A. Jerusalem is loved and protected.
1. (1-3) The coming righteousness and glory of Zion.
For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace,
And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
And her salvation as a lamp that burns.
The Gentiles shall see your righteousness,
And all kings your glory.
You shall be called by a new name,
Which the mouth of the LORD will name.
You shall also be a crown of glory
In the hand of the LORD,
And a royal diadem
In the hand of your God.
a. I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness: Isaiah prophesied in a time when Jerusalem was still a functioning city but was spiritually corrupt. Here, he looks forward to the time when Jerusalem is desolate because she has been conquered by the Babylonians, and prophetically speaks comfort and assurance to her discouraged and downcast citizens. The LORD assures them that He will not rest until Jerusalem is restored by a shining righteousness.
i. This prophecy is directed towards Zion and Jerusalem. Although God is concerned with that area as an actual material place, it also stands as a representation of Israel, and in an even more general sense, as a representation of all God’s people.
b. The Gentiles shall see your righteousness: When God lifts up Zion, then the nations see it and are brought to trust in the LORD themselves. The work God would do for Jerusalem was intended to have an effect on more than just Jerusalem but would extend to the Gentiles and to all kings.
c. You shall be called by a new name: Jerusalem will be so transformed that she will be called by a new name. Since the LORD is the author of the transformation, He is also the author of the new name (which the mouth of the LORD will name).
i. The thought is extended in Isaiah 62:4, where the LORD “exchanges” the old names of Jerusalem for her new names of glory and security.
ii. The idea of a new name also extends to Christians, in passages like Revelation 2:17 and 3:12. In heaven, when our transformation is complete, we will receive a new name that matches our completely transformed nature.
d. You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD: Jerusalem will be so special to God that He will regard it as a crown of glory. We may be familiar with the idea that we will receive a crown; it is deeper and more wonderful to consider that we will be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD.
i. Paul uses a similar twist on a familiar idea in Ephesians 1:18, where he says that the believer should understand what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. The idea is not of our inheritance in the LORD, but of His inheritance in us. We often have only a superficial understanding of how precious we are to God.
2. (4-5) The LORD loves Zion as a bridegroom loves a bride.
You shall no longer be termed Forsaken,
Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate;
But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah;
For the LORD delights in you,
And your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a virgin,
So shall your sons marry you;
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So shall your God rejoice over you.
a. You shall no longer be termed Forsaken: Jerusalem knew the experience of war and defeat and desolation. God’s people knew what it was like to feel Forsaken and Desolate, so it is as if they could take those names.
b. But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah: The days of Forsaken and Desolate will one day pass. There will come a day when Zion and God’s people will know that God delights in them (Hephzibah means “My delight is in her”). There will come a day when Zion and God’s people will know the unbroken presence and love of God, as a wife should know the presence and love of her husband (Beulah means “Married”).
i. “With such economy of words and beauty of imagery Isaiah depicts the loving unanimity that characterise Zion and her intimate union with the Lord – which Revelation 19:7 foresees as the marriage of the Lamb.” (Motyer)
c. And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you: Zion and God’s people will know how much the LORD loves them. His feeling towards them is more than an obligation-type love; instead, He will rejoice over you.
i. The same idea is beautifully communicated in Zephaniah 3:17: The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. No wonder Paul made a special prayer that we could somehow begin to comprehend such love, that we may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height; to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge. (Ephesians 3:18-19)
3. (6-9) The LORD promises to protect Zion.
I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;
They shall never hold their peace day or night.
You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent,
And give Him no rest till He establishes
And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
The LORD has sworn by His right hand
And by the arm of His strength:
“Surely I will no longer give your grain
As food for your enemies;
And the sons of the foreigner shall not drink your new wine,
For which you have labored.
But those who have gathered it shall eat it,
And praise the LORD;
Those who have brought it together shall drink it in My holy courts.”
a. I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem: Because God loves and rejoices over Zion, He will protect them. Though they were conquered before by the Babylonians, the day will come when He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
b. Watchmen on your walls: The watchmen have a constant duty. They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth. The watchmen are not critics; they are prayer warriors, who constantly pray, giving God “no rest” until God’s people and His city are restored.
i. Bultema on I have set watchmen…they shall never hold their peace day or night: “There is a threefold rich thought: (1) The Lord Himself does not rest with regard to Zion; (2) He does not want His petitioners to keep silence in their prayers for Israel; (3) and He does not want His people to leave Him alone concerning Israel’s deliverance.”
ii. “A restless Saviour calls upon his people to be restless, and to make the Lord himself restless – to give him no rest till his chosen city is in full splendour, his chosen church complete and glorious.” (Spurgeon)
iii. “‘Give him no rest’ is our Lord’s own command to us concerning the great God. I do not suppose any of you ever advised a beggar to be importunate with you. Did you ever say, ‘Whenever you see me go over this crossing ask me for a penny. If I do not give you one, run after me, or call after me all the way down the street. If that does not succeed, lay hold upon me, and do not let me go until I help you. Beg without ceasing.’ Did any one of you ever invite applicants to call often, and make large requests of you?…. He does in effect say, ‘Press me! Urge me! Lay hold on my strength. Wrestle with me, as when a man seeks to give another a fall that he may prevail with him.’ All this, and much more, is included in the expression, ‘Give him no rest.’” (Spurgeon)
c. The LORD has sworn by His right hand and by the arm of His strength: No more will Jerusalem be plundered by those who would steal her grain or new wine. Instead, those who have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the LORD.
B. The LORD will visit Jerusalem.
1. (10) A way prepared for the coming of the LORD.
Go through the gates!
Prepare the way for the people;
Build up the highway!
Take out the stones,
Lift up a banner for the peoples!
a. Prepare the way for the people: Isaiah prophetically looks forward to the time for the LORD to fulfill these promises. Since His salvation is coming, they must prepare the way for the people. They need to build up the highway, so a smooth road without obstacles is ready to usher people to the LORD’s salvation.
i. Previously through Isaiah great promises were made of a massive pilgrimage to Jerusalem, so roads must be built and the way must be prepared.
b. Lift up a banner for the peoples: Not only must the way be prepared, but it must also be marked by a banner for the peoples. Then not only will they be able to come, but they will also be attracted to come.
2. (11-12) The Messiah comes to Zion.
Indeed the LORD has proclaimed
To the end of the world:
“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Surely your salvation is coming;
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 you shall be called Sought Out,
A City Not Forsaken.
a. Say to the daughter of Zion, “Surely your salvation is coming”: The way has been prepared and marked; now is the time for the LORD’s salvation and Savior to emerge, and to come to Zion.
i. The Savior came to Zion, but not only to Zion. Isaiah makes it clear: Indeed the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the world this great news of the coming Savior.
b. Behold, His reward is with Him: When the Messiah comes to Zion, His reward is with Him. Revelation 22:12 is a quotation from this verse: And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
i. Paul continues this idea in 1 Corinthians 3:8-14, saying how when we appear before the Lord, we will be judged according to our work for and with Him. On that day, each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. (1 Corinthians 3:8)
c. And you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken: Through her history, Jerusalem knew what it was like to be Forsaken. But in that day, she will be called Sought Out; everyone will know she was valued and chosen by God.
(c) 2021 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – email@example.com