Isaiah 54:6
For the LORD has called you as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when you were refused, said your God.
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(6) For the Lord hath called thee.—The words find their explanation, perhaps their starting-point, in the history of Hosea and Gomer (Hosea 1-3). The husband has punished the faithless wife by what seemed a divorce, but his heart yearns after her, and he takes her back again.

When thou wast refused.—Some critics render Can she be rejected . . .? with the implied answer. “No, that is impossible,” but the Authorised version is tenable, and gives an adequate meaning.

Isaiah 54:6-8. For the Lord hath called thee — To return and come again to him; as a woman forsaken — When thou wast like a woman forsaken by her husband, who had given her a bill of divorce; and grieved in spirit — For the loss of her husband’s favour and society, and for the reproach attending it; and a wife of youth — As affectionately as a husband recalleth his wife whom he married in her and his own youth, whom, though he might on some provocation put away, yet he soon repents of doing it, and his affection for her reviving, he invites her to return to him; when thou wast refused — Though for a time thou wast refused and rejected by him; saith thy God — Jehovah, who will again show himself to be thy God, and will renew his covenant with thee. For a small moment — For the space of some few years, as seventy years in Babylon, and some such intervals, which may well be called a small moment, in comparison of God’s everlasting kindness, mentioned in the next verse: have I forsaken thee — Withdrawn my favour and help from thee, and left thee in thine enemies’ hands. But with great mercies — Such as are very precious, and of long continuance; will I gather thee — From all the places where thou art dispersed, from all parts of the world. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee — I removed the means and pledges of my presence and kindness; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy, &c. — With kindness to thee, and thy seed, through all succeeding generations, in time, and to all eternity. 54:6-10 As God is slow to anger, so he is swift to show mercy. And how sweet the returns of mercy would be, when God should come and comfort them! He will have mercy on them. God's gathering his people takes rise from his mercy, not any merit of theirs; and it is with great mercies, with everlasting kindness. The wrath is little, the mercies great; the wrath for a moment, the kindness everlasting. We are neither to despond under afflictions, nor to despair of relief. Mountains have been shaken and removed, but the promises of God never were broken by any event. Mountains and hills also signify great men. Creature-confidences shall fail; but when our friends fail us, our God does not. All this is alike applicable to the church at large, and to each believer. God will rebuke and correct his people for sins; but he will not cast them off. Let this encourage us to give the more diligence to make our calling and election sure.For the Lord hath called thee - This is designed to confirm and illustrate the sentiment in the previous verse. God there says that he would be a husband to his people. Here he says, that although he had for a time apparently forsaken them, as a husband who had forsaken his wife, and although they were cast down and dejected like a woman who had thus been forsaken, yet he would now restore them to favor.

Hath called thee - That is, will have called thee to himself - referring to the future times when prosperity should be restored to them.

As a woman forsaken - Forsaken by her husband on account of her offence.

And grieved in spirit - Because she was thus forsaken.

And a wife of youth - The Septuagint renders this very strangely, 'The Lord hath not called thee as a wife forsaken and disconsolate; nor as a wife that hath been hated from her youth;' showing conclusively that the translator here did not understand the meaning of the passage, and vainly endeavored to supply a signification by the insertion of thee negatives, and by endeavoring to make a meaning. The idea is that of a wife wedded in youth; a wife toward whom there was early and tender love, though she was afterward rejected. God had loved the Hebrew people as his people in the early days of their history. Yet for their idolatry he had seen occasion afterward to cast them off, and to doom them to a long and painful exile. But he would yet love them with all the former ardor of affection, and would greatly increase and prosper them.

When thou wast refused - Or, that hath been rejected. Lowth, 'But afterward rejected.' It may be rendered, 'Although (כי kı̂y has often the sense of although) thou wert rejected,' or 'although she was rejected.' The idea is, that she had been married in youth, but had been afterward put away.

6. called—that is, recalled: the prophetic past for the future.

forsaken—that had been forsaken.

when thou—or, "when she was rejected"; one who had been a wife of youth (Eze 16:8, 22, 60; Jer 2:2) at the time when (thou, or) she was rejected for infidelity [Maurer]. "A wife of youth but afterwards rejected" [Lowth].

The Lord hath called thee, to return and come again to him. As a woman forsaken; when thou wast like a woman forsaken. Or, as a husband recalleth his wife. Forsaken by her husband, who hath given her a bill of divorce.

Grieved in spirit, for the loss of her husband’s flavour and society, and for the reproach attending upon it.

And a wife of youth; or, and as (which note of similitude is supplied here by the LXX. and Chaldee interpreters, and is easily understood out of the foregoing clause, in which it is expressed) a wife of youth, i.e. as readily and affectionately as a husband recalleth his wife which no married in her and his own youth, of whom see on Proverbs 5:18, whom though he might through a sudden and violent passion put away, yet he soon repents of it, and his affections work towards her, and he invites her to return to him.

When thou wast refused; when thou wast in a desolate estate, and hadst been for some time rejected by me, then I recalled thee. Or, although thou wast refused, or dismissed, or despised by me, and that justly; yet I had mercy upon thee, and freely offered reconciliation to thee. Saith thy God; who will again be, and still show himself to be, thy God, and will renew his covenant with thee. For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit,.... That has lost her husband by death, is solitary upon it, is like one forsaken, and mourns for the loss of him; or is forsaken by a living husband, rejected by him, having a bill of divorce from him, and so she grieves at his unkindness to her, and the reproach cast upon her; as such an one was the church when it was first constituted, when the members of which it consisted were called out of the world by the grace of God, and formed into a church state; almost as soon as ever they were thus embodied together, Christ was taken from them by death, and they were left alone, and filled with grief and trouble: the apostles and first preachers of the Gospel were persecuted from place to place, and all of them lost their lives for the cause in which they were engaged; and the church endured grievous persecutions during the three first centuries, when she seemed to be forsaken of God, and was greatly oppressed and grieved in spirit. Some understand this of the Gentiles, and of their state and condition when called, as described in Ephesians 2:10, but rather it may be interpreted of the Jews, now cut off and forsaken; and who, when they come to be sensible of their case, will be grieved and mourn, even when they shall be called and converted in the latter day; but I think the first sense is best:

and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God; or, "and as a wife of youth (m)"; whom a man marries in his youth, and she a young woman herself, which makes it the more grievous to be despised, refused, and forsaken, or to seem to be so. The words may be rendered thus, "and", or "but, a wife of youth thou art, though thou wast despised" (n), or "refused, saith thy God"; that is, though thou hast been seemingly despised and cast off, my providential dispensations towards thee may be so interpreted by thyself and others; yet I am thy God, thy Maker, Redeemer, and Husband, and thou art as dear to me as the wife of a man's youth, for whom he has the most passionate love; and which agrees with what follows.

(m) , Sept.; sic Arab. & Targum; "et velut foeminam", Tigurine version, Castalio; "et ut uxorem", Vitringa. (n) "quamvis spreta sis", Junius & Tremellius; "fueris", Piscator.

For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a {h} wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.

(h) As a wife who was forsaken in your youth.

6. Although Zion is temporarily estranged from Jehovah, she is yet a “wife of youth” holding a permanent place in her husband’s affections.

For the Lord hath called thee] i.e. “calls thee” now (Cheyne, “hath recalled thee”). The reference is not to the first espousals of the nation at the exodus, but to the renewal of conjugal intercourse in the restoration from exile.

as a wife (R.V.) forsaken and grieved in spirit] neglected by her husband, and left to her own bitter reflexions, but not cast off. Cf. Hosea 3:3.

and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused] R.V. “even a wife of youth, when she is cast off.” The clause is difficult. Probably it is an exclamation: and a wife of youth—can she be rejected? (so Cheyne, after Ewald); it is impossible that she should be finally disowned.

a wife of youth] one who has been wooed and won in youth; Proverbs 5:18; Malachi 2:14 f.Verse 6. - For the Lord hath called thee; i.e. recalled thee to himself - summoned thee to return, and once more resume the office of a wife. As a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit; i.e. as one whom her husband has cast off, and whose spirit is grieved by the repudiation. No doubt a large number of the captives had the same spirit of penitence as Daniel (Daniel 9:5-19). A wife of youth. One wooed and won in youth, therefore more dearly loved, more regretfully repudiated, more joyfully restored when seen to be penitent. When thou wast refused; rather, when she has been cast off. Jehovah takes back Israel into the old relationship, as a man takes back "the wife of his youth," when she has been for a long time "cast off." The last reward of His thus working after this life for the salvation of sinners, and also of His work in this life upon which the former is founded, is victorious dominion. "Therefore I give Him a portion among the great, and with strong ones will He divide spoil; because He has poured out His soul into death: and He let Himself be reckoned among transgressors; whilst He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." The promise takes its stand between humiliation and exaltation, and rests partly upon the working of the exalted One, and partly upon the doing and suffering of One who was so ready to sacrifice Himself. Luther follows the lxx and Vulgate, and adopts the rendering, "Therefore will I give Him a great multitude for booty;" and Hvernick, Stier, and others adopt essentially the same rendering, "Therefore will I apportion to Him the many." But, as Job 39:17 clearly shows, this clause can only mean, "Therefore will I give Him a portion in the many." If, however, chillēq b' means to have a portion in anything, and not to give the thing itself as a portion, it is evident that hârabbı̄m here are not the many, but the great; and this is favoured by the parallel clause. The ideas of greatness and force, both in multitude and might, are bound up together in rabh and ‛âtsūm (see Isaiah 8:7), and the context only can decide which rendering is to be adopted when these ideas are separated from one another. What is meant by "giving a portion bârabbı̄m," is clearly seen from such passages as Isaiah 52:15; Isaiah 49:7, according to which the great ones of the earth will be brought to do homage to Him, or at all events to submit to Him. The second clause is rendered by Luther, "and He shall have the strong for a prey." This is at any rate better than the rendering of the lxx and Vulgate, "et fortium dividet spolia." But Proverbs 16:19 shows that את is a preposition. Strong ones surround Him, and fight along with Him. The reference here is to the people of which it is said in Psalm 110:3, "They people are thorough devotion in the day of Thy power;" and this people, which goes with Him to battle, and joins with Him in the conquest of the hostile powers of the world (Revelation 19:14), also participates in the enjoyment of the spoils of His victory. With this victorious sway is He rewarded, because He has poured out His soul unto death, having not only exposed His life to death, but "poured out" (he‛ĕrâh, to strip or empty, or pour clean out, even to the very last remnant) His life-blood into death (lammâveth like the Lamed in Psalm 22:16), and also because He has suffered Himself to be reckoned with transgressors, i.e., numbered among them (niph. tolerativum), namely, in the judgment of His countrymen, and in the unjust judgment (mishpât) by which He was delivered up to death as a wicked apostate and transgressor of the law. With והוּא there is attached to נמנה ואת־פּשׁעים (He was numbered with the transgressors), if not in a subordinate connection (like והוא) in Isaiah 53:5; (compare Isaiah 10:7), the following antithesis: He submitted cheerfully to the death of a sinner, and yet He was no sinner, but "bare the sin of many (cf., Hebrews 9:28), and made intercession for the transgressors." Many adopt the rendering, "and He takes away the sin of many, and intervenes on behalf of the transgressors." But in this connection the preterite נשׂא) can only relate to something antecedent to the foregoing future, so that יפגּיע denotes a connected past; and thus have the lxx and Vulg. correctly rendered it. Just as בּ הפגּיע in Isaiah 53:6 signifies to cause to fall upon a person, so in Jeremiah 15:11 it signifies to make one approach another (in supplication). Here, however, as in Isaiah 59:16, the hiphil is not a causative, but has the intensive force of the kal, viz., to press forward with entreaty, hence to intercede (with a Lâmed of the person on whose behalf it occurs). According to the cons. temporum, the reference is not to the intercession (ἔντευξις) of the glorified One, but to that of the suffering One, on behalf of His foes. Every word stands here as if written beneath the cross on Golgotha. And this is the case with the clause before us, which was fulfilled (though not exclusively) in the prayer of the crucified Saviour: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

"The prophetic view," says Oehler, who agrees with us in the general opinion that the idea of the Servant of Jehovah has three distinct stages, "ascends in these discourses step by step, as it were, from the one broad space covered by the foundation-walls of a cathedral up to the very summit with its giddy height, on which the cross is planted; and the nearer it reaches the summit, the more conspicuous do the outlines of the cross itself become, until at last, when the summit is reached, it rests in peace, having attained what it desired when it set its foot upon the first steps of the temple tower." There is something very striking in this figure. Here, in the very centre of this book of consolation, we find the idea of the Servant of Jehovah at the very summit of its ascent. It has reached the goal. The Messianic idea, which was hidden in the general idea of the nation regarded as "the servant of Jehovah," has gradually risen up in the most magnificent metamorphosis from the depths in which it was thus concealed. And this fusion has generated what was hitherto altogether strange to the figure of the Messiah, viz., the unio mystica capitis et corporis. Hitherto Israel has appeared simply as the nation governed by the Messiah, the army which He conducted into battle, the commonwealth ordered by Him. But now, in the person of the Servant of Jehovah, we see Israel itself in personal self-manifestation: the idea of Israel is fully realized, and the true nature of Israel shines forth in all its brilliancy. Israel is the body, and He the head, towering above it. Another element, with which we found the Messianic idea enriched even before Isaiah 53:1-12, was the munus triplex. As early as chapters 7-12 the figure of the Messiah stood forth as the figure of a King; but the Prophet like unto Moses, promised in Deuteronomy 18:15, was still wanting. But, according to chapters 42, 49, Isaiah 50:1-11, the servant of Jehovah is first a prophet, and as the proclaimer of a new law, and the mediator of a new covenant, really a second Moses; at the close of the work appointed Him, however, He receives the homage of kings, whilst, as Isaiah 53:1-12 clearly shows, that self-sacrifice lies between, on the ground of which He rules above as Priest after the order of Melchizedek - in other words, a Priest and also a King. From this point onward there are added to the Messianic idea the further elements of the status duplex and the satisfactio vicaria. David was indeed the type of the twofold state of his antitype, inasmuch as it was through suffering that he reached the throne; but where have we found, in all the direct Messianic prophecies anterior to this, the suffering path of the Ecce Homo even to the grave? But the Servant of Jehovah goes through shame to glory, and through death to life. He conquers when He falls; He rules after being enslaved; He lives after He has died; He completes His work after He Himself has been apparently cut off. His glory streams upon the dark ground of the deepest humiliation, to set forth which the dark colours were supplied by the pictures of suffering contained in the Psalms and in the book of Job. And these sufferings of His are not merely the sufferings of a confessor or a martyr, like those of the ecclesia pressa, but a vicarious atoning suffering, a sacrifice for sin. To this the chapter before us returns again and again, being never tired of repeating it. "Spiritus Sanctus," says Brentius, "non delectatur inani battologi'a, et tamen quum in hoc cap. videatur βαττολόγος καὶ ταυτολόγος esse, dubium non est, quin tractet rem cognitu maxime necessariam." The banner of the cross is here set up. The curtain of the most holy is lifted higher and higher. The blood of the typical sacrifice, which has been hitherto dumb, begins to speak. Faith, which penetrates to the true meaning of the prophecy, hopes on not only for the Lion of the tribe of Judah, but also for the Lamb of God, which beareth the sin of the world. And in prophecy itself we see the after-effect of this gigantic advance. Zechariah no longer prophesies of the Messiah merely as a king (Isaiah 5:13); He not only rules upon His throne, but is also a priest upon His throne: sovereignty and priesthood go hand in hand, being peacefully united in Him. And in Zechariah 12:13 the same prophet predicts in Him the good Divine Shepherd, whom His people pierce, though not without thereby fulfilling the counsel of God, and whom they afterwards long for with bitter lamentation and weeping. The penitential and believing confession which would then be made by Israel is prophetically depicted by Isaiah's pen - "mourning in bitter sorrow the lateness of its love."

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