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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Isaiah 65

 

 

Verses 1-7

V.—THE FIFTH DISCOURSE

The Death and Life-bringing End-Period

Isaiah 65-66

These two chapters are closely connected. They form one discourse. Their commencement is obviously related to the preceding prayer, in which the people had been regarded as a unity without distinguishing between the godly and the wicked. In chap65 it is shown that Israel will neither be entirely saved ( Isaiah 65:1-7), nor entirely cast off ( Isaiah 65:8-12). The true and righteous God will act according to the rule “suum cuique” ( Isaiah 65:13-16). The Prophet then describes the salvation destined for the godly as new life. He depicts it, Isaiah 65:17-25, from its outward side, and, Isaiah 66:1-3 a, from its inward side. I must regard the verses Isaiah 66:3-6 as an interpolation. [But see the exposition.—D. M.] In Isaiah 66:7-9 the Prophet describes the new life in a quite peculiar relation. He shows the wonderfully intensive power with which the new life will unfold itself, and find its realization in posterity that cannot be numbered. The fundamental, ethical character of the new order of life, which will express itself both in the relation of the redeemed to one another, and in the relation of the Lord Himself to the redeemed, shall be maternal love ( Isaiah 66:10-14). In conclusion, the Prophet draws another comprehensive picture of the time of the end, in which he first views collectively all its elements of judgment, and then shows how the distinction between Israel and the Gentile world will cease, and the entire human race will be one new Israel, raised to a higher elevation ( Isaiah 66:15-24).

1. NOT ALL ISRAEL SHALL BE SAVED

Isaiah 65:1-7

1 I am sought of them that asked not for me;

I am found of them that sought me not;

I said, Behold me, behold me,

Unto a nation that was not called by my name.

2 I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people,

Which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;

3 A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face;

That sacrificeth in gardens,

And burneth incense [FN1]upon altars of brick,

4 Which remain among the graves,

And lodge in the [FN2]monuments,

Which eat swine’s flesh,

And [FN3] [FN4]broth of abominable things is in their vessels;

5 Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me;

For [FN5]I am holier than thou.

These are a smoke in my [FN6]nose,

A fire that burneth all the day.

6 Behold, it is written before me:

I will not keep silence, dbut will recompense,

Even recompense into their bosom,

7 Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the Lord,

Which have burned incense upon the mountains,

And blasphemed me upon the hills:

eTherefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

[Ges, Gr., §123, 3.] The Pual of קָרָא is of not unfrequent occurrence in the latter part of Isaiah 48:8; Isaiah 48:12; Isaiah 58:12; Isaiah 61:3; Isaiah 62:2. Isaiah 65:6. ושׁלמתי has the accent on the final syllable on account of the future signification, to distinguish it from the first שׁלמתי, which has the accent on the penult.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. Chaps65,66 are a Yes—but [an affirmative answer with qualifications] to the prayer of the church. For that prayer shall assuredly be heard, but quite otherwise than she imagines [?]. First of all the Lord makes a distinction, which was not made in the prayer, between the persons, according to their religious and moral condition. The prayer takes the people as an undistinguished unity in what is good as in what is bad. The good are not excepted where the transgression of the people is spoken of ( Isaiah 63:10; Isaiah 63:17; Isaiah 64:4-6), and where deliverance and salvation are spoken of, the evil are not excepted ( Isaiah 63:16; Isaiah 54:7-8). [It is not the case that the prayer altogether ignores the distinction between the good and the bad in the community. This distinction is prominently made in the latter part of Isaiah 63:17 : Return for thy servants’ sake to the tribes of thine inheritance (amended translation). Jehovah’s answer is exactly conformable to this prayer. Comp. Isaiah 65:8 sq.: So will I do for my servants’ sakes. When the prayer speaks of the whole nation being God’s people, the reference is to the original relation established between them and God. The prayer distinctly declares that it is for those that wait for Him that God Acts, and that it is he who rejoiceth and worketh righteousness whom God meets, Isaiah 64:4-5. Moreover, this prayer, which the church is supposed to utter, testifies, notwithstanding its strong confession of prevalent and general ungodliness, to the existence of a faithful, praying remnant. Dr. Naegelsbach fails to appreciate the prayer that precedes chap65, and attributes to it defects and blemishes which it does not really contain.—D. M.]. In chap65 there is a sharp line of separation drawn between the servants of Jehovah who have sought Him ( Isaiah 65:8-10; Isaiah 65:13 sqq.), and the persons who have forsaken Him ( Isaiah 65:11 sqq.) But it is not the intention of the Lord. that Israel should be reduced by the exclusion of the ungodly to a little flock, and that the old patriarchal promise of an innumerable progeny should find but a scanty realization in the glorious time of salvation. In the Messianic time Israel shall be not only blessed and glorious, but also numerous (comp. Ezekiel 36:37). Just think of places such as Isaiah 49:13 sqq.; Isaiah 54:1 sqq.; Isaiah 60:4 sqq.! But the Lord will take the members of His redeemed church not merely out of Israel. He takes them out of all nations. For, connection with the church of the redeemed is no longer dependent on natural descent from Abraham and circumcision in the flesh, but on being born of God and circumcision of the heart. [We give here Dr. J. A. Alexander’s analysis of this section: “The great enigma of Israel’s simultaneous loss and gain is solved by a prediction of the calling of the Gentiles, Isaiah 65:1. This is connected with the obstinate unfaithfulness of the chosen people, Isaiah 65:2. They are represented, under the two main aspects of their character at different periods, as gross idolaters and as Pharisaical bigots, Isaiah 65:3-5. Their casting off was not occasioned by the sins of one generation, but of many, Isaiah 65:6-7. But even in this rejected race there was a chosen remnant, in whom the promises shall be fulfilled, Isaiah 65:8-10.”—D. M.].

2. I am sought——called by my name. Isaiah 65:1. The Apostle Paul understands Isaiah 65:1 of the Gentiles while he adheres to the Septuagint, with a transposition of the clauses ( Romans 10:20). The Jewish commentators (with exception of Chiquitilla or Gecatilia, comp. RosenmuellerSchol. in loc.) and most modern interpreters refer the words to the unbelieving Jews. Only Hendewerk, who supposes the Persians specifically to be here meant, Stier and von Hofmann are exceptions. I agree with these latter. For1) if Isaiah 65:1 is to refer to the Jews, then נמצאתי,נדרשׁתי must signify: quaerendum, inveniendum me obtuli, and not “I let Myself be asked for, be found,” which signification the Niphal undoubtedly has in Ezekiel 14:3; Ezekiel 20:3; Ezekiel 20:31; Ezekiel 36:37 (Niph. tolerativum). For, in fact, the Jews have not sought the Lord, and therefore have not asked for and found Him. If then we would take the verbs נדרשׁתי and נמצאתי in the sense in which נדרשׁ occurs in the places quoted from Ezekiel, that would be affirmed regarding the Jews in the place before us which was not true of them. We must then take נדרשׁ and נמצא in the sense of quaerendum, inveniendum me obtuli, or in the sense “I was capable of being asked for, capable of being found;” but this sense the perfect Niphal cannot bear. In reference to נדרשׁ, an examination of the places in Ezekiel makes this clear. But in reference to נמצא appeal is made to Isaiah 55:6. There it is said: Seek the Lordבְּהִמָּֽצְאוֹ which may be rendered while he may be found.—For everything which is found, may be found. But does it follow that נמּצא can mean “to be capable of being found” to the exclusion of the signification “to be actually found?” But that must be the case if Isaiah 65:1 is to be referred to the Jews2) גוי לא קֹרָא בשמי is appropriately applied only to Gentiles, as even Delitzsch confesses. [Delitzsch also calls attention to the use of גּוֹי (comp. Isaiah 55:5) in Isaiah 65:1 and of עַם in Isaiah 65:2, as indicating that Isaiah 65:1 relates to the Gentiles and Isaiah 65:2 to the Jews.—D. M.]. With the words הנני הנני the Lord wishes to declare that He offers Himself lovingly and pressingly to the nation hitherto strangers to Him (comp. Isaiah 58:9).

3. I have spread out——their bosom.

[“The literal translation is approach to thyself, which implies removal from the speaker. The E. V, stand by thyself suggests the idea of standing alone, whereas all that is expressed by the Hebrew phrase is the act of standing away from the speaker, for which Lowth has found the idiomatic equivalent keep to thyself.” Alexander. D. M.]. נָנַשׁ stands only here with בְּ, probably because there lies in the word the idea of an approach that would be offensive, disturbing. קדשׁתיך is one of the rare cases in which the verbal suffix has the signification of the dative (comp. Isaiah 44:21). [I am holy to thee,i. e., unapproachable.—Del.]. If the words which we read from Isaiah 65:3 b, to Isaiah 65:5 a, really portray such idolatry as the exiles committed in Babylon, we must regard them as an interpolation. For the description is so particular that it could proceed from no one but an eyewitness. [Here again our author would alter the text to make it conform to his theory of the nature of prophecy. It was such idolatry as is here described that brought on the Jews the punishment of the Exile. Comp. Isaiah 1:29; Isaiah 57:3-8. The Babylonish captivity had the effect of making them turn with abhorrence from such gross idolatry.—D. M]. By means of a strong figurative expression the Lord makes known how much those idolatrous practices call for His retributive justice. He describes those sinners as the prey of an unquenchable fire (comp. Isaiah 66:24), whose smoke ascends perpetually before Him (see similar images Isaiah 9:18; Isaiah 10:17; Isaiah 30:27). In order to prove that He is in terrible earnest with the threatening in Isaiah 65:5 b, the Lord attests in Isaiah 65:6 that it is written before Him. He does not mean that the sin of those idolaters is recorded before Him, for what is recorded is stated in what goes before and follows. But immediately before and after, mention is made not of sin, but of punishment. The Lord intends to say: it is not merely decreed, but recorded, set down in a document ( Job 13:26; Jeremiah 22:30), that I will not be silent till I have recompensed. ושׁלמתי assures that the recompense will not remain intention but will become fact. על־חיקם comp. Jeremiah 32:18; Psalm 79:12 ( Luke 6:38). These are the only other places in which the expression occurs in the Old Testament. In them אל is found instead of על, as in the K’ri on Isaiah 65:7. These two particles are frequently substituted the one for the other (comp. on Isaiah 10:3). It is worthy of remark that Jeremiah ( Isaiah 32:18) had this place manifestly in his mind. The quick change of person sounds very hard. Isaiah 65:6 closes with their bosom; and Isaiah 65:7 in reference to the same persons proceeds to say your iniquities, in the second person. [The form of the address shows that עונתיכם וגו׳ִ, Isaiah 65:7 a, is not governed by ושׁלמתי but by an אְַשַׁלֵּם which is easily understood from it.” Delitzsch.). ומדתי וגו׳ connects itself with ומדתי וגו׳ Isaiah 65:6, so that the words עונתיכם to חרפוני appear as a parenthesis. פעלתם ראשׁנה cannot mean: what they have first deserved, their first, earliest guilt.—For why should the Lord punish only this? But if the meaning was intended to be: their total guilt from the beginning, why do we not read מֵרֵאשִׁית, or some similar expression? ראשׁנה can therefore only be an adverb, and signify primum. The Prophet has the people of the Exile in his eye. The people suffering the Exile endure in it only the beginning of the punishment for the national guilt. This punishment extends beyond it. And the people redeemed from exile still suffer under it. The first restoration from the captivity was a poor one. Israel was never after the Exile again independent. And on the first exile a second still worse followed. For the second destruction by the Romans was total, while the first by Nebuchadnezzar was only partial. After the first exile the Israelites could organize themselves again according to their law. After the second this could no more be done. This thought lies also at the basis of the passage Jeremiah 16:18 (comp. my remarks on this place), which manifestly depends on the one before us.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On [See also Isaiah 10:3]. All depends on the way in which we seek. Luther says: Quaerere fit dupliciter. Primo, secundum praescriptum verbi Dei, et sic invenitur Deus, Secundo, quaeritur nostris studiis et consiliis, et sic non invenitur.” The Jews, with exception of the ἐκλογή ( Romans 11:7), sought only after their own glory and merit. They sought what satisfies the flesh. They did not suffer the spirit in the depths of their heart to speak,—the spirit which can be satisfied only by food fitted for it. The law which was given to them that they might perceive by means of it their own impotence, became a snare to them. For they perverted it, made what was of minor importance the chief matter, and then persuaded themselves that they had fulfilled it and were righteous. But the Gentiles who had not the law, had not this snare. They were not tempted to abuse the pædagogical discipline of the law. They felt simply that they were forsaken by God. Their spirit was hungry. And when for the first time God’s word in the Gospel was presented to them, then they received it the more eagerly in proportion to the poverty, wretchedness and hunger in which they had been. The Jews did not find what they sought, because they had not a spiritual, but a carnal apprehension of the law, and, like the elder brother of the prodigal Song of Solomon, were full, and blind for that which was needful for them. But the Gentiles found what they did not seek, because they were like the prodigal Song of Solomon, who was the more receptive of grace, the more he needed it, and the less claim he had to it. [There is important truth stated in the foregoing remarks. But it does not fully explain why the Lord is found of those who sought Him not. The sinner who has obtained mercy when he asks why? must have recourse to a higher cause, a cause out of himself, even free, sovereign, efficacious grace. “It is of God that showeth mercy,” Romans 9:16. “Though in after-communion God is found of those that seek Him ( Proverbs 8:17), yet in the first conversion He is found of those that seek Him not; for therefore we love Him, because He first loved us.” Henry. D. M.].

2. On Isaiah 65:2. God’s long-suffering is great. He stretches out His hands the whole day and does not grow weary. What man would do this? The disobedient people contemns Him, as if He knew nothing, and could do nothing.

3. On Isaiah 65:2. “It is clear from this verse gratiam esse resistibilem. Christ earnestly stretched out His hands to the Jews. He would, but they would not. This doctrine the Remonstrants prove from this place, and rightly too, in Actis Synodi Dodrac. P3. p76.” Leigh. [The grace of God which is signified by His stretching out His hands can be, and Isaiah, resisted. That figurative expression denotes warning, exhorting, entreating, and was never set forth by Reformed theologians as indicating such grace as was necessarily productive of conversion. The power by which God quickens those who were dead in sins ( Ephesians 2:5), by which He gives a new heart ( Ezekiel 36:26), by which He draws to the Son ( John 6:44-45; John 6:65), is the grace which is called irresistible. The epithet is admitted on all hands to be faulty; but the grace denoted by it Isaiah, from the nature of the case, not resisted. Turrettin in treating De Vocatione et Fide thus replies to this objection, “Aliud est Deo monenti et vocanti externe resistere; Aliud est conversionem intendenti et efficaciter ac interne vocanti. Prius asseritur Isa. lxv2, 3. Quum dicit Propheta se expandisse totâ die manus ad populum perversum etc, non posterius. Expansio brachiorum notat quidem blandam et benevolam Dei invitationem, quâ illos extrinsecus sive Verbo, sive beneficiis alliciebat, non semel atque iterum, sed quotidie ministerio servorum suorum eos compellando. Sed non potest designate potentem et efficacem operationem, quâ brachium Domini illis revelatur qui docentur á Deo et trahuntur a Patre, etc.” Locus XV.; Quaestio VI .25.—D. M.].

4. On Isaiah 65:2. (Who walk after their own thoughts.)

Duc me, nec sine, me per me, Deus optime, duci.

Nam duce me pereo, te duce certus eo.

[“If our guide be our own thoughts, our way is not likely to be good; for every imagination of the thought of our hearts is only evil.” Henry. D. M.].

5. On Isaiah 65:3 sq. “The sweetest wine is turned into the sourest vinegar; and when God’s people apostatize from God, they are worse than the heathen ( Jeremiah 3:11).” Starke.

6. On [I am holier than thou. “A deep insight is here given us into the nature of the mysterious fascination which heathenism exercised on the Jewish people. The law humbled them at every turn with mementoes of their own sin and of God’s unapproachable holiness. Paganism freed them from this, and allowed them (in the midst of moral pollution) to cherish lofty pretensions to sanctity. The Prayer of Manasseh, who had been offering incense on the mountain-top, despised the penitent who went to the temple to present ‘a broken and contrite heart.’ If Pharisaism led to a like result, it was because it, too, had emptied the law of its spiritual import, and turned its provisions into intellectual idols.” Kay. D. M.].

7. On Isaiah 65:6-7. “The longer God forbears, the harder He punishes at last. The greatness of the punishment compensates for the delay ( Psalm 50:21).” Starke after Leigh.

8. On Isaiah 65:8 sqq. [“This is expounded by St. Paul, Romans 11:1-5, where, when upon occasion of the rejection of the Jews, it is asked Hath God then cast away His people? He answers, no; for, at this time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. This prophecy has reference to that distinguished remnant…Our Saviour has told us that for the sake of these elect the days of the destruction of the Jews should be shortened, and a stop put to the desolation, which otherwise would have proceeded to that degree that no flesh should be saved. Matthew 24:22. Henry. D. M.].

9. On Isaiah 65:15. The judgment which came upon Israel by the hand of the Romans, did not altogether destroy the people, but it so destroyed the Old Covenant, i.e., the Mosaic religion, that the Jews can no more observe its precepts in essential points. For no Jew knows to what tribe he belongs. Therefore, they have no priests, and, consequently, no sacrifices. The Old Covenant is now only a ruin. We see here most clearly that the Old Covenant, as it was designed only for one nation, and for one country, was to last only for a certain time. If we consider, moreover, the way in which the judgment was executed, (comp. Josephus), we can truly say that the Jews bear in themselves the mark of a curse. They bear the stamp of the divine judgment. The beginning of the judgment on the world has been executed on them as the house of God. But how comes it that the Jews have become so mighty, so insolent in the present time, and are not satisfied with remaining on the defensive in their attitude toward the Christian church, but have passed over to the offensive? This has arisen solely from Christendom having to a large extent lost the consciousness of its new name. There are many Christians who scoff at the name of Christian, and seek their honor in combating all that is called Christian. This is the preparation for the judgment on Christendom itself. If Christendom would hold fast her jewel, she would remain strong, and no one would dare to mock or to assail her. For she would then partake of the full blessing which lies in the principle of Christianity, and every one would be obliged to show respect for the fruits of this principle. But an apostate Christendom, that is ashamed of her glorious Christian name, is something more miserable than the Jews, judged though they have been, who still esteem highly their name, and what remains to them of their old religion. Thus Christendom, in so far as it denies the worth and significance of its name, is gradually reaching a condition in which it will be so ripe for the second act of the judgment on the world, that this will be longed for as a benefit. For, this apostate Christendom will be the kingdom of Antichrist, as Antichrist will manifest himself in Satanic antagonism to God by sitting in the temple of God, and pretending to be God ( 2 Thessalonians 2:3 sqq.). [We do not quite share all the sentiments expressed in this paragraph. We are far from being so despondent as to the prospects of Christendom, and think that there is a more obvious interpretation of the prophecy quoted from 2 Thess, than that indicated.—D. M.].

10. On [If we had only the present passage to testify of new heavens and a new earth, we might say, as many good interpreters do, that the language is figurative, and indicates nothing more than a great moral and spiritual revolution. But we cannot thus explain 2 Peter 3:10-13. The present earth and heavens shall pass away; (comp. Isaiah 51:6; Psalm 102:25-26). But how can we suppose that our Prophet here refers to the new heavens and new earth, which are to succeed the destruction of the world by fire? In the verses that follow Isaiah 65:17, a condition of things is described which, although better than the present, is not so good as that perfectly sinless, blessed state of the redeemed, which we look for after the coming of the day of the Lord. Yet the Apostle Peter ( 2 Peter 3:13) evidently regards the promise before us of new heavens and a new earth, as destined to receive its accomplishment after the conflagration which is to take place at the end of the world. If we had not respect to other Scriptures, and if we overlooked the use made by Peter of this passage, we should not take it literally. But we can take it literally, if we suppose that the Prophet brings together future events not according to their order in time. He sees the new heavens and new earth arise. Other scenes are disclosed to his prophetic eye of a grand and joy-inspiring nature. He announces them as future. But these scenes suppose the continued prevalence of death and labor ( Isaiah 65:20 sqq.), which, we know from definite statements of Scripture, will not exist when the new heaven and new earth appear (comp. Revelation 21:1-4). The proper view then of Isaiah 65:17 is to take its prediction literally, and to hold at the same time that in the following description (which is that of the millennium) future things are presented to us which are really prior, and not posterior to the promised complete renovation of heaven and earth. Nor should this surprise us, as Isaiah and the other Prophets place closely together in their pictures future things which belong to different times. They do not draw the line sharply between this world and the next. Compare Isaiah’s prophecy of the abolition of death ( Isaiah 25:8) in connection with other events that must happen long before that state of perfect blessedness.—D. M.].

11. On [“The extension of the Gospel every where,—of its pure principles of temperance in eating and drinking, in restraining the passions, in producing calmness of mind, and in arresting war, would greatly lengthen out the life of man. The image here employed by the Prophet is more than mere poetry; it is one that is founded in reality, and is designed to convey most important truth.” Barnes. D. M.].

12. On [It occurs to me that an erroneous application is frequently made of the promise, Before they call, etc. This declaration is made in connection with the glory and blessedness of the last days. It belongs specifically to the millennium. There are, indeed, occasions when God even now seems to act according to this law. (Comp. Daniel 9:23). But Paul had to pray thrice before he received the answer of the Lord ( 2 Corinthians 12:8). Compare the parable of the importunate widow, Luke 18:1-7. The answer to prayer may be long delayed. This is not only taught in the Bible, but is verified in Christian experience. But the time will come when the Lord will not thus try and exercise the faith of His people.—D. M.].

13. On Isaiah 65:25. “If the lower animals live in hostility in consequence of the sin of Prayer of Manasseh, a state of peace must be restored to them along with our redemption from sin.” J. G. Mueller in Herz. R-Encycl. xvi. p45. [“By the serpent in this place there seems every reason to believe that Satan, the old seducer and author of discord and misery, is meant. During the millennium he is to be subject to the lowest degradation. Compare for the force of the phrase to lick the dust, Psalm 72:9; Micah 7:17. This was the original doom of the tempter, Genesis 3:14, and shall be fully carried into execution. Comp. Revelation 20:1-3.” Henderson. D. M.].

14. On [“Having held up in every point of view the true design, mission and vocation of the church or chosen people, its relation to the natural descendants of Abraham, the causes which required that the latter should be stripped of their peculiar privileges, and the vocation of the Gentiles as a part of the divine plan from its origin, the Prophet now addresses the apostate and unbelieving Jews at the close of the old dispensation, who, instead of preparing for the general extension of the church and the exchange of ceremonial for spiritual worship, were engaged in the rebuilding and costly decoration of the temple at Jerusalem. The pride and interest in this great public work, felt not only by the Herods but by all the Jews, is clear from incidental statements of the Scriptures ( John 2:20; Matthew 24:1), as well as from the ample and direct assertions of Josephus. That the nation should have been thus occupied precisely at the time when the Messiah came, is one of those agreements between prophecy and history, which cannot be accounted for except upon the supposition of a providential and designed assimilation.” Alexander after Vitringa. D. M.].

15. On Isaiah 66:1-2. What a grand view of the nature of God and of the way in which He is made known lies at the foundation of these words! God made all things. He is so great that it is an absurdity to desire to build a temple for Him. The whole universe cannot contain Him ( 1 Kings 8:27)! But Hebrews, who contains all things and can be contained by nothing, has His greatest joy in a poor, humble human heart that fears Him. He holds it worthy of His regard, it pleases Him, He enters into it, He makes His abode in it. The wise and prudent men of science should learn hence what is chiefly necessary in order to know God. We cannot reach Him by applying force, by climbing up to Him, by attempting to take Him by storm. And if science should place ladder upon ladder upwards and downwards, she could not attain His height or His depth. But He enters of His own accord into a child-like, simple heart. He lets Himself be laid hold of by it, kept and known. It is not, therefore, by the intellect [alone] but by the heart that we can know God.

16. On Isaiah 66:3. He who under the Christian dispensation would retain the forms of worship of the ancient ritual of shadows would violate the fundamental laws of the new time, just as a man by killing would offend against the foundation of the moral law, or as he would by offering the blood of dogs or swine offend against the foundation of the ceremonial law. For when the body, the substance has appeared, the type must vanish. He who would retain the type along with the reality would declare the latter to be insufficient, would, therefore, found his salvation not upon God only, but also in part on his own legal performance. But God will brook no rival. He is either our All, or nothing. Christianity could tolerate animal sacrifices just as little as the Old Testament law could tolerate murder or the offering of abominable things.

17. On [“The most malignant and cruel persecutions of the friends of God have been originated under the pretext of great zeal in His service, and with a professed desire to honor His name. So it was with the Jews when they crucified the Lord Jesus. So it is expressly said it would be when His disciples would be excommunicated and put to death, John 16:2. So it was in fact in the persecutions excited against the apostles and early Christians. See Acts 6:13-14; Acts 21:28-31. So it was in all the persecutions of the Waldenses, in all the horrors of the Inquisition, in all the crimes of the Duke of Alva. So it was in the bloody reign of Mary; and so it has ever been in all ages and in all countries where Christians have been persecuted.” Barnes.—D. M.].

18. On Isaiah 66:10. “The idea which is presented in this verse Isaiah, that it is the duty of all who love Zion to sympathize in her joy. The true friends of God should rejoice in every real revival of religion, they should rejoice in all the success which attends the Gospel in heathen lands. And they will rejoice. It is one evidence of piety to rejoice in her joy; and they who have no joy when souls are born into the kingdom of God, when He pours down His Spirit and in a revival of religion produces changes as sudden and transforming as if the earth were suddenly to pass from the desolation of winter to the verdure and bloom of summer, or when the Gospel makes sudden and rapid advances in the heathen world, have no true evidence that they love God and His cause. They have no religion.” Barnes.—D. M.

19. On Isaiah 66:13. The Prophet is here completely governed by the idea that in the glorious time of the end, love, maternal love will reign. Thus He makes Zion appear as a mother who will bring forth with incredible ease and rapidity innumerable children ( Isaiah 66:7-9). Then the Israelites are depicted as little children who suck the breasts of their mother. Further, the heathen who bring back the Israelites into their home, must do this in the same way in which mothers in the Orient are wont to carry their little children. Lastly, even to the Lord Himself maternal love is ascribed (comp. Isaiah 42:14; Isaiah 49:15), and such love as a mother manifests to her adult son. Thus the Israelites will be surrounded in that glorious time on all sides by maternal love. Maternal love will be the characteristic of that period.

20. On Isaiah 66:19 sqq. The Prophet describes remote things by words which are borrowed from the relations and conceptions of his own time, but which stand in strange contrast to the reality of the future which he beholds. Thus the Prophet speaks of escaped persons who go to Tarshish, Pul, Lud, Tubal, and Javan. Here he has rightly seen that a great act of judgment must have taken place. And this act of judgment must have passed on Israel, because they who escape, who go to the Gentiles to declare to them the glory of Jehovah, must plainly be Jews How accurately, in spite of the strange manner of expression, is the fact here stated that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was proclaimed to the Gentiles exactly at the time when the old theocracy was destroyed! How justly does he indicate that there was a causal connection between these events! He did not, indeed, know that the shattering of the old form was necessary in order that the eternal truth enclosed in it might be set free, and fitted for filling the whole earth. For the Old Covenant cannot exist along with the New, the Law cannot stand with equal dignity beside the Gospel. The Law must be regarded as annulled, in order that the Gospel may come into force. How remarkably strange is it, however, that he calls the Gentile nations Tarshish, Pul, Lud, etc. And how singular it sounds to be told that the Israelites shall be brought by the Gentiles to Jerusalem as an offering for Jehovah! But how accurately has Hebrews, notwithstanding, stated the fact, which, indeed, still awaits its fulfilment, that it is the conversion of the heathen world which will induce Israel to acknowledge their Saviour, and that they both shall gather round the Lord as their common centre! How strange it sounds that then priests and Levites shall be taken from the Gentiles also, and that new moon and Sabbath shall be celebrated by all flesh in the old Jewish fashion! But how accurately is the truth thereby stated that in the New Covenant there will be no more the priesthood restricted to the family of Aaron, but a higher spiritual and universal priesthood, and that, instead of the limited local place of worship of the Old Covenant, the whole earth will be a temple of the Lord! Verily the prophecy of the two last chapters of Isaiah attests a genuine prophet of Jehovah. He cannot have been an anonymous unknown person. He can have been none other than Isaiah the son of Amoz!

HOMILETICAL HINTS

1. On Isaiah 65:1 sq. [I. “It is here foretold that the Gentiles, who had been afar off, should be made nigh, Isaiah 65:1. II. It is here foretold that the Jews, who had long been a people near to God, should be cast off, and set at a distance, Isaiah 65:2.” Henry, III. We are informed of the cause of the rejection of the Jews. It was owing to their rebellion, waywardness and flagrant provocations, Isaiah 65:2 sqq.—D. M.]

2. On Isaiah 65:1-7. A Fast-Day Sermon. When the Evangelical Church no more holds fast what she has; when apostasy spreads more and more, and modern heathenism ( Isaiah 65:3-5 a) gains the ascendency in her, then it can happen to her as it did to the people of Israel, and as it happened to the Church in the Orient. Her candlestick can be removed out of its place.—[By the Evangelical Church we are not to understand here the Church universal, for her perpetuity is certain. The Evangelical Church is in Germany the Protestant Church, and more particularly the Lutheran branch of it.—D. M.]

3. On Isaiah 65:8-10. Sermon on behalf of the mission among the Jews. Israel’s hope. 1) On what it is founded (Israel is still a berry in which drops of the divine blessing are contained); 2) To what this hope is directed (Israel’s Restoration).

4. On [“The blessedness of those that serve God, and the woful condition of those that rebel against him, are here set the one over against the other, that they may serve as a foil to each other. The difference of their states here lies in two things: 1) In point of comfort and satisfaction, a. God’s servants shall eat and drink; they shall have the bread of life to feed, to feast upon continually, and shall want nothing that is good for them. But those who set their hearts upon the world, and place their happiness in it, shall be hungry and thirsty, always empty, always craving. In communion with God and dependence upon Him there is full satisfaction; but in sinful pursuits there is nothing but disappointment. b. God’s servants shall rejoice and sing for joy of heart; they have constant cause for joy, and there is nothing that may be an occasion of grief to them but they have an allay sufficient for it. But, on the other hand, they that forsake the Lord shut themselves out from all true joy, for they shall be ashamed of their vain confidence in themselves, and their own righteousness, and the hopes they had built thereon. When the expectations of bliss, wherewith they had flattered themselves, are frustrated, O what confusion will fill their faces! Then shall they cry for sorrow of heart and howl for vexation of spirit. 2) In point of honor and reputation, Isaiah 65:15-16. The memory of the just Isaiah, and shall be, blessed; but the memory of the wicked shall rot.” Henry.—D. M.]

5. On Isaiah 66:1-2. Carpzov has a sermon on this text. He places it in parallel with Luke 18:9-14, and considers, 1) The rejection of spiritual pride; 2) The commendation of filial fear.

6. On Isaiah 66:2 Arndt, in his True Christianity I. cap. 10, comments on this text. He says among other things: “The man who will be something is the material out of which God makes nothing, yea, out of which He makes fools. But a man who will be nothing, and regards himself as nothing, is the material out of which God makes something, even glorious, wise people in His sight.”

7. On [Saurin has a sermon on this text entitled “Sur l’ Insuffisance du culte exterieur” in the eighth volume of his sermons.—D. M.]

8. On Isaiah 66:13. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you. “These words stand, let us consider it, 1) In the Old Testament; 2) In the heart of God always; 3) But are they realized in our experience?” Koegel in “Aus dem Vorhof ins Heiligthum, II. Bd., p242, 1876.

9. On Isaiah 66:24. The punishment of sin is twofold—inward and outward. The inward is compared with a worm that dies not; the outward with a fire that is not quenched. This worm and this fire are at work even in this life. He who is alarmed by them and hastens to Christ can now be delivered from them.—[“It is better not to fall into this fire and never to have any experience of this worm, even though, as some imagine, eternity should not be eternal, and the unquenchable fire might be quenched, and the worm that shall never die, should die, and Jesus and His apostles should not have expressed themselves quite in accordance with the compassionate taste of our time. Better, I say, is better. Save thyself and thy neighbor before the fire begins to burn, and the smoke to ascend.” Gossner.—D. M.]

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Heb. upon bricks,

FN#2 - secret places.

FN#3 - their dishes are a mixture of abominations.

FN#4 - Or, pieces.

FN#5 - 1am holy to thee.

FN#6 - Or, anger.


Verses 8-12

2. Not All Israel Shall Be Cast Off

Isaiah 65:8-12

8 Thus saith the Lord,

As the new wine is found in the cluster,

And one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it:

So will I do for my servants’ sakes,

That I may not destroy them all.

9 And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob,

And out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains:

And mine elect shall inherit it,

And my servants shall dwell there.

10 And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks,

And the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in,

For my people that have sought me.

11 [FN7]But ye are they that forsake the Lord,

That forget my holy mountain,

That prepare a table for that [FN8][FN9]troop,

And that [FN10]furnish the drink-offering unto that [FN11] number.

12 Therefore will I number you to the sword,

And ye shall all bow down to the slaughter:

Because when I called, ye did not answer;

When I spake, ye did not hear:

But did evil before mine eyes,

And did choose that wherein I delighted not.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. This section stands to the one which precedes it in the same relation ( Isaiah 65:1-7) in which this latter stands to the prayer in63,64. For as the Prophet in Isaiah 65:1 sqq. opposes the expectation [?] that all Israel will be saved ( Isaiah 64:7-8), so Isaiah 65:8 sqq. repels the opposite error that all Israel will be cast off. This opinion might have been drawn from Isaiah 65:2 sqq. For there Israel is quite generally designated as a rebellious people to which the Lord spreads out His hands in vain, that provokes Him by defiant idolatry, and therefore will have to bear the whole burden of the guilt accumulated from their fathers. It might accordingly,be supposed that Israel should be entirely cast off, and their place taken by the Gentiles ( Isaiah 65:1). This misunderstanding the Prophet here combats. He compares Israel with a cluster of grapes on which many berries may be rotten. Is the whole cluster, therefore, cast away? No! much of the blessing of God is still therein. So for His servants’ sake the Lord will not destroy all Israel ( Isaiah 65:8). He will yet cause to come forth from the remnant a race that will consist of the elect of the Lord, and that will possess the holy land ( Isaiah 65:9). This will be fertile in all its parts and be fitted for excellent pasture ( Isaiah 65:10). But they who forget the Lord and set their heart on the false gods of the land of the Exile ( Isaiah 65:11) shall for their disobedience be extirpated ( Isaiah 65:12).

2. Thus saith the Lord——sought me.

Isaiah 65:8-10. The image does not appear to me to be correctly explained when the intended antitheses are supposed to be: only stalk and husks should be destroyed, not the berries; or, only the degenerate vine or vineyard ( Isaiah 5:4; Isaiah 18:5) is to be destroyed, not the grapes. For who needs to be told that he should not treat the berries as the stalk and husk, or that he should spare the grapes but destroy the vine or vineyard? Whence are grape-clusters to be had if the latter are destroyed? It seems to me that the Prophet has in his mind a bunch of grapes on which together with many bad and rotten berries, there are some good ones. One is tempted to throw away such a cluster entirely. The Prophet forbids this. [“The image really presented by the Prophet, as Vitringa clearly shows, and most later writers have admitted, is that of a good cluster, in which juice is found, while others are unripe or rotten.”—Alexander.הַתִּירוֹשׁ has the article which the Hebrew was wont to employ in comparisons. See Ges.Gr. § 109. Note1.—D. M.]. There is a blessing in it seems to be taken in a double sense: 1) Even the smallest quantity of the noble fruit is valuable and not to be despised; 2) God can bless even the smallest quantity, i. e., He can multiply it ( John 6:9; John 6:12). [The simple, obvious meaning is: A blessing is in the cluster, because new wine, which was considered a blessing ( Judges 9:13; Isaiah 62:8), is in it.—D. M.]. וְאָמַר is used as Isaiah 25:9; Isaiah 45:24; Isaiah 57:14. For His servants’ sake the Lord will not entirely destroy Israel. For these are the true Israelites. They prove that Israel is capable and worthy to continue to exist. There shall, therefore, seed (posterity) yet proceed out of Israel, that shall possess the mountains of Canaan (comp. Isaiah 14:25, and in a wider sense Isaiah 49:11). This shall be a holy seed ( Isaiah 6:13). For only the elect of the Lord shall possess it (the land, ארץ which is ideally contained in הרי), and His servants shall dwell therein. [“My mountains is supposed by Vitringa to denote Mount Zion and Moriah, or Jerusalem as built upon them; but the later writers more correctly suppose it to describe the whole of Palestine, as being an uneven, hilly country. See the same use of the plural in Isaiah 14:25, and the analogous phrase, mountains of Israel, repeatedly employed by Ezekiel ( Isaiah 36:1; Isaiah 36:8; Isaiah 38:8). … The adverb at the end of the sentence properly means thither, and is never perhaps put for there, except in cases where a change of place is previously mentioned or implied.”—Alexander.—D. M.] Isaiah 65:10. The land shall be fertile and glorious. Sharon shall be pasture for sheep, the valley of Achor a pasture for black cattle. Sharon is the well-known fertile plain in the west of Palestine, stretching from Caesarea northwards to Carmel (comp. on Isaiah 33:9; Isaiah 35:2). Achor is the valley in the east of the tribe of Judah, in which, according to Joshua 7:24-26, Achan was stoned. This valley is further mentioned only in Joshua 15:7; Hosea 2:17. It must have been a stony place, for according to Joshua 7:25 sq, there were there stones enough to stone Achan, together with all belonging to him, and to raise up a great heap of stones. In Hosea 2:17 [E. V:15] it is said that the valley of Achor will be unto converted and restored Israel a door of hope. This means: When Israel, returning from the Exile, shall pass through the valley of Achor, it shall be to them no more a monument of the wrath of God, which it formerly was, with its heap of stones and its stony ground; but even this valley shall be to them a door of hope, for the place shall be altered. There shall be seen in it the traces of the blessing which, according to Isaiah 65:20 sqq, shall be spread over the whole land. Then, according to this passage, the valley of Achor shall become a fertile pasture, even more fertile than Sharon, for sheep are content with much poorer pasture than neat-cattle (comp. Herzog) R. Enc. VI, p150; Si tibi lanitium curae, fuge pabula laeta.VirgilGeorg. III, 384).

3. But ye are they——delighted not. Isaiah 65:11-12. What in verse8 had been denied in reference to all Israel is here affirmed in reference to a part. The wicked Israelites shall certainly perish. These are described as those that forsake Jehovah (comp. on Isaiah 1:28. The expression occurs further only Isaiah 1:24; Isaiah 1:28), that forget the holy mountain of Jehovah. The writer has here evidently exiles in his eye, who in a heathen land were seduced to worship the local gods of the heathen, and so forgot the worship that prevailed in their own country, and the place where their fathers worshipped God. Such forgetting must often have happened in the Exile, and have been for the faithful Israelites a subject of great grief and vexation. We see this from Psalm 137:5-6 [?]. In what follows the Prophet specifies more particularly the idolatry of those apostates, while he describes them as those who “prepare a table for Gad, and fill for Meni mixed drink.” The Prophet here speaks of a cultus of which there is no mention in the history of the people before the Exile. He has evidently in his mind the Song of Solomon -called lectisternia. That these lectisternia were observed by the Babylonians is proved from Baruch 6:26, and from Bel and the Dragon, Isaiah 65:11 sqq. What Herodotus (I:181) relates of the golden table, which stood in the highest room of the temple-tower beside the κλίνημεγάλη εὖ ἐστρωμένη, seems to have reference to such a lectisternium (comp. Leyrer in Herz.R. E. 13, p470). As an appellative noun, גַד means fortune, good luck. As the name of a divinity, it denotes the star of fortune, of which the Babylonians had two, Jupiter and Venus (comp. DunckerGesch. des Alterth., Vol. I, p117; Plutarch de Is. et Osir, § 48). The Arabs named the former “Great Fortune,” and the latter “Little Fortune.” Many are disposed to connect מְנִי, which is found only here, with Μήν, Μήνη, and to understand it of the moon (comp. especially Knobelin loc.). The matter is not yet decided. מִמְסָךְ (comp. Proverbs 23:30, and in reference to the verb, Isaiah 5:22; Isaiah 19:14) is mixed wine, spiced wine (see on Isaiah 5:22). With allusion to the name מְנִי, the Lord threatens these sinners that He will number ( Isaiah 53:12) them to the sword, and they all must bow down ( Isaiah 10:4; Isaiah 44:1-2,) to be slaughtered, because they did not answer to the call of the Lord, yea, did not even hearken to His word, but did that which the Lord regarded as evil, and chose what displeased Him. For recurring expressions see Isaiah 66:4; Isaiah 56:4. The expression עשׂה הרע בעיני ו׳ occurs first in Numbers 32:13, then frequently in Deuteronomy,, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Chron. It is found once in the Psalm ( Isaiah 51:6), three times in Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 7:30; Jeremiah 18:10; Jeremiah 32:30). It occurs in Isaiah only here and Isaiah 66:4 (comp. Isaiah 38:3). What was remarked in regard to Isaiah 65:3-5 a applies to Isaiah 65:11-12. If they portray an idolatry specifically Babylonian which the Jews practised in exile, the verses are an interpolation. [Delitzsch, who is inclined to identify גַּד with Jupiter, confesses that it is only from this place in Isaiah that we know that Gad was worshipped by the Babylonians. The Babylonian Pantheon, in Rawlinson’sMonarchies, does not contain this name. The application of the name Meni is admitted to be doubtful. We could as easily connect the worship and the divinities mentioned here with Egypt, Syria, or Arabia, as with Babylonia. The Jews that fled to Egypt had their Lectisternia there ( Jeremiah 44:17-19), and the destruction with which Isaiah threatens the apostates that he has in mind, is denounced by Jeremiah against the idolatrous Jews in Egypt. Jeremiah 44:12-14. Moreover, the Jews had their Lectistenia in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem before the captivity ( Jeremiah 7:17-18) But suppose that the worship here described by Isaiah could be proved to be distinctively and exclusively Babylonian, must the real Isaiah be supposed to be ignorant of it? Knowing the disposition of the Jews to follow the ways of the heathen around them, he could anticipate, even without Divine inspiration, that many of the captive Jews would practise the peculiar religious rites of the Babylonians. Even an anti-supernaturalist could defend the genuineness of Isaiah 65:11-12; much more one who believes that a true Prophet of God could utter a definite prediction. We may add that verse 13 supposes the sins mentioned in Isaiah 65:11-12 as the ground of the threatening which it contains, and cannot be connected immediately with Isaiah 65:10. Henderson, who thinks that the terms in Isaiah 65:11 may have been borrowed from the nomenclature of idolaters, takes Gad as meaning Fortune and Meni Fate, and applies the passage to the impenitent and worldly Jews of the restoration, who had no god but riches, and regarded human affairs as governed by fortune.—D. M.].

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On [See also Isaiah 10:3]. All depends on the way in which we seek. Luther says: Quaerere fit dupliciter. Primo, secundum praescriptum verbi Dei, et sic invenitur Deus, Secundo, quaeritur nostris studiis et consiliis, et sic non invenitur.” The Jews, with exception of the ἐκλογή ( Romans 11:7), sought only after their own glory and merit. They sought what satisfies the flesh. They did not suffer the spirit in the depths of their heart to speak,—the spirit which can be satisfied only by food fitted for it. The law which was given to them that they might perceive by means of it their own impotence, became a snare to them. For they perverted it, made what was of minor importance the chief matter, and then persuaded themselves that they had fulfilled it and were righteous. But the Gentiles who had not the law, had not this snare. They were not tempted to abuse the pædagogical discipline of the law. They felt simply that they were forsaken by God. Their spirit was hungry. And when for the first time God’s word in the Gospel was presented to them, then they received it the more eagerly in proportion to the poverty, wretchedness and hunger in which they had been. The Jews did not find what they sought, because they had not a spiritual, but a carnal apprehension of the law, and, like the elder brother of the prodigal Song of Solomon, were full, and blind for that which was needful for them. But the Gentiles found what they did not seek, because they were like the prodigal Song of Solomon, who was the more receptive of grace, the more he needed it, and the less claim he had to it. [There is important truth stated in the foregoing remarks. But it does not fully explain why the Lord is found of those who sought Him not. The sinner who has obtained mercy when he asks why? must have recourse to a higher cause, a cause out of himself, even free, sovereign, efficacious grace. “It is of God that showeth mercy,” Romans 9:16. “Though in after-communion God is found of those that seek Him ( Proverbs 8:17), yet in the first conversion He is found of those that seek Him not; for therefore we love Him, because He first loved us.” Henry. D. M.].

2. On Isaiah 65:2. God’s long-suffering is great. He stretches out His hands the whole day and does not grow weary. What man would do this? The disobedient people contemns Him, as if He knew nothing, and could do nothing.

3. On Isaiah 65:2. “It is clear from this verse gratiam esse resistibilem. Christ earnestly stretched out His hands to the Jews. He would, but they would not. This doctrine the Remonstrants prove from this place, and rightly too, in Actis Synodi Dodrac. P3. p76.” Leigh. [The grace of God which is signified by His stretching out His hands can be, and Isaiah, resisted. That figurative expression denotes warning, exhorting, entreating, and was never set forth by Reformed theologians as indicating such grace as was necessarily productive of conversion. The power by which God quickens those who were dead in sins ( Ephesians 2:5), by which He gives a new heart ( Ezekiel 36:26), by which He draws to the Son ( John 6:44-45; John 6:65), is the grace which is called irresistible. The epithet is admitted on all hands to be faulty; but the grace denoted by it Isaiah, from the nature of the case, not resisted. Turrettin in treating De Vocatione et Fide thus replies to this objection, “Aliud est Deo monenti et vocanti externe resistere; Aliud est conversionem intendenti et efficaciter ac interne vocanti. Prius asseritur Isa. lxv2, 3. Quum dicit Propheta se expandisse totâ die manus ad populum perversum etc, non posterius. Expansio brachiorum notat quidem blandam et benevolam Dei invitationem, quâ illos extrinsecus sive Verbo, sive beneficiis alliciebat, non semel atque iterum, sed quotidie ministerio servorum suorum eos compellando. Sed non potest designate potentem et efficacem operationem, quâ brachium Domini illis revelatur qui docentur á Deo et trahuntur a Patre, etc.” Locus XV.; Quaestio VI .25.—D. M.].

4. On Isaiah 65:2. (Who walk after their own thoughts.)

Duc me, nec sine, me per me, Deus optime, duci.

Nam duce me pereo, te duce certus eo.

[“If our guide be our own thoughts, our way is not likely to be good; for every imagination of the thought of our hearts is only evil.” Henry. D. M.].

5. On Isaiah 65:3 sq. “The sweetest wine is turned into the sourest vinegar; and when God’s people apostatize from God, they are worse than the heathen ( Jeremiah 3:11).” Starke.

6. On [I am holier than thou. “A deep insight is here given us into the nature of the mysterious fascination which heathenism exercised on the Jewish people. The law humbled them at every turn with mementoes of their own sin and of God’s unapproachable holiness. Paganism freed them from this, and allowed them (in the midst of moral pollution) to cherish lofty pretensions to sanctity. The Prayer of Manasseh, who had been offering incense on the mountain-top, despised the penitent who went to the temple to present ‘a broken and contrite heart.’ If Pharisaism led to a like result, it was because it, too, had emptied the law of its spiritual import, and turned its provisions into intellectual idols.” Kay. D. M.].

7. On Isaiah 65:6-7. “The longer God forbears, the harder He punishes at last. The greatness of the punishment compensates for the delay ( Psalm 50:21).” Starke after Leigh.

8. On Isaiah 65:8 sqq. [“This is expounded by St. Paul, Romans 11:1-5, where, when upon occasion of the rejection of the Jews, it is asked Hath God then cast away His people? He answers, no; for, at this time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. This prophecy has reference to that distinguished remnant…Our Saviour has told us that for the sake of these elect the days of the destruction of the Jews should be shortened, and a stop put to the desolation, which otherwise would have proceeded to that degree that no flesh should be saved. Matthew 24:22. Henry. D. M.].

9. On Isaiah 65:15. The judgment which came upon Israel by the hand of the Romans, did not altogether destroy the people, but it so destroyed the Old Covenant, i.e., the Mosaic religion, that the Jews can no more observe its precepts in essential points. For no Jew knows to what tribe he belongs. Therefore, they have no priests, and, consequently, no sacrifices. The Old Covenant is now only a ruin. We see here most clearly that the Old Covenant, as it was designed only for one nation, and for one country, was to last only for a certain time. If we consider, moreover, the way in which the judgment was executed, (comp. Josephus), we can truly say that the Jews bear in themselves the mark of a curse. They bear the stamp of the divine judgment. The beginning of the judgment on the world has been executed on them as the house of God. But how comes it that the Jews have become so mighty, so insolent in the present time, and are not satisfied with remaining on the defensive in their attitude toward the Christian church, but have passed over to the offensive? This has arisen solely from Christendom having to a large extent lost the consciousness of its new name. There are many Christians who scoff at the name of Christian, and seek their honor in combating all that is called Christian. This is the preparation for the judgment on Christendom itself. If Christendom would hold fast her jewel, she would remain strong, and no one would dare to mock or to assail her. For she would then partake of the full blessing which lies in the principle of Christianity, and every one would be obliged to show respect for the fruits of this principle. But an apostate Christendom, that is ashamed of her glorious Christian name, is something more miserable than the Jews, judged though they have been, who still esteem highly their name, and what remains to them of their old religion. Thus Christendom, in so far as it denies the worth and significance of its name, is gradually reaching a condition in which it will be so ripe for the second act of the judgment on the world, that this will be longed for as a benefit. For, this apostate Christendom will be the kingdom of Antichrist, as Antichrist will manifest himself in Satanic antagonism to God by sitting in the temple of God, and pretending to be God ( 2 Thessalonians 2:3 sqq.). [We do not quite share all the sentiments expressed in this paragraph. We are far from being so despondent as to the prospects of Christendom, and think that there is a more obvious interpretation of the prophecy quoted from 2 Thess, than that indicated.—D. M.].

10. On [If we had only the present passage to testify of new heavens and a new earth, we might say, as many good interpreters do, that the language is figurative, and indicates nothing more than a great moral and spiritual revolution. But we cannot thus explain 2 Peter 3:10-13. The present earth and heavens shall pass away; (comp. Isaiah 51:6; Psalm 102:25-26). But how can we suppose that our Prophet here refers to the new heavens and new earth, which are to succeed the destruction of the world by fire? In the verses that follow Isaiah 65:17, a condition of things is described which, although better than the present, is not so good as that perfectly sinless, blessed state of the redeemed, which we look for after the coming of the day of the Lord. Yet the Apostle Peter ( 2 Peter 3:13) evidently regards the promise before us of new heavens and a new earth, as destined to receive its accomplishment after the conflagration which is to take place at the end of the world. If we had not respect to other Scriptures, and if we overlooked the use made by Peter of this passage, we should not take it literally. But we can take it literally, if we suppose that the Prophet brings together future events not according to their order in time. He sees the new heavens and new earth arise. Other scenes are disclosed to his prophetic eye of a grand and joy-inspiring nature. He announces them as future. But these scenes suppose the continued prevalence of death and labor ( Isaiah 65:20 sqq.), which, we know from definite statements of Scripture, will not exist when the new heaven and new earth appear (comp. Revelation 21:1-4). The proper view then of Isaiah 65:17 is to take its prediction literally, and to hold at the same time that in the following description (which is that of the millennium) future things are presented to us which are really prior, and not posterior to the promised complete renovation of heaven and earth. Nor should this surprise us, as Isaiah and the other Prophets place closely together in their pictures future things which belong to different times. They do not draw the line sharply between this world and the next. Compare Isaiah’s prophecy of the abolition of death ( Isaiah 25:8) in connection with other events that must happen long before that state of perfect blessedness.—D. M.].

11. On [“The extension of the Gospel every where,—of its pure principles of temperance in eating and drinking, in restraining the passions, in producing calmness of mind, and in arresting war, would greatly lengthen out the life of man. The image here employed by the Prophet is more than mere poetry; it is one that is founded in reality, and is designed to convey most important truth.” Barnes. D. M.].

12. On [It occurs to me that an erroneous application is frequently made of the promise, Before they call, etc. This declaration is made in connection with the glory and blessedness of the last days. It belongs specifically to the millennium. There are, indeed, occasions when God even now seems to act according to this law. (Comp. Daniel 9:23). But Paul had to pray thrice before he received the answer of the Lord ( 2 Corinthians 12:8). Compare the parable of the importunate widow, Luke 18:1-7. The answer to prayer may be long delayed. This is not only taught in the Bible, but is verified in Christian experience. But the time will come when the Lord will not thus try and exercise the faith of His people.—D. M.].

13. On Isaiah 65:25. “If the lower animals live in hostility in consequence of the sin of Prayer of Manasseh, a state of peace must be restored to them along with our redemption from sin.” J. G. Mueller in Herz. R-Encycl. xvi. p45. [“By the serpent in this place there seems every reason to believe that Satan, the old seducer and author of discord and misery, is meant. During the millennium he is to be subject to the lowest degradation. Compare for the force of the phrase to lick the dust, Psalm 72:9; Micah 7:17. This was the original doom of the tempter, Genesis 3:14, and shall be fully carried into execution. Comp. Revelation 20:1-3.” Henderson. D. M.].

14. On [“Having held up in every point of view the true design, mission and vocation of the church or chosen people, its relation to the natural descendants of Abraham, the causes which required that the latter should be stripped of their peculiar privileges, and the vocation of the Gentiles as a part of the divine plan from its origin, the Prophet now addresses the apostate and unbelieving Jews at the close of the old dispensation, who, instead of preparing for the general extension of the church and the exchange of ceremonial for spiritual worship, were engaged in the rebuilding and costly decoration of the temple at Jerusalem. The pride and interest in this great public work, felt not only by the Herods but by all the Jews, is clear from incidental statements of the Scriptures ( John 2:20; Matthew 24:1), as well as from the ample and direct assertions of Josephus. That the nation should have been thus occupied precisely at the time when the Messiah came, is one of those agreements between prophecy and history, which cannot be accounted for except upon the supposition of a providential and designed assimilation.” Alexander after Vitringa. D. M.].

15. On Isaiah 66:1-2. What a grand view of the nature of God and of the way in which He is made known lies at the foundation of these words! God made all things. He is so great that it is an absurdity to desire to build a temple for Him. The whole universe cannot contain Him ( 1 Kings 8:27)! But Hebrews, who contains all things and can be contained by nothing, has His greatest joy in a poor, humble human heart that fears Him. He holds it worthy of His regard, it pleases Him, He enters into it, He makes His abode in it. The wise and prudent men of science should learn hence what is chiefly necessary in order to know God. We cannot reach Him by applying force, by climbing up to Him, by attempting to take Him by storm. And if science should place ladder upon ladder upwards and downwards, she could not attain His height or His depth. But He enters of His own accord into a child-like, simple heart. He lets Himself be laid hold of by it, kept and known. It is not, therefore, by the intellect [alone] but by the heart that we can know God.

16. On Isaiah 66:3. He who under the Christian dispensation would retain the forms of worship of the ancient ritual of shadows would violate the fundamental laws of the new time, just as a man by killing would offend against the foundation of the moral law, or as he would by offering the blood of dogs or swine offend against the foundation of the ceremonial law. For when the body, the substance has appeared, the type must vanish. He who would retain the type along with the reality would declare the latter to be insufficient, would, therefore, found his salvation not upon God only, but also in part on his own legal performance. But God will brook no rival. He is either our All, or nothing. Christianity could tolerate animal sacrifices just as little as the Old Testament law could tolerate murder or the offering of abominable things.

17. On [“The most malignant and cruel persecutions of the friends of God have been originated under the pretext of great zeal in His service, and with a professed desire to honor His name. So it was with the Jews when they crucified the Lord Jesus. So it is expressly said it would be when His disciples would be excommunicated and put to death, John 16:2. So it was in fact in the persecutions excited against the apostles and early Christians. See Acts 6:13-14; Acts 21:28-31. So it was in all the persecutions of the Waldenses, in all the horrors of the Inquisition, in all the crimes of the Duke of Alva. So it was in the bloody reign of Mary; and so it has ever been in all ages and in all countries where Christians have been persecuted.” Barnes.—D. M.].

18. On Isaiah 66:10. “The idea which is presented in this verse Isaiah, that it is the duty of all who love Zion to sympathize in her joy. The true friends of God should rejoice in every real revival of religion, they should rejoice in all the success which attends the Gospel in heathen lands. And they will rejoice. It is one evidence of piety to rejoice in her joy; and they who have no joy when souls are born into the kingdom of God, when He pours down His Spirit and in a revival of religion produces changes as sudden and transforming as if the earth were suddenly to pass from the desolation of winter to the verdure and bloom of summer, or when the Gospel makes sudden and rapid advances in the heathen world, have no true evidence that they love God and His cause. They have no religion.” Barnes.—D. M.

19. On Isaiah 66:13. The Prophet is here completely governed by the idea that in the glorious time of the end, love, maternal love will reign. Thus He makes Zion appear as a mother who will bring forth with incredible ease and rapidity innumerable children ( Isaiah 66:7-9). Then the Israelites are depicted as little children who suck the breasts of their mother. Further, the heathen who bring back the Israelites into their home, must do this in the same way in which mothers in the Orient are wont to carry their little children. Lastly, even to the Lord Himself maternal love is ascribed (comp. Isaiah 42:14; Isaiah 49:15), and such love as a mother manifests to her adult son. Thus the Israelites will be surrounded in that glorious time on all sides by maternal love. Maternal love will be the characteristic of that period.

20. On Isaiah 66:19 sqq. The Prophet describes remote things by words which are borrowed from the relations and conceptions of his own time, but which stand in strange contrast to the reality of the future which he beholds. Thus the Prophet speaks of escaped persons who go to Tarshish, Pul, Lud, Tubal, and Javan. Here he has rightly seen that a great act of judgment must have taken place. And this act of judgment must have passed on Israel, because they who escape, who go to the Gentiles to declare to them the glory of Jehovah, must plainly be Jews How accurately, in spite of the strange manner of expression, is the fact here stated that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was proclaimed to the Gentiles exactly at the time when the old theocracy was destroyed! How justly does he indicate that there was a causal connection between these events! He did not, indeed, know that the shattering of the old form was necessary in order that the eternal truth enclosed in it might be set free, and fitted for filling the whole earth. For the Old Covenant cannot exist along with the New, the Law cannot stand with equal dignity beside the Gospel. The Law must be regarded as annulled, in order that the Gospel may come into force. How remarkably strange is it, however, that he calls the Gentile nations Tarshish, Pul, Lud, etc. And how singular it sounds to be told that the Israelites shall be brought by the Gentiles to Jerusalem as an offering for Jehovah! But how accurately has Hebrews, notwithstanding, stated the fact, which, indeed, still awaits its fulfilment, that it is the conversion of the heathen world which will induce Israel to acknowledge their Saviour, and that they both shall gather round the Lord as their common centre! How strange it sounds that then priests and Levites shall be taken from the Gentiles also, and that new moon and Sabbath shall be celebrated by all flesh in the old Jewish fashion! But how accurately is the truth thereby stated that in the New Covenant there will be no more the priesthood restricted to the family of Aaron, but a higher spiritual and universal priesthood, and that, instead of the limited local place of worship of the Old Covenant, the whole earth will be a temple of the Lord! Verily the prophecy of the two last chapters of Isaiah attests a genuine prophet of Jehovah. He cannot have been an anonymous unknown person. He can have been none other than Isaiah the son of Amoz!

HOMILETICAL HINTS

1. On Isaiah 65:1 sq. [I. “It is here foretold that the Gentiles, who had been afar off, should be made nigh, Isaiah 65:1. II. It is here foretold that the Jews, who had long been a people near to God, should be cast off, and set at a distance, Isaiah 65:2.” Henry, III. We are informed of the cause of the rejection of the Jews. It was owing to their rebellion, waywardness and flagrant provocations, Isaiah 65:2 sqq.—D. M.]

2. On Isaiah 65:1-7. A Fast-Day Sermon. When the Evangelical Church no more holds fast what she has; when apostasy spreads more and more, and modern heathenism ( Isaiah 65:3-5 a) gains the ascendency in her, then it can happen to her as it did to the people of Israel, and as it happened to the Church in the Orient. Her candlestick can be removed out of its place.—[By the Evangelical Church we are not to understand here the Church universal, for her perpetuity is certain. The Evangelical Church is in Germany the Protestant Church, and more particularly the Lutheran branch of it.—D. M.]

3. On Isaiah 65:8-10. Sermon on behalf of the mission among the Jews. Israel’s hope. 1) On what it is founded (Israel is still a berry in which drops of the divine blessing are contained); 2) To what this hope is directed (Israel’s Restoration).

4. On [“The blessedness of those that serve God, and the woful condition of those that rebel against him, are here set the one over against the other, that they may serve as a foil to each other. The difference of their states here lies in two things: 1) In point of comfort and satisfaction, a. God’s servants shall eat and drink; they shall have the bread of life to feed, to feast upon continually, and shall want nothing that is good for them. But those who set their hearts upon the world, and place their happiness in it, shall be hungry and thirsty, always empty, always craving. In communion with God and dependence upon Him there is full satisfaction; but in sinful pursuits there is nothing but disappointment. b. God’s servants shall rejoice and sing for joy of heart; they have constant cause for joy, and there is nothing that may be an occasion of grief to them but they have an allay sufficient for it. But, on the other hand, they that forsake the Lord shut themselves out from all true joy, for they shall be ashamed of their vain confidence in themselves, and their own righteousness, and the hopes they had built thereon. When the expectations of bliss, wherewith they had flattered themselves, are frustrated, O what confusion will fill their faces! Then shall they cry for sorrow of heart and howl for vexation of spirit. 2) In point of honor and reputation, Isaiah 65:15-16. The memory of the just Isaiah, and shall be, blessed; but the memory of the wicked shall rot.” Henry.—D. M.]

5. On Isaiah 66:1-2. Carpzov has a sermon on this text. He places it in parallel with Luke 18:9-14, and considers, 1) The rejection of spiritual pride; 2) The commendation of filial fear.

6. On Isaiah 66:2 Arndt, in his True Christianity I. cap. 10, comments on this text. He says among other things: “The man who will be something is the material out of which God makes nothing, yea, out of which He makes fools. But a man who will be nothing, and regards himself as nothing, is the material out of which God makes something, even glorious, wise people in His sight.”

7. On [Saurin has a sermon on this text entitled “Sur l’ Insuffisance du culte exterieur” in the eighth volume of his sermons.—D. M.]

8. On Isaiah 66:13. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you. “These words stand, let us consider it, 1) In the Old Testament; 2) In the heart of God always; 3) But are they realized in our experience?” Koegel in “Aus dem Vorhof ins Heiligthum, II. Bd., p242, 1876.

9. On Isaiah 66:24. The punishment of sin is twofold—inward and outward. The inward is compared with a worm that dies not; the outward with a fire that is not quenched. This worm and this fire are at work even in this life. He who is alarmed by them and hastens to Christ can now be delivered from them.—[“It is better not to fall into this fire and never to have any experience of this worm, even though, as some imagine, eternity should not be eternal, and the unquenchable fire might be quenched, and the worm that shall never die, should die, and Jesus and His apostles should not have expressed themselves quite in accordance with the compassionate taste of our time. Better, I say, is better. Save thyself and thy neighbor before the fire begins to burn, and the smoke to ascend.” Gossner.—D. M.]

Footnotes:

FN#7 - But ye who forsake Jehovah.

FN#8 - Gad.

FN#9 - Gad.

FN#10 - fill for the goddess of fortune a mingled drink.

FN#11 - Meni.


Verses 13-16

3. THE TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS GOD GIVES TO EVERY ONE HIS OWN

Isaiah 65:13-16

13 Therefore thus saith the Lord God, [Jehovah]

Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry:

Behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty:

Behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed:

14 Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart,

But ye shall cry for sorrow of heart,

And shall howl for [FN12]vexation of spirit.

15 And ye shall leave your name for [FN13]a curse unto my chosen:

For the Lord God [Jehovah] shall slay thee,

And call his servants by another name:

16 That he who blesseth himself in the earth

Shall bless himself in the [FN14]God of truth;

And he that sweareth in the earth

Shall swear by the God of truth;

Because the former troubles are forgotten,

And because they are hid from mine eyes.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. [“On the ground of the renewed mention of the offence there is a fresh announcement of punishment, and the different lot of the servants of Jahve, and of those who despised Him, is expressed in five clauses and antithetic clauses.”—Del.] The servants of Jehovah will eat, drink, rejoice (comp. Isaiah 25:6 sqq.; Isaiah 55:1; Isaiah 56:9), the wicked will do the opposite of all this ( Isaiah 65:13-14). The name of the wicked will only remain to serve the servants of Jehovah for an oath; they themselves will be dead, and the Lord will give His servants another name ( Isaiah 65:15). Then will both the promises and the threatenings of Jehovah be fulfilled. Jehovah will have proved Himself as the true One. He who blesses himself and he who swears, will do this henceforward only in the name of this true God. All tribulation of the former time shall be forgotten, and shall have disappeared ( Isaiah 65:16).

2. Therefore, thus saith——mine eyes. [“These verses merely carry out the general threatening of the one preceding, in a series of poetical antitheses, where hunger, thirst, disgrace and anguish take the place of sword and slaughter, and determine these to be symbolical or emblematic terms.” Alexander.—D. M.] טוּב לֵב recalls טוּב לֵבָב, Deuteronomy 28:47. The expression does not elsewhere occur. The adjectival construction is found 1 Kings 8:66; 2 Chronicles 7:10; Esther 1:10; Esther 5:9; Proverbs 15:15. The expression כאב לב (comp. Isaiah 17:11; Proverbs 14:13) occurs only here, שֶׁבֶר רוּחַ, too, occurs only here (comp. Psalm 51:19). The punishment of the wicked shall not cease with the termination of a wretched life; after death it shall be continued in a memory laden with a curse. This last point the Prophet mentions first as the climax of the punishment, and only parenthetically introduces the threatening of destruction. The threatening: Ye shall leave your name for an oath, supposes the death of those threatened. This matter the Prophet afterwards refers to as a thing of only minor importance. For all men must die. But in the words, the Lord God shall slay thee, there is intimated a death which should be a marked expression of the Divine displeasure. וְ before המיתך is to be taken as causal. The sudden change of number need no more surprise us than the sudden change of person elsewhere. Comp. Isaiah 1:23; Isaiah 5:23; Isaiah 5:26; Isaiah 17:10; Isaiah 19:25; Isaiah 29:13. The singular may perhaps be here employed for a rhetorical reason. It renders the speech more concise and emphatic. The wicked will be destroyed so that nothing will remain of them but a name on which a curse rests. To such a degree will they appear as objects of the curse, that one in swearing will believe that he cannot take a stronger oath than by invoking on himself the curse of those wicked persons, in case of being guilty of falsehood (comp. Numbers 5:21; Jeremiah 29:22; Psalm 102:9). One name originally united the wicked and the godly. For they were both called Israelites. Can the elect of the Lord continue to bear the name which, after the judgments of God, has become accursed? No. The Lord will therefore give His servants another name. He does not say: A new name, as Isaiah 62:2, but another name. The Prophet’s look surveys rapidly the whole period which embraces thousands of years, from the beginning till the completion of redemption, i. e., from the end of the Exile till the last day. He sees how in this period the separation between the enemies and the friends of Jehovah is accomplished, but he does not distinguish the stages of time, but all events which he beholds present themselves to him on one and the same plane. He sees only a decrease of the Ἰσραὴλ σαρκικός; he sees this carnal Israel endure great pain and distress—a judgment of God resting on it, in consequence of which it appears as accursed. Further, the Prophet beholds a people of God, with another name, in the place of the old Israel. Is not the new covenant, that should come in the place of the old, in this way intimated? It seems to me that Jerome is not altogether wrong in regard to the main point, when he says: “Nomen autem novum sive aliud nullum Esther, nisi quod ex Christi nomine derivatur, ut nequaquam vocetur populus Dei Jacob et Juda et Israel et Ephraim et Joseph, sed Christianus.” [“According to the usage of the prophecies the promise of another name imports a different character and state, and in this sense the promise has been fully verified. But in addition to this general fulfilment, which no one calls in question, it is matter of history that the Jewish commonwealth or nation is destroyed; that the name of Jew has been for centuries a bye-word and a formula of execration, and that they who have succeeded to the spiritual honors of this once favored race, although they claim historical identity therewith, have never borne its name, but another, which from its very nature could have no existence until Christ had come, and which in the common parlance of the Christian world is treated as the opposite of Jew.” Alexander.—D. M.]. The destruction of the wicked supposes as corresponding to it the salvation of the godly. Through both the veracity of God is attested. Is Jehovah shown to be true by the history of the world, then no one naturally will think of uttering an oath or benediction by another God than by Him. אְַשֶׁר is therefore=quare, quapropter, or in a demonstrative sense=so that (comp. Genesis 13:16; Deuteronomy 3:24; Deuteronomy 28:27; Deuteronomy 28:51, et saepe). התברך with בְּ stands here as Jeremiah 4:2, which place seems to refer to ours. The expression אלהי אמן occurs only here. [“A remarkable expression; lit. “the God of Amen,”—of what is firm and true. Vulg. in Deo Amen. The God to whom that quality of covenant-keeping truth essentially belongs, is He in whom all shall bless themselves. A comparison of Genesis 22:18 and Psalm 72:17 with the present verse shows that ‘the Seed of Abraham’ and ‘the Son of David’ are to be identified with this God of truth:—a mystery completely realized in Him who is the ‘Amen, the Faithful and True Witness’ ( Revelation 3:14; comp. Isaiah 19:11). In Him ‘all the promises of God are…Amen’ ( 2 Corinthians 1:20”). Kay.—D. M.]. “When all promises are fulfilled, then, too, all troubles must necessarily be past. For the promises of God have respect not to partial, limited, but to full, complete salvation. In the time, then, when men will swear and bless by none other than the true and veracious God, all troubles will end, so that men will know no more what trouble is. But not only this. There could still be danger of new troubles. But this will not be, for God Himself will with His all-seeing eye perceive no where the trace of a trouble. כִּי־וְכִי is=because—and because ( Genesis 33:11; Joshua 10:2; 1 Samuel 19:4).

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On [See also Isaiah 10:3]. All depends on the way in which we seek. Luther says: Quaerere fit dupliciter. Primo, secundum praescriptum verbi Dei, et sic invenitur Deus, Secundo, quaeritur nostris studiis et consiliis, et sic non invenitur.” The Jews, with exception of the ἐκλογή ( Romans 11:7), sought only after their own glory and merit. They sought what satisfies the flesh. They did not suffer the spirit in the depths of their heart to speak,—the spirit which can be satisfied only by food fitted for it. The law which was given to them that they might perceive by means of it their own impotence, became a snare to them. For they perverted it, made what was of minor importance the chief matter, and then persuaded themselves that they had fulfilled it and were righteous. But the Gentiles who had not the law, had not this snare. They were not tempted to abuse the pædagogical discipline of the law. They felt simply that they were forsaken by God. Their spirit was hungry. And when for the first time God’s word in the Gospel was presented to them, then they received it the more eagerly in proportion to the poverty, wretchedness and hunger in which they had been. The Jews did not find what they sought, because they had not a spiritual, but a carnal apprehension of the law, and, like the elder brother of the prodigal Song of Solomon, were full, and blind for that which was needful for them. But the Gentiles found what they did not seek, because they were like the prodigal Song of Solomon, who was the more receptive of grace, the more he needed it, and the less claim he had to it. [There is important truth stated in the foregoing remarks. But it does not fully explain why the Lord is found of those who sought Him not. The sinner who has obtained mercy when he asks why? must have recourse to a higher cause, a cause out of himself, even free, sovereign, efficacious grace. “It is of God that showeth mercy,” Romans 9:16. “Though in after-communion God is found of those that seek Him ( Proverbs 8:17), yet in the first conversion He is found of those that seek Him not; for therefore we love Him, because He first loved us.” Henry. D. M.].

2. On Isaiah 65:2. God’s long-suffering is great. He stretches out His hands the whole day and does not grow weary. What man would do this? The disobedient people contemns Him, as if He knew nothing, and could do nothing.

3. On Isaiah 65:2. “It is clear from this verse gratiam esse resistibilem. Christ earnestly stretched out His hands to the Jews. He would, but they would not. This doctrine the Remonstrants prove from this place, and rightly too, in Actis Synodi Dodrac. P3. p76.” Leigh. [The grace of God which is signified by His stretching out His hands can be, and Isaiah, resisted. That figurative expression denotes warning, exhorting, entreating, and was never set forth by Reformed theologians as indicating such grace as was necessarily productive of conversion. The power by which God quickens those who were dead in sins ( Ephesians 2:5), by which He gives a new heart ( Ezekiel 36:26), by which He draws to the Son ( John 6:44-45; John 6:65), is the grace which is called irresistible. The epithet is admitted on all hands to be faulty; but the grace denoted by it Isaiah, from the nature of the case, not resisted. Turrettin in treating De Vocatione et Fide thus replies to this objection, “Aliud est Deo monenti et vocanti externe resistere; Aliud est conversionem intendenti et efficaciter ac interne vocanti. Prius asseritur Isa. lxv2, 3. Quum dicit Propheta se expandisse totâ die manus ad populum perversum etc, non posterius. Expansio brachiorum notat quidem blandam et benevolam Dei invitationem, quâ illos extrinsecus sive Verbo, sive beneficiis alliciebat, non semel atque iterum, sed quotidie ministerio servorum suorum eos compellando. Sed non potest designate potentem et efficacem operationem, quâ brachium Domini illis revelatur qui docentur á Deo et trahuntur a Patre, etc.” Locus XV.; Quaestio VI .25.—D. M.].

4. On Isaiah 65:2. (Who walk after their own thoughts.)

Duc me, nec sine, me per me, Deus optime, duci.

Nam duce me pereo, te duce certus eo.

[“If our guide be our own thoughts, our way is not likely to be good; for every imagination of the thought of our hearts is only evil.” Henry. D. M.].

5. On Isaiah 65:3 sq. “The sweetest wine is turned into the sourest vinegar; and when God’s people apostatize from God, they are worse than the heathen ( Jeremiah 3:11).” Starke.

6. On [I am holier than thou. “A deep insight is here given us into the nature of the mysterious fascination which heathenism exercised on the Jewish people. The law humbled them at every turn with mementoes of their own sin and of God’s unapproachable holiness. Paganism freed them from this, and allowed them (in the midst of moral pollution) to cherish lofty pretensions to sanctity. The Prayer of Manasseh, who had been offering incense on the mountain-top, despised the penitent who went to the temple to present ‘a broken and contrite heart.’ If Pharisaism led to a like result, it was because it, too, had emptied the law of its spiritual import, and turned its provisions into intellectual idols.” Kay. D. M.].

7. On Isaiah 65:6-7. “The longer God forbears, the harder He punishes at last. The greatness of the punishment compensates for the delay ( Psalm 50:21).” Starke after Leigh.

8. On Isaiah 65:8 sqq. [“This is expounded by St. Paul, Romans 11:1-5, where, when upon occasion of the rejection of the Jews, it is asked Hath God then cast away His people? He answers, no; for, at this time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. This prophecy has reference to that distinguished remnant…Our Saviour has told us that for the sake of these elect the days of the destruction of the Jews should be shortened, and a stop put to the desolation, which otherwise would have proceeded to that degree that no flesh should be saved. Matthew 24:22. Henry. D. M.].

9. On Isaiah 65:15. The judgment which came upon Israel by the hand of the Romans, did not altogether destroy the people, but it so destroyed the Old Covenant, i.e., the Mosaic religion, that the Jews can no more observe its precepts in essential points. For no Jew knows to what tribe he belongs. Therefore, they have no priests, and, consequently, no sacrifices. The Old Covenant is now only a ruin. We see here most clearly that the Old Covenant, as it was designed only for one nation, and for one country, was to last only for a certain time. If we consider, moreover, the way in which the judgment was executed, (comp. Josephus), we can truly say that the Jews bear in themselves the mark of a curse. They bear the stamp of the divine judgment. The beginning of the judgment on the world has been executed on them as the house of God. But how comes it that the Jews have become so mighty, so insolent in the present time, and are not satisfied with remaining on the defensive in their attitude toward the Christian church, but have passed over to the offensive? This has arisen solely from Christendom having to a large extent lost the consciousness of its new name. There are many Christians who scoff at the name of Christian, and seek their honor in combating all that is called Christian. This is the preparation for the judgment on Christendom itself. If Christendom would hold fast her jewel, she would remain strong, and no one would dare to mock or to assail her. For she would then partake of the full blessing which lies in the principle of Christianity, and every one would be obliged to show respect for the fruits of this principle. But an apostate Christendom, that is ashamed of her glorious Christian name, is something more miserable than the Jews, judged though they have been, who still esteem highly their name, and what remains to them of their old religion. Thus Christendom, in so far as it denies the worth and significance of its name, is gradually reaching a condition in which it will be so ripe for the second act of the judgment on the world, that this will be longed for as a benefit. For, this apostate Christendom will be the kingdom of Antichrist, as Antichrist will manifest himself in Satanic antagonism to God by sitting in the temple of God, and pretending to be God ( 2 Thessalonians 2:3 sqq.). [We do not quite share all the sentiments expressed in this paragraph. We are far from being so despondent as to the prospects of Christendom, and think that there is a more obvious interpretation of the prophecy quoted from 2 Thess, than that indicated.—D. M.].

10. On [If we had only the present passage to testify of new heavens and a new earth, we might say, as many good interpreters do, that the language is figurative, and indicates nothing more than a great moral and spiritual revolution. But we cannot thus explain 2 Peter 3:10-13. The present earth and heavens shall pass away; (comp. Isaiah 51:6; Psalm 102:25-26). But how can we suppose that our Prophet here refers to the new heavens and new earth, which are to succeed the destruction of the world by fire? In the verses that follow Isaiah 65:17, a condition of things is described which, although better than the present, is not so good as that perfectly sinless, blessed state of the redeemed, which we look for after the coming of the day of the Lord. Yet the Apostle Peter ( 2 Peter 3:13) evidently regards the promise before us of new heavens and a new earth, as destined to receive its accomplishment after the conflagration which is to take place at the end of the world. If we had not respect to other Scriptures, and if we overlooked the use made by Peter of this passage, we should not take it literally. But we can take it literally, if we suppose that the Prophet brings together future events not according to their order in time. He sees the new heavens and new earth arise. Other scenes are disclosed to his prophetic eye of a grand and joy-inspiring nature. He announces them as future. But these scenes suppose the continued prevalence of death and labor ( Isaiah 65:20 sqq.), which, we know from definite statements of Scripture, will not exist when the new heaven and new earth appear (comp. Revelation 21:1-4). The proper view then of Isaiah 65:17 is to take its prediction literally, and to hold at the same time that in the following description (which is that of the millennium) future things are presented to us which are really prior, and not posterior to the promised complete renovation of heaven and earth. Nor should this surprise us, as Isaiah and the other Prophets place closely together in their pictures future things which belong to different times. They do not draw the line sharply between this world and the next. Compare Isaiah’s prophecy of the abolition of death ( Isaiah 25:8) in connection with other events that must happen long before that state of perfect blessedness.—D. M.].

11. On [“The extension of the Gospel every where,—of its pure principles of temperance in eating and drinking, in restraining the passions, in producing calmness of mind, and in arresting war, would greatly lengthen out the life of man. The image here employed by the Prophet is more than mere poetry; it is one that is founded in reality, and is designed to convey most important truth.” Barnes. D. M.].

12. On [It occurs to me that an erroneous application is frequently made of the promise, Before they call, etc. This declaration is made in connection with the glory and blessedness of the last days. It belongs specifically to the millennium. There are, indeed, occasions when God even now seems to act according to this law. (Comp. Daniel 9:23). But Paul had to pray thrice before he received the answer of the Lord ( 2 Corinthians 12:8). Compare the parable of the importunate widow, Luke 18:1-7. The answer to prayer may be long delayed. This is not only taught in the Bible, but is verified in Christian experience. But the time will come when the Lord will not thus try and exercise the faith of His people.—D. M.].

13. On Isaiah 65:25. “If the lower animals live in hostility in consequence of the sin of Prayer of Manasseh, a state of peace must be restored to them along with our redemption from sin.” J. G. Mueller in Herz. R-Encycl. xvi. p45. [“By the serpent in this place there seems every reason to believe that Satan, the old seducer and author of discord and misery, is meant. During the millennium he is to be subject to the lowest degradation. Compare for the force of the phrase to lick the dust, Psalm 72:9; Micah 7:17. This was the original doom of the tempter, Genesis 3:14, and shall be fully carried into execution. Comp. Revelation 20:1-3.” Henderson. D. M.].

14. On [“Having held up in every point of view the true design, mission and vocation of the church or chosen people, its relation to the natural descendants of Abraham, the causes which required that the latter should be stripped of their peculiar privileges, and the vocation of the Gentiles as a part of the divine plan from its origin, the Prophet now addresses the apostate and unbelieving Jews at the close of the old dispensation, who, instead of preparing for the general extension of the church and the exchange of ceremonial for spiritual worship, were engaged in the rebuilding and costly decoration of the temple at Jerusalem. The pride and interest in this great public work, felt not only by the Herods but by all the Jews, is clear from incidental statements of the Scriptures ( John 2:20; Matthew 24:1), as well as from the ample and direct assertions of Josephus. That the nation should have been thus occupied precisely at the time when the Messiah came, is one of those agreements between prophecy and history, which cannot be accounted for except upon the supposition of a providential and designed assimilation.” Alexander after Vitringa. D. M.].

15. On Isaiah 66:1-2. What a grand view of the nature of God and of the way in which He is made known lies at the foundation of these words! God made all things. He is so great that it is an absurdity to desire to build a temple for Him. The whole universe cannot contain Him ( 1 Kings 8:27)! But Hebrews, who contains all things and can be contained by nothing, has His greatest joy in a poor, humble human heart that fears Him. He holds it worthy of His regard, it pleases Him, He enters into it, He makes His abode in it. The wise and prudent men of science should learn hence what is chiefly necessary in order to know God. We cannot reach Him by applying force, by climbing up to Him, by attempting to take Him by storm. And if science should place ladder upon ladder upwards and downwards, she could not attain His height or His depth. But He enters of His own accord into a child-like, simple heart. He lets Himself be laid hold of by it, kept and known. It is not, therefore, by the intellect [alone] but by the heart that we can know God.

16. On Isaiah 66:3. He who under the Christian dispensation would retain the forms of worship of the ancient ritual of shadows would violate the fundamental laws of the new time, just as a man by killing would offend against the foundation of the moral law, or as he would by offering the blood of dogs or swine offend against the foundation of the ceremonial law. For when the body, the substance has appeared, the type must vanish. He who would retain the type along with the reality would declare the latter to be insufficient, would, therefore, found his salvation not upon God only, but also in part on his own legal performance. But God will brook no rival. He is either our All, or nothing. Christianity could tolerate animal sacrifices just as little as the Old Testament law could tolerate murder or the offering of abominable things.

17. On [“The most malignant and cruel persecutions of the friends of God have been originated under the pretext of great zeal in His service, and with a professed desire to honor His name. So it was with the Jews when they crucified the Lord Jesus. So it is expressly said it would be when His disciples would be excommunicated and put to death, John 16:2. So it was in fact in the persecutions excited against the apostles and early Christians. See Acts 6:13-14; Acts 21:28-31. So it was in all the persecutions of the Waldenses, in all the horrors of the Inquisition, in all the crimes of the Duke of Alva. So it was in the bloody reign of Mary; and so it has ever been in all ages and in all countries where Christians have been persecuted.” Barnes.—D. M.].

18. On Isaiah 66:10. “The idea which is presented in this verse Isaiah, that it is the duty of all who love Zion to sympathize in her joy. The true friends of God should rejoice in every real revival of religion, they should rejoice in all the success which attends the Gospel in heathen lands. And they will rejoice. It is one evidence of piety to rejoice in her joy; and they who have no joy when souls are born into the kingdom of God, when He pours down His Spirit and in a revival of religion produces changes as sudden and transforming as if the earth were suddenly to pass from the desolation of winter to the verdure and bloom of summer, or when the Gospel makes sudden and rapid advances in the heathen world, have no true evidence that they love God and His cause. They have no religion.” Barnes.—D. M.

19. On Isaiah 66:13. The Prophet is here completely governed by the idea that in the glorious time of the end, love, maternal love will reign. Thus He makes Zion appear as a mother who will bring forth with incredible ease and rapidity innumerable children ( Isaiah 66:7-9). Then the Israelites are depicted as little children who suck the breasts of their mother. Further, the heathen who bring back the Israelites into their home, must do this in the same way in which mothers in the Orient are wont to carry their little children. Lastly, even to the Lord Himself maternal love is ascribed (comp. Isaiah 42:14; Isaiah 49:15), and such love as a mother manifests to her adult son. Thus the Israelites will be surrounded in that glorious time on all sides by maternal love. Maternal love will be the characteristic of that period.

20. On Isaiah 66:19 sqq. The Prophet describes remote things by words which are borrowed from the relations and conceptions of his own time, but which stand in strange contrast to the reality of the future which he beholds. Thus the Prophet speaks of escaped persons who go to Tarshish, Pul, Lud, Tubal, and Javan. Here he has rightly seen that a great act of judgment must have taken place. And this act of judgment must have passed on Israel, because they who escape, who go to the Gentiles to declare to them the glory of Jehovah, must plainly be Jews How accurately, in spite of the strange manner of expression, is the fact here stated that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was proclaimed to the Gentiles exactly at the time when the old theocracy was destroyed! How justly does he indicate that there was a causal connection between these events! He did not, indeed, know that the shattering of the old form was necessary in order that the eternal truth enclosed in it might be set free, and fitted for filling the whole earth. For the Old Covenant cannot exist along with the New, the Law cannot stand with equal dignity beside the Gospel. The Law must be regarded as annulled, in order that the Gospel may come into force. How remarkably strange is it, however, that he calls the Gentile nations Tarshish, Pul, Lud, etc. And how singular it sounds to be told that the Israelites shall be brought by the Gentiles to Jerusalem as an offering for Jehovah! But how accurately has Hebrews, notwithstanding, stated the fact, which, indeed, still awaits its fulfilment, that it is the conversion of the heathen world which will induce Israel to acknowledge their Saviour, and that they both shall gather round the Lord as their common centre! How strange it sounds that then priests and Levites shall be taken from the Gentiles also, and that new moon and Sabbath shall be celebrated by all flesh in the old Jewish fashion! But how accurately is the truth thereby stated that in the New Covenant there will be no more the priesthood restricted to the family of Aaron, but a higher spiritual and universal priesthood, and that, instead of the limited local place of worship of the Old Covenant, the whole earth will be a temple of the Lord! Verily the prophecy of the two last chapters of Isaiah attests a genuine prophet of Jehovah. He cannot have been an anonymous unknown person. He can have been none other than Isaiah the son of Amoz!

HOMILETICAL HINTS

1. On Isaiah 65:1 sq. [I. “It is here foretold that the Gentiles, who had been afar off, should be made nigh, Isaiah 65:1. II. It is here foretold that the Jews, who had long been a people near to God, should be cast off, and set at a distance, Isaiah 65:2.” Henry, III. We are informed of the cause of the rejection of the Jews. It was owing to their rebellion, waywardness and flagrant provocations, Isaiah 65:2 sqq.—D. M.]

2. On Isaiah 65:1-7. A Fast-Day Sermon. When the Evangelical Church no more holds fast what she has; when apostasy spreads more and more, and modern heathenism ( Isaiah 65:3-5 a) gains the ascendency in her, then it can happen to her as it did to the people of Israel, and as it happened to the Church in the Orient. Her candlestick can be removed out of its place.—[By the Evangelical Church we are not to understand here the Church universal, for her perpetuity is certain. The Evangelical Church is in Germany the Protestant Church, and more particularly the Lutheran branch of it.—D. M.]

3. On Isaiah 65:8-10. Sermon on behalf of the mission among the Jews. Israel’s hope. 1) On what it is founded (Israel is still a berry in which drops of the divine blessing are contained); 2) To what this hope is directed (Israel’s Restoration).

4. On [“The blessedness of those that serve God, and the woful condition of those that rebel against him, are here set the one over against the other, that they may serve as a foil to each other. The difference of their states here lies in two things: 1) In point of comfort and satisfaction, a. God’s servants shall eat and drink; they shall have the bread of life to feed, to feast upon continually, and shall want nothing that is good for them. But those who set their hearts upon the world, and place their happiness in it, shall be hungry and thirsty, always empty, always craving. In communion with God and dependence upon Him there is full satisfaction; but in sinful pursuits there is nothing but disappointment. b. God’s servants shall rejoice and sing for joy of heart; they have constant cause for joy, and there is nothing that may be an occasion of grief to them but they have an allay sufficient for it. But, on the other hand, they that forsake the Lord shut themselves out from all true joy, for they shall be ashamed of their vain confidence in themselves, and their own righteousness, and the hopes they had built thereon. When the expectations of bliss, wherewith they had flattered themselves, are frustrated, O what confusion will fill their faces! Then shall they cry for sorrow of heart and howl for vexation of spirit. 2) In point of honor and reputation, Isaiah 65:15-16. The memory of the just Isaiah, and shall be, blessed; but the memory of the wicked shall rot.” Henry.—D. M.]

5. On Isaiah 66:1-2. Carpzov has a sermon on this text. He places it in parallel with Luke 18:9-14, and considers, 1) The rejection of spiritual pride; 2) The commendation of filial fear.

6. On Isaiah 66:2 Arndt, in his True Christianity I. cap. 10, comments on this text. He says among other things: “The man who will be something is the material out of which God makes nothing, yea, out of which He makes fools. But a man who will be nothing, and regards himself as nothing, is the material out of which God makes something, even glorious, wise people in His sight.”

7. On [Saurin has a sermon on this text entitled “Sur l’ Insuffisance du culte exterieur” in the eighth volume of his sermons.—D. M.]

8. On Isaiah 66:13. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you. “These words stand, let us consider it, 1) In the Old Testament; 2) In the heart of God always; 3) But are they realized in our experience?” Koegel in “Aus dem Vorhof ins Heiligthum, II. Bd., p242, 1876.

9. On Isaiah 66:24. The punishment of sin is twofold—inward and outward. The inward is compared with a worm that dies not; the outward with a fire that is not quenched. This worm and this fire are at work even in this life. He who is alarmed by them and hastens to Christ can now be delivered from them.—[“It is better not to fall into this fire and never to have any experience of this worm, even though, as some imagine, eternity should not be eternal, and the unquenchable fire might be quenched, and the worm that shall never die, should die, and Jesus and His apostles should not have expressed themselves quite in accordance with the compassionate taste of our time. Better, I say, is better. Save thyself and thy neighbor before the fire begins to burn, and the smoke to ascend.” Gossner.—D. M.]

Footnotes:

FN#12 - Heb. breaking.

FN#13 - an oath.

FN#14 - the God of Amen.


Verses 17-25

4. THE NEW LIFE IN ITS OUTWARD MANIFESTATION

Isaiah 65:17-25

17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth:

And the former shall not be remembered, nor [FN15]come into mind.

18 But be ye glad and rejoice for ever [FN16]in that which I create:

For, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing,

And her people a joy.

19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem,

And joy in my people:

And the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her,

Nor the voice of crying.

20 There shall be no more [FN17]thence an infant of days,

Nor an old man that hath not filled his days:

For the [FN18]child shall die an hundred years old;

But the sinner being an hundred years old [FN19]shall be accursed.

21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them;

And they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.

22 They shall not build, and another inhabit;

They shall not plant, and another eat:

For as the days of a tree are the days of my people,

And mine elect [FN20][FN21]shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

23 They shall not labour in vain,

Nor bring forth for [FN22]trouble;

For they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord,

And their offspring with them.

24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer;

And while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,

And the lion shall eat straw like the [FN23]bullock:

And dust shall be the serpent’s meat.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain,

Saith the Lord.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. The Prophet had previously declared that mighty changes would take place in consequence of severe judgments on the one hand, and of glorious saving grace on the other. Here he states that the Lord will create a new heaven and a new earth which will entirely efface the remembrance of the old ( Isaiah 65:17). For this new glorious creation will cause such joy that it will make the misery of the old world to be quite forgotten. Jerusalem and its people will be nothing but joy, and the Lord, too, will only rejoice over His people. Among the people of God nothing more will be heard of mourning and lamentation ( Isaiah 65:19). The vital force of mankind will then appear undiminished ( Isaiah 65:20-21). Death will no longer prevent a man from enjoying the fruits of his labor. None will labor in vain, or beget children for speedy death, for all will be a blessed race ( Isaiah 65:23); and if they have anything to ask from the Lord, their prayer will be immediately answered ( Isaiah 65:24). There will be a renovation even of the animal world. It will be in harmony with the spirit of peace and love which will prevail in the entire new creation ( Isaiah 65:25).

2. For, behold, I create——crying.

[The Prophet had said at the close of Isaiah 65:16 that the former evils had entirely passed away. “That they had passed away he establishes by joining, as in Isaiah 9:3-5, one כִּי to another, Isaiah 65:17-19.” Del.—D. M.]. By ראשׁנות many understand merely tempora superiora, the former evil times, others, only the old heaven and the old earth. But why should not both be intended by it? Would it be possible to remember the old earth and the old heaven, and not at the same time think of the times passed on the one and under the other? The Prophet certainly does not mean to say that people will have lost their memory in the new world. But his meaning is only this, that all misery and distress of the old world will be so completely got rid of that the images of the same will no more present themselves as a disturbing element in the happiness of the new world. עלה על לב is=come to mind, to be suggested. Comp. Jeremiah 3:16, which place is of similar import with the one before us, and seems to be formed after it. The expression is found only in Isaiah and Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 3:16; Jeremiah 7:31; Jeremiah 19:5; Jeremiah 32:35; Jeremiah 44:21). The words, Isaiah 65:18, Be ye glad and rejoice agree admirably with our explanation of Isaiah 65:17 b. The servants of God shall not suffer their happiness to be disturbed by gloomy recollections, but they shall enjoy it to the full and uninterruptedly. Why should they not do this? Is it not a creation of the Lord? And all that the Lord creates is good ( Genesis 1:31). Neither שׂוּשׂ nor גִּיל are ever construed with the accusative of the object. אְַשֶׁר is therefore to be taken as causal=because. The Prophet then repeats emphatically: for behold I create Jerusalem a rejoicing and its people a joy. גִּילָה and מָשׂוֹשׂ are abstracts to be taken as concretes. This form of expression is particularly emphatic ( Isaiah 60:17; Isaiah 11:10; Isaiah 13:9, et saepe; Psalm 120:2; Psalm 120:7, et saepe). Jerusalem shall be nothing but rejoicing, its people nothing but joy. But more than that! Not only shall Jerusalem rejoice with its people. The Lord Himself will rejoice over Jerusalem and its people; which supposes on the part of the latter a state of perfect righteousness, such a renovation, in short, as ( Isaiah 65:17) is promised to the heaven and the earth ( Isaiah 62:5). Where there is no more sin, there is no more trouble, and where there is no more trouble, there is no more pain (comp. Isaiah 25:8; Isaiah 35:10; Isaiah 51:11; Revelation 7:17; Revelation 21:4).

3. There shall be no more——saith the LORD.

Isaiah 65:20-25. In what follows the Prophet gives examples of the state of things in the new world. The illustrations given are to serve as a measure for estimating the new relation. מִשָׁם is not=from then. For שָׁם is never used in regard to time. [The examples given by Gesenius of שָׁם in the sense of then do not bear examination. The particle is not used of time in Hebrew as it is in Arabic.—D. M.]. מִן marks in Hebrew the terminus unde, which according to the usage of the language is found where we employ the terminus ubi. שָׁם refers to Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Thence will no suckling ever appear (comp. Isaiah 59:19; Isaiah 40:15) who will be only days old (comp. e. g., Genesis 24:55), or an old man who has not reached the normal measure of human age. [Alexander, following Kimchi, supposes there shall be no more from thence to mean there shall be no more taken away thence, or carried thence to burial. But הָיָה means properly to come into existence, and we are to understand the statement thus: there shall no suckling thence arise or come into being who shall live only some days, whose age shall be counted by days.—D. M.]. What follows, strictly taken, contradicts what has been said. For if no one, not even an old Prayer of Manasseh, falls short of the normal measure, then no one can die as a boy. [But the Prophet does not say that no one, not even an old Prayer of Manasseh, falls short of the normal measure, in the former part of Isaiah 65:20. When one who dies at the age of a hundred years is counted a boy, and when a sinner who dies a hundred years old is regarded as prematurely cut off by the judgment of God, this is no contradiction of the declaration that the suckling’s age will not be reckoned by days, and that old men will fill up the measure of their days. For the hundred years old sinner will not be included in the category of old men. There is no need then of adopting the forced construction proposed by Dr. Naegelsbach to get rid of an imaginary contradiction. The examples here given he holds to be unreal and only supposed by way of illustration. If it were possible that there should still be sinners, one of them, who should be punished with death when a hundred years old, would be regarded as cursed by God, and forever excluded from mercy. And if one of a hundred years should die a natural death, (supposing such a case, which from what has been said cannot really occur), he would be only a boy at his death.—D. M.]. There is clear reference here to the Mosaic law which promises long life and a numerous posterity to the godly, and, on the contrary, threatens shortening of life and speedy extinction of name to the wicked ( Exodus 20:5-6; Exodus 20:12; Exodus 23:26). That the Prophet here at the same time thinks of the longevity of the [antediluvian] patriarchs is very probable. The thought of a return of this longevity is not unbiblical. It is expressed in Revelation 20:4 [?]. The form הַחוֹטֶא with Segol is as if from חָטָה. The longevity which, Isaiah 65:20, is promised to the servants of God, shall as a secondary consequence, have also the good effect that the curse of fruitless cultivation, planting and begetting, with which the wicked are threatened by the law ( Leviticus 26:16; Deuteronomy 28:30 sqq.), will be removed from the people of God (comp. Isaiah 62:8-9; Jeremiah 31:5; Amos 9:14-15). That men shall build houses and not dwell therein, and plant vineyards and not enjoy them, is threatened as a curse Deuteronomy 28:30. These curses will be transformed into the corresponding blessings in consequence of longevity; for the people of God shall live as long as trees (comp. Psalm 92:13 sqq.). [“Some trees, such as the oak, the terebinth, and the banyan, reach the age of a thousand years.” Henderson. The cedars of Lebanon that are still found there “may be fairly presumed to have existed in Biblical times.” (Royle). בִּלָּה means not only to use, but to use up, consume (Del.).—D. M.]. Isaiah 65:23 a alludes to Leviticus 26:16; Leviticus 26:20; for לָרִיק and בֶּהָלָח are borrowed from the two places. [“The sense of sudden destruction given to בֶּהָלָה by some modern writers, is a mere conjecture from the context....The Hebrew word properly denotes extreme agitation and alarm, and the meaning of the clause is that they shall not bring forth children merely to be the subjects of distressing solicitude.” Alexander. D. M.]. The meaning of זרע ברוכי י׳ is plainly not a posterity that springs from those blessed of the Lord, but a posterity, a seed which consists of those who are blessed. Comp. on Isaiah 1:4). [This is not so plain as it is affirmed to be. And Alexander is right in saying that it adds greatly to the strength of the expression if we take it to mean that they are themselves the offspring of those blessed of God, and thus give זֶרַע its usual sense. D. M.]. אִתָּם is not to be regarded as merely marking addition to, but as denoting simultaneous, common enjoyment. It includes the idea that the children will enjoy these things not after the parents, but with the parents. But if notwithstanding the abundance of blessing that surrounds them, any trouble or the lack of any good thing should be felt, they have only to bring their concern in prayer to the Lord. The answer will be given even before the request is expressed, or at latest, while he that prays is yet speaking (comp. Isaiah 58:9; Isaiah 30:19). Isaiah 65:25 adds an eschatological feature which is abridged from Isaiah 11:6-9. I cannot avoid the impression that these words are an awkward addition, and are not of one piece with what precedes. Have we here again to mark the hand of him who has retouched in various ways the original work of the Prophet in these last chapters? [Delitzsch declares that those who affirm that the speaker in Isaiah 65:25 is one later than Isaiah, because this verse is only loosely attached to what precedes, make an assertion which is unfair and untrue. As in chapter11. so here, the picture of the new time closes with the peace in the world of nature, which in chapters40–66, just as in chapters1–39, appears as standing in the closest mutual relation to man. The repetition of what was already uttered in chapter11. speaks in favor of unity of authorship Dr. Naegelsbach, following Knobel, urges the substitution of יַחְדָּו for כְּאֶחָד as marking the hand of a later writer. But כְּאֶחָד is more than יַחְדָּו, together. It means as one, and is a perfectly simple and natural Hebrew form. No argument can be drawn from its appearing besides only in such late books as 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Ecclesiastes. יַחְדָּו also occurs in Nehemiah. We have, too, כְּאִישׁ אֶחָד in early books, in Judges 20:8; 1 Samuel 11:7. This phase is essentially one with the expression in our text, and cannot be referred to the later Hebrew, though it occurs in Ezra 3:1 and Nehemiah 8:1, as well as in Judges and 1 Samuel. We find also in our verse the stronger expression טָלֶה, a young lamb, substituted for the word כֶּבֶשׁ, a well-grown lamb, which is used in Isaiah 11:6. There Isaiah, then, no valid reason for suspecting here an addition by a later hand. See Kayin loc. “Most of the modern writers construe נָחָשׁ as a nominative absolute, as for the serpent, dust (shall be) his food. A more obvious construction is to repeat the verb shall eat, and consider dust and food as in apposition....“The sense seems to be that, in accordance with his ancient doom, he shall be rendered harmless, robbed of his favorite nutriment, and made to bite the dust at the feet of his conqueror ( Genesis 3:15; Romans 16:20; 1 John 3:8).”—Alexander. Isaiah, in writing “Dust shall be the serpent’s meat,” has evidently Micah 7:17 before him: “They shall lick the dust like a serpent.” This borrowing from Micah is characteristic of Isaiah, and attests the genuineness of this passage. Delitzsch, at the close of this chapter, asks when the state of things shall be realized that is here depicted, when the antediluvian length of life shall return, and man and the lower animals shall be in harmony and peace? He replies that it is absurd to refer this prophecy to the state of final blessedness, as it supposes a continued mixture of righteous and sinful men, and only a limitation of the power of death, not its complete destruction by the fulfilment of the promise in Isaiah 35:8 a. But is this state to follow the creation of new heavens and a new earth mentioned in Isaiah 65:17? And what have we to understand by the creation of new heavens and a new earth here spoken of? On these questions see under Doctrinal and Ethical, No10.—D. M.]

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On [See also Isaiah 10:3]. All depends on the way in which we seek. Luther says: Quaerere fit dupliciter. Primo, secundum praescriptum verbi Dei, et sic invenitur Deus, Secundo, quaeritur nostris studiis et consiliis, et sic non invenitur.” The Jews, with exception of the ἐκλογή ( Romans 11:7), sought only after their own glory and merit. They sought what satisfies the flesh. They did not suffer the spirit in the depths of their heart to speak,—the spirit which can be satisfied only by food fitted for it. The law which was given to them that they might perceive by means of it their own impotence, became a snare to them. For they perverted it, made what was of minor importance the chief matter, and then persuaded themselves that they had fulfilled it and were righteous. But the Gentiles who had not the law, had not this snare. They were not tempted to abuse the pædagogical discipline of the law. They felt simply that they were forsaken by God. Their spirit was hungry. And when for the first time God’s word in the Gospel was presented to them, then they received it the more eagerly in proportion to the poverty, wretchedness and hunger in which they had been. The Jews did not find what they sought, because they had not a spiritual, but a carnal apprehension of the law, and, like the elder brother of the prodigal Song of Solomon, were full, and blind for that which was needful for them. But the Gentiles found what they did not seek, because they were like the prodigal Song of Solomon, who was the more receptive of grace, the more he needed it, and the less claim he had to it. [There is important truth stated in the foregoing remarks. But it does not fully explain why the Lord is found of those who sought Him not. The sinner who has obtained mercy when he asks why? must have recourse to a higher cause, a cause out of himself, even free, sovereign, efficacious grace. “It is of God that showeth mercy,” Romans 9:16. “Though in after-communion God is found of those that seek Him ( Proverbs 8:17), yet in the first conversion He is found of those that seek Him not; for therefore we love Him, because He first loved us.” Henry. D. M.].

2. On Isaiah 65:2. God’s long-suffering is great. He stretches out His hands the whole day and does not grow weary. What man would do this? The disobedient people contemns Him, as if He knew nothing, and could do nothing.

3. On Isaiah 65:2. “It is clear from this verse gratiam esse resistibilem. Christ earnestly stretched out His hands to the Jews. He would, but they would not. This doctrine the Remonstrants prove from this place, and rightly too, in Actis Synodi Dodrac. P3. p76.” Leigh. [The grace of God which is signified by His stretching out His hands can be, and Isaiah, resisted. That figurative expression denotes warning, exhorting, entreating, and was never set forth by Reformed theologians as indicating such grace as was necessarily productive of conversion. The power by which God quickens those who were dead in sins ( Ephesians 2:5), by which He gives a new heart ( Ezekiel 36:26), by which He draws to the Son ( John 6:44-45; John 6:65), is the grace which is called irresistible. The epithet is admitted on all hands to be faulty; but the grace denoted by it Isaiah, from the nature of the case, not resisted. Turrettin in treating De Vocatione et Fide thus replies to this objection, “Aliud est Deo monenti et vocanti externe resistere; Aliud est conversionem intendenti et efficaciter ac interne vocanti. Prius asseritur Isa. lxv2, 3. Quum dicit Propheta se expandisse totâ die manus ad populum perversum etc, non posterius. Expansio brachiorum notat quidem blandam et benevolam Dei invitationem, quâ illos extrinsecus sive Verbo, sive beneficiis alliciebat, non semel atque iterum, sed quotidie ministerio servorum suorum eos compellando. Sed non potest designate potentem et efficacem operationem, quâ brachium Domini illis revelatur qui docentur á Deo et trahuntur a Patre, etc.” Locus XV.; Quaestio VI .25.—D. M.].

4. On Isaiah 65:2. (Who walk after their own thoughts.)

Duc me, nec sine, me per me, Deus optime, duci.

Nam duce me pereo, te duce certus eo.

[“If our guide be our own thoughts, our way is not likely to be good; for every imagination of the thought of our hearts is only evil.” Henry. D. M.].

5. On Isaiah 65:3 sq. “The sweetest wine is turned into the sourest vinegar; and when God’s people apostatize from God, they are worse than the heathen ( Jeremiah 3:11).” Starke.

6. On [I am holier than thou. “A deep insight is here given us into the nature of the mysterious fascination which heathenism exercised on the Jewish people. The law humbled them at every turn with mementoes of their own sin and of God’s unapproachable holiness. Paganism freed them from this, and allowed them (in the midst of moral pollution) to cherish lofty pretensions to sanctity. The Prayer of Manasseh, who had been offering incense on the mountain-top, despised the penitent who went to the temple to present ‘a broken and contrite heart.’ If Pharisaism led to a like result, it was because it, too, had emptied the law of its spiritual import, and turned its provisions into intellectual idols.” Kay. D. M.].

7. On Isaiah 65:6-7. “The longer God forbears, the harder He punishes at last. The greatness of the punishment compensates for the delay ( Psalm 50:21).” Starke after Leigh.

8. On Isaiah 65:8 sqq. [“This is expounded by St. Paul, Romans 11:1-5, where, when upon occasion of the rejection of the Jews, it is asked Hath God then cast away His people? He answers, no; for, at this time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. This prophecy has reference to that distinguished remnant…Our Saviour has told us that for the sake of these elect the days of the destruction of the Jews should be shortened, and a stop put to the desolation, which otherwise would have proceeded to that degree that no flesh should be saved. Matthew 24:22. Henry. D. M.].

9. On Isaiah 65:15. The judgment which came upon Israel by the hand of the Romans, did not altogether destroy the people, but it so destroyed the Old Covenant, i.e., the Mosaic religion, that the Jews can no more observe its precepts in essential points. For no Jew knows to what tribe he belongs. Therefore, they have no priests, and, consequently, no sacrifices. The Old Covenant is now only a ruin. We see here most clearly that the Old Covenant, as it was designed only for one nation, and for one country, was to last only for a certain time. If we consider, moreover, the way in which the judgment was executed, (comp. Josephus), we can truly say that the Jews bear in themselves the mark of a curse. They bear the stamp of the divine judgment. The beginning of the judgment on the world has been executed on them as the house of God. But how comes it that the Jews have become so mighty, so insolent in the present time, and are not satisfied with remaining on the defensive in their attitude toward the Christian church, but have passed over to the offensive? This has arisen solely from Christendom having to a large extent lost the consciousness of its new name. There are many Christians who scoff at the name of Christian, and seek their honor in combating all that is called Christian. This is the preparation for the judgment on Christendom itself. If Christendom would hold fast her jewel, she would remain strong, and no one would dare to mock or to assail her. For she would then partake of the full blessing which lies in the principle of Christianity, and every one would be obliged to show respect for the fruits of this principle. But an apostate Christendom, that is ashamed of her glorious Christian name, is something more miserable than the Jews, judged though they have been, who still esteem highly their name, and what remains to them of their old religion. Thus Christendom, in so far as it denies the worth and significance of its name, is gradually reaching a condition in which it will be so ripe for the second act of the judgment on the world, that this will be longed for as a benefit. For, this apostate Christendom will be the kingdom of Antichrist, as Antichrist will manifest himself in Satanic antagonism to God by sitting in the temple of God, and pretending to be God ( 2 Thessalonians 2:3 sqq.). [We do not quite share all the sentiments expressed in this paragraph. We are far from being so despondent as to the prospects of Christendom, and think that there is a more obvious interpretation of the prophecy quoted from 2 Thess, than that indicated.—D. M.].

10. On [If we had only the present passage to testify of new heavens and a new earth, we might say, as many good interpreters do, that the language is figurative, and indicates nothing more than a great moral and spiritual revolution. But we cannot thus explain 2 Peter 3:10-13. The present earth and heavens shall pass away; (comp. Isaiah 51:6; Psalm 102:25-26). But how can we suppose that our Prophet here refers to the new heavens and new earth, which are to succeed the destruction of the world by fire? In the verses that follow Isaiah 65:17, a condition of things is described which, although better than the present, is not so good as that perfectly sinless, blessed state of the redeemed, which we look for after the coming of the day of the Lord. Yet the Apostle Peter ( 2 Peter 3:13) evidently regards the promise before us of new heavens and a new earth, as destined to receive its accomplishment after the conflagration which is to take place at the end of the world. If we had not respect to other Scriptures, and if we overlooked the use made by Peter of this passage, we should not take it literally. But we can take it literally, if we suppose that the Prophet brings together future events not according to their order in time. He sees the new heavens and new earth arise. Other scenes are disclosed to his prophetic eye of a grand and joy-inspiring nature. He announces them as future. But these scenes suppose the continued prevalence of death and labor ( Isaiah 65:20 sqq.), which, we know from definite statements of Scripture, will not exist when the new heaven and new earth appear (comp. Revelation 21:1-4). The proper view then of Isaiah 65:17 is to take its prediction literally, and to hold at the same time that in the following description (which is that of the millennium) future things are presented to us which are really prior, and not posterior to the promised complete renovation of heaven and earth. Nor should this surprise us, as Isaiah and the other Prophets place closely together in their pictures future things which belong to different times. They do not draw the line sharply between this world and the next. Compare Isaiah’s prophecy of the abolition of death ( Isaiah 25:8) in connection with other events that must happen long before that state of perfect blessedness.—D. M.].

11. On [“The extension of the Gospel every where,—of its pure principles of temperance in eating and drinking, in restraining the passions, in producing calmness of mind, and in arresting war, would greatly lengthen out the life of man. The image here employed by the Prophet is more than mere poetry; it is one that is founded in reality, and is designed to convey most important truth.” Barnes. D. M.].

12. On [It occurs to me that an erroneous application is frequently made of the promise, Before they call, etc. This declaration is made in connection with the glory and blessedness of the last days. It belongs specifically to the millennium. There are, indeed, occasions when God even now seems to act according to this law. (Comp. Daniel 9:23). But Paul had to pray thrice before he received the answer of the Lord ( 2 Corinthians 12:8). Compare the parable of the importunate widow, Luke 18:1-7. The answer to prayer may be long delayed. This is not only taught in the Bible, but is verified in Christian experience. But the time will come when the Lord will not thus try and exercise the faith of His people.—D. M.].

13. On Isaiah 65:25. “If the lower animals live in hostility in consequence of the sin of Prayer of Manasseh, a state of peace must be restored to them along with our redemption from sin.” J. G. Mueller in Herz. R-Encycl. xvi. p45. [“By the serpent in this place there seems every reason to believe that Satan, the old seducer and author of discord and misery, is meant. During the millennium he is to be subject to the lowest degradation. Compare for the force of the phrase to lick the dust, Psalm 72:9; Micah 7:17. This was the original doom of the tempter, Genesis 3:14, and shall be fully carried into execution. Comp. Revelation 20:1-3.” Henderson. D. M.].

14. On [“Having held up in every point of view the true design, mission and vocation of the church or chosen people, its relation to the natural descendants of Abraham, the causes which required that the latter should be stripped of their peculiar privileges, and the vocation of the Gentiles as a part of the divine plan from its origin, the Prophet now addresses the apostate and unbelieving Jews at the close of the old dispensation, who, instead of preparing for the general extension of the church and the exchange of ceremonial for spiritual worship, were engaged in the rebuilding and costly decoration of the temple at Jerusalem. The pride and interest in this great public work, felt not only by the Herods but by all the Jews, is clear from incidental statements of the Scriptures ( John 2:20; Matthew 24:1), as well as from the ample and direct assertions of Josephus. That the nation should have been thus occupied precisely at the time when the Messiah came, is one of those agreements between prophecy and history, which cannot be accounted for except upon the supposition of a providential and designed assimilation.” Alexander after Vitringa. D. M.].

15. On Isaiah 66:1-2. What a grand view of the nature of God and of the way in which He is made known lies at the foundation of these words! God made all things. He is so great that it is an absurdity to desire to build a temple for Him. The whole universe cannot contain Him ( 1 Kings 8:27)! But Hebrews, who contains all things and can be contained by nothing, has His greatest joy in a poor, humble human heart that fears Him. He holds it worthy of His regard, it pleases Him, He enters into it, He makes His abode in it. The wise and prudent men of science should learn hence what is chiefly necessary in order to know God. We cannot reach Him by applying force, by climbing up to Him, by attempting to take Him by storm. And if science should place ladder upon ladder upwards and downwards, she could not attain His height or His depth. But He enters of His own accord into a child-like, simple heart. He lets Himself be laid hold of by it, kept and known. It is not, therefore, by the intellect [alone] but by the heart that we can know God.

16. On Isaiah 66:3. He who under the Christian dispensation would retain the forms of worship of the ancient ritual of shadows would violate the fundamental laws of the new time, just as a man by killing would offend against the foundation of the moral law, or as he would by offering the blood of dogs or swine offend against the foundation of the ceremonial law. For when the body, the substance has appeared, the type must vanish. He who would retain the type along with the reality would declare the latter to be insufficient, would, therefore, found his salvation not upon God only, but also in part on his own legal performance. But God will brook no rival. He is either our All, or nothing. Christianity could tolerate animal sacrifices just as little as the Old Testament law could tolerate murder or the offering of abominable things.

17. On [“The most malignant and cruel persecutions of the friends of God have been originated under the pretext of great zeal in His service, and with a professed desire to honor His name. So it was with the Jews when they crucified the Lord Jesus. So it is expressly said it would be when His disciples would be excommunicated and put to death, John 16:2. So it was in fact in the persecutions excited against the apostles and early Christians. See Acts 6:13-14; Acts 21:28-31. So it was in all the persecutions of the Waldenses, in all the horrors of the Inquisition, in all the crimes of the Duke of Alva. So it was in the bloody reign of Mary; and so it has ever been in all ages and in all countries where Christians have been persecuted.” Barnes.—D. M.].

18. On Isaiah 66:10. “The idea which is presented in this verse Isaiah, that it is the duty of all who love Zion to sympathize in her joy. The true friends of God should rejoice in every real revival of religion, they should rejoice in all the success which attends the Gospel in heathen lands. And they will rejoice. It is one evidence of piety to rejoice in her joy; and they who have no joy when souls are born into the kingdom of God, when He pours down His Spirit and in a revival of religion produces changes as sudden and transforming as if the earth were suddenly to pass from the desolation of winter to the verdure and bloom of summer, or when the Gospel makes sudden and rapid advances in the heathen world, have no true evidence that they love God and His cause. They have no religion.” Barnes.—D. M.

19. On Isaiah 66:13. The Prophet is here completely governed by the idea that in the glorious time of the end, love, maternal love will reign. Thus He makes Zion appear as a mother who will bring forth with incredible ease and rapidity innumerable children ( Isaiah 66:7-9). Then the Israelites are depicted as little children who suck the breasts of their mother. Further, the heathen who bring back the Israelites into their home, must do this in the same way in which mothers in the Orient are wont to carry their little children. Lastly, even to the Lord Himself maternal love is ascribed (comp. Isaiah 42:14; Isaiah 49:15), and such love as a mother manifests to her adult son. Thus the Israelites will be surrounded in that glorious time on all sides by maternal love. Maternal love will be the characteristic of that period.

20. On Isaiah 66:19 sqq. The Prophet describes remote things by words which are borrowed from the relations and conceptions of his own time, but which stand in strange contrast to the reality of the future which he beholds. Thus the Prophet speaks of escaped persons who go to Tarshish, Pul, Lud, Tubal, and Javan. Here he has rightly seen that a great act of judgment must have taken place. And this act of judgment must have passed on Israel, because they who escape, who go to the Gentiles to declare to them the glory of Jehovah, must plainly be Jews How accurately, in spite of the strange manner of expression, is the fact here stated that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was proclaimed to the Gentiles exactly at the time when the old theocracy was destroyed! How justly does he indicate that there was a causal connection between these events! He did not, indeed, know that the shattering of the old form was necessary in order that the eternal truth enclosed in it might be set free, and fitted for filling the whole earth. For the Old Covenant cannot exist along with the New, the Law cannot stand with equal dignity beside the Gospel. The Law must be regarded as annulled, in order that the Gospel may come into force. How remarkably strange is it, however, that he calls the Gentile nations Tarshish, Pul, Lud, etc. And how singular it sounds to be told that the Israelites shall be brought by the Gentiles to Jerusalem as an offering for Jehovah! But how accurately has Hebrews, notwithstanding, stated the fact, which, indeed, still awaits its fulfilment, that it is the conversion of the heathen world which will induce Israel to acknowledge their Saviour, and that they both shall gather round the Lord as their common centre! How strange it sounds that then priests and Levites shall be taken from the Gentiles also, and that new moon and Sabbath shall be celebrated by all flesh in the old Jewish fashion! But how accurately is the truth thereby stated that in the New Covenant there will be no more the priesthood restricted to the family of Aaron, but a higher spiritual and universal priesthood, and that, instead of the limited local place of worship of the Old Covenant, the whole earth will be a temple of the Lord! Verily the prophecy of the two last chapters of Isaiah attests a genuine prophet of Jehovah. He cannot have been an anonymous unknown person. He can have been none other than Isaiah the son of Amoz!

HOMILETICAL HINTS

1. On Isaiah 65:1 sq. [I. “It is here foretold that the Gentiles, who had been afar off, should be made nigh, Isaiah 65:1. II. It is here foretold that the Jews, who had long been a people near to God, should be cast off, and set at a distance, Isaiah 65:2.” Henry, III. We are informed of the cause of the rejection of the Jews. It was owing to their rebellion, waywardness and flagrant provocations, Isaiah 65:2 sqq.—D. M.]

2. On Isaiah 65:1-7. A Fast-Day Sermon. When the Evangelical Church no more holds fast what she has; when apostasy spreads more and more, and modern heathenism ( Isaiah 65:3-5 a) gains the ascendency in her, then it can happen to her as it did to the people of Israel, and as it happened to the Church in the Orient. Her candlestick can be removed out of its place.—[By the Evangelical Church we are not to understand here the Church universal, for her perpetuity is certain. The Evangelical Church is in Germany the Protestant Church, and more particularly the Lutheran branch of it.—D. M.]

3. On Isaiah 65:8-10. Sermon on behalf of the mission among the Jews. Israel’s hope. 1) On what it is founded (Israel is still a berry in which drops of the divine blessing are contained); 2) To what this hope is directed (Israel’s Restoration).

4. On [“The blessedness of those that serve God, and the woful condition of those that rebel against him, are here set the one over against the other, that they may serve as a foil to each other. The difference of their states here lies in two things: 1) In point of comfort and satisfaction, a. God’s servants shall eat and drink; they shall have the bread of life to feed, to feast upon continually, and shall want nothing that is good for them. But those who set their hearts upon the world, and place their happiness in it, shall be hungry and thirsty, always empty, always craving. In communion with God and dependence upon Him there is full satisfaction; but in sinful pursuits there is nothing but disappointment. b. God’s servants shall rejoice and sing for joy of heart; they have constant cause for joy, and there is nothing that may be an occasion of grief to them but they have an allay sufficient for it. But, on the other hand, they that forsake the Lord shut themselves out from all true joy, for they shall be ashamed of their vain confidence in themselves, and their own righteousness, and the hopes they had built thereon. When the expectations of bliss, wherewith they had flattered themselves, are frustrated, O what confusion will fill their faces! Then shall they cry for sorrow of heart and howl for vexation of spirit. 2) In point of honor and reputation, Isaiah 65:15-16. The memory of the just Isaiah, and shall be, blessed; but the memory of the wicked shall rot.” Henry.—D. M.]

5. On Isaiah 66:1-2. Carpzov has a sermon on this text. He places it in parallel with Luke 18:9-14, and considers, 1) The rejection of spiritual pride; 2) The commendation of filial fear.

6. On Isaiah 66:2 Arndt, in his True Christianity I. cap. 10, comments on this text. He says among other things: “The man who will be something is the material out of which God makes nothing, yea, out of which He makes fools. But a man who will be nothing, and regards himself as nothing, is the material out of which God makes something, even glorious, wise people in His sight.”

7. On [Saurin has a sermon on this text entitled “Sur l’ Insuffisance du culte exterieur” in the eighth volume of his sermons.—D. M.]

8. On Isaiah 66:13. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you. “These words stand, let us consider it, 1) In the Old Testament; 2) In the heart of God always; 3) But are they realized in our experience?” Koegel in “Aus dem Vorhof ins Heiligthum, II. Bd., p242, 1876.

9. On Isaiah 66:24. The punishment of sin is twofold—inward and outward. The inward is compared with a worm that dies not; the outward with a fire that is not quenched. This worm and this fire are at work even in this life. He who is alarmed by them and hastens to Christ can now be delivered from them.—[“It is better not to fall into this fire and never to have any experience of this worm, even though, as some imagine, eternity should not be eternal, and the unquenchable fire might be quenched, and the worm that shall never die, should die, and Jesus and His apostles should not have expressed themselves quite in accordance with the compassionate taste of our time. Better, I say, is better. Save thyself and thy neighbor before the fire begins to burn, and the smoke to ascend.” Gossner.—D. M.]

Footnotes:

FN#15 - Heb. come upon the heart.

FN#16 - because I create it.

FN#17 - there a suckling that counts only days.

FN#18 - boy.

FN#19 - will be considered accursed.

FN#20 - wear out.

FN#21 - Heb. shall make them continue long, or, shall wear out.

FN#22 - quick passing away.

FN#23 - ox or cow.

 


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Isaiah 65:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/isaiah-65.html. 1857-84.

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Thursday, July 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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