the redeemed of the Lord; which character includes the blessing of redemption, from whence the denomination is, which is a blessing of a spiritual nature; the redemption of the soul from sin, Satan, the law, its curse, and condemnation, and from all enemies; a blessing early in the heart of God; contrived by his infinite wisdom; secured in the covenant of grace; wrought out by Christ; is a plenteous one, containing various blessings of grace in it, and, in its effects and consequences, of an eternal duration: this character is also expressive of Christ, as the author of the above blessing: these are not redeemed by themselves, nor by their friends, nor by men, nor by angels, but by the Lord; who, as man, is the near kinsman of his people, and has the right to redeem; as God, he is mighty and able to redeem them; and who by his precious blood has obtained redemption for them; so that he has a property in them, which is asserted in this character; they are not their own, nor any other's but his, a peculiar people, redeemed from among men, the special favourites of heaven; and who, in consequence of it, are called, and kept, and saved with an everlasting salvation:
and thou shalt be called, Sought out; thou, daughter of Zion; or the church of God, consisting of elect, redeemed, and called ones; such as are sought out of the ruins of the fall, among the men of the world, and dust of the earth; found in a very miserable condition, usually by means of the Gospel, and by Christ, who knows them well, where are, and what the time of finding them, and can by name, and does; all which is the fruit and effect of his love unto them; though this character may chiefly respect the notice that will be taken of the church in the latter day; whereas she has been Zion, whom no man seeks after, Jeremiah 30:17, now she shall be sought and flocked unto by all nations, and by great personages, even by the kings and princes of the earth, Isaiah 2:2.
A city not forsaken; the city of the living God, of which saints are fellow citizens, consisting of many persons, in good and flourishing circumstances, and which shall not be forsaken of men, as it has been, Isaiah 60:15, but shall be filled with converts, both Jews and Gentiles; nor forsaken of God, but shall enjoy his gracious presence, and sensible communion with him in his ordinances; nor shall any of its true members be forsaken, or the work of grace in them; they shall none of them perish, but have everlasting life; so that here is a cluster of glorious doctrines, in their order and connection one with another: election in the first character; redemption in the second; effectual calling in the third; and final perseverance in the last.
INTRODUCTION TO Isaiah 63
This chapter contains a prophecy of the vengeance of Christ upon the enemies of his church in the latter day, whereby complete salvation would be obtained for them; and this illustrated by the mercies of God to the people of Israel of old; and is concluded with the church s prayer to him. The account of the vengeance taken by Christ on his enemies is introduced by a colloquy between him and his church; who puts a question, in which he is described by the places from whence he came, by his apparel, and by his manner of walking; to which he returns an answer, Isaiah 63:1, then a second question is put, about the colour of his garments; for which he gives a reason, Isaiah 63:2 it being the time of his vengeance on his enemies, and of the redemption of his people, Isaiah 63:4 the manner in which he performed both is observed, Isaiah 63:5 and the thorough work he would make; and the entire riddance of all his enemies is determined upon, Isaiah 63:6, which puts the prophet, or the church, in mind of former mercies bestowed upon Israel of old, the peculiar people and children of God, the Lord had a great opinion of, and favour for, whom he dealt very tenderly with, and redeemed, and saved, and preserved, Isaiah 63:7 though they acted an ungrateful part to him, which is aggravated by the various kind steps of Providence, in leading them through the Red sea, guiding them in the wilderness, and bringing them to rest safely in Canaan's land, for his own glory, Isaiah 63:10 and all is closed with the church's prayer to God, imploring his grace and mercy; pleading relation to him; expostulating with him about their present case, and observing the difference between them and their enemies, Isaiah 63:15 and which prayer is continued in the next chapter.
"when the King Messiah shall come, he will be clothed in purple, beautiful to look at, which in colour shall be like to wine for the clothing of the King Messiah shall be silk, red as blood; and it shall be worked with the needle in various colours, and he shall be the Head of Israel; and this is what is said in Isaiah 63:1 "wherefore art thou red in thy apparel?"''
And, say others of their ancient writers (o), the Ishmaelites or Turks shall fight three battles in the latter day; one in the forest of Arabia; another in the sea; and a third in the great city Rome, which shall be greater than the other two; and from thence shall spring the Messiah, and he shall look upon the destruction of the one and of the other, and from thence shall he come into the land of Israel, as it is said, "who is this that comes from Edom?" &c. So Abarbinel (p) asserts, that the Ishmaelites or Turks shall come against Rome, and destroy it; and then shall be revealed the Messiah, the son of David, and shall complete the redemption of the Lord, according to Daniel 12:1 and then quotes the above passage of their wise men; and upon it observes, that from thence it appears that Messiah, the son of David, shall be of the Jews that are in the captivity of Edom (or Rome), for so they explain Isaiah 63:1 "who is this that comes from Edom?" &c.; and so Kimchi interprets the prophecy of time to come: but though the Messiah is intended, this is to be understood not of his first coming, which was out of Zion, out of the tribe of Judah, and out of Bethlehem Ephratah; nor of his ascension to heaven, after his bloody sufferings and death, and the victory he had obtained over all our spiritual enemies, sin, Satan, the world, death, and hell; for that was from the land of Judea, from Mount Olivet, near to Jerusalem, the place of his sufferings and death; but of his spiritual coming, which is yet future, to take vengeance on antichrist, and all the antichristian powers. It is usual in Scripture for the enemies of the church and people of God in Gospel times to be expressed by such who were the known and implacable enemies of the people of Israel; and such were the Edomites, the inhabitants of Idumea, of which Bozrah was a principal city; see Psalm 137:7 and were a lively emblem of antichrist and his followers, for their relation to the people of Christ, their cruelty to them, and contempt of them; from the conquest and slaughter of which Christ is here represented returning as a victorious and triumphant conqueror; see Isaiah 34:5 hence he is said to come from thence "with dyed garments", or "stained" (q); that is, with the blood of his enemies; so Jarchi interprets it dyed in blood, or dipped in it; to which agrees the apparel of Christ in Revelation 19:18, where he is said to be clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; which chapter is the best commentary upon this passage, referring to the same time and case: it follows,
this that is glorious in his apparel; for though it was thus stained and discoloured with the blood of his enemies, yet was glorious to himself, having gotten such a complete victory over all his and his church's enemies, and so was glorious to them to behold; and especially, since on this vesture, and on his thigh, is a name written, "King of kings, and Lord of lords", Revelation 19:16,
travelling in the greatness of his strength? marching in great stateliness and majesty at the head of his victorious troops, he nor they having nothing to fear from their enemies, being all vanquished and destroyed. Strength, and the greatness of it, may well be ascribed to Christ, who is the mighty God, yea, the Almighty; the mighty man, made strong by the Lord for himself; and the mighty Mediator, having all power in heaven and earth: he travelled in the greatness of his strength from heaven to earth, by the assumption of our nature; while here he went about continually doing good; with the utmost intrepidity he went forth to meet his foes, and death itself, at the proper time, and without fear passed through the valley of the shadow of death; when raised again, in his ascension to heaven, he marched through the territories of Satan, the air, in great triumph, dragging him and his principalities and powers at his chariot wheels; and when he had poured down his Spirit plentifully, he went forth into the Gentile world in the ministration of the Gospel, conquering and to conquer; and in the latter day he will come and take vengeance on all the antichristian states, and return in triumph, to which this passage refers; see Revelation 17:14 the answer to the question follows,
I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save; these are the words of Christ describing himself, by his speech and by his power, by his word and by his works: he "spoke in righteousness", at the making of the covenant of grace in eternity, some things by way of request for his elect, others by way of promise for them; all which he has faithfully and righteously performed: under the Old Testament dispensation, he spake many things in righteousness by his prophets, and by his Spirit in them; yea, he often appeared in a human form, and spoke to the patriarchs and others: when here on earth, he spoke "in" or "of righteousness" (r); of the righteousness of God he came to declare; of his own righteousness he came to bring in; and of the happiness of those who sought it, and were justified by it; and of the insufficiency of man's righteousness to bring him to heaven: here it seems to have a more especial respect to the promises made to the church, of her salvation from her enemies, and of the destruction of them; which will now be accomplished, and appear to be the true and faithful sayings of Christ, Revelation 19:9 and that he is "mighty to save" appears from the spiritual salvation of his people he has already wrought out: God laid help on one that is mighty, and he being mighty undertook it, and has accomplished it; and which work required strength, even almighty power, since sin was to be atoned for by bearing it, the law to be fulfilled, justice to be satisfied, the wrath and curse of God to be endured, and innumerable enemies to be engaged with; and of such a nature was that salvation, that neither angels nor men could ever have effected it: and this his power to save will be further manifest, when the beast and false prophet, antichrist, and all the antichristian powers, shall be destroyed by him, and his people entirely delivered out of their hands, Revelation 11:18. The Targum of the whole is,
"who hath said these things that shall bring the blow upon Edom, the strong vengeance on Bozrah, to execute the vengeance of the judgment of his people, as he hath sworn unto them by his word? he saith, behold I appear as I spake in righteousness, much power is before or with me to save''
see Revelation 18:8.
(n) R. Moses Haddarsan in Bereshit Rabba in Genesis 49.11. apud Galatia. de Arcan. Cath. Ver. I. 8. c. 13. p. 579. (o) Pirke Eliezer, c. 30. fol. 32. 1.((p) Mashmiah Jeshuah, fol. 44. 1, 2.((q) "contaminatus, maculatus vestibua", Gataker. (r) "de justitia", Piscator, Vitringa; "Ioquor justitiam", V. L. Sept.
and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? or winepress, into which clusters of grapes are cast, and these are trodden by men, the juice of which sparkles on their garments, and stains them, so that they become of a red colour.
And of the people there was none with me; either fighting with him, that could oppose him, any more than the clusters of grapes can resist the treaders of them; or to assist him in taking vengeance on his enemies: for though the armies of heaven follow him in white, these are little more than attendants and spectators, at most but instruments; all the power to conquer and destroy is from himself, and owing to the twoedged sword proceeding out of his mouth, Revelation 19:14 even as when he stood in the legal place and stead of his people there were none of them with him; he alone was the author of salvation, none could bear the wrath of God but himself, or engage with spiritual enemies, or work out salvation for them. But of this the texts speaks not, only of the destruction of the enemies of Christ and his church:
for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; with great eagerness, with all his might and strength; and this is the reason why his garments were so stained, even with the blood of his enemies, trodden and trampled under foot by him in this furious manner; as a person in a winepress alone, and treading it with all his might, has his garments more sparkled and stained with the juice of the grape, than when there are many, and these tread lightly. The words being in the future tense show that they respect time to come; and the manner of speaking ascertains the accomplishment of them, and which is further confirmed by what follows:
and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment; just as the garments of those that tread in the winepress are sprinkled and stained with the juice of the grape; this will have its accomplishment when he shall appear in a vesture dipped in blood, or shall be as bloody, with the blood of his enemies, as if it was dipped in it, Revelation 19:13.
and the year of my redeemed is come; the time when those who are already redeemed by the blood of Christ, and so are his property, whom he claims as his own, being the purchase of his blood, shall be redeemed again from antichristian bondage and slavery, shall be called and brought out of Babylon; and when those, who have led them captive, shall go into captivity themselves: this will be a jubilee year to the saints; a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord; when, being rid of all their persecuting enemies, they will enjoy the utmost peace, prosperity, and safety; see Revelation 13:10.
and I wondered that there was none to uphold; not the Saviour and Redeemer, he needed none; but his people under their sufferings, trials, and exercises, and his sinking, dying, cause and interest: this is spoken after the manner of men, and to make the salvation appear the more remarkable, distinguishing, and great, and solely his own work; for otherwise expectation and disappointment, consternation and amazement, as the word (r) signifies, cannot be properly ascribed to this great Redeemer:
therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; to himself, his mystical self, his church and people, and for his own glory; a salvation which his own omnipotent arm could only effect; See Gill on Isaiah 59:16,
and my fury it upheld me; his zeal for his church and people, and his indignation against their enemies, excited his almighty power on their behalf, and carried him through the work of their deliverance and salvation he engaged in; see Isaiah 9:7.
(r) "et obstupui, Musculus; stupefactus sum", Vatablus; "et obstupesceban", Cocceius; "stupebam", Vitringa.
and make them drunk in my fury; or with it (s) the wrath of God is signified by a cup, which he gives wicked men to drink, and which is an inebriating one to them, Psalm 75:8, and here it signifies the cup of the wine of the fierceness of God's wrath, which shall be given to mystical Babylon, to antichrist and his followers, Revelation 14:10,
and I will bring down their strength to the earth; their strong kingdoms, fortified cities, and mighty men, their wealth and riches, of which they boasted, and in which they trusted; see Isaiah 26:5. The eighteenth chapter of the Revelation is a commentary on these words.
(s) "excandescentia mea", Junius & Tremellius; "aestu meo", Cocceius; so Gataker.
and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us; which are due to him from all creatures, angels and men, and especially the saints; and which belong to each divine Person, according to the various gifts of grace freely bestowed by them; such as the gift of God himself to his people; the gifts of his Son, and of the blessed Spirit, with all his graces, faith, hope, love, repentance, &c.; and all the blessings of grace; as pardon, justification, adoption, and eternal life; a right unto it, and meetness for it all which call for praise and thankfulness: and the
great goodness towards the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses; the gifts of grace are bestowed, not according to the merits of men, for then they would not be free grace gifts; and, besides, there is no merit in a creature; the best works of the best of men are not meritorious, of anything at the hand of God; but all they have flow from mere sovereign mercy, pure grace, and free unmerited love, which is abundant, yea, boundless, and even infinite. A heap of words is here made use of, and all little enough to express the wonderful kindness of God in the acts of his grace and goodness to his church and people; which ought always to be had in sight and mind, and to be remembered and spoken of in private and in public.
children that will not lie; not the children of Satan, as liars are, who was a liar from the beginning, and the father of lies; as wicked men are, who go astray from the womb, speaking lies; but children of God by adopting grace, and through faith in Christ; and therefore should not lie to God, nor to men, nor to one another, as being unbecoming their relation as children: this opinion the Lord entertains of his children, speaking after the manner of men, that they will not deal deceitfully and hypocritically with him, but serve him in sincerity, and worship him in spirit and in truth; that their hearts will be right with him, and they steadfast in his covenant: thus he hoped well of Israel of old, and so he does of all his spiritual Israel, his special people, and dear children:
so he was their Saviour; in this view and expectation of things, as he is of all men in a providential way, and especially of them that believe; he was the Saviour of literal Israel in a temporal manner, in Egypt, the Red sea, and wilderness; and of his chosen people among them, in a spiritual manner, as he is of all his elect in Christ Jesus; and even though they do not entirely answer the just expectations expressed concerning them.
and the Angel of his presence saved them; not Michael, as Jarchi; but the Messiah is here meant; the Angel of the covenant, the Angel which went before the Israelites in the wilderness, Exodus 23:20 not a created angel, or an angel by nature, but by office; being sent of God, as the word signifies, on the errand and business of salvation; called "the Angel of God's presence", or "face", because his face was seen in him; his name, and nature, and perfections were in him; he is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person besides, the presence of God was always with him; he is the "Ithiel", the Word that was with God, and with whom God always was; who lay in the bosom of his Father, and was ever with him; and who also, as Mediator, introduces his people into the presence of God, and always appears in it for them as their advocate and intercessor: now to him salvation is ascribed; he saved Israel out of Egypt, and out of the hands of all their enemies in the wilderness; and which salvation was typical of the spiritual, eternal, and complete salvation, which is only by Christ, and issues in eternal glory:
in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; Israel out of Egyptian bondage, and from all their enemies, which was owing to his great love to them, which operated in a way of mercy, pity, and compassion, Hosea 11:1, and it is he who has redeemed the spiritual Israel of God, not by power only, but by price, from sin, Satan, and the law, death, and hell, with a spiritual and eternal redemption, and which flows from his love to those persons; hence he undertook to be their Redeemer; came in their nature to redeem them; and gave himself for them for that purpose; which love is wonderful and matchless, and showed itself in pity and compassion; he became a merciful as well as a faithful high priest; he saw them in their low estate, pitied them, and delivered them out of it:
and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old; he bore them in his bosom, and in his arms, as a nursing father his child; he carried them, as on eagles' wings, from the time of their coming out of Egypt, to their settlement in Canaan's land, Numbers 11:12 he bore with their manners for forty years, and carried them through all their trials and difficulties, and supported them under them, and brought them out of them all, Acts 13:18 and so he bears all his people on his heart, and in his hands, and bears them up under all their temptations and afflictions; and, from the time of their conversion, carries on his work in them, and carries them safe to heaven, as the great Captain of their salvation, and never leaves them, nor forsakes them; see Isaiah 46:3.
(t) "angustia ipsi fuit", Calvin, Grotius; "ipse fuit contribulatus", Munster; "ipsi fuit angustum", Vitringa. (u) "non angustia, Montanus; non afflictus est", Tigurine version. (w) "Non affecit eos angustia", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "non coarctavit eos, sub. Deus, vel angustia", Forerius, (x) "Non fuit hostis", Gataker; so Gussetius, Ebr. Comment. p. 423. (y) "In omni angustia eorum non augustia", Montanus.
and vexed his Holy Spirit; the Spirit of God the Father, who pitied them in all their afflictions; or the Spirit of the Angel of his presence, that redeemed and saved them; for the Spirit is both the Spirit of the Father and of the Son; and he is holy in his nature and operations, and the author of sanctification in the hearts of his people; him they vexed and provoked to anger against them, speaking after the manner of men, by their sins and transgressions; rejecting his counsels and instructions by Moses, and by the prophets in later times, in and by whom he spake unto them, and by the apostles in Gospel times; for the Jews, as their fathers before them ever did, resisted the Holy Spirit of God in the evidence he gave of the Messiah, which must be very provoking, Acts 7:51. The Targum paraphrases it, the word of his holy prophets; and so Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it; and according to some, in Aben Ezra, the Angel of glory is meant, who went before the people of Israel, whom they were charged not to provoke, Exodus 23:20,
therefore he was turned to be their enemy; not that there is any change in God, or any turn in him from love to hatred; but he may, and sometimes does, so appear in his providential dispensations towards his people, as to seem to be their enemy, and to be thought to be so by them, Job 13:24. The Targum is, and his Word became their enemy; compare with this Luke 19:27,
and he fought against them; as he threatened he would when they behaved ill towards him; and as he actually did when he brought the sword upon them, gave them up into the hands of their enemies, as often in the times of the judges, and particularly when the king of Babylon came against them; see Leviticus 26:25 and as the Messiah did when he brought the Roman armies against them, and destroyed their city, to which times this prophecy is thought by some to have respect, and not without reason.
where is he? &c.; so the Targum paraphrases it,
"he had mercy for the glory of his name, and because of the remembrance of his goodness of old, the mighty things he did by the hands of Moses to his people;''
"lest they should say;''
that is, the Gentiles, as Aben Ezra also explains it, lest they should by way of taunt and reproach say, as follows: "where is he?" &c.; compare with this Deuteronomy 32:26. Gussetius (z) thinks the last words should be rendered, "the extractor of his people"; or, he that drew out his people; that is, out of many waters, delivered them from various afflictions, as in Psalm 18:16 and to be understood not of Moses, only in allusion to him, who had his name from being drawn out of the waters; but of a divine Person, who is said to do all the following things; so Ben Melech says the word here has the signification of drawing, or bringing out, as in the above psalm: or else these are the words of the people themselves; at least of some of the truly good and gracious, wise and faithful, among them, in this time of their distress; calling to mind former times, and former appearances of God for them, using them as pleas and arguments with him, and as an encouragement to their faith and hope; and right it is to
remember the years of the right hand of the most High, Psalm 77:10 so Jarchi takes them to be the words of the prophet in his distress, bemoaning and saying, in a supplicating way, what is after expressed; and Kimchi interprets them of Israel in captivity; it seems to be the language of the believing Jews a little before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, or about the time of their conversion in the latter day: saying,
where is he that brought them up out of the sea, with the shepherd of his flock? or "shepherds" (a), according to another reading; that is, Moses and Aaron, by the hands of whom the Lord led his people Israel as a flock of sheep, and which were his, and not the property of those shepherds; they were only instruments by, and with whom, he brought them through the sea, and out of it, which was a wonderful work of God, and often mentioned as a proof of his power, as it is here; for what is it he cannot do who did this? see Psalm 77:20.
where is he that put his Holy Spirit within him? either within Moses, the shepherd of the flock, as Aben Ezra; or within Israel, the flock itself, as Jarchi; for the Spirit of God was not only upon Moses, but upon the seventy elders, and upon all the people at Sinai, as Kimchi observes; and indeed the Holy Spirit was given to the body of the people to instruct and teach them, according to Nehemiah 9:20 now these questions are put, not by way of jeer, but by way of complaint, for want of the divine presence as formerly; and by way of inquiry where the Lord was; and by way of expostulation with him, that he would show himself again, as in the days of old.
(z) Ebr. Comment. p. 482, (a) "cum pastoribus", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Vitringa.
dividing the water before them; the waters of the sea, so that they rose up as a wall on each side them, through which they passed as on dry land: to make himself an everlasting name? or to get himself everlasting honour and glory, as he did on Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen, Exodus 14:17 and which wonderful action of his has been and ever will be spoken of to the glory of his name, which was the end he had in view.
as an horse in the wilderness; or rather, "in a plain", as the word (b) sometimes signifies; and so Kimchi renders it a plain land, and Jarchi smooth land. The sense is, that the Israelites passed through the sea with as much ease, and as little difficulty, as a good horse will run over a plain, where there is nothing to stop his course:
that they should not stumble? there being no clay to stick in, no stone to stumble at, but all like an even plain.
(b) "in planitie", Calvin, Gataker, Vitringa; "in campis", Grotius.
"as a beast goes, or is led, in a plain;''
so the word is used in Isaiah 38:8, and elsewhere:
the Spirit of the Lord caused him to rest; or gently led him, that is, Israel; he walked on through the sea, with as much facility, and as little danger, as a beast walks on in a valley, or a horse in a plain. Some understand this of leading Israel through the wilderness, where often resting places were found for them, and at last they were brought to the land of rest, Canaan, and settled there:
so didst thou lead thy people; both through the sea, and through the wilderness, in a like easy, safe, and gentle manner:
to make thyself a glorious name; among the nations of the world, as he did by this amazing appearance of his for Israel; and it is hoped by those, whose words these are, he would do the like again, and get himself immortal glory.
(c) "sicut jumentum quod in campo, vel valle, vel planitie, graditur", Gataker.
and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory; this is a description of heaven, as the dwelling place of God, who is most holy, holiness itself, in whom that perfection is most glorious, and which is displayed in all his works; and hence heaven is a holy as well as a high place, and where none but holy persons dwell; and which is a glorious place, where the glory of God is displayed, the glory of Christ is seen, and which is glory itself; and from hence the holy God is desired to behold; what creatures, dust, and ashes, sinful ones, polluted worms, at his footstool, a poor and an afflicted people:
where is thy zeal, and thy strength? his "jealousy" of his great name, and of his own glory; his jealousy of his dear people, that they are not wronged and injured; his "fervent love", and warm affections for them, of which he has given pregnant proofs; which, shed abroad in the heart, warms that, and is what many waters cannot quench: this indeed is not always alike manifest, and therefore unbelief asks where it is, as if it was quite gone; or, however, faith prays for a fresh manifestation of it. The "strength" or power of God has appeared in creation, and in the sustentation of all things; in Christ, the man of his right hand; in strengthening his people, destroying their enemies, and delivering them; and yet this not appearing sometimes at once, immediately for their help and protection, they ask where it is: it follows:
the sounding of thy bowels, and of thy mercies towards me? the noise and rumbling of the bowels, to which the allusion is, are sometimes occasioned by the working of strong passions, as fear and love, and which produce what is called the yearning of the bowels; of which there are instances in Joseph, and in the harlot in Solomon's time, Genesis 43:30, the tender mercies of God, his pity and compassion, are expressed hereby, to which are owing the mission of his Son, the forgiveness of sins, and help and relief under afflictions; see Luke 1:77, now it is asked, where are those?
are they restrained? it was thought they were shut up in anger, and would not be let out again; see Psalm 77:7. The phrase "towards me", in the former clause, seems, according to the accents, to belong to this; and should be read, "are they restrained towards me" (d)? or "shut up from me?" the Lord seemed to harden his heart against his church and people, and to have no heart of compassion towards them, as they imagined.
(d) "erga me continerent se", Montanus; "continerent?" Junius & Tremellius; "erga me sese continent?" Piscator; "cohibeant se erga me?" Gataker; so Ben Melech; "quae se erga me continent?" Vitringa.
though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not; those, who were their ancestors, were both dead; and the dead know not any thing of their posterity, and of their case and circumstances in this world, temporal or spiritual; nor are capable of giving them any help or aid in time of distress; and perhaps the prophet, in the name of the church, purposely expresses himself in this language, knowing what confidence the Jews were apt to place in Abraham and Israel, to draw off their minds from them, and to lead them to look to God as their only Father; who only could help them in their time of affliction, and was infinitely more to them than any earthly father could possibly be. Some think the sense is, that they confess they were become so degenerate, that if Abraham and Jacob were to return from the dead, they would not know them to be their seed and offspring; and yet, notwithstanding this, God was their Father. This may be the language of some persons, who have comfortable views of their relation to God, when earthly parents, and even professors of religion, disown and slight them:
thou, O Lord; art our father; which is repeated for the confirmation of it, and to express their full assurance of faith in it the more strongly:
our Redeemer; thy name is from everlasting; or, "our Redeemer from everlasting is thy name" (e); more agreeably to the accents: Christ was appointed from everlasting to be the Redeemer of his people; God was so early in him, drawing the scheme of redemption and salvation, and made so early a covenant with him concerning it; which may be properly enough called the covenant of redemption, though not as distinct from the covenant of grace; and Christ was the Redeemer of his people in all ages, and lived as such, as well as God the Father was, of old, in all ages, the protector of his people, and the avenger of their wrongs, to whom they might at all times apply for help.
(e) "redemptor noster a seculo nomen tuum", V. L. "vel est", Vitringa; "assertor noster a seculo est nomen tuum", Cocceius.
return for thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance; or turn (g); turn from thine anger and displeasure to thy people; or, as the Targum,
"return thy Shechinah to thy people;''
thy gracious and glorious presence, which has been so long withdrawn; or "return" thy people from their captivity, the twelve tribes, thy portion and "inheritance"; and do this "for thy servants' sake"; for the sake of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: or because of the covenant made with them; or for the sake of all thy people, who are thy servants, and which also are the tribes of thine inheritance, return unto them.
(f) So Kimchi, Ben Melech, and R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 85. 2.((g) "convertere", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Calvin, Forerius.
our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary; the temple; the first temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar; and the second temple by the Romans; and Antiochus, and Pompey, and others, profaned it, by treading in it.