Isaiah 51:9

9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord! Awake, as in days of old, the generations of long ago! Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon?

Isaiah 51:9 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 51:9

Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord
The Septuagint and Arabic versions take the words to be an address to Jerusalem; and the Syriac version to Zion, as in ( Isaiah 51:17 ) ( 52:1 ) , but wrongly: they are, as Jarchi says, a prayer of the prophet, or it may be rather of the church represented by him; and are addressed either to God the Father, who, when he does not immediately appear on the behalf of his people, is thought by them to be asleep, though he never slumbers nor sleeps, but always keeps a watchful eye over them; but this they not apprehending, call upon him to "awake"; which is repeated, to show their sense of danger, and of their need of him, and their vehement importunity; and that he would clothe himself with strength, and make it visible, exert his power, and make bare his arm on their behalf: or they are an address to Christ, who is the power of God, that he would appear in the greatness of strength, show himself strong in favour of his people, and take to himself his great power and reign: awake, as in the ancient days,
in the generations of old; which is mentioned not only as an argument to prevail with the Lord that he would do as he had formerly done; but as an argument to encourage the faith of the church, that as he had done, he could and would still do great things for them: art thou not it that hath cut Rahab;
that is, Egypt, so called either from the pride and haughtiness of its inhabitants; or from the large extent of the country; or from the form of it, being in the likeness of a pear, as some have thought; see ( Psalms 87:4 ) and the sense is, art thou not that very arm, and still possessed of the same power, that cut or "hewed" to pieces, as the word F16 signifies, the Egyptians, by the ten plagues sent among them? and wounded the dragon?
that is, Pharaoh king of Egypt, so called from the river Nile in Egypt, where he reigned, and because of his fierceness and cruelty, see ( Ezekiel 29:3 ) . So the Targum interprets it of Pharaoh and his army, who were strong as a dragon. And that same mighty arm that destroyed Egypt, and its tyrannical king, can and will destroy that great city, spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, and the beast that has two horns like a lamb, but speaks like a dragon, and to whom the dragon has given his seat, power, and authority; and the rather this may be believed, since the great red dragon has been cast out, or Rome Pagan has been destroyed by him, ( Revelation 11:8 ) ( Revelation 13:2 Revelation 13:11 ) ( Revelation 12:3 Revelation 12:9 ) .


F16 (tbuxhm) "quod excidit", Piscator; "excidens", Montanas.

Isaiah 51:9 In-Context

7 Listen to me, you who know righteousness, you people who have my teaching in your hearts; do not fear the reproach of others, and do not be dismayed when they revile you.
8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; but my deliverance will be forever, and my salvation to all generations.
9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord! Awake, as in days of old, the generations of long ago! Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon?
10 Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep; who made the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to cross over?
11 So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
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.