Commentary

Isaiah 51:17-53:9

It is worthy of note that in the passage before us there are three calls to hearken and three to awake. Those called upon to hearken in the early part of the chapter-verses 1, 4, 7-are those who "follow after righteousness . . . that seek the Lord;" those acknowledged as "My people;" and those, "that know righteousness . . . in whose heart is My law." The emphasis clearly is on righteousness, for nothing that contravenes that is going to stand. The first call to awake is addressed to ...

Isaiah 49:5-51:16

In this remarkable chapter we have something in the nature of a dialogue. Jehovah's word to the Messiah, whom He addressed as the true "Prince of God," we found in verse 3. The lament of the Messiah, having wooed Israel in vain, is found in verse 4, and it was historically verified, as we are told in Luke 13: 34. From verse 5 onwards we get the response of Jehovah to this lament. The latter part of verse 5 is really a parenthesis, giving us Messiah's confidence, based upon what Jehovah ...

Isaiah 45:14-49:4

The power of God, that, by the raising up of Cyrus, would accomplish His purpose to release those whom He calls, "My captives," would only be perceived by faith. Therefore the prophet exclaims "Verily Thou art a God that hidest Thyself." A servant of God has very truly and aptly remarked, "God's ways are behind the scenes, but He moves all the scenes which He is behind." Men may act to achieve their own purposes without any thought of God and yet God may be behind their doings, overr...

Isaiah 40:9-45:14

In spite of the fact that the revelation of the glory of the Lord brings to light, as nothing else does, the sinfulness and frailty of man, there is also brought "good tidings," and this it is which furnishes the "comfort" for "My people." Zion and Jerusalem are represented as lifting up the voice and saying to the cities of Judah "Behold your God!" About the sixth hour on the day of the crucifixion Pilate brought forth Jesus, and said to the crowd in Jerusalem, "Behold your King!" (...

Isaiah 36:1-40:8

After the lovely picture of blessedness on earth in the millennial age, presented to us in chapter 35, there is a break in the prophecy. The four chapters, 36-39, give us details of history in Hezekiah's reign, which are recounted also in 2 Kings, chapters 18-20, and again more briefly in 2 Chronicles 32. Remembering that we have no needless repetitions in Scripture, we may ask why these chapters should be inserted here? The answer, we think, is twofold. First, the personal piety o...

Isaiah 28:1-35:10

Having recorded this prediction of the gathering from lands of affliction to Jerusalem of a remnant, who shall worship the Lord there, the prophet again reverted to the denunciation of the existing state of the people. And first Ephraim, that is, the ten tribes, came before him-verses 1-13. They were debased as drunkards and yet wore pride as a crown. Against them the Lord would bring "a mighty and strong one," like a devastating storm or flood- doubtless the Assyrian army. Yet, even ...

Isaiah 24:1-27:13

The last of these cities, upon which a "burden" rested, being disposed of, the prophetic strain moves on to make known in a more general way what would be the state of things at the end of the age. It is a dark and sorrowful picture: the whole earth turned upside down and the inhabitants scattered, no matter to what class they belonged. And not only Israel is in view, for though the closing accusations of verse 5 may have special reference to them, since laws and ordinances were special...

Isaiah 64:4-65:12

It is striking how verse 4 follows what we have dwelt upon in the first three verses. Isaiah desired a mighty display of the power of God such as had been manifested at the outset of Israel's history: yet he was conscious that God had in reserve things beyond all human knowledge, and prepared for those who waited for Him to act. To this verse the Apostle Paul referred in 1 Corinthians 2: 9, showing that though in ordinary matters men arrive at knowledge by the hearing of the ear-tradi...

Leviticus 16:1-22:33

The opening words of chapter 16 carry us back to the early verses of Leviticus 10 where the sin of Nadab and Abihu is recorded. Certain consequences flowing from that sin are mentioned in the rest of the 10th chapter, but now we find that it furnished the occasion for the ritual of the annual day of atonement to be revealed. Verse 29 of our chapter shows that it was the procedure to be observed on that day, and how it fitted into the succession of feasts that filled Israel's...

Exodus 14:20-15:27

Not only did the Angel of God in the cloud plant Himself between Israel and their foes, but He so ordered it that, while to the Egyptians the cloud presented itself as an impenetrable fog of darkness, to Israel it was a powerful light. Verses 21 and 22 tell us of the dividing of the sea by a strong east wind, so that there was a dry passage across, and there was a wall of water on their right hand and on their left. Now consider the situation. Behind the very last of the host wa...
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