Thy people shall be willing in the day of that power.
&c.] Or, in the day of thine army F19. When thou musterest thy forces, sendest forth thy generals, the apostles and ministers of the word, in the first times of the Gospel; when Christ went forth working with them, and their ministry was attended with signs, and miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost; and which was a day of great power indeed, when wonderful things were wrought; the god of this world was cast out, the Heathen oracles ceased, their idols were abolished, and their temples desolate; and Christianity prevailed everywhere. Or this may respect the whole Gospel dispensation, the day of salvation, which now is and will be as long as the world is; and the doctrine of it is daily the power and wisdom of God to them that are saved. Or rather this signifies the set time of love and life to every particular soul at conversion; which is a day for light, and a day of power; when the exceeding greatness of the power of God is put forth in the regeneration of them: and the people that were given to Christ by his Father, in the covenant of grace, and who, while in a state of nature, are rebellious and unwilling, are made willing to be saved by Christ, and him only; to serve him in every religious duty and ordinance; to part with their sins and sinful companions, and with their own righteousness; to suffer the loss of all things for him; to deny themselves, and take up the cross and follow him: and when they become freewill offerings to him, as the word F20 signifies; not only willingly offer up their spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise, but themselves, souls and bodies, to him; as well as enter volunteers F21 into his service, and cheerfully fight his battles, under him, the Captain of their salvation; being assured of victory, and certain of the crown of life and glory, when they have fought the good fight, and finished their course. The allusion seems to be to an army of volunteers, such as described by Cicero F23, who willingly offered themselves through their ardour for liberty.
In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning:
this does not design the place where these willing subjects of Christ should appear; either in Zion, beautiful for situation; or in Jerusalem, the holy city, compact together; or in the temple, the sanctuary, in which strength and beauty are said to be; or in the church, the perfection of beauty: but the habit or dress in which they should appear, even in the beautiful garment of Christ's righteousness and holiness; the robe of righteousness, and garments of salvation; the best robe, the wedding garment; gold of Ophir, raiment of needlework; and which is upon all them that believe: as also the several beautiful graces of the Spirit; the beauty of internal holiness, by which saints are all glorious within; and holiness is the beauty and glory of God himself, of angels and glorified saints. This, though imperfect now, is the new man put on as a garment; and is true holiness, and very ornamental. The phrase, "from the womb of the morning", either stands in connection with "the beauties of holiness"; and the sense is, that as soon as the morning of the Gospel dispensation dawns, these people should be born again, be illuminated, and appear holy and righteous: or, "from the womb, from the morning F24", shall they be "in the beauties of holiness"; that is, as soon as they are born again, and as soon as the morning of spiritual light and grace breaks in upon them, and they are made light in the Lord, they shall be clad with these beautiful garments of holiness and righteousness; so, "from the womb", signifies literally as soon as men are born; see ( Psalms 58:3 ) ( Isaiah 48:8 ) ( Hosea 9:11 ) or else with the latter clause, "thou hast the dew of thy youth": and so are rendered, "more than the womb of the morning", i.e. than the dew that is from the womb of the morning, is to thee the dew of thy youth; that is, more than the dew of the morning are thy converts; the morning is the parent of the dew, ( Job 38:28 ) , but the former sense is best; for this last clause is a remember or proposition of itself,
thou hast the dew of that youth;
which expresses the open property Christ has in his people, when made willing; and when they appear in the beauty of holiness, as soon as they are born of the Spirit, and the true light of grace shines in them; then those who were secretly his, even while unwilling, manifestly appear to belong unto him: so young lambs, just weaned, are in Homer F25 called (ersai) , "dews"; and it is remarkable that the Hebrew words for "dew" and "a lamb" are near in sound. Young converts are Christ's lambs; they are Christ's youth, and the dew of it; they are regenerated by the grace of God, comparable to dew, of which they are begotten to a lively hope of heaven; and which, distilling upon them, makes them fruitful in good works; and who for their numbers, and which I take to be the thing chiefly designed by this figure, are like to the drops of the dew; which in great profusion is spread over trees, herbs, and plants, where it hangs in drops innumerable: and such a multitude of converts is here promised to Christ, and which he had in the first times of the Gospel, both in Judea, when three thousand persons were converted under one sermon; and especially in the Gentile world, where the savour of his knowledge was diffused in every place; and as will be in the latter day, when a nation shall be born at once, and the fulness of the Gentiles be brought in. The sense given of these words, as formed upon the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, respecting the generation of Christ's human or divine nature, is without any foundation in the original text.
F19 (Klyx Mwyb) "in die exercitus tui", Munster, Vatablus, Piscator, Gejerus; so Ainsworth; "quum educes tuas copias", Tigurine version; "die copiarum tuarum", Junius & Tremellius.
F20 (twbdn) "oblationes voluntariae", Junius & Tremellius; "spontanea oblatio", Cocceius, Gejerus.
F21 "Milites voluntarii", Bootius.
F23 Epist. l. 11. Ep. 8.
F24 (rxvm Mxdm) "a vulya, ab aurora", Montanus.
F25 Odyss. ix. v. 222.