The Berean Expositor
Volume 33 - Page 61 of 253
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"Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope: even to-day do I declare that I will
render double unto thee" (Zech. 9: 12).
In these references we have however been dealing with two different Hebrew words
and two different ideas. The word used in Isa. 40: means "full", thorough", "complete",
whereas the word used in Isa. 61: 7 refers rather to the double portion that belongs to the
firstborn (Deut. 21: 17).
The prophet therefore comforts Israel by announcing that her warfare is accomplished,
that she has received double, or full measure, for her sins, and that now she is to receive
the firstborn's portion--"possess double", and that "everlasting joy" shall be with them.
"Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in
hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things; and he shall put a yoke
upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee . . . . . and the Lord will make thy plagues
wonderful . . . . . the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to
nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land . . . . . the Lord shall scatter thee
among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other . . . . . And among
these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the
Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:
And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shall
have none assurance of thy life: In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even!
and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning!" (Deut. 28: 48-67).
The inquisition, the ghetto, the gabardine, the pogrom, the concentration camp--all
are included in the dreadful curse that was pronounced upon disobedient and gainsaying
The reader may wonder why we have not elaborated the evangelical doctrine of the
forgiveness of sins, seeing that the very words "her iniquity is pardoned" await us, and
seem to be the prophet's own added explanation. Israel are to be pardoned, yea, they are
to be justified, their iniquity being laid upon Him Who bare our sins and carried our
sorrows, but, wondrous as the theme of redeeming love may be, faithfulness prevents us
from introducing the subject here. We are sensitive of the reader's surprise and possible
displeasure, and for the truth's sake, not for our own, we depart from our rule, and quote
an authority.
Dr. Robert Young in his literal translation, reads, "that accepted hath been her
punishment", where the A.V. reads, "her iniquity is pardoned". This translation will be
found in the margin of the R.V. and merits examination. To the evangelical mind, there
is something extremely objectional in this new translation, and if intruded into the New
Testament it would indeed be intolerable, but we must not forget that, however full of
evangelical grace this most glorious of prophecies may be, it was originally uttered,
"concerning Judah and Jerusalem" (Isa. 1: 1), and doctrines that are foreign to the gospel
of the grace of God may be in perfect harmony in the dealings of God with Israel. If
Israel knew the law of Moses they also knew the conditions that were attached to its
cessation and their restoration to favour. The passage that illuminates Isa. 40: 2 is found
in Lev. 26: