And there is none that calls on your name, that stirs up himself to take hold of you: for you have hid your face from us, and have consumed us, because of our iniquities.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.—Better, hast delivered us into the hand (scil., the power) of our iniquities. The previous clause had pointed to the people s forgetfulness of God—what we should call their indifference—as the root-evil. This states that that sin led, in the righteous judgment of God, to open iniquities. The thought is parallel to that of Romans 1:21-24.
That stirreth up himself - The word used here (מתעורר mite‛ôrēr) refers to the effort which is requisite to rouse oneself when oppressed by a spirit of heavy slumber; and the idea here is, that the nation was sunk in spiritual torpor, and that the same effort was needful to excite it which was requisite to rouse one who had sunk down to deep sleep. How aptly this describes the state of a sinful world! How much disposed is that world to give itself to spiritual slumber! How indisposed to rouse itself to call upon God! No man rises to God without effort; and unless men make an effort for this, they fall into the stupidity of sin, just as certainly as a drowsy man sinks back into deep sleep.
To take hold of thee - The Hebrew word (חזק châzaq) means properly to bind fast, to gird tight, and then to make firm or strong, to strengthen; and the idea of strengthening oneself is implied in the use of the word here. It means, that with the consciousness of feebleness we should seek strength in God. This the people referred to by the prophet were indisposed to do. This the world at large is indisposed to do.
For thou hast hid thy face - Thou bast withdrawn thy favor from us, as a people, on account of our sins. This is an acknowledgment that one effect of his withdrawing his favor, and one evidence of it was, that no one was disposed to call upon his name. All had sunk into the deep lethargy of sin.
And hast consumed us - Margin, 'Melted.' The Hebrew word (מוג mûg) means "to melt, to flow down"; and hence, in Piel, to cause to melt or flow down. It is used to denote the fact that an army or host of people seem to melt away, or become dissolved by fear and terror Exodus 15:15; Joshua 2:9-24; Job 30:22. 'Thou dissolvest (תמגגני thı̂mogegēniy) my substance;' that is, thou causest me to dissolve before thy indignation. This is described as one of the effects of the wrath of God, that his enemies vanish away, or are dissolved before him.
take hold—(Isa 27:5).And there is none; or, yet there is none, i.e. few, Psalm 14:3; they are not to be discerned among the multitude.
That calleth; such as call upon thee as they ought, as Jacob, and Moses, and David, &c. did, which often prevents the ruin of a state or kingdom: it points out the universal apostacy of the last times of the Jewish state, for which they were cut off.
To take hold of thee; either to stay thee from departing from us; see Luke 24:28,29; or to fetch thee back, when departed, Jeremiah 12:7; or it is an allegorical allusion to one struck down and still smitten, but never stirs to lay hold on the arm that smites him, Isaiah 27:5; it notes their great slothfulness and carelessness, and some refer it to their lukewarmness and dead-heartedness, relying upon their privileges before they went into captivity, and so a great presage of their approaching judgments.
For, or when; so the particle is used Job 5:21 Psalm 75:2.
Consumed us; or, melted us; our sins have kindled such a fire of thy wrath, that we are melted with it.
Because of our iniquities, Heb. in the hands of our iniquities, i.e. either, in the place of our iniquities, the land wherein they were committed; or, into the hands of our iniquities, to be punished by them, and as it were consumed, or melted down, or our strength exhausted by them, as wax before the fire, Leviticus 26:39 Ezekiel 33:10; or, as we translate it, our iniquities being the procuring cause of it. John 14:13, not that there were absolutely none at all that prayed to God, and called upon or in his name, but comparatively they were very few; for that there were some it is certain, since this very complaint is made in a prayer; but the number of such was small, especially that prayed in faith, in sincerity, with fervency and importunity; and, when this is the case, it is an argument and evidence of great declension:
that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee; to exercise faith on God, as their covenant God; to lay hold on the covenant itself, the blessings and promises of it, and plead them with God: or to pray unto him, which is a wrestling with him, when faith lays hold upon God, and will not let him go without the blessing; and is an entreaty of him not to depart when he seems to be about it; or a detaining of him, as the disciples detained Christ, when he seemed as if he would go from them; and is also an importunate desire that he would return when he is departed; and an earnest request not to strike when his hand is lifted up: faith in prayer does, as it were, take hold of the hands of God, and will not suffer him to strike his children; just as a friend lays hold on a father's hand when he is about to give his child a blow with it for his correction; and such is the amazing condescension of God, that he suffers himself to be held after this manner; see Genesis 32:26, now, to "stir up" a man's self to this is to make diligent use of the means in seeking the Lord; particularly a frequent use of the gift of prayer, and a stirring of that up; a calling upon a man's soul, and all within him, to engage therein; to which are opposed slothfulness, &c. cold, lukewarm, negligent performance of duty, which is here complained of; there were none, or at least but few, that stirred up or "aroused" (b) themselves. God's professing people are sometimes asleep; and though it is high time to awake out of sleep, yet no one arouses himself or others.
For thou hast hid thy face from us: or removed the face of thy Shechinah, or divine Majesty from us, as the Targum; being provoked by such a conduct towards him, as before expressed: for it may be rendered, "therefore thou hast hid"; &c.; or "though", or "when" (c), this was the case, yet no man sought his face and favour, or entreated he would return again:
and hast consumed us because of our iniquities; by the sword, famine, pestilence, and captivity.And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. And there is none that calleth, &c.] an easily intelligible hyperbole.
stirreth himself up] “arouseth himself,” the same verb as in Isaiah 51:17.
consumed us, because of our iniquities] lit. “melted us by the hand of our iniquities.” Cf. Ezekiel 33:10, “Our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we waste away in them, how should we then live?” A better reading, supported by LXX., Pesh. and Targ., is delivered us into the hand (i.e. the power) of our iniquities. Cf. Job 8:4.Verse 7. - There is none that calleth on thy Name. A hyperbole, like Psalm 19:1, 3, "There is none that doeth good, no, not one." A general lethargy and apathy had come over the people, so that they could with difficulty rouse themselves to faith and calling upon God. But this general lethargy was not universal; there was a "remnant" which "prayed and did not faint." That stirreth up himself to take hold of thee. This expresses more than mere prayer; it is earnest, intense, "effectual fervent" prayer. Perhaps none among the exiles may have been capable of such supplication as this, especially as God had hid his face from them, and no longer looked on them with favour. And hast consumed us, because of our iniquities; rather, and hast delivered us into the power (literally, hand) of our iniquities. Men's sins are their masters, and exercise a tyrannical control over them, which they are often quite unable to resist (comp. Ezekiel 33:10, "If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?"). God at times judicially delivers the wicked into the power of their sins (see Romans 1:24, 26, 28). Isaiah 64:1 (2) does not form a new and independent sentence; but we must in thought repeat the word upon which the principal emphasis rests in Isaiah 63:19 (Isaiah 64:1). "(Wouldst come down) as fire kindles brushwood, fire causes water to boil; to make known Thy name to Thine adversaries, that the heathen may tremble before Thy face! When Thou doest terrible things which we hoped not for; wouldst come down, (and) mountains shake before Thy countenance!" The older expositors gave themselves a great deal of trouble in the attempt to trace hămâsı̄m to mâsas, to melt. But since Louis de Dieu and Albert Schultens have followed Saadia and Abulwlid in citing the Arabic hms, to crack, to mutter, to mumble, etc., and hšm, to break in pieces, confringere, from which comes hashim, broken, dry wood, it is generally admitted that hămâsim is from hemes (lit. crackling, rattling, Arab. hams), and signifies "dry twigs," arida sarmenta. The second simile might be rendered, "as water bubbles up in the fire;" and in that case mayim would be treated as a feminine (according to the rule in Ges. 146, 3), in support of which Job 14:19 may be adduced as an unquestionable example (although in other cases it is masculine), and אשׁ equals בּאשׁ would be used in a local sense, like lehâbhâh, into flames, in Isaiah 5:24. But it is much more natural to take אשׁ, which is just as often a feminine as מים is a masculine, as the subject of תּבעה, and to give to the verb בּעה, which is originally intransitive, judging from the Arabic bgâ, to swell, the Chald. בּוּע, to spring up (compare אבעבּעות, blisters, pustules), the Syr. בּגא, to bubble up, etc., the transitive meaning to cause to boil or bubble up, rather than the intransitive to boil (comp. Isaiah 30:13, נבעה, swollen equals bent forwards, as it were protumidus). Jehovah is to come down with the same irresistible force which fire exerts upon brushwood or water, when it sets the former in flames and makes the latter boil; in order that by such a display of might He may make His name known (viz., the name thus judicially revealing itself, hence "in fire," Isaiah 30:27; Isaiah 66:15) to His adversaries, and that nations (viz., those that are idolaters) may tremble before Him (מפּניך: cf., Psalm 68:2-3). The infinitive clause denoting the purpose, like that indicating the comparison, passes into the finite (cf., Isaiah 10:2; Isaiah 13:9; Isaiah 14:25). Modern commentators for the most part now regard the optative lū' (O that) as extending to Isaiah 64:2 also; and, in fact, although this continued influence of lū' appears to overstep the bounds of the possible, we are forced to resort to this extremity. Isaiah 64:2 cannot contain a historical retrospect: the word "formerly" would be introduced if it did, and the order of the words would be a different one. Again, we cannot assume that נזלּוּ הרים מפּניך ירדתּ contains an expression of confidence, or that the prefects indicate certainty. Neither the context, the foregoing נוראות בּעשׂותך נו (why not עשׂה?), nor the parenthetical assertion נקוּה לא, permits of this. On the other hand, וגו בעשׂותך connects itself very appropriately with the purposes indicated in Isaiah 64:1 (2.): "may tremble when Thou doest terrible things, which we, i.e., such as we, do not look for," i.e., which surpass our expectations. And now nothing remains but to recognise the resumption of Isaiah 63:19 (Isaiah 64:1) in the clause "The mountains shake at Thy presence," in which case Isaiah 63:19b-64:2((Isaiah 64:1-3) forms a grand period rounded off palindromically after Isaiah's peculiar style.
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