|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
66:5-14 The prophet turns to those that trembled at God's word, to comfort and encourage them. The Lord will appear, to the joy of the humble believer, and to the confusion of hypocrites and persecutors. When the Spirit was poured out, and the gospel went forth from Zion, multitudes were converted in a little time. The word of God, especially his promises, and ordinances, are the consolations of the church. The true happiness of all Christians is increased by every convert brought to Christ. The gospel brings with it, wherever it is received in its power, such a river of peace, as will carry us to the ocean of boundless and endless bliss. Divine comforts reach the inward man; the joy of the Lord will be the strength of the believer. Both God's mercy and justice shall be manifested, and for ever magnified.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things?.... Such numerous conversions, as after related; suggesting that they were wonderful and surprising, unheard of, what had never been seen in the world before, and which were amazing and astonishing to the church herself; see Isaiah 49:21,
shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? as if it was said the thing about to be related was as wonderful as if all the women in the world should bring forth their children in one day, or bring forth as many at once as would fill the whole earth; or as surprising as if the earth should all at once send out its herbs, plants, and trees, as it did on the third day of the creation, Genesis 1:11 which now gradually spring up, some in one month, and some in another, and some are months in their production:
or shall a nation be born at once? was ever such a thing heard of? yet this will be the case of the Jews in the latter day, when they shall be all converted and saved; and which shall be done suddenly and at once; see Hosea 1:10, of which the conversion of them, in the first times of the Gospel, was an earnest and pledge, when three thousand were convinced, converted, and regenerated, in one day, under one sermon; and at another time, under the word, two thousand, if not five thousand: thus Christ had,
from the womb of the morning, or at the first break of the Gospel day, "the dew of his youth", or numbers of souls born again to him, like the drops of the morning dew; see Acts 2:41,
for as soon as Zion travailed she brought forth her children; this shows that the preceding verse must be understood of some travail and pain, though comparatively little, and so soon over, that it was as if none; and this is to be understood of the pains which Gospel ministers take in preaching the word, which is the means of regeneration, and they the instruments of it; and so are called fathers, who through the Gospel beget souls to Christ; and of their anxious concern for the conversion of sinners, and the formation of Christ in them, which is called a travailing in birth; see 1 Peter 1:23, Romans 8:22 and it may also design the earnest prayers of the church and its members, striving and wrestling with God, being importunate with him, that the word preached might be useful for the good of souls; and particularly their earnest and fervent prayers for the conversion of the Jews, which will soon be brought about, when a spirit of grace and supplication is not only poured on them, but upon the saints in general, to pray fervently and earnestly for it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. earth—rather, to suit the parallelism, "is a country (put for the people in it) brought forth in one day?" [Lowth]. In English Version it means, The earth brings forth its productions gradually, not in one day (Mr 4:28).
at once—In this case, contrary to the usual growth of the nations by degrees, Israel starts into maturity at once.
for—rather, "is a nation born at once, that Zion has, so soon as she travailed, brought forth?" [Maurer].
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