Isaiah 54:15
Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whoever shall gather together against you shall fall for your sake.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) But not by me . . .—Another contrast with Isaiah’s experience. The power of Sargon and Sennacherib rested on the fact that they were instruments in God’s hands (Isaiah 10:15; Isaiah 37:26). Against the new Jerusalem no command would be given such as had been given to them.

Isaiah 54:15-17. Behold, they shall gather together — It is true, some will combine, and make an attempt against thee. But not by me — As they will do this without any such commission from me as Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar had, so they shall not have my help in it, without which all their endeavours will be in vain. Whosoever shall gather together — To fight against, or persecute thee; shall fall for thy sake — Through that respect and love which I bear to thee. Or, before thee, as the Hebrew may be rendered, so as thine eyes shall behold it.

Behold, I have created the smith, &c. — Both the smith that makes warlike instruments, and the soldier that uses them, are my creatures, and totally at my command, and therefore they cannot hurt you without my leave. I have created the waster, &c. — To destroy only whom and when I please. No weapon formed against thee shall prosper — As they cannot do any thing against thee without my leave, so I assure thee I will not suffer them really to injure thee; and every tongue, &c., shalt thou condemn — And I will deliver thee, not only from the fury of war, but also from the strife of tongues. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord — This blessed condition is the portion allotted them by me. And their righteousness — The reward of their righteousness; is of me — I give it, and I will continue it to them. 54:11-17 Let the people of God, when afflicted and tossed, think they hear God speaking comfortably to them by these words, taking notice of their griefs and fears. The church is all glorious when full of the knowledge of God; for none teaches like him. It is a promise of the teaching and gifts of the Holy Spirit. All that are taught of God are taught to love one another. This seems to relate especially to the glorious times to succeed the tribulations of the church. Holiness, more than any thing, is the beauty of the church. God promises protection. There shall be no fears within; there shall be no fightings without. Military men value themselves on their splendid titles, but God calls them, Wasters made to destroy, for they make wasting and destruction their business. He created them, therefore he will serve his own designs by them. The day is coming when God will reckon with wicked men for their hard speeches, Jude 1:15. Security and final victory are the heritage of each faithful servant of the Lord. The righteousness by which they are justified, and the grace by which they are sanctified, are the gift of God, and the effect of his special love. Let us beseech him to sanctify our souls, and to employ us in his service.Behold, they shall surely gather together - The idea in this verse is, that the enemies of the people of God would indeed form alliances and compacts against them, but it would not be under the divine direction, and they would not be able to prevail against the church. The word rendered here 'gather together' (גור gûr) means properly 'to turn aside from the way'; then to sojourn for a time; then to assemble against anyone. It seems here to refer to the gathering together of hostile forces to form an alliance, or to wage war. Great variety, however, has prevailed in the interpretation of the passage, but this seems to be the sense of it. Jerome renders it, 'Lo, a foreigner shall come who was not with me, the stranger shall hereafter be joined to thee,' and seems to understand it of the proselytes that should be made. This sense is found expressly in the Septuagint, 'Lo, proselytes shall come to thee through me, and they shall sojourn with thee, and fly to thee' The Chaldee renders it, 'Lo, the captivity of thy people shall be surely gathered unto thee, and in the end the kings of the people which were assembled to afflict thee, O Jerusalem, shall fall in the midst of thee.' But the above seems to be the correct sense. Alliances would be formed; compacts would be entered into; leagues would be made by the enemies of the people of God, and they would be assembled to destroy the church. This has often been done. Formidable confederations have been entered into for the purpose, and deep-laid plans have been devised to destroy the friends of the Most High. See Psalm 2:2 : 'The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against his Anointed.' No small part of history is a record of the combinations and alliances which have been entered into for the purpose of driving the true religion from the world.

But not by me - Not under my direction, or by my command.

Shall fall for thy sake - Hebrew, עליך ‛âlaı̂yk - 'Shall fall unto thee.' Lowth, 'Shall come over to thy side.' The phrase seems to mean that they should 'fall to them,' that is, that they should lay aside their opposition, break up their alliances against the church, and come over to it. In proof of this interpretation, Rosenmuller appeals to the following places: 1 Chronicles 12:19-20; 2 Chronicles 15:9; Jeremiah 21:9; Jeremiah 39:9. The passage, therefore, looks to the future conversion of the enemies of the church to the true faith. It has, doubtless, been partially fulfilled in the conversion of nations that have been leagued against the gospel of the Redeemer. There was a striking fulfillment in the times that succeeded the persecutions of Christians in the Roman empire. After all the power of the empire had been enlisted in ten successive persecutions to destroy the church, the very empire that had thus opposed the church was converted to the Christian faith. In a still more signal manner will this be fulfilled when all the powers of the earth now leagued against the gospel shall be brought under the influences of the true religion.

15. gather together, &c.—that is, If it should happen that enemies "gather together" against thee (Ps 2:2), they will not have been sent by Me (compare Ho 8:4) as instruments of My wrath (nay, it will be with My disapproval); for "whosoever shall gather together," &c. (Ps 59:3).

fall for thy sake—rather, "shall come over to thy side" [Lowth]. Literally, "fall to thee" (Jer 21:9; 39:9). To be fully fulfilled to Jerusalem hereafter (Zec 14:16).

They shall surely gather together; it is true, there will not want some that shall combine and make an attempt against thee.

But not by me; as they do this without any such commission from me, as Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar had, Isaiah 10:6,7 Jer 25:9; so they shall not have my help in it, without which all their endeavours will be vain and unsuccessful.

Whosoever shall gather together to battle, as is manifest from the following words, of which kind of gathering this word is used, Psalm 140:2, and elsewhere. Against thee, Heb. with thee. But to fight with a man is all one with fighting against him.

Shall fall for thy sake; for that respect and love which I bear to thee. Or before thee, as this particle is sometimes used, so as thine eyes shall behold it. Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me,.... Not by the Lord, by his command or order to do his will, and execute his pleasure, which sometimes was the case, as in Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar, and others; but so it shall not be, when the enemies of Christ and his people gather together against them in the latter day; this will be by the means of three unclean spirits like frogs that will come out of the mouth of the dragon, beast, and false prophet; even spirits of devils, Popish priests, and Jesuits, who will instigate, stir up, and get together the antichristian kings of the earth to the battle of almighty God, Revelation 16:14. Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, interpret them of Gog and Magog:

whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake; because of the love that I bear to thee, they shall not succeed, or do thee any hurt, but shall perish; or, "shall fall to thee" (c); so far from doing thee any hurt, they shall come over to thee, and be on thy side; be joined to thee, as the Vulgate Latin version; that is, the remnant that shall escape, and be converted, and give glory to God, Revelation 11:13 or rather, "shall fall before thee" (d), in thy sight; or, as the Targum, in the midst of thee; which remarkably paraphrases the words thus,

"at the end the kings of the nations, which are gathered together to afflict thee, O Jerusalem, shall fall in the midst of thee;''

for the kings of the earth that shall be gathered together against Christ and his church shall fall in battle before them, and their flesh shall become meat for the fowls of the heaven; the beast and false prophet, in company with them, will be taken and cast alive into the lake of fire, and the remnant be slain with the sword of Christ, Revelation 19:17.

(c) "ad te cadet", Cocceius. (d) "Cotam te cadet", Grotius, Gataker.

Behold, they shall surely assemble, but not by {n} me: whoever shall assemble {o} against thee shall fall for thy sake.

(n) And therefore will not prevail.

(o) Meaning, the domestic enemies of the Church, as are the hypocrites.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. The verse is somewhat difficult. The rendering “gather together” can hardly be defended, and moreover it does not suit the construction (“against,” in the second line, is really “with”). The verb is perhaps best explained as a by-form of a root meaning to “stir up” (strife) or pick a quarrel (Proverbs 15:18). The sense would be: If (any) should stir up strife (it is) not of me; whosoever stirs up strife with thee shall fall &c. (see R.V. and marg.)

fall because of thee] or perhaps “fall upon thee” to his own ruin (cf. ch. Isaiah 8:14 f.). R.V. marg. suggests “fall away to thee,” i.e. go over to thy side, which is the sense given by some of the ancient versions. The phrase has this meaning in Jeremiah 21:9; Jeremiah 37:14 (“fall away to the Chaldæans”), but it is little appropriate in this verse.Verse 15. - Behold, they shall surely gather together, etc.; rather, behold, should they gather themselves together; i.e. should enemies collect and threaten thee with harm, be assured that the attack is not by me - not my doing - and that, therefore, it will come to nought. All those who gather together against thee shall fall - i.e. stumble and be overthrown - through striking against thee. The rendering of the Authorized Version, "for thy sake," is quite indefensible. The ground of this "everlasting kindness" is given in Isaiah 54:9 : "For it is now as at the waters of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah should not overflow the earth any more; so have I sworn not to be wroth with thee, and not to threaten thee." The commencement of this v. has been a fluctuating one from the earliest times. The Sept. reading is ממּי; that of the Targ., S., Jerome, Syriac, and Saad., כּימי; and even the Codd. read sometimes כּי־מי, sometimes כּימי (compare Matthew 24:37, ὥσπερ αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ Νῶε οὕτως κ.τ.λ - a passage which appears to derive its shape from the one before us, with the reading כימי, and which is expounded in Luke 17:26). If we read כימי, the word זאת must refer to the present, as the turning-point between wrath and mercy; but if we read כי־מי, זאת denotes the pouring out of wrath in connection with the captivity. Both readings are admissible; and as even the Septuagint, with its ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕδατος (from the water), gives an indirect support to the reading כּימי as one word, this may probably merit the preference, as the one best sustained. אשׁר is ubi, quum, as in Numbers 20:13; Psalm 95:9, etc., although it might also be taken as the correlate of the kēn which follows, as in Jeremiah 33:22 (cf., Isaiah 48:8); and in accordance with the accents, we prefer the former. The present turning-point resembles, in Jehovah's esteem, the days of Noah - those days in which He swore that a flood should not any more come upon the earth (min as in Isaiah 5:6 and many other passages): for so does He now confirm with an oath His fixed purpose that no such judgment of wrath as that which has just been endured shall ever fall upon Jerusalem again (גּער denotes threatening with a judicial word, which passes at once into effect, as in Isaiah 51:20). Hendewerk has the following quibbling remark here: "What the comparison with the flood is worth, we may gather from the alter history, which shows how soon the new Jerusalem and the renovated state succumbed to the judicial wrath of God again." To this we reply: (1.) That the prophecy refers to the converted Israel of the last days, whose Jerusalem will never be destroyed again. These last days appear to the prophet, according to the general character of all prophecy, as though linked on to the close of the captivity. For throughout all prophecy, along with the far-sightedness imparted by the Spirit, there was also a short-sightedness which the Spirit did not remove; that is to say, the directly divine element of insight into the future was associated with a human element of hope, which was nevertheless also indirectly divine, inasmuch as it subserved the divine plan of salvation; and this hope brought, as it were, the far distant future into the closest proximity with the troubled present. If, the, we keep this in mind, we shall see that it was quite in order for the prophet to behold the final future on the very edge of the present, and not to see the long and undulating way between. (2.) The Israel which has been plunged by the Romans into the present exile of a thousand years is that part of the nation (Romans 11:25), which has thrust away the eternal mercy and the unchangeable covenant of peace; but this rejection has simply postponed, and not prevented, the full realization of the salvation promised to Israel as a people. The covenant still exists, primarily indeed as an offer on the part of Jehovah, so that it rests with Israel whether it shall continued one-sided or not; but all that is wanted on the part of Israel is faith, to enable it to exchange the shifting soil of its present exile for the rocky foundation of that covenant of peace which has encircled the ages since the captivity (see Haggai 2:9), as the covenant with Noah encircled those after the flood with the covenant sign of the rainbow in the cloud.
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