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Bible Commentaries

Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Isaiah 56

Verse 1

Judgment, the right resolution to do God’s will, which justice executes, chap. xxxii. (Worthington) --- My justice. Septuagint, "mercy." Christ is at hand. Prepare for your deliverance, by keeping the commandments.

Verse 2

Sabbath. All the Jewish festivals, (Calmet) as well as those of the Christian Church, (Haydock) and the whole law. (Worthington)

Verse 3

People. The Jews would not admit all nations to their communion, Deuteronomy xxxiii. 1. A little before Christ’s coming, they began to make more proselytes; (Matthew xxiii. 15.) and the sacred books being translated, came to the knowledge of the Gentiles, who were thus induced by degrees to embrace the true faith. The road to heaven was always open for those who kept the commandments, (ver. 6.; Calmet) though they might not receive circumcision. (Haydock) --- Christ has removed the wall of separation, (Ephesians ii. 14.; Calmet) and established one fold for all, John x. (Haydock)

Verse 4

Eunuchs. It was ignominious to have no children among the Jews, as the propagation of the true religion depended much on their numbers. But now, since the Church is gathered from all nations, virginity is preferable to marriage, and those who keep the sabbath, or all the commandments, and choose this state freely, will receive greater glory than the other sons and daughters of God. Against this plain meaning, P. Martyr (de Cœlib.) asserts that God prefers eunuchs only because before those who transgress the law. But he gives them a place better than his other sons, &c.! Protestants (Bib. 1603) understand that eunuchs shall be called after (or according to) God’s people, and be of the same religion, which implies no preference at all. They add, therefore, yea, under Christ the dignity of the faithful shall be greater than the Jews were at that time; as if the comparison were between God’s servants before and after Christ, and not between eunuchs and such as have children. How much better is it for us to follow the holy Fathers, who hence commend those who make a vow of perpetual chastity? They shall possess an excellent dignity among the angels. (St. Basil, virg.) --- The rewards of continency are great, eximia. (St. Cyril of Alexandria, hic.) --- "In the eternal mansion they are preferred before children." (St. Gregory, past. iii. 29., &c.) (Worthington) --- Such spiritual eunuchs, as St. John the evangelist, are meant. "He hath chosen what the Lord would, that he should offer more than was commanded....He who is an eunuch, and performs all that is prescribed, shall have....the best place, so that he shall be a tower, and occupy the rank of a priest, and instead of children of the flesh, shall have many spiritual children." (St. Jerome) (Haydock) --- The law excluded eunuchs from the Church, Deuteronomy xxiii. 1. But under the gospel, they may enter heaven, Matthew xix., and 1 Corinthians vii. 32., &c. Daniel (i. 3.) and his companions were eunuchs, yet in high estimation; and virtuous eunuchs are commended, Wisdom iii. 13. (Calmet) --- Choose. Observing the commandments and counsels, like religious men. (Menochius) --- Those who choose to do more than is commanded, will have a greater reward. (Worthington)

Verse 7

Prayer. So the temple is justly styled. (Haydock) --- This shall be open to all nations. After the captivity, the Jews condescended to let the Gentiles have a court, and they even suffered some princes to go into the court of the priests, 2 Machabees iii. 33. Physcon wished to penetrate into the inner sanctuary, (3 Machabees; Ecclesiasticus l.) which could not be granted.

Verse 9

Beasts. Here a fresh discourse begins to chap. lxi. The Chaldeans and Romans are invited to punish God’s people for their sins, committed before the captivity, Zacharias xiv. 2. (Calmet) --- The prophet foresees the negligence of some pastors, and denounces their rigorous chastisement. (Worthington)

Verse 10

Watchmen. Priests and prophets. (Calmet) --- We know (Haydock) only Jeremias who continued firm, Lamentations ii. 14. In the days of Christ, the corruption was not diminished. (Calmet)

Verse 11

Last. The scribes devour the houses of widows, making long prayers, Matthew xxiii. 14. They are blind, Matthew xv. 14. (Haydock)

Verse 13


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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Isaiah 56". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.