INTRODUCTION TO Isaiah 12
This chapter contains a song of praise and thanksgiving for redemption and salvation by Christ, of which the preceding chapter Isaiah 11:1 is a famous prophecy. It begins with an account of the church's former uncomfortable and now comfortable state and condition, Isaiah 12:1 the foundation of whose comfort was Christ her salvation and strength, and so her song, which engaged her trust, and dispelled her fears, Isaiah 12:2 hence encouragement to others to apply to the fulness of Christ for grace, and fresh supplies of it, to be had with joy, Isaiah 12:3 and then follow certain mutual exhortations to praise, exalt, and glorify Christ, with reasons enforcing them, Isaiah 12:4.
And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.And in that day thou shalt say,.... The following song of praise; just as Israel did, when they were brought through the Red sea, and saved out of the hands of their enemies; to which there are several allusions and references in it; that deliverance being typical of salvation by Christ; the Gospel day, or the times of the Gospel, are here meant:
O Lord, I will praise thee; or "confess thee"; to be my Lord, Redeemer, and Saviour, my Husband, Head, and King; or "confess to thee" (q), my sins and transgressions, and unworthiness to receive any favour from thee, and gratefully acknowledge all the favours bestowed upon me:
though thou wast angry with me; as it appeared to the church, and according to her apprehensions of things, though not in reality, or strictly or properly speaking; for anger is not to be ascribed to God; but it is a speaking after the manner of men; and the Lord seems to be angry when he hides his face from his people, when he refuses to hear their cries, when he afflicts them, and continues his hand upon them, and when he lets in a sense of wrath into their consciences:
thine anger is turned away; he granting his gracious presence; taking off his afflicting hand; manifesting his love, particularly his pardoning grace and mercy; peace and reconciliation being made by the blood of Christ, and justice satisfied, the effects of resentment and displeasure cease:
and thou comfortedst me; by shedding abroad his love in her heart; by discovering the free and full forgiveness of sin; by lifting up the light of his countenance; by an application of precious promises; and by means of the word and ordinances, through the influence of the blessed Spirit as a comforter; who leads in this way for comfort to the person, blood, righteousness, sacrifice, and fulness of Christ, and comforts with these, by applying them, and showing interest in them. The Targum is,
"and thou shalt say at that time, I will confess before the Lord; for that I have sinned before thee, thine anger is upon me; but when I am turned to the law, thine anger will turn from me, and thou wilt have mercy on me;''
or rather turned to Christ, and embrace his Gospel, which is the only way to have comfort.
(q) "confitebor tibi", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus.
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.Behold, God is my salvation,.... Or Saviour; that is, Christ, who is God, the great God, and so fit to be a Saviour, and is one, was appointed by the Father, provided in covenant, promised in the word, sent in the fulness of time, and is become the author of salvation, which a creature could not be; and this the church saw her interest in, and which was the ground of her comfort before declared; and to which she prefixed the word "behold", as a note of asseveration, affirming him to be her Saviour; and of admiration, wondering at it; and of exclusion of all others from being concerned therein; and of attention and direction to others, pointing him out as the only one to look unto.
I will trust, and not be afraid; "trust" in Christ for salvation, be confident of enjoying it, and look upon myself safe and secure from all wrath and condemnation, and from every enemy; and not be "afraid" of sin, Satan, the world, death, hell, and wrath to come. The Targum joins this and the preceding clause together,
"behold, in the word of God my salvation I trust, and shall not be moved:''
for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; the author of her spiritual strength; the "strength" of her life, and of her heart, which maintained the one, and supported the other; the strength of her graces, and of her duties, by which she exercised the one, and performed the other: and the subject matter of her "song" were his person, and the fulness and fitness of it, his righteousness, and salvation by him; this clause, and the following one, are taken out of Exodus 15:2,
he also is become my salvation; salvation is wrought out by Christ, and believers have it in him, and they know it, and believe it, and so are already saved in him.
Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.Therefore with joy shall ye draw water,.... These words are either an exhortation to others, as the Septuagint and Arabic versions render it, "draw ye"; and so likewise an encouragement to them by her example, or a prophecy that they should do this; that is, apply to Christ for grace, and receive it from him: for by "water" is meant grace, which is compared to it, because it is softening, purifying, fructifying, cooling, and refreshing, and extinguishes thirst; and this is to be "drawn", it is to be come at, though the well in which it is be deep, and not in the reach of everyone; the bucket is faith that it is drawn with, and this is the gift of God; and it is in the exercise of this grace, which requires diligence, strength, and labour, that saints receive from Christ, and grace for grace; and this is exercised in the use of means, by prayer, reading of the Scriptures, and attendance on the word and ordinances, by which faith draws hard, and receives much, and, when it does, it is attended "with joy": salvation itself is received with joy, and so is the Saviour; as also a justifying righteousness, and pardoning grace, and likewise every supply of grace; which joy is of a spiritual kind, is in a way of believing, what a stranger intermeddles not with, and is unspeakable and full of glory:
out of the wells of salvation, or "fountains"; as all the three Persons are; Jehovah the Father, as he is called "the fountain of living water", Jeremiah 2:13 so he is the fountain of salvation; it springs from him, from his everlasting love, his eternal purposes, his infinite wisdom, his sure and unalterable covenant, his free grace in the mission of his Son; and he himself is the God of grace, from whence it all comes, and every supply of it. The Spirit and his grace are called a "well of living water", John 4:14 and he also is a well of salvation; it is he that convinces men of their need of it, that brings near this salvation to them, and shows them their interest in it, and bears witness to it, and is the earnest and pledge of it; and he is the author of all that grace which makes them meet for it, and from whom are all the supplies of it by the way. But more especially Christ is meant, who is the "fountain of gardens, and well of living water", Sol 4:15 in whom salvation is, and in no other: the words may be rendered, "the wells" or "fountains of the Saviour" (r), yea, of Jesus; and which are no other than the fulness of grace in him: the phrase denotes the abundance of grace in Christ, much of which is given out in conversion; an abundance of it is received with the free gift of righteousness for justification; and a large measure of it in the pardon of sins, and in all the after supplies, through the wilderness of this world, till the saints come to glory; and which is vouchsafed to a great number, to all the elect angels and elect men, to all the churches, and the members thereof, in all ages; and this always has been and ever will be communicating to them. The Targum is,
"and ye shall receive a new doctrine from the chosen, the righteous;''
or of the righteous; which is true of the doctrine of the Gospel, received by the hands of chosen men, the apostles of Christ. The Jews (s) make use of this passage, in confirmation of the ceremony of drawing of water at the feast of tabernacles; and say (t) it signifies the drawing of the Holy Ghost; that is, his grace.
(r) "de fontibus Salvatoris", V. L.; Vatablus. (s) T. Bab. Succa, fol. 48. 2. & 50. 2.((t) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 70. fol. 62. 3. T. Hieros. Succa, fol. 55. 1.
And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.In that day shall ye say, praise the Lord,.... On account of his being and perfections, for blessings received from him, especially spiritual ones; and particularly such as are before mentioned, fulness of grace in him, strength and salvation by him, a view of interest in him as a Saviour, and divine comforts communicated from him; which is done by giving him the glory of them, and thanks for them. This is a work very proper for Gospel times; it always was a duty, and there was ever reason for it under the former dispensation, and much more under the present one; and there will be still more reason for it in the latter day here referred to, when antichrist will be destroyed, the kingdom of Christ will be enlarged, and his church will be in a very glorious state and condition, her walls will be salvation, and her gates praise; when the saints will be stirring up one another to this service, and engaging in it with all readiness and cheerfulness; see Revelation 11:15,
call upon his name: which takes in the whole of religions worship, of which Christ is the object, being the true Jehovah; and particularly prayer, in which his name is invoked together with faith in him, and expressions of affection to his name; which is precious to believers, and is as ointment poured out:
declare his doings among the people; not merely his works of creation, in which he was equally concerned with his divine Father; nor so much his miracles which he wrought when on earth, in proof of his deity and Messiahship, and in confirmation of his doctrine; but his acts of obedience and righteousness, which were perfect; and his bearing the sins of his people, and the punishment due to them; and so fulfilled the whole law, and hereby accomplished the great work of redemption and salvation; which, according to his orders, have been published among the Gentiles, for their good, and his glory:
make mention that his name is exalted; that is, he himself, who has a name given him above every name; for having obeyed, suffered, and died in the room of his people, he is by his Father, according to promise, exalted, by raising him from the dead, receiving him into heaven, placing him at his right hand, giving him all power in heaven and in earth, and causing angels, authorities, principalities, and powers, to be subject to him; all which is to be made mention of, to the honour of his name: or else the sense is, to speak of him, to make mention of his name, of his person, of his offices, of his grace and salvation, that he may be exalted in each of them by his people; for he is, and ought to be, exalted in their hearts, and with their lips, since he is above all in the excellency of his person, and is their only Saviour and Redeemer, Head and Husband; and so he will be exalted more abundantly in the latter day. See Gill on Isaiah 2:11.
Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.Sing unto the Lord,.... Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, vocally and together, as Gospel churches, to the glory of God; or "sing the Lord" (u), let him be the subject matter of the song, as in Isaiah 12:2 sing how great and good he is; sing what he is in himself, and what he is to others:
for he hath done excellent things; he hath wrought out an excellent salvation, which excels all others, being of a spiritual nature, complete and everlasting: it is emphatically a great one, in which God is glorified in all his perfections, and which issues in the eternal glory and happiness of his people. He has brought in an excellent righteousness, a righteousness that excels any righteousness of the creature, men or angels; it being the righteousness of God, a perfect, pure, and spotless one, which serves for many, even all his spiritual seed, and is everlasting: he has offered up an excellent sacrifice, a sacrifice that excels all that were offered up under the law; in the matter, which is himself; in the use and efficacy of it, to atone for sin, and take it away; in the continuance of that efficacy, and in its acceptableness unto God: and he has obtained an excellent victory over all his and his people's enemies, sin, Satan, the world, and death, and made them sharers in his conquests; reference seems to be had to Exodus 15:1,
this is known in all the earth; that such a salvation is finished; such a righteousness is brought in; that peace, pardon, and atonement, are procured, and all enemies are conquered; for the Gospel publishing all this has been sent into all the world, and will be more fully preached throughout it in the latter day.
(u) "canite Jehovam", Cocceius; Sept.
Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.Cry out, and shout,.... By singing aloud, with the high praises of God in the mouth:
thou inhabitant of Zion: born and brought up there, free of Zion, that is settled and dwells there, and so happy; since there plenty of provisions is had, health is enjoyed, and the inhabitants in the utmost safety and protection, having the greatest privileges and immunities; and therefore have reason to sing and shout for joy, and especially for what follows:
for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee; by "the Holy One of Israel" is meant Christ, the Redeemer and Husband of this church; see Isaiah 48:17 because, as God, he is the God of Israel, the spiritual Israel, and as such is holy, even glorious in holiness; and, as man, sprung from Israel, literal Israel, and as such is holy in his nature, acts, and offices; and is the sanctifier of the whole Israel of God, from whom they receive all their holiness: he is "in the midst" of his church, in the midst of Zion, and the inhabitants of it, to whom he has promised his presence, and grants it, and which causes such joy and gladness, as nothing else can give; and here he is "great", and shows himself to be so, the great God, and our Saviour; a Saviour, and a great one; a great King over the holy hill of Zion; and a great High Priest over the house of God; wherefore greatness should be ascribed unto him, and praise be given him.