Isaiah 6:1-13 . VISION OF JEHOVAH IN HIS TEMPLE.
6. unto me--The seraph had been in the temple, Isaiah outside of it.
live coal--literally, "a hot stone," used, as in some countries in our days, to roast meat with, for example, the meat of the sacrifices. Fire was a symbol of purification, as it takes the dross out of metals ( Malachi 3:2 Malachi 3:3 ).
the altar--of burnt offering, in the court of the priests before the temple. The fire on it was at first kindled by God ( Leviticus 9:24 ), and was kept continually burning.
8. I . . . us--The change of number indicates the Trinity (compare Genesis 1:26 , 11:7 ). Though not a sure argument for the doctrine, for the plural may indicate merely majesty, it accords with that truth proved elsewhere.
Whom . . . who--implying that few would be willing to bear the self-denial which the delivering of such an unwelcome message to the Jews would require on the part of the messenger (compare 1 Chronicles 29:5 ).
Here am I--prompt zeal, now that he has been specially qualified for it ( Isaiah 6:7 ; compare 1 Samuel 3:10 1 Samuel 3:11 , Acts 9:6 ).
9. Hear . . . indeed--Hebrew, "In hearing hear," that is, Though ye hear the prophet's warnings again and again, ye are doomed, because of your perverse will ( John 7:17 ), not to understand. Light enough is given in revelation to guide those sincerely seeking to know, in order that they may do, God's will; darkness enough is left to confound the wilfully blind ( Isaiah 43:8 ). So in Jesus' use of parables ( Matthew 13:14 ).
see..indeed--rather, "though ye see again and again," yet, &c.
10. Make . . . fat--( Psalms 119:17 ). "Render them the more hardened by thy warnings" [MAURER]. This effect is the fruit, not of the truth in itself, but of the corrupt state of their hearts, to which God here judicially gives them over ( Isaiah 63:17 ). GESENIUS takes the imperatives as futures. "Proclaim truths, the result of which proclamation will be their becoming the more hardened" ( Romans 1:28 , Ephesians 4:18 ); but this does not so well as the former set forth God as designedly giving up sinners to judicial hardening ( Romans 11:8 , 2 Thessalonians 2:11 ). In the first member of the sentence, the order is, the heart, ears, eyes; in the latter, the reverse order, the eyes, ears, heart. It is from the heart that corruption flows into the ears and eyes ( mark 7:21 mark 7:22 ); but through the eyes and ears healing reaches the heart ( Romans 10:17 ), [BENGEL]. ( Jeremiah 5:21 , Ezekiel 12:2 , Zechariah 7:11 , Acts 7:57 , 2 Timothy 4:4 ). In Matthew 13:15 , the words are quoted in the indicative, "is waxed gross" (so the Septuagint), not the imperative, "make fat"; God's word as to the future is as certain as if it were already fulfilled. To see with one's eyes will not convince a will that is opposed to the truth (compare John 11:45 John 11:46 , John 12:10 John 12:11 ). "One must love divine things in order to understand them" [PASCAL].
be healed--of their spiritual malady, sin ( Isaiah 1:6 , Psalms 103:3 , Jeremiah 17:14 ).
11. how long--will this wretched condition of the nation being hardened to its destruction continue?
until--( Isaiah 5:9 )--fulfilled primarily at the Babylonish captivity, and more fully at the dispersion under the Roman Titus.
13. and it shall return, and . . . be eaten--Rather, "but it shall be again given over to be consumed": if even a tenth survive the first destruction, it shall be destroyed by a second ( Isaiah 5:25 , Ezekiel 5:1-5 Ezekiel 5:12 ), [MAURER and HORSLEY]. In English Version, "return" refers to the poor remnant left in the land at the Babylonish captivity ( 2 Kings 24:14 , 25:12 ), which afterwards fled to Egypt in fear ( 2 Kings 25:26 ), and subsequently returned thence along with others who had fled to Moab and Edom ( Jeremiah 40:11 Jeremiah 40:12 ), and suffered under further divine judgments.
tell--rather, "terebinth" or "turpentine tree" ( Isaiah 1:29 ).
substance . . . when . . . cast . . . leaves--rather, "As a terebinth or oak in which, when they are cast down (not 'cast their leaves,' Job 14:7 ), the trunk or stock remains, so the holy seed ( Ezra 9:2 ) shall be the stock of that land." The seeds of vitality still exist in both the land and the scattered people of Judea, waiting for the returning spring of God's favor ( Romans 11:5 Romans 11:23-29 ). According to Isaiah, not all Israel, but the elect remnant alone, is destined to salvation. God shows unchangeable severity towards sin, but covenant faithfulness in preserving a remnant, and to it Isaiah bequeaths the prophetic legacy of the second part of his book (the fortieth through sixty-sixth chapters).