Isaiah 35 Commentary


Click chart to enlarge



Click chart to enlarge




Chart from recommended resource Jensen's Survey of the OT - used by permission
Isaiah Chart from Charles Swindoll
Another Isaiah Chart


Caveat: Some of the commentaries below have "jettisoned" a literal approach to the interpretation of Scripture and have "replaced" Israel with the Church, effectively taking God's promises given to the literal nation of Israel and "transferring" them to the Church. Be a Berean Acts 17:11-note!

ISAIAH
("Jehovah is Salvation")

See Excellent Timeline for Isaiah - page 39
JEHOVAH'S
Judgment & Character

(Isaiah 1-39)
JEHOVAH'S
Comfort & Redemption

(Isaiah 40-66)
Uzziah
Jotham
Ahaz

1-12





13-27




28-35
Hezekiah's
Salvation &
Blessing

36-39
True
God


40-48
Suffering
Messiah


49-57
Reigning
Lord


58-66
Prophecies
Regarding
Judah &
Jerusalem
Is 1:1-12:6
Prophecies
Against
the Nations
Warnings
& Promises
Historical
Section
Redemption
Promised:
Israel's
Deliverance
Redemption
Provided:
Israel's
Deliverer
Redemption
Realized:
Israel's
Glorious
Future
Prophetic Historic Messianic
Holiness, Righteousness & Justice of Jehovah Grace, Compassion & Glory of Jehovah
God's Government
"A throne" Is 6:1
God's Grace
"A Lamb" Is 53:7
Time
740-680BC

Introduction to Isaiah by Dr John MacArthur: Title, Author, Date, Background, Setting, Historical, Theological Themes, Interpretive Challenges, Outline by Chapter/Verse. Excellent overview same intro as in MacArthur Study Bible.

Interpretive Challenges - Interpretive challenges in a long and significant book such as Isaiah are numerous. The most critical of them focuses on whether Isaiah’s prophecies will receive literal fulfillment or not, and on whether the Lord, in His program, has abandoned national Israel and permanently replaced the nation with the church, so that there is no future for national Israel. On the latter issue, numerous portions of Isaiah support the position that God has not replaced ethnic Israel with an alleged “new Israel.” Isaiah has too much to say about God’s faithfulness to Israel, that He would not reject the people whom He has created and chosen (Isaiah 43:1). The nation is on the palms of His hands, and Jerusalem’s walls are ever before His eyes (Isaiah 49:16). He is bound by His own Word to fulfill the promises He has made to bring them back to Himself and bless them in that future day (Isaiah 55:10–12). On the former issue, literal fulfillment of many of Isaiah’s prophecies has already occurred, as illustrated in Introduction: Historical and Theological Themes. To contend that those yet unfulfilled will see non-literal fulfillment is biblically groundless. This fact disqualifies the case for proposing that the church receives some of the promises made originally to Israel. The kingdom promised to David belongs to Israel, not the church. The future exaltation of Jerusalem will be on earth, not in heaven. Christ will reign personally on this earth as we know it, as well as in the new heavens and new earth (Rev. 22:1,3). (Isaiah - John MacArthur)

Related Resources:

John Hannah's Outline of Isaiah 34-35

Prophecies relating to world destruction and blessing  (34:1-35:10)

  1. The destruction of world power  (34:1-17)
    1. The description of the destruction  (34:1-7)
    2. The devastation of the destruction  (34:8-15)
    3. The divine promise of Israel's possession  (34:16-17)
  2. The advent of Messiah's kingdom  (35:1-10)
    1. The renewal of physical blessings  (35:1-7)
    2. The return of the remnant  (35:8-10)



Paul Apple has an excellent introduction to Isaiah 35:

When we are away from home for any extended period, our hearts long for a return to that place where we belong; that place of joy and refreshment; that place of love and security; that place that just feels right to us because we were created to live there. [Almost like the TV show Cheers – where everyone knows your name …]

I love John Denver’s classic hit song,

Almost heaven, West Virginia
Blue ridge mountains, Shenandoah river
Life is old there, older than the trees
Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Virginia
Mountain mamma, take me home
Country roads

I hear her voice in the morning hour she calls me
Radio reminds me of my home far away
Driving down the road I get a feeling
That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Virginia
Mountain mamma, take me home
Country roads

Words and music by bill danoff, taffy nivert and john denver

As pilgrims on this earth, our citizenship is in heaven and we look forward to the full realization of the kingdom of God on earth. Likewise the nation of Israel in the OT enjoyed many precious promises of their eventual return to Zion when all of Israel would be saved and the Messianic Kingdom would be ushered in. Whatever sorrow and hardship we may be experiencing now will one day be replaced by complete joy and abundant prosperity as we revel in the majestic glory of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We have some blessings that should excite us.

This chapter stands in stark contrast to the bleak picture of slaughter and desolation in the preceding chapter as the Lord judges the land of Edom. Jerusalem, the City of God on its majestic mountaintop, is the end goal for the journey described here as these Jews are regathered in the last days in preparation for the Messianic Kingdom. The more immediate return of the exiles from Babylon is but a foreshadowing of those yet future days of deliverance and glory.

Review to Help Establish the Context:

Isaiah 28:1–35:10 6 Woes Against Worldly Alliances Based on Pride and Self-Reliance – Destined for Both Near Term
and Eschatological Judgment With Some Remnant Hope – Application: Trust in God Alone!

1. Isaiah 28:1-29 Woe #1–Directed Against Harmful Political Leaders=Disoriented Drunkards and Security-Seeking Scoffers of Israel

2. Isaiah 29:1-14 Woe #2–Directed Against Religious Hypocrisy in Jerusalem –

3. Isaiah 29:15-24 Woe #3–Directed Against the Sophisticated Self-Sufficient = Those Who Think They Are Smarter Than God = Deceivers and Defrauders –Those Who Think They are Smarter Than God Will be Wiped Off the Face of this Earth
4. Isaiah 30:1-33 Woe #4 – Directed Against Alliances with the World –

5. Isaiah 31:1-32:20 Woe #5 – Directed Against Those Who Trust in the World’s Wisdom and Power

6. Isaiah 33:1-12 Woe #6 – Directed Against the Destroyer with Deliverance for Zion –When God Springs Into Visible and Dramatic Action, the Destroyer is Destroyed and God’s People are Delivered

(Isaiah 34) Images of Slaughter and Desolation flesh out the horrifying picture of the unleashing of the wrath of God

(Isaiah Commentary - Paul Apple)

Isaiah 35:1   The wilderness and the desert will be glad, and the Arabah will rejoice and blossom like the crocus

KJV Isaiah 35:1 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.

  • The wilderness and the desert Isaiah 29:17; 32:15,16; 40:3; 51:3; 52:9,10; Ezekiel 36:35
  • will be glad Ps 48:11; 97:8; Revelation 19:1-7
  • the Arabah will rejoice and blossom  Isaiah 4:2; 27:6; 55:12,13; 61:10,11; 66:10-14; Hosea 14:5,6

THE DESERT 
LIVES!

Halley's Bible Handbook calls Isaiah 35 "One of the greatest chapters in the Bible. A poem of rare and superb beauty."

Jennings - How refreshing to turn from the storm of judgment to the calm of blessing! But the very storm affords a foil that increases the sweetness of that calm. Little do they know of the delights of spring who have never felt the pinch of winter; little do they value the "time of the singing of birds" who have never lacked their melody; little should we care for the promise, "God shall wipe away all tears," had we never wept. So this lovely little chapter is doubly refreshing from its sharp contrast to its predecessor. It has a lilt of joy and is almost metrical in our A.V., without much change. (Isaiah 35 Commentary)

John WalvoordIsaiah 35:1-10. Those who have been redeemed from their enemies and blessed by the Lord in the future millennial kingdom will rejoice (vv. 1-2). (Every Prophecy of the Bible)

Ron Teed entitles this chapter "Israel's Happy Future" or "Millennial Blessing" adding that "We are about to see what this world is going to be like after Satan is bound and Jesus becomes the reigning king over all the world. Even creation itself will share in the blessings that come with Christ’s reign. What a description! Kind of makes you want to be there right now, doesn’t it? There will be dramatic changes made to the landscape of the earth when Christ returns to set up His kingdom. Isaiah uses the promise of the coming kingdom to strengthen those in his day who were weak and afraid." (Isaiah 35 Commentary)

Parunak entitles this chapter the "Restoration of the Nation (Israel) As in the previous summary in Isaiah 24-27, judgment (ch. 24) passes into restoration (ch. 25-27). There, a distant echo of singing in Isaiah 24:14-16 blossomed into three great songs in ch. 25-27. So here, singing (רנן , the joyful shout, as in Isaiah 24:14) marks the restoration. (Isaiah 34-35 Commentary - recommended)

Isaiah shifts from Judgment in Isaiah 34 to Blessing in Isaiah 35. This chapter unfolds promised physical blessings to the nation of Israel in anticipation of their deliverance by  the Messiah at His Second Coming followed by establishment of His Millennial Kingdom. The pathetically parched land will become prolifically productive! And remember that although these passages speak directly to Israel, the truths in this section can be applied spiritually to believers today. It is notable that joy permeates this chapter and so it is fitting that there are allusions to joy, gladness or rejoicing in the first and last verses (Isaiah 35:1, 10) serving effectively as "bookends" to a "book" you want to be sure and pull off the shelf and read, so that you might be encouraged and excited about what God has planned for the future of this world. Today the world is  focused on the gloom of global warning, but in the Messiah's time it will be focused on the jubilation of global worship!

John Martin The description in this chapter of the land and the people is a highlight of the first half of the book. This is the desired millennial state for which the nation has longed since God first promised it to Abraham. This is the state that mankind constantly longs for—a utopia in which peace and fertility prevail. This condition will not come, however, till after God's judgment on the world (chap. 34). This emphasis in Isaiah rules out postmillennialism, which teaches that the world will get increasingly better thus bringing in the kingdom which will be followed by the Messiah's return. The amillennial teaching that there will be no earthly kingdom at all because the Old Testament promises to Israel are being fulfilled in the church today is also foreign to Isaiah's thought. Isaiah taught that the Lord will regather believing Israel, Abraham's physical descendants, and will establish God's long-awaited kingdom on earth. That promised restoration is not being fulfilled in the church today in any sense. (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

H A Ironside - THIS precious portion, which concludes the first division of our book is a beautiful inspired poem, setting before us the delightful conditions which will prevail in this world after the binding of Satan as depicted in Revelation 20:1, and the enthronement of our Lord Jesus Christ as Sovereign of the universe. Isaiah’s own heart must have been thrilled as he looked forward to this time of peace and righteousness following the long years of strife and wickedness which have caused such grief and suffering throughout human history. Even creation itself will share in the blessings of that day of Jehovah’s power.  (Isaiah 35 - MILLENNIAL BLESSING)

Larry Walker Chapters 34-35 form an appendix to the preceding parts of the book; they contrast the storm of God’s wrath with the blessings yet to come. From judgment, the prophet turns to the redemption of Israel. The somber picture of death and destruction in chapter 34 is transformed into one of vibrant life and rejoicing in chapter 35. Contrast—the setting of one condition or situation against another—was Isaiah’s favorite method of teaching. In chapters 2-4, he contrasted the ideal Zion of the messianic age with the moral corruption of the real Zion (Jerusalem) of his day. In chapters 9-11, he set the terrible treatment of Israel and Judah at the hands of Assyria over against the future glory and permanence of the redeemed remnant under the Messiah, the Root of Jesse. Now he contrasts the deserts of Edom, filled with hyenas and wild goats (34:14), with Israel’s blooming desert (35:1-2). This change is symbolized by the blooming of the desert as nature enters into the joy of God’s redeemed people. (Cornerstone Bible Commentary)

Holman Study BibleThis chapter is a mirror image of chapter 34 where God announced that He would turn the nations into a wilderness. In chapter 35, He proclaimed that He would transform the people of God (ED: THE JEW IN CONTEXT) from a wilderness into a garden. The principle (APPLICABLE TO ALL BELIEVERS) of both chapters is that God's people should trust Him, not the nations. (Holman Study Bible)

W E Vine - The Millennial conditions of peace and prosperity foretold in this chapter and the definite contrasts with what is predicted in chapter thirty-four, make clear that the judgments of the wrath of God foretold in that chapter are those to be carried out at the close of the present age. The overthrow of the antichristian powers by the Second Advent of Christ will be followed by what set forth. In contrast to the barren condition of Edom, the land of Palestine will “blossom as the rose” (Isaiah 35:1). “The glory of the Lord, the excellency of our God” will be manifested (cp. Isaiah 40:5). (Collected Writings)

J Vernon McGee - We are informed today that the deserts of the world are being enlarged each year; they are not being reduced in size. Drought and soil erosion are hastening this process. Today pollution is filling the earth. All of this will be reversed for the Millennium. The smog will be lifted, and the curse of sin will be removed. The familiar and beautiful statement, “the desert shall … blossom as the rose” is an apt and happy picture of the earth’s future. If you are familiar with the great desert area of the southwestern section of our country, you will be impressed with this statement. This outline was written while we were crossing the southeast section of Colorado where the drought has been so severe and where the vast grasslands have been eroded by sandstorms. During the Millennium all of this will be reversed. (Isaiah 35 Commentary)

McGee's OUTLINE:

  1. MATERIAL EARTH Will Be Restored—Curse of Sin Lifted. (Body of Earth) Verses 1, 2
  2. MEN Will Be Renewed—Bodies Renewed. Verses 3-9 (Soul of Earth)
  3. MEMBERS OF GOD’S FAMILY Will Return to Zion. Verse 10 (Spirit of Earth)

McGee (in another work) - This is a poetic gem. There is a high sense of poetic justice in his chapter which concludes the section on judgment. The fires of judgment have now burned out, the sword of justice is sheathed, the evening of earth-trouble is ended, and the morning of Millennial delights has come. This section closes on the high plane of peace on earth, plenty and prosperity. God’s method has always been through suffering to peace, through the night to the dawn, through judgment to salvation. The calm of this chapter is in contrast to the storms of judgments of the last chapter and those that preceded it. “The winter is past— and the flowers appear on the earth” (Song of Solomon 2:11-12). (Commentary)

Alan Carr - The desert will bloom like a rose. ⇒ That is already being seen in the nation of Israel. When they returned to their land in 1948, it was a barren waste land. Now Israel is a green oasis of prosperity and abundant agriculture. 

The history of man began in a garden, but Adam's sin spread (Ro 5:12-note) and turned it into a desert. Isaiah 35 prophesies of the divine reversal so that the desert is transformed into a garden. This will be a clear display of the glory and the omnipotence of the Messiah throughout His Kingdom as He rules and reigns from Mount Zion. 

The wilderness and the desert will be glad - What does it mean for land to be glad? This personification speaks of the incredible fertility of the land in this day of restoration by the Messiah. The wilderness will be supernaturally transformed into a veritable Garden of Eden as the Millennium begins for Jehovah shall reverse the curse of Genesis 3:17-19-note! Note the striking contrast with Isaiah 34's dismal description of desert-like conditions in the land judged by Jehovah (e.g., cf "desert" in Isaiah 34:14-note)! The three most infertile areas (the wilderness, desert and Arabah) are all personified, proclaiming the glory of the Lord and the work of His hands (Ps 19:1-2) as they are transformed into an ecology better than the three most luxurious areas of the land (Lebanon, Carmel and Sharon). Joy and gladness resound throughout this chapter.

In the 1950's Walt Disney produced a film called "The Living Desert"  (see video clip of flower budding) and it was an incredible film demonstrating with dramatic effect the results of rain from Heaven on the arid land. So too in the day Isaiah describes, the Heaven will "rain down" the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-note) on the entire land, people and plants, and there will be great joy and rejoicing in all the land. What a contrast with the Spirit's work of gathering all the creatures to the desolate land that God had righteously judged (Isaiah 34:16-note). Here we see Isaiah depict the land which God righteously blesses, being able to do so now because the Righteous Branch has returned to take up residence and reign from Zion! O God, bring these times of refreshing which come from the presence of the Lord. Send Jesus the Messiah appointed for the Jews and ultimately for all of God's children. Amen 

Peter indirectly alluded to Isaiah 34:1-10 in his opening Spirit filled (emboldened) sermon to his fellow Jews...

"Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;  and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, Whom heaven must receive UNTIL (expression of time) the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. (Acts 3:19-21)

Comment - There are expressions of time in these passages and both refer to the  millennium - times of refreshing and period of restoration. At the return of Christ there will be destruction for some but for others there will restoration when all things will be "restored" to their original perfection as in the Garden of Eden. The phrase period of restoration is essentially a synonym for the millennium (cf. Ro 8:19-22). Jesus uses a synonymous phrase in Mt 19:28 "in the regeneration" (re-birth, renewal) of the earth in the millennium

MacArthur explains "The term paliggenesia (regeneration) literally means new birth. It was used by Josephus for the new birth of the Jewish nation after the Babylonian Captivity and by Philo of the new birth of the earth after the Flood and after its destruction by fire. It is used only twice in the New Testament, in Matthew 19:28 and in Titus 3:5-note, where Paul uses it to refer to the personal new birth of believers. In the present passage (Ed: referring to Mt 19:28), however, Jesus uses it to represent the rebirth of the earth under His sovereign dominion at the time of His Second Coming. It will be paradise regained which parallels the individual rebirth of Christians. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 16-23) (Bolding added)

MacArthur - Jesus will not return to reign until Israel’s rejection ends. After indicting the people of Israel for rejecting their Messiah (Acts 3:12-15), Peter exhorted them in Acts 3:19-21. It is only after they repent and return to God and have their sins forgiven that the kingdom (the “times of refreshing” and the “period of restoration of all things” [Acts 3:19-21]) will come, just as “God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time” in the Old Testament prophecies of the kingdom. God had promised Abraham that He would bless Israel and through them the world (Gen. 12:1-3). 

The Arabah will rejoice and blossom like the crocus - The dry desert  land of the Arabah refreshed by the good hand of the LORD, will come alive and exult in the period of restoration. Water will no longer be scarce for "in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter." (Zechariah 14:8-note) In Isaiah 41 the God of Israel (Isa 41:17) promises "I will open rivers on the bare heights and springs in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water." (Isaiah 41:18) In the Millennium the climate of the land of Israel will be changed so that the land will be well-watered and fertile. 

Illustration - Eighty-nine workers were accidentally killed during the building of Boulder (Hoover) Dam. The memorial plaque reads: “For those who died that the desert might bloom.” One day, the desert will bloom to the glory of God because Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world. (Warren Wiersbe - With the Word)

The Arabah -  (Hebrew: הָעֲרָבָה‬, HaAravah, lit. "desolate and dry area"; Arabic: وادي عربة‎, Wādī ʻAraba), known in Hebrew as Arava or Aravah, is a geographic name for the area south of the Dead Sea basin which forms part of the border between Israel to the west and Jordan to the east. The old meaning, which was in use up to the early 20th century, covered almost the entire length of what is today called the Jordan Rift Valley, running in a north-south orientation between the southern end of the Sea of Galilee and the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba at Aqaba/Eilat. This included the Jordan River Valley between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, the Dead Sea itself, and what is commonly called today the Arava Valley. The modern use of the term is restricted to this southern section alone.

Like a crocus (chabatstseleth) - This is a term of comparison, more specifically a simile (identified by beginning with "like" or "as"). Whenever you spot one, consider the "5P's" - Pause to Ponder the Passage then Practice it in the Power of the Spirit. Here is a picture of a crocus to help you ponder why the wilderness and the desert will be glad and the Arabah will rejoice and blossum.

The only other use of this Hebrew word chabatstseleth is in Song of Songs where it is translated as "rose"

Song 2:1 “I am the rose of Sharon, The lily of the valleys.” 

BKC - Here the beloved spoke of herself as a rose of Sharon, the fertile coastal region of Israel from Caesarea to Joppa.

Crocus is a genus of flowering plants in the iris family comprising 90 species of perennials growing from corms. Many are cultivated for their flowers appearing in autumn, winter, or spring. The spice saffron is obtained from the stigmas of Crocus sativus, an autumn-blooming species. Crocuses are native to woodland, scrub, and meadows from sea level to alpine tundra in central and southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. 

Compare Isaiah's earlier description of the period of restoration of the land...

And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them.  7 Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox.  8 The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. 9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.  10 Then in that day The nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; And His resting place will be glorious. (Isaiah 11:6-10-note)

Isaiah 32 speaks of both physical and spiritual blessings in the future Millennium

Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high (GOD'S SPIRIT TRANSFORMS THE LAND INTO PRODUCTIVE FRUITFULNESS), And the wilderness becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field is considered as a forest.  16 Then (in the Millennium) justice will dwell in the wilderness and righteousness will abide in the fertile field.  17 And the work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.  18 Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation, And in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places (in the Millennium). (Isaiah 32:15-18)

Michael Rydelnik - The tone shifts in Isaiah 32:15 from destruction to restoration. In describing the Messianic Kingdom, the author moves beyond the description of the future messianic King (Isa 32:1–8) and the cry of the Israelite women (Isa 32:9–14) to the certain coming of the Messianic Kingdom (Isa 3:15–20). The devastation just described will only last until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high (Isa 32:15). The prophets frequently link the establishment of the millennial kingdom with the coming of the Spirit upon God’s people (Ezek 36:27-note; Joel 2:28–32-note). God’s Spirit will perform a reversal of fortune, transforming the city and the people and all that has been destroyed. The progression from desert to fertile field to forest is similar to that in Isa 29:17 and appears to denote extraordinary growth. Not only will the region be restored physically, justice and righteousness will be restored within it. Divine blessing and restoration will come with an infusion of virtue and loyalty to the divine order. Justice and righteousness will dwell in this restored civilization (Isa 32:16) and be fixtures in the land. The return of justice and righteousness represents the true transformation of the land. Righteousness will usher in peace and security (Isa 32:17). When injustice is banished from the land, the people will experience God’s continued abundance, peace, and security. This security will bring lasting rest. For Israel, such rest represents the fulfillment of God’s promise to establish His people in the millennial kingdom. This righteousness will only come when Israel will turn in faith to the Lord at the end of days (see comment on Dt 4:30, cf Hosea 3:4–5). (Moody Bible Commentary)

Will be glad...will rejoice (01523)(gil) means to be glad, be joyful, be in "a state of an attitude or feeling of favorable circumstance. This joy may be expressed in song, shouts, or even joyous shrieks and calls." (Swanson) The verb describes the entire earth rejoicing when the Lord Jesus reigns supreme...

(Ps 97:1) The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; Let the many islands be glad. 

Paul speaks of the reaction of the land in Romans 8

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. (Ro 8:19-23-note)

J Vernon McGee - Paul tells us that creation is groaning and travailing in pain (see Ro 8:22-note), while in the Millennium all creation will rejoice.

Parunak - The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them (only KJV has "them")--Isaiah introduces a mysterious “them,” which surfaces throughout this section in Isaiah 36:2KJV and Isaiah 35:8KJV. This is an important rhetorical device, not to be explained away as do most translations (ED: IN OTHER WORDS YOU WILL NOT FIND "THEM" IN MOST OF THE MODERN TRANSLATIONS). Not until Isaiah 35:9-10 is it identified (THE "REDEEMED" AND "RANSOMED"). The presence of this company stimulates joy on the part of the inanimate earth. (Isaiah 34-35 Commentary)

Isaiah 35:2   It will blossom profusely And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, The majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the LORD, The majesty of our God.

KJV Isaiah 35:2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God.

NLT  Isaiah 35:2 Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon. There the LORD will display his glory, the splendor of our God.

  • And rejoice with rejoicing Isaiah 42:10-12; 49:13; 55:12,13; 1 Chronicles 16:33; Ps 65:12,13; 89:12; 96:11-13; Ps 98:7-9; 148:9-13; Zechariah 10:7; Romans 10:15; 15:10
  • The glory of Lebanon will be given to it Isaiah 33:9; 41:19; 60:13,21; 61:3; 65:8-10; Ps 72:16; Hosea 14:6,7
  • The majesty of Carmel Isaiah 60:13; Ezekiel 34:25,26; Amos 9:13-15; Micah 7:14,15; Zeph 3:19,20; Zech 14:20,21; Acts 4:32,33
  • They will see the glory of the LORD Isaiah 6:3; 40:5; Isa 60:1-3,19; Isa 66:18,19; Exodus 33:18,19; Ps 50:2; 72:19; 97:6; Ps 102:15,16; Habakkuk 2:14; John 12:41; 17:24; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:6; Revelation 21:23

HCSB - Supernatural fertility of the land is one of the characteristics of the Messianic Kingdom (Isa 35:1-2; Isa 55:13; Ezekiel 47:1-12; Zechariah 8:12). The replenishing of the land so that it resembles the garden of Eden (Genesis 2-3) will reveal God to the nations. The mention of this idyllic state suggests a future fulfillment beyond that which occurred in the return from Babylon under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. These conditions will not be realized until the messianic age. Romans 8:18-25 indicates that creation still longs for complete deliverance from sin's curse. 

Jennings - This is very clearly the first division of the chapter; and with some joy we note again upon it the divine Fingerprint that we have so frequently discerned in the clear mark of "three" (God fully manifest). In these verses we have the effect of God manifesting Himself, first, on the material world; then in verses 3 to 7 we have the effect of the same manifestation on redeemed Israel, or as we may say, the soul of man; and, lastly, its effect in bringing that wandering spirit of man, in Israel, back to Jehovah her God. Thus the very Earth's body, soul and spirit give witness to that "manifestation of God." Nothing could be sharper than the contrast to the dark picture of the previous chapter. Death and darkness, gloom and mourning reigned there; but now the very desert "laughs with abundance," for fertility and beauty of the earth are poetically its laughter of joy; and the greater its fertility the greater the joy of which it speaks. Every word that can express delight is called on for its contribution; and when these may be exhausted, Lebanon must add its majestic glory, Carmel its beauty, and the flowery plain of Sharon its loveliness. But these are but attendants on Jehovah, whose glory and beauty outshine all. With such a prospect what more fitting than the word of cheerful encouragement that now follows (Isaiah 35:3-7) (Isaiah 35 Commentary)

It will blossom profusely and rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy - What is IT? The nearest antecedents would be wilderness...desert ...and the Arabah. NLT paraphrases this as "there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy!" So continuing the personification, Isaiah records that the conditions of fertility and the exuberant, luxuriant growth will result in the flora rejoicing. Notice that in the first two verses of this chapter there are 4 mentions of joy and/or gladness, which describes the prevalent sentiment or mood of the world's environment when King Jesus reigns on Mount Zion.

Parunak - The song that was heard from afar during judgment in Isaiah 24:14-16, and amplified in the mouth of the saints in ch. 25-27, now occupies even the inanimate creation. As this company travels along, the world is transformed before it, awakening to greet it. The rejoicing of the land (as opposed to people) is a common image of the Messianic age. (Isaiah 34-35 Commentary)

In Isaiah 51 the prophet gives a similar description of the future Millennial conditions

Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in her, Thanksgiving and sound of a melody.  (Isaiah 51:3)

Isaiah 55 says 

“For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.  13 “Instead of the thorn bush (Isa 34:13-note) the cypress will come up, And instead of the nettle  (Isa 34:13-note) the myrtle will come up, and it will be a memorial to the LORD, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.” (Isa 55:12-13)

In a parallel description of the creation expressing joy in the future Millennium we read

Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth! Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains! (WHY?) For the LORD has comforted His people And will have compassion on His afflicted. (Isaiah 49:13)

Parunak on They will see the glory of the LORD - Up to this point the wilderness is responding to the unnamed company. Now these people ("they") respond to the change they see taking place around them. The wilderness receives restoration, but only humans can understand its significance as demonstrating God's power. (Isaiah 34-35 Commentary)

The glory of Lebanon will be given to it - NLT paraphrases it "The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon." See note on "Lebanon" below under Related Resources. See similar prophecy in Isaiah 60:13.

Glory (03519) (kabod from root kabad = to be heavy or weighty) conveys the central meaning of weight in most OT occurrences and most of the applications carry this figurative sense (cp "heavy with sin"). This sense gives rise to the idea of a "weighty" person in society or one who is honorable, impressive, worthy of respect.

Isaiah 35:2 is an answer to the prayer of Solomon...

And blessed be His glorious name forever; and may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen. (Ps 72:19)

The majesty of Carmel and Sharon - NLT says the desert areas will be "as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon." Note that Lebanon, Carmel and the plain of Sharon are all near the Mediterranean Sea, which historically was some of the most fertile land for agriculture.

God is the One Who can heal the land which mourns and can heal your heart if you are mourning. Isaiah 35:1-2 describes a supernatural reversal of the land with was mourning in Isaiah 33 (notice he mentions the same three areas as in Isaiah 35:2)...

The land mourns and pines away, Lebanon is shamed and withers; Sharon is like a desert plain, And Bashan and Carmel lose their foliage. (Isa 33:9)

Application - If God can mend a broken land, He can mend a broken heart! Are you mourning over some tragedy, some loss? God can make a way where there seems no other way! Even as He restored the mourning land, our sovereign God can reverse your despair, as you fix your eyes on Him in His Word taught by His Spirit. Yes, the tragedy or loss will still be there, but God's supernatural renewal of your thoughts, can enable you to see the loss with a Spirit enabled perspective. One of the men I discipled many years ago has just completed (Jan, 2018) teaching an inductive Bible Study for a week in the war torn nation of Rwanda, where memories of genocide still haunt many. He related how several of the Rwandan students began to understand Php 4:13-note from Paul's viewpoint, as a slave of Jesus (Php 1:1NLT) and a prisoner of the Lord  (Php 1:13NLT). They related how through the study, God's Spirit was making a way for them to be able to forgive some of those (Hutus) who were still coming forth confessing their murders from 1994! God can make a way in your "desert" beloved! Don Moen’s praise song "God Will Make a Way" affirms God’s sovereign involvement in our lives. Here’s how that song was written: Several years ago, Moen was awakened in the middle of the night. His mother-in-law called to tell him of a car accident involving his wife’s sister, Susan. Susan and her husband, Craig, and their four little boys were on a trip when the accident happened. Jeremy, age eight and the oldest of the four boys, was killed instantly. The others were seriously injured. As Don and his wife grieved and poured out their hearts to the Lord, they felt helpless at communicating hope and grace to Susan and Craig. Don says God helped him through the tragedy by giving him these words:

  God will make a way when there seems to be no way.
  He works in ways we cannot see. He will make a way for me.
  He will be my guide; hold me closely to his side.
  With love and strength for each new day, he will make a way.

God is greater than our greatest problem.

Related Resources:

  • Lebanon -  Lebanon was famous for its fabulous trees, the Cedars and Cypresses (Judg 9:15). The Palace of Solomon on the inside was encased in Cedar and was called, "the House of the Forest of Lebanon." The Cedars were also used in the building of the second temple in Jerusalem (1 Ki 5:6; 7:2, etc.). Even the Assyrian kings cut down trees in Lebanon for their buildings and palaces. They also used the tall Cedars to make masts for their ships (Ezek 27:5). The area of Lebanon was also famous for its grapes and wine.
  • Mount Carmel - Most of the land around Carmel contains thick rich soil and therefore producing abundant vegetation. The Bible mentions it as a symbol of beauty (Is 33:9; Song 7:5) and is often compared with Lebanon and Bashan (Is 29:17; 32:15; Jer 50:19). It was on this mountain that Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal (I Ki 18:17-46).During Hellenistic times Mount Carmel remained a place of worship where a Temple to Zeus stood on the mountains. There was also an altar and an oracle there with inscriptions found there mentioning a cult of Zeus Heiopolitanus.
  • Plain of Sharon on Map of 1st century Israel. - Extremely fertile coastal plain between Joppa on the South and Mount Carmel on the North. Sharon and was noted for its flowery beauty (Isa 35:2; Song 2:1) and famous for its forests and lush vegetation (Is 33:9; Song 2:1), rich pasture. David appointed his overseer for the herds that grazed there (1 Chr 27:29). The soil on this plain is a deep rich loam, which is favorable to the growth of cereals. The orange, the vine and the olive grow to great perfection. When the many-colored flowers are in bloom it is a scene of rare beauty (pix). The Via Maris (a favorite caravan route) passed through the Plain of Sharon, connecting Egypt to Palestine and Syria, Asia Minor, and Mesopotamia with many cities along the road. 

John Martin on see the glory of the LORD they will see the fruitfulness that comes because of righteousness; they will see Him who will be dwelling in their midst as King (Isaiah 33:17). (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Earlier Isaiah had written a similar prophecy declaring

Your eyes will see the King (MESSIAH) in His beauty (REIGNING ON MT ZION); They will behold a far-distant land. (Isaiah 33:17)

Henry Morris - The king is, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ when He returns in "power and great glory" to assume "the throne of His father David," and the people of Israel, scattered in all the nations of the world, will be gathered back to their ancient land, "from one end of heaven to the other" (Matthew 24:30,31-note; Luke 1:32-note). (Defender's Study Bible)

Ryrie on Isaiah 33:17-24 - The Lord's victory over Sennacherib is a foretaste of His universal dominion over the world. (Ryrie Study Bible)

They will see the glory of the LORD - The desert is personified as "seeing" the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, presumably at His return. Matthew speaks of His glory at His return to restore the Kingdom of God to Israel and "rejuvenate" the earth

“And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. (Mt 24:30-note)

Habakkuk explains why the land will see the glory of the Lord of lords...

"For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea. (Hab 2:14-note)

Regarding the glory of the LORD, Ezekiel described the departure of the glory of the LORD from Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem on Temple Mount...

The glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city and stood over the mountain which is east of the city. (Ezekiel 11:23)

And then after the times of refreshing (Acts 3:19), the period of restoration (Acts 3:21) , the regeneration (Mt 19:28), all of which describes Isaiah 35:1-10, Ezekiel told of the future return of the glory of the LORD...

And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate facing toward the east. 5 And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house. (Ezekiel 43:4-5)

See Overview of the Glory of the LORD - Past, Present, Future

The majesty of our God - The beauty of the rejuvenated land will reflects the glory of God

When will this happen? When will the land behold the glory of the LORD and the majesty of the LORD? Ezekiel speaks of this same time frame and also gives details regarding the topographical/climatic changes (so much for global warning!) similar to those described by Isaiah...

Ezekiel 36:33-38-note ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt. 34 “The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by. 35 “They will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’ 36 “Then the nations that are left round about you will know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the LORD, have spoken and will do it.”  37 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “This also I will let the house of Israel ask Me to do for them: I will increase their men like a flock. 38 “Like the flock for sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so will the waste cities be filled with flocks of men. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”’”

H A Ironside - All that is lovely in the present condition of the world, such as the grandeur of Lebanon, the beauties of Carmel and Sharon’s plains will be retained in that new era, and to these will be added many additional testimonies to the Creator’s joy in the world which He brought into being by the word of His power, but which has been so terribly marred as a result of man’s sin. Every fruitful field or orchard, every lovely garden, presents a foretaste of what in Messiah’s day will be everywhere prevalent, when the parched deserts will give place to verdant meadows, and the thorns and thistles brought in by the curse will vanish, and trees and shrubs bearing fruits to appeal to the appetite and flowers to delight the eye, will spring up instead. But the physical and spiritual blessings that will come to all mankind will transcend all of these material changes. (Isaiah 35 - MILLENNIAL BLESSING)

D L Moody - I THINK there is a difference between happiness and joy. Happi-ness is caused by things which happen around me, and circumstances will mar it, but joy flows right on through trouble; joy flows on through the dark; joy flows in the night as well as in the day; joy flows all through persecution and opposition; it is an unceasing fountain bubbling up in the heart; a secret spring which the world can’t see and don’t know anything about. The Lord gives His people perpetual joy when they walk in obedience to Him.


G Campbell Morgan on Isaiah 35:2 - In this brief but beautiful chapter we have the concluding note of the first part of this great book of Isaiah. It is a perfect song of restoration. It begins with a recognition of the wilderness, the dry land, and the desert (verse r). It ends with Zion, the city of God, the realization of the Divine order (verse to). This is the note found in all these Hebrew prophets. No men saw the corruption of life more clearly, or denounced sin more vehemently. At times their messages were dirges, almost, but never quite reaching the level of despair. Never quite, for they saw Jehovah, and that vision made despair impossible. Through all the clouds and darkness, the travail and terror, they saw the day of God coming; and His day was a day of restoration as to its ultimate, although a day of wrath and consuming fire in its processes. The words we have emphasized are the most revealing, in their portrayal of the final world order. The word "They," in the Hebrew "These," refers to the wilderness, the dry land, the desert. "They shall see the glory of Jehovah, the excellency of our God." That glory is the glory of Lebanon, the mountain of cedars; that excellency is the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, the places of fruit-fulness. This is the final victory of God in the earth. It is the victory, not of creation, but of ransom, redemption, regeneration, renewal. Not that Lebanon should flourish and Sharon and Carmel rejoice; but that the wilderness and the desert places rendered desolate by human pollution, should come to see the glory of Jehovah.

When Isaiah heard the seraphim sing, he heard them declare that the whole earth is full of the glory of Jehovah (Isaiah 6:3). Here he declares that this glory shall be manifested in spite of desolations widespread and long-continued.

Isaiah 35:3   Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.

KJV Isaiah 35:3 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.

ESV  Isaiah 35:3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 

NLT  Isaiah 35:3 With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees.

YLT  Isaiah 35:3 Strengthen ye the feeble hands, Yea, the stumbling knees strengthen. 

  • Isaiah 40:1,2; 52:1,2; 57:14-16; Judges 7:11; Job 4:3,4; 16:5; Luke 22:32,43; Acts 18:23; Hebrews 12:12

ENCOURAGE THE
FEEBLE AND FAINT-HEARTED

Parunak - The unnamed company that inspires the wilderness is not proud and strutting, but stumbling and discouraged. This is a people that has been under bondage and oppression, through divine chastisement. Thus Heb 12:12-13 uses this text to speak of the encouragement of those under divine discipline: (Heb 12:12-note) (Isaiah 34-35 Commentary)

Jennings - There is a very delightful truth in verse 3. God does not even strengthen His weak people directly; He seems in the depth of His grace to make Himself dependent, as it were, upon them. Let us suppose that we have a very weak Christian—it is not a difficult supposition—God could of course lift up those down hanging hands and strengthen those tottering knees by Himself alone; but no, He admits others to share that gracious ministry with Him, and thus He makes us "workers together" with Himself, spreading thus His blessing, not merely over the one direct object of it, but over the many others who seek to strengthen the feeble one; is not this a very much better way? There have always been, and never more than today, real, true Christians whose hands are hanging down, who are relatives of "Little-faith and Despondency, his daughter," as John Bunyan speaks. We have precisely the same cheering basis for encouraging each other as in our prophecy: "Say to the trembling heart, Be strong, for your God comes." The hope of that coming was to give strength to the fainting Israelite, and it is the hope of His coming that shall today strengthen the faint heart of the Christian. (Isaiah 35 Commentary)

Encourage the exhausted - Literally "Strengthen the weak hands." Those who are able are called to strengthen those who are not as fit. Others are so tired, so worn out that they cannot even grasp anything with their hand. Have you ever felt like that? Hopefully a brother or sister recognized your state of exhaustion and came alongside to encourage you. That is the thrust of Isaiah's two commands (exhortations) to encourage and strengthen others in need.

But encourage (Parakaleo in the present imperative ) one another day after day (HOW OFTEN?), as long as it is still called “Today,” (WHY DO WE NEED TO BE DAILY ENCOURAGERS) so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (SEE SIN'S DECEITFUL CHARACTER). (Heb 3:13-note)

Encourage is the Hebrew verb chazaq which means to strengthen or cause to grow strong and is frequently translated encourage  (12 times in NAS). Our English word "encourage" means literally “with heart.” To encourage in a sense is to give others new heart. Shallow sympathy makes people feel worse --- true spiritual encouragement makes them feel better. It brings out the best in people. It means to give or inspire courage, hope, or confidence to; embolden. To hearten. The etymology of encourage is instructive - from Old French encoragier "make strong, hearten," from en- "make, put in" + corage "courage, heart". 

Encourage is translated in the Septuagint (Lxx) with the verb ischuo which in the aorist imperative is a command (exhortation) to those who are able to be strong in heart toward those who are exhausted. This passage is applicable to all of God's people, for even if you have nothing else to give, you can always give encouragement. (See related devotional).

It may seem insignificant
To say a word or two,
But when it is encouragement,
What wonders it can do!
—K. De Haan

Keil and Delitzsch - Those who have become weak in faith, hopeless and despairing, are to cheer up. (Ed: While that sounds good, that is not the likely sense of Isaiah's exhortation, for it is difficult when you are down to pull yourself up. It is far better to have someone who is stronger come alongside you and encourage and strengthen you. Matthew Henry's explanation below make more sense.)

Matthew Henry writes that those who were able were "to comfort those who could not yet recover the fright they had been put into by the Assyrian army with an assurance that God would now return in mercy to them....To strengthen those that are weak and to confirm them—the weak hands, which are unable either to work or fight, and can hardly be lifted up in prayer, and the feeble knees, which are unable either to stand or walk and unfit for the race set before us.

Strengthen the feeble - Literally "the tottering knees," "the staggering knees." Their knees are giving way and they are about to fall. 

To whom is Isaiah writing? Clearly he is addressing the Jews. Note from the Timeline at the top of the page that the Northern 10 Tribes of Israel were taken into captivity in Assyria in 722 BC. So it is likely that Isaiah's words are addressing these Jews who were downcast and felt hopeless.

Why is he encouraging them? Because of the truth in the next passages that Jehovah will come and avenge all injustice done to them. 

As Jamieson says Isaiah is saying "Encourage the Jews, now desponding, by the assurance of the blessings promised." In other words these promises of future glory of the land should encourage and strengthen those who feel downtrodden. 

The writer of Hebrews quotes (not a direct word for word quote but more of a thought quote) the same idea which is found here in Isaiah 35:3-4

Hebrews 12:12-note - Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble.

Comment: Notice that there is a subtle but important difference in the way modern versions render this passage. Most of the versions have "strengthen YOUR...." The NAS, KJV and NKJV (Young's Literal is similar) do not have "YOUR" but simply exhort "strengthen THE hands..." On the other hand the ESV, NIV, NLT all insert "YOUR." You are probably asking "So what?" Where the "so what" is that the NAS, KJV, NKJV, YLT all indicate that this is a general exhortation to the readers to strengthen anyone's hands that are weak or knees that are feeble and this fits much better with the thought in Isaiah 35:3-4 where the exhortation is to the reader to encourage those who are exhausted and strengthen those who are feeble. John MacArthur gives more explanation in the note below. 

John MacArthur explains the background for why the writer of Hebrews quotes from this encouraging OT passage - The writer of Hebrews got his metaphor from Isaiah. The faithful in Israel had been through a lot. They had many evil kings, some false prophets, generally disobedient and stubborn fellow Israelites, powerful enemies who threatened them, and seemingly no prospect of ever living in their own land in peace. They were discouraged and despondent, ready to give up. So the prophet reminds them of the coming kingdom, when "the wilderness and the desert will be glad" and "they will see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God" (Isa. 35:1-2). Then he counsels them to counsel each other: "Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; the recompense of God will come, but He will save you'" (Isa 35:3-4). In other words, "Don't give up now. A better day is coming. Look to that and you will have the encouragement and strength you need. Victory is ahead!" The emphasis of Hebrews 12:12 is the same as that of Isaiah 35:3-4. We are not told to strengthen our hands or our weak and feeble knees, but the hands and the knees, regardless of whose they are. In other words, we are not to concentrate on our own weaknesses but to help strengthen other Christians in theirs. One of the surest ways to be encouraged ourselves is to give encouragement to someone else, "encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near" (Heb. 10:25). One of the best ways to keep continuing is to encourage others to continue. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Hebrews)

Strengthen (0553)(amets) means to be stout, to be strong (Ge 25:23), to be bold, to be alert. Be determined. In short it means to be strong and courageous.  (2 Chr 13:18). It means to make strong or cause to grow strong (Pr 8:28; 31:17; Isa. 44:14) of inanimate objects. It is used of human activity in repairing or strengthening a house or building (2 Chr. 24:13). Metaphorically, amets means to harden one's attitude or heart - God "made his heart obstinate" (Dt. 2:30). To harden one's heart (Dt 15:7; 2 Chr. 36:13). It also is used in some contexts to mean to show courage or to show or prove oneself strong (Ps. 27:14; 31:24); to persist in an activity as when Ruth "was determined to go with" Naomi (Ruth 1:18). It can mean to make haste as when "King Rehoboam made haste to mount his chariot to flee to Jerusalem." (1 Ki. 12:18). In 2 Chr. 13:7 it speaks of those "who proved too strong" and thus means  to be better or superior. 

Gilbrant In the Qal stem, the word occurs primarily as an imperative, in the command "be courageous and strong" (Josh. 1:6f; Dan. 10:19). It can also appear as a comparative with the preposition min- , meaning "to be stronger than" (Gen. 25:33). There are a number of nuances in the Piel stem. The primary meaning is "to strengthen someone (Joshua, Deut. 3:28) or something" (knees, Job 4:4). Also one "lets grow" someone (house, 2 Chr. 24:13) or something (tree, Isa. 44:14). Yahweh "made firm" the clouds (Prov. 8:28) and "hardened the heart" of his enemies (Deut. 2:30). This verb appears twice in the Hiphil (causative) stem, both times with leb, both times meaning "to prove to be strong" (Ps. 27:14; 31:24). This same nuance is expressed by the Hithpael (reiterative/reflexive) stem (2 Chr. 13:7). (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

Amets - 41v - conquered(1), courageous(11), determined(1), harden(1), hardened(1), increases(1), made his obstinate(1), made firm(1), made haste(2), made strong(1), makes her strong(1), mighty(1), proved...strong(1), raises(1), strengthen(6), strengthened(3), strong(2), stronger(1), summon(1), supported(1), take courage(2).

Gen. 25:23; Deut. 2:30; Deut. 3:28; Deut. 15:7; Deut. 31:6; Deut. 31:7; Deut. 31:23; Jos. 1:6; Jos. 1:7; Jos. 1:9; Jos. 1:18; Jos. 10:25; Ruth 1:18; 2 Sam. 22:18; 1 Ki. 12:18; 1 Chr. 22:13; 1 Chr. 28:20; 2 Chr. 10:18; 2 Chr. 11:17; 2 Chr. 13:7; 2 Chr. 13:18; 2 Chr. 24:13; 2 Chr. 32:7; 2 Chr. 36:13; Job 4:4; Job 16:5; Ps. 18:17; Ps. 27:14; Ps. 31:24; Ps. 80:15; Ps. 80:17; Ps. 89:21; Ps. 142:6; Prov. 8:28; Prov. 24:5; Prov. 31:17; Isa. 35:3; Isa. 41:10; Isa. 44:14; Amos 2:14; Nah. 2:1

David Guzik - The coming judgment would be enough to make the hands of anyone weak, and knees of anyone feeble. But in light of the glorious restoration God will bring from that time, it is no time to have weak hands or feeble knees! Get strong and get going!. We use our hands to work with; those with weak hands are not working for the LORD as they should. We use our knees both to progress with and to pray with. Those with feeble knees are not progressing with the LORD and praying as they should.i. Hebrews 12:12 quotes this verse from Isaiah to make the point that even in a time of chastening from the LORD, we should take strength and courage in the LORD, knowing that it is His Fatherly love and care that has allowed and directed the chastening. It’s time to get strong in the LORD and move on!. But the passage both here in Isaiah and Hebrews 12 indicates that there are some among God’s people who indeed have weak hands and feeble knees. What is the cause of it? If we are not making progress in our walk with Jesus, fault can surely be found with weak hands and feeble knees.(Isaiah 35 Commentary)

Larry Walker - God comes to the aid of the blind, deaf, and lame (Isa 35:5–6). The similarity between Isa 35:5–7 and Jesus’ response to John the Baptist’s question from prison has led many to believe that Jesus had Isaiah’s words in mind when he sent his reply to John (Matt 11:2–6). The strong likeness is sufficient reason to conclude that Isaiah’s words clearly point to the Messiah who would come. Israel was blind and deaf to the word of God that Isaiah proclaimed (cf. Isaiah 6:9–10), but in the future, her spiritual perception will be restored. These were signs of the messianic age (cf. Matt 12:22; Acts 3:7–8). Christ’s healing of the blind and the lame proved that he could also forgive sin (Matt 11:5; cf. Acts 3:18; 14:10). Even nature would benefit (Isaiah 35:6–7; for “springs … streams” see Isaiah 32:2-note, and note God’s provision of water in Ex 17:6 and 2 Kgs 3:15–20). Spiritual and physical healing are linked in Christ’s ministry (Matt 11:5). (Cornerstone Bible Commentary)

Paul Apple - God’s people can find themselves in circumstances where they are exhausted and feeble; in those times they need encouraging words; speaking forth the marvelous truth of the grace and power and deliverance of God; take courage because God is going to pour out vengeance on all your enemies; you stay faithful

  • God is for you if you are a believer
  • God is with you
  • God is in you
  • God will help you; you wait on Him

Spurgeon - Isaiah 35:3 Weak hands and feeble knees

“Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.” Isaiah 35:3

In all flocks there must be lambs, and weak and wounded sheep, and among the flock of men, it seems that there must necessarily be some who should more than others prove the truth of Job’s declaration, “man is born to trouble, even as the sparks fly upwards.” It is the duty then of those of us who are more free than others from despondency of spirit, to be very tender to these weak ones. Far be it from the man of courageous disposition, of stern resolve, and of unbending purpose, to be hard towards those who are timid and despairing. If we have a lion-like spirit, let us not imitate the king of beasts in his cruelty to those timid fallow deer that fly before him, but let us place our strength at their service for their help and protection. Let us with downy fingers bind up the wounded heart; with oil and wine let us nourish their fainting spirits. In this battle of life, let the unwounded warriors bear their injured comrades to the rear, bathe their wounds, and cover them from the storm of war. Be gentle with those that are despondent. Alas, it is not every man that has learned this lesson. There are some who deal with others with rough-handed thoughtlessness. “Ah,” they say, “if such a one be so foolish as to be sensitive let him be.” O speak not thus; to be sensitive, timid, and despondent, is ill enough in itself, without our being hard and harsh towards those who are so afflicted. Go forth, and “do to others as ye would that they should do to you” and as ye would that others should in your hours of despondency deal with you tenderly and comfortably, so deal tenderly and comfortably with them - 365 Days with Spurgeon (Vol 1)


Well Done, David Schumm

Read: Isaiah 35:3-10  Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come. —Isaiah 35:4

At David Schumm’s memorial service, we celebrated the optimism, perseverance, and faith of a man with severe cerebral palsy. For all of David’s 74 years, the simple tasks of daily life required great effort. Through it all, he kept smiling and helping others by giving more than 23,000 hours as a hospital volunteer, along with encouraging at-risk teens.

David selected Isaiah 35:3-10 to be read at his service:

“Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you. . . . Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert” (Isaiah 35:3-4,6).

This promise, given to the people of Israel while in captivity, reminds us of our hope for the time when Christ will return for those who trust and follow Him.

During David’s last weeks, he often pointed visitors to a large picture of Jesus near his bed, saying, “He’s coming to get me soon.” This is the hope Jesus Christ gives to all His children, which calls forth our thanks and praise to Him! (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Marvelous message we bring,
Glorious carol we sing,
Wonderful word of the King:
Jesus is coming again! —Peterson

Live as if Christ died yesterday and is coming back today.

By David C. McCasland

Isaiah 35:4  Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you."

KJV Isaiah 35:4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.

ESV  Isaiah 35:4 Say to those who have an anxious heart, "Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you." 

NET  Isaiah 35:4 Tell those who panic, "Be strong! Do not fear! Look, your God comes to avenge! With divine retribution he comes to deliver you." 

NLT  Isaiah 35:4 Say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you."

CSB  Isaiah 35:4 Say to the cowardly: "Be strong; do not fear! Here is your God; vengeance is coming. God's retribution is coming; He will save you."

NIV  Isaiah 35:4 say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you."

  • Say to those with anxious heart. Isaiah 28:16; 32:4; *marg:; Ps 116:11; Habakkuk 2:3
  • Take courage Isaiah 44:2; Joshua 1:6,7; 1 Chronicles 28:20; Daniel 10:19; Haggai 2:4; Ephesians 6:10; 2 Timothy 2:1
  • fear not Isaiah 41:10-14; 43:1-6; 54:4,5; Zephaniah 3:16,17; Revelation 2:10
  • Behold, your God will come with vengeance Isaiah 25:9; 26:20,21; 34:8; 40:9,10; 52:7-10; 61:2; 66:15; Deuteronomy 32:35-43; Ps 50:3; Hosea 1:7; Zechariah 2:8-10; Malachi 3:1; Matthew 1:21-23; Luke 21:28; Hebrews 9:28; 10:37,38; James 5:7-9; Revelation 1:7; 22:20

TAKE COURAGE
FEAR NOT

Matthew Henry on fear not - Fear is weakening; the more we strive against it the stronger we are both for doing and suffering; and, for our encouragement to strive, he that says to us, Be strong has laid help for us upon one that is mighty.

Jennings - Isaiah gives the character in which Israel's God will come for her relief, as "Vengeance," for there is no word in the Hebrew between "God" and "Vengeance" in verse 4; nor in the following line, with its parallel thought; both tell the character in which He comes: "Vengeance" and "Retribution" characterize that coming. But no threatening word like this do we find in the New Testament writer. How utterly inconsistent it would be! Our Lord is not coming in that character for us at all, but quite the reverse; we look for the Lord Jesus Christ, not as Vengeance but as Saviour, as Phil. 3:20 literally reads. We have no human foes on whom we would desire vengeance or retribution. But not so with Israel. The salvation of that remnant of faith, that shall then be the nucleus of the new nation, awaits, as we have so frequently seen, the strong Hand of her God coming down on her mighty human foes, under whose feet she is lying helpless. Reader, do you feel that you are one of the "weak"? Then before leaving this subject of heartening one another, let a fellow-weak one take thy hand; and together let us learn this strange truth that only they who know their real helplessness are the strong! Peter thought that he was the strongest of all the twelve, for he said: "Though all shall be offended, yet will not I." Poor Peter had to learn by a terrible fall, by bitter tears and many a sigh, another lesson altogether; and then when that was learned, and he "converted" from a false to a true confidence, then, and not till then, might he "strengthen his brethren," by telling them of that only Source of any true strength that he had found at heavy cost. It was in that day, it has ever been, it is today, that Strength that is alone "made perfect in weakness." (Isaiah 35 Commentary)

Warren Wiersbe - Our Lord referred to these verses (Isaiah 35:3-4) when he sent a word of encouragement to John the Baptist (Luke 7:18–23-note). The King was on earth and sharing with needy people the blessings of the coming kingdom.

Say to those with anxious heart - KJV = "fearful heart." NET - "to those who panic." CSB - "to the cowardly." NIV - "fearful hearts."

Spurgeon on KJV's fearful heart

Let me observe that, in the original, the word for “fearful” is “hasty.” Now, a hasty man is never a wise man; and equally true is it that a “fearful” man is never prudent. Fearful men are always hasty; they jump at conclusions. They say, with Jacob, “All these things are against me,” because they cannot see to the end of the Lord’s dispensations. They forget that he is very pitiful, and full of compassion. Circumstance or expediency is their guiding star. They seek to follow the track of the meteors, which fly hither and thither across the midnight sky; they forget the pole-star of God’s truth and faithfulness. They go to sea without chart or compass, and they are driven backwards and forwards by contrary winds; and even when there is no wind they know not not how to steer their ship. As you know, even in this world’s affairs, a hasty man is constantly getting himself into trouble. He speculates in certain stocks and shares because some sharper has told him that he can gain by doing so; and soon he hears quite a different story, some great disaster is about to come; he hastily believes the lie, and is again deceived. So is it with fearful souls; they are always doing this or that on the hasty impulse of an ill-drawn conclusion. Thus they are constantly misjudging their God, misusing his Word, misdirecting their own steps, bringing a world of trouble upon themselves, and dishonour upon the name of their God. Fearful souls are hasty souls. They judge the Lord by feeble sense, by the bitterness of the bud, and not by the sweetness of the flower. They judge by the clouds of the morning, forgetting that the clouds may soon be scattered, and that the sun may shine out brightly again. To them, then, that are of a hasty heart; to those who condemn themselves unjustly, who think that all things are against them, and so become exceedingly fearful, say, “Be strong, fear not.” (Isaiah 35:4 Good Cheer for Many that Fear)

Anxious heart is translated in the Septuagint (Lxx) with the adjective oligopsuchos which literally is "little soul" and so describes one who is fainthearted or despondent. 

Anxious (KJV = "fearful")(02820)(mahar) means to hasten, to hurry, to do something quickly. has the sense always of doing something quickly, in a hurry (e.g., escape judgment in Ge 19:22), hastily, or even rashly because of being in haste. The feet of wicked men hasten (mahar) to shed blood and practice evil (Pr 1:16; 6:18; Isa 59:7). This verb usually has an adverbial meaning when it is linked with another verb, as in Ps 106:13 = "They quickly forgot His works; They did not wait for His counsel". Ge 41:32 = "God will quickly bring it about." Ex 10:16 = Pharaoh hurriedly called for Moses. Distress prompts the prayer, "answer me quickly" (Ps 69:17; Ps 102:2; Ps 143:7; cf. Ps 79:8).

Mahar occurs 3 times in the first two OT uses and gives a good sense of the basic meaning - "So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour, knead it and make bread cakes.” Abraham also ran to the herd, and took a tender and choice calf and gave it to the servant, and he hurried to prepare it.(Ge 18:6-7) Of swift divine judgment in Mal 3:5. Eccl. 5:2 = Do not be hasty in word. Exodus 34:8  = Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship.

Mahar - 65x in 60v - act quickly(1), anxious(1), bring quickly(2), bring...quickly(1), do quickly(1), haste(2), hasten(3), hastened(1), hastens(1), hastily(1), hasty(1), hurried(10), hurriedly(2), hurry(8), immediately(1), impetuous(1), impulsive(1), made haste(1), make haste(1), make speed(1), prepare(1), quickly(16), quickly thwarted(1), rapidly(1), soon(2), swift(3).

Gen. 18:6; Gen. 18:7; Gen. 19:22; Gen. 24:18; Gen. 24:20; Gen. 24:46; Gen. 27:20; Gen. 41:32; Gen. 43:30; Gen. 44:11; Gen. 45:9; Gen. 45:13; Exod. 2:18; Exod. 10:16; Exod. 12:33; Exod. 34:8; Jos. 4:10; Jos. 8:14; Jos. 8:19; Jdg. 9:48; Jdg. 13:10; 1 Sam. 4:14; 1 Sam. 9:12; 1 Sam. 17:48; 1 Sam. 23:27; 1 Sam. 25:18; 1 Sam. 25:23; 1 Sam. 25:34; 1 Sam. 25:42; 1 Sam. 28:20; 1 Sam. 28:24; 2 Sam. 15:14; 2 Sam. 19:16; 1 Ki. 20:33; 1 Ki. 20:41; 1 Ki. 22:9; 2 Ki. 9:13; 1 Chr. 12:8; 2 Chr. 18:8; 2 Chr. 24:5; Est. 5:5; Est. 6:10; Job 5:13; Ps. 106:13; Prov. 1:16; Prov. 6:18; Prov. 7:23; Eccl. 5:2; Isa. 5:19; Isa. 8:1; Isa. 32:4; Isa. 35:4; Isa. 49:17; Isa. 51:14; Isa. 59:7; Jer. 9:18; Jer. 48:16; Nah. 2:5; Hab. 1:6; Mal. 3:5

Heart (03820)(leb) refers figuratively to what I term the "control center" of one's being. Think of an Air Traffic Controller and how dysfunctional, even destructive it is when the controllers fail to function as they should. 

Parunak on take courage (be strong), fear not - The exhortation is reminiscent of two previous passages. At first one thinks of the Lord's words to Joshua on the death of Moses,

Joshua 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

But the quote is not exact. Isaiah uses a different verb ירא than does the Lord to Joshua ערץ .Isaiah is probably thinking of David's encouragement to Solomon, which uses the same verb that Isaiah does:

1Ch 28:20 Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee;

The difference in the episodes is subtle but telling. In Joshua, the people are entering the land to conquer and settle it. There is no temple, nor thought of one—the Lord dwells in their midst in a tabernacle. But David is commissioning Solomon to build the temple. The focus in Isaiah is on the march to Zion. The people are on their way to the sanctuary, and Isaiah encourages them with the memory of how God strengthened Solomon as he prepared a place for the nation to worship the Lord. To both Joshua and Solomon, the basis of the encouragement was the same: “The Lord is with thee.” The same basis is here as well: (Isaiah 34-35 Commentary)

Take courage  - He repeats the command of the previous passage (same verb chazaq). The latter half of the passage tells them why they can take courage and not be fearful. 

Guzik - In our present trials, we need the strong hope of the LORD to overcome our fearful hearts. Our fearful hearts are not hoped by a vain, vague optimism; they are helped by the assured confidence that He will come and save. (Isaiah 35 Commentary)

Fear not - This same exhortation is given to Israel later in Isaiah and then in Jeremiah (in the context of the "time of Jacob's distress")...

“Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.  (Isaiah 54:4)

‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant,’ declares the LORD, ‘And do not be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar And your offspring from the land of their captivity. And Jacob will return and will be quiet and at ease, And no one will make him afraid.  (Jeremiah 30:10-note)

Behold, your God - Your God speaks in general to Israel. However ultimately only those Jews who have entered into the Abrahamic Covenant by grace through faith (cf their father Abraham in Ge 15:6-note) can truly call God "THEIR" God. Ultimately, the Abrahamic Covenant "morphed" (to undergo transformation) so to speak into the New Covenant (See Abrahamic vs Old vs New) which was promised to the Jews and which will be fulfilled to them in the last of the Last Days when they enter by grace through faith (cf Zech 12:10-14-note, Zech 13:1-note, Zech 13:8-9-note, Ro 11:26-27-note)...

(Jer 31:31-33-note) “Behold, days are coming,” ( the last of the Last Days) declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be THEIR GOD, and they shall be My people. (See also New Covenant in the Old Testament)

Here Isaiah repeats a truth given in the previous chapter in the context of destruction...

 For the LORD has a day of vengeance, A year of recompense for the cause of Zion. (Isaiah 34:8-note)

PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED
REWARD FOR THE RIGHTEOUS

God will come with vengeance - Vengeance speaks of  taking revenge or dealing out retribution,  a justly deserved penalty. When will He come with vengeance? This is a prophecy that will not be fully fulfilled until the Second Coming of their Messiah. This truth will fortify their heart so that they can indeed take courage and not be afraid. 

This passage recalls Isaiah 34:8-note

For the LORD has a day of vengeance, A year of recompense for the cause of Zion. 

When God's people are oppressed, Scripture comforts them that God will save them by judging their adversaries. So to whom will God come with vengeance? In context, this refers to the enemies of Israel, but ultimately it refers to the enemies of God as Paul explains in his description of the return of Messiah with vengeance...

For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed–for our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thes 1:6-10, cf Isa 66:15, Ps 50:3)

Many OT passages speak of God's righteous vengeance against Israel's (God's) enemies...

Isaiah 26:20 Come, my people, enter into your rooms And close your doors behind you; Hide for a little while Until indignation runs its course (THIS REFERS TO THE GREAT TRIBULATION - Mt 24:21-note, THE TIME OF JACOB'S TROUBLE - Jer 30:7-note). 21 For behold, the LORD is about to come out from His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity (THIS IS WHEN THE STONE CRUSHES THE STATUTE - Daniel 2:34-35-note; Daniel 2:44-45-note); And the earth will reveal her bloodshed And will no longer cover her slain.

Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD (MESSIAH'S FIRST COMING - See Lk 4:17-21-note) And the day of vengeance (MESSIAH'S SECOND COMING, cf Isaiah 34:8-note) of our God; To comfort all who mourn, 

Isa 63:4-note “For the day of vengeance was in My heart, And My year of redemption has come. 

Zechariah 2:8-10 For thus says the LORD of hosts, “After glory He has sent me against the nations (GODLESS, ANTI-SEMITIC GENTILES) which plunder you (ISRAEL), for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye. 9 “For behold, I will wave My hand over them so that they will be plunder for their slaves. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me. 10 “Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming (FIRST TO DEFEAT ALL ENEMIES - Rev 19:11-21-note) and I will dwell in your midst (THEN TO ESTABLISH HIS MILLENNIAL KINGDOM AND SET UP HIS THRONE IN ZION),” declares the LORD.

Vengeance (05359)(naqam from the verb form naqam = to avenge or take vengeance) is the act of taking revenge (harming someone in retaliation for something harmful that they have done). It refers to punishment inflicted or retribution exacted for an injury or wrong and can refer to punishment beyond what is physical.

The recompense of God will come - This is a promise from God Who cannot lie (Nu 23:19) given to the nation of Israel which will be fulfilled when Messiah returns to carry out perfect recompense (cf Zech 14:5b-note).

Constable - Those who are alive at the end of the Tribulation will be a small remnant of believers and some unbelievers. Isaiah called the reader to encourage the exhausted and feeble believers of his or her time. They would need to keep their eyes on God. God would come to take vengeance for them and to deliver them (cf. Dt. 31:6–7, 23; Josh. 1:6–7, 9, 18; Rev. 13:9–10; 14:12). He would reward them; they will enter Messiah’s millennial kingdom. (Isaiah 35 Commentary) (Ed: So who enters the Millennial Kingdom? ONLY redeemed people. One third of Israel will have been redeemed (Zech 13:8-9-note) and an unknown [I cannot find any Scripture on this] number of Gentiles who have been redeemed. So saved Jews and saved Gentiles will be the only ones allowed into Messiah's Kingdom. Now, in that Kingdom, life will continue and children will be born, but we know that not all come to believe in Messiah even though He is actually present in Jerusalem! How do we know? Because of Rev 20:8-note which says that when Satan is released at the end of the 1000 years, he "will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore." Obviously those Satan deceives are non-believers, not the redeemed.) 

Recompense (01576)(gemul from gamal =  to deal fully or adequately with, deal out to, wean, ripen) is a masculine noun which means recompense, benefits, something deserved, dealings, doings. Gemul indicates the dealings with others (Jdg. 9:16). The dealing of a nation or person returns on them  (Ps. 28:4; Pr. 12:14; Isa. 3:11; Oba 1:15). Gemul refers to a receipt which is deserved whether the recipient accepts it or returns it (Joel 3:4, 7). It speaks of the recompense of the Lord (Ps. 28:4; Isa. 35:4; 66:6). Ps. 103:2 says "Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits  (recompense, reward; Lxx = antapodosis = reward)

The Septuagint (Lxx) translates gemul in this passage with antapodidomi which means to repay or give back, and in this context speaks primarily of payback in a negative sense, in which God will mete out deserved punishment and revenge on the inveterate enemies of the little nation of Israel. They will experience payday someday!

(Isaiah 40:9) Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion, bearer of good news, Lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news; Lift it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” 10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might, With His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him (REWARD FOR THE REMNANT) and His recompense before Him

Matthew Henry - God will appear for you against your enemies, will recompense both their injuries and your losses.” The Messiah will come, in the fulness of time, to take vengeance on the powers of darkness, to spoil them, and make a show of them openly, to recompense those that mourn in Zion with abundant comforts.

ISRAEL'S DELIVERER WILL 
COME FROM ZION

The psalms speak of Israel's (and our) Deliverer coming back...

Psalms 96:11-13 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; Let the sea roar, and all it contains;  12 Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy  13 Before the LORD, for He is coming, For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness And the peoples in His faithfulness.

Ps 98:7-9 Let the sea roar and all it contains, The world and those who dwell in it.  8 Let the rivers clap their hands, Let the mountains sing together for joy  9 Before the LORD, for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness And the peoples with equity.

But He will save you - In Romans 11:26-note Paul says "all Israel (ALL WHO BELIEVER - cf Zech 13:8-9-note) will be saved (sozo); just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER (MESSIAH) WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.”

Save (deliver, help) (03467)(yasha') (See also yeshua from which we get our word "Jesus") is an important Hebrew verb which means to help, to save, to deliver. The root in Arabic is "make wide" which underscores the main thought of yasha' as to bring to a place of safety or broad pasture in contrast to a narrow strait which symbolizes distress or danger.

The Septuagint (Lxx) translates yasha' here with sozo the usual verb in the NT for spiritual salvation.

In the last of the last days, God will save Israel, a truth emphasized by Isaiah earlier and also by other prophets...

Isaiah 25:9 And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God (MESSIAH) for Whom we have waited (Hebrew - qavah = hoped for, looked with expectation; Lxx = elpizo= hoped) that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” 

Ezekiel 36:29-note "Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness (cf Zech 13:1-note); and I will call for the grain and multiply it, and I will not bring a famine on you.

Matthew Henry - With the hopes of this the Old-Testament saints strengthened their weak hands. He will come again at the end of time, will come in flaming fire, to recompense tribulation to those who have troubled his people, and, to those who were troubled, rest, such a rest as will be not only a final period to, but a full reward of, all their troubles, 2 Th. 1:6, 7. Those whose hearts tremble for the ark of God (ED: BELIEVING JEWISH REMNANT)...may silence their fears with this, God will take the work into His own hands. Your God will come, Who pleads your cause and owns your interest, even God Himself, Who is God alone.


Spurgeon - Isaiah 35:4. Night

“Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not.”—Isaiah 35:4.

OH how precious is the Word of God! for it contains a cordial for every sickness, a balm for every wound, and here at the close of the day let me console myself with it. How often does a fearful heart weaken and vex the people of God! how well it is that the Holy Spirit has given this word to cheer them in their distresses!
Sometimes GREAT TROUBLES cause the heir of heaven to be much cast down. But why is it so? Are not our fears groundless? Do not our troubles work our lasting good? Why need we fear the issue when it is in Jehovah’s hands? Our fears grieve us more than our afflictions. Our greatest pains spring from our unbelief, not from our trials, for if we had more faith our trials could not make us afraid. Besides this, such fears weaken us, they cut the girdle of our loins and take away the staff of our support. We shall have need of all the strength we have; it is neither prudent nor right to allow the life-blood of that strength to flow away from the wounds of our fears. Do not our anxieties dishonour God, and cast a reflection upon his power, his wisdom, or his grace? Away with that which casts a slur upon the attributes of God, it is not fit that such a thing should be harboured by a Christian. Once more, Are not such fears very useless things? Who ever derived any advantage from them? Can fears fill an empty cupboard, or restore the health of a dying child? There is something reasonable in strong prayer and earnest activity, but of what value are our fears? When we can prove that they benefit us, we may be almost excused for indulging them, but till then, let us be strong and fear not.
GREAT DUTIES also have a tendency to alarm our poor timorous flesh and blood, but let us remember that the work is the Lord’s, we do not go a warfare at our own charges. Our Master will never set us upon a work which is too hard for us. When we have his command we are sure to have his assistance. - Spurgeon - Sword and Trowel

BE STRONG, FEAR NOT


Anxiety and the Wilderness
Isaiah 35:1–37:13; Luke 12:22–59; Job 8:11–22

Anxiety has a way of ruling over us. Although many of our concerns are legitimate—like having money to pay the rent and buy food—some of them are nonsensical. We envision future catastrophes and spend our days worrying about what might never happen, creating an emotional wilderness for ourselves.
Anxiety isn’t new. The prophet Isaiah addresses the problem: “Wilderness and dry land shall be glad, and desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus.… Say to those who are hasty of heart, ‘Be strong; you must not fear! Look! your God will come with vengeance, with divine retribution. He is the one who will come and save you’ ” (Isa 35:1, 4).
Isaiah realizes that there is a time and season for everything. He proclaims that God will bring the people out of the wilderness (their exile in Babylon) and back into their land. There is an answer to the anxiety, pain and worry that they feel about the future. His words ring with prophetic certainty because he knows them to be true—they are Yahweh’s words.
Jesus also addresses anxiety when He says to His disciples, “For this reason I tell you, do not be anxious for your life, what you will eat, or for your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, that they neither sow nor reap; to them there is neither storeroom nor barn, and God feeds them. How much more are you worth than the birds?” (Luke 12:22–24).
Why must we worry? Why must we strive over things we cannot change? Ultimately, everything in life is a matter of depending on God.

What anxieties can you hand over to God today?

JOHN D. BARRY

Isaiah 35:5   Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.

KJV Isaiah 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

  • Then the eyes of the blind will be opened Isaiah 29:18; 32:3,4; 42:6,7,16; 43:8; Ps 146:8; Matthew 9:27-30; 11:3-5; 12:22; Matthew 20:30-34; 21:14; Mark 8:22-25; Luke 4:18; John 9:1-7,39; 11:37; Acts 9:17,18; 26:18; Ephesians 1:17,18; 5:14
  • the ears of the deaf will be unstopped Isaiah 48:8; Exodus 4:11; Job 33:16; Proverbs 20:12; Jeremiah 6:10; Mark 7:32-37; 9:25,26; Luke 7:20-23

EYES AND EARS OPENED
IN THAT DAY

Then - See the expression of time  then which usually indicates sequence and thus marks that which is next in order of time, soon after that, following next after in order of position, narration or enumeration, being next in a series (See English definitions or here). Observing then can be very useful in following the course of events in a chapter or paragraph, especially in eschatological (prophetic) passages - e.g., in Nebuchadnezzar's dream there are several occurrences of "then" (in the NAS) - Da 2:35, Da 2:39, Da 2:40, Da 2:46, Da 2:48-commentary. Compare the uses of then in the Olivet Discourse - Mt 24:9, Mt 24:14, 16, 21, 23, 30 (2 uses!), etc-see commentary.

So when is then? (which forces us to examine the context) In the context of Isaiah 35:4b then is when "He will save you (Israel - those who place their faith in Him)” when the Messiah, Israel's Deliverer returns at His Second Coming. And what will happened when the Messiah redeems a remnant of Israel? (Zechariah 12:10-14-note; Zechariah 13:1-note 1/3 of the nation will be saved - Zech 13:8-9-note)  Their spiritual eyes and ears will be opened to recognize and receive Jesus as their Messiah.

Not only discouragement and fear will be overcome (Isaiah 35:4), but every form of physical malady will be overcome when the Messiah comes!

The eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped - Elsewhere in Isaiah, these physical disabilities are metaphors for spiritual disabilities, all of which will be reversed when Messiah returns. However, there is no reason to doubt that when He returns, if there are those who are physically blind, they will be granted sight and the deaf will be granted a new set of "ear drums" so to speak!

H A Ironside - When Jesus came the first time all the signs of the coming age were manifested as sickness of every form fled away at the sound of His voice or the touch of His hand; when blind eyes were opened, deaf ears made to hear and the tongues of the dumb to sing. To some extent these signs followed the preaching of His apostles who could say with authority to the lame and helpless, “In the name of Jesus Christ rise up and walk,” and whose very shadow at times had healing power. All of these wonders were but foretastes of what shall be everywhere prevalent in millennial days(Isaiah 35 - MILLENNIAL BLESSING)

Jennings At that most happy epoch of the coming of their God, all those sad consequences of sin suffered by man's body, will be removed. So at the proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven as having drawn near (as it surely had in the Person of its King), samples, as we may term them, of this blessed condition were given, and wherever He came this prophecy (Isaiah 35:5-7) was illustrated, for did not the blind see, the deaf hear, and the lame leap as the hart? Surely they did. These are now the "powers of the age to come" (Heb. 6:5), and it is in that age that our prophet's feet are standing, for God the Holy Spirit can carry His servants forward any length of time, as He does our prophet John in the book that he has given us. It is a delightful scene. Everything that sin has turned up side down shall be turned back to normal, but yet not even precisely as it was; it shall over-abound in blessings. God never merely mends what Satan and sin have marred. The Paradise of God (Rev. 2:7) is not a mere Paradise recovered as it was in Eden.. Only the Tree of Life will be there; for its dwellers will be under no trial of that kind. No longer in that day shall the mirage deceive the traveler, and mock his parched lips by disappearing as he approaches, but it shall be found a springing fountain—"water, water everywhere and every drop" life-filled! Beautiful, external figure of the internal flood of blessing, in the Spirit springing up in every heart. (Isaiah 35 Commentary)

Isaiah 35:6   Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah.

KJV Isaiah 35:6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.

  • Then the lame will leap like a deer Matthew 11:5; 15:30,31; 21:14; John 5:8,9; Acts 3:2,6-8; 8:7; 14:8-10
  • And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy Isaiah 32:4; Ps 51:15; Matthew 9:32,33; 12:22; 15:30; Mark 7:32-37; 9:17-25; Luke 1:64; 11:14; Colossians 3:16
  • For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah. Isaiah 41:17,18; 43:19,20; 48:21; 49:10,11; Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:11; Nehemiah 9:15; Ps 46:4; 78:15,16; Ezekiel 47:1-11; Zechariah 14:8; John 7:37-39; Revelation 22:1,17

LAME SHALL LEAP!
MUTE SHALL SHOUT!

Guzik - When God’s salvation comes, miraculous power comes with it. It is a miracle for the blind to see, for the deaf to hear, for the lame to run, and for the mute to speak. But when He will come and save you, He does it with miraculous power! (Isaiah 35 Commentary)

Notice that this prophecy is given as a sign of the times of the Messiah. And so when the Messiah came the first time, these miraculous signs were repeatedly performed by Jesus, clearly testifying that He was their long expected Messiah (see Jn 10:25-26). Matthew records the miracle of the mute and the crowds reaction, as they acknowledged the uniqueness of the miracle but failing to recognize the uniqueness of their Messiah!

As they were going out, a mute, demon-possessed man was brought to Him. 33 After the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed, and were saying, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”(Matthew 9:32,33, see also Mt 12:22; Mt 15:30; Mark 7:32-37; Mark 9:17-25; Luke 1:64; Luke 11:14-note)

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
Hear Him, ye deaf;
His praise, ye dumb, Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your Saviour come;
And leap, ye lame, for joy!
Charles Wesley

Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy - This almost certainly speaks of physical healing. The lame will not just walk but they will even leap, even leaping for joy! The mute will not just speak but will shout for joy! The blessed healing wrought by Jesus, Jehovah Rapha: (Jehovah Rophe) The LORD our Healer, in that glorious day will allow those who enter His earthly kingdom full ability to enjoy that kingdom! 

One is reminded of the crippled man who was miraculously healed in Acts 3 giving us a sample of the great and marvelous things we shall see in Christ's Millennial kingdom

And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the Temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple.....6 But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene–walk!” 7 And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. 8 With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.(Acts 3:2, 6-8)

As John MacArthur says "Jesus' first coming gave a foretaste of that future day (Mt 11:5; 12:22; Mk 7:37; Lk 7:21-note; Acts 3:8)." (The MacArthur Study Bible)

And why do those who could not even speak literally now shout for joy? Because the "times of refreshing have come from the presence of the Lord." (Acts 3:19). The long awaited "period of restoration" (Acts 3:21) will have arrived when Messiah regenerates the land ("Eretz Yisrael") and all the earth. (cf Mt 19:28).

Parunak - In the NT, the Lord Jesus alludes to this verse when he responds to the question from John the Baptist about whether he is the Messiah.

Mat 11:2-6 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? 4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

As often, the first advent of our Lord is the prototype of the second. He did not restore the desert and wilderness, but he did demonstrate the power to restore people. (Isaiah 34-35 Commentary)

Spurgeon on the mute will shout for joy - WHAT a difference grace makes, wherever it enters the heart! In our text, we find the blind mentioned; but they are no longer blind when once grace has touched their eyes: “Then the eyes of the blind” are “opened.” We read also of the deaf; but they are not deaf after grace has operated upon them: “the ears of the deaf” are “unstopped.” Here are men who have been “lame” before; but when once the omnipotent influence of divine grace has come upon them, they leap like a hart. And those who used to be speechless, so far from being dumb any longer, have experienced a change that must be radical, for its effects are surprising. “The tongue of the dumb” not only speaks, but it sings. Grace makes a great difference in a man, when it enters into him. (Isaiah 35:5-6 The Dumb Singing)

The mute will shout for joy because the desert is made alive as waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah. If you have visited Israel, you know that it is a land where water is scarce even under the best of circumstances. But that scarcity will be transformed into an abundance by the presence of the Messiah.

Dear reader, these marvelous, miraculous truths beg a sobering, sincere question? Will you be among this joyful throng? Have you simply professed Jesus or have you sincerely possessed Jesus by grace through faith, a faith that shows itself to be genuine by your Spirit enabled obedience (we are not talking about "perfection" but we are talking about direction -- how would you assess your "faith"? Do your thoughts words and deeds demonstrate you are headed toward heaven and not hell? You be the judge before you have to face the Judge!) and Spirit empowered works.

For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah - "The verb is past tense. We are still seeing the impact on people of the change in the environment." (Parunak)


(Brian BellA great devotional sprung out of this verse in 1925!

  1. Streams in the Desert” LB.Cowman(Mrs. Charles E.).
  2. She was a missionary with her husband in the Orient.
  3. She compiled a collection of “prayerful meditations, Christian writings, & God’s written promises.”
  4. My Utmost for His Highest(by Oswald Chambers) was written at the same time period(1927).
    1. They ministered together for a time in Japan.
    2. Both were greatly influenced by Charles Spurgeon. (Chambers saved under him ministry in the late 1800’s)

Read Numb.21:16-18a

  1. Ever sing about water before?
  2. (NIV) "Spring up, O well! Sing about it, about the well that the princes dug, that the nobles of the people sank-- the nobles with scepters and staffs."
    1. As they dug, they tapped into a stream that had run“unseen” below!
  3. What a beautiful picture this is! – Q: In what area of your life do you need to just “sing out Praise” unto Him? Q: What area is dry, barren, parched, unfruitful, and desolate?
  4. Q: How did the children of Israel find the water? 3.8.5.4.1.While standing on burning sand, & digging the well with their staff of promise, they sang a praise of faith!
  5. Complaining always brought about a dry desert! While Praising always brought about adelicious dessert!
  6. (21:16) “Gather the people together & I will give them water!”
  7. Salvation – "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive;”
  8. Our spiritual walk – “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, thatHe might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,” Eph.5:25,26
  9. My goal as a bible teacher! - He will give the water of life… I’m just a conduit!
  10. Our future Glory! – Will be refreshing! (Brian Bell)

Isaiah 35:7  The scorched land will become a pool And the thirsty ground springs of water; In the haunt of jackals, its resting place, Grass becomes reeds and rushes.

KJV Isaiah 35:7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

NIV  Isaiah 35:7 The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. 

YLT  Isaiah 35:7 And the mirage hath become a pond, And the thirsty land fountains of waters, In the habitation of dragons, Its place of couching down, a court for reed and rush. 

  • The scorched land will become a pool Isaiah 29:17; 44:3,4; Matthew 21:43; Luke 13:29; John 4:14; 7:38; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
  • In the haunt of jackals Isaiah 34:13; Hosea 1:10,11; Acts 26:18; 1 John 5:19,20; Revelation 12:9-12; 18:2; 20:2,3
  • Grass becomes reeds and rushes Isaiah 19:6

REVERSAL AND
TRANSFORMATION

Guzik - When God’s salvation comes, miraculous provision comes with it. What was dry and useless before becomes well watered and fruitful. (Isaiah 35 Commentary)

John Martin - Though some interpreters take these statements as figurative of spiritual blessings, it seems preferable to take them as literal statements, especially in view of the covenant promises (Deut. 28:1–14). With the Lord living among His people and with righteousness being practiced by them, the Lord will provide physical healing and agricultural fecundity. (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Larry Walker - In chapter 34, the streams of Edom were filled with pitch, and wild animals roamed the ruins. Now those creatures are gone, and streams of water irrigate the desert. The reeds and rushes associated with well-watered areas are now bountiful there (Isaiah 35:7). The Messiah has become the unending source of living water (John 4:14). (Cornerstone Bible Commentary)

The scorched land will become a pool And the thirsty ground springs of water- Isaiah continues the description of the literal transformation of the landscape of the earth in the New Age of Messiah, a change impacting not only climate and topography but also fauna and flora! O happy day! 

The scorched land (NAS marginal note = mirage) -  Young's version renders this as "the mirage." Bultema comments "“The word translated parched ground (scorched land) actually means mirage, air reflection, an atmospheric phenomenon frequently seen in Eastern deserts which is caused by the reflection of the hot rays of the sun … Now the prophet brings the glad tiding that what used to be a mere semblance and an illusion will one day become a glorious reality.” (Bolding added)

Lange's Commentary on scorched land - it is now agreed denotes the illusive appearance often witnessed both at sea and land, called in English looming, in Italian fata morgana, and in French mirage. In the deserts of Arabia and Africa, the appearance presented is precisely that of an extended sheet of water, tending not only to mislead the traveller, but to aggravate his thirst by disappointment. “More deceitful than mirage” (or serab) is an Arabian proverb. (Lange's Commentary)

While Isaiah is referring to literal springs watering the thirsty ground, one is reminded of the spiritual springs that water one's thirsty soul. 

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39-note)

As Guzik says "There is no reason for a Christian to endure a “dry time,” not when the miraculous power of Jesus Christ to provide is present."

In the haunt of jackals, its resting place, grass becomes reeds and rushes - "The rocky crags normally inhabited by jackals (Isa 34:13) are to become splashy meadows." (The MacArthur Study Bible) 

Lange's Commentary - This torture (SEEING MIRAGES IN THE DESERT) shall not be experienced by the returning Israelites. Instead of the mocking atmospheric illusion there shall be an actual lake, and the dry region shall become a region of bubbling (מבוע) springs. Where before was only the lair of jackals, there Israel will bivouac as in a place where now is a green spot hedged in for cane and reed. The Prophet has in mind his own description Isa 34:13b. Once dry, it is now moist; so much so that plants requiring great moisture grow there. Wherever the moisture extends these plants grow.   (Lange's Commentary)


Oswald Chambers - Vision and reality

And the parched ground shall become a pool. Isaiah 35:7.

We always have visions before a thing is made real. When we realize that although the vision is real, it is not real in us, then is the time that Satan comes in with his temptations, and we are apt to say it is no use to go on. Instead of the vision becoming real, there has come the valley of humiliation.

‘Life is not as idle ore,
But iron dug from central gloom,
And batter’d by the shocks of doom
To shape and use.’

God gives us the vision, then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of the vision, and it is in the valley that so many of us faint and give way. Every vision will be made real if we will have patience. Think of the enormous leisure of God! He is never in a hurry. We are always in such a frantic hurry. In the light of the glory of the vision we go forth to do things, but the vision is not real in us yet; and God has to take us into the valley, and put us through fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get to the place where He can trust us with the veritable reality. Ever since we had the vision God has been at work, getting us into the shape of the ideal, and over and over again we escape from His hand and try to batter ourselves into our own shape.
The vision is not a castle in the air, but a vision of what God wants you to be. Let Him put you on His wheel and whirl you as He likes, and as sure as God is God and you are you, you will turn out exactly in accordance with the vision. Don’t lose heart in the process. If you have ever had the vision of God, you may try as you like to be satisfied on a lower level, but God will never let you.


Robert Hawker - Devotional on Isaiah 35:7 - OH! how refreshing is this promise to my poor, dry, barren, thirsty soul! Surely every poor sinner like me, that knows his own leanness and poverty, will feel the blessedness of it; for whether he be in the sapless state of unawakened nature, or whether in a scorched or languishing state, from the want of the renewings of grace, nothing can be more refreshing than such a promise. Precious Jesus! do thou revive the languishing frame of thy people; do thou pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground. Oh what a fulness, blessed Lord! there is in thyself to supply all. Surely thou art, as the church said, “A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.” Do thou then, oh Lord, send forth this day, this blessed day, such copious streams from thyself as may cleanse, revive, comfort, satisfy, and strengthen, all thy churches. Lord, cause me to drink of the rivers of thy pleasure; for with thee is the fountain of life.

Isaiah 35:8  A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it.

KJV Isaiah 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.

NET  Isaiah 35:8 A thoroughfare will be there– it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it; it is reserved for those authorized to use it– fools will not stray into it. 

NLT  Isaiah 35:8 And a great road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-minded people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God's ways; fools will never walk there.

Septuagint-NETS - A pure way shall be there, and it shall be called a holy way; and the unclean shall not pass by there, nor shall be there an unclean way, but those who have been dispersed shall walk on it, and they shall not go astray. 

  • A highway will be there Isaiah 11:16; 19:23; 40:3,4; 42:16; 49:11,12; 57:14; 62:10; Jeremiah 31:21; John 14:6; Hebrews 10:20-23
  • a roadway Ephesians 2:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:14,15; 1 Peter 2:9,10
  • The unclean will not travel on it Isaiah 52:1,11; 60:21; Ezekiel 43:12; 44:9; Joel 3:17; Zechariah 14:20,21; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:27
  • But it will be for him who walks that way Isaiah 49:10; Ps 23:4; Matthew 1:23; Revelation 7:15-17
  • And fools will not wander on it Isaiah 30:21; Ps 19:7; 25:8,9; 119:130; Proverbs 4:18; 8:20; Jeremiah 32:39,40; Jeremiah 50:4,5; John 7:17; 1 John 2:20,27

THE HIGHWAY OF HOLINESS:
THE ROAD FOR THE REDEEMED

Hebrew reads literally, "and there will be there a road and a way, and the Way of Holiness it will be called." It be be a HIGH (elevated) way, a HOLY way, to the HOLY CITY and the HOLY ONE of Israel, Who Alone is the "WAY, the truth and the life." (John 14:6). One enters this HIGH AND HOLY way through a NARROW GATE as declared by the BUILDER of this way...

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Mt 7:13-14-note)

This HOLY HIGH way reminds us of Isaiah's words 

A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.  4“Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley;  (Isaiah 40:3-4)

Wiersbe - Isaiah 35:8 expresses one of Isaiah’s favorite themes: the highway (Isaiah 11:16; 19:23; 40:3; 62:10). During the Assyrian invasion, the highways were not safe (Isa 33:8), but during the Kingdom Age it will be safe to travel. There will be one special highway: “The Way of Holiness.” In ancient cities, there were often special roads that only kings and priests could use; but when Messiah reigns, all of His people will be invited to use this highway. (ED: THIS HIGHWAY WILL ALSO BE AVAILABLE FOR ALL GENTILES WHO ARE REQUIRED TO GO UP TO ZION TO CELEBRATE THE ANNUAL FEAST OF BOOTHS AS DESCRIBED IN Zech 14:16, 17-note). Isaiah pictures God’s redeemed, ransomed, and rejoicing Jewish families going up to the yearly feasts in Jerusalem, to praise their Lord. When Isaiah spoke and wrote these words, it is likely that the Assyrians had ravaged the land, destroyed the crops, and made the highways unsafe for travel. The people were cooped up in Jerusalem, wondering what would happen next. The remnant was trusting God’s promises and praying for God’s help, and God answered their prayers. If God kept His promises to His people centuries ago and delivered them, will He not keep His promises in the future and establish His glorious kingdom for His chosen people? (For more on Kingdom see Luke 17:20-21-note) Of course He will! (Be Comforted) (Bolding added)

Jennings

We justly blame those who take all the promises of the Old Testament, and leave only the threatenings for the poor Jew, for in this they do greatly err; yet there is an element of truth in their contention, since "all the promises of God are Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus." Their error is in saying that since God has no further use for Israel, these comforting forecasts apply, and only apply, to Christians, not to Israel as a nation at all! God be thanked that whatever is of a spiritual character does so apply: the material blessings that Israel shall enter into on the basis of the new covenant of grace are, in a spiritual sense, ours by that same grace. But that does not fulfil these promises that were given directly to Israel as identified with her Messiah, Jesus, and given her long before the Church of God was revealed at all.

How lovely the road to Zion! But even for Israel such terms must also have a moral bearing. It is a high way: a path raised above the surrounding land on either side, and keeping the feet of its wayfarers from mud and defilement, as we have already seen it in our seventh chapter. Along that road none unclean can walk; it has no attraction for them; it is for those who have been themselves sanctified (which is the very reverse of meaning those who are conscious of being better than others), and for them alone. They may be very ignorant and simple; but the road is so clearly defined: it is such a high way, so far above low self-seeking paths, that even these simple ones shall have no need to stray from it. Nor can any beast of prey invade it and terrify its travelers; absolute security characterizes it. Why is that? Because those passengers Zionward have all been bought at a great price, and are well-guarded by Him who has thus purchased them.

Surely nothing could exceed the beauty of the picture drawn in the last verses. What sorrows have ever been sweeping across what is called "The Christian world" during the centuries! What rivers of tears and blood have drenched its soil, and what sighs have burdened its air!

For Israel this is the end of their long journey. Like Jacob their father, they have wandered far, and few and evil have been their days, as were his, for no time is worth anything at all that is spent out of communion with God. But here they are at last back again at "Bethel," the very House of God, and in that House they shall dwell forever, as Ps. 23 foresees.

For us too there is a Highway of holiness. High? Yes, big above the ambitions, the lusts, the Christless, bloodless religion of the world. Nor is it less secure than Israel's, for "neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor things present, nor things to come, nor any other creature, shall be able to sever us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord," for He Himself is that High-way! (Isaiah 35 Commentary)

Lange's Commentary - The expression “a highway and a way” is plainly a hendiadys (the expression of an idea by the use of usually two independent words connected by and (as nice and warm) instead of the usual combination of independent word and its modifier (as nicely warm). This way shall be holy. The LORD built it and destined it to lead to His house. It is a pilgrim way. Hence nothing unclean, neither unclean person nor thing, may come up on it.  (Lange's Commentary)

Spurgeon - TWICE has Israel come back from captivity: once when the tribes came out of Egypt, and the Lord led them through the wilderness; and again when they returned from banishment in Babylon, and the Lord restored them to their land. A third return some of us believe still awaits the chosen people. In the day when the grace of God shall change the heart of Israel, the seed of Abraham shall again return into the land which God gave to their fathers by a covenant of salt. I think our text looks forward to a future age when the reproach shall be rolled away from Palestine, and her deserts shall be made to blossom as the rose. Of these future glories we say but little, for little is known by the most of us. The prophecy is, however, sufficiently clear to make us expect that the Lord will make a way for the return of his ancient people, and will restore unto them the joy of his salvation. (Isaiah 35:8 The Holy Road)

A highway will be there - The Hebrew word for highway (maslul) is found only here and is derived from calal/salal which means lift up or pile up as one would do when constructing a highway that was built up to facilitate safer and faster travel. 

Highway (04547)(maslul from calal/salal = to pile up, to elevate) is a masculine noun found only here in the OT. Gilbrant notes that maslul "is a by-form of the noun mesillāh. This nominal form is unattested elsewhere in Semitic. Essentially, maslûl denotes a road built up and made clear of obstacles so as to make traffic easier. The highway is a recurring theme in Isaiah. It is intended not only for Israel's elect, but "for all who walk in that way." Much of the imagery in this passage was familiar in antiquity as worshipers traversed holy ways en route to temples to fulfill ritual obligations. Psalms were recited and sung as Israel's faithful traveled to Jerusalem for the annual feasts. Their destination was Zion. "And the Ransomed of the Lord will return, and come with joyful shouting to Zion" (Isa. 35:10, NASB). (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

Maslul has the same meaning "as the more familiar mesilla - a road built on a raised causeway and therefore visible and unmistakable." (Motyer)

Guzik - Today, we take good roads for granted. But in the ancient world, a good road—a highway—was an amazing blessing for travel, progress, and business. Isaiah announces that in the ministry of the Messiah, there will be a wonderful highway, a road, known as the Highway of Holiness. The Hebrew word for highway indicates what our English word literally says: “a high-way.” It speaks of a raised road, lifted above the ground. It is a high, glorious road to travel on!. The construction of this Highway of Holiness was the greatest engineering feat ever accomplished.Engineering has done much to tunnel mountains, and bridge abysses; but the greatest triumph of engineering is that which made a way from sin to holiness, from death to life, from condemnation to perfection. Who could make a road over the mountains of our iniquities but Almighty God? None but the Lord of love would have wished it; none but the God of wisdom could have devised it; none but the God of power could have carried it out.” (Spurgeon) (Isaiah 35 Commentary) (Bolding added)

And it will be called the Highway of Holiness - Isaiah then goes on to explain why it is a holy highway. And of course ultimately it is because only those who have been bought with a price (1 Cor 6:19-20) of the blood of the Redeemer are set apart or holy to the Lord. All others are unholy. I personally believe this is a literal road that all the saints of the Lord will one day be allowed to travel upon on a totally renovated planet!

The unclean will not travel on it - This is straightforward. Since it is a holy highway leading to the holy city and holy throne of the holy God, the Messiah, unholy persons are not allowed on it!

But it will be for him who walks that way - ESV = "It shall belong to those who walk on the way." CSB = "but it will be for the one who walks the path." NLT = "It will be only for those who walk in God's ways." As Guzik quips "This highway isn’t for everyone. It has a “toll booth,” but you can’t make it on this highway by paying your way. You are only allowed on this highway if you are cleansed by the great work of the Messiah." (Isaiah 35 Commentary)

And fools will not wander on it - NET = "it is reserved for those authorized to use it– fools will not stray into it." NLT = "fools will never walk there." NIV = "wicked fools will not go about on it." There is however another way to interpret this passage as indicated by the ESV rendering which has "even if they are fools, they shall not go astray." The New RSV is similar to the ESV = "not even fools, shall go astray." In other words, even a fool could not get lost on this highway. The Septuagint supports the ESV rendering translating the Greek as "they shall not go astray." Lange's Commentary has "Another advantage of this via sacra is that even the simple-minded (“Thumbe”), cannot go astray on it."

Larry Walker on Highway of Holiness - Highway of Holiness. In the culture of the ancient Near East, certain roads between temples were sometimes open only to those who were ceremonially clean. (Cornerstone Bible Commentary)

Alan Carr -  These verses speak of a highway that will pass through the land in that day. Because of the Assyrian invasion, it was not safe to travel the roads. The day will come when safety will be restored to the land. The people will once again be able to go to Jerusalem to worship the Lord in holiness and peace. 

J M Riddle on the Highway of HolinessIt is called a "highway" meaning "a road built on a raised causeway and therefore visible and unmistakable" (J. A. Motyer). E. J. Young contrasts the "way that is cast up" here, with Jeremiah 18:15, which speaks of a "way not cast up". He comments: "Here then is no mere faint track in the desert, such as is usually found, but a prepared, cast up way, whose existence can be detected without any difficulty". (What the Bible Teaches – Song of Solomon and Isaiah)

NET Note on highway of holiness - In this context those authorized to use the Way of Holiness would be morally upright people who are the recipients of God's deliverance, in contrast to the morally impure and foolish who are excluded from the new covenant community. 

H A Ironside - The way into God’s presence is ever the way of holiness. So in that day when men’s hearts shall be turned to the Lord, He will lead them to Himself along the highway of holiness, to Mount Zion where His throne will be established (cf Zech 8:3, Ps 9:11, 132:13, Isa 8:18) and from which His law will go forth into all the earth. Under His beneficent and righteous reign sorrow and sighing shall come to an end and joy and gladness take their place. While we who belong to the Church, the Body of Christ, have our hearts fixed on the heavenly hope, as we look for the coming of our Lord Jesus and our gathering together unto Him, we cannot but rejoice to know that God has such blessing in store for Israel His earthly people and for the nations of the earth who have been the prey of such distressing circumstances throughout their history, circumstances which they are so powerless to change. It is most humbling to man’s pride, to realize that all our boasted civilization is utterly unable to prevent war and oppression in spite of Peace Conferences, a now effete League of Nations and our present United Nations Council. Christ alone can put things right. His return is man’s only hope for lasting peace. (Isaiah 35 - MILLENNIAL BLESSING) (Bolding Added)

Notice it is a highway of holiness which introduces an interesting play on words, because the Hebrew word for holiness is qodesh which is translated some 65 times as Sanctuary. Indeed this HOLY HIGH way is leading to the HOLY PLACE, the SANCTUARY, the throne of the MESSIAH. This reminds us of Isaiah's earlier prophecy

Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the LORD (THE SANCTUARY) Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it.  3 And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  (Isaiah 2:2-3-note)

And again Isaiah prophesies of a highway...

And there will be a highway from Assyria For the remnant of His people who will be left, Just as there was for Israel In the day that they came up out of the land of Egypt. (Isaiah 11:16-note)

Wiersbe observes that "The “highway” is one of Isaiah’s favorite images. Those who obey the Lord have a level and smooth road to walk (Isa 26:7, 8). When God calls His people back to their land, He will prepare the way for them (Isa 40:3, 4) and lead them safely (Isa 42:16). He will remove obstacles so the people can travel easily (Isa 49:11; 57:14; 62:10). God’s highway will be called “the Way of Holiness” (Isa 35:8). (Be comforted. An Old Testament study. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books)

Holiness (06944)(qodesh) is a masculine noun which means set apart, distinct, unique. Qodesh describes that which has been consecrated or set apart for sacred use and was not to be used for common or profane tasks. If it were used for profane things, in simple terms, it became "not holy." It is fitting that the first OT use of qodesh was in God's instruction to Moses - "Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” (Ex 3:5). The Lxx translates qodesh with hagios, set apart from the common. 

The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it - As explained in the next verse, only the redeemed (believers in Messiah) will travel this highway.

Unclean (02931)(tame) was used to describe those who were ceremonially defiled or ritually impure. The Septuagint translates tame with akathartos which means ritually unacceptable and pertains to that which may not be brought into contact with God's holiness, in this case His holy highway.

NET Note - In this context "fools" are those who are morally corrupt, not those with limited intellectual capacity. 

We see similar descriptions in other prophetic writings...

Joel 3:17-note Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, Dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain. So Jerusalem will be holy, And strangers will pass through it no more.

Zechariah 14:20; 21-note  In that day there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “HOLY TO THE LORD.” And the cooking pots in the LORD’S house will be like the bowls before the altar. 21 Every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the LORD of hosts; and all who sacrifice will come and take of them and boil in them. And there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts in that day.

David Cooper - This highway has by some commentators been understood to be a prediction of the gospel and its conditions of salvation. Thus we are told that the gospel is so very plain and clear that the "wayfaring men, yea fools, shall not err therein." I admit that the gospel plan of salvation is very clear and anyone, even with subnormal intelligence, can comprehend it and can accept the Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy His salvation. About this proposition there can be no question. But when Isaiah 35:8 and the highway mentioned there are studied in the light of the facts of Isaiah 19 and parallel statements, one sees that Isaiah was not speaking of the gospel at all but was talking of a literal highway that will connect Assyria and Egypt in the Millennial Age. This position becomes more abundantly apparent when we recognize that in verses 5-10 of this chapter the prophet was speaking of things out beyond the second coming of our Lord. Thus one does violence to the Scriptures, when one interprets this passage as a reference to the gospel. (Isaiah 36 Commentary)


Brian Bell - (Isaiah 35:8-10a) A road that you can’t get lost on!

  1. Here I find comfort & all hope...that even the fool/simple, as long as he’s on the road, will find his way & not get lost.
    1. The Kings Highway was cut off to them back in Numb.20.
    2. Here a Highway is built(Fast Track Lane i.e. members only!)
  2. The Christian way is not the "middle way" between extremes, but the "narrow way" between precipices. (Donald G. Bloesch in Theological Notebook I. Christianity Today, Vol. 39, no. 5.)
  3. God says we can walk safely on His Highway!
    1. Prov.4:14 “Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil.”
      Prov.4:18 “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.”
      Prov.15:19 “The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, But the way of the uprightis a highway.”
  4. Only Believers enter into Millennium.
    1. Prov.10:30 “The righteous will never be removed, But the wicked will not inhabit the earth.”
    2. Mt.5:5 “Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.”
    3. Also sheep & goat judgment of the Gentiles Mt.25, and  Ezek.20:38 = Judgement of the Jews = "and I will purge from you the rebels and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they will not enter the land of Israel. Thus you will know that I am the LORD."
  5. Q: What blessings are spoken of here which are available now on His Highway (i.e. Christian life)?
    1. Being redeemed; ransomed; singing; joy; gladness.
  1. Q: Are you personally waiting for any of these physical blessings?
    1. In the meanwhile can you enjoy:
      Deliverance from your enemies?
      Fruitfulness in your time left here?
      Spiritual strength in the midst of your physical weaknesses?
      Holiness in a very unholy world?
      Joy & Gladness despite the devils discouragements?
  2. Story: 89 workers were accidentally killed during the building of the Boulder Dam(Hoover). The memorial plaque reads: “For those who died that the desert might bloom.”
    1. One day, the desert will bloom to the Glory of God, because of Jesus’ death upon the cross for you & I.
    2. All earthly wrongs will be righted. Sufferings will cease. Maladies will be removed.
      1. But only believers will partake of these blessings.
      2. If you are not a believer, this present, fallen world is the only kingdom you’ll ever know.
    3. Put your trust in Jesus for a glorious future!

C H Spurgeon - The King's Highway

"The wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein" (Isaiah 35:8).

The way of holiness is so straight and plain that the simplest minds cannot go astray if they constantly follow it. The worldly wise have many twists and turns, and yet they make terrible blunders and generally miss their end. Worldly policy is a poor, shortsighted thing, and when men choose it as their road, it leads them over dark mountains. Gracious minds know no better than to do as the LORD bids them; but this keeps them in the King's highway and under royal protection. Let the reader never for a moment attempt to help himself out of a difficulty by a falsehood or by a questionable act; but let him keep in the middle of the high road of truth and integrity, and he will be following the best possible course. In our lives we must never practice circular sailing nor dream of shuffling. Be just and fear not (See How To Handle Fear), Follow Jesus and heed no evil consequences. If the worst of ills could be avoided by wrongdoing, we should, in the very attempt, have fallen into an evil worse than any other ill could be. God's way must be the very best way. Follow it though men think you a fool, and you will be truly wise. LORD, lead Thy servants in a plain path because of their enemies


Spurgeon Isaiah 35:8 The holy road

‘And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.’ Isaiah 35:8

We might gather from our text that this way was cast up at great expense, for road-making over a long and rugged country is a costly business. It might be read, ‘a causeway shall be there’; it is a way thrown up and raised by art. Engineering has done much to tunnel mountains and bridge abysses, but the greatest triumph of engineering is that which made a way from sin to holiness, from death to life, from condemnation to perfection. Who could make a road over the mountains of our iniquities but Almighty God? None but the Lord of love would have wished it; none but the God of wisdom could have devised it; none but the God of power could have carried it out. It cost the great God the Jewel of heaven: he emptied out the treasury of his own heart, for he ‘spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all’. In the life and death of the Well-beloved infinite wisdom laid a firm foundation for the road by which sinners in all ages may journey home to God. The highway of our God is such a masterpiece that even those who travel it every day often stand and wonder how such a way could have been planned and constructed. That prophecy is fulfilled to the letter: ‘I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls’. This road has lasted now thousands of years; it is still in good travelling condition and will never be closed till all the chosen wayfarers shall have reached the many mansions of the Father’s house. The everlasting causeway remains unbroken and unaltered, and fresh caravans of pilgrims continually traverse it. - 365 Days with Spurgeon (Vol 6)


F B Meyer - Our Daily Homily -   The way of holiness.
This chapter is full of blessed prevision of a state of perfect blessedness, when the curse that has so long brooded over the world shall be removed. Into that sweet and blessed country there is a way from the present: it is the way of holiness.

It is a way. Our holiness is progressive. Though we may perfectly obey up to the limit of our knowledge, that knowledge is ever on the increase, beckoning our advance. Before us lies the path marked out by the footsteps of Jesus, climbing from strength to strength, and we are called to walk in it.

It is a highway. That is, it is for every one that will. It is kept in repair under the King’s own orders. There are no toll-gates on its straight line of route. It is like those Roman roads which traversed countries from end to end, and remain today imperishable monuments of the skill of their constructors.

It is closed against the unclean. The leper of old was forbidden to obstruct the thoroughfare. The unclean soul is equally forbidden to taint that holy way. God’s first requirement of us is separation.

This way is always trodden by Jesus. “He shall be with them” (R. V., marg.). The holy soul has a Divine Companion. For the most part those who tread this way do so as part of a great host; but when the path seems lonely, He goes beside who walked to Emmaus.

It is plainly defined. Wayfaring men, though fools, need make no mistake. Be true to the Bible, to the holy instincts of your soul, and, above all, to the blessed Comforter who guides all. The way may sometimes be paved with jagged flints; but keep in it, it is safe walking, and it leads home. 

Isaiah 35:9   No lion will be there, Nor will any vicious beast go up on it; These will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk there,

KJV Isaiah 35:9 No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:

  • No lion will be there, Nor will any vicious beast go up on it Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:25; Leviticus 26:6; Ezekiel 34:25; Hosea 2:18; Revelation 20:1-3
  • But the redeemed will walk there Isaiah 62:12; Exodus 15:13; Ps 107:2; Galatians 3:13; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:18; Revelation 5:9

THE SAFETY OF THE
HIGHWAY OF HOLINESS

Constable comments that "While what Isaiah described here parallels to a limited extent the Jews’ return from Babylonian captivity, the context of the chapter as well as its terminology point to a fulfillment in the future that the return only prefigured. Another foreview was the streaming of pilgrims to Jerusalem from all over the world to celebrate the annual feasts of Judaism. Amillennialists interpret this chapter as depicting the blessings that would come to the church through the first advent of Christ (cf. John 16:33)." (Isaiah 35 Commentary)

No lion will be there Nor will any vicious beast go up on it; These will not be found there - In ancient Palestine lions and other predators were common and they and other wild animals made traveling dangerous.

As an aside one "lion" that praise God will not be there is our old "adversary, the devil, (who) prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (1 Pet 5:8-note). The apostle John tells us why writing at the beginning of the Millennium...

I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. (Rev 20:1-3-note)

But - Thank the Lord for this blessed term of contrast. We whose sins were once as scarlet, by the blood of the Lamb have been made as white as snow (cf Isa 1:18). Jesus has paid the toll fee that we may forever walk on the highway of holiness to Zion! Praise His Holy Name!

A HIGHWAY ONLY FOR
THE REDEEMED

The redeemed will walk there - Those who have been bought with the price of Messiah's precious blood, Jew and Gentile, men and women, all who have gained entry into the earthly Kingdom of God (See commentary on Luke 17:20 that addresses the question of when is the Kingdom of God coming?) by grace through faith. 

Redeemed (01350)(goel/ga'al - see in depth study) means to buy back or out of bondage (in OT literal slavery, spiritually speaking slavery to Sin and Satan). Of the 83 uses of ga'al in the OT, 18 are translated as our Redeemer. Christ is our Goel or Kinsman-Redeemer. (See study of Goel -- Kinsman Redeemer)

Redeemed is translated in the Septuagint (Lxx) with the verb lutroo which means to free another by paying a ransom price. As alluded to above, the price for a life was blood, for the life is in the blood (Lev 17:11-note) and only the blood of a spotless Lamb, the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29), could perfectly and forever atone for our sins (cf Heb 9:22, 25, Heb 10:4-9, Heb 10:10)! Hallelujah What a Savior!. 

Motyer Redeemed (√gā’al), appearing here for the first of twenty-four times in Isaiah, stresses the person of the redeemer, his relationship to the redeemed and his intervention on their behalf. The participle gō’ēl is the technical term for the next-of-kin who has the right to take his helpless relative’s needs as his own (Lv. 25:25; Nu. 5:8), and is often used of the ‘avenger’ of a murdered person. This is a good indication of the substitutionary nature of the relationship (the one being dead, the other taking over and acting; Nu. 35:12; Dt. 19:6). In its classical expression the work of ‘redeemer’ was a right which no other dare usurp (Ru. 3:12; 4:1–6). It was a right rather than an inescapable duty, calling for willingness. It speaks here, therefore, of the Lord as the only one who can redeem his people, identifying with them as their next-of-kin, willingly shouldering, on their helpless behalf and in their place, all and every one of their needs, paying their price (Lv. 27:13, 19, 31).

Redeemed (goel/ga'al) in Isaiah - Notice the prevalence of the truth about redemption in the last one third of Isaiah's prophecy, the "Comfort of God" (see chart above) - 

Isa. 35:9; Isa. 41:14; Isa. 43:1; Isa. 43:14; Isa. 44:6; Isa. 44:22; Isa. 44:23; Isa. 44:24; Isa. 47:4; Isa. 48:17; Isa. 48:20; Isa. 49:7; Isa. 49:26; Isa. 51:10; Isa. 52:3; Isa. 52:9; Isa. 54:5; Isa. 54:8; Isa. 59:20; Isa. 60:16; Isa. 62:12; Isa. 63:9; Isa. 63:16

And remember that the redeemed will be indwelt by the Holy Spirit enabling them to walk on the Highway of holiness..

“For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. 25“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. 28“You will live in the land (THIS REFERS ESPECIALLY TO THE TIME OF THE MILLENNIUM) that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God. (Ezek. 36:24–28-note).

Isaiah 35:10   And the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

KJV Isaiah 35:10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

  • And the ransomed of the LORD will return Isaiah 51:10,11; Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6
  • And come with joyful shouting to Zion Ps 84:7; Jeremiah 31:11-14; 33:11; John 16:22; Jude 1:21; Revelation 14:1-4; Revelation 15:2-4; 18:20; 19:1-7
  • And sorrow and sighing will flee away Isaiah 25:8; 30:19; 60:20; 65:19; Revelation 7:9-17; 21:4

THE GOAL OF THE JOURNEY
ON THE HIGHWAY OF HOLINESS

Isaiah repeats this verse in Isaiah 51:11 - this reiterates the goal of the pilgrim travelers and the success of their journey. W E Vine comments "The whole passage closes with a promise, which is repeated in Isaiah 51:11, the assurance marking both parts of the book with the same message of comfort."

So the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away. 

Jennings - This brings us to the ending of the first main division of our book. Blessed, oh, how blessed, for us that the end of all ways with His people is, as here, always one of blessing. To Him—three Persons, one God—be glory now and forever.  (Isaiah 35 Commentary)

J Vernon McGee asks "Can you think of anything nicer than this? This not only includes Israel, but it will include the redeemed who enter the Millennium upon the earth. In Zechariah 14:16–17-note we read, “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.” We can say with that old Puritan, Richard Baxter, “Hasten, O Saviour, the time of Thy return. Delay not, lest the living give up their hope. Delay not, lest earth shall grow like hell, and Thy Church shall be crumbled to dust. O hasten, that great resurrection day when the graves that received but rottenness, and retain but dust, shall return Thee glorious stars and suns. Thy desolate Bride saith, Come. The whole creation saith, Come, even so come, Lord Jesus. The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain, waiting for the revealing of the sons of God.” Thus ends the first major division of the Book of Isaiah with all the blessing of the Millennium. (Isaiah 35 Commentary)

Henry Morris on the ransomed of the LORD - When the people of Israel recognize the returning Jesus as their Messiah, and "look upon [Him] whom they have pierced" (Zechariah 12:10-note), they will acknowledge that the very blood of Christ shed by their fathers was the ransom price for their salvation. (The Defender's Study Bible)

And the ransomed of the LORD will return - The ransomed speak first of all of the Jews who have been saved by grace through faith (Ro 11:26-27-note), for their homeland is Israel and so here the promise is they will return

Ransomed (06299)(padah) means to redeem, ransom, buy and so to cause the freedom or release of a person from bondage or ownership, often implying a delivering or rescue of a person in distress, whether in the cases of individuals (Ps 34:22-note) or of the deliverance granted to Israel as a nation (Dt 9:26; 2Sa 7:23; 1Chr 17:21; Isa 29:22). It is especially associated with the deliverance from Egypt (Dt 7:8; 13:5; 24:18; Mic 6:4). In one instance it is used of redemption from sin: “redeem Israel from all his iniquities” (Ps 130:8-note)." Vine notes that padah originally "overlapped with that of kapar; both meant "to ransom." In theological usage, however, each root tended to develop in different directions, so that they can often be considered synonymous only in a very broad sense. Padah indicates that some intervening or substitutionary action effects a release from an undesirable undesirable condition. In more secular contexts, it implies a payment of some sort. But 1Sa 14:45 indicates that money is not intrinsic in the word; Saul is determined to execute Jonathan for his involuntary transgression, but "the people rescued Jonathan, that he died not."Slavery appears as a condition from which one may be "ransomed" (Ex 21:8; Lev 19:20).

And come with joyful shouting to Zion - Why would their be joyful shouting? Because this is the city of the King. The prophecy of Psalm 2:6 has been fulfilled where the Father declares "But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain."

The sons of Korah help us understand why the pilgrims are shouting with joy as they return to Zion...

Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, In the city of our God, His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, Is Mount Zion in the far north, The city of the great King. (Ps 48:1-2)

Zechariah adds

“Thus says the LORD, ‘I (MESSIAH) will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.’ (Zechariah 8:3, cf Zechariah 1:16)

“Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I (MESSIAH) am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the LORD. “Many nations (GENTILES) will join themselves to the LORD in that day and will become My people. Then (IN HIS MILLENNIAL KINGDOM) I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. (Zechariah 2:10-11)

Joel writes...

Then (WHEN? SEE Joel 3:16-note when He returns) you will know that I am the LORD your God, Dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain. So Jerusalem will be holy, And strangers will pass through it no more. (Joel 3:17-note)

The great phrase joyful shouting occurs 10x in 10v in the OT.

Psalm 118:15 The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. 

Psalm 126:2  Then (REFERS MOST LIKELY TO RETURN FROM BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY) our mouth was filled with laughter And our tongue with joyful shouting; (NOTE THE EFFECT OF JOYFUL SHOUTING ON THE GENTILE NATIONS) Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” 

Psalm 126:5  Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. 

Proverbs 11:10  When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, And when the wicked perish, there is joyful shouting. 

Isaiah 35:10  (IN THE FUTURE MILLENNIUM) And the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Isaiah 48:20 Go forth from Babylon! Flee from the Chaldeans! Declare with the sound of joyful shouting, proclaim this, Send it out to the end of the earth; Say, “The LORD has redeemed His servant Jacob.” 

Isaiah 49:13 (IN THE FUTURE MILLENNIUM) Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth! Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains! (WHY?) For the LORD has comforted His people And will have compassion on His afflicted. 

Isaiah 51:11 (IN THE FUTURE MILLENNIUM) So the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away. 

Isaiah 54:1 (IN THE FUTURE MILLENNIUM) “Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child; Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed; For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous Than the sons of the married woman,” says the LORD. 

Ezekiel 7:7  (JUDGMENT ON JUDAH) ‘Your doom has come to you, O inhabitant of the land. The time has come, the day is near–tumult rather than joyful shouting on the mountains.

With everlasting joy upon their heads - The joy will be everlasting because Zion will be from this day forth secure and safe and will never again be subjected to Gentile invasion. 

They will find gladness and joy -Clearly one of the key words in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ will be JOY, the shorthand of which is Jesus Others Yourself. Recall how Isaiah began this description with words like "be glad...will rejoice...rejoice with rejoicing...shout of joy,"  (Isa 35:1,2-note) describing the inanimate creation, but now he says that joy will prevail in the animate creation.

And sorrow and sighing will flee away - The converse of joy is sorrow which will vanish from Christ's Kingdom. What a blessed state we have to look forward to beloved!

Constable writes that verse 10 "not only climaxes chapter 35 but also the whole section of Isaiah dealing with God’s sovereignty over the nations (chs. 13–35). (Isaiah 35 Commentary)

Oswalt - adds that Isaiah 7–12 posed a question: ‘Is God Sovereign of the nations?’ Can God deliver from an Assyria? Or is he just one more of the gods, waiting to be gobbled up by a bigger god? In short, can God be trusted? Chs. 13–35 have sought to answer that question in four main sections: chs. 13–23; 24–27; 28–33; 34–35. In the first, God’s lordship over each of the nations is asserted. In the second, it is shown that God is not merely the reactor to the nations, but is in fact the sovereign Actor on the world’s stage. In the third, the superiority of God’s counsel over that of the merely human leaders is shown. Finally, the last two chapters show the ultimate results of the two courses of action, with Isaiah 35 ending at exactly the same point as Isaiah 11–12, with the promise that God can, and will, redeem. He may be trusted. However, the issue remains: is this merely abstraction or can it become concrete reality? Ahaz had proved that the nations cannot be trusted. But what of God? Can his trustworthiness be demonstrated or only asserted? Must his promises for the distant future be clung to blindly or can an earnest of their reality be experienced now? This is what Isaiah 36–39 are about.” (NICOT-Isaiah)

Midrash Rabbah, Exodus XXIII, 11.… But in the Messianic Age, there will no longer be any troubles, for it says, Because the former troubles are forgotten (Isa. LXV, 16), and They shall obtain gladness and joy (ib. XXXV, 10).


Obsolete by Richard DeHaan

 Read: Isaiah 35 - The ransomed of the Lord . . . shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. —Isaiah 35:10

Pastor and author Joseph Parker (1830-1902) commented about the closing words of Isaiah 35:10, “Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” He said, “Looking through the dictionary, you will occasionally come across a word marked ‘obsolete.’ The time is coming when the two words sorrow and sighing shall be obsolete. The things which mar life here and now will then belong to the past.” Human existence has been marked by tragedy, heartache, disappointment, and evil. It’s comforting to know that the time is coming when sorrow and death will pass away, and God Himself will wipe all tears from our eyes. Then we will experience the truth that “the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Are you burdened today by some seemingly insurmountable problem? Are you lonely, heartbroken, and disappointed? If you are a child of God, dwell on this reassuring thought: “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18-note). A brighter day is coming when words such as sighing, death, and tears will all be obsolete. 

So don’t be downhearted, beloved child of God. Keep looking up! (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

God's tomorrow is a day of gladness,
And its joys shall never fade;
No more weeping, no more sense of sadness,
No more foes to make afraid.
—Ackley

Heaven—no pain, no night, no death, no tears.

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