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rebuke thee. 10. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. 11. O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted! behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. 12. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. 13. And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord: and great shall be the peace of thy children. 14. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression, for thou shalt not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near thee.
15. Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me whoever shall gather together against thee, shall fall before thee. 16. Behold, I have created the armourer, that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth a weapon by his workmanship; and I have created destruction for a snare t. 17. No weapon, that is formed against thee, shall prosper; and every tongue, that shall rise against thee ‡ in judgment, thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.
The prophet calls upon the desolate church of Judah to sing aloud for joy, because her restoration draweth nigh. Alienated from God by her obstinate infidelity and infatuated rejection of the Messiah, she had long
They shall gather together, but not by me.] Compare Rev. xvi 12—16. xix. 19–21. Bp. Lowth translates the original words league together, which greatly heightens the sense. Antichrist is to unite himself, by a federal league, with the false Romish prophet and the vassal kings of the Latin earth, so that they shall jointly form one great conspiracy.
I have created destruction for a snare.] I have created the powers of darkness, and for a season suffer them to prevail; but, in the midst of their machinations against others, they shall suddenly fall into a snare themselves. Compare Isaiah xxiv. 16, 17, 18. and Rev. xi. 18.
Every tongue that shall rise against thee.] These words may possibly contain an allusion to the destroying anathema of the beast and the false prophet, when they shall sanctify war and imprecate the vengeance of heaven upon all their opponents.
ceased to bring forth spiritual children: but now she hath need to enlarge her tents, and to extend the limits of her habitation; for her children shall vie in number even with those of the married wife, that ingrafted olive the church of the Gentiles; and her forsaken cities shall again be inhabited. In order that she may not despair by reason of the depth of her humiliation, she is exhorted not to fear because, rejected as she may be at present from being the mystic wife of God as she formerly was, and therefore mourning in a state of symbolical widowhood; yet she shall shortly forget the shame of her youth, and the Lord of hosts shall acknowledge himself to be her husband. Though she may now appear like a woman forsaken and refused, like a deserted wife of a man's youth; God declares, that he hath forsaken her only for a little moment, and swears by an oath as inviolable as that which he swore to Noah, that he will mercifully gather her and establish the covenant of his peace with her. She hath been, during the days of her widowhood, afflicted, tossed with tempests, and not comforted; but her cities shall be rebuilt with increased splendor, her children shall be taught of the Lord, she shall be established in righteousness, and she shall be delivered from fear and oppression.
This incidental mention of her deliverance from the terror of her enemies leads Isaiah, as usual, to predict the downfal of Antichrist; who in the last days shall gather together his forces against the converted of Judah, and plant the curtains of his pavilions between the seas in the glorious holy mountain. His gathering however is not from the Lord, but from the diabolical influence of Satan; therefore shall he rush forward only to his own destruction, and shall fall before the returning people of God. Yet, although the sovereign judge of heaven and earth disclaims the impious enterprize of Antichrist; he asserts, that it is he who hath created the armourer to forge weapons of war, and who hath created destruction itself, even destruction personified in the last great opposer of his purposes, to fall into the snare which he hath prepared for it. Neither the weapons of violence, nor the invectives of his enraged enemy, shall prevail against Judah he shall alike triumph over both.
The spiritual glory of the millennian church-The continental restoration of the ten tribes-The maritime restoration of the converted of Judah.
Isaiah Ix. 1*. Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. 2. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people : but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 3. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. 4. Lift 4. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. 5. Then shalt thou see, and flow together; and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged : because the multitude of the sea shall be turned unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. 6. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Median and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come; they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord. 7. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth † shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.
8. Who are these? Like a cloud they fly, and like doves to their holes ‡. 9. Surely the isles shall wait for
Chap. Ix.] "We may suppose the groundwork of the prophecies, contained in this and the two following chapters to be the Jews' restoration from captivity. Mr. Lowth in loc.
†The dromedaries of Midian-all they from Sheba-the flocks of Kedarthe rams of Nebaioth.] "They shall fly along the borders of the Philistines towards the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab, and the children of Ammon shall obey them." Isaiah xi. 14.
Doves to their holes.] They shall fly with a trembling rapidity to the land of their refuge, like doves to holes in the rocks. "Dr. Richard Chandler, in his travels in Asia Minor, has taken notice of the doves there lodging in holes of the rocks." Harmer's Observ. Vol. 111. p. 55. See Cant. ii. 14.
θεα φυγεν, ὡς τε πελειά,
Η ῥαθ ̓ ὑφ' ίρηκος κοιλην εισεπίκλο πείρην. Iliad. xxi. 493.
me, and the ships of Tarshish among the first *, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, unto the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified me. 10. And the sons of strangers shall build thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee. 11. Therefore thy gates † shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; to bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, even their kings magnificently conducted. 12. For the nation and kingdom, that will not serve thee, shall perish: yea, the nations shall be utterly wasted. 13. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir, the pine, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. 14. The sons also of them, that afflicted thee, shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee, shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet and they shall call thee, The city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. 15. Instead of thy being
The ships of Tarshish among the first.] The ships of that particular country of the isles of the Gentiles, which at the period of the completion of the prophecy will command at sea. In the language of the Old Testament, the ships of Tyre are ordinarily called ships of Tarshish, apparently from the great commercial intercourse between Tyre and Tarshish, much perhaps in the same manner as our principal trading vessels are termed east or west-indiamen. Tyre however has long since ceased to be a nation: the ships of Tarshish therefore, at the era of the yet future return of the Jews, certainly cannot be literal Tyrian vessels. Hence we must necessarily, I think, conclude them to be the ships of some power of the isles of the Gentiles, that is, some European power, which in the modern world shall answer to Tyre in the ancient world; but, what power will accord with such a description when the Jews begin to be restored, can only be determined by the event. Thus far however we may venture to assert, from the more ample description which Isaiah gives us of it in his 18th chapter, that it will certainly be a nation of faithful worshippers, and therefore not a popish nation. This position indeed necessarily follows from the collateral predictions of Daniel and St. John, which teach us that the return of the converted Fews shall be opposed by an armed confederacy of Antichrist, the false Romish prophet, and the kings of the Latin earth.
It may not be improper to observe, that ships of Tarshish sometimes mean simply large vessels fit for undertaking long voyages by sea. (See Well's Geog. of the Old and New Test. Vol. 1. p. 72, 73.) The sense will be much the same for in either case, the prophecy foretells, that the converted Jews will be brought back in large vessels belonging to the then principal maritime European protestant power.
Thy gates shall be open continually.] Compare Rev. xxi. 25.
The nation and the kingdom, that will not serve thee, shall perish.] The overthrow of Antichrist and his confederates seems here to be briefly alluded to.
forsaken and hated and without any one passing through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy from generation to generation. 16. Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord thy Saviour, and the mighty One of Jacob thy redeemer. 17. For brass I will bring gold *, and for iron I will bring silver; and for wood brass, and for stones iron: and I will make thy superintendants peace, and thy taskmasters justice. 18. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. 19. The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither with bright ness shall the moon give light unto thee; but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. 20. Thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. 21. And thy people all of them shall be righteous they shall inherit the land for ever: they are the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may glorify myself. 22. That, which was little, shall become a leader; and that, which was small, a strong nation : I, the Lord will hasten it, in its season.
Much that is interesting may be collected from this prophecy. After a long period of intellectual and spiritual darkness, Judaical, Papal, and Mohammedan, the glory of the Lord will shine upon his ancient church, and the Jews and the Gentiles shall form one flock under one shepherd.
*For brass I will bring gold.] Compare Rev. xxi. 10—26.
That, which was little, shall become a leader.] This part of the prophecy, like many other prophecies, appears to intimate, that Israel shall hereafter become the first of nations, and Jerusalem the metropolis of the millennian kingdom of the Messiah. The elder sister, the Jewish church, shall then take the precedency of her younger sisters, the Gentile Churches; a precedency however, purely spiritual and readily accorded; a precedency, far unlike that usurped by the apostate man of sin, the pretended successor of St. Peter. I think it accords better with the general import of the passage to translate as a leader, than a thousand.