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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Isaiah 25


Isaiah 24-27. The World is Judged, Israel is Delivered.— This section of the book is certainly not by Isaiah. It has points of contact with his prophecies, but with the work of later prophets as well. Its style is more artificial, and there are several characteristics which distinguish it from Isaiah’ s writing. Driver enumerates the following: many plays on words and alliterations, a tendency to rhyme, a frequent combination of nearly synonymous clauses often without connecting conjunctions, repetition of words, many unusual expressions. But in addition to these features of style, it should be observed that the ideas are far in advance of those of Isaiah’ s time, and go even beyond those of the Second Isaiah. The tone is apocalyptic, and so are its imagery and the forms of representation. Cheyne mentions the following points in this connexion: the physical convulsion of the world, the going up of all nations to the Divine feast at Jerusalem, the committal of the host of the height and the kings of the earth to prison, the mysterious designations of the world-empires, the trumpet blown to recall the Jewish exiles. The expectation of the resurrection of individual Israelites and the promise that death will be abolished, also stamp it as late. It is certainly post-exilic. It seems most likely that it should be placed in the late Persian period at the earliest, and for much of it the tremendous convulsion, caused in the East by Alexander the Great’ s overthrow of Persia, seems to supply the worthiest occasion. The doctrine of individual resurrection is less developed than in Daniel, and there is no necessity to bring it down to a Maccabean date. Probably, as Duhm was the first to point out, the section is not a unity. His analysis has been largely accepted: ( a) the oracle itself consisting of Isaiah 24, Isaiah 25:6-8; Isaiah 26:20; Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 27:12 f.; ( b) Isaiah 25:1-5; ( c) Isaiah 25:9-11; ( d) Isaiah 25:12, Isaiah 26:1-19; ( e) Isaiah 27:2-5. He was uncertain whether Isaiah 27:6-11 belonged to the main oracle or not. Probably it is a separate fragment.

Verses 1-5

Isaiah 25:1-5 . A Song of Praise for Yahweh’ s Great Deliverance.— The deliverance still lies in the future; the song is written from the standpoint of the redeemed community, and expresses its exultation over its salvation. Yahweh has overthrown the city, its inhabitants shall stand in awe of Him. He has been a shelter to His distressed people when the blast of the violent has beaten on them like a winter storm. He has assuaged the oppression of the enemy, as the sun’ s scorching heat in a parched land is ameliorated by clouds.

Isaiah 25:1 . counsels of old: God’ s decrees formed in the far-distant past.

Isaiah 25:2 . a city: the identification is uncertain; perhaps it is that of Isaiah 24:10.— palace: fortress ( Amos 1:4 *).— strangers: i.e. to God, but read “ insolent,” and similarly in Isaiah 25:5.

Isaiah 25:4 . storm against the wall: read “ storm in winter.”

Verses 6-8

Isaiah 25:6-8 . Yahweh’ s Feast to all Nations in Mount Zion.— Here the apocalypse is resumed. The universalism of the passage is especially noteworthy. “ We have here one of the most catholic passages in the entire Old Testament, and one of the tenderest presentations of Yahweh” (Gray). Yahweh will provide for all nations a rich feast in Mt. Zion, a banquet of fat and marrowy dainties, and of wine on the lees well strained (p. 111). Here too He will tear from their face the mourner’ s veil and dry the tears He then sees upon the face. There will be no more death, no sorrow or shame.

Isaiah 25:7 . face of the covering: the outer side of the veil; cf. Job 41:13.

Isaiah 25:8 . Duhm regards the first clause as an insertion, breaking the connexion between the removal of the veil and the wiping away of the tears. This may be correct, for the line has no parallel, but the anticipation that death will be abolished so completely harmonises with the situation that one would prefer to keep it in the passage, assuming a dislocation of the text and the loss of the parallel line. The prophet thinks of the predictions as realised on earth; there is no reference to the Christian idea of heaven.

Verses 9-12

Isaiah 25:9-12 . A Song of Deliverance. Moab is Crushed.— Then they will sing, “ Yahweh is our Saviour, let us exult in His salvation.” For Moab shall be ignominiously trampled under foot, and if he tries to keep himself afloat, Yahweh will bring to nought all his clever and ingenious movements.

Isaiah 25:10 . Moab: may be singled out as an example of Israel’ s enemies in general, but more probably is intended literally, though to what historical situation the catastrophe belongs is quite uncertain. Cf. Isaiah 15 f., Jeremiah 48, Ezekiel 25:8-11, Zephaniah 2:8-10.

Isaiah 25:11 a. The LXX has no reference to swimming; the spreading forth of the hands may originally have referred to Moab’ s vain prayers.

Isaiah 25:12 is perhaps a variant of Isaiah 26:5.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Isaiah 25". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.