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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 55:3

"Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Church;   Covenant;   God;   Gospel;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Prophecy;   Quotations and Allusions;   Regeneration;   Salvation;   Thompson Chain Reference - Covenant;   Covenants and Vows;   Everlasting;   Life;   Life-Death;   The Topic Concordance - Coming;   Covenant;   Glory;   Hearing;   Jesus Christ;   Life;   Living Waters;   Thirst;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Access to God;   Covenant, the;   Life, Spiritual;   Mercy of God, the;  
Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - David;   Drink;   Hear, Hearing;   King, Kingship;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Covenant;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Isaiah;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Church;   Covenant;   Joy;   Lovingkindness;   Messiah;   Micah, Book of;   Righteousness;   Servant of the Lord;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Covenant;   Messiah;   Metaphor;   Passover (Ii. in Relation to Lord's Supper).;   Quotations;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - David ;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Hear;  
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Judah;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Covenant, in the Old Testament;   Covenant, the New;   Inspiration;   Lovingkindness;   Truth;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Covenant;  
Every Day Light - Devotion for December 30;  

Clarke's Commentary

Verse Isaiah 55:3. I will make an everlasting covenant — Heb. אכרתה לכם ברית עולם echrethah lachem berith olam, "I will cut the old or everlasting covenant sacrifice with you." That covenant sacrifice which was pointed out of old from the very beginning; and which is to last to the consummation of ages; viz., the Lamb of God that was slain from the foundation of the world.

The sure mercies of David — That is, says Kimchi, "The MESSIAH," called here David; as it is written, "David my servant shall be a prince over you."

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

God’s free provision (55:1-13)

Many of the Jews had made life reasonably tolerable for themselves in Babylon. The prophet knew that they were so settled that they might not want to uproot themselves and face the hardships of life back in their desolated homeland. Many were more concerned with making life easier for themselves than with knowing God and looking to him for their provision. God warns against this self-centred attitude and invites them to trust fully in him. The blessings he gives are free. They cannot be bought with money, but they bring more satisfaction than all the temporary benefits that people might manage to gain (55:1-2).
If the people respond to God’s purposes for them, the divine blessings will extend far beyond the borders of the restored nation. When God’s people take his message to other nations, people who previously had no knowledge of God will become followers of the God of Israel. God’s people will see his covenant promises to David fulfilled beyond their expectations (3-5).
First, however, God requires repentance. When people turn from their sin to God, he forgives them freely according to his mercy (6-7). This mercy is so great that it is beyond human understanding. What God has prepared for his people is greater than they have ever imagined (8-9).
As surely as rain soaks into the ground and makes plants grow (it does not float back up to the clouds), so will God’s promise of Israel’s restoration come true (it will not return to God fruitless). God will lead his people out of Babylon and back to their homeland. The world of nature will rejoice along with God’s people, and their land will become fruitful again (10-13).

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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Hear, and your soul shall live - That is, if you attend to my command and embrace my promises, you shall live. Religion in the Scriptures is often represented as life John 5:40; John 6:33; John 8:13; John 20:31; Romans 5:17-18; Romans 6:4; Romans 8:6; 1 John 5:12; Revelation 2:7-10. It stands opposed to the death of sin - to spiritual and eternal death.

And I will make an everlasting covenant with you - On the word ‘covenant,’ see the notes at Isaiah 28:18; Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:8. Here it means that God would bind himself to be their God, their protector, and their friend. This covenant would be made with all who would come to him. It would not be with the nation of the Jews, as such, or with any community, as such, but it would be with all who should embrace the offers of life and salvation.

Even the sure mercies of David - I will confirm to you, and fulfill in you, the solemn promises made to David. The transaction here referred to is that which is celebrated in Psalms 89:2-4 :

For I have said, mercy shall be built up forever;

Thy faithfulness hast thou established in the very heavens.

I have made a covenant with my chosen,

I have sworn unto David my servant,

Thy seed will I establish forever,

And build up thy throne to all generations.

A kingdom had thus been promised to David, and he had been assured that the true religion should flourish among those who were to succeed him in Israel. The prophet here says that this solemn promise. would be fulfilled in those who should embrace the Messiah, and that God would ratify with them this covenant. The word rendered here ‘mercies’ (חסד chesed), properly means kindness, goodwill, pity, compassion; then goodness, mercy, grace. The word rendered ‘sure,’ denotes that which is established, or confirmed; that in which confidence may be placed. The whole expression denotes that the covenant made with David was one which promised great favors, and was one which was not to be abrogated, but which was to be perpetual. With all who embraced the Messiah, God would enter into such an unchanging and unwavering covenant - a covenant which was not to be revoked.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

3. Incline your ear. This assemblage of words makes still more evident what I slightly mentioned a little before, that God leaves nothing undone which is fitted to correct and arouse our tardiness. Yet there is an implied reproof; for they must be excessively stupid who, when they are so gently called, do not instantly obey. This is a remarkable passage, from which we see that our whole happiness lies in obeying the word of God. When God speaks in this manner, the object which he has in view is to lead us to life; (80) and therefore the blame lies wholly with ourselves, because we disregard this saving and life­giving word.

And come unto me. If God only commanded what we ought to do, he would indeed lay down the method of obtaining life, but without advantage; for the Law, which proceeded from the mouth of God, is the minister of death; but when he invites us “to himself,” when he adopts us as children, when he promises pardon of sin and sanctification, the consequence is, that they who hear obtain life from him. We ought, therefore, to take into view the kind of doctrine which contains life, in order that we may seek our salvation from it; and hence we infer that there is no hope of salvation if we do not obey God and his word. This reproves all mankind, so that they can plead no excuse for their ignorance; for he who refuses to hear can have no solid argument to defend his cause.

These repetitions describe the patience of God in calling us; for he does not merely invite us once, but when he sees that we are sluggish, he gives a second and even a third warning, in order to conquer our hardheartedness. Thus he does not all at once reject those who despise him, but after having frequently invited them.

Besides, this is a description of the nature of faith, when he bids us “come to himself.” We ought to hear the Lord in such a manner that faith shall follow; for they who by faith receive the word of God have laid aside their desires and despised the world, and may be said to have broken their chains, so that they readily and cheerfully “draw near to God.” But faith cannot be formed without hearing, (Romans 10:17,) that is, without understanding the word of God, and so he bids us “hear” before we “come to him.” Thus, whenever faith is mentioned, let us remember that it must be joined to the word, in which it has its foundation.

And I will strike a covenant of eternity with you. It is asked, Did not the Jews formerly enter into an everlasting covenant with God? For he appears to promise something that is new and uncommon. I reply, nothing new is here promised for which the Lord did not formerly enter into an engagement with his people; but it is a renewal and confirmation of the covenant, that the Jews might not think that the covenant of God was made void on account of the long­continued banishment. For when they were banished from the country that had been promised to them, (81) when they had no temple or sacrifices, or any marks of the “covenant” except circumcision, who would not have concluded that it was all over with them? This mode of expression, therefore, Isaiah accommodated to the capacity of the people, that they might know that the covenant into which God entered with the fathers was firm, sure, and eternal, and not changeable or temporary.

This is also what he means by the mercies of David, but by this phrase he declares that it was a covenant of free grace; for it was founded on nothing else than the absolute goodness of God. Whenever, therefore, the word “covenant” occurs in Scripture, we ought at the same time to call to remembrance the word “grace.” By calling them “the faithful mercies of David,” (82) he declares that he will be faithful in it, and at. the same time states indirectly that he is faithful and steadfast, and cannot be accused of falsehood, as if he had broken his covenant; that the Jews, on the other hand, are covenant­breakers and traitors, (for they have revolted from him,) but that he cannot repent of his covenant or his promise.

He calls them “the mercies of David, ” because this covenant, which has now been solemnly confirmed, was made in the land “of David.” The Lord indeed entered into a covenant with Abraham, (Genesis 15:5) afterwards confirmed it by Moses, (Exodus 2:24) and finally ratified this very covenant in the hand of David, that it might be eternal. (2 Samuel 7:12) Whenever, therefore, the Jews thought of a Redeemer, that is, of their salvation, they ought to have remembered “David” as a mediator who represented Christ; for David must not here be regarded as a private individual, but as bearing this title and character. Yet some regard must be had to the time when this prophecy was uttered; for, since the rank of the kingdom had been obliterated, and the name of the royal family had become mean and contemptible during the captivity in Babylon, it might seem as if, through the ruin of that family, the truth of God had fallen into decay; and therefore he bids them contemplate by faith the throne of David, which had been cast down.

(80) “ De nons amener a salut.” “To lead us to salvation.”

(81) “ Hors du pays qui leur avoit este promis et donne.” “Out of the country, that had been promised and given to them.”

(82) “The sure mercies of David.” ­ Eng. Ver.

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These files are public domain.
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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

Smith's Bible Commentary

Chapter 55

Ho, every one that thirsteth ( Isaiah 55:1 ),

Going into the glorious Kingdom Age. Now, God detests and hates commercialism. God hates how people take advantage of one another. Profiteering on someone else. God is going to bring down the whole commercial system. And when God brings it down there is going to be great rejoicing in heaven, though on earth there's going to be tremendous mourning and lamentation. But in Revelation 18:1-24 God spends a whole chapter telling of how He's going to bring down this whole commercial world that have put people into bondage through credit cards. And it makes slaves out of people. Put people under all kinds of financial pressures. Taking advantage of people's misfortunes. And God hates it with a passion. And He's going to bring it down. And in the new age that is going to be established by Jesus Christ, no commercialism at all. Man's greed will not have an opportunity of exploiting the weaker man or his fellowman or the poorer man. "Ho, every one that thirsteth."

come to the waters, and he that has no money; come, buy, and eat; yea, come, and buy the wine and milk without money and without price ( Isaiah 55:1 ).

God is going to allow the earth to just bring forth abundantly and every man shall see, set 'neath his own vine and fig tree and they shall live in peace together. There won't be the greed that has actually created so many of the horrible wars in our history. Those men who profit over wars, those men who have the commercial interest and all who can make great gain through bringing a nation against a nation, all would be gone. The basis of greed will be gone. Everything will be free. "Ho, every one that thirsteth, just come. Help yourself. Take what you want. No money. No price."

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread? ( Isaiah 55:2 )

The Lord said.

you labor for that which does not satisfy? ( Isaiah 55:2 )

As He speaks out against our whole system today, how that we labor so hard to get things that really don't satisfy. Why is it that you do this?

hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and a commander to the people ( Isaiah 55:2-4 ).

So Christ shall come and sit upon the throne of David and order it and establish it in righteousness and in judgment. And He shall be as a witness to the people, a leader, a commander.

Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew thee not shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee. Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon ( Isaiah 55:5-7 ).

Oh, what beautiful words of God to us tonight. Call upon the Lord while He is near, while He may be found. "Seek Him while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near: let the wicked forsake his way, the unrighteous man his thoughts of evil: return to the Lord, for God will have mercy; He will abundantly pardon you." For God says,

My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD ( Isaiah 55:8 ).

I will vouch for that. I don't understand so many times why God does the things He does. His thoughts are not my thoughts. Nor are His ways my ways. I would do many things much differently. I wouldn't do them more wisely; I'd just do them differently. But you see, the difference between God's thoughts and my thoughts, and God's ways and my ways, is that God knows the end from the beginning. Therefore, He doesn't do something and wonder if it's right. When He does it, He knows it's right. Now the way I do things, I do them and I hope it's right. And sometimes it is. But many times it isn't. But when I started doing it, I was sure it was.

So many times I think that this is the best way; and then I find out it isn't. There was a much better way. So God says, "Hey, My thoughts are not your thoughts. My ways are not your ways."

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than your thoughts ( Isaiah 55:9 ).

There is such a difference, and yet herein is the folly of man, because I get angry with God sometimes because He doesn't do it my way. Now isn't that ridiculous? For a person to get angry with God because God has done something a way they didn't want it done or a way they wouldn't do it? Now if I did it my way, I would never have any troubles. I would never have any weakness. I would never have any problems. If I did it my way, it'd just be smooth sailing all the way. No storms. But that's not God's way. For you see, if I did it my way, I would never develop any strength of character. I would become a very weak flabby, spoiled person. Miserable to be around 'cause I would not understand a person that did have problems. A person that did experience weaknesses. I would become intolerable towards them. So God doesn't let me do it my way. God lets me fall. God lets me stumble. God lets me experience weaknesses. God lets me experience troubles, trials, problems, difficulties. So that when my brother is in need, I can come to him in meekness and lift him, as I consider myself realizing that I too am tempted. So God's ways are really best.

Now for me to insist that God do it my way is sheer folly. Because now I am exalting my knowledge above God's. For me to demand that God does it my way, "God, I want You to do this now. I'm speaking this into existence. I want You to do it!" Oh man, how foolish! Because you see, that's exalting my knowledge, my ways, my thoughts. It's seeking to make them supreme instead of God supreme. Who knows all things and knows so much better than I know.

Now the wrath of God is going to be revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of man who hold the truth of God in unrighteousness. And for you to hold the truth of God, and yet exalt yourself and your thoughts and your ways above Him is holding the truth of God in unrighteousness. That's the wrong way to hold the truth of God because you say, "Well, God is supreme, God knows everything." And then I say, "Now God, I demand that You do this or I command You, Lord, to do this." That is not making God supreme. That's now making me supreme and my ways supreme. So I'm holding the truth of God in righteousness. I'm saying, "God, I know better than You know. My way is better than Your way." How much better it is, how much more glorifying to God it is, what a great witness it is when I can just say, "Oh God, Your will be done. I just commit myself and my ways to You, Lord. That Your will will be done in my life. You do what is best. You do what You know is best." And not to question and not to challenge and not to gripe and not to complain when things aren't going my way. Not to give God such a miserable time.

Oh again, if I were God, man, would I put a plug in some people's mouths as they come whining and complaining. And the minute I'd hear that, "Aw, God," I'd just... Whining to God. Of course, I'm very intolerable towards whining. Talk to my kids. Man, that's one thing I could never stand, a whining kid. And they learned that. My kids may do a lot of bad things, but they don't whine. And I can imagine God's attitude towards the constant griping and whining and all that He hears from people because He isn't doing something to suit me, to suit my way. To harmonize with my thoughts.

But yet, "as high as the heaven is above the earth." Now how high that is, I don't know and I don't think anybody knows, but it's out there. It's high. Just how high I don't know, but it's awfully high. So are God's thoughts higher than mine, and His ways are higher than mine. So surely the wisest thing I could ever do is just to commit my way unto the Lord and that's what the scripture tells me to do. "Commit your way unto the Lord, and He shall bring it to pass" ( Psalms 37:5 ). Whatever He plans. Whatever He purposes. He'll bring it to pass if I just commit my way to Him.

For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not thither, but it waters the earth, and makes it to bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it ( Isaiah 55:10-11 ).

Now God here uses a very common figure-an occurrence of nature, the rain and the snow, to illustrate His Word. How that they come down from heaven, even as God's Word has come to us not as an invention of man as some would have you to think, but "all scripture is given by inspiration of God" ( 2 Timothy 3:16 ). "Holy men of old wrote as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit" ( 2 Peter 1:21 ). God's Word is come to us from heaven and the purpose of God's Word is to work here on earth, not to work in heaven, but it's to work here on earth. Its effect and its fruit and its result is here on earth.

Now even as rain comes down to water the earth in order that it might spark into life, all of the potential that is there in that dirt, you look at a dry, parched, dusty field, barren. But yet in that dirt, in that dry field there's all kinds of latent life forms. Out on the desert, dry, parched sand. But just get a few inches of rain, the beauty, the glory that is there as the rain sparks into life. All of the seeds and everything else that are there and the desert turns purple. It turns yellow. It turns golden. It turns blue with all of the beautiful flowers, as the seeds have been touched by the rain and brought forth into life. So our lives as God's Word comes to us is able to transform our lives and bring into life that spirit.

The Word of God is that which comes to our spirit and brings life to our spirit and thus brings forth all of the glory and the potential of our being. Man without the Word of God remains dead, lifeless, barren, deserty. But oh, when God's Word like rain begins to just soak my life, the fruit, the results as it waters in order that it might bud blossoms forth. "To give seed to the sower and bread to the eater." The first effect of God's work in my life is towards me, what it has done for me. And the second is bread to the eater, what God can do through me in helping others. "So is My Word, it shall not return unto Me void." God's Word will not come back void. "He that goeth forth with weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again, bringing the sheaves with him" ( Psalms 126:6 ).

You go forth with the Word of God, the seed. Now the seed is the Word, Jesus said. You go forth bearing the precious seed, the Word of God, carrying it to others. Doubtless you're going to come again with a harvest. For God's Word will not return unto Him void. Now learn to start using the Word and quit defending it. It doesn't need your defense. It needs that you just use the Word of God. How many people have started to read the Bible in order that they might learn it better so that they can better argue against it and have ended up believing. I think of Lou Madison in our congregation here, and his wife loved the Lord, was a Christian. And Lou was so angry. With his engineering mind, he was going to read the Bible so that he could just tear to shreds her whole faith. Destroy it. And as he got to reading the Bible in order that he might destroy his wife's faith, God's Word didn't return void, and faith was planted in Lou's heart. They ended up together in the faith instead of out of the faith, because God's Word won't return void. If a person would only read with an open heart, "God's Word will not return void, it shall accomplish that which God pleases, it shall prosper in the thing for which God sent it."

Now God has sent His Word to bring you hope, to bring you encouragement, to bring you joy, to bring you life. And all of these things will come to you as you read the Word of God. It's not going to return void. It's going to accomplish the purposes for which He has sent it. So how important for us to just let the Word of God soak into our lives. Just each day get a new drenching of God's Word and just let it soak in. Oh, how it will cause your life to just bud forth with glory and the beauty.

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and the trees of the field shall clap their hands ( Isaiah 55:12 ).

Oh, that person who is saturated in the Word of God. All nature seems to just come into harmony and into tune. It's just glorious as you come into harmony with God, you come into harmony with the nature around you. And you begin to see things you never saw before. I've always said, hey, if you're not a Christian be sure that you give your life to the Lord before you take your vacation. You cannot enjoy your vacation completely unless you have Christ in your heart. And I'll tell you, you'll see things through Christ-filled eyes that you have never seen before. Those flowers that you used to just trample down in the meadows, you'll be enthralled with them, with their design, with their color, with their beauty. You'll see new things. The hills will break forth into singing. The trees will clap their hands. And oh, you'll just come in tune and in harmony with God's creation.

Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off ( Isaiah 55:13 ).

God's glorious day of restoration. The glorious thing about teaching the Word of God I never need to worry about the result because God's Word won't return void. He's going to accomplish the purposes for which He sent it. And I can always know that you're going to go away and be blessed because you've been here. And that's sort of comforting to know. If I stood up here and gave you my word all evening, then I'd worry all week about what had happened to it. But because we give to you God's word, we commend you now unto the Word of God. That God might work in your life His glorious work as now by the Spirit He makes application of the truths to your life and as He begins His work of enriching you in His love through His grace.

May God be with you this week and keep your life steadfast in Him. And may you grow up into Christ in all things as your life comes into that place of maturity that God wants you to know and to experience in Jesus Christ. And thus may your life be rich and full as God's Word works in you through the Spirit. "

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Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Free salvation 55:1-5

The people would need to listen to and rely on God’s unconditional promise, but their salvation would cost them nothing.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Again the Lord urged the hearers (everyone) to come to Him. He pressed them to listen to what He was saying, twice. God Himself is the feast. The result for them would be life, real life as opposed to the vain life described above (Isaiah 55:2). Real life would involve living under an everlasting covenant that God would make with His people. This is probably a reference to the New Covenant, since the implication is that God would make it in the future (cf. Isaiah 54:10).

While Jeremiah 31:31 says that Yahweh would make a new covenant "with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah," that covenant is the one under which all the people of God have lived since Jesus ratified it (2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 8:8-12). Its benefits are not all exclusively for Israel, though some of its benefits are exclusively for Israel and these benefits will only come into Israel’s possession in the Millennium. Jesus terminated the Mosaic Covenant (Mark 7:19; Romans 10:4; Romans 14:14; Hebrews 8:6 to Hebrews 9:22; et al.) and ratified the New Covenant (Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25) with His blood when He died on the Cross.

However, this could be a reference to the Davidic Covenant, which is also eternal (cf. 2 Samuel 7:16). [Note: J. Martin, p. 1110; Dyer, in The Old . . ., p. 576.] This new covenant would be in full harmony with God’s promises to David, in the Davidic Covenant, regarding David’s descendant who would rule over his house forever (2 Samuel 7:12-16; 1 Chronicles 17:23-26; Psalms 89:35-38; cf. Isaiah 9:6; Luke 1:32-33; Acts 13:34).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.

Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Incline your ear, and come unto me,.... The exhortations are repeated, to show the importance of them, how welcome these persons were to the Lord, and to his house, and his earnest and tender care and concern for them:

hear, and your soul shall live; or, "that your soul may live f"; spiritually and eternally. There must be life before hearing; men must be made alive before they can come to Christ spiritually, or hear his word so as to have a spiritual understanding of it, or savingly believe it; but the meaning is, that by coming and hearing the word of the Lord, they should have something to live upon, good, solid, substantial food; and that they should live comfortably and plentifully, and that for ever. It was reckoned a great absurdity in Sunlungus, a Chinese philosopher, who asserted g that a man had three ears, one different from the two that are seen; it is true in a spiritual sense.

And I will make an everlasting covenant with you; which is to be understood not of the covenant of works, nor of the covenant of circumcision, nor of the Sinai covenant; but of the covenant of grace, which is an "everlasting one"; it is from everlasting, being founded in the everlasting love of God, is according to his eternal purposes; Christ is the Mediator of it, who as such was set up from everlasting, and the promises and blessings of it were so early put into his hands; and it will continue to everlasting, sure, firm, unalterable, and immovable. This, properly speaking, was made with Christ from all eternity, and his people in him; it is made manifest to them at conversion, when they are shown it, and their interest in it; when God makes himself known to them as their covenant God, and Christ as the Mediator of it is revealed to them; when the Lord puts his Spirit into them, and makes them partakers of the grace of it; shows them their interest in the blessings of it, and opens and applies the promises of it unto them; and these are made manifest in the ministration of the Gospel, and in the administration of ordinances: even "the sure mercies of David"; that is, the Messiah, the son of David, and his antitype, whence he is often called by his name,

Ezekiel 34:23, and so Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and others h, interpret it. The blessings of the covenant are called "mercies", because they spring from the mercy of God, as redemption, pardon of sin, regeneration, salvation, and eternal life; and they are the mercies of David, or of Christ, for the promises of them were made to him, and the things themselves put into his hands, and are ratified and confirmed by his blood, and through him come to his people: and these are "sure", firm, and steadfast, through the faithfulness and holiness of God, who has given them to Christ; through being in a covenant ordered in all things and sure; and also being in the hands of Christ, in whom the promises are yea and amen, and the blessings sure to all the seed; see Acts 13:34,

Acts 13:34- :.

f ותחי "ut vivat", Junius & Tremellius, Vitringa. g Martin. Hist. Sinic. l. 4. p. 170. h Abarbinel, Mashmiah Jeshuah, fol. 26, 1.

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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.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Evangelical Invitations. B. C. 706.

      1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.   2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.   3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.   4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.   5 Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.

      Here, I. We are all invited to come and take the benefit of that provision which the grace of God has made for poor souls in the new covenant, of that which is the heritage of the servants of the Lord (Isaiah 54:17; Isaiah 54:17), and not only their heritage hereafter, but their cup now, Isaiah 55:1; Isaiah 55:1. Observe,

      1. Who are invited: Ho, every one. Not the Jews only, to whom first the word of salvation was sent, but the Gentiles, the poor and the maimed, the halt and the blind, are called to this marriage supper, whoever can be picked up out of the highways and the hedges. It intimates that in Christ there is enough for all and enough for each, that ministers are to make a general offer of life and salvation to all, that in gospel times the invitation should be more largely made than it had been and should be sent to the Gentiles, and that the gospel covenant excludes none that do not exclude themselves. The invitation is published with an Oyez-Ho, take notice of it. He that has ears to hear let him hear.

      2. What is the qualification required in those that shall be welcome--they must thirst. All shall be welcome to gospel grace upon those terms only that gospel grace be welcome to them. Those that are satisfied with the world and its enjoyments for a portion, and seek not for a happiness in the favour of God,--those that depend upon the merit of their own works for a righteousness, and see no need they have of Christ and his righteousness,--these do not thirst; they have no sense of their need, are in no pain or uneasiness about their souls, and therefore will not condescend so far as to be beholden to Christ. But those that thirst are invited to the waters, as those that labour, and are heavy-laden, are invited to Christ for rest. Note, Where God gives grace he first gives a thirsting after it; and, where he has given a thirsting after it, he will give it, Psalms 81:10.

      3. Whither they are invited: Come you to the waters. Come to the water-side, to the ports, and quays, and wharfs, on the navigable rivers, into which goods are imported; thither come and buy, for that is the market-place of foreign commodities; and to us they would have been for ever foreign if Christ had not brought in an everlasting righteousness. Come to Christ; for he is the fountain opened; he is the rock smitten. Come to holy ordinances, to those streams that make glad the city of our God; come to them, and though they may seem to you plain and common things, like waters, yet to those who believe in Christ the things signified will be as wine and mile, abundantly refreshing. Come to the healing waters; come to the living waters. Whoever will, let him come, and partake of the waters of life,Revelation 22:17. Our Saviour referred to it, John 7:37. If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink.

      4. What they are invited to do. (1.) Come, and buy. Never did any tradesman court customers that he hoped to get by as Christ courts us to that which we only are to be gainers by. "Come and buy, and we can assure you you shall have a good bargain, which you will never repent of nor lose by. Come and buy; make it your own by an application of the grace of the gospel to yourselves; make it your own upon Christ's terms, nay, your own upon any terms, nor deliberating whether you shall agree to them." (2.) "Come, and eat; make it still more your own, as that which we eat is more our own than that which we only buy." We must buy the truth, not that we may lay it by to be looked at, but that we may feed and feast upon it, and that the spiritual life may be nourished and strengthened by it. We must buy necessary provisions for our souls, be willing to part with any thing, though ever so dear to us, so that we may but have Christ and his graces and comforts. We must part with sin, because it is an opposition to Christ, part with all opinion of our own righteousness, as standing in competition with Christ, and part with life itself, and its most necessary supports, rather than quit our interest in Christ. And, when we have bought what we need, let us not deny ourselves the comfortable use of it, but enjoy it, and eat the labour of our hands: Buy, and eat.

      5. What is the provision they are invited to: "Come, and buy wine and milk, which will not only quench the thirst" (fair water would do that), "but nourish the body, and revive the spirits." The world comes short of our expectations. We promise ourselves, at least, water in it, but we are disappointed of that, as the troops of Tema,Job 6:19. But Christ outdoes our expectations. We come to the waters, and would be glad of them, but we find there wine and milk, which were the staple commodities of the tribe of Judah, and which the Shiloh of that tribe is furnished with to entertain the gathering of the people to him,Genesis 49:10; Genesis 49:12. His eyes shall be red with wine and his teeth white with milk. We must come to Christ, to have milk for babes, to nourish and cherish those that are but lately born again; and with him strong men shall find that which will be a cordial to them: they shall have wine to make glad their hearts. We must part with our puddle-water, nay, with our poison, that we may procure this wine and milk.

      6. The free communication of this provision: Buy it without money, and without price. A strange way of buying, not only without ready money (that is common enough), but without any money, or the promise of any; yet it seems not so strange to those who have observed Christ's counsel to Laodicea, that was wretchedly poor, to come and buy,Revelation 3:17; Revelation 3:18. Our buying without money intimates, (1.) That the gifts offered us are invaluable and such as no price can be set upon. Wisdom is that which cannot be gotten for gold. (2.) That he who offers them has no need of us, nor of any returns we can make him. He makes us these proposals, not because he has occasion to sell, but because he has a disposition to give. (3.) That the things offered are already bought and paid for. Christ purchased them at the full value, with price, not with money, but with his own blood,1 Peter 1:19. (4.) That we shall be welcome to the benefits of the promise, though we are utterly unworthy of them, and cannot make a tender of any thing that looks like a valuable consideration. We ourselves are not of any value, nor is any thing we have or can do, and we must own it, that, if Christ and heaven be ours, we may see ourselves for ever indebted to free grace.

      II. We are earnestly pressed and persuaded (and O that we would be prevailed with!) to accept this invitation, and make this good bargain for ourselves.

      1. That which we are persuaded to is to hearken to God and to his proposals: "Hearken diligently unto me,Isaiah 55:2; Isaiah 55:2. Not only give me the hearing, but approve of what I say, and apply it to yourselves (Isaiah 55:3; Isaiah 55:3): Incline your ear, as you do to that which you find yourselves concerned in and pleased with; bow the ear, and let the proud heart stoop to the humbling methods of the gospel; bend the ear this way, that you may hear with attention and remark; hear, and come unto me; not only come and treat with me, but comply with me, come up to my terms;" accept God's offers as very advantageous; answer his demands as very fit and reasonable.

      2. The arguments used to persuade us to this are taken,

      (1.) From the unspeakable wrong we do to ourselves if we neglect and refuse this invitation: "Wherefore do you spend money for that which is not bread, which will not yield you, no, not beggar's food, dry bread, when with me you may have wine and milk without money? Wherefore do you spend your labour and toil for that which will not be so much as dry bread to you, for it satisfies not?" See here, [1.] The vanity of the things of this world. They are not bread, not proper food for a soul; they afford no suitable nourishment or refreshment. Bread is the staff of the natural life, but it affords no support at all to the spiritual life. All the wealth and pleasure in the world will not make one meal's meat for a soul. Eternal truth and eternal good are the only food for a rational and immortal soul, the life of which consists in reconciliation and conformity to God, and in union and communion with him, which the things of the world will not at all befriend. They satisfy not; they yield not any solid comfort and content to the soul, nor enable it to say, "Now I have what I would have." Nay, they do not satisfy even the appetites of the body. The more men have the more they would have, Ecclesiastes 1:8. Haman was unsatisfied in the midst of his abundance. They flatter, but they do not fill; they please for a while, like the dream of a hungry man, who awakes and his soul is empty. They soon surfeit, but they never satisfy; they cloy a man, but do not content him, or make him truly easy. It is all vanity and vexation. [2.] The folly of the children of this world. They spend their money and labour for these uncertain unsatisfying things. Rich people live by their money, poor people by their labour; but both mistake their truest interest, while the one is trading, the other toiling, for the world, both promising themselves satisfaction and happiness in it, but both miserably disappointed. God vouchsafes compassionately to reason with them: "Wherefore do you thus act against your own interest? Why do you suffer yourselves to be thus imposed upon?" Let us reason with ourselves, and let the result of these reasonings be a holy resolution not to labour for the meat that perishes, but for that which endures to everlasting life,John 6:27. Let all the disappointments we meet with in the world help to drive us to Christ, and lead us to seek for satisfaction in him only. This is the way to make sure which will be made sure.

      (2.) From the unspeakable kindness we do to ourselves if we accept this invitation and comply with it. [1.] hereby we secure to ourselves present pleasure and satisfaction: "If you hearken to Christ, you eat that which is good, which is both wholesome and pleasant, good in itself and good for you." God's good word and promise, a good conscience, and the comforts of God's good Spirit, are a continual feast to those that hearken diligently and obediently to Christ. Their souls shall delight themselves in fatness, that is, in the riches and most grateful delights. Here the invitation is not, "Come, and buy," lest that should discourage, but, "Come, and eat; come and entertain yourselves with that which will be abundantly pleasing; eat, O friends!" It is sad to think that men should need to be courted thus to their own bliss. [2.] Hereby we secure to ourselves lasting happiness: "Hear, and your soul shall live; you shall not only be saved from perishing eternally, but you shall be eternally blessed:" for less than that cannot be the life of an immortal soul. The words of Christ are spirit and life, life to spirits (John 6:33; John 6:63), the words of this life, Acts 5:20. On what easy terms is happiness offered to us! It is but "Hear, and you shall live." [3.] The great God graciously secures all this to us: "Come to me, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, will put myself into covenant-relations and under covenant-engagements to you, and thereby settle upon you the sure mercies of David." Note, First, If we come to God to serve him, he will covenant with us to do us good and make us happy; such are his condescension to us and concern for us. Secondly, God's covenant with us is an everlasting covenant--its contrivance from everlasting, its continuance to everlasting. Thirdly, The benefits of this covenant are mercies suited to our case, who, being miserable, are the proper objects of mercy. They come from God's mercy, and are ordered every way in kindness to us. Fourthly, They are the mercies of David, such mercies as God promised to David (Psalms 89:28; Psalms 89:29, c.), which are called the mercies of David his servant, and are appealed to by Solomon, 2 Chronicles 6:42. It shall be a covenant as sure as that with David, Jeremiah 33:25; Jeremiah 33:26. The covenant of royalty was a figure of the covenant of grace, 2 Samuel 23:5. Or, rather, by David here we are to understand the Messiah. Covenant-mercies are all his mercies; they are purchased by him; they are promised in him; they are treasured up in his hand, and out of his hand they are dispensed to us. He is the Mediator and trustee of the covenant; to him this is applied, Acts 13:34. They are the ta hosia (the word used there, and by the Septuagint here)--the holy things of David, for they are confirmed by the holiness of God (Psalms 89:35) and are intended to advance holiness among men. Fifthly, They are sure mercies. The covenant, being well-ordered in all things, is sure. It is sure in the general proposal of it; God is real and sincere, serious and in earnest, in the offer of these mercies. It is sure in the particular application of it to believers; God's gifts and callings are without repentance. They are the mercies of David, and therefore sure, for in Christ the promises are all yea and amen.

      III. Jesus Christ is promised for the making good of all the other promises which we are here invited to accept of, Isaiah 55:4; Isaiah 55:4. He is that David whose sure mercies all the blessings and benefits of the covenant are. "And God has given him in his purpose and promise, has constituted and appointed him, and in the fulness of time will as surely send him as if he had already come, to be all that to us which is necessary to our having the benefit of these preparations." He has given him freely; for what more free than a gift? There was nothing in us to merit such a favour, but Christ is the gift of God. We want one, 1. To attest the truth of the promises which we are invited to take the benefit of; and Christ is given for a witness that God is willing to receive us into his favour upon gospel terms, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers, that we may venture our souls upon those promises with entire satisfaction. Christ is a faithful witness, we may take his word--a competent witness, for he lay in the bosom of the Father from eternity, and was perfectly apprised of the whole matter. Christ, as a prophet, testifies the will of God to the world; and to believe is to receive his testimony. 2. To assist us in closing with the invitation, and coming up to the terms of it. We know not how to find the way to the waters where we are to be supplied, but Christ is given to be a leader. We know not what to do that we may be qualified or it, and become sharers in it, but he is given for a commander, to show us what to do and enable us to do it. Much difficulty and opposition lie in our way to Christ; we have spiritual enemies to grapple with, but, to animate us for the conflict, we have a good captain, like Joshua, a leader and commander to tread our enemies under our feet and to put us in possession of the land of promise. Christ is a commander by his precept and a leader by his example; our business is to obey him and follow him.

      IV. The Master of the feast being fixed, it is next to be furnished with guests, for the provision shall not be lost, nor made in vain, Isaiah 55:5; Isaiah 55:5. 1. The Gentiles shall be called to this feast, shall be invited out of the highways and the hedges: "Thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, that is, that was not formerly called and owned as thy nation, that thou didst not send prophets to as to Israel, the people whom God knew above all the families of the earth." The Gentiles shall now be favoured as they never were before; their knowing God is said to be rather their being known of God,Galatians 4:9. 2. They shall come at the call: Nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee; those that had long been afar off from Christ shall be made nigh; those that had been running from him shall run to him, with the greatest speed and alacrity imaginable. There shall be a concourse of believing Gentiles to Christ, who, being lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to him. Now see the reason, (1.) Why the Gentiles will thus flock to Christ; it is because of the Lord his God, because he is the Son of God, and is declared to be so with power, because they now see his God is one with whom they have to do, and there is no coming to him as their God but by making an interest in his Son. Those that are brought to be acquainted with God, and understand how the concern lies between them and him, cannot but run to Jesus Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, and there is no coming to God but by him. (2.) Why God will bring them to him; it is because he is the Holy One of Israel, true to his promises, and he has promised to glorify him by giving him the heathen for his inheritance. When Greeks began to enquire after Christ he said, The hour has come that the Son of man should be glorified,John 12:22; John 12:23. And his being glorified in his resurrection and ascension was the great argument by which multitudes were wrought upon to run to him.

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Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.