Isaiah 40:16
And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.
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(16) Lebanon is not sufficient.—The thought is the same as that of Psalm 50:10-12. Lebanon is chosen as the type of the forests that supply the wood for burnt-offerings, in which Judah was comparatively poor. In Nehemiah’s organisation of the Temple ritual the task of supplying wood for this purpose was assigned by lot to priests or Levites (Nehemiah 10:34).

40:12-17 All created beings shrink to nothing in comparison with the Creator. When the Lord, by his Spirit, made the world, none directed his Spirit, or gave advice what to do, or how to do it. The nations, in comparison of him, are as a drop which remains in the bucket, compared with the vast ocean; or as the small dust in the balance, which does not turn it, compared with all the earth. This magnifies God's love to the world, that, though it is of such small account and value with him, yet, for the redemption of it, he gave his only-begotten Son, Joh 3:16. The services of the church can make no addition to him. Our souls must have perished for ever, if the only Son of the Father had not given himself for us.And Lebanon - The expression here refers to the trees or the cedars of Lebanon. Thus it is rendered by the Chaldee: 'And the trees of Lebanon.' For a description of Lebanon, see the note at Isaiah 10:34. It is probable that the word Lebanon here is not used in the limited sense in which it is sometimes employed, to denote a single mountain, or a single range of mountains, but includes the entire ranges lying north of Palestine, and which were comprehended under the general name of Libanus. The idea here is, that all these ranges of mountains, abounding in magnificent trees and forests, would not furnish fuel sufficient to burn the sacrifices which would be an appropriate offering to the majesty and glory of God.

To burn - To burn for the purpose of consuming the sacrifice.

Nor the beasts thereof for a burnt-offering - As the mountains of Lebanon were extensive forests, they would abound with wild animals. The idea is, that all those animals, if offered in sacrifice, would not be an appropriate expression of what was due to God. It may be remarked here, if all the vast forests of Lebanon on fire, and all its animals consumed as an offering to God, were not sufficient to show forth his glory, how little can our praises express the proper sense of his majesty and honor! How profound should be our reverence for God! With what awful veneration should we come before him! The image employed here by Isaiah is one of great poetic beauty; and nothing, perhaps, could give a deeper impression of the majesty and honor of the great Yahweh.

16. All Lebanon's forest would not supply fuel enough to burn sacrifices worthy of the glory of God (Isa 66:1; 1Ki 8:27; Ps 50:8-13).

beasts—which abounded in Lebanon.

And although he is pleased to accept of poor and small sacrifices from his people, yet if men were to offer a sacrifice agreeable to his infinite excellency, the whole forest of Lebanon could not afford either a sufficient number of beasts to be sacrificed, or a sufficient quantity of wood to consume the sacrifice. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn,.... The trees of it, as the Targum; these are not sufficient to burn a sacrifice with, suitable to the dignity and majesty of God, and as his justice can require for offences committed:

nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering, though it was a mountain and forest which abounded with trees, and especially cedars, and there was a great quantity of cattle in it, yet neither were sufficient to furnish out a proper burnt offering to the Lord; he only himself could provide a Lamb sufficient for a burnt offering, and he has done it, the only begotten Son of God; he has offered himself an offering and a sacrifice to God, of a sweet smelling savour, by which he has put away sin, and made full atonement for it, Jarchi thinks this is said to aggravate the sins of men, of the wicked, which were so great, that Lebanon with all its wood and cattle could not furnish out a sacrifice sufficient to expiate them.

And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.
16. So infinitely great is Jehovah that the forests of Lebanon would not yield fuel enough, nor its wild animals victims enough, for a holocaust worthy of Him.Verse 16. - Lebanon is not sufficient to burn. Man may think that he must be of some account, since God has required of him sacrifice and burnt offering, from which he may suppose God to derive some satisfaction. But, the prophet says, even if man were to burn all Lebanon as firewood on God's altar, and offer there all the (clean) beasts of the entire tract, still God would be put under no obligation. Man would even then have paid less than his debt. In Isaiah 40:10 the prophet goes back from the standpoint of the fulfilment to that of the prophecy. "Behold the Lord, Jehovah, as a mighty one will He come, His arm ruling for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His retribution before Him." We must not render the first clause "with strong," i.e., with strength, as the lxx and Targum do. The Beth is Beth essentiae (cf., Isaiah 26:4; Ges. 154, 3, a). He will come in the essence, strength, and energy of a strong one; and this is still further defined by the participial, circumstantial clause, "His arm ruling for Him" (brachio suo ipsi dominante). It is His arm that rules for Him, i.e., that either brings into subjection to Him, or else overthrows whatever opposes Him. Nevertheless, Isaiah 40:10 does not present Him merely in one aspect, namely as coming to judge and punish, but in both aspects, viz., that of the law and that of the gospel, as a righteous rewarder; hence the double name of God, Adonai Jehovah (compare Isaiah 3:15; Isaiah 28:16; Isaiah 30:15, all in the first part), which is used even in the Pentateuch, and most frequently by Amos and Ezekiel, and which forms, as it were, an anagram. פּעלּה is already met with in Leviticus 19:13 as a synonym of שׂכר, passing from the general idea of work to that of something earned and forfeited. Jehovah brings with Him the penal reward of the enemies of His people, and also the gracious reward of the faithful of His people, whom He will compensate for their previous sufferings with far exceeding joys (see Isaiah 62:11).
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