4 He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.
Into plowshares—Koltres in O.F.
Pruning hooks—Sarpes in O.F. serpes in modern French, with which they prune the vineyards.
The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces;
against them he will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed. 1SA 2:10
Against them he will thunder in heaven—The spelling is עלו “they have ascended” meaning that even if they have ascended to the heavens, he thunders against and casts them down.
Will judge the ends of the earth—Will judge them; in O. F., jostizier.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire. PSA 46:10
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth—As at the birth of Christ, the Prince of Peace, in the times of Augustus Caesar, when there was a general peace in the world, though it did not last long; and in the times of Constantine, signified by silence in heaven for half an hour (Rev 8:1); when for a while there was a cessation from wars and persecution; and as will be in the latter day, and which is here chiefly designed; when nations shall learn war no more, and Christ’s kingdom will take place; of which and its peace there shall be no end (Psa 72:7; Isa 2:4; 9:5-6). The consideration of which may serve to relieve distressed minds under terrible apprehensions of present troubles and public calamities;
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire—Or “carts” or “wagons,” in which, as Aben Ezra observes, arms and provision were carried for the use of soldiers; the Targum renders it “round shields”: and the destroying of all these military weapons and carriages is a token of peace, and of war’s being caused to cease, there being no more use for them; with this compare Eze 39:8-9. It was usual to burn the arms of enemies taken in war.
because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead. ACT 17:31
Because he has fixed a day—The day of judgment is fixed by God in his eternal purposes, and is sure and certain, and will come, though it is not known by men or angels; and this is a reason why God will have the doctrine of repentance everywhere published, both to Jews and Gentiles, since all must come to judgment: and the day for it is appointed by him,
On which he will judge the world in righteousness—The whole world will be judged, and every individual in it, good and bad, righteous and wicked; and this judgment will be a righteous one; it will proceed according to the strict rules of justice and equity, and upon the foot of the righteousness of Christ, as that has been received or rejected by men, or as men are clothed with, or are without that righteousness:
By a man whom he has appointed—Beza’s ancient copy reads, “the man Jesus”: not that the apostle means that Christ is a mere man; for then he would not be fit to be a judge of quick and dead, and to pass and execute the definitive sentence; which requires omniscience and omnipotence: but preaching to mere Gentiles, he chose not at once to assert the deity of Christ, though he tacitly suggests it: but intended, by degrees, to open the glories of his nature and office to them, he being the person God had from all eternity appointed, and in time had signified, should have all judgment committed to him, and by whom the last judgment shall be managed and transacted:
And of this he has given assurance to all—Or full proof, both of his being the judge, and of his fitness to be one, and also of the righteousness, according to which he will judge:
By raising him from the dead—Whereby he was declared to be the Son of God; and when all power in heaven and in earth was given to him; and which was done for the justification of all those for whose offences he was delivered: and this seems to be the reason why the apostle calls Christ the judge a man, that he might have the opportunity of mentioning his resurrection from the dead.
5 O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk
in the light of the Lord. ISA 2:4-5
O house of Jacob . . .—The nations will say this to them, and this verse refers back to the verse commencing with, “And many peoples shall come . . .”
Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord—They will say this to them. Jonathan, however, renders: And those of the house of Jacob will say, “Come, let us walk in the teaching of the law of the Lord.”
Blessed are the people who know the festal shout,
who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, PSA 89:16
Who know the festal shout—Who know how to appease their Creator on Rosh Hashanah with the blasts, upon which they arrange the blessings of “malchuyoth” (manifestations of God’s dominion), “zichronoth” (remembrances), and “shofaroth.”
10 Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the voice of his servant?
Let him who walks in darkness
and has no light
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on his God.
Who among you fears the Lord? Not with a slavish fear of the awful majesty of God, or of his tremendous judgments, or of wrath to come, but with a filial fear, a fear of the Lord, and his goodness, which is an internal principle in the heart, a reverential affection for God, a godly fear of him; is attended with faith in him, and joy of him; which makes holy, and keeps humble, and takes in the whole worship of God: of men of this character there are but few, and especially there were but few among the Jews at this time which the prophecy refers to; the greatest part were rejecters of Christ, before spoken of, and to; and from whom the Lord turns himself, and addresses these few. There are none that naturally fear the Lord, only such who have the grace bestowed on them; their number is but small, but there are always some in the worst of times, and these are taken notice of by the Lord (Mal 3:16-17, 20),
And obeys the voice of his servant—Not the prophet, as the Targum adds, and as it is commonly interpreted by the Jewish writers, and others; though some of them say this is “Metatron,” a name of the Messiah with them; and indeed he is meant, before spoken of as the Lord’s servant, and represented as an obedient one, and afterwards as righteous; see Isa 49:3; 50:5-6; 53:11 and by his “voice” is meant either his gospel, which is a soul quickening and comforting voice, a charming and alluring one; and which is obeyed, heard, and listened to, by his people, externally and internally, when they receive it by faith, and in the love of it; or else his commands, precepts, and ordinances, which love constrains his people to an obedience to; and where there is the fear of God, there will be hearing of his word, and submission to his ordinances:
Let him . . . trust in the name of the Lord—Not in himself, nor in any creature, but in the Lord himself; in the perfections of his nature, his mercy, grace, and goodness; in the name of the Lord, which is a strong tower, and in whom is salvation; in Christ, in whom the name of the Lord is, and whose name is the Lord our righteousness; and to trust in him, when in the dark, is a glorious act of faith; this is believing in hope against hope.
Who walks in darkness—Not the Lord’s servant, but the man that fears the Lord, and obeys his servant’s voice, such an one may be in darkness, and walk in it; or “in darknesses,” as in the original; not only in affliction and misery, often expressed by darkness in Scripture, but in desertion, under the hidings of God’s face; and which may continue for a while:
And has no light—Or “shining”: not without the light of nature, nor without the light of grace, but without the light of God’s countenance shining upon him; without the light of spiritual joy and comfort shining in his heart; and this must be a very distressing case indeed.
And rely on his God—Covenant interest continues in the darkest dispensation; God is the believer’s God still; and faith is a staying or leaning upon him, as such; a dependence upon his power to protect, on his wisdom to guide, and on his grace, goodness, and all sufficiency, to supply.
The voice of his servant—The voice of the prophets.
Who walks in darkness—Even if trouble comes upon him, let him . . . trust in the name of the Lord, for he shall save him.
11 Behold, all you who kindle a fire,
who equip yourselves with burning torches!
Walk by the light of your fire,
and by the torches that you have kindled!
This you have from my hand:
you shall lie down in torment. ISA 50:10-11
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace. LUK 1:79
To give light to those who sit in darkness—God’s elect among the Jews, who were not only in a state of unregeneracy, which is a state of darkness, ignorance, and unbelief; but in the darkness of the legal dispensation, and at this time under more than ordinary darkness and ignorance; having lost the knowledge of the righteousness of God, and of the spirituality of his law, the true sense of the Scriptures, and right notions of the Messiah; being led by blind guides, the scribes and Pharisees;
And—Were as it were also,
In the shadow of death—In a state seemingly irrecoverable, when Christ, the great light arose, and shone upon them; and communicated spiritual light, life, and heat to them; see Isa 9:3 compared with Mat 4:13-16 though Christ is also a light, to lighten his chosen ones among the Gentiles (Luk 2:32), but the Jews seem chiefly to be intended here:
To guide our feet into the way of peace—Which we knew not: not that he came to teach us how to make our peace with God, but to make peace for us, by the blood of his cross; and so by his Spirit and word, lead us into the true way of enjoying spiritual peace here, and eternal peace hereafter.
When we believe in God and submit ourselves to his Lordship, we can have peace. Here we see God as the ultimate Judge. In the latter days, Isaiah says, the nations will no longer be at war, and weapons meant to hurt others will be forged into tools for harvest and peacetime. In God, we can be at peace with him and with one another, even here on earth. God invites us to live this sort of life with him: to journey with him, to learn his ways, and to have peace in him. How did you feel when you accepted the invitation of God to live this life in him?