5. And the throne shall be prepared in mercy. The Jews explain the whole of this verse as referring to Hezekiah; but this is altogether inappropriate, for the Prophet speaks of a more important restoration of the Church, and the Moabites had not been punished during the flourishing condition of Hezekiah’s reign; and the blessing of God again began to burst forth on the Jews. It is as if it had been said, “All the enemies of the chosen people maliciously contrive the ruin of that kingdom, which God promised should be established for ever.” (2 Sam. 7:13.) That the godly may not give way to despondency amidst the unhappy confusion, they are reminded of the perpetuity of the kingdom, of which they had been assured by a well-known prediction.
It cannot therefore be explained as referring to any other than to Christ, though I acknowledge that Hezekiah was a type of Christ, as David and the rest of his successors also were. But they conduct us to Christ, who alone is the protector and leader of his people, (John 10:16,) and who has gathered the remnant that was scattered abroad. (John 11:52.) For this reason he sends back the godly to Christ, as if he had said, “You know what God you worship. He has declared that he will watch over your safety, so that under his protection you will always continue to he safe and uninjured; and if you shall at any time meet with reverses, he has promised to you a Redeemer, under whom you shall enjoy renewed and steadfast prosperity. Though for a time you may weep, yet the protector of the Church will come, and will restore you to a flourishing state of freedom. You ought, therefore, with your whole heart, to rely on the expectation of him; even when you see the Church to be in a confused and wretched condition.”
This ought to be carefully observed; for all other consolations are transitory and fading, if we do not refer all of them to Christ. Let our eyes therefore be fixed on him, if we wish to be happy and prosperous; for he has promised that we shall be happy even amidst the cross, (Matt. 5:10, 11,) that agony and torments will open up the way to a blessed life, (2 Cor. 4:17,) and that all the afflictions which we shall suffer will add to the amount of our happiness. (Rom. 8:28.)
In mercy. Isaiah shows that this does not take place through the agency of men, but by the kindness of God, who is the builder of this throne; and therefore we ought to acknowledge that it is owing to his undeserved goodness that this sacred throne is established among us. The Prophet expressly confirms this by saying, that the cause of it must not be sought anywhere else than in the absolute mercy of God. Nor can any other cause be found; for God could not be induced by any excellence of character, or by merits, (of which there certainly were none,) to set up again the throne which had fallen down through the fault and through the crimes of the people; but when he saw that those whom he had adopted were ruined, he wished to give a proof of his infinite goodness. Now, if God build this throne, by whom shall it be overturned? Will wicked men be stronger than he?
And he will sit upon it in the tabernacle of David. Almost every word here is emphatic, so that this verse deserves to be continually pondered. I do not object to the opinion that the word tabernacle contains an allusion to this effect, that he was but an ordinary man before he was called to sit on a throne. (1 Sam. 16:11, 12; 2 Sam. 7:8.) The Prophet intended to draw a picture of the Church, which has no resemblance to the thrones of kings and of princes, and does not shine with gold or precious stones. Though he has held out the spiritual kingdom of Christ under a mean and despicable shape, yet at the same time he shows that that kingdom will be seen on earth and amongst men. If he had only said that the throne of Christ will be erected, we might have asked, Will his throne be in heaven, or also on earth? But now when he says, in the tabernacle of David, he shows that Christ reigns not only among angels but also among men, lest we should think that, in order to seek him, we must enter into heaven. Wicked men ridicule what we preach about the kingdom of Christ, as if it were some phantom of our own imagination. They wish to see it with their eyes, and to have the evidence of their senses; but we ought not to conceive of it as at all carnal, but to be satisfied with his arm and with his power.
In steadfastness. אמת (ĕmĕth) denotes not only truth but every kind of certainty. The Prophet means that the kingdom of Christ will be firm and steadfast, as Daniel also declared. (Dan. 2:44, and 7:14.) The Evangelist also says, Of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:33.) In this respect it is distinguished from the ordinary condition of kingdoms, which, even when they are founded on great and enormous wealth, crumble down or even fell by their own weight, so that they have no more permanency than vanishing pictures. But Isaiah declares, that the kingdom of Christ, though it frequently totter, will be supported by the hand of God, and therefore will last for ever. These proofs ought to fortify us against temptations which arise, whenever the kingdom of Christ is attacked by enemies so numerous and powerful that we might be ready to think that it will quickly be destroyed. Whatever weapons the world may employ, and though hell itself should vomit out flames of fire, we must abide by this promise.
Who shall judge. I understand שפט (shōphēt) to mean Governor, as if he had said, “There will be one who shall govern.” Often do we see a magnificent throne when there is no one to sit on it, and it frequently happens that kings are either idols or cattle, without judgment or skill or wisdom. But here he says, that one will sit who shall discharge the office of a good governor; and this is added in order to assure us that Christ will be our protector.
And seek judgment and hasten righteousness. The judgment and the righteousness which are ascribed to him, are nothing else than the protection under which he receives us, and which he will not allow to be infringed; for he will not allow wicked men who injure us to pass unpunished, while we patiently and calmly commit ourselves to his protection. By the word hasten he shows that he will quickly and speedily avenge our cause. This must be viewed as a rebuke to our impatience, for we never think that his assistance comes soon enough. But when we are hurried along by the violence of passion, let us remember that this arises from not submitting to his providence; for although according to the judgment of our flesh he delays, still he regulates his judgment in the best manner by the seasons which are well known to him. Let us therefore submit to his will.
4b, 5 As noted above, the prophet here puts words in the Moabite messenger’s mouth. He looks forward to the day when the oppression which has driven the Moabites into the Hebrews’ arms will be brought to an end by that ideal ruler of the Davidic house. Because of his attachment to mercy, faithfulness, justice, and righteousness, oppression will not be able to coexist with him (cf. Ps. 89:2–5 [Eng. 1–4]). He will offer a kind of security that will be more permanent than any heretofore known. This vision is clearly messianic, as comparison with 9:1–6 (Eng. 2–7) and 11:1–9 must show. Isaiah recognizes that Moab’s hope is identical with Judah’s. Both wait for a King of Israel who will somehow embody those traits which are in fact of the character of God (Ps. 89:14–38 [Eng. 13–37]). Here then is another way of expressing the truth of 2:1–4: Moab is representative of the nations which will come to the mountain of God to learn his ways, ways which are incarnated in a person who is the true ruler of Israel.
(ii) The fall of Moab’s proud vines (16:6–12)
6 We have heard of the pride of Moab,
his excessive pride and arrogance,
his pride and overbearing,
but his empty talk is not so.
7 Therefore, Moab howls for Moab,
all of it howls.
For the raisin cakes of Kir-hareseth
they moan, utterly stricken.
8 For the fields of Heshbon wither,
the vine of Sibmah.
The lords of the nations have broken down the choice vines
which reached as far as Jazer
and trailed into the desert.
Its shoots spread abroad;
they went over the sea.
9 Therefore I weep with the weeping of Jazer,
O vine of Sibmah.
I drench you with my tears,
Heshbon and Elealeh.
Because over your ripe fruit and over your harvest,
the shout of joy has fallen still.
10 Joy and gladness have been gathered
from the orchard,
and in the vineyard
no one sings, no one shouts.
The treader does not tread wine in the wine vats;
I have made the happy shouts to cease.
11 Therefore my bowels moan like a harp for Moab,
my inward parts for Kir-hares.
12 When Moab appears on the high place
he will become weary.
When he comes to his sanctuary to pray,
he will not be able.
Verses 6–12 contain an elegiac reflection on Moab’s pride and abundance and on the futility of it all.
Ver. 5.—And in mercy shall the throne be established; rather, and there shall be a throne established in mercy. A Messianic vision comes upon the prophet in connection with the disappearance of the oppressor. There shall be one day—he knows not how soon or how late—a throne established in mercy, and “One shall be seated upon it in truth, who shall occupy the tent [or, ‘house’] of David, as one who judges, and seeks justice, and hastens on [the reign of] righteousness.”
16:5 throne … tent of David. The Davidic king will some day sit on His throne in Zion (Am 9:11, 12), ending all injustices such as those committed by the Assyrians.
16:5 Despite her record of enmity, Moab (like other hostile nations) can find refuge in the Messiah. Christ’s mercy extends to all nations (Acts 1:8; Rev. 5:9–10).
16:5 in steadfast love. God had made a covenant with David (55:3; 2 Sam. 22:51; Ps. 89:28; see note 54:8). In Jesus, the Son of David, the nations find shelter (Acts 15:16, 17).
throne … tent of David. Hope lies in Yahweh and in His promises to David (9:2–7; 11:1–9; Amos 9:11, 12).
16:5 Some commentators assert that the judge who will sit on the throne “in the tent of David” was Hezekiah, who would come to the aid of the Moabites during their time of oppression by the Assyrians. Since this Davidic ruler will “execute justice” and “will sit on the throne forever,” his characteristics coincide with those of the Davidic Messiah in 9:6–7 (see 2 Sm 7:12–16). Thus, Isaiah was pointing to someone much greater than Hezekiah.
16:5 The pronouncement evokes the picture of a just descendant of David ruling on the throne. The language is a reminder of the Davidic covenant in 2Sm 7:12–16 (cp. Is 9:7; 11:1–9), and it hints at the expectation of the Messiah.
 Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (Vol. 1, pp. 485–488). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
 Oswalt, J. N. (1986). The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1–39 (pp. 343–345). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
 Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1910). Isaiah (Vol. 1, p. 277). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Is 16:5). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1271). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
 Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 973). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.
 Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J. P., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 1014). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
 Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1066). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.