For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.
It was in Isaiah's age that, for the first time, the Jews became pressingly conscious of their own littleness compared with the vast nations that pressed on them from either side. They lay between the vast continental empires of Assyria and Egypt, and in the grasp of these great barbaric, almost inhuman forces, they felt themselves as nothing. There was, for the first time, a painful contrast between the political insignificance of the Jews and their boundless pretensions to the favour of Jehovah, the Lord of hosts. They were stricken with terror. But Isaiah was inspired with heavenly wisdom to see that the agony of the terror sprang rather from the theology of the Jews than from the might of their enemies, for their theology was, in brief, this — that Jehovah was the God of the Jews only, and that the Assyrian was the foe of God. They now saw that he might be the victorious foe. To them the victory of the Assyrian would be the defeat of God and the shattering of their faith, and it seemed inevitable. It was the undivine, the material, relentlessly crushing God that they deemed Divine; it led straight to practical atheism, Now, Isaiah dared to think and to see that God was the God of the Assyrians also, that He wielded their forces in His hand, and that His one supreme aim was righteousness, and not favour to Israel; it was an extension of their theology, beyond what they could bear. It was not only latitudinarian; it was absurd. They ridiculed him and his message, and finally, it is said they put him to death. But, nevertheless, Isaiah had a vision of a truth which the world has now made its own — that God's providence extends to all mankind, and that no nation and no Church can monopolise God's blessing and protection, and that God has one moral aim only — the growth of righteousness and the coming of His kingdom on earth. He thus extended his conception of God.
(J. M. Wilson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.