Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah that bore you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)I called him alone.—Literally, as one. If so great a nation had sprung from one man (Hebrews 11:12), so would God out of the faithful remnant once more create a people. (Comp. Ezekiel 33:24, where the exiles arc represented as boastfully inverting the argument: “Abraham was one, and we are many; therefore we shall prosper, the chances are in our favour.”)
For I called him alone - Hebrew, 'For one I called him;' that is, he was alone; there was but one, and he increased to a mighty nation. So Jerome, Quia unum vocavi eum. So the Septuagint, Ὅτι εἷς ἦν hoti heis ēn - 'For he was one.' The point of the declaration here is, that God had called one individual - Abraham - and that he had caused him to increase until a mighty nation had sprung from him, and that he had the same power to increase the little remnant that remained in Babylon until they should again become a mighty people.I called him from his own country and kindred to follow me to an unknown land, where I promised that I would multiply and bless him, as is particularly explained, Genesis 12:1-3.
Alone, Heb. one; either,
1. Him only of all his kindred; for though he carried some few of them with him, yet I called none but him. So this notes God’s singular favour to their progenitors above all the rest of the world. Or,
2. Him when he was alone or solitary, to wit, as to any issue; when he neither had nor was likely to have any child by Sarah. And this word alone seems to belong not only to this word wherewith it is joined, but also unto the two following words, especially if we consider the order of rite words in the Hebrew text, where they lie thus; for one (or alone, or when he was alone, or but one)
I called him, and blessed him, and increased him. Increased him into a vast multitude, when his condition was desperate in the eye of reason. And therefore God can as easily raise and deliver his church when they are in the most forlorn condition, and seem to be dead, and buried, and consumed, so that nothing but dry bones remain of them, as it is declared at large, Ezekiel 37.
and unto Sarah that bare you; signified by the pit or cistern; who was not only the mother of the Jewish nation; but such also are her daughters who do well, and tread in her steps: now the very unpromising circumstances these two persons were in, are proposed to be considered by the church in her present ones, for the encouragement of her faith; that as a numerous issue proceeded from them, so also should she become fruitful and multiply:
for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him; he was without issue when he was "called" out of Chaldea into another country, and also the only one of the family; and the Lord "blessed" him not only with flocks and herds, and gold and silver, but with a son in his old age; and so "increased" him, that there sprung from him as many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand by the sea shore innumerable, Hebrews 11:12. The Septuagint and Arabic versions, between "blessed" and "increased", insert these words, "and I loved him", which are not in the Hebrew text. The Targum is,Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2. The explanation of the figure.
I called him alone] lit. “as one,” i.e. a single individual.
blessed him, and increased him] Cf. Genesis 12:2-3; Genesis 22:17. The strict rendering of the Massoretic text would be “that I might bless” &c.; but the verbs should no doubt be pointed as consec. impfs. Without completing the analogy, the prophet proceeds at once in the next verse to comfort the spiritual children of Abraham with the assurance of the restoration of Zion.Verse 2. - I called him alone; or, I called him when he was but ode; i.e. before he had any children (comp. Ezekiel 33:24, "Abraham was one, and he inherited the land"). And blessed him (see Genesis 24:1, 35). And increased him; i.e. "made him a father of many nations" (Genesis 17:5). If God could multiply the progeny of ode man, much more could he make a flourishing nation out of the exiles, who, though but a "remnant" of the pro-Captivity Israel, were yet many thousands in number (see Ezra 2:64). Isaiah 49:21, with the substantive termination ı̄sh: see Jeshurun, p. 229), i.e., he made it as unfelling as a flint-stone to the attacks of his foes (cf., Ezekiel 3:8-9). The lxx renders this ἔθηκα τὸ πρόσωπον μου ὡς στερεὰν πέτραν; but ἐστήριξα τὸ πρός, which is the rendering given to פני שׂים in Jeremiah 21:10, would have been just the proper rendering here (see Luke 9:51). In "holy hardness of endurance," as Stier says, he turned his face to his antagonists, without being subdued or frightened away, and was well assured that He whose cause he represented would never leave him in the lurch.
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