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Book of the Prophet ISAIAH.
I SALAH began to prophesy about seven hundred and sixty years
before Christ, and continued to exercise his office in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Manasseh, by whom it is gen. erally thought he was suwn asunder, after a faithful discharge of his office for more than sixty years. He was contemporary with the profrhets Hosea, Joel, Amos, and Micah. He is remarkable for lofliness 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 seem 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 passages 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 remonsirance against the ingratitude
and corruptions of the Jews in that age; warm exhortations 10 repentu.ce; heavy threatenings to the impenitent; and, after previous corrections, gracious promises of better times.
HE vision of Isaiah, or, the clear discovery that was made
Isaiah, the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, kings of Judah. The prophet, 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, ( heav.
ens, and give ear, () 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 mas.
ter's crib: [but] Israel doth not know their relation to me, my
people doth not consider the great things that I have done for 4 them. Ah sinful nation ! 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 steps 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 upon 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 tempts are made for reformation. Therefore Your country [is]
desolate, your cities (are] burned with fire : your land, stran
gers devour it in your presence, and (it is) desolate, as over8 thrown by strangers.* And the daughter of Zion, that is, Je
rusalem, 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 flee. 9 Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small rem
nant, 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 Il like them in wickedness. To what purpose [is] the multitude of
your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD : Iam 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 more vain ob
lations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons
and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with ; 14 [it is) iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons
and your appointed feasts my sou} 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, I will not hear, nor regard your services : your hands are full of blood ; cruelty, oppression, and murder are
found among you. 16. Therefore, if you hope for acceptance, Wash ye, make you
clean ; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes ; 17 cease to do evil ; Learn to do well ; seek judgment, relieve the 18 oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Cone
* This was probably uttered in the reign of Ahaz, or when Jerusalem was besieged by Sennacherib,
now, and let us reason together, and accommodate the difference that is between us, saith the LORD : though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as show; though they be red like
crimson, they shall be as wool ; your sins shall be fully pardoned : 19 and not only 80, 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 bath spoken [it.] 21 How is the faithful city become an harlot ?* it was full of
judgment; righteousness lodged in it, in the time of David ana
Solomon ; but now murderers, and consequently many other hein22 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 10 men :' every one loveth gifts, 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 ihein. Therefore saith the Lord, the
LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease met 25 of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies : And I
will turn my hand upon thee, to punish those things which I have
connived at before, and purely purge away thy dross, and take 26 away all thy tin, separate the bad from the good : And after 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 : aster
ward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faith27 ful city. Zion shall be redeemed, or saved, with judgment, and
her converts, those that return from the captivity, with righteous28 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 gar30 dens, cannot save them. For as ye have sinned under oaks
and in gardens, 80 ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as
a garden that hath no water, defirived of all your enjoyments and 31 delights. And the strong shall be as low, 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 any judgments, yea, their work shall be as a spark, that is the instrument of consuming them.
* Cities are often represanted by women. Jerusalem was once a faithful betrothed vir. gin; the covenant between her and God was faithfully kept.
+ An expression taken from men, who find case in vent ng their anger and punishing incorrigible offenders.
ATIONAL sins bring national judgments. This chap
ter contains a beautiful and strong description of the wickedness of Israel, aggravated by all the great things which God 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. It 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 that God 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, peace restored, and public blessings continued, if they will turn to God, be obedient to his laws, and willing and cheerful in his service. Thus does Cod reason the case with sinners now ; thus does he proniise them mercy upon their repentance; and if they will not hear, their condemnation will 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 Israclites for their idolatry, referring principally to the captivity. 1 ME word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning 2 Judah and Jerusalem.' And it shall come to pass in the
last days, the days of the Messial, 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 be firmly established, as on
3 ihe 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 feasis ; thus shall they join themselves ta the christian church, and invite others to do so ; for out of Zion
shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusa4 lem, the gospel shall be first published there. And he shall judge
among the nations by his word and providence, and shall rebuke many people : and they shall beat their swords into plough. shares, and their spears into pruning hooks : nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any
more ; referring to the peaceable 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 in the light of the LORD ; the Jews in those days shall be invited to receive and improve this gra
cious 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 chil. dren of strangers, with the idolatry and superstitious practices of
the heathen i glad of any strangers to teach them a new kind of 7 idolatry. Their land also is full of silver and gold, unjustly gola
ten, and cbused, 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 bowa
eth down, and the great man humbleth himself; men of all ranks and degrees give themselves up to stupid idolatry; therefore for give them not, that is, they shall not be forgiven. Then follows the description of their being carried into captivity, and by that means cured of their idolatry.
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 Il earth with terror.'* The lofty looks of man shall be humbled,
and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD
alone 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 Lord of hosts, the day of his vengeance, [shallbe) upon every
(one that is] proud and lofty, and upon every (one that is) listed 13 up ; and he shall be 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 higli 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 praciised un high places, or figuratively, on their great men and