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The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
The vision of Isaiah. THE GENERAL TITLE or PROGRAMME applying to the entire book: for the vision is spread over the reigns of four kings.
In the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32:32) - Isaiah meaning, 'The Lord shall save:' significant of the subject of his prophecies (cf. Introduction). On "vision," see 1 Samuel 9:9, and Introduction. Judah and Jerusalem. Other nations also are the subjects of his prophecies, but only in their relation to the Jews (Isaiah 13:1-22; Isaiah 14:1-32; Isaiah 15:1-9; Isaiah 16:1-14; Isaiah 17:1-14; Isaiah 18:1-7; Isaiah 19:1-25; Isaiah 20:1-6; Isaiah 21:1-17; Isaiah 22:1-25; Isaiah 23:1-18); so also the Ten tribes of Israel are introduced only in the same relation (Isaiah 7:1-25; Isaiah 8:1-22; Isaiah 9:1-21). Jerusalem is particularly specified being the site of the temple, and the center of the theocracy, and the future throne of Messiah (Psalms 48:2-3; Psalms 48:9); Jesus Christ is the "Lion of the tribe of Judah."
Uzziah - called also Azariah (2 Kings 14:21). The Old Testament prophecies spiritually interpret the histories, as the New Testament Epistles interpret the Gospels and Acts. Study them together to see their spiritual relations. The Pentateuch is the basis. The Psalms as well as the prophets, constitute the inspired commentary on it. Isaiah prophesied for only a few years before Uzziah's death; but his prophecies of that period (Isaiah 1:1-31; Isaiah 2:1-22; Isaiah 3:1-26; Isaiah 4:1-6; Isaiah 5:1-30; Isaiah 6:1-13) apply to Jotham's reign also, in which he probably wrote none; for Isaiah 7:1-25 enters immediately on Ahaz' reign, after Uzziah, in Isaiah 6:1-13; the prophecies under Hezekiah follow next.
Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.
Hear, O heavens. The very words of Moses, Deuteronomy 32:1. This implies that the law was the charter and basis of prophecy (Isaiah 8:20).
The Lord hath spoken - Yahweh: in Hebrew, the self-existing and promise-fulfilling unchangeable One. The Jews never pronounced this holy name, but substituted 'Adonaay (H136). The English version LORD (in capitals) marks the Hebrew Yahweh (H3068): though Lord is rather equivalent to 'Adonaay than Yahweh.
I have nourished ... children (Exodus 4:22 ), and they have rebelled against me - as sons (Deuteronomy 21:18) and as subjects, God being King in the theocracy (Isaiah 63:10).
And brought up - Hebrew, romamti; literature, elevated, namely, to special privileges (Jeremiah 2:6-8; Romans 9:4-5).
The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.
The ox knoweth his owner (Jeremiah 8:7 ), and the donkey his master's crib - the stall where it is fed (Proverbs 14:4). Spiritually, the Word and ordinances. The mute brute teaches a lesson to man. It recognizes man, its master; whereas man often disowns his Lord.
(But) Israel - the whole nation: Judah as well as Israel in the restricted sense. God regards His covenant people in their designed unity.
Doth not know - namely, his owner: as the parallellism requires; i:e., does not recognize Him as such (Exodus 19:5, "a peculiar treasure unto me above all people," answering to my people here). This awful and stupid ingratitude reached its height in the non-recognition of Christ by "His own" (John 1:10-11).
Doth not consider - attend to his Master (Isaiah 41:8), notwithstanding the spiritual food which He provides: answering to crib in the parallel clause (Isaiah 49:7).
Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.
Ah sinful nation - Hebrew, goi: the term for the Gentiles. Israel has now by sin become paganized, people-the special designation of God's elect nation (Hosea 1:10). That they should be laden with iniquity is therefore the more monstrous. Sin is an overwhelming load (Psalms 38:4; Matthew 11:28).
A seed - another appellation God's elect (Genesis 12:7; "a right seed," Jeremiah 2:21; designed to be a "holy seed," Isaiah 6:13), but, awful to say, evil-doers, children-by adoption (Hosea 11:1), "yet evil-doers;" not only so, but corrupters of others (Genesis 6:12): the climax. So 'a nation-people-seed-children' form an ascending climax. Corruptio optimi pessima-That which ought to be best is, when corrupted, the worst of all (Matthew 6:23).
They have provoked - (Numbers 14:11; Numbers 14:23; Deuteronomy 31:20; Deuteronomy 32:19.) Piscator translates, despised-namely, so as to provoke (Proverbs 1:30-31). I prefer the English version, 'They seemed to make it their set aim to provoke God, who had adopted them as His children' (Isaiah 3:8; Isaiah 65:3). The Holy One of Israel - the special heinousnses of their sin, that it was against their God (Amos 3:2).
They are gone away backward - literally, estranged (Psalms 58:3).
Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
Why, [ `al (H5921) meh (H4100)] or, as Vulgate, On What part. Image from a body covered all over with marks of blows (Psalms 38:3). There is no part in which you have not been smitten. But the Septuagint and Syriac support the English version.
The whole head is sick ... - not referring, as it is commonly quoted, to their sins, much less to the total depravity of human nature generally, but to the universality of their punishment. However sin, the moral disease of the head, or intellect, and the heart, is doubtless made its own punishment (Proverbs 1:31). "Sick-literature, is in a state of sickness (Gesenius). 'Has passed into lª- sickness' (Maurer).
From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.
From the sole of the foot even unto the head (there is) no soundness in it - From the lowest to the highest of the people: 'the ancient and honourable, the head; the prophet that teacheth lies, the tail.' See Isaiah 9:13-16. He first states their wretched condition, obvious to all (Isaiah 1:6-9); and then, not previously, their irreligious state, the cause of it.
Wounds - judicially inflicted (Hosea 5:13). they have not been closed ... neither mollified with ointment. The art of medicine in the East consists chiefly in external applications (Luke 10:34; James 5:14).
Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. Your country is desolate, your cities (are) burnt with fire. Judah had not in Uzziah's reign recovered from the ravages of the Syrians in Joash's reign (2 Chronicles 24:24), and of Israel in Amaziah's reign, (2 Chronicles 25:13; 2 Chronicles 25:23, etc.) Compare Isaiah's contemporary, Amos (Amos 4:6-11), where, as here (Isaiah 1:9-10), Israel is compared to "Sodom and Gomorrah," because of the judgments on it by "fire."
Your land, strangers devour it in your presence - before your eyes; without your being able to prevent them.
And it is desolate ... - literature, there is desolation, such as is the overthrow (to be looked for) from foreign invaders. Distant foes are more merciless than neighbours to a conquered country (Deuteronomy 29:23). But the description of Judah's state politically and morally is too strong to be limited to Isaiah's time. For Uzziah and Jotham "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord," and Judah was prosperous. The ulterior reference is to Messianic times, when Judah "filled up the measure of their fathers' sins" (Matthew 23:32; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16), and so provoked God to bring upon them the "wrath to the uttermost," in the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews by the Romans.
And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.
The daughter of Zion - the city (Psalms 9:14) Jerusalem and its inhabitants (2 Kings 19:21); daughter, feminine singular being used as a neuter collective noun, comprehending all the sons (see below, margin, Isaiah 12:6). (Maurer.) Metropolis or mother-city is the corresponding term. The idea of youthful beauty is included in daughter.
Is left - as a remnant escaping the general destruction.
As a cottage - a hut, made to give temporary shelter to the care-taker of the vineyard.
As a lodge - not permanent.
As a besieged city (Netzurah-rather, as "left and Isaiah 1:9 require, a city preserved-namely, from the desolation all round (Maurer). But the Septuagint, Chaldaic, Arabic, and Syriac support the English version.
Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.
Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us ... - Yahweh of Sabaoth; i:e., God of the angelic and starry hosts (Psalms 59:5; Psalms 147:4; Psalms 148:2). The latter were objects of idolatry, called hence Sabaism (2 Kings 17:16). God is above even them (1 Chronicles 16:26). 'The groves' were symbols of these starry hosts: it was their worships of Sabaoth, instead of the Lord of Sabaoth, which had caused the present desolation (2 Chronicles 24:18). It needed no less a power than His to preserve even.
A very small remnant. Condescending grace for the elect's sake, since He has no need of us, seeing that He has countless hosts to serve Him.
We should have been (treated judicially) as Sodom. We, as a State, are become like Sodom in morals (as Isaiah 1:10 expressly declares). It is well for us that God has not dealt with us judicially, as He did with Sodom, according to our condition morally.
Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.
Hear ... ye rulers of Sodom - spiritually (Genesis 19:1-38; Jeremiah 23:14; Ezekiel 16:46; Revelation 11:8).
To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.
To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? God does not here absolutely disparage sacrifice, which is as old and universal as sin (Genesis 3:21; Genesis 4:4), and sin is almost as old as the world; but sacrifice unaccompanied with obedience of heart and life (1 Samuel 15:22; Ps. 1: 9-13; Psalms 51:16-19; Hosea 6:6). Positive precepts are only means; moral obedience is the end. A foreshadowing of the Gospel when the One real sacrifice was to supersede all the shadowy ones, and "bring in everlasting righteousness" (Psalms 40:6-7; Daniel 9:24-27; Hebrews 10:1-14).
I am full - to satiety; weary of the burnt offerings-burnt whole, except the blood, which was sprinkled about the altar.
The fat - not to be eaten by man, but burnt on the altar (Leviticus 3:4-5; Leviticus 3:11; Leviticus 3:17).
When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
When ye come to appear before me - in the temple, where the Shechinah, resting on the ark, was the symbol of God's presence (Exodus 23:15; Psalms 42:2).
Who hath required this at your hand - as if you were doing God a service by such hypocritical offerings (Job 35:7). God did require it (Exodus 23:17), but not in this split (Micah 6:6-7).
To tread my courts - areas, in which the worshippers were. None but priests entered the temple itself.
Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
Bring no more vain oblations - unbloody: "meat (old English sense, not flesh) offerings;" i:e., of flour, fruits, oil, etc. (Leviticus 2:1-13). Hebrew, minchah (H4503).
Incense - put upon the sacrifices, and burnt on the altar of incense. Type of prayer (Psalms 141:2; Revelation 8:3).
The new moons - observed as festivals (Numbers 10:10; Numbers 28:11-14), with sacrifices and blowing of silver trumpets.
Sabbaths - the seventh day and the beginning and closing days of the great feasts (Leviticus 23:24-39).
I cannot away with - bear.
(It is) iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Maurer translates, 'I cannot bear iniquity and the solemn meeting' - i:e., the meeting associated with iniquity; literature, the closing day of the feasts, on which there was an holy convocation: so the great days (Leviticus 23:36; John 7:37) [ `ªtsaaraah (H6116), from `aatsar (H6113), to close, or to restrain, namely, from servile work].
Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.
Your appointed feasts - the Sabbath, Passover, Pentecost, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles. They alone were fixed on certain times of the year.
I am weary to bear them - (Isaiah 43:24.)
And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
(Psalms 66:18; Proverbs 28:9; Lamentations 3:43-44.)
When ye spread forth your hands - in prayer (1 Kings 8:22.).
I will hide mine eyes from you ... your hands are full of blood - Hebrew, 'bloods,' put for all heinous sins, persecution of God's servants especially (Matthew 23:35). It was the vocation of the prophets to dispel the delusion, so contrary to the law itself (Deuteronomy 10:16), that outward ritualism would satisfy God. It was the characteristic of the Jews in Christ's time (to which there is an ulterior reference), that they "devoured widows' houses, and for a pretence made long prayers" (Matthew 23:14).
Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
Wash you, make you clean. God saith to the sinner.
Wash you ..., that he finding his inability to "make" himself "clean," may cry to God, Wash me (Psalms 51:2; Psalms 51:7; Psalms 51:10).
Put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes - not mere outward reformation before man's eyes, who cannot, as God, see into the heart (Jeremiah 32:19).
Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
Seek judgment - justice, as magistrates, instead of seeking bribes (Jeremiah 22:3; Jeremiah 22:16).
Judge (vindicate) the (cause of the) fatherless - (Psalms 68:5; James 1:27.)
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Come now ... let us reason together. God deigns to argue the case with us, that all may see the just, nay, loving principle of His dealings with men (Isaiah 43:26).
Though your sins be as scarlet - the colour of Jesus Christ's robe when bearing our "sins" (Matthew 27:28). So Rahab's thread, the type (Joshua 2:18: cf. the "scarlet" used in cleansing the leper, Leviticus 14:4). The Rabbins say that when the lot used to be taken, a scarlet fillet was bound on the scapegoat's head, and after the high priest had confessed his and the people's sins over it, the fillet became white;-the miracle ceased, according to them, 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem - i:e., exactly when Jesus Christ was crucified-a remarkable admission of adversaries. The Hebrew [ shaaniym (H8141, from shaanah, to repeat twice] for "scarlet" radically means double-dyed: so the deep-fixed permanency of sin in the heart, which no mere tears can wash away.
They shall be as white as snow - (Psalms 51:7.) Repentance is presupposed, before sins can be made white as snow (Isaiah 1:19-20); it, too, is God's gift (Jeremiah 31:18, end; Lamentations 5:21; Acts 5:31).
Though they be red - refers to "blood" (Isaiah 1:15).
They shall be as wool - restored to its original undyed whiteness. This verse shows that the old fathers did not 'look only for transitory promises' (Article 7:, 'Book of Common Prayer'). For sins of ignorance, and such like, alone had trespass offerings appointed for them; greater guilt, therefore, needed a greater sacrifice, for "without shedding of blood there was no remission;" but none such was appointed, and yet forgiveness was promised and expected; therefore spiritual Jews must have looked for the One Mediator of both the Old Testament and the New Testament, though dimly understood.
If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land. Temporal blessings in "the land of their possession" were prominent in the Old Testament promises, as suited to the childhood of the Church (Exodus 3:17). The New Testament spiritual promises derive their imagery from the former (Matthew 5:5.).
But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
The Lord hath spoken it. Isaiah's prophecies of temporal prosperity in the land in the event of obedience, and vice versa, rest on the law (Leviticus 26:3-33). God alters not His word (Numbers 23:19).
How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.
How is the faithful city become an harlot! "Faithful" - as a wife (Isaiah 54:5; Isaiah 62:5; Hosea 2:19-20).
Harlot - (Ezekiel 16:28-35.) So the once faithful "woman" becomes "the harlot" Babylon in the New Testament (Revelation 12:1-17; Revelation 17:1-6)
Righteousness lodged in it (2 Peter 3:13 ); but now murderers - murderous oppressors, as the antithesis to righteousness requires (note, Isaiah 1:15). Blood-shedding, as the climax of sin, stands as the summary of all kinds of which manifest want of love to our fellow-man; to hate is, in the Bible view, to murder (1 John 3:15).
Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:
Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water - Thy princes and people are degenerate in solid worth ("silver," Jeremiah 6:28; Jeremiah 6:30; Ezekiel 22:18-19), and in their use of the living Word ('the undiluted wine,' Song of Solomon 7:9).
Mixed - mahul; literally, circumcised (Talmud). So the Arabic to murder wine, for to dilute it. Like Moses, Deuteronomy 10:16, "Circumcise the foreskin of your hearts," Isaiah glances at their tendency to rely on the outward circumcision, without the inward spirit, the true wine of the ordinance.
Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.
Thy princes (are) ... companions of thieves - by connivance (Proverbs 29:24).
Every one loveth gifts - (Ezekiel 22:12.) A nation's corruption begins with its rulers.
Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies:
The mighty One of Israel - mighty to take vengeance, as before to save.
Ah - Indignation.
I will ease me of mine adversaries - my long-tried patience will find relief in at last punishing the guilty (Ezekiel 5:13). God's language condescends to human conceptions.
And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:
I will turn my hand - not in wrath, but in grace (Zechariah 13:7).
Upon thee - as Isaiah 1:26-27 show; contrasted with the enemies, of whom He will avenge Himself (Isaiah 1:24).
Purge away thy dross ... tin - not thy sins, but the sinful persons (Jeremiah 6:29); "enemies" (Isaiah 1:24); degenerate princes (note, Isaiah 1:22), intermingled with the elect "remnant" of grace.
And take away all thy tin - Hebrew, bªdiyl (H913); here the alloy of lead, tin, etc., separated by smelting from the silver. The pious Dr. Bedell took his motto from this.
And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.
I will restore thy judges as at the first - The early and best days of Israel under Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and the judges. As the degeneracy had shown itself most in the magistrates (Isaiah 1:17-23), so, at the "restoration," these shall be such as the theocracy "at the first" had contemplated-namely, after the Babylonian restoration in part and typically; but fully and antitypically under Messiah (Isaiah 32:1; Isaiah 52:8; Jeremiah 33:7; Matthew 19:28, "ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel").
Afterward thou shalt be called ... The faithful city - no longer "an harlot" (Isaiah 1:21).
Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.
Zion shall be redeemed with judgment - temporally, civilly, and morally; type of the spiritual redemption by the price of Jesus Christ's blood (1 Peter 1:18-19), the foundation of "judgment" and "righteousness," and so of pardon.
And her converts with righteousness. The judgment and righteousness are God's first (Isaiah 42:21; Romans 3:26); so they become man's when "converted" (Romans 8:3-4): typified in the display of God's "justice," then exhibited in delivering his covenant people, whereby justice or "righteousness" was produced in them.
Converts - so Maurer. But margin 'they that return of her'-namely, the remnant that return from captivity. However, as Isaiah had not yet expressly foretold the Babylonian captivity, the English version is better.
And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed.
And the destruction of the transgressors, [ sheber (H7667)] - literally, the breaking into shivers, as a potter's vessel (Revelation 2:27). In announcing that "Zion shall be redeemed," this is not to give hope of escape to apostate transgressors and rebels. Ministers must so threaten the wicked as not to sadden humble believers, and so to cheer believers as not to strengthen the hands of sinners by letting them take the promises to themselves. The prophets hasten forward to the final extinction of the ungodly (Psalms 37:20; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:15); of which antecedent judgments are types.
For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen.
They shall be ashamed (Romans 6:21) of the oaks. Others translate ( 'eeyliym (H352)) elms; or else the terebinth or turpentine trees. Groves were dedicated to idols. The Druids took their name from the Greek for oaks. A sacred tree is often found in Assyrian sculpture: the symbol of the starry hosts, tsaabaa' (H6635). Hence, the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic translate, 'the idols.'
Ye shall be confounded for the gardens - planted enclosures for idolatry; the awful counterpart of the garden of Eden.
For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water.
Ye shall be as an oak - ye shall be like the "oaks," the object of your "desire" (Isaiah 1:29). People become like the gods they worship: they never rise above, their level (Psalms 135:18). So men's sins become their own scourges (Jeremiah 2:19).
Whose leaf fadeth. Contrast Isaiah 6:13 as to the elect remnant which 'shall survive. The leaf of the idoloak fades by a law of necessary consequence, having no living sap or "water" from God.
And as a garden that hath no water. Righteous retribution in kind is marked by the fact that "garden" answers to "gardens" (Isaiah 1:29).
And the strong shall be as tow, and the maker of it as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them.
The strong - powerful rulers (Amos 2:9).
Shall be as tow, and the maker of it - rather, his work. Piscator supports the English version, taking it as a participle, poel for a noun. So the Septuagint, Vulgate, Arabic, Syriac Chaldaic, and Hebrew, po`alow (H6467).
As a spark. He shall be at once the fuel, "tow," and the cause of the fire, by kindling the first "spark."
They shall both burn together - the wicked ruler and 'his work,' which "is as a spark."
Remarks: The prophet's name, Isaiah, which means "the Lord shall save," is strikingly significant of the substance of his prophecies. Salvation for the chosen remnant, amidst judgments on the apostate, is the grand theme which he sets forth. The everlasting Law is the basis on which this, the Evangelist among the prophets, rests his Gospel- announcements. He appeals to "heaven and earth" to stand aghast at the unnatural and monstrous perversity of Israel in that, though called to the exalted privilege of being "children" of God, they rebelled against the Father who "nourished" and elevated them. The instinct of the irrational "ox and donkey" reproves the spiritual dulness of man, the lower lord of creation. The brute knows "its owner;" but man often turns against the Almighty hand that feeds him, Above all, such ingratitude is especially monstrous in the case of the professing people of God.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/
the Sixth Week after Easter