Isaiah 55:5

5 See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.

Isaiah 55:5 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 55:5

Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not
And even nations, as in the next clause; not all the individuals of them, though the Gospel is sent to all nations; and in the latter day the kingdoms of this world shall be the Lord's, and all nations shall serve him. It denotes a great concourse of people to Christ, even such as were not known by him: he knows all mankind as he is the omniscient God, and especially them that are his, these he has a special and peculiar knowledge of; he knows them as his beloved, chosen, and redeemed ones, even before conversion; and yet, in a sense, they are unknown to him before calling; they are not taken notice of by him in an open way; they are not owned and acknowledged to be his; there is no intimacy between them; they are not admitted to fellowship and communion with him. The phrase denotes them to be a foreign people, and so properly describes the Gentiles, who were without Christ, and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel. These, Jehovah the Father says, for these are his words to his Son, he shall "call"; not merely with an external call, by the ministry of the word, though this is Christ's call, and is the means of bringing souls to him; but sometimes this is a call of persons who are not chosen and saved, and is of no effect; but with the internal call, by his Spirit and grace, which is according to the purpose of God, and is peculiar to his elect; is the fruit of love, and by special grace, and to special blessings; is by the power of God, and is irresistible, unfrustrable, and irreversible: hence the following effect, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee;
knew not even God himself, as the Gentiles did not, much less the Messiah; they knew neither his person nor his offices, nor the way of peace, life, and salvation by him; were in a state of gross darkness; and to whom the Gospel was not known, which is a revelation of Christ, and of good things by him. Now the promise is, that, upon the above call, such persons should "run" unto Christ; light goes along with that call, directing to the object, where all grace and salvation be; life is infused, by which they are quickened, and move; and strength is given, by which they stand upon their feet, walk and run; efficacious grace, then exerted, draws them; and under a sense of danger, and in a view of safety in Christ, they run with all readiness and cheerfulness to him, and lay hold on him the hope set before them. The Targum adds,

``to bring tribute unto thee.''
Because of the Lord thy God;
because of the love of God, with which they are drawn; and because of his power, which is put forth upon them; because of his grace, and the proclamations of it in Christ, and the declaration of his will, that whoever believes in him shall have everlasting life; and because he has appointed Christ, and him only, to be their Saviour and Redeemer; and because there is no coming to God but by him: for the Holy One of Israel;
or, "and" or "even to the Holy One of Israel" F9; that is, Christ, who is holy in his natures and offices, and the sanctifier of his people; to him shall they run, for the cleansing of their filthy souls in the fountain of his blood; and for the expiation of their sin and guilt, by his atoning sacrifice; and for righteousness and strength; for grace, and all the supplies of it; for peace, pardon, and eternal life: for he hath glorified thee;
that is, God the Father has glorified his Son, through the miracles wrought by him in his state of humiliation; by supporting him, as man, in his work, and under all his sufferings; and by raising him from the dead, and at his ascension to heaven; and by bestowing on him the gifts of the Spirit without measure, to give to others; which, with the reasons before suggested, induce, engage, and encourage sons to run to Christ, when called by his grace. Some understand all this of the first Christian church, consisting of believing Jews, who should call the Gentiles by her ministers unto Christ, by the conversion and accession of which she would be glorified. These nations are those the apostles were sent and preached unto, after the resurrection of Christ, all the nations of the world, even most distant and remote; and particularly those the Apostle Paul preached unto from Jerusalem, round about to Illyricum; and which the ministers of the word preached unto, in the first ages of the Gospel; such as those mentioned by Tertullian F11 in his time, as the Parthians, Medea, Elamites; the inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Armenia, Phrygia, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, and Pamphylia; the Egyptians, Africans, Romans, Getulians, Moors, Spaniards, Gauls, Britons, Sarmatians, Dacians, Germans, and Sythians; besides many other nations, provinces, and isles unknown, too many to enumerate, who professed the name of Christ; and yet more, when the whole Roman empire became Christian, in the times of Constantine; to which may be added the various kingdoms in Europe, which cast off the Romish yoke at the Reformation; together with many of the American nations, or new found world, who now embrace and profess the Christian religion.

F9 (larvy vwdqlw) "et ad Sanctum Israel", Montanus, Cocceius.
F11 Adversus Judaeos, c. 7.

Isaiah 55:5 In-Context

3 Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.
4 See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.
5 See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.
6 Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near;
7 let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.