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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Isaiah 66

 

 

Verses 1-6

5. THE NEW LIFE IN ITS INWARD RELATIONS

Isaiah 66:1-3 a.

1 Thus saith the Lord,

The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool:

[FN1] Where is the house that ye build unto me?

And [FN2] where is the place of my rest?

2 For all those things hath mine hand made,

And all those things [FN3]have been, saith the Lord:

But to this man will I look,

Even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit,

And trembleth at my word.

3 aHe that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man;

He that sacrificeth a [FN4]lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck;

He that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood;

He that [FN5]burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. The Prophet continues to describe the condition of things which is to be expected in the time of the end when there will be a new heaven and a new earth. Here he has respect more to the inward life, as in Isaiah 65:17 sqq. he had depicted the renovation of the life of nature. What he here declares is to be regarded only as a measure to help us to estimate what will take place. The question, it is true, “What house will ye build me, and what shall be the place of my rest?” appears primarily to have practical application to those returning home from Exile, while it looks as if this question interdicted them from building a temple in Jerusalem. But this cannot possibly have been the design of the Prophet. For that the Lord desired for that time the erection of a temple is proved most clearly by such places as Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 56:7; Isaiah 60:7; Ezra 1:2-4; Haggai 1, 2This, then, must be the meaning of the words, that the external temple is at all times a thing of minor importance, and that hereafter, in the time of the new heaven and the new earth, the external temple will exist no longer ( Isaiah 66:1). For all that the Lord has made belongs to Him. If He needed a house, the whole vast world would be at His command. But He does not dwell in temples built by human hands. In the hearts of the afflicted, contrite and obedient He will make His spiritual dwelling ( Isaiah 66:2). And as He needs no temple, so He needs no external ceremonial worship. In the time when all things will be new, every act of the old, external, ceremonial worship must rather be regarded as an offence against the spirit of the new aeon ( Isaiah 66:3 a).

2. Thus saith the Lord—an idol.

Isaiah 66:1-3 a. The Prophet begins by setting forth the infinite greatness and majesty of God by means of a figure used elsewhere in holy Scripture. For we read that the heaven is God’s throne also in Psalm 11:4; Psalm 103:19; Matthew 5:34; Matthew 23:22. That the earth is his footstool is directly stated only here and Matthew 5:35, which latter place is based on the one before us. But the thought is indirectly contained in those places where the holy mountain or the temple is named the footstool of God: Psalm 99:5, comp. Psalm 66:9; Psalm 132:7; Lamentations 2:1; 1 Chronicles 28:2. With this view of the greatness and majesty of God the idea of an earthly habitation for God stands in contradiction, if God is conceived as a local god like the heathen divinities, and the temple is a space that encloses Him. This is a view from which even the Israelites (comp, e.g., the prophet Jonah) could not get free. Even the Christian martyr Stephen had to protest against this vain imagination ( Acts 7:48 sqq.), and in doing so he appeals to our place (comp. Acts 17:24 sq.). But the idea of a temple did not contradict God’s infinity, when the temple was regarded as a place in which God was present only partially and repraesentativo modo, with a shining forth of His glory. The Rabbis call this effulgence of the absolute glory the Shekinah, and appeal to passages such as Exodus 25:21 sq.; Leviticus 16:2; Leviticus 26:11 sqq.; Numbers 7:89; 1 Samuel 4:4, etc. Song of Solomon, too, was fully conscious that the heaven and heaven of heavens could not contain God, much less a house built on the earth ( 1 Kings 8:27). He therefore did not think of building a place for the Deity which should enclose Him in His totality. Our Prophet, in asking the question, “What house will ye build?” has manifestly the returning exiles before his mind, [FN6] and while he rejects an external temple and temple-worship, he has in view the remotest end of the time of salvation, the time of the new heaven and new earth, when, according to Revelation 21:22, there shall be no temple. The form of a question is intentionally chosen in the sentence אי־זח בית וגו׳. For it makes known that the Lord declares an earthly place to be insufficient to be a habitation for His Godhead, without directly forbidding the erection of such a habitation. Such a prohibition He could not possibly design to make. For, in fact, He plainly disclosed to the returning exiles His will that His house should be rebuilt in Jerusalem (comp. the close of chap46; Ezra 1:2 sqq.; Haggai 1:2 sqq.). There is no indication that the rebuilding of the temple and the Revelation -institution of the Mosaic cultus were hindered by the place before us. Doubtless there was found in Isaiah 66:1 b merely the thought that there is no place which, as a dwelling, corresponds in the least degree to the greatness of God, and that the Prophet warns against such rude childish notions as formerly were entertained in Israel, that Jehovah really dwells in the most holy place of the temple as a man dwells in his house. The thought would readily suggest itself when this passage would be considered, that the new temple was not intended to be a place to contain God, but only to be the restoration of the old place where God revealed Himself. מְנוּחָה is=place of rest, Psalm 132:14. The second question is literally rendered: what place is my resting place? I will not undertake to decide whether it was also seen that the look of the Prophet is here directed also to the time of the end. But we can have no doubt on this point. For it is undeniable that all through chapters65,66 even the remotest time of the end is present to the spirit of the Prophet. And in this last time there will really, according to Revelation 21:22, be no temple. For God is then inwardly and outwardly ever present to all. He is then Himself their temple. The Prophet assigns as reasons for the questions which he puts: First, God has heaven for His throne, the earth for His footstool. Secondly, he declares that God has made all these, that all have arisen through His almighty “Let there be.” He evidently alludes to the word of the Creator in Genesis 1, יְהִי. He thus lets it be known that God, if He wished, could build Himself a temple. For what would that be for Him who made “all these,” heaven and earth? And thirdly and lastly, he tells why God does not do this, although He could do it. He needs no temple. Hearts that feel their misery, that with contrition (comp. Isaiah 16:7; Proverbs 15:13; Proverbs 17:22; Proverbs 18:14) are conscious of their sin, and humbly hearken to His word (חָרֵד, comp. Judges 7:3; 1 Samuel 4:13; Ezra 9:4; Ezra 10:3. עַל for אֶל, comp. Isaiah 66:5; Isaiah 60:5; Isaiah 10:3) are the temple which He most desires and values. On these He looks, these He regards and loves, and in these He will dwell. And because He is in them, they also are in Him. They are His temple, and He is their temple. While I cannot believe that the Prophet in Isaiah 66:1-2 absolutely repels the design of the returning Israelites to build God a temple, still less can I believe that he in Isaiah 66:3 a declares only to those estranged from God that the Lord will accept no religious services from them. Where is it by a single syllable intimated that Isaiah 66:3 is addressed solely to those estranged from God?—[See the words immediately following Isaiah 66:3 b and Isaiah 66:4.—D. M.]—Delitzsch indeed affirms that the sentence: “He who slays in the new Jerusalem an ox in sacrifice is like one who slays a Prayer of Manasseh,” could not possibly be contained in the Old Testament. If under the “new Jerusalem” he means the city rebuilt by the exiles on their return, I admit that Delitzsch is perfectly right. But distingue tempora et concordabit Scriptura! The Prophet does not distinguish the times. He surveys the whole time of salvation from the end of the Exile to the αἰὼν μέλλων at one view, and in this space of time he perceives really a temple and sacrificial worship; but he declares both to be insufficient. He utters no absolute prohibition; but he declares most unambiguously that this temple must disappear and give place to a better. And when this shall have happened, then (this the Prophet sees quite clearly, as it is also self-evident), an animal sacrifice will be an abomination. He who in the Christian church would present an ox or a sheep as as sin-offering—would he not commit a crime, which in its way would be as great as if a Jew should present a sacrifice of a man or of a dog? Would he not thus despise the blood of the Lamb of God? If in chaps56,60 and also in our chapter, Isaiah 66:6; Isaiah 66:20 sqq, a temple and sacrificial worship are still spoken of, are we to suppose that the old temple of stone, with its material, bloody offerings, is intended? Verily chaps53,55 testify that the Prophet knew of an infinitely better offering and of an infinitely better way of appropriating salvation. Even Jeremiah can speak of a time in which the ark of the covenant will be no more thought of ( Jeremiah 3:16). And Isaiah emphatically testifies that the religious conception of the Israelites of his time will be superseded by one infinitely higher ( Isaiah 55:8 sqq.). I cannot therefore agree with those who propose this explanation: “He who with a disposition unholy and estranged from God offers an ox, a sheep, etc., is like one who kills a Prayer of Manasseh, etc.” For in the time present to the mind of the Prophet every animal sacrifice will be a crimen laesae majestatis. Still less is that explanation to be approved which Hahn, not after the example of Gesenius, whom he misunderstands, but after the example of Lowth, adopts: “He who slays an ox kills at the same time a Prayer of Manasseh,etc. According to it the Prophet is supposed to censure those who, while they offer sacrifice to the Lord in His sanctuary, outside of it commit all possible abominations; a course of conduct which is reproved by Ezekiel 23:39, and in the New Testament by our Lord, Matthew 23:14. We have here sentences containing comparisons in which the figure and the thing compared are put in the relation of subject and predicate, whereby they are not absolutely, but yet relatively, identified. The offerer of an ox is a manslayer,i. e. he Isaiah, viewed as to his religious worth, a manslayer. He stands before God on the same level with one who now should offer a human sacrifice. For according to the context the Prophet does not mean to compare animal sacrifices in the time of the end with every kind of offence, but with offerings which would be abominable in the present time. Human sacrifices in general are not expressly forbidden in the law. Implicitly they are prohibited by all the places of the law which command Israel to shun all the abominations of the heathen (comp. Exodus 23:24; Leviticus 18:3, et saepe). But the offering of children, such as was practised in the worship of Baal, is in various places most strictly prohibited (comp. Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 20:2 sqq.; Deuteronomy 12:31, et saepe). Regarding the custom of sacrificing dogs practised by the Carians, Lacedaemonians, Macedonians and other Greeks, see Bochart,Hieroz. I, p798 sqq, ed Lips.עֹרֵף is part. act. Kal. from עָרַף, verb. denom. from עֹרֵף, the neck (comp. Exodus 13:13; Deuteronomy 21:4; Deuteronomy 21:7; Hosea 10:2). It means to break the neck.—In the clause מעלה מנחה ד׳ ח׳ we have in order to complete the sentence simply to repeat מעלה before דם (comp. Isaiah 57:6). On the offering of swine, comp. on Isaiah 65:4. Dogs and swine are in the Scriptures, as in profane authors, often joined together (comp. Matthew 7:6; 2 Peter 2:22; 1 Kings 21:19; 1 Kings 22:38 in several codices of the LXX. Horatii,Epist. I:2, 26; II:2, 75). אַזְכִּיר stands only here as direct causative Hiphil in the sense of to make an אַזְכָּרָה, to offer as מַזְכָּרָה אָוֶן is taken by most interpreters correctly in the sense of vanum, i. e.idolum (comp. 1 Samuel 15:23; Hosea 10:8; Hosea 12:12), for this particular meaning corresponds better to the context than the general one of iniquitas, scelus, wickedness (Luther).

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6. PUNISHMENT TO THE WICKED! REWARD TO THE FAITHFUL

Isaiah 66:3-6

3 b [FN7]Yea, they have chosen their own ways,

And their soul delighteth in their abominations.

4 [FN8] I also will choose their 9][FN10]delusions,

And will bring their fears upon them;

Because when I called, none did answer;

When I spake, they did not hear:

But they did evil before mine eyes,

And chose that in which I delighted not.

5 Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word;

Your brethren that hated you,

That cast you out for my name’s sake, said,

[FN11]Let the Lord be glorified:

But he shall appear to your joy,

[FN12]And they shall be ashamed.

6 A voice of [FN13]noise from the city,

A voice from the temple,

A voice of the Lord that rendereth recompence to his enemies.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. There were among the exiles in Babylon not a few who forsook Jehovah and forgot His holy mountain ( Isaiah 65:11). These looked upon the theocracy as a played-out game. Jehovah had not protected them against the gods of Babylon. To these, therefore, they now attached themselves. Between such persons and the faithful Israelites there existed naturally a hostile relation. The apostates mocked those who remained faithful, while the latter abhorred the others as shameful apostates, and threatened them with the wrath of Jehovah. We repeatedly find traces of this enmity in chaps65,66. It appears that one of those who remained faithful used every opportunity which he could find in chapters65,66 in order to attach to the words of the Prophet a commination against the abhorred apostates [!]. If we must discard the opinion that the Prophet in Isaiah 66:3 a rejects only the sacrifices of the wicked, we cannot avoid perceiving that a wide chasm exists between Isaiah 66:3 a and b. For Isaiah 66:3 a relates to the glorious time of the end. Yea, the highest elevation of its spiritual life is indicated by these words. But Isaiah 66:3 b–6 bring us back into the particular relations of the Exile.—[Dr. Naegelsbach accordingly condemns Isaiah 66:3 b–6 as an interpolation. The interpolator we are asked to regard as a faithful servant of Jehovah. But assuredly he was not one “who trembled at Jehovah’s word,” else he would have shrunk with horror from corrupting that holy word. Even the Pharisees did not venture to alter the text of Scripture to make it support their views. The apostates, too, whom the interpolator is supposed to threaten, having openly renounced the worship of Jehovah, would pay no regard to the fictitious or real utterances of His Prophet. Were the transition in Isaiah 66:3 a–3b sqq. as abrupt as our author supposes, from the time of the end to concrete existing relations, such a transition could not be pronounced unparalleled. Look, e.g. at the surroundings of the glorious promise respecting the abolition of death contained in Hosea 13:14. Shall we say that what follows that promise is to be rejected as spurious? But the want of coherence, of which our author here complains, is only imaginary. If we adopt the view of Isaiah 66:3 a taken by Delitzsch and others “that not the temple-offerings in themselves are rejected, but the offerings of those whose heart is divided between Jahve and the false gods, and who refuse Him the offering which is most dear to Him ( Psalm 51:19; comp. Psalm 50:23),” then there is no difficulty in perceiving the coherence of the words that follow. But if we should (as I believe Dr. Naegelsbach rightly does) regard the Prophet as here predicting the future abolition of the temple-service under a more glorious dispensation, we should be at no loss to perceive the coherence of Isaiah 66:3 b, 4with such a prediction. The language can be aptly applied to those Jews who obstinately refused to obey the revealed will of God, and persisted in practising rites which were superseded by the establishment of the new and better economy. This is the view taken by many interpreters who, in order to justify it, do not find it necessary to condemn the Hebrew text as interpolated. Henderson,e.g., looks upon Isaiah 66:3 a “as teaching the absolute unlawfulness of sacrifices under the Christian dispensation. When the Jews are converted to the faith of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, they must acquiesce in the doctrine taught in the ninth and tenth chapters of the Epistle to the Hebrews, that the one offering which He presented on the cross forever set aside all the animal sacrifices and oblations which had been appointed by the law of Moses. Any attempt to revive the practice is here declared to be upon a par with the cruel and abominable customs of the heathen, who offered human sacrifices and such animals as the ancient people of God were taught to hold in abomination.” And he finds what follows Isaiah 66:3 b to have this connection with the aforesaid teaching: “In retribution of the unbelieving and rebellious persistence of the Jews in endeavoring to establish the old ritual, Jehovah threatens them with condign punishment: while such of them as may render themselves obnoxious to their brethren by receiving the doctrines of the Gospel on the subject, have a gracious promise of divine approbation and protection given to them.” In no case, then, is there any necessity for supposing the hand of an interpolator to have been here at work. Strange would be the course taken by this assumed interpolator! The sentiments which he utters do not look like those of one who would recklessly alter the sacred text, and give out his own words for those of Jehovah. See especially Isaiah 66:5 where the writer addresses those who tremble at God’s word. Can we suppose that he was, while using this language, corrupting the word of God and making his own additions to it? The character of this passage strongly attests its genuineness. We have to add that Isaiah 66:3 b, 4, should not have been separated from what precedes, as the close connection between the two parts has been pointed out.—D. M.]

2. “Yea, they have chosen—delighted not, Isaiah 66:3 b–4. גס־גם are related as et-et, tamquam (comp. Genesis 24:25; Jeremiah 51:12, et saepe). דֶּרֶןְ stands here, as often (comp. Amos 8:14; Psalm 139:24), in the signification of the religious bent. שִׁקּוּץ is likewise used frequently of the abominations of idolatry (comp. 1 Kings 11:5; 1 Kings 11:7; Jeremiah 7:30, et saepe). The word is found only here in Isaiah. תעלול (in which word the signification of the Hithpael הִתְעַלֵּל with בְּ following (comp. Judges 19:25) is reflected) is ἄπ. λεγ.—[This is an error. The word occurs in Isaiah 3:4 in the plural as here. There it means the petulances, the puerilities of boys. Here it retains the kindred notion of annoyances, vexations. The occurrence of this peculiar word here and in Isaiah 3:4 speaks in favor of identity of authorship. The rendering of the E. V. delusions, in the sense of childish, wayward follies, may be defended. These childish delusions would mock and disappoint those who entertained them. God could be said to choose their delusions by allowing them in His providence, and causing the people to eat the fruit of them. Their fears,מְגוּרֹת, may be taken as what is feared by them, or, with Delitzsch, situations, conditions, which inspire dread. The latter part of Isaiah 66:4 from becauseDr. Naegelsbach regards as a needless repetition from Isaiah 65:12; but Alexander rightly judges that the repetition serves not only to connect the passages as parts of an unbroken composition, but also to identify the subjects of discourse in the two places.—D. M.]

3. Hear the word—His enemies, Isaiah 66:5-6. These words are a consolation for the faithful adherents of Jehovah, who tremble at His word. The verb נָדָה occurs only in Piel, and is found only here and Amos 6:3. In later Hebrew the word is employed of removal, exclusion from the community, or excommunication (comp. Luke 6:22; John 9:22; John 12:42; John 16:2). The Rabbis use the word נִדּוּי to denote the lowest of the three grades of excommunication (comp. Buxtorf,Lex. Chal., p1303). The Masoretes connect למען שׁמי with what follows, because they could not conceive, or would not admit that an Israelite was ever put out of the community for the sake of the name of Jehovah. But this is what the forsakers of Jehovah did in the Exile where they had the power [?]. And they scoffingly called out to the excommunicated: “Let Jehovah be (appear as) glorious (comp. Job 14:21; Ezekiel 27:25), and we will (in consequence) behold with delight your joy.” They thus mock the Lord and their brethren, regarding whom they do not think that they will experience the joy of seeing their hopes fulfilled. But this scoffing misses the mark. Not those who are scoffed at, but the scoffers will be put to shame.—[Barnes, Alexander and Kay think with Vitringa that in this verse we are brought down to New Testament times. Vitringa applies it “to the rejection of the first Christian converts by the unbelieving Jews: Hear the word (or promise) of Jehovah, ye that wait for it with trembling confidence: your brethren (the unconverted Jews) who hate you and cast you out for my name’s sake, have said (in so doing): Jehovah will be glorious (or glorify Himself on your behalf no doubt), and we shall witness your salvation (a bitter irony like that in Isaiah 5:19); but they (who thus speak) shall themselves be confounded (by beholding what they now consider so incredible). The phrase those hating you may be compared with John 15:18; John 17:14; Matthew 10:22; 1 Thessalonians 2:14; and casting you out with John 16:2; and Matthew 18:17 : for my name’s sake, with Matthew 24:9; John 15:21.” Alexander.And they shall be ashamed. “How true this has been of the Jews who persecuted the early Christians! How entirely were they confounded and overwhelmed! God established permanently the persecuted; He scattered the persecutors to the ends of the earth.” Barnes Isaiah 66:6. “The Hebrew word שֳַאון is never applied elsewhere to a joyful cry or a cry of lamentation, but to the tumult of war, the rushing sound of armies and the shock of battle, in which sense it is repeatedly employed by Isaiah. The enemies here mentioned must of course be those who had just been described as the despisers and persecutors of the brethren. The description cannot without violence be understood of foreign or external enemies.” Alexander. Barnes observes here: “1) that it is recompense taken on those who had cast out their brethren ( Isaiah 66:5). 2) It is vengeance taken within the city, and on the internal, not the external enemies3) It is vengeance taken in the midst of this tumult. All this is a striking description of the scene when the city and temple were taken by the Roman armies; and it seems to me that it is to be regarded as descriptive of that event. It was the vengeance which was to precede the glorious triumph of truth and of the cause of the true religion.”—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#1 - What.

FN#2 - what.

FN#3 - began to be.

FN#4 - Or, kid.

FN#5 - Heb. maketh a memorial of.

FN#6 - “From the whole strain of the prophecy and particularly from Isaiah 66:3-5, it seems probable that it refers to the time when the temple which Herod had reared was finishing; when the nation was full of pride, self-righteousness and hypocrisy, and when all sacrifices were about to be superseded by the one great sacrifice which the Messiah was about to make of Himself for the sins of the world.” Barnes.—D. M.].

FN#7 - As they have chosen.

FN#8 - So I also will choose.

FN#9 - Or, devices.

FN#10 - vexations.

FN#11 - Let Jehovah be glorified that we may see your joy!

FN#12 - But.

FN#13 - tumult.


Verses 7-9

7. THE WONDERFUL PRODUCTIVE POWER OF THE NEW PRINCIPAL OF LIFE.

Isaiah 66:7-9

7 Before she travailed, she brought forth;

Before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.

8 Who hath heard such a thing?

Who hath seen such things?

[FN14]Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day?

Or shall a nation be born at once?

For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.

9 Shall I bring to the birth, and not [FN15]cause to bring forth? saith the Lord:

[FN16]Shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. With wonderful rapidity Zion will be surrounded by the blessing of numerous children ( Isaiah 66:7). In other cases a long time is needed for a land to be peopled, for a family to expand into a nation. But in the case of Zion this will happen with incredible quickness ( Isaiah 66:8). Such is the power inherent in that new principle of life which Jehovah cannot possibly in a forced and artificial way restrain ( Isaiah 66:9).—[Our author speaks of a new principle of life and its wonderful power. The Prophet, however, makes no mention of this new principle of life, but of the working of Jehovah Himself.—D. M.]

2. Before she travailed—saith thy God, [This view is in accordance with the Targum: “Before distress cometh upon her, she shall be redeemed: and before trembling cometh upon her, as travail upon a woman with child, her king shall be revealed.”—D. M.]. Such a case never before occurred that a land (אֶרֶץ must denote here both land and people, the idea of the people being predominant, and hence the word is used as a masculine, comp. on Isaiah 14:17) or nation suddenly, all at once arose. [“The causative sense given to יוּחַל in the English and some other versions is not approved by the later lexicographers, who make it a simple passive.” Alexander.]. How comes it that in the case of Zion, travailing and bringing forth her children coincided? Everything was well arranged beforehand for the birth. The time was fulfilled. The proper moment had come. Peter’s speech on the day of Pentecost and the conversion of the three thousand are facts in which the rapidity of that process of bringing forth is mirrored. And when such an astonishing and rapid success is founded in the nature of the case, can the Lord interfere to check and restrain? This is the meaning of Isaiah 66:8. [Dr. Naegelsbach interprets the first part of Isaiah 66:9 by describing the process of parturition with a particularity which some would think hardly in accordance with good taste. It is sufficient to give the explanation of Gesenius in his Lexicon: “Shall I cause to break open (the womb), and not cause to bring forth?” D. M.]. The second hemistich of Isaiah 66:9 repeats according to the law of the Parallelismus membrorum the same thought in another form. עָצַר is often used of the closing of the uterus, i. e., of the barrenness of a woman. But here it is not the making unfruitful, but the hindering of the birth that is spoken of. It Isaiah, therefore, better to take עָצַר in the sense of cohibere, retinere, in which it occurs frequently elsewhere (comp. e.g., Judges 13:15-16). [The words of Hezekiah are here almost taken up Isaiah 37:3.” Shall that long and painful national history not have for its issue the birth of a true Israel?” Kay. “The meaning of the whole Isaiah, that God designed the great and sudden increase of His Church; that the plan was long laid; and that having done this, He would not abandon it, but would certainly effect His designs.” Barnes. D. M.]. In regard to the alternating יאֹמַר וגו׳ and אָמַר א׳ in Isaiah 66:9, I refer in general to the remarks on Isaiah 40:1. In the place before us, the Prophet has certainly no other reason for the change than a rhetorical one.


Verses 10-14

8. THE MATERIAL CHARACTER OF NEW ORDER OF LIFE

Isaiah 66:10-14

10 Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad [FN17]with her, all ye that love her:

Rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her:

11 That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations;

That ye may [FN18]milk out, and be delighted with the [FN19] [FN20]abundance of her glory

12 For thus saith the Lord,

Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,

And the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream:

Then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon [FN21]her sides,

And be dandled upon her knees.

13 [FN22]As one whom his mother comforteth,

So will I comfort you;

And ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

14 And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice,

And your bones shall flourish like [FN23]an herb:

And the hand of the Lord shall be known [FN24] toward his servants,

And his indignation [FN25]toward his enemies.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

Isaiah 66:10. גִּיל with בְּ of the object is the common construction, comp. Isaiah 65:19; Proverbs 24:17. שׂישׂו משׂושׂ On this connection of a verb with a substantive instead of the infinitive absolute comp. Isaiah 22:17-18; Isaiah 24:19; Isaiah 24:22; Isaiah 42:17.

Isaiah 66:12. The Masoretes take כבוד גוים as the object of both clauses, and consequently נָהָר שָׁלוֹם=a river which is peace, a peaceful river. But this is artificial. שָׁ‍ֽעֲשַׁע is Pulpal from שׁעע. The word is one which is used especially by Isaiah. It is found besides here Isaiah 6:10; Isaiah 11:8; Isaiah 29:9 (bis).

Isaiah 66:14. There should properly be a כִּי before יד־יהוה. But the thrice-repeated conjunction Vav in the preceding part of the verse, as it were, governed the flow of speech, and carried it over the syntax. Therefore ונודעה stands as resumption of ראיתם, which is for רְאִיתֶם כִּי. I therefore take וְשָׂשׂ to תִפְרַחִנָם as a parenthesis which is intended to declare by what emotions that “seeing” will be accompanied. [But it is much easier, with the E. V, to supply the pronoun this or it, meaning the fulfilment of the promise, after ראיתם, and then there will be no need of assuming a break in the sentence and a parenthesis.—D. M.]. In the clause יד י׳ את־ע׳ we have to take את as a preposition, while before איביו it marks the accusative. [In the E. V. זָעַם is regarded as a noun. But the noun would have Pattach under its first syllable. The verb governs the accusative.—D. M.].

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. After all that has been said, all the friends of Jerusalem, who had before mourned over her, are now justly called upon to rejoice over her ( Isaiah 66:10), and gloriously to participate in her happiness ( Isaiah 66:11). For the Lord will turn to her peace and all glory in abundance; the Israelites will be treated with the tenderest care ( Isaiah 66:12). The Lord Himself will comfort them with a mother’s love ( Isaiah 66:13). Then they shall have joy, and the Lord’s hand will be manifest on them; but His enemies will be made to feel the indignation of the Lord ( Isaiah 66:14).

2. Rejoice ye—His enemies.

[“Jerusalem is thought of as a mother, and the rich consolation (not in word but in deed) which she receives ( Isaiah 51:3) as the milk which comes into her breasts (שֹׁד as Isaiah 60:16), with which she now nourishes her children abundantly.” Del.]. The image of suckling to designate the most loving and assiduous care, has been already before us Isaiah 49:23; Isaiah 60:16. We should rather expect the consolations of her breast; but the putting of שֹׁד first is the effect of the idea of sucking being before the mind of the writer. [“Sack and be satisfied, milk out and enjoy yourselves, may be regarded as examples of hendiadys, meaning suck to satiety, and milk out with delight; but no such change in the form of translation is required or admissible.” Alexander. D. M.]. The word זִיז which stands parallel with שֹׁד, is found besides here only Psalm 50:11; Psalm 80:14. Its signification is still disputed. Some take זוּז = צוּץ in the signification micare, emicare, and hence זִיז = lac ex ubere radiatim defluens (Schroeder, Gesen.). [So Gesen. in Thes.; but in Lexicon he gives the meaning, full breast. D. M.]. But the signification of shining forth, belongs essentially to צוּץצִיץ, whence צִיץ, a shining plate, a flower, a glittering feather. זִיז on the contrary, denotes according to the meaning of its root, which occurs in Syriac, though not in Hebrew, id quod movetur, that which moves itself to and fro. Hence זִיז, Psalm 50:11; Psalm 80:14, the beasts that move about on the field. Hence here, too, זִיז is synonymous with mamma, the breast that moves this way and that. So Delitzsch. [Delitzsch assigns to זִיז the meaning abundance (Ueberschwang) as the E. V, does, and, moreover, he expressly states that the parallelism does not force us to give to the word the signification of teats, dugs. See his comment, in loc. 2 Ed. D. M.]. The joy to which the Prophet, Isaiah 66:10, summons the friends of Jerusalem is well-founded. For the Lord Himself declares that He will extend, (direct) to Jerusalem peace, the highest of all inward blessings, as a river (comp. Isaiah 48:18; Isaiah 8:7), and as a torrent (נַחַל Arabic Wadi, comp. Isaiah 30:28) the glory of the Gentiles, which comprehends all desirable outward things (comp. Isaiah 16:14; Isaiah 17:4; Isaiah 21:16; Isaiah 35:2). And because the Prophet has here before his mind the image of maternal love and solicitude on the one hand, and on the other that of a child’s wants, he adds here, and ye shall suck. Herewith he points back to Isaiah 66:11, where he had designated Jerusalem as the source of consolations. Here he tells us that the spring of that spring will be the Lord. But that maternal care is not restricted to the affording of nourishment. The children shall also be faithfully carried (על־צדon the hip, after the common oriental custom, Isaiah 60:4). They will also be lovingly played with, caressed, and rocked on the knees. The Lordhere again ascribes to Himself maternal love and maternal conduct (comp. Isaiah 42:14; Isaiah 46:3 sq.; Isaiah 49:15). Is the term אִֹשׁ to be pressed? I believe that it ought, for it contains a fine climax. A mother who comforts her child is an affecting image. But a mother’s love is still more gloriously displayed when it shows itself to be strong enough to raise up again the Song of Solomon, the strong Prayer of Manasseh, who is bowed down by misfortune. [“The E. V. here dilutes a man to one. The same liberty is taken by many other versions. But comp. Genesis 24:67; Judges 17:2; 1 Kings 19:19-20, and the affecting scenes between Thetis and Achilles in the Iliad.”—Alexander. “The Prophet now thinks of the people as one man. Before he had thought of them as children. Israel is as a man returned from a foreign country, escaped from bondage, full of sad recollections, which are wholly obliterated in the maternal arms of divine love yonder in Jerusalem, the dear home, which even in a strange land was the home of their thoughts.”—Delitzsch. “The in Jerusalem suggests the only means by which these blessings are to be secured, viz, a union of affection and of interest with the Israel of God to whom alone they are promised.” Alexander.—D. M.]. The beginning of Isaiah 66:14 recalls Isaiah 60:5. In this place, too, the meaning of the Prophet Isaiah, that what Jerusalem shall see is the manifestation of the power of Jehovah on His friends and foes. For the aim and scope of all divine training is that God may be known from all nature and history as the supreme good (comp. Isaiah 41:20; Isaiah 42:12 sqq.; Isaiah 43:10 sqq.; Isaiah 45:3 sqq. et saepe). The heart, the centre of life, shall rejoice, the bones, the parts forming the periphery, will shoot as young grass, i. e., they will feel themselves excited to fresh, vigorous manifestation of life (comp. Isaiah 44:4; Isaiah 58:11; Isaiah 61:3). [The latter part of the verse is “in accordance with the Prophet’s constant practice of presenting the salvation of God’s people as coincident and simultaneous with the destruction of His enemies.” Alexder.—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.]


Verses 15-24

9. GENERAL PICTURE OF THE TIME OF THE END AS THE TIME OF JUDGMENT TO LIFE AND TO DEATH

Isaiah 66:15-24

15 For, behold, the Lord will come with fire,

And with his chariots like a whirlwind,

To render his anger with fury,

And his rebuke with flames of fire.

16 [FN26]For by fire and by his sword

Will the Lord plead with all flesh:

And the slain of the Lord shall be many.

17 They that sanctify themselves and purify themselves[FN27] in the gardens,

[FN28]Behind one tree in the midst,

Eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse,

Shall be consumed together, saith the Lord.

18 [FN29] For I know their works and their thoughts:

It shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues;

And they shall come, and see my glory.

19 And I will set a sign among them,

And I will send those that escape of them unto the nations,

To Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow,

To Tubal and Javan, to the isles afar off,

That have not heard my [FN30]fame,

Neither have seen my glory;

And they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.

20 And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord

Out of all nations

Upon horses, and in chariots, and in [FN31]litters,

And upon mules, and upon [FN32]swift beasts,

To my holy mountain [FN33]Jerusalem, saith the Lord,

As the children of Israel bring an offering

In a clean vessel into the house of the Lord.

21 [FN34]And I will also take of them

For priests and for Levites, saith the Lord.

22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make,

Shall remain before me, saith the Lord,

So shall your seed and your name remain.

23 And it shall come to pass, that [FN35] [FN36]from one new moon to another,

And from one Sabbath to another,

Shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.

24 And they shall go forth, and look

Upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me:

For their worm shall not die,

Neither shall their fire be quenched;

And they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

Isaiah 66:15. The words וכסופה מרכבתיו occur exactly as here Jeremiah 4:13. There, too, they stand as second subject of the verb יַעֲלֶה, which is first in order. Jeremiah quotes there Habakkuk 1:8 also. מֶרְכָּבָה is never used by Jeremiah elsewhere; he employs the word רֶכֶב ( Jeremiah 17:25; Jeremiah 22:4; Jeremiah 46:9; Jeremiah 47:3; Jeremiah 50:37; Jeremiah 51:21). But Isaiah uses מרכבה three times, namely Isaiah 2:7; Isaiah 22:18, in addition to the present case. סוּכָּה, too, is never elsewhere used by Jeremiah. He employs always instead of it סַעַר ( Jeremiah 23:19; Jeremiah 25:32; Jeremiah 30:23) and סְעָרָה ( Jeremiah 23:19; Jeremiah 30:23). But Isaiah has סוכּה five times, including the present place, Isaiah 5:28; Isaiah 17:13; Isaiah 21:1; Isaiah 29:6. On these grounds we can maintain that the words in Jeremiah are a quotation from the place before us.

Isaiah 66:16. אֵת is not the sign of the accusative, but a preposition as 1 Samuel 12:7; Jeremiah 2:35; Ezekiel 17:20; Ezekiel 20:35 sq.; Isaiah 38:22; Jeremiah 25:31. This last place recalls forcibly the one before us.

[But the words are quite appropriate in the mouth of the Prophet Isaiah, and we are not warranted to assume that these forms of idolatry were practised by the exiles in Babylon. Unless Isaiah is supposed to testify to this fact, we have no evidence of it. In the Babylonian Captivity the people were cured of their propensity to gross idolatry—D. M.]. 4) The singular phrase אחר אחד בתון clearly betrays a foreign, later hand; and the manifest corruption of the text in the beginning of Isaiah 66:18 is also to be regarded as an indication of changes in the original text. [The occurrence of the singular phrase referred to is no sign of the hand of an interpolator, who would rather be careful to avoid saying what would be obscure and ambiguous. An interpolator, too, who understood Hebrew, would hardly have left the difficulty complained of in the beginning of Isaiah 66:18.—D. M.].

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. The Prophet here, too, represents the future under the forms of the present. He seta forth its leading features, and again brings together what is homogeneous without regard to intervening spaces of time. He begins, Isaiah 66:15-16; Isaiah 66:18, by describing the judgment of retribution on the wicked. [On Isaiah 66:17 see under Text. and Gram.]. The Prophet surveys together the beginning and end of the judgment. As we see from Isaiah 66:19, the beginning of the judgment of the world is for him the judgment on Israel. Hebrews, therefore, Isaiah 66:19 sqq, tells what shall take place after the destruction of the visible theocracy. He beholds a sign set in Israel. We clearly perceive here in the light of the fulfilment what he only obscurely, as through a mist, descried. He intends Him who is set for a sign that is spoken against. After this sign has appeared and been rejected, the judgment begins on the earthly Jerusalem. Persons escaped from this great catastrophe go to the heathen to publish to them the glory of Jehovah ( Isaiah 66:19). And the heathen world turns to Jehovah, and in grateful love brings along with it to the holy mountain the scattered members of Israel that had been visited with judgment. These are as a meat-offering which Jehovah receives from the hand of the Gentiles as willingly as He welcomes a pure meat-offering from the hand of an Israelite ( Isaiah 66:20). And then from Gentiles and Jews a new race arises. The wall of separation is removed. The Lord takes priests and Levites indiscriminately from both ( Isaiah 66:21). The new life which throbs in men, as well as in heaven and earth, is eternal life. Hence the new race of men stand on the new earth and under the new heaven eternally before the Lord ( Isaiah 66:22). And all flesh will then render to the Lord true worship forever ( Isaiah 66:23). But the wicked, of whom the Prophet had declared at the close of the first and second Ennead that they have no peace, will be excluded from the society of the blessed, to be a prey of the undying worm and unquenchable fire, and an object of abhorrence.

2. For, behold, the LORD——my glory.

Isaiah 66:15-18. The Prophet sees the Lord come to judgment in flaming fire, and he beholds His chariots rush along as a tempest. The image is here, as Psalm 18:9; Psalm 18:13, borrowed from a thunderstorm. It appears to me better to regard מרככתיו as second subject to יָבֹא than to supply in the translation the substantive verb. For the chariots are not in themselves like a stormy wind, but their rolling is compared with the rushing of a tempest. The plural is certainly the proper plural. For as an earthly commander of an army is accompanied by many chariots, so too is the “Lord of hosts.” Kleinert justly observes on Habakkuk 3that the elements, clouds and winds, as media of manifestation, are compared with Jehovah’s horses and chariots. In Psalm 104:3 the Lord is expressly described as He who “maketh the clouds his chariot.” הֵשִׁיב אַף cannot possibly denote here as Job 9:13; Psalm 78:38, to take away wrath. Here retribution is the subject of discourse. We must, therefore, compare places such as Hosea 12:3, where השׁיב standing alone means to recompense, and Deuteronomy 32:41; Deuteronomy 32:43, where it is joined with נָקָם in like signification. In the day of judgment they who have sown evil must reap the wrath of God as necessary harvest (comp. Galatians 6:7). God will render his anger to them in the form of חֵמָה, i.e., of burning fury (comp. Isaiah 42:25; Isaiah 59:18), and his rebuke comp. Isaiah 30:17; Isaiah 50:2; Isaiah 51:20), in flames of fire (comp Isaiah 13:8; Isaiah 29:6; Isaiah 30:30). Fire must serve not only to indicate the violence of the divine wrath, but also as a real instrument of judgment. for the first judgment of the world was accomplished by water ( Genesis 7), the second will be effected by fire. At the first act of the second judgment of the world, the destruction of Jerusalem, fire was not wanting (comp. Joseph. B.J. VI:7, 2; 8, 5). With fire and sword, igne ferroque, the Lord judges. [“What is here said of fire, sword and slaughter, was fulfilled not only as a figurative prophecy of general destruction, but in its strictest sense in the terrific carnage which attended the extinction of the Jewish State, of which, more emphatically than of any other event outwardly resembling it, it might be said that many were the slain of Jehovah.” Alexander. D. M.]. Isaiah 66:17. Here people are spoken of, who make a religious consecration of themselves by sanctifying (comp. Isaiah 30:29; Isaiah 65:6; Exodus 19:22; Numbers 11:18 et saepe) and purifying themselves (מטהר in Isaiah only here, comp. Leviticus 14:4; Leviticus 14:7-8 et saepe; Ezra 6:20; Nehemiah 12:30; Nehemiah 13:22). They do this אֶל־הַגַּנּוֹת (comp. Isaiah 1:29-30; Isaiah 61:11; Isaiah 65:3). The preposition אֶל might be taken, with Hahn, as a case of constr. praegnans, if it were possible to find the idea of motion to a place latent in the verbs הטהר and התקדשׁ. We must, therefore, take אֵל in the sense of “in relation to, in respect to,” i.e. = for (comp. e.g., 1 Samuel 1:27; Ezekiel 6:10). [In performing their lustrations they have respect to the gardens as places of worship. Translate: that purify themselves for the gardens, not in the gardens as in the E. V.—D. M.]. The words אחר אחד בתוך are very obscure. The old translators (LXX, Targ, Syr, Arab, Theodoret, Symmachus, Hieronymus) were evidently puzzled with the text, and conjectured its meaning rather than explained it according to certain principles. The later interpreters can be classified according to what they understand by אַחַת,אַחַד) אֶחָד, the last is the reading of the K’ri). Seb. Schmidt and Bochart think (after Saadia) of one of the trees, or of a reservoir in the garden, behind or in which the lustration was performed. Others refer אחד to an idol. Abenezra thinks that אחת (K’ri) is Astarte. Very many interpreters (after Scaliger) take אחד to be the name of a Syrian divinity, Ἄδωδος, who is called in Eusebius (Praep. Ev. I:10) King of gods. And this explanation has been the rather adopted, because Macrobius (Saturn. I, 23) gives as the meaning of this name “unus;” a statement which is manifestly owing to his want of knowledge of the language. Clericus sees in אחת the name ‘ Εκάτη;. Ben. Carpzov, who is followed by Hahn and Maurer, understands an idol of some kind. Stier, not satisfied with Antichrist, who is thought of by Neteler, understands under the one the “idol of the world in the strictest sense, whose place of concealment is the tree of knowledge in the midst of the garden.” Majus (Œcon. p984) takes אחר אחד in the sense of praeter unum, i.e., beside the only true God ( Deuteronomy 6:4) they follow an idol set in the midst. But this meaning the words will not bear. That explanation has most in its favor, which refers אחד to a human being. Here we must set aside as philologically untenable the view which, after the Targ. Jonah, and the Syriac, would in any way bring out the sense alius post alium. After the example of Pfeifer in the Dubia Vexata, it is better to understand a person placed in the midst who acted as leader, initiator, or hierophant. So Gesenius, Hitzig, Hendewerk, Beck, Umbreit, Knobel, Delitzsch, Seinecke, Rohlingבַּתָּוֶךְ is understood by Hitzig, Hendewerk, Beck, Umbreit, Ewald of the middle of the house, the impluvium, the court. But Knobel, Delitzsch, Seinecke, Rohling think of the hierophant standing in the midst, so that אַחַר is not to be understood in the local sense, but in that of acting after, or imitation. Ewald proposes instead of אחר אחד to read a double אחר: Boettcher would strike out the words אחר אחד. Cheyne regards the place as quite corrupt. It seems to me that the words אחר אחד בתוך are either a corrupt reading, or a later expression current in those Babylonian forms of worship. But we have not hitherto been able to explain their meaning satisfactorily. [That Babylonian rites are here referred to is a gratuitous assumption. Of the interpretations put upon the statement that purify themselves for the gardens after one in the midst, the one most entitled to our acceptance is that which regards it as descriptive of a crowd of devotees surrounding their priest or leader, and doing after him the rites which he exhibits for their imitation. Delitzsch is so satisfied with this explanation that he declares that it leaves nothing to be desired. The use of אחד, one, has its reason in the opposition of the one leader of the ceremonies to the many repeaters of the rites after him. D. M.]. אכלי בשׂר ה׳ו׳ is one of the subjects of יסופו. Comp. on Isaiah 65:4. שֶׁקֶץ stands frequently in Leviticus parallel with שֶׁרֶץ, reptile, e. g., Leviticus 11:20 comp. ibid. vers, 10, 23, 41. Probably, then, reptiles, such as the snail, lizard and the like, are here chiefly intended. עַכְבָּר is the mouse (comp. Leviticus 11:29; 1 Samuel 6:4 sqq.). On edible mice, or rats (glires) see Delitzsch, Comment. in loc., Bochart, Hieroz. II. p 432 sqq, Herz. R-Encycl. XIV. p602. [“The actual use of any kind of mouse in the ancient heathen rites has never been established, the modern allegations of the fact being founded on the place before us.” Alexander. This commentator contends that the Prophet is still treating of the excision of the Jews and the vocation of the Gentiles. And although the generation of Jews “upon whom the final blow fell were hypocrites, not idolaters, the misdeeds of their fathers entered into the account, and they were cast off not merely as the murderers of the Lord of Life, but as apostates who insulted Jehovah to His face by bowing down to stocks and stones, in groves and gardens, and by eating swine’s flesh, the abomination, and the mouse.” Isaiah would naturally make prominent, in assigning the causes of divine judgment, the most flagrant transgressions of the law that prevailed in his own time. We have had many examples of his practice to depict the future in the colors of the present.—D. M.]. Isaiah 66:18 is very difficult. It appears to me impossible to obtain an appropriate sense from the text as it stands. I must therefore hold it to be corrupt. The old versions do not enable us to detect any corruption that has taken place since they were made. They all give such translations that they evidently suppose the present Masoretic text. They all use the first person in the rendering of בָּאָה. But this does not justify our inferring a difference of text. It is merely a free translation. The predicate to ואנכי is wanting. Some would supply יָדַעְתּי [as the E. V.], or אֶפְקֹד (Delitzsch), as was done in some manuscripts of the LXX. But is it possible that the writer omitted the predicate? [“The ellipsis is like that in Virgil Quos ego (Aen. I:139), and belongs to the rhetorical figure of aposiopesis: and I, their works and thoughts—(will know to punish).” Delitzsch. If an ellipsis is to be supplied, there is none more facile than that assumed in the English version, and which can plead the support of the Targum. But it seems to me better to retain the aposiopesis of the original, with Knobel, Ewald, Alexander and Kay. The last mentioned has this remark: “The sentence is interrupted; as if it were too great a condescension to comment on their folly,—so soon to be made evident by the course of events. And I—as for their works and their thoughts, the time cometh for gathering all nations.”—D. M.]. So much can be seen from Isaiah 66:18, that God’s judgments will rest on a bringing to light not only of the works, but also of the thoughts of the heart ( Hebrews 4:12). בָּאָה is according to the accents to be taken as a participle. The feminine is to be understood in a neuter sense [i.e., it is used impersonally]. בָּא stands for the arrival of the right moment: it is come to this that all nations, etc., comp. Ezekiel 39:8. The words קבִץ את־כל־הגוים seem to be borrowed from Joel 4:2. On the other hand, the Prophet Zephaniah ( Isaiah 3:8) seems to have had this place of Isaiah before him. The expression כל־הגוים does not occur exactly elsewhere. We can compare, on the one hand, Genesis 10:20; Genesis 10:31 (comp. Isaiah 66:5), on the other, Daniel 3:4; Daniel 3:7; Daniel 5:19; Daniel 6:26; Daniel 7:14. Comp. Zechariah 8:23. If this expression really belonged to a later age, we should find in it a confirmation of the supposition that the text of Isaiah 66:18 also has been corrupted by an interpolator. [“The use of the word tongues as an equivalent to nations has reference to national distinctions springing from diversity of language, and is founded on Genesis 10:5; Genesis 10:20; Genesis 10:31, by the influence of which passage and the one before us, it became a phrase of frequent use in Daniel, whose predictions turn so much upon the calling of the Gentiles ( Daniel 3:4; Daniel 5:19). The representation of this form of speech as an Aramaic idiom by some modern critics is characteristic of their candor.” Alexander. Some suppose the glory of Jehovah which all nations will be assembled to see to be a gracious display of His glory, and others think that a grand manifestation of judgment is here referred to. In the preceding part of the chapter a revelation of both grace and judgment is foretold. We can take the expression in a general sense for the revelation of Jehovah’s perfections. But here a difficulty arises. If in this verse all nations are represented as gathered, as having come to see the glory of the Lord, where are the distant nations who are to be visited according to the following verse by those that have escaped from the judgment? The seeming inconsistency is removed, if we regard Isaiah 66:19 as describing the way in which the nations will be brought to see the glory of God, and take the וְ as causal: For I will set a sign, etc. For this causal force of וְ comp. on Isaiah 64:3. This is better than to suppose, with Delitzsch, that all nations and tongues in Isaiah 66:18 are not to be understood of all nations without exception.—D. M.].

3. And I will set——all flesh.

[This verse explains the gathering of all nations mentioned in the previous verse. The Hebrew often employs the simple connective and where we would use for.—D. M.]. The mention of פליטים, Isaiah 66:19, implies that the judgment from which they have escaped is not the general judgment. After it there will remain no nations on the earth to whom the messengers could come to announce Jehovah’s glory. That judgment, then, from which the messengers have escaped, must be only the first act of the general judgment, i.e., the judgment on Israel. If we consider this place in the light of fulfilment, we must take the destruction of the theocracy by the Romans for this first act of the general judgment, which the Prophet views together with its last act or last Acts, just as our Lord does in His oratio eschatological, Matthew 24. They who have escaped from that dreadful catastrophe which befalls the church of the Old Covenant are the church of the New Covenant, for whose flight and deliverance the Lord has so significantly cared in that discourse ( Matthew 24:16 sqq.). If this is the case, what opinion have we to form regarding the sign, which the Lord, according to the words commencing Isaiah 66:19, will set “among them,” i.e., among those on whom that first great act of judgment has fallen? The expression שׂוּם אוֹת occurs Genesis 4:15; Exodus 10:2; Jeremiah 32:20; Psalm 78:43; Psalm 105:27. It alternates with נָהַן or עָשָׂה אוֹת ( Deuteronomy 13:2; Joshua 2:12; Judges 6:17; Psalm 86:17 et saepe). Of these forms שׂוּם אוֹת is the most emphatic. It denotes, we might say, setting a sign as a monument for general and permanent observation. To regard this sign as a signal to call the nations does not suit the context [?], for the nations are not called to the judgment upon Israel. The announcement is rather borne to them. Calvin’s explanation “I make a sign on them,” namely, on the elect for their deliverance, is justified by the language; but the suffixes in בָּהֶם and מֵהֶם refer to those who are judged, and not to those who are saved. The old orthodox explanation, according to which the “sign” is the Spirit poured out upon the disciples as evidence of their divine mission, is exposed to the same objection. When, on the other hand, Hitzig and Knobel consider as the sign, the judgment upon the heathen, a great slaughter, there is this objection that it is to the heathen that they who escaped the judgment go. And when Stier refers the sign to the judgment upon Israel, it seems strange that mention should be made of the sign after the description of the judgment and its happy consequences, and they shall come and see my glory. [But if we regard the וְ at the beginning of Isaiah 66:19 as explicative or causal, this objection falls away,—D. M.]. Ewald, Umbreit, Delitzsch, Seinecke think that the escape of some from the all-destroying slaughter is itself the miracle. But is it something so extraordinary and wonderful that individuals should escape from a slaughter, be it ever so bloody? I would not say with the Catholic interpreters that this אוֹת is the sign of the cross. But I think that Luke [Simeon] when Hebrews, Luke 2:34, speaks of Him who is set for a sign which shall be spoken against had our place before him. And I would refer the sign of the Son of man ( Matthew 24:30) to the same source. It was the purpose of God, which Isaiah here announces without knowing how it should be fulfilled, that out of the ashes of the old covenant the phœnix of the new should arise. [Alexander, who sees in the פְלֵיטִים who go to the nations the first preachers of the Gospel, who were escaped Jews, saved from that perverse generation ( Acts 2:40), thinks that the sign to be set denotes “the whole miraculous display of divine power, in bringing the old dispensation to a close and introducing the new, including the destruction of the unbelieving Jews, on the one hand, and, on the other, all those signs and wonders, and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost ( Hebrews 2:4), which Paul calls the signs of an apostle ( 2 Corinthians 12:12), and which Christ Himself had promised should follow them that believed ( Mark 16:17). All these were signs placed among them, i.e., among the Jews, to the greater condemnation of the unbelievers, and to the salvation of such as should be saved.” But if we compare Isaiah 11:10 and its connection with the place before us and the context, it would appear that Messiah is the sign here spoken of.—D. M.]. The following names of nations represent the entire heathen world. The Prophet designedly mentions the names of the most remote nations to intimate that to all, even the most distant peoples, the joyful message (εὐαγγέλιον) should come. Respecting Tarshish (comp. on Isaiah 2:16) The name Pul occurs as the name of a people only here (as name of a person, comp. 2 Kings 15:19). In Jeremiah 46:9; Ezekiel 27:10; Ezekiel 30:5, the name פוּט is mentioned in conjunction with לוּד. The LXX, too, have in our place Φούδ. In the places in Jer. and Ezek. just cited the LXX. have Δίβυες for פוּט. Bochart understands by Pul the island Philae. Most scholars hold the identity of פוּל and פוּט, and assume either an error in writing, or an interchange of ט and ל (Hitzig). Regarding פוּט, it is pretty generally held, after the LXX, to be Libyia. Ebers, indeed, affirms that on the Egyptian monuments Punt or Put always denotes a country east of Egypt, namely, Arabia. We must in regard to this point defer a decision. It is not quite certain what people we have to understand under לוּד. In Genesis 10:13לוּדים is named as the first son of Mizraim; but there, too, in Isaiah 66:22 the fourth son of Shem is called Lud. Ebers holds, with Rougemont (L’age du bronze), the son of Shem for the Lutennu, i.e., Syrians, while according to him the Ludu or Rutu are the native Egyptians in opposition to the non-Egyptian elements of the kingdom of Pharaoh. Ebers properly leaves it undecided whether these native Egyptians, or “the fourth son of Shem” is here meant. We cannot apply to the place before us a strict ethnographical measure. We cannot expect that the Prophet should mention the nations of only one part of the world, or that he should mention the nations in regular succession. He means only to name very distant peoples. Do the Egyptians who are never called in the Old Testament by another name than מִצְרַיִם belong to these? The Ludim are celebrated as archers also in Jeremiah 46:9. Under Tubal ( Genesis 10:2; Ezekiel 27:13; Ezekiel 32:26; Ezekiel 38:2-3; Ezekiel 39:1) the Tibareni, a tribe in the south-eastern corner of the Black Sea, are, since the time of Bochart, supposed to be intended. That יָוָן are the Greeks is universally acknowledged (comp. Genesis 10:2; Ezekiel 27:13; Daniel 8:21; Zechariah 9:13). There will take place a centrifugal and a centripetal motion. After the judgment on Israel, the holy centre will be forsaken, yea, trodden, down ( Luke 21:24; Revelation 11:2). The escaped of Israel will carry out from the destroyed centre the salvation of Israel to the heathen. The heathen will receive it; but Israel shall not be mixed with them.—[But the escaped Israelites who brought salvation to the Gentiles have been in fact blended with the Gentiles who embraced it. That these escaped Israelites should remain distinct from the converted Gentiles is not here affirmed.—D. M.]—But when the time shall have come (according to Paul: “when the fulness of the Gentiles shall have come in,” Romans 11:25), a centripetal streaming back will take place, which will find the Israelites still existing among the nations. But they are no longer hated, but loved and highly honored. Jerusalem will again have become a centre, but not for Israel only, but for all nations. The nations will then flow to Jerusalem ( Isaiah 2:2 sqq.; Isaiah 60:4 sqq.), and take with them the Israelites who will now know aright the Lord their God.—[Alexander understands the subject of הֵבִיאוּ, Isaiah 66:20, to be the messengers of Isaiah 66:19; but the subject of the verb is clearly “the heathen won for Jehovah by the testimony of those escaped ones” that had gone to them. The messengers could hardly be supposed to be those who supply the multifarious means of conveyance mentioned here. They who do this are moreover, evidently regarded as different from the children of Israel named at the close of the verse. If the subject of the הֵבִיאוּ is the Gentile nations, then your brethren would naturally be regarded as the scattered Jews rather than the converted Gentiles. Comp. Zephaniah 3:10 : “From beyond the rivers of Cush will they (the Gentiles) bring my worshippers, the daughter of my dispersed, to me as an offering (מִנְחָה) This passage of Zephaniah is an abbreviation of what Isaiah here says, and determines the sense of אֲחֵיכֶם as referring to the Jews. See Keil on Zephaniah 3:10.—D. M.]—The nations will conduct back the scattered Jews most honorably. On horses, in chariots, on couches (comp. Numbers 7:3), on mules (פֶרֶד only here in Isaiah), on dromedaries (כִּרְכָּרָח, ἅπ. λεγ. from the root כַּר, currere, saltare), will they be brought. And this bringing of His people the Lord will regard as a precious, unbloody offering which the Gentiles render to Him. Heretofore the Gentiles durst not tread the temple of Jehovah to make offerings on His altar in the holy place. But then they will be admitted to this service; and their offering will be as acceptable to the Lord as a pure מִנְחָה presented to Him by Israelites (comp. Isaiah 56:7; Malachi 1:11; Malachi 3:3). יביאו is not to be taken as the future, as if in the present time the meat-offering were not brought in a clean vessel. But it is the imperfect which indicates a lasting condition. בית י is Acc. localis in answer to the question where? For the act of offering is performed in the house of Jehovah by the presentation of the offering ( Isaiah 43:23), not on the way thither. But the offering of the Israelites as a מִנְחָה consists not in offering them in the house of the Lord, but in bringing them to the house of the Lord. The Gentiles, who bring them thither on their horses, mules, etc., are, as it were, the clean vessel (comp. Isaiah 18:7; Psalm 68:32). But a still greater thing will happen. The Gentiles will be admitted not only to the congregation of Israel; they will also be admitted to the office of priests and Levites. However much the Prophet is seen to be governed in respect to form by the time to which he belonged, we clearly perceive how in respect to the substance he boldly breaks through the limits of the present time, and prophesies a quite new order of things. For it was a fundamental law of the old theocracy that only those belonging to the tribe of Levi could be admitted to the office of Levites and priests. But in the glorious time future the middle wall of partition ( Ephesians 2:14) will be taken away. Then twain will be made one; there will be one flock and one Shepherd ( John 10:16). Then the Lord will choose not only out of all the tribes of Israel, but also from the Gentiles, those whom He will add to the Aaronic priests and to the Levites. We are not to explain לַכֹּהֲנִים and לַלְוִיִםfor priests and Levites, but in addition to the already existing priests and Levites. All things will become new. The explanation which refers מֵהֶם, Isaiah 66:21, to the אַחִים ( Isaiah 66:20) is at variance with the context.—[Against this interpretation, which applies of them to the restored Israelites, an interpretation which, beside Jewish writers and Grotius, Hitzig and Knobel have put forward, it may be objected that the promise in this view of it would be needless, as the priests and Levites would not have forfeited their right to their hereditary office by a foreign residence. Hofmann shows well how it suits the context to understand וְגַם מֵהֶם of the Gentiles: “God recompenses this bringing of an offering, by taking to Himself out of the number of those who make the offering, priests, who as such are added to the Levitical priests.” Instead of I will also take of them, as in the E. V, translate: also of them will I take, etc. The expression implies that those to be chosen to the offices of priests and Levites are not the ordinary and regular priests and Levites—D. M.]—The time will be that of the καινὴ κτίσις. Without it that fundamental change could not be conceived. For in it the powers of the ζωὴ αἰώνιος manifest themselves. In Isaiah 66:22 there are two thoughts combined into one: for as heaven and earth so shall ye also be new, and this new life will be eternal. In Isaiah 66:23-24 also we perceive this singular blending of what belongs specifically to the present, and of what belongs to a totally different future. The Prophet still sees the old forms of worship, Sabbath and new moon. But at the same time the relations are so fundamentally new that what was not possible even to the Israelites will be possible to all flesh.—[“The Prophet, in accordance with his constant practice, speaks of the emancipated church in language borrowed from her state of bondage.” Alexander.]—The males of the Israelites, from their twelfth year, had to appear before the Lord three times in the year. To appear every new moon and Sabbath would have been impossible even for the inhabitants of circumscribed Palestine. But according to the Prophet’s declaration, this will be in that remote future possible for all flesh. Comp. for a real parallel Zechariah 14:16. I do not see what objection can be made to taking חֹדֶשׁ and שַׁבָּת in a double sense here. חֹדשׁ (renovatio) is first, the new moon, then, the month beginning with the new moon, governed, as it were, by it. מדי־חדשׁ בח׳ is pro ratione mensis novilunio suo, i.e. every month on the new moon belonging to it. And מדי שׁבת בשׁבת is every week on the Sabbath belonging to it. שַׁבָּת is used even in the Old Testament in the signification of week, Numbers 23:15; comp. the parallel place, Deuteronomy 16:4. And in the New Testament σάββατον and σάββατα denote a week.—[But there is no need of taking חדשׁ and שׁבת in a double sense. We cannot take שִׁבָּה in a double sense in Zechariah 14:16 and 1 Samuel 7:16, where the construction is similar. Comp. these places with the one before us to see that there is a valid objection, which our author did not see, to the construction which he proposes.—D. M.]—The last verse carries out more fully the refrain: There is no peace to the wicked ( Isaiah 48:22; Isaiah 57:21). The Prophet has here, too, the outlines of the topography of the old Jerusalem before his eyes. As this has outside its walls, but in its immediate neighborhood, a place into which all the filth of the city is thrown, because it was a place profaned by abominable idolatry, namely, the valley of Hinnom, he conceives of Gehenna as adjacent to the new Jerusalem. Our Lord appropriates this view of the Prophet so far that Hebrews, too, describes γέεννα as the place “where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched” ( Mark 9:43-48). רָאָה with following בְּ denotes a qualified seeing, as with pleasure, with abhorrence, with interest. [Here with horror, as appears from the last clause.—D. M.] (Comp. Isaiah 66:5; Isaiah 53:2; Psalm 22:18; 54:9; Genesis 21:16; Genesis 44:34, et saepe.) Regarding the worm that dies not and the fire that is not quenched, we are to guard against the extremes of a gross material view and of an abstract ideal one.—[“Ordinarily, the worm feeds on the disorganized body, and then dies; the fire consumes its fuel, and goes out. But here is a strange mystery of suffering—a worm not dying, a fire not becoming extinct; a remorseful memory of past guilt, and all-penetrating sense of Divine justice.” Kay.—D. M.]—דֵּרָאוֹן is found besides here only Daniel 12:2. The root דּרא does not occur in Hebrew. The word is explained from Arabic roots which denote repellere, taedio, contemtui esse. [“The Prophet had spoken in Isaiah 38:14, also, of ‘everlasting burnings.’ Hebrews, whose lips have been touched with the ‘live coal’ from the heavenly altar, understood that Holy Love must be to all that is unholy ‘a consuming fire’ ” ( Hebrews 12:29). Kay.—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.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Isaiah 66:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/isaiah-66.html. 1857-84.

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Sunday, July 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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