Isaiah 38:13 Commentaries: "I composed my soul until morning. Like a lion-- so He breaks all my bones, From day until night You make an end of me.
Isaiah 38:13
I reckoned till morning, that, as a lion, so will he break all my bones: from day even to night will you make an end of me.
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(13) I reckoned till morning . . .—Better, I quieted myself, as in Psalm 131:2. He threw himself into the calm submission of the weaned child; yet when the morning came there was a fresh access of suffering. Life had been prolonged, contrary to his expectations; but it was only for renewed agony. Surely that would end his sufferings.

Isaiah 38:13-14. I reckoned till morning, &c. — When night came I reckoned I should die before the next morning, my pains being as great as if my bones had been broken, and the whole frame of my body crushed by a lion. Bishop Lowth reads: I roared until the morning like the lion; so did he break to pieces all my bones. Like a crane or a swallow, &c. — “My pains were sometimes so violent that they forced me to cry aloud; at other times my strength was so exhausted that I could only groan inwardly, and bemoan my unhappy condition in sighs.” I did mourn as a dove — Whose mournful tone is observed Isaiah 59:11, and elsewhere; mine eyes fail with looking upward — While I lift up my eyes and heart to God for relief in vain; O Lord, I am oppressed — Namely, by my disease, which, like a sergeant, hath seized upon me, and is haling me to the prison of the grave; undertake for me — Stop the execution, and rescue me out of his hands.38:9-22 We have here Hezekiah's thanksgiving. It is well for us to remember the mercies we receive in sickness. Hezekiah records the condition he was in. He dwells upon this; I shall no more see the Lord. A good man wishes not to live for any other end than that he may serve God, and have communion with him. Our present residence is like that of a shepherd in his hut, a poor, mean, and cold lodging, and with a trust committed to our charge, as the shepherd has. Our days are compared to the weaver's shuttle, Job 7:6, passing and repassing very swiftly, every throw leaving a thread behind it; and when finished, the piece is cut off, taken out of the loom, and showed to our Master to be judged of. A good man, when his life is cut off, his cares and fatigues are cut off with it, and he rests from his labours. But our times are in God's hand; he has appointed what shall be the length of the piece. When sick, we are very apt to calculate our time, but are still at uncertainty. It should be more our care how we shall get safe to another world. And the more we taste of the loving-kindness of God, the more will our hearts love him, and live to him. It was in love to our poor perishing souls that Christ delivered them. The pardon does not make the sin not to have been sin, but not to be punished as it deserves. It is pleasant to think of our recoveries from sickness, when we see them flowing from the pardon of sin. Hezekiah's opportunity to glorify God in this world, he made the business, and pleasure, and end of life. Being recovered, he resolves to abound in praising and serving God. God's promises are not to do away, but to quicken and encourage the use of means. Life and health are given that we may glorify God and do good.I reckoned - There has been considerable variety in interpreting this expression. The Septuagint renders it, 'I was given up in the morning as to a lion.' The Vulgate renders it, 'I hoped until morning;' and in his commentary, Jerome says it means, that as Job in his trouble and anguish Isaiah 7:4 sustained himself at night expecting the day, and in the daytime waiting for the night, expecting a change for the better, so Hezekiah waited during the night expecting relief in the morning. He knew, says he, that the violence of a burning fever would very soon subside, and he thus composed himself, and calmly waited. So Vitringa renders it, 'I composed my mind until the morning.' Others suppose that the word used here (שׁוּיתי shı̂vı̂ythı̂y), means, 'I made myself like a lion,' that is, in roaring. But the more probable and generally adopted interpretation is, 'I looked to God, hoping that the disease would soon subside, but as a lion he crushed my bones. The disease increased in violence, and became past endurance. Then I chattered like a swallow, and mourned like a dove, over the certainty that I must die.' Our translators, by inserting the word 'that,' have greatly marred the sense, as if he had reckoned or calculated through the night that God would break his bones, or increase the violence of the disease, whereas the reverse was true. He hoped and expected that it would be otherwise, and with that view he composed his mind.

As a lion so will he break all my bones - This should be in the past tense. 'He (God) did crush all my bones.' The connection requires this construction. The idea is, that as a lion crushes the bones of his prey, producing great pain and sudden death, so it was with God in producing great pain and the prospect of sudden death.

From day even to night ... - (See the note at Isaiah 38:12) Between morning and night. That is, his pain so resembled the crushing of all the bones of an animal by the lion, that he could not hope to survive the day.

13. I reckoned … that—rather, I composed (my mind, during the night, expecting relief in the "morning," so Job 7:4): for ("that" is not, as in the English Version, to be supplied) as a lion He was breaking all my bones [Vitringa] (Job 10:16; La 3:10, 11). The Hebrew, in Ps 131:2, is rendered, "I quieted." Or else, "I made myself like a lion (namely, in roaring, through pain), He was so breaking my bones!" Poets often compare great groaning to a lion's roaring, so, Isa 38:14, he compares his groans to the sounds of other animals (Ps 22:1) [Maurer]. When I was filled with pain, and could not rest all the night long, even till morning, my thoughts were working and presaging that God would instantly break me to pieces, and that every moment would be my last; and the like restless and dismal thoughts followed me from morning till evening. But he mentions only the time before morning, to aggravate his misery, that he was so grievously tormented, when others had sweet rest and repose. I reckoned till morning,.... Or, "I set my time till the morning (m)"; he fixed and settled it in his mind that he could live no longer than to the morning, if he lived so long; he thought he should have died before the night came on, and, now it was come, the utmost he could propose to himself was to live till morning; that was the longest time he could reckon of. According to the accents, it should be rendered, "I reckoned till morning as a lion"; or "I am like until the morning as a lion"; or, "I likened until the morning (God) as a lion"; I compared him to one; which agrees with what follows. The Targum is,

"I roared until morning, as a lion roars;''

through the force of the disease, and the pain he was in: or rather,

"I laid my bones together until the morning as a lion; "so indeed as a lion God" hath broken all my bones (n):''

so will he break all my bones; or, "it will break"; that is, the sickness, as Kimchi and Jarchi; it lay in his bones, and so violent was the pain, that he thought all his bones were breaking in pieces; such is the case in burning fevers, as Jerom observes; so Kimchi interprets it of a burning fever, which is like a fire in the bones. Some understand this of God himself, to which our version directs, who may be said to do this by the disease: compare with this Job 16:14 and to this sense the following clause inclines:

from day even tonight wilt thou make an end of me; he lived till morning, which was more than he expected, and was the longest time he could set himself; and now be reckoned that before night it would be all over with him as to this world. This was the second day of his illness; and the third day he recovered, and went to the temple with his song of praise.

(m) "statui, vel posui usque ad mane", Pagninus, Montanus; "constitui rursum terminum usque mane", Vatablus. (n) Reinbeck de Accent Heb. p. 411.

I reckoned {l} till morning, that, as a lion, so will he break all my bones: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me.

(l) Overnight I thought that I would live till morning, but my pangs in the night persuaded me the contrary: he shows the horror that the faithful have when they apprehend God's judgment against their sin.

13. I reckoned till morning] R.V. has “I quieted myself until morning.” It is better to amend the text slightly and read I cried until morning.

so will he break (better, he breaketh) all my bones] the crushing effect of pain. Cf. Lamentations 3:4.Verse 13. - I reckoned till morning, etc.; i.e. "I lay thinking till the morning, that God would crush me as a lion crushes his prey - I expected him all day long to make an end of me." On 2 Kings 20:9 - Even הלך is syntactically admissible in the sense of iveritne; see Genesis 21:7; Psalm 11:3; Job 12:9.

Isaiah 38:7The pledge desired. "(K. Then Isaiah said) and (K. om.) let this be the sign to thee on the part of Jehovah, that (אשׁר, K. כּי) Jehovah will perform this (K. the) word which He has spoken; Behold, I make the shadow retrace the steps, which it has gone down upon the sun-dial of Ahaz through the sun, ten steps backward. And the sun went back ten steps upon the dial, which it had gone down" (K. "Shall the shadow go forward [הלך, read הלך according to Job 40:2, or הילך] ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps? Then Yechizkiyahu said, It is easy for the shadow to go down ten steps; no, but the shadow shall go back ten steps. Then Isaiah the prophet cried to Jehovah, and turned back the shadow by the steps that it had gone down upon the sun-dial of Ahaz, ten steps backward"). "Steps of Ahaz" was the name given to a sun-dial erected by him. As ma‛ălâh may signify either one of a flight of steps or a degree (syn. madrigâh), we might suppose the reference to be to a dial-plate with a gnomon; but, in the first place, the expression points to an actual succession of steps, that is to say, to an obelisk upon a square or circular elevation ascended by steps, which threw the shadow of its highest point at noon upon the highest steps, and in the morning and evening upon the lowest either on the one side or the other, so that the obelisk itself served as a gnomon. It is in this sense that the Targum on 2 Kings 9:13 renders gerem hamma‛ălōth by derag shâ‛ayyâ', step (flight of steps) of the sun-dial; and the obelisk of Augustus, on the Field of Mars at Rome, was one of this kind, which served as a sun-dial. The going forward, going down, or declining of the shadow, and its going back, were regulated by the meridian line, and under certain circumstances the same might be said of a vertical dial, i.e., of a sun-dial with a vertical dial-plate; but it applies more strictly to a step-dial, i.e., to a sun-dial in which the degrees that measure definite periods of time are really gradus. The step-dial of Ahaz may have consisted of twenty steps or more, which measured the time of day by half-hours, or even quarters. If the sign was given an hour before sunset, the shadow, by going back ten steps of half-an-hour each, would return to the point at which it stood at twelve o'clock. But how was this effected? Certainly not by giving an opposite direction to the revolution of the earth upon its axis, which would have been followed by the most terrible convulsions over the entire globe; and in all probability not even by an apparently retrograde motion of the sun (in which case the miracle would be optical rather than cosmical); but as the intention was to give a sign that should serve as a pledge, and therefore had not need whatever to be supernatural, it may have been simply through a phenomenon of refraction, since all that was required was that the shadow which was down at the bottom in the afternoon should be carried upwards by a sudden and unexpected refraction. Hamma‛ălōth (the steps) in Isaiah 38:8 does not stand in a genitive relation to tsēl (the shadow), as the accents would make it appear, but is an accusative of measure, equivalent to בּמּעלות in the sum of the steps (2 Kings 20:11). To this accusative of measure there is appended the relative clause: quos (gradus) descendit (ירדה; צל being used as a feminine) in scala Ahasi per solem, i.e., through the onward motion of the sun. When it is stated that "the sun returned," this does not mean the sun in the heaven, but the sun upon the sun-dial, upon which the illuminated surface moved upwards as the shadow retreated; for when the shadow moved back, the sun moved back as well. The event is intended to be represented as a miracle; and a miracle it really was. The force of will proved itself to be a power superior to all natural law; the phenomenon followed upon the prophet's prayer as an extraordinary result of divine power, not effected through his astronomical learning, but simply through that faith which can move mountains, because it can set in motion the omnipotence of God.

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