1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 Vol II Introduction 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 Alexander's Works
From his digression with respect to the causes and effects of the catastrophe of Babylon, the Prophet now returns to his more general themes. and winds up the first great division of the Later Prophecies by a reiteration of the same truths and arguments which run through the previous portion of it, with some variations and additions which will be noticed in the proper place. The disproportionate prominence given to the Babylonish exile and the liberation from it, in most modern expositions of the passage, has produced the same confusion and the same necessity of assuming arbitrary combinations and transitions, as in other cases which have been already stated. This is less surprising in the present case, however; because the Prophet, in the close as in the opening of this first book, does accommodate his language to the feelings and condition of the Jews in exile, though the truths which he inculcates are still of a general and comprehensive nature.
Israel is God's chosen and peculiar people, he is in himself unworthy
of the honour and unfaithful to the trust, vs. 1, 2. Former predictions
had been uttered expressly to prevent his ascribing the event to other
gods, vs. 3-5. For the same reason new predictions will be uttered now,
of events which have never been distinctly foretold, vs. 6-8. God's
continued favour to his people has no reference to merit upon their
part, but is the fruit of his own sovereign mercy and intended
to promote his own designs, vs. 9-11. He again asserts his own
exclusive deity, as proved by the creation of the world, by the
prediction of events still future, and especially by the raising
up of Cyrus, as a promised instrument to execute Ins purpose, vs.
12-16. The sufferings of Israel are the fruit of his own sin, his
prosperity and glory that of God's sovereign grace, vs. 17-19. The book
closes as it opened with a promise of deliverance from exile,
accompanied, in this case, by a solemn limitation of the promise to its
proper objects, vs. 20-22.
It is evident that these are the same elements which enter into all the Later Prophecies, so far as we have yet examined them, and that these elements are here combined in very much the usual proportions, although not in precisely the same shape and order. The most novel feature of this chapter is the fulness with which one principal design of prophecy, and the connection between Israel's sufferings and his sins, are stated.
1. Hear this, not exclusively what follows or what goes before, but this whole series of arguments and exhortations. This is a formula by which Isaiah frequently resumes and continues his discourse. Oh house of Jacob, the (men) called by the name of Israel, a periphrasis for Israelites or members of the ancient church. And from the waters of Judah they have came out. By an easy transition, of perpetual occurrence in Isaiah, the construction is continued in the third person; as if the Prophet, after addressing them directly, had proceeded to describe them to the by-standers. The people, by a natural figure, are described as streams from the fountain of Judah. (Compare ch. 51:1 and Ps. 68:27.) Some German writers fasten on this mention of Judah as a national progenitor, as betraying a later date of composition than the days of Isaiah. But this kind of reasoning proceeds upon the shallow and erroneous supposition that the application of this name to the whole people was the result of accidental causes at a comparatively recent period, whereas it forms part of a change designed from the beginning, and developed by a gradual process, through the whole course of their history. Even in patriarchal times the pre-eminence of Judah was determined. From him the Messiah was expected to descend (Gen. 49:10). To him the first rank was assigned in the exodus, the journey through the desert, and the occupation of the promised land. In his line the royal power was first permanently established. To him, though deserted by five sixths of the tribes, the honours and privileges of the theocracy were still continued; so that long before the Babylonish exile or the downfall of the kingdom of the ten tribes, the names of Israel and Judah were convertible, not as political distinctions, but as designations of the chosen people, the theocracy, the ancient church. In this sense, Israelite and Jew were as really synonymous when Isaiah wrote, as they are now in common parlance. Those swearing by the name of Jehovah, i. e. swearing by him as their God, and thereby not only acknowledging his deity, but solemnly avouching their relation to him. (See above, on ch. 45 : 23.) And of the God of Israel make mention, not in conversation merely, but as a religious act, implying public recognition of his being and authority, in which sense the same Hebrew phrase with unimportant variations in its form is frequently used elsewhere. (For examples of the very form which here occurs, see Josh. 23:7. Ps. 20:8. 45:18.) Not in truth and not in righteousness, uprightness, sincerity. It is not necessary to infer from these words, that the Prophet's language is addressed to a distinct class of the Jews, or to the Jews of any one exclusive period, his own, or that of the captivity, or that of Christ. The clause is an indirect reiteration of the doctrine so continually taught throughout these prophecies, and afterwards repeated in this very chapter, that God's choice of Israel and preservation of him was no proof of merit upon his part, nor even an act of mere compassion upon God's part, but the necessary means to an appointed end. The reference therefore here is not so much to individual hypocrisy or unbelief, as to the general defect of worthiness or merit in the body. They were really called by the name of Israel, and that not only by themselves and one another, but by God. Both parts are equally essential, the description of the Jews as the chosen people of Jehovah, and the denial of their merit; for the error into which they were continually falling was the error of sacrificing one of these great doctrines to the other, or imagining that they were incompatible. It was necessary to the Prophet's purpose that the people should never forget either, but believe them both.
2. For from the Holy
City they are called. The
same name is given to Jerusalem below (ch. 51:1), and also in the
later books (Dan. 9:24. Neh. 12:1) and the New Testament (Matth.
4:5. 27:53). It is so called as the seat of the true religion, the
earthly residence of God, and the centre of the church. That the
reference is not to mere locality is plain from the application of the
name to the whole people. The particle at the beginning of this verse
has somewhat perplexed interpreters. The safest because the simplest
course is to take it in its ordinary sense of for, because, and
to regard it as continuing the previous description, or rather as
resuming it after a momentary interruption, for which reason for is
used instead of and. The
connection may be thus rendered clear by a paraphrase: 'I speak to
those who bear the name of Israel and worship Israel's God, however
insincerely and imperfectly; for they are still the chosen people, and
as such entitled to rely upon Jehovah.' This last is then descriptive
not of a mere professed nor of a real yet presumptuous reliance, but of
the prerogative of Israel considered as the church or chosen people, a
prerogative not forfeited by their unfaithfulness, so long
as its continuance was necessary to the end for which it was originally
granted. The false interpretations of the passage have arisen from
applying it directly to the faith or unbelief of individuals, in which
case there appears to be an incongruity between the parts of the
description; but as soon as we apply it to the body, this apparent
incongruity is done away, it being not only consistent with Isaiah's
purpose, but a necessary part of it, to hold up the prerogatives of
Israel as wholly independent of all merit upon their part. Jehovah
of Hosts (is) his name. These
words are added to identify the object of reliance more completely, as
the being who was called the God of Israel and Jehovah of Hosts. At the
same time they
suggest the attributes implied in both parts of the name. As if he had
said, they rely
upon the God of Israel, whom they
acknowledge as an independent and eternal Being, and the
Sovereign of the universe.
3. The first (or former things) since then I have declared. That is, I prophesied of old the events which have already taken place. For the sense of the particular expressions, see above on ch. 45:21. 46:10. There is no abrupt transition here, as some interpreters assume. This verse asserts God's prescience, not absolutely as in other cases, but for the purpose of explaining why he had so carefully predicted certain future events. It can be fully understood, therefore, only in connection with what goes before and follows. And out of my mouth they went forth. Some regard this as a proof that former things means former prophecies and not events; but even the latter might be figuratively said to have gone out of his mouth, as having been predicted by him. And I cause them to be heard, a synonymous expression. Suddenly I do (them) and they come to pass. All this is introductory to what follows respecting the design of prophecy. The sense is not simply, I foretell things to come, but I foretell things to come for a particular purpose, which is now to be explained.
4. From my knowing. This may either mean because I knew or since I knew, or the last may be included in the first, as in ch. 43:4. That thou art hard. This is commonly considered an ellipsis for hard-hearted or stiff-necked; more probably the latter, as the sense required by the context is not so much that of insensibility as that of obstinate perverseness. The same idea is expressed still more strongly by the following words, and an iron sinew (is) thy neck; and thy forehead brass. The hardening of the face or forehead, which is sometimes used in a good sense (e. g. ch. 50:7), here denotes shameless persistency in opposition to the truth.
5. Therefore I told thee long ago. This is often the force of the conjunction and after a conditional clause or sentence. Because I knew thee to be such, and I told thee, i. e. therefore I told thee. Before it comes I have. let thee hear (it), lest thou say, My idol did them, i. e. did the things before referred to collectively in the singular. The Hebrew word for idol, from the double meaning of its root, suggests the two ideas of an image and a torment or vexation. My graven image and my molten image ordered them, i. e. called them into being.
6. Thou hast heard (the prediction), see all of it (accomplished). And ye (idolaters or idols), will not ye declare, the same word used above for the prediction of events, and therefore no doubt meaning here, will not ye predict something? I have made thee to hear new things. He appeals not only to the past but to the future, and thus does what he vainly challenges them to do. There is no need of inquiring what particular predictions are referred to. All that seems to be intended is the general distinction between past and future, between earlier and later prophecies. From now, henceforth, after the present time. And (things) kept (in reserve), and thou hast not known them, or in our idiom, which thou hast not known.
7. Now they are created (i. e. brought into existence for the first time) and not of old, or never before. The literal meaning of the next words is, and before the day and thou hast not heard them. This probably means before this day (or before to-day) thou hast never heard them. The same reason is assigned as before: Lest thou shouldst say, Behold, I knew them.
8. Nay, thou didst not hear; nay, thou didst not know. The idiomatic form of this sentence is not easily expressed in a translation, which, if too exact, will fail to show the true connection. Having given the perverseness of the people as a reason why they knew so much by previous revelation, he now assigns it as a reason why they knew so little. These, although at first sight inconsistent statements, are but varied aspects of the same thing. God had told them so much beforehand, lest they should ascribe the event to other causes. He had told them no more, because he knew that they would wickedly abuse his favour. In a certain sense and to a certain extent, it was true that they had heard and known these things beforehand. In another sense, and beyond that extent, it was equally true that they had neither heard nor known them. It was true that they had heard, but it was also true that they had not heard. The strict sense of the clause is, likewise thou hadst not heard, likewise thou hadst not known; but as this form of expression is quite foreign from our idiom, nay may be substituted, not as a synonyme but an equivalent. The yea of the common version fails to indicate the true connection, by suggesting the idea of a climax rather than that of an antithesis, of something more rather than of something different. Likewise of old (or beforehand) thine ear was not open, literally, did not open, the Hebrew usage coinciding with the English in giving to this verb both a transitive and intransitive sense. (For another clear example of the latter, see below, ch. 60:11.) The sense is not, that because they would not hear or know what was revealed, God denounced them as traitors and apostates; but that because they were traitors and apostates, be would not allow them to hear or know the things in question. I know thou wilt (or I knew thou wouldest) act very treacherously. Some suppose the emphatic repetition of the verb to express certainty rather than intensity, and both may be included, i. e. both would perhaps be unavoidably suggested by this form of expression to a Hebrew reader. And apostate (rebel, or deserter) from the womb was called to thee, i. e. this name was used in calling thee, or thou wast called. Besides the idiom in the syntax, there is here another instance of the use of the verb call or name to express the real character. They were so called, i. e. they might have been so, they deserved to be so. (See above, on ch. 1:26.) Here, as in ch. 42:2, 24, most interpreters explain the womb as meaning Egypt, but in all the cases, it seems far more natural to understand this trait of the description as belonging rather to the sign than the thing signified, as representing no specific circumstance of time or place in the history of Israel, but simply the infancy or birth of the ideal person substituted for him.
9. For my name's sake. Most interpreters explain this as an equivalent but stronger expression than for my own sake, for the sake of the revelation which I have already made of my own attributes. This explanation agrees well with the language of v. 11 below. I will defer my anger. Literally, prolong it; but this would be equivocal in English. The common version, I will defer my anger, is approved by the latest writers, and confirmed not only by our familiar use of long and slow, in certain applications, as convertible terms, but also by the unequivocal analogy of the Greek ... and the Latin longanimis. And (for) my praise I will restrain (it) towards thee. The last words of the verse express the effect to be produced, so as not to cut thee off, or destroy thee.
10. Behold I have melted thee. This is the original meaning of the word; but it is commonly applied to the smelting of metals, and may therefore be translated proved or tried thee. And not with silver. Some read as silver, and others bring out substantially the same sense by rendering it with (i. e. in company with) silver, or by means of the same process. Apart from these interpretations, which assume the sense like silver, the opinions of interpreters have been divided chiefly between two. The first of these explains the Prophet's words to mean, not for silver (or money), but gratuitously. This is certainly the meaning of the expression in a number of places; but it seems to be entirely inappropriate when speaking of affliction, which is rather aggravated than relieved by the idea of its being gratuitous, i. e. for nothing. The other explanation, and the one now commonly adopted, takes the sense to be, not with silver (i. e. pure metal) as the result of the process. This agrees well with the context, which makes the want of merit on the part of Israel continually prominent. It also corresponds exactly to the other clause, I have chosen thee (not in wealth, or power, or honour, but) in the furnace of affliction. If the furnace of affliction was designed to have a distinct historical meaning, it probably refers not to Babylon but Egypt, which is repeatedly called an iron furnace. This would agree exactly with the representations elsewhere made respecting the election of Israel in Egypt.
11. For my own sake, for my own sake, I will do (what is to be done). This is commonly restricted to the restoration of the Jews from exile; but this specific application of the promise is not made till afterwards. The terms are comprehensive and contain a statement of the general doctrine, as the sum of the whole argument, that what Jehovah does for his own people, is in truth done not for any merit upon their part. but to protect his own divine honour. For how will it be profaned? This may either mean, How greatly would it be profaned! or, How can I suffer it to be profaned? And my glory (or honour) to another will I not give, as he must do if his enemies eventually triumph over his own people. The same words with the same sense occur above in ch. 42:8.
12. Hearken unto me, oh Jacob, and Israel my called; I am He, I am the First, also I the last. A renewed assurance of his ability and willingness to execute his promises, the latter being implied in the phrase my called, i. e. specially elected by me to extraordinary privileges. The threefold repetition of the pronoun I is supposed by some of the older writers to contain an allusion to the Trinity. I am He is understood by the later writers to mean I am the Being in question, or, it is I that am the First and the Last. The older writers give the pronoun He a more emphatic sense, as meaning He that really exists.
13. Also my hand founded the earth, and my right hand spanned the heavens. The force of also seems to be this: not only am I an Eternal Being, but the Creator of the heavens. Hand and right hand is merely a poetical or rhetorical variation. In the last clause of the verse the English Version has when I call. But in Hebrew usage, the pronoun and participle thus combined are employed to express present and continuous action I (am) calling, i. e. I habitually call. The words must either be referred to the constant exertion of creative power in the conservation of the universe, or to the authority of the Creator over his creatures as his instruments and servants. I call to them (summon them), and they will stand up together (i. e. all without exception). This agrees well with the usage of the phrase to stand before, as expressing the attendance of the servant on his master. (See for example 1 Kings 17:1.) The same two ideas of creation and service are connected in Ps. 119:90, 91. The exclusive reference of the whole verse to creation, on the other hand, is favoured by the analogy of Rom. 4:17 and Col. 1:17. For the different expressions here used, see above, ch. 40:22. 42:5. 44:24. 45:12.
14. Assemble yourselves, all of you, and hear! The object of address is Israel, according to the common supposition, but more probably the heathen. Who among them, i. e. the false gods or their prophets, hath declared (predicted) these things, the whole series of events which had been cited to demonstrate the divine foreknowledge. Jehovah loves him, i. e. Israel, and to show his love, he will do his pleasure (execute his purpose) in Babylon, and his (Jehovah's) arm (shall be upon) the Chaldees. This explanation seems to answer all the conditions of the text and context. Most interpreters, however, make the clause refer to Cyrus, and translate it thus: 'he whom Jehovah loves shall do his pleasure in Babylon, and his arm (i. e. exercise his power or his vengeance) on the Chaldees.'
15. I, I, have spoken (i. e. predicted); I have also called him (effectually by my providence); I have brought him (into existence, or into public view); and he prospered his way. The subject of the last verb is Cyrus or Israel, and we may understand the phrase as meaning, he makes his own way prosperous, i. e. he prospers in it. (Compare Ps. 1:3.)
16. Draw near unto me! As Jehovah is confessedly the speaker in the foregoing and the following context, and as similar language is expressly ascribed to him in ch. 45:19, some regard it as most natural to make these his words likewise, assuming a transition in the last clause from Jehovah to the Prophet, who there describes himself as sent by Jehovah. Others reconcile the clauses by making Christ the speaker. Those who believe that he is elsewhere introduced in this same book, can have no difficulty in admitting a hypothesis, which reconciles the divine and human attributes referred to in the sentence, as belonging to one person. Hear this; not from the beginning in secret have I spoken. See above, on ch. 45:19. From the time of its being. Most interpreters refer the pronoun (it) to the raising up of Cyrus and the whole series of events connected with it, which formed the subject of the prophecies in question. (See above, ch. 46:11.) Since these events began to take place, I was there. Those who regard these as the words of Isaiah, understand them to mean that he had predicted them. Those who refer the words to the Son of God specifically, make the verse substantially identical in meaning with the one in Prov. 8:27, which the church in every age has been very much of one mind in applying to the second person of the Godhead as the hypostatical wisdom of the Father. Those who take the words more generally as the language of Jehovah, understand him to declare that these events had not occurred without his knowledge or his agency; that he was present, cognizant, and active, in the whole affair. Thus far this last hypothesis must be allowed to be the simplest and most natural. And now the Lord Jehovah hath sent me. Those who regard Isaiah as the speaker in the whole verse understand this clause to mean, that as he had spoken before by divine authority and inspiration, he did so still. Those who refer the first clause simply to Jehovah, without reference to personal distinctions, are under the necessity of here assuming a transition to the language of the Prophet himself. The third hypothesis, which makes the Son of God the speaker, understands both clauses in their strict sense as denoting his eternity on the one hand and his mission on the other. The sending of the Son by the Father is a standing form of speech in Scripture. (See Ex. 23:20. Is. 61:1. Mai. 3:1. John 3:34. 17:3. Heb. 3:1.) And his Spirit. It has long been a subject of dispute whether these words belong to the subject or the object of the verb hath sent. The English Version removes all ambiguity by changing the collocation of the words (the Lord God and his Spirit hath sent me). The exegetical question is not one of much importance; because both the senses yielded are consistent with the usage of the Scriptures, and the ambiguity may be intended to let both suggest themselves. The main proposition is, the Lord God hath sent me. The supplementary expression and his Spirit may be introduced, without absurdity or any violation of the rules of syntax, either before the verb or after it. Mere usage therefore leaves the question undecided. As little can it be determined by the context or the parallelisms. The argument, which some urge, that the Spirit is never said to send the Son, takes for granted that the latter is the speaker, an assumption which precludes any inference from the language of this clause in proof of that position. Those on the other hand, who consider these the words of Isaiah, argue in favour of the other construction, that the Spirit is said to send the prophets. On the whole this may be fairly represented as one of the most doubtful questions of construction in the book, and the safest course is either to admit that both ideas were meant to be suggested, although probably in different degrees, or else to fall back upon the general rule, though liable to numberless exceptions, that the preference is due to the nearest antecedent or to that construction which adheres most closely to the actual collocation of the words. The application of this principle in this case would decide the doubt in favour of the prevailing modern doctrine, that Jehovah had sent the person speaking and endued him with his Spirit, as a necessary preparation for the work to which he was appointed.
17. Thus saith Jehovah, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel (see the same prefatory formulas above, ch. 41:14. 43:14). I am Jehovah thy God (or I Jehovah am thy God), teaching thee to profit (or I, Jehovah, thy God, am teaching thee to profit). To profit, i. e. to be profitable to thyself, to provide for thy own safety and prosperity. There seems to be a reference to the unprofitableness so often charged upon false gods and their worship. (See ch. 44:10. 45:19. Jer. 2:11.) Leading thee (literally, making thee to tread) in the way thou shalt go. The ellipsis of the relative is just the same as in familiar English. The future includes the ideas of obligation and necessity, without expressing them directly; the precise sense of the words is, the way thou wilt go if thou desirest to profit.
18. The first verb in the verse is commonly taken in the wide sense of attending, that of listening being looked upon as a specific application of it. It may be questioned, however, whether there is any clear case of its being used without explicit reference to hearing. If not, this must be regarded as the proper meaning, and the wider sense considered as implied but not expressed. The common explanation of the first clause is, Oh that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! Nothing could well be more appropriate at the close of this division of the prophecies, than this affecting statement of the truth, so frequently propounded in didactic form already, that Israel, although the chosen people of Jehovah, and as such secure from total ruin, was and was to be a sufferer, not from any want of faithfulness or care on God's part, but as the necessary fruit of his own imperfections and corruptions. Then had thy peace been as the river, which some understand to mean the Euphrates in particular, with whose inundations, as well as with its ordinary flow, the Prophet's original readers were familiar. It seems to be more natural, however, to regard the article as pointing out a definite class of objects rather than an individual, and none the less because the parallel expression is the sea, which some, with wanton violence, apply to the Euphrates also. Peace is here used in its wide sense of prosperity; or rather peace, in the strictest sense, is used to represent all kindred and attendant blessings. The parallel term righteousness adds moral good to natural, and supplies the indispensable condition without which the other cannot be enjoyed. The ideas suggested by the figure of a river are abundance, perpetuity, and freshness, to which the waves of the sea add those of vastness, depth, and continual succession.
19. Then should have been like the sand thy seed, a common scriptural expression for great multitude, with special reference, in this case, to the promise made to Abraham and Jacob (Gen. 22:17. 32:12), the partial accomplishment of which (2 Sam. 17:11) is not inconsistent with the thought here expressed, that, in the case supposed, it would have been far more ample and conspicuous. The image is that of a parent (here the patriarch Jacob) and his personal descendants. And the issues (or offspring) of thy bowels (an equivalent expression to thy seed). Of the next word there are two interpretations. Some give it the sense of stones, pebbles, gravel, and make it a poetical equivalent to sand. Others make the antithesis between thy bowels and its bowels, viz. those of the sea; and the whole clause, supplying the ellipsis, will read thus, the offspring of thy bowels like (the offspring of) its bowels, in allusion to the vast increase of fishes. His name. We must either suppose an abrupt transition from the second to the third person, or make seed the antecedent of the pronoun, which is harsh in itself, and rendered more so by the intervening plural forms. All the requisitions of the text are answered by the common understanding of name, in such connections, as equivalent to memory. The excision or destruction of the name from before God is expressive of entire extermination. The precise sense of the futures in this clause is somewhat dubious. Most interpreters assimilate them to the futures of the foregoing clause, as in the English Version (should not have been cut off nor destroyed). Those who understand the first clause as expressing a wish in relation to the present or the future, make this last a promise, either absolute (his name shall not be cut off) or conditional (his name should not be cut off). Nor is this direct construction of the last clause inconsistent with the old interpretation of the first; as we may suppose that the writer, after wishing that the people had escaped the strokes provoked by their iniquities, declares that even now they shall not be entirely destroyed. This is precisely the sense given to the clause in the Septuagint, and is recommended by its perfect agreement with the whole drift of the passage and the analogy of others like it, where the explanation of the sufferings of the people as the fruit of their own sin is combined with a promise of exemption from complete destruction.
20. Go forth from Babel! This is a prediction of the deliverance from Babylon, clothed in the form of an exhortation to escape from it. We have no right to assume a capricious change of subject, or a want of all coherence with what goes before. The connection may be thus stated. After the general reproof and promise of the nineteenth verse, he recurs to the great example of deliverance so often introduced before. As if he had said, Israel, notwithstanding his unworthiness, shall be preserved; even in extremity his God will not forsake him; even from Babylon he shall be delivered; and then turning in prophetic vision to the future exiles, he invites them to come forth. Flee from the Chasdim (or Chaldees)! With a voice of joy. The last word properly denotes a joyful shout, and not articulate song. The whole phrase means, with the sound or noise of such a shout. It has been made a question whether these words are to be connected with what goes before or with what follows. Tell this, cause it to be heard. The Hebrew collocation (tell, cause to be heard, this) cannot be retained in English. Utter it (cause it to go forth) even to the end of the. earth. Compare ch. 42:10. 43:6. Say ye, Jehovah hath redeemed his servant Jacob. The deliverance from Babylon is here referred to, only as one great example of the general truth that God saves his people.
21. And they thirsted not in the deserts (through which) he made them go. Water from a well he made to flow for them; and he clave the rock, and waters gushed out. There is evident reference here to the miraculous supply of water in the journey through the wilderness. (Ex. 17:6. Num. 20:11. Ps. 78:15.) It might even seem as if the writer meant to state these facts historically. Such at least would be the simpler exposition of his words, which would then contain a reference to the exodus from Egypt, as the great historical example of deliverance. As if he had said, Relate how God of old redeemed his servant Jacob out of Egypt, and led him through the wilderness, and slaked his thirst with water from the solid rock. Most interpreters, however, are agreed in applying the words to the deliverance from Babylon.
22. There is no peace, saith Jehovah, to the wicked. The meaning of this sentence, in itself considered, is too clear to be disputed. There is more doubt as to its connection with what goes before. That it is a mere aphorism, added to this long discourse, like a moral to an ancient fable, can only satisfy the minds of those who look upon the whole book as a series of detached. and incoherent sentences. Vastly more rational is the opinion, now the current one among interpreters, that this verse was intended to restrict the operation of the foregoing promises to true believers, or the genuine Israel; as if he had said, All this will God accomplish for his people, but not for the wicked among them. The grand conclusion to which all tends is, that God is all and man nothing; that even the chosen people must be sufferers, because they are sinners; that peculiar favour confers no immunity to sin or exemption from responsibility, but that even amidst the enjoyment of the most extraordinary privileges, it still remains forever true that "there is no peace to the wicked."