on Isaiah 11 :11
And it shall come to pass in that day - This part of the chapter contains a prophecy which certainly remains yet to be accomplished.
The Lord "Jehovah" - For אדני Adonai, thirty-three MSS. of Kennicott's, and many of De Rossi's, and two editions, read יהוה Yehovah.
The islands of the sea - The Roman and Turkish empires, say Kimchi.
on Isaiah 11 :11
And it shall come to pass - The prophet having, in the previous verse, stated the effect of the reign of the Messiah on the Gentile world, proceeds to state the result on the scattered Jews. Whether it is to be a literal re-collecting of the scattered tribes to the land of their fathers, has been a subject of debate, and is still so by expositors. We may be able to determine what is the correct general interpretation after the particular phrases have been examined.
In that day - That future time referred to in this whole prophecy. The word "day" is often used to denote a long time - or the time during which anything continues, as "the day" denotes all the hours until it is terminated by night. So "day" denotes the time of a man's life - 'his day;' or time in general; or the time when one shall be prominent, or be the principal object at that time. Thus it is applied to the time of the Messiah, as being the period of the world in which he will be the prominent or distinguished object; John 8:56 : 'Abraham rejoiced to see my day;' Luke 17:24 : 'So shall the Son of man be in his day.' The expression here means, that somewhere in that future time, when the Messiah should appear, or when the world should be put under him as the Mediator, the event would take place which is here predicted. As the word 'day' includes "all" the time of the Messiah, or all his reign from his first to his second advent, it is not to be supposed that the event would take place when he was personally on earth. Isaiah saw it in vision, as "one" of the events which was to occur after the 'root of Jesse' should stand as an ensign to the nations.
That the Lord shall set his hand - That Yahweh shall undertake this, and accomplish it. To set the hand to anything is to undertake to perform it.
The second time - שׁנית shênı̂yth. This word properly means, as it is here translated, the second time, implying that the prophet here speaks of a deliverance which would resemble, in some respects, a "former" deliverance or recovery. By the former recovery to which he here refers, he cannot mean the deliverance from Egypt under Moses, for at that time there was no recovery from scattered and distant nations. Besides, if "that" was the reference by the former deliverance, then that mentioned here as the 'second' deliverance would be that from the Babylonian captivity. But on the return from that captivity, there was not a collecting of the Jews from all the nations here specified. When the Jews were led back to Judea under Nehemiah, there is no record of their having been collected from 'Egypt,' or from 'Cush,' or from 'the islands of the sea.' It is evident, therefore, I think, that by the former deliverance to which the prophet here alludes - the deliverance which was to precede that designated here as the "second" - he refers to the return from the captivity of Babylon; and by the 'second,' to some still more future recovery that should take place under the administration of the Messiah. This is further confirmed from the fact that the whole scope of the prophecy points to that future period.
To recover - Hebrew, 'To possess,' or, to obtain possession of - לקנות lı̂qenôth. This word properly means to obtain possession of by purchasing or buying anything. But it is also applied to any possession obtained of an object by power, labor, skill, or by delivering from bondage or captivity, and is thus synonymous with "redeem" or "deliver." Thus it is applied to the deliverance of the people from Egypt; Deuteronomy 32:6; Exodus 15:16; Psalm 74:2. It means here, that Yahweh would redeem, rescue, recover his people; but it does not specify the "mode" in which it would be done. Any mode - either by collecting and rescuing them from the regions into which they were scattered into one place, or by a "spiritual" turning to him, wherever they might be, would meet the force of this word. If in the lands where they were scattered, and where they had wandered away from the true God, they were converted, and should become again his people, the event would correspond with all that is meant by the word here.
They would "then" be purchased, possessed, or recovered to himself, by being delivered from their spiritual oppression. It is not necessary, therefore, to resort to the interpretation that they should, in the 'second' deliverance, be restored literally to the land of Canaan. Any argument for that doctrine from this passage must be drawn from the word here used - 'recover' - and that "that" idea is not necessarily involved in this word is abundantly manifest from its familiar use in the Old Testament. All that that word implies, is, that they should "be possessed" by God as his people; an idea which is fully met by the supposition that the scattered Jews everywhere will be converted to the Messiah, and thus become his true people. For this use of the word, see Genesis 25:10; Genesis 47:22; Genesis 49:30; Genesis 50:13; Joshua 24:32; 2 Samuel 12:3; Leviticus 27:24; Nehemiah 5:8. In no place does it necessarily imply the idea of "collecting or restoring" a scattered people to their Own land.
The remnant of his people - That is, the remnant of the Jews, still called his people. In all the predictions respecting the calamities that should ever come upon them, the idea is "always" held out that the nation would not be wholly extinguished; but that, however great the national judgments, a remnant would still survive. This was particularly true in regard to the fearful judgments which Moses denounced on the nation if they should be disobedient, and which have been so strikingly fulfilled; Deuteronomy 28. As the result of those judgments, Moses does not say that Yahweh would annihilate the nation, or extinguish their name, but that the would be 'left few in number,' Deuteronomy 28:62; that Yahweh would scatter them among all people, from the one end of the earth even to the other, Deuteronomy 28:64; and that among these nations they should find no ease, neither should the sole of their foot have rest.
In like manner it was predicted that they should be scattered everywhere. 'I will scatter them also among the pagan, whom neither they nor their fathers have known. I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach, a proverb, a taunt, and a curse, in all places whither I will drive them;' Jeremiah 9:16; Jeremiah 24:9-10. 'I will execute judgments in thee, and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter into all the winds;' Ezekiel 5:10. 'I will also scatter them among the nations, among the pagan, and disperse them in the countries;' Ezekiel 12:15, 'I will sift the house of Israel among the nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. They shall be wanderers among the nations;' Amos 9:9. 'I will make a full end of the nations whither I have driven thee, but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished;' Jeremiah 46:28.
From all these, and from numerous other passages in the Old Testament, it is evident that it was designed that the Jewish nation should never be wholly destroyed; that though they were scattered among the nations, they should still be a distinct people; that while other nations would wholly cease to exist, yet that a "remnant" of the Jewish people, with the national peculiarities and customs, would still survive. How entirely this has been fulfilled, the remarkable history of the Jewish people everywhere testifies. Their present condition on the earth, as a people scattered in all nations, yet surviving; without a king and a temple, yet preserving their national prejudices and peculiarities, is a most striking fulfillment of the prophecy; see Keith's "Evidence of the Fulfillment of Prophecy," pp. 64-82.
From Assyria - The name Assyria is commonly applied to that region of country which lies between Media, Mesopotamia, Armenia, and Babylon, and which is now called Kurdistan. The boundaries of the kingdom have often varied, and, as a kingdom or separate nation, it has long since ceased to exist. The name "Assyria" in Scripture is given,
(1) To ancient Assyria, lying east of the Tigris, and between Armenia, Susiana, and Media - the region comprising mostly the modern kingdoms and the pashalic of Mosul.
(2) Most generally the name Assyria means the "kingdom of Assyria," including Babylonia and Mesopotamia, and extending to the Euphrates; Isaiah 7:20; Isaiah 8:7.
(3) After the overthrow of the Assyrian empire, the name continued to be applied to those countries which were formerly held under its dominion - including Babylonia 2 Kings 23:29; Jeremiah 2:18, Persia Ezra 6:22, and Syria. - "Robinson; Calmet."
It is in this place applied to that extensive region, and means that the Jews scattered there - of whom there have always been many - shall be brought under the dominion of the Messiah. If the Nestorian Christians in the mountains of Kurdistan are the descendants of the lost ten tribes (see the note at Isaiah 11:12), then the reference here is, doubtless, to them. There are, however, other Jews there, as there always has been; "see" Dr. Grant's work on 'The Nestorians, or, the Lost Ten tribes,' New York, 1841.
on Isaiah 11 :11
11:11 The second - The first time, to which this word second relates, seems to be the deliverance out of Babylon: and then this second deliverance must be in the days of the Messiah. To recover - From all places far and near, into which either the ten tribes or the two tribes were carried captives. Pathros was a province in Egypt.