I. Comfort in the OT (notes from Isa. 40:1)

This term (BDB 636, KB 688, Piel imperative, plural) is used in Isaiah 1-39 only three times, but in Isaiah 40-66 fourteen times (mostly in Piel). "Comfort" could be the title for this section of Isaiah. It denotes YHWH’s compassionate care and concern (cf. Isa. 12:1). The word seems to have developed from the heavy panting of horses. YHWH is grieved that He had to punish His people. The punishment is over. It is not certain if this is because

A. they repented (i.e., Ezekiel 18)
B. YHWH chose to act on their behalf even though they were incapable of true repentance (cf. Ezek. 36:22-38)

A new day (i.e., new covenant, cf. Jer. 31:31-34) has dawned! It is based on YHWH’s character, not His people’s performance (cf. Rom. 3:21-31; Galatians 3; Eph. 2:8-9); His ability, not theirs; His eternal redemptive plan of which they are an integral part.

II. Comfort in the NT (notes from 2 Cor. 1:4-11)

The term "comfort," paraklēsis, in its different forms, is used ten times in 2 Cor. 1:3-11. It is the key term throughout the entire passage and also in 2 Corinthians 1-9, where it is used twenty-five times. The word means "to call alongside." It was often used in a judicial sense of an advocate who rendered legal aid, comfort, and guidance.

In this context it is used in the sense of encouragement and consolation. A related term, paraklētos, is used of the Holy Spirit in John 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7; and of Jesus in 1 John 2:1. In this context it is used of the Father (see Special Topic: Paraclete [Paraklētos])

The verb form of parakaleō is used in several senses.

A. the Septuagint

1. exhort, Deut. 3:28

2. comfort, Gen. 24:67; 37:35; Ps. 119:50 (in a Messianic sense in Isa. 40:1; 49:13; 51:3; 61:2)

3. have compassion, Deut. 32:36; Jdgs. 2:18; Ps. 135:14

4. console, Isa. 35:4

5. call, Exod. 15:13

B. Paul's writings to Corinth

1. exhort, 1 Cor. 1:10; 4:16; 14:30-31; 16:15-16; 2 Cor. 2:8; 5:20; 6:1; 8:4,6; 10:1

2. comfort, cheer up, 2 Cor. 1:4,6; 2:7; 7:6,7,13; 13:11

3. have compassion, console, 1 Cor. 4:13

4. implore, entreat, request, 1 Cor. 16:12; 2 Cor. 9:5; 12:18


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