Isaiah 33:2
O LORD, be gracious to us; we have waited for you: be you their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.
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(2) O Lord, be gracious . . .—Faith transforms itself into prayer. The prophet will still “wait” upon God. In the change of person, “their arm,” “our salvation,” we hear the very words of the prayer as it was spoken, the first referring to the soldiers who were to fight the battles of their country, the second to the non-combatants who were assembled with Isaiah in supplication.

Isaiah 33:2. O Lord, be gracious unto us — The prophet and the pious Jews, contemplating the calamity coming upon their country, here direct their prayer unto God for themselves and their people. Be thou their arm — That is, their strength, namely, the strength of all that trust in thee, and wait for thee, Psalm 25:3; every morning — Hebrew, לבקרים, in the mornings; that is, every day seasonably and speedily; on all occasions as they need. In mentioning the mornings, the prophet is thought to refer to the time of the morning sacrifice, which was the morning hour of prayer with the pious Jews; but he includes all other times of prayer, in all which he desires God to hear and answer his people, and to be their salvation all the day long, and especially to support them in the time of trouble.33:1-14 Here we have the proud and false destroyer justly reckoned with for all his fraud and violence. The righteous God often pays sinners in their own coin. Those who by faith humbly wait for God, shall find him gracious to them; as the day, so let the strength be. If God leaves us to ourselves any morning, we are undone; we must every morning commit ourselves to him, and go forth in his strength to do the work of the day. When God arises, his enemies are scattered. True wisdom and knowledge lead to strength of salvation, which renders us stedfast in the ways of God; and true piety is the only treasure which can never be plundered or spent. The distress Jerusalem was brought into, is described. God's time to appear for his people, is, when all other helpers fail. Let all who hear what God has done, acknowledge that he can do every thing. Sinners in Zion will have much to answer for, above other sinners. And those that rebel against the commands of the word, cannot take its comforts in time of need. His wrath will burn those everlastingly who make themselves fuel for it. It is a fire that shall never be quenched, nor ever go out of itself; it is the wrath of an ever-living God preying on the conscience of a never-dying soul.O Lord - This is a solemn prayer to Yahweh, made by the Jews in the apprehension of the invasion of the Assyrian. It is not meant that this prayer was actually offered, but it is a prophetic representation indicating the alarm of the Jews at his approach, and their disposition to throw themselves upon the mercy of God.

We have waited for thee - That is, we have looked for deliverance from this threatened invasion from thy hand (compare the note at Isaiah 26:8).

Be thou their arm - The arm is a symbol of strengh. It is used in the Scriptures as emblematic of the divine protection, or of the interposition of God in time of calamity and dancer Exodus 15:16; Job 40:9; Psalm 44:3; Psalm 77:15; Psalm 89:21; Psalm 98:1. Lowth proposes to read 'our arm instead of 'their arm;' and the connection would seem to demand such a reading. The Vugate and the Chaldee read it in this manner, but there is no authority from manuscripts for a change in the text. The truth seems to be, that Isaiah, impelled by prophetic inspiration, here interposes his own feelings as a Jew, and offers his own prayer that God would be the strength of the nation. The form, however, is immediately changed, and he presents the prayer of the people.

Every morning - Constantly; at all times.

In the time of trouble - Referring particularly to the trouble consequent on the invasion of the Assyrians.

2. us; we … their … our—He speaks interceding for His people, separating himself in thought for a moment from them, and immediately returns to his natural identification with them in the word "our."

every morning—each day as it dawns, especially during our danger, as the parallel "time of trouble" shows.

O Lord, be gracious unto us; the prophet contemplating the judgment which was now coming upon God’s people, directeth his prayer to God for them.

Their arm; our arm or strength. The change of persons is most frequent in prophetical writings.

Every morning; when we offer the morning sacrifice, and call upon thee; which yet is not meant exclusively, as if he did not desire God’s help at other times; but comprehensively, the morning being put synecdochically for the whole day. The sense is, Help us speedily and continually. O Lord, be gracious unto us,.... This is a prayer of the church under the persecutions of antichrist, imploring the grace and favour of God in their miserable and distressed circumstances; desiring his gracious help, assistance, and deliverance; pleading not any merits of their own, but casting themselves upon the mercy and kindness of God:

we have waited for thee; time after time, year after year, in the use of means; hoping for the manifestations of thyself, and kind appearance for us; expecting help and salvation, and still continue to wait, believing the time will come when favour will be shown:

be thou their arm every morning; when they pray unto thee, the morning being the time of prayer; and also be their arm all the day long, to lean and depend upon, to support, protect, and defend them; there is a change of person from the first to the third, usual in prophetic and poetic writings: some take them to be the words of the Old Testament church, praying for the New Testament church; and others a prayer of the church for her children and members. The Vulgate Latin version renders it, "our arm"; and the Syriac version, "our helper"; and the Targum,

"our strength:''

some read the words in connection with the following clause, thus, "be thou", who wast "their arm every morning", referring to their forefathers, whose strength and support the Lord was,

our salvation also in the time of trouble (s); the deliverer of us from the antichristian yoke of bondage, from all his persecutions and oppressions, from the last struggle of the beast, from that hour of trouble and temptation that shall come upon all the earth.

(s) So some in De Dieu.

{d} O LORD, be gracious to us; we have waited for thee: be thou {e} their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.

(d) He declares by this what is the chief refuge of the faithful, when troubles come, to pray, and seek help from God.

(e) Which helped our fathers as soon as they called on you.

2. The nation’s prayer to Jehovah. The writer seems to make himself the spokesman of the community, a thing which Isaiah rarely does (see Isaiah 32:15); nowhere, as here, in a prayer. Cheyne, however, suggests that he speaks in the name of his own disciples, for whose sake he prays that the whole nation may be spared.

be thou their arm] i.e. their strength and defence (Jeremiah 17:5). The force of the pronoun “their” is uncertain; some change it (needlessly perhaps) to “our.” On the phrase “every morning,” cf. ch. Isaiah 28:19.Verse 2. - O Lord, etc. The mingling of prayer with prophecy is very unusual, and indicative of highly excited feeling. Isaiah realizes fully the danger of his people and nation, and knows that without prayer there is no deliverance. His prayer is at once an outpouring of his own heart, and an example to others. We have waited for thee (comp. Isaiah 8:17; Isaiah 26:8). Their Am; i.e. "the Arm of thy people." Every morning. Continually, day by day, since their need of thy support is continual. The state would then continue long, very long, until at last the destruction of the false rest would be followed by the realization of the true. "Until the Spirit is poured out over us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as the forest. And justice makes its abode in the desert, and righteousness settles down upon the fruit-field. And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the reward of righteousness rest and security for ever. And my people dwells in a place of peace, and in trustworthy, safe dwellings, and in cheerful resting-places. And it hails with the overthrow of the forest, and into lowliness must the city be brought low." There is a limit, therefore, to the "for ever" of Isaiah 32:14. The punishment would last till the Spirit, which Israel had not then dwelling in the midst of it (see Haggai 2:5), and whose fulness was like a closed vessel to Israel, should be emptied out over Israel from the height of heaven (compare the piel ערה, Genesis 24:20), i.e., should be poured out in all its fulness. When that was done, a great change would take place, the spiritual nature of which is figuratively represented in the same proverbial manner as in Isaiah 29:17. At the same time, a different turn is given to the second half in the passage before us. The meaning is, not that what was now valued as a fruit-bearing garden would be brought down from its false eminence, and be only regarded as forest; but that the whole would be so glorious, that what was now valued as a fruit-garden, would be thrown into the shade by something far more glorious still, in comparison with which it would have the appearance of a forest, in which everything grew wild. The whole land, the uncultivated pasture-land as well as the planted fruitful fields of corn and fruit, would then become the tent and seat of justice and righteousness. "Justice and righteousness' (mishpât and tsedâqâh) are throughout Isaiah the stamp of the last and perfect time. As these advance towards self-completion, the produce and result of these will be peace (ma‛ăseh and abhōdâh are used to denote the fruit or self-reward of work and painstaking toil; compare פּעלּה). But two things must take place before this calm, trustworthy, happy peace, of which the existing carnal security is only a caricature, can possibly be realized. In the first place, it must hail, and the wood must fall, being beaten down with hail. We already know, from Isaiah 10:34, that "the wood" was an emblem of Assyria; and in Isaiah 30:30-31, we find "the hail" mentioned as one of the forces of nature that would prove destructive to Assyria. And secondly, "the city" (העיר, a play upon the word, and a counterpart to היּער) must first of all be brought low into lowliness (i.e., be deeply humiliated). Rosenmller and others suppose the imperial city to be intended, according to parallels taken from chapters 24-27; but in this cycle of prophecies, in which the imperial city is never mentioned at all, "the city" must be Jerusalem, whose course from the false peace to the true lay through a humiliating punishment (Isaiah 29:2-4; Isaiah 30:19., Isaiah 31:4.).
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