Isaiah 13:3
I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness.
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(3) I have commanded my sanctified ones . . .—The word is applied even to the fierce tribes of the future destroyers, as being appointed, or consecrated, by Jehovah for that special work. The thought and the words (there translated “prepare”) appear in Jeremiah 6:4; Jeremiah 22:7; Jeremiah 51:27. So in the later prophecies Cyrus appears as “the anointed” of the Lord (Isaiah 45:1).

Even them that rejoice in my highness.—In Zephaniah 3:11 the same phrase occurs in a bad sense. Here, apparently, it denotes the proud consciousness of the invaders that they are doing God’s work.

13:1-5 The threatenings of God's word press heavily upon the wicked, and are a sore burden, too heavy for them to bear. The persons brought together to lay Babylon waste, are called God's sanctified or appointed ones; designed for this service, and made able to do it. They are called God's mighty ones, because they had their might from God, and were now to use it for him. They come from afar. God can make those a scourge and ruin to his enemies, who are farthest off, and therefore least dreaded.I have commanded - This is the language of God in reference to those who were about to destroy Babylon. "He" claimed the control and direction of all their movements; and though the command was not understood by "them" as coming from him, yet it was by his direction, and in accordance with his plan (compare the notes at Isaiah 10:7; Isaiah 45:5-6). The "command" was not given by the prophets, or by an audible voice; but it was his secret purpose and direction that led them to this enterprise.

My sanctified ones - The Medes and Persians; not called 'sanctified because they were holy, but because they were set apart by the divine intention and purpose to accomplish this. The word 'sanctify' (קדשׁ qâdash) often means "to set apart" - either to God; to an office; to any sacred use; or to any purpose of religion, or of accomplishing any of the divine plans. Thus, it means to dedicate one to the office of priest Exodus 28:41; to set apart or dedicate an altar Exodus 39:36; to dedicate a people Exodus 19:10-14; to appoint, or institute a fast Joel 1:14; Joel 2:15; to sanctify a war Joel 3:9, that is, to prepare one's-self for it, or make it ready. Here it means, that the Medes and Persians were set apart, in the purpose of God, to accomplish his designs in regard to Babylon (compare the note at Isaiah 10:5-6).

My mighty ones - Those who are strong; and who are so entirely under my direction, that they may be called mine.

For mine anger - To accomplish the purposes of my anger against Babylon.

Even them that rejoice in my highness - It cannot be supposed that the Medes and Persians really exulted, or rejoiced in God or in his plans, for it is evident that, like Sennacherib Isaiah 10, they were seeking to accomplish their own purposes, and were not solicitous about the plans of God (compare the note at Isaiah 47:6). The word rendered 'my highness' (גאותי ga'ăvāthı̂y) means, properly, "my majesty," or "glory." When applied to people, as it often is, it means pride or arrogance. It means here, the high and exalted plan of God in regard to Babylon. It was a mighty undertaking; and one in which the power, the justice, and the dominion of God over nations would be evinced. In accomplishing this, the Medes and Persians would rejoice or exult, not as the fulfilling of the plan of God; but they would exult as if it were their own plan, though it would be really the glorious plan of God. Wicked people often exult in their success; they glory in the execution of their purposes; but they are really accomplishing the plans of God, and executing his great designs.

3. sanctified ones—the Median and Persian soldiers solemnly set apart by Me for the destruction of Babylon, not inwardly "sanctified," but designated to fulfil God's holy purpose (Jer 51:27, 28; Joe 3:9, 11; where the Hebrew for prepare war is "sanctify" war).

for mine anger—to execute it.

rejoice in my highness—"Those who are made to triumph for My honor" [Horsley]. The heathen Medes could not be said to "rejoice in God's highness" Maurer translates, "My haughtily exulting ones" (Zep 3:11); a special characteristic of the Persians [Herodotus,1.88]. They rejoiced in their own highness, but it was His that they were unconsciously glorifying.

My sanctified ones; the Medes and Persians, fitly so called, because they were solemnly designed and set apart by God for his own service, and for this holy work of executing his just vengeance upon them.

My mighty ones; those whom I have made mighty for this work.

In my highness; or, as others render it, in my glory, materially considered, to wit, in the doing of that work which tends much to the advancement of my glory, in destroying of the Babylonian empire. For otherwise the Medes had no regard to God nor to his glory, but only to their own carnal ends.

I have commanded my sanctified ones,.... The Medes and Persians, so called, not because sanctified by the Spirit of God, or made holy persons, through the regenerating and renewing grace of God, or purified by the blood of Christ, and prepared for glory; but because they were set apart in the mind and counsel of God for a special work and service, and were qualified by him with courage and strength to perform it, and therefore said to be his; and this command that was given them was not by a voice from heaven, or in a message by one of his prophets; but by a secret instinct, and, by the power of his providence, stirring them up to engage in such an enterprise (z).

I have also called my mighty ones; meaning Cyrus and Darius, and the officers of their armies, with the common soldiers, who were furnished with might and strength to do his will, to which they were called in his providence:

for mine anger; to execute his wrath upon the Babylonians; so the Targum,

"that they may avenge my wrath upon them:''

or, "in mine anger"; which being stirred up, put him upon calling those mighty ones to his service, and fitting them for it: literally it is, "to my nose" (a); to be before him, to be at his beck and will, and to minister his wrath and vengeance:

even them that rejoice in my highness; in doing that which tended to the exaltation and glory of God; they went cheerfully about the work, and exulted and triumphed in their success: or, "that rejoice my highness" (b); make me glad, because I am glorified by them. So seven angels, the Lord's holy and mighty ones, will be employed in pouring out the vials of his wrath on mystical Babylon, Revelation 15:1.

(z) Vid. T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 8. 2. & Gloss. in ib. (a) "in ira mea", Vatablus; "ad iram meam", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "in naso meo", Montanus. (b) "exultantis celsitudinis meae", Montanus.

I have commanded my {c} sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for my anger, even them that rejoice in my {d} highness.

(c) That is, prepared and appointed to execute my judgments.

(d) Who willingly go about to the work to which I appoint them, but how the wicked do this, read Isa 10:6.

3. Jehovah speaks.

my sanctified (or consecrated) ones] In ancient times a campaign was inaugurated with religious ceremonies (1 Samuel 13:9; Jeremiah 22:7; Jeremiah 51:28 [R.V. marg.]) and each warrior was a consecrated man (1 Samuel 21:5).

them that rejoice in my highness] Translate as in R.V. my proudly exulting ones, Zephaniah 3:11.

Verse 3. - I have commanded my sanctified ones. The pronoun "I" is emphatic - "I myself." Not only will an external summons go forth, but God will lay his own orders on them whom he chooses for his instruments, and bid them come to the muster. All who carry out his purposes are, in a certain sense, "sanctified ones" (comp. Jeremiah 22:7; Jeremiah 51:27; Zephaniah 1:7, etc.). Here the Modes and Persians are specially in. tended (see ver. 17). For mine anger; i.e. "for the purpose of executing my anger." Even them that rejoice in my highness; rather, my proudly exultant ones (Cheyne, Rosenmüller, Gesenius). AEschylus calls the Persians ὑπερκόμπους ('Persae,' 1. 827); Herodotus, ὑβριστάς (1. 41). The high spirits, however, natural to gallant soldiers on going out to war, rather than any special haughtiness or arrogancy, are intended. Isaiah 13:3"I have summoned my sanctified ones, also called my heroes to my wrath, my proudly rejoicing ones." "To my wrath" is to be explained in accordance with Isaiah 10:5. To execute His wrath He had summoned His "sanctified ones" (mekuddâshim), i.e., according to Jeremiah 22:7 (compare Jeremiah 51:27-28), those who had already been solemnly consecrated by Him to go into the battle, and had called the heroes whom He had taken into His service, and who were His instruments in this respect, that they rejoiced with the pride of men intoxicated with victory (vid., Zephaniah 1:7, cf., Isaiah 3:11). עליז is a word peculiarly Isaiah's; and the combination גאוה עליזי is so unusual, that we could hardly expect to find it employed by two authors who stood in no relation whatever to one another.
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