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Go to Bible: Isaiah 58
“shofar.” The ram’s horn trumpet, not the metal trumpet.(top)
“delight to know my ways.” This is irony. It is obvious from the context that the people sought God to get what they wanted, not sought Him to know and obey His ways. This is one of the many places where totally selfish people seek God to get things from Him without giving a thought about whether they themselves are obeying God.
“a nation.” God usually refers to Israel as His people or the people. But here he refers to them as a nation, a word that He regularly uses for the pagan nations. Thus there is buried in the vocabulary God’s assessment of Israel: they were acting like pagans.
“did righteousness.” That is, did righteous things. (See commentary on Matthew 5:6).(top)
“Behold.” God starts speaking here. That would have been clearer if this sentence was the first part of verse four instead of the last sentence in verse three.(top)
|Isa 58:4||- (top)|
|Isa 58:5||- (top)|
|Isa 58:6||- (top)|
“your own flesh.” Meaning, other human beings. All humans are of the same flesh, descended from Adam and Eve, and we must recognize the value of every person.(top)
“the glory of Yahweh will be your rear guard.” The glory of Yahweh is the brilliant cloud of light surrounding Yahweh, so if the glory of Yahweh is our rear guard, then God follows behind us guarding our backs from the enemy. [For more on the glory of God, see commentary on Ezekiel 1:28].(top)
“Then you will call and Yahweh will answer.” If a person is evil or unrepentant, God will not hear his prayers (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; James 4:3). But the prayer of a righteous person accomplishes much (James 5:16). Isaiah 58:1-8 is a powerful section of Scripture on the value of being humble and obeying God.
“finger-pointing.” There is nothing new under the sun. This is not a biblical custom, because finger pointing and blaming has always been a part of human culture.(top)
|Isa 58:10||- (top)|
|Isa 58:11||- (top)|
|Isa 58:12||- (top)|
“turn back your foot from breaking the Sabbath.” God wanted people to refrain from traveling on the Sabbath and focus on Him, resting, and being with family (cp. Exod. 16:29; Exod. 20:11 and Deut. 5:14 say God “rested” on the Sabbath). By the time of Jesus, this travel restriction was codified in law to a distance of 2,000 cubits (slightly less than .6 mile), a “Sabbath day’s journey.”(top)
“feed you with the inheritance of Jacob.” “The inheritance of Jacob” is the land of Israel, which was promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Israel. In this verse, “the inheritance of Jacob” is put by metonymy for the abundance of food produced in the land of Israel—God would feed Israel with an abundance of food produced in the land. Many verses in the Old Testament foretell a time when the land and waters will be healed and the deserts will bloom, so food and wine will be abundant for both man and animals (Isa. 25:6; 30:23-26; 32:15; 35:1-7; 41:18-20; 44:3; 51:3; Jer. 31:5, 11-14; Ezek. 47:1, 2, 7-12; Hos. 2:21-22; Joel 2:18-26; 3:18; Amos 9:13). The abundance of the food in the Messianic Kingdom is linked to the feast that God will throw for the people of the Kingdom. [For more on the promise of the land to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as an inheritance, see commentary on Genesis 15:18. For more on the great feast in the Kingdom of Heaven, the Messianic Kingdom on earth, see commentary on Matthew 8:12].
For the one talking at the end of the verse not being the Messiah, see Barnes notes (and Calvin’s commentary?)(top)