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Zion’s Children to Be Brought Home


Thus says the Lord:

In a time of favor I have answered you,

on a day of salvation I have helped you;

I have kept you and given you

as a covenant to the people,

to establish the land,

to apportion the desolate heritages;


saying to the prisoners, “Come out,”

to those who are in darkness, “Show yourselves.”

They shall feed along the ways,

on all the bare heights shall be their pasture;


they shall not hunger or thirst,

neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them down,

for he who has pity on them will lead them,

and by springs of water will guide them.


And I will turn all my mountains into a road,

and my highways shall be raised up.


Lo, these shall come from far away,

and lo, these from the north and from the west,

and these from the land of Syene.



Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;

break forth, O mountains, into singing!

For the Lord has comforted his people,

and will have compassion on his suffering ones.



But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,

my Lord has forgotten me.”


Can a woman forget her nursing child,

or show no compassion for the child of her womb?

Even these may forget,

yet I will not forget you.


See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands;

your walls are continually before me.


Your builders outdo your destroyers,

and those who laid you waste go away from you.


Lift up your eyes all around and see;

they all gather, they come to you.

As I live, says the Lord,

you shall put all of them on like an ornament,

and like a bride you shall bind them on.



Surely your waste and your desolate places

and your devastated land—

surely now you will be too crowded for your inhabitants,

and those who swallowed you up will be far away.


The children born in the time of your bereavement

will yet say in your hearing:

“The place is too crowded for me;

make room for me to settle.”


Then you will say in your heart,

“Who has borne me these?

I was bereaved and barren,

exiled and put away—

so who has reared these?

I was left all alone—

where then have these come from?”



Thus says the Lord God:

I will soon lift up my hand to the nations,

and raise my signal to the peoples;

and they shall bring your sons in their bosom,

and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.


Kings shall be your foster fathers,

and their queens your nursing mothers.

With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you,

and lick the dust of your feet.

Then you will know that I am the Lord;

those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.


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8. Messiah is represented as having asked for the grace of God in behalf of sinners; this verse contains God the Father's favorable answer.

an acceptable time—"In a time of grace" [Hengstenberg]. A limited time (Isa 61:2; 2Co 6:2). The time judged by God to be the best fitted for effecting the purposes of His grace by Messiah.

heard thee—(Ps 2:8; Heb 5:7).

day of salvation—when "the fulness of time" (Ga 4:4) shall have come. The day of salvation is "to-day" (Heb 4:7).

helped—given Thee the help needed to enable Thee, as man, to accomplish man's salvation.

preserve—from the assaults and efforts of Satan, to divert Thee from Thy voluntary death to save man.

covenant of the people—(See on Isa 42:6). "The people," in the singular, is always applied exclusively to Israel.

establish the earth—rather, "to restore the land," namely, Canaan to Israel. Spiritually, the restoration of the Church (the spiritual Israel) to the heavenly land forfeited by man's sin is also included.

cause to inherit … desolate heritages—image from the desolate state of Judea during the Babylonish captivity. Spiritually, the Gentile world, a moral waste, shall become a garden of the Lord. Literally, Judea lying desolate for ages shall be possessed again by Israel (compare Isa 61:7, "in their land"). Jesus, the antitype of, and bearing the same name as Joshua (Heb 4:8), shall, like him, divide the land among its true heirs (Isa 54:3; 61:4).

9. (Isa 42:7; Zec 9:12).

prisoners—the Jews bound in legal bondage.

them … in darkness—the Gentiles having no light as to the one true God [Vitringa].

Show yourselves—not only see but be seen (Mt 5:16; Mr 5:19). Come forth from the darkness of your prison into the light of the Sun of righteousness.

in the ways, &c.—In a desert there are no "ways," nor "high places," with "pastures"; thus the sense is: "They shall have their pastures, not in deserts, but in cultivated and inhabited places." Laying aside the figure, the churches of Christ at the first shall be gathered, not in obscure and unknown regions, but in the most populous parts of the Roman empire, Antioch, Alexandria, Rome, &c. [Vitringa]. Another sense probably is the right one. Israel, on its way back to the Holy Land, shall not have to turn aside to devious paths in search of necessaries, but shall find them in all places wherever their route lies; so Rosenmuller. God will supply them as if He should make the grass grow in the trodden ways and on the barren high places.

10. Messiah will abundantly satisfy all the wants, both of literal Israel on their way to Palestine, and of the spiritual on their way to heaven, as their Shepherd (Isa 65:13; Mt 5:6), also in heaven (Re 7:16, 17).

11. my—All things are God's.

mountains a way—I will remove all obstructions out of the way (Isa 40:4).

exalted—that is, cast up (Isa 57:14; 62:10); for instance, over valleys. Vitringa explains "mountains" as great kingdoms, Egypt, Syria, &c., subjected to Rome, to facilitate the spreading of the Gospel; "highways," the Christian doctrine wherein those who join the Church walk, and which, at the time of Constantine, was to be raised into prominence before all, and publicly protected (Isa 35:8, 9).

12. Sinim—The Arabians and other Asiatics called China Sin, or Tchin; the Chinese had no special name for themselves, but either adopted that of the reigning dynasty or some high-sounding titles. This view of "Sinim" suits the context which requires a people to be meant "from far," and distinct from those "from the north and from the west" [Gesenius].

13. So Re 12:12. God will have mercy on the afflicted, because of His compassion; on His afflicted, because of His covenant.

14. Zion—the literal Israel's complaint, as if God had forsaken her in the Babylonian captivity; also in their dispersion previous to their future restoration; thereby God's mercy shall be called forth (Isa 63:15-19; Ps 77:9, 10; 102:17).

15. (Isa 44:21; Ps 103:13; Mt 7:11).

16. Alluding to the Jews' custom (perhaps drawn from Ex 13:9) of puncturing on their hands a representation of their city and temple, in token of zeal for them [Lowth], (So 8:6).

17. Thy children—Israel (Isa 49:20, 21; Isa 43:6). Jerome reads, for "Thy children," "Thy builders"; they that destroyed thee shall hasten to build thee.

haste—to rebuild thy desolate capital.

shall go forth—Thy destroyers shall leave Judea to Israel in undisturbed possession.

18. As Zion is often compared to a bride (Isa 54:5), so the accession of converts is like bridal ornaments ("jewels," Isa 62:3; Mal 3:17). Her literal children are, however, more immediately meant, as the context refers to their restoration; and only secondarily to her spiritual children by conversion to Christ. Israel shall be the means of the final complete conversion of the nations (Mic 5:7; Ro 11:12, 15).

as a bride—namely, binds on her ornaments.

19. land of thy destruction—thy land once the scene of destruction.

too narrow—(Isa 54:1, 2; Zec 10:10).

20. children … after … other—rather, "the children of thy widowhood," that is, the children of whom thou hast been bereft during their dispersion in other lands (see on Isa 47:8) [Maurer].

again—rather, "yet."

give place—rather, "stand close to me," namely, in order that we may be the more able to dwell in in the narrow place [Horsley]. Compare as to Israel's spiritual children, and the extension of the gospel sphere, Ro 15:19, 24; 2Co 10:14-16. But Isa 49:22 (compare Isa 66:20) shows that her literal children are primarily meant. Gesenius translates, "Make room."

21. Who, &c.—Zion's joyful wonder at the unexpected restoration of the ten tribes. Secondarily, the accession of spiritual Israelites to the mother church of Jerusalem from the Gentiles is meant. This created surprise at first (Ac 10:45; 14:27; 15:3, 4).

lost … am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro—rather, "bereaved of … have been barren, an exile and outcast" [Horsley]. She had been "put away" by Jehovah, her husband (Isa 50:1); hence her wonder at the children begotten to her.

22. lift … hand—that is, beckon to (see on Isa 13:2).

standard—(Isa 11:12).

bring … sons in … arms—The Gentiles shall aid in restoring Israel to its own land (Isa 60:4; 66:20). Children able to support themselves are carried on the shoulders in the East; but infants, in the arms, or astride on one haunch (Isa 60:12). "Thy sons" must be distinct from "the Gentiles," who carry them; and therefore cannot primarily refer to converts among the Gentiles.

23. lick … dust—that is, kiss thy feet in token of humble submission.

for they … not … ashamed … wait for me—The restoration of Israel shall be in answer to their prayerful waiting on the Lord (Isa 30:18, 19; Ps 102:16, 17; Zec 12:10; 14:3).