Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 33:6

And He will be the stability of your times, A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the Lord is his treasure.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Blessing;   Fear of God;   Treasure;   Wisdom;   Scofield Reference Index - Kingdom;   The Topic Concordance - Fear;   Knowledge;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Fear, Godly;  
Holman Bible Dictionary - Isaiah;   Treasure, Treasury;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Treasure;  
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Treasure;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Alms;   ;   Mishnah;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

His treasure "Thy treasure" - Ὁ θησαυρος σου, Sym. He had in his copy אצרך otsarcha, "thy treasure, "not אצרו otsaro, "his treasure."

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And wisdom and knowledge shall be - This verse contains evidently an address to Hezekiah, and asserts that his reign would be characterized by the prevalence of piety and knowledge. This chapter abounds in sudden transitions; and it accords with its general character that when Yahweh had been addressed Isaiah 33:5, there should then be a direct address to Hezekiah.

The stability - This word denotes firmness, steadiness, constancy; and means that in his times knowledge and the fear of the Lord would be settled on a firm foundation. The whole history of the virtuous reign of Hezekiah shows that this was fulfilled (see 2 Kings 18)

And strength of salvation - Or saving strength; that is, mighty or distinguished salvation. Thy times shah be distinguished for great reforms, and for the prevalence of the doctrines of salvation.

The fear of the Lord is his treasure - The principal riches of Hezekiah. His reign shall not be distinguished for wars and conquests, for commercial enterprise, or for external splendor, but for the prevalence of piety, and the fear of the Lord.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Isaiah 33:6

Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times

The advantages of Sunday Schools




IV. The higher and more important effects which have resulted from these schools, IN PROMOTING A SPIRIT OF PIETY AND VIRTUE AMONG THEIR YOUTHFUL PUPILS. (J. Brown, D. D.)

Christianity promotive of knowledge and of social well-being

The general principle is, that wisdom or practical religion and knowledge are the best elements of the stability of any people,--the best defence of any nation,--and that irrespective of the difference between a nation under the ordinary providence of God, and one enjoying a theocracy.

I. CHRISTIANITY PROMOTES WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE. That Christianity promotes wisdom and knowledge we might conclude from facts which lie on the face of it, even before ascertaining the connection between the cause and the effect. We may assume Jesus Christ to be the living type of His own system, and He is the very impersonation of wisdom and knowledge. Then, wisdom and knowledge may be regarded as synonymous with practical Christianity. They are at least essential to its existence. We shall take them separately, and ascertain--

1. How the Gospel of Christ promotes wisdom, or that practical religion of which the fear and love of God are the principles. The God whom the Bible reveals is the fit object of reverence and love. The mere manifestation of the Divine character, however, invested with every possible perfection, is not enough to rekindle the flame of piety in a fallen world. It is otherwise with holy beings. But in our case the revelation is made to a race of apostates, partially acquainted with God, but estranged from Him in heart and will. Christianity provides, in the great facts through which it conveys the knowledge of God, the means of reducing men to contrition and restoring them to love. The Gospel is adapted to convert the soul. Any scheme whereby you would regenerate must contain a provision of mercy. And thus far the Gospel is adapted to produce practical piety. But this is not enough. The Gospel reveals a most glorious expedient for the vindication of the law, for the manifestation of the Divine righteousness, and of the demerit of sin, while it offers a free and eternal pardon. It opens the door of hope to the guiltiest criminal, but by the mode of doing it, it impresses his mind with a sense of his sinfulness, it moves him to repentance, and inspires him with all the zeal to obey that can arise from his conscious obligation to Divine grace.

2. Christianity promotes knowledge. Christianity contains the only true system of Divine knowledge. But further, Christianity promotes general knowledge. It is itself a system of truth and not of error, a system of knowledge and not of ignorance, a system of intelligence and not a mere bodily ceremonial or a dark superstition. The very commission it has received from heaven is, “Go and teach all nations.” Revealing God, it makes known the highest truths; and promotes and facilitates inquiry into every other. From this conviction we deduce principles which seem to possess all the simplicity of axioms. There cannot be any real contrariety between the doctrines of Christianity and the truths of reason or the facts of science.

II. BY PROMOTING WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE, CHRISTIANITY ESTABLISHES A PEOPLE. In support of the proposition before us, we might reason a fortiori Christianity, by promoting wisdom and knowledge, purifies and elevates society,--how much more will it establish or give the elements of perpetuity to society. Take society in any of its lowest states, and you will find Christianity an adequate power to raise it. For example, it is an acknowledged fact, that the Gospel makes men unfit for a state of slavery. If Christianity thus elevates, how much more will it establish! But what are the means of the stability of a nation--what the elements of perpetuity? Religion, virtue, freedom, and good order. (J. Kennedy.)

National security and peace



III. It is drawn from OBSERVATION AND EXPERIENCE. No argument is more valid or conclusive in confirmation of a fact. A single well-conducted experiment in philosophy may demonstrate the truth of a general principle; and, similarly, in morals and religion, the experience of a single nation, or the uniform experience of the ages, may attest the inutility or value of any particular theory or scheme. (T. S. Cartwright.)

Christian knowledge the source of other excellent knowledge

As Christianity introduced religious light, so did that light become the parent of every other kind of useful and excellent knowledge. When once the powers of the human mind are brought into acquaintance with evangelical truth, they acquire vigour, a strength and expansion in their exercise before unknown. And hence it is that the knowledge which the revealed truth of God communicates will be found in all ages to produce that discipline of mind which ministers so much to its strength, and places it in the most favourable circumstances for the discovery and acquisition of truth generally. So little opposition, in fact, is there between Christianity and true science, that all the most important discoveries of a scientific nature, all the knowledge whence nations derive power and refinement, have occurred in Christian nations, and Christian nations only. (R. Watson.)

The importance of religious knowledge

There appears no real connection between mere scientific knowledge and moral influence; the opinion that such a connection exists is false in its foundations and injurious in practice. No moral influence is exerted, except by the truths revealed to us in the Scriptures.

I. I AM TO MAKE AN APPEAL TO THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE, in support of the proposition that we have no right to expect any moral improvement from the influence of any kind of knowledge except that of Divine truth. It ought to be stated, that this sacred Book is altogether in favour of the cultivation of all useful knowledge, and its general circulation through society.

1. We turn to the Old Testament. We are there expressly required to view religion as wisdom. “Wisdom,” we are told, “is the principal thing”; and it is urged upon us that we “get wisdom,” yea, that “with all our getting, we get understanding” When the attainment of wisdom is thus inculcated and enjoined, we may well inquire, “What kind of wisdom is it to which so many moral effects are ascribed?” It is not to scientific wisdom, but to moral wisdom: to the knowledge of God and His will; to the knowledge of our own obligations and duties; to the knowledge which applies to man as an accountable creature, destined to a future judgment; to the knowledge of the way in which man, as a sinner, may find pardon, and peace, and holiness from God, whom he has offended. All this is included in the scriptural idea of wisdom; and it is to this only that moral results are ascribed.

2. We find the same sentiment in the New Testament. Jesus Christ never drops a word from which it might be gathered that mere knowledge, knowledge of any and every kind, is sufficient to exert a moral influence on the mind and character. On the contrary, there are passages in which He represents it as operating to the hindrance of salvation. So that solemn declaration in Matthew: “I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” So in the writings of the Apostles. The Gospel, which gives moral knowledge, they declare to be” the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; while of the wisdom of the world, so long tried among the heathen, they only declare, that “the world by wisdom knew not God.” When St. Paul points to the injurious effects of “philosophy and vain deceit,” he tells us that he means that which is “after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of this world, and not after Christ.” Such philosophy could not be depended upon to conquer a single vice, or implant a single principle of virtue, and therefore he pronounces it to be but vain deceit, empty and powerless.

II. Let us now consider THE MANNER BY WHICH RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE OPERATES TO PRODUCE THESE MORAL RESULTS. That such results are produced will appear--

1. From the truths which it presents to the mind; God, &c.

2. The law of God presents a standard of duty, binding on the conscience; for there can be no authoritative standard of right and wrong except by revelation from God Himself, the supreme Lawgiver.

3. We have appealed to the Scriptures. Now, these assure us that, along with the truth of God, there goes an accompanying influence; the words that are spoken to you are “spirit and life.” This is because the illuminations of the Holy Ghost go along with them.


1. Though many seem to take for granted that, if we circulate knowledge, we improve society, it is nevertheless true that there are many kinds of knowledge which do not contribute to the improvement of morals.

2. All experience is against the supposition I am combating.

3. But let us even suppose that morals are taught. What then? I am aware that there are often some moral instructions added to systems of education; some moral precepts in which all will agree are, perhaps, even selected from the Book of God; still, if this Book be true, even such teaching must fail. This Book has its doctrines and promises, as well as its moral precepts; and its morals are connected most intimately both with its doctrines and promises. Man must be taught not only what is right, but why it is right; and he must be shown that he is bound to do it. The term “duty” refers not merely to the action which is to be done, but to the obligation to do it. Take, then, the morality of the Bible away from that with which God has connected it, and you make it powerless. (R. Watson.)

The education of the poor

We seem to have here something like a prophetic sanction for the propagation of knowledge Isaiah, in speaking of the future prosperity of the Jewish empire, rests the stability of its fortunes, not upon wealth, nor extensive dominion, but directly upon knowledge.

1. The most common objection to the education of the lower orders of the community is, that the poor, proud of the distinction of learning, will not submit to the performance of those lower offices of life which are necessary to the well-being of a State. Our poorer brethren do not toil because they are ignorant; neither would they cease to toil because they were instructed; the fabric of human happiness God has placed upon much stronger foundations; they labour, because they cannot live without labour; this has ever been sufficient to stimulate, and to continue the energy of man, and will, and must ever stimulate it, and secure its continuance, while heaven and earth remain.

2. The next objection urged against the education of the poor is, that the most ignorant poor, in country villages, are the best; and that the poor of large towns, as they gain in intelligence, lose in character, and become corrupt as they become knowing; but the country poor, it should be remembered, are the fewest in number; they are not exposed to all those innumerable temptations which corrupt the populace of large towns; this, and not their ignorance, is the cause of their superior decency in morals and religion.

3. In considering the effects of educating the poor, we must not merely dwell upon the power, but upon the tendency which we have created to use that power aright; not merely ask if it is a good thing for the poor to read, but to read such books as are full of wise and useful advice. A mere instrument for acquiring knowledge may be used with equal success, either for a good or a bad purpose; but education never gives the instrument without teaching the proper method of using it, and without inspiring a strong desire to use it in that manner.

4. Education may easily be made to supply, hereafter, the most innocent source of amusement, and to lessen those vices which proceed from want of interesting occupation; it subdues ferocity, by raising up an admiration for something besides brutal strength, and brutal courage.

5. We must remember, in this question, that all experience is in our favour.

6. There are many methods in which a community is considerably benefited by the education of its poor; a human being who is educated is, for many purposes of commerce, a much more useful and convenient instrument; and the advantage to be derived from the universal diffusion of this power is not to be overlooked in a discussion of this nature.

7. I would ask those who place such confidence in the benefits of ignorance, how far they would choose to carry these benefits? for, if the safety of a State depends upon its ignorance, then, the more ignorance the more safety. (S. Smith, M. A.)


Education is the chief defence of nations. (Edmund Burke.)


The schoolmaster is abroad! I trust more to him, armed with his primer, than I do to the soldier in full military array, for the upholding and extending the liberties of his country. (Lord Brougham.)

Education contributes to the welfare of the State

The ravages of the Danes had totally extinguished any small sparks of learning, by the dispersion of the monks, and the burning their monasteries and libraries. To repair these misfortunes, Alfred (the Great), like Charlemagne, invited learned men from all quarters of Europe to reside in his dominions. He established schools, and enjoined every freeholder possessed of two ploughs to send his children there for instruction. He is said to have founded, or, at least, to have liberally endowed the illustrious seminary afterward known as the University of Oxford. (Tytler’s History.)

The fear of the Lord is his treasure

The fear of the Lord

There is a servile fear of God which wicked men possess, but that which distinguishes the believer is filial and reverential.

He fears, not because he has sinned, but that he may not sin; and dreads not so much the punishment of sin as the commission of it. He fears God as a friend, and not as an enemy; as a father, and not as a judge. The Scripture speaks of a natural and constitutional fear, arising from pusillanimity and want of courage, whereby persons are alarmed at the least appearance of danger, and sink under the slightest affliction. They fear where no fear is, and flee when no one pursueth. There is also a superstitious fear, which is forbidden as inconsistent with the fear of God. There is likewise a fear which tends to desperation, and sometimes ends in it; a fear which hath torment, and is attended with a spirit of bondage. In distinction from this, there is a fear arising from distrust, the fruit of unbelief, which good men too frequently betray in this imperfect state, but which the Scripture justly condemns. The fear of the Lord is a gracious principle wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit, and consists in a reverential regard for the Divine authority and glory.

I. Enquire WHEREIN THE FEAR OF THE LORD CONSISTS. God is the immediate object of it; and it consists in a mixture of admiration and love, arising from an apprehension of His incomparable excellences and infinite superiority, joined with a humble hope of interest in His favour and regard.

1. The greatness and majesty of God may well excite our fear, and fill us with the deepest reverence and awe.

2. His omnipresence and allseeing eye are a sufficient ground of fear to sinful and erring creatures.

3. The justice and holiness of God are adapted to excite our fear.

4. There is something awful even in the Divine goodness (Psalms 130:4).

II. THE ADVANTAGES ARISING FROM THIS HOLY PRINCIPLE. “The fear of the Lord is his treasure.”

1. It is in its own nature exceedingly precious, and all the things of this world are base and mean in comparison of it.

2. It answers the most valuable purposes.

3. Its advantages are permanent.

4. It is called a treasure in order to teach us the following things--

The great value of the fear of the Lord

It keeps the conscience tender, and the mind spiritual, and is the enemy of arrogance and pride. Hence the apostle joins these two together: Be not high-minded, but fear (Romans 11:20). If we fear the Lord, we shall dread all formality and hypocrisy, and shall serve Him in sincerity and truth (Joshua 24:14). It will also inspire us with courage and fortitude, and enable us to say as Nehemiah did in the face of the greatest danger, Should such a man as I flee? All lesser fears are swallowed up of this great fear, the fear of God. A heart fully impressed with it can neither sink into stupidity, or indulge in any unbecoming levity; will neither be too much elated with prosperity, or depressed by adversity. The fear of the Lord will also guard us against evil compliances, and criminal indulgences. It stands as a sentinel over the soul, warns it of approaching dangers, and suppresses the first risings of corruption, before they break forth into actual sins. I will do you no hurt, says Joseph to his brethren, for I fear God. Though at the utmost distance from presumption, it produces a holy confidence in God (Psalms 147:11). The same Divine excellences which are incitements to fear are also attractives to love; so that these kindred graces are not only planted but flourish together, and the same promises are made to both. The Lord will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him; He also preserveth all them that love Him. (Psalms 145:19-20). A servile fear contracts the mind; but an ingenuous fear of God enlarges the heart in His service. The one diverts us from the path of duty, the other disposes us to walk in it; the one is slothful and indolent, the other active and persevering. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in His commandments (Psalms 112:1-10. I). And when David himself prayed to be taught God’s ways, so as to walk in the truth, he added, Unite my heart to fear Thy name (Psalms 86:11). The fear of the Lord is indeed a universal good; it affords peace of conscience, support under affliction, and comfort in the view of death. The fear of the Lord tendeth to life, a long life, a comfortable life, and life everlasting. As the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy towards them that fear Him; like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. Oh how great is His goodness, which He has laid up for them that fear Him; which He has wrought for them that trust in Him, before the sons of men (Psalms 31:19; Psalms 103:11-13). (B. Beddome, M. A.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Isaiah 33:6". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times,.... Some take these words to be directed to Hezekiah; but rather they are an apostrophe to the Messiah, and respect the later times of Christ, when many shall run to and fro, and the knowledge of him shall be increased, and the earth shall be covered with it, as the waters cover the sea; and which, as it will make these times comfortable and pleasant, so firm, durable, and lasting: or else they are the words of believers in those times, addressed to Zion the church, before spoken of, observing the great increase of spiritual wisdom and knowledge after the destruction of antichrist; by means of which there would be settled times of peace, joy, and comfort to the church:

and strength of salvation; or "salvations"F24חסן ישועת "fortitudo salutum", Pagninus, Montanus; "rebur ominis, vel multiplicis salutis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. ; or strong and lasting salvations; eternal salvation by Jesus Christ, and complete salvation from antichrist, and from every other enemy; which, together with spiritual wisdom, and experimental knowledge of Christ, and his Gospel, will be the stability of those happy times, which will make the spiritual reign of Christ. The whole may be rendered, according to the accentsF25Vid. Reinbeck de Accent. Heb. p. 405. , and "he" (that is, the Lord, before spoken of) "shall be the stability of thy times; the strength of salvations shall be wisdom and knowledge":

the fear of the Lord is his treasure; either Hezekiah's, as some, who esteemed the fear of the Lord above all his treasure; and was more zealous in settling and establishing the true worship of God than in amassing treasures to himself: or rather the Lord's treasure, from which he receives a tribute of honour, of more value than the greatest treasure: or, best of all, the church's treasure, and every true believer's; this being the beginning of wisdom, or true grace, the best of riches, and which secures the saints' final perseverance to glory, the better and more enduring substance.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of k thy times, [and] strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD [is] his treasure.

(k) That is, in the days of Hezekiah.
Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

wisdom — sacred; that is, piety.

thy — Hezekiah‘s; or rather, “Judea‘s.” “His” refers to the same; such changes from the pronoun possessive of the second person to that of the third are common in Hebrew poetry.

treasure — Not so much material wealth as piety shall constitute the riches of the nation (Proverbs 10:22; Proverbs 15:16).

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.

Thy times — He turns his speech to Hezekiah. Thy throne shall be established upon the sure foundations of wisdom and justice.

And strength — Thy strong salvation.

The fear — Thy chief treasure is in promoting the fear and worship of God.

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.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". 1765.

Scofield's Reference Notes


(See Scofield "Psalms 19:9")

Copyright Statement
These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.
Bibliographical Information
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Isaiah 33:6". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 33:6 And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, [and] strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD [is] his treasure.

Ver. 6. And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times.] Thy times, O Hezekiah; but especially, O Christ. Or, the stability of thy times and strong safeguard shall thy wisdom and knowledge be. "By his knowledge" - that is, by faith in him - "shall my righteous servant" (Jesus Christ) "justify many"; [Isaiah 53:11] but these are also sanctified by him. The fear of the Lord is their treasure; they "hold faith and a good conscience, which some, having put away, concerning faith, have made shipwreck." [1 Timothy 1:19] {See Trapp on "1 Timothy 1:19"}

The fear of the Lord is his treasure.] The spirit of this holy fear rested upon Christ, [Isaiah 11:2] and good Hezekiah was eminent for it, not for civil prudence only. This was flos regis, the fairest flower in all his garland; this is solidissima regiae politiae basis, as one (a) saith, the best policy, and the way to wealth.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Isaiah 33:6

I. It is a pity, and a thing greatly to be regretted, that the tree of which Adam and Eve were ordered not to eat, and did eat, is so often called "the tree of knowledge." It is not its scriptural name. It was not knowledge at all, as we generally use the word "knowledge." It was moral or rather immoral knowledge,—"the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." God would not have made "knowledge" a part of the prophecy of the future good and happiness of Jerusalem, if knowledge were not a great national as well as a great personal blessing.

II. But right knowledge may be put in wrong proportions, or knowledge may be separated from wisdom. If that divorce takes place between two things which God has joined together, no wonder if it brings a curse and not a blessing. Knowledge which has not the fear of the Lord is not knowledge at all. And here lies the error of the day, which says "knowledge," leaving out wisdom. "Knowledge is the stability of the times."

III. But what is wisdom? Either you must take it thus, which is the right application "to use knowledge;" or it is when a sound judgment sits at the helm of the feelings; or; better still, it is a great principle ruling the intellect,—the Eternal in His proper place among the things of time; or, truer still, as we learn from the Proverbs, it is the Lord Jesus Christ, the fountain, the embodiment, the concentration, the essence of wisdom. The degree of a man's union with Christ is the real measure of his wisdom. Wisdom is the preparative; it is a state of mind preceding knowledge; therefore the order, wisdom first, knowledge next;—"wisdom and knowledge."

J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 10th series, p. 197.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:6". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Isaiah 33:6. And wisdom and knowledge, &c.— And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, the possession of continued salvation: the fear of JEHOVAH, this shall be thy treasure. Lowth. Vitringa supposes this apostrophe to be directed to the prince or head of the nation, wherein the prophet teaches him, and consequently the people, in what manner that prosperity and felicity are to be preserved which the Lord had conferred upon them. He shews, that the only way to preserve the state in prosperity is by wisdom, and knowledge, and the fear of the Lord; these are the support of a state, the stability of prosperous times, the strength and riches of perfect salvation, and the hidden good, the treasure to be preferred to all others; which when found in a state, that state is rich and stable. See Proverbs 8:18. Though this is to be understood of the times of the Maccabees, yet the blessings of those times are to be considered as having their full completion only in the spiritual blessings of the day of grace. Nothing is more true, than that this is commended as the chief prerogative in the kingdom of grace, where nothing is of equal estimation with wisdom, knowledge, the faith and fear of God: on these depend all other blessings; these are the only true treasures enriching mankind. See Vitringa.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:6". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae



Isaiah 33:6. Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the Lord is his treasure.

THIS is spoken respecting Hezekiah, king of Judah. His country had been invaded by Sennacherib, king of Assyria, by whom all the fenced cities of Judah had been taken. To arrest his course, and to save Jerusalem itself, Hezekiah sent to implore forgiveness for having rebelled against Sennacherib (to whom King Ahaz had made the kingdom tributary), and to declare his readiness to submit to any terms which the conqueror should impose. A very heavy contribution in silver and gold, amounting to above 266,000/., was exacted of him; and he was constrained to send “all the silver that was found in the House of the Lord and in the king’s house, and to cut off the gold from the doors of the Temple of the Lord, and from the pillars which he himself had overlaid,” in order to satisfy the demand [Note: 2 Kings 18:13; 2 Kings 18:16.]. Having thus paid the tribute, he hoped for peace. But Sennacherib soon violated his engagement; and, setting aside the treaty, sent his servant against Jerusalem, with an immense army, to besiege it [Note: ver. 17.]. No hope now remained to Hezekiah, but from God himself; to whom he applied in fervent prayer [Note: 2 Chronicles 32:20.]. And, on that occasion, the Prophet Isaiah, who had joined with him in crying unto God, was inspired to denounce against Sennacherib this judgment: “Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! When thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; and when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee [Note: ver. 1.].” This was speedily and literally fulfilled: for a hundred and eighty-five thousand of Sennacherib’s army being slain by an angel in one night, the remainder of them broke up the siege and retreated, leaving a great quantity of spoil behind them: and Sennacherib himself, on his return home, was “murdered by his own sons, whilst he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god [Note: Isaiah 37:36-38.].” Thus did prayer effect what all the wealth of Hezekiah was unable to accomplish: and the reformation made amongst his subjects procured for him what all his armies had in vain endeavoured to effect—a complete deliverance from his powerful and victorious enemies: “Wisdom and knowledge, accompanied with real piety, became to him the stability of his times, and the strength of salvation: and the fear of the Lord was his best and most effectual treasure.”

Now, from this passage I will take occasion to shew the influence of true wisdom: First, As promoting the stability of an empire: and, Secondly, As advancing the prosperity of the soul.

I. Consider wisdom as promoting the stability of an empire—

By “wisdom and knowledge” we are not to understand what we generally comprehend under the term “science;” for we do not apprehend that the Jewish nation, at that time, or indeed at any time, made any grout proficiency in that species of learning. By “wisdom and knowledge” is meant a conformity of heart and life to the revealed will of God; a wisdom inseparably connected with “the fear of the Lord.” This appears from the preceding verse, where it is said, “The Lord is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: He hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness: and wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the tear of the Lord is his treasure.” Indeed, it may be doubted whether what we call learning and science do at all necessarily advance the stability of an empire. They are doubtless of very extensive use to an empire, in a variety of views: but they are capable of great abuse; and, if separated from religion, may lead to the overthrow, as well as to the establishment, of an empire; as the recent history of a neighbouring kingdom has evinced. But the knowledge of which my text speaks, is a security to a kingdom. That “knowledge” is thus described by the Prophet Jeremiah: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might; let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth ME, that I am the Lord, which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord [Note: Jeremiah 9:23-24.].” This explanation of the terms necessarily leads our minds to God as reconciled to us in the Son of his love: for it is in Christ Jesus alone that “the loving-kindness” of God has free scope for exercise towards fallen man; or indeed can be exercised at all, consistently with the demands of “righteousness and judgment:” and it is this knowledge alone which generates a filial “fear” in the heart of man.

Now, of this “wisdom and knowledge” it may be justly affirmed, that it tends to the stability of every empire in which it is found. So far as it prevailed at any time in the Jewish State, (for it was revealed to them, though darkly, in their ceremonial law,) they prospered: and whenever it was banished, they were delivered up into the hand of their enemies; as their whole history very clearly shews. The separation of the ten tribes, which proved such a permanent and fatal calamity to the whole nation, was appointed of God as a punishment for that iniquity which Solomon had introduced, and which had overspread the whole land. On the other hand, in consequence of the reformation introduced by Hezekiah, (which gave, as it were, for a time, a new character to his people,) the Prophet says, “Their place of defence shall be the munition of rocks; bread shall be given them, and their water shall be sure [Note: ver. 16.];” yea, “the Lord will be to them as a place of broad rivers and streams, wherein can go no galley with oars, neither can gallant ship pass thereby [Note: ver. 21.];” that is, whilst they were protected by the river, they should be inaccessible by vessels of any kind, the waters being too tempestuous for smaller boats, and too full of rocks and shoals to be navigated by larger ships; and thus, in the midst of hostile nations, should “Jerusalem be a quiet habitation, and a tabernacle that not all the power of their most inveterate enemies could move [Note: ver. 20.].”

True it is, that we, at this day, are not to look for such visible interpositions of the Deity as were vouchsafed to the Jews under what we may call their Theocracy. But God is still the Governor of the Universe, and does still deal with his people, in a measure, as in former days; punishing or protecting them, according as their iniquities are flagrant, or their piety profound. And I cannot but think, that though, for our abounding iniquities, God sorely chastened our nation in the last war, the prayers of thousands in this land prevailed to avert from us a vast pressure of calamity, to which all the rest of Europe was exposed. Certain I am, that “true wisdom and knowledge” have a proper tendency to promote our national welfare: as it is said, “Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is the reproach of any people [Note: Proverbs 14:34.].” Mere science may be associated with every thing that is evil: but piety, so far as it is true and genuine, will diffuse, through all ranks of people, a due attention to their respective duties, calling forth from Rulers equity and benevolence, and generating amongst subjects the habits of industry and content. Formed as human nature is, we cannot expect these things to be universal: but I hesitate not to say, that, in proportion as piety is the predominant feature of any people, there will be among them a patriotic ardour for the benefit of the community, and a simultaneous effort for the promotion of it.

But, to bring the matter more home to our own business and bosoms, I proceed to observe,

II. That “wisdom and knowledge, when attended with a fear of the Lord,” will advance the prosperity of the soul.

“The fear of the Lord” is an essential part of true wisdom: as the Psalmist has said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom [Note: Psalms 111:10.].” And this is indeed “a treasure,” an inestimable treasure, to every one that possesses it: it is, in fact, a mine of wealth, of intellectual wealth, of moral wealth, of spiritual wealth, and of eternal wealth.

It is a source of Intellectual wealth. However this wisdom may, by many, be reputed folly, and considered as an indication of a weak mind, it most assuredly enlarges the understanding, and elevates its possessor above his fellows; yea, and above others also, who in natural capacity, and in literary attainments, are far his superiors. If we set before us two persons, one illiterate, and the other versed in arts and sciences, we should suppose, of course, that there can be no comparison between the two in point of intellect: and this is true, so far as arts and sciences are concerned; but let the weaker of them be imbued with divine wisdom, and actuated by the fear of God, and he will have a far juster apprehension of all the things of time and sense than the man of learning has ever attained. David says, “I have more understanding than all my teachers; for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts [Note: Psalms 119:98-100.].” The mere worldly man, in his estimate of things, keeps eternity out of view: no wonder, therefore, that he “calls evil good, and good evil; and puts darkness for light, and light for darkness; bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter [Note: Isaiah 5:20.].” But the man who is taught of God has learned to view things in their true light, even as God himself views them; and he speaks of them in accordance with the representation given of them in the inspired volume. The principle of piety which is implanted in his soul has corrected and rectified his judgment: and if the conversation of these two men, the learned and the unlearned, each with his fellows, for the space of one hour, were recorded, we should be perfectly amazed at the mass of error contained in the one; whilst truth, with perhaps scarcely any mixture of error, pervaded the other. In fact, if the most learned of unregenerate men were, in his daily conversation, to betray as much ignorance of philosophical truth as he does of moral and religious truth, he would, to say the least, stand very low in the estimation of all who knew him: so true is that declaration of our blessed Lord, that “God has hid these things from the wise and prudent, and has revealed them unto babes [Note: Matthew 11:25.].” I again therefore say, that the knowledge of God in Christ Jesus is that which alone deserves the name of “wisdom;” and that all other knowledge, though, in reference to earthly things, of the highest value, is yet, in reference to heavenly things, no better than learned folly; as the Scriptures have most pointedly declared: for it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world [Note: 1 Corinthians 1:19-20.]?”

But next, this knowledge is a mine of moral wealth. A man imbued with divine “wisdom” has within himself an entirely new standard, whereby to judge of morals, and to regulate his life. Previous to the enlightening of his mind by the Spirit of God, and to his acquaintance with God as reconciled to him in Christ Jesus, he was satisfied with refraining from outward acts of sin: he took little notice of his inward inclinations: he thought little of the sensual look, or the angry word; though God himself tells us, that in his estimation, the one is adultery, and the other murder. He made little account, also, of what the Apostle calls “spiritual filthiness [Note: 2 Corinthians 7:1.];” such as, pride, envy, discontent, covetousness, and the whole list of corruptions that reside chiefly in the soul. In a word, he was ignorant of the extent of the moral law, which requires a perfect conformity to God’s mind and will in every thing. But now he can be satisfied with nothing less than a perfect transformation into the divine mage. He longs to “mortify the whole body of sin:” and his one continued labour through life is, to “put off the old man, which is corrupt, according to the deceitful lusts; and to put on the new man, which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness [Note: Ephesians 4:22-24.].”

Now, then, compare him with the unregenerate man in this respect also; and say whether he is not greatly enriched by his heavenly knowledge, and this fear of God? If it be true that man by sin was impoverished at first: then it is also true, that every man is enriched in proportion as he is sanctified. We may instance this in one single disposition, “a meek and quiet spirit;” respecting which I am authorized to affirm, that, in the sight of God, “it is an ornament of great price [Note: 1 Peter 3:4.].” Our Lord compares such graces to “gold tried in the fire;” and declares the possessor of them to be truly “rich [Note: Revelation 3:18.].” We say, then, in reference to all such moral attainments, that they are a rich “treasure;” since “godliness, with contentment, is great gain [Note: 1 Timothy 6:6.].”

I may further add, that this wisdom is a mine of spiritual wealth. Here I must bespeak your candour; because, in bringing forth “the deep things of God [Note: 1 Corinthians 2:10.],” I may be led into a field not commonly explored by the great and learned [Note: 1 Corinthians 1:26-28.]. But, without entering into this view of divine wisdom, I cannot do justice to my subject. I observe, then, that “the fear of God” opens, if I may so say, a new world to him in whom it is found. To speak of God as giving to his redeemed people a new sense, would doubtless be erroneous: for the spiritual man has no new faculty, but only a new application and use of the faculties he before possessed: but the Spirit of God, at the time of our conversion, does bring new objects to our senses; and enables us, through faith, to discern things which are altogether hid from the carnal man [Note: 1 Corinthians 2:9-10; 1 Corinthians 2:14.]. Nor let this appear strange. We all know the power of glasses to bring to our view things which, on account of their diminutiveness or distance, are incapable of being clearly discerned by our unassisted organs. We know, too, the power of light, which can render even the motes in the air visible to the naked eye, yea, and visible to one man, whilst they are hid from another who is close at his side. Now, such is the power with which the Spirit of God invests us, when he imparts to us “a spiritual discernment [Note: 1 Corinthians 2:9-10; 1 Corinthians 2:14.].” He brings to the eye of our minds “Him who is invisible [Note: Hebrews 11:27.];” and reflects such a light upon spiritual objects, as to give us a clear apprehension of them, and to make us as certain of their existence as if we beheld them with our bodily eyes. For instance, the man who is truly taught of God, sees God himself upon his throne as a reconciled God and Father; and beholds also the Lord Jesus Christ at the right hand of God, perpetually interceding for him. He apprehends, also, the love of God beaming in the Saviour’s countenance; and “comprehends it too, so far as a finite creature can comprehend it, in all its breadth and length, and depth and height [Note: Ephesians 3:18-19.].” By the Holy Spirit, also, he is enabled to realize in his soul those divine impressions, “a spirit of adoption,” “the witness of the Spirit,” “the sealing of the Spirit,” and “the earnest of the Spirit;” and by means of these impressions, he feels “the love of God shed abroad in his heart,” and is filled with “a peace that passeth all understanding,” and “a joy that is unspeakable and glorified.”

I am aware that I have here entered upon ground untrodden by the natural man, and therefore unknown to him, and despised by him. But “among them that are perfect,” as the Apostle says, “we speak wisdom; not indeed the wisdom of this world, but the wisdom of God in a mystery,” which yet is “revealed to all whom God instructs by his Holy Spirit [Note: 1 Corinthians 2:6-7; 1 Corinthians 2:10.].” And now, I ask, What “treasure” in the universe can be compared with this 1 What is all earthly science in comparison of this? It is only as the twinkling of a star when compared with the splendour of the noon-day sun. This is well called “a treasure hid in a field:” to purchase which, every wise man will part with all that he possesses in the world [Note: Matthew 13:44.].

But we can never appreciate this wisdom aright, till we regard it as putting us into the possession of eternal wealth. We are told, that “godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come [Note: 1 Timothy 4:8.].” Its value, if this world alone were considered, would be inestimable: but when eternity is taken into the account, “its riches are absolutely unsearchable;” so that if all the angels in heaven were to exert their powers, they would never be able to compute them. Who shall say what it is to be admitted into the presence of the Most High; to behold the Saviour face to face; to participate his throne, and to be joint-heirs of his glory? In attempting to bring before you such a subject as this, we only “darken counsel by words without knowledge.” But all the glory and felicity of heaven are ours, if only we truly fear God. Indeed, God himself tells us, that “his delight is in them that fear him.” And what, I would ask, shall be done to those whom God delights to honour? Not even the angels around the throne are so blest as they whom the Saviour has washed in his own blood, and clothed in his own righteousness, and “presented faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy [Note: Jude, ver. 24.]:” for the saints are represented as standing immediately around the throne of God; whereas the angels are placed in an exterior circle round about the saints [Note: Revelation 7:9-11.]. And well it may be so, since the angels have but the righteousness of a creature; while the saints are clothed in the righteousness of Emmanuel, their redeeming God. I need not ask what the wisdom of this world can do for us in comparison of this? In the view of these things, it is mere “foolishness [Note: 1 Corinthians 3:19.].” It may edify and exalt us in this world; but it can do nothing for us in the world to come.

Enough, I think, has now been said to elucidate my text; and to shew, that that “wisdom” which brings in its train “the fear of God” is the richest of all “treasures;” and that, though a man possess nothing else, “in having that, he really possesses all things [Note: 2 Corinthians 6:10.].”

And now permit me to recommend this wisdom to your special attention. For the attainment of it, all our noble institutions were formed, and especially those which were established by our pious Founder [Note: Preached at the Commemoration in King’s Chapel, on March 25, 1828; the first Founder’s Day after the opening of the new Hall.]. And certainly our advantages, for the prosecution of it, are exceedingly great. Our freedom from earthly cares, and our seclusion from the world, afford us valuable opportunities for the acquisition of self-knowledge, and the knowledge of our God. Let us only be convinced that the pursuit of these is “wisdom,” and that the possession of them is “treasure,” and we shall have reason to bless our God for the peculiar benefits which we here enjoy. Let me not, however, be thought to undervalue science. I am far from wishing to detract from its merits. It is, as I have before said, of exceeding great value, both to the State, and to the person enriched by it. It has in the world a just pre-eminence above rank or wealth, and deservedly raises the possessor of it in the estimation of till around him. It is not the man of splendid title, or of great estate, that stands high in the esteem of his countrymen; but the man who, by his wisdom and knowledge, is enabled to explore the depths of philosophy, and to instruct mankind in the different departments of learning and science. I therefore would earnestly press upon my auditors, a diligent prosecution of knowledge in all those branches which are held in repute amongst us, and which administer to the improvement both of ourselves and others. But yet, its God, without intending to depreciate the sacrifices which he had enjoined, says, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice;” so, without intending to disparage human learning, I would say, “Wisdom, divine wisdom, is the principal thing: therefore get wisdom; and with all your getting, get understanding [Note: Proverbs 4:7.].” Follow David in this respect: “One thing have I desired of the Lord,” says he, “which I will seek after, even that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple [Note: Psalms 27:4.].” And, if for this you are called to make any sacrifice, learn from St. Paul to say, “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ; yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord [Note: Philippians 3:7-8.].” I would further say, Spare no pains for the attainment of this knowledge. We well know what labour many endure in the prosecution of earthly knowledge; and shall we do less for the attainment of that which is divine? Nor let us be satisfied with a superficial view, and a slight experience, of these things; but rather, whatever we may have attained, let us, with St. Paul, “forget the things which are behind; and reach forth unto those that are before, and press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus [Note: Philippians 3:12-14.]” We have enemies, greater than Sennacherib, to withstand, and difficulties greater than Hezekiah’s to overcome. We have to combat the world, the flesh, and the devil: but the principle which prevailed in Hezekiah will prevail in us; and the victory which awaited him awaits us also, if we will betake ourselves to God in prayer, and place all our confidence in him alone. “Wisdom and knowledge shall be the strength of salvation” to us; and we shall be “more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”

And well may such a victory be expected of us. We have long been, through the munificence of our Founder, and are now become, in a more especial manner, elevated to a very high degree of celebrity through the splendour of our outward appointments. Why, then, should we not be alike distinguished for our eminence in those moral excellencies which he wished us to aspire after; and which we are bound, by every consideration of gratitude and of duty, to display? He sought not to make us rich in this world, but “rich towards God:” and by the competence he has provided for us, he has cut off all excuse as arising from the pressure of conflicting duties. The world, then, may well expect this at our hands. And does not God expect it also? It is He, in fact, who has brought us hither, and invested us with these advantages. Yea, he has done infinitely more for us: he has given us his only-begotten Son, “who, though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich [Note: 2 Corinthians 8:9.].” Let us seek, then, “the true riches,” even those which Christ has purchased for us on the cross, and which he freely offers to us in his Gospel. We must all admit, that these treasures have had but little attraction hitherto in our eyes, and that we have sadly misimproved the talent committed to us. But henceforth let us awake to our duty, and no longer hide our talent in a napkin. Let us remember, that “where much has been given, much will be required;” and that if we labour not for these riches, we only deceive our own souls: for “where our treasure is, there will our heart be also.”

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:6". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Wisdom and knowledge, to govern thyself and thy people well, shall be the stability of thy times; of thy reign; times being oft put for things done in those times, as 1 Chronicles 12:32 Psalms 31:15 37:18, &c. He turneth his speech to Hezekiah. The sense is, Thy throne shall be established upon the sure foundations of wisdom and justice.

Strength of salvation; thy saving strength, or thy strong or mighty salvation.

The fear of the Lord is his treasure: and although thou shalt have great treasures of gold and silver, &c., yet thy chief treasure and delight is, and shall be, in promoting the fear and worship of God; which shall be a great honour and safeguard to thyself and people. He saith,

his treasure, for thy treasure, by a sudden change of the person, usual in these books.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 33:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The Lord Himself would be the sure foundation of the blessed Zion. His people would then enter into their time in history, a time marked by salvations (pl.) of many kinds, wisdom in following God"s ways, and knowledge of the truth.

"Wisdom is the true and correct evaluation of things, whereas knowledge is the true recognition of what things are. It emphasizes the objective, whereas "wisdom" brings to the fore the subjective aspect." [Note: Young, 2:409.]

Fearing the Lord will be the key to the treasures that He has laid up for His people. The practical meaning of the fear of the Lord is admitting that one"s destiny lies in His hands.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:6". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Faith. Sincerity and justice adorn the reigns of Ezechias and Christ.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

is = that [is].

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:6". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(6) Wisdom and knowledge . . .—The words are used in the higher sense, as in Proverbs 1:1-4, in contrast with the craft and devices of men, just as the “fear of the Lord” is the true treasure, in contrast with the silver and gold in which Hezekiah had been led to place his trust.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.
11:2-5; 38:5,6; 2 Chronicles 32:27-29; Psalms 45:4; Proverbs 14:27; 24:3-7; 28:2,15,16; Proverbs 29:4; Ecclesiastes 7:12,19; 9:14-18; Jeremiah 22:15-17
Psalms 27:1,2; 28:8; 140:7
Heb. salvations. fear.
2 Chronicles 32:20,21; Psalms 112:1-3; Proverbs 15:16; 19:23; Matthew 6:33; 2 Corinthians 6:10; 1 Timothy 4:8; 6:6
Reciprocal: 1 Chronicles 12:32 - understanding of the times;  Nehemiah 7:2 - feared God;  Job 22:25 - defence;  Psalm 112:3 - Wealth;  Proverbs 14:24 - crown;  Proverbs 22:4 - By;  Isaiah 11:3 - shall make him;  Matthew 6:20 - GeneralMatthew 6:21 - where;  Matthew 13:46 - one;  Acts 9:31 - and walking

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary


(Sunday School Anniversary.)

Isa And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation.

Primarily these words seem to have been spoken of Hezekiah, of the happiness and security which the Jews experienced under his reign,—a reign which was evidently blessed of God to their good; but, like many other predictions, it has a larger application. It refers to the kingdom of the Messiah; to the blessings resulting from the reign of Christ over His redeemed people (chap. Isa ). The declaration is, that in the time of the Messiah there should be a diffusion of knowledge so wide and efficacious that society should be rendered stable and tranquil by it; that this wisdom and knowledge should produce salvation, or deliverance from temporal and spiritual calamities; and that this salvation should be a strong one. This has been already in part fulfilled; but only in part. Christianity introduced religious light; and that light became the parent of every other kind of useful and excellent knowledge. So little opposition is there between Christianity and true science, that all the most important discoveries of a scientific nature, all the knowledge whence nations derive power and refinement, have occurred in Christian nations, and Christian nations only. It is now generally agreed that it is only from the diffusion of wisdom and knowledge that we can expect settled and tranquil times. But we must remember that there is no real connection between mere scientific knowledge and moral influence. The proposition which I shall endeavour to establish is, that no moral influence is exerted, except by the truths revealed to us in the Scriptures; and that whatever effects are produced by knowledge of any other kind, those effects do not constitute a real moral improvement, either of society or of individuals.

I. I APPEAL TO THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE. The Bible is favourable to knowledge. Every Jewish parent was commanded to teach his children diligently the laws and statutes which God had given, and the historical circumstances with which they were connected; that so they might be, in the sight of all the nations, a wise and understanding people. The New Testament likewise commands all believers diligently to study the facts and doctrines of their faith. Neither the Mosaic nor the Christian religion was founded in ignorance. But throughout the Old Testament, where any moral influence is ascribed to wisdom, it is the true knowledge of God that is to be understood, and that only. So in the New Testament, so far from finding any intimation that mere knowledge, of any and every kind, is sufficient to exert a moral influence on the heart and mind, we find passages in which it is represented as operating to the hindrance of salvation (Mat ; 1Co 1:21; Col 2:8).

II. I APPEAL TO REASON. Reason shows—

1. That religious knowledge tends to produce moral results. This is the natural effects of the truths it presents to the mind, and of the standard of duty which it holds up before us.

2. That all kinds of knowledge which exert no power upon the conscience must leave the life unreformed. He who expects a moral result from mere worldly knowledge, looks for an effect without a cause; as well might he expect a man to become a skilful botanist by studying astronomy. To improve the morals you must give moral instruction; and this is what no branch of science even professes to do. We take nothing from the just value of science by confining it to its proper objects. One science only can improve your morals, even that divine philosophy which describes, with authority, the manner of life to which God, your Sovereign and Judge, requires you to conform.


1. Morality must have a religious basis. Man must be taught not only what is right, but why it is right; and he must be shown that he is bound to do it. The term "duty" refers not merely to the action which is to be done, but to the obligations to do it. Take away the morality of the Bible from that with which God has connected it, and you make it powerless. Moral influence and power come only from the whole truth of God.

3. Religious truth benefits only those who make it their earnest study. It does not operate necessarily. The Bible must be diligently read, with much prayer that its teachings may be applied to your conscience; that they may be in you a good seed sown in good ground.

4. The duty of parents is thus made plain.

5. We see also the true aim and the extreme value of Sunday schools.—Richard Watson: Works, vol. ix. pp. 458-471.

I. What constitutes "stability of times?"

1. Civil order and subjection to law.

2. A regular flow of commerce, and employment for the several orders of men.

3. Freedom from war, defensive or aggressive.

II. What influence has the "wisdom and knowledge" of Christianity on "the stability of times?"

1. The principles and rules of Christianity are those of practical "wisdom and knowledge," and must, if acted on, give "stability of times." Look at its instructions in relation to civil government (Rom ; Rom 13:6-7; 1Ti 2:1-3); to the domestic and social duties of life (Col 3:18 to Col 4:1; 1Ti 6:1); to integrity, industry, and love of our fellow-men (Rom 13:8-10; 1Th 4:2). Universal conformity to such precepts would produce universal harmony, industry, and confidence. With equal clearness it denounces oppression, insubordination, and war. Were these injunctions and prohibitions heeded, a new era of settled prosperity would begin (H. E. I. 1124-1132, 1134).

2. Christianity gives "stability of times" by the intellectual wisdom and knowledge it imparts. What a contrast in this respect between Christian and heathen nations! Christianity promotes intellectual strength by the grandeur of the subjects which it brings before the mind, by the freedom it enjoins in the exercise of every right, and by the rules it gives for the government of nations and the guidance of individuals. All its instructions are those of wisdom and mental strength. Moreover it enlarges the conceptions of those who receive it, by leading them to strive to promote the welfare of the whole world.

3. By its sanctifying influence. The real causes of peace and permanent prosperity are moral; and the very tendency of Christianity is to promote civil order, integrity, industry, and benevolent conduct (H. E. I. 4164-4166).

4. By leading men to that obedience to the laws of God which brings down upon them His blessing.

From all this it follows,

1. That it is the wisdom of every nation that has the knowledge of Christianity to retain and improve it, and to guard against its corruption and abuse. Whatever diminishes its purity weakens its practical influence.

2. That we should gratefully acknowledge how much we owe to God for "the wisdom and knowledge" which He has imparted to us. Let us trace our prosperity to its true cause.

3. That national ruin will be the result, if we reject "the wisdom and knowledge" God has vouchsafed to us.

4. That every one who seeks for himself the "wisdom and knowledge" of the Bible is a patriot. He adds, in his own personal religion, to the stability and wealth of the nation.

5. That true patriotism will lead us to value and support those institutions which exist for the diffusion of the Gospel in our own and other lands.—John Johnson, M.A.: Sermons, vol. ii. pp. 156-177.

I. Wisdom and knowledge both resemble and differ from each other, and should be carefully distinguished. Many have great knowledge and no wisdom. Some have wisdom and little knowledge. Wisdom is knowledge digested and turned to account; knowledge is the food swallowed; wisdom is the food changed into chyle and blood, and sent through the system. Knowledge is often a mere chaotic mass; wisdom is that mass reduced to order. Knowledge may remain inactive in the memory and understanding; wisdom is the same turned to practice and incarnated in life. Many men possess great knowledge, but hold it in unrighteousness; hold it along with folly, indolence, and a host of other counterbalancing elements. The wise man may err like others; but his general conduct and the general course of his mind are well regulated. "Wisdom is profitable to direct." Knowledge puffeth up; but wisdom is too calm and moderate, too wide in its views, and too sober in its spirit to be often found in alliance with undue self-esteem. The man of knowledge resembles Dr. Kippis, of whom Hall said that he put so many books in his head that his brains could not move. In a mind like Burke's, the more books that were heaped upon the fiery and fertile brain the better; it turned them into flame (H. E. I. 3091, 3092, 3112-3120).

II. Knowledge and wisdom, when combined, give stability to persons, states, and churches.

1. To individual character. Knowledge is being increased at a wonderful ratio. The learned man of a century ago would now be thought a sciolist. But there have been many drawbacks: many incapable of grasping all kinds of knowledge are not incapable of pretending that they have grasped them; hence the desire of intermeddling with all knowledge becomes pre-eminent folly, and hence generally the preference given to men of showy attainments, glib talk, and immodest assurance, above those of solid strength and genuine insight. And it is the same, too often, in the Church. In reference to this, let the words of the wise man be pondered: "With all thy getting, get understanding." Even though our knowledge be less wide, let it be accurate. Let us ballast knowledge with common-sense; let our piety be manly; let our attitude be that of calm but constant progress. And let our motto be, "The greatest of these is charity." Such a combination of knowledge and wisdom would give, as nothing else can, stability to individual character (H. E. I. 3075-3078).

2. In reference to states and kingdoms. Here, too, knowledge must meet with wisdom ere genuine stability can be secured. This was manifested in the last French and German war. Indeed, the whole history of France shows the evil of knowledge being separated from wisdom. We see this in its brilliant, but rash and dangerous science; in its literature—splendid in form, inferior in substance; in its raging love for display and thirst for war; in its popular idols—Henry IV., Mirabeau, Voltaire, and Napoleon—all men as full of ability as they were destitute of true wisdom.

3. The Church. The whole Bible has been taken to pieces. All the conceivable knowledge on the subject has been amassed. Now, here comes in the place for the exercise of wisdom. Let us not leap to conclusions; let us rather ask: "Where does wisdom dwell, and where is the place of understanding?" There is at present a divorce between knowledge and wisdom in spiritual matters; and seldom were manly morality and true religion in a feebler condition than in some quarters. There are noise and sound enough and to spare; but there is a lack of stability,—no progress at once in piety and intelligence (H. E. I. 3153-3155). Out of that gulf into which one-sidedness has plunged us, all-sidedness, broad charity, and wisdom can alone deliver us. Let us pray that these may abound, and introduce a period when wisdom and knowledge, walking hand in hand, shall be the stability of a better and nobler era!—George Gilfillan: The Study and the Pulpit, New Series, vol. iv. pp. 9-11.

These were the words of comfort by which Hezekiah was prepared to meet the invasion of the conquering Assyrians. In other times Judah fled for protection into the arms of Egypt. They thereby incurred God's displeasure, and were invariably overtaken by the calamities from which they sought refuge. Hezekiah put his trust in Jehovah, and was not disappointed.

The text contains, at the same time. a general principle, viz., that wisdom (or practical religion) and knowledge are the best elements of the stability of any people. As patriots let us carefully consider it.

I. Christianity promotes wisdom and knowledge.

1. Christianity promotes wisdom.

(1.) The God whom the Bible reveals is the fit object of reverence and love. It reveals the Divine attributes in forms the most fitted to fill the soul with solemn awe and reverence. It ascribes to Him eternal and unchangeable love, and reveals that love in forms of ineffable grace and mercy. It does not efface any of the more awful attributes of Godhead, or merge them in a perverted view of the parental relation; nor does it degrade His more amiable attributes into the tenderness, or rather weakness, which loses sight of the criminal's guilt in the consideration of his misery—the world's conception of the Divine! That character, however, is not enough to rekindle the flame of piety in a fallen world (Jas ). But

(2.) Christianity provides, in the great facts through which it conveys the knowledge of God, the means of reducing men to contrition and restoring them to hope. The Gospel is adapted to convert the soul. How? In its adaptation the element of hope occupies no mean place. Any scheme of regeneration must contain a provision of mercy. By its mode of opening the door of hope, it impresses sinfulness on the mind; it moves to repentance, and inspires obedience on the ground of conscious obligation to Divine grace. The tendency of the doctrine of the cross is no doubtful matter (Rom ).

2. Christianity promotes knowledge. It points out the only true way to the knowledge of God; but further it promotes general knowledge.

(1.) Revealing God, it makes known the highest truths; and, making known the highest truths, it promotes and facilitates inquiry into every other. The uncovered heavens reflect their light on all earthly things.

II. By promoting wisdom and knowledge, Christianity establishes a people.

1. It purifies and elevates society.

(1.) It is an acknowledged fact that the Gospel makes man unfit for a state of slavery. It may teach submission to the bond, but it will create a moral influence whose fire will melt his chains.

(2.) The Gospel civilises the savage. It produces dissatisfaction with his abjectness, and creates the desire and imparts the means of rising in the scale of intelligence.

2. If Christianity thus elevates, how much more will it establish! If it imparts life, how much more will it maintain it! If it gives existence, how much more will it give it the elements of perpetuity! But what are the means of the stability of a nation?

(1.) Religion. This is the foundation of all others. An irreligious and wicked nation has the elements of misery and dissolution within itself; a righteous nation, like a righteous individual, may be afflicted, but, as in the one case, so in the other, "all things work together for good." Knowledge has an indirect influence. Galileo could sacrifice truth and honour to escape imprisonment; the tale of Bacon's moral weaknesses is a humbling page of human history; but the diffusion of knowledge tends to correct a taste for low and sensual habits.

(2.) Virtue. Religion produces the best morals; here the connection is direct and immediate. The Gospel provides an authoritative principle—wanting elsewhere—which responds to its moral precepts, and renders it a matter of moral necessity to give a ready and cheerful obedience.

(3.) Freedom. The foundation of this is in the virtue which Christianity creates and promotes. If the ark of God were in danger, we might well tremble for the ark of liberty; religious degeneracy endangers the existence of freedom.

(4.) Good order. This follows, as the natural and necessary consequence from the promotion of virtue and freedom.

CONCLUSION.—British society, with all its boasted civilisation, is only in a state of childhood; it speaks as a child and it acts as a child. We expect better days, not as the result of a natural and inherent tendency to progress and improvement, but as the result of the operation of Divine principles implanted in the midst of us, under the blessing of a favourable Providence. That we may put forth our strength to accomplish this change, we must have an adequate impression of existing evils and of our obligation to apply a remedy. Christianity is the lever by which we can raise man (Eph ).—John Kennedy, D.D.: Weekly Christian Teacher, vol. iii. pp. 760-764, 777-781.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:6". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible

Isaiah 33:6

"The fear of the Lord is his treasure." Isaiah 33:6

"The fear of the Lord is his treasure." And, oh, what a treasure is this fear! Treasure in ancient times was generally hidden; it was concealed from the eye of Prayer of Manasseh, hoarded up, and not brought out ostentatiously to view. Wealthy men of old hid the knowledge of their treasures, lest they should be robbed of them by the hand of violence. So spiritually, the fear of the Lord is hidden in the heart, and lies deep in the soul; it is not spread out ostentatiously to view, but is buried out of sight in a man"s conscience. But though hidden from others, and sometimes even from ourselves, this "fear of the Lord" will act as circumstances draw it forth. There may be times and seasons when we seem almost hardened and conscience-seared; sin appears to have such power over us, and evil thoughts and desires so carry us away, that we cannot trace one atom of godly fear within; and the soul cries, "What will become of me! Where am I going now! What will come next on such a wretch as I feel myself to be!"

But place him in such circumstances, say, as befell Joseph, then he will find that the "fear of the Lord" is in him a fountain of life, a holy principle springing up in his soul. Thus, this fear, which is a part of the heavenly treasure, acts when most needed. And the more the life of God is felt in the soul, the more the fear of God flows forth as a fountain of life to depart from the snares of death. The more lively the grace of God is in the soul, the more lively will godly fear be in the heart; and the more the Spirit of God works with power in the conscience, the deeper will be the fear of God in the soul.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:6". Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

6.And the stability of thy times shall be. He promises that the state of the kingdom under the reign of Hezekiah will yet be happy and prosperous, especially when he contrasts it with the wretched, destructive, and ruinous aspect which it exhibited under the reign of Ahaz; for, although the enemy had been driven out, hardly any one would have expected that the Jews, who had been so heavily oppressed, would be restored to their former order. As to the words, some translate them, “Truth, and strength, and salvation shall be in thy times;” as if the Prophet described the prosperity which the nation should enjoy under a pious king; and they think that each of those terms denotes so many of God’s benefits. Others think that אמונת (emunath) denotes “fidelity,” as if the Prophet said that it would be “salvation and strength.” Others draw from it a somewhat different sense, that “strength, salvation, and knowledge” will be “stable” under the reign of Hezekiah. But when I examine closely the words of the Prophet, I choose rather to make a different distinction, that “stability, strength, and salvation will be established by wisdom, and knowledge,” during the reign of Hezekiah.

The fear of Jehovah is his treasure. When he says that “the fear of God is the treasure” of a pious king, this accords with the explanation which we have now given; for during peace all men wish to lead a safe and easy life; but few care how they shall enjoy such distinguished benefits. Indeed the greater part of men would desire to fatten like a herd of swine; and thus while all are eagerly directed by blind lust to seek outward benefits, the light of heavenly doctrine, which is an invaluable blessing, is almost set at nought. He therefore means that the prosperity of the Church will be “stable,” (4) when “wisdom and knowledge” shall reign in it; that its “strength” will be lasting, when the “knowledge” of God shall prevail; and that its salvation will be eternal, when men shall be well instructed in the knowledge of God.

This is a very remarkable passage; and it teaches us that our ingratitude shuts the door against God’s blessings, when we disregard the Author of them, and sink into gross and earfifty desires; and that all the benefits which we can desire or imagine, even though we actually obtained them, would be of no avail for our salvation, if they were not seasoned with the salt of faith and knowledge. Hence it follows that the Church is not in a healthy condition unless when all its privileges have been preceded by the light of the knowledge of God, and that it flourishes only when all the gifts which God has bestowed upon it are ascribed to Him as their author. But when the knowledge of God has been taken away, and when just views of God have been extinguished or buried, any kind of prosperity is worse than all calamities.

For these reasons I consider stability, strength, and salvations, to denote the same thing, that the condition of the Church will be secure, when men shall have been cured of blindness and ignorance, and shall begin to know God. And hence we see what kind of Church the Papists have, distinguished, indeed, by pomp and splendor, but they want this “knowledge,” and, therefore, it cannot be stable or secure, and is not a Church of God. If, therefore, the Lord shall grant to us this blessing, that the brightness of faith shall actually shine in the midst of us, other blessings will follow of their own accord, and if we are shaken and tossed about by various tempests, we shall always be supported by the arm of God.

Of thy times. He addresses Hezekiah, not as a private individual, but as the head of the whole people; and he includes the whole people in this description. But since the kingdom of Hezekiah was but a slender shadow of the kingdom of Christ, as we formerly remarked, these words must be referred to Christ, in whom is found true wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:3.)

It is proper to observe the designations which are here employed in order to commend the word of God and the gospel. They are likewise employed by Paul, when he speaks of “teaching in all wisdom and knowledge;” for by this commendation he extols the dignity of the gospel. (Colossians 1:9.) Hence also it ought to be inferred that, where Christ is not known, men are destitute of true wisdom, even though they have received the highest education in every branch of learning; for all their knowledge is useless till they truly “know God.” (John 17:3.)

The fear of Jehovah is his treasure. (5) I think that the expression, “the fear of Jehovah,” was added by the Prophet for the sake of explanation, in order to state more fully that the knowledge of which he spoke is the teacher of piety, and is not cold or lifeless, but penetrates powerfully into our heart, to form us to “the fear of God.” Hence also, in other passages of Scripture, this “fear” is called “wisdom,” or rather “the beginning of wisdom,” that is, the substance and chief part of it. (Proverbs 1:7, and 9:10.) It is a mistake to suppose that the word “beginning” denotes rudiments or elements, for Solomoil means by it the chief part and design; and the reason is, that, as men are fools till they submit to the word of God, so the perfection of wisdom springs from the docility or obedience of faith. “The fear of God” is therefore called a “treasure,” without which all prosperity is miserable; and this shews more fully the scope of the passage, that the full perfection of a happy life consists in the knowledge of God, which we obtain by faith.

Thus, in the person of the king he shews that it is an invaluable blessing to worship God with due piety and reverence. They who are destitute of “the fear of God” are pronounced by him to be miserable and ruined; and, on the other hand, they who “fear the Lord” are declared to be very happy, even though in other respects they be reckoned in the judgment of men to be very miserable. He speaks of that “fear” which contains within itself true obedience, and renews our hearts; for it is a different kind of fear which influences even wicked men, and leads them to dread God as criminals dread a judge. That “fear” does not deserve to be so highly applauded; for it springs neither from a true knowledge of God, nor from a cheerful desire to worship him, and therefore differs widely from that wisdom which Isaiah describes. These statements were made by him in reference to Hezekiah, but, as we have already said, they related to the whole body of the people; and hence we infer that they apply both to men of ordinary rank and to the king, but more especially to Christ, who was filled with “the Spirit of the fear of the Lord,” as we formerly saw, (6) (Isaiah 11:2,) that he might make us partakers of it.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 33:6". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.