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ISAIAH
The Gospel To Israel
Book 2

LESSON  EIGHTEEN
Isaiah 38:1 - 40:8


Isaiah 38:1-3
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(1) In those days Hezekiah fell dangerously ill. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, “Thus said the Lord: Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die; you will not get well.”

And it came to pass at that time, that Ezekias was sick even to death. And Esaias the prophet the son of Amos came to him, and said to him, Thus saith the Lord, Give orders concerning thy house: for thou shalt die, and not live.

In those days Hezekiah was sick unto death. And Isaiah the son of Amoz the prophet came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thy house in order; for thou shalt die, and not recover from thy sickness.

(2) Thereupon Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord.

And Ezekias turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the Lord, saying,

Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall of the sanctuary, and prayed before the Lord,

(3) “Please, O Lord,” he said, “Remember how I have walked before You sincerely and wholeheartedly, and have done what is pleasing to You.” And Hezekiah wept profusely.

Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before thee in truth, with a true heart, and have done that which was pleasing in thy sight. And Ezekias wept bitterly.

and said, receive my petition, O Lord; remember now how I served before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and did that which was right before thee. And Hezekiah wept sore.

From the NKJV
(1)   In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, "Thus says the LORD: 'Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.'"   (2)   Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD,   (3)   and said,  "Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what is good in Your sight." And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

2 Kings 20:1-3

In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, "Thus says the LORD: 'Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.'"
Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD, saying,  "Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight." And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

2 Chronicles 32:24a

In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death, and he prayed to the LORD...

In those days - Hezekiah’s fourteenth year as king - he was 39 years of age.
For fifteen years (603-588 B.C.E.) are added to his life (verse 5),  and he reigned twenty-nine years (2 Kings 18:2  "He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem.");  14 + 15 = 29.

There is nothing to surprise us in the fact that we are carried back to the time when Jerusalem was still threatened by the Assyrian,  since the closing verses of  chapter 37 merely contain an anticipatory announcement,  introduced for the purpose of  completing the picture of  the last Assyrian troubles,  by adding the fulfillment of  Isaiah's prediction of  their termination.

It is within this period,  and indeed in the year of  the Assyrian invasion  (Isa 36:1),  since Hezekiah reigned twenty-nine years,  and fifteen of  these are promised here,  that the event described by Isaiah falls - an event not merely of  private interest,  but one of importance in connection with the history of  the nation also.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Turned his face toward the wall
The furniture of  an eastern divan or chamber,  either for the reception of  company or  for private use,  consisted chiefly of  carpets spread on the floor in the middle;  and of  sofas,  or couches ranged on one or more sides of  the room,  on a part raised somewhat above the floor.  On these they reposed themselves in the day,  and slept at night.  It is to be observed that the corner of  the room was the place of  honor.

Dr. Pococke,  when he was introduced to the Sheikh of  Furshout,  found him sitting in the corner of  his room.  He described another Sheikh  "as sitting in the corner of  a large green tent,  pitched in the middle of  an encampments;  and the Bey of  Girge was placed on a sofa in a corner to the right as one entered the room."- Harmer's Observ. ii. p. 60.
Lady Mary Montague,  giving an account of  a visit which she made to the Kahya's lady at Adrianople,  says,  "She ordered cushions to be given me;  and took care to place me in the corner,  which is the place of  honor."-Letter xxxiii.
The reason seems to be,  that the person so placed is distinguished,  and in a manner separated,  from the rest of  the company,  and as it were guarded by the wall on each side.  We are to suppose Hezekiah's couch placed in the same situation;  in which,  turning on either side,  he must turn his face to the wall;  by which he would withdraw himself  from those who were attending upon him in his apartment,  in order to address his private prayer to God.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

Hezekiah wept bitterly
Josephus says the reason why he wept so sorely was that,  being childless,  he was leaving the kingdom without a successor.  How often our wishes,  when gratified,  prove curses!  Hezekiah lived to have a son,  late in life  (for his son was only twelve years old at his accession, 2 Kings 21:1),  about three years after Hezekiah's sickness.  That son was the idolater Manasseh,  the chief cause of God's wrath against Judah, and of  the overthrow of  the kingdom (2 Kings 23:26-27).
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(1)   In those days Hezekiah became deathly ill. Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him. “Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, because you are going to die, you will not live.”   (2)  Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the Lord,   (3)  and said, “Remember, Lord, how I have conducted myself before you faithfully and wholeheartedly and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

See Note in lesson 15 on the Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

Isaiah 38:4-6
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(4)  Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah:

And the word of the Lord came to Esaias, saying, Go, and say to Ezekias,

Then came the word of prophecy from before the Lord to Isaiah, saying,

(5)  “Go and tell Hezekiah: Thus said the Lord, the God of your father David: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears. I hereby add fifteen years to your life.

Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, and seen thy tears: behold, I will add to thy time fifteen years.

God of David thy father, Thy prayer has been heard before me; thy tears have been revealed before me: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years.

(6)  I will also rescue you and this city from the hands of the king of Assyria. I will protect this city.

And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of the Assyrians: and I will defend this city.

And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will protect this city.

From the NKJV
(4)  And the word of the LORD came to Isaiah, saying,   (5)   "Go and tell Hezekiah, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years.   (6)   I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city."'

Isaiah 38:4-22
Answer To Hezekiah's Prayer

Isaiah 38:4-6 Jehovah’s Message to Hezekiah
Isaiah 38:7-8 The Sign given
Isaiah 38:9-20 Hezekiah’s Prayer to Jehovah
Isaiah 38:21-22 The Sign asked for

2 Kings 20:4-6

And it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD.  And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David."'"

2 Chronicles 32:24b

...and He spoke to him and gave him a sign.

The prospect is now mercifully changed.  In the place of  haa`iyr (OT: 5892) (the city).  The city of  David is not called the  "inner city"  anywhere else;  in fact,  Zion,  with the temple hill,  formed the upper city,  so that apparently it is the inner space of  the city of  David that is here referred to,  and Isaiah had not yet passed through the middle gate to return to the lower city,  where he dwelt.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

We learn from 2 Kings that the word of the Lord came to Isaiah for Hezekiah while Isaiah was still on his way out of the house.

We also learn from 2 Kings that the reason Yahweh spared Hezekiah and the city had nothing to do with Hezekiah's goodness as Hezekiah prayed in verse 3, but was entirely for "My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David."

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(4)  Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah,  (5)  “Go, tell Hezekiah, ‘thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I will add fifteen years to you life.  (6)  Moreover I will rescue you and this city from the power of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and my servant David’s sake.

Isaiah 38:7, 8
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(7)  And this is the sign for you from the Lord that the Lord will do the thing that He has promised:

And this shall be a sign to thee from the Lord, that God will do this thing:

And this shall be the sign unto thee from before the Lord, that he will do this word that he hath spoken:

(8)  I am going to make the shadow on the steps, which has descended on the dial of Ahaz because of the sun, recede ten steps.” And the sun[‘s shadow] receded ten steps, the same steps as it had descended

behold, I will turn back the shadow of the degrees of the dial by which ten degrees on the house of thy father the sun has gone down – I will turn back the sun the ten degrees; so that sun went back the ten degrees by which the shadow had gone down.

behold, I will cause the shadow on the dial which marks the descent of the sun on the steps of Ahaz to go backwards ten hours. So the sun went back ten hours on the figure of the dial that it had gone down.

From the NKJV
(7)   And this is the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing which He has spoken:   (8)  Behold, I will bring the shadow on the sundial, which has gone down with the sun on the sundial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward." So the sun returned ten degrees on the dial by which it had gone down.

2 Kings 20:7-11

And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "What is the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the LORD the third day?"
Then Isaiah said, "This is the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing which He has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees or go backward ten degrees?"
And Hezekiah answered, "It is an easy thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees; no, but let the shadow go backward ten degrees."
So Isaiah the prophet cried out to the LORD, and He brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down on the sundial of Ahaz.

Sundial of Ahaz
"Steps of Ahaz" was the name given to a sundial erected by him.

Easton says:
The Hebrew word (ma'aloth) is rendered "steps" in Exodus 20:26; 1 Kings 10:19, and "degrees" in 2 Kings 20:9,10,11. The ma'aloth was probably stairs on which the shadow of  a column or obelisk placed on the top fell.  The shadow would cover a greater or smaller number of steps, according as the sun was low or high.
(from Easton's Bible Dictionary, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Nelson says:
This "dial" was probably not a small disk,  as modern readers might suppose,  but an escalating stairway on which the sun cast its shadow higher and higher during the day.  The biblical writers identified this stairway with Ahaz,  probably because it was constructed during his reign.
This stairway may have been constructed in such a way that a shadow cast by a stationary post or pillar climbed the stairs at the rate of one every half  hour.  The Greek historian,  Herodotus,  writing several hundred years after Hezekiah,  mentions the use among the Babylonians of  a sundial marked off  in this fashion.
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

Edersheim says:
It is interesting to learn that Ahaz had - probably on his visit to Damascus (2 Kings 16:10) - seen and brought to Jerusalem some of  the scientific appliances of  the great empire of  the East.  It is impossible to determine whether this mode of  measuring the progress of  time (not strictly hours) was by a sun-dial,  the invention of  which Herodotus ascribes to the Babylonians (2. 109).  According to Ideler (Handb. d. Chronol. 1. p. 485) it was a gnomon,  or index,  surrounded by concentric circles,  by which the time of  the day was marked by the lengthening shadow.  But the term  "steps"  seems rather to indicate an obelisk surrounded by steps,  the shadow on which marked the hours,  so that the shadow falling in the morning westwards first on the lowest step,  gradually ascended to the plane on the top,  and after midday again descended the steps eastwards.  As the text seems to imply that there were twenty such  "steps,"  they must have marked the quarters of  an hour,  and in that case the event have happened about half-past two o'clock p.m. (comp. Kamphausen in Riehm's Wörterb).
(from Alfred Edersheim's Bible History: Old Testament, Electronic Database Copyright (c)2000 by Biblesoft)

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown:
"Shadow of  the degrees" means the shadow made on the degrees.  Josephus thinks these degrees were steps ascending to the palace of Ahaz.  The time of  day was indicated by the number of  steps reached by the shadow.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

If the sign was given an hour before sunset,  the shadow,  by going back ten steps of  half-an-hour each,  would return to the point at which it stood at twelve o'clock.  But how was this affected?  The Scriptures don't give the details of  how Yahweh performed the sign - just that He did!

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(7)   This will be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord does this thing which he has spoken:  (8)   See now, I will make the shadow on the steps of the upper (1Q1sa. Not in MT.) Dial of Ahaz, marking the Setting sun, return backward ten steps.” Then the sun returned ten steps on the dial, steps on which it had descended.

Isaiah 38:9-13
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(9)  A poem by King Hezekiah of Judah when he recovered from the illness he had suffered:

The Prayer of Ezekias King of Judea, when he (Greek, was sick) had been sick and was recovered from his sickness.

The ode (lit. the writing) of thanksgiving for the miracle that was wrought for Hezekiah king of the tribe of the house of Judah, when he was sick and was healed of his sickness.

(10)   I had thought: I must depart in the middle of my days; I have been consigned to the gates of Sheol for the rest of my years.

I said in the end of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave: I shall part with the remainder of my years.

I said, In the sorrow of my days I shall go into the gates of Sheol; but because of my memorial for good my years have been increased.

(11)   I thought, I shall never see Yah, Yah in the land of the living, or ever behold Men again among those who inhabit the earth.

I said, I shall no more at all see the salvation of God in the land of the living: I shall no more at all see the salvation of Israel on the earth: I shall no more at all see man.

I said, I shall not appear again before the Terrible One, even the Lord, in the land where the Shekinah dwells, wherein is length of life; I shall not serve before him again in the sanctuary whence joy is about to come forth for all the inhabitants of the land; my sojourning has ceased so that I cannot dwell in Jerusalem the holy city.

(12)   My dwelling is pulled up and removed from me like a tent of shepherds; my life is rolled up like a web and cut from the thrum .  Only from daybreak to nightfall was I kept whole,

My life has failed from among my kindred: I have parted with the remainder of my life: it has gone forth and departed from me, as one that having pitched a tent takes it down again: my breath was with me as a weaver’s web, when she that weaves draws nigh to cut off the thread.

From the men of my generation my days have been removed: they are cut off and taken away from me, they are folded up like a shepherd’s tent; my life is rolled up as a weavers web; from the glory of my kingdom am I taken away; my days and my nights have come to an end.

(13)   then it was as though a lion were breaking all my bones; I cried out until morning.

In that day I was given up as to a lion until the morning: so has he broken all my bones: for I was so given up from day even to night.

I roared until the morning: like a lion, which roars when it breaketh all the bones of a beast, so all my bones are broken from sorrow; my days and my nights have come to an end.

From the NKJV
(9)   This is the writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness:
(10)  I said, "In the prime of my life I shall go to the gates of Sheol; I am deprived of the remainder of my years."
(11)  I said, "I shall not see YAH, The LORD in the land of the living; I shall observe man no more among the inhabitants of the world.  (12)  My life span is gone, taken from me like a shepherd's tent; I have cut off my life like a weaver.  He cuts me off from the loom; from day until night You make an end of me.   (13)   I have considered until morning — like a lion, so He breaks all my bones; from day until night You make an end of me.

As a documentary proof of  this third account,  a psalm of  Hezekiah is added in the text of  Isaiah,  in which he celebrates his miraculous rescue from the brink of  death.

The song,  which follows might be,  headed Mikhtam,  since it has the characteristics of  this description of  psalm (see at Ps 16:1 - Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.).
We cannot infer from bachaloothoo  (when he was sick)  that Hezekiah composed it during his illness (see at Ps 51:1);  vayyechi (and he recovered)  stamps it as a song of  thanksgiving,  composed by him after his recovery.

It was common to compose an ode or hymn of  praise on occasion of  deliverance from calamity,  or any remarkable interposition of  God.  Many of the Psalms of  David were composed on such occasions,  and were expressive of  gratitude to God for deliverance from impending calamity.  The hymn or song is composed of  two parts.

1st part Isaiah 38:10-14 Hezekiah describes his feelings and his fears when he was suffering,  and especially the apprehension of  his mind at the prospect of death.
2nd part Isaiah 38:15-20 Hezekiah expresses praise to God for his goodness.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The clause,  "Jah in the land of the living,"  i.e.,  the God of salvation,  who reveals Himself in the land of  the living,  is followed by the corresponding clause,  chaadel `im-yowshªbeey,  "I dwelling with the inhabitants of the region of the dead;"  for whilst cheled signifies temporal life,  chedel signifies the end of  this life,  the negation of  all conscious activity of  being,  the region of  the dead.  The body is called a dwelling  (door, Arab. dâr),  as the home of  a man who possesses the capacity to distinguish himself  from everything belonging to him.  It is compared to a nomadic tent.

Hezekiah says of  himself  and of  God would be tautological.  I rolled or wound up my life,  as the weaver rolls up the finished piece of cloth: i.e.,  I was sure of  my death,  namely,  because God was about to give me up to death;  He was about to cut me off  from the thrum (the future is here significantly interchanged with the perfect).

Shepherd's tent
As suddenly as the tent of   a shepherd is taken down,  folded up,  and transferred to another place.
There is doubtless the idea here that he would continue to exist,  but in another place,  as the shepherd would pitch his tent or dwell in another place.  The whole passage conveys the idea that he expected to dwell in another state - as the shepherd dwells in another place when he strikes his tent
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(9)  A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, after he had been sick and recovered from his illness:  (10)  I said, at the height of my life I must go. I must visit the gates of Sheol – bitter are my years.
(11)  I said, I will not see the Lord (Yah 1Q1sa. Yah Yah MT.)  in the land of the living.  And I, among the inhabitants of the grave, will no longer look upon humans.  (12)  My dwelling is pulled up and vanishes from me like a shepherd’s tent. Like a weaver, I make an accounting of (roll up MT.) my life. My threads are cut from the loom. Day and night you bring me to the finish.  (13)  I am laid bare until morning. Just like a lion, he breaks all my bones. Day and night you bring me to the finish.

Isaiah 38:14-17
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(14)  I piped like a swift or a swallow, I moaned like a dove, as my eyes, all worn, looked to heaven: “My Lord, I am in straits; be my surety!”

As a swallow, so will I cry, and as a dove, so do I mourn: for mine eyes have failed with looking to the height of heaven to the Lord,

Like a swallow that twittered when it is captured, so did I twitter, and I moaned like a dove; I raised my eyes that respite might come to me from before him whose Shekinah is in the heights of heaven: the Lord heard my prayer; he granted my petition.

(15)  What can I say? He promised me, and He it is who has wrought it. All my sleep had fled because of the bitterness of my soul.

who has delivered me, and removed the sorrow of my soul.

What praise shall I utter and declare before him, seeing that he has shown me so much goodness? How shall I serve, and repay Him all the years that he has added to my life, and delivered my soul from bitterness?

(16)  My Lord, for all that and despite it my life-breath is revived; You have restored me to health and revived me.

Yea, O Lord, for it was told thee concerning this; and thou hast revived my breath; and I am comforted, and live.

O Lord, with regard to all the dead thou hast declared that thou wouldest bring them to life, but before them all hast thou caused my spirit to live, and hast preserved me alive, and established me.

(17)  Truly, it was for my own good that I had such great bitterness: You saved my life from the pit of destruction, for You have cast behind Your back all my offenses.

For thou hast chosen my soul that it should not perish: and thou hast cast all my sins behind me.

Behold for them that observe the law there is much peace before thee, but thou brings bitterness upon the wicked: therefore when I knew the day of my death, I poured out my tears in prayer before thee; I was in great bitterness, but thou didst put away all my sins from before thee.

From the NKJV
(14)  Like a crane or a swallow, so I chattered; I mourned like a dove; my eyes fail from looking upward.  O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me!
(15)  "What shall I say? He has both spoken to me,  and He Himself has done it. I shall walk carefully all my years in the bitterness of my soul.  (16)  O Lord, by these things men live; and in all these things is the life of my spirit; so You will restore me and make me live.  (17)  Indeed it was for my own peace that I had great bitterness; but You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back.

From the general truth of  which he had made a personal application,  that the word of  God is the source of  all life,  he drew this conclusion,  which he here repeats with a retrospective glance.

I shall walk carefully
The idea here is, 'I will go humbly, submissively, all my life.

Cast all my sins behind Your back
His severe illness had been sent in anticipation of a happy deliverance  (on the radical signification of mar, which is here doubled,  to give it a superlative force). The Lord meant it for good;  the suffering was indeed a chastisement,  but it was a chastisement of  love.  Casting all his sins behind Him,  as men do with things which they do not wish to know,  or have no desire to be reminded of,  He "loved him out,"  i.e.,  drew him lovingly out,  of  the pit of  destruction (châshaq,  love as a firm inward bond).
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Hebrews 8:8-12
"Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah ... For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."    (quoted from Jeremiah 31:31-34)
Hebrews 10:15-18
But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,  "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD:  I will put My laws into their hearts,  and in their minds I will write them," then He adds,  "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."
Ephesians 1:7
In Him (Christ Jesus) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(14)  Like a swallow or a crane I chirp, I moan like a dove. My eyes look feebly on high. My Lord, I am in distress; so be my security.
(15)  What can I say, I tell myself, since he has done this to me?  I will walk slowly all my years because of the bitterness of my soul.  (16)  My Lord is against them yet they live, and all of them who live have his spirit. Now you have restored my health and let me live.  (17)  Indeed, for my own good it was exceedingly bitter for me. You yourself loved my life, delivering it from the pit of its confinement (annihilation MT) Yes, you have tossed all my sins behind your back.

Isaiah 38:18-20
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(18)  For it is not Sheol that praises You, not Death that extols You; nor do thy who descend into the Pit hope for You grace.

For they that are in the grave shall not praise thee, neither shall the dead bless thee, neither shall they that are in Hades hope for thy mercy.

For those that are in Sheol do not give thanks before thee, nor do the dead praise thee: they that go down into the pit of the house of destruction hope not for thy salvation.

(19)  The living, only the living can give thanks to You as I do this day; fathers relate to children Your acts of grace:

The living shall bless thee, as I also do: for from this day shall I beget children, who shall declare thy righteousness,

He that liveth, that liveth, he shall give thanks before thee, as I do this day; the fathers shall declare to their children thy might, and give thanks, saying, all these things are true.

(20)   “[It has pleased] the Lord to deliver us, that is why we offer up music all the days of our lives at the House of the Lord.”

O God of my salvation; and I will not cease blessing thee with the psaltery all the days of my life before the house of God.

The Lord hath promised to deliver us, and we will play the melodies of his sons all the days of our life at the sanctuary of the Lord.

From the NKJV
(18)   For Sheol cannot thank You, death cannot praise You; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth.   (19)   The living, the living man, he shall praise You, as I do this day; the father shall make known Your truth to the children.
(20)  "The LORD was ready to save me; therefore we will sing my songs with stringed instruments all the days of our life, in the house of the LORD."

We have here that comfortless idea of  the future state,  which is so common in the Psalms (vid. Ps 6:6; 30:10; 88:12-13, cf., 115:17), and also in the book of Ecclesiastes (Eccl 9:4-5,10). The foundation of  this idea,  notwithstanding the mythological dress,  is an actual truth,  which the personal faith of  the hero of  Job endeavors to surmount,  but the decisive removal of  which was only to be affected by the progressive history of  salvation.

Sheol
Shª'owl the grave

Into "sheol,"  Korah,  Dathan,  and  Abiram  went down alive.
(Numbers 16:30,33)
In  "sheol"  the body is corrupted and consumed by worms.
(Job 17:13-14; Psalms 16:10; 49:14)
They that rest together in the dust are said  "to go down to the bars, or strong gates of sheol."
(Job 17:16)
In  "sheol"  there is no knowledge,  nor can any praise God or give thanks there.
(Psalms 6:5; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Isaiah 38:10-11)
"Sheol"  and the pit,  death and corruption,  are synonymous.
(Psalms 16:10; 89:48; Proverbs 1:12; 7:27; Ezekiel 31:16; Hosea 13:14)
A grave is one particular cavity purposely dug for the interment of  a dead person - "sheol"  is a collective name for all the graves.
He that is in the grave is in "sheol;"  but he that is in  "sheol"  may not necessarily be in a grave,  but in any pit,  or in the sea.
"Sheol"  is never full,  but is always asking or craving more.
(Proverbs 27:20; Hebrews 2:5)
In short,  it is the region of the dead;  which is figuratively considered as a city or large habitation with gates and bars in which there are many chambers (Proverbs 7:27).'    Here it means,  not a place of  punishment,  but the region of  the dead,  where the spirits of  the departed are considered as residing together.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

BUT  THAT  WAS  THEN
Things have changed!
The change came about when Jesus was crucified:

Matthew 27:51-53
Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,  and the graves were opened;  and many bodies of  the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;  and coming out of  the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.     (NKJV)
Now when the believers depart this world, their spirits do not go down to sheol, but are with the Lord:
2 Corinthians 5:8
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord..
Philippians 1:22-23
But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.  For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
Now there is worship and praise by the departed believer:
Revelation 7:9-10
After these things I looked,  and behold,  a great multitude which no one could number,  of all nations,  tribes,  peoples,  and tongues,  standing before the throne and before the Lamb,  clothed with white robes,  with palm branches in their hands,  and crying out with a loud voice,  saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(18)  For Sheol cannot glorify you, death cannot praise you, and those who descend into the grave cannot hope for your loyalty.  (19)  The living, it is the living who will praise you, as I do this day. Parents will make your faithful God known to their children.  (20)  O Lord, save me! The living, the living will praise you, as I do this day. Parents will make your loyalty known to their children. O Lord, save me!  And we will make music with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the house of the Lord.

Isaiah 38:21, 22
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(21)  When Isaiah said, “Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the rash, and he will recover.”

Now Esaias had said to Ezekias; Take a cake of figs, and mash them, and apply them as a plaister, and thou shalt be well.
And Isaiah said, let them take a cake of figs, and lay it for a plaister upon the boil, and he shall be healed.

(22)  Hezekiah asked, “What will be the sign that I shall go up to the House of the Lord?”

And Ezekias said, this is a sign to Ezekias that I shall go up to the house of God.
And Hezekiah said, what is the sign that I shall go up to the sanctuary of the Lord?
From the NKJV
(21)  Now Isaiah had said, "Let them take a lump of figs, and apply it as a poultice on the boil, and he shall recover."
(22)  And Hezekiah had said, "What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the LORD?
"

A lump of figs
The word used here dªbeelaah (OT:1690) denotes  "a round cake"  of dried figs pressed together in a mass.  Figs were thus pressed together for preservation,  and for convenience of  conveyance.
They were to take dried figs and lay them softened on the ulcer.

On the boil
hashªchiyn (OT:7822). This word means a burning sore or an inflamed ulcer.
The verb in Arabic means to be hot, inflamed; to ulcerate.
The noun is used to denote a species of black leprosy in Egypt,  called elephantiasis,  distinguished by the black scales with which the skin is covered, and by the swelling of the legs.
Here it probably denotes a pestilential boil;  an eruption,  or inflamed ulceration produced by the plague,  that threatened immediate death.
Jerome says that the plaster of  figs was medicinal,  and adapted to reduce the inflammation and restore health.  There is no improbability in the supposition;  nor does anything in the narrative prohibit us from supposing that natural means might have been used to restore him.  The miracle consisted in the arrest of  the shade on the sun-dial,  and in the announcement of  Isaiah that he would recover.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(21)  Isaiah said, “Have them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil so that he may recover.”  (22)  Hezekiah said, “What will be the sign for me to go up to the house of the Lord?

THE  BABYLONIAN  ENVOYS

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Isaiah 39:1-8
Threatening of the Babylonian Captivity Occasioned by Hezekiah

Isaiah 39:1
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(1)  At that time, Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, the king of Babylon, sent [envoys with] a letter and a gift to Hezekiah, for he had heard about his illness and recovery.

At that time Marodach Baladan, the son of Baladan, the king of Babylonia, sent letters and ambassadors and gifts to Ezekias: for he had heard that he had been sick even to death, and was recovered.

At that time Merodach-baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon sent letters and presents to Hezekiah, when he heard that he had been sick, and had been healed.

From the NKJV
(1)  At that time Merodach-Baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered.

From this point onwards the text of the book of  Kings (2 Kings 20:12-19, cf., 2 Chron 32:24-31)  runs parallel to the text before us. 

2 Kings 20:12-19

(12)  At that time Berodach-Baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick.   (13)  And Hezekiah was attentive to them, and showed them all the house of his treasures — the silver and gold, the spices and precious ointment, and all his armory — all that was found among his treasures. There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them.
(14)   Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah, and said to him, "What did these men say, and from where did they come to you?"
So Hezekiah said, "They came from a far country, from Babylon."
(15)   And he said, "What have they seen in your house?"
So Hezekiah answered, "They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them."
(16)  Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, "Hear the word of the LORD:  (17)  'Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and what your fathers have accumulated until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,' says the LORD. (18)  'And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.'"
(19)   So Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good!" For he said, "Will there not be peace and truth at least in my days?"

2 Chronicles 32:24-31

(24)  In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death, and he prayed to the LORD; and He spoke to him and gave him a sign.   (25)  But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem.   (26)  Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.
(27)  Hezekiah had very great riches and honor. And he made himself treasuries for silver, for gold, for precious stones, for spices, for shields, and for all kinds of desirable items;   (28)   storehouses for the harvest of grain, wine, and oil; and stalls for all kinds of livestock, and folds for flocks.   (29)  Moreover he provided cities for himself, and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance; for God had given him very much property.   (30)  This same Hezekiah also stopped the water outlet of Upper Gihon, and brought the water by tunnel to the west side of the City of David. Hezekiah prospered in all his works.
(31)  However, regarding the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, whom they sent to him to inquire about the wonder that was done in the land, God withdrew from him, in order to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart.

 

In the Canon Ptol. A Jugaeus;  and the inscriptions,  according to G. Rawlinson, Mon. ii,  precede Mardokempados.  395  indicate Merodach-Baladan as the "son of Yakin."
They relate that the latter acknowledged Tiglath-pileser as his feudal lord;  that,  after reigning twelve years as a vassal,  he rose in rebellion against Sargon in league with the Susanians and the Aramaean tribes above Babylonia,  and lost everything except his life;  that he afterwards rebelled against Sennacherib in conjunction with a Chaldean prince named Susub,  just after Sennacherib had returned from his first Judaean campaign to Nineveh;  and that having been utterly defeated,  he took refuge in an island of  the Persian Gulf.

He does not make his appearance any more;  but Susub escaped from his place of  concealment,  and being supported by the Susanians and certain Aramaean tribes,  fought a long and bloody battle with Sennacherib on the Lower Tigris.  This battle he lost,  and Nebo-som-iskun,  a son of  Merodach Baladan,  fell into the hands of the conqueror.  In the midst of  these details,  as given by the inscriptions,  the statement of  the Can. Ptol.  may still be maintained,  according to which the twelve years of  Mardokempados (a contraction, as Ewald supposes, of  Mardokempalados)  commence with the year 721.  From this point onwards the biblical and extra-biblical accounts dovetail together;  whereas in Polyhistor (Eus. chron. arm.)  the following Babylonian rulers are mentioned:  "a brother of  Sennacherib,  Acises,  who reigned hardly a month;  Merodach Baladan,  six months;  Elibus into the third year;  Asordan,  Sennacherib's son,  who was made king after the defeat of  Elibus."  Now,  as the Can. Ptolem. also gives a Belibos with a three years' reign,  the identity of Mardokempados and Marodach Baladan is indisputable.

All that can be maintained with certainty beside this is,  that the embassy cannot have been sent before the fourteenth year of  Hezekiah's reign;  for as he reigned twenty-nine years,  his illness must have occurred,  according to Isaiah 38:5,  in the fourteenth year itself,  i.e.,  the seventh year of  Mardokempados.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Question:
"How could the prophet have known that all that Hezekiah showed to the Babylonian ambassador would one day be brought to Babylon,  when in a very short time these treasures would all have been given by Hezekiah to the king of Assyria?"

Answer:
The prophecy is so expressed in Isaiah 39:6-7,  that this intervening occurrence does not prejudice its truth at all as Hezekiah was still able to show off  the abundance of  his riches to the Babylonian ambassadors.

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(1)  At that time Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah, when he heard that he had been sick but he lived. (had recovered MT)

Isaiah 39:2
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(2)   Their coming pleased Hezekiah, and he showed them his treasure house – the silver, the gold, the spices, and the fragrant oil – and his entire armory, and everything that was to be found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his palace or in his entire realm that Hezekiah did not show them.

And Ezekias was glad of their coming, and he shewed them the house of his spices, and of silver, and gold, and myrrh, and incense, and ointment, and all the houses of his treasures, and all that he had in his stores: and there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, which Ezekias did not shew.

And Hezekiah was glad because of them, and showed them his treasure house, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious oil, and all the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures; there was nothing in his house nor in all the land of his dominion that Hezekiah shewed them not.

From the NKJV
 (2)   And Hezekiah was pleased with them, and showed them the house of his treasures — the silver and gold, the spices and precious ointment, and all his armory — all that was found among his treasures. There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them.

He was able to show them all that was worth seeing "in his whole kingdom," inasmuch as it was all concentrated in Jerusalem, the capital.
Isaiah 39:2

Hezekiah was pleased
Possibly he regarded himself as flattered by an embassage from so great a distance,  and so celebrated a place as Babylon.  It is certain that he erred in some way in regard to the manner in which he received them (most likely pride),  and especially in the ostentatious display which he made of his treasures (2 Chronicles 32:31).

The house of his treasures
The Hebrew word nªkotow (OT:5238) properly means,  according to Gesenius,  a contusion,  a breaking to pieces;  hence,  aromatic powder,  or spices reduced to powder,  and then any kind of aromatics.
Hence,  the word here may mean  'the house of his spices,'  as Aquila,  Symmachus,  and the Vulgate translate it;  or  'a treasury,'  'a storehouse,'  as the Chaldee and the Syriac here render it.  It was undoubtedly a treasure or store house;  but it may have taken its name from the fact,  that it was mainly employed as a place in which to keep spices,  unguents,  and the various kinds of  aromatics which were used either in public worship,  or for the purposes of luxury.

The silver and gold
Possibly Hezekiah may have obtained no small quantity of  silver and gold from what was left in the camp of  the Assyrians.  It is certain that after he was delivered from danger he was signally prospered,  and became one of  the most wealthy and magnificent monarchs of  the east (2 Chronicles 32:27-28). A considerable part of  this wealth arose from presents which were made to him,  and from gifts which were made for the service of  the temple (2 Chronicles 32:23).

The precious ointment
Used for anointing kings and priests.  Or more probably the ointment here referred to was that which was in more common use,  to anoint the body after bathing,  or when they were to appear in public.

All his armory
Margin,  'Vessels,'  or  'instruments,'  or  'jewels.'
The word kªliy (OT:3627) denotes any article of  furniture,  utensil,  or vessel;  any trapping,  instrument,  or tool;  and any implement of  war,  weapon,  or arms.
Probably it here refers to the latter,  and denotes shields,  swords,  spears,  such as were used in war,  and such as Hezekiah had prepared for defense.  The phrase is equivalent to our word arsenal (compare 2 Chronicles 32:27).  Solomon had an extensive arsenal of  this description (1 Kings 10:16-17),  and it is probable that these were regarded as a part of  the necessary defense of  the kingdom.

Nothing in all his dominion
Everything that contributed to the defense,  the wealth,  or the magnificence of  his kingdom he showed to them.  The purpose for which Hezekiah thus showed them all that he had,  was evidently display.
In 2 Chronicles 32:25,  it is stated that  'Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him,  for his heart was lifted up;'  and in Isa. 39:31 ,  it is said,  that in regard to this transaction,  'God left him,  to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.'
The result showed how much God hates pride,  and how certainly he will punish all forms of ostentation.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Proverbs 16:18-19
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(2)  Hezekiah was delighted that they came and showed that all of his treasure houses: the silver, gold, spices, precious oil, all his armor, and everything that was in his storehouses. There was nothing in his palace or his entire kingdom (realm MT) that Hezekiah failed to show them.

Isaiah 39:3-8
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(3)   Then the prophet Isaiah came to King Hezekiah. “What,” he demanded of him, “did those men say to you? Where have they come to you from?” “They have come to me,” replied Hezekiah, “from a far country, from Babylon.”

And Esaias the prophet came to king Ezekias, and said to him, what say these men? And whence came they to thee? And Ezekias said, they are come to me from a land afar off, from Babylon.

Then came Isaiah the prophet unto Hezekiah the king, and said unto him, what said these men? And from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, they are come from a far country unto me, even from Babylon.

 (4)   Next he asked, “What have they seen in your palace?” And Hezekiah replied, “They have seen everything there is in my palace. There was nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.”

And Esaias said, what have they seen in thine house? And Ezekias said, they have seen everything in my house; and there is nothing in my house that they have not seen: yea, also the possessions in my treasuries.

Then said he, what did thy see in thy house? And Hezekiah said, all that is in mine house did they see; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them.

(5)   Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord of Hosts:

And Esaias said to him, Hear the word of the Lord of hosts:

Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah; hear the word of the Lord of hosts.

(6)   A time is coming when everything in your palace, which your ancestors have stored up to this day, will be carried off to Babylon; nothing will be left behind, said the Lord.

Behold, the days come, when they shall take all the things that are in thine house, and all that thy fathers have gathered until this day, shall go to Babylon; and they shall not leave anything at all: and God hath said,

Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be taken, and carried away to Babylon nothing shall be left, saith the Lord.

(7)   And some of your sons, your own issue, whom you will have fathered, will be taken to serve as eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”

that they shall take also of thy children whom thou shalt beget; and they shall make them eunuchs in the house of the king of the Babylonians.

And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall thy take away, and they shall be princes in the palace of the king of Babylon.

(8)   Hezekiah declared to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “It means that safety is assured for my time.”

And Ezekias said to Esaias, Good is the word of the Lord, which he hath spoken: let there, I pray, be peace and righteousness in my days.

Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, right is the word of the Lord, which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, for there shall be peace and truth in my days.
From the NKJV
(3)  Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah, and said to him, "What did these men say, and from where did they come to you?"
So Hezekiah said, "They came to me from a far country, from Babylon."
(4)  And he said, "What have they seen in your house?"
So Hezekiah answered, "They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them."
(5)  Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, "Hear the word of the LORD of hosts:   (6)  'Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and what your fathers have accumulated until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,' says the LORD.   (7)  'And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.'"
(8)  So Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good!" For he said, "At least there will be peace and truth in my days."

This self-satisfied display of  worthless earthly possessions would bring its own punishment in their loss;  and this obsequious suing for admiration and favor on the part of  strangers,  would be followed by plundering and enslaving on the part of  those very same strangers whose envy he had excited.
The prophet here foretells the Babylonian captivity;  but,  in accordance with the occasion here given,  not as the destiny of  the whole nation,  but as that of  the house of  David.  Even political sharp-sightedness might have foreseen,  that some such disastrous consequences would follow Hezekiah's imprudent course;  but this absolute certainty,  that Babylon,  which was then struggling hard for independence,  would really be the heiress to the Assyrian government of  the world,  and that it was not from Assyria,  which was actually threatening Judah with destruction for its rebellion,  but from Babylon,  that this destruction would really come,  was impossible without the spirit of prophecy.

Your sons
Hezekiah had none as yet,  and Jehovah’s promise to David (2 Samuel 7:16 - And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.) seemed in danger of  failing.  Manasseh was not born till the third of  the fifteen added years.  Hence his reference to this position in the “Songs of the Degrees.” See Pss. 127:3-5; 128 (quoting in vv. 5,6 the words in Isa. 39:8).
Hezekiah did not marry till after this,  and there may be a reference to his marriage to Hephzibah-bah in Isa. 62:4, which serves as the basis of the comparison in his prophecy concerning the future blessing of Israel.

Isaiah 62:4
You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married.     (NKJV)

Eunuchs
The word used here,  caariyciym (OT:5631) denotes properly and strictly eunuchs,  or such persons as were accustomed to attend on the harems of  monarchs (Esther 2:3,14-15).  These persons were also employed often in various offices of  the court (Esther 1:10,12,15),  and hence,  the word often means a minister of  court,  a court-officer.  It is not easy,  however,  to tell when the word is to be understood literally,  and when not.  The Targum understands it of  those who should be nurtured,  or become great in the kingdom of  Babylon.  That the Jews were advanced to some offices of  trust and power in Babylon,  is evident from the case of  Daniel (Daniel 1:2-7).  It is by no means improbable,  also,  that the king of  Babylon would have a pride in having among the attendants at his court,  or even over the harem,  the descendants of  the once magnificent monarchs of  the Jews.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Calvin says:  "Although he desired the prosperity of  future ages,  it would not have been right for him to think it nothing that God had given him a token of His clemency, by delaying His judgment"

Over the kingdom of  Judah there was now hanging the very same fate of  captivity and exile,  which had put an end to the northern kingdom of  Israel eight years before.
As Israel fell under the power of  the Assyrian empire,  which foundered upon Judah,  though only through a miraculous manifestation of  the grace of  God  (Hosea 1:7 - Yet I will have mercy on the house of Judah, will save them by the LORD their God.);  so did Judah fall a victim to the Babylonian empire.

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(3)  Then the prophet Isaiah came to King Hezekiah and said to him, “What did these men say, and where did they come from to visit you?” Hezekiah said, “From a far country – they came to visit me from Babylon.”  (4)  Then he said, “What did thy see in your palace?” Hezekiah answered, “They saw everything in my palace. There is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.”  (5)  Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to the word of the Lord of hosts:
(6)  The time will indeed come when everything that is in your palace and that your ancestors have stored up till now will be carried to Babylon. They will come in, and nothing will be left, says the Lord. (7)  Some of your own sons who will have come from your loins (you MT), whom you will have begotten, they will take away to be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”  (8)  Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good,” since he thought, “There will be peace and stability in my lifetime.”

GOD'S  PEOPLE  ARE  COMFORTED

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Isaiah Chapters 40-66
Second Half of the Collection

These chapters differ considerably from those in the  first half of Isaiah.

There the prophet is speaking to the citizens of the independent state of Judah
Here the Jewish exiles in Babylon are addressed - whose Temple has been destroyed, whose city Jerusalem is desolate and forsaken, and the people themselves  suffering the physical and moral miseries of captivity.
Thus there is a span of some 150 years between the political and social conditions reflected in the two parts of the book.
(The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, Edited by Dr. J. H. Hertz, D. H., London Soncino Press)

The second half of  Isaiah consists of  three parts.
The trilogical arrangement of  this cycle of  prophecies has hardly been disputed by any one,  since Rückert pointed it out in his Translation of  the Hebrew Prophets (1831).  And it is equally certain that each part consists of 3 × 3 addresses.

The First Part

1st Prophecy 40:1-31 Words of Comfort, and the God of Comfort
2nd Prophecy 41:1-29 The God of the World's History, and the God of Prophecy
3rd Prophecy 42:1-43:13 The Mediator of  Israel and Savior of  the Gentiles
4th Prophecy 43:14-44:5 Avenging and Deliverance; and Outpouring of  the Spirit
5th Prophecy 44:6-23 The Ridiculous Gods of  the Nations; and
The God of  Israel, Who makes His People to Rejoice
6th Prophecy 44:24-45:25 Cyrus, the Anointed of Jehovah, and Deliverer of Israel
7th Prophecy 46:1-13 Fall of the Gods of Babel
8th Prophecy 47:1-15 Fall of Babel, the Capital of the Empire of the World
9th Prophecy 48:1-22 Deliverance from Babylon

The Second Part

1st Prophecy 49:1-26 Self-Attestation of the Servant of Jehovah.
The Despondency of Zion Reproved
2nd Prophecy 50:1-11 Israel's Self-Rejection; and the
Stedfastness of the Servant of Jehovah
3rd Prophecy 51:1-23 The Bursting Forth of Salvation, and
Turning Away of the Cup of Wrath
4th Prophecy 52:1-12 Jerusalem Exchanges Servitude for Dominion, and
Imprisonment for Liberty
5th Prophecy 52:13-53:12 Golgotha and Sheblimini, or the
Exaltation of the Servant of Jehovah out of Deep Degradation
6th Prophecy 54:1-17 The Glory of Jerusalem, the Church of the Servants of Jehovah
7th Prophecy 55:1-13 Come and Take the Sure Salvation of Jehovah
8th Prophecy 56:1-8 Sabbatical Admonitions, and
Consolation for Proselytes and Eunuchs
9th Prophecy 56:9-57:21 Neglect of Duty by the Leaders of Israel; and
Errors of the People

The Third Part

1st Prophecy 58:1-14 The False Worship and the True, with the
Promises Belonging to the Latter
2nd Prophecy 59:1-21 The Glory of the Jerusalem of the Last Days
3rd Prophecy 60:1-22 The Glory of the Jerusalem of the Last Days
4th Prophecy 61:1-11 The Glory of the Office Committed to the Servant of Jehovah
5th Prophecy 62:1-12 The Gradual Extension of the Glory of Jerusalem
6th Prophecy 63:1-6 Judgment upon Edom, and
Upon the Whole World that Is Hostile to the Church
7th Prophecy 63:7-64:12 Thanksgiving, Confession, and
Supplication of the Church of the Captivity
8th Prophecy 65:1-25 Jehovah's Answer to the Church's Prayer
9th Prophecy 66:1-24 Exclusion of Scorners from the Coming Salvation
The theme of the whole is the comforting announcement of the approaching deliverance, and its attendant summons to repentance.

When we turn to the contents of his trilogy, it is more incomparable still.

It commences with a prophecy, which gave to John the Baptist the great theme of  his preaching.
It closes with the prediction of  the creation of  a new heaven and new earth,  beyond which even the last page of  the New Testament Apocalypse cannot go.
And in the center (Isaiah 52:13-53:12)  the sufferings and exaltation of  Christ are proclaimed as clearly as if  the prophet had stood beneath the cross itself,  and had seen the Risen Savior.

He is transported to the very commencement of  the New Testament times

He begins just like the New Testament evangelists.
He afterwards describes the death and resurrection of  Christ as completed events,  with all the clearness of  a Pauline discourse.
And lastly,  he clings to the heavenly world beyond,  like John in the Apocalypse.
Yet the Old Testament limits are not disturbed;  but within those limits,  evangelist,  apostle,  and apocalyptist are all condensed into one.

(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


Chapter 40
Part I  - First Prophecy
Words of Comfort, and the God of Comfort

Isaiah 40:1
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(1)  Comfort, oh comfort My people, says your God.

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith God.

O Ye prophets, prophesy consolations concerning my people, saith your God.

From the NKJV
(1)  "Comfort, yes, comfort My people!"  says your God.

In this first address the prophet vindicates his call to be the preacher of  the comfort of  the approaching deliverance,  and explains this comfort on the ground that Jehovah,  who called him to this comforting proclamation,  was the incomparably exalted Creator and Ruler of the world.

The first part of this address (vv. 1-11) may be regarded as the prologue to the whole twenty-seven.
The theme of  the prophetic promise,  and the irresistible certainty of  its fulfillment,  is here declared.
Turning of  the people of  the captivity,  whom Jehovah has neither forgotten nor rejected.  This is the divine command to the prophets.

Comfort
Nachamuu  (to cause to breathe again)  is repeated,  because of  its urgency.

Says...God
Yo'mar Eloheem
The word yo'mar (OT: 559), which does not mean, "will say" here, but "says" affirms that the command is a continuous one.  The future in all these passages is expressive of that which is taking place or still continuing.  The divine command has not been issued once only,  or merely to one prophet,  but is being continually addressed to many prophets.  "Comfort ye,  comfort ye my people,"  is the continual charge of  the God of  the exiles,  who has not ceased to be their God even in the midst of wrath,  to His messengers and heralds the prophets.

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(1)  Comfort, comfort my people! Says your God.

Isaiah 40:2
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(2)  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and declare to her that her term of service is over, that her iniquity is expiated; for she has received at the hand of the Lord double for all her sins.

Speak, ye priests, to the heart of Jerusalem; comfort her, for her humiliation is accomplished, her sin is put away: for she has received of the Lord’s hand double the amount of her sins.

Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and prophesy concerning her, that she is about to be filled with the people of her exiles, that her transgressions have been forgiven her, for that she has received the cup of consolations from before the Lord, as if she had been smitten twice for all her sins.

From the NKJV
(2)   "Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins."

The summons is now repeated with still greater emphasis,  the substance of  the consoling proclamation being also given.   The holy city is thought of  here in connection with the population belonging to it.

Speak comfort
al-leeb diber  (to speak to the heart)  To speak  'to the heart,'  is to speak in such a way as to remove the troubles of  the heart;  to furnish consolation,  and joy.  It means that they were not merely to urge such topics as should convince the understanding,  but such also as should be adopted to minister consolation to the heart.

The announcement to be made to Jerusalem is then introduced with kiy (OT: 3588), which serves as the introduction to either an indirect or a direct address:

(1) Her affliction has become full,  and therefore has come to an end.
Warfare - tsaabaa' (OT:6635) (warfare),  military service,  then feudal service,  and hardship generally;  here it applies to the captivity or exile - that unsheltered bivouac,  as it were,  of  the people who had been transported into a foreign land,  and were living there in bondage, restlessness,  and insecurity.
(2) Her iniquity is atoned for,  and the justice of  God is satisfied.
Pardoned - nirtsâh,  which generally denotes a satisfactory reception,  is used here in the sense of  meeting with a satisfactory payment, like `aawon (OT: 5771) raatsaah (OT: 7521) in Leviticus 26:41, 43 - to pay off  the debt of  sin by enduring the punishment of  sin.
(3) Jerusalem has already suffered fully for her sins.
Double - kiphlayim.  The third clause repeats the substance of  the previous ones with greater emphasis and in a fuller tone.  The word denotes double, twice as much; and the expression may denote that God had inflicted on them double that which had been usually inflicted on rebellious nations,  or on the nation,  before for its sins.  Or the word may be used to denote abundance,  and the prophet may design to teach that they had been amply,  or abundantly punished for their crimes.
Grotius says: 'That is, as much as God judged to be sufficient.'
Calvin says: 'Double, here, is to be received for large and abundant.'
It is not to be taken,  however,  in a judicial sense;  in which case God would appear over-rigid,  and therefore unjust.  Jerusalem had not suffered more than its sins had deserved;  but the compassion of  God regarded what His justice had been obliged to inflict upon Jerusalem as superabundant.

This compassion also expresses itself in the words  "for all":   there is nothing left for further punishment.
The turning point from wrath to love has arrived.
The wrath has gone forth in double measure.
With what intensity,  therefore,  will the love break forth,  which has been so long restrained!

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(2)  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and declare to her that her hard service is completed, that her punishment is accepted. Indeed she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

Isaiah 40:3
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(3)  A voice rings out: “Clear in the desert a road for the Lord! Level in the wilderness a highway for our God!

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight the paths of our God.

The voice of one that crieth, Prepare ye a way in the wilderness before the people of the Lord, tread down paths in the desert before the congregation of our God.

From the NKJV
(3)  The voice of one crying in the wilderness:  "Prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Quoted in Matthew 3:3;  Mark 1:3;  Luke 3:4-6;  John 1:23
Matthew 3:1-3
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying,
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"
For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:
"The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
'Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.'"
Mark 1:1-4
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophets:  
"Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You."
'The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
'Prepare the way of the LORD; make His paths straight.'"
John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
Luke 3:3-4
And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying:  
"The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
'Prepare the way of the LORD; make His paths straight."
John 1:22-23
Then they said to him, "Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?"
He said:
"I am 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
'Make straight the way of the LORD,"'
as the prophet Isaiah said."

Compare the voice from the temple in Isaiah 6,  concerning the scattering,  and this voice outside the land concerning the gathering.  The voice was not Isaiah’s, but heard by him in a vision.  John the Baptist claims it;  but this People would not hear;  and He Whom he heralded was crucified and His kingdom was rejected (John 1:11 - John 1:11  "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.").

Who the crier is remains concealed;  his person vanishes in the splendor of  his calling,  and falls into the background behind the substance of  his cry.  The cry sounds like the long-drawn trumpet-blast of  a herald.

The crier is like the outrider of  a king,  who takes care that the way by which the king is to go shall be put into good condition.

The king is Jehovah;  and it is all the more necessary to prepare the way for Him in a becoming manner,  that this way leads through the pathless desert.

It was through the desert that He went to redeem Israel out of  Egyptian bondage,  and to reveal Himself  to Israel from Sinai.  Just as His people looked for Him then,  when they were between Egypt and Canaan;  so was He to be looked for by His people again,  now that they were in the  "desert of the sea" (Isa 21:1),  and separated by Arabia desert from their fatherland.

If  He were coming at the head of  His people,  He Himself would clear the hindrances out of  His way;  but He was coming through the desert to Israel,  and therefore Israel itself was to take care that nothing should impede the rapidity or detract from the favor of  the Coming One.  The description answers to the reality;  but,  as we shall frequently find as we go further on,  the literal meaning spiritualizes itself in an allegorical way.

Yahweh was about to conduct his people again to their own country through the pathless wilderness,  as he had formerly conducted them from Egypt to the land of promise.  The prophet,  therefore,  represents himself as hearing the voice of  a herald,  or a forerunner in the pathless waste,  giving direction that a way should be made for the return of  the people.  The whole scene is represented as a march,  or return of Yahweh at the head of  his people to the land of  Judea.  The idea is taken from the practice of  Eastern monarchs,  who whenever they entered on a journey or an expedition,  especially through a barren and unfrequented or inhospitable country,  sent harbingers or heralds before them to prepare the way.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(3)  A voice cries out. “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, and in the desert make a smooth highway for our God.

Isaiah 40:4
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(4)  Let every valley be raised, every hill and mount made low. Let the rugged ground become level and the ridges become a plain.

Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low: and all the crooked ways shall become straight, and the rough places plains.

All the valleys shall be raised up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the uneven shall become a plain and the steep places a valley:

From the NKJV
(4)  Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth;

The command, according to its spiritual interpretation,  points to the encouragement of  those that are cast down,  the humiliation of  the self-righteous and self-secure,  the changing of  dishonesty into simplicity,  and of  unapproachable haughtiness into submission.
In general,  the meaning is that Israel is to take care,  that the God who is coming to deliver it shall find it in such an inward and outwards state as befits His exaltation and His purpose.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

That is,  every valley,  or low piece of ground,  shall be filled up so as to make a level highway,  as was done in order to facilitate the march of  armies.  This verse is evidently designed to explain what is intended in Isaiah 40:3,  by preparing the way for Yahweh.

Applied to the return of the Jews from Babylon
 It means simply that the impassable valleys were to be filled up so as to make a level road for their journey.
Applied to the work of John, the forerunner of the Messiah
It means that the nation was to be called on to put itself in a state of  preparation for his coming,  and for the success of  his labors among them.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(4)  Let every valley be raised and every mountain and hill be lowered. Let the uneven spots be leveled and the rough places made a plain.

Isaiah 40:5
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(5)  The Presence of the Lord shall appear, and all flesh, as one, shall behold – for the Lord Himself has spoken.”

And the glory of the Lord shall appear, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God: for the Lord has spoken it.

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for by the Memra of the Lord is it decreed.

From the NKJV
(5)  The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

All flesh. The Figure of Speech here is Synecdoche (of Genus), meaning all people.

This revelation is made for the good of Israel,  but not secretly or exclusively;  for the entire human race,  called here designedly  "all flesh"  (kol bâsâr),  will come to see it  (compare Luke 3:6, "And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.").

The deliverance of  his people would be such a display of  the divine interposition,  so that all nations would discern the evidences of  his power and glory.  But there is a fullness and a richness in the language which allows that it is not to be confined to that event.

It is more strikingly applicable to the advent of  the Messiah -
and to the fact that through him the glory of Yahweh would be manifest to all nations.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

God had certainly promised their deliverance from bondage;  and that his interposition,  in a manner which should attract the attention of all nations,  was certainly purposed by him.

Few events have ever more impressively manifested the glory of  God than the redemption of  his people from Babylon.
None has occurred,  or will ever occur,  that will more impressively demonstrate his glory,  wisdom,  and faithfulness,  than the redemption of  the world by the Messiah.

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(5)  The glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh together will see it.  The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Isaiah 40:6-8
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum

(6)  A voice rings out: “Proclaim!”  Another asks, “What shall I proclaim?” “All flesh is grass, all its goodness like flowers of the field:

The voice of one saying, Cry; and I said, what shall I cry?  All flesh is grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.

The voice of one saying, Prophesy. And one answereth and saith, what shall I prophesy? All the wicked are as grass, and all their strength as the flower of the field.

(7)   Grass withers, flowers fade when the breath of the Lord blows on them. Indeed, man is but grass:

 

The grass withers, its flower fadeth; for the wind from before the Lord hath blown upon it; therefore the wicked among the people are counted as grass.

(8)  Grass withers, flowers fade – but the word of our God is always fulfilled!”

The grass withers, and the flower fades: but the word of our God abides forever.

The wicked dieth, his thoughts perish; but the word of our God abideth forever.

From the NKJV
(6)  The voice said, "Cry out!"  And he said, "What shall I cry?"
"All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.   (7)   The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people are grass.  (8)   The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever."

The prophet now hears a second voice,  and then a third,  entering into conversation with it.
A second voice celebrates the divine word of  promise in the face of  the approaching fulfillment,  and appoints a preacher of  its eternal duration.

Men living in the flesh are universally impotent,  perishing,  limited;
God,  on the contrary,  is the omnipotent,  eternal,  all-determining;  and like Himself,  so is His word,  which,  regarded as the vehicle and utterance of  His willing and thinking,  is not something separate from Himself,  and therefore is the same as He.

The word of our God stands forever
Amidst all revolutions among men, his promise shall be firm.

It shall not only live amidst the changes of  dynasties,  and the revolutions of  empires,
but it shall continue forever and ever.
This is designed for support to an afflicted and oppressed people;  and it must have been to them,  in their bondage,  the source of  high consolation.  But it is equally so now.

Amidst all the changes on earth; the revolutions of  empires;  the vanishing of  kingdoms,

God is the same,  and his promises are unfailing.
We see the grass wither at the return of autumn, or in the drought: we see the flower of  the field lose its beauty,  and decay;
we see man rejoicing in his vigor and his health, cut down in an instant
We see cities fall,
We see kingdoms lose their power and vanish from among nations
But God changes not.
He presides in all these revolutions,
and sits calm and unmoved amidst all these changes.
Not one of his promises shall fail.

And at the end of  all the changes which human things shall undergo,

Yahweh, the God of  his people, will be the same.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

(6)  A voice says, “Proclaim!” So I  said, “What am I to proclaim?” “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flowers of the field.  (7)  The grass withers, the flowers fade, when the breath of …blows on it.” (Surely the people are the grass.)   (8)  The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God, but the word of our God  stands forever.

LESSON  18  FROM  THE  AMPLIFIED  VERSION

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Isaiah 38:1 - 40:8 - from the Amplified Version

38:1    IN THOSE days King Hezekiah of Judah became ill and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, came to him and said, Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.  [2 Kings 20:1-11; 2 Chronicles 32:24-26.]
(2)    Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord
(3)    And said, Remember [earnestly] now, O Lord, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in faithfulness and in truth, with a whole heart [absolutely devoted to You], and have done what is good in Your sight. And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
(4)    Then came the word of the Lord to Isaiah, saying,
(5)   Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add to your life fifteen years.
(6)    And I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city [Jerusalem].
(7)   And this will be the sign to you from the Lord that the Lord will do this thing that He has spoken:
(8)   Behold, I will turn the shadow [denoting the time of day] on the steps or degrees, which has gone down on the steps or sundial of Ahaz, backward ten steps or degrees. And the sunlight turned back ten steps on the steps on which it had gone down.
(9)    This is the writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness:
(10)  I said, In the noontide and tranquility of my days I must depart; I am to pass through the gates of Sheol (the place of the dead), deprived of the remainder of my years.
(11)  I said, I shall not see the Lord, even the Lord, in the land of the living; I shall behold man no more among the inhabitants of the world.
(12)  My [fleshly] dwelling is plucked up and is removed from me like a shepherd's tent. I have rolled up my life as a weaver [rolls up the finished web]; [the Lord] cuts me free from the loom; from day to night You bring me to an end.
(13)  I thought and quieted myself until morning. Like a lion He breaks all my bones; from day to night You bring me to an end.
(14)  Like a twittering swallow or a crane, so do I chirp and chatter; I moan like a dove. My eyes are weary and dim with looking upward. O Lord, I am oppressed; take my side and be my security [as of a debtor being sent to prison].
(15)  But what can I say? For He has both spoken to me and He Himself has done it. I must go softly [as in solemn procession] all my years and my sleep has fled because of the bitterness of my soul.
(16)  O Lord, by these things men live; and in all these is the life of my spirit. O give me back my health and make me live!
(17)  Behold, it was for my peace that I had intense bitterness; but You have loved back my life from the pit of corruption and nothingness, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back.
(18)  For Sheol (the place of the dead) cannot confess and reach out the hand to You, death cannot praise and rejoice in You; they who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness [to Your promises; their probation is at an end, their destiny is sealed].
(19)  The living, the living — they shall thank and praise You, as I do this day; the father shall make known to the children Your faithfulness and Your truth.
(20)  The Lord is ready to save (deliver) me; therefore we will sing my songs with [my] stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the house of the Lord.
(21)  Now Isaiah had said, Let them take a cake of figs and lay it for a plaster upon the boil, that he may recover.
(22)  Hezekiah also had said, What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the Lord?

39:1   AT THAT time Merodach-baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent [messengers with] letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he had heard that he had been sick and had recovered. [2 Kings 20:12-19.]
(2)    And Hezekiah was glad and welcomed them and showed them the house of his spices and precious things — the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious ointment, all the house of his armor and his jewels, and all that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his house nor in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them.
(3)    Then came Isaiah the prophet to King Hezekiah and said to him, What did these men say? From where did they come to you? And Hezekiah said, They came to me from a far country, even from Babylon.
(4)    Then Isaiah said, What have they seen in your house? And Hezekiah answered, They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them.
(5)    Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord of hosts:
(6)    Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and that which your predecessors have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord.
(7)    And some of your own sons who are born to you shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.
(8)    Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good. And he added, For there will be peace and faithfulness [to His promises to us] in my days.

40:1    COMFORT, COMFORT My people, says your God.
(2)    Speak tenderly to the heart of Jerusalem, and cry to her that her time of service and her warfare are ended, that [her punishment is accepted and] her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received [punishment] from the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
(3)    A voice of one who cries: Prepare in the wilderness the way of the Lord [clear away the obstacles]; make straight and smooth in the desert a highway for our God! [Mark 1:3.]
(4)    Every valley shall be lifted and filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked and uneven shall be made straight and level, and the rough places a plain.
(5)    And the glory (majesty and splendor) of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it. [Luke 3:5,6.]
(6)    A voice says, Cry [prophesy]! And I said, What shall I cry? [The voice answered, Proclaim:] All flesh is as frail as grass, and all that makes it attractive [its kindness, its goodwill, its mercy from God, its glory and comeliness, however good] is transitory, like the flower of the field.
(7)    The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely [all] the people are like grass.
(8)    The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. [James 1:10,11; 1 Peter 1:24,25.]

(End of  Lesson 18)


  

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