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Bible Commentaries

Trapp's Complete Commentary

Isaiah 54

Verse 1

Isa 54:1 Sing, O barren, thou [that] didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou [that] didst not travail with child: for more [are] the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.

Ver. 1. Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear. ] O Church Christian, O Jerusalem that art above, the mother of us all, the purchase of Christ’s passion, Isa 53:1-12 to whom thou hast been a bloody spouse, Act 20:28 an Aceldama or field of blood, 1Pe 1:18-19 he hath paid dear for thy fruitfulness. As the blood of beasts applied to the roots of trees maketh them sprout and bear more fruit, so doth the blood of Christ, sprinkled on the roots of men’s hearts, make them more fruitful Christians, as it did the Gentiles whose hearts were purified by faith. Act 15:9 Gal 4:27 The grain of wheat that fell into the ground and died there, abode not alone, but brought forth much fruit. Joh 12:24

For more are the children of the desolate. ] The Christian Church, made up of Jews and Gentiles, shall have a more numerous and glorious offspring than ever the synagogue had. Sarah shall have more issue than Hagar, Hannah than Peninnah.

Verse 2

Isa 54:2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;

Ver. 2. Enlarye the place of thy tent. ] Thus he speaketh after the custom of those countries wherein was frequent use of tents; neither is it without a mystery, since we are all strangers in this world, neither have we here any continuing city. Justin Martyr saith a of the Christians of his time, that every strange land was to them a country, and every country a strange land. They looked upon themselves as citizens of the new Jerusalem.

a Epist. ad Diog.

Verse 3

Isa 54:3 For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.

Ver. 3. For thou shalt break forth, ] i.e., Bring forth abundantly, and beyond belief. Margaret Countess of Henneberg, brought forth at a birth in Holland three hundred and sixty-five children, one skull whereof I have seen, saith mine author, no bigger than a bead or bean. a The Church brought forth three thousand at one birth, Act 2:41 and some whole nations at another. Isa 66:8 Rom 10:18

And thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles. ] Shall spiritually become lords of the world, peopling it with a new and holy generation of such as "seek God’s face, this is Jacob." Psa 24:6 This text the Jews and millenaries carnally construe.

a Fuller’s Hist. of Cambridge, p. 28.

Verse 4

Isa 54:4 Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.

Ver. 4. Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed. ] As widows and barren women wont to be. Thou hast been "without God and without Christ in the world"; but henceforth thou shalt be "married to him who is raised from the dead, that thou mayest bring forth fruit unto God." Rom 7:4 Ipse enim quod vult iubet, et dat quod iubet. a When you would and should be certain and quiet in conscience, saith Mr Bradford, martyr, in a sweet letter of his to a woman troubled in mind, then should your faith burst through all things until it come to Christ crucified, and the eternal sweet mercies and goodness of God in Christ. Here, here is the bridal bed, here is your spouse’s resting place; creep into it, and in your arms of faith embrace him. Bewail your weakness, your unworthiness, your diffidence, &c., and you shall see he will turn to you. What said I, you shall see? Nay, I should have said, you shall feel he will turn to you. b

a Augustine.

b Acts and Mon., 1490.

Verse 5

Isa 54:5 For thy Maker [is] thine husband; the LORD of hosts [is] his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

Ver. 5. For thy Maker is thine husband. ] a Heb., Thy Makers. Job 35:10 See Trapp on " Job 35:10 " De sancta Trinitate dictum, saith Junius. Isaac hath the name of the most loving husband we read of in holy writ; but his love to Rebecca was not comparable to this of Christ to his Church, Eph 5:25-26 where I doubt not but the apostle Paul had respect to this passage in Isaiah.

The Lord of hosts is his name. ] Therefore thou, his wife, art sure of protection and provision, of all things necessary "to life and godliness"; for he "hateth putting away," Mal 2:16 and will bear with more than any husband else would. Jer 3:1; Joh 13:1 Surely "as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him" Psa 103:11

The God of the whole earth. ] Of the Church universal.

a Mariti tui factores tui.

Verse 6

Isa 54:6 For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.

Ver. 6. For the Lord hath called thee. ] Or, Recalled thee.

As a woman forsaken, grieved in spirit. ] Because forsaken. This the Lord, out of his conjugal affection, cannot endure.

And a wife of youth. ] Which can least of all bear such a rejection, as being in her prime, and likely to be a long time desolate and disconsolate. If the Church in this condition can but say, as that Duchess Dowager of Milan once did, Sola facta solum Deum sequor, he will say, as in Jeremiah 2:2 , "I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals."

Verse 7

Isa 54:7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.

Ver. 7. For a small moment have I forsaken thee. ] I have made thee believe so, at least, by suffering thee to "fall into manifold temptations," Jam 1:2 but for thy greatest good: Heb 12:11 as (1.) For probation; (2.) For prevention; (3.) For purgation; (4.) For preparation to mercy. And although it should last as long as life, yet that were but for a moment. For what is life but a spot of time between two eternities? And God therefore taketh liberty to do it, because he hath such an eternity of time to reveal his kindness in; time enough for kisses and embraces. But usually God taketh off the smarting plaster as soon as it hath eaten away the proud flesh.

But with great mercies. ] Heb., With great tender mercies, such as the mother beareth towards the babe of her own body. 1Ki 3:16 God’s mercies are more than maternal.

Will I gather thee. ] Or, Take thee up. Psa 27:10 See Trapp on " Psa 27:10 "

Verse 8

Isa 54:8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.

Ver. 8. In a little wrath. ] God can let forth his wrath in minnums, in little bubbles, as the word here rendered "wrath" properly signifieth. This wrath to the saints is but love displeased, and soon pacified again.

I hid my face from thee. ] God sometimes concealeth his love out of increasement of love; he departeth from us, but then turneth again and looketh through the chinkers, as that martyr phraseth it, to see how we take it. Fathers leave their children, saith one, the other side the stile, and help them over when they cry; they seem to leave them sometimes in a throng, and then reach them the hand again upon their complaint. So is it here. To say God hath cast me off because he hath hid his face, is a fallacy fetched out of the devil’s topics. When the sun is eclipsed, foolish people may think it will never recover light; but wise men know it will. As, during the eclipse, though the earth wanteth the light of the sun for a time, yet not the influence thereof; for the metals that are engendered in the heart of the earth are concocted by the sun at the same time; so doth God’s favour visit men’s hearts in the power, heat, and vigorous influence of his grace, when the light and comfort of it is intercluded. a

But with everlasting kindness. ] See a like elegant antithesis, with a double hyperbole to boot in 2 Corinthians 4:17 .

a Dr Goodwin.

Verse 9

Isa 54:9 For this [is as] the waters of Noah unto me: for [as] I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.

Ver. 9. For this is as the waters of Noah. ] Genesis 9:9 ; Genesis 9:11 .

For as I have sworn, ] i.e., I have said it. God’s word is as good as his oath. See the like, Exo 32:13 Genesis 12:7 .

So have I sworn. ] And given thee the sacraments for thy confirmation, like as I gave him the rainbow.

Verse 10

Isa 54:10 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.

Ver. 10. For the mountains shall depart. ] See Mat 24:35 Psalms 46:2 . See Trapp on " Mat 24:35 " See Trapp on " Psa 46:2 "

But my kindness shall not depart from thee. ] This sweet promise comforted Olevian at the point of death. Although sight, hearing, speech depart from me, said he, yet God’s lovingkindness shall never depart. This was somewhat like that of David in Psalms 73:26 , "My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."

Neither shall the covenant of my peace. ] God is in a league with his people, offensive and defensive, such as was that of Jehoshaphat with Ahab, and this covenant is a hive of heavenly honey.

Verse 11

Isa 54:11 O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, [and] not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.

Ver. 11. O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted. ] This is the Church’s style and state in this present life: Ecclesia est haeres crucis, The church’s cross clings, saith Luther. None out of hell have suffered more than saints.

Behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours. ] So that thou shalt be a city of pearl, having for thy foundation the Lord Christ, 1Co 3:11 for thy windows, the holy prophets, apostles, and other faithful preachers, by whose ministry thou shalt receive the light of true knowledge, Dan 12:3 and for thy walls and gates the divine protection. See Revelation 21:11-21 . All this is to be understood as the spiritual excellence of the Church, which is begun in this life, and to be perfected in the life to come.

And lay thy foundations with sapphires. ] Compare Exodus 24:10 , where Moses and the eiders are said to have "seen the God of Israel; and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in its clearness." To show that God had now changed their condition, their bricks made in their bondage to sapphire, their lying and sooting among the pots into the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers of pure gold. as Psa 68:13

Verse 12

Isa 54:12 And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.

Ver. 12. And I will make thy windows of agates. ] Or, Of crystal, which is purus et durus.

And thy gates of carbuncles. ] Which are of a flame colour.

And all thy borders. ] That is, all thy bordering cities, say the Rabbis. As Plutarch saith of the neighbouring villages of Rome, in Numa’s time, that sucking in the air of that city they breathed righteousness, may be much better affirmed as the Church.

Verse 13

Isa 54:13 And all thy children [shall be] taught of the LORD; and great [shall be] the peace of thy children.

Ver. 13. And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord. ] Outwardly, by his word; inwardly, by his Spirit: and here he explaineth that which he had spoken before concerning gems and jewels. The glory of the Church consisteth not in outward splendour, but in inward virtues and gifts of the Holy Ghost, which are found only in God’s disciples.

Verse 14

Isa 54:14 In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.

Ver. 14. In righteousness shalt thou be established. ] Righteousness is here opposed to oppression. Regiment without righteousness, is but robbery with authority.

For thou shalt not fear. ] Or, That thou mayest not fear.

And from terror. ] Tyranny is terrible.

For it shall not come near thee. ] See Psalms 32:6 . See trapp on " Psa 32:6 "

Verse 15

Isa 54:15 Behold, they shall surely gather together, [but] not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.

Ver. 15. Behold, they shall surely (or sedulously) gather together,] a Heb., He shall, gathering, gather together, i.e., the enemies, as one man. Some understand it as heretics and hypocrites, who shall dwell together with the Church, so they render it; but shall be evil affected toward it, but to their own ruin,

Whosoever shall gather together against thee. ] Qui accolit tecum contra te. Such are those renegade Jesuits that run over to the Lutherans, pretending to be converts, when it is only to keep up the bitter contention that is between them and us.

a Commorabuntur.

Verse 16

Isa 54:16 Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.

Ver. 16. Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals, ] i.e., The devil, say some; rather his imps and instruments, those kindle coals and tools of his.

And I have created the waster to destroy. ] Those brats of Abaddon. I have determined their evil doings, overruling the same, and directing them to a good end.

Verse 17

Isa 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue [that] shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This [is] the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness [is] of me, saith the LORD.

Ver. 17. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper. ] But shall be, as the poets feign of Ajax’s sword, which so long as he used against men, his enemies, served for help and defence; but after he began to abuse it to the harm of harmless beasts, it turned into his own bowels.

And every tongue thou shalt condemn. ] As the eclipsed moon, by keeping her motion, wades out of the shadow, and recovers her splendour, so shalt thou when slandered. See Psalms 37:6 . See Trapp on " Psa 37:6 "

This is the heritage. ] Given them freely, and for perpetuity.

And their righteousness. ] The clearing up of their wronged innocence.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 54". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.