I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses. For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.
Next the prophet, speaking for the remnant in captivity, seeks deliverance from their pitiable condition. First, he rehearsed God’s past dealings with the nation, as Jehovah has displayed nothing but lovingkindnesses, great goodness, and mercies. God had called them as His people, though He knew in advance exactly what they would do. So, He became their Saviour. He also became their partner in all their trials, and particularly in all their affliction in Egypt. The “angel of His presence” refers to the Messiah, which saved them. In His love and in His pity, He redeemed them out of Egypt, and cared for them throughout their wilderness journeys. They repaid His love with rebellion, and so He became their adversary.
Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.
When the Lord returns to set up His kingdom, He must first destroy His enemies. That destruction takes place at different times and in different places – one stage occurs in the Valley of Armageddon, Revelation 16:16, another in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, Joel 3:12, and another in Edom. The latter is what Isaiah spoke about here. The Messiah is marching up from Bozrah, a metropolis of Edom, in glorious garments that are red with the blood of Israel’s foes. When asked why His apparel is red, He uses the figure of a winepress to describe His trampling of His enemies. The time had come for Him to wreak vengeance on them and to redeem His people. In the absence of any merely human deliverer, He stepped in and won the victory.
Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.
The exiles were told to go through the gates of Babylon and return to Israel over well-paved highways with an ensign waving proudly. The announcement has gone out worldwide that Israel’s salvation has come in the Person of the Messiah and He will reward His people. They will carry the dignified name “The holy people” and Jerusalem will be called “Sought out, A city not forsaken.” This section of Scripture looks beyond the return from Babylon to the final restoration of Israel at the Second Coming of Christ.
I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. The LORD hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast laboured: But they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the LORD; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness.
Jehovah has set watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem and has instructed them not to rest in their intercession or to give Him rest till Jerusalem becomes the queen city of the world. Never again will Israel’s produce be carried off by enemies, rather it will be enjoyed by those who labored for it.
For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.
The Lord will not keep silent or rest satisfied until the blessings promised to Jerusalem are realized. Then the Gentiles will see Zion vindicated, and Jehovah will give a new name to the city. He will handle Zion admiringly as a king handles his crown. The city called “Forsaken” will henceforth be called Hephzibah, “My delight is in her”, and the land named Desolate, will be renamed Beulah, which means married.. These names tell of God’s tender affection and marital delight in His city and land. Jerusalem’s citizens will be wedded to her, and the Lord will rejoice over Zion like a bridegroom.
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
The Messiah Himself will lead the praise of His redeemed remnant. He celebrates the glorious garments of salvation and righteousness with which God has decked them, and the sprouting forth of practical righteousness and praise in Israel before the nations during the Millennium.
And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them. For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed.
Foreigners will serve the Israelites as farm hands and honoring them as priests and servants of our God. Gentile riches will come to the Jews, and the reproach of the centuries will be ended as the Lord’s people enjoy a double portion of honor. God will “remember” the injustice, robbery, and wrong that His chosen ones have suffered and will reward and make an everlasting covenant with them, so that the nations will acknowledge them as the blessed of the LORD.
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
The Lord Jesus is the speaker here. He was anointed with the Holy Spirit from His birth and His earthly ministry was focused on bringing the good tidings of salvation to the poor, binding up the brokenhearted, proclaiming liberty to sin’s captives, and opening the prison of those who were bound. He ended the quotation with the words “to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD” because what follows, “the day of vengeance of our God,” will not be fulfilled until His Second Coming. At His glorious appearing, He will proclaim the day of God’s judgment. Then He will comfort those who mourn in Zion, granting to them a garland in place of ashes on their heads, the oil of joy instead of mourning, praise instead of a spirit of heaviness. His chosen people will then be called trees of righteousness, planted by the Lord, and bringing glory to Him. They will rebuild the cities of the promised land that have laid in ruins.
For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time.
The costliest materials, gold, silver, bronze, and iron, will be used in building the city, with peace serving as superintendents and righteousness as the police force. In place of violence and destruction will be Salvation and Praise. The light of the sun and moon will no longer be necessary in Jerusalem, since the glory of the LORD will provide all necessary light. Darkness will vanish and Israel’s mourning shall be ended. A righteous people will inherit the land, planted by God for His glory. The humblest of the people will be blessed with numerous posterity because the LORD has decreed it and will hasten to do it.
Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.
Formerly hated and forsaken, Zion becomes a city of excellence, nourished, and supported by the rest of the world. Jehovah’s ancient people will know then that He is their Saviour and their Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.