Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
ENCOURAGEMENT TO THE
EXILE, AND FROM
1. me--the God of your fathers.
ye . . . follow after righteousness--the godly portion
of the nation;
"Ye follow righteousness," seek it therefore from Me, who "bring it
near," and that a righteousness "not about to be abolished"
(Isa 51:6, 7);
look to Abraham, your father
as a sample of how righteousness before Me is to be obtained; I, the
same God who blessed him, will bless you at last
therefore trust in Me, and fear not man's opposition
(Isa 51:7, 8, 12, 13).
The mistake of the Jews, heretofore, has been, not in that they
"followed after righteousness," but in that they followed it "by the
works of the law," instead of "by faith," as Abraham did
(Ro 9:31, 32; 10:3, 4; 4:2-5).
hole of . . . pit--The idea is not, as it is often quoted, the
inculcation of humility, by reminding men of the fallen state from which
they have been taken, but that as Abraham, the quarry, as it were
whence their nation was hewn, had been called out of a strange land to
the inheritance of Canaan, and blessed by God, the same God is able to
deliver and restore them also (compare
2. alone--translate, "I called him when he was but one"
The argument is: the same God who had so blessed "one" individual, as
to become a mighty nation
(Ge 12:1; 22:7),
can also increase and bless the small remnant of Israel, both that left
in the Babylonish captivity, and that left in the present and latter
(Isa 13:8, 9).
3. For--See for the argument,
the garden of the Lord--restoration of the primeval paradise
melody--Hebrew, "psalm." God's praises shall again be heard.
4. my people--the Jews. This reading is better than that of
GESENIUS: "O peoples . . . nations,"
namely, the Gentiles. The Jews are called on to hear and rejoice in the
extension of the true religion to the nations; for, at the first
preaching of the Gospel, as in the final age to come, it was from
Jerusalem that the gospel law was, and is, to go forth
law . . . judgment--the gospel dispensation and
make . . . to rest--establish firmly; found.
5. righteousness . . . near--that is, faithful fulfilment of the
promised deliverance, answering to "salvation" in the parallel clause
(Isa 46:13; 56:1;
Ro 10:8, 9).
Ye follow after "righteousness"; seek it therefore, from Me, and you
will not have far to go for it
arms--put for Himself; I by My might.
(Isa 2:3, 4;
"the power of God unto (the Gentiles as well as the Jews)
(Isa 40:6, 8;
Heb 1:11, 12).
vanish away--literally, "shall be torn asunder," as a garment
[MAURER]; which accords with the context.
in like manner--But GESENIUS,
"Like a gnat"; like the smallest and
vilest insect. JEROME
translates, as English Version, and infers
that "in like manner" as man, the heavens (that is, the sky) and earth
are not to be annihilated, but changed for the better
righteousness--My faithfully fulfilled promise
7. know righteousness--(See on
8. (See on
Not that the moth eats men up, but they shall be destroyed by as
insignificant instrumentality as the moth that eats a garment.
9. Impassioned prayer of the exiled Jews.
Rahab--poetical name for Egypt
dragon--Hebrew, tannin. The crocodile, an emblem of
Egypt, as represented on coins struck after the conquest of Egypt by
Augustus; or rather here, "its king," Pharaoh (see on
Ps 74:13, 14;
10. it--the arm.
Art not Thou the same Almighty power that . . . ? dried the sea--the
Therefore--assurance of faith; or else the answer of Jehovah
corresponding to their prayer. As surely as God redeemed Israel out of
Egypt, He shall redeem them from Babylon, both the literal in the age
following, and mystical in the last ages
(Re 18:20, 21).
There shall be a second exodus
(Isa 11:11-16; 27:12, 13).
singing--image from the custom of singing on a journey when a caravan
is passing along the extended plains in the East.
sorrow . . . flee away--
son of man--frail and dying as his parent Adam.
be made as grass--wither as grass
(Isa 40:6, 7).
(Isa 40:12, 26, 28),
the same argument of comfort drawn from the omnipotence of the Creator.
as if . . . ready, &c.--literally, "when he directs," namely, his
arrow, to destroy
(Ps 21:12; 7:13; 11:2)
14. captive exile--literally, one bowed down as a captive
[MAURER]. The scene is primarily Babylon, and the
time near the close of the captivity. Secondarily, and antitypically,
the mystical Babylon, the last enemy of Israel and the Church, in which
they have long suffered, but from which they are to be gloriously
pit--such as were many of the ancient dungeons (compare
Jer 38:6, 11, 13;
nor . . . bread . . . fail--
15. divided . . . sea--the Red Sea. The same Hebrew word as "make
Rather, "that terrify the sea," that is, restrain it by My rebuke,
"when its waves roar" [GESENIUS]. The
Hebrew favors MAURER, "that terrify the sea
so that the waves roar." The sense favors GESENIUS
(Jer 5:22; 31:35),
or English Version
(Isa 51:9, 10,
which favors the special reference to the exodus from Egypt).
16. Addressed to Israel, embodied in "the servant of Jehovah"
Messiah, its ideal and representative Head, through whom the elect
remnant is to be restored.
put my words in thy mouth--true of Israel, the depository of true
religion, but fully realized only in Israel's Head and antitype, Messiah
(Isa 49:2; 50:4, 5; 59:21;
covered . . . in . . . shadow of . . . hand--protected thee
plant--rather, "fix" as a tabernacle; so it ought to be rendered
The "new creation," now going on in the spiritual world by the Gospel
and hereafter to be extended to the visible world, is meant
(Isa 65:17; 66:22;
Zion--Its restoration is a leading part in the new creation to come
(Isa 65:17, 19).
17. Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, &c.--
drunk--Jehovah's wrath is compared to an intoxicating draught because
it confounds the sufferer under it, and makes him fall
Ps 60:3; 75:8;
Jer 25:15, 16; 49:12;
("poured out without mixture"; rather, "the pure wine juice mixed with
of trembling--which produced trembling or intoxication.
wrung . . . out--drained the last drop out; the dregs were the
sediments from various substances, as honey, dates, and drugs, put into
the wine to increase the strength and sweetness.
18. Following up the image in
intoxicated and confused by the cup of God's anger, she has none to
guide her in her helpless state; she has not yet awakened out of the
sleep caused by that draught. This cannot apply to the Babylonish
captivity; for in it they had Ezekiel and Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah, as
"guides," and soon awoke out of that sleep; but it applies to the Jews
now, and will be still more applicable in their coming oppression by
19. two--classes of evils, for he enumerates four, namely,
desolation and destruction to the land and state; famine and
the sword to the people.
who shall be sorry for thee--so as to give thee effectual relief: as
the parallel clause, "By whom shall I comfort thee?" shows
20. head of all . . . streets--
(La 2:19; 4:1).
wild bull--rather, "oryx"
[JEROME], or gazelle
[GESENIUS], or wild
goat [BOCHART]; commonly in the East taken in
a net, of a wide sweep,
into which the beasts were hunted together. The streets of cities in the
East often have gates, which are closed at night; a person wishing to
escape would be stopped by them and caught, as a wild animal in a net.
21. drunken . . . not with wine--
Isa 51:17, 20,
22. pleadeth . . . cause--
no more drink it--
This cannot apply to Israel after the return from Babylon, but only to
them after their final restoration.
Bow down that . . . go over--Conquerors often literally trod on the
necks of conquered kings, as Sapor of Persia did to the Roman emperor