Isaiah 43:20
The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Isaiah 43:20. The beast of the field shall honour me — Shall have cause, if they had abilities, to honour and praise me for their share in this mercy; the dragons, &c. — Which live in dry and barren deserts. “The image,” says Bishop Lowth, “is elegant and highly poetical. God will give such an abundant, miraculous supply of water to his people traversing the dry desert, in their return to their country, that even the wild beasts, the serpents, the ostriches, and other animals that haunt those adust regions, shall be sensible of the blessing, and shall break forth into thanksgiving and praises to him for the unusual refreshment which they receive from his so plentifully watering the sandy wastes of Arabia Deserta, for the benefit of his people passing through them.”

43:14-21 The deliverance from Babylon is foretold, but there is reference to greater events. The redemption of sinners by Christ, the conversion of the Gentiles, and the recall of the Jews, are described. All that is to be done to rescue sinners, and to bring the believer to glory, is little, compared with that wondrous work of love, the redemption of man.The beast of the field shall honor me - The sense of this passage is plain, and the image is highly poetical and beautiful. God would pour such copious floods of waters through the waste sandy deserts to supply his people, that even the wild beasts would be sensible of his abundant goodness, and would break forth into thanksgiving and praise for the unusual supply.

The dragons - (See the note at Isaiah 13:22). The Septuagint renders the word used here (תנין tannı̂yn), by σειρῆνες seirēnes - 'sirens' - among the ancients a marine monster that was fabled to use sweet and alluring tones of music. It is probable, however, that the Septuagint understood here some species of wild-fowl which responded to one another. The Syriac translator here interprets it as denoting some wild animal of the canine species - a wood-dog.

And the owls - Margin, as Hebrew, 'Daughters of the owl, or ostrich' (see the note at Isaiah 13:21).

20. beast—image of idolaters, defiled with blood and pollutions, dwelling like dragons, &c., in the wastes of Gentile ignorance: even they shall be converted. Or else, literally, such copious floods of water shall be given by God in the desert, that the very beasts shall (in poetic language) praise the Lord (Ps 148:10) [Jerome].

dragons—"serpents," or else jackals (see on [790]Isa 13:22).

owls—rather, "ostriches."

The beast of the field shall honour me; shall have cause, if they had abilities, to honour and praise me for their share in this mercy. Possibly the beast of the field may mystically signify the Gentiles, whom the Jews reputed as beasts, and who were as destitute of all saving knowledge as the beasts which perish, yet should become the Lord’s people, as they seem to be called, Isaiah 43:21. The dragons; which live in dry and barren deserts, and are very thirsty, and therefore more sensible of this mercy.

To give drink to my people; to whom these waters were principally designed, but the beasts fared better for their sakes. Thus Christ was primarily sent to the lost sheep of Israel, Matthew 15:24; yet the Gentiles, there compared to dogs, fared better for the children, picking up some crumbs of their bread; and the Jews generally rejecting Christ, the Gentiles came in their stead.

The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons, and the owls,.... Which is not to be understood literally of these creatures, who as they had honoured the Lord, when Israel passed through the wilderness, so would again in their way praise the Lord, when they came through the deserts from Babylon, for giving them water to drink in such dry and thirsty places, to which there may be an allusion; but spiritually of the Gentiles, compared to those creatures for the savageness, fierceness, and stupidity of them, and who were reckoned by the Jews no other than as the beasts of the field; who should honour and glorify God for the Gospel brought unto them, and for his grace and mercy bestowed on them:

because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert; as before; See Gill on Isaiah 43:19; because of the plenty of divine grace, and the means of it:

to give drink to my people, my chosen; to refresh and comfort the hearts of his people, whom he had chosen out from among the Gentiles, and now would call them by his grace, and set them a thirsting after Christ, and salvation by him.

The {u} beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.

(u) They will have such abundance of all things as they return home, even in the dry and barren places, that the very beasts will feel my blessings and will acknowledge them: much more men ought to be thankful for the same.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. Even the wild beasts shall honour Jehovah, unconsciously, through their joy at the abundant supply of water.

the dragons and the owls] Render as R.V. the jackals and the ostriches. see on ch. Isaiah 13:21-22.

Verse 20. - The beast of the field shall honour me. The animal creation shall, participate in the benefits of the "new thing" introduced by the restoration of Israel, and in their dumb way shall show their gratitude. The dragons and the owls. The recent mention of the desert causes animals of the desert (Isaiah 13:21, 22) to be taken as examples. (On the animals intended, see the comment on Isaiah 34:13.) If even the beasts of the desert honoured God, much more would the rest of the animal creation (comp. Isaiah 11:6-8). Isaiah 43:20There now follows a second field of the picture of redemption; and the expression "for your sake" is expounded in Isaiah 43:16-21 : "Thus saith Jehovah, who giveth a road through the sea, and a path through tumultuous waters; who bringeth out chariot and horse, army and hero; they lie down together, they never rise: they have flickered away, extinguished like a wick. Remember not things of olden time, nor meditate upon those of earlier times! Behold, I work out a new thing: will ye not live to see it? Yea, I make a road through the desert, and streams through solitudes. The beast of the field will praise me, wild dogs and ostriches: for I give water in the desert, streams in solitude, to give drink to my people, my chosen. The people that I formed for myself, they shall show forth my praise." What Jehovah really says commences in Isaiah 43:18. Then in between He is described as Redeemer out of Egypt; for the redemption out of Egypt was a type and pledge of the deliverance to be looked for out of Babylon. The participles must not be rendered qui dedit, eduxit; but from the mighty act of Jehovah in olden time general attributes are deduced: He who makes a road in the sea, as He once showed. The sea with the tumultuous waters is the Red Sea (Nehemiah 9:11); ‛izzūz, which rhymes with vâsūs, is a concrete, as in Psalm 24:8, the army with the heroes at its head. The expression "bringeth out," etc., is not followed by "and suddenly destroys them," but we are transported at once into the very midst of the scenes of destruction. ישׁכּבוּ shows them to us entering upon the sleep of death, in which they lie without hope (Isaiah 26:14). The close (kappishtâh khâbhū) is iambic, as in Judges 5:27. The admonition in Isaiah 43:18 does not commend utter forgetfulness and disregard (see Isaiah 66:9); but that henceforth they are to look forwards rather than backward. The new thing which Jehovah is in the process of working out eclipses the old, and deserves a more undivided and prolonged attention. Of this new thing it is affirmed, "even now it sprouts up;" whereas in Isaiah 42:9, even in the domain of the future, a distinction was drawn between "the former things" and "new things," and it could be affirmed of the latter that they were not yet sprouting up. In the passage before us the entire work of God in the new time is called chădâshâh (new), and is placed in contrast with the ri'shōnōth, or occurrences of the olden time; so that as the first part of this new thing had already taken place (Isaiah 42:9), and there was only the last part still to come, it might very well be affirmed of the latter, that it was even now sprouting up (not already, which עתה may indeed also mean, but as in Isaiah 48:7). In connection with this, תדעוּה הלוא (a verbal form with the suffix, as in Jeremiah 13:17, with kametz in the syllable before the tone, as in Isaiah 6:9; Isaiah 47:11, in pause) does not mean, "Will ye then not regard it," as Ewald, Umbreit, and others render it; but, "shall ye not, i.e., assuredly ye will, experience it." The substance of the chădâshâh (the new thing) is unfolded in Isaiah 43:19. It enfolds a rich fulness of wonders: אף affirming that, among other things, Jehovah will do this one very especially. He transforms the pathless, waterless desert, that His chosen one, the people of God, may be able to go through in safety, and without fainting. And the benefits of this miracle of divine grace reach the animal world as well, so that their joyful cries are an unconscious praise of Jehovah. (On the names of the animals, see Khler on Malachi 1:3.) In this we can recognise the prophet, who, as we have several times observed since chapter 11 (compare especially Isaiah 30:23-24; Isaiah 35:7), has not only a sympathizing heart for the woes of the human race, but also an open ear for the sighs of all creation. He knows that when the sufferings of the people of God shall be brought to an end, the sufferings of creation will also terminate; for humanity is the heart of the universe, and the people of God (understanding by this the people of God according to the Spirit) are the heart of humanity. In v. 21 the promise is brought to a general close: the people that (zū personal and relative, as in Isaiah 42:24)

(Note: The pointing connects עם־זוּ with makkeph, so that the rendering would be, "The people there I have formed for myself;" but according to our view, עם should be accented with yethib, and zū with munach. In just the same way, zū is connected with the previous noun as a demonstrative, by means of makkeph, in Exodus 15:13, Exodus 15:16; Psalm 9:16; Psalm 62:12; Psalm 142:4; Psalm 143:8, and by means of a subsidiary accent in Psalm 10:2; Psalm 12:8. The idea which underlies Isaiah 42:24 appears to be, "This is the retribution that we have met with from him."' But in none of these can we be bound by the punctuation.)

I have formed for myself will have richly to relate how I glorified myself in them.

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