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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 25

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 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.

The restoration from Babylon, and re-establishment of the theocracy, was a type and pledge of this.

Thou hast done wonderful things - according to thy "name" (Isaiah 9:6) or character manifested in delivering thy people from all their persecutors, and especially Antichrist (Isaiah 24:10; Isaiah 24:13-15).

Thy counsels of old (Isaiah 42:9; Isaiah 46:10) - purposes planned long ago: here, as to the deliverance of His people.

(Are) ... truth - Hebrew, Amen: covenant-keeping; faithful to promises: the special characteristic of Jesus, the Amen (Revelation 3:14).

Verse 2

For thou hast made of a city an heap; of a defenced city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built.

Thou hast made of a city an heap - Babylon, "the city of confusion" (Isaiah 24:10; Isaiah 24:12); type of the seat of Antichrist, to be destroyed in the last days, (cf. Jeremiah 51:37 with Revelation 18:1-24 respecting the final overthrow of spiritual Babylon, the apostate church, followed, as here, by the song of the saints' thanksgiving in Revelation 19:1-21.) 'Heaps' is a graphic picture of Babylon and Nineveh as they now are.

Palace - Babylon regarded, on account of its splendour, as a vast palace; or else a citadel.

Of strangers - foreigners, whose capital pre-eminently Babylon was: the metropolis of the pagan world. So the spiritual Babylon has as its citizens, "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise" (Isaiah 29:5; Ephesians 2:12: see in contrast Joel 3:17).

Never be built - (Isaiah 13:19-20, etc.)

Verse 3

Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible nations shall fear thee.

Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee. The nations on which Babylon had exercised its cruelty (Isaiah 14:12) shall worship Yahweh, awed by the judgment inflicted on Babylon (Isaiah 23:18). Thus the Persians-a strong and terrible people-under Cyrus, glorified God in causing the restoration of the Jews from Babylon to Jerusalem, (Ezra 1:1-11.) The antitypical and ultimate fulfillment shall be the conversion of the powerful Gentile nations, consequent on the deliverance of Israel from Antichrist by the manifested Christ. But see below the Jews' own view, that the strong people mean themselves.

The city of the terrible nations shall fear thee - not Babylon, which shall then be destroyed, but collectively for the cities of the surrounding nations. So the Chaldaic has 'cities' for "city" in Isaiah 25:2. Jerome says, 'The Jews think that this is the voice of the saints when God shall have performed against the whole world what is spoken above, and the prophecies of all the prophets are completed; and they interpret the overthrown city (Isaiah 25:2) to signify Rome, which is to be utterly destroyed; and the strong people, who shall praise Yahweh, and to whom He has been a strength in their distress, they refer to Israel, who shall then be freed from the persecution of the Gentile nations.' Thus, the Jews, though "poor" and "needy" in themselves, are regarded as nevertheless "strong" [ `aaz (H5794)] in having Yahweh as their "strength" (Isaiah 25:4) [ maa`owz (H4581)]. "The city of the terrible nations" (cf. note, Isaiah 18:2. "terrible") is the whole Gentile world united in one religious polity, with Jerusalem as its theocratic metropolis (cf. Isaiah 25:5, "the terrible ones"), and stands in contrast to the past godless "city of confusion," Babylon (Isaiah 24:10).

Verse 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.

The poor ... the needy - the Jews, exiles from their country (Isaiah 26:6; Isaiah 41:17).

A shadow from the heat - from calamity (Isaiah 4:6; Isaiah 32:2).

The blast - i:e., the wrath.

As a storm - a tempest of rain; a winter flood, rushing against and overthrowing the wall of a house.

Verse 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.

Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place. Translate, 'As the heat in a dry land (is brought down by the shadow of a cloud, so) thou shalt bring down the triumphant shout (over their enemies) of strangers' (foreigners).

(Even) the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low - and 'as the heat by the shadow of the cloud (is brought low), so the branch (the offspring) of the terrible ones shall be brought low.' Aben Ezra translates the Hebrew for "branch" [ zªmiyr (H2158), from zaamar (H2167), to dance and sing], the exulting song. So the Hebrew hazaamiyr (H2158) in Song of Solomon 2:12. The parallelism to "the noise (the triumphant shout) of strangers," and to "the blast of the terrible ones" (Isaiah 25:4), confirms this. The English version, "Branch," implies the flourishing state of "the terrible ones" for a time, and in outward apppearance, in contrast to the then low state of "the stem of Jesse" (Isaiah 11:1). Jerome translates the last clause, 'And as when the heat burns under a cloud, thou shalt make the branch of the terrible ones to wither.' The branch withering even under the friendly shade of a cloud typifies the wicked brought to ruin-not for want of natural means of prosperity, but by the immediate act of God.

Verse 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.

In this mountain - Zion. Messiah's kingdom was to begin, and is to have its central seat hereafter, at Jerusalem, as the common country of "all nations," (Isaiah 2:2, etc.)

Unto all people - (Isaiah 56:7; Daniel 7:14; Luke 2:10.)

A feast - image of felicity, (Psalms 22:26-27; Matthew 8:11; Luke 14:15; Revelation 19:9: of. Psalms 36:8; Psalms 87:1-7.)

Fat things - delicacies; the rich mercies of God in Christ (Isaiah 55:2; Jeremiah 31:14; Job 36:16).

Wines on the lees - wine which has been long kept on the lees; i:e., the oldest and most generous wine (Jeremiah 48:11). Compare John 2:10, in the spiritual sense, as applied to Jesus, "Thou hast kept the good wine until now;" and Matthew 26:29, "I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom;" also Luke 22:29-30.

Marrow - the choicest dainties (Psalms 63:5).

Wines on the lees well refined - cleared of all dregs.

Verse 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 nations.

He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering - image from mourning, in which it was usual to cover the face with a veil (2 Samuel 15:30). "The face of the covering" - i:e., the covering itself, as Job 41:13, "the face of his garment;" the garment itself. The "covering" or 'veil' is the mist of ignorance as to a future state and the way to eternal life which enveloped the nations (Ephesians 4:18) and the unbelieving Jew (2 Corinthians 3:15). The Jew, however, is first to be converted, before the conversion of 'all nations;' for it is "in this mountain," namely, Zion, that the latter are to have the veil taken off (Psalms 102:13; Psalms 102:15-16; Psalms 102:21-22; Romans 11:12).

Verse 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 spoken it.

Quoted in 1 Corinthians 15:54 in support of the coming resurrection.

Swallow up death in victory - completely and permanently (so the Hebrew idiom, laanetsach (H5331), means, Jeremiah 3:5; Lamentations 5:20 - literally, in victory. The English version rightly, 'forever') 'abolish' (Hosea 13:14; 2 Timothy 1:10; Revelation 20:14; Revelation 21:4: cf. Genesis 2:17 with 3:22).

The rebuke of his people - (Isaiah 66:5: cf. Mark 8:38; Hebrews 11:26, "the reproach of Christ.")

Verse 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 salvation.

Lo, this is our God. 'After death has been swallowed up for ever, the people of God, who have been delivered from the hand of death, shall say to the Lord, Lo, this is our God, whom unbelievers regarded as only a man' (Jerome).

He will save us. 'The words are so moulded as to point us specially to the person of the Son of God, who "saves" us: as He vouchsafed to Israel temoral saving, so to His elect He appears for the purpose of conferring eternal salvation' Vitringa). Salvation was bought in title by the first coming of Christ: "unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Hebrews 9:28), then to be perfected in the bodies as well as the souls of His people (cf. Psalms 118:15). The Jews, however, have a special share in the words, This is our God (note, Isaiah 25:6).

In that day ... we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation - cf. Psalms 118:24, which refers to the second coming of Jesus (cf. Psalms 118:26 with Luke 13:35). "Waited" is characteristic of God's people in all ages (Genesis 49:18; Titus 2:13).

Verse 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.

The hand of the Lord rest - as its permanent protector: on "hand" in this sense, cf. Ezra 7:9; Ezra 7:28.

Moab - while Israel is being protected, the foe is destroyed. Moab is the representative of all the foes of God's people (Isaiah 11:14).

Shall be trodden down - (Isaiah 26:6; Psalms 110:1; Malachi 4:3.)

Under him (Hebrew, tachtaayw (H8478)) - rather, in his own place or country (Exodus 10:23; Exodus 16:29).

Even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill (Hebrew, bªmow (H1119) madmeenaah (H4087)) - in the water of the dungheap, in which straw was trodden to make it manure (Psalms 83:10): 'in the dungpool.' Horsley translates, either, 'in the waters of Madmenah,' namely, for the making of bricks; or as the Septuagint, 'as the threshing floor is trampled by the grain-drag' (see margin, and Micah 4:11-13).

Verse 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 hands.

He shall spread forth his hands ... - Yahweh shall spread his hands to strike the foe on this side and on that, with as little effort as a swimmer spreads forth his arms to cleave a passage through the water (Calvin) (Zechariah 5:3). Lowth takes "he" as Moab, who, in danger of sinking, shall strain every nerve to save himself: but Yahweh (and "He") shall cause him to sink ('bring down the pride' of Moab). I prefer the English version (Isaiah 16:6).

Together with the spoils of their hands - literally, the craftily acquired spoils of his (Moab's) hands. Gesenius translates [ 'aarªbowt (H698), from 'aarab (H693), to weave or contrive], 'with the stratagems of his hands.' Moab's pride, as well as the sudden gripe of his hands (namely, whereby he tries to save himself from drowning) (Lowth). Compare Balaam's prophecy as to the sceptre out of Israel about to smite Moab (Numbers 24:17). 'Together with the joints of his hands' - i:e., though Moab struggle against Yahweh hand and foot (Maurer). The image thus (which Cocceius and Kimchi approve) would be from a swimmer. But it is Yahweh who is compared to the swimmer striking right and left: not Moab. The English version seems best. God will bring down alike the pride of Moab's heart and the craftily gotten spoils of his hands. The craft and force by which his hands got spoils were the source of the pride of his heart. Both shall be brought down.

Verse 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 dust.

The fortress - the strongholds of Moab, the representative of the foes of God's people; also Babylon. The anti-Christian powers of the world are represented as a city (Revelation 11:8).

Remarks: As in Isaiah 12:1-6, after the prophecy of Messiah's coming reign over restored Israel and Judah, so also here in this chapter the literal and the spiritual Israel are introduced as singing a song of praise for the "wonderful things" which God hath done on their behalf. Nothing so fills the heart and the mouth with thanksgivings as to be able to say with appropriating faith, "O Lord, thou art my God." For though the Lord's people be now "poor and needy," the Lord is their "strength." The very violence of "the terrible ones" only drives the Lord's people the more to Him who is "a refuge from the storm."

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 25". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/isaiah-25.html. 1871-8.
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