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27. Deliverance of Israel

In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea. 2In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine. 3I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day. 4Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. 5Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me. 6He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.

7Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote him? or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him? 8In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind. 9By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up. 10Yet the defenced city shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness: there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches thereof. 11When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, and set them on fire: for it is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour.

12And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. 13And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.

1. In that day. Here the Prophet speaks in general of the judgment of God, and thus includes the whole of Satan’s kingdom. Having formerly spoken of the vengeance of God to be displayed against tyrants and wicked men who have shed innocent blood, he now proceeds farther, and publishes the proclamation of this vengeance.

On leviathan. The word “leviathan” is variously interpreted; but in general it simply denotes either a large serpent, or whales and sea-fishes, which approach to the character of monsters on account of their huge size. 189189     “The word leviathan, which, from its etymology, appears to mean contorted, coiled, is sometimes used to denote particular species, (e.g., the crocodile,) and sometimes as a generic term for huge aquatic animals, or the larger kind of serpents, in which sense the corresponding term! תנין (tănnīn) is also used. They both appear to be employed in this case to express the indefinite idea of a formidable monster, which is in fact the sense now commonly attached to the word dragon.” — Alexander
    FT447 Ses organes et instrumens

    FT448Chantez à la vigne rouge;” — “Sing to the red vineyard.”

    Ft449 See Commentary on Isaiah, vol. 1 p. 162

    FT450Si quelqu’un est de cet advis, je n’empesche point qu’il ne le suive;” — “If any one is of that opinion, I do not hinder him from following it.”

    FT451Tellement qu’il est constraint comme l’emprunter d’ailleurs quand il se courrouce;” — “So that he is compelled, as it were, to borrow it from another quarter when he is enraged.”

    FT452 That is, instead of making it the beginning of the following sentence, “in battle (or, in a hostile manner) I will pass through them,” it might be read as the conclusion of the question, “Who shall engage me with briers and thorns in battle?” And this concluding suggestion accords with our English version. — Ed

    FT453 “Of the various senses ascribed to או, (ō,) such as unless, oh that if, etc., the only one justified by usage is the disjunctive sense of or.” — Alexander

    FT454Ils sentiront la pesanteur de ma main;” — “They shall feel the weight of my hand.”

    FT455 That is, our Author is of opinion that או (ō) frequently has the same force as the Latin interrogative particle An. — Ed

    FT456Ce vaut-neant-ci;” — “This good-for-nothing.”

    FT457Sans feintise;” — “Without hypocrisy.”

    FT458 Such is Calvin’s translation of באים, (bāīm,) coming, which, occupying a somewhat anomalous position at the beginning of the verse, has perplexed the critics. The usual and best defended supplement is ימים, (yāmīm,) days, and thus the construction is supposed to be, “In coming days.” The French version takes ci-apres, “hereafter;” the Italian has Ne’ giorni a venire, “In the days to come;” Luther’s version has As mirb bennoch bazu fummen, “Yet it will come to this.” Our English version connects the word with “Jacob,” and makes it to signify “Them that come of Jacob,” which is countenanced by the Septuagint, οἱ ἐρχόμενοι τέκνα Ιακὼβ, “They that come, the children of Jacob,” but does not appear to have the support of any modern critic or version. — Ed

    FT459 “Hath he smitten him as he smote (Heb., according to the stroke of) those that smote him?” — Eng. Ver.

    FT460Ne plus ne moins que si le feu y avoit passé;” — “In exactly the same manner as if fire had passed on them.”

    FT461Et mis en chemin de salut;” — “And led into the way of salvation.”

    FT462Quiconque se flatte en son ordure, il attirera sur sa teste infalliblement l’ire de Dieu;” — “Whosoever flatters himself in his pollution will infallibly draw down on his head the wrath of God.”

    FT463 “And consume the branches thereof.” — Eng. Ver.

    FT464 “When the boughs thereof are withered.” — Eng. Ver.

    FT465 See p. 83

    FT466 See Commentary on Isaiah, vol. 1 p. 96

    FT467 “Whose glorious beauty is a fading flower.” — Eng. Ver.

    FT468 “Woe to Samaria, the proud chaplet of the drunkards of Ephraim, which stands at the head of a rich valley belonging to a race of sots! ‘Sebaste, the ancient Samaria, is situated on a long mount of an oval figure, having first a fruitful valley, and then a ring of hills running round about it.’ — Maundrell, p. 58. Hence it is likened to a chaplet, or wreath of flowers, worn upon the head by Jews, as well as Greeks and Romans, at their banquets, as may be seen, Wisd. 2:7, 8.” — Stock

    FT469De la vallee grasse;” — “Of the fat valley.”

    FT470Tyran de Sicile;” — “Tyrant of Sicily.”

    FT471 Justin, in a rapid sketch of that tyrant, informs us that, “after having defeated his rivals, he abandoned himself to indolence and gluttony, which brought on such weakness of sight that he could not bear day-light; that the consciousness of being despised on account of his blindness made him more cruel than before, and led him to fill the city with murders as much as his father had filled the jails with prisoners, so that he became universally hated and despised.” — Justin, Hist. 1. 21, c. 11. The appalling facts are confirmed by other historians. — Ed

    FT472Puis donc qu’ils sont coulpables d’une mesme ingratitude;” — “Since they are guilty of the same ingratitude.”

    FT473Aux despens de leurs freres;” — “At the expense of their brethren.”

    FT474Que nous regimbons contre l’esperon;” — “That we kick against the spur.”

    FT475A des petis enfans n’agueres sevrez;” — “To young infants hardly weaned.”

    FT476Que tous apportent du ventre de la mere;” — “Which all bring from their mother’s womb.”

    FT477Afin de ne fascher les oreilles des lecteurs.”

    FT478 “Line upon line.” — Eng. Ver.

    FT479De toutes parts, ou, ligne apres ligne;” — “On all sides, or, line after line.”

    FT480 The reader may consult the Author’s exposition, and the Translator’s notes Commentary on the Book of Psalms, vol. 1, pp. 312, 313. — Ed

    FT481 “For with stammering lips. (Heb. Stammerings of lips.)” — Eng. Ver.

    FT482 “But since this patience has been lost upon them, a stronger way shall be taken to force their attention. God will thunder in their ears, what to them will appear jargon, the language of a foreign nation, by whom they shall be carried into captivity.” — Stock

    FT483De ce que la parole est au milieu de nous;” — “Because the word is in the midst of us.”

    FT484 See Commentary on Isaiah, vol. 1 p. 282

    FT485 From which the noun לצון (lātzōn) is derived. The phrase אנשי לצוןnshēlatzon) literally signifies “men of scorn,” and is so rendered by Stock and others; but the force of the Hebrew idiom is fully brought out by the word “scoffers,” as in Lowth, or by “scornful men,” as in the English Version. — Ed

    FT486Ces moqueurs;” — “Those mockers.”

    FT487 חזה (chōzĕh) is properly a participle (seeing) often used as a noun to denote a seer or prophet. Here the connection seems distinctly to require the sense of league or covenant. That there is no error in the text may be inferred from the substitution of the cognate form חזות (chŭzūth) in verse 18. Hitzig accounts for the transfer of meanings by the supposition that in making treaties it was usual to consult the seer or prophet. Ewald supposes an allusion to the practice of necromantic art or divination as a safeguard against death, and translates the word orafel, (oracle.) The more common explanation of the usage traces it to the idea of an interview or meeting, and the act of looking one another in the face, from which the transition is by no means difficult to that of mutual understanding or agreement.” — Alexander. Buxtorf renders it “a seer, or prophet,” and, by a transferred meaning, “provision,” or “foresight,” “We have made provision, we have looked forward, we have acted with foresight;” and adds, that the Chaldee version renders it שלמא, (shĕlūmā,) peace. — Ed

    FT488Car c’eust esté une chose trop ridicule et dont les petits enfans se fussent moquez;” “For it would have been too absurd, and even young children would have laughed at it.”

    FT489 Lucian is often alluded to by our Author as the type of daring and scornful infidels. See Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, vol. 2, p. 283, n. 1. — Ed

    FT490 Commonly called the Septuagint. — Ed

    FT491 See Commentary on Isaiah, vol. 1 p. 280

    FT492Voire en despit de leurs dents;” — “Even in spite of their teeth.”

    FT493Qu’il leur pend une horrible calamité sur leurs testes, laquelle ils ne voyent point;” — “That there hangs over their heads a dreadful calamity which they do not see.”

    FT494 “And it shall be a vexation only to understand the report. Or, when he shall make you to understand doctrine.” — (Eng. Ver.) “And even the report alone shall cause terror.” — Lowth. “And it shall be terror merely to hear the report of it.” — Stock. “And only vexation (or distress) shall be the understanding of the thing heard.” — Alexander. “E’l sentirne il grido non produrrà altro che commovimento;” — “And to hear the cry of it will produce nothing but distress.” — (Ital. Ver.)

    FT495 “There are three interpretations of the last clause, one of which supposes it to mean, that the mere report of the approaching scourge should fill them with distress; another, that the effect of the report should be universal distress; a third, that nothing but a painful experience would enable them to understand the lesson which the Prophet was commissioned to teach them. שמועה (shĕmūgnāh) meaning simply what is heard, may of course denote either rumor or revelation. The latter seems to be the meaning in verse 9, where the noun stands connected with the same verb as here. Whether this verb ever means simply to perceive or hear, may be considered doubtful; if not, the preference is due to the third interpretation above given, viz., that nothing but distress or suffering could make them understand or even attend to the message from Jehovah.” — Alexander

    FT496La sua opera strana, la sua operazione straordinaria;” — “His strange work, his extraordinary act.” — Ital. Ver.

    FT497 See Commentary on Isaiah, vol. 1 p. 360

    FT498Avec mesme raison et equité;” — “With the same reason and justice.”

    FT499 “The common version, ‘all day,’ though it seems to be a literal translation, does not convey the sense of the original expression, which is used both here and elsewhere to mean ‘all the time,’ or ‘always.’” — Alexander

    FT500Et les fideles sont sujets à beaucoup de miseres, voire plus que ne sont pas les reprouvez;” — “And believers are liable to many afflictions, even more than the reprobate are.”

    FT501 “Will the ploughman never sow, but always cut the earth by spades and instruments for ploughing?” — Jarchi

    FT502 “This apposite simile from the various methods used by the husbandman in preparing his land, and in managing the crop after it is gathered, is addressed to those who might question divine providence, because sentence against the wicked is not executed speedily. God, who teacheth the farmer the proper time and manner of treating his crop, knoweth best when and how to punish sinners: he reduceth them not to dust at once, any more than corn is suffered to lie under pressure till it is rendered unserviceable, but chastiseth in mercy, in order to reclaim them.” — Stock

    FT503 “The principle wheat and the appointed barley. Or, wheat in the appointed place, and barley in the appointed place.” — Eng. Ver. “The choice wheat and the picked barley.” — Stock. “The wheat in due measure.” — Lowth

    FT504 “The words שורה (sōrāh) and נמסן (nĭmsān) are by some explained as epithets of the grain; principal wheat, appointed or sealed barley. Ewald makes them descriptive of the soil; wheat in the best ground, barley in the rough ground. But the explanation best sustained by usage and analogy is that of Gesenius, who takes נמסן (nĭmsān) in the sense of appointed, designated, and שורה (sōrāh) in that of a row or series.” — Alexander

    FT505Car en France on n’escout point le bled sinon avec le fleau, excepté en Provence;” — “For in France corn is not thrashed in any way but with the flail, except in Provence.”

    FT506Et comme faire passer la charue et la herse sur les peuples;” — “And, as it were, to pass the waggon and the harrow over the nations.”

    FT507Comme si les meschans avoyent la bride sur le col;” — “As if the wicked had the bridle on their neck.”
A1though this description applies to the king of Egypt, yet under one class he intended also to include the other enemies of the Church. For my own part, I have no doubt that he speaks allegorically of Satan and of his whole kingdom, describing him under the figure of some monstrous animal, and at the same time glancing at the crafty wiles by which he glosses over his mischievous designs. In this manner he intended to meet many doubts by which we are continually assailed, when God declares that he will assist us, and when we experience, on the other hand, the strength, craft, and deceitfulness of Satan. Wonderful are the stratagems with which he comes prepared for doing mischief, and dreadful the cruelty which he exercises against the children of God. But the Prophet shews that all this will not prevent the Lord from destroying and overthrowing this kingdom. It is indeed certain that this passage does not relate to Satan himself, but to his agents or instruments, 190190    {Bogus footnote} by which he governs his kingdom and annoys the Church of God. Now, though this kingdom is defended by innumerable cunning devices, and is astonishingly powerful, yet the Lord will destroy it.

To convince us of this, the Prophet contrasts with it the Lord’s sword, hard, and great, and strong, by which he will easily slay an enemy that is both strong and crafty. It ought therefore to be observed, that we have continually to do with Satan as with some wild beast, and that the world is the sea in which we sail. We are beset by various wild beasts, which endeavor to upset our ship and sink us to the bottom; and we have no means of defending ourselves and resisting them, if the Lord do not aid us. Accordingly, by this description the Prophet intended to describe the greatness of the danger which threatens us from enemies so powerful and so full of rage and of cunning devices. We should quickly be reduced to the lowest extremity, and should be utterly ruined, did not God oppose and meet them with his invincible power; for by his sword alone can this pernicious kingdom of Satan be destroyed.

But we must observe what he says in the beginning of the verse, In that day. It means that Satan is permitted, for some time, to strengthen and defend his kingdom, but that it will at length be destroyed; as Paul also declares, “God will quickly bruise Satan under your feet.” (Romans 16:20.) By this promise he shews that the time for war is not yet ended, and that we must fight bravely till that enemy be subdued, who, though he has been a hundred times vanquished, ceases not to renew the warfare. We must therefore fight with him continually, and must resist the violent attacks which he makes upon us; but, in order that we may not be discouraged, we must keep our eye on that day when his strong arm shall be broken.

On leviathan the piercing serpent, and on leviathan the crooked serpent. The epithets applied to “leviathan” describe, on the one hand, his tricks and wiles, and, on the other hand, his open violence; but at the same time intimate that he is endued with invincible power. Since בריח (bārīăch) signifies a crowbar, that word denotes metaphorically the power of piercing, either on account of venomous bites or on account of open violence. The second name, עקלתון, (gnăkāllāthōn,) is derived from the verb עקל, (gnākăl,) to bend; and hence it comes to be applied to crooked and tortuous foldings.

2. Sing to the vineyard of redness. 191191    {Bogus footnote} He now shews that all this will promote the salvation of the Church; for the Lord attends to the interests of his people, whom he has taken under his guardianship and protection. In order, therefore, that the Church may be restored, Satan and all his kingdom shall be utterly destroyed. The object of all the vengeance which God takes on his enemies is to shew that he takes care of the Church; and although in this passage the Prophet does not name the Church, he shews plainly enough that he addresses her in this congratulation.

This figure conveys the meaning even more strongly than if he had spoken expressly of the people of Israel; for since the whole excellence of a vineyard depends partly on the soil in which it is planted, and partly on diligent cultivation, if the Church of God is a vineyard, we infer that its excellence is owing to nothing else than the undeserved favor of God and the uninterrupted continuance of his kindness. The same metaphor expresses also God’s astonishing love towards the Church, of which we spoke largely under the fifth chapter. 192192    {Bogus footnote}

He calls it a vineyard of redness, that is, very excellent; for in Scripture, if we compare various passages, “red wine” denotes excellence. He says that this song may at that time be sung in the Church, and foretells that, though it would in the mean time be reduced to fearful ruin, and would lie desolate and waste, yet that afterwards it will be restored in such a manner as to yield fruit plentifully, and that this will furnish abundant materials for singing.


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