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Bible Commentaries

Clarke's Commentary

Isaiah 35

Verse 1

On this chapter Bishop Lowth has offered some important emendations. I shall introduce his translation, as the best yet given of this singular prophecy: -

Verse Isaiah 35:1. Shall be glad — יששום yesusum; in one MS. the מ mem seems to have been added; and שום sum is upon a rasure in another. None of the ancient versions acknowledge it; it seems to have been a mistake, arising from the next word beginning with the same letter. Seventeen MSS. have ישושום yesusum, both vaus expressed; and five MSS. יששם yesusum, without the vaus. Probably the true reading is, "The wilderness and the dry place shall be glad." Not for them.

Verse 2

Verse Isaiah 35:2. Rejoice even with joy and singing - "The well-watered plain of Jordan shall also rejoice"] For ורנן veranen, the Septuagint read ירדן yarden, τα ερηνα του Ιορδανου, "the deserts of Jordan." Four MSS. read גלת gulath; see Joshua 15:19: "Irrigua Jordani;" Houbigant. גידת gidoth, Ripae Jordani, "the banks of Jordan;" Kennicott. See De S. Poesi Hebr. Praelect. xx. note.

Unto it — For לה lah, to it, nine MSS. of Kennicott's and four of De Rossi's read לך lecha, to thee. See ibid.

Verse 7

Verse Isaiah 35:7. The parched ground - "The glowing sand"] שרב sharab; this word is Arabic, [Arabic] as well as Hebrew, expressing in both languages the same thing, the glowing sandy plain, which in the hot countries at a distance has the appearance of water. It occurs in the Koran, chap. xxiv.: "But as to the unbelievers, their works are like a vapour in a plain, which the thirsty traveller thinketh to be water, until, when he cometh thereto, he findeth it to be nothing." Mr. Sale's note on this place is, "The Arabic word serab signifies that false appearance which in the eastern countries is often seen on sandy plains about noon, resembling a large lake of water in motion, and is occasioned by the reverberation of the sun beams: 'by the quivering undulating motion of that quick succession of vapours and exhalations which are extracted by the powerful influence of the sun.' - Shaw, Trav. p. 378. It sometimes tempts thirsty travellers out of their way; but deceives them when they come near, either going forward, (for it always appears at the Same distance,) or quite vanishing." Q. Curtius has mentioned it: "Arenas vapor aestivi solis accendit; camporumque non alia, quam vasti et profundi aequoris species est." - Lib. vii., c. 5. Dr. Hyde gives us the precise meaning and derivation of the word. "Dictum nomen Barca הברקה habberakah, splendorem, seu splendentem regionem notat; cum ea regio radiis solaribus tam copiose collustretur, ut reflexum ab arenis lumen adeo intense fulgens, a longinquo spectantibus, ad instar corporis solaris, aquarum speciem referat; et hinc arenarum splendor et radiatio, (et lingua Persica petito nomine,) dicitur [Arabic] serab, i.e., aquae superficies seu superficialis aquarum species." Annot. in Peritsol., cap. ii.

"Shall spring forth"] The ה he in רבצה rebitseh seems to have been at first מ mem in MS. Bodl., whence Dr. Kennicott concludes it should be רבצים rebitsim. But instead of this word the Syriac, Vulgate, and Chaldee read some word signifying to grow, spring up, or abound. Perhaps פרצה paretsah, or פרצו paretsu, or פרץ החציר parats hachatsir, as Houbigant reads. - L.

Verse 8

Verse Isaiah 35:8. And a highway — The word ודרך vederech is by mistake added to the first member of the sentence from the beginning of the following member. Sixteen MSS. of Dr. Kennicott's, seven ancient, and two of De Rossi's have it but once; so likewise the Syriac, Septuagint, and Arabic.

Err therein.] A MS. of Dr. Kennicott's adds בו bo, in it, which seems necessary to the sense, and so the Vulgate, per eam, "by it." One of De Rossi's has שם sham, there.

But it shall be for those - "But he himself shall be with them, walking in the way."] That is, God; see Isaiah 35:4. "Who shall dwell among them, and set them an example that they should follow his steps." Our old English Version translated the place to this purpose, our last translators were misled by the authority of the Jews, who have absurdly made a division of the verses in the midst of the sentence, thereby destroying the construction and the sense.

Verse 9

Verse Isaiah 35:9. It shall not be found there - "Neither shall he be found there"] Three MSS. read ולא velo, adding the conjunction; and so likewise the Septuagint and Vulgate. And four MSS., one ancient, read ימצא yimmatsa, the verb, as it certainly ought to be, in the masculine form.

The redeemed shall walk there — גאולים geulim. Those whose forfeited inheritances are brought back by the kinsman, גואל goel, the nearest of kin to the family. This has been considered by all orthodox divines as referring to the incarnation of our Lord, and his sacrificial offering. After גאולים geulim, one of De Rossi's MSS. adds עד עולם ad olam, for ever, "The redeemed shall walk there for ever."

Verse 10

Verse Isaiah 35:10. The ransomed — פדויי peduyey, from פדה padah, "to redeem by paying a price." Those for whom a price was paid down to redeem them from bondage and death.

Sighing shall flee away. — אנחה anachah. Never was a sorrowful accent better expressed than in this strong guttural word, an-ach-ah; nearly the same with the Irish in their funeral wailings, och-och-on. The whole nation express all their mournful accents by these three monosyllables.

THIS chapter contains the following parts: -

1. We have here blessed promises of the latter-day glory.

2. The prophet may be considered as addressing the teachers of the Gospel, to show them that it was their business to encourage and direct the people in their expectation of redemption.

3. A promise of the manifestation of God among men is given.

4. The miracles which Christ should work are explicitly mentioned.

5. The privileges of Christianity are specified; there shall be, 1. Thorough teaching; 2. Holy walking.

6. Perfect safety.

7. Complete happiness. And -

8. Final glory.

The chapter shows also that no impurity should be tolerated in the Church of God; for as that is the mystical body of Christ, it should be like himself, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Isaiah 35". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.