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The conclusion of the former chapter referred to the glory of the latter
day, when Jews and Gentiles shall be gathered into the church, its enemies be destroyed, and peace restored ; this chapter is a thanksgiving which they are directed to use at that time ; it represents to them what sentiments they should entertain, and how they should express them. It consists of two parts ; in the first three verses there is a call to God's people to stir up themselves to the work of praise ; in the other three verses they are directed to stir up one another, and endeavour to engage all about them to join in it.
I A ND in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise
1 thee : though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me; though thou didst pun. ish and disperse thy people, the tokens of thine anger are now removed, and their blessings restored ; thou hast given them cause 2 and hearis to praise thee. Behold, observe it as a great, wonder.
ful, and unexpected event, God [is] my salvation; he hath brought salvation suited to our circumstances, and every way worthy of God; I will trust, and not be afraid : for the LORD JEHOVAH, the eternal and unchangeable God, the author and giver of all our strength, [is] my strength and (my) song, that is, the subject matter of my song ; he also is become my salvation ; he hath manifested himself as our saviour in the most remarkable manner, 3 and shall have all the glory. Therefore, as the consequence of
God's kind interposition, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation ; ye shall have abundance of divine joy and comfori in attending upon ordinances, to which ye shall be restored and
ac milted ; springs of salvation shall then break up, and ye shall re4 ceive refreshment with unutterable joy.* And in that day shall
ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doinys among the people, make mention that his name is exalted;
ye shall not only praise him yourselves, but tell the world what he 5 has done for you, and record it for the benefit of posterity. Sing
unto the LORD ; for he hath done excellent things : this [is] known in all the earth ; the blessings he hath bestowed are truly
valuable, are not confined to the Jews, but extend over the whole 6 earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion ; use the
strongest expressions and demonstrations of thankfulness and joy : for great[is] the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee; he hath manifested his greatness in thy deliverance, and his holiness too ; his faithfulness to his promise and covenant ; and he is still in the midst of thee, lo defend thee from dunger, secure thy privileges and prolong thy peace.
Here is an allusion to the state of Israel in the wilderness : when thirsty and ready to perish, Guciused springs to rise up for them, and they received the water with joy and singing Religious ordinances tud coinmunications of the spirit, are often representei under tois image.
1. UTTE are led from hence to ascribe the praise of all our
peace and comfort, to God. Whatever deliverances we have, whatever comforts have been restored, or continued, all is owing to the care and favour of Jehovah. Let us cherish a grate. ful temper ; sing praises to him with our voice ; and not be low, dull, and lifeless in this most reasonable and delightful work.
2. The people of God should heartily join in presenting their public thanks to him. Every one should say this for himself, and say it together, that God is our strength and salvation ; especially is he so in our redemption through Christ Jesus, that great salvation to which all the prophets bore witness. Let us be thankful, that it is an extensive as well as a glorious salvation ; that it is known through all the earth. Let us speak of it one to another, and mention it to our children, that they also may thank God for his unspeakable gift.
3. Divine ordinances should be attended with pleasure. Those wells of salvation are opened to us ; there is no enemy to stop them or divert their course ; and we ought to come to them with as much relish as a thirsty, perishing traveller would come to a spring of water. Here we may drink, not only for our present refreshment, but to gain strength for the discharge of all the duties of life. How ungrateful to God is it to say, What a weariness is it ! He expects that we be joyful in his house of prayer ; he hath done every thing to make us so, and he loveth a cheerful worshipper.
4. Former experiences of God's goodness are an encouragement to trust in him. He has often been our salvation, when we have been in imminent danger ; hath given us his Son to be our saviour : and the Holy One of Israel is still in the midst of us, to guard his churches, and secure the happiness of all his people. And while we praise him for past favours, let us further call upon his name, and commit all our concerns to his good providence, for thus he commands us, Be careful for nothing ; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make known your requests unto God.
The prophet proceeds to foretell the calamilies of the neighbouring na
țions, particularly those that Israel was some way or other concerned with ; and begins with Babylon, that would be a cruel oppressor to them.
INTHE burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz 2 I did see.* Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain,
to gather the soldiers together, exalt the voice unto them, as they
• A burden signifies in general, a weighty, important matter; but sometimes, as here, a burdensoine prophecy, that foretells the ruin of a country. It was near two hundred years after this, that Babylon was taken by Cyrus; its ruin, and that entire desolation which this chapter describes, was an event utterly beyond all hunan foresight, and exceedingly improve ble to be conjectured,
the ruin of a country. It was nesten
do that would enlist them, shake the hand, beckon with the hand for them to come, that they may go into the gates of the nobles ;
that they may enlist under great officers ; or it may refer to the 3 seizing of Babylon, and pilundering its palace8. I have command
ed my sanctified ones, those whom I have called, separated, and prepared for the service, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, [even] them that rejoice in my highness ; who
shall cheerfully execute those commands which display my great4 ness and glory, though they do not consider it as such. The noise
of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people ; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together,
crowding together to my standard : the LORD of hosts muster5 eth the host of the battle. They come from a far country,
from the end of heaven, [even] the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land ; referring to the troops of Media and Persia, and the auxiliaries Cyrus had from many other nations ; all regular and well disciplined soldiers, and
God's instruments to destroy the whole land af Chaldea. 6 Howl ye ; for the day of the LORD [is] at hand; it shall
come as a destruction from the Almighty, and as such shall be 7 irresislible. Therefore shall all hands be faint, not able to hold
their weapons, and every man's heart shall melt with fear, so 8 that he shall have no spirit to resist. And they shall be afraid :
pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them ; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth : they shall be amazed one at another, thinking the city impregnable ; and when it is taken,
sprrading consternation from one to another ; their faces [shall be 9 as flames, black and ghastly, as when scorched by the flames. Be.
hold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate : and he shall destroy the
sinners, the idolatrous, cruel, and luxurious inhabitants thereof out 10 of it. For the stars of heaven, and the constellations thereof
shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine ; a common description in the prophets of the removal of every thing that gives comfort and encouragement to a nation ; and here, of the
universal gloom and melancholy that should spread over the land of 11 Chaldea. And I will punish the world, or the kingdom of Baby
lon, for (their) evil, and the wicked for their iniquity ; and I will
cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the 12 haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man, that is, a com
mon man, more precious than fine gold ; even a man, that is, a gallant men, than the golden wedge of Ophir. An elegant and beautiful description! There shalt hardly be a man to be found,
such havock shall be made of them ; they shall be wo scarce, that 13 they cannot be hired for any money. Therefore I will shake the
heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger ;
such shall be their terror and confusion, as if the heavens and earth 14 were jumbled together. And it shall be as the chased roe, and
as a sheep that no man taketh up ; those that used to be like roaring lions and ranging bears, shall be fearful and weak, like a Toe or a sheep : they shall every man turn to his own people,
and flee every one into his own land ; all their allies shall desert 15 them. Every one that is found shall be thrust through ; and
every one that is joined [unto them) shall fall by the sword. 16 Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes ;
their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished ; thus cruelly they will use the Jews, (Zech. xiv. 2.) and thus shall they
be treated. The instruments of this desolation are then mentioned. 17 Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not
regard silver ? and (as for] gold, they shall not delight in it ; 18 they shall act as if they only thirsted for blood.* (Tbeir) bow's
also shall dash the young men to pieces ; and they shall have
no pity on the fruit of the womb ; their eye shall not spare 19 children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of
the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sod20, om and Gomorrah, that is, shall be entirely destroyed. It shall
never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation
to generation : neither shall the Arabiant pitch tent there ; 21 neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild
beasts of the desert shall lie there ; and their houses shall be
full of doleful creatures ; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs 22 shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry
in their desolate houses and dragons in (their) pleasant palaces : and her time [is] near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged beyond her set time ; denoting the certainty of the things described, as well as their being near.!
For a fast day. 1. n BSERVE and adore the power of God over all the hosts
of the earth. What a sublime description is here given of the universal agency of God! particularly of the use he makes of the contrivances and force of men. He, the Lord of hosts, mustereth the hosts of the battle ; he gathers them together, reviews them, and arms them. Their weapons are the weapons of his indignation, and he gives them success. He can easily take away the strength of their opponents to resist, and their courage to en.
• This is a remarkable and most wonderful prediction ; for at the time when Isaiah prophesied there was no kingdom of the Medes, they were subject to the king of Assyria ; but about nineteen years after this they revolted, set up a kingdom of their own, and became so powerful, that, in conjunction with the Persians, they destroyed Babylon.
+ A wandering people, that carried their tents and cattle from place to place, where they could find most convenient food for them.
What these creatures were, the learned have not agreed; but they were such that loved to dwell in desolate and ruined places. . As the walls of Babylon were not entirely demolished, the Persian king made it a park for wild beasts ; but afterwards it was deserted ; and many travellers tell us that no one Went near the ruins, on account of the wild beasts and serpents that abounded there, and that there are scasce any remains of it now to be seen.
dure ; he can make their hands faint, and their hearts melt. It is a delightful thought, that all the hosts of the world are under the sovereign command of the Lord of hosts. This shows the propriety of acknowledging him, and imploring his favour in time of war. It should be our earnest desire, that our soldiers may be sanctified ones, in the best sense of the word ; devoted to his fear and service ; that they may rejoice in his highness, and go forth in his strength to the service for which they are called ; and seek his glory in all they do.
2. The fall of Babylon, and its utter desolation, should be a warning to all nations. So Providence undoubtedly intended them to be. When we consider it as the greatest and most powerful monarchy in the world ; the extent, strength, wealth, and grandeur of its capital ; what little probability there was that it should ever be taken ; and especially that it was predicted, so long before the event, that it should be utterly destroyed and left desolate ; who would not adore that spirit of prophecy which foretold it, and be afraid of the anger of the almighty power that executed the vengeance ! What an awful description of that anger have we been now considering ! 0 may Britain hear and fear! she is, in the most important respects, the glory of kingdoms, but is not secure from sharing the fate of former kingdoms ; justly therefore may we tremble for ourselves and our country. Let us learn to fear the King of nations, who doeth according to his will in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and implore mercy for our land. And in order to obtain this, let us
3. Observe the sources of Babylon's ruin, and learn righteousness by it. The ruin of Babylon was occasioned by its iniquities, its idolatry, cruelty, luxury, and love of pleasure, these sins abounded among them, but their arrogance, pride, and haughtiness, are what the principal stress is laid upon in this chapter, they were conceited of their own politics, wealth, power, and strength, v. 11. Hence they thought themselves secure, despised their enemies, and set all danger, and even the judgments of God, at defiance. But there is no contending with the Almighty; and those that deal in pride he is able and he takes pleasure to abase. Let us then be warned against confidence in our wisdom, strength, and military force, and fix our dependence on God. National humiliations and prayers are exceeding proper and useful, as they tend to abate our pride, and our trust in an arm of flesh, and to convince us that all our strength and sufficiency is of God. If we thus humble ourselves under his mighty hand, we may cheerfully hope that in due time he wi!) exalt us. But the nation or individual that exalts itself, shall in God's time and way be abased and brought low.