They shall spring up as among the grass "They shall spring up as the grass among the waters" - חציר בבין bebeyn chatsir, "They shall spring up to the midst of, or rather, in among, the grass. "This cannot be right: eleven MSS., and thirteen editions, have כבין kebeyn, or כבן keben . Twenty-four MSS. read it without the י yod, בבן beben, in the son of the grass; and so reads the Chaldee; בבן beben, in the son of the grass.
Twenty-four MSS. of Dr. Kennicott's, thirty-three of De Rossi's, and one of my own, with six editions, have this reading. The Syriac, מבין mibbeyn . The true reading is in all probability כבין kebeyn ; and the word מים mayim, which should have followed it, is lost out of the text: but it is happily supplied by the Septuagint, ὡς ανα μεσον ὑδατος, as among the water "In every place where there is water, there is always grass; for water makes every thing grow in the east." Sir John Chardin's note on 1 Kings 17:5. Harmer's Observations 1:64.
And they shall spring up - The idea is, that as plants and trees planted by water-courses, and in well-watered fields, grow and flourish, so should their children grow in virtue, hope, piety, and zeal.
As among the grass - They shall spring up and flourish as the grass does when abundantly watered from heaven. On the meaning of the unusual form of the word בבים bebēyn in the Hebrew (“in among”), see Vitringa and Rosenmuller. The ב (b ) here is undoubtedly an error of the transcriber for כ (k ) (“as”) - an error which, from the similarity of the letters, might be readily made. The Septuagint reads it, Ὡς Hōs - ‹As.‘ The Chaldee reads it, כ (k ) (“as”).
As willows by the water-courses - Willows are usually planted in such places, and grow rapidly and luxuriantly. It denotes here, abundant increase, vigor and beauty; and means that their posterity would be greatly blessed of God. A similar figure to denote the prosperity and happiness of the righteous occurs in Psalm 1:3:
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
That bringeth forth his fruit in his season;
His leaf also shall not wither.
These two verses teach us:
1. That God will pour his blessings on the children of his people - a promise which in all ages, when parents are faithful, is abundantly fulfilled.
2. That one of the richest blessings which can be imparted to a people is, that God‘s Spirit should descend on their children.
3. That the Spirit of God alone is the source of true happiness and prosperity to our children. All else - property, learning, accomplishment. beauty, vigor, will be vain. It is by his blessing only - by the influence of piety - that they will spring forth as among the grass, and like willows by the streams of water.
4. Parents should pray earnestly for a revival of religion. No better description can be given of a revival than that given here - the Spirit of God descending like streams and floods on the young; and their springing forth in the graces of piety as among the grass, and growing in love to God and love to mankind like willows by the water-courses. Who would not pray for such a work of grace? What family, what congregation, what people can be happy without it?
The teacher of truth can impart effectively only that which he himself knows by experience. Christ taught the truth because He was the truth. His own thought, His character, His life experience, were embodied in His teaching. So with His servants; those who teach the word must make it their own by personal experience. They must know what it is to have Christ made unto them wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Every minister of Christ and every teacher should be able to say with the beloved John, “The life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.” 1 John 1:2. CT 435.1
Often it will seem to the teacher that the word of God has little effect on the minds and hearts of many students; but if his work has been wrought in God, some lessons of divine truth will linger in the memory of the most careless. The Holy Spirit will water the seed sown, and it will spring up after many days and bear fruit to the glory of God. CT 435.2Read in context »
Had Israel been true to her trust, all the nations of earth would have shared in her blessings. But the hearts of those to whom had been entrusted a knowledge of saving truth, were untouched by the needs of those around them. As God's purpose was lost sight of, the heathen came to be looked upon as beyond the pale of His mercy. The light of truth was withheld, and darkness prevailed. The nations were overspread with a veil of ignorance; the love of God was little known; error and superstition flourished. PK 371.1
Such was the prospect that greeted Isaiah when he was called to the prophetic mission; yet he was not discouraged, for ringing in his ears was the triumphal chorus of the angels surrounding the throne of God, “The whole earth is full of His glory.” Isaiah 6:3. And his faith was strengthened by visions of glorious conquests by the church of God, when “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:9. “The face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations,” was finally to be destroyed. Isaiah 25:7. The Spirit of God was to be poured out upon all flesh. Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness were to be numbered among the Israel of God. “They shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the watercourses,” said the prophet. “One shall say, I am the Lord's; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel.” Isaiah 44:4, 5. PK 371.2
To the prophet was given a revelation of the beneficent design of God in scattering impenitent Judah among the nations of earth. “My people shall know My name,” the Lord declared; “they shall know in that day that I am He that doth speak.” Isaiah 52:6. And not only were they themselves to learn the lesson of obedience and trust; in their places of exile they were also to impart to others a knowledge of the living God. Many from among the sons of the strangers were to learn to love Him as their Creator and their Redeemer; they were to begin the observance of His holy Sabbath day as a memorial of His creative power; and when He should make “bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations,” to deliver His people from captivity, “all the ends of the earth” should see of the salvation of God. Verse 10. Many of these converts from heathenism would wish to unite themselves fully with the Israelites and accompany them on the return journey to Judea. None of these were to say, “The Lord hath utterly separated me from His people” (Isaiah 56:3), for the word of God through His prophet to those who should yield themselves to Him and observe His law was that they should thenceforth be numbered among spiritual Israel—His church on earth. PK 371.3Read in context »
In the forty-first to the forty-fifth chapters of Isaiah, God very fully reveals His purpose for His people, and these chapters should be prayerfully studied. God does not here instruct His people to turn away from His wisdom and look to finite man for wisdom. “Remember these, O Jacob and Israel,” He declares, “for thou art My servant: ... O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee. Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel.” TM 480.1
“Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside Me.... Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to Him shall men come; and all that are incensed against Him shall be ashamed. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” TM 480.2Read in context »