Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Be. Septuagint, “comfort my people.” Let them not be dejected. (Haydock) — The end of the captivity, and still more the coming of the Messias, afford consolation, (Calmet) and to this the prophet chiefly alludes. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Evil. Hebrew and some Latin copies have, “warfare.” — Double. A rigorous chastisement, Apocalypse xviii. 6. (Calmet)
Ver. 3. God, that he may conduct his people from Babylon. (Sanchez) — Yet the prophet speaks chiefly of John the Baptist, (Matthew iii. 3.; Calmet) who is evidently foretold. (Worthington)
Ver. 4. Plain. For the captives, or the conversion of the world, Baruch v. 6.
Ver. 5. Glory. God will rescue his people. Christ will redeem mankind.
Ver. 6. Field. On the downfall of the empire of Babylon, the Jews were liberated.
Ver. 9. Thou, female. How beautiful are the feet of those who announce good tidings! (Romans x. 15.) (Haydock) — Thus a feminine noun is applied to Solomon, Ecclesiastes i. Prophets make known to all the coming of the Saviour. (Calmet) — Christ preaches from the mountain, and his apostles over the world. (Worthington)
Ver. 10. Him. Christ will reward and punish, Jeremias xxxi. 16., and Luke ii. 34.
Ver. 11. Young, or have lately had young lambs, fœtas. Jesus is the good shepherd, John x. 14.
Ver. 12. Who. He now proceeds to shew the difference between God and idols. — Fingers, is not expressed in Hebrew, which may denote the epha, Psalm lxxix. 6. (Calmet) — God’s power and goodness in the works of the creation, shew what he will do for man. (Worthington)
Ver. 15. Dust. Hebrew caddak, (Haydock) “as dok fallen.” (Symmachus) — It may signify an atom. (St. Jerome) — If all nations be only like a drop, what portion of it do I occupy? (Calmet; ver. 17.)
Ver. 18. Image. Catholics never pretend to represent the Deity, when they depict the Father as a venerable old man, &c. They do not adore pictures, as our adversaries would insinuate. If we were disposed to cavil, we might bring the same charge against them. For a few weeks ago, “a beautiful altar-piece, painted and presented by the lady of major general Cheney, was put in Hornsea church, representing Christ blessing the bread and wine.” But Protestants can confine such things to their proper use, and Catholic must adore them. (Haydock) — “Such things the Jew, Apella, may believe: not I.” (Horace)
Ver. 19. Silver. Is God like these idols? (Haydock) — Who knows not that the workman is better than they are? (Wisdom xiii. 11.) (Calmet)
Ver. 20. Wood. Hebrew hamsuccan, (Haydock) which Septuagint, Chaldean, and St. Jerome explain of a sort of wood used for idols. Moderns take it to be “a rich,” or rather “a poor man. He who is mean in his offering, chooses wood that,” &c. (Calmet) (Protestants)
Ver. 21. Beginning, by the light of nature, and (Worthington) has not Moses declared that God alone created the world? (Haydock) — His power and goodness herein convince us that he will not deny grace. (Worthington)
Ver. 22. Locusts, compared with the greatest animals. — Nothing. Hebrew, “a curtain.” Septuagint, Syriac, “vault, (Calmet) or chamber,” kamaran.
Ver. 23. Searchers. Hebrew, “princes to nothing.” (Protestants) — Philosophers know nothing independently of God, nor can they subsist without him. (Worthington)
Ver. 26. Host of heaven, the stars, &c., Genesis ii. 1., and Psalm cxlvi. 4.
Ver. 27. Judgment, or conduct, (Genesis xl. 13.; Calmet) as if God minded not our affairs.
Ver. 31. Eagles, who grow young, when they get new feathers, Psalm cii. 5. (St. Jerome) — In this and the following 26 chapters the prophet chiefly comforts his people, as he had rebuked them for their crimes in the first part. (Worthington)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The prophet comforts the people with the promise of the coming of Christ to forgive their sins. God’s almighty power and majesty.
1 Be comforted, be comforted, my people, saith your God.
2 Speak ye to the heart of Jerusalem, and call to her: for her evil is come to an end, her iniquity is forgiven: *she hath received of the hand of the Lord double for all her sins.
3 *The voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight in the wilderness the paths of our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough ways plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh together shall see, that the mouth of the Lord hath spoken.
6 The voice of one, saying: Cry. And I said: What shall I cry? *All flesh is grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of the field.
7 The grass is withered, and the flower is fallen, because the spirit of the Lord hath blown upon it. Indeed, the people is grass:
8 The grass is withered, and the flower is fallen: but the word of our Lord endureth for ever.
9 Get thee up upon a high mountain, thou that bringest good tidings to Sion: lift up thy voice with strength, thou that bringest good tidings to Jerusalem: lift it up, fear not. Say to the cities of Juda: Behold your God:
10 Behold the Lord God shall come with strength, and his arm shall rule: behold his reward is with him, and his work is before him.
11 *He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather together the lambs with his arm, and shall take them up in his bosom, and he himself shall carry them that are with young.
12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and weighed the heavens with his palm? who hath poised with three fingers the bulk of the earth, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?
13 *Who hath forwarded the spirit of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor, and hath taught him?
14 With whom hath he consulted, and who hath instructed him, and taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and shewed him the way of understanding?
15 Behold the Gentiles are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the smallest grain of a balance: behold, the islands are as a little dust.
16 And Libanus shall not be enough to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt-offering.
17 All nations are before him as if they had no being at all, and are counted to him as nothing, and vanity.
18 *To whom then have you likened God? or what image will you make for him?
19 Hath the workman cast a graven statue? or hath the goldsmith formed it with gold, or the silversmith with plates of silver?
20 He hath chosen strong wood, and that will not rot: the skilful workman seeketh how he may set up an idol that may not be moved.
21 Do you not know? hath it not been heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have you not understood the foundations of the earth ?
22 It is he that sitteth upon the globe of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as locusts: *he that stretcheth out the heavens as nothing, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.
23 He that bringeth the searchers of secrets to nothing, that hath made the judges of the earth as vanity.
24 And surely their stock was neither planted, nor sown, nor rooted in the earth: suddenly he hath blown upon them, and they are withered, and a whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.
25 And to whom have ye likened me, or made me equal, saith the holy One?
26 Lift up your eyes on high, and see who hath created these things: who bringeth out their host by number, and calleth them all by their names: by the greatness of his might, and strength, and power, not one of them was missing.
27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel: My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God?
28 Knowest thou not, or hast thou not heard? the Lord is the everlasting God, who hath created the ends of the earth: he shall not faint, nor labour, neither is there any searching out of his wisdom.
29 It is he that giveth strength to the weary, and increaseth force and might to them that are not.
30 Youths shall faint, and labour, and young men shall fall by infirmity.
31 But they that hope in the Lord, shall renew their strength; *they shall take wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
2: Apocalypse xviii.
3: Matthew iii. 3.; Mark i. 3.; Luke iii. 4.; John i. 23.
6: Ecclesiasticus xiv. 18.; James i. 10.; 1 Peter i. 24.
11: Ezechiel xxxiv. 23. and xxxvii. 24.; John x. 11.
13: Wisdom ix. 13.; Romans xi. 34.
18: Acts vii. 40.
22: Genesis i. 6.; Psalm xiv. 2.
31: Psalm x. 5.