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Israel. * He calls him, and acknowledges him as the Redeemer of Israel; the term in the original is that expressive of kindred and blood, f This could not in strictness be applied to the Father, but to him only who had taken upon him the seed of Abraham; that, in right of blood, he might ransom and avenge his kinsmen. £ The term holy, sanctified, or consecrated 'one,' I would illustrate from our Lord's own words, John, xvii. 17: "And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they may be sanctified through the truth." He was the tried champion of his redeemed people, in whom the sanctity — the holiness which is to invest his chosen people in the presence of a holy God — was put to the severest test; as we read in the passage before us, " Thou art the Holy 'One' of Israel, and ' Jehovah' is well pleased in thee, or hath proved thee"—hath proved thee instead of Israel. Hence all the absolute holiness of the people of God. As we read: "For it became him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perftct through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth, and thev that are sanctified, are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren." || Thus is Christ made of God to his people sanctification, as well as righteousness; and hence the future prosperity of the chosen seed of Abraham.
In the next verse we contemplate again the successful Advocate with the Father: —
8. Thus hath Jehovah said:
• Compare verse 23. f bm.
t Compare Job, xix. || lleb. ii. 10, 11.
In a season of favour have I heard thee,
And I have formed thee, and I have given thee,
To be a covenant of the people, to re-establish the land.
To give in possession the desolated inheritances, 9. To say to the prisoners, Go forth:
And to them that are in darkness, Appear.
Israel, as a nation, is one day to feel the effects of that covenant, "through the blood" of which "Jesus becomes the great Shepherd of the sheep." His intercessions, at length, prevail; and, like a flock of sheep, they are described as led back to their restored country by his guiding hand: and they are gathered, we see, from all quarters of the globe: —
Beside the ways shall they feed,
And on all the downs shall be their pasture.
10. They shall neither hunger nor thirst,
Nor shall the heat, nor the sun, strike them.
For in tender pity he will lead them,
And will guide them to the springs of water.
11. And I will make all my mountains walks, And my causeys shall be raised up.
12. Lo, these shall come from afar;
And lo, these from the north and from the west,
All nature is invited to congratulate this event; for the gathering of the dispersed of Israel is an event, as we have seen, closely connected with universal deliverance :* —
1 The Chinese, according to Brotier: Pelusium intelligit Bochartus: Syenen, Michaelis.
* Compare Deut. xxxii. 43.
13. Sing, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth;
For Jehovah hath comforted his people,
This is the season before anticipated, " when Zion's warfare should be accomplished;" but, as was long before foretold, it would be at a time when the hope of Israel had been almost extinguished in despair:* —
14. But Zion said,
Jehovah hath forsaken me,
— But no, the covenanted love of Jehovah is unchangeable and eternal to all the objects of his grace; and Israel, as a people, will one day experience this, when "the consummation decreed" shall be finished :—
15. Can a woman forget her sucking babe?
— Lose her tenderness for the child of her womb ?1
But though she should forget,
16. Lo, I have engraven thee on the palms of my hand,*
• Compare Terse 36; in the song of remembrance.
'"Behold, on the palms of my hands I have delineated thee.''— "This," says Bishop Lowth, " is certainly an allusion to some practice common among the Jews of that time, of making marks on their
hands or arms, by punctures on the skin ; with some sort of sign or figure of the city, or temple., &c." I rather agree with those who suppose a kind of ancient seal referred to, which was so worn as to be enclosed in the palm of the hand.
17. Thy sons have come cjuickly from thy destroyers, And thy demolishers shall go forth from thee.
18. Lift up thine eyes around and see,
All these have assembled, they are come to thee.
As t live, hath Jehovah said:
All these shalt thou put on as ornaments,
19. For thy waste and thy desolate places,
Surely now shall it be too strait for its inhabitants,
20. Again shall thy children of which thou art bereaved say in
thine ear, "This place is too strait for us, give us room to dwell:"
21. And thou shalt say in thine heart:
Who hath brought me forth these?
'I was' a captive and an outcast,
Lo, I was left alone,
Thus is the desolated city represented as expressing her happy surprise at seeing the great concourse of her returning children. It appears from what follows, that pertain nations — for all are not rebellious — obey the signal of Jehovah, and heartily concur in subserviency to the restoration of the Israelites from among them:
22. Thus hath the Lord Jehovah said:
Behold I will lift up my hands for the nations,
And they shall bring thy sons in their bosom,
And thy daughters shall be borne on their shoulders;
23. And their kings shall be thy foster-fathers,
They shall prostrate their faces to the earth before thee,
And thou shalt know that I am Jehovah,
This seems to be a view of the world as to the operations that are going on among certain nations rendered by God's providence friendly to Israel, at that very period when the last enemy has assembled in their land: — or rather, it anticipates what will be the result of the final vengeance on the oppressor, who is "again presented before us in the vision, as having actually at that time seized upon Israel as his prey.
24. Shall the prey be taken from the mighty?
Or shall the completely captivated be rescued?'
Verily thus hath Jehovah said:
Even the captive of the mighty shall be taken,
And I myself will contend with them that contend with thee,
1 Some in this place suppose "The word, I think, will bear
pn* to be a mistake for piy, which another reading: —
is supported by the Syriac and "Shall the booty be taken from
Vulgate. Compare especially ver. the mighty?
85. Or shall the Just One set the
Bishop Stock renders p>Tv "3W Verily, thus saith Jehovah,
"the completely captivated," which Even the captives shall seize the
is much confirmed by circum- mighty,
stances. p"1v, complete, a^ the And the tyrant [himself] shall
latins say, "Justus exercitus, jus- relinquish the booty."
turn volinnen,"&c. Horsley.