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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 55

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-13

Isaiah 55:12 . The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing. Virgil has the like ideas. Eclogue 5: 62.

Ipsi lætitia voces ad sidera jactant Intonsi montes; ipsæ jam carmina rupes, Ipsa sonant arbusta.

That is, the unshorn mountains, elated with joy, raise their voices to the stars; yea, the rocks and groves resound with songs. The poets, as well as the prophets, sung the glory of the latter day.


The waters which flowed from the Gihon, the rivers of wine and milk, comprising every other blessing of providence, are here again copiously adduced to express the richer blessings of the gospel. Temporal mercies could not be obtained without labour or money, except when kings gave a royal treat. But here God’s sanctuary is full; the feast is abundant, and the vintage overflows. Peace springs from the threshhold of the Lord’s house, and righteousness drops from his bountiful hands.

The characters invited are those who hunger and thirst, those who have no money, and the worst of the wicked who forsake their thoughts and ways. Then, oh my soul, thou art included most expressly. Come then to the waters flowing from Christ the rock, and to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Eat and drink abundantly, and let all thy desires be satisfied with the fatness of his house.

Sinners are not only invited, but warned of the danger of delay. Wherefore spend ye money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Pleasures, riches, honours, are unsatisfactory; they are but opiates for the moment, which leave both stupor and stings behind. Transient joys and sensual bliss are too mean and scanty to satisfy the vast desires of an immortal spirit, sighing for an immortal good, and erroneously seeking it in the vanities and pleasures of the present life.

God promises to renew with Israel his everlasting covenant, which he made with Abraham in the promised seed, and which he renewed with David. Genesis 12:3. Psalms 89:0. David’s name is here mentioned, because he was a type of Christ; and because his children were about to lose the crown, and be tributary to foreign kings. Yet God’s mercies are sure, being all confirmed in Christ, who is prince of the kings of the earth, and the captain of our salvation. Hence we surely do right in expounding this prophecy of evangelical felicity, because the everlasting or new covenant everywhere refers to Christ.

In order truly to embrace the promises and grace of God, repentance is here enjoined. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found. Repentance, which saved Nineveh, often saved Jerusalem, and would have caused it, as our Saviour says of Sodom, to remain unto this day. But there is a crisis, an awful crisis in the sins of men and of nations, when God will not be found. Ezekiel 14:0. For the further illustration of this text, I refer the reader to three Sermons of Saurin, on the Delay of Repentance, which I have translated from the French; for I believe that more judicious and warm addresses to the unregenerate, never dropped from the lips of any minister.

To encourage Israel, during the Babylonian captivity and the Roman dispersion, to rely on those promises, the Lord pledges his perfections, that they might believe in the magnitude of his mercies. As the heavens are high above the earth, so his providence, his mercy, and his love are high above all our scanty views of grace. But oh my soul, abuse not the riches of his goodness: the promise is to him who forsakes the open wickedness of his life, and the secret concupiscence of his heart.

As the rain makes the earth fruitful, so God’s word shall not be barren; it shall fertilize the gentiles, and cause the earth to bud; yea, it shall make the wilderness as the garden of the Lord. Hence Israel was to go forth from Babylon with joy, and gladden the hills and woods with joyful hymns of the promises of the Messiah’s kingdom and glory. The favours he would show to Zion should be to him for an everlasting name, and a sign. The Roman conquerors proudly assumed the name of Germanicus, Africanus, and Britanicus, after subduing those countries; but of the Messiah it is said, The God of the whole earth shall he be called. May he reign in all our hearts.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 55". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/isaiah-55.html. 1835.
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