Isaiah 29:18
And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book.—The open vision of the future is contrasted with the self-chosen ignorance of Isaiah 29:11. The “book” (the Hebrew has, however, no definite article) is, perhaps, the prophet’s own message, or the book of the law of the Lord, which will then be understood in all its spiritual fulness. The doom of the “closed eyes” of Isaiah 6:10 shall then be in force no more.

Isaiah 29:18-19. In that day, &c. — In these two verses we have the first happy consequence of Lebanon’s becoming a fruitful field, “the spiritual blessings of light and understanding in divine things, and of joy and consolation to be diffused among the Gentiles, formerly deaf and blind.” The deaf hear the words of the book — That is, the truths of divine revelation are declared to the heathen, and their ears are opened to hear, and their hearts to understand them. And the eyes of the blind to see — They who had been for ages in a state of the greatest spiritual blindness and darkness, shall be enlightened with the clear and satisfactory knowledge of God and his will. The meek also — Humble and meek believers of the Gentiles, opposed to these proud and scornful Jews, spoken of in the former part of this, and in the foregoing chapter; shall increase their joy in the Lord — Shall greatly rejoice in this, that Jehovah is now their God and portion. And the poor among men — The poor in spirit, or the poor of this world, to whom, especially, the gospel has been and is to be preached, or those whom the Jews viewed as a mean and despicable people; shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel — Whom before they neither knew nor regarded.

29:17-24 The wonderful change here foretold, may refer to the affairs of Judah, though it looks further. When a great harvest of souls was gathered to Christ from among the Gentiles, then the wilderness was turned into a fruitful field; and the Jewish church, that had long been a fruitful field, became as a deserted forest. Those who, when in trouble, can truly rejoice in God, shall soon have cause greatly to rejoice in him. The grace of meekness contributes to the increase of our holy joy. The enemies who were powerful shall become mean and weak. To complete the repose of God's people, the scorners at home shall be cut off by judgements. All are apt to speak unadvisedly, and to mistake what they hear, but it is very unfair to make a man an offender for a word. They did all they could to bring those into trouble who told them of their faults. But He that redeemed Abraham out of his snares and troubles, will redeem those who are, by faith, his true seed, out of theirs. It will be the greatest comfort to godly parents to see their children renewed creatures, the work of God's grace. May those who now err in spirit, and murmur against the truth, come to understanding, and learn true doctrine. The Spirit of truth shall set right their mistakes, and lead them into all truth. This should encourage us to pray for those that have erred, and are deceived. All who murmured at the truths of God, as hard sayings, shall learn and be aware what God designed in all. See the change religion produces in the hearts of men, and the peace and pleasure of a humble and devout spirit.Shall the deaf hear the words of the book - They who now have the law and do not understand it, the people who seem to be deaf to all that God says, shall hear and understand it.

Shall see out of obscurity ... - That is, the darkness being removed, they shall see clearly the truth of God, and discern and love its beauty. Their eyes are now blinded, but then they shall see clearly.

18. deaf … blind—(Compare Mt 11:5). The spiritually blind, &c., are chiefly meant; "the book," as Revelation is called pre-eminently, shall be no longer "sealed," as is described (Isa 29:11), but the most unintelligent shall hear and see (Isa 35:5). The deaf; who were deaf before God by his word and grace did open their ears; even the deaf and blind Gentiles, as was now noted. Compare Isaiah 35:5.

Shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness; being, by God’s grace, brought out of that gross and worse than Egyptian darkness of ignorance and wickedness, in which they formerly lived, unto a clear and saving knowledge of the truth.

And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book,.... That is, in the Gospel day, or times of the Gospel dispensation, when that should be preached to the Gentiles; who before were deaf, but now should be made to hear, and be willing to hear, and hear so as to understand the doctrines contained in the Scriptures, the prophecies of them concerning the Messiah; even the words of that book that is sealed to the Jews, and could not be read, neither by the learned nor unlearned among them; but should be both read, heard, and understood, by the Gentiles, having ears given them to hear the Gospel, to receive its doctrines, and obey its ordinances:

and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness; such, who before were blind and ignorant as to spiritual things, being called, through the ministry of the word, out of darkness into marvellous light, and their eyes being opened by it, should now see their sin and misery, their lost and dangerous estate, the way of life and salvation by Christ, the great and glorious truths of the Gospel, and what eye has not seen, nor ear heard.

And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. the words of the book] There is a reference implied to Isaiah 29:11-12. “Deafness” and “blindness” are metaphors for the spiritual obtuseness which at present characterises the nation (Isaiah 29:10).

Verse 18. - In that day - i.e., when that time comes - shall the deaf hear the words of the book; the spiritually deaf shall have their ears opened, many of them, and shall not only hear, but understand, the words of Scripture addressed to them by God's messengers. No particular "book" is intended - sepher being without the article, but the words of any writing put forth with Divine authority. The eyes of the blind shall see also out of obscurity. Men shall shake off the "deep sleep" (ver. 10) in which they have long lain, and have once mute "eyes to see" the truth. Isaiah 29:18But the prophet's God, whose omniscience, creative glory, and perfect wisdom they so basely mistook and ignored, would very shortly turn the present state of the world upside down, and make Himself a congregation out of the poor and wretched, whilst He would entirely destroy this proud ungodly nation. "Is it not yet a very little, and Lebanon is turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field esteemed as a forest? And in that day the deaf hear scripture words, and the eyes of the blind will see out of obscurity and out of darkness. And the joy of the humble increases in Jehovah, and the poor among men will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For tyrants are gone, and it is over with scoffers; and all who think evil are rooted out, who condemn a man for a word, and lay snares for him that is free-spoken in the gate, and overthrow the righteous through shameful lies." The circumstances themselves, as well as the sentence passed, will experience a change, in complete contrast with the present state of things. This is what is affirmed in Isaiah 29:17; probably a proverb transposed into a more literary style. What is now forest becomes ennobled into garden ground; and what is garden ground becomes in general estimation a forest (לכרמל, ליער, although we should rather expect ל, just as in Isaiah 32:15). These emblems are explained in Isaiah 29:18. The people that are now blind and deaf, so far as the word of Jehovah is concerned, are changed into a people with open ears and seeing eyes. Scripture words, like those which the prophet now holds before the people so unsuccessfully, are heard by those who have been deaf. The unfettered sight of those who have been blind pierces through the hitherto surrounding darkness. The heirs of the new future thus transformed are the anâvı̄m ("meek") and the 'ebhyōnı̄m ("poor"). אדם (the antithesis of אנשׁהים, e.g., Isaiah 29:13) heightens the representation of lowliness; the combination is a superlative one, as in הצאן צעירי, Jeremiah 49:20, and הצאן עניי in Zechariah 11:7 (cf., חיות פריץ in Isaiah 35:9): needy men who present a glaring contrast to, and stand out from, the general body of men. Such men will obtain ever increasing joy in Jehovah (yâsaph as in Isaiah 37:31). Such a people of God would take the place of the oppressors (cf., Isaiah 28:12) and scoffers (cf., Isaiah 28:14, Isaiah 28:22), and those who thought evil (shâqad, invigilare, sedulo agere), i.e., the wretched planners, who made a חטא of every one who did not enter into their plans (i.e., who called him a chōtē'; cf., Deuteronomy 24:4; Ecclesiastes 5:5), and went to law with the man who openly opposed them in the gate (Amos 5:10; yeqōshūn, possibly the perf. kal, cf., Jeremiah 50:24; according to the syntax, however, it is the fut. kal of qūsh equals yâqōsh: see at Isaiah 26:16; Ges. 44, Anm. 4), and thrust away the righteous, i.e., forced him away from his just rights (Isaiah 10:2), by tōhū, i.e., accusations and pretences of the utmost worthlessness; for these would all have been swept away. This is the true explanation of the last clause, as given in the Targum, and not "into the desert and desolation," as Knobel and Luzzatto suppose; for with Isaiah tōhū is the synonym for all such words as signify nothingness, groundlessness, and fraud. The prophet no doubt had in his mind, at the time that he uttered these words, the conduct of the people towards himself and his fellow-prophets, and such as were like-minded with them. The charge brought against him of being a conspirator, or a traitor to his country, was a tōhū of this kind. All these conspirators and persecutors Jehovah would clear entirely away.
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