As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
At His first coming, many were astonished at the depths of Christ’s suffering. His face and His body were marred beyond recognition as a man.
Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
Jehovah’s Servant dealt prudently throughout His earthly ministry. He was exalted in resurrection, lifted up in ascension, and made very high in glory at God’s right hand.
Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD. For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.
The exiles are urged to leave behind the pollutions of the land of captivity as they bear the temple vessels back to Jerusalem. They will not leave in panic or fright; the God of Israel will be their protection both before and behind.
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion. Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
These verses picture the return of the Jews from their worldwide dispersion. As the exiles travel over the mountains to Zion, they are preceded by heralds who proclaim the good news of the Messiah’s reign. The watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem sing with joy as they see the Lord returning at the head of the multitude. Jerusalem itself is summoned to celebrate the Lord’s mighty deliverance.
For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money. For thus saith the Lord GOD, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. Now therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the LORD; and my name continually every day is blasphemed. Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.
Israel had not been sold as a slave for monetary gain and she will not be redeemed with money as well. The Israelites went down at first into Egypt as guests; but subsequently they were abused. Later, the Assyrian oppressed them without cause, but not for monetary gain. Now once again God’s people are being tyrannized by oppressors who make no payment to the Lord. The overlords are delighted, and God’s name is blasphemed. But He will show Himself strong on behalf of His own, and they will know that He is all that He promised to be.
Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
Again Zion is called to “Awake, awake!” from its sleep of captivity and put on its beautiful garments. Never again will it be invaded by the heathen. This, of course, looks forward to the inauguration of the Kingdom; only then will it be true.
Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine: Thus saith thy Lord the LORD, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again: But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.
God will take the cup of His fury, which has made Jerusalem stagger, and He will give it to her enemies, who have gone beyond the limits assigned to them by God by being cruel and merciless.
Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out. There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath brought up. These two things are come unto thee; who shall be sorry for thee? desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and the sword: by whom shall I comfort thee? Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a wild bull in a net: they are full of the fury of the LORD, the rebuke of thy God.
God bids Jerusalem to wake after her dark night of suffering when none of her sons could guide her, when she was devastated by famine and sword, when her men lay helpless like an exhausted antelope caught in a net.
I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor? The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail. But I am the LORD thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The LORD of hosts is his name. And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.
Jehovah speaks a message of comfort to those who fear the tyrant, whether Nebuchadnezzar in that day or the man of sin in the future. They should fear the LORD who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth; then they would lose their fear of frail man. The captive exile will be loosed, that they should not die in the pit, and that their bread should not fail. These captives were loosed at that time by Cyrus, and will be loosed by the Messiah at His appearing in glory. Jehovah will hide His people with the shadow of His hand and He will put His words in their mouth so that they might be His missionaries to the world.
Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over? Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.
This prompts the remnant to call on the LORD to deliver His people as He delivered them from Egypt and from Pharaoh, drying up the sea so the redeemed could cross over. The memory of God’s intervention in the past causes them to foresee the ransomed captives’ return to Zion.