Isaiah 54:2
Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of your habitations: spare not, lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) Enlarge the place of thy tent.—Interesting parallels are found in Isaiah 33:20; Jeremiah 10:20.

Isaiah 54:2-3. Enlarge the place of thy tent — That it may be capable of receiving the Gentiles, who shall flock to thee in great numbers, and desire to associate themselves with thee. And let them — Those to whom that work belongs; stretch forth the curtains, &c. — The meaning is, the curtains must and shall be stretched out. Spare not — Fear not lest thou shouldest prepare more room than will be occupied; for very large accessions are to be expected. And strengthen thy stakes — That they may be able to support the great weight which the tent, thus enlarged, shall be upon them. For thou shalt break forth, &c. — Thou shalt bring forth a multitude of children; for the word פרצ, here rendered break forth, is commonly used of any great and extraordinary propagation of living creatures, whether beasts or men; on the right hand and on the left — On every side, in all parts of the world. Or, thy children shall be so numerous that they can no longer be contained within narrow bounds. And thy seed — Thy spiritual seed, the members of the New Testament church, and especially the apostles and other ministers of Christ; shall inherit the Gentiles — Shall bring the Gentile world to the obedience of the faith; and make the desolate cities to be inhabited — Shall cause those cities and countries which, in a spiritual sense, were desolate, being destitute of all good, to be filled with members of the church.54:1-5 Observe the low state of religion in the world, for a long time before Christianity was brought in. But by preaching the gospel, multitudes were converted from idols to the living God. This is matter of great rejoicing to the church. The bounds of the church were extended. Though its state on earth is but mean and movable, like a tent or tabernacle, it is sometimes a growing state, and must be enlarged as the family increases. But the more numerous the church grows, the more she must fortify herself against errors and corruptions. Thy Maker is thy Husband. Christ is the Holy One of Israel, the Mediator of the covenant made with the Old Testament church. Long he had been called the God of Israel; but now he shall be called the God of the whole earth. And he will cleanse from sin, and cause every true believer to rejoice in this sacred union. We never can enough admire this mercy, or duly value this privilege.Enlarge the place of thy tent - The same idea occurs in Isaiah 49:19-20 (see the notes at that chapter). The curtains of thy habitations. The word 'curtain' does not quite express the sense here. It is commonly with us used to denote the cloth hanging round. a bed or at a window, which may be spread or drawn aside at pleasure, or the hanging in theaters to conceal the stage from the spectators. The word here, however, denotes the canopy or cloth used in a tent; and the idea is, that the boundaries of the church were to be greatly enlarged, in order to accommodate the vast accession from the pagan world.

Spare not - Do not be parsimonious in the provision of the materials for greatly enlarging the tent to dwell in.

Lengthen thy cords - (See the note at Isaiah 33:20).

2. (Isa 49:19, 20; Jer 31:31-36, 38, 39). Thy children shall be so many that thy borders must be extended to contain them.

curtains—the cloth forming the covering of the tent.

spare not—give abundantly the means for the enlargement of the Church (2Co 9:5-7).

cords … stakes—The more the tent is enlarged by lengthening the cords by which the cloth covering is fastened to the ground, the more the stakes supporting the tent need to be strengthened; the Church is not merely to seek new converts, but to strengthen those she has in the faith. The image is appropriate, as the tabernacle was the symbol of the old Israelitish Church (see on [855]Isa 33:20).

Enlarge the place of thy tent, that it may be capable of the Gentiles, which shall flock to thee in great numbers, and desire to associate themselves with thee.

Let them, those to whom that work belongs, stretch forth. The meaning is, they must and shall be stretched out.

Lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes, that they may be able to support that great weight which the tents this enlarged shall be upon them. Enlarge the place of thy tent,.... To which the church is compared, because of its uncertain and movable condition, being sometimes in one place, and sometimes in another; and because of its outward meanness and weakness, as well as its small extent; but now it is signified that it should be enlarged, and room be made for an accession of in habitants to it; or, in other words, that the Gospel church state should not be confined to Jerusalem, but should take place in other parts of Judea, and in Galilee, and in Samaria; hence we read of churches in those places, Acts 9:31,

and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitation; alluding to the curtains of which tents or tabernacles were made, which used to be stretched out on poles or stakes, in order to make more room, and hold more people. This may respect the spreading of the Gospel by the apostles, who may be here meant, and the success of it, especially among the Gentiles; who may be said to stretch out the curtains of the tent, the church, when, according to their commission, they went and preached the Gospel to every creature. First they travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching to the Jews only; but when they wholly rejected the Gospel, they turned to the Gentiles, and went everywhere preaching the word, Acts 11:19, and their ministry was blessed to the conversion of multitudes, and Gospel churches were set up in all parts of the world. The Apostle Paul was an eminent instrument of stretching these curtains, who went from Jerusalem, round about to Illyricum, fully preaching the Gospel of Christ, Romans 15:19,

spare not: any cost or pains, to spread the Gospel, enlarge the interest of Christ, and increase his church and people; as did not the apostles of Christ, who may be supposed to be the persons here addressed:

lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; the curtains being stretched out, it was necessary the cords, to which they were fastened, should be lengthened, that they might reach further, and take in a greater compass; and the wider the tent is made by such means, the stronger should be the staves, and the more surely should they be drove and fixed in the earth, to hold the cords with the curtains bound unto them; all which express the enlargement of the church in the Gentile world, by means of the Gospel ministry and discipline. The Targum is,

"multiply the people of thy camp, and strengthen the governors.''

{c} Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them extend the curtains of thy habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;

(c) Signifying that for the great number of children that God would give her, she would seem to lack room to lodge them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. The idea of the verse is expressed in Isaiah 49:20-21; for the figure of the tent (in an opposite sense) cf. Jeremiah 10:20.

The curtains are the tent-hangings (Jeremiah 49:29; Habakkuk 3:7), the stakes, the tent-pegs (ch. Isaiah 33:20).

The words spare not should, according to the accents, be joined to the preceding clause.Verse 2. - Enlarge the place of thy tent (comp. Isaiah 33:20 and Jeremiah 10:20). The memory of the old nomadic life caused the "tent" to be the symbol and representative of the dwelling-place (comp. 1 Kings 12:16). Israel will have so many more children that her "tent" will need enlarging. The curtains; i.e. the tent-cloth (comp. Exodus 26 and 36, where the word used occurs repeatedly). Thy cords... thy stakes (comp. Exodus 35:18; Exodus 39:40, etc.). The ropes and tent-pegs, which kept the tent-cloth in place, are intended. The enlargement of the tent would make longer ropes and larger pegs necessary. The description of the closing portion of the life of the Servant of Jehovah is continued in Isaiah 53:8. "He has been taken away from prison and from judgment; and of His generation who considered: 'He was snatched away out of the land of the living; for the wickedness of my people punishment fell upon Him'?" The principal emphasis is not laid upon the fact that He was taken away from suffering, but that it was out of the midst of suffering that He was carried off. The idea that is most prominent in luqqâch (with â in half pause) is not that of being translated (as in the accounts of Enoch and Elijah), but of being snatched or hurried away (abreptus est, Isaiah 52:5; Ezekiel 33:4, etc.). The parallel is abscissus (cf., nikhrath, Jeremiah 11:19) a terra viventium, for which נגזר by itself is supposed to be used in the sense of carried away (i.e., out of the sphere of the living into that of the dead, Lamentations 3:54; cf., Ezekiel 37:11, "It is all over with us"). עצר (from עצר, compescere) is a violent constraint; here, as in Psalm 107:39, it signifies a persecuting treatment which restrains by outward force, such as that of prison or bonds; and mishpât refers to the judicial proceedings, in which He was put upon His trial, accused and convicted as worthy of death - in other words, to His unjust judgment. The min might indeed be understood, as in Isaiah 53:5, not as referring to the persons who swept Him away ( equals ὑπὸ), but, as in Psalm 107:39, as relating to the ground and cause of the sweeping away. But the local sense, which is the one most naturally suggested by luqqach (e.g., Isaiah 49:24), is to be preferred: hostile oppression and judicial persecution were the circumstances out of which He was carried away by death. With regard to what follows, we must in any case adhere to the ordinary usage, according to which dōr ( equals Arab. daur, dahr, a revolution or period of time) signifies an age, or the men living in a particular age; also, in an ethical sense, the entire body of those who are connected together by similarity of disposition (see, for example, Psalm 14:5); or again ( equals Arab. dâr) a dwelling, as in Isaiah 38:12, and possibly also (of the grave) in Psalm 49:20. Such meanings as length of life (Luther and Grotius), course of life (Vitringa), or fate (Hitzig), it is impossible to sustain. Hence the Sept. rendering, τὴν γενεὰν αὐτοῦ τίς διηγήσεται, which Jerome also adopts, can only mean, so far as the usage of the language is concerned, "who can declare the number of His generation" (i.e., of those inspire by His spirit,or filled with His life); but in this connection such a thought would be premature. Moreover, the generation intended would be called זרעו rather than דורו, as springing from Him.

Still less can we adopt the meaning "dwelling," as Knobel does, who explains the passage thus: "who considers how little the grave becomes Him, which He has received as His dwelling-place." The words do not admit of this explanation. Hofmann formerly explained the passage as meaning, "No one takes His dwelling-place into his mind or mouth, so as even to think of it, or inquire what had become of Him;" but in His Schriftbeweis he has decided in favour of the meaning, His contemporaries, or the men of His generation. It is only with this rendering that we obtain a thought at all suitable to the picture of suffering given here, or to the words which follow (compare Jeremiah 2:31, O ye men of this generation). ואת־דּורו in that case is not the object to ישׂוחח, the real object to which is rather the clause introduced by כּי, but an adverbial accusative, which may serve to give emphatic prominence to the subject, as we may see from Isaiah 57:12; Ezekiel 17:21; Nehemiah 9:34 (Ges 117, Anm.); for את cannot be a preposition, since inter aequales ejus would not be expressed in Hebrew by את־דרור, but by בדורו. The pilel sōchēăch with be signifies in Psalm 143:5 a thoughtful consideration or deliberation, in a word, meditationem alicujus rei (compare the kal with the accusative, Psalm 145:5). The following kı̄ is an explanatory quod: with regard to His contemporaries, who considered that, etc. The words introduced with kı̄ are spoken, as it were, out of the heart of His contemporaries, who ought to have considered, but did not. We may see from עמּי that it is intended to introduce a direct address; and again, if we leave kı̄ untranslated, like ὃτι recitativum (see, for example, Joshua 2:24; compare di, Daniel 2:25), we can understand why the address, which has been carried on thus far in such general terms, assumes all at once an individual form. It cannot be denied, indeed, that we obtain a suitable object for the missing consideration, if we adopt this rendering: "He was torn away (3rd praet.) out of the land of the living, through (min denoting the mediating cause) the wicked conduct of my people (in bringing Him to death), to their own punishment; i.e., none of the men of His age (like mı̄ in Isaiah 53:1, no one equals only a very few) discerned what had befallen them on account of their sin, in ridding themselves of Him by a violent death." Hofmann and V. F. Oehler both adopt this explanation, saying, "Can the prophet have had the person of the Ecce Homo before his eye, without intimating that his people called down judgment upon themselves, by laying violent hands upon the Servant of God?" We cannot, however, decide in favour of this explanation; since the impression produced by this למו נגע עמּי מפּשׁע is, that it is intended to be taken as a rectification of נגוע חשׁבנהו ואנחנו in Isaiah 53:4, to which it stands in a reciprocal relation. This reciprocal relation is brought out more fully, if we regard the force of the min as still continued (ob plagam quae illis debebatur, Seb. Schmid, Kleinert, etc.); though not in the sense of "through the stroke proceeding from them, my people" (Hahn), which would be opposed to the general usage of נגע; or taking למו נגע as a relative clause, populi mei quibus plaga debebatur (Hengstenberg, Hvernick). But the most natural course is to take lâmō as referring to the Servant of God, more especially as our prophet uses lâmō pathetically for lō, as Isaiah 54:15 unquestionably shows (notwithstanding the remonstrance of Stier, who renders the passage, "He was all plague, or smiting, for them"). נגע always signifies suffering as a calamity proceeding from Go (e.g., Exodus 11:1; Psalm 39:11, and in every other passage in which it does not occur in the special sense of leprosy, which also points back, however, to the generic idea of a plague divinely sent); hence Jerome renders it, "for the sin of my people have I smitten Him." The text does not read so; but the smiter is really Jehovah. Men looked upon His Servant as a נגוע; and so He really was, but not in the sense of which men regarded Him as such. Yet, even if they had been mistaken concerning His during His lifetime; now that He no longer dwelt among the living, they ought to see, as they looked back upon His actions and His sufferings, that it was not for His own wickedness, but for that of Israel, viz., to make atonement for it, that such a visitation from God had fallen upon Him (ל as in Isaiah 24:16 and Isaiah 26:16, where the sentence is in the same logical subordination to the previous one as it is here, where Dachselt gives this interpretation, which is logically quite correct: propter praevaricationem populi mei plaga ei contingente).

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