Isa 59:1-21. The People's
Sin the Cause of Judgments: They at Last Own It Themselves: the
Redeemer's Future Interposition in Their Extremity.
The reason why Jehovah does not deliver His people,
notwithstanding their religious services (Isa 58:3), is not want of power on His part, but
because of their sins (Isa 59:1-8); Isa 59:9-15 contain their confession; Isa 59:16-21, the consequent promise of the
1. hand … shortened—(See on Isa 50:2).
ear heavy—(Isa 6:10).
2. hid—Hebrew, "caused Him to
3. (Isa 1:15; Ro 3:13-15).
hands … fingers—Not merely the
"hands" perpetrate deeds of grosser enormity ("blood"), but the
"fingers" commit more minute acts of "iniquity."
lips … tongue—The lips
"speak" openly "lies," the tongue "mutters" malicious
insinuations ("perverseness"; perverse misrepresentations of
others) (Jer 6:28; 9:4).
4. Rather, "No one calleth an adversary into
court with justice," that is, None bringeth a just suit: "No one
pleadeth with truth."
they trust … iniquity—(So Job
15:35; Ps 7:14).
5. cockatrice—probably the basilisk
serpent, cerastes. Instead of crushing evil in the egg, they
spider's web—This refers not to the
spider's web being made to entrap, but to its thinness,
as contrasted with substantial "garments," as Isa 59:6 shows. Their works are vain and
transitory (Job 8:14; Pr 11:18).
eateth … their eggs—he who
partakes in their plans, or has anything to do with them,
finds them pestiferous.
that which is crushed—The egg, when
it is broken, breaketh out as a viper; their plans, however
specious in their undeveloped form like the egg, when developed, are
found pernicious. Though the viper is viviparous (from which "vi-per"
is derived), yet during gestation, the young are included in eggs,
which break at the birth [Bochart];
however, metaphors often combine things without representing everything
to the life.
6. not … garments—like the "fig
leaves" wherewith Adam and Eve vainly tried to cover their shame, as
contrasted with "the coats of skins" which the Lord God made to clothe
them with (Isa 64:6; Ro 13:14; Ga 3:27; Php 3:9). The artificial self-deceiving
sophisms of human philosophy (1Ti 6:5; 2Ti 2:16, 23).
7. feet—All their members are
active in evil; in Isa 59:3, the
"hands, fingers, lips, and tongue," are specified.
run … haste—(Ro 3:15). Contrast David's "running and hasting"
in the ways of God (Ps 119:32, 60).
thoughts—not merely their acts, but
their whole thoughts.
8. peace—whether in relation to God, to
their own conscience, or to their fellow men (Isa 57:20, 21).
crooked—the opposite of
"straightforward" (Pr 2:15; 28:18).
9. judgment far—retribution in kind
because they had shown "no judgment in their goings"
59:8). "The vindication of
our just rights by God is withheld by Him from us."
us—In Isa 59:8 and previous verses, it was "they," the
third person; here, "us … we," the first person. The nation here
speaks: God thus making them out of their own mouth condemn
themselves; just as He by His prophet had condemned them before.
Isaiah includes himself with his people and speaks in their name.
justice—God's justice bringing
salvation (Isa 46:13).
light—the dawn of returning
obscurity—adversity (Jer 8:15).
10. grope—fulfilling Moses' threat
stumble at noon … as …
night—There is no relaxation of our evils; at the time when
we might look for the noon of relief, there is still the night of our
in desolate places—rather, to suit the
parallel words "at noonday," in fertile (literally, "fat"; Ge 27:28) fields [Gesenius] (where all is promising) we are like
the dead (who have no hope left them); or, where others are
prosperous, we wander about as dead men; true of all unbelievers
(Isa 26:10; Lu 15:17).
11. roar—moan plaintively, like a hungry
bear which growls for food.
doves—(Isa 38:14; Eze 7:16).
salvation—retribution in kind: because
not salvation, but "destruction" was "in their paths" (Isa 59:7).
12. (Da 9:5, &c.).
thee … us—antithesis.
with us—that is, we are
conscious of them (Job 12:3,
Margin; Job 15:9).
know—acknowledge they are our
13. The particulars of the sins
generally confessed in Isa 59:12 (Isa 48:8; Jer 2:19, 20). The act, the word, and the
thought of apostasy, are all here marked: transgression and
departing, &c.; lying (compare Isa 59:4), and speaking, &c.;
conceiving and uttering from the heart.
14. Justice and righteousness are put away
from our legal courts.
in the street—in the forum, the place
of judicature, usually at the gate of the city (Zec 8:16).
cannot enter—is shut out from the
forum, or courts of justice.
15. faileth—is not to be found.
he that departeth … prey—He that
will not fall in with the prevailing iniquity exposes himself as a prey
to the wicked (Ps 10:8, 9).
Lord saw it—The iniquity of Israel, so
desperate as to require nothing short of Jehovah's interposition to
mend it, typifies the same necessity for a Divine Mediator existing in
the deep corruption of man; Israel, the model nation, was chosen to
illustrate his awful fact.
16. no man—namely, to atone by his
righteousness for the unrighteousness of the people. "Man" is emphatic,
as in 1Ki
2:2; no representative man
able to retrieve the cause of fallen men (Isa 41:28; 63:5, 6; Jer 5:1; Eze 22:30).
no intercessor—no one to interpose,
"to help … uphold" (Isa 63:5).
his arm—(Isa 40:10;
51:5). Not man's arm,
but His alone (Ps 98:1; 44:3).
his righteousness—the "arm" of
Messiah. He won the victory for us, not by mere might as God,
but by His invincible righteousness, as man having "the Spirit
without measure" (Isa 11:5; 42:6, 21; 51:8;
53:11; 1Jo 2:1).
17. Messiah is represented as a warrior armed
at all points, going forth to vindicate His people. Owing to the unity
of Christ and His people, their armor is like His, except that they
have no "garments of vengeance" (which is God's prerogative,
12:19), or "cloak of
zeal" (in the sense of judicial fury punishing the
wicked; this zeal belongs properly to God, 2Ki
10:16; Ro 10:2; Php 3:6;
"zeal," in the sense of anxiety for the Lord's honor, they have,
Nu 25:11, 13; Ps 69:9; 2Co 7:11; 9:2); and for "salvation," which is of God
3:8), they have as their
helmet, "the hope of salvation" (1Th 5:8). The "helmet of salvation" is
attributed to them (Eph 6:14, 17) in a secondary sense; namely, derived
from Him, and as yet only in hope, not fruition (Ro 8:24). The second coming here, as
often, is included in this representation of Messiah. His "zeal" (Joh
2:15-17) at His first coming
was but a type of His zeal and vengeance against the foes of God at His
second coming (2Th 1:8-10; Re 19:11-21).
18. deeds—Hebrew, "recompenses";
"according as their deeds demand" [Maurer]. This verse predicts the judgments at the
Lord's second coming, which shall precede the final redemption of His
people (Isa 66:18, 15, 16).
islands—(See on Isa
41:1). Distant countries.
19. (Isa 45:6; Mal 1:11). The result of God's judgments (Isa
like a flood—(Jer 46:7, 8;
lift up a standard—rather, from a
different Hebrew root, "shall put him to flight," "drive him
away" [Maurer]. Lowth, giving a different sense to the Hebrew
for "enemy" from that in Isa 59:18,
and a forced meaning to the Hebrew for "Spirit of the Lord,"
translates, "When He shall come as a river straitened in its
course, which a mighty wind drives along."
20. to Zion—Ro 11:26 quotes it, "out of Zion." Thus
Paul, by inspiration, supplements the sense from Ps 14:7: He was, and is come to Zion,
first with redemption, being sprung as man out of Zion. The
Septuagint translates "for the sake of Zion." Paul
applies this verse to the coming restoration of Israel spiritually.
them that turn from—(Ro 11:26). "shall turn away ungodliness from
Jacob"; so the Septuagint, Paul herein gives the full sense
under inspiration. They turn from transgression, because He
first turns them from it, and it from them (Ps 130:4; La
21. covenant with them … thee—The
covenant is with Christ, and with them only as united to
2:13). Jehovah addresses
Messiah the representative and ideal Israel. The literal and spiritual
Israel are His seed, to whom the promise is to be fulfilled (Ps 22:30).
spirit … not depart … for
ever—(Jer 31:31-37; Mt 28:20).