Isaiah 49:10
They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.
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(10) Neither shall the heat . . .—The word is the same as the “parched ground” of Isaiah 35:7, and stands, as there, for the mirage of the scorching desert.

49:7-12 The Father is the Lord, the Redeemer, and Holy One of Israel, as sending the Son to be the Redeemer. Man, whom he came to save, put contempt upon him. To this he submitted for our salvation. He is a pledge for all the blessings of the covenant; in him God was reconciling the world to himself. Pardoning mercy is a release from the curse of the law; renewing grace is a release from the dominion of sin: both are from Christ. He saith to those in darkness, Show yourselves. Not only see, but be seen, to the glory of God, and your own comforts. Though there are difficulties in the way to heaven, yet the grace of God will carry us over them, and make even the mountains a way. This denotes the free invitations and the encouraging promises of the gospel, and the outpouring of the Spirit.They shall not hunger nor thirst - All their needs shall be abundantly provided for, as a shepherd will provide for his flock. In the book of Revelation, this entire passage is applied Isaiah 7:16-17 to the happiness of the redeemed in heaven, and the use which is made of it there is not foreign to the sense in Isaiah. It means that the Messiah as a shepherd shall abundantly satisfy all the needs of his people; and it may with as much propriety be applied to the joys of heaven, as to the happiness which they will experience on earth. Their longing desires for holiness and salvation; their hungering and thirsting after righteousness Matthew 5:6, shall be abundantly satisfied.

Neither shall the heat nor sun smite them - In Revelation 7:16, this is, 'Neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat;' that is, the burning heat of the sun shall not oppress them - an image of refreshment, protection, and joy, as when the traveler in burning sands finds the grateful shade of a rock or of a grove (see the notes at Isaiah 4:6; Isaiah 14:3; Isaiah 25:4; Isaiah 32:2). The word rendered here 'heat' (שׁרב shârâb), denotes properly heat, burning; and then the heated vapor which in burning deserts produces the phenomenon of the mirage (see it explained in the notes at Isaiah 35:7). It is equivalent here to intense heat; and means that they shall not be exposed to any suffering like that of the intense heat of the burning sun reflected from sandy wastes.

For he that hath mercy on them - That God and Saviour who shall have redeemed them shall be their shepherd and their guide, and they shall have nothing to fear.

Even by the springs of water - In Revelation 7:17, 'Shall lead them unto living fountains of waters' (see the notes at Isaiah 35:6). The whole figure in this verse is taken from the character of a faithful shepherd who conducts his flock to places where they may feed in plenty; who guards them from the intense heat of a burning sun on sandy plains; and who leads them beside cooling and refreshing streams. It is a most beautiful image of the tender care of the Great Shepherd of his people in a world like this - a world in its main features, in regard to real comforts, not unaptly compared to barren hills, and pathless burning sands.

10. Messiah will abundantly satisfy all the wants, both of literal Israel on their way to Palestine, and of the spiritual on their way to heaven, as their Shepherd (Isa 65:13; Mt 5:6), also in heaven (Re 7:16, 17). They shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor sun smite them; they shall be supplied with all good and necessary things, and kept from all evil occurrents.

He that hath mercy on them shall lead them; God who hath magnified his mercy to them will conduct them with safety and comfort.

They shall not hunger nor thirst,.... Being fed in the ways and high places of Gospel ordinances with the love of God, with covenant mercies and precious promises, with Christ, the bread of life, and his grace the water of life, and with the doctrines of the Gospel; they do not desire carnal things, as formerly, but spiritual ones, which they have and are satisfied with, and desire no other food: it signifies that there shall be no famine of the word, nor want of spiritual provisions; it is applied to the New Jerusalem state, Revelation 7:16 and so the following clause,

neither shall the heat nor sun smite them; not the sun of persecution, nor the heat of fiery trials and afflictions, particularly in the latter day; nor the heat of a fiery law and divine wrath, or of Satan's fiery darts; not however in the above mentioned state, or in the ultimate glory:

for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them; Christ, the great and good Shepherd of the sheep, who had mercy on them in eternity, and therefore undertook to feed them; and in time, and therefore laid down his life for them; and now in heaven, and sympathizes with him; and at the last day they shall find mercy with him: these he leads out of a state of nature, from the wilderness, where he finds them; out of their sinful ways, and from the pastures of their own righteousness; and he leads them in paths they had not known, in which they should go, in the way of truth, faith, and holiness; in right, though sometimes rough ways; he leads them to himself, his blood, righteousness, and fulness; into his Father's presence, and to his house and ordinances; into Gospel truths, and from one degree of grace to another, and at last to eternal glory; all which he does gradually, softly, gently, in proportion to their strength, and as they are able to bear:

even by the springs of water shall he guide them; or "fountains of water" (d); even of living water; which are no other than God himself, and the plenty of his grace and mercy; Christ, and the fulness of grace that is in him; the covenant of grace, and the blessings of it; the Gospel, and its ordinances; see Revelation 7:17.

(d) , Sept. "fontes aquarum", V. L. rather flows of water which come from fountains, so Ben Melech; "scaturigines aquarum", Montanus; "scatebras aquarum", Vitringa.

They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy {q} on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.

(q) Meaning, that there would be nothing in their way from Babylon that would hinder or hurt them: but this is accomplished spiritually.

10. neither shall the heat … smite them] The word for heat should probably be rendered the hot wind (Sirocco; LXX., καύσων). It is often taken to denote the mirage (see on ch. Isaiah 35:7), but that meaning is unsuitable here on account of the verb “smite.”

Verse 10. - They shall not hunger nor thirst (cf. John 4:14; John 6:35). God's grace is sufficient for his faithful ones. They are content with the sustenance which he awards them, and neither "hunger" nor "thirst." Neither shall the heat nor sun smite them; rather, neither shall the glowing sand nor the sun smite them (see Isaiah 35:7). To those who walk at noonday over the "glowing sand" of the desert, the heat which "smites them" seems to come as much from below as from above, the white ground reflecting the sun's rays with a force almost equal to that wherewith the rays themselves beat down upon them from the sky. The Lord's faithful ones, in their passage through the wilderness of life, shall be free Item these fearful trials. "The sun shall not smite them by day, neither the moon by night" (Psalm 121:6) He that hath mercy on them; or, that hath compassion on them - that sympathizes with their sufferings, and pities them in their trials (comp. vers. 13 and 15). Shall lead them (comp. Psalm 23:2; Isaiah 40:11). The Oriental shepherd for the most part goes before his flock. Isaiah 49:10The next two vv. describe (though only with reference to Israel, the immediate circle) what is the glory of the vocation to which Jehovah, in accordance with His promise, exalts His chosen One. "Thus saith Jehovah, In a time of favour have I heard thee, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee: and I form thee, and set thee for a covenant of the people, to raise up the land, to apportion again desolate inheritances, saying to prisoners, Go ye out: to those who are in darkness, Come ye to the light." Jehovah heard His servant, and came to his help when he prayed to Him out of the condition of bondage to the world, which he shared with his people. He did it at the time for the active display of His good pleasure, and for the realizing of salvation, which had been foreseen by Him, and had now arrived. The futures which follow are to be taken as such. The fact that Jehovah makes His servant "a covenant of the people," i.e., the personal bond which unites Israel and its God in a new fellowship (see Isaiah 42:6), is the fruit of his being heard and helped. The infinitives with Lamed affirm in what way the new covenant relation will be made manifest. The land that has fallen into decay rises into prosperity again, and the desolate possessions return to their former owners. This manifestation of the covenant grace, that has been restored to the nation again, is effected through the medium of the servant of Jehovah. The rendering of the lxx is quite correct: τοῦ καταστῆσαι τὴν γῆν καὶ κληρονομῆσαι κληρονομίας ἐρήμους λέγοντα לאמר is a dicendo governed by both infinitives. The prisoners in the darkness of the prison and of affliction are the exiles (Isaiah 42:22). The mighty word of the servant of Jehovah brings to them the light of liberty, in connection with which (as has been already more than once observed) the fact should be noticed, that the redemption is viewed in connection with the termination of the captivity, and, in accordance with the peculiar character of the Old Testament, is regarded as possessing a national character, and therefore is purely external.

The person of the servant of Jehovah now falls into the background again, and the prophecy proceeds with a description of the return of the redeemed. "They shall feed by the ways, and there is pasture for them upon all field-hills. They shall not hunger nor thirst, and the mirage and sun shall not blind them: for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, and guide them by bubbling water-springs. And I make all my mountains ways, and my roads are exalted. Behold these, they come from afar; and, behold, these from the north and from the sea; and these from the land of the Sinese." The people returning home are represented as a flock. By the roads that they take to their homes, they are able to obtain sufficient pasture, without being obliged to go a long way round in order to find a sufficient supply; and even upon bare sandy hills (Isaiah 41:18) there is pasture found for them. Nothing is wanting; even the shârâb (see Isaiah 35:7) and the sun do not hurt them, the former by deceiving and leading astray, the latter by wearying them with its oppressive heat: for He whose compassion has been excited by their long pining misery (Isaiah 41:17-20) is leading them, and bringing them along in comfort by bubbling springs of real and refreshing water (ינחל, as Petrarch once says of shepherds, Move la schira sua soavemente). Jehovah also makes all the mountains into roads for those who are returning home, and the paths of the desert are lifted up, as it were, into well-made roads (yerumūn, Ges. 47, Anm. 4). They are called my mountains and my highways (differently from Isaiah 14:25), because they are His creation; and therefore He is also able to change them, and now really does change them for the good of His people, who are returning to the land of their forefathers out of every quarter of the globe. Although in Psalm 107:3 yâm (the sea) appears to stand for the south, as referring to the southern part of the Mediterranean, which washes the coast of Egypt, there is no ground at all in the present instance for regarding it as employed in any other than its usual sense, namely the west; mērâchōq (from far) is therefore either the south (cf., Isaiah 43:6) or the east, according to the interpretation that we give to 'erets Sı̄nı̄m, as signifying a land to the east or to the south.

The Phoenician Sinim (Ges. Isaiah 10:17), the inhabitants of a fortified town in the neighbourhood of Area, which has now disappeared, but which was seen not only by Jerome, but also by Mariono Sanuto (de castro Arachas ad dimidiam leucam est oppidum Sin), cannot be thought of, for the simple reason that this Sin was too near, and was situated to the west of Babylon and to the north of Jerusalem; whilst Sin ( equals Pelusium) in Egypt, to which Ewald refers, did not give its name to either a tribe or a land. Arias Montanus was among the first to suggest that the Sinim are the Sinese (Chinese); and since the question has been so thoroughly discussed by Gesenius (in his Commentary and Thesaursu), most of the commentators, and also such Orientalists as Langles (in his Recherches asiatiques), Movers (in his Phoenicians), Lassen (in his Indische Alterthumskunde, i.-856-7), have decided in favour of this opinion. The objection brought against the supposition, that the name of the Chinese was known to the nations of the west at so early a period as this, viz., that this could not have been the case till after the reign of the emperor Shi-hoang-ti, of the dynasty of Thsin, who restored the empire that had been broken up into seven smaller kingdoms (in the year 247 b.c.), and through whose celebrated reign the name of his dynasty came to be employed in the western nations as the name of China generally, is met by Lassen with the simple fact that the name occurs at a much earlier period than this, and in many different forms, as the name of smaller states into which the empire was broken up after the reign of Wu-wang (1122-1115 b.c.). "The name Θῖναι (Strabo), Σῖναι (Ptol.), Τζίνιτζα (Kosmas), says the Sinologist Neumann, did not obtain currency for the first time from the founder of the great dynasty of Tsin; but long before this, Tsin was the name of a feudal kingdom of some importance in Shen-si, one of the western provinces of the Sinese land, and Fei-tse, the first feudal king of Tsin, began to reign as early as 897 b.c." It is quite possible, therefore, that the prophet, whether he were Isaiah or any other, may have heard of the land of the Sinese in the far east, and this is all that we need assume; not that Sinese merchants visited the market of the world on the Euphrates (Movers and Lassen), but only that information concerning the strange people who were so wealthy in rare productions, had reached the remote parts of the East through the medium of commerce, possibly from Ophir, and through the Phoenicians. But Egli replies: "The seer on the streams of Babel certainly could not have described any exiles as returning home from China, if he had not known that some of his countrymen were pining there in misery, and I most positively affirm that this was not the case." What is here assumed - namely, that there must have been a Chinese diaspora in the prophet's own time - is overthrown by what has been already observed in Isaiah 11:11; and we may also see that it is to purely by accident that the land of the Sinese is given as the farthest point to the east, from my communications concerning the Jews of China in the History of the Post-biblical Poetry of the Jews (1836, pp. 58-62, cf., p. 21). I have not yet seen Sionnet's work, which has appeared since, viz., Essai sur les Juifs de la Chine et sur l'influence, qu'ils ont eue sur la litrature de ce vaste empire, avant l're chrtienne; but I have read the Mission of Enquiry to the Jews in China in the Jewish Intelligence, May 1851, where a facsimile of their thorah is given. The immigration took place from Persia (cf., ‛Elâm, Isaiah 11:11), at the latest, under the Han dynasty (205 b.c.-220 a.d.), and certainly before the Christian era.

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