Isaiah 3:10
Say you to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
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Isaiah 3:10-11. Say ye to the righteous — O ye priests and Levites, in your sermons and exhortations to the people; that it shall be well with him — Even when it is ill with the wicked, and with the nation in general; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings — God will be their safeguard and portion in the common calamity; therefore let them not fear, but let them commit themselves, and their all, to his protection, and resign themselves up to his disposal. They shall either be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger, or shall have divine supports and comforts, which shall abound in proportion as trials and troubles abound. “This is an admirable sentence to support the souls of the pious, amidst all the calamities of this life. God will not forsake those who truly love and serve him. This, reason teaches us; this, the experience of all times confirms; and it is the constant and comfortable doctrine of the word of God. The event must and will be happy to the good man.” Wo unto the wicked, &c. — These heavy judgments are designed against them, and shall certainly find them out, though here they be mixed with the righteous. As happiness, either in this world or the next, is, by the divine determination, the certain consequence of righteousness, so the contrary is the certain consequence of wickedness.3:10-15 The rule was certain; however there might be national prosperity or trouble, it would be well with the righteous and ill with the wicked. Blessed be God, there is abundant encouragement to the righteous to trust in him, and for sinners to repent and return to him. It was time for the Lord to show his might. He will call men to a strict account for all the wealth and power intrusted to and abused by them. If it is sinful to disregard the necessities of the poor, how odious and wicked a part do they act, who bring men into poverty, and then oppress them!Say ye to the righteous - The meaning of this verse and the following is sufficiently plain, though expositors have given some variety of interpretation. They declare a great principle of the divine administration similar to what is stated in Isaiah 1:19-20. Lowth reads it, 'Pronounce ye a blessing on the just; verily good (shall be to him).'

That it shall be well ... - The word rendered 'well,' means 'good.' The sense evidently is, that in the divine administration it shall be well to be righteous. The Septuagint has rendered this in a remarkable manner, connecting it with the previous verse: 'Wo unto their soul, for they take evil counsel among themselves, saying, 'Let us bind the righteous, for he is troublesome unto us:' therefore, they shall eat the fruit of their doings.'

They shall eat ... - That is, they shall receive the appropriate "reward" of their works, and that reward shall be happiness. As a farmer who sows his field and cultivates his farm, eats the fruit of his labor, so shall it be with the righteous. A similar expression is found in Proverbs 1:31 :

Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way,

And be filled with their own devices.

Also Jeremiah 6:19 : 'I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thought;' compare Galatians 6:8.

10. The faithlessness of many is no proof that all are faithless. Though nothing but croaking of frogs is heard on the surface of the pool, we are not to infer there are no fish beneath [Bengel]. (See Isa 1:19, 20).

fruit of doings—(Pr 1:31) in a good sense (Ga 6:8; Re 22:14). Not salvation by works, but by fruit-bearing faith (Isa 45:24; Jer 23:6). Gesenius and Weiss translate, Declare as to the righteous that, &c. Maurer, "Say that the righteous is blessed."

Say ye: God hath said it, and doth now by me say it; and you, O ye priests and Levites, say it in your sermons to the people.

They shall eat the fruit of their doings; let not them fear, for God will be their safeguard and portion in the common calamity. Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him,.... The Lord always has some righteous ones, in the worst of times, whom he can and does distinguish, single out, and take care of; and it is his will that they should be comforted by his prophets and ministers, who seem to be the persons to whom these words are directed, lest they should be distressed with what is said unto, and what they see is coming upon, the world, or upon a nation in general: and it will be, and is well with such, when calamities are on a nation, in a time of famine, war, or pestilence, under any affliction whatever at death, and at judgment, and to all eternity; the Lord has the highest regard for them; Christ's righteousness, by which they are denominated righteous, secures them from wrath, and entitles them to glory; they are blessed now, and will be happy hereafter. So the Targum,

"say ye to the righteous, ye are blessed,''

pronounce them such as they are: some render it, "say to the righteous, that he do good" (i); exhort him, excite and encourage him, to it; such who have believed in Christ for righteousness ought to be careful to maintain good works: others, "say to the righteous", own him, speak well of him, "for it is good"; or say to him, "that he is good" (k), a happy man. The Septuagint and Arabic versions, very foreign from the text, and sense of it, render the words, "saying, let us bind the just man, for he is unprofitable to us"; as if they were the words of the wicked Jews, respecting Christ, the just One, so called sarcastically by them: and the reason of the righteous man's happiness follows:

for they shall eat the fruit of their doings: both of what Christ has done for them, as their Head and representative, by whose righteousness they are justified; and of what they have done themselves, under the influence of his Spirit and grace; which being done from a principle of grace, are rewarded with a reward of grace, and not of debt; such enjoy a peace of conscience now, which is the work and effect of righteousness, and shall receive the reward of the inheritance, which is not of the law, but by promise, and of faith, and so by grace.

(i) "quod bene agat", Vatablus. (k) "Dicite justum, quod bonus beatusque est", Cocceius.

{i} Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.

(i) You that are godly be assured that God will defend you in the midst of these troubles.

10. Say ye to the righteous] R.V. “say ye of the righteous.” But with a slight change in the consonantal text we may read Happy is the righteous! for it is well [with him]. The Heb. would then present an exact parallel to the beginning of the next verse.

10, 11. The exclamation at the end of Isaiah 3:9 leads to a statement of the universal law of divine retribution. The verses are thought by some to be interpolated, and even Dillmann admits that they fit but loosely into the context.Verse 10. - Say ye to the righteous. The mention of the fact that the men of Jerusalem have permanently injured their moral natures by sin, and thus "rewarded evil to themselves," leads the prophet to declare at this point, parenthetically, the general law, which extends alike to the evil and the good - that men receive in themselves the recompense of their deeds. The righteous raise their moral nature, become better, and, in becoming better, become happier. "It is well with them, for of the fruit of their doings they eat." The wicked deprave and corrupt themselves, lower their moral nature, become worse than they were, and, in becoming worse, become more miserable. "Woe unto them! with them it is ill; for the achievement of their hands is given them." Thus robbed of its support, and torn out of its proper groove, the kingdom of Judah would fall a prey to the most shameless despotism: "And I give them boys for princes, and caprices shall rule over them." The revived "Solomonian" glory is followed, as before, by the times of Rehoboam. The king is not expressly named. This was intentional. He had sunk into the mere shadow of a king: it was not he who ruled, but the aristocratic party that surrounded him, who led him about in leading strings as unum inter pares. Now, if it is a misfortune in most cases for a king to be a child (na'ar, Ecclesiastes 10:16), the misfortune is twice as great when the princes or magnates who surround and advise him are youngsters (ne'ârim, i.e., young lords) in a bad sense. It produces a government of tâlulim. None of the nouns in this form have a personal signification. According to the primary meaning of the verbal stem, the word might signify childishnesses, equivalent to little children (the abstract for the concrete, like τἀπαιδικά amasius), as Ewald supposes; or puppets, fantocci, poltroons, or men without heart or brain, as Luzzatto maintains. But the latter has no support in the general usage of the language, and the verb yimshelu (shall rule) does not necessarily require a personal subject (cf., Psalm 19:14; Psalm 103:19). The word tâlulim is formed from the reflective verb hithallel, which means to meddle, to gratify one's self, to indulge one's caprice. Accordingly tâlulim itself might be rendered vexationes (Isaiah 66:4). Jerome, who translates the word effeminati, appears to have thought of התעלּל in an erotic sense. The Sept. rendering, ἐμπαῖκται is better, though ἐμπαίγματα would be more exact. When used, as the word is here, along with ne'arim, it signifies outbursts of youthful caprice, which do injury to others, whether in joke or earnest. Neither law nor justice would rule, but the very opposite of justice: a course of conduct which would make subjects, like slaves, the helpless victims at one time of their lust (Judges 19:25), and at another of their cruelty. They would be governed by lawless and bloodstained caprice, of the most despotic character and varied forms. And the people would resemble their rulers: their passions would be let loose, and all restraints of modesty and decorum be snapt asunder.
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