God's care over his people. (1-5) A promise of their recall to Divine favour. (6-13)
Verses 1-5 The Lord Jesus with his strong sword, the virtue of his death, and the preaching of his gospel, does and will destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, that old serpent. The world is a fruitless, worthless wilderness; but the church is a vineyard, a place that has great care taken of it, and from which precious fruits are gathered. God will keep it in the night of affliction and persecution, and in the day of peace and prosperity, the temptations of which are not less dangerous. God also takes care of the fruitfulness of this vineyard. We need the continual waterings of Divine grace; if these be at any time withdrawn, we wither, and come to nothing. Though God sometimes contends with his people, yet he graciously waits to be reconciled unto them. It is true, when he finds briers and thorns instead of vines, and they are set in array against him, he will tread them down and burn them. Here is a summary of the doctrine of the gospel, with which the church is to be watered every moment. Ever since sin first entered, there has been, on God's part, a righteous quarrel, but, on man's part, most unrighteous. Here is a gracious invitation given. Pardoning mercy is called the power of our Lord; let us take hold on that. Christ crucified is the power of God. Let us by lively faith take hold on his strength who is a strength to the needy, believing there is no other name by which we can be saved, as a man that is sinking catches hold of a bough, or cord, or plank, that is in his reach. This is the only way, and it is a sure way, to be saved. God is willing to be reconciled to us.
Verses 6-13 In the days of the gospel, the latter days, the gospel church shall be more firmly fixed than the Jewish church, and shall spread further. May our souls be continually watered and kept, that we may abound in the fruits of the Spirit, in all goodness, righteousness, and truth. The Jews yet are kept a separate and a numerous people; they have not been rooted out as those who slew them. The condition of that nation, through so many ages, forms a certain proof of the Divine origin of the Scriptures; and the Jews live amongst us, a continued warning against sin. But though winds are ever so rough, ever so high, God can say to them, Peace, be still. And though God will afflict his people, yet he will make their afflictions to work for the good of their souls. According to this promise, since the captivity in Babylon, no people have shown such hatred to idols and idolatry as the Jews. And to all God's people, the design of affliction is to part between them and sin. The affliction has done us good, when we keep at a distance from the occasions of sin, and use care that we may not be tempted to it. Jerusalem had been defended by grace and the Divine protection; but when God withdrew, she was left like a wilderness. This has awfully come to pass. And this is a figure of the deplorable state of the vineyard, the church, when it brought forth wild grapes. Sinners flatter themselves they shall not be dealt with severely, because God is merciful, and is their Maker. We see ( isaiah 27:12-13 ) the restoration of the Jews after the Babylonish captivity, and their recovery from their present dispersion. This is further applicable to the preaching of the gospel, by which sinners are gathered into the grace of God; the gospel proclaims the acceptable year of the Lord. Those gathered by the sounding of the gospel trumpet, are brought in to worship God, and added to the church; and the last trumpet will gather the saints together.
Isaiah 27:1-13 . CONTINUATION OF THE TWENTY-FOURTH, TWENTY-FIFTH, AND TWENTY-SIXTH CHAPTERS.
At the time when Israel shall be delivered, and the ungodly nations punished, God shall punish also the great enemy of the Church.
1. sore--rather, "hard," "well-tempered."
leviathan--literally, in Arabic, "the twisted animal," applicable to every great tenant of the waters, sea-serpents, crocodiles, &c. In Ezekiel 29:3 , 32:2 , Daniel 7:1 , &c. Revelation 12:3 , &c., potentates hostile to Israel are similarly described; antitypically and ultimately Satan is intended ( Revelation 20:10 ).
piercing--rigid [LOWTH]. Flying [MAURER and Septuagint]. Long, extended, namely, as the crocodile which cannot readily bend back its body [HOUBIGANT].
dragon--Hebrew, tenin; the crocodile.
sea--the Euphrates, or the expansion of it near Babylon.
2. In that day when leviathan shall be destroyed, the vineyard ( Psalms 80:8 ), the Church of God, purged of its blemishes, shall be lovely in God's eyes; to bring out this sense the better, LOWTH, by changing a Hebrew letter, reads "pleasant," "lovely," for "red wine."
sing--a responsive song [LOWTH].
unto her--rather, "concerning her" the Jewish state [MAURER].
3. lest any hurt it--attack it [MAURER]. "Lest aught be wanting in her" [HORSLEY].
4. Fury is not in me--that is I entertain no longer anger towards my vine.
who would set . . . in battle--that is, would that I had the briers, &c. (the wicked foe; Isaiah 9:18 , 10:17 , 2 Samuel 23:6 ), before me! "I would go through," or rather, "against them."
5. Or--Else; the only alternative, if Israel's enemies wish to escape being "burnt together."
strength--rather, "the refuge which I afford" [MAURER]. "Take hold," refers to the horns of the altar which fugitives often laid hold of as an asylum ( 1 Kings 1:50 , 2:28 ). Jesus is God's "strength," or "refuge" which sinners must repair to and take hold of, if they are to have "peace" with God ( Isaiah 45:24 , Romans 5:1 , Ephesians 2:14 ; compare Job 22:21 ).
6. He--Jehovah. Here the song of the Lord as to His vineyard ( Isaiah 27:2-5 ) ends; and the prophet confirms the sentiment in the song, under the same image of a vine (compare Psalms 92:13-15 , Hosea 14:5 Hosea 14:6 ).
Israel . . . fill . . . world--( Romans 11:12 ).
7. him . . . those--Israel--Israel's enemies. Has God punished His people as severely as He has those enemies whom He employed to chastise Israel? No! Far from it. Israel, after trials, He will restore; Israel's enemies He will utterly destroy at last.
the slaughter of them that are slain by him--rather, "Is Israel slain according to the slaughter of the enemy slain?" the slaughter wherewith the enemy is slain [MAURER].
8. In measure--not beyond measure; in moderation ( Job 23:6 , Psalms 6:1 , Jeremiah 10:24 , 30:11 , 46:28 ).
when it shooteth--image from the vine; rather, passing from the image to the thing itself, "when sending her away (namely, Israel to exile; Isaiah 50:1 , God only putting the adulteress away when He might justly have put her to death), Thou didst punish her" [GESENIUS].
stayeth--rather, as Margin, "when He removeth it by His rough wind in the day," &c.
east wind--especially violent in the East ( Job 27:21 , Jeremiah 18:17 ).
9. By this--exile of Israel (the "sending away," Isaiah 27:8 ).
all the fruit--This is the whole benefit designed to be brought about by the chastisement; namely, the removal of his (Israel's) sin (namely, object of idolatry De 9:21 Ho 10:8).
when he--Jehovah; at the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, His instrument. The Jews ever since have abhorred idolatry (compare Isaiah 17:8 ).
not stand up--shall rise no more [HORSLEY].
10. city--Jerusalem; the beating asunder of whose altars and images was mentioned in Isaiah 27:9 (compare Isaiah 24:10-12 ).
calf feed--( Isaiah 17:2 ); it shall be a vast wild pasture.
branches--resuming the image of the vine ( Isaiah 27:6 ).
11. boughs . . . broken off--so the Jews are called ( Romans 11:17 Romans 11:19 Romans 11:20 ).
set . . . on fire--burn them as fuel; "women" are specified, as probably it was their office to collect fuel and kindle the fire for cooking.
no understanding--as to the ways of God ( Deuteronomy 32:28 Deuteronomy 32:29 , Jeremiah 5:21 , Hosea 4:6 ).
12. Restoration of the Jews from their dispersion, described under the image of fruits shaken from trees and collected.
beat off--as fruit beaten off a tree with a stick ( Deuteronomy 24:20 ), and then gathered.
stream of Egypt--on the confines of Palestine and Egypt ( Numbers 34:5 , Joshua 15:4 Joshua 15:47 ), now Wady-el-Arish, Jehovah's vineyard, Israel, extended according to His purpose from the Nile to the Euphrates ( 1 Kings 4:21 1 Kings 4:24 , Psalms 72:8 ).
one by one--gathered most carefully, not merely as a nation, but as individuals.
13. great trumpet--image from the trumpets blown on the first day of the seventh month to summon the people to a holy convocation ( Leviticus 23:24 ). Antitypically, the gospel trumpet ( Revelation 11:15 , 14:6 ) which the Jews shall hearken to in the last days ( Zechariah 12:10 , 13:1 ). As the passover in the first month answers to Christ's crucifixion, so the day of atonement and the idea of "salvation connected with the feast of tabernacles in the same seventh month, answer to the crowning of "redemption" at His second coming; therefore redemption is put last in 1 Corinthians 1:30 .
Assyria--whither the ten tribes had been carried; Babylonia is mainly meant, to which Assyria at that time belonged; the two tribes were restored, and some of the ten accompanied them. However, "Assyria" is designedly used to point ultimately to the future restoration of the ten fully, never yet accomplished ( Jeremiah 3:18 ).
Egypt--whither many had fled at the Babylonish captivity ( Jeremiah 41:17 Jeremiah 41:18 ). Compare as to the future restoration, Isaiah 11:11 Isaiah 11:12 Isaiah 11:16 , 51:9-16 ("Rahab" being Egypt).