Isaiah 65:22
They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) As the days of a tree . . .—We may think of the cedars of Lebanon or the oaks of Bashan as furnishing the prophet with the ideal standard of longevity. Commonly, as by Homer and other poets, the lives of men have been compared to that of the leaves of deciduous trees; here they are compared to the life of the tree itself. The prophet is still speaking, not of national, but of individual life.

65:17-25 In the grace and comfort believers have in and from Christ, we are to look for this new heaven and new earth. The former confusions, sins and miseries of the human race, shall be no more remembered or renewed. The approaching happy state of the church is described under a variety of images. He shall be thought to die in his youth, and for his sins, who only lives to the age of a hundred years. The event alone can determine what is meant; but it is plain that Christianity, if universal, would so do away violence and evil, as greatly to lengthen life. In those happy days, all God's people shall enjoy the fruit of their labours. Nor will children then be the trouble of their parents, or suffer trouble themselves. The evil dispositions of sinners shall be completely moritified; all shall live in harmony. Thus the church on earth shall be full of happiness, like heaven. This prophecy assures the servants of Christ, that the time approaches, wherein they shall be blessed with the undisturbed enjoyment of all that is needful for their happiness. As workers together with God, let us attend his ordinances, and obey his commands.They shall not build, and another inhabit - Every man shall enjoy the avails of his labor.

For as the days I of a tree are the days of my people - That is, in that future time, such shall be the length of the lives of the people (see Isaiah 65:21). The Septuagint renders this, 'The days of the tree of life.' The Syriac, 'As the days of trees.' The Chaldee as the Septuagint. The idea is, that the lives of his people would be greatly prolonged (see the notes at Isaiah 65:20). A tree is among the most long-lived of material objects. The oak, the terebinth, the cypress, the cedar, the banyan, attain to a great age. Many trees also live to a much longer period than a thousand years. The Baobab tree of Senegal (Adansonia digitata) is supposed to attain the age of several thousand years. Adanson inferred that one which he measured, and found to be thirty feet in diameter, had attained the age of 5150 years. Having made an incision to a certain depth, he first counted three hundred rings of annual growth, and observed what thickness the tree had gained in that period. The average rate of growth of younger trees, of the same species, was then ascertained, and the calculation made according to a supposed mean rate of increase. De Candolle considers it not improbable that the celebrated Taxodium, of Chapultepec, in Mexico, which is 117 feet in circumference, may be still more aged. In Macartney's Embassy to China, i. 131, an account is given of a tree of this description, which was found to be at the base no less than fifty-six feet in girth. On the longevity of trees, see Bibliotheca Univ., May 1831, quoted in Lyell's Geology, ii. 261. The idea here is, simply, that his people would attain to an age like that of the trees of the forest; that is, that the state of things under the Messiah would be as if human life were greatly prolonged (see the notes at Isaiah 65:20).

And mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands - Margin, 'Make them continue long,' or 'wear out.' The word used here (יבלוּ yeballû from בלה bâlâh) means properly to fall, to fall away, to fail; to wear out, to wax old Deuteronomy 8:4; Deuteronomy 29:4; Isaiah 50:9; Isaiah 51:6; hence, in Piel, to consume. The idea here is, that they would live to consume; that is, to enjoy the productions of their own labor. Their property should not be wrested from them by injurious taxation, or by plunder; but they would be permitted long to possess it, until they should wear it out, or until it should be consumed. Vulgate, 'The works of their hands shall be of long continuance (inveterabunt),' or shall be kept a long time. The Septuagint, 'For the works of their labors (των πόνων tōn ponōn) shall become old, or of long continuance (παλαιώσου palaiōsousin).' See the notes at Isaiah 62:8-9.

22. They shall not experience the curse pronounced (Le 26:16; De 28:30).

tree—among the most long-lived of objects in nature. They shall live as long as the trees they "plant" (compare Isa 61:3, end of verse; Ps 92:12).

enjoy—Hebrew, "consume," "wear out"; they shall live to enjoy the last of it (Isa 62:9).

Duration and perpetuity are promised to them in their happy estate.

They shall not build, and another inhabit,.... As the Canaanites did, whose houses the Israelites inhabited; but they shall inhabit the houses they have built, and shall not be dispossessed by an enemy:

they shall not plant, and another eat; the fruit of the vines, olives, fig trees, or others, planted by them:

for as the days of a tree are the days of my people; not as of a leaf which falls every year, but as of a tree, and as of such that last long, as oaks, cedars, and the like; though perhaps a tree bearing fruit fit to eat is meant; and the sense be, that the Lord's people should live as long as the trees planted by them, and so should eat the fruit thereof, and not leave them to others to partake of. The Targum, Septuagint, and Arabic versions, render it,

"as the days of the tree of life;''

which, some of the Rabbins say, were five hundred years. The allusion may be to the tree of life in paradise, and may be expressive of the long life of good men in this state; and as the tree of life was typical of Christ, who is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon him, it may denote that eternal life his people have by him.

And mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands; what they have built and planted; they shall live long in their houses, and for many years partake of the fruit of their vineyards. The blessing of long life is carried on with the promises of all other instances of outward happiness.

They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 22. - As the days of a tree are the days of my people. Trees endure for many hundreds, perhaps for thousands of years. The cedars of Lebanon, the oaks of Bashan, were known to have an antiquity of centuries. Isaiah may have had a knowledge of other trees to which attached the tradition of a yet longer existence. In our own day Brazil and California have furnished proofs of vegetable growths exceeding a millennium. Mine elect shall long enjoy; literally, shall wear out; i.e. have the full use and enjoyment of the work of their hands. Isaiah 65:22In the place of the threatened curses of the law in Leviticus 26:16 (cf., Deuteronomy 28:30), the very opposite will now receive their fullest realization. "And they will build houses and inhabit them, and plant vineyards and enjoy the fruit thereof. They will not build and another inhabit, nor plant and another enjoy; for like the days of trees are the days of my people, ad my chosen ones will consume the work of their hands. They will not weary themselves in vain, nor bring forth for sudden disaster; for they are a family of the blessed of Jehovah, and their offspring are left to them." They themselves will enjoy what they have worked for, without some one else stepping in, whether a countryman by violence or inheritance, or a foreigner by plunder or conquest (Isaiah 62:8), to take possession of that which they have built and planted (read יטעוּ without dagesh); for the duration of their life will be as great as that of trees (i.e., of oaks, terebinths, and cedars, which live for centuries), and thus they will be able thoroughly to enjoy in their own person what their hands have made. Billâh does not mean merely to use and enjoy, but to use up and consume. Work and generation will be blessed then, and there will be no more disappointed hopes. They will not weary themselves (יגעוּ with a preformative י without that of the root) for failure, not get children labbehâlâh, i.e., for some calamity to fall suddenly upon them and carry them away (Leviticus 26:16, cf., Psalm 78:33). The primary idea of bâhal is either acting, permitting, or bearing, with the characteristic of being let loose, of suddenness, of overthrow, or of throwing into confusion. The lxx renders it εἰς κατάραν, probably according to the Egypto-Jewish usage, in which behâlâh may have signified cursing, like bahle, buhle in the Arabic (see the Appendices). The two clauses of the explanation which follows stand in a reciprocal relation to the two clauses of the previous promise. They are a family of the blessed of God, upon whose labour the blessing of God rests, and their offspring are with them, without being lost to them by premature death. This is the true meaning, as in Job 21:8, and not "their offspring with them," i.e., in like manner, as Hitzig supposes.
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