After the threatenings of wrath in the foregoing chapter we have here,
I. Thankful praises for what God had done, which the prophet, in the
name of the church, offers up to God, and teaches us to offer the like,
II. Precious promises of what God would yet further do for his church,
especially in the grace of the gospel,
III. The church's triumph in God over her enemies thereupon,
This chapter looks as pleasantly upon the church as the former looked
dreadfully upon the world.
|A Song of Praise.
||B. C. 718.|
1 O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise
thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of
old are faithfulness and truth.
2 For thou hast made of a city a heap; of a defenced city a
ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be
3 Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of
the terrible nations shall fear thee.
4 For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the
needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the
heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm
against the wall.
5 Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in
a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the
branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low.
It is said in the close of the foregoing chapter that the Lord of
hosts shall reign gloriously; now, in compliance with this, the
prophet here speaks of the glorious majesty of his kingdom
and gives him the glory of it; and, however this prophecy might have an
accomplishment in the destruction of Babylon and the deliverance of the
Jews out of their captivity there, it seems to look further, to the
praises that should be offered up to God by the gospel church for
Christ's victories over our spiritual enemies and the comforts he has
provided for all believers. Here,
I. The prophet determines to praise God himself; for those that would
stir up others should in the first place stir up themselves to praise
"O Lord! thou art my God, a God in covenant with me." When God
is punishing the kings of the earth upon the earth, and making
them to tremble before him, a poor prophet can go to him, and, with a
humble boldness, say, O Lord! thou art my God, and therefore
I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name. Those that have the
Lord for their God are bound to praise him; for therefore he
took us to be his people that we might be unto him for a name and
for a praise,
In praising God we exalt him; not that we can make him higher than he
is, but we must make him to appear to ourselves and others than he
II. He pleases himself with the thought that others also shall be
brought to praise God,
"Therefore, because of the desolations thou hast made in the
earth by thy providence
and the just vengeance thou hast taken on thy and thy church's enemies,
therefore shall the strong people glorify thee in concert,
and the city (the metropolis) of the terrible nations fear
thee." This may be understood,
1. Of those people that have been strong and terrible against God.
Those that have been enemies to God's kingdom, and have fought against
the interests of it with a great deal of strength and terror, shall
either be converted, and glorify God by joining with his people in his
service, or at least convinced, so as to own themselves conquered.
Those that have been the terror of the mighty shall be forced to
tremble before the judgments of God and call in vain to rocks and
mountains to hide them. Or,
2. Of those that shall be now made strong and terrible for God and by
him, though before they were weak and trampled upon. God shall so
visibly appear for and with those that fear him and glorify him that
all shall acknowledge them a strong people and shall stand in awe of
them. There was a time when many of the people of the land became
Jews, for the fear of the Jews fell upon them
and when those that knew their God were strong and did exploits
for which they glorified God.
III. He observes what is, and ought to be, the matter of this praise.
We and others must exalt God and praise him; for,
1. He has done wonders, according to the counsel of his own will,
We exalt God by admiring what he has done as truly wonderful, wonderful
proofs of his power beyond what any creature could perform, and
wonderful proofs of his goodness beyond what such sinful creatures as
we are could expect. These wonderful things, which are new and
surprising to us, and altogether unthought of, are according to his
counsels of old, devised by his wisdom and designed for his own
glory and the comfort of his people. All the operations of providence
are according to God's eternal counsels (and those faithfulness and
truth itself), all consonant to his attributes, consistent with one
another, and sure to be accomplished in their season.
2. He has in particular humbled the pride, and broken the power, of the
mighty ones of the earth
"Thou hast made of a city, of many a city, a heap of
rubbish. Of many a defenced city, that thought itself well guarded by
nature and art, and the multitude and courage of its militia, thou hast
made a ruin." What created strength can hold out against Omnipotence?
"Many a city so richly built that it might be called a palace,
and so much frequented and visited by persons of the best rank from all
parts that it might be called a palace of strangers, thou hast
made to be no city; it is levelled with the ground, and not one stone
left upon another, and it shall never be built again." This has been
the case of many cities in divers parts of the world, and in our own
nation particularly; cities that flourished once have gone to decay and
are lost, and it is scarcely known (except by urns or coins digged up
out of the earth) where they stood. How many of the cities of Israel
have long since been heaps and ruins! God hereby teaches us that
here we have no continuing city and must therefore seek one to
come which will never be a ruin or go to decay.
3. He has seasonably relieved and succoured his necessitous and
Thou has been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy.
As God weakens the strong that are proud and secure, so he strengthens
the weak that are humble and serious, and stay themselves upon him.
Nay, he not only makes them strong, but he is himself their strength;
for in him they strengthen themselves, and it is his favour that is the
strength of their hearts. He is a strength to the needy in
his distress, when he needs strength, and when his distress drives
him to God. And, as he strengthens them against their inward decays, so
he shelters them from outward assaults. He is a refuge from the
storm of rain or hail, and a shadow from the scorching
heat of the sun in summer. God is a sufficient protection to his
people in all weathers, hot and cold, wet and dry. The armour of
righteousness serves both on the right hand and on the
2 Corinthians 6:7.
Whatever dangers or troubles God's people may be in, effectual care is
taken that they shall sustain no real hurt or damage. When perils are
most threatening and alarming God will then appear for the safety of
his people: When the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm
against the wall, which makes a great noise, but cannot overthrow
the wall. The enemies of God's poor are terrible ones; they do all they
can to make themselves so to them. Their rage is like a blast of wind,
loud, and blustering, and furious; but, like the wind, it is under a
divine check; for God holds the winds in his fist, and God will
be such a shelter to his people that they shall be able to stand the
shock, keep their ground, and maintain their integrity and peace. A
storm beating on a ship tosses it, but that which beats on a wall never
4. That he does and will shelter those that trust in him from the
insolence of their proud oppressors
Thou shalt, or thou dost, bring down the noise of
strangers; thou shalt abate and still it, as the heat in a dry
place is abated and moderated by the shadow of a cloud
interposing. The branch, or rather the son or triumph, of the
terrible ones shall be brought low, and they shall be made to
change their note and lower their voice. Observe here,
(1.) The oppressors of God's people are called strangers; for
they forget that those they oppress are made of the same mould, of the
same blood, with them. They are called terrible ones; for so
they affect to be, rather than amiable ones: they would rather be
feared than loved.
(2.) Their insolence towards the people of God is noisy and hot, and
that is all; it is but the noise of strangers, who think to carry their
point by hectoring and bullying all that stand in their way, and
talking big. Pharaoh king of Egypt is but a noise,
It is like the heat of the sun scorching in the middle of the day; but
where is it when the sun has set?
(3.) Their noise, and heat, and all their triumph, will be humbled and
brought low, when their hopes are baffled and all their honours laid in
the dust. The branches, even the top branches, of the terrible ones,
will be broken off, and thrown to the dunghill.
(4.) If the labourers in God's vineyard be at any time called to
bear the burden and heat of the day, he will find some way or
other to refresh them, as with the shadow of a cloud, that they may not
be pressed above measure.
|The Blessings of the Gospel.
||B. C. 718.|
6 And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all
people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of
fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.
7 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering
cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all
8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will
wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people
shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath
If we suppose (as many do) that this refers to the great joy which
there should be in Zion and Jerusalem when the army of the Assyrians
was routed by an angel, or when the Jews were released out of their
captivity in Babylon, or upon occasion of some other equally surprising
deliverance, yet we cannot avoid making it to look further, to the
grace of the gospel and the glory which is the crown and consummation
of that grace; for it is at our resurrection through Christ that the
saying here written shall be brought to pass; then, and not till
then (if we may believe St. Paul), it shall have its full
accomplishment: Death is swallowed up in victory,
1 Corinthians 15:54.
This is a key to the rest of the promises here connected together. And
so we have here a prophecy of the salvation and the grace brought unto
us by Jesus Christ, into which the prophets enquired and searched
1 Peter 1:10.
I. That the grace of the gospel should be a royal feast for all people;
not like that of Ahasuerus, which was intended only to show the
grandeur of the master of the feast
for this is intended to gratify the guests, and therefore, whereas all
there was for show, all here is for substance. The
preparations made in the gospel for the kind reception of penitents and
supplicants with God are often in the New Testament set forth by the
similitude of a feast, as
&c., which seems to be borrowed from this prophecy.
1. God himself is the Master of the feast, and we may be sure he
prepares like himself, as becomes him to give, rather than as becomes
us to receive. The Lord of hosts makes this feast.
2. The guests invited are all people, Gentiles as well as Jews.
Go preach the gospel to every creature. There is enough for all,
and whoever will may come, and partake freely, even those that are
gathered out of the highways and the hedges.
3. The place is Mount Zion. Thence the preaching of the gospel
takes rise: the preachers must begin at Jerusalem. The gospel church is
the Jerusalem that is above; there this feast is made, and to it all
the invited guests must go.
4. The provision is very rich, and every thing is of the best. It is a
feast, which supposes abundance and variety; it is a continual
feast to believers, it is their own fault if it be not. It is a
feast of fat things and full of marrow; so relishing, so
nourishing, are the comforts of the gospel to all those that feast upon
them and digest them. The returning prodigal was entertained with the
fatted calf; and David has that pleasure in communion with God with
which his soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness. It is a feast
of wines on the lees, the strongest-bodied wines, that have been
kept long upon the lees, and then are well refined from them, so that
they are clear and fine. There is that in the gospel which, like wine
soberly used, makes glad the heart and raises the spirits, and is fit
for those that are of a heavy heart, being under convictions of sin and
mourning for it, that they may drink and forget their misery (for that
is the proper use of wine--it is a cordial for those that need it,
may be of good cheer, knowing that their sins are forgiven, and may be
vigorous in their spiritual work and warfare, as a strong man refreshed
II. That the world should be freed from that darkness of ignorance and
mistake in the mists of which it had been so long lost and buried
He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering (the
covering of the face) with which all people are covered (hood-winked or
blind-folded) so that they cannot see their way nor go about their
work, and by reason of which they wander endlessly. Their faces are
covered as those of men condemned, or dead men. There is a veil
spread over all nations, for they all sit in darkness; and no
marvel, when the Jews themselves, among whom God was known, had
a veil upon their hearts,
2 Corinthians 3:15.
But this veil the Lord will destroy, by the light of his gospel shining
in the world, and the power of his Spirit opening men's eyes to receive
it. He will raise those to spiritual life that have long been dead in
trespasses and sins.
III. That death should be conquered, the power of it broken, and the
property of it altered: He will swallow up death in victory,
1. Christ will himself, in his resurrection, triumph over death, will
break its bands, its bars, asunder, and cast away all its cords. The
grave seemed to swallow him up, but really he swallowed it up.
2. The happiness of the saints shall be out of the reach of death,
which puts a period to all the enjoyments of this world, embitters
them, and stains the beauty of them.
3. Believers may triumph over death, and look upon it as a conquered
enemy: O death! where is thy sting?
4. When the dead bodies of the saints shall be raised at the great day,
and their mortality swallowed up of life, then death will be for ever
swallowed up of victory; and it is the last enemy.
IV. That grief shall be banished, and there shall be perfect and
endless joy: The Lord God will wipe away tears from off all
faces. Those that mourn for sin shall be comforted and have their
consciences pacified. In the covenant of grace there shall be that
provided which is sufficient to counterbalance all the sorrows of this
present time, to wipe away our tears, and to refresh us. Those
particularly that suffer for Christ shall have consolations abounding
as their afflictions do abound. But in the joys of heaven, and nowhere
short of them, will fully be brought to pass this saying, as
that before, for there it is that God shall wipe away all tears,
And there shall be no more sorrow, because there shall be no
more death. The hope of this should now wipe away all excessive
tears, all the weeping that hinders sowing.
V. That all the reproach cast upon religion and the serious professors
of it shall be for ever rolled away: The rebuke of his people,
which they have long lain under, the calumnies and misrepresentations
by which they have been blackened, the insolence and cruelty with which
their persecutors have trampled on them and trodden them down, shall
be taken away. Their righteousness shall be brought forth as the
light, in the view of all the world, who shall be convinced that they
are not such as they have been invidiously characterized; and so their
salvation from the injuries done them as such shall be wrought out.
Sometimes in this world God does that for his people which takes
away their reproach from among men. However, it will be done
effectually at the great day; for the Lord has spoken it, who
can, and will, make it good. Let us patiently bear sorrow and shame
now, and improve both; for shortly both will be done away.
|The Blessings of the Gospel.
||B. C. 718.|
9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we
have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we
have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his
10 For in this mountain shall the hand of the LORD rest, and
Moab shall be trodden down under him, even as straw is trodden
down for the dunghill.
11 And he shall spread forth his hands in the midst of them, as
he that swimmeth spreadeth forth his hands to swim: and he
shall bring down their pride together with the spoils of their
12 And the fortress of the high fort of thy walls shall he
bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, even to the
Here is, I. The welcome which the church shall give to these blessings
promised in the foregoing verses
It shall be said in that day, with a humble holy triumph and
exultation, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him! Thus
will the deliverance of the church out of long and sore troubles be
celebrated; thus will it be as life from the dead. With such transports
of joy and praise will those entertain the glad tidings of the Redeemer
who looked for him, and for redemption in Jerusalem by him; and with
such a triumphant song as this will glorified saints enter into the
joy of their Lord.
1. God himself must have the glory of all: "Lo, this is our God,
this is the Lord. This which is done is his doing, and it is
marvellous in our eyes. Herein he has done like himself, has magnified
his own wisdom, power, and goodness. Herein he has done for us like our
God, a God in covenant with us, and whom we serve." Note, Our triumphs
must not terminate in what God does for us and gives to us, but must
pass through them to himself, who is the author and giver of them:
This is our God. Have any of the nations of the earth such a God
to trust to? No, their rock is not as our rock. There is none like
unto the God of Jerusalem.
2. The longer it has been expected the more welcome it is. "This is he
whom we have waited for, in dependence upon his word of promise, and a
full assurance that he would come in the set time, in due time, and
therefore we were willing to tarry his time; and now we find it is not
in vain to wait for him, for the mercy comes at last, with an abundant
recompence for the delay."
3. It is matter of joy unspeakable: "We will be glad and rejoice in
his salvation. We that share in the benefits of it will concur in
the joyful thanksgivings for it."
4. It is an encouragement to hope for the continuance and perfection of
this salvation: We have waited for him, and he will save us,
will carry on what he has begun; for as for God, our God, his
work is perfect.
II. A prospect of further blessings for the securing and perpetuating
1. The power of God shall be engaged for them and shall continue to
take their part: In this mountain shall the hand of the Lord
The church and people of God shall have continued proofs of God's
presence with them and residence among them: his hand shall be
continually over them, to protect and guard them, and continually
stretched out to them, for their supply. Mount Zion is his rest for
ever; here he will dwell.
2. The power of their enemies, which is engaged against them, shall be
broken. Moab is here put for all the adversaries of God's
people, that are vexatious to them; they shall all be trodden
down or threshed (for then they beat out the corn by
treading it) and shall be thrown out as straw to the dunghill,
being good for nothing else. God having caused his hand to rest upon
this mountain, it shall not be a hand that hangs down, or is folded
up, feeble and inactive; but he shall spread forth his hands, in the
midst of his people, like one that swims, which intimates
that he will employ and exert his power for them vigorously,--that he
will be doing for them on all sides,--that he will easily and
effectually put by the opposition that is given to his gracious
intentions for them, and thereby further and push forward his good work
among them,--and that on their behalf he will be continually active,
for so the swimmer is. It is foretold, particularly, what he shall do
(1.) He shall bring down the pride of their enemies (and Moab
was notoriously guilty of pride,
by one humbling judgment after another, stripping them of that which
they are proud of.
(2.) He shall bring down the spoils of their hands, shall take
from them that which they have got by spoil and rapine. He shall bring
down the arms of their hands, which are lifted up against God's Israel;
he shall quite break their power, and disable them to do mischief.
(3.) He shall ruin all their fortifications,
Moab has his walls, and his high forts, with which he hopes to secure
himself, and from which he designs to annoy the people of God; but God
shall bring them all down, lay them low, bring them to the ground,
to the dust; and so those who trusted to them will be left exposed.
There is no fortress impregnable to Omnipotence, no fort so high but
the arm of the Lord can overtop it and bring it down. This destruction
of Moab is typical of Christ's victory over death (spoken of
his spoiling principalities and powers in his cross
his pulling down Satan's strong-holds by the preaching of his gospel
(2 Corinthians 10:4),
and his reigning till all his enemies be made his footstool,