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The Worship God Demands


Thus says the L ord:

Heaven is my throne

and the earth is my footstool;

what is the house that you would build for me,

and what is my resting place?


All these things my hand has made,

and so all these things are mine,

says the L ord.

But this is the one to whom I will look,

to the humble and contrite in spirit,

who trembles at my word.



Whoever slaughters an ox is like one who kills a human being;

whoever sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck;

whoever presents a grain offering, like one who offers swine’s blood;

whoever makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol.

These have chosen their own ways,

and in their abominations they take delight;


I also will choose to mock them,

and bring upon them what they fear;

because, when I called, no one answered,

when I spoke, they did not listen;

but they did what was evil in my sight,

and chose what did not please me.

The L ord Vindicates Zion


Hear the word of the L ord,

you who tremble at his word:

Your own people who hate you

and reject you for my name’s sake

have said, “Let the L ord be glorified,

so that we may see your joy”;

but it is they who shall be put to shame.



Listen, an uproar from the city!

A voice from the temple!

The voice of the L ord,

dealing retribution to his enemies!



Before she was in labor

she gave birth;

before her pain came upon her

she delivered a son.


Who has heard of such a thing?

Who has seen such things?

Shall a land be born in one day?

Shall a nation be delivered in one moment?

Yet as soon as Zion was in labor

she delivered her children.


Shall I open the womb and not deliver?

says the L ord;

shall I, the one who delivers, shut the womb?

says your God.



Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,

all you who love her;

rejoice with her in joy,

all you who mourn over her—


that you may nurse and be satisfied

from her consoling breast;

that you may drink deeply with delight

from her glorious bosom.



For thus says the L ord:

I will extend prosperity to her like a river,

and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream;

and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm,

and dandled on her knees.


As a mother comforts her child,

so I will comfort you;

you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

The Reign and Indignation of God


You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;

your bodies shall flourish like the grass;

and it shall be known that the hand of the L ord is with his servants,

and his indignation is against his enemies.


For the L ord will come in fire,

and his chariots like the whirlwind,

to pay back his anger in fury,

and his rebuke in flames of fire.


For by fire will the L ord execute judgment,

and by his sword, on all flesh;

and those slain by the L ord shall be many.


17 Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following the one in the center, eating the flesh of pigs, vermin, and rodents, shall come to an end together, says the L ord.


18 For I know their works and their thoughts, and I am coming to gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and shall see my glory, 19and I will set a sign among them. From them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Put, and Lud—which draw the bow—to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the nations. 20They shall bring all your kindred from all the nations as an offering to the L ord, on horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and on mules, and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the L ord, just as the Israelites bring a grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the L ord. 21And I will also take some of them as priests and as Levites, says the L ord.



For as the new heavens and the new earth,

which I will make,

shall remain before me, says the L ord;

so shall your descendants and your name remain.


From new moon to new moon,

and from sabbath to sabbath,

all flesh shall come to worship before me,

says the L ord.


24 And they shall go out and look at the dead bodies of the people who have rebelled against me; for their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.

19. And I will place in them a sign. This may be understood in two ways; either that God holds out a sign, or that by some symbol or mark he seals his own people, that they may be placed in safety. The former exposition is more generally approved, but some reason childishly about it as relating to the sign of the cross, while others refer it to the preaching of the Gospel. In my opinion both are mistaken; for he seems rather to allude to what, Moses tells us, happened at the departure and deliverance of the people. It is also declared (Revelation 7:3) that “as many as the Lord hath sealed” shall be safe, even when his anger shall be fiercely kindled throughout the whole world; just as they whose door-posts were marked in Egypt escaped safely. (Exodus 12:13.) And thus he shews that none can escape God’s wrath, except the elect, on whom the Lord has impressed his mark and seal.

And will send some of them, being reserved. In a word, the Prophet heightens the description of what has been already said about the grievous and terrible vengeance which the Lord will execute on the ungodly; for all would have perished without distinction if the Lord had not marked some of them with his seal. From the general destruction of the whole nation, therefore, he says that he will reserve a small number. And this is the true meaning of the Prophet; just as he had said, in other passages, that he would rescue “a remnant” from the general conflagration. (Isaiah 1:9; 10:22.) Of this band, which had been reserved, he says that some shall be his heralds to celebrate his name among the Gentiles; just as we see that the doctrine of salvation, by the agency of a few, was spread far and wide.

To the nations of Tarshish, Pul, and Lud. By the name “Tarshish” he denotes Cilicia, and includes the whole coast of the Mediterranean Sea opposite to Judea. Others think that it denotes Africa and Cappadocia; but I rather adopt the former view. By Lud, some suppose Lydia to be meant; and others, Asia Minor. By “those who draw the bow” are meant the Parthians, because they were skillful in archery. By Tubal and Javan he denotes Italy and Greece, and by the Islands he denotes unknown countries; for by the name “Islands,” as we have seen on many former occasions, the Jews denoted all that lay beyond the sea.

Which have not heard my name. He means that the knowledge of God shall be spread throughout the whole world; for the Greeks, Italians, Parthians, Cilicians, and other nations had heard nothing about pure religion and the true worship of God; and the whole world was plunged in the deepest darkness of ignorance. He therefore promises that the glory of God shall be known in every part of the world. The word “nations” is emphatic; for at that time the Lord was known to not more than one people, but now he has revealed himself to all.

20. And they shall bring. Here he clearly explains what was formerly said, namely, that all who shall escape and survive, though they be few in number, shall nevertheless be priests, who shall bring sacrifices to God from all places. He alludes to the ancient ceremony of the Law, though he points out the difference that will be between those oblations and the sacrifices of the ancient Law; for he appoints a new kind of punishment and new sacrifices. As he had said that he would gather all the nations, so he now shews that the priests, whom he had appointed, shall not labor in vain; for God will grant prosperity to their undertakings.

All your brethren. He gives the name of “brethren” to those who formerly were strangers; for he has in his eye the new relation which arises from faith. We know that foreign nations were ingrafted by faith into the family of Abraham. Yet others bring out a different meaning, which I do not absolutely reject. “When God shall gather a new people to himself out of foreign nations, the Jews, who had been scattered in all directions, shall be brought into one place.” This was also accomplished; but it seems more appropriate to refer it to the calling of the Gentiles, because at that time, by the removal of the difference, a brotherly relation began to be established among all whom God wished to adopt to be his children. Abraham was the father of one nation, and yet not all who were descended from him according to the flesh are accounted his children; for the Ishmaelites and the Edomites were rejected. (Romans 9:7.) The time when he became “the father of many nations” (Genesis 17:5; Romans 4:17) was when God adopted the Gentiles, and joined them to himself by a covenant, that they might follow the faith of Abraham. And thus we see the reason why the Prophet gives the name of “brethren” of the Jews to us, who formerly were aliens from the Church of God. It is because he had previously cast out of their place false and reprobate brethren.

It is our duty to observe this fruit which is produced by the godly labors of those who faithfully serve the Lord, namely, that they “bring their brethren” from deadly errors to God, the fountain of life. By this consolation they ought to cheer their hearts, and to support them amidst the distresses and tribulations which they endure. The Lord does not suffer any of his own people to perish. Thus it is a high enjoyment and privilege, when he wishes to make use of our labors for delivering our “brethren.”

Out of all nations. He means that there shall no longer be any difference between Jews and Gentiles; because God will throw down “the partition-wall,” (Ephesians 2:14,) and will form a Church “out of all nations.” And thus was fulfilled the saying of David concerning Christ,

“Ask of me; I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for thy possession.” (Psalm 2:8.)

When he speaks of the “holy mountain,” he accommodates himself to the customs and usages of that period; for at Jerusalem God was worshipped in the temple. But now the temple is everywhere diffused; for everywhere we are at liberty to “lift up holy hands to God,” (1 Timothy 2:8,) and there is no longer any distinction of places. He likewise mentions oblations and sacrifices, which were offered in the temple; although the sacrifices which are now to be offered differ widely from the ancient sacrifices. But the prophets, as we have frequently remarked, were under a necessity of borrowing comparisons from known and familiar objects. Formerly the sacrifices were taken from the flocks and herds; but the Apostles and other priests of Christ slew men themselves, and offered them as a living sacrifice to God by the Gospel. Paul testifies that he discharged the office of the priesthood, when he slew men by the sword of the Gospel, “that they might be an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:1 6.)

It is not therefore a legal priesthood, and does not resemble that of the Papists, who say that they sacrifice Christ; 229229     “Qui se vantent de sacrifier Iesus Christ.” “Who boast of sacrificing Jesus Christ.” but it is the priesthood of the Gospel, by which men are slain, in order that, being renewed by the Spirit, they may be offered to the Lord. Thus, whomsoever we can gain to Christ, we offer in sacrifice, that they may be wholly consecrated to God. Moreover, every person sacrifices when he devotes and dedicates himself to God, and offers to him unreserved obedience; and this is the sacrifice which Paul calls “reasonable.” (Romans 12:1.) The end of our calling is here pointed out to be, that, washing away our pollutions, and being dead to ourselves, we may learn to devote ourselves to the cultivation of holiness.

With horses and chariots. There are some who endeavor to find an allegory here, and who think that the Prophet made use of the word “bring” on this account, that the Gospel does not constrain men by fear, but rather draws them gently, so that of their own accord they betake themselves to God, and run with cheerfulness and joy. But for my own part, I take a simpler view of this passage. Because this doubt might arise in the minds of many persons, “How is it possible that men shall come to us from countries so distant?” he replies, “Horses, chariots, and carriages shall not be wanting; for the Lord has at his command all that can be of service for assisting his people and conducting them to the end which he has in view.” Yet I do not deny that the Gospel may be called a “chariot,” because it conveys us to the hope of eternal life; but I think that the Prophet simply declares that nothing shall hinder God from gathering his Church, and that he will have at his command all the necessary means, that none of the elect whom he has called may fail in the middle of the course.

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