Isaiah 56

Salvation for Others

1 This is what the LORD says: “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.
2 Blessed is the one who does this— the person who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps their hands from doing any evil.”
3 Let no foreigner who is bound to the LORD say, “The LORD will surely exclude me from his people.” And let no eunuch complain, “I am only a dry tree.”
4 For this is what the LORD says: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant—
5 to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever.
6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORDto minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant—
7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
8 The Sovereign LORD declares— he who gathers the exiles of Israel: “I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.”

God’s Accusation Against the Wicked

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.”

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Isaiah 56 Commentary

Chapter 56

A charge to keep the Divine precepts. (1,2) Blessings promised. (3-8) Reproof to the careless watchmen, the teachers and rulers of the Jews. (9-12)

Verses 1-2 The Lord tells us what are his expectations of duty from us. Be honest and just in all dealings. Also strictly observe the sabbath day. To have the blessing of God upon employments all the week, make conscience of keeping the sabbath holy. Have nothing to do with sin. Blessed is the man that keeps his hand from all things displeasing to God and hurtful to his own soul. Those who, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith, will be found walking in ways of holy obedience.

Verses 3-8 Unbelief often suggests things to discourage believers, against which God has expressly guarded. Spiritual blessings are unspeakably better than having sons and daughters; for children are a care, and may prove a grief and shame, but the blessings we partake of in God's house, are comforts which cannot be made bitter. Those who love the Lord truly, will serve him faithfully, and then his commandments are not grievous. Three things are promised. Assistance: I will not only bid them welcome, but incline them to come. Acceptance, and comfort: though they came mourning to the house of prayer, they shall go away rejoicing. They shall find ease by casting their cares and burdens upon God. Many a sorrowful spirit has been made joyful in the house of prayer. The Gentiles shall be one body with the Jews, that, as Christ says, ( John 10:16 ) , there may be one fold and one Shepherd. Thanks be to God that none are separated from him except by wilful sin and unbelief; and if we come to him, we shall be accepted through the sacrifice of our great High Priest.

Verses 9-12 Desolating judgments are called for; and this severe rebuke of the rulers and teachers of the Jewish church, is applicable to other ages and places. It is bad with a people when their shepherds slumber, and are eager after the world. Let us pray the Great Shepherd to send us pastors after his own heart, who will feed us with knowledge, that we may rejoice in his holy name, and that believers may be daily added to the church.

Cross References 34

  • 1. S Psalms 11:7; S Isaiah 1:17; S Jeremiah 22:3
  • 2. S Isaiah 26:8
  • 3. S Psalms 85:9
  • 4. Jeremiah 23:6; Daniel 9:24
  • 5. S Psalms 119:2
  • 6. S Exodus 20:8,10; Isaiah 58:13
  • 7. S Exodus 12:43; S 1 Kings 8:41; S Isaiah 11:10; Zechariah 8:20-23
  • 8. Deuteronomy 23:3
  • 9. S Leviticus 21:20; Jer 38:7 "fn"; Acts 8:27
  • 10. Jer 38:7 "fn"
  • 11. S Exodus 31:13
  • 12. Isaiah 26:1; Isaiah 60:18
  • 13. S Numbers 32:42; 1 Samuel 15:12
  • 14. S Isaiah 43:7
  • 15. S Isaiah 48:19; Isaiah 55:13
  • 16. S Exodus 12:43; S 1 Kings 8:41
  • 17. S 1 Chronicles 22:2; Isaiah 60:7,10; Isaiah 61:5
  • 18. Malachi 1:11
  • 19. ver 2,4
  • 20. S Isaiah 2:2; Ezekiel 20:40
  • 21. S Isaiah 19:21; Romans 12:1; Philippians 4:18; Hebrews 13:15
  • 22. Matthew 21:13*; Luke 19:46*
  • 23. Mark 11:17*
  • 24. S Deuteronomy 30:4; S Isaiah 1:9; S Isaiah 11:12; Isaiah 60:3-11; Ezekiel 34:12; John 10:16
  • 25. Isaiah 18:6; Jeremiah 12:9; Ezekiel 34:5,8; Ezekiel 39:17-20
  • 26. S Isaiah 52:8; Isaiah 62:6; Jeremiah 6:17; Jeremiah 31:6; Ezekiel 3:17; Ezekiel 33:7
  • 27. Jeremiah 2:8; Jeremiah 10:21; Jeremiah 14:13-14
  • 28. Nahum 3:18
  • 29. Jeremiah 23:1; Ezekiel 34:2
  • 30. Isaiah 1:3
  • 31. S Isaiah 53:6; Hosea 4:7-8
  • 32. Isaiah 57:17; Jeremiah 6:13; Jeremiah 8:10; Jeremiah 22:17; Ezekiel 13:19; Micah 3:11
  • 33. S Leviticus 10:9; S Proverbs 23:20; S Isaiah 22:13
  • 34. Psalms 10:6; Luke 12:18-19

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains a prophecy of the conversion of the Gentiles, and their accession to the church, and of the corrupt state of the church afterwards, especially of its rulers, which brought in men comparable to wild beasts to devour. It begins with an exhortation to the duties of judgment and justice, enforced by the nearness of Christ's salvation, and the clear relation of his righteousness in the Gospel, and by the blessedness of the man that does those duties, and lays hold on those blessings, and observes the whole of religion, instituted and moral, Isa 56:1,2, when encouragement is given to eunuchs, and strangers or Gentiles, sensible and religious persons, to hope for acceptance with God, and that they shall be welcome to his house, with an answer to their objections, and promises of special favours, Isa 56:3-7 to which is subjoined a promise or prophecy of future additions, both of Jews and Gentiles, to the church of God in the latter day, Isa 56:8 and then follows a call upon some savage people, comparable to wild beasts, to come and devour, which will be previous to the above prophecy, Isa 56:9, the reason of which is the sad corruption of the rulers of the church, their ignorance, negligence, avarice, and drunkenness, Isa 56:10-12.

Isaiah 56 Commentaries

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