Isaiah 4:6
And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day time from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.
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(6) And there shall be a tabernacle.—Perhaps It shall be . . . The thought is that of Psalm 27:5; Psalm 31:20. In the manifested glory of Jehovah men would find, as the traveller finds in his tent, a protection against all forms of danger, against the scorching heat of noon, and against the pelting storm.

Isaiah 4:6. And there shall be, &c. — Or, He, that is, the Lord, shall be, a tabernacle, or a tent, for a shadow from the heat, &c. — He alludes to the circumstance of tents being necessary, in those eastern countries, to defend people from the intolerable heat of the sun, and the violent tempests which frequently happen; in consequence of which a portable tent becomes an important part of a traveller’s baggage, for defence and shelter. Thus, he signifies, the Christian Church, in its early ages, exposed as it was to the heat and violent storms of repeated persecutions, stood in peculiar need of the divine protection, and was favoured therewith, and that frequently, in a very extraordinary and even miraculous way. 4:2-6 Not only the setting forth Christ's kingdom in the times of the apostles, but its enlargement by gathering the dispersed Jews into the church, is foretold. Christ is called the Branch of the Lord, being planted by his power, and flourishing to his praise. The gospel is the fruit of the Branch of the Lord; all the graces and comforts of the gospel spring from Christ. It is called the fruit of the earth, because it sprang up in this world, and was suited for the present state. It will be good evidence that we are distinguished from those merely called Israel, if we are brought to see all beauty in Christ, and holiness. As a type of this blessed day, Jerusalem should again flourish as a branch, and be blessed with the fruits of the earth. God will keep for himself a holy seed. When most of those that have a place and a name in Zion, and in Jerusalem, shall be cut off by their unbelief, some shall be left. Those only that are holy shall be left, when the Son of man shall gather out of his kingdom every thing which offends. By the judgment of God's providence, sinners were destroyed and consumed; but by the Spirit of grace they are reformed and converted. The Spirit herein acts as a Spirit of judgment, enlightening the mind, convincing the conscience; also as a Spirit of burning, quickening and strengthening the affections, and making men zealously affected in a good work. An ardent love to Christ and souls, and zeal against sin, will carry men on with resolution in endeavours to turn away ungodliness from Jacob. Every affliction serves believers as a furnace, to purify them from dross; and the convincing, enlightening, and powerful influences of the Holy Spirit, gradually root out their lusts, and render them holy as He is holy. God will protect his church, and all that belong to it. Gospel truths and ordinances are the glory of the church. Grace in the soul is the glory of it; and those that have it are kept by the power of God. But only those who are weary will seek rest; only those who are convinced that a storm is approaching, will look for shelter. Affected with a deep sense of the Divine displeasure, to which we are exposed by sin, let us at once have recourse to Jesus Christ, and thankfully accept the refuge he affords.And there shall be a tabernacle - The reference here is to the "tabernacle," or sacred "tent" that God directed Moses to make in the wilderness. The image of the cloudy pillar mentioned in the previous verses, seems to have suggested to the mind of the prophet the idea of the tabernacle over which that pillar rested. The principal idea here is, however, not a tabernacle as a symbol of the divine protection, or of divine worship, but of a place of refuge from a tempest; that is, that they should be "safe" under his protection. In Eastern countries they dwelt chiefly in tents. The idea is, therefore, that God would furnish them a place of shelter, a hiding-place from the storm.

In the daytime from the heat - The heat in those regions was often very intense, particularly in the vast plains of sand. The "idea" here is, therefore, one that is very striking. It means, that God would furnish to them a refuge that would be like the comfort derived from a tent in a burning desert.

For a place of refuge - A place to which to flee in the midst of a storm, as a tent would be.

A covert - A place of retreat, a safe place to retire to. The figure used here is not unfrequently employed in the prophets; Isaiah 25:4; Isaiah 32:2. In eastern countries this idea would be very striking. While traversing the burning sands of a desert, exposed to the rays of a tropical sun, nothing could be more grateful than the cool shadow of a rock. Such figures are, therefore, common in oriental writings, to denote protection and agreeable shelter from calamities; see the note at Isaiah 32:2. The idea in these verses is:

(1) That God will be a defender of his people.

(2) That he will protect their families, and that his blessing will be upon their dwelling-places; compare the note at Isaiah 59:21.

(3) They may expect his blessing on their religious assemblies.

(4) God, through the promised Messiah, would be a refuge and defense.

The sinner is exposed to the burning wrath of God, and to the storms of divine vengeance that shall beat forever on the naked soul in hell. From all this burning wrath, and from this raging tempest, the Messiah is the only refuge. Through him God forgives sin; and united to him by faith, the soul is safe. There are few images more beautiful than this. Soon the storms of divine vengeance will beat on the sinner. God will summon him to judgment. But then, he who has fled to the Messiah - the Lord Jesus - as the refuge of his soul, shall be safe. He shall have nothing to fear, and in his arms shall find defense and salvation.

5. create—The "new creation" needs as much God's creative omnipotence, as the material creation (2Co 4:6; Eph 2:10). So it shall be in the case of the Holy Jerusalem to come (Isa 65:17, 18).

upon—The pillar of cloud stood over the tabernacle, as symbol of God's favor and presence (Ex 13:21, 22; Ps 91:1). Both on individual families ("every dwelling") and on the general sacred "assemblies" (Le 23:2). The "cloud" became a "fire" by night in order to be seen by the Lord's people.

upon all the glory—"upon the glorious whole"; namely, the Lord's people and sanctuary [Maurer]. May it not mean, "Upon whatever the glory (the Shekinah spoken of in the previous clause) shall rest, there shall be a defense." The symbol of His presence shall ensure also safety. So it was to Israel against the Egyptians at the Red Sea (Ex 14:19, 20). So it shall be to literal Jerusalem hereafter (Zec 2:5). Also to the Church, the spiritual "Zion" (Isa 32:18; 33:15-17; Heb 12:22).

tabernacle—Christ's body (Joh 1:14). "The word 'tabernacled' (Greek for 'dwelt') among us" (Joh 2:21; Heb 8:2). It is a "shadow from the heat" and "refuge from the storm" of divine wrath against man's sins (Isa 25:4). Heat and storms are violent in the East; so that a portable tent is a needful part of a traveller's outfit. Such shall be God's wrath hereafter, from which the "escaped of Israel" shall be sheltered by Jesus Christ (Isa 26:20, 21; 32:2).

covert—answering to "defense" (Isa 4:5). The Hebrew for defense in Isa 4:5, is "covering"; the lid of the ark or mercy seat was named from the same Hebrew word, caphar; the propitiatory; for it, being sprinkled with blood by the high priest once a year, on the day of atonement, covered the people typically from wrath. Jesus Christ is the true Mercy Seat, on whom the Shekinah rested, the propitiatory, or atonement, beneath whom the law is kept, as it was literally within the ark, and man is covered from the storm. The redeemed Israel shall also be, by union with Him, a tabernacle for God's glory, which, unlike that in the wilderness, shall not be taken down (Isa 38:20).

There shall be a tabernacle; or, he, i.e. the Lord, shall be a tabernacle, or a tent, to defend them from the violent heat of the sun, and other injuries of the weather, which was the use and benefit of tents. And there shall be a tabernacle,.... Christ, who tabernacled in our nature, and is the minister of the true tabernacle, which God pitched, and not man; who will be spiritually present in the word and ordinances, where the shepherds pitch their tents; and who will be that to his people as shepherds' tents are to them, to which the allusion is:

for a shadow in the day time from the heat: from the heat of a fiery law, which works wrath; from the flaming sword of justice, which calls for vengeance; from the wrath of God, which is poured forth like fire; from Satan's temptations, compared to fiery darts; and from the violence of persecution; for there will be no more after the last struggle of the beast, and the slaying of the witnesses:

and for a place of refuge; until the indignation be over and past: as Christ is a refuge for sensible sinners to flee unto for safety, from avenging justice, and the wrath of God; so he is a place of security, and has his chambers of safety for saints, from all dangers, and from every enemy, Isaiah 26:20,

and for a covert from storm and from rain; from the blast of the terrible ones, the antichristian powers, which will be as a storm against a wall, Isaiah 25:4 this will be the hour of temptation, which will come upon and try them that dwell upon the earth, from which Christ will preserve his faithful ones, Revelation 3:10.

And there shall be a tabernacle for a shade in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm {k} and from rain.

(k) God promises to be the defence of his Church against all troubles and dangers.

6. a tabernacle] a pavilion as in Psalm 18:11.

in the daytime] is omitted by the LXX.

for a place of refuge … rain] for a refuge and shelter from storm and from rain. The mention of these “lesser inconveniences” reads like an anticlimax. It is certainly difficult to think that Isaiah would have written so weak a conclusion to an important oracle. The passage may be fragmentary.Verse 6. - And there shall be, etc.; rather, and it (i.e. "the canopy") shall be a tabernacle, or bower, a shelter from the sun's heat by day, and from storm and rain both by day and night. The metaphors need no explanation.

What the prophet here foretells to the daughter of Zion he sees in Isaiah 3:26 fulfilled upon her: "Then will her gates lament and mourn, and desolate is she, sits down upon the ground." The gates, where the husbands of the daughters of Zion, who have now fallen in war, sued at one time to gather together in such numbers, are turned into a state of desolation, in which they may, as it were, be heard complaining, and seen to mourn (Isaiah 14:31; Jeremiah 14:2; Lamentations 1:4); and the daughter of Zion herself is utterly vacated, thoroughly emptied, completely deprived of all her former population; and in this state of the most mournful widowhood or orphanage, brought down from her lofty seat (Isaiah 47:1) and princely glory (Jeremiah 13:18), she sits down upon the ground, just as Judaea is represented as doing upon Roman medals that were struck after the destruction of Jerusalem, where she is introduced as a woman thoroughly broken down, and sitting under a palm-tree in an attitude of despair, with a warrior standing in front of her, the inscription upon the medal being Judaea capta, or devicta. The Septuagint rendering is quite in accordance with the sense, viz., καὶ καταλειφθἠση μόνη καὶ εἰς την̀ γῆν ἐδαφισθήση (cf., Luke 19:44), except that תּשׁב is not the second person, but the third, and נקּתה the third pers. pret. niph. for נקּתה - a pausal form which is frequently met with in connection with the smaller distinctive accents, such as silluk and athnach (here it occurs with tiphchah, as, for example, in Amos 3:8). The clause "sits down upon the ground" is appended ἀσυνδἔτως - a frequent construction in cases where one of two verbs defines the other in a manner which is generally expressed adverbially (vid., 1 Chronicles 13:2, and the inverted order of the words in Jeremiah 4:5; cf., Isaiah 12:6): Zion sits upon the earth in a state of utter depopulation.
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