|The Book of Isaiah|
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Go to Bible: Isaiah 1
|Isa 1:1||- (top)|
“but they have rebelled.” This verse, and many like it, highlight the fact that people have free will and can make the choice to serve God or not. God is not in control of what we do. God writes this verse with a tone of surprise and disgust. He had done so much for Israel and they had remained unthankful. Thankfulness comes from the heart and is something that we can control if we want to, which is why God can command us to be thankful (Col. 3:15).(top)
“Israel does not know.” The Hebrew text of Isaiah 1:3 does not supply an object to the word “know,” and thus answer the question, “does not know what?” Instead it simply states that Israel “does not know.” From the first phrase, that the ox knows “its owner,” an implied object is “does not know ‘their God.’” However, Israel is ignorant of more than just their God. They do not understand the things of God or their dire situation, so the simple phrase “does not know” is appropriate because it includes all the things that Israel does not know. Furthermore, the word “know” can also have the meaning of “consider,” and that is true also. Not only does Israel not know their God, He does not come into their minds in a meaningful way—they do not consider Him. Furthermore, Israel is a microcosm of the world, because most people do not give serious thought to God and the things of God.
It is a fact that most people are not hostile towards God, but instead they are indifferent towards Him; they ignore Him. It is as if God does not exist. In that, humans are not as wise as the animals that God created. “The ox knows his owner.” The ox knows where his food and shelter come from, and he obeys the owner and receives his desired reward. Humans, on the other hand, though so much greater in intellectual capacity than an ox, strangely ignore what should be the most important and profound questions in life: “Where did I come from?” “Why am I here?” And, “Where am I going.”
We came from God, who created us for His good pleasure to fellowship with Him and with each other. We are here to love and serve God and each other, and in doing that we will find true fulfillment in life. The last question, “Where am I going,” totally depends on one’s own choices. Those people who are prideful and will not obey God or live in a godly way with other humans end up rejecting God and His offer of everlasting life, and so they will end up being annihilated in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:11-15). But for those people who obey God and get saved, the question, “Where am I going” is answered by, “To a wonderful place with wonderful people who will enjoy everlasting life together.”
No one needs to, or should, miss everlasting life. God, in His love and mercy, has made it available for every person to be saved through Jesus Christ. However, because natural people tend to ignore God and their future life, those people who have found salvation in Christ should do what they can to keep people who are not saved from staying at a level of awareness that is lower than the dumb ox that God created. As ambassadors for Christ, Christians must help people awaken from their lackadaisical state of mind and overcome their natural pride and rebellion and humbly come to Christ and get saved so they too can enjoy everlasting life in a wonderful place. [For more on the wonderful future kingdom of Christ on earth, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth.” For more on the unsaved being annihilated in the Lake of Fire, see Appendix 5, “Annihilation in the Lake of Fire”].
“feeding trough.” The place where the food is placed. Also called a crib or manger.(top)
|Isa 1:4||- (top)|
|Isa 1:5||- (top)|
“cleansed.” The Hebrew is literally, “pressed out.” When a person is wounded or sick, often there is foreign matter in the wound that needs to be flushed out.(top)
|Isa 1:7||- (top)|
“Daughter Zion.” Here Jerusalem (and by extension, Judah), is referred to as the daughter of God, a use of the figure of speech hypocatastasis that brings a lot of meaning and emotion to the verse. As a daughter, God would have loved to have tenderly cared for her, but she refused His help and advice. Also as a daughter, she had cultural obligations to obey her Father and follow His ways, but she spurned her father and did whatever she wanted, which resulted in her ruin. [For more on the figure of speech hypocatastasis, see commentary on Rev. 20:2. For more on “Daughter Zion” and the Israel as the Bride, see Appendix 13, “The Bride of Christ”].
“booth...watchman’s hut.” This refers to the biblical custom of guarding the crops. Between the planting season and the harvest, farmers put up temporary shelters in their fields so they could guard their crops from thieves and pests. The booth or hut sheltered the watchman from the heat and wind. Family members would take turns manning these shelters, even spending the night there if the situation warranted it. The shelters were temporary, and after the harvest they were abandoned and soon fell into ruin, eventually even simply falling down and falling apart. Here in Isaiah 1:8, God compares Zion to one of those huts—Zion is in a state of ruin. Sometimes the watchtowers in the fields and vinyards were built to last; they were much more permanent and sturdy, and that is the kind of watchtower that is mentioned in Isaiah 5:2.
Amos prophesied about the same time as Isaiah (likely started before Isaiah started and ended before Isaiah ended), and Amos also spoke of David’s fallen “booth” (Amos 9:11), using the same word for “booth” (Hebrew: sukkah #05521 סֻכָּה) as Isaiah does. Judah was in ruins, but God says it will be restored. [For more on the Messianic Kingdom on earth, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth”].(top)
|Isa 1:9||- (top)|
“Sodom...Gomorrah.” Isaiah employs the figure of speech antonomasia (“name change”) to graphically describe how evil the people of Judah were—they were as bad as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah who God destroyed by fire from heaven (Gen. 19:4-29). [For more on the figure antonomasia, see commentary on Matthew 17:10].(top)
|Isa 1:11||- (top)|
|Isa 1:12||- (top)|
“worthless offerings.” The priests and people were wicked and unrepentant, so their offerings were worthless. Offerings and sacrifices were never designed to make a person with an evil heart acceptable in the sight of God. Isaiah 1:10-19 is all about what God wants and what He doesn’t want from Israel. [For more information about the sacrifices of wicked people being of no value, see commentary on Amos 5:22.]
“New moons.” The beginning of each month, the new moon, was celebrated by special offerings and blowing of trumpets (Num. 10:10, 28:11-15; see commentary on Num. 28:11). In time, the Jews turned the new moon into a feast day (1 Sam. 20:5).(top)
|Isa 1:14||- (top)|
“I will not listen.” It is very important that God’s people realize that God does not hear prayers simply because people pray. Everyone sins, but some people are stubborn and unrepentant about their sin. A person’s heart must be right in the sight of God for the prayer to be effective. For example, if a man treats his wife badly it will hinder his prayers (1 Pet. 3:7). It is the prayer of a righteous person that accomplishes much (James 5:16). There are a number of verses that say God does not answer the prayers of the wicked (cp.Job 35:12-13; Prov. 15:29; Isa. 1:15; 59:1-2; Ezek. 8:17-18; Micah 3:4; Zech. 7:12-13; and James 4:3). [For more on God not hearing the prayers of the wicked or honoring their sacrifices, see commentary on Amos 5:22].
“Your hands are full of blood.” The people’s actions in their day-to-day life showed that their supposed worship of God was insincere and hypocritical.(top)
|Isa 1:16||- (top)|
|Isa 1:17||- (top)|
|Isa 1:18||- (top)|
|Isa 1:19||- (top)|
|Isa 1:20||- (top)|
|Isa 1:21||- (top)|
|Isa 1:22||- (top)|
|Isa 1:23||- (top)|
|Isa 1:24||- (top)|
|Isa 1:25||- (top)|
“I will restore your judges as at the first.” When Christ sets up his kingdom on earth, he will be assisted in governing the earth by people who have been faithful to him (see commentary on Jer. 23:4). The phrase, “as at the first” seems to refer to the early reign of David when the Davidic reign was considered ideal and the judges David set up were righteous men. [For more on Christ’s future kingdom on earth, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth”].
“After that.” Jerusalem had been mostly run by ungodly kings and priests (although not all of them were), and that made life hard on the people. In the Messianic Kingdom, Jesus Christ will be king and reign in righteousness (Isa. 11:3-5), and he will restore godly judges and leaders. Then even the people will call Jerusalem, “City of Righteousness; Faithful Town” (which can also be translated: “City of the Righteous, Community of Faithfulness”). Thus this verse is a testimony to the fact that if a society is going to be godly, the leaders must be godly, and in the Messianic Kingdom of Christ they will be.
“Righteousness.” In this context, “righteousness” is doing what is right to God and others. In the Millennial Kingdom, Jerusalem will be called the “City of Righteousness” (or City of Justice) because people will do what is right to God and each other, and Jesus Christ will reign as king over the earth and the Law will go out from Jerusalem all over the world. [For more on “righteousness” having the meaning of doing what is right, see commentary on Matt. 5:6].(top)
“by righteousness.” In this context, “righteousness” is doing what is right to God and others. People who repent will be redeemed by God’s righteous actions. [For more on “righteousness” having the meaning of doing what is right, see commentary on Matt. 5:6].(top)
|Isa 1:28||- (top)|
|Isa 1:29||- (top)|
|Isa 1:30||- (top)|
|Isa 1:31||- (top)|