1:1 The a vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw b concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of c Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
1:2 Hear, O d heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up e children, and they have rebelled against me.
The Argument - God, according to his promise in ( Deuteronomy 18:15 ) that he would never leave his Church destitute of a prophet, has from time to time accomplished the same: whose office was not only to declare to the people the things to come, of which they had a special revelation, but also to interpret and declare the law, and to apply particularly the doctrine contained briefly in it, for the use and profit of those to whom they thought it chiefly to belong, and as the time and state of things required. Principally in the declaration of the law, they had respect to three things which were the ground of their doctrine: first, to the doctrine contained briefly in the two tables: secondly to the promises and threatenings of the law: and thirdly to the covenant of grace and reconciliation grounded on our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is the end of the law. To which they neither added nor diminished, but faithfully expounded the sense and meaning of it. As God gave them understanding of things, they applied the promises particularly for the comfort of the Church and the members of it, and also denounced the menaces against the enemies of the same: not for any care or regard to the enemies, but to assure the Church of their safeguard by the destruction of their enemies. Concerning the doctrine of reconciliation, they have more clearly entreated it than Moses, and set forth more lively Jesus Christ, in whom this covenant of reconciliation was made. In all these things Isaiah surpassed all the prophets, and was diligent to set out the same, with vehement admonitions, reprehensions, and consolations: ever applying the doctrine as he saw that the disease of the people required. He declares also many notable prophecies which he had received from God, concerning the promise of the Messiah, his office and kingdom, the favour of God toward his Church, the calling of the Gentiles and their union with the Jews. Which are principal points contained in this book, and a gathering of his sermons that he preached. Which after certain days that they had stood upon the temple door (for the manner of the prophets was to post the sum of their doctrine for certain days, that the people might the better mark it as in ( Isaiah 8:1 ; Habakkuk 2:2 )) the priests took it down and reserved it among their registers. By Gods providence these books were preserved as a monument to the Church forever. Concerning his person and time he was of the kings stock (for Amos his father was brother to Azariah king of Judah, as the best writers agree) and prophesied more than 64 years, from the time of Uzziah to the reign of Manasseh who was his son-in-law (as the Hebrews write) and by whom he was put to death. In reading of the prophets, this one thing among others is to be observed, that they speak of things to come as though they were now past because of the certainty of it, and that they could not but come to pass, because God had ordained them in his secret counsel and so revealed them to his prophets.
(a) That is, a revelation or prophecy, which was one of the two means by which God declared himself to his servants in old times, as in ( Numbers 12:6 ) and therefore the prophets were called seers, ( 1 Samuel 9:9 ).
(b) Isaiah was chiefly sent to Judah and Jerusalem, but not only: for in this book are prophecies concerning other nations also.
(c) Called also Azariah, ( 2 Kings 15:1 ) of these kings read ( 2 Kings 14:1-21:1 ; 2 Chronicles 25:1-33:1 ).
1:3 The f ox knoweth his owner, and the donkey his masters crib: [but] Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.
(d) Because men were obstinate and insensible, he calls to the dumb creatures, who were more prompt to obey Gods word, as in ( Deuteronomy 32:1 ).
(e) He declares his great mercy toward the Jews as he chose them above all other nations to be his people and children as in ( Deuteronomy 10:15 ).
(f) The most dull and brute beasts acknowledge their duty more toward their masters, than my people do toward me, of whom they have received benefits without comparison. 1:4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a g seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the h Holy One of Israel to anger, they are gone away backward.
(g) They were not only wicked as were their fathers, but utterly corrupt and by their evil example infected others. 1:5 Why should ye be i stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole k head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
(h) That is, him that sanctifies Israel.
(i) What good is it to seek to mend you by punishment, seeing that the more I correct you, the more you rebel? 1:6 From the l sole of the foot even to the head [there is] no soundness in it; [but] wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, m neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.
(k) By naming the chief parts of the body, he signifies that there was no part of the whole body of the Jews free from his rods.
(l) Every part of the body, the least as well as the chiefest was plagued. 1:7 Your country [is] desolate, your cities [are] burned with fire: your land, foreigners devour it in your presence, and [it is] desolate, as overthrown by n foreigners.
(m) Their plagues were so grievous that they were incurable, and yet they would not repent.
(n) Meaning, of them who dwell far off, who because they look for no advantage of that which remains destroy all before them. 1:8 And the daughter of o Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.
(o) That is, Jerusalem. 1:9 Except the LORD of hosts p had left to us a very small remnant, we should have been q as Sodom, we should have been like Gomorrah.
(p) Because he will always have a Church to call on his Name. 1:10 Hear the word of the LORD, ye r rulers of Sodom; give ear to the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.
(q) That is, all destroyed.
1:11 To what purpose [is] the multitude of your sacrifices to me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I s delight not in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of male goats.
(r) You who for your vices deserved to be destroyed, as they of Sodom, save that God from his mercy reserved a little number, ( Lamentations 3:22 ).
1:13 t Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination to me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot endure; [it is] iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
(s) Although God commanded these sacrifices for a time, as aids and exercises of their faith, yet because the people did not have faith or repentance, God detests them, ( Psalms 50:13 ; Jeremiah 6:20 ; Amos 5:22 ; Micah 6:7 ).
(t) Without faith and repentance. 1:14 Your u new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble to me; I am weary of bearing [them].
(u) Your sacrifices offered in the new moons and feasts: he condemns by this hypocrites who think to please God with ceremonies and they themselves are void of faith and mercy. 1:15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full x of blood.
1:16 y Wash ye, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil;
(x) He shows that where men are given to evil, deceit, cruelty and extortion, which is meant by blood, there God will show his anger and not accept them though they seem holy, as in ( Isaiah 59:3 ).
(y) By this outward washing, he means the spiritual: exhorting the Jews to repent and amend their lives. 1:17 Learn to z do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
(z) This kind of reasoning by the second table, the scriptures use in many places against the hypocrites who pretend holiness and religion in word, but when charity and love for their brethren should appear they declare that they have neither faith nor religion. 1:18 Come now, a and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be b white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
(a) To know if I accuse you without cause. 1:19 If ye c are willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
(b) Lest sinners should pretend any rigour on Gods part, he only wills them to be pure in heart, and he will forgive all their sins, no matter how many or great.
(c) He shows that whatever adversity man endures, it ought to be attributed to his own incredulity and disobedience. 1:21 How is the d faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now e murderers.
(d) That is, Jerusalem, which had promised happiness to me, as a wife to her husband. 1:22 Thy f silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:
(e) Given to covetousness and extortion, which he signified before by blood, ( Isaiah 1:15 ).
(f) Whatever was pure in you before, is now corrupt, though you have an outward show. 1:23 Thy princes [are] rebellious, and companions of g thieves: every one loveth bribes, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come to them.
(g) That is, they maintain the wicked and the extortioners: and not only do not punish them, but are themselves such. 1:24 Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the h mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will i rid myself of my adversaries, and avenge me of my enemies:
(h) When God will show himself merciful to his Church, he calls himself the Holy one of Israel, but when he has to do with his enemies, he is called Mighty, as against whom no power is able to resist. 1:25 And I will turn my hand upon thee, and thoroughly purge away thy dross, k and take away all thy tin:
(i) I will take vengeance of my adversaries the Jews and so satisfy my desire by punishing them.
(k) Lest the faithful among them should be overcome with his threatening he adds this consolation. 1:26 l And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.
(l) It is once the work of God to purify the heart of man, which he does because of his promise, made concerning the salvation of his Church. 1:27 Zion shall be redeemed with m judgment, and her converts with righteousness.
(m) By justice is meant Gods faithful promise, which is the reason for the deliverance of his Church. 1:28 And the n destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners [shall be] together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed.
1:29 For they shall be ashamed of the o oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen.
(n) The wicked will not be partakers of Gods promise, ( Psalms 92:9 ).
1:31 And the strong shall be as a p wick, and its maker as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench [them].
(o) That is, the trees and pleasant places where you commit idolatry which was forbidden ( Deuteronomy 16:22 ).
(p) The false gods in which you put your confidence will be consumed as easily as a piece of wick.