Notes on Isaiah. Chapter 51

Isaiah 51  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 8
To the end of verse 12 of chapter 52, we have progressive instructions to the Remnant, progressive summons of the Spirit of the help and glory of Zion, reckoned to be possessed by the Remnant as a nation. Verses 7 to 20 are the progressive, or double, interference of God.
The history of Israel, in the Remnant, is thus given, up to their full glory, to the end of chapter 52: 12. First, three addresses to the people, "Hearken unto me" (vv. 1, 4, 7). Those who sought justice—His people—those who know justice. The Remnant thus distinguished and summoned, the Spirit takes up the appeal in the demand for the awakening of "the arm of the Lord" (v. 9), in power, which is another thing, but power is there. It was the Eternal that consoled them. They had forgotten Him. Had He gone to sleep and forgotten? He who neither slumbers nor sleeps, whose power is there—now that Zion is awakened to know it calls on Zion to awake, for all was mercy now, to awake and clothe herself with beauty and glory, as Babylon had to come down and uncover herself of her false glory. For what were the peoples to oppress the people of the Lord? What had He here? The Lord had consoled His people, and made bare His holy arm in presence of the nations. They should go out from their captivity, and the Lord be their avant and arriere garde. Nothing can be more splendid or lovely than this allocution of the Spirit. It was not, indeed, for Jerusalem to cry what awoke the Lord—it was for her to awake.
The first appeal to the people encourages weakness, by the recollection that Abraham was alone when the Lord blessed and multiplied him. The Lord would comfort Zion. The second recognizes them as His people; hence the nations are introduced—Jehovah’s righteousness near—His salvation gone forth. And, though the heavens should vanish, His righteousness and salvation should be forever. The third appeal, not to heed the reproach of men, for they were as a garment moth-eaten, but God's "righteousness shall be forever," His "salvation from generation to generation."
The Lord, thus in relation with, and encouraging His people, awakens the cry that the Arm of the Lord "put on strength." Verse 12 is the answer of Jehovah, who demands how Israel should be afraid of a man, when He comforted her. He calls on Jerusalem to stand up in that, when she had no sons able to comfort her. He had pleaded her cause.