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25. Praise to the Lord

O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. 2For thou hast made of a city an heap; of a defenced city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built. 3Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible nations shall fear thee. 4For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. 5Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low.

6And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. 7And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. 8He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.

9And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. 10For in this mountain shall the hand of the Lord rest, and Moab shall be trodden down under him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill. 11And he shall spread forth his hands in the midst of them, as he that swimmeth spreadeth forth his hands to swim: and he shall bring down their pride together with the spoils of their hands. 12And the fortress of the high fort of thy walls shall he bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, even to the dust.

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1. O Lord, thou art my God. Hitherto Isaiah has prophesied about the judgments of God, which threatened not only a single nation, but almost the whole world. Now, it was impossible that the contemplation of calamities so dismal as those which he foresaw should not give him great uneasiness; for godly persons would desire that all mankind should be saved, and, while they honor God, they desire also to love all that belongs to him; and, in short, so far as any man sincerely fears God, he has a powerful and lively feeling of the divine judgments. While wicked men stand amazed at the judgments of God, and are not moved by any terror, godly men tremble at the slightest token of his anger. And if this be the case with us, what do we suppose was experienced by the Prophet, who had almost before his eyes those calamities which he foretold? For, in order that the ministers of the word might be convinced of the certainty of what they taught, it was necessary that they should be more powerfully impressed by it than the generality of men.

Since therefore the Lord held out to Isaiah, as in a picture, those dreadful calamities, he found it necessary, under the overpowering influence of grief and anxiety, to betake himself to the Lord; otherwise the confused emotions of his mind would have agitated him beyond measure. He therefore takes courage from the belief that, in the midst of these tempests, the Lord still determines to promote the advantage of his Church, and to bring into subjection to himself those who were formerly estranged. Isaiah therefore remains firm and steadfast in his calling, and does not allow himself to be drawn aside from his purpose, but continually relies on the expectation of mercy, and therefore perseveres in celebrating the praises of God. Thus we learn that this thanksgiving is connected with the former prophecies, and that Isaiah considers not only what he foretold, but why the Lord did it; that is, why the Lord afflicted so many nations with various calamities. It was, that he might subdue those who were formerly incorrigible, and who rushed forward with brutal eagerness, who had no fear of God, and no feeling of religion or godliness.

Thou art my God. Being as it were perplexed and confused, he suddenly raises his thoughts to God, as we have already said. Hence we ought to draw a very useful doctrine, namely, that when our minds are perplexed by a variety of uneasy thoughts on account of numerous distresses and afflictions which happen daily, we ought immediately to resort to God, and rely on his providence; for even the smallest calamities will overwhelm us, if we do not betake ourselves to him, and support our hearts by this doctrine. In order to bring out more fully the meaning of the Prophet, the word but or nevertheless may be appropriately inserted in this manner: “Whatever temptations from that quarter may disturb me, nevertheless I will acknowledge thee to be my God.” Thus he promises that he will give to God the praise which is due to him; and this cannot be, unless a firm belief of his grace dwell in our hearts, and hold a superiority, from which grace springs a joy, which yields to us the most abundant ground for praises, when we are certain of our salvation, and are fully convinced that the Lord is our God. Accordingly, those who are influenced by no desire to praise God, have not believed and have not tasted the goodness of God; for if we actually trust in God, we must be led to take great delight in praising his name.

For thou hast done a wonderful thing. He uses the word פלא, (pĕlĕ,) wonderful, in the singular number instead of the plural. The Prophet does not confine his view to the present appearance of things, but looks to the end; for even men who in other respects are heathens, behold in the government of the world astonishing events, the sight of which overwhelms them with amazement; which undoubtedly happened to the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon, and to the Babylonians and Moabites. But those only who have tasted his goodness and wisdom can profit by the works of God; for otherwise they undervalue and despise his works, and do not comprehend their excellence, because they do not perceive their end, which is, that God, wonderfully bringing light out of darkness, (2 Corinthians 4:6,) raises his Church from death to life, and regulates in the best manner, and directs to the most valuable purpose, those things which to the eye of man appear to be confused.

Counsels which have been already decreed of old. 136136     “Faithfulness and truth.” — Eng. Ver. “Perfectly true.” — Stock. “Truth, certainty.” — Alexander.
    FT394 “Counsels of old.” — Eng. Ver. “Counsels of old time.” — Stock

    FT395Of foreigners, a term with the Jews synonymous to barbarians or enemies; as the Romans confounded hospites with hostes, being to them nearly the same thing.” — Stock

    FT396 See page 191

    FT397 “The branch of the terrible ones.” — Eng. Ver. “So shall the song of the tyrants be brought low.” — Alexander

    FT398 “Of wines on the lees well refined.” — Eng. Ver.

    FT399Que nous en soyons remplis et rassassiez;” — “That we may be filled and satisfied with it.”

    FT400Le voile qui cache la face de tous les peuples;” — “The veil which covers the face of all people.”

    FT401 “He will swallow up death in victory.” — Eng. Ver.

    FT402 “When we consider the expression which follows, (evidently meant, by a parallelism, to be exegetical,) πάντων περίψημα, there is little doubt that the sense of περικαθάρματα is ‘the cleansings up,’ as περίψημα is ‘the sweepings up or around;’ metaphorically denoting ‘the vilest things’ or ‘persons,’ the very ‘outcasts’ of society.” — Bloomfield on 1 Corinthians 4:13. “Περίψημα denotes filings or scrapings of any kind, and also the sweepings that are cleared away with a brush.” —Calvin on Corinthians, vol. 1 p. 166

    FT403J’ay mieux aimé le tourner, On dira;” — “I chose rather to render it, It shall be said.”

    FT404Ces deux mots, Voici, Cestui-ci;” — “These two words, Lo, This.”

    FT405C’est-ci l Eternel;” — “This is the Eternal.”

    FT406 “This is a strange oversight. נגילה (nagīllah) and נשמחה (nismĕchāh) are in the future tense, and are so rendered by our Author in his version, “Exultabimus et lætabimur,” — “We will rejoice and be glad.” “The augmented futures at the close,” says Professor Alexander, alluding to the He paragogic, “may either denote fixed determination (‘we will rejoice, we will be glad’) or a proposition, (‘Let us then rejoice,’) for which the language has no other distinct form.” — Ed

    FT407 That is, Abraham and Lot. (Genesis 11:31; 19:37.)

    FT408 “As straw is trodden down for the dunghill, (or, thrashed in Madmenah.)” — (Eng. Ver.)

    FT409 Professor Alexander renders it, “in the water of the dunghill,” and remarks, “The Keri, or Masoretic reading in the margin, has במו, a poetical equivalent of ב, the preposition. The Kethib, or textual reading, which is probably more ancient, is במי, in the water. This, with the next word, may denote a pool in which the straw was left to putrefy.”

    FT410 See Commentary on Isaiah, vol. 1 p. 488
Now, in order to bestow still higher commendation on the providence of God, he adds, that the “counsels have been already decreed of old;” as if he had said, that to God nothing is sudden or unforeseen. And indeed, though he sometimes appears to us to act suddenly, yet all things were undoubtedly ordained by him before the creation of the world. (Acts 15:18.) By this word, therefore, the Apostle means that all the miracles which happen contrary to the expectation of men, are the result of that regular order which God maintains in governing the world, arranging all things from the beginning to the end. Now, since we do not understand those secret decrees, and our powers of understanding cannot rise so high, our attention must therefore be directed to the manifestation of them; for they are concealed from us, and exceed our comprehension, till the Lord reveal them by his word, in which he accommodates himself to our weakness; for his decree is (ἀνεξεύρητον) unsearchable.

Firm truth. 137137    {Bogus footnote} From the eternal decrees of God the Prophet thus proceeds to doctrines and promises, which he undoubtedly denotes by the word truth; for the repetition would be frivolous, if this word did not signify a relation; because, when God has revealed to us his purpose, if we believe his sayings, he then appears to be actually true. He commends the firmness and certainty of the word, when he says that it is “steadfast truth;” that is, that everything that comes from God, everything that is declared by him, is firm and unchangeable.

2. For thou hast made of a city a heap. Some refer this to Jerusalem; but I think that there is a change of the number, as is very customary with the prophets; for the Prophet does not speak merely of a single city, but of many cities, which he says will be reduced to heaps. As to the view held by some, that the Romans made Jerusalem a palace, it has nothing to do with the Prophet’s meaning, which will be easily enough understood, if we keep in remembrance what has been already stated, that the Prophet does not confine his thoughts to those calamities by which the Lord afflicts many nations, but extends his view to the end of the chastisements. In this manner the Lord determined to tame and subdue the obstinacy of men, whom he would never have brought into subjection to him without having been broken down by various afflictions.

A palace of foreigners, 138138    {Bogus footnote} that it may not be a city. The Prophet does not merely mean that, when the natives have been driven out, “foreigners” wil1 inhabit the cities which have been taken; for that would not agree with what he immediately adds, “that it may be no longer a city;” but that wandering bands of men who shall be in want of a habitation will there find abundance of room, because there will be no inhabitants left. Since ארמון (armōn) denotes a magnificent palace, the Prophet thus says ironically, that highwaymen will dwell as in palaces, on account of the vast extent of the place which shall be deserted.




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