Go through, go through the gates; prepare you the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones…
I. THE GLORIOUS EVENT TO BE PROCLAIMED (ver. 11). When the Divine Spirit would attract special attention to any subject, He prefixes "Behold" to the truth revealed. We have here "Behold thrice repeated.
1. The nature of the event. "Thy salvation cometh. Thy salvation is rendered by the ancient versions (Syriac, Arabic, LXX, Chaldee, Vulgate) and the best modern interpreters, "Thy Saviour;" and from the words, "His reward is with Him," it is clear that this is the intended meaning of the prophet. The glowing promises of our text, and the prophecies connected with it, were most manifestly never fulfilled at His first coming. The second coming of Christ as the Deliverer of His people Israel is then the event here foretold; an event yet before the Church (Romans 11:26, 27). It is not enough to proclaim Christ crucified to the Jews; we must also proclaim the once crucified Immanuel speedily to appear in glory, to punish His rebellious subjects, and to save His people.
2. The things connected with this event. "His reward is with Him, and His work before Him." It is not quite clear whether "His reward" refers to the reward which Christ receives or which He bestows. Our Lord is to "see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied," and He is to be "glorified in His saints, and admired in all them that believe." But I apprehend that the reward which He bestows is here intended (Revelation 22:12). He has also a work to perform. What that work is, we may learn from the following chapters. It comprehends, doubtless, a lengthened series of events. Notice these three — the overthrow of His enemies; the mercies in store for Israel; the establishment of His kingdom.
3. Its required proclamation. By "the daughter of Zion ' is meant the Jewish nation. It is a solemnly announced command to all to tell the Jews of the Coming Saviour. But why should the Lord tell the ends of the world to care for Zion? He foresaw and foreordained that the Jews should be scattered everywhere, that there might not be a spot upon the earth uninterested in or unmoved by their return. It was always the duty of Christians to preach the Gospel "to the Jew first," and then to the Gentile.
II. THE BLESSED RESULT OF THIS EVENT TO THE JEWS (ver. 12). The words apparently lead us to two classes of persons to be blessed at our Saviour's coming.
1. "They shall call them the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord;"
2. "Thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken?' There may be a reference in the first class to the converted Gentiles (), and in the second to the converted Jews. Through the chapter these are combined, while the Jews arc addressed by the personal pronoun (ver. 2). In this view, our text would contain a delightful reciprocation of congratulation between Jews and Gentiles. Yet, as the leading subject of the chapter is the restoration of the Jews, and as, in the preceding verse, the ends of the world are to be addressed on the subject, it is rather probable that the word "they" may here refer to the admiring nations of the earth. They shall call them, i.e. the Jews, the holy or consecrated people, the redeemed of the Lord;" and then the prophet himself, as if beholding Jerusalem thus glorious, changes the person and number of his language, and in the rapture of exultation exclaims, "Thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken."
III. THE. DUTIES TO "WHICH WE ARE CALLED (ver. 10). Here the inhabitants of cities, where. ever the Jews may be, are called to prepare roads for their return to their own land, that they and the nations at large may be ready to receive and welcome the great Lord and King of the whole earth. The general direction is to prepare the Jews, and thus also the Gentiles, for the coming Saviour.
1. Indifference is to be cast off. "Go through, go through the gates." The double direction shows the ardour of the Divine mind, the importance of the duty, how dull Christians in general would be to it, and how needful to rouse them by repeated exhortations.
2. A way is to be prepared. "Prepare ye the way of the people," etc.
3. A standard is also to be lifted up for the nations. "Lift up a standard for the people." This is added not only as a duty to be discharged, but as a great encouragement to fulfil duties to the Jews, by the blessed effect it will undoubtedly have upon all nations. The meaning of this standard will be more clear by referring to Isaiah 11:10-12. A standard is a token of war: it is to assemble, direct and encourage the army, and to animate them in proceeding against their enemies. To lift up this standard is to preach the Gospel. But for whom is this standard to be lifted up? "For the people. The original is in the plural number, "for the peoples," and it is by the best translators rendered, "the nations." The restoration of the Jews, then, is a part of the Divine plan for attracting the attention of and for blessing the whole world.
Parallel VersesKJV: Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.