(1) Behold, the Lord’s hand . . .—The declaration is an implied answer to the complaint, like that of Isaiah 58:3, that the glorious promises had not as yet been fulfilled. The murmurera are told that the hindrance is on their side.
His face.—Better, the face. The Hebrew has neither article nor possessive pronoun, the substantive being treated almost as a proper name.
They trust in vanity.—Literally, in chaos—the characteristic tohu of both parts of Isaiah (Isaiah 24:10; Isaiah 29:21; Isaiah 40:17; Isaiah 40:23).
We wait for light.—The cry of the expectant Israelites is, mutatis mutandis, like that of the “How long?” of Zechariah 1:12; Revelation 6:10. On the assumption that the words come ideally from the Babylonian exiles, the first of these passages presents an interesting coincidence.
We are in desolate places . . .—Many critics render, (1) among those full of life, or (2) in luxuriant fields, of which (1) is preferable, as giving an antithesis like that of the other clauses. So taken, we have a parallelism with Psalm 73:5-8.
And the Lord saw it . . .—The verse at first suggests the thought that what Jehovah saw were the sins thus described. The sequence of thought, however, tends to the conclusion that the words are properly the beginning of a new section, and that the supplied pronoun refers to the repentance and confession of the people. It displeased Him—literally, was evil in His eyes—that the penitents were still subject to oppression, that they found no leader and deliverer, and therefore He came, as it were, alone and unaided, to the rescue. (Comp. Joel 2:17-19.)
The garments of vengeance . . .—As parts of a warrior’s dress the “garments” are the short tunic, or tabard, which hung over the breast-plate; the “cloke” the scarlet mantle (the chlamys of the Roman soldier), its colour probably making it a fit symbol of the zeal of Jehovah.