Isaiah 8:20

20 Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.

Isaiah 8:20 in Other Translations

20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
20 To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.
20 Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark.
20 Tell them, "No, we're going to study the Scriptures." People who try the other ways get nowhere - a dead end!
20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, there will be no dawn for them.

Isaiah 8:20 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 8:20

To the law, and to the testimony
Kimchi takes this to be an oath, "by the law, and by the testimony", it is so and so; but Aben Ezra observes there is no instance of this kind in Scripture; it is a direction of Christ's to his disciples, to attend to the writings of Moses and the prophets, to search the Scriptures, as in ( John 5:39 ) and particularly what is before said in this prophecy concerning himself, the same is meant as on ( Isaiah 8:16 ) . if they speak not according to this word;
this sure word of prophecy, to which men do well to take heed, as to a light shining in a dark place, it being the rule of faith and practice, a lamp to the feet, and a light to the path: [it is] because [there is] no light in them;
that is, in them that speak not according to it, meaning the Scribes and Pharisees; who, rejecting the written word, set up the traditions of the elders above it, and taught the people to walk according to them; and so were, as our Lord says, "blind leaders of the blind", ( Matthew 15:14 ) or the words may be read, "if not"; if they will not regard the Scriptures, and the evangelical doctrine in them, and the testimony they give concerning Christ; "let them speak according to this word"; or instruction, and counsel, they have from the Scribes and Pharisees: "in which there is no light" F2; but the darkness of ignorance, infidelity, superstition, and will worship; or "no morning"; but a night of Jewish darkness, even though the sun of righteousness was risen, and the dayspring from on high had visited the earth; yet they had received no light and knowledge from him, which was their condemnation, ( John 1:4 John 1:5 ) ( John 3:19 John 3:20 ) or thus, "to the law, and to the testimony, though they may say after this manner, there is no light in it" F3; in the law and testimony, preferring the traditions, decisions, and determinations of their doctors above it. Noldhius F4 renders the words thus, "seeing they speak not according to this word, certainly they shall have no morning"; that is, seeing the seducers and false teachers, in the preceding verse ( Isaiah 8:19 ) , speak not according to the word of God, and testimony of Jesus, they shall have no morning of light and joy, of grace and comfort, or any spiritual felicity; Christ will be no morning to them, but they will continue in their dark, benighted, and miserable condition, described in the following verse.


F2 (wrmay al Ma) "sin minus, dicant secundum verbum istud, cui mon est aurora", Piscator. So Sanctius.
F3 "Licet ipsi dicent, in verbis legis, nihil lucis esse", Oleaster in Bootius.
F4 Ebr. Part. Concord. p. 374. No. 1302.

Isaiah 8:20 In-Context

18 Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.
19 When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?
20 Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.
21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God.
22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.

Cross References 3

  • 1. S Isaiah 1:10; Luke 16:29
  • 2. S Ruth 4:7
  • 3. ver 22; Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 59:9; Isaiah 60:2; Micah 3:6
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