Isaiah 65:18
But be you glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) I create Jerusalem . . .—From the prophet’s stand-point, as elsewhere, both in 1 and 2 Isaiah, the earthly city, transformed and transfigured, occupies the central place in the new creation. In the New Testament we note the transfer of the promise to the unseen eternal city, the Jerusalem which is above (Galatians 4:26; Revelation 21:10).

65:17-25 In the grace and comfort believers have in and from Christ, we are to look for this new heaven and new earth. The former confusions, sins and miseries of the human race, shall be no more remembered or renewed. The approaching happy state of the church is described under a variety of images. He shall be thought to die in his youth, and for his sins, who only lives to the age of a hundred years. The event alone can determine what is meant; but it is plain that Christianity, if universal, would so do away violence and evil, as greatly to lengthen life. In those happy days, all God's people shall enjoy the fruit of their labours. Nor will children then be the trouble of their parents, or suffer trouble themselves. The evil dispositions of sinners shall be completely moritified; all shall live in harmony. Thus the church on earth shall be full of happiness, like heaven. This prophecy assures the servants of Christ, that the time approaches, wherein they shall be blessed with the undisturbed enjoyment of all that is needful for their happiness. As workers together with God, let us attend his ordinances, and obey his commands.But be ye glad and rejoice - (See the notes at Isaiah 51:11).

Forever - It is not to be momentary happiness - like a bright morning that is soon overcast with clouds. The joy of God's people is to endure for ever, and they shall have ceaseless cause of praise and thanksgiving.

I create Jerusalem a rejoicing - A source of rejoicing; or a place of rejoicing.

And her people a joy - That is, in themselves joyful, and a source of joy to all others. The idea is, that the church would be a place of the highest happiness, and that they who were redeemed would have occasion of perpetual joy. The Saviour did not come to minister gloom, nor is the true effect of religion to make his people melancholy. Religion produces seriousness; but seriousness is not inconsistent with permanent happiness. Religion produces deep thought and soberness of deportment and conversation; but this is not inconsistent with a heart at ease, or with a good conscience, or with permanent joy. Religion fills the mind with hope of eternal life; and the highest happiness which the soul can know must be in connection with the prospect of unchanging blessedness beyond the grave.

18. rejoice for ever … Jerusalem—(Isa 51:11). "Everlasting joy … Zion." Spiritually (1Th 5:16). You that are my people, though you cannot rejoice with that degree of joy that attendeth a present fruition of good; yet be glad, and rejoice with the

rejoicing of hope, for the thing is certain what I am already doing. Nor let your present state, or the discouragements you have from seeming improbabilities, spoil your joy; for it is not a work to be produced in an ordinary course, or by an ordinary power, but by the power of me, who bring something out of nothing, or out of what hath no fittedness to such a production; and I will create

Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy: by Jerusalem here must be meant the church, as well under the gospel as under the law (because the gospel church is grafted into that olive); or else this prophecy must be understood as fulfilled in the coming of Christ, Luke 2:10; or else it referreth to a more full calling of the Jews than we have yet seen or heard of. But be you glad, and rejoice for ever in that which I create,.... This may refer either to persons converted, both at the beginning of the Gospel, and in the latter day, whether Jews or Gentiles; who are the Lord's creation, or new creatures, being made new men; having new hearts and spirits given them, or created within them; new principles of life, light, grace, and holiness, wrought in them, which are the produce of almighty and creating power; and all such instances are matter of joy, as to the angels in heaven, so to the saints on earth, and especially to the ministers of the Gospel; because of the grace bestowed on men, the glory brought to God, and their own ministry blessed and succeeded, and so their hands and hearts strengthened: or else this refers to the state of things under the Gospel dispensation, in every age of it, and especially in some periods of it, particularly the first and last; and the whole indeed is a new world or state of God's creating, and is matter of joy to all the people of God. The Targum renders it,

"rejoice in the world of worlds, which I:create:''

agreeably to which is the version of Bishop Chandler (g),

"rejoice for the age to come, that I create;''

the world to come, Hebrews 2:5, which Christ is said to be the father of, in the Septuagint version of Isaiah 9:6, the Gospel dispensation, the Messiah's future world, as opposed to the legal dispensation.

For, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy; that is, do that for them, through the mighty power of his grace, as will justly occasion joy to them, and to all others well affected to them; the conversion of the Jews will be matter of joy to the Gentiles; and that, and the bringing in of the fulness of the Gentiles, as well as the destruction of antichrist, which will occasion a new face of things in the world, will be matter of joy to the whole church; see Revelation 18:20.

(g) Defence of Christianity, c. 2. sect. 2.

But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. I create Jerusalem a rejoicing &c.] i.e. either an object in which one may rejoice (Isaiah 65:19, ch. Isaiah 60:15) or an abode of joy (ch. Isaiah 51:3, Isaiah 61:7).Verse 18. - I create Jerusalem (comp. Revelation 21:2, "I, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband"). The description which follows in vers. 11, 12 is quite unlike that of the old Jerusalem. A rejoicing. The "new Jerusalem" was to be from the first all joy and rejoicing - a scene of perpetual gladness. Her people also was to be "a joy" or "a delight," since God would delight in them (ver. 19). Μήνη appears in μηναγύρθς equals μητραγύρθς as the name of Cybele, the mother of the gods. In Egyptian, Menhi is a form of Isis in the city of Hat-uer. The Ithyphallic Min, the cognomen of Amon, which is often written in an abbreviated form with the spelling men (Copt. MHIN, signum), is further removed.

Isaiah 65:11The prophecy now turns again to those already indicated and threatened in Isaiah 65:1-7. "And ye, who are enemies to Jehovah, O ye that are unmindful of my holy mountain, who prepare a table for Gad, and fill up mixed drink for the goddess of destiny - I have destined you to the sword, and ye will all bow down to the slaughter, because I have called and ye have not replied, I have spoken and ye have not heard; and ye did evil in mine eyes, and ye chose that which I did not like." It may be taken for granted as a thing generally admitted, that Isaiah 65:11 refers to two deities, and to the lectisternia (meals of the gods, cf., Jeremiah 7:18; Jeremiah 51:44) held in their honour. שׁלחן ערך is the other side of the lectum sternere, i.e., the spreading of the cushions upon which the images of the gods were placed during such meals of the gods as these. In the passage before us, at any rate, the lectus answering to the shulchân (like the sella used in the case of the goddesses) is to be taken as a couch for eating, not for sleeping on. In the second clause, therefore, ממסך למני והממלאים (which is falsely accentuated in our editions with tifchah mercha silluk, instead of mercha tifchah silluk), ממסך מלּא signifies to fill with mixed drink, i.e., with wine mixed with spices, probably oil of spikenard. מלּא may be connected not only with the accusative of the vessel filled, but also with that of the thing with which it is filled (e.g., Exodus 28:17). Both names have the article, like הבּעל. הגּד is perfectly clear; if used as an appellative, it would mean "good fortune." The word has this meaning in all the three leading Semitic dialects, and it also occurs in this sense in Genesis 30:11, where the chethib is to be read בּגד (lxx ἐν τύχῃ). The Aramaean definitive is גּדּא (not גּדא), as the Arabic 'gadd evidently shows. The primary word is גּדד (Arab. 'gadda), to cut off, to apportion; so that Arab. jaddun, like the synonymous ḥaḍḍun, signifies that which is appointed, more especially the good fortune appointed. There can be no doubt, therefore, that Gad, the god of good fortune, more especially if the name of the place Baal-Gad is to be explained in the same way as Baal-hammn, is Baal (Bel) as the god of good fortune. Gecatilia (Mose ha-Cohen) observes, that this is the deified planet Jupiter. This star is called by the Arabs "the greater luck" as being the star of good fortune; and in all probability it is also the rabb-el-bacht (lord of good fortune) worshipped by the Ssabians (Chwolsohn, ii. 30, 32). It is true that it is only from the passage before us that we learn that it was worshipped by the Babylonians; for although H. Rawlinson once thought that he had found the names Gad and Menni in certain Babylonian inscriptions (Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, xii. p. 478), the Babylonian Pantheon in G. Rawlinson's Monarchies contains neither of these names. With this want of corroborative testimony, the fact is worthy of notice, that a Rabbi named 'Ulla, who sprang from Babylon, explains the דרגשׁ of the Mishna by דגדא ערסא (a sofa dedicated to the god of prosperity, and often left unused) (b. Nedarim 56a; cf., Sanhedrin 20a).

(Note: The foreign formula of incantation given in b. Sabbath 67a, ובושכי עושדי ל וסינוק ידג דג (according to the glosses, "O Fortune, give good fortune, and be not tardy day and night"), also belongs here; whereas the name of a place not far from Siloah, called Gad-yavan (Gad of Greece), contains some allusion to the mythology of Greece, which we are unable to trace. In the later usage of the language Gad appears to have acquired the general meaning of numen (e.g., b. Chullin 40a; דהר גד, the mountain-spirit); and this helps to explain the fact that in Pehlewi גדמן signifies majesty in a royal, titular sense (see Vuller's Lex.; and Spiegel in the Indische Studien, 3, 412).)

But if Gad is Jupiter, nothing is more probable than that Meni is Venus; for the planet Venus is also regarded as a star of prosperity, and is called by the Arabs "the lesser luck." The name Meni in itself, indeed, does not necessarily point to a female deity; for meni from mânâh, if taken as a passive participial noun (like גּרי בּריה, a creature), signifies "that which is apportioned;" or if taken as a modification of the primary form many, like גּדי, טלי, צבי, and many others, allotment, destination, fate. We have synonyms in the Arabic mana-n and meniye, and the Persian bacht (adopted into the Arabic), which signify the general fate, and from which bago-bacht is distinguished as signifying that which is exceptionally allotted by the gods. The existence of a deity of this name meni is also probably confirmed by the occurrence of the personal name עבדמני on certain Aramaeo-Persian coins of the Achaemenides,

(Note: See Rdiger in the concluding part of the thes. p. 97.)

with which Frst associates the personal name Achiman (see his Lex.), combining מן with Μήν, and מני with Μήνη, as Movers (Phnizier, i. 650) and Knobel have also done. מן and מני would then be Semitic forms of these Indo-Germanic names of deities; for Μήν is Deus Lunus, the worship of which in Carrae (Charran) is mentioned by Spartian in chapter vi. of the Life of Caracalla, whilst Strabo (xii. 3, 31, 32) speaks of it as being worshipped in Pontus, Phrygia, and other places; and Μήνη is Dea Luna (cf., Γενείτη Μάνη in Plut. quaest. Romans 52, Genita Mana in Plin. h. n. 29, 4, and Dea Mena in Augustine, Civ. 4, 11), which was worshipped, according to Diodorus (iii. 56) and Nonnus (Dionys. v. 70 ss.), in Phoenicia and Africa. The rendering of the lxx may be quoted in favour of the identity of the latter with מני (ἑτοιμάζοντες τῷ δαιμονίῳ (another reading δαίμονι τράπεζαν καὶ πληροῦντες τῇ τύχῃ κέρασμα), especially if we compare with this what Macrobius says in Saturn. i. 19, viz., that "according to the Egyptians there are four of the gods which preside over the birth of men, Δαίμων Τύχη ̓́Ερωσ ̓Ανάγκη. Of these Daimōn is the sun, the author of spirit, of warmth, and of light. Tychē is the moon, as the goddess through whom all bodies below the moon grow and disappear, and whose ever changing course accompanies the multiform changes of this mortal life."

(Note: See Ge. Zoega's Abhandlungen, edited by Welcker (1817), pp. 39, 40.)

In perfect harmony with this is the following passage of Vettius Valens, the astrologer of Antioch, which has been brought to light by Selden in his Syntagma de Diis Syris: Κλῆροι τῆς τύχης καὶ τοῦ δαίμονος σημαίνουσιν (viz., by the signs of nativity) ἣλιον τε καὶ σελήνην. Rosenmller very properly traces back the Sept. rendering to this Egyptian view, according to which Gad is the sun-god, and Meni the lunar goddess as the power of fate. Now it is quite true that the passage before us refers to Babylonian deities, and not to Egyptian; at the same time there might be some relation between the two views, just as in other instances ancient Babylonia and Egypt coincide.

But there are many objections that may be offered to the combination of מני (Meni) and Μήνη: (1.) The Babylonian moon-deity was either called Sı̄n, as among the ancient Shemites generally, or else by other names connected with ירח (ירח) and châmar. (2.) The moon is called mâs is Sanscrit, Zendic mâo, Neo-Pers. mâh (mah); but in the Arian languages we meet with no such names as could be traced to a root mân as the expansion of mâ (to measure), like μήν μήνη), Goth. mena; for the ancient proper names which Movers cites, viz., ̓Αριαμένησ ̓Αρταμένης, etc., are traceable rather to the Arian manas equals μένος, mens, with which Minerva (Menerva, endowed with mind) is connected. (3.) If meni were the Semitic form of the name for the moon, we should expect a closer reciprocal relation in the meanings of the words. We therefore subscribe to the view propounded by Gesenius, who adopts the pairing of Jupiter and Venus common among the Arabs, as the two heavenly bodies that preside over the fortunes of men; and understands by Meni Venus, and by Gad Jupiter. There is nothing at variance with this in the fact that 'Ashtoreth (Ishtar, with 'Ashērâh) is the name of Venus (the morning star), as we have shown at Isaiah 14:12. Meni is her special name as the bestower of good fortune and the distributor of fate generally; probably identical with Mant, one of the three leading deities of the prae-Islamitish Arabs.

(Note: See Krehl, Religion der vorislamischen Araber, p. 78. Sprenger in his Life of Mohammad, 1862, compares the Arabic Manât with מני.)

The address proceeds with umânı̄thı̄ (and I have measured), which forms an apodosis and contains a play upon the name of Meni, Isaiah 65:11 being as it were a protasis indicating the principal reason of their approaching fate. Because they sued for the favour of the two gods of fortune (the Arabs call them es-sa'dâni, "the two fortunes") and put Jehovah into the shade, Jehovah would assign them to the sword, and they would all have to bow down (כּרע as in Isaiah 10:4). Another reason is now assigned for this, the address thus completing the circle, viz., because when I called ye did not reply, when I spake ye did not hear (this is expressed in the same paratactic manner as in Isaiah 5:4; Isaiah 12:1; Isaiah 50:2), and ye have done, etc.: an explanatory clause, consisting of four members, which is repeated almost word for word in Isaiah 66:4 (cf., Isaiah 56:4).

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