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Let Zion Rejoice


Awake, awake,

put on your strength, O Zion!

Put on your beautiful garments,

O Jerusalem, the holy city;

for the uncircumcised and the unclean

shall enter you no more.


Shake yourself from the dust, rise up,

O captive Jerusalem;

loose the bonds from your neck,

O captive daughter Zion!


3 For thus says the L ord: You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money. 4For thus says the Lord G od: Long ago, my people went down into Egypt to reside there as aliens; the Assyrian, too, has oppressed them without cause. 5Now therefore what am I doing here, says the L ord, seeing that my people are taken away without cause? Their rulers howl, says the L ord, and continually, all day long, my name is despised. 6Therefore my people shall know my name; therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here am I.



How beautiful upon the mountains

are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,

who brings good news,

who announces salvation,

who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”


Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices,

together they sing for joy;

for in plain sight they see

the return of the L ord to Zion.


Break forth together into singing,

you ruins of Jerusalem;

for the L ord has comforted his people,

he has redeemed Jerusalem.


The L ord has bared his holy arm

before the eyes of all the nations;

and all the ends of the earth shall see

the salvation of our God.



Depart, depart, go out from there!

Touch no unclean thing;

go out from the midst of it, purify yourselves,

you who carry the vessels of the L ord.


For you shall not go out in haste,

and you shall not go in flight;

for the L ord will go before you,

and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.


The Suffering Servant


See, my servant shall prosper;

he shall be exalted and lifted up,

and shall be very high.


Just as there were many who were astonished at him

—so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance,

and his form beyond that of mortals—


so he shall startle many nations;

kings shall shut their mouths because of him;

for that which had not been told them they shall see,

and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.

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.

3. For thus saith Jehovah. This verse has been badly expounded by many commentators, who have here chosen to enter into philosophical subtleties; for they have dreamed of many things at variance with the Prophet’s meaning. It agrees with what he had formerly stated,

“To which of my creditors have I sold you?” (Isaiah 1:1.)

For here, in the same manner, he says, “Ye have been sold for nought;” as if he had said that he has received no price, and is under no obligations to a creditor who can claim them as having been purchased by him. This tends greatly to confirm the promise; because the Jews might entertain doubts of the liberty which was promised to them, in consequence of their having been long held in possession by the Babylonians, who were the most powerful of all nations. The Lord meets this doubt. “I did not sell or make a conveyance of you to them; for nought were ye sold; and therefore I can justly claim you as nay property and sell you. Do not then consider how great are your difficulties, when I promise you liberty, and do not reason on this matter by human arguments; for the Babylonians have no right to detain you, and cannot prevent your being set at liberty.

Therefore shall ye be redeemed without money. Lastly, as he had formerly said, that he is not like a spendthrift, who is compelled to sell his children, or offer them in payment, so in this passage he declares that “for nought he sold” and gave them up to their enemies, for no other reason than because they had provoked him by their sins; and therefore that there will be no greater difficulty in delivering them than in giving them up to their enemies.

Some explain it more ingeniously thus, that Christ has redeemed us by free grace. This doctrine must indeed be maintained, but does not agree with the Prophet’s meaning, who intended to correct the distrust of the Jews, that they might have no doubt as to their being set at liberty. Let it suffice to know, that when God shall be pleased to deliver his people, it will not be necessary to make a pecuniary bargain with the Babylonians, whom, in spite of their opposition, he will have no difficulty in driving out of their unjust possession.

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