Isaiah 51:1-23 . ENCOURAGEMENT TO THE FAITHFUL REMNANT OF ISRAEL TO TRUST IN GOD FOR DELIVERANCE, BOTH FROM THEIR LONG BABYLONIAN EXILE, AND FROM THEIR PRESENT DISPERSION.
13. ( Isaiah 40:12 Isaiah 40:26 Isaiah 40:28 ), the same argument of comfort drawn from the omnipotence of the Creator.
as if . . . ready, &c.--literally, "when he directs," namely, his arrow, to destroy ( Psalms 21:12 , 7:13 , 11:2 ) [MAURER].
14. captive exile--literally, one bowed down as a captive ( Isaiah 10:4 ) [MAURER]. The scene is primarily Babylon, and the time near the close of the captivity. Secondarily, and antitypically, the mystical Babylon, the last enemy of Israel and the Church, in which they have long suffered, but from which they are to be gloriously delivered.
pit--such as were many of the ancient dungeons (compare Jeremiah 38:6 Jeremiah 38:11 Jeremiah 38:13 , Genesis 37:20 ).
nor . . . bread . . . fail--( Isaiah 33:16 , Jeremiah 37:21 ).
15. divided . . . sea--the Red Sea. The same Hebrew word as "make to rest" ( Isaiah 51:4 ). Rather, "that terrify the sea," that is, restrain it by My rebuke, "when its waves roar" [GESENIUS]. The Hebrew favors MAURER, "that terrify the sea so that the waves roar." The sense favors GESENIUS ( Jeremiah 5:22 , 31:35 ), or English Version ( Isaiah 51:9 Isaiah 51:10 , which favors the special reference to the exodus from Egypt).
16. Addressed to Israel, embodied in "the servant of Jehovah" ( Isaiah 42:1 ), Messiah, its ideal and representative Head, through whom the elect remnant is to be restored.
put my words in thy mouth--true of Israel, the depository of true religion, but fully realized only in Israel's Head and antitype, Messiah ( Isaiah 49:2 , Isaiah 50:4 Isaiah 50:5 , 59:21 , Deuteronomy 18:18 , John 3:34 ).
covered . . . in . . . shadow of . . . hand--protected thee
plant--rather, "fix" as a tabernacle; so it ought to be rendered ( Daniel 11:45 ). The "new creation," now going on in the spiritual world by the Gospel ( Ephesians 2:10 ), and hereafter to be extended to the visible world, is meant ( Isaiah 65:17 , 66:22 ; compare Isaiah 13:13 2 Peter 3:10-13 ).
Zion--Its restoration is a leading part in the new creation to come ( Isaiah 65:17 Isaiah 65:19 ).
17. Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, &c.--( Isaiah 52:1 ).
drunk--Jehovah's wrath is compared to an intoxicating draught because it confounds the sufferer under it, and makes him fall ( Job 21:20 , Psalms 60:3 , 75:8 , Jeremiah 25:15 Jeremiah 25:16 , 49:12 , Zechariah 12:2 , Revelation 14:10 ); ("poured out without mixture"; rather, "the pure wine juice mixed with intoxicating drugs").
of trembling--which produced trembling or intoxication.
wrung . . . out--drained the last drop out; the dregs were the sediments from various substances, as honey, dates, and drugs, put into the wine to increase the strength and sweetness.
18. Following up the image in Isaiah 51:17 , intoxicated and confused by the cup of God's anger, she has none to guide her in her helpless state; she has not yet awakened out of the sleep caused by that draught. This cannot apply to the Babylonish captivity; for in it they had Ezekiel and Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah, as "guides," and soon awoke out of that sleep; but it applies to the Jews now, and will be still more applicable in their coming oppression by Antichrist.
19. two--classes of evils, for he enumerates four, namely, desolation and destruction to the land and state; famine and the sword to the people.
who shall be sorry for thee--so as to give thee effectual relief: as the parallel clause, "By whom shall I comfort thee?" shows ( Lamentations 2:11-13 ).
20. head of all . . . streets--( Lamentations 2:19 , 4:1 ).
wild bull--rather, "oryx" [JEROME], or gazelle [GESENIUS], or wild goat [BOCHART]; commonly in the East taken in a net, of a wide sweep, into which the beasts were hunted together. The streets of cities in the East often have gates, which are closed at night; a person wishing to escape would be stopped by them and caught, as a wild animal in a net.
22. pleadeth . . . cause--( Psalms 35:1 , Jeremiah 50:34 , Micah 7:9 ).
no more drink it--( Isaiah 54:7-9 ). This cannot apply to Israel after the return from Babylon, but only to them after their final restoration.
23. ( Isaiah 49:26 , Jeremiah 25:15-29 , Zechariah 12:2 ).
Bow down that . . . go over--Conquerors often literally trod on the necks of conquered kings, as Sapor of Persia did to the Roman emperor Valerian ( Joshua 10:24 , Psalms 18:40 , Psalms 66:11 Psalms 66:12 ).