Isa 65:1-25. God's Reply in
Justification of His Dealings with Israel.
In Isa 64:9,
their plea was, "we are all Thy people." In answer, God declares that
others (Gentiles) would be taken into covenant with Him, while
His ancient people would be rejected. The Jews were slow to believe
this; hence Paul says (Ro 10:20)
that Isaiah was "very bold" in advancing so unpopular a sentiment; he
implies what Paul states (Ro 2:28; 9:6, 7; 11:1-31), that "they are not all (in
opposition to the Jews' plea, Isa 64:9) Israel which are of Israel." God's
reason for so severely dealing with Israel is not changeableness in
Him, but sin in them (Isa 65:2-7). Yet the whole nation shall not be
destroyed, but only the wicked; a remnant shall be saved (Isa 65:8-10,
11-16). There shall be,
finally, universal blessedness to Israel, such as they had prayed for
1. I am sought—Hebrew, "I have
granted access unto Me to them," &c. (so Eze 14:3, "Should I be inquired of"; Eph 2:18).
found—Ro 10:20 renders this, "I was made manifest." As
an instance of the sentiment in the clause, "I am sought," &c., see
12:21; of the sentiment in
this clause, Ac 9:5.
Compare as to the Gentile converts, Eph 2:12, 13.
Behold me—(Isa 45:22).
nation … not called by my
name—that is, the Gentiles. God retorts in their own words
63:19) that their plea as
being exclusively "called by His name" will not avail, for God's gospel
invitation is not so exclusive (Ro 9:25; 1:16).
2. spread out … hands—inviting
them earnestly (Pr 1:24).
all … day—continually, late and
rebellious people—Israel, whose
rebellion was the occasion of God's turning to the Gentiles (Ro 11:11,
way … not good—that is, the very
reverse of good, very bad (Eze 36:31).
3. continually—answering to "all the
65:2). God was continually
inviting them, and they continually offending Him (De 32:21).
to my face—They made no attempt to
hide their sin (Isa 3:9).
Compare "before Me" (Ex 20:3).
in gardens—(See on Isa 1:29; Isa 66:17; Le 17:5).
altars of brick—Hebrew,
"bricks." God had commanded His altars to be of unhewn stone
20:25). This was in order to
separate them, even in external respects, from idolaters; also,
as all chiselling was forbidden, they could not inscribe superstitious
symbols on them as the heathen did. Bricks were more easily so
inscribed than stone; hence their use for the cuneiform inscriptions at
Babylon, and also for idolatrous altars. Some, not so well, have
supposed that the "bricks" here mean the flat brick-paved roofs
of houses on which they sacrificed to the sun, &c. (2Ki 23:12;
4. remain among … graves—namely,
for purposes of necromancy, as if to hold converse with the dead (Isa 8:19,
20; compare Mr 5:3); or, for the sake of purifications,
usually performed at night among sepulchres, to appease the manes
monuments—Hebrew, "pass the
night in hidden recesses," either the idol's inmost
shrines ("consecrated precincts") [Horsley], where they used to sleep, in order to have
divine communications in dreams [Jerome]; or better, on account of the parallel
"graves," sepulchral caves [Maurer].
eat swine's flesh—To eat it at all was
contrary to God's law (Le 11:7), but
it much increased their guilt that they ate it in idolatrous sacrifices
(compare Isa 66:17).
Varro (On Agriculture, 2.4) says
that swine were first used in sacrifices; the Latins sacrificed a pig
to Ceres; it was also offered on occasion of treaties and
broth—so called from the "pieces"
(Margin) or fragments of bread over which the broth was poured
[Gesenius]; such broth, made of swine's
flesh, offered in sacrifice, was thought to be especially acceptable to
the idol and was used in magic rites. Or, "fragments (pieces) of
abominable foods," &c. This fourth clause explains more fully the
third, as the second does the first [Maurer].
is in—rather, literally, "is their
vessels," that is, constitute their vessels' contents. The Jews, in our
Lord's days, and ever since the return from Babylon, have been free
from idolatry; still the imagery from idolatrous abominations, as being
the sin most loathsome in God's eyes and that most prevalent in
Isaiah's time, is employed to describe the foul sin of Israel in all
ages, culminating in their killing Messiah, and still rejecting
5. (Mt 9:11; Lu 5:30; 18:11; Jude
19). Applicable to the
hypocritical self-justifiers of our Lord's time.
smoke—alluding to the smoke of their
self-righteous sacrifices; the fire of God's wrath was kindled
at the sight, and exhibited itself in the smoke that breathed
forth from His nostrils; in Hebrew the nose is the seat of
anger; and the nostrils distended in wrath, as it were, breathe forth
smoke [Rosenmuller] (Ps 18:8).
6. written before me—"it is decreed by
Me," namely, what follows (Job 13:26),
[Maurer]; or, their guilt is recorded
before Me (compare Da 7:10; Re 20:12; Mal 3:16).
into … bosom—(Ps
79:12; Jer 32:18; Lu 6:38).
The Orientals used the loose fold of the garment falling on "the bosom"
or lap, as a receptacle for carrying things. The sense thus is: I will
repay their sin so abundantly that the hand will not be able to
receive it; it will need the spacious fold on the bosom to
contain it [Rosenmuller]. Rather it is,
"I will repay it to the very person from whom it has emanated."
Compare "God did render the evil of the men of Shechem upon their
heads" (Jud 9:57; Ps 7:16) [Gesenius].
7. Their sin had been accumulating from age to
age until God at last repaid it in full.
mountains—(Isa 57:7; Eze 18:6; 20:27, 28; Ho 4:13).
their—"Your" had preceded. From
speaking to, He speaks of them; this implies growing
alienation from them and greater distance.
work—the full recompense of
their work (so Isa 49:4).
8. new wine—as if some grapes having
good wine-producing juice in them, be found in a cluster which the
vinedresser was about to throw away as bad, and one saith, &c.
blessing—that is, good wine-producing
juice (compare Jud 9:13; Joe 2:14).
so—God will spare the godly "remnant,"
while the ungodly mass of the nation shall be destroyed (Isa 1:9; 6:13; 10:21; 11:11,
my servants—the godly remnant. But
Horsley, "for the sake of my servant,
9. seed—"the holy seed" (Isa 6:13), a posterity from Jacob, designed to
repossess the Holy Land, forfeited by the sin of the former Jews.
my mountains—Jerusalem and the rest of
Judea, peculiarly God's (compare Isa 2:2; 11:9; 14:32).
it—the Holy Land.
elect—(Isa 65:15, 22).
10. Sharon—(See on Isa 33:9; Isa 35:2).
Achor—meaning "trouble"; a valley near
Jericho, so called from the trouble caused to Israel by Achan's sin
7:24). "The valley of Achor,"
proverbial for whatever caused calamity, shall become proverbial for
joy and prosperity (Ho 2:15).
11. holy mountain—Moriah, on which the
troop—rather "Gad," the Babylonian god
of fortune, the planet Jupiter, answering to Baal or Bel; the Arabs
called it "the Greater Good Fortune"; and the planet Venus answering to
Meni, "the Lesser Good Fortune" [Gesenius, Kimchi,
&c.]. Tables were laid out for their idols with all kinds of
viands, and a cup containing a mixture of wine and honey, in Egypt
especially, on the last day of the year [Jerome].
drink offering—rather, "mixed
number—rather, "Meni"; as goddess of
fortune she was thought to number the fates of men. Vitringa understands Gad to be the sun; Meni the
moon, or Ashtaroth or Astarte (1Ki 11:33).
12. number—"doom" you. Alluding to the
"number," as Meni (Isa 65:11)
means. Retribution in kind, the punishment answering to the sin
(compare 2Ch 36:14-17).
I called, ye … not answer—"I
called," though "none had called" upon Me (Isa 64:7); yet even then none "answered" (Pr 1:24). Contrast with this God and His
people's mutual fellowship in prayer (Isa 65:24).
13. eat—enjoy all blessings from me
hungry—(Am 4:6; 8:11). This may refer to the siege of
Jerusalem under Titus, when 1,100,000 are said to have perished by
famine; thus Isa 65:15
will refer to God's people without distinction of Jew and Gentile
receiving "another name," namely, that of Christians [Houbigant]. A further fulfilment may still
remain, just before the creation of the "new heavens and earth," as the
context, Isa 65:17,
14. howl—(Isa 15:2; Mt 8:12).
15. curse—The name of "Jew" has been for
long a formula of execration (compare Jer 29:22); if one wishes to curse another, he can
utter nothing worse than this, "God make thee what the Jew is!"
Contrast the formula (Ge 48:20)
my chosen—the elect Church, gathered
from Jews and Gentiles, called by "another name," Christians
11:26). However (see on Isa 65:13), as "My chosen," or "elect," in Isa 65:9, refers to the "seed of Jacob,"
the believing Jews, hereafter about to possess their land (Isa 65:19,
22), are ultimately
meant by "My chosen," as contrasted with the unbelieving Jews ("ye").
These elect Jews shall be called by "another," or a new name,
that is, shall no longer be "forsaken" of God for unbelief, but shall
be His "delight" and "married" to Him (Isa 62:2, 4).
thee—unbelieving Israel. Isaiah
here speaks of God, whereas in the preceding sentences God
Himself spake. This change of persons marks without design how
completely the prophet realized God with him and in him, so that he
passes, without formally announcing it, from God's words to his own,
and vice versa, both alike being from God.
16. That he—rather, "he who,"
blesseth, &c.—(Ps 72:17; Jer
God of truth—very God, as opposed to
false gods; Hebrew, Amen: the very name of Messiah (2Co 1:20;
Re 3:14), faithful to His
promises (Joh 1:17; 6:32). Real, substantial, spiritual, eternal,
as opposed to the shadowy types of the law.
sweareth, &c.—God alone shall be
appealed to as God (Isa 19:18; De 6:13; Ps 63:11).
troubles—that is, sins, provocations
[Lowth]. Rather, calamities
caused by your sins; so far from these visiting you again, the very
remembrance of them is "hid from Mine eyes" by the magnitude of
the blessings I will confer on you (Isa 65:17, &c.). [Maurer].
17. As Caleb inherited the same land which his
feet trod on (De 1:36; Jos 14:9), so Messiah and His saints shall
inherit the renovated earth which once they trod while defiled by the
enemy (Isa 34:4; 51:16;
66:22; Eze 21:27; Ps 2:8; 37:11; 2Pe 3:13; Heb 12:26-28 Re 21:1).
not be remembered—See on Isa 65:16, note on "troubles"; the words here answer to
"the former … forgotten," &c. The former sorrows of the
earth, under the fall, shall be so far from recurring, that their very
remembrance shall be obliterated by the many mercies I will bestow on
the new earth (Re 21:4-27).
18. rejoice for ever …
"Everlasting joy … Zion." Spiritually (1Th 5:16).
19. (Isa 62:5).
weeping … no more—(Isa 25:7, 8; 35:10; Re 7:17; 21:4), primarily, foretold of
Jerusalem; secondarily, of all the redeemed.
20. The longevity of men in the first age of
the world shall be enjoyed again.
thence—from that time forward.
infant of days—that is, an infant who
shall only complete a few days; short-lived.
filled … days—None shall die
without attaining a full old age.
child … die … hundred
years—that is, "he that dieth an hundred years old shall die
a mere child" [Lowth].
sinner … hundred … be
accursed—"The sinner that dieth at an hundred years shall be
deemed accursed," that is, his death at so early an age, which in those
days the hundredth year will be regarded, just as if it were mere
childhood, shall be deemed the effect of God's special visitation in
wrath [Rosenmuller]. This passage proves
that the better age to come on earth, though much superior to the
present will not be a perfect state; sin and death shall have place in
it (compare Re 20:7, 8), but much less frequently than now.
21. (See on Isa 62:8;
22. They shall not experience the curse
pronounced (Le 26:16; De 28:30).
tree—among the most long-lived
of objects in nature. They shall live as long as the trees they "plant"
(compare Isa 61:3, end
of verse; Ps 92:12).
enjoy—Hebrew, "consume," "wear
out"; they shall live to enjoy the last of it (Isa 62:9).
23. bring forth for trouble—literally,
"for terror," that is, "They shall not bring forth children for a
sudden death" (Le 26:16; Jer 15:8).
seed … blessed—(Isa 61:9).
offspring with them—(Ho 9:12). "Their offspring shall be with
themselves" [Maurer]; not "brought
forth" only to be cut off by "sudden death" (see the parallel
24. Contrast Isa 64:7, "none … calleth," &c.; and
see on Isa 65:12, "I called, ye did not
answer." Maurer translates, "They shall
hardly (literally, "not yet") call, when (literally, "and") I will
answer; they shall be still speaking, when I will hear" (Ps 32:5; Da
25. (See on Isa
and the lion shall eat straw like the
bullock—(See on Isa 11:7).
and dust—rather, "but dust," &c.
The curse shall remain on the serpent [Horsley], (Ge 3:14; Mic 7:17). "To lick the dust" is
figurative of the utter and perpetual degradation of Satan and
his emissaries (Isa 49:23; Ps 72:9). Satan fell self-tempted;
therefore no atonement was contrived for him, as there was for man, who
fell by his temptation (Jude 6; Joh 8:44). From his peculiar connection with the
earth and man, it has been conjectured that the exciting cause of his
rebellion was God's declaration that human nature was to be raised into
union with the Godhead; this was "the truth" concerning the person of
the Son of God which "he abode not in"; it galled his pride that a
lower race was to be raised to that which he had aspired to (1Ti 3:6). How exultingly he might say,
when man fell through him, "God would raise manhood into union
with Himself; I have brought it down below the beasts by sin!"
At that very moment and spot he was told that the seed of the abhorred
race, man, should bruise his head (1Jo 3:8). He was raised up for this, to show
forth God's glory (Ex 9:16; Ro 9:17). In his unfallen state he may have been
God's vicegerent over the earth and the animal kingdom before man: this
will account for his assuming the form of a serpent (Ge 3:1). Man succeeded to that office (Ge 2:19,
20), but forfeited it by sin,
whence Satan became "prince of this world"; Jesus Christ supplants the
usurper, and as "Son of man" regains the lost inheritance (Ps 8:4-8). The steps in Satan's overthrow are
these: he is cast out, first, from heaven (Re 12:7-9) on earth; next, he is bound a thousand
20:2, 3); finally, he is cast
into the lake of fire for ever (Re 20:10).
the serpent's meat—(See on Isa 11:8).
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy
mountain—(See on Isa 11:9).