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13

If you refrain from trampling the sabbath,

from pursuing your own interests on my holy day;

if you call the sabbath a delight

and the holy day of the Lord honorable;

if you honor it, not going your own ways,

serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs;

14

then you shall take delight in the Lord,

and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth;

I will feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Jacob,

for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

 


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13. If thou shalt turn away thy foot from the sabbath. Some think that the Prophet alludes to the external observation of the Sabbath, because it was not lawful to perform a journey on that day. (Exodus 20:8) Though I do not reject that opinion, yet I think that the meaning is far more extensive; for by a figure of speech, ill which a part is taken for the whole, he denotes the whole course of human life; as it is very customary to employ the word “going” or “walking” to denote our life. He says, therefore, “If thou cease to advance in thy course, if thou shut up thy path, walk not according to thine own will,”’ etc. For this is to “turn away the foot from the Sabbath,” when we lay ourselves under the necessity of wandering freely and without restraint in our own sinful desires. As he formerly included under the class of fasting all ceremonies and outward masks, in which they made their holiness to consist, and showed that they were vain and unprofitable; so in this passage he points out the true observation of the Sabbath, that they may not think that it consists in external idleness but in true self­denial, so as to abstain from every act of injustice and wickedness, and from all lusts and wicked thoughts. First, by the word “foot” he denotes actions; because the Jews, though they did not venture to perform a journey, or to cook flesh on a Sabbath­day, yet did not scruple to harass their neighbors and to mock at the afflicted. Yet he immediately passes on to the will and to speeches, so as to include every part of the obedience which we owe to God.

And shalt call the Sabbath a delight This word, “delight,” must be viewed as referring to God, and not to men; because nothing can be more pleasing or acceptable to God, titan the observation of the Sabbath, and sincere worship. He carefully inculcates this, that men do wrong, if, laying aside the commandments of God, they esteem highly those things which are of no value; and he warns them that they ought to form their judgment from his will alone. Certain classes of duties are again enumerated by him, by which he shows clearly that the true observation of the Sabbath consists in self­denial and thorough conversion. And thus he pronounces the foundation to be the will, from which proceed speeches, and next actions; for we speak what we have conceived in our heart, and by speech we make known our will, and afterwards carry it into effect. Whoever then wishes to serve God in a proper manner, must altogether renounce his flesh and his will. And hence we see the reason why God so highly recommends, in the whole Scripture, the observation of the Sabbath; for he contemplated something higher than the outward ceremony, that is, indolence and repose, in which the Jews thought that the greatest holiness consisted. On the contrary, he commanded the Jews to renounce the desires of the flesh, to give up their sinful inclinations, and to yield obedience to him; as no man can meditate on the heavenly life, unless he be dead to the world and to himself. Now, although that ceremony has been abolished, nevertheless the truth remains; because Christ died and rose again, so that we have a continual sabbath; that is, we are released from our works, that the Spirit of God may work mightily in us.

14. Then wilt thou delight in Jehovah. He appears to allude to the word delight in the preceding verse; for the verb תתעגג (tithgnanneg) which the Prophet employs, is derived from the same root as עגג (gnoneg) which he formerly used, when he said that the Lord takes the highest delight in the true observation of the Sabbath. In a word, he means that the people take no delight in God, because they provoke him, and do not obey his will; for if we framed our life in obedience to God, we should be his delight, and, on the other hand, he would be our delight. Thus he affirms that it is owing entirely to the Jews themselves that they do not, by relying on a reconciled God, lead a cheerful and joyful life. By these words he indirectly reproaches them with bringing upon themselves, by their own fault, many calamities.

And I will cause thee to ride on the high places of the earth. By these words he promises a return to their native country, and a safe habitation in it. We know that Judea was situated on a lofty place above the neighboring countries; while the situation of Babylon was much lower, so that the people trembled as if they had been shut up in a cave. He next tells more plainly what he meant by the word ride 127127     “The word ride is borrowed from a powerful conqueror, who, riding on a horse or in a chariot, while carrying on battle, seizes mountains, hills, citadels, castles, fortifications, and subjects them to his donfinion. By ‘high places of the earth,’ he means what I have just now enumerated, lofty places difficult of ascent, on which citadels and fortresses are commonly situated, and the storming and seizing of which brings applause to the conqueror. See Deuteronomy 32:13.” ­ Vitringa.
“The whole phrase is descriptive, not of a mere return to Palestine, the highest of all lands (Kimchi), nor of more security from enenfies by being placed beyond their reach (Vitringa), but of conquest and triumphant possession, as in Deuteronomy 32:13, from which the expression is derived by all the later writers who employ it.” ­ Alexander.
for he promises the possession of that country which had been promised and given to the fathers, 128128     “To eat the heritage is to enjoy it, and derive subsistence from it. Kimchi correctly says that it is called the heritage of Jacob, as distinct from that of Ishmael and Esau, although equally descended from the father of the faithful.” ­ Alexander. and which they at that time enjoyed, and of which they were afterwards deprived for a time.

For the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it. He added this, that they might know, beyond all controversy, that all these things were true; and this must be viewed as referring not only to those promises, but likewise to the beginning of the chapter. For he rebuked hypocrites, who thought that they were defending themselves in a just cause, and showed that they were suffering the just punishment of their sins; and that it was in vain to contend with God, and to bring forward in opposition to him their own works, which were altogether empty and worthless. On that account he brings them back to the true observation of the Sabbath, and shows that it will be well with them, if they shall worship God in a right manner. At length he concludes that they have not to deal with a mortal man, but that he who pronounces these things is God the Judge.




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