And they that shall be of thee shall build the old
As the cities in Israel and Judea, which had been long laid waste by the Assyrians and Chaldeans, were rebuilt by those of the Jewish nation, who returned from the captivity of Babylon, to which there is at least an allusion; and as the church of God, the tabernacle of David, which was fallen down, and had lain long in ruins, through corruptions in doctrine and worship, to the times of Christ, when the apostles, who were of the Jews, those wise masterbuilders, were instruments of raising it up again, and repairing its ruins: so, in the latter day, "the waste places of the world" F14, as the words may be rendered, shall be built by a set of men, that shall be of the church of God, who shall be instruments in his hand of converting many souls, and so of peopling it with Christians; such places as before were desolate, where before there was no preaching of the word, no administration of ordinances, nor any Gospel churches: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations;
either such foundations as have been razed up, and lay so for ages past; or raise up such as shall continue for generations to come. It may allude to the raising the foundations of the city and temple of Jerusalem; but rather refers to the founding of churches in Gospel times, which, as it was done in the first times of it by the apostles in the Gentile world, so shall be again in the latter day, which will continue for many ages: and thou shalt be called the repairer of the breach, and the restorer
of paths to dwell in;
that is, the church and her builders, that shall be of her, shall be so called; the Jews and Gentiles will be converted in great numbers, and coalesce in the same Gospel church state, and so the breach between them will be repaired. Christians of various denominations, who now break off and separate one from another, will be of the same sentiment and judgment in doctrine and discipline; they shall see eye to eye, and cement together, and all breaches will be made up, and there will be no schism in the body; and they shall dwell together in unity, and walk in the same paths of faith and duty, of truth and holiness; and such who will be the happy instruments of all this will have much honour, and be called by these names. The Targum is,
``they shall call thee one that confirms the right way, and converts, the ungodly to the law.''
F14 (Mlwe twbrx) "desolata seculi", Munster, Vatablus, Vitringa; "deserta seculi", Pagninus, Montanus.