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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.

3. He that killeth an ox, as if he slew a man. There are two clauses in this verse. In the former, Isaiah plainly declares that all the sacrifices of his nation are of no value in the sight of God, but are held by him in abomination; in the latter, he describes the dreadful corruption by which they mingled the ceremonies of the Gentiles with the sacrifices of the Law, and in this way corrupted and perverted everything. The greater part of commentators think that these words repeal the sacrifices of the Law, but this is a mistake; for Isaiah, in this passage, treats of the same subject of which he had formerly treated in the first and fifty-eighth chapters, and does not absolutely condemn sacrifices, but rather the blemishes and corruptions of them, because the Jews thought that God was satisfied with a deceitful and empty appearance, and at the same time cared not about the true fear of God and a pure conscience. He does not speak, therefore, of the thing itself, but censures men who abused sacrifices; because this was as much as to offer to God the shell of an empty nut. In a word, no sacrifices are acceptable to God but those which proceed from a pure heart and an upright will.

Yet it is probable that the Prophet alludes to the sacrifices of the Gentiles, which were shocking and monstrous; for they killed men, or buried them alive. Neither the Romans, (who reckoned themselves to be more religious than other nations,) nor even the Jews, abstained from this crime. Nay more, (κακόζηλοι) wicked imitators polluted themselves by many child-murders, thinking that they followed their father Abraham. Isaiah says that, “when they kill an ox, they do the same thing as if they slew a man;” 219219     “Qu’ en sacrifiant un boeuf, e’est autant que s’ils coupoyent la gorge a un homme.” “That, in sacrificing an ox, it is the same as if they were cutting a man’s throat.” and thus he shews that the Jews, though they had a religion which was peculiar and which God had appointed, yet were in no respect better than the Gentiles, among whom everything was polluted and profane, and were not more highly approved by God; because the name of God is profaned by hypocrisy of religion not less than by corrupted and false worship. How necessary this admonition was, we have formerly seen; for, while the Jews were convicted of all crimes, yet, so long as they concealed themselves under this shadow, they thought that they were safe. Justly therefore does the Prophet meet them by saying, that they gain nothing more by their attempts to appease God than if they sought to offer sacrifices from the abominable sacrileges of the Gentiles.

And truly they have chosen their own ways. There are two interpretations of this passage; for the antecedent to the pronoun may either be the Gentiles or the Jews; that is, either that the Jews mingled and entangled themselves with the wicked ceremonies of the Gentiles, or that they followed their own inventions. The former exposition would not be inappropriate, were it not that it is unnatural, because the word “Gentiles” has not been formerly expressed. It was the most aggravated part of the wickedness of the Jews, that they not only abused the pure worship of God, but likewise, through their contempt of the Law, defiled the temple and every other place by wicked and abominable superstitions. They built altars on high places, planted and reared groves, took delight in games and public entertainments, and copied everything else that was appointed by public authority for the purpose of corrupting the hearts of men. Thus there was produced among them a confused medley of superstitions, such as we now behold in Popery, in which we see various patches sewed together, taken out of every kind of superstitions, not only heathen and Jewish, but likewise such as have been recently contrived by Satan, that he might more easily, and with greater plausibility, impose on the world. These and similar practices the Prophet would justly pronounce to be doubly worthy of condemnation, because, while they boast of the name of God, and make profession of his worship, still they are not ashamed to stain and pollute that worship by the sacrileges of idolatrous nations.

The other interpretation is not obscure, and is equally appropriate, that the Jews were devoted to their own inventions, and followed their own abominations, He affirms that they do not worship God sincerely, who despise him according to their own caprice, not only because they are full of avarice, hatred, ambition, dishonesty, cruelty, and extortion, but because they corrupt the worship of God by their own contrivances. Although the pronoun refers to the Jews, yet the Prophet condemns all superstitions which they had borrowed from the heathen nations. Consequently, there is little difference between the two interpretations; for he merely teaches that, because they have insolently and rebelliously shaken off the yoke of God, because wickedness openly prevails among them, everything that proceeds from them is polluted and detestable. Streams that bring down dirty and offensive matter from a muddy and polluted fountain cannot be clean or pure. Choice and desire reveal their obstinacy more clearly; that is, because, knowingly and willingly, they despised God’s commandments, and devoted their heart to everything that was opposed to them, as if they wished intentionally to disdain everything that proceeded from God, that they might obey their depraved lust.

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