Isaiah 29:23
But when he sees his children, the work of my hands, in the middle of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.
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(23) The work of mine hands.—Possibly the direct object of the verb “seeth,” the word “his children” being an interpretative insertion, to explain the change from the singular to the plural. The joy of the patriarch as he watched his people centred in the fact that they repented, and once more worshipped God as the Holy and the Dread, entering at last into that true fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; Job 28:28).

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.But when he seeth his children - The sense is, 'he shall not be ashamed of his sons, for he shall see them henceforward walking in the ways of piety and virtue.'

The work of my hands - That is, this change Isaiah 29:17-19 by which the nation will be reformed, will be produced by the agency of God himself. The sentiment is in accordance with the doctrines of the Scriptures everywhere, that people are recovered from sin by the agency of God alone (compare Isaiah 60:21; Ephesians 2:10).

In the midst of him - In the midst of his people. The name Jacob is often employed to denote all his posterity, or the whole nation of the Jews.

23. But—rather, "For."


work of mine hands—spiritually, as well as physically (Isa 19:25; 60:21; Eph 2:10). By Jehovah's agency Israel shall be cleansed of its corruptions, and shall consist wholly of pious men (Isa 54:13, 14; 2:1; 60:21).

midst of him—that is, his land. Or else "His children" are the Gentiles adopted among the Israelites, his lineal descendants (Ro 9:26; Eph 3:6) [Horsley].

When he seeth his children; when the believing seed of Jacob shall see those children, whom they have begotten to God by the preaching of the gospel, even the Gentiles, converted by their ministry.

The work of mine hands; the children, not of the flesh, but of the promise, Romans 9:8, whom I, by my almighty power and grace, have created or regenerated, of stones raising up children to Abraham. In the midst of him; which Gentiles shall be incorporated with the Jews into one and the same body and church.

They shall sanctify my name; they shall not despise and hate the Gentiles, and envy them the grace of God, and an interest in their Messiah, but shall praise and glorify God with them and for them, as the believing Jews did, Acts 11:18. But when he seeth his children, the work of my hands, in the midst of him,.... That is, it will be a pleasure to the church of God, signified by Jacob, when they shall observe a great number of Jacob's posterity, or of the Jews, born again, become the "children" of the church, born in her, and nursed up at her side, dandled on her knees, and sucking at the breasts of her consolation; and so in the midst of her, members of her, and in communion with her, having been begotten again, by means of her ministers, through the Gospel, by the Spirit and grace of God; and so "the work of his hands", his new creatures, formed for and by himself; his workmanship, created in Jesus Christ, curiously wrought by his hands, as well as engraven on them:

they shall sanctify my name; meaning either the spiritual seed of Jacob, those regenerated ones, the nation that shall be born at once; these shall sanctify the name of the Lord, not by making, but by declaring him to be holy; by believing in his name; by seeking to him for righteousness and holiness; by embracing his doctrines, and submitting to his ordinances; which will add to the pleasure of the church of Christ. So the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "but when he seeth his children---sanctifying my name"; or else Jacob, that is, the church of Christ, is here meant, who, upon seeing such a large number of Jewish converts, shall sanctify the name of the Lord, or give him praise and glory on account of it; which is repeated with some addition,

and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel; reverence his name and his sanctuary, his word and his ordinances, worship him inwardly and outwardly, fear the Lord and his goodness, both the church and these new converts, Hosea 3:5.

But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.
23. when he seeth his children, the work …] R.V. marg. “when his children see the work” [lit. “when he (his children) shall see the work, &c.”] Neither rendering is satisfactory, and “his children” should be omitted as a marginal gloss.

sanctify … fear] The same words are used in ch. Isaiah 8:13.Verse 23. - The work of mine hands; i.e. regenerated and "created anew unto good works" (Ephesians 2:10) - God's work, and no longer denying themselves to be such (ver. 16). They shall sanctify my Name, and sanctify, etc.; rather, they shall sanctify my Name, they shall even sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and fear the God of Israel. The last two clauses are exegetical of the first (Kay). But 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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