Isaiah 65-66. These chapters contain, loosely strung together, a number of promises of reward to the righteous and threats of doom to the faithless.
Isaiah 65:1-7. Retribution Awaits those who Cling to the Old Ritual Practices and Refuse to Adhere to the Reformed Religion.—Yahweh declares His readiness to respond to this people, but they would not approach Him or call upon (mg., cf. VSS) His name. "I made," He says, "unceasing entreaty to them, unruly as they were, but they steadfastly adhered to their own evil ways, insulting Me in My own holy city by their grove-worship and incense-burning. They pass the night among the tombs and recesses (to obtain dream-oracles from the dead). They eat the flesh of, and drink ‘magical hell-broth' made from, forbidden animals that they sacrifice. Having acquired in these mystic rites a ‘taboo' holiness—physically contagious—they caution others to shrink away lest they too should be made ‘taboo' (read in Isaiah 65:5, ‘lest I make thee holy': ‘am holier than' is an impossible translation). Such men are to Me a standing offence. But My remembrancer records their doings in his book. Nor will I be silent until I have punished their (so VSS) sins and those of their fathers, who defied (mg.) Me with their sacrifices in the high places. I will measure out their recompense upon their head (so emend "first") and requite it into their bosom."
Isaiah 65:1. am: the Heb. verbs are tolerative; render both times, "allowed myself to be."
Isaiah 65:3. bricks: the meaning is obscure. Perhaps "under white poplars" should be read; cf. Hosea 4:13.
Isaiah 65:8-12. The Righteous shall Inherit the Land, but their Opponents shall be Slaughtered.—Yahweh says, "Even as the vintagers say when they see a cluster with only a few sound grapes in it, ‘Destroy it not, for a blessing is in it,' so for the sake of those who are faithful to Me I will not utterly destroy My people. The righteous survivors shall possess the holy land. From Sharon (p. 28)—the maritime plain between Joppa and Carmel—to the valley of Achor—in the neighbourhood of Jericho—the plains shall teem with cattle. But you who deliberately ignore My Temple and its ritual, spreading instead a meal for the gods Fortune and Destiny—you will I destine (a terrible jest) to destruction, because ye were deaf to all My appeals, defying My will."
Isaiah 65:8. Destroy . . . in it: possibly the opening words of a popular vintage song.
Isaiah 65:11. table: the rite of the shewbread is probably to be traced to this custom of preparing banquets (lectisternia) for the gods (Leviticus 24:5-9*).
Isaiah 65:13-20. The Coming Good Fortune of the Righteous.—Yahweh again is the speaker. "My people shall rejoice in the satisfaction of their wants when ye, rebellious ones, are wailing in your need. Nought shall be left of you but your name, which My people shall employ as a curse, saying, ‘As Yahweh slew those so may He slay thee.' But My people shall be called by a new name (cf. Isaiah 62:4). The fulfilment of My promises shall make My faithfulness a proverb. The former trials shall be forgotten because, to men's exultation, I shall change existing conditions so that it is as though I had created the earth anew. I will transform Jerusalem so that she shall be joy personified, and in her people will I find My joy. There shall be no more mourning in Jerusalem, for none shall die in infancy or prematurely: all shall live a hundred years."
Isaiah 65:14. vexation: read mg.
Isaiah 65:16. truth: read, with change of vowel-points, "faithfulness."
Isaiah 65:20. and the sinner . . . accursed: probably a theological gloss.
Isaiah 65:21-25. An Expansion of the Theme of Isaiah 65:13-20.—They may build houses and plant vineyards, certain that they will live to enjoy them. Their lives shall be as the life of a tree, long, and undisturbed by calamity. They shall not bring up (so read for "forth") children only to see them perish: their children and they alike are a race blessed by Yahweh. Their prayers shall be answered even while they are being uttered. Even the beasts shall lose their redness of tooth and claw (cf. Isaiah 11:6-9).
Isaiah 65:25. and dust . . . meat: a glossator, mindful of Genesis 3:14, has excepted the serpent from the general felicity.
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Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Isaiah 65". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany