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THE land that was desolate and impassable shall be glad, and the wilderness shall rejoice, and shall flourish like the lily.

Ver. 1.  Lily.  Judea flourishes under Ezechias: but the Church does more so after the coming of Christ, to whom these expressions conduct us.  C.

 

--- The Gentiles shall be converted and flourish, as this text shews.  W.


2 It shall bud forth and blossom, and shall rejoice with joy and praise: the glory of Libanus is given to it: the beauty of Carmel, and Saron, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the beauty of our God.

 Ver. 2.  Joy.  The primitive Christians rejoiced in a good conscience, and in suffering for the truth.



Carmel

Carmel. Not where Elias dwelt, but a city and mountain 10 miles east of Eleutheropolis. Nabal rendered it famous by his imprudence, (1 K. xxv.) and Saul by a triumphal arch, 1 K. xv. 12. --- Carmel, so famous for the miracles of Elias, 3 K. xviii. 20. Josephus (Bel. ii. 17,) places it 120 stadia south of Ptolemais. This range of mountains extended northward through the tribes of Issachar and of Zabulon. Pliny (v. 17,) speaks of a promontory and of a town of this name. Here also the god Carmel was adored, having an altar, but no temple or image, as the ancients had decreed. Nec simulacrum Deo aut templum, (sic tradidere majores) ara tantum et reverentia. Tacit. Hist. ii. 78. --- Vespasian consulted the priest Basilides. Carmel means "the vineyard of the Lord," or the excellent vineyard, &c. It was so rich and beautiful as to become proverbial. The spouse compares the head of his beloved to Carmel. C. vii. 5. Isaias (xxxii. 15,) foretels that the deserts shall be equal to Carmel. It was covered with wood and fruit. S. Jerom in Isai. x. 18. Jer. iv. 26. The city, which was built upon this mountain, and which Pliny calls by the same name, was formerly styled Ecbatana. The oracle had denounced to Cambyses that he should die at Ecbatana, and he concluded that the city of Media was meant; but it was "that of Syria," says Herodotus, (iii. 64,) where he died.

3 Strengthen ye the feeble hands, and confirm the weak knees.

Ver. 3.  Knees.  Ye prophets, comfort the people with these promises.  C.

 

--- The apostles taught the Gentiles to do good.  M.


4 Say to the fainthearted: Take courage, and fear not: behold your God will bring the revenge of recompense: God himself will come and will save you.

Ver. 4.  Recompense.  Christ will satisfy the justice of his Father.  H.

 

--- He will redeem the world, and refute the false interpretations of the Bible.  C.

 

--- He will bring the devil into subjection.  M.


5 Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

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6 Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be free: for waters are broken out in the desert, and streams in the wilderness.

Ver. 6.  Free.  Our Saviour healed both soul and body, (C.) shewing by his works (Jo. x.  W.) that he had fulfilled this prediction.  Lu. vii. 22.  Mat. xi. 5.

 

--- Waters.  Baptism has sanctified the most wicked.


7 And that which was dry land, shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water. In the dens where dragons dwell before, shall rise up the verdure of the reed and the bulrush.

Ver. 7.  Dragons.  Sea monsters.  C. xxxiv. 13.  C.

 

--- All shall be in proper order, neither too dry nor too wet.  H.


8 And a path and a way shall be there, and it shall be called the holy way: the unclean shall not pass over it, and this shall be unto you a straight way, so that fools shall not err therein.

Ver. 8.  Way, leading to Jerusalem.  Idolaters, &c. shall not be there.  C. lii. 1.  This was only verified (C.) in the Catholic Church, where, though some wicked may be found, the truth still prevails; and holiness can be obtained no where else.  H.

 

--- This Church is unspotted.  Eph. v. 27.  C.

 

--- Fools.  The most simple may learn what is necessary for salvation, (M.) which will never be done by consulting Scripture alone.  H.


9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any mischievous beast go up by it, nor be found there: but they shall walk there that shall be delivered.

Ver. 9.  Lion.  The devil's power shall be repressed, so that none will be deluded except by their own fault.  M.


10 And the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and shall come into Sion with praise, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.

Ver. 10.  Sion.  Before the defeat of Sennacherib, the roads were unsafe.  C. xxxviii. 8.  C.

 




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