I will be as the dew unto Israel
To spiritual Israel, to those that return to the Lord, take with them words, and pray unto him, whose backslidings are healed, and they are freely loved; otherwise it is said of apostate Israel or Ephraim, that they were "smitten, [and] their root dried up, [and bore] no fruit", ( Hosea 9:16 ) . These words, and the whole, context, respect future times, as Kimchi observes; even the conversion of Israel in the latter day, when they shall partake of all the blessings of grace, signified by the metaphors used in this and the following verses. These words are a continuation of the answer to the petitions put into the mouths of converted ones, promising them many favours, expressed in figurative terms; and first by "the dew", which comes from heaven, is a great blessing of God, and is quickening, very refreshing and fruitful to the earth: and the Lord is that unto his people as the dew is to herbs, plants, and trees of the earth; he is like unto it in his free love and layout, and the discoveries of it to them; which, like the dew, is of and from himself alone; is an invaluable blessing; better than life itself; and is not only the cause of quickening dead sinners, but of reviving, cheering, and refreshing the drooping spirits of his people; and is abundance, never fails, but always continues, ( Proverbs 19:12 ) ; and so he is in the blessings of his grace, and the application of them; which are in heavenly places, in Christ, and come down from thence, and in great abundance, like the drops of dew; and fall silently, insensibly, and unawares, particularly regenerating grace; and are very cheering and exhilarating, as forgiveness of sin, a justifying righteousness, adoption ( Deuteronomy 33:13 ) ; and also in the Gospel, and the doctrines of it, which distil as dew; these are of God, and come down from heaven; seem little in themselves, but of great importance to the conversion of sinners, and comfort of saints; bring many blessings in them, and cause great joy and fruitfulness wherever they come with power, ( Deuteronomy 32:2 ) . The Targum is,
``my Word shall be as dew to Israel;''the essential Word of God, the Messiah; of whose incarnation of a virgin some interpret this; having, like the dew, no father but God, either in his divine or human nature; but rather it is to be understood of the blessings of grace he is to his people as Mediator; being to them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, and every other, even their all it, all: he shall grow as the lily;
to which the church and people of God are sometimes compared, especially for their beauty and comeliness in Christ, Solomon in all his glory not being arrayed like one of these; particularly for their unspotted purity, being clothed with fine linen, clean and white, the white raiment of Christ's righteousness, and having their garments washed and made white in his blood; see ( Song of Solomon 2:1 Song of Solomon 2:2 Song of Solomon 2:16 ) ; and here for its growth. The root of the lily lies buried in the earth a long time, when it seems as if it was dead; but on a sudden it springs out of the earth, and runs up to a great height, and becomes very flourishing; which is not owing to itself, it "toils not"; but to the dew of heaven: so God's elect in a state of nature are dead, but, being quickened by the grace of God, spring up on a sudden, and grow very fast; which is not owing to themselves, but to the dews of divine grace, the bright shining of the sun of righteousness upon them, and to the influences of the blessed Spirit; and so they grow up on high, into their Head Christ Jesus, and rise up in their affections, desires, faith and hope to heavenly things, to the high calling of God in Christ, and become fruitful in grace, and in good works. The Targum is,
``they shall shine as the lily;''see ( Matthew 6:29 ) ; and cast forth his roots as Lebanon;
as the tree, or trees, of Lebanon, as the Targum; and so Kimchi, who adds, which are large, and their roots many; or as the roots of the trees of Lebanon, so Jarchi; like the cedars there, which, as the word here used signifies, "struck" F3 their roots firm in that mountain, and stood strong and stable, let what winds and tempests soever blow: thus, as in the following, what one metaphor is deficient in, another makes up. The lily has but a weak root, and is easily up; but the cedars in Lebanon had roots firm and strong, to which the saints are sometimes compared, as here; see ( Psalms 92:12 ) ; and this denotes their permanency and final perseverance; who are rooted in the love of God, which is like a root underground from all eternity, and sprouts forth in regeneration, and is the source of all grace; is itself immovable, and in it the people of God are secured, and can never be rooted out; and they may be said to "strike" their roots in it, as the phrase here, when they exercise: a strong faith in it, and are firmly persuaded of their interest in it; see ( Ephesians 3:17 Ephesians 3:18 ) ( Romans 8:38 Romans 8:39 ) ; they are also rooted in Christ, who is the root of Jesse, of David, and of all the saints; from whom they have their life, their nourishment and fruitfulness, and where they remain unmoved, and strike their roots in him, by renewed acts of faith on him, claiming their interest in him; and are herein so strongly rooted and grounded, that all the winds and storms of sin, Satan, and the world, cannot eradicate them; nay, as trees are more firmly rooted by being shaken, so are they; see ( Colossians 2:7 ) ( Isaiah 37:31 ) . The Targum is,
``they shall dwell in the strength of their land, as a tree of Lebanon, which sends forth its branch.''
F3 (Kyw) "percutiet", Montanus, Tarnovius, Rivet, Cocceius; "figet", Calvin, Pareus; "defiget"; Zanchius; "et infiget", Schmidt; "incutiet", Drusius.