He gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increases strength.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He giveth power to the faint . . .—i.e., to them pre-eminently—their very consciousness of weakness being the condition of their receiving strength. (Comp. Matthew 5:6; Luke 1:52-53; Luke 6:21.)Isaiah 40:29-31. He giveth power to the faint — He hath strength enough, not only for himself, but for all, even the weakest of his creatures, whom he can easily strengthen to bear all their burdens, and to vanquish all their oppressors. The prophet seems to speak with an especial reference to those among God’s people whose faith and hope were very low, which he would support, even until the time of their promised deliverance. Even the youths shall faint — Those that make the greatest boast of their strength, as young men are apt to do, shall find it fail them whenever God withdraws his support. But they that wait upon the Lord — That rely on him for strength to bear their burdens, and for deliverance from them in due time; shall renew their strength — Shall grow stronger and stronger in faith, patience, and fortitude, whereby they shall be more than conquerors over all their enemies and adversities. They shall mount up on wings as eagles — Which, of all fowls, fly most strongly and swiftly, and rise highest in their flight, and out of the reach of all danger. Instead of, They shall mount up, &c., Bishop Lowth reads, They shall put forth fresh feathers, like the moulting eagle; observing, “It has been a common and popular opinion, that the eagle lives and retains his vigour to a great age; and that, beyond the common lot of other birds, he moults in his old age, and renews his feathers, and with them his youth. Thou shalt renew my youth like the eagle, says the psalmist, on which place St. Ambrose notes, ‘Aquila longam ætatem ducit, dum, vetustis plumis fatiscentibus, nova pennarum successione juvenescit.’” The eagle extends his age to a great length, while the old feathers failing, he grows young by a new succession of feathers. See note on Psalm 103:5. 2 Corinthians 12:9). The design of this verse is to give consolation to the afflicted and down-trodden people in Babylon, by recalling to their minds the truth that it was one of the characteristics of God that he ministered strength to those who were conscious of their own feebleness, and who looked to him for support. It is a truth, however, as applicable to us as to theresa truth inestimably precious to those who feel that they are weak and feeble, and who look to God for aid.
no might … increaseth strength—a seeming paradox. They "have no might" in themselves; but in Him they have strength, and He "increases" that strength (2Co 12:9).Psalm 27:13. The Targum is,
"who giveth wisdom to the righteous that breathe after the words of the law:''
and to them that have no might he increaseth strength; not that they have no might at all, strictly speaking; for then it could not be properly said their strength was increased by him; but that their might and power were very small, and that in their own apprehensions they had none, and then it is that fresh strength is given them; as the apostle says, "when I am weak, then am I strong"; 2 Corinthians 12:10, though this may be understood, not of the strength of their graces, but of their sins and corruptions: a word from the same root as this here used signifies "iniquity"; and the sense may be, that the Lord increases the spiritual strength of such on whom the lust's, corruptions, and virtuosity of nature have not the power and dominion (e).He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 29. - He giveth power to the faint. So far is he from being "faint" himself, that he has superabundant energy to impart to any that are faint among his servants. Job 12:17, Job 12:24. The suddenness of the catastrophe is depicted in Isaiah 40:24. אף בּל (which only occurs here), when followed by וגם in the apodosis (cf., 2 Kings 20:4), signifies that even this has not yet taken place when the other also occurs: hence vixdum plantati sunt, etc. The niphal נטּע and the pual זרע denote the hopeful commencement; the poelשׁרשׁ the hopeful continuation. A layer or seed excites the hope of blossom and fruit, more especially when it has taken root; but nothing more is needed than a breath of Jehovah, and it is all over with it (the verb nâshaph is used in this verse, where plants with stems are referred to; a verb with a softer labial, nâshabh, was employed above in connection with grass and flowers). A single withering breath lays them at rest; and by the power of Jehovah there rises a stormy wind, which carries them away like light dry stubble (נשׂא); compare, on the other hand, the verb used in Isaiah 40:15, viz., tūl equals nâtal, to lift up, to keep in the air).
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