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Government with Justice Predicted


See, a king will reign in righteousness,

and princes will rule with justice.


Each will be like a hiding place from the wind,

a covert from the tempest,

like streams of water in a dry place,

like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.


Then the eyes of those who have sight will not be closed,

and the ears of those who have hearing will listen.


The minds of the rash will have good judgment,

and the tongues of stammerers will speak readily and distinctly.


A fool will no longer be called noble,

nor a villain said to be honorable.


For fools speak folly,

and their minds plot iniquity:

to practice ungodliness,

to utter error concerning the L ord,

to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied,

and to deprive the thirsty of drink.


The villainies of villains are evil;

they devise wicked devices

to ruin the poor with lying words,

even when the plea of the needy is right.


But those who are noble plan noble things,

and by noble things they stand.


Complacent Women Warned of Disaster


Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice;

you complacent daughters, listen to my speech.


In little more than a year

you will shudder, you complacent ones;

for the vintage will fail,

the fruit harvest will not come.


Tremble, you women who are at ease,

shudder, you complacent ones;

strip, and make yourselves bare,

and put sackcloth on your loins.


Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields,

for the fruitful vine,


for the soil of my people

growing up in thorns and briers;

yes, for all the joyous houses

in the jubilant city.


For the palace will be forsaken,

the populous city deserted;

the hill and the watchtower

will become dens forever,

the joy of wild asses,

a pasture for flocks;


until a spirit from on high is poured out on us,

and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,

and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.

The Peace of God’s Reign


Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,

and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.


The effect of righteousness will be peace,

and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.


My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,

in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.


The forest will disappear completely,

and the city will be utterly laid low.


Happy will you be who sow beside every stream,

who let the ox and the donkey range freely.


16. And judgment shall dwell in the wilderness. The Prophet shews what is the actual condition of the Church, that is, when justice and judgment prevail; for men ought not to be like cattle, which seek nothing but plenty of food and abundance of outward things. And hence it is plain enough that the Jews were not confined to transitory enjoyments, so as to have their hope fixed exclusively on earthly blessings, as some fanatics imagine. They were enjoined to attend to that which was of the greatest importance, that justice and judgment should prevail; and undoubtedly they knew that true happiness consists in it. It is therefore our duty to look chiefly to this, that we should not, like hogs in a sty, judge of the happiness of life by abundance of bread and wine; for this is the end of all the blessings which the Lord bestows upon us, this is the object of our deliverance, “that we should serve him,” as Zacharias says, “in holiness and righteousness.” (Luke 1:74, 75.)

Under the terms “justice” and “judgment,” as we have already seen, he includes all that belongs to uprightness; for although these two words relate strictly to that equity which ought to be mutually cultivated among us, yet, since it is customary to describe the observation of the whole law by the duties of the second table, here the Prophet, by a figure of speech in which a part is taken for the whole, embraces also piety and the worship of God. The Prophets are accustomed to notice the chief duties of brotherly kindness, and those which belong to the second table, because by these, more than by any others, we manifest the real state of our feelings towards God.

When he declares that justice and judgment have their abode in the wilderness, as well as in the cultivated fields, this shews more clearly that the abundance of blessings promised a little before was so great that, when men saw it, they would consider that those fields which they formerly looked upon as very excellent had been comparatively barren.

17. And the work of righteousness shall be peace. A little before, he censured severely that peace which made the Jews drowsy and slothful; he now promises a different kind of repose, which will be a striking proof of the love of God, who has received them into favor, and will faithfully guard them. We ought therefore to observe the implied contrast between that brutal repose which the reprobate think that they obtain by their presumption in committing every kind of wickedness, and in which they also fall asleep, and that different kind of repose, on the other hand, which the children of God obtain by a religious and holy life, and which Isaiah exhorts us to desire, shewing that we ought fearlessly to believe that a blessed and joyful peace awaits us when we have been reconciled to God.

In this way he recommends to them to follow uprightness, that they may obtain assured peace; for, as Peter declares, there is no better way of procuring favor, that no man may do us injury, than to abstain from all evil-doing. (1 Peter 3:13.) But the Prophet leads them higher, to aim at a religious and holy life by the grace of God; for nothing is more unreasonable than that wicked men should desire to have peace, while they are continually fighting against God. That wish is indeed common; for hardly one person in a hundred shall be found who does not loudly extol peace, while at the same time every man raises up enemies to himself in the earth, and all in vast crowds disturb heaven and earth by their crimes. Now, the latter repose, being perpetual, is compared by him to the former, which is slight and momentary.

The effect of righteousness. When peace receives this designation, let us learn that, as wars proceed from the wrath of God, which we provoke by our wickedness, so peace springs from his blessing. When, therefore, we see enemies enraged to battle, and rising furiously against us, let us seek no other remedy than repentance; for the Lord will easily allay commotions when we have returned to him. He it is, as the Psalmist says, who

“maketh wars to cease to the ends of the earth, who breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in pieces, and burneth the chariots in the fire.” (Psalm 46:9.)

We have already said that these things do not relate exclusively to Hezekiah, but must be referred to Christ.

18. And my people shall dwell. As we have said that spiritual righteousness is that which has its seat in the hearts of men, we must say the same thing about peace, which is the fruit of it. Accordingly, when quiet habitations and resting-places are here mentioned, let us remember the saying of Paul, “justified by faith, we have peace with God.” (Romans 5:1.) When Christ says that he “leaves” this peace to the disciples, (John 14:27,) he affirms that “it cannot be given by the world;” and we ought not to wonder at this, for, as the same Apostle Paul informs us in another passage, “this peace surpasses all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7.) Having obtained this righteousness, we are no longer restless or alarmed within, as when we feel in the gnawings of conscience the wrath of God. A bad conscience is always alarmed, and harassed by wretched uneasiness.

Wicked men must therefore be uneasy, and distressed by a variety of terrors; for where righteousness is banished that peace cannot be found; and where Christ reigns, there alone do we find true peace. Assured peace, therefore, is enjoyed by none but believers, who appeal to the heavenly tribunal, not only by their piety, but by their reliance on the mercy of God. Hence we infer that Christ does not yet reign where consciences are uneasy, and tossed by the various waves of doubts, as must be the case with Papists and all others who are not built on the sacrifice of Christ and the atonement obtained through him.

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