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The Covenant Extended to All Who Obey


Thus says the L ord:

Maintain justice, and do what is right,

for soon my salvation will come,

and my deliverance be revealed.



Happy is the mortal who does this,

the one who holds it fast,

who keeps the sabbath, not profaning it,

and refrains from doing any evil.



Do not let the foreigner joined to the L ord say,

“The L ord will surely separate me from his people”;

and do not let the eunuch say,

“I am just a dry tree.”


For thus says the L ord:

To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,

who choose the things that please me

and hold fast my covenant,


I will give, in my house and within my walls,

a monument and a name

better than sons and daughters;

I will give them an everlasting name

that shall not be cut off.



And the foreigners who join themselves to the L ord,

to minister to him, to love the name of the L ord,

and to be his servants,

all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it,

and hold fast my covenant—


these I will bring to my holy mountain,

and make them joyful in my house of prayer;

their burnt offerings and their sacrifices

will be accepted on my altar;

for my house shall be called a house of prayer

for all peoples.


Thus says the Lord G od,

who gathers the outcasts of Israel,

I will gather others to them

besides those already gathered.


The Corruption of Israel’s Rulers


All you wild animals,

all you wild animals in the forest, come to devour!


Israel’s sentinels are blind,

they are all without knowledge;

they are all silent dogs

that cannot bark;

dreaming, lying down,

loving to slumber.


The dogs have a mighty appetite;

they never have enough.

The shepherds also have no understanding;

they have all turned to their own way,

to their own gain, one and all.


“Come,” they say, “let us get wine;

let us fill ourselves with strong drink.

And tomorrow will be like today,

great beyond measure.”


1. Thus saith Jehovah. This is a remarkable passage, in which the Prophet shows what God demands from us, as soon as he holds out tokens of his favor, or promises that he will be ready to be reconciled to us, that our reconciliation may be secured. He demands from us such a conversion as shall change our minds and hearts, that they may forsake the world and rise towards heaven; and next he likewise calls for the fruits of repentance.

Keep ye judgment, and do righteousness. Under the names “judgment” and “righteousness,” he includes all the duties which men owe to each other, and which consist not only in abstaining from doing wrong, but also in rendering assistance to our neighbors. And this is the sum of the second table of the Law, in keeping which we give proof of our piety, if we have any. For this reason the prophets always draw our attention to that table; because by means of it our real character is better known, and true uprightness is ascertained; for hypocrites, as we have formerly seen, 9393     Commentary on Isaiah, Vol. 1, pp. 56, 57 often practice deceit by ceremonies.

For my salvation is near, and my righteousness. He assigns the reason, and at the same time points out the source and the cause why it is the duty of all to devote themselves to newness of life. It is because “the righteousness of the Lord approaches to us,” that we, on our part, ought to draw near to him. The Lord calls himself “righteous,” and declares that this is “his righteousness,” not because he keeps it shut up in himself, but because he pours it out on men. In like manner he calls it “his salvation,” by which he delivers men from destruction.

Although this discourse was addressed to the Jews, that, by sincere affection of heart, and by the practice of integrity, they might show their gratitude to God their Redeemer, yet it refers to every one of us; for the whole world is ruined in itself, if it do not obtain salvation from God alone. We must therefore attend to this exhortation, which instructs us that the nearer we are to God, so much the more powerfully ought we to be excited to the practice of godliness. Hence also Paul admonishes believers, 9494     “Admonneste les fideles.” “Cast away the works of darkness; put on the armor of light; for our salvation is nearer than we thought.” (Romans 13:11, 12)

2. Happy is the man that shall do this. When he calls those persons “happy” who, having embraced this doctrine, devote themselves to walk uprightly, he indirectly leads us to conclude that many will be deaf or disobedient; but, lest their wickedness or indifference should retard the elect, he recommends the exhortation which he has given from the advantage which it yields. Thus, in order that believers may abandon all delay, he exclaims that they are “happy” to whom it hath been given 9595     “Ausquels la grace a este faite.” “To whom grace hath been given.” to possess such wisdom.

Keeping the Sabbath. We have said that the words “justice” and “judgment,” in the preceding verse, include all the duties of the second table; but here he mentions the Sabbath, which belongs to the first table. I reply, as I have already mentioned briefly, that they who live inoffensively and justly with their neighbors, testify that they serve God; and therefore we need not wonder that the Prophet, after having glanced at the second table, mentions also the first; for both ought to be joined together In a word, Isaiah declares that he who shall obey God by keeping his law perfectly shall be “happy;” for the salvation and the righteousness of God shall belong to him. Since, therefore, men wander at random amidst their contrivances, and adopt various methods of worshipping God, he shows that there is only one way, that is, when men endeavor to frame and regulate their life by the injunction of the Law; for otherwise they will weary themselves in vain by taking other roads. In short, this is a remarkable passage, showing that nothing pleases God but keeping the Law.

If the question be put, “Can men obtain righteousness and salvation by their own works?” the reply will be easy; for the Lord does not offer salvation to us, as if he had been anticipated by our merits, (for, on the contrary, we are anticipated by him,) but offers himself freely to us, and only demands that we, on our part, draw near to him. Since therefore he willingly invites us, since he offers righteousness through free grace, we must make every effort not to be deprived of so great a benefit.

Again, because the Sabbath, as Moses declares, (Exodus 31:13, 17) and as Ezekiel 20:12 repeats, was the most important symbol of the worship of God, so by that figure of speech in which a part is taken for the whole, and which is called a synecdoche, the Sabbath includes all the exercises of religion. But we must view the Sabbath in connection with everything that attends it; for God does not rest satisfied with outward ceremony, or delight in our indolence, but demands from us earnest self­denial, that we may be entirely devoted to his service.

So that he may not profane it. This clause is commonly rendered, “That he may not profane it;“ and literally it runs thus, “From profaning it;“ and therefore we have thought it proper to prefix the word “so” to the clause, “So that he may not profane it,” in order to remove all ambiguity.

And keeping his hand, that he may abstain from all that is evil. He now adds another synecdoche, to describe the duties which men owe to each other. The amount of it is, that there is no other way of serving God aright but by sincere piety and a blameless life, as he has also included in these two parts the rule of leading a holy life. In a word, it is an exposition of true righteousness which is contained in the Law of the Lord, that we may acquiesce in it; for in vain do men seek any other road to perfection. Here also are thrown down all false worship and superstitions, and, finally, everything that is contrived by men in opposition to the word of God.

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