Isaiah 14:2
And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the LORD for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) The people shall take them . . .—Literally, the peoples. In Ezra 1:1-4; Ezra 6:7-8, we have what answered, in a measure, to the picture thus drawn; but here, as elsewhere, the words paint an ideal to which there has been as yet no historical reality fully corresponding. No period of later Jewish history has beheld the people ruling over a conquered race; and if we claim a real fulfilment of the last clause of the verse, it is only in the sense in which the Latin poet said that Grœcia capta ferum victorem cepit (Horat. Ep. II. i. 156). The triumph of Israel has, so far, been found in that of its leading ideas, and in the victory of the faith of Christ. In Isaiah 56:3 the proselyte appears as admitted on terms of equality, here on those of subjugation.

Isaiah 14:2. And the people shall take them, &c. — They shall provide them with all necessary accommodations for their journey: see Ezra 4:1. And Israel shall possess them for servants — Those of the Chaldeans who left their own country for the sake of religion, and went along with the Jews into Judea, would probably be content to live among them in an inferior condition, and give them the benefit of their service. Or, the meaning may be, that many of the Jewish people should be in such circumstances as to be able to procure servants in the land where they were captives, and to take them with them into their own land as their servants. So that the people of the country where they had been captives, became captives or servants to the Jews, in their own land; who might therefore be said strictly to rule over those who had oppressed them. But, without question, these words have a further meaning in them, and point at those times under the gospel, when the apostles, and other ministers of Christ, who were of the Jewish nation, should conquer a great part of the Gentile world, and subject them to the worship of the true God, obedience to the Jewish Messiah, and the laws of Christianity.14:1-23 The whole plan of Divine Providence is arranged with a view to the good of the people of God. A settlement in the land of promise is of God's mercy. Let the church receive those whom God receives. God's people, wherever their lot is cast, should endeavour to recommend religion by a right and winning conversation. Those that would not be reconciled to them, should be humbled by them. This may be applied to the success of the gospel, when those were brought to obey it who had opposed it. God himself undertakes to work a blessed change. They shall have rest from their sorrow and fear, the sense of their present burdens, and the dread of worse. Babylon abounded in riches. The king of Babylon having the absolute command of so much wealth, by the help of it ruled the nations. This refers especially to the people of the Jews; and it filled up the measure of the king of Babylon's sins. Tyrants sacrifice their true interest to their lusts and passions. It is gracious ambition to covet to be like the Most Holy, for he has said, Be ye holy, for I am holy; but it is sinful ambition to aim to be like the Most High, for he has said, He who exalts himself shall be abased. The devil thus drew our first parents to sin. Utter ruin should be brought upon him. Those that will not cease to sin, God will make to cease. He should be slain, and go down to the grave; this is the common fate of tyrants. True glory, that is, true grace, will go up with the soul to heaven, but vain pomp will go down with the body to the grave; there is an end of it. To be denied burial, if for righteousness' sake, may be rejoiced in, Mt 5:12. But if the just punishment of sin, it denotes that impenitent sinners shall rise to everlasting shame and contempt. Many triumphs should be in his fall. God will reckon with those that disturb the peace of mankind. The receiving the king of Babylon into the regions of the dead, shows there is a world of spirits, to which the souls of men remove at death. And that souls have converse with each other, though we have none with them; and that death and hell will be death and hell indeed, to all who fall unholy, from the height of this world's pomps, and the fulness of its pleasures. Learn from all this, that the seed of evil-doers shall never be renowned. The royal city is to be ruined and forsaken. Thus the utter destruction of the New Testament Babylon is illustrated, Re 18:2. When a people will not be made clean with the besom of reformation, what can they expect but to be swept off the face of the earth with the besom of destruction?And the people shall take them - That is, the people in Babylon.

And bring them to their place - That is, they shall attend them to the land of Judea, and aid in restoring them to their own country. There is reference here, doubtless, to the fact that Cyrus would assist them (compare Ezra 1:1-11), and that many of the inhabitants of Chaldea who would become proselytes, would be willing to accompany them to their own land.

And the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord - Not in a foreign land, and among strangers and foes, but in their own land, and among the institutions of their own religion. They would be willing to return with them, and occupy a humble place among them, as servants, for the sake of enjoying the privileges of the true religion. It was a matter of course among the Hebrews, that proselytes would be regarded as occupying a less elevated place in society than native-born Jews.

And they shall take them captive ... - That is, they shall induce them to become proselytes; to be willing to accompany them to their own homes, and to become their servants there. It does not mean that they would subdue them by force; but they would be able, by their influence there, to disarm their opposition; and to induce them to become the friends of their religion.

And they shall rule over their oppressors - This is one instance where the people of God would show that they could disarm their oppressors by a mild and winning demeanour, and in which they would be able to induce others to join with them. Such would be the force of their example and conduct, of their conversation and of their deportment, even in the midst of proud and haughty Babylon, that their oppressors would be won to embrace the religion of their captives. If, in proud and haughty Babylon, those who loved the Lord could thus do good; if, when they were "captives," they could have such an influence over their haughty masters, where is there a place in which the friends of God may not be useful by their example, their conversation, and their prayers?

2. the people—of Babylon, primarily. Of the whole Gentile world ultimately (Isa 49:22; 66:20; 60:9).

their place—Judea (Ezr 1:1-6).

possess—receive in possession.

captives—not by physical, but by moral might; the force of love, and regard to Israel's God (Isa 60:14).

Which they might do literally, and sometimes did, after their return into their own land, either by their power with the Persian monarchs, as in the days of Cyrus and Darius, and especially of Ahasuerus; or by their own prowess, as in the time of the Maccabees. But this was more evidently and eminently verified in a spiritual sense, in the days of the gospel, when the apostles and other ministers, who were of the Jewish nation, conquered a great part of the Gentile world to the worship and obedience of their Messiah. And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place,.... That is, the people among whom the Jews dwelt in Babylon, who had a kindness for them, and especially such of them as were proselyted to their religion should attend them in their journey home, and supply them with all necessaries for provision and carriage, as they were allowed to do by the edict of Cyrus, Ezra 1:4 and this will have a further accomplishment in the latter day, when the Gentiles shall bring their sons and daughters in their arms, and on their shoulders, and on horses, and in chariots, to Jerusalem, Isaiah 49:21 which last passage Kimchi refers to, as explanative of this:

and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord, for servants and handmaids; by the "land of the Lord" is meant the land of Israel, which was peculiarly his; for though the whole earth is his, yet he chose this above all others for the place of his worship, under the former dispensation; and where his son, in the fulness of time, should appear in human nature, preach the Gospel, perform miracles, and work out the salvation of his people; and where his feet shall stand at the latter day, when he comes to judge the world; this is the same with Immanuel's land, Isaiah 8:8 hither many of the Chaldeans coming along with the Jews, and having embraced their religion, chose rather to be servants and handmaids to them, than to return to their own land, and who were a kind of inheritance or possession to the Jews; though some think that these were such as they bought of the Babylonians, that came with them to be their servants, and not they themselves. It may be understood of Gentile converts in Gospel times, who would willingly and cheerfully engage in the service of the church of God, and by love serve his people, and one another. Kimchi explains this clause by Isaiah 61:5,

and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors: that is, the Babylonians, who had carried the Jews captive, should be taken captives by them, and made slaves of; which might be true of those they bought of them, when they returned to their own land; or, as some think, this had its accomplishment in the times of the Maccabees, when they conquered many people, who before had carried them captive, and oppressed them; and in a spiritual and mystical sense has been fulfilled in the times of the Gospel, through the spread of it in the Gentile world, by the ministry of the apostles, who were Jews; by which means many of the nations of the world were brought to the obedience of Christ and his church.

And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the LORD for {c} servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors.

(c) Signifying that the Jews would be superior to the Gentiles and that they would be brought under the service of Christ by the preaching of the Apostles, by which all are brought to the subjection of Christ, 2Co 10:5.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. And the people] And peoples (ch. Isaiah 49:22 f.).

shall possess them] Lit. “serve themselves heirs to them” (Leviticus 25:46). For the idea cf. ch. Isaiah 60:10; Isaiah 60:14, Isaiah 61:5.

they shall take them captives, whose captives they were] Jdg 5:12.Verse 2. - And the people shall take them; rather, peoples shall take them. The heathen nations among whom they have dwelt shall rejoice at the restoration of Israel to their own land, and even escort them in a friendly spirit to their borders (comp. Ezra 1:4, 6; Nehemiah 2:7-9). Some shall go so far as voluntarily to become their bondservants in Palestine. They shall take them captive, whose captives they were. This can scarcely have been intended literally. The Jews were at no time a conquering people, nor one that set itself to "take captives." The true meaning is that Jewish ideas shall penetrate and subdue the nations generally, and among them those with whom Israel had dwelt as captives. The Jews did become very powerful and numerous both in Assyria and Babylonia about the first century after Christ, and Christian Churches were early formed in Mesopotamia, Adiabene, and even Babylon. "And bows dash down young men; and they have no compassion on the fruit of the womb: their eye has no pity on children." The bows do not stand for the bowmen (see Isaiah 21:17), but the bows of the latter dash the young men to the ground by means of the arrows shot from them. They did not spare the fruit of the womb, since they ripped up the bodies of those that were with child (2 Kings 8:12; 2 Kings 15:16, etc.). Even towards children they felt no emotion of compassionate regard, such as would express itself in the eye: chuus, to feel, more especially to feel with another, i.e., to sympathize; here and in Ezekiel 5:11 it is ascribed to the eye as the mirror of the soul (compare the Arabic chasyet el-‛ain ala fulânin, carefulness of eye for a person: Hariri, Comment. p. 140). With such inhuman conduct on the part of the foe, the capital of the empire becomes the scene of a terrible conflagration.
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