Isaiah 59:2
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTeedTTBWESTSK
(2) Have separatedi.e., have become, as it were, a “middle wall of partition” excluding them from the Divine presence.

His face.—Better, the face. The Hebrew has neither article nor possessive pronoun, the substantive being treated almost as a proper name.

59:1-8 If our prayers are not answered, and the salvation we wait for is not wrought for us, it is not because God is weary of hearing prayer, but because we are weary of praying. See here sin in true colours, exceedingly sinful; and see sin in its consequences, exceedingly hurtful, separating from God, and so separating us, not only from all good, but to all evil. Yet numbers feed, to their own destruction, on infidel and wicked systems. Nor can their skill or craft, in devising schemes, as the spider weaves its web, deliver or save them. No schemes of self-wrought salvation shall avail those who despise the Redeemer's robe of righteousness. Every man who is destitute of the Spirit of Christ, runs swiftly to evil of some sort; but those regardless of Divine truth and justice, are strangers to peace.But your iniquities - That is, the sins which the prophet had specified in the previous chapter, and which he proceeds further to specify in this.

Have separated - The word used here (בדל bâdal) conveys the idea of division, usually by a curtain or a wall Exodus 26:33; Ezekiel 42:20. Thus the 'firmament' (רקיע râqı̂ya‛, "expanse") is said to have "divided" or "separated" (מבדיל mabedı̂yl) the waters from the waters Genesis 1:6. The idea here is, that their sins were like a partition between them and God, so that there was no contact between them and him.

And your sins have hid his face from you - Margin, 'Made him hide.' The Hebrew word here is in Hiphil, meaning 'to cause to hide.' Kimchi and Aben Ezra understand it as causing him to hide his face; Vitringa as hiding, his face. The metaphor, says Vitringa, is not taken from a man who turns away his face from one because he does not choose to attend to what is said, but from something which comes between two persons, like a dense cloud, which hides one from the other. And, according to this, the idea is, that their sins had risen up like a thick, dark cloud between them and God, so that they had no clear view of him, and no contact with him - as a cloud hides the face of the sun from us. A similar idea occurs in Lamentations 3:44 :

Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud,

That our prayers should not pass through.

But it seems to me more probable that the Hiphil signification of the verb is here to be retained, and that the idea is, that their sins had caused Yahweh to hide or turn away his face from their prayers from an unwillingness to hear them when they were so deeply immersed in sin. Thus the Septuagint, 'On account of your sins he has turned away his face (ἀπέστρεψε τὸ πρόωπον apestrepse to prosōpon) from you, so that he will not have mercy' (τοῦ μὴ ἐλεῆσαι tou mē eleēsai). It is universally true that indulgence in sin causes God to turn away his face, and to witchold mercy and compassion. He cannot pardon those who indulge in transgression, and who are unwilling to abandon the ways of sin (compare the notes at Isaiah 1:15).

2. hid—Hebrew, "caused Him to hide" (La 3:44). Have separated; have been as a thick wall between God and you; have set him at a great distance, Proverbs 15:29.

Have hid his face: this may be put synecdoehically for the whole person; and the prophet speaking of God by an anthropopathy, may understand his presence; and then it is, hath made him hide or withdraw his presence, as one that turns away his face from some noisome thing; or rather his favour, that though you cry to be delivered out of Babylon, yet you shall not find that favour.

He will not hear, i.e. he will not grant it; thus it is used Psalm 45:12 Hosea 5:15: See Poole "Isaiah 1:15": see Judges 10:13. Like a partition wall dividing between them, so that they enjoy no communion with him in his worship and ordinances; which is greatly the case of the reformed churches: they profess the true God, and the worship of him, and do attend the outward ordinances of it; but this is done in such a cold formal way, and such sins and wickedness are perpetrated and connived at, that the Lord does not grant his gracious presence to them, but stands at a distance from them:

and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear; or have caused him to hide himself; withdraw his gracious presence; neglect the prayers put up to him; deny an answer to them; or, however, not appear as yet for the deliverance and salvation of them, and bringing them into a more comfortable, prosperous, and happy condition.

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
2. your iniquities have separated] Lit. “have been separating.” The expression is that used of the firmament in Genesis 1:6; it implies that guilt has been a permanent cause of alienation between Israel and its God.

have hid his face] i.e. caused Him to withdraw His favour (cf. ch. Isaiah 8:17). Instead of “his face,” the Hebr. has simply “face” as in Job 34:29. Various explanations are offered of this peculiar expression; perhaps the easiest is that “the Face” had come to be used absolutely of the face of God.Verse 2. - Have separated; literally, have been separating. The force of the form used is continuous, and implies that Israel had now for a long time been heaping up a barrier between itself and Jehovah. Your sins have hid his face; literally, your sins have caused his face to be hidden from you, i.e. "have made him avert it." The prophet now proceeds to point out the reward of divine grace, which would follow such a fast as this, consisting of self-renouncing, self-sacrificing love; and in the midst of the promise he once more reminds of the fact, that this love is the condition of the promise. This divides the promises into two. The middle promise is linked on to the first; the morning dawn giving promise of the "perfect day" (Proverbs 4:18). The first series of promises we have in Isaiah 58:8, Isaiah 58:9. "Then will thy light break forth as the morning dawn, and thy healing will sprout up speedily, and thy righteousness will go before thee, the glory of Jehovah will follow thee. Then wilt thou call and Jehovah will answer; thou wilt beseech, and He will say, Here am I!" The love of God is called "light" in contrast with His wrath; and a quiet cheerful life in God's love is so called, in contrast with a wild troubled life spent in God's wrath. This life in God's love has its dawn and its noon-day. When it is night both within and around a man, and he suffers himself to be awakened by the love of God to a reciprocity of love; then does the love of God, like the rising sun, open for itself a way through the man's dark night and overcome the darkness of wrath, but so gradually that the sky within is at first only streaked as it were with the red of the morning dawn, the herald of the sun. A second figure of a promising character follows. The man is sick unto death; but when the love of God stimulates him to reciprocal love, he is filled with new vigour, and his recovery springs up suddenly; he feels within him a new life working through with energetic force like a miraculous springing up of verdure from the earth, or of growing and flowering plants. The only other passages in which ארוּכה occurs are in the books of Jeremiah, Chronicles, and Nehemiah. It signifies recovery (lxx here, τὰ ἰάματά σου ταχὺ ἀνατελεῖ, an old mistake for ἱμάτια, vestimenta), and hence general prosperity (2 Chronicles 24:13). It always occurs with the predicate עלתה (causative העלה, cf., Targ. Psalm 147:3, ארכא אסּק, another reading ארוּכין), oritur (for which we have here poetically germinat) alicui sanitas; hence Gesenius and others have inferred, that the word originally meant the binding up of a wound, bandage (impontiru alicui fascia). But the primary word is ארך equals ארך, to set to rights, to restore or put into the right condition (e.g., b. Sabbath 33b, "he cured his wounded flesh"), connected with אריך, Arab. ârak, accommodatus; so that ארוּכה, after the form מלוּכה, Arab. (though rarely) arika, signifies properly, setting to rights, i.e., restoration.

The third promise is: "thy righteousness will go before thee, the glory of Jehovah will gather thee, or keep thee together," i.e., be thy rear-guard (lxx περιστελεῖ σε, enclose thee with its protection; אסף as in מאסּף, Isaiah 52:12). The figure is a significant one: the first of the mercies of God is δικαιοῦν, and the last δοξάζειν. When Israel is diligent in the performance of works of compassionate love, it is like an army on the march or a travelling caravan, for which righteousness clear and shows the way as being the most appropriate gift of God, and whose rear is closed by the glory of God, which so conducts it to its goal that not one is left behind. The fourth promise assures them of the immediate hearing of prayer, of every appeal to God, every cry for help.

But before the prophet brings his promises up to their culminating point, he once more lays down the condition upon which they rest. "If thou put away from the midst of thee the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and speaking of evil, and offerest up thy gluttony to the hungry, and satisfiest the soul that is bowed down: thy light will stream out in the darkness, and thy darkness become like the brightness of noon-day. And Jehovah will guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in droughts, and refresh thy bones; and thou wilt become like a well-watered garden, and like a fountain, whose waters never deceive. And thy people will build ruins of the olden time, foundations of earlier generations wilt thou erect; and men will call thee repairers of breaches, restorers of habitable streets." מוטה, a yoke, is here equivalent to yoking or oppression, as in Isaiah 58:6, where it stands by the side of רשׁע. שׁלח־אצבּא (only met with here, for שׁלח, Ges. 65, 1, a), the stretching out of the finger, signifies a scornful pointing with the fingers (Proverbs 6:13, δακτυλοδεικτεῖν) at humbler men, and especially at such as are godly (Isaiah 57:4). דּבּר־און, the utterance of things which are wicked in themselves and injurious to one's neighbour, hence sinful conversation in general. The early commentators looked for more under נפשׁך, than is really meant (and so does even Stier: "they soul, thy heart, all thy sympathetic feelings," etc.). The name of the soul, which is regarded here as greedily longing (Isaiah 56:11), is used in Deuteronomy 24:6 for that which nourishes it, and here for that which it longs for; the longing itself (appetitus) for the object of the longing (Psychol. p. 204). We may see this very clearly from the choice of the verb תּפק (a voluntative in a conditional clause, Ges. 128, 2), which, starting from the primary meaning educere (related to נפק, Arabic anfaqa, to give out, distribute, nafaqa, distribution, especially of alms), signifies both to work out, acquire, carry off (Proverbs 3:13; Proverbs 8:35, etc.), and also to take out, deliver, offer, expromere (as in this instance and Psalm 140:9; Psalm 144:13). The soul "bowed down" is bowed down in this instance through abstinence. The apodoses commence with the perf. cons. וזרח. אפלה is the darkness caused by the utter absence of light (Arab. afalat esh-shemsu, "the sun has become invisible"); see at Job 10:22. This, as the substantive clause affirms, is like the noon-day, which is called צהרים, because at that point the daylight of both the forenoon and afternoon, the rising and setting light, is divided as it were into two by the climax which it has attained. A new promise points to the fat, that such a man may enjoy without intermission the mild and safe guidance of divine grace, for which נחה (הנחה, syn. נהל) is the word commonly employed; and another to the communication of the most copious supply of strength. The ἅπαξ γεγρ בצחצחות does not state with what God will satisfy the soul, as Hahn supposes (after Jerome, "splendoribus"), but according to צסהיחה (Psalm 68:7) and such promises as Isaiah 43:20; Isaiah 48:21; Isaiah 49:10, the kind of satisfaction and the circumstances under which it occurs, viz., in extreme droughts (Targ. "years of drought"). In the place of the perf. cons. we have then the future, which facilitates the elevation of the object: "and thy bones will He make strong," יחליח, for which Hupfeld would read יחליף, "will He rejuvenate." חחליץ is a denom. of חלוּץ, expeditus; it may, however, be directly derived from a verb חלץ, presupposed by חלצים, not, however, in the meaning "to be fat" (lxx πιανθήσεται, and so also Kimchi), but "to be strong," lit., to be loose or ready for action; and b. Jebamoth 102b has the very suitable gloss גרמי זרוזי (making the bones strong). This idea of invigorating is then unfolded in two different figures, of which that of a well-watered garden sets forth the abundance received, that of a spring the abundance possessed. Natural objects are promised, but as a gift of grace; for this is the difference between the two testaments, that in the Old Testament the natural is ever striving to reach the spiritual, whereas in the New Testament the spiritual lifts up the natural to its own level. The Old Testament is ever striving to give inwardness to what was outward; in the New Testament this object is attained, and the further object now is to make the outward conformed to the inward, the natural life to the spiritual.

The last promise (whether the seventh or eighth, depends upon whether we include the growing of the morning light into the light of noon, or not) takes its form from the pining of the exiles for their home: "and thy people (ממּך) build" (Ewald, 295, c); and Bttcher would read ממך וּבנּוּ; but מן with a passive, although more admissible in Hebrew than in Arabic, is very rarely met with, and then more frequently in the sense of ἀπό than in that of ὑπό, and בּנּוּ followed by a plural of the thing would be more exact than customary. Moreover, there is no force in the objection that ממּך with the active can only signify "some of thee," since it is equivalent to ממך אשׁר, those who sprang from thee and belong to thee by kindred descent. The members born to the congregation in exile will begin, as soon as they return to their home, to build up again the ruins of olden time, the foundations of earlier generations, i.e., houses and cities of which only the foundations are left (Isaiah 61:4); therefore Israel restored to its fatherland receives the honourable title of "builder of breaches," "restorer of streets (i.e., of places much frequented once) לשׁבת" (for inhabiting), i.e., so that, although so desolate now (Isaiah 33:8), they become habitable and populous once more.

Isaiah 59:2 Interlinear
Isaiah 59:2 Parallel Texts

Isaiah 59:2 NIV
Isaiah 59:2 NLT
Isaiah 59:2 ESV
Isaiah 59:2 NASB
Isaiah 59:2 KJV

Isaiah 59:2 Bible Apps
Isaiah 59:2 Parallel
Isaiah 59:2 Biblia Paralela
Isaiah 59:2 Chinese Bible
Isaiah 59:2 French Bible
Isaiah 59:2 German Bible

Bible Hub
Isaiah 59:1
Top of Page
Top of Page