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2

Shake yourself from the dust, rise up,

O captive Jerusalem;

loose the bonds from your neck,

O captive daughter Zion!

 


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1. Awake, awake. He confirms the former doctrine, in order still more to arouse the people who had been weighed down by grief and sorrow. These things were necessary to be added as spurs, that the doctrine might more easily penetrate into their drowsy and stupified hearts; for he addresses the Church, which appeared to be in a benumbed and drowsy condition, and bids her “awake,” that she may collect her strength and revive her courage, he repeats it a second time, and with great propriety; for it is difficult to arouse and reanimate those whose hearts have been struck, and even laid prostrate, by a sense of God’s anger.

Put on thy strength. As if he had said, “Formerly thou wast dejected, and wallowedst in filth and pollution; now prepare for a happy and prosperous condition, to which the Lord will restore thee.” Thus he contrasts “strength” with despondency, such as is usually found when affairs are desperate; and he contrasts garments of beauty with filth and pollution.

For henceforth there shall not come to thee. The reason assigned by him is, that henceforth God will not permit wicked men to indulge their sinful inclinations for destroying it. Freed from their tyranny, the Church already has cause to rejoice; and security for the future holds out solid ground for joy and gladness. Yet Isaiah exhorts us to mutual congratulation when God is reconciled to his Church; and indeed if we have any piety in us, we ought to be deeply affected by her condition, that we may rejoice in her prosperity, and be grieved in her adversity. 3737     “Pour rire et chanter quand elle florit, et pleurer lors qu’elle est persecutee.” “To laugh and sing when she is flourishing, and to weep when she is persecuted.” In short, it ought to be the height of our gladness, as also the Psalmist says,

“Let my tongue cleave to my jaws, if I remember not thee, and if thou be not the crown of my gladness.” (Psalm 137:6.)

By the word come, he means what we commonly express by the phrase, (Avoir e entree,) “to have access.”

By the uncircumcised and unclean, he means all irreligious persons who corrupt the worship of God and oppress consciences by tyranny. It was customary to apply the term “uncircumcised” to all who were estranged from the Church, which had for its symbol “circumcision,” by which all believers were distinguished. But as very many persons, though they bore this outward mark of the covenant, were not better than others, in order to remove all doubt, he added the word “unclean;” for the mark of “circumcision is nothing in itself,” (Galatians 5:6,) and (unless, as Paul says, there be added purity of heart) “is even reckoned uncircumcision.” (Romans 2:25,) Accordingly, he declares that henceforth such persons shall not be admitted into the Church, in order that, by the removal of corruptions, and the restoration of the worship of God, she may possess perfect joy. Yet I do not object to viewing these words as applied to outward foes, whom he calls by hateful names, that even the severity of the punishment may warn the Jews of the heinousness of their offenses.

2. Shake thyself from the dust; arise. He explains more fully the deliverance of the Church, and exhibits it prominently by ὑποτύπωσιν, “a lively description.” When he bids her “shake off the dust and arise,” let us not on that account think that our liberty is in our power, so that we can obtain it whenever we think fit; for it belongs to God alone to raise us from the dust, to lift us up when we are prostrate, and, by breaking or loosing our chains, to set us at liberty. Why then does the Prophet make use of the imperative mood? for it is unreasonable to demand what we cannot perform. I reply, the imperative form of address has a much more powerful tendency to arouse than if he had employed plain narrative; and therefore he declares that, when God shall have restored her to her former freedom, she shall come out of the mire.

Sit, O Jerusalem,. The word “sit” denotes a flourishing condition, and is contrasted with the word “to lie,” which denotes the lowest calamity. Sometimes indeed it means “to be prostrate,” as when he formerly said to Babylon, “sit in the dust.” (Isaiah 47:1.) But here the meaning is different; for, after ordering her to arise, he likewise adds, “that she may sit;” that is, that she may no longer lie down, but may regain her former condition, and not be in future laid prostrate by enemies.




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