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Bible Commentaries

Wesley's Explanatory Notes
Isaiah 24

 

 

Verse 1

Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.

The land — Of Canaan.

Waste — He will shortly make it waste, first by the Assyrians, and then by the Chaldeans.

Turneth — Brings it into great disorder and confusion.


Verse 2

And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.

It shall be — The approaching calamity shall be universal, without any distinction of persons or ranks; the priests themselves having been partakers of the peoples sins, shall also partake with them in their plagues.

The seller — The purchaser of lands shall have no more left than he that hath sold all his patrimony; and all persons shall be made equal in beggary and slavery.


Verse 4

The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.

The world — The land of Judea.

The majesty — Not only common people, but the high and lofty ones.


Verse 5

The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.

Defiled — By the wickedness of its people.

The laws — The laws of God.

Ordinance — God's ordinances concerning his worship and service; the singular being put for the plural.

Covenant — The covenant made between God and Abraham, and all his posterity, which was everlasting, both on God's part, who, upon the conditions therein expressed, engaged himself to be a God to them and to their seed forever; and on Israel's part, who were obliged thereby to constant and perpetual obedience thro' all generations.


Verse 6

Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.

The curse — The curse of God threatened to transgressors.

Burned — Are consumed by the wrath of God, which is commonly compared to fire.


Verse 7

The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merryhearted do sigh.

Mourneth — Because there are none to drink it. Grief is ascribed to senseless creatures by a figure usual in all authors.

Languisheth — Because there are no people left to dress it, or gather its grapes.

The merry-hearted — That made their hearts merry with wine.


Verse 8

The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth.

Tabrets — Which they used in their feasts.

The noise — The word properly signifies a confused clamour, such as drunken men make.


Verse 9

They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it.

Bitter — Because of the fears and miseries wherewith it is mixed.


Verse 10

The city of confusion is broken down: every house is shut up, that no man may come in.

The city — Jerusalem, and other cities; for the singular word may be here taken collectively. A city of confusion or disorder, breaking all the laws and orders which God had established among them.

Shut up — Because the inhabitants are either dead, or gone into captivity.


Verse 11

There is a crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone.

A crying — Such was their gross sensuality and sottishness, that instead of crying for their sins, they did only howl for their corn, and wine, and oil, Hosea 7:14.


Verse 13

When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done.

When — When this judgment shall be executed, there shall be left a remnant; as there are some few olives or grapes left after the vintage is over.


Verse 14

They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea.

They — The remnant shall sing for the glorious power and goodness of God, manifested in their deliverance.

The sea — From the isles of the sea; from those parts beyond the sea into which, they were carried captive.


Verse 15

Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea.

In distress — When you are in the furnace of affliction.

In the isles — In remote countries, beyond the sea, which in scripture are commonly called isles.


Verse 16

From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.

From — From all the parts of the earth in which the Jews are or shall be.

Songs — Of joy and praise.

Glory — Or, glory be to the righteous. The Lord, the righteous one.

But — In the midst of these joyful tidings, I discern something which gives me cause of lamentation.

My leanness — I faint and pine away for grief, for the following reason.

Treacherously — The Jews, who have been frequently guilty of great perfidiousness towards God, are now acting the same part. Even the Hebrew doctors expound this place of the perfidiousness of some Jews in the times of the Messiah. And it is not strange that so sad a sight made the prophet cry out, My leanness, etc. He repeats it to shew the horridness of the crime.


Verse 17

Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth.

The snare — Great and various judgments, some actually inflicted, and others justly feared.


Verse 18

And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.

Fleeth — Upon the report of some terrible evil.

The foundations — Both heaven and earth conspire against him. He alludes to the deluge of waters which God poured down from heaven, and to the earthquakes which he often causes below.


Verse 19

The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly.

The earth — This is repeated again, to shew the dreadfulness and, certainty of these judgments, and to awaken the stupid Israelites.


Verse 20

The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.

A tent — Which is easily and commonly carried from place to place.


Verse 22

And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.

Gathered — By God's special providence, in order to their punishment. And thus the unbelieving Jews were generally gathered together at Jerusalem, to their solemn feast, when Titus came and besieged, and destroyed them.

Shut up — As malefactors, which are taken in several places, are usually brought to one common prison.

After — After the apostate Jews shall have been shut up in unbelief, and in great tribulations for many ages together, they shall be convinced of their sin in crucifying the Messiah, and brought home to God and Christ by true repentance.


Verse 23

Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.

The sun — All earthly powers and glories shall be obscured with the far greater splendor of Christ, the king of kings, at whose feet even the kings of the earth shall fall down and worship.

The Lord — The Messiah, who, tho' man, yet is also God, and the Lord of hosts.

Shall reign — Shall come in the flesh, and set up his kingdom, first in Jerusalem, and afterward in all other nations.

Before — Before his ministers, who are in some sort the courtiers of the King of Glory. But the ancients are here put for the whole church, in whose name and for whose service they act.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 24:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/isaiah-24.html. 1765.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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