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earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. 12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. (E)
THUS saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.
2 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it: that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.
3 Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LoRD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry
[to piety, &c.
4 For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
5 Even unto them will I give in mine house, and within my walls, a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.
6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
8 The LORD God which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.
9 All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea all ye beasts in the forest.
10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
11 Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand:
(E) Invitation to partake freely of divine blessings. This comfortable chapter first displays the fulness, freeness, excellence, and everlasting nature of the blessings of the gospel; and remonstrates with men, against spending their talents and their energies in the pursuit of objects, which can neither afford them satisfaction in present enjoyment, nor yield the hope of happiness in a future world. But as the great things
promised, both here and in the preceding chapters, might seem almost incredible, the Prophet adverts to the divine omnipo tence, as abundantly able to accomplish all his promises. This he illustrates i allusion to the rain and snow which fructify the earth: so shall the word of God, and the preaching of the gospel, under the gracious influence of God's Holy Spirit, bring forth the fruits of joy, and righteousness and peace, in all the world.
CHAP. LVI. Ver. 8. Beside those that are gathered-that is, already gathered.
Ver. 10. Sleeping- Marg. "Dreaming," or murmuring in their sleep, as dogs are wont to do. Ver. 11. Greedy-Heb. " Of strong appetite."
Which can never have enough-Reb. "Knowing not to be satisfied."
Ver. 12. I will fetch wine. By this verse it ap pears that these greedy, were also drunken dogs; like the drunkards of Ephraim, chap, xxviii. 1.
The death of the}
they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.
12 Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant. (F)
THE righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.
2 He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.
3 But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore.
4 Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are
ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood,
5 Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys, under the clifts of the rocks?
6 Among the smooth stones of the stream is thy portion; they, they are thy lot even to them hast thou poured a drink offering, thou hast offered a meat offering. Should I receive comfort in these!
7 Upon a lofty and high mountain hast thou set thy bed: even thither wentest thou up to offer sacrifice.
8 Behind the doors also and the posts hast thou set up thy remembrance: for thou hast discovered thyself to another than me, and art gone up; thou hast enlarged thy bed, and made thee a covenant with them; thou lovedst their bed where thou sawest it.
(F) Exhortation to piety; and judgments on wicked rulers and teachers.-Whoever partakes of the blessings of the gospel, is required to be holy in all manner of life and conversation. And he that will be so, is declared to be accepted according to this gracious dispensation, the benefits of which are extensive as the human race, without any respect to persons, or to nations. The stranger, or the eunuch that obeys God's precepts, is preferred to a Hebrew of the Hebrews who neglects them. (See Acts x. 34, 35.)
At the 9th verse a new section of prophecy begins. "The Prophet, in the foregoing chapters, having comforted the faithful Jews with many great promises of God's favour to be extended to them, in the restoration of their ruined state, and the en
largement of his church by the admission of the Gentiles; here, on a sudden, makes a transition to the more disagreeable part of the prospect; and to a sharp reproof of the wicked and unbelievers, and especially of the negligent and faithless governors and teachers of the idolaters and hypocrites, who would still draw down his judgments on the uations. Probably having in view the destruction of their city and polity by the Chaldeans, and perhaps by the Romans." (Bp. Lowth.)
The call upon the wild beasts of the forest to execute judgments upon these apostates from religion and piety, is indeed highly poetical; but when they are resembled to dumb, dreaming, aud greedy dogs, the wolves and lions of the forest are certainly the proper instruments of their correction. (Comp. Jer. xii. 7, 9.)
CHAP. LVII. Ver, 1. The merciful men-Heb. "Men of kindness." Compare Ps. xii. 1. Ver. 2. He shall enter into prace - Marg, "Go in peace," so Lowth. Compare Gen. xv. 15.- -They shay rest in their beds — that is, each of them walking in his uprightness-that is, perhaps, walking "through the valley of the shadow of death." Ps. xxiii. 4. Lowth, however, renders this verse very differently; "He shall rest in his bed, even the perfect man; he that walketh in the straight path."
Ver.3. Seed of the adulterer—that is, the idolater.
See ver. 5.
Ver. 5. Inflaming yourselves— Lowth," Burning with the lust of "idols.--Slaying the children in
the valleys that is, in passing through the fire to Moloch, which was no doubt fatal to many, though others might escape.
Ver. 6 Among the smooth stones of the stream.— These were worshipped by the superstitious heathen, and Clement of Alexandria uses the phrase, “the worshipper of a smooth stone" proverb ally, for an idolater. See Lowth in loc. and our Note on Gen. xxviii. 18.
Ver. 7. Set thy bed-that is, set up idolatry.
Ver. 8. Behind the doors....thy remembrance that is, domestic idols.
Ibid. Thou lovedst their bed-that is, the apparatus of their idolatry, ver.7. where thou sawest it; Marg.
9 And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst debase thyself even unto hell.
10 Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; yet saidst thou not, There is no hope: thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved.
11 And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered me, nor laid it to thy heart? have not I held my peace even of old, and thou fearest me not?
12 I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works; for they shall not profit thee.
13 When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain;
14 And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people.
15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
16 For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.
17 For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart.
18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his
19 I create the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.
20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked. (G)
(G) The death of the righteous lamented, and the hypocrisy of idolaters reproved, with promises to the penitent.-fter lamenting the decease of the righteous, (perhaps with reference either to Hezekiah or Josiah), and the insensibility of the people on the occasion, the prophet proceeds to charge the nation in general with apostacy, and, as in some preceding chapters, with a partiality for alliances with pagan princes. In opposition to this, they are recommended to humble themselves before the God of Israel, whose name is holy, and
whose habitation is eternity, but, who, though he holds his court on high, disdains not to hold communion with the meek and humble upon earth. For though, while man perseveres in rebellion, he can have no ground to hope for mercy; yet, when a sinner falls at the footstool of a throne of grace, God will no more contend with him, lest "the spirit (of man) should fail before him." (Comp. Psalm lxxviii. 38, 39. ciii. 9, 13, 14.)
This chapter concludes, like ch. xlviii, with excluding the wicked and impenitent from any share of the blessings promised to the humble and believing.
NOTES-Chap. LVII. Con.
"Thou providest room;" Lowth, "Thou hast provided a place for it;" meaning, for the idol and its
Ver. 10. In the greatness Lowth, "Length of thy ways," or journey.- -Thou hast found the life of thine hand- Rather, "thou hast found (supported) life by thy haud i. e. by the labour of thy hand. To the same sense, Gataker, Lowth, and Boothroyd.
Ver. 11. That thou hast lied-Lowth, "Dealt falsely."
Ver. 12. Declare thy righteousness.-Perhaps the word might be rendered "expose," develop, or lay open thy righteousness, and show its hypocrisy. N Gataker. Lowth, on the authority of the LXX, Syriac, and Arabic, reads, "my righteousness," but we think without occasion.
Ver. 14. Cust ye up-Compare chap, xl. 3, 4. Ver. 17. Frowardly-Heb. "Turning away;”j. e. from the path of duty.
Ver. 19. Fruit of the lips-that is, praise for perce and mercy. See Heb. xii. 15.
The hypocrisy of]
CRY aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.
3 Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.
4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD.
6 Is not this the fast, that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover
[the Jews reproved.
him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee: the glory of the LORD shall be thy rere-ward.
9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day.
11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure. on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
14 Then shalt thou delight thyself
CHAP. LVIII. Ver. 1. Cry aloud-Heb. "In the throat;" i. e. perhaps," Cry till thou art hoarse." Ver. 3. Labours-Heb. " Griefs;" i. e. the grievous labours required of slaves, who, by God's law, were not allowed to work on fast days. Compare ver 6, also Levit. xvi. 29, and Zech. vii. 5.
Ver. 5. A day for a man, &c.-Marg. "A man to afflict his soul for a day? So Lowth.
Ver. 6. The heavy burdens-Heb. "The bundles of the yoke."-Let the oppressed-Heb. "Broken;" that is, broken down by labour and oppression, as slaves doubtless often were.
Ver. 7. The poor that are cast out-Lowth, "The wandering poor."
Ver. 8. Shall be thy rere-ward-Heb. "Shall gather thee up;" that is, "Gather up all the stragglers."
Ver.9. The putting forth-that is, pointing of the finger, by way of ridicule.And speaking vanity
Lowth, "The injurious," perhaps rather "the contemptuous speech."
Ver. 10. Draw out thy soul—that is, thy affections, which implies both sympathy and benevolence.
Ver. 11. Make fat thy bones-that is, make them strong, as being full of marrow; so the term is used by the Hebrews. See Prov. iii. 8.-xv. 30.xvi. 24.-Fail not-Heb. " Lie," or deceive not, the expectation of the thirsty traveller.
Ver. 12. And they .... of thee-that is, "thy posterity shall build," &c. So Lowth, &c.
Ver. 13. If thou turn away thy foot from the subbath, &c.-The Jews were forbidden to journey on that sacred day, farther than to the tabernacle, &c. they were not to employ it either in business or pleasure, as here follows: Not speaking thine own words-that is, not spending it in sece versation.
Ver. 14. Ride upon the high place
Disclosures of iniquity, and]
ISAIAH. [encouragements to repentance.
in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (H)
BEHOLD, the LORD's hand is not
shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.
4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.
5 They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eat eth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.
6 Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.
7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.
8 The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall
not know peace.
9 Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.
10 We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noon day as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.
11 We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.
12 For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them;
13 In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.
(H) The Hypocrisy of the Jews reproved, with encouragement to the penitent. This chapter might properly be called, The unmasking of hypocrisy, which it appears the Jews of Isaiah's time carried to a height not to be exceeded by either Jews or Christians in any future age; though we fear it may not be without a parallel in both. To set apart a day professedly to God, and at the same time to convert it into a day of pleasure or business, is a crime here admirably described, and pointedly condemned: yet is not this exactly the way in which multitudes of Christians keep the
sabbath? Still more similar is it to the case before us, when persons pretend to sanctify the sabbath themselves, and oblige their servants to devote the whole, or the far greater part of it, to business of domestic labour. The reverse of this character is that of the Christian, who to the exercise of piety towards God, unites that of sympathy and benevolence to the poor and the afflicted, of which we have many happy examples, in those who, without omitting their own religious duties, employ those spare moments which others devote to indolence or luxury, in visiting the sick, and assisting to instruct the ignorant.
CHAP. LIX. Ver. 2. Have hid his face-Marg. "Made him hide," &c.
Ver. 5. They hatch enckatrice eggs Lowth, "The eggs of the basilisk.” That which is crushed-rather, "when it is crushed," or broken,
Ver. 10. 1n desolate places as dead men — or, "like the dead;" alluding, perhaps, to the dark
sepulchral caverns in which they were buried. So
Ver. 11. We roar ali like bears — rather, “ we all growl like bears :" so Parkhurst. Ver. 12. Our transgressions are with us-Lowth, "Cleave fast to us." Our iniquities we know