Isaiah 35:1-10 . CONTINUATION OF THE PROPHECY IN THE THIRTY-FOURTH CHAPTER.
1. solitary place--literally, "a dry place," without springs of water. A moral wilderness is meant.
for them--namely, on account of the punishment inflicted according to the preceding prophecy on the enemy; probably the blessings set forth in this chapter are included in the causes for joy ( Isaiah 55:12 ).
rose--rather, "the meadow-saffron," an autumnal flower with bulbous roots; so Syriac translation.
2. glory of Lebanon--its ornament, namely, its cedars ( Isaiah 10:34 ).
excellency of Carmel--namely, its beauty.
Sharon--famed for its fertility.
see . . . glory of the Lord . . . excellency--( Isaiah 40:5 Isaiah 40:9 ). While the wilderness which had neither "glory" nor "excellency" shall have both "given to it," the Lord shall have all the "glory" and "excellency" ascribed to Him, not to the transformed wilderness ( Matthew 5:16 ).
3. Strengthen . . . hands . . . confirm . . . knees--The Hebrew for "strengthen" refers to the strength residing in the hand for grasping and holding a thing manfully; "confirm," to the firmness with which one keeps his ground, so as not to be dislodged by any other [MAURER]. Encourage the Jews, now desponding, by the assurance of the blessings promised.
4. fearful--"hasty," Margin; that is, with a heart fluttered with agitation.
with--the Hebrew is more forcible than the English Version: "God will come, vengeance! even God, a recompense!" The sense is the same.
5, 6. Language figuratively, descriptive of the joy felt at the deliverance from Assyria and Babylon; literally, true of the antitypical times of Messiah and His miracles (see Margin references, Matthew 11:5 , Luke 7:2 , 2 John 1:5:8 , Acts 3:2 ).
7. parched ground--rather, "the mirage (Hebrew, Sharab, 'the sun's heat') shall become a (real) lake." The sun's rays refracted on the glowing sands at midday give the appearance of a take of water and often deceive the thirsty traveller (compare Jeremiah 2:13 , Isaiah 41:18 ).
grass--rather, "a dwelling or receptacle (answering to the previous habitation) for reeds," &c. (which only grow where there is water, Job 8:11 ). Where once there was no water, water shall abound.
8. highway--such a causeway (raised way, from a Hebrew root, "to cast up") as was used for the march of armies; valleys being filled up, hills and other obstructions removed ( Isaiah 62:10 ; compare Isaiah 40:3 Isaiah 40:4 ).
way of holiness--Hebraism for "the holy way." HORSLEY translates, "the way of the Holy One;" but the words that follow, and Isaiah 35:10 , show it is the way leading the redeemed back to Jerusalem, both the literal and the heavenly ( Isaiah 52:1 , Joel 3:17 , Revelation 21:27 ); still Christ at His coming again shall be the Leader on the way, for which reason it is called, "The way of the Lord" ( Isaiah 40:3 , Malachi 3:1 ).
it shall be for those: the wayfaring men--rather, "He (the Holy One) shall be with them, walking in the way" [HORSLEY].
though fools--rather, "And (even) fools," that is, the simple shall not go astray, namely, because "He shall be with them" ( Matthew 11:25 1 Corinthians 1:26-28 ).
9. No lion--such as might be feared on the way through the wilderness which abounded in wild beasts, back to Judea. Every danger shall be warded off the returning people ( Isaiah 11:6-9 , Ezekiel 34:25 , Hosea 2:18 ). Compare spiritually, Proverbs 3:17 .
10. Language: literally, applying to the return from Babylon; figuratively and more fully to the completed redemption of both literal and spiritual Israel.
joy upon . . . heads--( Psalms 126:2 ). Joy manifested in their countenances. Some fancy an allusion to the custom of pouring oil "upon the head," or wearing chaplets in times of public festivity ( Ecclesiastes 9:8 ).