Isaiah 48:4 MEANING

Isaiah 48:4
(4) Because I knew that thou art obstinate . . .--The point is that Jehovah foresees not only the conquests of Cyrus, but the obduracy of His own people. In Egypt (Jeremiah 44) and in Babylon, as of old, they were still a stiff-necked people, inclined (Isaiah 48:5), to ascribe their deliverance to another god, and to worship that god in the form of a graven image.

Verse 4. - I knew that thou art obstinate; literally, hard, or stiff - the adjective used in the phrase translated in our version "stiff-necked." The idea is still more forcibly expressed in the following clause - thy neck is an iron sinew; or rather, a band of iron, as stiff as if it were made-of the hardest metal. And thy brow brass. The exact simile here used does not occur elsewhere in Scripture. It seems to be the origin of our expressions, "brazen,... brazen-faced," "to brazen a thing out." The forehead may be hardened for a good or for a bad purpose; in obstinacy or in a determination to resist evil (comp. Isaiah 1:7 and Ezekiel 3:8 with Jeremiah 5:3; Ezekiel 3:7; Zechariah 7:12). Here the hardening is evil, marking defiance and self-will.

48:1-8 The Jews valued themselves on descent from Jacob, and used the name of Jehovah as their God. They prided themselves respecting Jerusalem and the temple, yet there was no holiness in their lives. If we are not sincere in religion, we do but take the name of the Lord in vain. By prophecy they were shown how God would deal with them, long before it came to pass. God has said and done enough to prevent men's boasting of themselves, which makes the sin and ruin of the proud worse; sooner or later every mouth shall be stopped, and all become silent before Him. We are all born children of disobedience. Where original sin is, actual sin will follow. Does not the conscience of every man witness to the truth of Scripture? May the Lord prove us, and render us doers of the word.Because I knew that thou art obstinate,.... Or "hard" (a), hard hearted, an obdurate and rebellious people, contradicting and gainsaying:

and thy neck is as an iron sinew; stiffnecked, inflexible, not compliant with the will of God, and his commands; unwilling to admit his yoke, and bear it:

and thy brow brass; impudent, not ashamed of sin, nor blushing at it, refusing to receive correction for it, having a whore's forehead. This the Lord knew and foreknew, and therefore declared before hand what would come to pass unto them; who otherwise would have had the assurance to have ascribed them to themselves, or their idols, and not to him.

(a) "quod durus tu es", Pagninus, Montanus; "te durum esse", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Vitringa.

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