Isaiah 54:17
No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, said the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) Every tongue that shall rise . . .—The thought implied is that war comes as the punishment of guilt, and that it is preceded by the “cry” of accusation. Many such cries had risen up against the old Jerusalem (Isaiah 5:7). There should be none such heard against the new.

This is the heritage.—The solemn asseveration indicates the close of a distinct section.

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.No weapon that is formed - No instrument of war, no sword, or spear; no instrument of persecution or torture that is made by the smith, Isaiah 54:16.

Shall prosper - On the meaning of this word, see the notes at Isaiah 52:13. The sense here is, that it shall not have final and ultimate prosperity. It might be permitted for a time to appear to prosper - as persecutors and oppressors have done; but there would not be final and complete success.

And every tongue - No one shall be able to injure you by words and accusations. If a controversy shall arise; if others reproach you and accuse you of imposture and deceit, you will be able ultimately to convince them of error, and, by manifestation of the truth, to condemn them. The language here is derived probably from courts of justice (see the notes at Isaiah 41:1); and the idea is, that truth and victory, in every strife of words, would be on the side of the church. To those who have watched the progress of discussions thus far on the subject of the true religion, it is needless to say that this has been triumphantly fulfilled. Argument, sophism, ridicule, have all been tried to overthrow the truth of the Christian religion. Appeals have been made to astronomy, geology, antiquities, history, and indeed to almost every department of science, and with the same want of success. Poetry has lent the charm of its numbers; the grave historian has interwoven with the thread of his narrative covert attacks and sly insinuations against the Bible; the earth has been explored to prove that' He who made the world and revealed its age to Moses was mistaken in its age;' and the records of Oriental nations, tracing their history up cycles of ages beyond the Scripture account of the creation of the world, have been appealed to, but thus far in all these contests ultimate victory has declared in favor of the Bible. And no matter from what quarter the attack has come, and no matter how much learning and talent have been evinced by the adversaries of the Bible, God has raised up some Watson, or Lardner, or Chalmers, or Buckland, or Cuvier, or Wiseman, to meet these charges, and to turn the scales in favor of the cause of truth. They who are desirous of examining the effects of the controversy of Christianity with science, and the results, can find them detailed with great learning and talent in Dr. Wiseman's Lectures on the connection between Science and Revealed Religion, Andover, 1837.

This is the heritage - The inheritance which awaits those who serve God is truth and victory. It is not gold and the triumph of battle. It is not the laurel won in fields of blood. But it is, the protection of God in all times of trouble; his friendship in all periods of adversity; complete victory in all contests with error and false systems of religion; and preservation when foes rise up in any form and endeavor to destroy the church, and to blot out its existence and its name.

And their righteousness is of me - Or rather, 'this is the righteousness, or the justification which they obtain of me; this is that which I impart to them as their justification.' The idea is not that their righteousness is of him, but that this justification or vindication from him is a part of their inheritance and their portion.

17. tongue … condemn—image from a court of justice. Those who desire to "condemn" thee thou shalt "condemn" (Ex 11:7; Jos 10:21; Ps 64:8; Ro 8:1, 33).

righteousness … of me—(Isa 45:24; 46:13). Rather, "(this is) their justification from Me." Their enemies would "condemn" them, but I justify and vindicate them, and so they condemn their enemies.

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and as they cannot do any thing against thee without my leave, so I assure thee I will not suffer them to do it; and if any smith shall make any weapons to be employed against thee, he shall not succeed in it.

And every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn; and I will deliver thee not only from the fury of the war, but also from the strife of tongues, from all the threatenings, and boasts, and reproaches of thine enemies, and from all the claims and pretences which they have of any right and power over thee. So thine enemies shall neither prevail against thee by violence, nor by pretences of justice.

This is the heritage; this blessed condition described in this chapter is the portion allotted to them by me.

Their righteousness; either,

1. The reward or fruit of their righteousness, as righteousness is used, Psalm 112:3,9. Or,

2. Their right or the righteous administration of all their concerns, whereby they are preserved from all manner of oppressions, as righteousness was used, Isaiah 54:14. Is of me; I give it, and I will continue it to them; and who then can take it away from them? No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper,.... All weapons of war, as the Targum, which are made with a design to hurt and destroy the people of God, shall be rendered useless; not one of them shall prosper to the advantage of their enemies, or so as to answer their design; nor to the hurt and prejudice, ruin and destruction, of the saints:

and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment; that shall raise any calumny upon thee, or bring any charge against thee, or enter into a lawsuit with thee, litigate a point with thee in any court of judicature, or claim, in right and law, a power, authority, and dominion over thee, as the pope of Rome does over the consciences of men:

thou shalt condemn; disprove and roll off the calumny, refute the charge and accusation, put to silence the clamours and pretences of wicked men, carry the cause against them, and shake off the yoke of bondage they would bring them under; and, instead of being condemned by them, condemn them. By "weapon" may be meant all the attempts made by force to ruin the interest and church of Christ in the world, such as the bloody persecutions of the Roman emperors, who, though they made sad havoc of the professors of Christianity, and designed hereby to have rooted it out of the world, and thought they should have accomplished it, yet could not do it; so far from it, that the Christians yet more and more increased, insomuch that it became a common saying, that the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church; also the wars of the Papists with the Albigenses and Waldenses, and all the cruel methods they have taken by fire and faggot, and the bloody inquisition, to hinder the growth of what they call heresy; yet all have been in vain, a reformation has taken place, and many nations have embraced the truth, and shook off the yoke of Popery; together with all their efforts since to crush the Protestant interest; and though the kings of the earth will be stirred up, and gather together to the battle of the Lord God Almighty, they will not succeed, but be overcome and slain, and the beast and false prophet at the head of them will be taken and cast alive into the lake of fire: and by the "tongue" may be designed the edicts of the Pagan emperors, forbidding the exercise of the Christian religion, and threatening the preachers and professors of it with imprisonment, confiscation of goods, and death itself; and the anathemas, bulls, and interdicts of the popes of Rome, as well as the reproaches, scandals, and calumnies uttered by the emissaries of that church against all that depart from it; together with the errors and heresies of false teachers of all sorts in all ages of the world, which, though levelled against the faith and doctrine of the church of Christ, have not been able to subvert it, nor ever will:

this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord; this, with all that is said in this chapter, is the part, portion, and privilege, that such shall enjoy who serve the Lord Christ, and not antichrist; they shall be treated rather as sons than as servants, and have an inheritance assigned them; not only protection from all enemies, and absolution from all charges, but they shall receive the reward of the inheritance in heaven, that which is incorruptible and undefiled, and reserved there, since they serve the Lord Christ:

and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord; the vindication of their righteousness, of their cause, and of their character; or the reward of their righteous works in a way of grace; even all that righteousness and true holiness that is in them, and that righteousness which is imputed to them, and by which they are justified, are from the Lord; by which they are secured from all the charges of law and justice, and, from all the accusations of men and devils, and which will answer for them in a time to come, and acquit them at the bar of God before men and angels; see Romans 8:33.

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. Israel therefore has no cause to fear any material weapon, and even the Satanic weapon of false accusations, which assail her righteous standing before God, she shall be able to foil.

every tongue … thou shalt condemn] i.e. shew to be in the wrong (cf. ch. Isaiah 50:8 f.).

This is the heritage &c.] A concluding summary. “This,” viz., all the blessings just enumerated, peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition.

of the servants of the Lord] The title “servants of Jehovah” (in the plural) has not hitherto been used in the prophecy (with the doubtful exception of ch. Isaiah 44:26, where it denotes the prophets). It is possible that its occurrence here forms a link of connexion between this chapter and the last. The ideal represented by the Servant of Jehovah is now reproduced in each individual member of the new Israel; they are all of the spiritual seed which was promised to him, and the salvation they enjoy is the fruit of the travail of his soul (Isaiah 53:10-11). It is noteworthy, at all events, that while from this point the Israelites are spoken of as servants of Jehovah, the ideal Servant is never again mentioned.

and their righteousness is of me] Rather, and (this is) their righteousness from me. The righteousness, or justification, bestowed on them by Jehovah (cf. Psalm 24:5) is manifested in such blessedness as has just been spoken of.Verse 17. - No weapon... every tongue. Whether weapons are used against Israel, or whether she is attacked, as in Sennacherib's time, by "the tongue that speaketh proud things" (Isaiah 36:4-20; Isaiah 37:10-13), the result will he the same. She will triumph over her enemies, and condemn them or put them to shame. Her security is her righteousness, which she derives from Jehovah (comp. Isaiah 45:24, 25).



"O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, not comforted, behold, I lay thy stones in stibium, and lay thy foundations with sapphires; and make thy minarets of ruby, and thy gates into carbuncles, and all thy boundary into jewels." At the present time the church, of which Jerusalem is the metropolis, is sunk in misery, driven with tempest like chaff of the threshing-floor (Hosea 13:3), without comfort; because till now it has waited in vain for any act of consolation on the part of God, and has been scorned rather than comforted by man (סערה is a part. kal, not pual; and נחמה 3rd pers. praet. like נעזבה, Isaiah 62:12, and רחמה, Hosea 1:6; Hosea 2:3). But this will be altered; Jerusalem will rise again from the dust, like a glorious building of God. Jerome makes the following apt remark on Isaiah 54:11: "in stibio, i.e., in the likeness of an elegant woman, who paints her eyes with stibium; referring to the beauty of the city." Pūkh is eye-black (kohl, cf., kâchal, Ezekiel 23:40), i.e., a sooty compound, the chief component of which was powdered antimony, or else manganese or lead, and with which oriental women coloured their eyebrows, and more particularly the eyelids both above and below the eyes, that the beauty of the latter might be all the more conspicuous (2 Kings 9:30). The classic φῦκος, fucus, has a meaning foreign to the Hebrew word, viz., that of rouge for the cheeks. If, then, stibium (antimony), or any blackening collyrium generally, served the purpose of mortar in the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the stones of its walls (not its foundation-stones, אדניך, which is the reading adopted by Ewald, but, on the contrary, the visible stones of its towering walls) would look like the eyes of a woman shining forth from the black framework of their painted lids, i.e., they would stand out in splendour from their dark ground. The Beth in bassappı̄rı̄m indicates the means employed. Sapphires serve as foundation-stones, for the foundation of Jerusalem stands as immoveably firm as the covenant of God. The sapphire blue is the colour of the heaven, of revelation, and of the covenant. The shemâshōth, however, i.e., the minarets which stand out like rays of the sun, and also the gates, have a red appearance. Red is the colour of blood, and hence of life and of imperishableness; also the colour of fire and of lightning, and hence of wrath and victory. Jehovah makes the minarets of "ruby." The Sept. and Jerome adopt the rendering iaspidem (a jasper); at any rate, כּדכד (which is the proper way of writing the word: Ewald, 48, c)

(Note: The first כ is dagessatum, the second raphatum: see Norzi. The word forms one of the eighteen which have a dagesh after a word ending with a vowel sound (בלא מבטל בתר יה וא דגשין): see Masora Magna on Daniel 5:11, and Heidenheim's הטעמים משפטי, 41a. The object is to secure greater euphony, as in ככרכמישׁ (הלא), Isaiah 10:9, which is one of the eighteen words.)

is a red sparkling jewel (from kidkēd; cf., kı̄dōd, scintilla). The arches of the gates He forms of אקדּח אבני, stones of fiery splendour (from qâdach, to burn: hence qaddachath, πυρετός), that is to say, or carbuncle stones (from carbunculus, a small red-hot coal), like ruby, garnet, etc. Jerome has adopted the false rendering lapides sculptos, after Symm. λίθοι γλυφῆς (from קדח equals קדד, findere?). The accusative of the predicate כדכד is interchanged with עקדח לבני, and then with לאבני־חפץ, to denote the materia ex qua. The whole territory (precinct) of Jerusalem is turned by Jehovah into precious stones, that is to say, it appears to be paved with such stones, just as in Tobit 13:17 the streets are said to be "paved with beryl, and carbuncle, and stones of Ophir," i.e., to be covered with a mosaic formed of precious stones. It is upon the passage before us that Tobit 13:16, 17, and Revelation 21:18-21, are founded. The motley colours of the precious stones, with which the new Jerusalem is adorned, are something more than a mere childish fancy. Whence, then, do the precious stones derive their charm? The ultimate ground of this charm is the fact, that in universal nature everything presses to the light, and that in the mineral world the jewels represent the highest stage of this ascending process. It is the self-unfolding process of the divine glory itself, which is reflected typologically in the several gradations of the manifold play of colours and the transparency of the precious stones. For this reason, the high priest wore a breastplate with twelve precious stones, upon which were the names of the twelve tribes of Israel; and for this same reason, the author of the Apocalypse carries out into detail in chapter 21 the picture of the new Jerusalem, which is here sketched by the prophet of the Old Testament (without distinguishing time from eternity), adding crystals and pearls to the precious stones which he there mentions one by one. How can all this be explained, except on the ground that even the mineral world reflects the glory of those eternal lights from which God is called the "Father of lights," or except on the assumption that the saints in light will one day be able to translate these stony types into the words of God, out of which they have their being?

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