For he will finish the work
This passage has some difficulty in it: some, instead of "work", read "account", and suppose it is an allusion to the balancing of accounts, when the remainder is cut off, which commonly is but little; and so regards the small number of the Jews that shall be called and saved, as before: others read it "the word", and differently explain it; some understanding it of the incarnate Word, of his being emptied, and made of no reputation, of his being cut off in a very short time, a few years after he had entered upon his public ministry, and of the few persons converted under it; others of the law, of the cutting off, or abolishing the ceremonial law, perfecting or completing the moral law, and abbreviating it, or reducing it into a short compendium; others of the Gospel, bringing in and revealing a perfect righteousness, for the justification of sinners, which the law could not do; all foreign to the apostle's purpose. Those who think God's work, his strange work is meant, his work of punitive justice he will finish,
and cut it short in righteousness, because a short work
will the Lord
make upon the earth,
when he cut off and destroyed the greater part of the people of the Jews, and saved a remnant, seem to come nearer the mind of the prophet and the apostle's design, in citing this passage. The words as in Isaiah, I would choose to render and explain thus; (Uwrx Nwylk) , "the absolute", or "precise degree", so Aben Ezra, interprets it, (Mvhm rwzg) , "that which is decreed by God", the decree concerning the salvation of the remnant, (hqdu Pjwv) , "he", i.e. God "shall cause to overflow in righteousness", ( Isaiah 10:22 ) , as an overflowing river; that is, he shall abundantly execute it, he shall completely fulfil it, to finish and cut it short in the most righteous manner, consistent with all his divine perfections; (hurxnw hlk yk) , "for the decree and that determined", so Aben Ezra, (trzgn hrzg) , "the decree decreed" by God, "the Lord God of hosts", (hve) , "shall execute", accomplish, make short and full work of it, "in the midst of all the land", ( Isaiah 10:23 ) , that is, of Judea: so that the words contain a most strong and invincible reason, why the remnant shall be saved; because God has made an absolute decree, concerning the salvation of it, which he will accomplish in the fullest manner, agreeably to his justice and holiness: the (logov) , or "word", the apostle from the prophet speaks of, that should be finished, and cut short and accomplished in righteousness, is the sentence, counsel, or decree, conceived in the divine mind, concerning this matter: hence as the decree of election stands firm and sure, not upon the works of men, but upon the absolute, sovereign, and efficacious will of God; so the salvation of his chosen people is not precarious, but a most sure and certain thing.