« PreviousContinue »
from the end of the earth ; ye that
down to the sea, and its fulness; ve isles, and ye that dwell in them. 11. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift
their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing; let them shout from the top of the mountains. 12. Let them give glory unto the Lord, and declare his praise in the islands.
13. The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea he shall roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. 14. From ages long past I have holden my peace; I have been still; I have refrained myself * : but now I will cry aloud like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once. 15. I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will reduce the rivers to islands, and I will dry up the pools. 16. And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do for them, and not forsake them. 17. They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods. 18. Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may
19. Who is blind, but my servant; and deaf, but the messenger whom I sent? Who is blind, but he that ruleth over them t; and deaf, but the servant of the Lord ? 20. Seeing many things, and thou observest notf ;
* For ages long past I have holden my peace ; I have been still ; I have refrain. ed myself:]
“ For thus saith the Lord unto me: I will sit still, but I will keep my eye upon my prepared habitation.” Isaiah xviii. 4. See also xxx. 13.
+ He that ruleth over them.] Heb. Dhep, rendered by the 1.xx, 'Oi rugleem on les aulw, and in the Latin translation of the Arabic, Qui domirantur eis.
# Seeing many things, and thou observest not.] This passage is exactly parallel to another, wherein Isaiah describes the blindness and dispersion of Israel. “ And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not ; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this peope fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes ; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Then said 1, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, and the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.” Isaiah vi. 9–12
he openethi the ears, and doth not hear. 21, The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness, sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable. 22. But this is a people robbed and spoiled * ; they are all snared in holes, and hid in prison-houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth ; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore.
23. Who among you will give ear to this ? who will hearken, and hear for the time to come ? 24. Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers ? Did not the Lord, he against whom we have sinned ? For they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law. 25. Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strengh of war: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knoweth not; and it hath burned him, yet he layeth it not to heart.
xliii. 1. But now, thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob; and he that formed thee, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine.
2. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned ; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3. For I, the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, am thy saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Saba instead of thee. 4. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable and I have loved thee : and I will give man for thee, and the nations for thy life. 5. Fear not, for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east and gather thee from the west : 6. I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back : bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7. Every one that is called by my name : for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him, yea I have made him. 8. Bring forth the blind people t, and they shall have eyes; and the deaf, and they shall have ears. 9. Let all
* This is a people robbed and spoiled.] “Go, swift messengers, into a nation dragged away and plucked, unto a people wonderful from their beginning hitherto, a nation excepting expecting and trampled under foot whose land rivers have spoiled.” Isaiah xviii. 2.
† Bring forth the blind people.] “ Blindness in part is happened unto Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come.” Rom. xi. 25.
the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled; who among them can declare this, and shew us former things ? Let them bring forth their witnesses that they may be justified; and let them hear, that they may speak the truth. 10. Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servants whom I have chosen : that ye may know, and believe me, and understand that I am He: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be any after me. 11. I, eyen I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no Saviour. 12. I have declared, and I have saved, and I have shewed; and among you there shall be no strange God: and ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and I am God. 13. Even before time was, I am he ; and there is none that can rescue out of my hand: I work; and who shall undo what I have done?
14. Thus saith the Lord your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: For your sake have I sent unto Babylon; and I will bring down all her strong bars, and the Chaldeans exulting in their ships. 15. I am the Lord, your Holy One ; the creator of Israel, your king.
16. Thus saith the Lord, who made a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters ; 17. Who brought forth the rider and the horse, the army and the warrior: toge
ther they lay down, they rose no more; they were extinguished, they were quenched like tow. 18. Remember not the former things; and the things of ancient times regard not: 19. Behold, I make a new thing; even now shall it spring forth : will ye not regard it ? Yea, I will make in the wilderness a way ; in the desert, streams of water. 20. The wild beast of the field shall glorify me; the dragons, and the daughters of the ostrich: because I have given waters in the wilderness; and flowing streams in the desert; to give drink to my people, my chosen : 21. This people, whom I have formed for iyself; who shall recount my praise.
Isaiah opens this prophecy with a description of the Messiah at the time of his first advent : but he is soon naturally carried forward into the days of the second advent, by the declaration, that the Saviour's force shall not be abated, nor broken, until he hath firmly seated judgment in the earth, and until the distant nations shall earnestly wait for his law. Such an introduction may serve as a key to all that follows; teaching us to refer the latter part of the prediction to the final restoration of Israel, and consequently teaching us to understand the Babylon which is then to be destroyed, not literally, but mystically. [ Having pourtrayed the character of the Messiah, and having announced that he is now about to declare a new series of events, Isaiah solemnly calls upon the whole world to praise the Lord; and then proceeds to foretell, that, at the time of the restoration of Israel, God shall go forth in great wrath to confound his enemies, even that impious Antichristian confederacy so largely described in other predictions, which should dare to oppose the return of the converted of his people. After he has long holden his peace, after a long cessation of the visible interpositions of his providence, after he has long been still and has refrained himself; he shall now, in the last days, lift
up his voice, and destroy those who had madly taken up arms against him.
At this dreadful period, at this time of the end, he shall lay waste symbolical mountains and hills; and shall wither all their herbs, and exhaust their rivers so that islands shall be formed in their beds: in other words, as it is similarly predicted by St. John when describing the same awful consummation of the present order of things under the seventh vial*, he shall overturn both the larger and smaller Antichristian powers, shall diminish their population, and shall dry up their resources. Then will he lead those, who have long been mysteriously blind in error, by a way that they have not known; and convert their intellectual darkness into light. Then shall the deaf hear the trumpet of the gospel; and the blind behold the up-raised banner of the Messiah. For who are the blind and deaf, but the ancient people of God ? Hath not blindness happened alike to the whole of Israel? the ruler and the ruled, the teacher and the taught? Are they not a nation robbed and spoiled; a prey, and
* Rev. xvi. 20.
none delivereth ? And yet who hath given Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers ; except the Lord against whom he hath sinned, the Most High whose law he hath transgressed ? It is on this account that he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger: nevertheless, such is his judicial infatuation, that, although the fire burneth him, he layeth it not to heart, he understandeth it not.
But, while Israel is thus enveloped in thick darkness, the Lord, who, in the midst of apparent neglect, hath all along kept his eye upon him, who hath steadily though secretly been causing the jarring affairs of the world to subserve his own high purposes; the Lord will suddenly call aloud, and make his voice to be heard to the very ends of the world. The north shall give up the dispersed of his people; and the south shall not keep back. The seed of Jacob shall be brought from the east, and gathered from the west. The blind people shall wonderfully return, and they shall have eyes; the deaf, and they shall have ears. Upheld by the powerful arm of the Lord, they shall neither be overwhelmed by the rivers of invaders that have long spoiled their country, nor destroyed by the desolating fire of war. Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba, which were lately numbered among the conquests of Antichrist, shall now become, as it were, a ransom for Israel * ; men shall be given for him, and nations for his life. In the midst of the assembled tribes of the earth, he shall be the chosen witness of the Lord ; and all
people shall acknowledge, that beside Jehovah, there is no Saviour.
To this prophecy, respecting the final restoration of Israel, Isaiah attaches a severe denunciation against Babylon ; that is to say, the mystic Babylon, or the Roman Äntichristian confederacy, for so the context leads us to understand it.
* These countries, at least Egypt and Ethiopia, will be conquered by Antichrist at the era of the restoration of the Jews, (Dan. xi. 42, 43.) It is proper to remark, that this part of the prediction has been applied to the days both of Sennacherib and Shalmaneser ; but, as Bp. Lowth observes, without any clear proof from history. In fact, the general tenor of the whole prophecy shews plainly, that it must be referred the days of the second advent and the general restoration of Israel. See particularly Chap. xliii. Ver. 5, 6, 7.