For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth "Because of his iniquity for a short time was I wroth" - For בצעו bitso, I read בצע betsa, a little while, from בצע batsa, he cut of, as the Septuagint read and render it, βραχυ τι, "a certain short space." Propter iniquitatem avaritiae ejus, "because of the iniquity of his avarice," the rendering of the Vulgate, which our translators and I believe all others follow, is surely quite beside the purpose.
For the iniquity of his covetousness - The guilt of his avarice; that is, of the Jewish people. The word rendered here ‹covetousness‘ (בצע betsa‛ ) means “plunder, rapine, prey”; then unjust gains, or lucre from bribes 1 Samuel 7:3; Isaiah 33:15; or by any other means. Here the sense is, that one of the prevailing sins of the Jewish people which drew upon them the divine vengeance, was avarice, or the love of gain. Probably this was especially manifest in the readiness with which those who dispensed justice received bribes (compare Isaiah 2:7). See also Jeremiah 6:13: ‹For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness.‘
And smote him - That is, I brought heavy judgments on the Jewish people.
I hid me - I withdrew the evidences of my presence and the tokens of my favor, and left them to themselves.
And he went on frowardly - Margin, ‹Turning away.‘ That is, abandoned by me, the Jewish people declined from my service and sunk deeper into sin. The idea here is, that if God withdraws from his people, such is their tendency to depravity, that they will wander away from him, and sink deeper in guilt a truth which is manifest in the experience of individuals, as well as of communities and churches.
7, 9. Satan Assailed Christ, Provoked No Retaliation—Satan assailed Him [Christ] in every point, yet He sinned not in thought, word, or deed. He did no violence, neither was guile found in His mouth. Walking in the midst of sin, He was holy, harmless, undefiled. He was wrongfully accused, yet He opened not His mouth to justify Himself. How many now, when accused of that of which they are not guilty, feel that there is a time when forbearance ceases to be a virtue, and losing their temper, speak words which grieve the Holy Spirit (Manuscript 42, 1901)? 4BC 1148.1Read in context »
To gain the birthright that was his already by God's promise, Jacob resorted to fraud, and he reaped the harvest in his brother's hatred. Through twenty years of exile he was himself wronged and defrauded, and was at last forced to find safety in flight; and he reaped a second harvest, as the evils of his own character were seen to crop out in his sons—all but too true a picture of the retributions of human life. Ed 147.1
But God says: “I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before Me, and the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid Me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.... Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him.” Isaiah 57:16-19. Ed 147.2
Jacob in his distress was not overwhelmed. He had repented, he had endeavored to atone for the wrong to his brother. And when threatened with death through the wrath of Esau, he sought help from God. “Yea, he had power over the Angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication.” “And He blessed him there.” Hosea 12:4; Genesis 32:29. In the power of His might the forgiven one stood up, no longer the supplanter, but a prince with God. He had gained not merely deliverance from his outraged brother, but deliverance from himself. The power of evil in his own nature was broken; his character was transformed. Ed 147.3
At eventide there was light. Jacob, reviewing his life-history, recognized the sustaining power of God—“the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the Angel which redeemed me from all evil.” Genesis 48:15, 16. Ed 147.4Read in context »
The God whom they had been claiming to serve, but whose character they had misunderstood, was set before them as the great Healer of spiritual disease. What though the whole head was sick and the whole heart faint? what though from the sole of the foot even unto the crown of the head there was no soundness, but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores? See Isaiah 1:6. He who had been walking frowardly in the way of his heart might find healing by turning to the Lord. “I have seen his ways,” the Lord declared, “and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him.... Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him.” Isaiah 57:18, 19. PK 315.1
The prophet exalted God as Creator of all. His message to the cities of Judah was, “Behold your God!” Isaiah 40:9. “Thus saith God the Lord, He that created the heavens, and stretched them out; He that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it;” “I am the Lord that maketh all things;” “I form the light, and create darkness;” “I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even My hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.” Isaiah 42:5; 44:24; Isaiah 45:7, 12. “To whom then will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth.” Isaiah 40:25, 26. PK 315.2
To those who feared they would not be received if they should return to God, the prophet declared: PK 316.1Read in context »
For His own name's sake, God will not permit the froward and the independent to carry out their unsanctified plans. He will visit them for their perversity of action. “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” Isaiah 57:21. But in His judgments the Lord will remember mercy. He declares: 8T 219.1
“I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before Me, and the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid Me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him.” Verses 16-19. 8T 219.2Read in context »