Isaiah 56:10

10 Israel’s watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep.

Isaiah 56:10 in Other Translations

10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
10 His watchmen are blind; they are all without knowledge; they are all silent dogs; they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber.
10 For the leaders of my people— the LORD ’s watchmen, his shepherds— are blind and ignorant. They are like silent watchdogs that give no warning when danger comes. They love to lie around, sleeping and dreaming.
10 For Israel's watchmen are blind, the whole lot of them. They have no idea what's going on. They're dogs without sense enough to bark, lazy dogs, dreaming in the sun -
10 Israel's watchmen are blind, all of them, they know nothing; all of them are mute dogs, they cannot bark; they dream, lie down, and love to sleep.

Isaiah 56:10 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 56:10

His watchmen are blind
A sad character of watchmen; who, of all men, ought to have good sight, to see who is coming, to discover an enemy, to discern approaching danger, and so be capable of giving notice thereof. This some apply to the Scribes and Pharisees, who are often called blind guides, and blind leaders of the blind, ( Matthew 15:14 ) ( Matthew 23:16 Matthew 23:17 Matthew 23:19 Matthew 23:24 Matthew 23:26 ) and well suits the character of the Popish clergy, bishops, and priests, those ecclesiastical watchmen, whose business should be to look after the souls of men, and feed them with knowledge and understanding; but very ill qualified for it, being blind and ignorant as to the knowledge of things divine and spiritual. The first letter in this clause is larger than usual, perhaps designed to strike the eye, and raise the attention to what follows, as being something remarkable and extraordinary, as indeed the character given of these men is, and directing to beware of them. The first word, which is the word for "watchmen", has the letter "jod" wanting; which, being a note of multitude, shows, it is observed F21, that all the watchmen were universally deficient in the light of their minds, and not one of them did their duty, as it follows: they are all ignorant;
or "know not" F23, or "nothing", not the Scriptures, and the meaning of them; the Gospel, and the doctrines of it; Christ, and the way of salvation by him; the Spirit of God, and his operations on the souls of men; and so very unfit to be spiritual watchmen, or to have the care of immortal souls. A Popish bishop in Scotland declared he did not know neither the Old nor the New Testament; and Bishop Albert, reading the Bible, could not tell what book it was, only he found it was contrary to their religion. They are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark;
and so useless; as a house dog, or one that is set to keep the sheep, if it barks not at the noise of a thief, or the approach of a wolf, to give notice to the family, or the shepherd, it is of no service. It may design such who call themselves ministers of the word, and yet either cannot or will not preach, such as are non-preaching bishops; or in their ministry do not reprove the errors and vices of men, and warn them of their danger: sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber;
as dogs do; slothful, indolent, do not care to be concerned in business, but take their ease and pleasure, and are very improper persons for watchmen. The first word F24 used is observed to signify speaking vain things in dreams, things delirious; and agrees well with the dreaming doctrines and delirious notions of the Romish clergy.


F21 Buxtorf. Tiberias, c. 14. p. 39. Vid. Hiller. De Arcano Cethib & Keri, I. 1. c 7. p. 55.
F23 (wedy al) "nesciverunt", Pagninus, Montanus; "nil sciunt", Piscator.
F24 (Myzh) "deliria loquentes", Montanus; "videntes vans", V. L. So Ben Melech interprets it of such that speak vain things in their sleep.

Isaiah 56:10 In-Context

8 The Sovereign LORD declares— he who gathers the exiles of Israel: “I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.”
9 Come, all you beasts of the field, come and devour, all you beasts of the forest!
10 Israel’s watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep.
11 They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, they seek their own gain.
12 “Come,” each one cries, “let me get wine! Let us drink our fill of beer! And tomorrow will be like today, or even far better.”

Cross References 3

  • 1. S Isaiah 52:8; Isaiah 62:6; Jeremiah 6:17; Jeremiah 31:6; Ezekiel 3:17; Ezekiel 33:7
  • 2. Jeremiah 2:8; Jeremiah 10:21; Jeremiah 14:13-14
  • 3. Nahum 3:18
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