Sing to the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, you that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles…
Caught up in his ecstasy to a high place of vision, the prophet sees all the nations of mankind deriving blessing from the ministry of Israel, and calls upon them to join in a song of praise. God's goodness in providing a Redeemer demands the thanksgiving of all the world.
I. THE SONG AND THE SINGERS. The new song is named in the Psalter (Psalm 96:1; Psalm 98:1), meaning a song inspired by the sense of new mercies. All parts of the earth are to join in the chorus: the sailors, and even all the finny inhabitants of the deep (Psalm 34:1); the nomads and the dwellers in cities and among the rocks, - shall join to swell the volume of his mighty song.
II. THE GREAT DEEDS OF THE ALMIGHTY. It is a great and terrible day of Jehovah. He, breaking his long silence and reserve, will march forth like a mighty hero, with a loud battle-shout, and put forth all his prowess. (For similar pictures of the God of war, see Isaiah 28:21; Isaiah 31:4; Isaiah 59:16, 17; Zechariah 9:13, 14; Zechariah 14:3.) The whole imagery bespeaks the most intense emotion. God may be silent, may seem to disregard the prayers of his people; but he is not dead, nor is he sleeping, like a Baal. He is waiting; he is ripening his purposes. He is looking for his opportunity. When he comes forth his progress will be marked by judgment and by redemption. These are the two sides, the dark and the bright, of his work. As Judge and Avenger. he will devastate the mountains and hills - the high places of heathendom; and the fertile vineyards on their slopes, and all the temples, fanes, and altars, will be demolished. Under the figures is expressed the coming of a great spiritual revolution. The old corrupt order and custom of the world must first give way before the new and holy can come in. And then, amidst the dismay of the false worshippers, light will at the same time appear to the righteous. "I will lead the blind by a way which they knew not; through paths they have not known I will make them to go: I will turn darkness into light before them, and rough places into a table-land. Those things I will surely do, and I will not let them slip." By the "blind" appears to be meant, not so much the spiritually ignorant as the perplexed, distressed, desponding - those who "walk in obscurity" (Isaiah 59:9, 10). It is the language of tenderness, and the language of strong assurance, founded on superior knowledge. What more common than the experience of the Christian, "Darkness is about me; my way is hedged in; there is no outlook, no prospect"? Yet suddenly - it may be while he is on his knees, it may be in some moment of refreshing sleep - a change comes. The clouds lift; the hosts of the enemy fall back; the: "large place" is reached. Then he sees how blind, how "faint-hearted, incredulous, and undiscerning" he has been. Let us tread the path of duty, which is the path of faith; it will surely lead, before our journey closes, out to those "shining table-lands to which our God himself is Sun and Moon." And let us lay the reproach of the "blind and deaf servant" to heart. We are among the faint-hearted and the incredulous - despite all our experience of God's goodness - whom he here addresses. We are like "the man of mature years and experience, by which he has failed to profit." And thus we are reduced to that mood of humility in which there is every hope. Why this contrast between the design of God to exalt his law of righteousness by means of Israel, and Israel's despoiled and captive estate? Clearly it is because of Israel's sins - because, though chosen of God, they would not walk in God's ways. So let every argument end between ourselves and God "that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest." Let us return unto him and be saved. - J.
Parallel VersesKJV: Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof.