Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 33:2

O Lord , be gracious to us; we have waited for You. Be their strength every morning, Our salvation also in the time of distress.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Afflictions and Adversities;   Arm;   Faith;   Prayer;   Waiting;   Scofield Reference Index - Kingdom;   Thompson Chain Reference - Divine;   Favour, Divine;   Favour-Disfavour;   God;   Patience;   Patience-Impatience;   Waiting for God;   The Topic Concordance - God;   Salvation;   Waiting;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Waiting upon God;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Shadow;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Isaiah;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Arm;  
Encyclopedias:
The Jewish Encyclopedia - Patience;   Salvation;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Be thou their arm every morning "Be thou our strength every morning" - For זרעם zeroam, their arm, the Syriac, Chaldee, and Vulgate read זרענו zeroenu, our arm, in the first person of the pronoun, not the third: the edition of Felix Pratensis has זרעתינו zerootheynu in the margin.

The prophet is here praying against the enemies of God's people; and yet this part of the prayer seems to be in their behalf: but from the above authorities it appears that Our arm is the true reading, though I do not find it confirmed by any of Kennicott's, De Rossi's, or my own MSS. My old MS. Bible has, - Be thou oure arm in erly.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/isaiah-33.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

O Lord - This is a solemn prayer to Yahweh, made by the Jews in the apprehension of the invasion of the Assyrian. It is not meant that this prayer was actually offered, but it is a prophetic representation indicating the alarm of the Jews at his approach, and their disposition to throw themselves upon the mercy of God.

We have waited for thee - That is, we have looked for deliverance from this threatened invasion from thy hand (compare the note at Isaiah 26:8).

Be thou their arm - The arm is a symbol of strengh. It is used in the Scriptures as emblematic of the divine protection, or of the interposition of God in time of calamity and dancer Exodus 15:16; Job 40:9; Psalm 44:3; Psalm 77:15; Psalm 89:21; Psalm 98:1. Lowth proposes to read ‹our arm instead of ‹their arm;‘ and the connection would seem to demand such a reading. The Vugate and the Chaldee read it in this manner, but there is no authority from manuscripts for a change in the text. The truth seems to be, that Isaiah, impelled by prophetic inspiration, here interposes his own feelings as a Jew, and offers his own prayer that God would be the strength of the nation. The form, however, is immediately changed, and he presents the prayer of the people.

Every morning - Constantly; at all times.

In the time of trouble - Referring particularly to the trouble consequent on the invasion of the Assyrians.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-33.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Isaiah 33:2

O Lord, be gracious unto us

An appropriate prayer

They pray--

1.
For those that were employed in military services for them. “Be Thou their arm every morning.” In our spiritual warfare our own hands are not sufficient for us, nor can we bring anything to pass unless God not only strengthen our arms (Genesis 49:24), but be Himself our arm. If God leave us to ourselves any morning we are undone; we must, therefore, every morning commit ourselves to Him, and go forth in His strength to do the work of the day in its day.

2. For the body of the people. “Be Thou our salvation,” &c.,--ours that sit still, and do not venture into the high places of the field. (M. Henry.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Isaiah 33:2". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/isaiah-33.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"O Jehovah, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou our arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble. At the noise of the tumult the people are fled; at the lifting up of thyself the nations are scattered."

This mingling of prayer and prophecy is somewhat strange; but the situation was one of great emergency and extremely high levels of emotion. The first verse of this alone may be properly understood as the prayer of Isaiah and the Jews to Jehovah for his help. Isaiah 33:3 is a reference to Sennacherib's lifting up of himself with the consequential fear and scattering of the nations; and according to Lowth, Isaiah 33:3 is actually answered in Isaiah 33:10, where God lifts himself up with doleful consequences for Sennacherib.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/isaiah-33.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

O Lord, be gracious unto us,.... This is a prayer of the church under the persecutions of antichrist, imploring the grace and favour of God in their miserable and distressed circumstances; desiring his gracious help, assistance, and deliverance; pleading not any merits of their own, but casting themselves upon the mercy and kindness of God:

we have waited for thee; time after time, year after year, in the use of means; hoping for the manifestations of thyself, and kind appearance for us; expecting help and salvation, and still continue to wait, believing the time will come when favour will be shown:

be thou their arm every morning; when they pray unto thee, the morning being the time of prayer; and also be their arm all the day long, to lean and depend upon, to support, protect, and defend them; there is a change of person from the first to the third, usual in prophetic and poetic writings: some take them to be the words of the Old Testament church, praying for the New Testament church; and others a prayer of the church for her children and members. The Vulgate Latin version renders it, "our arm"; and the Syriac version, "our helper"; and the Targum,

"our strength:'

some read the words in connection with the following clause, thus, "be thou", who wast "their arm every morning", referring to their forefathers, whose strength and support the Lord was,

our salvation also in the time of troubleF19So some in De Dieu. ; the deliverer of us from the antichristian yoke of bondage, from all his persecutions and oppressions, from the last struggle of the beast, from that hour of trouble and temptation that shall come upon all the earth.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/isaiah-33.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

d O LORD, be gracious to us; we have waited for thee: be thou e their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.

(d) He declares by this what is the chief refuge of the faithful, when troubles come, to pray, and seek help from God.

(e) Which helped our fathers as soon as they called on you.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/isaiah-33.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

us; we … their … our — He speaks interceding for His people, separating himself in thought for a moment from them, and immediately returns to his natural identification with them in the word “our.”

every morning — each day as it dawns, especially during our danger, as the parallel “time of trouble” shows.

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/isaiah-33.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

In Isaiah 33:2 the prophet's word of command is changed into a believing prayer: “Jehovah, be gracious to us; we wait for Thee: be their arm with every morning, yea, our salvation in time of need!” Their arm,” i.e., the power which shelters and defends them, viz., Thy people and my own. “ Yea,” 'aph , is emphatic. Israel's arm every morning, because the danger is renewed every day; Israel's salvation, i.e., complete deliverance (Isaiah 25:9), because the culminating point of the trouble is still in prospect.

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The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
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Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/isaiah-33.html. 1854-1889.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.

O Lord — The prophet contemplating the judgment which was now coming upon God's people, directs his prayer to God for them.

Their arm — Our arm or strength. The change of persons is frequent in prophetical writings.

Every morning — When we offer the morning sacrifice, and call upon thee: which yet is not meant exclusively, as if he did not desire God's help at other times; but comprehensively, the morning being put for the whole day. The sense is, help us speedily and continually.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/isaiah-33.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 33:2 O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.

Ver. 2. O Lord, be gracious unto us.] Brevicula sed pulchra precatio, a short but sweet prayer of the prophet, teaching thereby the people to put the promise in suit, and to do it effectually, using a thong of strong arguments, as here is much in few.

Be thou their arm.] Here the Church seemeth to pray for her children, as they before had prayed for her. Plena eat affectibus haec precatio.

Every morning.] Heb., In the mornings - that is, speedily, seasonably, continually, and for Christ’s sake, Voce enim "matutinis" allusum adiuge sacrificium (a) [Exodus 29:39-41]

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-33.html. 1865-1868.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

What a sweet, though short prayer! And if it refers to the former history of the invasion of Samaria, by the king of Assyria, how speedily was it answered.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/isaiah-33.html. 1828.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

O Lord, be gracious unto us; the prophet contemplating the judgment which was now coming upon God’s people, directeth his prayer to God for them.

Their arm; our arm or strength. The change of persons is most frequent in prophetical writings.

Every morning; when we offer the morning sacrifice, and call upon thee; which yet is not meant exclusively, as if he did not desire God’s help at other times; but comprehensively, the morning being put synecdochically for the whole day. The sense is, Help us speedily and continually.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/isaiah-33.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2.Be gracious unto us — As the prophet puts it, the prayer is calm, but full of assurance. There is no vagueness or uncertainty of hope.

Their arm Thy people’s and my own (Isaiah’s) “arm,” every morning: for danger presses every additional day of the invasion.

Our salvation — That is, our complete deliverance.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/isaiah-33.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The faithful remnant in Judah prayed to the Lord, evidently as the enemy approached Jerusalem. These godly Judeans asked for Yahweh"s grace on the ground that they had trusted in Him (cf. Isaiah 30:18-19). They asked Him to be the daily strength of those who opposed the destroyer, Assyria. They also requested deliverance for the Jerusalemites when Assyria attacked.

"Never underestimate the power of a praying minority." [Note: Wiersbe, p40.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/isaiah-33.html. 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Isaiah 33:2. O Lord, be gracious unto us — The prophet and the pious Jews, contemplating the calamity coming upon their country, here direct their prayer unto God for themselves and their people. Be thou their arm — That is, their strength, namely, the strength of all that trust in thee, and wait for thee, Psalms 25:3; every morning — Hebrew, לבקרים, in the mornings; that is, every day seasonably and speedily; on all occasions as they need. In mentioning the mornings, the prophet is thought to refer to the time of the morning sacrifice, which was the morning hour of prayer with the pious Jews; but he includes all other times of prayer, in all which he desires God to hear and answer his people, and to be their salvation all the day long, and especially to support them in the time of trouble.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/isaiah-33.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Morning. Speedily. Hebrew, "mornings," or every day. Ezechias thus addressed God.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/isaiah-33.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

arm. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Cause) for the strength and defense put forth by it.

every morning: i.e. continually.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/isaiah-33.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(2) O Lord, be gracious . . .—Faith transforms itself into prayer. The prophet will still “wait” upon God. In the change of person, “their arm,” “our salvation,” we hear the very words of the prayer as it was spoken, the first referring to the soldiers who were to fight the battles of their country, the second to the non-combatants who were assembled with Isaiah in supplication.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/isaiah-33.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.
be gracious
25:9; 26:8; 30:18,19; Psalms 27:13,14; 62:1,5,8; 123:2; 130:4-8; Lamentations 3:25,26; Hosea 14:2
be thou
25:4; Exodus 14:27; Psalms 25:3; 143:8; Lamentations 3:23
our salvation
26:16; Psalms 37:39; 46:1,5; 50:15; 60:11; 90:15; 91:15; Jeremiah 2:27,28; Jeremiah 14:8; 2 Corinthians 1:3,4
Reciprocal: Genesis 43:29 - my son;  Genesis 49:18 - GeneralPsalm 79:11 - thy power;  Psalm 83:8 - holpen;  Isaiah 8:17 - I will;  Isaiah 37:3 - GeneralZephaniah 3:5 - every morning

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/isaiah-33.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

THE SAINT'S ATTITUDE IN THE TIME OF TROUBLE

Isa . O Lord, be gracious unto us; we have waited for Thee: be Thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.

Like its predecessor, this prophecy belongs to the time of distress and fear incident on the threatened Assyrian invasion. Dependence on Egypt had failed. So had Hezekiah's present to the invader. He had accepted the present, but had still pressed on. The south of Judah was covered with his soldiers. Isaiah lifts up this prayer for his country. An example to Christians to interest themselves in the politics of their country, and to include them in their prayers. We have never known the terrible presence of an invader; but there is always occasion for appeal to the divine Governor and Helper. It is no mark of spirituality of mind to exclude national affairs from thought, as belonging to a sphere that has nothing to do with God or with prayer.

The prophet's eye saw, in the immediate future, the frustration of the invader's plans. The God of Israel would interpose. The invasion was unjust; the negotiations had been conducted deceitfully by the enemy; ruin would fall on his head (Isa ). But the certainty of deliverance was no reason for the relaxation of effort, or for abstinence from prayer. God's promise is the encouragement and directory of prayer. Therefore he cries, "O Lord, be gracious unto us," &c.

The prayer of the text is applicable to any time of trouble in the personal experience of any Christian. It is a time that may come to any one. It should enter into our calculations about the future, however exempt from it at present. It should be prepared for, as for old age, or death. We never know when it bangs over us, nor in what form. To all it comes occasionally; to some frequently; to some constantly; to some severely. Often from quarters whence least expected. Things and persons most precious to us are sometimes the occasion of bitterest grief. The common lot. We can only really prepare for it by the possession of resources which it cannot diminish. This is one of the points at which Christians have so largely the advantage over others. God is always with them, and always accessible.

Our text represents the saint's attitude in "the time of trouble." He cries to God and waits on God. He cries as he waits, and waits as he cries.

I. HE CRIES TO GOD.

How precious to have a friend so interested in you that anything you say about your trouble will find an interested listener. It is a relief to speak to such a friend. Many of God's people find this relief every day. Many a trouble can be told to none but Him who keeps every secret and sympathises with every distress (P. D. 462, 463).

What do we need in the time of trouble? It is all in this prayer: GOD HIMSELF. Each petition resolves itself into something that God is, and is to us.

1. His Graciousness. The root of everything must be the divine disposition. He might be malevolent, unpitying, unmerciful. There might be a cause of separation sufficient to prevent any favourable access to Him. In the case of multitudes there is such a cause. Many live without God, ignore Him, disregard His authority, yet in the time of trouble imagine they may fly to Him, in the face of His word, which says until sin is abandoned there can be no friendship with Him. He has provided a gracious way of reconciliation. The first step we must take is the coming to Him through the Saviour for the mercy that obliterates all past transgressions. In many cases the time of trouble is sent as the means of leading us to the Saviour. To be assured of His gracious disposition while He permits the trouble, goes far towards the comfort of the troubled heart. He loves you although you are under discipline. The sun shines in full splendour although it is hidden behind a cloud. We may wait patiently for the trouble to pass away, so long as we can confidently ask the Lord to be gracious unto us.

2. His Strength. "Be Thou their arm every morning." The time of trouble reveals our weakness. Mental energy, courage, bodily power often succumb under the pressure of heavy trouble. We realise the value of a strength beyond our own. It is better to pass through "the time of trouble" with God for our arm every morning, than to be exempt from trouble and left without Him. Paul groaned under the pain of his thorn in the flesh and besought the Lord thrice to take it away. But Christ's assurance, "My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness," together with his experience of its sufficiency, made him glory in his infirmity. We need the arm of God for defence against the enemy; to lean upon when ready to faint; to strengthen us for the work that may be necessary to our extrication from trouble.

3. His Salvation. From some troubles salvation cannot be in the shape of restoration of the previously existing state of things. The young man loses his precious wife and child; and in their grave it seems that every interest for him is buried. They cannot be restored. But God's salvation can come to him in the form of a richer spiritual experience, a deeper acquaintance with His word and way, a completer consecration to His service, and a larger inflowing of divine consolation than he could have known without it. But there are some troubles from which salvation comes by their cessation: sicknesses, and business reverses. They are severe while they continue. But deliverance comes. In some cases greater prosperity is realised than formerly, to which, in God's wonder-working Providence, the trouble was necessary. Joseph in Egypt Job. The trouble may have been severe temptation. If saved, you are the stronger for it. Cry to God in trouble. Let it be the time of special prayer.

II. HE WAITS ON GOD.

"We have waited for Thee." This ever accompanies true prayer. The believer looks for the blessing he has asked. It implies,

1. Faith. That God hears. Faith has a very close relation to prayer.

2. Expectation. There may be degrees of confidence, but there must be more or less of expectancy. The sailor's mother watches at the window for the ship in which her son is coming.

3. Patience. Wait God's time. Until His end is accomplished. Thus let the Church wait for the coming of Christ, which will be full salvation.

May we know by experience the blessedness of knowing God in time of trouble! Blessed is the people that is in such a case. Come and enjoy this blessedness. Decide for the Lord Jesus Christ. The world is insufficient. Renounce it.—J. Rawlinson.

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/isaiah-33.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible

Isaiah 33:2

"O Lord, be gracious unto us; we have waited for you—be our arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble." Isaiah 33:2

Israel has often to pass through times of sorrow and trouble. Deep temporal and deep spiritual trouble is the allotted portion of many, if not of most of the people of God. But having found that the Lord is a Savior, and the only Savior who can support in trouble and deliver out of trouble, there is this conviction deeply implanted and firmly written upon their heart, that he is a Savior in the time of trouble. It is the purpose of God to hunt us out of all lying refuges, that we may believe in Jesus to the saving of our soul; that we may prove that he is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by him; that we may learn what salvation Isaiah, and that we may know it for ourselves as a divine and blessed reality.

Thus though he is always a Savior, yet he is not experimentally a Savior in times of worldly ease, carnal prosperity, and seasons of carelessness. But in times of trouble, when none can do us any good or stretch forth a healing hand but the Lord alone, then to come to his gracious Majesty and find there and then how he can and does save in trouble and out of trouble, this is that which endears such a Savior to believing hearts.

And observe the expression, "time of trouble," and how it includes not only every trouble which may befall us temporally or spiritually, but clearly intimates that there is not a single season or time when trouble comes that the Lord is not able and willing to save us out of it. How well this corresponds with those gracious words and that sweet promise, "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me."

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Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jcp/isaiah-33.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

2.O Jehovah, have pity upon us. This sentiment was added by the Prophet, in order to remind the godly where they ought to go amidst such distresses, even when they shall appear to be deprived of all hope of safety; that they ought to betake themselves to prayer, to supplicate from God the fulfillment of these promises, even when they shall be most wretched, and when the power of the enemy to oppress them cruelly shall be very formidable. And here we ought carefully to observe the order which the Prophet has followed, in first exhibiting the promise of God and immediately exhorting to prayer. Not only so, but he breaks off the stream of his discourse, and suddenly bursts out into prayer; for although the Lord hastens to perform what he has promised, yet he delays for a time, in order to exercise our patience. But when we ought to wait, there is found in us no steadfastness or perseverance; our hearts immediately faint and. languish. We ought, therefore, to have recourse to prayer, which alone can support and gladden our hearts, while we look earnestly towards God, by whose guidance alone we shall be delivered from our distresses. Yet let us patiently, with unshaken hope and confidence, expect what he has promised to us; for at length he will shew that he is faithful, and will not disappoint us.

At the same time the Prophet bids us not only consider in general the judgment of God against the Assyrians, but God’s fatherly kindness towards his chosen people; as if he had said that the Assyrians will be destroyed, not only that they may receive the just reward of their avarice and cruelty, but because in this manner God will be pleased to provide for the safety of his Church. But while he exhorts us to pray for mercy, he likewise declares that we shall be miserable.

In thee have we hoped. In order to cherish the hope of obtaining favor, believers next declare that they “have hoped in God,” on whom they now call; and indeed our prayers must be idle and useless, if they are not founded on this principle.

“Let thy mercy be upon us,” saith David,
“according as we have hoped in thee.” (
Psalms 33:22.)

For to go into the presence of God, if he did not open up the way by his word, would be excessively rash; and, therefore, as he kindly and gently invites us, so we ought to embrace his word, whenever we approach to him. Besides, patience must be added to faith; and, therefore, when faith is taken away, we do not deserve that the Lord should hear us, for it is by faith that we call upon him. Now faith alone is the mother of calling on God, as is frequently declared in many passages of Scripture; and if faith be wanting, there can be nothing left in us but hypocrisy, than which nothing is more abhorred by God. (Romans 10:14.)

And hence it is evident that there is no Christianity in the whole of Popery; for if the chief part of the worship of God consists of prayer, and if they know not what it is to pray, (for they bid us continually doubt, and even accuse of rashness the faith of the godly,) what kind of worshippers of God are they? Can that prayer be lawful which is perplexed by uncertainty, and which does not rely with firm confidence on the promises of God? Do not those Rabbins, who wish to be reckoned theologians, shew that they are mere babes? Certainly our children excel them in knowledge and in the true light of godliness. (1)

Let us also learn from these words that our faith is proved by adversity; for the actual trial of faith is when, with unshaken patience in opposition to all dangers and assaults, we continue to rely on the word and the promises. Thus we shall give practical evidence that we have sincerely believed.

Be what thou hast been, their arm in the morning. Others render it as if it were a continued prayer, “Be our arm in the morning, and our salvation in tribulation.” As to believers speaking in the third person, they consider it to be a change which is frequently employed by the Hebrews. But I think that the Prophet’s meaning is different; for he intended to express that desire which is rendered more intense by benefits formerly received; and, therefore, in my opinion, that clause is appropriately inserted, “their arm in the morning,” in which I supply the words “who hast been,” in order to bring forward the ancient benefits bestowed by God on the fathers. “Thou, Lord, didst hearken to the prayers of our fathers; when they fled to thee, thou gavest them assistance i now also be thou our salvation, and relieve us from our afflictions.”

“Arm” and “salvation” differ in this respect, that “arm” denotes the power which the Lord exerted in defense of his Church, and that before she was afflicted; while “salvation” denotes the deliverance by which the Lord rescues the Church, even when she appears to be ruined. He therefore places on record ancient benefits which the Lord formerly bestowed on the fathers, that he may be moved to exercise the same compassion towards the children. As if he had said, “O Lord, thou didst formerly turn away the dangers which threatened thy Church; relying on thy favor she flourished and prospered. Thou didst also deliver her when oppressed. In like manner wilt thou act on our own account, especially since it belongs to thy character to render assistance when matters are desperate and at the worst.” (2)

The particle אף, (aph,) even, is very emphatic for confirming our faith, that we may not doubt that God, who always continues to be like himself, and never degenerates from his nature or swerves from his purpose, will also be our deliverer; for, such have believers found him to be. We ought, therefore, to place continually before our eyes the manner in which the Lord formerly assisted and delivered the fathers, that we may be fully convinced that we also shall not fail to obtain from him assistance and deliverance.

“Certainly our children are more learned and religious than they are.”

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Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:2". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/isaiah-33.html. 1840-57.