Isaiah 48:10 MEANING

Isaiah 48:10
(10) I have refined thee, but not with silver . . .--The meaning is obscure, and perhaps depends on some unknown process in ancient metallurgy. Commonly the refining of silver is taken as a parable of God's dealings with His people (Isaiah 1:25; Ezekiel 22:18-22; Malachi 3:3). Here the thought seems to be that the discipline had been less fierce than that of the refiner's fire. Silver was "purified seven times in the fire" (Psalm 12:6); but that would have brought about the destruction of Israel, and He sought to spare them.

I have chosen thee.--Better, I have tested thee.

Verse 10. - I have refined thee, but not with silver; rather, but not as silver (Cheyne). or, but not in the manner of silver (Delitzsch); i.e. not with the severity with which silver is refined (see Psalm 12:6). I have chosen thee; rather, I have tested thee. The furnace of affliction is here the Babylonian captivity. The object of the Captivity was to "test" and "refine," or purify God's people to a certain extent - not with extreme severity, but in such sort as to fit them to "bear his Name before the Gentiles" for another five hundred years.

48:9-15 We have nothing ourselves to plead with God, why he should have mercy upon us. It is for his praise, to the honour of his mercy, to spare. His bringing men into trouble was to do them good. It was to refine them, but not as silver; not so thoroughly as men refine silver. If God should take that course, they are all dross, and, as such, might justly be put away. He takes them as refined in part only. Many have been brought home to God as chosen vessels, and a good work of grace begun in them, in the furnace of affliction. It is comfort to God's people, that God will secure his own honour, therefore work deliverance for them. And if God delivers his people, he cannot be at a loss for instruments to be employed. God has formed a plan, in which, for his own sake, and the glory of his grace, he saves all that come to Him.Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver,.... But it is not usual to refine with silver; not silver with silver, nor any other metal with it; that itself is what is refined; this therefore cannot be the sense of the words; wherefore they are, by others, differently rendered; by some, "not in silver" (d); not in a furnace of silver, as Aben Ezra; "but in a furnace of poverty", as the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Syriac versions render the next clause; and to the same sense the Targum; that is, I have tried, and purified, and refined thee, not by prosperity, but adversity; not with riches, which has its snares, temptations, trials, and exercises, but with poverty, which also has the same, or greater; and therefore Agur desired neither, Proverbs 30:8. By others, "but not into silver" (e), so as to make silver of them, whereby all the labour was lost; but this is contrary to the following clause: by others, "not for the sake of silver" (f); so the Septuagint version; or for the gain of it, as the Arabic; which sense suggests that God was no gainer by their afflictions; what he did was freely, without money or price, and all the use and profit were to themselves; see Psalm 44:12. Others think, that instead of "beth", "in", it should be "caph", "as", a note of similitude, and be rendered, "but not as silver" (g): but that the text is corrupted, and ought to be thus altered, there is no authority for it, and besides is contrary to several express passages of Scripture, Psalm 66:10. Rather therefore it should be rendered, "but not among silver" (h); along with that, which requires a fierce fire, is kept in the furnace or melting pot until all the dross is consumed: but if God was to afflict his people to such a degree, they would not be able to bear it; and if they were to continue under his afflicting hand till all their dross, sin, and corruption were removed, they would be utterly consumed; was he to contend, or be wroth for ever, the spirit would fail before him, and the souls that he has made; wherefore he does not afflict in this fierce and furious manner, but gently and gradually, in measure, in mercy, and not in strict justice, 1 Corinthians 10:13 and by such gentle means he refines and brightens the graces of his people, tries and proves their principles and profession, and reforms their manners: I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction; such was the affliction of Israel in Egypt, called the iron furnace, Deuteronomy 4:20 and as God has his furnace to punish and consume his enemies, so he has his furnace to try, purge, and purify his people, Isaiah 31:9, and which is a fiery one, and very grievous and distressing, especially when the wrath of God is apprehended in it, though fury is not in him: when he afflicts, it is all in love, and therefore is said to choose his people at such a time; which is to be understood not of their election to grace and glory; for that is not done in time, but in eternity, and is of them, not as transgressor, or as in the corrupt mass, but as in the pure mass of creatureship: rather of calling, which is the fruit, and effect, and evidence of election, and is expressed by choosing, John 15:19, and sometimes afflictions have been the means of it; or God has in them, or by them, brought them to himself, as he did Manasseh: but it seems best of all to understand it of the manifestation of election; God sometimes under afflictive providences appears to his people, and tells them that he has loved them with an everlasting love, and assures them that they are his chosen ones; he knows their souls, and owns them as his own in their adversities; besides, in afflicting them, he deals with them as his children and chosen ones; and because they are so, he takes the pains he does with them, which he does not with others, to purge and purify them, Psalm 31:7. Moreover, he makes them choice and excellent persons by afflictions; they come forth out of them as choice silver and pure gold; they gain thereby many choice experiences of the love and grace of God, and of the truths of the Gospel, and of the promises of it: afflicted saints are commonly the choicest believers; they become thriving and flourishing Christians, humble and Holy Ones; more fit for their master's use, more weaned from the world, and wrought up for heaven and happiness. Some, as Jarchi and Aben Ezra, render the words, "I have chosen for thee the furnace of affliction" (i), or "thee for the furnace of affliction"; afflictions are chosen and appointed for the people of God, and they are chosen for and appointed unto affliction, Job 23:14. Some, as Aben Ezra and Kimchi observe, by the change of a letter, read "bachantica", "have proved thee", or "tried thee", instead of "bachartica", "I have chosen thee"; but without any reason.

(d) "in argento", Montanus; "in fornace argenti", Vatablus. (e) "Non in argentum", Grotius. (f) , Sept. "non pro pecunia", Tigurine version. (g) "Quasi argentum", V. L. "tanquam argentum", Munster, Pagninus, Calvin. (h) "Inter argentum", Syr. (i) "elegi tibi, sive pro te fornacem affictionis", Gataker,

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