Isaiah 63:14
As a beast goes down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so did you lead your people, to make yourself a glorious name.
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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.As a beast that goeth down into the valley - As a herd of cattle in the heat of the day descends into the shady glen in order to find rest. In the vale, streams of water usually flow. By those streams and fountains trees grow luxuriantly, and these furnish a cool and refreshing shade. The cattle, therefore, in the heat of the day, naturally descend from the hills, where there are no fountains and streams, and where they are exposed to an intense sun, to seek refreshment in the shade of the valley. The figure here is that of resting in safety after exposure; and there are few more poetic and beautiful images of comfort than that furnished by cattle lying quietly and safely in the cool shade of a well-watered vale. This image would be much more striking in the intense heat of an Oriental climate than it is with us. Harmer (Obs. i. 168ff) supposes that the allusion here is to the custom prevailing still among the Arabs, when attacked by enemies, of withdrawing with their herds and flocks to some sequestered vale in the deserts, where they find safety. The idea, according to him, is, that Israel lay thus safely encamped in the wilderness; that they, with their flocks and herds and riches, were suffered to remain unattacked by the king of Egypt; and that this was a state of grateful repose, like that which a herd feels after having been closely pursued by an enemy, when it finds a safe retreat in some quiet vale. But it seems to me that the idea first suggested is the most correct - as it is, undoubtedly the most poetical and beautiful of a herd of cattle leaving the hills, and seeking a cooling shade and quiet retreat in a well-watered vale. Such repose, such calm, gentle, undisturbed rest, God gave his people. Such he gives them now, amidst sultry suns and storms, as they pass through the world.

The Spirit of the Lord - (See the note at Isaiah 63:10).

So didst thou lead - That is, dividing the sea, delivering them from their foes, and leading them calmly and securely on to the land of rest. So now, amidst dangers seen and unseen, God leads his people on toward heaven. He removes the obstacles in their way; he subdues their foes; he 'makes them to lie down in green pastures, and leads them beside the still waters' Psalm 23:2; and he bears them forward to a world of perfect peace.

14. As a beast … rest—image from a herd led "down" from the hills to a fertile and well-watered "valley" (Ps 23:2); so God's Spirit "caused Israel to rest" in the promised land after their weary wanderings.

to make … name—(So Isa 63:12; 2Sa 7:23).

As a beast goeth down into the valley; a laden beast goeth warily and gently down the hill: or, as a beast goeth down to the valley for grass, that being a mountainous country: or

going down for going along; so the word is used Isaiah 38:8; noting the evenness of their passage; or alluding to their going down from the shore into that great channel (as the coming out of it is called a going up, Isaiah 63:11) now made through the sea, orderly, and composedly, not like the Gadarenes’ swine, through consternation, ready to break their necks for haste.

The Spirit of the Lord, i.e. the Lord himself,

caused him to rest; led them easily, that they should not be over-travelled, or fall down, or come to any injury through weariness; thus Jeremiah expresseth it, Jeremiah 31:2, and thus God gave them rest from their enemies, drowning of them in the sea, and in their safe conduct, that they could not annoy or disturb them, leading them till he found them a place for resting; the word for leading and resting being much of a like notion, Zechariah 10:6; pointing at their several rests by the way, Numbers 10:33: or it may be read by way of interrogation, as all the foregoing words, and be the close of that inquiry, And where is the Spirit that caused them to rest? or he led them to Canaan, the place of their rest; so called Deu 12:9 Psalm 95:11.

So didst thou lead: the prophet here by an apostrophe doth only repeat the words in the name of the Jews that he had spake before, Isaiah 63:12: q.d. As thou didst then, so mayst thou do again if thou pleasest. As a beast goeth down into the valley,.... Softly and gently, especially when laden; which may have some respect to the descent of the Israelites into the sea, into which they entered without any fear and dread, and without any hurry and precipitation, though Pharaoh's host was behind them; or rather, "as a beast goes along a valley", or "plain" (c); with ease, and without any interruption, so passed the Israelites through the sea. Thus the Targum renders it,

"as a beast goes, or is led, in a plain;''

so the word is used in Isaiah 38:8, and elsewhere:

the Spirit of the Lord caused him to rest; or gently led him, that is, Israel; he walked on through the sea, with as much facility, and as little danger, as a beast walks on in a valley, or a horse in a plain. Some understand this of leading Israel through the wilderness, where often resting places were found for them, and at last they were brought to the land of rest, Canaan, and settled there:

so didst thou lead thy people; both through the sea, and through the wilderness, in a like easy, safe, and gentle manner:

to make thyself a glorious name; among the nations of the world, as he did by this amazing appearance of his for Israel; and it is hoped by those, whose words these are, he would do the like again, and get himself immortal glory.

(c) "sicut jumentum quod in campo, vel valle, vel planitie, graditur", Gataker.

As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name.
14. As the cattle that go down into the valley (R.V.). It is doubtful whether this clause does not continue Isaiah 63:13, adding a second image of the security with which Israel went down into the depths of the sea. It has certainly a more forcible sense in that connexion than if taken as an illustration of the words which follow. The only difficulty is that these words may seem too short to stand alone.

caused him to rest] i.e. brought him (the nation) to the resting-place, the Promised Land (Exodus 33:14; Deuteronomy 12:9; Joshua 1:13 &c.). The ancient versions read, less suitably, “led him.”

so didst thou lead &c.] Summarising the previous description and concluding the retrospect.Verse 14. - As a beast goeth down into the valley. Bishop Lowth's version seems the best," As the herd descendeth to the valley." Israel's passage through the Sinaitic peninsula into Canaan is compared to the movement of a herd of cattle from its summer pastures in the mountains to the valley at their base, where for a time it rests. So God gave his people, after their many trials, "rest" in Canaan (Hebrews 3:11-18). So didst thou lead thy people. "So" refers, not to the last simile only, but to the entire description contained in vers. 11-14. To make thyself a glorious name (comp. ver. 12, and see also Ezekiel 36:21-23; Malachi 1:2). 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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