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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Isaiah 66

Verses 1-24


Israel’s Restoration from Exile in Babylon

On the authorship and date of these chapters see Intro. According to their subject matter, they fall naturally into three divisions of almost equal length (Isaiah 40-48, 49-57, , 58-66), the close of each division being marked by an intimation that the wicked shall not share in the blessings promised to God’s people.

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.

Verses 1-24


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.

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).

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).

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).

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". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/isaiah-66.html. 1909.