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THE vision of Isaias the son of Amos I which he saw concerning Juda and Jerusalem in the days of Ozias, Joathan, Achaz, and Ezechias, kings of Juda

ON THE PROPHETS.

 

We come now to another division of the Bible, specified by our Saviour: All things must needs be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me.  Luke xxiv. 44.  He more frequently comprises all the Scriptures under the titles of Moses, or the Law and the Prophets; (ib. v. 27) as in effect, all the sacred writings refer ultimately to him, who is the end of the law; (Rom. x. 4.) and the Jews comprise under the name of the first prophets, the histories of Josue, &c.  H.

 

--- God has kept up a succession of prophets from the beginning, who either by word of mouth or by writing, established the true religion.  Their predictions are the most convincing proof of its divine of its divine origin.  Is. xli. 23.  They contain many things clear, and others obscure: having, for the most part, a literal, and a mystical sense.  C.

 

--- Yet some relate solely to Christ, while others must not be applied to him.  Bossuet.

 

--- The Fathers, in imitation of the ancient Jews, and of the apostles, discover frequently a spiritual sense, concealed under the letter, as Christ himself declared that Jonas, in the whale's belly, prefigured his burial and resurrection on the third day.  See Mat. xii. 39.  Mar. ix. 11.  Gal. iv. 24.  When the figurative sense is thus authorized, it may serve to prove articles of faith; and such arguments must be more cogent in disputes with the Jews, than what can be drawn from their authors.  They must confess that the New Testament contains a true history, or they cannot require that we should pay greater deference to the Old.  Tertullian (Præs.) well observes, that heretics have no right to the Scriptures: But if they will quote them, they must receive them all, and adopt the sense given to them by the Church.  C.

 

--- The providence of God, in giving the prophets, and other guides to direct his people, was ever an object of admiration and gratitude.  The prophets were enabled, by a supernatural light, superior to that of faith, though beneath that of glory, to announce the secrets of futurity, as eye-witnesses; whence their predictions are styled visions, as such witnesses deserve the utmost credit.  We have the writings of the four great, and the twelve less prophets.  In these, many things are hard to be understood, which must not be interpreted by the private spiri.  2 Pet. i.  A large commentary would be requisite to explain these to the bottom, and we must refer the curious to the works of the Fathers, &c. as the subsequent notes will be rather briefer than usual.  W.

 

--- The Sept. varies much from the original in Isaias.  But we cannot specify every particular.  C.

 

--- S. Jerom has frequently given a double version in his learned comments on the prophets, as he would not peremptorily decide which exhibited the sense of God's word more accurately.  H.


Ver. 1.  Amos.  His name is written in a different manner, in Hebrew, from that of the third among the minor prophets, (W.) though S. Aug. has confounded them.

 

--- Ezechias.  He wrote this title towards the end of his life, or it was added by Esdras, &c.


THE PROPHECY OF ISAIAS.

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

This inspired writer is called by the Holy Ghost, (Ecclesiastic. xlviii. 25.) the great prophet; from the greatness of his prophetic spirit, by which he hath foretold, so long before, and in so clear a manner, the coming of Christ, the mysteries of our redemption, the calling of the Gentiles, and the glorious establishment, and perpeutal flourishing of the Church of Christ: insomuch that he seems to have been rather an evangelist than a prophet.  His very name is not without mystery: for Isaias in Hebrew signifies the salvation of the Lord, or, Jesus is the Lord.  He was, according to the tradition of the Hebrews, of the blood royal of the kings of Juda; an after a most holy life, ended his days by a glorious martyrdom; being sawed in two, at the command of his wicked son-in-law, king Manasses, for reproving his evil ways.  Ch.

 

--- He began to prophesy ten years before the foundation of Rome, and the ruin of Ninive.  His style is suitable to his high birth.  He may be called the prophet of the mercies of the Lord.  Under the figure of the return from captivity, he foretells the redemption of mankind (C.) with such perspicuity, that he might seem to be an evangelist.  S. Jer.




2 Hear, O ye heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken. I have brought up children, and exalted them: but they have despised me.

Ver. 2.  Earth.  He apostrophises these insensible things, (C.) because they contain all others, and are the most durable.  Theod.  Deut. xxxi. 1.



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3 The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel hath not known me, and my people hath not understood. 4 Woe to the sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a wicked seed, ungracious children: they have forsaken the Lord, they have blasphemed the Holy One of Israel, they are gone away backwards. 5 For what shall I strike you any more, you that increase transgression? the whole head is sick, and the whole heart is sad.

Ver. 5-7.  Sad.  This was spoken after Ozias had given way to pride, when the Ammonites, &c. began to disturb Juda, (4 K. xv. 37. and 2 Par. xxvii. 7.) under Joathan, who was a good prince, but young.  C.

 

--- Enemies.  At the last siege, (S. Jer.) or rather when Jerusalem was taken by the Chaldees.  C.

 

--- Many, from the highest to the lowest, had prevaricated: but God always preserved his Church.  W.


6 From the sole of the foot unto the top of the head, there is no soundness therein: wounds and bruises and swelling sores: they are not bound up, nor dressed, nor fomented with oil. 7 Your land is desolate, your cities are burnt with fire: your country strangers devour before your face, and it shall be desolate as when wasted by enemies.

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8 And the daughter of Sion shall be left as a covert in a vineyard, and as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, and as a city that is laid waste.

Ver. 8.  Cucumbers.  Or melons, which grew in the fields, and huts were erected for guards, till they were gathered.




9 Except the Lord of hosts had left us seed, we had been as Sodom, and we should have been like to Gomorrha.

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10 Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom, give ear to the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrha.

Ver. 10.  Sodom.  Juda is so styled reproachfully, (C.) because the princes imitated the crimes of that devoted city.  Ezec. xvi. 49.  Inf. c. ii. 6. and iii. 9.  M.




11 To what purpose do you offer me the multitude of your victims, saith the Lord? I am full, I desire not holocausts of rams, and fat of fatlings, and blood of calves, and lambs, and buck goats.

Ver. 11.  Victims.  Without piety, they are useless.  God tolerated bloody victims to withdraw the people from idolatry, but he often shewed that they were not of much importance, in order that they might be brought to offer the sacrifice of the new law, which eminently includes all the rest.  S. Jer.   Ps. xlix. 9.  Am. v. 21.  Jer. vi. 20.  Theod.



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12 When you came to appear before me, who required these things at your hands, that you should walk in my courts?
13 Offer sacrifice no more in vain: incense is an abomination tome. The new moons, and the sabbaths, and other festivals I will not abide, your assemblies are wicked. 14 My soul hateth your new moons, and your solemnities: they are become troublesome to me, I am weary of bearing them.

Ver. 14.  Bearing.  Hebrew, &c. "pardoning," (C.) or "bearing."  Sept. "I will no longer pardon your sins."  H.


15 And when you stretch forth your hands, I will turn away my eyes from you: and when you multiply prayer, I will not hear: for your hands are full of blood.

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16 Wash yourselves, be clean, take away the evil of your devices from my eyes: cease to do perversely,

Ver. 16.  Wash.  Interiorly.  C.

 

--- He seems to allude to baptism.  Eus.  Theod.



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17 Learn to do well: seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge for the fatherless, defend the widow. 18 And then come, and accuse me, saith the Lord: if your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow: and if they be red as crimson, they shall be white as wool.

Ver. 18.  Accuse me.  If I punish you without cause.


19 if you be willing, and will hearken to me, you shall eat the good things of the land. 20 But if you will not, and will provoke me to wrath: the sword shall devour you because the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. 21 How is the faithful city, that was full of judgment, become a harlot? justice dwelt in it, but now murderers. 22 Thy silver is turned into dress: thy wine is mingled with water.

Ver. 22.  Water.  There is no sincerity in commerce.  C.

 

--- Teachers give false interpretations of the law.  S. Jer.

 

--- Iniquity abounded before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldees and Romans.  W.


23 Thy princes are faithless, companions of thieves: they all love bribes, the run after rewards. They judge not for the fatherless: and the widow's cometh not in to them.

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24 Therefore saith the Lord the God of hosts, the mighty one of Israel: Ah! I will comfort myself over my adversaries: and I will be revenged of my enemies.

Ver. 24.  Ah!  God punishes with regret.  M.

 

--- Comfort.  I will take complete vengeance under Joathan, (4 K. xv. 37.) Achaz, &c.


25 And I will turn my hand to thee, and I will clean purge away thy dress, and I will take away all thy tin.

Ver. 25.  Tin.  I will reform abuses in the reign of Ezechias, but much more by establishing the Church of Christ, which shall be the faithful city.  C.


26 And I will restore thy judges as they were before, and thy counsellors as of old. After this thou shalt be called the city of the just, a faithful city.

Ver. 26.  Judges.  The Jews explain this of the judges, and priests, who governed after the captivity; though it refer rather to the apostles, &c.  S. Jer.  W.


27 Sion shall be redeemed in judgment, and they shall bring her back in justice.


28 And he shall destroy the wicked, and the sinners together: and they that have forsaken the Lord, shall be consumed. 29 For they shall be confounded for the idols, to which they have sacrificed: and you shall be ashamed of the gardens which you have chosen.

Ver. 29.  Idols.  Prot. "oaks, which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens," &c.  H.

 

--- The groves were sacred to Venus, and the gardens to Adonis, and were scenes of the greatest immorality and profanation.  C. lxv. 3.


30 When you shall be as an oak with the leaves falling off, and as a garden without water. 31 And your strength shall be as the ashes of tow, and your work as a spark: and both shall burn together, and there shall be none to quench it.

Ver. 31.  It.  The efforts of Achan and Ezechias against the enemy proved in vain.  C.

 


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