Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Isaiah 66

Verses 1-24

1. Where, etc.] RV 'what manner of house.. what place shall be my rest.' The v. is a strong rebuke of such as, without a really religious spirit, idly trusted in the inviolability of Zion, and the protection they thought the sanctuary would afford. A like fault is rebuked in Jeremiah 7:1-16. This passage is quoted by St. Stephen (Acts 7:49-50).

2. Those things] i.e. the universe. All.. have been] RV 'so all these things came to be.'

3. They who offer the due sacrifices, yet without a proper spirit, are no better than they who perform unclean or idolatrous acts.

4. Their delusions] i.e. things to delude them.

5. Your brethren, etc.] These are the apostate Israelites (also referred to Isaiah 65:5) who despise the true worshippers of Jehovah. Let the Lord, etc.] RV 'Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy; but they '(who so speak) 'shall be ashamed.' The apostate taunt the faithful with worshipping a God who does not help them.

6. The prophet seems to hear a sound as of one stirring in the Temple and preparing for vengeance.

7-9. The mother is Zion, the child regenerate Israel, and in Isaiah 66:8 the normally slow processes of birth and growth are contrasted with the astonishing development of God's people.

8. Shall the earth.. bring forth] RV 'Shall a land be born.'

9. God will not delay, or leave unfinished, the work of restoration.

11. The figure of Zion as a mother is still continued.

12. Flowing] RV 'overflowing.'

14. An herb] RV 'the tender grass'; their youth will be renewed.

16. Plead] i.e. hold judgment.

17. Sanctify themselves] referring (as in Isaiah 65:5) to the apostates who are initiated into some form of heathen mysteries. Behind one] i.e. (a) 'behind one Asherah,' i.e. idol tree-trunk (RM, cp. Isaiah 17:8); or, (b) 'behind one man,' as priest and leader of their worship. LXX omits the words. Eating, etc.] cp. Isaiah 65:4. The mouse] unclean by the Law (Leviticus 11:29).

8. It shall come] RV 'the time cometh.'

19. Those that escape the divine judgment on the nations opposed to Israel are represented as going as missionaries to the more distant peoples. Tarshish] in Spain; put for the far West. Pul(i.e. Phut) and Lud] probably African peoples; they are mentioned together as serving in the Egyptian army (Ezekiel 30:5). Tubal] Scythian tribes near the Black Sea (Ezekiel 38:2-3). Javan] Ionians, i.e. Greeks settled in Asia Minor.

20. The remoter nations bring back the Israelites dispersed among them.

21. Take of them] i.e. (a) of the nations who bring back the Jews; or, (b) of the Jews themselves thus brought back; all Israel shall be eligible for the priesthood. Isaiah 61:6 favours this latter interpretation.

22. Cp. Isaiah 65:17.

24. The picture of restoration is completed with the thought of the judgment upon the wicked (similarly Isaiah 48:22; Isaiah 57:21), who are here thought of as having been slain in battle by Jehovah (Isaiah 66:15-16). Their worm, etc.] These words may be intended to refer only to the literal destruction of their corpses, or may also include the torment of the spirits of the ungodly. Jewish interpretation adopted the latter view (Sirach 7:17; Judith 16:17), and it appears also to have the sanction of our Lord's teaching (Mark 9:43-48).

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 66". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.