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Isaiah 64:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might quake at thy presence,
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Oh, that You would rend the heavens [and] come down, That the mountains might quake at Your presence—
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Oh that thou wouldst rend the heavens, that thou wouldst come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Oh, that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down,—that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Would that thou hadst rent the heavens, hadst come down,
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— Didst Thou not rend the heavens? Thou didst come down, From thy presence did mountains flow,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— O that thou wouldst rend the heavens, and wouldst come down: the mountains would melt away at thy presence.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Oh that thou wouldest rent the heauens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountaines might flowe downe at thy presence,
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— If thou wouldest open the heaven, trembling will take hold upon the mountains from thee, and they shall melt,
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Oh y3863
[3863] Standard
A conditional particle; if; by implication (interjectionally as a wish) would that!.
that x3863
(3863) Complement
A conditional particle; if; by implication (interjectionally as a wish) would that!.
thou wouldest rend 7167
{7167} Prime
A primitive root; to rend, literally or figuratively (revile, paint the eyes, as if enlarging them).
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
the heavens, 8064
{8064} Prime
The second form being dual of an unused singular; from an unused root meaning to be lofty; the sky (as aloft; the dual perhaps alluding to the visible arch in which the clouds move, as well as to the higher ether where the celestial bodies revolve).
that thou wouldest come down, 3381
{3381} Prime
A primitive root; to descend (literally to go downwards; or conventionally to a lower region, as the shore, a boundary, the enemy, etc.; or figuratively to fall); causatively to bring down (in all the above applications).
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
that the mountains 2022
{2022} Prime
A shortened form of H2042; a mountain or range of hills (sometimes used figuratively).
might flow down 2151
{2151} Prime
A primitive root (compare H2107); to shake (as in the wind), that is, to quake; figuratively to be loose morally, worthless or prodigal.
<8738> Grammar
Stem - Niphal (See H8833)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 1429
at thy presence, 6440
{6440} Prime
Plural (but always used as a singular) of an unused noun (פָּנֶה paneh, {paw-neh'}; from H6437); the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (literally and figuratively); also (with prepositional prefix) as a preposition (before, etc.).
(4480) Complement
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Isaiah 64:1

_ _ Isaiah 64:1-12. Transition from complaint to prayer.

_ _ rend ... heavens — bursting forth to execute vengeance, suddenly descending on Thy people’s foe (Psalms 18:9; Psalms 144:5; Habakkuk 3:5, Habakkuk 3:6).

_ _ flow down — (Judges 5:5; Micah 1:4).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Isaiah 64:1-5

_ _ Here, I. The petition is that God would appear wonderfully for them now, Isaiah 64:1, Isaiah 64:2. Their case was represented in the close of the foregoing chapter as very sad and very hard, and in this case it was time to cry, “Help, Lord; O that God would manifest his zeal and his strength!” They had prayed (Isaiah 63:15) that God would look down from heaven; here they pray that he would come down to deliver them, as he had said, Exodus 3:8. 1. They desire that God would in his providence manifest himself both to them and for them. When God works some extraordinary deliverance for his people he is said to shine forth, to show himself strong; so, here, they pray that he would rend the heavens and come down, as when he delivered David he is said to bow the heavens, and come down (Psalms 18:9), to display his power, and justice, and goodness, in an extraordinary manner, so that all may take notice of them and acknowledge them. This God's people desire and pray for, that they themselves having the satisfaction of seeing him though his way be in the sea, others may be made to see him when his way is in the clouds. This is applicable to the second coming of Christ, when the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. 2. They desire that he would vanquish all opposition and that it might be made to give way before him: That the mountains might flow down at thy presence, that the fire of thy wrath may burn so fiercely against thy enemies as even to dissolve the rockiest mountains and melt them down before it, as metal in the furnace, which is made liquid and cast into what shape the operator pleases; so the melting fire burns, Isaiah 64:2. Let things be put into a ferment, in order to a glorious revolution in favour of the church: As the fire causes the waters to boil. There is an allusion here, some think, to the volcanoes, or burning mountains, which sometimes send forth such sulphureous streams as make the adjacent rivers and seas to boil, which, perhaps, are left as sensible intimations of the power of God's wrath and warning — pieces of the final conflagration. 3. They desire that this may tend very much to the glory and honour of God, may make his name known, not only to his friends (they knew it before, and trusted in his power), but to his adversaries likewise, that they may know it and tremble at his presence, and may say, with the men of Bethshemesh, Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God? Who knows the power of his anger? Note, Sooner or later God will make his name known to his adversaries and force those to tremble at his presence that would not come and worship in his presence. God's name, if it be not a stronghold for us, into which we may run and be safe, will be a strong-hold against us, out of the reach of which we cannot run and be safe. The day will come when nations shall be made to tremble at the presence of God, though they be ever so numerous and strong.

_ _ II. The plea is that God had appeared wonderfully for his people formerly; and thou hast, therefore thou wilt, is good arguing at the throne of grace, Psalms 10:17.

_ _ 1. They plead what he had done for his people Israel in particular when he brought them out of Egypt, Isaiah 64:3. He then did terrible things in the plagues of Egypt, which they looked not for; they despaired of deliverance, so far were they from any thought of being delivered with such a high hand and outstretched arm. Then he came down upon Mount Sinai in such terror as made that and the adjacent mountains to flow down at his presence, to skip like rams (Psalms 114:4), to tremble, so that they were scattered and the perpetual hills were made to bow, Habakkuk 3:6. In the many great salvations God wrought for that people he did terrible things which they looked not for, made great men, that seemed as stately and strong as mountains, to fall before him, and great opposition to give way. See Judges 5:4, Judges 5:5; Psalms 68:7, Psalms 68:8. Some refer this to the defeat of Sennacherib's powerful army, which was as surprising an instance of the divine power as the melting down of rocks and mountains would be.

_ _ 2. They plead what God had been used to do, and had declared his gracious purpose to do, for his people in general. The provision he has made for the safety and happiness of his people, even of all those that seek him, and serve him, and trust in him, is very rich and very ready, so that they need not fear being either disappointed of it, for it is sure, or disappointed in it, for it is sufficient.

_ _ (1.) It is very rich, Isaiah 64:4. Men have not heard nor seen what God has prepared for those that wait for him. Observe the character of God's people; they are such as wait for him in the way of duty, wait for the salvation he has promised and designed for them. Observe where the happiness of this people is bound up; it is what God has prepared for them, what he has designed for them in his counsel and is in his providence and grace preparing for them and preparing them for, what he has done or will do, so it may be read. Some of the Jewish doctors have understood this of the blessings reserved for the days of the Messiah, and to them the apostle applies these words; and others extend them to the glories of the world to come. It is all that goodness which God has laid up for those that fear him, and wrought for those that trust in him, Psalms 31:19. Of this it is here said that since the beginning of the world, in the most prying and inquisitive ages of it, men have not, either by hearing or seeing, the two learning senses, come to the full knowledge of it. None have seen, nor heard, nor can understand, but God himself, what the provision is that is made for the present and future felicity of holy souls. For, [1.] Much of it was concealed in former ages; they knew it not, because the unsearchable riches of Christ were hidden in God, were hidden from the wise and prudent; but in latter ages they were revealed by the gospel; so the apostle applies this (1 Corinthians 2:9), for it follows (Isaiah 64:10), But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit; compare Romans 16:25, Romans 16:26, with Ephesians 3:9. That which men had not heard since the beginning of the world they should hear before the end of it, and at the end of it should see, when the veil shall be rent to introduce the glory that is yet to be revealed. God himself knew what he had in store for believers, but none knew besides him. [2.] It cannot be fully comprehended by the human understanding, no, not when it is revealed; it is spiritual, and refined from those ideas which our minds are most apt to receive in this world of sense; it is very great, and will far outdo the utmost of our expectations. Even the present peace of believers, much more their future bliss, is such as surpasses all conception and expression, Philippians 4:7. None can comprehend it but God himself, whose understanding is infinite. Some give another reading of these words, referring the transcendency, not so much to the work itself as to the author of it: Neither has the eye seen a god besides thee, who doth so (or has done or can do so) for him that waits for him. We must infer from God's works of wonderous grace, as well as from his works of wondrous power, from the kind things, as well as from the great things, he does, that there is no god like him, nor any among the sons of the mighty to be compared with him.

_ _ (2.) It is very ready (Isaiah 64:5): “Thou meetest him that rejoices and works righteousness, meetest him with that good which thou hast prepared for him (Isaiah 64:4), and dost not forget those that remember thee in thy ways.” See here what communion there is between a gracious God and a gracious soul. [1.] What God expects from us, in order to our having communion with him. First, We must make conscience of doing our duty in every thing, we must work righteousness, must do that which is good and which the Lord our God requires of us, and must do it well. Secondly, We must be cheerful in doing our duty, we must rejoice and work righteousness, must delight ourselves in God and in his law, must be cheerful in his service and sing at our work. God loves a cheerful giver, a cheerful worshipper. We must serve the Lord with gladness. Thirdly, We must conform ourselves to all the methods of his providence concerning us and be suitably affected with them, must remember him in his ways, in all the ways wherein he walks, whether he walks towards us or walks contrary to us. We must mind him and make mention of him with thanksgiving when his ways are ways of mercy (in a day of prosperity be joyful), with patience and submission when he contends with us. In the way of thy judgments we have waited for thee; for in a day of adversity we must consider. [2.] We are here told what we may expect from God if we thus attend him in the way of duty: Thou meetest him. This intimates the friendship, fellowship, and familiarity to which God admits his people; he meets them, to converse with them, to manifest himself to them, and to receive their addresses, Exodus 20:24; Exodus 29:43. It likewise intimates his freeness and forwardness in doing them good; he will anticipate them with the blessings of his goodness, will rejoice to do good to those that rejoice in working righteousness, and wait to be gracious to those that wait for him. He meets his penitent people with a pardon, as the father of the prodigal met his returning son, Luke 15:20. He meets his praying people with an answer of peace, while they are yet speaking, Isaiah 65:24.

_ _ 3. They plead the unchangeableness of God's favour and the stability of his promise, notwithstanding the sins of his people and his displeasure against them for their sins: “Behold, thou hast many a time been wroth with us because we have sinned, and we have been under the tokens of thy wrath; but in those, those ways of thine, the ways of mercy in which we have remembered thee, in those is continuance,” or “in those thou art ever” (his mercy endures for ever), “and therefore we shall at last be saved, though thou art wroth, and we have sinned.” This agrees with the tenour of God's covenant, that, if we forsake the law, he will visit our transgression with a rod, but his lovingkindness he will not utterly take away, his covenant he will not break (Psalms 89:30, etc.), and by this his people have been many a time saved from ruin when they were just upon the brink of it; see Psalms 78:38. And by this continuance of the covenant we hope to be saved, for its being an everlasting covenant is all our salvation. Though God has been angry with us for our sins, and justly, yet his anger has endured but for a moment and has been soon over; but in his favour is life, because in it is continuance; in the ways of his favour he proceeds and perseveres, and on that we depend for our salvation, see Isaiah 54:7, Isaiah 54:8. It is well for us that our hopes of salvation are built not upon any merit or sufficiency of our own (for in that there is no certainty, even Adam in innocency did not abide), but upon God's mercies and promises, for in those, we are sure, is continuance.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Isaiah 64:1

Rent — A metaphor taken from men, that when they would resolutely help one in distress, break and fling open doors and whatever may hinder. Flow down — That all impediments might be removed out of the way: possibly an allusion to God's coming down upon mount Sinai, in those terrible flames of fire.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Isaiah 64:1

O that thou wouldest (a) rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,

(a) The prophet continues his prayer, desiring God to declare his love toward his Church by miracles and mighty power, as he did in mount Sinai.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
Oh that:

Psalms 18:7-15 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth. ... Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.
Psalms 144:5-6 Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. ... Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them.
Mark 1:10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:

that thou wouldest come:

Isaiah 63:15 Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where [is] thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?
Exodus 3:8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
Exodus 19:11 And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.
Exodus 19:18-19 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. ... And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.
Micah 1:3-4 For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth. ... And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, [and] as the waters [that are] poured down a steep place.
Habakkuk 3:1-13 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth. ... Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, [even] for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah.

that the:

Judges 5:4-5 LORD, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water. ... The mountains melted from before the LORD, [even] that Sinai from before the LORD God of Israel.
Psalms 46:6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
Psalms 68:8 The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: [even] Sinai itself [was moved] at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
Psalms 114:4-7 The mountains skipped like rams, [and] the little hills like lambs. ... Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob;
Amos 9:5 And the Lord GOD of hosts [is] he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn: and it shall rise up wholly like a flood; and shall be drowned, as [by] the flood of Egypt.
Amos 9:13 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.
Nahum 1:5-6 The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. ... Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.
2 Peter 3:10-12 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. ... Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
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Ex 3:8; 19:11, 18. Jg 5:4. Ps 18:7; 46:6; 68:8; 114:4; 144:5. Is 63:15. Am 9:5, 13. Mi 1:3. Na 1:5. Hab 3:1. Mk 1:10. 2P 3:10. Rv 20:11.

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