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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 1

Wesley's Explanatory NotesWesley's Notes

Verse 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.

Vision — Or, the visions; the word being here collectively used: the sense is, this is the book of the visions or prophecies. As prophets were called Seers, 1 Samuel 9:9, so prophecies are called visions, because they were as clearly and certainly represented to the prophets minds, as bodily objects are to mens eyes.

Saw — Foresaw and foretold. But he speaks, after the manner of the prophets, of things to come, as if they were either past or present.

Judah — Principally, but not exclusively. For he prophecies also concerning Egypt and Babylon, and divers other countries; yet with respect to Judah.

The days — ln the time of their reign. Whence it may be gathered, that Isaiah exercised his prophetical office above fifty years altogether.

Verse 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.

Hear — He directs his speech to those senseless creatures, that he might awaken the Israelites, whom he hereby proclaims to be so dull and stupid that they were past hearing, and therefore calls in the whole creation of God to bear witness against them.

The Lord — This is his plea against them, of the equity whereof he is willing that all the creatures should be judges.

Verse 3

The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.

Know — Me their owner and master. Knowing is here taken practically, as it is usually in scripture, and includes reverence and obedience.

Verse 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.

A seed — The children of wicked parents, whose guilt they inherit, and whose evil example they follow.

Corrupters — Heb. that corrupt themselves, or others by their counsel and example.

Backward — Instead of proceeding forward and growing in grace.

Verse 5

Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.

Head — The very head and heart of the body politick, from whence the plague is derived to all the other members.

Verse 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.

In your presence — Which your eye shall see to torment you, when there is no power in your hands to deliver you.

As — Heb. as the overthrow of strangers, that is, which strangers bring upon a land which is not likely to continue in their hands, and therefore they spare no persons, and spoil and destroy all things, which is not usually done in wars between persons of the same, or of a neighbouring nation.

Verse 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.

Is left — Is left solitary, all the neighbouring villages and country round about it being laid waste.

Verse 10

Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.

Of Sodom — So called for their resemblance of them in wickedness.

The law — The message which I am now to deliver to you from God, your great lawgiver.

Verse 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.

To me — Who am a spirit, and therefore cannot be satisfied with such carnal oblations, but expect to have your hearts and lives, as well as your bodies and sacrifices, presented unto me.

Blood — He mentions the fat and blood, because these were in a peculiar manner reserved for God, to intimate that even the best of their sacrifices were rejected by him.

Verse 12

When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?

To appear — Upon the three solemn feasts, or upon other occasions.

Who required — The thing I commanded, was not only, nor chiefly, that you should offer external sacrifices, but that you should do it with true repentance, with faith in my promises, and sincere resolutions of devoting yourselves to my service.

Verse 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.

The solemn meeting — The most solemn day of each of the three feasts, which was the last day.

Verse 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.

Blood — You are guilty of murder, and oppression.

Verse 16

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;

Wash — Cleanse your hearts and hands.

Verse 17

Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Learn — Begin to live soberly, righteously, and godly.

Judgment — Shew your religion to God, by practising justice to men.

Judge — Defend and deliver them.

Verse 19

If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:

If — If you are fully resolved to obey all my commands.

Shall eat — Together with pardon, you shall receive temporal and worldly blessings.

Verse 21

How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.

The city — Jerusalem, which in the reign of former kings was faithful to God.

An harlot — Is filled with idolatry.

Murderers — Under that one gross kind, he comprehends all sorts of unrighteous men and practices.

Verse 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.

Rebellious — Against me their sovereign Lord.

Companions of thieves — Partly by giving them connivance and countenance, and partly by practising the same violence, and cruelty, and injustice that thieves used to do.

Gifts — That is, bribes given to pervert justice.

Verse 25

And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:

And purge — I will purge out of thee, those wicked men that are incorrigible, and for those of you that are curable, I will by my word, and by the furnace of affliction, purge out all that corruption that yet remains in you.

Verse 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.

Thy counsellors — Thy princes shall hearken to wise and faithful counsellors.

Called faithful — Thou shalt be such.

Verse 27

Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.

Redeemed — Shall be delivered from all their enemies and calamities.

With — Or, by judgment, that is, by God’s righteous judgment, purging out those wicked and incorrigible Jews, and destroying their unmerciful enemies.

Converts — Heb. her returners, those of them who shall come out of captivity into their own land.

Righteousness — Or, by righteousness, either by my faithfulness, in keeping my promise, or by my goodness.

Verse 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.

The oaks — Which, after the manner of the Heathen, you have consecrated to idolatrous uses.

Gardens — In which, as well is in the groves, they committed idolatry.

Verse 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.

The strong — Your idols, which you think to be strong and able to defend you.

As tow — Shall be as suddenly and easily, consumed by my judgments, as tow is by fire.

The maker — Of the idol, who can neither save himself nor his workmanship.

Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/wen/isaiah-1.html. 1765.
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