(1) In that day shall this song be sung . . .—The prophet appears once more, as in Isaiah 5:1; Isaiah 12:4, in the character of a psalmist, and what he writes is destined for nothing less than the worship of the new city of the heavenly kingdom.
Salvation will God appoint for walls.—Better, salvation He appoints. The walls of the heavenly city are not of stone or brick, but are themselves as a living force, saving and protecting. The same characteristic thought appears in Isaiah 60:18.
The truth.—Literally, truths; all the many forms of truthfulness in heart and life.
Shall be ashamed for their envy at the people.—Better, they shall see (and be ashamed) the jealousy (of God) for the people. They shall understand something of God’s watchful and zealous care for those whom He loves. It shall be seen that it is as a consuming “fire” (Psalm 79:5) that shall devour His adversaries.
By thee only will we make mention of thy name.—Better, Through Thee alone we celebrate Thy Name. The power to praise God with hymns of thanksgiving (Psalm 45:17) had been restored to Israel, not by man’s strength, but through His interposition on behalf of His people.
Thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earths—Better, Thou hast moved far off the borders of the land. The English Version seems to speak of the exile and dispersion of the people. “What is really meant is, probably, that Jehovah will restore it to its old remoter boundaries, as in the days of David and Solomon. This belongs, of course, to the ideal, and not the historical, restoration.
They poured out a prayer . . .—The word for “prayer” is a peculiar one, commonly used, as in Isaiah 3:3; Isaiah 8:19, for the whispered incantations of the heathen. Here it appears to mean the low-toned prayers, pitched as in a minor key, of the afflicted. In Isaiah 29:4 we have the same thought more fully developed.
Neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.—Better, Neither were the inhabitants of the world brought to birth, the verb to “fall” being used, as in Wisdom Of Solomon 7:3; Hom., II., xix. 10, of the delivery of a woman with child. The words continue the picture of the fruitlessness of mere human strivings and expectations. The LXX., “They that are in the tombs shall rise,” connects itself with John 5:28-29. (Comp. the like imagery in Isaiah 37:3.) The “creation” was “subject unto vanity,” as in Romans 8:20-22.
For thy dew is as the dew of herbs.—The rendering is a tenable one, and expresses the thought that as the dew that falls upon the parched and withered plant quickens it to a fresh life, so should the dew of Jehovah’s grace (comp. 2 Samuel 23:4) revive the dying energies of His people. Most interpreters, however, render the words the dew of lights (plural expressing completeness), the dew which is born of the womb of the morning (Psalm 110:3). This, coming as it does from the “Father of Lights” (so the LXX., “The dew that is from Thee shall be healing for them”), shall have power to make the earth cast forth even the shadowy forms of the dead. The verb for “cast forth” is another form of that used in Isaiah 26:18 of childbirth, and is, in this interpretation, used in the same sense.