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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Isaiah 56

Verses 1-5



1. In view of the deliverance that the Lord is about to give them (Isaiah 46:13; Psalms 85:9), and the manifestation of His righteousness, in such victory as He will permit them to share, the exiles of Israel are urged to:

a. Maintain justice - by trusting in, and submitting themselves wholly to God’s order, (Isaiah 1:17; Isaiah 61:8; Isaiah 5:16; Isaiah 28:17; Jeremiah 22:3).

b. Walk in righteousness and obedience before God, (Isaiah 62:1-2; Zephaniah 2:3; comp. Romans 13:11-12; Matthew 4:17).

2. The person who follows God’s order will truly be blessed (vs. 2). And, in the view of ancient Israel, such a walk was summed up in two things:

a. Observing the divinely-appointed Sabbath - wherein one acknowledges Jehovah.

1) As the omnipotent Creator of all things, (Exodus 20:11; Exodus 31:17).

2) As the Sanctifier of His own peculiar people - setting them apart for His own service, glory, and praise, (Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:12).

3) As the deliverer of His people from bondage, (Deuteronomy 5:15).

b. Keeping himself from evil, (Psalms 34:14; Psalms 97:10; Proverbs 4:27; Proverbs 14:16).

3. Proselytes and eunuchs, who have been denied many privileges in the worship of the nation (Deuteronomy 23:1) will not be in­ferior in the new order that is to come, (vs. 3:5).

a. The "son of the stranger" (proselyte) must not say that "The Lord hath utterly separated me from His people", (vs. 3a; Acts 10:34-35; Ephesians 2:14-16).

b. Nor must the eunuchs regard themselves as insignificant because they can have no offspring, (vs. 3b; comp. Deuteronomy 23:1).

1) The Lord is pleased with any who: observe the sabbath that He has appointed; sacrifice their own will and pleasure for His; and lay firm hold on His covenant-purpose.

2) A proper attitude toward God and His will assures the believing one a place in God’s "house" (Isaiah 2:2-3; Micah 4:1-2; comp. 1 Timothy 3:15), and a "name" that is more lasting than that of being the father of children, (vs. 5; 62:2; comp. Isaiah 48:18-19; John 1:12; John 10:3;1 John 3:1; Revelation 2:7; Revelation 3:12).

c. Such as truly honor the Lord will be permitted to share His millennial "house" (habitation, or dwelling-place), which is Jerusalem - wherein He will sit on the throne of His glory, (Psalms 122; Psalms 132:13-14; comp. Isaiah 2:1-4; Micah 4:1-3).

Verses 6-8

1. In verse 6 Isaiah sets forth certain spiritual conditions whereupon Gentiles may share the fullness of God’s blessings in His coming kingdom.

a. They are to be joined to (identified with) the Lord as His ser­vants, (John 12:26).

b. They are to love His name - joyfully yielding themselves under His authority, (John 14:21-23).

c. They are to keep the sabbath with pure hearts, (vs. 2, 4).

d. And they must take hold of His covenant - approving His high and holy purpose.

2. These will be brought to His holy mountain (Jerusalem) and made joyful in His "house of prayer" - His house being called "a house of prayer for all people", (comp. Matthew 21:13; Luke 19:46).

3. The Lord will gather unto Himself more than the "outcasts of Israel"; He will also take from the Gentiles a people who will glorify His name, (vs. 8; Isaiah 60:3-11; Isaiah 66:18-21; John 10:16; etc.).

Verses 9-12

1. Isaiah sees the faithless watchmen of Israel turning aside from their appointed duties, (vs. 10; comp. Ezekiel 3:17-19).

a. They are blind - with no understanding of the imminent dangers confronting the nation, (Isaiah 29:9-14; Jeremiah 14:13-14).

b. They are "dumb dogs" - unable to sound a warning!

c. They are slothful dreamers - lying down, and loving to slumber, (Nahum 3:18). .

2. Without understanding (Isaiah 1:3), the shepherds of Israel have turn­ed to their own ways - each seeking his own profit; greedy dogs, whose lust for gain is never satisfied, (vs. 11; Isaiah 57:17; Isaiah 28:7; Ezekiel 13:19; Micah 3:5; Micah 3:11).

a. Rather than caring for the sheep, they live to pamper the desires of their own flesh - giving themselves over to wine and strong drink, (vs. 12a; Isaiah 5:11-12; Isaiah 5:22).

b. Forgetting God, and their responsibility before Him, they assume that tomorrow will be just as today-only BETTER! (vs. 12b; Psalms 10:4-6; Luke 12:16-21).

3. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Lord calls the beasts of the field and forest (representing Gentile powers) to come and devour them all, (vs. 9; Isaiah 46:11).

a. Those who have been given the responsibility to shepherd one of God’s flocks must take their stewardship seriously; they must NEVER attempt to "lord it over" God’s people, or to forget their welfare in pursuit of worldly profit.

b. The very first requirement of a steward is that he be found FAITHFUL! (1 Corinthians 4:2).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Isaiah 56". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. 1985.