Times of peace and happiness. (1-8) An interval of trouble, yet comfort and blessings in the end. (9-20)
Verses 1-8 Christ our righteous King, and his true disciples, are evidently here intended. The consolations and graces of his Spirit are as rivers of water in this dry land; and as the overhanging rock affords refreshing shade and shelter to the weary traveller in the desert, so his power, truth, and love, yield the believer the only real protection and refreshment in the weary land through which he journeys to heaven. Christ bore the storm himself, to keep it off from us. To him let the trembling sinner flee for refuge; for he alone can protect and refresh us in every trial. See what pains sinners take in sin; they labour at it, their hearts are intent upon it, and with art they work iniquity; but this is our comfort, that they can do no more mischief than God permits. Let us seek to have our hearts more freed from selfishness. The liberal soul devises liberal things concerning God, and desires that He will grant wisdom and prudence, the comforts of his presence, the influence of his Spirit, and in due time the enjoyment of his glory.
Verses 9-20 When there was so much provocation given to the holy God, bad times might be expected. Alas! how many careless ones there are, who support self-indulgence by shameful niggardliness! We deserve to be deprived of the supports of life, when we make them the food of lusts. Let such tremble and be troubled. Blessed times shall be brought in by the pouring out of the Spirit from on high; then, and not till then, there will be good times. The present state of the Jews shall continue until a more abundant pouring out of the Spirit from on high. Peace and quietness shall be found in the way and work of righteousness. True satisfaction is to be had only in true religion. And real holiness is real happiness now, and shall be perfect happiness, that is, perfect holiness for ever. The good seed of the word shall be sown in all places, and be watered by Divine grace; and laborious, patient labourers shall be sent forth into God's husbandry.
Isaiah 32:1-20 . MESSIAH'S KINGDOM; DESOLATIONS, TO BE SUCCEEDED BY LASTING PEACE, THE SPIRIT HAVING BEEN POURED OUT.
The times of purity and happiness which shall follow the defeat of the enemies of Jehovah's people ( Isaiah 32:1-8 ). The period of wrath before that happy state ( Isaiah 32:9-14 ). The assurance of the final prosperity of the Church is repeated ( Isaiah 32:15-20 ).
1. king--not Hezekiah, who was already on the throne, whereas a future time is contemplated. If he be meant at all, it can only be as a type of Messiah the King, to whom alone the language is fully applicable ( Hosea 3:5 , Zechariah 9:9 ; world kings, who have exercised their power against God, instead of for God, to the rightful King of kings ( Ezekiel 21:27 , Daniel 7:13 Daniel 7:14 ).
princes--subordinate; referring to all in authority under Christ in the coming kingdom on earth, for example, the apostles, &c. ( Luke 22:30 , 1 Corinthians 6:2 , 2 Timothy 2:12 , Revelation 2:26 Revelation 2:27 , 3:21 ).
2. a man--rather, the man Christ [LOWTH]; it is as "the Son of man" He is to reign, as it was as Son of man He suffered ( Matthew 26:64 , John 5:27 , 19:5 ). Not as MAURER explains, "every one of the princes shall be," &c.
rivers--as refreshing as water and the cool shade are to the heated traveller ( Isaiah 35:6 Isaiah 35:7 , 41:18 ).
3. them that see--the seers or prophets.
them that hear--the people under instruction ( Isaiah 35:5 Isaiah 35:6 ).
4. rash--rather, "the hasty"; contrast "shall not make haste" ( Isaiah 28:16 ); the reckless who will not take time to weigh religious truth aright. Or else, the well-instructed [HORSLEY].
stammers--those who speak confusedly on divine things (compare Exodus 4:10-12 , Jeremiah 1:6 , Matthew 10:19 Matthew 10:20 ). Or, rather, those drunken scorners who in stammering style imitated Isaiah's warnings to mock them [MAURER] ( Isaiah 28:7-11 Isaiah 28:13 Isaiah 28:14 Isaiah 28:22 , 29:20 ); in this view, translate, "speak uprightly" (agreeably to the divine law); not as English Version, referring to the distinctness of articulation, "plainly."
5. vile--rather, "fool" [LOWTH]; that is, ungodly ( Psalms 14:1 , 74:18 ).
churl--rather, "fraudulent" [GESENIUS].
bountiful--religiously. The atheistic churl, who envies the believer his hope "full of immortality," shall no longer be held as a patriot struggling for the emancipation of mankind from superstition [HORSLEY].
6. vile . . . villainy--rather, "the (irreligious) fool . . . (his) folly."
will speak--rather, "present"; for (so far is the "fool" from deserving the epithet "noble-minded") the fool "speaketh" folly and "worketh," &c.
hypocrisy--rather, "profligacy" [HORSLEY].
error--impiety, perverse arguments.
hungry--spiritually ( Matthew 5:6 ).
7. churl--"the fraudulent"; this verse refers to the last clause of Isaiah 32:5 ; as Isaiah 32:6 referred to its first clause.
speaketh right--pleadeth a just cause ( Isaiah 29:21 ); spiritually, "the poor man's cause" is the divine doctrine, his rule of faith and practice.
8. liberal--rather, "noble-minded."
stand--shall be approved under the government of the righteous King.
9-20. Address to the women of Jerusalem who troubled themselves little about the political signs of the times, but lived a life of self-indulgence ( Isaiah 3:16-23 ); the failure of food through the devastations of the enemy is here foretold, being what was most likely to affect them as mothers of families, heretofore accustomed to every luxury. VITRINGA understands "women--daughters" as the cities and villages of Judea ( Ezekiel 16:1-63 ). See Amos 6:1 .
10. Many days and years--rather, "In little more than a year" [MAURER]; literally, "days upon a year" (so Isaiah 29:1 ).
vintage shall fail--through the arrival of the Assyrian invader. As the wheat harvest is omitted, Isaiah must look for the invasion in the summer or autumn of 714 B.C., when the wheat would have been secured already, and the later fruit "gathering," and vintage would be still in danger.
11. strip you--of your gay clothing. (See Isaiah 2:19 Isaiah 2:21 ).
12. lament for . . . teats--rather, shall smite on their breasts in lamentation "for thy pleasant fields" ( Nahum 2:7 ) [MAURER]. "Teats" in English Version is used for fertile lands, which, like breasts, nourish life. The transition from "ye" to "they" ( Isaiah 32:11 Isaiah 32:12 ) is frequent.
13. ( Isaiah 5:6 , 7:23 ).
houses of joy--pleasure-houses outside of Jerusalem, not Jerusalem itself, but other cities destroyed by Sennacherib in his march ( Isaiah 7:20-25 ). However, the prophecy, in its full accomplishment, refers to the utter desolation of Judea and its capital by Rome, and subsequently, previous to the second coming of the King ( Psalms 118:26 , Luke 13:35 , 19:38 ); "the joyous city" is in this view, Jerusalem ( Isaiah 22:2 ).
14. palaces--most applicable to Jerusalem
multitude . . . left--the noisy din of the city, that is, the city with its noisy multitude shall lie forsaken [MAURER].
forts--rather, "Ophel" (that is the mound), the term applied specially to the declivity on the east of Zion, surrounded with its own wall ( 2 Chronicles 27:3 , 33:14 , 2 Kings 5:24 ), and furnished with "towers" (or watchtowers), perhaps referred to here ( Nehemiah 3:26 Nehemiah 3:27 ).
for ever--limited by thee, "until," &c., Isaiah 32:15 , for a long time.
15. This can only partially apply to the spiritual revival in Hezekiah's time; its full accomplishment belongs to the Christian dispensation, first at Pentecost ( Joel 2:28 , Acts 2:17 ), perfectly in coming times ( Psalms 104:30 , Ezekiel 36:26 , 39:29 , Zechariah 12:10 ), when the Spirit shall be poured on Israel, and through it on the Gentiles ( Micah 5:7 ).
wilderness . . . fruitful field . . . forest--when Judea, so long waste, shall be populous and fruitful, and the land of the enemies of God shall be desolate. Or, "the field, now fruitful, shall be but as a barren forest in comparison with what it shall be then" ( Isaiah 29:17 ). The barren shall become fruitful by regeneration; those already regenerate shall bring forth fruits in such abundance that their former life shall seem but as a wilderness where no fruits were.
fruitful field--then become more fruitful ( Isaiah 32:15 ); thus "wilderness" and "fruitful field" include the whole land of Judea.
17. work--the effect ( Proverbs 14:34 , 3:18 ).
peace--internal and external.
18. sure . . . quiet--free from fear of invasion.
19. Literally, "But it shall hail with coming down of the forest, and in lowness shall the city (Nineveh) be brought low; that is, humbled." The "hail" is Jehovah's wrathful visitation ( Isaiah 30:30 , Isaiah 28:2 Isaiah 28:17 ). The "forest" is the Assyrian host, dense as the trees of a forest ( Isaiah 10:18 Isaiah 10:19 Isaiah 10:33 Isaiah 10:34 , Zechariah 11:2 ).
20. While the enemy shall be brought "low," the Jews shall cultivate their land in undisturbed prosperity.
all waters--well-watered places ( Isaiah 30:25 ). The Hebrew translation, "beside," ought rather to be translated, "upon" ( Ecclesiastes 11:1 ), where the meaning is, "Cast thy seed upon the waters when the river overflows its banks; the seed will sink into the mud and will spring up when the waters subside, and you will find it after many days in a rich harvest." Before sowing, they send oxen, &c., into the water to tread the ground for sowing. CASTALIO thinks there is an allusion to the Mosaic precept, not to plough with an ox and ass together, mystically implying that the Jew was to have no intercourse with Gentiles; the Gospel abolishes this distinction ( Colossians 3:11 ); thus the sense here is, Blessed are ye that sow the gospel seed without distinction of race in the teachers or the taught. But there is no need of supposing that the ox and ass here are yoked together; they are probably "sent forth" separately, as in Isaiah 30:24 .