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Restoration of Judah


But the L ord will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land; and aliens will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob. 2And the nations will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess the nations as male and female slaves in the L ord’s land; they will take captive those who were their captors, and rule over those who oppressed them.

Downfall of the King of Babylon

3 When the L ord has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, 4you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon:

How the oppressor has ceased!

How his insolence has ceased!


The L ord has broken the staff of the wicked,

the scepter of rulers,


that struck down the peoples in wrath

with unceasing blows,

that ruled the nations in anger

with unrelenting persecution.


The whole earth is at rest and quiet;

they break forth into singing.


The cypresses exult over you,

the cedars of Lebanon, saying,

“Since you were laid low,

no one comes to cut us down.”


Sheol beneath is stirred up

to meet you when you come;

it rouses the shades to greet you,

all who were leaders of the earth;

it raises from their thrones

all who were kings of the nations.


All of them will speak

and say to you:

“You too have become as weak as we!

You have become like us!”


Your pomp is brought down to Sheol,

and the sound of your harps;

maggots are the bed beneath you,

and worms are your covering.



How you are fallen from heaven,

O Day Star, son of Dawn!

How you are cut down to the ground,

you who laid the nations low!


You said in your heart,

“I will ascend to heaven;

I will raise my throne

above the stars of God;

I will sit on the mount of assembly

on the heights of Zaphon;


I will ascend to the tops of the clouds,

I will make myself like the Most High.”


But you are brought down to Sheol,

to the depths of the Pit.


Those who see you will stare at you,

and ponder over you:

“Is this the man who made the earth tremble,

who shook kingdoms,


who made the world like a desert

and overthrew its cities,

who would not let his prisoners go home?”


All the kings of the nations lie in glory,

each in his own tomb;


but you are cast out, away from your grave,

like loathsome carrion,

clothed with the dead, those pierced by the sword,

who go down to the stones of the Pit,

like a corpse trampled underfoot.


You will not be joined with them in burial,

because you have destroyed your land,

you have killed your people.


May the descendants of evildoers

nevermore be named!


Prepare slaughter for his sons

because of the guilt of their father.

Let them never rise to possess the earth

or cover the face of the world with cities.


22 I will rise up against them, says the L ord of hosts, and will cut off from Babylon name and remnant, offspring and posterity, says the L ord. 23And I will make it a possession of the hedgehog, and pools of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction, says the L ord of hosts.


An Oracle concerning Assyria


The L ord of hosts has sworn:

As I have designed,

so shall it be;

and as I have planned,

so shall it come to pass:


I will break the Assyrian in my land,

and on my mountains trample him under foot;

his yoke shall be removed from them,

and his burden from their shoulders.


This is the plan that is planned

concerning the whole earth;

and this is the hand that is stretched out

over all the nations.


For the L ord of hosts has planned,

and who will annul it?

His hand is stretched out,

and who will turn it back?


An Oracle concerning Philistia


In the year that King Ahaz died this oracle came:



Do not rejoice, all you Philistines,

that the rod that struck you is broken,

for from the root of the snake will come forth an adder,

and its fruit will be a flying fiery serpent.


The firstborn of the poor will graze,

and the needy lie down in safety;

but I will make your root die of famine,

and your remnant I will kill.


Wail, O gate; cry, O city;

melt in fear, O Philistia, all of you!

For smoke comes out of the north,

and there is no straggler in its ranks.



What will one answer the messengers of the nation?

“The L ord has founded Zion,

and the needy among his people

will find refuge in her.”


1. For the LORD will have compassion on Jacob. The particle כי(ki) having various significations, we might take it as signifying But, and might connect this verse with the former verse in the following manner: But (or, yet) the Lord will have compassion on Jacob. But I consider it to be better and more appropriate to view the particle כי (ki), in this as well as in many other passages, as used for assigning a reason; and thus the meaning will be, “God will destroy Babylon, because he will have compassion on Israel, whom he cannot despise or reject.” Hence we see that the Prophet had hitherto endeavored to soothe the grief of a wretched people, in order to inform them that they ought to entertain good hopes in the midst of their afflictions, of which God would be the avenger. (Psalm 94:1.) Here, therefore, as in a picture, Babylon is contrasted with the Church of God; Babylon, I say, elevated to the highest power, which had plunged the Church into such a miserable and afflicted condition, that it was not probable that she could ever be raised up again. But the Lord casts down Babylon from her lofty situation, and thus testifies that he cares for his people, however mean and despicable they may be. It yields very great consolation to us to learn that the whole world is governed by God for our salvation. All things are directed to this object, that those whom he has elected may be saved, and may not be overwhelmed by any changes, however numerous, that shall befall them.

It will be asked, Was there a period during which God had no compassion? Undoubtedly, he always had compassion; but while the people were distressed by heavy calamities, it was not perceived; for, having their minds previously occupied with a view of God’s anger, and, judging from outward appearances, they could not perceive God’s compassion. Yet the Lord was always like himself, and never laid aside his nature. Thus it is proper to distinguish between the knowledge which springs from faith and the knowledge which springs from experience; for when the tokens of God’s anger are visible all around, and when the judgment of the flesh leads us to believe that he is angry, his favor is concealed from us; but faith raises our hearts above this darkness, to behold God in heaven as reconciled towards us. What follows is somewhat more startling.

And will yet choose Israel, or, will again choose Israel. God’s election is eternal. He does not choose us as if this had never before come into his mind; and as we were chosen before the foundation of the world, (Ephesians 1:4,) so he never repents of his choice. (Romans 11:29.) But when the Lord chastises his people, this has the appearance of rejecting them; as we learn from the frequent complaints of the saints, Lord, why hast thou cast us off? (Psalm 74:1.) We look at God’s rejection or election according to our weakness, and judge of his feelings toward us by the outward action. (I speak of the knowledge which is derived from experience, and which is corrected by the light of faith.) Accordingly, when the Lord calls us, that is, confirms his election, he is said to choose us; and when he gives evidence that he is displeased, he is said to reject us. The meaning, therefore, is, “Though the Lord has treated his people so severely, as if he had rejected them; yet by the actual event he will at length show and prove that he has adopted them, by giving abundant evidence of his election, and by having compassion on them for ever.”

We now may readily conclude what we have already said, namely, that the chastisements which the godly endure are widely different from that deadly stroke, however light it may be, which is inflicted on the ungodly. The godly are immediately led to consider their election, the confident belief of which cheers their hearts; but the ungodly see nothing but darkness, bottomless pits, and frightful desolation on all sides. Whenever, therefore, the Lord chastises us, we ought immediately to call to remembrance this distinction, that we may strengthen our hearts by the hope of a happier condition.

And shall cause them to rest in their own land. In their return he holds out an evidence of favor and reconciliation; for to the children of Abraham the land of Canaan was a pledge of their adoption.

And the stranger shall be joined to them. The Prophet foretells the calling of the Gentiles; as if he had said, “Not only will the Lord restore them to the possession of the land of Canaan, but will enlarge them by a great increase; for he will associate the Gentiles with them, that the two peoples may become one and the same body.” This benefit, therefore, is not limited to a short period, but extends to the whole Church, which the Lord promises to place in safety; for he speaks, not of the Church in his own time, but of the Church which shall be till the kingdom of Christ, and during his kingdom; otherwise that addition would have been inappropriate.

2. And the peoples shall take them. He means that the foreign nations will be willing to become their companions, and in such a manner that they will not scruple to discharge the duties of servants. An instance of this was given, (Ezra 1:6,) when the people were brought back from Babylon; but that was only a slight foretaste of those things which were accomplished by Christ, to whom all these statements must be referred. The Lord softened the hearts of the nations, who regarded that people with deadly hatred, so that by their guidance he brought them back to their native country, and bestowed on them their former liberty. But so far were many of the nations from assisting the Jews, after their return from Babylon, that all the neighbors earnestly entered into a league to distress them. (Ezra 4:4.) They certainly attempted not only to banish them from the land of Canaan, but to drive them entirely out of the world. These things therefore were done in the kingdom of Christ, to whom

has been given all power, not only in earth, but also in heaven, (Matthew 28:18,)

and by whom the Gentiles, who formerly had been strangers, were united to the Jews, so as not only to assist them in keeping their inheritance, but also to submit calmly and willingly to bear the yoke. It is with this view that he adds —

And the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the LORD for servants and handmaids. The Jews being in some sort the first-born (Exodus 4:22) in the house of God, we who are joined to them appear as if we had assembled under their roof; for they go before us, and hold the highest rank above all the nations, and undoubtedly would still hold it, if they did not by their ingratitude deprive themselves of these great privileges. And yet their ingratitude did not hinder the Lord from actually performing these things; for the Apostles, being Jews, subdued foreign nations by the word of God, and even those very nations by whom they were formerly carried captive, and to whom they had been tributaries, such as the Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Persians, and finally, the Roman empire; so that all the nations might justly be called their inheritance, though they did not wish to rule over them, but to gain them to God, that they might acknowledge the same Lord and Prince as themselves. These statements must therefore be referred to the dominion and yoke of Christ, to whom the Jews subdued the Gentiles, not to a government of an outward nature, such as the Jews falsely imagine.

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