Isaiah 59

1 See, the Lord's hand is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
2 Rather, your iniquities have been barriers between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue mutters wickedness.
4 No one brings suit justly, no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, conceiving mischief and begetting iniquity.
5 They hatch adders' eggs, and weave the spider's web; whoever eats their eggs dies, and the crushed egg hatches out a viper.
6 Their webs cannot serve as clothing; they cannot cover themselves with what they make. Their works are works of iniquity, and deeds of violence are in their hands.
7 Their feet run to evil, and they rush to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, desolation and destruction are in their highways.
8 The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths. Their roads they have made crooked; no one who walks in them knows peace.
9 Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us; we wait for light, and lo! there is darkness; and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.
10 We grope like the blind along a wall, groping like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among the vigorous as though we were dead.
11 We all growl like bears; like doves we moan mournfully. We wait for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us.
12 For our transgressions before you are many, and our sins testify against us. Our transgressions indeed are with us, and we know our iniquities:
13 transgressing, and denying the Lord, and turning away from following our God, talking oppression and revolt, conceiving lying words and uttering them from the heart.
14 Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands at a distance; for truth stumbles in the public square, and uprightness cannot enter.
15 Truth is lacking, and whoever turns from evil is despoiled. The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.
16 He saw that there was no one, and was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm brought him victory, and his righteousness upheld him.
17 He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in fury as in a mantle.
18 According to their deeds, so will he repay; wrath to his adversaries, requital to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render requital.
19 So those in the west shall fear the name of the Lord, and those in the east, his glory; for he will come like a pent-up stream that the wind of the Lord drives on.
20 And he will come to Zion as Redeemer, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression, says the Lord.
21 And as for me, this is my covenant with them, says the Lord: my spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouths of your children, or out of the mouths of your children's children, says the Lord, from now on and forever.

Isaiah 59 Commentary

Chapter 59

Reproofs of sin and wickedness. (1-8) Confession of sin, and lamentation for the consequences. (9-15) Promises of deliverance. (16-21)

Verses 1-8 If our prayers are not answered, and the salvation we wait for is not wrought for us, it is not because God is weary of hearing prayer, but because we are weary of praying. See here sin in true colours, exceedingly sinful; and see sin in its consequences, exceedingly hurtful, separating from God, and so separating us, not only from all good, but to all evil. Yet numbers feed, to their own destruction, on infidel and wicked systems. Nor can their skill or craft, in devising schemes, as the spider weaves its web, deliver or save them. No schemes of self-wrought salvation shall avail those who despise the Redeemer's robe of righteousness. Every man who is destitute of the Spirit of Christ, runs swiftly to evil of some sort; but those regardless of Divine truth and justice, are strangers to peace.

Verses 9-15 If we shut our eyes against the light of Divine truth, it is just with God to hide from our eyes the things that belong to our peace. The sins of those who profess themselves God's people, are worse than the sins of others. And the sins of a nation bring public judgments, when not restrained by public justice. Men may murmur under calamities, but nothing will truly profit while they reject Christ and his gospel.

Verses 16-21 This passage is connected with the following chapters. It is generally thought to describe the coming of the Messiah, as the Avenger and Deliverer of his church. There was none to intercede with God to turn away his wrath; none to interpose for the support of justice and truth. Yet He engaged his own strength and righteousness for his people. God will make his justice upon the enemies of his church and people plainly appear. When the enemy threatens to bear down all without control, then the Spirit of the Lord shall stop him, put him to flight. He that has delivered, will still deliver. A far more glorious salvation is promised to be wrought out by the Messiah in the fulness of time, which all the prophets had in view. The Son of God shall come to us to be our Redeemer; the Spirit of God shall come to be our Sanctifier: thus the Comforter shall abide with the church for ever, ( John 14:16 ) . The word of Christ will always continue in the mouths of the faithful; and whatever is pretended to be the mind of the Spirit, must be tried by the Scriptures. We must lament the progress of infidelity and impiety. But the cause of the Redeemer shall gain a complete victory even on earth, and the believer will be more than conqueror when the Lord receives him to his glory in heaven.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Meaning of Heb uncertain

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH 59

As the former chapter declares the hypocrisy and formality of professors of religion; this expresses the errors and heresies, immorality and profaneness, which shall prevail before the spiritual reign of Christ, or the latter day glory begins; which is so fully described in the next chapter. Reasons are given of God's withdrawing his presence from a professing people, which were not want of power and readiness in him, but their own sins and transgressions, Isa 59:1,2 which are enumerated, such as murder, rapine, lies Isa 59:3-8 for which the judgments of God were upon them, darkness, distress, and misery, of which they were sensible, Isa 59:9-11 and confess their sins and transgressions, Isa 59:12,13 and lament their wretched state and condition, which was displeasing to God, Isa 59:14,15 who is represented as appearing for their salvation; moved to it by their want of help, and the oppression of their enemies, in which he shows his power, justice, zeal, grace, and goodness, Isa 59:16-18 the consequence of which shall be the conversion and salvation of many, owing to the efficacy of the divine Spirit, and to the spiritual coming of the Redeemer, Isa 59:19,20, and the chapter is closed with a promise of the continuance of the Spirit of God, and the Gospel of Christ in his church, unto the end of the world, Isa 59:21.

Isaiah 59 Commentaries