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their hands. 12. And the fortress of the high fort of thy walls shall he bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, even to the dust.
xxvi. 1. In that day this song shall be sung: In the land of Judah we have a strong city ; salvation shall he appoint for walls and bulwarks. 2. Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. 3. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee, 4. Trust ye in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. 5. For he bringeth down them that dwell on high ; the lofty city, he layeth it low*; he layeth it low, even to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust. 6. The foot shall tread it down; even the feet of the needy t, and the steps of the poor. 7. The way of the just is uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just. 8. Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for thee: the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. 9. With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early : for, when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. 10. Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord. 11. Lord, thy hand is lifted up, but they see not: yet they shall see, and shall be ashamed for their envy at the people ; yea thine enemies, fire shall devour them. 12. Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us; for thou hast also wrought all our works for us.
* The lofty city, he layeth it low.) “ As the Church is styled the city of God, so the society of infidels or enemies to God's truth is represented by the like similitude of a city, and typified under the figures of Sodom, Babylon, and that Jerusalem which killed the prophets. And this sense I think best agrees with the scope of the place, and with the parallel texts, chap. xxv. 2, 12; in neither of which places can the expression be understood of any one particular city.” Mr. Lowth in loc.
† The feet of the needy.] “ If we understand the words of that last and great triumph of the Church over Antichrist and all its enemies (as many of the expressions in this and the former chapter look that way), we may fitly explain the poor and needy here to be those who shall escape out of the great tribulation wbich shall precede those times, mentioned Dan. xii. 1.” (Mr. Lowth in loc.) Those however, who are mentioned in Dan. xii. 1, are plainly the restored Fews : and I conceive them to be likewise intended in the present passage.
13. O Lord our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. 14. Dead, they shall not live; utterly dead, they shall not rise again; because thou hast visited and destroyed them, and wilt cause every memorial of them to perish. 15. Thou hast increased the nation, O Lord, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified; thou hast extended far all the borders of the land. 16. Lord, in trouble they have visited thee, they have poured out a prayer; thy chastening was upon them. 17. As a woman with child draweth near to the time of her delivery, is pained, crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O Lord. 18. We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind : deliver‘ance we have not wrought in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen.
19. Thy dead shall live, my dead bodies shall arise*. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust: for thy dew is the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. 20. Come, my people; enter into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about theet: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. 21. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to visit the iniquity of the inhabitants of the earth upon them: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
Thy dead shall live, my dead bodies shall arise.] In the language of sym. bols, death, when a nation is spoken of, means political extinction ; and reviviscence, a restoration to political life. “ Mori ea notione dicitur, qui in quocunque statu constitutus, sive politico, sive ecclesiastico, seu quovis alio, desinit
esse quod fuit; unde et occidit qui tali morte quemquam afficit.” (Mede's Comment. Apoc. in Myst. duor. Test. p. 484.). The same imagery is used by Ezekiel ; only, to heighten the painting, and to shew the great length of time during which the Israelites would lie dead as a nation, he represents them as being not merely a collection of dead bodies, but a heap of dry bones (Ezek. xxxvii, 1–14.). St. John likewise describes the suppression of protestantism in Germany in the time of Charles V, under the same allegory (Rev. xi. 7-11.). “It appears from hence," observes Bp. Lowth very justly, is that the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead was at that time a popular and common doctrine: for an image, which is assumed in order to express or represent any thing in the way of allegory or metaphor, must be an image commonly known and understood; otherwise it would not answer the purpose for which it was assumed.” Bp. Lowth's Isaiah in loc. 'See also Mr. Lowth in loc.
† Shut thy doors about thee.] “The words are an allusion to that command given to the Israelites in Egypt, not to go out of the door of their houses till morning, when the destroying angel was to pass through the land of Egypt. So here God promises to be a hiding-place to his people in the midst of those terrible judgments which should destroy his adversaries. This probably may be meant of those days of extraordinary trouble at the end of the world, spoken of in Dan. xii. 1. and Matt. xxiv. 21.” Mr. Lowth in loc,
xxvii. 1*. In that day, the Lord, with his well-tempered and great and strong sword, shall punish Leviathan the serpent that darteth rapidly along, even Leviathan the winding serpent; he shall even slay the monster that is in the sea.
2. In that day, to the beloved vineyard sing ye a responsive song t.
3. JEHOVAH. It is I, the Lord, that preserve her : I will water her every moment; I will take care of her by night; and by day I will keep guard over her.
4. VINEYARD. I have no wall for my defence: 0 that I had a fence of the thorn and brier!
J. Against them should I march in battle, I should burn them up together. 5. Ah! let her rather take hold of my protection.
V. Let him make peace with me! peace let him make with me!
6. J. They that come from the root of Jacob shall flourish, Israel shall bud forth ; and they shall fill the face of the earth with fruit.
7. Hath he smitten him, as he smiteth those that smote him ? Hath he slain him, as he slayeth those that slew him? 8. In just measure, when thou inflictest the stroke, wilt thou debate with her: he will deeply deliberate, even in the midst of his violent blast, in the day of the eastwind. 9. Wherefore by this shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this shall take away all the fruit of his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as stones of rubbish beaten to pieces, when the groves and images rise
up no more.
“ This chapter treats of the same subject with the two former, and describes that happy state of the Church, when Satan and his agents shall be subdued, the Church shall be enlarged and purged from idolatry, and the Fews shall be restored ; all which are circumstances attending those glorious days, which the prophets often foretell shall come to pass at or near the end of the world.” Mr. Lowth in loc.
t A responsive song.] “That 739 to answer," says Bp. Lowth,“ signifies occasionally to sing responsively, and that this mode of singing was frequently practised among the ancient Jews, see De Sacra Poeşi Heb. Præl. xix. at the beginning."
10. At the time when the defenced city shall be desolate, the habitation forsaken and left like a wilderness; when the calf feedeth there, and lieth down there, and consumeth the branches thereof; 11. When women break off the branches thereof as soon as they are withered, coming and setting them on fire (for it is a people of no understanding; therefore their Maker doth not love them, neither doth he who formed themh shew himself gracious unto them): 12. In that day it shall come to pass, that the Lord will beat as with a threshing instrument * from the stream of the river unto the river of Egypt; and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel : 13. Even in that day it shall come to pass, that it shall be blown with the great trumpet †, and they that were lost in the land of Assyria, and they that were thrust into the land of Egypt, shall come, and shall worship the Lord, in the holy mount, in Jerusalem.
COMMENTARY. These chapters, like those which were last considered, form one continued prophecy, treating of the very same subjects, and occasionally in almost the very same words.
Isaiah begins with predicting, in terms studiously minute, the dispersion of the Jews and the desolation of their country. He asserts, that all these judgments should come upon them, because they have transgressed the laws of God, changed the ordinance, and broken the everlasting covenant, even the covenant of the Messiah. Yet, as he had already foretold $, so he now repeats it, that, notwithstanding the general dispersion, a few stragglers should remain in the land, like the gleanings of a vine or an olive-tree.
In the midst however of this desolation, they should, in God's appointed season, break forth into songs of praise, and shout from the sea ; they should glorify the Lord, as in old times, by Urim and Thummim*, and should magnify his name in the isles of the sea ; insomuch that songs should be heard from the uttermost parts of the earth, even glory to that righteous one whom they had so long rejected.
* The Lord will beat us as with a threshing instrument.] “This relates to the restoration of the Jews in the latter times.'
† It shall be blown with the great trumpet.] “ A general alarm or summons shall be given. Compare Matt. xxiv. 31, which place some understand of this very restoration of the Fews the prophet here speaks of.” (Mr. Lowth in loc.). Compare also Isaiah xviii. 3. The sounding of the trumpet most probably denotes, as Bp. Horsley thinks, the general preaching of the Gospel. # Isaiah xvii. 6.
Mr. Lowth in loc.
The prophet here seems to allude to the restoration of the converted Jews by that great maritime nation of faithful worshippers, which he had already so amply described. It is worthy of notice, that what is translated in our common English version they shall shout from the sea, may with equal propriety be rendered they shall shout from the west t. Now the isles of the sea or the west, as I have already observed, commonly mean, in the language of Scripture, the western regions of Europe, because to the mariners who sailed into those countries from Tyre and Sidon, they appeared to be literally islands. Hence it is most reasonable to conclude, that the maritime power beyond the rivers of Cush, called to by the prophet in the 18th chapter, must be some one of the kingdoms of Europe ; and, from the whole tenor of the predictions relative to the destruction of the infidel king, the beast, and the false prophet, some one of those kingdoms which have separated themselves from the mystic harlot and have embraced evangelical protestantism.
Yet, in the midst of his restoration by this great people, Judah is constrained to lament his leanness, and to complain that he has experienced treachery from the treacherous dealers. I know not why Judah should lament
* I have not ventured to depart from the Hebrew reading, though Bp. Lowth's conjectural emendation certainly renders this passage much more clear than it is at present. Instead of Disa by Urim, he supposes we ought to read "na in the isles. In this he is supported by two M.S.S. of the *LXX; but, it does not appear, by any of the original Hebrew.
t Bp. Lowth translates the passage, The waters shall resound with the ex. altation of the Lord; instead of, They shall exult in the majesty of the Lord, they shall shout from the sea, or, from the west. The words of the prophet, so far as the letters are concerned, will undoubtedly bear this version ; though not, if the points be taken into the account : for sin, according to its punctuation, will either signify from the sea, or the waters. I cannot see any reason for altering the present version ; nevertheless, even if it be altered, the general sense of the passage will remain much the same. In that case the waters will symbolically mean peoples ; and those peoples are heard to praise the Lord in the isles of the sea, or the maritime regions of Europe : hence, with reference to Judea, the sound will of course come from the Westo.