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57. God's Accusation Against Wicked

The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. 2He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.

3But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore. 4Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood, 5Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks? 6Among the smooth stones of the stream is thy portion; they, they are thy lot: even to them hast thou poured a drink offering, thou hast offered a meat offering. Should I receive comfort in these? 7Upon a lofty and high mountain hast thou set thy bed: even thither wentest thou up to offer sacrifice. 8Behind the doors also and the posts hast thou set up thy remembrance: for thou hast discovered thyself to another than me, and art gone up; thou hast enlarged thy bed, and made thee a covenant with them; thou lovedst their bed where thou sawest it. 9And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst debase thyself even unto hell. 10Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; yet saidst thou not, There is no hope: thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved. 11And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered me, nor laid it to thy heart? have not I held my peace even of old, and thou fearest me not? 12I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works; for they shall not profit thee.

13When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain; 14And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people. 15For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. 16For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. 17For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. 18I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. 19I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him. 20But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

8. Behind the door. He dwells largely on the crime of which we have already spoken, that the people may no longer flatter themselves in their inventions. It is probable that Isaiah alludes to the words of Moses, by which God commanded them to have the Law continually placed before them, to attach it to the posts of their houses, and to keep it written and wrapped around their arms and the fringes of their garments, that they might be constantly reminded of their duty. (Deuteronomy 6:9; 11:20) But the Jews, on the contrary, polluted the doors and posts of their houses by tokens of idolatry, and left no corner free or pure from such pollutions. Thus they came to forget everywhere God and the Law, and substituted in their room the excitements of their own lust.

Thou hast enlarged thy bed. He again repeats what he formerly said, and returns to that clause, that the Jews most basely commit fornication with idols when they think that they are worshipping God; because they do not follow the rule of the word. It is the same as if a woman, having forsaken her husband, should prostitute herself in a brothel, and freely receive all that came, as if the bed had been a large plain, and capable of containing a vast multitude.

For this reason he says that she was detected by him, because, having laid aside the modesty of the married state, she allowed herself to be dishonored and ravished by others; for God holds the place of a husband, to whom she ought to have been subject, but she sought new husbands, and broke the bond of marriage, he describes their aggravated guilt, by saying that the Jews of their own accord devoted themselves to idols, as if a base woman ran after a man with blind eagerness.

Thou lovedst their bed in the place which thou sawest. By a different figure he accuses them of that hasty love, because, as if by a single glance, they were suddenly and eagerly hurried on to any place whatever. Yet he blames the rashness of men, who think that they are sagacious in worshipping God, and select places according to their own pleasure. But this sagacity is diabolical; for God commands us to keep our eyes fixed on himself and his word, so as to be closed against everything else.

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