Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
applying to the entire book: this
discountenances the Talmud tradition, that he was sawn asunder by
Isaiah--equivalent to "The Lord shall save"; significant of the
subject of his prophecies. On "vision," see
and see my
Judah and Jerusalem--Other nations also are the subjects of his
prophecies; but only in their relation to the Jews
so also the ten tribes of Israel are introduced only in the same
Jerusalem is particularly specified, being the site of the temple, and
the center of the theocracy, and the future throne of Messiah
(Ps 48:2, 3, 9;
Jesus Christ is the "Lion of the tribe of Judah"
Uzziah--called also Azariah
2Ch 26:1, 17, 20).
The Old Testament prophecies spiritually interpret the histories, as
the New Testament Epistles interpret the Gospels and Acts. Study them
together, to see their spiritual relations. Isaiah prophesied for only
a few years before Uzziah's death; but his prophecies of that period
apply to Jotham's reign also, in which he probably wrote none;
enters immediately on Ahaz' reign, after Uzziah in
the prophecies under Hezekiah follow next.
2. The very words of Moses
this implies that the law was the charter and basis of all
Lord--Jehovah; in Hebrew, "the self-existing and
promise-fulfilling, unchangeable One." The Jews never pronounced this
holy name, but substituted Adonai. The English Version,
capitals, marks the Hebrew "Jehovah," though Lord is rather
equivalent to "Adonai" than "Jehovah."
and as subjects, God being king in the theocracy
"Brought up," literally, "elevated," namely, to peculiar privileges
Ro 9:4, 5).
crib--the stall where it is fed
Spiritually the word and ordinances.
Israel--The whole nation, Judah as well as Israel, in the restricted
sense. God regards His covenant-people in their designed unity.
not know--namely, his Owner, as the parallelism requires; that is,
not recognize Him as such
equivalent to "my people,"
Joh 1:10, 11).
consider--attend to his Master
notwithstanding the spiritual food which He provides (answering
to "crib" in the parallel clause).
4. people--the peculiar designation of God's elect nation
that they should be "laden with iniquity" is therefore the more
monstrous. Sin is a load
seed--another appellation of God's elect
designed to be a "holy seed"
but, awful to say, "evildoers!"
yet "evildoers"; not only so, but "corrupters" of others
the climax. So "nation--people--seed children."
provoked--literally, "despised," namely, so as to provoke
(Pr 1:30, 31).
Holy One of Israel--the peculiar heinousness of their sin, that it
was against their God
gone . . . backward--literally, "estranged"
5. Why--rather, as Vulgate, "On what part." Image from a body
covered all over with marks of blows
There is no part in which you have not been smitten.
head . . . sick, &c.--not referring, as it is commonly
quoted, to their sins, but to the universality of their
punishment. However, sin, the moral disease of the head
or intellect, and the heart, is doubtless made its own
"Sick," literally, "is in a state of sickness" [GESENIUS]; "has passed into sickness" [MAURER].
6. From the lowest to the highest of the people; "the ancient and
honorable, the head, the prophet that teacheth lies, the tail." See
He first states their wretched condition, obvious to all
and then, not previously, their irreligious state, the cause of it.
mollified with ointment--The art of medicine in the East consists
chiefly in external applications
7. Judah had not in Uzziah's reign recovered from the ravages of the
Syrians in Joash's reign
and of Israel in Amaziah's reign
(2Ch 25:13, 23,
&c.). Compare Isaiah's contemporary
where, as here
(Isa 1:9, 10),
Israel is compared to "Sodom and Gomorrah," because of the judgments on
it by "fire."
in your presence--before your eyes: without your being able to
desolate, &c.--literally, "there is desolation, such as one might
look for from foreign" invaders.
8. daughter of Zion--the city
Jerusalem and its inhabitants
"daughter" (feminine, singular being used as a neuter collective
noun), equivalent to sons
Margin) [MAURER]. Metropolis or
"mother-city" is the corresponding term. The idea of youthful beauty is
included in "daughter."
left--as a remnant escaping the general destruction.
cottage--a hut, made to give temporary shelter to the caretaker
of the vineyard.
besieged--rather, as "left," and
require, preserved, namely, from the desolation all round
9. Jehovah of Sabaoth, that is, God of the angelic and starry hosts
(Ps 59:5; 147:4; 148:2).
The latter were objects of idolatry, called hence Sabaism
God is above even them
"The groves" were symbols of these starry hosts; it was their worship
of Sabaoth instead of the Lord of Sabaoth, which had caused the present
It needed no less a power than His, to preserve even a "remnant."
Condescending grace for the elect's sake, since He has no need of us,
seeing that He has countless hosts to serve Him.
11. God does not here absolutely disparage sacrifice, which is as
old and universal as sin
(Ge 3:21; 4:4),
and sin is almost as old as the world; but sacrifice, unaccompanied
with obedience of heart and life
Ps 50:9-13; 51:16-19;
Positive precepts are only means; moral obedience is the
end. A foreshadowing of the gospel, when the One real sacrifice was to
supersede all the shadowy ones, and "bring in everlasting
(Ps 40:6, 7;
full--to satiety; weary of
burnt offerings--burnt whole, except the blood, which was sprinkled
about the altar.
fat--not to be eaten by man, but burnt on the altar
(Le 3:4, 5, 11, 17).
12. appear before me--in the temple where the Shekinah, resting on
the ark, was the symbol of God's presence
who hath required this--as if you were doing God a service by such
God did require it
but not in this spirit
(Mic 6:6, 7).
courts--areas, in which the worshippers were. None but priests
entered the temple itself.
13. oblations--unbloody; "meat (old English sense, not flesh)
offerings," that is, of flour, fruits, oil, &c.
incense--put upon the sacrifices, and burnt on the altar of incense.
Type of prayer
new moons--observed as festivals
(Nu 10:10; 28:11, 14)
with sacrifices and blowing of silver trumpets.
sabbaths--both the seventh day and the beginning and closing days of
the great feasts
away with--bear, MAURER translates, "I cannot bear iniquity and the solemn meeting," that is, the meeting associated with
iniquity--literally, the closing days of the feasts; so the great
14. appointed--the sabbath, passover, pentecost, day of atonement,
and feast of tabernacles [HENGSTENBERG];
they alone were fixed to certain times of the year.
La 3:43, 44).
spread . . . hands--in prayer
Hebrew, "bloods," for all heinous sins, persecution of
God's servants especially
It was the vocation of the prophets to dispel the delusion, so contrary
to the law itself
that outward ritualism would satisfy God.
16. God saith to the sinner, "Wash you," &c., that he, finding
his inability to "make" himself "clean," may cry to God, Wash me,
(Ps 51:2, 7, 10).
before mine eyes--not mere outward reformation before man's
eyes, who cannot, as God, see into the heart
17. seek judgment--justice, as magistrates, instead of
(Jer 22:3, 16).
18. God deigns to argue the case with us, that all may see the just,
nay, loving principle of His dealings with men
scarlet--the color of Jesus Christ's robe when bearing our "sins"
So Rahab's thread
The rabbins say that when the lot used to be taken, a scarlet fillet
was bound on the scapegoat's head, and after the high priest had
confessed his and the people's sins over it, the fillet became
white: the miracle ceased, according to them, forty years before the
destruction of Jerusalem, that is, exactly when Jesus Christ was
crucified; a remarkable admission of adversaries. Hebrew for
"scarlet" radically means double-dyed; so the deep-fixed permanency of sin in the heart, which no mere tears can wash away.
Repentance is presupposed, before sin can be made white as snow
(Isa 1:19, 20);
it too is God's gift
end; La 5:21;
red--refers to "blood"
as wool--restored to its original undyed whiteness. This verse shows
that the old fathers did not look only for transitory promises (Article
VII, Book of Common Prayer). For sins of ignorance, and such like,
alone had trespass offerings appointed for them; greater guilt therefore
needed a greater sacrifice, for, "without shedding of blood there was no
remission"; but none such was appointed, and yet forgiveness was
promised and expected; therefore spiritual Jews must have looked for the
One Mediator of both Old Testament and New Testament, though dimly
19, 20. Temporal blessings in "the land of their possession"
were prominent in the Old Testament promises, as suited to the childhood
of the Church
New Testament spiritual promises derive their imagery from the
20. Lord hath spoken it--Isaiah's prophecies rest on the law
God alters not His word
(Numbers 23. 19).
21. faithful--as a wife
(Isa 54:5; 62:5;
Ho 2:19, 20).
murderers--murderous oppressors, as the antithesis requires
22. Thy princes and people are degenerate in "solid worth,"
equivalent to "silver"
(Jer 6:28, 30;
Eze 22:18, 19),
and in their use of the living Word, equivalent to "wine"
mixed--literally, "circumcised." So the Arabic, "to murder"
wine, equivalent to dilute it.
23. companions of thieves--by connivance
A nation's corruption begins with its rulers.
24. Lord . . . Lord--Adonai,
mighty One of Israel--mighty to take vengeance, as before, to save.
ease me--My long tried patience will find relief in at last
punishing the guilty
God's language condescends to human conceptions.
25. turn . . . hand--not in wrath, but in grace
"upon thee," as
Isa 1:26, 27
show; contrasted with the enemies, of whom He will avenge
purely--literally, "as alkali purifies."
thy dross--not thy sins, but the sinful persons
degenerate princes (see on
intermingled with the elect "remnant" of grace.
tin--Hebrew, bedil, here the alloy of lead, tin, &c., separated
by smelting from the silver. The pious Bishop Bedell took his motto from
26. As the degeneracy had shown itself most in the magistrates
so, at the "restoration," these shall be such as the theocracy "at the
first" had contemplated, namely, after the Babylonish restoration in
part and typically, but fully and antitypically under Messiah
(Isa 32:1; 52:8;
faithful--no longer "an harlot."
27. redeemed--temporarily, civilly, and morally; type of the
spiritual redemption by the price of Jesus Christ's blood
(1Pe 1:18, 19),
the foundation of "judgment" and "righteousness," and so of
pardon. The judgment and righteousness are God's first
so they become man's when "converted"
(Ro 8:3, 4);
typified in the display of God's "justice," then exhibited in
delivering His covenant-people, whereby justice or "righteousness" was
produced in them.
converts--so MAURER. But Margin,
"they that return of her,"
namely the remnant that return from captivity. However, as Isaiah had
not yet expressly foretold the Babylonian captivity, the
English Version is better.
28. destruction--literally, "breaking into shivers"
The prophets hasten forward to the final extinction of the ungodly
Re 19:20; 20:15);
of which antecedent judgments are types.
oaks--Others translate the "terebinth" or "turpentine tree." Groves
were dedicated to idols. Our Druids took their name from the Greek for "oaks." A sacred tree is often found in Assyrian sculpture; symbol
of the starry hosts, Saba.
gardens--planted enclosures for idolatry; the counterpart of the
garden of Eden.
30. oak--Ye shall be like the "oaks," the object of your "desire"
People become like the gods they worship; they never rise above their
So men's sins become their own scourges
The leaf of the idol oak fades by a law of necessary consequence,
having no living sap or "water" from God. So "garden" answers to
31. strong--powerful rulers
maker of it--rather, his work. He shall be at once the fuel, "tow,"
and the cause of the fire, by kindling the first "spark."
both--the wicked ruler, and "his work," which "is as a spark."