Isaiah 56

1 Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do righteousness: for my saving health is near to come, and my righteousness to be manifested.
2 Blessed is the man that does this, and the son of man that lays hold on it; that keeps from polluting the sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.
3 Neither let the son of the stranger that has joined himself to the LORD speak, saying, The LORD shall utterly separate me from his people: nor let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
4 For thus has the LORD said unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
5 even unto them will I give in my house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall never be cut off.
6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and that love the name of the LORD, to be his slaves, every one that keeps from polluting the sabbath, and takes hold of my covenant;
7 even them will I bring to the mountain of my holiness, and refresh them in the house of my prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon my altar; for my house shall be called, House of prayer for all peoples.
8 The Lord GOD who gathers the outcasts of Israel says, I will still gather upon him his gathered ones.
9 All ye beasts of the field, all ye beasts of the forest; come to devour.
10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant; they are all dumb dogs; they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, they love to slumber.
11 And these anxious dogs are insatiable, and even the shepherds did not know enough to understand: they all look to their own ways, each one for his gain, from his quarter.
12 Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow shall be as this day, or much more excellent.

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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.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH 56

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

The Jubilee Bible

(from the Scriptures of the Reformation)

edited by Russell M. Stendal

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