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Isaiah 62:1 For Zion’s sake will I not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest- At times the prophets are found pleading with God to change the word which they themselves had pronounced and knew to be justified. Is. 62:1-7; 51:9 even appear to be Isaiah’s challenge to the Lord to not let His judgment remain on Zion- Isaiah will not keep silent, nor will his fellow prophets, until God acts. He begs God to not restrain Himself, and to take note of the desolation caused (Is. 63:15; 64:8-12).

The statement that God will not "rest" for Zion's sake (Is. 62:1) must be understood in the context of the faithful at that time urging God not to "be still" [same Hebrew word translated "rest"] for His people (Ps. 83:1; Is. 64:12). This is an allusion to Boaz not being at rest until he had redeemed Ruth and Naomi; see on Is. 49:26. God is not at rest, He is not distant from us; and yet His people in Babylon felt that He was. It's no wonder that we are tempted to feel the same. Yet we must give Is. 62:1 it's full weight- God is answering the complaint of His people by stating that no, He will never rest for them. In this same context we read that He that keeps Israel will "neither slumber nor sleep" (Ps. 121:4).

We must give Is. 62:1 it's full weight- God is answering the complaint of His people by stating that no, He will never rest for them. In this same context we read that He that keeps Israel will "neither slumber nor sleep" (Ps. 121:4). The fact that God will never 'hold His peace' for His people's sake (Is. 62:1) means that we should likewise not 'hold our peace' for them (the same Hebrew is used in Is. 62:6). In our prayers for them, we are to give God no rest (Is. 62:7). And so the connection between Is. 62:1 and 6 leaves us with an amazing challenge: His restless activity and concern for His people should be ours. It must be ours, if we are His children. Being bored from having ‘nothing to do’ just isn’t part of the believer’s life; His huge activity, the endless surging of His Spirit, is to be replicated in us as we too seek the good of others. If this connection is firmly established between His activity and ours, His Spirit and ours… then quite naturally we will seek to maximize our time for Him and be minimalists in the hours we spend upon the things of this life. As He never slumbers nor sleeps in His restless activity and thought for His people, so we shall likewise be in the Kingdom age; and our desire to be there is not because we fancy an eternal tropical holiday with palm trees blowing in the mind, but because we wish to be more closely aligned with His activity, with His Spirit, and not be held back by the limitations of our current natures.

Until her righteousness- The Lord Jesus, "the Lord our righteousness".

Go forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns- It seems that Yahweh Himself would have dwelt in Zion, the "brightness" of the cherubim would have returned there (s.w. Ez. 1:4,13) resulting in a visible light which would have eclipsed the need for light from the sun and moon (Is. 4:5,6, "shining" is s.w. "brightness"). Such great potentials were wasted. But these things will come true in the last days and are alluded to in Rev. 21:4 as having literal truth when the Lord Jesus returns. This would be the fulfilment of the promise to David, that his glorified kingdom would be as the "brightness" after the rain of judgment (2 Sam. 23:4 s.w.). But until then these things are reapplied in a spiritual sense to the way the Lord Jesus, who is the light of God's glory, is to be the light of our world in which we live, move and understand life. He who has no light can find "brightness" in Him (s.w. Is. 50:10). This was hinted at even in Prov. 4:18, where the path of the just is as the "brightness" (s.w.) shining more and more unto the perfect day.   

Some prophecies are dependent on prayer for their fulfilment. This is an example: “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness”. But this is dependent upon prayer: “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem…ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give him no rest till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (:6,7). The prophecy that “I will not rest” was dependent for fulfilment upon the faithful continuing to pray and thereby not giving Him rest. Of course, they pray from their own freewill; there is the possibility they won’t pray, and thereby, surely, there’s the possibility the statement “I will not rest” is purely conditional on our prayers…?

Isaiah 62:2 The nations shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of Yahweh shall name-
They would perceive that their righteousness was in the Lord Jesus, "the Lord our righteousness", and that He was the glory of the people of Israel (Lk. 2:32). As is the case today, the witness to the Lord Jesus is most powerfully through the people whom He has redeemed. Their new name would be related to their being counted righteous; just as today, baptism into the name of the Lord Jesus means we are covered in the clothing of His righteousness.

Isaiah 62:3 You shall also be a crown of beauty in the hand of Yahweh, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God-
It is God's people who are in His hand (Dt. 33:3). The idea is that God is crowned with His people, they are His glory, and He is theirs, just as Paul's converts were his joy and crown.

Isaiah 62:4 You shall no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall your land any more be termed Desolate: but you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for Yahweh delights in you, and your land shall be married- LXX "thy land shall be inhabited"; this fits with the meaning of the names given., for "Beulah" = "Inhabited by Yah"; "Hephzibah" = 'delight of Yah'. But the Hebrew Masoretic text reading "married" connects with how God speaks of how He would remarry Zion in the same way as her sons would remarry her (:4,5)- but her sons chose to stay in Babylon, and so the joyous wedding ceremony God envisaged didn’t happen. They preferred to nurse their own negative self-image, that Yahweh had forsaken them (Is. 49:14).

God not only forgives, but He delights in doing so (as Mic. 7:18); the way He is spoken of as ‘delighting’ in spiritually weak Israel is part and parcel of Him lavishing grace as He does (Num. 14:8). It must be so awful to have such a wonderful spirit of lavishing grace and love, consciously giving out life and patient forgiveness to so many; and yet not be appreciated for it, to have puny humans shaking their fist at God because they die a brief moment of time sooner than they think they should, to have tiny people arrogantly questioning His love. Seeing that God is Almighty, and God could have made [and could re-make] His creation to ‘understand’ and respond in a robot-like way... and seeing God has real and deep emotional feelings... it all makes God almost a tragic figure.

Isaiah 62:5 For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons shall marry you-
LXX makes this more relevant to the exiles returning and living in Zion: "And as a young man lives with a virgin, so shall thy sons dwell in thee". But most of the sons of Zion didn't return there, preferring Babylon; and of those who did, most wouldn't live in Jerusalem but preferred living outside the city and developing their own farmsteads (see on Neh. 11:1,2). "Sons" is banayich but this is
also a form of banah, to build. Her sons were to be her builders. The land and physical city of Jerusalem is likened to a female and the exiles as the young man. But the truth was that by declining the invitation to return to the land, the exiles were declining marriage.

But :4 has said that it is Yahweh as the man who delights in the young woman Zion. The exiles are therefore asked to identify with Him. So God likens Himself to the young man marrying the virgin of Zion; even though she has acted as a whore, He sees her now as a born again virgin. It seems evident that there must have been some kind of previous creation(s), e.g. for the creation of the Angels. God existed from infinity, and yet only 2,000 years ago did He have His only and His begotten Son. And that Son was a human being in order to save humans- only a few million of us (if that), who lived in a 6,000 year time span. In the specter of infinite time and space, this is wondrous. That the Only Son of God should die for a very few of us here, we who crawled on the surface of this tiny planet for such a fleeting moment of time. He died so that God could work out our salvation; and the love of God for us is likened to a young man marrying a virgin (Is. 62:5). Almighty God, who existed from eternity, is likened to a first timer, with all the intensity and joyful expectation and lack of disillusion. And more than this. The Jesus who didn't pre-exist but was like me, died for me, in the shameful way that He did. Our hearts and minds, with all their powers, are in the boundless prospect lost. His pure love for us, His condescension, should mean that we also ought to reach out into the lives of all men, never thinking they are beneath us or too insignificant or distant from us. No wonder 1 Jn. 4:15,16 describes believing that Jesus is the Son of God as believing the love that God has to us.

And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you- This suggests that Yahweh’s joy over the restored state of Zion was a reflection of the joy which the exiles showed over her. They should have responded to the decree of Cyrus with real joy, according to Ps 126:1-3: “When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them. The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad”. But their joy wasn’t so ecstatic. They were happy for those who chose to return and gave them material help to this end, but the majority didn’t feel the joy personally. This Divine rejoicing over God's people is that of the God who rejoices in fulfilling His covenant with His obedient people (Dt. 28:63; 30:9). It will be a mutual joy, with Yahweh's people rejoicing in Him (s.w. Is. 61:10; 65:18) and He in them (Is. 62:5; 65:19) because they have entered the new marriage covenant with Him (Jer. 32:41).

Isaiah 62:6 I have set watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day nor night: you who call on Yahweh, take no rest-
The watchmen were looking for the return of the exiles from Babylon and were giving Yahweh no rest until He brought this about. But they were "set" there, just as God gives repentance. He gave them that mindset. See on :1.

Prayer is a way of making us realize the presence of the God who is always present. God's people are told to "keep not silence" in their prayers to God (Is. 62:6). But the same Hebrew word is translated "Give Him no rest" in the next verse (Is. 62:7). Insofar as the voice of prayer is never silent world-wide, so far God is never, in that sense, at rest. The extent of His activity for us is simply huge.

Is. 62:6,7 speaks of watchmen [= the prophets, Ezekiel 3:17; Jer. 6:17; Hab. 2:1] set upon Jerusalem’s walls as watchmen, keeping no silence [in their prophesying] until Jerusalem was established. For the link between the prophets and standing on a watchtower, see Hab. 2:1. Is this not a reference to Malachi, Haggai and Zechariah prophesying as the basis upon which the newly built walls of Jerusalem would be preserved, and the city develop into the Messianic Kingdom hoped for? Note that the rebuilt Jerusalem of Ezra’s time and the latter day Jerusalem are the same thing in Isaiah; the Kingdom could’ve come then. Watchmen upon the walls were looking for something- for the approach of the Messianic messenger with good tidings of Judah’s full return from captivity, of which Isaiah had spoken in Isaiah 52:7,8. But most of Judah preferred to stay in Babylon, took up a collection for the few who did return… and no Messiah could appear with that news. God had promised this- but He asked to be put in remembrance of His promises (Isaiah 43:26), i.e. He asked for those watchmen to be His ‘rememberancers’, even though He cannot in that sense forget them (Psalms 119:49; Jer. 14:21). In all this we see an exquisite picture of how God works with men, how His promised faithfulness and omnipotence all the same has built into it a requirement for human prayerfulness and response. The reality was that the watchmen / prophets of Israel were blind, ignorant and sleepy (Isaiah 56:10).

Compare the following passages:

“I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence,  And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Is. 62:6,7)


“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” (Eph. 1:15-17).

The ideas of praying without ceasing and making mention occur in both passages. Surely Paul had the Isaiah passage in mind. It seems that he saw the ecclesia as the spiritual Zion. In the same way as Zion’s watchmen were exhorted to pray for her without ceasing until the Kingdom is established there, so Paul prayed for the spiritual growth of his brethren. The implication is surely that once a certain level of spirituality had been achieved, then the Lord will return to establish His Kingdom.

Isaiah 62:7 And give Him no rest, until He establishes and until He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth-
See on :6.
This was partially fulfilled by a minority praying for the restoration of Zion during the 70 years captivity; Daniel and his friends are evident examples. Several passages in Isaiah (e.g. Is. 64:8-12) record model prayers for Zion’s restoration. But the prayers dried up after the return; Isaiah’s exhortation was ignored. The returnees did keep silence, and therefore Zion was not established as a praise in the earth.

Our prayers are to give the Father no "rest" (Is. 62:7), no cessation from violent warfare (Heb.). Isaiah had prophesied that God would not rest until Zion be restored. Watchmen would be set upon Zion’s walls who would give Him no rest until the walls be rebuilt (Is. 62:1,6,7). At this time, Zion was felt by God to be the “apple of his eye” (Zech. 2:8). This prophesy started to be fulfilled straight after the Babylonian invasion when Jeremiah urged the desolated people to pray: “O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the apple of thine eye cease” (Lam. 2:18). The prayerful remnant gave themselves no rest; and thus was fulfilled the prophecy that God would have no rest. Sincere prayer according to God’s will meant that there was a strange mutuality between the Father and those who prayed to Him. Both He and they considered Zion to be the apple of their eye; and thus the prayers were ultimately answered and Zion was restored.

What we bring to our mind in prayer, we bring to God's mind. Those who pray for Jerusalem “keep not silence”- and therefore they give God “no rest” (Is. 62:6,7). But the Hebrew word for “keep not silence” and for ‘give no rest’ is one and the same! There’s a clear play on words here. If we give ourselves no rest in prayer, then we give God no rest. His Spirit or mind becomes our spirit or mind, and vice versa. And hence the telling comments in Romans 8 about our spirit / mind being mediated to God in prayer through Jesus, in His role as ‘the Lord the Spirit’ (Rom. 8:26,27). Yet God Himself had stated that He will not rest nor hold His peace for Zion’s sake (Is. 62:1). Yet His doing this is conditional upon His prayerful people not allowing Him to rest due to their prayers.

The failure of the restored exiles to fulfill these things led to their reapplication and reinterpretation. Paul in Rom. 1:9 ["unceasingly I make mention of you, always in my prayers"] is surely alluding to Is. 62:6,7: “On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the LORD in remembrance, take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth”. Paul saw the Gentile believers in Rome as spiritual Jerusalem. It’s not that God forgets and needs reminding, but rather that by our prayers for others we as it were focus His special attention upon them. Paul several times states that he is day and night, continually in prayer for others. He likely had the Isaiah passage in mind; his brethren in Christ were now for him the Jerusalem upon whom his hopes were set, rather than upon the physical city as had been the case in Judaism.


Isaiah 62:8 Yahweh has sworn by His right hand and by the arm of His strength, Surely I will no more give your grain to be food for your enemies; and foreigners shall not drink your new wine, for which you have laboured-
To lose the fruits of agricultural labour to invading foreigners was part of the curses for breaking covenant with Yahweh. He promises here, therefore, not to punish sin any more. This would be because of His right hand and strength, terms which apply to His manifestation in His Son the Lord Jesus (Ps. 80:17). Such a situation implies the emergence of a situation where sin has already been appropriately punished, and Israel are not going to sin any more. The intention of the new covenant was to place God's Spirit within His people so that they didn't sin and were immortalized. If this Spirit is within us and is already beginning to work, we likewise have thereby the guarantee that we too shall emerge into the Kingdom of God, immortal and unable to sin (Eph. 1:14).

Isaiah 62:9 But those who have garnered it shall eat it, and praise Yahweh; and those who have gathered it shall drink it in the courts of My sanctuary-
The "it" refers to the new wine made from grapes they had themselves gathered (:8). The allusion is to the commands to bring their tithes and offerings to the sanctuary and eat them there, rather than in their homes (Lev. 19:23-25; Dt. 12:17,18). This at best would be fulfilled in essence rather than to the letter in the final fulfilment of the last days. The new covenant offered to the exiles was not the same as the Mosaic law, which was the old covenant which they had broken. But the flavour of this idea of bringing tithes and eating them in the sanctuary suggests that this was intended to have happened at the time of the restoration. So much potential was wasted.

Isaiah 62:10 Go through, go through the gates! Prepare the way of the people! Cast up, cast up the highway! Gather out the stones!-
This prepared highway is a major theme of Isaiah, e.g. Is. 26:7 "The way of the just is uprightness; You who are upright make the path of the righteous level". This is the language of Is. 40. The way was open for the exiles to return as righteous, justified by faith, to a restored Zion; and if they made that journey, Zion's gates were open to them (see on Is. 26:2). That way was potentially prepared at the restoration, but the exiles chose to remain in Babylon and Assyria, and those who did return did so without accepting the call to repentance which is part of the making straight of the path to Zion. But it was all potentially prepared. It is for us now to walk in that path likewise to Zion. In the future it seems there may be literal highways prepared leading to Zion for the repentant remnants of the nations (see on Is. 11:16;  19:23; 35:8; 62:10; Jer. 31:21).

Is. 40:3, which is quoted in Lk. 3:4, speaks of “Prepare ye the way of the Lord”, whereas Is. 62:10 speaks of “Prepare ye the way of the people”. Yet tragically, the way / path of Israel was not the way / path of the Lord (Ez. 18:25). We are not only Jesus to this world but also effectively we are the witness to God Himself. We minister His care to others; to the extent that Paul could write both that he was a minister of God, and also a minister of the church (2 Cor. 6:4; Col. 1:24,25).

Lift up a banner for the peoples- LXX "the Gentiles". Clearly enough, the bronze serpent lifted up on the “standard” or pole  was a symbol of Christ crucified. But time and again throughout Isaiah, we read that a “standard” or ensign will be “lifted up” in order to gather people together to it (Is. 5:26; 13:2; 11:12; 18:3; 62:10). This was the idea of an ensign lifted up. Thus our common response to the cross of Christ should be to gather together unto Him there. And we need to take note that several of those Isaiah passages are speaking about what shall happen in the last days, when divided Israel will unite on the basis of their acceptance of the crucified Jesus. They along with "the peoples", the Gentiles, will come by the same path to eternal fellowship with Yahweh and with each other in Zion.

Isaiah 62:11 Behold, Yahweh has proclaimed to the end of the earth-
The ends of the eretz were Babylon and Persia, where the exiles were. They were being asked to repent and quit exile because their salvation was coming. But they stayed put.

Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your salvation comes- “Your salvation” could refer to Joshua-Jesus, the high priest, returning from Babylon. But Joshua didn’t live up to the conditional prophecies made about him in Zechariah. Ezra and Nehemiah seem to have taken over the priestly and kingly work of Joshua and Zerubbabel respectively. Nehemiah’s record concludes on the negative note that Judah had forsaken Zion (Neh. 13:11). Nobody wanted to live in Jerusalem because of the persecution there; the Levites even went and lived outside it where they had “fields”, because they weren’t given their tithes (Neh. 13:10. Lots had to be drawn to get people to live there (Neh. 11:1). It became a ghost town, when it should have been inhabited as a town without walls for the multitudes of returned exiles joyfully dwelling there (Zech. 2:5). It was God’s intention that ten men (a reference to Israelites of the ten tribes?) would take hold of the skirts of a Jew (i.e. one of Judah) and come with him to worship in the new temple (Zech. 8:23). But in fact the opposite happened. So few wanted to live in Jerusalem, that the rulers had to cast lots to force one in ten Jews to go and live in Jerusalem (Neh. 11:1). And the ten tribes didn’t really unite with Judah, but went off and got lost in the Gentile world.

Behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him’- The "reward" of God will be in the fulfilment of the promises to Abraham (Gen. 15:1 s.w.) in salvation (Is. 62:11), at the time when Judah were restored from captivity and accepted the new covenant (s.w. Jer. 31:16). This huge potential is all deferred to the last days, when the Abrahamic covenant will be finally fulfilled in the return of the Lord Jesus to earth bringing His rewards with Him (Rev. 22:12).

Isaiah 62:12 They shall call them The holy people, The redeemed of Yahweh: and you shall be called Sought out, A city not forsaken
See on :11. There was envisaged a new nomenclature for anything related to God's people, land, temple and city. This didn't happen to the restoration, with the gates of Jerusalem being given totally secular names such as "fish gate". The "they" in view are those who love at the ends of the earth / eretz promised to Abraham (:11), in Egypt, Babylon and Persia where the Jews were exiled. Those who had hosted Judah in captivity and witnessed their idolatry and hypocrisy would marvel at the extent to which they had been redeemed and not forsaken by their God, when He had every reason to have treated them otherwise. This wonderful testament to Divine grace didn't happen at the time of the restoration; but it will do so in the last days. And therefore Jerusalem will be "sought out", as the Gentiles "seek" the ensign / standard pole in Zion (Is. 11:10), which the New Testament interprets as the cross of the Lord Jesus.