would go through them: or, "step into it" (p); the vineyard, where those briers or thorns are set and grow up; the meaning is, that he would step into the vineyard, and warily and cautiously tread there, lest he should hurt any of the vines, true believers, while he is plucking up and destroying the briers and thorns; or contending, in a warlike manner, with carnal and hypocritical professors:

I would burn them together; or, "I would burn" out of it (q); that is, gather out of the vineyard the briers and thorns, and bind them up in bundles, as the tares in the parable, which signify the same as here, and burn them, or utterly destroy them; though the words may be rendered, "who will give, or set, me a brier and thorn in battle, that I should go against it, and burn it up together?", or wholly (r) and the meaning is, who shall irritate or provoke me to be as a brier and thorn, to hurt, grieve, and distress my people, to cause me to go into them, and against them, in a military way, in wrath and fury to consume them? no one shall. This rendering and sense well agree with the first clause of the verse. Jerom renders it thus, "who will make me an adamant stone?" as the word "shamir" is rendered in Ezekiel 3:9, Zechariah 7:12 and gives the sense, who will make me hard and cruel, so as to overcome my nature, my clemency, to go forth in a fierce and warlike manner, and walk upon my vineyard, which before I kept, and burn it, which I had hedged about?

(p) "gradiar in eam"; so some in Vatablus; "caute ingrediar eam", Piscator. (q) "succendam ex ea", Junius & Tremellius; "comburam illos ex ipsa", Piscator. (r) So De Dieu; and some in Vatablus; and which is approved by Noldius, who renders it in like manner, to the same sense, Ebr. Concord. Part. p. 409. No. 1671.

Fury {d} is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together.

(d) Therefore he will destroy the kingdom of Satan, because he loves his Church for his own mercies sake, and cannot be angry with it, but wishes that he may pour his anger on the wicked infidels, whom he means by briers and thorns.

4. Fury is not in me] Or, wrath have I none. These words naturally go with the first stanza, expressing, as they seem to do, Jehovah’s contentment with the condition of His vineyard.

who would set … battle] The phrase “Who will give?” is the well known Hebrew equivalent of the Latin utinam, “Would that!” Hence the R.V.: O that the briers and thorns were against me in battle!

briers and thorns] (ch. Isaiah 5:6) must here mean heathen intruders. The next clause reads as in R.V.: I would march upon them. Cf. 2 Samuel 23:6 f.

Verse 4. - Fury is not in me; i.e. "I am not now angered against my vineyard, as on the former occasion (Isaiah 5:4-7); or at any rate my anger now is not fury." (Isaiah frequently ascribes "fury" to God, as in Isaiah 34:2; Isaiah 42:25; Isaiah 51:17, 20, 22; Isaiah 59:18; Isaiah 63:3, 5, 6; Isaiah 66:15.) Who would set the briars and thorns against me in battle? The "briars and thorns" are apparently unrighteous members of the Church, who have fallen below their privileges. God asks, "Who will set the briars and thorns in array against me?" in a tone of contempt. "Who will dare to do battle against me with such weak material?" And then he adds a forecast of the result in such a case: "I would move forward; I would burn them all together" (comp. Isaiah 10:17). Isaiah 27:4The prophecy here passes for the fourth time into the tone of a song. The church recognises itself in the judgments upon the world, as Jehovah's well-protected and beloved vineyard.

In that day a merry vineyard - sing it!

I, Jehovah, its keeper,

Every moment I water it.

That nothing may come near it,

I watch it night and day.

Wrath have I none;

O, had I thorns, thistles before me!

I would make up to them in battle,

Burn them all together.

Men would then have to grasp at my protection,

Make peace with me,

Make peace with me.

Instead of introducing the song with, "In that day shall this song be sung," or some such introduction, the prophecy passes at once into the song. It consists in a descending scale of strophes, consisting of one of five lines (Isaiah 27:2, Isaiah 27:3), one of four lines (Isaiah 27:4), and one of three lines (Isaiah 27:5). The thema is placed at the beginning, in the absolute case: cerem chemer. This may signify a vineyard of fiery or good wine (compare cerem zaith in Judges 15:5); but it is possible that the reading should be cerem chemed, as in Isaiah 32:12, as the lxx, Targum, and most modern commentators assume. ענּה ל signifies, according to Numbers 21:17; Psalm 147:7 (cf., Exodus 32:18; Psalm 88:1), to strike up a song with reference to anything - an onomatopoetic word (different from ענה, to begin, literally to meet). Cerem (the vineyard) is a feminine here, like בּאר, the well, in the song of the well in Numbers 21:17-18, and just as Israel, of which the vineyard here is a symbol (Isaiah 3:14; Isaiah 5:1.), is sometimes regarded as masculine, and at other times as feminine (Isaiah 26:20). Jehovah Himself is introduced as speaking. He is the keeper of the vineyard, who waters it every moment when there is any necessity (lirgâ‛im, like labbekârim in Isaiah 33:2, every morning), and watches it by night as well as by day, that nothing may visit it. על פּקד (to visit upon) is used in other cases to signify the infliction of punishment; here it denotes visitation by some kind of misfortune. Because it was the church purified through afflictions, the feelings of Jehovah towards it were pure love, without any admixture of the burning of anger (chēmâh). This is reserved for all who dare to do injury to this vineyard. Jehovah challenges these, and says, Who is there, then, that gives me thorns, thistles! עיתּנני equals לי יתּן, as in Jeremiah 9:1, cf., Joshua 15:19.) The asyndeton, instead of ושׁית שׁמיר, which is customary elsewhere, corresponds to the excitement of the exalted defender. If He had thorns, thistles before Him, He would break forth upon them in war, i.e., make war upon them (bâh, neuter, upon such a mass of bush), and set it all on fire (הצית equals הצּית). The arrangement of the strophes requires that we should connect כּמּלחמה with אפשׂעה (var. אפשׂעה), though this is at variance with the accents. We may see very clearly, even by the choice of the expression bammilchâmâh, that thorns and thistles are a figurative representation of the enemies of the church (2 Samuel 23:6-7). And in this sense the song concludes in Isaiah 27:5 : only by yielding themselves to mercy will they find mercy. או with a voluntative following, "unless," as in Leviticus 26:41. "Take hold of:" hechezik b', as in 1 Kings 1:50, of Adonijah, who lays hold of the horns of the altar. "Make peace with:" ‛âsâh shâlōm l', as in Joshua 9:15. The song closes here. What the church here utters, is the consciousness of the gracious protection of its God, as confirmed in her by the most recent events.

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