Isaiah 59:11
We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.
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(11) We roar all like bears . . .—The comparison is not found elsewhere in Scripture, but Horace (Epp. xvi. 51) gives “circumgemit ursus ovile.” For the dove, comp. Isaiah 38:14; Ezekiel 7:16.

59:9-15 If we shut our eyes against the light of Divine truth, it is just with God to hide from our eyes the things that belong to our peace. The sins of those who profess themselves God's people, are worse than the sins of others. And the sins of a nation bring public judgments, when not restrained by public justice. Men may murmur under calamities, but nothing will truly profit while they reject Christ and his gospel.We roar all like bears - This is designed still further to describe the heavy judgments which had come upon them for their sins. The word rendered here 'roar' (from המה hâmâh, like English, to hum, German, hummen, spoken of bees), is applied to any murmuring, or confused noise or sound. It sometimes means to snarl, as a dog Psalm 59:7, Psalm 59:15; to coo, as a dove Ezekiel 7:16; it is also applied to waves that roar Psalm 46:4; Isaiah 51:15; to a crowd or tumultuous assemblage Psalm 46:7; and to music Isaiah 16:11; Jeremiah 48:36. Here it is applied to the low growl or groan of a bear. Bochart (Hieroz. i. 3. 9), says, that a bear produces a melancholy sound; and Horace (Epod. xvi. 51), speaks of its low groan:

Nee vespertinus circumgemit ursus ovile.

Here it is emblematic of mourning, and is designed to denote that they were suffering under heavy and long-continued calamity. Or, according to Gesenius (Commentary in loc.), it refers to a bear which is hungry, and which growls, impatient for food, and refers here to the complaining, dissatisfaction, and murmuring of the people, because God did not come to vindicate and relieve them.

And mourn sore like doves - The cooing of the dove, a plaintive sound, is often used to denote grief (see Ezekiel 7:16; compare the notes at Isaiah 38:14).

We look for judgment ... - (See the notes at Isaiah 59:9.)

11. roar—moan plaintively, like a hungry bear which growls for food.

doves—(Isa 38:14; Eze 7:16).

salvation—retribution in kind: because not salvation, but "destruction" was "in their paths" (Isa 59:7).

We roar: this signifies the greatness of their anguish, that forced from them these loud outcries.

And mourn: this notes some sense of their condition, that wrought in them these sorrowful lamentations; or it may relate to the condition that both sorts of people were in under their oppressing governors. It made the wicked roar like bears, and the godly mourn like doves. It is thus expressed because these properties are peculiar to these creatures. The bear, when robbed, goes into his den and roars; the dove, when absent from her mate, sits solitary and mourns.

For salvation, but it is far off from us: see the exposition of this last part of the verse Isaiah 59:9. We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves,.... Some in a more noisy and clamorous, others in a stiller way, yet all in private: for the bear, when robbed of its whelps, goes to its den and roars; and the dove, when it has lost its mate, mourns in solitude: this expresses the secret groanings of the saints under a sense of sin, and the forlorn state of religion. The Targum paraphrases it thus,

"we roar because of our enemies, who are gathered against us as bears; all of us indeed mourn sore as doves:''

we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us; we expect that God will take vengeance on our enemies, and save us; look for judgment on antichrist, and the antichristian states, and for the salvation of the church of God; for the vials of divine wrath on the one, and for happy times to the other; but neither of them as yet come; the reason of which is as follows.

We all roar like {i} bears, and mourn bitterly like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us.

(i) We express our sorrows by outward signs, some more and some less.

11. We roar (better groan) all like bears] Comp. (with Gesenius) Horace, Epod. 16. 51:

“Nec vespertinus circumgemit ursus ovile.”

The comparison would no doubt gain in force if we could suppose, as Duhm hesitatingly suggests, that captive animals, pining for liberty, are meant. But this is not indicated.

On the “mourning” of the dove, cf. ch. Isaiah 38:14; Ezekiel 7:16; Nahum 2:7; and see Davidson’s Ezekiel (Cambridge Bible), p. 49.

we look for judgment, &c.] returning to the thought of Isaiah 59:9.

12–15a. Confession of the sins previously denounced, the prophet speaking in the name of the people.Verse 11. - We roar all like bears; rather, we growl. The verb is used commonly of the "roaring" of the sea (Isaiah 17:12; Isaiah 51:15; Jeremiah 6:23; 31:45; 50:42; 51:55); but is applied also to the noise made by a dog (Psalm 59:6, 14). Here it represents the deep murmur of discontent, which alternates with the mournful tones of Israel's despondency - the latter being compared to the melancholy cooing of the dove (see ch. 38:14). We look for judgment, but there is none, etc. The same complaint as in ver. 9, clause 1. The description now passes over to the social and judicial life. Lying and oppression universally prevail. "No one speaks with justice, and no one pleads with faithfulness; men trust in vanity, and speak with deception; they conceive trouble, and bring forth ruin. They hatch basilisks' eggs, and weave spiders' webs. He that eateth of their eggs must die; and if one is trodden upon, it splits into an adder. Their webs do not suffice for clothing, and men cannot cover themselves with their works: their works are works of ruin, and the practice of injustice is in their hands." As קרא is generally used in these prophetic addresses in the sense of κηρύσσειν, and the judicial meaning, citare, in just vocare, litem intendere, cannot be sustained, we must adopt this explanation, "no one gives public evidence with justice" (lxx οὐδεὶς λαλεῖ δίκαια). צדק is firm adherence to the rule of right and truth; אמוּנה a conscientious reliance which awakens trust; משׁפּט (in a reciprocal sense, as in Isaiah 43:26; Isaiah 66:16) signifies the commencement and pursuit of a law-suit with any one. The abstract infinitives which follow in Isaiah 59:4 express the general characteristics of the social life of that time, after the manner of the historical infinitive in Latin (cf., Isaiah 21:5; Ges. 131, 4, b). Men trust in tōhū, that which is perfectly destitute of truth, and speak שׁוא, what is morally corrupt and worthless. The double figure און והוליד עמל הרו is taken from Job 15:35 (cf., Psalm 7:15). הרו (compare the poel in Isaiah 59:13) is only another form for הרה (Ges. 131, 4, b); and הוליד (the western or Palestinian reading here), or הולד (the oriental or Babylonian reading), is the usual form of the inf. abs. hiph. (Ges. 53, Anm. 2). What they carry about with them and set in operation is compared in Isaiah 59:5 to basilisks' eggs (צפעוני, serpens regulus, as in Isaiah 11:8) and spiders' webs (עכּבישׁ, as in Job 8:14, from עכּב, possibly in the sense of squatter, sitter still, with the substantive ending ı̄sh). They hatch basilisks' eggs (בּקּע like בּקע, Isaiah 34:15, a perfect, denoting that which has hitherto always taken place and therefore is a customary thing); and they spin spiders' webs (ארג possibly related to ἀράχ-νη;

(Note: Neither καῖρος nor ἀράχνη has hitherto been traced to an Indian root in any admissible way. Benfey deduces the former from the root dhvir (to twist); but this root has to perform an immense number of services. M. Mller deduces the latter from rak; but this means to make, not to spin.)

the future denoting that which goes on occurring). The point of comparison in the first figure is the injurious nature of all they do, whether men rely upon it, in which case "he that eateth of their eggs dieth," or whether they are bold or imprudent enough to try and frustrate their plans and performances, when that (the egg) which is crushed or trodden upon splits into an adder, i.e., sends out an adder, which snaps at the heel of the disturber of its rest. זוּר as in Job 39:15, here the part. pass. fem. like סוּרה (Isaiah 49:21), with a - instead of ā - like לנה, the original ă of the feminine (zūrăth) having returned from its lengthening into ā to the weaker lengthening into ĕ. The point of comparison in the second figure is the worthlessness and deceptive character of their works. What they spin and make does not serve for a covering to any man (יתכּסּוּ with the most general subject: Ges. 137, 3), but has simply the appearance of usefulness; their works are מעשׂי־און (with metheg, not munach, under the Mem), evil works, and their acts are all directed to the injury of their neighbour, in his right and his possession.

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