Click to donate today!
Isa 1:1 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.
Ver. 1. The vision of Isaiah. ] That which was not unfitly affirmed of a modern expositor, a that his commentaries on this prophecy of Isaiah are mole parvi, eruditione mangni, small in bulk, but great in worth, may much more fitly be spoken of the prophecy itself, which is aureus quantivis precii libellus, worth its weight in gold. A "great roll" or "volume" it is called, Isa 8:1 because it is magnum in parvo, much in a little; and it is said there to be "written with a man’s pen," that is, plainly and perspicuously; so little reason was there that John Haselbach, professor at Vienna, should read twenty-one years to his auditors upon this first chapter only, and yet not finish it. b I confess there is no prophecy but hath its obscurity - the picture of prophecy is said to hang in the Pope’s library like a matron with her eyes covered - and Jerome saith that this of Isaiah containeth all rhetoric, ethics, and theology. But if brevity and suavity, which Fulgentius maketh to be the greatest graces of a sentence - if eloquence of style, and evidence of vision may carry it with the reader, here they are eminently met in this seraphical orator, of whom we may far better say than the learned critic doth of Livy, Non ita copiosus ut nimius; neque ira suavis ut lascicus; nec adeo lenis ut remissus: non sic tristis ut horridus; neque ita simplex ut nudus; aut adeo comptus ut affectata compositione calamistris videatur inustus. Par verbis materia, par sententia rebus, &c. c A courtier he was, and a master of speech; a man of noble birth, and as noble a spirit; not the first of the holy prophets, and yet worthily set in the first place - as St Paul’s Epistle to the Romans is for like cause set before the rest - because in abundance of visions he exceedeth his fellows; and in speaking of the Lord Christ, he delivereth himself more like an evangelist than a prophet, and is therefore called the evangelical prophet. d In the New Testament he is cited by Christ and his apostles sixty different times at least; and by the more devoted heathens he was not a little respected, as appeareth by the history of that Ethiopian eunuch. Act 8:26-40
The vision. ] That is, The several visions or doctrines so certainly and clearly revealed to him by God, as if he had seen them with his bodily eyes. See Isa 2:1 Nahum 1:1 . For they are not to be hearkened to who hold that these seers, the prophets, understood not their own prophecies, 1Pe 1:10-11 though it is true that those "holy men of God spake as they were moved," acted, and powerfully carried on ( φερομενοι ) to see and say as they did, by the Holy Ghost. 2Pe 1:21
Of Isaiah. ] Which signifieth "God’s health." He would indeed have healed that perverse people to whom he was sent; but they "would not be healed," as he sadly complaineth, Isaiah 44:4 ; Isa 53:1 turning them over to God with a Non convertentur; They will not repent, let them therefore perish. When there is no hope of curing, there must be cutting.
The Son of Amoz. ] Who likewise was a prophet, say the Hebrews, and of royal extraction.
Which he saw. ] Not which I saw; thus he speaketh for modesty sake. Luther e wittily saith, that Haec ego feci, haec ego feci, shows men to be nothing else but faeces, dregs.
Concerning Judah and Jerusalem. ] The inhabitants whereof lived in God’s good land, but would not live by God’s good laws; to them was objected, as afterwards to the Athenians, Eos scire quae recta sunt, sed facere nolle, that they knew what was right, but had no mind to do it, though this and other prophets used their best oratory in inviting those of them that did rebel, inciting those that did neglect, hastening those that did linger, and recalling those that did wander, to sue out their pardons, and make their peace with their Maker.
In the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. ] And longer too, if that be true which the Hebrews tell us, that at the age of one hundred twenty-six years he was sawn asunder by Manasseh (his grandson by the mother’s side) with a wooden saw. f Sure it is that Manasseh was a most bloody persecutor, and perhaps not inferior to Dioclesian, in whose days such cruelty was exercised toward the Christian bishops and others, Ut totum orcurn dicas in orbem effusum, ubi nemo nisi tortus vel terror sit, g as if hell had been broken loose, and all men turned either torturers or tortured.
b Mercat. Atlas.
d Jerome. Est in fragmentis Demadis, orationes Demosthenis esse ονομαστι καλας . De Isaiae visionibus idem puta. Conciones habet poenitentiales, comminatorias et consolatorias.
e Luth. in Ps. cxxvii.
f Jerome, lib. xv. in Isa. in fine.
Isa 1:2 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.
Ver. 2. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth. ] Exordium patheticum! Moses-like, he calleth heaven and earth, brutas illas mutasque creaturas, to record against God’s rebels, whose stupendous stupidity is hereby taxed. Deuteronomy 4:26 ; Deuteronomy 30:19 ; Deu 31:28 Heaven and earth do hear and obey God’s voice, for "they are all his servants," Psa 119:91 keeping their constant course. Only man, that great heteroclite, a breaketh order, and is therefore worse than other creatures, because he should be better.
For the Lord hath spoken it. ] So Jeremiah 13:15 , "Hear and give ear; be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken it." Jehovah, whose voice "shaketh not the earth only, but the heavens also," Heb 12:26 Psa 104:32 at whose dreadful presence mountains melt, rocks rend asunder, and the whole fabric of heaven and earth is astonished, horribly afraid, and very desolate; Jer 2:12 this great Jehovah - whose name is great among the heathen. Mal 1:11 The Pythagoreans used to swear by τετρακτην , Quaternity, the name Jehovah consisting of four letters in the Hebrew, which also they called πηγην αεναου φυσεως , the fountain of eternity - Aphihu, even he hath spoken, or ‘is about to speak’ - scil., by my mouth and ministry. b "Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not: fear ye not me? saith Jehovah. Will ye not tremble at my presence?" &c. Jer 5:21-22 "Hear, ye deaf, and look, ye blind, that ye may see." Isa 42:18 Thus must ministers preach to the conscience, cut to the quick, rouse up themselves and wrestle with their hearers, goring their very souls with smarting pain, while they speak "as the oracles of God," 1Pe 4:11 with all gravity and authority.
I have nourished and brought up children. ] Or, Advanced, exalted them. Brevicula verba, sed causa querulandi maxima; a short but sharp contest. c God had adopted, educated, and advanced the people of Israel; but "Jesurun waxed fat, and kicked," as young mulets, when they have sucked, lift up the heel and kick the dam’s dugs, as hawks when fully fed forget their master.
And they have rebelled against me. ] Or, Transgressed, blasphemed. Rebellion is a kind of blasphemy, Numbers 15:30-31 Eze 20:27 and unthankfulness is, as one saith, an accumulative sin, a voluminous wickedness. Many sins are bound up in it, as Cicero saith of parricide. Solon would make no law against parricide, because he thought none would be so vile as to commit it. Lycurgus would make no law against ingratitude for like reason.
a A person that deviates from the ordinary rule; an ‘anomaly’.
b Lingua mea est calamus S.S. et guttur meum est tuba divino inflata et clangens anhelitu. - Deut. xxxii. 15.
c Plato Aristotelem vocabat mulum.
Isa 1:3 The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: [but] Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.
Ver. 3. The ox knoweth his owner. ] Yea, helpeth him; whence these creatures are called iumenta a iuvando, and the ass hath his name in Greek a from his usefulness. Yea, the most savage creatures will be at the beck and check of those that feed them. Disobedience, therefore, is against the principles of nature, and God’s rebels fall below the stirrup of reason, yea, of sense, so great cause was there that our prophet, tantas tragoedias ageret, should begin his sermon with such a solemn contestation, "Hear, O heavens," &c. O coelum, O terram! "But Israel doth not know" - quo est stupore. He needeth to he set to school to these dullest of creatures to learn the knowledge of God and of his will, of himself and his duty. Oh, the brutish ignorance of many profligate professors! "They are a people of no understanding." Psa 53:4 So Isaiah 44:18 .
My people doth not consider. ] Though "them only have I known of all the families of the earth," Amo 3:2 culling and calling them, owning and honouring them, adopting and accepting them for my people, when I had all the world before me to choose in, Deu 10:14-15 yet they value not my benefits; they stir not up themselves, as the Hebrew word signifieth, to apprehend them, and to be affected with them. All is lost that I have laid out upon them. Unthankfulness is as a grave, which receiveth dead bodies, but rendereth them not up again without a miracle. But "should ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise?" Deu 32:6 See Trapp on " Deu 32:6 "
a ενος from ονημι .
Isa 1:4 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.
Ver. 4. Ah sinflul notion. ] Hoi goi chote. He beginneth his complaint with a sigh, as well he might, when he saw that the better God was to them, the worse they were to him; like springs of water, which are then coldest when the sun is hottest; like the Thracian flint, which is said to burn with water, and to be quenched with oil, or like that country where drought maketh dirt, and rain dust. a Ah gens peccatrix! Oh, thou that art wholly made up of mischief, as Aaron once said of their forefathers in the wilderness, that they were "wholly set upon wickedness," Exo 32:22 and as the prophet saith, "What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem?" Mic 1:5
A people laden with iniquity ] Great and grievous offenders, b guilty of many and mighty (or long) sins, Amo 5:12 quorum amplitudine praegravanfur, yet not sensible of their burden; not heavyladen, as Mat 11:28 nor labouring to be delivered of that hedgehog that woundeth and teareth them in their tender inside.
A seed of evildoers. ] A race of rebels, a seed of serpents: Mali corvi malum ovum: such as were as good at resisting the Holy Ghost as ever their fathers had been; Act 7:51 generation after generation they held it out, and were no changelings then, neither are to this day.
Children that are corrupters. ] Or, Destroyers, dingthrifts, ασωτοι quasi ασωστοι , destroy goods, such as the Roman prodigal, who gloried that of a large patrimony left him by his parents, he had now left himself nothing praeter coelum et caenum; or that other in the Gospel, who had drawn much of his portion through his throat, and spent the rest on harlots. Lo! such ill husbands for their souls were these Jews here spoken of, seipsis assidue facti deteriores, while they woefully wasted their time and strength in the pursuit of their lusts: "cursed children." 2Pe 2:14
They have forsaken the Lord. ] Which is such a foul enormity, as good Jeremiah thinks the very heaven sweateth at, and the earth groaneth under. Jer 2:12-13
They have provoked unto anger. ] As if they had a mind to wrestle a fall, and try masteries with him. The Vulgate rendereth it, They have blasphemed. See Trapp on " Isa 1:2 "
They are gone away backward. ] A lienaverunt se retrorsum, certatim exardescentes in apostasiam; as the moon when fullest of light getteth farther off from the sun. They had turned upon God the back and not the face, by a shameful apostasy, even then when they frequently trod his courts, Isa 1:12 and departed not thence, haply, any otherwise than the Jews at this day do, out of their synagogues with their faces still toward the ark, like crabs going backward.
a Siccitas dat lutum, imbres pulverem. - Plin,
b Gens quae non nisi peccare didicit. - Scult. Secura et petulans. - Piscat. Luke 15:30 .
Isa 1:5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
Ver. 5. Why should ye be stricken any more? ] This was the heaviest stroke that ever Judah felt from the hand of God; like as Ephraim’s sorest judgment was, "He is joined to idols, let him alone" Hos 4:17 - q.d., He is incorrigible, irreclaimable, let him go on and perish: I’ll not any longer foul my fingers with him. Oh fearful sentence! To prosper in sin is a grievous plague, and a sign of one given up by God. To be like the smith’s dog, whom neither the hammers above him, nor the sparks of fire falling round about him can awaken, is to be in a desperate condition. To wax worse by chastisements, as 2Ch 28:22 is a sure sign of reprobate silver, Jer 6:30 of a dead and dedolent disposition. Eph 4:18 God as a loving father, verba, verbera, beneficia, supplicia miseuerat, had done all that could be done to do them good; but all would not do: such was their obstinace.
The whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint. ] Head, heart, feet; princes, priests, and common people, as they had all sinned, so they all had their payment. Sin is a universal sickness, like those diseases which physicians say are corruptio totius substantiae, a corruption of the whole substance. And national sins bring national plagues, wherein all sorts suffer, as they did in the days of Ahaz, de quibus haud dubie loquitur hic propheta, saith Scultetus: though others think the prophet here speaketh rather of those miseries inflicted upon Judah by Hazael king of Syria 2Ki 12:17-18 and by Joash king of Israel, 2Ki 14:8-14 wherein all sorts had their share - none escaped scot free.
Isa 1:6 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.
Ver. 6. From the sole of the foot. ] Totum est pro vulnere corpus, The whole body politic was deadly diseased, and it was our prophet’s unhappiness to be the physician to a dying state; Tunc etenim docta plus valet arte malum.
There is no soundness. ] Nec sanitas in corpore, nec sanctitas in corde. Heu, heu, Domine Deus. Neither soundness in body nor soundness in heart, Alas, alas oh God, God.
But wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores. ] And those also such as would not be cured, but called for cutting off. Immedicabile vulnus ense recidendum est.
They have not been closed. ] Neither will be. Non est malagma imponere, say the Septuagint here. You will not endure to have them searched or suppled: what hope therefore of healing? If the Sun of righteousness shall shine upon us with healing under his wings, we must repent and believe the gospel. Mar 1:15
Isa 1:7 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.
Ver. 7. Your country is desolate. ] Here the prophet speaketh plainly, what before, parabolically. Thus many times the Scripture explaineth itself. Job 7:3-9
Your cities are burnt. ] So that there is sometimes but an hour’s time, inter civitatem magnam et nullam, saith Seneca, between a fair city and a heap.
Your land, strangers devour it. ] That is, enemies; in which sense also a harlot is called "a strange woman," seemingly a friend, but really an enemy: a she will destroy his peace who is overcome by her.
In your presence. ] To your greater grief. Witness the experience hereof in our late stripping and desolating times, whereof we have here a kind of theological picture.
a Zar, "alienum" significat et "hostem."
Isa 1:8 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.
Ver. 8. And the daughter of Zion. ] Jerusalem, which is called the daughter of Zion, say some, because standing at the foot of that hill as a daughter; it comes out from between the feet, being also cherished and tendered by God as his daughter. Howbeit, as dear as she was to him, she fell into deep distress when she became undutiful. Abused mercy turneth into fury.
Is left as a cottage in a vineyard. ] As a shed or booth, whereof after the vintage there is little use or regard.
As a lodge in a garden of cucumbers. ] Or, Melons, which, when ripe, lie on the ground. So, saith one, do God’s ripest and best servants, being humble, and meanly conceited of themselves.
As a besieged city. ] Besieged, though at a distance; as Rome was at the time when Saguntum was beleagured.
Isa 1:9 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.
Ver. 9. Except the Lord. ] Jehovah, the Essentiator et Induperator, the Maker and Monarch of the universe.
Had left unto us a very small remnant. ] Which he reserved for royal use; pulling them as "a brand out of the fire," Zec 3:2 or as "two legs or a piece of an ear taken by the shepherd out of the mouth of a lion." Amo 3:12 The apostle, after the Septuagint, rendereth it "a seed," Rom 9:29 in allusion to store seed kept by the husbandman; and there hence inferreth that the elect Jews shall by faith in Christ be freed from the tyranny of Satan and terror of hell. And this is here alleged for an allay to those foregoing dreadful declarations of bygone and direful menaces of future desolations; so loath is the Sun of righteousness to set in a cloud; surely in the midst of judgment he remembereth mercy -
“ Quamvis cecidere trecenti,
Non omnes Fabios abstulit una dies. ” - Ovid.
We should have been as Sodom. ] Those five cities of the plain are thrown forth for an example. Jdg 1:7 Lot was no sooner taken out of Sodom but Sodom was taken out of the world and turned into a sea of salt. Deu 29:23 So Meroz, Jdg 5:23 some city likely near the place where that battle was fought, hath the very name and memorial of it utterly extinct.
Isa 1:10 Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.
Ver. 10. Hear the word of the Lord, ye princes of Sodom. ] Having mentioned Sodom and Gomorrah, Isa 1:9 he maketh further use thereof, probrosa hac appellatione auditores suos conveniens; sharping up his hearers in this sort, whom he knew he should not wrong at all by so calling them. see Ezekiel 16:46 ; Eze 16:48 Non tam ovum ovo simile; like they were, both princes and people, to those of Sodom and Gomorrah; (1.) In their ingratitude toward God; (2) In their cruelty toward men. Our prophet, therefore, is "very bold," as St Paul also testifieth of him, Rom 10:20 fearing no colours, although for his boldness he lost his life, if at least that be true which Jerome a out of the Rabbis telleth us - viz., that this prophet Isaiah was sawn asunder, first, Because he said he had seen the Lord; Isa 6:1 secondly, Because he called the great ones of Judah princes of Sodom, &c., giving them a title agreeable to their wicked practices. The like liberty of speech used Athanasius toward Constantius; Agapetus toward Justinian; Johannes Sarisburiensis toward the Pope, &c.
a Jerome in Isa. i.
Isa 1:11 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.
Ver. 11. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices. ] All which, without faith and devotion, are no better than mere hypocrisy and illusion. It is, saith Oecolampadius, as if one should present his prince with many carts laden with dirt, or as if good meat well cooked should be brought to table by a nasty sloven, who hath been tumbling in a jakes. They are your sacrifices and not mine, and though many and costly, yet I abhor such sacrificing Sodomites as you are, neither shall you be a button the better for your pompous hecatomb a and holocausts. b Your devotions are placed more in the massy materiality than inward purity, and therefore rejected. Go ye and learn what that is, "I will have mercy, - so faith, repentance, new obedience, - and not sacrifice." Mat 9:13 You stick in the bark, rest in the work done; your piety is potius in labris quam in fibris nata - a mere outside, shells, nut kernels, shows, and pageants, not heart workings, &c. Una Dei est, purum, gratissima victima, pectus.
Into full of the burnt offerings. ] I am even cloyed and loathed with the sight of them.
And of the fat of fed beasts. ] Though ye bring the very best of the best, yet you do worse than lose your labour, cast away your cost, for therein ye commit sin. Pro 15:8 Displeasing service is double dishonour, Deus homines istis, ut vocant, meritis praefidentes aversatur.
I delight not in the blood of bullocks, &c. ] He "that killeth an ox," unless withal he kill his corruptions, "is as if he slew a man. He that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck," &c. Isa 66:3 Those miscreants in Micah who offered largely for a licence to live as they list, are rejected with scorn. Mic 6:7
a A great public sacrifice (properly of a hundred oxen) among the ancient Greeks and Romans, and hence extended to the religious sacrifices of other nations; a large number of animals offered or set apart for a sacrifice.
b A sacrifice wholly consumed by fire; a whole burnt offering.
Isa 1:12 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
Ver. 12. When ye come to appear before me. ] Heb., To be seen; else all had been lost. Hypocrisy is very ostentous, it would be noted and noticed; whereas true devotion desireth not to be seen of any save him who seeth in secret.
Who hath required this at your hand? ] This is God’s voice to all superstitious will-worshippers and carnal gospellers. "Friend, how camest thou in hither?" Who sent for thee to my service? Who hath forewarned this generation of vipers to flee from the wrath to come? What hast thou to do to take up my name? &c., Psa 50:16 to tread my courts, to pollute my presence? "This is the gate of the Lord, into which the righteous" only "should enter." Psa 118:20 "The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination; how much more when he bringeth it with a wicked mind." Pro 21:27
To tread my courts. ] Or, Trample on; as Isa 63:3 to foul it, and wear it out with their feet, a as in some places marble crosses graven in pavements of Popish churches, with indulgences annexed for every time they are kissed, are even worn by the kisses of the devouter sex especially. b Diodate noteth here that a phrase is picked out on purpose to show that these false appearances were rather acts of profane contempt than of right religion. The Greeks gave such honour to their temples that they durst not tread on the threshold thereof, but leap over it. The priests at their solemn services cried aloud εκας εκας οστις αλιτρος , Gressus removete prophani. The Jews at this day, before they come to the synagogue, wash themselves, and scrape their shoes with an iron fastened in a wall at the entrance. The Habassines, a mongrel kind of Christians in Africa, do neither walk, nor talk, nor sit, nor spit, nor laugh in the church, nor admit dogs into the churchyards. Sed quorsum haec omnia? to what end is all this, without an honest care to lift up pure hands and holy hearts in God’s presence? See Jeremiah 7:3-4 ; Jeremiah 7:9-11 .
a Calcatis atria et teritis pavimentum. - A Lap.
b Sandys’s Relat, of West. Relig., sec. 8.
Isa 1:13 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.
Ver. 13. Bring no more vain oblations. ] Vain, because unacceptable, ineffectual, unsubstantial. Epitheton argumentosum, saith Piscator. Lip labour is lost labour, for God is not mocked with shadows of service; his sharp nose easily discerneth and is offended with the stinking breath of the hypocrite’s rotten lungs, though his words be never so scented and perfumed with shows of holiness. Hence it is added,
Incense is an abomination unto me, ] sc., Because it stinketh of the hand that offereth it. Incense of itself was a sweet and precious perfume, compounded of the best odours and spices. In the incense of faithful prayer also, how many sweet spices are burnt together by the fire of faith, as humility, hope, love, &c., all which come up for a memorial before God, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ. Heb 9:24 But it is otherwise with the wicked, whose carnal heart is like some fen or bog, and every prayer thence proceeding is as an evil vapour reeking and rising from that dunghill. Never did those five cities of the plain send up such poisonous smells to heaven, which God, being not able to abide, sent down upon them a counter poison of fire and brimstone.
I cannot away with. ] Heb., "I cannot," by an angry aposiopesis; " I cannot" - that is, I cannot behold, bear with, or forbear to punish, as Oecolampadius maketh the supply to be.
It is iniquity. ] Or, An affliction, a grievance. as Joh 5:6 Yea, it is a "vexation," as some render the next word - viz., "your solemn meeting."
Isa 1:14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear [them].
Ver. 14. Your new moons. ] These were commanded to be kept, to mind them of God’s governing of all things, as from whom come all alterations and changes, and so to teach them to rely on his providence at all times and turns. This they thought not on, and are therefore turned off with contempt.
Your appointed feasts. ] Or rather your set meetings, whether for feasts or fasts.
My soul hateth. ] Not all his senses only were offended, but his very soul also, which is an emphatic speech, and an argument of his hearty detestation. Hypocrisy is hateful to men, much more to the holy God. When Bernardine Ochin offered the Cardinal of Lorrain his service in writing against the Protestants, he slighted him with greatest scorn, because he knew he had dissembled and played the hypocrite. The other Papists should have dealt in like sort with Bolsecus, that twice banished and thrice apostate friar and physician, whom they basely hired to write the lives of Calvin and Beza, alleging him in all their writings as canonical.
They are a trouble unto me. ] Or, A burden, a cumbrance, God, though he be not weary of bearing up the whole world, yet under this burden he buckles as it were, and elsewhere complains that he is pressed under it as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves. Amo 2:13
Isa 1:15 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.
Ver. 15. And when ye spread forth your hands. ] This was the ancient guise and garb in extraordinary and most earnest prayer, especially to spread forth the arms, and lay open the hands as it were, to receive a blessing from the Almighty. Exo 9:23 Psalms 44:20 ; Psalms 143:6 1 Kings 8:22 ; 1Ki 8:38
I will hide mine eyes from you. ] Tanquam a teterrimo cadavere, quod oculos et nasum ut occludatis faciat. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil, Psa 34:15-16 his pure eyes cannot behold them with patience. Hab 1:13
Yea, when ye make many prayers. ] As hoping to be heard for your much babbling. The Turks pray constantly five times a day. The Jews pronounce daily a hundred benedictions. The Papists pray more by tale than by weight of zeal. The wild Irish pray for a blessing on their theft also.
I will not hear. ] Your prayers are as jarring in mine ears, as if divers distracted musicians should play upon divers bad instruments so many several tunes at one time, or as if so many dogs should set up a howl together. Hosea 7:14 ; see the note there Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs (those black sanctus), for I will not hear "the melody of thy viols." Amo 5:23 The Jews at this day conclude their Sabbath with singing, or caterwauling rather, which they continue as long as they can, for the ease of souls departed; and with it they pray many times over and over that Elijah would hasten his coming, even the next Sabbath, if he please, to give them notice of the Messiah’s coming. All this is lost labour.
Your hands are full of blood. ] Ac proinde horrorem mihi incutiunt; Hands imbrued in blood are horrible to behold. Should he who hath assassined the king’s son, come to him with a petition presently upon it? and should not pure hands be everywhere lifted up to God without wrath and without doubting? 1Ti 2:8 By "blood" here may be meant not only injustice and oppression of the poor, but all other sins also allowed and wallowed in. When "blood toucheth blood," Hos 4:2 one foul sin is added to another.
Isa 1:16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
Ver. 16. Wash ye, make ye clean. ] "Wash your hearts from wickedness, that ye may be saved"; Jer 4:14 "yea, cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double minded." Jam 4:8 But how is that done? "Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep," &c. Jam 4:9 Ye cannot wash your bloody hands in innocence; wash them therefore in tears, which are a second baptism of the soul where it is rinsed anew. And surely, as the sins of the old world, so of this little world, need a deluge. Set to work, therefore, and God will soon set in with you. Wash yourselves with the tears of true repentance, and God will wash you with the blood of his Son; only be sure to do your work thoroughly - wash hard, rub, rinse; we have inveterate stains, which will hardly be got out till the cloth be almost rubbed to pieces; and as an error in the first concoction is not mended in the second, nor of the second in the third, so if a man’s humiliation hath not been sound, his reformation cannot be right. "Wash," therefore, and then
Put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes. ] Away with that abominable thing that is so grievous to all my five senses, yea, to my very soul, as is above said. Sin is in Scripture called pollution, leprosy, contagion, vomit of a dog, wallowing of a swine in the mire, &c., and must therefore be rid and removed out of the heart and life, or we cannot find favour.
Cease to do evil. ] This is first to be done: depart from evil, and do good; break off your sins by repentance, and be abrupt in the work; sow not among the thorns, cast away all your transgressions, &c. The prophets, pressing moral duties in this sort, do it as explainers of the law: they did but unfold and draw out that arras which was folded together before.
Isa 1:17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
Ver. 17. Learn to do well. ] Turn over a new leaf, take out a new lesson. "Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest God’s soul depart from thee." Jer 6:8 Deliver thyself wholly up to his discipline; religion is the best learning - Philosophia sacra; to know Christ and him crucified is as much as St Paul cared for; Deum cognoscere et colere to know and honour God, is the whole duty of man; add this to the former. Negative goodness profiteth not.
Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, &c. ] Look to the duties of the second table, those of your own particular places especially; exercise your general calling in your particular, and think not to set off with God by your sacrifices for your oppressions: "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice." Primo praecepto reliquorum omnium observantia praecipitur, saith Luther. All God’s laws were in David’s sight, Psa 119:168 all his ways in God’s sight. What a good justicer and householder both he was, see Psalms 101:1-8
Relieve the oppressed. ] Heb., Righten the soured or leavened.
Judge the fatherless; plead for the widow. ] These are God’s own clients. Exo 22:22
Isa 1:18 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.
Ver. 18. Come now, let us reason together. ] In the Greek Church, at the beginning of divine service, the deacon cried out, Sacra sacris, Holy souls to holy service. a God will not treat with this people till purified, till resolved upon better practices; as when he is content, by a wonderful condescension, to make them even as judges in their own cause. The Vulgate rendereth it, but not so well, Et venite et arguite me see Isa 5:3 Jeremiah 2:9 Mic 6:1-3
Though your sin be of scarlet. ] Blood red, as Isa 1:15 and of a double dye; sins in grain, enormia et horrenda, such as ye may well think will never wash out. b
They shall be white as snow, ] i.e., You shall be fully freed of the guilt and filth of your most heinous offences by the blood of my Son: sc., Not your peccadilloes only shall be remitted, but your many and mighty sins, quae coccini, quae vermiculi instar sunt. But what meant that mad philosopher, Anaxagoras, to affirm that snow was black? c "Purge me with hyssop" (wash me by the blood of sprinkling from the sting and stink of sin), "and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." Psa 51:7 d Cleaner I shall be than the picked glass, whiter than the driven snow. The law, saith one, e is like a glass wherein we see our spots; but the gospel is like the laver Exo 38:8 which was made of the women’s looking glasses, whereby they might both see their faces and also wash out their spots; for it was both a glass to look in, and a laver to wash in, and this typified Christ. see 1Jn 1:7 Rev 1:1
Though they be red like crimson. ] Which is, say the Rabbis, of a deeper colour than the former.
They shall be as wool. ] Which naturally is exceeding white in those countries. Psa 147:16 Scultetus noteth that God here promiseth not only pardoning, but purging grace also.
a Chrysos., Basil., Liturg.
b Alludit ad habitum meretricum. - A Lap.
c Cicer., lib. iv. Acad. Quest.
d Galen., lib. ii. De virt. simp. remediorum.
e Ainsw. in loc.
Isa 1:19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
Ver. 19. If ye be willing and obedient. ] If ye love God and keep his commandments; Exo 20:6 if ye love to be his servants; Isa 56:6 willing in all things to live honestly. Heb 13:18 Tantum velis et Deus tibi praecurret. a Say thou canst not open the door, yet be lifting at the latch; ever holding that of Augustine, Nolentem praevenit Deus ut velit, volentem subsequitur ne frustra velit. b It is God that worketh in us both to will and to do of his own good pleasure. Php 2:13 Augustine, after Paul, stood so much for free grace, that the Papists say he yielded too little to freewill.
Ye shall eat the good things of the land. ] Ye shall, and not strangers for you. as Isa 1:7 The Easterlings shall not eat thy fruit, nor drink thy milk. as Eze 25:4 Thine enemies shall not eat thy grain, nor the sons of the stranger drink thy wine; but they that have gathered it shall eat it and praise the Lord, and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness. Isa 62:8-9 Godliness hath a cornucopia; religion is the right palladium c of a nation. The heathen poet could acknowledge that, as long as Rome stood religious, so long she continued victorious and prosperous; as, on the contrary,
“ Dii multa neglect; dederunt
Hesperiae mala luctuosae. ” - Horat.
Italy was undone by irreligion. The Greek empire had not fallen from the Paleologi to the Turks had the Christian verity stood firm in Constantinople. Cicero confesseth that the instruments by which the Romans subdued the world were not strength and policy, but religion and piety. d Wherefore also Maecenas in Dio Cassius adviseth Augustus παντη παντως , by all means and at all times, to advance the worship of God, to cause others to do the same, and not suffer innovations in religion.
a Basil., Conc. de Prodigo.
b Enchir., id., cap. 32.
c transf. and fig. Anything on which the safety of a nation, institution, privilege, etc. is believed to depend; a safeguard, protecting institution.
d Non caliditate et robore, sed pietate et religione omnes gentes superastis. - Orat de Art. Respons., lib. iii.
Isa 1:20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it].
Ver. 20. But if ye refuse and rebel. ] The Romans sent the Carthaginians caduceum et hastam, that they might take their choice of peace upon submission, or war upon refusal so to do. Similarily dealeth the Lord by this people here. Deu 30:19
Ye shall be devoured with the sword. ] War is threatened, which is, saith one, the slaughter house of mankind, and the hell of this present world; and that we may not think that these are but big words, brute thunderbolts, it is added for confirmation,
For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. ] Now whatsoever he hath spoken with his mouth, he will surely make good with his hand, as Solomon phraseth it in his prayer. The original hath it, "For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken" - q.d., Let his Word stand for a law with you. Justinian telleth us in his Institutes, that it was a prerogative belonging to the Roman emperor, Quicquid principi placuerit, legis habet vigorem, Whatsoever he pleased be bid be done was a law. And the French kings’ edicts or proclamations always end with these binding words, Car bel est nostre plasir, For such is our pleasure, and we look to be obeyed. May not the King of kings say so much more?
Isa 1:21 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.
Ver. 21. How is the faithful city. ] Here beginneth, as some think, a new sermon; and it beginneth, as Jeremiah’s Lamentations do, with an Ecack, "How!" a particle of admiration mixed with grief a - q.d., Proh pudor! proh dolor! Oh shameful! oh doleful! What a strange business is this! and how unworthily is this matter carried! Here is a city so altered that ye can scarce know her to be the same. Ye may seek Jerusalem in Jerusalem and not find her; tota est iam Roma lupanar. b See Ezekiel 16:15 ; Ezekiel 16:23 ; Ezekiel 23:3-21 .
Become an harlot? ] In meretricem; not a privy harlot only, but a prostituted harlot, a very prostibulum meretrix meretricissima, utpote quae cubile dilatavit Isa 57:3 Tibias devaricavit Eze 16:28 Such a trite harlot is the great whore of Babylon at this day, whose faithfulness was once famous all the world over. Rom 1:8 But now, O quantum haec Niobe! One of her own sons once complained that of gold she was become silver, of silver brass, and that she was ready to degenerate into dirt, and worse. c
It was full of judgment. ] Top full. Sad that it was so. Fuimus Troes. It is a misery to have been happy.
Righteousness lodged there. ] Not in Melchizedek’s days only, who was king of righteousness, according to his name, and king also of Salem, afterwards called Jerusalem, but also in the reigns of David, Solomon, Jehoshaphat, and other good princes. But now no such matter - nay, the contrary, like as the Prince of Orange his country is fertile of all fruits save oranges, whence the French proverb, En Orenge it n’y a point de oranges. d
But now murderers. ] Hierapolis was become a very Poneropolis, the city of God a den of thieves, or, as the Papists maliciously say of Geneva, a professed sanctuary of roguery. By murderers here may be meant persecutors of the pious, and oppressors of the poor man, whose livelihood is his life. Mark 12:40 Luk 8:43 A poor man in his house is like a snail in his shell; crush that, and you kill him.
a Nota et admirantis, et deplorantis.
c Ex aurea factam argenteam, ex argentea ferream, ex ferrea terream, superesse ut in stercus abiret. - Theod.
d Urias Augustinianus, circa A.D. 1414.
Isa 1:22 Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:
Ver. 22. Thy silver is become dross. ] Heb., Drosses, a proverbial kind of speech, deciphering apostasy. It is as if the prophet had said, There is nothing pure in thee, nothing sincere or simple: sed omnia fallacia, omnia fucata, omnia inquinata; but all things are deceitful, degenerate, and corrupt. Dross looketh like silver, and is nothing less. Wine mixed, or marred, with water hath the name of wine, when it is nil nisi vappa. Hypocrites are mere seemers, Jam 1:26 magicians, Job 13:16 having a form of knowledge, Rom 2:20 a form of godliness. 2Ti 3:5 Fair professors they are, and foul sinners. But be not deceived; God is not mocked; he is a faithful metallary, saith a Father, and will easily find out men’s mixtures. It is to be feared that be hath yet a further controversy with this nation for our hateful hypocrisy and apostasy, for where now, alas! is our ancient fervour and forwardness - our heating and whetting one another. Oh, how dull and diluted are we! &c.
Isa 1:23 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.
Ver. 23. Thy princes are rebellious. ] Or, Revolters, apostates. There is an elegance in the original, such as this prophet is full of: Ac si dicas primi sunt pravi vel perversi. So saith Calvin here: Episcopi may be called Aposcopi, Cardinales Carnales vel Carpinales, carpet men; Canonici Cenonici, Praepositi praeposteri, &c. This note A Lapide is very angry at - et lapides loquitur.
And companions of thieves. ] While they not only suffered such to go unpunished, but also shared with them. as Psa 50:18 Cato complained that in his time some thieves stood at the bar in cold irons, when others, and worse, sat on the bench with gold chains about their necks. The bold pirate told Alexander to his teeth that he was the arch-pirate of the world. And what shall we think of Pope Alexander, who, in 1505 AD, sent a bull of pardons for many, dispensing thereby with such as kept away, or by any fraud had gotten the goods of other men, which they should now retain still, without scruple of conscience, so as they paid a rateable portion thereof to his Holiness’s receivers? a And at this day Popish priests will absolve a thief of his wickedness, if they may have half with him of the stolen goods. b
Every one loveth gifts. ] Not only taketh; although in taking also the Greek proverb saith, ουτε παντα, ουτε παντη, ουτε παρα παντων , great care and caution should be used. Olim didici quid sint munera, said a grave man. See Deuteronomy 16:19 .
And followeth after rewards. ] As a hunter his game, or a merchant his gain, or a martialist his enemy. Sectantur retributiones - i.e., Collidunt inter se indices, saith the Chaldee paraphrast: The judges conspire, saying one to another, Help thou me in judging against the poor, and I will do as much for thee another time.
They judge not the fatherless. ] Because friendless, penniless. Sed pupillos laedere, est pupillam oculi Dei contingere.
Neither doth the cause of the widow come before them. ] The widow cannot speak for herself (in the original she hath her name from dumbness), and hath no money to make room for her. Hence her cause is slighted.
a Speed, 992.
b Scultet. in loc.
Isa 1:24 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:
Ver. 24. Therefore thus saith the Lord. ] Dominator, Dεσποτης, Dυναστης , the great housekeeper of the world. a
The Lord of hosts. ] Heb., Jehovah of armies.
The mighty One of Israel. ] Able enough to deal with them, and to punish their facinus maioris abollae.
Ah. ] Some b render it Heu, alas, to show that God punisheth nolens et doleus - unwillingly and with grief. as Lam 3:33 Others make it to be an expression of joy, c to show what content he will take in punishing the obstinate; and so it followeth.
I will ease me; I will avenge me. ] As it is an ease to a full stomach to disgorge, and as to a vindictive person revenge is very sweet.
“ Est vindicta bonum vita iucundius ipsa. ”
So - but in a way of justice - God delighteth d in the destruction of his stubborn enemies. Deu 28:63 Ezekiel 5:13 Pro 1:26
Mine adversaries. ] Such as, by a specialty, are corrupt judges, as Calvin here noteth.
a הארוז .
b Heu dolentis. - Luther.
c Ah exultantis. Oecolamp.
d Animumque explesse iuvabit.
Isa 1:25 And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:
Ver. 25. And I will turn my hand upon thee. ] So Zechariah 13:7 , I will turn my hand upon the little ones; so soon doth it repent the Lord concerning his servants. Here he mitigateth the former fearful menace, and promiseth a reformation.
And purely purge away thy dross. ] Et expurgabo, ut purificativum, scorias tuas. The wicked are the dross of the state, Psa 119:119 and wickedness is the dross and dregs of the soul. Proverbs 17:3 ; Pro 27:21 God promiseth her to purge out both, to separate the precious from the vile, to reform and refine all - a metaphor from metallaries.
And I will take away all thy tin. ] Thine hypocrisy: for tin hath a show of silver, but it is not so - nay, it is a deadly enemy to gold and silver, saith one, a making them hard and brittle. It is also a tyrant over them, and will hardly be separated from them. Hereby are figured your most noted, rooted, and inveterate sins.
Isa 1:26 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.
Ver. 26. And I will restore. ] By new minting the commonwealth, Velut adulterinum nummum as Jer 9:7 Mal 3:3 This I will do for thee after thy captivity, but especially after the coming of Christ in the flesh.
Thou shalt be called. ] Thou shalt have the name and the note, the comfort and the credit of such a one.
The city of righteousness. ] Wherein dwelleth righteousness; or the city of the righteous - of Jesus Christ, the righteous One 1Jn 2:2 and of his people, which shall be all righteous. Isa 60:21 Thou shalt be a very Jehovahshammah. Eze 48:35
The faithful city. ] As once thou wast. Isa 1:21
Isa 1:27 Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.
Ver. 27. Zion shall be redeemed in judgment. ] Or, By judgment executed on her enemies, who are also God’s enemies. Isa 1:24
And her converts. ] Such as were Manasseh, made of a lion a lamb; Matthew, of a publican an evangelist; Paul, of a Pharisee an apostle; Justin, of a philosopher a martyr; Cyprian, of a rhetorician, and, as some think, a magician, a most famous bishop; Augustine, of a Manichee a champion of the Church; Petrus Paulus Vergerius, of the Pope’s Nuncio a zealous preacher at Zurich. That I speak not of Peter Martyr’s converts in Italy, Earl Martinens, Marquess Caracciolus, Lacisius, Tremellius, Zanchius, and other great divines. Bucer was first wrought upon by Luther’s sermon, preached before the emperor at Worms, and so from a Dominican became a famous Protestant. Bilney was converted by reading Erasmus’ translation of the New Testament, for the eloquence of it, and particularly by that sweet sentence, 1 Timothy 1:15 . Latimer was converted by blessed Bilney, as he calleth him, from a stiff Papist to a stout professor of the truth; Julius Palmer the martyr by reading Calvin’s Institutions; Dr Sibbes by a sermon preached by Mr Paul Bains; Mr Whately by Mr Dod. a
In righteousness. ] Or, By God’s faithfulness in fulfilling his promises, whereby they are made partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2Pe 1:4
a Hist. of Modern Divines, by Lupton.
Isa 1:28 And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners [shall be] together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed.
Ver. 28. And the destruction. ] Heb., The shivering or shattering. Tremellius rendereth it, the fragments or scraps - sc., of the dross above mentioned; these shall be broken and burnt together.
Shall be together. ] As well the sinners in Zion, or hypocrites, as the transgressors or notorious offenders, shall be destroyed without distinction. Such as "turn aside unto their crooked ways" - stealing their passage to hell, as it were - the Lord shall "lead them forth with the workers of iniquity," with openly profane persons. Psa 125:5 The angels also shall bundle them up together to be burnt. Mat 13:30
Isa 1:29 For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen.
Ver. 29. For they shall be ashamed of the oaks. ] Pudefient et Peribunt; they shall be ashamed of their false ways of worship, but not with a godly shame, such as was Ephraim’s, Jer 31:19 that made him say, "What have I to do any more with idols." Hosea 14:8 Ezekiel 16:61 ; Eze 36:31 Dan 9:5 2Th 3:14 Of this holy shame Chrysostom saith that it is the beginning of salvation, a as that which drives a man into himself makes him fall low in his own eyes, shame and shent himself in the presence of God, seek for covering by Christ, that the shame of his nakedness may not appear. Rev 3:18-19 But the shame here mentioned is of another nature, unseasonable, unprofitable, not conducing at all to true repentance, such as was that of Cain, and of those Jews in Jeremiah 2:26 , and of reprobates at the resurrection. Dan 12:2
Which ye have desired. ] Or, Have delighted in, as adulterers do sin their sweet sin, as they call it.
And the gardens. ] Where you have wickedly worshipped Priapus or Baalpeor. b
That ye have chosen. ] Where ye have had your sacra electitia, which now, you see, cannot help you.
a τουτο αρχη της σωτηπιας, το ολως αισχυνεθαι .
b Alludit verecunde ad scortationem, quae est in idolorum cultu. - Oeclamp.
Isa 1:30 For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water.
Ver. 30. For ye shall be as an oak. ] Peccato poenam accommodat; By oaks they sinned, and by a withering a oak is their punishment set forth: as also by a garden that wanteth water, wherein everything fadeth and hangeth the head, as suffering a marasm. Well might God say, Hosea 12:10 , "I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes by the ministry of the prophets," such as are very natural, plain, and proper.
a Infelicissime marcescetis et exarescetis. - Jun.
Isa 1:31 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].
Ver. 31. And the strong shall be as tow. ] The idol is here called the strong one, either by an irony, sicut siquis scelestum bonum virum dicat, as if one should say to a knave, You are a right honest man: or else according to the idolater’s false opinion of it, and vain expectation of it: like as in 2 Chronicles 28:23 , the gods of Damascus are said to have "smitten" or "plagued" Ahaz: not that they did so indeed (for an idol is "nothing in the world," and this strong in the text is weak as water, Jer 10:5 2Co 8:4 ), but he thought they did so like as the silly Papists also think of their male saints and female saints, whereof they have not a few, but are shamefully foiled and frustrated; besides that they are here and elsewhere threatened with unquenchable fire. Jerome, following Symmachus, for "tow," hath the "refuse of tow," which is quickly kindled.
And the maker of it. ] Or, And his work - that is, all your pains taken to no purpose in worshipping your idols, and bringing your memories, as they are called, and presents to them.
And they shall both burn together. ] As one saith of Aretine’s obscene book, that it is opus dignum quod cremetur cum authore, a fit for nothing but to make a bonfire to burn the author of it in. The beast and his complices shall be cast alive into the burning lake. Rev 19:20
And none shall quench them. ] Hell fire is unquenchable. Isa 30:33 Mat 3:12 This Origen denied, and is therefore justly condemned by all sound divines.
a Boissard. Biblioth.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 1". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Sixth Week after Easter