Bible Commentary

Isaiah 65

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of Isaiah 65)

Verse 1

[1] I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.

I am, … — This in the primary sense of this text, is a prophecy of the conversion of the Gentiles, upon the rejection of the Jews; for their contempt and crucifying of Christ, cannot be doubted by any, who will not arrogate to themselves a greater ability to interpret the prophesies of the Old Testament, than St. Paul had, who, Romans 10:20, expressly so interprets it, and applies it, which shews the vanity of the Jews in their other interpretations of it.

Sought — The word signifies properly a diligent enquiry in things relating to God.

Asked not — That in times past made no enquiry after me; l am now found by them that formerly sought me not.

I said — I invited whole nations by the preaching of my gospel to behold me, and that with importunity, doubling my words upon them, and this I did unto a nation not called by my name, with whom I was not in covenant.

Verse 2

[2] I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;

I have spread — Applied to the Jews, Romans 10:21. I have stretched out my hands, I have used all means to reduce them, I have stretched out the hands of a passionate orator to persuade them, of a liberal benefactor to load them with my benefits; this I have done continually in the whole course of my providence with them.

Verse 3

[3] A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;

To my face — With the utmost impudence, not taking notice of God's omnipresence, and omniscience.

In gardens, … — Directly contrary to the divine rule.

Verse 4

[4] Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine's flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;

Remain — They remained among the graves, there consulting with devils, who were thought to delight in such places; or to practice necromancy, all which were forbidden, Deuteronomy 18:11; Isaiah 8:19.

Monuments — Some interpret it of idol temples, some of caves and dens, in which the Heathens used to worship their idols.

Broth of abominable things — Of such flesh as was to the Jews unclean by the law.

Verse 5

[5] Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.

Holier — Thus they esteemed themselves holier than others, though all their holiness lay in rituals, and those too, such as God never commanded. Of these God saith, These are a smoak in my nostrils, a fire that burneth all the day; that is, a continual provocation to me: as smoak is an offence to our noses.

Verse 6

[6] Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom,

Behold — They may think I take no notice of these things; but I will as certainly remember them, as princes or great men that record things in writing which they would not forget.

Verse 7

[7] Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.

Together — Yea, and when I reckon with them, I will punish them, not only for their personal sins, but for the sins of their parents, which they have made their own, by imitation.

Their former — I will not only punish the late sins that they have committed, but the former sins of this kind, which those that went before did commit, and they have continued in.

Verse 8

[8] Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them all.

Thus, … — These word's may be conceived as a gracious answer from God to the prophet, pleading God's covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. To this God replies, that he intended no such severity. His threatening should be made good upon the generality of this people.

Blessing — But yet, as in a vineyard, which is generally unfruitful, there may be some vine that brings forth fruit, and has the hopes of new wine in the cluster, and as to such, the gardener bids his servant destroy it not, for there is in them what speaks God's blessing.

So — So (saith God) will I do for my servants sake, that I may not destroy them all, for the sake of my servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Verse 9

[9] And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.

Judah — God farther promises to bring out of Judah, an inheritor of his mountains which refers to the Jews return out of the captivity of Babylon to Jerusalem, to worship God in his temple, upon mount Zion.

Mine elect — My chosen ones. The term signifies such as are dignified with some special favour. The whole nation of the Jews are called a chosen people.

Verse 10

[10] And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.

A fold — Sharon was a place of great fruitfulness for pastures. It was become like a wilderness, God here promises that it should again be a place for the flocks.

Verse 11

[11] But ye are they that forsake the LORD, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number.

Forget — To forget God's holy mountains, signifies not to regard the true worship of God. God calls Zion his holy mountain. That troop - The idols of the ten tribes, and of the Assyrians, were a troop, where as the God of Israel was one God. By preparing a table, here seems to be meant, the feasts they made upon their sacrifices in imitation of what the true God had commanded his people.

Furnish — God had appointed drink offerings for his honour, but the people had paid their homage to idols.

Number — The multitude of their idols.

Verse 12

[12] Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.

To the sword — A great number of you shall perish by the sword; or possibly the term number may refer to all in the next phrase, so that none of them should escape. God saith he will number them, tell them out one by one to the sword.

Bow down — As you have bowed down to idols.

I called — By my prophets, you did not answer by doing the things which I enjoined.

Chuse — You sinned deliberately chusing sinful courses, the things which I hated.

Verse 15

[15] And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name:

A curse — They shall use your names as examples, of the eminent wrath of God upon sinners.

Another name — He will not suffer his own people to be called by a name by which idolaters are known.

Verse 16

[16] That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.

God of truth — Because they shall see what God promised is fulfilled.

Are hid — That is, they are at an end.

Verse 17

[17] For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

I create — I am about wholly to change the state not only of my people, but to bring a new face upon the world, which shall abide until a new heavens and earth appear, in which shall dwell nothing but righteousness.

Not be remembered — That state of things shall be so glorious, that the former state of my people shall not be remembered.

Verse 18

[18] But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.

You — The church, as well under the gospel, as under the law.

Verse 20

[20] There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.

An infant — Those that were now children, shall die at a great age.

But — Yet none of these things shall be of any advantage to wicked men, but if any of them shall live to be an hundred years old, yet they shall die accursed.

Verse 23

[23] They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.

With them — Is blessed with them.

Verse 24

[24] And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

Before they call — God promised, chap. 58:9, to answer them, when they called: here he promises to answer the words, as soon as they should be formed in their hearts before they could get them out of their lips.

While — Yea, while they were speaking.

Verse 25

[25] The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.

The wolf, … — God here promises to take off the fierceness of the spirits of his peoples enemies, so that they shall live quietly and peaceably together.

And dust — God promises a time of tranquility to his church under the metaphor of serpents eating the dust, their proper meat, Genesis 3:14, instead of flying upon men: it signifies such a time, when wicked men shall no more eat up the people of God.

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