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Isaiah 32:2

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

As the shadow of a great rock - The shadow of a great projecting rock is the most refreshing that is possible in a hot country, not only as most perfectly excluding the rays of the sun, but also as having in itself a natural coolness, which it reflects and communicates to every thing about it.

Speluncaeque tegant, et saxea procubet umbra.

Virg. Georg. 3:145.

"Let the cool cave and shady rock protect them."

Επει κεφαλην και γουνατα Σειριος αζει,<-144 Αυαλεος δε τε χρως απο καυματος· αλλα τοτ ' ηδηΕιη πετραιη τε σκιν, και Βιβλινος οινοςπ .

Hesiod. 2:206.

"When Sirius rages, and thine aching head,

Parched skin, and feeble knees refreshment need;

Then to the rock's projected shade retire,

With Biblin wine recruit thy wasted powers."

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And a man - That is, evidently, the man referred to in the previous verse, to wit, Hezekiah.

Shall be as an hiding-place from the wind - A place where one may take refuge from a violent wind and tempest (see the note at Isaiah 25:4).

A covert - A place of shelter and security. Wind and tempest are emblematic of calamity and oppression; and the sense is, that Hezekiah would be the protector of his people, and would save them from the calamities to which they had been subjected in former reigns.

As rivers of water - This figure is often used in Isaiah (see Isaiah 35:6-7; and the notes at Isaiah 41:18). It means that the blessings of such a reign would be as grateful and refreshing as gushing fountains and running streams were to a thirsty traveler. Here it refers to the benefits that would be conferred by the reign of Hezekiah - a reign which, compared with that of his father, would be like a refreshing fountain to a weary pilgrim in a pathless desert.

As the shadow of a great rock - In a burning desert of sand nothing is more grateful than the cooling shade of a far-projecting rock. It not only excludes the rays of the sun, but it has itself a refreshing coolness that is most grateful to a weary traveler. The same figure is often used by the classic writers (see Virgil, “Georg.” iii, 145; Hesiod, ii. 106).

In a weary land - A land where there is fatigue and weariness. Probably here it is used to denote a land destitute of trees, and groves, and pleasant abodes; a land where one expects weariness and fatigue without any refreshment and shelter. The following description from Campbell‘s “Travels in Africa” will explain this: ‹Well does the traveler remember a day in the wilds of Africa, where the country was chiefly covered with burning sand; when, scorched with the powerful rays of an almost vertical sun, the thermometer in the shade standing at 100 degrees (Fahrenheit). He remembers long looking hither and thither for something that would afford protection from the almost insupportable heat, and where the least motion of air felt like a flame coming against the face. At length he espied a huge loose rock leaning against the front of a small cliff which faced the sun. At once he fled for refuge underneath its inviting shade. The coolness emitted from this rocky canopy he found exquisitely exhilarating. The wild beasts of the deserts were all fled to their dens, and the feathered songsters were all roosting among the thickest foliage they could find of the evergreen trees. The whole creation around seemed to groan, as if their vigor had been entirely exhausted. A small river was providentially at hand, to the side of which, after a while, he ventured, and sipped a little of its cooling water, which tasted better than the best Burgundy, or the finest old hock in the world. During all this enjoyment, the above apropos text was the interesting subject of the traveler‘s meditation; though the allusion as a figure, must fall infinitely short of that which is meant to be prefigured by it.‘

(The whole of this passage is capable of beautiful application to the Messiah and his times; while the language of the second verse cannot be supposed descriptive of any “creature;” it is so associated in our minds with the character and functions of the Divine Redeemer, that we cannot easily acquiesce in any meaner application. ‹To interpret the sublime imagery of this verse Isaiah 32:2 in application to a mere human being, would be quite repugnant to the spirit of the sacred writers, by whom Yahweh alone is represented as the source of protection and refreshment to his people, and all trust in creatures solemnly interdicted‘ (Henderson). Doubtless, if Hezekiah be at all intended, it is in a typical or inferior sense only. A greater than Hezekiah is here; the language and figures used are precisely such as are elsewhere by the prophet applied to Yahweh Isaiah 4:6; Isaiah 25:4; while the particulars characteristic of the times predicted, are just such as elsewhere he connects with gospel times (compare Isaiah 29:18; Isaiah 35:5). The things predicted, according to this view, are a righteous administration under Messiah the prince Isaiah 32:1; protection and refreshment to his subjects; protection from the wrath of God and the temptations of Satan, and the rage of the world; refreshment by the consolutions and graces of his Spirit, which are as rivers of water in this dry land‘ Isaiah 32:2; a desire for knowledge and such facility in the acquisition of it, that even persons ordinarily supposed disqualified should both clearly understand, and easily and accurately express the truth Isaiah 32:3-4; a just appreciation of character and estimation of people in accordance therewith Isaiah 32:5; and, finally, the prevalence of a loving, liberal spirit, setting itself to devise and execute plans of benevolence on a scale hitherto unprecedented Isaiah 32:8; Psalm 110:3; Acts 2:44-45; 2 Corinthians 8:1, 2 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 9:2)

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Christ our righteous King, and his true disciples, are evidently here intended. The consolations and graces of his Spirit are as rivers of water in this dry land; and as the overhanging rock affords refreshing shade and shelter to the weary traveller in the desert, so his power, truth, and love, yield the believer the only real protection and refreshment in the weary land through which he journeys to heaven. Christ bore the storm himself, to keep it off from us. To him let the trembling sinner flee for refuge; for he alone can protect and refresh us in every trial. See what pains sinners take in sin; they labour at it, their hearts are intent upon it, and with art they work iniquity; but this is our comfort, that they can do no more mischief than God permits. Let us seek to have our hearts more freed from selfishness. The liberal soul devises liberal things concerning God, and desires that He will grant wisdom and prudence, the comforts of his presence, the influence of his Spirit, and in due time the enjoyment of his glory.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 432

This chapter is based on 25:13-27; 26.

Paul had appealed to Caesar, and Festus could not do otherwise than send him to Rome. But some time passed before a suitable ship could be found; and as other prisoners were to be sent with Paul, the consideration of their cases also occasioned delay. This gave Paul opportunity to present the reasons of his faith before the principal men of Caesarea, and also before King Agrippa II, the last of the Herods. AA 433.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 318

We have no complaints to make of our sufferings in those days of close want and perplexity, which made the exercise of faith necessary. They were the happiest days of our lives. There we learned the simplicity of faith. There, while in affliction we tested and proved the Lord. He was our consolation. He was to us like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. It is unfortunate for you, my brother, and for our young ministers generally, that you and they have not had a similar experience in privation, in trial, and in need; for such an experience would be worth to you more than houses or lands, gold or silver. 3T 318.1

When we refer to our past experience of excessive labor and want, and of laboring with our hands to support ourselves and to publish the truth at the very commencement of the work, some of our young preachers of but few years’ experience in the work seem to be annoyed and charge us with boasting of our own works. The reason of this is that their own lives have been so free from wearing care, want, and self-sacrifice that they know not how to sympathize with us, and the contrast is not agreeable to their feelings. To have presented before them the experience of others which is in such wide contrast with their own course does not make their labors appear in so favorable a light as they would have them. 3T 318.2

When we commenced this work we were both in feeble health. My husband was a dyspeptic; yet three times a day, in faith, we made our supplications to God for strength. My husband went into the hayfield with his scythe, and, in the strength that God gave him in answer to our earnest prayers, he there earned, by mowing, means with which to purchase us neat, plain clothing and to pay our fare to a distant state to present the truth to our brethren. 3T 318.3

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Ellen G. White
Messages to Young People, 98

“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.” ... He will be to you as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. He says, “Come unto Me, ... and I will give you rest”—rest that the world can neither give nor take away.... MYP 98.1

Words cannot describe the peace and joy possessed by him who takes God at His word. Trials do not disturb him, slights do not vex him. Self is crucified. Day by day his duties may become more taxing, his temptations stronger, his trials more severe; but he does not falter; for he receives strength equal to his need.—The Youth's Instructor, June 26, 1902. MYP 98.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 130

You are carrying a heavy load. I wish that everyone could feel this as I do. I wish that all your brethren would be true and faithful to you, not hindering you, not extolling or glorifying you, but looking upon you as one whom God is using as His instrument to do a given work, and remembering that they must not block the wheels, but must put their shoulder to the wheel, helping instead of hindering. 8T 130.1

Again I say: Rejoice in the Lord. Rest in Him. You need His power, and this power you may have. Go forward firmly, valiantly, courageously. You may err in judgment, but do not lose your hold on Jesus. He is wisdom, He is light, He is power. He is to you as a great Rock in a weary land. Rest under His shadow. You need wisdom, and Jesus will give it to you. Do not be unbelieving. The more you are jostled, misapprehended, misstated, misrepresented, the more evidence you have that you are doing a work for the Master, and the more closely you must cling to your Saviour. In all your difficulties be calm and undisturbed, patient and forbearing, not rendering evil for evil, but good for evil. Look to the top of the ladder. God is above it. His glory shines on every soul ascending heavenward. Jesus is this ladder. Climb up by Him, cling to Him, and erelong you will step off the ladder into His everlasting kingdom. 8T 130.2

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