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Bible Commentaries

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Isaiah 25

A.M. 3292. B.C. 712.

The prophet, reflecting on the contents of those great and glorious prophecies which he had delivered, concerning the destruction of God’s enemies, and the deliverance of his people, and especially concerning the sending of the Messiah, and the establishment and enlargement of his kingdom, in spite of all opposition, and the great glory of it, as predicted in the last verse, here interrupts the course of his prophecies, and breaks forth into a solemn celebration of these wonderful works.

(1,) He praises God for his judgments on his proud enemies, and the protection and help afforded to his poor and destitute people, Isaiah 25:1-5 .

(2,) He foretels the rich provision which would be made for the spiritual wants of all mankind in the gospel, the glorious salvation of which he celebrates, Isaiah 25:6-8 .

(3,) Shows the church’s triumph in God, and over all her enemies thereupon, Isaiah 25:9-12 .

Verse 1

Isaiah 25:1. O Lord O Jehovah, thou art my God In covenant with me: my friend, my father, my portion. The prophet speaks in the name of the whole church, and of every true member of it. I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name Expressions these flowing from a deep and grateful sense of the divine goodness. Those that have Jehovah for their God are in duty bound to praise him. For thou hast done wonderful things In different ages and nations from the beginning hitherto, especially for thy own people, and against their enemies. Thy counsels of old Hebrew, מרחק , properly, from afar, signifying not only counsels long before taken, but which had been long before declared and published by the prophets; are faithfulness and truth That is, thy counsels, from which all thy works proceed, and which thou hast from time to time revealed to thy prophets and people, which were of old, being conceived from all eternity, are true and firm, and shall certainly be accomplished.

Verse 2

Isaiah 25:2. Thou hast made of a city a heap Nineveh, Babylon, Ar of Moab, or any other strong city, or fortress, possessed by the enemies of the people of God. Vitringa has made it appear probable that Babylon is chiefly meant, “which was emphatically called the city; which was remarkably fortified, and which was inhabited by strangers, as the Assyrians and Babylonians are commonly called in prophetical language, and in the destruction of which the ancient believers rejoiced most especially, having therein a pledge and earnest of future deliverance, and particularly a type of the deliverance of the Christian Church from persecution, by the fall of spiritual Babylon.” See Revelation 18:20; and Revelation 19:1. A palace of strangers A royal city, in which were the palaces of strangers, that is, of the kings of strange people, or of the Gentiles. Bishop Lowth on the authority of two MSS., instead of זרים , strangers, reads זדים , proud ones: which reading, he thinks, the LXX. countenance, as they render the word ασεβων , the ungodly. To be no city; it shall never be built It has been, or shall be, utterly and irrecoverably destroyed.

Verses 3-4

Isaiah 25:3-4. Therefore shall the strong people fear thee Thy stoutest enemies, observing thy wonderful works, shall be converted, or at least, convinced, and forced to tremble before thee. For thou hast been a strength to the poor Hast defended thy poor and helpless people against the fiercest assaults of their enemies. When Or rather, for, or therefore, as the particle כי , generally signifies; the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm Of hail, rain, or wind, which makes a great noise, but without any effect; against the wall Which stands firm in spite of it. It is probable the prophet, in these words, had a special respect to the miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem from the rage and attempt of Sennacherib; although the words be general, and include other deliverances of a like nature.

Verse 5

Isaiah 25:5. Thou shall bring down the wise of strangers The tumultuous noise, as the word properly signifies; the rage and furious attempts of those heathen nations that fought against God’s people. As the heat in a dry place With as much ease as thou dost allay the heat of a dry place, by the shadow of thy clouds, or by the rain which falls from black and shadowy clouds. Here again, as in Isaiah 25:2, instead of strangers, Bishop Lowth reads, the proud. The branch of the terrible ones Their arm or power, as a branch is the arm of a tree; shall be brought low Shall be humbled and broken.

Verses 6-7

Isaiah 25:6-7. And in this mountain In mount Zion, namely, God’s church, very frequently meant by the names of Zion and Jerusalem, both in the Old and New Testaments; shall the Lord make unto all people Both Jews and Gentiles, who shall then be admitted to a participation of the same privileges and ordinances; a feast of fat things A feast made of the most delicate provisions: which is manifestly meant of the ordinances, graces, and comforts given by God in his church. Of wines on the lees Which have continued upon the lees a competent time, whereby they gain strength, and are afterward drawn out and refined. He will destroy the face of the covering The covering of the face, or the veil, as the next clause expounds it, namely, of ignorance of God, and of the true religion; cast over all people Which then was upon the Gentiles and the Jews, 2 Corinthians 3:14-16. This is a manifest prophecy concerning the illumination and conversion of the Gentiles.

Verse 8

Isaiah 25:8. He The Lord, expressed both in the foregoing and following words, even the Messiah, who is both God and man; will swallow up death Shall, by his death, destroy the power of death, (Hebrews 2:14,) take away the sting of the first death, and prevent the second death, and give eternal life to all that truly believe in him. In victory Hebrew, לנצח , unto victory, that is, so as to overcome it perfectly; which complete victory Christ hath already purchased for, and will, in due time, actually confer upon his people. And will wipe away tears Will take away from his people all sufferings and sorrows, with all the causes of them, which deliverance is begun here and perfected in heaven. The rebuke of his people The reproach and contempt cast upon his faithful people by the ungodly world; shall he take, &c. From all the church and people of God, wheresoever they shall be. For the Lord hath spoken it Therefore doubt it not, though it seem incredible to you.

Verse 9

Isaiah 25:9. And it shall be said in that day By God’s people, in the way of triumph and reply to their enemies; Lo, this is our God Your gods are senseless and impotent idols; but our God is omnipotent, and hath done these great and glorious works which fill the world with admiration. We may well boast of him, for there is no god like him. We have waited for him To appear in flesh; have waited for the coming of our Messiah, or Saviour, long since promised, and have waited a long time; and now at last he is come into the world, bringing salvation with him.

Verse 10

Isaiah 25:10. For in this mountain In the gospel church; (he alludes to mount Zion, which was a type of it;) shall the hand of the Lord rest His powerful and gracious presence (which is often signified in Scripture by God’s hand) shall have its constant and settled abode: it shall not move from place to place, as it formerly did, with the tabernacle; nor shall it depart as it did from Jerusalem, but shall continue in his church, even to the end of the world, Matthew 28:20. And Moab shall be trodden down under him. Under his feet, as appears by the following similitude. The Moabites, having been constant and implacable enemies to Israel, are here put for all the enemies of God’s church, as the Edomites upon the same account are, chap. 34:6, and 63:1. Even as straw is trodden down Even as easily and effectually as the straw, left upon the ground, is trampled upon by the feet of men and beasts.

Verses 11-12

Isaiah 25:11-12. And he Either, 1st, Moab, who, being plunged into a sea of troubles, shall endeavour to swim out of it, but to no purpose; or, 2d, The Lord, (who is designed by this pronoun he, both in the latter clause of this verse, and in the following verse,) whose power they shall be no more able to resist than the waters can resist a man that swims, who, with great facility, divides them hither and thither. The former sense is adopted by Bishop Lowth, who says, “I cannot conceive that the stretching out the hands of a swimmer can be any illustration of the action of God stretching out his hands over Moab to destroy it.” The latter, however, is preferred by, most interpreters, as connecting best with the following clause. And they consider the comparison as implying, that God should extend his powerful hands on every side, to the utmost limits of Moab, to bring down his enemies, as a swimmer stretches out his hands to beat down with them the opposing waters.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 25". Benson's Commentary. 1857.