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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Isaiah 27

Verses 1-13

Isaiah 27:1 . In that day the Lord shall punish leviathan. It would seem that the Assyrian and Chaldean empire are here intended. See on Job 41:1. Amos 9:13. The desolations mentioned in the tenth verse appear to indicate the same thing; for cattle should feed in their once strong but now desolate city. In the prophetic style, these are indications of utter execration. By the dragon, the Egyptian nation, it would seem, was intended; and both those kingdoms received their scourge from God’s “great and strong sword.”

Isaiah 27:2 . In that day, sing ye to her, (even Jerusalem) A vineyard of red wine, the best and most delicious wine. Oh Judah, keep the feast, the fall of thine oppressors shall raise thee to happier days. This ode is full of beauties, in the ideas, the figures, and the words.

Isaiah 27:4 . Fury is not in me. חמה chaimah. Forerius thinks it should be translated wall; and he is followed by Lowth, who reads the passage as a dialogue between the Lord and the church. “Sing ye, in that day, to the beloved vineyard a responsive song. It is I JEHOVAH that preserve her. I will water her every moment. I will take care of her by night; and by day will I keep guard over her. Vineyard. I have no wall. Oh that I had a hedge of thorn and brier. Jehovah. Against them should I march in battle, I should burn them up together. Ah, let her rather take hold of my protection.”

Isaiah 27:9 . Chalk-stones. Hebrews gar, designates limestones, or gypsum, or chalk, to shame the Hebrew idolaters, who, building their altars with lias, saw that the fire reduced the stones to lime, and the rain reduced them to dust. Their groves and their worship should not stand: and what is worse, they would destroy their country, as in the next words.

Isaiah 27:10 . The defenced city (Jerusalem) shall be desolate. Isaiah here saw, as in Malachi 4:1, that the Lord’s prophets would fail in the struggle against atheism, idolatry, and vice; that the carnal Hebrew vine would wither, and that the burning of the city would follow. Daniel 9:27. Nothing but a hope in the Messiah could have supported them in a hopeless contest with the errors of their age.

Isaiah 27:12 . From the channel of the river to the stream of Egypt. That is, from the Euphrates to the Nile, and the ancient boundaries of the promised land.


We see here, as in all other places, the care which God takes of his church. While he makes the world a wilderness, and cities desolate for the wickedness of the inhabitants, he regards his church as his vineyard; yea, a vineyard producing red wine. And when she sighs, because she seems to have no wall against the wicked, he himself becomes that wall. He waters her with his grace every moment, and watches for her safety. Happy Zion; the praise of the whole earth shalt thou be called.

In times of sore visitation and war, when the Lord cuts off the wicked, root and branch, he little more than purges the iniquity of his people, and renders unto Zion by measure. Let us therefore rely on his providence at the worst of times.

The visitations which overwhelm the infidel world with despair and impervious gloom, brighten with cheering hope on the church. The Lord shall blow with his great trumpet, and a time of tears shall be followed with the joy of jubilee. In all promises of temporal deliverance to Israel, the prophets most assuredly kept their eye on the great and everlasting deliverance which God shall accord to his people, when all Israel shall be saved, and the fulness of the gentiles be brought in. The authorities which the scriptures give for this assertion are so numerous and evident, that it is useless for a cold and corrupt theology to deny them. This great trumpet therefore, which called the Jews back to their sanctuary after the Assyrian invasion, and the Babylonian captivity, was figurative of the gospel trumpet or joyful sound, which shall be heard in all the earth.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 27". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.