Isaiah 51:13
And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?
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(13) As if he were ready.—Better, as he makes him ready to destroy. The Authorised version unduly minimises the amount of danger. In the case contemplated by the prophet, the oppressor was the Babylonian monarchy, which he sees as already belonging to the past; but the words have, of course, a far wider application.

51:9-16 The people whom Christ has redeemed with his blood, as well as by his power, will obtain joyful deliverance from every enemy. He that designs such joy for us at last, will he not work such deliverance in the mean time, as our cases require? In this world of changes, it is a short step from joy to sorrow, but in that world, sorrow shall never come in view. They prayed for the display of God's power; he answers them with consolations of his grace. Did we dread to sin against God, we should not fear the frowns of men. Happy is the man that fears God always. And Christ's church shall enjoy security by the power and providence of the Almighty.And forgettest the Lord thy Maker - These verses are designed to rebuke that state of the mind - alas! too common, even among the people of God - where they are intimidated by the number and strength of their foes, and forget their dependence on God, and his promises of aid. In such circumstances God reproves them for their want of confidence in him, and calls on them to remember that he has made the heavens, and has all power to save them.

That hath stretched forth the heavens - (See the notes at Isaiah 40:12, Isaiah 40:26).

And hast feared continually every day - They had continually feared and trembled before their oppressors.

Because of the fury of the oppressor - Those who had oppressed them in Babylon.

As if he were ready to destroy - Margin, 'Made himself ready,' The idea is, that he was preparing to destroy the people - perhaps as a marksman is making ready his bow and arrows. The oppressor had been preparing to crush them in the dust, and they trembled, and did not remember that God was abundantly able to protect them.

And where is the fury of the oppressor? - What is there to dread? The idea is, that the enemies of the Jews would be cut off, and that they should therefore put their confidence in God, and rely on his promised aid.

13. (Isa 40:12, 26, 28), the same argument of comfort drawn from the omnipotence of the Creator.

as if … ready, &c.—literally, "when he directs," namely, his arrow, to destroy (Ps 21:12; 7:13; 11:2) [Maurer].

And forgettest the Lord thy Maker; and dost not consider the infinite power of that God who made thee, and who will plead thy cause.

As if he were ready to destroy; as if it were in his power to destroy thee in a moment.

Where is the fury of the oppressor? what is become of the power and rage of the Babylonians? Is it not all gone? Are not they broken, and thou delivered? He speaks of the thing as if it were already done, because it should certainly and suddenly be done. Where is it? It is no where, it is quite lost and gone, as this phrase is frequently used, as Psalm 42:3 Zechariah 1:5 1 Corinthians 15:55.

And forgettest the Lord thy Maker,.... That he is thy Maker, and therefore is able to protect and preserve thee; when the fear of man prevails God is forgotten, his power, his providence, his promises, and past instances of divine favour and goodness; were these more frequently recollected, considered, and thought of, they would prove an antidote against the fear of men; and especially when it is observed, that he that is our Maker is he

that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; these are amazing works of his hands; and what is it that he cannot do that has made these? these he upholds and maintains in being, and does all things in them as he pleases, and overrules all for his own glory and his people's good, and therefore they have nothing to fear from men; and yet they are afraid of them, such is their distrust and unbelief:

and hast feared continually every day; not only at some certain times, when the enemy has appeared very formidable, and threatened with destruction, or some terrible rumour has been spread, but every day, every hour, and every moment; and to be always in a panic must be very uncomfortable living, as well as very dishonourable:

because of the fury of the oppressor; either the king of Babylon, or antichrist:

as if he were ready to destroy: had drawn his sword, and just going to give the fatal blow:

and where, or "but where",

is the fury of the oppressor? where's the fury of Pharaoh, that great oppressor of God's Israel formerly? it is gone and vanished like smoke: where's the fury of Sennacherib king of Assyria, and his army, that threatened Jerusalem with ruin? it was over in a short time, in one night the whole host, or the greater part of it, were destroyed by an angel: and where is, or will be, the fury of the king of Babylon? it will not last always; nor the fury of the antichristian oppressor.

And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?
13. And forgettest the Lord] Not in the sense of apostatising from Him (as ch. Isaiah 17:10 and often), but of failing to realise His omnipotence as the Creator of all things (see ch. Isaiah 49:14).

that hath stretched forth the heavens &c.] Cf. Isaiah 40:22, Isaiah 42:5, Isaiah 44:24, Isaiah 45:12.

and hast feared … day] Better as R.V. and fearest continually all the day. The oppressor is of course the Chaldæan Empire (see ch. Isaiah 47:6), a proof that this part of the book was not written after the fall of Babylon.

as if he were ready to destroy] R.V. when he maketh ready to destroy; lit. “aims (his arrow) to destroy,” the verb being used technically of an archer directing his arrow; so Psalm 21:13, cf. Psalm 7:13; Psalm 11:2.

and where is the fury of the oppressor?] Cf. ch. Isaiah 33:18. The question gives a weak ending to the verse, and indeed both in this clause and the preceding the soundness of the text is doubtful.

Verse 13. - And forgettest the Lord thy Maker. It is not so much apostasy as want of a lively and practical faith with which captive Israel is here reproached. They did not deny God - they only left him out of sight, neglected him, forgot him. That hath stretched forth the heavens (comp. Isaiah 40:22; Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 44:24; Isaiah 45:12, etc.). And laid the foundations of the earth (see Isaiah 48:13; Psalm 102:25; Hebrews 1:10). And hast feared continually... because of the fury of the oppressor. (On the sufferings of the Israelites under their Babylonian oppressors, see the comment on Isaiah 42:22, and again on Isaiah 47:6.) By the present passage it would appear that life itself was not safe from their cruel fury, when their victims had exasperated them. Where is the fury of the oppressor? All their violence and rage will come to nought, when they in their turn become subject to the conquering Persians. Isaiah 51:13In the second half the promise commences again, but with more distinct reference to the oppression of the exiles and the sufferings of Jerusalem. Jehovah Himself begins to speak now, setting His seal upon what is longed and hoped for. "I am your comforter: who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of a mortal who will die, and of a son of man who is made a blade of grass; that thou shouldst forget Jehovah thy Creator, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth; that thou shouldst be afraid continually all the day of the fury of the tormentor, as he aims to destroy? and where is the fury of the tormentor left? He that is bowed down is quickly set loose, and does not die to the grave, and his bread does not fail him; as truly as I Jehovah am thy God, who frighteneth up the sea, so that its waves roar: Jehovah of hosts is His name." הוּא after אנכי אנכי is an emphatic repetition, and therefore a strengthening of the subject (αὐτὸς ἐγώ), as above, in Isaiah 51:10, in אתּ־היא. From this major, that Jehovah is the comforter of His church, and by means of a minor, that whoever has Him for a comforter has no need to fear, the conclusion is drawn that the church has no cause to fear. Consequently we cannot adopt Knobel's explanation, "How small thou art, that thou art afraid." The meaning is rather, "Is it really the case with thee (i.e., art thou then so small, so forsaken), that thou hast any need to fear" (fut. consec., according to Ges. 129, 1; cf., ki, Exodus 3:11; Judges 9:28)? The attributive sentence tâmūth (who will die) brings out the meaning involved in the epithet applied to man, viz., 'ĕnōsh (compare in the Persian myth Gayomard, from the old Persian gaya meretan, mortal life); חציר equals כּחציר (Psalm 37:2; Psalm 90:5; Psalm 103:15; compare above, Isaiah 40:6-8) is an equation instead of a comparison. In Isaiah 51:12 the address is thrown into a feminine form, in Isaiah 51:13 into a masculine one; Zion being the object in the former, and (what is the same thing) Israel in the latter: that thou forgettest thy Creator, who is also the almighty Maker of the universe, and soarest about in constant endless alarm at the wrath of the tormentor, whilst he is aiming to destroy (pichad, contremiscere, as in Proverbs 28:14; ka'ăsher as in Psalm 66:7; Numbers 27:14, lit., according as; kōnēn, viz., his arrows, or even his bow, as in Psalm 11:2; Psalm 7:13, cf., Isaiah 21:13). We must not translate this quasi disposuisset, which is opposed to the actual fact, although syntactically possible (Job 10:19; Zechariah 10:6). The question with which the fear is met, "And where is the fury of the tormentor?" looks into the future: "There is not a trace of him to be seen, he is utterly swept away." If hammētsı̄q signifies the Chaldean, Isaiah 51:14, in which the warning passes into a promise, just as in the first half the promise passed into a warning, is not to be understood as referring to oppression by their own countrymen, who were more heathenish than Israelitish in their disposition, as Knobel supposes; but tsō‛eh (from tsâ‛âh, to stoop or bend) is an individualizing description of the exiles, who were in captivity in Babylon, and some of them actually in prison (see Isaiah 42:7, Isaiah 42:22). Those who were lying there in fetters, and were therefore obliged to bend, hastened to be loosed, i.e., would speedily be set at liberty (the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus may be referred to here); they would not die and fall into the pit (constr. praegnans), nor would their bread fail; that is to say, if we regard the two clauses as the dissection of one thought (which is not necessary, however, though Hitzig supports it), "he will not die of starvation." The pledge of this is to be found in the all-sufficiency of Jehovah, who throws the sea into a state of trembling (even by a threatening word, geârâh; רגע is the construct of the participle, with the tone upon the last syllable, as in Leviticus 11:7; Psalm 94:9 : see Br's Psalter, p. 132, from râga‛, tremefacere), so that its waves roar (cf., Jeremiah 31:35, and the original passage in Job 26:12).
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