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Bible Commentaries

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Isaiah 52

Verse 1

Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.

Awake — This is a prediction and promise what she should do, that she should awake or arise out of her low estate, and be strong and courageous.

Beautiful garments — Thy sorrows shall be ended, and thou shalt be advanced into a glorious condition.

O Zion — O my church.

Come — Either to molest thee, or defile thee.

The uncircumcised — Heathens or infidels.

Unclean — Nor any others, who are unholy.

Verse 2

Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.

The dust — In which thou hast sat as a mourner.

The bands — The yoke of thy captivity shall be taken off from thee.

Verse 3

For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.

Sold yourselves — By your sins, without any valuable consideration paid by them either to you, or to your Lord and owner.

Without money — Without paying any ransom.

Verse 4

For thus saith the Lord GOD, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.

Egypt — Where they had protection and sustenance, and therefore owed subjection to the king of Egypt. And yet when he oppressed them, I punished him severely, and delivered them out of his hands.

The Assyrian — The king of Babylon, who is called the king of Assyria, 2 Kings 23:29, as also the Persian emperor is called, Ezra 6:22, because it was one and the same empire which was possessed, first by the Assyrians, then by the Babylonians, and afterwards by the Persians.

Without cause — Without any such ground or colour, by mere force invading their land, and carrying them away into captivity.

Verse 5

Now therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the LORD; and my name continually every day is blasphemed.

What have I — Why do I sit still here, and not go to Babylon to punish the Babylonians, and to deliver my people? For nought - Without any provocation, or pretence of right.

Howl — By their unmerciful usage.

Blasphemed — The Babylonians blasphemed me as if I wanted either power or good will to save my people out of their hands.

Verse 6

Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.

Shall know — They shall experience my power and goodness in fighting for them.

In that day — When I shall redeem my people: which work was begun by the return of the Jews from Babylon, and perfected by the coming of the Messiah.

Behold — That all these promises are the words of the omnipotent, unchangeable God.

Verse 7

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

The mountains — Of Judea, to which these glad tidings were brought, and from which they were spread abroad into other countries.

Of him — Or, of them; the singular number being put for the plural.

Returneth — In the days of the Messiah, God did discover and exercise his dominion over the world far more eminently than ever he had done from the beginning of the world until that time.

Verse 8

Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.

Thy watchmen — Thy ministers, who descry the approach of this heavenly king.

Lift up thy voice — To give notice to all people of these glad tidings; and by way of exultation, to sing forth the praises of God for this glorious day.

Eye — Distinctly and familiarly, their eyes beholding the eyes of this king of glory. They shall be eye and ear-witnesses of the words and works of Christ, and therefore their testimony shall be more certain and valuable.

Bring again — When God shall complete the work of bringing his church out of captivity.

Verse 11

Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.

Depart — Out of Babylon.

Touch — Carry not along with you any of their superstitions or idolatries.

Ye — And especially your priests and Levites, who minister in holy things, and carry the holy vessels of the temple, keep yourselves from all pollution.

Verse 12

For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.

Not by flight — But securely, and in triumph, being conducted by your great captain the Lord of hosts.

Rereward — So that none shall be able either to oppose you in your march, or to fall upon you in the rear.

Verse 13

Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.

Behold — This is the beginning of a new prophecy, which is continued from hence to the end of the next chapter.

My servant — That it is Christ who is here spoken of, is so evident, that the Chaldee paraphrast, and other ancient, and some later Hebrew doctors, understand it directly of him, and that divers Jews have been convinced and converted to the Christian faith, by the evidence of this prophecy.

Prosper — This is fitly put in the first place to prevent those scandals which otherwise might arise from the succeeding passages, which describe his state of humiliation.

Very high — Here are three words signifying the same thing to express the height and glory of his exaltation.

Verse 14

As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:

Astonished — At his humiliation.

Thee — At thee, O my servant.

His form — Christ, in respect of his birth, breeding, and manner of life, was most obscure and contemptible. His countenance also was so marred with frequent watchings, and fastings, and troubles, that he was thought to be near fifty years old when he was but about thirty, John 8:57, and was farther spoiled with buffetings, and crowning with thorns, and other cruel and despiteful usages.

Verse 15

So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

So — His exaltation shall be answerable to his humiliation.

Sprinkle — With his word or doctrine; which being often compared to rain or water, may be said to be sprinkled, as it is said to be dropped, Deuteronomy 32:2; Ezekiel 20:46.

Kings — Shall be silent before him out of profound humility, reverence, and admiration of his wisdom.

For — They shall hear from his mouth many excellent doctrines, which will be new and strange to them. And particularly that comfortable doctrine of the salvation of the Gentiles, which was not only new to them, but strange and incredible to the Jews themselves.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 52". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". 1765.