Isaiah 12


Prophetic hymn of praise for the great mercies vouchsafed to

the children of Israel in their deliverance from the great

Babylonish captivity, and for redemption by the Messiah, 1-6.

This hymn seems, by its whole tenor, and by many expressions in

it, much better calculated for the use of the Christian Church

than for the Jewish, in any circumstances, or at any time that can

be assigned. The Jews themselves seem to have applied it to the

times of Messiah. On the last day of the feast of tabernacles they

fetched water in a golden pitcher from the fountain of Shiloah,

springing at the foot of Mount Sion without the city: they brought

it through the water-gate into the temple, and poured it, mixed

with wine, on the sacrifice as it lay upon the altar, with great

rejoicing. They seem to have taken up this custom, for it is not

ordained in the law of Moses, as an emblem of future blessings, in

allusion to this passage of Isaiah, "Ye shall draw waters with joy

from the fountains of salvation," expressions that can hardly be

understood of any benefits afforded by the Mosaic dispensation.

Our Saviour applied the ceremony, and the intention of it, to

himself, and the effusion of the Holy Spirit, promised, and to be

given, by him. The sense of the Jews in this matter is plainly

shown by the following passage of the Jerusalem Talmud: "Why is it

called the place or house of drawing?" (for that was the term for

this ceremony, or for the place where the water was taken up)

"Because from thence they draw the Holy Spirit; as it is written,

And ye shall draw water with joy from the fountains of salvation."

See Wolf. Curae Philol. in N.T. on Joh 7:37, 39.-L. The

water is Divine knowledge, says Kimchi, and the wells the

teachers of righteousness. The Targum renders this in a very

remarkable manner: "Ye shall receive with joy ( ulephan

chadath) a new doctrine from the chosen among the righteous." Does

not this mean the Gospel, the new covenant? And did not the

Targumist speak as a prophet?


Verse 1. Though thou wast angry-"For though thou hast been

angry"] The Hebrew phrase, to which the Septuagint and Vulgate

have too closely adhered, is exactly the same with that of St.

Paul, Ro 6:17: "But thanks be to God, that ye were the slaves of

sin; but have obeyed from the heart;" that is, "that whereas, or

though, ye were the slaves of sin, yet ye have now obeyed from the

heart the doctrine on the model of which ye were formed."

Verse 2. The Lord JEHOVAH] The word Yah read here is

probably a mistake; and arose originally from the custom of the

Jewish scribes, who, when they found a line too short for the

word, wrote as many letters as filled it, and then began the next

line with the whole word. In writing the word Jehovah, the

line might terminate with Yah, the two first letters; and then

at the beginning of the next line the whole word Yehovah

would be written. This might give rise to Yah Yehovah. The

Yah is wanting here in two of Dr. Kennicott's MSS., in one ancient

MS. of my own, and in the Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac, and Arabic.

See Houbigant and De Rossi.

My song] The pronoun is here necessary; and it is added by the

Septuagint, Vulgate, and Syriac, who read zimrathi, as

it is in a MS. Two MSS. omit Yah, see Houbigant, not. in loc.

Another MS. has it in one word, zimrathyah. Seven others

omit Yehovah. See Ex 15:2, with Var. Lect.


Verse 4. Call upon his name] kiru bishmo, invoke his

name. Make him your Mediator, or call the people in his name.

Preach him who is the Root of Jesse, and who stands as an ensign

for the nations. Call on the people to believe in him; as in him

alone salvation is to be found.

Verse 6. Thou inhabitant of Zion] Not only the Jewish people, to

whom his word of salvation was to be sent first; but also all

members of the Church of Christ: as in them, and in his Church,

the Holy One of Israel dwells. St. Paul, speaking of the mystery

which had been proclaimed among the Gentiles, sums it up in these

words: "which is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory; whom we preach,

warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we

may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus;" Col 1:27, 28.

Well, therefore, may the inhabitant of Zion cry oat and shout, and

proclaim the greatness of her Redeemer.

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