corner graphic   Hi,    
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to

Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Isaiah 4



Verses 2-6

C.—The second prophetic lamp, which, in the light of the glorious divine fruit of the last time, makes known the bad fruits of the present

Isaiah 4:2 to Isaiah 5:30


Isaiah 4:2-6

2 In that day shall [FN1]the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious[FN2]1,

And the fruit of the earth shall be [FN3]excellent and comely

[FN4]For them that are escaped of Israel,

3 And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion,

And he that remaineth in Jerusalem,

Shall be called holy,

Even every one that is written [FN5]among the living in Jerusalem;

4 When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion,

And shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof

By the [FN6] spirit of judgment, and by the cspirit of [FN7] burning.

5 And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion,

And upon her assemblies,

[FN8]A cloud and smoke by day,

And the shining of a naming fire by night:

For [FN9]upon all the glory shall be [FN10]a defence.

6 And there shall be a [FN11]tabernacle for a shadow in the day time from the heat,

And for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.


Isaiah 4:2. צְבִי vid. Isaiah 13:19; Isaiah 23:9; Isaiah 24:16; Isaiah 28:1; Isaiah 28:4-5.—גאון and תפאדת occur again together only Isaiah 13:19.—פְּלֵיטָה abst, pro concr., comp. Isaiah 3:25; Isaiah 10:20; Isaiah 15:9; Isaiah 37:31 sq.

Isaiah 4:3. Niph. נֶאֱֽמַר is a peculiarity of Isaiah. It is found in no book of the Old Testament, relatively so often as in our prophet: Isaiah 19:18; Isaiah 32:5; Isaiah 61:6; Isaiah 62:4 (bis.).—The construction כתוב לחיים is dubious, כָּתַב in this sense is nowhere else construed with לְ, unless perhaps Isaiah 44:5 (wh. see) may be compared. חיים may be abstractum (vita) or concretum (vivi).

Isaiah 4:4. רחץ occurs again in Isaiah only Isaiah 1:16.—צאָה in Isaiah again only Isaiah 28:8, and Isaiah 37:12, K’ri.—The verb הֵדִיחַ is found only in the Hiphil; in Isaiah it occurs only here; it is found elsewhere only in Jeremiah 51:34; Ezekiel 40:38; 2 Chronicles 4:6. As the parallel passages show, it means: “wash away, rinse away,” and thereby cleanse. It is therefore synonymous with רָחַץ.

Isaiah 4:5. מִקְרָא which occurs here and Isaiah 1:13 in Isaiah, and in Nehemiah 8:8 (where it seems to mean “lecture”), occurs elsewhere only in the Pentateuch. There, too, with the exception of Numbers 10:2, where the מִקְרָאהָעֵדָה convocatio coetus is indicated as the object of the use of the trumpets, it is always joined with קֹדֶשׁ: Exodus 12:16; Leviticus 23:2 sq.; Numbers 28:18; Numbers 28:25 sq; Isaiah 29:1; Isaiah 29:7; Isaiah 29:12. It is therefore a liturgical term, and means the assembling of the congregation.—עָנָן occurs again in Isaiah only Isaiah 44:22. But עָשָׁן he often uses: Isaiah 6:4; Isaiah 9:17; Isaiah 14:31; Isaiah 34:10; Isaiah 51:6; Isaiah 65:5. Moreover נֹגַהּ, which does not occur in the Pentateuch, is peculiar to Isaiah 50:10; Isaiah 60:3; Isaiah 60:19; Isaiah 62:1; comp. Isaiah 9:1; Isaiah 13:10. So too להבה flame never occurs in the Pentateuch, except in Numbers 21:28, where it is not used of the pillar of fire. But it is found in Isaiah 5:24; Isaiah 10:17; Isaiah 43:2; Isaiah 47:14. He intimates by it that one must picture to himself, not an even, steady gleam of fire, but an agitated flaming fire. כי על־ל־כבוד וגו׳. I join these words to what follows, as Hitzig also does. The Masoretic division is probably occasioned by the fact that the preceding sentence from וּבָרָא to לילה present no strongly marked point for setting an Athnach. But this, as is well known, is not at all necessary; comp. Isaiah 4:4; Isaiah 5:3. And besides, if one disjoins these words from the following, he must conceive such a verb as decet supplied, or at least a תִהְיֶה, shall be. But this is hardly admissible, which those, too, maintain who take חֻפָּה as Pual (“For all that is glorious shall be defended” Gesenius; Knobel somewhat differently.—חֻפָּה occurs beside this place only in Psalm 19:6, and Joel 2:16 in the sense of “bridal chamber, bridal canopied bed.” And so it means here a protecting cover, and sheltering baldachin.

Isaiah 4:6. On סֻכָּה booth, see Isaiah 1:8, the only other place where it occurs in Isaiah.—The expressions צֵל מֵחֹרֶב and מַחְסֶה מִזֶּרֶם recur Isaiah 25:4—צֵל vid. Isaiah 16:3; Isaiah 25:5; Isaiah 30:2; Isaiah 49:2 etc.—הֹרֵב Isaiah 25:5; Isaiah 61:4.—מַֽחֲסֶה Isaiah 28:15; Isaiah 28:17.—מִסְתּוֹר (comp. סֵתֶר זֶרֶם Isaiah 32:2 and מסְתּוֹר Isaiah 45:3) is ἅπ. λεγ.—זֶרֶם is a word of frequent recurrence in the first part of Isaiah. Besides the passages already cited see Isaiah 28:2 (bis.); Isaiah 30:30. Beside those only Job 24:8, and Habakkuk 3:10.—מָטָר again in Isaiah 5:6; Isaiah 30:23.


1. Just at that time, i.e., at the time to which the parallel passage Isaiah 2:2-4 refers, the rescued ones of Israel shall partake of a glory that shall appear as fruit of the life that Jehovah Himself shall produce ( Isaiah 4:2). In consequence of that all that still remain in Jerusalem shall be called holy, all whose names shall be written in the book of life ( Isaiah 4:3). But the ones left remaining are those that shall be present when all moral filth and all blood-guiltiness shall have been cleansed away by the tempest of the divine judgment ( Isaiah 4:4). Then shall Jehovah hover over each house and over the assembled total of the dwellers of Jerusalem, as formerly over the tabernacle, with a cloud by day, with smoke and appearance of fire by night ( Isaiah 4:5), for the presence of the glory of Jehovah shall be protection and shelter against every attack ( Isaiah 4:6).

2. I regard this section as parallel member to Isaiah 2:2-4. Like that, it transports us into the last time: like that, it sets before our eyes the glory that Israel shall then enjoy. Only there is this difference, that, whereas Isaiah 2:2-4 describes the outward eminence and exaltation of Zion, as the central point of dominion over all nations, Isaiah 4:2-6 rather describes the inward glory of Zion as one that is now purified and sanctified. For the tempest of judgment has cleansed away all morally impure and ungodly elements. Whatever personal life remains in Zion is a divine scion, and therefore whatever the land produces must be glorious divine fruit. And as in the wilderness the cloud by day and the appearance of fire by night was over the Tabernacle, so shall every single house in Israel and the whole congregation in its entirety be marked as the holy abode of Jehovah by the glorious signs of His presence warding off every hostile storm. This is the second prophetic lamp with which the prophet, so to speak, stretches his arm far out and illuminates the distant future. But as in Isaiah 2:5 to Isaiah 4:1 he sets the present that lies between (we comprehend all that precedes that last time as present) in the light of that prophetic word Isaiah 2:2-4, and by this means makes manifest the immense difference between the present and the future, so he does likewise here. I am of the opinion therefore that5. has the same subordinate relation to Isaiah 4:2-4 that Isaiah 2:5 to Isaiah 4:1 has to Isaiah 2:2-4. That5. is not independent, but integral part of the prophecy that begins with Isaiah 2:1, has already been asserted by Forerius, Vogel, Doederlein, Jahn, Hitzig, Ewald (comp. Caspari, Beitr, p234). I maintain the same, only I have other grounds for it than they. If one were to assume with Caspari (int. al. p300) that the passage Isaiah 2:2-4, “is not in the proper sense prophecy; they are repeated, quoted, recited by Isaiah, as a prophecy given to Israel by another prophet, for the purpose of joining on to it the warning and reproof of Isaiah 2:5-8,”—then indeed must Isaiah 4:2-6 be regarded as the promise appertaining to Isaiah 2:5 to Isaiah 4:1.

But that assumption of Caspari is as unnatural as can be. The glorious words of Micah must be no prophecy! But they are so per se. This cannot be controverted. They must serve only as “points of departure and connection!” That would need to be indicated. Then Isaiah must have presented them in a form that would reveal at once that he employs the words only as introduction to his address proper. They must be separated from the discourse of Isaiah, and be expressly designated as a citation by some sort of historical reference. But such is not the case. Isaiah make the words entirely his own. He does not say that they are borrowed from another: those informed know it and draw their own conclusion; but that is another thing. The main thing is that the Lord has so said, and therefore Isaiah too may use the words and found his discourse on it.

It is clear as day and undisputed that Isaiah from Isaiah 2:2 to Isaiah 4:1 shows the false estimate of human glory in the light of the divine. But just as clear, it seems to me, is it that Isaiah, in4,5, also contemplates, as it were, the condition of the fruits in the field of the hearts of Israel in the present in the light of the fruitage that, in the last time, shall be produced on the soil of the judged and purified Israel. For Isaiah 4:2, “the Branch,” and “Fruit of the earth” are evidently the main ideas. These both shall become glorious. This, however, is explained Isaiah 4:3 : all that then remain in Zion shall be called holy, because the tempest of judgment has removed from Zion all pollution and all guilt. Then shall both, each individual and the totality, be fully as secure a dwelling place of Jehovah as once the Tabernacle was.

Therefore the prophet speaks Isaiah 4:2-6 also of a glory indeed, but of a different one from Isaiah 2:2-4. In the latter place he has in view more that glory which in that time Israel shall develop externally: it shall as the solitary eminence of the earth shine far around, and all nations shall flow to this eminence. But Isaiah 4:2 sq. speaks of that glory that is identical with holiness, the notion “holy” taken in the sense of sanctus and sacer: this glory, however, is first of all inward. But as that outward glory takes the inward for granted, which is indicated Isaiah 2:3 by the terms “out of Zion shall go forth the law,” etc., Song of Solomon, too, the inward glory cannot last without the outward, which is expressed Isaiah 4:2 by the terms “beautiful and glorious, excellent and comely,” and plainly enough in Isaiah 4:5-6. When now we read in chap5 of a vineyard that produces wild grapes instead of grapes, and when Isaiah 5:7, this is expressly interpreted to mean that Jehovah has found in the field of the hearts of Israel bloodshed and the cry of woe instead of judgment and righteousness, and when, after that, this evil fruit is more particularly characterized in the following sixfold woe, can we then in the least doubt that the section that treats of the bad fruits of the present stands in the same relation to the section immediately preceding which describes the glorious fruits of the last time, that the section Isaiah 2:5 to Isaiah 4:1 concerning false great things does to the section that immediately precedes it, and that describes the true divine greatness.

I do not suppose that this would ever have been doubted, did not chap5 appear so independent, so peculiar, so distinct in itself and well rounded, and were not suddenly Isaiah 4:1, a totally different tone assumed; I mean the parable tone. But we must not overlook the relationship of the contents because of the difference in the form. This relationship will appear plainer as we contemplate the particulars: but we must at this point draw attention to one thing. As Isaiah 2:5 to Isaiah 4:1 the outward decay appears as symptom and consequence of the inward, so in chap5 the inward decay appears as the root from which the outward develops by an inevitable necessity. According to this the two dominant passages Isaiah 2:2-4 and Isaiah 4:2-6 stand in an analogous inverted relation, like the sections governed by them Isaiah 2:5 to Isaiah 4:1, and chap5.

Finally let it be noticed here, what we shall prove in particular further on, that in Isaiah 4:2-6, as a matter of course, there occur back looks or references to what has preceded. (Comp. e. g. Isaiah 4:4) This cannot be otherwise, in as much as Isaiah 4:2 to Isaiah 5:30 is the second organic half of the great second portal of Isaiah’s prophecies. But noticing this does not in the least hinder the assertion that section Isaiah 4:2-6 in the main looks forward and not backward.

3. In that day,—spirit of burning.

Isaiah 4:2-4. By the words “in that day” the prophet refers back to “in the last days” Isaiah 2:2. For according to all that we have just laid down, Isaiah 4:2-6 stands parallel with Isaiah 2:2-4, both as to time and subject matter. This last time may have begun since the birth of Christ, but it is not finished; it is fulfilled by degrees through many a rising and subsiding. In this last time, therefore, shall “the branch” and “the fruit of the earth” be for beauty and honor, splendor and glory to the saved ones of Israel. What is צֶמַח י׳ “branch?” The word means germinatio, the sprouting, and means first of all, not a single sprout, but sprouting in general, and the total of all that sprouts. Thus it means Genesis 19:25 : “And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground” (וְצֶמַח הָאֲדָמָה). So again we read, Ezekiel 16:7 : “I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field” (כְּצֶמַח הַשָּׂדֶה) i.e. I have made thee like the vegetation of the field. Again Hosea 8:7 : “It hath no stalk, the bud (צֶמַח) shall yield no meal.” The word has the same meaning also Isaiah 61:11; Psalm 65:11. In Ezekiel 17:9-10, the abstract meaning germinatio predominates. If now we compare Jeremiah 23:5; Jeremiah 33:15, we find that there “righteous Branch” (צֶמַח צַדִּיק) means a single personality. “I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as King, and shall prosper, and execute judgment and justice in the land; in his days,” etc. Notice the singular after Branch. So too, Jeremiah 33:15. In Zechariah, however, we find צֶמַחTzemach, has become altogether a proper name. “Behold I will bring forth my servant Tzemach, (Branch),” Zechariah 3:8. And Zechariah 6:12 : “Behold the man whose name is Tzemach, and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord. “If we agree with expositors that refer the Tzemach of Jer. and Zech. (which in them, beyond all doubt, means the Messiah), to our passage as its original source, still the conclusion must not be countenanced that the word is to be taken in the same meaning in our passage as in Jer. and Zech. For in our passage a condition, habitus, is evidently described, not a personality. “Fruit of the land” stands as correlative of “Branch of Jehovah.” This is so general and comprehensive an expression, that it is impossible to understand by it any single fruit, even though it were the noblest. The passages Isaiah 11:1; Isaiah 11:10; Isaiah 53:2, do not contradict this. For just in those passages the Messiah is designated, not as the fruit of the land, (or of the earth), in general, but a shoot out of the root of Jesse. “Fruit of the land” in the general and indefinite form of its expression, can only signify the products of the land in general (not of the earth, for, according to the context, only Israel is spoken of). Thus what grows of Jehovah and what grows of the land stand in antithesis; spiritual and corporal fruits, the products of the heavenly and of the earthly life.

But what are the products of the heavenly, spiritual, divine life? This, it seems to me, Isa. himself tells us Isaiah 61:11 : “For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before the nations.” Thus, “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise” Philippians 4:8 (and may not Paul have had Isaiah 61:11 in his mind?) that is Tzemach of Jehovah. That is the divine fruit with which the fruit of the land stands in contrast, viz.: all corporal life that the land produces in all the kingdoms of nature. Therefore Tzemach of Jehovah comprehends the entire sphere of the free, conscious, personal life, all that is product of “the breath of life” ( Genesis 2:7); whereas “fruit of the land” designates the entire impersonal, corporal life, all that is “the production of the earth” ( Genesis 1:12). If this is the meaning of Tzemach of Jehovah in our passage, then this general notion may easily condense and, so to speak, crystallize to the conception of a definite personality. Thus, for instance, the idea of the seed of the woman ( Genesis 3:15) proceeding originally from a conception general and indefinite, gradually, in the consciousness of believing Israel, condensed to the notion of a definite personality.

According to this I cannot agree with those that understand צמה י׳ Tzemach of Jehovah of the Messiah only (as many Jewish and Christian expositors), or of the Church alone (so Jerome: nomen Christianum), or of the people of Israel alone (thus Knobel, who confounds צמח י׳ with מַטַּע י׳), or of Christ and the church (thus Zwingli: “both expressions suit to the Branch Christ and to His body the church.” Hofmann’s explanation (Schriftbew. II:2, p 503 sq.): “What Jehovah causes to grow and the land brings forth, the Prophet opposes to the thousands of human productions with which the previously rebuked luxury decked itself, especially in the case of women,” seems to me to construe the idea of Tzemach of Jehovah too narrowly, and too little in its distinction from “Fruit of the land,” as well as too much with reference to Isaiah 3:16 sqq.

Therefore, the entire products, both of the spiritual and the corporal life shall be such that the rescued ones of Israel shall be highly honored and glorified thereby. That which has its immediate source of life in Jehovah Himself, which is the fruit of His Spirit ( Galatians 5:22) must redound to the honor of those in whom it makes its appearance (comp. Romans 2:7 sqq.). We read elsewhere ( Isaiah 28:5) that Jehovah Himself “shall be for a crown of glory and for a diadem of beauty unto the residue of His people.” Both amount to the same thing. For where Jehovah Isaiah, there He is with His life and with His power; and where He lives and works, there He makes glory. Moreover the fruits of the earth, where the Lord alone becomes the principle of spiritual life, must themselves become glorious and, as it were, the cause of a glory like Paradise. All, in fact, will become new: body and soul, nature and history, heaven and earth.

פדי הארץ (or הָאֲדָמָה) never means anything else than the products of the ground. The expression is found often in the Pentateuch ( Genesis 4:3; Leviticus 25:19; Numbers 13:20; Numbers 13:26), most frequently in Deut. ( Isaiah 1:25; Isaiah 7:13; Isaiah 26:2; Isaiah 26:10; Isaiah 28:4; Isaiah 28:11; Isaiah 28:18, &c). Beside these only in Jeremiah 7:20, and Psalm 105:35. But all this splendor and glory shall exist only for “the escaped of Israel.” This is the conception so frequent in Isaiah, which he elsewhere designates as “remnant,” “him that remaineth,” “residue,” (,נוֹתָר,שְּׁאֵרִית,שׁאָר נִשְׁאָר comp. Isaiah 4:3; Isaiah 6:13; Isaiah 10:20-22; Isaiah 11:11; Isaiah 11:16; Isaiah 28:5; Isaiah 37:31 sq.; Isaiah 46:3), and which expresses that, not all Israel, but only the remnant left after the judging and sifting shall partake of the salvation.

Isaiah 4:3 says expressly, that the glory of which Isaiah 5:2 speaks shall depend on inward purity and spotlessness, on that light that is said to be the garment of God ( Psalm 104:2). This verse, therefore, contains the more particular definition of Isaiah 5:2. “The left over” (נִשְׁאָר comp. Isaiah 37:31) and “the remaining over” (נוֹתָר comp. Isaiah 7:22, and Delitzsch, in loc.) in Zion and Jerusalem (vid. Isaiah 2:3) shall be called holy, i.e., not only be Song of Solomon, but be recognized and called such.

This holiness, which becomes God’s house, Psalm 93:5, Isaiah, any way, to be construed objectively as well as subjectively. It includes the sacer and the sanctus. But these holy men of God are His elect in reference to whom He has made the counsel of His love documentary by entering their names in the book of life.

“To be written to the living” or “to the life” calls to mind Psalm 69:29, עִם צַדִּיקִים לֹא יִכָּתֵבוּ, “let them not be written with the righteous,” or Jeremiah 22:30, where it is said: “write this man עֲרִירִי childless.” This book of life is not that in which are written those destined to earthly life ( 1 Samuel 25:29, Psalm 139:16), but that wherein stand written those appointed to everlasting life. What sort of a book that may be, and how the entry in it comports with free self determination in men we cannot here investigate. This book is first named Exodus 32:32-33. Later Isa. in this place, and Psalm 69:29; Psalm 87:4-6; Daniel 12:1 mention it. In the N. Test, we read of it Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 20:12; Revelation 20:15; Revelation 21:27. Some, not without propriety, have reminded, in connection with Isaiah 10:19; Ezekiel 13:9; Exodus 30:12, etc., of the genealogical registers or roll of citizens, in so far as those inscribed for life are at once citizens of the kingdom of God and of the city of God ( Galatians 5:26; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 21:2).

When the Lord shall have washed.

Isaiah 4:4. It seems to me that the contents of Isaiah 4:4 show decidedly that it is no premis to Isaiah 4:5, but is to be regarded as specification of the time and conditions in reference to Isaiah 4:2-3. For only the purifying and sifting judgments of God, that cleanse away all filth, bring it about that any holy, divine life still remains in Jerusalem. The filth of the daughter of Zion is not only her moral degradation, but all that appears as fruit of it and means for furthering it; thus the entire apparatus of luxury discoursed of in Isaiah 3:16 sqq. Though outwardly showy and splendid, regarded from the Prophet’s point of view it was only vile filth. The blood-guiltiness of Jerusalem (comp. Isaiah 1:15; Isaiah 9:4; Isaiah 26:21; Isaiah 33:15) proceeds from the innocent blood shed by the injustice and tyranny of the powerful ( Isaiah 1:15 sqq.). Concerning Zion and Jerusalem, see Isaiah 2:3. This cleansing shall be brought about by a spiritual force that is analogous to that force of nature that purifies, viz., the wind. Like that rushes over the earth and bears away all impure vapors, so shall God let loose His judgments over Israel, destroy the wicked and drive to repentance those in whom the Spirit of God finds still a point of contact, thus spiritually purify the nation. I do not think, therefore, that רוּחַ here is to be translated “spirit.” The context evidently demands the meaning “wind.” In Isaiah 30:28, also רוּחַ is the breath of God, as one sees from the connection with the lips and tongue (4:27). Comp. Isaiah 41:16, רוּחַ תִּשָׂאֵם “the wind shall carry them away.” Meier translates our passage “breath of wrath.” In the kindred passage Isaiah 28:6, however, the meaning “spirit” seems to predominate. Whether בָּעֵר is kindred to that בָּעֵר that means “to burn, to kindle” (see Isaiah 4:5; Isaiah 40:16; Isaiah 44:15; 2 Chronicles 4:20; 2 Chronicles 13:11) is doubtful. Our בער, Isaiah, like Isaiah 6:13, used in the sense of “to cast off, cut away, brush off,” in which sense the word often occurs in Deut. in reference to exterminating the scabby sheep out of the holy theocratic congregation ( Deuteronomy 13:6; Deuteronomy 17:7; Deuteronomy 19:19; Deuteronomy 26:13 sq, comp. Numbers 24:22, &c.) The word therefore involves the notion of a sifting. After the purification is accomplished by judgment and sifting, measures shall be taken against further corruption in that the Lord shall hover with the pillar of smoke and fire over the individual dwellings of Mount Zion and over the whole assembly of the holy nation for their protection.

Isaiah 4:5וּבָרָא therefore introduces a complementary idea of what precedes. מָכזֹן (again in Isaiah only Isaiah 18:4) is sedes, habitatio parata, stabilita. It is used almost exclusively of the divine indwelling. For with the exception of Psalm 104:5, where the מְבוֹנִים (foundations) of the earth are named (which any way are a divine work too), מכון stands only for the earthly, ( Exodus 15:17, &c) or the heavenly ( 1 Kings 8:39; 1 Kings 8:43; 1 Kings 8:49, etc.) dwelling-place of God. One is tempted, therefore, to understand מכון here of the temple as God’s dwelling place. But then the כֹּל would be incomprehensible. Or if this be translated “whole,” then there must be an article. We must, therefore, understand by it all the dwellings that were found on Mount Zion (comp. Isaiah 2:2-3, naming of the city Jerusalem a potiori). The whole of these have become holy dwellings of God, too, inasmuch as their inhabitants are themselves scions of God ( Isaiah 4:2).

“Assemblies,” is evidently in contrast with “every dwelling,” and declares that the sign of Jehovah shall hover over both the dwellings of individual families and over the assembled total of the nation. Every single house, as well as the house of Jacob as a whole, shall be God’s holy tabernacle, as formerly the typical Tabernacle was alone. Even before the passage of the Red Sea, the pillar of cloud and fire went before the Israelites ( Exodus 13:21 sq.). It stood as a protection between the armies of Israel and Egypt ( Exodus 14:19 sq). But when the Tabernacle was completed, the pillar of cloud and fire rested over it ( Exodus 40:34 sqq.).

In the Pentateuch the expression עָשָׁן, smoke, is never used for this wonderful phenomenon. It is put in here in such a way that one does not know whether to join it to ענָןcloud, or to גֹגַהּ ז׳shining, etc. According to the accents the former should be done. Moreover it may be urged that smoke is not seen by night. But why then is עָשָׁן placed after יוֹמָם? Some consider the construction a hendiadys: cloud and smoke = smoke cloud; for an ordinary vapor cloud it was not. This may be correct. But from the nature of things smoke belongs to fire. For there is no fire without smoke, nor smoke without fire. Like Hengstenberg, therefore, I refer וְעָשָׁן, and smoke to what follows. Precisely as smoke would the cloud at night be most plainly visible, for then the smoke was seen mounting out of the fire and illuminated by it.

For upon all glory, etc.—If the Prophet, as has been shown, regards every single house as God’s holy tabernacle, then he can call it glorious too, like in Exodus 40:34 sq, that which filled the dwelling of the sanctuary is called the glory of Jehovah. Comp. on Exodus 4:13. This glory of Jehovah in the pillar of cloud and fire served on the one hand for Israel’s protection—viz, standing between them and the Egyptians,—on the other for a guide in the desert. The sanctified Israel of the last time will not need a guide, for they will no more wander. They are to be firmly founded on the holy mountain. But they will still need protection. For if even the majority of the nations flow to them, shall then at once all enmity in the world against God’s sanctuary be extinguished? Is it not conceivable that both in the world of men and of devils hostile powers may exist, inclined to and capable of doing harm? ( Revelation 20:7 sqq.)


1. On Isaiah 2:2. Domus Dei, etc. “The house of God is built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, who, themselves, too, are mountains, quasi imitators of Christ. (They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, Psalm 125:1) Whence, also, upon one of the mountains Christ founded the Church and said: Thou art Peter, etc., Matthew 16:18.” Jerome.——“We can understand Jerusalem by the mountain of God, for we see how the believing run thither, and how those that have accepted the testimony come thither and seize the blessing that proceeds thence. But we may also by the house of God understand the churches spread over land and sea, as we believe St. Paul, who says, ‘we are the house of God,’ Hebrews 3:6. And so we may recognize the truth of the prophecy. For the Church of God stands shining forth, and the nations, forsaking wickedness that has long had dominion over them, hasten to her and are enlightened by her.” Theodoret.——Ecclesia Esther, etc. “The church is a mountain exalted and established above all other mountains, but in spirit. For if you regard the external look of the church from the beginning of the world, then in New Testament times, you will see it oppressed, contemned, and in despair. Yet, notwithstanding, in that contempt it is exalted above all mountains. For all kingdoms and all dominions that have ever been in the world have perished. The church alone endures and triumphs over heresies, tyrants, Satan, sin, death and hell, and that by the word only, by this despised and feeble speech alone. Moreover it is a great comfort that the bodily place, whence first the spiritual kingdom should arise, was so expressly predicted, that consciences are assured of that being the true word, that began first to be preached in that corner of Judea, that it may be for us a mount Zion, or rule for judging of all religions and all doctrines. The Turkish Alcoran did not begin in Zion—therefore it is wicked doctrine. The various Popish rites, laws, traditions began not in Zion—therefore they are wicked, and the very doctrines of devils. So we may hold ourselves upright against all other religions, and comfort our hearts with this being the only true religion which we profess. Therefore, too, in two Psalm,, Psalm 2, 110, mount Zion is expressly signified: “I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion;” likewise: “The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion.” Luther.

2. On Isaiah 2:2. Luther makes emphatic, as something pertaining to “the wonderful nature of this kingdom,” that “other kingdoms are established and administered by force and arms. But here, because the mountain is lifted up, the nation shall flow (fluent), i.e., they shall come voluntarily, attracted by the virtues of the church. For what is there sweeter or lovelier than the preaching of the gospel? Whereas Moses frightens weak souls away. Thus the prophet by the word fluent, “flow,” has inlaid a silent description of the kingdom of Christ, which Christ gives more amply when He says: Matthew 11:12, “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force,” i.e. “they are not compelled, but they compel themselves.” “Morever rivers do not flow up mountains, but down them; but here is such an unheard-of thing in the kingdom of Christ.”—Starke.

3. Luther remarks on “and shall say: come,” etc. “Here thou seest the worship, works and efforts and sacrifices of Christians. For they do only the one work, that they go to hear and to learn. All the rest of the members must serve their neighbors. These two, ears and heart, must serve God only. For the kingdom rests on the word alone. Sectaries and heretics, when they have heard the gospel once, instantly become masters, and pervert the Prophet’s word, in that they say: Come let us go up that we may teach him his way and walk in our paths. They despise, therefore, the word as a familiar thing and seek new disputations by which they may display their spirit and commend themselves to the crowd. But Christians know that the words of the Holy Ghost can never be perfectly learned as long as we are in the flesh. For Christianity does not consist in knowing, but in the disposition. This disposition can never perfectly believe the word on account of the weakness of the sinful flesh. Hence they ever remain disciples and ruminate the word, in order that the heart, from time to time, may flame up anew. It is all over with us if we do not continue in the constant use of the word, in order to oppose it to Satan in temptation ( Matthew 4). For immediately after sinning ensues an evil conscience, that can be raised up by nothing but the word. Others that forsake the word sink gradually from one sin into another, until they are ruined. Therefore Christianity must be held to consist in hearing the word, and those that are overcome by temptations, whether of the heart or body, may know that their hearts are empty of the word.”

4. Vitringa remarks on the words, “Out of Zion goes forth the law,” Isaiah 5:3. “If strife springs up among the disciples concerning doctrine or discipline, one must return to the pattern of the doctrine and discipline of the school at Jerusalem. For יָצָא “shall go forth,” stands here only as in Luke 2:1, “There went forth a decree from Cæsar Augustus.” In this sense, too, Paul says, 1 Corinthians 14:36, “What? came the word of God out from you?” The word of God did not go forth from Corinth, Athens, Rome, Ephesus, but from Jerusalem, a fact that bishops assembled in Antioch opposed to Julius I. (Sozom. hist. eccl. III:8, “the orientals acknowledged that the Church of Rome was entitled to universal honor—although those who first propagated a knowledge of Christian doctrine in that city came from the East”). Cyril took יָצָא in the false sense of κατελἐλοιπε τὴν Σιών, “has forsaken Zion.” When the Lord opened the understandings of the disciples at Emmaus, to understand the Scriptures and see in the events they had experienced the fulfilment of what was written concerning Him in the law, Prophets and Psalm, He cannot have forgotten the present passage. Of this we may be the more assured since the words: “Thus it is written and thus it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations beginning at Jerusalem.Luke 24:46-47, point clearly to Isaiah 2:2-3 of our passage. Therefore too, Justin Martyr Apol. i. (commonly ii.), § 49, says: “But where the prophetic spirit predicts the future, he says: from Zion shall go forth the law, etc. And that this finally came to pass in fact, you may credibly assure yourselves. For from Jerusalem have men gone forth into the world, twelve in number, and these were unlearned, that knew not how to speak. But by the might of God they have proclaimed to all mankind that they were sent by Christ in order to teach all the word of God.”

“Zion is contrasted here with Mount Sinai, whence the law came, which in the Old Testament was the foundation of all true doctrine: But in the New Testament Mount Zion or Jerusalem has the privilege to announce that now a more perfect law would be given and a new Covenant of God with men would be established. Thus Zion and Jerusalem are, so to speak, the nursery and the mother of all churches and congregations of the New Testament.”—Starke.

5. Förster remarks on the end of Isaiah 2:3, that the gospel is the sceptre of Jesus Christ, according to Psalm 110:2; Psalm 45:7 (the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre). “For by the word Christ rules His church ( Romans 10:14 sqq.).”

6. On Isaiah 2:4. “Pax optima rerum.” Foerster. The same author finds this prophecy fulfilled by Christ, who is our peace, who has made of both one, and broken down the partition that was between, in that by His flesh He took away the enmity ( Ephesians 2:14). Foerster, moreover, combats the Anabaptists, who would prove from this passage that waging war is not permitted to Christians. For our passage speaks only against the privata Christianorum discordia. But waging war belongs to the publicum magistratus officium. Waging war, therefore, is not forbidden, if only the war is a just one. To be such, however, there must appear according to Thomas, part. 2 th. quœst. 401) auctoritatis principis, 2) causa justa, 3) intentio bellantium justa, or ut allii efferunt: 1) jurisdictio indicentis, 2) offensio patientis, 3) intentio finem (?) convenientis.

7. On Isaiah 2:4. Jerome regarded the time of Augustus, after his victory at Actium, as the fulfilling of this prophecy. Others, as Cocceius, refer the words, “they shall turn their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning-hooks,” to the time of Constantine the Great; and the words “nation shall not lift up sword against nation” to the period of the restoration of religious peace in Germany,—finally the words: “they shall no more learn war,” to a future time that is to be hoped for. Such interpretations are, however, just as one-sided as those that look only for a spiritual fulfilment of prophecy. For how is an inward fulfilment of this promise of peace to be thought of which would not have the outward effects as its consequence? Or how is an outward fulfilment, especially such as would deserve the name, conceivable without the basis of the inward? Or must this peaceful time be looked for only in heaven? Why then does the promise stand here? It is a matter of course that there is peace in heaven: for where there is no peace there can be no heaven. The promise has sense only if its fulfilment is to be looked for on earth. The fulfilment will take place when the first three petitions of the Lord’s prayer are fulfilled, i.e. when God’s name shall be held holy by us as it in itself is holy, when the kingdom of God is come to everything, without and within, and rules alone over all, when the will of God is done on earth as in heaven. Christendom makes this prayer quite as much with the consciousness that it cannot remain unfulfilled, as with the consciousness that it must find its fulfilment on earth. For, if referred to heaven, these petitions are without meaning. Therefore there is a time of universal inward and outward peace to be looked for on earth. “It is not every day’s evening,” i.e. one must await the event, and our earth, without the least saltus in cogitando, can yet experience a state of things that shall be related to the present, as the present to the period of trilobites and saurians. If one could only keep himself free from the tyranny of the present moment! But our entire, great public, that has made itself at home in Philistia, lives in the sweet confidence that there is no world beside that of which we take notice on the surface of the earth, nor ever was one, nor ever will be.

8. On Isaiah 2:4. Poets reverse the figure to portray the transition from peaceful to warlike conditions. Thus Virgil, Georg. I:2:506 sq.:

Non ullus aratro

Dignus honos, squalent abductis arva colonis.

Et curvæ rigidum falces conflantur in ensem.

Aeneide VII:2:635 sq.:

Vomeris huc et falcis honos, huc omnis aratri

Cessit amor; recoquunt patrios fornacibus enses.

Ovid, Fast. I:2:697 sqq.:

Bella diu tenuere viros. Erat aptior ensis

Vomere, cedebat taurus arator equo.

Sarcula cessabant, versique in pila ligones.

Factaque de rastri pondere cassia erat.

9. On Isaiah 2:5. As Isaiah puts the glorious prophecy of his fellow prophet Micah at the head, he illuminates the future with a splendid, shining, comforting light. Once this light is set up, it of itself suggests comparisons. The questions arise: how does the present stand related to that shining future? What difference obtains? What must happen for that condition of holiness and glory to be brought about? The Christian Church, too, and even each individual Christian must put himself in the light of that prophetic statement. On the one hand that will humiliate us, for we must confess with the motto of Charles V.: nondum! And long still will we need to cry: Watchman what of the night ( Isaiah 21:11)? On the other hand the Prophet’s word will also spur us up and cheer us. For what stronger impulse can be imagined than the certainty that one does not contend in vain, but may hope for a reward more glorious than all that ever came into a man’s heart? ( Isaiah 64:4; 1 Corinthians 2:9).

In the time of the second temple, in the evenings of the first days of the feast of Tabernacles, great candelabras were lighted in the forecourt of the temple, each having four golden branches, and their light was so strong that it was nearly as light as day in Jerusalem. That might be for Jerusalem a symbol of that “let us walk in the light of the Lord.” But Jerusalem rejoiced in this light, and carried on all sorts of pastime, yet it was not able to learn to know itself in this light, and by this self-knowledge to come to true repentance and conversion.

10. On Isaiah 2:8, “their land is full of idols.” “Not only images and pictures are idols, but every notion concerning God that the godless heart forms out of itself without the authority of the Scripture. The notion that the Mass is effective ex opere operato, is an idol. The notion that works are demanded for justification with God, is an idol. The notion that God takes delight in fasts, peculiar clothes, a special order of life, is an idol. God wills not that we should set up out of our own thoughts a fashion of worshipping Him; but He says: “In all places where I record My name, I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee,” Exodus 20:24—Luther.

11. On Isaiah 2:9-21. When men have brought an idol into existence, that is just to their mind, whether it be an idolum manu factum, or an idolum mente excogitatum, there they are all wonder, all worship. “Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” Then the idol has a time of great prosperity and glory. But sooner or later there comes a time when the judgment of God overtakes the idol and its servants. God suffers sin to become ripe like men let a conspiracy, like they let fruit ripen. But when the right time comes then He steps forth in such a fashion that they creep into mouse-holes to hide themselves, if it were possible, from the lightning of His eye and His hand. Where then are the turned-up noses, the big mouths, the impudent tongues? Thus it has often happened since the world began. But this being brought to confession shall happen in the highest degree to the puffed-up world at that day when they shall see that one whom they pierced, and whom they thought they might despise as the crucified One, coming in His glory to judge the world. Then they shall have anguish and sorrow, then shall they lament and faint away with apprehension of the things that draw nigh. But those that believed on the Lord in His holiness, shall then lift up their heads for that their redemption draws nigh. At that time, indeed, shall the Lord alone be high, and before Him shall bow the knees of all in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and all tongues must confess that Christ is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

12. On Isaiah 2:22. Of what do men not make idols! The great industrial expositions of modern times often fill me with dismay, when I have seen how men carry on an actual idolatrous worship with these products of human science and art, as if that all were not, in the end, God’s work, too, but human genius were alone the creator of these wonders of civilization. How wickedly this Song of Solomon -called worship of genius demeans itself ! How loathsome is the still more common cultus of power, mammon and the belly!

13. On Isaiah 3:1 sqq. Causa σωστική, etc. “The saving cause of the commonwealth is the possession of men of the sort here mentioned, which Plato also knew, and Cicero from Plato, each of whom Judges, commonwealths would be blessed if philosophers, i.e., wise and adept men were to administer them.”—Foerster. The same writer cites among the causes why the loss of such men is ruinous, the changes that thence ensue. All changes in the commonwealth are hurtful. Xenoph. Hellen. Isaiah 2 : “εἰσὶ μὲν πᾶσαι μεταβολαὶ πολιτειῶν θανατηΦόροι.” Aristot. Metaph. Isaiah 2 : “ᾱἱμεταβολαὶ πάντων ταραχώδεις.”

14. On Isaiah 3:1. “The stay of bread,” etc. Vitringa cites Horat. Satir. L. II, 35:153 sq.:

Deficient inopem venœ te, ni cibus atque

Ingens accedit stomacho fultura ruenti.

And on Isaiah 3:2 sq. he cites Cicero, who, De Nat. Deorum III, calls these “prœsidia humana,” “firmamenta reipublicœ.” On Isaiah 3:6 sq. the same author cites the following passage from Livy (26 chap6): “Cum fame ferroque (Capuani) urgerentur, nec ulla spes superesset iis, qui nati in spem honorum erant, honores detrectantibus, Lesius querendo desertam et proditam a primoribus Capuam summum magistratum ultimus omnium Campanorum cepit!” On Isaiah 3:9 he quotes Seneca: De vita beata, chap. xii.: “Itaque quod unum habebant in peccatis bonum perdunt peccandi verecundiam. Laudant enim ea, quibus erubescant, et vitio gloriantur.”

15. On Isaiah 3:4; Isaiah 3:12. Foerster remarks: Pueri, etc. “Boys are of two sorts. Some are so in respect to age, others in respect to moral qualifications. Song of Solomon, too, on the contrary there is an old age of two sorts: “For honorable age is not that which standeth in length of time, nor that is measured by number of years. But wisdom is the true gray hair unto men, and an unspotted life is the true old age.” Wisdom of Solomon 4:8-9. Examples of young and therefore foolish kings of Israel are Rehoboam (“the young fool gambled away ten whole tribes at one bet” 1 Kings 12). Ahaz, who was twenty years of age when he began to reign ( 2 Kings 16:2). Manasseh who was twelve years ( 2 Kings 21:1,) and Amon who was twenty-two years ( 2 Kings 21:19).

16. On Isaiah 3:7. Foerster remarks: Nemo se, etc. “Let no one intrude himself into office, especially when he knows he is not fit for it,” and then cites: “Seek not of the Lord pre-eminence, neither of the king the seat of honor. Justify not thyself before the Lord; and boast not of thy wisdom before the king. Seek not to be Judges, being not able to take away iniquity.” Sirach 7:4-6.”—“Wen aber Gott schickt, den macht er auch geschickt.”

17. On Isaiah 3:8. “Their tongue and their doings are against the Lord.” Duplici modo, etc. “God may be honored by us in two outward ways: by word and deed, just as in the same way others come short; “to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds, which they have committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Judges 15.—Vitringa.

18. On Isaiah 3:9. “They hide not their sin.” Secunda post, etc. “The next plank after shipwreck, and solace of miseries is to hide one’s impiety.”—Jerome.

19. On Isaiah 3:10. “Now He comforts the pious as in Psalm 2. His anger will soon kindle, but it shall be well with all that trust in Him. So Abraham, so Lot was delivered; so the apostles and the remnant of Judah when Jerusalem was besieged. For the Lord helps the righteous ( Psalm 37:17; Psalm 37:39).”—Luther.

20. On Isa 3:13-14.

“Judicabit judices judex generalis,

Neque quidquam proderit dignitas papalis,

Sive sit episcopus, sive cardinalis,

Reus condemnabitur, nec dicetur qualis.”

“Rhythmi vulgo noti,” quoted byFoerster.

21. On Isaiah 3:16 sq. Usus vestium, etc. “Clothes have a four-fold use: 1) they are the badge of guilt, or souvenir of the fall ( Genesis 3:7; Genesis 3:10; Genesis 3:21); 2) they should be coverings against the weather; 3) they may be ornaments for the body, ( Proverbs 31:22; Proverbs 31:25); 4) they may serve as a mark of rank ( 2 Samuel 13:18).—The abuse of clothes is three-fold; 1) in regard to the material, they may be costlier or more splendid than one’s wealth or rank admits of; 2) in respect of form, they may betray buffoonery and levity; 3) in respect to their object, they may be worn more for the display of luxury and pride than for protection and modest adornment.”—Foerster.

22. On Isaiah 4:2. “Germen Jehovae est nomen Messiœ mysticum, a nemine intellectum, quam qui tenet mysterium Patris et Christi. Idem valet quod filius propago Patris naturalis, in quo patris sui imago et gloria perfectissime splendet, Jessaiae in seqq. ( Isaiah 9:5) בן,ילד, filius, Joanni λόγενής τοῦ θεοῦ,ὁυἱὸς πρωὀτοκος μονογενής, processio Patris naturaλis. Est hic eruditi cujusdam viri elegans observatio, quae eodem tendit, quam non licet intactam praetermittere. Comparat ille inter se nomina Messiœ צמח דוד ( Jeremiah 23:5) et צמח יהוה in hoc loco. Cum autem prior appellatio absque dubitatione innuat, Messiam fore filium Davidis, docet posteriorem ἀναλογικῶς non posse aliud significare quam filium Jehovae, quod nomen Christi Jesu est μυστικώτερον, omni alio nomine excellentius. Addit non minus docte, personam, quae hic germen Jehovae dicitur, deinceps a propheta nostro appellari Jehovam ( Isaiah 28:5).”—Vitringa. This exposition, which is retained by most Christian and orthodox commentators, ignores too much the fundamental meaning of the word צֶמַח, “Branch.” It Isaiah, nevertheless, not incorrect so far as the broader meaning includes the narrower concentrically. If “Branch of Jehovah” signifies all that is the personal offshoot of God, then, of course, that one must be included who is such in the highest and most perfect sense, and in so far the passage Isaiah 28:5 does not conflict with exposition given by us above.

[J. A. Alexander joins with Vitringa and Hengstenberg in regarding “the fruit of the earth,” as referring to the same subject as “the branch of the Lord,” viz.: the Messiah; and thus, while the latter term signifies the divine nature of the Messiah, the former signifies His human origin and nature; or if we translate “land” instead of earth, it points to his Jewish human origin. Thus appears an exact correspondence to the two parts of Paul’s description, Romans 1:3-4, and to the two titles used in the New Testament in reference to Christ’s two natures, Son of God and Son of Man.—Tr.].

23. On Isaiah 4:3-4. Great storms and upheavals, therefore, are needful, in order to make the fulfilment of this prophecy possible. There must first come the breath of God from above, and the flame of God from beneath over the earth, and the human race must first be tossed and sifted. The earth and mankind must first be cleansed by great judgments from all the leaven of evil. [J. A. Alexander, with Luther, Calvin, Ewald, maintains concerning the word Spirit in Isaiah 4:4, that “the safest and most satisfactory interpretation is that which understands by it a personal spirit, or as Luther expresses it, the Spirit who shall judge and burn.”—Tr.]. What survives these judgments is the remnant of which Isaiah speaks. This shall be holy. In it alone shall the Lord live and rule. This remnant is one with the new humanity which in every part, both as respects body and soul, will represent the image of Christ the second Adam. This remnant, at the same time, comprehends those whose names are written in the book of life. What sort of a divine book this may be, with what sort of corporal, heavenly reality, of course we know not. For Himself God needs no book. Yet if we compare the statements of the Revelation of John regarding the way in which the last judgment shall be held, with certain other New Testament passages, I think we obtain some explanation. We read Matthew 19:28, that on the day of the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory, the twelve apostles, too, shall sit on twelve thrones to judge the generations of Israel. And 1 Corinthians 5:2, we read that the saints shall judge the world. But, Revelation 20:11, we find again the great white throne, whereon sits the great Judge of the living and the dead, after that, just before ( Revelation 4:4), it was said: “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.” Afterwards it reads ( Revelation 4:12): “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” And ( Revelation 4:15). “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” From this description there seems to me to result that the books necessarily are meant for those who are, by the Supreme Judge charged with the judgment of particular ones. To this end they need, in the first place, many books that contain the works of individuals. God has a book-keeping for the life of every man. This divine record will be produced to every single one at the day of judgment. Is he a Jew? by one of the twelve Apostles. Is he a heathen? by some other saint. No man shall be able to remonstrate against this account for it will carry the evidence of truth in itself, and in the consciences of those to be judged. Should such a protest occur, the arraigned will be referred to the book of life. This is only one. For it contains only names. After this manner will the separation be accomplished, spoken of in Matthew 25:32 sq. For those whose names are found in the book of life go to the right side; the rest to the left. Then the great Judge Himself takes up the Word in the manner described in Matthew 25:34 sqq, and calls the righteous to Himself, that they may inherit the kingdom that is prepared for them. But the wicked He repulses from Him into everlasting fire, that is prepared for the devil and his angels, in regard to which the account of the judgment in Matthew 25, as far as the end is concerned, harmonizes entirely with Revelation 20:15.

24. On Isaiah 4:5-6. “The pillar of fire and cloud belongs to the miraculous graces by which the founding of the Old Testament kingdom of God was glorified just as the New Testament kingdom was by the signs that Jesus did, and by the charismata of the Apostolic time. But that appearance was quite appropriate to the state of developed revelation of that time. This had not reached the New Testament level, and not even the prophetic elevation that was possible under the Old Testament, but only the legal in which the divine stands outwardly opposed to the human. God is present among His people, but still in the most outward way; He does not walk in a human way among men; there Isaiah, too, no inward leading of the congregation by the Holy Spirit, but an outward conducting by a visible heavenly appearance. And, for these revelations to the whole people, God makes use entirely of nature, and, when it concerns His personal manifestation, of the elements. He does Song of Solomon, not merely in distinction from the patriarchal theophanies, …, but, particularly in contrast with heathenism, in order to accustom the Israelitish consciousness from the first not to deify the visible world, but to penetrate through it to the living, holy God, who has all the elements of nature at command as the medium of His revelation.”—Auberlen.

As at the close of John’s Revelation (chaps21, 22) we see the manifestation of the Godhead to humanity return to its beginning ( Genesis 2, 3, 4), in as much as that end restores just that with which the beginning began, i.e. the dwelling of God with men, Song of Solomon, too, we see in Isaiah 4:5-6, a special manifestation of the (relative) beginning time recur again in the end time; the pillar of fire and cloud. But what in the beginning was an outward and therefore enigmatical and unenduring appearance, shall at last be a necessary and abiding factor of the mutual relation between God and mankind, that shall be established for ever in its full glory. There shall come a time wherein Israel shall expand to humanity and humanity receive power to become Israel, wherein, therefore, the entire humanity shall be Israel. Then is the tabernacle of God with men no more a pitiful tent, made of mats, but the holy congregation is itself the living abode of God; and the gracious presence of Almighty God, whose glory compares with the old pillar of fire and cloud, like the new, eternal house of God, with the old perishable tabernacle, is then itself the light and defence of His house.

25. On Isaiah 4:5-6. “But give diligence to learn this, that the Prophet calls to mind, that Christ alone is destined to be the defence and shade of those that suffer from heat and rain. Fasten your eyes upon Him, hang upon Him as ye are exhorted to do by the divine voice, ‘Him shall ye hear!’ Whoever hearkens to another, whoever looks to any other flesh than this, it is all over with him. For He alone shelters us from the heat, that comes from contemplating the majesty (i.e. from the terror that God’s holiness and righteousness inspire), He alone covers us from the rain and the power of Satan. This shade affords us a coolness, so that the dread of wrath gives way. For wrath cannot be there where thou seest the Son of God given to death for thee, that thou mightest live. Therefore I commend to you that name of Christ, wherewith the Prophet adorns Him, that He is a tabernacle for shade against the heat, a refuge and place of concealment from rain and tempest.”—Luther.—With some modification, we may apply here the comprehensive turn Foerster gives to our passage: 1) The dwelling of Mount Zion is the church; 2) the heat is the flaming wrath of God, and the heat of temptation ( 1 Peter 4:12; Sirach 2:4-5); 3) tempest and rain are the punishments of sins, or rather the inward and outward trials ( Psalm 2.; Isaiah 57:20); 4) the defence or the pillar of cloud and fire is Jesus Christ ( 1 Corinthians 10).

26. On Isaiah 5:1-7. This parable has a brother in the New Testament that looks very much like it. I might say: the head is almost the same. For the beginning of that New Testament parable ( Matthew 21:33; Mark 12:1), “A man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a wine-fat and built a tower,” is manifestly imitated after our passage. But here it is the vineyard that is bad, while there, in the New Testament, the husbandmen are good for nothing. Here the Lord appears as at once owner and cultivator of the vineyard; there the owner and cultivators are distinguished. This arises from the fact that the Lord Jesus apparently had in His mind the chiefs of the people, “the high-priests and elders” ( Matthew 21:23-24). From this it is manifest that here as there the vineyard is the nation. In Isaiah, however, the vineyard, that is to say the vine itself is accused. The whole people is represented as having equally gone to destruction. In the Synoptists, on the other hand, it is the chiefs and leaders that come between the Lord and His vineyard, and would exclude Him from His property, in order to be able to obtain it wholly for themselves, and divide it amongst them. Therefore there it is more the wicked greed of power and gain in the great that is reproved; here the common falling away of the whole nation.

27. Isaiah 5:8. Here the Prophet denounces the rich, the aristocracy, and capital. Thus he takes the part of the poor and lowly. That grasping of the rich and noble, which they display sometimes like beasts of prey, at other times gratify in a more crafty and legal fashion, the Prophet rebukes here in the sharpest manner. God’s work is opposed to every sin, and ever stands on the side of those that suffer oppression, no matter what may be their rank. God is no respecter of persons ( Deuteronomy 10:17 sq.).

28. Isaiah 5:11-17. The morning hour, the hour when light triumphs over darkness, ought to be consecrated to works of light, as it is said: Aurora Musis amica, ἡώς τοι προΦέρει μἑυ, προφέρει δὲκαὶ ἕργου (Hesiod. ἑργ. κ. ήμ. 540) Morgenstund hat Gold im Mund. “It was,” says Foerster, “a laudable custom among the Persians, that the chamberlains entering in to their kings early in the morning, cried out with a loud voice: ‘Arise, O king, attend to business, as Mesoromastes commands.” On the other hand, “they that be drunken are drunken in the night,” 1 Thessalonians 5:7 sq. So much the worse, then, when men do the works of night even in the early hour, and dare to abuse the light. “Plenus venter despumat in libidines,” says Augustine. In vino ἀσωτία ( Ephesians 5:18). Corpus, opes, animam luxu Germania perdit. Melancthon. On Isaiah 5:15 Foerster cites the expression of Augustin: “God would not suffer any evil to be done in the world unless some good might thence be elicited.”

29. Isaiah 5:18. “Cords of vanity are false prejudices and erroneous conclusions. For example: no one is without sin, not even the holiest; God does not take notice of small sins; he that is among wolves must howl with them; a man cannot get along in the world with a scrupulous, tender conscience; the Lord is merciful, the flesh is weak, etc. By such like a man draws sin to him, binds his conscience fast, and resists the good motions of preventing grace. Thick cart-ropes signify a high degree of wickedness, the coarsest and most revolting prejudices. For example: God has no concern about human affairs; godliness delivers no one from misery and makes no one blessed; the threatenings of the prophets are not to be feared; there is no divine providence, no heaven, no hell ( Deuteronomy 29:17-19). Out of such a man twists and knots a stout rope, with which he draws to him manifest blasphemy, entangles himself in it, so that often he cannot get loose, but is sold as a servant under sin ( Romans 6:16; 1 Kings 21:20; 1 Kings 21:25).” Starke.

30. Isaiah 5:19. “The wicked mock at the patience and long-suffering of God, as if He did not see or care for their godless existence, but forgot them, and cast them out of mind ( Psalm 10:11), so that the threatened punishment would be omitted. They would say: there has been much threatening, but nothing will come of it; if God is in earnest, let Him, etc.; we don’t mind threats; let God come on if He will! Comp. Isaiah 22:12-13; Isaiah 28:21-22; Amos 5:18; Jeremiah 5:12; Jeremiah 8:11; Jeremiah 17:15; Ezekiel 12:21 sqq.” Starke.

31. Isaiah 5:20. “To make darkness of light, means to smother in oneself the fundamental truths that may be proved from the light of nature, and the correct conclusions inferred from them, but especially revealed truths that concern religion, and to pronounce them in others to be prejudices and errors. Bitter and sweet have reference to constitution, how it is known and experienced. To make sweet of bitter means, to recommend as sweet, pleasant and useful, what is bad and belongs to darkness, and is in fact bitter and distasteful, after one himself believes he possesses in the greatest evil the highest good.” Starke.

32. Isaiah 5:21. “Quotquot mortales” etc. As many as, taking counsel of flesh, pursue salvation with confidence of any sort of merit of their own or external privilege, a thing to which human nature is much inclined, oppose their own device to the wisdom of God, and, according to the prophet, are called wise in their own eyes ( Isaiah 28:15; Isaiah 30:1-2; Jeremiah 8:8-9; Jeremiah 9:23 sq.; Jeremiah 18:18). Vitringa.

33. Isaiah 5:26 sqq. The Prophet here expresses in a general way the thought that the Lord will call distant nations to execute judgment on Jerusalem, without having in mind any particular nation. Vitringa quotes a remarkable passage from the excerpts of John Antiochenus in Valesius (p816), where it is said, that immediately after Titus had taken Jerusalem, ambassadors from all the neighboring nations came to him to salute him as victor and present him crowns of honor. Titus refused these crowns, “saying that it was not he that had effected these things, but that they were done by God in the display of His wrath, and who had prospered his hands.” Comp. also the address of Titus to his soldiers after the taking of Jerusalem in Joseph. B. Jud. VII:19.


1. Isaiah 2:6-11. Idolatry. 1) What occasions it (alienation from God, Isaiah 2:6 a); 2) The different kinds: a. a coarse kind ( Isaiah 2:6 b, Isaiah 2:8), b. a more refined kind ( Isaiah 2:7); 3) Its present appearance (great honor of the idols and of their worshippers, Isaiah 2:9); 4) Its fate at last (deepest humiliation before the revelation of the majesty of God of all that do not give glory to Him ( Isaiah 2:10; Isaiah 2:18).

2. Isaiah 2:12-22. The false and the true eminence. 1) False eminence is that which at first appears high, but at last turns out to be low (to this belongs impersonal as well as supersensuous creatures, which at present appear as the highest in the world, but at last, in the day of the Lord of Hosts, shall turn out to be nothing); 2) The real eminence is that which at first is inconspicuous and inferior, but which at last turns out to be the highest, in fact the only high one.

3. Isaiah 3:1-9. Sin is the destruction of a people. 1) What is sin? Resisting the Lord: a. with the tongue, b. with deeds, c. with the interior being ( Isaiah 3:8-9); 2) In what does the destruction consist (or the fall according to Isaiah 3:8 a)? a. in the loss of every thing that constitutes the necessary and sure support of the commonwealth ( Isaiah 3:1-3); b. in insecure and weak props rising up ( Isaiah 3:4); c. in the condition that follows of being without a Master ( Isaiah 3:5); d. in the impossibility of finding any person that will take the governance of such a ruinous state ( Isaiah 3:6-7).

4. Isaiah 3:4. Insurrection is forbidden by God in express words, who says to Moses “that which is altogether just thou shalt follow,” Deuteronomy 16:20. Why may not God permit an intolerable and often unjust authority to rule a land for the same reason that He suffers children to have bad and unjust parents, and the wife a hard and intolerable husband, whose violence they cannot resist? Is it not expressly said by the Prophet “I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them?” “I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath,” Hosea 13:11. Tholuck.

5. Isaiah 3:10-13. “Let us learn to distinguish between false and real comfort.” 1) False comfort deals in illusion: the real deals in truth; 2) The false produces a present effect; the real a lasting one; 3) The false injures the one comforted; the real is health to him.” Harms.

6. Isaiah 4:2-6. The holiness of God’s Church on earth that is to be looked for in the future. 1) Its preliminary: the judgment of cleansing and purifying ( Isaiah 4:4); 2) What is requisite to becoming a partaker? a. belonging to the remnant ( Isaiah 4:2-3); b. being written in the book of life ( Isaiah 4:3); 3) The surety of its permanence: the gracious presence of the Lord ( Isaiah 4:5-6).

7. Isaiah 5:21. The ruin of trusting in one’s own Wisdom of Solomon 1) Those that have such confidence set themselves above God, which is: a. the greatest wickedness, b. the greatest folly; 2) They challenge the Divine Majesty to maintain its right ( Isaiah 5:24).


FN#1 - that which sprouts of Jehovah.

FN#2 - Heb. beauty and glory

FN#3 - for splendor and glory.

FN#4 - Heb. For the escaping of Israel.

FN#5 - Or, to life.

FN#6 - wind.

FN#7 - sifting.

FN#8 - A cloud by day, and smoke together.

FN#9 - Or, above.

FN#10 - Heb. a covering.

FN#11 - a booth.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Isaiah 4:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". 1857-84.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 27th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
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