Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. On 52:13–53:12. “This chapter, that has already silenced so many scoffers, and led so many honest doubters to believe, when they compared the prophecy with the fulfilment, and when the wonderful agreement with the history of the suffering, death and resurrection of our Redeemer shone upon them so glorious and clear—this master-piece from the armory of God, whose power unbelieving Israel even at this day fears so much that it has gone on omitting it from its yearly selections from the prophets for the weeks, but in doing so has given powerful testimony against itself and for the truth of the gospel—this chapter is a precious jewel of our Bible.” AXENFELD, Der Proph. Jes., A Lecture, 1870, p. 60 sq.
2. On 52:13. In the Midrasch Tanchuma, Fol. 53, c. 3, 1, 7 it reads: זֶה מֶלֶךְ הַמָּשִׁיחַ וְיָרוּמ מִן אַבְרָחָם וְנִשֶּׂא מִמּשֶׁה וִגָבַהּ מִן מַשֽלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת i.e., this is the King Messiah, He will be higher than Abraham, and raise Himself up more than Moses and be exalted above the angels of the ministry. On this WUENSCHE l. c. remarks p. 42: “This passage is additionally important from the fact that it teaches the doctrine of the sublimity of the Messiah, so strongly opposed by the later Jews. He rises above all created being; even the angels of the ministry may not be compared with Him in respect to their dignity and rank.”
3. On 52:14. It is remarkable that the church in the times of persecution before Constantine, conceived of the bodily form of the Lord as ugly: (CLEM. ALEX. Paedag. III. 1. τόν κύριον αὐτὸν τὴν ὄψιν αἰσχρὸν γεγονέναι διὰ Ἡσαΐου τὸ πνεῦμα μαρτυρεῖ. ORIGEN, C. Cels. VI.: ὁμολογουμένως γέγραπται περὶ τοῦ δυσειδὲς γεογνέναι τοῦ Ἰησοῦ σῶμα); the secularized church of the Middle Age conceived of Him as a form of ideal beauty (comp. the description of the form of Jesus in NICEPHORUS CALLISTI L. II. c. 7, and in the letter of the PSEUDO-LENTULUS, comp. HERZ. R. Enc. VIII. p. 292 sqq., DELITZSCH Jesus and Hillel, 1865, p. 4); the church of the Reformation took a middle course: “It is quite possible that some may have been as beautiful in body as Christ. Perhaps some have even been more beautiful than Christ. For we do not read that the Jews wondered at the beauty of the Lord.” LUTHER.
4. On 53:4, 5. “JUSTIN MARTYR (Apol. I. c. 54) sees in Asklepios, the physician that healed all diseases, a type of Christ parallel to that of the Servant who bears our sickness.” EDWARD MUELLER, “Parallels to the Messianic prophecies and types of the Old Testament from Greek antiquity” (Jahrbb. f. Klass. Philol. v. FLECKEISEN VIII. Supplem.-Bd. 1 Hft. p. 5).
5. On 53:4–6. The peculiarity of V. HOFMANN’S doctrine of the atonement seems to me to have its root in this, that he distinguishes a two-fold wrath of God against sinful humanity, viz., “how God is angry with sinful humanity that is destined to be brought back again into love-fellowship with Him, and how He is angry with those who refuse obedience to His work of salvation.” (Schutzschriften für eine neue Weise die alte Wahrheit zu Lehren III. Stück, Noerdlingen, 1859, p. 13 sq.). “In both instances His anger is an enmity of the holy Living (One) against sin that delivers the sinner to death. But in the one case it delivers him to death in order to redeem him out of it, in the other case that he may remain in it. Had God not intended to save mankind, then the death to which He delivered those first created would have been complete and enduring.” There appears to me to be a contradiction in this. For first it is said, that had God not intended to redeem mankind, then the first pair had been delivered to complete and enduring death. And then it is said, that the wrath of God does so deliver the one that is disobedient to His work of salvation over to death that he abides in it. Thus eternal death appears at one moment as punishment for sin in itself, and at another as punishment for rejecting the work of salvation. That God did not deliver over to complete and enduring death the first pair and their descendants was then merely because He had formed the purpose to redeem mankind. Therefore one would still think that what the Redeemer suffered made it possible for the divine righteousness to remit to men the complete and abiding death. Consequently, one might still think that Christ, by His death had given the divine righteousness an equivalent for the “complete and abiding death” of mankind. But, according to HOFMANN, such is not the case. For he asserts that the wrath of God delivers to abiding death only those that refuse obedience to His work of salvation. For this reason Christ did not bear the torments of damnation. Indeed for this reason a redemption from eternal death is neither possible nor necessary. For those that do not accept the work of salvation cannot be redeemed from eternal death at all, while those that do accept need not to be redeemed, because eternal death belongs in fact only to those that do not accept the work of salvation. There we have I think a circulus vitiosus. In view of the redemption, the first pair and their descendants are not punished with the eternal death that their sin in itself deserves, but only with corporeal death. But the Redeemer does not die in order to redeem men from eternal death, for the latter is suddenly only the consequence of unbelief in the work of salvation. But the Redeemer dies to redeem men from that punishment which was laid on them as a mitigated sort in view of the redemption. For Christ was only subjected to that anger with which God was angry at those who were destined to a re-entrance into His fellowship of love, not to that “which abides on those who are disobedient to the grace of God,” l. c. p. 14. Consequently one would think Christ only redeemed us from bodily death. And yet from that we are not redeemed. HOFMANN says, indeed: “we do not abide in it” (p. 51). It is true, the redeemed do not abide in it. But that is only for the reason that they are also redeemed from eternal death. For were the latter not the case, then the bodily death would only be a transit to what is worse, i.e., to eternal death. Therefore eternal death is the punishment, not only of not believing inredemption, but of sin in general. But Christ redeemed us from sin and its punishment generally, and not merely from what remained of the punishment that, with reference to the redemption, was from the first remitted to us.
6. On 53:4. “Hic est articulus justificationis, credere Christum pro nobis possum, sicut Paulus quoque dicit: Christus est foctus maledictum pro nobis. Neque enim satis est, nosse, quod Christus sit passus, sed, sicut hic dicit, credendum etiam est, quod nostros languores tulerit, quod non pro se, neque pro suis peccatis sit passus, sed pro nobis; quod illos morbos tulerit, illos dolores in se reciperit, quos nos oportuit pati. Atque hunc locum qui recte tenet, ille summam Christianismi tenet. Ex hoc enim loco Paulus tot epistolas, tot sententiarum et consolationum flumina hausit.”—“Christianus quasi in alio mundo collocatus neque peccata neque merita aliqua nosse debet. Quodsi peccata se habere sentit, adspiciat ea, non qualia sint in sua persona, sed qualia sint in illa persona, in quam a Deo sunt conjecta, hoc est videat, qualia sint non in se nec in conscientia sua, sed in Christo, in qao expiata et devicta sunt. Sic fiet, ut habeat purum ac mundum cor ab omni peccato per fidem, quae credit, peccata sua in Christo victa et prostrata esse.” LUTHER.
7. On 53:4. “We have many wrath and fire mirrors of the just God, how He thunders and lightens on account of sin; such as the flood, Gen. 7; Sodom and Gomorrah, Gen. 19; Pharaoh and all his, Exod. 14. But what are all those to this, that God so dreadfully racked and smote His only begotten Son, the highest and infinite good, that a stone in the ground might have lamented, and even the hard rocks did rend asunder on account of it at the time of His suffering?” CRAMER.
8. On 53:5. “O mirabile genus medicinae, ubi medicus aegrotat, ut aegrotis sanitatem efferat.”—“Medico occiso sanati sumus. Quis unquam audivit talia?”—“Tota vita Christi crux fuit et martyrium, et tu quaeris gaudium?”—Omni diligentia atque vigilantia caveamus, ne vulneret diabolus quod sanavit Christus.” AUGUSTIN. “Esther jucundissima consolatio: livores ipsius sunt nostrum emplastrum. Atqui nos meriti eramus livores et ipsi debebatur sanitas. Si quis ergo sanitatem optat, ille non suam castigationem et crucem consideret, sed tantum respiciat in Christum et credat, tum sanabitur, hoc est, habebit justitiam eternam.” LUTHER.
9. On 53:6. Sin isolates men, because its principle is egoism. Every one accordingly makes himself a centre, around which all must revolve. But by this we lose the true, all-controlling, right guiding centre, and are as stars that are become excentric, that must finally dash to pieces on one another.—“Redimit pretiose, pascit laute, ducit sollicite, collocat securi.” BERNHARD OF CLAIRVAUX.
10. On 53:6. God laid on Him the sin of us all. That is the great enigma of the Christian doctrine of atonement. It is the point that for so many is a stone of stumbling, since it appears as if God outwardly and arbitrarily transfers the guilt of men to One, who, Himself innocent, has no inward, real relation whatever to the guilt of another. And this is verily one of the mysteries of Christian doctrine. The Lord says: “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit,” John 12:24. And Paul says: “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death?” And in the same connection he says: “Knowing this that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed [justified: Marg.] from sin,” Rom. 6:3, 6, 7. It is true, Christ stood alone in death, and though he had the imputed sin, the organic connection of our sin with Him was wanting. But in the sequel He suddenly stands as the centre of a great complex of fruit. By baptism we are all baptized into Him, and in fact such as we are by nature, with our old Adam and all its sins. Yet now Paul says that our old man is crucified with Christ in baptism. Therefore he assumes that we men are in the sequel transposed into the communion of the death of Christ, and that our justification rests on the fact that we have actually died with Christ. Still it will be said that this itself is an enigma; that one can as little solve one riddle by another, as cast out one devil by another. But perhaps the new enigma still shows where we must direct our inquiring thoughts in order at last to find the solution.
11. On 53:8. “Innocent Lamb of God, yea, Thou shalt have seed; as long as the sun continues Thy name shall extend to posterity (Ps. 72:17). Out of anguish and out of the judgment hast Thou come, and who will declare to the end the extent of Thy life? ‘The lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the root of David has overcome, to open the book and to break its seven seals.’ Now they sing to Thee a new song, and Thine whom Thou hast bought with Thy blood say eternally: ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature (says the seer) which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.’ ” THOLUCK.
12. On 53:9. “Sepeliri se passus est Dominus 1) ut sabbatum redemtionis responderet sabbato creationis, quod illius typus fuit; 2) ut testaretur, se non οἰομένως sed ὅντως fuisse mortuum. Unde TERTULLIANUS recte: non sepultus esset, nisi mortuus; 3) ut sepulcra nostra consecraret in κοιμητήρια contactu corporis ipsius sanctissimi sanctificata (Jes. 27:19; 57:2); 4) ut praefiguraret quietam nostram spiritualem ab operibus carnis (Heb. 4:9, 10).” FOERSTER.
13. On 53:9. “Christ can boast both sorts of innocence, viz., causae and personae. For He suffers in the greatest innocence, and is above that innocent through and through in His whole person and nature, to the end that He might restore what He took not away (Ps. 69:4). For we ought to have such an high priest (Heb. 7:26).”—CRAMER.
14. On 53:10. “Hujus sacrificii expiatorii quatuor sunt privilegia: 1) Esther propitiatio pro totius mundi peccatis (1 Jno. 2:2); 2) in hoc idem est ὁ προσφέρων καὶ ὁ προσφερόμενος (Ephes. 5:2); 3) Esther unicum semelque tantum oblatum (Heb. 7:27); 4) hoc unico sacrificio Christus consummavit in eternam eos, qui sanctificantur (Heb. 10:14).—FOERSTER.
15. On 53:11. “Christ makes righteous not by communicating His essential righteousness, but by communicating His merit. For He bears their sins. The means, however, by which this righteousness comes to us is His knowledge that consists in true saving faith.” “Plus est credere Christo, quam deliquisse saeculo.”—AMBROSE. “Justificat multos agnitione sui.”—CRAMER.
16. On 53:11. (צַדִּיק). “PLATO Derep. L. II., 362, d. e., describes the righteous man, who, in purest and completest exercise of virtue, unconcerned about the opinion of the world and the outward effects of his conduct, on his own part only reaps infamy and shame, suffering and abuse of every sort for his righteousness, and yet, unswervingly pursuing his aim, most cruelly racked, and tormented, bound, robbed of eyesight by the rudest violence, remains ever true to himself, and at last suffers the most infamous and cruel death as the reward of his virtue, the death of the cross.” ED. MUELLER, l. c., p. 11. Comp. DOELLINGER, Heidenthum und Christenthum, 1857, p. 300.
17. On 53:12. “Let even the hardest stone strive against the Lord Christ, all must still become vain pottery that dash themselves against Him, as it is written: ‘Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder’ (Matth. 21:24). And as LUTHER says: ‘Therefore Christ says, also; Good people do not brush against me, let me be the rock, and do not get into conflict with me; for if not, then I say for certain, I am a stone, and will not be afraid of jugs because they have big bellies, and which, the more they are swelled out, are the easier shattered and the easier to hit.’ My good Saul, it will go hard for thee to kick against the goads, said the Lord Christ to Saul, and although he resisted, he had still to yield. For as it is written: even the strong shall he have for a prey.”—THOLUCK.
1. On 52:13–53:12. The suffering of our glorified Lord Jesus, how I., it is not recognized; II., yet is carried out; III., glorified”. GOTFRIED ARNOLD, Ev. Botschaft der Herrlichkeit Gottes, 4 Aufl., p. 338 sqq.
2. On 53:1–5. “Concerning the various reception of the word of the cross by men.” C. F. HARTTMAN, Passionspredigten, Heilbronn, 1872, p. 169.
3. On 53:1. “The mount Golgotha. 1) A scene for the display of unbelief and belief. The rulers of the people, the mass of the people, the one murderer give evidence of unbelief; the mother of Jesus and the other women, together with John, the Centurion, the thief were believing. But the greatest example of faith is given by the Son of God Himself, who is called a beginner and finisher of our faith. 2. A place where the arm of the LORD is revealed to us.”—HARTTMANN, l. c., p. 277.
4. On 53:1. Concerning the reasons for the bad reception men give the word of the cross. 1) One cannot fruitfully consider it, if one does not recognize his own ruin. 2) It shows us our profound inability to help ourselves. 3) There is involved in it the obligation to die with Christ. 4) It is treated in such a frivolous and common-place manner”.—HARTTMANN, l. c., p. 169. “The grand turning point in the race of Adam and the new Israel”. GAUPP, Prakt. Theol., 1. Vol., p. 509. “How the suffering and death of Christ are the greatest thing that has ever occurred in the history of the world. For 1) It is the greatest wonder; 2) it is a work of the last necessity; 3) it is a work of the highest love; 4) it is a work of the greatest blessing”. PFEIFFER, in Manch. Gaben u. ein G. III. Jahrg., p. 248.
5. On 53:4 sqq. “How can the suffering of death by an innocent One, bring salvation to the guilty? 1) If the righteous One freely sacrifice Himself for the guilty. 2) If His sacrifice is an adequate payment for the guilt of the other. 3) If the guilty uses the freedom from punishment that has been obtained to the salvation of his soul”. HERBIG, in Manch. Gaben u. ein G., 1868, p. 256.
6. On 53:4, 5. “Concerning the justifying and saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, that especially in a dying person must appear flourishing and strong. 1) How one must press on to it through conflict. 2) How it is afterwards full of power, life, peace, righteousness, salvation, blessedness.” RIEGER H. C. Superint. in Stuttgart, Funeral Sermons, 1870, p. 187.
7. On 53:3 sqq. “Christ assumed no temporal honor or reputation, but with words and works contradicted all that would have praised, honored, and celebrated Him. For He ever shunned the honor of this world, and gave not even the slightest cause for it (Jno. 6:15). Yea, in great humility He allowed the greatest contempt and blasphemy to be uttered against Him; for the Jews reproached Him with being a Samaritan, that had a devil and that did His miracles by the power of Satan (Jno. 8:48). Men treated His divine doctrine as blasphemy. He was pestered by murderous cunning, many lies and calumnies, finally betrayed, sold, denied, struck in the face, spit upon, crowned with thorns, scourged, wounded, condemned, forsaken by God and man, stripped naked as a malefactor, yea, hanged up as a curse (Gal. 3:13), while every one mocked at Him, laughed at His prayers, cast lots for His clothes, gave Him gall and vinegar to drink in His dying extremity (Jno. 19:29). Lastly, He died on the tree in the greatest infamy and contumely, His dead body was pierced and opened on the cross, and at last buried as a wicked person; yea, even after His innocent death. He was reproached with being a deceiver (Matth. 27:63). Men also contradicted His resurrection. And so in life and death and after death He was full of contumely.” JOH. ARNDT, Wahr. Christenth. Buch 2, kap. 14.
8. On 53:4–6. “This text is the only medicine, and true, sure and approved theriac against that hurtful soul-poison, despair.” “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities;” and afterwards “all we like sheep have gone astray, but the LORD laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Thou hearest that He speaks of sins and iniquity; and that thou mayest not think He speaks of some particular people, and not of thee and me, the Holy Spirit lets the words go out strong, and lets this resound: He was wounded for our transgression, He was bruised for our iniquity. Item: God laid all our sin on Him. That means even that no man is excepted.
Now that this is true, that Christ, the Son of God, laden with the sin of all men, was on that account wounded and bruised, wilt thou regard God as so ungracious or so hard, that He will let a debt be paid Him twice? Or shall Christ have suffered such distress and death in vain? In fine; God laid thy sins on Christ; it follows that they no more rest on thee. God wounded Him for thy sins; it follows that thou shalt not bear the punishment. God smote Him for thy sake; it follows that thou shalt go free.” VEIT DIETRICH.
9. On 53:8–10. Is it not really a contradiction to say, that the Servant shall live long because He is taken out of the land of the living? And also, that He will have seed, when He shall have given His life an offering for sin? One sees here that the Prophet has some presentiment of the higher nature of Him whom he presents to us here as the Servant of Jehovah. According to the New Testament view, one must be cut off from the so called land of the living, but which is in truth the land of those devoted to death, in order to reach the land of true, of eternal life. Thus it is hereby intimated, that Christ will die in order to rise up again to everlasting life. Yea, even more! It is also intimated (Isa 53:10), that precisely by the giving up of His life He will accomplish, as it were, an act of generation, the result of which will be an immeasurably numerous and immortal posterity. For by His death He gives us eternal life (comp. Jno. 12:24). The strange death of Christ: 1) By His death He laid down what was mortal in Him, and now appears wholly as the eternal living One; 2) by His death He gives life to them that were a prey to death.
10. On 53:10. “The death of Christ: 1) Who willed and decreed it? (God Himself: it pleased the LORD to bruise Him). 2) Why did God will it? (He must give His life an offering for sin). 3) What are His fruits? (He shall see seed and live long, etc.). After SPURGEON, The Gospel of the Prophet Isaiah.
11. On 53:11, 12. As the exaltation of Christ corresponds in general to His humiliation (comp. Phil. 2:5–11), so also it corresponds in particulars: 1) Because His soul was in tribulation, He will see His pleasures and be satisfied. 2) Because He bore the sins of many, so He, the righteous One will by His knowledge make many righteous. 3) Because He was made like the wicked, He shall have the great multitude for a prey and the strong for spoil.
Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.IV.—THE FOURTH DISCOURSE
The Restoration of the City Jerusalem
This chapter closely connects with 51. We see this even outwardly by “Awake, Awake,” Isa 52:1, which plainly refers back to the same words, 51:9. The Isa 52:51:17–23 we have already recognized as a transition to chap. 52 from the fact that in them the discourse of Jehovah exchanges with that of the Prophet, and that Jerusalem is addressed. But by Jerusalem, then, we must understand the population of Jerusalem, whereas chap. 52 deals entirely with the city as such, i, e., with the holy places (עִיר הַקֹּדֶשַׁ). At the same time in chap. 52 the Prophet alone speaks, or at least only as the publisher of the words of Jehovah. The chapter divides into two parts. In the first (Isa 52:1–6) the Prophet shows why the city of the sanctuary must be restored. The name, i.e., the honor of Jehovah demands it. In the second part (Isa 52:7–12) the holy place looks forward immediately to the entrance of its holy inhabitants, who come, under Jehovah’s guidance, from the unholy land. We observe the accomplishment of the restoration.
1. THE NAME OF JEHOVAH DEMANDS THE RESTORATION OF JERUSALEM
1 Awake! awake! put on thy strength, O Zion;
Put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city:
For henceforth there shall no more come into thee
The uncircumcised and the unclean.
2 Shake thyself from the dust;
Arise, 1and sit down, O Jerusalem:
Loose thyself from the bands of thy neck,
O captive daughter of Zion.
3 For thus saith the LORD,
Ye have 2sold yourselves for nought;
And ye shall be redeemed without money.
4 For thus saith the Lord God [Jehovah],
My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there;
And the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.
5 Now therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD,
3That my people is taken away for nought?
4They that rule over them make them to howl, saith the LORD;
And my name continually 5every day is blasphemed.
6 Therefore my people shall know my name:
Therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak:
6Behold it is I.
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL
See List for the recurrence of the words: Isa 52:2,—נָעַרָ פָּתַח Hithp—שְׁבִיָה, of like meaning with שִׁבְיָה ,שְׁכִית ,שְׁכִוּת ,שְׁבִי; Isa 52:3, 5, הִּנָּם.
Isa 52:2. שְׁבִי cannot be construed with קומי, so as to read: “sit upright” (GESEN.). For the Prophet certainly does not mean that Jerusalem shall sit up; it must stand up, i.e., raise itself up wholly. Nor can שׁבי (with KOPPE, HITZIG), be rendered “captive people;” for then there must be שִׁבְיָה between קומי and ירוּשָׁלַיִם. Rather שׁבי is imperative from יָשַׁב.—From this it appears that I do not take ירושׁלים in Isa 52:2, a, as subject, but as in apposition with the subject. The subject is שׁביה בת ציון. One might also regard ירושׁלִים as the object of שׁבי. But it seems to me better to suit the context and also Isaiah’s style of thought generally, to take Jerusalem as meaning the unity of city and inhabitants. Then, too, it results that the clause התכּתחו מוסרי צוארך is to be construed as a parenthesis, and that K’ri is the correct, original reading.
Isa 52:5. מִנָֹּאָץ is part. Hithpoel or Hithpoal, with assimilated ת.
Isa 52:6. In the second clause לָּכֵן is repeated (comp. the repetition of כְּעַל 59:18) but not יֵדַע, which must be supplied.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1. The first two verses contain the theme. In Isa 52:1 the holy city is summoned to awake to consciousness of new strength and new glory, for from henceforth it will be preserved from all desecration. In Isa 52:2 the captive people of Jerusalem is summoned to shake itself from the dust of the captivity, to cast away the chains and now again to dwell, as Jerusalem. On the promise follows an historical proof (Isa 52:3, 4). Jerusalem is like a worthless possession, given away to the enemy without gain or compensation; so it shall without gain for the enemy be redeemed (Isa 52:3). For what gain had the LORD when His people languished in Egyptian bondage, and when Assyria oppressed it (Isa 52:4)? And now, too, i.e., after the deportation of the nation by the Babylolonians, the LORD has in Jerusalem nothing but an empty place. The people are dragged away into exile; its oppressors howl in cruelty and haughtiness, while the name of the LORD is continually blasphemed as that of a powerless, conquered God (Isa 52:5). But as it is impossible for the name of the LORD to remain covered with this infamy, the LORD will again reveal His name to His people. They shall at the right time know who is their God, and what it means when He says: “here am I” (Isa 52:6).
2. Awake——daughter of Zion.
Isa 52:1, 2. This address to Zion begins with the same words that 51:9 begin the address to the arm of Jehovah. It is like an echo which that call has found in the heart of Jehovah. It seems to me incorrect to take עֹז (with DATHE, GESEN., HITZIG, etc.), in the sense of ornament, splendor, according to Ps. 96:6; 132:8. Why should Jerusalem become merely glorious again? Why not strong and glorious, after having been weak and covered with infamy? The figurative expression בגדי תכּארת occurs only here (comp. 61:10). That by Zion is to be understood the city, as also HITZIG, KNOBEL, DELITZSCH have recognized, appears plainly from עיר הקדשׁ. This expression (comp. on 48:2) intimates wherein the strength and glory of Jerusalem consists. As the earthly dwelling-place of Jehovah, Jerusalem stands high in power and honor above all other dwelling-places of men on earth. But hitherto the holy city was only too often exposed to desecration by the uncircumcised and the unclean (the heathen) coming into the city, not with the intent of paying humble homage, but with a hostile intent. As often as this happened, it was a proof that Jerusalem had so far lost its “strength” as not to be able to protect its תכּארת, “magnificence.” In the future that shall not happen again. The strength of Jerusalem shall ever be so great that it will be able to preserve its “magnificence”. The words כי לא יוסיף עוד are repeated, Nah. 2:1, in which verse the initial words of both clauses are taken from our text and Isa 52:7 (comp. on 51:19, 20). Into Jerusalem, now clothed with new power and honor, the banished people shall enter again. They had languished in slavery. They had lain in the dust (47:1). Jerusalem must rise up from the dust (33:9, 15), shaking it off, and stand up, and dwell again as Jerusalem (see Text. and Gram.). Neither the city without people, nor the people without city is the true Jerusalem. The chief thing is that Jerusalem will cease to be a desert, and become inhabited again by its people as it ought to be.
3. For thus saith——it is I.
Isa 52:3-6. The foregoing promise of a restored Jerusalem is now accounted for by explaining that the honor of Jehovah Himself demanded the restoration. For, says the LORD, ye were sold for nothing. חנם here can only mean that in surrendering the holy people, the holy land, and the holy city, the LORD received no corresponding indemnification. [Comp. Ps. 44:12.] For there was given to Him no other holy people, land, or city for them. Therefore He had, as it were, in respect to earthly possession, got only injury, yea, as Isa 52:5 even says, mockery and scorn to boot (comp. 48:9 sqq.). That cannot go on so. The infamy, that has in this way come on the name of the LORD, must be washed out by His making those nations, (who might mock after the fashion intimated Num. 4:15 sq.; Deut. 9:28; Ezek. 20:14), feel His power in such a way as simply to compel them to surrender the people of Israel. This is the meaning of and ye shall be redeemed without money. Isa 52:4, 5 give the historical proof that Israel was sold for nothing. The first time was in Egypt, while Israel dwelt there as a stranger. The Prophet merely intimates this. Regarding the Egyptian bondage one sees this from the fact that he designates the entire Egyptian episode by the words ירד עמי לגוֹר שׁם. By שׁםלגור (according to Gen. 12:10, where it is said of Abraham) he seems to allude merely to the original object of the going down to Egypt. But we see from עַמִּי that he means all that Israel experienced in Egypt. For those that went down were as yet no nation. But it was just the nation that must suffer all that, on account of which their stay in Egypt is called the first example of being sold. Also the expression and the Assyrian oppressed them is merely an intimation. Every sort of injury that Assyria did both to the kingdom of Israel, and to the kingdom of Judah is included in it. What did the LORD get by that first Egyptian exile? Nothing, but that, for the time being, the already chosen and consecrated land stood empty. The plan of the LORD to provide for Himself a place of revelation and worship, which He had already begun to realize through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, suffered by that a postponement of several hundred years. Assyria, too, ill-treated Israel בְּאֶכֶּם, i.e., “for nothing” (אֶכֶּם “defectus, not being,” comp. on 41:29, with the בְּpretii only here, yet comp. Job 7:6). For what equivalent in goods of like sort was given to the LORD in place of what He lost by Assyria? Third, the LORD looks on the condition He sees created by the Babylonian Exile. מה־לי־כּה, in my opinion, can be referred neither to heaven (HITZIG), nor to the lands of the Babylonian exile (ROSENMUELLER, STIER, EWALD, UMBREIT, DELITZSCH and, in another sense, KNOBEL). Was then Jehovah transported to Babylon along with the people? The context every way demands that we refer כּה to Jerusalem. For 1) the holy city (עיר הקרשׁ Isa 52:1), is the fundamental thought of the chapter. It treats of the reinhabiting of it, as its standing empty was opposed to Jehovah’s interests. To this standing empty there is plain enough allusion in “My people went down into Egypt” Isa 52:4; less plainly in “the Assyrian oppressed them.” But Assyria had only wished to empty the holy city, and only partly emptied the holy land. 2) It “is quite plain that in for my people is taken away the LORD has before His eyes the desolation of the holy land and city. If the people are taken away, then the land and city are empty. In that case what does the LORD find there? Shall the beasts and the land do Him honor? Is it not His will to reveal Himself to men, and to be known and honored by them? No; more extendedly than He does in regard to Egypt and Assyria, the LORD shows that Babylon has emptied His land and city חִנָּם, i.e., without a corresponding equivalent of like sort. And, indeed, they do this with wicked haughtiness. They are rough, savage drivers, that with wild howls use their power over Israel. With most commentators, I refer those that rule over them to the Chaldeans (14:5; 49:7). The Israelitish princes would hardly be called משׁלים, seeing they had nothing more to command. They were at most שָׂרִים. The meaning “singers” is not adequately supported by Num. 21:27, and moreover does not suit the context. הֵילִיל, rendered by the LXX. sometimes ἀλαλἁζειν, sometimes ὀλολύζειν, occurs only thirty times in the Old Testament (nine of these in Isaiah see List), and means chiefly the howl of woe. But I can’t see why it may not signify other sorts of howling, as howl of rage, howl of vengeance, howl of victory, just as well as our German heulen and the Latin ululare, with which, moreover, it is radically related. It is certainly no flattering expression. The overweening conquerors, that do not spare the people, spare their God as little. They praise their idols as being more powerful (10:10 sq.). Hence the LORD must complain that His name is blasphemed the whole day (comp. 51:13; 28:24; 62:6; 65:2, 5).
The conclusion is drawn in Isa 52:6: because Jerusalem’s desolation is of no profit to the LORD, but rather an injury to His honor, the LORD will reveal His name, i.e., His being (30:27). Israel shall know what his name is, i.e., what it means, or what sort of a name it is. Whether one think of אל or אלהים or יהים, in each of these names, and still more in all together, there lies the meaning of the absolute, eternal, powerful being. In that day points to the time in which the LORD has concluded the restoration of Jerusalem. When this time is fulfilled, one will appear and say: here am I. Then Israel shall know that this is its God, Jehovah. For He will speak His here am I so powerfully, so precluding all opposition, that all will recognize the LORD and Master of the world. Thus the Prophet has proved that the restoration of Jerusalem must necessarily follow.
2. THE RESTRORATION ACCOMPLISHED
7 How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace;
That bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation;
That saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
8 7Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice;
With the voice together shall they sing:
8For they shall see eye to eye,
When the LORD shall bring again Zion.
9 Break forth into joy, sing together,
Ye waste places of Jerusalem:
For the LORD hath comforted his people,
He hath redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The LORD hath made bare his holy arm
In the eyes of all the nations;
And all the ends of the earth
Shall see the salvation of our God.
11 Depart ye ! Depart ye! go ye out from thence,
Touch no unclean thing;
Go ye out of the midst of her;
9Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.
12 For ye shall not go out with haste,
Nor go by flight:
For the LORD will go before you;
And the God of Israel will 10be your rereward.
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL
See List for the recurrence of the words: Isa 52:7, נָאָה—בִּשַׂר. particip.; Isa 52:11, בָּרַר, imper. Niph.; Isa 52:12, מְנוּסָה.
Isa 52:7, נָאוָח is Pilel from נָאָה, for according to the law underlying the formation of these verbs, נָאָה stands for נָאַו. and נָאוָה for נַאְֽוַוַ; [see GREEN § 174, 1]
Isa 52:11. הברו is imper. Niph. from ברר.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1. In an exalted poetic personification the Prophet describes the actual accomplishment of the restoration of Jerusalem. He sees Jerusalem in ruins and uninhabited, yet the ruins are watched by spirit-spies that wait for the resurrection of the city. And look! A messenger comes with the glad news: Jehovah is King (Isa 52:7). And then the spies rejoicing see eye in eye the LORD returning to Zion (Isa 52:8). Then the ruins of Jerusalem are summoned to rejoice that the LORD has redeemed His people and His city (Isa 52:9), and has shown the strength of His arm and His salvation to all nations (Isa 52:10). Now also there issues at length to the people of Jerusalem the summons to return home from the lands of exile. But, since Jerusalem is now cleansed and sanctified anew, they must touch nothing unclean, and must be cleansed themselves and bear the vessels of Jehovah (Isa 52:11). For this cleansing they will have time. For they will not go out in haste as in the flight from Egypt, since Jehovah Himself will both lead their expedition and protect their rear against attack (Isa 52:12). It is seen that here, too, the Prophet distinguishes between the city and the inhabitants, and sees in the reunion of both the salvation of the future.
2. How beautiful——of our God.
Isa 52:7-10. The words: “upon the mountains … publisheth peace” occur again Nah. 2:1 (1:15), where also, in the second half of the verse, are found the words “for—shall no more pass through thee,” which are a modification of the language of 52:1. If we were correct in pronouncing the passage 51:19 to be the original in comparison with Nah. 3:7, it follows that there is a like relationship in the present instance. But apart from that, Nahum in the present instance appears as a dilution of our text. How flat is his הִנֵּה instead of the very poetical מַה־נָּאווּ! LOWTH remarks that, “the imitation does not equal the beauty of the original.” And does not this הנה have the appearance of an attempt to avoid the difficulty of the proper signification of מה־נאוו? Moreover לא יוסיף לעבר is manifestly a smoother mode of expression, more accordant with common usage, than the harsher and less frequent לֹא יֹוסִיף יָבֹא (52:1). And it may be further noted, that עֲבֹר, which Nahum uses for בֹא, occurs shortly before in Isaiah (51:23), so that Nah. 2:1b (1:15b) appears to be combined from the elements of Isa. 51:23 and 52:1.
How beautiful (lovely) are the feet. The expression refers neither to the sound nor to the sight of the feet (“that bound like gazelles over the mountains” DELITZSCH); but is a poetical metonymy. The feet stand for what they do. The feet walk, come. The coming, the advent of the messenger of good tidings is lovely (so LOWTH). The coming over the mountains is also poetic embellishment (comp. on 13:4). It is not probable that מְבַשֵׂר is to be taken collectively, Why not use the plural directly? And why suppose a plurality of messengers”? It would be neither more poetical, nor historically more likely. , The contents of the glad tidings is presented in a sacred triad. One might say that “peace” is most general (comp. 9:5, 6 and the greeting שָׁלוֹם לָכֶמ), “good” refers more to corporeal goods (comp. 1 Kings 10:7; Job 22:18; Ps. 104:28), salvation more to spiritual salvation (σωτηρία, hence the name of the Redeemer Ἰησοῦς). But all are comprehended in the words thy God reigneth. The antithesis to this is the dominion of the world-power. “The kingdom of God” denotes the sole dominion of Jehovah on earth, that implies the discontinuance of the dominion of all that is world-power. The return from the Exile represents only the feeble beginning of the restoration of God’s reign. When John the Baptist and Jesus Himself proclaimed that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matth. 3:2; 4:17), the latter was about to lay the immediate foundation of it. But the whole period of the Church is as a pause, during which, along with many outward retrogressions, there is only a quiet, inward extension and deepening, and a weak, partial outward progress (comp. Rom. 10:15 [where Paul quotes our Text. TR.]). The completion will only take place when the Lord will come again visibly to realize His inward and outward sole dominion on earth (Rev. 12:10; 19:6). All these periods of time are comprehended in the gaze of the Prophet.
The cry of the messenger of good news comes from without. It is heard in Jerusalem by the צֹכִּים [“watchers”]. As Jerusalem still lies waste, these must be invisible, spirit-watchers, as it were the genii of the place. I do not comprehend how any one can think that the prophets are meant here. Were there then prophets in Jerusalem while it lay waste? And yet the message came to Jerusalem and not to the exiles. [The Author’s own conception must be regarded as inferior to any other that has been entertained. It is objectionable even as introducing heathenish imagery which is wholly foreign to Bible poetry. If these watchers are “genii of the locality as it were,” then, as in effect is said below, the messenger of good news is a similar genius? But the persons of the scene are all personifications, and Jerusalem itself is treated dramatically. It is represented as looking for the good things to come. Watchers are on the look-out, and the expected messenger appears. The language paints the emotions of such a crisis. The Jerusalem of this picture is not a solitude, as the Author says, but is expressly peopled. It is Jerusalem ideally conceived to suit the spiritual realities of this prophecy. To identify the messengers or watchers as prophets or the like is “an unnecessary restriction and objectionable, as it mars the unity and beauty of the scene presented, which is simply that of a messenger of good news drawing near to a walled town, whose watchmen take up and repeat his tidings to the people within” (J. A. ALEX.).—TR.] קול צפיךis an exclamation as 13:4; 40:3, 6; 56:6. Like a joyful echo the rejoicing of the spies11 responds to the shout of the messenger. But they rejoice not merely at the message, but more that they may behold the instant fulfilment of it. For “eye in eye” (עין בעיןNum. 14:14) they see Jehovah’s return to Jerusalem. That שׁוּב may not be translated here “to lead back” [ENG. V. “bring again” ] appears from the fact that the bringing back of the people is not yet spoken of, but only the return of Jehovah to Jerusalem, which He had forsaken as a desolate and desecrated place (comp. מה־לי כּה Isa 52:5). The spies see the LORD., take possession again of the place of His sanctuary. No man sees that. As the מבשׁר and the צכּים are spirits, therefore, that return is one invisible to human eyes, but quite within the cognizance of the eyes of spirits (hence עיך בעין) It is accomplished in transcendent, spirit-corporeal reality. The desolate ruins of Jerusalem, however, are summoned to burst forth into joy because Jehovah has compassionated His people (51:3), has redeemed Jerusalem. The Prophet sees in that transcendental occupation of Jerusalem the guaranty and principle of the redemption. The perfects נחם and are perfecta prophetica. And parallel with these perfects stands also חשׂף Isa 52:10. For by the redemption of Jerusalem the spiritual eye sees unveiled also to the nations what hitherto was manifest only to the former. The Lord hath made bare His holy arm means, that that redemption shall be made manifest to the nations as Jehovah’s act. I do not think, therefore, that the expression here is to be compared to that baring of the arm that the warrior does in order to fight with more freedom. But the sense is as in 53:1; Exod. 8:15 (19); Luke 11:20. Jehovah reveals Himself to the nations as the originator of the events by which the redemption of Israel is accomplished, that all the ends of the earth (45:22) may see with eyes the salvation that the LORD has prepared for His people.
3. Depart ye——your rereward.
Isa 52:11, 12. Now that the LORD has again seized possession of His anciently chosen holy place, the people of Israel also is summoned to return thither from the lands of exile. They must get away (סורו comp. 30:11; Lam. 4:15) and go out. But as they are to come to “the holy city,” into which nothing unholy must come (comp. Isa 52:1), they must not make themselves unclean by contact with what is unclean. Yea, as the holy vessels, (which the Prophet implies have been taken away as spoil,) are to be brought back along with them (comp. Ezr. 1:7 sqq.), they must undergo the legal requirements of purification. The Prophet has certainly in mind here the Levites and the purification prescribed for them (Num. 8:6 sqq.) since, during the journey through the desert, the service of bearing devolved especially on them (Num. 4:47, comp. Isa 52:24 sqq., Isa 52:49). Our passage recalls 35:8, where the way on which the redeemed return is called a holy way, that nothing unclean shall go on, Abundance of time and opportunity will be given to prepare for the holy expedition by suitable purification. For this departure shall differ from the departure out of Egypt in not being in haste and like a flight. The latter was like a flight, because those long detained by Pharaoh were obliged to avail themselves of the moment he was willing to let them go. For he might suddenly change his mind, even though at that time men were urging their departure (Exod. 12:33, 39). But from the second exile Israel should go forth as lord and conqueror (comp. 46:1, 2; 47:1 sqq.). חפָּזוֹן “haste,” which Isaiah uses nowhere else, is manifestly an allusion to Exod. 12:11, where it is said of eating the Passover: “and ye shall eat it בְחכָּזוֹן,” and Deut. 16:3, where in reference to the unleavened bread it is said: “for in haste (בחפזון) thou earnest forth from the land of Egypt.” As חפזון only occurs in our text and the two passages in Deut., so, too, מְנוּסָה occurs again only Lev. 26:36, where of wicked and exiled Israel it is said, that, in the land of its enemies, it shall become cowardly and inclined to groundless מְנֻסַת־חֶרֶב. Thus in the choice of the word מִתּוֹכָהּ, there appears to be an allusion intended. Israel went out from Egypt also under the protection and guidance of its God. But it was in haste and as if fleeing. If then it is promised here that the departure from Babylon (the suffix מִתּוֹכָהּ refers to Babylon) shall not be so, (and that because the LORD will go before the expedition and close it up (מְאַָסֵּףagmen claudens, alluding to Josh. 6:9, 13; Num. 10:25), we must suppose that the Prophet implies an activity of God in guiding and protecting in reference to their enemies, such as is described in the passages cited above: 46:1, 2; 47:1 sqq.; comp. 45:1, 2; 48:14, 20.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. On 52:1–6. “This comforting assurance applies especially also to the spiritual Zion, the Church of Christ. It should ever arouse itself to be courageous and joyous in the midst of outward distress and weakness. The true Church is the holy city of God in which are found nothing but righteous and holy ones, gloriously adorned with the robe of Christ’s righteousness and with garments of salvation (61:10), strong in the LORD., and in the power of His might, (Eph. 6:10), able to do all things through Christ who strengtheneth them, (Phil. 4:13), whose strength is mighty even in the weak (2 Cor. 12:9), whereby they are strengthened with all might according to His glorious power unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness (Col. 1:11), free from the bands of their neck—from sins as the snares of the devil by whom they were taken captive at his will (2 Tim. 2:26). (For because they were sold for nothing under sin, i.e. to the pure loss of their Creator and LORD—they shall also be redeemed for nothing, i.e., without their robber and oppressor receiving any indemnity). So the church becomes a congregation that has neither spot nor wrinkle nor any such thing, but is holy and unblameable (Eph. 5:27). In the visible church (of the called) there are indeed many unclean, unholy hypocrites, like chaff amid the corn (Matth. 3:12), like bad fish in a net (Matth. 13:48), these will in due time be separated from the believers and elect and be cast into everlasting fire. Whereas the others shall be led into everlasting life, into the kingdom of everlasting glory (Matth. 25:46). Let us therefore gratefully acknowledge and lay hold on the precious grace of Christ that we may be found among the number of the elect.”—RENNER.
2. On 52:1–6. “If God has promised us redemption from the wicked world, as He has doubtless done, so ought we to flee out of it every day with all our thinking and imagining and doing. Israel had the command never to settle firmly forever in Babylon, but to await in faith their departure and to be ready for it. To this end Zion should put on her divine strength, her spiritual adornment, i.e. the faith unto righteousness, that she may become as a new, purified congregation free for herself. That came to pass first in the New Testament when God’s people were founded not any more on things earthly, but only upon the gracious word of God which each one can receive in faith. Faith is the greatest power on earth, for it partakes of the omnipotence of God, Therefore God’s people, when they strengthen themselves in faith, will break their bondage, and the world (which has indeed never paid God for the dominion with which it has long plagued us, but was only used for a season against us as a rod of anger) must, against its will, let the church go free. Israel was indeed a guest in Egypt, and later Assyria ill-used it. But now it is still worse; the world is ever more enraged against us. God will not always let it go on so; but because the heathen, in their conceit, boast and triumph over Israel, as if by their own might they had them and even their God in their power, God will reveal Himself to His people with glorious help.” DIEDRICH.
3. On 52:7. “Esther cottatio legis et evangelii et commendatio Christi loquentis per apostolos suos. Qui docent legem, sunt tristes bubones et terrent ululatu suo sed nuntii evangelii habent amabiles pedes, afferunt enim laetissimum verbum pro conscientiis turbatis.” LUTHER.
4. On 52:7. Such poor wretched people, who know nothing of God, are not aware of their own misery and everlasting need, who are over head and ears in sin, and know not how to help the least of them,—I say, what better, greater, more joyful, can happen to such people than such a messenger, who, in the first place, announces peace, i.e. who brings the certain tidings that God would be at peace with us, and neither condemn nor be angry with us on account of our sins. On the other hand, who preaches good tidings of good, i.e. he gives the comfort that God will not only not punish according to out desert, but will give and vouchsafe to us His Spirit, His righteousness and all grace. In the third place, who proclaims salvation, i.e. who promise? and comforts us with the assurance that we shall be helped against the devil and death forever. And to comprehend all in one morsel, who can say in truth to Zion, i.e., to believers, thy God is king, i.e. God Himself will receive thee, He will Himself be thy Lord and King; He Himself will teach and instruct thee with His mouth, He Himself will protect thee, and neither office will He any longer devolve on men, but will execute Himself.” VEIT DEITRICH.
5. On 52:8. “Preachers ought to be watchers (Ezek. 3:17). Therefore they ought neither to be silent about sins and a scandalous life, nor about spreading doctrine that is false. If they are so, they are dumb dogs (56:9).” CRAMER.
6. On 52:9, 10. “When the conversion of the Jews takes place, it will not happen in a corner, but be so glorious and conspicuous that every one must confess: the LORD has done that.” STARKE.
7. On 52:11, 12. “Dost thou like to keep company with the wicked, and wouldst yet be a Christian? That cannot be; for what communion has light with darkness (2 Cor. 6:14)? Christians are holy people. How would it ever do to make one’s self unclean with sinners? Therefore sigh in all earnestness: ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God,’ etc. (Ps. 51:12).—The Church of Christ and every true believer has in Christ a faithful guide and leader, a mighty protector in distress. If they journey at His command and in their calling, He goes before them.” STARKE.
8. On 52:11. This passage is cited by the Roman Catholics as authority for the celibacy of the priests. The Apology of the Conf. August. remonstrates against this application of the passage in Art. 11. De conjugio sacerdotum, p. 248, ed HASE; comp. pp. 241, 27; 244, 41.
On 52:12. “Esther insignis exhortatio, ut simplici fide in solum Christum, ducem nostrum, respiciamus, qui nos colliget, ut maneamus in verbo et simus tuti ab omnibus peccatis. Sic legimus de quadam Sancta Moniali. Ea cum tentaretur ob admissa peccata, nihil aliud respondit, quam se Christianam esse. Sensit enim, se nec suis malis operibus damnari, quod haberet Christum, nee bonis operibus salvari posse, sed Christum pro se traditam victimam satisfecisse pro peccatis suis.” LUTHER.
1. On 52:1–6. Comfort and admonition to the church in time of distress. 1) Wherein the present distress consists (Isa 52:4, 5: how the world-power has ever been hostile to the kingdom of God); 2) What the church in this distress must correct in itself (Isa 52:2: it must make itself inwardly free from worldliness); 3) What the church has to hope in this distress: a. that the LORD will defend His own honor (Isa 52:6); b. that He will not suffer His enemies to have the advantage (Isa 52:3: He can for a while let them appear to have it by seeming to surrender His church to their enemies; but He will, at the right moment, take it away from them again); c. that in consequence of this the church will again become strong and glorious (Isa 52:1).
2. On 52:7–10. “The lovely harmony brought about in the church by the glad tidings of Christ; 1) In the messengers who start it; 2) In the doctrines that continue its sound; 3) In the hearts that re-echo it.” LAUXMANN, in “Zeugnissen ev. Glaubens von V. F. OEHLER, Stuttgart, 1869.”
3. On 52:11, 12. The church of the LORD may come to a situation that will compel it to go out of its previous relations. In that case it is important to observe three things: 1) Not to defile itself by participating in the nature and practices of the world; 2) Not to act with imprudent haste or cowardly fear; 3) To confide in the guidance and protection of the LORD.
dwell as Jerusalem.
been sold for.
Their rulers howl.
Here am I.
Hark, thy watchmen t They raise the voice! Together they rejoice.
For eye m eye they see, as Jehovah returns to Zion.
Heb. gather you up.
[The Author uses the word Späher. Its common meaning is “spies” or “scouts.” It is therefore so rendered in the text, and also because he interprets the scene as a solitude, and the צכים as look-outs watching for the resurrection of the city (see ab. p. 565). They are therefore no watchmen in any ordinary sense: not even guardian genii, but only “as it were” ghostly videttes. One must wonder why the service would require many, i.e., enough to get up a scene of popular rejoicing such as the passage depicts. The entire conception is so extraordinary that the temptation has been strong to translate Späher “watchers,” and thus gloss over what seems to be the Author’s peculiar idea. He amplifies It below.—TR.]
Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.V.—THE FIFTH DISCOURSE
Golgotha and Sheblimini [sit at my right hand.—TR.]
The transition from 52:12 to 52:13 is abrupt only in outward appearance. The attentive reader will see that inwardly there has been due preparation for it. For it was said already, 49:3, 4, that the Servant of the LORD, by whom the LORD will glorify Himself, will be surprised by this success as the unexpected reward of His afflictions. It is said, moreover, 49:5, 6, 8 sqq., that the restoration of Jerusalem will be accomplished by the Servant of the LORD. Also, 50:1, it is said, that Israel’s sin was the ground of its repudiation. In the same chapter, ver.4 sqq., is described the readiness of the Servant of the LORD to endure the sufferings laid on Him. Our present section (52:13–53:12; the erroneous division of chapters arose from supposing that 52:13–15 continues, as the foregoing context, to speak of the people of Israel) shows us how these two particulars are inwardly connected: the sufferings that the Servant of Jehovah must bear, and which make Him appear as a refuse of mankind (49:7) are nothing else than the atoning sufferings that He representatively takes on Himself, but from which He will issue as the high, glorious and mighty Ruler (comp. 49:7 with 52:13, 15; 53:12).
Chapters 49–57 are like a wreath of glorious flowers intertwined with black ribbon, or like a song of triumph, through whose muffled tone there courses the melody of a dirge, yet so that gradually the mournful chords merge into the melody of the song of triumph. And at the same time the discourse of the Prophet is arranged with so much art that the mourning ribbon ties into a great bow exactly in the middle. For chap. 53 forms the middle of the entire prophetic cycle of chaps. 40–66. It has four chapters of the second Ennead, and thirteen chapters of the second and first Enneads before it, and four chapters of the second Ennead and thirteen chapters of the second and third Enneads after it.
Who is the Servant of God, that forms the chief object of our prophecy? That we are not to think of Uzziah, Hezekiah, Josiah, Jeremiah (SAADIA, GROTIUS, BUNSEN, K. A. MENZEL, Stoats u. Relig. Gesch. der Kœnigr. Israel u. Juda., Breslau, 1853, p. 298 sq.), or even of Isaiah himself, hardly requires proof at the present day (comp. GESENIUS Komm. p. 170 sqq.). Or need we pause to refute the view, that the whole Jewish people is the Servant of God, that therefore the speakers 53:2 sqq. are the heathen who recognize that Israel has borne their (the heathen) sins? This is the view that the Rabbins put forward since they have begun to carry on polemics with Christians. But even Christian expositors have joined them, among whom HITZIG is to be named foremost. But it has often been shown, that Israel did not suffer as an innocent for the guilty heathen, but that it suffered for its own guilt; and that it has not borne its sufferings meekly, but with sullen anger, and, as far as possible, with obstinate resistance. Comp. especially MCCAUL, The doctrine and exposition of the 53 of Isaiah.—V. FR. OEHLER, Der knecht Jehovah’s im Deuterojesaja II., p. 66 sqq.—WUENSCHE, Die Leiden, des Messias, Leipzig, 1870, p. 35 sqq. Many Rabbins, indeed, as DAVID KIMCHI and ISAAK TROKI, have modified this view, saying, that not Israel thinks thus of itself, but the heathen will so say, “when they see that the faith of Israel is the truth, and on the contrary their faith is error” (WUENSCHE, l. c., p. 36). On the other hand, MCCAUL has called attention to the fact that 53:11, 12, Jehovah Himself describes the suffering of His Servant as expiatory.—Others understand that by the Servant of Jehovah is meant the ideal Israel, i.e., the higher unity of the nation. This higher unity suffered, not because it consisted of nothing but guilty ones, but, on the contrary, in spite of its consisting only partially of such. It suffered therefore, because not all had sinned and yet all must suffer, in a certain sense innocently, and is so far a prophecy (not prediction) relating to Christ. SO VATKE (Religion des Alten Test., 1835). But to this it is to be objected, that this view amounts to a distinction between the better and worse part of the nation to which the text makes no reference whatever. For it manifestly does not contrast one part of the nation with another part, but the entire nation with the one Servant of God. The Prophet does not distinguish guilty and innocent in the nation. He sees in the nation only guilty ones. This he utters plainly, ver.6: “all we like lost sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”—Others understand “the true worshippers of Jehovah” to be meant by the Servant of God. This is the view that KNOBEL represents. According to this the Prophet in 53:2–6 speaks in the first person plural, “because he puts himself among the people, and would be a voice out of the midst of the totality.” His view of the sufferings of the Servant was only partially that of the nation, for the rest (viz., in respect to the cause of their sufferings) this ought to have been their view. That is, the sufferings of the Exile, which were regarded as punishments for the sins of the nation, concerned (according to KNOBEL) especially the true worshippers of Jehovah, who obstinately clung to their nationality, and were very zealous for Jehovah and opposed to idols. They were especially the עֲנִיִּים. The mass of the people, on the other hand, that did not cling strictly to the ancestral religion, stood in good terms with the heathen, and, on the whole, found themselves in tolerable relations. This explanation is so unnatural and inwardly conflicting that it refutes itself. It would have the suffering Servant of Jehovah represent the true worshippers of Jehovah, and those, that in Isa 52:2–6 speak of the Servant in the first person plural, to be the apostate Israelites, constituting the great mass of the nation. Then the worshippers of Jehovah and those apostates are opponents. Yet verily the apostates can not speak of the worshippers of Jehovah with great reverence and deep sympathy. In their mouth the name “Servant of Jehovah” could only be used in mockery. They could only be supposed to say: It is well that such fools are among us: then the hatred of the heathen will discharge itself on them without hurting us. But that serves them right. Why do they not do as we? Why do they not howl along with the wolves? They might fare as well as we, were they only prudent. In some such way must the apostates speak of the worshippers of Jehovah, if their real sentiments were to appear. But the words sound quite otherwise, that, according to KNOBEL, come out of the midst of the nation. They are words of the highest reverence. KNOBEL feels this himself, and hence he makes the Prophet speak these words, expressing thereby, not what the mass of the people actually thought, but what they ought to have thought! How unnatural! The Prophet of Jehovah, who can only be thought of as a worshipper of Jehovah, speaks as the representative, not of such worshippers, but of the great apostate mass of the nation. He expresses, however, not, indeed, the sentiments that these actually harbored, but such as they ought to harbor! What comedy is this? Verily, if such a distinction between apostates and worshippers of Jehovah be allowed, the Prophet could only meet the former with rebuke. He could only hold up to them their apostacy and admonish them to bear the infamy of Jehovah with the true Israelites, rather than to roll it off, in craven treachery, on their fellow-countrymen.——According to another view the Servant of Jehovah represents the prophetic class or the prophetic institution. Thus in various modifications especially GESENIUS and UMBREIT; whereas HOFMANN understands that by the Servant of God is meant Christ indeed, but only as a prophet. What is said of the sufferings of the Servant does, indeed, in a general way, apply well enough to the prophetic calling; for the prophets were often enough obliged to suffer distress, judgment, contempt, death for the sake of that calling. Yet one thing remains, that under no circumstances can be said of a prophet, viz., that God the Lord cast on Him the guilt of the people, that He bore the sin of the people, that by His wounds the people were healed and made well. If, indeed, one is determined to find in our passage only the idea of suffering in a calling and not suffering as a representative, I must say that this is only possible by means of an artful exegesis, and refer to the following exposition for the proof of this opinion. Comp. moreover the Doctrinal and Ethical thoughts.
I hold the Messianic interpretation to be the only one that is natural and founded on the sound of the words. When KNOBEL affirms that the Old Testament knows nothing of a suffering Messiah, and that Deutero-Isaiah knows nothing of a Messiah at all, it just depends on the way one expounds the passages in question. If one does this in the way exhibited in the above sample of KNOBEL’S style of exegesis, then one can interpret away from every passage whatever he dislikes, and interpret whatever he likes into it. Whoever sees that Christ is the Lamb of God that bears away the sin of the world according to the eternal counsel of God already revealed in the Old covenant, must recognize the connection between this fact and Old Testament prophecy; he must especially recognize in Isa. 53 the outline of that plan of salvation.
As, speaking generally, all types of the old covenant combine in the one image of the מָשִׁיחַ, so also, in a narrower sphere, the various typical forms of the Servant of Jehovah, given partly in the nation of Israel generally (41: 8 sqq.), partly in the pious core of the nation (14:1–5), partly in the prophets (44:26), finally unite in the one figure of the personal Servant of Jehovah. As the species of primitive rock form both the deepest foundation and the highest summit of the earth’s body, so is Christ at once the original and fulfilment of all prophecy. He is in particular both the inmost core and the crowning summit of all typical forms of the Servant of Jehovah. It is to be observed, however, that the Servant of Jehovah is not a type-form co-ordinate with the types of the prophet, priest, and king. But He represents alone the character of the lowly, unsightly, pitiable “Servant-form” or the “sorrowful form” as far as that is common to all those type-forms. For that the Old Testament knows also a king “of the sorrowful form” is evident from Zech. 9:9. Hence it is, of course, not correct to say, that in Isa. 53 is drawn the form of the messianic Priest, King, or Prophet. For Isa. 53 treats only of the Servant of Jehovah, and only of the Priest, King, or Prophet, so far as even in these also the poor, lowly Servant appears. Hence, too, one may not say that all the persons of the old covenant “that have ever been designated (as servants and instruments of God) by the name Servant of Jehovah, are servants of God in the Isaianic sense. This specific Servant of Jehovah, that we find in Isa. 40–53 as type of the poverty and lowliness of the Messiah, does not appear at all in the older writing. When Moses (Exod. 14:31; Josh. 1:1, 2, 13; Ps. 105:26; 2 Ki. 18:12, etc.), Jacob (Gen. 32:10), the Patriarchs (Exod. 32:13; Deut. 9:27) are designated by this name, it is as the servants of Jehovah, without giving prominence to the form of the servant. What servant-form would one find in the angels, who are also called the servants of God in Job 4:18? It is, indeed, possible that the idea of a servant-form veiling the inward glory gradually developed from observing the contrasts in the life of a David (comp. Ps. 18:1; 89:4, 21; 132:10; 144:10; 2 Sam. 7: 5, 8, 18, 20 sq., etc.), of a Job (1:8; 2:3; 42:7, 8) of the prophets (2 Ki. 9:7, 36; 10:10; 14:25; 17:23, etc.), yea, of the pious in general (Ps. 19:12, 14; 31:17; 35:27, etc.). But we first find this idea crystallized into a fixed form in the second part of Isaiah. Later writers may have taken the expression from Isaiah, and applied it in his sense, especially to the people of Israel (comp. Jer. 30:10; 46:27, 28; Ps. 136:22). But one must be on his guard about taking every use of the word by later writers in the Isaianic sense. Thus Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 25:9) is called servant of Jehovah, but certainly not in Isaiah’s sense. Before and in Isaiah, עֶבֶד is never found conjoined with any other name of God than יהוה. It is remarkable, that Moses, in later writings, beside being called עבד יהוה (2 Chr. 1:3; 24:9), is also called עבד האלהים (1 Chr.6:34; 2 Chr. 24:9; Neh.10:30; Dan.9:11).
Our prophecy subdivides into three parts. The first (52:13–15) contains the theme of the prophecy; the second (53:1–7 treats of the lowliness of the Servant; the third (53:8–12) treats of his exaltation.
1. THE THEME OF THE PROPHECY
13 Behold, my servant shall 12deal prudently,
He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
14 As many were 13astonied at thee;
His visage was so marred more than any man,
And his form more than the sons of men:
15 So shall he 14sprinkle many nations;
The kings shall shut their mouths at him:
15 For that which had not been told them shall they see;
And that which they had not heard shall they consider.
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL
Ver.13. נָבָה–שָׂכַל see List. The three-degree climax ירום ונשׂא ונדה must neither be pressed, nor regarded as without significance. It is a rhetorical expedient for expressing the superlative (comp. ὑπερύψωσε Phil. 2:9; Acts 2:33; 5:31; Eph. 1:20 sqq.).——That רוּם may mean “to raise one’s-self” maybe seen 30:18.——The conjunction of רום ונשׂא and in that order is Isaianic: 2:12, 13,14; 10:33.
Ver.14. כַּֽאֲשֶׁר–כֵּן is used here as in Exod. 1:12 (GESEN.). Therefore, with most expositors, I hold the clause כֵּן־מִשְׁחַת–אָדָם to be a parenthesis, that explains why many are astonished at the Servant. In regard to the change of person, there is notoriously great freedom in Hebrew, and also in Isaiah: 1:29; 2:6; 14:30; 33:2,6; 41:1; 42:20; 14:8, 21). HAEVERNICK, (Theol. d. A. T., p. 248), HAHN and V. F. OEHLER regard the two clauses with כֵּן as the two degrees of the apodosis. HAEVERNICK urges that כן does not mean adeo, and in that he is of course correct. It is only the comparative ita, not the intensive tam or adeo. But he is wrong in urging the rarity of the parenthesis in Hebrew, and asserting that כן can only introduce the apodosis. HAHN, who pronounces the change of persons carelessness, which one has not the least right to assume (he does not reflect, however, on the frequency of this usage!) is of the opinion, that as Isa 52:11,12 speak of Israel, and Isa 52:13 of the Servant, so, too, Isa 52:14 speaks first of Israel, and then of the Servant. But that is quite a superficial construction. For there is a chasm between Isa 52:12 and 13. With ver.13 there begins a new, specifically different section, and it is on the contrary quite unnatural and against the context to refer עליך again to the nation. V. FR. OEHLER apparently avoids this unnaturalness by referring also ver.13 to the nation, and letting the transition to the servant begin with כן משׁחת. But this construction also does violence to the text.——מִשְׁחַת from שָׁחַת, Kal unused, Piel “corrupit, pessum dedit,” is any way ἅπ. λεγ. Analogous formations מָשְׁחָת “corruptio, corruptum,” Lev. 22:25 and מַשְׁחֵת “pernicies,” Ezek. 9:1. It is uncertain and indifferent as to sense which is the chief form, מִשׁחָת or מִשׁחַת (syncopated from מִשְׁחֶתֶת (HAEVERNICK, et al.) or מִשׁחַת as e.g., מִדְמַם, מֵרְכַּב. The expression משּחת מאישׁ is explained from the capability of the preposition מִן to express a negation. Deformity away from the man is deformity or disfigurement to an appearance no longer human. מִן has an analogous meaning in the clause ותארו מבני אדם. For here also the literal meaning is: his form is away from men, i.e., no longer human.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1. These verses, which by their contents necessarily belong to chap. 53 according to the common manner of the Prophet, stand in front as giving the theme. Ver.13 sets forth the final goal: the glory and sublimity of the Servant of Jehovah. But in roughest contrast with this stands the way that He must go in order to reach that goal: deepest suffering, by which He almost loses His human appearance (ver.14). But as the humiliation is deep, so is the exaltation high: the Gentile world and its kings will worship Him that is exalted out of suffering, for they, for whom the salvation appeared not to be destined, will also have a share in it (ver.15).
2. Behold my Servant——they consider.
Vers.13–15. The expression ישׂביל points to the reciprocal relation of means and end. He that uses the means that lead to the end is wise. The Servant of God will use no false means, therefore He is wise. השׂביל never of itself has the meaning of חִצְלִיחַ; but in the sapienter rem gerere there is impliedly the bene rem gerere (comp. Jer.10: 21; Prov. 17:8). HENGSTENBERG sees in ישׂכיל a “retrospect” to 1 Sam. 18:14, 15 where this word is used of David (comp. 1 Kings 2:3; Ps. 101:2; 2 Kings 18:7). But he seems to me to go too far when, according to the parallel passage cited, he understands ישׂכיל to mean the wise administration of government, and STIER has properly protested against this construction. Yet we may suppose there is an allusion involving only comparison and not equalization. For the Servant of God appears here, not indeed as king, but as one that, like David, from a small, mean beginning worked himself aloft to high honor.
But the splendid description of ver.13 anticipates merely the end. This end crowns a course of development of the contrary character. It passes through night to light, per ardua ad astra. The vers.14, 15 say this. For many the Servant of God became an object of horror (שָׁמַם comp. Lev. 26:32; Ezek. 27:35; 28:19). But in the same proportion that He first provokes horror by the deformity of His appearance, He will later provoke wondering reverence. His visage was so marred,etc. [“His look however was in that degree disfigured to the inhuman, and His form not like a son of man’s.” Dr. NAEGELSBACH’S translation.—TR.]. These words are a parenthesis (see Text. and Gram.). There occurs accordingly a change of person, which, as HENGSTENBERG remarks, is explained by the parenthesis containing a remark of the Prophet, in which, naturally, the Servant is spoken of in the third person. But by this the continuation of Jehovah’s discourse in ver.15 is also diverted from the second to the third person (see Text. and Gram.).
Since 50:10 the expression עֶבֶד “servant” has not been used. Chapters 51, 52 spoke of the people of Israel without applying to them the designation “Servant of God.” According to ŒHLER’S exposition, in 52:14–53:12 also the personal Servant of God is not spoken of; and now Isa 52:13 must not be introduction to what follows, but recapitulation of what precedes! After previously speaking of Israel’s elevation, and bringing this contemplation to a close in every respect, is it now again to be discoursed on? A section treating of the personal Servant of God ought to begin with a statement having the Servant of God for subject, and yet this Servant of God must not be the one of whom the new section treats, but the one of which the foregoing section treated, yet without designating it as the Servant of God! In this way ver.13, from being a most suitable and artistic beginning of the new section, becomes an unsuitable conclusion of the foregoing one. Of course one will not venture to take בֵּן in the sense of “adeo,” which it does not have. But it is equivalent to “corresponding to, in that degree that,” and involves the meaning that the horror of the people answers to the looks of the Servant, so that the former is prompted by the latter. There will be a certain equality between fortunate and unfortunate consequences, in the same degree that one was horrified at Him, He will also provoke joyful wonder and reverence (Isa 52:15). נָזָה is “to spring,” and with the exception of our text is used in the Old Testament (in twenty places) only of the springing or spurting of fluids. It occurs in this sense also 63:3. This use is especially frequent in the Pentateuch, where the various acts of purification and consecration are spoken of, which were performed by sprinkling with blood or water. Hence very many expositors, following the VULG., and SYR., as LUTHER, VATABL., FORER., GROTIUS(who yet also approved the θαυμάσονται of the LXX. since he says, “minari est veluti aspergi fulgore alicujus,” for which VITRINGA reproves him sharply), LOWTH (whom however this exposition does not satisfy), RAMBACH, HENGSTENBERG, HAEVERNICK, HAHN,etc. [BARNES, J. A. ALEX., BIRKS,etc.], have taken נָזָה in the sense of asperget, [“to asperse, besprinkle”] and have considered the reference to be to the atoning power of the blood of Christ (“Christus virtutem sanguinis a se fusi instar Magni Pontificis domus Dei applicabit ad purificationem conscientiarum gentium multarum.” VITRINGA). This explanation was the one generally received by the church. But it is correctly objected to it, that הִזָּה never means “to be-sprinkle” but always “to spout,” “to make burst,” and is always followed by the accusative of the spurted fluid, with עַל or אֶל of the remoter object that is spurted on. Perhaps on this account the TARG. JONAT., then SAADIA and ABENEZRA gave the rendering disperget. But apart from this meaning not being grammatically established, it does not at all suit the context. There has been an effort to change the reading. Thus the Englishmen DURELL and JUBB, whom LOWTH quotes, would read יחַזּוּ, which they then take in the sense of the θαυμάσονται of the LXX.: so shall many nations wonder at him.” But Piel of חָזָה never occurs, and the meaning “θαυμάζεσθαι” would be dragged in. J. DAV. MICHAELIS would point יַזַּהּ after the Arabic naziha (amoenus fuit, oblectavit), accordingly the sense would be: “so shall He be the delight of many Gentiles.” This conjecture, also, must be called too far-fetched. The most satisfactory explanation is the one now approved by most expositors (since CH. DAV. MARTINI,Comment. philol. crit. in Jes. cap. 53 Rost. 1791): “He will make spring up,” which springing up is taken either as the expression of joy or of astonishment, surprise, or of reverence, and is construed in antithesis to שׁממו עליך Isa 52:14. Also STIER, DELITZSCH, V. FR. ŒHLER share this view. I side with them because I know of nothing better. The thought in itself, indeed, seems to me suitable. For one can, of course, suppose that the Prophet means to oppose to that horror with which the suffering Servant was regarded, a surprised springing up proceeding from respectful astonishment. One might quote as a parallel קָמוּ שָׂרִים וְיִשְׁתַּֽחֲוּIsa. 49:7. And one might also fittingly refer to Jer. 33:9 (וְרָֽנְזוּ נוֹים פָֽחֲדוּ) and Hab. 3:6 (וַיַּתֵּר נּוֹיִם). But nevertheless it remains an unfortunate affair, that נָזָה is used in the Old Testament only of the springing or spurting of fluids, and never of persons, and that for the latter use one can only appeal to Arabic analogies (naza, see GESEN.Thes. p. 868 a). In my opinion, it is possible that the reading יַזֶּה is not correct. Perhaps we ought to read יַתֵּר גּוֹיִם as in Hab. 3:6. That would give the same sense by means of a genuine Hebrew word, though one, indeed, not frequently used. For נָתַר “tremuit, subsilivit” occurs beside only Lev. 11:12; Job 37:1. If יַתֵּר was the original reading in our text, it were alowable to think that the contents of chap. 53 occasioned the substitution of the priestly word יזה for the one that may have fallen out in some way, or have become indistinct. [The foregoing review of the state of the question concerning יַזֶה, and the Author’s own despairing attempt, dispose one to say “the old is better” and to adhere to the English accepted version. J. A. ALEX., says of the other views and especially of that stated above to be the most generally adopted by modern expositors: “The explanation is in direct opposition to a perfectly uniform Hebrew usage, and without any real ground even in Arabic analogy. The ostensible reasons for this gross violation of the clearest principles of lexicography are: first the chimera of a perfect parallelism, which is never urged except in cases of great necessity; and secondly, the fact that in every other case the verb is followed by the substance sprinkled, and connected with the object upon which it is sprinkled by a preposition. But since both constructions of the verb “to sprinkle” are employed in other languages (as we may either speak of sprinkling a person or of sprinkling water on him), the transition must be natural, and no one can pretend to say, that two or more examples of it in a book of this size are required to demonstrate its existence. The real motive of the strange unanimity with which the true sense has been set aside, is the desire to obliterate this clear description, at the very outset, of the Servant of Jehovah as an expiatory purifier, one who must be innocent Himself in order to cleanse others.—Another objection to the modern explanation of the word is, that it then anticipates the declaration of the next clause, instead of forming a connecting link between it and the first.”—Some that hold the modern view, as our AUTHOR and DELITZSCH, may not be charged with what J. A. ALEX, pronounces the real motive of it. See above the introduction to this section. But surely it is easier to conjecture that יַזֶּה has the force and construction involved in the old view (if that rendering can be charged with being no better than conjecture) than to resort to such a conjecture as that of the Author.—TR.].—The added נּוֹיִם by no means represents, in relation to ver.14a, merely a (quantitative) intensification (see immediately below on ver.14 b). Shall shut their mouths is a sign of reverence (comp. Matth. 7:16, and in general Isa. 49:7). עָלָיו is causal: on account of His surprisingly imposing appearance they are dumb. To understand the causal clause ّכי אשׁר לא ספר ונו׳ as DELITZSCH does (“what was never told they see, what was never heard they hear”) the text must read כִּי אֲשֶׁר לֹא סֻפַּר רָאוּ. But the additional לָהֶם, of which that explanation makes no account, intimates rather that the Prophet lays the emphasis on the antithesis between the Jews and the Gentiles. Hence he adds before רַבִּים the word נּוֹיִם. Many heathen nations trembled before Him in reverence, and their kings were dumb before Him, whereas Israel felt only aversion for Him. Thus it happened that those did not recognize Him to whom He was announced in advance, whereas those to whom nothing about Him was announced saw Him and understood (65:1; 66:19). It is clear, therefore, that סֻפַר and שָֽׁמְעוּ refer to the prophetic announcement that preceded the historical appearance of the Servant of Jehovah, and prepared the way for it. It was just that Israel, prophetically acquainted with Him in advance, that did not receive Him; whereas the heathen, that yet were without such preparation, made Him welcome. [“The last clause, in grammar, admits equally the received version or that of the LXX. given above (BIRKS translates as Dr. NAEGELSBACH does.—TR.). But St. Paul’s quotation, Rom. 15:20, 21, where this very promise, as rendered above, is made the rule and law of his own conduct as the Apostle of the Gentiles, seems decisive in favor of the latter meaning (LXX., VULG., LUTH., CRUSIUS, STIER). Beside the authority of an inspired comment, the context favors this construction. That wide publication of the gospel, to which Paul applies the words, and in which he was the chief instrument, explains how it would be that many nations and kings should come to do homage to Messiah. BIRKS.—TR.]
make spring up.
For those to whom nothing was told, they see it, and those who have heard nothing, they understand it.