Isaiah 58:10
And if you draw out your soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall your light rise in obscurity, and your darkness be as the noon day:
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(10) Draw out thy soul.—The words have been interpreted as meaning (1) giving up sensuous desires for the sake of others; (2) ministering of thy substance; (3) extending thy sympathy. On the whole, (3) seems preferable.

Then shall thy light rise.—We note the recurrence of the imagery of Isaiah 9:2.

58:3-12 A fast is a day to afflict the soul; if it does not express true sorrow for sin, and does not promote the putting away of sin, it is not a fast. These professors had shown sorrow on stated or occasioned fasts. But they indulged pride, covetousness, and malignant passions. To be liberal and merciful is more acceptable to God than mere fasting, which, without them, is vain and hypocritical. Many who seem humble in God's house, are hard at home, and harass their families. But no man's faith justifies, which does not work by love. Yet persons, families, neighbourhoods, churches, or nations, show repentance and sorrow for sin, by keeping a fast sincerely, and, from right motives, repenting, and doing good works. The heavy yoke of sin and oppression must be removed. As sin and sorrow dry the bones and weaken the strongest human constitution; so the duties of kindness and charity strengthen and refresh both body and mind. Those who do justly and love mercy, shall have the comfort, even in this world. Good works will bring the blessing of God, provided they are done from love to God and man, and wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit.And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry - Lowth, on the authority of eight manuscripts, renders this, 'If thou bring forth thy bread to the hungry.' So the Syriac and Noyes. But the authority is not sufficient to justify the change in the text, nor is it necessary. The word 'soul' here is synonymous with heart, or benevolent affection; and the idea is, if they expressed benevolent affection or kindness toward those in want.

Then shall thy light rise in obscurity - That is, it will be as if the cheerful light of the sun should rise amidst the shades of midnight. The sense is, that their calamities and trials would be suddenly succeeded by the bright and cheerful light of prosperity.

10. draw out thy soul—"impart of thine own subsistence," or "sustenance" [Horsley]. "Soul" is figurative for "that wherewith thou sustainest thy soul," or "life."

light … in obscurity—Calamities shall be suddenly succeeded by prosperity (Ps 112:4).

Draw out; or, open; as when we break open a store or magazine to satisfy the wants of the needy: it implies bounty and liberality. A phrase contrary to that of shutting up of the bowels, 1Jo 3:17.

Thy soul; thy affection, i.e. thy pity and compassion; a metonymy of the subject, as one that condoles with them in their misery; affectionately, and with delight, Romans 12:8 2 Corinthians 9:7. God loves a cheerful giver as well as a liberal giver. Not grudgingly, not of constraint, not because thou must, but because thou wilt; not out of necessity, but of choice. Compassion and mercy in a work is more than the work of mercy itself; for this is something only without a man, but the other is something from within, and of himself. This argues a sympathy, which the other doth not; all without this being as nothing, 1 Corinthians 13:3.

And satisfy: here the prophet notes the work that is to be done, as in the former expression the affection wherewith it is to be done, otherwise it would be no more than what the apostle James reproves, James 2 15,16; and the psalmist joins them both together, Psalm 37:21. And then further it implies a complete and proportionable answering of his wants, that the supply answer the necessity; that is, be such as may satisfy, not barely keep him from starving.

The afflicted soul, i.e. the person afflicted with wants.

Then shall thy light rise: this is the same promise, and expressed in the same figure, as in Isaiah 58:8. See the same phrase opened there. The Hebrews delight to express the same things often by a little altering of the phrase; only here it seems to be carried to a higher degree: there the light shall break forth, but here

light shall be in

obscurity. And thy darkness be as the noon-day; in the very darkness of the affliction itself thou shalt have comfort, Psalm 112:4. There it shall be as the morning, still increasing, here as the noonday, in its zenith and height of perfection, which shall be without so much as any shadow of affliction. And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry,.... Not only deal out thy bread, but thy soul also, to him; that is, give him food cheerfully, with a good will, expressing a hearty love and affection for him; do it heartily, as to the Lord; let thy soul go along with it; and this is true of affectionate ministers of the Gospel, who not only impart that, but their own souls also, 1 Thessalonians 2:8,

and satisfy the afflicted soul; distressed for want of food; not only give it food, but to the full; not only just enough to support life, but to satisfaction; or so as to be filled with good things, or however a sufficiency of them:

then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday; in the midst of darkness of affliction, or desertion, the light of prosperity and joy shall spring up, and a dark night of sorrow and distress become a clear day of peace and comfort; see Psalm 112:4, at evening time it shall be light, Zechariah 14:7.

And if thou shalt {l} draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in {m} obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:

(l) That is, have compassion on their miseries.

(m) Your adversity will be turned into prosperity.

10. draw out thy soul to the hungry] A very peculiar expression. The most natural sense would be “let thy desire go out” &c.; but most commentators rightly feel that the object (“the hungry”) demands some more specific definition of duty than this. Hence they take “thy soul” to mean “that in which thy soul delights” (see R.V. marg.), i.e. “thy sustenance” (Cheyne), which is hardly an improvement, and is moreover a rendering not easily to be justified. The Peshitto reads “bread” instead of “soul”; the LXX. has both words (τὸν ἄρτον ἐκ ψυχῆς σου). Since the word “soul” immediately follows (in the original) it is not improbable that there is an error in the text, and that what the prophet wrote was “thy bread.” Render therefore and bestow thy bread on the hungry. This sense of the verb is guaranteed by a very similar use in Psalm 144:13 (E.V. “afford”).

then shall thy light rise &c.] See Isaiah 58:8.Verse 10. - If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry; i.e. not merely giving him bread, but giving him sympathy and compassion with it. Then shall thy light rise in obscurity (comp. Psalm 112:4, "Unto the godly there riseth up light in the darkness;" and see above, ver. 8). There follow now the words of the work-righteous themselves, who hold up their fasting before the eyes of God, and complain that He takes no notice of it. And how could He?! "'Wherefore do we fast and Thou seest not, afflict our soul and Thou regardest not?' Behold, on the day of your fasting ye carry on your business, and ye oppress all your labourers. Behold, ye fast with strife and quarrelling, and with smiting with the fist maliciously closed: ye do not fast now to make your voice audible on high." By the side of צוּם (root צם, to press, tie up, constrain) we have here the older expression found in the Pentateuch, נפשׁ ענּה, to do violence to the natural life. In addition to the fasting on the day of atonement (the tenth of the seventh month Tizri), the only fast prescribed by the law, other fasts were observed according to Zechariah 7:3; Zechariah 8:19, viz., fasts to commemorate the commencement of the siege of Jerusalem (10th Tebeth), its capture (17th Tammuz), its destruction (9th Aibb), and the murder of Gedaliah (3rd Tizri). The exiles boast of this fasting here; but it is a heartless, dead work, and therefore worthless in the sight of God. There is the most glaring contrast between the object of the fast and their conduct on the fast-day: for they carry on their work-day occupation; they are then, more than at any other time, true taskmasters to their work-people (lest the service of the master should suffer form the service of God); and because when fasting they are doubly irritable and ill-tempered, this leads to quarrelling and strife, and even to striking with angry fist (בּאגרף, from גּרף, to collect together, make into a ball, clench). Hence in their present state the true purpose of fasting is quite unknown to them, viz., to enable them to draw near with importunate prayer to God, who is enthroned on high (Isaiah 57:15).

(Note: The ancient church called a fast statio, because he who fasted had to wait in prayer day and night like a soldier at his post. See on this and what follows, the Shepherd of Hermas, iii. Sim. 5, and the Epistle of Barnabas, c. iii.)

The only difficulty here is the phrase חפץ מצא. In the face of Isaiah 58:13, this cannot have any other meaning than to stretch one's hand after occupation, to carry on business, to occupy one's self with it - חפץ combining the three meanings, application or affairs, striving, and trade or occupation. מצא, however, maintains its primary meaning, to lay hold of or grasp (cf., Isaiah 10:14; Targ. צרכיכון תּבעין אתּוּן, ye seek your livelihood). This is sustained by what follows, whether we derive עצּביכם (cf., חלּקי, Isaiah 57:6) from עצב (et omnes labores vestros graves rigide exigitis), נגשׂ (from which we have here תּנגּשׂוּ for תּגּשׂוּ, Deuteronomy 15:3) being construed as in 2 Kings 23:35 with the accusative of what is peremptorily demanded; or (what we certainly prefer) from עצב; or better still from עצב morf ll (like עמל): omnes operarios vestros adigitis (urgetis), נגשׂ being construed with the accusative of the person oppressed, as in Deuteronomy 15:2, where it is applied to the oppression of a debtor. Here, however, the reference is not to those who owe money, but to those who owe labour, or to obligations to labour; and עצב does not signify a debtor (an idea quite foreign to this verbal root), but a labourer, one who eats the bread of sorrows, or of hard toil (Psalm 127:2). The prophet paints throughout from the life; and we cannot be persuaded by Stier's false zeal for Isaiah's authorship to give up the opinion, that we have here a figure drawn from the life of the exiles in Babylon.

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