Ye that go down to the sea - This seems not to belong to this place; it does not well consist with what follows, "and the fullness thereof." They that go down upon the sea means navigators, sailors, traders, such as do business in great waters; an idea much too confined for the prophet, who means the sea in general, as it is used by the Hebrews, for the distant nations, the islands, the dwellers on the sea-coasts all over the world. I suspect that some transcriber had the Psalm 107:23; verse of Psalm 107 running in his head, באניות הים יורדי yoredey haiyam booniyoth, and wrote in this place הים יורדי yoredey haiyam instead of הים ירעם yiram haiyam, or יריע yari, or ירן yaran ; "let the sea roar, or shout, or exult." But as this is so different in appearance from the present reading, I do not take the liberty of introducing it into the translation. Conjeceram legendum יגידו yegidu, ut Isaiah 42:12; sed non favent Versiones. "I would propose to read יגידו yegidu, as in Isaiah 42:12; but this is not supported by the Versions." - Secker.
Sing unto the Lord a new song - It is common, as we have seen, to celebrate the goodness of God in a hymn of praise on the manifestation of any special act of mercy (see the notes at Isaiah 12:1-6; Isaiah 25:1-12; 26) Here the prophet calls upon all people to celebrate the divine mercy in a song of praise in view of his goodness in providing a Redeemer. The sentiment is, that God‘s goodness in providing a Saviour demands the thanksgiving of all the world.
A new song - A song hitherto unsung; one that shall be expressive of the goodness of God in this new manifestation of his mercy. None of the hymns of praise that had been employed to express his former acts of goodness would appropriately express this. The mercy was so great that it demanded a song expressly made for the occasion.
And his praise frown the end of the earth - From all parts of the earth. Let the most distant nations who are to be interested in this great
Ye that go down to the sea - That is, traders, navigators, merchants, seamen; such as do business in the great waters. The sense is, that they would be interested in the plan of mercy through a Redeemer; and hence, they are called on to celebrate the goodness of God (compare the notes at Isaiah 60:5). This is referred to by the prophet, first, because of the great multitude who thus go down to the sea; and, secondly, because their conversion will have so important an influence in diffusing the true religion to distant nations.
And all that is therein - Margin, as Hebrew, ‹The fullness thereof.‘ All that fill it; that is, either in ships, or by dwelling on the islands and coasts. The meaning is, that all who were upon the sea - the completeness, the wholeness of the maritime population, being equally interested with all others in the great salvation, should join in celebrating the goodness of God.
The isles - A large portion of the inhabitants of the world are dwellers upon islands. In modern times, some of the most signal displays of the divine mercy, and some of the most remarkable conversions to Christianity, have been there. In the Sandwich Islands, and in Ceylon, God has poured out his Spirit, and their inhabitants have been among the first in the pagan world to embrace the gospel.
1-4. Christ Would Encourage Faith and Hope—[Isaiah 42:1, 2 quoted.] He [Christ] will not be like the teachers of His day. The ostentation and show and parade of piety revealed in the priests and Pharisees is not His way. [Isaiah 42:3, 4 quoted.] Christ saw the work of the priests and rulers. The very ones who needed help, the afflicted, the distressed, were treated with words of censure and rebuke, and He forbore to speak any word that would break the feeble reed. The dimly burning wick of faith and hope, He would encourage, and not quench. He would feed His flock like a shepherd; He would gather the lambs with His arms, and carry them in His bosom (Manuscript 151, 1899). 4BC 1146.1
5-12. Faithfulness Leads Men to Praise God—[Isaiah 42:5-12 quoted.] This work had been given to Israel, but they had neglected their God-appointed work. Had they been faithful in all parts of the Lord's vineyard, souls would have been converted. The Lord's praise would have been heard from the ends of the earth. From the wilderness and the cities thereof, and from the tops of the mountains, men would have shouted His praise, and told of His glory (Manuscript 151, 1899). 4BC 1146.2Read in context »