Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear
The Targum interprets this of Jerusalem, paraphrasing the words thus,
``sing praise, O Jerusalem, which was as a barren woman that bears not;''and so the apostle applies the words of the text to the Jerusalem above, the mother of us all, the then present Gospel church, ( Galatians 4:26 Galatians 4:27 ) , which, at the first setting of it up, in the times of Christ, during his life and at the time of his death, and before the day of Pentecost, was like a barren woman; the number of converts were very small; few believed the report of the Gospel, professed Christ, and submitted to his ordinances; the names of the disciples were but a hundred and twenty. Though some understand this of the Jewish church, under the Old Testament dispensation, whose members were not many, and whose proselytes from the Gentiles were but few; and others of the Gentile world, before the coming of Christ, and the preaching of the Gospel in it; but the former sense is to be preferred, having the suffrage of the apostle:
break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail
among whom there were few instances of conversion, scarce any begotten and born again of incorruptible seed by the word of God, and no signs thereof; but now it being otherwise, and multitudes being converted both in Judea and in the Gentile world, the church and its members are called upon to express their joy aloud in songs of praise, setting forth the glory of efficacious grace, in the regeneration of men; for as this is matter of joy to the angels of heaven, so to the saints on earth:
for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the
married wife, saith the Lord;
more souls were born again, and added to the church after the death of Christ, when she was in a desolate condition, like a woman deprived of her husband, and in a widowhood state, then there were while Christ was here on earth, personally present with his people, and preaching the Gospel himself unto men; three thousand were converted under one sermon, and great numbers afterwards were added, so that the church at Jerusalem was in a much more flourishing condition after the death of Christ than before; more fruitful when it was become like a widow than when the bridegroom was with her; and the church of Christ still increased yet more and more afterwards, as the following verses predict. The Targum is,
``more shall be the children of Jerusalem than the children of the habitable city.''The edition of it, in the king of Spain's Bible, has it,
``than the children of Rome;''and so it is quoted by R. Elias F8, and by Buxtorf F9. The Jews understand this prophecy of their deliverance from their present condition by the Messiah; and of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and the prosperity of it.
F8 In Tishbi, p. 227.
F9 Lexic. Talmud. col. 996, 2229.