Your dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in dust…
Taking ver. 19 as it surely should be taken, in connection and in contrast with ver. 14, and understanding the primary reference of both of them to he to the hopes of the Hebrew nation at the time of the prophecy, we have our attention called to -
I. THE ISSUE OF UPRIGHTEOUSNESS - DEATH.
1. It tends to fatal ruin. The tyrants of Babylon, being overthrown, should rise up no more, should never regain their position, were as dead men whose day was hopelessly and irretrievably gone. All unrighteousness tends to the same issue; it leads down to loss, to overthrow, to shame, to a depth of ruin from which there is no recovery. At length the guilty man (party, nation) is down so low that those who look on say, "He (it) is dead; he shall rise no more."
2. It travels fast to the grave. Guilty violence (Psalm 55:23; Psalm 140:11) and shameful vice (Proverbs 2:18; Proverbs 9:18) make a quick passage to the tomb.
3. It sinks into permanent oblivion. God makes "their memory to perish" (see Psalm 34:16; Proverbs 10:7; Ecclesiastes 8:10). No man cares to remember those whose lives have been disgraced by sin; their names lie unmentioned, and their memory fades from view till it is lost in the thickening shadows of time.
4. It goes down to the death which is eternal. "The wages of sin is death."
II. THE ISSUE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS - REVIVAL. "Thy dead men shall live." God's people who have fallen till they have seemed to be wholly lost shall be recovered and shall reappear. Righteousness is immortal; it cannot be buried and forgotten and lost.
1. It commonly ends in restoration to power and position. Joseph is cast into prison, but he comes out to be the first minister in Egypt. David is driven into the caves, but he comes forth to sit down upon the throne. The persecuted people of God, whether in Babylon, in the Vaudois valleys, in Holland, in the Highlands of Scotland, in the woods and rocks of Madagascar, come forth when the "red, right hand" of cruelty is stricken down, and appear as those that have risen from the tomb.
2. It secures an earthly immortality - that of a lasting recollection: "The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance" (Psalm 112:6; Proverbs 10:7): that, also, of abiding influence; for the effect of their holy lives and true, faithful words shall go down to distant generations.
3. It issues in eternal blessedness. The righteous shall go into "life eternal." - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.