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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Isaiah 58



Verses 1-14

2. Did righteousness] i.e. kept the law. They are ready enough for the external requirements of religion.

3. The questions express surprise that the fast is without effect.

Find pleasure, etc.] render, 'carry on business and oppress all your labourers.' With all their professions of self-denial they are selfish.

4. For strife] i.e. strife is the result of this formal fasting. Ye shall not, etc.] RV 'ye fast not this day so as to make your voice,' etc.

5-7. Literal fasting is not here excluded, but the prophet declares its uselessness when divorced from the spirit of love. Our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount closely connects fasting and almsgiving (Matthew 6:1, Matthew 6:16).

6. The heavy burdens] RV 'the bands of the yoke.'

8. Health] RV 'healing.' Thy righteousness] i.e. thy inward personal righteousness: cp. Isaiah 1:27 or, perhaps, 'thy justification in the eyes of the world': cp. Isaiah 54:17; Shall be thy rereward] i.e. shall protect thee. The allusion is to the exodus, when the visible manifestation of Jehovah's presence was a defence to the Israelites from the Egyptians pursuing in the rear (Exodus 14:19). Rereward] i.e. rearguard.

9. Yoke] i.e. of enforced or oppressive labour. Putting.. finger] i.e. in scorn. Vanity] RV 'wickedly.'

10. Draw out, etc.] i.e. supply to the hungry such things as thou thyself desirest.

11. Fat] RV 'strong.'

12. Primarily the prophet contemplates the restoration of the ruined buildings of Jerusalem, but the wider spiritual application of his words is obvious. The faithful soul is not only itself fruitful (Isaiah 58:11), but a means of bringing help and blessing to others.

13. Turn away thy foot from the sabbath] so as not to profane it.

14. Cause thee, etc.] i.e. give thee triumphant possession of the land.

Verses 1-24

The Glorious Future of the Jewish Race

This concluding group of chapters is chiefly distinguished by glowing pictures of the future of Jerusalem, when the Jews shall be restored to their land again. A glorious restoration is promised (Isaiah 60:1-2; Isaiah 61:4, Isaiah 61:10-11), all nations are tobe members of the restored city (Isaiah 60:3-5), the glories of which are vividly pictured (Isaiah 60:6), the crowning glory being the holiness of the citizens (Isaiah 60:21). The fulfilment of the prophet's utterances may be traced in the spiritual glories of the new Jerusalem above, which is the mother of us all.

Isaiah 58:1-7. Mere outward service of Jehovah is vain; He desires mercy rather than sacrifice.

8-12. They who thus serve Him in a right spirit shall be wonderfully rewarded, and shall restore Jerusalem;

13, 14. as also shall they who duly observe the sabbath.

Isaiah 59:1. But why is Jehovah's help so long delayed?

2-8. Because of the depravity of the leaders of Israel,

9- 15a. and because of the sins of the people, which they recognise and confess.

15b-21. No human aid can suffice to right matters, but Jehovah will interpose to vindicate and deliver His oppressed people.

Isaiah 60:1-9. Then shall the dispersed Israelites be gloriously restored.

10-13. Jerusalem shall be rebuilt with splendour, and 14-22. her people shall be dominant and prosperous.

Isaiah 61:1-3. The prophet is commissioned to announce the restoration of exiled Israel.

4-9. The rebuilding of Jerusalem and the coming glory of her people.

10-12. Jerusalem's song of praise.

Isaiah 62:1-7. The great change that is imminent in the fortunes of Jerusalem, and 8-12. in the lot of her afflicted people.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 58:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.

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Thursday, December 3rd, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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