|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:1-3 Those who have gone from God by consent, and in a body, drawing one another to sin, should, by consent and in a body, return to him, which will be for his glory, and their good. It will be of great use for support under afflictions, and to encourage our repentance, to keep up good thoughts of God, and of his purposes and designs concerning us. Deliverance out of trouble should be to them as life from the dead. God will revive them: the assurance of this should engage them to return to him. But this seems to have a further reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let us admire the wisdom and goodness of God, that when the prophet foretold the deliverance of the church out of her troubles, he should point out our salvation by Christ; and now these words are fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ, it confirms our faith, that this is He that should come and we are to look for no other. Here is a precious blessing promised; this is life eternal, to know God. The returns of the favour of God are secured to us as firmly as the return of the morning after a dark night. He shall come to us as the latter and former rain unto the earth, which refreshes it, and makes it fruitful. The grace of God in Christ is both the latter and the former rain; and by it the good work of our fruit-bearing is begun and carried on. And as the Redeemer was raised from the grave, so will He revive the hearts and hopes of all that trust in him. The feeblest glimpse of hope in his word, is a sure earnest of increasing light and comfort, which shall be attended with purifying, comforting grace that makes fruitful.
Verse 2. - After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. The expression of time here employed denotes a comparatively short period, and implies that Israel's revival would be speedily as well as certainly accomplished. Paucity is signified by the binary number in Old Testament language, just as we speak of two, or a couple, in the sense of fewness. In 1 Kings 17:12 we find "two" used in this way: "Behold, I am gathering two sticks;" so in Isaiah 7:21, "A man shall nourish a young cow and two sheep;" in Isaiah 17:6 a small number is spoken of as "two or three;" while a short period is similarly described in Luke 13:32, "Behold, I east out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected." The important idea of this verse connects itself with the terms corresponding to revival, resurrection, and restoration to the Divine favor and protection. The drooping, declining, dying state of Israel would be revived; their deathlike condition would undergo a resurrection process; their disfavor would give way to Divine complacency; and all this, though not immediately, yet in a comparatively short time. This appears to us the import of the prophecy. Similar figurative language, and with like significancy, is employed by Ezekiel (37.) in his vision of the valley and the resurrection of its dry bones; as also by Isaiah (26.), where the same or a similar thought is presented in briefer, but still more beautiful, language: "Thy (lead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead." Calvin understands this verse as containing a source of consolation to Israel. "When," he says, "the Israelites, through their long obstinacy, had become nearly incurable, it was needful to lead them to repentance by slow punishments. They, therefore, said, After two days God will revive us; and thus they confirmed themselves in the hope of salvation, though it did not immediately appear; though they long remained in darkness, and the exile was long which they had to endure, they yet did not cease to hope. 'Well, lot the two days pass, and the Lord will revive us.'" To man in sorrow the time appears long; it is short in the sight of him with whom a thousand years are as one day. Kimchi's explanation is also, to a certain extent, satisfactory: "The prophet says, 'our sickness lasts for two days, yet he will heal us of our sickness, till on the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live long before him,' as if he said, 'though our afflictions continue a long time.' The two days are a figaro, for 'in a short time he will bring us his salvation,' and 'on the third day' is figurative." He afterwards refers the "two days" to the captivities of his people - that in Egypt and that in Babylon; while "the third day" denotes the third or present Roman captivity, "out of which he will raise us up and we shall live before him? so that we shall never again go into captivity, but shall live continually before him, while we sin no mere." Rashi refers the words to the three temples - that of Solomon, that of Zerubbabel, and the temple that is to be built by Messiah. Some of the Fathers understand the three periods in the history of humanity - the first, under Adam, as the time of Law and captivity to sin; the second, under Christ, as the time of the gospel and of grace; and the third, with Christ, as the time of the general resurrection. Theodoret and most of the Fathers understood this verse to refer to the resurrection of Christ on the third day after three days' rest in the grave. Calvin, after giving what appeared to him "the simple and genuine sense" of the passage as applying primarily to the Jews, as we have already seen, adds, "I do not deny but that God has exhibited a remarkable and memorable instance of what is here said in his only begotten Son. As often, then, as delay begets weariness in us, let us flee to Christ; for, as it has been said, his resurrection is a mirror of our life; for we see in that how God is wont to deal with his own people: the Father did not restore life to Christ as soon as he was taken down from the cross; he was deposited in the sepulcher, and he lay there till the third day. When God, then, intends that we should languish for a time, let us know that we are thus represented in Christ our Head, and hence let us gather materials of confidence. We have, then, in Christ an illustrious proof of this prophecy." The political resurrection of Israel may dimly shadow forth, by way of type, the resurrection of Messiah and the general resurrection of which he is the Firstfruits.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up,.... The Jews, in their present state, are as dead men, both in a civil and spiritual sense, and their conversion and restoration will be as life from the dead; they are like persons buried, and, when they are restored, they will be raised out of their graves, both of sin and misery; see Romans 11:15; the time of which is here fixed, after two days, and on the third; which Jarchi interprets of the two temples that have been destroyed, and of the third temple to be built, which the Jews expect, but in vain, and when they hope for good times: Kimchi explains it of their three captivities, in Egypt, Babylon, and the present one, and so Ben Melech, from which they hope to be raised, and live comfortably; which sense is much better than the former: and with it may be compared Vitringa's (s) notion of the text, that the first day was between Israel's coming out of Egypt and the Babylonish captivity; the second day between that and the times of Antiochus, which was the third night; then the third day followed, which is the times of the Messiah: but the Targum comes nearer the truth, which paraphrases the words thus,
"he will quicken us in the days of consolation which are to come, and in the day of the resurrection of the dead he will raise us up;''
where by days of consolation are meant the days of the Messiah, with which the Jews generally connect the resurrection of the dead; and if we understand them of the last days of the Messiah, it is not much amiss; for the words respect the quickening and raising up of the Jews in the latter day, the times of Christ's spiritual coming and reign: and these two and three days may be expressive of a long and short time, as interpreters differently explain them; of a long time, as the third day is a long time for a man to lie dead, when there can be little or no hope of his reviving, Luke 24:21; or of a short time, for which two or three days is a common phrase; and both true in this case: it is a long time Israel and Judah have been in captivity, and there may seem little hope of their restoration; but it will be a short time with the Lord, with whom a thousand years are as one day, and one day as a thousand years: and this I take to be the sense of the words, that after the second Millennium, or the Lord's two days, and at the beginning of the third, will be the time of their conversion and restoration, reckoning from the last destruction of them by the Romans; for not till then were Israel and Judah wholly in a state of death: many of Israel were mixed among those of Judah before the Babylonish captivity, and many returned with them from it; but, when destroyed by the Romans, there was an end of their civil and church state; which will both be revived on a better foundation at this period of time: but if this conjecture is not agreeable (for I only propose it as such), the sense may be taken thus, that in a short time after the repentance of Israel, and their conversion to the Lord, they will be brought into a very comfortable and happy state and condition, both with respect to things temporal and spiritual;
and we shall live in his sight; comfortably, in a civil sense, in their own land, and in the possession of all their privileges and liberties; and in a spiritual sense, by faith on Jesus Christ, whom they shall now embrace, and in the enjoyment of the Gospel and Gospel ordinances; and the prophet represents the penitents and faithful among them as believing and hoping for these things. This may be applied to the case of sensible sinners, who, as they are in their natural state dead in sin, and dead in law, so they see themselves to be such when awakened; and yet entertain a secret hope that sooner or later they shall be revived and refreshed, and raised up to a more comfortable state, and live in the presence of God, and the enjoyment of his favour. The ancient fathers generally understood these words of Christ, who was buried on the sixth day, lay in the grave the whole seventh day, and after these two days, on the third, rose again from the dead; and to this passage the apostle is thought to have respect, 1 Corinthians 15:3; and also of the resurrection of his people in and with him, and by virtue of his: and true it is that Christ rose from the dead on the third day, and all his redeemed ones were quickened and raised up together with him as their head and representative, Ephesians 2:5; and his in virtue of his being quickened that they are regenerated and quickened, and made alive, in a spiritual sense; he is the author of their spiritual life, and their life itself; see 1 Peter 1:3; and not only in virtue of his resurrection is their spiritual resurrection from the death of sin to a life of grace, but even their corporeal resurrection at the last day; and as, in consequence of their spiritual resurrection, they live in the sight of God a life of grace and holiness by faith in Christ, and in a comfortable view and enjoyment of the divine favour; so they shall live eternally in the presence of God, where are fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore: but the first sense is best, and most agreeable to the context and scope of it.
(s) Comment. in Isaiah 8.20.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. Primarily, in type, Israel's national revival, in a short period ("two or three" being used to denote a few days, Isa 17:6; Lu 13:32, 33); antitypically the language is so framed as to refer in its full accuracy only to Messiah, the ideal Israel (Isa 49:3; compare Mt 2:15, with Ho 11:1), raised on the third day (Joh 2:19; 1Co 15:4; compare Isa 53:10). "He shall prolong His days." Compare the similar use of Israel's political resurrection as the type of the general resurrection of which "Christ is the first-fruits" (Isa 26:19; Eze 37:1-14; Da 12:2).
live in his sight—enjoy His favour and the light of His countenance shining on us, as of old; in contrast to Ho 5:6, 15, "Withdrawn Himself from them."
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