Isaiah 54:8
In a little wrath I hid my face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on you, said the LORD your Redeemer.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) In a little wrath.—The Hebrew has the rhetorical emphasis of rhyme, bĕshetsheph, guetseph, literally, in a gush or burst, of wrath, which, however terrible at the time, endured but for a moment.

54:6-10 As God is slow to anger, so he is swift to show mercy. And how sweet the returns of mercy would be, when God should come and comfort them! He will have mercy on them. God's gathering his people takes rise from his mercy, not any merit of theirs; and it is with great mercies, with everlasting kindness. The wrath is little, the mercies great; the wrath for a moment, the kindness everlasting. We are neither to despond under afflictions, nor to despair of relief. Mountains have been shaken and removed, but the promises of God never were broken by any event. Mountains and hills also signify great men. Creature-confidences shall fail; but when our friends fail us, our God does not. All this is alike applicable to the church at large, and to each believer. God will rebuke and correct his people for sins; but he will not cast them off. Let this encourage us to give the more diligence to make our calling and election sure.In a little wrath - The Syriac renders this, 'In great wrath.' The Vulgate, 'In a moment of indignation.' The Septuagint, 'In a little wrath.' (Noyes renders it in accordance with the view of Rosenmuller, 'In overflowing wrath.' This variety of interpretation has arisen from the various meanings affixed to the unusual word שׁצף shetsep. This word occurs nowhere else in the Bible. Gesenius supposes that it is used for the sake of paronomasia with קצף qetsep, 'wrath,' instead of שׁטף sheṭep. This word frequently occurs, and means a gushing out, an overflowing, an inundation, a flood Nehemiah 1:8; Job 38:25; Psalm 32:6; Proverbs 27:4. According to this it would mean, 'in my overflowing anger,' in accordance with the expression in Proverbs 27:4, 'anger is outrageous,' more correctly in the margin, 'An overflowing.' The parallelism, however, seems to demand the sense of short or momentary, as it stands opposed to 'everlasting.' But it is not possible to demonstrate that the Hebrew word has this signification. Rosenmuller agrees with Gesenius in the opinion that it should be rendered 'In overflowing wrath;' and perhaps as the parallelism of the word 'everlasting' will be sufficiently secured by the phrase 'for a moment,' the probability is in favor of this interpretation. Then it will mean that the wrath, though it was but for a moment, was overflowing. It was like a deluge; and all their institutions, their city, their temple, their valued possessions, were swept away.

I hid my face from thee - This is expressive of displeasure (see the note at Isaiah 53:3; compare Job 13:24; Job 34:29; Psalm 30:7; Psalm 44:24; Isaiah 8:17). Here it refers to the displeasure which he had manifested in the punishment which he brought on them in Babylon.

For a moment - (See the note at Isaiah 54:7). This stands opposed to the 'everlasting kindness' which he would show to them.

But with everlasting kindness - This is true:

1. Of the church at large under the Messiah. It is the object of the unchanging affection and favor of God.

2. Of each individual Christian. He will make him blessed in an eternal heaven.

8. In a little wrath—rather, "In the overflowing of wrath"; as Pr 27:4, Margin, [Gesenius]. The wrath, though but "for a moment," was overflowing while it lasted.

hid … face—(Isa 8:17; Ps 30:7).

everlasting—in contrast to "for a moment."

I hid my face; I removed the means and pledges of my presence and kindness.

With everlasting kindness; with kindness to thee and thy seed through all succeeding generations, here and unto all eternity. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment,.... This signifies much the same as before, when God hides his face from his people, withdraws his gracious presence, and does not grant the discoveries of his love; or they are under the frowns of his providence, and have not the smiles of his face and the light of his countenance as formerly, then they think they are forsaken by him; though all this is but for a moment, a small period of time; and though it seems to be in "wrath", it is but "little wrath"; and this wrath is no other than the displeasure of a loving and tender hearted father. The Syriac version renders it, "great wrath"; and so Schultens (o) thinks the word signifies "overflowing wrath" (p), and the vehemency of it; to which agrees R. Menachem (q), who interprets it, "the heat of wrath"; so the Lord's suffering such a scene of bloody persecutions to attend his church in the first ages of Christianity might seem to be:

but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer; all the dealings of God with his people, however dark and dismal they be, whatever appearances there are in them of wrath and displeasure, they are all agreeable to, and do not contradict, his everlasting love; and sooner or later he will make it manifest, he has mercy in store for his people, which he does and will exercise towards them; this mercy flows from his love and kindness to them, which kindness is everlasting, and continues in and through all states and conditions into which they come; the consideration of which is very comfortable and encouraging, and of which they may be assured from the relation the Lord stands in to them as their Redeemer; for, having redeemed them at the expense of his blood, he will effectually gather them by grace in calling, and will never lose them, or suffer them to perish here or hereafter.

(o) Animadv. in Job, p. 145, 146. (p) "pauxillo irae exundantis, vel exiguo irae ebullientis", Vitringa. (q) Apud Jarchi, Kimchi, & Ben Melech, in loc.

In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. In a little wrath] In an outbreak of wrath (Heb. shéçeph qéçeph). The word shéçeph is probably another form (chosen for the sake of assonance) of shéṭeph which occurs in Proverbs 27:4.With this prospect before her, even her dwelling-place would need enlarging. "Enlarge the space of thy tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of thy habitations; forbid not! lengthen thy cords, and fasten thy plugs." She is to widen out the space inside her tent, and they (יטּוּ has no definite subject, which is often the case where some subordinate servant is to be thought of) are to spread out far and wide the coverings of the framework of her dwelling, which is called mishkenōth (in the plural) on account of its roominess and magnificence: she is not to forbid it, thinking in her weakness of faith, "It is good enough as it is; it would be too large." The cords which hold up the walls, she is to lengthen; and the plugs, to which the cords are fastened, she is to ram fast into the earth: the former because the tent (i.e., the holy city, Jeremiah 31:38-40, and the dwelling-place of the church generally, Isaiah 26:15) has to receive a large number of inhabitants; the latter because it will not be broken up so soon again (Isaiah 33:20).
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