Isaiah 63:13
That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble?
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(13, 14) That led them . . .—Each comparison is singularly appropriate. Israel passes through the sea as a horse through the wide grassy plain (not the sandy desert, as “wilderness” suggests). Then, when its wanderings are over, it passes into Canaan, as a herd of cattle descends from the hills into the rich pasturage of the valleys, that guidance also coming from the Spirit of Jehovah.

63:7-14 The latter part of this chapter, and the whole of the next, seem to express the prayers of the Jews on their conversation. They acknowledge God's great mercies and favours to their nation. They confess their wickedness and hardness of heart; they entreat his forgiveness, and deplore the miserable condition under which they have so long suffered. The only-begotten Son of the Father became the Angel or Messenger of his love; thus he redeemed and bare them with tenderness. Yet they murmured, and resisted his Holy Spirit, despising and persecuting his prophets, rejecting and crucifying the promised Messiah. All our comforts and hopes spring from the loving-kindness of the Lord, and all our miseries and fears from our sins. But he is the Saviour, and when sinners seek after him, who in other ages glorified himself by saving and feeding his purchased flock, and leading them safely through dangers, and has given his Holy Spirit to prosper the labours of his ministers, there is good ground to hope they are discovering the way of peace.That led them through the deep - They went through the deep on dry land - the waters having divided and left an unobstructed path.

As an horse in the wilderness - As an horse, or a courser, goes through a desert without stumbling. This is a most beautiful image. The reference is to vast level plains like those in Arabia, where there are no stones, no trees, no gullies, no obstacles, and where a fleet courser bounds over the plain without any danger of stumbling. So the Israelites were led on their way without falling. All obstacles were removed, and they were led along as if over a vast smooth plain. Our word 'wilderness,' by no means expresses the idea here. We apply it to uncultivated regions that are covered with trees, and where there would be numerous obstacles to such a race-horse. But the Hebrew word (מדבר midbâr) rather refers to "a desert, a waste" - a place of level sands or plains where there was nothing to obstruct the fleet courser that should prance over them. Such is probably the meaning of this passage, but Harmer (Obs. i. 161ff) may be consulted for another view, which may possibly be the correct one.

13. deep—literally, "the tossing and roaring sea."

wilderness—rather, the "open plain" [Horsley], wherein there is no obstacle to cause a horse in its course the danger of stumbling.

That led them through the deep; showing that God did not dry up shallow places, but the very depth of the sea, the very channel, which is the deepest part. Or, between those heaps of waters that stood up as a wall on each side of them, which might make it seem terrible, and therefore it is ascribed to their faith, Hebrews 11:29.

As an horse in the wilderness; or, plain; for so wilderness is sometimes taken, and may be here meant, by comparing it to a valley in the next verse, viz. with as much safety as the horse runs up and down in the plain ground; or, with as much ease and tenderness as a horse led by the bridle; not as men affrighted, but soberly and orderly.

That they should not stumble: this may be taken metaphorically, they came to no harm; or properly, that though the sea were but newly divided, yet it was so dried, that the mud, as also the unevenness of the ground, was not any occasion of their stumbling, or their sticking in it; probably so dried and smoothed by the wind that God sent as it were to prepare the way before them. See Isaiah 40:3-5. That led them through the deep,.... The depths, the bottom of the sea; not through the shallow, but where the waters had been deepest, the descent greatest; and at the bottom of which might have been expected much filth and dirt to hinder them in their passage, yet through this he led them:

as an horse in the wilderness; or rather, "in a plain", as the word (b) sometimes signifies; and so Kimchi renders it a plain land, and Jarchi smooth land. The sense is, that the Israelites passed through the sea with as much ease, and as little difficulty, as a good horse will run over a plain, where there is nothing to stop his course:

that they should not stumble? there being no clay to stick in, no stone to stumble at, but all like an even plain.

(b) "in planitie", Calvin, Gataker, Vitringa; "in campis", Grotius.

That led them through the deep, as an {o} horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble?

(o) Peaceably and gentle, as a horse is led to his pasture.

13. the deep] R.V. the depths; Hebr. těhômôth, see on ch. Isaiah 51:10.

as a horse in the wilderness] treading as firmly and securely as the horse on the open pasture. Comp. the parallelism Psalm 106:9 : “He led them through the depths as through a pasture-land.”The prophet, as the leader of the prayers of the church, here passes into the expanded style of the tephillah. Isaiah 63:7 "I will celebrate the mercies of Jehovah, the praises of Jehovah, as is seemly for all that Jehovah hath shown us, and the great goodness towards the house of Israel, which He hath shown them according to His pity, and the riches of His mercies." The speaker is the prophet, in the name of the church, or, what is the same thing, the church in which the prophet includes himself. The prayer commences with thanksgiving, according to the fundamental rule in Psalm 50:23. The church brings to its own remembrance, as the subject of praise in the presence of God, all the words and deeds by which Jehovah has displayed His mercy and secured glory to Himself. חסדי (this is the correct pointing, with ד protected by gaya; cf., כּדכד in Isaiah 54:12) are the many thoughts of mercy and acts of mercy into which the grace of God, i.e., His one purpose of grace and His one work of grace, had been divided. They are just so many tehillōth, self-glorifications of God, and impulses to His glorification. On כּעל, as is seemly, see at Isaiah 59:18. There is no reason for assuming that ורב־טוּב is equivalent to רב־טוב וּכעל, as Hitzig and Knobel do. רב־טוב commences the second object to אזכּיר, in which what follows is unfolded as a parallel to the first. Rabh, the much, is a neuter formed into a substantive, as in Psalm 145:7; rōbh, plurality or multiplicity, is an infinitive used as a substantive. Tūbh is God's benignant goodness; rachămı̄m, His deepest sympathizing tenderness; chesed (root חס, used of violent emotion; cf., Syr. chăsad, chăsam, aemulari; Arab. ḥss, to be tender, full of compassion), grace which condescends to and comes to meet a sinful creature. After this introit, the prayer itself commences with a retrospective glance at the time of the giving of law, when the relation of a child, in which Israel stood to Jehovah, was solemnly proclaimed and legally regulated. Isaiah 63:8 "He said, They are my people, children who will not lie; and He became their Saviour." אך is used here in its primary affirmative sense. ישׁקּרוּ is the future of hope. When He made them His people, His children, He expected from them a grateful return of His covenant grace in covenant fidelity; and whenever they needed help from above, He became their Saviour (mōshı̄ă‛). We can recognise the ring of Exodus 15:2 here, just as in Isaiah 12:2. Mōshı̄ă‛) is a favourite word in chapters 40-66 (compare, however, Isaiah 19:20 also).
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