Isaiah 38:19
The living, the living, he shall praise you, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known your truth.
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(19) The father to the children . . .—The words are perfectly general, but they receive a special significance from the fact that Hezekiah’s son and successor, Manasseh, who was only twelve years old at his father’s death (2Kings 21:1), was not born till two or three years afterwards. At the time of his illness the king may still have been childless, and the thought that there was no son to take his place may have added bitterness to his grief. “Thy truth,” has here the sense of “faithfulness” rather than of the truth about God which is the object of belief.

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.The living, the living - An emphatic or intensive form of expression, as in Isaiah 38:11, Isaiah 38:17. Nothing would express his idea but a repetition of the word, as if the heart was full of it.

The father to the children - One generation of the living to another. The father shall have so deep a sense of the goodness of God that he shall desire to make it known to his children, and to perpetuate the memory of it in the earth.

19. living … living—emphatic repetition, as in Isa 38:11, 17; his heart is so full of the main object of his prayer that, for want of adequate words, he repeats the same word.

father to the children—one generation of the living to another. He probably, also, hints at his own desire to live until he should have a child, the successor to his throne, to whom he might make known and so perpetuate the memory of God's truth.

truth—faithfulness to His promises; especially in Hezekiah's case, His promise of hearing prayer.

He shall praise thee; they are especially obliged to it, and they only have this privilege.

The father to the children shall make known thy truth; they shall not only praise thee whilst they live, but take care to propagate and perpetuate thy praise and glory to all succeeding generations. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day,.... Every one of the living, or such who are both corporeally and spiritually alive; and therefore the word is repeated; none but such who are alive in a corporeal sense can praise the Lord in this world; and none but such who are spiritually alive can praise him aright, and such do under a true sense of the greatness of his mercies, and of their own unworthiness; and such a one was Hezekiah; for the words may be rendered, "as I am this day (x)"; that is, alive in both the above senses; and so did he praise God, in such a spiritual manner, even on the day he committed this to writing, and was now in the temple offering up this thanksgiving:

the father to the children shall make known thy truth: not meaning himself, for at this time he had no children; though, no doubt, when he had any, as he afterwards had, particularly Manasseh, he took care to acquaint him with the truth and faithfulness of God in the fulfilling of his promises to him; and which every religious parent would do, and so transmit the memory thereof to future ages.

(x) "quails ego sum hodie", Syr.

The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the {x} children shall make known thy truth.

(x) All posterity will acknowledge and the fathers according to their duty toward their children will instruct them in your graces and mercies toward me.

19. the father … truth] Cf. Psalm 22:30; Psalm 48:13-14; Psalm 71:18; Psalm 78:3-4.Verse 19. - The living. Those who still enjoy the light of day. The repetition is emphatic, and has the force of "the living, and the living only." The father to the children. Hezekiah may, or may not, have had children himself at the time. Manasseh was not born; but he may have had daughters, or even other sons, who did not survive him. He is not, however, perhaps, thinking of his own ease. In strophe 2 the retrospective glance is continued. His sufferings increased to such an extent, that there was nothing left in his power but a whining moan - a languid look for help.

I waited patiently till the morning; like the lion,

So He broke in pieces all my bones:

From day to night Thou makest it all over with me.

Like a swallow, a crane, so I chirped;

I cooed like the dove;

Mine eyes pined for the height.

O Lord, men assault me! Be bail for me."

The meaning of shivvithi may be seen from Psalm 131:2, in accordance with which an Arabic translator has rendered the passage, "I smoothed, i.e., quieted (sâweitu) my soul, notwithstanding the sickness, all night, until the morning." But the morning brought no improvement; the violence of the pain, crushing him like a lion, forced from him again and again the mournful cry, that he must die before the day had passed, and should not live to see another. The Masora here has a remark, which is of importance, as bearing upon Psalm 22:17, viz., that כּארי occurs twice, and לישׁני בתרי with two different meanings. The meaning of עגוּר סוּס is determined by Jeremiah 8:7, from which it is evident that עגּור is not an attribute of סּוס here, in the sense of "chirping mournfully," or "making a circle in its flight," but is the name of a particular bird, namely the crane. For although the Targum and Syriac both seem to render סוס in that passage (keri סיס, which is the chethib here, according to the reading of Orientals) by כּוּרכּיא) (a crane, Arab. Kurki), and עגוּר, by סנוּניתא) (the ordinary name of the swallow, which Haji Gaon explains by the Arabic chuttaf), yet the relation is really the reverse: sūs (sı̄s) is the swallow, and ‛âgūr the crane. Hence Rashi, on b. Kiddusin 44a ("then cried Res Lakis like a crane"), gives âg, Fr. grue, as the rendering of כרוכי; whereas Parchon (s.verse ‛âgūr), confounds the crane with the hoarsely croaking stork (ciconia alba). The verb 'ătsaphtsēph answers very well not only to the flebile murmur of the swallow (into which the penitential Progne was changed, according to the Grecian myth), but also to the shrill shriek of the crane, which is caused by the extraordinary elongation of the windpipe, and is onomatopoetically expressed in its name ‛âgūr.

(Note: The call of the parent cranes, according to Naumann (Vgel Deutschlands, ix. 364), is a rattling kruh (gruh), which is uncommonly violent when close, and has a trumpet-like sound, which makes it audible at a very great distance. With the younger cranes it has a somewhat higher tone, which often passes, so to speak, into a falsetto.)

Tsiphtsēph, like τρίζειν, is applied to every kind of shrill, penetrating, inarticulate sound. The ordinary meaning of dallū, to hang long and loose, has here passed over into that of pining (syn. kâlâh). The name of God in Isaiah 38:14 is Adonai, not Jehovah, being one of the 134 ודּין, i.e., words which are really written Adonai, and not merely to be read so.

(Note: Vid., Br, Psalterium, p. 133.)

It is impossible to take עשׁקה־לּי as an imperative. The pointing, according to which we are to read ‛ashqa, admits this (compare shâmrâh in Psalm 86:2; Psalm 119:167; and on the other hand, zochrālli, in Nehemiah 5:19, etc.);

(Note: Vid., Br, Thorath Emeth, pp. 22, 23.)


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