The Joy of the Redeemed
Isaiah Chapter 35 Summary
But in chapter 35, the prophet/poet pictures a glad land, where “the desert will rejoice and blossom like a rose” (35:1)—where people “shall see Yahweh’s glory” (35:2)—where the Lord “will come and “come with vengeance” to “save you” (35:4; note the contrast with 34:8)—where the blind will see and the deaf will hear and the lame will “leap like a deer” (35:5-6a)—where “waters will break out in the wilderness” (35:6) and “grass with reeds and rushes will be in the habitation of jackals, where they lay” (35:7; note the contrast with 34:9, 13). “A highway will be there” (35:8; note the contrast with 34:10). “No lion will be there, nor will any ravenous beast go up on it” (35:9; note the contrast with 34:11-14). “Yahweh’s ransomed ones will return, and come with singing to Zion” (35:10).
Isaiah Chapter 35
Verse 01. The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
Key Phrase: The wilderness, and the solitary place, shall be glad for them; Either for the wild beasts, satyrs, owls, and vultures, that shall inhabit Edom because it shall be an habitation for them. It could also mean “they shall be glad for them, the Edomites.; the destruction of them.
Key Phrase: The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose; The first result of the joy shall be a putting forth of lovely products. Blossoms, beautiful as the rose or the narcissus (Kay), shall spring up all over the parched ground, and make it a parterre of flowers.
Verse 02. 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.
Key Phrase: It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing; Rather, with dancing and singing. Dancing and singing were the ordinary manifestations of religions joy. (Exodus 15:1, 20, 21; Judges 11:34; Judges 21:19-21; 2 Sa14, 15; Psalm 30:11, etc.) and would naturally follow the deliverance of God’s people the power of its enemies. The clause is a touch of realism intruded into prolonged metaphor or allegory and is quite in the manner of Isaiah.
Key Phrase: The glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it,the excellency of Carmel This means productiveness of all kinds, of abundant harvests, fruits, and flowers, and forest trees.
Note: The prophet goes on to express the great change which should be made in the world by the gospel. For Lebanon was a mountain famous for its excellent cedars, Carmel was a
most delightful woody mountain, and Sharon a most pleasant place for pasture. So that all these added together express great excellence visually, sensory, and spiritually.
Key Phrase: shall see the glory of the Lord; The glorious discoveries and effects of God’s power and goodness to his people.
Key Phrase: and the excellency of our God. The glorious effects of God’s power and Glory by his people.
Verse 03. Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.
Key Phrase: Strengthen ye; That is, you who are the religious teachers and guides of the people. This is an address made by the prophet in view of what he had said and was about to say of the praised blessings.
Key Phrase: The weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees; Strength resides mainly in the arms, and in the lower limbs, or the knees. If these are feeble, the whole frame is feeble.
Note: Fear relaxes the strength of the arms, and the firmness of the knees. The expressions 'weak hands,' and 'feeble knees,' become synonymous with saying, of a timid, fearful, and
desponding frame of mind.
Verse 04. 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.
Key Phrase: Say to them; This is still an address to the ministers of religion, to make use of all the consolations which these truths and predictions furnish to confirm and
strengthen the people of God.
Key Phrase: Of a fearful heart; Of a timid, pusillanimous heart; those who tremble before their enemies. The Hebrew is, as in the Margin, expresses as 'Of a hasty heart;' that is, of those who are disposed to flee before their enemies.
Key Phrase: fear not; Be strong in faith, fear not the enemy, nor doubt of the fulfilment of divine promises, relating to their ruin and your safety.
Note: “Fear not!” is the most repeated command in the Bible. In fact, it’s been said that there are 365 “Fear nots” in the Bible — one “Fear not” for every day of the year!
Key Phrase: Behold, your God will come with vengeance; That is, in the manner described in the previous chapter; and, generally, he will take vengeance on all the enemies of his people, and they shall be punished. God would bring them deliverance.
Verse 05. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Key Phrase: Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened; The images in the following are those of joy and exultation. They describe the times of happiness
when God would come to save them from their foes.
Note: This passage is so accurate a description of what the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, did, that it doubtless refers to the miracles which he would perform. In not a few instances did he in fact restore the blind to sight, giving thus the most unequivocal proof that he was the Messiah sent from God. Matthew 9:27; 20:30; Mark 8:23; Mark 10:46; Luke 7:21.
Key Phrase: and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped; Another demonstration of divine power, and another proof that would be furnished that the Messiah was from God. The Lord Jesus often gave this demonstration that he was invested with divine Power. Matthew 11:5; Mark 7:32, Mark 7:37; Mark 9:25.
Verse 06. 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.
Key Phrase: Then shall the lame man leap; This was literally fulfilled after the coming of the Messiah Acts 14:10; Acts 3:8. It is an emblem of the general joy in the coming of the Messiah would impart.
Key Phrase: As an hart; The word used here denotes the stag, or male deer. In Arabic it denotes the wild, or mountain-goat. The word sometimes refers to any species of deer or antelope, and this is referred to here from its quick and sprightly nature.
Key Phrase: And the tongue of the dumb sing; Shall be able to sing, and to praise God. On the restoration of the dumb to the benefits of language, see Matthew 9:32-33; Matthew 12:22; Matthew 15:30-31; Mark 9:17; Luke 11:14.
Key Phrase: For in the wilderness shall waters break out; The joy shall be as great, and the blessings as numerous and refreshing, as if running fountains should suddenly break out in the desert, and the thirsty and weary traveler should be thus unexpectedly and fully supplied. It is frequently employed by the sacred writers, and especially by Isaiah.
Key Phrase: and streams in the desert; The most dry and barren places shall be made moist and fruitful. Which is principally meant of the plentiful effusion of God’s grace
upon such persons and nations as had been wholly destitute of it.
Verse 07. 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.
Key Phrase: And the parched ground shall become a pool; The Hebrew word is essentially
what we know as the mirage, or fata morgana, the silvery sheen which looks like a
sparkling lake and turns out to be barren sand. Instead of that delusive show,
there shall be in the renewed earth the lake itself.
Key Phrase: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay; In kingdoms, cities, and towns,
inhabited by men, comparable to dragons for their poison and cruelty. Were the
great red dragon Satan had his seat. ; and the Pagan emperors, and false religious
powers, who have exercised the authority, power, and cruelty of the dragon, dwell
see Revelation 12:3.
Key Phrase: shall be grass, with reeds and rushes; Persons shall spring up, partakers of the
grace of God, who, for their number and flourishing estate, shall be like the green
grass. Others, still more eminent for their gifts and usefulness, like reeds, or canes
and rushes; see Isaiah 44:3.
Verse 08. 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.
Key Phrase: An highway shall be there, a way; The raised causeway, as distinct from the
common paths. (See Judges 5:6.) The use of the road has been referred, by some
interpreters, to the return of the exiles from Babylon. Rather is it the road by
which the pilgrims of all nations shall journey to the mountain of the Lord’s house
Note: The word "way" (דרך derek) is a general term, and denotes a path, or road of any kind.
Key Phrase: And it shall be called The way of holiness; The reason it should be so called is
stated; - no impure person should travel it. The idea is, that all who should have
access to the favor of God, or who should come into his kingdom, should be holy.
Key Phrase: The unclean shall not pass over it; There shall be no idolater there; no one shall
be admitted who is not a pure worshipper of Yahweh. Such is the design of the
kingdom, which is set up by the Messiah, and such the church of Christ should be
(see Isaiah 40:3-4; Isaiah 49:11; Isaiah 62:10).
Key Phrase: But it shall be for those; For those who are specified immediately, for the
ransomed of the Lord. The Margin is, 'For he shall be with them.' Lowth reads it,
'But he himself shall be with them, walking in the way.' And this, it seems to me, is
the more probable sense of the passage, indicating that they should not go alone
or unprotected. It would be a holy way, because their God would be with them; it
would be safe because he would attend and defend them.
Key Phrase: The wayfaring men; In the Hebrew, 'He walking in the way.' According to the
translation proposed above, this refers to God, the Redeemer, who will be with
his people, walking in the way with them.
Key Phrase: Though fools; In the Hebrew, 'And fools.' That is, the simple, the unlearned, or
those who are regarded as fools. It shall be a highway thrown up, so direct, and
so unlike other paths, that there shall be no danger of mistaking it. The friends of
God are often regarded as fools by the world. Many of them are of the humbler
class of life, and are destitute of human learning, and of worldly wisdom.
Verse 09. 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:
Key Phrase: No lion shall be there; That is, in the way before described; no wicked persons,
comparable to lions for their savage and cruel dispositions towards the people of
God. The Targum interprets it of tyrannical kings and princes, "there shall not be
there a king doing evil, nor an oppressive governor;''
Key Phrase: nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon; Upon the highway; the same may be
intended as before: it shall not be found there; walking, ravaging, and destroying.
Key Phrase: But the redeemed shall walk there; The language here referred at first doubtless
to those who would be rescued from the captivity at Babylon. The main reference
is to those who would be redeemed by the blood of the atonement, or who are
properly called 'the redeemed of the Lord.'
Verse 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.
Key Phrase: And the ransomed of the Lord shall return; The same with the "redeemed" in
Isaiah 35:9 these shall return, or be converted, as the Vulgate Latin version; they
are in the same state and condition with other men by nature, but, by virtue of
their being ransomed by Christ, they are by the grace of God.
Key Phrase: and come to Zion with songs; Being called by grace, and converted, they turn
their backs on the world, and the men of it, and ask the way to Zion, with their
faces towards, even to the church of God. They find their way, being directed and
brought there by the Lord himself; where they come readily and willingly, not only
to hear the Gospel, but to submit to all ordinances, and become members of a
Gospel church; see Hebrews 12:20 and hither they "come with songs", for
electing, redeeming, calling, justifying, and pardoning grace.
Key Phrase: and everlasting joy upon their heads; Seen in their countenances, and by the
lifting up of their heads; and which oil of gladness, is poured upon them, and
diffused all over them, like the ointment on Aaron's head: and this is "everlasting".
Not as to the exercise of it, which is often interrupted by sin, temptation, and
desertion; But as to the ground and foundation of it, the everlasting love of God,
the everlasting covenant of his grace, and the everlasting righteousness and
salvation by Christ; and, as to the principle and habit of it, which can never be lost,
nor any man take it away.
Key Phrase: they shall obtain joy and gladness; By having the presence of God, and
communion with him; through his love being shed abroad in their hearts; by being
favored with views of Christ, and interest in him, and with the gracious influences
of the blessed Spirit.
Key Phrase: and sorrow and sighing shall flee away; Which before attended them, through
convictions of sin, but now removed by the discoveries and applications of
pardoning grace and mercy. What was occasioned by want of the divine Presence,
now enjoyed. Being come to Zion, they are made joyful in the house of prayer,
and are satisfied with the marrow and fatness of Gospel ordinances, and
continually hear the joyful sound of the Gospel itself:. All this may be applied to
the state of the saints in heaven. For the highway before described not only lead
is to Zion the church below, but to the Zion above, to the heavenly glory.