The Punishment of Apostate and Reward of Faithful Israel
Isaiah 65:1-10. Israel's obduracy to Jehovah's appeals, and persistent idolatry, which He will surely punish; yet a faithful remnant shall be preserved.
11-25. The fate in store for the unfaithful. The glories of the coming age for God's faithful people.
Isaiah 66:1-4. The danger of trusting in externals; a merely formal worship is an abomination to Jehovah.
5. A message of comfort for the faithful who axe persecuted.
6- 14a. The wonderful restoration of Israel.
14b-18a. The divine judgment on the nations, and on all idolaters.
18b-24. The recognition and worship of Jehovah by all nations.
1. Render, 'I have offered answers to those who asked not; I have been at hand to those who sought me not.. a nation that hath not called upon my name.' The v. refers to the Israelites who neglected Jehovah's appeals so often made. St. Paul (Romans 10:20) applies the passage by inference to the heathen world.
3. Gardens] the scenes of idolatrous rites in the pre-exile period (Isaiah 1:29; Isaiah 57:5). Upon altars, etc.] RV 'upon bricks,' i.e. perhaps the tiled roofs of houses (2 Kings 23:12).
4. Monuments] RV 'secret places.' The v. alludes to the custom of sleeping in sepulchres or vaults of idol temples to learn the future through dreams. Eat swine's flesh] i.e. in sacrificial meals (Isaiah 66:17); it was forbidden by the Law as unclean (Leviticus 11:7; Deuteronomy 14:8). Broth, etc.] referring to a sacrificial feast of unclean food.
5. Which say, etc.] The words are uttered by those initiated into heathen mysteries, and who therefore considered themselves peculiarly sacred.
6. It (i.e. their sin) is written] cp. Jeremiah 17:1.
7. Upon the mountains] cp. Isaiah 57:7; Hosea 4:13.
Therefore.. work] RV 'there will I first measure their work.' Jehovah must first of all punish these deeds.
8. The meaning is that as a few good grapes often save a cluster from being destroyed, so Israel shall be preserved through the faithful remnant.
10. Sharon] the maritime plain on the W. of Palestine and the valley of Achor near Jericho on the E., are put for the whole land.
11. Ye are they that] RV 'ye that.'
Prepare a table] alluding to rites such as are described in Jeremiah 7:18. That troop] Heb. Gad, i.e. 'Fortune' (RV): cp. Joshua 11:17. Furnish, etc.] 'fill up mingled wine unto Meni' (i.e. 'destiny'). 'Meni' and 'Gad'.in the clause preceding are names of heathen deities.
12. Number you] RV 'destine you.'
15. Ye shall leave, etc.] So fearful will their fate be that their name will be used in imprecation. Jeremiah 29:22 exactly illustrates what is meant.
16. The meaning is that men will recognise the faithfulness of Jehovah.
17. The same language is in NT. applied to God's final interposition and restoration of all things (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1). Nature itself will be transformed to be in harmony with regenerate Israel: cp. Isaiah 11:6-9.
20. The future, in the prophet's view, will be marked by a return to patriarchal longevity (Genesis 5), the power of death being not altogether removed, but limited. Those who die at 100 will be reckoned as but children, or as prematurely cut off for their sins.
21, 22. Reversal of the curse (Deuteronomy 28:30).
25. Together with the coming golden age for humanity the prophet anticipates a transformation of the lower creation, as in Isaiah 11:6 : cp. Romans 8:19. Dust, etc.] the serpent will be content with the food God assigned to it (Genesis 3:14).
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 65". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany