Matthew Poole's Commentary
Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:Sin separates between God and us, Isaiah 59:1,2. Murder, theft, falsehood, injustice, cruelty, Isaiah 59:3-8. Calamity for sin, Isaiah 59:9-15. Salvation only of God, Isaiah 59:16-19. The covenant of the Redeemer, Isaiah 59:20,21.
The Lord’s hand is not shortened; he is not grown weaker than in former times, as omnipotent as ever he was: hand is here by a synecdoche put for arm, and so for strength, because the strength of a man doth generally put forth itself in his arm; and thus it is applied to God in his bringing Israel out of Egypt, Psalm 136:12.
Neither his ear heavy; or thick of hearing; he is not like your idol gods, that have hands, and cannot help, and ears, and cannot hear. The phrases are much to the same purpose, save only that they seem to be appropriated to the double cavil, or quarrel, that the Jews might have with God; as,
1. Surely if God were not heavy or hard of hearing, he could not but hear those strong cries that we put up in the days of our fast; or,
2. If he did hear, certainly he could not help us; and thus it may have respect to the beginning of the 58th chapter. Or the words may be by way of confirmation and establishment, and so may relate to the close of it, to let them know that if they sought him as they ought, and was before prescribed, he was not inexorable, but willing to hear, and able to make good all those promises that he had made from verse 8 to the end. The sum is, to show that the fault was not in God, that their fasts and cries were not regarded, for his ear was as quick to hear as ever; nor their services rewarded, for his hand was as able to help as ever; but the obstruction lay in their sins, which is positively asserted, Isaiah 59:2, and a more particular account given of them in the sequel.
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.Have separated; have been as a thick wall between God and you; have set him at a great distance, Proverbs 15:29.
Have hid his face: this may be put synecdoehically for the whole person; and the prophet speaking of God by an anthropopathy, may understand his presence; and then it is, hath made him hide or withdraw his presence, as one that turns away his face from some noisome thing; or rather his favour, that though you cry to be delivered out of Babylon, yet you shall not find that favour.
He will not hear, i.e. he will not grant it; thus it is used Psalm 45:12 Hosea 5:15: See Poole "Isaiah 1:15": see Judges 10:13.
For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.Your hands are defiled with blood: here the prophet comes from a more general to a more particular charge against them; by blood we are to understand either murders and bloodshed properly so called; or ways of injustice, extortion, oppression, and cruelties, whereby men are deprived of a livelihood; hence hating our brother is called murder, 1Jo 3:15, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem called murderers. See how the prophet phraseth their oppression, Micah 3:1-3.
Your fingers: this is not added to protract the discourse, but to aggravate their sin: q.d. Not only your hands, but your fingers; you are not free from the least part of injustice.
Your lips have spoken lies; not only properly so called, but perjuries, and wronging’ your neighbours by slanders and false accusations; wherein he shows they did not only offer violence by the hand, but they had ways of circumventing with their lips.
Your tongue hath muttered: the verb doth properly signify to muse, or meditate; then the meaning is, that what they mutter, or utter with the tongue, they do it out of premeditated malice, from a perverse spirit; you may have a larger comment upon this Jeremiah 9:3-6.
Perverseness: perverse words are such as are contrary to God’s word, and it is put here in the abstract, to intimate that their words were every way contrary to God’s will.
None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.None calleth for justice, i.e. none seek to redress these wrongs and violences; they commit all rapines and frauds under impunity; either,
1. Because the judges are corrupt. Or,
2. Because none will warn the judges of their duty. Or,
3. Because none seek to bring offenders to justice. Or,
4. Because none will plead a righteous cause, or plead it righteously, or countenance goodness; and this the next expression favours; and so justice suffers, which the Hebrew word mispat, being in the passive voice, seems to intimate: the sense is the same, and whereas it is said none, it is as much as to say very few, as we say few or none; the like Psalm 14:3.
Quest. How could this be charged upon them, when in the time of their captivity they had no courts?
Answ. It is probable they had courts among themselves, to judge between one another, by leave of the Babylonish kings.
They trust in vanity; either,
1. Relating to their lies, which are words empty and void of all consistency; and so it is the same with the next expression,
and speak lies. Or,
2. In their idols, which are stocks and stones, and so oft called vanity and nothing, 1 Corinthians 8:4. For even in Babylon they worshipped idols, as appears by Jeremiah 16:11,12,18. Or rather,
3. In their power, and craft, and policy, whereby, laying aside justice, they can oppress others; and so he calls it vanity by a metonymy of the adjunct, because it would prove all vain in the end, and either,
1. Frustrate their ends. Or,
2. Not justify them against God’s proceedings with them. Or,
3. Bring all into emptiness and confusion: the word is tohu, whereby the confusion and mingling of all things is expressed, before the world was brought into order and form, Genesis 1:2.
Speak lies: it may refer both to the judges, and to the lawyers and false prophets, that tell them they shall not go into captivity; they speak that which they know to be false.
They conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity: these two words of conceiving and bringing forth note their whole contrivance, and perfecting their wickedness; the former notes their plotting, the latter their execution of mischief; whatever is in the mind, only out of sight, warmed and formed there by cogitating and meditation, is called conception, which being ripe, and produced to view, is called a birth; intimating that the wicked sin not occasionally and accidentally, but premeditatingly and professedly; they grow big with it. The expression is allegorical, and in the two next verses compared to the cockatrice’ eggs for the wickedness of it, and to a spider’s web for the vanity of it.
They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.They hatch cockatrice eggs; or adder, or basilisk; one kind put for any venomous creature; a proverbial speech, signifying by these eggs mischievous designs, and by hatching them their putting them in practice: this is to show that mischief is natural to them, and they can do no otherwise, poison is natural to these eggs.
Weave the spider’s web; another proverbial speech, whereby is taught, both how by their plots they weave nets, lay snares industriously, with great pains and artifice, whereby they may entangle and involve their poor neighbours in intricacies and perplexities, and so devour them, as the spider weaves her web to catch flies, and then to feed on them; and also how that they contrive nothing but what will tend to their own ruin, as the issue of the viper is the death of the mother, and they and their designs will come to nothing, and not answer their end, as the spider’s web is soon swept away, and is seen no more, which doth well agree with what follows.
He that eateth of their eggs dieth: here is a catachrestical allusion, noting that he who hath commerce with them, and approves their counsels, which are the eggs which they hatch, will be poisoned with them.
And that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper: if and be copulative here, then the sense is either, If any seek to crush and disappoint their plots, or if they be sprinkled or dispersed abroad, (as the margin seems to favour,) they will seek his ruin, will be as a viper to him. But if and be causal, as it often is, and may be here, then the sense is, q.d. He dieth, because the eggs being crushed, a poisonous viper proceeds from it; the more you partake of their counsels, the more you are infected, there lies such a dreadful poison embodied in them.
Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.Their webs shall not become garments, i.e. their contrivances and deep designs shall not advantage them, they being like a thin and raw garment, either through which all their wretchedness and malice will appear, as the next words intimate; or, for want of solidity and substance, shall not be able to defend them from their impending evils.
Works of iniquity, i.e. works of injustice, whereby their grieve and vex their brethren, which the next words do clear. The act of violence is in their hands, i.e. they exercise themselves in all acts of violence and oppression.
Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.Their feet run to evil: this seems to be taken from Proverbs 1:16. See Poole "Proverbs 1:16". He had spoken of their hands, lips, and heart, &c. before, and now of their feet, to show that they were wholly set upon mischief.
Their thoughts, i.e. their heart and mind, is set upon doing wrong and injury; they not only do evil, but do it deliberately. You have the wicked described by this kind of working of their thoughts, Psalm 64:6; they meditate on little or nothing else.
Wasting and destruction are in their paths; a metaphor put for the behaviours and carriages of men; in what way or work soever they are engaged, it all tends to ruin and destruction. A metaphor taken from an overspreading torrent, or sweeping plague, or beasts of prey, that tear and devour whatsoever comes in their way.
The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.The way of peace they know not; they are of such turbulent spirits, living in such continual contentions and discords, that, breaking in pieces the very bonds of society, they neither know,
1. How to make and keep peace; neither,
2. Do they feel or enjoy the sweet fruits of it; and therefore by consequence,
3. They take not the course that leads to prosperity and happiness. They are not friends to peace.
There is no judgment, i.e. no justice, equity, faith, or integrity, which are the foundation of judgment,
in their goings; as paths did note their habitual way or manner of living, so goings do signify their actual progress in that way, or their works; thus Job 14:16.
They have made them crooked paths; they walk by no rule, which should discover the crooked from the straight; they are full of unevennesses and uncertainties, contrary to what David speaks, Psalm 26:12. The LXX. render it perverse. Moses joins them both together, Deu 32:5; and so doth Solomon, speaking what wisdom shall deliver from, Proverbs 2:15; and it stands in opposition to them that walk uprightly, Proverbs 28:18. It may note,
1. Their hypocrisy, that pretend one thing and do another, that oppress under a pretence of justice. Or,
2. Their professed and owned irregularities and deviations from the rule of justice. Shall not know peace, i.e. shall not experience it; whosoever do as they do will be turbulent and perverse, as they are, and have as little peace within, or happiness without, as they have, Isaiah 57:21. They shall be poisoned by having converse with them, as in Isaiah 59:5, which the next words do intimate.
Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.Therefore is judgment far from us: this seems to be spoken in the person of those Jews that did partake of these sins, giving the reason by way of complaint of those evils that they groaned under. Justice: judgment, and so justice, is herb taken for deliverance, Isaiah 1:27: q.d. God doth not defend our right, nor revenge our wrong, nor deliver us, because of these outrages and acts of violence, injustice, and oppression that are committed among us; so that deliverance is called here judgment and justice by a metonymy of the efficient: q.d. If he had executed judgment and equity among one another, they would not now have been far from us. As works are sometimes put for the reward of works, Job 7:2 Psalm 109:20, so judgment and justice is put for the reward of judgment and justice. Or wicked men are in power and seats of judicature, that execute no judgment or justice in the behalf of the oppressed.
We wait for light: how the Hebrews use light and darkness, see before on Isaiah 58:8,10.
But we walk in darkness; or, mist; we are in such a thick mist, that which way soever we look, we see no way out, no hope of deliverance; we are still in captivity, and like so to be, till we see judgment and justice executed, and then we may expect good days.
We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.We grope: as a blind man that hath no other eyes than his hands feels for the wall, from whence he expects either direction or a resting place to lean on; so they expect salvation as it were blindfold, not taking direction from the prophets, but hoping to obtain it by their cries and fasts, though they continued in their sins, and therefore may well be said to grope after it. See Deu 28:28,29 Job 12:25.
And we grope as if we had no eyes; as if we were stark blind; and being here put for yea, thereby aggravating the misery in repeating the expression.
We stumble at noon-day: this notes their exceeding blindness, as it must needs be with one that can discern no more at noon-day than if it were midnight, Job 5:14.
We are as dead men: he compares their captivity to men dead without hope of recovery; their bonds render them as free among the dead, Psalm 88:5. They can see the way, or get out of their captivity, no more than dead men can get out of their graves; thus a calamitous estate is set forth, Psalm 44:19, great calamity and despair oft going together: they are as men cast out, no more to be looked after. Compare Lamentations 3:6. All darkness is uncomfortable, but that of the grave terrible.
We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.We roar: this signifies the greatness of their anguish, that forced from them these loud outcries.
And mourn: this notes some sense of their condition, that wrought in them these sorrowful lamentations; or it may relate to the condition that both sorts of people were in under their oppressing governors. It made the wicked roar like bears, and the godly mourn like doves. It is thus expressed because these properties are peculiar to these creatures. The bear, when robbed, goes into his den and roars; the dove, when absent from her mate, sits solitary and mourns.
For salvation, but it is far off from us: see the exposition of this last part of the verse Isaiah 59:9.
For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them;Our transgressions: the word here signifies sins of a high nature; such as wherein there is much of man’s will against light; rebellious sins.
Are multiplied before thee: q.d. They admit of no excuse; for they are acted before thee, and multiplied against thee, whereby thou art justly provoked to deny us all help.
Our sins testify; every sin that is charged upon is like so many witnesses produced to prove the guilt of our consciences; or, as the Hebrew word, do answer; and so some make it an elegant metaphorical allusion to the echo, which, as it returns the voice again, so those judgments they cry out of are but the meritorious repercussion of their sins. They had been cruel to others, neither had they executed judgment and justice, and here they suffer all kind of cruelties and indignities from the Chaldeans, as the true and just representation or echo of their own works: see a personal instance in Adoni-bezek, Judges 1:6,7.
Our transgressions are with us, i.e. we lie under the guilt of them, they are a burden to us; God hath not yet forgiven them.
As for our iniquities, we know them; we are convinced of them; our guilty consciences must own and acknowledge them, Psalm 2 3. It notes either their conviction or sorrow, or both. See Jeremiah 14:7. Or, we know what are those sins thou art so angry with us for; and this is favoured by the sequel, where they seem to particularize those sins in the following verses.
In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.He now enumerates some of those particular sins they profess themselves to be convinced of, whereby he doth not mean the sins of some particular persons, or some slight sins, but a general defection and corruption of the whole body.
In transgressing: properly, we rebel against God, so the word is Isaiah 1:2, and have persisted in our rebellion.
Lying; being true to none of their engagements, vows, and promises. Some make transgressing here and lying to be one and the same thing, inasmuch as in their transgressing of the law of God they did break their solemn engagement to God upon Mount Sinai, Exodus 19:8 24:3, and elsewhere frequently, which is a downright lying against God; for wherein do we more lie to God than in a perfidious withdrawing from him? So that by transgressing here he doth mean not a breach of One or another of the laws of God, but their being as it were fugitives, that would be under no yoke.
Departing, i.e. turning from God to idols.
Speaking; as it were talking of little else one among another but how to oppress their neighbours, and apostatize from God.
Conceiving and uttering, i.e. first contriving and forging in their heart false accusations to the ruin of their neighbour, and false worship to the dishonour of God, laying the contrivance so that it might be effectual; and then uttering it, or venting themselves one to another in their discourses, thereby encouraging each other in their perverse ways; see Isaiah 59:3; and whereas it is said
from the heart, it notes a resoluteness in their wickedness, being a great deal worse than now and then to deal falsely upon some occasion or temptation.
From the heart words of falsehood: they are called words of falsehood, both with reference to men, and so signify slanders and false accusations; as also to God, and so signify their dealing falsely with God, as an adulteress doth with her husband: hence idolaters are called the seed of falsehood, Isaiah 57:3-5; and it is said from the heart, to show that when they dealt with men in ways of fraud, it was from the heart, but when they spake with God, it was but from the lip.
And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.Judgment is turned away backward: he speaks here of the sentences and decrees in courts of judicature, which are carried quite contrary to right and justice. God denies you justice, as you have denied help to others.
Justice standeth afar off: it notes the same thing with the former, to show that justice and judges are far asunder.
Truth is fallen; a metaphor taken from a feeble person that wants support, without which he falls; thus truth hath none to support or patronize it: the same, only otherwise expressed, with Isaiah 59:16. Truth is cast upon the ground, and justice trampled under foot.
In the street, i.e. in public.
Equity cannot enter; no such thing will be admitted in their courts; all corrupt, so that all equity and justice is violently kept off by the authority of the great ones.
Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.Truth faileth: q.d. Truth is more than fallen, which he had said in the former verse; it faileth. For being only fallen it may recover itself again, but failing notes the loss of its very vitals; as being every where neglected, in court, in city, in country, in inferior as well as superior ranks, in the streets, in the gates, in the markets, in the fairs, in all public places of commerce, the condition much like that under the beast coming out of the earth, Revelation 13:11, &c. See Psalm 10:7,8, &c. All things are amiss, neither judgment, nor justice, nor truth is to be found among us, but fraud and deceit; yet none troubled at it.
He that departeth from evil, that separateth himself from evil things and persons, will not be as vile as others,
maketh himself a prey; or, is accounted mad; is laughed at that talks of justice, so some. Josephus tells us that immediately before the destruction of Jerusalem, it was matter of scorn to be religious. Though there be no solid ground for nor need of that marginal reading, yet is it a truth. The translators reach the meaning by prey; the wicked, like wild beasts, endeavouring to devour such as are not as bad as themselves: where wickedness rules, innocency is oppressed: in bargaining, as buying and selling, they that are simple and innocent are outwitted by the crafty and fraudulent, as not willing, or rather daring, to oppose fraud with fraud, but to do all things in sincerity.
The Lord saw it, i.e. took notice of it: it is spoken of God after the manner of men, as Genesis 11:5 18:21, and many other places.
It displeased him: q.d. If you would know why God is so angry with you, it is for such things as these; the Lord takes notice of it, and it is a great evil in his eye.
And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.No man, viz. to intercede, which is supplied from the following words; or no man to help in such a case, to show himself and appear in such a corrupt state in the behalf of equity, as Isaiah 59:4; the like circumstances we have Ezekiel 22:29,30; or none fit to intercede.
Wondered, Heb. iistomen, was amazed, astonished, as it were, not knowing what to do. This notes both God’s solicitousness about their condition, and their hypocrisy, as if God took no notice of them, together with their dulness and blockishness, in not concerning themselves about it, especially considering they had been a people so well instructed, and yet under the guilt of such gross sins should be no more solicitous about pardon, which God would readily have granted, if any such could have been found, Jeremiah 5:1.
Therefore; or, yet, as it is used, Isaiah 7:14 51:21.
His arm brought salvation unto him: this may relate,
1. To the parties thus oppressed. Or,
2. To God, as that either,
1. He would do his work without help from any other, Isaiah 59:5. Or,
2. He would avenge himself, his own honour; thus the word is used 1 Samuel 25:26; and this may and seems to be the meaning of the next clause. Or,
3. He had made provision for the maintaining his own righteous cause and people’s interest: this sense, that phrase, so like this, favours, Isaiah 53:5, Salvation unto me. His righteousness, viz. his justice: q.d. Seeing there could be no justice found among them, he would avenge the innocent himself, which agrees with Isaiah 59:8, and is justified by Isaiah 63:5, where speaking of the destruction of the Idumeans, you have the same words, only the word fury changed for righteousness. The literal meaning is, God’s taking vengeance on the Chaldeans for the people’s sake; the mystical is, Christ’s making use of his own righteousness for the redemption of lest man, being destitute of all other.
For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.He put on righteousness as a breastplate; God, resolving to appear as a man of war against Babylon, that did now oppress his people, puts on his arms, Heb. wrapped himself, and particularly his
breastplate, which he calls righteousness, to show the justness of his cause, as also his faithfulness in making good his promises to his people.
An helmet: as the breastplate is to defend the heart and vital parts, whereby God doth signify the innocency and justness of his cause, as well as his faithfulness; so the
helmet is to defend the brain, the fountain of the animal spirits, and therefore by this piece of armour would have us know that he is invincible: as by the other, that he defends a just cause in his truth and faithfulness; so by this, that he cannot be disappointed in it by reason of his power and invincibleness.
The garments of vengeance, or garments made of vengeance; as God is said to put on the former for their sakes whom he would preserve, so he puts on these for their sakes whom he will destroy, viz. his people’s enemies, the Chaldeans, and other enemies of the Jews.
Was clad with zeal; either,
1. Zeal to his own honour, which had been given to idols; or,
2. Zeal for his own people, who were now in distress; or,
3. Zeal and indignation against the Babylonians, who were such great oppressors of his people, which are the materials that his garment of vengeance and his cloak of zeal is made of. It may be trifling to follow the metaphor of garments too close: see of the phrase Judges 6:34, margin. The sum of all these expressions is this, to describe both the cause and effect together; the cause was righteousness and zeal in God, the effect salvation to his people, and vengeance on his enemies, as is evident from the next verse.
According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence.Deeds, Heb. recompences or deserts, i.e. he will recompense his adversaries with those effects of his fury that they have deserved.
Fury; a metonymy of the efficient, for the effects of his fury.
Islands; or, islanders; a metonymy of the containing for the contained; either Mesopotamia, and other adjacent islands, encompassed by Tigris and Euphrates; or those remoter nations (for the Hebrews call nations remote from Judea islands, Genesis 10:5 Isaiah 41:1. See Poole "Isaiah 20:6", and the reason of it) under the king of Babylon, that thought themselves secure.
So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.Fear the name of the Lord, i.e. either worship the Lord; for the name of God is put for God himself, as hath been often showed, and fear is put for his worship; or make his name renowned.
From the west, viz. the western part of the world.
His glory, or the glorious God.
From the rising of the sun, viz. the eastern parts of the world. The sum is, the whole world, either a synecdoche of the part for the whole, or if you divide the world through the poles, the one half will be east, and the other west, and so compriseth the whole world. It shall fear and worship God, and make his name renowned, laying aside their idolatries; whether you refer it to the deliverance of his people out of Babylon, when they shall hear how God hath executed vengeance on his enemies; or to the redemption by Christ, and his calling of the Gentiles, Malachi 1:11.
When the enemy shall come in like a flood; either against the Babylonians, as some understand it, and so it is probably meant of Cyrus, who shall come like a violent flood, against whom there is no head to be made; him God would stir up against the Babylonians for the deliverance of the Jews. Or against his own people; and so it may have either,
1. A more particular respect to Jerusalem, when Sennacherib came up against it; which suits well with what God saith of him, Isaiah 8:7,8. Or,
2. More general, at what time soever the devil or his instruments shall make violent irruptions upon the church, Revelation 12:15; for powerful enemies invading a country are oft compared to a river. See Poole "Isaiah 18:2". It is an allusion to the overflowing of Euphrates, which by its violent inundations was wont to do much hurt and damage to the Babylonians. The Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him: and here again, if it be taken in the first sense, viz. against the Babylonians, then the meaning is, God himself shall as it were carry the standard in the midst of Cyrus’s army, the Medes and Persians, and that with a great deal of fury, intimated here by the
Spirit of the Lord; for spirit is often used among the Hebrews for the passions of the soul, as anger, wrath, fury, &c. Or, as a violent blast or gale of wind, shall help forward the violence of the torrent; and if so, then
him, by an enallage of the number, which is frequent, is put for them. But if in either of the other two senses, viz. with particular respect to Sennacherib, then the Spirit of the Lord, as with a blast, only shall puff him away, which was made good, Isaiah 37:7,36,37. Or with more general reference to the violence of enemies against the church; then the meaning is, God shall make known himself to take their part and defend them, Psalm 48:3-5, and cause the enemies to give back, or put them to flight, as in the margin, Isaiah 17:12-14, and that without power, but by his Spirit alone, as easy as by a puff of wind, Zechariah 4:6. Again, if you take this (as some learned men do) in a spiritual sense, then it notes the suddenness of the gospel’s spreading itself by the Spirit in the ministry of the apostles and evangelists, bearing down like a flood all that opposes it, the Lord Jesus Christ being lifted up in it as a banner or ensign: but this sense, though true, seems to be more forced, and as it relates to temporal deliverances, more genuine and natural: however, the prophet being about to speak of the spiritual deliverances and state of the church by Christ, he seems to slide, as it were, into it by such plain allusions and types, being to speak of it more directly in the following chapters.
And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.And, moreover, or to wit; and being here not so much copulative as expositive.
The Redeemer: the word notes a redemption with power, viz.
1. Cyrus, the instrument for the efficient, viz. God the Redeemer, Isaiah 43:14 45:13. Or,
2. Christ, of whom the apostle expounds it, Romans 11:26; the prophets usually concluding their promises of temporal deliverances with the promises of spiritual, especially such of which the temporal were evident types.
To Zion, viz. Jerusalem, to which though Cyrus came not in person, yet his favours, and the good effects of his conquest over Babylon, reached it, setting free the citizens of Zion, as Christ also his church, which is often called by the name of Zion, and Jacob, and Israel, &c. In Jacob, viz. among the Jews, who were the children of Jacob; and he describes to whom of these, namely, to them, and none else, that
turn from transgression; such only whose hearts God touched, and turned to righteousness; and so to come to Zion here by the prophet, and out of Zion by the apostle, is one and the same thing; See Poole "Deu 33:2"; for the Hebrew lamed is not only an article of the dative case, but put often for mim, of or from, so that letsion is out of Zion; and for Christ to be given a Redeemer to Zion is the same thing as his coming to take iniquity from Jacob. And so the apostle doth by this expound that, taking an apostolical liberty not only to quote, but to expound this text; and so by laying them together, and making them one, would teach us that God must do for us what he requireth of us, Acts 3:26: or else, which is the opinion of some, he takes the last clause from some other text, or texts, as Isaiah 4:4. I incline to the former, partly because there is no need of searching for any other text, and partly because, as the apostle quoteth it, it is agreeable to the LXX., which he frequently makes use of; and this the apostle improves as an allegory to prove that the Jews toward the end of the world shall he converted and saved, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall be brought in: q.d. As this people of old were delivered out of a dark and dolesome estate, when they seemed as it were extinct; so toward the end of the world the remnant of the Jews, that seem to be rejected, God will again bring home unto himself. Saith the Lord; or, thus it is decreed and determined by the Lord: the prophets are wont to set down these words as a sacred seal of certainty, security, or confirmation of such signal promises as this is of the Redeemer, like to that of the apostle, 1 Timothy 1:15.
As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.This is my covenant, or what I have promised, and so am engaged to see fulfilled, viz. to them that turn from their iniquity; or rather, the promise of his word and Spirit to abide in his church, upon which account it is also that the Spirit is promised in the next words, by which is understood either the gift of prophecy, or the prophecy itself, given here to Isaiah, and so to the church: and being here, as in the foregoing verse, explicative, not copulative; unless it note that in an ordinary way the Spirit and the word go together wherever either of them are effectual, the Spirit impressing what the word expresses, John 14:16-18\, and it is the spirit of Satan that is different from the word.
My Spirit that is upon thee. See Poole "Numbers 11:17", See Poole "Numbers 11:25", &c.; See Poole "2 Kings 2:15".
Which I have put in thy mouth; which thou hast uttered by virtue of my Spirit, it being the church’s great treasure and happiness to have God present with his word. Shall not depart out of thy mouth, &iowa.; the sense is either, these words, and the fulfilling of them, shall be always talked of, wherever the mention of this deliverance shall come, as is said of Mary’s ointment, Matthew 26:13. Or rather, he seems to promise the perpetual presence of his word and Spirit with the prophets, apostles, and ministers, and teachers of the church to all succeeding ages thereof, and may have a special reference to the gospel, or new covenant in Christ.
For ever, i.e. for a long, though yet a definitive, space of time, as it is often used.