Sacred Texts  Bible  Bible Commentary  Index 
Isaiah Index
  Previous  Next 

Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at

Isaiah Chapter 62

Isaiah 62:1

isa 62:1

Nearly all the more recent commentators regard the prophet himself as speaking here. Having given himself up to praying to Jehovah and preaching to the people, he will not rest or hold his peace till the salvation, which has begun to be realized, has been brought fully out to the light of day. It is, however, really Jehovah who commences thus: "For Zion's sake I shall not be silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I shall not rest, till her righteousness breaks forth like morning brightness, and her salvation like a blazing torch. And nations will see they righteousness, and all kings thy glory; and men will call thee by a new name, which the mouth of Jehovah will determine. And thou wilt be an adorning coronet in the hand of Jehovah, and a royal diadem in the lap of thy God." It is evident that Jehovah is the speaker here, both from Isa 62:6 and also from the expression used; for châshâh is the word commonly employed in such utterances of Jehovah concerning Himself, to denote His leaving things in their existing state without interposing (Isa 65:6; Isa 57:11; Isa 64:11). Moreover, the arguments which may be adduced to prove that the author of chapters 40-66 is not the speaker in Isa 61:1-11, also prove that it is not he who is continuing to speak of himself in Isa 62:1-12 Jehovah, having now begun to speak and move on behalf of Zion, will "for Zion's sake," i.e., just because it is Zion, His own church, neither be silent nor give Himself rest, till He has gloriously executed His work of grace. Zion is now in the shade, but the time will come when her righteousness will go forth as nōgah, the light which bursts through the night (Isa 60:19; Isa 59:9; here the morning sunlight, Pro 4:18; compare shachar, the morning red, Isa 58:8); or till her salvation is like a torch which blazes. יבער belongs to כלפּיד (mercha) in the form of an attributive clause = בּער, although it might also be assumed that יבער stands by attraction for תבער (cf., Isa 2:11; Ewald, 317, c). The verb בּער, which is generally applied to wrath (e.g., Isa 30:27), is here used in connection with salvation, which has wrath towards the enemies of Zion as its obverse side: Zion's tsedeq (righteousness) shall become like the morning sunlight, before which even the last twilight has vanished; and Zion's yeshū‛âh is like a nightly torch, which sets fire to its own material, and everything that comes near it. The force of the conjunction עד (until) does not extend beyond Isa 62:1. From Isa 62:2 onwards, the condition of things in the object indicated by עד is more fully described. The eyes of the nations will be directed to the righteousness of Zion, the impress of which is now their common property; the eyes of all kings to her glory, with which the glory of none of them, nor even of all together, can possibly compare. And because this state of Zion is a new one, which has never existed before, her old name is not sufficient to indicate her nature. She is called by a new name; and who could determine this new name? He who makes the church righteous and glorious, He, and He alone, is able to utter a name answering to her new nature, just as it was He who called Abram Abraham, and Jacob Israel. The mouth of Jehovah will determine it (נקב, to pierce, to mark, to designate in a signal and distinguishing manner, nuncupare; cf., Amo 6:1; Num 1:17). It is only in imagery that prophecy here sees what Zion will be in the future: she will be "a crown of glory," "a diadem," or rather a tiara (tsenı̄ph; Chethib tsenūph = mitsnepheth, the head-dress of the high priest, Exo 28:4; Zac 3:5; and that of the king, Eze 21:31) "of regal dignity," in the hand of her God (for want of a synonym of "hand," we have adopted the rendering "in the lap" the second time that it occurs). Meier renders יהוה בּיד (בּכף) Jovae sub praesidio, as though it did not form part of the figure. But it is a main feature in the figure, that Jehovah holds the crown in His hand. Zion is not the ancient crown which the Eternal wears upon His head, but the crown wrought out in time, which He holds in His hand, because He is seen in Zion by all creation. The whole history of salvation is the history of the taking of the kingdom, and the perfecting of the kingdom by Jehovah; in other words, the history of the working out of this crown.

Isaiah 62:4

isa 62:4

Zion will be once more the beloved of God, and her home the bride of her children. "Men will no more call thee 'Forsaken one;' and thy land they will no more call 'Desert:' but men will name thee 'My delight in her,' and thy home 'Married one:' for Jehovah hath delight in thee, and thy land is married. For the young man marrieth the maiden, thy children will marry thee; and as the bridegroom rejoiceth in the bride, thy God will rejoice in thee." The prophecy mentions new names, which will now take the place of the old ones; but these names indicate what Zion appears to be, not her true nature which is brought to the light. In the explanatory clause לך stands at the head, because the name of Zion is given first in distinction from the name of her land. Zion has hitherto been called ‛ăzūbhâh, forsaken by Jehovah, who formerly loved her; but she now receives instead the name of chephtsı̄-bhâh (really the name of a woman, viz., the wife of Hezekiah, and mother of Manasseh, Kg2 21:1), for she is now the object of true affection on the part of Jehovah. With the rejoicing of a bridegroom in his bride (the accusative is used here in the same sense as in גדלה שׂמחה שׂמח; Ges. 138, 1) will her God rejoice in her, turning to her again with a love as strong and deep as the first love of a bridal pair. And the land of Zion's abode, the fatherland of her children, was hitherto called shemâmâh; it was turned into a desert by the heathen, and the connection that existed between it and the children of the land was severed; but now it shall be called be‛ūlâh, for it will be newly married. A young man marries a virgin, thy children will marry thee: the figure and the fact are placed side by side in the form of an emblematical proverb, the particle of comparison being omitted (see Herzog's Cyclopaedia, xiv 696, and Ges. 155, 2, h). The church in its relation to Jehovah is a weak but beloved woman, which has Him for its Lord and Husband (Isa 54:5); but in relation to her home she is the totality of those who are lords or possessors (ba‛alē, Sa2 6:2) of the land, and who call the land their own as it were by right of marriage. Out of the loving relation in which the church stands to its God, there flows its relation of authority over every earthly thing of which it stands in need. In some MSS there is a break here.

Isaiah 62:6

isa 62:6

Watchmen stationed upon the walls of Zion (says the third strophe) do not forsake Jehovah till He has fulfilled all His promise. "Upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, have I stationed watchmen; all the day and all the night continually they are not silent. O ye who remember Jehovah, leave yourselves no rest! And give Him no rest, till He raise up, and till He set Jerusalem for a praise in the earth." As the phrase hiphqı̄d ‛al signifies to make a person an overseer (president) over anything, it seems as though we ought to render the sentence before us, "I have set watchmen over thy walls." But hiphqı̄d by itself may also mean "to appoint" (Kg2 25:23), and therefore עלח־ומתיך may indicate the place of appointment (lxx ἐπὶ τῶν τειχέων σου, upon thy walls: ̔Ιερουσαλήμ κατέστησα φύλακας). Those who are stationed upon the walls are no doubt keepers of the walls; not, however, as persons whose exclusive duty it is to keep the walls, but as those who have committed to them the guarding of the city both within and without (Sol 5:7). The appointment of such watchmen presupposes the existence of the city, which is thus to be watched from the walls. It is therefore inadmissible to think of the walls of Jerusalem as still lying in ruins, as the majority of commentators have done, and to understand by the watchmen pious Israelites, who pray for their restoration, or (according to b. Menachoth 87a; cf., Zac 1:12) angelic intercessors. The walls intended are those of the city, which, though once destroyed, is actually imperishable (Isa 49:16) and has now been raised up again. And who else could the watchmen stationed upon the walls really be, but prophets who are called tsōphı̄m (e.g., Isa 52:8), and whose calling, according to Ezek 33, is that of watchmen? And if prophets are meant, who else can the person appointing them be but Jehovah Himself? The idea that the author of these prophecies is speaking of himself, as having appointed the shōmerı̄m, must therefore be rejected. Jehovah gives to the restored Jerusalem faithful prophets, whom He stations upon the walls of the city, that they may see far and wide, and be heard afar off. And from those walls does their warning cry on behalf of the holy city committed to their care ascent day and night to Jehovah, and their testimony go round about to the world. For after Jerusalem has been restored and re-peopled, the further end to be attained is this, that Jehovah should build up the newly founded city within (cōnēn the consequence of bânâh, Num 21:27, and ‛âsâh, Isa 45:18; Deu 32:6; cf., Isa 54:14 and Psa 87:5), and help it to attain the central post of honour in relation to those without, which He has destined for it. Such prophets of the times succeeding the captivity (nebhı̄'ı̄m 'achărōnı̄m; cf., Zac 1:4) were Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Haggai stands upon the walls of Jerusalem, and proclaims the glory of the second temple as surpassing that of the first. Zechariah points from Joshua and Zerubbabel onwards to the sprout of Jehovah, who is priest and prince in one person, and builds the true temple of God. Malachi predicts the coming of the Lord to His temple, and the rising of the Sun of righteousness. Under the eyes of these prophets the city of God rose up again, and they stand upon its pinnacles, and look thence into the glorious future that awaits it, and hasten its approach through the word of their testimony. Such prophets, who carry the good of their people day and night upon their anxious praying hearts, does Jehovah give to the Jerusalem after the captivity, which is one in the prophet's view with the Jerusalem of the last days; and in so lively a manner does the prophet here call them up before his own mind, that he exclaims to them, "Ye who remind Jehovah, to finish gloriously the gracious work which He has begun," give yourselves to rest (dŏmi from dâmâh = dâmam, to grow dumb, i.e., to cease speaking or working, in distinction from châshâh, to be silent, i.e., not to speak or work), and allow Him no rest till He puts Jerusalem in the right state, and so glorifies it, that it shall be recognised and extolled as glorious over all the earth. Prophecy here sees the final glory of the church as one that gradually unfolds itself, and that not without human instrumentality. The prophets of the last times, with their zeal in prayer, and in the exercise of their calling as witnesses, form a striking contrast to the blind, dumb, indolent, sleepy hirelings of the prophet's own time (Isa 56:10).

Isaiah 62:8

isa 62:8

The following strophe expresses one side of the divine promise, on which the hope of that lofty and universally acknowledged glory of Jerusalem, for whose completion the watchers upon its walls so ceaselessly exert themselves, is founded. "Jehovah hath sworn by His right hand, and by His powerful arm, Surely I no more give thy corn for food to thine enemies; and foreigners will to drink thy must, for which thou hast laboured hard. No, they that gather it in shall eat it, and praise Jehovah; and they that store it, shall drink it in the courts of my sanctuary." The church will no more succumb to the tyranny of a worldly power. Peace undisturbed, and unrestricted freedom, reign there. With praise to Jehovah are the fruits of the land enjoyed by those who raised and reaped them. יגעתּ (with an auxiliary pathach, as in Isa 47:12, Isa 47:15) is applied to the cultivation of the soil, and includes the service of the heathen who are incorporated in Israel (Isa 61:5); whilst אסּף (whence מאספיו with ס raphatum) or אסף (poel, whence the reading מאספיו, cf., Psa 101:5, meloshnı̄; Psa 109:10, ve-dorshū, for which in some codd. and editions we find מאספיו, an intermediate form between piel and poel; see at Psa 62:4) and קבּץ stand in the same relation to one another as condere (horreo) and colligere (cf., Isa 11:12). The expression bechatsrōth qodshı̄, in the courts of my sanctuary, cannot imply that the produce of the harvest will never be consumed anywhere else than there (which is inconceivable), but only that their enjoyment of the harvest-produce will be consecrated by festal meals of worship, with an allusion to the legal regulation that two-tenths (ma‛ăsēr shēnı̄) should be eaten in a holy place (liphnē Jehovah) by the original possessor and his family, with the addition of the Levites and the poor (Deu 14:22-27 : see Saalschtz, Mosaisches Recht, cap. 42). Such thoughts, as that all Israel will then be a priestly nation, or that all Jerusalem will be holy, are not implied in this promise. All that it affirms is, that the enjoyment of the harvest-blessing will continue henceforth undisturbed, and be accompanied with the grateful worship of the giver, and therefore, because sanctified by thanksgiving, will become an act of worship in itself. This is what Jehovah has sworn "by His right hand," which He only lifts up with truth, and "by His powerful arm," which carries out what it promises without the possibility of resistance. The Talmud (b. Nazir 3b) understand by עזו זרוע the left arm, after Dan 12:7; but the ו of ובזרוע is epexegetical.

Isaiah 62:10

isa 62:10

The concluding strophe goes back to the standpoint of the captivity. "Go forth, go forth through the gates, clear the way of the people. Cast up, cast up the road, clear it of stones; lift up a banner above the nations! Behold, Jehovah hath caused tidings to sound to the end of the earth. Say to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him. And men will call them the holy people, the redeemed of Jehovah; and men will call thee, Striven after, A city that will not be forsaken." We cannot adopt the rendering proposed by Gesenius, "Go ye into the gates," whether of Jerusalem or of the temple, since the reading would then be שׁערים בּאוּ (Gen 23:10) or בשּׁערים (Jer 7:2). For although בּ עבר may under certain circumstances be applied to entrance into a city (Jdg 9:26), yet it generally denotes either passing through a land (Isa 8:21; Isa 34:10; Gen 41:46; Lev 26:6, etc.), or through a nation (Sa2 20:14), or through a certain place (Isa 10:28); so that the phrase בּשּׁער עבר, which does not occur anywhere else (for in Mic 2:13, which refers, however, to the exodus of the people out of the gates of the cities of the captivity, שׁער ויּעברוּ do not belong together), must refer to passing through the gate; and the cry בשׁערים עברוּ means just the same as מבּבל צאוּ ("Go ye forth from Babylon") in Isa 48:20; Isa 52:11.

The call to go out of Babylon forms the conclusion of the prophecy here, just as it does in Isa 48:20-21; Isa 52:11-12. It is addressed to the exiles; but who are they to whom the command is given, "Throw up a way," - a summons repeatedly found in all the three books of these prophecies (Isa 40:3; Isa 57:14)? They cannot be the heathen, for this is contradicted by the conclusion of the charge, "Lift ye up a banner above the nations;" nor can we adopt what seems to us a useless fancy on the part of Stier, viz., that Isa 62:10 is addressed to the watchmen on the walls of Zion. We have no hesitation, therefore, in concluding that they are the very same persons who are to march through the gates of Babylon. The vanguard (or pioneers) of those who are coming out are here summoned to open the way by which the people are to march, to throw up the road (viz., by casting up an embankment, hamsillâh, as in Isa 11:16; Isa 49:11; maslūl, Isa 35:8), to clear it of stones (siqqēl, as in Isa 5:2; cf., Hos 9:12, shikkēl mē'âdâm), and lift up a banner above the nations (one rising so high as to be visible far and wide), that the diaspora of all places may join those who are returning home with the friendly help of the nations (Isa 11:12; Isa 49:22). For Jehovah hath caused tidings to be heard to the end of the earth, i.e., as we may see from what follows, the tidings of their liberation; in other words, looking at the historical fulfilment, the proclamation of Cyrus, which he caused to be issued throughout his empire at the instigation of Jehovah (Ezr 1:1). Hitzig regards השׁמיע as expressing what had actually occurred at the time when the prophet uttered his predictions; and in reality the standpoint of the prophets was so far a variable one, that the fulfilment of what was predicted did draw nearer and nearer to it ἐν πνεύματι. But as hinnēh throughout the book of Isaiah, even when followed by a perfect, invariably points to something future, all that can be said is, that the divine announcement of the time of redemption, as having now arrived, stands out before the soul of the prophet with all the certainty of a historical fact. The conclusion which Knobel draws from the expression "to the end of the earth," as to the Babylonian standpoint of the prophet, is a false one. In his opinion, "the end of the earth" in such passages as Psa 72:8; Zac 9:10 ('aphsē-'ârets), and Isa 24:16 (kenaph hâ'ârets), signifies the western extremity of the orbis orientalis, that is to say, the region of the Mediterranean, more especially Palestine; whereas it was rather a term applied to the remotest lands which bounded the geographical horizon (compare Isa 42:10; Isa 48:20, with Psa 2:8; Psa 22:28, and other passages). The words that follow ("Say ye," etc.) might be taken as a command issued on the ground of the divine hishimiă‛ ("the Lord hath proclaimed"); but hishimiă‛ itself is a word that needs to be supplemented, so that what follows is the divine proclamation: Men everywhere, i.e., as far as the earth or the dispersion of Israel extends, are to say to the daughter of Zion - that is to say, to the church which has its home in Zion, but is now in foreign lands - that "its salvation cometh," i.e., that Jehovah, its Saviour, is coming to bestow a rich reward upon His church, which has passed through sever punishment, but has been so salutarily refined. Those to whom the words "Say ye," etc., are addressed, are not only the prophets of Israel, but all the mourners of Zion, who become mebhasserı̄m, just because they respond to this appeal (compare the meaning of this "Say ye to the daughter of Zion" with Zac 9:9 in Mat 21:5). The whole of the next clause, "Behold, His reward," etc., is a repetition of the prophet's own words in Isa 40:10. It is a question whether the words "and they shall call thee," etc., contain the gospel which is to be proclaimed according to the will of Jehovah to the end of the earth (see Isa 48:20), or whether they are a continuation of the prophecy which commences with "Behold, Jehovah hath proclaimed." The latter is the more probable, as the address here passes again into an objective promise. The realization of the gospel, which Jehovah causes to be preached, leads men to call those who are now still in exile "the holy people," "the redeemed" (lit. ransomed, Isa 51:10; like pedūyē in Isa 35:10). "And thee" - thus does the prophecy close by returning to a direct address to Zion-Jerusalem - "thee will men call derūshâh," sought assiduously, i.e., one whose welfare men, and still more Jehovah, are zealously concerned to promote (compare the opposite in Jer 30:17) - "a city that will not be forsaken," i.e., in which men gladly settle, and which will never be without inhabitants again (the antithesis to ‛ăzūbhâh in Isa 60:15), possibly also in the sense that the gracious presence of God will never be withdrawn from it again (the antithesis to ‛ăzūbhâh in Isa 62:4). נעזבה is the third pers. pr., like nuchâmâh in Isa 54:11 : the perfect as expressing the abstract present (Ges. 126, 3).

The following prophecy anticipates the question, how Israel can possibly rejoice in the recovered possession of its inheritance, if it is still to be surrounded by such malicious neighbours as the Edomites.

Next: Isaiah Chapter 63