on Isaiah 52 :15
So shall he sprinkle many nations - I retain the common rendering, though I am by no means satisfied with it. "יזה yazzeh, frequent in the law, means only to sprinkle: but the water sprinkled is the accusative case; the thing on which has על al or אל el. Θαυμασονται, ό, makes the best apodosis. ינהג yenahag would do. ינהרו yinharu is used Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 31:12; Jeremiah 51:14, but is unlike. 'Kings shall shut,' etc., is good, but seems to want a first part." - Secker. Munster translates it, faciet loqui, (de se); and in his note thus explains it: יזה yazzeh proprie significat spargere et stillas disseminare; hic hero capitur pro loqui, et verbum disseminare. "יזה yazzeh properly signifies to sprinkle, and to scatter about drops; but it here means to speak, and to disseminate the word." This is pretty much as the Rabbins Kimchi and Sal. ben Belec explain it, referring to the expression of "dropping the word." But the same objection lies to this as to the common rendering; it ought to be על גוים(דבר)יזה yazzeh (debar) al goyim. Bishop Chandler, Defence, p. 148, says, "that to sprinkle is used for to surprise and astonish, as people are that have much water thrown upon them. And this sense is followed by the Septuagint." This is ingenious, but rather too refined. Dr. Duress conjectures that the true reading may be יהזו yechezu, they shall regard, which comes near to the θαυμασονται of the Septuagint, who seem to give the best sense of any to this place.
"I find in my papers the same conjecture which Dr. Durell made from θαυμασονται in the Septuagint. And it may be added that חזה chazah is used to express 'looking on any thing with admiration,' Psalm 11:7; Psalm 17:15; Psalm 27:4; Psalm 63:2; Sol 6:13. It is particularly applied to 'looking on God,' Exodus 24:11, and Job 19:26. Gisbert Cuper, in Observ. lib. Job 2:1, though treating on another subject, has some observations which show how nearly ὁραω and θαυμαζω are allied, which, with the peculiar sense of the verb חזה chazah above noted, add to the probability of θαυμασονται being the version of יחזו yechezu in the text: οἱ δε νυ λαοι Παντες ες αυτον ὁρωσι. Hesiod., id est. cum veneratione quadam adminantur. Hinc ὁραω et θαυμαζω junxit Themistius Or. 1: Ειτα παυσονται οἱ ανθρωποι προς σε μονον ὁρωνες, και σε μονον θαυμαζοντες. Theophrastus in Charact. c. 3. Ενθυμη ὡς αποβλεπουσιν εις σε οἱ ανθρωποι. Hence the rendering of this verse seems to be -
"So many nations shall look on him with admiration
Kings shall stop their mouths."
Does not sprinkling the nations refer to the conversion and baptism of the Gentiles? Many nations shall become proselytes to his religion.
Kings shall shut their mouths at him - His Gospel shall so prevail that all opposition shall be finally overcome; and kings and potentates shall be overwhelmed with confusion, and become speechless before the doctrines of his truth. When they hear these declared they shall attentively consider them, and their conviction of their truth shall be the consequence.
For that which had not been told them - The mystery of the Gospel so long concealed. See Romans 15:21; Romans 16:25.
Shall they see - With the eyes of their faith; God enlightening both organ and object.
And that which they had not heard - The redemption of the world by Jesus Christ; the conversion of the Gentiles, and making them one flock with the converted Jews. - Trapp
on Isaiah 52 :15
So - (כן kên). This word corresponds to 'as' (כאשׁר ka'ăsher) in the former verse. 'In like manner as many were astonished or shocked at thee - so shall he sprinkle many nations.' The one is to be in some respects commensurate with the other. The comparison seems to consist of two points:
1. In regard to the numbers. Many would be shocked: many would be sprinkled by him. Large numbers would be amazed at the fact of his sorrows; and numbers correspondently large would be sprinkled by him.
2. In the effects. Many would be struck dumb with amazement at his appearance; and, in like manner, many would be struck dumb with veneration or respect. He would be regarded on the one hand as having scarce the form of a man; on the other, even kings would be silent before him from profound reverence and awe.
Shall he sprinkle many nations - The word rendered here 'sprinkle' (יזה yazzeh) has been very variously rendered. Jerome renders it, Asperget - 'Shall sprinkle.' The Septuagint, 'So shall many nations express admiration (θαυμάσονται thaumasontai) at him.' The Chaldee, 'So shall he scatter,' or dissipate (יבדר yebaddar) 'many people.' The Syriac renders it, 'Thus shall he purify,' cleanse, make expiation for 'many nations.' The Syriac verb used here means to purify, to cleanse, to make holy; and, in aph., to expiate; and the idea of the translator evidently was, that he would purify by making expiation. See the Syriac word used in Luke 3:17; Acts 11:9; Acts 24:18; Hebrews 9:22; Hebrews 10:4. Castellio renders it as Jerome does; and Jun. and Tremell., 'He shall sprinkle many nations with stupor.' Interpreters have also varied in the sense which they have given to this word. Its usual and proper meaning is to sprinkle, and so it has been here commonly interpreted. But Martini, Rosenmuller, and Gesenius suppose that it is derived from an Arabic word meaning to leap, to spring, to spring up, to leap for joy, to exult; and that the idea here is, that he should cause many nations to exult, or leap for joy. Parallel places, says Gesenius, occur in Isaiah 49:6-7; Isaiah 51:5. Against the common interpretation, 'to sprinkle,' he objects:
1. That the verb could not be construed without the accusative, and that if it means that he would sprinkle with blood, the word blood would be specified.
2. That the connection is opposed to the idea of sprinkling, and that the antithesis requires some word that shall correspond with שׁמם shāmam, 'shall be astonished,' and that the phrase 'they shall be joyful,' or 'he shall cause them to exult with joy,' denotes such antithesis.
To this it may be replied, that the usual, the universal signification of the word (נזה nāzâh) in the Old Testament is to sprinkle. The word occurs only in the following places, and is in all instances translated 'sprinkle' Exodus 29:21; Leviticus 5:9; Leviticus 6:6-17, Leviticus 6:27; Leviticus 8:11, Leviticus 8:30; Leviticus 14:7, Leviticus 14:16, Leviticus 14:27, Leviticus 14:51; Leviticus 16:14-15, Leviticus 16:19; Numbers 8:7; Numbers 19:4, Numbers 19:18-19, Numbers 19:21; 2 Kings 9:33; Isaiah 63:3. It is properly applicable to the act of sprinkling blood, or water; and then comes to be used in the sense of cleansing by the blood that makes expiation for sin, or of cleansing by water as an emblem of purifying. In Ezekiel 36:25, the practice of sprinkling with consecrated water is referred to as synonymous with purifying - though a different word from this is used (זרק zâraq), 'and I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean.' If the word used here means 'to sprinkle,' it is used in one of the following significations:
1. To sprinkle with blood, in allusion to the Levitical rite of sprinkling the blood of the sacrifice, meaning that in that way sin would be expiated and removed Leviticus 14:51; Leviticus 16:14; Hebrews 9:19; Hebrews 10:22; or,
2. By an allusion to the custom of sprinkling with water as emblematic of purity, or cleansing Numbers 8:7; Numbers 19:18; Ezekiel 36:25. If used in the former sense, it means, that the Redeemer would make expiation for sin, and that his blood of purifying would be sprinkled on the nations.
If in the latter, as is most probable, then it means that he would purify them, as objects were cleansed by the sprinkling of water. If in either sense, it means substantially the same thing - that the Redeemer would purify, or cleanse many nations, that is, from their sins, and make them holy. Still there is a difficulty in the passage which does not seem to be solved. This difficulty has been thus expressed by Taylor (Concord.): 'It seems here to have a special meaning, which is not exactly collected from the other places where this word is used. The antithesis points to regard, esteem, admiration. So shall he sprinkle, engage the esteem and admiration of many nations. But how to deduce this from the sense of the word I know not.' It was to meet this difficulty that Martini, Rosenmuller, and Gesenius, propose the sense of leaping, exulting, filling with joy, from the Arabic. But that signification does not accord with the uniform Hebrew usage, and probably the sense of purifying is to be retained. It may be remarked that whichever of the above senses is assigned, it furnishes no argument for the practice of sprinkling in baptism. It refers to the fact of his purifying or cleansing the nations, and not to the ordinance of Christian baptism; nor should it be used as an argument in reference to the mode in which that should be administered.
The kings shall shut their mouths at him - Or rather, kings. It does not refer to any particular kings; but the idea is, that he would be honored by kings. To shut the mouths here indicates veneration and admiration. See Job 29:9-10, where reverence or respect is indicated in the same way:
The princes refrained talking,
And laid their hand upon their mouth:
The nobles held their peace,
on Isaiah 52 :15
52:15 So - His exaltation shall be answerable to his humiliation. Sprinkle - With his word or doctrine; which being often compared to rain or water, may be said to be sprinkled, as it is said to be dropped, Deut 32:2 Ezek 20:46. Kings - Shall be silent before him out of profound humility, reverence, and admiration of his wisdom. For - They shall hear from his mouth many excellent doctrines, which will be new and strange to them. And particularly that comfortable doctrine of the salvation of the Gentiles, which was not only new to them, but strange and incredible to the Jews themselves.