The Ear and the Eye as Symbols
Isaiah 42:18-20
Hear, you deaf; and look, you blind, that you may see.…

With a bold freedom do the writers of both the Old and New Testaments fasten the attention upon the sense of hearing. Throughout, the ear is the symbol of obedience. As by its common use the sense is the medium of interpretation of sounds, whether of nature or of the articulate expression of fellow-men, so, by further reference and deeper analogy, it stands as the avenue through which Divine communications may pass to the soul, — it may be in a still small voice. One might suppose, considering the high esteem in which obedience is held in the sacred polity of Israel, considering that obedience is ever regarded in the Old Testament as the test of national and individual loyalty to Jehovah, that the metaphor of the ear would occur more frequently than that of any other sense. Yet it is not so. A glance at any serviceable concordance will show that it is from the eyesight that evangelist and apostle, as well as psalmist and prophet, are furnished with their most telling spiritual illustrations. The reason for this is plain. If the sacred penman made the sense of hearing his object-lesson, it could only be one. It could only help him to emphasise the single conception of the duty and blessing of learning to obey. With the eyesight the manifold character of the teaching answered exactly to the complex faculties of the organ of vision. A concordance, better still an intimate knowledge of Holy Scripture, suggests obedience as the primary lesson of the Old Testament. The metaphor of the "ear" when found in the New Testament is commonly discovered in a setting of some Old Testament passage. Another illustration is wanted, correspondent to the greater fulness of a fresh revelation; and this illustration, common indeed to both covenants, is eyesight.

(B. Whitefoord.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see.

WEB: "Hear, you deaf, and look, you blind, that you may see.

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