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Adam Clarke Commentary

Isaiah 54

Introduction

Some suppose this chapter to have been addressed to the Gentiles; some, to the Jewish Church; and some, to the Christian, in its first stage. On comparing the different parts of it, particularly the seventh and eighth verses, with the remainder, the most obvious import of the prophecy will be that which refers it to the future conversion of the Jews, and to the increase and prosperity of that nation, when reconciled to God after their long rejection, when their glory and security will far surpass what they were formerly in their most favored state, vv. 1-17.

Verse 1

Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear "Shout for joy, O thou barren, that didst not bear" - The Church of God under the Old Testament, confined within the narrow bounds of the Jewish nation, and still more so in respect of the very small number of true believers, and which sometimes seemed to be deserted of God her husband, is the barren woman, that did not bear, and was desolate. She is exhorted to rejoice, and to express her joy in the strongest manner, on the reconciliation of her husband, (see Isaiah 54:6 , and on the accession of the Gentiles to her family. The converted Gentiles are all along considered by the prophet as a new accession of adopted children, admitted into the original Church of God, and united with it. See Isaiah 49:20 , Isaiah 49:21 .

Verse 4

For thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth - That is, "The bondage of Egypt: widowhood, the captivity of Babylon." - Secker.

Verse 7

For a small moment "In a little anger" - So the Chaldee and Syriac, either reading רגז regaz, for רגע rega; or understanding the latter word as meaning the same with the former, which they both make use of. See Psalms 30:5 ; Psalms 35:20 , in the Septuagint, where they render רגע rega by οργη, anger.

Verse 8

I hid my face from thee for a moment - The word רגע rega is omitted by the Septuagint, Syriac, and two MSS. of Kennicott's, and two of De Rossi's. It seems to embarrass rather than to help the sentence. Forte reponi debet pro שצף shetseph, quod potest a קצף ketseph errore scribae originem duxisse. "Perhaps it ought to be substituted for שצף shetseph, an error probably made by some scribe from its similarity to קצף ketseph." - SeckerThy Redeemer - גאלך goalech: but for this word three of De Rossi's MSS. have מרחמך merachamech, thy commiserator.

Verse 9

For this is as the waters of Noah unto me "The same will I do now, as in the days of Noah" - כימי kimey, in one word, in a MS., and some editions; and so the Syriac, Chaldee, Vulgate, Symmachus, Theodotion, Abarbanel, Sal. ben Melec, and Kimchi acknowledge that their copies vary in this place.It is certain that these two words כי מי ki mey, were written formerly as one. Taken as two כי מי ki mey, they signify for as the waters - when as one, כימי kimey, they signify as the days. This latter reading is found in about four of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS. In one of my own it appears to have been intended as one word: but he who added the points, which are by a much later hand than the MS. itself, has pointed the letters so as to make the two words which are commonly found in the text. For the waters, Symmachus, Theodotion, the Syriac, Vulgate, and Arabic have days. The former seems to make the best sense; and the ancient Versions, except the Septuagint, support it.

Verse 11

Behold, I will lay thy stones "Behold, I lay thy stones" - These seem to be general images to express beauty, magnificence, purity, strength, and solidity, agreeably to the ideas of the eastern nations; and to have never been intended to be strictly scrutinized, or minutely and particularly explained, as if they had each of them some precise, moral, or spiritual meaning. Tobit, in his prophecy of the final restoration of Israel, describes the New Jerusalem in the same oriental manner: "For Jerusalem shall be built up with sapphires, and emeralds, and precious stones; thy walls, and towers, and battlements, with pure gold. And the streets of Jerusalem shall be paved with beryl, and carbuncle, and stones of ophir." Tob. 13:16, 17. Compare also Revelation 21:18 -21.

Verse 15

Shall fall for thy sake "Shall come over to thy side" - For יפול yippol, twenty-eight MSS. (eight ancient) have יפל yipal, in its more common form. For the meaning of the word in this place, see Jeremiah 37:13 .

Isaiah 54


  1 Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.
  2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;
  3 For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.
  4 Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.
  5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.
  6 For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.
  7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
  8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.
  9 For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.
  10 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.
  11 O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.
  12 And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.
  13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.
  14 In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.
  15 Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.
  16 Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.
  17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

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