Isaiah 41:15
(15) A new sharp threshing instrument.--The instrument described is a kind of revolving sledge armed with two-edged blades, still used in Syria, and, as elsewhere (Micah 4:13), is the symbol of a crushing victory. The next verse continues the image, as in Jeremiah 15:7; Jeremiah 51:2.

Verse 15. - I will make thee a new sharp threshing-instrument. Israel is to be more than sustained. Strength is to be given her to take the aggressive, and to subdue her enemies under her. She is to "thresh them" and "beat them small," as with a threshing-instrument (comp. 2 Kings 13:7; Amos 1:3; Micah 4:13). In the literal sense, no earlier accomplishment of this prophecy can be pointed out than the time of the Maccahean war. Metaphorically, it may be said that Israel began to conquer the world when her literature became known to the Greeks through the expedition of Alexander the Great, and completed her conquest when the Roman empire succumbed to the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth. Having teeth. Threshing-instruments of the kind described are still in use in Syria (Thomson, 'The Land and the Book,' p. 539) and Asia Minor (Fellows, 'Asia Minor,' p. 70). The corn is spread out on the ground, and the machine, which is sometimes armed with sharp stones, sometimes with saws, is dragged ever it. The Arabic name is still noreg, a modification of the Hebrew moreg. Thou shalt thresh the mountains... the hills; i.e. "thou shalt subdue proud and mighty foes" (Delitzsch).

41:10-20 God speaks with tenderness; Fear thou not, for I am with thee: not only within call, but present with thee. Art thou weak? I will strengthen thee. Art thou in want of friends? I will help thee in the time of need. Art thou ready to fall? I will uphold thee with that right hand which is full of righteousness, dealing forth rewards and punishments. There are those that strive with God's people, that seek their ruin. Let not God's people render evil for evil, but wait God's time. It is the worm Jacob; so little, so weak, so despised and trampled on by every body. God's people are as worms, in humble thoughts of themselves, and in their enemies' haughty thoughts of them; worms, but not vipers, not of the serpent's seed. Every part of God's word is calculated to humble man's pride, and to make him appear little in his own eyes. The Lord will help them, for he is their Redeemer. The Lord will make Jacob to become a threshing instrument. God will make him fit for use, new, and having sharp spikes. This has fulfilment in the triumphs of the gospel of Christ, and of all faithful followers of Christ, over the power of darkness. God has provided comforts to supply all their wants, and to answer all their prayers. Our way to heaven lies through the wilderness of this world. The soul of man is in want, and seeks for satisfaction; but becomes weary of seeking that in the world, which is not to be had in it. Yet they shall have a constant supply, where one would least expect it. I will open rivers of grace, rivers of living water, which Christ spake of the Spirit, Joh 7:38,39. When God sets up his church in the Gentile wilderness, there shall be a great change, as if thorns and briers were turned into cedars, and fir-trees, and myrtles. These blessings are kept for the poor in spirit, who long for Divine enlightening, pardon, and holiness. And God will render their barren souls fruitful in the grace of his Spirit, that all who behold may consider it.Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument, having teeth,.... The Vulgate Latin version renders it, "as a new threshing cart, having teeth like saws"; and the Septuagint and Arabic versions, "as the new threshing wheels of a cart, in the manner of saws"; for corn with the Jews was threshed out by drawing a cart with wheels over it, which wheels were stuck with teeth or spikes of iron; see Isaiah 28:27, or by a cart or sledge filled with stones to press it down, and at the bottom with iron teeth, which being drawn to and fro by oxen over the sheaves, separated the grain from the husk. Beckius has given a figure of this instrument (t), and some such like instrument is still made use of in the eastern countries, as Monsieur Thevenot (u) relates;

"at Damascus (he says), and almost all Turkey over, they thresh not the corn, but after it is cut down they put it up in heaps, and round the heaps they spread some of it four or five feet broad, and two feet thick; this being done, they have a kind of sled, made of four pieces of timber in square, two of which serve for an axle tree to two great rollers, whose ends enter into these two pieces of timber, so as that they easily turn in them: round each of these rollers, there are three iron pinions, about half a foot thick, and a foot in diameter, whose pinions are full of teeth, like so many saws: there is a seat placed upon the two chief pieces of the timber, where a man sits, and drives the horses, that draw the machine, round about the lay of corn that is two foot thick; and that cutting the straw very small, makes the corn come out of the ears without breaking it, for it slides betwixt the teeth of the iron: when the straw is well cut, they put in more, and then separate the corn from that bashed straw, by tossing all up together in the air with a wooden shovel; for the wind blows the straw a little aside, and the corn alone falls straight down--in some places that machine is different, as I have seen (adds he), in Mesopotamia; where, instead of those pinions round the rollers, they have many pegs of iron, about six inches long, and three broad, almost in the shape of wedges, but somewhat broader below than above, fastened without any order into the rollers, some straight, and others crossways; and this engine is covered with boards over the irons, whereon he that drives the horse sits--they take the same course in Persia.''

Some apply this to the apostles of Christ, compared to oxen that tread out the corn; and who not only ploughed and sowed, but threshed in hope, and were instruments of bringing down every "high thing", comparable to mountains and hills, "that exalted itself against the knowledge of God", and of reducing it "to the obedience of Christ"; see 1 Corinthians 9:9, but it seems rather to refer to Constantine, a Christian emperor, brought forth and brought up in the church; the same with the man child the woman brought forth, caught up into heaven, raised to the Roman empire, and who ruled the nations, the Pagan ones, with a rod of iron, Revelation 12:5 and then the church, who before was but as a worm, weak and contemptible, now became powerful and formidable; and therefore compared to a new threshing instrument, heavy, sharp, and cutting:

thou shall thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff; which metaphorically design kingdoms and states; so the Targum,

"thou shalt slay the people, and consume kingdoms"; so Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it of kings and princes; and Aben Ezra particularly of the Babylonians; but these were not destroyed by the people of God, but by the Persians: it is better therefore to understand it of the Roman emperors, and of the Roman empire conquered by Constantine, and destroyed as Pagan, and when every mountain and island were moved out of their places, Revelation 12:7, and the prophecy may have a further accomplishment in the destruction of Rome Papal, and all the antichristian states, when the kingdom and interest of Christ, signified by a stone cut out without hands, shall break in pieces, and consume all other kingdoms: which shall become like the chaff of summer threshing floors, and the wind shall carry them away, and no place be found for them, as follows; see Daniel 2:34, this threshing of the nations is ascribed to the church, though only as an instrument, the work is the Lord's, as in Isaiah 41:20.

(t) Beckius, notes on the Targum on 1 Chronicles 20.3. p. 210. (u) Travels, Part 2. B. 1. c. 5. p. 24.

Isaiah 41:14
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