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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Isaiah 56

Verses 1-8

Isaiah 56:1-Ruth : . A Gracious Promise to Proselytes and Eunuchs.— We find ourselves conscious in this oracle of a change of atmosphere and setting. The Temple is built, and the centre of an elaborate ritual. Refraining from evil and sabbath-keeping are equally yoked. We pass now to the oracles of “ Trito-Isaiah.”

An exhortation to hold fast the ordinances of religion (“ judgement” ), based upon the imminence of Yahweh’ s vindicating intervention (“ my righteousness” ), is followed by a beatitude upon the man who obeys it. Let not the foreigner fear exclusion from the chosen people (“ separate” is a technical term meaning “ to excommunicate” ), nor the eunuch, because he can have no posterity, refrain from joining them. For the eunuch who follows Yahweh’ s precepts (note again the emphasis on sabbath-keeping) a monument shall be erected in the Temple-precincts, indestructible and thus better than ( mg.) posterity. Proselytes of whatever nation who keep His laws shall be admitted to the Temple courts (“ my holy mountain” ), share the joyous feasts, and have their offerings accepted. The Jerusalem community shall be increased not only by the return of the dispersed Jews but also by proselytes.

Isaiah 56:4. of: i.e. “ in reference to.”

Isaiah 56:6 . minister: not in the technical sense of exercising priestly functions.

Verses 9-12

Isaiah 56:9 to Isaiah 57:2 . A Denunciation of the Rulers of the Community.— This oracle seems not to be connected with the preceding, though, it arises out of the same circumstances.

Yahweh bids the beasts of prey ( cf. Jeremiah 12:9), hostile nations, ravage the flock, since the watchdogs are not alert, but crouched in the slumber of gluttons. Vividly then one of the rulers is introduced, inviting his fellows to a drunken orgy ( cf. Amos 6:6), and gloating over a like prospect for the morrow. But, while the rulers gorge and swill, the man who keeps the law and is godly ( mg.) perishes through these evils ( mg.) , unnoticed: his only rest is that of the funeral bier (“ beds” ).

Isaiah 56:10 . his: read, “ my.”

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Isaiah 56". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.