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1. A Rebellious Nation

The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. 2Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. 3The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. 4Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.

5Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. 7Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. 8And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.

10Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. 11To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. 12When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? 13Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 14Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. 15And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.

16Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

21How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. 22Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water: 23Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them. 24Therefore saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies:

25And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin: 26And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city. 27Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.

28And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the Lord shall be consumed. 29For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen. 30For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water. 31And the strong shall be as tow, and the maker of it as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them.

8. And the daughter of Zion shall be left 2020     Residua manebit. as a cottage in a vineyard He alludes to a custom which exists in France, that the vinekeepers rear a cottage for themselves when the grapes begin to ripen. His next comparison, which is closely allied to the former, is taken from a custom of that nation of protecting also gardens of cucumbers 2121     A lively French traveler, Tavernier, who flourished about the middle of the seventeenth century, in describing the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, gives the following account: — “There we see large beds of melons and of cucumbers, but especially of the latter, of which the inhabitants of the Levant are particularly fond. Most frequently they eat them without peeling, and afterwards drink a glass of water. Throughout the whole of Asia this is the ordinary food of the common people for three or four months. The whole family lives on it; and when a child asks for something to eat, instead of giving it bread, as in France and other places is the custom, in the Levant they offer it a cucumber, which it eats raw just as it has been fresh pulled. Cucumbers in the Levant have a peculiarly excellent flavour, and though they are eaten raw they never do any injury.” — Ed. by means of men who kept watch during the night. He next explains what he intended to convey by both comparisons.

Like a besieged city This may be explained in two ways; either that the whole country will be wasted, with the solitary exception of the city, which shall be left standing like a cottage, or that the city itself will be destroyed. The former interpretation is adopted by the Jews, and they understand this passage to relate to the siege of Sennacherib; but I think that it has a wider signification, and embraces other calamities which followed afterwards. This may indeed refer to the neighboring country, from the misery and devastation of which it was impossible but that the city should sustain much damage; but I consider the Prophet’s meaning to be, that the evils of which he speaks shall reach even to the city itself, until, broken and ruined, it shall wear the aspect of a mean cottage

The daughter of Zion is the name here given to Jerusalem, in accordance with what is customary in Scripture to give the designation of daughter to any nation, in the same manner as the daughter of Babylon (Isaiah 47:1) and the daughter of Tyre (Psalm 45:12) are names given to the Tyrians and Babylonians. Zion is the name here employed rather than Jerusalem, on account of the dignity of the temple; and this figure of speech, by which a part is taken for the whole, is frequently employed.


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