Isaiah 38:12
Mine age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd's tent: I have cut off like a weaver my life: he will cut me off with pining sickness: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me.
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(12) Mine age is departed . . .—Better, my home, or habitation . . . as in Psalm 49:19, and thus fitting in better with the similitude that follows. The “home” is, of course, the body, as the dwelling-place of the spirit. (Comp. Psalm 52:5, “hurl thee away tentless,” Heb., and Job 21:28, “Is not their tent-cord torn away?” Heb.) The “shepherd’s tent” is the type of a transitory home (2Corinthians 5:1-4).

I have cut off like a weaver my life . . .—The words express the feeling of one who had been weaving the web of his life with varied plans and counsels (comp. Isaiah 30:1), and now had to roll it up, as finished before its time, because Jehovah had taken up the “abhorred shears” to cut it from the thrum, which takes the place of “with pining sickness.” There is, perhaps, a tone of reverence in the impersonal form of the statement. The sufferer will not name Jehovah as the author of his trouble.

From day even to night.—The words speak of the rapidity rather than of the prolongation of suffering. The sick man expects that death will come before the morrow’s dawn.

Isaiah 38:12. Mine age is departed — The time of my life is expired; and is removed as a shepherd’s tent — Which is easily and speedily removed: I have cut off — Namely, by my sins, provoking God to do it; or, I have concluded, and declare that my life is, or will be, soon cut off: for men are often said, in the Scriptures, to do those things that they only declare and pronounce to be done; like a weaver my life — Who cutteth off the web from the loom, either when it is finished, or before, according to his pleasure. He — God; will cut me off with pining sickness — With a consuming disease, wasting my spirits and life; from day, even till night, wilt thou make an end of me — That is, either, 1st, This sickness will kill me in the space of one day; or, 2d, Thou dost pursue me night and day with continual pains, and wilt not cease till thou hast made a full end of me; so that I expect every day will be my last day. Bishop Lowth translates this verse: “My habitation is taken away, and is removed from me, like a shepherd’s tent: my life is cut off, as by the weaver; he will sever me from the loom; in the course of the day thou wilt finish my web.” Vitringa and Dr. Waterland read the verse nearly in the same manner, considering the similitude of the weaver as being continued to the end of it.

38:9-22 We have here Hezekiah's thanksgiving. It is well for us to remember the mercies we receive in sickness. Hezekiah records the condition he was in. He dwells upon this; I shall no more see the Lord. A good man wishes not to live for any other end than that he may serve God, and have communion with him. Our present residence is like that of a shepherd in his hut, a poor, mean, and cold lodging, and with a trust committed to our charge, as the shepherd has. Our days are compared to the weaver's shuttle, Job 7:6, passing and repassing very swiftly, every throw leaving a thread behind it; and when finished, the piece is cut off, taken out of the loom, and showed to our Master to be judged of. A good man, when his life is cut off, his cares and fatigues are cut off with it, and he rests from his labours. But our times are in God's hand; he has appointed what shall be the length of the piece. When sick, we are very apt to calculate our time, but are still at uncertainty. It should be more our care how we shall get safe to another world. And the more we taste of the loving-kindness of God, the more will our hearts love him, and live to him. It was in love to our poor perishing souls that Christ delivered them. The pardon does not make the sin not to have been sin, but not to be punished as it deserves. It is pleasant to think of our recoveries from sickness, when we see them flowing from the pardon of sin. Hezekiah's opportunity to glorify God in this world, he made the business, and pleasure, and end of life. Being recovered, he resolves to abound in praising and serving God. God's promises are not to do away, but to quicken and encourage the use of means. Life and health are given that we may glorify God and do good.Mine age - The word which is used here (דור dôr) means properly the revolving period or circle of human life. The parallelism seems to demand, however, that it should be used in the sense of dwelling or habitation, so as to correspond with the 'shepherd's tent.' Accordingly, Lowth and Noyes render it, 'Habitation.' So also do Gesenius and Rosenmuller. The Arabic word has this signification; and the Hebrew verb דור dûr also means "to dwell, to remain," as in the Chaldee. Here the word means a dwelling, or habitation; that is, a tent, as the habitations of the Orientals were mostly tents.

Is departed - (נסע nı̂ssa‛). The idea here is, that his dwelling was to be transferred from one place to another, as when a tent or encampment was broken up; that is, he was about to cease to dwell on the earth, and to dwell in the land of silence, or among the dead.

From me as a shepherd's tent - As suddenly as the tent of a shepherd is taken down, folded up, and transferred to another place. There is doubtless the idea here that he would continue to exist, but in another place, as the shepherd would pitch his tent or dwell in another place. He was to be cut off from the earth, but he expected to dwell among the dead. The whole passage conveys the idea that he expected to dwell in another state - as the shepherd dwells in another place when he strikes his tent, and it is removed.

I have cut off like a weaver my life - This is another image designed to express substantially the same idea. The sense is, as a weaver takes his web from the loom by cutting the warp, or the threads which bind it to the beam, and thus loosens it and takes it away, so his life was to be cut off. When it is said, 'I cut off' (קפדתי qipadetiy), the idea is, doubtless, I AM cut off; or my life is cut off. Hezekiah here speaks of himself as the agent, because he might have felt that his sins and unworthiness were the cause. Life is often spoken of as a web that is woven, because an advance is constantly made in filling up the web, and because it is soon finished, and is then cut off.

He will cut me off - God was about to cut me off.

With pining sickness - Margin, 'From the thrum.' Lowth, 'From the loom.' The word דלה dalâh means properly something hanging down or pendulous; anything pliant or slender. Hence, it denotes hair or locks Sol 7:6. Here it seems to denote the threads or thrums which tied the web to the weaver's beam. The image here denotes the cutting off of life as the weaver cuts his web out of the loom, or as he cuts off thrums. The word never means sickness.

From day even to night - That is, in the space of a single day, or between morning and night - as a weaver with a short web accomplishes it in a single day. The disease of Hezekiah was doubtless the pestilence; and the idea is, that God would cut him off speedily, as it were in a single day.

Wilt thou make an end of me - Hebrew, 'Wilt thou perfect' or 'finish' me; that is, wilt thou take my life.

12. age—rather, as the parallel "shepherd's tent" requires habitation, so the Arabic [Gesenius].

departed—is broken up, or shifted, as a tent to a different locality. The same image occurs (2Co 5:1; 2Pe 1:12, 13). He plainly expects to exist, and not cease to be in another state; as the shepherd still lives, after he has struck his tent and removed elsewhere.

I have cut off—He attributes to himself that which is God's will with respect to him; because he declares that will. So Jeremiah is said to "root out" kingdoms, because he declares God's purpose of doing so (Jer 1:10). The weaver cuts off his web from the loom when completed. Job 7:6 has a like image. The Greeks represented the Fates as spinning and cutting off the threads of each man's life.


with pining sickness—rather, "from the thrum," or thread, which tied the loom to the weaver's beam.

from day … to night—that is, in the space of a single day between morning and night (Job 4:20).

Mine age is departed; the time of my life is expired.

As a shepherd’s tent, which is easily and speedily removed.

I have cut off, to wit, by my sins, provoking God to do it. Or, I do declare, and have concluded, that my life is or will be suddenly cut off; for men are oft said in Scripture to do those things which they only declare and pronounce to be done; as men are said to pollute, and to remit and retain sins, and the like, when they only declare men and things to be polluted, and sins to be remitted or retained by God.

Like a weaver, who cutteth off the web from the loom, either when it is finished, or before, according to his pleasure.

He; the Lord, who pronounced this sentence against him.

With pining sickness; with a consuming disease, wasting my spirits and life. Some render this word, from the thrum; from those threads at the end of the web, which are fastened to the beam. So the similitude of a weaver is continued.

From day even to night wilt thou make an end of me: the sense is either,

1. This sickness will kill me in the space of one day. Or rather,

2. Thou dost pursue me night and day with continual pains, and wilt not desist till thou hast made a full end of me; so that I expect that every day will be my last day.

Mine age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd's tent,.... Or, my habitation (k); meaning the earthly house of his tabernacle, his body; this was just going, in his apprehension, to be unpinned, and removed like a shepherd's tent, that is easily taken down, and removed from place to place. Some understand it of the men of his age or generation; so the Targum,

"from the children of my generation my days are taken away; they are cut off, and removed from me; they are rolled up as a shepherd's tent;''

which being made of skins, as tents frequently were, such as the Arabian shepherds used, were soon taken down, and easily rolled and folded up and carried elsewhere:

I have cut off like a weaver my life; who, when he has finished his web, or a part of it, as he pleases, cuts it off from the loom, and disposes of it: this Hezekiah ascribes to himself, either that by reason of his sins and transgressions he was the cause of his being taken away by death so soon; or this was the thought he had within himself, that his life would now be cut off, as the weaver's web from the loom; for otherwise he knew that it was the Lord that would do it, whenever it was, as in the next clause:

he will cut me off with pining sickness; which was now upon him, wasting and consuming him apace: or, "will cut me off from the thrum" (l); keeping on the metaphor of the weaver cutting off his web from the thrum, fastened to the beam of his loom:

from day even tonight wilt thou make an end of me; he means the Lord by "he" in the preceding clause, and in this he addresses him; signifying that the affliction was so sharp and heavy upon him, which was the first day of it, that he did not expect to live till night, but that God would put a period to his days, fill them up, and finish his life, and dispatch him out of this world.

(k) "habitatio mea", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius. (l) "a liciis resecturus est me", Piscator; "a primis filis resecat me", Vitringa.

My age hath departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd's tent: I {i} have cut off like a weaver my life: he will cut me off with pining sickness: from day even {k} to night wilt thou make an end of me.

(i) By my sin I have provoked God to take my life from me.

(k) That is, in one day, or shortly.

12. Figures setting forth the utter frustration of his hope of life. The first is that of a nomad’s tent, easily pitched and soon removed.

Mine age is departed] Render: My habitation is plucked up (Cheyne). The sense “habitation” is Aramaic and Arabic, and does not occur again in the Bible (but see on ch. Isaiah 53:8). Elsewhere the word means “generation,” in the sense of “contemporaries,” which is obviously unsuitable here. Then follow two figures from weaving.

I have cut off] Rather: I have rolled up (R.V.) as the weaver does the finished web. with pining sickness] should be (as in R.V. marg.) from the thrum, the threads by which the web is attached to the loom.

from day even to night] i.e. apparently “within twenty-four hours.”

Verse 12. - Mine age is departed; rather, my dwelling is plucked up. The body seems to be viewed as the dwelling-place of the soul. Hezekiah's is to be taken from him, and carried far away, like a shepherd's tent, while he, his true self, i.e. his soul, is left bare and naked (comp. 2 Corinthians 5:1-4). I have cut off like a weaver my life; rather, I have rolled up, like a weaver, my life. The careful weaver rolls up the web, as it advances, to keep it clean and free from dust. Hezekiah had been equally careful of his life; he had about half finished it, when lo! "Jehovah takes up the fatal scissors" (Cheyne), and severs the unfinished cloth from the loom (compare the Greek myth of Clotho, Laehesis, and Atropos). With pining sickness; rather, as in the margin, from the thrum. The "thrum" is the portion of the warp which adjoins the upper bar of the loom. Isaiah 38:12Strophe 1 consists indisputably of seven lines:

"I said, In quiet of my days shall I depart into the gates of Hades:

I am mulcted of the rest of my years.

I said, I shall not see Jah, Jah, in the land of the living:

I shall behold man no more, with the inhabitants of the regions of the dead.

My home is broken up, and is carried off from me like a shepherd's tent:

I rolled up my life like a weaver; He would have cut me loose from the roll:

From day to night Thou makest an end of me."

"In quiet of my days" is equivalent to, in the midst of the quiet course of a healthy life, and is spoken without reference to the Assyrian troubles, which still continued. דּמי, from דּמה, to be quiet, lit., to be even, for the radical form דם has the primary idea of a flat covering, of something stroked smooth, of that which is level and equal, so that it could easily branch out into the different ideas of aequabilitas, equality of measure, aequitas, equanimity, aequitas, equality, and also of destruction equals complanatio, levelling. On the cohortative, in the sense of that which is to be, see Ewald, 228, a; אלכה, according to its verbal idea, has the same meaning as in Psalm 39:14 and 2 Chronicles 21:20; and the construction with בּ ( equals ואבואה אלכה) is constructio praegnans (Luzzatto). The pual פּקּדתּי does not mean, "I am made to want" (Rashi, Knobel, and others), which, as the passive of the causative, would rather be הפקשׂדתּי, like הנסהלתּי, I am made to inherit (Job 7:3); but, I am visited with punishment as to the remnant, mulcted of the remainder, deprived, as a punishment, of the rest of my years. The clause, "Jah in the land of the living," i.e., the God of salvation, who reveals Himself in the land of the living, is followed by the corresponding clause, הדל עם־יושׁבי, "I dwelling with the inhabitants of the region of the dead;" for whilst הלד signifies temporal life (from châlad, to glide imperceptibly away, Job 11:17), הלד signifies the end of this life, the negation of all conscious activity of being, the region of the dead. The body is called a dwelling (dōr, Arab. dâr), as the home of a man who possesses the capacity to distinguish himself from everything belonging to him (Psychol. p. 227). It is compared to a nomadic tent. רעי (a different word from that in Zechariah 11:17, where it is the chirek compaginis) is not a genitive ( equals רעה, Ewald, 151, b), but an adjective in i, like אוילי רעה in Zechariah 11:15. With niglâh (in connection with נסּע, as in Job 4:21), which does not mean to be laid bare (Luzz.), nor to be wrapt up (Ewald), but to be obliged to depart, compare the New Testament ἐκδημεῖν ἐκ τοῦ σώματος (2 Corinthians 5:8). The ἁπ γεγρ קפד might mean to cut off, or shorten (related to qâphach); it is safer, however, and more appropriate, to take it in the sense of rolling up, as in the name of the badger (Isaiah 14:23; Isaiah 34:11), since otherwise what Hezekiah says of himself and of God would be tautological. I rolled or wound up my life, as the weaver rolls up the finished piece of cloth: i.e., I was sure of my death, namely, because God was about to give me up to death; He was about to cut me off from the thrum (the future is here significantly interchanged with the perfect). Dallâh is the thrum, licium, the threads of the warp upon a loom, which becomes shorter and shorter the further the weft proceeds, until at length the piece is finished, and the weaver cuts through the short threads, and so sets it free (בצּע, cf., Job 6:9; Job 27:8). The strophe closes with the deep lamentation which the sufferer poured out at that time: he could not help feeling that God would put an end to him (shâlam, syn. kâlâh, tâmam, gâmar) from day to night, i.e., in the shortest time possible (compare Job 4:20).

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