Isaiah 41:12
Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
41:10-20 God speaks with tenderness; Fear thou not, for I am with thee: not only within call, but present with thee. Art thou weak? I will strengthen thee. Art thou in want of friends? I will help thee in the time of need. Art thou ready to fall? I will uphold thee with that right hand which is full of righteousness, dealing forth rewards and punishments. There are those that strive with God's people, that seek their ruin. Let not God's people render evil for evil, but wait God's time. It is the worm Jacob; so little, so weak, so despised and trampled on by every body. God's people are as worms, in humble thoughts of themselves, and in their enemies' haughty thoughts of them; worms, but not vipers, not of the serpent's seed. Every part of God's word is calculated to humble man's pride, and to make him appear little in his own eyes. The Lord will help them, for he is their Redeemer. The Lord will make Jacob to become a threshing instrument. God will make him fit for use, new, and having sharp spikes. This has fulfilment in the triumphs of the gospel of Christ, and of all faithful followers of Christ, over the power of darkness. God has provided comforts to supply all their wants, and to answer all their prayers. Our way to heaven lies through the wilderness of this world. The soul of man is in want, and seeks for satisfaction; but becomes weary of seeking that in the world, which is not to be had in it. Yet they shall have a constant supply, where one would least expect it. I will open rivers of grace, rivers of living water, which Christ spake of the Spirit, Joh 7:38,39. When God sets up his church in the Gentile wilderness, there shall be a great change, as if thorns and briers were turned into cedars, and fir-trees, and myrtles. These blessings are kept for the poor in spirit, who long for Divine enlightening, pardon, and holiness. And God will render their barren souls fruitful in the grace of his Spirit, that all who behold may consider it.Thou shalt seek them - This denotes that it would be impossible to find them, for they should cease to exist. The whole verse, with the verse following, is emphatic, repeating in varied terms what was said before, and meaning that their foes should be entirely destroyed. 12. seek … and … not find—said of one so utterly put out of the way that not a trace of him can be found (Ps 37:36).

thing of naught—shall utterly perish.

Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them; they shall be so totally consumed, that although thou searchest for them, thou shalt not be able to find them any where in the world.

Shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought; shall be utterly brought to nought. The thing is twice repeated, to show the certainty and greatness of their destruction.

They not existing, or being fled into holes and corners, to rocks and mountains, to hide themselves from the wrath of the Lamb, Revelation 6:15,

even them that contended with thee; or, "the men of thy contention" (p); who contended with them, not by words and arguments, but by severe persecutions, striving thereby to hinder the progress of the Gospel, and to root Christianity out of the world:

they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought: or, "the men of thy war" (q); that proclaimed and carried on war against the Christians, in order to destroy them utterly; yet they, and all their efforts, came to nothing, the Gospel prevailed, and Paganism was utterly abolished; which came to pass in Constantine's time, at the opening of the sixth seal, Revelation 6:12 which is a proper comment on this text.

(p) "viros jurgii tui", Montanus. (q) "viri belli tui", Vatablus; "pugnae tuae", Montanus.

Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not {l} find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of naught.

(l) Because they will be destroyed.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Isaiah 41:12With the exclamation hēn (behold) the eyes of Israel are now directed to the saving interposition of Jehovah in the immediate future. "Behold, all they that were incensed against thee must be ashamed and confounded; the men of thy conflict become as nothing, and perish. Thou wilt seek them, and not find them, the men of thy feuds; the men of thy warfare become as nothing, and nonentity. For I, Jehovah thy God, lay hold of thy right hand, He who saith to thee, Fear not; I will help thee." The comprehensive expression omnes inflammati in te (niphal, as in Isaiah 45:24) stands at the head; and then, in order that every kind may be included, the enemies are called by a different name every time. The three substantives bear much the same relation to one another as lis, rixa, bellum (milchâmâh, lit., throng equals war-tumult, like the epic κλόνος), hence adversarii, inimici, hostes. The suffixes have the force of objective genitives. We have founded our translation upon the reading מצּוּתיך. The three names of the enemies are placed emphatically at the close of the sentences, and these are long drawn out, whilst the indignation gives vent to itself; whereas in Isaiah 41:13 there follows nothing but short sentences, in which the persecuted church is encouraged and affectionately embraced. Two clauses, which are made to rhyme with ēm, announce the utter destruction of their foes; then the inflective rhyme ekha is repeated five times; and the sixth time it passes over into ı̄kha.
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