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The prophet opens this chapter with ardent prayers that the happy period of reconciliation just now promised, and here again foretold, may be hastened, Isaiah 62:1-5. He then calls upon the faithful, particularly the priests and Levites, to join him, urging the promises, and even the oath, of Jehovah, as the foundation of their request, Isaiah 62:6-9. And, relying on this oath, he goes on to speak of the general restoration promised, as already performing; and calls to the people to march forth, and to the various nations among whom they are dispersed to prepare the way for them, as God had caused the order for their return to be universally proclaimed, Isaiah 62:10-12.
For Zion‘s sake will I not hold my peace - These are the words of Jehovah declaring his purpose relative to the events predicted in the preceding chapter.
Thou shalt be called by a new name - Viz., Christian - or, as in the fourth verse, חפצי בה (chephtsi bah), “my delight is in her” - because she has now received that command, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; Hear Him.”
Thy land Beulah - בעולה (beulah), married. In the prophets, a desolate land is represented under the notion of a widow; an inhabited land, under that of a married woman, who has both a husband and children.
For as a young man - so - The particles of comparison are not at present in the Hebrew Text: but the Septuagint, Syriac, and Chaldee seem to have read in their copies כ (caph) prefixed to the verb, כי כיבעל (ki keyibal) which seems to have been omitted by mistake of a transcriber, occasioned by the repetition of the same two letters. And before the verb in the second line a MS. adds כן (ken), so; which the Septuagint, Syriac, and Chaldee seem also to have had in their copies. In the third line of this verse the same MS. has in like manner וכמשוש (vechimsos), and two MSS. and the Babylonish Talmud כמשוש (kimsos), adding the כ (caph); and in the fourth line, the Babylonish Talmud likewise adds כן (ken), so, before the verb.
Sir John Chardin, in his note on this place, tells us, “that it is the custom in the east for youths, that were never married, always to marry virgins; and widowers, however young, to marry widows.” - Harmer, Observ. 2 p. 482.
So shall thy sons marry thee - For בניך (banayich), thy sons, Bishop Lowth reads, restorer or builder, as he does not consider the word as the plural of בן (ben), a son, but the participle (benoni) of the verb בנה (banah), he built. I do not see that we gain much by this translation. Thy sons shall dwell in thee, Vulgate; and so the Septuagint and Chaldee.
Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence - The faithful, and in particular the priests and Levites, are exhorted by the prophet to beseech God with unremitted importunity (compare Luke 18:1, etc.) to hasten the redemption of Sion. The image in this place is taken from the temple service; in which there was appointed a constant watch, day and night, by the Levites: and among them this seems to have belonged particularly to the singers, see 1 Chronicles 9:33. Now the watches in the east, even to this day, are performed by a loud cry from time to time of the watchmen, to mark the time, and that very frequently, and in order to show that they themselves are constantly attentive to their duty. Hence the watchmen are said by the prophet, Isaiah 52:8, to lift up their voice; and here they are commanded, not to keep silence; and the greatest reproach to them is, that they are dumb dogs; they cannot bark; dreamers; sluggards, loving to slumber, Isaiah 56:10. “The watchmen in the camp of the caravans go their rounds crying one after another, ‹God is one, he is merciful:‘ and often add, ‹Take heed to yourselves.‘” Tavernier, Voyage de Perse, 54:1 chap. 10. The hundred and thirty-fourth Psalm gives us an example of the temple watch. The whole Psalm is nothing more than the alternate cry of two different divisions of the watch. The first watch addresses the second, reminding them of their duty; the second answers by a solemn blessing. The address and the answer seem both to be a set form, which each division proclaimed, or sung aloud, at stated intervals, to notify the time of the night: -
“Come on now, bless ye Jehovah, all ye servants of Jehovah;
Ye that stand in the house of Jehovah in the nights;
Lift up your hands towards the sanctuary,
And bless ye Jehovah.”
“Jehovah bless thee out of Sion;
He that made heaven and earth.”
“Ye who stand in the place of the watch, in the house of the sanctuary of the Lord; and ye praise through the nights;” - says the Chaldee paraphrase on the second line. And this explains what is here particularly meant by proclaiming, or making remembrance of, the name of Jehovah: the form, which the watch made use of on these occasions, was always a short sentence, expressing some pious sentiment, of which Jehovah was the subject; and it is remarkable, that the custom in the east in this respect also still continues the very same; as appears by the example above given from Tavernier.
And this observation leads to the explanation of an obscure passage in the Prophet Malachi, Malachi 2:12.
“Jehovah will cut off the man that doeth this;
The watchman and the answerer, from the tabernacles of Jacob;
And him that presenteth an offering to Jehovah God of hosts.”
ער וענה (er veoneh), the master and the scholar, says our translation, after the Vulgate: the son and the grandson, says the Syriac and Chaldee, as little to the purpose: Arias Montanus has given it vigilantem et respondentem, “the watchman and the answerer;” that is, the Levite and “him that presenteth an offering to Jehovah,” that is, the priest. - L. Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence. Is not this clause an address to the ministers of Christ, to continue in supplication for the conversion of the Jewish people? Kimchi seems to think that the watchmen are the interceding angels!
But they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the Lord - This and the following line have reference to the law of Moses: “Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn, or of thy wine, or of thy oil; but thou must eat them before the Lord thy God, in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose,” Deuteronomy 12:17, Deuteronomy 12:18. “And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised: three years it shall be as uncircumcised unto you; it shall not be eaten of. But in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy to praise the Lord withal. And in the fifth year ye shall eat the fruit thereof,” Leviticus 19:23-25. This clearly explains the force of the expressions, “shall praise Jehovah,” and “shall drink it in my sacred courts.”
Five MSS., one ancient, have יאכלוהו (yocheluhu), they shall eat it, fully expressed: and so likewise ישתוהו (yishtuhu), they shall drink it, is found in nineteen MSS., three of them ancient. - L.
Of the people “For the people” - Before the word העם (haam), the people, two MSS. insert יהוה (Yehovah); one MS. adds the same word after; and eight MSS., three ancient, instead of העם (haam), have יהוה (Yehovah), and so likewise one edition. But though it makes a good sense either way, I believe it to be an interpolation, as the ancient Versions do not favor it. The Septuagint indeed read עמי (ammi), my people. - L.
Unto the end of the world - אל קצה הארץ (el ketseh haarets) - Instead of אל (el), to, עד (ad), Unto, is the reading of two of Kennicott‘s MSS.; and one of mine has מקצה (mikketseh), “From the end of the earth.”
Behold, thy salvation cometh “Lo, thy Savior cometh” - So all the ancient Versions render the word ישעך (yishech).
Behold, his reward - See note on Isaiah 40:10, Isaiah 40:11. This reward he carries as it were in his hand. His work is before him - he perfectly knows what is to be done; and is perfectly able to do it. He will do what God should do, and what man cannot do; and men should be workers with him. Let no man fear that the promise shall not be fulfilled on account of its difficulty, its greatness, the hinderances in the way, or the unworthiness of the person to whom it is made. It is God‘s work; he is able to do it, and as willing as he is able.
They shall call them - These characteristics seem to be put in their inverted order. -
1.God will not forsake them.
2.They shall be sought out.
3.They shall be redeemed. And,
4.Be in consequence a holy people.
1. When God calls, it is a proof that he has not forsaken.
2. When he seeks, it is a proof he is waiting to be gracious.
3. When the atonement is exhibited, all things are then ready.
4. And when that is received, holiness of heart and life is then to be kept continually in view, as this is the genuine work of God‘s Spirit; and without holiness none shall see the Lord.