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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Isaiah 52

 

 

Verse 1

Isaiah 52:1 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.

Ver. 1. Awake, awake.] Pluck up thy best heart, as we say, and rouse up thyself to receive the sweet promises; for as man’s laws, so God’s promises favour not them that are asleep, but awake and watchful.

O Jerusalem, the holy city.] Thou that hast been brought through the fire; being refined as silver is refined, and tried as gold is tried. [Zechariah 13:9]

There shall no more come into thee.] Or, Against thee, i.e., I will not suffer tyrants to vex thee, or profane ones to harbour with thee. See Isaiah 35:8.


Verse 2

Isaiah 52:2 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, [and] sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.

Ver. 2. Shake thyself from the dust.] Wherein thou layest along when trampled on. [Isaiah 51:23]

Arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem.] Rather, Arise, sit up, O Jerusalem. It hath been noted before, that when Vespasian had subdued Judea, money was stamped with a woman sitting in the dust, with this inscription, Iudaea subacta.

Loose thyself from the bonds of thy neck.] From thy spiritual servitude especially. {as Luke 1:74 Romans 6:19} Shake the devil’s yoke from off thy neck, gestague monilia sponsae et libertatis, and get on the spouse’s ornaments.


Verse 3

Isaiah 52:3 For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.

Ver. 3. For thus saith the Lord.] Thus he pleadeth the cause of his people. [Isaiah 51:22]

Ye have sold yourselves for nought.] Heb., Ye were sold for nought. I had not so much as thanks for you from the enemy; (a) no more hath he from the devil: and yet a letter was framed in Hildebrand’s days as sent from the devil, wherein he kindly thanked the Popish clergy for the many souls they daily sent him to hell by their negligence and wickedness. (b)

And ye shall be redeemed without money.] Heb., Without silver. So were we. [1 Peter 1:18]


Verse 4

Isaiah 52:4 For thus saith the Lord GOD, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.

Ver. 4. And the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.] Nulla iniuria lacessitus. So did the primitive persecutors, the Christians of those times, though they were non aliunde noscibiles quam ex vitae integritate, saith Justin Martyr; eminent for their innocence, as Pliny also in his epistle to Trajan the emperor testifieth. What hurt had the Israelites ever done to malicious Moab that he was irked at them? [Numbers 22:3] or the Hebrews to the Assyrians, that they should oppress them?


Verse 5

Isaiah 52:5 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.

Ver. 5. Now, therefore, what have I here?] Cui bono? To what purpose or profit? For what wealth or worth suffer I my poor people to lie captives here at Babylon? Or, as others (a) sense it, what make I here any longer at Jerusalem when my poor people are in durance at Babylon? Why hasten I not to help them out?

They that rule over them, make them to howl,] i.e., The Chaldeans, and after them the Romans, and then the scribes and Pharisees, by "binding heavy burdens grievous to be borne, and laying them on men’s consciences." [Matthew 23:4]

And my name continually every day (or, all the day long) is blasphemed.] That is all I get by the bargain.


Verse 6

Isaiah 52:6 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.

Ver. 6. Therefore my people shall know my name,] sc., That I am Jehovah; {as Exodus 6:3} the God of Amen, [Isaiah 65:16] who "will not suffer my faithfulness to fail, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my mouth." [Psalms 89:33-34] And it shall therefore be so because my name - that nomen maiestativum - hath been blasphemed and vilified. God’s people fare the better for their enemies’ insolencies.

That I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.] Or, That it is I that do speak, saying, Lo, here I am. This some understand to be the second person in the Trinity, the eternal Son of the eternal Father, called "the Word," [John 1:1] and there are those who give us this rule - Where the Old Testament bringeth in God appearing and speaking, we are to understand it always to be the second person. See John 12:37-42.


Verse 7

Isaiah 52:7 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!

Ver. 7. How beautiful!] Quam amaeni, i.e., amabiles! How amiable or desirable. Interrogatio admirantis et exultantis.

Upon the mountains.] Whence they may best be heard, {as in 9:7} saying, as there, "Hearken unto me, that God may hearken unto you." Our Saviour, that arch-evangelist, who, as some, is here first and chiefly meant by Mebassher, him that bringeth good tidings, "seeing the multitudes, went up into a mountain," [Matthew 5:1] which is said to be in the tribe of Naphtali, and called Christ’s Mount to this day. His apostles afterwards travelled and trudged on foot over hills and dales - what a compass fetched Paul! [Romans 15:19] Intervallum illud est milliariorum Germanicorum, 350, so that he might better be called, than afterwards George Eagles the martyr was, Trudge-over-the-world - to preach the gospel and to plant churches, to whom their feet, though fouled and worn - how much more their faces? - were deemed delectable and debonnaire. [Galatians 4:14 Acts 10:21] The Pope, Peter’s pretended successor, holdeth forth his feet to be kissed, but preacheth not; or not peace, but war, which he stirreth up by his roaring bulls.

Of him that bringeth good tidings.] Whosoever he be that preacheth the gospel, that chief work of a minister. [Romans 10:15] Of Mr John Dod it is written, and I know it to be true, that he was very evangelical, striving first to make men see their lost condition clearly - for, said he, sense of misery must go before sense of mercy - and then largely and excellently opening the promises, and the grace of God in Christ according to the gospel, looking at that as the most effectual preaching. Some, said he, labour still to keep men under terrors, loading them with threatenings, &c., lest they should not be humbled enough: but the gospel worketh true humiliation, not the law; it ariseth from sense of sin and misery joined with hope of mercy. The damned have terror and sense of misery enough, but that doth not humble them.

That publisheth peace.] The gospel is a doctrine of peace, [Ephesians 2:17] whose author is the "God of peace," [1 Corinthians 14:33] whose ministers are "messengers of peace," [Romans 10:15] whose followers are the "children of peace." [Luke 10:6-11] If any know not how they came by their peace, but are like the Israelitish women, quick of delivery, before ever the midwife (the minister) can come at them, they have cause to suspect their peace.

That bringeth good tidings.] As before, but never enough, mentioned and memorised. Some critics (a) tell us that the Hebrew word here used, signifying also flesh, showed that the incarnation or taking flesh should be generally good news to the whole world, even the best tidings. The old church had επαγγαλιαν, the "promise"; we have ευαγγελιαν, the "joyful tidings."

That publisheth salvation.] Publicantis Iesum, so some (b) have rendered it: the concrete for the abstract.

That saith to Zion, Thy God reigneth.] Maugre the malice of earth and of hell. This is the sum of all the good news in the world. It is happy that Christ liveth and reigneth, said a godly man, for else I had utterly despaired.


Verse 8

Isaiah 52:8 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.

Ver. 8. Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice.] Heb., The voice of thy watchmen - sc., " Thy God reigneth"; or, as in the following verse, "Break forth into joy," &c.

They lift up the voice, they sing together.] As having "no greater joy than that their children walk in the truth," [2 John 1:4 1 Thessalonians 3:8] and the contrary.

For they shall (a) see eye to eye.] And be able to say, as 1 John 1:1, "That which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon" (and what so sure as sight?) "declare we unto you."


Verse 9

Isaiah 52:9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.

Ver. 9. Break forth into joy.] This is the subject matter of gospel ministers’ discourses: they shall call upon God’s people to rejoice, [Isaiah 52:9-10] and to repent, [Isaiah 52:11-12] and shall show them that it is as well a sin not to rejoice as not to repent.


Verse 10

Isaiah 52:10 The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

Ver. 10. The Lord hath made bare his holy arm.] Nudavit, id est, exeruit, in answer to your prayer. [Isaiah 51:9] God oft answereth his praying people ad cardinem desiderii, (a) as Augustine saith, letteth it be to them even as they will. Scanderbeg ever fought against the Turks with his arm bare, and that with such fierceness that the blood did oftentimes burst out of his lips. It is written that he, with that bare arm of his, slow three thousand Turks in the time of his wars against them. (b)

Shall see the salvation of the Lord.] Shall see it and sing of it. [Isaiah 52:9]


Verse 11

Isaiah 52:11 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.

Ver. 11. Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out, &c.] Here we have a double repetition redoubled, and all little enough to bring them out of Babylon (not half, as may be probably thought, returned, which was no small prejudice to those that did), and us out of this wicked world; whereunto we are so affixed and addicted that nothing can sunder us but an extraordinary touch from the hand of Heaven. "Save yourselves from this perverse generation." [Acts 2:40] "Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men: avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it and pass away." {Proverbs 4:14-15, a parallel place}

Be ye clean, ye that bear the vessels of the Lord.] Id est, qui gestatis arma, instrumenta, adeoque insignia Christi; all ye true believers who are made spiritual priests, [Revelation 1:6] and especially all ye holy ministers who, as mystagogues, handle the law, [Jeremiah 2:8] and administer the sacraments, being yourselves choice vessels of honour to "bear Christ’s name unto his people." [Acts 9:15] See 2 Timothy 2:21.


Verse 12

Isaiah 52:12 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.

Ver. 12. For ye shall not go out with haste.] Neither with fright nor flight shall ye depart, as once ye did out of Egypt. And this spiritually denoteth the mature deliberation and calm mind with which believers do forsake the world to follow Christ. (a)

For the Lord will go before you.] He will be unto you both van and rear. The Lord is a man of war, [Exodus 15:3] yea, he alone is a whole army of men, as here.


Verse 13

Isaiah 52:13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.

Ver. 13. Behold, my servant shall deal prudently.] Or, Shall prosper. [Isaiah 53:10] Here some, (a) and not unfitly, begin the next chapter, which hath Christ also for its subject, as the Chaldee paraphrast and some old Jewish doctors acknowledge. Johannes Isaac, a Jew, was converted by reading it. This I confess ingenuously, saith he, that that chapter brought me to the faith of Jesus Christ. And well it might; for, taken together with these three last verses, it is an entire prophecy, or rather a history of Christ’s person and acts, both in the state of his humiliation and exaltation.

He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.] This great advancement was the consequence of his great abasement. [Philippians 2:6-11] His human nature, wherein he suffered so for our sakes, hath, by virtue of the union with the Deity, these high prerogatives: (1.) An exuberance and excess of glory. [Ephesians 1:21] (2.) The grace of divine adoration together with the Deity. [Hebrews 1:6 Philippians 2:9] (3.) Power over all things for his people’s use. [Matthew 28:18] (4.) Judiciary power, to be judge of all. [Acts 17:31]


Verse 14

Isaiah 52:14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:

Ver. 14. As many were astonied at thee,] viz., At thine abasement first, and then at thine advancement thereupon. All things in Christ are admirable; well, therefore, might he be called "Wonderful." [Isaiah 9:6]

His visage was so marred more than any man.] Partly through the anguish of his mind at his Passion and on the cross, and partly also by the misusage of his body, while they made totum pro vulnero corpus, by their scourging, scratching, racking on the tree, piercing, buffeting, &c.

And his form more than the sons of men.] Plusquam filii Adae, more than those of the common sort; whereas naturally his body, being of the finest temperament, and no way diseased, could not but be very beautiful. See Psalms 45:2. {See Trapp on "Psalms 45:2"}


Verse 15

Isaiah 52:15 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.

Ver. 15. So shall he sprinkle many nations.] With his doctrine, [Ezekiel 20:46 Amos 7:16] or with his blood, that blood of sprinkling. See Hebrews 10:22. Or with water in baptism, wherein sprinkling is sufficient.

Kings shall shut their mouths at him.] As being astonished at his prudence and prosperity. [Isaiah 52:13] They shall also silently and reverently submit to his sceptre, and to the laws of his kingdom, with all humble observance.

For that which had not been told them.] The mystery of the gospel so long time concealed. [Romans 15:21; Romans 16:25]

Shall they see,] viz., With the eyes of their faith, God enlightening both organ and object.

And that which they had not heard.] Gospel truths. See 1 Corinthians 2:9. {See Trapp on "1 Corinthians 2:9"}

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 52:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-52.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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