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Isaiah 51:4 – BibleTools.info

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Isaiah 51:4

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

By people - O my nation "O ye peoples - O ye nations" - For עמי ammi, my people, the Bodleian MS. and another read עמים ammim, ye peoples; and for לאומי leumi, my nation, the Bodleian MS. and eight others, (two of them ancient), and four of De Rossi's, read לאמים leummim, ye nations; and so the Syriac in both words. The difference is very material; for in this case the address is made not to the Jews, but to the Gentiles, as in all reason it ought to be; for this and the two following verses express the call of the Gentiles, the islands, or the distant lands on the coasts of the Mediterranean and other seas. It is also to be observed that God in no other place calls his people לאמי leummi, my nation. It has been before remarked that transcribers frequently omitted the final מ mem of nouns plural, and supplied it, for brevity's sake, and sometimes for want of room at the end of a line, by a small stroke thus /עמי ; which mark, being effaced or overlooked, has been the occasion of many mistakes of this kind.

A law shall proceed from me - The new law, the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. Kimchi says, "After the war with Gog and Magog the King Messiah will teach the people to walk in the ways of the Lord."

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Hearken unto me, my people - Lowth reads this;

Attend unto me, O ye people,

And give ear unto me, O ye nations.

The reason why he proposes this change is, that he supposes the address here is made to the Gentiles and not to the Jews, and in favor of the change he observes, that two manuscripts read it in this manner. Gesenius (Commentary) says that three codices read עמים ‛ammiym (“peoples”), instead of עמי ‛amiy (“my people”); and that thirteen MSS. read לאוּמים le'ûmiym (“nations”), instead of לאוּמי leûmiy (“my nation”). Noyes also has adopted this reading. But the authority is too slight to justify a change in the text. The Vulgate reads it in accordance with the present Hebrew text, and so substantially do the Septuagint. They render it, ‹Hear me, hear me, my people, and ye kings, give ear unto me.‘ It is not necessary to suppose any change in the text. The address is to the Jews; and the design is, to comfort them in view of the fact that the pagan would be brought to partake of the privileges and blessings of the true religion. They would not only be restored to their own land, but the true religion would be extended also to the distant nations of the earth. In view of this great and glorious truth, Yahweh calls on his people to hearken to him, and receive the glad announcement. It was a truth in which they were deeply interested, and to which they should therefore attend.

For a law shall proceed from me - The idea here is, that Yahweh would give law to the distant nations by the diffusion of the true religion.

And I will make my judgment to rest for a light - The word ‹judgment‘ here is equivalent to law, or statute, or to the institutions of the true religion. The word rendered here ‹to rest‘ (ערגיע ‛aregiya‛ from רגע râga‛ ), Lowth renders, ‹I will cause to break forth.‘ Noyes renders it, ‹I will establish.‘ The Vulgate, Requiescet - ‹Shall rest.‘ The Septuagint renders it simply, ‹My judgment for a light of the nation.‘ The word properly means ‹to make afraid,‘ to terrify, to restrain by threats; rendered ‹divideth‘ in Job 26:12; Isaiah 51:15; then, to be afraid, to shrink from fear, and hence, to be still, or quiet, as if cowering down from fear. Here it means that he would set firmly his law; he would place it so that it would be established and immovable.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The gospel of Christ shall be preached and published. How shall we escape if we neglect it? There is no salvation without righteousness. The soul shall, as to this world, vanish like smoke, and the body be thrown by like a worn-out garment. But those whose happiness is in Christ's righteousness and salvation, will have the comfort of it when time and days shall be no more. Clouds darken the sun, but do not stop its course. The believer will enjoy his portion, while revilers of Christ are in darkness
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