Isaiah  56

 

 

 

vs. 1-8. — AN EXHORTATION TO OBSERVE THE LAW,

ESPECIALLY THE LAW OF THE SABBATH, COMBINED WITH

PROMISES. There was much of the Law which it was impossible to

observe during the Captivity. Sacrifice had ceased, the temple was

destroyed, almost all the ceremonial law must have been suspended; even

the command to do no work on the sabbath day cannot have been kept by

a nation of slaves, whose masters would certainly not have permitted them

to be idle one day in seven. Still, the spirit of the ordinance might be kept

by devoting the day, so far as was possible, to religious observance, as to

prayer and to meditation upon holy things. This is now enjoined on the

captive Jews, with the promise of a blessing — a blessing in which even the

most despised part of the nation, the proselytes and the eunuchs, might

participate.

 

A weekly prolonged meditation on holy things.

 

Do no work themselves, neither buying nor selling, making their devotions

longer, and keeping God in their thoughts throughout the day.

 

v. 1 – “my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed

 

The nearer the time of deliverance approaches, the more faithful and exact

ought Israel to be in life and conduct.   “Seeing then that all these things

shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy

conversation and godliness” – II Peter 3:11 – Concerning the Sabbath –

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of

some is; but exhorting one another:  and so much more as ye see the

day approaching” – Hebrews 10:25

 

God’s “salvation” and His “righteousness”

 go hand-in-hand.

 

 

v. 2 - "blessed is the man that doeth this"

 

v. 4 - "and choose the things that please me,  AND TAKE HOLD OF

MY COVENANT" – the Old Covenant was abrogated under the new – see

Deuteronomy 23:1

 

 

 

 

v. 5 – “unto them (eunuchs) will I give I give in mine house….a place and

            a name better than of sons and of daughters:  I will give them an

            everlasting name, that shall not be cut off” – What a promise!

 

v. 6 - "Also the sons of the stranger that.....taketh hold of my covenant" 

            (Gentiles) - All this will be a foretaste of their position in the

            Christian Church, where there will be neither Jew nor Gentile,

            neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, but a community where

            all are brethren and all have equal privileges.

 

 

v. 7  - "my house of prayer.....mine house shall be

            called an house of prayer for ALL PEOPLE"

 

In Solomon’s address to God at the dedication of the temple, its character,

as a house of prayer, is abundantly laid down (1 Kings 8:29-53). And no

doubt it was used for the purpose of prayer, as well as for the purpose of

sacrifice, from its first erection to its final destruction. But the purpose of

sacrifice so far predominated, in fact, over the other, that the expression,

my house of prayer,” comes upon us in this place to some extent as a

surprise. The prophet seems to anticipate the time when the temple should be

emphatically a proseuch> (Place of Prayer) the legal sacrifices having received

their fulfillment (Isaiah 53:10), and being thenceforth superfluous and out of

place –“For all people”-   rather, for all the peoples. All the ends of the earth

were to see the salvation of God (Psalm 98:3); “All nations were to fall down

before Him; all people to do Him service” (Psalm 72:11)

 

v. 8 – “The Lord God-  rather, the Lord Jehovah — Adonai Jehovah.

An unusual phrase – “Which gathereth together the outcasts of Israel; i.e.

the Lord who has pledged Himself to bring back Israel from captivity, and

to gather together Israel’s outcasts from all regions (Isaiah 11:11; 27:12, 13;

43:5, 6). This same Lord now promises something further: “He will gather

others also to Israel, besides his own gathered ones.”  Introduced with such

emphasis and formality, this was probably, when delivered, a new revelation.

In the present arrangement of the prophecies, however, it announces no novelty.

The addition of Gentile members to the Israelite community has been declared

frequently (see Isaiah 44:5; 55:5,

 

            A WARNING TO THE WICKED (ISAIH 56:9 thru 57:21).

 

vs. 9-12 - THE BLIND GUIDES OF ISRAEL REBUKED. A sudden

change of style marks the introduction of an entirely new prophecy. The

eye of the prophet, apparently, goes back from the period of the exile,

which he has been so long contemplating, to his own day, or at any rate to

the pre-exile period, and rests upon Israel in their own land. He sees them

misled by their teachers (vs. 10-12), given to idolatry (Isaiah 57:3-9),

and offering themselves a ready prey to their enemies (Isaiah 56:9).

 

"Excerpted text Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.

Materials are reproduced by permission."

 

v. 10 - His watchmen are blind.  Israel’s “watchmen” are His guides

and teachers, the prophets (Jeremiah 6:17; Ezekiel 3:17; Habakkuk 2:1).

At the time of which Isaiah speaks, they are “blind” (Isaiah 29:18; 35:5;

42:7, 16, 18, 19; 43:8), or without knowledge — like the

blind guides” of the Gospel (Matthew 15:14; Luke 6:39).

They have not the spiritual discernment which would enable them to lead

the people aright. Further, they are dumb dogs. Instead of acting as

faithful watch-dogs, who give warning of the approach of danger by their

barking, they remain apathetic, and utter no warning at all. It is as if they

passed their lives in sleep.

 

vs. 11-12 - Three defects of the prophets of the time, negligent of duty,

            covetous and given to excess of wine.

 

Those who look to their own way and seek their own gain are WHOLLY

UNFIT to bear the message of God!

 

THEY ARE WORLDLY MINDED, NOT SPIRITUALLY MINDED –

they are greedy after gain or as the New Testament calls it “filthy

lucre” -