vs. 1-2 - THE EARLY DEATH OF RIGHTEOUS MEN
ACCOUNTED FOR. The Hebrews were given to expect that long life
should, as a general rule, accompany righteousness (Exodus 20:12;
1 Kings 3:14; Psalm 91:16; Proverbs 3:1, 2); and under the
Mosaical dispensation we must suppose that it did so. But there were
exceptions to the rule. Wicked persecutors, like Ahab, Jezebel, and
Athaliah, cut off the righteous ere they had seen half their days. So
probably did Manasseh. “Surely at the commandment of the Lord
came this upon
of Mannaseh, according to all that he did; and also for the innocent
blood that he
shed: for he filled
which the Lord WOULD NOT PARDON” - (2 Kings 24:3, 4). And
God sometimes removed the righteous from earth by a natural death before
they had grown old (Ecclesiastes 7:15; 8:14). At the time of which Isaiah is
here speaking there had been such removals; and of this he takes note, partly to
rebuke those who lightly passed over the phenomenon, partly to justify
God’s ways to such as were perplexed by it. (compare I Timothy 5:24-25
It is thought that Isaiah was sawn asunder (Hebrews 11:37) by Mannaseh .
v. 1 – “The righteous perisheth” - The word translated “perisheth” does
not imply any violence; but the context implies a premature death. The
righteous disappear — are taken from the earth before their natural time.
Yet no man layeth it to heart; i.e. no one asks what it means — no one is
disturbed, no one grieves. The general feeling was either one of
indifference, or of relief at the departure of one whose life was a
reproach to his neighbours.
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“the righteous is taken away from the evil to come” – Noah was
preserved in the
ark, Lot was drug out of
teaches a RAPTURE of God’s people during the trouble to come,
a la – THE TRIBULATION - will the above scenario be repeated
when “no man layeth it to heart”? Compare the popular LEFT BEHIND
series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins – (CY – 2009)
v. 2 - a contrast of the state of peace (“they shall rest in their beds, each
one walking in his uprightness”) with the awful troubles
that survivors will have to face.
vs. 3-14 -
Though Hezekiah had made a great reformation of religion when he
ascended the throne(2 Kings 18:4; 2 Chronicles 29:3-19), and had
done his best to put down idolatry, yet it was still dear to large numbers
among the people, and was easily revived by Manasseh in the earlier
portion of his reign (2 Chronicles 33:2-9). Isaiah now rebukes various
kinds of idolatrous practices, and shows the vanity of them.
vs. 3-4 - "sons of the sorceress, seed of the adulterer and
"children of transgression, a seed of falsehood" - children
The following from the Pulpit Commentary on vs. 4-5 remind me
so much of what is occurring today as
media attack Christianity – “caveat emptor” – let the consumer
beware – would be good advice for those of us who live today, LEST
WE TOO, END UP LIKE THE ISRAELITES OF THAT DAY!
(CY – 2009)
v. 4 – “Against whom do ye sport yourselves? The idolatrous
Israelites here addressed, no doubt, made a mock of the few righteous who
were still living among them, and vexed their souls, as his fellow-townsmen
did the soul of “just
mouth” at them, and “drew out the tongue” in derision (comp.Psalm 22:7;
35:21). The prophet asks, “Against whom do ye do this? Is it not
rather against God, whose servants these men are, than against them?” Are
ye not children of transgression? rather, are ye not, yourselves, children
of apostasy? and therefore more truly objects of scorn than they? “A seed
of falsehood” - Idols were viewed by Isaiah as “lies” (saiah 45:20;
Romans 1:25; Revelation 22:15). Idolaters were therefore “a seed
of falsehood” — men who put their trust in a lie.
v. 5 – “Inflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree”
(comp. Isaiah 1:29; 65:3; 66:17; and see also 2 Kings 16:4; 17:10;
Jeremiah 2:20; 3:6.). The reference is, as Mr. Cheyne says, to the
“orgiastic cults’ in the sacred groves of Palestinian heathenism.” The
nature of these cults is well stated by Professor Dollinger (‘Jew and
Gentile,’ vol. 1. p. 430): “At the spring festival, called by some the ‘brandfeast,’
by others that of torches, which was attended by streams of visitors
from every country, huge trees were burnt, with the offerings suspended on
them. Even children were sacrificed; they were put into a leathern bag, and
thrown the whole height of the temple to the bottom, with the shocking
expression that they were calves, and not children. In the fore-court stood
two gigantic phalli. To the exciting din of drums, flutes, and inspired songs,
the Galli (I find it ironical that one of the people who promotes, such as
mentioned here in Isaiah, in the Voice of the People in the local paper, The
Kentucky New Era, last name is Galli – CY – 2009) cut themselves on the
]arms; and the effect of this act, and of the music accompanying it, was
so strong upon mere spectators, that all their bodily and mental powers were
thrown into a tumult of excitement; and they too, seized by the desire to
lacerate themselves, deprived themselves of their manhood by means of
potsherds lying ready for the purpose.” “Slaying the children in the valleys
under the clefts of the rocks” - “shall I give my firstborn for my trans-
gression, the fruit of my body for the SIN OF MY SOUL?” – Micah 6:7
The sacrifice of their children to Moloch was largely practised by the Jews in
the later period of the
introduced by the superstitious Ahaz, the father of Hezekiah, who “made
his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the
heathen” (2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chronicles 28:3). Suspended during the
reign of Hezekiah, it was renewed under Manasseh, who followed the
example of his grandfather in himself sacrificing one of his sons (2
Kings 21:6). Under the last three kings it prevailed to a very wide extent,
and the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel are loud in their denunciations of it
(Jeremiah 7:31, 32; 19:2-6; 32:35; (I think it noteworthy that God, who is
OMNISCIENT, had never thought of requiring an abortion – CY – 2009)
Ezekiel 16:20; 20:26; 23:37).
v. 8 - Ezekiel 8:12 - No one knows what goes on behind
closed doors - song
advertisement - what happens here stays here -
"thy remembrance" - a memorial - some idolatrous symbol
or emblem newly adopted by the Jews - a sort of talisman -
many commentators think it was of a phallic character -
Ezekiel 16:17 – “images of men”
"thou sawest it" - you saw indecency!
v. 9 - "didst debase thyself even unto hell" – There was nothing
lower in religion than the worship of Moloch.
v. 10 – “Thou are wearied in the greatness of thy way” –
traveled far and wide from God in her quest for aid from others
v. 11 - How absurd to be driven by fear of man into
offending God! They had ceased to fear Him and
had feared men instead?
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” – Proverbs 1:7
v. 13 - "he that puttest his trust in me shall possess the land"
In that dread hour the crisis shall turn to their advantage!
v. 14 - "take up the stumbling block out of the way of
God always has attendants upon Him, in the courts of
Heaven, angelic beings of varied powers and capacities
stand before Him in adoration and are eager to go
whithersoever He may send them to effect His purposes.
"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to
minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
God places them upon the walls of the new Jerusalem to
watch - ch. 62:6-7
vs. 15-21 - A PROMISE OF SALVATION TO THE HUMBLE
AND PENITENT, WITH A FURTHER THREAT AGAINST THE
WICKED. The prophet, in this portion of his discourse, whereof “comfort”
is the key-note (Isaiah 40:1), can never continue threatening long
without relapsing into a tone of tenderness and pity. He now sets against
his long denunciation (in vs. 3-12) an ample promise (vs. 15-19), and
against his brief encouragement (in vs. 13-14) a short menace (vs. 20-21).
v. 15 - God "dwells in the high and holy place" and yet
at the same time "with him also that is of an humble
and contrite spirit" - "though the Lord be high yet
hath He respect to the lowly" - Psalm 138:6
The heaven of heavens cannot contain Him but He
chooses to dwell within a human heart!!!!
It is an extraordinary condescension and humility that
God should bring Himself down to the level of man, hold
communion with him, "dwell" with him and "heal" him!
THE GRATITUDE OF MEN SHOULD CORRESPOND
TO THE CONDESCENSION OF GOD!!!
v. 17 – “For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth” - Among
the sins that angered God most against the Jews of the later kingdom of
continually to oppress their weaker brethren, to remove their neighbours’
landmarks, to harass them with lawsuits, to obtain from the courts corrupt
judgments against them, and so to strip them of their inheritances (see
Isaiah 1:15-23; 3:5, 14, 15; 5:8, 23; Jeremiah 6:13; Ezekiel 33:31).
Isaiah selects the sin of covetousness here, as typical or
of the entire class of
striking indication of that alienation of their hearts from God, which
constituted their real guilt, and was the true cause of their punishment.
"and smote him" - the form of the verb
marks repeated action
- God gave
warnings before the final catastrophe!
"I hid me" - during the 140 years between the
ascension of Hezekiah and the Captivity.
vs. 20-21 - The sea's restless action well expresses
the unquiet of the wicked: and the mud and
mire that it casts up resembles their evil
thoughts and deeds.
"There is no peace" for such persons, either bodily
or spiritual, either in this world or the world to
Mr. Spurgeon says "the only way that sinners can
be happy is by thoughtlessness"
v. 15 - The Humility of God.
An ancient Jewish writer says, “Wherever the Scripture bears witness to
the Divine mightiness, it brings out side by side with it the Divine
humbleness” (‘Megilla,’ 31, a); and this is nowhere more strikingly
manifested than in the present passage. God “dwells in the high and holy
place” — in the most exalted sphere to which human thought can possibly
mount; and yet at the same time he dwells with the human spirit that is
humble and crushed. As Delitzsch says, “The heaven of heavens is not too
great for him, and a human heart is not too small for him, to dwell in.” He
who sits upon the cherubim, and hears the seraphim praise him with
ceaseless voice, does not scorn also to “dwell among the sighs of a poor
human soul.” Note, in connection with this theme —
I. THAT ALL GOD’S PROVIDENTIAL DEALINGS WITH THE
THINGS THAT HE HAS CREATED ARE A CONDESCENSION. It is
necessary that he should “humble himself” even to “behold the things
which are in heaven and earth” (Psalm 113:6). He is infinitely above
these things — their “goodness extendeth not to him” (Psalm 16:2). All
contact with them is contact of the higher with the lower, and involves
necessarily the higher stooping from His high estate. The distance between
Him and the highest of the angels is an infinite distance. His condescending
to accept the praises of the angels is an infinite condescension.
II. THAT IT IS A GREATER CONDESCENSION FOR GOD TO
HAVE DEALINGS WITH MEN THAN WITH ANGELS. Angels are
pure, at any rate, from the taint of sin. God may “tax them with folly”
(Job 4:18), but he does not tax them with sin. There is no barrier of
iniquity or impurity between God and the lowest angel. But with man the
case is different. Man is “very far gone from original righteousness.” He
has corrupted his way before God. The best man “has sinned, and come
short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23). “What then is man, that God
should be mindful of him? or the son of man, that he should visit him?”
(Psalm 8:4). It is an extraordinary condescension and humility that God
should bring himself down to the level of man, hold communion with him,
“dwell” with him, “heal” him. Yet He does this. Although His throne is in
heaven, “yet his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men”
(Psalm 11:4). He “looks down from heaven upon them” (Psalm
14:2). “From the place of His habitation He beholdeth all the dwellers on
the earth” (Psalm 33:14). THE GRATITUDE OF MEN SHOULD
CORRESPOND TO THE CONDESCENSION OF GOD!
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