Rejoice you with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all you that mourn for her:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Rejoice ye with Jerusalem . . .—The holy city is still thought of as a mother rejoicing in her new-born child; friends and neighbours (i e., the nations friendly to Israel) who had shown pity for her sufferings are now invited to participate in her joy.Isaiah 66:10-11. Rejoice ye with Jerusalem — Let all that wish her well congratulate her for the favours God hath conferred upon her, and particularly let the Gentiles rejoice with the Jewish Church, for her advancement shall redound to their benefit. Thus Moses, (Deuteronomy 32:43,) referring probably to the very events here predicted by Isaiah, Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people; for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land and to his people. Be glad with her, all ye that love her — All that love God love the church of God, lay its interests very near their hearts, and heartily espouse its cause. And they that have a sincere affection for it have a cordial sympathy with it in all the cares and sorrows of its militant state. They mourn for Zion in her afflictions and troubles: her grievances excite their sorrows; and if she be in distress, their harps are hung on the willows. But here Jerusalem is represented as having great cause for rejoicing; the days of her mourning are at an end, and she is comforted according to the time in which she hath seen adversity. And of course all her friends, who sympathized with her in her sorrows, are here invited to join with her in her joys, because they are to participate in those blessings from which her joys are derived. That ye may suck — Or, because ye shall suck: and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations — The word of God, the covenant of grace, especially the promises of that covenant, gospel ordinances, and all the opportunities of attending on God, and conversing with him, are breasts of the church’s consolations. In these her comforts are laid up, and thence they are drawn by faith and prayer. From these breasts, therefore, we must suck by an application of the promises of God to ourselves, and a diligent attendance on his ordinances; and with the consolations which are drawn thence we must be satisfied, and not be unsatisfied though we have a very small share of earthly comforts. That ye may be delighted with the abundance of her glory — It is the glory of the church that she hath the Lord for her God; that to her pertains the adoption and the service of God; and with the abundance of this glory we must be delighted. We must take more pleasure in our relation to God, and communion with him, than in all the delights of the sons and daughters of men. Whatever is the glory of the church must be our glory and joy, particularly her purity, unity, and increase.Luke 1:40, went to rejoice with Elisabeth, and Job’s friends came to rejoice with him, Job 42:11. The prophet in like manner calls to all the friends of Jerusalem, especially such as in the days of her affliction had mourned for her, to come and rejoice and be glad with her, upon the prospect of her better state after the Babylonish captivity; or at least in the time of the Messiah; for though joy and gladness be the affection of the soul that works upon its union with its desirable object, and the deliverance of the people out of Babylon was not to be for many years after this, nor the Messiah to come for many years after that; yet faith being the evidence of things not seen, there is a rejoicing of hope, hope giving the soul a union with its object hoped for; and these things were now present to believers, who by faith called the things that were not as if they were, because they had the security of a Divine revelation for them, and they were already existent in their necessary causes. Luke 1:57, so the church's friends here are called together to rejoice with her, at the numerous birth and conversion of souls in her, than which nothing is more joyful to the saints; see Luke 15:6,
all ye that love her; wish her well, and pray for her peace and prosperity; all that love God love his church, the habitation of his house, the place where his honour dwells; all that love Christ love her who is his spouse and bride, and purchased by his blood; all that love the word and ordinances love the church where they are administered:
rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her; that had mourned for her, when things went ill with her; these are they that mourn in Zion, and for Zion, because of the sins of her professors; corruptions in doctrine, discipline, and worship; declensions in grace; want of love to one another, and few instances of conversion: but now things being the reverse, and it going well with her, they are called upon to rejoice exceedingly with her; for such is the sympathizing spirit of the saints, that they rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep with them that weep, Romans 12:15.Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)10. that mourn for her] Cf. ch. Isaiah 57:18, Isaiah 61:2-3.
10, 11. Invitation to the sorrowing children of Zion to rejoice in their mother’s consolation.Verse 10. - Rejoice ye with Jerusalem... all ye that love her. The call to rejoicing is general. Restored Jerusalem is to be hailed with joy "by all who love her," whether her own children or foreigners. To both she will be a blessing (vers. 11-13). Isaiah 65:12 repeated here in Isaiah 66:4, but the sharp line of demarcation drawn in chapter 65, between the servants of Jehovah and the worldly majority of the nation with reference to the approaching return to the Holy Land, is continued here. As the idea of their return is associated immediately with that of the erection of a new temple, there is nothing at all to surprise us, after what we have read in Isaiah 65:8., in the fact that Jehovah expresses His abhorrence at the thought of having a temple built by the Israel of the captivity, as the majority then were, and does so in such words as those which follow in Isaiah 66:1-4 : "Thus saith Jehovah: The heaven is my throne, and the earth my footstool. What kind of house is it that ye would build me, and what kind of place for my rest? My hand hath made all these things; then all these thing arose, saith Jehovah; and at such persons do I look, at the miserable and broken-hearted, and him that trembleth at my word. He that slaughtereth the ox is the slayer of a man; he that sacrificeth the sheep is a strangler of dogs; he that offereth a meat-offering, it is swine's blood; he that causeth incense to rise up in smoke, blesseth idols. As they have chosen their ways, and their soul cheriseth pleasure in their abominations; so will I choose their ill-treatments, and bring their terrors upon them, because I called and no one replied, I spake and they did not hear, and they did evil in mine eyes, and chose that in which I took no pleasure." Hitzig is of opinion that the author has broken off here, and proceeds quite unexpectedly to denounce the intention to build a temple for Jehovah. Those who wish to build he imagines to be those who have made up their minds to stay behind in Chaldea, and who, whilst their brethren who have returned to their native land are preparing to build a temple there, want to have one of their own, just as the Jews in Egypt built one for themselves in Leontopolis. Without some such supposition as this, Hitzig thinks it altogether impossible to discover the thread which connects the different vv. together. This view is at any rate better than that of Umbreit, who imagines that the prophet places us here "on the loftiest spiritual height of the Christian development." "In the new Jerusalem," he says, "there will be no temple seen, nor any sacrifice; Jehovah forbids these in the strongest terms, regarding them as equivalent to mortal sins." But the prophet, if this were his meaning, would involve himself in self-contradiction, inasmuch as, according to Isaiah 56:1-12 and 60, there will be a temple in the new Jerusalem with perpetual sacrifice, which this prophecy also presupposes in Isaiah 66:20. (cf., Isaiah 66:6); and secondly, he would contradict other prophets, such as Ezekiel and Zechariah, and the spirit of the Old Testament generally, in which the statement, that whoever slaughters a sacrificial animal in the new Jerusalem will be as bad as a murderer, has no parallel, and is in fact absolutely impossible. According to Hitzig's view, on the other hand, v. 3a affirms, that the worship which they would be bound to perform in their projected temple would be an abomination to Jehovah, however thoroughly it might be made to conform to the Mosaic ritual. But there is nothing in the text to sustain the idea, that there is any intention here to condemn the building of a temple to Jehovah in Chaldaea, nor is such an explanation by any means necessary to make the text clear. The condemnation on the part of Jehovah has reference to the temple, which the returning exiles intend to build in Jerusalem. The prophecy is addressed to the entire body now ready to return, and says to the whole without exception, that Jehovah, the Creator of heaven and earth, does not stand in need of any house erected by human hands, and then proceeds to separate the penitent from those that are at enmity against God, rejects in the most scornful manner all offerings in the form of worship on the part of the latter, and threatens them with divine retribution, having dropped in Isaiah 66:3-4 the form of address to the entire body. Just as in the Psalm of Asaph (Psalm 50) Jehovah refuses animal and other material offerings as such, because the whole of the animal world, the earth and the fulness thereof, are His possession, so here He addresses this question to the entire body of the exiles: What kind of house is there that ye could build, that would be worthy of me, and what kind of place that would be worthy of being assigned to me as a resting-place? On mâqōm menūchâthı̄, locus qui sit requies mea (apposition instead of genitive connection). He needs no temple; for heaven is His throne, and the earth His footstool. He is the Being who filleth all, the Creator, and therefore the possessor, of the universe; and if men think to do Him a service by building Him a temple, and forget His infinite majesty in their concern for their own contemptible fabric, He wants to temple at all. "All these" refer, as if pointing with the finger, to the world of visible objects that surround us. ויּהיוּ (from היה, existere, fieri) is used in the same sense as the ויהי which followed the creative יהי. In this His exaltation He is not concerned about a temple; but His gracious look is fixed upon the man who is as follows (zeh pointing forwards as in Isaiah 58:6), viz., upon the mourner, the man of broken heart, who is filled with reverential awe at the word of His revelation.
We may see from Psalm 51:9 what the link of connection is between Isaiah 66:2 and Isaiah 66:3. So far as the mass of the exiles were concerned, who had not been humbled by their sufferings, and whom the preaching of the prophet could not bring to reflection, He did not want any temple or sacrifice from them. The sacrificial acts, to which such detestable predicates are here applied, are such as end with the merely external act, whilst the inward feelings of the person presenting the sacrifice are altogether opposed to the idea of both the animal sacrifice and the meat-offering, more especially to that desire for salvation which was symbolized in all the sacrifices; in other words, they are sacrificial acts regarded as νεκρὰ ἔργα, the lifeless works of men spiritually dead. The articles of hasshōr and hasseh are used as generic with reference to sacrificial animals. The slaughter of an ox was like the slaying (makkēh construct with tzere) of a man (for the association of ideas, see Genesis 49:6); the sacrifice (zōbhēăch like shâchat is sometimes applied to slaughtering for the purpose of eating; here, however, it refers to an animal prepared for Jehovah) of a sheep like the strangling of a dog, that unclean animal (for the association of ideas, see Job 30:1); the offerer up (me‛ōlēh) of a meat-offering (like one who offered up) swine's blood, i.e., as if he was offering up the blood of this most unclean animal upon the altar; he who offered incense as an 'azkârâh (see at Isaiah 1:13) like one who blessed 'âven, i.e., godlessness, used here as in 1 Samuel 15:23, and also in Hosea in the change of the name of Bethel into Beth 'Aven, for idolatry, or rather in a concrete sense for the worthless idols themselves, all of which, according to Isaiah 41:29, are nothing but 'âven. Rosenmller, Gesenius, Hitzig, Stier, and even Jerome, have all correctly rendered it in this way, "as if he blessed an idol" (quasi qui benedicat idolo); and Vitringa, "cultum exhibens vano numini" (offering worship to a vain god). Such explanations as that of Luther, on the other hand, viz., "as if he praised that which was wrong," are opposed to the antithesis, and also to the presumption of a concrete object to מברך (blessing); whilst that of Knobel, "praising vainly" ('âven being taken as an acc. Adv.), yields too tame an antithesis, and is at variance with the usage of the language. In this condemnation of the ritual acts of worship, the closing prophecy of the book of Isaiah coincides with the first (Isaiah 1:11-15). But that it is not sacrifices in themselves that are rejected, but the sacrifices of those whose hearts are divided between Jehovah and idols, and who refuse to offer to Him the sacrifice that is dearest to Him (Psalm 51:19, cf., Psalm 50:23), is evident from the correlative double-sentence that follows in Isaiah 66:3 and Isaiah 66:4, which is divided into two masoretic verses, as the only means of securing symmetry. Gam ... gam, which means in other cases, "both ... and also," or in negative sentences "neither ... nor," means here, as in Jeremiah 51:12, "as assuredly the one as the other," in other words, "as ... so." They have chosen their own ways, which are far away from those of Jehovah, and their soul has taken pleasure, not in the worship of Jehovah, but in all kinds of heathen abominations (shiqqūtsēhem, as in many other places, after Deuteronomy 29:16); therefore Jehovah wants no temple built by them or with their co-operation, nor any restoration of sacrificial worship at their hands. But according to the law of retribution, He chooses tha‛ălūlēhem, vexationes eorum (lxx τὰ ἐμπαίγματα αὐτῶν: see at Isaiah 3:4), with the suffix of the object: fates that will use them ill, and brings their terrors upon them, i.e., such a condition of life as will inspire them with terror (megūrōth, as in Psalm 34:5).
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