Notes on Isaiah

J. N. Darby.

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(Notes and Comments Vol. 4.)

Isaiah 1

This chapter ends a division. It is a distinct condemnation of the moral state, then redemption by judgment.

Some find that the direction in Isaiah was to sit still, and the Lord would deliver - in Jeremiah, that whoever went out to the Chaldaeans would save his life. We need spiritual discernment to apply (for there is our part - not to reveal) or understand the testimony, and revelation of the Lord.

- 27. What is the meaning of this? How we pass over Scriptures! Is the b' ("through"; A.V. "with") the means or the character? I have no doubt that Christ's death alone redeems (that is not the question) there alone mishpat (judgment) and tz'adakah (righteousness) are fulfilled for God, but are these general here, as the character of what must be where there is deliverance or redemption, or, as they are produced practically wherever redemption, are they merely characteristic of a supposed redemption wrought of God independently of them, as in the people? This last is only true redemption, but in the former case (for it was only the death of Christ which proved that nothing else would do, and that death must come in, not righteousness in life) it would be while stating the characteristic fact, still leaving it open to man's responsibility to meet the exigency of God's claims on him, only adding mercy which could forgive on repentance. We know it could not be so, and that, from the beginning, God knew Christ's death alone could meet it, and glorified Himself thus; but there would be the dealing with man in government, adding mercy for his full probation supposed. This was formally given to Israel in Exodus 34:6, 7. John the Baptist, and Christ on the earth, brought this to a crisis, and the full truth of what man is was brought out on the Cross. Man would often take the ground of Exodus 34 now, but it is ground tried and could come to nothing - not to speak of the absolute truth of the Cross.

This verse then would remain true, as characteristic at all events, but is it put as still probationary here, i.e., that left open here as probation? In chapter 49 et seq., we get the result clearly and definitely stated. But this probationary process it will be well to watch through Isaiah. It is, after the Cross, the denial of man's real state, from infidelity to Wesleyanism, though the latter may be guarded individually by individually owning its need.

24  - 31. What is the force of poalo (the maker of it)? Is it poalo or po-┬░lo (his work)? In sense, "his work"; or, in general, the active man who works? "Maker of it" is difficult - maker of what?

Isaiah 2

This gives the assemblage of the nations to Jerusalem restored, with its consequences in all the earth - the effect of the manifestation of the majesty and day of the Lord on the pride of man.

- 2. Akharith hay-ya-mim (the last days) is general, the end of the days, i.e., of Israel's history under its responsibility, leading in grace to the coming of Messiah, and Messiah Himself in His dealings with Israel in respect of that responsibility, not, I suppose, as finally reigning in glory. But it includes the elevation of Jerusalem to this state of glory - the whole process, till it be fulfilled; so Hebrews 1. I do not think Akharey-ken in Joel 2:28 (chap. 3:1 in the Hebrew) is "afterwards," but "thereupon," and refers to the whole statement from verse 17 to 27. Hence Peter (Acts 2:17) justly and exactly "in the last days," not eschate ton hemeron touton (the last of these days); it is more general. And note, all these dealings are connected with man's responsibility, i.e., Israel's - the manifestation of Jesus, and the then blessing, on power in grace.

- 9. "Humbleth himself." Query as to this. It is reflective, or practically passive. Has shaphel this sense? Shaphel really means "he is low."

Isaiah 3 and 4

The Lord judges Jerusalem, giving her up to judicial misery, but then "the Branch of the Lord" shall come forth - the residue shall be holy, and the glory of the Lord there.

Isaiah 5

This chapter had appeared separate, but I doubt if it be not part of the whole prophecy ensuing - chapters 6, 7 and 8, down to verse 20 inclusive, being in parenthesis. This parenthesis gives, not the instruction as to evil and chastisement by external enemies, but the special instruction as to the glory of Christ, and the judicial blindness of the people. The seed of David connected with the Remnant - thereon desolation of the Assyrian. The Land being withal Immanuel's - but these waters of Siloah being rejected, the waters of the Assyrian mount to the neck. The Lord Himself is the only refuge, the true Prophet, and the children are for signs. The law being sealed up among the disciples, the Spirit waits for a manifestation, in favour of Jacob, of Him who "hides his face." Meanwhile the law and the testimony are the means of judgment to Israel.

25 Having introduced this account of the glory of Christ, the judicial blindness of Israel, the Remnant, Immanuel the Child - this feeble fountain despised, Jehovah, the Hope of the Remnant, a Sanctuary and yet a snare - the testimony is sealed up among the disciples, waiting for the Lord who "hides his face" - the law and the testimony, the means of judgment. The prophet resumes the general course again as to the nations, which he had spoken of as brought up against Jerusalem and the Land, showing that the introduction of Messiah, of whom had been mention in the parenthesis, changes all. For, though the darkness and the dimness be infinitely greater, and they "driven to darkness," than in preceding trials, yet they that walked in it had seen great light. The yoke was broken completely, and the government set on the shoulders of the Child that was to be born to them - no end should be of His blessing on the throne of David. The link of the mind of the prophecy is in chapters 5:30 and 8:22. The parenthesis introduces Messiah for its effect on this trouble, showing His rejection, and the truth among the disciples of the great prophet, but then Israel in utter darkness thereon, but the great light not less true in the end. There seems to me to be solid ground for this course of the chapters, and judging the Spirit's mind to be this in the connection.

Note also in these parenthetic chapters, Emmanuel is given as "a sign," and as a sign in grace. The house of David had not only wearied men, but had wearied God also. Ahaz, feeling the proximity of God, shrinks, under the form of piety, from the offered sign, and God takes up the matter in grace as to Messiah, but in the revelation of judgment. All the subjects of fear of Ahaz were nothing at all, but the wickedness of Israel would bring in the Assyrian as the "rod of indignation." All this applied to Judah, for Israel was object of fear, and had been already sentenced, but then this is to engraft the judgments of the latter day on the rejection of Messiah. Chapter 7:16, connects itself more historically with verse 9. Then, in chapter 8, "the children" are added to the sign to "both the houses of Israel." The resumption of the prophecy in verse 21 terminates in chapter 9:7, but this identifies itself much more with Judah and the throne of David, though that affects the whole nation, from verse 8. It is more historical for Israel, and, after the miseries of Israel, the Assyrian who had overrun Samaria and menaced Jerusalem, and who was "the rod of indignation," is put in contrast with the Rod of the stem of Jesse, and the effect of the manifestation of the glory of Messiah, the Lord Jesus, is shown.

26 Note the Rod of Jesse, and Branch out of his roots for Israel, and the Root of Jesse for the Gentiles. In the beginning of the Apocalypse He is the "Root of Jesse" only - He has not taken His earthly throne as Son of David - at the end He is Root and Offspring, taking both places.

The recovery of the dispersed is spoken of, after the glory of the rest, and the ensign of the people. Both in chapters 8 and 10, the Spirit reaches out to the latter days, and to the Assyrian of that day. This explains, in a measure, the linking of these passages, because it was necessary to bring in the episode of Messiah as sign (just like the little book in Revelation 10 and 11), to complete the history, and to give the ground of the dealings of God with Israel, and especially Judah, whether in mercy and sovereignty, or in judgment. Chapters 5 and 9, though it reach to Israel, are specially occupied with Judah, though Judah affects the whole land the moment Israel is out of the way, as in the time of the Lord, not then more Galilee, as it is said, than Samaria which was a thing apart. From chapter 9, the "anger not turned away," is generalised historically again; it had commenced specially as to Judah and Jerusalem, in chapter 5:25. Now it recommences with Ephraim and Samaria. Chapter 12 evidently terminates the prophecy. The Lord is in Zion, and His greatness manifested there.

Recurrence to this quite makes me think it clears up the prophecy much, as to its order.

27 It is evident chapter 5 is the moral, legal, national guilt of Israel, as the following chapter is their sin as regards Christ, both more fully developed after chapter 40. But then in this chapter (5), while the present state of desolation is noticed, yet that is declared not to be the close of judgment. But then he does not continue it, as a present thing, as in chapter 9 from verse 8, and following up to the Assyrian, which closes it, but brings in, in general, the inroad of the nations, bringing in darkness and desolation. But it would apply to the Chaldaean invasion, as well as to any other, not captivity. It is judgment on the Land, and it is purposely not particularised, only the nations from afar are brought up by Jehovah against it. But it would rather apply to the Chaldaeans, and on to the Romans, though as desolating the Land. And, whatever the patience of God, the next chapter goes on to their time. Chapter 9, as I have said, gives detail from the then immediately succeeding time, on to the Assyrian, who closes judgment; chap. 10:5-25. Chapter 6 is evidently not the law, but a revelation of Jehovah. In chapter 5 Israel is an object of judgment - the whole "vineyard in the fruitful hill." In chapter 7 it is the house of David, Judah, and Jerusalem, and Israel is the enemy with Rezin. It is equally clear that Jehovah, in chapter 6 and in chapter 8:13, et seq., is Christ. I suppose the same is intimated in chapter 5:1, but there as having originally planted Israel, not as coming to it revealing Himself, for that is chapters 6 and 8; yet in chapter 8 coming as Man, the Stone of stumbling.

In chapter 5 present judgment, and the darkening of the Land go together - in chapters 7 and 8, Christ and final deliverance. But note, in chapter 5 there is no deliverance - Israel is guilty as brought out by Jehovah, and under the law - in Christ, however much greater the sin, there is.

Note, too, in what follows, Israel is always viewed as God's people not finally delivered from judgment, till the Assyrian is destroyed, but from Rezin and Pekah - is always viewed as God's people with whom He was dealing, and this, after all, is a comfort, and the full power of evil against them is therefore full deliverance. Nor is Babylon seen at all, until she is seen in judgment. Chapter 14 carries it on to the end - the Assyrian without, and Philistia within, being judged after the head of the Babylonish Gentiles, and then the rest in connection with Israel.

28 Isaiah 6

The general mission of Isaiah shows a blessed state, and great preparedness of heart in the prophet. The vision was of the Lord in His holy character. The burning Seraphim were then celebrating it, lowly but exalting Jehovah. The prophet has the fullest sense of this, both for himself and the state of the people. No haste to go but a sense of what he was, and of what the people were, in presence of a holy yet evidently a known God. "Woe is me, I am undone, for I am a man of unclean lips, and dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, and I have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." The effect was subjective, and that was all - the deepest and truest place. But the moment his lips are cleansed by the coal from the altar, and Jehovah says "Whom shall I send, and who shall go for us," he offers himself - "Here am I, send me." This is very beautiful. We are apt to run (I admit the difference of the Gospel) in haste, as soon as interested, and then to shrink before the carelessness or opposition of the world. Here he does not stir till the Lord has fitted him, and calls; then he is His ready servant. Here, consequently, we get the largest scope of prophecy - the fullest scheme of the counsels and intentions of God, in connection with His plans as to His people and His glory.

- 1. "The Lord," so in verses 8 and 11, but in verse 5 it is "the Lord of hosts."

- 6. The veils do not come into question here. I suppose it was from the brazen altar.

- 12, 13. The language of these verses is remarkable, and much stronger than one would suppose; I am not sure that I understand it fully. "And the Lord have removed far" (as in anger or displeasure, as in other places His face) "the Adam" (eth ha Adam) "and hath multiplied forsakings" (derelictions) "in the midst of the Land" or "earth." It seems to identify the dealings of God in the Land with the whole earth, and His actings on man. The Adam (God made eth ha Adam "in his image, after his likeness" - so as a dream, when one awaketh, shall He despise his image) for then shall all the question between God, and man in power and presumption, be centred there; compare Luke 2:14, for now He, in whom He is well pleased, is on high, rejected of the world, and we are in Him, but the whole world lieth in wickedness. This may be pursued, for the sons are accepted in the Beloved, but, save in mystery in Him, the ha Adam is set aside. "In the midst" (rokhav, breadth) but yet "in it," i.e., I suppose, the Land, there shall be a tenth, a Remnant, and it shall return, and shall be for burning - as Lebanon shall not be sufficient to burn - "shall be to be consumed" for fuel; for her iniquity shall be purged by the Spirit of judgment and the Spirit of burning, and, as the teil-tree or oak, whose root or trunk remains in casting their leaves, so the holy seed shall be the root thereof; compare Romans 11, which is just drawn in Spirit from this, quoad that part of the image.

29 The translators seem to have been misled by the apparent subject matter, but it seems strange they should have gone from so simple a word as l'va-er (eaten; strictly "consumed by burning") though it mean also consumption by browsing. Further we may observe as to this, in application, it is the Spirit of Christ testifying according to the righteousness of judgment, of which fire is the symbol, for even the Remnant shall pass through the fire, but He (who has indeed passed through, so as to bear their iniquities) shall be with them. Thence the word s'raphim (burners), here only, I believe, used. One of the burners came, and touched with a coal from off the altar (typifying the consumption of sin) - the altar of burnt offering - his lips, and he spoke accordingly. He bore about the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus might be manifest in his mortal body. Compare the whole of chapter 27, as we have already referred to the Spirit of judgment and Spirit of burning, ba-ar (he consumed).

The Seraphim I conceive to be the agency of the power of God, according to His character, but here towards the Remnant, for every man's work shall be tried by fire; accordingly when the Lord tries the Churches His eyes are as a flame of fire. The Cherubim were the agency of God; as see observations elsewhere on Revelation. Thus he was qualified to testify, according to this, to the Jews, the special objects of the one and the other. This, accordingly, became accomplished when the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world (amongst the Jews) gathering the wheat and burning up the chaff, etc., for judgment, that they which see might be made blind. But He came for judgment because He came not for judgment, for so it is with man thus left to himself.

Note, the saint takes the message without knowing what it is, for it is of God, and the primary character of the prophet is direct association of mind with Him - it is a trust on the part of God, in which the prophet is separated into His interest from all others. That interest may indeed be the Church, or it may be the judgment of the Churches - but that is another question; it is always God. I have sometimes thought this was the meaning of "Lovest thou me more than these?" "Can you act for me, independent even of your tie to these?" I am sure the principle is necessary for efficient service for Christ in the Church.

30 This chapter specially puts the prophet in his prophetic place, and is deeply interesting as describing it. The prophetic place begins where the Church is withered, as it were. It is the presence of the Spirit of Christ, cognisant, by the knowledge of God's burning judgment, of what the Church ought to be, sensible in all perfect sympathy, as dwelling amongst it, of its state and necessity, and withal of the mind of God toward it, and knowing, therefore being, itself, as a word formed on the standard of God's holiness towards it, the development and depository of His mind towards it. We find it then thus exhibited. It is therefore the mind of God toward the Church, as so cognisant, and the mind of the Church towards God, both in their perfectness as in Romans 8. Here therefore it is exhibited especially in that word, "Lord, how long?" For it knows, experimentally, the mind of God towards His Church in favour, and rests on that.

This chapter is the installation of the prophet in his office. To the end of verse 12, from the beginning of verse 7, is a substantive prophecy; what follows is detail. Verses 7-13 is the Covenant of David, in Christ, as failed in se.

Isaiah 7

- 16. "The land, before whose two kings thou art in fear, shall be forsaken."

Isaiah 8

- 22. The ma-uph (dimness) of this verse, and mu-aph (dimness) of chapter 9:1 (in the Hebrew 8:23) and khoshech (darkness) are to be connected, which, I think, clears the sense, specially when the plain application, or exposition, of Matthew be taken, in which, I take it, is a strict application according to the sense of the Spirit, in the prophet, in the passage.

31 Isaiah 9

- 3. "Thou hast multiplied the nation, increased the joy to it."

Isaiah 10

- 6. Up to this, chastisement; now, judgment, but as it is the intervention of God, it is the deliverance of His people, but in a remnant.

- 20-27. Nothing can be more distinct than the elements of the prophecy here, and its bearing is equally important - the Remnant, the calah v'nekheratzah (A.V., a consumption even determined) of the last days - the judgment of the great enemy; in this, the indignation ceasing. It is a deliverance, like Egypt, only Israel has been purged by judgment. Chapter 4:4, and the anointing has taken its effect, so that it is secure and stable. How rationalists are to be pitied! And Lowth is not much better, indeed never to be trusted. No doubt in Hezekiah's time it cast its shadow before, compare verse 5. Chapter 11 must be read as the same prophecy, i.e., from chapter 10:25 to 11:6.

Isaiah 11

This chapter follows the chastisements of Israel as such, and final judgment of the Assyrian, the enemy, as we have seen, of old of Israel and Judah when owned - and is the blessing of Judah and Zion as such, when the Root of Jesse shall be there. Chapter 24 is after the judgment of the different nations, only Jews and Land come in amongst them, as chapters 18 and 24. Hence we have general judgment and general blessing, "the hosts on high," "the kings of the earth" vv. 21, 22) and then the Lord reigns in Mount Zion. Rebellious power is brought down according to God's counsels - blessings for all are in Mount Zion. The evil of darkness over the Gentiles will be then taken away, death is swallowed up in victory for the heavenly people, and the reproach taken off His people everywhere. Israel then meets God with joy, and their own land is subdued under them. Chapter 26 sings the song of these judgments, and their course, and that of the people's and Jews' hearts. The power of the Gentiles is not reviewed, of His people it is, but it is Jehovah's not the people's work, and those that have ears to hear are invited to hide themselves for a little moment, till the indignation be over, for Jehovah is coming out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity. Chapter 27 depicts this dealing with the power of evil, and with Israel which He keeps and gathers, but chastises as a people of no understanding.

32 Isaiah 13

- 10. From this verse, Joel 2:10 and 31; chap. 3:15; Matthew 24:29; Ezekiel 32:7, and Amos 8:9, I gather the following. The darkening of the sun is not Gog but Antichrist. The tribulation is under Antichrist before Gog, or the Northern army comes up. The people called up against the Jews (apparently, as in unbelief and connected with Antichrist) is Gog or the Northern army. This, and not Antichrist, is the terrible day of the Lord. The agency of the saints is connected with this; see Joel, etc. The sun is put out before this, apparently as in Daniel 11, end. Antichrist is not, properly, the indignation - that is when Gog, or the Assyrian, comes up, and wholly ceases in their destruction; compare Ezekiel 38, 39, and Isaiah 10. It would rather appear that the destruction of Antichrist is connected with the agency of the saints. The sun shall be dark before them, and so the terrible day of the Lord. Antichrist is called "the king," "Lucifer," in the Old Testament scriptures. The Jews against Gog, or the Assyrian, as Zechariah 9, and other passages of scripture.

The chapters from 13 to 21 inclusive are remarkable - a perfect confusion as to the events from which they are drawn, that there may be instruction for the fulness of prophecy to come. First, Babylon and Israel contrasted - the world judged in Babylon, therefore for it generally (v. 11) and the Lord choosing yet Israel, and "set them in their own land," not Judah there (Antichrist viewed herein) but Babylon put before the Assyrian, which we know was long after, and the Assyrian destroyed, in history, first - here, afterwards on the mountains. This purposed on the whole earth, and then, afterwards, the land cleared, Philistia - Zion then viewed as founded. This is a complete scene in itself; there are other details, however, that are general and complete for Israel and the Land.

33 Then we have Moab, which was destroyed by Babylon, is called to send the lamb to the daughter of Zion, and, at the end, a date of three years given. Then Damascus, which was carried captive by Assyria, and, at the close, the destruction of the Assyrian; still verses 7 and 4, the glory of Jacob made them but regard to God. Then we have a nation entirely beyond the limits of the nations in question, beyond the Nile and Euphrates, who take an interest in the Jews, but the Jews are left an entire prey in the midst of the nations. Then Egypt, given into the hand of a cruel king, smitten and healed - Judah a terror to Egypt, and Egypt, Assyria and Israel all one. God will send them a great Saviour. Then as a further detail, the Assyrian seizes on Egypt. Then, no help from Assyria. Then, under the term of "the desert of the sea," the fall of Babylon by Elam and Media - the incredulity of Dumah judged, and Arabia. Then the fall of Jerusalem by Persia and Media - the rulers fled, then found in her bound. Yet the circumstances of the time of Hezekiah, evidently referred to, even persons' names, yet so as to bring out all the glory of the house of David on One who replaces another who has no right there, or whose right the land disallows. In that day, as to the events from which the prophecies flow, they are all extraordinarily jumbled together; as to those to which they tend they cast a perfect light. Tyre and the land (ha-aretz, the earth), present more difficulty, and though of express force, I should feel of wider character.

It is evident that chapters 13 to 26 take up the present state of things universally in the world, as the subject of judgment, and God's dealings as long as Israel was a testimony, were supportable, i.e., that God's judgment could be displayed in it in the midst of the nations. There was no word of judging all alike, as from without, but, when Israel (or Judah) had to be judged, then the consequences of evil must come judicially on all around. The world in general was on the footing of dispersion, whatever changes in detail had taken place. The grand question was, what was Israel's faith when the world rose up against it in the Assyrian? God saved them then, but their iniquity was such, they were not to be purged till they died. So that they were then found guilty for judgment, though God raised up Hezekiah, and, in His then external government, could deliver the city; but in the internal, by the testimony of the prophet, they are declared wholly guilty. Hence, they are given up to the reign of Manasseh, which brought the judgment, being spared during Hezekiah's reign, having with him humbled themselves. How perfect is God's government, as are all His ways!

34 Then these chapters deal with the world as it is, and pass the line of judgment over it all around, and then pass over to the next thing - God's interference to bring about His order and blessing, which is really the next thing after the breaking up the order and existence of nations, among which His people had a place. He despised the rod of His Son, as every tree. The bounds of the people had been set according to the number of the children of Israel, and, hence, the whole system fell together.

But there was another thing to be considered - that which was the instrument of judgment. Hence the judgment, and captivity of Babylon itself, and its rebellious head too, is introduced, and Babylon was outside the dispersion before it, and a principle apart. It was union by the violence of the mighty hunter, and Babel the beginning of his kingdom. (The Assyrian is another power we will speak of afterwards.) Hence Babylon stands out distinct. It was the instrument of judgment on all then, but then for the bringing in of God's judgment. It has to be judged, along with the rest, for God's people are in captivity there. As to details, therefore, we find first, this grand, absorbing power judged alone, and the audacious and blasphemous rebellion of its chief noted, calling down the judgment by which Israel is delivered. (Then the Assyrian falls on the mountains, and Palestine cleared by the Lord.) This is the complete scene of the results at the end.

Then comes the then present breaking up of the subsisting system of which Nebuchadnezzar was, historically, the instrument, passing even over, as we have said, to the last days. God interferes in that day, for that was the true power of judgment. Taking occasion from Damascus (through which quarter consequently, I suppose, the attack will take place) we have the inroad of the nations against Judah (but Jacob is as gleanings left only) to their own destruction, as in Zechariah. Sennacherib is partly an example - I say "partly," because it was not he that took Damascus.

35 Also in chapter 18, we have the additional element, that Israel shall be brought back by some extraordinary intervention of a nation (I have a strong notion it is England) who takes them up, but, having planted them in their own land, they become a prey there of the nations. Still they are brought as, and being, a present to the Lord of Hosts. Then, chapter 21, we have historically Babylon itself taken, and then the daughter of His people spoiled. At the same time the key of the house of David taken from the confident and proud ruler, who is put to shame, and placed in the hands of Him who is chosen of God. Chapter 24 gives the total desolation of the Land, but hence of the earth, and of the world, as that in which alone, as we have seen, hangs the possibility of earthly blessing and stability - the central system of an owned earth in government, and indeed all will be concentrated there in that day, all the nations of the earth; see chapter 26:9, and compare Revelation 14. The judgment on this occasion reaches to the heavenly powers as well as "the kings of the earth upon the earth." "The Lord of hosts shall reign" - this evidently changes all.

Isaiah 14

This is giving mercy to Israel in the destruction of the Assyrian, compare chapters 15, 16, Micah, and the subjection of all Philistia. Note, in remarking on Babylon, the different things which are assembled in that prophecy.

The subjection of Moab seems to be, according to the statement of the Psalm, the work of Messiah, after the destruction of the adversary, in whose exaltation Israel has rejoiced, or at least was joined with the Assyrian. They are called on to receive the outcasts during the oppression of Antichrist, anticipating his destruction, or showing their folly in not owning it by his destruction.

- 8. Meaz (A.V., "since") seems to mean "from of old."

- 13 and 14 seem to have a special application.

Isaiah 17

I do not see how it is possible, in all this part of Isaiah, from chapter 13 and even before, not to see that the Spirit of God is taking up the great plan of God, and speaking of future coming events, but taking hold of present ones as an occasion, and that connected with the government of God then, which will be fully displayed at the end.

36 Note Damascus was taken by the king of Assyria in the reign of Ahaz; but all this is evidently in the latter days. Moab, however, suffers first from the heathen.

Isaiah 18

We have here the circumstances of the restoration of the Jews, in connection with a protecting nation out of the limits of ancient Jewish associations.

This chapter is full of deep interest. The "swift messengers" (mal'akhim kallim); I have not yet entirely assured myself of what they were. I take the statement to be literal as regards its actual fulfilment. The "rivers of Cush" I take to be not only the Nile but the Euphrates, as if he should say, "I am now speaking of a land or people beyond those in point of distance, which now are the extremities of and affect the Jewish land and people."* Yet a people which is to have extensive empire of influential subjection, and intimately connected with the Jews in their dealings in that day, when Israel is developed in their full history and character, the last act being then accomplished, a people long deferred, as He saith - true, in the Remnant. "Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? Yea, He will avenge them speedily." And it is the character of prophecy to say "How long?" "How long, O Lord, for ever shall thy fury," etc. And the want of faith in the Jewish people is described by "none to say, How long?" Here then is the sense of m'musshak (drawn out, scattered). It is the same word as "Hope long deferred." A people continually, insultingly, ill-treated, whose hair is plucked off - the same word, passive for active, as "I gave my cheeks to those that plucked off the hair," where our Lord is describing His Jewish humiliation - a people terrible (no-ra) to be revered, wondered at, or feared, from existence forward for ever, i.e., from the time the Lord made them a people; true, in principle, in the beginning, in fact from the time here finally spoken of, commonly translated "from this out" - a nation (now not mentioned as a people because dealt with on general moral principles, and, indeed, judged accordingly) a nation, which has had "line upon line," first by presenting the measure and righteousness of God's judgments, in testimony, if they would hear, and then, "hear or forbear," it came upon them as the exact measure of God's judgments, and such, I apprehend, is the force of chapter 28:13. The Word, as I find it, is ever a measuring line, and, as the strictness and perfectness of God's judgments must be familiar to readers of Scripture attentively, I understand it still as a line or measure in Psalm 19:4, and this use of it, is what, I believe, the Spirit of God refers to in Paul, when he speaks of the metron tou kanonos (the measure of the rule, 2 Cor. 10:13) which ho theos metrou (the God of measure) hath distributed, so I should be rather inclined to read it "had distributed" or "allotted" to him, to a nation then measured, measured, i.e., by the judgments of God (accomplishing His word which they would not receive in truth, and therefore they found here in judgment, as He saith, "Judgment will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet") trodden down, or under foot. Compare chapters 63 and 64, where this is all made the subject of supplication, and much answer given in chapter 65 as regards Christ.

{* Me-e-ver l' (beyond) is always, as far as I see, "on the other side of"; it is a use of me-e-ver, in relative place to.}

37  - 2 and 7. "Whose land the rivers" - I sometimes thought this might mean "above mentioned," but these were only characteristic of the rest, and it is used, I imagine, generally. The nations have made Jacob a prey, as, during the times of the Gentiles, they can have been to one another, but, whoever was dominant, they were subject until this time. They were a prey twice; some might use them well, as the Persians did, still they were a prey, and soon out of their hands - "have made a prey" or "spoiled."

The rest of the chapter describes the Lord's dealing, in that day, as done as a summons and witness to all nations. He then explains the dealings as regards the Jews, when the previous dealing, resulting in their being brought, and their offerings accepted, recognised in all their previous character, is over.

Isaiah 19

We have, here, Egypt, in dissension, given up to a tyrant, and in the terror of Judah, in the blessing of Israel.

38 Isaiah 20

This is an episode as to Egypt, to wit, the inroad and success of the Assyrian.

Isaiah 21

Babylon is taken. Idumaea slights the warning. Arabia is judged.

Isaiah 22

Jerusalem is taken, and Eliakim replaces Shebna, or Christ Antichrist.

Isaiah 23

Tyre is judged.

Isaiah 24

This chapter is not a distinct burthen. It is the Land, and therewith as the earth, of which it is become the centre, the world, and the manifestation of the Lord's glory in Jerusalem.

- 4. This verse seems to preclude the confining it to the Land, for, I suppose, te-vel (the world) is never used but in the one sense, generically. So the Spirit in the Apocalypse, 16:14, though leaning, as here, on the principal point to which the other was subordinate; so chapter 34:6.

Isaiah 25

This is a celebration of the glory and blessedness, and what belongs to that day, the proud enemy, Moab being subdued under the Lord.

Isaiah 26

- 9 and 21. "The inhabitants of the earth"; compare Apocalypse 3:10, "Them that dwell upon earth." Note the difference, too, between 2 Peter 2:9, where the comparison is with Noah and Lot, who passed through the tribulation, and Apocalypse 3:10. In Peter, we have rhuesthai ek peirasmou (deliver from temptation) and in the Apocalypse tereso ek tes horas tou peirasmou (I will keep from the hour of temptation). The difference is evident, and confirms the force of this latter, as interpreted, for the deliverance of the faithful Remnant; quod nota.

39 This chapter specially belongs to Judah, and the circumstances connected with that, before the indignation be overpast.

Isaiah 27

- 4. The voice of the vineyard would be, "I have no wall; oh, that I had for myself briars and thorns"! This chapter takes up Israel on the destruction of Leviathan, and, connected with the last verses of the former chapter, closes with the gathering of the scattered gleanings abroad.

Isaiah 28, 29

The double inroad of the nations. First, Ephraim is assailed by the Assyrian, etc., and overwhelmed, yet it was in the day of the Lord's deliverance. At this time scornful men, dwelt at Jerusalem, who said that the scourge would not reach them. But it should overflow the hiding place, and they should be trodden down by it.

There is "a consumption determined upon the whole land," yet unhappy and ignorant Zion the Lord loveth, and, when the learned cannot read His mind because he is unlearned, the Lord knows the thoughts He thinks towards them - thoughts of peace and not of evil - to give them an expected end. Jerusalem, or Zion the lion of God, shall be brought perfectly low, but the Lord shall fight against all the nations, and "they shall be as a dream when one awaketh" and according to His everlasting covenant, "Jacob shall not be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale."

Isaiah 30

- 3. We find here details. They seek for help from Egypt in that day, when "in returning and quietness" should have been their strength; therefore the Lord would leave them to the strength of their enemies. But He will wait till they have tasted all this, and then be gracious Himself, for the destruction of the Assyrian shall be the joy of a Remnant. Tophet is also prepared for the king.

40  - 12. "This word" refers, I suppose, to verses 6 and 7.

- 18. Compare chapters 8:17, and 18:4. Indeed it is the whole history as chapter 6, and originally at Sinai; Exodus 33:19. God must retreat into His own sovereignty to spare, though He punish according to our responsibility in government or in righteousness. And faith, founded on righteousness, waits for Him - or even in hope through grace, where divine righteousness is not yet known.

- 20. It would seem from this verse (of those chapters which enter into the detail of Israel in the latter day) that though fed and nourished with affliction, yet they shall leave their teachers, in spite of all who shall guide them in the way.

- 28. "Peoples."

- 33. "For the king also it is prepared." "The king" is mentioned three times in prophecy; here, in chapter 57:9, and in Daniel 11.

Isaiah 31 and 32

We have here a special introduction of the circumstances of the change of dispensation - the first chapter which, by the grace of my God, opened my ignorant eyes to this serious and all-important subject - things important to us. The Lord is wise, though He is not looked to. The Lord shall fight for Zion, and the Assyrian shall fall, but not by "a mighty man." Then the King, reigning in righteousness, is introduced - His righteous character - and the manifestation of villainy as vile. The city forsaken, Jerusalem trodden down, till the Spirit be poured out on the Jews. Note the synchronism, and a total change of dispensation - all before should be but as an uncultivated fruit, and so it is. Still, blessing should be universal on Jew and Gentile; the city only should be brought low, and the Gentile fruit judged.

Isaiah 33 - 35

This (the King being now introduced) is the judgment of the Assyrian. In his latter approach he spoiled, but had not been spoiled - the circumstances of Zion - the detail of all that had passed, or allusion to it, but the Lord arises. The Remnant are preserved, they see "the King in his beauty," and have their portion now, even to the end of the Land. The Assyrian could not prevail, nor strengthen "his mast"; how could he pass the Lord as a defence? Then there is a great judgment on the nations which has place in Idumaea. It is the day of the Lord's vengeance. His recompenses for Zion. Then the universal joy, and consequence of blessing. Antichrist has nothing to do with all this. The only place he can be supposed to be mentioned is, if it be, where it is added, "Yea, also for the king it is prepared" (gam-hu lammelek). Otherwise it is the historic connection between Israel, Zion, the inroad of the nations, Egypt, the Lord, the Assyrian, the King, and the full joy thereon - their complete deliverance and security - and, in a word, everlasting joy upon their heads, seeing "the King in his beauty," possessing the Land, the desert blossoming, and holiness their way.

41 I also gather from this, that Edom and Bozrah in Isaiah 63, is not the destruction of Antichrist, but that which is spoken of in these chapters, the nations there, after the former had passed, by the coming of Christ with all His saints, from the scene. The controversy with the nations when Zion is taken up - the prostrate, because disobedient, lion of God.

Isaiah 40

The second part of Isaiah begins by the proclamation, of the herald who precedes the Lord, that "All flesh is grass," and that "the people," even the people of the God "is grass." Man and Israel are withered and profitless, but this does not change the certainty of hope, because the Word of Israel's God endures for ever. Then Zion is the scene of blessing - God's strength in judgment, the means - and He will care for His flock. Then His Almighty supremacy is unfolded, in contrast with idols. Israel should remember that He "fainteth not, neither is weary."

He reduces to silence all the heathen and their idols, sending forth the instrument of His power to execute His purpose. Israel had nothing then to fear.

Next, Christ is His Servant in lowliness, and shall be in power. He shall unfailingly accomplish all His purposes. Thus Jehovah will "lead the blind," and who is blind as Israel, having every opportunity and observing nothing? God will glorify His Law and ways, yet Israel is oppressed, for He hath sinned, but God has formed him for Himself - he need not fear, He will deliver, and, in spite of all his failure, he is not to think of the old things, but to count on this faithfulness of delivering grace.

42 Thus, while making grass of man, God acts here in certain delivering grace in His faithful love to His people - acts from His own unchangeable love and faithfulness. Christ, as His Servant, and the Elect One, is the great instrument of this. Israel had been rejected for sin - there was "no peace for the wicked" - but a Remnant would be saved. But, if chosen, they were chosen in "a furnace of affliction." It is grace, and God's own purpose, while sin is shown to be the cause of their condition. Christ, the elect Servant, is introduced - Cyrus and Babylon are brought in, as the first grand sign of deliverance, after the evil and the judgment of the heathen and their idols. Chapter 49 begins, specifically, the case of Christ, and Israel's condition in respect of Him.

This chapter is comfort to Israel, as witness of the power of God. In general it is the comfort of Jerusalem - thus the voice of the Baptist preparing the way of the Lord - the manifestation of the sovereignty of Jehovah. Then the Spirit of prophecy declares "all flesh is grass"; consequently, all the Jewish system falls together, founded in flesh. The Law, also, was "weak through the flesh," "but the Word of our God," says the Spirit in the Jewish Remnant, "shall stand for ever." Then Zion, visited in blessing in the latter days, becomes the messenger of blessing to all the cities of Judah. Christ comes - verse 12 begins His controversy of the nations, in which Israel was the witness of the unity and glory of Jehovah. But Jehovah has to vindicate it Himself.

- 2. Nir 'tzah (is pardoned) is "discharged," satisfaction is made for it.

- 3. Connect kol kore (voice of him that crieth) and verse 6, k'ra (cry). John's crying was bammid-var (in the wilderness), i.e., of the Jewish people. Our Lord came in the street, the city, but did not kara (cry out), though He suffered, for good reason, out of it.

- 6. Note the use of khas'do (the goodliness thereof) - its gracefulness, I suppose. It is doxa (glory) in the Septuagint.

43  - 9. I do not know without examination, but I rather prefer "who bringest good tidings to Zion" - "to Jerusalem."

- 12. Tik-ken (meted out); the same word is used in verse 13 for "hath directed." "Heaven" - the heavens - what is this?

- 27, 28. We see the appeal of Jehovah, in grace, against the incredulity of the people.

- 31. "They that wait on the Lord" are distinguished.

Isaiah 41

Then the "King of Jacob" challenges the nations, and, by the hand of Cyrus (as an example) destroys the power of idolatry. He giveth "good tidings to Jerusalem."

This chapter is judgment on the islands (Gentile nations) by the instrument which God had appointed, as contrasted with Israel.

- 2. "Righteousness," see margin. We have here, and in several other passages, a use of "righteousness" which illustrates and clears up its use in the New Testament, so that Gesenius translates it here and elsewhere "liberatio, salus." It is the interference of God's power here, in consistency with His own character, and in grace towards His people, which therefore necessarily delivers them. "Who raised up righteousness from the east?" God acts to vindicate His own character, and power against evil. It is God's righteousness. Taking Cyrus as a primary fulfilment, God is obliged to vindicate His title against the pride of the heathen, and idols, and false gods. It is His righteousness, but thereby His people are delivered in grace. So, "My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth" (chap. 51:5), and "shall be for ever" (v. 8). In chapter 45:8, it is God publicly vindicating Himself as He is, so to speak, bound to do in the end, and so righteousness comes forth. So, I believe, "who have obtained like precious faith with us, through the righteousness of our God and Saviour." This connects itself with promises, where they are, because the fulfilment of them is a part of God's righteousness. Hence God fully establishing and vindicating all He is, in the Cross of Jesus, and the blessed Jesus offering Himself up that He might. We come in who, through grace, are quickened together with Him, to be the righteousness of God in Him. He is made unto us righteousness, but it is properly and essentially the righteousness of God, not intrinsically in Him, but brought out into manifestation in that which is done, for so it is, and, here, so as to be the glory of God (which implies display) and salvation to those, however miserable, who come in on the principles on which it acts - which are, indeed, for us by faith, and hence the reasoning of the Apostle in Romans, Galatians and elsewhere.

44 Isaiah 42

The Elect (Messiah) is introduced - the Servant. Thus the Gentiles will wait upon God, and for the Elect's law. Jehovah's power will be manifested against the idols - His, who had long time held His peace. He will manifest His glory to the confusion of all worshippers of idols in the deliverance of Israel, leading the blind. But who so blind as they who saw so many things, and yet not observing? Thus the Lord will magnify the Law. But Israel, robbed and spoiled, had been given up for sin as chastisement, but now the Lord, in sovereign grace (chap. 43) will redeem, and comfort, and declare them, and show, in His dealings with them, that they are His witnesses as of old. And now, also, they shall show forth all His praise, as, indeed, in His way with them, His praise has been shown. But, in fact, Israel had not sought God, but wearied Him with sin. But He, for His Name's sake, thus showing forth His praise in them, forgave them all.

This, and the following chapter give the place of Christ amongst Israel, and the work of God amongst them, notwithstanding their failure.

Isaiah 43

This chapter ends at verse 25. Grace is here eminent as God's praise.

Isaiah 44

Forgiveness and the Spirit to Israel, introducing Cyrus as the deliverer.

On pleading with Israel, the promise of the Spirit is added, which revivifies and encourages them to confess His name, and glory in Him, and thus again becomes the instrument of defiance to the idols, which are vanity, with all their followers. Again the Lord is announced as having redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself thus in Israel, who confounds diviners, and declares His purpose concerning Jerusalem, and now, of Cyrus as instrument of rebuilding the Temple.

45 Isaiah 45

Cyrus - the testimony of God's purpose to Israel - and Israel of His name.

- 4. He has "surnamed" him, for His love to Jacob, "the servant" and "the elect." Observe here these two names, which confound Israel with Christ, Messiah.

The everlasting salvation of Israel is contrasted with the idols. The escaped of the nations are called on to recognise the hand of God who had foretold all this, and to look to Him as Saviour, for to Jehovah "every knee should bow." This we know also is Christ exalted over every power, and everlasting. Thus using Cyrus, as the expression of it, for those times when judgment had called Israel "not a people" - Israel, elect, a servant, the witness of God against all false gods. If God upon the earth, as of old, eternal, and now, anew, of all His praise, Redeemer and Deliverer, acting in grace, and disposing of instruments as He would, as Almighty, proving it by the prophetic testimony, and the accomplishment of it in favour of His people, by the instruments He had chosen, Israel, the occasion and object, the means of all this display of glory (and that, in grace) is identified with Christ, as Elect Servant (chap. 42), but Israel in contrast with idols. But this Elect Servant is Jehovah withal, and thus, idols being set aside, every knee is to bow to Him. The nations who escape are called to own all this in Jacob, and looking on Him to be saved.

Isaiah 46

Babylon is then summoned on the scene by the prophetic Spirit, and all her fate told; first, in the person of her idols in contrast with Jehovah's faithfulness to Israel. They carried Babylon's helpless gods into captivity, but Jehovah carried, and bore Israel from youth to age. He had made, and would bear them when Moses himself, His faithful servant, failed, feeling they were not his own, his children. It is the contrast of Jehovah with His people, and the impotency of the idols carried into captivity. Cyrus is yet the instrument of the specimen given of this. This, and the following chapter give the judgment on Babylon in similar testimony to chapter 45, i.e., the idolatrous power of the world. "All the world" is a question between Israel and Babylon.

46 Isaiah 47

It is not the idols now, but the pride of Babylon, who thought never to see sorrow.

Isaiah 48

These are the special dealings of God with Israel and the reasons for them.

We have the distinction of Israel - who is unrighteous though making use of the Name of the Lord - prophecy, the means of showing it was God's doing, making shame of idols. But Jehovah acts for His Name's sake. He spares, defers, refines Israel - choosing her in "the furnace of affliction," shows Himself the only God, and executes judgment, doing His pleasure on Babylon. If Israel had been faithful, her peace would have flowed like a river. But Israel will prove, as well as Babylon, that Jehovah is faithful to His Name, that "there is no peace to the wicked, saith the Lord."

This was necessary in judging Babylon - the judgment of Israel, chosen, and saved. Before chapter 45:25, it was Israel justified, as a whole, in the Lord, and glorying in Him.

Isaiah 49

Up to this, the Lord's controversy with idolatry and Babylon, only Christ (chap. 42) necessarily brought in for blessing. From this, to the end of chapter 57, Christ, Himself, as rejected. We find here the whole plan and ways of God in government, as regards His rejection of Christ by Israel, i.e., the fact of Israel's not being then gathered.

Note how very distinctly we have first Israel, then the blessed Lord substituted for Israel when rejected by them, then, on resurrection, the condition of a new order of things, available at present, but resulting in the re-establishment of Zion.

47 This is a full development of the work of Christ, with a testimony that the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. Israel is taken up as a witness, and the Spirit of Christ in them takes up the summons to the isles, and people from afar, to recognise the election of God in Israel, in whom He would be glorified. But then, necessarily, comes in not only the wickedness and idolatry of Israel, but their conduct as to Messiah. He takes up Israel according to this counsel of God, declared in His will, and purpose by the Spirit "in the volume of the Book," but has to declare that if so He has laboured in vain. Thereon the fuller revelation of God, as to His glory. It was a light thing to raise up Israel, He should be a light to the Gentiles, and God's salvation to the ends of the earth, which would be raised up and comforted in Him, scattered Israel brought back, and, notwithstanding all her fears, Jerusalem is blessed according to the immutable and tender love of God, for Jerusalem is the centre of all God's affections, in providence on earth; see Jeremiah and Zechariah. All would be subservient to her blessing.

- 3. This verse requires attention. I apprehend the English translation neglects the Hebrew stops. I call Athnach* a stop. I should think De Wette added words to complete his translation. The question is, can asher-b'ka (literally, "whom in thee") be translated "Thou in whom"? "The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my servant; Israel, thou art he in whom I will be glorified." De Wette translates it: "It is Israel in whom, through thee, I glorify myself," paying attention to Athnach. The English is: Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. This is the Hebrew: vay-yomer li av-di attah Yis-ra-el asher-b'ka eth pa-ar (And said to me, my servant, Thou, Israel, whom in thee I shall be glorified). I apprehend "In whom through thee" is surely not there. I am not sure that one is warranted in adding "Thou" (art he) "in whom." The importance lies in the question, who is "My servant," here, Israel or Christ the blessed Lord? It is clearly the transition point of Israel, and the Lord, Servant - verse 4 makes that plain.

{*Athnach is one of the Hebrew accents.}

I am not far from suspecting that De Wette's is the right sense, only that he has unwarrantably added "by thee," durch dich. Asher b'ka can hardly be an dem durch dich. Luther's is as the English. If I remember the French, it is in substance as De Wette, if not literally.

48 Isaiah 50

The Lord then demands why He had rejected her. He had come Himself, in Christ, to be in her sorrows, and with equal power to save, and had been rejected, found no man to call when He answered. The humiliation of Christ is most touchingly put forth. Thus the Remnant come to be distinguished, and Christ takes the place of Servant, and though, thereon, Israel was in darkness, and the Remnant, he who obeyed His voice should trust in the Lord - how faithful, we have seen; those who kindled sparks for themselves would, of the Lord's hand, lie down in sorrow. All now hangs on this rejection of Christ, who speaks by His Spirit in the prophet, and presents Himself as Jehovah, but made a Servant in Israel.

Note this chapter contains the humiliation of Christ - His place of subjection in contrast with His divinity. Chapter 53 contains the expiation He accomplished for the people, and for many, in contrast with the exaltation of the Servant, which is other than His being Jehovah, distinctly.

We have here the moral question, of the rejection of Israel by Jehovah, fully tried - what Israel had done in rejecting Jehovah when He came in grace in Jesus, lowly for their sakes, the true character of the humbled Holy One clearly brought out. He is justified by Jehovah. To this is added the consequent exhortation to the Remnant in the latter days, who listen to His voice as the Servant of Jehovah.

Note - the appeal is after the divorcement. This gives it a most important, and deeply interesting character of grace, not developed perhaps, but they are to stand in the name of the Lord, and stay upon their God after this. This is pure grace, resting on what God is.

It is reasoning with Israel upon the circumstances in which Christ's coming placed it - first, the general fact of the rejection, then the nature of Christ's first coming, to the distinction of the Remnant.

- 5. I do not apply the boring of the servant's ear with an awl to the "opening mine ear" (it is fixing the sign or symbol of service, as receiving command, to the post, i.e., the master's house, i.e., marking the constancy of service) though they are both connected with the same subject. I should apply the boring of the ear of the servant (more especially, i.e., therein it was exhibited and fulfilled) to the Lord's willing subjection to death after He took upon Him the form of a Servant, and had identified Himself with His Master's wife's and children's interest (for His Master had given Him a wife and she was His Master's and His, and thus became the tie to the Master) "being found in fashion as a Man, he humbled himself," etc., being unwilling, even though He could (for He must have gone out without His wife) have gone out free - He preferred to subject Himself for His and their sakes. It was love, and the accomplishment of love. The "opening the ear" is, I take it, submission, intelligent submission to His Father's will, not love after He was a Servant, such, I think, as chapters 40 and 52 express it, as saints, and our Lord throughout, especially in John's Gospel; so Matthew 12, but especially in His becoming a Servant. Therefore the Father saith "Behold my Servant"; so compare Isaiah 53, Hebrews 2, and John 12, Ka-ri-tha (Thou hast digged, Psalm 40) seems to make Him a Servant, "ears hast thou digged for me"; compare Ezekiel 16:3, 21, 35; Hebrew, verses 30, 29, 14, also Isaiah 51:1, for the word, "Thou hast formed me to be a Servant," was Israel as a witness, as we have seen Him to be the only faithful One actually of Israel, and therefore applicable in principle to Him, though spoken of literal Israel. The ear marked the servitude, as reception of command, "Thou hast formed a body for me," in which I am to be a Servant. And observe it is the Son, as before His incarnation, who says "Ears hast thou digged for me," and accordingly it was in His incarnation He took on Him the form of a Servant, as see Philippians 2. Then pa-thakh ("he opened," Isaiah 52:2) is generally subjection to servitude. "Behold, saith he, I am thy Servant." When the Lord Jesus had taken the glory (Christhood) upon Himself in behalf of man, man then being apostate, "it became him for whom are all things," etc., therefore, "though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience," therefore He had "the tongue of the learned and knew how," etc., therefore "Behold," "Consider him!" Yigel (he openeth, Job 36:10) He openeth their ear to discipline, instruction, and the like, to make the mind to understand. Thus, by faith in Christ Jesus we are made to understand the Scriptures, it is an yigel ("He openeth") to us; so of any revelation of God's mind. It is connected, however, with willingness to obey, but concerns the communication of the matter of the obedience. It is the knowledge, the intelligence necessary to obedience - the opposed to "closing the ear" that they should not hear the perception of the will, or at least the communication of God concerning it; so, the Lord, "He that hath ears to hear let hum hear."

50 Isaiah 51

To the end of verse 12 of chapter 52, we have progressive instructions to the Remnant, progressive summons of the Spirit of the help and glory of Zion, reckoned to be possessed by the Remnant as a nation. Verses 7 to 20 are the progressive, or double, interference of God.

The history of Israel, in the Remnant, is thus given, up to their full glory, to the end of chapter 52:12. First, three addresses to the people, "Hearken unto me" (vv. 1, 4, 7). Those who sought justice - His people - those who know justice. The Remnant thus distinguished and summoned, the Spirit takes up the appeal in the demand for the awakening of "the arm of the Lord" (v. 9), in power, which is another thing, but power is there. It was the Eternal that consoled them. They had forgotten Him. Had He gone to sleep and forgotten? He who neither slumbers nor sleeps, whose power is there - now that Zion is awakened to know it - calls on Zion to awake, for all was mercy now, to awake and clothe herself with beauty and glory, as Babylon had to come down and uncover herself of her false glory. For what were the peoples to oppress the people of the Lord? What had He here? The Lord had consoled His people, and made bare His holy arm in presence of the nations. They should go out from their captivity, and the Lord be their avant and arriere garde. Nothing can be more splendid or lovely than this allocution of the Spirit. It was not, indeed, for Jerusalem to cry what awoke the Lord - it was for her to awake.

The first appeal to the people encourages weakness, by the recollection that Abraham was alone when the Lord blessed and multiplied him. The Lord would comfort Zion. The second recognises them as His people; hence the nations are introduced - Jehovah's righteousness near - His salvation gone forth. And, though the heavens should vanish, His righteousness and salvation should be for ever. The third appeal, not to heed the reproach of men, for they were as a garment moth-eaten, but God's "righteousness shall be for ever," His "salvation from generation to generation."

51 The Lord, thus in relation with, and encouraging His people, awakens the cry that the Arm of the Lord "put on strength." Verse 12 is the answer of Jehovah, who demands how Israel should be afraid of a man, when He comforted her. He calls on Jerusalem to stand up in that, when she had no sons able to comfort her. He had pleaded her cause.

- 15. Compare Jeremiah 31:35, and Job 26:12. "Dividing the sea" is not the Red Sea, but raising it into tumultuous waves. So in Job 7:5, he compares his skin to this - it was split, and broken up, and rough - rugosity - and put away as bad; but compare chapter 26:12.

Isaiah 52

Jerusalem becomes the holy city, secured from profanation, and He reasons with the insolence of her enemies as against Himself. All this hangs on allusion to their position in Babylon. This celebration of the deliverance of Zion, in connection with the Remnant become a people, demands a full explanation of what leads to it all, and Christ necessarily becomes the great subject. But this is introduced thus. In this account of the compassion of Jehovah for His people, and the glorifying of Jerusalem, He who had taken, and had alone title (from chapter 49:4) to be called the Servant of Jehovah, necessarily would bear a great and conspicuous part. "Behold my Servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted," etc. But here another principle comes in. The humiliation of Christ served to distinguish, even to the end, the Remnant who listened to the voice of "His Servant." Here the exaltation of Christ is connected, through His humiliation and offering for sin, with the introduction of the Gentiles. "As many were astonished at thee" (for He becomes the Object of the Spirit's thoughts now) for "His visage so marred," "His form more than the sons; of men," "So shall he sprinkle many nations," and "that which kings had not heard, shall they consider." This introduces the following chapter.

52 From verse 13, to the end of the following chapter it is the exalted Servant, with the results of His first manifestation, and the mystery of His first reception fully developed.

In this chapter the Remnant recognise much more the true substitutory character of the sufferings of the rejected Christ, so that they were healed by that by which their sin was consummated. The first verses show their rejection of Him, now confessed as sin; full grace to the nations, and to the people, and to Jerusalem, is the result of this, but not governmental details.

Isaiah 53

This is the rejection of the report, and blindness of Israel to the arm of the Lord; compare chapter 51:9. For such was Christ before men, for and amongst men, and, as the Remnant declare in the latter day, esteemed nought by the Jew. Yet it was as a vicarious Victim, as they now acknowledge, and, as we, blessed be the God of all grace, acknowledge beforehand, who first trusted (proelpikotas) in Christ.

- 3. The "Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" is the same as "surely he hath borne our griefs, and our sorrows he hath carried them" - kho-li (grief) and mak'o-voth (sorrows). This we know from Matthew is applied to His healing their diseases and sicknesses. The Lord that healed them entered, as Man, into all the sorrows of which they had to be healed. Then came their thinking Him "stricken and smitten of God" - the last word is that used elsewhere for "smiting" - mukeh (smitten of). I think, the hu ("He," verse 5) does not give "yet He." It is much more emphatic. Kholayenu hu nasa (He hath borne our griefs) v'hu m'kholal, etc. (and He was wounded), etc. This gives the force of "and" (vav). He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and He was wounded for their transgressions. They had esteemed the hand of God out against Himself, as under God's displeasure Himself, but "because of the transgression of my people" the stroke (nega, verse 8) was upon Him.

- 6. This is the faith of Israel's Remnant in the latter day (as of us now). It was for the people, but not for that nation only, but being made an offering for sin, the stroke of Jehovah being upon Him, He should see of the travail of His soul, many should be justified, and thus and therefore He should be exalted. Thereon and thereafter, Jerusalem should be exalted, and elect, recognising that she had had more children while she was a widow and deserted, than when a married wife. Now she should inherit the Gentiles, and Jehovah be her Husband - being called as a woman deserted never to be rebuked any more; chapter 54:9.

53  - 10. "And Jehovah was pleased to bruise him, he put him to grief" (che-cheli). Thus the grief went on up to the Cross - then comes in its full force. "If his soul shall make an offering for sin, Jehovah's pleasure shall prosper in his hand, and he shall see of the travail of his soul." "By his knowledge shall my righteous Servant lead many to righteousness, and he" (hu) "shall bear their iniquities."

- 11. "Instruct many in righteousness" - lead them into it - "and shall bear their iniquities." I suspect the translation here is "by His knowledge" (of Jehovah, God, the Lord) "shall my righteous Servant teach righteousness to the mass" (many), "and their iniquities He shall bear." It is the word and work of the maskilim (strong ones) where the very same word is used. For "Turn many," read "turn the many."

- 12. "He was reckoned among transgressors, and bore the sins of many, and supplicated for the transgressors." That the atonement is fully brought out is very clear - that they were wrong in their estimate of it in unbelief, equally so - that when stricken on the Cross, it was for the transgression of Jehovah's people is clear - but, I think, from verse 4 we see, compared with Matthew, there was an entering into Israel's sorrows which went on to the Cross. The sorrows and grief were not merely the contradiction of sinners, for He bore them and carried theirs. That was added - "they hid their faces from him" (if that be the sense) - "He was cut off from the land of the living" - but the stroke was on Him for the transgression of Jehovah's people. I get the fact - their false estimate of it - His taking their sorrow on Him - their using this to turn away from Him - and atonement.

Isaiah 54

The millennial glory of the Jewish Remnant, noticing the attempt against her.

- 5. "The God of the whole earth," elohe kol ha-aretz; note this.

54  - 13. All her children should be taught of the Lord.

- 14, 15. No power shall be against her, though, indeed, they should gather together against her, but no more by the Lord.

Isaiah 55

The resurrection, security and blessedness of the new Jerusalem, founded on the resurrection of Christ, and therefore now received into the heart by faith, as fully noticed elsewhere.

Christ is here viewed as risen; see chapter 53:10, and becomes a source of life to "everyone that thirsteth" - calls in grace, establishes the sure mercies of David; see Acts 13:34. He is a Witness - a Leader to the people. Nations shall run, that knew not, to Him, because the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, had glorified Him.

This it seems to me, however, speaks of Christ in His relationship with Israel, and therefore He adds, "If God" (as such, for it so was) "be glorified in him," the Son of man, "God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him." But here it is resurrection and glory with Israel. We can introduce much more, but this grace, and call by grace, leads to summons to repentance, and "Seek the Lord while near," and the assurance, largeness, and certain accomplishment of the word of promise in blessing, so that this blessing should be to the Lord for a name - He should be known by this.

Isaiah 56

He returns, therefore, in this chapter, specifically, to the Remnant in the latter day, but founded on the basis of grace in Christ, now known, and fully laid and declared in the midst of the sin of Israel, the blindness of her watchmen, i.e., blessing shown in taking away the righteous, the great iniquity of Israel going to the king, debasing herself to hell - God's care of the humble and contrite, and in grace, having seen Israel's ways, He will heal, for He creates "the fruit of the lips." But, again, after Christ fully explained, we have the Remnant, and "no peace to the wicked"; see chapter 48:22.

This, and the three following chapters, is God's view of what the Jewish Remnant would have been on His precepts, and according to His plan, and what it was in and by its failure. The end of this, however, is in chapter 59, verse 15 to the end; and thereupon, in chapter 60 we enter into the fruit and power of His work in and for His own.

55 Isaiah 57

From chapter 49 to the end of this chapter, we have a complete development of the Messiah, but labouring in vain in Israel, object of much larger counsels - thereon, His humiliation, death, exaltation, saving of many, glory of Israel, and, again, return to the Remnant. "Listen, O isles, unto me," is one of the keys in this, for, in fact, only in Christ can the isles be thus brought in, whether during the absence of Israel (lo-ammim) or when Israel also is gathered, as is supposed here, as to the prophetic import of this; for direct vicarious efficacy is supposed for them in chapter 53, yet warranting call to the Gentiles in virtue of the rights of Christ, "Though Israel be not gathered," quod nota, for here the ministry of Paul, and, after him, of this dispensation, comes in.

And note here, in passing, gifts are not merely Pentecostal, founded on the exaltation of Christ the Man, but connected with the unity of the Body with Christ. For Paul's commission was, distinctively, "Though Israel be not gathered." He became one "born out of due time," as though that was in him only. Peter was not so; he was as if the promises were accomplished, or accomplishing for the Remnant, before the exaltation of Israel among the Gentiles. He had his mission founded on this - Messiah exalted, and the promise of Joel, before the day, accomplished. So, also, he proposes the return of Messiah. Hence it is evident that the mystery of the Church was a properly new revelation, not an accomplishment of promise, as all Peter's service. "God hath accomplished to us their children," as Paul says himself - "according to the righteousness of God our Saviour."

Isaiah 58

We have another prophecy from this chapter to the end of chapter 60. It is properly the spirit of prophecy which speaks of the moral state of the people before Jehovah. If this had not been their then state, it could not have been addressed then to them. So Paul uses it to convict the Jews, as such, but it treats of their latter end when again in their land, "while it is yet called to-day." Thus this chapter charges them with their sins, supposes profession and form of piety, with evil. Whereas, were it true in the Spirit of grace, and real love to the poor of the flock, they would have enjoyed the favour of the Lord, and He would have given them the heritage of Jacob their father.

56 Isaiah 59

The state of ruin (which, after all, in those days will be felt by all) is here accounted for. The Lord's arm was not shortened, His ear not heavy, but their iniquities had separated between Him and them.

In verse 12 the Spirit of prophecy becomes a Spirit of confession, and weighs in sorrow its extent, and so rises (v. 15) into the necessity of the Lord's intervention, for man there was none. Therefore His arm brought salvation, His righteousness sustained Him; compare chapter 51. Thus His glory became, in action, necessarily grace, though in the execution of judgment against the wicked. This makes the difference from glory in grace, in this dispensation. Thus the name of the Lord is known from the West, and His glory from the rising of the sun. The Gentiles will be judged.

The speciality of Jerusalem is then brought out in this deliverance. The enemy comes in like a flood - the Spirit of the Lord lifts up a standard against him, quod nota, for here is a work of the Spirit before the Redeemer comes to Zion. Then the Redeemer comes. Thenceforth the Spirit in the prophet, and in Christ, for it was the Spirit of Christ in them, and the words which Jehovah had put in His mouth (for He whom Jehovah had sent, speaks the words of Jehovah) would not depart out of the mouth of Israel, the Remnant with whom Christ is here identified. The prophet being thus addressed, "nor from his seed" - for such they are accounted, children God had given him, a seed who should serve Him, keeping the words of Jehovah, by Christ, for ever - the Spirit upon them, and Christ's words in their mouth for ever - this was their state.

57 Isaiah 60

We have here not the moral state only, but the glory of Jerusalem as to her own (v. 4) then as to the Gentiles, as to the Lord Himself, her glory, and that everlasting - her people all righteous - the branch of Jehovah's planting, that He might be glorified. She was the place of Jehovah's feet. His sanctuary would be established there, and all woods of cost brought for its embellishment, even from far. He Himself would be her Sun, her everlasting Light. Note it was to be her light. The Gentiles were to come to her rising. The comparison with Revelation 21:22, is evident in all its parts, but there there is no temple. It is not the place of God's feet - He is the Temple there, and the Lamb.

Notice the difference between the heavenly Jerusalem (Rev. 21 and 22) and the Jewish, or earthly, given in this and the following chapter, not only in the difference of immediate glory, but the former is risen in glory (of righteousness and true holiness) - all grace. Most blessed is the account! Read and study it yet! Also put together what is the portion in the city (Rev. 22) with what the city is. Grace and glory be unto Him who has given, and made it! (2 Cor. 1:20). Nothing can be more blessed than the picture there (Rev. 21 and 22) of matured holiness in grace, and this brought out into accomplishment in itself, and then overflowing in grace towards others. The tincture of grace runs through it all. Adam was complete in that little sphere, so blessed, but then it ended; blessed as it was, there was no flowing out there. It was not the matured blessedness of communion - unity with the fulness of God through grace. In Jerusalem there shall be display of glory, but glory suited to the dealing with them. Righteousness shall be its character. But the Church! The Church knows grace. My God, what hast Thou done in Christ, given in the Cross! What hast Thou given us in the revelation of Thyself! May the secret of God be in our souls! May He be our secret! And, my God, Thou knowest the rest, may I know it, have it! Oh! that I might, may be kept there, and that be kept with me, through grace! That is what I pray for, but I say, "Thy will be done." May the fulness and grace of Christ be exalted!

58 Isaiah 61

Here we have that which especially characterises this dispensation - the Person and character of Him who is the great instrument whereby it is effected, and as were stated accordingly in His teachings, as well as His full manifestation with the fruits as dispensationally shown.

- 10. Christ, in Spirit, speaks in the name of Jerusalem, and His people.

Christ takes up the character of messenger of glad tidings to Jerusalem, to Zion. He is anointed of the Lord Jehovah to this purpose, to comfort thus the mourners. We know that the Lord Jesus cites this up to "Acceptable year of the Lord." He could not yet say "The day of vengeance of our God." But without this distinction, yet made, which involved (as we shall see, further on) the judgment of the mass of the nation, and its new creation, all the results of this message, and interference in grace, are recounted, so as to make "righteousness and praise to spring forth before all nations." All will have seen that they are "the seed which Jehovah has blessed" - these mourners, now more than comforted, instruments of praise.

Isaiah 62

In this chapter we have Christ's intercession, His putting the spirit of intercession in the watchmen on her walls (The Lord grant it to the Church - His Church!) and the effect is declared, for He will not cease till all is accomplished, and He sets the watchmen in the same position.

- 8. The oath of the Lord, now revealed, secures the blessing for ever, and this in face of the world.

Note here, there is a Remnant, having the Spirit of Christ viewed as a Jew, who are the Lord's remembrancers till He bless Zion fully.

This chapter calls out the special supplication of the Spirit, as in the prophet, for the Remnant, calling also upon those in whom the Spirit was to exercise this function, on the declaration of the Lord's promise associating it with the coming of Him who should come. In the list of mercied they are brought together - the Remnant, people, city, and Messiah the Lord.

59 Isaiah 63

To verse 6, this chapter declares the manner of its accomplishment - that He found none of the people ready to assist Him, and He trod the wine press of vengeance alone, on the infidel peoples; it would seem that it was of them, not including the Jews. There was ein-ish (no man) with Him, am-mim (of the peoples). So the LXX, kai ton ethnon ouk estin aner met'emou (and of the nations there is not a man with Me), and I think, the reason for their not being called go-im (nations) is evident. From verse 7, this naturally calls out the expression of the continuity of the Lord's love and kindness towards Israel, recapitulating the necessitude of the Lord's love, and calling for exercise of it upon the ground of its former manifestation, drawing out in chapter 64 the earnest intercession of the Remnant in Spirit, i.e., the Jews, with the Lord of its salvation.

- 6. To the end of this verse we have the day of vengeance, in which Messiah, the Lord Jesus, executes vengeance in Bozrah against the peoples, according to chapter 61:2 - alone, amidst the peoples, in this work.

- 7. This commences another subject - the holy and humble expression of the Spirit of grace and truth in humiliation, acknowledging grace and owning their state and evil, and counting on the favour of God towards His people, while owning all their desert in evil. This goes on down to chapter 64:12.

Isaiah 64

It is well to note the words "me," and "us," and "them," which are found in this address, showing the manner in which the Spirit of Christ identifies Him with, and yet speaks for and in the people. First, the Lord will count upon His people, for He saw and enters into their affliction. In chapter 63:15, "Me," for He recognises this grace in confessing their infidelity, and will now confide in Jehovah, whatever their condition, and Christ can say "Me," and "them," and "the people of thy holiness" (v. 18), and therefore demand the intervention of God, notwithstanding the wickedness of the people, for none has known what awaits him who, in confidence works righteousness. Further they would be but as "clay in the hand of the potter" chap. 64:8. And they present the sorrows of the people, the "holy and beautiful house," "the holy cities," to the eyes of Him who had formerly delivered them Would He yet refrain Himself, yet hold His peace? But this appeal opens out the occasion for the Lord to reveal His definitive judgment, and His ways in general, and how His grace had acted.

60 Isaiah 65

Here we have a distinct revelation of the intermediate operation of God's grace, its reasons and principles. The application of the first two verses, though Paul might well feel willing to stop there, are too well known to need comment. We have then the contrast between the natural people of the Jews and God's elect, with the inheritance now to be fulfilled to these. The identification too would appear of the former with the spirit of infidelity manifested in the latter days, giving them the general corporate character, and their portion whose spirit and infidelity were thus and then manifested under the eye of the prophet, even in those days, and thus therefore applied to their consciences, for their rejection was now beginning.

We have then, first, grace to them "that sought him not," and that "asked not after him" - a nation not named by His name. Inconceivable patience with a rebellious people that walked in the way of their own thoughts! Jehovah then declares His judgment, the judgment He is forced to execute on the iniquities of them and their fathers.

- 8. Here the Remnant is separated. Jehovah acts in His name of might and majesty, and He brings forth out of Jacob and Judah (out of all this evil) for He is supreme, a Seed, an Inheritor, His elect, His servants. Here the names of Jesus are given, attached to the Remnant, and peace and security shall be for His people that have sought Him, for it is not now, as verse 1, for the Gentiles, though grace more wonderful yet, nevertheless, as to His people led to seek Him.

- 11. He reverts to those whom He judges, and contrasts them with the servants, and, as a whole, they are entirely set aside, and His servants called by another name, and God's promises are thus accomplished, and an answer, beyond their thoughts, given to the demand; chap. 64. It was a new creation, and pure grace of the creating supremacy of God, but accomplished all His promises. To the end of chapter 65 this state of things is described - the result of an entirely new establishment and order in heaven and earth. It was a system of secure earthly blessing, and of judgment withal, so that evil was not permitted, God rejoicing in His people and joying in Jerusalem. The actual judgment which introduces it is given in the next chapter.

61 Isaiah 66

The forms of piety will be among the Jews - the House, and sacrifices - but the Lord rejects them all. He looks, in His elect, to a humble and contrite spirit that trembles at His Word. They were despised by those who abused His name, but, from the temple and city they trusted in, the Lord judges them, and Zion then brought forth her children, and was blessed and glorified. The Lord comes to do this (v. 15) - assembles all nations - pleads with all flesh, with "fire and sword" - the slain are "the slain of the Lord."

The end of this chapter presented considerable difficulty - to know who it was that escaped of them - Jews or Gentiles? But there is an intentional mixing, or leaving of the confusion that they have made. I had not sufficiently regarded the persons addressed as "you." There is a residue distinct among the Jews, before the judgment, from the mass, and of the mass others are spared as a residue. But these last were all mingled together, and with the wicked Gentiles also. "Ye" and "your," all through the chapter, designate those who are spoken of as "trembling at God's word," while nothing was decided. Then it is said "your joy," "they shall be ashamed." Then the Lord "renders recompense to his enemies."

- 13, 14. "Ye shall be comforted" - "His servants," see chapter 65:13. Also "indignation against his enemies."

- 15, 16. All flesh is to be judged.

- 17, 18. The character of the Jews who have turned away, and become enemies. They are known, and the Lord provides for His own glory (they were not witnesses to it, though they said, perhaps, "Let the Lord be glorified") all flesh should come and see it.

- 19. They that are spared of the Jews, who were joined lo the Gentiles (for though two were in one bed, one should be taken and the other left) perhaps Gentiles also, seeing the judgment was on "all flesh," would go and declare the Lord's glory among the Gentiles (but this was not, properly speaking, the faithful Remnant) and the Gentiles shall bring "your brethren."

62  - 22, 23, 24. We have the contrast between the unbelieving Jews and the Remnant, shown again with the force of the terrible judgment of God. The contrast, all through, is between the Remnant and the unfaithful; the assembly of the nations comes in by the bye, to show to them, in judgment, the difference between the faithful and the other Jews - those who mourned in Zion, and those who haughtily joined the Gentiles, and apostate, and despised them. And thus, while Israel failed to be witness, and, on the contrary, joined the Gentiles, and thus left nothing to the faithful who could not lift up the mass, but to mourn and tremble at God's word, God provides for His own glory, and makes the Gentile understand the difference in judging those who were joined to them, and setting up those who, desirous of His glory, were impeded by the evil from accomplishing it, or doing other than mourn. Their brethren were brought - all flesh should come - their "name" and "seed" should remain, and the rest should be an abhorring to all flesh; only some would have escaped to tell the tale of this judgment, and bring up the others scattered far and wide (brethren of the faithful), and cause the Gentiles to come up to see the glory of the Lord, and the distinguished blessing of this residue in Him - the glory they had loved and desired. So, changing heaven for earth, will it be for the faithful Remnant who love the glory of Christ, and mourn, in the Church, as to the Church itself. "You" and "them" these, are the residue, and the other Jews. These other Jews join the Gentiles, and are mingled up in their evil, perhaps, though they have their own proper, and if Gentiles are spared of those with whom they are mingled, it is accidental and of grace by the bye. The Jews spared are forced to be the witnesses of the acceptance, and right judgment of those they had despised, but who are now comforted, and owned of the Lord - the others, transgressors, were an abhorring to all. The Remnant in the Church, which is faithful, which has kept the word of God's patience, will be kept from the "hour of temptation which shall come," etc., and those "who call themselves Jews but are not" shall own that God had loved them - this faithful Remnant.

This chapter is very instructive and solemn too, light being thus shown on it; verses 6-16 are a sort of proclamation - verse 17 resumes the question between "you" and "they." Verses 8-15 of chapter 65 give the revelation of the two classes among the people - chapter 66 gives the consequences - their state in general, and the Lord's ways having been given in answer to the appeal of chapters 63 and 64.