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When the great confederacy is broken, then will the ten tribes begin to be restored; and, from this and other similar predictions, there is reason to think, that their restoration will not be unattended by miracles. Since both here and elsewhere it is compared to the Exodus from Egypt, it is not unnatural to suppose that there will be a certain degree even of circumstantial resemblance between them.
The gathering both of Jews and Gentiles into the millennian church-The greatness of Israel-The fall of Antichrist.
Isaiah xlix. 5. And now saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him; (for even Israel shall be gathered unto him †, and I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength:) 6. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. 7. Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers: Kings shall see, and arise; princes also shall worship; because of the Lord that is faithful, the Holy One of Israel and he shall choose thee. 8. Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and
Compare Isaiah xi. 15, 16.
Even Israel shall be gathered unto him.] I have adopted the marginal reading, instead of the textual reading 5; both because it appears to me to correspond much better with the declaration of Christ's office, and because it evidently was the received reading in the days of the Seventy. In verse 4, our Lord complains of his fruitless labour among the Jews: here he asserts, that, notwithstanding the former unsuccessfulness of his ministry, his office was to bring back Jacob to his God, and therefore that Israel should surely be gathered unto him. The LXX translate the passage as follows, omitting the negative particle-78 ovvayayen Iazwß πрos avlov, Iapana. See Bp. Lowth in loc.
give thee for a covenant of the people, to raise up the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; 9. Saying unto the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Be ye discovered. They shall feed by the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. 10. They shall not hunger, nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. 11. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my high ways shall be exalted. 12. Behold, these shall come from far; and lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.
13. Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. 14. But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. 15. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget; yet will I not forget thee. 16. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. 17. Thy children shall make haste; thy destroyers, and they that made thee waste, shall go forth of thee t. 18. Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to thee. As I live, saith the Lord, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all as with an ornament, and bind them on thee like a bride. 19. Though thou hast had only waste and desolate places and a land of destruction, yet now thou shalt be straitened for room by reason of thy inhabitants; and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away. 20. As yet the children, of whom thou hast been bereaved, shall say in thine ears; The place is too strait for me; come close unto me, that I may have
* Saying to them that are in darkness, Be ye discovered] I think that the lost ten tribes are here intended. The passage seems to be parallel to one already considered. "They, that were lost in the land of Assyria, shall come. Isaiah xxvii. 13.
Bp. Lowth translates this verse, They, that destroyed thee, shall soon become thy builders; and they, that laid thee waste, shall become thine offspring I do not see much necessity for altering the common version. In a subsequent passage however ought undoubtedly to be rendered thy builders, not thy sons.
room to dwell. 21. Then shalt thou say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these *, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, migrating from one country to another, and turning aside out of the way; and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone: these, where have they been? 22. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles; and set up my banner unto the nations: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms †, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. 23. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, ‡ and shall lick up the dust of thy feet: and thou shalt know that I am the Lord, and they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.
24. Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or shall the captive of the terrible § be delivered? 25. But thus saith the Lord, Even the captive of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. 26. And I will cause them that oppress thee to eat their own flesh, and they shall be drunken with their own blood as with sweet wine and all flesh shall know, that I the Lord am thy Saviour and Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
In the beginning of this prophecy, Christ, having complained that he hath laboured in vain in the conversion of Israel, declareth nevertheless, that it is his office to bring Jacob back again to the Lord, and that Israel
*Who hath begotten me these?] The surprize of Judah at being reunited with Ephraim is probably here described-Judah is to be first restored, partly in a converted state by the great maritime power, and partly in an unconverted state by Antichrist; and afterwards Ephraim, by the continental powers of the east and the north.
They shall bring thy sons in their arms.] The restoration of Ephraim seems here to be peculiarly meant. Compare this passage with Isaiah lxvi. 19, 20.
They shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth] Compare Isaiah ii. 2, 3.
The terrible.] For pas read y. For reasons and authorities see Bp. Lowth in loc.
shall surely be gathered unto him; nor yet Israel alone, but all the far distant tribes of the Gentiles. Despised as the Redeemer was at his first advent, kings shall see and worship him in a manner yet more extensive and glorious than the world hath ever yet beheld. He shall cause the Jews again to inherit their desolate heritage. He shall speak the word, and the prisoners shall go forth at his bidding. He shall call aloud to the ten tribes, that have been so long shrouded in darkness and have so long eluded every inquiry; and they shall forthwith be discovered. He that hath mercy on them will lead them; every obstacle to their return will be removed; and they shall come from the north, and from the west, and from the land of the Sinim*. Long as the Lord hath seemed to forget Zion, he hath still kept his eye upon her, and will in due time destroy her destroyers and make her the glory of the whole earth. Her younger sisters, the
churches of the Gentiles, shall flock unto her; the land of her desolation shall be too narrow for the multitude of her children; and they that devoured her shall be driven far away. Even she herself shall marvel at the number of her offspring, she who hath so long been a wanderer over the face of the whole earth, when she beholds Ephraim joined to Judah and the remnant of Israel to the house of David. Obedient to the command of the Lord, the Gentiles shall bring her children from afar : kings shall be her nursing fathers: and, if her fall hath been the riches of the world, if her diminishing hath been the riches of the Gentiles, how much more her fulness!
Here the prophet, as usual, calls our attention to the fall of Antichrist, which he almost invariably connects with the restoration of the Jews. He asks, whether the prey shall surely be delivered from that mighty tyrant, and whether his captives shall be rescued from him? To this the Lord solemnly answers, that even the captive of
* By these Sinim some have understood the Chinese or Sinenses; but Bochart objects to the notion, on the ground that the Chinese were then unknown in the more western parts of the world. He himself supposes them to be the inhabitants of Sin or Pelusium in Egypt; and undoubtedly there are some prophecies which speak of the return of the Jews out of that country, at the era of the restoration. See Bochart Phaleg. L. 1v. C. 27. p. 275. and Mr. Lowth in loc.
the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible delivered; for that he will contend with all the enemies of Zion, and save her children; that he will signally avenge her upon her oppressors; and that at length all flesh shall know, that the Lord is the Saviour of Jacob.
The joy and prosperity of the once desolate church of Judah at the time of the restoration-The vain gathering together of Antichrist.
Isaiah liv. 1. Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. 2. Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes. 3. For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and they shall cause the desolate cities to be inhabited. 4. Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed; and, turn not away thy face for shame, for thou shalt not be abashed for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. 5. For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name: and thy Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall he be called. 6. For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit; and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. 7. For a small moment have I forsaken thee: but with great mercies will I gather thee. 8. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer. 9. For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor