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Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, [1831], at

Isaiah Chapter 54


isa 54:0

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.

Isaiah 54:1

isa 54:1

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 Isa 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 Isa 49:20, Isa 49:21.

Isaiah 54:4

isa 54:4

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

Isaiah 54:7

isa 54:7

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 Psa 30:5; Psa 35:20, in the Septuagint, where they render רגע rega by οργη, anger.

Isaiah 54:8

isa 54:8

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." - Secker

Thy Redeemer - גאלך goalech: but for this word three of De Rossi's MSS. have מרחמך merachamech, thy commiserator.

Isaiah 54:9

isa 54:9

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.

Isaiah 54:11

isa 54:11

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 Rev 21:18-21.

Isaiah 54:15

isa 54:15

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 Jer 37:13.

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