Isaiah 58:7 MEANING

Isaiah 58:7
(7) To deal thy bread.--Literally, to break bread, as in the familiar phrase of the New Testament (Matthew 26:26; Acts 20:11; Acts 27:34). The bread of the Jews seems to have been made always in the thin oval cakes, which were naturally broken rather than cut.

The poor that are cast out.--The words include all forms of homelessness--tenants evicted by their landlords, debtors by their creditors, slaves fleeing from their masters' cruelty, the persecuted for righteousness' sake, perhaps even political refugees. Note the parallelism with Matthew 25:35-36.

From thine own flesh.--Usage, as in Genesis 29:14; Nehemiah 5:5, leads us to refer the words primarily to suffering Israelites, but those who have learnt that "God hath made of one blood all the nations of the earth" (Acts 17:26) will extend its range to every form of suffering humanity.

Verse 7. - Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry? In the early Christian Church almsgiving was connected with fasting by law (Dressel's 'Patr. Apost.,' p. 493). It was also accepted as a moral axiom that "fasting and alms were the wings of prayer." Cast out; or, homeless ἀστέγους LXX.). That thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh. Their "flesh" were not merely their near kindred, but their countrymen generally (see Nehemiah 5:5).

58:3-12 A fast is a day to afflict the soul; if it does not express true sorrow for sin, and does not promote the putting away of sin, it is not a fast. These professors had shown sorrow on stated or occasioned fasts. But they indulged pride, covetousness, and malignant passions. To be liberal and merciful is more acceptable to God than mere fasting, which, without them, is vain and hypocritical. Many who seem humble in God's house, are hard at home, and harass their families. But no man's faith justifies, which does not work by love. Yet persons, families, neighbourhoods, churches, or nations, show repentance and sorrow for sin, by keeping a fast sincerely, and, from right motives, repenting, and doing good works. The heavy yoke of sin and oppression must be removed. As sin and sorrow dry the bones and weaken the strongest human constitution; so the duties of kindness and charity strengthen and refresh both body and mind. Those who do justly and love mercy, shall have the comfort, even in this world. Good works will bring the blessing of God, provided they are done from love to God and man, and wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit.Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry?.... Or "to break" (f) it, divide it, and communicate it to them; that which is "bread", food fit to eat, wholesome and nourishing; which is thine, and not another's; which thou hast saved by fasting, and therefore should not be laid up, but given away; and that not to the rich, who need it not, but to the hungry and necessitous: and this may be understood of spiritual bread, of imparting the Gospel to such who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, which to do is an acceptable service to God; and not to bind and oppress men's consciences with burdensome rites and ceremonies of men's own devising. These are husks, and not bread.

And that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house; poor ministers, cast out of the church, cast out of their livings, cast out of their houses, cast out of the land; and other Christian exiles for conscience sake; poor travellers and wanderers, as the Targum, obliged to flee from persecution into foreign countries, and wander about from place to place, having no certain dwelling place; these take into your house, and give them lodging: so some have entertained angels unawares, as Abraham and Lot, as indeed the faithful ministers of Christ are: or,

the poor rebels (g); for the word has this signification; such who have been accused and attainted as rebels; who have been charged with being rebels to church and state, though the quiet in the land, and so have been forced to flee and hide themselves; do not be afraid to receive them into your houses, though under such an imputation:

when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; the naked Christian especially; not entirely so, but one that is thinly clothed, whose clothes are scarce anything but rags, not sufficient to keep him warm, or preserve him from the inclemencies of the weather; put a better garment upon him, to cover him with:

and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh; meaning not only those "near akin" (h), though more especially them; but such as are in the same neighbourhood, of the same country; and indeed all men are of one blood, and so are the same flesh; and from persons in distress, and especially such as are of the household of faith, of the same religion, that support the same Protestant cause, though differing in some lesser matters, a man should not hide himself, or turn his eyes from, or refuse to relieve them, or treat them with disdain and contempt; see Galatians 6:10.

(f) "nonne ut frangas?" Pagninus; "nonne frangere?" Montanus. (g) Heb. "rebellatos, expulsos tanquam rebelles", Piscator; "qui persecutionem patiuntur", Vitringa. (h) "a cognatis tuis", Vatablus. So R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 85. 1.

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