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Book of the Prophet ISAIAH.
J"SA I-l H began to prophesy about seven hundred and sixty years before Christ, and continued to exercise his office in the reigns of Uzxiah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Manasseh, by whom it is general'.y thought he was sawn asunder, after a faithful discharge of his office for more than sixty years. He was contemporary with the prophets Hosea, Joel, Amos, and Micah. He is remarkable for loftiness of thought and style; his images are often borrowed from the appendages of royalty, (which were familiar to him, being one of the royal family ;) and are elegant and noble. His prophecies, especially of the Messiah, are so clear, minute, and circumstantial, that they might often, teem to be rather narratives of things past, than predictions of things to come; hence he is commonly called the Evangelical prophet; and it is observed, that there are more fiassages cited in the New Testament out of this one prophet, than out of all the others. Of these prophecies, the five first chapters are generally supposed to have been delivered in the reign of Uzziah, the sixth in the reign of Jotham, the following chapters to the fifteenth, in the reign of Ahaz, and the remainder in that of Hezekiah.
This chapter contains a severe remonstrance against the ingratitude and corruptions of the Jews in that age; warm exhortations to repentance; heavy threatenings to the impenitent; and, after previous corrections, gracious promises of better times.
1 7 I HIE vision of Isaiah, or, the clear discovery that was made
J- to Isaiah, the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Julian and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, kings of Judah. The profihet, with a boldness and majesty becoming the herald of the most High, begins with calling on
2 the whole creation to attend when Jehovah speaks. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled
3 against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: [but] Israel doth not know their relation to «r, ihy
people doth not consider the great tilings that I have done far A them. Ah sinful nation i an expression of wonder, anger, grief, and shame, a people laden with iniquity, guilty of great and heinous sins, a seed of evil doers, a generation treading in the s-'eps of their forefathers, children that are corrupters, or destroyers, both of themselves and others: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward, grown worse and worse, and insolently turned
5 their backs ufion me. Why should ye be stricken any more ?. ye will revolt more and more; intimating that corrections were intended for their amendment, but that when found ineffectual God would cease to use them: the whole head is sick, and the whole
6 heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head [there is] no soundness in it; [but] wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment; the whole state is corrupt, and no at
7 temfits are made for reformation. Therefore Your country [is] desolate, your cities [are] burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and [it is] desolate, as over
8 thrown by strangers.• And the daughter of Zion, that is, Jerusalem, is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city ; it is contemptible, like a mean hut in a vineyard, which is not regarded when the vintage is over; or rather, like a besieged city, from which every one is glad to fee.
9 Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a lery small remnant, a few good men, we should have been as Sodom, [and] we should have been like unto Gomorrah, entirely swallowed up-and. destroyed.
10 Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah, ye who are
11 like them in wickedness. To what purpose [is] the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: 1 am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not
12 in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? who hath required such kind of attendance
13 without sincerity and a pious disposition? Bring no mere vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto nie; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, 1 cannot away with;
14 [it is] iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble
15 unto me; I am weary to bear [them.] And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, 1 willnot hear, nor regard your services: your hands are full of blood; cruelty, oppression, and murder are found among you.
IB Therefore, if you hope for acceptance, Wash ye, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes;
• This was probably uttered in the reign of Ahaz, or when Jerusalem was besieged by Sennacherib.
17 cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve tJie
18 oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, and accommodate the difference that is bet-ween us, saith the Loud: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow ; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool; your sins shall be fully pardoned z
19 and no: only so, but, If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat
20 the good of the land, enjoy all sorts of temporal blessings: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken [it.]
21 How is \ht faithful city become an harlot ?• it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it, in the time of David antl Solomon; but now murderers, and consequently many other hsin
22 ous criminals. Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water; corruption is mingled with every thing that is good:
23 Thy princes [are] rebellious against God, and companions of thieves, unjust w men :' every one loveth gilts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them; they refuse to do right to
24 those that cannot bribe them. Therefore saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, 1 will ease met
25 of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies: And 1 will turn my hand upon thee, to punish those things which 1 have connived at before, and purely purge away thy dross, and take
26 away all thy tin, separate the bad from the good: And afier the captivity I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning, as in the time of the judges: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faith
27 ful city. Zion shall be redeemed, or saved, with judgment, and her converts, those that return from the captivity, with righttous
28 ness. And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners [shall be] together, and they that forsake the Lord shall be
29 consumed. For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen ; they shall be ashamed and confounded when they see that their gods which were worshipped in groves and gai
SO dens, cannot save them. For as ye have sinned under oaks and in gardens, so ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water, deprived of all your enjoyments and
31 delights. And the strong shall be as tow, and the maker of it . as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench [them ;] the makers and the worshippers of idols shall be easily consumed by my judgments, yea, their work shall be as a spark, that is the instrument of consuming them.
, Cities :ire often repres-nrcd bv women. Tenualem was once a faithful betrothed virgin; till: covenant between her and God wxs faithfully kept.
t An expressinn taken from men, who fmd ease in vent ng their anger and puubhutg incoirigible otlendcrs.
I. "^TATIONAL sins bring national judgments. This. chapter contains a beautiful and strong description of the wickedness of Israel, aggravated by all the great things which (lod had done for them; who, not being reformed by corrections, should be awfully punished; and neither their holy nor royal city should secure them. Corruptions of the body politic, like the cancer or leprosy spreading over the natural body, are exceeding dangerous and loathsome, and will end in death; the few good men that remain preserve it. This calls for our humiliation, lest, resembling Israel in guilt, we should suffer like them. Let us labour to be ourselves of the remnant, and increase the number of those who stand in the gap.
2. How dangerous is it to rest in the externals of religion, while obedience is wanting. This people were punctual in their sacrifices and ritual observances; they kept their feasts, and prayed; yea, made many prayers, and spread forth their hands, to show their earnestness. But God would not hear; yea, he was greatly displeased, even by their religious exercises, because they continued wicked. If men are ever so zealous for the forms of religion, yet are destitute of the power of it, violate the laws of God, injure and oppress their brethren, all their prayers and services are hypocrisy. He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, shall find thai Cod will turn away his ear from hearing his prayer.
3. We see the grace of God in inviting sinners to return to him, and the happy consequences of such returns. What ample encouragement is here given to this wicked people! Scarlet and crimson sins shall be pardoned, p^ace restored, and public blessings continued, if they will turn to God, be obedient to his laws, and w illing and cheerful in his service. Thus does God reason the case with sinners now; thus does he promise them mercy upon their repentance; and if they will not hear, their condemnation w ill be righteous, and God will be justified when he judgeth them.
This chapter begins with a prophecy of the establishment of the gospel, and then proceeds to foretell the destruction of the Israelites for their idolatry, referring principally to the captivity.
1 r I THE word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning
2 JL Judah and Jerusalem." And it shall come to pass in the last days, the days of the Messiah, under the christian dispensation, [that] the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills ; and all nations shall flow unto it; the christian church shall be planted, become conspicuous, and befirmly established, as on
3 the top of a mountain. And many people shall go and say Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths ; an allusion to the Jews inviting one another to the great feasts; thus shall they join themselves to the christian church, and invite others to do *o; for out of Ziori shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusa
4 lem, the gospel shall be frst published there. And he shall judge among the nations by his ivord and providence, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks : nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more ; referring to the ficaceable tendency of the gospel, and the
5 union between Jews and Gentiles in the latter days. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk ip the light of the Lord ; the Jews in those days shall be invited to receive and improve this gra-, eious dispensation^
6 Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and [are] soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers, with the idolatry and superstitious practices cf the heathen ; glad of any strangers to teach them a new kind of
7 idolatry. Their land also is full of silver and gold, unjustly gotten, and abused, neither [is there any] end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, which was contrary to the law,
8 neither [is there any] end of their chariots. Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that
9 which their own fingers have made : And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself; men of all ranks end degrees give themselves up to stupid idolatry; therefore forgive them not, that is, they shall not be forgiven. Then follows the description of their being carried into captivity, and by thai means cured of their idolatry.
10 Enter into the rock, that is, ye shall enter into it, and hide thee in the dust, in order to conceal yourselves, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty ; 'when he ariseth to strike the
11 earth ivith terror.'• The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lordalone shall be exalted in that day; the impotence of idols shall be
12 demonstrated in the destruction of their worshippers. For the day of the L Or D of hosts, the day of his vengeance, [shall be] upon every [one that is] proud and lofty, and upon every [one that is] lifted
13 up ; and he shall he brought low: And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, [that are] high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of
14 Bashan, And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the
15 hills [that are] lifted up, And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall ; either literally, because their idolatries were practised on high places, or figuratively, on their great men and,;