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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Isaiah 32

 

 

Verse 1

Isaiah 32:1 Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.

Ver. 1. Behold a king.] Hezekiah in the type, Christ in the antitype.

Shall reign in righteousness.] Regiment without righteousness, is but robbery with authority.

Eν δε δικαιοσυνη συλληβοην πας αρετ εστι.”

And princes shall rule in judgment.] Not as Shebna, and those others placed in by wicked Ahaz, do now, while the king is young, and not so well able to weed them out. Evil junior rulers are a great mischief to a state. Nerva was a good emperor, and so was Aurelian; but so bought and sold by bad counsellors and inferior magistrates, that the people were in a worse case than when they were under Nero. Hezekiah would see to his princes that they were right; Christ hath none about him but such; "All his people are righteous," [Isaiah 60:21] his "ministers" and "officers" especially. These are "princes in all lands," [Psalms 45:16] yea, they are "kings," because "righteous ones"; [Matthew 13:17 Luke 10:24] ministers especially are plenipotentiaries under Christ. [Matthew 18:18-19 John 20:23]


Verse 2

Isaiah 32:2 And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.

Ver. 2. And a man shall be,] i.e., Each man of those forementioned princes, or, That man, viz., Hezekiah. How much more "the man Christ Jesus" shall be a comfort to distressed consciences, an absolute and all-sufficient Saviour! such as his people may trust unto for safety here, and salvation hereafter.


Verse 3

Isaiah 32:3 And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken.

Ver. 3. And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim.] Or, Shall not be closed; they shall not wink or be wilfully ignorant, shutting the windows lest the light should come in, or seeking straws to put out their eyes with, as Bernard expresseth it, Festucam quaerunt unde oculos sibi eruant.

And the ears of them that hear shall hearken.] They shall listen to Christ’s word as for life; they shall draw up the ears of their souls to the ears of their bodies, that one sound may pierce both; they shall hear what the Spirit speaketh to the churches.


Verse 4

Isaiah 32:4 The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly.

Ver. 4. The heart also of the rash.] Heb., Of the hasty ones, such as are headlong and inconsiderate, that weigh not things, that say not, What shall we do in the end thereof?

And the tongue of the stammerers.] That once did but bungle at holy discourse, pronouncing as it were Sibboleth for Shibboleth, and marring a good tale in the telling; as not understanding either what they say, or whereof they affirm. [1 Timothy 1:7]

Shall be ready to speak plainly.] Shall be forward to speak fruitfully, having a holy dexterity therein. The Corinthians are commended for their utterance; [1 Corinthians 1:5] they could express themselves fitly, and they would do it freely.

To speak plainly.] Heb., Neat or clear words; limpida, nitida; a metaphor from clear or fair weather.


Verse 5

Isaiah 32:5 The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said [to be] bountiful.

Ver. 5. The vile person shall be no more called liberal.] Benefici et magnifici domini. That sapless fellow Nabal shall no more be called Nadib, that is, bountiful benefactor, or gracious lord. Of Archbishop Bancroft was made this couplet:

“Here lies his Grace in cold clay clad,

Who died for want of what he had.”

In Ahaz’s time the worst of men got honours and offices. Hezekiah would look to that. Dignity shall henceforth wait upon desert, and flattery shall be utterly out of fashion and request at court. Our old English Bibles have it thus: A niggard shall not be called a gentle or gentleman.

Nor the churl said to be bountiful.] The holdfast, whose logic is all little enough to conclude for himself, shall not be called a Magnifico. The Vulgate Latin hath it, Neque fraudulentus appellabitur maior.


Verse 6

Isaiah 32:6 For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.

Ver. 6. For the vile person will speak villany.] Why then should he be advanced to great places why should he be smoothed and soothed up with high titles? "The adversary and the enemy is this wicked Haman," said Esther. [Isaiah 7:6] Before, some had styled him noble, others great, and some perhaps virtuous; only Esther giveth him his own - Pessimus iste, "That most wicked Haman"; so, "Go, tell that fox," saith our Saviour; and God shall smite thee, "thou whited wall," saith St Paul to Ananias, &c. Nomina rebus consentanea imponentur. A spade shall be called a spade, a fool a fool; there shall not be nomen inane, crimen immane, sedes prima et vita ima, ingens authoritas et nutans stabilitas, &c. (a)

And his heart will work iniquity.] Exegesis flagitiosi, the true portraiture of an evil magistrate, Iudex locusta civitatis est malus. An evil judge is the locust of the state.


Verse 7

Isaiah 32:7 The instruments also of the churl [are] evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right.

Ver. 7. The instruments also of the churl are evil.] There is an elegance in the original, Cuius lepos in vertendo perit. (a) By his instruments or vessels are meant, say some, his evil arts and deceits of all sorts; or, as others hold, his subordinate officers and teasers.

Even when the needy speaketh right.] Right or wrong, he is sure to be undone; the doing of anything or of nothing he findeth alike dangerous.


Verse 8

Isaiah 32:8 But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.

Ver. 8. But the liberal deviseth liberal things.] Beneficus beneficia cogitat: munificentius consultat, et consulit, in opposition to the churl, [Isaiah 32:7] He is of a public spirit, and studieth how and where to do most good. Augustus Caesar was for this called Pater patriae; Father of fathers, Charles the Great, Pater orbis; Father of the world, Claudian thus bespake Honorius -

Tu civem patremque geras, tu consule cunctis,

Non tibi; nec tua te moveant, sed publica damna. ”

“You manage the state and your household, you advise everyone,

But not yourself; neither stir yourself, but damage the public state.”

And by liberal things shall he stand,] One would think he should fall rather; but he knows what he does, and that not getting but giving, not hoarding but distributing, is the way to thrive.


Verse 9

Isaiah 32:9 Rise up, ye women that are at ease; hear my voice, ye careless daughters; give ear unto my speech.

Ver. 9. Rise up, ye women that are at ease.] Secure sedentes, ye court ladies, whose pride hath brought on the wars; [Isaiah 3:25] or, ye hen hearted Jews, Aχηιδες ουκ ετ Aχαιοι; or, ye lesser cities and villages of Judah, rise up, and rouse up yourselves, ad exhibendum honorem verbo Dei, In honour of God’s holy Word. [ 3:20]


Verse 10

Isaiah 32:10 Many days and years shall ye be troubled, ye careless women: for the vintage shall fail, the gathering shall not come.

Ver. 10. Many days and years shall ye be troubled.] A just punishment of your former security, which usually ushereth in destruction. Days above a year your calamity shall last, by the invasion of the Assyrians, but not two full years; take that for your comfort.

For the vintage shall fail.] War makes woeful work and waste.


Verse 11

Isaiah 32:11 Tremble, ye women that are at ease; be troubled, ye careless ones: strip you, and make you bare, and gird [sackcloth] upon [your] loins.

Ver. 11. Tremble, ye women.] Adhortatio ad poenitentiam, saith Hyperius; an exhortation to repentance, (a) not unlike that of St James, [James 4:9-10] "Afflict yourselves, and weep and mourn; let your laughter be turned into mourning, your joy into heaviness."


Verse 12

Isaiah 32:12 They shall lament for the teats, for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine.

Ver. 12. They shall mourn for the teats.] That is, for their grain and wine. The heathens called Ceres their goddess of plenty, πολυμασθον, Mammosam, full teated. Some sense it thus, Let them (infants) mourn for the teats denied them in this day of humiliation, [Jonah 3:5-6] or so dried up that there is no milk for them. Others render it, Beating upon their breasts, Plangentes pectora palmis.


Verse 13

Isaiah 32:13 Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns [and] briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy [in] the joyous city:

Ver. 13. Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns.] Here the prophet proceedeth to denounce the destruction of the land that should one day come by the Babylonians; and yet he foretelleth that afterwards God shall receive them into favour, and restore unto them such a kingdom as wherein righteousness and peace shall meet and mutually salute.

In the joyous city.] Or, Revelling city. See Isaiah 22:2; Isaiah 22:13, Zephaniah 2:15.


Verse 14

Isaiah 32:14 Because the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left; the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks;

Ver. 14. The multitude of the city shall be left.] For the city shall be left of its multitude.

The forts and towers.] Heb, Ophel and Bachan. The Hebrews tell us that these were two high towers in Jerusalem; now they were to be dismantled and lie waste.


Verse 15

Isaiah 32:15 Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.

Ver. 15. Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high.] Donec Dominus dignabitar suum favorem et gratiam denuo nobis impertiri, Till God shall please once more to impart unto us his grace and favour. So he sets them no certain time of restoration; as desirous thereby to stir them up to pray continually, and to bring forth fruits worthy amendment of life. This effusion of "the Spirit upon all flesh" [Joel 2:28] - that is, of the best thing upon the basest - is a very great mercy.

And the wilderness be a fruitful field.] Heb., A Carmel. Such a change worketh the Spirit of grace - it maketh barren hearts fruitful, and manifesteth hypocrites, whatever they seem, to be no better than wild trees that bear no good fruit.


Verse 16

Isaiah 32:16 Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.

Ver. 16. Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness.] In this and the next verse, he setteth forth the sweet effects of God’s Spirit in the saints, in hypocrites also, when once they come to be converted; these are "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." {as Romans 14:17} By "righteousness" and "judgment" there is to be understood the righteousness of faith, together with all those good works, the fruits thereof - obedience, I mean, which Luther was wont to call fidem incarnatam Faith incarnate.


Verse 17

Isaiah 32:17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.

Ver. 17. And the work of righteousness shall be peace.] Peace both of country and of conscience; none other but this last can last for ever.

Quietness and assurance for ever.] Such as the world giveth not, such as the wicked meddleth not with. The cock on the dunghill knoweth not the worth of this jewel; it is the new name that none knoweth but he who hath it. Oh this blessed "quietness and assurance for ever," this "boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him," [Ephesians 3:12] having a full certainty, [Luke 1:4] yea, a confident glorying and boasting, [Romans 5:3] so as to stand upon interrogatories, [1 Peter 3:21] such as are those, [Romans 8:35-37] and to have God to make answer. {as Isaiah 43:25}


Verse 18

Isaiah 32:18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;

Ver. 18. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation.] Great peace have all those that love God’s law, and nothing shall offend them. [Psalms 119:165] Peace shall be within their walls, and prosperity within their palaces. From this and the next verse one well gathereth that, when the heart lieth lowest, it lieth quietest; in loco humili humills erit civitas, sc., Dei.


Verse 19

Isaiah 32:19 When it shall hail, coming down on the forest; and the city shall be low in a low place.

Ver. 19. When it shall hail, coming down on the forest.] When reprobates - here compared to a forest or tall wood - shall be hail beaten, that is, grievously plagued, as those Egyptians once were, [Exodus 9:22; Exodus 9:26] it shall be hale, or well, with the elect. The Church, as a city that standeth in a low bottom, is secure and safe, her afflictions also working together for her good. In humbling her, God remembereth her, for his mercy endureth for ever. [Psalms 136:23]


Verse 20

Isaiah 32:20 Blessed [are] ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth [thither] the feet of the ox and the ass.

Ver. 20. Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters.] Conclusionem texit ipse propheta. The prophet concludeth with an exclamation, as admiring the happiness of such as should live till the commonwealth should be thus restored; but especially when Christ should come in the power and purity of his ordinances, filling his people with the fruits of righteousness, and fattening them for the purpose with those waters of the sanctuary, as Nile doth the land of Egypt, &c. Oh, the heaped up happiness of such! O terque quaterque beati! Say, "They sow in tears, yet they shall reap in joy"; [Psalms 126:5] say, They "send thither the feet of the ox and the ass," those laborious and useful creatures, to ear the ground, and fit it for receipt of seed; [Psalms 144:14] they "shall surely eat the fruit of their labours"; [Psalms 128:2] they "shall reap in due time if they faint not." [Galatians 6:9] His faecunda sine dubio messis indulgentiae orietur, saith Arnobius; their "labour cannot be in vain in the Lord." [1 Corinthians 15:58]

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 32:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-32.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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