Isaiah 57

1 The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous are taken away from calamity,
2 and they enter into peace; those who walk uprightly will rest on their couches.
3 But as for you, come here, you children of a sorceress, you offspring of an adulterer and a whore.
4 Whom are you mocking? Against whom do you open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue? Are you not children of transgression, the offspring of deceit—
5 you that burn with lust among the oaks, under every green tree; you that slaughter your children in the valleys, under the clefts of the rocks?
6 Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion; they, they, are your lot; to them you have poured out a drink offering, you have brought a grain offering. Shall I be appeased for these things?
7 Upon a high and lofty mountain you have set your bed, and there you went up to offer sacrifice.
8 Behind the door and the doorpost you have set up your symbol; for, in deserting me, you have uncovered your bed, you have gone up to it, you have made it wide; and you have made a bargain for yourself with them, you have loved their bed, you have gazed on their nakedness.
9 You journeyed to Molech with oil, and multiplied your perfumes; you sent your envoys far away, and sent down even to Sheol.
10 You grew weary from your many wanderings, but you did not say, "It is useless." You found your desire rekindled, and so you did not weaken.
11 Whom did you dread and fear so that you lied, and did not remember me or give me a thought? Have I not kept silent and closed my eyes, and so you do not fear me?
12 I will concede your righteousness and your works, but they will not help you.
13 When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you! The wind will carry them off, a breath will take them away. But whoever takes refuge in me shall possess the land and inherit my holy mountain.
14 It shall be said, "Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstruction from my people's way."
15 For thus says the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16 For I will not continually accuse, nor will I always be angry; for then the spirits would grow faint before me, even the souls that I have made.
17 Because of their wicked covetousness I was angry; I struck them, I hid and was angry; but they kept turning back to their own ways.
18 I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will lead them and repay them with comfort, creating for their mourners the fruit of the lips.
19 Peace, peace, to the far and the near, says the Lord; and I will heal them.
20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea that cannot keep still; its waters toss up mire and mud.
21 There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.

Isaiah 57 Commentary

Chapter 57

The blessed death of the righteous. (1,2) The abominable idolatries of the Jewish nation. (3-12) Promises to the humble and contrite. (13-21)

Verses 1-2 The righteous are delivered from the sting of death, not from the stroke of it. The careless world disregards this. Few lament it as a public loss, and very few notice it as a public warning. They are taken away in compassion, that they may not see the evil, nor share in it, nor be tempted by it. The righteous man, when he dies, enters into peace and rest.

Verses 3-12 The Lord here calls apostates and hypocrites to appear before him. When reproved for their sins, and threatened with judgments, they ridiculed the word of God. The Jews were guilty of idolatry before the captivity; but not after that affliction. Their zeal in the worship of false gods, may shame our indifference in the worship of the true God. The service of sin is disgraceful slavery; those who thus debase themselves to hell, will justly have their portion there. Men incline to a religion that inflames their unholy passions. They are led to do any evil, however great or vile, if they think it will atone for crimes, or purchase indulgence for some favourite lust. This explains idolatry, whether pagan, Jewish, or antichristian. But those who set up anything instead of God, for their hope and confidence, never will come to a right end. Those who forsake the only right way, wander in a thousand by-paths. The pleasures of sin soon tire, but never satisfy. Those who care not for the word of God and his providences, show they have no fear of God. Sin profits not; it ruins and destroys.

Verses 13-21 The idols and their worshippers shall come to nothing; but those who trust in God's grace, shall be brought to the joys of heaven. With the Lord there is neither beginning of days, nor end of life, nor change of time. His name is holy, and all must know him as a holy God. He will have tender regard to those who bring their mind to their condition, and dread his wrath. He will make his abode with those whose hearts he has thus humbled, in order to revive and comfort them. When troubles last long, even good men are tempted to entertain hard thoughts of God. Therefore He will not contend for ever, for he will not forsake the work of his own hands, nor defeat the purchase of his Son's blood. Covetousness is a sin that particularly lays men under the Divine displeasure. See the sinfulness of sin. See also that troubles cannot reform men unless God's grace work in them. Peace shall be published, perfect peace. It is the fruit of preaching lips, and praying lips. Christ came and preached peace to Gentiles, as well as to the Jews; to after-ages, who were afar off in time, as well as to those of that age. But the wicked would not be healed by God's grace, therefore would not be healed by his comforts. Their ungoverned lusts and passions made them like the troubled sea. Also the terrors of conscience disturbed their enjoyments. God hath said it, and all the world cannot unsay it, That there is no peace to those who allow themselves in any sin. If we are recovered from such an awful state, it is only by the grace of God. And the influences of the Holy Spirit, and that new heart, from whence comes grateful praise, the fruit of our lips, are his gift. Salvation, with all its fruits, hopes, and comforts, is his work, and to him belongs all the glory. There is no peace for the wicked man; but let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, and he will abundantly pardon.

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Heb [an adulterer and she plays the whore]
  • [b]. Meaning of Heb uncertain
  • [c]. Or [their phallus]; Heb [the hand]
  • [d]. Or [the king]
  • [e]. Gk Vg: Heb [silent even for a long time]
  • [f]. Meaning of Heb uncertain

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH 57

This chapter contains complaints of the stupidity and idolatry of the people, described in the latter part of the preceding chapter; and some promises of grace to the people of God. The stupidity of the former is observed, Isa 57:1 they not taking notice of the death of good men, nor of impending calamities they were taken from, whose happiness is described, Isa 57:2, then these idolatrous people are summoned before the Lord, Isa 57:3 and are charged with deriding the saints with idolatry and murder, Isa 57:4-6 and their idolatry is represented under the notion of adultery, attended with very aggravating circumstances, Isa 57:7-9 and yet these people still entertained presumptuous hopes of happiness, and boasted of, and trusted in, their righteousness and good works, which would be exposed, and be of no advantage to them, Isa 57:10-12, next follow promises of grace to the saints, that such that trusted in Christ should inherit the holy mountain, Isa 57:13 that the stumblingblock of his people should be removed, Isa 57:14, that he should dwell with the humble and contrite, Isa 57:15, and not be always wroth and contend with them, for a reason given, Isa 57:16 and that though he had smote them, and hid his face from them because of their sins, yet would heal them, lead them, and comfort them, and speak peace unto them, Isa 57:17-19 and the chapter is concluded with the character of the wicked, and an assurance that there is no peace for them, Isa 57:20,21.

Isaiah 57 Commentaries