Isaiah 52:7
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace; that brings good tidings of good, that publishes salvation; that said to Zion, Your God reigns!
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) How beautiful . . .—The image is reproduced, with variations, from Isaiah 40:9. There Zion herself was the herald proclaiming the glad tidings; here the heralds are seen coming to Zion, to tell her that her God is verily reigning, and their feet are beautiful on the mountains like those of an antelope (Song of Solomon 2:8-9; Nahum 1:15).

Isaiah 52:7. How beautiful — How exceeding precious and acceptable; upon the mountains — Of Judea, to which these glad tidings were brought; are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings — Tidings, first, Of the release of the Jews from captivity in Babylon; and, secondly, Of the redemption and salvation of mankind by the Messiah. Thus most commentators interpret the prophet’s words. They are “a poetical description,” says Lowth, “of the messenger who first brought the good news of Cyrus’s decree for the people to return home, whom the watchmen, mentioned Isaiah 52:8, are supposed to descry afar off from the tops of the mountains, making all possible haste to publish this happy news: a signal instance of God’s overruling providence, of the peculiar care he hath for his church. But this text is very fitly applied by St. Paul to the first preachers of the gospel, (Romans 10:15,) the very words importing good tidings of that peace and salvation whereby the kingdom of God was erected among men.” Indeed, true peace and salvation were procured for mankind, and are conferred upon them, only by Christ. And in his days, or from the time of his manifestation in the flesh, and entering upon his public ministry, God discovered and exercised his dominion over the world far more eminently than he ever had done from the beginning of the world until that time. Accordingly, we may observe, those Psalms wherein we find that expression, The Lord reigneth, are by the generality of interpreters, both Jewish and Christian, expounded of the times of the Messiah; the declaration being, in effect, the same that John the Baptist, the messenger of Christ, and that Christ himself published, when they testified, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.52:1-12 The gospel proclaims liberty to those bound with fears. Let those weary and heavy laden under the burden of sin, find relief in Christ, shake themselves from the dust of their doubts and fears, and loose themselves from those bands. The price paid by the Redeemer for our salvation, was not silver or gold, or corruptible things, but his own precious blood. Considering the freeness of this salvation, and how hurtful to temporal comfort sins are, we shall more value the redemption which is in Christ. Do we seek victory over every sin, recollecting that the glory of God requires holiness in every follower of Christ? The good news is, that the Lord Jesus reigns. Christ himself brought these tidings first. His ministers proclaim these good tidings: keeping themselves clean from the pollutions of the world, they are beautiful to those to whom they are sent. Zion's watchmen could scarcely discern any thing of God's favour through the dark cloud of their afflictions; but now the cloud is scattered, they shall plainly see the performance. Zion's waste places shall then rejoice; all the world will have the benefit. This is applied to our salvation by Christ. Babylon is no place for Israelites. And it is a call to all in the bondage of sin and Satan, to use the liberty Christ has proclaimed. They were to go with diligent haste, not to lose time nor linger; but they were not to go with distrustful haste. Those in the way of duty, are under God's special protection; and he that believes this, will not hasten for fear.How beautiful upon the mountains - This passage is applied by Paul to the ministers of the gospel (see Romans 10:15). The meaning here seems to be this: Isaiah was describing the certain return of the Jews to their own land. He sees in vision the heralds announcing their return to Jerusalem running on the distant hills. A herald bearing good news is a beautiful object; and he says that his feet are beautiful; that is, his running is beautiful. He came to declare that the long and painful captivity was closed, and that the holy city and its temple were again to rise with splendor, and that peace and plenty and joy were to be spread over the land. Such a messenger coming with haste, the prophet says, would be a beautiful object. Some have supposed (see Campbell on the Gospels, Diss. v. p. 11, Section 3, 4), that the idea here is, that the feet of messengers when they traveled in the dust were naturally offensive and disgusting, but that the messenger of peace and prosperity to those who had been oppressed and afflicted by the ravages of war, was so charming as to transform a most disagreeable into a pleasing object.

But I cannot see any such allusion here. It is true that the feet of those who had traveled far in dry and dusty roads would present a spectacle offensive to the beholder; and it is true also, as Dr. Campbell suggests, that the consideration that they who were coming were messengers of peace and safety would convert deformity into beauty, and make us behold with delight this indication of their embassy. But it seems to me that this passage has much higher beauty. The idea in the mind of the prophet is not, that the messenger is so near that the sordid appearance of his feet could be seen. The beholder is supposed to be standing amidst the ruins of the desolated city, and the messenger is seen running on the distant hills. The long anticipated herald announcing that these ruins are to rise, at length appears. Seen on the distant hills, running rapidly, he is a beautiful object. It is his feet, his running, his haste, that attracts attention; an indication that he bears a message of joy, and that the nation is about to be restored. Nahum, who is supposed to have lived after Isaiah, has evidently copied from him this beautiful image:

Behold upon the mountains the feet of the joyful messenger,

Of him that announceth peace;

Celebrate, O Judah, thy festivals; perform thy vows;

For no more shall pass through thee the wicked one;

He is utterly cut off.

7. beautiful … feet—that is, The advent of such a herald seen on the distant "mountains" (see on [845]Isa 40:9; [846]Isa 41:27; [847]Isa 25:6, 7; [848]So 2:17) running in haste with the long-expected good tidings, is most grateful to the desolated city (Na 1:15).

good tidings—only partially applying to the return from Babylon. Fully, and antitypically, the Gospel (Lu 2:10, 11), "beginning at Jerusalem" (Lu 24:47), "the city of the great King" (Mt 5:35), where Messiah shall, at the final restoration of Israel, "reign" as peculiarly Zion's God ("Thy God reigneth"; compare Ps 2:6).

How beautiful! these are words of rejoicing and admiration. They are exceeding precious and acceptable.

Upon the mountains of Zion and Moriah, which are sometimes mentioned as one mountain, and sometimes as two. Or in the mountainous country of Judea, to which these glad tidings were brought, and from which they were spread abroad into other countries.

Are the feet, which carry this welcome messenger; or the messenger himself. Of him; or, of them; for the singular number is oft put for the plural: although it may be here emphatically used, to signify, that although there were many messengers, yet one was the chief and Lord of the embassy, whose coming was more acceptable than the rest; which suits excellently to the Messiah, who is called the Messenger of the covenant, Malachi 3:1, and is oft said to be sent by God, as John 6:38 8:16,18, &c., to publish the glad tidings of salvation.

That bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation: these emphatical and repeated expressions are a sufficient evidence that something further and better is here intended than their deliverance out of Babylon, which in itself was but a very imperfect work, and reached at first but to a few of that numerous people, and was attended with many fears, and sorrows, and remainders of their bondage, Ezra 9:8,9 Ne 1:3; and that although that was the beginning of these glad tidings, yet they extended much further, even to the coming of Christ, by whom alone true peace and salvation were procured.

That saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth: it is true, this might in some sort be said when God so overruled the affairs of the world, and the heart of Cyrus, that his people were freed from the Babylonish captivity, and restored into and settled in their own land. Although he that considers the state of God’s people in their own land after their return, will find that the reign of God in and over the world was not then either very conspicuous or glorious. And therefore it seems far more reasonable to understand it of the days of the Messiah, when God did discover and exercise his dominion over the world far more eminently than ever he had done from the beginning of the world until that time. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings,.... Not of the messenger that brought the news of Cyrus's proclamation of liberty to the Jews; rather of John the Baptist, the forerunner of our Lord; best of Christ himself, the messenger of the covenant, who was anointed to preach glad tidings to the meek, and by whom grace, peace, life, and salvation came; and also of the apostles of Christ, for to Gospel times are these words applied, and to more persons than one, Romans 10:15, who were not only seen "upon the mountains" of the land of Israel, as the Targum paraphrases it, where both Christ and his apostles preached, but upon the mountains of the Gentile world; and may denote the pains they took, the circuit they made, and the difficulties they had to encounter with; and the publicness of their ministrations, which lay in bringing "good tidings" of the incarnate Saviour, of God manifest in the flesh, for the word (k) here used has the signification of flesh in it; of good things in the heart of God for his people, in the covenant of grace, in the hands of Christ, and as come by him, and to be had from him; as pardon by his blood; justification by his righteousness; eternal life and happiness through him; and of all good things to be enjoyed now and hereafter. It may be applied to all other ministers of the Gospel in later ages, who are bringers of the same good tidings to the children of men, to whom their very feet are beautiful, and even at a distance, upon the high mountains; not to carnal men, but sensible sinners, to whom the good news of salvation by Christ is welcome. Feet are mentioned instead of their whole persons, because the instruments of motion, and so of bringing the tidings, and of running to and fro with them from place to place, and even though they are dirty and defiled with sin; for Gospel ministers are not free from it, and are men of like passions with others; yet are beautiful when their walk and ministry, conversation and doctrine, agree together; and their feet are particularly so, being shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. The words may with the greatest propriety, and in agreement with the context, be understood of that angel, or set of Gospel ministers in the latter day, represented as flying in the midst of the heavens, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to all nations, which will precede the fall of Babylon, Revelation 14:6,

that publisheth peace; peace by the blood of Jesus Christ, a principal article of the Gospel, and of its good news; hence it is called the Gospel of peace, and the word of reconciliation; peace of conscience, which flows from the same blood applied, and of which the Gospel is the means; and peace among the saints one with another, and among men, which shall at this time be enjoyed; there, will be no discord nor animosities among themselves, nor persecution from their enemies: happy times! halcyon days! welcome the publishers of such tidings!

that bringeth good tidings of good; or, "that bringeth good tidings" (l); for the original does not require such a tautology; it means the same good tidings as before, and which follow after:

that publisheth salvation; by Jesus Christ, as wrought out by him for sinners, which is full, complete, and suitable for them, and to be had of him freely; and what better tidings than this? see Revelation 19:1,

that sitteth unto Zion, thy God reigneth; that saith to Zion, the church of Christ, that Christ, who is truly God, and their God, has taken to himself, in a more open and visible manner, his great power and reigns as the Lord God omnipotent; and this is good news and glad tidings; see Psalm 97:1. The Targum is,

"the kingdom of thy God is revealed;''

see Matthew 3:2. This passage is interpreted of the Messiah and his times, by many Jewish (m) writers, ancient and modern; See Gill on Romans 10:15.

(k) a "caro". (l) "evangelizantis bonum", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius; "qui nuntiat bonum", Cocceius. (m) Vajikra Rabba, sect. 9. fol. 153. 2. Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 11. 4. Yalkut Simeoni in Psal. xxix. 11. Menasseh Ben Israel, Nishmat Chayim, fol. 41. 2.

How {g} beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that proclaimeth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that proclaimeth salvation; that saith to Zion, Thy God reigneth!

(g) Signifying that the joy and good tidings of their deliverance would make their affliction in the mean time more easy: but this is chiefly meant of the spiritual joy, as in Na 1:15, Ro 10:15.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. Describes, in vivid pictorial imagery taken from ch. Isaiah 40:9, the arrival in Jerusalem of the first tidings of the deliverance from Babylon and the establishment of the kingdom of God. Part of the verse occurs in Nahum 1:15.

of him that bringeth good tidings] The měbassçr (see on Isaiah 40:9 and cf. Isaiah 41:27) is one of the prophet’s dramatis personœ, occupying a position somewhat analogous to that of “the fugitive” in the Book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 24:26 f., Ezekiel 33:21 f.). He is the “evangelist,” the herald of salvation whose single function is to announce to Zion the speedy advent of her God. He is an ideal creation of the writer’s mind, and the conception fluctuates between that of an individual (as here and Isaiah 41:27) and of a company (in Isaiah 40:9). In St Paul’s application of the figure (Romans 10:15) it becomes a type of the gospel ministry.

Thy God reigneth] Rather, thy God hath become king, has established His everlasting kingdom (cf. ch. Isaiah 24:23; Psalm 93:1; Psalm 97:1).

7–12. The return of Jehovah to Zion.Verses 7-12. - A VISION OF THE DAY OF DELIVERANCE. The prophet sees the messenger come bounding over the mountains of Judaea, to bring the news to Jerusalem that her deliverance is come (ver. 7). The angelic watchers sing with joy (ver. 8). The prophet calls upon the waste places of Jerusalem to do the same, and dwells on the greatness of the mercy wrought (vers. 9, 10). Finally, he exhorts the exiles to avail themselves of the permission to quit Babylon, and prophesies that they will go forth in peace, without hurry, under the guidance and protection of God (vers. 11, 12). Verse 7. - How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! (comp. Nahum 1:15, which is almost a repetition of the passage). The primary meaning is undoubtedly that assigned to the words in the introductory paragraph; but this does not hinder there being also a secondary meaning, viz. the Messianic one of Romans 10:15. Jerusalem's deliverance is a type of the redemption of the world by Christ. That saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! So long as Israel was in captivity, and Jerusalem in ruins, God's earthly sovereignty (1 Samuel 12:12) was in abeyance. The moment that the Jews were set free and allowed to return and to rebuild their city, his. sovereignty was re-established. The same call, which was addressed in Isaiah 51:9 to the arm of Jehovah that was then represented as sleeping, is here addressed to Jerusalem, which is represented as a sleeping woman. "Awake, awake; clothe thyself in thy might, O Zion; clothe thyself in thy state dresses, O Jerusalem, thou holy city: for henceforth there will no more enter into thee one uncircumcised and unclean! Shake thyself from the dust; arise, sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the chains of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion!" Jerusalem is lying upon the ground stupefied with the wrath of God, and exhausted with grief; but this shameful prostration and degradation will now come to an end. She is to rise up and put on her might, which has long been broken down, and apparently has altogether disappeared, but which can and must be constantly renewed, because it rests upon the foundation of an inviolable promise. She is to wake up and recover her ancient power, and put on her state robes, i.e., her priestly and royal ornaments, which belong to her as a "royal city," i.e., as the city of Jehovah had His anointed one. For henceforth she will be what she was always intended to be, and that without any further desecration. Heathen, uncircumcised, and those who were unclean in heart and flesh (Ezekiel 44:9), had entered her by force, and desecrated her: heathen, who had no right to enter the congregation of Jehovah as they were (Lamentations 1:10). But she should no longer be defiled, not to say conquered, by such invaders as these (Joel 3:17; Nahum 2:1; compare Joel 3:7 with Nahum 2:1). On the construction non perget intrabit equals intrare, see Ges. 142, 3, c. In Isaiah 52:2 the idea of the city falls into the background, and that of the nation takes its place. ירולשׁם שׁבי does not mean "captive people of Jerusalem," however, as Hitzig supposes, for this would require שׁביה in accordance with the personification, as in Isaiah 52:2. The rendering supported by the lxx is the true one, "Sit down, O Jerusalem;" and this is also the way in which it is accentuated. The exhortation is the counterpart of Isaiah 47:1. Jerusalem is sitting upon the ground as a prisoner, having no seat to sit upon; but this is only that she may be the more highly exalted; - whereas the daughter of Babylon is seated as a queen upon a throne, but only to be the more deeply degraded. The former is now to shake herself free from the dust, and to rise up and sit down (viz., upon a throne, Targum). The captive daughter of Zion (shebhiyyâh, αἰχμάλωτος, Exodus 12:29, an adjective written first for the sake of emphasis, as in Isaiah 10:30; Isaiah 53:11) is to undo for herself (sibi laxare according to p. 62, note, like hithnachēl, Isaiah 14:2, sibi possidendo capere) the chains of her neck (the chethib התפתחו, they loosen themselves, is opposed to the beautiful parallelism); for she who was mourning in her humiliation is to be restored to honour once more, and she who was so shamefully laden with fetters to liberty.
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