Isaiah 54:4
Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.
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(4) Thou shalt forget.—The “shame of thy youth,” was the Egyptian bondage, from which Jehovah chose Israel to be His bride (Jeremiah 3:1-11; Ezekiel 16:1-14). The “reproach of widowhood” was the captivity in Babylon.

Isaiah 54:4-5. Thou shalt not be ashamed — As formerly, of the straitness of thy borders, and the fewness of thy children. Thou shalt forget the reproach of thy youth — Thy barrenness in former times: so great shall be thy fertility and felicity, that it shall cause thee to forget thy former unfruitfulness and misery. And shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood — That time and state when thou wast like a widow, disconsolate and desolate, deprived or forsaken of her husband, and having few or no children. For thy Maker — He who made thee out of nothing, and therefore can fulfil all these promises, how improbable soever their fulfilment may appear; is thy husband — Will own thee for his spouse, and give thee proof of his conjugal affection. The Lord of hosts — Who hath the sovereign command of all men and creatures, and therefore can subdue the Gentiles to thee, and can make thee to increase and multiply in so prodigious a measure, even in thy old age, notwithstanding thy barrenness in the days of thy youth, of which he speaks in the foregoing verse. The God of the whole earth shall he be called — The God and Father of all nations. Whereas formerly he was called the God of Israel only, and the Gentiles had no special relation to him, the time is now coming when he shall be called the God of the Gentiles also, having admitted them into the same covenant relation to himself with the Jews, and the partition wall between Jews and Gentiles being broken down. See Zechariah 14:9; Romans 3:29; Ephesians 2:11-16.

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.Fear not ... - (See Isaiah 41:10, note, Isaiah 41:14, note).

Neither shalt thou be confounded - All these words mean substantially the same thing; and the design of the prophet is to affirm, in the strongest possible manner, that the church of God should be abundantly prospered and enlarged. The image of the female that was barren is kept up, and the idea is, that there should be no occasion of the shame which she felt who had no children.

For thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth - In the abundant increase and glory of future times, the circumstances of shame which attended their early history shall be forgotten. The 'youth' of the Jewish people refers doubtless to the bondage of Egypt, and the trials and calamities which came upon them there. So great should be their future prosperity and glory, that all this should be forgotten.

The reproach of thy widowhood - The captivity at Babylon, when they were like a woman bereft of her husband and children (see the notes at Isaiah 49:21).

4. (Isa 41:10, 14).

shame of thy youth—Israel's unfaithfulness as wife of Jehovah, almost from her earliest history.

reproach of widowhood—Israel's punishment in her consequent dismissal from God and barrenness of spiritual children in Babylon and her present dispersion (Isa 54:1; Isa 49:21; Jer 3:24, 25; 31:19; Ho 2:2-5).

Thou shalt not be ashamed for that barrenness and widowhood, which once was the matter of thy grief and shame, because now thou shalt be delivered from it, and God will own thee for his wife, and beget children of thee; as it is explained in the following words.

Thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth; it shall be forgotten both by thee and others: thou shalt not be upbraided with thy former barrenness in thy youthful state, nor confounded and tormented with the remembrance of it; both remembering and forgetting in Scripture use connote or comprehend those affections which naturally and usually follow upon them; so great shall be thy fertility and felicity, that it shall cause thee to forget thy former unfruitfulness and misery, as men commonly do in like cases, as Genesis 41:51 Job 11:16 Isaiah 65:16 John 16:21.

The reproach of thy widowhood; that time and state when thou wert like a widow, disconsolate and desolate, forsaken by her husband, and having in a manner no children; which was a great reproach, especially among the Jews.

Fear not,.... The fulfilment of these things; however unlikely and unpromising they might seem, yet God was able to perform them; and therefore way should not be given to a fearful, distrustful, and unbelieving heart:

for thou shall not be ashamed; as men are, when disappointed of what they have been hoping for and expecting; but so it should not be with the church, she should not be ashamed of her hope, faith, and confidence; for there would be a performance of all that the Lord had spoken: nor should she be ashamed of her barrenness, which should cease; and of the fewness of her children or converts, which would be many; and of the straitness of the place of her tent or habitation, which would now be enlarged:

neither be thou confounded, for thou shalt not be put to shame; other words made use of to express the same thing, and for the further confirmation of it, that she needed not, and that she should not be put to the blush, or to shame and confusion, on the above accounts:

for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth; by which may be meant either the small number of converts at the first preaching of the Gospel; or more especially that there were so few of the wise and learned, the rich and noble, that embraced it, with which the first Christians were greatly upbraided; or those persecutions which attended them the three first centuries, which, being now at an end, shall be forgotten:

and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more; which signifies much the same as before, the seeming desolate estate of the church upon the death of Christ; when she seemed to be deprived of her husband, and forsaken by him, and left as a widow, and without children, barren and unfruitful; which was reckoned reproachful with the Jews, Luke 1:25.

Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy {d} youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy {e} widowhood any more.

(d) The afflictions which you suffered at the beginning.

(e) When you were refused for your sins, Isa 50:1.

4. the reproach of thy widowhood clearly refers to the period of the Exile when Zion regarded herself as cast off by Jehovah. The sense of the shame of thy youth is less obvious. Since the conception has some affinities with the striking allegory in Ezekiel 16 it is probable that the reference goes back to the origin of the nation (cf. Ezekiel 16:4-8); the reference being to the Egyptian oppression.

4–6. Zion shall forget her former shame in the joy of reconciliation to her God.

Verse 4. - Thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth; rather, of thy maidenhood; i.e. of the time when thou wert a maiden, before by the covenant of Sinai Jehowth became thy Husband (ver. 5). The "shame" of this period was 'the Egyptian bondage. Israel's later condition would be such that the very recollection of this bondage would fade away and cease. The reproach of thy widowhood. Israel became a "widow" when Jehovah withdrew his presence from her, when the Shechinah disappeared from the temple, and the temple itself was destroyed, and Jerusalem was a desolation, and the people captives in a far land. The special "reproach of her widowhood" was the Babylonian captivity, with the sins that had brought it about. This too would be forgotten in the good time to come, amid the glories of the Messianic kingdom. Isaiah 54:4The encouraging promise is continued in Isaiah 54:4 : "Fear not, for thou wilt not be put to shame; and bid defiance to reproach, for thou wilt not blush: no, thou wilt forget the shame of thy youth, and wilt no more remember the reproach of thy widowhood." Now that redemption was before the door, Israel was not to fear any more, or to be overcome (as the niphal nikhlam implies) by a felling of the shame consequent upon her state of punishment, or so to behave herself as to leave no room for hope. For a state of things was about to commence, in which she would have no need to be ashamed (on bōsh and châphēr or hechpı̄r), but which, on the contrary (כּי, imo, as in Isaiah 10:7; Isaiah 55:9), would be so glorious that she would forget the shame of her youth, i.e., of the Egyptian bondage, in which the national community of Israel was still but like a virgin (‛almâh), who entered into a betrothal when redeemed by Jehovah, and became His youthful wife through a covenant of love (ehe equals berı̄th) when the law was given at Sinai (Jeremiah 2:2; Ezekiel 16:60); so glorious indeed, that she would never again remember the shame of her widowhood, i.e., of the Babylonian captivity, in which she, the wife whom Jehovah had taken to Himself, was like a widow whose husband had died.
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