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65. Judgment and Salvation

1I am inquired of by them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name. 2I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, that walk in a way that is not good, after their own thoughts; 3a people that provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens, and burning incense upon bricks; 4that sit among the graves, and lodge in the secret places; that eat swine's flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels; 5that say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me, for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day. 6Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, yea, I will recompense into their bosom, 7your own iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith Jehovah, that have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills; therefore will I first measure their work into their bosom. 8Thus saith Jehovah, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not, for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sake, that I may not destroy them all. 9And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains; and my chosen shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there. 10And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me. 11But ye that forsake Jehovah, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for Fortune, and that fill up mingled wine unto Destiny; 12I will destine you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter; because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but ye did that which was evil in mine eyes, and chose that wherein I delighted not. 13Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry; behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty; behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be put to shame; 14behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall wail for vexation of spirit. 15And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen; and the Lord Jehovah will slay thee; and he will call his servants by another name: 16so that he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. 17For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. 18But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create; for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. 19And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people; and there shall be heard in her no more the voice of weeping and the voice of crying. 20There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days; for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed. 21And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. 22They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree shall be the days of my people, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. 23They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for calamity; for they are the seed of the blessed of Jehovah, and their offspring with them. 24And it shall come to pass that, before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. 25The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith Jehovah.

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16. He who blesseth himself in the earth. Here the whole world is contrasted with a corner of Judea, in which the worship of God might be said to be shut up. Since the time when God has been manifested everywhere, he is not now worshipped in one particular district, but in all places without distinction; as Christ also teacheth, (John 4:21,) “The hour cometh, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father;” and Paul also saith,

“I wish that men in every place may lift up clean hands, without wrath and disputing.”
(1 Timothy 2:8.)

Thus the word “earth,” by which he denotes, in this passage, the whole world, is employed by him in an indirect contrast with Judea.

Shall bless himself in the true God. Shall swear by the true God. By “blessing” and “swearing” he denotes the whole of the worship of God. “Swearing,” as we have formerly seen, 213213     Commentary on Isaiah, Vol. 2, p. 70; Vol. 3, p. 467. is a kind of worship of God; for by it we declare that all judgment belongs to God, and acknowledge that he is perfectly acquainted with all that we do. We “bless,” when we wish to obtain from him all prosperity, and render thanksgiving to him alone; and, in short, when we acknowledge that our prosperity comes from no other source than from his undeserved kindness. By “the true God” is meant that he is faithful to his promises and steadfast to his purpose; though perhaps there is an implied and indirect contrast between “the true God” and the false gods of the Gentiles.

For the former afflictions are surrendered to forgetfulness. This promise relates to believers only. God declares that he will put an end to their afflictions and distresses, that the calamity of the Church may not be perpetual. This began to be accomplished when the people were brought out of Babylon; for, although they were afflicted in various ways both during the journey and at home, yet the severity of the punishments was mitigated; because the return to their native country, the rebuilding of the temple, the restoration of regular government, soothed their griefs, and supported their hearts by good hope till the coming of Christ.