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Isaiah 35:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Shall be glad - יששום yesusum ; in one MS. the מ mem seems to have been added; and שום sum is upon a rasure in another. None of the ancient versions acknowledge it; it seems to have been a mistake, arising from the next word beginning with the same letter. Seventeen MSS. have ישושום yesusum, both vaus expressed; and five MSS. יששם yesusum, without the vaus . Probably the true reading is, "The wilderness and the dry place shall be glad. "Not for them.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The wilderness and the solitary place - This is evidently figurative language, such as is often employed by the prophets. The word rendered ‹solitary place‘ (ציה tsı̂yâh ), denotes properly a dry place, a place without springs and streams of water; and as such places produce no verdure, and nothing to sustain life, the word comes to mean a desert. Such expressions are often used in the Scriptures to express moral or spiritual desolation; and in this sense evidently the phrase is used here. It does not refer to the desolations of Judea, but to all places that might be properly called a moral wilderness, or a spiritual desert; and thus aptly expresses the condition of the world that was to be benefited by the blessings foretold in this chapter. The parallel expressions in Isaiah 41:17-19; Isaiah 44:3-4, show that this is the sense in which the phrase is here used; and that the meaning is, that every situation which might be appropriately called a moral wilderness - that is, the whole pagan world - would ultimately be made glad. The sense is, that as great and happy changes would take place in regard to those desolations as if the wilderness should become a vast field producing the lily and the rose; or as if Isaiah 35:2 there should be imparted to such places the glory of Lebanon, and the beauty of Sharon and Carmel.

Shall be glad for them - This is evidently a personification, a beautiful poetic figure, by which the wilderness is represented as expressing joy. The sense is, the desolate moral world would be filled with joy on account of the blessings which are here predicted. The phrase ‹for them,‘ expressed in Hebrew by the affix מ (m ) means, doubtless, on account of the blessings which are foretold in this prophecy. Lowth supposes, however, that the letter has been added to the word ‹shall be glad‘ (ישׂשׂוּ yes'us'û ), by mistake, because the following word (מדבר midbâr ) begins with a מ (m ). The reading of the present Hebrew text is followed by none of the ancient versions; but it is nevertheless probably the correct reading, and there is no authority for changing it. The sense is expressed above by the phrase ‹shall rejoice on account of the things contained in this prophecy;‘ to wit, the destruction of all the foes of God, and the universal establishment of his kingdom. Those who wish to see a more critical examination of the words used here, may find it in Rosenmuller and Gesenius.

And blossom as the rose - The word rendered ‹rose‘ (חבצלת chăbı̂tsâleth ) occurs only here and in Song of Song of Solomon 2:1 , where it is also rendered a ‹rose.‘ The Septuagint renders it, Κρίνον Krinon ‹Lily.‘ The Vulgate also renders it, Lilium - the lily. The Syriac renders it also by a word which signifies the lily or narcissus; or, according to the Syriac lexicographers, ‹the meadow-saffron,‘ an autumnal flower springing from poisonous bulbous roots, and of a white and violet color. The sense is not, however, affected materially whatever be the meaning of the word. Either the rose, the lily, or the saffron, would convey the idea of beauty compared with the solitude and desolation of the desert. The word ‹rose‘ with us, as being a flower better known, conveys a more striking image of beauty, and there is no impropriety in retaining it.


It shall blossom abundantly - Hebrew, ‹Blossoming it shall blossom‘ - a common mode of expression in Hebrew, denoting certainty, abundance, fullness - similar to the expression Genesis 2:17, ‹Dying thou shalt die,‘ that is, thou shalt surely die. The sense here is, it shall blossom in abundance.

And rejoice even with joy - Strong figurative language, denoting the greatness of the blessings; as great as if in the waste wilderness there should be heard the voice of joy and rejoicing. The Septuagint renders this: ‹The deserts of Jordan also bloom and rejoice;‘ and Jerome applies this to the preaching of John in the wilderness adjacent to Jordan. The Septuagint evidently read ירדן yaredēn instead of the Hebrew ירנן yerannēn Lowth has followed this, and rendered it, ‹The well-watered plain of Jordan shall rejoice,‘ but without any authority from Hebrew manuscripts for the change.

The glory of Lebanon - The glory or ornament of Lebanon was its cedars (see the note at Isaiah 10:34). The sense here is, that the change would be as great under the blessings of the Messiah‘s reign as if there should be suddenly transferred to the waste wilderness the majesty and glory of mount Lebanon.

The excellency of Carmel - Carmel was emblematic of beauty, as Lebanon was of majesty, and as Sharon was of fertility. For a description of Carmel, see the note at Isaiah 29:17; of Sharon, see the note at Isaiah 33:9. The sense is clear. The blessings of the times of the Messiah would be as great, compared with what had existed before, as if the desert were made as lovely as Carmel, and as fertile as Sharon. The world that, in regard to comfort, intelligence, and piety, might be cormpared to a pathless desert, would be like the beauty of Carmel and the fertility of Sharon.

They shall see the glory of the Lord - As manifested under the Messiah.


Strengthen ye - That is, you who are the religious teachers and guides of the people. This is an address made by the prophet in view of what he had said and was about to say of the proraised blessings. The sense is, strengthen and sustain the feeble and the desponding by the promised blessings; by the assurances Isaiah 40:1).


Say to them - This is still an address to the ministers of religion, to make use of all the consolations which these truths and predictions furnish to confirm and strengthen the people of God.

Of a fearful heart - Of a timid, pusillanimous heart; those who tremble before their enemies. The Hebrew is, as in the Margin, ‹Of a hasty heart;‘ that is, of those who are disposed to flee before their enemies (see the note at Isaiah 30:16).

Behold, your God will come with vengeance - That is, in the manner described in the previous chapter; and, generally, he will take vengeance on all the enemies of his people, and they shall be punished. The language in this chapter is, in part, derived from the captivity at Babylon Isaiah 35:10, and the general idea is, that God would take vengeance on all their enemies, and would bring them complete and final deliverance. This does not mean that when the Messiah should come he would be disposed to take vengeance; nor do the words ‹your God‘ here refer to the Messiah; but it is meant that their God, Yahweh, would certainly come and destroy all their enemies, and prepare the way thus for the coming of the Prince of peace. The general promise is, that however many enemies might attack them, or however much they might fear them, yet that Yahweh would be their protector, and would completely humble and prostrate all their foes. The Hebrew will admit of a somewhat different translation, which I give in accordance with that proposed by Lowth. The sense is not materially varied.

Say ye to the faint-hearted, Be ye strong; fear ye not; behold your God!

Vengeance will come; the retribution of God:

He himself will come, and will deliver you.


Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened - The images in this verse and the following are those of joy and exultation. They describe the times of happiness when God would come to save them from their foes. This passage is so accurate a description of what the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, did, that it doubtless refers to the miracles which he would perform. In not a few instances did he in fact restore the blind to sight, giving thus the most unequivocal proof that he was the Messiah sent from God Matthew 9:27; Matthew 20:30; Mark 8:23; Mark 10:46; Luke 7:21. It is a full confirmation of the opinion that this passage refers to Christ, that the Saviour himself appeals to the fact that he restored the blind to sight, as demonstration that he was the Messiah, implying that it was predicted that this would be a part of his appropriate work (Matthew 11:5; compare Luke 4:18).

And the ears of the deaf be unstopped - Another demonstration of divine power, and another proof that would be furnished that the Messiah was from God The Lord Jesus often gave this demonstration that he was invested with divine power Matthew 11:5; Mark 7:32, Mark 7:37; Mark 9:25.


Then shall the lame man leap - This was literally fulfilled after the coming of the Messiah Acts 14:10; Acts 3:8. It is an emblem of the general joy which the coming of the Messiah would impart, and is an instance of the blessings which it would convey.

As an hart - The word used here denotes the stag, or male deer. In Arabic it denotes the wild, or mountain-goat. The word sometimes refers to any species of deer or antelope, and this is referred to here from its quick and sprightly nature.

And the tongue of the dumb sing - Shall be able to sing, and to praise God. On the restoration of the dumb to the benefits of language, see Matthew 9:32-33; Matthew 12:22; Matthew 15:30-31; Mark 9:17; Luke 11:14.

For in the wilderness shall waters break out - The joy shall be as great, and the blessings as numerous and refreshing, as if running fountains should suddenly break out in the desert, and the thirsty and weary traveler should be thus unexpectedly and fully supplied. The world, in regard to its real comforts without the gospel, may be not unaptly compared to g vast waste of pathless sands and arid plains. Nothing will more strongly express the blessings of the gospel than the idea of cool, refreshing, abundant fountains and streams bursting forth in such pathless wastes. This is an image which would be very expressive to those who were accustomed to cross such deserts, and it is one which is frequently employed by the sacred writers, and especially by Isaiah (see Isaiah 43:19-20; Isaiah 48:21; Isaiah 49:10-11; Isaiah 55:1; Isaiah 58:11). ‹Lameness and dumbness are the uniform effects of long walking in a desert; the sand and gravel produce the former, fatigue the latter. In such cases some of us have walked hours together without uttering a sentence; and all walked as if crippled, from the sand and gravel getting into the shoes; but the sight of water, especially if unexpected, unloosed every tongue, and gave agility to every limb; men, oxen, goats, sheep, and dogs, ran with speed and expressions of joy to the refreshing element.‘ (Campbell‘s Travels in Africa.) The Chaldee Paraphrast understands this as referring entirely to the return from the captivity at Babylon. ‹Then shall they see the exiles of Israel assembled, ascend to their own land as the swift stags, so that they shall not be hindered.‘


And the parched ground shall become a pool - The idea is the same here as in the previous verse, that under the Messiah there would be blessings as great as if the parched ground‘ should become a lake of pure and refreshing water. The words ‹parched ground,‘ however, probably do not convey the sense which Isaiah intended. The image which he had in his eye is much more beautiful than that which is denoted by the ‹parched ground.‘ Lowth translates it, ‹The glowing sand.‘ The Septuagint, Ἄνυδρος Anudros - ‹The dry place, The Hebrew word (שׁרב shârâb ), properly denotes the heat of the sun Isaiah 49:10; and then the phenomenon which is produced by the refraction of the rays of the sun on the glowing sands of a desert and which gives the appearance of a sea or lake of water, This phenomenon is witnessed in the deserts of Arabia and Egypt, and has been also seen occasionally in the south of France and in Russia. We have no word in English to express it. The French word by which it is commonly designated is mirage. It is caused by the refraction of the rays of the sun, an explanation of which may be found in the Edin. Encyclopaedia, vol. xiv. pp. 753-755. It is often described by travelers, and is referred to in the Koran, chapter xxiv. 39:

The works of unbelievers are like the serab in a plain,

Which the thirsty man takes to be water;

Until he comes to it, and finds that it is not.

Mr. Sale‘s note on this place in the Koran is, ‹The Arabic word serab signifies that false appearance which in the eastern countries is often seen in sandy plains about noon, resembling a large lake of water in motion, and is occasioned by the reverberation of the sunbeams, “by the quivering undulating motion of that quick succession of vapors and exhalations which are extracted by the powerful influence of the sun” (Shaw‘s Travels, p. 378). It sometimes tempts thirsty travelers out of their way, but deceives them when they come near, either going forward (for it always appears at the same distance), or quite vanishes.‘ Q. Curtius (vii. 5) also has mentioned it, in the description of the march of Alexander the Great across the Oxus to Sogdiana: ‹The vapor of the summer sun inflamed the sands, which when they began to be inflamed all things seemed to burn. A dense cloud, produced by the unusual heat of the earth, covered the light, and the appearance of the plains was like a vast and deep sea.‘ The Arabians often refer to this in their writings, and draw images from it. ‹Like the serab of the plain, which the thirsty take to be water.‘ ‹He runs for the spoil of the serab;‘ a proverb. ‹Deceitful as the appearance of water;‘ also a proverb. ‹Be not deceived by the glimmer of the scrub;‘ another proverb. This appearance has been often described by modern travelers, (see Shaw‘s Travels, p. 375; Clarke‘s Travels, vol ii. p. 295; Belzoni‘s Travels and Operations in Egypt and Nubia, p. 196).

The same appearance has been observed in India, and in various parts of Africa. ‹During the French expedition to Egypt, the phenomena of unusual refractions were often seen. The uniformity of the extensive sandy plains of Lower Egypt is interrupted only by small eminences, on which the villages are situated, in order to escape the inundations of the Nile. In the morning and the evening, as many have remarked, objects appear in their natural position; but when the surface of the sandy ground is heated by the sun, the land seems at a certain distance terminated by a general inundation. The villages which are beyond it appear like so many islands situated in the middle of a great lake; and under each village is an inverted image of it. As the observer approaches the limits of the apparent inundation, the imaginary lake which seemed to encircle the village withdraws itself, and the same illusion is reproduced by another village more remote.‘ (Edin. Encyclopaedia, vol. xiv. p. 754.) ‹In the desert,‘ says Prof. Robinson, ‹we had frequent instances of the mirage presenting the appearance of lakes of water and islands; and as we began to descend toward Suez, it was difficult to distinguish between these appearances and the distant real waters of the Red Sea.‘ (Travels in Palestine and the adjacent regions, in 1838, Bib. Repos. April, 1839, p. 402.) Major Skinner, in his recently published Journey Overland to India, describes the appearance of the scrub in that very desert, between Palestine and the Euphrates, which probably supplied the images which the prophet employs: ‹About noon the most perfect deception that can be conceived exhilarated our spirits, and promised an early restingplace.

We had observed a slight mirage two or three times before, but this day it surpassed all I have ever fancied. Although aware that these appearances have often led people astray, I could not bring myself to believe that this was unreal. The Arabs were doubtful, and said that, as we had found water yesterday, it was not improbable that we should find some today. The seeming lake was broken in several parts by little islands of sand that gave strength to the delusion. The dromedaries of the Sheikhs at length reached its borders, and appeared to us to have commenced to ford as they advanced, and became more surrounded by the vapor. I thought they had got into deep water, and moved with greater caution. In passing over the sand banks their figures were reflected in the water. So convinced was Mr. Calmun of its reality, that he dismounted and walked toward the deepest part of it, which was on the right hand. He followed the deceitful lake for a long time, and to our sight was strolling on the bank, his shadow stretching to a great length beyond. There was not a breath of wind; it was a sultry day, and such an one as would have added dreadfully to our disappointment if we had been at any time without water.‘

Southey has beautifully described this appearance and its effects on the traveler:

Still the same burning sun! no cloud in heaven!

The hot air quivers, and the sultry mist

Floats o‘er the desert, with a show

Of distant waters mocking their distress.

The idea of the prophet, if he refers to this phenomenon, is exceedingly beautiful. It is that the mirage, which has the appearance Only of a sheet of water, and which often deceives the traveler, shall become a real lake; that there shall be hereafter no deception, no illusion; that man, like a traveler on pathless sands, weary and thirsty, shall no more be deceived by false appearances and unreal hopes. The hopes and promises which this world can furnish are as delusive as is the mirage to the exhausted and thirsty traveler. Man approaches them, and, like that delusive appearance, they recede or vanish. If they are still seen, they are always at I a distance, and he follows the false and deceptive vision until he comes to the end of life. But the promises of God through the Messiah, are like real lakes of water and running streams to the thirsty traveler. They never deceive, never recede, never vanish, never are unsatisfactory. Man may approach them, knowing that there is no illusion; he may satisfy his needs, and still the supply is unexhausted and inexhaustible. Others also may approach the same fountain of pure joy, with as much freedom as travelers may approach the running stream in the desert.

In the habitation of dragons - (see the note at Isaiah 13:22). The sense of this is, that the blessings which are promised shall be as great as if in such dry and desolate places there should be verdure and beauty.

Where each lay - In every place which the wild beast had occupied.

Shall be grass - Margin, ‹A court for.‘ The Hebrew word (חציר châtsı̂yr ) may mean either grass, or a court, or habitation. The latter is undoubtedly the meaning of the word here, and thus it responds in the parallelism to the ‹habitation of dragons.‘

In the habitation where each lay,

Shall be a court for reeds and rushes.

Reeds and rushes - These usually grew by ponds and marshes. The image which the prophet had been employing was that era desert of sands and arid plains. He here says, that there would be verdure. In those pathless wastes there would spring up that which was nourished by water. The sense is, that those portions of the earth which are covered with moral desolation, like the pathless wastes of the desert, shall put on the appearance of moral cultivation and verdure.


And an highway shall be there - (see the note at Isaiah 11:16). This is language which is derived from the return of the Jews from captivity. The idea is, that there would be easy and uninterrupted access to their own land. The more remote, though main idea in the mind of the prophet seems to have been, that the way of access to the blessings of the Messiah‘s reign would be open and free to all (compare Isaiah 40:3-4).

And a way - It is not easy to mark the difference between the word “way” (דרך derek ) and “a highway” (מסלוּל maselûl ). Probably the latter refers more particularly to a raised way (from סלל salal to cast up), and would be expressed by our word “causeway” or “turnpike.” It was such a way as was usually made for the march of armies by removing obstructions, filling valleys, etc. The word “way” (דרך derek ) is a more general term, and denotes a path, or road of any kind.

And it shall be called the way of holiness - The reason why it should be so called is stated; - no impure person should travel it. The idea is, that all who should have access to the favor of God, or who should come into his kingdom, should be holy.

The unclean shall not pass over it - There shall be no idolater there; no one shall be admitted who is not a pure worshipper of Yahweh. Such is the design of the kingdom which is set up by the Messiah, and such the church of Christ should be (see Isaiah 40:3-4; Isaiah 49:11; Isaiah 62:10).

But it shall be for those - For those who are specified immediately, for the ransomed of the Lord. The Margin is, ‹For he shall be with them.‘ Lowth reads it,

‹But he himself shall be with them, walking in the way.‘

And this, it seems to me, is the more probable sense of the passage, indicating that they should not go alone or unprotected. It would be a holy way, because their God would be with them; it would be safe, because he would attend and defend them.

The wayfaring men - Hebrew, ‹He walking in the way.‘ According to the translation proposed above, this refers to God, the Redeemer, who will be with his people, walking in the way with them.

Though fools - Hebrew, ‹And fools.‘ That is, the simple, the unlearned, or those who are regarded as fools. It shall be a highway thrown up, so direct, and so unlike other paths, that there shall be no danger of mistaking it. The friends of God are often regarded as fools by the world. Many of them are of the humbler class of life, and are destitute of human learning, and of worldly wisdom. The sense here is, that the way of salvation shall be so plain, that no one, however ignorant and unlearned, need err in regard to it. In accordance with this, the Saviour said that the gospel was preached to the poor; and he himself always represented the way to life as such that the most simple and unlettered might find it.


No lion shall be there - Lions abounded in all the countries adjacent to Palestine. They are, therefore, often referred to by the sacred writers, as objects of dread and alarm. The leading idea in the language of Isaiah in this whole passage, is that of a way constructed from Babylon to Judea, so straight and plain that the most simple of the people might find it and walk in it. But such a path would lie through desert sands. It would be in the region infested with lions and other wild beasts. The prophet, therefore, suggests that there should be no cause for such dread and alarm. The sense is, that in that kingdom to which he had made reference all would be safe. They who entered it should find security and defense as they traveled that road. And it is true. They who enter the path that leads to life, find there no cause of alarm. Their fears subside; their apprehensions of punishment on account of their sins die away; and they walk that path with security and confidence. There is nothing in that way to alarm them; and though there may be many foes - fitly represented by lions and wild beasts - lying about the way, yet no one is permitted to ‹go up thereon.‘ This is a most beautiful image of the safety of the people of God, and of their freedom from all enemies that could annoy them.

But the redeemed shall walk there - The language here referred at first doubtless to those who would be rescued from the captivity at Babylon; but the main reference is to those who would be redeemed by the blood of the atonement, or who are properly called ‹the redeemed of the Lord.‘ That Isaiah was acquainted with the doctrine of redemption is apparent from Isaiah 53:1-12. There is not here, indeed, any express mention made of the means by which they would be redeemed, but the language is so general that it may refer either to the deliverance from the captivity at Babylon, or the future more important deliverance of his people from the bondage of sin by the atoning sacrifice of the Messiah. On the word rendered ‹redeem,‘ see the note at Isaiah 43:1. The idea is, that the path here referred to is appropriately designed only for the redeemed of Lord. It is not for the profane, the polluted, the hypocrite. It is not for those who live for this world, or for those who love pleasure more than they love God. The church should not be entered except by those who have evidence that they are redeemed. None should make a profession of religion who have no evidence that they belong to ‹the redeemed,‘ and who are not disposed to walk in the way of holiness. But, for all such it is a highway on which they are to travel. It is made by levelling hills and elevating valleys; it is made across the sandy desert and through the wilderness of this world; it is made through a world infested with the enemies of God and his people. It is made straight and plain, so that none need err; it is defended from enemies, so that all may be safe; it is rendered secure, because ‹He,‘ their Leader and Redeemer, shall go with and guard that way.


And the ransomed of the Lord - The word rendered here ‹ransomed,‘ is different from the word rendered ‹redeemed‘ in Isaiah 35:9. This word is פדוּיי pedûyēy from פדה pâdâh though it is not easy, perhaps not possible, to designate the difference in the sense. Doubtless there was a shade of difference among the Hebrews, but what it was is not now known. See this word explained in the note at Isaiah 1:27. The language here is all derived from the deliverance from Babylon, and the images employed by the prophet relate to that event. Still, there can be no doubt that he meant to describe the deliverance under the Messiah.

Shall return, and come to Zion - This language also is that which expresses the return from Babylon. In a more general sense, and in the sense intended particularly by the prophet, it means, doubtless, that all who are the redeemed of God shall be gathered under his protection, and shall be saved.

With songs - With rejoicing - as the ransomed captives would return from Babylon, and as all who are redeemed enter the church on earth, and will enter into heaven above.

And everlasting joy upon their heads - This may be an expression denoting the fact that joy is manifest in the face and aspect (Gesenius). Thus we say that joy lights up the countenance, and it is possible that the Hebrews expressed this idea by applying it to the head. Thus the Hebrews say Psalm 126:2:

Then was our mouth filled with laughter.

And our tongue with singing.

Or it may refer to the practice of anointing the head with oil and perfume in times of festivity and joy - in contrast with the custom of throwing ashes on the head in times of grief and calamity (Rosenmuller). Or it may refer to a custom of wearing a wreath or chaplet of flowers in times of festivity, as is often done now, and as was commonly done among the ancients in triumphal processions (Vitringa). Whichever exposition be adopted, the idea is the same, that there would be great joy, and that that joy would be perpetual and unfading. This is true of all who return to Zion under the Messiah. Joy is one of the first emotions; joy at redemption, and at the pardon of sin; joy in view of the hopes of eternal life, and of the everlasting favor of God. But this joy is not short-lived and fading, like the garland of flowers on the head; it is constant, increasing, everlasting.

And sorrow and sighing shall flee away - (See the note at Isaiah 25:8).

This is a most beautiful close of the series or succession of prophecies which we have been thus far contemplating. The result of all is, that the redeemed of the Lord shall have joy and rejoicing; that all their enemies shall be subdued, and that they shall be rescued from all their foes. In the analysis of the prophecy contained in the thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth chapters, it was stated that this prophecy seemed to be a summary of all that Isaiah had before uttered, and was designed to show that all the enemies of the people of God would be destroyed, and that they would be triumphantly delivered and saved. All these minor deliverances were preparatory to and emblematic of the greater deliverance under the Messiah; and accordingly all his predictions look forward to, and terminate in that. In the portions of prophecy which we have been over, we have seen the people of God represented as in danger from the Syrians, the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Moabites, the Edomites, the Babylonians; and in reference to them all, the same result has been predicted, that they would be delivered from them, and that their enemies would be destroyed.

This has been, in the chapters which we have passed over, successively foretold of Damascus, of Egypt, of Moab, of Ethiopia, of Babylon, of Edom, and of Sennacherib; and the prophet has reached the conclusion that all the enemies of God‘s people would ultimately be destroyed, and that they would be safe under the reign of the Messiah, to which all their deliverances were preparatory, and in which they all would terminate, Having pursued this course of the prophecy; having looked at all these foes; having seen them in vision all destroyed; having seen the Prince of Peace come; having seen the wonders that he would perform; having seen all danger subside, and the preparation made for the eternal security and joy of all his people, the prophet closes this series of predictions with the beautiful statement now before us, ‹the redeemed of Yahweh shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy; and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.‘

 


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Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 35:4". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". "www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-35.html. 1870.


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Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The wilderness and the solitary place - This is evidently figurative language, such as is often employed by the prophets. The word rendered ‹solitary place‘ (ציה tsı̂yâh ), denotes properly a dry place, a place without springs and streams of water; and as such places produce no verdure, and nothing to sustain life, the word comes to mean a desert. Such expressions are often used in the Scriptures to express moral or spiritual desolation; and in this sense evidently the phrase is used here. It does not refer to the desolations of Judea, but to all places that might be properly called a moral wilderness, or a spiritual desert; and thus aptly expresses the condition of the world that was to be benefited by the blessings foretold in this chapter. The parallel expressions in Isaiah 41:17-19; Isaiah 44:3-4, show that this is the sense in which the phrase is here used; and that the meaning is, that every situation which might be appropriately called a moral wilderness - that is, the whole pagan world - would ultimately be made glad. The sense is, that as great and happy changes would take place in regard to those desolations as if the wilderness should become a vast field producing the lily and the rose; or as if Isaiah 35:2 there should be imparted to such places the glory of Lebanon, and the beauty of Sharon and Carmel.

Shall be glad for them - This is evidently a personification, a beautiful poetic figure, by which the wilderness is represented as expressing joy. The sense is, the desolate moral world would be filled with joy on account of the blessings which are here predicted. The phrase ‹for them,‘ expressed in Hebrew by the affix מ (m ) means, doubtless, on account of the blessings which are foretold in this prophecy. Lowth supposes, however, that the letter has been added to the word ‹shall be glad‘ (ישׂשׂוּ yes'us'û ), by mistake, because the following word (מדבר midbâr ) begins with a מ (m ). The reading of the present Hebrew text is followed by none of the ancient versions; but it is nevertheless probably the correct reading, and there is no authority for changing it. The sense is expressed above by the phrase ‹shall rejoice on account of the things contained in this prophecy;‘ to wit, the destruction of all the foes of God, and the universal establishment of his kingdom. Those who wish to see a more critical examination of the words used here, may find it in Rosenmuller and Gesenius.

And blossom as the rose - The word rendered ‹rose‘ (חבצלת chăbı̂tsâleth ) occurs only here and in Song of Song of Solomon 2:1 , where it is also rendered a ‹rose.‘ The Septuagint renders it, Κρίνον Krinon ‹Lily.‘ The Vulgate also renders it, Lilium - the lily. The Syriac renders it also by a word which signifies the lily or narcissus; or, according to the Syriac lexicographers, ‹the meadow-saffron,‘ an autumnal flower springing from poisonous bulbous roots, and of a white and violet color. The sense is not, however, affected materially whatever be the meaning of the word. Either the rose, the lily, or the saffron, would convey the idea of beauty compared with the solitude and desolation of the desert. The word ‹rose‘ with us, as being a flower better known, conveys a more striking image of beauty, and there is no impropriety in retaining it.


It shall blossom abundantly - Hebrew, ‹Blossoming it shall blossom‘ - a common mode of expression in Hebrew, denoting certainty, abundance, fullness - similar to the expression Genesis 2:17, ‹Dying thou shalt die,‘ that is, thou shalt surely die. The sense here is, it shall blossom in abundance.

And rejoice even with joy - Strong figurative language, denoting the greatness of the blessings; as great as if in the waste wilderness there should be heard the voice of joy and rejoicing. The Septuagint renders this: ‹The deserts of Jordan also bloom and rejoice;‘ and Jerome applies this to the preaching of John in the wilderness adjacent to Jordan. The Septuagint evidently read ירדן yaredēn instead of the Hebrew ירנן yerannēn Lowth has followed this, and rendered it, ‹The well-watered plain of Jordan shall rejoice,‘ but without any authority from Hebrew manuscripts for the change.

The glory of Lebanon - The glory or ornament of Lebanon was its cedars (see the note at Isaiah 10:34). The sense here is, that the change would be as great under the blessings of the Messiah‘s reign as if there should be suddenly transferred to the waste wilderness the majesty and glory of mount Lebanon.

The excellency of Carmel - Carmel was emblematic of beauty, as Lebanon was of majesty, and as Sharon was of fertility. For a description of Carmel, see the note at Isaiah 29:17; of Sharon, see the note at Isaiah 33:9. The sense is clear. The blessings of the times of the Messiah would be as great, compared with what had existed before, as if the desert were made as lovely as Carmel, and as fertile as Sharon. The world that, in regard to comfort, intelligence, and piety, might be cormpared to a pathless desert, would be like the beauty of Carmel and the fertility of Sharon.

They shall see the glory of the Lord - As manifested under the Messiah.


Strengthen ye - That is, you who are the religious teachers and guides of the people. This is an address made by the prophet in view of what he had said and was about to say of the proraised blessings. The sense is, strengthen and sustain the feeble and the desponding by the promised blessings; by the assurances Isaiah 40:1).


Say to them - This is still an address to the ministers of religion, to make use of all the consolations which these truths and predictions furnish to confirm and strengthen the people of God.

Of a fearful heart - Of a timid, pusillanimous heart; those who tremble before their enemies. The Hebrew is, as in the Margin, ‹Of a hasty heart;‘ that is, of those who are disposed to flee before their enemies (see the note at Isaiah 30:16).

Behold, your God will come with vengeance - That is, in the manner described in the previous chapter; and, generally, he will take vengeance on all the enemies of his people, and they shall be punished. The language in this chapter is, in part, derived from the captivity at Babylon Isaiah 35:10, and the general idea is, that God would take vengeance on all their enemies, and would bring them complete and final deliverance. This does not mean that when the Messiah should come he would be disposed to take vengeance; nor do the words ‹your God‘ here refer to the Messiah; but it is meant that their God, Yahweh, would certainly come and destroy all their enemies, and prepare the way thus for the coming of the Prince of peace. The general promise is, that however many enemies might attack them, or however much they might fear them, yet that Yahweh would be their protector, and would completely humble and prostrate all their foes. The Hebrew will admit of a somewhat different translation, which I give in accordance with that proposed by Lowth. The sense is not materially varied.

Say ye to the faint-hearted, Be ye strong; fear ye not; behold your God!

Vengeance will come; the retribution of God:

He himself will come, and will deliver you.


Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened - The images in this verse and the following are those of joy and exultation. They describe the times of happiness when God would come to save them from their foes. This passage is so accurate a description of what the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, did, that it doubtless refers to the miracles which he would perform. In not a few instances did he in fact restore the blind to sight, giving thus the most unequivocal proof that he was the Messiah sent from God Matthew 9:27; Matthew 20:30; Mark 8:23; Mark 10:46; Luke 7:21. It is a full confirmation of the opinion that this passage refers to Christ, that the Saviour himself appeals to the fact that he restored the blind to sight, as demonstration that he was the Messiah, implying that it was predicted that this would be a part of his appropriate work (Matthew 11:5; compare Luke 4:18).

And the ears of the deaf be unstopped - Another demonstration of divine power, and another proof that would be furnished that the Messiah was from God The Lord Jesus often gave this demonstration that he was invested with divine power Matthew 11:5; Mark 7:32, Mark 7:37; Mark 9:25.


Then shall the lame man leap - This was literally fulfilled after the coming of the Messiah Acts 14:10; Acts 3:8. It is an emblem of the general joy which the coming of the Messiah would impart, and is an instance of the blessings which it would convey.

As an hart - The word used here denotes the stag, or male deer. In Arabic it denotes the wild, or mountain-goat. The word sometimes refers to any species of deer or antelope, and this is referred to here from its quick and sprightly nature.

And the tongue of the dumb sing - Shall be able to sing, and to praise God. On the restoration of the dumb to the benefits of language, see Matthew 9:32-33; Matthew 12:22; Matthew 15:30-31; Mark 9:17; Luke 11:14.

For in the wilderness shall waters break out - The joy shall be as great, and the blessings as numerous and refreshing, as if running fountains should suddenly break out in the desert, and the thirsty and weary traveler should be thus unexpectedly and fully supplied. The world, in regard to its real comforts without the gospel, may be not unaptly compared to g vast waste of pathless sands and arid plains. Nothing will more strongly express the blessings of the gospel than the idea of cool, refreshing, abundant fountains and streams bursting forth in such pathless wastes. This is an image which would be very expressive to those who were accustomed to cross such deserts, and it is one which is frequently employed by the sacred writers, and especially by Isaiah (see Isaiah 43:19-20; Isaiah 48:21; Isaiah 49:10-11; Isaiah 55:1; Isaiah 58:11). ‹Lameness and dumbness are the uniform effects of long walking in a desert; the sand and gravel produce the former, fatigue the latter. In such cases some of us have walked hours together without uttering a sentence; and all walked as if crippled, from the sand and gravel getting into the shoes; but the sight of water, especially if unexpected, unloosed every tongue, and gave agility to every limb; men, oxen, goats, sheep, and dogs, ran with speed and expressions of joy to the refreshing element.‘ (Campbell‘s Travels in Africa.) The Chaldee Paraphrast understands this as referring entirely to the return from the captivity at Babylon. ‹Then shall they see the exiles of Israel assembled, ascend to their own land as the swift stags, so that they shall not be hindered.‘


And the parched ground shall become a pool - The idea is the same here as in the previous verse, that under the Messiah there would be blessings as great as if the parched ground‘ should become a lake of pure and refreshing water. The words ‹parched ground,‘ however, probably do not convey the sense which Isaiah intended. The image which he had in his eye is much more beautiful than that which is denoted by the ‹parched ground.‘ Lowth translates it, ‹The glowing sand.‘ The Septuagint, Ἄνυδρος Anudros - ‹The dry place, The Hebrew word (שׁרב shârâb ), properly denotes the heat of the sun Isaiah 49:10; and then the phenomenon which is produced by the refraction of the rays of the sun on the glowing sands of a desert and which gives the appearance of a sea or lake of water, This phenomenon is witnessed in the deserts of Arabia and Egypt, and has been also seen occasionally in the south of France and in Russia. We have no word in English to express it. The French word by which it is commonly designated is mirage. It is caused by the refraction of the rays of the sun, an explanation of which may be found in the Edin. Encyclopaedia, vol. xiv. pp. 753-755. It is often described by travelers, and is referred to in the Koran, chapter xxiv. 39:

The works of unbelievers are like the serab in a plain,

Which the thirsty man takes to be water;

Until he comes to it, and finds that it is not.

Mr. Sale‘s note on this place in the Koran is, ‹The Arabic word serab signifies that false appearance which in the eastern countries is often seen in sandy plains about noon, resembling a large lake of water in motion, and is occasioned by the reverberation of the sunbeams, “by the quivering undulating motion of that quick succession of vapors and exhalations which are extracted by the powerful influence of the sun” (Shaw‘s Travels, p. 378). It sometimes tempts thirsty travelers out of their way, but deceives them when they come near, either going forward (for it always appears at the same distance), or quite vanishes.‘ Q. Curtius (vii. 5) also has mentioned it, in the description of the march of Alexander the Great across the Oxus to Sogdiana: ‹The vapor of the summer sun inflamed the sands, which when they began to be inflamed all things seemed to burn. A dense cloud, produced by the unusual heat of the earth, covered the light, and the appearance of the plains was like a vast and deep sea.‘ The Arabians often refer to this in their writings, and draw images from it. ‹Like the serab of the plain, which the thirsty take to be water.‘ ‹He runs for the spoil of the serab;‘ a proverb. ‹Deceitful as the appearance of water;‘ also a proverb. ‹Be not deceived by the glimmer of the scrub;‘ another proverb. This appearance has been often described by modern travelers, (see Shaw‘s Travels, p. 375; Clarke‘s Travels, vol ii. p. 295; Belzoni‘s Travels and Operations in Egypt and Nubia, p. 196).

The same appearance has been observed in India, and in various parts of Africa. ‹During the French expedition to Egypt, the phenomena of unusual refractions were often seen. The uniformity of the extensive sandy plains of Lower Egypt is interrupted only by small eminences, on which the villages are situated, in order to escape the inundations of the Nile. In the morning and the evening, as many have remarked, objects appear in their natural position; but when the surface of the sandy ground is heated by the sun, the land seems at a certain distance terminated by a general inundation. The villages which are beyond it appear like so many islands situated in the middle of a great lake; and under each village is an inverted image of it. As the observer approaches the limits of the apparent inundation, the imaginary lake which seemed to encircle the village withdraws itself, and the same illusion is reproduced by another village more remote.‘ (Edin. Encyclopaedia, vol. xiv. p. 754.) ‹In the desert,‘ says Prof. Robinson, ‹we had frequent instances of the mirage presenting the appearance of lakes of water and islands; and as we began to descend toward Suez, it was difficult to distinguish between these appearances and the distant real waters of the Red Sea.‘ (Travels in Palestine and the adjacent regions, in 1838, Bib. Repos. April, 1839, p. 402.) Major Skinner, in his recently published Journey Overland to India, describes the appearance of the scrub in that very desert, between Palestine and the Euphrates, which probably supplied the images which the prophet employs: ‹About noon the most perfect deception that can be conceived exhilarated our spirits, and promised an early restingplace.

We had observed a slight mirage two or three times before, but this day it surpassed all I have ever fancied. Although aware that these appearances have often led people astray, I could not bring myself to believe that this was unreal. The Arabs were doubtful, and said that, as we had found water yesterday, it was not improbable that we should find some today. The seeming lake was broken in several parts by little islands of sand that gave strength to the delusion. The dromedaries of the Sheikhs at length reached its borders, and appeared to us to have commenced to ford as they advanced, and became more surrounded by the vapor. I thought they had got into deep water, and moved with greater caution. In passing over the sand banks their figures were reflected in the water. So convinced was Mr. Calmun of its reality, that he dismounted and walked toward the deepest part of it, which was on the right hand. He followed the deceitful lake for a long time, and to our sight was strolling on the bank, his shadow stretching to a great length beyond. There was not a breath of wind; it was a sultry day, and such an one as would have added dreadfully to our disappointment if we had been at any time without water.‘

Southey has beautifully described this appearance and its effects on the traveler:

Still the same burning sun! no cloud in heaven!

The hot air quivers, and the sultry mist

Floats o‘er the desert, with a show

Of distant waters mocking their distress.

The idea of the prophet, if he refers to this phenomenon, is exceedingly beautiful. It is that the mirage, which has the appearance Only of a sheet of water, and which often deceives the traveler, shall become a real lake; that there shall be hereafter no deception, no illusion; that man, like a traveler on pathless sands, weary and thirsty, shall no more be deceived by false appearances and unreal hopes. The hopes and promises which this world can furnish are as delusive as is the mirage to the exhausted and thirsty traveler. Man approaches them, and, like that delusive appearance, they recede or vanish. If they are still seen, they are always at I a distance, and he follows the false and deceptive vision until he comes to the end of life. But the promises of God through the Messiah, are like real lakes of water and running streams to the thirsty traveler. They never deceive, never recede, never vanish, never are unsatisfactory. Man may approach them, knowing that there is no illusion; he may satisfy his needs, and still the supply is unexhausted and inexhaustible. Others also may approach the same fountain of pure joy, with as much freedom as travelers may approach the running stream in the desert.

In the habitation of dragons - (see the note at Isaiah 13:22). The sense of this is, that the blessings which are promised shall be as great as if in such dry and desolate places there should be verdure and beauty.

Where each lay - In every place which the wild beast had occupied.

Shall be grass - Margin, ‹A court for.‘ The Hebrew word (חציר châtsı̂yr ) may mean either grass, or a court, or habitation. The latter is undoubtedly the meaning of the word here, and thus it responds in the parallelism to the ‹habitation of dragons.‘

In the habitation where each lay,

Shall be a court for reeds and rushes.

Reeds and rushes - These usually grew by ponds and marshes. The image which the prophet had been employing was that era desert of sands and arid plains. He here says, that there would be verdure. In those pathless wastes there would spring up that which was nourished by water. The sense is, that those portions of the earth which are covered with moral desolation, like the pathless wastes of the desert, shall put on the appearance of moral cultivation and verdure.


And an highway shall be there - (see the note at Isaiah 11:16). This is language which is derived from the return of the Jews from captivity. The idea is, that there would be easy and uninterrupted access to their own land. The more remote, though main idea in the mind of the prophet seems to have been, that the way of access to the blessings of the Messiah‘s reign would be open and free to all (compare Isaiah 40:3-4).

And a way - It is not easy to mark the difference between the word “way” (דרך derek ) and “a highway” (מסלוּל maselûl ). Probably the latter refers more particularly to a raised way (from סלל salal to cast up), and would be expressed by our word “causeway” or “turnpike.” It was such a way as was usually made for the march of armies by removing obstructions, filling valleys, etc. The word “way” (דרך derek ) is a more general term, and denotes a path, or road of any kind.

And it shall be called the way of holiness - The reason why it should be so called is stated; - no impure person should travel it. The idea is, that all who should have access to the favor of God, or who should come into his kingdom, should be holy.

The unclean shall not pass over it - There shall be no idolater there; no one shall be admitted who is not a pure worshipper of Yahweh. Such is the design of the kingdom which is set up by the Messiah, and such the church of Christ should be (see Isaiah 40:3-4; Isaiah 49:11; Isaiah 62:10).

But it shall be for those - For those who are specified immediately, for the ransomed of the Lord. The Margin is, ‹For he shall be with them.‘ Lowth reads it,

‹But he himself shall be with them, walking in the way.‘

And this, it seems to me, is the more probable sense of the passage, indicating that they should not go alone or unprotected. It would be a holy way, because their God would be with them; it would be safe, because he would attend and defend them.

The wayfaring men - Hebrew, ‹He walking in the way.‘ According to the translation proposed above, this refers to God, the Redeemer, who will be with his people, walking in the way with them.

Though fools - Hebrew, ‹And fools.‘ That is, the simple, the unlearned, or those who are regarded as fools. It shall be a highway thrown up, so direct, and so unlike other paths, that there shall be no danger of mistaking it. The friends of God are often regarded as fools by the world. Many of them are of the humbler class of life, and are destitute of human learning, and of worldly wisdom. The sense here is, that the way of salvation shall be so plain, that no one, however ignorant and unlearned, need err in regard to it. In accordance with this, the Saviour said that the gospel was preached to the poor; and he himself always represented the way to life as such that the most simple and unlettered might find it.


No lion shall be there - Lions abounded in all the countries adjacent to Palestine. They are, therefore, often referred to by the sacred writers, as objects of dread and alarm. The leading idea in the language of Isaiah in this whole passage, is that of a way constructed from Babylon to Judea, so straight and plain that the most simple of the people might find it and walk in it. But such a path would lie through desert sands. It would be in the region infested with lions and other wild beasts. The prophet, therefore, suggests that there should be no cause for such dread and alarm. The sense is, that in that kingdom to which he had made reference all would be safe. They who entered it should find security and defense as they traveled that road. And it is true. They who enter the path that leads to life, find there no cause of alarm. Their fears subside; their apprehensions of punishment on account of their sins die away; and they walk that path with security and confidence. There is nothing in that way to alarm them; and though there may be many foes - fitly represented by lions and wild beasts - lying about the way, yet no one is permitted to ‹go up thereon.‘ This is a most beautiful image of the safety of the people of God, and of their freedom from all enemies that could annoy them.

But the redeemed shall walk there - The language here referred at first doubtless to those who would be rescued from the captivity at Babylon; but the main reference is to those who would be redeemed by the blood of the atonement, or who are properly called ‹the redeemed of the Lord.‘ That Isaiah was acquainted with the doctrine of redemption is apparent from Isaiah 53:1-12. There is not here, indeed, any express mention made of the means by which they would be redeemed, but the language is so general that it may refer either to the deliverance from the captivity at Babylon, or the future more important deliverance of his people from the bondage of sin by the atoning sacrifice of the Messiah. On the word rendered ‹redeem,‘ see the note at Isaiah 43:1. The idea is, that the path here referred to is appropriately designed only for the redeemed of Lord. It is not for the profane, the polluted, the hypocrite. It is not for those who live for this world, or for those who love pleasure more than they love God. The church should not be entered except by those who have evidence that they are redeemed. None should make a profession of religion who have no evidence that they belong to ‹the redeemed,‘ and who are not disposed to walk in the way of holiness. But, for all such it is a highway on which they are to travel. It is made by levelling hills and elevating valleys; it is made across the sandy desert and through the wilderness of this world; it is made through a world infested with the enemies of God and his people. It is made straight and plain, so that none need err; it is defended from enemies, so that all may be safe; it is rendered secure, because ‹He,‘ their Leader and Redeemer, shall go with and guard that way.


And the ransomed of the Lord - The word rendered here ‹ransomed,‘ is different from the word rendered ‹redeemed‘ in Isaiah 35:9. This word is פדוּיי pedûyēy from פדה pâdâh though it is not easy, perhaps not possible, to designate the difference in the sense. Doubtless there was a shade of difference among the Hebrews, but what it was is not now known. See this word explained in the note at Isaiah 1:27. The language here is all derived from the deliverance from Babylon, and the images employed by the prophet relate to that event. Still, there can be no doubt that he meant to describe the deliverance under the Messiah.

Shall return, and come to Zion - This language also is that which expresses the return from Babylon. In a more general sense, and in the sense intended particularly by the prophet, it means, doubtless, that all who are the redeemed of God shall be gathered under his protection, and shall be saved.

With songs - With rejoicing - as the ransomed captives would return from Babylon, and as all who are redeemed enter the church on earth, and will enter into heaven above.

And everlasting joy upon their heads - This may be an expression denoting the fact that joy is manifest in the face and aspect (Gesenius). Thus we say that joy lights up the countenance, and it is possible that the Hebrews expressed this idea by applying it to the head. Thus the Hebrews say Psalm 126:2:

Then was our mouth filled with laughter.

And our tongue with singing.

Or it may refer to the practice of anointing the head with oil and perfume in times of festivity and joy - in contrast with the custom of throwing ashes on the head in times of grief and calamity (Rosenmuller). Or it may refer to a custom of wearing a wreath or chaplet of flowers in times of festivity, as is often done now, and as was commonly done among the ancients in triumphal processions (Vitringa). Whichever exposition be adopted, the idea is the same, that there would be great joy, and that that joy would be perpetual and unfading. This is true of all who return to Zion under the Messiah. Joy is one of the first emotions; joy at redemption, and at the pardon of sin; joy in view of the hopes of eternal life, and of the everlasting favor of God. But this joy is not short-lived and fading, like the garland of flowers on the head; it is constant, increasing, everlasting.

And sorrow and sighing shall flee away - (See the note at Isaiah 25:8).

This is a most beautiful close of the series or succession of prophecies which we have been thus far contemplating. The result of all is, that the redeemed of the Lord shall have joy and rejoicing; that all their enemies shall be subdued, and that they shall be rescued from all their foes. In the analysis of the prophecy contained in the thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth chapters, it was stated that this prophecy seemed to be a summary of all that Isaiah had before uttered, and was designed to show that all the enemies of the people of God would be destroyed, and that they would be triumphantly delivered and saved. All these minor deliverances were preparatory to and emblematic of the greater deliverance under the Messiah; and accordingly all his predictions look forward to, and terminate in that. In the portions of prophecy which we have been over, we have seen the people of God represented as in danger from the Syrians, the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Moabites, the Edomites, the Babylonians; and in reference to them all, the same result has been predicted, that they would be delivered from them, and that their enemies would be destroyed.

This has been, in the chapters which we have passed over, successively foretold of Damascus, of Egypt, of Moab, of Ethiopia, of Babylon, of Edom, and of Sennacherib; and the prophet has reached the conclusion that all the enemies of God‘s people would ultimately be destroyed, and that they would be safe under the reign of the Messiah, to which all their deliverances were preparatory, and in which they all would terminate, Having pursued this course of the prophecy; having looked at all these foes; having seen them in vision all destroyed; having seen the Prince of Peace come; having seen the wonders that he would perform; having seen all danger subside, and the preparation made for the eternal security and joy of all his people, the prophet closes this series of predictions with the beautiful statement now before us, ‹the redeemed of Yahweh shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy; and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.‘

 


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Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 35:4". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". "www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-35.html. 1870.


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Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Judea was prosperous in the days of Hezekiah, but the kingdom of Christ is the great subject intended. Converting grace makes the soul that was a wilderness, to rejoice with joy and singing, and to blossom abundantly. The feeble and faint-hearted are encouraged. This is the design of the gospel. Fear is weakening; the more we strive against it, the stronger we are, both for doing and suffering; and he that says to us, Be strong, has laid help for us upon One who is mighty. Assurance is given of the approach of Messiah, to take vengeance on the powers of darkness, to recompense with abundant comforts those that mourn in Zion; He will come and save. He will come again at the end of time, to punish those who have troubled his people; and to give those who were troubled such rest as will be a full reward for all their troubles.
Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 305

The multitudes were amazed at this teaching, which was so at variance with the precepts and example of the Pharisees. The people had come to think that happiness consisted in the possession of the things of this world, and that fame and the honor of men were much to be coveted. It was very pleasing to be called “Rabbi,” and to be extolled as wise and religious, having their virtues paraded before the public. This was regarded as the crown of happiness. But in the presence of that vast throng, Jesus declared that earthly gain and honor were all the reward such persons would ever receive. He spoke with certainty, and a convincing power attended His words. The people were silenced, and a feeling of fear crept over them. They looked at one another doubtfully. Who of them would be saved if this Man's teachings were true? Many were convicted that this remarkable Teacher was actuated by the Spirit of God, and that the sentiments He uttered were divine. DA 305.1

After explaining what constitutes true happiness, and how it may be obtained, Jesus more definitely pointed out the duty of His disciples, as teachers chosen of God to lead others into the path of righteousness and eternal life. He knew that they would often suffer from disappointment and discouragement, that they would meet with decided opposition, that they would be insulted, and their testimony rejected. Well He knew that in the fulfillment of their mission, the humble men who listened so attentively to His words were to bear calumny, torture, imprisonment, and death, and He continued: DA 305.2

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” DA 305.3

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Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 675

In the Bible the inheritance of the saved is called “a country.” Hebrews 11:14-16. There the heavenly Shepherd leads His flock to fountains of living waters. The tree of life yields its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the service of the nations. There are ever-flowing streams, clear as crystal, and beside them waving trees cast their shadows upon the paths prepared for the ransomed of the Lord. There the wide-spreading plains swell into hills of beauty, and the mountains of God rear their lofty summits. On those peaceful plains, beside those living streams, God's people, so long pilgrims and wanderers, shall find a home. GC 675.1

“My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” “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.” “They shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: ... Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.” Isaiah 32:18; 60:18; Isaiah 65:21, 22. GC 675.2

There, “the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” “Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree.” “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; ... and a little child shall lead them.” “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,” saith the Lord. Isaiah 35:1; 55:13; Isaiah 11:6, 9. GC 675.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, 308

And often our merciful Father encourages His children and strengthens their faith by permitting them here to see evidence of the power of His grace upon the hearts and lives of those for whom they labor. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” Isaiah 55:8-13. 6T 308.1

In the transformation of character, the casting out of evil passions, the development of the sweet graces of God's Holy Spirit, we see the fulfillment of the promise, “Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree.” We behold life's desert “rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” 6T 308.2

Christ delights to take apparently hopeless material, those whom Satan has debased and through whom he has worked, and make them the subjects of His grace. He rejoices to deliver them from suffering and from the wrath that is to fall upon the disobedient. He makes His children His agents in the accomplishment of this work, and in its success, even in this life, they find a precious reward. 6T 308.3

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Ellen G. White
Early Writings, 19

While this study was in progress, and before their work was made known, far to the east in the state of Maine, a vision was given to Ellen Harmon in which she was shown the transfer of the ministry of Christ from the holy place to the most holy place at the end of the 2300 days. The record of this vision is found in Early Writings, 54-56. EW xix.1

Of another vision shortly after this, as referred to by Mrs. White in a statement written in April, 1847, she records that “the Lord showed me in vision, more than one year ago, that Brother Crozier had the true light on the cleansing of the sanctuary, etc.; and that it was His will that Brother Crozier should write out the view which he gave us in The Day-Star Extra, February 7, 1846. I feel fully authorized by the Lord to recommend that extra to every saint.”—A Word to the Little Flock, 12. Thus the finding of Bible scholars was confirmed by the visions of God's messenger. EW xix.2

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