vs. 1-7 -
SINS. God’s mercy is such that it even overflows upon those who are
outside the covenant (v. 1). It
has been offered to
rejected it. Their rebellion, their idolatries, and their pride have caused, and
must continue to cause, their punishment (vers. 2-7).
v. 1 - Paul applies this text to the calling of the Gentiles
in Romans 10:20
v. 2 – “I have spread out my hands all the day” - or, all day long,
as in Romans 10:21; i.e. continually, day after day, for years - nay,
" unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that is not good, after
their OWN THOUGHTS"
(comp. Isaiah 30:1; Isaiah 1:4, 23; Hosea 4:16; Jeremiah 5:23; 6:28).
The “rebellions people” is
not good” rather, in the way that is not good; i.e. the “way of sinners”
(Psalm 1:1) — the “way that leadeth to destruction” (Matthew 7:13).
v. 3 - "A PEOPLE that provoketh me to anger continually to
“that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick” –
their idolatrous practices were intimately bound up with the grossest
and most shameless sensualism.
v. 5 - “Stand by thyself” - ; i.e. “keep aloof — come not into contact
with me; for mine is a higher holiness than thine, and I should be polluted
by thy near approach.” Initiation into heathen mysteries was thought to
confer on the initiated a holiness unattainable otherwise. Thus the
heathenized Jew claimed to be holier than the true servants of Jehovah.
(Wouldn’t it be sad if the world’s attraction for contemporary Christianity
would be a like form of “heathenized Christianity?”- also - Parallel today -
the secularists look down their nose at Fundamentalists – fuel for the wrath
of God - ch. 66:24 – CY – 2009) “These are a smoke… a fire” - (comp.
Psalm 18:8, “There went up a smoke out of His nostrils, and fire out of His
mouth devoured; coals were kindled by it”). The heathenized Jews are fuel
for the wrath of God, which kindles a fire wherein they burn continually
(comp. Isaiah 66:24
v. 6 – “It is written before me” - The misconduct of His people is
“written” in God’s book, which lies open “before him,” so that their sin is
ever in his sight (comp. Psalm 56:8; Malachi 3:16; Revelation 20:12).
“I will not keep silence” - (comp. Psalm 50:3,21). “Keeping silence” is
a metaphor for complete inaction. – “But will recompense” - rather, until
I have recompensed, yea, recompensed [them] into their bosoms (comp.
Luke 6:38). Gifts were given and received into the fold of the beged, or
cloak, which depended in front of the bosom – also – v. 7 – “I will measure
their former work into their bosom”
v. 7 – “your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together”
vs. 8-10 - SALVATION PROMISED TO A REMNANT. In Isaiah,
and especially in the “Book of Consolation” (Isaiah 40-66.), promises are
almost always intermingled with threatenings. The threats extend to the
bulk of the nation; the promises are limited to “a remnant,” since a remnant
only could be brought to “seek” and serve God (v. 10). Here the
announcement that a remnant would be spared is introduced by a simile
from men’s treatment of their own vineyards (v. 8).
v. 8 – “As the new wine is found in the cluster”; rather, as when new
wine is found in a grape-bunch; i.e. as when even a single cluster of grapes
is spied on a vine-stem, the vine-pruners say one to another, “Destroy not
that stem, but spare it,” so will God refrain from destroying those stocks in
His vineyard, which give even a small promise of bearing good fruit.
(For God’s dealings with His people see Christ’s words in John 15:1-8 - CY)
“Destroy it not” - The words are thought to be those of a well-known
vintage-song, which is perhaps alluded to in the heading (Al-taschith)
prefixed to Psalm 57., 58., and 59. “Each of these psalms was probably
sung to the air of this favourite song” (Cheyne). A blessing is in it; i.e. “a
boon from God”!
vs. 11-16 - A MIXTURE OF THREATS WITH PROMISES. The
prophet returns, in the main, to his former attitude, and resumes his
denunciations (vs. 11-12); but, with v. 13, he begins to intermingle
promises of favor to God’s servants with threats against the rebellious,
and finally (in v. 16) turns wholly towards the side of grace and favor,
announcing the coming of a time when “the former troubles” will be
altogether “forgotten,” and the kingdom of truth and right will be
v. 12 – “”but did EVIL BEFORE MINE EYES, and did CHOOSE THAT
WHEREIN I DELIGHTED NOT”
v. 13 – “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, My servants shall eat,
but ye shall be hungry” - This entire series of contrasts may be understood in
two ways; literally, of the two classes of exiles, the religious and the
irreligious; metaphorically, of God’s servants and His adversaries at all
times and in all places. The religious exiles would return to the land of
promise as soon as permitted, and would there prosper in a worldly sense
— have abundance to eat and drink, rejoice, and sing for joy (Ezra
3:11-13). The irreligious,
thirst, endure shame, cry and howl for sorrow and vexation of spirit. This
would be one fulfilment of the prophecy; but there would also be another.
God’s servants at all times and in all places would be sustained with
spiritual food, and “rejoice and sing for joy of heart.” His adversaries
would everywhere feel a craving for the “meat” and “drink,” which alone
satisfy the soul, and would be oppressed with care, and with a sense of
shame, and suffer anguish of spirit.
vs. 13-14 - Man is so constituted that nothing short of his highest good
contents him – earthly blessings, health, wealth, success, fame,
power, glory - leave a void in the heart which nothing worldly
can fill up – (This by God’s Design – CY – 2009)
Only God can content man - "whosoever drinketh shall never thirst ...
it shall be a well of water springing up into everlasting life" - John 4:14
“my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow
of heart and shall howl for vexation of spirit”
Howling "for vexation of spirit" - the realization that one has entirely
missed the true aim of life! (Contemplate the SAD truth of Matthew 8:11-12 –
and Luke 13:28 – CY - 2009)
v. 15 – “Ye shall leave your name for a curse” - God's adversaries are a
curse on the earth -
THEIR PRESENCE POLLUTES THE EARTH AND MAKES IT
NECESSARY "that the first heaven and the first earth pass away"
"and call His servants by another name" - Christians
Compare ch. 62:2 and “New names” will be given to individual saints in the
heavenly kingdom (Revelation 2:17; 3:12).
v. 16 – “That he who blesses himself in the God of truth; literally, in the God
of the Amen; i.e. the God who keeps covenant and promise, to which the
strongest formula of consent was the word “Amen” (see Numbers 5:22;
Deuteronomy 27:15-26; 1 Kings 1:36). Similarly,
“the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness” (Revelation 3:14) –
“because the former troubles are forgotten” - When the blessed time has
come wherein men call themselves by the Name of the Lord, and know of
only one God as the Source of blessing and the confirmation of an oath, then
the former state of human affairs, with all its “troubles,” will have passed
away, and the new era will be inaugurated, which the prophet proceeds to
describe at length (vs. 17-25).
vs. 17-25. — A PROMISE OF NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW
EARTH. The final answer of God to the complaint and prayer of His
people (ch. 64:12) is now given. The entire existing state of things is to pass
away. God will create a new heaven and a new earth, and place His people
therein; and the old conditions will be all changed, and the old grounds of
complaint disappear. In the “new Jerusalem”:
world and man. There will be no violence of any kind, no living thing will
kill or hurt another in all God’s “holy mountain” (v. 25).
v. 17 – “I create. The same verb is used as in Genesis 1:1; and the
prophet’s idea seems to be that the existing heaven and earth are to be
entirely destroyed (see Isaiah 24:19, 20 – see II Peter 3:10-13 and a fresh
heaven and earth created in their place out of nothing. The “new
germ of the teaching will be found in Isaiah 51:16 - “The former shall
not be remembered” - Some suppose “the former troubles” (v. 16) to
be meant; but it is best (with Delitzsch) to understand “the former heavens
and earth.” The glory of the new heavens and earth would be such that the
former ones would not only not be regretted, but would not even be had in
remembrance. No one would so much as think of them.
v. 18 – “I create
the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband”). The description which
follows in vs. 11-12 is quite unlike that of the old
The “new Jerusalem” was to be from the first all joy and rejoicing — a
scene of perpetual gladness. Her people also was to be “a joy” or “a
delight,” since God would delight in them (v. 19).
v. 19 – “The voice of weeping shall be no more heard” - (comp.
Revelation 21:4). The reasons there given are satisfactory: “There shall
be no more death, neither sorrow… neither shall there be any more pain.”
But these reasons scarcely apply here. For Isaiah’s “new Jerusalem” is not
without death (v. 20), nor without sorrow, since it is not without sin
(v. 20), nor, as there is death there, is it without pain. Isaiah’s picture,
according to Delitzsch, represents the millennial state, not the final
condition of the redeemed; but this trait — the absence of all weeping —
can only be literally true of the final state.
v. 20 – “There shall be no more thence an infant of days” - i.e. there
shall not go from the new Jerusalem into the unseen world any infant of a
few days old. On the contrary, even “the youth” shall reach a hundred; i.e.
one who dies when he is a hundred shall be regarded as cut off in his youth.
The general rule shall be, that old men shall “fill their days,” or attain to
patriarchal longevity. Even the sinner, who is under the curse of God, shall
not be cut off till he is a hundred. What is most remarkable in the
description is that death and sin are represented as still continuing. Death
was spoken of as “swallowed up in victory” in one of the earlier
descriptions of Messiah’s kingdom (Isaiah 25:8).
v. 21 – “They shall build houses, and inhabit them” - The curse
pronounced on apostasy in Deuteronomy 28:15-68 shall no more rest on
God’s people. They shall have the fruition of their labors. No enemy shall
be able to deprive them of their crops and houses.
v. 22 – “As the days of a tree are the days of my people” - Trees
endure for many hundreds, perhaps for thousands of years. The cedars of
centuries. Isaiah may have had a knowledge of other trees to which
attached the tradition of a yet longer existence. In our own day
millennium. “Mine elect shall long enjoy” - literally, shall wear out; i.e.
have the full use and enjoyment of the work of their hands.
v. 23 – “They shall not… bring forth for trouble” - Their women shall
not bear children to see them carried off after a few days, or months, or
years, by disease, or accident, or famine, or the sword of the invader.
There shall be an end of such “troubles,” and, God’s blessing resting upon
those who are His children, their children shall, as a general rule, “be with
them;” i.e. remain to them during their lifetime, and not be lost to them by
a premature decease.
v. 24 – “Before they call, I will answer” - God is always “more ready to
hear than we to pray.” In the “new Jerusalem” He will be prompt to answer
His people’s prayers almost before they are uttered. It is involved in this, as
Delitzsch notes, that the will of the people shall be in harmony with the will
of Jehovah, and that their prayers will therefore be acceptable prayers.
v. 25 – “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together” - (comp. Isaiah 11:6-8;
Hosea 2:18). The portraiture here is far less elaborate than in
the earlier chapter, to which the present passage may be regarded as a
reference. (For the sense in which the entire picture is to be understood,
see the comment upon Isaiah 11:6-9 – SEE ADDITIONAL NOTES BELOW).
“Dust shall be the serpent’s meat” - Here we have a new feature, not contained
in the earlier description. Serpents shall become harmless, anD instead of preying
upon beasts, or birds, or reptiles, shall be content with the food assigned them in
the primeval decree, “Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all
the days of thy life” (Genesis 3:14). Mr. Cheyne appositely notes that
“much dust is the food of the shades in the Assyrio-Babylonian Hades”
(see the “Legend of Ishtar” in the ‘Records of the Past,’ vol. 1. p. 143, line
8). “They shall not hurt nor destroy” - Repeated from Isaiah 11:9, word
for word. In neither case should we regard the subject of the sentence as
limited to the animals only. The meaning is that there shall be no violence
of any kind, done either by man or beast, in the happy period described.
The will of the people will be in harmony with the
will of God!
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Isaiah 11:6-9. — Messiah’s kingdom, when fully realized, shall be one of
perfect peace. “They shall neither hurt nor destroy in all his holy
mountain.” Primarily, no doubt, the passage is figurative, and points to
harmony among men, who, in Messiah’s kingdom, shall no longer prey one
upon another (see especially v. 9). But, from the highest spiritual
standpoint, the figure itself becomes a reality, and it is seen that, if in the
“new heavens and new earth” there is an animal creation, it will be fitting
that there harmony should equally prevail among the inferior creation.
Human sin may not have introduced rapine and violence among the beasts
— at least, geologists tell us that animals preyed one upon another long
before the earth was the habitation of man — but still man’s influence may
prevail to eradicate the beasts’ natural impulses and educate them to
something higher. Already domestication produces an accord and harmony
that is in a certain sense against nature. May not this be carried further in
the course of ages?
v. 6 – “The wolf... the leopard... the young lion… the bear” - are the
only ferocious animals of
alligator, and the jaguar are unknown. That the Palestinian bear was
carnivorous, and a danger to man, appears by Lamentations 3:10;
Daniel 7:5; Amos 5:19 – “A little child shall lead them” - Man’s
superiority over the brute creation shall continue, and even be augmented.
The most powerful beasts shall submit to the control of a child.
v. 7 – “The lion shall eat straw” - (comp. Isaiah 65:25). There is
nothing impossible in this. Cats are fond of some kinds of vegetable food.
v. 8 – “The sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp” - rather, by
the hole — near it.
The “asp” is probably the Coluber Naje of
whose bite is very deadly – “the cockatrice den” - The “cockatrice” is another
deadly serpent, perhaps the Daboia xanthina (Tristram, ‘Natural Hist. of
v. 9 – “My holy mountain” - As the Jewish Church is always bound up
with the “holy hill of Zion,” so the Messianic one receives the designation
of “the mountain of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:3; 30:29; Micah 4:2), or
“the holy mountain” (Zechariah 8:3). What was physically true of the
type is transferred to the antitype, which is “a city set upon a hill” (Matthew
5:14) in a certain sense. “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the
Lord” - (comp. Habakkuk 2:14; Joel 2:28; Matthew 28:19). A fruitful
knowledge, guiding and influencing conduct, seems to be intended (see
below, Isaiah 54:13, “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and
great shall be the peace of thy children”) – “As the waters cover the sea;
i.e. “as the ocean covers and fills the bed prepared for it.”
v. 6 - Men’s Sins Recorded in God’s Book.
As far back as the time of Moses, God announced through him that men’s
sins were “laid up in store with him, and sealed up among His treasures”
(Deuteronomy 32:34). All will be taken into consideration at the time of
judgment, and all will be set forth in the sight of men and angels. There is
nothing “secret” which shall not then be “revealed,” or “hid” which shall not
be “known.” - Luke 12:2 - Men will be judged and sentenced “according to
their works” (Revelation 20:13) — “For we must all appear before the
judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his
body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad”
(2 Corinthians 5:10)
vs. 8-10 – “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” –
Certainly, if it were not for God’s abounding mercy; if the sight of a people
given up to sin did not raise in Him as much pity as indignation, as much
compassion as resentment. After all, they are His children; they are His people;
they are “all the work of His hands” (Isaiah 64:8). God, in His compassion,
pours out His grace freely under such circumstances. He seeks among the lost,
if so be that any among them may be saved. He offers His grace to them all,
presses it upon them, “spreads out his hands all the day” to the rebels,
entreating them to return and submit themselves, and be saved.
vs. 13-15 - The Contrasts of the Religious with the Irreligious Life.
GOD’S SERVANTS BRING A BLESSING UPON THE EARTH;
HIS ADVERSARIES LEAVE THEIR NAME AS A CURSE TO IT. “A
little leaven leaveneth the whole lump”: (1 Corinthians 5:6). God would
It is the existence of His servants upon the earth that especially
commends the earth to His care, and causes Him to watch over it, to
sustain it, and to bless the increase of it. The “salt of the earth” (Matthew
5:13)if you will (CY- 2009) Moreover, the servants of God are a blessing to
mankind at large:
God’s adversaries, on the contrary, are in every respect a curse to the
earth. They debase its moral tone; they stir up strife in it; they are the
authors of war, bloodshed, enmities, calumnies, uncleanness, variance,
sedition, heresy, blasphemy, and the like; they caused God once to
“repent that He had made man on the earth” (Genesis 6:6), and
they cause Him continually to look upon the earth with more or less
of disfavour. Their presence pollutes the earth, and makes it necessary
that “the first heaven and the first earth” shall “pass away”
(Revelation 21:1), and be superseded by “new heavens and a new
earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).
(I can never over-emphasize the truth of Revelation 11:18 which
teaches that the ACLU, secular humanists and those libertines
who promote the demise of family, perverted life styles and
are anti-Christ and anti-God are BRINGING THE WORLD TO
AN END MUCH MORE QUICKLY THAN GLOBAL WARMING AND
OTHER OF THEIR PET PROJECTS – (CY - 2009)
God will “destroy them which destroy the earth” – Revelation 11:18