You will say in that day: “I will give thanks to thee, O Lord, for though thou wast angry with me, thy anger turned away, and thou didst comfort me. “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name; make known his deeds among the nations, proclaim that his name is exalted. “Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth. Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

Isaiah 12

Isaiah 12 is composed of a beautiful song of thanksgiving.

The closing verses of the previous chapter had made what is probably a symbolical mention of the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage by their passage over the Red Sea by the hand of God.

Of course there was a song of thanksgiving, the Song of Moses and of Miriam (Exodus 15:1-27).

This song seems to have been prompted by that previous deliverance; for in some ways this song resembles the first.

Certainly the deliverance celebrated in this chapter is just as important as that first one and even more comprehensive, because this is the great deliverance from sin that comes to God’s people under the New Covenant, as certified by the words,”in that day,” standing at the head of the chapter.

The opening phrase, in that day, identifies what follows with the redemption of the remnant.

This is the blessing of the redeemed; sin has been forgiven, and Jehovah is recognized and praised as the source of salvation.

Under the Old Covenant, sins were remembered over and over again year by year

Not until the Cross of Jesus Christ, were sins absolutely forgiven, and forgotten.

Whenever any Biblical passage indicates that God’s people are forgiven, as is clearly the case here, it is invariably an indication that the era of the New Covenant is being spoken of, since “forgiveness” is the unique blessing of that New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-35).

This hymn by its whole tenor, and by many expressions in it, seems to be much better calculated for the use of the Christian church, than for the Jewish in any circumstances, either then or at any time that can be assigned.

The Jews themselves seem to have applied it to the times of Messiah.

Isaiah seeks to reassure the inhabitants of Zion and instill into his fellow citizens his own confident faith in the Holy One of Israel.

With this phrase, so characteristic of Isaiah, the section is brought to an end.

The last three verses here carry repeated instructions to God’s people of all ages:

  • (1) Give thanks to Jehovah.
  • (2) Call upon his name.
  • (3) Declare his doings among the people.
  • (4) Make mention that his name is exalted.
  • (5) Sing unto Jehovah.
  • (6) God hath done excellent things; let this be known in all the Earth.
  • (7) Cry aloud and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion; for great in the midst of thee is the Holy One of Israel.

All of this adds up to an elaboration of the Biblical injunction, “Let the redeemed of Jehovah say so” (Psalms 107:2).

The Messianic import of the chapter is further indicated by the expression, “With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

On the great day (the last day) of the feast of tabernacles, there was a ceremony connected with drawing water from the Pool of Siloam in a golden pitcher and pouring it upon the sacrifices that day with great rejoicing.

Obviously the text in the hymn does not apply to anything ordained in the Law of Moses.

And what is said here can hardly be understood of any benefits provided by the Mosaic dispensation.

Our Saviour applied Isaiah’s words here to himself and to the effusion of the Holy Spirit.

(John 7:37ff)

This brings us to the conclusion of the first great division of Isaiah’s prophecy; and in these brief chapters 1-12, there has emerged the great majority of the themes that Isaiah will discuss throughout the book, “line upon line, here a little and there a little.”

Some Themes of Isaiah

  • The apostasy of Israel, their rejection as the chosen people
  • The ruin and captivity of Israel
  • The return of a remnant
  • God’s judgments upon wicked nations
  • The salvation of an obedient remnant
  • The accomplishment of that redemption by the hand of Immanuel (the Messiah)
  • The coming of the Messiah through the Davidic line
  • The virgin birth of Messiah
  • The Messiah’s character, his endowment, his ability, the nature of God’s kingdom
  • The calling of the Gentiles and their reception into God’s fellowship and kingdom along with a remnant of the Jews, etc. etc.

The “Holy One of Israel”

Among the different names of God in Isaiah the “Holy One of Israel” has a special place.

This name appears 28 times (Is. 1:4; 5:19.24; 10:17: His Holy One; 10:20; 12:6; 17:7; 29:19.23: the Holy One of Jacob; 30:11.12.15; 31:1; 37:23; 41:14.16.20; 43:3.14.15; 45:11; 47:4; 48:17; 49:7; 54:5; 55:5; 60:9.14).

This name is elsewhere only to be found in 2 Kings 19:22; Psalms 71:22; Psalms 78:41; Psalms 89:18; Jeremiah 50:29; Jeremiah 51:5 and Ezekiel 39:7 (Holy One of Israel).

It is remarkable that this name of God confirms the unity of the book of Isaiah: it appears in both main parts (chap. 1 – 39 and 40 – 66) 14 times each.

A special emphasis is found in Isaiah using this name in his word to king Hezekiah in 2 Kings 19:22!

The name “Holy One of Israel” implies that the God of Israel is completely separated from all evil for He is of purer eyes than to behold evil.

This is also what the seraphim express who exclaim in front of His throne: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts” (compare Revelation 4:8).

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord of hosts is his name:

Jeremiah 31:31‭-‬35 RSV

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