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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Isaiah 27

 

 

Verse 1

Isaiah 27:1 In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that [is] in the sea.

Ver. 1. In that day.] The day of God’s great assize, and of execution to be done on the enemy and the avenger. [Isaiah 26:21] Now we know how well people are pleased when princes do justice upon great offenders.

The Lord with his sore, and great, and strong sword.] Heb., With his sword, that hard or heavy one, and that great one, and that strong one, that is, with his Word, saith Oecolampadius, who by leviathan here understandeth the devil, who is elsewhere also called the "serpent and the great dragon." [Revelation 12:9; Revelation 20:2] But they do better, in my judgment, who by leviathan here understand some great tyrant, acted by the devil against the Church, such as was Pharaoh; [Ezekiel 29:3] Sennacherib; [Isaiah 8:7] or Nebuchadnezzar; [Jeremiah 51:13] and at this day the Grand Signor, who hath swallowed up countries, as the leviathan or the whale doth fishes; for in the greatness of his empire is swallowed up both the name and empire of the Saracens, the most glorious empire of the Greeks, the empire of Trapezonum, the renowned kingdoms of Macedonia, Peloponnesus, Epirus, Bulgaria, Servia, Bosnia, Armenia, Cyprus, Syria, Egypt, Judea, Tunis, Algiers, Medea, Mesopotamia, with a great part of Hungary, as also of the Persian kingdom. His territories do somewhat resemble a long and winding serpent, as some learned men have observed; and for the slights and might which he useth against Christians still, who knows them not out of the Turkish story? God therefore will shortly take him to do, sharpening haply the swords of men, as he hath lately and marvellously done of the Venetians, as instrumental to ruin this vast empire, which laboureth with nothing more than the weightiness of itself.

And he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.] i.e., In fluctuante huius saeculi aesluario. (a) Of the strange length of dragons, see Aelian., lib. ii. cap. 21, and Plin., lib. viii. cap. 14. In the last year of the reign of Theodosius, senior, there was a dragon seen in Epirus, of that vast size that when he was dead eight yokes of oxen could hardly draw him. By dragon, some understand the same with leviathan, viz., the whale or whirlpool. The dragon is never satisfied with blood, though never so full gorged; no more are persecutors.


Verse 2

Isaiah 27:2 In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine.

Ver. 2. In that day sing ye to her.] Or, Of her, a new song for a new deliverance. Haply this shall be done by the Christian Churches upon the conversion of the Jews, after the Turks’ downfall; like as at the building of the second temple, the people sang and shouted, "Grace, grace unto it." [Zechariah 4:7]

A vineyard of red wine,] i.e., Of rich and generous wine, Vini meri, non labruscarum, ut pure wine not wild, Isaiah 5:12, Proverbs 23:31, Genesis 49:22. By this red wine Oecolampadius understandeth Christ’s blood, wherewith the Church is purged and beautified. Sanguis Christi venustavit genas meas, the blood of Christ made my eyes attractive, said a certain good woman, a martyr.


Verse 3

Isaiah 27:3 I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest [any] hurt it, I will keep it night and day.

Ver. 3. I the Lord do keep it.] And then it cannot but be well kept. The matter is well amended with God’s vineyard since [Isaiah 5:5] the Lord is with you while ye are with him. [2 Chronicles 16:7] "The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him." [Ezra 8:12] Do good, O Lord, unto those that be good, &c. As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, &c. [Psalms 125:4-5]

I will water it every moment.] God will be to his vineyard both a wall and a well, a sun and a shield, [Psalms 84:11] all that heart can wish, or need require. Of all possessions, saith Cato, none requireth more care and pains than that of vineyards. Grain comes up and grows alone, [Mark 4:28] but vines must be daily dressed, fenced, supported, watered. Plantas tenellas frequentius adaquare proderit, saith Primasius. (a) Young vines must be often watered; God’s vines shall not want for watering, though once he forbade the clouds to rain upon them. [Isaiah 5:6] He hath not been wanting to England either for watching or for watering it. We may now much better say of it, than once Polydor Virgil did, Regnum Angliae Regnum Dei; the kingdom of England is the kingdom of God, he meant because none seemed to take care of England but God. He grant we may at length walk worthy of such a mercy! Amen. The Vulgate here rendereth it, but not so well, Repente propinabo ei, I will shortly drink to her.

Lest any hurt it.] Heb., Lest he visit on it, lest any profane person should rudely and unmannerly rush upon it, he guardeth it constantly.


Verse 4

Isaiah 27:4 Fury [is] not in me: who would set the briers [and] thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together.

Ver. 4. Fury is not in me.] Whatever you may think of me, because of my many dreadful menaces, and your heavy calamities, Non est in me sed in vobis culpa istarum calamitatum, the fault is not in me but in yourselves; do you but mend, and all shall be soon well between us. It is but displeased love that maketh me chide or strike my dear children, lop my vines, Ut bonus vinitor vires luxuriantes falce Tatar et purgat; αιρει, καθαιρει; [John 15:2] leaves and luxuriances must be taken off, or it will be worse. Better the vine should bleed than die; better be preserved in brine, than perish in honey. But assure yourselves, I am not implacable; as your sins have put thunderbolts into my hands, so by sound repentance you may soon disarm me.

Who would set the briers and thorns.] God’s vineyard is not without briers and thorns, his field without tares, his Church without hypocrites, which prick God and his people, galling them to the heart. These he will make a hand of, take an order with, by treading them down and burning them up, especially if once they shall be so mad and mankind, as they say, as to bid him battle. See Job 9:4. {See Trapp on "Job 9:4"}

I would burn them together.] Or, I will burn them out of it. See 2 Samuel 23:7. {See Trapp on "2 Samuel 23:7"}


Verse 5

Isaiah 27:5 Or let him take hold of my strength, [that] he may make peace with me; [and] he shall make peace with me.

Ver. 5. Or let him take hold of my strength,] i.e., Of mine arm, wherewith I am about to smite him, or to throw the fire of my wrath at him; let him by true repentance appease me, as submitting Abigail once did angry David; let him but meet me with entreaties of peace, and he shall have peace, yea, he shall be sure of it. See Job 22:21. {See Trapp on "Job 22:21"} To run into God is the way to escape sin, as to close and get in with him that would strike you doth avoid the blow.


Verse 6

Isaiah 27:6 He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.

Ver. 6. He shall cause them that come to Jacob,] i.e., His proselytes; or, that come from Jacob, i.e., his posterity. Vitium haec conditio est, The condition of vines is such as that they must undergo cold blasts and hard winters; howbeit, at the return of the spring they recover their verdure, and flourish again. So shall the seed of Jacob: their dead shall live, [Isaiah 26:19] and the mountain of the Lord shall be exalted above all mountains. [Isaiah 2:2]


Verse 7

Isaiah 27:7 Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote him? [or] is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him?

Ver. 7. Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote him?] No; for the one he smote to correction, the other to destruction - the one with the palm, of his hand, as a man smiteth his son, the other with his clutched fist, as one smiteth his slaver whom he careth not where he hits or how he hurts. Temporal evils are in the nature sometimes of a curse, sometimes of a cure. Hinc distinctio illa poenae in conferentem et nocentem, sive in suffocantem et promoventem; item in poenam vindictae, et poenam cautelae, sive in condemnantem et corregentem.


Verse 8

Isaiah 27:8 In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind.

Ver. 8. In measure.] Heb., Modio i.e., exigua mensura, in a small measure (by peck peck), and as his people are able to bear; [1 Corinthians 10:13] ad emendationem, non ad internecionem.

When it shooteth forth.] Or, In the branches; not at the root, as God smiteth at a wicked man, resolving to have him down. See here his different dealing with his own and others. Upon his children he doth but sprinkle a parcel of his wrath, some few sparks of his displeasure, but the wicked he utterly consumeth and burneth up with the fire of his indignation. [Isaiah 42:25; Isaiah 66:15]

Thou wilt debate with it.] Deiudicabis, will give final judgment, thou wilt put a difference, or "discern between the righteous and the wicked." [Malachi 3:18]

He stayeth his rough wind, &c., ] i.e., Such afflictions as would shake his plants too much, or quite blow them down. But he letteth out of his treasury, even he who "holdeth the winds in his fist," such a wind as shall make them fruitful, and blow away their unkindly blossoms and leaves. (a)

In the day of the east wind.] That boisterous and blasting and blustering wind, this Euroclydon. [Acts 27:14]


Verse 9

Isaiah 27:9 By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this [is] all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up.

Ver. 9. By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged.] Hac re - i.e., deportations in Babyloniam, saith Piscator: "by this," that is, by their being carried captive into Babylon, as it was made a means to bring the elect to repentance. As one poison is antidotary to another, so is affliction to sin. Crosses are leeches to suck out the noxious blood, flails to thresh off our husks, files to brighten our graces, &c. Sanctified afflictions, said Mr Dod, are good promotions. "Corrections of instructions are the way of life," [Proverbs 16:23] For though "not joyous but grievous at present, yet afterwards they yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them that are thereby exercised." [Hebrews 12:11] It fareth with God’s afflicted as it did once with those that had the sweating sickness in this land - if they slept, they died. To keep them waking, therefore, they were smitten with rosemary branches, whereat though they cried out, You kill me! you kill me! yet it proved a happy means to keep them alive. It was good for David that he was afflicted, [Psalms 119:71] it rid him of those two evil humours, high mindedness and earthly mindedness. [Psalms 131:1]

And this is all the fruit.] God’s rod, like Aaron’s, blossometh; and, like that of Jonathan, it hath honey at the end of it. A good use and a good issue of afflictions is ever to be prayed for. I read of a gracious man who, lying under great torments of the stone, would often cry out, The use, Lord, the use! And Mr Perkins, in like case, desired his friends to pray to God, not so much for ease of his pain, as for increase of his faith and patience. Perdidisti fructum afflictionum, said Augustine to some in his time, and it was a great loss doubtless.

To take away his sin.] The sin, not the man. See Psalms 99:8. A leprous or ulcerous member a man loves as it is his own flesh, [Ephesians 5:29] though he loatheth the corruption and putrefaction that is in it; therefore he cuts it not off, but plastereth it; whereas a wart or wen {lump} he cutteth off as not his flesh: so here. (a)

When he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalk stones.] When he, that is, Jacob, in token of his true repentance, abandoneth all his mawmets (images) and monuments of idolatry, and them abolisheth and demolisheth so as never to be re-edified. The Jews, after the captivity, were so far from idolatry, that they would not admit a painter or carver into their city. And how zealous they were to keep their temple from such defilement, both in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes and of the Romans, histories show us.


Verse 10

Isaiah 27:10 Yet the defenced city [shall be] desolate, [and] the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness: there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches thereof.

Ver. 10. Yet, the defensed city shall be desolate.] Or, But, or therefore, shall they suffer, ut ad saniorem mentem et ad frugem calamitosi redeant, that they may be thereby bettered. See on Isaiah 27:9.


Verse 11

Isaiah 27:11 When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, [and] set them on fire: for it [is] a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour.

Ver. 11. For it is a people of no understanding.] Heb., Not a people of understandings - i.e., non sapiunt nisi plagis emendentur, they will not be wise without whipping; I must therefore handle them the more sharply and severely. Castigat Deus quem amat, etiamsi non amat castigare.

Therefore he that made them.] Deus factor eius et fictor. A fearful sentence! such as should frighten those, many Ignaros that say, God that made us will surely save us.


Verse 12

Isaiah 27:12 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel.

Ver. 12. In that day,] sc., When God shall have purged his people by his Word and by his rod.

The Lord shall beat off.] Or, Shall thresh. The ministry of the Word is God’s flail to sever the chaff from grain - to single his out of the midst of wicked and profane worldlings. See the like of afflictions sanctified, Isaiah 27:9.

And ye shall be gathered.] As ears of grain are for threshing.

One by one.] There is no thresher in the world, saith one here, that thresheth half so clean, for he loseth not one grain, See John 17:12; John 10:3. Christ hath a care of every one particularly, and by the poll; some gather from hence that the calling of the Jews shall be general and universal.


Verse 13

Isaiah 27:13 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.

Ver. 13. The great trumpet shall be blown.] Or, A blast shall be blown with a great trumpet. Tuba haec magna apostolica praedicatio est, saith Oecolampadius. This great trumpet is the gospel, the preaching whereof is of power to save those that perish, to put life into the dead. [John 5:25]

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 27:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-27.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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