corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.06.26
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Isaiah 51

 

 

Verse 1

Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.

Hearken to me - the God of your fathers.

Ye that follow after righteousness - the godly portion of the nation; Isaiah 51:7 shows this (Proverbs 15:9; 1 Timothy 6:11). Ye follow righteousness, seek it therefore from me, who 'bring it near' and that a righteousness 'not about to be abolished' (Isaiah 51:6-7); look to Abraham, your father (Isaiah 51:2) as a sample of how righteousness before me is to be obtained; I, the same God who blessed him, will bless you at last, (Isaiah 51:3); therefore trust in me and fear not man's opposition (Isaiah 51:7-8; Isaiah 51:12-13). The mistake of the Jews, heretofore, has been, not in that they 'followed after righteousness,' but in that they followed it "by the works of the law," instead of 'by faith,' as Abraham (Romans 9:31-32; Romans 10:3-4; Romans 4:2-5).

Look ... to the hole of the pit. The idea is not, as it is often quoted, the inculcation of humility, by reminding men of the fallen state from which they have been taken, but that as Abraham, the quarry, as it were (cf. Isaiah 48:1) whence their nation was hewn, had been called out of a strange land to the inheritance of Canaan, and blessed by God, the same God is able to deliver and restore them also (cf. Matthew 3:9).


Verse 2

Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.

I called him alone - translate, 'I called him when he was but one' (Ezekiel 33:24). The argument is, the same God who had so blessed 'one' individual as to become a mighty nation (Genesis 12:1; Genesis 22:17), can also increase and bless the small remnant of Israel, both that left in the Babylonian captivity, and that left in the present and latter days (Zechariah 14:2); "the residue" (Zechariah 13:8-9).


Verse 3

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

For the Lord shall comfort Zion. See for the argument, last note.

He will make ... her desert like the garden of the Lord - restoration of the primeval paradise (Genesis 2:8; Ezekiel 28:13; Revelation 2:7).

Voice of melody - Hebrew, zimrah (Hebrew #2172), is from zaamar (Hebrew #2167); which denotes artificial modulations with definite coesuras and numbers. Whereas shiyr (Hebrew #7892) denotes singing in general, even when loose and without rule. God's praises shall again be heard.


Verse 4

Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people.

Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation - the Jews. This reading `amiy (Hebrew #5971) uwl'uwmiy (Hebrew #3816), is better than that of Gesenius, who takes the -iy termination to be the old one for the plural, not the possessive pronoun suffix. 'O peoples ... nations'-namely, the Gentiles. The Jews are called on to hear and rejoice in the extension of the true religion to the nations; because, at the flint preaching of the Gospel, as in the final age to come, it was from Jerusalem that the Gospel law was and is to go forth (Isaiah 2:3).

A law shall proceed from me, and I will make any judgment to rest - the Gospel dispensation and institutions (Isaiah 42:1, "my servant ... shall belong forth judgment to the Gentiles").

Make ... to rest - establish firmly; found.

For a light of the people - (Isaiah 42:6).


Verse 5

My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust.

My righteousness (is) near - i:e., My faithful fulfillment of the promised deliverance, answering to "salvation" in the parallel clause (Isaiah 46:13; Isaiah 56:1; Romans 10:8-9). Ye follow after "righteousness;" seek it, therefore, from me, and you will not have far to go for it (Isaiah 51:1-23 :l). Mine arms - put for Himself: I by my might.

Shall judge - (Isaiah 2:3-4; Psalms 98:9.)

The isles shall wait upon me - (Isaiah 60:9.)

On mine arm shall they trust - (Romans 1:16. "the Gospel of Christ ... the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.")


Verse 6

Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.

Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke - (Isaiah 40:6; Isaiah 40:8; Psalms 102:26; Hebrews 1:11-12.)

Vanish away ( nimlaachuw (Hebrew #4414), akin to an Arabic root, and the Hebrew, m


Verse 7

Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.

Hearken unto me ye that know righteousness (note Isaiah 51:1 ) Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness - (note, Isaiah 51:1.)


Verse 8

For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation.

The moth shall eat them up like a garment - (note, Isaiah 50:9; Job 4:18-20.) Not that the moth eats men up, but they shall be destroyed by as insignificant instrumentality as the moth that eats a garment.


Verse 9

Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?

Awake! awake! put on strength, O arm of the Lord - Impassioned prayer of the exiled Jews.

Awake! as in the ancient days - (Psalms 44:1.)

(Art) thou not it that hath cut Rahab - poetical name for Egypt (note Isaiah 30:7).

(And) wounded the dragon? (Hebrew, taniyn (Hebrew #8565)) - the crocodile, an emblem of Egypt, as presented on coins struck after the conquest of Egypt by Augustus; or rather here, its king, Pharaoh (note, Isaiah 28:1; Psalms 74:13-14; Ezekiel 32:2, margin; 29:3).


Verse 10

Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over?

(Art) thou not it - the arm. Art not thou the same Almighty power that, etc.?

Hath dried the sea - the Red Sea (Isaiah 43:16; Exodus 14:21).


Verse 11

Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.

Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return - (Isaiah 35:10.) "Therefore" - assurance of faith; or else the answer of Yahweh corresponding to their power. As surely as God redeemed Israel out of Egypt, He shall redeem them from Babylon, both the literal in the age following, and the mystical in the last ages (Revelation 18:20-21). There shall be a second exodus (Isaiah 11:11-16; Isaiah 27:12-13).

Come with singing - image from the custom of singing on a journey when a caravan is passing along the extended plains in the East.

Everlasting joy (shall be) upon their head - (Jude 1:24.)

Sorrow and mourning shall flee away - (Revelation 21:4.)


Verse 12

I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;

I, (even) I, (am) he that comforteth you - (Isaiah 51:3; Isaiah 40:1.)

Who (art) thou - Zion.

That thou shouldest be afraid of ... the son of man - frail and dying as his parent Adam.

(Which) shall be made as grass - shall wither as grass (Isaiah 40:6-7).


Verse 13

And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?

And forgettest the Lord thy Maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth (Isaiah 40:12; Isaiah 40:26; Isaiah 40:28) - the same argument of comfort drawn from the omnipotence of the Creator.

And hast feared continually every day, because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? (Hebrew, ka'


Verse 14

The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail.

The captive exile , [ tso`eh (Hebrew #6808)]. Cocceins explains, One forced by the impetuous enemy to go with mighty steps into exile. Vulgate, 'gradiens.' Or else, literally, one bowed down as a captive (Isaiah 10:4) (Maurer). Thus it is akin to yaatsa` (Hebrew #3331), to prostrate. But the Rabbis explain it, The wandering exile: so the Hebrew means (Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 48:12). I therefore prefer this, which is much the same as the English version. The scene is primarily Babylon, and the time near the close of the captivity. Secondarily, and anti-typically, the mystical Babylon, Israel's and the church's last enemy, in which they have long suffered, but from which they are to be gloriously delivered.

Hasteneth ... that he should not die in the pit - such as were many of the ancient dungeons (cf. Jeremiah 38:6; Jeremiah 38:11; Jeremiah 38:13; Genesis 37:20; Zechariah 9:11).

Nor that his bread should fail - Isaiah 33:16; Jeremiah 37:21.)


Verse 15

But I am the LORD thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The LORD of hosts is his name.

I (am) the Lord thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared - the Red Sea. The same Hebrew word ( roga` (Hebrew #7280)) as 'make to rest' ( 'argiya` (Hebrew #7280)) (Isaiah 51:4). Rather, 'that terrify the sea' - i:e., restrain it by my rebuke, 'when, its waves roar' (Gesenius). Maurer translates, 'that terrify the sea, so that the waves roar;' literally, 'and its waves roar.' So the Septuagint, Vulgate, Chaldaic, and Arabic. The sense favours Gesenius (Jeremiah 5:22; Jeremiah 31:35). So also the Syriac; the sense of the same Hebrew word in Isaiah 51:4, too, supports his view. The English version is a primary sense of the word. It was by dividing the furious waters that they were made to rest. Gaa'ar, to rebuke, is related; Isaiah 51:9-10 prove the special reference to the exodus from Egypt.


Verse 16

And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.

And I have put my words in thy mouth - Addressed, to Israel, embodied in 'the servant of Yahweh' (Isaiah 42:1), Messiah, its ideal and representative Head, through whom the elect remnant is to be restored. God 'put His words in the mouth' of Israel, the depositary of true religion, primarily; but fully, in the mouth of Israel's Head and antitype, Messiah (Isaiah 49:2; Isaiah 50:4-5; Isaiah 59:21; Deuteronomy 18:18 is the fundamental passage: cf. "He whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God, because God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him," John 3:34).

And have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand - I have protected thee (note, Isaiah 49:2).

That I may plant the heavens. The Hebrew, naata` (Hebrew #5193), to plant, is also metaphorically used for to 'fix' as a tabernacle (Daniel 11:45). Compare Psalms 19:4, "In them (the heavens) hath He set a tabernacle for the sun." The "new creation," now going on in the spiritual world by the Gospel (Ephesians 2:10), and hereafter to be extended to the visible world, is meant (Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22 : cf. Isaiah 13:13; 2 Peter 3:10-13).

And say unto Zion. Its restoration is a leading part in the new creation to come (Isaiah 65:17-19).


Verse 17

Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out.

Awake! awake! stand up, O Jerusalem - (Isaiah 52:1.) which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury. Yahweh's wrath is compared to an intoxicating draught; because it confounds the sufferer under it, and makes him fall (Job 21:20; Psalms 60:3; Psalms 75:8; Jeremiah 25:15-16; Jeremiah 49:12; Zechariah 12:2; Revelation 14:10, "the wine of the wrath of God which is poured out, without mixture into the cup of His indignation:" see note there.

Thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling - which produces trembling or intoxication.

(And) wrung (them) out - drained the last drop out: the dregs were the sediments from various substances, as honey, dates, and drugs, put into the wine to increase the strength and sweetness.


Verse 18

There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath brought up.

(There is) none to guide her among all the sons (whom) she hath brought forth. Following up the image in Isaiah 51:17, intoxicated and confused by the cup of God's anger, she has none to guide her in her helpless state: she has not yet awakened out of the sleep caused by that draught. This cannot apply to the Babylonian captivity; because in it they, had Ezekiel and Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah, as 'guides,' and soon awoke out of that sleep; but it applies to the Jews now, and will be still more applicable in their coming oppression by Antichrist.


Verse 19

These two things are come unto thee; who shall be sorry for thee? desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and the sword: by whom shall I comfort thee?

These two (things) are come unto thee ... desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and the sword - two classes of evils, because he enumerates four-namely, desolation and destruction to the land and state; famine and the sword to the people.

Who shall be sorry for thee? - so as to give thee effectual relief; as the parallel clause,

By whom shall I comfort thee? shows (Lamentations 2:11-13).


Verse 20

Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a wild bull in a net: they are full of the fury of the LORD, the rebuke of thy God.

The sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets - (Lamentations 2:19; Lamentations 4:1.)

As a wild bull in a net - rather, the oryx (Jerome), or a gazelle (Gesenius), or wild goat (Bochart); commonly in the East taken in a net, of a wide sweep, whereinto the beasts were hunted together. The streets of cities in the East often have gates, which are closed at night: a person wishing to escape would be stopped by them and caught, as a wild animal in a net.


Verse 21

Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine:

Thou afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine - (Isaiah 29:9 : cf. Isaiah 51:17; Isaiah 51:20 here; Lamentations 3:15.)


Verse 22

Thus saith thy Lord the LORD, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again:

Thus saith ... thy God (that) pleadeth the cause - (Psalms 35:1; Jeremiah 50:34; Micah 7:9.)

Thou shalt no more drink it again - (Isaiah 54:7-9.) This cannot supply to Israel after the return from Babylon, because she has drunk the cup of suffering more bitterly than ever since then; but only to them after their final restoration.


Verse 23

But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.

But I will put it into the hands of them that afflict thee - (Isaiah 49:26; Jeremiah 25:15-29; Zechariah 12:2.)

Which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over. Conquerors often literally trod on the necks of conquered kings, as Sapor of Persia did to the Roman emperor, Valerian (Joshua 10:24; Psalms 18:40; Psalms 66:11-12).

Remarks-They "that follow after righteousness," must "hearken to" Yahweh, and seek it in the same way that Abraham, the father of the faithful obtained it. It is not far off, but "near." To "wait upon" the Lord, and to 'trust on His arm,' is the way to find it, and with it to find "salvation." As Abraham was all but"alone" when the Lord "called him ... and blessed him, and increased him," so will the same Lord bless and increase the small remnant of Israel in the last days. He will 'comfort Zion and make her wilderness like the garden of the Lord,' so that "joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody." 'The heavens and the earth' in their present fore shall pass away; but the "salvation" which God's "righteousness" is pleased to bestow on His people "shall not be abolished." Therefore, all who experimentally "know" God's "righteousness" in Christ, and who have His Gospel 'law in their heart,' have no reason to 'fear the reproach of men,' who shall perish as the "moth."

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 51:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/isaiah-51.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology