Isaiah 31:5
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Like birds hovering overhead, the LORD Almighty will shield Jerusalem; he will shield it and deliver it, he will 'pass over' it and will rescue it."

King James Bible
As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.

Darby Bible Translation
As birds with outstretched wings, so will Jehovah of hosts cover Jerusalem; covering, he will also deliver, passing over, he will rescue [it].

World English Bible
As birds hovering, so Yahweh of Armies will protect Jerusalem. He will protect and deliver it. He will pass over and preserve it."

Young's Literal Translation
As birds flying, so doth Jehovah of Hosts Cover over Jerusalem, covering and delivering, Passing over, and causing to escape.'

Isaiah 31:5 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Passing over "Leaping forward" - The generality of interpreters observe in this place an allusion to the deliverance which God vouchsafed to his people when he destroyed the first-born of the Egyptians, and exempted those of the Israelites sojourning among them by a peculiar interposition. The same word is made use of here which is used upon that occasion, and which gave the name to the feast which was instituted in commemoration of that deliverance, פסח pesach. But the difficulty is to reconcile the commonly received meaning of that word with the circumstances of the similitude here used to illustrate the deliverance represented as parallel to the deliverance in Egypt.

"As the mother birds hovering over their young,

So shall Jehovah God of hosts protect Jerusalem;

Protecting and delivering, passing over, and rescuing her."

This difficulty is, I think, well solved by Vitringa, whose remark is the more worthy of observation, as it leads to the true meaning of an important word, which hitherto seems greatly to have been misunderstood, though Vitringa himself, as it appears to me, has not exactly enough defined the precise meaning of it. He says, "פסח pasach signifies to cover, to protect by covering: σκεπασω ὑμας, Septuagint. Jehovah obteget ostium; 'The Lord will cover or protect the door:'" whereas it means that particular action or motion by which God at that time placed himself in such a situation as to protect the house of the Israelite against the destroying angel; to spring forward, to throw one's self in the way, in order to cover and protect. Cocceius comes nearer to the true meaning than Vitringa, by rendering it gradum facere, to march, to step forward; Lexicon in voc. The common meaning of the word פסח pasach upon other occasions is to halt, to be lame, to leap, as in a rude manner of dancing, (as the prophets of Baal did, 1 Kings 18:26), all which agrees very well together; for the motion of a lame person is a perpetual springing forward, by throwing himself from the weaker upon the stronger leg. The common notion of God's passage over the houses of the Israelites is, that in going through the land of Egypt to smite the first-born, seeing the blood on the door of the houses of the Israelites, he passed over, or skipped, those houses, and forbore to smite them. But that this is not the true notion of the thing, will be plain from considering the words of the sacred historian, where he describes very explicitly the action: "For Jehovah will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood on the lintels and on the two side posts, Jehovah will spring forward over (or before) the door, ופסח יהוה על הפתח upasach Yehovah al happethach, and will not suffer the destroyer to come into your houses to smite you, "Exo 12:23. Here are manifestly two distinct agents, with which the notion of passing over is not consistent, for that supposes but one agent. The two agents are the destroying angel passing through to smite every house, and Jehovah the Protector keeping pace with him; and who, seeing the door of the Israelite marked with the blood, the token prescribed, leaps forward, throws himself with a sudden motion in the way, opposes the destroying angel, and covers and protects that house against the destroying angel, nor suffers him to smite it. In this way of considering the action, the beautiful similitude of the bird protecting her young answers exactly to the application by the allusion to the deliverance in Egypt. As the mother bird spreads her wings to cover her young, throws herself before them, and opposes the rapacious bird that assaults them, so shall Jehovah protect, as with a shield, Jerusalem from the enemy, protecting and delivering, springing forward and rescuing her; ὑπερβαινων, as the three other Greek interpreters, Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion, render it. The Septuagint, περιποιησεται· instead of which MS. Pachom. has περιβησεται, circumeundo proteget, "in going about he shall protect, "which I think is the true reading. - Homer, 2 viii. 329, expresses the very same image by this word: -

Αιας δ' ουκ αμελησε κασιγνητοιο πεσοντος,

Αλλα θεων περιβη, και οἱ σακος αμφεκαλυψε:

" - But Ajax his broad shield displayed,

And screened his brother with a mighty shade."

- Ὁς Χρυσην αμφιβεβηκας.

Il. 1:37

Which the scholiast explains by περιβεβηκας, ὑπερμαχεις, i.e., "Thou who strictly guardest Chryses." - L. On this verse Kimchi says, "The angel of the Lord which destroyed the Assyrians is compared to a lion, Isaiah 31:4, for his strength: and here (Isaiah 31:5) to flying birds, for his swiftness."

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

birds

Isaiah 10:14 And my hand has found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathers eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth...

Exodus 19:4 You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to myself.

Deuteronomy 32:11 As an eagle stirs up her nest, flutters over her young, spreads abroad her wings, takes them, bears them on her wings:

Psalm 46:5 God is in the middle of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

Psalm 91:4 He shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings shall you trust: his truth shall be your shield and buckler.

defending

Psalm 37:40 And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

passing. Or rather, as Bp. Lowth renders, 'leaping forward'. as the mother bird spreads her wings to cover her young, throws herself before them, and opposes the rapacious bird that assaults them; so shall Jehovah protect, as with a shield, Jerusalem from the enemy, protecting and delivering, springing forward and rescuing her.

Exodus 12:27 That you shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt...

Library
Three Pictures of one Reality
'As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also He will deliver it; and passing over He will preserve it'--ISAIAH xxxi. 5. The immediate occasion of this very remarkable promise is, of course, the peril in which Jerusalem was placed by Sennacherib's invasion; and the fulfilment of the promise was the destruction of his army before its gates. But the promise here, like all God's promises, is eternal in substance, and applies to a community only because it applies to each
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Of Conversion
Of Conversion "Be ye truly converted unto that God from whom ye have so deeply revolted" (Isa. xxxi. 6). To be truly converted is to avert wholly from the creature, and turn wholly unto God. For the attainment of salvation it is absolutely necessary that we should forsake outward sin and turn unto righteousness: but this alone is not perfect conversion, which consists in a total change of the whole man from an outward to an inward life. When the soul is once turned to God a wonderful facility is
Madame Guyon—A Short and Easy Method of Prayer

The Upbringing of Jewish Children
The tenderness of the bond which united Jewish parents to their children appears even in the multiplicity and pictorialness of the expressions by which the various stages of child-life are designated in the Hebrew. Besides such general words as "ben" and "bath"--"son" and "daughter"--we find no fewer than nine different terms, each depicting a fresh stage of life. The first of these simply designates the babe as the newly--"born"--the "jeled," or, in the feminine, "jaldah"--as in Exodus 2:3, 6, 8.
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

Isaiah
CHAPTERS I-XXXIX Isaiah is the most regal of the prophets. His words and thoughts are those of a man whose eyes had seen the King, vi. 5. The times in which he lived were big with political problems, which he met as a statesman who saw the large meaning of events, and as a prophet who read a divine purpose in history. Unlike his younger contemporary Micah, he was, in all probability, an aristocrat; and during his long ministry (740-701 B.C., possibly, but not probably later) he bore testimony, as
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

Cross References
Genesis 1:2
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Deuteronomy 32:11
like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft.

2 Kings 19:34
I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant.'"

2 Chronicles 32:22
So the LORD saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all others. He took care of them on every side.

Psalm 37:40
The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

Psalm 91:4
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Isaiah 26:1
In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts.

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