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the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14
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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 2

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-9

The Gentiles Called to the Kingdom

v. 1. The word, the prophetic oration, that Isaiah, the son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem, the revelation here recorded extending to the end of the fourth chapter.

v. 2. And it shall come to pass in the last days, in the Messianic age, which precedes the end of the world, that the mountain of the Lord's house, that is, Zion or Jerusalem, the kingdom of God, shall be established in the top of the mountains, towering high above every human and, especially, every idolatrous organization, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it, seeking the city of God in large streams. This is said of the Church in the time of the New Testament, when it is established in every part of the world, high above all false religions and churches, its beauty serving as a lodestone drawing men from all nations to seek the true God.

v. 3. And many people shall go and say, in encouraging one another to seek the truth of the Gospel, Come ye and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, to become members of the true Church, such zeal in coming and inviting others being a sign of real conversion; and He will teach us of His ways, literally, "out of His ways," so that the instruction will be most thorough, and we will walk in His paths, in the willing obedience of faith; for out of Zion, from the midst of God's holy congregation, shall go forth the Law, the word here designating the law of the New Covenant, the Gospel of God's mercy, and the Word of the Lord, of Jehovah, the God of grace, from Jerusalem. This explains the manner in which the Gentiles come to the city of God, to His holy Church, namely, by and through the preaching of the Gospel, which is brought to them and accepted by them.

v. 4. And He shall judge among the nations and shall rebuke many people, stating His decisions, performing the functions of King and Judge in governing the people under His spiritual rule; and they, under the influence of the Lord's Spirit, who lives in them, shall beat their swords into plowshares, the broad knives fastened to the shaft of the plow by Oriental farmers, and their spears into pruning-hooks, that is, vine-dressers' knives. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more, for in the Church of God as it really exists, under the government of the Prince of Peace, there is nothing but peace, unity, and love. It is a wonderful description of the Messianic kingdom and its beauties which is here given.

v. 5. O house of Jacob, the children of Israel, specifically the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem being here addressed, come ye and let us walk in the light of the Lord, an urgent appeal to heed the prophetic message, to know the Lord as He has revealed Himself in the Word, and to give proof of this knowledge in their entire conduct and life.

v. 6. Therefore Thou hast forsaken Thy people, the house of Jacob, rather, "For Thou hast rejected," since this fact, the deliberate transgressions of Israel, had caused God to let them walk in the foolishness of their minds, because they be replenished from the East, admitting the idolatrous influences of the Orient, and are soothsayers, like the Philistines, accepting this abomination from their neighbors to the southwest, and they please themselves in the children of strangers, going hand in hand with them, making covenants with them, in a most intimate friendship. Because Israel had so acted, therefore the Lord had rejected them, and for that reason the appeal of the prophet went forth that they should return to the light of the Lord. But the apostasy of the people is further described.

v. 7. Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots, this heaping up of material wealth being contrary to the divine prohibition, Deuteronomy 17:14-17;

v. 8. their land also is full of idols, for idolatry had entered the land with the wealth gained through commerce with the surrounding heathen nations; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made, the words expressing the disgust and the contempt of the Lord for such practices;

v. 9. and the mean man, the lowly among the people, boweth down, as a result and punishment of the idolatrous practices in use among the children of Israel, and the great man, the nobles and leaders among the people, humbleth himself, is humbled by God. Therefore forgive them not, literally, "and not wilt Thou forgive them. " Worldliness, idolatry, rejection of God, challenges the holiness of the Lord, causes His righteousness to pronounce judgment, and therefore on the last Great Day, all admonitions having been fruitless, His punishment will strike the willful transgressors.

Verses 10-22

The Majesty of God in his Final Revelation

v. 10. Enter into the rock, as people hide before a cruel enemy, and hide thee in the dust, as the travelers in the wilderness throw themselves down when the simoom, or sirocco, bears down upon them, for fear of the Lord and for the glory of His majesty. When the terror of God will strike the world, when the Lord will be revealed in the glory of His majesty, then all willful sinners, all idolaters, all servants of mammon, and all rebellious men, who have let the love of the world fill their hearts, will be filled with terror and heaped with shame.

v. 11. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, every gesture indicating pride will be forgotten, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, humbled into the dust, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day, standing secure in the perfection of His essence.

v. 12. For the day of the Lord of hosts, the final Day of Judgment, shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up, the day being, as it were, kept in reserve by the Lord, to come as a surprise upon the haughty despisers of His grace; and he, every proud sinner, shall be brought low, Cf Joel 1:15; Joel 3:4;

v. 13. and upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, pictures and emblems of the proud sinners, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, the rich pastureland east of Jordan,

v. 14. and upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, every creature that excels in majesty and beauty in the world,

v. 15. and upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, products of men's ambition and pride,

v. 16. and upon all the ships of Tarshish, the finest instruments of commerce in the ancient days, and upon all pleasant pictures, works produced to satisfy man's lust of the eyes. In short, what human art and human science have produced under the incentive of human ambition, pride, and haughtiness will be destroyed in that great Day of Judgment.

v. 17. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, since all the objects of man's pride will be destroyed, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day, the highest and most glorious in the majesty of His essence.

v. 18. And the Idols He shall utterly abolish, literally, "they will be changed," they will vanish away, their vanity will be apparent before all men.

v. 19. And they, the idolaters, shall go into the holes of the rocks and into the caves of the earth, in cellars or cisterns dug into the ground, for fear of the Lord and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth. Cf Luke 23:30.

v. 20. In that day, under the influence of a repentance which comes too late, a man shall cast his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats, into the first convenient crevice, in an effort to rid himself of their incriminating presence;

v. 21. to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, his terror driving him to seek safety anywhere and everywhere, for fear of the Lord, namely, dread of the inevitable punishment, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth, to spread terror throughout the world, for His wrath will find His enemies in the most remote corners and hiding-places of the earth.

v. 22. Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils, all men are admonished not to place their trust in man, weak and powerless as he is in all that he undertakes, dependent upon a breath which quickly disappears; for wherein is he to be accounted of? All human props may and will be taken away in the twinkling of an eye. It is good at all times to trust in the Lord and not to put confidence in man, especially in view of the coming Judgment, which will show the vanity of man's pride and of all his accomplishments.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Isaiah 2". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/isaiah-2.html. 1921-23.
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