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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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." Isaiah 59:2This second prophetic address continues the reproachful theme of the first. In the previous prophecy we found the virtues which are well-pleasing to God, and to which He promises redemption as a reward of grace, set in contrast with those false means, upon which the people rested their claim to redemption. In the prophecy before us the sins which retard redemption are still more directly exposed. "Behold, Jehovah's hand is not too short to help, nor His ear too heavy to hear; but your iniquities have become a party-wall between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear." The reason why redemption is delayed, is not that the power of Jehovah has not been sufficient for it (cf., Isaiah 50:2), or that He has not been aware of their desire for it, but that their iniquities (עונתיכם with the second syllable defective) have become dividers (מבדּלים, defective), have grown into a party-wall between them and their God, and their sins (cf., Jeremiah 5:25) have hidden pânı̄m from them. As the "hand" (yâd) in Isaiah 28:2 is the absolute hand; so here the "face" pânı̄m) is that face which sees everything, which is everywhere present, whether uncovered or concealed; which diffuses light when it unveils itself, and leaves darkness when it is veiled; the sight of which is blessedness, and not to see which is damnation. This absolute countenance is never to be seen in this life without a veil; but the rejection and abuse of grace make this veil a perfectly impenetrable covering. And Israel had forfeited in this way the light and sight of this countenance of God, and had raised a party-wall between itself and Him, and that משּׁמוע, so that He did not hear, i.e., so that their prayer did not reach Him (Lamentations 3:44) or bring down an answer from Him.
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