They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Their offspring with them . . .—The picture presented is that of a patriarchal family, including many generations, fathers no longer outliving their children and mourning for their death, as Jacob did (Genesis 37:35; Genesis 42:38), and as men had often done in the times of war, famine, and pestilence, through which Isaiah had lived.
Nor bring forth for trouble - Lowth renders this, 'Neither shall they generate a short-lived race.' Noyes, 'Nor bring forth children for an early death.' The Septuagint renders it, Οὐδὲ τεκνοποιήσουσιν εἰς κατάραν Oude teknopoiēsousin eis kataran - 'Nor shall they bring forth children for a curse.' The Chaldee, 'Nor shall they nourish them for death.' There can be no doubt that this refers to their posterity, and that the sense is, that they should not be the parents of children who would be subject to an early death or to a curse. The word rendered here 'bring forth' (ילדוּ yēledû) is a word that uniformly means to bear, to bring forth as a mother, or to beget as a father. And the promise here is, that which would be so grateful to parental feelings, that their posterity would be long-lived and respected. The word rendered here 'trouble' (בהלה behâlâh) means properly "terror," and then the effect of terror, or that which causes terror, sudden destruction. It is derived from בהל bâhal, to trouble, to shake, to be in trepidation, to flee, and then to punish suddenly; and the connection here seems to require the sense that their children should not be devoted to sudden destruction.
For they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord - (See the notes at Isaiah 59:21).
seed … blessed—(Isa 61:9).
offspring with them—(Ho 9:12). "Their offspring shall be with themselves" [Maurer]; not "brought forth" only to be cut off by "sudden death" (see the parallel clause).
Answ. 1. Wicked men may have them for their good parents’ sake, and good men may sometimes want them for evil parents’ sake.
2. Bad men may have some of these things, but they cannot expect them; good men may at present want them, but they may expect them from the hand of God if they be good for them.
3. Bad men may have them in wrath; the blessing of God gives them to good men, and adds no sorrow therewith.
nor bring forth for trouble; for death, as the Targum; or for a curse, as the Septuagint: the tense is, they shall not beget and bring forth children, that shall immediately die by some distemper or another, or be taken off by famine, sword, or pestilence, to the great grief and trouble of their parents; but these shall live, and outlive their parents, so that their death will never be a trouble to them:
for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them; or, "they are a seed, the blessed of the Lord" (i); or, "they are the seed blessed of God", or "the Lord", as the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions; or, as the Targum,
"a seed whom the Lord hath blessed;''
a spiritual seed of the church, a seed raised up to serve the Lord, whom he blesses with temporal and spiritual blessings; and their offspring also, being made a spiritual seed by the grace of God, and succeeding them in the church, and treading in their steps.They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)23. They shall not weary themselves for vanity] ch. Isaiah 49:4; Habakkuk 2:13; because God’s blessing rests on them.
nor bring forth (sc. children) for sudden destruction] Jeremiah 15:8; Psalm 78:33.
and their offspring with them] Better perhaps as a complete sentence: and their offspring shall be with them (R.V. marg.); many generations living together. Cf. Job 21:8.Verse 23. - They shall not... bring forth for trouble. Their women shall not bear children to see them carried off after a few days, or months, or years, by disease, or accident, or famine, or the sword of the invader. There shall be an end of such "troubles," and, God's blessing resting upon those who are his children, their children shall, as a general rule, "be with them;" i.e. remain to them during their lifetime, and not be lost to them by a premature decease. Isaiah 9:3-5. "For behold I create a new heaven and a new earth; and men will not remember the first, nor do they come to any one's mind. No, be ye joyful and exult for ever at that which I:create: for behold I turn Jerusalem into exulting, and her people into joy. And I shall exult over Jerusalem, and be joyous over my people, and the voice of weeping and screaming will be heard in her no more." The promise here reaches its culminating point, which had already been seen from afar in Isaiah 51:16. Jehovah creates a new heaven and a new earth, which bind so fast with their glory, and which so thoroughly satisfy all desires, that there is no thought of the former ones, and no one wishes them back again. Most of the commentators, from Jerome to Hahn, suppose the ri'shōnōth in Isaiah 65:16 to refer to the former sorrowful times. Calvin says, "The statement of the prophet, that there will be no remembrance of former things, is supposed by some to refer to the heaven and the earth, as if he meant, that henceforth neither the fame nor even the name of either would any more be heard; but I prefer to refer them to the former times." But the correctness of the former explanation is shown by the parallel in Jeremiah 3:16, which stands in by no means an accidental relation to this passage, and where it is stated that in the future there will be no ark of the covenant, "neither shall it come to mind, neither shall they remember it," inasmuch as all Jerusalem will be the throne of Jehovah, and not merely the capporeth with its symbolical cherubim. This promise is also a glorious one; but Jeremiah and all the other prophets fall short of the eagle-flight of Isaiah, of whom the same may be said as of John, "volat avis sine meta." Luther (like Zwingli and Stier) adopts the correct rendering, "that men shall no more remember the former ones (i.e., the old heaven and old earth), nor take it to heart." But ‛âlâh ‛al-lēbh signifies to come into the mind, not "to take to heart," and is applied to a thing, the thought of which "ascends" within us, and with which we are inwardly occupied. There is no necessity to take the futures in Isaiah 65:17 as commands (Hitzig); for אם־שׂישׂוּ כּי (כי with muach, as in Ven. 1521, after the Masora to Numbers 35:33) fits on quite naturally, even if we take them as simple predictions. Instead of such a possible, though not actual, calling back and wishing back, those who survive the new times are called upon rather to rejoice for ever in that which Jehovah is actually creating, and will have created then. אשׁר, if not regarded as the accusative-object, is certainly regarded as the object of causality, "in consideration of that which" (cf., Isaiah 31:6; Genesis 3:17; Judges 8:15), equivalent to, "on account of that which" (see at Isaiah 64:4; Isaiah 35:1). The imperatives sı̄sū vegı̄lū are not words of admonition so much as words of command, and kı̄ gives the reason in this sense: Jehovah makes Jerusalem gı̄lâh and her people mâsōs (accusative of the predicate, or according to the terminology adopted in Becker's syntax, the "factitive object," Ges. 139, 2), by making joy its perpetual state, its appointed condition of life both inwardly and outwardly. Nor is it joy on the part of the church only, but on the part of its God as well (see the primary passages in Deuteronomy 30:9). When the church thus rejoices in God, and God in the church, so that the light of the two commingle, and each is reflected in the other; then will no sobbing of weeping ones, no sound of lamentation, be heard any more in Jerusalem (see the opposite side as expressed in Isaiah 51:3).
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