Friday, January 23, 2009

For the bruised reed

I have written much on the holiness of God, the wretchedness of man, the reality of hell, and the dangers of sin. Today though, I believe I need to write on the grace of God and help for the bruised reed. I am one an in need of much grace.

The Lord has reminded me through His word that He has much to say about His grace, the love of Jesus Christ, and the promises we need to stand on daily. Here's a few words from the Lord for God's children to meditate on (Jesus' words are in red):

Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3)


"It is better to be poor in spirit, to mourn, and to be meek, than to adopt the attitudes of the world. The poor in spirit recognize their spiritual destitution and depend on God. Those who mourn are sensitive to their spiritual faults and seek God’s help and comfort." - The Bible Readers Companion.

Jesus said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." (Matthew 5:4)


Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34:18)


"A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench." (Matthew 12:20)

COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW 12:20 IS AT BOTTOM. Please scroll to the end to read this great commentary I found about the "bruised reed."


Jesus said, "Everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God." (Luke 12:8)


If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)


"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1)


Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life." (John 5:24)


"If God is for us, who ca
n be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised- who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

or your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."

No, in all these things we are more than c
onquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:31-38)


Jesus said, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:35-40)


"This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word." (Isaiah 66:2)


"One of the criminals who were hanged r
ailed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he [Jesus] said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." (Luke 23:39-43)


Jesus said, "Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:14)

"The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things. Jesus said to her, I who speak to you am he." (John 4:25)


"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:1-4)

Jesus said, "Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." (Revelation 22:12,12)


He will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick affirms that the Messiah will be gentle and kind to those who are helpless and weak. If it is not possible to retain either of the metaphors, He will not break a bruised reed may be translated as “he will be gentle to those who are weak.” A bruised reed is a metaphor that makes use of a weak and frail object, and the meaning is that the Messiah will not deal harshly with those who are weak. Most scholars interpret the metaphor in this way, and it accords with the figure of speech which follows.

Or quench a smoldering wick is a second metaphor. If it is not possible to retain the metaphor, it may be rendered as “and kind to those who are helpless.” Here the smoldering wick is acknowledged by all to reflect the symbolism of a flickering lamp; in fact, the flame is out and the glowing wick merely gives off smoke. The Messiah is so gentle and kind that he will not even put out a helpless, flickering lamp. Therefore in cultures where these aspects of the language may be misunderstood or noneffective, the figures may be removed and the parallelism done away with, since the two figures of speech each convey essentially the same meaning.

There are essentially three main ways translators can deal with
he will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick. The first is to retain the form, that is, to more or less translate literally. Break may be “break off,” bruised may be “bent,” and quench may be “put out” or “extinguish.” But otherwise the meaning of the metaphors is not given.

A second way is to retain both the form and meaning by using a simile. Examples include “He would no sooner break a bent reed or put out a flickering candle than he would harm people who are weak” and “Just as he wouldn’t break a bent reed or snuff a flickering wick, he would not deal harshly with those who are frail and weak.”

The third manner is to drop the figurative language altogether, just as Today's English Version
has done. Examples are “He will not treat harshly those who are weak, nor do any harm to those who are not strong” and “He will always treat in a gentle way the weak and frail so as not to harm them.”

Till he brings forth justice to victory differs considerably from the Hebrew text of Isaiah, which Revised Standard Version translates as “he will faithfully bring forth justice.” Jerusalem Bible has for the Matthew passage “till he has led the truth to victory,” but it is difficult to see how the translators arrive at this. Mft is consistent with what he did in verse 18: “till he carries religion to victory.” Taking this rendering of Mft as a model for brings justice to victory, translators can say “until he causes justice to triumph” or “until he causes my salvation to be victorious.” However, this does not make clear enough what it means for justice to have victory. Therefore some have said “until he causes people to accept my justice” or “to acknowledge the salvation I offer."

Till gives the meaning that the servant will persist in being gentle with people until justice is victorious. In may be enough to say “until,” but some have said “That’s how he will be until ....” - Newman, Barclay Moon ; Stine, Philip C.: A Handbook on the Gospel of Matthew. New York : United Bible Societies, 1992 (UBS Helps for Translators; UBS Handbook Series), S. 367
- Tamara Slack