Isaiah 48

Stubborn Israel

1 “Listen to this, you descendants of Jacob, you who are called by the name of Israel and come from the line of Judah, you who take oaths in the name of the LORDand invoke the God of Israel— but not in truth or righteousness—
2 you who call yourselves citizens of the holy city and claim to rely on the God of Israel— the LORD Almighty is his name:
3 I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.
4 For I knew how stubborn you were; your neck muscles were iron, your forehead was bronze.
5 Therefore I told you these things long ago; before they happened I announced them to you so that you could not say, ‘My images brought them about; my wooden image and metal god ordained them.’
6 You have heard these things; look at them all. Will you not admit them? “From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you.
7 They are created now, and not long ago; you have not heard of them before today. So you cannot say, ‘Yes, I knew of them.’
8 You have neither heard nor understood; from of old your ears have not been open. Well do I know how treacherous you are; you were called a rebel from birth.
9 For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to destroy you completely.
10 See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.

Israel Freed

12 “Listen to me, Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last.
13 My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together.
14 “Come together, all of you, and listen: Which of the idols has foretold these things? The LORD’s chosen ally will carry out his purpose against Babylon; his arm will be against the Babylonians.[a]
15 I, even I, have spoken; yes, I have called him. I will bring him, and he will succeed in his mission.
16 “Come near me and listen to this: “From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there.” And now the Sovereign LORD has sent me, endowed with his Spirit.
17 This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.
18 If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.
19 Your descendants would have been like the sand, your children like its numberless grains; their name would never be blotted out nor destroyed from before me.”
20 Leave Babylon, flee from the Babylonians! Announce this with shouts of joy and proclaim it. Send it out to the ends of the earth; say, “The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob.”
21 They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and water gushed out.
22 “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.”

Isaiah 48 Commentary

Chapter 48

The Jews reproved for their idolatry. (1-8) Yet deliverance is promised them. (9-15) Solemn warnings of judgment upon those who persisted in evil. (16-22)

Verses 1-8 The Jews valued themselves on descent from Jacob, and used the name of Jehovah as their God. They prided themselves respecting Jerusalem and the temple, yet there was no holiness in their lives. If we are not sincere in religion, we do but take the name of the Lord in vain. By prophecy they were shown how God would deal with them, long before it came to pass. God has said and done enough to prevent men's boasting of themselves, which makes the sin and ruin of the proud worse; sooner or later every mouth shall be stopped, and all become silent before Him. We are all born children of disobedience. Where original sin is, actual sin will follow. Does not the conscience of every man witness to the truth of Scripture? May the Lord prove us, and render us doers of the word.

Verses 9-15 We have nothing ourselves to plead with God, why he should have mercy upon us. It is for his praise, to the honour of his mercy, to spare. His bringing men into trouble was to do them good. It was to refine them, but not as silver; not so thoroughly as men refine silver. If God should take that course, they are all dross, and, as such, might justly be put away. He takes them as refined in part only. Many have been brought home to God as chosen vessels, and a good work of grace begun in them, in the furnace of affliction. It is comfort to God's people, that God will secure his own honour, therefore work deliverance for them. And if God delivers his people, he cannot be at a loss for instruments to be employed. God has formed a plan, in which, for his own sake, and the glory of his grace, he saves all that come to Him.

Verses 16-22 The Holy Spirit qualifies for service; and those may speak boldly, whom God and his Spirit send. This is to be applied to Christ. He was sent, and he had the Spirit without measure. Whom God redeems, he teaches; he teaches to profit by affliction, and then makes them partakers of his holiness. Also, by his grace he leads them in the way of duty; and by his providence he leads in the way of deliverance. God did not afflict them willingly. If their sins had not turned them away, their peace should have been always flowing and abundant. Spiritual enjoyments are ever joined with holiness of life and regard to God's will. It will make the misery of the disobedient the more painful, to think how happy they might have been. And here is assurance given of salvation out of captivity. Those whom God designs to bring home to himself, he will take care of, that they want not for their journey. This is applicable to the grace laid up for us in Jesus Christ, from whom all good flows to us, as the water to Israel out of the rock, for that Rock was Christ. The spiritual blessings of redemption, and the rescue of the church from antichristian tyranny, are here pointed to. But whatever changes take place, the Lord warned impenitent sinners that no good would come to them; that inward anguish and outward trouble, which spring from guilt and from the Divine wrath, must be their portion for ever.

Cross References 76

  • 1. S Genesis 17:5
  • 2. S Genesis 29:35
  • 3. S Isaiah 19:18
  • 4. S 1 Samuel 20:42; S Isaiah 43:7
  • 5. Exodus 23:13; 2 Samuel 14:11; Psalms 50:16; Isaiah 58:2; Jeremiah 7:9-10; Jeremiah 44:26
  • 6. Isaiah 59:14; Jeremiah 4:2; Jeremiah 5:2; Daniel 8:12; Zechariah 8:3
  • 7. S Nehemiah 11:1; S Isaiah 1:26; S Matthew 4:5; Isaiah 52:1
  • 8. S Isaiah 10:20; Micah 3:11; Romans 2:17
  • 9. S Isaiah 47:4
  • 10. S Isaiah 41:22
  • 11. S Isaiah 40:21; Isaiah 45:21
  • 12. S Isaiah 17:14; Isaiah 30:13
  • 13. S Isaiah 9:9; Deuteronomy 31:27
  • 14. S Exodus 32:9; S Deuteronomy 9:27; Acts 7:51
  • 15. Ezekiel 3:9
  • 16. S Isaiah 40:21; S Isaiah 42:9
  • 17. Jeremiah 44:15-18
  • 18. S Isaiah 41:22; S Romans 16:25
  • 19. Isaiah 65:18
  • 20. Isaiah 45:21
  • 21. S Exodus 6:7
  • 22. S Isaiah 1:3
  • 23. S Deuteronomy 29:4
  • 24. Isaiah 41:24; Malachi 2:11,14
  • 25. Deuteronomy 9:7,24; Psalms 58:3; S Isaiah 1:2; Isaiah 43:27; Isaiah 58:1
  • 26. S 1 Samuel 12:22; S Isaiah 37:35
  • 27. S Job 9:13; Psalms 78:38; S Isaiah 30:18
  • 28. S Nehemiah 9:31
  • 29. S Isaiah 1:25; Zechariah 13:9; Malachi 3:3; 1 Peter 1:7
  • 30. S Exodus 15:25
  • 31. S Exodus 1:13; S 1 Kings 8:51
  • 32. S 1 Samuel 12:22; S Isaiah 37:35
  • 33. S Leviticus 18:21; Deuteronomy 32:27; Jeremiah 14:7,21; Eze 20:9,14,22,44
  • 34. Isaiah 42:8
  • 35. S Isaiah 46:3
  • 36. Isaiah 41:8; Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 43:1
  • 37. S Isaiah 43:13
  • 38. S Isaiah 41:4; S Revelation 1:17; Revelation 22:13
  • 39. Hebrews 1:10-12
  • 40. S Genesis 2:1; Exodus 20:11; Job 9:8; Isaiah 40:22; S Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 45:18; Isaiah 51:16; Isaiah 65:17
  • 41. S Isaiah 34:16; Isaiah 40:26
  • 42. S Isaiah 43:9
  • 43. S Isaiah 41:22
  • 44. S Isaiah 41:2
  • 45. Isaiah 46:10-11
  • 46. S Isaiah 21:9; S Isaiah 45:1; Jeremiah 50:45
  • 47. S Judges 4:10; Isaiah 45:1
  • 48. Isa 44:28-45:4
  • 49. S Isaiah 41:1
  • 50. S Isaiah 33:13
  • 51. S Isaiah 45:19
  • 52. Isa 50:5,7,9
  • 53. Zechariah 2:9,11
  • 54. S Isaiah 11:2
  • 55. S Job 19:25; Isaiah 49:7; Isaiah 54:8
  • 56. S Isaiah 47:4; Isaiah 43:14
  • 57. S Isaiah 28:9; S Jeremiah 7:13
  • 58. Isaiah 49:10; Isaiah 57:18; Isaiah 58:11
  • 59. S Isaiah 30:11; Psalms 32:8
  • 60. S Isaiah 42:23; Deuteronomy 32:29
  • 61. Psalms 119:165; Psalms 147:14; S Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 54:13; Isaiah 66:12
  • 62. S Isaiah 33:21
  • 63. S Isaiah 1:26; S Isaiah 45:8
  • 64. Isaiah 43:5; Isaiah 44:3; Isaiah 61:9
  • 65. S Genesis 12:2
  • 66. S Job 5:25; Genesis 22:17
  • 67. Isaiah 56:5; Isaiah 65:23; Isaiah 66:22; Jeremiah 35:19
  • 68. Isaiah 52:11; Jeremiah 48:6; Jeremiah 50:8; Jeremiah 51:6,45; Zechariah 2:6-7; Revelation 18:4
  • 69. S Isaiah 12:6; Isaiah 49:13; Isaiah 51:11
  • 70. S Genesis 49:10; S Deuteronomy 30:4; S Jeremiah 25:22
  • 71. S Exodus 6:6; S Isaiah 33:24; Isaiah 52:9; Isaiah 63:9; Micah 4:10
  • 72. S Isaiah 33:16; Isaiah 41:17
  • 73. S Isaiah 30:25
  • 74. Exodus 17:6; S Numbers 20:11; Psalms 105:41; S Isaiah 35:6
  • 75. S Job 3:26
  • 76. S Isaiah 3:11; Isaiah 57:21

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or "Chaldeans" ; also in verse 20

Chapter Summary


The prophecy of this chapter is concerning the deliverance and salvation of the Jews, and is addressed unto them; who are described by their natural descent and lineage, and by their hypocrisy in religious things, Isa 48:1,2. By their obstinacy and impudence, and by their proneness to idolatry, and to ascribe that to idols which belonged to God; which were the reasons why the Lord foretold all former things to them, before they came to pass, Isa 48:3-5. And for the same reasons also he declared unto them what should be hereafter, particularly the destruction of Babylon, and their deliverance by Cyrus, Isa 48:6-8. From which account of them it would clearly appear, that it was not for any merits of theirs, but for his own name's sake, for his own glory, that he chose them, purified, and saved them as gold tried in the fire, Isa 48:9-11. He observes his own perfections, his eternity and immutability, and power displayed in creation, to engage their faith in the promise of deliverance, Isa 48:12,13 and points out the deliverer Cyrus, a type of Christ, whom he loved, called, sent, and made him prosperous, Isa 48:14-16. Then he directs them to walk in his ways, with promises of peace and prosperity, Isa 48:17-19. And the chapter is concluded with an exhortation to go out of Babylon with joy, publishing wherever they came their redemption, and who would be supplied with all necessaries in their return to their own land; only it should be observed, that there was no peace or happiness for the wicked, Isa 48:20-22.

Isaiah 48 Commentaries

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