Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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.
Isa 27:1-13. Continuation of the Twenty-fourth, Twenty-fifth, and Twenty-sixth Chapters.
At the time when Israel shall be delivered, and the ungodly nations punished, God shall punish also the great enemy of the Church.
1. sore—rather, "hard," "well-tempered."
leviathan—literally, in Arabic, "the twisted animal," applicable to every great tenant of the waters, sea-serpents, crocodiles, &c. In Eze 29:3; 32:2; Da 7:1, &c. Re 12:3, &c., potentates hostile to Israel are similarly described; antitypically and ultimately Satan is intended (Re 20:10).
piercing—rigid [Lowth]. Flying [Maurer and Septuagint]. Long, extended, namely, as the crocodile which cannot readily bend back its body [Houbigant].
dragon—Hebrew, tenin; the crocodile.
sea—the Euphrates, or the expansion of it near Babylon.
In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine.
2. In that day when leviathan shall be destroyed, the vineyard (Ps 80:8), the Church of God, purged of its blemishes, shall be lovely in God's eyes; to bring out this sense the better, Lowth, by changing a Hebrew letter, reads "pleasant," "lovely," for "red wine."
sing—a responsive song [Lowth].
unto her—rather, "concerning her" (see on Isa 5:1); namely, the Jewish state [Maurer].
I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.
3. lest any hurt it—attack it [Maurer]. "Lest aught be wanting in her" [Horsley].
Fury 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.
4. Fury is not in me—that is, I entertain no longer anger towards my vine.
who would set … in battle—that is, would that I had the briers, &c. (the wicked foe; Isa 9:18; 10:17; 2Sa 23:6), before me! "I would go through," or rather, "against them."
Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.
5. Or—Else; the only alternative, if Israel's enemies wish to escape being "burnt together."
strength—rather, "the refuge which I afford" [Maurer]. "Take hold," refers to the horns of the altar which fugitives often laid hold of as an asylum (1Ki 1:50; 2:28). Jesus is God's "strength," or "refuge" which sinners must repair to and take hold of, if they are to have "peace" with God (Isa 45:24; Ro 5:1; Eph 2:14; compare Job 22:21).
He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.
6. He—Jehovah. Here the song of the Lord as to His vineyard (Isa 27:2-5) ends; and the prophet confirms the sentiment in the song, under the same image of a vine (compare Ps 92:13-15; Ho 14:5, 6).
Israel … fill … world—(Ro 11:12).
Hath 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?
7. him … those—Israel—Israel's enemies. Has God punished His people as severely as He has those enemies whom He employed to chastise Israel? No! Far from it. Israel, after trials, He will restore; Israel's enemies He will utterly destroy at last.
the slaughter of them that are slain by him—rather, "Is Israel slain according to the slaughter of the enemy slain?" the slaughter wherewith the enemy is slain [Maurer].
In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind.
8. In measure—not beyond measure; in moderation (Job 23:6; Ps 6:1; Jer 10:24; 30:11; 46:28).
when it shooteth—image from the vine; rather, passing from the image to the thing itself, "when sending her away (namely, Israel to exile; Isa 50:1, God only putting the adulteress away when He might justly have put her to death), Thou didst punish her" [Gesenius].
stayeth—rather, as Margin, "when He removeth it by His rough wind in the day," &c.
east wind—especially violent in the East (Job 27:21; Jer 18:17).
By 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.
9. By this—exile of Israel (the "sending away," Isa 27:8).
all the fruit—This is the whole benefit designed to be brought about by the chastisement; namely, the removal of his (Israel's) sin (namely, object of idolatry; De 9:21; Ho 10:8).
when he—Jehovah; at the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, His instrument. The Jews ever since have abhorred idolatry (compare Isa 17:8).
not stand up—shall rise no more [Horsley].
Yet 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.
10. city—Jerusalem; the beating asunder of whose altars and images was mentioned in Isa 27:9 (compare Isa 24:10-12).
calf feed—(Isa 17:2); it shall be a vast wild pasture.
branches—resuming the image of the vine (Isa 27:2,6).
When 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.
11. boughs … broken off—so the Jews are called (Ro 11:17, 19, 20).
set … on fire—burn them as fuel; "women" are specified, as probably it was their office to collect fuel and kindle the fire for cooking.
no understanding—as to the ways of God (De 32:28, 29; Jer 5:21; Ho 4:6).
And 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.
12. Restoration of the Jews from their dispersion, described under the image of fruits shaken from trees and collected.
beat off—as fruit beaten off a tree with a stick (De 24:20), and then gathered.
stream of Egypt—on the confines of Palestine and Egypt (Nu 34:5; Jos 15:4, 47), now Wady-el-Arish, Jehovah's vineyard, Israel, extended according to His purpose from the Nile to the Euphrates (1Ki 4:21, 24; Ps 72:8).
one by one—gathered most carefully, not merely as a nation, but as individuals.
And 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.
13. great trumpet—image from the trumpets blown on the first day of the seventh month to summon the people to a holy convocation (Le 23:24). Antitypically, the gospel trumpet (Re 11:15; 14:6) which the Jews shall hearken to in the last days (Zec 12:10; 13:1). As the passover in the first month answers to Christ's crucifixion, so the day of atonement and the idea of "salvation" connected with the feast of tabernacles in the same seventh month, answer to the crowning of "redemption" at His second coming; therefore redemption is put last in 1Co 1:30.
Assyria—whither the ten tribes had been carried; Babylonia is mainly meant, to which Assyria at that time belonged; the two tribes were restored, and some of the ten accompanied them. However, "Assyria" is designedly used to point ultimately to the future restoration of the ten fully, never yet accomplished (Jer 3:18).
Egypt—whither many had fled at the Babylonish captivity (Jer 41:17, 18). Compare as to the future restoration, Isa 11:11, 12, 16; 51:9-16 ("Rahab" being Egypt).