Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 58:12

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The restorer of paths to dwell in "The restorer of paths to be frequented by inhabitants" - To this purpose it is rendered by the Syriac, Symmachus, and Theodotion.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And they that shall be of thee - They that spring from thee; or thy people.

Shall build the old waste places - Shall repair the old ruins, and restore the desolate cities and fields to their former beauty. This language is taken from the condition of Judea during the long captivity at Babylon. The land would have been desolated by the Chaldeans, and lain waste for a period of seventy years. Of course all the remains of their former prosperity would have gone to decay, and the whole country would be filled with ruins. But all this, says the prophet, would be restored if they were obedient to God. and would keep his law. Their descendants would be so numerous that the land would be entirely occupied and cultivated again, and cities and towns would rise with their former beauty and magnificence.

Thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations - That is, the foundations which had endured for generations. The word ‹foundations‘ here (מוסד môsâd ), means properly the foundation of a building, that is, on which a building rests. Here it means the foundation when that alone remains; and is equivalent to ruins. The Hebrew phrase translated ‹of many generational‘ (דור־ודור dôr -vâdôr generation and generation), is equivalent to one generation after another, and is the usual form of the superlative degree. The exact amount of time is not designated; but the phrase is equivalent to a long time - while one generation passes away after another. Vitringa applies this to the gospel, and supposes that it means that the church, after long decay and desolation, would rise to its former beauty and glory. The promise is indeed general; and though the language is taken from the recovery of Palestine from its ruins after the captivity, yet there can be no objection to applying it in a more general sense, as teaching that the people of God, if they are faithful in keeping his commandments, and in manifesting the spirit which becomes the church, will repair the ruins which sin has made in the world, and rebuild the wastes and the desolations of many ages.

Sin has spread its desolations far and wide. Scarce the foundations of righteousness remain in the earth. Where they do remain, they are often covered over with ruined fragments, and are surrounded by frightful wastes. The world is full of the ruins which sin has caused; and there could be no more striking illustration of the effects of sin on all that is good, than the ruins of Judea during the seventy years of exile, or than those of Palmyra, of Baalbec, of Tyre, of Ephesus, and of Persepolis, at present. It is for the church of God to rebuild these wastes, and to cause the beauties of cultivated fields, and the glories of cities rebuilt, to revisit the desolate earth; in other words, to extend the blessings of that religion which will yet clothe the earth with moral loveliness, as though sin had not spread its gloomy and revolting monuments over the world.

And thou shalt be called - The name which shall appropriately designate what you will do.

The repairer of the breach - Lowth, ‹The repairer of the broken mound.‘ The phrase properly means, ‹the fortifier of the breach;‘ i. e:, the one who shall build up the breach that is made in a wall of a city, either by the lapse of time, or by a siege.

The restorer of paths to dwell in - Lowth and Noves render this, ‹The restorer of paths to be frequented by inhabitants.‘ The Septuagint renders it, ‹And thou shalt cause thy paths to rest in the midst of thee;‘ and Jerome. Avertens semitas in quietem - ‹Turning the paths into rest,‘ which the Jewish exposition explains to mean, ‹Thou shalt build walls so high that no enemy can enter them.‘ So Grotius renders it, ‹Turning thy paths to rest;‘ that is, thou shalt leave no way of access to robbers. The Chaldee renders it, ‹Converting the wicked to the law.‘ The common English version has probably expressed correctly the sense. The idea is, that they would repair the public highways which had long lain desolate, by which access was had to their dwelling-places. It does not mean, however, that the paths or ways were to be places in which to dwell, but that the ways which led to their dwelling-places were to be restored, or repaired. These roads, of course, in the long desolations would be ruined. Thorns, and brambles, and trees would have grown upon them; and having been long neglected, they would be impassable. But the advantages of a free contact from one dwelling and one city to another, and throughout the land, would be again enjoyed. Spiritually applied, it means the same as the previous expression, that the church of God would remove the ruins which sin has caused, and diffuse comfort and happiness around the world. The obstructed and overrun paths to a quiet and peaceable dwelling on earth would be cleared away, and the blessings of‘ the true religion would be like giving free and easy access from one tranquil and prosperous dwelling-place to another.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
A fast is a day to afflict the soul; if it does not express true sorrow for sin, and does not promote the putting away of sin, it is not a fast. These professors had shown sorrow on stated or occasioned fasts. But they indulged pride, covetousness, and malignant passions. To be liberal and merciful is more acceptable to God than mere fasting, which, without them, is vain and hypocritical. Many who seem humble in God's house, are hard at home, and harass their families. But no man's faith justifies, which does not work by love. Yet persons, families, neighbourhoods, churches, or nations, show repentance and sorrow for sin, by keeping a fast sincerely, and, from right motives, repenting, and doing good works. The heavy yoke of sin and oppression must be removed. As sin and sorrow dry the bones and weaken the strongest human constitution; so the duties of kindness and charity strengthen and refresh both body and mind. Those who do justly and love mercy, shall have the comfort, even in this world. Good works will bring the blessing of God, provided they are done from love to God and man, and wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, 126

“The Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 2, 373

God has thrust His people into the gap, to make up the hedge, to raise up the foundation of many generations. The heavenly intelligences, angels that excel in strength, are waiting, obedient to His command, to unite with human agencies; and the Lord will interpose when matters have come to such a pass that none but a divine power can counteract the satanic agencies at work. When His people shall be in the greatest danger, seemingly unable to stand against the power of Satan, God will work in their behalf. Man's extremity is God's opportunity. 2SM 373.1

Now is the time when the loyal and true are to arise and shine; for the glory of the Lord is risen upon them. It is no time now to hide our colors, no time to turn traitors when the battle presses sore, no time to lay aside our weapons of warfare. Watchmen on the walls of Zion must be wide awake. 2SM 373.2

I am so thankful at this time that we can have our minds taken off from the difficulties that surround us, and the oppression that is to come upon the people of God, and can look up to the heaven of light and power. If we place ourselves on the side of God, of Christ and the heavenly intelligences, the broad shield of Omnipotence is over us, the mighty God of Israel is our helper, and we need not fear. Those who touch the people of God, touch the apple of His eye.… 2SM 373.3

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Ellen G. White
Evangelism, 695

No Failure of God's Promises—The angels of God in their messages to men represent time as very short. Thus it has always been presented to me. It is true that time has continued longer than we expected in the early days of this message. Our Saviour did not appear as soon as we hoped. But has the Word of the Lord failed? Never! It should be remembered that the promises and the threatenings of God are alike conditional. Ev 695.1

God had committed to His people a work to be accomplished on earth. The third angel's message was to be given, the minds of believers were to be directed to the heavenly sanctuary, where Christ had entered to make atonement for His people. The Sabbath reform was to be carried forward. The breach in the law of God must be made up. The message must be proclaimed with a loud voice, that all the inhabitants of earth might receive the warning. The people of God must purify their souls through obedience to the truth, and be prepared to stand without fault before Him at His coming. Ev 695.2

Had Adventists, after the great disappointment in 1844, held fast their faith and followed on unitedly in the opening providence of God, receiving the message of the third angel and in the power of the Holy Spirit proclaiming it to the world, they would have seen the salvation of God, the Lord would have wrought mightily with their efforts, the work would have been completed, and Christ would have come ere this to receive His people to their reward. But in the period of doubt and uncertainty that followed the disappointment, many of the advent believers yielded their faith.... Thus the work was hindered, and the world was left in darkness. Had the whole Adventist body united upon the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, how widely different would have been our history! Ev 695.3

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Ellen G. White
Evangelism, 574

A Cautious Work—Be cautious in your labors, brethren, not to assail the prejudices of the people too strongly. There should be no going out of the way to attack other denominations; for it only creates a combative spirit and closes ears and hearts to the entrance of the truth. We have our work to do, which is not to tear down but to build up. We are to repair the breach that has been made in the law of God. It is the nobler work to build up, to present the truth in its force and power and let it cut its way through prejudice and reveal error in contrast with truth. Ev 574.1

There is danger that our ministers will say too much against the Catholics and provoke against themselves the strongest prejudices of that church. There are many souls in the Roman Catholic faith who are looking with interest to this people; but the power of the priest over his charges is great, and if he can prejudice the people by his stay-away arguments, so that when the truth is uttered against the fallen churches they may not hear it, he will surely do it. But as laborers together with God, we are provided with spiritual weapons, mighty to the pulling down of the strongholds of the enemy.—Letter 39, 1887. Ev 574.2

Avoid Unkind Thrusts—Let not those who write for our papers make unkind thrusts and allusions that will certainly do harm, and that will hedge up the way and hinder us from doing the work that we should do in order to reach all classes, the Catholics included. It is our work to speak the truth in love, and not to mix in with the truth the unsanctified elements of the natural heart, and speak things that savor of the same spirit possessed by our enemies. All sharp thrusts will come back upon us in double measure when the power is in the hands of those who can exercise it for our injury. Over and over the message has been given to me that we are not to say one word, not to publish one sentence, especially by way of personalities, unless positively essential in vindicating the truth, that will stir up our enemies against us, and arouse their passions to a white heat.... Ev 574.3

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