Isaiah 49:18
Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to thee. As I live, saith the LORD, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee, as a bride doeth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) Lift up thine eyes.—The daughter of Zion is called on to gaze on the returning exiles. They shall be her gems and her girdle as the bride of her new espousals. A distant parallel is found in the story of the mother of the Gracchi pointing to her children as more precious jewels than those of her wealthy rival.

Isaiah 49:18. Lift up thine eyes round about — And behold numbers flocking unto thee from all quarters. All these shall gather themselves unto thee, &c. — Namely, the Gentiles. Thy church, O Zion, shall not only be restored and established, but vastly enlarged and adorned by an accession of converts from various nations; and come unto thee — To receive instruction from thee, and to be incorporated with thee into one and the same church. Thou shalt clothe thee with them, &c. — Instead of being a disgrace, or a snare and occasion of sin to thee, (as the Gentiles formerly were, when they mixed themselves with the Jews,) they shall be an honour and ornament, in respect of those excellent gifts and graces wherewith they shall enrich and adorn thy community. The addition of such numbers to the church shall complete her clothing, and make her appear comely and considerable. And bind them on thee as a bride doth — The LXX. read, περιθησεις αυτους ως κοσμον νυμφη, Thou shalt put them on thee as a bride her attire; supplying, as Bishop Lowth thinks, a word that appears to be wanting to complete the sense. “Zion clothes herself with her children as a bride clothes herself — with what? with some other thing, certainly;” namely, her ornaments, jewels, or rich dress.

49:18-23 Zion is addressed as an afflicted widow, bereaved of her children. Numbers flock to her, and she is assured that they come to be a comfort to her. There are times when the church is desolate and few in number; yet its desolations shall not last for ever, and God will repair them. God can raise up friends for returning Israelites, even among Gentiles. They shall bring their children, and make them thy children. Let all deal tenderly and carefully with young converts and beginners in religion. Princes shall protect the church. It shall appear that God is the sovereign Lord of all. And those who in the exercise of faith, hope, and patience, wait on God for the fulfilment of his promises, shall never be confounded.Lift up thine eyes round about - That is, see the multitudes that shall be converted to thee; see thy ruined city rise again in its former beauty; see the Gentiles come and yield themselves to the worship of the true God; see kings and princes approach and do thee homage.

All these gather themselves - That is, from a far country, from the north, the west, and the south, Isaiah 49:12.

As I live, saith the Lord - The customary form of an oath when Yahweh swears It is a solemn assurance that the event shall as certainly occur as he has an existence (see the note at Isaiah 45:23; compare Jeremiah 22:24; Ezekiel 5:11; Ezekiel 14:16, Ezekiel 14:18, Ezekiel 14:20; Ezekiel 16:48).

Thou shalt surely clothe thee with them - Zion is here represented, as it is often elsewhere, as a female (see the note at Isaiah 1:8); and the accession of converts from abroad is represented under the figure of bridal ornaments. The accession of converts karo the Gentiles should be to her what jewels are to a bride.

And bind them on thee as a bride doth - The sentence here is manifestly incomplete. It means, as a bride binds on her ornaments. The Septuagint has supplied this, and renders it, 'As a bride her ornaments' (ὡς κόσμον νύμφη hōs kosmon numphē). The sentiment is, that the accession of the large humber of converts under the Messiah to the true church of God, would be the real ornament of Zion, and would greatly increase her beauty and loveliness.

18. As Zion is often compared to a bride (Isa 54:5), so the accession of converts is like bridal ornaments ("jewels," Isa 62:3; Mal 3:17). Her literal children are, however, more immediately meant, as the context refers to their restoration; and only secondarily to her spiritual children by conversion to Christ. Israel shall be the means of the final complete conversion of the nations (Mic 5:7; Ro 11:12, 15).

as a bride—namely, binds on her ornaments.

All these, to wit, the Gentiles, as sufficiently appeareth from what hath been already said, and from that which followeth. The sense is, Thy church shall not only be restored and established in Jerusalem, but it shall be vastly enlarged and adorned by the accession of the Gentiles to it.

Come to thee, to receive instruction from thee, and to be incorporated with thee into one and the same church.

As with an ornament; they shall not be a burden, as the Gentiles formerly were when they mixed themselves with the Jews; but an ornament, in respect of those excellent gifts and graces wherewith they shall enrich and honour thy church.

Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold,.... Look east, west, north, and south, and behold the flocking converts from all parts; see on Isaiah 49:12. The words are spoken to the church, and for her comfort; and so the Targum,

"lift up thine eyes round about, O Jerusalem, and see all the children of the people of thy captivity:''

all these gather themselves together, and come to thee; though of different nations, and come from different quarters, yet coalesce together, make one body, and join themselves with the church, in which they centre, and are incorporated:

as I live, saith the Lord; this is the form of an oath, sometimes used by the Lord, to denote the importance and certainty of a thing, and to assure his people of it:

thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all as with an ornament; as children's children are the crown of old men, Proverbs 17:6, so young converts are the crown, glory, and ornament of the church; even such who are beautified with the graces of the Spirit, and whose conversations are as become the Gospel of Christ:

and bind them on thee as a bride doeth; her clothes, the attire of her head, and her jewels. So in the latter day, when the Jews are converted, and the fulness of the Gentiles brought in, the marriage of the Lamb will be come, and the church made ready, as a bride, for her husband, and be very beautiful and comely in his sight, as well as very comfortable and glorious in herself; and which will be matter of joy to all the saints, Revelation 19:7. The Targum is,

"all these shall be unto thee as a garment of glory, and their works in the midst of thee as the ornament of a bride.''

Lift up thy eyes around, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to thee. As I live, saith the LORD, thou shalt surely {z} clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee, as a bride doeth.

(z) He shows what are the ornaments of the Church: to have many children, who are assembled by the word of God, and governed by his Spirit.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. As I live, saith the Lord] Jehovah’s oath by Himself, ch. Isaiah 45:23. It introduces a new, though closely related, conception; the inhabitants being compared to the bridal attire with which Zion replaces the signs of her widowhood.

bind them on thee] Strictly gird them on. The verb is connected with the word for “girdle” in ch. Isaiah 3:20 (qishshûrîm, A.V. “headbands”). It was evidently an ornamental girdle, possibly a part of the bridal costume (cf. Jeremiah 2:32, “can … a bride forget her girdle”).

Verse 18. - Lift up thine eyes round about and behold (comp. Isaiah 50:4, where the same phrase occurs in connection with the conversion of the Gentiles). All these gather themselves together (comp. ver. 12). Thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament (comp. Zechariah 9:16). The restored Church, receiving adhesions from the nations on all sides, will be like a bride who puts on her ornaments, and is thereby made glorious to look upon (Isaiah 61:10, ad fin.). The entire Church, not any one part, is designated as the "Bride" of Christ in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:29, 32; Revelation 21:2, 9; Revelation 22:17). Isaiah 49:18It is this fact of a renewed glorification which presents itself afresh to the prophet's mind. "Thy children make haste, thy destroyers and masters draw out from thee. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all these assemble themselves together, and come to thee. As truly as I live, saith Jehovah, thou wilt put them all on like jewellery, and gird them round thee like a bride." The pointing adopted by the lxx, Targ., Jer. and Saad., is בּניך. The antithesis favours this reading; but בּניך suits Isaiah 49:18, Isaiah 49:19 better; and the thought that Zion's children come and restore her fallen walls, follows of itself from the very antithesis: her children come; and those who destroyed their maternal home, and made it a desolate ruin, have to depart from both city and land. Zion is to lift up her eyes, that have been cast down till now, yea, to lift them up round about; for on all sides those whom she thought she had lost are coming in dense crowds לך (cf., לא equals לו with אליו, Isaiah 49:5), to her, i.e., henceforth to belong to her again. Jehovah pledges His life (chai 'ănı̄, ζῶν ἐγώ, Ewald, 329, a) that a time of glory is coming for Zion and her children. כּי in the affirmative sense, springing out of the confirmative after an affirming oath, equivalent to אם־לא elsewhere (e.g., Isaiah 5:9). The population which Zion recovers once more, will be to her like the ornaments which a woman puts on, like the ornamental girdle (Isaiah 3:20) which a bride fastens round her wedding dress.
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