Isaiah 38:13
I reckoned till morning, that, as a lion, so will he break all my bones: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me.
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(13) I reckoned till morning . . .—Better, I quieted myself, as in Psalm 131:2. He threw himself into the calm submission of the weaned child; yet when the morning came there was a fresh access of suffering. Life had been prolonged, contrary to his expectations; but it was only for renewed agony. Surely that would end his sufferings.

Isaiah 38:13-14. I reckoned till morning, &c. — When night came I reckoned I should die before the next morning, my pains being as great as if my bones had been broken, and the whole frame of my body crushed by a lion. Bishop Lowth reads: I roared until the morning like the lion; so did he break to pieces all my bones. Like a crane or a swallow, &c. — “My pains were sometimes so violent that they forced me to cry aloud; at other times my strength was so exhausted that I could only groan inwardly, and bemoan my unhappy condition in sighs.” I did mourn as a dove — Whose mournful tone is observed Isaiah 59:11, and elsewhere; mine eyes fail with looking upward — While I lift up my eyes and heart to God for relief in vain; O Lord, I am oppressed — Namely, by my disease, which, like a sergeant, hath seized upon me, and is haling me to the prison of the grave; undertake for me — Stop the execution, and rescue me out of his hands.

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.I reckoned - There has been considerable variety in interpreting this expression. The Septuagint renders it, 'I was given up in the morning as to a lion.' The Vulgate renders it, 'I hoped until morning;' and in his commentary, Jerome says it means, that as Job in his trouble and anguish Isaiah 7:4 sustained himself at night expecting the day, and in the daytime waiting for the night, expecting a change for the better, so Hezekiah waited during the night expecting relief in the morning. He knew, says he, that the violence of a burning fever would very soon subside, and he thus composed himself, and calmly waited. So Vitringa renders it, 'I composed my mind until the morning.' Others suppose that the word used here (שׁוּיתי shı̂vı̂ythı̂y), means, 'I made myself like a lion,' that is, in roaring. But the more probable and generally adopted interpretation is, 'I looked to God, hoping that the disease would soon subside, but as a lion he crushed my bones. The disease increased in violence, and became past endurance. Then I chattered like a swallow, and mourned like a dove, over the certainty that I must die.' Our translators, by inserting the word 'that,' have greatly marred the sense, as if he had reckoned or calculated through the night that God would break his bones, or increase the violence of the disease, whereas the reverse was true. He hoped and expected that it would be otherwise, and with that view he composed his mind.

As a lion so will he break all my bones - This should be in the past tense. 'He (God) did crush all my bones.' The connection requires this construction. The idea is, that as a lion crushes the bones of his prey, producing great pain and sudden death, so it was with God in producing great pain and the prospect of sudden death.

From day even to night ... - (See the note at Isaiah 38:12) Between morning and night. That is, his pain so resembled the crushing of all the bones of an animal by the lion, that he could not hope to survive the day.

13. I reckoned … that—rather, I composed (my mind, during the night, expecting relief in the "morning," so Job 7:4): for ("that" is not, as in the English Version, to be supplied) as a lion He was breaking all my bones [Vitringa] (Job 10:16; La 3:10, 11). The Hebrew, in Ps 131:2, is rendered, "I quieted." Or else, "I made myself like a lion (namely, in roaring, through pain), He was so breaking my bones!" Poets often compare great groaning to a lion's roaring, so, Isa 38:14, he compares his groans to the sounds of other animals (Ps 22:1) [Maurer]. When I was filled with pain, and could not rest all the night long, even till morning, my thoughts were working and presaging that God would instantly break me to pieces, and that every moment would be my last; and the like restless and dismal thoughts followed me from morning till evening. But he mentions only the time before morning, to aggravate his misery, that he was so grievously tormented, when others had sweet rest and repose.

I reckoned till morning,.... Or, "I set my time till the morning (m)"; he fixed and settled it in his mind that he could live no longer than to the morning, if he lived so long; he thought he should have died before the night came on, and, now it was come, the utmost he could propose to himself was to live till morning; that was the longest time he could reckon of. According to the accents, it should be rendered, "I reckoned till morning as a lion"; or "I am like until the morning as a lion"; or, "I likened until the morning (God) as a lion"; I compared him to one; which agrees with what follows. The Targum is,

"I roared until morning, as a lion roars;''

through the force of the disease, and the pain he was in: or rather,

"I laid my bones together until the morning as a lion; "so indeed as a lion God" hath broken all my bones (n):''

so will he break all my bones; or, "it will break"; that is, the sickness, as Kimchi and Jarchi; it lay in his bones, and so violent was the pain, that he thought all his bones were breaking in pieces; such is the case in burning fevers, as Jerom observes; so Kimchi interprets it of a burning fever, which is like a fire in the bones. Some understand this of God himself, to which our version directs, who may be said to do this by the disease: compare with this Job 16:14 and to this sense the following clause inclines:

from day even tonight wilt thou make an end of me; he lived till morning, which was more than he expected, and was the longest time he could set himself; and now be reckoned that before night it would be all over with him as to this world. This was the second day of his illness; and the third day he recovered, and went to the temple with his song of praise.

(m) "statui, vel posui usque ad mane", Pagninus, Montanus; "constitui rursum terminum usque mane", Vatablus. (n) Reinbeck de Accent Heb. p. 411.

I reckoned {l} till morning, that, as a lion, so will he break all my bones: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me.

(l) Overnight I thought that I would live till morning, but my pangs in the night persuaded me the contrary: he shows the horror that the faithful have when they apprehend God's judgment against their sin.

13. I reckoned till morning] R.V. has “I quieted myself until morning.” It is better to amend the text slightly and read I cried until morning.

so will he break (better, he breaketh) all my bones] the crushing effect of pain. Cf. Lamentations 3:4.

Verse 13. - I reckoned till morning, etc.; i.e. "I lay thinking till the morning, that God would crush me as a lion crushes his prey - I expected him all day long to make an end of me." Isaiah 38:13In strophe 2 the retrospective glance is continued. His sufferings increased to such an extent, that there was nothing left in his power but a whining moan - a languid look for help.

I waited patiently till the morning; like the lion,

So He broke in pieces all my bones:

From day to night Thou makest it all over with me.

Like a swallow, a crane, so I chirped;

I cooed like the dove;

Mine eyes pined for the height.

O Lord, men assault me! Be bail for me."

The meaning of shivvithi may be seen from Psalm 131:2, in accordance with which an Arabic translator has rendered the passage, "I smoothed, i.e., quieted (sâweitu) my soul, notwithstanding the sickness, all night, until the morning." But the morning brought no improvement; the violence of the pain, crushing him like a lion, forced from him again and again the mournful cry, that he must die before the day had passed, and should not live to see another. The Masora here has a remark, which is of importance, as bearing upon Psalm 22:17, viz., that כּארי occurs twice, and לישׁני בתרי with two different meanings. The meaning of עגוּר סוּס is determined by Jeremiah 8:7, from which it is evident that עגּור is not an attribute of סּוס here, in the sense of "chirping mournfully," or "making a circle in its flight," but is the name of a particular bird, namely the crane. For although the Targum and Syriac both seem to render סוס in that passage (keri סיס, which is the chethib here, according to the reading of Orientals) by כּוּרכּיא) (a crane, Arab. Kurki), and עגוּר, by סנוּניתא) (the ordinary name of the swallow, which Haji Gaon explains by the Arabic chuttaf), yet the relation is really the reverse: sūs (sı̄s) is the swallow, and ‛âgūr the crane. Hence Rashi, on b. Kiddusin 44a ("then cried Res Lakis like a crane"), gives âg, Fr. grue, as the rendering of כרוכי; whereas Parchon (s.verse ‛âgūr), confounds the crane with the hoarsely croaking stork (ciconia alba). The verb 'ătsaphtsēph answers very well not only to the flebile murmur of the swallow (into which the penitential Progne was changed, according to the Grecian myth), but also to the shrill shriek of the crane, which is caused by the extraordinary elongation of the windpipe, and is onomatopoetically expressed in its name ‛âgūr.

(Note: The call of the parent cranes, according to Naumann (Vgel Deutschlands, ix. 364), is a rattling kruh (gruh), which is uncommonly violent when close, and has a trumpet-like sound, which makes it audible at a very great distance. With the younger cranes it has a somewhat higher tone, which often passes, so to speak, into a falsetto.)

Tsiphtsēph, like τρίζειν, is applied to every kind of shrill, penetrating, inarticulate sound. The ordinary meaning of dallū, to hang long and loose, has here passed over into that of pining (syn. kâlâh). The name of God in Isaiah 38:14 is Adonai, not Jehovah, being one of the 134 ודּין, i.e., words which are really written Adonai, and not merely to be read so.

(Note: Vid., Br, Psalterium, p. 133.)

It is impossible to take עשׁקה־לּי as an imperative. The pointing, according to which we are to read ‛ashqa, admits this (compare shâmrâh in Psalm 86:2; Psalm 119:167; and on the other hand, zochrālli, in Nehemiah 5:19, etc.);

(Note: Vid., Br, Thorath Emeth, pp. 22, 23.)


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