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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
Isaiah 62

 

 

Verse 1-2

Isaiah 62:1-2. For Zion’s sake — Namely, the church’s sake, Zion and Jerusalem being both put for the church, Hebrews 12:22. Will I not hold my peace — It appears from the last verse of the preceding chapter, that this is immediately connected with it, and these may be considered as the words of the prophet, or, as Vitringa thinks, of a prophetic choir, representing the whole body of the ministers of God, and, among these particularly, the apostles and evangelists, at the beginning of the gospel; declaring that they will not be silent, till the righteousness of the church, that is, its redemption, (alluding to the redemption of the Jewish Church from Babylon,) shall go forth as brightness, &c. — That is, till the kingdom of God shall be most brightly and completely revealed. Others, however, think that the prophet speaks here as the type of Christ, and in his name, and that Christ is to be considered here as declaring his resolution not to cease interceding for the church until it should be freed from the obloquy and reproach, the vexations and persecutions of the Jews and heathen; until its righteousness should be placed in a clear light, and all those crimes which were falsely charged on the Christians by their enemies, (namely, respecting their nightly assemblies, their killing of infants, and drinking their blood, their promiscuous lust, &c.,) should be undeniably confuted. For when the assemblies of the Christians came to be held openly, and in the day-time, and were frequented by greater numbers, all these calumnies were proved to be false. And when Constantine came to the empire, especially when he came to have the sole command, the Christian religion was raised out of its state of obscurity, was placed in a true and conspicuous point of view, and freed from the unmerited reproach that had been cast upon it. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness — Thy innocence with respect to the things laid to thy charge, and the blamelessness, usefulness, and the holiness of thy members. Or, they shall acknowledge that God has justly honoured thee, and thereupon shall join themselves to thee. And all kings thy glory — Those that were wont to scorn thee, shall now be taken up with the admiration of thy glory. And thou shalt be called by a new name — Not the seed of Abraham, or the children of Israel, but the people and children of God; or by the name mentioned Isaiah 62:4. Which the mouth of the Lord shall name — Thou shalt be brought into a new state, far more glorious than formerly, whereof God shall be the author. Or, thou shalt be called by another name, as it is expressed Isaiah 65:15. A name, the honour whereof shall make thee famous; ye shall be called Christians.


Verse 3

Isaiah 62:3. Thou shalt be a crown of glory — Or, a beautiful crown, as Bishop Lowth renders עשׂרה תפארה. The expression is meant to set forth the dignity of her state. In the hand of the Lord — Preserved and defended by God’s hand. And a royal diadem — The same thing with the former for substance. Or the royal priesthood, whereof the apostle speaks, 1 Peter 2:9. In the hand of thy God — Or palm, or grasp, as בכŠought rather to be rendered. The meaning is, that the Christian Church should become glorious in the hand of the Lord, that is, under his protection and blessing, and that God would hold it fast in his hand, figuratively speaking, and in the very palm of it, as what was extremely dear and precious in his sight, so that none should take it from him.


Verse 4-5

Isaiah 62:4-5. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken — As a woman forsaken by her husband. Neither shall thy land be termed Desolate — Neither shall thy places of worship be empty, and thine ordinances of service be unfrequented. He alludes to the desolation of Judah during the Babylonish captivity. But thou shalt be called Hephzibah My delight is in her; a new name, agreeing with her new condition; and thy land, BeulahMarried, agreeing to her new relation. Whereas she was in a desolate condition, she shall now be as a woman well married, to the great improvement of her state. And thy land shall be married — Thou shalt see the increase of thy children again in the land, as the fruit of thy married condition, who, by reason of thy being forsaken of thy husband, were, in a manner, wasted and decayed: and this refers to the great enlargement of the church in the gospel days. Or, thy land shall be possessed, as הבעל

may be properly rendered, and so the expression answers to desolate. Thou shalt be no more desolate, but possessed. For as a young man marrieth a virgin — In whom he takes great delight, and whom he exceedingly loves; so shall thy sons marry thee — That is, they shall live with thee, and take great delight in thee. For, as Lowth justly observes, “the word marry is not to be taken strictly, for it would be improper to say that children married their mother.” Thus the LXX., ουτω κατοικησουσιν οι υιοισου, so shall thy sons dwell with thee. Bishop Lowth, however, instead of sons, renders בניןthy builder, or creator, altering or disregarding the Hebrew points. This emendation, it most be acknowledged, would clear the prophet of the impropriety of using a similitude, which implies that Jerusalem was guilty of incest in marrying her sons; and at the same time would add not only grace but force to the whole verse, which, so altered, runs thus: For, as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy Creator marry thee. And as the bridegroom, &c. — The former interpretation, however, which has the sanction of the LXX., and which the present pointing of the Hebrew requires, seems preferable. In the first clause, As a young man marrieth a virgin, Sir John Chardin, in his MS. note on the place, considers the prophet as expressing himself according to the custom of the East, which was, and is, “for youths, that were never married, always to marry virgins; and widowers, however young, to marry widows.” See Harmer’s Observ., 43. p. 482.


Verse 6-7

Isaiah 62:6-7. I have set watchmen, &c. — The word שׁומרים, thus rendered, signifies properly those priests and Levites who kept watch day and night about the temple, and is from them applied to the spiritual watchmen and ministers of the Christian Church. They are said to be set upon the walls of the spiritual Jerusalem, in allusion to sentinels placed upon the walls of besieged cities, from whence they have an extensive prospect, that they may observe and give notice of the motions of the enemy. Which shall never hold their peace day nor night — There shall be a vigilant, faithful, and diligent ministry, willing to endure hardships, and constant in their work of teaching and warning the people, or of interceding for them, which constancy is intimated here by day and night. Ye that make mention of the Lord — That is, that are his servants, and acknowledge your relation to him as such: see Isaiah 26:13. Here especially are meant his servants in ordinary, his remembrancers, as the word המזכיריםmay be properly translated, either such as put God in remembrance of his promises, or such as make the Lord to be remembered, putting his people in mind of him. Keep not silence — As if he had said, Since God, by his peculiar goodness and care of his church, hath appointed watchmen to be placed upon its walls, that they may constantly watch for its safety, therefore do you, who are intrusted with this office, perform your parts diligently, and intercede continually with him, that he would graciously fulfil the magnificent promises which he has made to it. In the command here given, not to keep silence, Bishop Lowth thinks there is an allusion to the manner in which watches are kept in the East. “Even to this day,” says he, “they are performed by a loud cry, from time to time, of the watchmen, to mark the time, and that very frequently, and in order to show that they themselves are constantly attentive to their duty.” “The watchmen in the camp of the caravans go their rounds, crying, one after another,

‘God is one, he is merciful,’ and often add, ‘Take heed to yourselves.’” — Tavern. Voyage, de Perse, lib. 1. chap. 10. And give him no rest — Persevere, and be importunate in your supplications. Observe, reader, fervency and importunity in prayer are very acceptable to God, as implying the sincere and earnest desire of the person praying for the blessings which he asks: see Luke 11:5-10; and Luke 18:1-7. Till he establish, &c. — Till he so settle his church on sure foundations, and enlarge its borders, that it shall become a blessing to all nations, and all nations shall praise him for it, Psalms 67:3-4; or that it may be praised, and become renowned and famous in the eyes of the whole world.


Verse 8-9

Isaiah 62:8-9. The Lord hath sworn by his right hand — “Lifting up the hand was a ceremony used in swearing, Deuteronomy 32:40; Ezekiel 20:5; Ezekiel 20:15. And here God swears by that very hand which used to be held up at the taking of an oath; that is, he swears by his power and might, as it follows, that the enemies of his people should not interrupt that peace and plenty which he should give them, but that they should quietly enjoy his blessings with hearts full of thankfulness for them. This must relate to some happier condition than the Jews enjoyed after their return from captivity, when their enemies frequently invaded them, and, at last, the Romans destroyed both their temple and nation.” — Lowth. The passage is undoubtedly metaphorical; and is to be understood of the free and undisturbed enjoyment of the spiritual blessings of religion, which God will grant the Christian Church in the latter days: and “the oath which ushers in this promise proves that it will be exactly and punctually performed.” See Joel 2:24; and Joel 3:18; Jeremiah 31:12; Zechariah 9:17. The expressions in the next verse, particularly in the latter part of it, allude to the ordinances of the law, which required the people to spend their first-fruits, and other hallowed things, at the temple, in a thankful acknowledgment to God for his blessings, Deuteronomy 12:11; and Deuteronomy 14:23; Deuteronomy 14:26.


Verse 10

Isaiah 62:10. Go through the gates — Namely, the gates of Babylon, which shall be thrown open, that those confined in that idolatrous city may leave it with freedom, and return to the land of Israel. In other words, for the expressions are metaphorical, let all obstructions be removed out of the way of the heathen, that they may have free liberty to bid adieu to their idolatries and vices, and come to, and unite themselves with, the Christian Church. Or, the words may be considered as a command given to the ministers and friends of the church to go forth through Zion’s gates, to invite the nations of the earth to turn to God, and join themselves to his people; and, in order thereto, as far as possible, to prepare their way plain before them, as it follows; or to endeavour to win them over by their pure doctrine, their holy lives, and benevolent actions. The expressions are twice doubled, to give them the greater emphasis. Gather out the stones — Let no rock of offence, or stone of stumbling, remain in the way. As if he had said, Go to and fro, and remove every scandal and impediment, and make plain paths for their feet, Romans 14:13. Lift up a standard — An allusion to generals, who usually set up their standards that the soldiers may know whither to repair from all quarters: see Isaiah 49:22. Thus is Christ held forth in the preaching of the gospel.


Verse 11-12

Isaiah 62:11-12. The Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world — Hath commanded his gospel to be preached to every creature: or hath sent forth his messengers into all parts of the world, in order to the conversion of Jews and Gentiles. Say ye to the daughter of Zion — That is, to Jerusalem, or the church. Behold, thy salvation cometh — Either the time of it is come, or rather the person that effects it, thy Saviour. Behold, his reward is with him — That is, he has it in his power, and is ready to reward his faithful servants; and his work before him — The work necessary to be wrought in and upon his people, to make them his people, the work of regeneration and sanctification. And they shall call them — Or, they shall be called; the holy people — A people peculiarly holy, cured of their inclination to idolatry, and all other sins, and consecrated to God only. The redeemed of the Lord — So redeemed as none but God could redeem them; and redeemed to be his, the bonds whereby other lords held them in subjection being broken, that they might be his servants. And thou shalt be called, Sought out — Or one found that was lost, Ezekiel 34:16. Or rather, sought to, or sought for, that is, one in great esteem and request; one that the Gentiles shall seek to join themselves to, so as to be one church with thee. Or, one cared for, namely, by God, whom he hath, out of infinite love, gathered to himself. A city not forsaken — The meaning is, that they should thus esteem the gospel church, that she should be accosted with such salutations as these are, the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord, &c. Vitringa thinks that the first completion of this prophecy is to be sought for in the times of the Emperor Constantine; but it is probable that it has a further reference to some great and future reformation and restoration of the church.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 62:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/isaiah-62.html. 1857.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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