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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
Isaiah 54



Verse 1

Isaiah 54:1-17. The fruit of Messiah‘s sufferings, and of Israel‘s final penitence at her past unbelief (Isaiah 53:6): her joyful restoration and enlargement by Jehovah, whose wrath was momentary, but his kindness everlasting.

Israel converted is compared to a wife (Isaiah 54:5; Isaiah 62:5) put away for unfaithfulness, but now forgiven and taken home again. The converted Gentiles are represented as a new progeny of the long-forsaken but now restored wife. The pre-eminence of the Hebrew Church as the mother Church of Christendom is the leading idea; the conversion of the Gentiles is mentioned only as part of her felicity [Horsley].

Sing — for joy (Zephaniah 3:14).

barren — the Jewish Church once forsaken by God, and therefore during that time destitute of spiritual children (Isaiah 54:6).

didst not bear — during the Babylonian exile primarily. Secondarily, and chiefly, during Israel‘s present dispersion.

the children — the Gentiles adopted by special grace into the original Church (Isaiah 54:3; Isaiah 49:20, Isaiah 49:21).

than … married wife — than were her spiritual children, when Israel was still a married wife (under the law, before the Babylonian exile), before God put her away [Maurer]. So Paul contrasts the universal Church of the New Testament with the Church of the Old Testament legal dispensation, quoting this very passage (Galatians 4:27). But the full accomplishment of it is yet future.

Verse 2

(Isaiah 49:19, Isaiah 49:20; Jeremiah 31:31-36, Jeremiah 31:38, Jeremiah 31:39). Thy children shall be so many that thy borders must be extended to contain them.

curtains — the cloth forming the covering of the tent.

spare not — give abundantly the means for the enlargement of the Church (2 Corinthians 9:5-7).

cords … stakes — The more the tent is enlarged by lengthening the cords by which the cloth covering is fastened to the ground, the more the stakes supporting the tent need to be strengthened; the Church is not merely to seek new converts, but to strengthen those she has in the faith. The image is appropriate, as the tabernacle was the symbol of the old Israelitish Church (see on Isaiah 33:20).

Verse 3

break forth — rather, “burst forth” with increase; thy offspring shall grow, answering to “thy seed” in the parallel clause.

thy seed — Israel and her children, as distinguished from “the Gentiles.”

desolate cities — of Israel (Isaiah 44:26).

Verse 4

(Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 41:14).

shame of thy youth — Israel‘s unfaithfulness as wife of Jehovah, almost from her earliest history.

reproach of widowhood — Israel‘s punishment in her consequent dismissal from God and barrenness of spiritual children in Babylon and her present dispersion (Isaiah 54:1; Isaiah 49:21; Jeremiah 3:24, Jeremiah 3:25; Jeremiah 31:19; Hosea 2:2-5).

Verse 5
husbands”; plural for singular, to denote excellency.

of Israel … whole earth — Not until He manifests Himself as God of Israel shall He appear as God of the whole earth (Psalm 102:13, Psalm 102:15, Psalm 102:16; Zechariah 14:5, Zechariah 14:9).

Verse 6

called — that is, recalled: the prophetic past for the future.

forsaken — that had been forsaken.

when thou — or, “when she was rejected”; one who had been a wife of youth (Ezekiel 16:8, Ezekiel 16:22, Ezekiel 16:60; Jeremiah 2:2) at the time when (thou, or) she was rejected for infidelity [Maurer]. “A wife of youth but afterwards rejected” [Lowth].

Verse 7

small moment — as compared with Israel‘s coming long prosperity (Isaiah 26:20; Isaiah 60:10). So the spiritual Israel (Psalm 30:5; 2 Corinthians 4:17).

gather thee — to Myself from thy dispersions.

Verse 8

In a little wrath — rather, “In the overflowing of wrath”; as Proverbs 27:4, Margin, [Gesenius]. The wrath, though but “for a moment,” was overflowing while it lasted.

hid … face — (Isaiah 8:17; Psalm 30:7).

everlasting — in contrast to “for a moment.”

Verse 9

I am about to do the same in this instance as in Noah‘s flood. As I swore then that it should not return (Genesis 8:21; Genesis 9:11), and I kept that promise, so I swear now to My people, and will perform My promise, that there shall be no return of the deluge of My wrath upon them. Lowth, on insufficient authority, reads (the same will I do now as), “in the days of Noah.”

Verse 10

(Isaiah 51:6; Psalm 89:33, Psalm 89:34; Romans 11:29).

covenant of my peace — (2 Samuel 23:5). The covenant whereby I have made thee at peace with Me.

Verse 11

not comforted — by anyone; none gave her help or comfort.

lay … with fair colours — rather, “lay … in cement of vermilion” [Lowth]. The Hebrew for “fair colors” means {stibium}, the paint with which Eastern women painted their eyelids and eyelashes (2 Kings 9:30). The very cement shall be of the most beautiful color (Revelation 21:18-21).

Verse 12

windows — rather, “battlements”; literally, “suns”; applied to battlements from their radiated appearance.

agates — rather, “rubies.”

carbuncles — literally, “sparkling gems”; the carbuncle when held to the sun becomes like a burning coal.

all thy borders — rather, “thy whole circuit,” consisting of precious stones. The glory of the Church on earth, when the Hebrew Church, according to the original design, shall be the metropolis of Christendom.

Verse 13

Quoted by the Saviour (John 6:45), to prove that in order to come to Him, men must be “drawn” by the Father. So Jeremiah 31:34; Micah 4:2; 1 Corinthians 2:10; Hebrews 8:10; Hebrews 10:16; 1 John 2:20.

great … peace — generally (Psalm 119:165). Specially referring to the peaceful prosperity which shall prevail under Messiah in the latter days (Isaiah 2:4, Isaiah 9:6).

Verse 14

righteousness — the characteristic of the reign of Messiah (Isaiah 11:4, Isaiah 11:5; Psalm 72:2, Psalm 72:4; Revelation 19:11).

far from oppression, etc. — far from suffering oppression; “for thou shall have nothing to fear.”

Verse 15

gather together, etc. — that is, If it should happen that enemies “gather together” against thee (Psalm 2:2), they will not have been sent by Me (compare Hosea 8:4) as instruments of My wrath (nay, it will be with My disapproval); for “whosoever shall gather together,” etc. (Psalm 59:3).

fall for thy sake — rather, “shall come over to thy side” [Lowth]. Literally, “fall to thee” (Jeremiah 21:9; Jeremiah 39:9). To be fully fulfilled to Jerusalem hereafter (Zechariah 14:16).

Verse 16

The workman that forms “weapons against thee” (Isaiah 54:17) is wholly in My power, therefore thou needest not fear, having Me on thy side.

for his work — rather, “by his labor [Horsley]. “According to the exigencies of his work” [Maurer].

waster to destroy — (Isaiah 10:5-7; Isaiah 37:26, Isaiah 37:27; Isaiah 45:1-6). Desolating conquerors who use the “instruments” framed by “the smith.” The repetition of the “I” implies, however, something in the latter half of the verse contrasted with the former understand it, therefore, thus: “I have in My power both him who frames arms and him who destroys them (arms)” [Rosenmuller].

Verse 17
condemn — image from a court of justice. Those who desire to “condemn” thee thou shalt “condemn” (Exodus 11:7; Joshua 10:21; Psalm 64:8; Romans 8:1, Romans 8:33).

righteousness … of me — (Isaiah 45:24; Isaiah 46:13). Rather, “(this is) their justification from Me.” Their enemies would “condemn” them, but I justify and vindicate them, and so they condemn their enemies.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 54:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 21st, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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