Isaiah 54:2
Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;
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(2) Enlarge the place of thy tent.—Interesting parallels are found in Isaiah 33:20; Jeremiah 10:20.

Isaiah 54:2-3. Enlarge the place of thy tent — That it may be capable of receiving the Gentiles, who shall flock to thee in great numbers, and desire to associate themselves with thee. And let them — Those to whom that work belongs; stretch forth the curtains, &c. — The meaning is, the curtains must and shall be stretched out. Spare not — Fear not lest thou shouldest prepare more room than will be occupied; for very large accessions are to be expected. And strengthen thy stakes — That they may be able to support the great weight which the tent, thus enlarged, shall be upon them. For thou shalt break forth, &c. — Thou shalt bring forth a multitude of children; for the word פרצ, here rendered break forth, is commonly used of any great and extraordinary propagation of living creatures, whether beasts or men; on the right hand and on the left — On every side, in all parts of the world. Or, thy children shall be so numerous that they can no longer be contained within narrow bounds. And thy seed — Thy spiritual seed, the members of the New Testament church, and especially the apostles and other ministers of Christ; shall inherit the Gentiles — Shall bring the Gentile world to the obedience of the faith; and make the desolate cities to be inhabited — Shall cause those cities and countries which, in a spiritual sense, were desolate, being destitute of all good, to be filled with members of the church.

54:1-5 Observe the low state of religion in the world, for a long time before Christianity was brought in. But by preaching the gospel, multitudes were converted from idols to the living God. This is matter of great rejoicing to the church. The bounds of the church were extended. Though its state on earth is but mean and movable, like a tent or tabernacle, it is sometimes a growing state, and must be enlarged as the family increases. But the more numerous the church grows, the more she must fortify herself against errors and corruptions. Thy Maker is thy Husband. Christ is the Holy One of Israel, the Mediator of the covenant made with the Old Testament church. Long he had been called the God of Israel; but now he shall be called the God of the whole earth. And he will cleanse from sin, and cause every true believer to rejoice in this sacred union. We never can enough admire this mercy, or duly value this privilege.Enlarge the place of thy tent - The same idea occurs in Isaiah 49:19-20 (see the notes at that chapter). The curtains of thy habitations. The word 'curtain' does not quite express the sense here. It is commonly with us used to denote the cloth hanging round. a bed or at a window, which may be spread or drawn aside at pleasure, or the hanging in theaters to conceal the stage from the spectators. The word here, however, denotes the canopy or cloth used in a tent; and the idea is, that the boundaries of the church were to be greatly enlarged, in order to accommodate the vast accession from the pagan world.

Spare not - Do not be parsimonious in the provision of the materials for greatly enlarging the tent to dwell in.

Lengthen thy cords - (See the note at Isaiah 33:20).

2. (Isa 49:19, 20; Jer 31:31-36, 38, 39). Thy children shall be so many that thy borders must be extended to contain them.

curtains—the cloth forming the covering of the tent.

spare not—give abundantly the means for the enlargement of the Church (2Co 9:5-7).

cords … stakes—The more the tent is enlarged by lengthening the cords by which the cloth covering is fastened to the ground, the more the stakes supporting the tent need to be strengthened; the Church is not merely to seek new converts, but to strengthen those she has in the faith. The image is appropriate, as the tabernacle was the symbol of the old Israelitish Church (see on [855]Isa 33:20).

Enlarge the place of thy tent, that it may be capable of the Gentiles, which shall flock to thee in great numbers, and desire to associate themselves with thee.

Let them, those to whom that work belongs, stretch forth. The meaning is, they must and shall be stretched out.

Lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes, that they may be able to support that great weight which the tents this enlarged shall be upon them.

Enlarge the place of thy tent,.... To which the church is compared, because of its uncertain and movable condition, being sometimes in one place, and sometimes in another; and because of its outward meanness and weakness, as well as its small extent; but now it is signified that it should be enlarged, and room be made for an accession of in habitants to it; or, in other words, that the Gospel church state should not be confined to Jerusalem, but should take place in other parts of Judea, and in Galilee, and in Samaria; hence we read of churches in those places, Acts 9:31,

and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitation; alluding to the curtains of which tents or tabernacles were made, which used to be stretched out on poles or stakes, in order to make more room, and hold more people. This may respect the spreading of the Gospel by the apostles, who may be here meant, and the success of it, especially among the Gentiles; who may be said to stretch out the curtains of the tent, the church, when, according to their commission, they went and preached the Gospel to every creature. First they travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching to the Jews only; but when they wholly rejected the Gospel, they turned to the Gentiles, and went everywhere preaching the word, Acts 11:19, and their ministry was blessed to the conversion of multitudes, and Gospel churches were set up in all parts of the world. The Apostle Paul was an eminent instrument of stretching these curtains, who went from Jerusalem, round about to Illyricum, fully preaching the Gospel of Christ, Romans 15:19,

spare not: any cost or pains, to spread the Gospel, enlarge the interest of Christ, and increase his church and people; as did not the apostles of Christ, who may be supposed to be the persons here addressed:

lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; the curtains being stretched out, it was necessary the cords, to which they were fastened, should be lengthened, that they might reach further, and take in a greater compass; and the wider the tent is made by such means, the stronger should be the staves, and the more surely should they be drove and fixed in the earth, to hold the cords with the curtains bound unto them; all which express the enlargement of the church in the Gentile world, by means of the Gospel ministry and discipline. The Targum is,

"multiply the people of thy camp, and strengthen the governors.''

{c} Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them extend the curtains of thy habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;

(c) Signifying that for the great number of children that God would give her, she would seem to lack room to lodge them.

2. The idea of the verse is expressed in Isaiah 49:20-21; for the figure of the tent (in an opposite sense) cf. Jeremiah 10:20.

The curtains are the tent-hangings (Jeremiah 49:29; Habakkuk 3:7), the stakes, the tent-pegs (ch. Isaiah 33:20).

The words spare not should, according to the accents, be joined to the preceding clause.

Verse 2. - Enlarge the place of thy tent (comp. Isaiah 33:20 and Jeremiah 10:20). The memory of the old nomadic life caused the "tent" to be the symbol and representative of the dwelling-place (comp. 1 Kings 12:16). Israel will have so many more children that her "tent" will need enlarging. The curtains; i.e. the tent-cloth (comp. Exodus 26 and 36, where the word used occurs repeatedly). Thy cords... thy stakes (comp. Exodus 35:18; Exodus 39:40, etc.). The ropes and tent-pegs, which kept the tent-cloth in place, are intended. The enlargement of the tent would make longer ropes and larger pegs necessary. Isaiah 54:2With this prospect before her, even her dwelling-place would need enlarging. "Enlarge the space of thy tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of thy habitations; forbid not! lengthen thy cords, and fasten thy plugs." She is to widen out the space inside her tent, and they (יטּוּ has no definite subject, which is often the case where some subordinate servant is to be thought of) are to spread out far and wide the coverings of the framework of her dwelling, which is called mishkenōth (in the plural) on account of its roominess and magnificence: she is not to forbid it, thinking in her weakness of faith, "It is good enough as it is; it would be too large." The cords which hold up the walls, she is to lengthen; and the plugs, to which the cords are fastened, she is to ram fast into the earth: the former because the tent (i.e., the holy city, Jeremiah 31:38-40, and the dwelling-place of the church generally, Isaiah 26:15) has to receive a large number of inhabitants; the latter because it will not be broken up so soon again (Isaiah 33:20).
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