Isaiah 63:19
We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) We are thine . . .Thine, as the italics show, is not in the Hebrew, and its insertion distorts the meaning. Better, We are become as those over whom Thou hast never ruled, upon whom Thy name hath never been called (Cheyne). What the prophet presents as a plea is not the contrast between Israel and the heathen, but the fact that Israel has been left to sink to the level of the heathen who had not known God. Would not that thought move Jehovah, as it were, to remember this covenant?

63:15-19 They beseech him to look down on the abject condition of their once-favoured nation. Would it not be glorious to his name to remove the veil from their hearts, to return to the tribes of his inheritance? The Babylonish captivity, and the after-deliverance of the Jews, were shadows of the events here foretold. The Lord looks down upon us in tenderness and mercy. Spiritual judgments are more to be dreaded than any other calamities; and we should most carefully avoid those sins which justly provoke the Lord to leave men to themselves and to their deceiver. Our Redeemer from everlasting is thy name; thy people have always looked upon thee as the God to whom they might appeal. The Lord will hear the prayers of those who belong to him, and deliver them from those not called by his name.We are thine - We urge it as a reason for thy interposition to restore the land and the temple, that we are thine from ancient times. Such I take to be the meaning of the passage - in accordance with the common translation, except that the expression מעולם mē‛ôlâm, 'from ancient times,' rendered by our translators in connection with לא lo', 'never,' is thus connected with the Jewish people, instead of being regarded as applied to their enemies. The idea is, that it is an argument why God should interpose in their behalf, that they had been for a long time his people, but that his foes, who then had possession of the land, had never submitted to his laws. There has been, however, great variety in interpreting the passage. Lowth renders it:

We have long been as those whom thou hast not ruled;

We have not been called by thy name.

Noyes renders it better:

It has been with us as if thou hadst never ruled over us,

As if we had not been called by thy name.

Symmachus and the Arabic Saadias render it in the same manner. The Septuagint renders it, 'We have been as at the beginning when thou didst not rule over us, neither were we called by thy name;' that is, we have gone back practically to our former pagan condition, by rejecting thy laws, and by breaking thy covenant. Each of these interpretations makes a consistent sense, but it seems to me that the one which I have expressed above is more in accordance with the Hebrew.

Thou never barest rule over them - Over our enemies - regarded in the prophetic vision as then in possession of the land. The idea is, that they have come into thy land by violence, and laid waste a nation where they had no right to claim any jurisdiction, and have now no claim to thy protection.

They were not called by thy name - Hebrew, 'Thy name was not called upon them.' They were aliens and strangers who had unjustly intruded into the heritage of the Lord.

19. thine … never—rather, "We are Thine from of old; Thou barest not rule over them" [Barnes]. Lowth translates, "We for long have been as those over whom Thou hast not ruled, who are not called by Thy name"; "for long" thus stands in contrast to "but a little while" (Isa 63:18). But the analogy of Isa 63:18 makes it likely that the first clause in this verse refers to the Jews, and the second to their foes, as English Version and Barnes translate it. The Jews' foes are aliens who have unjustly intruded into the Lord's heritage. We are thine; we continue so; we are in covenant which they never were; and thus it is an argument they use with God to look upon them. Or, the word thine, being not in the text, some do otherwise interpret it; We are even in the same condition we were in at first, either in Egypt, or Ur of the Chaldees, before thou broughtest us into covenant, and are accordingly dealt with; we are become even as they, whom thou didst not bear rule over. Or, we are as, if thou hadst never ruled over us of old.

Thou never barest rule over them; not in that manner, or in that relation to them, that thou didst over us.

They were not called by thy name; neither owned thee, nor owned by thee: this phrase implies a near relation in some circumstance or other, as wife, or servant, or child, &c., Isaiah 4:1.

We are thine,.... Thy children, thy people, thy subjects. Some read it, taking a word from the next clause, "we are thine of old", or "from everlasting" (h); as the Lord's special people are, being chosen by him in Christ before the foundation of the world, and taken into an everlasting covenant by him, when he became their God, and they his people; agreeably to which is the Targum,

"we are thy people that were of old;''

so Kimchi reads the words: "thou never barest rule over them"; the Heathens that oppressed them; they never acknowledged God as their King as they did, or were subject to him as they were; and therefore had no claim to protection from him as they had:

they were not called by thy name; they were not called the people of God, nor the children of God, nor the servants or subjects of God; or, "thy name is not called upon them" (i); or they called after it; nor did they call upon it, but served other gods. The Targum is,

"thou hast not given unto the people the doctrine of thy law, neither is thy name called upon by them.''

(h) "non fuimus tui ab omni aevo", Grotius; "a seculo", Pagninus, Montanus. (i) "nec invocatum est nomen tuum super eos", Pagninus, Montanus.

We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. Render: We are become (as those) over whom from of old Thou hast not borne rule, over whom Thy name has not been called. The visible splendours of Jehovah’s kingship have been absent throughout the later period of the nation’s history. Comp. ch. Isaiah 26:13, and (for the second part of the verse) Deuteronomy 28:10; Jeremiah 14:9.

Verse 19. - We are thine. There is no "thine" in the original, and so important a word cannot possibly be supplied from without. Translate, We are as those over whom thou hast not ruled from of old, as those upon whom thy Name has not been called; i.e. we have lost all our privileges - we have become in God's sight no better than the heathen - he has forgotten that we were ever his people.



Isaiah 63:19But the existing condition of Israel looks like a withdrawal of this grace; and it is impossible that these contrasts should cease, unless Jehovah comes down from heaven as the deliverer of His people. Isaiah 63:8, Isaiah 63:19 (Isaiah 64:1). "For a little time Thy holy people was in possession. Our adversaries have trodden down Thy sanctuary. We have become such as He who is from everlasting has not ruled over, upon whom Thy name was not called. O that Thou wouldst rend the heaven, come down, the mountains would shake before thy countenance." It is very natural to try whether yâreshū may not have tsârēnū for its subject (cf., Jeremiah 49:2); but all the attempts made to explain the words on this supposition, show that lammits‛âr is at variance with the idea that yâreshū refers to the foes. Compare, for example, Jerome's rendering "quasi nihilum (i.e., ad nihil et absque allo labore) possederunt populum sanctum tuum;" that of Cocceius, "propemodum ad haereditatem;" and that of Stier, "for a little they possess entirely Thy holy nation." Mits‛âr is the harsher form for miz‛âr, which the prophet uses in Isaiah 10:25; Isaiah 16:14; Isaiah 29:17 for a contemptibly small space of time; and as ל is commonly used to denote the time to which, towards which, within which, and through which, anything occurs (cf., 2 Chronicles 11:17; 2 Chronicles 29:17; Ewald, 217, d), lammits‛âr may signify for a (lit. the well-known) short time (per breve tempus; like εἰς ἐπ ̓κατ ̓ ἐνιαυτόν, a year long). If miqdâsh could mean the holy land, as Hitzig and others suppose, miqdâshekhâ might be the common object of both sentences (Ewald, 351, p. 838). But miqdash Jehovah (the sanctuary of Jehovah) is the place of His abode and worship; and "taking possession of the temple" is hardly an admissible expression. On the other hand, yârash hâ'ârets, to take possession of the (holy) land, is so common a phrase (e.g., Isaiah 60:21; Isaiah 65:9; Psalm 44:4), that with the words "Thy holy people possessed for a little (time)" we naturally supply the holy land as the object. The order of the words in the two clauses is chiastic. The two strikingly different subjects touch one another as the two inner members. Of the perfects, the first expresses the more remote past, the second the nearer past, as in Isaiah 60:10. The two clauses of the v. rhyme - the holiest thing in the possession of the people, which was holy according to the choice and calling of Jehovah, being brought into the greatest prominence; bōsēs equals πατεῖν, Luke 21:24; Revelation 11:2. Hahn's objection, that the time between the conquest of the land and the Chaldean catastrophe could not be called mits‛âr (a little while), may be answered, from the fact that a time which is long in itself shrinks up when looked back upon or recalled, and that as an actual fact from the time of David and Solomon, when Israel really rejoiced in the possession of the land, the coming catastrophe began to be foreboded by many significant preludes.

The lamentation in Isaiah 63:19 proceeds from the same feeling which caused the better portion of the past to vanish before the long continuance of the mournful present. Hitzig renders היינוּ "we were;" Hahn, "we shall be;" but here, where the speaker is not looking back, as in Isaiah 26:17, at a state of things which has come to an end, but rather at one which is still going on, it signifies "we have become." The passage is rendered correctly in S.: ἐγενήθημεν (or better, γεγόναμεν) ὡς ἀπ ̓αἰῶνος ὧν οὐκ ἐξουσίασας οὐδὲ ἐπικλήθη τὸ ὄνομά σου αὐτοῖς. The virtual predicate to hâyı̄nū commences with mē‛ōlâm: "we have become such (or like such persons) as," etc.; which would be fully expressed by אשׁר כּעם, or merely כּעשׁר, or without אשׁר, and simply by transposing the words, וגו משׁלתּ כּלא (cf., Obadiah 1:16): compare the virtual subject אהבו יהוה in Isaiah 48:14, and the virtual object בשׁמי יקרא in Isaiah 41:25 (Ewald, 333, b). Every form of "as if" is intentionally omitted. The relation in which Jehovah placed Himself to Israel, viz., as its King, and as to His own people called by His name, appears not only as though it had been dissolved, but as though it had never existed at all. The existing state of Israel is a complete practical denial of any such relation. Deeper tones than these no lamentation could possibly utter, and hence the immediate utterance of the sigh which goes up to heaven: "O that Thou wouldst rend heaven!" It is extremely awkward to begin a fresh chapter with כּקדח ("as when the melting fire burneth"); at the same time, the Masoretic division of the vv. is unassailable.

(Note: In the Hebrew Bibles, Isaiah 64:1-12 commences at the second v. of our version; and the first v. is attached to Isaiah 63:19 of the previous chapter. - Tr.)

For Isaiah 63:19 (Isaiah 64:1) could not be attached to Isaiah 64:1-2, since this v. would be immensely overladen; moreover, this sigh really belongs to Isaiah 63:19 (Isaiah 63:19), and ascends out of the depth of the lamentation uttered there. On utinam discideris equals discinderes, see at Isaiah 48:18. The wish presupposes that the gracious presence of God had been withdrawn from Israel, and that Israel felt itself to be separated from the world beyond by a thick party-wall, resembling an impenetrable black cloud. The closing member of the optative clause is generally rendered (utinam) a facie tua montes diffluerent (e.g., Rosenmller after the lxx τακήσονται), or more correctly, defluerent (Jerome), as nâzal means to flow down, not to melt. The meaning therefore would be, "O that they might flow down, as it were to the ground melting in the fire" (Hitzig). The form nâzollu cannot be directly derived from nâzal, if taken in this sense; for it is a pure fancy that nâzōllū may be a modification of the pausal נזלוּ with ō for ā, and the so-called dagesh affectuosum). Stier invents a verb med. o. נזל. The more probable supposition is, that it is a niphal formed from zâlāl equals nâzal (Ewald, 193, c). But zâlal signifies to hang down slack, to sway to and fro (hence zōlēl, lightly esteemed, and zalzallı̄m, Isaiah 18:5, pliable branches), like zūl in Isaiah 46:6, to shake, to pour down;

(Note: Just as the Greek has in addition to σαλ-εὐειν the much simpler and more root-like σεἰ-ειν; so the Semitic has, besides זל, the roots זא, זע: compare the Arabic סלסל, זאזע, זעזע, all three denoting restless motion.)

and nâzōllu, if derived from this, yields the appropriate sense concuterentur (compare the Arabic zalzala, which is commonly applied to an earthquake). The nearest niphal form would be נזלּוּ (or resolved, נזלוּ, Judges 5:5); but instead of the a of the second syllable, the niphal of the verbs ע has sometimes o, like the verb ע ו (e.g., נגלּוּ, Isaiah 34:4; Ges. 67, Anm. 5).

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