on Isaiah 57 :13
"How beautiful appear on the mountains
The feet of the joyful messenger, of him that announceth peace;
Of the joyful messenger of good tidings, of him that announceth salvation;
Of him that saith to Sion, Thy God reigneth!
All thy watchmen lift up their voice, they shout together;
For face to face shall they see, when Jehovah returneth to Sion.
Verily not in haste shall ye go forth,
And not by flight shall ye march along:
For Jehovah shall march in your front;
And the God of Israel shall bring up your rear."
Isaiah 52:7, Isaiah 52:8, Isaiah 52:12.
Babylon was separated from Judea by an immense tract of country which was one continued desert; that large part of Arabia called very properly Deserta. It is mentioned in history as a remarkable occurrence, that Nebuchadnezzar, having received the news of the death of his father, in order to make the utmost expedition in his journey to Babylon from Egypt and Phoenicia, set out with a few attendants, and passed through this desert. Berosus apud Joseph., Antiq. Isaiah 10:11. This was the nearest way homewards for the Jews; and whether they actually returned by this way or not, the first thing that would occur on the proposal or thought of their return would be the difficulty of this almost impracticable passage. Accordingly the proclamation for the preparation of the way is the most natural idea, and the most obvious circumstance, by which the prophet could have opened his subject.
These things considered, I have not the least doubt that the return at the Jews from the captivity of Babylon is the first, though not the principal, thing in the prophet's view. The redemption from Babylon is clearly foretold and at the same time is employed as an image to shadow out a redemption of an infinitely higher and more important nature. I should not have thought it necessary to employ so many words in endeavoring to establish what is called the literal sense of this prophecy, which I think cannot be rightly understood without it, had I not observed that many interpreters of the first authority, in particular the very learned Vitringa, have excluded it entirely.
Yet obvious and plain as I think this literal sense is, we have nevertheless the irrefragable authority of John the Baptist, and of our blessed Savior himself, as recorded by all the Evangelists, for explaining this exordium of the prophecy of the opening of the Gospel by the preaching of John, and of the introduction of the kingdom of Messiah; who was to effect a much greater deliverance of the people of God, Gentiles as well as Jews, from the captivity of sin and the dominion of death. And this we shall find to be the case in many subsequent parts also of this prophecy, where passages manifestly relating to the deliverance of the Jewish nation, effected by Cyrus, are, with good reason, and upon undoubted authority, to be understood of the redemption wrought for mankind by Christ.
on Isaiah 57 :13
When thou criest - That is, when you are in trouble, and feel your need of help.
Let thy companies deliver thee - The word used here (קבוּץ qibûts) means, properly, "a gathering; a throng; a collection." Here it refers either to the throngs of the idols which they had collected. and on which they relied; or to the collection of foreigners which they had summoned to their assistance. The idea is, that if people trust to other objects for aid than the arm of God, they will be left in the day of trial to such assistance as they can render them.
But the wind shall carry - They shall be like the protection which the wind sweeps away. The Saviour expresses a similar sentiment in Matthew 7:26-27.
Vanity shall take them - Lowth and Noyes, 'A breath shall take them off.' The word הבל hebel, properly means a breath; and probably denotes here a gentle breeze, the slightest breath of air, denoting the entire instability of the objects on which they trusted, when they could be so easily swept off.
Shall possess the land - The assurances of the favor and friendship of God are usually expressed in this way (compare the notes at Isaiah 49:8). See Psalm 37:11; 'The meek shall inherit the earth.' Compare Psalm 69:35-36; Matthew 5:5.
And shall inherit my holy mountain - In Jerusalem. That is, they shall be admitted to elevated spiritual privileges and joys - as great as if they had possession of a portion of the mount on which the temple was built, and were permitted to dwell there.
on Isaiah 57 :13
57:13 But - But they shall be carried away suddenly and violently by the blast of mine anger. Vanity - A vapour which quickly vanishes away. Inherit - Shall enjoy my favour and presence in my temple.