Isaiah 4:2
In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.
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(2) In that day . . .—The dark picture of punishment is relieved by a vision of Messianic glory, like that of Isaiah 2:1-4. The “day” is, as in Isaiah 3:18, the time of Jehovah’s judgments.

The branch of the Lord . . .—The thought of the “branch,” though not the Hebrew word, is the same as in Isaiah 11:1. The word itself is found in the Messianic prophecies of Jeremiah 23:5-6; Jeremiah 33:15; Zechariah 3:8; Zechariah 6:12. The two latter probably inherited both the thought and the word from this passage. Here, then, if we thus interpret the words, we have the first distinct prophecy in Isaiah of a personal Messiah. He is the “Branch of Jehovah,” raised up by Him, accepted by Him. And the appearance of that Branch has as its accompaniment (the poetic parallelism here being that at once of a resemblance and of contrast) the restoration of outward fertility. That thought Isaiah had inherited from Psalm 72:16; Hosea 2:21-22; Joel 3:18; Amos 9:13. He transmitted it to Ezekiel 34:27; Zechariah 9:16-17. The interpretation which takes “the branch [or growth] of the Lord” in its lower sense, as used collectively for “vegetation,” and, therefore, parallel and all but synonymous with the “fruits of the earth,” seems to miss the true meaning. Rabbinic exegesis may be of little weight, but the acceptance of the term as Messianic by Jeremiah and Zechariah is surely conclusive. It will be noted that the prophecy of the Branch (tsemach) here comes after a picture of desolation, just as that of the Branch (netzer) does in Isaiah 11:1. The thought seems applied by our Lord to Himself in John 12:24.

For them that are escaped of Israel.—These are, of course, identical with the “remnant” of Isaiah 1:9; Isaiah 6:13, to whom the prophet had been taught to look as to the trusted depositaries of the nation’s future.

Isaiah 4:2. In that day — About and after that time, when the Lord shall have washed away (as this time is particularly expressed, Isaiah 4:4,) the filth of Zion, by those dreadful judgments now described. The third part of this discourse, the reader will observe, begins here, in which is set forth the flourishing state of the remnant of the Jews after the times of the former calamity. Shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious — The church and people of Israel may be here intended by the branch of the Lord, being often called God’s vine, or vineyard, as we have seen before, and the branch of his planting, Isaiah 60:21. It is a metaphorical expression, taken from a tree cut down, which, notwithstanding, sprouts forth anew from the root, by young suckers, and brings forth many trees. And thus the prophet foretels, that, notwithstanding the grievous calamities and great destructions which he had predicted, and which would certainly come to pass, yet, nevertheless, the small remainder of them which should return out of captivity, with those that should be left in the land, when it was laid desolate by the Chaldeans, should increase into a great people. And to them the fruit of the earth should be excellent and comely — That is, through the abundant produce of the land they should be made rich, and should be rendered respectable to the neighbouring nations. This seems to be the primary and most obvious meaning of the passage, considered in connection with what precedes and follows. The Chaldee Paraphrast, however, says, the branch here means the Messiah of Jehovah, and of him many Jewish doctors, as well as Christian commentators, understand the expression. Certainly he is frequently signified, in Scripture, by this title, the branch: see Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; Jeremiah 33:15; Zechariah 3:1; and, in one place, namely, Zechariah 6:12, his name is expressly said to be the branch. Understood of him, the meaning of the passage must be, that after the foregoing miseries had been brought upon the Jews, and they had been restored to their own land; and after they had been chastised and purified still more, by the calamities brought upon them by Antiochus Epiphanes and other princes of the Grecian empire, and by the Romans under Pompey, the Messiah should be born; and that, after the utter destruction which should be brought upon the Jewish city, temple, and nation, by Titus, the Roman general, the kingdom of the Messiah should become beautiful and glorious, as is here expressed. According to this interpretation, the expression, in that day, in the beginning of the verse, must be considered as used with great latitude, as it often is by this prophet, signifying, as Lowth observes, “not the same time with that which was last mentioned, but an extraordinary season, remarkable for some signal events of providence, called elsewhere, by way of excellence, the day of the Lord, just as that day denotes the day of judgment in the New Testament, as being a time of all others the most remarkable; see 2 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 4:8. “It is usual,” says Grotius, “for the prophets to pass from the threatenings that relate to their own times, to the promises which belong to the times of the gospel.” It may be further observed here, that the Scriptures often speak of great tribulations, as preceding, and preparing the way for, the enlargement and prosperity of Christ’s kingdom. In consistency with this application of the passage, by the fruit of the earth, here said to be excellent and comely, must be meant the spiritual blessings of the gospel, frequently described under the emblems of the fruitfulness of the earth and plenty. And by them that are escaped of Israel, we must understand those Jews who, the prophet foresaw, would be converted by the preaching of Christ and his apostles, and should thereby escape that vengeance which would involve the rest of their nation. This accords well with the following verses of the chapter.

4:2-6 Not only the setting forth Christ's kingdom in the times of the apostles, but its enlargement by gathering the dispersed Jews into the church, is foretold. Christ is called the Branch of the Lord, being planted by his power, and flourishing to his praise. The gospel is the fruit of the Branch of the Lord; all the graces and comforts of the gospel spring from Christ. It is called the fruit of the earth, because it sprang up in this world, and was suited for the present state. It will be good evidence that we are distinguished from those merely called Israel, if we are brought to see all beauty in Christ, and holiness. As a type of this blessed day, Jerusalem should again flourish as a branch, and be blessed with the fruits of the earth. God will keep for himself a holy seed. When most of those that have a place and a name in Zion, and in Jerusalem, shall be cut off by their unbelief, some shall be left. Those only that are holy shall be left, when the Son of man shall gather out of his kingdom every thing which offends. By the judgment of God's providence, sinners were destroyed and consumed; but by the Spirit of grace they are reformed and converted. The Spirit herein acts as a Spirit of judgment, enlightening the mind, convincing the conscience; also as a Spirit of burning, quickening and strengthening the affections, and making men zealously affected in a good work. An ardent love to Christ and souls, and zeal against sin, will carry men on with resolution in endeavours to turn away ungodliness from Jacob. Every affliction serves believers as a furnace, to purify them from dross; and the convincing, enlightening, and powerful influences of the Holy Spirit, gradually root out their lusts, and render them holy as He is holy. God will protect his church, and all that belong to it. Gospel truths and ordinances are the glory of the church. Grace in the soul is the glory of it; and those that have it are kept by the power of God. But only those who are weary will seek rest; only those who are convinced that a storm is approaching, will look for shelter. Affected with a deep sense of the Divine displeasure, to which we are exposed by sin, let us at once have recourse to Jesus Christ, and thankfully accept the refuge he affords.The branch of the Lord - צמח יהוה yehovâh tsemach. "The sprout" of Yahweh. This expression, and this verse, have had a great variety of interpretations. The Septuagint reads it, 'In that day God shall shine in counsel with glory upon the earth, to exalt, and to glorify the remnant of Israel.' The Chaldee renders it, 'In that day, the Messiah of the Lord shall be for joy and glory, and the doers of the law for praise and honor to those of Israel who are delivered.' It is clear that the passage is designed to denote some signal blessing that was to succeed the calamity predicted in the previous verses. The only question is, to what has the prophet reference? The word 'branch' (צמח tsemach) is derived from the verb (צמח tsâmach) signifying "to sprout, to spring up," spoken of plants. Hence, the word "branch" means properly that which "shoots up," or "sprouts" from the root of a tree, or from a decayed tree; compare Job 14:7-9.

The Messiah is thus said to be 'a root of Jesse,' Romans 11:12; compare Isaiah 11:1, note; Isaiah 11:10, note; and 'the root and offspring of David,' Revelation 22:16, as being a "descendant" of Jesse; that is, as if Jesse should fall like an aged tree, yet the "root" would sprout up and live. The word 'branch' occurs several times in the Old Testament, and in most, if not all, with express reference to the Messiah; Jeremiah 23:5 : 'Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a king shall reign;' Jeremiah 33:15 : 'In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David;' Zechariah 3:8; Zechariah 6:12. In all these places, there can be no doubt that there is reference to him who was "to spring up" from David, as a sprout does from a decayed and fallen tree, and who is, therefore, called a "root," a "branch" of the royal stock. There is, besides, a special beauty in the figure.

The family of David, when the Messiah was to come, would be fallen into decay and almost extinct. Joseph, the husband of Mary, though of the royal family of David Matthew 1:20; Luke 2:4, was poor, and the family had lost all claims to the throne. In this state, as from the decayed root of a fallen tree, a "sprout" or "branch" was to come forth with more than the magnificence of David, and succeed him on the throne. The name 'branch,' therefore, came to be significant of the Messiah, and to be synonymous with 'the son of David.' It is so used, doubtless, in this place, as denoting that the coming of the Messiah would be a joy and honor in the days of calamity to the Jews. Interpreters have not been agreed, however, in the meaning of this passage. Grotius supposed that it referred to Ezra or Nehemiah, but 'mystically to Christ and Christians.' Vogellius understood it of the "remnant" that should return from the Babylonian captivity. Michaelis supposed that it refers to the Jews, who should be a "reformed" people after their captivity, and who should spring up with a new spirit. Others have regarded it as a poetic description of the extraordinary fertility of the earth in future times. The reasons for referring it to the Messiah are plain:

(1) The word has this reference in other places, and the representation of the Messiah under the image of a branch or shoot, is, as we have seen, common in the Scriptures. Thus, also, in Isaiah 53:2, he is called also שׁרשׁ shoresh, root, and יונק yônēq, a tender plant, a sucker, sprout, shoot, as of a decayed tree; compare Job 8:16; Job 14:7; Job 15:30; Ezekiel 17:22. And in reference to the same idea, perhaps, it is said, Isaiah 53:8, that he was נגזר nı̂gezar, "cut off," as a branch, sucker, or shoot is cut off by the vine-dresser or farmer from the root of a decayed tree. And thus, in Revelation 5:5, he is called ῥίζα Δαβὶδ riza Dabid - the root of David.

(2) This interpretation accords best with the "magnificence" of the description, Isaiah 4:5-6; and,

(3) It was so understood by the Chaldee interpreter, and, doubtless, by the ancient Jews.

Shall be beautiful and glorious - Hebrew, 'Shall be beauty and glory;' that is, shall be the chief ornament or honor of the land; shall be that which gives to the nation its chief distinction and glory. In such times of calamity, his coming shal be an object of desire, and his approach shall shed a rich splendor on that period of the world.

And the fruit of the earth - הארץ פרי perı̂y hâ'ârets correctly rendered "fruit of the earth, or of the land." The word 'earth' is often in the Scriptures used to denote the land of Judea, and perhaps the article here is intended to denote that that land is particularly intended. This is the parallel expression to the former part of the verse, in accordance with the laws of Hebrew poetry, by which one member of a sentence expresses substantially the same meaning as the former; see the Introduction, Section 8. If the former expression referred to the "Messiah," this does also. The 'fruit of the earth' is that which the earth produces, and is here not different in signification from the "branch" which springs out of the ground. Vitringa supposes that by this phrase the Messiah, according to his human nature, is meant. So Hengstenberg ("Christology, in loc.") understands it; and supposes that as the phrase "branch of Yahweh" refers to his divine origin, as proceeding from Yahweh; so this refers to his human origin, as proceeding from the earth. But the objections to this are obvious:

(1) The second phrase, according to the laws of Hebrew parallelism, is most naturally an echo or repetition of the sentiment in the first member, and means substantially the same thing.

(2) The phrase 'branch of Yahweh' does not refer of necessity to his divine nature. The idea is that of a decayed tree that has fallen down, and has left a living root which sends up a shoot, or sucker; and can be applied with great elegance to the decayed family of David. But how, or in what sense, can this be applied to Yahweh? Is Yahweh thus fallen and decayed? The idea properly is, that this shoot of a decayed family should be nurtured up by Yahweh; should be appointed by him, and should thus be "his" branch. The parallel member denotes substantially the same thing; 'the fruit of the earth' - the shoot which the earth produces - or which springs up from a decayed family, as the sprout does from a fallen tree.

(3) It is as true that his human nature proceeded from God as his divine. It was produced by the Holy Spirit, and can no more be regarded as 'the fruit of the earth' than his divine nature; Luke 1:35; Hebrews 10:5.

(4) This mode of interpretation is suited to bring the whole subject into contempt. There are plain and positive passages enough to prove that the Messiah had a divine nature, and there are enough also to prove that he was a man; but nothing is more adapted to produce disgust in relation to the whole subject, in the minds of skeptical or of thinking men, than a resort to arguments such as this in defense of a great and glorious doctrine of revelation.

Shall be excellent - Shall be "for exaltation," or "honor."

Comely - Hebrew, 'For an ornament;' meaning that "he" would be an honor to those times.


2. In contrast to those on whom vengeance falls, there is a manifestation of Jesus Christ to the "escaped of Israel" in His characteristic attributes, beauty and glory, typified in Aaron's garments (Ex 28:2). Their sanctification is promised as the fruit of their being "written" in the book of life by sovereign love (Isa 4:3); the means of it are the "spirit of judgment" and that of "burning" (Isa 4:4). Their "defense" by the special presence of Jesus Christ is promised (Isa 4:5, 6).

branch—the sprout of Jehovah. Messiah (Jer 23:5; 33:15; Zec 3:8; 6:12; Lu 1:78, Margin). The parallel clause does not, as Maurer objects, oppose this; for "fruit of the earth" answers to "branch"; He shall not be a dry, but a fruit-bearing branch (Isa 27:6; Eze 34:23-27). He is "of the earth" in His birth and death, while He is also "of the Lord" (Jehovah) (Joh 12:24). His name, "the Branch," chiefly regards His descent from David, when the family was low and reduced (Lu 2:4, 7, 24); a sprout with more than David's glory, springing as from a decayed tree (Isa 11:1; 53:2; Re 22:16).

excellent—(Heb 1:4; 8:6).

comely—(So 5:15, 16; Eze 16:14).

escaped of Israel—the elect remnant (Ro 11:5); (1) in the return from Babylon; (2) in the escape from Jerusalem's destruction under Titus; (3) in the still future assault on Jerusalem, and deliverance of "the third part"; events mutually analogous, like concentric circles (Zec 12:2-10; 13:8, 9, &c.; 14:2; Eze 39:23-29; Joe 3:1-21).

In that day; about and after that time; when the Lord shall have washed away (as this time is particularly expressed, Isaiah 4:4)

the filth of Zion by those dreadful judgments now described. The branch of the Lord; either,

1. The church and people of Israel, oft called God’s vine or vineyard, as we saw before, and the branch of God’s planting, Isaiah 60:21. Or,

2. The Messiah, who is commonly defined in Scripture by this title, the Branch, Isaiah 11:1 Jeremiah 23:5 33:15 Zechariah 3:8, whose name is expressly said to be the Branch, Zechariah 6:12, of whom not only Christians, but even the Hebrew doctors, understand it. For after the foregoing miseries were brought upon the Jews, by the remainders of the Grecian empire, of which Daniel prophesies of exactly and particularly, and afterwards by the Roman empire, the Messiah was born; and after that utter destruction brought upon the Jewish city, and temple, and nation by Titus, the kingdom of the Messiah became

beautiful and glorious, as it here follows.

The fruit of the earth shall be excellent; the land which for the sins of the people was made barren, upon their repentance and return to Christ, shall recover its former fertility. Under this one mercy he seems to understand all temporal blessings, which, together with spiritual and eternal, God shall confer upon them; and withal to intimate the fruitfulness of the people (the earth or land being oft put for its inhabitants,) in knowledge, and grace, and all good works.

That are escaped; that shall survive all the forementioned calamities.

In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious,.... When the beauty of the Jewish women shall be taken away, and their men shall he slain; by whom is meant, not the righteous and wise men left among the Jews, as Jarchi and Aben Ezra; nor Hezekiah; which is the sense of some, as the latter observes: but the Messiah, as Kimchi, and so the Targum, which paraphrases the words thus,

"at that time shall the Messiah of the Lord be for joy and glory;''

and the Septuagint understand it of a divine Person appearing on earth, rendering the words, "for in that day God shall shine in counsel with glory upon the earth"; and so the Arabic version. Christ is called "the branch", not as God, but as man, not as a son, but as a servant, as Mediator; and it chiefly regards his descent from David, and when his family was very mean and low; and a branch being but a tender thing, it denotes Christ's state of humiliation on earth, when he grew up as a tender plant before the Lord, and was contemptible in the eyes of men: and he is called the branch "of the Lord", because of his raising up, and bringing forth; see Zechariah 3:8 and yet this branch became "beautiful", being laden with the fruits of divine grace, such as righteousness, reconciliation, peace, pardon, adoption, sanctification, and eternal life; as well as having all his people as branches growing on him, and receiving their life and fruitfulness from him: and "glorious", being the branch made strong to do the work of the Lord, by his obedience and death; and especially he became glorious when raised from the dead, when he ascended up to heaven, and was exalted there at the right hand of God; and when his Gospel was spread and his kingdom increased in the Gentile world, as it did, both before and after the destruction of Jerusalem, the time here referred to; and which will he in a more glorious condition in the last days; and now he is glorious in the eyes of all that believe in him, and is glorified by them; and when he comes a second time, he will appear in his own and his father's glory, and in the glory of the holy angels.

And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely; not the children of the righteous, as Jarchi; nor , "the doers of the law", as the Targum; see Romans 2:13 but the Messiah, as before, as Kimchi well observes; called "the fruit of the earth", to show that he is not a dry and withered, but a fruitful branch, and which should fill the earth with fruit; and because he sprung from the earth as man, and was the fruit of a woman, that was of the earth, earthly; and so this, as the former, denotes the meanness of Christ in human nature, while here on earth; and yet he became, as these words foretold be should, "excellent": he appeared to be excellent in his person as the Son of God, and to have a more excellent name and nature than the angels, and fairer than the sons of men; to be excellent as the cedars, and more excellent than the mountains of prey; to have obtained a more excellent ministry than Aaron and his sons; to be excellent in all his offices of Prophet, Priest, and King; and particularly in the fruits and blessings of grace, which grew upon him, and came from him; see Deuteronomy 33:13 "and comely", in his person, as God and man, in the perfections of his divine nature, and in the fulness of his grace; and so are his people, as considered in him, who are made perfectly comely, through the comeliness he puts upon them: and so he is

for them that are escaped of Israel; not beautiful and glorious; excellent and comely, in the view of all men, only them that believe, who have seen his glory, and have tasted that he is gracious; these are the remnant according to the election of grace, the preserved of Israel, the chosen of God, and precious, who were saved from that untoward generation, the Jews, and escaped the destruction of Jerusalem, and were saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation.

In that day shall the {d} branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be the pride and glory of them that have escaped of Israel.

(d) He comforts the Church in this desolation which will spring up like a bud signifying that God's graces should be as plentiful toward the faithful as though they sprang out of the earth, as in Isa 45:8. Some by the bud of the Lord mean Christ.

2. The luxuriant vegetation of the Holy Land in the latter days will reflect glory on the inhabitants as a proof of Jehovah’s signal favour—a frequent thought in Messianic prophecy: Amos 9:13; Hosea 2:21. f.; Isaiah 30:23; Jeremiah 31:12; Ezekiel 34:26-30; Ezekiel 36:34 f.; Zechariah 9:16 f.; Malachi 3:12; Joel 3:18; and cf. Leviticus 26:3-5; Deuteronomy 28:3-5; Deuteronomy 28:10-12. The verse has a close resemblance to ch. Isaiah 28:5.

the branch of the Lord] better, the growth of Jehovah, that which Jehovah causes to grow. The word occurs in the same sense in Genesis 19:15 (A.V. “that which grew”) and Isaiah 61:11 (“bud”). It stands in parallelism with the fruit of the land (not earth) in the next clause, and both expressions are to be understood quite literally. The reference to a personal Messiah is thus excluded by the context; for few will be prepared to apply both expressions to Christ, the former to His divine sonship and the latter to His human birth (although this view is defended by Delitzsch on the analogy of Ezekiel 17:5). It is true that afterwards the Heb. word for “growth” (çemaḥ) came to be used as a, title of the Messiah (Zechariah 3:8; Zechariah 6:12), but this usage rests on Jeremiah 23:5; Jeremiah 33:15, where the Messiah is described as a scion (çemaḥ) of the Davidic house. Observe that it is an entirely different word which is translated “Branch” in Isaiah 11:1.

beautiful and glorious … excellent and comely] better, for beauty and glory … for a pride and a renown.

to the escaped of Israel] those who have been spared in the day of the Lord’s anger. Cf. ch. Isaiah 10:20, Isaiah 37:31.

2–6. The Final State of Zion and the Redeemed Israel

Beyond the great judgment there is revealed to the prophet a vision of the ideal religious community, blessed with an exuberant supernatural fertility imparted to the soil (Isaiah 4:2), purified from sin (Isaiah 4:3-4), and overshadowed by the protecting presence of Jehovah (Isaiah 4:5-6). It is a picture of the glorious Messianic age which immediately follows the day of the Lord. Those who inherit its glories are the survivors of the catastrophe (Isaiah 4:2-3). Although the section has no definite historical background, it is obviously written as the sequel to ch. 2. 3; the allusion to the “daughters of Zion” (Isaiah 4:4) would scarcely be intelligible apart from Isaiah 3:16 ff., and possibly the glory of nature mentioned in Isaiah 4:2 may form an antithesis to the artificial glories of civilisation in Isaiah 2:7 ff. At the same time it is reasonable to suppose that the verses have only a literary connexion with the preceding oracles, and formed no part of Isaiah’s spoken message in the time of Ahaz.

By some recent critics (Duhm, Hackmann, Cheyne) the passage is assigned to a later editor of Isaiah’s prophecies, and even so cautious a scholar as Dillmann hesitates with regard to the last two verses.” The objections are based chiefly on considerations of style, and on the alleged post-Exilic character of the ideas and the symbolism. It is true that some leading words (such as those rendered “branch,” “create,” “defence,” “covert”) do not occur elsewhere in genuine writings of Isaiah. The imagery also is of a more pronounced apocalyptic cast than we might expect from Isaiah, and the style seems somewhat laboured and cumbrous. But on the other hand the main ideas—the salvation of a remnant, purification through judgment, the regeneration of nature—can all be paralleled from Isaiah, and this fact must be allowed some weight in favour of his authorship.

Verses 2-6. - As the present prophecy (Isaiah 2-4.), though in the main one of threatening and denunciation, opened with a picture that was encouraging and comforting (Isaiah 2:2-4), so new it terminates with a similar picture. The evangelical prophet, like the great apostle of the Gentiles, is unwilling that any one should be "swallowed up with overmuch sorrow." He will not separate the mercies of God from his judgments. Verse 2. - In that day shall the branch of the Lord, etc. Some see in this passage merely a promise that in the Messianic times the produce of the soil would become more abundant than ever before, its harvests richer, and its fruitage more luxuriant. But in the light of later prophecy it is scarcely possible to shut up the meaning within such narrow limits. The "Branch" of Isaiah can hardly be isolated altogether in a sound exegesis from the "Branch" of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 23:5; Jeremiah 33:15) and of Zechariah (Zechariah 3:8; Zechariah 6:12). Now, the "Branch" of Zechariah is stated to be "a man" (Zechariah 6:12: note that the word used for "Branch" is the same as Isaiah's, viz. tsemakh), and the "Branch "of Jeremiah is a King (Jeremiah 33:15). Moreover, Isaiah uses a nearly equivalent term (netser) in an admittedly Messianic sense. Although, therefore, there is some obscurity in the phrase, "Branch of Jehovah," it would seem to be best to understand Isaiah as here intimating, what he elsewhere openly declares (Isaiah 11:1-5) - viz. the coming of the Messiah in the latter days as the ornament and glory of his people. Be beautiful and glorious; rather, for beauty and glory; or, for ornament and glory; i.e. for the ornament and glorification of Israel. And the fruit of the earth. It is argued with reason that the two clauses of this verse are parallel, not antithetical, and that as we understand the one, so must we understand the other. If, then, the "Branch" is the Messiah, so is "the fruit of the earth"-which may well be, since he was "the grain of wheat" which "fell into the ground and, lied, and so brought forth much fruit" (John 12:24). Excellent and comely; rather, for majesty and beauty (comp. Exodus 28:2, 40). Unto the escaped of Israel; i.e. "to those who shall have our-rived the great calamity, and become citizens of the restored Jerusalem." Dr. Kay well remarks that "the prophecy was adequately fulfilled only in those who 'saved themselves' from the generation which rejected Christ. That remnant was the germ of the Catholic Church, made such by being incorporated into the true Vine" ('Speaker's Commentary,' note at loc.). Isaiah 4:2"In that day will the sprout of Jehovah become an ornament and glory, and the fruit of the land pride and splendour for the redeemed of Israel." The four epithets of glory, which are here grouped in pairs, strengthen our expectation, that now that the mass of Israel has been swept away, together with the objects of its worthless pride, we shall find a description of what will become an object of well-grounded pride to the "escaped of Israel," i.e., to the remnant that has survived the judgment, and been saved from destruction. But with this interpretation of the promise it is impossible that it can be the church of the future itself, which is here called the "sprout of Jehovah" and "fruit of the land," as Luzzatto and Malbim suppose; and equally impossible, with such an antithesis between what is promised and what is abolished, that the "sprout of Jehovah" and "fruit of the earth" should signify the harvest blessings bestowed by Jehovah, or the rich produce of the land. For although the expression zemach Jehovah (sprout of Jehovah) may unquestionably be used to signify this, as in Genesis 2:9 and Psalm 104:14 (cf., Isaiah 61:11), and fruitfulness of the land is a standing accompaniment of the eschatological promises (e.g., Isaiah 30:23., compare the conclusion of Joel and Amos), and it was also foretold that the fruitful fields of Israel would become a glory in the sight of the nations (Ezekiel 34:29; Malachi 3:12; cf., Joel 2:17); yet this earthly material good, of which, moreover, there was no lack in the time of Uzziah and Jotham, was altogether unsuitable to set forth such a contrast as would surpass and outshine the worldly glory existing before. But even granting what Hofmann adduces in support of this view - namely, that the natural God-given blessings of the field do form a fitting antithesis to the studied works of art of which men had hitherto been proud - there is still truth in the remark of Rosenmller, that "the magnificence of the whole passage is at variance with such an interpretation." Only compare Isaiah 28:5, where Jehovah Himself is described in the same manner, as the glory and ornament of the remnant of Israel. But if the "sprout of Jehovah" is neither the redeemed remnant itself, nor the fruit of the field, it must be the name of the Messiah. And it is in this sense that it has been understood by the Targum, and by such modern commentators as Rosenmller, Hengstenberg, Steudel, Umbreit, Caspari, Drechsler, and others. The great King of the future is called zemach, ἀνατολή in the sense of Hebrews 7:14, viz., as a shoot springing out of the human, Davidic, earthly soil - a shoot which Jehovah had planted in the earth, and would cause to break through and spring forth as the pride of His congregation, which was waiting for this heavenly child. It is He again who is designated in the parallel clause as the "fruit of the land" (or lit., fruit of the earth), as being the fruit which the land of Israel, and consequently the earth itself, would produce, just as in Ezekiel 17:5 Zedekiah is called a "seed of the earth." The reasons already adduced to show that "the sprout of Jehovah" cannot refer to the blessings of the field, apply with equal force to "the fruit of the earth." This also relates to the Messiah Himself, regarded as the fruit in which all the growth and bloom of this earthly history would eventually reach its promised and divinely appointed conclusion. The use of this double epithet to denote "the coming One" can only be accounted for, without anticipating the New Testament standpoint,

(Note: From a New Testament point of view we might say that the "sprout of Jehovah" or "fruit of the earth" was the grain of wheat which redeeming love sowed in the earth on Good Friday; the grain of wheat which began to break through the ground and grow towards heaven on Easter Sunday; the grain of wheat whose golden blade ascended heavenwards on Ascension Day; the grain of wheat whose myriad-fold ear bent down to the earth on the day of Pentecost, and poured out the grains, from which the holy church not only was born, but still continues to be born. But such thoughts as these lie outside the historico-grammatical meaning.)

from the desire to depict His double-sided origin. He would come, on the one hand, from Jehovah; but, on the other hand, from the earth, inasmuch as He would spring from Israel. We have here the passage, on the basis of which zemach (the sprout of "Branch") was adopted by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 23:5 and Jeremiah 33:15) and Zechariah (Zechariah 3:8; Zechariah 6:12) as a proper name for the Messiah, and upon which Matthew, by combining this proper name zemach (sprout) with nezer (Isaiah 11:1, cf., Isaiah 53:2), rests his affirmation, that according to the Old Testament prophecies the future Messiah was to be called a Nazarene. It is undoubtedly strange that this epithet should be introduced so entirely without preparation even by Isaiah, who coined it first. In fact, the whole passage relating to the Messiah stands quite alone in this cycle of prophecies in chapters 1-6. But the book of Isaiah is a complete and connected work. What the prophet indicates merely in outline here, he carries out more fully in the cycle of prophecies which follows in chapters 7-12; and there the enigma, which he leaves as an enigma in the passage before us, receives the fullest solution. Without dwelling any further upon the man of the future, described in this enigmatically symbolical way, the prophet hurries on to a more precise description of the church of the future.

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