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  • PARALLEL BIBLE - Isaiah 7:15


    CHAPTERS: Isaiah 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66     

    VERSES: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

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    King James Bible - Isaiah 7:15

    Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

    World English Bible

    He shall eat
    butter and honey when he knows to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

    Douay-Rheims - Isaiah 7:15

    He shall eat
    butter and honey, that he may know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good.

    Webster's Bible Translation

    Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

    Original Hebrew

    חמאה
    2529 ודבשׁ 1706 יאכל 398 לדעתו 3045 מאוס 3988 ברע 7451 ובחור 977 בטוב׃ 2896

    Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge

    VERSE (15) -
    Ps 51:5 Am 5:15 Lu 1:35; 2:40,52 Ro 12:9 Php 1:9,10

    SEV Biblia, Chapter 7:15

    Comerá manteca y miel, hasta que sepa desechar lo malo y escoger lo bueno.

    Clarke's Bible Commentary - Isaiah 7:15

    Verse 15. That he may know "When he shall know"] "Though so much has been written on this important passage, there is an obscurity and inconsequence which still attends it, in the
    general run of all the interpretations given to it by the most learned. And this obscure incoherence is given to it by the false rendering of a Hebrew particle, viz., l le, in wt[dl ledato. This has been generally rendered, either 'that he rnay know,' or 'till he know.' It is capable of either version, without doubt; but either of these versions makes ver. 15 incoherent and inconsistent with ver. 16. For ver. 16 plainly means to give a reason for the assertion in ver. 16, because it is subjoined to it by the particle yk ki, for. But it is no reason why a child should eat butter and honey till he was at an age to distinguish, that before that time the land of his nativity should be free from its enemies. This latter supposition indeed implies, what is inconsistent with the preceding assertion. For it implies, that in part of that time of the infancy spoken of the land should not be free from enemies, and consequently these,speoies of delicate food could not be attainable, as they are in times of peace. The other version, 'that he may know,' has no meaning at all; for what sense is there in asserting, that a child shall eat butter and honey that he may know to refuse evil and choose good? Is there any such effect in this food? Surely not. Besides, the child is thus represented to eat those things, which only a state of peace produces, during its whole infancy, inconsistently with ver. 16, which promises a relief from enemies only before the end of this infancy: implying plainly, that part of it would be passed in distressful times of war and siege, which was the state of things when the prophecy was delivered.

    "But all these objections are cut off, and a clear, coherent sense is given to this passage, by giving another sense to the particle l le. which never occurred to me till I saw it in Harmer's Observat., vol. i., p. 299. See how coherent the words of the prophet run, with how natural a connection one clause follows another, by properly rendering this one particle: 'Behold this Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and thou shalt call his name Immanuel; butter and honey, shall he eat, when he shall know to refuse evil, and choose good. For before this child shall know to refuse evil and choose good, the land shall be desolate, by whose two kings thou art distressed.' Thus ver. 16 subjoins a plain reason why the child should eat butter and honey, the food of plentiful times, when he came to a distinguishing age; viz., because before that time the country of the two kings, who now distressed Judea, should be desolated; and so Judea should recover that plenty which attends peace. That this rendering, which gives perspicuity and rational connection to the passage, is according to the use of the Hebrew particle, is certain. Thus rqb twnpl liphnoth boker, 'at the appear ing of morning, or when morning appeared,' Exodus xiv. 27; lkah t[l leeth haochel, 'at mealtime, or when it was time to eat,' Ruth ii. 14. In the same manner, wt[dl ledato, 'at his knowing, that is, when he knows.' "Harmer (ibid.) has clearly shown that these articles of food are delicacies in the East, and, as such, denote a state of plenty. See also Josh. v. 6.

    They therefore naturally express the plenty of the country, as a mark of peace restored to it. Indeed, in ver. 22 it expresses a plenty arising from the thinness of the people; but that it signifies, ver. 15, a plenty arising from deliverance from war then present, is evident; because otherwise there is no expression of this deliverance. And that a deliverance was intended to be here expressed is plain, from calling the child which should be born Immanuel, God with us. It is plain, also, because it is before given to the prophet in charge to make a declaration of the deliverance, ver. 3-7; and it is there made; and this prophecy must undoubtedly be conformable to that in this matter."-Dr. Jubb.

    The circumstance of the child's eating butter and honey is explained by Jarchi, as denoting a state of plenty: "Butter and honey shall this child eat, because our land shall be full of all good." Comment in locum. The infant Jupiter, says Callimachus, was tenderly nursed with goat's milk and honey. Hymn, in Jov. 48. Homer, of the orphan daughters of Pandareus:- komisse de diĈ afrodith turw kai meliti glukerw, kai hdei oinw. ODYSS. XX., 68.

    "Venus in tender delicacy rears With honey, milk, and wine, their infant years." POPE.

    trufhv estin endeixiv; "This is a description of delicate food," says Eustathius on the place.

    Agreeably to the observations communicated by the learned person above mentioned, which perfectly well explain the historical sense of this much disputed passage, not excluding a higher secondary sense, the obvious and literal meaning of the prophecy is this: "that within the time that a young woman, now a virgin, should conceive and bring forth a child, and that child should arrive at such an age as to distinguish between good and evil, that is, within a few years, (compare chap. viii. 4,) the enemies of Judah should be destroyed." But the prophecy is introduced in so solemn a manner; the sign is so marked, as a sign selected and given by God himself, after Ahaz had rejected the offer of any sign of his own choosing out of the whole compass of nature; the terms of the prophecy are so peculiar, and the name of the child so expressive, containing in them much more than the circumstances of the birth of a common child required, or even admitted; that we may easily suppose that, in minds prepared by the general expectation of a great Deliverer to spring from the house of David, they raised hopes far beyond what the present occasion suggested; especially when it was found, that in the subsequent prophecy, delivered immediately afterward, this child, called Immanuel, is treated as the Lord and Prince of the land of Judah. Who could this be, other than the heir of the throne of David; under which character a great and even a Divine person had been promised? No one of that age answered to this character except Hezekiah; but he was certainly born nine or ten years before the delivery of this prophecy. That this was so understood at that time is collected, I think, with great probability, from a passage of Micah, a prophet contemporary with Isaiah, but who began to prophesy after him; and who, as I have already observed, imitated him, and sometimes used his expressions. Micah, having delivered that remarkable prophecy which determines the place of the birth of Messiah, "the Ruler of God's people, whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting;" that it should be Bethlehem Ephratah; adds immediately, that nevertheless, in the mean time, God would deliver his people into the hands of their enemies: "He will give them up, till she, who is to bear a child, shall bring forth," Micah v. 3. This obviously and plainly refers to some known prophecy concerning a woman to bring forth a child; and seems much more properly applicable to this passage of Isaiah than to any others of the same prophet, to which some interpreters have applied it. St. Matthew, therefore, in applying this prophecy to the birth of Christ, does it, not merely in the way of accommodating the words of the prophet to a suitable case not in the prophet's view, but takes it in its strictest, clearest, and most important sense; and applies it according to the original design and principal intention of the prophet. - L.

    After all this learned criticism, I think something is still wanting to diffuse the proper light over this important prophecy. On Matt. i. 23 I have given what I judge to be the true meaning and right application of the whole passage, as there quoted by the evangelist, the substance of which it will be necessary to repeat here:- At the time referred to, the kingdom of Judah, under the government of Ahaz, was reduced very low. Pekah, king of Israel, had slain in Judea one hundred and twenty thousand persons in one day; and carried away captives two hundred thousand, including women and children, together with much spoil. To add to their distress, Rezin, king of Syria, being confederate with Pekah, had taken Elath, a fortified city of Judah, and carried the inhabitants away captive to Damascus. In this critical conjuncture, need we wonder that Ahaz was afraid that the enemies who were now united against him must prevail, destroy Jerusalem, end the kingdom of Judah, and annihilate the family of David? To meet and remove this fear, apparently well grounded, Isaiah is sent from the Lord to Ahaz, swallowed up now both by sorrow and by unbelief, in order to assure him that the counsels of his enemies should not stand; and that they should be utterly discomsSted. To encourage Ahaz, he commands him to ask a sign or miracle, which should be a pledge in hand, that God should, in due time, fulfill the predictions of his servant, as related in the context. On Ahaz humbly refusing to ask any sign, it is immediately added, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son; and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat," &c. Both the Divine and human nature of our Lord, as well as the miraculous conception, appear to be pointed out in the prophecy quoted here by the evangelist: He shall be called la-wnm[ IMMANUEL; literally, The STRONG GOD WITH US: similar to those words in the New Testament: The word which was God- was made flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; John i. 1, 14. And God was manifested in the flesh, 1 Tim. iii. 16. So that we are to understand God with us to imply, God incarnated-God in human nature. This seems farther evident from the words of the prophet, ver. 15: Butter and honey shall he eat-he shall be truly man-grow up and be nourished in a human natural way; which refers to his being WITH US, i.e., incarnated. To which the prophet adds, That he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good; or rather, According to his knowledge, wt[dl ledato, reprobating the evil, and choosing the good; this refers to him as GOD, and is the same idea given by this prophet, chap. liii. 11: By (or in) his knowledge, wt[db bedato, (the knowledge of Christ crucified,) shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their offenses. Now this union of the Divine and human nature is termed a sign or miracle, twa oth, i.e., something which exceeds the power of nature to produce. And this miraculous union was to be brought about in a miraculous way: Behold, a VIRGIN shall conceive: the word is very emphatic, hml[h haalmah, THE virgin; the only one that ever was, or ever shall be, a mother in this way. But the Jews, and some called Christians, who have espoused their desperate cause, assert that "the word hml[ almah does not signify a VIRGIN only; for it is applied Prov. xxx. 19 to signify a young married woman." I answer, that this latter text is no proof of the contrary doctrine: the words hml[b rbg ûrd derech geber bealmah, the way of a man with a maid, cannot be proved to mean that for which it is produced. Besides, one of De Rossi's MSS. reads wyml[b bealmaiv, the way of a strong or stout man ( rbg geber) IN HIS YOUTH; and in this reading the Syriac, Septuagint, Vulgate, and Arabic agree; which are followed by the first version in the English language, as it stands in a MS. in my own possession: the weie of a man in his waxing youth: so that this place, the only one that can with any probability of success be produced, were the interpretation contended for correct, which I am by no means disposed to admit, proves nothing.

    Besides, the consent of so many versions in the opposite meaning deprives it of much of its influence in this question.

    The word hml[ almah, comes from µl[ alam, to lie hid, be concealed: and we are told, that "virgins were so called, because they were concealed or closely kept up in their father's houses till the time of their marriage." This is not correct: see the case of Rebecca, Gen. xxiv. 43, and my note there; that of Rachel, Gen. xxix. 6, 9, and the note there also; and see the case of Miriam, the sister of Moses, Exod. ii. 8, and also the Chaldee paraphrase on Lam. i. 4, where the virgins are represented as going out in the dance. And see also the whole history of Ruth. This being concealed or kept at home, on which so much stress is laid, is purely fanciful; for we find that young unmarried women drew water, kept sheep, gleaned publicly in the fields, &c., &c., and the same works they perform among the Turcomans to the present day. This reason, therefore, does not account for the radical meaning of the word; and we must seek it elsewhere. Another well-known and often-used root in the Hebrew tongue will cast light on this subject. This is hlg galah, which signifies to reveal, make manifest, or uncover; and is often applied to matrimonial connections in different parts of the Mosaic law: µl[ alam, therefore, may be considered as implying the concealment of the virgin, as such, till lawful, marriage had taken place. A virgin was not called hml[ almah, because she was concealed by being kept at home in her father's house, which is not true; but, literally and physically, because as a woman she had not been uncovered-she had not known man. This fully applies to the blessed virgin, see Luke i. 34. "How can this be, seeing I know no man?" And this text throws much light on the subject before us. This also is in perfect agreement with the ancient prophecy, "The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent," Genesis iii. 15; for the person who was to destroy the work of the devil was to be the progeny of the woman, without any concurrence of the man. And hence the text in Genesis speaks as fully of the virgin state of the person from whom Christ, according to the flesh, should come, as that in the prophet, or this in the evangelist.

    According to the original promise there was to be a seed, a human being, who should destroy sin: but this seed or human being, must come from the woman ALONE; and no woman ALONE could produce such a human being without being a virgin. Hence, A virgin shall bear a son, is the very spirit and meaning of the original text, independently of the illustration given by the prophet; and the fact recorded by the evangelist is the proof of the whole. But how could that be a sign to Ahaz which was to take place so many hundreds of years after? I answer, the meaning of the prophet is plain: not only Rezin and Pekah should be unsuccessful against Jerusalem at that time, which was the fact; but Jerusalem, Judea, and the house of David should be both preserved, notwithstanding their depressed state, and the multitude of their adversaries, till the time should come when a VIRGIN should bear a son. This is a most remarkable circumstance the house of David could never fail, till a virgin should conceive and bear a son-nor did it: but when that incredible and miraculous fact did take place, the kingdom and house of David became extinct! This is an irrefragable confutation of every argument a Jew can offer in vindication of his opposition to the Gospel of Christ. Either the prophecy in Isaiah has been fulfilled, or the kingdom and house of David are yet standing. But the kingdom of David, we know, is destroyed: and where is the man, Jew or Gentile, that can show us a single descendant of David on the face of the earth? The prophecy could not fail: the kingdom and house of David have failed; the virgin, therefore, must have brought forth her son, and this son is Jesus, the Christ. Thus Moses, Isaiah, and Matthew concur; and facts the most unequivocal have confirmed the whole! Behold the wisdom and providence of God! Notwithstanding what has been said above, it may be asked, In what sense could this name, Immanuel, be applied to Jesus Christ, if he be not truly and properly GOD?


    Matthew Henry Commentary
    Ahaz threatened by
    Israel and Syria; and is assured their attack woul be in vain. (Is. 7:1-9) God gives a sure sign by the promise of the long-expected Messiah. (Is. 7:10-16) The folly and sin of seeking relief from Assyria are reproved. (Is. 7:17-25)

    Is. 7:1-9 Ungodly men are often punished by others as bad a themselves. Being in great distress and confusion, the Jews gave up all for lost. They had made God their enemy, and knew not how to make his their friend. The prophet must teach them to despise their enemies, in faith and dependence on God. Ahaz, in fear, called them two powerfu princes. No, says the prophet, they are but tails of smokin firebrands, burnt out already. The two kingdoms of Syria and Israe were nearly expiring. While God has work for the firebrands of the earth, they consume all before them; but when their work is fulfilled they will be extinguished in smoke. That which Ahaz thought mos formidable, is made the ground of their defeat; because they have take evil counsel against thee; which is an offence to God. God scorns the scorners, and gives his word that the attempt should not succeed. Ma purposes, but God disposes. It was folly for those to be trying to rui their neighbours, who were themselves near to ruin. Isaiah must urg the Jews to rely on the assurances given them. Faith is absolutel necessary to quiet and compose the mind in trials.

    Is. 7:10-16 Secret disaffection to God is often disguised with the colour of respect to him; and those who are resolved that they will no trust God, yet pretend they will not tempt him. The prophet reprove Ahaz and his court, for the little value they had for Divin revelation. Nothing is more grievous to God than distrust, but the unbelief of man shall not make the promise of God of no effect; the Lord himself shall give a sign. How great soever your distress an danger, of you the Messiah is to be born, and you cannot be destroye while that blessing is in you. It shall be brought to pass in glorious manner; and the strongest consolations in time of trouble ar derived from Christ, our relation to him, our interest in him, ou expectations of him and from him. He would grow up like other children by the use of the diet of those countries; but he would, unlike othe children, uniformly refuse the evil and choose the good. And althoug his birth would be by the power of the Holy Ghost, yet he should not be fed with angels' food. Then follows a sign of the speedy destruction of the princes, now a terror to Judah. "Before this child," so it may be read; "this child which I have now in my arms," (Shear-jashub, the prophet's own son, Is. 7:3,) shall be three or four years older, thes enemies' forces shall be forsaken of both their kings. The prophecy i so solemn, the sign is so marked, as given by God himself after Aha rejected the offer, that it must have raised hopes far beyond what the present occasion suggested. And, if the prospect of the coming of the Divine Saviour was a never-failing support to the hopes of ancien believers, what cause have we to be thankful that the Word was mad flesh! May we trust in and love Him, and copy his example.

    Is. 7:17-25 Let those who will not believe the promises of God, expec to hear the alarms of his threatenings; for who can resist or escap his judgments? The Lord shall sweep all away; and whomsoever he employ in any service for him, he will pay. All speaks a sad change of the face of that pleasant land. But what melancholy change is there, whic sin will not make with a people? Agriculture would cease. Sorrows of every kind will come upon all who neglect the great salvation. If we remain unfruitful under the means of grace, the Lord will say, Let n fruit grow on thee henceforth for ever __________________________________________________________________


    Original Hebrew

    חמאה 2529 ודבשׁ 1706 יאכל 398 לדעתו 3045 מאוס 3988 ברע 7451 ובחור 977 בטוב׃ 2896


    CHAPTERS: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66
    VERSES: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

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