Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 12

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-6

Isaiah 12:2 . JEHOVAH is my strength. Lowth reads, Lord, as in the English; but in the Hebrew book, Sepher Ikkarim, we read, “The scriptures call the Messiah JAH or JAOH, our righteousness; indicating that he will be the mediatorial Lord, by whom we shall obtain justification, from the name; which is indeed the name of the NAME, or the essential name of God.” By the Name this author means JEHOVAH, which the Jews in their exile do not pronounce, but substitute in reading the name Adonai or Lord.

Isaiah 12:3 . The wells of salvation. These are understood spiritually of the wells or fountains of the holy scriptures, and all the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit. We must “draw” the water, using the means in order to drink. The figure alludes to the Hebrew custom at the feast of tabernacles, when the virgin train, dressed in white, drew water from the pool in Siloam with a golden pitcher, and sung psalms all the way to the temple, and then poured the water on the sacrifices. 1 Kings 18:33.

Isaiah 12:4 . Declare his doings among the people. It appears by this that the conversion of the Jews is closely connected with the conversion of the heathen world; who will rejoice at the signal strokes of grace by which they have been brought over to the faith of Christ. The joy shall be as Paul says, like life from the dead, a joy which shall gladden the whole world.

Isaiah 12:6 . Shout, thou inhabitant of Zion. That is, mount Zion, which is above, and the mother of its all; or rather, the christian church.


The renovated glory of the church calls for a song of loudest strains of harp and voice; a song of praise unutterably glorious, for the restoration of Zion to splendour far superior to that from which she fell. But oh how shall we, comparatively cold and indifferent spectators of Israel’s glory, adequately enter into the sentiments, and anticipate the bliss of the Hebrew church? Let us imagine that we see this nation converted from infidelity and crime, emancipated from the sentence of exile, and exulting under the wings of the Messiah, whom their fathers crucified. Let us imagine that we see the Lord betrothed to them in righteousness, and feasting them with the best wine, and redoubling his favours because of their long affliction. If the joy of a captive be great on his liberation; and the poor, on receiving their lands in the jubilee, filled the nation with the sound of trumpets and songs; what must it be when Israel’s cup shall overflow with all temporal and spiritual bliss?

A sanctified recollection of God’s anger for rejecting the humble Messiah, and a grateful sense of his restoring grace, equally contribute to heighten the joy, just as the darkness of the night seems to augment the lustre of the opening day. Thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortest me. Angels, look ye down from heaven, and study his grace and justice. Gentiles, behold from afar, and learn his righteousness. JAH JEHOVAH is my strength and my song: he is become my salvation. As all things were against me in my revolt, so now heaven and earth conspire to bless me on my return. Therefore as I provoked the Lord by unbelief, so now I will trust and not be afraid. And as I have long drank the bitter waters of exile and wickedness, so I will now draw water with joy from the wells of life, which his Spirit shall open in the sanctuary. Praise the Lord, ye gentiles, and exalt his name together, for he has done excellent things. Shout, children of Zion, for the Lord is greater now in the displays of his love in the midst of thee, than he was in the desert, and in his ancient sanctuary.

This beautiful and sublime song is highly applicable to the christian in the day of his conversion. The Lord has turned away his anger because of sin; he has turned his captivity, and brought him nigh by the blood of the cross. The Lord hath blotted out his sin, and is become his salvation. And as the Jews with a golden pitcher drew water on the feast of tabernacles, so the Messiah, whose name that pool bore, shall open wells of pardon, peace and joy in the believing soul. He then sings a new song, yea his heart sings to the Lord. He invites all around him to praise him, because of his love, his faithfulness and truth.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 12". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.