Isaiah 35:8
And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) An highway shall be there.—The raised causeway, as distinct from the common paths. (See Judges 5:6.) We are still in the region of parables, but the thought has a special interest as a transition, at the close of the first volume of Isaiah’s writings, to the opening of the second. The use of the road has been referred, by some interpreters, to the return of the exiles from Babylon. Rather is it the road by which the pilgrims of all nations shall journey to the mountain of the Lord’s house (Isaiah 2:1).

The way of holiness . . .—The name of the road confirms the interpretation just given. There was to be a true Via Sacra to the earthly temple, as the type of that eternal Temple, not made with hands, which also was in the prophet’s thoughts. Along that road there would be no barbarous invaders polluting the ground they trod, no Jews ceremonially or spiritually unclean. The picture of the heavenly Jerusalem (Revelation 21:27) into which “there entereth nothing that defileth,” presents a like feature. It shall be for them, i.e. . . . It is appointed for those, for whosoever walketh therein (the Hebrew verb is in the singular). Then, in strict order, comes the final clause: Even the simple ones shall not lose their way. A curious parallel is found in Ecclesiastes 10:15, where “he knoweth not how to go to the city,” is one of the notes of the man who is void of understanding.

Isaiah

THE KING’S HIGHWAY

Isaiah 35:8 - Isaiah 35:9
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We can fancy what it is to be lost in a forest where a traveller may ride round in a circle, thinking he is advancing, till he dies. But it is as easy to be lost in a wilderness, where there is nothing to see, as in a wood where one can see nothing. And there is something even more ghastly in being lost below the broad heavens in the open face of day than ‘in the close covert of innumerous boughs.’ The monotonous swells of the sand-heaps, the weary expanse stretching right away to the horizon, no land-marks but the bleaching bones of former victims, the gigantic sameness, the useless light streaming down, and in the centre one tiny, black speck toiling vainly, rushing madly hither and thither-a lost man-till he desperately flings himself down and lets death bury him, that is the one picture suggested by the text. The other is of that same wilderness, but across it a mighty king has flung up a broad, lofty embankment, a highway raised above the sands, cutting across them so conspicuously that even an idiot could not help seeing it, so high above the land around that the lion’s spring falls far beneath it, and the supple tiger skulks baffled at its base. It is like one of those roads which the terrible energy of conquering Rome carried straight as an arrow from the milestone in the Forum over mountains, across rivers and deserts, morasses and forests, to flash along them the lightning of her legions, and over whose solid blocks we travel to-day in many a land.

The prophet has seen in his vision the blind and deaf cured, the capacities of human nature destroyed by sin restored. He has told us that this miraculous change has come from the opening of a spring of new life in the midst of man’s thirsty desert, and now he gets before us, in yet another image, another aspect of the glorious change which is to follow that coming of the Lord to save, which filled the farthest horizon of his vision. The desert shall have a plain path on which those diseased men who have been healed journey. Life shall no longer be trackless, but God will, by His coming, prepare paths that we should walk in them; and as He has given the lame man power to walk, so will he also provide the way by which His happy pilgrims will journey to their home.

I. The pathless wandering of godless lives.

The old, old comparison of life to a journey is very natural and very pathetic. It expresses life’s ceaseless change; every day carries us into a new scene, every day the bends of the road shut out some happy valley where we fain would have rested, every day brings new faces, new associations, new difficulties, and even if the same recur, yet it is with such changes that they are substantially new, and of each day’s march it is true, even when life is most monotonous, that ‘ye have not passed this way heretofore.’ It expresses life’s ceaseless effort and constant plodding. To-day’s march does not secure to-morrow’s rest, but, however footsore and weary, we have to move on, like some child dragged along by a careless nurse. It expresses the awful crumbling away of life beneath us. The road has an end, and each step takes us nearer to it. The numbers that face us on the milestones slowly and surely decrease; we pass the last and on we go, tramp, tramp, and we cannot stop till we reach the narrow chamber, cold and dark, where, at any rate, we have got the long march over.

But to many men, the journey of life is one which has no definite direction deliberately chosen, which has no all-inclusive aim, which has no steady progress. There may be much running hither and thither, but it is as aimless as the marchings of a fly upon a window, as busy and yet as uncertain as that of the ants who bustle about on an ant-hill.

Now that is the idea, which our text implies, of all the activity of a godless life, that it is not a steady advance to a chosen goal, but a rushing up and down in a trackless desert, with many immense exertions all thrown away. Then, in contrast, it puts this great thought: that God has come to us and made for us a path for our feet.

II. The highway that God casts up.

Of course that coming we take to be Christ’s coming, and we have just to consider the manner in which His coming fulfils this great promise, and has made in the trackless wilderness a way for us to walk in.

1. Christ gives us a Definite Aim for Life. I know, of course, that men may have this apart from Him, definite enough in all conscience. But such aims are unworthy of men’s whole capacities. Not one of them is fit to be made the exclusive, all-embracing purpose of a life, and, taken together, they are so multifarious that in their diversity they come to be equal to none. How many we have all had! Most of us are like men who zig-zag about, chasing after butterflies! Nor are any such aims certain to be reached during life, and they all are certain to be lost at death.

Godless men are enticed on like some dumb creature lured to slaughter-house by a bunch of fodder-once inside, down comes the pole-axe.

But Christ gives us a definite aim which is worthy of a man, which includes all others; which binds this life and the next into one.

2. Christ gives us distinct knowledge of whither we should go. It is not enough to give general directions; we need to know what our next step is to be. It is of no avail that we see the shining turrets far off on the hill, if all the valleys between are unknown and trackless. Well: we have Him to point us our course. He is the exemplar-the true ideal of human nature. Hour by hour His pattern fits to our lives. True, we shall often be in perplexity, but that perplexity will clear itself by patient thought, by holding our wills in suspense till He speaks, and by an honest wish to go right. There will no longer be doubt as to what is our law, though there may be as to the application of it. We are not to be guided by men’s maxims, nor by the standards and patterns round us, but by Him.

3. Christ gives means by which we can reach the aim. He does so by supplying a stimulus to our activity, in the motive of His love; by the removal of the hindrances arising from sin, through His redeeming work; by the gifts of new life from His Spirit.

‘The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.’ But he that follows Jesus treads the right way to the city of habitation.

4. Christ goes with us. The obscure words, ‘It shall be for those’ are by some rendered, ‘He shall be with them,’ and we may take them so, as referring to the presence with His happy pilgrims of the Lord Himself. Perhaps Isaiah may have been casting back a thought to the desert march, where the pillar led the host. But at all events we have the same companion to ‘talk with us by the way,’ and make ‘our hearts burn within us,’ as had the two disconsolate pedestrians on the road to Emmaus. It is Jesus who goes before us, whether He leads us to green pastures and waters of quietness or through valleys of the shadow of death, and we can be smitten by no evil, since He is with us.

III. The travellers upon God’s highway.

Two conditions are laid down in the text. One is negative-the unclean can find no footing there. It is ‘the way of holiness,’ not only because holiness is in some sense the goal to which it leads, but still more, because only holy feet can tread it, holy at least in the travellers’ aspiration and inward consecration, though still needing to be washed daily. One is positive-it is ‘the simple’ who shall not err therein. They who distrust themselves and their own skill to find or force a path through life’s jungle, and trust themselves to higher guidance, are they whose feet will be kept in the way.

No lion or ravenous beast can spring or creep up thereon. Simple keeping on Christ’s highway elevates us above temptations and evils of all sorts, whether nightly prowlers or daylight foes.

This generation is boasting or complaining that old landmarks are blotted out, ancient paths broken, footmarks obliterated, stars hid, and mist shrouding the desert. But Christ still guides, and His promise still holds good: ‘He that followeth Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ The alternative for each ‘traveller between life and death’ is to tread in His footsteps or to ‘wander in the wilderness in a solitary way, hungry and thirsty,’ with fainting soul. Let us make the ancient prayer ours: ‘See if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’Isaiah 35:8. And a highway shall be there, and a way — The highway and the way are not to be taken for two different ways, but for one and the same way, even a cast-way, which is both raised ground, as the former Hebrew word מסלול signifies, and a way for persons to travel in, as the latter word here used means, both signifying a convenient, prepared, plain, and common road or path for travellers; namely, the way of truth and duty marked out by the gospel, which is the rule both of our faith and practice. “The knowledge of the truth and will of God,” says Mr. Scott, “when made very plain and clear to any people, is like casting up a highway through a country that was before impassable. The Gentile world was a desert, in this as well as in other respects; no highway to God, and heaven was to be there met with. But this advantage began to be vouchsafed to the nations when the gospel was sent to them,” and the way of duty was plainly marked out. And it shall be called, The way of holiness — Trodden by holy men, and filled with holy practices; the way of holy worship, and a holy conversation. The way of holiness is that course of religious duties in which men ought to walk and press forward, with an eye to the glory of God and their own felicity, in the enjoyment of him. It is “not a way of sufferance,” says Henry, “but an appointed way, a way into which we are directed by a divine authority, and in which we are protected by a divine warrant: it is the king’s, yea, the King of kings’ highway, in which we may be waylaid, but cannot be stopped. It is the good old way, (Jeremiah 6:16,) the way of God’s commandments. The unclean shall not pass over it — Either to defile it, or to disturb those that walk in it. It is a way by itself, distinguished from the way of the world; for it is a way of separation from, and nonconformity to, this world.” The expression further means, that unclean persons shall, by a proper exercise of good discipline, be kept out of Christ’s church on earth, as they certainly shall not be admitted into his kingdom in heaven. But it shall be for those — Termed afterward the redeemed, who shall walk there, Isaiah 35:9. But Bishop Lowth and some interpreters think the clause may be better rendered, He, namely, God, shall be with them walking in the way; that is, he shall be their companion and guide in the way. Hence, though fools, they shall not err therein — The way shall be so plain and straight, that even the most foolish travellers cannot easily mistake it.35:5-10 When Christ shall come to set up his kingdom in the world, then wonders, great wonders, shall be wrought on men's souls. By the word and Spirit of Christ, the spiritually blind were enlightened; and those deaf to the calls of God were made to hear them readily. Those unable to do any thing good, by Divine grace were made active therein. Those that knew not how to speak of God or to God, had their lips opened to show forth his praise. When the Holy Ghost came upon the Gentiles that heard the word, then were the fountains of life opened. Most of the earth is still a desert; neither means of grace, spiritual worshippers, nor fruits of holiness, are to be found in it. But the way of religion and godliness shall be laid open. The way of holiness is the way of God's commandment; it is the good old way. And the way to heaven is a plain way. Those knowing but little, and unlearned, shall be kept from missing the road. It shall be a safe way; nothing can do them any real hurt. Christ, the way to God, shall be clearly made known; and the way of a believer's duty shall be plainly marked out. Let us then go forward cheerfully, assured that the end of this way shall be everlasting joy, and rest for the soul. Those who by faith are made citizens of the gospel Zion, rejoice in Christ Jesus; and their sorrows and sighs are made to flee away by Divine consolations. Thus these prophecies conclude. Our joyful hopes and prospects of eternal life should swallow up all the sorrows and all the joys of this present time. But of what avail is it to admire the excellence of God's word, unless we can call its precious promises our own? Do we love God, not only as our Creator, but because he gave his only Son to die for us? And are we walking in the ways of holiness? Let us try ourselves by such plain questions, rather than spend time on things that may be curious and amusing, but are unprofitable.And an highway shall be there - (see the note at Isaiah 11:16). This is language which is derived from the return of the Jews from captivity. The idea is, that there would be easy and uninterrupted access to their own land. The more remote, though main idea in the mind of the prophet seems to have been, that the way of access to the blessings of the Messiah's reign would be open and free to all (compare Isaiah 40:3-4).

And a way - It is not easy to mark the difference between the word "way" (דרך derek) and "a highway" (מסלוּל maselûl). Probably the latter refers more particularly to a raised way (from סלל salal, to cast up), and would be expressed by our word "causeway" or "turnpike." It was such a way as was usually made for the march of armies by removing obstructions, filling valleys, etc. The word "way" (דרך derek) is a more general term, and denotes a path, or road of any kind.

And it shall be called the way of holiness - The reason why it should be so called is stated; - no impure person should travel it. The idea is, that all who should have access to the favor of God, or who should come into his kingdom, should be holy.

The unclean shall not pass over it - There shall be no idolater there; no one shall be admitted who is not a pure worshipper of Yahweh. Such is the design of the kingdom which is set up by the Messiah, and such the church of Christ should be (see Isaiah 40:3-4; Isaiah 49:11; Isaiah 62:10).

But it shall be for those - For those who are specified immediately, for the ransomed of the Lord. The Margin is, 'For he shall be with them.' Lowth reads it,

'But he himself shall be with them, walking in the way.'

And this, it seems to me, is the more probable sense of the passage, indicating that they should not go alone or unprotected. It would be a holy way, because their God would be with them; it would be safe, because he would attend and defend them.

The wayfaring men - Hebrew, 'He walking in the way.' According to the translation proposed above, this refers to God, the Redeemer, who will be with his people, walking in the way with them.

Though fools - Hebrew, 'And fools.' That is, the simple, the unlearned, or those who are regarded as fools. It shall be a highway thrown up, so direct, and so unlike other paths, that there shall be no danger of mistaking it. The friends of God are often regarded as fools by the world. Many of them are of the humbler class of life, and are destitute of human learning, and of worldly wisdom. The sense here is, that the way of salvation shall be so plain, that no one, however ignorant and unlearned, need err in regard to it. In accordance with this, the Saviour said that the gospel was preached to the poor; and he himself always represented the way to life as such that the most simple and unlettered might find it.

8. highway—such a causeway (raised way, from a Hebrew root, "to cast up") as was used for the march of armies; valleys being filled up, hills and other obstructions removed (Isa 62:10; compare Isa 40:3, 4).

way of holiness—Hebraism for "the holy way." Horsley translates, "the way of the Holy One;" but the words that follow, and Isa 35:10, show it is the way leading the redeemed back to Jerusalem, both the literal and the heavenly (Isa 52:1; Joe 3:17; Re 21:27); still Christ at His coming again shall be the Leader on the way, for which reason it is called, "The way of the Lord" (Isa 40:3; Mal 3:1).

it shall be for those: the wayfaring men—rather, "He (the Holy One) shall be with them, walking in the way" [Horsley].

though fools—rather, "And (even) fools," that is, the simple shall not go astray, namely, because "He shall be with them" (Mt 11:25; 1Co 1:26-28).

An highway shall be there, and a way: the highway and the way are not to be taken for two different ways, but for one and the same way, even a causey or cast-way, which is both raised ground, as the first Hebrew word signifies, and a way; both signifying a convenient, prepared, plain, and common road or path for travellers, such as the doctrine of the gospel is, which is frequently compared to a way, both in the Old and New Testament, as hath been often observed.

It shall be called the way of holiness; it shall be a holy way, trodden by holy men, and filled with holy practices. The people (walking in it) shall be all (i.e. a very great number of them, not so few as in the times of the law) righteous, as is declared and prophesied afterward, Isaiah 60:21.

The unclean shall not pass over it, either to disturb or defile it. Unclean persons shall, in a good measure, be kept or cast out of my church, by the strict exercise of good discipline, here, and hereafter not one unclean person shall enter into my kingdom.

It shall be for those; but this way shall be appropriated unto those persons above mentioned, the weak, and blind, and lame, whom God will heal and save, Isaiah 35:3-6. The pronoun relative is put without an antecedent, as it is in many other places. But this, and the following clause, is, and may well be, rendered otherwise, and he (to wit, God, who is oft designed by this pronoun, and is easily understood out of the context) shall be to or with them walking in the way, (their companion and guide in their way, which is a great felicity,) that fools may not err therein. The way-faring men, though fools, shall not err therein; the way shall be so plain and straight, that even the most foolish travellers (who are described by this character, that they know not the way to the city, Ecclesiastes 10:15) cannot easily mistake it. And an highway shall be there, and a way,.... Not two ways, but one; the way shall be a highway, a way cast up, raised, and "elevated" (y); this is to be understood principally of Christ, the only way of life and salvation; and of the lesser paths of duty and ordinances: and the meaning is, that in those desert places, where Christ and his Gospel had not been preached, at least for many ages, here he should be made known, as the way, the truth, and the life; his Gospel preached, and his ordinances administered; and multitudes, both of Jews and Gentiles, should be directed and enabled to walk here. Christ is a highway to both; a way cast up by sovereign grace, which is raised above the mire and dirt of sin, and carries over it, and from it; a way visible and manifest, clearly pointed to and described in the everlasting Gospel; it is the King's highway, the highway of the King of kings, which he has ordered and appointed, and is common to all his subjects, high and low, rich and poor, stronger or weaker believers, all may walk in this way; it is an old beaten path, which saints in all ages, from the beginning of the world, have walked in; it is the good old way, the more excellent, the most excellent one; all obstructions and impediments are removed, cast in by sin, Satan, the law, and the world; nor is anyone to be stopped and molested in this way, and all in it shall come safe to their journey's end:

and it shall be called The way of holiness; or, "a holy way" (z); Christ is perfectly holy in nature and life, and the holiness of both is imputed to those that are in this way; all in this way are sanctified by the Spirit and grace of God; this way leads to perfect holiness in heaven, and none but holy persons walk here: salvation by Christ no ways discourages the practice of holiness, but is the greatest motive and incentive to it. Christ leads his people in paths of righteousness; in the paths of truth, of ordinances, and of worship, public and private, all which are holy; and in the path of Gospel conversation and godliness: this way is so holy, that

the unclean shall not pass over it; all men are unclean by nature; some are cleansed by the grace of God and blood of Christ; and though, as sanctified, they are not free from sin and the pollution of it, yet, as justified, they are "the undefiled in the way"; and none but such can pass over, or pass through this way to heaven, Revelation 21:27,

but it shall be for those; for holy men, not for the unclean; for Israel only, as Kimchi, for such who are Israelites indeed; for those who are before mentioned, Isaiah 35:5 as Jarchi; it is for those to walk in who have been blind, but now see, and these are led in a way that they knew not before; for the deaf, who now hear the voice behind them, saying, this is the way; for the lame man, that leaps like a hart, to walk and run in; for the dumb, now made to sing, and go on in it rejoicing; it is for the redeemed to walk in, as in the following verse. This clause may be rendered, "and he shall be with them" (a); that is, God shall be with them; they shall have his company and gracious presence in the way; he will be with them, to guide and direct them, to supply all their wants, and furnish them with everything convenient for them; to support and strengthen them, on whom they may lean and stay themselves; to guard and protect them from all their enemies; and being with them they shall not miss their way, or fail of coming to the end. Hence it follows,

the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein; or travellers; such the saints are, they are strangers, pilgrims, and sojourners here; they have no continuance here; they are like wayfaring men, that abide but for a night; they are bound for another country, a better, even a heavenly one, and at last shall arrive thither: now these, though they have been "fools" in their unregenerate state, with respect to spiritual things; or though they may not have that sharpness of wit, and quickness of natural parts, as some men have; and though they may not have that clear and distinct knowledge of Gospel truths as others, at least of some of them, yet shall not err as to the way of salvation; and though they may err or mistake in some things, yet not in the main, not fundamentally, nor finally; the way of salvation by Christ is so plain a way, that he that has any spiritual understanding of it shall not err in it.

(y) "semita strata", Montanus; "vel exaltata lapidibus", Vatablus. (z) "via sancta", V. L. Piscator. (a) "sed ipse illis ambulator vise" De Dieu; "ipse cum eis", Tigurine version.

And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of {h} holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it {i} shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err in it.

(h) It will be for the saints of God and not for the wicked.

(i) God will lead and guide them, alluding to the bringing forth of Egypt.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. The words and a way are superfluous, and may have originated through dittography.

but it shall be for those] Better (with an emendation of the text): but it shall be for his people. It is probable also that the next words should be joined to this clause,—“it shall be for His people when it walks in the way,” i.e. goes on pilgrimage. The verse as a whole suggests that the way is for the permanent use of pilgrims (cf. ch. Isaiah 19:23), not for the temporary purpose of the Return from Babylon (as in ch. Isaiah 43:19, &c.). Another proposed rendering is “and He Himself (Jehovah) walks in the way for them” (cf. ch. Isaiah 52:12). But this is less natural.

fools shall net err therein] If this clause be (as suggested) independent of the preceding, the meaning possibly is that fools shall not be there at all. The Hebr. word for “fool” (’ěvîl) connotes moral perversity, not merely the simplicity of inexperience (Job 5:3; Proverbs 1:7).

8–10. The highway in the desert. The image is founded on ch. Isaiah 40:3, Isaiah 43:19, Isaiah 49:11 (Isaiah 11:16).Verse 8. - And an highway shall be there, and a way (comp. Isaiah 30:21). There shall be a clear "way" marked out in which all shall be bound to walk - a "strait and narrow way" doubtless (Matthew 7:14), but one not readily missed. The way shall be called The way of holiness. It shall be that path through the dangers and difficulties of life which holiness points out and requires. The unclean shall not pass over it. It is tempting to imagine that there is here a reference to the famous chinvat peretu of the Zoro-astrians - the "bridge of the gatherer" - along which all souls had to pass in order to reach the abode of the blessed, but which the souls of the wicked never succeeded in passing ('Ancient Monarchies,' vol. it. p. 339). The 'bridge of the gatherer" is, however, in the other world, not in this world; but Isaiah's "highway" is here. It is that right course of life, which "the unclean" do not follow, though they might do so if they chose, but which the righteous follow to their great gain and advantage. But it shall be for those; rather, as in the margin, but he shall be with them; God, i.e. shall be with those who seek to walk in the way, and not to err from it. He shall direct them, support them, sustain their footsteps. The wayfaring men; rather, they that walk in the way - that make up their minds to try to walk in it. Though fools; i.e. however simple and unlearned they may be - "Ne simplicissimi quidem" (Rosenmüller). Shall not err therein; shall not wander from the way through mere simplicity. It shall be easy to find, difficult to miss. Edom falls, never to rise again. Its land is turned into a horrible wilderness. But, on the other hand, the wilderness through which the redeemed Israel returns, is changed into a flowery field. "Gladness fills the desert and the heath; and the steppe rejoices, and flowers like the crocus. It flowers abundantly, and rejoices; yea, rejoicing and singing: the glory of Lebanon is given to it, the splendour of Carmel and the plain of Sharon; they will see the glory of Jehovah, the splendour of our God." מדבּר ישׂשׂוּם (to be accentuated with tiphchah munach, not with mercha tiphchah) has been correctly explained by Aben-Ezra. The original Nun has been assimilated to the following Mem, just as pidyōn in Numbers 3:49 is afterwards written pidyōm (Ewald, 91, b). The explanation given by Rashi, Gesenius, and others (laetabuntur his), is untenable, if only because sūs (sı̄s) cannot be construed with the accusative of the object (see at Isaiah 8:6); and to get rid of the form by correction, as Olshausen proposes, is all the more objectionable, because "the old full plural in ūn is very frequently met with before Mem" (Bttcher), in which case it may have been pronounced as it is written here.

(Note: Bttcher calls ûm the oldest primitive form of the plural; but it is only a strengthening of ûn; cf., tannı̄m equals tannı̄n, Hanameel equals Hananeel, and such Sept. forms as Gesem, Madiam, etc. (see Hitzig on Jeremiah 32:7). Wetzstein told me of a Bedouin tribe, in whose dialect the third pers. praet. regularly ended in m, e.g., akalum (they have eaten).)

According to the Targum on Sol 2:1((also Saad., Abulw.), the chăbhatstseleth is the narcissus; whilst the Targum on the passage before us leaves it indefinite - sicut lilia. The name (a derivative of bâtsal) points to a bulbous plant, probably the crocus and primrose, which were classed together.

(Note: The crocus and the primrose (המצליתא in Syriac) may really be easily confounded, but not the narcissus and primrose, which have nothing in common except that they are bulbous plants, like most of the flowers of the East, which shoot up rapidly in the spring, as soon as the winter rains are over. But there are other colchicaceae beside our colchicum autumnale, which flowers before the leaves appear and is therefore called filius ante patrem (e.g., the eastern colchicum variegatum).)

The sandy steppe would become like a lovely variegated plain covered with meadow flowers.

(Note: Layard, in his Nineveh and Babylon, describes in several places the enchantingly beautiful and spring-like variation of colours which occurs in the Mesopotamian "desert;" though what the prophet had in his mind was not the real midâr, or desert of pasture land, but, as the words tsiyâh and ‛arâbhâh show, the utterly barren sandy desert.)

On gı̄lath, see at Isaiah 33:6 (cf., Isaiah 65:18): the infin. noun takes the place of an inf. abs., which expresses the abstract verbal idea, though in a more rigid manner; 'aph (like gam in Genesis 31:15; Genesis 46:4) is an exponent of the increased emphasis already implied in the gerunds that come after. So joyful and so gloriously adorned will the barren desert, which has been hitherto so mournful, become, on account of the great things that are in store for it. Lebanon, Carmel, and Sharon have, as it were, shared their splendour with the desert, that all might be clothed alike in festal dress, when the glory of Jehovah, which surpasses everything self in its splendour, should appear; that glory which they would not only be privileged to behold, but of which they would be honoured to be the actual scene.

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