|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:10-16 When the gospel should be publicly preached, the Gentiles would seek Christ Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, and find rest of soul. When God's time is come for the deliverance of his people, mountains of opposition shall become plains before him. God can soon turn gloomy days into glorious ones. And while we expect the Lord to gather his ancient people, and bring them home to his church, also to bring in the fulness of the Gentiles, when all will be united in holy love, let us tread the highway of holiness he has made for his redeemed. Let us wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life, looking to him to prepare our way through death, that river which separates this world from the eternal world.
Verses 14-16. - THE UNITED CHURCH SHALL TRIUMPH OVER ITS ENEMIES. PHYSICAL OBSTACLES TO ITS UNION GOD WILL REMOVE. Israel's most persistent enemies had been the border-nations of the Philistines, the Edomites, the Arabs, Moab and Ammon. These are now taken as types of the enemies of the Church, and victory over them is promised (ver. 14). A further promise is made that physical difficulties shall not prevent the return of the Jewish exiles from distant countries (vers. 15, 16). Verse 14. - They shall fly upon the shoulders of the philistines. It is not to be supposed that actual war is intended. The subjects of the Prince of Peace will not draw the sword. But the Church will for many centuries be confronted by enemies, and must contend with them with legitimate weapons. It is this warfare of which Isaiah now speaks. The united Church will be strong enough to assail her enemies on all sides, and will "swoop" upon the border country of the Philistines like a bird of prey. They shall spoil them of the east; or, the Bent Kedem. The phrase is commonly used in an ethnic sense of the nomadic Arabs inhabiting the deserts east of Jordan, beyond the Ammonite and Moabite country, from whose raids Palestine frequently suffered (see Jeremiah 49:28, 29; Ezekiel 25:4, 10).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But they shall flee upon the shoulders of the Philistines towards the west,.... That is, Ephraim and Judah, who shall not only agree among themselves, but cheerfully join together against the common enemy: "they shall flee with the shoulder", as some render the words; with joint consent, as the phrase is used in Hosea 6:9, Zephaniah 3:9 and so the Targum,
"and they shall be joined together in one shoulder, to smite the Philistines;''
the Septuagint version is, "they shall flee in the ships of strangers"; and so Abarbinel interprets it of the ships of the Philistines, Genoese, and Venetians, that shall bring the Israelites from the west to the east, and carry them in ships by sea. The Philistines were the sworn enemies of the Israelites, and lay to the west of the land of Israel, and when the Gospel was sent into all the world, it began to be preached in the parts of Palestine, whereby many were converted, and embraced it, as foretold they should, Psalm 87:4 and flying upon their shoulders, as it denotes the conquest of them, and their subjection to the Gospel, so the swiftness of the apostles in carrying it to them, when they had a commission to do it, who were all of them Jews, of one tribe or another; and these may also design the enemies of the people of God now, the antichristian states, some of which will fall off from Popery, receive the Gospel, hate the whore, eat her flesh, and burn her with fire; which will be brought about by the preaching of the Gospel by its ministers, who will fly in the midst of heaven, and upon the shoulders of the Romish antichrist, and proclaim the fall of Babylon, and call upon, the Lord's people to come out of it, Revelation 14:6,
they shall spoil them of the east together; the Syrians and Arabians, who lay east of Judea; perhaps the Turks are meant, and the destruction of the Ottoman empire, whereby way will be made for the kings and kingdoms of the east to know, receive, and profess the Gospel of Christ, Revelation 16:12.
they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; or "there shall be a sending out of their hand"; that is, they shall stretch out their hand, and lay hold on these people, and bring them into subjection to them; which is to be understood of the sending out of the Gospel, by the hands of the ministers of it, into those countries where the Moabites and Edomites formerly dwelt; and thereby bringing them into subjection to Christ and his churches:
and the children of Ammon shall obey them; that have the rule in the house of God, submitting to the laws and ordinances of Christ.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. With united forces they shall subdue their foes (Am 9:12).
fly—as a bird of prey (Hab 1:8).
upon the shoulders—This expresses an attack made unexpectedly on one from behind. The image is the more apt, as the Hebrew for "shoulders" in Nu 34:11 is used also of a maritime coast ("side of the sea": Hebrew, "shoulder of the sea," Margin). They shall make a sudden victorious descent upon their borders southwest of Judea.
them of the east—Hebrew, "children of the East," the Arabs, who, always hostile, are not to be reduced under regular government, but are only to be despoiled (Jer 49:28, 29).
lay … hand upon—take possession of (Da 11:42).
Edom—south of Judah, from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea; "Moab"—east of Jordan and the Dead Sea.
Ammon—east of Judea, north of Moab, between the Arnon and Jabbok.
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