(1) Awake, awake . . .—The repetition of the burden of Isa Ii. 9, 17, indicates, by a subtle touch of art, the continuity of thought. The call is addressed as before to Zion, as a castaway. It summons her to the highest glory. She is to put on the garments of beauty, which belong to her as the priestly queen of cities. (Comp. Exodus 28:2.) The alien and the impure shall no longer ride victorious through her streets, as in Isaiah 51:23. (Comp. Ezekiel 44:9, and the picture of the heavenly Jerusalem in Revelation 21:2.)
Shall deal prudently.—The words imply, as in Joshua 1:8; Jeremiah 10:21, the idea of prospering. The same verb is used of the “righteous branch” in Jeremiah 23:5, and is there so translated.
Shall be exalted.—It is noteworthy that the phrase impressed itself, through the LXX., on the mind of the Christ in reference to His crucifixion (John 3:14; John 8:28; John 12:32), on that of the Apostles in reference to His ascension (Acts 2:33; Philippians 2:9). (Comp. Isaiah 6:1; Isaiah 57:15; Psalm 89:27.)
His visage was so marred . . .—The words conflict strangely with the type of pure and holy beauty with which Christian art has made us familiar as its ideal of the Son of Man. It has to be noted, however, that the earlier forms of that art, prior to the time of Constantine, and, in some cases, later, represented the Christ as worn, emaciated, with hardly any touch of earthly comeliness, and that it is at least possible that the beauty may have been of expression rather than of feature or complexion, and that men have said of Him, as of St. Paul, that his “bodily presence was weak” (2 Corinthians 10:10).
The kings shall shut their mouths . . .—The reverence, as in Isaiah 49:7, Job 29:9; Job 40:4, is that of silent wonder at the change which has passed over the suffering Servant. Wisdom Of Solomon 5:1-5 presents an interesting parallel, the reference there being to the person of the ideal righteous sufferer. In that case, as in this, there was, so to speak, a transfiguration “beyond all that men looked for.”