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The Vindication and Salvation of Zion


For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,

and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,

until her vindication shines out like the dawn,

and her salvation like a burning torch.


The nations shall see your vindication,

and all the kings your glory;

and you shall be called by a new name

that the mouth of the L ord will give.


You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the L ord,

and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.


You shall no more be termed Forsaken,

and your land shall no more be termed Desolate;

but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,

and your land Married;

for the L ord delights in you,

and your land shall be married.


For as a young man marries a young woman,

so shall your builder marry you,

and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,

so shall your God rejoice over you.


Upon your walls, O Jerusalem,

I have posted sentinels;

all day and all night

they shall never be silent.

You who remind the L ord,

take no rest,


and give him no rest

until he establishes Jerusalem

and makes it renowned throughout the earth.


The L ord has sworn by his right hand

and by his mighty arm:

I will not again give your grain

to be food for your enemies,

and foreigners shall not drink the wine

for which you have labored;


but those who garner it shall eat it

and praise the L ord,

and those who gather it shall drink it

in my holy courts.



Go through, go through the gates,

prepare the way for the people;

build up, build up the highway,

clear it of stones,

lift up an ensign over the peoples.


The L ord has proclaimed

to the end of the earth:

Say to daughter Zion,

“See, your salvation comes;

his reward is with him,

and his recompense before him.”


They shall be called, “The Holy People,

The Redeemed of the L ord”;

and you shall be called, “Sought Out,

A City Not Forsaken.”


1. On account of Zion I will not be silent. That sad captivity being at hand, which was almost to blot out the name of the whole nation, it was necessary to confirm and encourage believers by many words, that with strong and assured confidence they might rely on these promises under the burden of the cross. Here, therefore, the Prophet, discharging that office which had been entrusted to him, openly declares that he will not be slack in the performance of his duty, and will not cease to speak, till he encourage the hearts of believers by the hope of future salvation, that they may know and be fully convinced that God will be the deliverer of his Church. He too might have been dismayed by the unbelief of that people, and might have lost courage when he saw that matters were every day growing worse, and when he foresaw that terrible vengeance. But, notwithstanding so great difficulties, he will still persist in his duty, that all may know that neither the massacre of the people nor their unbelief can prevent God from executing his promises at the proper time.

And on account of Jerusalem I will not rest. It was necessary that these things should be frequently repeated, because such is the depravity of our mind that we speedily forget God’s promises. When he says that he will not cease to speak, he likewise reminds others of their duty, that they may take courage, and expect with assured confidence their restoration, though it be long delayed, and even that their unwearied attention may answer to the voice of God which constantly addresses them. We know by experience every day how necessary this is, while Satan endeavors by every method to turn us aside from the right course.

At the same time he shews what ought to be the aim of godly teachers, namely, to spend and devote themselves entirely for the advantage of the Church; for when he says “on account of Zion,” he means that our chief care ought to be that the Church may be preserved, and that none are good and faithful teachers but they who hold the salvation of the Church so dear as to spare no labors. Some explain this as relating to prayer, but I choose rather to refer it to doctrine; and it is more natural to view it as meaning’ that no inconvenience or annoyance shall wear out his patience, and no opposition shall retard him from proceeding in the office of teaching which God has enjoined on him concerning the redemption of the Church. For if he had survived that very sad calamity, the unbelieving multitude would undoubtedly have persecuted him, as well as the other Prophets, by many reproaches; but whatever may happen, he says that he is fortified by unshaken firmness, never to be dumb through shame, but to proceed with unremitting eagerness in his course. Besides, by this form of expression he procures credit to his predictions, and maintains their authority, so that, even when he is dead, they do not cease to resound in the ears of believers.

Till her righteousness go forth as brightness. By “righteousness” he means the rights of the Church; for during the period of calamity, she appeared to be condemned. Her “righteousness,” therefore, “goes forth” when she is perfectly restored, and regains her former condition; for that righteousness lay concealed during the captivity.

And her salvation. To “righteousness” he adds “salvation,” because they whom God justifies, or to whom he re-restores their rights, do likewise regain their “salvation.” Hence we infer that we are wretched and without assistance, so long as God withholds his grace from us on account of our sins; and therefore in other passages he frequently gave the appellation of “the righteousness of God” to that which he here affirms to be the righteousness of the Church. Thus we are undone while we are destitute of the righteousness of God; that is, while we slumber in our sins, and God shews himself to be a severe judge by punishing us for them.

The phrase “go forth” means that the righteousness of the Church was hidden and, as it were, buried for a time: she deserved in the sight of God no favor; but, on the contrary, her unspeakable iniquities prevailed to such an extent that there remained nothing but God’s righteous vengeance. But here the Prophet has his eye on men who already looked upon the afflicted Church as lost, and by their pride and reproaches almost cast her down to hell.

May burn like a lamp. Finally, he compares her to the world, and says, that with respect to the world she shall be righteous, when God shall have purged away her sins and undertaken her cause. By these words the Prophet teaches that we ought always to entertain favorable hopes of the restoration of the Church, though she be plunged under thick darkness and in the grave; for although for a time she is overwhelmed and hidden, yet she has God for her avenger in heaven, who, after having chastised her moderately, will at length shew that she was the object of his care. And indeed his righteousness must be illustrious and manifest, and that for the salvation of those whom he hath chosen to be his people and heritage.

2. And the Gentiles shall see. He now states more plainly the reason why he formerly said that he would not be silent, namely, that believers may be fully convinced that salvation is not promised to them in vain.

And all the kings of the earth thy glory. Here he employs the word “glory” as meaning “salvation.” We see here the argument by which prophets must fortify themselves for perseverance, namely, that the Lord is faithful, and will at length fulfill what he has once promised, though he delay for a time. The word kings serves for amplification; as if he had said that not only mean persons and those of the lowest rank shall behold and admire the glory of God, but even “kings” themselves, who commonly look down with contempt on all that was worthy in other respects of being esteemed and honored; for they are blinded by their splendor, and maddened by their high rank, so that they do not willingly behold any rank but their own.

And thou shalt be called by a new name. By a “new name” he means “a crowded assemblage;” for the people were so completely scattered, that there was no visible body, and they appeared to be altogether ruined. Although a vast multitude of persons were led into captivity, yet, having been scattered among the Babylonians, they were driven about like the members of a body broken in pieces, and scarcely retained the name of a people; which had also been foretold to them. After having been brought back from captivity, they began again to be united in one body, and thus regained the “name” of which they had been deprived. Yet “new” denotes what is uncommon; as if the Prophet had said that the glory of the people shall be extraordinary and such as was never before heard of. We know that this took place in the progress of time; for that small band of people, while they dwelt by sufferance in their native country, could not by any extraordinary distinction arrive at so great renown; but at length, when the doctrine of the Gospel had been preached, the Jewish name became known and renowned.

Which the mouth of Jehovah shall name. He confirms what would otherwise have been hard to be believed, by promising that God will be the author of this glory; for it was not in the power of men thus to raise a Church which had sunk low and was covered with dishonor, but to God, who “lifteth up the poor from the dunghill,” (Psalm 113:7,) it was not difficult to adorn his Church by new celebrity. As there was no face of a Church for forty years, and, although the Lord had some seed, yet it was in a state so disordered and so ruinous that there was no visible people of God, he now restores to the Church its name, when he has assembled it by the word of the Gospel. This majestic work of God, therefore, ought to confirm us on this point, that we may know that he will never forsake his Church; and although wicked men tear us by their slanders, and beat and spit upon us, and in every way endeavor to make us universally loathed, let us remember that God is not deprived of his right to vindicate us in the world, whose names he has deigned to write in heaven.

Others expound the passage in a more ingenious manner, namely, that instead of Israelites they shall be called Christians. But I think that the former meaning is more agreeable to the context and to the Prophet’s ordinary language; and we ought carefully to observe those forms of expression which are peculiar to the prophets, that we may become familiar with their style. In a word, the people shall be restored, though it appears to be exterminated, and shall obtain, not from men but from God, a new name.

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