Isaiah 44:2
Thus said the LORD that made you, and formed you from the womb, which will help you; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and you, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.
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(2) Thou, Jesurun . . .—The ideal name of Israel as “the upright one;” so the Book of Jasher is the book of the “upright,” of the heroes of Israel. (See Note on Deuteronomy 32:15.) The name is substituted for the Israel of the preceding verse, as pointing to the purpose of God in their election.

44:1-8 Israel is here called Jeshurun, which means the upright one. Such only are Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile. Those that serve God he will own. He will help them over difficulties, and in their services. Water is the emblem of the Holy Spirit; as water refreshes, cleanses, and makes the earth fruitful, so do his influences the soul. This gift of the Holy Ghost is the great blessing, the plentiful pouring out of which God kept for the latter days. Where God gives his Spirit, he will give all other blessings. Hereby shall be a great increase of the church; thus it shall be spread to distant places. Was there any other Rock, or Protector, that could defend them? None besides could foretell these things to come, of which God by his prophets gave notice. All was set in order in the Divine predictions, as well as in the Divine purposes. Could any other have done so? Who can compare with Israel's Redeemer and King?Thus saith the Lord that made thee - (See the note at Isaiah 43:1).

And formed thee from the womb - This is equivalent to the declaration that he was their Maker, or Creator. It means, that from the very beginning of their history as a people, he had formed and moulded all their institutions, and directed all things in regard to them - as much as he is the former of the body from the commencement of its existence. It may be observed that the words, 'from the womb,' are joined by some interpreters with the phrase, 'that formed thee,' meaning, that he had been the originator of all their customs, privileges, and laws, from the beginning of their history; and by others with the phrase, 'will help thee,' meaning, that from the commencement of their existence as a nation, he had been their helper. According to the Masoretic marks of distinction, the former is the true sense. So the Septuagint, Aben Ezra, Kimchi, Lowth, etc.; but Jerome, Luther, and some others, prefer the latter mode.

Fear not - (See the note at Isaiah 41:10). Though you have sinned as a people Isaiah 43:23-24, Isaiah 43:27, and though all these heavy judgments have come upon you Isaiah 43:28, yet you have no reason to fear that God will finally abandon and destroy you.

And thou Jeshurun - (וישׁרוּן vayeshurûn). This word occurs but four times in the Bible, as a poetical name for the people of Israel, apparently expressing affection and tenderness (Deuteronomy 32:15; Deuteronomy 33:5, Deuteronomy 33:26; and in this place). It is, says Gesenius (Commentary in loc.), 'a flattering appellation (schmeichelwort) for Israel,' and is probably a diminutive from ישׁור yāshûr equals ישׁר yāshâr, the passive form in an intransitive verb with an active signification. The ending ון ôn, he adds, is terminatio charitiva - a termination indicating affection, or kindness. In his Lexicon, he observes, however (as translated by Robinson), that 'it seems not improbable that it was a diminutive form of the name ישׂראל yı̂s'râ'ēl, which was current in common life for the fuller form ישׂיאלוּן yı̂s'râ'ēlûn, title of affection for Israel, but, like other common words of this sort, contracted, and more freely inflected, so as at the same time to imply an allusion to the signification of right or uprightness, contained in the root ישׁר yâshar.' Jerome renders it, Rectissime - 'Most upright.' The Septuagint renders it, Ἠγαπημένος Ἰσραήλ Ēgapēmenos Israēl - 'Beloved Israel.' The Syriac renders it, 'Israel.' So also the Chaldee. It is, doubtless, a title of affection, and probably includes the notion of uprightness, or integrity.

2. (Isa 43:1, 7).

formed … from … womb—(So Isa 44:24; Isa 49:1, 5). The sense is similar to that in Isa 1:2, "I have nourished and brought up children."

Jesurun—A diminutive term of endearment applied to Israel. The full title of affection was Israelun; contracted it became Jeshurun, with an allusion to the Hebrew root, jashar, "upright," "perfect" (see on [791]Isa 42:19, note on "He that is perfect") [Gesenius], (De 32:15).

From the womb; from the time of thy birth, or coming out of the womb. From that time that I first took thee to be my people, I have been forming and fashioning thee, by giving thee laws, and ordinances, and teachers, by threatenings and corrections, and many other ways. He seems to allude to the practice of midwives, who use to compose all the parts of the new-born infant into a right frame.

Jesurun; another name of Jacob or Israel, given to him Deu 32:15 33:5,26. Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb,.... Which is not to be understood of the forming of the people of Israel into a commonwealth or church state, for this is not said of the body of them; nor of the natural creation and formation of these individuals, but of their new creation, regeneration, and spiritual formation; which, as it was owing to the grace and power of God, by which the Lord describes himself, who is speaking to them, the consideration of it might serve to encourage their faith and confidence in the performance of the promises about to be made to them; see Psalm 100:3, which "will help thee"; in the exercise of grace, in the performance of duty, in suffering for his name's sake in every time of trouble, and out of all trouble, and that right early, and when none else can:

fear not, O Jacob, my servant, and thou Jesurun, whom I have chosen; the titles are as before, only instead of "Israel" is "Jesurun", which is a name of the people of Israel, Deuteronomy 32:15 and here the Targum instead of it puts Israel; and so the Syriac and Arabic versions. The Septuagint version renders it, "beloved Israel"; the word signifies upright; and so the Vulgate Latin version translates it, "O thou most upright one" (w); and well agrees with this little remnant of Israelites indeed, in whom there was no guile. Some derive the word from one that signifies to "see", "behold", "contemplate" (x); and so it may be rendered, "the seeing ones whom I have chosen", such whose eyes the Lord opened to see their own vileness and sinfulness, and the glory of Christ and salvation by him: these are bid not to fear: not any of their enemies, though they themselves were but worms; and though their number was small, and they weak and feeble, and their enemies numerous, strong, and mighty; and though their countrymen would reproach, revile, and persecute them for Christ's sake, and they should be obliged to turn to the Gentiles, and carry the Gospel among them, when those of their nation would reject it, which would issue in the ruin of it, as before predicted; see Isaiah 41:10.

(w) "et rectissime", V. L. a "rectum fuit, Forerius"; so Ben Melech says, that Israel is called Jeshurun, because he is upright among the people. (x) A "contemplari, respicere".

Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed {a} thee from the womb, who will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, {b} whom I have chosen.

(a) He treated and chose you from the beginning of his own mercy, and before you could merit anything.

(b) Whom God accepts as righteous: or who had opportunity to it because of the law, and your holy calling.

2. formed thee from the womb] See Isaiah 44:24, ch. Isaiah 49:5.

Jeshurun occurs again only in Deuteronomy 32:15; Deuteronomy 33:5; Deuteronomy 33:26; always as a synonym for Israel and a title of honour (hardly a diminutive, as the termination might suggest). It means the “Upright One,” being formed from an adj. yâshâr, which is applied to Israel in Numbers 23:10, and perhaps also in the phrase “book of Jashar” (see Joshua 10:13, R.V.). The history of the name is, however, altogether obscure. The opinion that it was coined in opposition to Jacob (“the supplanter”) has little to recommend it; although that antithesis may have led to its selection by this prophet.

Should the recent supposed discovery of the name Israel on an Egyptian monument of the reign of Merenptah be confirmed, it is possible that fresh light may be thrown on the relation of the two names Israel and Jeshurun. The form in which the word there appears is said to be Yishir’il, the sibilant agreeing with Jeshurun but differing from the traditional pronunciation of Yisrâ’el. Yishir’il and Yeshûrûn might be derivations from a common root, yâshar. (Brandt, Theologisch Tijdschrift, 1896, p. 511; cf. Renan, Hist. du peuple d’Israël, Vol. i., p. 106).Verse 2. - The Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb (see Isaiah 43:1, 7). "From the womb" is added here for increased emphasis. Jesurun. The Lord's people have their proper names - Jacob, Israel, Jesurun, or rather, Jeshurun. "Jacob" marks them simply as descendants of the patriarch - the people to whom the promises were made. "Israel" marks their militant character - that as "God's soldiers" they fought his battles and maintained his cause in the midst of a hostile world. The third name, "Jeshurun," which is very rarely used (only here and in Deuteronomy 32:15; Deuteronomy 33:5, 26), designates them as "righteous," being a derivative from the root yashar (or joshar), equivalent to "upright," and points to that standard of moral excellence which it was their duty to set forth, and which to some extent they did set forth, in a world that "lay in wickedness." Had they been more worthy of the name, it would probably have been oftener applied to them. It would be the praise of God, however, and not the merits of their own works, that they would have to relate; for there was nothing at all that could give them any claim to reward. There were not even acts of ceremonial worship, but only the guilt of grievous sins. "And thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob, that thou shouldst have wearied thyself for me, O Israel! Thou hast not brought me sheep of thy burnt-offerings, and thou hast not honoured me with thy slain-offerings. I have not burdened thee with meat-offerings, and have not troubled thee about incense. Thou hast bought me no spice-cane for silver, nor hast thou refreshed me with fat of thy slain-offerings. No; thou hast wearied me with thy sins, troubled me with thine iniquities." We cannot agree with Stier, that these words refer to the whole of the previous worship of Israel, which is treated here as having no existence, because of its heartlessness and false-holiness. And we must also not forget, that all these prophecies rested on either the historical or the ideal soil of the captivity. The charge commences with the worship of prayer (with calling upon Jehovah, as in Psalm 14:4; Psalm 18:7), to which the people were restricted when in exile, since the law did not allow them to offer sacrifice outside the holy land. The personal pronoun אתי, in the place of the suffix, is written first of all for the sake of emphasis, as if the meaning were, "Israel could exert itself to call upon other gods, but not upon Jehovah." The following kı̄ is equivalent to ut (Hosea 1:6), or ‛ad-kı̄ in 2 Samuel 23:10, adeo ut laborasses me colendo (so as to have wearied thyself in worshipping me). They are also charged with having offered no sacrifices, inasmuch as in a foreign land this duty necessarily lapsed of itself, together with the self-denial that it involved. The spelling הביאת (as in Numbers 14:31) appears to have been intended for the pronunciation הביאת (compare the pronunciation in 2 Kings 19:25, which comes between the two). The ‛ōlōth (burnt-offerings) stand first, as the expression of adoration, and are connected with sēh, which points to the daily morning and evening sacrifice (the tâmı̄d). Then follow the zebâchı̄m (slain-offerings), the expression of the establishment of fellowship with Jehovah (וּזבחיך is equivalent to וּבזביחך, like חמה equals בּחמה, Isaiah 43:25). The "fat" (chēlebh) in Isaiah 43:24 refers to the portions of fat that were placed upon the altar in connection with this kind of sacrifice. After the zebâchı̄m comes the michâh, the expression of desire for the blessing of Jehovah, a portion of which, the so-called remembrance portion ('azkârâh), was placed upon the altar along with the whole of the incense. And lastly, the qâneh (spice-cane), i.e., some one of the Amoma,

(Note: The qâneh is generally supposed to be the Calamus; but the calamus forms no stalk, to say nothing of a cane or hollow stalk. It must be some kind of aromatic plant, with a stalk like a cane, either the Cardamum, Ingber, or Curcuma; at any rate, it belonged to the species Amomum. The aroma of this was communicated to the anointing oil, the latter being infused, and the resinous parts of the former being thereby dissolved.)

points to the holy anointing oil (Exodus 30:23), or if it refer to spices generally, to the sacred incense, though qâneh is not mentioned as one of the ingredients in Exodus 30:34. The nation, which Jehovah was now redeeming out of pure unmingled grace, had not been burdened with costly tasks of this description (see Jeremiah 6:20); on the contrary, it was Jehovah only who was burdened and troubled. He denies that there was any "causing to serve" (העביד, lit., to make a person a servant, to impose servile labour upon him) endured by Israel, but affirms this rather of Himself. The sins of Israel pressed upon Him, as a burden does upon a servant. His love took upon itself the burden of Israel's guilt, which derived its gravitating force from His won holy righteous wrath; but it was a severe task to bear this heavy burden, and expunge it - a thoroughly divine task, the significance of which was first brought out in its own true light by the cross on Golgotha. When God creates, He expresses His fiat, and what He wills comes to pass. But He does not blot out sin without balancing His love with His justice; and this equalization is not effected without conflict and victory.

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