Isaiah 44:4
And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.
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(4) As willows.—The same word as in Psalm 137:2 and Isaiah 15:7. Botanists identify it with a species of Viburnum, which grows on the banks of streams, rather than with the weeping” or other species of Salix.

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?And they shall spring up - The idea is, that as plants and trees planted by water-courses, and in well-watered fields, grow and flourish, so should their children grow in virtue, hope, piety, and zeal.

As among the grass - They shall spring up and flourish as the grass does when abundantly watered from heaven. On the meaning of the unusual form of the word בבים bebēyn, in the Hebrew ("in among"), see Vitringa and Rosenmuller. The ב (b) here is undoubtedly an error of the transcriber for כ (k) ("as") - an error which, from the similarity of the letters, might be readily made. The Septuagint reads it, Ὡς Hōs - 'As.' The Chaldee reads it, כ (k) ("as").

As willows by the water-courses - Willows are usually planted in such places, and grow rapidly and luxuriantly. It denotes here, abundant increase, vigor and beauty; and means that their posterity would be greatly blessed of God. A similar figure to denote the prosperity and happiness of the righteous occurs in Psalm 1:3 :

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,

That bringeth forth his fruit in his season;

His leaf also shall not wither.

These two verses teach us:

1. That God will pour his blessings on the children of his people - a promise which in all ages, when parents are faithful, is abundantly fulfilled.

2. That one of the richest blessings which can be imparted to a people is, that God's Spirit should descend on their children.

3. That the Spirit of God alone is the source of true happiness and prosperity to our children. All else - property, learning, accomplishment. beauty, vigor, will be vain. It is by his blessing only - by the influence of piety - that they will spring forth as among the grass, and like willows by the streams of water.

4. Parents should pray earnestly for a revival of religion. No better description can be given of a revival than that given here - the Spirit of God descending like streams and floods on the young; and their springing forth in the graces of piety as among the grass, and growing in love to God and love to mankind like willows by the water-courses. Who would not pray for such a work of grace? What family, what congregation, what people can be happy without it?

4. they—thy "seed" and "offspring" (Isa 44:3).

as among—needlessly inserted in English Version. Rather, "The seed shall spring up as willows among the grass beside canals of water" [Horsley]. Or, "They shall spring up among the grass (that is, luxuriantly; for what grows in the midst of grass grows luxuriantly) as willows by the water-courses," which makes the parallel clauses better balanced [Maurer].

They shall spring up as among the grass; they shall increase and flourish like grass, and those herbs and plants which grow up in the midst of it. And they shall spring up as among the grass,.... That is, such on whom the Spirit of the Lord shall be poured with his gifts and grace, and with the blessings of it: by the "grass" may be meant common believers, comparable to green grass, for their numbers, being many; for their weakness in themselves; for their flourishing condition; like grass for its greenness, and verdure, and its springing up by clear shining after rain; see Psalm 72:6 and by those that "spring up among them" are intended the apostles and ministers of the word, who exceed common Christians in their gifts, and grace, and usefulness; grow up higher and taller than they, like palm trees and cedars in Lebanon; and as such exceed private saints as tall trees exceed the grass they grow among:

as willows by the water courses; a sort of trees well known, and which delight in watery places, and grow best on banks of rivers, and shoot up apace in a very short time, and spread their branches; so the apostles, after the effusion of the Spirit on them, grew quickly in gifts, and grace, and evangelic knowledge; and their usefulness spread far and near. The Targum is,

"the righteous shall grow tender and delicate as the flowers of the grass, as a tree that sends forth its roots by flows of water.''

And they {d} shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.

(d) That is, your children and posterity will increase wonderfully after their deliverance from Babylon.

4. spring up as among the grass] R.V., more accurately, omits “as”; but the text is unquestionably corrupt. There is no doubt that the LXX. preserves the true reading: spring up as grass among the waters. (Instead of the impossible בבן חציר, read כבין מים חציר.)

willows] or poplars; see on ch. Isaiah 15:7.Verse 4. - They shall spring up as among the grass. The LXX. have, "As grass among the waters;" and this reading is followed by Bishop Lowth, Ewald, and Mr. Cheyne. But there does not seem to be any necessity for departing from the existing Hebrew text. As willows. There is some doubt whether the Hebrew word used ('ereb) is rightly translated "willows." The modern yarab seems certainly not to be a "willow," but rather a species of Viburnum (see the long note in Delitzsch's 'Commentary on Isaiah,' vol. 2. pp. 203, 204, Eng. trans.). It is, however, most strictly a water-plant, growing only "near flowing water." Jehovah now calls upon Israel, if this be not the case, to remind Him of any merit upon which it can rely. "Call to my remembrance; we will strive with one another: tell now, that thou mayst appear just." Justification is an actus forensis (see Isaiah 1:18). Justice accuses, and grace acquits. Or has Israel any actual merits, so that Justice would be obliged to pronounce it just? The object to hazkı̄rēnı̄ and sappēr, which never have the closed sense of pleading, as Bttcher supposes, is the supposed meritorious works of Israel.
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