Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 66:12

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Like a river, and - like a flowing stream "Like the great river, and like the overflowing stream" - That is, the Euphrates, (it ought to have been pointed כנהר cannahar, ut fluvius ille, as the river), and the Nile.

Then shall ye suck "And ye shall suck at the breast" - These two words שד על al shad, at the breast, seem to have been omitted in the present text, from their likeness to the two words following; צד על al tsad, at the side. A very probable conjecture of Houbigant. The Chaldee and Vulgate have omitted the two latter words instead of the two former. See note on Isaiah 60:4; (note).

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For thus saith the Lord - This verse contains a promise of the conversion of the Gentiles, and the fact that what constituted their glory would be brought and consecrated to the church of God.

I will extend - The word rendered, I will extend (נטה nâṭâh ) means properly to stretch out, as the hand or a measure; then to spread out or expand, as a tent is spread out, to which it is often applied Genesis 12:8; Genesis 26:5; or to the heavens spread out over our heads like a tent or a curtain Isaiah 40:22. Here it may mean either that peace would be spread out over the country like the Nile or Euphrates spread out over a vast region in an inundation; or it may mean, as Gesenius supposes, ‹I will turn peace upon her like a river; that is, as a stream is turned in its course.‘ To me it seems that the former is the correct interpretation; and that the idea is, that God would bring prosperity upon Zion like a broad majestic river overflowing all its banks, and producing abundant fertility.

Peace - A general word denoting prosperity of all kinds - a favorite word with Isaiah to describe the future happiness of the church of God (see Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 26:12; Isaiah 32:17; Isaiah 45:7; Isaiah 48:18; Isaiah 52:7; Isaiah 54:13; Isaiah 55:12; Isaiah 57:19).

Like a river - That is, says Lowth like the Euphrates. So the Chaldee interprets it. But there is no evidence that the prophet refers particularly to the Euphrates. The image is that suggested above - of a river that flows full, and spreads over the banks - at once an image of sublimity, and a striking emblem of great prosperity. This same image occurs in Isaiah 48:18. See the note at that place.

And the glory of the Gentiles - (See the notes at Isaiah 60:5, Isaiah 60:11).

Like a flowing stream - Like the Nile, says Vitringa. But the word נחל nachal is not commonly applied to a river like the Nile; but to a torrent, a brook, a rivulet - either as flowing from a perennial fountain, or more commonly a stream running in a valley that is swelled often by rain, or by the melting of snows in the mountain (see Reland‘s Palestine, chapter xlv.) Such is the idea here. The peace or prosperity of Zion would be like such a swollen stream - a stream overflowing (שׁוטף shôṭēph ) its banks.

Then shall ye suck - Isaiah 66:11.

Ye shall be borne upon her sides - See this phrase explained in the notes at Isaiah 60:4.

And be dandled upon her knees - As a child is by its nurse or mother. The idea is, that the tenderest care would be exercised for the church; the same care which an affectionate mother evinces for her children. The insertion of the word ‹her‘ here by our translators weakens the sense. The meaning is, not that they should be borne upon the sides and dandled upon the knees of Zion or of the church; but that God would manifest to them the feelings of a parent, and treat them with the tenderness which a mother evinces for her children. As a mother nurses her children at her side (compare the notes at Isaiah 60:4), so would God tenderly provide for the church; as she affectionately dandles her children on her knees, so tenderly and affectionately would he regard Zion.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The prophet turns to those that trembled at God's word, to comfort and encourage them. The Lord will appear, to the joy of the humble believer, and to the confusion of hypocrites and persecutors. When the Spirit was poured out, and the gospel went forth from Zion, multitudes were converted in a little time. The word of God, especially his promises, and ordinances, are the consolations of the church. The true happiness of all Christians is increased by every convert brought to Christ. The gospel brings with it, wherever it is received in its power, such a river of peace, as will carry us to the ocean of boundless and endless bliss. Divine comforts reach the inward man; the joy of the Lord will be the strength of the believer. Both God's mercy and justice shall be manifested, and for ever magnified.
Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 374

Looking on still farther through the ages, the prophet beheld the literal fulfillment of these glorious promises. He saw the bearers of the glad tidings of salvation going to the ends of the earth, to every kindred and people. He heard the Lord saying of the gospel church, “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream;” and he heard the commission, “Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles.” Isaiah 66:12; 54:2, 3. PK 374.1

Jehovah declared to the prophet that He would send His witnesses “unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, ... to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off.” Isaiah 66:19. PK 374.2

“How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings,
That publisheth peace;
That bringeth good tidings of good,
That publisheth salvation;
That saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”
PK 374.3

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 17.3

My peace was like a river, I seemed to be shut in with God, in sweet communion with Him through my waking and sleeping hours. What high and holy privileges seemed to be mine in the love of Jesus, His life and His guardianship.... TDG 17.3

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 346.2

Although I did not have good sleep during the night, my peace was like a river. The love of Jesus grows in my heart, and I do love Him, and my heart flows out in grateful thanksgiving. The preciousness of divine truth presents itself with such clearness and force to my mind that I long to express it to all that I can reach to comfort, and encourage them with the consolation wherewith I myself also am comforted. I feel not the slightest depression of spirits. Pleasant views and ideas present themselves to me like precious views of gold, and my heart is all aglow and I feel an ardor of soul that seems longing to express itself. TDG 346.2

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