Some suppose this chapter to have been addressed to the Gentiles; some, to the Jewish Church; and some, to the Christian, in its first stage. On comparing the different parts of it, particularly the seventh and eighth verses, with the remainder, the most obvious import of the prophecy will be that which refers it to the future conversion of the Jews, and to the increase and prosperity of that nation, when reconciled to God after their long rejection, when their glory and security will far surpass what they were formerly in their most favoured state, 1-17.
Notes on Chapter 54
Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear-"Shout for joy, O thou barren, that didst not bear"
The Church of God under the Old Testament, confined within the narrow bounds of the Jewish nation, and still more so in respect of the very small number of true believers, and which sometimes seemed to be deserted of God her husband, is the barren woman, that did not bear, and was desolate. She is exhorted to rejoice, and to express her joy in the strongest manner, on the reconciliation of her husband, (see Isaiah 54:6,) and on the accession of the Gentiles to her family. The converted Gentiles are all along considered by the prophet as a new accession of adopted children, admitted into the original Church of God, and united with it. See Isaiah 49:20,21.
For thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth
That is, "The bondage of Egypt: widowhood, the captivity of Babylon."-Secker.
For a small moment-"In a little anger"
So the Chaldee and Syriac, either reading regaz, for rega; or understanding the latter word as meaning the same with the former, which they both make use of. See Psalms 30:5;; 35:20, in the Septuagint, where they render rega by οργη, anger.
I hid my face from thee for a moment
The word rega is omitted by the Septuagint, Syriac, and two MSS. of Kennicott's, and two of De Rossi's. It seems to embarrass rather than to help the sentence. Forte reponi debet pro shetseph, quod potest a ketseph errore scribae originem duxisse. "Perhaps it ought to be substituted for shetseph, an error probably made by some scribe from its similarity to ketseph."-Secker.
goalech: but for this word three of De Rossi's MSS. have merachamech, thy commiserator.
For this is as the waters of Noah unto me-"The same will I do now, as in the days of Noah"
kimey, in one word, in a MS., and some editions; and so the Syriac, Chaldee, Vulgate, Symmachus, Theodotion, Abarbanel, Sal. ben Melec, and Kimchi acknowledge that their copies vary in this place.
It is certain that these two words ki mey, were written formerly as one. Taken as two ki mey, they signify for as the waters-when as one, kimey, they signify as the days. This latter reading is found in about four of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS. In one of my own it appears to have been intended as one word: but he who added the points, which are by a much later hand than the MS. itself, has pointed the letters so as to make the two words which are commonly found in the text. For the waters, Symmachus, Theodotion, the Syriac, Vulgate, and Arabic have days. The former seems to make the best sense; and the ancient Versions, except the Septuagint, support it.
Behold, I will lay thy stones-"Behold, I lay thy stones"
These seem to be general images to express beauty, magnificence, purity, strength, and solidity, agreeably to the ideas of the eastern nations; and to have never been intended to be strictly scrutinized, or minutely and particularly explained, as if they had each of them some precise, moral, or spiritual meaning. Tobit, in his prophecy of the final restoration of Israel, describes the New Jerusalem in the same oriental manner: "For Jerusalem shall be built up with sapphires, and emeralds, and precious stones; thy walls, and towers, and battlements, with pure gold. And the streets of Jerusalem shall be paved with beryl, and carbuncle, and stones of ophir." Tob. 13:16,17. Compare also Revelation 21:18-21.
Shall fall for thy sake-"Shall come over to thy side."
For yippol, twenty-eight MSS. (eight ancient) have yipal, in its more common form. For the meaning of the word in this place, see Jeremiah 37:13.