A SONG OF THE REDEEMED IN
The prophet, having (in the last chapter 25) poured forth his own thankfulness to God
for the promise of the Church's final redemption and triumph, proceeds now to
represent the Church itself in the glorified state as singing praise to God for the same.
1 “In that day shall
this song be sung in the
salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.” In that day. In the
"day of God" (II Peter 3:12), the period of the "restitution of all things"
(Acts 3:21). In the
be the "heavenly
the antitype whereof the literal "
literally, a city of strength. In the Revelation of St. John the new Jerusalem
is represented as having "a wall great and high" (Revelation 21:12), and
"twelve gates," three on each side. The intention is to convey the idea of
complete security. In the present passage the city has "gates" (v. 2), but
no "walls" - walls and bulwarks being unnecessary, since the saving might
of God himself would be its sure defense against every enemy.
2 “Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may
enter in.” Open ye the gates. The command is given by God to His angels
within the city, or perhaps by some angels to others, to "open the gates," and
let the saints march in and take possession (compare Psalm 118:19-20, which
seems to represent the same occasion; and Psalm 24:7-10, which tells of another
occasion on which the angelic warders were bidden to throw open the gates of
the celestial city. The righteous nation which keepeth the truth; literally,
a righteous nation. A people, made up of all kindreds and nations and tongues,
which should henceforth be "the people of God" They are "righteous," as washed
clean from all taint of sin in the blood of the Lamb. They "keep the truth," or
"keep faithfulness," as under all circumstances clinging loyally to God.
I marvel at the Bible which is God’s written word – Jesus Christ, His
Son is the Living Word – the Bible is a sort of Owner’s Manual
which addresses every dimension of our needs.
Psalm 19:7-11 says:
them there is great reward”
I say all this to say that the Bible is current and had a purpose for
my life and yours! (CY – 2009 and again in 2020)
3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because
he trusteth in thee.” Thou wilt keep him, etc.; literally, the steadfast mind thou
wilt keep in peace, in peace; i.e. "in perfect peace" (compare Psalm 112:7, 8).
The writer's mind throughout the first paragraph of his "song" (vs. 1-4)
"is running" (as Mr. Cheyne well observes) "on the security and immovableness
of the new Jerusalem."
The first words of the verse may be taken in various ways - the above
rendering (which seems to us the best) is that of Delitzsch and Kay.
(This was one of Ruth Farmer Cathcart’s [my mother-in-law] favorite verses.
CY – 2020)
4 “Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting
strength:” Trust ye in the Lord. The faithful exhort each other to perfect trust,
in the new Jerusalem, as in the old (see Psalm 115:9-11). In the Lord Jehovah;
literally, in Jah Jehorah (compare ch. 12:2). Is everlasting strength; literally,
is the Rock of ages. A certain refuge throughout all eternity is, no doubt,
intended (see the comment on Isaiah 17:10).
5 “For He bringeth down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, He layeth it
low; He layeth it low, even to the ground; He bringeth it even to the dust.”
He bringeth down; rather, He hath brought down. The redeemed praise God
for His past mercies. He brought down in His own good time all the proud and
lofty ones who exalted themselves against Him and oppressed His saints,
making cities desolate (ch. 24:10,12) and giving over their inhabitants to
destruction (ibid. v. 6). Them that dwell on high; i.e. "that exalt themselves."
It is not eminence, but pride, that provokes the Divine anger. The heathen
judged differently (see Herod., 7:10, § 4). The lofty city (compare
idealized stronghold of the adversaries of God in this world, is intended.
6 “The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the
needy.” The foot shall tread it down; rather, trode it down. The feet of the poor,
and the steps of the needy; i.e. the feet of God's people, the weak and afflicted
of this world, trod down ultimately, or brought to destruction and ruin, the
great world-power - not so much that they were victorious in an actual physical
contest, as that they, finally triumphed through God's judgment on the
world-power, which brought it to naught, and left it for His people to show
their contempt by trampling upon the smoking ruins.
7 “The way of the just is uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path
of the just.” The way of the just is uprightness; or, the path for the just is
straight. It is one of the main blessings of the righteous that God "makes their
"shows them the way they are to walk in" (Psalm 143:8), so that they are for the
most part free from doubt and perplexity as to the line of conduct which it behooves
them to, pursue. If this is so in the present life, still more will it be the uniform
condition of the just in another sphere. Then God will of a surety "direct all
their paths" (Proverbs 3:6). Thou, most upright, dost weigh; literally, O upright
One, thou dost weigh. The term "upright" is applied to God in Deuteronomy
32:4; Psalm 25:8; and 92:15. By "weighing the path of the just" is meant
keeping it, as Justice keeps her scales, straight and level.
8 “Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee;
the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.”
Yea, in the way of thy judgments... have we waited for thee; rather, we waited.
During the long years of our affliction and persecution in the world, we waited
in the constant expectation that "thy judgments" would fall upon our persecutors.
We were not impatient. We knew that thou wouldst visit us at the fitting time.
The desire of our soul is to thy Name; rather, the desire of our soul was to
thy Name. During all the weary time of waiting, we longed for thee, and thy
Name, or rather what thy Name indicates, thy own true self. In default of thy
actual presence, we desired to have thee ever in remembrance.
9 “With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within
me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants
of the world will learn righteousness.” In the night; i.e. "the long night of their
affliction." The sentiment is identical with that of the preceding verse. Will I seek
thee early; rather, did I seek thee. For when thy judgments, etc. It was not
a mere selfish desire for the cessation of persecution that caused the righteous
to long for the time when God's judgments would be manifested upon the earth,
but a conviction that so only would an impression be made on the persecutors,
and a certain number of them be induced to learn righteousness. A desire for the
conversion of sinners to God characterizes God's saints generally, and none
more than Isaiah, who is here expressing what he conceives will be the thoughts
of the redeemed, and naturally judges their thoughts and feelings by his Own.
10 “Let favor be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness:
in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty
of the LORD.” Let favor be showed to the wicked. This is a further explanation
of the reason why the righteous had so earnestly desired the coming of God's
judgments upon the earth. They had felt that further mercy and long-suffering
were thrown away upon the wicked, and "only did them harm" (Kay). When
"favor was showed them," they did but persist in unrighteousness. In the land
of uprightness will he deal unjustly. Even good example does not convert
the wicked man. Though he live in a "land of righteousness," where God and
His Law are acknowledged, where true religion is professed, where the gospel is
preached, he will continue wicked, he will "deal unjustly;" he will not behold –
or, consider – THE MAJESTY OF THE LORD
11 “LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and
be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall
devour them.” When thy hand is lifted up, they will not see. The original is
more graphic. It runs, "Lord, thy hand is lifted up, [but] they see not. They shall
see to their shame thy jealousy for thy people; yea, fire shall devour thy adversaries"
12 “LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our
works in us.” Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us; i.e. henceforth thou wilt give
us an existence of perfect peace (see v. 3), untroubled by adversaries.
For thou also hast wrought all our works in us; rather, all our work for us.
The "work" intended seems to be, as Mr. Cheyne observes, "the work of their
13 “O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by
thee only will we make mention of thy name.” Other lords. The saved had not
always been faithful to Jehovah. Some, no doubt, had actually been idolaters, as many
their hearts for a time to other vanities, and turned away from God. Now, in the
new Jerusalem, they confess their short comings, and acknowledge that only
through God's mercy - by thee - are they in the condition to celebrate his Name.
14 “They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise:
therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory
to perish.” They are dead, literally. Dead, they shall not live (i.e. return to life);
deceased, they shall not arise. The power of the idol-gods is altogether passed
away. It was for this end - therefore - that God had visited and destroyed them,
and made their very memory to perish. How strange it seems that the "great gods"
whom so many millions worshipped in former times - Bel, and Asshur, and
Ammon, and Zeus, and Jupiter - should have passed so completely away as to
be almost wholly forgotten!
15 “Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation:
thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth.”
Thou hast increased the nation; i.e. the "righteous nation" of v. 2 - not the
merely, but "the
that no man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues"
(Revelation 7:9). Thou hadst removed it. This rendering gives a very good sense.
It makes the redeemed pass in thought from their present state of happiness and
glory to that former time of tribulation and affliction when they were a remnant,
scattered over the face of the earth (ch. 24:13-15), driven into its uttermost
corners (ibid. v. 16), oppressed and down-trodden by their enemies. But it is
doubtful whether the Hebrew will bear the rendering. Most modern commentators
translate, "Thou hast extended far all the borders of the land," which is certainly
the more natural meaning of the words. If we accept this view, we must regard the
clause as continuing the idea contained in the former part of the verse - the nation
is increased in number, and its borders are advanced - it is "a multitude that no
man can number," and it has no narrower limits than the "new earth," which
has been given to it for its habitation (Revelation 21:1).
16 “LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy
chastening was upon them.” Lord, in trouble have they visited thee. Here, at any
rate, the redeemed go back in thought to their time of trouble. They remember that
what brought them back to God from that alienation which they have confessed
(v. 13) was the affliction which they so long endured. Their present bliss is the
result of their former woe, and recalls the thought of it. They poured out a prayer;
rather, as in the margin, a secret speech, or a low whisper (Kay); compare ch. 29:4.
The word elsewhere means "the muttering of a charm," but must here signify
the "whispered prayer" of one in deep humiliation.
17 “Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery,
is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD.”
to express any severe pain combined with anxiety. So have we been in thy sight;
rather, so have we been at thy presence. When thou were visiting us in anger,
and laying thy chastisements upon us.
18 “We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought
forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the
inhabitants of the world fallen.” We have as it were brought forth wind. Our pains
have been idle, futile - have effected nothing. We have not given deliverance
(literally, "salvation") to our land; we have not effected the downfall of our
heathen enemies. That downfall was God's work (ch. 24:16-20).
THE PROPHET'S COMMENT ON THE SONG OF THE JUST
Having concluded his “song of the just” in a minor key with a confession of human
weakness, the prophet proceeds to cheer and encourage his disciples by a clear and
positive declaration of the doctrine of the
resurrection: “Thy dead, O
He then adds a recommendation for the present — a recommendation to privacy and
retirement, until the judgments of God which he has predicted (ch. 24.) are shown forth
upon the earth.
19 “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake
and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth
shall cast out the dead.” Thy dead men shall live. A universal resurrection of
“some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt"
(Daniel 12:2), is not yet announced; but only a resurrection of the just, perhaps
only of the just Israelites. The object is encouragement, especially encouragement
of those whom the prophet directly addresses - the religious Israelites of his own
day. It is enough for them at the present time to know that, whether the day
of the Lord comes in their time or no, when it comes, they will have a part in it.
The assurance is given, and is made doubly sure by repetition. The prophet
does not say, Together with my dead body they will arise; for there is nothing
in the Hebrew corresponding to "together," and the ellipse of 'im, "with," though
suggested by Kimchi, is impossible; nor is it likely that he intends to speak of
his own dead body at all. He may, perhaps, call the past generations of just
Israelites "my dead," i.e. the dead with whom he is in sympathy; or the
supposed personal suffix may be merely paragogic (lengthening a word),
as Rosenmüller argues. In any case the two clauses must be regarded as identical
in meaning - an instance of "synonymous parallelism.... Thy dead men shall
live; my dead shall arise." Awake and sing; rather, awake and shout for joy
"Many that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake"). Thy dew is as the
dew of herbs; i.e. refreshing, vivifying, potent to make even dead bones
live. "Thy dew" may be said with reference to Jehovah, for changes in the
person addressed are frequent in Isaiah; or with reference
to the people of
meaning, "the dew which Jehovah will shed on thee," i.e. on thy dead.
20 “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors
about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation
be overpast.” Come, my people... into thy chambers. As when a storm comes,
prudence counsels men to seek shelter (Exodus 9:19), so now the prophet
advises his people to put themselves under cover during the coming tempest.
His meaning, probably, is that they should retire into the privacy of communion
with God, withdrawing from public affairs and the distractions of a worldly life.
21 “For, behold, the LORD cometh out of His place to punish the
inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose
her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” The Lord cometh out of His
place (compare Micah 1:3). In the Psalms God is represented as "bowing the
heavens and coming down," bringing them, as it were, with Him. Here (and in
Micah) He quits His place in heaven, as a king quits his own country when he
proceeds to take vengeance on rebels in another. The expressions are, both
of them, accommodations to human modes of thought. To punish the inhabitants
of the earth for their iniquity; literally, to visit the iniquity of the inhabitant
of the earth upon him. The earth also shall disclose her blood; literally,
her bloods; i.e. her bloodsheddings; the many murders committed by man
upon her surface. (It matters not what you think whether the abortion
of a baby is a blob of matter or not – GOD IS THE JUDGE! – CY –
2020) Isaiah denounced "murderers" in his first chapter (v. 27).
Manasseh's murders were the main cause of the first destruction of
Jerusalem (“...which the Lord would not pardon.” - II Kings 24:4).
The second destruction was equally a judgment for the innocent blood
that had been shed upon the earth, "from the blood of righteous Abel
unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias" (Matthew 23:35).
Bloodshed "cries to God for vengeance" (Genesis 4:10), and will be
one of the main causes of the world's final destruction (Revelation 16:6;
18:20). And shall no more cover her slain. "There is nothing covered that
shall not" in the last day "be revealed, and hid that shall not be known"
(Matthew 10:26; Luke 12:2). Every murder, however secret, will be
brought to light, and every murderer, however unsuspected previously,
denounced and punished. (And do you think you can get away with it?
Whether through abortion or in slaying someone that has the “breath of
life” in him, which only God can give? Perhaps 2020, that odd year
of events, are the times in which God hath chosen to proceed with
our annoyance of our lives being disturbed on all fronts! What is one
to do when the real judgments come? We have enough sin in our natural
and unnatural (perverted) sexual behaviors, in our drug usage and
abuse, whether users, abusers or pushers, and 62,000,000 abortions
to bring on the Judgment of God, just for starters, in how heavy-laden
our country is with sin. CY – 2020)
"Excerpted text Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.
Materials are reproduced by permission."
This material can be found at:
If this exposition is helpful, please share with others.