Isaiah 48:9
For my name's sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.
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(9) For my name’s sake . . .—The thought is two-fold, in answer to the implied question why Jehovah had not punished so guilty a people: (1) after the manner of men, that had He destroyed His chosen people, the nations of the world would have thought Him changeable and capricious; (2) taking “name” as the symbol of character, that He might assert His own everlasting righteousness and love, as willing to save rather than destroy.

Isaiah 48:9-11. For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger — Although thou dost justly deserve my hottest anger and most dreadful judgments, which also, if thou repentest not, I will in due time inflict, yet at present I will spare thee, and deliver thee out of captivity, not for thy sake, but merely for my own sake, and for the vindication of my name, that I may be praised for my power, faithfulness, and goodness. Behold, I have refined thee — Although I will not cut thee off, yet I will put thee into the furnace, not to consume, but to purify thee, and purge away thy dross. Not with silver — Not with such a furious heat, nor for so long a time, as is required to melt down silver; I will not deal so rigorously with thee, for then I should wholly consume thee. In judgment I will remember mercy. It must be observed, that silver is the most difficult to be refined, and requires a hotter and clearer fire than gold and other metals. I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction — I have taken this method to purge thee from thy dross, and render thee a chosen people to myself. For mine own sake will I do it — Namely, this great work of delivering my people out of Babylon. For how should my name be polluted — If I should not deliver my people, my name would be profaned and blasphemed, as if I were either impotent, or implacable to them. I will not give my glory unto another — I will not give any colour to idolaters, to ascribe the divine nature and properties to idols, as they would do if I did not rescue my people out of their hands, in spite of their idols.

48:9-15 We have nothing ourselves to plead with God, why he should have mercy upon us. It is for his praise, to the honour of his mercy, to spare. His bringing men into trouble was to do them good. It was to refine them, but not as silver; not so thoroughly as men refine silver. If God should take that course, they are all dross, and, as such, might justly be put away. He takes them as refined in part only. Many have been brought home to God as chosen vessels, and a good work of grace begun in them, in the furnace of affliction. It is comfort to God's people, that God will secure his own honour, therefore work deliverance for them. And if God delivers his people, he cannot be at a loss for instruments to be employed. God has formed a plan, in which, for his own sake, and the glory of his grace, he saves all that come to Him.For my name's sake - (See the notes at Isaiah 43:25; compare Isaiah 66:5). It is possible that the design of this verse may be, to answer an objection. 'If the character of the nation is such, it might be said, 'why should God desire to restore them again to their own land? If their sins have been so great as to make these heavy judgments proper, why not suffer them to remain under the infliction of the deserved judgment? Why should God interpose? why raise up Cyrus? why overthrow Babylon? why conduct them across a pathless wilderness, and provide for them in a sandy desert?' To this the answer is, that it was not on their account. It was not because they were deserving of his favor, nor was it primarily and mainly in order that they might be happy. It was on his own account - in order to show his covenant faithfulness; his fidelity to the promises made to their fathers, his mercy, his compassion, his readiness to pardon, and his unchanging love. And this is the reason why he 'defers his anger,' in relation to any of the children of people. His own glory, and not their happiness, is the main object in view. And this is right. The glory, the honor, and the happiness of God, are of more importance than the welfare of any of his creatures; because, first, they are in themselves of more importance, just in proportion as God is more elevated than any of his creatures; and, secondly, the welfare of any or all of his creatures depends on the maintaining of the honor of God, and of his government, and on the manifestation of his perfections to the universe (see the treatise of President Edwards on The end for which God created the world, in Works, vol. iii. New York Ed. 1830).

Will I defer mine anger - That is, I will spare you, and restore you again to your own land (see the note at Isaiah 48:11).

And for my praise will I refrain for thee - Will I refrain my anger in reference to you as a nation. The word used here (חטם châṭam) denotes properly to muzzle, and is commonly employed with reference to an animal in order to tame or subdue it. Here it means that God would restrain himself; He would not put forth His anger in order to destroy them. Learn hence:

1. That God acts with reference to his own glory, in order to manifest his own perfections, and to secure his praise.

2. That the reason why the wicked are not cut off sooner in their transgressions is, that He may show his forbearance, and secure praise by long-suffering.

3. That the reason why the righteous are kept amidst their frequent failures in duty, their unfaithfulness, and their many imperfections, is, that God may get glory by showing his covenant fidelity.

4. That it is one evidence of piety - and one that is indispensable - that there should be a willingness thai God should secure his own glory in his own way, and that there should be a constant desire that his praise should be promoted, whatever may befall his creatures.

9. refrain—literally, "muzzle"; His wrath, after the return, was to be restrained a while, and then, because of their sins, let loose again (Ps 78:38).

for thee—that is, mine anger towards thee.

For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger: and although thou dost justly deserve my hottest anger and most dreadful judgments, which also, if thou repentest not, I will in due time inflict; yet at present I will spare thee, and deliver thee out of captivity, not for thy sake, be it known to thee, but merely for my own sake, and for the vindication of my name and glory, as it follows, Isaiah 48:11.

For my praise; that I may be praised and magnified for my power, faithfulness, and goodness, and other perfections. Will I refrain, to wit, mine anger; which is easily understood out of the foregoing clause.

For my name's sake will I defer mine anger,.... From age to age, for those sins which had been committed, and continued in ever since they were a people. The above account of them shows that it was not for any merits of theirs, or any works of righteousness done by them, that he showed favour to them, as afterwards expressed; but for his own name's sake, and because of his glory; because these people were called by his name, and said to be his people, lest therefore his name should be reproached among the Heathen, or he should suffer any diminution of his glory, therefore he did not at once stir up all his wrath, as their sins deserved, but prolonged it from time to time:

and for my praise will I refrain from thee, that I cut thee not off: that is, refrain mine anger from thee; or "seal" or "stop my nostrils" (c), that the smoke of his wrath and anger might not go out from thence to destroy them. The Targum is,

"I will confirm (or establish) thee, that I may not consume thee;''

and this he would do, because of his praise, of the praise of his mercy, grace, and goodness; and that he might have a people to praise him, which he would not, should they be cut off.

(c) "obstruam sive". "obturabo nares tibi", Malvenda, Gataker; so Jarchi.

For my name's sake will I defer my anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, {k} that I cut thee not off.

(k) As it was my free mercy that I chose you: so it is my free mercy that must save you.

9. The verbs should be rendered in the present tense. That for refrain (found only here) means literally “muzzle:” the object (“my anger”) is to be supplied from the previous clause.

that I cut thee not off] The idea that Israel is in danger of being cut off is no doubt a surprising one in the mouth of this prophet (Duhm).

9–11. A nation so sunk in unbelief must have perished, but for Jehovah’s regard for His name. The thought is characteristic of Ezekiel (see esp. ch. 20). The expression “for my name’s sake” (Isaiah 48:9) is not found elsewhere in this prophecy; “for my own sake” (Isaiah 48:11) occurs in ch. Isaiah 43:25.

Verse 9. - For my Name's sake will I defer mine anger. Israel's insincerity (ver. 1), obstinacy (ver. 4), addiction to idols (ver. 5), blindness (ver. 8), and general resistance to God's will (ver. 8), could not but have provoked God's "anger." He will, however, "defer" it, "refrain" himself, not "cut Israel off, for his Name's sake." God, having selected one nation out of all the nations of the earth to be his "peculiar people" (Deuteronomy 14:2), and having declared this, and supported his people by miracles in their struggles with the other nations and peoples, was, so to speak, committed to protect and defend Israel "for his Name's sake," lest his Name should be blasphemed among the Gentiles (see Exodus 32:12; Numbers 14:13; Deuteronomy 9:28; Psalm 129:10; 106:8, etc.). He was also bound by the promises which he had made; and. still more, by the position which Israel occupied in his scheme of salvation, to allow the nation still to exist, and therefore to condone its iniquities and restrain his anger. But the dregs of the cup of vengeance were poured out at last. Isaiah 48:9The people now expiating its offences in exile has been from time immemorial faithless and inclined to apostasy; nevertheless Jehovah will save it, and its salvation is therefore an unmerited work of His compassion. "For my name's sake I lengthen out my wrath, and for my praise I hold back towards thee, that I may not cut thee off. Behold, I have refined thee, and not in the manner of silver: I have proved thee in the furnace of affliction. For mine own sake, for mine own sake I accomplish it (for how is it profaned!), and my glory I give not to another." The futures in Isaiah 48:9 affirm what Jehovah continually does. He lengthens out His wrath, i.e., He retards its outbreak, and thus shows Himself long-suffering. He tames or chains it (חטם, like Arab. chṭm, root טם, compare domare, root Sanscr. dam, possibly also to dam or damp) for the sake of Israel, that He may not exterminate it utterly by letting it loose, and that for the sake of His name and His praise, which require the carrying out of His plan to salvation, on which the existence of Israel depends. What Israel has hitherto experienced has been a melting, the object of which was not destruction, but testing and refinement. The Beth of בכסף ולא is not Beth pretii in the sense of "not to gain silver," or "not so that I should have gained silver as operae pretium," as Umbreit and Ewald maintain (and even Knobel, who explains it however as meaning "in the accompaniment of silver," though in the same sense). Such a thought would be out of place and purposeless here. Nor is Rosenmller's explanation admissible, viz., "not with silver, i.e., with that force of fire which is necessary for the smelting out of silver." This is altogether unsuitable, because the sufferings inflicted upon Israel did resemble the smelting out of the precious metal (see Isaiah 1:25). The Beth is rather the Beth essentiae, which may be rendered by tanquam, and introduces the accusative predicate in this instance, just as it introduces the nominative predicate in the substantive clause of Job 23:13, and the verbal clause of Psalm 39:7. Jehovah melted Israel, but not like silver (not as men melt silver); the meaning of which is, not that He melted it more severely, i.e., even more thoroughly, than silver, as Stier explains it, but, as the thought is positively expressed in Isaiah 48:10, that the afflictions which fell upon Israel served as a smelting furnace (kūr as in Deuteronomy 4:20). It was, however, a smelting of a superior kind, a spiritual refining and testing (bâchar is Aramaic in form, and equivalent to bâchan). The manifestation of wrath, therefore, as these expressions affirm, had a salutary object; and in this very object the intention was involved from the very first, that it should only last for a time. He therefore puts an end to it now for His own sake, i.e., not because He is induced to do so by the merits of Israel, but purely as an act of grace, to satisfy a demand made upon Him by His own holiness, inasmuch as, if it continued any longer, it would encourage the heathen to blaspheme His name, and would make it appear as though He cared nothing for His own honour, which was inseparably bound up with the existence of Israel. The expression here is curt and harsh throughout. In Isaiah 48:9, למען and אפּי are to be supplied in thought from Isaiah 48:9; and in the parenthetical exclamation, יחל איך (niphal of חלל, as in Ezekiel 22:26), the distant word שׁים (my name), also from Isaiah 48:9. "I will do it" refers to the carrying out of their redemption (cf., Isaiah 44:23). In Ezekiel 36:19-23 we have, as it were, a commentary upon Isaiah 48:11.
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