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10

Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,

all you who love her;

rejoice with her in joy,

all you who mourn over her—

11

that you may nurse and be satisfied

from her consoling breast;

that you may drink deeply with delight

from her glorious bosom.

 

12

For thus says the Lord:

I will extend prosperity to her like a river,

and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream;

and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm,

and dandled on her knees.

13

As a mother comforts her child,

so I will comfort you;

you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

The Reign and Indignation of God

14

You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;

your bodies shall flourish like the grass;

and it shall be known that the hand of the Lord is with his servants,

and his indignation is against his enemies.


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10. Rejoice ye with Jerusalem. He promises that they who formerly were sad and melancholy shall have a joyful condition; for Isaiah has in view not his own age, but the time of the captivity, during which believers continually groaned, and, overwhelmed with grief, almost despaired; and therefore he exhorts and stimulates to joy all believers, who are moved by strong affection toward the Church, and reckon nothing more desirable than her prosperity. In this way he instructs them that none shall have a share in so valuable a blessing but they who are prompted by a godly love of the Church, and desire to seek her deliverance, and that too when she is contemptible in the eyes of the world; as the Psalmist says,

“For thy meek ones love her stones, and will have compassion on her dust.”
(Psalm 102:14.)

And therefore he adds, —

All ye that mourn for her; for, since in the captivity there was frightful and shocking desolation, and there appeared to be no longer any hope of safety, he arouses believers, and bids them be of good cheer, or at least prepare themselves for joy. And this exhortation contains also a promise and something more, for a bare promise would not have carried so much weight. But those statements must not be limited exclusively to a single period; for we ought to abide by the general rule, of which we have often spoken already, namely, that those promises must be extended from the return of the people down to the reign of Christ, and to the full perfection of that reign.

11. That ye may suck. This verse ought to be joined with the preceding verse; for the Prophet explains what shall be the occasion of joy, namely, because the wretched and miserable condition of the Church shall be changed into a happy and prosperous condition. By the word “suck” he makes an allusion to young infants; as if he had said, “That you may enjoy your mother with every advantage, and may hang on her breasts.” Here all believers, whatever may be their age, are compared by him to children, that they may remember their infirmity and may be confirmed by the strength of the Lord; and therefore this metaphor of “sucking” and “milking” ought to be carefully observed.

From the breast of her consolations. Some take the word “consolations” in an active, and others in a passive sense; but I prefer to adopt the passive signification; for he means the consolations which the Church has received, and of which he makes his children partakers. And indeed none can be greater or more abundant, none can be more excellent, than that ground of joy; and this appears more clearly from the following clause, “that ye may be delighted with the brightness of her glory.”

12. I cause peace to flow on her like a river. He continues his metaphor, and compares the children of God to infants, that are carried in the arms, and warmed in the bosom of their mothers, who even play with them. And in order that he may express more strongly his affection toward us, he compares himself to a mother, whose love, as we have formerly seen, (page 30,) exceeds every other by a wide interval. (Isaiah 49:15.) The Lord wishes to be to us in the room of a mother, that, instead of the annoyances, reproaches, distresses, and anxieties, which we have endured, he may treat us gently, and, as it were, fondle us in his bosom. By the word “peace” he means prosperity.

And the glory of the Gentiles as an overflowing torrent. The word “glory” contains a repetition, by which he denotes every kind of riches, so that nothing is wanting to full and perfect peace; for, since the Gentiles had formerly lived luxuriously, and had enjoyed a vast abundance of everything desirable, he affirms that all riches, and everything that belongs to a happy life, shall be possessed by believers, as the rivers run into the sea. By “constant flowing” he denotes continuance; for, since God is an inexhaustible fountain, his peace differs widely from the peace of the world, which quickly passes away and is dried up. Whenever therefore we behold the sad and melancholy condition of the Church, let us remember that these promises relate to us not less than to that people. Seeing that the Lord has rivers of peace which he wishes to cause to flow into his Church, let us not despair even amidst the fiercest wars; but, in our distresses and straits, let us cheer our hearts and rejoice. When he takes pleasure in us as infants, and not as men of mature age, we ought to acknowledge our condition, that we may be satisfied with such consolations. And indeed it is a token of remarkable condescension that he thus bears with our weakness.

13. As a man 224224     “The English version, which in multitudes of cases inserts ‘man’ where the original expression is indefinite, (translating οὐδείς, for example, always ‘no man’) here reverses the process, and dilutes ‘a man’ to ‘one.’ The same liberty is taken by many other versions, old and new, occasioned no doubt by a feeling of the incongruity of making a full-grown man the subject of maternal consolations. The difficulty might, if it were necessary, be avoided by explaining איש (ish) to mean a man-child, as it does in Genesis 4:1; 1 Samuel 1:11; and in many other cases. But the truth is, that the solecism, which has been so carefully expunged by these translators, is an exquisite trait of patriarchal manners, in their primitive simplicity. Compare Genesis 24:67; Judges 17:2; 1 Kings 2:19, 20, and the affecting scenes between Thetis and Achilles in the Iliad.” — Alexander. whom his mother comforteth. It is wonderful that the Prophet, who appeared to have already spoken enough about this renewal, dwells on it so largely. But, because he can neither express the greatness and warmth of the love which God bears toward us, nor satisfy himself with speaking about it, for that reason he mentions and repeats it frequently.

And you shall have consolation in Jerusalem. There are two ways in which this may be explained. It may be said that believers shall have joyful hearts, when they shall behold the Church restored; or, that the Church, after having been restored, shall discharge her duty by gladdening her children. I prefer the latter interpretation, though either of them is admissible. The former appears to be a richer interpretation; but we must consider what the Prophet meant, and not what we think the most beautiful. In the first place, indeed, he makes God the author of the joy, and justly; but, in the second place, he adds that Jerusalem is his handmaid. But this is not addressed to irreligious scorners, who are not moved by any solicitude about the Church, but to those who, with holy zeal, declare that they are her children.

14. And ye shall see. By the word “see,” he expresses undoubted experience, that believers may not doubt as to the result, but, embracing this prediction with full belief, may patiently endure for a time the barrenness of the Church.

And your bones shall flourish as grass. He illustrates his former statement by a metaphor, saying that “their bones” shall regain their former vigor, as faded “grass” becomes fresh and green again. He mentions the “bones,” which are commonly dried up by a melancholy spirit, (Proverbs 17:22,) and, on the other hand, are replenished and invigorated by a happy and cheerful disposition. Thus he describes an ardent and invaluable joy, and seems to allude to the sadness by which believers had been almost dried up during the captivity, and had become like dead men. The Lord therefore comforts them, and promises that the Church shall flourish, and shall abound in everything that is desirable; as if bones, that wanted moisture, should regain their former vigor, or as grass, which appears to be dead during the winter, recovers its freshness every year.

And the hand of Jehovah shall be known toward his servants. That they may cherish confidence, he nexts bids them rise to God, who will then reveal his assistance. It follows from this, that the hand of God has not always been known, but has sometimes remained concealed, as if he had no care about his people. At first sight, he appeared to have cast them off; for Daniel, and other good men, (Daniel 1:6,) not less than Zedekiah, (Jeremiah 52:9,) were carried into captivity. He says, that when the fine weather shall smile upon them, there shall be such a distinction between the good and the bad, as to make manifest this hand, which formerly was in some measure hidden; because he will no longer conceal himself, or permit the wicked to ravage without control, but will openly shew how great is his solicitude about his people. If therefore for a time the enemies have the superiority, and pursue their lawless course without being punished, if we appear to be overlooked and destitute of all assistance, let us not despair; for the time will come when the Lord will reveal himself, and will rescue us from their assaults and tyranny.




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