Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
The reason why Jehovah does not deliver His people, notwithstanding
their religious services
is not want of power on His part, but because of their sins
contain their confession;
the consequent promise of the Messiah.
1. hand . . . shortened--(See on
2. hid--Hebrew, "caused Him to hide"
hands . . . fingers--Not merely the "hands" perpetrate deeds of
grosser enormity ("blood"), but the "fingers" commit more minute acts of "iniquity."
lips . . . tongue--The lips "speak" openly "lies," the
tongue "mutters" malicious insinuations
("perverseness"; perverse misrepresentations of others)
(Jer 6:28; 9:4).
4. Rather, "No one calleth an adversary into court with justice,"
that is, None bringeth a just suit: "No one pleadeth with truth."
they trust . . . iniquity--(So
5. cockatrice--probably the basilisk serpent, cerastes. Instead
of crushing evil in the egg, they foster it.
spider's web--This refers not to the spider's web being made to
entrap, but to its thinness, as contrasted with substantial
shows. Their works are vain and transitory
eateth . . . their eggs--he who partakes in their plans, or
has anything to do with them, finds them pestiferous.
that which is crushed--The egg, when it is broken, breaketh out as
a viper; their plans, however specious in their undeveloped form like
the egg, when developed, are found pernicious. Though the viper is
viviparous (from which "vi-per" is derived), yet during gestation, the
young are included in eggs, which break at the birth
metaphors often combine things without representing everything to the
6. not . . . garments--like the "fig leaves" wherewith Adam and Eve
vainly tried to cover their shame, as contrasted with "the coats of
skins" which the Lord God made to clothe them with
The artificial self-deceiving sophisms of human philosophy
2Ti 2:16, 23).
7. feet--All their members are active in evil; in
the "hands, fingers, lips, and tongue," are specified.
run . . . haste--
Contrast David's "running and hasting" in the ways of God
(Ps 119:32, 60).
thoughts--not merely their acts, but their whole thoughts.
8. peace--whether in relation to God, to their own conscience, or to
their fellow men
(Isa 57:20, 21).
crooked--the opposite of "straightforward"
(Pr 2:15; 28:18).
9. judgment far--retribution in kind because they had shown "no
judgment in their goings"
"The vindication of our just rights by God is withheld by Him from
and previous verses, it was "they," the third person; here, "us
. . . we," the first person. The nation here speaks: God thus
making them out of their own mouth condemn themselves; just as
He by His prophet had condemned them before. Isaiah includes
himself with his people and speaks in their name.
justice--God's justice bringing salvation
light--the dawn of returning prosperity.
10. grope--fulfilling Moses' threat
stumble at noon . . . as . . . night--There is no relaxation of our
evils; at the time when we might look for the noon of relief, there is
still the night of our calamity.
in desolate places--rather, to suit the parallel words "at noonday,"
in fertile (literally, "fat";
fields [GESENIUS] (where all is promising) we
are like the dead (who have no hope left them); or, where
others are prosperous, we wander about as dead men; true
of all unbelievers
11. roar--moan plaintively, like a hungry bear which growls for food.
salvation--retribution in kind: because not salvation, but
"destruction" was "in their paths"
thee . . . us--antithesis.
with us--that is, we are conscious of them
know--acknowledge they are our iniquities.
13. The particulars of the sins generally confessed in
Jer 2:19, 20).
The act, the word, and the thought of apostasy, are all here marked:
transgression and departing, &c.; lying (compare
and speaking, &c.; conceiving and uttering from the
14. Justice and righteousness are put away from our legal courts.
in the street--in the forum, the place of judicature, usually at the
gate of the city
cannot enter--is shut out from the forum, or courts of justice.
15. faileth--is not to be found.
he that departeth . . . prey--He that will not fall in
with the prevailing iniquity exposes himself as a prey to the wicked
(Ps 10:8, 9).
Lord saw it--The iniquity of Israel, so desperate as to require
nothing short of Jehovah's interposition to mend it, typifies the same
necessity for a Divine Mediator existing in the deep corruption of man;
Israel, the model nation, was chosen to illustrate his awful fact.
16. no man--namely, to atone by his righteousness for the
unrighteousness of the people. "Man" is emphatic, as in
no representative man able to retrieve the cause of fallen men
(Isa 41:28; 63:5, 6;
no intercessor--no one to interpose, "to help . . . uphold"
(Isa 40:10; 51:5).
Not man's arm, but His alone
(Ps 98:1; 44:3).
his righteousness--the "arm" of Messiah. He won the victory for us,
not by mere might as God, but by His invincible righteousness, as man having "the Spirit without measure"
(Isa 11:5; 42:6, 21; 51:8; 53:11;
17. Messiah is represented as a warrior armed at all points, going
forth to vindicate His people. Owing to the unity of Christ and His
people, their armor is like His, except that they have no "garments of
vengeance" (which is God's prerogative,
or "cloak of zeal" (in the sense of judicial fury
punishing the wicked; this zeal belongs properly to God,
"zeal," in the sense of anxiety for the Lord's honor, they have,
Nu 25:11, 13;
2Co 7:11; 9:2);
and for "salvation," which is of God alone
they have as their helmet, "the hope of salvation"
The "helmet of salvation" is attributed to them
(Eph 6:14, 17)
in a secondary sense; namely, derived from Him, and as yet only in
hope, not fruition
The second coming here, as often, is included in this
representation of Messiah. His "zeal"
at His first coming was but a type of His zeal and vengeance against
the foes of God at His second coming
18. deeds--Hebrew, "recompenses"; "according as their
deeds demand" [MAURER].
This verse predicts the judgments at the
Lord's second coming, which shall precede the final redemption of His
(Isa 66:18, 15, 16).
The result of God's judgments
(Isa 26:9; 66:18-20).
like a flood--
(Jer 46:7, 8;
lift up a standard--rather, from a different Hebrew root, "shall
put him to flight," "drive him away" [MAURER].
LOWTH, giving a different
sense to the Hebrew for "enemy" from that in
and a forced meaning to the Hebrew for "Spirit of the Lord,"
translates, "When He shall come as a river straitened in its
course, which a mighty wind drives along."
20. to Zion--
quotes it, "out of Zion." Thus Paul, by inspiration, supplements
the sense from
He was, and is come to Zion, first with redemption, being sprung
as man out of Zion. The Septuagint translates "for the
sake of Zion." Paul applies this verse to the coming restoration of
them that turn from--
"shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob"; so the Septuagint,
Paul herein gives the full sense under inspiration. They turn
from transgression, because He first turns them from it, and it from
21. covenant with them . . . thee--The covenant is with Christ, and with them only as united to Him
Jehovah addresses Messiah the representative and ideal Israel. The
literal and spiritual Israel are His seed, to whom the promise is to be
spirit . . . not depart . . . for ever--