I S A I A H.
The prophet, in this chapter, has his commission
and charge renewed to reprove the sinners in Zion, particularly the
hypocrites, to show them their transgressions, ver. 1. It is intended for admonition and
warning to all hypocrites, and is not to be confined to those of
any one age. Some refer it primarily to those at that time when
Isaiah prophesied; see chap. xxxiii. 14; xxix. 13. Others
to the captives in Babylon, the wicked among them, to whom the
prophet had declared there was no peace ch. lvii. 21. Against the terror of that
word they thought to shelter themselves with their external
performances, particularly their fastings, which they kept up in
Babylon, and for some time after their return to their own land,
Zech. vii. 3, &c. The
prophet therefore here shows them that their devotions would not
entitle them to peace while their conversations were not at all of
a piece with them. Others think it is principally intended against
the hypocrisy of the Jews, especially the Pharisees before and in
our Saviour's time: they boasted of their fastings, but Christ (as
the prophet here) showed them their transgressions (Matt. xxiii.), much the same with
those they are here charged with. Observe, I. The plausible
profession of religion which they made, ver. 2. II. The boasts they made of that
profession, and the blame they laid upon God for taking no more
notice of it, ver. 3. III.
The sins they are charged with, which spoiled the acceptableness of
their fasts, ver. 4, 5.
IV. Instructions given them how to keep fasts aright, ver. 6, 7. V. Precious promises
made to those who do so keep fasts, ver. 8-12. VI. The like precious promises
made to those that sanctify sabbaths aright, ver. 13, 14.