The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Isaiah 35

Isa 35:1

"This ch provides a glorious vista of the future, when the wilderness of Edom is caused to flourish under the good hand of the Redeemer. Both mankind and the earth will be restored, and rejoicing will be occasioned throughout the world. What a lovely chapter to contemplate and upon which to meditate. It points out that [1] the desert will flourish as Eden: vv 1,2. [2] The ransomed, both spiritual and national Israel, will rejoice: vv 3-10.

What a glorious song concludes the ch and this section of the prophecy! The ransomed are redeemed from spiritual Egypt, are anointed with the oil of gladness, and experience a joy that stems from a divine cause. It is the vision that can encourage us to maintain the faith in these last days" (GEM).

DESERT... PARCHED LAND... WILDERNESS: The people of Israel and Judah, a "desert" parched and dying of thirst, now received the "water" of life!

Isa 35:2

LEBANON... CARMEL... SHARON: These regions had esp felt the oppressive hand of the Assyrians (Isa 33:9; 37:24); now they esp rejoice in renewed fertility and blessing!

WILL BE GIVEN TO IT: Or, "given to HER" -- ie Jerusalem, delivered from the Assyrian and renewed and glorified!

Isa 35:4

FEARFUL: Lit, "hasty", ie to "run away" in fear.

BE STRONG, DO NOT FEAR: Cp Isa 7:4; 8:12; 10:24; 2Ch 32:7.

Isa 35:5

Ct Isa 6:10: "Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed." "An earlier passage makes plain that something more than the healing of physical disability is intended... Isa 29:18,19; 50:5" (WIsa 342).

Isa 35:6

WATER WILL GUSH FORTH IN THE WILDERNESS AND STREAMS IN THE DESERT: "The picture of God-given blessing in the Land (v 1) is now continued. Waters, streams, pools, springs are everywhere in abundance (Isa 43:19,20; 48:21; 49:10). It must have been a remarkable year of frequent and copious rainfall, so that with little effort on men's part there was abundant fruitfulness (Lev 25:11). For the freed captives (Lev 25:10), streaming back from Babylon, the hardships of the way were made easy by the ready availability of food and water. As Israel in the wilderness had the smitten rock to save them from the horrors of thirst, so now this later generation saw 'waters break out... in the desert' -- the verb means 'cleave [the rock or the ground]' " (WIsa 342).

Isa 35:7

BURNING SAND: Heb "sharab", prob a "mirage" (RV)! Cp 2Co 4:17,18: oblique ref to Egypt, whose promise of help against the Assyrian was a "mirage"! In general, the "world" for the most part is a "mirage" -- that which passes away, ultimately the unseen!

JACKALS: An apt figure for Assyrian (and Arabian) marauders.

Isa 35:8

A HIGHWAY... THE WAY OF HOLINESS... THE UNCLEAN WILL NOT JOURNEY ON IT: The great highway was previously anything but a way of "holiness" -- it would have been the route taken by the Assyrian army and its supply trains! But now this highway (built by the Assyrians?) would be turned into a holy way -- by which joyful captives were now returning to the Holy One of Israel! Cp Isa 19:23; 52:1.

THE WAY: See Joh 14:6; Heb 10:20; Gen 3:24.

FOOLS: In this context "fools" are those who are morally corrupt, not those with limited intellectual capacity.

"And there shall be there, a raised way -- even a high road, And the Highroad of Holiness, shall it be called, There shall not pass over it one who is unclean; But He Himself, shall be one of them travelling the road, And the perverse, shall not stray thereinto" (v 8, Roth). Christ shall travel this road (Isa 40:3), and subsequently the divine presence shall be with the ascending pilgrims (Zec 14:16). The word "fools" is better rendered "perverse". They will not stray therein, being totally excluded!

Isa 35:9

LION: Sym Assyria (figures of lions were outside temples and palaces in Nineveh).

THE REDEEMED: The captives released from Babylon: Isa 11: 15,16; 19:23; 27:12,13; 51:10.

Isa 35:10

RANSOMED: Christ a ransom for many: Mar 10:45; Rom 3:24.

SINGING: The Songs of degrees: Psa 120-134.

WILL CROWN THEIR HEADS: Poss (1) the figure of the anointing of a High Priest (Lev 8:7; Psa 133:2). The statement may also be an ironic twist on the idiom "earth/dust on the head" (cf 2Sa 1:2; 13:19; 15:32; Job 2:12), referring to a mourning practice. (2) Or, "because of their Head" -- ref Hezekiah, upon whom God had laid the sin of the nation (Isa 53).
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