Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.LXII.
(1) For Zion’s sake . . .—Opinions again differ as to the speaker. Is he the prophet, or the Servant of Jehovah, or Jehovah Himself ? On the whole, the second view seems to be most in harmony with what follows. The true Servant will carry on what in the language of later theology may be called his mediatorial intercessory work, that there may be no delay in the fulfilment of the glorious promises that have just been uttered.
As a lamp . . .—Better, as a burning torch.
And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.(2) Thou shalt be called by a new name . . .—So in Jeremiah 33:16, the name of the restored city is to be “Jehovah our Righteousness.” The root-thought is that the altered state is to be embodied, as in the case of Abraham and Israel, in a new name. Here, however, the effect of the promise is heightened, as in Revelation 2:17; Revelation 3:12, by the absence of the new ‘name, as something which is to transcend all experience.
Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.(3) A crown of glory . . .—The “crown” as distinctively kingly; the “diadem” implies a “tiara,” like the mitre of the High Priest (Exodus 28:4; Zechariah 3:5). The two “hands” are expressed by different words in the Hebrew, the second having the sense of the open palm of the hand. The “new crown,” i.e., the new glory accruing to Jehovah from the restoration of Jerusalem, is not worn on the head (thought of, we may believe, as already crowned from eternity), but held forth in the hand for the gaze of the adoring nations.
Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.(4) Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken . . .—The change of name is here partially indicated, and probably finds its starting-point in the marriage of Hezekiah with Hephzi-bah (2Kings 21:1), which, on the assumption of Isaiah’s authorship of these chapters, would be fresh in the prophet’s memory. It would be entirely after his manner to see in the bride’s name, as in those of his own sons, an omen of the future. The fact that the Hebrew word for Forsaken (Azubah) had been borne by a previous queen, the mother of Jehoshaphat (1Kings 22:42), confirms the view here taken. “Hephzi-bah” means “my delight is in her;” and “Beulah,” “married.”
For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.(5) So shall thy sons marry thee . . .—The image of the bride is presented under another aspect. The people of a country are, in their collective unity, as the bridegroom, and the country is as the bride. They are bound, as the husband is to the wife, to cherish and protect it, to be ready to live and die for it.
I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence,(6) I have set watchmen upon thy walls . . .—The “watchmen” have been differently interpreted as (1) angelic guardians and (2) prophets. Zechariah 1:12, and Daniel 10:16-21 may be alleged in favour of (1), but on the whole, (2) seems preferable. The prophets of the return from exile, Zechariah, Haggai, Malachi, may be thought of as representative examples of such “watchmen,” as also are the prophets of the Christian Church, which takes partly, at least, the position of the new Jerusalem.
Ye that make mention . . .—Better, ye that are the remembrancers. They are to remind Jehovah of His promises day and night, that He may hasten their fulfilment, never resting till the future Jerusalem is in very deed “a praise in the earth.” (Comp. Zechariah 1:12.)
The LORD hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast laboured:(8) The Lord hath sworn . . .—The principle of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 6:13) is recognised here. Jehovah can swear by nothing less than that which is the symbol of His own greatness, identified with Himself.
I will no more give thy corn . . .—The words throw us back upon the early history of Israel, subject at any time to the desolating attacks of Midianites (Judges 6:4; Judges 6:11), Assyrians (Isaiah 16:9), and Philistines (2Chronicles 28:18). The new blessing stands in special contrast with the curse of Deuteronomy 28:33; Deuteronomy 28:51.
But they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the LORD; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness.(9) In the courts of my holiness.—Better, of my sanctuary. The harvest and the vintage festivals are to be kept, as of old, without interruption, the master of the house, with his family and the Levites and the poor (Deuteronomy 14:22-27), eating of the first- fruits “before the Lord.”
Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.(10) Go through . . .—Here, probably, we have the cry of the prophet himself (but, possibly, also that of the Servant of Jehovah) addressed to the heralds, who are to go forth and summon the exiles to return to the restored city. On the special phrases, see Notes on Isaiah 40:3; Isaiah 57:14.
Lift up a standard for the people.—Literally, peoples, the plural indicating that the prophet thinks of the Gentile nations as escorting Israel. It follows from this that the command itself is addressed, like the previous clauses, to the returning exiles.
Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.(11) The Lord hath proclaimed . . .—A partial fulfilment of the words is found in the decree of Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-2); but they have also a wider range, and take in all the events by which history becomes as the voice of God, proclaiming His will.
The end of the world has been restricted by some commentators to the western regions of the Mediterranean, but without sufficient reason.
Behold, his reward is with him.—Repeated from Isaiah 40:10, where see Notes.
And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.(12) The redeemed of the Lord.—Literally, ransomed, as in Isaiah 35:10; Isaiah 51:10.
Sought out . . .—i.e., a city which men would seek after to honour, and promote its welfare. (Comp. the opposite, “Zion, which no man seeketh after,” in Jeremiah 30:17.)