Isaiah 49:13
Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD has comforted his people, and will have mercy on his afflicted.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) Sing, O heavens.—As in Isaiah 44:23, all nature is invited to join in the chorus of praise for the deliverance of Israel.

49:13-17 Let there be universal joy, for God will have mercy upon the afflicted, because of his compassion; upon his afflicted, because of his covenant. We have no more reason to question his promise and grace, than we have to question his providence and justice. Be assured that God has a tender affection for his church and people; he would not have them to be discouraged. Some mothers do neglect their children; but God's compassions to his people, infinitely exceed those of the tenderest parents toward their children. His setting them as a mark on his hand, or a seal upon his arm, denotes his being ever mindful of them. As far as we have scriptural evidence that we belong to his ransomed flock, we may be sure that he will never forsake us. Let us then give diligence to make our calling and election sure, and rejoice in the hope and glory of God.Sing, O heavens - In view of the glorious truths stated in the previous verses, that kings should rise up, and princes worship; that the Messiah would be for a light to the Gentiles, and that the true religion would be extended to each of the four quarters of the globe. The idea in this verse is, that it was an occasion on which the heavens and the earth would have cause to exult together. It is common in Isaiah thus to interpose a song of praise on the announcement of any great and glorious truth, and to call on the heavens and the earth to rejoice together (see the notes at Isaiah 12:1-6; Isaiah 42:10-11; Isaiah 44:23). 13. So Re 12:12. God will have mercy on the afflicted, because of His compassion; on His afflicted, because of His covenant. The Lord hath comforted his people; God hath now sent that long-desired consolation of Israel. Sing, O heavens, and be joyful, O earth,.... Which may be understood of the heavens, and the earth by a personification, a figure usual in Scripture, to express the greatness of the benefit received, and to raise thankfulness and admiration in the hearts of God's people; see Psalm 90:11 or by the heavens may be meant the angels in heaven, who, as they rejoice at the conversion of a single sinner, will much more rejoice at such numerous conversions among Jews and Gentiles, here prophesied of, Luke 15:10 and, by the "earth", the saints on earth, the excellent in it, who have a more immediate concern in, and must be affected with, the case here represented:

and break forth into singing, O mountains; such as are in high office either in the state, as Christian kings and princes, Isaiah 49:23 or in the church, as prophets and apostles, Revelation 18:20. The reason of all this is,

for the Lord hath comforted his people; with the discoveries of his love and grace; by his gracious presence among them; by the coming of Christ unto them in a spiritual way; by sending his Spirit, and renewing the face of things, and reviving his work in the midst of them; by the pure and powerful preaching of the Gospel, and comfortable administration of Gospel ordinances; and by large additions of converts made unto them:

and will have mercy upon his afflicted, or "poor", or "meek" and "humble" ones, as the words (l) may be rendered: the Lord's people is a poor and afflicted people, poor in a temporal and spiritual sense; the church and interest of Christ is in a poor and low condition: the Lord's people are afflicted outwardly and inwardly, and so become meek, and are kept humble; these the Lord, in the latter day, will raise from a low and distressed condition to a more exalted and comfortable one; which will be an instance of his mercy and compassion, and be matter of joy unto them.

(l) "pauperum suorum", V. L. "pauperes suos", Forerius; "inopes suos", Vitringa; "humiles", Sept. "mansuetorum", Targum.

Sing, O {s} heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.

(s) Read Isa 44:23.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. The lyrical conclusion of the passage on the Servant, partly resembling ch. Isaiah 44:23.

his afflicted] See on Isaiah 41:17.Verses 13-26. - ZION COMFORTED IN HER DESPONDENCY. While the future is thus glorious, both for the "Servant of the Lord" and for his people Israel, the present is gloom and misery. Zion - not here the city, but the people of God - desponds and says, "Jehovah has forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me" (ver. 14). This burst of grief, though arising from weakness of faith, is forgiven by the compassion of God, and "afflicted" Israel is "comforted" and consoled through the remainder of the chapter (vers. 15-26). Verse 13. - Sing, O heavens (comp. Isaiah 44:23). Heaven and earth are called upon to rejoice and "break forth into singing"

(1) because of the glory that awaits the Redeemer (vers. 5-12); and

(3) because of the gracious intentions of God with respect to Israel (vers. 16-26). O mountains The majesty of mountains seems to have deeply impressed Isaiah. Throughout his writings they are continually introduced as the grandest of the works of God (comp. Isaiah 2:2, 14; Isaiah 5:25; Isaiah 13:4; Isaiah 14:25; Isaiah 22:5; Isaiah 30:25; Isaiah 34:3; Isaiah 37:24; Isaiah 40:4, 9, 12; Isaiah 41:15; Isaiah 42:11, 15, etc.). He expects them to be especially ready to sympathize with man. Such a feeling would be natural to one accustomed to the hill-country of Palestine and the lofty heights of Hermon and Lebanon, but could scarcely have been developed in an exile of the time of Cyrus, born and brought up in the dead level of Babylonia. Hath comforted... will have mercy. Both verbs designate the same action, which is really future, but in God's counsels is already accomplished. The perfect is thus, once more, that of prophetic certitude. The words of the servant of God, in which he enforces his claim upon the nations, are now lost in words of Jehovah to him, which are no longer reported by him, but are appended as an independent address. His present condition is one of the deepest humiliation. "Thus saith Jehovah, the Redeemer of Israel, His Holy One, to him of contemptible soul, to the abhorrence of the people, to the servant of tyrants: kings shall see and arise; princes, and prostrate themselves for the sake of Jehovah, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, that He hath chosen thee." As bâzōh with a changeable kamtez (cf., châmōts, Isaiah 1:17) has, if not exactly a passive force, yet something very like a passive circumstantial meaning, בּזה־נפשׁ must mean the man who is contemptible as regards his soul, i.e., held in contempt, or, as Hofmann explains it, whom men do not think worthy to live (though he follows Ewald, and takes bezōh as an infinitive treated as a substantive). Accordingly מתעב is also to be taken personally. The meaning abhorring is unsuitable; but תּעב is also used in a causative sense, to cause to abhor, i.e., to make a thing an abomination (Ezekiel 16:25), or to excite abhorrence: hence, "to him who excites the people's abhorrence," which is the same, so far as the sense is concerned, as "to the object of their abhorrence." But even as a participial substantive מתעב would literally mean the thing exciting abhorrence, i.e., the abhorrence, just as mekhasseh in Isaiah 23:18 signifies the thing covering, i.e., the covering. All these participial substantives of the piel indicate the thing, place, or instrument accomplishing that which the piel affirms. We need not raise the question whether gōi refers to Israel or to the heathen. It signifies the mass of men, the people, like ‛âm in Psalm 62:9, and in those passages in which it is used by our prophet for the human race generally. The mōsheilim, of whom the person here addressed is the servant or enslaved one, are obviously heathen tyrants. What is here affirmed of the "one servant of Jehovah" was no doubt also applicable to the nation generally, and more especially to that portion of the nation which was true to its calling and confession. He in whom Israel's relation of servant to Jehovah was fully realized, did indeed spring out of His own nation, when it was under the oppression of the powers of this world; and all the shame and persecution which those who remained faithful among His people had to endure from the heathen oppressors, and also from the ungodly among their own countrymen (see, for example, Isaiah 66:5), discharge their force like a violent storm upon Him as an individual. When, therefore, we find the sufferings of the people and the glory of which they became partakers described in other passages in just the same terms, we must not infer from this that "servant of Jehovah" is a collective epithet in the passage before us. The person addressed here is the Restorer of Israel, the Light of the Gentiles, the Salvation of Jehovah for all mankind. When kings and princes shall behold Him who was once brought so low, delivered from His humiliation, and exalted to the glorious height of the work to which He has been called, they will rise up with reverence from their thrones, and prostrate themselves upon the ground in worship for the sake of Jehovah, as before Him who (אשׁר emphatic, utpote qui) is faithful, showing Himself sincere in His promises, and for the sake of the Holy One of Israel, in that, as is now made manifest, "He hath chosen thee." The fut. consec. particularizes the general motive assigned, and carries it still further.
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