Isaiah 41:16 Commentaries: "You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the LORD, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 41:16
You shall fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and you shall rejoice in the LORD, and shall glory in the Holy One of Israel.
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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 fan them - Keeping up the figure commenced in the previous verse. To fan here means to winnow, an operation which was performed by throwing the threshed grain up with a shovel into the air, so that the wind drove the chaff away. So all their enemies, and all the obstacles which were in their way should be scattered.

And the whirlwind shall scatter them - The ancients believed that people might be swept away by a storm or whirlwind. See Job 27:p>The cast wind carrieth him away and he departeth;

And as a storm hurleth him out of his place.

Compare Homer, Odys. xx. 63ff, thus rendered by Pope:

Snatch me, ye whirlwinds! far from human race,

Tost through the void illimitable space;

Or if dismounted from the rapid cloud,

Me with his whelming wave let ocean shroud!

See the notes at Job 30:22.

And thou shalt rejoice in the Lord - In view of the aid which he has vouchsafed, and the deliverance which he has performed for you.

Shalt glory - Shalt boast, or shalt exult. You will regard God as the author of your deliverance, and joy in the proofs of his interposition, and of his gracious protection and care.

16. fan—winnowed (compare Mt 3:12).

whirlwind … scatter them—(Job 27:21; 30:22).

Thou shalt fan them, when thou hast beaten them as small as dust or chaff.

Shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel; for to him, and not to thyself, thou shalt ascribe thy victory over thine enemies. Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them,.... In illusion to the custom of the Jews, who had their threshingfloors on the tops of hills and mountains, where they took the opportunity and advantage of the wind in winnowing their corn, which fanned it, and carried away the chaff, and scattered it abroad; in like manner, it is suggested, the enemies of the church and people of God should be dealt with, which are like the chaff the wind driveth away, and is found no more, Psalm 1:5, and so Rome Pagan was no more as such when subdued by Constantine, nor will the Papal antichristian states, Daniel 2:35. Compare with this what is said of literal Babylon, which will have its accomplishment in mystical Babylon, Jeremiah 51:33,

and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord: the Targum is,

"in the word of the Lord;''

and so it paraphrases the preceding clause,

"his word shall scatter them as the whirlwind chaff;''

and therefore in him the saints shall rejoice, because it is he that destroys their enemies; so when Rome Pagan was abolished, and the devil and his angels, or the Heathen emperors, were drove out of it and destroyed, there was great joy among the people of God, saying, "now is come salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ", Revelation 12:10 there will be great rejoicing in the Lord likewise when Rome Papal falls, and the saints have got the victory over the beast, Revelation 15:2.

and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel; whose arm alone has done the above things, and to whom the glory is to be given: it is the true character of believers to rejoice in Christ, in his person, offices, and grace, and to glory in his being made unto them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Philippians 3:3.

Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
The proof adduced by Jehovah of His own deity closes here. But instead of our hearing whether the nations, with which He has entered upon the contest, have any reply to make, the address turns to Israel, upon which deliverance dawns from that very quarter, from which the others are threatened with destruction. "And thou, Israel my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, seed of Abraham my friend, thou whom I have laid hold of from the ends of the earth, and called from the corners thereof, and said to thee, Thou art my servant, I have chosen and not despised thee; fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not afraid, for I am thy God: I have chosen thee, I also help thee, I also hold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." The ו before ואתּה connects together antitheses, which show themselves at once to be antitheses. Whereas the nations, which put their trust in idols that they themselves had made, were thrown into alarm, and yielded before the world-wide commotions that had originated with the eastern conqueror, Israel, the nation of Jehovah, might take comfort to itself. Every word here breathes the deepest affection. The address moves on in soft undulating lines. The repetition of the suffix ך, with which אשׁר forms a relative of the second person, for which we have no equivalent in our language (Ges. 123, Anm. 1), gives to the address a pressing, clinging, and, as it were, loving key-note. The reason, which precedes the comforting assurance in Isaiah 41:10, recals the intimate relation in which Jehovah had placed Himself towards Israel, and Israel towards Himself. The leading thought, "servant of Jehovah," which is characteristic of chapters 40-46, and lies at the root of the whole spirit of these addresses, more especially of their Christology, we first meet with here, and that in a popular sense. It has both an objective and a subjective side. On the one hand, Israel is the servant of Jehovah by virtue of a divine act; and this act, viz., its election and call, was an act of pure grace, and was not to be traced, as the expression "I have chosen and not despised thee' indicates, to any superior excellence or merit on the part of Israel. On the contrary, Israel was so obscure that Jehovah might have despised it; nevertheless He had anticipated it in free unmerited love with this stamp of the character indelibilis of a servant of Jehovah. On the other hand, Israel was the servant of Jehovah, inasmuch as it acted out what Jehovah had made it, partly in reverential worship of this God, and partly in active obedience. את־ה עבד, i.e., "serving Jehovah," includes both liturgical service (also עבד absolutely, Isaiah 19:23) and the service of works. The divine act of choosing and calling is dated from Abraham. From a Palestinian point of view, Ur of Chaldaea, within the old kingdom of Nimrod, and Haran in northern Mesopotamia, seemed like the ends and corners of the earth ('ătsı̄lı̄m, remote places, from 'âtsal, to put aside or apart). Israel and the land of Israel were so inseparably connected, that whenever the origin of Israel was spoken of, the point of view could only be taken in Palestine. To the far distant land of the Tigris and Euphrates had Jehovah gone to fetch Abraham, "the friend of God" (James 2:23), who is called in the East even to the present day, chalil ollah, the friend of God. This calling of Abraham was the furthest terminus a quo of the existence of Israel as the covenant nation; for the leading of Abraham was providentially appointed with reference to the rise of Israel as a nation. The latter was pre-existent in him by virtue of the counsel of God. And when Jehovah adopted Abraham as His servant, and called him "my servant" (Genesis 26:24), Israel, the nation that was coming into existence in Abraham, received both the essence and name of a "servant of Jehovah." Inasmuch then as, on looking back to its past history, it would not fail to perceive that it was so thoroughly a creation of divine power and grace, it ought not to be fearful, and look about with timidity and anxiety; for He who had presented Himself at the very beginning as its God, was still always near. The question arises, in connection with the word אמּצתּי, whether it means to strengthen (Isaiah 35:3; Psalm 89:22), or to lay firm hold of, to attach firmly to one's self, to choose. We decide in favour of the latter meaning, which is established by Isaiah 44:14, cf., Psalm 80:16, Psalm 80:18. The other perfects affirm what Jehovah has ever done, and still continues to do. In the expression "by the right hand of my righteousness," the justice or righteousness is regarded pre-eminently on its brighter side, the side turned towards Israel; but it is also regarded on its fiery side, or the side turned towards the enemies of Israel. It is the righteousness which aids the oppressed congregation against its oppressors. The repeated אף heaps one synonym upon another, expressive of the divine love; for ו simply connects, גּם appends, אף heaps up (cumulat). Language is too contracted to hold all the fulness of the divine love; and for this reason the latter could not find words enough to express all that it desired.
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