Break forth into joy, sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Ye waste places of Jerusalem . . .—The history of the return of the exiles in Ezra 1, 3, seems a somewhat poor and prosaic fulfilment of the glorious vision; but it lies in the nature of the case, that the words of the prophet, contemplating the distant future, idealise that return, and connect it unconsciously, it may be, with another city than the earthly Jerusalem.Isaiah 52:9-10. Break forth into joy — Break forth in joyful praises; ye waste places of Jerusalem — That is, all parts of Jerusalem, for it was all in ruins, and all parts of Judea, which lay desolate and waste during the captivity: an emblem of the desolate and barren state of the church when the Lord, for her sins, withdraws his presence from her. For the Lord hath comforted his people, &c. — They shall be restored to their former prosperity, and in the days of the Messiah to a far greater degree of holiness and happiness than the church of God ever before possessed. The Lord hath made bare his holy arm — Hath discovered and put forth his great power, which, for a long time, did not appear to be exerted in behalf of his people. And all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God — All nations of the world shall, with astonishment, behold the wonderful work of God; first, in bringing his people out of Babylon; and afterward, in their redemption by Christ.Isaiah 14:7-8; Isaiah 42:11).
For the Lord hath comforted his people - That is, he does comfort his people, and redeem them. This is seen by the prophet in vision, and to his view it is represented as if it were passing before his eyes.
He hath redeemed Jerusalem - On the meaning of the word 'redeemed,' see the notes at Isaiah 43:1-3. The idea here is, that Yahweh was about to restore his people from their long captivity, and again to cause Jerusalem to be rebuilt.
redeemed—spiritually and nationally (Isa 48:20).
for the Lord hath comforted his people; with his divine presence, and the light of his countenance; with the discoveries of his love; with the joys of his salvation by Christ; with the comforts of his Spirit; with the doctrines of the Gospel, and the exceeding great and precious promises of it; with the ordinances of his house, those breasts of consolation; and by enlarging his kingdom and interest with the conversion of Jews and Gentiles; and particularly by the donation and application of the various blessings of grace through Christ, and especially that which follows:
he hath redeemed Jerusalem; the same with his people, particularly the Jews, now converted; who will have the blessing of redemption, obtained by the Messiah, made known and applied unto them; which will be matter of comfort to them: as it is to all sensible sinners, who see themselves lost and undone; liable to the wrath of God, and curses of the law; under a sentence of condemnation; the captives of sin and Satan, and prisoners of law and justice; unable to redeem themselves, or any creature capable of giving a ransom for them.Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)9. Break forth into joy, sing …] Render, Break forth into singing (lit. “Break forth, sing”). Cf. Isaiah 44:23.
the Lord hath comforted his people] Isaiah 51:3.Verse 9. - Ye waste places of Jerusalem (comp. Isaiah 44:26; Isaiah 49:19; Isaiah 64:10, 11). The city had not been wholly destroyed. Only the temple, the royal palace, and the houses of the nobles had been "burnt with fire" (2 Kings 25:9; 2 Chronicles 36:19). The poorer houses had been left. Even these, however, must in the space of fifty years have for the most part fallen into decay. The ruins are now called upon to join in the general chorus of rejoicing, as they rise from their ashes. Hath comforted... hath redeemed. Perfects of prophetic certitude. Isaiah 52:3); but this selling is merely a giving over to a foreign power, without the slightest advantage accusing to Him who had no other object in view than to cause them to atone for their sins (Isaiah 50:1), and without any other people taking their place, and serving Him in their stead as an equivalent for the loss He sustained. And there would be no need of silver to purchase the favour of Him who had given them up, since a manifestation of divine power would be all that would be required (Isaiah 45:13). For whether Jehovah show Himself to Israel as the Righteous One or as the Gracious One, as a Judge or as a Redeemer, He always acts as the Absolute One, exalted above all earthly affairs, having no need to receive anything, but able to give everything. He receives no recompense, and gives none. Whether punishing or redeeming, He always guards His people's honour, proving Himself in the one case to be all-sufficient, and in the other almighty, but acting in both cases freely from Himself.
In the train of thought in Isaiah 52:4-6 the reason is given for the general statement in Isaiah 52:3. Israel went down to Egypt, the country of the Nile valley, with the innocent intention of sojourning, i.e., living as a guest (gūr) there in a foreign land; and yet (as we may supply from the next clause, according to the law of a self-completing parallelism) there it fell into the bondage of the Pharaohs, who, whilst they did not fear Jehovah, but rather despised Him, were merely the blind instruments of His will. Asshur then oppressed it bephes, i.e., not "at last" (ultimo tempore, as Hvernick renders it), but (as אפס is the synonym of אין in Isaiah 40:17; Isaiah 41:2) "for nothing," i.e., without having acquired any right to it, but rather serving in its unrighteousness simply as the blind instrument of the righteousness of Jehovah, who through the instrumentality of Asshur put an end first of all to the kingdom of Israel, and then to the kingdom of Judah. The two references to the Egyptian and Assyrian oppressions are expressed in as brief terms as possible. But with the words "now therefore" the prophecy passes on in a much more copious strain to the present oppression in Babylon. Jehovah inquires, Quid mihi hic (What have I to do here)? Hitzig supposes pōh (here) to refer to heaven, in the sense of, "What pressing occupation have I here, that all this can take place without my interfering?" But such a question as this would be far more appropriate to the Zeus of the Greek comedy than to the Jehovah of prophecy. Knobel, who takes pōh as referring to the captivity, in accordance with the context, gives a ridiculous turn to the question, viz., "What do I get here in Babylonia, from the fact that my people are carried off for nothing? Only loss." He observes himself that there is a certain wit in the question. But it would be silly rather than witty, if, after Jehovah had just stated that He had given up His people for nothing, the prophet represented Him as preparing to redeem it by asking, "What have I gained by it?" The question can have no other meaning, according to Isaiah 22:16, than "What have I to do here?" Jehovah is thought of as present with His people (cf., Genesis 46:4), and means to inquire whether He shall continue this penal condition of exile any longer (Targum, Rashi, Rosenmller, Ewald, Stier, etc.). The question implies an intention to redeem Israel, and the reason for this intention is introduced with kı̄. Israel is taken away (ablatus), viz., from its own native home, chinnâm, i.e., without the Chaldeans having any human claim upon them whatever. The words יהיליילוּ משׁליו (משׁלו) are not to be rendered, "its singers lament," as Reutschi and Rosenmller maintain, since the singers of Israel are called meshōrerı̄m; nor "its (Israel's) princes lament," as Vitringa and Hitzig supposed, since the people of the captivity, although they had still their national sârı̄m, had no other mōshelı̄m than the Chaldean oppressors (Isaiah 49:7; Isaiah 14:5). It is the intolerable tyranny of the oppressors of His people, that Jehovah assigns in this sentence as the reason for His interposition, which cannot any longer be deferred. It is true that we do meet with hēlı̄l (of which we have the future here without any syncope of the first syllable) in other passages in the sense of ululare, as a cry of pain; but just as הריע, רנן, רזח signify a yelling utterance of either joy or pain, so heeliil may also be applied to the harsh shrieking of the capricious tyrants, like Lucan's laetis ululare triumphis, and the Syriac ailel, which is used to denote a war-cry and other noises as well. In connection with this proud and haughty bluster, there is also the practice of making Jehovah's name the butt of their incessant blasphemy: מנּאץ is a part. hithpoel with an assimilated ת and a pausal ā for ē, although it might also be a passive hithpoal (for the ō in the middle syllable, compare מגאל, Malachi 1:7; מבהל, Esther 8:14). In Isaiah 52:6 there follows the closing sentence of the whole train of thought: therefore His people are to get to learn His name, i.e., the self-manifestation of its God, who is so despised by the heathen; therefore lâkhēn repeated with emphasis, like כּעל in Isaiah 59:18, and possibly min in Psalm 45:9) in that day, the day of redemption, (supply "it shall get to learn") that "I am he who saith, Here am I," i.e., that He who has promised redemption is now present as the True and Omnipotent One to carry it into effect.
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