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Isaiah 59:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Behold, Jehovah's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Behold, the LORD’S hand is not so short That it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Behold, Jehovah's hand is not shortened that it cannot save, neither his ear heavy that it cannot hear;
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Lo! the hand of Yahweh is not too short, to save,—Neither is his ear too heavy, to hear.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— Lo, the hand of Jehovah Hath not been shortened from saving, Nor heavy his ear from hearing.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Behold the hand of the Lord is not shortened that it cannot save, neither is his ear heavy that it cannot hear.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Beholde, the LORDS hand is not shortened, that it cannot saue: neither his eare heauie, that it cannot heare.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— Has the hand of the Lord no power to save? or has he made his ear heavy, so that he should not hear?
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Behold, Yahweh's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Behold, 2005
{2005} Prime
A primitive particle; lo! also (as expressing surprise) if.
Yhw's יָהוֶה 3068
{3068} Prime
From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God.
hand 3027
{3027} Prime
A primitive word; a hand (the open one (indicating power, means, direction, etc.), in distinction from H3709, the closed one); used (as noun, adverb, etc.) in a great variety of applications, both literally and figuratively, both proximate and remote.
is not x3808
(3808) Complement
lo; a primitive particle; not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles.
shortened, 7114
{7114} Prime
A primitive root; to dock off, that is, curtail (transitively or intransitively, literally or figuratively); especially to harvest (grass or grain).
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
that it cannot save; 3467
{3467} Prime
A primitive root; properly to be open, wide or free, that is, (by implication) to be safe; causatively to free or succor.
<8687> Grammar
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 1162
(4480) Complement
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
neither x3808
(3808) Complement
lo; a primitive particle; not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles.
his ear 241
{0241} Prime
From H0238; broadness, that is, (concretely) the ear (from its form in man).
heavy, 3513
{3513} Prime
A primitive root; to be heavy, that is, in a bad sense (burdensome, severe, dull) or in a good sense (numerous, rich, honorable); causatively to make weighty (in the same two senses).
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
that it cannot hear: 8085
{8085} Prime
A primitive root; to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.; causatively to tell, etc.).
<8800> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 4888
(4480) Complement
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Isaiah 59:1

_ _ Isaiah 59:1-21. The people’s sin the cause of judgments: They at last own it themselves: The Redeemer’s future interposition in their extremity.

_ _ The reason why Jehovah does not deliver His people, notwithstanding their religious services (Isaiah 58:3), is not want of power on His part, but because of their sins (Isaiah 59:1-8); Isaiah 59:9-15 contain their confession; Isaiah 59:16-21, the consequent promise of the Messiah.

_ _ hand ... shortened — (See on Isaiah 50:2).

_ _ ear heavy — (Isaiah 6:10).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Isaiah 59:1-8

_ _ The prophet here rectifies the mistake of those who had been quarrelling with God because they had not the deliverances wrought for them which they had been often fasting and praying for, Isaiah 58:3. Now here he shows,

_ _ I. That it was not owing to God. They had no reason to lay the fault upon him that they were not saved out of the hands of their enemies; for, 1. He was still as able to help as ever: His hand is not shortened, his power is not at all lessened, straitened, or abridged. Whether we consider the extent of his power or the efficacy of it, God can reach as far as ever and with as strong a hand as ever. Note, The church's salvation comes from the hand of God, and that has not waxed weak nor is it at all shortened. Has the Lord's hand waxed short? (says God to Moses, Numbers 11:23). No, it has not; he will not have it thought so. Neither length of time nor strength of enemies, no, nor weakness of instruments, can shorten or straiten the power of God, with which it is all one to save by many or by few. 2. He was still as ready and willing to help as ever in answer to prayer: His ear is not heavy, that it cannot hear. Though he has many prayers to hear and answer, and though he has been long hearing prayer, yet he is still as ready to hear prayer as ever. The prayer of the upright is as much his delight as ever it was, and the promises which are pleaded and put in suit in prayer are still yea and amen, inviolably sure. More is implied than is expressed; not only his ear is not heavy, but he is quick of hearing. Even before they call he answers, Isaiah 65:24. If your prayers be not answered, and the salvation we wait for be not wrought for us, it is not because God is weary of hearing prayer, but because we are weary of praying, not because his ear is heavy when we speak to him, but because our ears are heavy when he speaks to us.

_ _ II. That it was owing to themselves; they stood in their own light and put a bar in their own door. God was coming towards them in ways of mercy and they hindered him. Your iniquities have kept good things from you, Jeremiah 5:25.

_ _ 1. See what mischief sin does. (1.) It hinders God's mercies from coming down upon us; it is a partition wall that separates between us and God. Notwithstanding the infinite distance that is between God and man by nature, there was a correspondence settled between them, till sin set them at variance, justly provoked God against man and unjustly alienated man from God; thus it separates between them and God. “He is your God, yours in profession, and therefore there is so much the more malignity and mischievousness in sin, which separates between you and him.” Sin hides his face from us (which denotes great displeasure, Deuteronomy 31:17); it provokes him in anger to withdraw his gracious presence, to suspend the tokens of his favour and the instances of his help; he hides his face, as refusing to be seen or spoken with. See here sin in its colours, sin exceedingly sinful, withdrawing the creature from his allegiance to his Creator; and see sin in its consequences, sin exceedingly hurtful, separating us from God, and so separating us not only from all good, but to all evil (Deuteronomy 29:21), which is the very quintessence of the curse. (2.) It hinders our prayers from coming up unto God; it provokes him to hide his face, that he will not hear, as he has said, Isaiah 1:15. If we regard iniquity in our heart, if we indulge it and allow ourselves in it, God will not hear our prayers, Psalms 66:18. We cannot expect that he should countenance us while we go on to affront him.

_ _ 2. Now, to justify God in hiding his face from them, and proceeding in his controversy with them, the prophet shows very largely, in the following verses, how many and great their iniquities were, according to the charge given him (Isaiah 58:1), to show God's people their transgressions; and it is a black bill of indictment that is here drawn up against them, consisting of many particulars, any one of which was enough to separate between them and a just and a holy God. Let us endeavour to reduce these articles of impeachment to proper heads.

_ _ (1.) We must begin with their thoughts, for there all sin begins, and thence it takes its rise: Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, Isaiah 59:7. Their imaginations are so, only evil continually. Their projects and designs are so; they are continually contriving some mischief or other, and how to compass the gratification of some base lust (Isaiah 59:4): They conceive mischief in their fancy, purpose, counsel, and resolution (thus the embryo receives its shape and life), and then they bring forth iniquity, put it in execution when it is ripened for it. Though it is in pain perhaps that the iniquity is brought forth, through the oppositions of Providences and the checks of their own consciences, yet, when they have compassed their wicked purpose, they look upon it with as much pride and pleasure as if it were a man-child born into the world; thus, when lust has conceived, it bringeth forth sin, James 1:15. This is called (Isaiah 59:5) hatching the cockatrice' egg and weaving the spider's web. See how the thoughts and contrivances of wicked men are employed, and about what they set their wits on work. [1.] At the best it is about that which is foolish and frivolous. Their thoughts are vain, like weaving the spider's web, which the poor silly animal takes a great deal of pains about, and, when all is done, it is a weak insignificant thing, a reproach to the place where it is, and which the besom sweeps away in an instant: such are the thoughts which worldly men entertain themselves with, building castles in the air, and pleasing themselves with imaginary satisfaction, like the spider, which takes hold with her hands very finely (Proverbs 30:28), but cannot keep her hold. [2.] Too often it is about that which is malicious and spiteful. They hatch the eggs of the cockatrice or adder, which are poisonous and produce venomous creatures; such are the thoughts of the wicked who delight in doing mischief. He that eats of their eggs (that is, he is in danger of having some mischief or other done him), and that which is crushed in order to be eaten of, or which begins to be hatched and you promise yourself some useful fowl from it, breaks out into a viper, which you meddle with at your peril. Happy are those that have least to do with such men. Even the spider's web which they wove was woven with a spiteful design to catch flies in and make a prey of them; for, rather than not be doing mischief, they will play at small game.

_ _ (2.) Out of this abundance of wickedness in the heart their mouth speaks, and yet it does not always speak out the wickedness that is within, but, for the more effectually compassing the mischievous design, it is dissembled and covered with much fair speech (Isaiah 59:3): Your lips have spoken lies; and again (Isaiah 59:4), They speak lies, pretending kindness where they intend the greatest mischief; or by slanders and false accusations they blasted the credit and reputation of those they had a spite to and so did them a real mischief unseen, and perhaps by suborning witnesses against them took from them their estates and lives; for a false tongue is sharp arrows, and coals of juniper, and every thing that is mischievous. Your tongue has muttered perverseness. When they could not, for shame, speak their malice against their neighbours aloud, or durst not, for fear of being disproved and put to confusion, they muttered it secretly. Backbiters are called whisperers.

_ _ (3.) Their actions were all of a piece with their thoughts and words. They were guilty of shedding innocent blood, a crime of the most heinous nature: Your hands are defiled with blood (Isaiah 59:3); for blood is defiling; it leaves an indelible stain of guilt upon the conscience, which nothing but the blood of Christ can cleanse it from. Now was this a case of surprise, or one that occurred when there was something of a force put upon them; but (Isaiah 59:7) their feet ran to this evil, naturally and eagerly, and, hurried on by the impetus of their malice and revenge, they made haste to shed innocent blood, as if they were afraid of losing an opportunity to do a barbarous thing, Proverbs 1:16; Jeremiah 22:17. Wasting and destruction are in their paths. Wherever they go they carry mischief along with them, and the tendency of their way is to lay waste and destroy, nor do they care what havoc they make. Nor do they only thirst after blood, but with other iniquities are their fingers defiled (Isaiah 59:3); they wrong people in their estates and make every thing their own that they can lay their hands on. They trust in vanity (Isaiah 59:4); they depend upon their arts of cozenage to enrich themselves with, which will prove vanity to them, and their deceiving others will but deceive themselves. Their works, which they take so much pains about and have their hearts so much upon, are all works of iniquity; their whole business is one continued course of oppressions and vexations, and the act of violence is in their hands, according to the arts of violence that are in their heads and the thoughts of violence in their hearts.

_ _ (4.) No methods are taken to redress these grievances, and reform these abuses (Isaiah 59:4): None calls for justice, none complains of the violation of the sacred laws of justice, nor seeks to right those that suffer wrong or to get the laws put in execution against vice and profaneness, and those lewd practices which are the shame, and threaten to be the bane, of the nation. Note, When justice is not done there is blame to be laid not only upon the magistrates that should administer justice, but upon the people that should call for it. Private persons ought to contribute to the public good by discovering secret wickedness, and giving those an opportunity to punish it that have the power of doing so in their hands; but it is ill with a state when princes rule ill and the people love to have it so. Truth is opposed, and there is not any that pleads for it, not any that has the conscience and courage to appear in defence of an honest cause, and confront a prosperous fraud and wrong. The way of peace is as little regarded as the way of truth; they know it not, that is, they never study the things that make for peace, no care is taken to prevent or punish the breaches of the peace and to accommodate matters in difference among neighbours; they are utter strangers to every thing that looks quiet and peaceable, and affect that which is blustering and turbulent. There is no judgment in their goings; they have not any sense of justice in their dealings; it is a thing they make no account of at all, but can easily break through all its fences if they stand in the way of their malicious covetous designs.

_ _ (5.) In all this they act foolishly, very foolishly, and as much against their interest as against reason and equity. Those that practise iniquity trust in vanity, which will certainly deceive them, Isaiah 59:4. Their webs, which they weave with so much art and industry, shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves, either for shelter or for ornament, with their works, Isaiah 59:6. They may do hurt to others with their projects, but can never do any real service or kindness to themselves by them. There is nothing to be got by sin, and so it will appear when profit and loss come to be compared. Those paths of iniquity are crooked paths (Isaiah 59:8), which will perplex them, but will never bring them to their journey's end; whoever go therein, though they say that they shall have peace notwithstanding they go on, deceive themselves; for they shall not know peace, as appears by the following verses.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

[[no comment]]

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

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Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
the LORD'S[YHWH's]:

Isaiah 50:2 Wherefore, when I came, [was there] no man? when I called, [was there] none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because [there is] no water, and dieth for thirst.
Genesis 18:14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
Numbers 11:23 And the LORD said unto Moses, Is the LORD'S hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.
Jeremiah 32:17 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, [and] there is nothing too hard for thee:

that it cannot save:

Isaiah 63:1 Who [is] this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this [that is] glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.
Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

his ear:

Isaiah 6:10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.
Matthew 13:15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
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Gn 18:14. Nu 11:23. Is 6:10; 50:2; 63:1. Jr 32:17. Mt 13:15. He 7:25.

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