Whereas you has been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through you, I will make you an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Whereas thou hast been forsaken . . .—The figure of the daughter of Zion, who had been as a forsaken and slighted wife (comp. Isaiah 62:4), mingles with the literal picture of a city in ruins, abandoned and unvisited.Isaiah 60:15. Whereas thou hast been forsaken — Both of God, as to outward appearance, and man; and hated — Either slighted and neglected, or suffering actual miseries and slaughters; so that no man went through thee — Thy streets were left desolate and thou wast in a manner depopulated. The state of the Christian Church, during the dark and persecuting ages of Popery, is here described, in language borrowed from Jerusalem lying in desolation. I will make thee an eternal excellency — Being reformed from idolatry and other superstitions and abominations, and thy members being enlightened with the truth, and regenerated by the grace of God, and thereby rendered wise and holy, thou shalt be blessed and exalted with continual tokens of the divine favour, and made a lasting and increasing blessing in the world. The Hebrew, לגאון עולם, is literally, for a lifting up, or, an exaltation, continually, or, for ever. A joy of many generations — Hebrew, Of generation and generation. The meaning is, that the church’s prosperity and happiness should be the rejoicing and comfort of many succeeding ages, or the matter of their great and continual rejoicing. Bishop Lowth translates this clause, I will make thee an everlasting boast, a subject of joy for perpetual generations. It cannot be said of the Jewish nation, since this was uttered, that it has in any degree answered these characters. For after their restoration to their own land, they were first in subjection to the Persians, afterward to the Macedonians, the successors of Alexander the Great; whose yoke they had scarcely shaken off, when they fell under the power of the Romans, who treated them with great severity, and at last destroyed them, together with their city of Jerusalem, almost to an entire extirpation. So that we are compelled to look for the accomplishment of this prophecy in the Christian Church, the perpetual excellences of which far exceed those of the Jewish, and in the glorious privileges and blessings of the religion of Christ, which are indeed, and will be, the joy of many generations.
So that no man went through thee - When the country was desolate and abandoned, so that no caravan passed from one part of it to another, or made it a thoroughfare in going to other lands (compare Lamentations 1:4; see the notes at Isaiah 34:10).
I will make thee an eternal excellency - Lowth, 'An everlasting boast.' Noyes, 'Glory.' I will make you forever honored or exalted, so that you shall no more be desolate and abased.
no man went through thee—Thy land was so desolate that no traveller, or caravan, passed through thee; true only of Israel, not true of the Church (La 1:4).
excellency—glory, that is, for ever honored.Forsaken, both of God, i.e. as to outward appearance; and of her inhabitants, being upon the matter depopulated.
Hated; either slighted and neglected, or suffering actual miseries and slaughters: thus was she dealt with, Lamentations 1:2.
No man went through thee; thy streets were left desolate. An eternal excellency: the abstract is put here for the concrete, whereby the Hebrews were wont to express the superlative degree; and in this happy estate we find the church, Zechariah 2. per tot. Zechariah 9:9, &c.; which refers to the coming of Christ; and it is said to be eternal, i.e. for a great while; it being an hyperbolical expression, frequent with the Hebrews, who express a long time by eternity.
A joy of many generations; the church’s happiness should be, the rejoicing and comfort of succeeding generations; she would be the matter of their great rejoicing; a metonymy of the object.
and hated: of all men, of wicked and profane sinners, and of carnal professors, and especially of the antichristian party:
so that no man went through thee; very few passengers in Zion's ways; few asked the way to her, or joined themselves in fellowship and worship with her. Jacob was small; the number of converts exceeding few:
I will make thee an eternal excellency; the saints are the excellent in the earth, in the esteem of God and Christ; they, are their jewels and peculiar treasure, having the excellent graces of the Spirit of God in them; and the excellent robe of Christ's righteousness on them; an excellent knowledge of divine and spiritual things; an excellent spirit of love and unity; and an excellent order and discipline maintained among them; as well as excellent truths preached, and ordinances administered to them; all which shall continue, being made clearly to appear to be their case:
the joy of many generations; of age and age (e); or, as the Targum,
"the house of joy of generation and generation;''Whereas thou has been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. Instead of thy being forsaken and hated] Cf. ch. Isaiah 49:14; Isaiah 49:21, Isaiah 54:6; Isaiah 54:11.
so that no man went through thee] with none passing by (or through).
15, 16. Instead of being shunned and hated by all nations, Zion shall become the joy of the whole earth, her wants being abundantly supplied from the best that the nations can bestow.Verses 15-18. - The fourth stanza, Zion's prosperity. Verse 15. - Thou hast been forsaken and hated (comp. Isaiah 54:7; Isaiah 62:4). Zion has been a wife repudiated for her adulteries, "forsaken" by her husband, and the object of his just "hate." So that no man went through thee. The mixed metaphor is awkward, but readily intelligible. Zion is at once a city and a wife. As a wife, she is "hated and forsaken," as a city, no man goes through her. An eternal excellency (comp. Isaiah 59:21, and see the Homiletics on the passage). Isaiah 19:1; Isaiah 45:22), or like doves flying to their dovecots (celeres cavis se turribus abdunt, as Ovid says), i.e., to the round towers with their numerous pigeon-holes, which are provided for their shelter. The question is addressed to Zion, and the answer may easily be anticipated - namely, that this swarm of swiftly flying figures are hurrying to a house which they long to reach, as much as pigeons do to reach their pigeon-house. The kı̄ which follows is explanatory: this hurrying presents itself to thine eyes, because the isles wait for me. The reason for all this haste is to be found in the faith of those who are hurrying on. The Old Testament generally speaks of faith as hope (ל קוּה as in Isaiah 51:5; Isaiah 42:4); not that faith is the same as hope, but it is the support of hope, just as hope is the comfort of faith. In the Old Testament, when the true salvation existed only in promise, this epithet, for which there were many synonyms in the language, was the most appropriate one. The faith of the distant lands of the west is now beginning to work. The object of all this activity is expressed in the word להביא. The things thus flying along like clouds and doves are ships; with the Tartessus ships, which come from the farthest extremity of the European insular quarter of the globe, at their head (בּראשׁנה with munach instead of metheg, in the same sense as in Numbers 10:14; lxx ἐν πρώτοις; Jerome, in principio, in the foremost rank), i.e., acting as the leaders of the fleet which is sailing to Zion and bringing Zion's children from afar, and along with them the gold and silver of the owners of the vessels themselves, to the name (לשׁם, to the name, dative, not equivalent to למען; lxx διὰ, as in Isaiah 55:5) of thy God, whom they adore, and to the Holy One of Israel, because He hath ornamented thee, and thereby inspired them with reverence and love to thee (פארך for פארך, as in Isaiah 54:6, where it even stands out of pause).
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